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May 11, 2003

Eyes Wide Open

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

We’ve made it to the City of the Dead.

Quite an accomplishment in itself, but I wonder if you’ll ever get the chance to read this? We’re in danger and still not back to working as a group — in some ways, further than ever from it!

The morning began with some healing magic. Drusilia talked Jonathan into trying out the magic sword’s “healing” properties, and it actually worked — so well, in fact, that I gave it a try, too. We must have been quite a sight (judging by Fafnir’s muttering); two fighters being hacked at by an elven cleric, but it did heal us very well! Korin spent the time talking to his invisible friends in a corner, adamantly refusing to have anything to do with the sword.

Healed, we traveled down the cavern. Gradually, it formed into worked tunnels and cross-passages, and the floor became smooth — with regular holes in it. I decided they used to have tracks, although why the tracks were pulled up I couldn’t guess. Of course, a little further on we ran into a rust monster and the mystery was solved! Instead of helping defend the party, Korin continued talking to his friends — to the point of making vaguely threatening statements about us even as we tried to get his attention. I am NOT amused by this development.

In fact, Grun, I’m trying to talk to Korin as little as possible right now. I told him flat out that as long as he is going to talk more to people no one else can see than to his own flesh and blood party members, much less threatening said flesh and blood party members, I see no reason to try to talk to him. He blew me off, but maybe he knows where I stand. He’s got to choose, one of these days.

Jon threw his other javelin of lightning bolts at the creature to spare our metal armor and weapons, and chased it away. I knew that one rust monster guaranteed an infestation, and urged the party to keep moving instead of chasing just one down. As we hurried along, we heard more coming up behind and to the sides. We were forced to stop and defend ourselves once more, and lost Korin’s magical armor to the creatures. At least it slowed them down long enough for us to get away.

Finally we reached a large cavern and saw metal tracks reappearing in the middle — and several torn-apart rust monsters. I don’t know what killed them. It was quiet at the moment, with five exits to choose from. I picked the central tunnel, hoping to lead us outside. Instead, we found a huge chasm across the passage. It must be one of the unholy rifts torn open by our ancestors in the wars; it was filled with a red mist and smelled of sulfur. Korin, naturally, just had to climb down instead of leaving well enough alone. Jon, bless him, helped me go after the foolhardy halfling, and got his axe grabbed for his trouble! They wrestled for it at the edge, and as soon as Jon got it back he called to us that something was coming from below!

We killed the giant humanoid centipedes without too much trouble, for once, crossed the chasm (Fafnir’s potions to the rescue, again), and continued up the tunnel. The rift had one more surprise for us, however — two ugly spheres with hands and feet, from what I could see, were following us. Fafnir dispatched them both with a lightning bolt, although he gave poor Drusilia a good shock, too. She happened to be standing on the rails. Finally, after much walking, we reached a large set of doors smashed outwards, and saw a cavern beyond them, full of sunlight! Even I was pleased to see the light of day once more!

We found ourselves at the top of a cliff face, looking over a valley with a ruined city; presumably the City of the Dead. It was already sunset, so we spent a quiet night at the top of the path. In the morning, we decided to head for one of the less ruined structures, a tower in the center of the city. Korin went tearing off ahead of us, yelling about Trap being “back,” disappearing into the city.. and then yelling about dead people. Crying “wolf,” we presumed, until he came racing back at a speed I didn’t know halflings could attain, with shuffling creatures in pursuit. We attacked them while he puked.

We killed the things, but one had paralyzed Korin in the process. Drusilia set to healing him (ignoring Fafnir’s urging to use the sword on him, since he hates the sword).. and a horrible thing happened! Instead of healing, Korin turned into a rotting corpse before our eyes! Even Jon felt badly, I was anguished after all the cold shoulder I’d been trying to give him, and poor Drusilia — she didn’t know how her god could have turned against her so thoroughly.

I knelt to pray over Korin’s remains, and shockingly, he sprang back to life!

Unfortunately for Fafnir, I somehow realized it was one of his illusions. Remember the dragon “attacking” the kobolds? He has the worst timing for his little jokes! Exasperated, I backhanded him as he doubled over laughing, which confused Jon, and when I explained, Jon smacked him one, too! It wasn’t very nice, as we both don’t always know our own strength when we’re mad, and Fafnir retaliated by lightning bolting us both and flying away! Luckily, it was also an illusion, but still a shock, and I’m glad he got off the ground and out of reach; all we could do was holler at him until we calmed down.

We decided to take a break and get ourselves sorted out before heading any further into the city. Drusilia especially needed a breather, but she’s looking a little less pale at this point. I think Fafnir even realized he pushed her too far. Korin, too, seems to have settled down somewhat, so maybe this will get us all onto the same page. I only hope it’s enough to keep ourselves alive in this place!

Walking with Moradin,
With love,

Posted by Kate at 00:37 | Ghelt’s Journal