Way of the Wicked
16 - The Dogs of the Moon
Chapter 15: Dogs of the Moon
A number of days passed and Zikomo continued to bring in Boggard allies as he promised thus bolstering our defenses. In addition Elise managed to acquire almost everything for which we asked and sent her cohort Trik with the goods.
Trik seemed to be a devout and true worshipper of Asmodeus although he insisted on getting a layout of the Horn of Abbadon and our defenses. His excuse was that the Seventh Knot might need replace us should misfortune come our way. Over the following months Trik served as our liaison with Elise and proved to be an enigma in many ways. I ponder his fate to this day. Perhaps, under changed circumstances things could have ended differently. I cannot say. It is this way in life sometimes. Those who could have been your friends end up your enemies and your friends could easily enough have proven to be foes under different circumstances. What subtle twist of fate could have changed everything? As I’ve grown older my mind is not what it used to be and I wonder if Trik is standing next to me as a valued ally or lying dead by my own hand? Which is reality and which is a dream? Only Asmodeus knows, if even he.
With the supplies brought by Trik I was able to summon a group of Mudmen to our aid and young Frohike completed the Alchemical Golem, Artephius. The thing proved a powerful ally although somehow imbued with the same sadistic bent as the Ripper of Tagggun Hold’ as he came to be known. I know for a fact that the two were not one in the same but I’ve always pondered what could cause such terrible madness in both a man and a machine? Such disdain for life? Are men but machines in the end? Automatons merely following their design specifications? Have we free will or are we but puppets to our own inner workings? I digress from the story but the older I grow and the deeper the thrall that my beloved Cheliax falls under the sway of Asmodeus, the more I think about these things. My role in all the events that happened. Was it for the best? That will be for history to decide.
Not long after I successfully summoned the Mudmen allies Zikomo came to us with urgent news. The Boggards tasked with guarding the entrance to the lower caverns had been torn to shreds by some wild beasts. An investigation revealed the creatures to have been dogs that wandered all over the lower levels of the Horn apparently without being noticed. They slew the guards upon their exit.
Frohike and Zikomo turned immediately to the Vision Juice and I cannot say that I was not tempted myself but I managed to refrain. Both gained visions indicating the beasts would return soon so we set up an ambush in the lower levels.
The creatures were all but impossible to track down have some sort of superior invisibility and shape-shifting powers. Luckily the Mudmen and Boggards were able to pin them down and then we ganged up on them dispatching them only after great difficulties. Only Frohike was wounded and that by some sort of powerful illusion.
Later that day we spotted some strange red flowers growing near the front of the Hold and determined they were Assassin Vines. We decided to cultivate them around the entrance to serve as guards and this plan proved quite useful. The plants were too small to do much good at that point but they grew quickly bathed in the green light of the Horn of Abbadon.
More time passed and eventually Trik returned with news that another group of adventurers had arrived in Taggun Hold and planned to attack the Horn. The message indicated they had flying abilities and knew about the landing on the third floor. We set our defenses accordingly.