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May 13, 2006

Autonomous Collective

Kanelyth's Journal

The Inn actually has a hole in the floor, leading beneath the city.
Somewhere down there is an idol, and the first group to find and retrieve it gets to split ten thousand gold pieces, and perhaps go on to further adventures. Interesting! But I am part of no group. Watching and waiting paid off, however, as other curious but unattached folk made themselves known. I don’t know what made the person in charge round us up (taking up too much space?), but suddenly I found myself agreeing to enter the contest with a group of total strangers.

It was Sanura, the vaguely feline, tarted-up female cleric, who named us the Autonomous Collective, and Eleioni, the silver-eyed-and-haired aasimar fighter, who was tapped as party leader. This did not stop him from allowing the quiet, sneaky man in black to lead the way. Also with us was a dark-skinned elf mage, Flic, and his companion, Owl. Joining a party that had a snowy owl in it seemed to augur well...

The subterranean maze was truly immense! For a while, we could see where other parties had passed, but soon we were on our own. Our first trial involved a room full of pillars, one gold coin on the floor, and an aura that nullified all magic once we were inside. This made it hard for some folk to see, when the magical torch went out! Eleioni quickly moved to the other end of the room and stuck the torch in another passage, so that we could decipher some writing on the far wall.

Actually, I was more curious about the coin on the floor. Was it dropped by mistake, a child’s prank (ie. glued to the floor for laughs), or the source of the anti-magic field? The others kept warning me away from actually touching it, so I looked and listened. Apparently, the message on the wall wasn’t in a modern language, and there was a big snake’s skeleton further down one passage which the man in black and Flic wanted to smash “just in case,” and then the owl found a rat, and then the goblins found us!!

I was laughing at the man in black hiding above the entrance to the passage the goblins entered from, but he had a purpose - scattering caltrops in front of the creatures and stopping their charge. They threw several javelins at us, hitting Eleioni, and I threw the coin in return. Sadly, I missed - but nothing else happened, either. While Sanura chased the coin, the rest of us attacked the goblins. My arrows were deadly when they hit - these creatures are weak! But there were a lot of them. When Flic shouted that more were coming from behind us, I knew we should make our escape and headed for an unoccupied hallway. Unfortunately, the gods had other plans for us...

Everyone at least began to follow me, but the goblins swarmed into the room and piled onto Flic, who could not defend himself magically (despite Sanura finding the coin and throwing it from the room, magic still failed to work). I tried to startle the creatures off by shouting and rattling my wings at them, but they only laughed. They laughed at Sanura when she shouted, as well. Sanura went after the goblin attacking me, so that I could pull out my bow and shoot the goblins attacking Flic and Eleioni. The man in black was also dispatching goblins right and left, but Flic was on the floor, and at that point a giant floating eyeball drifted down yet another passage and scanned the room!

Throwing a quick prayer to Tuilviel that the newest arrival would not attack unless provoked, I waded into the fight to reach Flic’s body. Eleioni was really hitting a goblin-killing stride, so I was able to grab the elf and head for the door unharmed (even by the floating eyeball, which merely watched me watching it). As Eleioni killed the last goblin in the room, the eyeball floated back up its hall. I offered Flic’s limp form to the cleric, but Sanura was casting something at the wall. She then announced that the words and arrow warned of certain death if we followed that path!

While she then attended to Flic, getting him back on his feet, we all discussed which passage to take. I was all for following the floating eyeball, which at least hadn’t attacked, and wasn’t in the Certain Death hall, but the others mentioned seeing a single wounded goblin run away back the way we’d come, and feared another attack if it brought back more friends. This made sense, so I conceded the point, and we followed the man in black as he traced the goblin’s bloody trail to a secret door. I wonder how many other groups they’ve ambushed this way?

The secret door led to many more passages and rooms, with little but dust for our efforts. We found the goblin’s body, and a privy, and the owl nearly flew into a clear ooze that filled the hallway. Owl kept Flic informed of the ooze’s movements, while we searched several paths, rooms, and doors. Finally, we all reached a big, arched chamber, one I could stretch my wings in! Halfway down it, there was a smaller arch, and as we got closer, we could see something peer around the edge of the door.
Eleioni said hello, but the manticore called us dinner and promptly slashed and chewed him into unconsciousness!

It got Sanura pretty badly, too, as she ran in and pulled Eleioni to safety. The man in black and I shot arrows into the thing as fast as we could, while the owl circled overhead and a restored Eleioni dove back into the fight. The owl touched the manticore and somehow transmitted a painful shock to it, but was smashed into the floor for its trouble - poor owl, poor Flic! Flic was swearing up a storm and casting magic missiles into the monster from behind a pillar, while our arrows weakened the thing and Sanuora threw daggers. I found out how painful its tail spikes were, and the man in black disappeared - only to reappear behind the monster and stab it in the back! Eventually, we managed to kill it, and much healing ensued.
Thankfully, even Owl survived - barely!

The monster’s lair was full of bones and not much else, but I did find enough arrows to replace the ones I’ve used, and some healing potions to save for future emergencies. What a contest this is turning out to be!

Posted by Kate at 15:02 | Kanelyth’s Journal