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Ring Leader

Drusilia’s Journal

Earthday, Flocktime 6, 592 CY

In addition to being excellent hosts, the stone giants were able to point us closer to our destination, Arun-tosa (City of the Dead) as well as provide us with some dwarven history. It seems the dwarven clans of Barraktor destroyed the City and its necromancer king, though the evil they fought (or perhaps released) was so great it caused them abandon their own mines and thus broke the dwarven clan into smaller groups. The giants (which included a very personable one named Gunnae who did much of the talking with us) warned us that we were not the first to go back to Arun-tosa, and that those that ventured there were not seen again.

They also traded some much-needed arcane scrolls for some of the gems we found, and Korin traded them his well-crafted mail for a big silver ring— meant to be worn on the finger of a giant, it encircles Korin’s head. He is wearing all of Trap’s stuff and carrying his equipment (having dropped some of his own, apparently) and insists that Trap is talking to him. We’ve cast every spell we can think of to detect Trap’s spirit, and can only assume that Korin is utterly barmy.

Before setting off again on our quest, I was so grateful for the giants’ hospitality I offered to heal anyone that needed it. Gunnae assured me that their own healer served their needs well, but there was another visitor that perhaps I could help. He lead me (with Korin bouncing along between us) to a chamber with a huge stone bed. Using up a small portion of the bed was the most mangled-looking human I’d ever seen (well, that was still breathing, anyway!). Korin immediately wanted to wrap the man up like a mummy, so I asked Gunnae to please scruff the halfling while I attempted a miracle.

It took several of my strongest healing spells to get him to the point where he could sit up, and then stand up, but I must confess the healings didn’t make him look any prettier. Some of what I thought was damage was just how poor Jonathan looks. He asked to travel with us, feeling he’d imposed on the stone giants long enough, and we can use an extra fighter, seeing as Korin now considers himself our party’s rogue. Though not as charismatic as the human paladins and clerics of Pelor that I am used to seeing, he is a follower of Mayaheine, who honors Pelor, so I feel that at least I have a connection with Jonathan. And oddly, even though I brought him back from the brink of death, he seems to feel that I need his protection. We’ll see....

Korin is our “scout” now. After several attempts to keep him safely on a tether, Ghelt had to unhook him. We’d found a cave opening after walking for half the day, and he offered to investigate it for us. Seeing as it was 60 feet off the ground and halflings are decent climbers, this seemed like a fine idea. Korin scaled the vertical rock like it was a ladder, and quickly disappeared into the dark cave entrance. He was to drop a rope to us as soon as he was inside, but didn’t, and moments later a strange music was echoing down to us. Whether it was something that only effected males, or just bad luck for them, Fafnir and Jonathan immediately began to climb the rock face too— Fafnir with a spell that allowed him to walk right up the side, and Jonathan, climbing and scrabbling. Ghelt and I, by far the worst climbers of the lot, got worried when Fafnir didn’t drop down a rope either. Luckily, Jonathan didn’t do so well on his climb, and dropped back down to us. The fall knocked the wind out of him, and apparently the enchantment from the music. Now Ghelt and I were very worried. Jonathan climbed up again, this time remaining clear-headed enough to drop a rope down to us. It still required us to climb to the bottom of the length of rope and took another minute or so for us to get to the top.

I cast Light when we were up, and we followed the sound of the haunting music. Turning a corner we found ourselves in a large lair with two hideous female creatures—they had wings and bird legs and were peeling the flesh off of our comrades as they crooned their hideous song. A Searing Light interrupted the one snacking on Fafnir, causing it to grab a femur from a pile of bones and come after me. Jonathan was soon dazed again, but Ghelt was able to dispatch the other while I finished off the one I was facing with my sword. Thankfully, the enchantment wore off of our male counterparts with the deaths of the harpies. We patched them up and were planning on going back out to the main entrance to camp when I spotted a glint of metal under a pile of loose stone. Scooping away the debris I found a bag of gold and a few gems, and a very dirty longsword. Brushing the grime away, I discovered something wonderful—a finely crafted, razor-sharp sword of elven design. It is magical too, though I’ve yet to unlock all of its secrets. I have never possessed or even used a magical weapon before, and at the time, I didn’t realize I had pulled out my old longsword and replaced it with this beautiful weapon without even thinking to ask any of my comrades if they wanted it. Luckily, I’m the only one among them that fights with a longsword anyway. If we manage to meet up with Valon again, perhaps he will know more about it. Korin is now toting around my old one even though it’s a long as he is tall.

After an otherwise restful and uneventful night, we managed to get back down on the ground and continue our trek. The mountainous terrain is getting harder to walk on and it is taking us longer than I originally had hoped. After a quiet day we were just about to make camp when we heard howling of wolves in the distance, followed by wolves howling from the opposite direction. Hoping they were merely animals, I used a spell to speak with them and asked them to pass by us. Unfortunately, they weren’t regular wolves, for they began to circle us, occasionally howling to each other as they went. When the first one came into view, it spoke to us in a growly voice— in Common! It was just about then that we realized we were fighting under the light of a full moon.

Each of us now had either magic, a magical weapon, or a silver weapon at our disposal, though none of us knew if these were werewolves or some other manner of intelligent lupine. While Fafnir, Ghelt, Jonathan and I fought bravely as they continued to leap out of the dark at us, Korin went sailing by us on the back of one, using his silver ring as a harness over its snout....

Eventually, we either wounded or killed them all, or scared them off. My new sword sliced through the evil creatures easily— it’s truly a remarkable weapon. We’ve all been bitten though, so I pray to Pelor that they weren’t lycanthropes. Thankfully the rest of the night passed quietly, allowing us to get an early start on our quest.

Posted by Kristin on March 17, 2003, 13:33 | Drusilia’s Journal