Part 36: Cellar

12 to Burning Sun, Inalis

Oh, wow, what an adventure! I shouldn’t be so excited about what happened. A lot of bad things went down in the cellar of the Temple of Khar’shan just now, but a lot of good things went down, too. Suffice it to say that we are heroes. For once, I honestly feel like a hero now. Much of the things I’ve done here in the Emerald Isles hasn’t felt really heroic. Maybe I’ll take stock of what we’ve done later. I’ve only a short amount of time to write before the others meet back up with us.

Kalista met us outside the Siren’s Roost and took us to the aqueducts below the city for that was the path to the Temple of Khar’shan. I guess the Siren’s Roost was having some big fancy party tonight so no one was out in the streets. That made it easier to sneak about and get underground unnoticed. I kind of what to see the party later tonight, but maybe now is not the time.

The aqueducts are surprisingly clean, but what did I expect? It’s the city’s drinking water supply, and not at all like the ancient waterways below the temple back home. The air was cool and a little stale but otherwise inoffensive. We traveled until we found a very tall and exotic man dressed in… well… nearly nothing. His physique actually reminded me of you, darling. The hair was the right length, and the height was spot on. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating again. I think the others thought I was being flirty with him but I assure you, Heath, that was not the case. There’s only one person I want to flirt with, and I swear I’m going to ask her out to tea before the night is over! Anyway, this man – named Phasis – was one of Kalista’s friends (that may not be the correct word, actually) and had been guarding a gate that led to the temple’s wine cellar. He promised to keep the path safe for us while we ventured in.

There’s something about this Phasis that bothers me. He was pretty, sure, but he said he was the son of Helis, the ancient god of the sun. Is that right? How is that possible if no one has heard of Helis in such a long time? And why does Clio seem so keen to talk to him? Why? What is so interesting about him? Sure he’s tall and handsome, but can he do this?

Now imagine I made some cool sparkles and made my eyes purple. Ha!

Briar’s familiar spirit, a lovely little bat she named Vlad, went in ahead of us to scout out the place. Vlad found a good number of death dogs in there. I had read about something like them back in Ylisse but these are way different and worse than I expected! They’ve one too many heads and have the worst dog breath I think I’ll ever experience. Torag took on most of them alone while we hung back and threw javelins, arrows, and spells.

After picking up Torag from the bites and scratches, Briar sent Vlad further in. She found plenty of death dogs further down the way, but more interesting was the large bronze door that led to some inner chamber. I threw up some webs from the wand Actaeon gave me while the rest of the group took down the monsters. With the paths blocked around us, we decided to break through the door and see what lies beyond. Maybe the kids were in there!

Turns out, the kids were there! As was the large, three-headed beast with hot fiery breath! Clio later told me it was a cerberus, and was some servant of Khar’shan. Thank goodness Actaeon has some fireproof armor! He took the brunt of the fire breath attack while holding his own against the beast. Torag jumped in after him and the two fought the creature while the kids screamed and cried behind them.

Before the rest of us could get into the fight, too, the death dogs from down the hallway came charging after us. My web spell kept the most of them at bay and I… Well, you know what, Heath? I was very brave tonight! I held them off all on my own! Hmmm… maybe that’s not quite accurate. But I truly was very brave in the face of danger! Shadow, Rendu, and Clio came to aid me while Briar backed up Actaeon and Torag against the cerberus. Kalista kept back as far as she could and fired her crossbow at any creature that moved against us. This sounds strange, but it kind of hurts to see her injured. She’s very pretty and not as used to this as the rest of us. We’ve all earned our fair share of scars since we began this adventure, and I don’t like it when one of our friends gets hurt with us.

Things were looking rough after a while. A protection spell I cast on Torag kept him safe briefly until the cerberus attacked again. I tried to reach Torag to help him but the death dogs were breaking through my webs and coming after me, so I instead threw a fireball (just like Mother taught me!) to blow them back. Briar healed Torag and Clio teleported him and Actaeon out of danger. Rendu jumped in and slashed with his magic sword, slicing through the beast like a hot knife through new butter. Shadow filled it with arrows while defending me with his swords. Actaeon waved the axe of Xander like a great warrior.

Vlad unfortunately was vanquished but Briar summoned a new familiar in the form of Grimalz the thorn cat. Grimalz stared down the beast as it charged up some suicidal fire attack against us, but we banded together and defeated the monster. Rendu slew it with a flashing strike from his sword as Actaeon killed the last remaining death dogs.

The aftermath was brutal. The kids were crying, scared to see us and the massacre at our feet. I quickly used some fancy magic to clean us up and transformed myself into Queen Aminatou. The face of their beloved queen quelled much of their fear and I told them to follow me as we got out of this wretched place.

Briar, Actaeon, Torag, and Rendu are going to look further in the temple to make sure there isn’t anything else important here before they set fire to the cellars. This temple needs to burn. The kids were laid at the feet of an altar lined with the bones of their murdered parents. Khar’shan and her followers can burn in the pits for all I care, and we will see to it that no one else suffers because of their foul religion. I threw down the robes of the Children of the Night that I had collected earlier. I’ve no use for them, but maybe the others can use them as kindling.

Clio, Shadow, Kalista, and I are leading the children out of here. We’ve but a moment to rest while we wait for the others, and then we’re going to take them to the palace. I’ll write more as soon as I can.

I really need a drink. I’m going to try tea again. It’s not the same, but I don’t think I can ask Clio out to anything but tea. That would be worth giving up a more spirited drink. I wonder if she’ll say yes?