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May 18, 2003

Godsday, 11 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

The last 2 weeks have been quite filled for me. I returned Four Feather’s body to the druids in Smallville, who ensured that she would have a proper burial. I spent the night in Smallville giving a small musical show to the regulars at the tavern.

I left town the next day, and made good time across the plains near the mountains. I managed to get a into the mountains before I had to stop and camp.

I had a strange dream that night in which I was standing before an altar. There was a strange... thing... standing behind it, chanting a prayer to some dark deity, who I have yet to identify. He spotted me watching, and reached for me, as if trying to call me closer. From the floor stood 4 skeletons, an elf, a dwarf, a gnome, and a Halfling. They began to shamble towards me, and I drew the Cursed Sword. I took up a defensive stance waiting for one of those skeletons to attack. As they attacked, I easily dodged their blows, and landed hit of my own, but as the skeleton’s fell, instead of crumbling to dust, it took on a form of the companions I had a just few days before.

Terrified that the dream could be a terrible omen, I postponed my journey to meet them, and traveled instead to the Dwarven fortress, hoping that I would eventually receive word from Drusilia and the others. It seems that I cannot stay out of trouble, though, and was greeted by a gruff Dwarf at the gates. I’ve been told of a Dwarf’s tendency to be distrustful, but this Dwarf most certainly took the award for suspicious. Granted, I suppose the situation he was in attributed to his unwelcoming demeanor.

I immediately realized something was wrong when his first words to me were, “Can you use that weapon?” as he eyed the sword I carried. I found out later that the fortress was under siege from below - Dark Dwarves called Duergar. A little over a week I spent helping the dwarves fight. I can see that as the Elves, the Dwarves have an evil breed that will stop at nothing to destroy their brethren.

I received a message from Drusilia early one morning:

Comrades below Barraktor, trying to reach Arun-tosa. Need diamond dust. Need ruby or everburning torch. Beware shadows. Circumvent Barraktor if possible. Meet us please! Drusilia.

I sent her back a message as quickly as I could:

Been fighting Dwarves of the deep.
Fortunate Elves need little sleep.
Unsure I can get all that dust.
Reply. Will do what I must.

I spent another day fighting that day, though it seemed to be getting to a lull. I asked around about Arun-tosa and Barraktor, but got nothing but discouragement. The Dwarves say that the places are cursed, though they gave me directions, calling me a fool for wishing to travel there. They appreciate my loyalty to my friends, though, and I hope that I will be able to catch them in time.

That night my strange dreams returned. This time however, it was my sword that was on an altar, and it was being blessed by Corellon Larethian. He blessed it and motioned for me to pick it up. When I did, it felt as though my sword was ripping part of my being from me. I woke up almost immediately, and found I was holding my sword, and it felt more powerful than it did before.

I met a human while I was spending my time with the Dwarves. He calls himself Markus. He says he is a wandering sorcerer, and he seems to know some about magical arts.

I have told him a little about what the party is doing and he seems interested in tagging along. I am sure that they will appreciate the help.

I received another message from Drusilia before we set out this morning:

Forget dust; just bring you!
Arun-tosa map proved true.
Arrived via southern mine.
Checking big structures first a shrine.
Comrades’ brains already mush...
Please rush!

I returned a message as quickly as I could, and we set off towards Arun-tosa.

Asked for advice.
Got nothing nice.
Dwarves say Arun-tosa is BAD.
Traveling to, purely mad.
The journey is hard.
But traveling there, this Elven bard.

I have learned much from the Dwarves during my short stay with them. I hope it goes to good use...

And I hope that I don’t reach the party too late...

Posted by Tim at 02:20 | Valon’s Journal

Missing Home Today...

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

What an awful day. I don’t know how else to describe it. This morning I’ll try to put it in words.

Yesterday, we waited for Korin’s paralyzation to wear off so we could continue as a group. He’s now fixating on Drusilia; started right off asking her for “special” healing before we moved on. Fiinally, we headed for the tower, again.

His new fixation didn’t stop him from being obsessed with Jonathan (and the axe), and poor Jon had a hard time of it between being nervous about the total silence, and being protected by Korin. That is, when Korin wasn’t talking to invisible people, or to his goddess, or painting her symbol on MY axe with mud...!

When we reached the tower, we found a temple to Nerull, and we entered a large hall with throne and altar. The altar began to murmur, causing Drusilia and Korin to stop to listen to it, even as a shadow creature rose from the altar and attacked Jon in front of it! I shook Drusilia out of her trance and ran for the altar. I don’t know what she did to get its attention, but even as Jon and I got a few shots in, it flew over us and went for her across the room. We chased after, Fafnir hit it with his magic missiles, and Korin watched it all, bemused. Drusilia dispatched it with her sword, but not before it had weakened poor Jon with its magic.

Jon was angry about being hurt by the creature - he knocked over its altar in search of treasure, then smashed open one of the doors in the walls and explored the room by knocking about, leaving me to wonder what had happened to the rest of his common sense? We finished exploring the upstairs, then took a set of stairs to the basement. We found a room with a seal of Nerull on the floor, and a set of doors with glowing runes beyond it! Jon promptly walked across the seal to check out the doors, and we saw him practically wilt right in front of us! I called to him to come back against the wall, and not to touch the seal again, but he tripped. He looked so terrible at this point, I didn’t know what to do! Korin kept muttering and poking at Drusilia while she tried to help Jon, then wandered back up the stairs while I peered at the doors. Just as I noticed an indentation in the center, Fafnir stated that “it sounds like the halfling is on fire, again.” We went tearing up the stairs. How many times have I written that???

As I reached the top of the stairs, I saw Korin being attacked by a burning skeleton across the room, and another popped up before us and set most of the rest of the party on fire. Jon dropped, and I was hurting too until Drusilia doused us all with water from somewhere... the creature fled when Korin killed its partner. We then stabbed each other with that sword for a while (I can just picture you shaking your head at this, Grun), and Korin finally decided to keep the sword again. I hope it helps his state of mind without making him as snarly as last time! He immediately showed some improvement; when I described the dent in the door, he suggested that the key may be in one of the other buildings that are still whole. A good idea, and I’ll just ignore the fact that he also thinks the candle stubs from the temple may well be the key, too.

As we walked through the town, we heard movement, and caught sight of several things coming at us. We set ourselves back-to-back with Fafnir in the middle, although Korin decided to moon the creatures from his position, and waited for the ghoulish firgures to attack. Drusilia dusted half of them, while we attacked the rest. Jon was paralyzed, but as things started to look a little ugly, Drusilia dusted them all. On a side note, Korin was trying to turn the things, and seems to think he was the one to do it. Drusilia did the job from behind him, and motioned for me to be quiet about it! I think that halfling is trying to become a cleric, and Drusilia’s helping! I hope she knows what she’s doing. Trying to talk to him about it resulted in him weeping with frustration and me carrying him along.. but I guess it’s better for him to be talking to his goddess than some of the other things he seems to see.

We reached the barracks, and Korin insisted on climbing the outside while we went around to the back door. Jon got a little frustrated and chopped it to bits, then reached in to pull the bar to open the door.. and something clawed his hand. I didn’t think he could look much worse, but he did after that! He kicked the door in in a rage, and Fafnir lightning bolted most of the hallway full of undead. Jon dropped the last one and walked in.. right into a room full of writhing tentacles and undead minions. We attacked.. and of course they grabbed Jon first. I got grabbed by a tentacle even as the first squeezed Jon to death in a horrible manner! It was a terrible way to go, yet gave me the strength to free myself and crawl away. Poor Jonathan. We don’t even know who to send news of him to.. if we survive..

I reached a corner and braced myself for an attack.. four tentacles hit me.. and everything stopped making sense.

It’s really hard to describe. It was awful! I kind of recognized friends, and I remember Korin was really nice to me, but it was like I spent the night in a mental fog. Now I understand Drusilia’s “special healing” better, and am determined to keep a few on hand myself! If she hadn’t been able to restore my brains, I’d still be rocking in that damned corner trying to understand what was happening!

Apparently we spent the night in this room, waiting for me to be fixed up. This morning we have to figure out where to bury poor Jon, and then, I suppose, get back to our mission. This is getting so hard, Grun. I miss you and my family in the village a lot.

Walk with Moradin;
With love,

Posted by Kate at 12:37 | Ghelt’s Journal