The foreign woman, Miara, told me to write a note for the druidess, so I did. In it, I explained how the dwarves were probably dead, and we'd been captured by ogres. I told her that these new people rescued us, but there was no way we were going to make the meeting in Kreuzhofen to fetch Etienne Bastiens. I also told her that Og had been killed, fighting the ogres for us, and we had placed his body in that closet that preserves bodies forever at the tower. I finally asked her, if it were at all possible, if she would bring him back to life, like she had Prestley.

I handed the note to Ash, who disappeared into the forest. We travelled the other way and went to the tower to wait for Ash and Jason. I've never really like writing much, just the medical records. But my medical records are lost, with the ogres somewhere. Brother Philip always said that things often make more sense when they're written down, so you can go back over the them and figure things out. He was probably right. So I spent a couple of days writing everything down that had happened since I left the monastery. The battle with the skeletons; finding the orc who would be a god in the defiled druidic temple, defeating him and taking the rock from him; spending the winter in that town; being bound to the druidess and cleaning up her temple; Carmella learning how to use the rock and setting things on fire all the time; the dwarves and finding the dead Hadrin who had been trying to protect the rock; the other dead dwarf and his papers; helping the pudding girl in Kreuzhoffen and solving the murders at the inn; finding ourselves in front of the dwarven shrine with ogres inside it.

When Jason and Ash joined us, we immediately set out for the Dwarven Shrine again. Carmella really wants that zoggin rock back. I don't want her to have it, but it would be more dangerous in the hands of the ogres. And I certainly want my medical journal back, and all my equipment.

It took us until the next afternoon to get there, and the group decided to wait until morning to have at the ogres. Late in the night, or early in the morning, I guess, we were woken up by an ogre rumbling at us. With all the echoes, you couldn't really figure where he was. He asked us a couple of times why we'd come back (as if it wasn't obvious). The new, very tall man named Mongo finally answered, that we were here to get our things back. He has quite a loud booming voice himself.

The foreign man -- everyone else is still calling him Hy -- vanished into the dark, and Miara said we should go attack the ogres now, before this one gets back to warn them. Everyone thought that was a good idea.

Those of us who don't fight carried lanterns: I had one. Carmella and I stuck together, towards the back. The young one they just called "son" was behind us, leading Sean, and Mongo was rear guard. Sean played with that glowy thing in the box, but it didn't really give out much light, and he said it sloshed around if he ran. So he put it back.

We all walked, kind of fast, down the mountain to the trail, up the trail, then across the gorge. Carmella and Prestley got a little tired, so we all slowed down to keep together. Prestley checked the entrance for traps and didn't find any, besides the dwarven greeting that boomed out when we passed it, anyway. I laughed when someone answered, "We're here to kill ogres!"

We went in, following the path we went through originally, and when we got to the room before the one with the storeroom off it, Prestley looked everywhere, to see where to go next. He and Ash, who thinks he's a bloodhound, decided which door we should try first, and we went the way we came before: towards where the ogres had been days earlier. Ash's sharp sense of smell is a good complement to Prestley's special vision.

Besides all the crap the ogres left behind, it was empty. Ash pointed to the northern door on the west side, and Prestley looked through it. Just another passage, so we continued. Carmella and I stayed towards the back. I really wanted to draw a map of this as we walked, but I couldn't, while holding the lantern. I tried to remember it, in case we got lost.

A weird kind of hole/tunnel slashed right through the passage we were in, slanting vertically. The sides were slippery and smooth as glass, about three feet in diameter. Mongo looked up and down it, and saw that it probably bisected another passage further down. We walked around it, and the passage opened into a round room, with a portcullis on the other side. An ogre called out to us, "Stop slims, we don't have what you want." What did we want, besides the stuff they took from us and most certainly did have?

Jason talked with the ogre, and somehow we ended up going after the goblins for the ogres. Apparently they have some statue that Miara wants and the ogres want the goblins gone. If we prove (by showing them the statue) that we killed the goblins, the ogres will return our stuff. Yeah, right.

They discussed the portcullis and decided it would be really hard to try to get through it, especially with all the oil-soaked rags and crap right in front of it. So, we turned around and returned to the room with all the doors, to inspect everything before leaving.

The first room we tried just had a well and a chest with a bunch of coins and a golden figurine of a winged humanoid. We took the chest and its contents, of course.

The next door was weirder. It had a large hole in it, but we couldn't open it: it was held shut with magic somehow. Miara and Prestley crawled through the hole and inspected the room: a table with some stuff on it, which they brought out with them, a seated skeleton of a human holding a potion, and a chest of drawers, whose drawers were all out and empty. They brought back some parchments, with writing none of us could read, four wax figurines, and the bottle. The parchments and the figurines we put in the chest.

The bottle I took from Prestley. The bottle itself was quite slippery, and I had to hold it carefully. I opened it and sniffed carefully; the substance inside was oily and pungent. It was familiar, but I couldn't place it. It was either poisonous or a healing concoction, but I wasn't sure which. Sometimes the difference is a very small one: a minute difference in the amount of an herb, or maybe the addition of an extra seed oil. There's this one ointment based on shelf mushroom that grows in the forest. If you harvest the mushroom even an hour before it lets its spores out, the ointment is a wonderful balm for insect bites. If the spores are gone when you harvest the mushroom, the ointment poisons your blood, leading to fever, convulsions, and death.

Anyway, since the bottle was small and very fragile, not to mention curiously slippery, Jason loaned me a small pouch to carry and cushion it in.

That was the end: we had searched through all the rooms we could get to, so we rummaged through the ogres' piles of crap. We actually found much of what they'd taken from us, but not everything of course. Everyone's weapons were missing, and Carmella's zoggin rock was missing, as were my medical bags and journals. Strangely, the rune book was here, and I picked it up eagerly.

The foreign boy had come back and was waiting for us in that room. Then we headed down the narrow stairs, to the goblins.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~