We managed to damage the zealot wraith enough to cause it to flee, but not before I was knocked unconscious, and not before I and others were drained of some of our natural charisma. Thankfully, Riva had enough positive energy left in her to channel against the ghostly presence, and Locke was also able to damage it with his smiting.
The supernatural darkness lifted, and we were able to see that nothing of value was in the 10’ deep pit, other than mucky bloody liquid. Riva flew up to investigate the fountain of Desna and, touching its waters, was transported (we eventually found out) tens if not hundreds of miles away to a holy fortress of sorts. We heard the voice of a creature named Eladria urging us to join her and Riva wherever they were.
I was immediately suspicious, especially because the fountain reeked with the stench of rotting corpses, yet Locke and I knew we could not let Riva face whatever it was by herself. So, Locke touched the water and disappeared and then, holding Barca’s unconscious form tightly, I put my hand in the water and teleported as well.
Eladria, an extremely powerful worshipper of Pulara, was a gorgeous but intimidating presence. She clearly did not care for me, even insulted me, and claimed I would be a detriment to our cause if I didn’t find Love. Or some such nonsense. She did have a pretty thorough knowledge of much of our past, including even in Promise, but her assessment of what was in my heart and thoughts was — I thought — simplistic, reductive, unfair, and inaccurate. Still, it got under my skin, and I will think about the matters of the heart of which she spoke. Perhaps there is wisdom I am missing to interpret her acerbic comments.
We were given food, allowed to rest, and were quite frankly in awe of the power Eladria seemed to wield. All around the fortress, demons lurked or flew but could not advance upon us or Eladria’s acolytes. Divine energy kept them at bay. Nearby, we saw a frozen waterfall, but I can’t recall the name of the area. We were deep in the Wounded Lands for sure.
For all my grumbling about Eladria’s comments she did provide us with amazing gifts. First, she had her healers minister to Barca. Then, she used Miracle to grant each of us the opportunity to communicate with anyone via our dreams that night. I chose father. Riva chose her mother. And Locke chose Trynna. I don’t know if Barca was able to partake in this powerful and generous bestowal. I will write about my experience in another entry.
In the morning, Eladria told us what the 4 mysterious auras were I had detected on the level with the fountain. They were the powerful relics the zealot wraith had been guarding. Eladria said that we could claim them for our own use in the fight to close the Worldwound and that we must do all we could to keep them from evil hands. We were transported back to the fountain where we claimed our prizes.
And what prizes they are! A set of mithral full plate armor of Iomedae which I believe Barca will be able to use to great effect. Holy barding of pleated light of Pulara that I hope will benefit Locke. A peculiar magical jawbone that Riva will use. And the Pauper’s Thighbone — a rod of metamagic such as I have never even thought possible. That, I will wield. It contains the thighbone of St. Argil, a man of great selflessness and charity. It is said that whomever wield the rod must continue that tradition of giving, lest the rod be drained of its power. I hope that I will be up to the task.
Now, we are reunited with Arushalae who bravely defended the tower down to her last arrow. Hopefully, she has bought us enough time to make off with the Bell of Mercy if that’s what we decide to do. Frankly, I think we may need to abandon that goal, since Eladria warned us that Drezen is facing dire threats that require our timely assistance. Yes, the Bell would be helpful, but too many lives may be lost if attempting to take it with us delays us too much. Clearly, the demons are not interested in taking the Bell for themselves, so I think we could abandon it for a later time, AFTER Drezen has been saved.