Dorak - A Feral Mask

Dear Grandpa,

Kumori, Dusky and I were alone this morning. Iz seems to be drawn to the lamp the most, with Kumori a close second, but Coatl has had only one other sojourn inside of it, so his absence was remarkable.

I hope, though, if he’s actually spending time in there, instead of brief minutes or seconds, that he makes use of it. Whether that means transferring scrolls to his familiar, brewing potions for his own use, brewing potions and reselling them for a profit (which could, in turn, be interesting in the coins brought back), or talking to any wizards or arcanists and trying to barter for spells to pen to his familiar.

The truth is that the best resource we have for trying to level the playing field is the cursed lamp and our time in it. Our foes are not only waiting for us (or seeking us out, in the case of Kumori), but they are probably setting traps, scribing scrolls, enchanting their armor and weapons, and often seem to be trading for or brewing potions to use against us.

We don’t have the luxury of sitting still and attacking from a defensible ambush spot usually. Even when we do, we rarely get a chance to choose the where, and have to do with a makeshift defensible spot.

What is more, the potions that our attackers have used on us have been quite capable of delaying their death, and may have even allowed them the upper hand in what would normally be a fair contest, especially in the ambushes we seem to walk into too often.

Well, that is the universe being out to get us, I suppose.

Anyway, we could definitely have used his help, or Iz’Alma’s, against our latest foe. Why we had to fight them, though, is a different story.

We set out, after acquiring a cart and allowing the son of the sheriff, Ulises, to come with us – his personality makes me seem warm and fuzzy, so that is a hardship, though he at least has means to feed himself apparently. The first day was perfectly quiet, other than the creak of the cart as it bore the weight of the statue behind Dusky’s pony.

The second day, we heard some language that I don’t recognize and spotted the attack aurally before we could see it visually. A dog-faced – literally – cur stood up and shot at us. His hyena friends attacked from behind while his pack came in from the front.

They were relatively easy to kill, but unlike the rest of his companions, the dog-faced one was somewhat cunning, and was holding a mask that Kumori says is Kaidanese. Kumori had an amazing slash at the dogs, lopping off the head of one and knocking out the other, which gave us someone to question. Apparently, the mask improves night vision and changed the leader so he was less charitable, not that he was the spirit of giving before he had it.

Once the mask was in our possession, we debated moving on or camping, and the general consensus was to spend the night where we found the critter’s camp, after a slight shift and burying of what we found. You remember the problem of the Splinterwood’s? Yeah, same problem, and I hope that we can tell the right person/agency about that find and receive a handsome reward – after all, that should not be buried, but it should be given to the faithful like the holy relic it is, or economies could falter.

We found a scroll or two that may be of use to Coatl and Iz. Since some of the figures looked to be draconic, I’m inclined to say Coatl, but I don’t quite understand the difference there.

After debated the mask going into the pack, my opinion that unknown magic and extra-dimensional magic could be bad won out. While I don’t know what could happen, the worst case scenarios I envision test the sanity.

In the night, we were attacked by translucent scorpions the size of a dog – creepy and eery, the Ionian fire I’ve carried for so long was put to use. (Can Coatl make those with his cauldron? Must ask).

The scorpions killed and ate Kumori’s horse. Oddly, they returned and attacked us, suggesting they were drawn by something more than hunger.

Also, since that night, I’ve felt an urge – to kill, to steal, to feed, to fuck, I don’t know. I’m probably just becoming hyper vigilant for traps and this is how it is going to manifest. However, I worry that I will become the boy who cried umber hulk.

We set out the next day, and as we went along the road, we saw dust devils here and there. However, I noticed at one point that it seemed like there were a few that were approaching along the road. Some sort of miniature dog and cart kicking up an impressive cloud of dust, obscuring itself from view?

Sadly, no – the things charged up and then disappeared into the ground. I knew the ground was out to attack me – and sadly, despite Smriti’s description of Pablo flying, his boots didn’t appear to have much of a chance to bear me aloft – so I called out to warn of the danger beneath our feet.

Maybe it was my perceptiveness, or maybe it was the more earthy-flavor of dwarf blood, but half of the creatures attacked me, and the others seemed to attack Ulises.

In some ways, this is good – I am the most watchful of us, and were it not me who was attacked, the hits would have been deadlier and surer.

However, each hit seemed to weaken me, so Ulises being attacked had little chance of surviving.

Thankfully, Dusky healed him, and the bloody mists moved on to other targets, including (sadly) the pony.

It was a tough battle – we should not have won, really, as few as we are and without someone to counter the effects of those hits on us or the Ulises.

Dusky feels like we should rest and she will treat our wounds to try to recover through mundane methods and time what Iz’Alma and possibly Coatl could with a touch.

Ulises certainly needs it, in a coma and with wounds that seem to need almost constant tending, and I feel half the dwarf I usually am.

As it is, I am writing this and the letter to the Explorer’s to try to stay as still as possible, because it is not easy for me to sit and wait for healing when I know there’s a lodestone for trouble around our necks out here.

- Dorak

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Dorak - A Feral Mask

Crimson Skies Grusnik