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Drusilia’s Journal

Sunday, Flocktime 9, 592 CY

It turns out we are a match for the undead here, when we work as a team. Korin seems to have found an inner strength, perhaps from the Sword of Pelor. In fact, if Pelor’s symbol wasn’t on the sword, I’d be seriously worried that it had somehow taken over Korin’s personality. But, he was a strong fighter before we found him in the orc slave mines, and he may have just needed some focus to come to terms with that.

We ventured back into Barraktor in the morning, and went to the uppermost level first. After a night with no fire, we looked at a lot of the old weapons and furnishings as potential kindling. The rooms didn’t contain the secrets to defeating the undead (as I think we all hoped, somehow), but we did defeat four more shadows. A daylight spell proved useful to keep them from slipping away from us, but it still took a group effort to destroy them. Sometimes my attempts to destroy undead only turn them temporarily, and I don’t wish them to sneak around behind us, so I’m limiting my use of turning unless there are more than we can handle. Ghelt is intrigued by the way I was imbuing Jonathan’s sword with divine magic and has used it on her own war axe.

We continued through a group of little 10’ by 10’ rooms, finding little of interest. At one point though, when Ghelt was in a room on the opposite side of a long hall of little rooms, I heard her call for help and I went pelting down the corridor, to find her battling for her life against a really nasty wraith. It left when the rest of us got to the room (which was good, since there was no room to fight!) but left her looking very unhealthy. After that, we decided that looking room by room in a place where the inhabitants could float through ceilings and walls was fruitless. Ghelt and Jonathan found a hidden stairwell going down, so down we went.

After descending for a very long time, we came to a door and emerged from the stairs in a much lower level of Barraktor. We were in a hall with several sets of alcoves on either side, and a door ahead of us. The frame around it said “Hall of Heroes” in dwarvish script (which I can read, thanks to Ghelt’s tutelage). We continued in. The hall was big. Really big! The hall had tiers of statues paying homage to dwarves of eons past. Ghelt was clearly awestruck— I just warned the others not to touch anything (I could already picture them “scavenging” for magical weapons and armor). We finally came to a set of double doors covered in artwork— artwork very similar to that on Ghelt’s magical helm. And sure enough, when our other attempts to open the door failed, Ghelt’s helm began to glow and the doors creaked open!

We continued on for a bit, when our normally agile halfling stumbled on something. Suddenly, the ceiling began to crumble and large pieces of rock fell. The footing was harrowing while trying to dodge the debris, resulting in Ghelt and Fafnir tripping as well. Thankfully Korin and Jonathan were able to scoop up Ghelt while I grabbed Fafnir, and we raced forward. When the avalanche stopped, the way behind us was blocked.

We walked on and down another set of stairs, and eventually came to a chasm with the remnants of a bridge jutting out into the center of it. On the opposite side of the chasm, a ghostly reenactment of a battle between dwarves, shadows, and some otherworldly bat-like things played over and over. I’m not sure what was causing it— and they certainly were not aware of us. The floor on either side of the chasm was littered with the bones and equipment of the dead fighters— we found two javelins of lightning and some crossbow bolts that were magical— and I detected magical treasure on the other side of the chasm as well.

But how to cross? The open distance was at least 40’— too far for any of us not using magical means. As we searched for a way across, I absentmindedly kicked some dirt out on the bridge—perhaps hoping that, like the battle raging silently across from us, its absence was also illusory. Sadly, the dirt just fell through the opening, and I continued my search for anything that might help us, when I heard... flapping, coming up from the depths of the chasm. I turned to warn the others just in time for us to be set upon by six vargouilles—nasty creatures from the infernal planes that look like (and in fact are) a head with batwings protruding from where the ears should be. The sight was too much for Jonathan and Ghelt, so Fafnir, Korin and I were left to battle them alone, while they froze in fear.

As if the fiendish flapping heads weren’t enough, I sensed something behind the frozen form of Jonathan, and turned in time to see that the wraith had followed us, and was in contact with the fighter. I was able to turn it with such divine power as to destroy it, but not until after it had drained quite a bit of health from Jonathan. Like he can afford it! Fortunately, we were able to kill five of the vargouilles quickly, though the remaining one had kissed Ghelt while she was frozen in fear. I sliced it in two in midair, but the damage was done. Ghelt spent several harrowing hours waiting to turn into one herself, but thankfully her already-drained constitution was able to fight off the effects of the deadly kiss.

While I prayed for more spells to help Ghelt and the others, Fafnir cast a spiderclimb spell on Korin and he crossed the chasm to see what magical items awaited us— hoping to help Ghelt, whom he seems to have sworn to protect. A closer look at the ghostly battle shows that the winged things flapping about were likely vargouilles fighting in conjunction with the undead. Thankfully no more appeared to fight us!

Korin came back to us toting dwarven half-plate (which magically shrank to fit the halfling) and magical boots (which also shrank to fit him), a magical dwarven urgrosh for Ghelt and a ring of protection, plus an enchanted heavy crossbow. Jonathan and Fafnir split the stuff we’d found on this side. My comrades always offer the treasure to the person that most needs it or is most qualified to use it, so it’s likely things will pass around the party again. I myself prefer light and quick equipment, and am not likely to find much of that in a dwarven stronghold, but perhaps our further journeys will introduce me to something embued with divine magic to fight the increasing number of undead.

Posted by Kristin on April 9, 2003, 17:25 | Drusilia’s Journal