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August 2, 2006


K'ehleyr's Journal

I stood peering into the darkness of the village, listening to Jak argue with Falin. She wanted him to use his cart to dash through the guards and let us grab Jin’s body. When he refused, she accused him of being a teleporter. He claimed not to know what she was talking about... meanwhile, of course, Gib had disappeared once again. I mentioned this to Jak and Falin, then decided to sneak off around the village as well. Perhaps I could find a quiet spot to observe the activity, and find Jin as well.

I managed to get within fifty feet of the guards, standing at full attention around the camp. There were four tents, and sixteen horses picketed nearby. Quietly, I settled down to watch and listen. I didn’t wait for long - Gib decided to create a scene from his side of the camp! He came to the edge of the light, shouting about minions and blood, shooting arrows and jumping up and down, telling the guards to follow him so they could “get” more undead... they must have thought him utterly mad. They did chase after him into the dark, however, so I waited to see if anyone else would exit the tents, then quietly moved in.

Unfortunately, the last four guards to leave camp heard me coming. I had hardly looked around before I saw them walking back to camp, so I tried to sneak away - and they caught sight of me! I caught a glimpse of a robed figure exiting a tent, but the next thing I knew I was running for my life while pulling crossbow bolts out of my hide, yet again. I was trying to circle around to Gib in the darkness, when I discovered a red stone building with lights glowing inside. On the other side of the street was a crowd, looking down on something - oh, no, it was Gib! Some skeletons, humans in chain mail, a human in banded armor, and two zombies carried his body back to the campfire, leaving me by the strange building.

Knowing I couldn’t help Gib at that time, and wanting to take some information back to Jak other than the capture of another party member, I decided to sneak into the red building with the anvil carving over the door. The sound of picks didn’t quite mask my steps, however, causing someone to mutter and walk toward the door. I hid quickly, and saw a human in chain mail, wearing an Emerald Claw insignia, come out to look around, then walk back inside. Foolishly, I followed, and when I saw that there were only two humans in the room, I more foolishly decided to attack. I wanted to see for myself what they were spending so much effort to clear the rubble for - but I ended up bound next to Gib by the campfire, being questioned by another human, then thumped into unconsciousness... what will Jak think of us all?

Posted by Kate at 00:29 | K’ehleyr’s Journal


K'ehleyr's Journal

I awoke, bound and stripped of all my gear. Gib was next to me, in the same state. I could hear the guards talking about intruders, then, most of them walked off into the night. When one of the few remaining guards walked our way, I feigned unconsciousness... until I felt him cut my bonds! I heard Jin’s voice tell us to run as he cut Gib’s bonds as well! The changeling had made good use of his ability to shapeshift, and bought us time to escape.

Quickly, I rolled over to look under the side of the nearest tent, hoping against hope that at least my sword was within reach. No - the guards’ bedrolls were all I saw. Gib was still unconscious, and I knew I’d have to leave my favorite weapon behind. When Jin took off running one way, I grabbed Gib’s body and dashed away in the opposite direction. Shouts rose behind us, but he had confused the guards enough that we all reached the land cart safely.

As the land cart careened away from the camp, I bemoaned the loss of my sword to the others - much less the rest of our gear! Still, I knew I should be glad to be alive. Jin, especially, was very pleased with the success of his shapeshifting ruse to bluff his way through the guards. Jak, too, had used her time well, directing Falin to take us to a place called White Hearth. She also said that she’d been able to destroy whatever directions she’d found so we wouldn’t be followed by the vampire or his minions... we hope!

White Hearth, unfortunately, happened to be some thirty miles inside the Mournlands, and Falin at first utterly refused to take us there. He didn’t even want to wait for us at the border. Luckily, Jak and Jin had gotten ahold of a pile of platinum pieces, which changed his mind - whew! The land cart will make for a much faster trip through a terrible place. We reached the border as the sun rose - a wall of grey mist ahead. We took a little time to rest and heal up before entering (Gib even scrounged up a masterwork londsword and some chainmail armor for me to use), and were on our way at midday.

Inside the wall of mist, the air seemed dark, close, and nasty. The ground was cracked and dead, with a few evil-looking plants clawing through it. Jin was chattering nervously, despite me thumping him a few times to quiet him down, when Jak caught sight of a field strewn with bodies ahead. She told Jin the story of Breland, while we looked at the remains of the battle, which appeared to be merely hours past although we knew it to be three years and more... Movement, of course, was quickly spotted from near a wrecked siege engine - Jak hardly needed to warn Falin to steer clear! We left the wolf-like skeletons in the dust as he raced away.

An hour later, another battlefield. This one had a pile of bodies in the middle, halflings and Valenar elves. I ignored Jak’s queries, while trying not to look to close - I didn’t want to recognize anyone. Instead of skeletal attackers this time, the whole pile heaved up, having hidden a giant crustacean creature until we got close. The thing shot oily darts at us - one bounced off my armor as I pulled a crossbow into firing position at the rear of the cart, but luckily the giant was too slow to catch up with us. Finally, we reached an abandoned mine shaft that bore the House Cannith seal; our destination.

Gib went in first, to scout for trouble. At the sound of a scream, I dashed inside - only to be laughed at for my efforts. A strange place to play games, but that’s Gib! We worked our way through many passageways, finally discovering a circular steel hatch in the floor that bore a blue enamel keyhole in the middle. Jak quietly suggested to Gib that he “rediscover” a certain blue rod that might prove to be a key... Gib looked at her, looked at the hatch, then suddenly pointed down the hallway and shouted - “look out!” - so we obediently looked, and were startled by a blue flash from behind us!

Poor Gib lay smoldering next to the open hatch, unmoving. I did my best to stabilize him, while Jin eyed the floor we could see through the hole. We got Gib back to the land cart, Jak keeping the key, then went back to searching the passages. Sure enough, a new hatch was soon discovered, with a blue keyhole. This time, Jin gave it a try. Another flash, and I was stabilizing him and dropping him in the land cart. Earned a look from Falin while I was at it! Jak and I found two more hatches, finally thought to try mage hand - and then a rope - and soon found ourselves looking down a dark metal shaft. Down the ladder we went!

After what seemed a long dark climb, faint light began to glow below us. We found ourselves in an odd metal chamber, a metal plate with several sockets standing in the center. Uh oh - we only have the one key! I found myself asking Jak if we’d reached the last place to look, first! Still, we gave it a try - fitting the blue rod into the center hole, then the different colored sockets on the eight sides, and finally found that putting the key into a blue outside socket caused the whole chamber to rotate, and a passageway to open out of the room!

Jak quickly pulled out a piece of chalk, and marked that passage. We took a quick walk and look - blood on the floor, grey stone, glowing lights, and a wolfish figured walking through the archway at the end! We turned and ran for the chamber, and breathed a sigh of relief when moving the key closed that door and opened another. The second hallway that we marked ended in a closed door, which opened on - a linen closet? A magical one, at that - while we watched, a shirt lifted itself from a washbasin, folded in midair, and was neatly shelved.

The third hallway also ended in a closed door, which opened to reveal the body of a woman lying across a scroll. Jak quietly looked over the scroll, then rolled it up - it’s something magical. The rest of the room was devoted to recordkeeping of the most boring sort. Back to the chamber, on to a fourth hallway, which had several passages; one had a pool of water in it, another - a five-foot wide rolling ball of flame, which chased us away! We decided to try the first hallway again - the wolf being easier to fight than a fire.

Naturally, the wolf didn’t appear again... until Jak started calling, “Here, Wolfie!” ...at which point it not only appeared, but spoke to us! When it asked us who we were, Jak babbled something about nursery rhymes, and I told it that we were representatives of House Cannith. I thought that the wolf must be a guardian of something, and maybe help us with our mission. Apparently, that wasn’t the case - just a pack of magical talking wolves, lost in the Mournlands, and needing help to reconnect in the labyrinth. But the wolf also had more keys, which she offered to give us for helping the pack. That was an easy choice!

Quickly, we searched the rest of the rooms, discovering two other wolves with Rorsa, and several (undisturbed) corpses. Books and chests and bodies were gone over, rewarding us with not only weapons and armor, but two healing potions! We excused ourselves, and quickly returned with Jin and Gib. With more keys (and more colors to them), we were ble to search several more corridors, plus discover another chamber with a console in it. Suddenly, we heard snarling and growling - Rorsa perked up, it was the rest of her pack! We ran down the corridor, only to run smack into a stone-armored wolf with obsidian teeth, which howled at me.

I happily waded into battle, my friends at my side. The stone wolf was ferocious, and ignored many stabs from the others while tripping me and biting me. As Jin pulled me free, I heard Gib shouting about freeing the others... apparently, he’d gotten past the stone wolf’s guard while we fought. Sure enough, several other wolves quickly joined the fray! Jak sang to inspire us, but had to break off when Rorsa fell to the ground. We pulled her to safety, and she quickly jumped back into the fight. I realized that I’d do better battle from her back, and begged her to let me ride - although she’d refused Gib several times, she allowed me up.

The gods smiled on us, for even as Jin went down and Jak pulled him away from the fight, Rorsa charged up to the stone wolf and I leaned into the luckiest shot of my life - down the beast went, with one blow!

We ended up with a brown key and a green key, and a pearl on a chain. Better yet, a search of the room turned up the round metal disk we wanted, and a signet ring, orange key, and a bloodstone crescent moon brooch. I got Gib to give me one of the stone wolf’s obsidian fangs - I want to make a necklace of it. We then went upstairs to persuade Falin to camoflauge his cart, and rest with us in relative safety for a time before leaving this place. Resting, to some party members, meant searching everywhere they could reach. Oddly, this turned up several more metal plates!

Finally, we returned to the surface; Falin and the wolves had gone on ahead. We found Falin slumped over his cart, the wolves gone, and the vampire and his minions demanding we turn over our hard-won artifact! So much for not being followed! Unfortunately, it seemed the wiser path to simply hand over one of the plates we’d found - hopefully, not an important one. The vampire promptly rode off with it, but not before telling his minions to kill us all. I fought until I dropped - but woke in the land cart, to my surprise! Thank the ancestors, I may live to fight another day!

Posted by Kate at 00:36 | K’ehleyr’s Journal