Miao Miao's Musings - Sessions 47 to 70

 The following account is by Miao; an IC summary of the Caves of Chaos adventure. I give +1 character point (XP) for those players who submit a summary for me to post here on the blog. These sessions were played between 2019/11/07 and 2020/06/25. See the Campaign Log for further context.

Miao Miao's Musings

 Ugh. Where begin? It so long since Miao written in diary. But first caravan travel across country Miao not seen before, then issue with cult, caves, keep, ogre, Gorgon, hobgoblins, goblins, orcs, skeletons, zombies, captured trader, words of honour, demons, curses, spirits, wights... Is enough to turn fur grey.

 Not going lie, Miao suddenly understand why mother now known as 'Silverfur'.

 But it all begin at beginning, on caravan to Keep in wilderness to find evil necromancer cult. Easy to find, we told, because how hard is to find large cult of evil necromancers in cave? Hah! If one cave, not hard. But area around Keep have many caves, so many cave they have name for place. Caves of Chaos. It live up to that name, yes yes.

 Miao should have known it not going be easy when we ask around Keep. Now, perhaps Miao grown up in different world than companions except perhaps Yvor, but Miao understand that when Keep built, it always because it spot where Keep need building. Is massive building made of stone, not something built because suddenly in need of new laundry house or larger place to store food. No, Keep means trouble, and Miao forgot rest of companions not aware of this. Must understand, Sir Yvor not with us then, would catch up later but that different story. And Miao found out companions not aware of what mean keep when looking for caves and suddenly we ambushed by hobgoblins.

 Now, normally, Miao not worried about hobgoblin. Yes yes, they big, they strong, but Miao find that quick sword always better than big muscles. But Miao not kept eye on marching order, and suddenly Miao find out Bert far ahead. That okay, he scout, and he with Llandor, as skilled with bow as Miao with sword. But now, suddenly Miao defending Warian and Jenkins and other followers. Then Davin charge forward to go rescue Bert, then Miao has go rescue Davin, so Jenkins need rescue Warian, who need heal Bert who rescued by Llandor. Confusing? It very confusing at time as well, yes yes.

 Suffice say, when found caves, we bit more cautious. And by time we find caves, we in mood to repay ambush, especially when we find it not one cave, it many many cave. So we find cave with goblins and vent bad temper. Miao happy we hired warrior Gregus and warrior Mace in keep, because cave much bigger than thought. Goblins try fight off valiant band, goblins fall back, Miao in pursuit.

 Suddenly arrows. Many many arrows.

 Up flight of stairs, rest of group huffing and puffing behind. Honest, why everyone so slow? Why nobody can see properly without blinding bright light nearby?

 Long story short, Miao found goblin cave lead to hobgoblin cave. Then while fighting Hobgoblins in front, in walks Ogre from rear. Miao thinking, we doomed. Then, out nowhere, arrive Sister Miriam and Sir Yvor. After that, fight over quickly. But, of course, in Caves of Chaos, nothing simple. From behind closed door, Hobgoblin shout 'you go away'. Of course, Miao ask, why we go away? Understand that Miao was not against this proposal, since many of group badly wounded (Miao only flesh wound... yes was arrow, yes went straight through Miao, but Miao swear it only hit flesh on way through. That still flesh wound!) and calls back Hobgoblin 'You go away, or we kill hostage'. That decided matter quick quick.

 Back at keep, Miao get to thinking, and then talking to Sir Yvor. Many trader go missing near caves. Yvor thinking like Miao, we need go save prisoners. Miao all for this, and give word of honour to Yvor, Miao will get prisoners out alive.

 Word that is given is sacred. So, Miao re-hire guards, gather group, go back to Hobgoblin cave, with help of new friend Hemmu who speak Orc. Orc not like Hobgoblins, Miao told, but Goblin sometimes speak Orc. So, in caves, we found Goblin that speak Orc to speak to Hobgoblin who speak Goblin. Yes yes, Miao know, confusing again. Miao now heard Orcish many many time, and still Miao not know how say 'Please' or 'Thank you' or 'You step on tail!'. (It possible phrases not exist in Orcish, but Miao afraid to ask Hemmu.)

 Hobgoblins agree to let go hostages. What price, ask Miao. Head of Orc chieftain, says Hobgoblin. Where find Orc, Miao asks. Goblin will show way, says Hobgoblin, there two tribes, you take pick. Then, asks Davin, what if we bring two heads? Hobgoblin delighted, yes yes, he take two heads in place of one, and give treasure for second head. Ask if that bargain? Miao honour bound to try best to save prisoners. Miao know if Miao tries to break through door, prisoners dead before Mister Stabby clear scabbard. So, Miao agrees, gives word.

 Miao spare you details of fight with Orcs. Suffice say, we lay in tribe, tribe fall back, tribe beg us not to go certain way, they have children there. So Miao make sure we not go that way. Miao doing this for sake of bargain and word of honour, Miao not enjoy killing for sake of killing. Luckily Orc chieftain show ugly face at last, Hemmu, Yvor and Miao remove face from chieftain. (It still attached to head, so that okay.)

 We bring head to Hobgoblins. They release prisoners, as promised. Then Davin ask, do Hobgoblins know way to evil cult cave? Hobgoblins say new bargain can be made for information, if group agree to go kill Gnolls, and bring back head. Miao said we would think over proposal, and got prisoners and far too talkative Davin out of cave quick quick.

 Turn out, one prisoner was trader, other prisoner wife of trader, two other prisoners guards of caravan guarding trader. At keep, prisoners show gratitude and insist we accept rewards. At same time, we buy equipment for freed guards and give them bit of money, if they would follow into cave of cult.

 They would.

 Now, this where things get more complicated, like bit of string tied in knot that too small and too strong for claw to unpick. Davin suggest, Hobgoblins bound to betray us, so we should betray first. Miao reminds that getting betrayal in first is betrayal, is dishonourable. Matters not, say Davin, they monsters. Miao ask Davin if all creatures not human are monsters, Davin remember adventuring partners are Elf, Catkin, Halfling and Half-Orc, and go quiet quick quick. Still, Davin say, we need find cave of cultist on own.

 Llandor and Bert agree, and go scouting by self next day. They find place smells foul, with bits of bone nearby and near tree that not look like tree should look. We go take look.

 Making long story short, because Miao get bored of many words, was cave of cultists. It pretty obvious was cave of cultists, because cave look evil, cave smell evil, cave filled with zombies and skeletons. Was mostly last bit that dead giveaway.

 Of course, we not find cave and clear cult in one day. No no, too many undead things, too much cave, not enough adventurers. Llandor wander off one evening, never returned. That normal for Llandor, but problem because archer needed.

 Now, it been said before that Miao often very lucky. So, when we return to keep and find Jorri looking for work, nobody very surprised. But consider odds! What odds archer we know and trust suddenly around in Keep in middle of nowhere?! Miao must remember to make suitable offering to Gods soon, for blessing Miao with luck like white cat with black tail.

 We fight cultist, free one cultist of evil influence of cult, find dungeon, find Gorgon in dungeon, fight demons, turn Davin back from statue to wizard, rest in keep, return to cave, find evil temple, burn evil temple, find second and bigger evil temple, have fight.

 Miao must pause here and say that fight was... ugh, was exciting, yes? Clash of steel, hellhounds, zombies, skeletons, cultists, flaming spirit skulls, demons! It touch and go, as humans say, and was close enough to touch with tip of whisker as say back home. But cult dead! Dead dead, except for crypt.

 Then, one of things that unpleasantness made of. There throne of demon thing in temple. It full of gems, so Miao not surprised Bert want help secure gems. One thing lead to other, Davin suddenly acting strange, Warian think Davin under evil influence.

 Miao know Warian long, long time. Miao also know Davin long, long time. This situation, no winners. Miao nearly out of ink, so simply say we checked for curses. Find out Davin cursed. How long, Miao not know. This... this unhappy knowledge. Looking through diary, Miao speak of Davin many time, looking back and thinking, maybe Davin already cursed in Marsh Hall? Miao prefer not dwell on thing like that.

 We get Davin de-evil-ed at Shrine (there no Temple in keep, only small Shrine, so Miao always worried about friends and guards and hirelings... if dead, this time no chance of bringing back.) and return yet again to cave.

 Miao confess she did stupid thing with statue having eyes made of gems, perhaps carried away with finding much much much much much much, much treasure. Still, Miao have even less ink now, so saying no more about it.

 Long last, we find crypt (and Thing Of Water That Hungers of which Miao will likely dream for while in nightmares), and kill undead things inside. Miao confess, she much more worried about that fight than fight in temple. It not often Miao see Sir Yvor hit ground (can remember only one other time), and then Warian too. Miao confess more, she so worried for Warian, she got bit carried away cutting undead things to bits. Miao really hope she not scare Hemmu...

 After all this, finding more evil things in crypt, Miao reminds everyone... we still have deal with Hobgoblins. Miao has still given word, and word that given is sacred. Still, as Miao say before, she not like killing for sake of killing (that fastest way to becoming Crooked-Tail), so suggest we offer duel to chieftain.

 Again, Gods bless Miao with luck, and in walk wizard from University of Phessio, with letter of recommendation addressed to Miao. Will spare details, but... suffice say, was good recommendation, and Miao hire Adam on spot.

 Now, Miao admit that often Miao thinks rest of world thinks like Miao. Offer duel, fight duel, end thing. It not way world works, so Miao should not been surprised when Orcs refuse and try to first tricks us with very bad lie, and then try bribe us to go away. At this, Miao very concerned to find some members of party tempted to take money. Worse, some members of party tempted to take money and then go kill orcs anyway. Perhaps Miao spent too much time in homelands around oaths and honour, but Miao confesses Miao's brain not work that way.

 In end, it decided we go in and ask again, but louder and with more swords. We only few paces in, when ceiling fall on Miao, Hemmu and Yvor in shape of net. This problem. If reader read diary, and Miao hope not because diary is secret and personal, but then reader would know Miao, Hemmu and Sir Yvor are fighters of group. So, when net snares three fighters, leaving rest of party exposed, and from behind us appear five Orcs saying we could go if we surrender, Miao not hesitate. It always better to survive and walk away with tail between leg than writing difficult letter to family of dear friend to say {text blotted by droplets of water}

{More blots of smudged text}

 Miao not write letters like that again. Never. Miao made vow, everyone come back alive.

 So, Miao surrenders. Warian surrenders. Davin not surrender, so Orcs attack. But Miao surrender, has given word, and offering false surrender is ultimate act of dishonour. So Miao stay out of fight. It short fight anyway, once Hemmu get free and Adam begin enjoying throwing lightning at Orcs.

 Then, when clear, Adam create entire wall of lightning. Such sight! Made fur stand on end, Miao had to brush for hours afterward.

 Of course, after everyone ready to deal with fresh Orcs Hemmu say were coming, again fight happens.

 Often things become blur, even to Miao, but this fight Miao had killed two Orcs in space of single heartbeat. It going well, until Davin walk forward at shoulder height (Miao always wonder why Davin have head in air) only to catch Orc axe to leg and go down. So Miao step over him to protect Davin and Warian, and suddenly have to dodge arrows, stones and fireballs. Was good workout!

 Unfortunately friend Hemmu, she have bit of temper. In fight, Miao always prefer to keep cool head, but Hemmu believe in letting anger out. She challenge chieftain... chieftain, being dishonourable, enlist aid of shaman and archers. To this day, Miao not certain how Hemmu still standing after those six or seven seconds of steel and fury. At one point Miao broke good manners and stepped in front of Hemmu, to catch few blow on side of Miao's blade and stop blows going into Hemmu instead. So Hemmu turn anger on Shaman, Shaman not prepared to deal with angry Hemmu (it fearful sight!), Shaman soon ex-Shaman. That enough to rattle Chieftain, and when every blade in party started hacking at Chieftain, battle ended quick quick. Miao hoped to avoid this, but in end all turned into butchery regardless.

 But, everyone live (except for Orcs, who died), and we handed over head of chieftain to Hobgoblins outside of cave. Head still attached to body at time, but really Miao beyond caring. Miao had kept her word, that only thing that mattered. When Hobgoblins ask, would we like to go kill Gnolls for money, that turned thing from deal for best of prisoners to paid butchery. Miao refused. We all went own way.

 Own way, in this case, mean Miao get to relax in apartments, with good drink and good food and comfortable bed and not having to sleep on floor of inn like peasant. Even when Miao rented room of inn, still had to share with everyone else. What is point?! Of course Miao insist on best bed (when Miao spend own coin on room for everyone, Miao not mind sharing, but Miao insist on getting softest and biggest bed. That only fair!), but best bed in inn still not so good as bed in apartment.

 This lead to Miao realising that it time to pay more attention to ... ugh.

 Why this difficult to write?

 Mother always say, it important to live in way Miao lived back home. Otherwise, it reflect poorly on home, and in turn reflect poorly on Mother. Miao... not been best at doing this. Usually, Miao not paid much attention to coin, or where next meal come from.

 That no longer enough.

 So Miao going to pay more attention to coin. Not to keep coin, like miser (or dragon!) but to have coin make coin. Miao have heard this possible, and in way, make life easier. If easier life mean soft bed, good food and good drink, with influence to help friends... then Miao can make that sacrifice.

 Is worthy cause, yes?


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