We reached Aldranard’s grave easily enough. Or at least I did — Jacques has moments when he looks like a stunned mullet. Apparently he drank something which poisoned his mind, and now seems to think he is someone named Ting. Know well, my child, that the wind carries but the dust and the rain. Only a pure body can nourish a pure mind.
This was the biggest grave I’ve ever seen. Aldranard must have been buried with a bunch of treasure for there to be a fort built around his tomb. As we approached, we were greeted by guards standing watch on the rampart. They told us they had something called “the pleg”. I don’t know what the pleg is, but it didn’t sound good. When Kelmaa asked about their cleric, they said he too had the pleg and couldn’t cure them. Kelmaa was obliged to help due to their shared devotion, so she offered to come in and cure him.
Jacques and Preston figured something was up, so they scaled the wall while we walked through the portcullis. Or, at least, while Aakpesh and Kelmaa walked through. Before I knew it, I heard a “clunk” and the whole thing dropped on top of me, pinning me to the ground! I could only watch helplessly as Aakpesh was ambushed by five of these brutes. They didn’t have the pleg at all!
I held my stillness of mind while the battle raged around me. The pain I observed, detached, watching as one watches the flames in the hearth. I could only imagine what Preston and Jacques were facing on the rampart. I’m sure the others remember it differently, but I stood fast in my helplessness until Kelmaa could raise the gate. Once she had it off me and quickly treated the wound, I leapt into the fray, only for these monsters to rip off their helms and reveal a range of vile disfigurements: glistening, improperly-healed wounds on their faces now devoid of lips. Now that I had a closer look, I saw that one was even missing a hand, which had been replaced with an axe which swung mercilessly.
Jacques (Ting?) proved himself impressively acrobatic, tossing a bomb at one brute while leaping onto another. Meanwhile, the normally-quite-handsome Aakpesh let out a roar as his arms tore away from his body. It made a sickening sound as he grew extra elbows in a frightening fashion. His arms 5 feet longer, he now swung his hammer even more furiously than before.
After dispatching these monsters, we found on them some potions labelled “soothe”. I wondered if these were the cause of their disfigurements — soothing the wound but not healing it. Such an elixir would not cultivate the purity of body we strive for. I would have to heal my impalement some other way.
Looking around the grave after the fight, we saw that much of the fort was heavily damaged. Some of the stonework was crumbling in places where it had become weakened far earlier, but another part had timbers which smouldered still…