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August 16, 2006

New friends, new places

Seren's Journal

We settled down from our battle and re-arrangements, and returned to walking through the forest. The sun set, the moon began to rise, and we reached a clearing in the woods. At the center, four stone columns stood some twenty feet apart, making a square. They were carved with strange runes and overgrown with moss. We’d walked out to take a closer look when Roywyn admitted to having heard a “flapping noise” behind us a few minutes before...

Kor’tac was quickly on the lookout for more drow, come to avenge their friends, while I listened as hard as I could toward the treeline. After a few minutes, we relaxed a little and went back to looking at the runes. ‘Wyn cast something, while I realized that the runes were for teleporting and travel spells. I realized this after Kor’tac had walked through the middle of the square to look at the opposite columns - thank Shaundakul for not activating anything before we were prepared to travel, as I was still standing on his shoulder!

Rowind had been keeping alert, unlike the rest of us, and quietly sent us all a whispered message that he could see someone behind us inside the treeline. Kor’tac flipped me into the air and was charging across the clearing in a heartbeat! By the time I righted myself in midair, he was holding his glaive’s blade to the throat of a humanoid figure, who was being surprisingly calm about it. In fact, he was holding his hands in the air and saying things like, “It’s OK! Relax!”

Well, Kor’tac guided him out into the open and we all got a look at a human druid, who seemed to think we were in “his” forest and deserved following. He didn’t look like he was part of the drow we’d fought earlier, but neither Kor’tac nor ‘Wyn were ruling out his being the werewolf we’d heard of. It didn’t help that ‘Wind took another look around and whispered to us all that, “He’s not alone!” while ‘Wyn was borrowing my silvered dagger to scratch the possible werewolf with.

Well, we finally decided that Mishklo was not a werewolf (although a bit off; humans get strange(r) when they’re by themselves a lot, I think), and he swore that “Moonlight” was a friend, so we let him call for his friend. He got no answer, so I flew into the woods for a look. I saw nothing, and came back to hear the others quizzing Mishklo about the werewolf - although these are his woods, he’s not interested in bothering such a creature. He also claimed ignorance as to where the portal in the pillars goes, although he’s seen others disappear through it. ‘Wind took his scimitar away, and pointed out to me where he saw a “glow” of magic in the woods.

This time I discovered a white wolf, resting in the underbrush. It watched me as I stood on a branch overhead and shouted to the others just who/what Moonlight really was. I tried to get it to follow me, but it just stared, while I heard Mishklo telling the others that his companion is sometimes stubborn. ‘Wyn was arguing with ‘Wind that perhaps the white wolf was the real werewolf! Finally, the wolf decided to answer Mishklo’s calling and came out into the clearing - at which point ‘Wyn shot it with a magic missile from a wand.

Sheeeesh.

Well, it did establish that the white wolf did not “heal up like a werewolf would”, but it also ensured that the wolf was growling and getting ready to attack ‘Wyn! Luckily, the wolf did decide to obey Mishklo’s command to “stay” and not go for the gnome’s throat. Kor’tac was now satisfied that the druid wasn’t an enemy, and let him go heal his wolf from the magic missile test. This was when we all noticed that the wolf was wearing bracers on its front legs - the source of the protective magic that ‘Wind spotted, before. Whatever works, I guess!

Kor’tac next asked Mishklo if he was interested in the portal and where it led. Mishklo seemed surprised by the offer, but admitted he was curious. As the moon rose higher, we all saw the portal form in the middle of the square... and Kor’tac waved the druid and the wolf through first, exposing his ulterior motive of letting the new guy test the thing out. That orc is devious... but Kor’tac did follow through next, leaving the gnomes having a quiet talk, and myself. Well, it looked like they wanted some privacy, so I flew through the portal.

I found myself in a large courtyard, full of an overgrown garden. We were standing at one end, with four columns behind us, there was a large satyr statue in a fountain at the center, and steps up to double doors at the base of a four-story tower at the far end. I could see lights behind some of the windows in the tower, overgrown vines and rosebushes all across the courtyard, and bright sunlight pouring down from overhead. Interesting! At that point, the gnomes arrived, and Mishklo began to ask for his scimitar back. ‘Wind seeemed to enjoy telling him “No” repeatedly, but finally gave in.

This turned out to be a good thing. Kor’tac was walking slowly up to the fountain, holding his shield up, when several large thorns embedded themselves in him and his shield! Kor’tac shouted to us to burn the bushes, while crouching down behind his shield. I shot into the bushes with my bow a couple of times, while ‘Wyn used her magic missile wand, and Mishklo created a burning sphere in the same direction. The gnomes began to sing and tell tales, while Kor’tac and shield were peppered with more thorns.

The next thing that happened was ‘Wyn decided to shoot at the satyr statue in the fountain; she seemed to think that it was the cause of the trouble. While I took off and began sprinkling flasks of oil over the bushes, she tried to talk to the statue, asking it to stop. I don’t know if it was the statue or her walking up a little, but the next round of thorns were aimed at her. Kor’tac grabbed her and headed back behind the cover of his shield, while an opaque dome appeared over the statue from... somewhere! I finished sprinkling the left side and headed over to the right, while Mishklo’s ball of flame quickly lit the primed foliage.

I took a quick flight straight up and was able to tell the rest that this place was surrounded entirely by snowcapped mountain ranges. I then settled down back at the columns, and Kor’tac left ‘Wyn next to me while the rest of them set about burning everything growing in the courtyard. He was walking back to the carnage when a vine crawled over and wrapped itself around his ankle, tripping him up. He didn’t get up or fight, however, and I noticed that the white roses were turning pink. I flew down and chopped at the vine with my greatsword, and listened to the orc describe the pretty cloud shapes that he was watching overhead. At this point, Mishklo reached us and severed the vine with one blow of his scimitar.

The rosebush shrieked! Vines were waving, blood was flying everywhere - I was struck with fear and stood as if turned to stone. Although Kor’tac was getting back up, looking angry, and thorns were flying from all directions, I stood where I was until another vine wrapped itself around me and began to drain my blood, too. It smelled wonderful, but I shook off the urge to just lie down, and began slashing at it with my sword even as it made me sick and weak. ‘Wind was trying to calm me down and Mishklo was swinging his scimitar wildly at the vine (I think).

Kor’tac came back with a blazing torch and beat at the vine with it, but it kept draining me. One of the gnomes hit me by mistake with a very sharp whip, but I was finally able to slice the vine apart with my sword - and ignored the shrieking this time with the gnomes’ song and stories to help. I made my way back to the column and pulled out my bow, trying to stay out of the way until the burning was done. Unfortunately, there was a lot of garden to burn. Mishklo was able to help heal me of the weakness, and I decided to fly around the mysterious statue. It really did turn to watch me!

Mishklo was hollering that the statue was an illusion, but I was able to land on it with no trouble. In fact, I poked at its eyes, too. That’s when I figured out that it was a real statue but had an illusion on it - so it seemed to look at everyone who looked at it. First mystery solved, we went back to making the courtyard safe to walk through. This meant sprinking more oil and starting more fire, plus another battle between Kor’tac and a bloodthirsty vine. Eventually, it meant that we had to move away from the fire’s progress with the prevailing breeze. Somehow, everyone ended up on the steps at the double doors - except for Mishklo and Moonlight, standing in the smoke by the stone columns.

I sat on Kor’tac’s shoulder, watching across the courtyard but pretty sure that the flames wouldn’t reach the columns. Kor’tac thought that the smoke would smother human and wolf, however, and decided to go rescue them. I guess he felt responsible for putting them in the situation, but he ended up carrying me and the gnomes back through the fire as they hung onto his knees and begged him not to go! ‘Wind even made a wall appear in front of him, but he just dodged around it and kept going (while I had to create a shower of water over us all to put out stray flames).

Mishklo and Moonlight were dodging the advances of some moving thorn bushes, so Kor’tac’s help came in handy. Roywyn and Rowind dashed back through the fireline, while I flew over the flames; killing done, the others followed. We all ended up safely on the steps, and I healed Kor’tac while we sat glaring at each other while nursing our scorches and watching the fire burn. That was not a well-planned or executed event. Hopefully, our teamwork improves - fast!

Posted by Kate at 00:34 | Seren’s Journal

Through the Portal

Mishklo's Journal

I followed this group of adventurers to a portal that would open in a few hours. Iíve always wondered where it went, but never actually journey into it myself. Iíve seen other go in, however, Iíve yet to see anyone come out, so I decided it was best not to, at the time anyway. Watching this group I figured Iíd ask if I could go along, but before I could make my presence known the orc came charging at me. I side stepped, came into the clearing. The first thing I said was that I mean them no harm. We talked for a bit and it was then that I realized just how much I have yet to learn about the world in general. I know enough about my home to stay safe, and live rather comfortably, but the rest of the world is so strange to me. After I convinced them that neither I nor Moonlight were werewolves, I was asked if I was going to go through the portal. It was a now or never thing, so I figured Iíd go if they thought Iíd be of some use to them.

The first thing I noticed after stepping through the portal was daylight. The entire area was boxed in by large walls, and flora almost waist high was everywhere. There was also a statue in the center that appeared to be staring at me. I was taking my time to observe the area when the Orc, Korítac is his name, walked up to the statue, and was hit with several thorns. A battle between us and the carnivorous plants of this area began. It was rough to start, but a little fire and some determination to live saw us trough. In the end it was decided that we should clear all the foliage of this ďGardenĒ before exploring the tower. There was some confusion as to how I would fare where I stood to watch and make sure all of it burned, but everything turned out okay, I just need to prepare a few lesser restores tomorrow. The strange bird, Seren is her name, said something about snow capped mountain peaks surrounding the place, so Iím not sure if Iíll even be able to get my spells, but Iíll try anyway, and see what happens. I just want to go through the area quickly before we enter this tower, see if anything useful survived.

Posted by Fred at 03:39 | Mishklo’s Journal