Dungeons & Dragons Online

Harming Hateful Hermits – Wayward Wonders, Chapter 6.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Ally with psychotic, demon-powered hermits against the undead? Our captive was fairly reasonable once he surrendered, but would the others be similarly lucid?

Our quick recalculation and consultation with the captive indicated no. He’d bought into it but he’d been willing to back down against impossible odds. “The others are…more fanatical,” he said.

We questioned him a bit further. He still considered himself a follower of Gozreh, the multi-faced god of nature, but he was willing to second-guess the demon worship.

We talked it over…and decided to give him credit for that. He helped X draw up a brief map of the catacombs, and then we let him and his slurk go. I don’t much concern myself with right or wrong, but it wouldn’t be fair to make him fight his own friends.

In addition to us knowing the layout of the catacombs, we now know that we’re closer to our goal than we thought. Harlock is only two rooms away; we may have a fight in the great hall, but our real objective is to grab Harlock, Head Hermit, and help him set the others to order.

So we send Quickheel forward to scout the next room and the plan winds up in immediate disarray, as he interrupted an enemy spellcaster right after she finished preparing her magic for the day, and she led the fight with a ball of fire.

Literally, a ball. Made of fire. It didn’t explode or anything, she just made it roll around and burn things, and Quickheel rapidly retreated, fearing for his beard.

X rapidly grilled him for intel on what was in the next room as both Toreil and Ezren moved ahead and started letting loose with offensive spells and Grukk readied his sword and shield, taking a position in the doorway.

I readied my own weapon and called on the power of my bracelets of dashing as I moved to flank the doorway as well. The bracelet would make me quicker on my feet for about a minute.

From there, I could see into the hall. It was pretty, and artistically rendered with scenes of sea and sky and nature, but the bigger concern was the angry priestess in the middle of the room, and the two men moving with a familiarly-awkward manner. Vermleks again, but these ones were casting spells more than I remembered the last ones.

The priestess was reeling from the aftermath of Ezren’s frost spell and Toreil’s sound burst, but she regained her footing and I could see her injuries knitting together as she called on her magic.

Grukk was easily doing his job, swatting the attacking vermlek back and punishing its ill-considered aggression. I saw my opening and swept right through, using the bracelet’s speed boost to tumble straight past both vermleks and close the distance to the priestess.

I landed a solid slash right away, then weighed the odds and landed my finishing move, incapacitating the priestess almost before she knew what hit her.

It was awesome.

I whipped my bloody shortsword from her flesh and called out a challenge to the nearest vermlek, but forgot that demons don’t tend to speak binary audio transmissions. So it was momentarily perplexed, but not deterred. Still, with their strongest spellcaster defeated, the vermleks were easily overcome by the rest of the team.

Once the hall was clear of hostiles, our attention was universally drawn to the far door- the one which Harlock was sheltered behind – as it had something to say.

I didn’t quite get the whole statement but the gist was simple. Gozreh’s personal attention was aimed right at this hermitage. Harlock was being kept safe but the door wouldn’t open for us either, not until the corruption was cleansed. It would also open if we found a true chosen of Gozreh, but seeing as we’re fresh out, we have some cleansing to do.

Toreil – as our expert in things divine – elaborated that the corruption was probably not the undead, but instead the cultists. And/or any remaining demons.

We had taken the priestess alive, and withdrew to the entry hallway to interrogate her. First we ensured she could cast no spells, then tied her to a pillar, upside-down and facing a wall, where she couldn’t see who was talking to her.

We also examined her holy symbol, which had been defaced. While it had started as a totem of Gozreh, it was now dedicated to the Beast of Gluttondark. A denizen of the Abyss that is worshipped by troglodytes, although we knew little else about it.

We allowed the priestess to recover for questioning, but it mattered very little, as it turned out she was an idiot. She still believed she was following Gozreh, and deflected every notion of her own failings as instead being the fault of ‘citizen-dwellers.’

Since she was both unrepentant and likely to be a problem if she escaped, we left her accompanied by her head and returned to the main hall to continue cleansing.

Quickheel scouted one of the adjoining rooms and we could tell something was up as he readied his bow. X moved into position to assist, but suffered an unfortunate miscast on his Command spell, alerting the foe.

I lost a bit of the flow of what happened, as I was caught off guard by the fight. I know that Toreil let loose with his biggest attack spell, leaving the enemy reeling and split up. They were all spellcasters, and one of them let loose with a venomous sting on X, even as the rest of us moved to engage.

By the time I got my bearings, everyone else was already in the fight, so I darted in and casually ended one of our foes with a simple filleting. I nearly managed to drop a second one, but the fight was over in an instant.

The room we’d found was Harlock’s study, and we found a quartet of scrolls that were quickly apportioned between X and Ezren. But there’s plenty of reason to worry now, as Toreil has announced that he’s run out of healing magic…and we have no idea how many cultists remain.


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