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July 15, 2005

Well. *That* was sudden.

Deitricha's Journal

Daylight came quietly. We broke camp, and re-entered the fortress at the broken-down wall where Beowulf had lost his life. The bodies of our enemies were still there, so we searched them for anything useful, then moved on to the barracks and checked beds and chests. We found the insignia of the hobgoblin mercenary band “The Chill” on everything, and I fear the rest of them won’t be pleased with what happened here! We also found some gems and gold, and added them to our own stash.

We moved further into the building, sending Glitch on ahead under doors and around corners to see what lay ahead. Everything was quiet until he found the kitchen! We took as much food as we could carry, then Theona, Glitch and I had a well-deserved drink from the wine casks while the others explored some more. We followed when they found the weapons room, but there wasn’t much left that hadn’t rotted. I think Areon found some arrows. We walked around some more, found the front doors, then opened a lot more doors. Theona and I refilled our personalized mugs with wine a few times while the others looked over some more barracks. Finally, we walked over the bridge to the room with the sarcophagus.

The hydra still lay in a heap in the corner of the entrance room, and there were still holes in both rooms’ ceilings. Tyan climbed up to check the sarcophagus from overhead, and found it closed. He also chucked a rock at the hydra to be sure it was dead. It was. We all began to wonder if the vampire was even still here – or if the statue was! I sat down and prayed to my goddess, divining that the statue was, indeed, still in the fortress. I then asked about the sarcophagus and got a mixed response: I guessed to the others that both the vampire and the statue were inside!

We waited outside the room while Tyan cast scintillating spheres of force inside, cracking the sarcophagus’ lid and bringing down more of the roof. Ebin went up on the roof to help smash more of it in, then came down to bash on the sarcophagus. After a while, a very small hole was made. Tyan was all ready to cast a powerful spell through the crack when Areon stopped him, worried that the statue, too, would be damaged! Ebin took a quick look through the crack and said that a giant form was definitely in there, so Tyan used an acid spell on it.

What a response! The lid flew off – and shattered into thousands of sharp shards! We were all hurt, but the sight of the vampire banished the pain from our thoughts. It was over ten feet tall, and very angry! At least the sun was up, which slowed it, but the sky was overcast and drizzling – not much help. Theona cast enfeeblement at it, and I was about to cast searing light when Ebin charged into the fray, so I tried to turn the creature instead. It didn’t work; worse, when Ebin tried to get away from the thing, it smashed him into the ground, then picked him up and drained him of all his blood! It was terrible!

I cast searing light and hurt the thing badly, but also got its attention. Tyan cast another blast of acid at it, Areon ran for the sarcophagus and joyfully held up the silver tiger statue, and the giant clubbed me into the floor.

I remember telling my goddess that I was disappointed; things had just gotten interesting!

Next thing I knew, I woke up in a strange temple and a strange town, with my friends all around me. They put together the money and made the effort to get Ebin and me raised, bless them!

Posted by Kate at 14:24 | Deitricha’s Journal

How not to wake a Vampire

Tyan's Journal

Well, the morning broke and to my surprise, we were all still alive. It took several minutes to convince Glitch that we were not playing a joke on him, that we were not all really turned into vampires overnight. But common sense prevailed and he came out of my backpack and ate the treats I had arranged for him and in a few minutes he was humming a small tune. A drinking dirge actually. Something about a simple farmer that took his pitchfork to a cave to kill a dragon. A sad story actually.

The party ate an awfully solemn and cold breakfast. We all agreed to head back to the ruins and finish the creature off. Though I believe we were not all doing this for the same reasons. Me and Glitch, we really hate evil things and do our best to stop them from hurting innocent people. Not that we don’t mind a fight now and then too.

This fighter, Ebin, he seems to want to fight anything that moves. He has no rational other than, “Can I hit it with a big stick?” Glitch wants me to learn to make an illusion of an orc, over where a tree really stands. Just to see how long he would fight it. I have seen many of his kind in my day; they usually don’t last long.

The elves, they are dwelling on the statue thing to the point of near insanity. Most rational individuals would stroll away at this point. Actually, I think only Areon thinks this way and Theona just want to make her man happy. Not that he seems to exactly notice these sorts of things. I know elves are supposed to be aloof, but neither of these two seem to be living in the same world as each other, or us.

Deitricha, well, she just seems to follow the elves. For following a deity of love, she sure likes to hand out a lot of pain. In fact she seems the giddiest when in battle and drinking. Glitch thinks she ate a barbarian.

I think that is what I like about this group; they are all a little bit insane. I have discovered that on the surface they all seem mentally stable, but if you start to look below the surface, they are anything but.

Together in task if not in purpose we prepared and set off towards the ruins. Wanting not to have anyone sneak up behind us again, we decided to clear the first tower before moving on. We found some odd things. We got a couple uniforms from a mercenary group called “The Chill,” a handful of magical arrows, a lot of fine meats, and the favorite of the ladies and Glitch … a barrel of wine.

The three of them began drinking, and the other three of us started looking around harder. Soon we were joined by a trio of … umm…. happy friends. The rest of the place was empty and we made our way to the other tower. This tower was also empty, except for the vampire. This is where the fun started, the fun that must be documented to be studied by others who wish to kill a vampire. Documents that tell what the heck not to do.

—First we tried to open the ceiling up more to let in more sun before opening the sarcophagus to kill the vampire.

Ok, it was overcast and starting to rain. Then the party wondered if the vampire was still in there, or even alive. So after entirely too much bickering I made everyone stand back for I had decided to do both open ceiling and the sarcophagus at once. Ok, maybe not an elegant solution, but hey what are sorcerers for?

—Ceiling is opened and the sarcophagus is cracked.

Now we tried looking in from up close, which in review was maybe our most bone-headed of ideas. We see the creature, and it is not moving. Well, now we are wondering if it is alive. Again the squabble begins. Here folks, is where a party leader is important. And since we don’t really have one, nobody stopped me again. I asked everyone to back up, and they did. I looked in the crack at the body from about 20 feet away and cast my most powerful acid spell. As I finished my hand movements and watched the orbs of acid fly into the body I received a confirmation that the vampire was alive. What confirmation do you ask? Well, apparently when you attack a vampire in his sarcophagus, they like to stand up so quickly and violently that the sarcophagus explodes.

—Vampire alive and angry.

Quickly I backed up, some sort of instinct for self survival. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the others doing the same, well, except for Ebin. I think where he grew up they never heard of vampires, or had anyone say don’t charge the big powerful undead thing. No, where he grew up they just charge in, and he did. I will give him credit, he did last four or five seconds before the vampire, which was a giant in case I forgot to mention, snapped his limp body up and ripped his head half off, then drank his blood as if the body was just a tavern mug of ale. We all attacked with bow and spell, except Areon. No, his logic sent him around to the back side of the beast. At first I thought to get a better angle or to confuse the beast. Nope, he snuck in and grabbed the statue and back up. He had the look of a man about to run and abandon his party. I will never know if that would happen because the three things that happened almost at once. Deitricha cast a spell that hurt the vampire badly. The vampire hit her with his club and fist and she dropped to into death’s darkness. Lastly I hit the beast with a giant ball of lightning finishing the battle that killed two of my friends.

The battle over, we went to our downed friends. Sadly the best we could hope for was to take their bodies to the nearest town and hope a powerful cleric was there. We spent the next day crafting a raft, and making sure there was no more treasure left behind. Then we loaded the bodies of our friends and loot of our journey onboard and drifted down stream.

I have to give him credit; Areon can build a nice raft. The trip went without incident, and we arrived in the town this entire trip into the swamp started in. To our luck there was a cleric in town who with a little convincing and a lot of gold was able to bring our friends back to life.

Sometimes when I see such miracles I begin to wonder if I chose the wrong path in life. If I should have listened to my mother, and become a cleric. I think of all the healing and protection I could have given people. The lives I could have touched. The children I could have cured of illnesses.

Then I think of the huge ball of electricity enveloping a group of charging orcs. The site of their hair standing on end as their eyes swell and stare blankly in pain. Oh no, I made the right decision, and tonight I will raise a toast to that decision with my very best friend Glitch.

Posted by Jim at 19:00 | Tyan’s Journal