With more questions than ever, we headed back south to report in on our findings at the farms. The day was relatively uneventful. We checked in with a few farmsteads on our way and it seems the group of suspicious travelers haven’t made it this far south yet. It will probably be a few more weeks before they make it as far as the city if they continue on their current path.
We were able to meet with the Abbess. I am honored that someone of her stature has been able to make herself so available to us. We must be doing truly important work for the faith.
Her attention is upon us…
I awoke from a strange dream. I was wandering through corridors of mists, turning seemingly at random, before coming to an open place in the mist and finding a symbol of the raven in the “floor” of the place before the dream faded away. As it faded away I think the parting mists were revealing the main chamber of the temple, near the high altar…
Once I opened myself in prayer I could feel Her watching. I headed towards the main worship hall and heard Hali’s distinctive voice calling a question through the normally somber and quiet space. Once I saw into the hall, all that was there were my recent travelling companions. There were no attendants or priests, no worshipers. This seemed amiss and with the feeling of Her presence and the mysterious dream, I rushed back toward my room to claim my weapon and begin to check on the clergy here.
I ran into Dirge and Drelf, who headed off to check on the safety of the Abbess, and I awoke another senior brother with whom we checked on the temple. It seems my concerns were unwarranted…
I stopped in my room and geared up, preparing to follow the dream as best I could. I tried to make my way through the halls as I had through the corridors of mist in my vision, but the dream had already begun to fade. By this time Dirge had joined me again and reported that the Abbess’ guards said she was resting undisturbed.
In order to enter through the main doors of the temple, we made our way outside by a side door. Things seemed calm and normal, with a few people in the square and light and sound from the Inn across the square, as normal. The Eye was large in the sky and seemed to be turned toward us as well, surely not a good omen.
As we entered the hall, we found it still empty other than our recent travelling companions, gathered near the main altar.
As we gathered there and entered into prayer, images and feelings of a gateway appeared in the mind’s eye just beyond the altar. As we each touched the altar it became unnaturally cold to the touch, and a faint image of a gateway appeared. As my companions began to pass through, I prepared to try to hold the connection open long enough to allow Hali and Deitrich time to retrieve their armor, but when they tried to pass from the main hall they found they could not pass the doorways, so we all proceeded through the gate, following our companions who had proceeded us.
Once through, all found they were fully equipped as if we were in the field. We stood upon a large disk of stone or metal, carved with the image of the Raven from my dream, seemingly floating in endless darkness and mist, with the faint shimmering of the gateway behind us, and a tall, deeply cloaked figure standing before us.
Soon the figure addressed us. I believe it a divine servant, as it spoke in my native tongue but all present seemed to understand. I have to assume it used the language of the gods, which it is said any who understand language can interpret. It said our Queen had taken an interest in our activities and was pleased with what She had seen, but also that She was unsure we possessed the skills required to survive the events to come. She had decided to test us.
It warned us that the trials would test us sorely, and that they were unending. After each test we would have to choose if we had proven ourselves and should leave, or if we should remain for the next test, and that each would become harder than the previous. The challenges would test our abilities in combat as well as in skill, and that after each, a gateway for retreat would briefly appear, and during that time we would have to make our choice.
With that, the figure flew off into the darkness and mist, and we waited…
After a few minutes, some of my companions began to look as if they were growing impatient, possibly wondering if our first challenge was to find our way to where we were to be tested. Just then, the mists expanded outward and formed dark corridors, and a large obelisk rose up from the center of the disk, with glyphs and pictograms depicting parables from the teachings of the Raven Queen, though jumbled up. We found ourselves assaulted by zombies while we also raced to properly arrange the pictograms on the obelisk.
We made relatively easy work of the first test, and the gateway for retreat remained open for about five minutes, before closing. A sack of silver coins even appeared after we were victorious. I’m hastily scribbling down my thoughts while we wait for the trials to continue.
I have confidence that we can prove ourselves worthy, but feel our greater test will be in determining when to withdraw. Pride and overconfidence could prove to be greater enemies than those conjured to test us. We have only been together for a relatively short time as a group, and have not had the best track record of keeping all on their feet. If we wish to prove our worthiness of Her trust and attention, I feel like showing our longevity and prudent use of our resources will be key.
I pray for the wisdom to be able to offer true consul to these brave souls, and that we may be judged worthy.