• 69. (nice) Helena Handcart, lovely lass

    Accompanying the brave souls sheltering in the crypts of the temple of Torm we passed the relic of the unknown hero who’s uncorrupted remains lay at rest, we chose to move her corpse (respectfully) and take curatorship of her mighty blade.

    We left the huddled masses with Radd, the rambunctious and slightly piratical master of the Coster down the way. He was doubtless going to shake them down for what coppers they had left but they’d be safer here than facing down the infernal contraptions headed toward the Cathedral and the hardy few souls who refused to… flex in their unswerving faith.

    Knowing that we were staring at poor odds of survival we left messages for the comrades we had parted with on the surface, hearty encouragements to live on without us were sent to Og, dedications of undying love to Cinders from Hinners and thinly veiled threats from Tunny to Darry (a thin line betwixt love and hate perchance?).

    Gathering our courage, a well thought out series of safe-descent spells and a few new friends we stepped out to the edge of the floating city, and off, hurtling to the floor of the infernal pit.

    The rushing air of flight was brief respite from the all encompassing dry heat but this was ended when we hit the red earth of the dusty netherealm.

    On the surface of this hell we saw horrendous cragged rocks running in cracked valleys, doom-imparting toothy mountains loomed around.

    I immediately spied a couple of imps at the base of the nearest chain mooring, the scale of these hell-iron rings was imposing in the extreme. These beasts were feasting on the dead corpse of a less fortunate soul who had braved the jump. The imps startled and vanished. The cadaver had nothing in their pockets that we could respectfully carry on for them, so we cremated their already desiccating remains.

    Near the bubbling, memory stealing “waters” of the river Styx we met an improbably helpful toad who was captaining a rather fine abyssal boat taxi. He imparted all sorts of local information and we gladly left him a 5 star review. He had not had anyone famous in, had not had a busy shift, and was “off” much later.

    He dropped us at a Red-Cap fortress, it contained all manner of devilry, armaments and cruelties, I captured what passes for a chicken down here and turned it over to a butcher.

    The money-changers operate quite a remarkable obsidian, gold, soul coin exchange, but I was never one for accountancy. I got a decent sum in order to order up some essentials (dangerous weaponry etc.).

    I was then bamboozled in the purchase of an achingly expensive magical magic item detector which sadly mostly seems to detect itself. It is not clear that consumer rights are especially well regarded here. Caveat emptor.

    More heck clearly awaits.