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June 24, 2003

A Greater Holy Symbol

Drusilia's Journal

Freeday, Flocktime 14, 592 CY

What a sad and humbling experience I’ve had. We hurried back to the house with the sun over the door, and, using a feather fall spell, we all dropped simultaneously down the 60’ drop through the hole in the floor. As we floated down, we saw that there had been a staircase in that spot long ago, though not much of it remained. As we landed, we found a passage leading east and west, with that same sun symbol scratched into the floor of the eastern passage. I finally realized that the sun symbol, though not the stylized face in the sun normally used in Pelor’s temples, was in fact a crude representation of Pelor, so we headed east. We walked a bit further and saw torchlight emanating from a 30’ by 30’ chamber— containing a ghoul! For once, I am thankful I did not have any power left to turn undead, for I would have never gotten to know this poor creature’s story. The ghoul was, indeed, Urkel.

It was a rough encounter though. Urkel tried to tell us what we needed to know to finish our quest as he desperately wanted to help, but was at the same time agitated by all the “flesh” to nibble on in the room. We would have given the poor thing a bit, had we not been too worried it would have caused him to lose what control he had. He bid us rest, and we did, albeit warily, for about ten hours.

When we were all awake, he told us many things, some we already knew or suspected, and some we didn’t. He told us the history of Arun-tosa, and how, long ago, the mages of the city fought each other until only Arkon (now a lich) remained to build an army to finish the dwarves. He also mentioned that there is a portal to Hell in the southeast section of town, and gave us a map to lead us under the vampires’ tower.

At one point, he scuttled away and brought me back three scrolls to restore our party’s flagging constitution, and six vials of healing potion. Then he brought me some of the most precious artifacts of Pelor that I have ever seen, carefully wrapped in cloth for many years by the looks of them. The items he handed me were his own “Mace of Disruption” and a Greater Holy Symbol of Pelor that provides holy smiting against evil. Urkel had been one of those paladins that had come to fight Arkon that never was able to leave, but held on to that last vestige of his humanity through his faith in Pelor. And now that he had provided another follower of Pelor with his most valuable belongings, he was ready to rest. Had I any means to restore him to his former self, I would have gladly, but I could only end his existence as undead— I used the weapon he had just given me.

I am overwhelmed with grief at what I had to do, even though he now assuredly walks with Pelor. Pockets lent me a pouch to collect the dusty remains of the paladin, with which I placed my own wooden holy symbol. I was trying to determine who needed restored the most, for I only had the three scrolls, when a voice in my mind said “use my remains.” Opening the pouch, I discovered that Urkel’s dust had turned to diamond dust— exactly what I needed to restore the rest of the party. I did hope to take his remains back to a temple, but I know Valon will write a fitting ballad to the ghoul who didn’t lose his faith.

Remembering that Aramil didn’t have a decent weapon to fight with, I handed him the elven longsword I’d carried, and took up the mace instead. I am a cleric of Pelor first, and an elf second. Party restoration complete, we looked at the map and then headed off to the vampires’ tower.

We arrived and Fafnir, Valon and I got in one step ahead of the rest of the party. The stairwell had been completely burned away— obviously the handiwork of Aramil. Aramil walked in right after us though, and started walking around the perimeter of the floor, complaining that he was sure he had burnt it all down. After several passes around the room, Ghelt got fed up and smacked him. Thinking he had been hit by a door, he stopped, and soon realized he was still on the ground floor— apparently Fafnir was testing out his illusions again.

We found a trapdoor and Pockets assured us it wasn’t locked. Valon pulled it open and was nearly paralyzed by the gas a trap let off— Pockets hasn’t looked for traps— I guess we have to word things more carefully! Valon borrowed a torch and held it in the hole reveals by the open trapdoor — it didn’t even penetrate the darkness an inch, so I cast daylight on it— which lit up the hole enough to show a 10’ ladder followed by a 50’ drop. Valon began to carefully descend, when the ladder pulled away from the wall— apparently Kartharsis uses this trap often. Luckily Valon could cast feather fall to drop safely to the floor below.

Worried that there would be undead about, I planned to drop down next, but Aramil beat me to it. As he landed, Valon called up that there were big rats watching him from down a tunnel going north to south. A moment later he informed us that the rats had been replaced by two vampire spawn.

Thankfully Fafnir had a feather fall spell of his own ready, because the rest of us needed to get down quickly! It was an awkward descent though, with Pockets arriving upside down and me landing on Aramil. I was lucky to land with a free hand— I held up the Greater Holy Symbol and turned the two vampire spawn to dust.

We managed to walk a few feet when the dire rats came back— about 40 of them. The holy smite from my new holy symbol took out about half of them, and my friends dispatched the rest. During this encounter, we were attacked by two wraiths, and I’ve just noticed that Aramil is looking rather “drained” again.

And we’ve only been down here for a few minutes....

Posted by Kristin at 10:39 | Drusilia’s Journal