Chapter 24ish - There but for the grace of $DEUS...


Let me try to explain to you what brought us here. When we first came into this weird forest, we were really tired after a tough day and a hard battle against that maw that guarded the door. So we looked around only a little before making camp for the night.

By morning it was clear that the forest was really strange. For one thing, the trees and grass were huge. Also, the “stars” in the sky never moved, and it was always night-time. The stars weren’t even in quite the right positions. Who sets up a mystical fake night sky and gets it a bit wrong? I think I heard Daevon mutter something about ancient star charts also being a bit wrong, and if only he had one… but it’s best not to pay too much attention to Daevon on topics like that. You… you remember Daevon, don’t you? Yeah, you’d know him.

Another weird thing about the forest is that Lucky’s spells seemed to have longer range than usual. So, into the woods, to see what’s wrong — the skies are strange, spell range is long.

We walked for twenty or thirty minutes through the strange forest, until we came across a huge snakeskin. It was somehow still alive, sort of, and spoke to us. It said it was Seht, deus of lore and secrets, hermit of the Hermit’s Cavern. I say “sort of” alive because it also told us it had died recently, but not to worry, because that’s a thing that happens to it sometimes. Dei are weird. Buy maybe being kind of alive is a touchy subject for you? Sorry, I’ll move on.

Anyhow, Seht didn’t know what had killed him. He was one of three shamans responsible for “keeping the crystals power in check” I think he said. He was a snake, so it was hard for me to tell if he said “crystal’s” or “crystals’s”, but I think it was the second one, more than one crystal. Anyhow, being dead he couldn’t do that, so he warned us the magic of the crystals may go wild, and definitely wouldn’t protect Lacuna like it usually did. But then he got sleepy and asked to rest.

Oh, before that, actually before even talking to us, he grew us up to normal size. I mentioned the trees and grass were huge, and the snakeskin was huge? Well, he worked some magic and made us grow, and after that the trees and grass were normal size and the snakeskin was still pretty darn huge. Actually it just occurs to me — how are we going to get out? The door we came through must be tiny to us now.

Anyhow, let me get to you. We decided, against my objections, to go check out where Seht had been killed, looking for clues as to what could kill a deus and hoping it wasn’t still around. I sensed a powerful magic coming from deeper in the forest, so we went that way. As we got there, things started to get weirder again. There were some floating rocks, scorched ground, and shattered trees hovering in mid-air. And some giant blue orb-thing hovering in mid-air.

And there was you. You and your party. Why did you attack us? Couldn’t we have gotten along? But we didn’t. Maybe we were spooked by time restarting, rocks falling, and trees shattering. So we fought.

It took only a few blows from Forth before you revealed your true wolf form. And then not long after that the ground started splitting apart, first one section with Lucky thrust up into the air on a big stone column. Later other pieces of earth shifted apart, leaving space between them for what sometimes seemed like nothingness, sometimes lava, sometimes just seawater.

You and your companions fought well. Lucky banished his alternate version pretty early on. I spent most of the fight harrying alternate-Tharn. Meanwhile the real Tharn was trying to deal with alternate-Forth, who seemed to be either an alchemist or a drunk. I hear he had a hard time of it, and one time Kimya nearly tripped him after alternate-Forth dodged one of her attacks. Daevon and alternate-Daevon both just stood still the whole time, I guess fighting on some other plane. Alternate-Caleb was a girl, which I still don’t understand, but it seemed like her earth magic helped you out.

I make it sound like our relationship was clear, but it wasn’t until after you were brought down, and popped out of existence, that I realized you were me. I had a vision of how things had been for you. I know that some blood hunters do turn to werewolfism, and I’d considered it myself, but… it seemed to take its toll on you. I hope you’re at peace now. I don’t even know if you’re real, or just some sort of alternate-fate hallucination. You probably can’t even hear me. You certainly aren’t responding. I’m not sure if I thought you would.

Did you send me that other vision, of the giant evil book, and the self-stirring cauldrons? The others told me they had sort of similar visions, not just of their alternate versions’ lives, but of a book and evil. We don’t know what to make of them. I like to think that you are trying to help us now, and that you helped us notice those floating “magic maelstrom” gems and that staff. We might need help, if we do manage to track down whatever killed Seht.



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