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August 2, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 30 - The Hunt

Fafnir's Journal

We still have not managed to find the beast that has been plagueing Smallville. Now it has taken one of our own — Aramil. At least his familiar, Jacob, was not taken, and we were able to determine from him that Aramil is now somewhere below Smallville, but is at least still alive.

Ghelt’s answer to finding the creature was to start digging (with only a shovel!!) in the middle of her front yard. The rest of us didn’t think this was a great idea, as excavating a passage can take a very long time. Also, we already know of at least one tunnel complex beneath Smallville, and it seemed to make more sense to check there first. Once Aramil was taken, Ghelt agreed to accompany us to the Everston estate to check them out. More than once, though, I heard her grumbling about how deep the hole she was digging would have been by now if she weren’t stomping about wasting time on a “fool’s errand” in tunnels that were obviously (to her) not where we should be looking.

Well, we have spent a day checking them out, and it appears that Ghelt was right about these tunnels being a dead end. So now we are headed back to Smallville, where Ghelt insists she will be digging straight down from her front yard. I spoke to Drusilia a bit, and she asked why we hadn’t taken her suggestion of checking to see if anyone in town had an unusually deep basement, or maybe had noticed a strange cave-in in their basement that might be a good starting place.... I am a little embarrassed to say that I hadn’t heard her suggest that before. If we were starting beneath the ground, at least we might lure the creature in more easily... after all, we know it doesn’t like the light.

In any case, it seems (by the behaviour of Jacob), that at least Aramil is still alive. All we can really do is continue to try to find him, even if our attempts to this point have been futile.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 11:08 | Fafnir’s Journal

Moonday, 17 Flocktime

Valon's Journal

We traveled back to the carnival to see if we could find some items for trade. Boy did we! I found a new, and nicer Mithrial Shirt, and a magic vest that should offer extra protection to someone exposed to disease, weather and other sundry things that can make one’s life not so pleasant.

Ghelt immediatly went back to work to find the creature, beginning to dig in her father’s garden. Fafnir and Drusilia convinced her that we shuld try to use other tunnels that ran under the town. They suggested returning to the Everston Estate, and using tunnels they had found in an adventure there.

I agreed, as that sounded like a faster method then digging a hole big enough for us to travel through.
As we were arguring, we heard yet another scream, this time from towards Fafnir’s house. When we arrived, we found that the floorboards had been torn up, and Aramil was missing. Jacob, Aramil’s toad familiar, was not missing however, and Drusilia spoke to him. She learned that Aramil was still alive, and that he had been taken below the town.

We hurried to the Everston Estate and under it as quickly as possible. We passed through a temple of Nerull, and I could hear a whispering, loud, as if someone were standing next to me.

Feed me. Feed me and I can give you endless power...

Drusilia must have seen me concentrating to ignore it, because she asked if I was alright. I told her I was, though I am unsure if she believed me or not.

After we left the temple the whisper faded once again, and it became easier to ignore it.

We came to a great underground lake. and Fafnir cast Spider Climb in Ghelt so she could walk across the ceiling and retrieve a raft that they believed was on the other side. She brought a raft back, fortunately, and we headed across.

We traveled through the caverns to a great rift, which Pockets headed down into. He called up that something was coming after him, and I lept into the pit, casting Feather Fall on my way down. when I landed I was face to face with a great black glob, for lack of a better term, I attacked it with my sword, but it only seemed to be split into many globs by my attacks. It reached out and touched me, and my clothing an armor disolved off my body. Drusilia manage to kill it with one of her spells, and Pockets lent me a cloak, so I had some clothing. We climbed up out of the cavern, and headed back the way we had come, certain that this way not the way we intended to go.

We returned across the lake, making a small detour into the ceiling; we were looking for other passages that led up, the direction that Jacob seemed to be indicating. The passage we found was a feed in to the cavern that had been blocked off.

It appears now that we will be following Ghelt’s idea for finding Aramil. Oh, well. Guess nothing is ever easy with us...

Posted by Tim at 15:53 | Valon’s Journal

August 3, 2003

Note to self...

Pockets' Journal

I have learned a valuable lesson today: don’t buy a pet while still drunk! I thought I was going to get a nice little puppy to raise, just for a buddy, wrong. I apparently bought a mentally challenged freak of nature. It doesn’t listen, it wanders all over, and it is ugly. And to make matters worse I paid a lot for it. Its name is supposed to be “Watch,” but I want to call it “Otto,” but it doesn’t respond to either as of yet.

Well we started the day off together, but Aramil wanted to finish his spells. I think he is just too sore from getting his butt kicked, again. So the rest of us head off without him to check out the tunnels beneath the town, when we hear a scream. We rush to find that Aramil is the latest victim of this creature. We find his familiar Jacob and Drusilia talks to him with her spell. Jacob states that his master is still alive and in some tunnel. This is good news, we have a chance.

Following the advice of the old hag (who I still don’t trust) we go to the tunnels, hoping that Jacob can help us find our lost friend. From the moment we entered the tunnels the party’s brains seemed effected. I continuously had to ask which way they went (they had been here before) only to find them arguing with each other. We traveled a good way and had to dispatch some strange ooze, only for Ghelt to decide we are too far away and that this way will just take us away from Aramil.

Having wasted a good part of the day we head back to town, there must be a way to get to this creature. I am growing more suspicious of the old hag, I think she led us the wrong way, but I shall keep this to myself, I don’t think the party will understand my point of view with the hag.

This mutt, well....., it seems to be hanging around good enough. And it is cute in a weird way, I just have to keep it out of my backpack until it gets through its puppy stage.

Posted by Jim at 12:32 | Pockets’ Journal

August 6, 2003

Message from Durll

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps


Recover the dark stone. When it is in your possession, contact my agents in Hochoch.


Message written in Undercommon, found on the body of a drider in the catacombs below Smallville.

Posted by Hugh at 14:52 | Adventures, DM’s Notes & Maps

The Rescue of Aramil

Pockets' Journal

After returning to town empty handed the first time, I had and idea. I thought that if I could get Jacob near the old witch, he would let me know somehow that she was responsible. But to my surprise, I learned by watching him that we could follow his response to the outside town. I quickly gathered my companions and we headed off to find our friend.

We followed Jacob’s clues to the catacombs, an area we did not look for Aramil before. We came to a dead end where a tunnel was collapsed. Ghelt quickly set to work on getting through, with an emphasis on the rest of us staying out of the way.

Several of us went to a room with a symbol of Pelor on the door. I suggested that Drusilia put her symbol on it to see if it opened it........... I owe her a new holy symbol, as hers was damaged greatly. I tried throwing acid on the seal to test its weakness, without any luck. We returned to the dig-site with our depressed cleric in hand.

The noises from the stone were getting a bit creaky, so I suggested that Ghelt let me tie a rope to her to help us get her out if the ceiling begins to fall. She said she would the next time she came out of the crawl space. Then we heard a scream, and I dove into the tunnel after my friend, only to find the hole she fell through. After getting the rest of the party down, we again took our direction from Jacob.

We found a room filled with spider webs and cocoons. Then we were set upon by giant spiders, a battle in which we quickly dispatched the foe. In hindsight we had done it too quick. Well I offered to open the cocoons and try to free our friend while the party was going to chase the thing with white arms that ran from the battle.

Using Jacob, I quickly found the cocoon of Aramil and set to freeing him with the Sword of Pelor. That way I could cut him free easier and maybe give him some healing at the same time.

That is when the foul creature attacked. A drider dropped down behind me and attacked. I soon found myself lying on the floor just trying to avoid his multiple attacks. I heard my companions coming to my aid and took the chance to drink a vial of magic that turned me into a mist that the drider couldn’t hit.

Next the drider cast darkness, and I just tried to get away. Then I saw a flash of light and everything went black. Deep down, I think this was the work of Fafnir, the drider didn’t show any spell that could compare to it.

When I awoke, Aramil was safe and the drider was dead. Fafnir said he didn’t cast lightning, but I wonder. We searched the room and found a little loot, and a clue to follow, about the dark dwarf.

Posted by Jim at 20:06 | Pockets’ Journal

August 7, 2003

Tangled Webs

Drusilia's Journal

Moonday, Flocktime 17, 592 CY, continued

We made our way back to town so that Valon could put pants on (my neighbors must wonder a bit why gray elves keep wandering into town wearing nothing but capes) and buy new armor. I went to talk to Ghelt’s father, hoping he would know of some especially deep cellars in town that we could use to find an entrance to the tunnels. He was amused, I am sure, that I went to ask a dwarf about such things, but I hoped that others in town counted on the Futhark family when it came to underground architecture. However, he knew of none, and I was worried that we’d soon be digging in his yard, when Pockets came over and told as that Aramil’s homing toad was looking back towards the Everston Estate.

I think Ghelt realized that elves weren’t much for digging at this point, and having three out of five of us being relatively useless in such an endeavor, agreed we could follow the toad again. This time, Jacob was either paying better attention, or we were, because it was much easier to follow his directions. He lead us to a caved in area below the Estate that, according to the journal we’d found, was a tunnel collapsed in Patchwall 567 CY to keep out the duergar invaders. Ghelt immediately set to methodically removing the impasse. We brought some wooden furniture from nearby rooms, thinking Ghelt might need some beams to shore up her work area, and then got out of her way. Fafnir and I remembered that there was a seal with Pelor’s symbol on it a short distance away, and we went to look at that, hoping it might afford us access into the tunnels where Aramil was.

The doors with Pelor’s symbol on it seems so foreboding. Pockets suggested that I use my holy symbol on it, and thinking that perhaps it could work as a key like the jade key did for Nerull’s seal, I tried it. I realized my error as soon as I touched the symbols together— zap! I was very fortunate that my own symbol protected me, though I’m sorry to say it looks a bit worse for wear now. Hopefully I can find someone up in the Marketplace that can repair it.

We made our way back to Ghelt to find she’d made good progress. In fact, she’d made such good progress that she fell right through a hole she’d cleared. Of course, we followed her.

We found ourselves in a 30’ by 50’ by 20’ crypt festooned with webs. Cocoons in many sizes lined the walls. Jacob seemed to think Aramil was in this chamber, but before we could look, we were attacked by three large monstrous spiders. We dispatched them and I cast daylight—and we saw the creature with the white arms as it screeched and fled down a narrow tunnel opposite the way we came in. Pockets went to free Aramil from a cocoon that Jacob was agitated about, while the rest of us ran after the creature. I think we would have caught it too, only we heard Pockets shout for help. Thinking we missed a spider, Ghelt and Fafnir turned back while Valon and I continued after the pale creature.

Moments later, Valon and I heard Ghelt and Fafnir having difficulties and we broke off the chase to help our friends. We came back to the narrow tunnel we’d just passed through to see Ghelt and Fafnir unable to proceed through it— it was now filled completely with web. Valon and I started to hack through it, but it took a very long time (all I had was a mace, as Aramil had borrowed my sword). We got entangled a few times before making our way out. I am fortunate that Pelor provides his servants with a powerful daylight spell, as apparently the chamber had been cast into darkness. For a moment, I saw the hideous outline of a creature part dark elf and part spider, then it went invisible. As my comrades attempted to fight the invisible drider, it allowed me to get bearings on it— a Flame Strike got through its defenses and it died, turning visible once again.

We were finally able to pass through the remaining webs to find Pockets unconscious on the floor; thankfully Ghelt was already healing him and he was soon continuing his efforts to free Aramil. I was sorry to see that the other villagers were here, but were already dried husks. We found a clue as to why the drider “Kalanaar” was here at least— a note from the evil Durll telling him to obtain the Heart and take it to Hochoch. We took that, along with his payment in gems and a magical greatsword. Hopefully the drider is alone, though we still must go find that other creature and dispatch it before it grabs more villagers.

Posted by Kristin at 13:25 | Drusilia’s Journal

I love my companions.

Aramil's Journal

Not much to say right now but thank you again and again. I was going crazy in what ended up being a spider’s cocoon. It’s good to have friends you can count on. I only hope I can return the favor, but for now I have no spells, no armor and no weapons, so I’m kind of useless!

Posted by Fred at 22:07 | Aramil’s Journal

August 10, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 31 - Following the Toad. Again.

Fafnir's Journal

After heading back to town, so that Ghelt could begin her excavation, She soon came to her senses, and decided that we should once more try to have Jacob lead us to Aramil. Jacob led us right back to the Everston estate. One of us came to the realization that there was another tunnel that might prove to be the correct one... the old collapsed tunnel we had found when we originally explored the catacombs under the estate!

Once we got to the cave-in, Jacob was getting very excited... we were finally on the right track! Ghelt began to dig, but was making very slow progress. She seemed to think that the passage was not safe to dig in, and by the amount of dirt that was falling all around us, I think she was right.

Drusilia, pockets, and I decided to go check out the seal of Pelor we had found... it was right around the corner, and we were hoping it might be protecting another passageway. Drusilia examined the seal, and proclaimed it to be safe. Thinking that her holy symbol might work as a key, she walked up to the door and proceeded to press her symbol to the center of the door with an audible “thunk.” The “thunk” was followed by a flash of light! After my eyes re-adjusted, I saw Drusilia sitting on the floor holding a charred holy symbol, with a dazed expression on her face.... apparently she had been wrong about what the seal on the door was for. Closer examination be Pockets and me revealed the door was actually warded with a Disintegrate spell! Kind of a nasty trick for a “Good” god, if you ask me.

In any case, we came running back to the “excavation” when we heard what sounded like a cave-in, followed by a string of dwarven curses. It seems that Ghelt found a way past the tunnel blockage — breaking through the floor into the passage beneath it! We all followed after her.

Again following Jacob, we proceeded into another chamber which was filled with webs and cocoons. We weren’t there long before some very large spiders attacked us. No sooner had we dispatched them, than we noticed a strange humanoid creature with long white arms standing on the other side of the room. As soon as our light hit the creature, it let out a scream and ran down a corridor.

We were torn between chasing the creature (which was obviously the one who had been plagueing the town) and trying to free Aramil, who was certainly in one of the cocoons in this chamber. Pockets took the Sword of Pelor and began to hack at one of the cocoons. He told the rest of us to chase after the beast while he freed Aramil. The rest of us immediately began to chase after it.

We had just rounded a bend in the passageway, when we heard Pockets yell for help! Running back to see what was happening, I saw pockets being attacked by a creature that appeared to be half-spider and half dark-elf! (Which I later learned was a drider.) At that point I yelled for the rest of the party to return as well.... this creature was obviously a more immediate threat than the pathetic white-armed thing.

As Ghelt and I began to move into the room, the drider cast Web on us, trapping us in the hall. He then redirected his attention on Pockets. Luckily, Pockets had a potion of Gaseous Form, which he drank just then, and began to float away, toward the edge of the room.

Not being able to attack Pockets, and seeing that his web had not prevented me from casting spells, the drider then filled the room with a globe of Darkness. Unfortunately for us, Drusilia was stuck further back in the web, which blocked her Daylight from counteracting it!

Not seeing any other option, I let loose with a lightning bolt directly through the room in front of us.... knowing that Pockets was out of the way, I figured that the only target was the evil creature we were facing. I followed this up with another, more powerful, lightning bolt. After firing the second bolt, I heard a loud “thud!,” which I hoped was the creature. Figuring our work was done, I began hacking through the web to get into the room. Ghelt had been doing this already, and was slightly ahead of me entering the darkness.

I hadn’t been in the darkness more than a few seconds when I heard the sounds of combat behind me! Were there more creatures facing us?! Unfortunately, I could do nothing to help, surrounded in darkness as I was. I urged Drusilia to hurry as she was struggling through the webs.

Once Drusilia made it close enough to dispel the Darkness, I was dismayed to see that the drider was still alive! Apparently the loud “thud!” had been Pockets hitting the floor! Oops. I guess he didn’t have the sense to stay away from the creature once he was in gaseous form. I will have to explain to him a little bit about tactics. Particularly that when there is a large creature facing the party, and you aren’t actively fighting it, you should stay as far away as possible.... even more so when you know “THE MAGE CAN’T SEE WHERE YOU ARE!!.” Thankfully, he appeared to be doing OK, even though he was unconscious, so I turned my attention back to the drider... only to find that he had disappeared. Damn.

Well, this continued for a while... the drider would appear, attack, and disappear before we could hurt him. Eventually though, Drusilia was able to break through the web, and was lucky enought to finally hit him with a flame strike. That finished him off, and we were able to free Aramil and heal Pockets.

In searching the drider’s corpse, we found a note that he was carrying. It contained instructions telling him to retrieve the Heart of Nerull, and to deliver it to our old nemesis Durll. It would appear that we are not yet done dealing with him.

In any case, we still had to hunt down the white-armed creature, so we quickly headed off after it...

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 11:59 | Fafnir’s Journal

Moonday, 17 Flocktime (continued)

Valon's Journal

We returned to town, and I bought myself some clothing as quickly as possible. After I was clothed again, I took the Rod of Absorbtion that I had collected and traveled to the carnival to trade it in for some (hopefully better) armor. I found some magical mithrial armor and a magical mithrial shield, which I traded the rod for. I know the armor and shield will make it a little more difficult to cast spells, but the protection is well worth the sacrifice.

We then returned to the Everston Estate, after we realized that Jacob was still looking in the direction that Aramil had been taken. Drusilia, Ghelt and Fafnir realized that there was another tunnel that we had neglected to check. We traveled back to the estate, and down into the catacombs, this time to a deadend. Drusilia explained to us that the temple had been under attack, and that the tunnel had been collapsed so that the Duergar attackers could not easily attack.

Ghelt went to work trying to clear a crawlspace through the tunnel, and Drusilia began to check out a door blocked by a seal of Pelor. She touched her holy symbol to it, and there was a bright flash of light. When my eyes cleared, poor Drusilia’s holy symbol looked as if it had been left in a fire for a few days! Fafnir realized that the door was guarded by a disintigrate spell, and anyone who touched it would be fried!

A long string of Dwarven curses got my attention, and we realized ghelt had broken through. Not to another side, but through the floor! We quickly caught up with her and found ourselves in a chamber filled with webs and cocoons. We were attacked by several large spiders, and easily dispatched them. Drusilia cast a Daylight spell and a skulking white creature on the other side of the room yelp in fear and scurried away from us as quickly as possible. We gave chase, leaving Pockets to cut the victims in the cocoons free.

After a few seconds, we heard Pockets yell for help, I thought that we must have missed a few spiders. Fafnir and Ghelt rushed back to help, and Drusilia and I heard them yelling for help. We realized the there was a BAD THING attacking them and hurried back.

Fafnir and Ghelt were trapped in a Web and Drusilia tried walking through it and got stuck. I began hacking at it as best I could, and I made good progress, and managed to free Drusilia, before my sword got caught in a web. I lost my balance trying to pull the sword free and got stuck myself. Drusilia moved forward, and her light spell lit up the chamber that had been enveloped by an inky black Darkness.

To my horror we were facing a Drider, and outcast from the Drow Society, cursed to have the torso head and arms of a dark elf and the abdomen and legs of a spider. It disappeared soon after Drusilia lit up the room appering to attack, then dissappearing again. Fortunately, Drusilia managed to kill it with a well placed Flame Strike.

We searched its body and found a letter instructing Kalanaar (the Drider) to steal the heart and to contact the agents of Durll, who apparently is an old nemesis of our party(?).

We then started of through the tunnels, after the white creature...

Posted by Tim at 14:32 | Valon’s Journal

Looping Back...

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

We’re taking a brief break before finally preparing to hunt down the creature that’s been attacking our village. I must say we’ve taken the long way about it!

We left the lake under the mansion, and returned to town. Valon immediately went to buy new clothing and armor, to the amusement of the townsfolk, while I asked Father for help digging (he was fine with that). Drusilia quizzed him about the local cellars, stonework, and possible secret passages (he didn’t know of anything odd). Naturally, at this point “Pockets” came in and said the toad had started looking around toward the old mansion! It also looked pretty sick, but we decided to follow it one more time!

Thsi time, we watched the toad the whole way. It began looking straight down before we got to the Estate, so I pondered for a bit.. and realized that we were standing above the caved-in portion of the catacombs, where the previous inhabitants had tried to stop attacks from duergar. We reentered the tunnels and reached the spot in no time. Sure enough, the toad stared at the collapsed tunnel avidly.. so “Pockets” began yanking rocks away! He quit that fast when the ceiling started to creak.

While the others began to hunt for furniture and wood to shore up the passage, I began to carefully tunnel my way in. It took a while, so the others decided to check out the door down the hallway - the one we left alone the first time because it has Drusilia’s holy symbol on it. They ought to have left it alone this time, too! Drusilia’s beautiful new holy symbol got zapped by some power in the door, and looks pretty beat-up, now!

I’d started to make some real headway when the floor collapsed under me. I’d just turned down an offer from “Pockets” to tie a rope to me in case something happened, too! Moradin must have a message in that.. but to retuirn to my story, I slid down the new passage and fell into yet another catacomb about twenty feet below. I’d just noticed one exit to the place when “Pockets” arrived and handed me a torch. The others climbed down by rope, although “Pockets” could not seem to call his dog. Poor puppy, always in trouble!

Miracle of miracles, the toad actually looked toward the one exit tunnel, so we followed it. We entered a big roomful of crypts and cobwebs, and we could see cocoons of various sizes in the webs! Finally, we thought we might have found Aramil - but as we stepped into the room, giant spiders attacked! In the middle of that, Drusilia turned on her big bright light and across the room, we finally saw a large white humanoid creature throw up its arms and run from the brightness!

We quickly killed the giant spiders and “Pockets” stayed with the toad for a guide to find Aramil, while the rest of us took off down the corridor after the white creature. We didn’t get far. Fafnir and I turned around at the first scream from behind! As we neared the room, unfortunately, all we got was a glimpse of a huge spider-humanoid dryder attacking “Pockets” in the corner, when the space we were in was suddenly filled with sticky webs! At least Fafnir could cast spells at the thing but all I could do was struggle and holler for the other elves, who were soon fighting their way through the sticky stuff from behind us.

Suddenly, the whole place went black. Even I couldn’t see! Fafnir lightning bolted the room twice and heard something hit the floor, and we all kept struggling forward against the webs. It was awful! Finally, I got free - in the dark. I listened for the creature, but got an earful of swearing in multiple lanuages from behind me.. and the dryder hit. I swung wildly in the dark, making some contact and hoping the others got free soon.. sure enough, Drusilia’s light soon drove the darkness back. What a sight!

Poor “Pockets” was laid out on the floor, burned and unmoving from lightning bolts. Aramil was half-unwrapped but also unable to move in the corner. And the dryder was hanging above me from the wall! As soon as the light hit it - it disappeared! As the others got into the room, it reappeared, attacking Fafnir, and went invisible again! Finally, Drusilia’s spells killed the thing and we were able to help our comrades. I used the new wand of curing on “Pockets” as the fastest and strongest thing to use - thank Moradin, he got up! We then did a fair amount of stabbing on everyone, and freed Aramil. Lucky guy was the only one left alive of all the wrapped bodies; we’ve found the missing villagers and a few others, too. Bless them!

Drusilia searched the dryder’s body, took the creature’s greatsword, and found a pouch with some treasure and a letter. The letter is troubling - apparently we’re being hunted; evil creatures know we have the Heart, and of course, they want it! We need to get to the Temple and get the thing destroyed! First, however, we must destroy the white monster. We’re healed and ready - off we go!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 15:16 | Ghelt’s Journal

August 13, 2003

Pick-A-Path to Adventure

Drusilia's Journal

Godsday, Flocktime 18, 592 CY

Pockets’ dog Watch didn’t seem keen on looking for the white creature, but Fingers was willing to give it a shot. We all carefully followed Fafnir’s weasel familiar through various passageways, eventually coming to some severely narrow tunnels that were only about 30” tall by 30” wide. We had to crawl on our hands and knees after him, navigating passages that crisscrossed, until Fingers finally stopped and looked confused. His confusion was warranted— a few seconds after his pause the dreaded white arms reached through a wall and grabbed Pockets, who had been lagging behind, pulling him right into the surface of the wall. We found another tunnel to crawl through and gave chase. After what seemed like hours we came to a 15’ round chamber (slightly taller— Fafnir could nearly stand up in it) with several paths leading off of it, and the weasel again picked a path and charged off. I know we kept this routine up for about two hours, as that was how long my Daylight spell lasted. I had to use another Light spell, and we found ourselves in a 25’ area (thankfully 5’ high) littered with bones of creatures large and small. Several passages led out of the chamber, and we found Pockets leaned up in a corner, paralyzed.

Before I could get to Pockets to neutralize his paralysis, the white arms again reached out of a wall and grabbed at Fafnir— he tumbled away but was raked by the creatures nails. Aramil managed to occupy the creature briefly, as he kept standing in its way (and ours!). While he did that, apparently, Pockets’ dog riffled through Pockets’ pockets, found Aramil’s spellbook, and ran off with it. As Aramil was about to gave chase, we heard a “yip” in the distance, and then silence. Aramil kept swearing he was going to kill the dog if it wasn’t dead already while I removed the paralysis from Fafnir and Pockets.

Suddenly, a hole opened at Valon’s feet and he was nearly attacked by the creature. My Searing Light spell hit it, while Pockets dumped a Bag of Tricks into the hole, releasing a bat and a weasel. I don’t know what effect, if any, that had on the creature, but Fafnir looked distinctly uncomfortable about the weasel.

The creature moved through the earth faster than we moved on solid ground— the arms reached out again, right near Pockets, who yanked some thunderstones out of a pocket and banged them together. I think he was hoping the creature had some sort of tremorsense to disrupt, but he only managed to deafen himself and Fafnir. Pockets was waiting for those arms the next time they came through the wall, and grabbed the creature! Aramil grabbed Pockets as he started to disappear into the wall of one of the tunnels, while I waited with bow and arrow one tunnel over, hoping to catch the creature as it went through. At least my second arrow hit it.

While I attempted to reassure Fafnir (using Fingers as a translator) that I could remove his deafness in the morning after praying for spells, I could hear Ghelt explaining quite heatedly to Aramil that he should stop jumping in front of us during battles— he has no armor, no spells and a borrowed sword! He was yelling right back, and took a swipe at Ghelt— he’s lucky he missed. Valon had heard enough apparently, and cast a spell to silence everyone briefly. Order was restored for a moment, and then the creature reached down through the ceiling of the chamber and grabbed Pockets again! Ghelt used her divine ability to soften the earth in the ceiling, moving the depth of the entire room up about 10’, and bringing a started pair of bodies back into range with a good deal of dirt. I finally got a good look at the creature— an 8’ tall albino humanoid with glowing red eyes, vicious claws, and needlelike teeth. We attacked it with everything we had, and while I don’t know if we mortally wounded the creature, it did not ever return, so I think we at least convinced it to move on!

We weren’t sure though, and waited for it to come back. Suddenly, something erupted right at my feet, and I nearly struck it. I quickly noticed it was Pockets’ dog, and pulled my mace away at the last possible moment— hitting Aramil instead (he was obviously not taking Ghelt’s lecture to heart!). The dog returned (most of) Aramil’s spellbook, and after getting Ghelt’s attention, scrambled back down the tunnel she’d dug her way up through. Ghelt followed her a short distance through a tunnel below us, and found the dog biting at something leathery in the wall. The creature? No. But it was a sack with 800 gold pieces in it. I think Ghelt is using part of her share to buy Watch away from Pockets.

Watch then lead us down a tunnel that took us right out to the riverbank by our town. We saw the creature’s tracks leading into the woods and followed them for a long time, and eventually came to another tunnel entrance. Hoping we’d catch up with the creature if it was still mobile, we crawled through another cramped tunnel for the rest of the night. We eventually came to a dead end. Fafnir turned himself into a dire weasel and dug straight upward— we were able to get out and walk the four miles back to town, after spending enough time to pray for spells to remove the deafness plaguing Fafnir and Pockets, of course. Here’s hoping when we get back to town we find that the creature has truly left, though I don’t look forward to telling those that had missing family members what their fate was.

Posted by Kristin at 16:07 | Drusilia’s Journal

August 17, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 32 - Tunnels, Deafness, and Wasted Time

Fafnir's Journal

Well, we have spent the last day crawling through a bunch of tunnels, looking for the creature that was terrorizing Smallville. After we dispatched the drider, we took off after the white-armed creature.

As Pockets’ dog was pretty useless, Fingers had to lead the way, sniffing out the creature’s scent. He soon led us to the entrance of a small tunnel that branched off from the passageway. Much to my dismay, the entire party decided that the best thing to do would be to crawl into the tunnels after the creature.

Not long after we began to crawl, Fingers came to a halt. He had lost the scent of the creature. As we wondered what to do next, Pockets saved the day by getting snatched by the very creature we were chasing. How resourceful!

Following the creatures trail for what seemed like days, but was probably only several hours, we finally came to a chamber. Pockets was “stacked” up against a wall, and the floor of the chamber was covered in bones. Drusilia immediately went to help Pockets (who had been paralyzed by the creature’s touch). No sooner had she done that, than the creature began to attack us! It would pop out of a wall, attack one of us, then run away.

Pockets, in a moment of intense stupidity (and perhaps wanting to make up for his earlier usefulness), decided that now would be the time to deafen the party. He whipped out a couple thunderstones and slammed them together! This didn’t affect the creature at all, but it did a great job of deafening me!

At this point we all just sat and waited for the creature to attack again. From what I could tell, there was a lot of bickering amongst the rest of the party, but I couldn’t tell for sure, as I was DEAF! Drusilia did manage to tell me (through Fingers) that she could remove the deafness tomorrow, so I just sat there trying to rest and study spells while everyone else bickered.

After a period of time, Aramil came and tapped me on the shoulder. Apparently the rest of the party had decided to head out into the tunnels again, and he was the only one who thought to tell me. What great friends!

In any case, we followed the tunnels to the outskirts of town, where it was apparent (to me) that the creature had escaped. I say apparent to me, because not everyone shared this view. The rest of the group found ANOTHER tunnel to follow, and immediately dove in. Having had enough of crawling around, but not wanting to leave them to be killed by their stupidity, I polymorphed myself into a giant weasel, and followed after them. (Luckily the spell worked... since i became deafened, the ratio of successful spells had only been about 50%!).

We followed this tunnel for about 4 miles before it finally came to a dead end. Not wanting to crawl all the way back, I began to tunnel to the surface. Apparently Aramil had the same idea. Unfortunately, he was not a dire weasel.... he only had a shovel! Instead of making actual progress, he only succeeded in burying the party alive.

Luckily I noticed this and was able to rescue them in short order. Once we made it to the surface, I convince Drusilia to pray for more spells, and she cured my deafness. I then immediately headed back to town, and the rest of the group followed.

I hope we have scared the creature off for good. We will need to leave soon on our quest to destroy the Heart of Nerull, and while helping the town is a noble goal, if we fail to destroy the Heart, all of Oerth could be be destroyed! (I also suspect that it may be our very presence that is causing the town so much trouble - the sooner we go, the better!)

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 12:46 | Fafnir’s Journal

Moradin, grant me patience.

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

Finally, we were together and ready to get rid of the albino beast. Fafnir said his weasel could track it, so into the tunnels we trekked. The passages got smaller and smaller, yet still we followed! Even I was crawling, when “Pockets” decided to leave a trail in case we got lost. He didn’t tell us he was stopping, and as he was behind the party.. it’s lucky that Fafnir heard the movement as the white arms reached through the side wall and carried “Pockets” off! We discovered something new - now the creature actually left open tunnels for us to follow as it moved, and we’d been in them for some time judging by the size. The weasel went ahead, and we followed, yet again.

After what seemed like ages, we came to a large chamber, high enough that I could actually stand up in it. After some thought, I decided this must be the beast’s lair - we were right under the center of town, finally! Even better, we found “Pockets” lying on the bone-covered floor across the room. We went to get him, but heard trouble behind - as we came into the room, Fafnir was attacked! I pulled Drusilia out of the tunnel, and Valon came right behind, but just as I thought we’d be able to get down the tunnel to Fafnir - Aramil decided to crawl right back in for him, instead! He’d already been hit once, and he got hit again as he crawled - still, he wasn’t giving any ground. Drusilia was trying to help by blasting light down the passage, and Valon sang something at me - wow, did it make me feel powerful! I crawled right down the tunnel and smashed the thing, which took off (and without any more party members). Finally, we got everyone out into the room and healed up, but some were paralyzed by the creature’s poison.

Drusilia said she could fix that a little, but when she cured “pockets,” he immediately sat up cursing the dog that had been pulling at him. The dog took off with a book in its mouth, and, to our astonishment, Aramil took off right after it! Drusilia got ready to cast down the tunnel, but Aramil got hit by the creature anyway, and couldn’t catch up with the dog. Finally he came back, pissed! He explained that he felt useless without his spells - and the dog had his spellbook! As he said it, we heard a yipping from the poor dog, then silence. Aramil was mad that the creature had eaten his book with the dog, but I just felt bad for the dog. Poor puppy! Of course, as we talked about what might attract it to be attacked, it came for us again. This time Valon, who hit it a few times as Drusilia used light on it too before it took off. She then tried heating a dagger, to no avail, and “Pockets” scratched at the wall.. and was attacked! He later explained he thought it would hurt the creature a lot if it was using its hearing to track us - but he slapped two thunderstones together, and nearly deafened us all! In fact, the creature was fine, but Fafnir and “Pockets” were deafened for some time afterwards, which really didn’t help matters.

As soon as he’d used the thunderstones, “Pockets” was grabbed by the creature and yanked into a new tunnel. Aramil immediately went in after him - which made the third time that day that he’d gotten in the way of people who could actually do some damage to it! I was really mad; even if it is his best friend, he already admitted he wasn’t much help at the moment! I grabbed him and yanked, but he wouldn’t come out. From the hollering, I gathered that the creature was now moving to the side - sure enough, Drusilia and Valon were shooting down the next corridor, with little luck. Aramil and “Pockets” had a fight in the passage, and I sat back to wait them out. As soon as Aramil lost that fight and crawled out, I grabbed him by the shirt and screamed at him about useless mages and only halfway fighters (with borrowed weapons!) getting in the way so we couldn’t get to the creature for fear of killing him, and a few choice words besides. Not only did he not get it, he even took a swing at me! Of course, it just proved my point - he didn’t even come close to landing a blow. “Pockets” tugged on my sleeve and asked for some healing, so I shoved Aramil away and helped his friend. Aramil decided this was the chance to draw both a torch and a rapier, so I pulled out my urgrosh and waved it in his face. Did he really want to get into this here? He couldn’t even stand up straight!

At this point, Valon did something - and we all couldn’t hear each other speak. He then told us all to shut up! Valon has good timing.

“pocktes” sheathed the healing sword and began scuffing at the ground again.. but this time, the creature came from above! As it yanked him into the ceiling, I did the first thing that came to mind - softening the stone and earth above us in hopes that they both would slide back into the chamber. Of course, this meant the whole ceiling came down, too.. At least it did bring “Pockets” and the creature back within reach! We immediately waded into battle, except for Aramil, who luckily couldn’t free himself from the dirt in time to get in the way. I’ll have to keep that idea in mind. Unfortunately, the creature escaped again, this time into the floor. We sorted ourselves out, and waited. And waited! I tried scraping at the ceiling like “Pockets” had (he was paralyzed again and this time Drusilia couldn’t help). There was a sudden movement from the dirt on the floor, and Drusilia nearly took the dog’s head off. She did hit Aramil, who’d seen that the dog had his spellbook and cluelessly dodged into sword range. Hrrrmph. He did get the book back, eventually, although he lost a few spells along with the cover. Now the poor dog has two people threatening its life for being a puppy!

I tried calling the dog - and it actually came over to me! I petted it for a bit, and then it decided to run down the creature’s latest hole. Ack! I could hear it sniffing and growling at something, though, and wondered if the thing had acually died right below us. I tied a rope to myself and gave an end to Valon, and climbed down the hole! The dog was yanking on a leather bag in the side of the passage.. no creature. Ah, well! I did bring the sack back up, which proved to be a bagful of gold, so I can’t complain. Still, we were wondering what to do. It was quiet - Fafnir had actually fallen asleep! “Pockets” came unparalyzed, and since he’d been awake the whole time, we found out what had been percolating in his brain - he immediately headed down the newest tunnel! We followed (even Fafnir),.and after an hour and a half, reached the surface. Prints led us deeper into the woods and we followed them to where it had gone to ground again - and in we went! Fafnir became a huge weasel, which would come in useful, as after hours of crawling, we came to a dead end.

I knew we were only about eight feet underground, so I passed my shovel to the rear of the party and told them to start digging up and pushing the dislodged dirt into the tunnel behind. Of course, it was Aramil who had the job, so Fafnir was able to tunnel himself up and back before he got too far! (OK, it’s not like he’s used to digging.. *sigh* gotta give the guy a break). We used Fafnir’s tunnel and found ourselves in the forest, and already into the next day. We took the time to pray, and Drusilia’s removed the last of the party’s deafness. The dog is now with me, since “Pockets” spends a lot of time with a drawn bow and arrow nocked at its head. He won’t take any money for it but I hope he lets up! I need to learn how to teach the poor puppy to behave. Drusilia, by the way, says her name is Watch.

I’m back to hoping you’ll pray for us, Grun. We need all the help we can get! I hope the creature’s gone for good but I wish we’d killed it, and meanwhile, we need to get to the Temple fast! What a crazy life - and I can’t complain, it’s what I asked for!

With love,

Posted by Kate at 13:55 | Ghelt’s Journal

The Search for the Beast

Pockets' Journal

I would like to tell myself that we knew what we were doing. I would like to tell myself that we even made progress. The shame of it is that we need to pull together better, or we will die down here. And maybe I am to blame for it more than the others. But after that thing attacked me once, I was pissed.

During our crawl, I stopped to put up a signal, in case the creature came up the tunnel behind us. In hindsight I see the folly. The creature used the opportunity to attack me. It seems to be able to sense us, to the point of picking off the last party member, or lead member at its will.

At one point I sat in the hall by myself, just 15 feet from my friends, and tried to bait the monster in. He came, and attacked me, and the party attacked him. Almost as if my plan was working, until it decided to go back into its tunnels. I tried to latch on to it, to give the party a chance to finish the creature off. Unfortunately, Aramil took the chance to grab my feet and pull me off the creature. I continue to be amazed by my friend, one day I hope to know what the $#*^$ he is going to do, before he does it.

The battle continued, the creature would come and attack, then retreat. A very hard tactic for us to fight in the confined space. To make matters worse, that #$$#$* mutt, Otto, took off with Aramil’s spellbook. By the time Aramil could find anything of it, the dog had eaten half of it. I agreed with Aramil, that creature must die, it is no dog. I believe the witch sold it to us to distract us from the truth.

Well, we followed the monster for many hours to run into a dead end. While the party found it frustrating, it convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt, we will have to deal with the witch and maybe more from the carnival.

When we camped, I decided it was time to finish that mutt off. But no,… the clerics decided they like the creature and that it deserves to live. They can’t protect it forever, either Aramil or I will get it.

Posted by Jim at 14:33 | Pockets’ Journal

Why am I here?

Aramil's Journal

What were we doing? We decided to follow this creature the others found before rescuing me, and I think being underground all day with no food and water made everyone a little grumpy. The thing attacked us time and again and there were several good ideas from the party, but we just kept arguing. I think it was hurt the most when Ghelt softened the earth under it and caved the ceiling down. We all had good intentions, but I think a week or so of rest will fix things. I might need 2-3 weeks to fix my spell book now that that dog ate it on me. I’ll kill that thing. Well, we’ll see what happens.

Posted by Fred at 14:51 | Aramil’s Journal

August 20, 2003

Fog, Fire, Frustration

Drusilia's Journal

Godsday, Flocktime 18, 592 CY, continued

After we returned to town, I was able to use my share of the gold we found to get my holy symbol repaired by one of the carnival’s craftsmen. All the vendors in the carnival seem to be stocked with everything imaginable— the craftsman actually loaned me a holy symbol to carry while I waited the hour for the repair! While this was happening, I had the sad duty of going around and telling the loved ones of the fate of those that had gone missing. I gave the families what gold I had— one less thing for them to worry about during their time of grief and adjustment, though my companions said the amount I gave them will likely unbalance the local economy.

I retrieved my fixed holy symbol while the carnival was finishing up the last of its packing to move to the next city. I had just stepped away to see what all my friends had purchased when we noticed a fog was rolling into Smallville quickly. Within moments though, the fog was gone.

So was the carnival.

Apparently, Valon had purchased a magical silver egg from one of the carnies, who claimed it could take us anywhere on Oerth that we wished to go— for example, Hellfurnaces. And suddenly, we were on a high peak overlooking a volcano. Unfortunately, we weren’t all completely ready for the trip, and we had arrived twelve days earlier than the portal to the Temple of the Void was to open!

As we were getting our bearings, we noticed two things in rapid succession: a cave entrance about 30 feet below us, and a large red dragon bearing down on our location. I was not properly prepared for our departure from home, having thought I’d be attending to funerals and counseling for the next two weeks rather than combat, but Pelor’s sun domain allowed me to cast some protective spells against heat and fire. As my friends quickly prepared Feather Fall and secured a rope to insure that we all made it to the cave, I started to cast spells to protect against the elements. We made it into the cave and started down a long tunnel. Of course, I couldn’t run and cast simultaneously, so I was about 100 feet behind by the time I had cast the spell at everyone running past me. The dragon pushed its snout into the cave entrance and breathed fire. I was injured, but Pelor’s spells gave me much protection and I was able to heal myself once I caught up with my friends. However, I do not wish to encounter that dragon head on again!

The tunnel into the mountain lead to a vertical shaft with heat pouring out of it. We tied ropes together to climb down nearly 80 feet, except for Aramil, who decided to climb about halfway down and then plummet the remainder. I don’t really understand his ways, I’m afraid.

We found ourselves in a chamber with pools of molten lava pooling in various places, with tunnels going north and south. Remembering that the Temple would appear south of the highest peak of Hellfurnaces (which we had arrived on), Ghelt, Valon and I suggested we go left, while Pockets, Aramil, and Fafnir chose to explore north. They fought a magma ooze and found an exit pointing towards the red dragon’s lair (we think), while we went north and met....

Arkon. At least, that’s who it looked like! Valon was scared speechless and frozen in place, and while Ghelt and I tried to pull him away, we found a wall of force prevented our exit. Archon asked where Aramis was. This seemed odd to me, but knowing Aramis had safely departed to a celestial plane, giving Arkon this knowledge was no real problem. I was actually quite shocked to see him— apparently, Aramis never destroyed his phylactery. In fact, Archon thought we had something that belonged to him, though, other than a few magic items Ghelt had stripped from his body, we had nothing of his (and what we did have was on Fafnir and Aramil). Ghelt and I exchanged another glance— the Heart of Nerull was in a bag carried by Valon— surely that is what the lich came for? I could see Ghelt was ready to grab it if Valon made a move to hand it over, for he was definitely awestruck by the lich. However, Valon simply told Arkon that we had come to Hellfurnaces to destroy the Heart. Arkon surprised us again by saying “Go ahead— the Heart is useless to me now.” He went on to warn us that Aramis was not what he appeared, and that destroying the Heart might cause disastrous repercussions across the land. Then, as quickly as he had appeared, he disappeared, leaving us unharmed.

The whole encounter was so strange, that I wondered briefly if Fafnir had somehow cast an illusion to make it appear that Arkon was still a menace, but he quite definitely doesn’t believe we even saw the lich, and I can usually tell when Fafnir is up to something mischievous. This is, needless to say, quite troubling.

After making sure Valon was okay, the three of us continued on a ways, hoping to find something that would aid us in our quest. We found a salamander tribe— actually, judging by the size of it, I would say an entire city— far below a cliff at the end of the tunnel we had been following. I hope we do not have to pass through it to destroy the Heart! We quickly returned to the chamber where we’d last seen our other companions, and they did the same. I think it would be wise if we stuck together for now on, but of course, I don’t have any control over my headstrong comrades!

Posted by Kristin at 21:42 | Drusilia’s Journal

August 21, 2003

Here We Go Again

Aramil's Journal

Well, Valon said he had a way there and so we decided to go right away. Drusilia needed to do some last minute things, so we waited for her, then off we went. After we got to the top of this mountain, it was mentioned that the portal wouldn’t open for just under 2 weeks. I mentioned something about making a camp, but no one listened. After a little looking around, Pockets pointed out this large red dragon coming after us. We didn’t panic this time, instead they came up with a very good plan, and we feather falled down into a 5’ by 5’ cave entrance. With the help of a carefully tied rope that is. Then we ran, and ran fast. Dru didn’t run as fast, but she had a few useful spells.

After a bit we came to a drop in the cave, it went straight down. Pockets just climbed. I tied a rope to myself and then climbed, just in case I had to catch him before he just fell to his death. The shaft went down for about 60 feet or so, then there was a drop into a cavern. I climbed back up to tell the others what was there, then climbed back down. At the bottom of the shaft I had to rely on the rope, you see they had to tie two ropes together to get to the bottom of the cavern, but it wasn’t done right, and when I let go of the shaft, I fell. Pockets used the sword to heal me and we waited for the others to come down.

There was enough light coming off the lava pools to allow us to see. We had a choice and somehow the party got split. Pockets, Fafnir and I went up one passage, Ghelt ,Valon, and Drusilia went the other. Our group traveled for a little the came across this moving lava. We attacked it and eventually killed it. We then traveled further coming to a split in the path. We went left and found the way out, and Pockets pointed out a spot with a lot of steam coming out; we think the dragon lives there. We followed the other path for a bit, but found nothing and went back to find our companions. When we met up with them the told us they met a lich. Whatever. Anyway I’ve been thinking and I might have a plan to kill the dragon, I’ll talk it over with the group, and see what they think.

Posted by Fred at 15:28 | Aramil’s Journal

August 24, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 33 - I think somebody's been hittin' the bottle

Fafnir's Journal

After returning to town, everyone seemed to want to go their separate ways. I spent a few hours patching the floor of my house, but after that I thought we should get moving to the south. After all, while we knew that the portal we were seeking would not appear for another 10 or 12 days, all we really knew about it’s location was that it was “to the south of the highest peak in the Hellfurnaces.” That covers a whole lot of ground, and 10 days isn’t a whole lot of time to search half of a continent!

While I was pondering how to teleport our entire party such a long distance, Valon came to the rescue. He had purchased a silver egg that contained a powerful teleport spell... Powerful enough to transport us all to the Hellfurnaces instantly. As soon as we all gathered around him, he activated the single-use egg, and we were there! (For some reason Drusilia and Ghelt were confused by this... I thought the whole party knew where we were going!? But, as I would notice later, this was only the beginning of their strange behavior.)

No sooner had we arrived near the top of a volcano in the Hellfurnaces, than we noticed that a huge red dragon was coming right for us! This didn’t seem like the time to engage in a hopeless fight, so we ran! Luckily we had noticed a small cave inside the crater of the volcano. With a little ingenuity involving a rope, a piton, and Feather Fall, we were soon safe inside the cave... and not a moment too soon. As we were running down the passage way, a burst of flame followed us. Only Drusilia was hurt, as she was more concerned with casting protective spells on the rest of us than saving her own skin. I guess that is typical behavior for a cleric though.

Rather than going back to get killed by the dragon, we decided to explore the natural passageways we now found ourselves in. We soon found ourselves in a large cavern with several pools of lava. There were two passages leaving the cavern in opposite directions. While Ghelt and Drusilia were trying to determine which way was south, Pockets and I decided to just pick a passageway, and check it out. Aramil decided to come along. Just as we were preparing to go, Ghelt decided that the other way was south, and that is the way we should be going. Pockets and I explained that we wanted to check out the other passageway to be sure there were no nasty surprises that would follow behind us as we proceeded to the south. This is where the problem came in.

Ghelt, Drusilia, and Valon decided that the were under no circumstances going to help us in checking out the northern passageway... they would just wait in the main chamber and “maybe” would come help us if they heard our screams... IF they thought we were dying horribly. Hmmph! (That really didn’t seem like “normal” behavior for them, but as I mentioned earlier... they were acting strange.)

In any case, Pockets, Aramil, and I scouted to the north. A short way down the passage we came upon a strange creature... It was a living puddle of magma! (Actually, I guess it was probably an Ooze of some sort but “Magma Puddle” just seems like a better name.) While Pockets tried several different techniques of fighting it (water, arrows, and whatever else came to mind.), I let loose with a few Magic Missiles which seemed to be slowing it down. Aramil had a different plan.

Just after Pockets had dumped some water on the thing, and it was making a retreat, Aramil sprang into action! Grabbing one of his magical arrows that we had found in our travels, he proceeded to cast Magic Missile(!!) into the arrow, and fired at the fleeing creature! Now this has several problems. For one thing, why would you take the chance of missing with an arrow, when Magic Missile would have automatically hit?! Secondly, as the creature was on the retreat, it didn’t seem to make sense to waste a limited resource (the magic arrow), when the spell alone would have sufficed! Oh well, I guess it’s just “his way,” and it did finish off the creature.

After our little adventure, we continued on for about another quarter mile, where we found a split in the passageway. The left-hand tunnel traveled down into the depths of the earth, while the right-hand passage traveled upward. We followed the right-hand tunnel out into a valley.

As we were enjoying the fresh air, Pockets pointed out a cave opening on the other side of the valley. There was steam coming from the opening, and it looked suspiciously like it might be the dragon’s lair! Deciding that we weren’t quite ready to fight the dragon yet, and since there didn’t seem to be any lurking dangers that would be following us to the south, we decided to head back to the rest of the party. I did notice that Aramil had a strange glint in his eye every time we mentioned the dragon, though. I hope he isn’t planning anything foolish.

When we returned to the chamber where we had left the rest of the party, they were gone! I guess it’s a good thing we weren’t screaming for their assistance! After a little while they returned from the southern passage, where they apparently decided to go scouting as well. We excitedly told them of our finds: the magma puddle and the dragon’s lair, and they told us what they had “found”.

“Oh, we ran into Arkon the lich,” Drusilia said, “and then we found a city of Salamanders.”

OK, What kind of a rube do they take me for? While I have no doubt about the “city of salamanders,” I can’t believe they would try to tell us they ran into the lich! Why on Oerth would Arkon be wandering around in the depths of Hellfurnaces? And furthermore, they expected us to believe that after a “friendly chat,” he just walked off and let them go!

I am starting to suspect I understand what is going on now... Why Ghelt and Drusilia were so confused when we left town, why they were being argumentative about scouting north, and now this strange story... I think they must of spent the few hours in town this morning boozing it up! I am not sure how they convinced Valon to go along with their story, but I think he might just being doing it for a joke. That’s OK, I’ve played a few jokes myself... I’ll have to think up a good one to play on them when the time is right. Hehehe. :) A lich. Who would believe that?

So, once we wait for Ghelt and Drusilia to ‘sober up,’ we will have to decide what to do next. I am not sure going through a city of Salamanders is a good idea, but our other options don’t feel right either... A passage to the north, or a dragon’s lair. Maybe once we can all talk about it further, we will come up with a solution.

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

Posted by Dave at 11:40 | Fafnir’s Journal

And We Go

Pockets' Journal

After a bit of our typical arguments, we used a magical egg of Valon’s to travel to the next site of the Hellfurnaces. At least that’s what they said we are doing. I still remember that he information came from the witch. Upon arriving we noticed we were not alone. There was a dragon looking to make us his midday snack. Someone noticed a cave opening and the party decided to go to it. This sounded bad to me, but hey, it was a direction to go.

Into the darkness we went, desperately trying to reach beyond the breath of the dragon. On we went into the cave, we traveled a while, beginning to wonder if there was any way out, or would we have to return to the dragon.

Eventually we found a way to drop to another cavern. Once down, we differed on what way to go, so we split into two groups and explored. Fafnir, Aramil and I traveled one way to make sure that nothing would be sneaking up on us from behind, and the others decided to go to the place we are here to seek, despite the fact that there is two weeks until it arrives.

We three traveled a bit and found another large cavern. Upon attempting to cross it, we found a puddle of lava started to follow us. We backed up and defended ourselves. After a short, and strange battle, we slew the creature. Then we traveled on again, looking for any signs of trouble, and any more of the traveling lava. After reaching a split in the path, we scouted both. One led to nowhere, the other to the surface and the dragon’s lair.

We returned to our comrades to tell them of the lair and the lava creature. Apparently they were too scared to scout without us, and made up a story to cover it up. A little too outrageous though. They say the lich from the city of the dead came and talked to them, took the Heart of Nerull, and gave it back. Then this lich, who wanted us dead before, simply left them.

The only irony of the story, is they said the lich warned them about the “angel,” saying not to trust it. I think they are just finally realizing what I said about it was true, and made up this story to explain why they agree with me.

Posted by Jim at 12:01 | Pockets’ Journal

Another Day, Another Tale...

Valon's Journal

Today started out well enough. The morning was beautiful, the sun was shining, and nothing was currently eating the party. When we got back to town after leaving the Dim Forest it was apparent that the carnival was packing up and preparing to leave town. There are those who are convinced that the creature that lurked beneath the quiet little town of Smallville is linked to the carnival. It is possible that the creature was just another minion of Durll, the same as the drider Kalanaar. I suppose only time will tell. Pockets suggested that word should be sent to the next town on the carnival’s itinerary.

While restocking supplies for the next leg of our epic quest I sought out the advice of the old woman Zorlla, seeress of the carnival. She was quite helpful and even provided a means to expedite our journey to the Hellfurnaces mountain range in the form of a silver egg. Her only instructions were to crack the egg and its mystical energy would sweep us to the place where we were most needed to be upon the winds of the ether. After rejoining the group an eerily strange fog bank rolled into and through Smallville, disappearing as quickly as it appeared, taking the carnival along with it without leaving a trace that they were ever even here.

During one of the party’s typical spirited discussions in which nothing was being resolved I strangely found myself compelled to crack the silver egg. In a brief moment we found ourselves standing on the brink of a volcano overlooking the hot and desolate mountainous landscape of the Hellfurnaces, the plumes of dark smoke rising from a least a dozen massive volcanoes. The lip that we were standing on looked down into the open maw of an active volcano and the churning pool of magma could be seen far below. The only ways away from the volcanic crater was by means of either a rocky path leading down the outside of the mountain that quickly turned out of sight, or by entering the crater directly. A small cave entrance could be seen in the side of the crater approximately thirty feet down from the edge that we were standing on. Of all the places that we needed to be the most! It didn’t take long to decide which way to go, what with the huge red dragon that seemed to be descending upon us at a rather nasty pace. I looked to Fafnir to try and determine if perhaps he was playing one of his little tricks on the party once again. The look on the gnome’s face was enough to convince me that the dragon was a real enough threat. Pockets quickly drove a piton, from his apparently never ending stock, into the rock. With a rope securely tied in place the screaming, suicidal mass of undercooked flesh that was the party leapt into the volcano. With the aid of feather fall, a little skill, and a wagon full of luck we escaped into the opening of the rock face below. We fled down a narrow passage before the dragon could reach us. The heat within this place is oppressive and it’s hard to breathe.

It didn’t take us long to find our way down a vertical shaft that appears to be a lava flow tube. Hopefully the volcano won’t decide to occupy these tunnels at the same time as us. It was at this point that the party found itself in a cavern with two exits in either direction and pools of hot magma scattered about. In typical party solidarity we chose to split up. With Drusilia, Ghelt and myself going the correct direction and the stubborn, possibly insane members going the other we moved off.

I’m not sure what really happened after that moment. I vaguely recall that somewhere down the passage that we were following we encountered something that my mind refuses to even contemplate... something dark, ancient and evil ... something familiar... something calling to me.…

Posted by Hugh at 12:25 | Valon’s Journal

It's never easy, is it!

Ghelt's Journal

Dearest Grun,

We’ve returned to our usual style of adventuring, I fear - scatterbrained and split-up, yet, hopefully, meant to turn out well in the end!

We began, again, by walking back to town. At least our party was complete! The dog ran about happily, and Aramil and “Pockets” entertained themselves with imagining its death as we walked. When we got home, the carnival was in the middle of packing up. Most of us went for last-minute supplies. Fafnir decided to repair his flooring, and Aramil went with him to study. Guess Aramil hasn’t been around much carpentry work..

Drusilia was lucky - she found someone to repair her holy symbol! I found the fortuneteller and asked about the white creature’s fate. Unfortunately, we didn’t kill it, but at least it’s not coming back here. Then I asked her about where to get toys for the dog.. which earned me a strange look, but she pointed down the row. I picked up a book about dog training, and some toys and treats. And a leash!

Finally, we all met in the middle of town to discuss how to get to the mountains. I suggested Midrock for a teleport, and we were working out whether to travel with horses or a wagon, when Valon showed us an egg. A silver egg, which he said would magically take us to Hellfurnaces! I ran to say goodbye to Father and my brother, while Drusilia went to tell the families of the creature’s victims’ fates. By the time we all gathered, Aramil had gotten ahold of some ale as a peace-offering, which I accepted. We have to get along and I know it! The dog was enjoying my efforts to leash it, so I eventually put the leash away and called her over just as Valon broke the egg..

Instantly, we were standing atop an active volcano! Of course, this was the point at which someone pointed out that we had ten or twelve days to wait for the Temple entrance to appear.. I guess we were thinking there’ d be.. something.. here, instead of bare mountains. Typical of our party! I noticed a cave below us inside the volcano’s cone, and a path winding down the outside. But sharp-eyed elves saw a red dragon flying towards us! We debated briefly and decided to go for the cave - if we could get beyond his fire, we hoped he couldn’t get inside.

“Pockets” set up pitons and a rope at top speed, and Fafnir readied us for a feather-fall. Drusilia was thinking of all the things she could do to protect us from fire - she even remembered that the dryder’s greatsword caused ice damage, which would come in handy if I had to go toe-to-toe with the beast. We jumped, fell gently, and tumbled into the hole! Drusilia was casting spells of protection on anyone who she could reach, which slowed her down as we ran, and the poor elf was caught by the fire that the dragon blasted down the tunnel.

The rest kept running but I waited and helped her put out the flames, and then we walked down the tunnel, waiting to hear screams from the rest. Kind of sad, Grun, that we just expect them to get in trouble, and wait so we can get them out? Luckily, this time they were OK, and looking down a shaft into the heart of the mountain. Although we could hear the dragon settling on the ridge above, I warned the others that this wasn’t a safe place to stay. Lava tunnels aren’t good hiding places in active volcanoes! We had no choice but to climb down this shaft, however, so I was glad when “Pockets” and Aramil climbed down for a look, and Aramil came back to tell us they could see two tunnels to choose from. Fafnir tied some ropes together and I let Aramil down - I thought in a controlled manner, but Fafnir’s knot left something to be desired. Aramil took the fast route, again. After some argument, we tied another rope and a piton, and everyone finally made it down safe.

I figured out which way was south and pointed down the appropriate tunnel. So, half the party decided to check out the other way! I don’t care if we have ten days to play around in, that’s silly! Valon, Drusilia, and I decided to wait for the screams, again. I offered Watch a treat, and she came and ate it - good Watch! I need to keep reading that book. About this time I heard “Pockets” echoing up the tunnel - “It’s cute! Can we take one home?” Still, no screams, so we decided to take a quick look up the southern route.

What a shock we got, Grun! The lich lord showed up! Whatever its phylactery was obviously didn’t get destroyed! It asked us about Aramis, and the Heart of Nerul. Valon froze, so I grabbed him and started backing down the tunnel while Drusilia tried to answer the lich without getting us all killed.. but I came up against an invisible wall. The thing then threatened my life if no one would talk. Of course, I didn’t want anyone to do so - but Valon spoke! Whatever spell the lich cast, it made Valon tell him everything - even to having the Heart! I set myself to grab the Heart - I was going to smash it with the butt of the greatsword, figuring that it would be better to kill our small group than let that evil back into the world in the lich’s hands.

Then, things got weird. It was like the lich knew what I was preparing to do, and decided to mess with my head! It told us that destroying the Heart will destroy the world. It said Aramis the angel is not what he seems, has other plots, and was imprisoned for a reason. Then it announced that we’d broken any useful bonds with the Heart, anyway, so it didn’t really want it anymore. And off it went! I know it is trying to manipulate us, but I can’t figure out what for.. I still think the Heart needs destroyed, though. Of course an evil lich is going to spread all the chaos it can!

We settled ourselves, brushed poor Valon off, and headed up the passage again (wondering if the others would believe a word we said). The tunnel led downwards to a cavern, and a city full of lizard-humanoids, and the whole place looked to be on fire! We backed up slowly, and went to find the others. They were all right, and full of stories of finding an exit - right across from the dragon’s lair! Naturally, they don’t believe that we saw the lich. I’m glad to rest for a moment. I hoped that writing this down would give me a better idea of what to do!

Praying for guidance,

Posted by Kate at 12:29 | Ghelt’s Journal

August 26, 2003

Dumb and Dumber

Drusilia's Journal

Waterday, Flocktime 19 592 CY, continued again

I am really starting to wonder if Pockets and Aramil are who they claimed to be; we’ve never even been able to get the name of a town they hail from. They certainly think differently than the rest of us! As we decided to head north down an unexplored tunnel (with Pockets so far ahead of us that we really couldn’t tell where he was “scouting”), Aramil, for no apparent reason, grabbed his rapier and stabbed the poor puppy that was frolicking around at our feet. Ghelt was so angry that she, in turn, stabbed Aramil with her greatsword (and she has a lot more power to put behind it). She may well have finished him off with another swing, but we all noticed that Watch had completely healed of her wound in just a few seconds. The dog gave Aramil a long stare before going back to doing her puppy things. Ghelt even went to the trouble of healing Aramil, though anyone that would blame an innocent little animal for his own carelessness....

We continued to follow Pockets’ south and sometimes west— though one time Aramil decided to flip a coin to determine which way to go rather than follow our plan (he eventually wandered back to us). I wonder if he makes all of his decisions with a coin toss. We abandoned a western passage that was filled with shrieking purple fungi and toadstools. South seemed quieter, so we continued that way, past lava flows and caverns. Quite unexpectedly, Pockets was entangled in five sticky strands that shot out of a stalagmite! We all immediately set to trying to untangle him, though the creature was quite strong and resisted magic. At one point, Pockets got a hand free and threw one of those blasted sticky balls of tripvine at the monster. Its only effect was to stick Ghelt and Valon fast to the back of the monster. One of my searing light spells managed to get through, and even Watch wounded it with a vicious bite (whether she was defending Pockets or Ghelt is difficult to say). Pockets then pulled a feather token out of his bag that turned into a tree. The tree hit the cavern ceiling, dislodging some boulders, which smashed the “roper,” killing it. When it died, its mouth opened and an 8” jade idol of an octopoidal-headed creature fell out. I suspect it symbolizes a deity of the illithids, though I am not sure if it is Ilsensine or Maanzecorian. I hope we don’t have the opportunity to find out!

We continued on south for a few hours more until we saw a glow ahead. We soon came to a large magma-filled gorge with a rickety rope bridge stretching 50’ to the other ledge. Pockets was able to cross easily, then Aramil, taking no cautions whatsoever, started to lurch across it. After falling and dangling from the ropes twice, he decided to come back the 15’ he’d gained to where the rest of us stood. Pelor forgive me, but I almost thought it would be a blessing for Aramil to fall in, as he is likely to get himself killed soon anyway. I’m sure Fafnir would object to a death in which magic items could not be safely retrieved however.

We had a brief skirmish with some very thin and dirty duergar who used poisoned weapons, after which Fafnir cast Fly on Ghelt and she took each of us over the magma in that fashion. We caught up with Pockets on a ledge overlooking an illithid city— the squid-headed creatures floated between their structures, thankfully unaware of our arrival. We decided that another way south, without a city to fight through, would be best, when little Watch, with a gleam in her eyes, bolted down the side of the cliff overlooking the city. We thought she was gone for good and with a whispered, “Watch, come back!” I was sure Ghelt was going to have to bid our little friend goodbye. The rest of us, other than Ghelt and Pockets, suggested leaving now and perhaps Watch would find us again, and began to head back to the tunnels. Suddenly though, Watch was clambering back up to the ledge, with a few mind flayers chasing her, still apparently unaware that we were in their domain. We could have left then, knowing Watch could take care of herself, when, Ghelt tells us, Pockets shot two crossbow bolts into the dog! Thankfully for Watch, she has the ability to heal instantly, but the bolts gave the illlithids our position! Horns sounded as we made our way back to the gorge as quickly as we could; at one point, Ghelt used a little divine magic to block the passage leading to the illithid city, but we continued to run. Fafnir turned himself into a bronze dragon when we reached the lava-filled gorge, and was taking me across first, when more duergar appeared with crossbows and poisoned bolts. Thankfully, Fafnir was able to kill them with a very powerful spell. We are continuing back the way we came until we can find a good resting spot. I had planned a “Heroes’ Feast” that would provide my comrades with extra protection against poison, as well as healing and blessing. Unfortunately, the spell takes an hour, and I don’t think my friends can sit together that long. I am not looking forward to Ghelt’s confrontation with Aramil and Pockets about their attempts to harm that poor puppy, but they deserve what they get!

Posted by Kristin at 14:29 | Drusilia’s Journal

August 27, 2003

Now we run, and run fast.

Aramil's Journal

We decided to check out the one corridor opposite the exit of this large mountain. We traveled for what seemed like hours before coming to another large cavern with 3 possible exits. We went to the one straight across. After a bit we came to a room with mushrooms in it, and after a little debate entered. the mushrooms shrieked, we ran out and back to the previous cavern. We took a southward exit, and came to a large chasm with a rope bridge. There was magma in the chasm. Pockets made crossing the bridge look so easy, but I almost fell to my death twice. No one else would try so we waited as Pockets scouted ahead. There is some tension between Ghelt and I again over the stupid dog, but if she keeps it in its place I might just forgive it, after I get my spellbook fixed.

After waiting a little, we were being shot at by duergar. We fought, and scared them off. Fafnir cast fly on Ghelt and she was nice enough to carry us all over to the other the chasm so we wouldn’t be there when the duergar came back. We followed the passage for hours before we bumped into Pockets again. We continued following till we came to a ledge overlooking a large city. Now here I must go back several hours to mention something I forgot. After the mushrooms, and before the chasm of magma we came to a large cavern and were attacked by a stalagmite with arms or something. We fought it the best we could and Pockets finally killed it by making a feather token a tree and the rock falling from the ceiling crushed it. In this thing’s mouth we found a jade figure of what I am told is an illithid. Well this city we found was full of these creatures levitating everywhere. So we decided to leave, all of us except Pockets and Ghelt.

Now let’s get something straight here, I don’t care how much that dog needs to die, what Pockets did was just wrong. First he told the dog that there was magic in the city and sent the dog after it. I left at this point and the rest is just speculation, but the dog had crossbow bolts in it the next time I saw it, and we were all running from illithids. I think the dog tried to run for its life and was shot at by Pockets, and that’s how the illithids know we were there. Either way, Ghelt collapsed the tunnel to hopefully at least slowed down the illithids. Then we were attacked by more duergar at the chasm. We fought and Fafnir cast spells while looking like a dragon. After the duegar were all dead Fafnir carried us all over the chasm. I’m currently carrying Pockets because he accidentally set himself on fire and is now unconscious probably due to the duergar bolt sticking out of him. We’re going to continue to run for a long time, and I think I might have to protect him from Ghelt for a bit.

Posted by Fred at 21:55 | Aramil’s Journal

August 30, 2003

Fafnir's Journal Entry 34 - Evil, or Just Plain Stupid?

Fafnir's Journal

Well, maybe we went the wrong way. Since Ghelt, Valon, and Drusilia failed to mention that there was a nice comfortable stairway leading down into the city of the salamanders, we decided to head off to the north, in the hopes that the passageway would wrap around and lead us to the city.

Well, it led us to A city... just not the one we had hoped for. After much trouble, we found ourselves overlooking a city of Mind Flayers! At this point Pockets decided to reveal his true colors. He is obviously trying to get us all killed!

We were preparing to head back the way we came before the mind flayers saw us, when Watch ran down into the city! We all thought she was a goner, but having no choice, we made a run for it. All of us except for Pockets and Ghelt, that is.

From Ghelt’s description of events, Pockets pulled out his crossbow and began shooting at Watch! Of course the mind flayers noticed this and began to give chase! Ghelt was about to knock some sense into him, when he took off as well.

I think we managed to escape, and we are now heading back the way we came (or at least we are heading away from the mind flayers!). An encounter with some duergar has left Pockets unconscious, which may be better for him... After his latest behaviour, he may have more than just Ghelt demanding an explanation.

Strangely, Aramil doesn’t seem that upset. It seems he also wants to kill the puppy. What is wrong with these people, are they evil, or just plain STUPID?!?!?

~=Fafnir Flamebrewer=~

P.S. I wonder why Pockets and Aramil aren’t afraid of the mind flayers?

Posted by Dave at 14:43 | Fafnir’s Journal

Deeper we go

Pockets' Journal

Farther and farther we go, into the deep of the Hellfurnaces. The party has decided to go farther to find a way around the city of flaming lizard people. I am trying my best to scout ahead as they asked, but the party won’t stay at the distance I asked.

At one point the party gets close to me, so I wait for them to see if all is well. To my surprise Aramil has a large gash in his back. Aramil took a swing at the mutt that the cleric refused to keep on a leash, I don’t blame him. It is then that Aramil says Ghelt took a swing at him and nearly killed him. Then only gave a partial healing. Why do they care more for the dog than the party.

Add that to the fact that Ghelt used her restore spell on the dog instead of me when I was wounded, makes me wonder what is going on. I may have to take matters into my own hands to fix this. I will not stand by and have my friend die due to the cleric’s desire to have a happy puppy.

Posted by Jim at 15:49 | Pockets’ Journal

August 31, 2003

Making Friends in All the Wrong Places

Valon's Journal

Well here we are again running for our lives. With mind flayers behind us and duergar ahead of us it looks like we have attracted all kinds of attention down here in the underdark.

It all started out innocent enough with the group wanting to explore some of the other passages with the hope of finding a way around the city of fire creatures that we saw to the south. Of course things couldn’t be easy. Aramil tried to kill the climbdog that we picked up from the carnival. The dog’s wounds healed almost instantly, curious. Ghelt in a rage sliced into Aramil so hard we thought that this could possibly be the end of him. But she seemed to reign in her anger and Aramil lives on to continue his foolish ways. So we went north and took the left passage since we already new that the right led to the outside. I was more than tempted to head towards the fresh air, open sky and the dangers that awaited rather than head deeper into the earth. But deeper we went with Pockets insisting on scouting farther ahead of the group. The passage that we followed seemed to have seen extensive travel. We travelled for what seemed like an eternity before we came to a cavern with three choices of egress. We followed the passage that seemed to have the most travel, which lead us to a cavern overgrown with large violet mushrooms. When we tried to cross the cavern the mushrooms let out the most ear piercing shrieks that lasted for a least fifteen seconds. Obviously this was some type of early warning system for whatever lay ahead. With what can only be described as a moment of divine revelation, the group’s collective intelligence seemed to actually go up and we turned back the way we came.

We retraced our steps back to the cavern and decided to try another path. This one lead to another similar cavern. Unfortunately this one was inhabited by a very large and apparently hungry stalagmite which fired out sticky strands and began reeling in party members. After a fierce battle we overcame this newest obstacle. In its stony maw we found a jade figure of a humanoid with a squid-like head. We quickly continued our journey down another passageway.

This one lead us to a great chasm. Looking into the chasm we could see the river of molten rock sluggishly flowing below us and an opening in the rock face across from us. The only discernable way across was by means of a not too safe looking rope bridge. Pockets moved with a fluid grace across the bridge to the other side while Aramil did the epileptic dance of a puppet with half its strings cut on the bridge, nearly falling over the side several times to a most uncomfortable demise, before making his way back to our side. Wisely, no one else decided to make the attempt to cross as we watched Pockets disappear through the other opening and waited for the screaming to commence.

The party decided that sitting in this narrow passage overlooking the fiery gorge would be a good place to rest as Fafnir wanted to prepare a few spells. It didn’t take long for trouble to find us though as the party was hit by a volley of crossbow bolts from the direction we had travelled. We saw a group of thin, scraggly, grey-skinned duergar reloading their crossbows in the passageway. As Drusilia fired an arrow of detonation down the passage Aramil decided that firing an arrow through the party in a tight confined space would also be a good idea. After the deafening roar of the fireball filled the passageway where the duergar were they wisely pulled back, carrying off their wounded.

It was decided that being on this side of the bridge was a bad idea and through the use of a fly spell Fafnir cast on Ghelt, we were each carried across the churning chasm of toasty death to the other side. Why we didn’t do this sooner so that the party could stay together I doubt I’ll ever know. It was down this other passage that we found Pockets on a ledge overlooking a vast underground stone city. In amongst the buildings we could see humanoids with squid-like heads floating between the buildings. In another brilliant spark of intellectual mayhem the dog ran down into the city at Pocket’s urging and soon came back being followed by two mind flayers. Pockets in his infinite wisdom decided to fire two crossbow bolts at the dog thus revealing our location to the mind flayers.

Thus we are now running. Fortunately Ghelt was able to collapse the tunnel behind us hopefully delaying pursuit. When we reached the chasm we were once again met with a hail of crossbow bolts from the far side. Fafnir easily took care of the problem and in the form of a bronze dragon flew us over to the other side. His usefulness to this party is exemplary. So now we run surely continuing to make friends wherever we go.

Posted by Hugh at 11:04 | Valon’s Journal

Pondering My Options

Ghelt's Journal

Dear Grun,

Well, my cousin, I’m pretty discouraged. We’re learning the peril of accepting party members just because they’re there. At the time it seemed like strength in numbers, when we met “Pockets” and Aramil in the City of the Dead, but now I really regret it. They’re bringing out the worst in me and I hate it, even if it is justified!

Reunited under the volcano, we discussed which passage was best to try: one led to the red dragon, another to the city of the salamanders, and a third was heading deeper into the earth but seemed safest by comparison! “Pockets” took off first, the rest of us followed in a group, and the trouble began.

Watch was running about, sniffing and doing puppy things, when she happened to pass by Aramil. He instantly whipped out his rapier and stabbed her through the heart with it! No warning, no justification except that he’d been planning to do so for some time, and if I didn’t like it, to keep her away from him! Yes, I should have known it was coming from their previous behavior, yet I’d hoped they were coming to their senses regarding a puppy.

I laid into him without a second thought. Two hard whacks with the greatsword did a lot of damage (more than I’d expected, the sword has some magical power of cold, too), before I stepped back, half-horrified but still totally enraged that he’d do such an evil thing. Totally unrepentant, Aramil yelled at me to keep the dog away from him even as I yelled at him about hurting innocent animals. The others distracted us, then - Watch was not only alive, she was perfectly fine! I called her over and checked her out, and they were right - not a scratch on her! Yet I know she was hit, and Aramil was obviously frustrated that she’s not dead. The others are a little worried about what she is, but I’m just relieved that she’s able to defend herself from these two in any way.

By the way, Grun, leashing that puppy right now would be a cruelty; this place is incredibly dangerous and she needs freedom of movement. Anyone with a modicum of sense would see that. Maybe I ought to leash those two so they see what fun it would be to be tangled up when something attacks? I plan to train her to heel as soon as we get some time, and if we both survive this.

I hit Aramil with the wand of curing, and he kept walking before I could finish the job. We walked down the new path, finally meeting up with “Pockets” who heard Aramil’s version of events, which were quite true but obviously - he doesn’t get why this was wrong. Neither does “Pockets”, so I didn’t bother to point it out. We travelled on until we reached a new cavern with a few magma pools, and three exits. We decided to follow the one that looked regularly used, and took us westward (the other two were more south, but we’ve learned the hard way that half the party wants to check out everywhere but where we need to go). The tunnel took us to a dark cavern full of giant toadstools, and I could see two more exits when I walked in for a look. As soon as the others entered, the toadstools erupted in noise! What a shrieking! Although we obviously had knocked on someone’s front door, the rest decided to get the heck out of there, return to the cavern before and turn south.

The southern passage led to yet another cavern - and an attack! One of the stalagmites was alive, and it grabbed “Pockets” and seemed intent on dragging him into its mouth. Drusilia’s bolts of light and Fafnir’s of lightning did little damage, so I went charging in with Valon to do some hand-to-hand combat. Of course, it bit at us, too. Then “Pockets” threw a tanglevine and missed - attaching us to the base of the creature! After that mistake, he compounded his error by throwing acid at it and missing.. ouch! Watch even got in on the action, giving the monster quite a bite. Good girl! “Pockets” now pulled out a charm of some sort, which turned into a huge tree trunk, growing up to the ceiling and smashing rocks down onto us, but this time he succeeded - the creature was crushed by the debris.

We took a moment to heal up, and restore “Pockets” and the dog’s strength. An idol of a creature Drusilia said was an ilithid dropped from the monster’s mouth, which she feared meant there were some around, but we regrouped and headed south once again. The trail led downwards, and it got very hot, and I was wondering how much longer we’d be able to stand the environment, when we reached an awesome sight - a chasm full of molten magma, with one rope bridge across! “Pockets” had no trouble navigating the ropes, but Aramil had so much trouble that he had to come back, and we decided to wait while “Pockets” searched ahead. I’d just fed Watch a snack, when crossbow bolts were shot down the tunnel behind us! Fafnir was hit and fell over unconscious - poison! While Aramil shot arrows through the party from the back (missed us all by a miracle), Drusilia pulled out an arrow and let fly - it hit with an explosion that sent the duergar scurrying back up the tunnel. She healed Fafnir and we began to look seriously at how to get across the bridge.

Finally, Fafnir cast fly on me. At least I wasn’t flying over water! If I fell in the magma it would be a quick death rather than one by drowning. It was all right, however, and I was able to fly everyone across in safety. We decided to see what had happened to “Pockets” and found him, looking over a ledge at a city - but not of salamanders, it was full of ilithid mind-flayers, and we were in no doubt that the duergar were no danger by comparison!

And here, Grun, is where the other half of my terrible dilemma formed. “Pockets” decided to whisper somthing to Watch and point down into the city - and, like a puppy wishing to please, off she ran! I was not able to call after her, not when it would bring the whole city down on our party! As the others ran back up the passage, I decided to wait and try to call her after they had a head start. “Pockets” waited, too, and as soon as he saw Watch trying to come back to us, he pulled out his crossbow and shot two bolts into my dog! I was shocked and ready to give him a shove over the edge, but he was gone already - his shots had let the ilithids know we were there, and where, and the whole city was swarming up the cavern after us. Watch, thank Moradin, was OK, although bolts were sticking out of her, and I was left to run up the passage and collapse the tunnel behind us to slow them down.

Of course, as we reached the bridge, the duergar were there waiting for us. They hit “Pockets” with a bolt and he collapsed. He also burst into flames, but I didn’t care. Fafnir had transformed into a dragon, and I was stuck shooting my crossbow and shouting for him to get me across the magma so I could lay into those evil dwarves! Luckily, Fafnir had one heck of a spell up his sleeve - he cast something that caused them all to die! He then flew us all across, and we’re off running again. I hope we can reach someplace of relative safety, here; getting lost in this maze of tunnels may be our only hope.

And what do I do about “Pockets” and Aramil? As Drusilia’s pointed out, we know nothing about their histories, but we trusted them. We know nothing about their motives, and they seemed to be on the same page with us as adventurers, but now I just give up. “Pockets”, especially, needs to leave or to die. I certainly can’t trust his word. He thinks it’s a vendetta against a dog? He nearly got us all killed or worse! Over a stupid petty ongoing tantrum about a puppy’s behavior! Whatever Watch did is nothing by comparison, yet he thinks she must be killed. He’s either evil or insane, and we can’t afford to put up with it in this situation.

Dearest Grun, I fear what I may have to do for the safety of the party. May Moradin forgive me, for I fear I won’t be able to forgive myself.

With love and trepidation,

Posted by Kate at 11:42 | Ghelt’s Journal