Hello again Journal, after the last few days I needed to write a few things down…
One morning, a few days after our crazy landshark encounter, Razza popped by to let us know of some mysterious lights she saw off in the distance. They were a series of different colored lights and they only appeared at night she said. It was an odd tale, but something of a wonder, considering how close the party was to the desert. I had never been to the desert, so I didn’t really have any frame of reference. Razza also warned us though, that we were heading into Manticore country and that we should be careful. The concern in her voice was enough to give me shivers, but Savalia was determined. I could see the overpowering desire for loot denying her better senses.
We headed off later that day upon the wings of many wordy arguments and attempted stealth and we made camp a day or two – I don’t remember precisely – later at the base of a large stony ring like structure. There were large rocks encircling the camp, but they weren’t in any sort of organized pattern. It almost looked like an awkward crown of stone and would have been, if they were all standing upright. It was a good enough camp though, lots of cover and a decent area, considering that we were heading into a deadly animal’s territory. However, I quickly learned that even a decent area can be used against you.
That night, during my watch, Khelditia felt a little on edge. I was a little curious and even prodded at her for some information, but I was caught off guard by a reeeeeaaaaaallly sharp spike from the darkness. Khelditia and I immediately woke everyone up and then the group set about prepping for the active Manticore. I, knowing very little about the beast that was trying to kill me, started to sneak off toward what I thought was a good vantage point. It looked like the others were following suit, when we all heard a yelp of pain from back at camp where Savalia and Excelsior were. We quickly rushed back and I kept an eye on the sky for any movement I could see. I was gripping my short bow and prepared to do any damage I could to help subdue the attack. After realizing Savalia was hurt with another well aimed spike, I climbed up to the boulders and hopped from one boulder to the other. I was doing each transition as quickly as I could and tried to isolate myself as much as possible from the group to draw the predator’s attention; hopefully.
In the end though, I didn’t succeed at drawing anything except humor. The other party members suggested I tie myself to something and levitate up, offering myself as bait. I had an image of that in my head and just the thought of being dragged away by a huge flying monster was enough to press me into silence.
I continued my jumping for a bit until my feet were sore, and it was clear to most of us that the Manticore wasn’t messing with us at that moment. I was convinced that something was going to happen to us, but my feet were not going to do it anymore and I needed rest, badly. We all agreed it best to continue sleeping as close to the large rocks as we could, but that was more to help our peace of mind than anything else. I slept near to Khelditia because I felt a little safer with her, I guess…
The next morning Khelditia told me I kicked in my sleep, which was surprising but not unbelievable. I always used to sleep by myself so I wouldn’t really know if I kicked. Regardless, when we were all awake we quickly learned that Ward spotted the Manticore that was hunting us the night before. I don’t remember what he said the Manticore was doing, but whatever the beast was doing, I’m sure it was malicious… And evil… and bad… and stuff…
Using our extra special perception-y goodness, we determined that the Manticore headed north. Since it ruined our night and we were out for a Manticore tail anyway, the whole group moved off in that direction after the beast. That was when we came upon a huge cliff pockmarked with caves. And sitting at the top of this large cliff, was the Manticore with his large paws resting underneath his massive head. From here, his face reminded me of a man I knew when I was young. The man’s name was Reginald, so I am going to call the Manticore Reginald for the purposes of this journal, just to remain consistent; either that, or Manticore.
The thing was, none of us knew that the Manticore was up there yet. The naturists of our group compiled a list of likely caves that the Manticore could be found and Orrin, Pan, and I all started to climb. I was a little quicker, because I had some experience and could catch myself if my handholds failed, but the rocks falling from the sky were slightly disturbing. I almost thought the falling rocks were caused by a landslide and considered taking the risk to find some loot in one of the smaller caves, but when the entire party concluded that the Manticore was on the top of the cliff, I decided that leaving the Cliffside was the better idea. I jumped down after a few minutes of scrambling and used levitate to compensate the distance. I landed a little roughly, but all things considered, it was pleasant.
The Manticore eyed our odd little party and patronized us with vague attempts at being funny. He told us lies and made us feel insignificant which, from Savalia’s tales of heroism and awesome-ness, we knew weren’t true. However, this gave us another problem. How are we supposed to kill something that knows the land?
The conclusion was to sleep out our indecision in one of the caves on the ground floor and come up with a suiting end for the Manticore in the morning. It was an interesting moment and would have been an effective strategy, I thought, until the Manticore parked outside our cave at the start of First Watch with a pile of dead skunks. He threw the first one in and I relived that entire seen in the crypt from days ago. My stomach was turning end over end and I almost hurled all over the cave floor. I am proud that I didn’t, but I was still very sick. It didn’t stop there though. ‘Gilgamesh’ as he suggested his name was – I am still going to call him Reginald – continued to throw skunks into the cave opening until the smell was so potent that I could swear my sinuses were bleeding. He even threw in a live one to see if it would be more potent. Ward killed it quickly, but just the thought of spray all over my already sick face was enough to vomit in and of itself.
The final plan that we concocted while a few of us were close to puking our guts out, was that we would charge out and separate. We needed to get him while he was down and he had to be close enough to the cave to successfully throw things inside, but far enough to be safe from our arrows, so it was perfect for us. If we ran out full tilt, we could catch him relatively by surprise and take that moment to dispatch him. It was a perfect plan, and with the aid of Khelditia’s slumber, it worked.
Afterwards everyone celebrated the death of our poor friend Reginald by beheading him and cutting off his tail. Once all of that gruesome business was done though, I got to participate in the best part of our little Manticore encounter, and that was loot hunting. It turns out Reginald was hiding some loot in the cliff’s cave system.
We thought all was said and done for the moment, but that morning, a few hours after we killed that Manticore, we saw what Razza mentioned. Off in the distance, miles away, a beautiful light show of brilliant colors played, but we were all exhausted and decided to wait until all of us were rested before investigating.