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Day 6 continued, Day 7

Ghelt’s Journal

Dearest Grun,

Well, it’s been an eventful couple of days!

We finished resting for a moment, and returned to searching the upstairs. Witch-lord or no, Trap wasn’t going to be happy until he found something. He finally discovered a spellbook-looking tome, and we headed downstairs while he worked out how to open it. We found Korin had stayed down in the formerly orc-infested room, lit a fire, and was cooking rations over it. At least he was using the fireplace, but he was also using the furniture for fuel. Ah, well..

There was a large boom from upstairs and a singed smell — we ran up to find Trap, miraculously unhurt, with the book open before him. I can’t say as much for the state of the rest of the room but at least he’s learning to duck better! Apparently the book was more of a journal — yet another person is/was looking for the Heart of Nerull. It also sounds like we’re only a few days behind them..

As we talked abut the contents of the book, we were accompanied by the sounds of crashing from downstairs, as Korin broke up more furniture. I was about to head down to tell him to stop making so much noise — again! — when there came a sudden shout of “I didn’t touch it!”.. then silence.. and then Trap and Fafnir heard the sounds of a fight. We ran down yet again — getting plenty of exercise, eh? — to see Korin being attacked by an undead elf. This thing was apparently more powerful than the previous orcs, as it hit Korin twice and weakened him terribly. We killed it, but he looked so pale and awful I actually picked him up for a closer look to be sure he wasn’t turning undead himself!

He was OK, but we decided to barricade ourselves in a room for a day to give him a chance to recover. I haven’t the heart to chew him out, even; he’s paid dearly for his mistake this time!

The next day, Korin seemed better, although Drusilia says it will take time for him to really recover fully. We went on downstairs, although Korin surprised me by actually offering me the other end of a rope that he’d tied to himself. An unusual way of trying to stay out of trouble, but I didn’t object; at least I’ll know he’s within 50 feet of me! Trap looked miffed — but I remember he was offended when I tied him to a line, before — and Fafnir is now convinced we’re a tripping hazard. I’ve had to retie the line a couple of times after it was “accidentally” cut.

On a nice side note — Trap checked the last couple of rooms quickly, finding old clothes and such, but one door he checked shot a lightning bolt through the room (and several of us. And the metal ladder to the roof.).. yet the room itself was full of garbage. Drusilia healed Trap up, and he searched that room like a halfling possessed, and wouldn’t you know — he came up with a very nice little sword? It may be holy, it has a symbol of Pelor on it, and Drusilia’s promised to tell him all about her god later. In the meantime, he adopted it for his very own.

The next floor down had one dead ogre (with one odd-looking dagger, Trap gave it to Korin) and a very rotten-smelling kitchen, so we went on to the ground floor and finally reached the other side of the main door to the place! We discussed going to get Mule, who must be pretty thirsty by now, but decided to finish checking the tower before dealing with the remainder of the undead orcs shuffling outside.

The cellar had several closed doors and a well in the middle of the floor. Korin liked the well a lot (I was glad we still had the rope line!).. and then Trap began to open doors. He opened one to a glowing blue light, and walked right in! As we hesitated outside, we heard him holler something like, “Death, you foul thing!” and off he charged. We ran into a large laboratory full of odd things, especially a spinning, glowing blue crystal in the middle of the room! Trap was attacking two undead elves with his new sword (which did an amazing amount of damage. He’s got a very nice new toy!), and Drusilia turned one to dust even as the other let off a spell that hit Trap pretty hard.

Fafnir cast a flaming sphere at the remaining elf, as I charged by Trap (who was just standing a moment, ignoring the pain, yelling at the top of his lungs about the wonderful properties of his new sword), Drusilia set up for more holy magic, and Korin looked in the door, recognized some former friends of his, and walked back to the well for a bucket of water. Must be shock of some kind. The undead elf was pretty creepy — his face kept falling off — but he sent out a nasty black wave of magic that slammed us all pretty hard!

Fafnir let his fireball drift a moment while he smashed the crystal — which for some reason actually made the evil elf happy! I stepped around the sphere and let him have it for all I was worth, concerned that if he was pleased by the crystal’s destruction, we were all in real trouble! While it was distracted by me, Drusilia turned it well, and it cowered in a corner long enough for us all to finish it off. What a relief! For after finding some disturbing notes in the place, we found out the “elf” was a human, the witch-lord himself, whose magic had gone very wrong, and trapped him in the room and driven him mad. He was actually wearing the skin of one of Korin’s former elf friends! The magic users also found some new toys, but I wasn’t too interested in that, as I realized Korin was missing, yet again.

Up the steps I went, Trap helping me search, but we found no sign of him until the top floor when we heard him on the roof. We managed to make it up the twisted ladder, and found to our relief that all the undead orcs had collapsed outside! We could also see Mule wandering around, so Trap went to get him while Korin and I covered him with our bows drawn. I thought Fafnir and Drusilia were still downstairs playing with their new magic items, when the gnome suddenly leapt through the open trap door. And I mean leapt — to my surprise, he shot thirty or more feet into the air, and fell screaming down on top of me! I actually caught him in time, or that might have been his only trial of his new magic ring. I’d have swatted him more but I was laughing too hard.

Trap having returned with Mule, we went downstairs for one last search; although the place already felt cleansed of its evil, Korin had told me he wanted to see his friends buried decently. Trap tired a new door in the cellar and fled screaming away, which worried me that we’d missed something after all, so I carefully went into the room.. it was very sad. He’d found the remains of the elf who’d lost his skin to the witchlord’s madness. Carefully, I closed the door and went upstairs to get some blankets to wrap him in, along with the dust and other remains of Korin’s elf companions. When I returned, I found he’d wandered in. I held my breath, for fear he’d put two and two together, but thank Moradin! He didn’t get it. I wrapped the bodies up and told him I was going to bury them outside, so we went and did so, and said a prayer over them.

Korin wanted to check out a longhouse in the village while we were out there, so we walked over. (By the way, he’s found himself a battleaxe almost as big as he is, and named it Modge. I’m supposed to help him learn to wield it better!). We found a crudely-built forge, and old half-finished weaponry. It didn’t look to have been worked in years, which makes me wonder where all the mined ore was going. I fear we’ll find out, from the way things are going!

Finally, the party decided to return to the mine, hoping that one of the magic items they’d discovered would release the slaves from their collars. Fafnir now has on a pair of gauntlets that make him harder to hit — he tested them out by sparring with me, and I’m impressed! It’s a very useful thing for him, and more practical than his new ring (at least until he learns how to land!). They gave Korin an iron ring; I don’t know what it does but I hope it helps him stay out of trouble! Trap’s looking positively cautious and careful by comparison, at this point.

We were blessed by luck — a scepter with a ruby in it caused the collars to open and freed the slaves. I promptly snapped the collars shut and threw them in the lake, much to Fafnir’s disgust, but although we might have sold them or made good use of them I found them too evil to be used again, for any reason. Hope he understands.

And so, we’re resting in the village, and all will move on tomorrow. The slaves are already planning how to get home, and we are preparing the follow our map again to the Heart of Nerull!

I hope you’re praying for me, Grun — I don’t like these goings-on being so close to our home. I hope you never learn about these evils until after we succeed and you read these notes!

Walking with Moradin,

Posted by Kate on February 23, 2003, 13:34 | Ghelt’s Journal