Webmasters Note: Ester didn't have the time for the remainder of her time on the Ship of Horrors to continue her letters. The following are fragments of transcripts of her retelling all of her adventures to the clergy and other faithful at Solders & Sailors Hall, the Azkalite temple in Istur where she fulfilled her oath by giving all of her possessions (except Hilt) to Azkal in thanksgiving. The events detailed here are not in chronological order in which they occurred, but in the order which they were told. Some of these were transcribed by others present, while some were written down by Ester herself — and it should be obvious which is which.
“As we got closer, we could see people standing all around the base of it. After a while, we could see that the people were dead. We could see their bones because their skin and everything was gone, but they were still standing up... This was pretty scary. Not like the attacking shrubs-- that was just strange. But this was dead people who could still move around and stuff-- when we got closer, they all sort of turned toward us like they were watching us. Rhavin went ahead a little bit to get a closer look, and they all started moving forward to attack him... Nikita started dancing, and everyone else started going after the dead people. They may have been dead, but they got even deader after I smacked ‘em a couple of times. And then the creepiest thing happened. There were only a few left, when MORE started coming out of the GROUND right in front of us. No wonder Rhavin said the ground was evil”
“Since the first trap was just sort of a pit that opened under you, someone got the good idea to just fill it with all the dead Drugdear that were all around. As Ma says, it's an ill wind that blows no good. This way we were tidying up and taking care of a trap at the same time-- well, mostly me and Rhavin. No one else really wanted to touch the bodies, but I figure if you can't deal with dead Drugdear, you shouldn't kill them. Kariya thought it wasn't a really nice thing to do to the bodies, that it'd be desecretizing them, but Rhavin said it was OK so it must be OK. And, anyway, we were sort of burying them... It took a while, but we did it, and even had a few left over.”
“Some other Drugdear came in and took the bodies away, and someone came in to mop. I never thought of Drugdear mopping, but I guess they like their floors clean just like we do. We must be making a lot of extra work for the mopping guys.”
“I found one thing I really liked. It was a helmet that was a lantern too! It was made of that Drugdear steel that looked like glass, so it wouldn't break even if we dropped it. We'd been looking for a lantern for so long, I was so proud that I finally found it... I don’t like being in the dark anymore now. I mean, dark here is REALLY dark-- darker than the darkest night, darker than a closet or a cellar (because there’s no door to let the light back in). Dark here is DARK. I don’t like that the most of all.”
“So the clicky, slimey, whirly tunnel it was. It was smelly too, like vinagar. Not only that, but there was a Big Nasty that lived in the tunnel, and it attacked us right away. Rhavin fell on the slippy floor, and the thing wrapped it’s mouth-parts around his leg. I hit it a couple times, but it was hard not to fall on the slippy floor. Jven threw something on the floor that made it not slippy, so now the big nasty and me were even. Take THAT, you Big Nasty! The big nasty spat slime all over me, and it started burning. But I couldn’t stop whacking it, otherwise I’d just get worse. It was kinda hard to concentrate, but I figured if Rhavin could dive down into a pool of acid, then I could deal with a little burning slime until we were safe... A few more good hits, and the Big Nasty was dead, spewing out more of its burning slime for good measure. Canliss cleaned me up as soon as he could, but I lost some of my armor. My skin still kind of hurt from where the burning slime had touched it, but I knew Nikita or Jven could heal me. I knew I couldn’t get any more armor down here, and that was what stood between me and getting even more hurt than I usually did...We had to figure out how to get past the second Big Nasty without anything bad happening. We decided that I would jump through the broken wall into the next room, Rhavin would climb over it, and Kariya and Canliss would attack from behind. With all of us working together, we killed it pretty quick. In blew up, splattering acid everywhere. All of a sudden, my head was on fire and I couldn’t see. The headlamp was gone!...It was dark again, and I hate the dark. Canliss made the little light that he studies by, and I stood close to him”
“Then I found out that when I lost my lamp, Rhavin lost his holy symbol. No one wanted to say anything, because he must have been feeling pretty bad. Nikita talked to him a bit, and maybe it helped, since she’d lost hers too once, and maybe knew what to say to make him feel better.”
“Jven said the spider was hungry. We found some of the dead apes-- this way they could do some good instead of just smelling bad. I picked one up and jiggled it so the spider would think it was alive and eat it. While it was eating, I asked if we could call the spider ‘Slurpy’. Jven said no... Nikita got really mad when I asked if Slurpy could sleep with us. I guess Slurpy is an outside spider. Kariya said he’d be OK-- Slurpy lives in the caves. I checked after we slept and Slurpy was still there-- whew! I like slurpy-- slurpy purrs.”
“A flock of flying moss flew by us. It seemed a good time to move on.”
“When I breathed, I could hear the big mushroom talking in my head. And all the littler mushrooms, but mostly the big one. They asked all sorts of questions-- like, what is Slurpy? What is eating? It was hard to explain things to them, but I suppose if you were growing in the middle of a mountain all your life you might need a few things explained to you too... It turned out the mushroom people didn’t like Madreus either. They really didn’t like him so much that they wanted to help us. The mushroom king asked one of his bodyguards to come with us, to help. It felt good to be making a friend-- most things were trying to kill us or making us pay for their destroyed bazaar or whatever...
He said his name was One of Five (Kariya said we would NOT call him ‘fivey’)...One of Five is sure interesting to talk to. I keep trying to understand how he eats. He doesn’t have a mouth. I asked him if he eats like Slurpy (I had to explain how Slurpy ate first). It turns out he just stands on some dirt and... well, I’m not quite sure what happens next. One of Five said that some dirt was better than other dirt. He said that we would make good dirt, but I wasn’t sure what he meant. I decided not to ask any more.”
“Kariya said that the woman was one of the people in her dad’s party. She was a Soltanite and her name was Quaren. We buried her and put rocks on top of her. I hope if something bad happens to one of us, that it doesn’t take 27 years for someone to find us and us be in some evil zombie wall all that time...Finally, Jven cast a spell that brought Nikita back. She said she had read Quaren’s mind, and that Madreus had put her in the evil zombie wall and made her attack things. I’m going to kill Madreus extra hard for that. Rhavin hugged Nikita a lot-- reading someone’s mind who’s been in a evil zombie wall for 27 years sounds like no fun”
“The most horrible thing has happened! Last Laugh has broken into hundreds of pieces. It was during the fight with the goblins. Rhavin and I were hacking through them up in front. I was swinging with all my might, but they kept coming on and trying to swarm over us. All these dirty, greasy goblin hands grabbing at us. We were killing them fast, and dead goblins were piling around our feet, but they kept coming, crawling over their dead and wounded. I like a good fight as much as anyone, but fighting hordes of goblins in a dark tunnel, covered in goblin goo was not my idea of a good fight. I was afraid we would drown in goblins, but I just clenched my teeth and hunkered down to the job of goblin-killing.
All of a sudden, I heard a cry from behind, where Kariya had been casting these big bolts of lightning. Kariya was in trouble!
If I've learned anything on my adventures, it's that wizards and priests and stuff are really useful. I couldn't begin to list the times that they were able to just blow up things that were in our way or trying to kill us or something. Not to mention that we'd all be really dead if it weren't for Nikita and Jven. But the most important thing is: wizards and priests and stuff can't do much if something kills them. And something was trying to kill Kariya right now! A giant stone Drugdear had somehow made its way to the back of the party and was attacking Kariya-- she could barely defend herself, and she needed help quick. I ran back there, trying to shake off the goblins hanging on to me. I was so scared for her, I didn't even feel them biting and clawing me as I went (afterward, I learned that nothing hurts worse than a goblin bite-- those dirty little teeth!).
Now that big Drugdear had someone its own size to pick on. It was the biggest we'd seen yet-- its head brushed the ceiling. It had a big hammer that it was using to try to smash me into a pulp-- better me than Kariya!
I figured, the bigger it was, the easier it would be to hit... It felt like hitting a big rock, and made my arms numb so I almost dropped Last Laugh. But it seemed to hurt the Drugdear, and I guess it was pretty scared that it had to fight someone who could give as good as they got.
It looked weak, and I swung again. And Last Laugh broke into a hundred pieces. Nothing had prepared me for this. Thank Azkal that I had felled the Drugdear, because the shock made me so weak I crashed to my knees (which, on a stone floor, hurts! But I didn't feel it then). I could just sit there, looking at Last Laugh's hilt, which was all that was left of her. The sword I had had ever since I was a student at the Academy, that I had carried from town to town, that had been my only weapon for years-- lay in pieces on the ground at my feet.
I didn't know what to do. I'd had Last Laugh for as long as I called myself a warrior. How could I help save the world without her? For a moment, I couldn't think how to fight without a sword. Then, I grabbed the hammer from the body in front of me. I wasn't sad anymore, I was ANGRY! It would feel good to kill goblins, or Drugdear. I would've killed that stone drugdear again, if he hadn't already been dead.
It's hard to keep my spirits up. Losing Last Laugh is like losing a friend. A big, strong friend, who may not talk much but is great to have by your side in a fight. I never thought saving the world would be this hard.”
“Kariya and Rhavin were sitting down with the map to try and figure out what to do next. I was feeling kind of bored, because I can´t really sit down with them and help... So I wondered what would happen if I put the magic rock in my mouth. Would it be hot? Would it taste funny? Would it make my tongue glow?
So I tried it. It just tasted like a rock, but it made my whole face glow from inside, and then when I opened my mouth, all the light would come out. It was kinda fun-- lights on-- lights off. Lights on-- lights off. Rhavin and Kariya didn´t think it was funny, and they made me give it back to Nikita. Nikita made funny shadows that looked like bunnies, so I think she was bored too.”
So we followed him into a room full of... well, I don´t know how to describe them, but them looked like ghosts. I know you say that there isn´t any such thing as ghosts, but I just saw people made of bones and floating skulls, so I think there may be such things. So I´m calling them ghosts... After killing the gray philospher and freeing Wolfram, we found a LOT of treasure. More money than I´ve ever seen in one place-- silver, gold, and platinum-- jewelry-- and magic! I know real adventurers find stuff like this all the time, but it was still exciting for me.”“It was DWARVES! I got to help with their forge and everything! They were just fixing a wheel, but they gave me this really neat shovel that comes apart and you can put it back together”“After all the excitement with the Drugdear, we decided to stay a few days before moving on. It was pretty odd; we'd been killing every Drugdear we met for so long, it was weird shopping with them.”
“It was gray and cold and wet and stinky. I tried to believe i was back on the island but i guess we were reely in the city not the island...We had to find a place to stay to get out of the rain and get Nikita warm again. I wonder if she was reely warm while we believed we were on the island or if she just thot she was. We had to be careful becuz there were lots of sick pepul around who were blue and coffing. I saw a whole wagon of dead sick blue pepul so i guess a lot of pepul die after they get blue. Kariya said that if i was two clos to a blue person i could get blue two.
We found a house with no blue pepul inside and set up camp. We thot the water mite be bad and thats why pepul were getting blue, so Jven tried to make some water and nothing happened. Kariya and Nikita and Canliss tried to make things two and nothing worked and even Rhavin wasnt clean like awlways. Hilt was a big sword now and i couldnt make it turn into anything els and Kariya couldnt open the box where everyones stuff was in. If we had to believe we were in this stinky town with blue pepul why did we have to believe all our stuff didnt work?
... So we got lots of stuff so we could go leave town and go to another town that wasnt blue. I got a big ax to chop wood becuz if Hilt wasnt magik anymore i didnt want to brake it chopping wood. Everyone kept talking about the no magik and why there was no magik and how we could find the magik. It was hard becuz if we had no magik Jven couldnt make water and Nikita couldnt heel us or ask Torodin any qwestshuns and Kariya couldnt make litening bolts and Canliss couldnt change into things and everyone was unhappy. It was like when Nikitas holy simbol got broke exept worse becuz now it was like everyones holy simbol was broke and they couldnt cast any spells.”
So maybe there were ghosts on the boat or maybe nikita was seeing things but everything was OK and we had oatmeal for breakfast with apples sometimes and sometimes without apples and stew for dinner and nikita let me help finish her stew mostly. Then one day was reely foggy and everyone sed is that the ravinloft fog and jven sed no thats just normal fog. But then this big boat came out of the fog and it was all beat up and old and there were ded pepul on it and it had THE ETERNAL TORMENT writtin in blud on it.
It reminded me of when we were in the dessert of despair and there were all those ded pepul that we had to fight and now we were in the water not the dessert but there were still ded pepul. I yelled out "GHOST BOAT" and got Hilt ready even tho it was already ready cuz i had been practising.
The big ded guy bit me twice before I was able to kill him and it still reely hurt. I felt week too i mean even tho i got beat up pretty bad i usully get beat up more. When nikita heeled me the bite mark didnt go all away but just turned into a big ugly scar. I gess after all this fiteing i should have some scars but usully everything goes away when nikita or jven heels me. Maybe it just takes longer to get better in ravinloft.
We cleened up the boat. It was reely gros even with canliss helping but finally it was mostly done. We went back to work after a lite dinner and pepul went down to try to fix the side of the our boat where the ghost boat ran into it. Then nikita sed man overbord becuz someone had fallen in. Jven and rhavin jumped in and i threw rope down to pull the man overbord back up. After everyone was back in the boat, the boat changed to look like the ghost boat. It got all old and broken looking and instead of having ENDURENCE written on the side it had SHIP OF HORRORS on the side writtin in blud. Just like the other boat.
I was afraid that we would turn into ded pepul like the other boat but then i herd someone saying oh no not again like the boat was turning into a ghost boat again not just the first time. I gess if this boat was a ghost boat before and no one was ded pepul yet then we probly wouldnt turn into ded pepul now. But then i got reely mad becuz if this was a ghost boat why didnt they tell us on the sign like adventurers needed for GHOST BOAT or something?