The trip to Delornen took a full day. I didn’t mind so much, being as, again, I was really quite taken with Mal, but…well, more on him later. Fortunately, once we got to the capital city it was easy enough to make the founder see the light. Unfortunately, as soon as this had been accomplished her guards attacked us. Her poor halfling majordomo was killed defending her, which was very sweet and tragic, and after we killed them (Gesh, by the way, does not appear to trust me at all, which is just not fair, it’s not as though I’ve ever stolen anything from him, and I was only looking at the trophies and things that had fallen when the glass case was shattered) we discovered that they were apparently worshipers of Vecna, considering how they had defaced the symbols of Erathis on their livery. Charming. We also learned that Jafar was making his way to the closest temple, in Relkingham, in order to bring about an edict that would make the whole “human sacrifice” business inescapable law, so we high-tailed it out of the palace. We ran into some guards, convinced them that we were on their side, and tried to get them to bring us some horses; however, they were extremely unhelpful and rather obnoxious, so we fought our way through the city and got our own damn horses. Do all adventurers have to do everything themselves?
The ride to Relkingham was tense, but uninterrupted. The horses were apparently not warhorses, but I don’t think any of us had any idea what to do with a warhorse anyway, so we left them at the gates of the city and fought our way to the Temple of Erathis on foot. It was in chaos, with blood and human body parts everywhere, and infested with the undead and the disgusting, plus Jafar at the altar, which was covered in some weird column of black light, doing who knows what, but it didn’t look good…so I chugged a potion for luck and flung my brand-new enchanted shuriken at him, and he stumbled backwards, away from the altar. Then he looked at me, raised his arms, and all of a sudden I was on the altar. I’d never hurt so much in my life. I managed to stand up, having no idea what was going on behind me (I later learned that the others were being set upon by endurance-sapping undead critters), and for a little while I actually thought I was going to win…but then he reached out and grabbed my ankle.
The next thing I knew I was standing next to Gesh, about to stab him in the back while he was busy fending off an undead thing. I managed to stop myself, barely, and that helped me break free of whatever enchantment I was under (apparently it happened to Graav too, but as he was also immobilized, we never noticed because we were never in range, so, you know, that’s handy). I have no idea what sort of havoc I caused while I was under Jafar’s control, and the others won’t tell me. I’m not sure if I appreciate that or not.
Eventually the party mopped up all of the guards and sentries and turned our combined efforts on Jafar. They all put up quite a fight, and by the end we were bone-weary and barely standing. That’s when Mal asked how everyone was faring. I wiped the blood from my eyes so I could look around for loot, and told him, truthfully, that I felt very near death and really ought to sit down for a minute to tend to the various places that were bleeding. That’s when I felt the blade in my side. When I looked at him he was just smiling that damn charming smile like always. There was a v. large amount of blood pouring from my side to join the blood I had already shed, and it hurt quite a bit, but I was just thunderstruck; I didn’t really realize what had just happened until his sword sank into my cheek. The next thing I knew I was floating in a field of stars, and Sehanine was bending over me. She swept a hand over the side of my face and winked, then put her other hand on my forehead and gave me a great shove, and I woke up in the Temple, in screaming agony.
As soon as Alek patched me up enough that I could stand on my own, I sent a message to the keep for backup; I don’t know who to trust anymore, but I definitely do not trust any of these new people. I hope they send Halgrim. In the meantime, I told everyone to keep this under wraps; we’ll just let the world think Mal died in the fight against Jafar, and that we’re none the wiser about whatever plot is afoot to kill us. If I know shady types the way I think I do, that should make it easier to find whoever set said plot in motion.
At any rate, the people and traders that will pass through Relkingham are safe, at least from this particular threat. Hopefully this will mean a large monetary reward in addition to that which was promised by the Lord Warden. I steeled myself for a look in the mirror after I cleaned up at the inn (the nicest the Lord Warden’s money can buy), and, well, the wound on my cheek is not so bad, at least not as far as I can guess through the bandage. It’s very long, though, and the healer said it will scar. Not sure how I feel about facial scars. Kelson was always careful not to leave marks on the money maker.
I suppose I’ve been lucky, all things considered. Let’s hope that holds out for a while longer.