Post Apotheosis

The Hungry Worm

Excerpt from the personal diary of Quartermaster Ronald:

As the demon charged in after the brown, rocky worm, the big one showed up. The god worm swallowed lord meal ticket and ran away to digest. In an instant, all of our plans were ruined.

The keep wouldn’t belong to us without the lord, so we had to go after him, but we didn’t exactly have a way to survive a trip into the ocean of little mind-control worms without any fireballs. After some discussion, Mux said he’d focus on killing them, and we charged through the wormhole.

Odda tried to stop us halfway through. He explained how the worm god was good and we should all join to be one consciousness. We weren’t quite sure whether it was Odda and whether Odda was controlled, but I threw a rock at him and it passed through so we figured he was safe to ignore like usual.

We entered a big dark place with stalagmites, then found ourselves at the coastline of a sea of wormlings. The goblin slipped and fell in once, but mostly we managed to keep out of them. Couple of zombie worms came at us, biting. Speculated that Odda might have helped the worm god raise them, but it seemed awfully fast to raise that white one. We’d already killed them once, so it wasn’t too hard to kill them again.

Then the big one showed up with a roar of an earthquake to back him. Caught us all unaware and deafened us as rocks crushed us. Things happened pretty fast after that. I levitated the rocks off myself (note to self: hard to cast spells when deaf) and then the god tried to whammy us all so I had to shake the meatshield awake. The goblin must have been hit by some sort of fear thing because he ran away.

Big worm ate the rock spider and poisoned the meaty one. He wasn’t hitting so well, so the goblin came back and turned him into a monkey. Odda was definitely helping the god worm fight. I was finding it hard to pinpoint weaknesses in its anatomy, but the Paladin got some good smites in, and just as I was about to strike the finishing blow and assume the title “god-killer,” Mux beat me to it.

Wasting no time, I dashed over and woke the druid, then—still deaf—motioned for Mux to have the spider elemental pull the silver out of the worm’s belly. I followed the elemental in and started picking up things: some nice leather armor and gloves, lots of little gems and small stone box. There was this lightning orb inside the box and a silver talisman (note to self: don’t touch talisman again; maybe convince enemy).

There were boulders of silver inside, but the spider elemental was no use carrying anything and when I asked Mux why, he dismissed the elemental! We need to have a discussion about that later.

By this time, everyone was arguing about Odda and the druid taking over and I wasn’t really paying too much attention until Simon said he was going to walk off and tell the elves about it. I thought that was rather ridiculous, and with a little magical influence, Simon started to see the humor.

The orc got him tied up but didn’t gag him and so we all discussed it a bit further. Really had it out. At times, I was accused of being greedy or racist or skimming off the top for the thieves’ guild. The thieves’ guild. Really? The place run by the slimes that used to beat me up and steal my food?

The others have all been too pampered to really understand why we need to be greedy. They all grew up in luxury with a clan or a convent or a big group of bullies. None of them have dug through garbage, struggling to force your hands to move because you’re too tired from cold and hunger. Then finding something, and having it taken away by some thug goblin because you’re the smallest kid on the street, and as stupid as they are, you’re too weak to fight back. Most of the others are too young to have seen the last big famine.

And they want to piss off the druids? The way they live, they won’t see the fallout, but, suppose the great druid picks up and leaves. The forest stops to grow so well, crops start to dwindle. A keep’s not a building; it’s land.

But maybe lord selfish will make the crops grow. Maybe the druids won’t be pissed off too much. Maybe the snake druid will be worse? Maybe pissing off lord vanity is an even worse idea, especially with the goblin threatening to tattle.

At any rate, if it gets bad, I can always leave. I have traveling expenses, at least, set aside. Just enough to set up somewhere new, if things turn bad here. And it’s not bad yet. We eat pretty well.

So back to the task at hand. The worms had done the job of harvesting all that silver, and there were mounds of it in that great worm. Silver that Lord Odda had promised the people, but in the short term, feeding them feeds us all.

Coming to this conclusion, I turned around to discovered that the worm was no more. And in its place there was a great big, leafy tree.

Well then.

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