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April 29, 2004

Killing Time

Theona's Journal

Kythorn 30, 1373, Ancient Dwarven Stronghold of Barannsar

We charged into a dining hall. Thankfully, this surprised all of the orcs, who, for a few seconds at least, were unarmed with anything other than eating utensils. I sank a bolt into one before he even had a chance to pull a weapon, and I was pleased to see my comrades having similar successes. In fact, if not for one orc with a horn, we would have likely finished them all off in under a minute. That orc was my next target. He didn’t go down, but the alarm he was sounding went up an octave when my bolt hit him.

I was quickly targeted by several orcish archers, and two of them hit. I managed to stay up while Deitricha went between all of us providing healing as needed. At one point, she needed to heal both Areon and Rosorc, so I threw my healing potion to Ro as I feared Areon would not last long enough to drink it.

Though we were making a good swath through the orcs, the horn blower had managed to summon a one-eyed orc cleric and two ogres, the latter were quickly dispatched by Tassar and William, whose spells seem to have the accuracy of a well-crafted bow. Areon helped me finish off the archers, but the horn blower and the cleric ran from us when the ogres fell.

This time, I insisted we “loot” the fallen creatures, and managed to pick up a good amount of coin. I wandered off to check out a passage to our right while Tassar followed the path of the routed orcs, which just happened to be the kitchen. I found some odd scratches in the floor, with a rather largish splotch of dried blood staining the stone floor around them. I called Areon to come look, but Rosorc had followed me and walked right up to the— well— trap, before I could stop him. A big spike shot out of the ceiling and rammed into the stone, skewering Rosorc. Areon appeared and announced that it was “dwarf blood.” Thankfully Ro’s pride was more damaged than his person. We figured out what was causing the scratches on the floor, of course.

William and Deitricha caught up to us, while Tassar volunteered to stay in the kitchen. We walked a few more feet down the passage, only to come to a bolted wooden door. Rosorc was able to read the symbol scratched on the door: Drow. We agreed as one that we didn’t need to open that particular door today.

We walked across the dining area to hear Tassar defending a pot of stew— more orcs! There were only five this time, and Rosorc took out two while Areon chased down the rest. We all ran after him, to come to yet another large hall filled with a dozen foes— including that cleric and a fresh ogre.

There were columns along each wall which made good vantage points to shoot arrows (or spells) from, though Rosorc decided to take the fight over to the orcs at the far end of the room. As he charged, we saw the cleric pull a lever and the floor fell out from under the startled dwarf. He landed in a pit with several inches of oil in it. Two orcs stepped up and lit a torch to throw in— thankfully Rosorc caught the torch before it touched the oil in the pit, but, since he was now soaked in oil, he lit up like an Azer anyway. Deitricha threw a rope to him while the rest of us continued to fight the orcs. The ogre, it appeared, was not very bright— after tossing a spear our way, he started lobbing the orcs surrounding him at us. A few went into the pit, never to rise, but one sailed across the room and knocked William out. I thought it had squashed him, but Deitricha was able to revive him after helping Rosorc out of the trap. Tassar slipped into the pit (I think he fell, but it’s not always easy to tell since he shouts a triumphant battle cry regardless of the situation) and then killed the ogre by throwing his green war fork up out of the pit. He’s getting to be a pretty good pitfighter.

Once again the cleric ran away from us, this time through a pair of double doors at his end of the hall. We were able to close the oil pit, but no amount of trying would get those doors open. In a fit of desperation, I took out that mystery wand we found and aimed it at the door. A beam of green light came out, but didn’t apparently harm the doors, which I’m sure were barred on the opposite side. William and Deitricha conferred and determined the wand cast a Ray of Enfeeblement. Here’s hoping I can get it to work again the next time we actually need it!

After collecting some loose coins off of the fallen bodies, we made our way back to the kitchen and I used some coppers to penny the door shut from our side. I imagine the one-eyed cleric has a multitude of doors available if he is determined to find us, but he seems a coward. At this point, we noticed Tassar was moving much more quickly than the rest of us, and so we hurried out the grand hall to find him flinging doors open. He found an unusual room when he opened the second door on the right in the hall— the one with a mountain and sun motif carved into it. The inside was an obvious sanctuary, with four green torches lighting the corners, two alcoves, each with a 15’ tall statue of a dwarf wearing platemail; one had an axe, the other bore a warhammer. In the center of the room an altar stood, with a bright mithril axe resting on it. The charred remains of orcs surrounded the altar.

Those of us that weren’t dwarves filed back out into the hallway, lest we end up like the black smudges surrounding the axe. Closing the door, we waited, hoping Ro would know what to do. He must have been worthy of the fine weapon, as he reappeared moments later hefting the well-crafted axe. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but he looks— different, somehow. I went back in and grabbed the four torches—they are the everburning variety, and since the axe was leaving the shrine, it seemed that we’d have better use of the light.

Tassar was unable to restrain himself for long, and wandered off into a hallway he’d found behind another door. He came running back out a minute letter, breathless and asking for ale. While I fished him out a flask from my bag, he tried, only somewhat successfully, to describe a halfling-sized creature that had dropped long arms down from a hole in the ceiling, attempting to strangle him. Rosorc went back in to look with him, but the creature did not make another appearance.

I believe we’d only broken camp a few hours before, but between the charred dwarf, strangled halfling and two spellcasters with little if any magic left, we agreed to rest again, back at our original camp site. Deitricha had done a good job of keeping Areon and I patched up, so I believe we’ll take two watches so our friends can get the extra rest they need.

Posted by Kristin at 17:12 | Theona’s Journal