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June 2, 2003

Nondescript Crypt

Drusilia's Journal

Earthday, Flocktime 13, 592 CY

The remainder of our day was pretty much as harrowing as the earlier portion, but thankfully, no one died because of it. I was able to restore Ghelt’s health with the diamond dust Valon brought, leaving me with one “dose” for good measure. Wanting to save spells, we used Pelor’s sword to heal ourselves, and I cast a spell that made us invisible to undead— as much as we want to destroy them all, we have another job to do here and perhaps resolving that will help weaken the undead at the same time. As we did so, we heard a drumming beat start echoing across the city from the lich’s tower— all the mindless undead we had been passing invisibly started to lurch in that direction, leaving us relatively alone. While traveling to the next tower in the southwest quadrant of the city, Valon examined the Short Sword of Pelor— he recalled a bit of lore confirming that the sword is being used for its intended purpose— and was in fact made by a church of Pelor for a paladin to wield against undead. I was sure in my heart that this was the case, but verification will no doubt ease any lingering doubt among my comrades.

We actually arrived at the tower without mishap, and noticed that the 40’ tall structure had every single window bricked up. The plain wooden door leading into it was neither warded or trapped, so Ghelt cautiously opened the door and we went in.

The first floor of the tower contained three coffins and little else. Ghelt hauled them each out into the sunlight to open them, while I stood prepared to send any vampires we encountered to their final rest. Each coffin was empty. We went back into the tower and heard what sounded like clanking chains on the level above us, so Ghelt used her old short sword to chock the door open, and she and I started up the 20’ center staircase, with Ghelt holding her new great sword up ahead of her.

We were quite surprised by what we found. Tucked in among three more (empty) coffins, we found two barely clad humanoids— an elf and a half-human. They were chained to the wall, and, apparently, arguing about how or why they were there. Ghelt immediately set to chipping away at their chains, while I called to Fafnir and Valon for help.

I’ll confess, we’re suspicious of anyone alive in Arun-tosa, but they seem to be in a similar situation to us— they came in (though how is unclear) with a party of ten and are the only two remaining, and they seem to be looking for some object of great value for an employer. It is also unclear how they ended up in the tower, and they are either too fuzzy on the details themselves, or simply like to keep some things a mystery. The elf is a rogue that seems to go by the name of “Pockets” (even though I didn’t see any pockets on him when we found him) and the half-human goes by an elven name, Aramil, claiming his mother is elven and that he must immediately begin his studies, quickly looking around for his belongings. More on that one in a bit.

We continued up the tower after freeing the captives, and found more coffins. The top floor had a few other interesting things in addition to a ornate sarcophagus carved with a relief of knights on it— Fafnir found a vial of what may be a healing potion, some adventuring gear (apparently Aramil’s and Pockets’) and some books in Ancient Suloise— any true scholar would have be fascinated by the library had the setting been different. I’m sure Valon could have even translated some of it for us, had we the time to even glance through them.

But, a few unfortunate occurrences prevented this from ever coming to pass. These really bad things happened almost simultaneously. Apparently, Pockets had gone down to the base of the tower and un-chocked the door, cutting off the sunlight that had been streaming in and blocking it with as many caskets as he could, apparently planning on holing up here for the remainder of the day, and not knowing that the mindless undead weren’t the only things haunting Arun-tosa. The drums, which we soon grew accustomed to hearing, stopped. Aramil, evidently planning on none of us staying in the tower (or simply not planning anything), ever, had doused it with oil, preparing to set the tall stone structure on fire. The vampire residents of the tower, done with their meeting in the lich’s part of the city, came home.

Ghelt, Valon, Fafnir and I noticed these things in a completely different order, as needed. First, we had to kill the vampires. They had, unfortunately, touched Valon and Aramil upon arrival, weakening them considerably. Searing light finished off one, and the other turned to a gaseous form and sank through the floor, so turning him was the only way to destroy him. Ghelt and I had to follow this one to make sure he didn’t get away, which was when we discovered that the door was blocked. We wanted to get sunlight coming back in— and it was as I was explaining to Pockets that I could make us all invisible to undead, that I found out we had to leave immediately— Aramil was setting the tower on fire and not waiting until we were clear of it. Disgruntled as I am about the half-human’s actions (and all that ancient lore, burned!), it would have been wrong to leave him behind, so the six of us set off up the slope at the southern end of the city, back towards the cave entrance from Barraktor. The invisibility spell only got us so far before we were set upon by four wraiths— I used more searing light on two, but the others got away from us. Aramil and Valon must be undead magnets— for they were drained a bit by the wraiths too. After that, we actually went a wee bit further back into the cave, hoping the undead would lose interest in us for the night. Thankfully, they did. I was able to use the remainder of the diamond dust Valon brought me to restore him back to health at least, though there was nothing to be done for Aramil without the components needed for the casting.

After using invisibility to undead again, we descended back into the city and headed straight for the 100’ tall tower in the center. Pockets asked me to enchant some bolts for him with holy power, which I did. I am not sure how Aramil prepares for battle— he claims to be a wizard, but wears armor and carries a sword (and torches things), and tends to run headlong into battle rather than hanging back and casting supporting spells on the party’s fighters. I would have assumed him completely human did he not have slightly pointed ears.

Getting into the building proved easy enough, but what a horrible surprise awaited us! The entire floor of the of the room, which was somewhere between 40’ and 60’ across, was littered with bones— nearly waist-deep on a dwarf. At one end, a skeletal serpent with a humanoid head sat coiled, waiting to see who had opened the tower doors. Ghelt waded right in through the bones to attack it while I attempted (without result) to turn the creature. The ophidian horror sank back down into the bones after we thought it destroyed, but soon four more came up out of the bones. We successfully beat them down and made it to a staircase leading up— may Pelor protect us from what awaits!

Posted by Kristin at 15:16 | Drusilia’s Journal

June 5, 2003

An Easy Job

Aramil's Journal

“An easy job.” he said. “No problem.” he said. “We just go in get the stuff and boom, easy money.” Yeah right.

I should have known from the start there would be problems when what’s-his-name asked if we could be trusted. They decided they would take the item and either use it or sell it to the highest bidder. I know Lord Vortamos (not to sure of spelling here) would throw a fit, and we didn’t want to upset him. Besides we made a deal. I always try to uphold my end. So when Pockets and I told them we planned on finishing the job and getting paid, the other eight decided to get rid of us. Then out of nowhere they accused Pockets of spying on us and went after him. I tried to help Pockets (we made a deal to lookout for each other), but was knocked unconscious. The next thing I know is we’re both tied to the wall. I’ve no idea how long we were there. Then we heard noises. Pockets said they would kill us, better a quick death then starve or worse. Well, it was strangers and they freed us. After searching the tower we were in, this gnome found our stuff. Pockets’ and mine that is. We got ready and I started to study my spells when we were attacked. It was a good fight, and we did escape with our lives, and I got the pleasure of torching the tower to boot.

Well, anyway, we went out of this dead city halfway to where they said a cave was. I got to finish studying my spells for the day, and had something to eat. Pockets and I talked for awhile. I think these people can be trusted, but he’s not so sure, so I won’t tell them anything. During the night, Jacob seemed on edge, and I knew there was trouble near, so I called for a light. I got yelled at and Pockets put away the torch. We then started to move, and were attacked by shadowy things. It took awhile, but we defeated them and made it to this cave. I needed sleep and, as usual, gave Pockets my spellbook to hold till morning. It seems to end up there anyway, and I think it’s safe. Besides he knows to burn it if I die, and I’m sure he’ll take good care of Jacob if anything happens to me. Pockets is a good person, just misunderstood. He’s not like most elves I know, and that’s actually one of the reasons I trust him.

Anyway, the next day they decided to go right to the center of this dead city and see what’s in this tower. So we got there, Pockets got us in as usual, and we eventually killed all these skeletal things. Now to go up....

One more thing, we’re going to quadruple our cost for this mission, and I’m kind of wondering what happened to the other eight that made it to this city.

Posted by Fred at 01:51 | Aramil’s Journal

June 7, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 23 - Too Many Elves

Fafnir's Journal

After all of the death and destruction that took place this morning, the rest of the day seems rather uneventful. We cleared a tower of Vampires, and found two more elves that are now following us around.

We freed “Pockets” and Aramil from a tower that seems to have belonged to some vampires. They have not explained how they got there or what they are doing in the city of the dead, but Ghelt and Drusilia offered to let them travel with us anyway. “Pockets” seems like he might be a useful sort, since he seems to know his way around a lock or trap.... But I do think we might want to keep an eye on our belongings... at least until we are sure we can trust him... more on that in a bit.

Aramil is another story. He claims to be a wizard, yet he carries a sword and wears armor. I am not sure what to make of him yet, but I suspect he is not too bright. What kind of wizard wears armor, let alone jumps into combat without even taking stock of the situation first? Not to mention that he doused the ‘Vampire’ tower in oil and set it aflame while we were all still inside of it! I really don’t feel safe having someone so impulsive travelling with us.

Regarding the “trust” issue - I have noticed several times since we rescued these two, they go off by themselves and whisper in each others ears. At first I thought the were just being “elfy,” but after overhearing one of their conversations, I am not so sure... they were talking about getting “something” and how much they were going to be paid. Also, pockets asked if we had found “the key” yet.... How would he know about that? I suspect that these two may also be hunting the “Heart,” but for less virtuous reasons than our own. Hopefully I will be proven wrong, but until we know for sure, I don’t think we can trust them. I wish Ghelt and Dru hadn’t invited them to travel with us... I would have sent them packing.

We are now heading off to explore the large tower in the center of Arun-tosa. I sense we are nearing the end of our quest. Hopefully our two new tagalongs will prove more of a help than a hinderence.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 00:16 | Fafnir’s Journal

Tangled Webs

Pockets' Journal

Dear Journal,

What the %*#&@ is wrong with me? How do I get myself into these situations time and time again? First of all, I finally found a companion to travel and adventure with (that isn’t out to kill or rob me) and set out on an honest quest to find a lost object that belonged to a family. Now that would be great in normally, but I am not sure that Aramil and I belong in this pack of cut-throats. And I have heard bad stories about this Spine Castle area. Although Lord Voldimort seemed very sincere, and is paying us quite well.

Lord Voldimort has provided us with a portal to about 2 miles from the city. His directions have been above par, and his descriptions, it is almost as if he has been here before.


It seems that some of our companions are arguing over who is in command. The situation calms, but this is a bad sign. Just outside the city, Dorvan (the leader for now) tells us to camp for the night. I feel like there is a thousand eyes on me. Argus, (one of the would-be leaders) gets permission from Dorvan to lead a patrol to the city’s edge. This seemed wise to me. Within minutes of them being out of sight, we heard the first screams. We all got to the patrol just in time to save them from some creatures. Argus was in the hands of some dark form, yet not seeming to be harmed. Dorvan claimed a sword that was taken from the creatures, and he seems different now.

I try to talk to the others about my fears, and get smacked in the head for my efforts. Seems that stupid fighters never see things, and if they don’t see it, they don’t believe it.

The next morning we headed into the town. And I thought things were bad before. First we went to an old chapel of some type. In the basement we found a door that seemed protected by some magic. I noticed that the door requires some kind of key, Argus disagrees.

Dorvan said we should go to the next building, a tall tower in the other corner of town. And that’s when bad left town and real bad came in. Argus stood up to Dorvan and said we should go another direction. Before I knew it, the entire party was arguing over a hundred subjects. I tried to tell them that something was wrong, as if a spell was on us, that’s when they turned on me. All except Aramil, my friend stood in front of me and tried to protect me. Two seconds later he was laying on the ground unconscious. Not an unfamiliar position for him, but he is my friend and tried to protect me.

At this point there was only one thing to do, I started arguing that Argus was trying to take over Dorvan’s party. It worked, the group split up to two sides and began fighting while I dragged Aramil off. Argus and his four quickly cut down the odds, it was just Dorvan left. But something about his sword must have helped him, he fought like a madman, yet all his blows struck their mark. Next thing I knew, Dorvan was standing over Argus about to put the final thrust into him when they came. I will not pretend to know what they are, but they scared the hell out of me.

In a matter of seconds, Dorvan was split into twenty pieces and Argus was being helped up by these creatures. Argus smiled at me and pointed. Some time later I awoke tied to a wall next to Aramil. Our belongings were gone and there was no sign of anyone. There is no telling how long we were there, I began wondering if we were being saved for something’s snack. I believe it was at least three days later when we finally heard some sounds below us. We talked it over and decided it was worth the risk of bringing the creatures upon us to try to signal for help. If not we would most likely be dead in another day or two anyway.

Olidammara must be shining his smile upon me, it is another group of explorers. I am glad to see them, but not ready to trust them completely. As the group searches the tower we are in, they seem to more concerned in questioning us than searching the tower. Yet they seem to lie to me at my questions. Me and Aramil talk about this and decide to be as honest as they are. Then they came, the creatures from before came into the room. The new party seems to be able to hold their own versus these things. Aramil and one of the others seem to be harmed. I can’t explain what happened to them, just that Aramil seems weaker.

I ask our new friends if we can travel with them for a bit and they agreed. Funny this group seems to have no leader, and be happy about it. Then the old fire bug up Aramil’s ass starts buggin’ him again. I tried to talk him out of it, but he has to torch the tower. If I had a copper for every time he burned something down I would be rich.

Our group heads to some caves for protection, there is another skirmish with the things. This is just not my best day. After resting for a bit the party is going to try the large tower in the center of town. I think they are mad, but hey I think that about most people. We get to the tower, the door is neither locked or trapped. Now to my experience, that means there is nothing good inside.

In we go, there is some sort of bone creature. We go in as a party, sort of. Well true to Aramil’s form, he runs into combat. I guess it is time to talk to him about the magic versus fighting thing again. Don’t get me wrong, when damage is coming I want him in front of me, but I don’t want him dead. We clear out the floor of these creatures and begin up the steps.

Posted by Jim at 14:02 | Pockets’ Journal

June 8, 2003

Waterday & Earthday, 12 - 13 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

Well, we managed to avoid the lich after Korin’s apparent sacrifice. Drusilia healed up the rest of the party using a relic they found after I left. It is a blessed sword made by the followers of Pelor for paladins to use against the undead. Because it channels positive energy, it can heal someone living. It does look very odd, though, stabbing a companion and making them feel better....

Our group traveled away from the lich’s tower and to the last tower in the outskirts of town. This tower was 40 feet tall and all its windows had been bricked shut. Someone apparently didn’t like sunlight. We argued with Fafnir about going in and against his advice we opened the door. There were 3 coffins inside. I think I know why the windows were bricked now.

We entered the building and dragged the coffins out and opened them. Oddly enough, they were empty. Ghelt and Drusilia headed upstairs, while Fafnir and I opted to stay downstairs. Soon we heard the sounds of an arguement upstairs. Fafnir and I headed up and found two adverturers shackled to the wall. We freed them with a little work and they insisted on searching the tower for their equipment. We found it all on the top floor.

As we were getting ready to come back down, two creatures came up from below. They attacked me and the half-human, and I don’t know if it was just me, but I felt much weaker. Drusilia managed to kill both of them, and we made our way out of the tower and out of town.

For some reason the tower burnt down as we left, and we realized that that half human set it on fire. I swear, the only smart wizard I have met in my travels is Fafnir....

We traveled into the cliffs above the city to rest for the rest of the day and through the night, but the residents of the area felt the need to make a visit during the night. Shadow forms attacked us, and I don’t know how everyone else was feeling, but I felt less healthy after they touched me.

We managed to rest a bit more, and we headed back into the city, this time to the tower in the center of the city. We entered the tower without much trouble, and found the floor not only covered in bones, but a couple feet deep. Inside there were skeletal snakes that that popped up from the bones and attacked us. For some reason, Drusilia couldn’t turn them so we had to kill them by force of arms.

After we had dealt with the skeletal snakes, we headed across the room, and up the stairs on the other side...

Posted by Tim at 12:28 | Valon’s Journal

More Trouble... New Folk

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

Well, I think (hope) things are improving for us. Now I’m worrying about you! During one of our few chances to talk, Valon mentioned that our clan has been in trouble for a while, fighting off duergar attacks. May Moradin protect you, Grun! I wish I were there.

Valon, by the way, was utterly horrified at first when we began healing up by stabbing each other with the sword. Poor guy! After some thought, he remembered hearing a story about such a sword. Apparently a paladin of Pelor used it, long ago. Wonder how it ended up lying in a room for us to find?

We headed for the last tower before the central one, trying to ignore the drums pounding in the lord’s tower. Drusilia cast a spell on us all that made the undead ignore us, which was good, because a LOT of them passed us by. The drums were calling them. I have a bad feeling about that, but we’ll deal with that problem when it comes.

Poor Korin. I wish we could have done something to help him. It was a very quiet walk!

We got to the last tower only to find it had been sealed against sunlight - all the windows bricked up. And a wooden door! I opened the door very carefully.. and saw three coffins inside. Imagining vampires in every corner, I chocked the door open with my short sword and we carefully pulled each coffin out before opening the lids... nothing. On the other hand, I could hear clinking up some spiral stairs to the next floor. As I pulled out my greatsword, I thought I actually heard a cry for help! With Drusilia right behind, I headed upstairs.

We found two humanoid figures chained to the wall.. and three more coffins. The figures turned out to be very alive and half-dressed, an elf and a human that looks rather elflike. Drusilia calls him a half-human, and he contradicts her every time: “elf! half-ELF!.” Half-and-half, anyway. Fafnir picked the elf’s lock while I smashed the chains off the wall for the halfie, and then checked the last two floors.

The top floor looked like a scary place - big sarcophagus, old, rich furniture, and, within a few minutes, the rest of the party, searching the place. Fafnir found the new guys’ clothes and gear, causing the halfie to sit down in the middle of the room and start memorizing something from a book. The elf took off down the stairs. I noticed that things were gettnig very quiet outside...

And the vampires finally attacked. They came up through the stairwell, attacking Valon and the halfie and inspiring Fafnir to multiply - like there was much space to begin with! As the first vampire was dusted, the next turned to gas and fell through the floor. Drusilia finished it off as I headed down to see what had happened to those below, worried that there was no light coming from the door. The damned new elf had actually shut it. Not only shut it, but blocked it up! I cursed out loud while getting it open, which he found amusing. Amusing! The halfie then lit the place on fire!

Drusilia made us invisible to undead again, and we headed for the hills for the night. The new guys decided to come along. I hope the saying “safety in numbers” isn’t too much of a challenge for them.. I’m not happy at all. They spend more time whispering to each other than talking to us. It was only in the walk across the city that they finally admitted to something like names. I say something, because the half-human uses the elven name Aramil, and the elf calls himself “Pockets.” Hrmph. Aramil is also an armor-wearing fighterish-looking... mage. “Pockets” likes to hide behind him. Despite wanting to hide, he also thoughtlessly lit a torch when the familiars became agitated, spotlighting us against the mountainside in the dark! After more wraith fighting, we spent the night in the cave at the top of the path. (They are slowly getting used to the sword that heals.. not enough to try it yet, however).

Finally, morning came, and we headed back into town to try for the central tower. “Pockets” has some skill in opening doors, which is useful! The first chamber of the tower was waist-deep in bones of all kinds, and an evil creature constructed of bones to look like a snake attacked us. It even multiplied to attack more of us as we crossed the room! Valon is singing to inspire us again, by the way...

Finally, we reached the stairs. We’re taking a quick breather before our final search. At least we’ve made it this far!

With love,

p.s. - Aramil and “Pockets” must be mercenaries. They talk a lot about employers and money, and both Drusilia and I are watching them as much as we can to be sure they don’t make off with something they think is valuable, but in fact needs destroyed. I can’t justify leaving them alone to die here, so I guess we’ll just have to be careful!

Posted by Kate at 21:43 | Ghelt’s Journal

June 10, 2003

Stare Master

Drusilia's Journal

Earthday, Flocktime 13, 592 CY, continued

I’ve observed our two new comrades and I think they are good-intentioned and reliable, even if we didn’t start out with the same goals. Pockets, I think, is a rogue that will outlive most rogues. He’s very good at opening doors, and makes sure to get behind a fighter or two before entering a room. Aramil switches between the fighting profession and attempting to cast spells (often in the same battle), but I think, from what Fafnir has said, that the armor he’s wearing prevents him from casting. Aramil appears not ready to give up on these two diverse vocations, however.

We arrived on level two and entered another round room with the staircase continuing to wend its way around the perimeter— this room was 40’ tall and the stairs looped around twice before the next level. We hardly had time to study the architecture, for the room contained two flesh golems that were bent on smashing us. They were completely unaffected by our spells. Thankfully, they were completely effected by Ghelt and the silver greatsword she was carrying.

We continued our ascent to the third level. This level had torches on the walls going up 80’ to a balcony which could be reached by continuing up the spiraling staircase. Three humanoids on the balcony saw our arrival and attempted to pelt us with bolts and stones, but gave up and disappeared— while two wraiths drifted through the stone walls and attacked. Thankfully Pelor’s might allowed me to destroy them quickly and we headed up the stairs as fast as we were able...

...right up to a very small trap door in the ceiling of the balcony. Fairly sure our quarry (a vampire and two of his spawn) was above us, and equally sure, after some creative use of spellcasting by Fafnir, who made the trapdoor “invisible,” that they held an emerald-skinned celestial being shackled in massive chains in the 30’ high room above us, Pockets climbed up the ladder leading to the door and somehow managed to pull back the bolt. As we were planning how to best stuff our party through the 2’ wide trapdoor opening, the ladder chose that very moment to pull out of the wall— with Pockets still on it! Ghelt was close enough to at least grab the ladder as it went sailing off the balcony, and Pockets was clever enough to hold on and climb up it as Ghelt held on.

While this was going on, I was at an angle where I could see the vampires quite well (they were attempting to come down and attack us)— enough that I was able to dust the two spawn, but not their master.

Knowing the vampire was quite strong, and was likely to have a plan of his own for the first of us up the ladder, we tried several different things to occupy him so we could get at least two people up. Fafnir sent an illusion of Ghelt up the ladder— no effect. Pockets started to throw things out of his many pockets up the ladder— a cat (I have no idea how he had that in a pocket, but up it went)— nothing. A bag full of marbles and alchemist’s fire— it went up, but unfortunately landed at the feet of the celestial creature we hoped to liberate. Finally, he climbed up, mirror held aloft in his hand, hoping to see the vampire. Of course, this was a good time for me to point out to the party that vampires don’t cast reflections. As Pockets continued to rummage through his various belongings, Ghelt borrowed the ring of jumping Fafnir has and leaped through the door, prepared to engage the vampire in combat, with me climbing up behind her as quickly as I was able. I got my head through the door just in time to get two very solid hits from Ghelt’s weapon— the vampire had mesmerized her and she was no longer in control of her actions! I felt the vampire attempt to steal my will as well, but he, thankfully, wasn’t up to the challenge. I fell back down through the trapdoor long enough to heal myself and try again. As I did so, Aramil leaped up and through the door, yelling back that he’d cause a diversion. He probably did for a second or two, but he was slain before any of us could react.

Pockets threw a ball of sticky twine up through the hole, attempted to confine Ghelt long enough for us to get up there. It is hard to throw something through a smalltrap door during a fight though, and it only succeeded in preventing us access for a few moments. Valon and I reached through the trapdoor and slashed at the vines to clear them away from the hole. I couldn’t see what happened next, but it was obvious at least that the vampire had walked over to Valon and physically attacked him— I could see them grappling above. I did the only thing I could think to do— I leaped back up through the hole and cast two searing lights right at the vampire. My comrades rallied and I was sure the vampire would soon be destroyed, but he chose that moment to turn into gaseous form and slip out of the tower. Thankfully Ghelt managed to shake away his influence at just that moment.

We at least were able to save the celestial creature— a general named Aramis who fought the fiends below Barraktor (and apparently, Arun-tosa) many years ago, captured and confined in the tower where his blood was used to feed the dark powers of the lich Arkon and the vampire Kartharsis— and the Heart of Nerull. As we looked for a way to remove his chains, he went on to tell us that Kartharsis held the key to the room where the Heart of Nerull was located. The Heart must be destroyed— the lich Arkon and his minions are unbeatable while they possess it. Further, the only way to destroy the Heart is to take it to the Temple of the Void, which constantly moves.

Aramis, we also discovered, had once carried a silver greatsword— the one thing he was certain could break through his chains, as long as it was wielded by one pure of heart. We now know, if we weren’t sure of it before, that Ghelt is such a person, for she was able to cleave through the enchanted chains and free the celestial. She of course returned his sword to him.

We offered to heal him as best we could, but as soon as the chains gave way, his wounds began to heal and the feathers of his beautiful wings brightened. In fact, as weak as he still is while the Heart survives, it was he who provided the party’s healing, helping Ghelt and Valon recover grievous damage from the undead we’d just fought, and he was even able to return Aramil and his toad back to life.

I had hoped that by now we would have found the Heart and destroyed it, but we now must set off to finish a battle many years past due. We must go into the catacombs below Arun-tosa and destroy Kartharsis, and find the key to the Heart’s chamber.

Posted by Kristin at 11:56 | Drusilia’s Journal


Aramil's Journal

Well, we started up the stairs, and found a door. Pockets did his thing and in we went. There were 2 creatures of sorts in there, someone called them constructs, and they seemed to be immune to magic period. So I ran up with the others and fought. After they died Pockets decided to tell me I’m a wizard not a fighter. It’s an old argument between us. I tried to tell him the 2 can mix, but he doesn’t agree. Anyway, there was another set of stairs going up and up we went. Same routine at the next door, and in we went. Ghelt went first and was shot at, I went and tried to cast a Fire sphere at one, but my armor made it difficult to move properly. If I move that one piece over to the side a little....

Well, anyway the others came in and the 3 things at the top vanished from sight, so we went up more stairs. There was a small balcony with a ladder leading to a trap door. The only burnable thing in this stone building are the doors, and no one would let me burn them. Well, after much debate, and talking, Pockets got the door unlocked and Ghelt went up, then came down and 2 creatures came after her. We dispatched them easily enough, and then more talk and more ideas and more debating. This was getting old quick. Ghelt went up again and then disappeared from view. Drusilia went up next and was hit by Ghelt. Not again, another fight between companions. More talk, more debates I can’t take it anymore. I tell them I’m going to distract the things up there and up I go. Then everything goes black.

I feel at piece, comfortable, my only thought is where’s Jacob?

Suddenly, I’m called. I wake up weak, hurt and notice Jacob is dead. Then this angelic looking guy heals Jacob, and heals me. He mentions something about destroying the Heart. Pockets and I need to talk about our employer.

Posted by Fred at 13:17 | Aramil’s Journal

June 15, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 24 - Ramblings

Fafnir's Journal

Once again, I have come to the conclusion that I really, really hate undead. Especially Vampires... they are just too much work to kill. In fact, this whole “city of the dead” is really getting on my nerves. I must continue to study that “teleport” spell, so that I can get myself (and maybe some of the other party members), the heck out of here. Of course, we need to destroy the damned Heart of Nerullfirst, but after that, I sure don’t think I want to stick around any longer than I have to.

Pockets is becoming a problem. Every time I try to hide — err, I mean “strategically position myself” at the back of the party, he is already there. I will have to have a little conversation with him. Maybe we can work out some kind of time-sharing agreement. Standing near the front is likely to get me killed! Just today, one of those !$%&! vampires grabbed a hold of me and tried to drain my life away! Luckily, Fate intervened and I am OK.

On a good note, we seem to have made a new friend. He tells us his name is Aramis, and he is a celestial being of some sort. He was being held prisoner in the large tower in the center of Aruntosa... apparently for a very long time. (Possibly since the fall of Barraktor). When we found him he was chained by four magical chains that he told us could only be cut by someone ‘Pure of Heart’. At that point, I figured the guy was out of luck with us, but amazingly Ghelt was able to cut them after all.

After freeing him, he was kind enough to heal us... (But not until he was sure that our goal was indeed to destroy the Heart of Nerul. He even seems to believe that Pockets has good intentions. Hmmm.) Apparently he has quite a twisted a sense of humor, though, as he also brought Aramil back to life...

It didn’t seem like a nice thing to do, since the poor guy will probably just get himself killed again anyway... Magic and Metal don’t mix, as my grandpa used to say. Maybe I will have a talk with the fellow, and try to set him straight. Fingers doesn’t think this will work, but I might just give it a try anyway. Fingers did say that he would rather have a “chat” with Jacob instead, but I wouldn’t let him.... I heard that touching toads could give you warts. Besides, the last time fingers ate a frog, he got sick inside my backpack. No more of that, thank you very much.

In any case, it doesn’t seem like there will be much time for that now, as Aramis has told us what we need to do to retrieve the heart. We must travel into the catacombs beneath Aruntosa and Kill the vampire Kartharsis, to get the key to the heart’s chamber. Another &#!&# vampire. (well actually the same one)... At least Aramis has agreed to help us, although what help he intends to offer has yet to be seen... he claims he will be too weak to do much until we have the heart... Maybe that time-share at the back of the party will need to be split among three rather than just two?

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 01:09 | Fafnir’s Journal

Earthday, 13 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

We entered another room, this time with a taller ceiling. Inside were two stitched together monstrosities. We (meaning Ghelt) dealt with them as quickly as possible, though we found that they seemed to be immune to magic, and had an extreme strength. After healing ourselves (it is still unnerving watching Drusilia stab people to heal them), headed up the stairs yet again, only to be attacked by a pair of wraiths. Drusilia destroyed them both, and we continued up to an extremely tall room.

It must have been 80 or 90 feet tall. There were creatures shooting bolts and hurling rocks at us from above, from a balcony that ran around the top ten or so feet in the room. I headed straight for the stairs, followed by most of the group. When we reached the top, we found that our attackers were nowhere in sight. We could see a ladder that led up to a trap door, though. I prodded the door with Ghelt’s greatsword, and found a large amont of resistance to the prodding. Fafnir turned the door invisible, and we could see a bar across the door. Climbed the ladder, and it fell away from the wall and towards the long fall from the balcony. Ghelt managed to catch him, and Pockets scrambled up the ladder and back onto the balcony. Pockets opened the door, and we began to argue who should go up. Two spawn of the master started to come down to attack us, but Drusilia managed to destroy both of them. Fafnir sent an illusion of Ghelt up, then Pockets pulled a cat (!?!?) from his person and sent it up. Neither had any effect. Ghelt jumped through the trap door (using Fafnir’s ring of jumping) and Drusilia followed up the ladder as quickly as possible. Drusilia got quite a suprise when she got up the ladder, as Ghelt began to attack her! She dropped back through the small trapdoor, and Aramil scrambled up the ladder, shouting something about creating a diversion. He did, and we heard his two halves hit the floor a couple seconds later.

Pockets tossed up a small bag filled with marbles and a couple flasks of alchemist’s fire, though they seemed to have no effect either. Pockets then tossed a small object up through the hole, and the trapdoor was covered by a mass of tangling strands. Drusilia and I cut through them, and I tried to stop Ghelt from attacking us by fascinating her. It failed miserably, and the Vampire grabbed me before I could drop back down. Corellon Larethian and Pelor seem to have had other plans as Drusilia was able to get the Vampire to retreat from us, and Ghelt shook off the vampire’s control.

We freed a celestial named Aramis from the room we managed to clear, and he helped to heal the party and revive Aramil. He also told us a great deal about the Heart and how we need to destroy it. It ends up that we will have to fight that damnable vampire again. I pray that we can destroy him this time.

No person should take the will of others away completely, and those who do should not be allowed to live, or unlive as the case may be.

We rested a short bit in the tower, but we were urged to leave as soon as possible from the tower by Aramis. He told us to look for a creature named Urkel in the catacombs that are in the north part of town. The party had a short discussion about our disorganization, and decided that having a party leader of sorts would not be a bad idea. I suggested that Ghelt be the leader of the party, though she did not seem to be interested in the task. Dursilia then suggested that I be the leader of the party. No one else seemed to have a problem with the arrangement, so I agreed.

We headed down to the first floor of the tower, and began digging through the bone littered floor in search of….well, anything. We managed to find a trapped trap door in the floor and Pockets easily disarmed the trap and opened the door. Fafnir headed down first, followed by the rest of the party…odd that Fafnir went first…he never wanted to before. We found ourselves in a long stone corridor that headed north and south. Since we were told to head north, we tried to follow the corridor to the north as best as we could. We were attacked by 5 wraiths, which Drusilia had no trouble turning 3 of them, then Fafnir and Ghelt each killed one. I know that we did not win the quick battle with out injury though, as I had been touched and weakened by one of them and I believe Drusilia had been as well, as she did not look as healty as a few minutes before. A few voiced concerns about our ability to continue traveling in the catacombs, but I still felt that we should try to continue on. We did, but were then ambushed by 2 wights and 4 more wraiths we escaped that encounter, but I felt that it was not such a good idea to travel all the way to the north through the catacombs. We headed back to the ladder where we entered, getting ambushed once more by yet more wraiths. We survived and made it back to where we started, with Aramis.

Aramis offered a little more information on Urkel. He said that Arkon had once controlled Urkel, but Urkel had broken from Arkon’s control. We were also told that Urkel was once a humanoid like us, but he no longer is. I remember hearing stories about how our gods are not able to interfere directly with the happenings of the world. I wonder if the angel is not able to interfere, either. It would explain why he couldn’t give us better information. A fter a few minutes, Aramil began to feel like we were being watched, and urged us to leave.

We headed to the north above ground, and found an ancient magic shop. Fafnir found an old iron box, which was filled with a few gems, some coins and a mysterious earring. Fafnir put it on but could not determine what the earring did. I took a look at it and found an inscription of the word cirsus. After putting it on and saying cirsus, I found that the earring was actually a miniature set of thieves’ tools. I gave the earring to Pockets as he was obviously the person who would benefit the most from it.

We continued north, and Drusilia spotted a house that had a sun carved crudely over it. The house was empty, but there was a hole in the back room that dropped fifty or sixty feet to a stone passageway. Fafnir seemed eager to return to the Catacombs, and as much as I would like to, I fell that the party as a whole needs to rest. I do not know if Fafnir realizes this, or if he just has a death wish. Drusilia has been turning the dead away from us all day, she must be exhausted.

We traveled further north and came upon a small weapons shop. I used a detect magic spell on the house and detected something magical, but we were attacked by skeletal bats. Ghjelt was paralyzed by one, but otherwise we managed to make it through relatively unscathed. I returned to the counter and found 3 magical crossbow bolts, which all had a lightning motif carved into them. I believe that they are Bolts of Lightning. I gave the bolts to Fafnir, since I did take the earring that he had found. We are going to continue towards the edge of town, though it is getting towards night fall, and it looks as if the weather is not going to be very friendly…

Posted by Tim at 01:46 | Valon’s Journal

Easy Money...

Pockets' Journal

As I think back to the beginning of this adventure, “easy money” was what I was thinking. But of course I didn’t have all the information. As is becoming the story of the day. Maybe, and I say maybe, if the story included undead I would have been better prepared. But then of course I had all those brave fighters between us and the undead.

Back to reality. We entered the second floor and found two larger things and had to kill them. I think I will need to pay more attention to what they are calling these things. Anyway, this was an unorganized battle if I ever saw one. Mind you I am not a warrior, but shouldn’t the party fight together with some plan instead of rushing in. Me and Aramil tried working with some barbarians once, I feel that is happening again.

As we proceed up the tower the group decides I should check doors for traps, like some sacrificial lamb. Well for the good of the group I play along. We get to another level which is empty. Kinda like the feeling in some of my pockets. So I take the hinges apart to fill a pocket.

Up we go to the next level, I have found a nice place to travel behind two others, yet near enough to Aramil to watch his back. At this door, which I opened with cunning skill. Hmm... Ahh, why lie to myself, it wasn’t too hard. The dwarf goes first, as the pattern returns. They all run in to get shot at and have things thrown at them. At least the mage has some common sense.

Again I have to ask Aramil to use spells, as if he forgets on a regular basis anymore. Fafnir makes duplicates of himself, this is a cool trick. And to my convenience, I hide behind the pack of mages. What sane person would attack a thief when there is so many mages to kill.

We get to the top of a walkway and are faced with a trap door. Again, they stop and argue. I try to add my info, but they don’t want it. Well, let’s say they just want to keep arguing. Then to my amazement, Fafnir sends his familiar (which looks like a tasty treat by the way) up the ladder to the trap door. And the door becomes invisible. I complement Fafnir, and lock that idea away. If I could get a wand that does that,... pardon the drool on the parchment.

So I go up to check out the trap door and to my surprise it is a trap ladder. Olidammara is having fun again, as I and the ladder tip over the edge of the 80 ft drop. But as to his grace the ladder was grabbed by the party. Now as I dangle off the ladder, holding on with all I have, I can’t help but be amused by the trick. I do well to control my smile, can’t let them think me mad, but they don’t understand the technicality of that trap. It was obviously set to some weight so as to get a person, not a small animal. That gave me a false sense of security.

Well after climbing back up the ladder to safety, I put the ladder back up and secure it with the hinge pieces that I had just procured. Now the trap door is still invisible giving me a good look at the lock. A bar, this shouldn’t be to hard. First I test the hinges, I even get Ghelt to help. They are too strong. As my ears get filled with the party conversation, a total lack of plan is a better way to put it, I use one of my trade secrets to move the bar out of the way.

What happened next can only be described as a cluster-f*ck. Two creatures come down and are easily destroyed by the clerics. Then Ghelt goes up first, pattern reappearing. As Drusilia attempts to follow she is smacked hard by Ghelt who is now under the influence of something up there. Then I am a little confused, lets see... there was arguing, bad plans, my unsuccessful help, Aramil losing his mind, and more arguing, some swords swinging and then they said it was ok to go up.

There is some large creature chained up by some magnificent metal. I was not convinced right away that the creature was ok, but eventually they won me over. Ghelt, now back on our side, gave the creature the big silver sword she was carrying. Obviously she has no idea how much that thing would be worth.

The creature cut through his chains and freed himself. He then said he could help us. I asked for some of the chain, again controlling the drool. He agrees to raise Aramil from the dead. This is indeed a wonderful creature. But back to the chain. This big creature must be hard of hearing, I politely asked for some of the chain several times before he cut some for me. Aramil is laughing at me. I guess I didn’t control the drool as good as I thought.

Now the creature tells us we have to go into the underground and fight to get the key. He acts like it is just business as usual. Maybe he thinks there is a large trading post on the way where we can get supplied.

At least Aramil is ok, and the frog too. Not that I actually like the frog, but I ain’t telling him that.

Posted by Jim at 12:31 | Pockets’ Journal


Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

For once I am writing in relative peace. We’re still in a great deal of danger but it’s hard to be as terrified when there’s an angel in the room with you.

We rested briefly, then started up the stairs from the room of bones. “Pockets” checked the doors at the top, and opened them.. to two large stitched-together “things.” Awful! I attacked immediately.. and got smashed hard. Then the rest of the party came in and evened the odds nicely.

The new members still refused to use the healing sword. “Pockets” spent the time removing the door from the hinges. He saved the hinges, too. He’s unlike any elf I’ve ever heard about before, that’s for sure!

We moved on to the next set of stairs, and “Pockets” once again got them open. This time, I looked in to see a very high-ceilinged room, and several figures on a balcony above. I warned the others, and moved into the room, dodging arrows and rocks as we went. The figures left the balcony as we entered, so we ran for the steps, yet again. Wraiths came through the walls - surprise, surprise - and Drusilia made them leave. We reached the balcony (multiple Fafnirs in tow), and found a trapdoor in the ceiling. Valon borrowed my greatsword and tapped at it but it didnt budge. Fafnir then cast something to make the door invisible - amazing! “Pockets” climbed the ladder and did something - I don’t know what - and the bars holding the door shut from above slid away.

(This was not before we nearly lost him; the ladder was trapped to swing loose over eighty feet of space! I managed to catch the ladder and the crazy elf redeemed his hinges oddity - by using the stolen ones to reattach the ladder to the wall. Guess I can’t judge him!).

I climbed the ladder, pushed the door open, and climbed into the next room. Briefly. I caught a glimpse of two creatures attacking me, a third standing back to watch, and something across the room that was chained to the floor. I let go of the ladder at that point, shocked beyond belief at what seemed to be a huge, winged, green-skinned, blackened-feathered being that was covered with cuts. I didn’t even realize at first that I’d been weakened in the attack. I was followed by the first two creatures, which Drusilia dusted. Bless her, she’s saved us so many times that way! I managed to tell the others what I’d seen above, and we argued for a while about how to get into the room above.

“Pockets” tried to look through the door with a mirror, until Drusilia pointed out the thing above was probably a vampire and wouldn’t show.. Fafnir sent up illusions, and “Pockets” pulled a cat out of a bag and sent it up the ladder. I said I wouldn’t judge him.. I just don’t know what to expect next! Finally, I borrowed Fafnir’s ring of jumping and leapt through the doorway, hoping to surprise and distract the creature so the others could come through safely. Unfortunately, the creature looked at me once and ..

When Drusilia came through the trapdoor, I tried to kill her. It was awful, Grun! She fell back down the ladder, and I thought I might well have succeeded. The others were trying to figure out what to do.. something flew through the door and shattered into flames, Valon tried to re-mesmerize me, and Aramel unexpectedly came through the door! I missed him, but the vampire struck him down. He was killed, instantly. Someone threw a handful of tangling vines through the door, which I dodged, and I was forced to stand and listen to more arguing from below.

After a great battle, the others managed to chase off the vampire without killing me, and freed me from the spell. What a relief! I don’t know how to apologize to them, Grun.. And then, we spoke to an angel.

He was sent ages ago to destroy the evil that had been let loose on the land, here, after the wars. But the evil Arkon, the creature in the tower who killed Korin, managed to capture him. He was trapped and being used to feed the creature’s magic with his own energy. We did find out that the Heart of Nerull is behind the doors in the first tower, and the key is on the vampire, Catharsis, that just escaped. Sorry, Korin, it’s not a candle, after all.

It turns out that the greatsword I’ve been using belongs to the angel, Aramis! He told us that it was the only thing that could break his chains and free him, if wielded by one pure of heart. Of course, everything I have ever done that wasn’t very nice came to mind, the most recent events especially! I prayed to Moradin, and broke the chains. What a blessed relief! The angel’s cuts began to heal almost immediately, and he went to Aramel’s body - and raised him! He cured me of my weakened state, and gave “Pockets” a length of the chain that had bound him.

Aramis can’t help us much more - he’s still very weak, for an angel! But we now know where to go and what to do, so I have more hope than before. We may succeed in this, yet!

With love and blessings,

Posted by Kate at 15:52 | Ghelt’s Journal

June 18, 2003


Drusilia's Journal

Earthday, Flocktime 13, 592 CY, continued again

We were only able to rest for a short while before Aramis urged us to be on our way. He told us to find someone named Urkel in the northern part of the city, in the catacombs. We planned on walking through the city to find him, since it was still light out, but as we were leaving the tower, we found a trapdoor under the accumulated bones of the first floor, and figuring Urkel was to be found in the catacombs, went down through a ladder found under the trapdoor. I should mention, we’ve been without a party leader for a long time, as Ghelt clearly does not want the position. I suggested that Valon take charge since he definitely has leadership qualities, and the party agreed. And then, for the most part, promptly ignored him. So much for “speak softly and carry a big stick”....

We found ourselves in a 10’ wide corridor of worked stone stained by water and the passage of time. The passageway would occasionally branch, but generally went north to south, so we started onward as close to “north” as it allowed. We occasionally found ourselves being stared at by rats, but did our best to ignore them. I’d lent the Sword of Pelor to Pockets, as it is difficult for him to use a crossbow effectively in these narrow passages.

We’d only gone a few hundred feet when we were ambushed by five wraiths. I feel considerably weakened from their attack, and most of my friends don’t look much better. I turned them as my comrades fought them, and then we dusted ourselves off and attempted to continue northward. We’d passed through two 20’ by 20’ rooms with sewer grates in them when we decided that above ground might be a better choice for our travels. An attack by four more wraiths and two wights confirmed this, and we went running as fast as we could back to the central tower’s access ladder. We encountered eight shadows on the way back, dispatching them as quickly as we could.

Aramis, of course, was still sitting in the tower in his weakened state, and was unable to restore any of the health we’d lost in the catacombs. He suggested that Urkel might be able to help us, and as Ghelt wandered off with the two newcomers (apparently getting a head start without our party leader?), Aramis told Valon, Fafnir and me that Urkel was a humanoid minion of Arkon who had slipped from his evil control. I hope that if I ever meet any other celestial beings that they are less cryptic. Aramis is obviously tired though, and admittedly, has never met this fellow “Urkel.” Not having anyone to talk to for hundreds of years has probably made the angel a bit peculiar too.

We caught back up with the rest of our party and started off across the city. I didn’t have a spell to make us invisible to undead again, but oddly, it wasn’t necessary as there were none about. We even checked a few of the ruined buildings on our way across the city— one was an old shop in which Fafnir found some loot under a floor tile— coins, rubies, moonstones and a magical silver earring engraved with the word “Cirsus.” Valon discovered that it provided the wearer with tiny lockpicks when the word was said. Pockets happily added it to his inventory.

A short while later, we came to another building, and I happened to notice that there was a symbol of a “sun” carved above the door. I was hoping this was a sign from Urkel, but we were unable to find him in the structure. There was a hole in the floor with a 60’ drop— it could be the entrance we seek, but we’re hesitant to drop into the catacombs if it isn’t. We’ll probably come back to it later though, if no more obvious (and less ominous) entrance can be found.

Reaching the northern side of the city at last, we came to a slightly more intact building with a sign on it showing a sword and something written in Ancient Suloise (which Pockets said must be “Armory” or something similar). Valon found a few magic crossbow bolts, and we were attacked by skeletal bats, one of which “kissed” Ghelt and paralyzed her. I turned them, and went to help Ghelt, but Aramil (who must be the party’s healer, in addition to being a fighter and mage) was rolling her around on the floor in an attempt to take her outside for some reason. Luckily, the paralysis wore off and she swatted him.

Leaving this probable weapon shop, we found that it was beginning to storm out— huge bolts of lightning were hitting around us— we really needed to find Urkel soon! We found a three-story “tavern” of sorts, and it looked like an obvious choice to get out of the storm. As soon as we went in though, we were confronted by three allips— undead who attempt to drain people of their wisdom by muttering madly. Most, if not all, of my comrades we instantly fascinated by them, I was lucky to have one more undead turning available to me, though I don’t think they’ll be gone for long. We’ll likely have to go back out into the storm to continue our search....

Posted by Kristin at 14:32 | Drusilia’s Journal

June 20, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 25 - Wandering the Streets

Fafnir's Journal

As of tonight, we are still wandering the streets of Arun-tosa.

Following the advice of Aramis, we are searching for someone name ‘Urkel’. I say we are searching, but mostly the party just seems to be wandering around. Aramis clearly told us that Urkel would be found in the catacombs beneath the city, but after a brief foray, the rest of the party decided that they didn’t believe him, and we have been wandering the streets ever since.

I am going to have to be more careful in the future about letting Valon “look” at things. I managed to find a magic earring in one of the abandoned shops. I had not yet figured out what it did, when Valon asked to examine it. Believing him to be the trustworthy sort (ha!), I let him. He soon discovered that is was a magical set of lockpicks, and promptly presented them as a gift to Pockets! Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have given them to Pockets anyway (after all, I don’t any use for lockpicks, and Pockets does seem to be a rogue-ish sort), but it would have been a bit of common courtesy to have at least asked me first, since I was the one who found them. Fingers says its probably because they are both elves, and Valon might be a little “sweet” on Pockets. I don’t know about that, but in any case, I am going to be more careful in the future.

I have been trying to convince Aramil that being a wizard is a lot smarter than trying to be a “magic” fighter, or whatever it is that he fancies himself. I even went so far as to give him a scroll with Mirror Image on it, that I have been carrying. We’ll see if it helps at all.

Thanks to Drusilia’s good eyes, we found another entrance to the catacombs in a building with a symbol of the sun carved above the door. Once more the party has decided to avoid the catacombs in favor of wandering the streets. I am not sure why they even asked for Aramis’s advice, as they seem keen on ignoring it. To me, a symbol of the sun indicates something good, not “Danger”! I would have at least thought Drusilia would agree, but she did not.

Trapped in the streets, chased by undead, and soaked by a pounding rain, we continue to wander. I turned myself into a small gold dragon, so I could take flight if necessary, but I am not sure that will really save me, let alone the rest of them.

I do think I figured out that teleport spell, but until we can rest, even that won’t help. Maybe I will try talking some more sense into the rest of the party. At least if we were in the catacombs we might be out of the rain.


P.S. - It’s a good thing Fingers learned to scribe my thoughts into my journal while riding in my backpack. Otherwise, some of these entries would never get recorded! I only hope I can decipher and re-scribe them later. his handrwriting is atrocious! (IS NOT!!!! - fingers.)

FF (& fingers)

Posted by Dave at 22:58 | Fafnir’s Journal

June 21, 2003

Earthday, 13 Flocktime (continued yet some more)

Valon's Journal

We rested a short bit in the tower, but we were urged to leave as soon as possible from the tower by Aramis. He told us to look for a creature named Urkel in the catacombs that are in the north part of town. The party had a short discussion about our disorganization, and decided that having a party leader of sorts would not be a bad idea. I suggested that Ghelt be the leader of the party, though she did not seem to be interested in the task. Drusilia then suggested that I be the leader of the party. No one else seemed to have a problem with the arrangement, so I agreed.

We headed down to the first floor of the tower, and began digging through the bone littered floor in search of….well, anything. We managed to find a trapped trap door in the floor and Pockets easily disarmed the trap and opened the door. Fafnir headed down first, followed by the rest of the party…odd that Fafnir went first…he never wanted to before. We found ourselves in a long stone corridor that headed north and south. Since we were told to head north, we tried to follow the corridor to the north as best as we could. We were attacked by 5 wraiths, which Drusilia had no trouble turning 3 of them, then Fafnir and Ghelt each killed one. I know that we did not win the quick battle with out injury though, as I had been touched and weakened by one of them and I believe Drusilia had been as well, as she did not look as healty as a few minutes before. A few voiced concerns about our ability to continue traveling in the catacombs, but I still felt that we should try to continue on. We did, but were then ambushed by 2 wights and 4 more wraiths we escaped that encounter, but I felt that it was not such a good idea to travel all the way to the north through the catacombs. We headed back to the ladder where we entered, getting ambushed once more by yet more wraiths. We survived and made it back to where we started, with Aramis.

Aramis offered a little more information on Urkel. He said that Arkon had once controlled Urkel, but Urkel had broken from Arkon’s control. We were also told that Urkel was once a humanoid like us, but he no longer is. I remember hearing stories about how our gods are not able to interfere directly with the happenings of the world. I wonder if the angel is not able to interfere, either. It would explain why he couldn’t give us better information. A fter a few minutes, Aramil began to feel like we were being watched, and urged us to leave.

We headed to the north above ground, and found an ancient magic shop. Fafnir found an old iron box, which was filled with a few gems, some coins and a mysterious earring. Fafnir put it on but could not determine what the earring did. I took a look at it and found an inscription of the word cirsus. After putting it on and saying cirsus, I found that the earring was actually a miniature set of thieves’ tools. I gave the earring to Pockets as he was obviously the person who would benefit the most from it.

We continued north, and Drusilia spotted a house that had a sun carved crudely over it. The house was empty, but there was a hole in the back room that dropped fifty or sixty feet to a stone passageway. Fafnir seemed eager to return to the Catacombs, and as much as I would like to, I fell that the party as a whole needs to rest. I do not know if Fafnir realizes this, or if he just has a death wish. Drusilia has been turning the dead away from us all day, she must be exhausted.

We traveled further north and came upon a small weapons shop. I used a detect magic spell on the house and detected something magical, but we were attacked by skeletal bats. Ghelt was paralyzed by one, but otherwise we managed to make it through relatively unscathed. I returned to the counter and found 3 magical crossbow bolts, which all had a lightning motif carved into them. I believe that they are Bolts of Lightning. I gave the bolts to Fafnir, since I did take the earring that he had found. We are going to continue towards the edge of town, though it is getting towards night fall, and it looks as if the weather is not going to be very friendly…

Posted by Tim at 14:55 | Valon’s Journal

Long Day

Aramil's Journal

I’m all out of spells and we needed to go to a safe place. The angel told us to find this Urkel guy. So we went down to the bottom of the tower and someone found a trap door. Since Urkel was supposed to be underground, we decided to travel underground. Bad Idea. We traveled for awhile then were ambushed. Twice. We survived, and decided to go back and travel above ground. Ha, we had to fight our way back. We did eventually make it back to the tower, and went up to see the angel again. That’s when it started, the feeling that I’m being watched. I’m positive of it. I convinced Pockets and one of the other members to leave also. The feeling left after I was outside, so we waited for the others. Once we were all together, we started traveling north. It was easier going. We did stop to investigate some buildings, and found some useful magic Items. I’ll use one of my identify scrolls on it as soon as I can, but for now, we travel. We ended up going to the edge of town, and so we started back looking for an entrance down. It started to rain then. We went to an inn and Drusilia turned some undead. Now we either fight all night, or travel in the poring rain, and we’re still being watched. This is starting to affect my sanity.

Posted by Fred at 22:01 | Aramil’s Journal

June 22, 2003

Catching Up

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

Well, I’m catching you up piecemeal. I’ll start with the events right after we left the angel’s chamber.

The angel had given us some ideas and a name - Urkel - who used to work for the evil lord, but could give us some help. He/she/it lives(?) north of the city and down in the catacombs. As we walked down through the room of bones, half the party felt compelled to dig around. Someone found a trap door, “Pockets” opened it, and Fafnir climbed right in. The rest of us followed, not wanting to get split up, even though this wasn’t the way to the north of the city!

We found ourselves in a passageway beneath the city. Several party members wanted to explore, so we decided to at least follow it northwards, hoping to have a safer trip than aboveground. We didn’t get far before we were surrounded by wraiths, which we fought off, but not before they weakened Drusilia pretty badly. We tried moving on, finding underground chambers and rats as we travelled the ancient sewers, but we were set upon by more wraiths and wights, and decided that walking in the sunlight and open city would be easier, after all.

We found that a lot of nasties had been following us, of course! And “Pockets” had been given the sword of Pelor, but he’s useless for fighting with it - ran for the back of the party as soon as anything he could damage showed up. *siGh* .. I guess Drusilia meant well but that was not the best decision. We all made it back to the ladder and spoke briefly with the angel, but he couldn’t help us any more than he already had. Aramil became really paranoid that we were being watched by invisible eyes, and I was embarrassed to be there anyway after wasting half the morning on a wild goose chase, so we finally left the tower and headed north - aboveground.

The city, of course, provided its own set of distractions. Fafnir watched avidly for any sign of old magic shops, and finally found one. I stayed on the street, watching for trouble, while people banged about and argued inside. Finally Fafnir came out with new jewelry, an earring that they couldn’t identify until Valon had the idea of reading the magic word on it. The earring became a set of thieves’ tools, so he handed it to “pockets,” thereby offending Fafnir. Better luck next time, I guess.

Drusilia was distracted next as we travelled, finding a broken-down house with a sun symbol over the door. The place was empty, except for a deep hole in the ground in the back room. It didn’t look like the entrance to the catacombs, so we made note of the place, but moved on. The next building we checked out was an old armory, full of skeletal bats - one of which paralyzed me as we were destroying them. I found out Aramil’s a bit dense - he just couldn’t understand why I’d stopped talking or moving, and finally put it down to me being angry and in a sulk. Halfies. At least “Pockets” had the thought to try to heal me with the sword! Finally I could move, and we started north again.

Unfortunately, we reached the edge of the city before any entrance to the catacombs was found. The mountains rose up with no sign of a cave, so we began to search along the outskirts. Night was falling and a storm was brewing, so we wanted to find the entrance, or shelter of some kind! Aramil had another paranoid spell, which also got us moving. (I’ve edited out a lot of the arguing we went through that day, Grun - it wasn’t one of our finer days for staying on track, as I’m sure you’ve guessed!). “Pockets” saw a half-roofed tavern and offered to buy us a round.. but the room was full of more evil creatures. They murmered and fascinated me, but Drusilia chased them off. Fafnir became a small dragon and checked upstairs, but we decided it wasn’t safe for long, and headed back into the storm.

At least we got to know our new members a little better, but I can’t say much for our efforts otherwise that day, Grun. I’ll fill you in on the rest later!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 12:46 | Ghelt’s Journal

Follow the Leader???

Pockets' Journal

Following the (of the now called “Angel”) advice to seek one called Urkel, we went to the bottom of the tower. And began looking through the bones, for bits and pieces before we traveled to the Urkel. To our surprise we found a trap door to the catacombs. We are lead by our newly chosen leader Valon. I voted for Aramil first, then when they didn’t like that idea, I voted for the elf.

Anyway back to the disaster, we are looking at the trap door and again it’s “Pockets can you check it out.” Maybe I should charge them 5 gold for every time I hear that. Well, playing along with this “let Pockets look for the trap” thing, I check the door and find it is trapped. Of course almost any fool could have done that. But I then disarm the trap, that is where the skill is. I then pull the pins from the hinges and move the trap door off to the side.

It is then that I take my proper place behind a couple of fighters. As the party then stood around arguing over what to do, the Gnome stomped ahead of us and went down first. I think he is either losing his mind or Aramil is rubbing off on him. I take this point to remind Aramil that the mage/fighter is mage first, fighter when all else fails. And as usual, he pretends to listen, pats me on the shoulder and says it will work.

Well off to our deaths we go, as we now walk through the catacombs looking for an Urkel, I can’t help but remember that the “Angel” said in the catacombs north of town, not go into the catacombs and work your way north. As this thought runs through my head the party is attacked. Although we get away the party decides to run and get attacked again. It is as we finally get back to the surface in the tower, that I realize that I feel different. Not weaker, but something has happened and I don’t like it.

So we travel back up to the “Angel” and get told tuff luck, go find the Urkel. It is at this point that I realized I haven’t seen our new leader make any decision or even get an ounce of respect by the rest of the party. And further more, the bard that he is, hasn’t chirped a single word of encouragement while we were in battle. I think the bard is scared of the new position. Maybe he will grow into it. If not, I think the gnome will claim it. And when he does, that may be the end of the bard.

As I am amused by the “Leadership,” Ghelt and Aramil said let’s go find the Urkel before it gets dark and head out. I join them, as we three head out bravely to fight the evil. Then we have to wait at the bottom for the “Leader” and the two who seem to pull his strings.

We begin traveling north. There is no creatures in sight. Aramil points out to me that he said we were being watched in the tower. I tell him he is just nervous and I will cover his back. So we travel with the emptiness of some of my pockets weighing me down. We find a few buildings of interest, and fight some big bat-like things, but what is really important is that Fafnir finds something in the remains of a magic shop. I then see our Leader make his first great decision. He asked to see the item and discovered (with my help) that it is an earring that turns into a very nice set of picks if you say the command word, and he gives it to me. I knew that Valon would make a good leader. Knew it from the start I did.

We eventually reach the end of town, having not found the Urkel. And the rain begins to come down. We travel a bit looking for some shelter when I spot a bar. Bringing the immortal words of Pokithes, “When all is lost, head to the closest bar and get drunk.” He was a fine man, I felt bad when the party had to kill him for stealing from our patron. I remember getting drunk that night and finding out that the patron had lied about Pokithes. I felt better when Aramil burnt Lord Kalen’s house down with him in it though. To this day Aramil says it was an accident.

Inside the bar we are accosted by three creatures singing a tune of evil. Drusilia and I were the only ones unaffected, before I could do much she raised her holy symbol and they ran. They wont be gone long I bet.

Posted by Jim at 13:13 | Pockets’ Journal

June 24, 2003

A Greater Holy Symbol

Drusilia's Journal

Freeday, Flocktime 14, 592 CY

What a sad and humbling experience I’ve had. We hurried back to the house with the sun over the door, and, using a feather fall spell, we all dropped simultaneously down the 60’ drop through the hole in the floor. As we floated down, we saw that there had been a staircase in that spot long ago, though not much of it remained. As we landed, we found a passage leading east and west, with that same sun symbol scratched into the floor of the eastern passage. I finally realized that the sun symbol, though not the stylized face in the sun normally used in Pelor’s temples, was in fact a crude representation of Pelor, so we headed east. We walked a bit further and saw torchlight emanating from a 30’ by 30’ chamber— containing a ghoul! For once, I am thankful I did not have any power left to turn undead, for I would have never gotten to know this poor creature’s story. The ghoul was, indeed, Urkel.

It was a rough encounter though. Urkel tried to tell us what we needed to know to finish our quest as he desperately wanted to help, but was at the same time agitated by all the “flesh” to nibble on in the room. We would have given the poor thing a bit, had we not been too worried it would have caused him to lose what control he had. He bid us rest, and we did, albeit warily, for about ten hours.

When we were all awake, he told us many things, some we already knew or suspected, and some we didn’t. He told us the history of Arun-tosa, and how, long ago, the mages of the city fought each other until only Arkon (now a lich) remained to build an army to finish the dwarves. He also mentioned that there is a portal to Hell in the southeast section of town, and gave us a map to lead us under the vampires’ tower.

At one point, he scuttled away and brought me back three scrolls to restore our party’s flagging constitution, and six vials of healing potion. Then he brought me some of the most precious artifacts of Pelor that I have ever seen, carefully wrapped in cloth for many years by the looks of them. The items he handed me were his own “Mace of Disruption” and a Greater Holy Symbol of Pelor that provides holy smiting against evil. Urkel had been one of those paladins that had come to fight Arkon that never was able to leave, but held on to that last vestige of his humanity through his faith in Pelor. And now that he had provided another follower of Pelor with his most valuable belongings, he was ready to rest. Had I any means to restore him to his former self, I would have gladly, but I could only end his existence as undead— I used the weapon he had just given me.

I am overwhelmed with grief at what I had to do, even though he now assuredly walks with Pelor. Pockets lent me a pouch to collect the dusty remains of the paladin, with which I placed my own wooden holy symbol. I was trying to determine who needed restored the most, for I only had the three scrolls, when a voice in my mind said “use my remains.” Opening the pouch, I discovered that Urkel’s dust had turned to diamond dust— exactly what I needed to restore the rest of the party. I did hope to take his remains back to a temple, but I know Valon will write a fitting ballad to the ghoul who didn’t lose his faith.

Remembering that Aramil didn’t have a decent weapon to fight with, I handed him the elven longsword I’d carried, and took up the mace instead. I am a cleric of Pelor first, and an elf second. Party restoration complete, we looked at the map and then headed off to the vampires’ tower.

We arrived and Fafnir, Valon and I got in one step ahead of the rest of the party. The stairwell had been completely burned away— obviously the handiwork of Aramil. Aramil walked in right after us though, and started walking around the perimeter of the floor, complaining that he was sure he had burnt it all down. After several passes around the room, Ghelt got fed up and smacked him. Thinking he had been hit by a door, he stopped, and soon realized he was still on the ground floor— apparently Fafnir was testing out his illusions again.

We found a trapdoor and Pockets assured us it wasn’t locked. Valon pulled it open and was nearly paralyzed by the gas a trap let off— Pockets hasn’t looked for traps— I guess we have to word things more carefully! Valon borrowed a torch and held it in the hole reveals by the open trapdoor — it didn’t even penetrate the darkness an inch, so I cast daylight on it— which lit up the hole enough to show a 10’ ladder followed by a 50’ drop. Valon began to carefully descend, when the ladder pulled away from the wall— apparently Kartharsis uses this trap often. Luckily Valon could cast feather fall to drop safely to the floor below.

Worried that there would be undead about, I planned to drop down next, but Aramil beat me to it. As he landed, Valon called up that there were big rats watching him from down a tunnel going north to south. A moment later he informed us that the rats had been replaced by two vampire spawn.

Thankfully Fafnir had a feather fall spell of his own ready, because the rest of us needed to get down quickly! It was an awkward descent though, with Pockets arriving upside down and me landing on Aramil. I was lucky to land with a free hand— I held up the Greater Holy Symbol and turned the two vampire spawn to dust.

We managed to walk a few feet when the dire rats came back— about 40 of them. The holy smite from my new holy symbol took out about half of them, and my friends dispatched the rest. During this encounter, we were attacked by two wraiths, and I’ve just noticed that Aramil is looking rather “drained” again.

And we’ve only been down here for a few minutes....

Posted by Kristin at 10:39 | Drusilia’s Journal

June 26, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 26 - Rats and Vampires

Fafnir's Journal

After wandering the streets for what felt like most of the night, the party finally decided to return to the entrance to the catacombs that was located in the house with the sun marking. After Feather Falling into the catacombs, we found another crudely scratched sun symbol which assured us we were on the right track.

Soon we discovered why the symbols were so crudely drawn. Urkel, as it turns out, was a ghoul. A ghoul that still managed to follow his faith in Pelor from his previous life, when he was a paladin of Pelor! Luckily, Drusilia was out of turnings for the day, or she may have dusted the poor fellow before we found this out. She can be a little trigger-happy around undead sometimes. (Not that I can blame her!)

After resting, Urkel provided us with the information on where to find Kartharsis. He also provided Drusilia with a very nice mace, a new holy symbol, and a scroll. He then asked her to end his misery, which she did using the new mace. Rather than smashing him outright, it turned him to dust! Drusilia then gathered the dust, and after a moment of prayer, it turned to diamond dust! Thanks to Urkel, Drusilia was then able to restore us all to health!

Now we have made it to the lair of Kartharsis and are planning to enter. The trip here was uneventful, except for a swarm of rats and a couple vampire spawn that we had to handle.

I did find a moment when we weren’t in danger to play a little game with Aramil. When we re-entered the tower that he had torched earlier, I made an illusion as if the tower were not at all damaged! Being the arsonist that he is, he was very upset, and began ‘climbing’ the illusionary stairs looking for what could have gone wrong! This lasted only a few minutes before Ghelt put an end to it, but it was good for a laugh. Maybe it will also help him realize the power of magic, so he will quit playing at being a fighter?

In any case, it is time to concentrate on the task at hand, and I must prepare.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 08:02 | Fafnir’s Journal

Rest Finally

Aramil's Journal

Well instead of staying at the inn and fighting all night we went back to the house with the sun symbol on it. Valon, the Bard, used a feather fall spell to get us all down. Drusilia noticed another sun symbol on the ground in the eastern part of the corridor, and so we went that way. After a while the feeling of being watched went away, and I began to feel better. We went to a room, and there was a ghoul jumping around. Lo and behold, it was Urkel. After some debate I went to sleep, Pockets watched for me, then I got up and studied my spells, when I was done I noticed Urkel was giving Drusilia some things. A greater holy symbol and a very powerful mace. It was in that moment that I realized Urkel had at one time been a paladin of Pelor. It’s amazing what true faith can do.

Drusilia then fulfilled his last request on earth, to end his misery. She’s upset now, but she’ll be fine. Valon was given a map, and we went above ground to the tower I’d torched. I wanted to enjoy my handiwork, but when I entered there was no harm done at all, I even walked up to the very top. Then I got hit by a door. This was strange till it all disappeared. Ghelt told me that Fafner liked to play illusions on the party and at one point even played a mean joke on Drusilia. She also told me he had a thing for a mule they had for a little while, but I don’t even want to understand that.

Anyway, Pockets was asked to check this trapdoor to see if it was locked, and it wasn’t so when Valon opened it he was nearly turned into stone. He was able to shake that off, and started down the ladder which collapsed out from under him. Feather fall came in very handy at that point. After some work, Ghelt attached a rope to a crowbar and holding on to it I began to climb down. There was some give at first, but no one said anything to me so I continued down.

Valon and I were soon attacked be Vampire spawn. Then the party came down right on top of me. With their help we took care of them, and after walking a little were attacked by dire rats and some wraith things. We were able to fight them off, but I’m weaker, and we still need to fight this vampire. May the gods help us.

Posted by Fred at 11:44 | Aramil’s Journal

Dead Paladins Aren't Much Fun...

Pockets' Journal

When I last wrote my notes we were in the bar, having just ran off some nasty creatures. So it is there that I will pick back up. And here the story starts with a very familiar sound, party arguing over what to do.

Alas, Valon stood strong and suggested we go back to the building with the sun symbol and look for Urkel. A born leader that one is, I am very proud. We head out through the rain and lightning back to the crumbled building we had seen earlier. When we got there, a feather-fall spell was used to get us down to the catacombs. There we found the remains of what used to be a set of stairs that would confirm what the “Angel” said.

The further we go the more problem I have with this “Angel” idea. If you ask me the party has taken everything it has said as if it was an undisputable truth. Me, I don’t put one hundred percent trust in anything but me. And sometimes, I don’t trust myself completely. Many a story has begun with truths, just to set up the sucker for the kill. I need not look too far back to see this in my own life. Yes, there is a particular mage who will regret sending me and my friend here.

Well, back to the catacombs. At the bottom, once the party decided that light would help our efforts, we discovered another crudely drawn sun symbol. This convinced Drusilia that we had to be on the correct path. (Like a fish to a worm these clerics and their gods.) Anyway, we followed the path to a room with a ghoul. As it turns out, it was good that the I wasn’t the first one there, for Urkel would have been shot right off the start.

Drusilia quickly entered a strange conversation with the Urkel and explained to the party that we would be better off resting here. Hmmm. With a ghoul that we can trust, she says. Just to be safe I let Aramil rest first while I kept my bow aimed at the Urkel’s head. I had heard him say to her that he just wanted a nibble, and pointed to her arm.

The next morning we were all their and the Urkel was talking to Drusilia again. He explained some history of the area and what needed to be done. The Urkel then went to a place in a wall that I had not noticed and pulled out some items. He gave them to Drusilia, they appeared to me to be worth a great deal, but I still don’t like this creature.

Drusilia tells us that the Urkel was once a paladin of Pelor. Not a very good one if you ask me, he has been a ghoul for a thousand years. I just don’t like those flesh eating freaks. I don’t care what they did before. The Urkle then said his job was done and he wanted to die. Waahhhoooo, sword is out and I am going at him. Then suddenly the Dwarf tackles me and says that it should be done by Drusilia. Despite my struggles, she holds me down until the task is finished by Drusilia.

I offer a bag to use as a means of carrying the remains, then they seem offended that I mention how much they might be worth. A strange group I have fallen into.

After a few minutes Drusilia ask me for the bag back that I had the remains in, she opened the bag to find it full of diamond dust. Then she wouldn’t give it back. At least she used some of the stuff to restore my weakness and some of the other party members also.

Among the items given to us by the flesh eating freak, was a map of the catacombs. So the party set out to kill the vampire thing that lives under the tower that Aramil burned. When we got their the party was looking for the way into the catacombs, I found a doorway and stood back for the party to learn a lesson. I wish it wasn’t such a dangerous one though in hind-sight. First Valon went over to open the door without a proper check for traps, instead of talking I ducked behind Aramil. (They have to learn to respect me and my skills.) A powder comes out of the door when Valon tried to open it, and it nearly killed him.

I handed Valon my everburning torch to look into the hole, and it couldn’t chase the darkness at all. (I should have stepped up after that and helped.) Luckily someone thought of casting a powerful light spell on the torch, which defeated the darkness spell and showed a ladder that only went a few feet, but the drop was a long one after that. So Valon started down the ladder, he was going to tie a rope at the bottom and climb down. But as he got onto the ladder, the pins released and Valon and the ladder fell. Lucky for us Valon can cast feather-fall, or we would be having the party leader argument again. This was a well thought out trap, this means we are close. Nobody puts an easy trap near their loot.

As the party figured out how to get down, Valon and Aramil (who used a spider climb) came under attack by vampire-like things. We did a group feather-fall and helped them in the battle. Although, I think that Aramil will have a different version since Drusilia fell on his head. Then as the party gathered itself we were attacked by a hoard of large rats. It was a short battle, but it served its purpose, we made plenty of noise killing the creatures off.

We are close now, I can feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Soon we will fight the big vampire, I would feel better if we had some sunlight on our side, or an army of Paladins, yes that is what I think we need.

Posted by Jim at 15:37 | Pockets’ Journal

June 28, 2003

Finally getting somewhere!

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

So, to continue..

We’d decided the tavern wasn’t safe (and had no ale), and re-entered the storm. It was getting so violent that the broken-down house with the 60-foot hole in the ground in it had started to sound good! No wind, and hopefully, some shelter out of the rain. So we walked back across town, looking for the house with the sun symbol carved over the door. Aramil continued his paranoia, convinced we were being watched, and it must be catching - Drusilia began to get the same feeling!

Valon promised to cast a feather-fall spell on the party so as to get us to the bottom of the pit safely - we all held hands and jumped in! Just when I get the most frustrated, we do something as a group that shows we do trust each other after all. It makes me smile. Of course, as we descended, I saw regular holes in the walls and cursed - this pit WAS the entrance to the catacombs the whole time! The stairs must have been wooden and rotted away during the ages of the angel’s captivity. Argh.. we really were on a wild goose chase for half the day!

The passage at the bottom actually showed some signs of recent use. We saw a sun sign carved into the floor and followed it down a hallway lined with broken-open crypts. At a turn in the passage, we realized there were burning torches ahead of us! Valon motioned for silence and crept forward.. and learned the same thing as poor Trap; this party doesn’t “get” hand signals too well. Everyone followed right along, albeit as quietly as possible. I moved to the back of the party, knowing I would likely be loudest. I’m a dwarf, I know my limits compared to an elf! I just make up for it elsewhere.

The gnome, by the way, was still running around as a dragon. He’s an odd one.. but it was kind of neat.

Valon didn’t get too far before something peered at him through a doorway, and skittered off, saying that we were come! It was merrily bouncing off the walls in the next room, so we moved in, warily, except for Aramil, who was hollering “Hi, Urkel,” and earned himself a swat. No one made him spokesman! The creature turned out to be a ghoul. A mad but intelligent ghoul, trying to have a conversation with us, and its “precious,” at the same time. It said it had wisdom to impart, that we could use its help - and the next minute was asking if it could eat us! Then it got in an argument with “precious” about that.. offered us a place to sleep in safety.. and a few minutes later was back to begging for “just a nibble.”

I figured, what the heck, we have a healing sword so maybe it would be OK, but Drusilia thought the ghoul would lose what precious little control it had to begin with if I actually “fed” it anything (the dragon, meanwhile, was happily offering Aramil as a delicacy, but I hope he was joking). We did settle down for the night, taking watches and leaving Valon to do most of the quizzing of the creature. He did well, too - even got a map!

He also revealed that this dark lord has been building an undead army for ages, simply to break out and attack all the dwarves it can find. I’m determined to do all I can to keep this from happening, Grun. I wish we could warn you all of this in case we fail!

Urkel, meanwhile, gave Drusilia some healing spells and scrolls, and then it gave us “precious.” This turned out to be a very beautiful golden symbol of Pelor (and a very nice mace to go with it). A lot of the mystery of Urkel was solved - it must have been a powerful cleric or paladin of Pelor, itself. I pitied the creature, indeed! Saying its job was done, Urkel asked Drusilia to send it to rest. “Pockets” immediately tried to step up and kill it with the healing sword but I tackled him - although the sword may be appropriate, I thought that a true cleric of Pelor ought to be the one to release this poor soul. Drusilia barely had to touch Urkel with the mace and it was reduced to dust. “Pockets” donated a bag and Drusilia gathered up the dust for proper burial later.

Fafnir and “Pockets” then got into an argument about who “deserved” the use of the scrolls Drusilia had been given, since they would restore the damage done by the undead draining our strength and health. Amid accusations of favoritism (nonsense!), Drusilia prayed over Urkel’s remains and they somehow became diamond dust - providing her with the materials necessary to heal everyone up even without the scrolls. I wish it would shame them into better behavior!

Finally, we left. “Pockets” climbed up with a rope, and everyone climbed out except me, as usual. Finally, they just pulled me up. We headed back through a very quiet town, following Urkel’s directions to the burnt-out tower and the vampire Catharsis. Now Fafnir became paranoid, although Aramil and Drusilia weren’t! Drusilia passed out the potions she’d been given - they’re healing potions, and will come in handy either for us or against the vampire. We reached the tower.. and found the door whole.

Valon and Fafnir opened it first and stepped inside, beckoning us to follow. We found the inside was untouched by fire! This really bothered poor Aramil, who decided to check out the upstairs and thereby exposed Fafnir’s illusion to the rest of us - muttering to himself as he walked in a circle instead of up the staircase. That gnome.. finally, I gave Aramil a shove to wake him up (and stop the disturbing giggling coming from Fafnir and Valon), so while Fafnir and Valon worked on a trapdoor in the floor, I explained Typical Gnome Antics and Bad Timing to the newest victim of the party. Aramil, naturally, wondered why we put up with this..

Suddenly, Valon started to gag and turn awful colors! “Pockets” hadn’t managed to disarm the trap on the door, I guess - luckily Valon shook it off, and headed right down the ladder! The ladder wasn’t long enough, so he tied a rope to the bottom.. and the ladder itself fell off. Argh! LIke we hadn’t seen that one before! Thank Moradin for feather-fall; that elf has more lives than I can count. Of course, we ended up with Valon a good sixty feet below us and had to figure out a way to get down there with him before anything happened. We tried holding a rope for Aramil to climb down - he made it, but no one else wanted to try! “Pockets” got them to tie the ladder to the rope and went to work re-attaching it so we had something to tie the rope to..and then we heard Valon and Aramil get attacked.

At this point the gnome pointed out that he could feather-fall the rest of the party.

I’m just glad Aramil wasn’t there.

We reached the bottom and got about half the party tangled up.. but Valon and I were able to attack the vampires, and Drusilia used her new holy symbol to drive them away with ease. We started running up the hallway, only to be swarmed by rats, which both Drusilia and Valon and I dispatched. While we were distracted, the rest were attacked by more wraiths, but Drusilia rapidly sent them off. Valon pulled out Urkel’s map, and we were off again!

More later..

With love!

Posted by Kate at 02:12 | Ghelt’s Journal

June 29, 2003

Freeday, 14 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

It did indeed start to rain and we all felt the need to get to shelter. We headed east a bit to a small tavern, but upon entering found that there was a little too much noise inside to get a peaceful nights rest. The noise did have a very intriguing sound to it though… maybe I could reproduce it for others to listen to. Drusilia forced the creatures away for a short while, and we determined that we should leave and find a better place to stay.

We decided to return to the ruined house with the sun symbol on it, and to venture into the catacombs. As a group we jumped into the 60 ft. deep shaft, and I cast feather fall. We landed safely at the bottom in a passageway that headed East and West. Drusilia noticed a small sun carved into the wall towards the east, and our group headed that way. The hall rounded a corner and led to a larger room, with a ghoul in it.

This particular ghoul was the Urkel that we were looking for. He offered us refuge for the night and we gladly took him up on it.

I had another strange dream tonight. I was sitting in a peaceful glade and Amroth was with me. He said to me “I am with you brother, so long as you have the sword, you shall be fighting by my side. You are blessed by Corellon Larethian to have it, and should you honor it, it shall protect you...”

I pray that this vision is not some demon playing in my mind.

After I woke from the dream, I spoke with Urkel about the history of Aurn-tosa. He explained that Arkon was the last of the city-founding mages who had driven off the Dwarves of Barraktor.

Urkel is a servant of Pelor who arrived 25 years ago to fight the undead here. He was unsuccessful in his quest and was unfortunately turned into a ghoul. By no small feat of willpower, though, he maintained his grasp on reality and his faith in Pelor, and was able to help others who came to this cursed city.

He gave Drusilia the weapon and holy symbol that he had used as Pelor’s servant, and several spell scrolls that he had prepared. Both were of outstanding quality, and he explained that the holy symbol could cast a spell called holy smite.

He gave me a map of the catacombs, complete with all the information we were going to need to get in and out of them.

He then told Drusilia that he had completed his quest and wished to go and meet Pelor face to face. I am certain that Drusilia did not wish to kill him, but did grant his request reluctantly.

After collecting Urkel’s dusted remains, Drusilia placed them in a bag with her wooden holy symbol, and began deciding who to restore health to. She then reopened the bag of Urkel dust and found that it had been transformed into diamond dust, so she took time to restore the health of the whole party.
We then headed across town back to the tower of vampires. Pockets found the trapdoor that the map said should lead to the catacombs, but he didn’t let me know that it had been trapped, so I managed to find the traps…

The first was a gas that sprayed out when the trapdoor was opened. I found it suddenly very hard to move, but then shook the feeling off. Below the trapdoor was darkness that even an everburning torch could not dispel, so Drusilia used a light spell to cut through it, revealing a short 10 foot ladder. Looking back, a 10 foot ladder over a 60 foot drop does have TRAP written all over it, but I stepped onto the ladder and immediately fell 60 ft. to the ground below. Thank Corellon Larethian for feather fall

The party then sent Aramil (!?!?) next to support me should I be attacked. I would have been much more comfortable with Ghelt or Drusilia…

Of course, while the rest of the party argued about how to get down, Aramil and I were attacked. Fafnir then decided to mention that he had feather fall memorized as well, and the party fell down the hole to help Aramil and me below.

Drusilia landed on top of Aramil (definitely helping him) as I jumped out of the way of the rest of the falling party. Drusilia then leaped to her feet and turned the two creatures to dust with her new holy symbol.

We then headed down the hall only to be attacked by tons of dire rats.
I found that sonic damage works wonderfully against rats (though it does create quite a mess) and I managed to destroy a hallway-full of them. Drusilia handled another hallway-full with a well placed holy smite from that new symbol of hers, and Ghelt cleaned up the few that were not killed by our spells.

Posted by Tim at 15:11 | Valon’s Journal