Day 11 (later) — Dear Diary, As I was sitting to write my thoughts and make sense of the day’s events, I realized that Zuffy and Mawley were standing near the large tangle of spider web. I had just recorded the prayer for the dead wolves, when their voices filtered to me. As the words sorted out in my brain, I dropped my pen (hence the ink splatter, sorry DD!).
“I’m just going to poke at it with this bone.” That was Zuffy. Mawley shifted uncomfortably. “Yeah, sure but what if there’s a spider attached somewhere?” Zuffy laughed that high, clear laugh she has. “Well, that’s why you’re here, dearest!” She reached forward and gently poked at the thick web. “What are you doing!?! Oh goddess, we were going to wait until morning, remember?” I called to them as I hurried over. “Well, um, Zuffy thought that maybe it wasn’t safe. You know? Like what if the spider creeps out later? In the night. In the dark.” I couldn’t help it, Diary. I sighed. “But that’s the reason we have watches. So that spiders don’t take us unawares.” Zuffy shrugged. “Eh. I was bored, to tell you the truth.” She jabbed harder at the web. Several strands broke and fell. “Well, look at that.”
Grriel came over. “What’s up?” Mawley explained as the others gathered round. “It is rather early,” said Vakka. “I would see this purple stone.” That was Kerboom adding her thoughts. “What purple stone?” Chica edged past me.
“Well, if we just take these last….. strands down….” Mawley grunted with effort. “Oh, right on! Look at this!” Lilly was through the passage into the next chamber before the web hit the floor. “Where’s my pack? Where’s my pack? These are some neato carvings. I know this great trick, right? You lay the paper down and rub like charcoal or something and you get the carvings right there on your paper!” Her hands were busy getting paper. I couldn’t help but lean forward to see better. It was amazing, Diary. But I digress, as Father would say….
There were passage ways that went out from the center and at each end there was a lantern. Two passages were missing their lanterns. Later Kerboom told us that she used a spell of some sort (she said the name, Diary but I can’t remember everything!) to lift it on to the hook. Which explains the huge doors that appeared out of the floor!
While Kerboom had been busy doing dangerous things, without telling anyone!!!! The others were engaged in activities only slightly less dangerous. Someone, honestly Diary, they all talk at once and the din is sometimes too much for me, someone suggested that there might be treasure under the purple sarcophagus. (What is a sarcophagus anyway? Why not say tomb and be done with it? Or stone coffin, I guess would be more accurate.) So the lot of them, minus Chica and Kerboom, started pushing at the tomb. It rotated! It didn’t move but pivoted more and rotated quite right around. Lilly jumped up to direct the efforts. They pointed it backwards from where it started and another set of doors appeared. Oh goddess. What next?
Kerboom ran up to them. “These are just like the doors I summoned! Just like… well except the trim is a different color. Odd, that.” She turned around to look at the group. “Do you think the doors open?” She touched them and swish! they opened. And out spilled a swarm of beetles and a large spider thing with one huge eye. Kerboom squealed in horror. I hope, I think, her noise drowned out my own cry, Diary. Oh how I hope so.
Before anyone else could move, Lilly took a flying leap off the tomb, yelling and landed face down among the beetles. Grriel was there in an instant swinging at the beetles. Kerboom danced away, a magic missile blasting from her hand. There was yelling and movement and I heard Chica yell “Chickens love beetles!” as she rode into their midst. I climbed on to the tomb to see better and sure enough, her overgrown chicken was pecking at the beetles while the others made short work of the spider. And then it was over. I’m sure I looked quite the fool on top of the tomb with nothing to do.
With the doors free of vermin, you could see into a small rounded room. Quite small, really. Lilly and Kerboom rushed in. “What’s this do?” And Lilly reached up and suddenly the door was gone. It reappeared a moment later, but no gnomes. Chica dismounted to look. Vakka shouldered her way in. “It was something over here.” And the doors disappeared. And reappeared. Mawley and Zuffy started toward them. “Wait! What are you doing?” They stopped and turned together, sideways like a dance. “The little ones need us” said Mawley. Zuffy shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah.” And zoom, they were gone. I was standing there on top of the tomb. Grriel shouldered her pack as the doors reappeared. “Come on.” I tried to find words. “But-but-but, we don’t know! We just don’t know what happens when you get in that, that door! What if it’s not safe?”
Need I tell you, Diary, that my words were waved aside, like pollen? No, you know.The injustices against the young are too many to count.
As we arrived, safely as it turns out — but that is simply by the blessing of the goddess, I know it — I heard someone calling for “the healer.” I do have a name! Honestly.
I gave Grriel such a look as I moved past her and down a hallway to the right. Safe indeed!
Zuffy and Kerboom were standing beside a black stone altar of some sort. The hallway ended abruptly with two statues right beside the altar. “Oh, good. What happened to this guy anyway?” Zuffy moved her hand to show me the bones. “Well, I would say that he died when someone cut his head off.” My tone was acid. She missed my sarcasm, though, Diary, because she’d turned away to look at another alcove. I sighed and stepped closer. Suddenly a warm wind blew in my face. It startled me and I stepped back, jostling Zuffy and barking my elbow on one of the statues. “Watch it! You’re pretty heavy for a halfy!” I was confused and distracted because I swear I saw one of the statues move. “There was a wind.”
“A wind?” Zuffy stepped into the alcove. “Where-oh!” She gasped as she was lifted off the ground. Suddenly she and the skeleton were bobbing up and down. Before I could speak, I felt wind from my right, turning I saw that the statues had moved up beside me. One staff was down and one staff was up. I cocked my head and, yes Diary, it swung its staff at me. At my head! I cried out, which got everyone’s attention. Lilly was there in a moment, as was Kerboom. I remembered my blade, my trusty sickle and I grabbed it and swung hard at the statue in front of me and missed. It had moved so quickly! I heard Mawley laugh as if from a great way off. “Dance with me, stone man!” Chips of marble flew past my face. A staff jabbed at me again. As if in slow motion, I saw Lilly leap up and slice at the statue attacking me. In the next instant I was on my back, on the ground, my face wet. As I struggled to my elbows, I saw Mawley and Lilly topple the two statues. I sighed with relief, Diary. I’m not afraid to tell you that. I wiped my face and saw red. I am ashamed, but before I could think of how it would sound, I wailed out — “I’m bleeding!” and fainted dead away.
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