The waning moon hides behind banks of ominous clouds as the sun warms the western horizon with slow light. The moon tells me that today will be a hot, gray day, perhaps the hottest of the season thus far. The humidity is thick in the air and the breeze smells like rain. But the moon tells me that the storm is not quite ready to break…not yet.
The moon has spoken warnings to me when I needed them, but these warning were not always enough to keep me from danger. A case in point was a recent scouting trip to a haunted abbey at the base of the Branthend Mountains. Ray had received word that something evil was at work at this abbey, and the King’s council agreed that we should be the ones to investigate it. I was prepared to go, but not yet ready, when Ray teleported us to the hills overlooking the abbey.
Frustrated that I had not been asked for consent, I learned only then that Ray had had no real knowledge of the target of his teleport, and in so doing, had risked both our lives without so much as apology. This was bad enough, but Ray had not thought to bring Nibbs with us and was not inclined to spend the magic required to go back for him. So now I was hundreds of miles from Nibbs, without proper preparation of spells or materials, and with only Ray to get me home. To say the least, I was not pleased.
Despite my misgivings, I proceeded toward the abbey. On the grounds I found a squirrel who told me that the monks looked like people but smelled like rats. Forewarned, and disguised as a tiny beetle, I carefully infiltrated the inner most building of the abbey, avoiding anyone who might have discerned my true form. Inside, Ray’s warning was confirmed. The monks—or whatever had taken their places—appeared to be working diligently on vats of potions that could be deployed in the same method as the spell “cloudkill”. A single vat of this foul ichor could kill hundreds or thousands of people, leaving Ursundovan cities piled with bodies and ripe for conquering. The thought twisted my stomach into knots.
I infiltrated deeper into the building, until I found the evidence of a forgotten murder, perhaps the murder that had given the rat-things entry to the monastery in the first place. It was there that a haunt left from this horrid deed tried to do the same to me. I was able to resist the effect, but it was clear then that it was time to go. I exited the monastery, met back with Ray, and successfully teleported back to Ursundova.
Free of Ray, I reported to the war council. Though we still had not proof of Irovetti’s intentions, all signs pointed toward an imminent attack. Once sufficient amounts of the cloudkill potion could be amassed, Irovetti could use it to lead his armies to victory against any enemy they came across. It was resolved then that we should gather a hunting party and destroy the enemy’s weapon at the monastery before it could be released.
But before I could do this, I was given the chance to go North into Brevoy to meet with the Medyveds for the first time in seven years. Alek was looking quite different than I had remembered him—he had grown a beard and put on not-insignificant muscle. Though not my type, he had become quite handsome. I told him as much and he blushed.
The Medyveds were polite enough in their reception, but when I spoke to Alek in private he told me that they were a reluctant part of the alliance against Ursundova. Alek assured me that he would do anything in his power to stop house Medyved from supporting the war, but I wonder what power he actually has. If Lord Medyved has already decided to go to war against the woman who raised his child, what chance does anyone have of dissuading him now?
I said my good-byes and returned to Ursundova. Today we will go back to the Monastery, this time led by Jacek and his key lieutenants. Nibbs will not be left home today.
I sing to the moon and let her know that I follow her guidance. There is battle to do, but we are ready. Today’s actions may save thousands of lives. I pray that the moon will show herself again as this day wanes, if just long enough to bless our victory.