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Theona’s Journal

Flamerule 2, 1373, Ancient Dwarven Stronghold of Barannsar

Oh, this place will be the death of us! In spite of our copious rest periods, I have barely meditated in the past few days. The reveries I’ve managed have been filled with horrible images of Tel-Quessir being slaughtered by red-skinned fiends and trapped under a crumbling fortress of stone. Each of these trances have intensified the growing feeling that I need to get out under an open sky, or better still, a canopy of interwoven tree branches….

I’ve spent the rest of our “downtime” watching my companions, especially Areon’s tressym. The flying cat is obviously very intelligent— I observed Nianque watching Areon working with fletching and she had a slightly worried look on her face, until she must have realized he was using green and amber, not blue, feathers. The poor thing must want to be outside where she has more room to fly, and she must have communicated this to Areon because during a recent mediation I heard him mumble something about returning the silver cat to the woods.

My comrades were finally ready to move ahead after another 24 hours in the abandoned barracks. I managed to find a few coins on some desiccated husks of orcs, but nothing else of interest or value. I was again reassured by my N-Tel-Quess companions that there would be lots of “loot” the further into these halls we ventured. I was humoring them at first, but Rosorc said the same thing, which troubles me. Surely he knows that anything we find in these catacombs must be returned to the dwarven descendants? I personally have no problem with that— I may not follow all the laws of this land to the letter, but I do feel strongly that items of birthright should always be returned to the peoples that have lost them, and would hope that all of my companions feel the same way.

When at long last we opened the door on the far side of the room to continue our wanderings, the group fractured into several smaller parties— Rosorc went left, Tassar, Deitricha, and, after a slight pause, William, went right and I begged Areon to go search for an exit to this place with me. I could see he was seriously considering it, though the startled cries of our friends (though to be fair, Tassar’s were more like shouts of challenge) cut short any consideration of that. I ran towards Tassar’s voice while Areon turned to see what Rosorc, who was making considerable noise of his own as he tried to catch up to us, had found.

I discovered that Tassar had gone down a bend in the corridor and opened a door— finding four gnolls, a Red Wizard of Thay, and his assistant in what appeared to be a library for stone tablets. The assistant, I noticed, was making rubbings of certain stones. The wizard and gnolls, however, looked quite put upon by our arrival and were keen on making us pay for it. I quickly shot a bolt at the wizard, hitting him (and annoying him more), then ducked out to call to Areon, in time to see Rosorc rounding the corner and a beam of red light hitting the wall right above them both. Thankfully Rosorc new exactly what was following him and pulled Areon back from the corner as several drow crossbow bolts and a small beholder came flying up behind him. I was running towards them when the hall became completely black. Remembering that the drow employ darkness spells when they attack, I ran back towards the other group to fight in the library, and thankfully, Rosorc and Areon followed suit.

I looked up just in time to see that the wizard had summoned a Hell Hound, and then I hit the wizard with another bolt. He obviously remembered me and retaliated with an acid arrow spell, which continued to burn me for several seconds afterwards. My friends yelled to me to push the door shut before the beholder and drow came in. As I did so, one drow did make it in, but ironically, became the only casualty of one of the beholder’s ray attacks. After I pushed the door shut, I realized that, to my horror, William was not in the room with us. I managed to kill a gnoll that was harassing our cleric with a well-placed bolt, and saw the wizard and his assistant disappear. I also felt the door behind me give and the drow start to push their way in. Thankfully Areon was by me and was able to force the stone door closed again.

Suddenly, we realized that we’d killed everything in the room. Deitricha and I did a quick walk around looking for another way out. We found none, but the hall beyond the only door was now quiet, so we ventured a peek out.

Seeing the way clear (and no sign of William at all), I argued that we should try to find a way out, as it was likely that anyone showing the celestial qualities William has would have been killed by the drow immediately. There was one door left in the hallway though, and we listened at it, hoping against hope that somehow William had crawled inside to wait for us. We heard nothing, so Rosorc carefully opened the door a bit— enough to see that the beholder was waiting on the other side! We tried to pull the door shut and attack the beholder at the same time— that didn’t really work out too well though we got a few hits on it. The beholder shot a few of us with rays— Rosorc and Tassar fell asleep, of all things, but Deitricha was right there to kick them awake. Areon killed the thing outright, thankfully, so we opened the door all the way.

Rosorc ran in to check the room over and was attacked by the drow, who had been hiding invisibly around the perimeter of the chamber. Areon was going to follow him, but had been hit by some spell that knocked the wind out of him— he staggered a bit as Tassar charged into the room and Rosorc fell to another drow spell. Thankfully Areon was able to pick off drow with his bow from outside the room. Just when I thought all was lost for those inside (and I’ve been thinking that a lot), the remaining drow disappeared. We scrambled into the chamber and Areon shut the door, leaning on it and looking exhausted. Deitricha patched up our fighters, who keep falling asleep, no doubt from drow poison. We even found William in the room, still alive— the drow must have been keeping him for use as a slave or a sacrifice. I, without thinking or hesitating, threw myself into Areon’s arms. I’m sure he was at least as surprised as I was.

Posted by Kristin on May 19, 2004, 17:24 | Theona’s Journal