Everybody needs a change of perspective on occasion, be it to put yourself in another's shoes or to actually put yourself into another's body. I had this experience thrust upon me last night when I attempted to shoo away a local drunkard. Normally, the resultant reaction would be for the culprit to wander from the area and hopefully to his home. This time the results were a bit more dramatic, as the drunkard happened to be a hedgewizard of some skill. When the smoke had cleared, I found myself transformed into warty splendor on top of the Black Knight's lightning-riddled corpse. He had turned me into a toad!
Ah yes, Good Reader. I know you are questioning my priorities. Yes, the Black Knight had fallen as we traveled through the Ehhrsk highways. These sewers and underground tunnels are the favorite routes of those down-and-out or simply too cheap to pay the price of a lift ride to the next tier. They are quite clean in comparison to Crossing's or Shard's sewers. There is an ingenious system of valves and gratings designed to keep water from backing up during flood-strength rains, but they also serve to separate groups from each other and ensure that no trip through is the same way twice.
We were in pursuit of the Kra'hei, those mad (some say undead) S'kra whose visages are as twisted as their magic is powerful. We had found one lone creature and figured two knights could easily render him harmless. The Kra'hei quickly dissuaded us from this notion when it uttered a word of power as I advanced that sent death arcing past me to impact the Black Knight's abdomen. Ozone mixed with burnt flesh, and I was persuaded to forego the battle.
I bonded the Knight's weapons, and dragged him as far as I was able. I swear he wears his armor in his pack instead of on his body, for it would take both Damaria and I struggling together to get the fellow to a safe location. Safe and more likely for somebody to stumble across his body. Stumble being the operative word, for he did make quite a decent tog-bump in the road. Damaria healed his extensive injuries while I settled down to wait for potential clerical aid.
Not a few moments after my Princess had left did I find myself counting the warts upon my back and admiring the prodigious length and flexibility of my sticky tongue. The only thing that did not change was my singing voice, and I croaked out a few lines of my favorite songs. The Black Knight was not quite amused, but I'm sure he was grateful for my efforts to keep him fly-free. Only when the priestess Ssalmissra appeared was I relieved of my amphibious burden and my companion's spirit returned to his body.
I count myself fortunate in meeting this lady, for not four days later would I find myself in the exact same position as the Black Knight: dead of a Kra'hei's lightning bolt. Again, it was an attempt to face these beasts that saw us within the Ehhrsk underground. The Black Knight and Damaria were ahead of me, and I fell behind as I tried to fathom the value of the holy mana in the tunnels. As I ran to catch them, I came across a lone sample of the monster. Five seconds later, I was focusing upon my spirit's ability to maintain cohesiveness.
My body was relocated to the third tier by sweat and effort. I have not seen so many folks in one spot on Ratha since I have arrived, so I feel I can gladly thank them all for their help. Oracle Geoffin, Priestess Ssalmissra, Guild-Brother Baldric, Momus, and Guild-Sister Stephiana. My body soon was reinhabited, and I felt the need pass to pursue that monster; I had faced them squarely, five seconds or no. The Kra'hei had shown themselves too volatile for safe hunting.
Baldric, that worthy soul, would share with me much of his knowledge of the beast. He explained how Lightning Bolt is not the only spell they have been known to cast, though it is one of the more effective. He has been tingled, mind-fried, fire-balled, and ice-patched. The creature's magic seems inexhaustible, for it always has another spell ready upon its wicked tongue. I can attest that it needs not to target or, if it does, it targets in a way I am unable to fathom. Without protection from the elements, or resistance to mental attacks, any hunt against the Kra'hei is risky to the point of being foolhardy.
My Guild-Brother went on to mention that a paladin's best hope against these is to disrupt its offensive capabilities with a touch of Sentinel's Resolve. This is somewhat of a risky venture, for it makes it that much harder to strike them down. Still, if it will remove the edge of their spell's effectiveness, it is a sound strategy. Any who wish to try this should know I did not (ed. note: "not" has been underlined twice) exaggerate at the creature's speed in casting. Be prepared to cast at all times.
With two deaths in four days, thank Lanival for His intervention, we decided to take it a bit easier for a few days. I have made tentative arrangements with Momus to serve as a scout to the distant Lighthouse upon the hill. There, I will do what battle I may against the pirates and skeletal soldiers. I do not expect to survive this encounter, but perhaps the fates will be kind upon this Soldier.
Until next, Good Reader, may your perceptions remain wide and open...