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“Is that a toad?” Seelah asked as she joined Seoni at a table at the local tavern.

“It is.”

“Why do you have a toad?”

Seoni glanced at Seelah. “What if I told you it’s a magic toad?”

Seelah paused before answering. “Then you should take it with you when we go looking for the wrathful sinspawn. The sheriff has reports of the creatures coming up from tunnels discovered at the village house, the catacombs, the glassworks, and the shrine to Lamashtu. I was thinking I’d head to the shrine.”

Seoni couldn’t say she was thrilled to be enlisted for this expedition without being asked but decided not to argue the point. “I’ll start at the village house.”

The shrine gave Seelah an unsettled feeling. The passageway full of traps didn’t help, but luckily it seemed to have been set up in a hurry. Seelah was easily able to disarm it and continue on her way.

“This place is creepy.”

Seelah nearly took the troubadour’s head off as she spun around. “Then maybe you shouldn’t sneak up on people,” she snapped.

He held up his hands in surrender and opened his mouth to reply. That’s when they heard an eerie noise.

“A siren,” Seelah said, recognizing the sound from the woods.

Before she could ready her longsword, the siren was upon them. Seelah managed to maneuver the creature towards one of the traps she’d disarmed, then triggered the mechanism herself. The siren gave one last shriek as it died.

“Is it safe?” a familiar voice called.

Seelah responded in the affirmative, and her standard bearer made her way down the passage and past the body of the siren. Once she’d joined them, Seelah warned her companions to be on their guard.

She still wasn’t fully prepared for the creature they encountered. It looked like some sort of demon woman.

“Is that Erylium?” the troubadour asked.

“Who?” Seelah watched as the creature beckoned at something in the shadows

“I’ve heard about her in songs. She must be the one controlling – ”

“The wrathful sinspawn,” Seelah finished for him as one of those monsters lumbered forward.

The paladin drew her longsword, and engaged the enemy. The fight was quick, and soon Seelah turned to face Erylium. The monstrous woman surged forward, and Seelah met her charge. Her sword slashed one of Erylium’s wings, and the creature hastily retreated.

The passageways were too dark and confusing for Seelah and her party to give chase for long.

“We’ll retreat for now,” Seelah said. “I doubt Erylium will hide out here any longer anyway. We should go check the glassworks.”

Seoni watched her toad hop away. “I don’t think he likes you,” she told her new companion.

Aldern Foxglove shrugged. “I apologize if I offended the little fellow, but I can’t imagine what I did.”

Seoni picked up a potion. “I can’t say I know him well enough to say.”

They continued to search the village house, and came upon a bugbear which Seoni easily dispatched with her force missile. Buck joined them then. Seoni nodded at him, but continued on.

“Did he come back?” Aldern asked.

At first Seoni thought he meant the burglar, but then she noticed the toad. “No, that’s a different toad.”

“How can you tell?”

“I just can.”

“Maybe we should be armed,” Aldern suggested hefting a mace.

Seoni shook her head. “My spells are all we need.” She had a feeling Aldern wouldn’t be following her for long.

“This may have something we need,” Buck said, tapping a large chest with his foot. “Can we open this one?”

Seoni displayed her masterwork tools. “Do you mind if I give it a try?”

Buck grandly bowed out, and Seoni had the chest open in moments.

“Nicely done,” the burglar said. “Now what are our spoils.”

The quarterstaff and short sword were quite the disappointment. Seoni doubted Seelah would want either of them, but decided they were easier to carry than a mace.

“We have company!” Aldern exclaimed.

A well armed goblin charged at them. Since she didn’t have a spell prepared, and Buck was standing right nest to her, Seoni grabbed onto him and used his energy to channel a spell through her sage’s journal. The blast easily took care of the goblin.

Aldern looked down at the unconscious burglar. “Is he all right?”

“He will be. Would you mind taking him back to the inn?”

The man hesitated. “I’d be happy to.”

As he left with his burden, Seoni knew she’d never see him again. Without giving it any further thought, she decided to be better prepared. She prepared her fire and ice spells as she headed for the catacombs.

The glassworks were turning out to be just as exciting as the shrine. When they first arrived they were attacked by another wrathful sinspawn which Seelah quickly dispatched. Now they faced Erylium again, who summoned yet another wrathful sinspawn.

“I’m already getting tired of fighting these things,” Seelah said, pulling her longsword from the now dead sinspawn.

This time the battle went much differently. Though there was more room to maneuver for both of them, the additional space seemed to favor Erylium. She landed a mighty blow, and retreated.

Starla quickly came to Seelah’s side. “Are you injured.”

Seelah caught her breath. “I don’t think so, but help me out of my armor.”

They managed to get the half-plate off, and thankfully Seelah was uninjured.

“This took a serious beating for you,” the troubadour remarked. “Will you be able to fight Erylium again without it?”

Seelah nodded. “I just need to rest. Then we can find that monster and end this.”

As Seoni made her way to the catacombs, the Sage from the academy joined her. Seoni explained the situation, but the Sage felt she wouldn’t be of much help. She expressed her regret and departed just before Seoni was attacked. She used her fire spell, utterly destroying her enemy.

She had just finished recharging her spell when her acolyte approached.

“The Sage said you might need my help,” Amy said, “but I heard Seelah was having some trouble over at the glassworks.”

“Well, let’s get rid of this sinspawn, ” Seoni pointed at the creature coming at them, “and then we’ll see about Seelah.”

This time Seoni used her ice spell in conjunction with her Sage’s journal to better channel the energy. The sinspawn literally froze in its tracks then shattered.

“There. Now let’s get to the glassworks.”

Seelah had expected it to take longer to track down Erylium, especially since it had taken her longer than she liked to recover from their previous encounter, but the monster was still lurking about in the glassworks. Once more she sent a sinspawn after Seelah, but she was able to easily dispatch it with her longsword.

She then charged at Erylium with everything she had. The other battles must have taken their toll on the creature as well because she fell to the paladin’s might faster than Seelah expected. Starla retrieved her longsword, which Seelah had thrown at Erylium, and Seoni and her acolyte arrived.

“I’m sorry I missed the excitement,” Seoni said.

“Not to worry. I had everything under control,” Seelah said, trying not to groan as she moved.

Seoni smiled. “Of course. Shall I buy you a drink to celebrate?”

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