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November 30, 2003

Deeper into the ruins we go

Pockets' Journal

We gathered at a small opening that Fafnir had found. I am truly fascinated by his ability to find small openings and smell out places to check. As we all agree this is the way to go I begin again to convince my friends to let me travel into the underground halls ahead of them. For once they seem to understand as a group that I can’t do what they want me to do with them clanking along behind me.

As a precaution I agree to take Jacob with me, and keep him as a system of warning if something goes wrong. This was Aramil’s idea, and actually one of his best ever. Tis a shame that it will never happen again, for in the following minutes Aramil would have to decide between saving Jacob and saving me. At least I got to see which choice he preferred.

As we slowly moved on in the lower level of the castle, we came upon a strange sight. I found a room filled with Orcs, not your everyday Orc mind you. No, these were all turned to stone. Even though this should have been a moment of great warning, we turned it into the idea for a few good jokes. At least the humor felt good, it seemed to ease the tensions of the party.

I decided to lay a couple on the ground, if they come back to life, it will give us a couple of seconds to prepare. Ok, I am not perfect, I dropped one. The noise was so great that I thought Ghelt was going to kick me for it. Never being one to pass an opportunity I grabbed up the left arm of the Orc, as it had become a funny looking stone club laying three feet from its original owner.

Two doors, one wood, one metal, hmm. Even though the metal one already seemed worse, Fafnir discovered that there was magical symbols of warning on it. Yet, it was still the way he wanted to go. That nose of his for finding things should have been enough for me, but alas I insisted on the wooden door first. I slowly checked for traps and the usual, only to be convinced this is just a harmless pantry of some kind, so I opened the door. As I flung the door open our eyes met, and I tried to warn them. ‘Oh SSSHHHIIIII….” was all I seemed to get out.

From there it got a bit fuzzy for a while, as I am later told I was turned to stone by the half-snake creature I had met. The next thing I could see, I wish I hadn’t, for I was taken by one of those “angel” things to get fixed. I am told that Drusilia took great pleasure in the ability to call in this creature and give it the sword. And once more, she seemed to be happy I was turned to stone, although not to be dead but to have a chance to provide a service so great as for me not to mind her giving away the sword. It will take many ales to figure that elf out.

I will not talk openly against these “angels” again, for what I saw would most assuredly break Drusilia’s entire belief in them, and maybe her god. The place I was taken was no heaven, strangely I could see and hear in this place, yet I was still stone at the moment. The winged creature took me to what I can only call a war-room. A room filled with maps and soldiers of an amazing kind. I would not say that these new creatures were of any good alignment I have ever known, nor would I say them evil. But I would definitely say they were very powerful. The creature that brought me must have been owed a favor by one of the creatures gathered here. If you can see fear in the eyes of one of these “angels” then I have seen it. It did not want to be here, in fact is seemed down right terrified.

As the creatures talked in a language that would have made Valon go mad, I stared at the group. Some had two heads, one head of beauty and one of a vulgar nature. Some reminded me of the lich, they seemed cold and without life. One that looked almost dwarf-like tried to take a bite out of me, and I was still stone. What could cause an allegiance among these creatures and the “angels” will haunt me for the rest of my days. One thing for sure, I will never, ever, trust an “angel”. Before we left that place to return to the party, the head-freak, a four armed creature that stood at least 15 feet tall pulled a black feather from his mouth and drove it deep into the creature that brought me. I thought it was going to die, it twisted in torment on the floor for a long time. When it finally stopped, the “angel” rose up to its full height and grabbed me, then in a flash we were back.

While I do not share the belief in Pelor that Drusilia does, I do believe in him. But now my faith has been shaken to the bone. Before the creature took its leave of us, I notice that its eyes were now a deep red color, and it had tears running down its face. It left so quick, I do not think my friends even had a chance to see the creature, let alone its eyes. I will keep this to myself, never shall I tell them of the horror I have seen. I only hope I will be able to close my eyes without seeing the faces of those abominations.

After trying to lock that all into my head, we resumed our searching. To my surprise we found a cell with an elf of stone. We fixed the cell door for him to be able to get out should he suddenly return to his previous form. Speaking from experience, I wish him luck.

Finally we had no choice but to try the door that had the warnings on it. The door opened easily without any problem. In hindsight, this should have been an alarm all its own. Through the doors were steps which led down to a large room. The room was well lit and had two large stone guardians. I walked into the room, testing for a trigger for the stone minotaurs, I found none and proceeded into the room when my friends following behind came into the room. At first this was no problem, until one of them must have stepped on a trigger-stone, I am not sure where it was, but the battle begins.

Posted by Jim at 11:46 | Pockets’ Journal

A Short and Savage Day

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

It’s been a short but eventful few hours! We’ve worn ourselves out already, and we’re resting for the rest of the afternoon and evening, so I have plenty of time to write to you.

Lighting various devices, we entered the staircase Fafnir had found. It spiraled down to a number of hallways, and the others explored while I checked out the darkness beneath the base of the steps. We’re learning, however slowly! “pockets” found a door with light flickering beyond, so we readied ourselves for trouble as he opened it and stepped back.

The torchlight in the large chamber beyond showed us a most astonishing sight! The place was full of motionless orc figures, which we quickly discovered were made of stone. Carefully, we walked inside. The faces of the orcs showed sheer terror - what could have done such a thing? And, since the firelight wasn’t magical, it must have happened recently; where was the cause now? While “pockets” turned or tipped over as many orcs as he could (and took the hinges off the door we’d entered by), we checked out the room itself. There was an ordinary wooden door and a steel one, covered with symbols. I called Fafnir, who said they were for warding. He wouldn’t touch the door, even to make part invisible to see through. The wooden door seemed the safest to try, so “pockets” listened at it, and swung it open. He promptly turned to stone!

Can you imagine our feelings, Grun?

Aramil screamed and began shooting arrows into the doorway, while Drusilia cast her flamestrike spell, Fafnir sent a fireball into it, and the thing entered the room we were in. I shot at it with my crossbow while hiding behind a stone column. As the others kept casting spells at it, Aramil and I shot arrows, all of us trying to keep from meeting the thing’s gaze. Watch ran right in and attacked it, bless her! Somehow, we killed it - Fafnir finished it off with another fireball, and Aramil chopped off its head. Somehow, none of the rest of us had been turned to stone. Poor “pockets”, to warn us in such a way!

Aramil was distressed for his friend, and also for his familiar. His spellbook wasn’t on “pockets”, but his toad had been! It had escaped being turned to stone, but was burned pretty badly by the subsequent battle. I healed the poor thing while we wondered if our friend was still alive somehow in the statue he’d become. I checked the medusa’s remains for an antidote to her power, and found her weapons and a scroll, but it had been burned in the battle. Fafnir read it and said that the spells he could still read were of no help. He’d been checking the room behind the wooden door and gave me a 70 pound lump of gold and platinum to carry in return. They’d really cooked the place!

Drusilia wondered out loud if the avatar we hadn’t called yet might help - and this seemed downright providential to me. We’d put off calling it for so many reasons, it made me think this was why! Yasmin arrived quickly, and Drusilia explained our new plight while ofering it the Sword of Pelor. It took both the sword and “pockets” away with it! It soon returned, however, with “pockets” alive and well. I was so glad, I hugged him! That was a lucky thing for Aramil, who happily showed him the severed medusa’s head, saying “We killed it!”, and nearly got beaten by “pockets” who’d seen more of her than he ever wanted to again.

Finally, we looked behind the steel door. Fafnir peered inside and told us it was just a stairway, so we decided to check the other doors on this floor first. The rest of the place was full of stone creatures, including an elf in a cell, which disturbed “pockets”, who unhinged the cell door just in case the elf ever reanimated. We returned to the steel door and headed down the steps. As we stepped into a large room at the bottom, between two huge stone minotaurs, an iron grate crashed down behind us - leaving Fafnir outside the room! And, of course, the statues began to move.

Lightning bolts, magic missiles, grease, my sword - we did knock one over, and it promptly reverted to being just a statue, but the other was barely hurt, and smashed Drusilia hard, and hurt my Watch badly, which I was starting to think impossible! Arrows did nothing, a stone elemental from Fafnir barely distracted it, and I got in a couple of hits before all went dark.

I woke up in the far corner with Drusilia bending over me. I could see Aramil using my sword against the minotaur, along with “pockets” and the elemental, and my poor dog lying in the corner. As I ran to get her, we shouted back and forth, deciding wisely that it was time to run. Fafnir had melted the iron bars away, and “pockets” threw hundreds of marbles on the floor. The minotaur crashed to the ground as we ran by and up the stairs!

We healed everyone up, but we’re pretty well out of spells - both for healing and for fighting! The rest of the day is for rest and figuring out how to handle this new problem. Wish us luck, Grun!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 14:54 | Ghelt’s Journal

Fafnir's Journal Entry 42 - Stoned

Fafnir's Journal

Down into the dungeons below Redcastle we went. Pockets went ahead, checking the doors for traps. We found none, but soon came to a large room with some very detailed “statues” of Orcs.

They looked as if they were in the process of fighting something, but had been turned to stone. Thinking this was rather ominous (having heard tales of medusa, basilisks, and other such creatures), some of us thought to proceed carefully. Pockets on the other hand, decided to knock over a bunch of the statues, making quite a racket.

Once we had him settled down, we continued examining the room. one door had protective wards on it, so we had Pockets check out the other door. He had no sooner opened it, than he too was turned to stone! We weren’t too surprised when out came a medusa!

Luckily the rest of us were able to kill her before we too were turned to stone. (in the process, we also managed to reduce her treasure horde to a pile of melted gold.) After the battle, Drusilia summoned her “angel” friend again, and gave him the sword of Pelor in exchange for returning Pockets to his former state.... so, the angel got the sword in the end, and we still didn’t get our answers! It figures.

Searching the rest of this level, we found only some more orc “statues”, and one “statue” of an elf... in a prison cell. Having no way at present to restore the elf, we left him where he was, and proceeded back to the warded door.

Opening the door, we found a set of stairs leading down to a large room which contained two large statues and several exits. It looked suspicous to me, but the rest of the party proceeded into the room as Aramil managed to set of the trap!

A large metal grate fell into the doorway trapping the rest of the party in the room, while I managed to duck back into the hallway. With horror I watched as the two large statues came to life!

As we began fighting them, I noticed something odd... Only one of the statues was really moving... the other was an illusion! Unfortunately for us, one statue was more than a match for our group. As the statue was immune to magic, we only had our brute force to rely on. Eventually we were forced to retreat... I disintegrated the iron gate, and we all ran back up the steps and closed the warded door. We are now resting and recovering as we attempt to think of a way to get past the stone guardian.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 15:48 | Fafnir’s Journal