A note from The Walrus King

Apologies. I threw out my back, and the pain forced me to take a break from writing. I'm still having trouble sitting at my desk. But I'm going to get back to writing. I can plot things out on paper while standing at my shop, and then manage the hour to write up the chapters. 

But I should be back to a small chapter a day.

Milo had so many questions about this quest. Obviously, there were downsides to putting on questionable pieces of clothing taken from mushroom infested rat-kin sorcerers.

But one thing was pretty clear. He had to make a choice to keep the old souls chained up, or set them free. And this was actually an easy decision for Milo. He never wanted to go back to belonging to someone. And he wasn't going to hold the chains of someone else.

"I think I could use that assistance. How do I set them all free?"

Ignacious laughed. "You part is straight forward-just keep washing that tunic and dumping the water. I think I know an exorcism to help." The priest dug into his exorcism kit. "Use this along with the soap, it's dust from the tomb of Saint Frederic the Valiant. A great priest. He still holds the record for the most demons exorcised during the Solstice Festival."

Milo was skeptical, but took the packet of grey powder and dumped it in. How did someone decide that that dust was magical? He suspected it was an excuse to make sure someone swept up the dust now and then.

Ignacious came back in followed by a large gaggle of women who surrounded the Milo's washtub. "All together now ladies, let’s start with the Hymn of Morning from the festival of Summer, and then continue with all 97 stanzas of 'Begone, Spirit, Begone'

One of the more elderly women got excited. "Oh, I always liked that one! We used to take a sip of wine at each stanza. It made things so much more fun." Ignatius suddenly realized why the summer choir practices were so rowdy and well attended.

Milo dumped the tub, and it was refilled with hot water by two younger boys hauling buckets. As they ran to get more, he overheard one say, "Jed is going to be so jealous! I can't wait to tell him we helped some crazy holy man kick out demons from an old shirt!"

Ignatius was busy drawing runes on the stone floor and lighting some scented candles. From somewhere a couple of bottles of wine appeared and were passed around at the end of each stanza. Somewhere around stanza 39, milo heard a loud crack, and one of the ethereal chains cracked and disappeared. The spirit thumbed his nose at the others, bowed to Milo, and soared off into the sky.

Regulus Tyborian, High Diviner of the Lapis Empire is free of his chains!

You receive his blessing. While bound to the Bone-Runed Cowl you gain +2 Int.

Several of the ladies excitedly clapped. Ignatius tossed more dust and some cedar shavings into the washtub. "Steady on ladies. We have only started."

"Going to need more wine then!"

Maskitter the Malevolent has broken free of his chains. He thinks you are a fool to give up such power! He will return someday to make you his slave.

The spirit of the rat-kin dove down into the earth.

Albrecht the Undecided thanks you for freeing him. He's spent far too many years studying one thing and is off to try his hand at enchanting flowers and baking pies. He stuffs some of his accumulated knowledge into your skull. You have gained the crafting skills: Bone Carving and Skrimshaw

Albrecht's spirit turned in a circle several times before flying off in a random direction. Two spirits were left. The chorus was up to the 53rd stanza, the wine bottles were proliferating, and a small crowd was forming, with vendors selling treats.

Hordifax Ribtaker has been freed from his ethereal bonds. He acknowledges the debt owed to you and bequeaths to you a small fraction of his knowledge of runes.

You have gained the Lore Skill: Runes

Whatever Hordifax had been, it wasn't pretty. The spirit screamed, and flew low over the crowd, scattering them. It laughed and took off to parts unknown.

The Oracle of Oblivion, She who reads the bones of the Ancients, Seer of the Frozen Wastes, Collector of Fingernails of Dead Men, and Rider of the Great Flightless Greeb has chosen to depart. Weep, for you will not see her like again in a thousand years! She leaves you a portion of her spirit: You gain +100 mana.

The last spirit glowed and became visible to everyone. Her chain dissolved and she was gone. Milo sat back. His arms ached and his fingers were raw! He held up the Bone-Runed Cowl and saw that it was completely clean, except for a small dark stain on one arm where he had been wounded. A small silver chain ran from the tattered robe and encircled his waist.

Ignatius raised his hands and led the choir in one more round and then they all dissolved into talk and laughter. "Oh, we need to do this more often! We haven't had a good exorcism in years!"

Milo wrung out the water from the robe. Alessandra walked over to him. "Here now, let me dry that for you. I don't have much power, but I can manage the drying cantrip easily. She cast a small spell and all the water dropped from the robe, drying it instantly. Milo put it on over his shirt.

He eyed the crowd at the entrance which was starting to come this way. It made him very nervous. Too many people. Ignatius noticed. "Let's be on our way. We can sneak out this way. Let's you keep your status as 'unknown and mysterious'. You'll get more free dinners that way.


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The Walrus King

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