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June 21, 2005


Deitricha's Journal

We found two pits, both inhabited. One held a troll, who looked up at us and muttered something in an unknown tongue. None of us could come up with a language in common with the creature, and moved on to the other pit. This one held two of the looted caravan’s guards, looking much worse for wear! Neither was moving, so Areon let himself down into the pit and we helped pull them up.

After a lot of healing, they woke up, understandably confused. They then accused Beowulf of causing all the trouble by getting in their way! Poor Beowulf thought he was helping… after what apologies we could make, we found out that one of the guards spoke troll. He translated for the one in the pit. It turned out that these trolls have been working for some giants who want the silver tiger statue; this troll disagreed with working for others and was imprisoned.

Areon, I think, is pleased to know that we’re on the right path; the statue was taken from the caravan and moved north to the giants within the past few days. We’re getting closer! Next, we found out that the troll is willing to lead us to the giants. Unfortunately, the guard was totally unwilling to go with us as a translator. We couldn’t offer him enough money to come on what he’s sure is a suicide mission!

We let the troll up, and settled in to rest for the evening. In the morning, I prayed for spells to let me understand or speak to the troll, and hoped that being able to communicate a few times a day would be enough. Theona spent her time practicing with her new crystal wand. She managed to cause a wall to collapse! Rosorc, on awakening, decided to go back with the guards. I think he feels responsible for their safety. I’ll miss him, though, and putting flowers in his beard when he sleeps!

Finally, Beowulf settled into bird form to watch over us, and we set out north over the Evermoors. It was a quiet day, to my surprise! I guess nothing wanted to mess with Gral all that much. I tried to exchange a few words with him, so we could learn each other’s language, but I didn’t get far. So, when he stopped late in the day, I had to cast a spell to ask what was wrong. Giants! We quickly followed Gral’s lead and found places to hide.

I found out that my spell let me understand the giants, too, as they passed us. I found out that the giants, too, don’t like to be working for another species! The giants’ leader, “Crank”, is following orders from hobgoblins, and the hobgoblins’ leader, “Grom”, is an utter ass. The giants are tired of collecting items for him. I wonder what part the silver tiger statue plays in all this? I passed on what I’d heard to the others as we set up camp for the night.

The second day passed quietly, although I figured out that poor Gral just isn’t very smart. On the second evening, I even found him trying to eat rocks. I offered him a hunk of meat instead (all the while praying that Rosorc never finds out what use I put his gifts to!). That night Theona woke me, having been warned by Beowulf of humanoids coming our way. Sure enough, almost twenty orcs and a dire boar charged into the middle of our party, howling!

Areon threw an everburning torch onto the ground, and we fought for our lives by its light. Tyan started us off well with a powerful spell that brought their numbers down to ten… while the dire boar attacked Gral, who responded by nearly tearing the thing in half. We were able to get the upper hand pretty quickly, thank Tymora, but we were left with many pieces of Gral by the time the boar was finished off! It was a tense few moments for us to find all the parts and make sure he grew back together, rather than each part into a new troll. One is enough!

At least Gral got a good meal out of the dire boar. We then moved to a new campsite for the rest of the evening. The next morning, we headed north again. This day, we finally reached our destination; looking over a ridge into a river valley, Gral explained that the crumbling fortress below was the giants’ stronghold. The fortress was built on both sides of the river, with a bridge connecting it. It used to have a second story but that had crumbled; there were no windows. The gates were closed, and there was no sign of life.

We discussed our next move, finally deciding to wait for dark and explore the ruins then. Beowulf volunteered to go over the place as a bat, and we settled in to wait. We didn’t wait long! He was soon back, in bird form, and with a tale of being attacked by a goblin and struck by a javelin. He barely got away. The fortress may look quiet, but it’s full of bad guys! We decided to wait the next day out, and sneak down as a group the next evening. I explained our plan to Gral, and gave him another hunk of meat.

Partway through the day, the elves got bored and went “foraging”. I don’t know what they got into, but they came back asking if we’d seen the white dragon! I hope that was some obscure joke on their part… eventually, night fell, and we all worked our way down to the remains of a collapsed tower, hoping it would lead us inside. Areon checked the top of the wall and waved us up, but as soon as we all reached the top, something looked around the corner of the hall and ran off! Areon threw alchemist’s fire into the doorway and we followed up with a charge.

Unfortunately, a pit trap opened up in front of us, and Theona fell in. Hobgoblins came through the flames and threw something into the pit with her, while poor Gral fled the flames… so much for him being useful in a fight. We quickly killed the first wave, and Beowulf was pulling Theona out of the trap, when more hobgoblins started throwing javelins at us! Worse yet, a horn began to blow, so we knew reinforcements were on the way.

Tyan finished off the second wave with a spell, and I healed Theona while Areon charged over the pit and fire and into a room full of hobgoblins. Theona managed to close the pit trap, and Tyan cast a spell at Areon which caused him to double in size. That was quite a sight! Beowulf ran across the pit to back him up, but ran into the reinforcements; ogres! Including one with blue skin that started to cast a spell, even as Areon shouted at us to get back.

We did so, but it wasn’t enough; the blue skinned ogre cast a spell of cold that knocked Areon down and killed Beowulf and his wolf outright. It was an awful moment! Theona and I managed to get Areon back on his feet and fighting, but the ogre cast another spell that made him stop for some reason. Thank Tymora, he went back to attacking when Theona went down! I was healing, shooting crossbow bolts, and ducking the spells that Tyan cast over our heads, when the blue skinned ogre disappeared through a doorway and we turned as one to escape.

We tumbled over the top of the wall, carrying our comrades’ bodies, while Tyan stayed a moment to defend our retreat. He waited until he saw movement, and cast a lightning bolt down the hall. He saw a hill giant in the flash, and did not wait for more. We fled from the ruins and into the night.

Posted by Kate at 00:48 | Deitricha’s Journal


Deitricha's Journal

Happily, the searchers were unable to discover our hiding place, thanks to Areon’s skill. Sadly, I buried Beowulf and his wolf at dawn. I hope they’ve found peace. Gral, too, seems to be long gone. While I sat down to meditate and pray (especially for some divine guidance), the others were surprised to see a party of humans, apparently headed for the fortress! They quickly agreed to join our party for the safety in numbers, and waited while I cast my divination spell. I asked where to find the silver tiger statue, and got this response:

”Beyond the path of water, resting with the dead, that seeks the living”

Hmm. Well, that seemed to point us to the other side of the bridge, anyway! Healed and refreshed, we headed down to the fortress, this time in daylight. Ebin is a human fighter, and I am ashamed to say that I did not catch the names of the others, only that they are caravan guards. They must be looking for some of the stolen cargo. We tried the locked front door, than walked all about the fortress on our side of the river. Theona found a possible stairwell, much blocked with stones, and we set to clearing them as quietly as possible (though not enough for Areon, who was nervous and cursing most of the day). Once there was a small gap, Tyan sent his rat familiar inside to take a look around. I’m glad he did - there were two hill giants waiting for us!

I thought we should have one person continue to move rocks as a decoy, while the others looked for a different way inside, but we eventually agreed to move to the other side of the river and try to get inside the fortress where the divination seemed to lead. Tyan was able to levitate everyone, and I was able to pull them over, using a rope and a fly spell. Ebin was especially nervous; I wonder if he can swim? An hour of searching on the new rooftop showed us another blocked-up stairwell. We set to clearing it while Tyan used a detect magic spell to look “through” the roof, eventually pointing out an especially “glowy” spot under the southwest corner. We’ll have to keep that in mind! Meanwhile, his poor familiar tried sneaking down the stairwell, but ended up teleported to a cell somewhere else in the building!

Now that we’d set off a trap for sure, Tyan decided to enter the building by an unexpected route. He walked to the middle of the roof, and set off nine shatter charges from a wand right into the stone! Of course, this got the attention of everything on both sides of the fortress; I saw several hobgoblins, two cats with six legs and tentacles, a green-skinned ogre, and two hill giants (surprise!) coming over the bridge and climbing onto the roof with us… or throwing rocks onto the roof at us! Tyan, too, took one look into the hole he’d made in the roof and moved away swearing, which I took to mean it wasn’t much of an escape route.

The battle was long and hard. We fought with spells and weapons and luck, and barely made it. Ebin was the only member of his party to survive! All the evil creatures were killed, except for one hill giant that fled north. I hope we get a little time to finish this search before it brings back more friends!

Posted by Kate at 00:52 | Deitricha’s Journal


Deitricha's Journal

While Theona stripped the bodies of anything useful (Tyan ended up with some scrolls), we all cast a lot of healing spells on each other. Tyan explained that the hole in the roof was most unwelcoming, so we decided to let ourselves down the side of the building, and try the front door on this side as well. Theona, also, has gotten back into her worry about Zhents. She’s giving poor Ebin the third degree (although I must admit I’m surprised he claims to know nothing about them. Then again, he says he was raised by elves, so what do I know?).

Theona applied her skills to the front door, and it soon opened to show an entryway, and another door. She and Areon headed inside, and she soon had that door open, too. This time, however, they quickly backed out of the building, looking nervous! Something was clicking away inside the doorway, but, eventually, Theona decided it was the trap, even though disarmed. She carefully worked her way back inside, and we carefully followed. The place was a maze of doors and hallways, but we finally found a stretch that seemed likely to be the prison.

Tyan sent a mental request, and soon, we could hear squeaking from his rat! Theona soon had the door open and Glitch was back on his master’s shoulder. We continued our searching, trying to ignore the rat’s antics all over again… Eventually, we found a room full of sarcophagi, which I prayed over and checked for the presence of undead, finding nothing. Sure enough, we lifted the lids to discover desiccated human remains, and moved on.

One room we found had four hobgoblin corpses strewn about it, and the stench of recent death! We looked them over and found huge puncture wounds in their necks, about eight inches apart! The sight filled us with concern; none of us has met a giant-sized vampire, and I doubt any of us want to. Ebin, in fact, quickly decapitated the corpses and shot wooden arrows through all their hearts, “just in case”.

We worked our way toward the middle of the building, finally discovering the room Tyan had put a skylight into. He’d given us some warning to expect a hydra, and, sure enough, that’s what Ebin attacked! Tyan made for the roof while I healed Ebin from his experience. We ended up in a pitched battle, behind, before, and above the creature. To my great relief (after taking five bites at once!), all our attacks overwhelmed it, and it dropped dead. I then took the time to do a lot of healing for us all!

Theona took a look through the next doorway, the one the hydra had been guarding. She found a giant stone sarcophagus, over twenty feet long! There must be a giant vampire here, after all - what a thought! Since it was still daylight, we decided to make an attempt at destroying it’s lair. We climbed onto the roof, and shattered another hole. We threw huge rocks down onto the lid. We racked our brains. Eventually, however, the sun began to sink to the horizon.

Wisely for once, we decided to move away from the fortress and hide for the night. Not a moment too soon, for as the night fell, we heard a horrible howl of rage from the giants’ lair! Areon had done his job well, however, and we were safe until morning. I wonder what we will find when we go back there today?

Posted by Kate at 00:54 | Deitricha’s Journal

This Bites

Theona's Journal

Eleasis 8, 1373 DR, near giants’ fortress

We managed to loot the ogre mage’s body: large armor and great sword, a few potions and scrolls— no silver cat. Not that I thought it would be that simple. At any rate we needed to find Glitch, so we went down to the bridge level and found a door. I spent the next half hour picking locks and disarming traps, including locks on a row of cells from which one very relieved rat emerged unharmed to climb into our sorcerer’s backpack. We randomly explored a few other rooms: one contained several sarcophagi holding nothing but desiccated humanoid remains, another presented us with four very smelly dead goblins with puncture wounds on their necks. It was alarming to note that the puncture wounds were in pairs, with about 8” distance between the fangs.

It was at about this time that Tyan (perhaps with prodding from Glitch) mentioned that he’d seen a hydra through a hole he’d blasted through the roof in our earlier battle. Apparently, the hydra was guarding a single door in the far wall of its lair, but we could get into the room through an archway opposite that door if the hydra could be distracted or dispatched in some way. Fortunately, Tyan (or Glitch) had a plan; the sorcerer would go up on the roof and distract the hydra, and Glitch would stay below to coordinate the rest of us. Unfortunately, Ebin must consider himself to be quiet and sneaky; he lumbered into the archway with his shield in front of him and the hydra saw him, using at least four of its heads to bite the human male. Ebin jumped back, and argued with no one in particular that he was just “peeking” even though it went against our plan.

Our element of surprise was gone, so I tumbled past the archway, attempting to activate the wand that casts the “enfeeblement” spell at the creature. I was grazed by a set of teeth as I passed the opening. I jumped up and put my back to the wall, expecting another attack, but the darn thing went after Areon and my friends. At least it gave me more time to use the wand. By the time I was able to hit it, the creature was all the way into the hall, so I slipped past it into its den. Tyan was lowering himself into the room, no doubt with the intention of keeping a line of sight to cast spells at the departing beast.

I went to the closed door, quickly decided that it wouldn’t need to be trapped with that thing guarding it, and flung the door open. One look in convinced me to wait for my friends, who had vanquished the hydra but were now engaged in a struggle to get past the monstrous corpse in the hall.

A few minutes later found us all standing in that doorway, looking at the biggest sarcophagus any of us have ever seen— it must have been 20’ long! There was no way visible to conveniently open it, and we weren’t sure we wanted to. We somehow decided that sunlight was what we needed, and so all went back up to the roof to beat the crap out of it in a fashion similar to how Tyan had shed light on the hydra. That took a long time, but we finally had a hole right above the big stone box. We tried to crack open the sarcophagus in the same way we opened the roof, but by the time the sun was starting to set, we’d only managed to chip the lid a bit.

No one argued when it was suggested we leave the fortress and find a place to camp a good distance from the place.

Areon and I split the night watches as usual. I had just started mine when a blood-curdling howl of rage emanated from the fortress. Whatever was in the crypt (should I mention that we all have some vague and horrific vision of a giant-sized vampire?) was stirring, and not at all happy with our handiwork.

Posted by Kristin at 23:35 | Theona’s Journal