Fortuna's Journal
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Fortuna’s Bio

Babble was not the first one Elizair brought back to Rattedaumen on one of his trips. I was.

The elf found me somewhere in the Sepia Uplands, alone among the bodies of dead goblins. This was over forty years ago. He took me to a gnomish settlement near there. They were having an elaborate funeral, but none that he was able to talk to recognized me. Elizair felt something else was amiss, but due to the somber state of affairs (or his “lapses of judgment” as he likes to say), he took me to Rattedaumen. He even managed to take care of me for a good thirty minutes before dropping me off at the Shrine to Pelor. The clerics at the shrine, in turn, asked some local halflings, the Whisperleafs, to look after me. Much to Elizair’s chagrin, they just happened to reside close to him.

I stayed pretty much on my own in an abandoned burrow. The clerics at the shrine had been wise: the halflings not only didn’t mind me “borrowing” items from in and around their houses to survive, they actually seemed to enjoy it; though they often made it challenging for me. This, in turn, helped me become quite good at hiding and moving quietly, though somehow Elizair always seems to know when I am sneaking around his home.

About twenty years after my arrival, another “orphan” was dropped off at the shrine, and again, this one didn’t quite fit in to any of the established communities in Rattedaumen, so Munthrek was unofficially adopted by a local innkeeper. I kept an eye on his progress in much the way Elizair had done for me.

I’m off to the Staggering Lich to teach Munthrek some more of the gnome language right now, and I’m letting him think he’s teaching me some draconic. Elizair usually stumbles in around this time, and one of my “cousins” Janet, usually meets us for her mid-morning breakfast after prayer at the shrine. Hopefully she will tell me what that damned parrot keeps shrieking at me; Elizair claims he has no idea, even though Babble is his familiar.

Fortuna Outlawe, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Character sheet: Fortuna Outlawe [Whisper Gnome Rogue]

Posted by Kristin on September 11, 2007, 15:14

End of Our Rope

Reaping 7, 594 CY
Zadrian’s Mansion

I had barely sat down at the table with Munthrek when Elizair and my cousin entered the inn. Janet looked a bit flushed and explained that she’d spent the morning “repenting.” Elizair let the damned bird do the talking. I have no idea what language it uses but heard the word “jar” in there—I think that’s Dwarven for “ugly.” Or Elven for “dove,” but we have determined that it doesn’t speak Elven. We ordered breakfast and waited for a job to find us.

Of course, Munthrek always ignores the job posting board and goes straight for the mysterious robed figure. In this situation, a red-robed figure was attempting to post a job, but that barely registered with my friend as he led our soon-to-be employer over to our table.

The elderly human sat down, and after a brief introduction got right to the point: his employer had not heard from her father for months and was willing to pay us each 800 gold for us to check on him. Timoth Zadrian, an alchemist, has a mansion a day’s journey north. We agreed to the mission and left town immediately after breakfast.

The trip was uneventful; the manor, exactly where we were told it would be. Circling the squat dome, we found a single large door. The lock had obviously been picked prior to our arrival. There was also a small stable. Janet and Elizair wanted to check that out, while Munthrek was more interested in the main building. I was halfway to the stable myself when Munthrek chose to enter the unlocked door. I went to call him and noticed that all that could be seen through the door was a gray mist. A quick look at the windows showed the same impenetrable mist filled the first floor. Elizair reported the stable to be empty, and calling for Munthrek to come back met with no reply, so we tied rope to link the remaing three of us together and stepped through into the murkiness.

After what seemed like forever, we emerged in a semi-circular chamber, where Munthrek stood looking at four statues of women holding goblets. Elizair commented that Babble, who had been perched outside the mansion, was “out of range” now; presumably the parrot would find some way to amuse himself while we searched for Zadrian. We began a search of the room, hoping to get our bearings before investigating the two other doors to the chamber. Using the dim glow from the ceiling to see by, we checked the goblets’ contents, and read the runes carved on each statue:

1: “The First Spirit” contained quicksilver
2: “The Second Spirit” contained a red powder: orpiment
3: “The Third Spirit” contained a salt-like crystal
4: “The Fourth Spirit” contained sulfur

Apparently, this has something to do with alchemy, so we figured we must still be in Zadrian’s home.

Next, we decided to try the doors out of the room. The first door I checked for traps appeared safe enough, though it was oddly warm. Opening it, we smelled burnt flesh and saw a large, red-furred wolf. Unfortunately, it saw us too. The beast inhaled, and attempts to blast us with fiery breath. I had no problem dodging the slow creature’s efforts, but Munthrek was not so lucky. Worse, the thing went after him. Seeing his trouble fighting off the wolf, I planned to sneak up behind it and slay it, but as I passed the open door another leaped out to attack Janet and me. I was able to eliminate this one the way I planned to kill the first and ran on to help Munthrek and Elizair as Janet started healing our injuries. It was at this point that I realized I’d been in similar situations with Elizair before, but not with Janet or Munthrek; I must learn how they react in combat before we find ourselves in a more serious situation.

No more hellish creatures appeared, so we decided to check the room from which they came. We found the source of the burnt flesh smell— it was, in fact, burnt flesh. A charred corpse lay on a couch in the middle of the room. Elizair detected magic on the body and found a magic dagger and some scrolls. He also found some good lockpicks—likely the ones used to pick the manor house’s door before our arrival. So, probably not Zadrian.

We continued through this room to another mist-filled doorway. After securing ourselves with more ropes, we found ourselves in a small room with black walls, no ceiling, and chains covering the floor. There was also a chest on the far side of the room, and beside that, a switch. Checking the chest revealed nothing particularly alarming, so we opted to open it. Before we could even examine the contents though, the switch flopped, and we all found ourselves falling toward a starless sky above us! Janet managed to keep a hold of her rope and so did not move too far, while the rest of us “plummeted” skyward. I grabbed a chain, which thankfully was attached to the floor, and tried to grab Munthrek as he flew past. He already had hold of Elizair and was trying to use his wings to slow their ascent. Now that we all had a tenuous tether to the room below, we were about to haul ourselves back down about 100’ of chain, when a spike-filled pit opened in the floor and we began a rapid descent towards it. Poor Janet fell right in it, perched as she was on the edge, and Munthrek, in spite of his gliding descent, was slightly injured as well. Elizair managed to land on the trunk while I landed safely on the remaining ledge around the pit. Elizair found a folded robe, covered in moons and stars, in the chest, and hastily grabbed that before anything else happened. We got out of that room as quickly as we could.

The next door we checked led down a wooden path into a desert—we opted to save that one for later.

We returned to the main chamber and tried the other door out. This led us into a room full of books on shelves—and 6” of snow. We attempted to read the spines of a few books, only to have them start flying off the shelves and attacking us! I caught one in my net to check later. Finding another door, we ran out of this room as well, straight into a dining room.

While the room wasn’t as dangerous as the last several, I was disturbed to see a kobold and three hobgoblins standing at the table! The little creature began to rant: “You have entered the presence of Gurlzick the Great! Show me respect and I will show you mercy!” I wanted to put a bolt through the hateful little creature, but my companions chose a more diplomatic approach. Fortunately, the kobold turned out to be a sorcerer, and the hobgoblins, nothing more than illusions. He visibly relaxed when I agreed not to skewer him on the spot, and explained that he had been wandering in the desert when he found a doorway just sitting there. He walked through that and found himself in a kitchen filled with flying cutlery, and then came to the dining room immediately after that. We agreed (well, someone agreed on my behalf!) that we should work together. The kobold does not want to go back to the desert, but admits he knows nothing more about this place than we do.

We continued, reptilian sorcerer in tow, to another room, which was little more than a closet. It had the remains of alchemical paraphernalia in it—mostly cracked crystals and empty crocks. That left us with the knife-filled kitchen.

We ran through the room, pungent with the smell of rotting food, and into a room beyond that. We all were immediately struck with a feeling of dread and we stared at the room filled with seven coffins. We decided to ignore the arcane sigils and the book on a pedestal in the middle of the room as well, and ran through to another door….

Posted by Kristin on September 26, 2007, 14:15

Fun with Alchemy

Reaping 8, 594 CY

…and were attacked by suits of armor and swords. Thankfully the armor wasn’t wielding the swords. It was a clumsy fight around a trapdoor in the floor. Elizair “slew” one of the swords, and the kobold took out a suit of armor. I fought a sword off that attempted to attack the kobold and then finished off the other suit of armor. I could see Janet out of the corner of my eye one minute; the next she had yanked the trapdoor open and was down a stairwell. We all followed her down as quickly as possible, listening to some strange, rhythmic music coming from somewhere below. We saw a light, and headed towards it, the “music” getting louder as we approached.

We were met with a strange sight: a stone creature with a huge block of granite where one leg should be, stomping around in a circle, while waves of distortion and lightning leapt forth from a ball in the corner of what must be the alchemist’s lab. Near that, a half-naked, limp human lay on the floor. Sure that it was Lord Zadrian, I quickly made my way towards him, having to wiggle out of some chains that kept trying to grab me. I got to the old man, but couldn’t rouse him right away; thankfully Janet had snuck past the dancing rock monster to heal him. As she did so, vials of some rather nasty (and painful) liquids kept smashing into us. The man did not regain consciousness until Janet wrestled a bronze helmet off of him. He started to rouse when the helmet leapt out of her hands and landed squarely on his head again! He went limp again. I managed to wrestle the helm back off as torches flew off the walls to hit us, and Janet shoved the helm into her haversack before it could undo our progress again.

The man, who did turn out to be Zadrian, said that he needed quicksilver to stop the attacks from the normally-inanimate objects and the other weirdness that had befallen his home. I remembered the quicksilver in the first room we’d fought our way through, so I ran back through all the rooms to retrieve some. Thankfully only a few knives and books followed me back to the lab. The two sorcerers were fighting off the stone creature while Munthrek appeared to be keeping the animated chains occupied.

Zadrian told Janet and I that we need only hit a crystal on the pulsating sphere in the corner with a drop of the quicksilver, without actually touching the sphere ourselves, and the dimensional rifts it had caused would disappear. No problem! Just as I was about to hit it with a bolt, a flask of something that blurred my vision hit me square in the face. Thankfully Janet has that innate ability that halflings have, and was able to hit the crystal with a sling stone on her first try. Everything that had been zipping around the room dropped to the floor. We found ourselves in a basement, staring up at the open sky. Apparently the rest of the mansion got sucked into the various planes that had invaded the individual rooms. Elizair was greeted with the familiar, rude-sounding squawk from Babble, and we could see the empty stable beyond the walls of the cellar.

We decided to spend the night with the alchemist, who assured us that he could restore much of his lost mansion easily enough. He told us of his attempts to create an “interdimensional web” had resulted in entities coming into this plane and possessing various objects in his mansion—and when he attempted to abort the project, the helm of sleep attacked him, keeping him, well, asleep!

In the morning, Zadrian told us he need not accompany us back to town for any supplies, but gave us a note and his signet ring to show our employer he was alive and well. The kobold sorcerer decided to stay with the elderly human—I assume he will help restore the lab—both he and Zadrian seemed pleased with the idea.

We are home again, and Elizair and I went to have some items identified. I’m sorry to say the robe of stars we found is cursed, but even knowing that, one of the local merchants purchased it. I got to keep the shortsword. Elizair and Munthrek kept calling it a “dagger” but it’s very clearly a shortsword made for someone my size (Janet prefers weapons that “bash” things to swords, so we needn’t even offer it to her). The sword has some potent magic, and my friends seem to think it would be good for me to use when I sneak up on something. And, since they’ve now invested the best piece of loot in me, we must go find something equally awesome for each of them. Back to the Staggering Lich to wait for work to find us!

Posted by Kristin on October 11, 2007, 19:08

Miner Problems

Reaping 11, 594 CY
Dwarven mines

Still buoyed by our success and financial gain from our latest adventure, we all sat at our favorite table at the Staggering Lich, trying to decide what to do. None of us really needed any more coin, but we all enjoyed the combining of our various talents to achieve a common goal, and wished to have a similar quest to our last, rather than the mundane mercenary work we normally procure. Once again, luck proved to be ours—a commotion was coming from the courtyard in the middle of town, and we hurried out to see an unfamiliar man surrounded by locals. I wended my way through the throng, Janet beside me, to get a closer look. It was just a young man talking to the town guards, but his story turned out to be of interest to the four of us, so we pulled him aside to get some details:

Robar, as he called himself, had just arrived from the hamlet of Turnel, about two days’ walk into the Yatul Mountains west, to beg for rescuers to make the trip back with him. We were already jumping on the opportunity to help before we even got all the details, but we had plenty of time to get those on our trip! Seems there had been a series of earth tremors in the local silver mine, causing a collapse, and the dwarven miners had not been seen since. A rescue group dispatched to aid them also had not returned, and the hamlet had so few people that they needed to have Robar take a horse and ride to a larger town for help.

We were very confident that we could save the rescuers and miners, or at least report on their fate. Munthrek and I took (uneventful) watches on our one night on the open road, so that Janet and Elizair could get the rest they needed for spellcasting. I’m teaching Munthrek the Terran language—there’s always a chance that whatever caused the tremors is something that dwells below the mines, and being able to talk to such creatures might prove useful. Maybe he’ll teach me to understand what that damn parrot is always blurting at me—no chance of Elizair helping out there!

After a quiet night in Turnel’s Roc Roost Inn, we headed out the half day’s journey to the mine. As we entered the cave entrance, I wondered aloud if there was a second way out—there must be, but we didn’t have any idea where it would be, so we continued in through the known access.

We found a few equipment sheds and a dead dwarf pretty quickly. Elizair also found a silver ring (well, actually it was on the corpse) that will need to be studied later. Munthrek tried to dig around the area a bit, and we felt some tremors—and then the entrance collapsed. So, we decided we should do some investigating, and hopefully find another access to the outside. We did find something—a mechanical cage and crank over a 6’-wide shaft. We were about to lower Munthrek in the contraption when a chittering sound reached us. We all turned to see a huge scorpion-ant creature, and it didn’t look friendly! My friends’ weapons were bouncing off its carapace, but that enchanted dagger I was carrying made a terrific gash in the creature. Janet finished off that bug-thing while I ran to fight another that was attacking Elizair.

We decided to try to find another way down into the deeper mines, so Munthrek (who can see as well as I do) and I scouted ahead. We found several more sheds, some water-filled passages (avoided for now) and some rope and pulley systems in a few more shafts. Elizair and I went down through one of these shafts, and were met with more of the bug-creatures at the bottom. I was injured trying to protect Elizair, but thankfully Janet came down the rope and used some divine healing magic on me. The attacks of these creatures are particularly scary, as they seem to have venom that causes paralysis. I was wondering if they did other bug-like things, such as communicating with a hive mind (I felt like the bug-scorpions were purposely attacking me first when possible!), when Munthrek remembered he had bug-repelling candles in his haversack. I was pretty sure the candles are for little bugs, not human-sized killers, but he wanted us to each take some.

I then snuck ahead alone, trying to see if I could learn any more about the big insects, when to my horror I came upon a pair of them eating a dwarf! I tried to hit them with a few bolts before my friends caught up, but I missed. Worse, when I turned to go back to the group I was hit with paralysis again, and was being dragged away to gods-know-where. When Munthrek realized his candles weren’t going to do the job, he wrestled the big bugs to rescue me, and they fled. The bugs left behind a group of half-eaten dwarves—a miner and five warriors. The dwarves must have been overcome by the paralyzing venom—one died still holding an axe (which Elizair says is radiating magic). We also found some scrolls for healing and water-breathing. We’ve not found anyone alive though, dwarf or otherwise, and this rescue effort is looking grim.

Posted by Kristin on October 26, 2007, 16:35

Paralysis Analysis

Reaping 12, 594 CY
Dwarven mines

Elizair and Munthrek decided to equip themselves with the magic ring and axe that we found— figuring the dwarves probably thought them to be useful. We headed back to the ground level of the mine, and checked out one of the water-filled passages. My 10’ pole indicated the water to only be a foot deep; nevertheless, I put a fishhook on a line to see if there was anything in the water. Nothing biting in there! We opted to try the rest of the “dry” tunnels before walking through this one.

Babble flew ahead of us into a large cavern, and disturbed some creatures; once again, the ant-scorpions chose to attack. I’ve been hit by their venom-filled stingers so many times now that I believe I am immune, which no doubt causes the big bugs some dismay. We quickly dispatched two while one chose to slink away down a mine shaft. Elizair dropped a feather on it, and we heard a loud “whump”— apparently, the feather was a heavy ship’s anchor in disguise. We tossed the other bug bodies down the shaft as well, in case there was any question which of our bands was the victor.

Later we found another group of bugs and Janet and Elizair lit flasks of oil to throw at them (only catching Munthrek on fire once or twice in the process). That killed the bugs quite nicely, though I’m somewhat disturbed to mention that Janet went up and sampled one of them afterwards. She said it tasted like chicken.

At this point, Elizair decided he could actually cast a ball of fire without the aid of oil and proceeded to fry a few more of the bug creatures. Each time we repeated this process, we made sure to dump the bodies down the nearest shaft. Elizair must be immune to the poison now too, as he’s been struck by the venomous tails several times without much ill effect.

Janet and Elizair did run out of spells though, so we opted to rest for a while. Thankfully it was an uneventful while; I taught Munthrek some Terran even though the bugs don’t seem to respond to it.

After resting we went back to bug-killing. We have it down to a science, but are starting to get a bit sloppy with the execution; I’ve managed to tumble right under a bug twice, and Janet got herself entangled in her own trap. I think we’ll have to go back down one of these shafts if we want to have any hope of finding any dwarven or human survivors, or at least a way out….

Posted by Kristin on October 31, 2007, 13:09

Lost for a Spell

Reaping 13, 594 CY
Dwarven mines

We continue to wander through these mines fighting the ant-scorpions. I am starting to worry—the bugs don’t look any different, but they seem to be getting stronger, or smarter, or more—poisonous. I’ve been hit by the stingers a few more times, and I found myself paralyzed! Worse, they seem to be casting darkness over themselves, making them much harder to hit. And, unless I’m imagining it, they are healing from their wounds during combat! We are resorting more and more to having Janet and Elizair cast spells to slay the monsters (my cousin hates to “waste” divine energy that could be used to heal us up). When we encounter the ant-scorpions, I am trying to tumble behind them as quickly as possible, coordinating with Munthrek, so that we can do so much damage to the creatures that they have no time to heal. As far as we know, the dead ones are getting back up….

Posted by Kristin on November 25, 2007, 11:02

Dead End

Reaping 14, 594 CY
Dwarven mines

We rested awhile, hoping that Elizair and Janet could regain some of their spent spells and were again attacked by the ant-scorpion things. I think they must be teleporting to us—for I swore there was only water behind us where one appeared. But, we were still able to defeat them each time they attacked, so we were feeling pretty hopeful that we’d also be able to vanquish them. We were brave, too. I personally found myself crawling through the smallest crevasses in caved-in walls, tumbling between the horrible creatures to jump up and stab them from behind, and was getting used to practically living under Munthrek’s arm, behind his shield, each time I got paralyzed by one of those scorpion tails. We even followed one creature into what was obviously meant to be an ambush, and we were victorious again. So, why did I flee in absolute terror when we found that partially immerged, tentacled thing—that cone-shaped monstrosity with eyestalks, that hive? I didn’t go alone either—Elizair, the bravest person I know, kept pace with me in spite of having lacking darkvision. Whether he had the presence of mind to tell Babble to stay with our companions, or was just too horror-stricken to say anything to the parrot, I don’t know. Halflings rarely run from a battle unless they are given very good reason to, so when we came to our senses and were about to go back, mere moments later, my stomach dropped still more when I saw Janet racing towards us, alone save for the bird. Our young human companion, in the single minute we’d left him alone, decided to attack the hive mother of the ant-scorpions single-handedly, and was pulled to a grisly death by the evil creature. Janet obeyed Munthrek’s last request—to run.

Posted by Kristin on December 6, 2007, 20:20


Reaping 16, 594 CY

We rested in the cave with the hive creature— or mother, apparently (we figured out it was a mother after a few oval shaped items were brought to the water surface and pulled back under by tentacles).

Constant ranged attacks finally defeated the hive mother— Elizair blasted it with spells, and put some sort of magic on my weapon as well. Janet was everywhere, pulling on tentacles and dumping oil on the creature, which Elizair lit on fire. I only had to rescue him one time when the creature played dead and he got too close. It seemed unable to heal itself when out of the water, so Janet and I hauled on the tentacles and stabbed at all the exposed areas. When we were absolutely positive it was dead, we dragged it the rest of the way onto the beach of the little lake and slit it open. We found Munthrek’s body and his equipment and buried him in that cave, which I plan to call “Muthrek’s Mine” if anyone asks. We made sure no eggs survived either.

Our only remaining problem was getting out of the mine— but some dwarves and other people from Turnel had come and cleared the entrance, just finishing as we staggered wearily to the surface. We were greeted by a very strange-looking gnome who calls himself Fash. He doesn’t look like any other gnome I’ve ever seen, though he was raised by dwarves, which I don’t imagine helped any. Janet seems to like him (fresh meat?) and Elizair seems to think he can join us. I’m not sure I trust him, but if Elizair thinks he’s okay, I’ll go along with that for now.

It turns out we actually collected quite a lot of nice things on this latest excursion. I traded a magical hand axe for a light mace of similar quality for Janet. Elizair gave me a ring that will prevent me from suffering from that awful paralysis again. Janet, Elizair and I also each got about 5000 gold for the items we found, including a lot of those ant-scorpion tails. The shopkeeper we sold those to explained that they are called “‘karg” and are normally found in the desert. When we told him how they seemed to get harder to kill as we fought them, he explained that the drones closest to the hive mother are stronger. We found (and sold!) a runestone that was in the mine too— perhaps that is how the hive got in the mine to begin with. Elizair and I must hurry back to the inn— I can hear Janet from here trying to find a “companion” for the homely Fash….

Posted by Kristin on January 3, 2008, 19:44

Expedition to Exag

Reaping 21, 594 CY

Elizair and I wandered over to the Staggering Lich, by which point Janet and Fash were getting ready to go “bar hopping.” We only have one other drinking establishment in Rattedaumen, so it was looking to be a short night. As we gathered our strength to make the 200’ trek to the Rat’s Thumb Tavern, we heard sounds coming from the now-closed apothecary where Elizair and I had just sold our loot to Mr. Vendor.

Janet and I snuck around to the back door of Arkon’s Apothecary while Elizair and Fash went to the front. The thief was bold as brass, leaving the door open and not bothering to be quiet. I took that opportunity to attempt to dispatch him, but he somehow dodged my blade when it should have skewered him. My companions burst in to take up the fight with me, but we could barely hit the thief. Elizair must have managed to hit him once though, the thief only parried my blows and attempted to disarm me—he struck at Elizair to kill. Thank Pelor that Janet was there or I’d be mourning my dearest friend now.

The thief must have felt we were wasting his time, as he began to demand that we turn over the runestone (we’re pretty sure he means the one we’d just sold to Mr. Vendor). Elizair managed to stall him for some time by declaring that the runestone was worthless without the “redstone” companion. I worried he’d attack Elizair again, or me, so when the thief demanded we open the apothecary vault, I used a little bit of my innate magic to make it sound like a crowd of people was surrounding the building. The thief, in desperation, blew the vault door off its hinges—we took that opportunity to run. As it was, I was apparently hit by a sleep spell protecting the vault. When I came to, the thief was long gone and there was smoke billowing from the building. Mr. Vendor, the town guards, and many curious townsfolk surrounded us. Lucky for us Mr. Vendor knows us so well, else it might have looked as though we’d been trying to rob his store. He assured us that he keeps his real valuables in a vault “in the ether” whatever that means, though the runestone, which he’d not yet had a chance to study, had been in that physical vault.

We offered to chase after the thief. Mr. Vendor was happy enough to let us do that, though somehow the thief had covered 100 miles in a short time—he was at least as far north as Exag. After a brief rest, we headed north on foot.

The journey was uneventful, though we did stay at Lord Zadrian’s “camp” (his mansion not yet rebuilt). Unsurprisingly, the kobold sorcerer that had been staying with him had already moved on. We got warnings of ogres, bad weather, an old outpost called Hightower that had fallen to barbarians, and ruins once in habited by the “Lord of the North.” We did see a rather largish footprint going east at one point, but all was peaceful enough during the remainder of our journey to Exag, at least.

It was raining by the time we arrived at the walled town. We were let in by the watch, and talked to a very tall human called Commander Bragus. Of course, no one had seen our thief, but at least one group of “adventurers” had passed through recently, heading towards Hightower. They had not been seen since.

Posted by Kristin on January 16, 2008, 14:38


Reaping 22, 594 CY
Exag Mines

We stayed at an Inn with a rather disturbing sign above the front door. We discussed our plans for the next day, and decided to help out with a mining issue just outside the town, since we felt ourselves to be mine experts (and thought there was a chance that the runestone from the last mine was somehow involved). The accommodations were pleasant enough, if you don’t mind sharing a room with three other people. Still, I was somewhat surprised we were all alive and well in the morning— but apparently, that wasn’t part of the trap.

The girl who waited on us for breakfast was surprised though— she said people often go missing in the night, and, with none of us being human, we seemed like ideal targets. She also told me she thought Commander Bragus was “hot.” I wasn’t sure what she meant, but after breakfast, we passed him as we were leaving the city, and I passed her sentiment on to him.

Well, I guess I really don’t understand humans as well as I thought I did! It took me a good long time to extricate myself from his presence after that comment, and I was only able to get away at all by promising to “meet” him when we returned from the mines. Janet thinks it’s all very funny. I’m not sure what to think, but I am curious.

It took two hours to get to the mines, much of which involved half-running to catch up with my friends who had stranded me with the commander of the town watch. Thankfully the watch at the mines, which were surrounded by a wall, was staffed with a small boy, Trey, who let us in without requiring any promises.

We were told that the miners had been dealing with creatures that were attacking their metal equipment, turning tools into piles of worthless rust. Nothing made of metal was surviving for long down there, and they had taken to providing a guard armed with a wooden club for each two miners that went in. Fash and I needed to take off our mithril chain armor before going in (stored easily enough in our haversacks) and, least expensive weapons in hand, we entered the mines.

We were directed down to the lowest level, about 80’ down, were the “rust monsters” had been seen. We found some creatures that didn’t belong down there alright, but now I was wishing I still had my armor on. Hobgoblins! We dispatched the first few easily, but before we could get armor back on, chaos erupted. I was stuck using my crossbow, as I hadn’t wanted my very nice sword destroyed by what we thought we’d be fighting. But, something else was going on. Elizair and Fash were caught up in a fight with more hobgoblins, and a group of miners arrived, but rather than helping us fight the hobgoblins, they started to attack us. It took me a while to get through that lot, by which point Janet was standing with my friends. Something was obviously wrong though— Janet wasn’t moving and Fash was trying to kill Elizair! Suddenly, I saw the reason for their bizarre actions— a squid-faced creature was orchestrating the entire combat. Worse, Elizair had been hit hard enough to go down, and the tentacled creature was leaning in towards his head, when I realized that it was one of the fabled “mind flayers” I’d heard stories about. I leaped onto its back and tried to sever a tentacle— I managed to injure it, but I’m sure it could have destroyed me. Instead, it disappeared, leaving the cavern scattered with the bodies of the miners and hobgoblins. I don’t know what to do about Fash, but I dumped a healing potion down Elizair’s throat and he’s helping me cart the still-unmoving Janet out of here as fast as possible….

Posted by Kristin on February 17, 2008, 14:19


Reaping 22, 594 CY

We got a bit waylaid— I remember Janet falling in a pit; the next thing I remember is the sounds of someone shrieking (Fash?) and I found myself standing on top of a dead umber hulk. I have to assume that I killed it single-handedly with my sword to save my cousin while Elizair was keeping an eye on Fash elsewhere.

We continued to wander through the mines. It appears that Fash is no longer chummy with the illithid (and doesn’t really seem to know why he switched sides in the middle of the fight). We occasionally bump into miners, all of which are happily carting iron to the “Forges of the Mountain King.” We followed a group of them, and saw them roll a cart filled with ore into a circle covered in arcane runes, and disappear. They reappeared moments later sans iron. Needing someone to take a look at the forges, I volunteered, and Elizair cast invisibility on me. I cast silence on myself as well, and stepped into the circle.

The first thing I noticed was the heat and the stench of the duergar forge operators. There were mounds of iron piled up everywhere, and some ogrish monstrosity was hauling baskets of the metal to drop down chutes to the forges. At least a dozen forges were in operation, and while I watched, I saw a group of orcs and that mindflayer (or, possibly a different one, hard to tell) receiving the finished product from some of the duergar— shields, weapons and armor. No way I could take out seventy-two duergar, an illithid, the orcs and the ogre, so I teleported back to my companions to give them the news.

We headed towards the only tunnel we hadn’t checked yet, and luckily, it led to a shaft going straight up and out of the mines. Better still, we were on the outside of the wall around the mining camp, so we are able to leave without having to deal with the miners families— it’s hard to know who to trust.

Still, we have to trust someone, so when we got back to Exag, we told Commander Bragus (I’m told to call him “Allister”) about the situation. Elizair seems to be forming a plan of attack to thwart the illithid and his little army. I find myself more interested in the watch commander….

Posted by Kristin on March 14, 2008, 17:51


Reaping 23, 594 CY
Exag Mines

We decided to head to the inn we’d previously stayed at, and ordered some drinks in the tavern prior to turning in. I was delighting in making eye contact with the barmaid who thought Allister was “hot.” I was just about to mention that to my comrades when I apparently blacked out.

I woke up in a cell with the others. Elizair was also just coming to. I noticed our equipment was all missing, and was told by Janet and Fash that soldiers had come in and hauled us out, saying they were under orders to bring us in for our “safety.” I briefly considered breaking out, but I just couldn’t believe Allister would have us locked up if it wasn’t important, so I decided to just hide in the shadows of the cell until one of our jailors showed up.

Sure enough, one did, bringing us a bucket of gruel. He seemed worried that there were only three of us, but Elizair assured him I would be back after taking care of some business. Turns out things were much different than they appeared— the guard told us there was a secret exit from the cell, and that all of our equipment was in the tunnel beyond it. Allister wanted us to escape safely and try to get more info on the situation at the mine, as the mayor of Exag seemed to be issuing orders that would be disastrous if there was an impending attack from that direction. We had one hour to get out before alarms would sound that the strangers had “escaped.” That was all we needed. We got out, circled around the town and headed west towards the mines.

We took the unused shaft to sneak back into the mine. We made it back to our “trouble spot” (where we’d fought the illithid) and saw six orcs. Fash and I were going to take them out quietly, but I fear my attempt to get Elizair and Janet to move quietly to our position met with disaster. We dispatched the orcs quickly, but not before one was able to sound a horn. Other horns echoed a reply throughout the mines, and the sound of footsteps quickly converged on the cavern from three tunnels. I grabbed the horn and we all hid as best we could. A group of invisible soldiers seemed to pass through the tunnels, followed by three ogres, and eventually, a few orcs. I was close enough to catch some of what the orcs said (in orcish): “Has Kaleth been informed?.... message relayed…they want to raise town… form beachhead… frustrated about wait… waiting till final pieces have been placed.

A duergar caught up to the orcs and told them the “Final key has been secured from Hightower— prepare to move.”

As soon as they left, Elizair placed an “earthlock” on the tunnel, which would prevent them from using the main tunnel. Moments later, ten drippy-looking creatures appeared in the cavern, but Elizair quickly dispatched them. Some boney-looking devil materialized in front of Elizair and Janet then and began to viciously attack them. I tried to sneak up behind it and kill it, but instead, I found myself dropping my very nice sword, screaming and running off through random tunnels as quickly as I could. Fash quickly followed me. I’m not sure how long we’ve been hiding, or even where we are, but Elizair and Janet have not followed. I am worried— the last time something scared me that badly, Munthrek was dead the next time I saw him. I am praying that Elizair and Janet can find us as easily as Fash caught up to me….

Posted by Kristin on March 26, 2008, 13:40

Roaming Gnomes

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 on April 1, 2008, 22:42


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 on April 25, 2008, 14:41

Negative Reinforcement

Reaping 26, 594 CY
A desert temple

We did a quick head-count— six humans (including one adept from a different temple and one town guard) and the four, make that three, of us. I didn’t see Keth anywhere, but tried not to worry too much about that. We had plenty of other things to worry about— as we peeked out one of the church’s shuttered windows, we could see a horde of undead shambling towards the doors and windows. We quickly got some of the pews pushed up against the openings, but they did very little to help. The adept seemed unable, or unwilling, to cast even the least blessing or protective spell. I saw Fash head towards the altar with some of the humans while Holli and I attempted to fight two skeletons that were gaining entrance via a window. I looked over my shoulder to see if we could get help when I saw the altar overturn, and heard a loud clap of thunder above us as the red clay roof of the church collapsed.

We all must have been knocked out. Actually, it was worse for the humans— they did not survive the attack, or storm, or destruction of the building. Holli, Keth, Fash and I came to— it was still night, but we were alone except for a few bodies of the recently dead. Being practical, we searched the bodies for anything that might help us against the onslaught, and as we did so, we realized a few things. There was no storm, but we still could not see the sky, even though the roof was gone. And what was left of the roof and temple was sandstone, and the remaining walls were covered in strange glyphs that none of us could read. The yard beyond the perimeter of the temple was blowing sand dotted with crumbling plaster columns. At least the undead army appeared to be gone.

We all become conscious how exhausted we were, and decided to camp right where we were. Let me amend that— Keth had to do some “investigating” first. He followed the columns to some steps, which in turn led him into an opening in a wall not too far from where we were attempting to rest. He came back soon to tell us that he’d found another dead human that had been poisoned (rather than crushed) and had looted that body, finding a curved dagger and some waterskins.

After a few more hours of resting, we studied our situation in the light of dawn— desert as far as the eye could see, at least from our vantage point. We opted to follow the steps and see what we might find beyond where Keth had searched the night before. We determined that the dead human had been poisoned by a dart that had shot from a wall when he stepped on a pressure plate, so we decided it would be best not to step on any of those.

We did find an intersection with a floor covered in runes flanked by four columns. We could also see that the way was blocked by four very desiccated, bandage-covered creatures in bronze armor. Keth and I snuck up to one each and attempted our usually-efficient back stabbings, but mine at least appeared to do no damage to my foe. It did cause it to notice my presence though. We took a few more moments to smack at them while Fash and Holli joined the fray. I would hit one of the undead guardians as hard as I could with no result. Keth called over to me, “fire!” and as luck would have it, fire did quite a bit of damage to the dry creatures— while my companions whacked at them a few more times, I lit two of them. Eventually the four of us were the only ones still moving.

Carefully avoiding the runes in the middle of the floor (which Holli believes to contain some sort of necromantic spell), we started down a hallway flanked with sphinx statues. At least, that’s what we think they are called. We have no idea how we got here, or where “here” is!

Posted by Kristin on May 2, 2008, 17:14

Rotten Luck

Reaping 27, 594 CY
A desert temple

We probably should have headed outside after the run-in with the undead guards, but we didn’t. Instead, we wandered around following Fash, and eventually found a room, empty save for a well in the corner. As Holli peered over the side, Fash decided to check it for critters by tossing a rock in, nearly hitting Holli in the process (he did yell “move!” first). She, in return, stormed past him and gave him a pretty good slap. I ran after her to see if I could explain Fash’s lack of, well, tact, and found out that she’d heard a splash at the bottom— I took a bucket from my pack for Fash to fill with water. We then caught up with Keth who was in a room with two altars and many wall carvings of humanoids with animal heads. We also found some weird wax-sealed jars, wax, and the strangest “surgical” tools I’d ever seen. I was discussing the possibility of an ancient dog-headed race with Keth when I heard Holli and Fash screaming different things— turns out Fash had set off a trap on a door, which in turn had sprayed him in the face with acid. Ugh— he was already somewhat painful to look at. Things got worse quickly as a bandaged creature, which I’m told is a “mummy” wandered out from the now-opened door. Fash and Keth were momentarily frozen in place, and I managed to shake off a feeling of dread long enough to grab the torch from Keth’s unmoving hand and throw it at the mummy. I put a flask of oil in Keth’s hand, hoping he’d snap out of it and throw the oil, which he did. All we had to do was keep away from the mummy until it fell into a pile of ash, but unfortunately it managed to touch Fash and me.

I’m not feeling well, and I’m told I’m not looking well either. Fash looks absolutely terrible— if we wrapped some bandages around him, he could probably pass for a mummy.

We decided to rest, and so went into the room beyond the acid-spewing doors. There were three sarcophagi in the room, one of which was open. We found a small red clay box in the open one (presumably where the mummy had rested). It contained some gold and gems, a scroll in a bone case, and a vial of black liquid. Holli said the scroll is a spell to hide from undead— how useful!

We rested for quite a while, but I actually feel worse, and judging by Fash’s appearance, we’ve managed to get some sort of disease or curse from that mummy. I have a bad feeling about that. I hope I have more time with these three— as awful as things are right now, I have a strange feeling that I’m where I’m supposed to be, and the more we compare backgrounds, the more we all suspect that we share a common history.

After our uneasy rest, we learned that Fash should probably not be checking stuff over for traps— he just doesn’t have an eye for that sort of thing. We did learn that the two other sarcophagi contained plain old dead skeletons, but after opening one, the chamber’s doors slammed shut, and after the other, the ceiling started to come down. As luck would have it, we found a staircase inside the one sarcophagus though, so we quickly descended through that.

We found ourselves in a new room with four stone statues and a door that we simply could not open. I suggested that we attempt to turn the statues. Of course, the first time we did it, the door we came in banged shut (which hardly mattered since the room above us was crushed!). After many, many attempts, we had the statues in the specific order that apparently was required to open the next door out. As the door swung open though, we could see the outline of a bandaged figure shambling toward us….

Posted by Kristin on May 15, 2008, 17:49

Are you my mummy?

Reaping 26, 594 CY
A desert temple

It turned out to be not one mummy, but two, and fire worked again, however, I couldn’t cast any spells, so I had to tumble through the doorway to light each in turn. The first managed to reach Keth, and both mummies exploded into a swarm of locusts. I continued down the hallway with Fash to a room at the end; we got the double doors open and immediately closed one. Holli soon followed and closed the other! Keth came bursting through a moment later, bowling us aside. We shoved the door closed again and let the bugs burn in the hallway beyond.

The chamber we found ourselves in was filled with treasure chests, urns and a sarcophagus. We carefully checked through each (saving the sarcophagus for last), finding coins, gems, and a silver statue with the dog-head motif. Now, we just needed to find a way out!

We went over every inch of the room, when we detected air flow in one corner of the room. Keth climbed up to the ceiling and found a trap door. Shoving that aside, he disappeared into a tunnel that took him back up near the entrance. Holli decided to close her eyes and rest a few minutes, so I suggested to Fash that we play dead when Keth came back. In spite of the dire situation, the thought made me giggle.

Sadly, that was the last conversation I had with Fash. As Keth slide down the rope he’d secured to the escape hatch, we made plans to open the sarcophagus, figuring we’d have an escape a mummy couldn’t follow us through. While Holli and I waited in the tunnel above, Fash and Keth opened the sarcophagus. It was not filled with a proper mummy, but with scarab beetles, alive and biting! Keth scrambled for the exit, thinking Fash would follow, but instead he chose to splash oil on the bugs (which were biting him) and light the oil (including the oil on the bugs biting him). I didn’t see what happened next, but Keth paled and quickly shut the trapdoor, insisting that Fash didn’t survive his encounter. I tried to get back to the room, but Holli and Keth forced me back. I know I swore a blue streak at them about leaving our brother to die. What cruel fate allowed us to finally find each other after so many years only to be separated by death so soon?

I probably should have told them about that— I’ve pondered this since I was in the pyramid in Exag, and have been sure we were separated as children since arriving in this sandy wasteland. Now we, or at least Fash, will never learn the truth of our circumstances.

We found ourselves in the hallway with the sphinx statues, and I was feeling reckless. We pushed the doors open at the end of the hall and saw a long room with a sarcophagus at one end, and four more of those awful tomb guardians. I tumbled between the lot of them and jumped up on the sarcophagus, planning to make a last stand, goading Holli to shut the doors. Alas, Keth stormed the room with me, so Holli followed. Not caring much about my fate, I climbed up a carved column so I could rain bolts down on the undead guards, all of which were incapable, or too stupid, to climb up after me. I shot each in turn till there were none left, and ironically, didn’t get a scratch on me. After the last fell still, I leaped down. We opened the sarcophagus and ransacked it. The mummy was dead and stayed dead. We found a jade scarab, a strange hooked sword and six sealed jars. Further searching revealed a stone box containing gems, a gold ankh, two small jars and two vials. I popped the top on one of the vials and drank it, figuring it would kill me and spare my siblings from watching me die from whatever disease the mummy gave me, or it would cure me. I felt much better immediately, but I don’t believe I found a cure, just a stay of execution. I tried the stuff in one of the jars and again, felt a bit better. Keth seemed to understand what I was doing, but I could tell Holli was a bit upset with me. We also found a silver tongue in the mummy’s mouth. I grabbed that too, but, reckless though I feel, I’ve not had the nerve to put it in my own mouth….

Posted by Kristin on June 5, 2008, 15:47


Reaping 26, 594 CY

We heard voices in the hallway beyond the room we were in. They sounded human, or at least more human than anything we’d heard so far. Keth and I opted to hide while Holli sat in the middle of the room, the remnants of our previous victory scattered about her. Problem was, the voices in the hall were taking an awful long time to decide whether or not to come in— we had to do some coaxing. A pair of human males opened the doors and started a conversation with Holli, then one went to take water from that well we’d found earlier. After much frantic waving on my part, one of the humans finally figured out Holli wasn’t alone and introduced himself to us. Pyotr, some sort of gypsy sorcerer, and his cat have been betrayed by some traveling companion and wound up here in the deserts of Har’akir. The cat, Volos it’s called, stares at me and makes me very nervous. Or it has, at least, ever since I decided to pop that silver tongue in my mouth it’s stared at me. I would blame the halfling in me, but I was only raised by them. Of course, the darn thing is stuck in there now, fused to my own tongue, so now I have a silver-looking tongue.

The other human Albus (Keth followed him around during our chat with Pyotr) returned with some potable water and some useful advice about our mummy rot situation. There is a small town called Muhar which has a powerful priestess that could heal us. Albus doesn’t apparently get along with the priestess and opted not to join us— instead, he turned into a big white bird and flew away. Pyotr seemed eager to travel with us— he’s on a quest of his own, which apparently is not in as desperate need of being finished quickly. We walked all night, and other than finding some very dry zombies (or ashen husks, as they are called), we arrived at Muhar.

The small tent town surrounded an oasis (which we had been warned not to help ourselves to, as it’s considered quite rude) and asked to see their priestess. Now, we had always joked with Janet about the duties of her holy order (or at least her self-appointed duties), but when this priestess stood up naked out of a pile of pillows and human males, I was struck speechless.

Unfortunately, we had come to realize I was the only one that spoke her language “Akiri” and I had to translate for my companions. I was trying my best, but Pyotr kept asking me what she said, so I finally snapped and told him she wanted him to remove his pants. My glee at his immediate blushing and cessation of questions became my own embarrassment a moment later when the priestess Snefru agreed with me that he should do that (for the record, he kept them on). Only then did I realize that the silver tongue I was stuck with translated not only what I was hearing, but what I was saying as well. Oh, and when Pyotr said he wished he had such a useful item was when Volos started staring at me.

As for the mummy rot, the Snefru agreed that we could be cured, but she lacked an item that would remove the curse, something called the Chalice of Neferti. The chalice, of course, is a two-day journey across the desert to the Temple of Neferti in the shadow of the Pharaoh’s Rest. Oh, and it seems that we must avoid someone called Anktepot at all costs, as his shadow is deadly.

We’ve been given all manner of hospitality by the people of Muhar. I would give up on the quest myself, if Keth did not have the same curse, as I feel that my time is drawing to a close. It’s hard to believe that a week ago, I was traveling with Janet, Elizair and Fash to Exag….

Posted by Kristin on June 15, 2008, 20:04

Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Goodmonth 2, 594 CY
Pharaoh’s Rest

As I languish here, waiting to expire, I can’t help but feel guilty that I didn’t manage to get all my lovely magical items into the hands of my sister. It’s not like I didn’t have enough chances.

Pyotr made me barter for “desert” gear before we left the oasis, and I got rid of a few daggers in the exchange. Apparently iron and steel are rare here, so I was able to outfit us all nicely. I still felt terrible, but, as I am sure that Keth has the same curse (even though he shows no sign of it), we pressed on, hoping to find the temple and a cure.

Pyotr made what he called an “igloo” with a spell— like a fort made of snow, but it didn’t melt. He did this during the hottest parts of the day so we could travel when it wasn’t quite so taxing. We did manage to attract a very large scorpion that tried to kill me. Knowing I was about to die, I threw off all my very best gear so my siblings would have some useful things to aid in their quest. Embarrassingly, Pyotr managed to kill the scorpion and Holli gathered up all the stuff I’d left in the wake of the monster. The look on her and Keth’s faces nearly made me smile. I made her keep my ring that is supposed to allow me “free movement.” Never worked for me anyway. They made me keep everything else though.

Later, in another temporary igloo, we were somehow discovered by a roving band of desiccated undead. Pyotr and his cat managed to kill (re-kill) the lot of them. Keth and Holli helped pick off the stragglers. We rested again after that, in a new igloo. Pyotr says he can make about a half dozen of them each day. Thankfully we were not attacked again though.

The next day found us walking over much uninteresting desert. We finally arrived at what was clearly a manmade structure in the shadow of a mountain. Keth snuck into the sand blown, crumbling walls of what had once been a great temple— the Temple of Neferti. But, once again, I managed to attract a scorpion. As I pass in and out of consciousness, I can feel my body being dragged into the temple ruins….

Posted by Kristin on July 18, 2008, 23:39

Crack Open a Cold One

Goodmonth 3, 594 CY
Pharaoh’s Rest

I awoke in one of those damn igloos. My companions had been unable to heal me magically, but after about seven or eight hours I guess I’d had enough rest. Keth had been saved too, but had gone back into the temple to chat with a scorpionfolk called T’Tith who had, for reasons of his own, spared our lives. Keth made sure that it was okay for us to be in the temple (and apparently, this is a different definition of “okay” than I would have used), and, after a few more futile attempts to heal me, we descended some spiraling stone steps.

A bit of wandering later, and we found ourselves in a chamber containing four columns and a large, bronze, bull-headed statue brandishing a menacing-looking bronze axe. The runes on the floor around it were warning enough; we circumvented the entire area.

There had been three other means of leaving the chamber. One was no longer accessible due to a cave in, and another was a set of locked doors with an ankh-shaped indentation on the surface— and ankh that would be shaped just like the one we’d found in the last temple. Keth was carrying it, and as usual, was no where to be seen. It took me a while to convince Pyotr that we had a key. While we were investigating the final doorway (which lead to a room containing a lit brazier and three sarcophagi), the double doors were opened. Apparently Keth had been in the area.

After opening the doors further, I slipped inside the room before anyone else. The room contained two rows of columns and statues, and a sarcophagus at the far end. I leapt from one column to the next, avoiding the floor, till I was able to get to the end of the room. As I did so, I could hear a commotion in the outer chamber. In the doorway, I could see my companions had managed to activate the bronze statue and at least one large fire elemental.

I hopped down off of the last column onto the sarcophagus and pushed the lid off. I was hardly surprised when the mummy it contained rose up. I shot it with my crossbow and leaped back to the column. For a moment, a wave of fear passed over me and I was unable to move. I could see that Keth was actually in the room with me, Holli was in the hall fighting off the bronze statue, and Pyotr was now in the room. I had intended to rain fiery bolts down on the mummy till it burned up, but Pyotr had other ideas, and began to cast spells at it.

The next few moments seemed like a nightmare. I could see the bronze golem fighting a fire elemental in the outer chamber now— how Holli managed that I am not sure. I could see Keth behind the mummy near me and I could see Pyotr raising his hands to cast a spell. Before I could shout a warning, he cast it. He wounded the mummy severely, but unfortunately, his wildly-cast spell caught Keth, killing him instantly. I was screaming to Holli about what happened as I decided whether to shoot my next bolt at the mummy or the offending sorcerer….

Posted by Kristin on July 26, 2008, 00:12