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Fafnir’s Journal Entry 35 - Splat! Cinder! Ouch!

Fafnir’s Journal

When running through the underdark, it’s best to use a light. I think that is a lesson we will remember. As we were fleeing from the mind flayers, Aramil (carrying Pockets) ran straight into a gelatinous cube! Splat!

We were surprised to find it there, since we had seen no sign of it on our previous trip through these tunnels... I guess that is why all the floors were so smooth. Despite its attempt to eat our two troublesome party members, we were soon able to slay the cube. A few minutes later, they both were able to move again, and we continued back toward the city of the Salamanders.

After discussing what the best course of action for entering the city would be (Pockets calls this “arguing”), I decided to let Valon lead the way into the city. After all, he is a bard, and is usually quite good at diplomacy. One thing we definitely decided was that we didn’t want to appear as a threat — All weapons should be kept sheathed. Aramil disagreed with this, insisting on carrying his bow out and ready to fire. No amount of reasoning would get him to carry it on his back or in his bag of holding, so we continued on, hoping for the best. (He insisted that a ready bow was NOT a threat, and while the rest of the party realizes that a bow in Aramil’s hand isn’t all that dangerous, we can’t expect this city of Salamanders to know that!!!)

As we followed the path into the city, two large fire elementals appeared in front of us. Valon, Ghelt, Pockets, and Drusilia walked past them without incident. As Aramil approached, the two elementals blocked his path. It wasn’t clear to me at first what was going on, but as Aramil said “What!?”, one of the elementals reached out and touched his bow. The bow immediately burst into flame, leaving just a pile of cinders. I guess it was threatening to them after all. Once the weapon was gone, they allowed us to pass.

We weren’t there long before we were escorted to the king. Luckily the king spoke common, or Drusilia would have had to translate for all of us. As it was, Valon, Drusilia, and I spoke to the king, with Ghelt joining the conversation when she had useful information to add. We gave him some brief details of what we were doing (searching for the temple of the void to destroy an evil artifact), and asked for safe passage through his city. (Aramil chimed in several times as well, but we tried to ignore his comments about taking over the forges and making him a new bow.)

The king thought about our story for a short while, and agreed to give us safe passage only if we would help him with a problem that was plaguing his city. It seems that the neighboring duergar have allied themselves with a clan of beholders led by a large beholder named ‘Xarn’. With the beholders help, the duergar have been raiding the salamander city with impunity. The king believes that if we can kill Xarn, the rest of the beholders will break their alliance with the duergar, and his city will be safe once more. As we need passage through this city, we agreed to the king’s offer. This will also provide the benefit of weakening the duergar, who have been causing us trouble since we began our quest.

Bidding the king farewell, I followed the party back in the direction we had just come from. (It turns out that the beholders live in a tunnel that branches off from the cavern where we fought the roper.)

Not long after we entered the tunnel which the salamanders had described to us, we found a vertical eight foot wide shaft that intersected the passageway. After Pockets and I had jumped across, we pondered the best way to get everyone else across safely. I jokingly mentioned that I should have brought a ten-foot ladder with me. Imagine my surprise when Pockets replied “hold on a sec,” and pulled a 10-foot ladder out of his bag of holding! Sometimes he amazes me. With the help of the ladder, we were able to cross without much incident. I say “without ‘much’ incident” because poor Aramil did have a rather painful experience. Deciding to walk across the ladder instead of crawling, he lost his balance halfway across. Luckily, he caught himself before falling into the hole. Unfortunately for him, the method he used to “catch” himself was to have one leg straddling either side of one of the ladders’ rungs. Ouch!! - It brought tears to my eyes just seeing the pain on his face... or maybe it was from laughing so hard.

In any case, we had just finished getting everyone across safely when we were able to confirm that we were in the correct tunnel — we were attacked by a beholder! (I guess we had forgotten that we were supposed to be sneaking into their lair, and had gotten quite loud. Oops.)

The beholder was using the tactic of flying up and down the vertical shaft, hardly staying long enough for us to even attack it. After the first couple passes we were able to get our tactics in order. Our strategy was thus:

  • Ghelt stood by the shaft, cutting into the creature each time it passed. This put her at greatest risk, but allowed her to deal large amounts of damage to the creature.

  • Drusilia and I hit the beholder with whatever spells we could manage, when it would close its large anti-magic eye.

  • Aramil stabbed at it with his sword, while drawing some of the attacks from the rest of us.

  • Valon sang.

  • Pockets continued to us his own brand of unusual tactics... this didn’t help much in this battle, but it is certainly entertaining to watch!)

  • Speaking of Watch, she hid in the back.
  • Now, having defeated our first beholder, we continue onward in search of Xarn.

    As we travel down these passages, I have this strange feeling that we are being watched. It is a feeling I have had before... in the city of the dead. Maybe those guys really did run into Arkon in these tunnels yesterday?!? I hope not.

    ~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

    Posted by Dave on September 6, 2003, 10:01 | Fafnir’s Journal