Sign up for The JA Pitts Newsletter for upcoming events and special offers

Cleric Journal: Day Fifty-Three



Today dawned cool and clear.   A severe weather front swept from the north, dropping the temperatures low enough to be noticeable. I wasn’t expecting snow or anything, as far south as we were. The swamp was tropical. The thought of lightning made the plans to swim across the lake a little daunting.

We ate the last of the stew, cleaned the camp and loaded all our gear onto the reed floats. Liz was comfortable swimming with her spear and she could hold her breath for like forever. If we got into a tussle, it was going to be on her to hold the critters at bay while I swam for it. We’d abandon the gear if we had to. Not my first choice, believe me. I just had the strongest intuition that we should be on the far side of this lake if we were going to escape whatever trouble Tim had gotten himself into. We’d even prayed about it, Liz and I. Each in our own way.

Besides, I needed to explore the new tower. What if it was truly one of our abandoned homes? I had no idea our order was spread so far. How much influence did our forbearers have on the ruined city of my dreams? Is that why I dreamed about it so often? I wonder if there were texts I could’ve read in our archives.

Oh, right. The archives burned down when the east tower collapsed. That was a nasty day. And quite the coincidence, don’t you think? Have you given any thought to the fact that the fire and the tower collapse may have been sabotage?

Alas, we may never know. Hopefully the next tower will provide more clues. I will endeavor to make your proud and learn all I can. If need be I will attempt to remove any foul beasts from the tower and purify the sanctuary. We can begin to reclaim our history one tower at a time. Of course, the last one sort of exploded. But the tower near the swamp people remains intact. That’s something to rejoice.

We waded out into the lake, looped our vine ropes around our necks and set off at a steady swim. The water was pretty warm, which surprised me. The wind had a bite to it that felt unnatural. This swamp didn’t see winter, at least not winter weather. What was happening?

As I made my way across the lake my mind focused intently on cold. I had a strong sense of impending trouble. The lake was roughly a league across but I was not the strongest swimmer. Liz practically swam around me in circles looking for things that may want to chomp on my legs and other dangly bits.

For once, we got lucky. I stumbled onto the far shore exhausted but ungnawed. It was refreshing with the chill wind and I quickly donned my robes which stayed remarkably dry and warm in the sun. Liz’s idea of the reed floats had been brilliant.

She beached us nearly a league south of the tower. We decided to make camp here where we had access to fish. As a matter of fact, while I gathered wood for a fire, Liz went out and caught us a handful of small (by her standards) fish that we could cook over the fire. I got a fire going and began boiling water while Liz gutted and cleaned the fish. When she tossed the guts over toward the water we got a bit of a shock. There were stone crabs on this side of the lake. Of course, I’d never seen a stone crab, but Liz had. She said they were quite excellent to eat, but could kill an unwary hunter. We’d have to move our camp further inland.

I took up my mace, and she her spear, and we went crab hunting.   Stone crabs get to be upwards of three feet across the shell with two pincers that can cut a man’s leg in two. They are also fast.

Liz was a pro at fighting them. The trick, she told me, was to flip them over on their backs and stab them through the soft belly shell. Otherwise spears tended to deflect off the tough shells.

She also advised not crushing the claws while fighting them, as that had the tastiest flesh. They were hard enough to kill without adding unneeded restrictions on style. I did land a few blows with the mace on one average size crab, succeeding in cracking the shell, but it fled the fight before I could finish it off. In that same time, Liz flipped over two of the monsters and killed them with her spear. After that the remaining ones fled south along the beach.

They’d be back after dark to pick through the remains of the fallen, and snack on us if we were incautious. We steamed the meat and had a feast. Once we ate our fill we mixed the remaining flesh with the fish and made a hearty stew with some tubers Liz pointed out. We’d eat like kings for a few days.

We wrapped up the remaining food, covered the pot and tied it closed, then I carried the pot in front of me, with the water barrel on my back. I felt like one of those crabs, all bulky and apt to tip over. There was a ridge half a klick in toward the heart of what we discovered was an island. It ran far enough north and south to hide the fact it was an island. Once we got settled in a defensible position, we bedded down. As usual, I took first watch while Liz slept. Times like these I really missed having a third like Brother Charles. He could sleep sitting on mine or Liz’s shoulder while we walked and be bright-eyed and bushy tailed when it came around to watch.

Alas for lost friends. My shift was four hours. And that swim had nearly done me in. I was one tired cleric.

« | »

Leave a Comment

What I'm Reading


D&D 5E Player’s Handbook


Recent Comments


The wild ox; strength and power.


Creativity; words, music, and art.


The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.


The sun; energy, honor, guidance.


Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.


The harvest; patience and promise.


The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.