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Quest in Qurth

Sprocket’s Journal

Eleasis 4, 1373 DR, Ruins in Qurth Forest

We gave an equal share of our “treasure” to the two townspeople that helped us with the defeat (or temporary setback) of the lich, and went off to rest in the Inn. Thankfully, we finally got a night’s respite without being roused by zombies! I couldn’t help but overhear some odd sounds from the barbarians’ room (okay, actually, Widget heard the sounds and woke me up). I had to assure him that no one was being attacked; it sounded more like sobbing.

When we met in the morning, Roscoe had already gone to the marketplace, and Charzth had apparently just left. Nosila didn’t talk about it much, other than to say he had to leave and she decided to travel with us. Aseir and Damota will stay in town, as they are needed here should we not get back before the lich reforms. While we waited for Bryrgar, we tried out the magic items we’d acquired. Nosila said the silver ring made her feel more comfortable (who knew that this lovely summer weather was chilly to her?) and the light mace felt well-balanced. I tried on the bracers and didn’t feel a bit different. Nosila offered to let me hit her with and without them on, but of course, she didn’t feel that, so we have no idea what they are supposed to do. Roscoe is wearing the other ring and the amulet. We can all remove the items easily enough, so hopefully that means they aren’t cursed!

Bryrgar lumbered up with his 400+ pound “warwagon” (the wheelbarrow, now equipped with the four heavy braziers) and we headed north.

It was only about six miles, but that’s a pretty long walk for those of us of shorter stature, but I got Nosila to carry me for a while— I read the lich’s journal to my friends as we walked. The guy was pretty boring in life, it turns out. I talked with Roscoe about being short (again) and tried to point out to him that taller doesn’t mean more knowledgeable. He sees the taller races as treating him like a child because of his height. I had to make a few mental adjustments then, because I consider the rest of the group to be more young and inexperienced compared to me! It probably didn’t help matters that I was riding on Nosila’s shoulders, and Roscoe was being carried upside down by an ankle (she offered to carry him in a more comfortable fashion— short does, unfortunately, mean smaller steps!).

We reached the forest around sunset and soon encountered a black bear. Before we could decide what to do (the bear was just staring at us and not being threatening), a spear-wielding forest gnome appeared from behind it. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting our forest brethren on many occasions, and I considered it an honor that he was willing to make himself visible to us. After a brief introduction from us and some coaxing, he gave us his name— “Colmarr” and that of his animal friend “Bear.” We quickly dispensed with pleasantries; he wanted to know why we were traveling through such dangerous woods, and we realized we’d have an invaluable guide if he was willing. Colmarr had led Giles and his band (two humans, a half-elf, and a not-quite-human with dark eyes) to the ruins a 10-day ago, and was willing to help us find safe passage as well. We soon, and without incident (though we had to leave the wheelbarrow, er, warwagon behind when the trail became nonexistent), were camping by some stone ruins that averaged a height of about 1’ to 3’.

We were finally getting to talk with each other about something other than zombies, and I took the opportunity to share a few things about gnomes that I thought would be fascinating to them— about how many magical “crossbred” creatures have come into being through wizardry (Roscoe wants to see an owlbear, but I was afraid the image of one might upset Colmarr’s bear companion), of mining (and the legend of Garl Glittergold bringing forth the gnomish races from gemstones), of my uncle’s amazing inventions (widely available in larger cities across Faerun!), and the innate magic all gnomes are born with. I hoped that telling of these things would help Nosila understand that little people have made contributions to the world through their own unique cultures, and at the same time make Roscoe a bit less paranoid that he was being treated like a child. How wrong I was! Nosila said she thought I could easily win her village’s “lying contest.” Oh dear— how little she understands the nature of Truth! I would be a lousy illusionist if I could not tell the difference between the two. Gnomes truly are the Forgotten Folk.

We took different watches during the night— and everyone saw shadows flitting around in the ruins. Since they didn’t seem to be aware of us (or at least, were not trying to assault us in any way), we let them be, and asked Colmarr about them in the morning. He said these spirits of the forest haunt the “lost kingdom,” which had long ago been cursed by an evil wizard to be overrun by monsters. I wonder how and if it is related to our quest?

After a quick breakfast of trail rations, Colmarr pointed us towards a circular stairwell down— the last place he had seen Giles and his party. We thanked him for his help and headed down into the ruins.

Widget popped his head out of my backpack to give me a bullet for my pistol (I guess he sensed trouble ahead). I noticed his fur had turned purple, so I can only imagine what I look like at the moment. He usually sticks with a color for at least a week before changing.

Roscoe and Bryrgar were arguing about who would lead— I suggested we go in order of height— less chance for Roscoe to shoot one of us, actually. It turned out not to matter though— as we descended into the web-choked tunnels, we were quickly attacked by large spiders— that were both poisonous and had sticky webs that they shot at their victims. I was able to shoot one, but then spent the rest of my time prying loose my friends from the webs— they were apparently considered better targets than I! I was not hurt, but both Bryrgar and Roscoe were bitten. Roscoe in particular looked weak and woozy, so he was glad for Nosila’s size and strength when she unhesitatingly picked up his gear (and the halfling himself, several times) so we could move on. Bryrgar heard movement around the very next turn in the festooned hallway ahead, and as he stood fighting spiders in front of us, Nosila discovered spiders behind as well! We’d fought nearly a dozen of the things, and I was beginning to fear we’d not survive another attack. Roscoe was now so weak that he couldn’t stand in his leather armor, so Nosila carried that for him— I cast an armor spell on him so he’d have at least some protection. I wonder if Roscoe isn’t in some way subconsciously still incensed at the whole tall people/short people dilemma— he accidentally shot Nosila with an arrow during the spider skirmish.

Now we saw that Bryrgar had wandered into a room at one end of the hallway while Roscoe stared at a dead end at the other (he’s sure there is a secret passage that he can’t see!); we caught up and found the dwarf fighting with four more of the spiders, and one additional really, really big spider! I kept shooting that one while my friends attacked the closer, smaller ones in melee. I couldn’t do enough damage to the large one, which kept “healing” as we fought it, so I made a ring of fire appear to blaze up around it. I realized my companions still can’t tell my illusions, regardless of how and when they appear, so I yelled that it was “Potato Fire!” (I worried the spider might understand Common) and hoped my friends would make the connection between my mutant spud from when we first met, and these fictitious flames. They all studiously avoided the spell, though Nosila discovered that the damage from the magic mace she carried caused wounds that didn’t heal on the giant arachnid. I dropped the fire illusion and she finished off the creature.

Studying the room, we could see at least four human-sized cocoons hanging between huge strands of web. Slicing them open, we were sorry to discover the desiccated bodies of Giles and his party. A quick search of their remains proved useful though, as, in addition to a holy symbol of Helm (proof to me that Giles thought he was acting in the interest of Good) and a magic potion of some sort, we found a silver rod— it looks to be the item we sought to stop the lich. We are weak now, but barring further incident, we can travel back to Pommeville by nightfall, and hopefully before Nedrezzar has any opportunity to reform.

Posted by Kristin on November 8, 2004, 15:38 | Sprocket’s Journal