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Broken Wings

Areon’s Journal

After resting in the cave’s makeshift storeroom, we prepared to head down further into the caves. After passing through the doorway, the walls became crude worked stone, not nearly as magnificent as that of the dwarves. Beowulf turned into a bat and scouted out the underground halls. He told us of four rooms: one with a large number of small humanoids, one with 3 humanoids of a human’s size, and one with a large humanoid standing guard. The last room was empty as far as he could tell.

We decided to head in the least defended direction. We covered our magical torches to avoid detection and tried to move as silently as possible. Unfortunately, as we were moving along in the dark we heard heavy footsteps approaching us, and I realized that we must have been heard. I uncovered my torch and dropped it to the ground to pull my sword and face whatever was coming.

The large humanoid turned out to be a minotaur, bearing down on us with a huge axe. We tried to get away from it and forced it to come into the hallway if it wanted to attack anyone. It stepped into the hall, and Rosorc and I immediately attacked it. The minotaur only managed to make one wild swing that passed well above my head before Rosorc buried his axe into its back and I almost split it in half with two sweeps of my massive sword.

The commotion brought the attention of all the other humanoids that Beowulf had found. I recovered my torch and clambered over the fallen minotaur down the hallway it had come from. I saw Rosorc had charged back into the fray with Deitricha in tow, away from Theona, Beowulf and I. When I saw goblins similar to the group he was fighting, I guessed that the hallways must form some kind of circle, and decided to fight through it and see if I could flank the force that Rosorc was fighting.

I cut my way into the next room, while Theona and Beowulf sent sling stones and arrows past me. We killed all the creatures in the room, and I moved into a hallway which led to the rear of a force trying to crowd into a hallway, I dropped my torch to the floor again to better use my sword, and charged. The goblins were shocked to see another fighting group attacking from behind and fell quickly.

Rosorc finished killing a gnoll and stepped into another hallway. When I stepped up I saw him fighting a gnome! I switched to my longbow, nocked two arrows and let them fly. They both thudded into the gnome’s chest, staggering it enough for Rosorc to finish him with one last swing.

We collected the equipment of the fallen creatures, and found that there was nothing that any of us really wanted. We set off to the last door in the halls, which hadn’t yet been opened.

We opened the door and charged into two very surprised looking bugbears. But then we had a turn to be surprised. A form appeared from nowhere with the air seeming to ripple out from it in a wave. As the wave hit me, I felt like I had been crushed by a massive weight and I could not think clearly, the last thing I remember seeing is a pink-skinned creature with four tentacles where a mouth would be on a person. The darkness stole my sight.

I awakened with my hands and feet chained together, though I could feel Nianque rubbing against me. I felt as if Theona were somewhere near me, though I could not see anything in the darkness.

Then a light came bobbing into view and I heard a familiar voice: Tassar!

“The Order thanks you for your assistance.” He said to the creature I had seen just before losing consciousness. He then handed a small pouch to the creature.

Nianque arched her back and hissed, drawing me out of my shock. I had thought that Tassar was a friend. If I see the halfling again, I don’t think I will hesitate in killing him.

The small group left, bugbear guards leading the way, leaving us in pitch blackness again. I heard a large amount of rattling chains, and then I heard Theona say she had gotten herself free from her bindings. For a while, I heard a huge amount of chain and door rattling, and then Theona came and unlocked my bindings.

Rosorc and I collected chains to use as make shift flails, and Theona and Deitricha picked up the thigh bones of long-dead prisoners who had been left to rot. We then moved up the hallway until Rosorc found a door. Theona started to pick the lock, but something opened it before she could unlock it herself. Rosorc struck out, and the cry and following thud as a body hit the ground suggested that one creature was out of the fight. Detricha cast a spell that filled the room with light, and I saw our hobgoblin foes. I stepped past Theona and swung my former bonds into another hobgoblin, felling him. The last took off running and Beowulf ordered Shadow to attack him. Shadow leapt out the door, hot on the heels of the fleeing hobgoblin. I heard a body hit the ground in the outside corridor, and almost immediately I heard a sickening thud and a yelp.

Rosorc and I picked up the weapons and shields of fallen hobgoblins. I found a ring of keys and tossed them to Theona, knowing she was more likely to be the one using them.

Beowulf called Shadow back to him and as soon as Shadow came into the room Rosorc shut the door and held it shut. I added my strength to help bar the door, and the women tried to find a way out. After what seemed like an eternity of holding the door shut, Theona shouted that she found a trapdoor hidden in the room opposite us. Rosorc and I waited for a thump on the door, then retreated into the room, shutting and barring its door.

The room was filled with bones and the ugliest looking statue that I had ever seen. We paid little attention to it though, as we squeezed into the trapdoor and into the hallway below. After following the passage a short distance, we found daylight.

As soon as we were out, Rosorc became adamant about returning in to the cave (which we spotted not far away). I felt that there was no reason whatsoever to return to the cave, even for equipment. Between Beowulf and I we would be able to find shelter and food. We would also be able to find a town where we could probably get help from a temple, or at east hire on to a caravan to get back to Silverymoon.

We argued about our options until Theona pointed out that we were getting nowhere and it would be best if we at least found some shelter for the night. I agreed and found us a place to rest that was well sheltered. After finding shelter I went to find us enough food to survive the night. Though there was little about, I did manage to find enough edible things to keep us from going hungry. Beowulf enchanted some berries that would provide a full meal if eaten.

The bitter cold of the night was extremely hard on most of us, though Theona was shivering so badly by morning that I was worried that the exposure would kill her. I cast a weather protection spell on her, and we decided (as a group) to at least see if we could collect the supplies we had found in the cave.

Once we had entered the cave, Beowulf turned into a bat once again, and scouted through the rooms until he had determined that no one was around. He signaled his findings, or lack thereof, to us and we headed back into the halls we had been captured in. We were able to collect a good number of weapons, and I felt at least a little better prepared to fight our tentacled friend.

We entered the room that we had been captured in, and found it to be empty. After a bit of searching, Theona found a secret door with a stairwell leading down. Beowulf (still as a bat) flew down and quickly came back up, warning us of ogres. Sure enough, two ogres came up the stairs. Rosorc and I managed to kill one between a javelin that I threw and the blows with the battleaxe that Rosorc had picked up. The second ogre took a little more time, but we killed it without too much trouble.

We clambered down the passageway to find the bedding area of the creatures that we had previously killed, and through a crushed door, we saw the rooms that we had just escaped from.

Theona searched around once again, and found another secret door. This one led into a small, but very luxurious bedroom. Part of our group charged in, finding the two bugbears and our tentacled friend. He must have used his attack again, as Theona stopped responding to everything around her, but the creature disappeared when no one else seemed to be hurt by his attack.

We were elated by our victory and looted the room. Theona found yet another secret door, but when we opened it, there was a great flash of light, and we found ourselves (minus Deitricha) in a small room with no apparent exits.

Almost as soon as we realized our predicament, the room began to quake then shattered around us as our prison was broken. We tumbled out onto the floor of the room that Theona had opened.

It was at that moment I felt something terribly wrong. I looked around to see blue feathers floating lazily to the floor. I rushed over to Nianque who was lying on the floor in a pool of blood. I picked her up and cradled her broken body. She looked up at me with her green eyes and managed a weak, rasping purr. She then closed her eyes and fell into the sleep that few have wakened from.

Deitricha blamed herself for Nianque’s death, and apologized for not being able to free us from the prison with magic. I could only nod my head in acceptance of her apology.

Rosorc suggested we take time to find Nianque a resting place and give her a proper burial. I agreed with him, and collected the blue feathers littering the floor.

We traveled part of the day, and found a precipice looking across what seemed to be all of Faerun. Each of us paid our respects to the fallen animal. I said a prayer taught to me by the Red Tiger tribe to bless the fallen and Theona gave an elven blessing which I remembered vaguely from my childhood. Deitricha and Beowulf each asked their patrons to bless Nianque in her new life. Rosorc recited a dwarven prayer blessing the fallen and calling for punishment on those who had taken her life.

I have kept some of the feathers that fell from Nianque’s body. I will keep one in my journal to remind me of friend I had in her. The rest I will use to make arrows for one special purpose: To kill the type of creature who is responsible for taking her life.

I find it odd that I feel so strongly about Nianque. I have only had her as a companion for a few days, yet I had always felt like she was a part of me. Losing her felt like the gods had played a cruel joke on me, allowing me to save her from a horrible fate, only to have her die a few days after, to a creature more evil than the one selling her as food.

Theona has stayed close to me since we left the lair. I know she can feel a little of my feelings, and knowing that she is here with me does afford comfort.

Posted by Tim on July 8, 2004, 22:05 | Areon’s Journal