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Oh... Who Cares What Day It Is?

Ghelt’s Journal

Dearest Grun,

This may be the last time I get to write to you, my cousin! While I knew I had quite a long letter to write in order to catch up on what’s been happening, I didn’t dream I’d be writing it while waiting to perhaps turn into a monster. I’d write out a proper will, but I expect that the party will divide up my belongings amongst themselves as soon as they’ve killed me. My mother’s holy symbol, I pray, will be taken home to Father, at least.

To start where I left off..

We got started without any more sight or sound of wolves, and no lasting effects from their bites except Korin’s new propensity to chew on my arm and growl threateningly. I’m pretty sure it was just a new idea working its way through his brain in its usual wayward manner, as Drusilia had cast a spell to remove any diseases on us all. We walked half a day, turning onto an old road that seemed to lead toward our destination. As the sun began to set, we came to a bridge, and despite Korin trying to pretend to be a troll under it (?!), we heard the sounds of fighting up ahead. We came around a turn to find two leprous dwarves whose party, they said, had been attacked by an ettin and taken away. We followed the trail to a cave entrance and got into quite a fight with the ettin, discovering it was also undead. It hit both me and Jonathan very hard, but Drusilia’s holy magic and Fafnir’s lightning bolt weakened it to the point that we could take it out. While Fafnir climbed onto the ceiling (an odd sight), I went searching for the other dwarves.

Instead of dwarves, I was accosted by two very ugly, grey things, one of which tried to bribe me with promises of gold if we would just let them leave in peace. As I tried to question them, Drusilia shouted not to trust them, and Korin came charging into the cave shouting about it being a trap (or Trap?), and fired off two arrows into the things. They immediately attacked me, and we had to kill them before finding out anything more. Korin then explained that the two dwarves we’d met on the road had turned into “scaly badness,” then made smoke and left, so he’d figured out the rest of the situation was a trap, too. Good for Korin — I’d only seen they were dwarves, and not questioned the rest. A lesson for me, about how to treat strangers in the wilds! Fafnir found a box and weapons in the back of the cave on a ledge, and Korin happily pushed them all over onto the floor, then fell himself while holding a javelin, although I managed to catch him (yikes!). We counted out the treasure and spent the rest of the night at the mouth of the cave.

The next morning we continued on toward the City of the Dead, carrying Korin’s various weapons while he scouted on ahead. We came to a Y in the road with his spear pointed toward the direction of an ancient fortress of dwarven make, up on a plateau. Drusilia thought we were very close to the City, along the other turning. I didn’t want to wonder what might come out of the fortress behind us if we went to the city first, so we followed Korin’s lead and headed up the road. Atfer pushing the doors open, setting off some crossbolt traps, and finding a beautiful but abandoned hall, we ended up in a battle with several terrible shadows, which drained Jon’s life to the point where he couldn’t even stand up in his own armor! They drained me, too, and we were all relieved to get out of there when Drusilia either destroyed or turned them away for a little while. As it was nearly night, we camped outside the fortress, hoping the things were not inclined to leave it. Korin decided to try out the sword of Pelor, since this is what Drusilia said it was meant to be used for, and headed back in alone. None of us were in a physical or mental state to stop him, but he soon returned, saying the sword worked quite well! I’m glad for him, but I hope it doesn’t inspire the madness it did in Trap and Drusilia. Would I be able to tell?

Of course, we were wrong about the shadows, which attacked during the night. Luckily, Korin’s sword and a magical spear someone handed me could destroy them, as could Drusilia’s and Fafnir’s magics. Finally, we did get some sleep!

Pardon me, Grun, I must tell you it’s helping me keep my mind off everything to write to you like this, just like everything’s going on as usual. I hate to think my adventuring could end like this! I always imagined either a hero’s death or living to a ripe old age, full of stories. Not being killed by my own party after turning into a .. thing. I’ve made it through the first few hours all right, but I have to wait nearly a day before I know I’m safe, or until Drusilia can pray for a spell to heal me first! The worry has made me totally unfit for company; I hope the others can forgive me for hollering at them and writing to you instead.

The next morning, we decided to return to the stronghold. I had seen the effects of a spell Drusilia was casting on Jon’s sword that made it harm the shadows badly, and learned how to do it to my axe, which I was looking forward to trying out. Korin wanted to find the armory, and Jon wanted to check out the upstairs, and I figured the upstairs would be over with quickly so we went that way first. Sure enough, there wasn’t much to be found but old and useless equipment, and we were attacked again by shadows, both in the mess hall and the barracks. Korin was weakened to the point that he took off his armor, saying it was too heavy, and I was hit hard, too. I feel less healthy than I am used to, and you know dwarves are known for their strong constitutions! Jonathan became convinced the proportions of the walls were off, so we began to search, and sure enough I found a secret door with stairs leading downwards. We all descended.

At the bottom, Grun, we found a wonderful thing! A dwarven Hall of Heroes like I haven’t seen before! There were hundreds of statues and names, and I wish I had the talent for storytelling, to give my companions some idea of the history that was represented there. As it were, they walked through it far too quickly, and were ready to try the set of doors at the other end long before I was done musing. As I approached the doors, to my surprise, the helmet from the kobolds began to glow, and the doors to open! This was a relief, as they, too, were covered with artwork, and I would rather the party hadn’t tried to force them. Unfortunately, as we walked the hallway, Korin set off a trap, and the ceiling fell in. We ran for the opposite end, and now we’re trapped underground with no way to go but forward.

Moving forward, we found another huge chamber, this one with a 40 foot chasm broken through the center and the bones of many dwarves fallen in battle. I said a prayer for them. A broken bridge had reached across the gap, and across the way we could see a ghostly re-enactment of these brave dwarves’ last battle against the shadows and some sort of flying creatures. As we talked over how to get across, Drusilia kicked a little dirt over the edge, and suddenly could hear flapping from below! We prepared for a fight.. and a dreadful thing happened. Flying, screaming, horrible heads with wings came out of the chasm, and I was frozen with fear. (So was Jon, but I didn’t know that until later.) The others attacked, but one of the things proceeded to chew on me until Drusilia hacked it in two!

I was sick in a corner for a while. Ugh. ugh, nasty thing!

And then Drusilia admitted the truth — that I’d probably been infected by its “kiss,” and would become one within a day! She can heal me, but it will take her nearly a day, too, to build up the magical power! And I’m already weakened by the fights with the shadows..

Jonathan grabbed me just before I jumped. I’m sorry, Grun, at that moment I lost all hope, and couldn’t think of a better thing to do than spare us all that horror.

The others realized that there was nothing to do but wait, and set about exploring the area for the rest of the day. Korin climbed across the chasm, using one of Fafnir’s potions, and set about collecting anything that the others said looked magical. He also kept up a running patter about what parts of my gear he wanted to have. I was not amused, but he didn’t get it, and wondered why I kept throwing rocks at him. They found some javelins, and I took one to wedge into a crack into the floor so I could impale myself if I had to. Korin found a suit of plate mail and they offered it to me, but I was in such a bad mood I yelled at them about it — why give me more protection if they have to kill me? So Korin is now wearing it (he did need it, after all, and it shrank to fit him). They insisted I take a nice dwarven urgrosh, which I accepted — I won’t be able to use it if I become a flying head with wings, anyway.

So, here I am, in the corner, writing to you, checking to see if my hair is falling out, and generally snarling at anyone else who comes near. I hope you, at least, will be able to see why I can’t see the point of giving me stuff when I’m waiting to grow wings! I’m also doing a lot of praying. May Moradin give me strength!

There, it’s taken me most of the night to catch up with you — I couldn’t have slept, anyway. And I’m still here and myself! I hope Drusilia is able to heal me, soon, and I can get back to my normal life, such as it is!

With much love and hope,

P.S. — Drusilia healed me this morning, and says I’ll be OK. Fafnir, even, gave me a ring of protection of some sort, which was nice of him, and I hope it keeps anything like this from ever happening again!

Posted by Kate on April 13, 2003, 15:53 | Ghelt’s Journal