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October 10, 2010

It's a Trap!

Griselda's Journal

5 Kuthona 4709
Hold of Stonehelm

We left the room and found ourselves in a new hallway, and noticed some alcoves with barrels in them. As I went to pry the first open, sticky tendrils emerged and began to pull me forward. Some of my companions leapt to my aid, and I could hear Candal struggling with another mimic-like barrel in the next alcove. I crushed the first one and it flew apart in splinters. A moment later Candal’s assailant did the same.

It was at this point that I realized it was now only a (broken) barrel, not a hideous monster lurking and waiting for an unsuspecting passerby. I also realized that the damage I’d felt during the battle was completely gone. I began to doubt everything around me from that point on.

The hall had plenty of doors and other hallways leading off of it, as well as a mysterious crank wheel near where we’d arrived. The wheel did not seem to do much of anything no matter how much we turned it, though we did notice the sound of rushing water somewhere nearby that seemed to react to the wheel’s change in position. We turned then to the doors. One door was very hot to the touch and cracking it open a wee bit allowed flame to erupt into the hall. We shut that door quickly. Another door opened upon a stinky, green ooze-dripping corridor. Candal threw a copper in and a sticky tendril whipped out and grabbed it before it could hit the floor. We opted not to enter that one.

I almost went down the next corridor, as it looked peaceful enough with its ice and snow motif, but it also had a big bank of fog off in the distance, and a coin tossed in made no sound.

We saw a stairwell in a doorway further along and Tythe went to investigate it, but she immediately started to fall “up” before reaching the stairs. She managed to pull herself back down far enough, and we let a rope fall “up” to get her the rest of the way back to us. As she scrambled to get down, loud breathing followed her, seeming to get closer, but thankfully it disappeared at the doorway. I was wishing I’d still had the 10’ pole I used to carry, as we could have used it to cross the small area that defied gravity with it, and then noticed a 10’ pole in the corner next to where I stood. I’ve taken it, but I do not trust that it really exists anymore than the barrel/mimic did. I’m not even sure we ever left the forest now. I’m praying that I don’t wake up back in the orc camp, with this all having been a dream.

It turned out that the pole was not needed, as we were able to cross the reversed gravity gap without “falling” and made it to the stairs. We descended the stairs and came to a hall with a carpeted ceiling. Or maybe it is the floor, as the torches in sconces along it have flames pointing down at us. There are also curtains and a long banquet table and twelve chairs above us, none of which seem to be in danger of landing on us. Jumping at them does not seem to get us back to agreement on what is floor and what is ceiling.

Posted by Kristin at 14:25 | Griselda’s Journal

October 24, 2010

Dwarfed

Griselda's Journal

2 Kuthona 4709
Darkmoon Wood

We walked up onto the ceiling, which was then the floor for us, and looked over the banquet table. I sampled some of the ale till Salma made me stop, and then, someone opened the double doors at the end of the room, and Kasa (still on the “floor” above), Rogar, and I got sucked into the maelstrom revealed beyond. I was able to grab a hold of Kasa and stop us from rolling off through the cavernous room, but Rogar, his shield acting almost as a sail, flew past so quickly that there was nothing I could do to slow him down. I dragged the mammoth and myself back to the doors, which Candal closed before we could see if the dwarf was able to catch himself and return. I was told that they recognized the plane we are in now as “Limbo.”

We found a small wooden door that we had not noticed before, and opening it, found another door. We repeated this several times, until we eventually opened a door and found a set of stairs leading downward. These we decided to descend for lack of a better plan. As we did so, we realized that the stairs were getting increasingly steeper, until the last few had a 10’ tread and 6’ rise.

Leaving the last step, we found ourselves in a massive, circular chamber— easily 200’ across and dimly lit in a purple hue. About 50’ in, we could see deep, carved markings in a wide circle in the middle— and inside those runes something in heavy chains was moving. Salma knew of this, and said it was where Demogorgon was imprisoned by Orcus.

Steering well clear of the center, we followed the wall of the room until we came to a 10’ arch leading into a smaller cavern, where we could see the ghostly figure of a dwarven warrior wrapped in chains. It turned to look at us with pain-filled eyes and gave a blood-curdling howl. My sanity momentarily deserted me, and I tried to run at this point, but Salma managed to grab me just as the ghost moaned “leave this cursed place!”

Having our full attention, the ghost, who we learned had been Ostel Runehammer in life, went on to let us know that if we had been led here, it was to learn the curse of Stonehelm. It told of the lich Tar-Baphon, or the Whispering Tyrant, trapped in a prison under Gallowspire, but still able to influence others, attempting to break the seals that imprison him. The first seal is in the monastery outside Darkmoon Wood. The key I found opens an evil box carried by Candal, and within that, is the power to break that seal. The seals must be maintained, the ghost said, and then faded away. Salma walked to where the ghost had just been, in the center of the chamber, and also disappeared, so we followed herů.

And found ourselves back beside our camp in the Darkmoon Wood, and by all appearances, mere hours after our departure— with means and knowledge to break the first seal.

Posted by Kristin at 14:12 | Griselda’s Journal