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March 1, 2003

Day 8-10?

Ghelt's Journal

Dear Grun,

I’m writing you by the side of a lake, with a waterfall nearby spilling into it, and another at the other end, spilling out. Mountains all around, stars overhead, beautiful really, yet I’d enjoy it all much more if I were seeing it through the windows of a nice tavern, and warm beds waiting upstairs!

Yet again I’m wondering why the elf ever tried to say I was party leader. Hope she’ll take the job back. After everything that’s happened the past couple of days, I’d say the only reason we’re a party is due to the fact that we’re the only sentient beings in the vicinity..

We started off the new day with Trap quizzing a kobold about the area, which somehow resulted in the party travelling with the freed kobold slaves and their last load of iron ore back to their mountain home. Korin sat on top of the ore, chattering at the nearest kobolds and giving them names, unconcerned by the fact that none of them responded in a language he could understand.

Fafnir really did not like travelling with kobolds. I don’t know why, but he was offended by it. (Hey, I don’t especially like the things, but, well, they’re just kobolds. Really, not that significant!) When the creatures began to get nervous and the only one who spoke common described something that sounded like a red dragon who hunted in the area, he decided to play a trick like only a gnome spellcaster can: creating the image of a red dragon just to see them scatter! He did well, too - the mule took off up the path, Korin was hiding under the cart and I was trying to drag everyone under cover before Drusilia could convince me differently (seeing Fafnir rolling on the ground laughing helped, too). Disgusted, I walked back up the path to find the mule, along with Korin who seemed to think I made better cover than the ore cart. He fits into my backpack, too, but that startled the poor mule even more..

Finally, everyone regrouped, and Drusilia convinced them that she and the gnome had somehow driven off the dragon. We arrived by nightfall at the kobolds’ lair - a network of caverns and mines. I didn’t much like the idea of sleeping over with three hundred of the things, but we ended up with a cave corner to ourselves for the night. Korin made himself friends with everybody, even eating meals with them, and traded his axe Modge for a shield, while we also found out that Nizek, the kobold who could speak common, was the prince of the place, and his father wanted to meet us.

We were led to the kobold king, and Nizek interpreted his thanks to us, which Drusilia accepted (Trap wanted to have his own conversation with the king; I was finally reduced to holding my hand over his mouth. Drusilia was being the spokesperson, but he kept interrupting!). The king offered us a beautiful dwarven war helm with some interesting etchings, and I’m wearing it now. Korin wanted my old one so I gave it to him - though I don’t know how much use it will be! The king also offered to let us use a shortcut through his mines to speed us on our journey, so we followed Nizek into the mountain.

We found ourselves by a beautiful - and loud - underground river with kobolds demonstrating how they would put us in barrels and dump us in the water, destination unknown. This was more temptation than the halflings could bear. While the rest of the party hesitated, trying to talk it over, Trap jumped right into a barrel, and next thing we knew, splash! Off he went! Korin immediately followed, leaving us with little choice but to follow.

Or so I thought.

Fafnir was of a much different opinion. While Drusilia talked with the kobolds (and was reduced to asking her god for an opinion instead), Fafnir announced his intention of either taking the overland route (which would take much longer) or abandoning the halflings to the fruits of their folly entirely, and going home! I was surprised, Grun; for all that Trap and Korin can be strange or silly, they’re members of the group, and can’t help their natures. Frankly, Fafnir’s much less tolerant than I had realized - first tormenting the kobolds, then this about halflings? *sigh*

Since there was no barrel big enough for all of the mule, I tied two to him, and pushed him into the river, hoping for the best. I then tried to catch Fafnir by surprise so I could get him into a barrel, since he was standing there utterly refusing to consider the thought. Drusilia helped me finally stuff him into one, but as soon as the lid was on - boom! The thing blew apart. He’s learned to cast lightning bolts. And he can run really fast when he wants to.

I managed to get help from the horde of kobolds in the caverns, and we trapped him in a room, and made him visible (again) with dust, and just as I got my hands on him, he shot off another lightning bolt, this time killing several of our hosts. I tied him up while being swatted by angry kobolds with sticks. Can’t blame them for being angry! At that point I was, too! We took him back to the river’s edge and I put him in a barrel and off he went (lucky for him, the kobolds wanted him to go sans barrel at that point). Finally, I got into a barrel and hoped for the best. They said the trip would take a day and a half, and there were people at the other end to fish out the barrels that come through.

After a very long and wearing trip, I flew over something - turned out to be a 60-foot waterfall. Someone grabbed ahold of the barrel and pulled me to shore. I knocked open my barrel in time to see Drusilia kick hers to pieces, and discovered a very tired Korin had been the first to get out, had built a fire, and then pulled us all out of the drink, one by one. Poor guy! He fell asleep next to the fire and I wrapped him up in my spare cloak for the night.

The mule, apparently, had been killed by the trip. Korin muttered something about his head falling off, and pushing his body back into the current after getting the gear. I feel badly about that. I did the best I could think of at the time but in retrospect - I think we’re lucky only the mule was killed! Fafnir, of course, is so disgusted at this point that he built his own fire and made his own camp and I think he has his little weasel creature standing watch on the rest of us while he sleeps! I think he’s madder about the mule than being stuffed in a barrel, even, which leaves me rather at a loss as to how to apologize..

With love,

P.S. - we didn’t even make it through my watch before an owlbear discovered our little camp by the woods. We had a brief battle which it lost, luckily, and Fafnir made the final shot, so at least we still fight together well. Korin and Trap have decided to try roasting bits since they’re awake, but I’m going to sleep now so I can be ready in the morning to split up the mule’s former load and figure out where we are on the map to the Heart of Nerull. We didn’t end up anywhere near civilization; I don’t know who picks up the kobolds’ barrels but we didn’t get to them!

Posted by Kate at 14:31 | Ghelt’s Journal