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Finally getting somewhere!

Ghelt’s Journal

Dearest Grun,

So, to continue..

We’d decided the tavern wasn’t safe (and had no ale), and re-entered the storm. It was getting so violent that the broken-down house with the 60-foot hole in the ground in it had started to sound good! No wind, and hopefully, some shelter out of the rain. So we walked back across town, looking for the house with the sun symbol carved over the door. Aramil continued his paranoia, convinced we were being watched, and it must be catching - Drusilia began to get the same feeling!

Valon promised to cast a feather-fall spell on the party so as to get us to the bottom of the pit safely - we all held hands and jumped in! Just when I get the most frustrated, we do something as a group that shows we do trust each other after all. It makes me smile. Of course, as we descended, I saw regular holes in the walls and cursed - this pit WAS the entrance to the catacombs the whole time! The stairs must have been wooden and rotted away during the ages of the angel’s captivity. Argh.. we really were on a wild goose chase for half the day!

The passage at the bottom actually showed some signs of recent use. We saw a sun sign carved into the floor and followed it down a hallway lined with broken-open crypts. At a turn in the passage, we realized there were burning torches ahead of us! Valon motioned for silence and crept forward.. and learned the same thing as poor Trap; this party doesn’t “get” hand signals too well. Everyone followed right along, albeit as quietly as possible. I moved to the back of the party, knowing I would likely be loudest. I’m a dwarf, I know my limits compared to an elf! I just make up for it elsewhere.

The gnome, by the way, was still running around as a dragon. He’s an odd one.. but it was kind of neat.

Valon didn’t get too far before something peered at him through a doorway, and skittered off, saying that we were come! It was merrily bouncing off the walls in the next room, so we moved in, warily, except for Aramil, who was hollering “Hi, Urkel,” and earned himself a swat. No one made him spokesman! The creature turned out to be a ghoul. A mad but intelligent ghoul, trying to have a conversation with us, and its “precious,” at the same time. It said it had wisdom to impart, that we could use its help - and the next minute was asking if it could eat us! Then it got in an argument with “precious” about that.. offered us a place to sleep in safety.. and a few minutes later was back to begging for “just a nibble.”

I figured, what the heck, we have a healing sword so maybe it would be OK, but Drusilia thought the ghoul would lose what precious little control it had to begin with if I actually “fed” it anything (the dragon, meanwhile, was happily offering Aramil as a delicacy, but I hope he was joking). We did settle down for the night, taking watches and leaving Valon to do most of the quizzing of the creature. He did well, too - even got a map!

He also revealed that this dark lord has been building an undead army for ages, simply to break out and attack all the dwarves it can find. I’m determined to do all I can to keep this from happening, Grun. I wish we could warn you all of this in case we fail!

Urkel, meanwhile, gave Drusilia some healing spells and scrolls, and then it gave us “precious.” This turned out to be a very beautiful golden symbol of Pelor (and a very nice mace to go with it). A lot of the mystery of Urkel was solved - it must have been a powerful cleric or paladin of Pelor, itself. I pitied the creature, indeed! Saying its job was done, Urkel asked Drusilia to send it to rest. “Pockets” immediately tried to step up and kill it with the healing sword but I tackled him - although the sword may be appropriate, I thought that a true cleric of Pelor ought to be the one to release this poor soul. Drusilia barely had to touch Urkel with the mace and it was reduced to dust. “Pockets” donated a bag and Drusilia gathered up the dust for proper burial later.

Fafnir and “Pockets” then got into an argument about who “deserved” the use of the scrolls Drusilia had been given, since they would restore the damage done by the undead draining our strength and health. Amid accusations of favoritism (nonsense!), Drusilia prayed over Urkel’s remains and they somehow became diamond dust - providing her with the materials necessary to heal everyone up even without the scrolls. I wish it would shame them into better behavior!

Finally, we left. “Pockets” climbed up with a rope, and everyone climbed out except me, as usual. Finally, they just pulled me up. We headed back through a very quiet town, following Urkel’s directions to the burnt-out tower and the vampire Catharsis. Now Fafnir became paranoid, although Aramil and Drusilia weren’t! Drusilia passed out the potions she’d been given - they’re healing potions, and will come in handy either for us or against the vampire. We reached the tower.. and found the door whole.

Valon and Fafnir opened it first and stepped inside, beckoning us to follow. We found the inside was untouched by fire! This really bothered poor Aramil, who decided to check out the upstairs and thereby exposed Fafnir’s illusion to the rest of us - muttering to himself as he walked in a circle instead of up the staircase. That gnome.. finally, I gave Aramil a shove to wake him up (and stop the disturbing giggling coming from Fafnir and Valon), so while Fafnir and Valon worked on a trapdoor in the floor, I explained Typical Gnome Antics and Bad Timing to the newest victim of the party. Aramil, naturally, wondered why we put up with this..

Suddenly, Valon started to gag and turn awful colors! “Pockets” hadn’t managed to disarm the trap on the door, I guess - luckily Valon shook it off, and headed right down the ladder! The ladder wasn’t long enough, so he tied a rope to the bottom.. and the ladder itself fell off. Argh! LIke we hadn’t seen that one before! Thank Moradin for feather-fall; that elf has more lives than I can count. Of course, we ended up with Valon a good sixty feet below us and had to figure out a way to get down there with him before anything happened. We tried holding a rope for Aramil to climb down - he made it, but no one else wanted to try! “Pockets” got them to tie the ladder to the rope and went to work re-attaching it so we had something to tie the rope to..and then we heard Valon and Aramil get attacked.

At this point the gnome pointed out that he could feather-fall the rest of the party.

I’m just glad Aramil wasn’t there.

We reached the bottom and got about half the party tangled up.. but Valon and I were able to attack the vampires, and Drusilia used her new holy symbol to drive them away with ease. We started running up the hallway, only to be swarmed by rats, which both Drusilia and Valon and I dispatched. While we were distracted, the rest were attacked by more wraiths, but Drusilia rapidly sent them off. Valon pulled out Urkel’s map, and we were off again!

More later..

With love!

Posted by Kate on June 28, 2003, 02:12 | Ghelt’s Journal