K'ehleyr's Journal
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K’ehleyr’s Bio

Born on Aerenal, K’ehleyr worships the memory of M’lara Karlassa, an artifact-hunter during the elven rebellion against the Giants of Xen’drik. M’lara searched for magical weapons and other artifacts to help her people fight, and was a fine warrior herself. K’ehleyr migrated with other Valaes Tairn to battle in Cyre during the Great War. Now that the immediate War is over, she wishes to follow in her ancestor’s footsteps by finding magical weapons and other artifacts to help defend her new realm of Valenar. Therefore, she plans to travel throughout Khorvaire, and has begun in Sharn. If Khorvaire’s forgotten places and ravaged battlegrounds turn up little of note, she would not mind trying her luck in Xen’drik as her ancestor did.

K’ehleyr rides a fine Valenar steed, the mare Huerga.

K'ehleyr Tavanna and Huerga, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Character sheets: K’ehleyr Tavanna [Elf Fighter]
Huerga [K’ehleyr’s Mount]

Posted by Kate on August 7, 2005, 16:22


Someone had mentioned getting a drink at the tavern, so we were walking over a skybridge, the evening rain warm and steady. To our surprise, there was a body on the bridge ahead, still freshly bleeding! I checked for a pulse, but the elderly human was already dead. Gib checked the man’s possessions, while Jak whistled long and loud for the town guard. Gib was showing us the man’s ID - provost of the university, professor of some ancient studies - when I became aware of someone climbing over the railing beside us. Whomever it was carried a battleaxe and charged at us, ignoring Jak’s shouts to stop and identify itself.

Gib got out of the way while I pulled out my sword - imagine, battle in the middle of the city! - and Jin waited for its charge, while Jak tried to trip it with her whip. “It” turned out to be a warforged, which attacked without a word. Jin and Gib tried to help me fight, while Jak made as much noise as posible between singing and whistling (she got plenty of attention from the locals trying to sleep, as windows shot up all around!). I swung at the thing, connecting over and over again, and dropped it at my feet just as the town guards finally arrived on the scene. To my surprise, a tiny winged thing detached itself from the warforged’s chest and flew off into the night, too fast for any of us to catch!

Next thing, of course, the town guard levelled their crossbows at us and demanded that we drop our weapons and explain the mess. Jak talked fast, handing over her ID, and then the dwarf in charge demanded all of our papers. All I had were my travelling papers, which upset them. What have I needed ID for before? Either one knew who I was, or I told them. Apparently, that’s not enough around here. I kept my mouth shut, however, and Jak vouched for me. When some of the locals came forward to confirm her story, the guards relaxed and even gave us two gold pieces each in thanks for our assistance. Two gold pieces, apparently, are also what I need for one of these “ID”s. I’ll get one in the morning, rather than worry my companions again.

Leaving the situation in the Watch’s capable hands, we headed on to the bar. Before we reached it, however, a cloaked figure emerged from the darkness and approached us! Jak again asked for ID, and it showed her a ring, which apparently was good enough for her. The unknown person asked us to meet at the Broken Anvil tavern at dawn, to learn more about the murder we’d so nearly witnessed. Personally, I’d think it’s the Watch’s business, but it may lead to interesting things...

At the bar, it turned out that Gib had rifled the professor’s pockets quite thoroughly. He’d also taken everything off the warforged that he could, and went through it all at the bar. He used the money he’d found to pay for our food and drinks, at least! The rest? An apple, a quill, ink, and paper, and a strange little book with a mithril-threaded symbol on the cover and blank pages that had a funny feel to them. Jak said there was magic on the book, and Jin suggested taking it to his brother in the morning. His brother teaches spellcasting and may be able to help... which turned into a discussion about what changelings “do”. Jin morphed into a copy of me and got the evil eye from the bartender while I laughed - too bad he can’t fight like me in that form, too!

Gib crashed at Jin’s place, while Jak was kind enough to put me up at her family compound. I really hadn’t thought about how large this city would be, and I was very relieved to find that there was stabling for my horse, Huerga. In the morning, we all met at the Broken Anvil. We were greeted by a halfling, who asked us what we needed? - “Breakfast!” We answered, and she led us to a table where a person was already seated. “Your guests have arrived”, she said, and we found ourselves seated with a very noble-looking human woman. Over drinks, she explained that she and the professor had been looking for a family heirloom of House Cannith. The professor thought he’d found it’s location, but now he was dead.

She hoped we’d take up the job of finding it, although it would be much harder without the book the professor had been carrying... so, after much glaring and kicking under the table, we got Gib to give up the book! Sure enough, when her ring got near the book, they both began to glow, and writing appeared on the pages. The food arrived, and we ate breakfast while she scanned the pages (and Gib sulked at us all). Finally, she told us what she’d learned: the heirloom, an adamantium plate the size of your hand in the shape of a seven-pointed star, is fifty-seven levels below one of the city’s great towers, in an ancient foundry. We’ll get a thousand gold pieces and the goodwill of the House if we can find it! She handed us a hundred gold and a map to start with, but kept the book, much to Gib’s dismay.

Jin then asked about who owns anything else we might find while hunting around in the depths, and the Lady reassured us that all the family wants is the seven-pointed star. She did warn us that someone called the Lord of Blades also wants the heirloom, and probably sent the warforged we’d encountered. We thanked her for the warning and headed off to get supplies for our trip. Several days’ rations, weapons permits, and ID for me - they even painted an image of me on it! Finally, we followed the map into the depths of the city.

I was glad to be well-cloaked, I won’t deny it! Jak, too, wrapped herself up well. As we descended, the place got darker, drearier, and smellier. The people became more ragged, and garbage was everywhere. It took a moment for me to realize that some goblins were actually selling the stuff to others! The map led us to a cavernous room, and ended at something called “E213”. When we looked around, we saw nothing... so Gib, a goblin himself, worked his way through the crowd to ask a goblin garbage seller what or where E213 might be found. Unfortunately, Jin was not far behind...

The crazy changeling didn’t give Gib a chance to do things quietly; he held up a gold piece - gold! - and demanded that the goblin tell him where to find E213 and he’d get the gold, but if he didn’t, he’d get a sword! Instantly, he was surrounded by the goblin’s friends, daggers drawn. Gib ran away without looking back, and Jak and I turned and walked away as fast as we dared as well. Jin kept right on chattering, even got a doorway pointed out as the place to find E213, threw his gold to the goblin and started walking. Jak and I kept going the other way, listening to the crowd in case someone mentioned anything useful. No one did, but Jin noticed that he’d lost the rest of us. Naturally, he tried to draw us into his suicidal grasp, calling our names out loud and running after us both! We acted like we didn’t know him but he would not take the hint - not even after I grabbed him by the throat and bounced him against a wall.

I suddenly understand why people don’t like or trust changelings. This Jin must want to die.

While Jin was blathering on about how we take life too seriously, Gib reappeared and distracted me from contemplating whether the Watch would care if I offed the changeling in these regions. Gib said he’d been watching the doorway and had arranged things so that we could safely descend, despite Jin. He also said there were two more changeling shifters who had entered the doorway before us, so we were prepared for trouble as we walked through the entry and stepped down a staircase.

The sound of falling water was deafeningly loud, but it did little to dispel the stench of the sewers. Gib waved at us to wait at the bottom while he snuck around the corner to check the place out. He soon returned and waved us on, then had us stop a second time. This time, he looked up and threw a dagger at a shape above us, which dropped down and attacked us with a rapier! I managed to work my way through the others and attack it, but it tumbled away and Gib and I followed it into another room. The first creature turned out to be a warforged, which Gib killed (another small winged thing detached from its chest and flew away), but the two shapeshifters we’d been warned of now approached and attacked.

I ended up fighting them both for a moment - when, suddenly, a valve opened in the room and water smashed into the shifters, knocking them down. Jin managed to kill one, I killed the other, and I sat down to catch my breath while Gib looted the bodies. I got a second dagger out of it, at least. We moved on, carefully checking the various passages and rooms for the mysterious E213. Finally, we saw a blue glow... and found a large door, with the same ancient symbol as the journal glowing on it! Gib looked it over, musing out loud that we should have the journal or the signet ring to match the symbol, then tried to open it. He set off some kind of trap!

Three acid orbs struck us, ouch! Then, Gib and Jin got into an argument about how to open the door. Gib tried again, while Jak and I backed around a corner. Sure enough, it went off again, this time injuring Jin enough to drop him to the floor, barely breathing. Jak tried to read the runes, but came to the same conclusion as Gib - we need to head back up to the Broken Anvil and ask for something with the symbol on it. We could use a little healing, as well. After all, I’m not about to kill Jin when he’s unable to defend himself properly...

Posted by Kate on September 8, 2005, 21:14


We climbed back to the market, hauling the semiconscious Jin. Gib fast-talked us through the crowd, and Jak cast something that cleaned us all off quickly - many thanks, Jak! We walked back to the Broken Anvil, keeping an eye out for a house of healing. We found one, and it was open! We paid for healings, discovered that Jin had “lost” his coin pouch (surprise!), and chipped in to pay for his healing as well. The hostess at the Broken Anvil was happy to sell us another meal, and helpfully found a messenger to take a note to the Lady at House Cannith while we ate. We then went to our various resting places.

The next morning, we met at the Anvil, and found a package with the journal and a note asking us to return it when we’re done. Some of the pages now stay visible, so Jak read them while we ate breakfast. Jin went off to “change” and returned as a half-elf named Enaliis or something. We descended to the same place as the previous day, finding the market gone and the room empty. The stairs were still smelly and loud, but no one attacked us this time! The bodies were gone, too... and the glowing blue door did not react to the presence of the book.

After some time and much talk, I offered to try actually touching the door with the book - and everyone else scattered! Thank the ancestors, when I touched the door with the book, the sigils matched up and the door swung open without incident. The others looked around the corner, and I looked inside the door.

There was a passage, about five feet across, and full of crawling bugs. It went straight up and down as far as the eye could see. I looked for a ladder - found the rotted remains of supports, but it was gone long ago. I found out that goblins have a taste for centipedes, as Gib picked through the bugs... then offered to go ahead and climb down our ropes as far as they reached. Off he went, despite Jak and Jin’s help, and I held the rope until he slowly climbed back to us. He said that the shaft went down even further than our ropes tied together, but the sides are rough enough to climb down slowly. So, I took his armor to lighten his load, and we all set off down the shaft.

Five hundred feet down, and the shaft began to angle. We balanced carefully, and continued. After what seemed like forever, the shaft leveled off and Gib was able to re-don his armor. Quietly, we set off down the tunnel, Gib leading well ahead of the glow from Jin’s lantern. After walking a while, we all heard an “oof”! We hurried up and found the tunnel ended in a dropoff, exiting into a large cavernous room full of ruined buildings and the sound of slithering and chittering. There was a six-foot drop to the floor, and no sign of Gib. Not for long. Suddenly, Gib came screaming out of the darkness!

Without a second thought I threw myself down at the edge of the tunnel, holding my hands down to grab Gib and swing him up to us. As he leaped for my hands, I could see a swarm of bugs following him in a wave by the glow of Jin’s lantern! Poor guy... he crawled right into my backpack while Jak and Jin made an oil bomb to prevent the bugs from swarming up into the tunnel after him. As they smashed it below us, he threw a finger at the bugs - I know THAT wasn’t in my pack! - screaming about Bad Things. Apparently, there were too many to eat.

Jak and Jin tried whipping and slinging at the bugs, but anything they killed was quickly replaced by more. Gib and I looked out into the cavern at the buildings and ceiling. Gib tried climbing along the wall, finding it rough enough to do so safely, and headed off toward a ruined wall while we watched. The swarm followed along beneath him but was unable to climb, thank the ancestors! Plus, by the time the fire burnt itself out, the swarm had dissipated. I don’t know what set it off, but we were able to drop down to the floor unmolested. Carefully, we picked our way around the rubble to Gib.

He was looking out over the cavern, and described seeing a less-ruined building, so we followed his lead. We were almost there when two giant rats came around a corner and advanced on us. The things had bony armor, and caustic saliva dripping from their jaws. One leapt at Jin, Jak whipped at it, Gib dropped his rope and a pot (which would have made me laugh any other time, I thought he was joking about dropping heavy things so as to fight more effectively!), and we attacked the second rat together. Next thing I knew, Jin was trying to hide from the rat attacking him - behind me! As he dropped to the floor, Jak kept up her attack, and when Gib and I killed ours I was able to turn and attack the second easily.

Unfortunately, Jak ended up on the floor, too, before I could kill the second rat. Gib and I found ourselves dragging Jak and Jin to the less-ruined building, hoping we could block ourselves in long enough for them to recover. The building’s outer walls were highly decorated, making it look like a temple. The ceiling was collapsed inside, but there was still some peaceful power within the walls. Gib blocked up the door a little against the bugs, we set Jak and Jin against a wall, and we took a quick look around. Gib found a font, with a little liquid left in the bottom. Hoping against hope, he scooped some into Jak’s mouth - and her wounds healed! She was soon awake, and we used the rest on Jin to get him back on his feet as well.

Jak was able to identify the place as the temple of the god of the foundry, which led us to hope we were in the right place to find the seven-pointed star. The temple itself was empty, so Jak set a detect magic spell on herself, and we began to search the rest of the buildings. We found two more tunnels out, and, finally, another building that was still whole - and its doors still closed! The symbol etched on the doors matched the book’s, but we couldn’t get it unlocked. Gib climbed onto the roof, however, and found another way in: a hole had been smashed in the roof, ages ago. He could see “bad puppies” roaming around inside, but it seemed our best bet, so we all climbed up after him.

We could see a big furnace and forge at one end of the room, and things on shelves all around the walls. Sure enough, there were two dog-shaped constructs roaming around, growling at Gib when he chucked rocks at them. We tried a few things to deal with the dogs - first, lowering Gib on a rope (quickly hauling him up when the dogs charged), then, usnig him as bait so Jin could lasso one when it went for Gib (which didn’t work, the dog bit through the rope and dropped to the floor again). The dogs learned fast, refusing to come close enough to be shot at or roped, but waiting out of range for us to hit the floor.

Finally, Gib stayed on the floor, holding out the book with its symbol while I lowered Jak. No luck - he was attacked as soon as he looked away from the dogs. Jak was there to help, and I lowered Jin as fast as I dared, then pulled the rope up and thought about how to get to my associates without falling on my head. Finally, I tied the rope to the handle of my scimitar, balanced it across the opening, and lowered myself into the thick of the fighting. This left me with just a dagger to fight with, but better than nothing! Jin was already out on the floor. Again. Jak killed a dog, but Gib went down, and I helped Jak kill the last dog. I was able to stop Jin’s bleeding, and we found different shapes popped out of the dogs’ heads that matched holes in the front of a vault in the foundry. We cleared stones off a third dog that had been crushed by the ancient ceiling fall, and opened the vault.

Two sacks, four gold ingots, four vials, a fragile roll of parchment, and - the seven-pointed star! I put the plate in my pack, while Jak discovered that the vials were healing potions, and we got Gib and Jin back on their feet. The bags held ancient silver and gold coins - probably worth even more than usual due to their age and rarity. The ingots are probably worth fifty gold each as well, and the parchment looks like a map. Jin searched the room, and found weapons and armor wrapped in oilskins and still useable. Some of the armor fit Gib, and I decided to keep a masterwork mace (in case my scimitar is left on a roof again) and a sunrod (for when folks with me can’t see in the dark). I climbed back up the rope, and pulled everyone and the loot up onto the roof.

We had just reached the floor again and were ready to head back to the surface and House Cannith when a crossbow bolt bounced off the wall above our heads. A voice shouted out, telling us to give up the heirloom and no blood would be shed. Methinks I smell a battle brewing...

Posted by Kate on September 8, 2005, 21:24

Back in action

Two weeks went by after getting the seven-pointed star to House Cannith. I rode Huerga for exercise, and followed Jak to some of the social events she has to fulfil when she’s in the city. Dreadfully effete, some of these city folk, but Jak seemed to think it was important to stay on their good side. I sometimes imagined their response to being dropped into the middle of a battlefield and kept my good humor to myself. I’m just glad Jak isn’t like that! We never heard from Jin or Gib, and hoped that no news was good news on that score.

Then, Jak got a message from the Lady, asking to meet us at the Broken Anvil, and hinting at trouble. We sent a message on to Gib and Jin, and met outside the tavern the next morning. To our surprise, the Lady was very unlike the smooth and richly cultured woman we remembered! Disheveled, visibly upset, and huddled into the corner of the room, she hurriedly shoved a pack at us and whispered that there was no time to explain. Instructions and supplies were in the pack, great rewards would follow if we succeeded, but we should go immediately. Too shocked to argue, I scooped up the pack and followed the others toward the exit, as the door opened...

Four small figures entered the room, carrying crossbows. They spread out in front of the door, and a cloaked humanoid figure came in behind them. It shot the Lady with a crossbow, too quickly for us to stop it! I shouted at the figure, outraged, and the kobolds charged us all. Drawing my sword, I snarled at them, forced to fight kobolds while the figure reloaded and shot at the Lady a second time. This time she was able to get cover from a table, and I caught sight of metal and wood hands holding the crossbow - another warforged! Jin kept telling me to attack the thing - how I wanted to! - but we were all stuck fighting the kobolds. Jin then began to shout at the warforged in another language, but it only sneered at him in response.

As Jak used her whip, Gib slung stones at the warforged, and I hacked into the kobold attacking me, I heard the warforged tell Jin that the “flesh nations” are pitiful, and coming to an end. Jin threw more insults and was shot by the warforged’s crossbow in return. Jak was backed into the wall by now, and the Lady nowhere in sight. I dropped two kobolds and finally saw my way clear to attack the warforged... and found that this one, at least, was not going to go down easy. The others finished off the last two kobolds as I traded blows with the warforged, only to fall at its feet. The last thing I heard was its laughter...

I awoke to a much pleasanter sound, the chanting of a house of healing! It took several cures to get us all healthy again, but I was relieved to see that we were all there. I think the healer closed up shop for the day after we left; we tired him out! We took the pack to Jak’s and emptied it, finding a note, money, potions... telling us to go to a hobgoblin city to find help recovering another ancient artifact of the House. Jak found a half-elf crew to sail us there, and we actually left port without incident. I left Huerga with Jak’s House, knowing that this new city will not welcome our presence. She’d only be a target.

The third night out from port, we woke to screams on deck! We grabbed our weapons and made for the melee, finding that eight skeletons dripping seaweed had climbed on board and attacked the crew. Jak began to sing a rousing song - it really seems to work! - and we joined the battle. Gib, Jak, and four of the sailors hit the deck before we managed to destroy all of the skeletons, but thankfully, only one of the half-elves died. A few days and much resting later, we made it to the goblin city without further trouble...

Posted by Kate on October 6, 2005, 11:49


The goblin city was very unlike Sharn. Dirt and tents made up the chief of it, with one red stone tower looming above. Still, the town was said to be relatively safe to walk in, so we got directions from the crew to the market, and set off for the center of town. Jak and I kept our hoods up to be safe, but in this place that wasn’t unusual! The hardest part, for me, was wrapping my scimitar well and putting it in the bag of holding. It was only wise to cover up my most distinctive weapon in a Valenar-hating city, yet... at least I still had the mace to carry.

The Bloody Market was an ocean of tents, goblinoids, and haggling. Gib led us through the maze, stopping occasionally to ask about where to find “Failin”, without luck. Jak saw that a few humans had booths at the market, and began to ask them as well. She was chatting up a man selling “herbal extracts” when Jin stepped up and actually wanted to know more about their (poisonous) properties! Jak got some ideas about this Failin’s whereabouts, tipped the human, and helped me shove Jin out of the booth. This was when we noticed that Gib was gone... with only a message through Jin that “he’ll know where to find us”!

Jak’s information directed us northward through the market, looking for a sail seller. Eventually, we found a tent with a person sitting in front, sewing sheets of sail together. He told Jak that he “might” know where to find Failin, with a significant pause... so, I slipped her a couple of silver pieces and she offered another tip. This time, we were sent east, to look for someone selling lingerie! Somewhat confused, we headed across the market a second time. I was growing irritated, arguing that we ought to find Jak’s House and ask them what they might know, but when we actually found a real lingerie shop in the eastern district I shut up and followed the others inside.

Jin insisted that it was his turn to talk, citing his experience in diplomacy and mediation. I had yet to see him in action back in Sharn, so Jak and I walked around the shop, looking at the wares, and listening to Jin and the shopkeeper. After listening to Jin ask over and over about Failin while the goblin ignored him to talk about his undergarments for sale, we gave up and headed back to the first human Jak had spoken to; a rope-seller seemed more trustworthy than the rest by now! This gentleman was clueless until Jak thought to trade him her broken fiddle, and we were sent - west, to a tavern, where Failin supposedly hangs out to buy and sell artifacts. I swore the whole time we walked that this was our last such attempt! I was ready to tear down the whole fair to find him!

We reached the Clenched Fist tavern without trouble, hoping Gib had been keeping tabs on where to find us. The mummified ogre’s fist over the door was pretty distinctive; the rest of the body inside the door, even more so! The place was run down, and mostly full of humans. We ordered ale and sat down to listen to folks; when that went nowhere, Jin wandered off to the bar and came back to say that our man was over in the corner. Finally! We found ourselves sitting across from a gangly red-haired human, who was happy to help us - for lots of cash up front. At least he was ready to go immediately, so we went to find Gib.

Outside, we found Gib lurking, waiting for us but refusing to enter the tavern. I pulled coin from the bag of holding for Jak to pay Failin with, and we went inside long enough for the human to pay his tab. Then, we were off to his “land cart” ...a wagon pulled by magic. Before we could pile in and go, however, we heard shouts! Two bugbears arrived on the scene, accusing Failin of being a cheat and worse. Gib disappeared, so did Failin, and Jin wondered out loud if we ought to pay them off, too. Ouch! The bugbears quickly transferred their rage to us when their first target took off! Jak traded words with them, I stood ready for a fight, but it ended with Jin being thrown into a puddle as they stalked away. Jak got Jin cleaned up, while Gib stepped from the shadows, unnocking his arrow, and Failin reappeared to get the cart started, apparently unmoved by his near-miss.

Finally, we were off on a three or four day trip to the Rose Quarry, where red marble is produced. The land cart was very fast, I’ll give it that! After all my travels, I did find it ironic to be headed back toward the Mournlands, however. That’s a border no one wishes to be near. Why is this red marble worth it?

We neared a village at the end of the trip, but found it abandoned and destroyed, seemingly covered with a layer of ice. Some trouble from the Mournlands? We couldn’t see... but we could hear the sound of digging at the other end of the village. In the darkness, Gib quickly snuck off to get a closer look. He found that the “ice” was glass, even covering the bodies of the former inhabitants, and that humans, goblins, and skeletons were guarding and digging at the other end of the village while the sound of someone chanting and praying in the distance drifted over the ruins.

While we waited, I heard the scrape of glass on glass. Peering into the darkness, I caught sight of two figures approaching us. I grabbed Jak and Jin, pointed, and we hid as two undead dwarves, covered in molten cracking glass, shambled at us. Hiding was no use, and we were attacked. Jak hummed quietly, I threw a dagger, Gib reappeared and slung stones, and we found that some of the guards had followed Gib back to us, shouting! Things got very confused in the darkness; I heard Gib bluffing that we had reinforcements, saw skeletons and undead and guards and... I fought until I dropped. Again.

Somehow, Jak was able to get a potion down my throat and wake me up. I hated to admit it, but I’d been hitting our attackers for all I was worth but hardly hurting them at all. I told her we needed to get out of there before we were all killed! Jak agreed, and we turned to the others; Gib looking very bad off, and Jin fighting for all he was worth. We shouted at them to run, and turned to go, ourselves. How I hated to do it! Jin fell, but was surrounded by far too many enemies for us to reach him. It was terrible! To our relief, Gib met us at the cart, we’d only lost one companion. Out of all our fighting, he had managed to kill one skeleton - the only thing we’d killed! We were lucky to lose only Jin!

Gib and I drank more of the potions; now only one is left. He thinks something is controlling the zombies and skeletons. We want to fight again, but are we strong enough to avenge our friend?

Posted by Kate on October 6, 2005, 11:53


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 on August 2, 2006, 00:29


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 on August 2, 2006, 00:36