Broodkeepers and Finger Bones
Willard says I need to be as good at words as I am at tracking, which is pretty good, so basically he means I have a lot of work to do. His favourite words are these ones: aware, observant, and detail-oriented. So for practice on “being perceptive” and on writing, I’m going to journal about our adventures FOR MY EYES ONLY. If anyone is reading this that is not AMY SMITH, STOP NOW OR I’LL HUNT YOU AND SHOOT YOU IN THE LEG. And I will not miss. I am very good at those things.
Wednesday, November 2, 1135 – Nighttime on “Free at Last”
After like 3 weeks in Quashie, people are saying it’s time to go back home. We say bye to Jacob, who has been smoking those sweet-smelling cigars all day and so now he’s all emotional over us leaving. Rouse, for some reason, wants to go and check what people are saying about him in his guild. Edmund’s going to transport him to Bastion and change him into a pigeon so that he can get wherever he need to go without being stabbed. We don’t need to worry about him getting into trouble because Ed can check on him by a spell that lets them talk without being close to each other.
Also I learned 2 official things in Quashie.
- To surf.
- The word “radical”, which is Jacob’s favourite word.
- (which is a secret) What the smelly smoke feels like. Jon yelled, but it was radical after I stopped coughing.
Thursday, November 3, 1135 at 2:16pm (detail oriented!)
Sophie has not forgotten you…Every Sunday at noon, at Starry Nights Pub, corner of Lennox and Grassmarket.
After lots of conversation, we decide that we’re going to go to the Elium to pay Edmund’s debt, and also do our experiment in Finnsbury. The experiment is changing Orcs (or something else) to look like us, and then sending them out in the city to see what happens to them. Just to make sure The Guild is telling the truth when they say they will leave us alone if we go out in public. Also, hopefully we will be back in time for Jon to go to the Starry Nights Pub on Sunday.
When we’re done eating, Jon retires (which means goes) to his room and we hear lots of noises coming from there, even though the door’s closed. Ed checks on Rouse, and everything’s ok. Abby and I go to practice in the yard. We are just pooped by the time Mabel calls us in for dinner. I’m actually starving, but she still makes us wash up before eating.
During dinner we talk more about our experiment. So we were going to use two Orcs to test out if walking around in public would get us killed. I am excellent at hunting Orcs, and they would have to die after we were done them… if they didn’t get killed while they were disguised as us. It was a win-win. The problems were a) Ed is weak and can only change them for 15 minutes b) Abby doesn’t want to travel with Orcs c) everyone doubts that Orcs can be easily captured. They can, they’re dumber than grass. In the end, we decide that Jon will be changed to look like Ed, and everyone else will be made invisible and fly nearby to be OBSERVANT about what happens to him. We decide to leave in the morning because Abby is sore and tired from practicing all day.
Friday, November 4, 1135
We pack up our fighting gear and teleport straight into Linnfard’s room. The little twit is so excited to see us, I bet he almost pees himself. He takes Ed outside to talk about something, and while they’re gone, we find a drawing of Linnfard as a shiny knight saving us from a dragon! What an idiot! As if he’ll ever see a dragon when he’s stuck sweeping and being a little servant in a CHURCH.
- Go back to Old Duvai to get a powerful relic that was stolen 500 years ago. A monastery was ransacked (which means destroyed) by a bunch of trolls and a wizard. The wizard is long gone, but a huge monster that looks like a giant insect protects the relic, a finger bone of Helga. Protects it by keeping it underneath one of the armored plates its body is made of. The stupid thing is INSIDE the giant bug. Great. We can find the monster because the bone will “call to us”, which is how the other parties sent out for it found it. The most recent sent to die was a group of five that weren’t seen again. Mother Jana is useless, and all she can tell us is the name-Broodkeeper-and not if it’s magic or even if it can fly. She shows us a picture of this horrible looking thing surrounded by fangy little bats with red eyes. I’m not scared, I just think it’s dumb that we have to clean up Ed’s mess. I just hope the others don’t get hurt. We manage to convince Jana to give us rods to get back, and some healing potions.
- This is even stupider than a bone inside a bug! We have to take Linnfard with us on our adventures (sometime after this one) so that he can get experience to be a good holy knight. A holy knight is called a Paladin.
Waiting for us in the hallway is baby Linnfard. Since he won’t stop yapping about coming traveling with us, I decide to teach him a lesson about how not ready he is for being attacked by something that actually wants to kill him. We spar and I almost stab him in the neck. I beat him really good.
Then we decide to do our experiment. We teleport from a balcony at the Elium into an ally and Ed magics Jon to look like him (poor Jon), then makes it so the rest of us can fly invisibly around him. Jon-as-Ed walks around some main roads of the city. This is the path he took:
Left onto Green from the ally, crossed Vine and went north on Morgan, scratched his ear at the corner (I think this was some sort of signal), right into a large park (ear scratch) where he sat on a bench trying to look as jerky as possible. Got up after a bit, went west on Green, turned south on Vine, turned on Smyth and back into the ally (scratch). We all grabbed Ed and teleported back to the Elium, relieved that the worst thing we saw were a few pickpockets. I was ready to fight any of them.
Turns out that every time Jon scratched his ear, someone had made a guild sign to him…even that old lady going north on Vine into the library! Who knew old people would even know about guild stuff! We didn’t really know if they were making guild signals at Ed/Jon because they knew him and were showing that they were leaving us alone, or if they saw through the disguise, or if they were just checking if Ed/Jon recognized the guild signals at all. Confusing.
Noon that same day – Willard’s Study
We teleport into Willard’s study look for more information about the Broodkeeper. All of us start searching through the books to find anything that’s more helpful to us than Mother Jana’s debriefing. The writing is very small so I read slowly. Ed finds a book called “Dragons and Other Bugs”, written by a guy called Guillermo the Brave in 1012, which is a long time ago. This is point form of what is written underneath a freaky picture of a Broodkeeper. Point form is when you take important points so you don’t have to write the long thing all out.
- Chitenous plates that they place small things underneath.
- Eyes like a cat, good hearing.
- Large mandibles.
- Intelligent, but won’t speak (even though they can).
- Solitary hunter, view everything as food.
- Keep young in back and release them in times of stress.
- 30 feet long and 12 tonnes heavy.
Warriors always talk about strategy for killing their enemies, so that’s what we do next. Edmund has this spell that will protect a 15ft diameter circle all around what he casts it on, which would be perfect except we don’t know if it can surround only a BIT of a creature. To test it, I sit on Wilfred, who is a wonderful and calm horse, and Abby stands behind us. Edmund tries to put bits of Wilfred into the sphere (which is what a circle going in all ways is called). It doesn’t work. Only none or all of Wilfred can be in the sphere. Rats! We teleport back to the Elium with no real plan about how we’re going to kill this giant bug, except that we will probably be invisible. Probably Ed’s plan-stupid and dumb and probably really pragmatic (but I don’t know what that means).
When we teleport back to the Elium, we are given a green rod , 2 tan rods, and 3 vials of red potion. The green rods get us to the bug, the tan ones bring us, and anyone within 10 feet of it, back to the Elium. All of our loot gets thrown into Ed’s bag. We’re to leave in the morning.
Morning, Saturday, November 5, 1135
Trying to leave in the morning, we have to stop Linnfard TWO TIMES from busting into the room when we’re about to break the green rod. I kind of wish he got through the door, just to see how fast into our adventure he would start crying. By picturing the bug in our heads, we end up in the middle of a black dirt road that stretches up a hill. Jungle is all around us, and I can hear monkeys, birds, and lots of other creatures I don’t know. People and animal tracks are on the road, but no bug tracks. Even giant bugs don’t travel places on people roads. Because I’m helpful, I go a little off the road and use my magic to talk to a tree to see if it knows anything. Plants are usually as dumb as you think they’d be, but at least trees are the smartest. All it tells me is that there’s a village up the hill. Wow, something my eyes could have told me…thanks Tree. On my way back to the road I find a beautiful, clever green snake named Biter, that I can TALK TO! Biter is my best friend, and so even though he is poison, he promised never to hurt me at all.
While I was away, Ed made Jon into a hawk and he saw that up the hill there are two clearings- one with a village, and one with a bunch of piles of disturbed earth. Walking up the hill through a meadow, we see the village. Close to the edge of the forest are weird black cows with big horns …I wonder what they are thinking about?
On the banks of the river that we cross on a rickety bridge, are some guys polishing huge black stones. From the sky, Jon saw a pattern of these big stones in the same clearing as the village. Later, we find out they are gravestones.
Some black-skinned men walk up to us wearing a weird brown armor as shiny as Mabel’s pearls. They wear soft white pants and soft shoes. The guy at the front has a shiny brown necklace and a gold shirt. He has a scar on his arm that looks like a big bite. He introduces himself as Arubwe, which is his real name. In Atlinese that makes him sound like he’s about 3 years old, he tells us that his armour is made of the scales of the giant bug, and asks for our weapons. Somehow Ed convinces him to let us keep them, and we go with Arubwe and his friends to some tables in the village where we feast on strange fruits.
Arubwe tells us these things in his baby-talk:
- The village’s duty is to guard the monster and gives it beasts to eat so it doesn’t go on a killing spree. Arubwe got respect because he fought the thing and lived.
- The village is called Howanyayo
- Not to go to the monster. Lots of other white men have been to see it and they always die.
- The monster hates fire.
- The monster’s babies come out once, but there are loads of them.
- The monster can’t leave the field it’s in and spends most of its time underground, but comes out during the day.
- Two people stay in the forest near the monster to watch for people and the monster.
Even though they don’t want us to, we walk through the forest to the bug. Biter hides under my shirt, and I tell him everything is ok, and not to come out. As we get closer to the bug, there are no more animal sounds, just crickets, and then nothing. It’s BOILING. When we get to the clearing, one of the guards comes up to us with his finger on his lips. The other guard up in a tree does the same thing. Scardey cats. Ed tries to make me jealous by turning into a swift and flying around for a bit. When he comes back down, he says that the bug goes in and out of the ground; there are “disturbances” the size of a hut all over the 2km by 2km clearing.
About 1pm, still in the forest on the edge of the bloody clearing.
Finally, the damn monster comes out and starts walking around. Edmund decides to try to fight it himself and becomes invisible and makes himself fly. We watch, really quiet, as BOOM, a big ball of fire explodes under the bug’s chest. Three more fireballs explode above the bug, but it really doesn’t seem to care. At this point, Abby gets really really scared, for some reason. I wish I could go and pat her on the back to make her feel better, but I’m pretty nervous too. Then, KABLAM, chunks start flying off the monster’s butt like crazy! That’s when things get hard. Billions of ferocious little bats come pouring out of the monster’s back and all come towards me. Some are around the monster (and Ed?) too, but there are just too many to pay attention to. We all start fighting for our lives, and I would have killed more but I took a bit to cast my Grow spell above us. All the jungle in a 30ft sphere with the edge just above our heads reaches in like fingers and traps the little buggers. The leftover ones keep attacking me and I’m just covered in blood. In the edge of my mind, I can hear more chunks getting exploded off the mother bug.
Then the little leathery chickens stop attacking us. I look around and there are little bodies all around us. A carpet of carcasses! I feel awful, but I don’t want to be a complainer- Abby never complains even when it looks like she’s just one giant cut. Jon and Abby run into the field to look for the damn finger bone, but I’m afraid that there are other bat-things left, so I hang back a bit. Jon eventually waves me in to meet them in the center of the field, where the bug, or what’s left of it, is partially burrowed into the ground like a huge bloody gopher. Idiot bug. Jon is digging through the piles of dirt on the field that are studded with weapons, grabbing some armor and a sword and stuffing them in Ed’s bag. Ed says they’re pretty magic.
After forever, Abby finds a box. Ed’s servants open it and we see the pathetic bone all in purple velvet, like it’s some big deal. Since I look pretty bad, I get to drink a clear and a pink potion and I feel a lot better. We break the tan rod and end up in baby Linnfard’s room, where Ed puts the new armor and sword under Linnfard’s covers. A surprise present…probably about as useful as giving a bow to a tree. Mother Jana, who I think must have eyes in the walls, comes into the room and we give her the finger box. She walks over to the bed and throws back the covers to show Ed’s present for Linnfard ( I told you! Eyes everywhere!). She puts her hands on me until I feel perfectly fine. As we’re about to leave, debt finally paid, Jana makes us say bye to Linnfard. What a lousy way to end such an exciting day.