Prestley said he'd seen some exits out of that room, so we had to go down the hole in the floor to a room of mud to check everything out. Miara wondered if there was some kind of drain, but Prestley said the floor was solid.

Goldrim left the chest he was carrying, and some other stuff he didn't feel like lugging through the mud, up in the goblin room. They kind of disguised it with all the trash, and Prestley set a trap on it, just in case. I didn't have anything to leave behind.

Jason lowered us down one at a time, then tied the rope off and climbed down himself. The mud was some of the nastiest stuff I'd seen. It smelled awful on its own, and the decomposing bodies of the ogres did not improve things. Bad air like that can make people sick, so I figured when I got some time, I'd make up some of the syrup Brother Francis said can help people fight off such sickness.

The disgusting mud was over my knees, and dragging myself through it was hard, slow work. Carmella and I were in the middle of the group when we set off down a tunnel, and I continued to carry a lantern. There was just no way I could draw a map as we walked, so I paid careful attention and built a map in my head. When I got a chance, I'd write it down.

In the next room we came to, Prestley said there were mudskippers all over us, but nobody else could see anything. Miara stabbed some clots of mud, and Prestley said that seemed to dissolve them. I still didn't see anything, but I stabbed little mud clots too.

As Hy entered the next tunnel, Prestley shouted out to him and a portcullis smashed into him from the side. Hy couldn't understand what Prestley said, but the shout alerted him enough so he managed to evade complete evisceration. Luckily, he ended up on our side of the portcullis. I went to him as quickly as I could to check him, as there was blood everywhere. Just as I got there, he passed out. Jason caught him and held him out of the mud as I looked him over. I immediately administered first aid, but he was badly cut up and bruised. I started to heal him for real, when I heard Carmella say, "That doesn't look right." I looked over to her, and was horrified to see a huge tentacle come up out of the mud and wrap around her. I immediately started to make my way over to her, and a bunch more tentacles came up all around us and attacked.

Before I took more than two steps, Mongo had attacked and driven away the tentacle around my sister. With her relatively safe and unscathed, I turned back towards Hy. I took him from Jason, so he could fight tentacles. I couldn't really heal him just then, so I simply wrapped my arms around him and kept him from drowning in the mud, hoping everyone else was keeping the tentacles too busy to attack us.

For every tentacle they drove away, another one took its place. Prestley pointed into the mud and said, "There's the body!" Knowing where it was, I directed the sleep rune at it, but failed once again. I could see things going badly for us, but all at once the tentacles withdrew.

Prestley kept his eye on it, watching it. He said it was actually below the stone floor, in the ground. Ash started hacking his way through the portcullis, and Goldrim tried to hammer an extra short sword of Mongo's through the floor into the creature. Even he couldn't get it far enough through the stone floor to harm it, though. Prestley said the creature did start moving. Right towards Ash, who was grabbed by 4 tentacles and pulled under the mud. Jason, Goldrim, and Miara all went to help him. I was beginning to wonder if Ash was going to drown in the mud when they finally freed him and brought him back up again.

Prestley said the creature disappeared up the tunnel we were trying to get ourselves into.

Jason took Ash's place at the portcullis, and I started to heal Hy. He demolished the gate before I had gotten very far. Hy, Ash, and Miara were all wounded. With that thing waiting for us down the hall, I insisted on healing everyone before continuing. I didn't have to insist very hard: they all agreed. I worked for over half an hour before Miara declared we were fine enough to travel on.

They changed the marching order, but it didn't really affect Carmella and me. We stayed in the middle with a lantern. Doesn't really matter, with tentacles that can come up and grab anyone anwhere. Another tunnel, leading to another room. Mud, mud, and more mud. I was starting to re-think my reasonings for ever leaving the monastery. Instead of adding to the body of knowledge on a wide range of medical topics, I was walking from one battle to the next and only healing wounds, and only with my mind instead of things I could teach others.

The next room at least had a platform, apparently a stage, that was up out of the mud. We all gratefully climbed up and tried to scrape as much of the stinking mud as possible off us. Jason thought the blue curtains around the stage would be useful for cleaning, but at his barest touch, they fell into dust. Prestley pointed out those mud worms again, and stabbed them into, well, mud. Goldrim was quite put out that his bootnails had been dissolved. Seems like they eat, or dissolve, metal.

The exit from the stage, was clear of mud. I was certain that we would not be going in that direction. Prestley looked through all the possible exits, and described them carefully to me. I made a mental map of what he descrbied, and wrote these quick notes. I also jotted down a rough map:

[sketch of lower area, where we've been, what Prestley's seen down the new tunnels]

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 ~