Smriti's Journal Entry 10

Wow, what an incredible few days. I can’t quite believe what has happened. There have been amazing highs and heartbreaking lows. Our group met with the king of the Free Kingdoms. He is very interested in our mission to free Kidan from the curse that has enslaved it for a millennium. It is his assumption, as is Kumori’s, that this curse will spread if not broken. It seems a rather high order…to save the world. But it seems that we have been chosen to complete this task.

Been a few days since I have had a chance to write. I think I better start at the beginning of our time in Alhambra. It seems like so long ago, even though it has been less than a week. We got to the city in the evening a few days ago. Our first task was to rid ourselves of that retched mask and the terrible, soul-stealing knife. We head straight to the Explorer’s Society to see if they can take the items. We are met there by one of the King’s guards, well, not just one of his guards…his chief personal guard. We were invited to an audience with the king. Apparently the king’s oracle had foretold of our quest. He did mention that our party was short a coupe of people. The 1st was a woman that we had met, by chance, earlier in the day. Who knew that we would now have to find her in this large city? Fortunately, she had given Kumori the name of the inn she would be staying at. The 2nd was a cleric…we would meet him later that day at the temple. Neophyte Ignatius, a cleric of the God Tinel. Of course, the only problem with this whole “meeting with the king” thing is that our time in Alhambra had been cut VERY short.

The next day we meet back at the explorer’s society. Cotil, Crisos, Ignatius, and I decide to stay and deal with the mask and the knife. Dorak goes to the temple; and Iz and Dusky go to the market to sell the items that are too big for us to carry via the portal to Venchenzia. Kumori, once again, had been drawn away by the curse of the lamp. The mask put up quite a fight. The explores had given us a purple bag that apparently neutralizes magic and cursed items. 1st the placed the knife in there… it screamed and broke, but nothing more dramatic than that. The mask was another story. Ignatius held the bag while was the one who grabbed the mask out of our bag and thrust it into the new bag. Or at least that was the plan. I got the mask half way into the bag and all of the sudden it leaped out of my hand and became invisible. Crisos was still able to see the evil spirit that was attached so I ran and jumped at the air where Crisos said the thing was. I was able to grab the thing and after a struggle Ignatius and I were able to get the thing in the bag. The mask broke and set free the evil mask onto the spirit plane. According to Crisos it is safe there. The mask did draw about 1/4 of the city to the explorer’s hall; but Crisos is able to calm them…I have to admit that she is not my favorite person in the world but, that woman knows how to work a crowd.

Very soon after that, the rest of the party joined us again, and we waited to meet Venchezo, who would take us to the portal to Venchenzia. During that time our new friend, Ignatius lit a flame on my headband. It is a magical flame and gives no heat, only light; but it will take some getting used to. The King’s guard was about 45 minutes late, which meant we were late to the portals. Thankfully he did the noble thing and took the blame. Once we get to Venchenzia we are put up as guests of the King. Between the knight and the servants of the King we were given a lesson in the etiquette required at our meeting. We were also given the news that we were… well not dressed up or clean enough to see the king. We bathed…if you can call being dosed in oil and scraped, bathing; and dressed in very fine clothes. I am quite uncomfortable in these rather gaudy recreations of Kushari traditional clothing. And worse yet, I must leave my Vajra unattended in my room… I don’t think they have been out of my possession since I left the monastery and I feel strangely lost with out them. But if Kumori can leave Satori, and Ignatius can leave his shield, I guess I can leave my Vajra. During the meeting with the king Kumori does most of the talking, in fact when me or any of the other women even speak, we are looked upon as if we committed some crime. The king is better than his attendants, but I can tell that I better try to keep my mouth shut during all “official” conversations in this city. In the end the King gave us access to a boat and 10,000 in diamonds and sent us on our way with a magic compass that will allow communication between us and him.

That evening I take advantage of the hospitality of the king and his servants to have my head shaved. It has been quite some time since I have done this. I almost feel ashamed, thinking about how I have let myself go. Shaving was a weekly occurrence back home. That evening I spent many hours in prayer and meditation taking advantage of a quiet room to myself. Even though I slept very little I woke more refreshed than I had in a while.

The next morning we went shopping. My father’s voice was screaming in my head that we were spending too much money. We have such a long trip and so many unexpected turns ahead of us, I fear that much of the party is too gun hoe in spending the money from the king. Dorak has taken the lead on this, and I am not large or loud or MALE enough to make my concerns heard. In the end he does stop before all the money is gone. I also traded in my spear for a Ki focus spear, rather lucky to have found it here. Dorak also gets the party Alchemical Silver Daggers and me an Alchemical silver Kukri.

While we were in the city we run into an old friend of Dorak’s and Iz’s. She is quite a troubled young woman. They end up agreeing to helping duel against her sword-master. Once again the party gets itself involved in violent, illegal activities…we seem to be a magnet. Fortunately, the duel goes as smoothly as possible and we manage to get out of it without getting into trouble and with out anyone getting killed. At least so far… While we were at the bar, discussing the details of the day and our plans, I over heard two men plotting an assignation… they notice that I noticed them. It would be a bit later until we found out how much trouble that would get us.

That evening we were recommended an inn… it was the most prestigious, opulent place I had even been near, much less stayed in. It makes the King’s palace look like a quaint country cottage. We got a suite of 10 rooms…. and, even better, baths! Real, hot, clean baths. Kumori and I were most excited about this…but then again we come from societies that value cleanliness much more than the people and places we find ourselves with and in. The evening was wonderful. We had a meal that could have fed twice our number with the leftovers. We discussed our travel plans for the morning and then took our baths. Just before we split up we arranged the watch schedule. Given the amount of traps in this place and the fact of my overheard conversation, despite our surroundings we were all a bit worried. I agreed to take the last watch so I went to bed… That is when all hell broke loose.

I went to my room and readied myself for bed. I buried my flaming headgear under my ropes and my pack, and finished getting ready in the dark…that is one thing I miss with this flaming head business, the dark, but I digress. I moment I lay down I knew something was wrong. And an instant later, my leg was on fire with pain… then the other. I screamed then leapt out of bed. I looked down and saw these massive maggot looking things burrowing themselves into me. I reached for my knife and began trying to get them out.. the rest of the party ran in to try and help…I am not sure what happened after that. Ignatius did something, that was less than effective, then I heard Cotil shout for everyone to clear the room (at this point I had a self inflicted gash in my leg and only one bug out and I could feel the others burrowing into me, and sucking the life out of me). But I limped out and then Cotil blew up the room. Yes he got rid of the bugs that were in there. But he also obliterated the entire room, including all my stuff, all the furniture and drapery in the room and the entire floor above us. I know he was trying to help, and I appreciate that but, goodness, did he have to blow the entire place up??? After that even more chaos ensued. I lost consciousness, thankfully Iz and Ignatious were able to get me back to health, then Cotil cast one more spell on me that stopped the creatures just shy of my brain. Whey he did not do this 1st, I will never know. I can still now, hours later feel those worms inside me… a very good way to ruin a perfectly good bath.

While I was being nursed back to health the authorities arrived. They whisked us away to a tower for questioning. The night spent in the tower being held and each questioned was quite an ordeal, especially as I was wearing only might night gown, and still VERY shaken up by nights events. I told them the truth as I saw it. The people who had overheard me wanted me dead, and my friend Cotil was over zealous in his defense of me. Poor man, he is simply unaccustomed to being indoors. Unfortunately the floor above us was occupied by some noble man’s niece or something. She lost a gift. I am much grieved for her and her family, and very thankful for these gifts that the God of the tree bestows to his believers. But this loss of life made the authorities very reluctant to let us go, understandably. Bu after many hours and some wheel greasing by the king, we were free to go. We were told to quickly gather our things and go to the dock to wait for the adele to take us our ship. By the time we got back to the inn, the full extent of the damage was beginning to be clear. Some of the dust had settled and we could see the gaping hole in the corner of the place from a ways away. Then came the task of finding what possessions of mine we could. It was a rather heartbreaking process. All of my clothes, my pack, my journals (dating back to when I 1st left the monastery) were gone. One of my Kukri was also lost. The worst of my losses that night was my headband. It is irreplaceable, having been created by my fellow monks. I think of the hours of work they put into it, the blessings they prayed as they created the jewelry… that and my Vajra were all I had left… well, that and my memories. I shutter to think where I would be had the Vajras been destroyed. As it was I was fairly hysterical as my friends helped me poke thru the ruble for my belongings. I know I am supposed to be above attachments to physical things…but it is rough, losing everything all at once like that was quite unsettling, to say the least. I had to borrow clothing from the rest of the party just to be able to leave the hotel.

We are sitting here huddled for warmth as I write this (on borrowed paper, with a borrowed pen)… I am sure I am quite a sight right now, my night gown, a borrowed outfit from Iz, shoes from Kumori, my remaining weapons and Vajras strapped as best I can to my waist… I am glad that we have time in the morning before the boat leaves to do a little bit of shopping. I know the clothes and pack and journal will not be an exact match to my old, but hopefully I can find something suitable. I will also replace my headband.. tho I think I will also buy the necessary utensils and supplies to make a new one, in the style that the masters at the monastery taught me… I hope I remember enough to do it well…

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Smriti's Journal Entry 10

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