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Upside-Down Tower…

Tassar’s Journal

Shortened plans…

As I begin working my way through the meandering streets of Silverymoon, I find myself aware of each and every shadow. Glimpses of something, and nothing. I am not paranoid, just highly aware and prepared for the inevitable meeting with town guards. My only hope is that Mr. Bucket is with them; broad daylight and public streets be damned, that man will pay and pay dearly for his actions.

First I will see Lady Brenin and assure her all is well; the last thing I need is the pressure of that sweet old lady being worried about me. Besides, her voice and overall grace will put me a little more at ease. I don’t know what it is about her, but I feel very comforted by her presence.

My thoughts are distracted by the pattern of footpads behind me. They seem to be gaining on me, not walking at normal speed. I take a peek over my shoulder expecting to see a group of town guards only to be pleasantly surprised by two of my companions. Theona and Areon have found me, hmm, again. That Areon could probably track me through all Nine Hells and back.

After a short greeting, in which Theona kept calling me Mr. Otto (rubbing the salt into the wounds of my fears) and they insisted that we head back out of town. Apparently Theona had found a mage seeking to join our group. I asked her if she did the “follow me” routine to test him, she said that she did and that the fellow passed with flying colors. She went on to explain that she searched his belongings and confirmed him to be a magic user of some kind, and more importantly he seemed honestly broke. She explained that part as trying to make sure no one was hired to follow us, but to tell you the truth she likes picking pockets despite her insistence that she is not a thief.

I informed my friends that I wanted to at least see Lady Brenin and pay her the next month’s rent. They agreed only if they could come along and that we would leave soon after.

It didn’t take long to find the house and to my great pleasure Lady Brenin was home. She welcomed us and talked a little. I introduced my friends, at which point I got the impression that Lady Brenin and Theona knew each other, yet they seemed to act as if it was the first time they met. Well time was running and Areon wanted out of the town so we said our goodbyes and were on our way. The last comment that Lady Brenin made is sticking in my head though, she told me to stay away from things with long arms. Now I am forced to realize that she is aware of a great deal more than I thought she was. I hope she will be all right while I am gone; I will have to have another walk with her when I get back.

The new guy…

At the edge of town we meet our friend Deitricha and the almost human-looking new fellow. Deciding to not waste any time on formalities I went right up to the lad and informed him that his spells are not to be torching my backside. In a courtesy I told him to get a shield and carry it over his rear end, as this group has been known to shoot each other in the rear, not the back mind you— just the rear. Then he tried to tell me his name but I cut him off, “you are just the new guy, until you prove yourself, and buy me some ale also.” He then explained that he was broke; truly not a good start for him.

After a few more moments of conversation we headed out through the gates. In part to be on our way to the tower, in part to get through before they detained us.

Soon the road was at our feet and once again it brought comfort to my party. The road seemed to be where we belonged, as if it too was part of our group. The road offered a chance for us to think about our lost friend or the new one we found. In fact, it was a comical point as Areon realized that no one had seen the new guy ever cast a spell. Theona who claimed to have checked him out was forced to admit having never checked that vital part out. We could be going into danger with a buffoon apprentice for all she knew. Maybe this fellow couldn’t even cast a simple spell without disastrous effects. Too late now; this will be good.

The party soon found that the rain and mud forced those walking to get on the packhorses. The pace was quicker and we actually found that little town, I can’t remember the name, just before nightfall. Not a bad day’s travel in the rain. We decided to hole up the night and stable the horses for some much needed rest. Rarely have I seen something worse than a horse that was rode hard and put away wet, but Deitricha pushed passed that point. She had begun a bit of whining an hour before we hit the town, her horse had been behind the new guy’s warhorse and had gotten a lot of mud flung her way. Having only passing skills at riding, she was just happy to keep the horse moving the right direction.

We found the inn to be empty beyond ourselves and the one innkeeper at this hour, for most sane people did not travel in these conditions. I saw Deitricha get a room and go stomping up the stairs, flinging mud in every direction as she continued cursing her muddy clothes. I decided it would be much more comfortable curling up by the fire in the great room and joined the rest of the group there. It was a hard floor and the log I used for a pillow must have still had some bugs in it, for I was forced to toss it in the fire after being bitten a good dozen times.

The tower…

The next morning after a couple of nice breakfasts, we set out onto the road to the tower. The party had left the mounts at the town, except for me who kept Otto with me. The walk to the tower took nearly two hours. The only real distraction was crossing the path where the troll had been days earlier.

But we soon came over a small rise to see the tower. Now to all my learning and experience towers go up, but this thing showed no more than ten feet of wall at its highest point. It appears that it collapsed long ago. I took this chance to rekindle my mocking of the vampires, which only seemed to anger Theona more. The new guy seemed nervous too, but not from the vampire story, no he had spotted a wolf. He began to warn us about wolves. A point that Areon must have taken to heart for he began moving us to the ruined tower immediately.

Some fifty feet from the tower the lone wolf returned with some friends. I shouted for everyone to get to the tower and put their backs to the walls. Before we could do much more than step in that direction the wolves where upon us. Areon and Theona made it to the wall, but the rest of us where soon engaged. A game of attack and retreat began, and the new guy went down quick. I had my hands full so I shouted to the others, I meant to yell that our new companion was in danger, but it didn’t come out that way. “New guy is down.” came out of my mouth with a chuckle.

Soon the battle was in full force, I killed one or two before being pulled off of Otto by one of the beasts. The wolves are a difficult opponent; they don’t fight with any sense of honor, more of a weakling’s approach. They come in numbers and only fight long enough for one of the others to come up behind you, and then they back away.

After regaining my feet, which was difficult due to the one foot having spent a few minutes being gnawed upon, I sent Otto to Deitricha’s aid. Then after finishing the current wolf I went to her also and we stood back to back. Areon had blazed by in an effort to save the chew toy I called the new guy, while Deitricha and I fought on. Every few seconds or so a bolt from Theona would whiz by and sink into the side of a wolf.

Eventually we killed off most of the wolves and scared away the others. It wasn’t till then that I realized how bad Deitricha was wounded. I guess a day without drinking had loosened my tongue a bit as I told her she look like hell. She seemed a little hurt, but what else could I say after that, so I wondered off to see Areon and help him bring the barely alive new guy back to safety.

We made a little camp within the walls of the tower, the new guy proved to not be too good at fighting, but he could skin a wolf like a pro. Soon we had some meat cooking and the party was getting healed up. Theona did eat a little, but spent most of the meal reminding me that it had only been two hours sinse I had two breakfasts at the inn. Try as I might I couldn’t understand her point.

As we packed things back up the new guy said he found the stairs. Now this fellow seems to be ok, but in the hollowed out ring that we were in, the only thing standing up more than two feet was the stairs. Everyone had seen them; they stuck up almost six feet.

Anyway, we went over and Theona lead the way, for a bit. I was first to the bottom. I apparently was too busy still eating a nice cut of meat to watch my feet on the rain slicked steps. Most of the party slid down and slammed into me at the bottom. I think Theona, the first one on the steps was the last one to come off the steps.

Theona began searching for traps. It was a good full minute before I got bored this time and wondered off on my own to check things out. I think I am getting better at the patience thing. As I burned away some cobwebs I heard a scream from Theona, and then one from Deitricha. I wanted to go right out and fight but the new guy was standing in the doorway blocking my progress. I need to teach him to let the fighter through when there is trouble.

When I finally got into the hall I found both ladies being attacked by some kind of half bat — half mosquito things. I rode up to them and began slicing the little creatures up. They were easy to hit, but they seemed to be hurting the ladies bad. I got a couple and then prepared to slice the last one up when a glowing ball of magic flew, just over my head, and hit the last creature. Unfortunately this one had been drinking some blood and exploded when it was hit. I think it will take the ladies some time to clean up their hair and faces. Luckily they got most of the goo. I backed up and the three of us men kind of chuckled quietly as the ladies peeled the mess off of their bodies.

Posted by Jim on March 7, 2004, 07:10 | Tassar’s Journal