While the raid of one of Josiah’s temples had been planned for a number of weeks, and we even went into town to gather supplies for it, I managed to still be surprised by its sudden arrival! I fear I was not the only one, as only Nicholas seemed to be truly prepared.
The temple itself sits in the woods some distance away from town, defiling the otherwise verdant beauty with its artificial presence. It was in disrepair, already being reclaimed by Nature, though not fast enough for my tastes. Half the ceiling caved in when I pulled open the door to allow entry, which just goes to show the temporal nature of human construction. It did make me wonder how the denizens moved in and out, but not for long; soon, we were beset with arrows!
Do not mistake my excitement for fear, dear diary! It is rare that I get to square off against capable archers, and there were a number of them here, along with a brute of a fighter that probably should have been standing closer to the door. We exchanged arrows, moving tactically to provide cover, until Nicholas found himself on the receiving end of an arrow to the face.
The man has power, but a well placed arrow is a hard thing to reckon with.
I dispatched the final archer and attended to his wounds as best I could, though my feeble skills could scarcely be expected to save him. The fortunes of Solonor were upon us, however, as a an old woman (later identifying herself as Spittin’ Granny Jenkins, for reasons that will soon become clear) had been watching us and chose that time to approach. Although her healing methods are somewhat unorthadox, involving the chewing and spitting of various herbs and compounds, they were rather effective, bringing Nicholas back from an otherwise certain death.
We continued our search, eventually finding a secret hallways hidden behind plaster. This contained a mage clever enough to wrap himself in some sort of magic that protected against my arrows, and a burly fighter wearing heavy armor and wielding a sword near as big as I am. Their tactics were also good, hiding from my arrows until they could close in.
But we were the smarter of the group! Nicholas used a bit of spellcraft himself to fool the warrior into believing he had run up, drawing him into the open. A hail of arrows from me dispatched him. That just left the mage, who I had to run up and engage in hand to hand combat, the indignity! His magic was strong, but his flesh was weak.
While this was happening, three lizards flanked up, which would have been a most unfortunate circumstance had Spittin’ Granny Jenkins not transformed into a giant snake! She blinded two of them on the spot, and ate at least one of them.
On the mage, we discovered the tool that was key to our eventual success, a magical wand that could paralyze those targeted by it. We used this to disable and eventually interrogate the high priest of this awful temple, with Spittin’ Granny Jenkins’ help. He told us of a nearby ritual chamber they were using in “worship” of Celestine. This was guarded by two stone constructs unfazed by my arrows, or indeed, any mundane weapon. Fortunately, I still had in my possession a magical blade I otherwise would be loathe to use, and Nicholas again used the wand to excellent effect.
In all, we walked out of there substantially richer, with a few magical objects that will be useful in our guerilla war against Josiah. We also made a new ally, and destroyed a profane temple. All in all, I consider the mission rather successful!