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April 1, 2008

Roaming Gnomes

Fortuna's Journal

Reaping 24, 594 CY

The next time we saw Elizair and Janet, they were dead. The bone devil dragged their remains right past where Fash and I were cowering, and there was nothing we could do. Sometimes it is an unfortunate thing to have such good vision— even in total darkness, we could see there was no help for either of our companions. We slunk back to the room where the battle took place— there was a lot of blood, a blue feather or two and nothing else. We had to take stock of our bleak situation— Fash lost a very good bow and shield, and of course, my sword was gone as well. But, we were alive, and we did have news to take back to Exag— at least Elizair and Janet did not die in vain. We squeezed through the small fissure where Elizair had closed the passage off to larger creatures, scurried to the shaft out, and left the mine as quickly and quietly as we could.

We were making fairly good time on the road to Exag, but it was midday and we didn’t take the time to hide ourselves at all. In fact, we weren’t being all that quiet either. We came upon three ogres with clubs. I managed to kill one when Fash and I were able to flank it, but the other two were fairly undamaged at that point. Thankfully, two small people appeared on the road behind the ogres, and with their magic and weapons, we were able to dispatch the other two.

I turned to thank them and realized there was only a lone mage— the other creature was nowhere to be found, or was at the very least invisible. Holli introduced herself to us and called herself a “whisper” gnome. I had no idea there was more than one type of gnome, but then, Fash doesn’t look exactly like a “normal” gnome either. Holli also had a large furry “weasel” draped around her neck she introduced as Dabs. Dabs barely opened an eye to study us briefly, and then went back to doing whatever it is weasel scarves do.

Holli appeared as though she would continue on the way we just came from, so we hurriedly explained why that was a very bad idea. She said something to Dabs or perhaps the air beside her head, and then agreed to accompany us back to Allister and then Exag, which was nearly visible on the horizon. If only we’d paid more attention to how to get back safely.

We turned off the road and attempted to go well around the town so as not to be seen by anyone manning the walls. After an hour, we started to recognize the landscape, but only because we’d just seen it an hour before. Scanning the nearby hillside, we saw a rectangular opening in the shadows on one side, and somehow, we ended up wandering in. At this point, I was still trying to figure out who Holli was talking to over her shoulder. We found some blood right inside the roughhewn opening and further in, some broken sarcophagi. Fash found some shambling creatures as well, and not having his bow, attempted to engage one in melee. It did not go well for him, but the little green guy that was with Holli reappeared and came to his aid. We killed (rekilled?) both of the undead things, and checked the damaged sarcophagi— already looted.

Not really sure why we made a stop at this tomb, we decided we’d better get heading back to find Allister. But, we were pretty lost, and it was now late evening, so we decided to make camp and try again in the morning. Oh, we also got to meet the other whisper gnome, Keth, who travels with Holli. I have to admit, I find myself comfortable around them, even though they are very unusual— other than Fash, I don’t really know any other gnomes— my family is/was Elizair and the Whisperleaf family. Hopefully we’ll all get to know each other better, once the current crisis is past. I’m not sure I can face my adopted halfling family right now.

We accidentally managed to check out the ruins of Hightower the next day— the information will actually be invaluable if we can get to Allister in time. The ruins were crawling with undead— hundreds of skeletons and some fleshier undead were lining up to march on Exag. Once we figured out they were heading that way we made sure we got moving faster so that we could provide warning. Once we saw the walls of the town we headed south to where we thought Allister had gone with a few dozen of the town watch, and sure enough, found a group of tents where they’d been told to make camp. Once we announced who we were, we were ushered to Allister’s tent. I had to explain that Elizair and Janet had been slain, and many of the men-at-arms were quite sad to hear about the loss of my cousin. I guess she had some fans.

Once we spoke to Allister, he issued orders to break camp immediately. We then all returned to Exag so we could get them ready for the impending invasion— undead, ogres, orcs, duergar, mindflayers….

Posted by Kristin at 22:42 | Fortuna’s Journal

April 25, 2008


Fortuna's Journal

Reaping 25, 594 CY

Allister and I went to the Lord Mayor’s red clay “pyramid” to apprise him of Exag’s dire situation. The first thing the pompous human said was “why did you bring one of those?” (That made me feel about 4’ tall!) I do not like the Lord Mayor, and I kept quiet during the meeting, but used my ability to speak subaudibly to Allister while we were in the throne room. Allister asked all the right questions to lead me to believe the mayor is a few cards shy of a deck. He and the mayor spoke to each other quietly, but I had no trouble hearing most of what they said. Apparently, the mayor knew about the undead army, and had agreed to let them into the city to acquire some artifact called the Eye of Anubis which is sealed beneath the city. The undead would not attack as long as they were not provoked, which is why the city watch had been stationed so far away. Stranger still, the mayor planned to use Fash, Keth, Holli and I as sacrifices to retrieve the Eye, due to some “four of one family” of my race being needed!

Allister, now that he was up-to-speed on the mad plan, quickly escorted me from the mayor’s throne room, telling me I must gather my brothers and sister and depart from town as quickly as possible. I told him that not only weren’t we family, but that I wasn’t positive we were even the same race. Holli was raised by gnomes, Fash by dwarves, Keth by orcs, and I by an elf and some halflings. Allister walked with me till we found Fash, and then had to say a hasty goodbye— I fear I will not see him again, and feel strangely sad about that.

As Fash and I walked to the inn to collect Holli and Keth (well, we went to collect Holli, assuming Keth would naturally follow along at some point), I had some flashbacks to when Elizair found me. I was 14 years old— I should have some memories of my life before that, but I really don’t. I must have had some family that was the same race as me. I then had some pangs of guilt at how quickly I was replacing Janet and Elizair as my “family” with these three gnomes I’d just met.

We found Holli (and as predicted, could not find Keth). We decided to leave the city, but then we immediately snuck back in, hoping to help in some small way. We planned to hole up in the cell that had the hidden tunnel behind it. Good that we did, as we found Keth in a different cell in the same jail. I picked the lock on his cell and he managed to stay visible for a few minutes while we scavenged some provisions (and mattresses) to make a comfortable “nest” for ourselves if we had to weather a protracted battle in town.

Incidentally, I learned that Fash is my age (54), and that Keth and Holli are both 46. None of them seem to remember their early childhoods either, and I’m unclear how Keth and Holli ended up traveling together, but there seems to be a high level of trust between them.

I would have attempted to learn more, but we heard something occurring outside the gate— the undead army had arrived, and the archers on the city wall were told to stand down while the monsters entered the town unmolested. We saw many townsfolk hurrying into their homes and closing doors and windows. The city seemed to hold its collective breath as the undead marched to the red pyramid and a group of them moved inside. Keth decided to follow them while Fash wanted to stay with the archers; Holli and I waited till the undead had disappeared into the pyramid, and then went to hide outside of it and watch.

Nothing happened for a few minutes, then a wave of death seemed to burst forth from the pyramid. Holli and I nearly doubled over from the strength of it, and we both feel greatly weakened now. The wave seemed to extend to the very wall of Exag. Dark clouds gathered over the city and a 20’ tall humanoid shadow formed, possibly as a result of that un-energy wave, and left via the south gate. The undead army then departed as well, though it was about twice as large as before— many appeared from the city’s buildings as newly-dead humans joined ranks with their long-dead relatives. Holli and I then ran into the now-deserted pyramid to find Keth. He was looking at a pit in the floor surrounded by statues— he had tried to stop the undead leader from retrieving the Eye, and had then endeavored break the statues after the ceremony had completed. We attempted to help him with that part but were also unsuccessful. I asked him if he had seen Allister, but the look he gave me suggested that it would be something best discussed at a later time.

Trying to shake off the weakness and feeling of doom, I recommended that we go ransack a magic store, figuring whatever was left inside might better aid us than any future looters that might happen through. Even that did not go well— we got chased by a wraith. We did find Fash though, looking about as healthy at the three of us, and then we found a group of survivors hiding in a temple to Ulaa (the name is somewhat familiar, but I just can’t for the life of me place it)— it’s a small comfort that we aren’t alone, but I am not sure what we can do to help them when we can’t even help ourselves. Unlike our encounters in the city prior to today, the people in this temple seemed pleased that there were gnomes joining them, or perhaps they too are just grateful to see more survivors.

I can’t help but wonder— what happened to the army that was gathering at the mine?

Posted by Kristin at 14:41 | Fortuna’s Journal