Our agreement with Vedis continues to dog us, and require of us some men. Fortunately, this time, we escaped with no deaths. Galyanna was still trying to retrieve shards of the mirror in order to aid the recovery of Vedis. I sent Radek along, since the Lazarević brothers were not yet healed. They went along with Galyanna, and, for some inexplicable reason, Helene decided to go along with them. The party, for even less comprehensible reasons, included the al’miraj – the horned rabbit that has occasionally been seen about the place.They met up with Medea, who is somehow related to Vedis, and various of the Sisters of the Void. From what Radek told me, I am glad we did not opt to take refuge there, as it sounds a dismal place.
The encounter included a few of the hell-guards, former colleagues, I later learned, of Galyanna’s, who were promptly dealt with, and a creature that, from Radek’s description, must have looked like a cross between a giant lobster and our one-time insectoidal alien friend, the Kzzz. Despite its fearsome appearance, it was swiftly dealt with, even if two of Radek’s team were badly injured. He got a few good stabs at it, Galyanna managed to get it in the back, and Medea, somewhat unconventionally, ran it through… with the al’miraj. You have to admire the inventiveness, if nothing else. This was seemingly sufficient to dispatch the creature. A shard was recovered, and the party made it back to the castle, mostly in one piece, even Helene, although she was somewhat injured.
I know this latter because I found her in my bed. I had been working in the office and had fallen asleep there, so had not returned to my chambers. I did so after reading Radek’s report and for some reason, the returning party had bandaged her up and placed her in my bed. While, under other circumstances, this might have been fine, I was semi-expecting Gwyn to visit, so this might have been a little awkward. I fetched some medicine for her and told her to rest for the moment, as I had other visitors to deal with. I did pause to ask why she had decided to go to hell. She said that she had gone there to overcome her fear of Raziel. I couldn’t argue with that.
Downstairs, I found that Gwyn had indeed arrived, along with Dorina. When I got down there, and had made appropriate greetings, Dorina asked if she could speak with me. I was going to take her to the office, but Aoibheann said that wasn’t necessary, as the plan involved her too. I wasn’t sure quite what plan they had in mind, but I got the sense that it was something to do with dealing with Dorina’s inner demons, and that I would probably not like the idea. From what Aoibheann said, it also involved a locked room and guards. That much would be easy to achieve, but how this would help Dorina control her beast, I could not speculate.
What that idea was, I did not find out, because Helene came downstairs in search of food. For some reason, this alarmed Dorina. From the way she looked at her, I was afraid that something in Helene was appealing to her beast. This was confirmed when she said that she ought to leave, that it was safer if she did so. She said that she was going to slake her thirst with whisky over at the tavern. I did suggest that she ask Hal for one of Maric’s special bottles, and tell him that I said it was ok to give her some, but she would not have it. She left, telling Aoibheann to explain the plan.
Aoibheann did not feel up to explaining the plan, especially with Helene and Gwyn around, so we decided to postpone it for now. I made sure Helene had something to eat and drink, and made arrangements for her to be returned to her normal bed. Since Gwyn was feeling somewhat sleepy, we retired to my rooms then, now thankfully free of Helene, there to spend some quality time together.
The following day, I encountered Galyanna in the graveyard. From her I learned a little more of the situation in Hell. With Vedis gone, a demon by the name of Asmodeus had taken over, executed or otherwise disposed of most of Vedis’ Talons, and placed somebody called Kitori, a former apprentice of Galyanna’s, in charge. Galyanna, herself, had been declared a traitor and outlaw. She was out of allies, and the odds were against her, but she seemed not unduly intimidated and surprisingly upbeat about her chances of completing her mission and rescuing her queen. The more I work with her, the more I discover that we are kindred spirits in many ways, with her loyalty and steadfastness. I offered what help I could, subject to the limitations placed on me, and suggested that I might be able to help by providing diplomatic contact. She declined for now, but, it might prove useful in the future.