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I’m starting to get used to this kind of thing.

Deitricha’s Journal

The party, instead of heading down the well, decided to scatter. William went all the way outside for some “fresh air”, and returned to tell us that the wolves were still there. I was trying to listen at the pit, but having no success (Tassar was chucking things into it). Tassar suddenly decided that hunting more wolves with William would be fun. As they headed out the door I realized Theona and I were having the same thought - would both Tassar and William come back alive from this trip? She and I followed, and Areon followed Theona. So much for the pit!

As we walked back through the hall of mage statues, both Theona and I noticed a crack in the wall. Leaving Areon to chaperone Tassar and William, we decided to figure out the door. Theona soon had it open, and the two of us looked down a narrow secret hallway, wondering out loud what it could lead to. As I started to make out a hole in the floor about twenty feet away, our voices woke something up; a loud roar filled the hall, startling me so much that I ran right out of the catacombs, shouting for help! By the time I got back with the others, we could hear words in the roaring - “My head hurts! Get me out of here!” - and learned that somehow, there was a survivor from the other parties.

The end of the hall led down a shaft, with a broken-off ladder, and a dwarf at the bottom. He seemed to be pinned under some rubble, and very irritated. I can’t blame him! We sent Tassar down to help, being the strongest, but that was a mistake. The two of them quickly began to argue and the rest of us ended up climbing down, both to help the dwarf and get Tassar to stop badgering him. There was another tunnel, here; hopefully a safer passage than the pit to whatever was to be found. We finally got Rosorc to tell us his name and a little history; no more than we’d already guessed, his party had died in an adventure, and he’d fallen into the shaft, luckily within reach of food and water! William made introductions around the party, while Theona tried to dissuade Tassar from playing with the door at the end of the new passage. She also made herself a friend for life by giving Rosorc her aleskin!

Unfortunately, this gave Tassar the chance to open the doors for Theona. Statues on each side of the doors began to crackle with energy, and lightning bolts shot between them! Theona made it out of the way, but Tassar got zapped. Much as I thought he deserved it, I still got mad at the dwarf, who was laughing his butt off at “little people”. With the doors now open, Tassar walked off down the hallway, and I decided to walk with him instead. Naturally, as I caught up to him, we both heard a “click” under his foot, and metal bars slammed down at both ends of the hallway, trapping us inside a cage! Tassar kept telling me to stay behind him, as he got ready to fight whatever showed up, but I doubted things would work out that way.

Soon, a door opened at each end of the cage, and more of the banded mail statues with glowing red eyes appeared! Tassar really wanted me to stay safely behind him, but there wasn’t a safe place, so we were stuck back-to-back. He jokingly cursed at me, which made me start laughing, especially when Theona chimed in from the end of the hall that we “looked like hell”! I guess we all took lessons from Dante the bard about relieving tension in battle! Rosorc, however, must have thought us all insane. The statues closed in, William cast magic missiles at them, Areon and Rosorc were shooting arrows, and, of course, many skeletons with scimitars began to follow the statues into the hall! Rosorc and William, hoping the things were weak, started setting them on fire by flinging oil through the bars and lighting it. I, on the other hand, decided to try dealing with things my way, and turned them all to dust!

Unfortunately, the big statues were still there, and Tassar pretended to be disappointed that the skeletons were gone until the two statues smashed into us, and another mass of skeletons came through the doors! This led to Tassar shouting, “I thought you got rid of them?!”, so I turned them all to dust, too, and earned myself a good hit from a statue. Those things hurt a lot! Tassar then went back to complaining that I wasn’t staying “safely” behind him. I was just glad that our friends were still firing arrows and spells down the hall to help us. Rosorc and William seem to be a match made in heaven - their end of the hall was a smoking mess from Rosorc’s oil and William’s fire! About that time, I took a swing at a statue, missed, bashed my arm numb against the wall, and was knocked out by my foe.

I woke to someone pouring something down my throat; Theona had found the healing potion I was carrying and put it to good use. I quickly cured Tassar, who was also down, and then looked around to see the cage was open and the statues destroyed. Did I mention that the dwarf has spiked armor? I was amused to see that the last statue was full of holes! Finally, we turned to the door at the end of the hallway, beyond the cage trap. The door opened to reveal a large vaulted room, in shambles. There was a body on a table, but the rest of the place had been smashed and shattered and burned. The body seemed to have been dissected, poor gnome! He, too, looked to have been dead only about a month. Rosorc, to our surprise, was very respectful of the gnome, asking for a cloak to cover the body and a moment of silence. This may have been a mistake, although well-intentioned; as William stood by the gnome, it turned to him, and said, “Leave!” .. which sent William right out the door even as Rosorc cleaved its head with his axe.

This seemed the signal for all hell to break loose; something swooped down from the rafters and stung Theona as she inspected a secret door in the wall, and then disappeared! We were ready to retreat forward through the new door, except that William was still running the other way. I took it upon myself to go get him, and left the others to deal with the flying things. I found William trying to climb out of the shaft, and dragged him off the rope. I couldn’t snap him out of whatever fugue the gnome’s body had set on him, and I fear I was reduced to sitting on him and smacking him around until he lost consciousness. I dragged his body back to the room, only to find everyone still fighting an invisible flying thing and looking strangely clumsy. Apparently it had poison, too. I stood in the doorway, throwing sling bullets and shuriken whenever I caught a glimpse of the creature (and I had to apologize to Areon, who took a shuriken from me and a lassoing from Tassar). Rosorc whipped out a ten-foot length of chain, and tried to catch it that way.

Theona was looking pretty bad by then, which worried me enough to suggest quitting the field of battle until I could heal everyone up. Theona took my advice but the menfolk were determined to kill the thing outright. We waited in the hall until Rosorc finally managed to entangle the creature, bringing it out of the air, and making it an easy target for Tassar and Areon. The one chopped off its poisonous tail, and the other chopped it in half, outright! At this point I had to explain why William was unconscious, which was a little embarrassing! I asked if we could wait a day, so I could heal everyone, and this time they all agreed. They searched the broken-up room, and we wedged the door closed. Theona found a secret panel in the wall, and came out with a box and vials. The vials helped us heal, and the box, when finally broken open, spilled platinum coins across the floor!

William finally woke up to accept my apologies (thank Tymora!), and I healed everyone as much as I could before we dropped off to sleep. In the morning, I healed everyone again as much as possible, and to my surprise, the party agreed to wait one more day so we could all be at full strength for our next adventure. The dwarf, to be sure, was sad that he had to water down his aleskin, but overall, I think it was a good idea. We also got a chance to talk and learn a little more about each other. Finally, the next day dawned, and we opened Theona’s secret door.

Well, another room was revealed, with a ritual circle in the center, surrounded by glowing runes. William was unable to decipher them, but noticed a chest in the corner, which drew Tassar and Rosorc right over to try their own brand of “lock-picking” upon. This sent Theona, at least, running from the room just in case! Luckily, the chest wasn’t trapped (that we could tell), and she was soon back, identifying the things inside and passing them out for us to carry. At this point, disaster struck. William, still pondering the runes, decided that the ritual circle was actually a teleportation device; the trouble began when he also mentioned that he thought it was a two-way portal. Without further ado, Tassar walked right in!

Well, I couldn’t let him face the unknown alone. Hearing someone mutter something about just leaving the halfling to his ill-fated decision really spurred me on! I quickly stepped onto the circle, and the others soon followed. What a sight met our eyes! A flat, dusty, red plain, random jets of flame, and the faint sound of screaming easily identified this new place as Hell. Of course, there was no circle to return home by! We could see a fortress in the distance and mountains in the other direction. There were groups of awful creatures wandering the plains, and William was doing his best to hide inside his own cloak. Whatever is not-human about him, apparently, is the exact opposite of creatures here. I can’t be angry at his mistake when he’s obviously terrified that he’ll pay for it with his life!

Tassar is now leading the way to the mountains. I hope we make it out of here alive! Tymora, guide my footsteps!

Posted by Kate on March 19, 2004, 01:22 | Deitricha’s Journal