Dirge for Ammad

The Great Machine
I'm Good at Doings, Not Understandings.

So after we defeated the custodians, the metal door thing opened up to reveal a clear door thingy through which we saw a machine as big as many buildings. My uncle had told stories about something like this before, but no ever listened to him. Then again he also talked to dirt so it may not be unreasonable that nobody listened to him. Anyway, amidst these huge machines was a gigantic heart infested with demon worms. The heart was not beating and apparently that is the machine’s doing. So apparently if the heart starts beating again, it could destroy the world, although the worms might do that anyway so making the heart beat long enough to kill the worms may be what is needed. I don’t really understand it though. Really, as much as I try to get the philosophical side of being a monk such as inner peas, I’m a lot better at doings than understandings.

Once we left the catacombs we were jumped by a bunch of thugs that worked for a minor noble house and some Karre elves. We beat them up and went back to the Cat’s Lantern where mister Duckson met us and discussed what’s next. We had two things to do, infiltrate the noble house and prove they’re working with the Karre elves, and break a prisoner out of the floating military prison since he apparently knows something about the machine.

We ambushed some guards and took their clothes in order to infiltrate the noble house. Cahya found some ledgers and a note that was written in some sort of strange language that makes magic users bleed if they try to read it. Also the Huntmaster apparently entered and exited the place while we were there.

Robot Rumpus
Why does everybody want to make our internal organs, external?

So we found this hole in the ground with a metal door like thingy and a hanging spider robot over it. We pulled a lever and the spider robot attacked and this puzzle having to do with the phases of the moon or something popped up from the door. I couldn’t pay too much attention to that as I was busy punching and pushing the robot, which repaired itself more quickly than we could damage it. Tor, Hawkeye and I kept it busy while the rest of the group solved the puzzle thing, shutting it down, and opening a path downward to the Steward.

Well the Steward was this giant part machine part lots of other stuff thing and the Custodians were similar albeit smaller. We talked with the Steward a bit, but he didn’t really seem all that smart, or maybe he didn’t like talking to us. At any rate he said we needed to challenge him if we wanted to go through. Also there was some evidence that the Steward may have been corrupted a little by whatever is on the other side of the gate. We fought the custodians and Steward, beating the custodians first based on information from the Key. I ran around punching all of the guys as per usual and then pushed one of the custodians off a balcony and then jumped down onto it. After beating the custodians the fight with the Steward began in earnest. I would’ve actually died if not for Hawkeye taking a hit for me (Thank you!). Anyway we beat him and he healed us completely and now we descend into the Machine.

Busy busy
We're like bees, but with murdering things!

So in the past day, we’ve fought a bunch of different groups (including a bunch of Karre Elves in the swamp) and finally gotten the boxes open to discover that they contain a mechanical cube of some sort that needs to be used in the catacombs beneath Ammad. The only clue we have about the box is that its a key to something that will apparently stop demons from overrunning the world. Having the world destroyed being a bad thing (Hey its where we keep all our stuff.), we ventured forth into the catacombs (we did take a day to rest after the shenanigans at the docks and in the swamp). Hawkeye talked our way past the skeletal guards, which was somewhat expected, he’s never seemed the sociable type. Then again, I probably have no room to talk as I have a tendency to launch into jump kicks at the slightest hint of hostility. I’m a bit behind on this whole inner serenity and inner peas stuff. Maybe I should have eaten some pea soup before going into the catacombs?

However, returning for soup was not a viable option as we fell through an unstable floor into the lair of a rather large hydra. As we beat it up, its heads fell off and it grew more heads. I guess its like how some lizards lose their tails in order to escape predators, instead of escaping while the tail is eaten, the new heads increase their efforts to eat you. We survived by the skin of our teeth, found a bunch of useful stuff in the lair, left via one of many crisscrossing tunnels rather than fight a blood ooze that likely scavenged off the hydra’s leftovers. We traveled through the catacombs finding many skeletons with funeral masks with no eye slots and a few dead looters. Eventually we found a hatch downward, and apparently opening the hatch flooded the tunnels below. Eventually, we found some levers, that heated the water greatly when pulled some ways, but when put correctly, drained the water. We then fought a bunch of giant spiders and after all that decided to rest for the night.

Box at the Docks
No Ox, Fox or Rocks though

So, using Dak’xaav’s (the apostrophe strikes again) spirit eagle spell thingy we got into position to attack the airship carrying the box at the docks (Hey that rhymes!). As we swooped up four snake men guys (Yuan Ti I guess) fled the ship. I ran up and punched the guy who has it turns out was holding the box and managed to slow him down, which was good because I was clearly off as I missed with a lot of punches today. I’m inclined to blame air sickness but I think I’ll put in extra punching things training during my free time anyway, if we ever get free time with so many people after the boxes. At any rate, we fought a huge number of Yuan Ti and mercenary guards, when suddenly a large group of half man half machine people showed up, probably from the invisible robot dragon clinging to the underside of the earthmote. Oh I forgot to mention that, well there was an invisible robot dragon down there. Anyway we took out the guy carrying the box and fled the massive battle that ensued aboard a stolen Yuan Ti ship. Both the Yuan Ti and the (Now visible) Robot Dragon pursued us, damaging the ship, but were then intercepted by the Cerulean Griffins. Oddly enough we were not detained? Mr. Duckson’s connections maybe?

Existentialism, oh and is that my spleen?
Life goes on, maybe.

Well we’re back in our own world, I think. On our way back to the Cat’s Lantern we were confronted by some thugs working for the Huntmaster, including some of the blighted pirate elf guys. After being so worn by the battles in the other world, this was a particularly difficult fight. My spinning leopard maneuver proved rather helpful but it caused me to think as I was punching the tenth thug in the face during the maneuver, do leopards actually spin? I guess its some sort of metaphor since “Run really fast and punch people in the face maneuver” is somewhat unwieldy. Anyway punching a lot of guys seemed to make them upset and they knocked me down and made me bleed a lot. After the third time I lay bleeding to death (Oh and Thanks Hawkeye for patching me up.) I started thinking about life and death, and I concluded that well, death sucks. However, I think if there wasn’t death no one would feel the need to do anything quickly, and perhaps I wouldn’t have learned to run very quickly. Anyway we barely managed to defeat them all. We met up with Duckson but he said we needed to find another box, although he still paid us for this one. We’re going to be attempting to ambush an airship from the Yuan Ti noble house in order to acquire the other box. We still no absolutely nothing about any of these boxes. Its getting to the point where I kind of want to open it just to figure out what all the hubbub is about. There’s something like 7 different factions that want this for some reason, and we don’t know why. Then again I didn’t exactly figure out all the whys of life and death from bleeding out so maybe there is not really a why to anything.

Dead to the World
When only an interdimensional portal can wake you up in the morning, it's time for stronger coffee.

So what do you do when you hear a disembodied voice reciting riddles in an ominous way? Well, we learned our lesson not to blurt out crazy things like “balloons”...or at least I think so. After the first wrong answer, we got attacked by some freaky glass-covered-armor-bolted-on guy who of course shattered into a million explody-pointy hurting bits when we killed him. Then we figured, “Hey, that was fun, let’s do it another six times!” But it wasn’t really for nothing in the end. The glass coffin in the middle cracked open and we found that the lady inside wasn’t actually dead. She was only sleeping.

Nothing we did woke her up, so we took her downstairs with us back to the room with all of the doors. Sin jumped through one that we thought was right, but she turned to dust. Then everyone else went through the one we thought was not right, and disappeared. Eventually the Cleaner and I went through as well, and we were outside the orphanage again. Since we had nothing better to do, we went inside and into the room with the old magic circle again.

The circle was just as creepy, but the magic was fresh. Some kind of smoky tendrils were going between the dead-asleep lady and to the circle. A door thing opened, and then Sin was standing there. The dead-asleep lady got up and walked through the door and Sin sort of went all smoky and stepped into the lady. We went through as well, since we couldn’t really think of any other way out.

Now the lady is Sin, but not really. Her name is Tihana, and she’ll be staying with us for a while, if we can survive the floating metal orb of doom that decided it doesn’t like the orphanage. Hey wait a minute. How did that thing get here?

We Sleep Now
In case of Emergency Break Glass Coffin.

So after many many battles, we made an attempt to rest in a house in this strange dimension. A giant bug monster thing with lots of faces on it that was merged with the house objected, strenuously, that is to say, with scything blades and acid. I guess bug monsters aren’t big on just asking politely. As per usual with things that attempt to put extra holes in us, we beat it until it died and then slept. We then made our way to the twisted tower around which fish of varying sizes swam, including some sort of strange barracuda like fish that vomits up its entire stomach to catch smaller fish. We found several doors with various animal insignias on them and found that only particular people could open them and once they entered the room they were apparently transported elsewhere. The exception being, there was no door for Cahya, who fell asleep and then woke up in a room with a stairwell and another set of doors with the same markings. She opened these doors letting the rest of the group out. Once we were all in the central chamber, all the adjoining doors opened, revealing loot of various sorts.

After acquiring the loot we went up the stairs and found a glass coffin with a woman of an unidentified race inside it. Surrounding this coffin were pedestals upon which rested busts of an unidentified man. I suppose we ought to open the coffin somehow and let her out, as she doesn’t appear to be dead or at the very least she’s been magically preserved. I think I heard a story about this somewhere, a prince is supposed to kiss her or something. I don’t think we have any princes in the group though. Maybe we could create our own kingdom in the next room and then have somebody kiss her or the coffin if we can’t get it open? Maybe the bust is one of a prince? I suppose there’s always the more conventional ways of glass breaking like hitting it or singing a high note.

Got Sunscreen?
That's what we get for hiring Pinocchio as a tour guide.

Well, I can honestly say that I’m not gonna try getting a straight answer out of a puppet again. We talked to the puppet for a few minutes, but all it really told us was that we needed to go to the Twisted Tower. That, and to find some man named Marcus. Hmph. So much for that.

We went into the city, and dawn was approaching. The streets cleared out real fast, and we didn’t understand why. Then we found a huge lizard sitting on a statue. It said that dawn was coming, as if we didn’t already know, but then it just stared at the horizon and wouldn’t say anything else. There were more of those lizards, but they were starting to make cocoons around themselves. That’s no lizard I’ve ever seen. Maybe they’re part spider? But they only have four legs, so I don’t get “spider” off of them otherwise. Whatever.

When the sun came, it was burning up. Really. The buildings weren’t catching fire, but they smoldered like embers, unless you counted the ones that grew. I mean, they shot up like magic building trees. An interesting way to make new real estate, but with the climate problems that we had discovered when the sun rose, I think they’d have problems filling the new space.

It was when we started getting closer to the Tower that things really got weird. Statues sprouted eyeballs in every place but where they were supposed to be, huge spider-like creatures jumped out of shadows, and wraith-like creepy crawlers came out of nowhere. And all that happened after three buildings came up out of the pavement to block the way to the Tower.

We beat down on all of the baddies, and then the eyes disappeared off of the statue and it was normal again. Not sure, but I think somebody doesn’t want us near the Tower.

Mental Note: Ask Mister Dux’nn if he pays trans-dimensional mileage. This was so not in our contract.

Maybe we should have left a trail of transdimensional bread crumbs.
The Evil Ghost Orphanage from Another Dimension: A Sci Fi Channel Original Picture

So we were attacked by this giant lump of fire and ceiling beams. The teachings I took from the monastery didn’t say anything about not punching things that were on fire and it seemed to work out, although there was a note about “Never pet a burning dog.” At any rate after that we surrounded Two Fingers, with Cahya and I jumping out the window to prevent him from escaping. We also rigged up a tripwire to aid in catching him. Cahya hid herself somewhere inside near the door while I waited for him to come out. He did not however and eventually there was shouting and I rushed back in. We ended up fighting some sort of clawed dwarf thing and some demon woman thing. She Threw Two Fingers against a wall, although Cahya had already retrieved the box at that point. However, Sin indicated that it was vital that we catch him anyway, so that when he bolted for the door Cahya went after him. We finished pulverizing the demon lady and dwarf thing when many dark hands began to emerge from the floor so we fled the building. Two Fingers had somehow turned to dust and we were trapped in some other dimension by the house. Oh I forgot to mention that didn’t I. Yeah we seem to be stuck in some kind of nightmare world thingy. Oh and here’s some kind of puppet thing come to talk to us. Maybe it knows the way out from this creepy place?

Falling Thugs and Flying Buttresses
Tonight on Fox, When Roofing Attacks!

In investigating Two Fingers’s house we found that he’d apparently used a teleportation circle to stash the box some place (although that’s just a guess based on what we know). Meanwhile thugs decided to come at us with weapons drawn. I may have acted hastily in knocking two archers off of a roof but I believe that when confronted with a vicious gang of thugs a boot to the head is often necessary. After the hurlyburly was completed we questioned a surviving thug who indicated that Marrik, who is the boss in these parts told them to stop anyone hanging around the place. We also found out that the most likely place Two Fingers would be hiding is the haunted orphanage known as the Cinders.

This orphanage had been sealed up but it quickly became apparent that the rumors of haunting were no mere rumors. Burning smells, pools of blood, the sound of tiny feet running away, all in all rather like my Uncle’s attempts at barbecuing. On one of the upper floors, we found Two Fingers, whose name is apparently due merely to his having two fingers as a necklace rather than any lack of digits on his part. He did not seem particularly aware of us but would dodge out of the way whenever we attempted to catch him. He was fast, faster than even I am, which upsets me. I gather based on this and his state of mind that he was probably posessed. Which is cheating in my book, you should have to master mind and body to go that fast, not simple let some sort of malevolent force take control of your body. I doubt he was that fast before or he wouldn’t be considered a two bit thief as he moved so fast he was nearly invisible while moving. Well I suppose he could manage to be that fast and be a two bit thief if he was a complete moron. I’m probably obsessing a bit too much about this, but he’s faster than me and it looks like he cheated. Hmmm maybe I probably need to reflect on this a bit, I may have as much a problem with pride as the old farts who rejected by admittance to their monastery. Its probably getting in the way of my achieving inner peas, why I need to make my spirit like a green vegetable is something of a mystery, I’m guessing its some kind of metaphor for something. Oh and now ceiling beams have fallen down and are attacking us.


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