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April 6, 2004

I'm Falling...!

Deitricha's Journal

Well, we were soon following Rosorc up the street toward a sign with a bed on it. One look inside and we changed our minds, however - it was only a flophouse, no food or drink or privacy! The houses and alleys were looking more rundown than ever when we caught sight of another building ahead; huge and black and rather spider-like, it gave us all a bad feeling. We turned back, hoping to retrace our steps and maybe find a better part of town. Not before a gnome tried to talk us into following him down a dark alley to an “inn” he knew of - we must have looked like real strangers to town, I fear!

We managed to extract ourselves from that conversation, and walked on up what passed for a main street. Finally, we reached a crossroads - with a zombie standing smack in the middle of it! It was not only not attacking anything, it was covered with notes! I was horrified, and I think Areon was, too; we stayed as far from it as we could, while Rosorc and Theona walked right up to check it out. The papers, apparently, were job notices and other messages, and the zombie itself would even give directions by pointing when asked. I was very glad when we moved on.

The town was still pretty rundown, and someone asked if it was worth trying to find a “better” area - maybe this was all there was! I said that it only made sense for a portal from Hell to land in the worst part of a place, so I had faith that we could find a safer spot to rest. Even as we spoke, we had to dodge a flapping imp-shaped ooze overhead, carrying a scroll. Sights like that helped keep us moving! Unfortunately, looking up at it caused me to finally register that I could see rooftops directly overhead in the sky. Whatever shape this city is, it was too much for my sense of up and down - I learned the true meaning of the word vertigo!

Of course, this meant the rest of the party realized the strangeness of the city as well, and Theona pulled out an aleskin which we happily shared right there in the street! Tossing the empty to a voice in an alley, we began walking again. Areon, bless him, suggested that I hold someone’s shoulder and look at the ground rather than keep staring into the sky until I felt like I was falling upward. This also helped me keep out of trouble when strange creatures passed us, including a gigantic, red, winged demon that gave us the eye as we passed. I wonder if we’ve met him recently?

The area finally began to improve; we passed through an industrial area full of foundries and sulfrous smells, and when we noticed that the locals were well-dressed enough to give us looks, we figured it was time to find an inn. The Alabaster Mermaid was the first we saw, and to my amusement, Rosorc insisted on holding the door open for Theona. The innkeeper was glad to offer us access to his bath rooms, sending a very nervous serving girl to lead the way. At least our money is good here! There were three big rooms, so Tassar and I made a merry dash for the first one. We weren’t planning on a private room but no one followed us! Leaving my backpack and bags and weapons on the verge, I jumped into the bath and proceeded to clean my armor, my clothes, and myself!

Finally, we all met in the common room, feeling much more presentable. William’s hair, I fear, looked really bad now that what was left of it was clean. Areon generously paid for all our rooms for the night, and we settled into one to divide up the treasure and gear that we’d collected. Everyone then headed back downstairs for food! The menu was rather eye-opening, so we ordered one of everything and sampled. I think I’ll stick with the goat, myself. At least I know what that is! Realizing that it was nightfall, we headed back up to sleep. We found that Areon had paid for three rooms. While the rest eyed each other in some embarrassment (except for Rosorc), Tassar and I gleefully dashed into the first again. I have no idea how the others divided up in the end.

The night passed quietly - what a blessing! Meeting for breakfast in the morning, we found a note saying that the elves “went shopping”. They soon came back from selling the leftover treasure, carrying a lot of gold and a winged cat for Areon. I like the cat! We all then “went shopping”! I changed my gold into six amethysts, leaving almost seventy in gold pieces and some silver, plenty of walking money! Still, it’s just fun to be adventuring with friends. The bazaar was lots of fun to just walk around and window-shop in. What an amazing place this City of Doors is! William got his hair trimmed a little better, and as for Rosorc - he returned with an intricately braided beard, decorated with mithril chain and gemstones! It was a work of art. Theona got a “gift” from a small boy - two roses and a mithril chain. How she did blush! Rosorc then braided it into her hair. It’s very pretty - but Theona’s not sure what to make of that dwarf!

I thought that perhaps we could get ideas for a way home from the local temples, but the merchant I spoke to said that there weren’t many in town. The lady who runs this city doesn’t approve of a lot of magics, which I decided to keep in mind. Thank Tymora we hadn’t had much reason to cast anything, yet! William found out that the best way to find a portal home would be in the Clerks’ Ward, which was back where we’d spent the night. Theona handed me a bunch of healing type potions, and we left the market.

Back at the Clerks’ Ward, we found a large marble building titled the Hall of Records. The first clerk we found, however, told us that we were in the wrong place. The goatlike centaur directed us down the street a couple of buildings to Information. That clerk sent us further down the hallway to the Portal Registry. This clerk seemed to know what we wanted, but insisted that we fill out about twenty pages’ worth of forms, applying for information on a portal to Faerun. Areon, to my surprise, turned out to have the patience to sit down and do the job, although I read over his shoulder. Five gold pieces and a filled-out application later, the clerk told us it was closing time and to come back tomorrow. I feared we’d have a minor explosion from the party at that point!

Back at the inn, we got a sample of how smitten Rosorc truly is. He ordered a fine private dinner for two, himself and Theona, who instead slipped out the door “for a moment”! Rosorc gave her a little while, then began to eat. I tried to tell him that she might not return his favor, but he wouldn’t talk to me. Finally, Theona returned, covered with cuts! Rosorc didn’t even blink, just cleaned her up and gave her an ale. Theona started drinking like I’ve never seen before. She finally managed to tell him that dwarves and elves don’t mix - as she passed out under the table. Poor Rosorc! He wasn’t bothered at all, though, which made me wonder how dwarven women are normally wooed? He just bought her a room, carried her up to it, and locked her in alone!

The next morning, Tassar and I cracked our door open to see a kid bringing a tray to Theona’s door. On it was breakfast and a note. She looked confused, so we, giggling, told her all about her fine dinner of the night before. She disappeared for the baths as we headed downstairs to find breakfast. Rosorc was still not listening to me about Theona, and I was finally sent to get her out of the baths, as she seemed inclined to spend the whole day there instead of going to the Hall of Information! I talked to her through the door, finally giving up and walking in only to find her hiding underwater! Pulling her out, I finally got her dressed and ready to face us all when we figured out that she was still confused about the night before. She thought her cuts were from Rosorc’s armor! That elf should not drink so much! I convinced her that she only had dinner with him and we finally headed out.

There was a different clerk, of course. We feared we’d have to start all over, but he managed to find our file and, even better, a lot of details about how to get home! There’s one portal back to Faerun, right under the worst part of town, and in its catacombs (no, I’m not going to think too hard about that, I’ll just get vertigo again!). It’s only open once every thirty-two days, and it’s open today! We needed a black rose to open the portal, and we could hire a guide to get us to the right area. Off we went! First stop was the market, where Rosorc’s shopping came in handy; he knew right where to find a flower shop selling black roses. And two more for Theona! We also hired “Bob” to get us there.

Bob led us to an alley in the Hive district, and an archway in a wall, with steps leading downward. There were white-haired workmen across the way but they didn’t bother us as we headed inside, leaving Bob behind. Rosorc led the way, carrying the rose, and we wandered the corridors for some time. It was all we could do - there was no sign of a portal. We did find more zombies, however, and these acted like the real thing! I worried that I couldn’t or shouldn’t turn them, but the others did just fine without my help. Rosorc and Tassar waded right into battle, Theona and Areon shot arrows, and William and I tossed shurikan and spells. We all managed not to hit a party member this time!

Zombies killed, we’re off to wander the tunnels again. I pray we find this portal, soon!

Posted by Kate at 13:38 | Deitricha’s Journal