This week, we picked up some new recruits – Audris and Tarragon – to join Wat and me on our expedition. They seemed capable enough, and Tavern Taverns the tavern owner seemed to like them, so we elected to take them along.
Traveling to the well at the edge of town and down into the Underwylds has become second nature at this point, but it still took quite some time for Cealothan (honestly, he lives around here, why is he so bad at navigating?) and Tarragon to get us going in the right direction. By the end of the fourth day of wandering we were confident we were on the right track, so we made camp at the end of a tunnel.
While I was on watch, I noticed a misty creature in the distance. It did not seem aggressive, and Cealothan didn’t recognize it as a danger, so I just let it be. After a while, though, it started to drift closer, so I decided to wake everyone just in case it showed itself to be dangerous. Since it was closer, we could study it more easily, and realized that it was actually a blue colored misty disc with two eye stalks and some dangling tendrils. It still did not act aggressively, so I tried to talk to it.
It did not seem to speak a language, but it responded positively to my compliments by turning a bit pink instead of blue. We were able to get it to change a few more colors by talking to it, but our communication did not seem to be very effective. We spent quite some time trying to figure out what it wanted, and it started to try to communicate with us through emotion. A couple of us were overwhelmed with sadness and longing, and after a few more minutes of troubled communication I was able to deduce that it was anxious about being alone and could not find its friends.
I invited it to travel with us, and it seemed delighted to not be by itself anymore.We tried out a few names to call it, but I settled on “Squishy”.
The next day we continued our search for the Library’s entrance, and in our wandering we found the imprint of a tendrilly thing on the floor of a cavern. Squishy didn’t seem to recognize it, but we were pretty confident that something of Squishy’s type must have lain here. As we were investigating the imprint, Squishy flashed an alarm to alert us of a creature further down the cavern, and when we turned to look at it we immediately spotted the slain body of one of Squishy’s species dangling from its jaws.
I immediately jump into action to avenge Squishy’s companion, and we start up a barrage of bullets at the creature. Cealothan jumped the gun a bit, as per usual – such a hard time performing under pressure! – but eventually managed to start doing real damage to the creature. We fought it for some time until it dropped the body of Squishy’s cohort, but by then Wat had fallen unconscious and Cealothan and I were left to tag team the beast. As soon as it sustained substantial injuries, it turned to run away from us. As a person bound by honor I refused to attack a creature running away in surrender with its back turned to me… but apparently Cealothan’s people do not practice such chivalry.
After the fight I buried the dead tendril creature and said a few words for its soul, but I am unsure if the Light-Bringer presides over the souls of Underwyld creatures. Mostly I wanted Squishy to have some closure, and asked if it wanted me to do anything else for its body. Squishy floated around the burial mound for a bit, flashing shades of blue, before returning to us. I took diligent notes, of course – as a Paladin, it is my duty to know the proper burial rites for any creature I may come across in order to give it proper respect in life and death.
We decided to follow the tracks of the attacking beast to see if we could find Squishy’s family. Obviously it snagged the tendril creature from somewhere, and chances were that it was from a larger group of tendril creatures rather than another wandering loner like Squishy.
We got lost during the first hour of tracking, but during the second hour we managed to find our way to a rocky outcropping deep in the caverns. Climbing up, we found a nest of sorts full of refuse – and a pouch of gems! During my lecture of how it’s important to help others in need even when you don’t get paid, a handful of tendril creatures floated down from above us, turning a soft pink as soon as they spotted our Squishy.
They danced with Squishy for a bit before coming over to thank us with healing – Wat and I had sustained some injuries in the fight with the claw beast. The healing tendril creature and I exchanged a look of camaraderie – clearly it knew as well as I do the difficulties of being a healer among headstrong adventurers. I briefly entertained the thought of renouncing the Light-Bringer and starting a religion devoted to the soft, empathic creatures, but I don’t want to have memorized a thousand holy texts of the Light-Bringer for nothing.
After a sweet goodbye, we parted ways with Squishy and its friends and started heading home. On the way back we found a herd of furry creatures, but casting the daylight of the Light-Bringer from my Driftglobe seemed to keep them at bay.
Upon our return to the city, we sold our gems and invested some money in the town’s structures. Helping a new friend in need is its own reward of course, but I was happy to have some spare change to donate to the church.
Inspired by my unwavering display of honor and devotion to helping others, Tarragon approached me to express interest in becoming a cleric of the Light-Bringer. Always delighted to help out new acolytes and teach them the way of the Light-Bringer, I heartily agreed. This month we will spend our time studying the thousands of holy texts – what could be more fun than that?