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July 8, 2003


Drusilia's Journal

Freeday, Flocktime 14, 592 CY, continued

Other than never quite getting our “marching order” figured out properly, we work well as a team. We took a staircase down to another lower level of the catacombs, at which point we asked Pockets to check for traps so we could proceed with caution. I think things would have worked out with that method, but it appears that half of the “trap checking” involves having Aramil activate the traps physically so they can be studied in action. I don’t believe that was Pockets’ intent, but it is a trend to use Aramil as a “damage indicator” of sorts. Thankfully, no one was too seriously hurt by the dozen or so darts that flew out from the walls in this particular hallway when Aramil stepped on the trigger.

We came to a “T” with three doors to choose from. We guessed (rightly) that the middle door would be the way to Kartharsis’ resting place and went in, with Valon and Aramil (?) leading the way, the clerics in the middle and Fafnir and Pockets protecting our backs. Predictably, wraiths attacked from the front as soon as Valon and Aramil entered the chamber beyond the door. Ghelt and I got inside to deal with the wraiths, and suddenly vampire spawn were swarming the corridor behind the party. I saw Fafnir fly over us (presumably to get a better shot at the undead he was casting many magic missiles at) while Pockets did his best to keep the vampiric creatures from entering the chamber with the rest of the party. He would have succeeded too, if Kartharsis hadn’t suddenly appeared between Pockets and me.

Apparently, Kartharsis was still holding a grudge about the searing light I’d hit him with yesterday, as he ignored my comrades to come straight at me! He hit me several times with his bastard sword, and my mace simply bounced off his armor. I thought we were doomed right there, but amazingly, Pockets leaped through the doorway and tackled the vampire— I’m quite sure Kartharsis had not expected that! Fafnir and I were able to get enough spells cast at Kartharsis while the rest of the party finished off his minions and grappled with the vampire himself. He turned into a gas and disappeared into the walls, with most of his minions doing the same.

We had a moment to access the situation and look at the chamber we were in. It had vaulted ceilings, pillars and a huge throne at one end, with two doors leading off from either side behind it. While Fafnir went to examine the throne, Pockets chose one of the two doors to open, picking the iron one to our right over the wooden one. He was able to open the door easily enough and we saw a wooden chest inside. Before any of us could follow him though, a set of bars fell down, blocking us from going through the doorway. Worse, an earth elemental appeared in the room with him, intent on smashing him to a pulp. We hoped it would listen to Ghelt, as she has some command over earth creatures, but it was too intent on its task to pay her any mind. We resorted to shoving weapon points and spells into the small room until the creature was defeated.

Fafnir, at this point, found a little lever on the throne which reset the door trap, and we were able to then get Pockets and the treasure chest out. Upon opening the wooden box, we found it to be empty. In fact, we smashed it apart looking for anything of value, but if there was anything there, it eluded us. We settled for making a few wooden stakes from the remainder of the smashed chest, and headed toward the wooden door opposite.

We found ourselves in a good-sized ossuary with a huge sarcophagus in the middle of the room. The lid depicted a handsome man in armor holding a sword. Hurrying lest we lose our resolve, Ghelt pushed the lid off while Aramil threw acid on the body inside while I cast a searing light on it. It was, in fact, Kartharsis, so weakened by our earlier fight (according to Valon) that he was unable to move for the remainder of the day. Feeling braver, I simply hit him with my mace and he turned to dust. The sarcophagus now only contained a few items, which we took: magical plate armor, a shield, cloak, bastard sword, arrows and a bow, and most importantly, a 6” jade disk with the symbol of Nerull on it— the key to the Heart’s chamber!

We know that it’s important to get this next part of our task done as quickly as possible and while the sun is still up, but I felt we should destroy any of Kartharsis’ minions before we depart for the temple. Fortunately, they were all in a stupor too. We found their coffins beyond the doors we had passed by earlier, and simply destroyed them where they laid. Fafnir obtained a spellbook from one of the now-empty coffins, but other than that, we found nothing but dust.

My comrades and I are all greatly weakened, though Ghelt says she’s fine (and truth be told, she looks healthier than the rest of us). We had hoped to find Aramis on our way to the temple and so stopped in the central tower, but the angel has departed. We’ll rest here for just a few minutes before we go to unlock the chamber of the Heart of Nerull.

Posted by Kristin at 12:06 | Drusilia’s Journal

July 9, 2003

Vampire Spawn's Spellbook

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps

Level 0
(Abjuration) Resistance
(Conjuration) Ray of Frost
(Divination) Detect Poison
(Enchantment) Daze
(Evocation) Dancing Lights
(Evocation) Light
(Evocation) Flare
(Illusion) Ghost Sound
(Necromancy) Disrupt Undead
(Transmutation) Open/Close
(Transmutation) Repair Minor Damage (T&B)
(Transmutation) Mage Hand
(Transmutation) Mending
(Universal) Arcane Mark
(Universal) Prestidigitation
(Universal) Detect Magic
(Universal) Read Magic

Level 1
(Divination) True Strike
(Divination) Detect Secret Doors
(Abjuration) Protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law
(Conjuration) Grease
(Abjuration) Shield
(Necromancy) Ray of Enfeeblement
(Illusion) Nystul’s Magic Aura
(Illusion) Change Self
(Transmutation) Enlarge

Level 2
(Transmutation) Knock
(Divination) See Invisibility
(Conjuration) Summon Monster II
(Divination) Locate Object

Level 3
(Evocation) Fireball
(Evocation) Ice Burst (T&B)
(Conjuration) Corpse Candle (T&B)
(Abjuration) Nondetection

75-page tome found in the catacombs below Arun-tosa.

July 12, 2003

Victory, Well Partial Anyway

Aramil's Journal

I’m making this short as we are on the move. We went down into the catacombs to get the key. As we got there, I stepped on a trap, but we’re fine, then Pockets checked three doors. One in front, and one on either side. We went to the front one first, opened it and were promptly attacked. We all were hit hard except for Ghelt who seems to be able to handle herself in any situation. We fought, and when what’s his name the head vamp guy came we forced him back to his coffin. Drusilia disrupted him with her mace. We then went back to the tower to see the angel, but he wasn’t here, so we’ll rest then go to get the Heart and hopefully destroy it. Wish us luck.

Posted by Fred at 19:36 | Aramil’s Journal

July 13, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 27 - Can we go home yet?

Fafnir's Journal

We have defeated the Vampire ‘Kartharsis,’ and obtained the key which should get us the Heart of Nerull. I wanted to look around and see if Kartharsis had some treasure stashed away, but Ghelt was in a hurry to get out of there and back to check on Aramis. (She has become very attached to him, it would seem.).

I got some dirty looks for stopping to search as we were being rushed out of the catacombs, but I was worth it! I found a spellbook in the coffin of one of the Vampire Spawn.

Aramil has been following me around ever since.... I am going to have to wait until he is asleep before I can take a close look at it, as he keeps looking over my shoulder and preventing me from studying it properly. A quick glance did reveal that it contains some spells that I do not already know! (I might let Aramil take a look at it after I have copied the spells I am interested in... but not before. I saw him give his own spellbook to Pockets, and I wouldn’t want him to do the same with this one... who knows what that reckless fellow would do with it!)

Unfortunately, when we got to the center of town, we found that Aramis was gone. I must admit, I was hoping he would be able to restore our strength, as some of us were weakened by the attacks of the Vampire and his spawn. I was also hoping we could rest, so I could re-memorize some spells... but once more Ghelt insists we continue on.

I only hope, that in our weakened and tired state, we are a match for whatever may be guarding the Heart! I suspect it will be more than just a door with a fancy lock.

Personally, I just want to get the damned thing destroyed, removed or whatever it is we are supposed to do with it. Then we can get out of this place. I have had enough of the city of the dead!


Posted by Dave at 00:59 | Fafnir’s Journal

Seeing some improvement!

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

Yes, I’m still catching up on my tale! At least, things began to look up at this point.

After dispatching the rats, we again followed Urkel’s map. It led to a staircase (which at this point we checked thoroughly before descending), and a passage that looked to be the vampire’s lair - much fancy workmanship, and lots of darts in the walls for Aramil to find. “Pockets” merrily stabbed me in the back.. with the healing sword, but I fear he’s having too much fun with that! There were three doors to choose from, and “Pockets” picked the central one after listening at all three.

Sure enough, it was a great throne room, and full of attacking wraiths! As we battled them, screams from behind let us know that the other doors must have held some surprises, too. Fafnir came flying into the throne room, Aramil was looking absolutely terrible.. and the vampire Kartharsis finally showed up. Out of nowhere, it appeared next to Drusilia and attacked.
The battle moved mostly into the room, but a fireball blocked the doorway with “Pockets” on the wrong side with the vampire! Thankfully, when the fireball swung away, “Pockets” was still alive and the vampire was gone.

Of course, it appeared as soon as it could get to Drusilia again - she really was tops on its list! Luckily, we had more room to attack it together. At one point it was even on the floor being grappled by Valon and a wildly swearing “Pockets” so that Drusilia could do her damage. (Its armor made it hard for anyone else to land a blow.) Suddenly, it turned to gas. We went for the metal door in the corner of the room, hoping to find its coffin before it had a chance to heal up and attack us again.

The room was a trap.. as soon as “Pockets” was inside and checking out the chest, bars came down across the entrance and an earth elemental appeared to attack him! I was trying to command it to stop, and that crazy half-human created another fireball - inside the small space! As if that would hurt anything but his friend - should I worry about that? He trapped “Pockets” in the hall with the vampire, too! Thankfully, the others were able to cast various spells to destroy the thing and someone got the bars to retract. “Pockets” returned to checking the empty box, and I smashed it up for stakes before we checked the last door in the room.

“Pockets” quickly found and fixed the trap in that doorway, and we found the vampire’s sarcophagus. We got holy water and acid and spells ready, and I shoved the lid off! The vampire was there.. and didn’t move. Valon and Drusilia realized that it had been hurt enough that it wouldn’t be able to move for an hour, thank Moradin! Valon pulled off the plate mail and staked him, and Drusilia used her mace to turn Kartharsis to dust. An evil creature has left the world!

Certain crazy party members began to divide up the vampire’s belongings, although I warned them they could be cursed. I went hunting for our real goal - the key to the Heart of Nerull! As soon as I found it I was ready to get going, but others wanted to find the vampire’s treasure. I pointed out that there were other evil creatures about, still.. finally, everyone agreed that they wanted to see the angel again. They’re awful dependent on that angel for some reason, but it got them moving at least!

We did check the other doors in the hallway; found, staked, and destroyed the other vampires, and discovered one musty tome for Fafnir to peruse later. We climbed out of the lair, went to the angel’s tower, and found that he was gone. Good for the angel, I said - and off we went to find the Heart of Nerull!

More later!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 12:18 | Ghelt’s Journal

Freeday, 14 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

We continued following our map to the Vampire’s lair. we found it without much trouble, unless you count the traps that Arimil set off onto the party. we came to a passage with three doors to choos from, one to the left, one to the right and one straight ahead.

The center door seemed the obvious place to assault and we opened the door and charged through. Unfortunately, our opponents had prepared for us and we charged into an ambush!

Many Wraiths dropped onto Arimil and I from the ceiling, touching us and draining away our health. Attackers came from behind us, cutting off any kind of retreat. Things became even more grim when the Vampire appeared, exclusicvely attacking Drusilia. Through Fafnir’s Magic Missles, Drusilia’s Searing Light some teamwork, and a huge amount of luck, we managed to drive them damned Vampire away.

We immediatly began searching the throne room for the vampire’s coffin. We tried an iron door, thinking the heavy door would be used to protect a vampire’s coffin, but as Pockets found out, it was not the case. Iron bars slammed down from the doorway, trapping Pockets in the small room, and an earth elemental appeared. We managed to use ranged weapons and spells, and some poking through the bars, but we managed to kill the elemental and set Pockets free.

We tried the other (wooden) door in the room, and stepped though to find a huge coffin with a vampire inside. We took off his armor and staked him, and Drusilia destroyed his body. We split amongst the party as many of his possessions as we could, despite Ghelt’s protests.

We also checked the rest of the small area we were in, killing several resting Vampire Spawn and finding an old tome for Fafnir to inspect.

As weak as the party was we decided to head to see the “Damned Angel” as Ghelt called it. When we arrived in the center tower, however. the angel was gone. Ghelt was overjoyed at this. We decided to rest here for a short bit and continue on while it is still light.

I hope we can find a way to restore our health soon, as the party is almost all looking terrible...

Posted by Tim at 15:58 | Valon’s Journal

July 15, 2003

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Drusilia's Journal

Starday, Flocktime 15, 592 CY

I can scarcely believe it, but I’m writing this from the comfort of my own home! But I must finish describing how we got home:

After our brief rest in the central tower in Arun-tosa, I cast Invisibility to Undead on the party and we hurried over to the temple, and down to the area where Nerull’s seal was. I used Detect Magic to see that it was, indeed, still active. After Aramil suggested that the seal protected the area above it (so climbing over it would still activate any trap) Valon used Mage Hand to move the jade key over to the door on the opposite side of the room and inserted it into the lock. I saw the magical energy intensify until it was quite painful to gaze upon, and then it subdued and winked out. Ghelt and Valon both wanted to cross the seal first, thinking they had the least to lose, but I traversed it quickly before they could decide who would go— I felt sure that the seal had been deactivated. Luckily, it had been, and my comrades crossed as well.

We then came to a four-way branch in the passage. There was writing on the floor in the center, in that same language we could not read yesterday, but luckily, Valon finally realized he knew enough Ancient Suloise to read the inscription:

The bold shall be crushed
The righteous thwarted
The sinister flayed
The path best known is never as it seems

I must have paid more attention to prophetic and ancient writings than I’ve realized, for I did understand this particular puzzle. While my friends cautiously looked down each of the three corridors we hadn’t yet walked through, I recalled that “sinister” means “left” in many ancient texts (the left tunnel), and extrapolated that “righteous” would mean right (the right tunnel). “Bold” must have meant that the passage straight ahead would have some sort of crushing trap. Aramil and Valon confirmed the “left” passage would cause flaying, for the took a few cautious steps and felt a wind pick up in the tunnel, nicking them with little sharp objects. The only path that was “best known” to us was the one we’d actually passed through once. Ghelt and Fafnir both realized the answer to that last line simultaneously, returning to the seal and simply vanishing. The rest of the party quickly followed.

We suddenly found ourselves in a large room with an alter in the middle, littered with treasure, and surrounded by a moat of noxious green goo. At the far end, a fountain of blood was bubbling over a black object— we knew at once that this object was the Heart of Nerull. Before we could attempt to retrieve it, we were set upon by four mummies, all with the ability to cast very damaging spells! Ghelt and Valon began to attack them immediately, though Aramil, Pockets and Fafnir were frozen with fear, and I was able to finish them off but it took two attempts to turn undead to destroy them all. Within moments, things began to look dire—four vampire spawn and the lich Arkon arrived between us and the Heart, and a small, disturbingly familiar figure— it was Korin, but stitched together oddly and with four arms! Knowing I could not harm the lich, I nevertheless used Urkel’s Holy Symbol to smite the evil, which gave us a few seconds while the spawn were temporarily blinded. Pockets and I jumped over the moat in the middle of the room, hoping to find something in that pile of treasure to help us fight the lich— I threw a few objects to Fafnir as I didn’t have time to figure out what was what, and Pockets, well, began to fill his pockets. Valon took that moment to run the perimeter of the room, grabbing the Heart from its resting spot on the bloody fountain. I was sure the lich would kill him right there, but it was just what our celestial friend had been waiting for. As soon as the Heart was away from the Fountain, Aramis appeared wielding his silver sword, right behind Arkon. I also noticed that the Korin-thing was battling undead himself— or at least it appeared so— a ghostly form resembling Jonathan was fighting him. I didn’t cast another turn undead though— I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen with my dead comrades, but I was so stunned by all the things happening simultaneously I just didn’t move. Time seemed to stop for a few moments, but then resumed at its previous frantic pace. Finally, thank Pelor, Aramis struck the killing blow on Arkon and he went down. Ghelt took a swing at the lich as well, and then, assured he wasn’t getting up, began to search his body for his phylactery. I hope Aramis was able to find it, because at that point, we ran out of time.

The room began to quake from the death throes of the lich, and seemed to be intensifying now to the point were it was knocking us all off our feet. I fell backwards into the moat, twice! Pockets was quick to recognize that the green stuff eating through my clothes and armor was a dangerous slime, and used his daggers to scrape it from my skin and help me remove my damaged chainmail. Unfortunately the room shook violently again, and I was still not clear of the slime, which meant I had to remove a great deal more clothing and my boots to keep it from eating through my flesh. Even though the room was in total upheaval, I noticed that all the elven males in the party helped me with that last bit.... Fortunately, Aramis had less trouble traversing through the quaking room and removed the rest of the slime from me before it became a permanent condition.

Aramis also opened a portal and bade us all hurry (though mostly crawling) through, just as the ceiling began to fall down upon us. I know my friends and I were all sorry we could not collect the other invaluable items from the altar— many thousands of platinum pieces and other treasure were buried with Arkon.

And suddenly, we were standing together (me wearing Valon’s cloak and little else) with Aramis on the edge of a familiar forest. Turning around, we saw that Smallville was a short way off. Before Aramis departed, he restored us all to our full health. Even though he had done so much for us, I asked a boon of him, and he agreed to take the diamond remains of Urkel that I still carried to a proper resting place. He said there would be a place for him in Arborea, a plane where the righteous may pass the afterlife in peace.

We plan to rest here for a while before attempting to find the “Temple of the Void” to destroy the Heart of Nerull. I’m sure Ghelt would like to go to Midrock (well, those of us that are not dwarves would like to see her ancestral home!), and quite frankly, we need to go to a bigger city to use the “loot” we found on our trip, after Aramil identifies it all— the stuff Ghelt pulled off Arkon alone is a king’s ransom. There is a carnival in town too, and I’m wondering if Pockets will know any of the people in it. After a quick meal at the Rat’s Egg Tavern and a trip to Ghelt’s house, I told the other elves (and that included my friend with elven blood), that they were welcome to stay in my home rather than rent a room in the rather-full tavern. I see also that it is the vernal equinox— fitting for us since we have completed a major portion of our adventure and will soon be ready for more!

Posted by Kristin at 13:42 | Drusilia’s Journal

July 16, 2003


Aramil's Journal

We did it. Going to the temple and getting inside was relatively simple compared to finding the room the stone was in. There was a riddle on the floor which Valon was able to read and we couldn’t figure out what it meant. It said something like this, the Bold shall be crushed, the Righteous thwarted, the something or other (it meant left) flayed, the path best known is not as it seems, or something like that. It took a while of looking, then when 2 of our party went to look at the seal, they vanished. Naturally I went to see what happened and as soon as I went through the door, I found myself in another well-lit room with my friends. We saw an altar in the center with a lot of treasure, another altar on the far side with something on it spewing blood, and several mummies. The mummies were easily dispatched, but then appeared the lich with several vampire spawns. I thought we were all going to die. Valon had another idea though— he ran forward grabbed what was on the far altar, and ran back, Fafnir and I were casting spells, Drusilia was attempting to turn, even Pockets looked away from the treasure long enough to help. Ghelt kept Valon from being hurt, then the angel showed up and several things happened all at once. First a couple of vampire spawn gassed away, then the lich hit the angel with several deadly spells, the angel looked right at the lich and hacked it to death (or as much as a lich dies anyway).

The room around us started to collapse, but we made it to this portal I think the angel opened up for us, and we ended up in a town called Smallville. It seems to by my new friends’ home. were talking about going to a city to have certain evil artifacts destroyed. It seems our adventures are only beginning, and I have some very useful stuff.

Posted by Fred at 17:09 | Aramil’s Journal

July 19, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 28 - Done with Undead

Fafnir's Journal

Home at Last!

We have finally left the cursed city of Arun-tosa, and returned to Smallville. I didn’t really think we would ever make it back, but good luck seems to have been on our side.

We managed to find the chamber containing the Heart of Nerull and no sooner did we get there than we were attacked by Arkon and his minions! (Including our one-time companion Korin, who appeared to have been turned into a golem!)

Being without any useful spells, there was not much I could do other than watch helplessly. Luckily, Valon had the sense to remove the heart from its resting place, which weakened the Arkon’s hold over Aruntosa enough to allow Aramis to teleport in and fight him! It turns out, that without the Heart on its altar, Arkon was no match for Aramis. After a short battle, the lich was downed.

Unfortunately, the room began to collapse at the same time as the lich! Aramis created a portal for us to leave through, and we all ran for it, stopping only to gather what treasure was in our path. There was much treasure that we were forced to leave behind. We escaped just as the chamber collapsed, and found ourselves outside of Smallville.

After having a drink at the Rat’s Egg tavern, and dividing our loot, we have all gone our seperate ways for the time being. Aramil and I are planning on studying up on some of the new spells we have found. (Aramil also seems insistent on playing with swords, but I am ignoring that behavior, in the hopes that he will outgrow it.) I am not sure what the others are doing, but they may be enjoying the “Carnival” which is currently in Smallville. I shall be sure to lock my doors while it is in town. Carnies can be interesting folk, but some of them have a habit of being “interested” in other peoples things as well. I wonder if Pockets would fit in?

In any case, I hope the rest of the group won’t be too anxious to get moving... I have some serious studying to do. Maybe I could even mix up a few more potions.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 09:45 | Fafnir’s Journal

Four Armed Creatures and Naked Party Members

Pockets' Journal

Let me see, I am still a little off kilter from the portal trip, but I shall try to remember as best I can. I remember rushing to the fallen temple with the key. I was going to offer to place the key, with mage hand, but Valon did it with a spell. Then there was some confusion about which way to go. Eventually, probably more from dumb luck, we notice that the seal on the floor had changed and become a portal. This was not the one to mangle my mind, but let me tell you, elvenkind was not meant to travel that way.

To the lich’s lair we went; there were a mummies. This locked most of the party in place, at least until Drusilia used her new holy symbol on them. Then seen it, the fear and confusion in the party’s eyes. I don’t know if the lich did it to them, or if it was the sight of the four armed, umm, well it kind of looked like a halfling. As soon as the little critter was there, he was attacked by some sort of ghost, that is when I knew we would win the day, the lich lost control of his own troops.

Me and Drusilia went for a pile of loot, searching for a weapon to help kill the lich. Didn’t find one. But, Valon figured out what to do, quickly running to the jewel and snatching it. It was then that “the Angel” came and fought the lich. It was good to see him, specially since it took most of my attention trying to save Drusilia from some slime she fell into. On the bright side, we all got to see her in a new way. All I got to say is I didn’t expect that tattoo.

Anyway, “the Angel” killed the lich and opened a portal for us to escape; yes this is the one that made me sick. Valon made me go through when there was clearly 20 to 30 seconds left to grab some more items. When my head stops spinning I will point that out again.

So here we are, in this little place they call a town. Smallville, never a more accurately named town. At least I see some trustworthy people, a carnival. I should be able to make a little money here. I hope my new friends don’t take exception to a man earning a little money on the side.

Posted by Jim at 13:44 | Pockets’ Journal

Freeday, 14 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

Finally! We’re out of the City of the Dead!

After our short break in the massive tower in the City, we made our way to the temple. Drusilia, Ghelt and Fafnir had all been there before, but the rest of us had yet to travel there.

We entered the temple and immediatley went into the basement, where we stopped before a seal marked with a visige of Nerull. Drusilia said the seal would steal health from whoever crossed it, so rather than walking across it. I used Mage Hand to send the small key across the seal and into the door. On its way across, the key began to glow, to the point that Drusilia was complaining about the brightness from her Detect Magic spell, then the light faded. Drusilia walked across the seal, and anounced that she didn’t get hurt.

We then came upon three corridors side-by-side with an inscription in the split:

The bold shall be crushed The righteous thwarted The sinister flayed The path best known Is never as it seems

I puzzled about it a bit, and figured that the bold would go straight, that Righteous had a base of right, so the right passage was for righteous. And Drusilia pointed out that sinister also means left. I wondered if we would be immune to effects from a hall that didn’t describe us, so I went down the sinister tunnel, followed by Aramil. Winds started through the passage, and we were nicked by small grains of sand, hence being “flayed.” So, either I was wrong or Aramil is evil (neither is really beyond reason).

Ghelt and Fafnir solved the puzzle, though, realizing that the passage we had just come through was the one we would know best. They went back to the seal and dissappeared, and the rest of the party quickly followed suit.

We teleported to a large room with two altars, one that was surrounded by treasure and a moat of disgusting green goo, and one at the far end of the room that was fountaining blood onto a small black object. The Heart!

Four mummies barred the way, though Drusilia was able to make short work of them. Then, the Lich, Arkon, showed up with several henchmen, and the now distorted body of the halfling Korin. Drusilia used her holy symbol to blind several of the henchmen, and I took off sprinting for the heart. I managed to grab it and started to sprint back. The lich roared in rage and motioned his slaves to attack me. Ghelt managed to block their path, hacking them down as they tried to pass.

Aramis suddenly appeared, attacking the lich with righteous fury. The duel only lasted a few seconds, the lich cast what seemed like 10 spells, then Aramis shreding the lich with his silver greatsword. When the lich died, the power that held Arun-Tosa togather corroded within a few seconds, and the room began to shake itself down around us.

Aramis opened a portal, which we crawled our way through. It teleported us back to the town of Smallville, a blessing for the weary adventurers we were. Aramis restored our health, and we set off back to Smallville for a few days rest before we head to the Temple of the Void to destroy the heart.

I had to gave my cloak to Drusilia, who had fallen into the slimy green moat, and as a result had had most of her clothing eaten away, along with some of her skin (ouch). Fafnir seemed only interested in waving gold pieces at her the rest of the day.

For now we are back to a quiet town, hopefully it will stay that way for a few days, even if we are here....

Posted by Tim at 15:44 | Valon’s Journal

July 20, 2003

Home for a Moment...

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

Finally, the rest of my story!

We headed across town from the angel’s former prison tower, heading for the temple of the Heart of Nerull. The walk was very quiet, making us paranoid - and wondering where all the undead were waiting! They weren’t in the temple, at least, so we walked downstairs and checked the seal on the floor and the doorway beyond. I was willing to take the damage and walk the key across, but Valon used a spell to float the key right into place from where he stood!

The place began to pulse, then went quiet. Drusilia, who had been checking for magic, said the whole place had dissipated and walked right across the seal to the door with no trouble! What a relief, considering how it had drained poor Jonathan when he touched it. We all walked down the hall to the door, and Valon pushed it open. All we could see was another hallway, branching into three passages, and writing before us on the floor.

Valon said it was an ancient language, and read us a message of doom and destruction - all about crushing good and the path best known being false. Drusilia, though, thought that it sounded a lot like a riddle. After some discussion, we thought it might have something to do with what would happen if we travelled down each of the three hallways. None of the choices were good, in that case, so I started searching for secret passageways.

I couldn’t find anything on our side of the doorway, and the hall behind us looked the same as ever. The others began to split up according to their ideas, and Fafnir wanted to examine the seal. I decided to check if the seal itself could be lifted up, so we stepped back through the door...

...and we were in a completely new place! Hoping our companions noticed our absence soon, we looked around - it was a big room with an altar to Nerull in the middle, surrounded by a green liquid, and an altar at the end, covered by a fountain spewing blood! We could just see an object in the blood, perhaps the Heart? Luckily, the others began to appear with us, because several mummies attacked, slinging magic missiles from across the room!

Unfortunately, the mummies froze Fafnir, “pockets,” and Aramil with fear. This left me swinging into battle, Valon singing and fighting, and Drusilia eventually turning them all to dust. As we sorted ourselves out, however - the lich lord itself appeared before the bloody fountain altar, along with vampire spawn and a terribly mangled Korin! It was a horrible sight, and I was sure we were all about to die. Trapped in a room with the lich lord!

Fafnir lightning bolted the room, Drusilia did something that blinded a couple of the lich’s minions, and “Pockets” and Aramil were actually shooting arrows at the lord. I thought to ask Valon if he could snatch the object off the altar the same way he’d moved the key to the door, hoping it was the Heart and maybe that the lich would not kill us outright if we threatened to harm it. Valon was already thinking along those lines - he raced for the altar, grabbed the object, and ran for the other end of the room!

It was the Heart - the lich was enraged! It sent its vampires after Valon but I was in the way, and set myself for a battle to the death. Korin went racing around the other side, wielding his old “precious” axe, but ran into resistance from Aramil. And the lich itself sent a ray of blackness at Valon! Drusilia and “Pockets” jumped onto the altar in the middle of the green liquid and frantically searched for any weapons that might harm the lich; the rest of us kept fighting.. and the angel appeared behind the lich lord and attacked.

Next, the ghost of Jonathan came through a wall and attacked Korin. The room began to shake wildly! Drusilia was pitching anything useful-looking from the altar to various party members, Valon was trying to keep hidden with the Heart, and I smashed my way through two vampire spawn and went to help the angel battle the lich. (I knew I couldn’t do much harm but figured I might make a distraction the angel could use to its advantage). The lich lord did something...

...and time stopped.

When things began to move again we saw the lich lord wildly attack the angel; it was terrible! I thought nothing could survive so many hits and spells! The angel burst into light.. and instead of dying, stepped right forward and began to smash into the lich with its sword! The room was shaking like mad, poor Drusilia fell off the altar into the slime, and screamed as it began to eat into her like acid. “Pockets” helped her get it off.

I finally reached the battle and hit the lich lord with my urgrosh. I didn’t do too well with all the shaking, but the next instant, the angel stepped up and dropped it - the lich was dead, finally! If I thought the room was shaking before, I was wrong, as whole portions of the ceiling began to crash into the room. A portal opened up by the angel and the lich’s body, and it went to help poor Drusilia, who’d been knocked back into the green slime and was in real trouble.

Valon called to me that we had to find the lich’s phylactery. I dimly remembered the glowing crystal from the witch lord’s failed attempt long ago, and searched the lich’s body for something like it. I didn’t see anything, but pocketed whatever looked useful - rings and wands and such. Then I pushed the body into the slime, thinking it would be better to destroy it as much as possible. I then took out my urgrosh and waited for the others, next to the portal. Although the lich and vampires were gone, I could still see poor Korin’s remains across the room, struggling to attack us. No one could do more than crawl, but the party made it; I went last and the angel followed us, but poor Korin was left. I can only hope he was destroyed when the rest of the temple fell in. I pray he’s found peace.

After all the craziness, it took me a moment to realize the angel had brought us all to the outskirts of our own small village! We offered shelter to the angel and it refused, so I shook its hand and thanked it profusely for helping us. The angel then healed us of our hurts and the weakenings we’d taken while fighting in the City of the Dead. Valon still has the Heart, and we need to have it destroyed (We still have that rod of undeath that needs destroyed too; hopefully we can do both at the same time!). Our new companions in tow, we walked home.

There’s a travelling carnival in town, so we didn’t make quite the entrance that we did last time! I finally got to buy “Pockets” a drink, and Father is putting up with some extra guests while we sort ourselves out and prepare for our next quest - destroying the evil artifacts we’ve collected. Valon is performing, telling the tale of our adventures, and quite well, too! We’re also figuring out just how much treasure we’ve brought home, and what to do with it. Drusilia really wants some mithril armor, so there’s a chance we’ll be following this letter with a visit!

I’m truly grateful that we survived this adventure to tell of the City of the Dead, Grun - Moradin spared me so that I could warn you and our clan of the danger that lies so near. I believe the worst of the evil has been destroyed, but please be careful - that lord was aiming its army at us, the dwarves, and I don’t know how many of its commands live on in its minions’ pitiful minds!

With love;

Posted by Kate at 12:54 | Ghelt’s Journal

July 22, 2003

Predictions and Predations

Drusilia's Journal

Sunday, Flocktime 16, 592 CY

I’ve only rested once since we arrived home 48 hours ago. Knowing Aramil and Fafnir would be shut up in Fafnir’s house/lab for the next week or so, I tried to get back into the routine of this small town. Pockets decided to stay with Ghelt (he’s just the most un-elflike elf I’ve ever met!) and Valon stayed at my house— he’s actually pretty quiet for a bard. I started my morning in Pelor’s temple, accompanied by six of His flock, then headed over to the Rat’s Egg Tavern to catch up on the local gossip. There really was none. I thought I’d check in on Ghelt and Pockets at least, but couldn’t find them and went back home. Pockets was there waiting, remembering I’d promised to make him an item with continual flame on it if he had the ingredients needed. Of course, he had the rubies, but they weren’t in powdered form. I suggested we take them over to the forge Ghelt’s father runs, to see if he could smash them on his anvil. He was happy to do so, and now Pockets has a glowing ring— which he keeps on a chain tied in a bag. Ghelt’s father asked us to check on her, as she hadn’t yet risen and most of the morning was passed. It took us a while to convince her to open the door to let us in. I guess one of the undeads’ touches had more of an effect than we realized, as she looked quite unhealthy when she came to the door! Thankfully, a divine restoration spell got her back on her feet. This was good, as it turned out she didn’t get any more rest today either. Pockets decided he needed to see if he could outdrink a dwarf. We headed back to the Rat’s Egg to find out.

We had not been there too long when Farmer Durpin’s wife Carla burst into the tavern, very much distressed. Her little red-headed son Timone had gone fishing some hours earlier and never returned. I confess I was almost thankful that there was someone for me to help, and, thinking this a small matter, quickly told her that we’d head down to the Realstream and take a look for him. Ghelt was eager to help as well— Pockets came along too.

We asked the locals in the haunts down by the river if they had seen a small boy— the proprietor of the Warrior’s Dingy had seen him earlier and pointed to where the child’s bucket and fishing pole lay on the edge of the water. It was obvious Timone had stood there for quite some time as his footprints were clean and deep enough that even those of us not trained in tracking could see them. Odder still, they didn’t appear to have moved in either direction— he hadn’t apparently walked from the spot. I feared that he’d gone into the water and not fared well; Ghelt suggested maybe something had swooped down and caught him. Pockets wanted his fishing pole— we let him go, hoping he might accidentally find the boy in his meanderings.

Thinking it would be good to have some townsfolk help find Timone on the chance he was safe and merely wandered off, I went into the Sweating Mermaid Tavern and told the barkeep that I was offering a reward of 10 gold pieces to whoever could return the boy safely to us. I am embarrassed to admit that after our travels, 10 gold pieces didn’t seem like a lot to me. It is, however, enough to make the average commoner rich. Before dusk, the entire town was calling Timone’s name and searching every inch of Smallville. Ghelt and I eventually met up with Valon, who of course was eager to help.

By dawn we had not found him. Not really wanting to bother Fafnir, but needing some supplies for a divination spell, I went over and asked him for some incense, and let him return to his studies. I hoped to catch him while he was out tending his chickens, but all was quiet.

Stopping in the temple, I cast the divination, hoping to find Timone. My results were simply “Look to the earth.” Now, Earth is one of the domains of Moradin (and therefore, Ghelt!) and I hoped that meant there was something she could do. Before we could decide what though, we heard a woman scream— the villagers still looking for Timone rushed with us to find Old Woman Pasten looking pale on her porch stoop, shouting that the basement wall had devoured her husband. We rushed into her house and down the cellar steps. Sure enough, there was a pool of blood, but no Pasten, and no obvious visible signs of disturbance in the basement. She assured us that two arms had pulled him right into the wall and devoured him. I have a sinking feeling we won’t be seeing him or young Timone, but we are dedicated to removing this threat from Smallville. We decided to talk to the local druids from the edge of town, who didn’t know much but were at least aware and willing to help look.

I figured we’d best go see if Fafnir or Aramil had any ideas, even though I didn’t want to disturb their studies. When we got there, we found out a few odd things. Fafnir’s chickens had been there right up until we returned home, at which point young Hastings had gone to him and reported them missing. The second odd thing was that it appeared that Aramil’s toad had been twinned— he now had two. We had to rule out a doppelganger though; the new toad was much too rude to be trying to blend in. I was fortunate that I could cast speak with animals, which I did, hoping the new toad could provide us with some insight on its sudden materialization. It was Pockets, and it appeared that an old woman at the carnival had turned him into a toad. Asking him why she had done so resulted in total silence (or the toad equivalent of blowing a raspberry). I attempted to cast Break Enchantment, but Pockets still remained a toad. Aramil, feeling that this situation was apparently none of his concern, decided to nap, while Fafnir agreed to head out with us for a bit, now that he was aware that more than his chickens had disappeared. We looked in his side yard— it was possible that the dirt had been disturbed, but then, it is a chicken yard. As we pondered this we saw all six of the town guards running towards the Rat’s Egg. Of course, we quickly followed.

Unfortunately, there had been a death in the basement— a serving girl had gone down and never returned. Upon going down into the cellar, we found that all that remained were her limbs and head, and a few of the worked stone pieces of the wall were knocked out, revealing otherwise smooth packed dirt behind it. While Ghelt examined the stone and earth, I attempted my first “Speak with Dead” spell ever. The poor girl didn’t see what hit her, and only knew that she’d been grabbed by the ankles and felt searing, burning pain.

The villagers are becoming afraid of walking on the ground or touching it now, and we must figure out what is doing this! While we worked on some different strategies (many of which involved getting “bait” from Farmer Marsten), we headed to the carnival to see if we could find the old woman who had turned Pockets into a toad. We quickly were pointed to Zorlla, a fortune teller. Not knowing just how much true sight she had, I offered her a potion of Detect Thoughts as payment, figuring she could use it in her “act.” We have attempted to promise that Pockets won’t be “borrowing” near the carnival again, and she has restored him to his former self. Just out of curiosity, or maybe desperation, Ghelt asked her to divine what was happening in the town so we could put an end to it. She looked into her crystal ball and said:

A creature seldom seen passes through earth as we do through air.
Beneath Smallville are tunnels throughout, with its lair in the center.
Its sole purpose is to feed.
Light is its enemy, and light prevents it from attacking.

Thinking this sounded like pretty well-divined advice, I thought to next ask her about the Temple of the Void:

Shrouded in mists... many entrances... not all open at the same time.
The next entrance will be to the south,
at the highest peak in the Hellfurnaces, in 14 days.

She also says the carnival will be in Hookhill during that time. I am sorry to say I asked for my own fortune next:

You will be the bringer of destruction to the world.
Darkness will spread from your wake.
Choose well when the time comes.

That, of course, was not at all what a Radiant Servant would want to hear, but hopefully, having heard this, I will make the right decisions.

Pockets had slipped out during that bit of fortune telling, and the rest of us returned to Fafnir’s to plan (and maybe rest). We arrived to find Aramil and Pockets passed out together, looking like they’d had the snot beat out of them. Fafnir’s weasel Fingers was standing watch over them and said they had performed some strange mating ritual. I’m certainly not going to use my healing power to revive them from that!

Posted by Kristin at 17:01 | Drusilia’s Journal

July 23, 2003

The Old Hag Must Pay...

Pockets' Journal

Well, there isn’t much to say about this town, Smallville, because there isn’t much to it. I think I will take this opportunity to relax a little and enjoy some carnival folk. But first I need to get Drusilia to make me an item before she forgets her promise. She leads me to the house of Ghelt’s family and the forge they run. Ghelt’s father is a nice man and helps smash the jewel for us. He then asked us to check on his daughter.

It was hard, but we got Ghelt out of bed. Let me tell you, she looked like she was rode hard and put away wet. I pointed this out to her, and she tried to hit me, at least that means she is at least a little ok. Drusilia cast a spell on her to make her look better.

Next we went to get some beer, I promised Ghelt a round. Man can that woman drink! As it was getting fun, a woman came in yelling about her son being missing. Drusilia wanted us to go help, Ghelt and I offered our drunken help.

Next thing I remember was going to the carnival to look for the boy, just wish I could remember his name. Well, I snuck around the back to look for the boy, and found some neat looking things. Just then a big black bird is staring at me, and a old hag comes out from behind a wagon and dares to say that I may be up to no good. Well, she pointed her finger at me, I pointed mine at her...
and I was suddenly a toad. I guess her finger was stronger that mine.

I spent most of the rest of the day getting across town to Aramil for help. Then the idiot ignored me when I tried to get his attention. After all this time, he acts like he doesn’t recognize me.
Eventually Drusilia came along and took me to the old hag to get fixed. I left that place as quick as I could, after a legitimate attempt to get the party out also. This left but one thing to do, kick Aramil’s *()^&* #ss for not helping me. To my surprise, he took the fight well, and we actually knocked each other out. This is new, usually he is out after two or three well placed shots.

I will have to buy him a beer in the morning to congratulate him.

Posted by Jim at 18:40 | Pockets’ Journal

Fafnir's Journal Entry 29 - Death from Below

Fafnir's Journal

Since we were finally back in Smallville, I was hoping to get a lot of studying done. No such luck!

We have become involved in the investigation of several mysterious deaths/disappearances in Smallville. A couple strange coincidences led us to a gypsy woman travelling with the carnival in town. Using her crystal ball, she told us that there is an evil creature of some sort living in the caverns beneath Smallville... a creature that can pass through the earth with great ease, and is very, very hungry! (I believed her, as this information seemed to coincide with what we had learned so far...) We will have to hunt this beast down quickly, while we still have a town left!

Further discussion with the gypsy, on the subject of our future, was very disturbing. It would appear we are shrouded in darkness, and being pursued by great evil. I fear this is due to our posession of the Heart of Nerul, and it is obvious we must destroy it soon. The gypsy was able to give us some guidance in this... she said the temple of the void would be located at the highest peak in the Hellfurnaces Mountains a mere fourteen days hence. Yet another reason that we must quickly deal with the disturbance in Smallville!

During this time, not everyone was busy investigating... Pockets managed to get himself turned into a frog! (By the very same gypsy.... I must admit it seems an awful coincidence.)

At first we didn’t realize what had happened. I just assumed that this strange frog in my house was a ‘mate’ of Aramil’s familiar. Luckily Drusilia was able to realize the truth, and we managed to talk the gypsy into changing him back. She said that he should mind his manners in the future, so I am thinking maybe Pockets deserved the curse after all...?

In any case, after talking to the Gypsy, Drusilia, Ghelt, Valon, and I returned to my house to make plans about how we were going to try hunting down the underground menace. We were very surprised to find Aramil and Pockets lying on top of each other on the floor, looking as if they had been in some kind of brawl! I asked Fingers what had happened, but he just shrugged and said “It looked like some sort of strange mating ritual.” I am pretty sure he was joking, but I am definitely going to be keeping an eye on those two.... even if it was just a squabble, I should think they would have had a little more sense than to be fighting right now, what with all of the strange things going on in town lately....

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 23:09 | Fafnir’s Journal

July 27, 2003

So much for resting at home!

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

It’s been a few days since I’ve had anything to write to you about! Being home is nice, and the carnival in town entertaining, but not much else had been going on. Fafnir shut himself up in his house, making new potions, and Aramil shut himself up at Fafnir’s to memorize new spells. The smells and strange noises made a very effective Do Not Disturb sign!

Drusilia threw herself back into chapel duties, Valon polished his stories, and “Pockets” was out drinking and talking with the carnies.. which is just as well; if he’d been home much I’m not sure if Father would have resisted nailing the guest bedroom door shut “by mistake.” And where was I, Grun? Sad to say, I seem to have caught a bug of some kind, and spent a lot of time in bed!

How embarrassing! I hated to admit I’d gotten sick when the rest were just fine, so I planned to just sleep it off, but of course eventually someone started banging on the bedroom door. I threw something at it in return, but they wouldn’t go away. I admitted I wasn’t feeling well, and they still wouldn’t go away! So I finally opened the door, and the elves got all freaked out by how I looked. I told them I was ill! Drusilia cast some spell at me, and I immediately felt a lot better. “Pockets” wanted to get drunk and go to the carnival, so off we went!

About sundown, a mother came into the bar looking for her child. Drusilia felt like we had to do something, and “Pockets” was either friendly drunk or determined to impress her, so off we all went to search the riverbank where the kid was last seen. Oddly, I could see his footprints right down to the bank, and where he sat down, but no sign he’d left, or anyone else’s prints - but his pole and buckets sat there alone! “Pockets” quickly got bored and left, but Drusilia decided to go to the nearest bar and offer a ten gold piece reward to find the boy, which emptied the bar and half the town pretty fast! No one had any luck, however, and finally the next day dawned.

Drusilia decided to brave Fafnir’s door for incense to do a divination spell with. Luckily, all he did was growl at us for interrupting him, and Drusilia got her answer - “look to the earth.” Thinking of the tunnels from the old mansion, and how we’d followed at least one right under the town, we headed back to the riverbank so I could look for some sign of a hole. No luck, but while we were there we heard a scream, and off we ran!

One of the neighbors was crying that the basement had eaten her husband, so as Drusilia tried to calm her down I went for my urgrosh. We entered the house and went down the stairs, looking for the wall that had come alive, reached arms out, and snatched the man into it. I could see the earth had been disturbed, and there was blood at the base of the steps, but nothing else was there! I picked at the wall, but it was solid. A creature that swims through the earth? We went back upstairs and asked the assembled for ideas - if anyone had heard of such a creature stalking the town before, and how to possibly lure it out? We didn’t have much luck.

I wondered if the boy had been taken too - and both times, they were pretty much alone, so I tried to warn people to stay inside, and I geared up and walked around the town. I was hoping that if I was the only movement it might lure the creature to attack me, but I had no luck there, either. Drusilia showed up and said we should ask the druids, but they weren’t any help.. we were running out of ideas! I wondered if Fafnir’s trick of making things invisible might help, so we went off to bother Fafnir some more.

This time, we didn’t have to wake anyone up out of creative trances - Fafnir was mutterung about his chickens being stolen, and Aramil was talking with Valon about a toad that had shown up and wouldn’t leave him alone. It wasn’t just a trick of his tired brain, either - the toad jumped around on Valon’s head, and onto my hand, when I held it out. Not usual toad behavior! All this time, we were also talking to Fafnir about the thing in the ground (I checked his coop, and told him that I didn’t think his chickens were stolen - the ground was disturbed in the same way as the cellar wall!). In the middle of that, Drusilia cast a spell that allowed her to talk to the toad - and it turned out to be “pockets,” who we hadn’t seen since the night before! He wouldn’t tell us much about what had happened, which didn’t surprise me, and we were about to go buy some more chickens from a local farmer to use as lures, when we heard the constables’ whistles, and we were all off running again!

The creature had attacked again, this time burrowing through stone walls under the tavern, and had killed the poor serving girl as she came downstairs. It hadn’t dragged her away this time, so Drusilia cast a spell to ask her spirit what had happened, while Fafnir tried making the area invisible that the creature had burrowed through. No luck from either source - the ground was solid, and the poor serving girl had been grabbed from behind. “Pockets” landed on my shoudler, looking a bit mournful, so we left the mystery of the creature for a moment in order to go ask the carnies for directions to an elderly lady with a bird (one of the few things he’d mentioned to Drusilia before she made the mistake of asking him why the woman would do such a thing.).

Zorlla the fortune teller actually helped us in more ways than one - she finally did turn “Pockets” back into an elf, and she gave us some ideas about the creature! Using her crystal ball, she told me that it had settled in under the center of town, making many tunnels, and lives to feed. Luckily, light will hurt it, so we have both an idea of where it is, and how to fight it! While “Pockets” took off, muttering something about Aramil, the others asked the fortune teller their own questions.. Drusilia wanted to know the way to the Temple of the Void (that’s where we have to destroy our evil artifacts), which was a good idea but discouraging answer. The peaks of the Hell Furnace mountains are far away, and we only have two weeks to get there? Maybe we’ll visit you, Grun, and pay for a teleport!

I’m writing this from home, getting ready for bed - we’ve split up to get some rest and mull this over. (I’m so not going into the scene we found at Fafnir’s place after we left the gypsy’s tent. No, I am not. My eyes are burning. I don’t understand elves, even halfies! Drusilia is the exception to everything you’ve ever heard!).

Obviously, we must kill the creature first. After that, we’ll be off to our next adventure!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 13:30 | Ghelt’s Journal

Sunday, 16 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

Of course I would be wrong. Our stay in town was restful for about half the day. I had gone to trade stories with the performers in the carnival, and was just getting to enjoy myself, then I heard people all over the place yelling “Timone.” When I inquired, I was told that Carla Durpin’s son had gone missing, and Drusilia Silverwood was offering 10 gold pieces for the person who could find him. I’ll have to remind Drusilia that 10 gold pieces is a heck of a lot of money for a normal person.

Not long after Drusilia and Ghelt found me and we headed off in search of the boy.
While we were searching we heard a scream, which we ran to. We found a woman (I was told her name was Mrs. Pasten) screaming about the basement eating her husband. We went into the basement, and found a pool of blood, but no Mr. Pasten. The walls didn’t even look like they had been disturbed. Ghelt did notice some minor disturbance, however. Thank goodness for Dwarves. We headed out of town to talk to the Druids, who were aware of the creature, and also willing to help, though they didn’t have any additional information.

We went to Fafnir’s House to see if he had any idea how to deal with the monster, but we only found more mystery. Aramil had apparently found a new familiar, with a toad that would not leave him alone. Drusilia cast a spell that allowed her to speak with the toad, and we found that the toad was Pockets! He had been turned to a toad by an old woman at the Carnival. I am sure it was for good reason.

About then we heard the guard alert whistle, and knowing that something was going on we headed towrds the tavern, where the whistle was comming from. A servant girl had been killed by our monster. Drusilia attemted to speak with her through a spell, but did not recieve any new information.

We then traveled to the carnival, hoping to get Pockets returned to his Elven self, and maybe getting more information. We found an old fortune teller, Zorlla, and convinced her to return Pockets to normal. Pockets took off nearly as soon as he had been transformed back, though I guess I can’t blame him.

Ghelt asked Zorlla abvout the monster beneath the town, and Zorlla looked in her crystal ball and began to tell us what she saw.

A creature seldom seen passes through earth as we do through air. Beneath Smallville are tunnels throughout, with its lair in the center. Its sole purpose is to feed. Light is its enemy, and light prevents it from attacking.

Drusilia seemed impressed and asked about the Temple of the Void. Zorlla’s reply was just as cryptic:

Shrouded in mists... many entrances... not all open at the same time. The next entrance will be to the south, at the highest peak in the Hellfurnaces, in 14 days.

Then out of curiosity, Drusilia asked about her own fortune. I can only describe the reply as grim:

You will be the bringer of destruction to the world. Darkness will spread from your wake. Choose well when the time comes.

We returned to Fafnir’s to find Arimil and Pockets in a heap on the floor. Fingers told Fafnir that they must have been doing some strange mating ritual. Fafnir asked if I knew anythng about it, but fortunately, I did not.

Posted by Tim at 15:31 | Valon’s Journal

July 28, 2003

In Need of Moradin's Help...

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

I am so frustrated! And I have only myself to blame! I let people talk me into a bad idea, and one of our party may very well be dead already because of it.

Last night ended well enough; we took the time to do a little shopping with the carnies, and they had lots of good stuff to choose from. I got a bag of holding (I wasn’t alone, there), and “Pockets” now has an odd-looking dog following him around like a puppy. There’s more mithril mail in the party than before, too.. so I guess that excuse to visit is on hold right now. With our tendency to get in trouble, Drusilia probably couldn’t afford to wait.

This morning, I decided to put the fortune-teller’s words to work, and began digging in the center of town. That happened to also be our front yard, but Father understood the situation (I think). I was expecting that as people heard what I was doing and why, I’d get some help (the beast is attacking us all, after all!), but I’d barely started when the others came up and talked me into trying the tunnels beneath the old Everston Estate.

I know at least one tunnel goes right under town, but we were so deep at the time.. still, I thought to myself, perhaps it had made its lair in the tunnels that were there, and burrowed new ones to the surface. Drusilia suggested leaving the villagers to dig, but I didn’t like that idea - what if it attacked while they dug, and no fighters to protect them? I decided to leave the digging for now, and check the tunnels first, hoping that the townsfolk were warned enough to keep anything from happening while we checked it out. Aramil decided to stay and study his spells while we were gone and headed back to Fafnir’s, but we hadn’t even made it out of town when Fafnir heard a scream from his own house!

It was terrible, Grun - the whole floor of Fafnir’s house had been pushed upward, and he was gone. His toad saw two white arms reach up and grab our friend into the earth; suddenly, our mission had a lot more urgency, as the toad familiar also sensed that Aramil was not yet dead! Off we ran for the Everston Estate!

The Estate was quiet - and full of rotting bodies from our first adventure. It seems like it was so long ago! Finally, we made it to the point in the tunnels where I knew we were directly under the center of town. And the toad was looking straight up! My fears had proven true - the tunnel we were in was too far below whatever the creature was using, and there wasn’t a way up except to go all the way back. The others wanted to look around a little while we were there, and headed down to the cavern with the falling spikes. I did think that was a good idea, as we hadn’t explored it properly before, and it was close - but once we figured out that it was empty, the party headed up a used-looking tunnel on the other side, and walked a good half-mile away from the center of town! If we’re going to trust our information, we were headed right away from the lair, but they had to go on until they reached a gorge, and then pick a fight with black oozes that obviously had nothing to do with our problem! Poor Valon lost his armor and his clothes.. second naked elf in a week..

Finally, we headed back up the tunnel. I’m afraid I was just ready to spit nails at everyone, at this point! Once we were back under the center of town, “Pockets” had a look at the toad, which turned its head a little toward the Estate, so we headed back. Drusilia had a very bright light cast on her holy symbol at this point, so we used it to examine the ceiling for any sign of burrowing. At the lake, we did spot a small hole in the ceiling. Fafnir flew up and set a rope for us to climb, and we followed the tunnel up, hoping for the best - but it was another dead end. Finally, we took the raft back across the lake, but not before “Pockets” tried to go fishing for the undead giant pike in the water. I swear, you wouldn’t know it was his best friend that’s in trouble, he gets distracted so easily!

So, here I am, writing you another letter-journal from beneath the Everston Estate. I guess we’ll be setting out to dig from above, in a while. Or not? The arguing has me frustrated beyond belief! Poor Aramil!

Wish us luck, Grun, we need it again!
With love,

Posted by Kate at 13:44 | Ghelt’s Journal

July 29, 2003

Now What?

Aramil's Journal

We got back ok, and I spent the next few days identifying items and going through a spell book to get more spells. At one point this toad was bothering me, but it seemed to be trying to tell me something. When Drusilia stopped by she cast “speak with animals,” and we found out it was Pockets. After spending all day casting, I decided they could handle it and I went to get the sleep I needed. Sometime in the night Pockets woke me up with a punch. So I hit him back. We fought for a while, and I distinctly remember him going down before I passed out due to sheer exhaustion from all the spell casting. We woke up the next day and used the Sword of Pelor to heal ourselves, then I went back to finish the identifying. This spell takes a lot out of you and so I decided I needed a nap then I’d go find the others. Something else had other plans though. I seemed to have been taken by some large form. I scares me to look at it, and I have no spells prepared for today. This is bad, it’s so dark I can’t see anything, just those horrible red eyes, staring at me watching, and I believe, waiting, but for what I don’t know!

Posted by Fred at 12:33 | Aramil’s Journal

July 30, 2003

A Sticky Situation

Drusilia's Journal

Moonday, Flocktime 17, 592 CY

We decided to head back to the carnival’s makeshift marketplace, where we were able to find nearly everything we’d ever wanted (and some things we didn’t even know we needed until the carnies produced them!). Valon and I both got nicer Mithril armor, I picked up a “Ring of Sustenance” which the carny assured me would allow me to go on less food and rest (I could have used that in Arun-tosa!), plus a quiver that seems to hold anything that fits through the top, but stays weightless. I can even manage to get my mace into it! Several others among my friends got items that seem to be bigger on the inside than the outside. Pockets got a strange-looking dog, or maybe the dog got Pockets. It seems to prefer being perched on his backpack rather than walking on the ground.

We were all able to catch a few hours of rest overnight— thankfully we didn’t hear the creature, or hear of the creature making an appearance, during that time. Valon is still staying in my house— he’s found a new way to be “charming,” even for a gray elven bard. More on that in a bit.

Shortly after sunrise, most of us (with the exception of Aramil, who was still pretty tired from two full days of identifying items) gravitated towards Ghelt’s house, only to find her digging a hole in her front yard. She was attempting to dig down to the tunnels under Smallville— a great idea, but a tedious way to go about it for a cleric of Moradin! I cannot seem to convince her to use her divine gifts— and considering Moradin’s clerics can have amazing abilities that involve literally moving the earth, digging seemed a bit, well, wrong. I am ashamed to admit I got into my first real argument with a dwarf, ever. In fact, we probably would have continued to argue, had there not been a shriek from Fafnir’s house. The fact that it carried so far, and with a not-so-quiet carnival in town, is a testament to Aramil’s lung capacity. We all dropped what we were doing and rushed back, to find the wooden floor planks of Fafnir’s place pushed up around dirt that looked untouched to us, but to Ghelt indicated that the same creature had captured him! His toad Jacob was still there, looking as worried as a toad can, so I used Speak with Animals to confirm that two great white arms with claws had reached through the floor and grabbed his master, and was moving with him through tunnels under Smallville. Aramil was still alive! Jacob hopped up on Pockets’ shoulder after I worked up a system for allowing the toad to indicate direction for us once my spell wore off, and we ran to the only tunnels we knew of— the Everston Estate.

The Estate hadn’t been disturbed since we’d last been there, though it smelled of rot and death. When we went down the stairs we’d used in our first trip through, we found why— dead goblins we had left behind on our earlier excursion. We followed our path from before, through a trapdoor in a cell, down into the catacombs, and through the temple to Nerull. I admit, I half expected the Heart that Valon is carrying to do something there, but if it did, Valon gave no sign. We continued on until we got to the underground lake, at which point we realized we had left the raft on the opposite shore in our first expedition.

Ghelt, being strongest of us all, was elected to retrieve the raft, despite the fact that dwarves generally hate being in/on/over water. Fafnir cast a Spider Climb spell on her and off she went across the ceiling. Other than disrupting a swarm of bats, she did quite well and was soon rowing back across the lake for the rest of us.

Thanks to the dearly departed Trap, we knew where all the traps in this area were located and easily avoided them. We followed our previous path all the way to the piercer cave, which we decided to cross, hoping to find ourselves under Smallville and therefore, able to rescue Aramil. However, we seemed to be too far below the creature’s tunnels, judging by Aramil’s toad, who kept his eyes more or less glued to the cavern ceilings.

After managing to cross the piercer cavern safely, we came to a choice of passages left and right, and took the right for about half a mile (which, I think, went completely under Smallville and beyond). We came to a 70’ deep gorge with a narrow ledge around it, and several cave openings were visible. Thinking this might be a good place for a creature such as the one we were seeking to lurk, Pockets and then Valon went down to look at the caves. Before they got too far, Pockets saw a “tar monster” coming at him. Hoping this was the creature, I quickly cast Daylight on my holy symbol, knowing the light would weaken the beast. The light lit up the entire gorge, and made it clear that this was a different sort of creature— it lacked claws, for one thing. Pockets and Valon attacked it a few times from where they stood, Valon bisecting it with his stick several times, while the rest of us tried ranged attacks. Suddenly, one blob struck out at Valon and his clothes (and new Mithril chain) dissolved instantly. I must say I was momentarily surprised by that! Not to mention, I swear he had a very familiar looking tattoo....

After a moment (in which I dearly hope my friends didn’t notice my lapse) I did manage to refocus my attention on the black pudding and yelled for Valon to back up. While my comrades continued to use ranged attacks I sent a Flame Strike down on the area. I’ve never used that spell before, and was somewhat surprised at the result. It’s a good thing that Valon moved, or he would have lost more than his clothing!

Pockets quickly fished out a spare cloak for Valon, and we more or less headed back towards the Everston Estate. It was obvious we were too far down and too far past Smallville by the way Jacob concentrated his gaze on the ceilings. The daylight spell continued to light our way, and when we got back to the lake, we saw a very small opening in the ceiling right above it. Fafnir managed to get us all up into what must have once been a stream that fed the lake. We crawled through it for a while until we came to a cave in, which probably was all that was keeping us from being washed back to the lake. Feeling defeated, we inched our way back to the opening and back down into the raft to make our way home.

Something kept bumping into the raft as we crossed the lake. Pockets rigged up some fishing equipment and found a 6’ long albino fish was pestering us. The fish looked decayed, and perhaps, undead, but I couldn’t get it in sight long enough to cast turn undead, so I had to settle for using my holy symbol to cast Holy Smite on the thing. If it was a product of undead tampering, it will, hopefully, cease to be a problem.

At any rate, we have to keep looking for Aramil. It could be that Ghelt’s idea is sound, but we must find a quicker way of removing dirt or the creature will simply have time to move its lair. Perhaps I can convince her to use her divine power to try to soften an area of dirt in a basement where the creature has attacked so that we can dig more quickly.

Posted by Kristin at 13:01 | Drusilia’s Journal