Party deaths: 8
The law firm of Sausalito Jaana and Tubbs enjoyed a warm day off at the beaches of Moonglow.
I sat in a lawn chair sipping reaper coladas, listening to Tubbs play Barry Manilow hits on his ukulele. Jaana stood at the Sir George Foreman grill, cooking us ettinburgers. Mariah built enormous sand-somethings. We had no idea what they were supposed to be, but Mariah was beaming with pride, so we were all happy for her. All except for Shamino, who, as if to show the poor girl up, built an exquisitely detailed sandcastle. Not liking its likeness to Lord Bunion's castle, I got up and kicked it into oblivion. Something sinister was afoot at the LB Snacks™ corporate headquarters, and I feared that it involved me.
Ignoring Shamino's howls of protests, I stood upon the ruins of his sandcastle and looked wonderingly at Jaana. She flipped the ettinburger patties on the grill with her skillet, returning my gaze with a smile. When she first joined our party, Tubbs and I had to look out for her as if she were a child. Now, she was looking out for us, keeping us fed, together and in good spirits. She had also kept us alive during our fight against the swarms of demons on Abyss island, at one point being the only conscious member of our party.
As I watched her slip the patties into buns, my heart swelled with something more than gratitude, more than the feeling of safety. What was this strange feeling new to the heart of a lonely shepherd?
After our vacation, we visited the scoreboard sorcerer and recounted how we'd fought the demonic dozens without running away. Looking impressed, he advised us to visit the shrine of valor. Of course, we'd need to find the rune of valor first, so we headed to Jhelom for another shot at it. No dice, but with our plentiful funds we bought Tubbs a crossbow to reward him for making his billable hour quota.
We visited the town of Vesper. A humble group of pilgrims there told me all that I'd already learned firsthand about the shrine of humility: the location on Abyss island, the demons waiting in ambush, the reversed mantra. Vesper had an arms shop, where I bought a bow for Shamino and three jars of flaming oil as toys for Mariah. There was also a Thieves' Guild black market that sold Magic Keys, which I could use to bypass the various locked doors in cities. I wished that I had visited this town much earlier.
With Magic Keys in hand, we headed back to Jhelom. Along the way, we were chased by a group of fearsome liches. We tried to avoid encounter...
but they caught up to us, so we smashed them into a thick paste. They weren't too tough. And the Pepsi really hit the spot.
At the Jhelom inn, we rented a room, got up at midnight, and stealthily explored the building. The stench of potatoes coming from one locked room was overpowering, so we unlocked the door with a Magic Key to investigate. Inside was Geoffrey, a muscular, 6-foot-5 lunk sitting among mounds of potatoes almost as tall as him. He was peeling them one by one with his axe, and looked none too pleased with our intrusion. When we explained our quest, he grunted eagerly at the prospect of fighting instead of potatoing, so he became our newest associate.
We then broke into the locked room where, according to the housekeeper, people had been disappearing. A man inside the room told us that someone named Nostro had the valor rune we sought. He pointed me to a secret door, which led to the restricted passages that the guards wouldn't let me enter. These passages connected all four corner towers of the town wall. People were being kept in these towers for undisclosed crimes. Blue lightning fields blocked off the tower entrances, but Mariah easily dispelled them with her magical magic. In the northwest tower, we found a prisoner claiming to be the guy we were looking for:
He promised to tell us the location of the valor rune if we helped him escape. We led him out, and along the way, he told us that the rune was buried in one of the towers. Maybe the guy really was Nostro, because we uncovered the valor rune in the southeast tower. All eight runes were now ours! We smuggled Nostro out of Jhelom, gave him one of my sheep to get him started back on life, and went to the valor shrine. There, I meditated and earned my valor eighth of avatarhood.
Now that I was half an avatar (a halfatar?), I decided it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty. "If I'm to be a true Avatar," I explained to the others, "I have no choice but to challenge Lord British and his unethical, self-aggrandizing LB Snacks corporation. They represent the antitheses of all eight virtues. Who's with me?" My fellow law firm partners, Jaana and Tubbs, looked worried but said nothing. As for our associates, Geoffrey tried to start a slow clap like they do in the movies, while Mariah stared at me blankly and Shamino yawned. "All right, then" I said determinedly, "draft an antitrust complaint and follow me to the castle. We're taking them down!"