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By a Nose

Sprocket’s Journal

Uktar ????, 1373 DR, Possibly in the Qurth Forest

Bryrgar, Nosila and I went back into the palace, but we were very cautious, as the doors only worked properly for elves. Each time we found a room with more than one door, Bryrgar would remove the hinges and hand them to Nosila to pack away, and move the door away from the jambs. This way, we’d know the exact route out if we needed to leave in a hurry! Our dwarven companion also tipped over all the elves in each room we went in, ostensibly to keep track of them more easily, though I suspect he just likes tipping elves. We counted 51 of them in the throne room, and while there, I found two small doors behind tapestries on the thrones’ dais. One opened to the Queen’s bedchamber, and the other to a less ornate bedchamber. At least they did the first time we opened them! In addition to removing hinges (and patches of Nosila’s wrap) to mark where we’d been already, I started marking the way with chalk as well.

We finally saw a door with a keyhole, and though I believe it could be opened without the key, I surmised that this key would force the door to open on the wizard’s lab. It seemed to work, at any rate! We got the pouch of Dust of Invisibility Purge, then grabbed every wand, staff, scroll and potion we could find (I had planned to give them to Haran, or at the very least, use them if need be to get past any nightmarish elves the sunset would bring), though Nosilia was very uncomfortable taking anything not specifically requested by the elven mage.

Before we could debate the matter, the walls began to take on a darker color, with the too-familiar red “veins” throughout. We shut the door, realized that poor Roscoe was outside with Haran, and decided to open the door and make a break for the outside. Thankfully, closing and opening the door provided us with a shortcut right to the main hall, so we were out within moments.

But we were not fast enough. We found the shredded remains of Haran and Roscoe, who had obviously changed into nightmare creatures as the sun set, then fought each other to the death in the time it took us to make our way back outside. The Queen, interestingly, was untouched and untainted. I wondered if we were able to wake her up if the nightmare would end for the rest of us. We took one potion, labeled as a “Remove Curse” spell, and poured it down her throat. Nothing happened of course, but we had to try.

Nothing could be done for Roscoe at this point either, so we decided to head back into the palace and hopefully find the one responsible for the curse. The telltale sound of screams as the elves ripped each other apart were starting to die down, so we had hope that we’d have little trouble with them. Two cursed elves, however, came out into a hall we were in, and we had to strike them down. I attempted to shoot one that was going to attack Bryrgar but shot the dwarven cleric instead. Luckily, he thinks it’s a “thunder blessing” and didn’t seem to mind the bullet that grazed him.

By the time these two creatures were dispatched, the rest of the palace was relatively quiet. We continued our search, and I held the pouch of dust at the ready on the off chance we cornered our invisible foe.

Suddenly, Widget excitedly pointed his nose and one little hand off to our side, indicating that he smelled what we had been searching for! I threw the dust in an arc in that direction, and was relieved to see that it outlined someone— though it was hardly an elf! The creature was elf-height, and had some elf-like features, but it also had red eyes and large, bat-like wings— in our Realms this creature is called a fey’ri. It held a rapier in one hand and a dagger (ouch!) in the other. In the few seconds that it had to realize it had been spotted, I shot it, and Bryrgar and Nosila rushed it and killed it as it turned to flee.

We quickly searched the body, finding a gold ring, a silver ring (the creature became completely visible when we removed that one!), a wand, some good lock picks, and the weapons it carried. Also, we found the crumpled missing page from All Curses Malevolent in its cloak pocket.

We went back outside. I wanted to read over the ritual for removing the curse, and suggested, hoping against hope, that Roscoe, Haran and Elzen (still lying where he fell the night before), would be restored if they were within the barrier, since it seemed to “reset” the slaughtered elves each dawn. Gond be praised it worked! Roscoe didn’t remember the day before at all, and we had to explain what was going on to the two confused elves who did not remember us. Haran and I decided to perform the ritual together, to make sure there was no chance of mishap, so I ran back to his lab (and had to open every door again, and I noticed all the stuff we’d taken from the lab had reappeared there) and brought out the components needed for the spell.

As we completed the ritual, we got to see that the barrier cracked and began to shatter— it worked! I was going to next ask Haran to help us return to our own land when there was a sudden flash of blinding light. Then everything went pitch black.

I cast a small cantrip to provide a flame to light a candle. My comrades and I found ourselves in an underground tomb, with a sarcophagus in the center and four statues of elven warriors wielding spears and shields in the four corners of the space. We recognized the relief on the sarcophagus— Queen Avaria! It took us a few seconds to realize that though we succeeded in breaking the curse, that time had gone back to normal for Arania— they must have been under that curse for a long, long time indeed. All of our personal equipment was present, including what we’d removed from the fiend, but the book and supplies from Haran were all gone.

At just that moment, we realized that we’d left the fiend in the palace to “respawn” with the rest of the elves when dawn had appeared over Arania, and we had no way now to go and rectify that. I can only hope that the elves did not have to deal with the creature ever again.

We found some steps leading up to a stone door, which slid aside to reveal sunlight. Hurrying out, we carefully replacing the moss-covered rocks over the Queen’s resting place. We now found ourselves standing in the forest clearing near stones and wall ruins overgrown with plants, moss and forest debris. To the north was a large body of water; to the south, rolling plains. The east held more forest and the west, the edge of the forest. It looked just like the Qurth Forest we had entered to find the silver rod. But, it was unnaturally cool for Eleasis— the weather was more suited to late Uktar. How long have we been gone?

Posted by Kristin on December 17, 2004, 13:09 | Sprocket’s Journal