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November 4, 2004

A Clean Sweep

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 2, 1373 DR, Ruins on the outskirts of Pommeville

Nosila decided that we should burn the body of the lich— after all, it got up once right? Roscoe and I both yelled “loot the body first” at about the same time, and the halfling got to work grabbing the most valuable looking things from the corpse— a gold pectoral, gem-studded bracers, a jeweled mitre, a gilded mace, and then, amazingly, he found more hidden under the body— a silk pouch filled with diamonds, a silver ring and a silver and emerald necklace. Several of the items radiated magic. As the barbarians lit the corpse, Bryrgar noticed that the braziers in the corners gave off no heat, and though they were heavy, loaded them into his “war wagon” for a source of continual (if cumbersome to move) light. But, we had to assume for now that none of these wonderful items were the lich’s phylactery, so we went back through all the areas we had missed earlier.

We first went back up the steps, then through a door and into a long tunnel we hadn’t previously explored, and soon heard faint calls for help. Assuming we were the only live beings in here, we thought it was a trap of some sort at first, though Roscoe checked thoroughly and found none. We followed some footprints on the dusty floor to a door, and upon getting it open, found a bedraggled human in a 10’ by 10’ cell, apparently forgotten by his undead captors. Morn, a local farmer, was thankful we’d found his cell, and told us of his abduction while sleeping in his home— perhaps the undead needed fresh victims for something? There were no other occupied cells and Morn was quick to head home once we pointed him to the door out.

Our Chultean couple next found a room that had been a torture room long ago— six skeletons (thankfully the non-animated variety) still hung on the various devices.

We gave up on that way and went back down to the hall where our dwarf had found the spiked pit earlier. This time Roscoe was with him and he was able to find a switch that kept the pit from opening again, and we crossed it to see what lay beyond. We soon came to a room with ransacked crates, rusty weapons and ripped open sacks strewn about, and were picking up the few coins we saw scattered about, when Roscoe somehow noticed, under a chest, that there was a loose flagstone. Prying it up, he found a compartment with a pouch with three rubies hidden in it. What a find! All the while I was mentally appraising the gems, and being quite happy that Roscoe was having such luck while we were working together— he reminds me of Cognoggin, minus the explosions. Widget took an interest in the multitude of shiny things, and once I assured everyone that he wouldn’t damage the valuables in any way, we poured some of the loot into my backpack for him to “inspect.”

Our undead magnet Bryrgar led us to the remaining unsearched tunnel, where we encountered a room full of chests, coffers, and zombies! Actually, I never got close enough to be sure they were zombies, as they were dispatched before I got caught up with the taller folk. I heard Charzth howl at one point, even though he wasn’t at all close to the combat, and Roscoe is now studiously avoiding his gaze.

Thankfully we were soon distracted by more loot. In addition to so many coins that we could barely carry them out, there was an amulet (obviously magical, but we’ve yet to figure out what it does), two gold statues of Tiamat, and a gem-encrusted copper bracelet.

We’d seen pretty much all there was to see, and hadn’t found a phylactery. I reminded Bryrgar of the mausoleum he’d found, and suggested that there was a chance there was more to it than a mere crypt. We made our way out of the ruins and were soon in the graveyard, inspecting the vault. Roscoe went in first, and came back out immediately as about ten skeletons began to rise inside. Bryrgar, with skill not before used in such a dramatic fashion, held up his holy symbol— and all the skeletons immediately turned to dust. I offered to go back in with Roscoe to watch his back while he investigated, and he soon found a concealed door. We quickly redistributed all that we were carrying and headed through this hidden portal, descending stairs and walking down a long, dark passage. We eventually came to a dead end, which seemed suspicious. We were right to think that, as Roscoe soon found another door. First we noticed the scorch marks on the bottom of the door, then we recognized the still-smoldering cloak, and the fact that the floor looked like it was moving. Centipedes! This time we finished them off, and examined the room from the inside. Roscoe found a gold symbol of Tiamat in the pocket of an old rotting robe, and Bryrgar found a concealed door that took us behind a statue in the altar room next door.

It seems we’ve found everything we can here, and Aseir has told us that Giles party was thought to be headed to the ruins in the Qurth Forest. After getting supplies for an extended journey, we plan to head there.

Posted by Kristin at 23:14 | Sprocket’s Journal

November 6, 2004

I Blame the Dwarf

Roscoe's Journal

Ok, now I’m going to die. I can’t believe this is happening, twice in less than three days I hit the barbarian, Charzth, with an arrow, and it’s all that dwarf’s fault. Bryrgar throws fits if I do my job looking for traps, that is, of course, unless it’s convenient for him. After putting down the lich we went back upstairs to look for the rod to keep it at bay, or its phylactery.

Every time I went to search for traps or anything for that matter I had to listen to the dwarf mutter under his breath. So I would ask if I could do my job, figuring it would calm him down. But noooo, still he had a problem with it. We went to the hall with the pit trap and I found the switch to disarm it, so I asked him to lift the floor back into place. A simple task really, I’d have done it myself if I had the strength. But nooo he decided he had to look for himself as if he had any idea what he’s doing anyway.

Well, finally he got the floor back in place and I flipped the switch and mentioned that it should be tested. So what happens but Nosila goes and practically jumps on it. If this switch had been broken, grrr... what am I going to do with these people? Anyway we walk down this hall for a bit and come to what appeared to have been a treasure room at one time. I searched it thoroughly and found a flagstone that moved, I checked it for traps and then mentioned it to everyone, and suggested that they leave the room just in case I missed something, Of course no one listens to me. So anyway I moved the stone and found some very valuable items. When I showed them to Bryrgar I told him that this is what you get when you’re patient. He just got angry and when we went down another corridor he decided that I didn’t need to look for traps so I waited where I was, listening for the screams.

Instead I heard battle. Now had I gone first I would have been in front of the barbarians, instead I was behind them and that was when I hit Charzth by accident. Apparently Bryrgar’s turns are working now he was able to dust the undead that appeared. The rest of the day however he did let me do my job without complaining; I was rather surprised.

We visited a tomb and were immediately ambushed by undead but again Bryrgar took care of most of it and I was able to find a passage down. We followed it forever and it dead ended in 2 alcoves. I found a secret door in one, and I knew there was one in the other but couldn’t find it. The one opened into a room we were already in. We recognized the centipedes. Bryrgar found the door in the other alcove, and I think he took a lot of pleasure in telling me where it was. I’m positive he thinks they don’t need me, I just hope he comes to his senses before it’s too late.

Posted by Fred at 19:31 | Roscoe’s Journal

November 7, 2004

'Round and 'Round we go

Nosila's Journal

We stood in the crypt, discussing our options. The sorcerer mentioned that this Giles person, the cleric in the area a week ago, had headed east when he left. As we thought he might have the bishop’s staff to keep the lich in place, following him might be a good idea. Still, we had no idea how long that would take, so a search for the phylactery still seemed a better idea in the short run.

My first thought was to burn the body we had in front of us, to make it take that longer in re-forming to trouble this town. The others didn’t argue, except to tell me to search it first! So, I picked up Roscoe and plunked him in the sarcophagus. He made quick work of the job, dropping one thing after another out of the coffin as it caught his eye. I would have scorched a lot of stuff, so I was glad I had listened this time. Finally, when almost done, he found a secret compartment underneath the body. Bravely telling us to step back, Roscoe opened it. He found a silk pouch, with diamonds, a ring, and a necklace.

The sorcerer eyed the pile, telling us which things had magic on them, and which did not. Sadly, nothing was of a powerful enough “glow” to be the phylactery. I told him he ought to search around for that powerful glow, but the others wanted him to try and figure out what kind of magic was on each item. I left them to it, sprinkling the corpse with a flask of oil that Roscoe was kind enough to give me. Bryrgar loaded one of the big magically burning braziers onto his wheelbarrow, and soon, we were off. I lit the corpse on fire on the way out.

This time, we followed Roscoe as he followed footprints in the dust. We ended up in one of the few places we hadn’t been before, looking down various passages and into doorways when suddenly, we heard a voice! The halfling quickly headed off into the dark, shouting, “Where are you?” .. thank Ubtao, it was one of the villagers, nothing worse. He’d been kidnapped and imprisoned by the undead. I shudder to think what his fate might have been... We got him unchained, healed, and fed, and sent him home.

The next place we checked turned out to be a torture chamber. Sprocket has a strange sense of humor, asking if this is how to make humans - by stretching little people? Ew! We headed off to the hallway of the spiked pit, gnome and halfling arguing about “big people” all the way. Charzth and I could have easily jumped across, but Roscoe found a switch, and he and Bryrgar got the thing to close. I gave it a good stomp to be sure it was safe, and we were all soon across. The tunnel turned, and we found ourselves before an iron door.

We settled in for a wait while Roscoe worked on the two locks. He did finally get them both open. I had an arrow nocked as he opened the door.. to show a well-searched room full of chests. It looked like everything of value was long gone, but Roscoe insisted on searching for a long, long time. My feet were well-rested by the time he discovered another pouch, this time under a flagstone. More coins and an amulet, but still, no phylactery! (I do want the place well-searched for the thing, but the waiting is getting to me, I think! Charzth, too...)

Eventually, we were off to open more doors. Bryrgar was opening them too, to speed things up. Suddenly, a familiar musty smell of death hit us! As the dwarf charged into a roomful of zombies, I saw one waving its arms like a spellcaster in back and let fly with an arrow. Roscoe tried to shoot one, too, but hit my husband instead.. again! Before we had a chance to react to that, however, Bryrgar raised his holy symbol and turned the group of undead to dust before our eyes. Wow! Roscoe took the opportunity to run away, shouting apologies, and I did first aid on Charzth while Bryrgar searched the room. He came out with his wheelbarrow full of coins, two golden Tiamat statues, and a copper bracelet. Wow, again!

By now, we felt like we’d exhausted our options in this place, and that perhaps the mausoleum in the village had more clues. With the pile of silver and gold that Bryrgar had found, we headed outside, back through the village, and into the graveyard. We got a few stares... at the mausoleum, Roscoe offered to check for traps, but Bryrgar had been there before with no trouble, and led the way. We soon found ourselves inside another crypt, staring across a roomful of skeletons in their niches at yet another symbol of Tiamat on a wall.

When Roscoe went to check out the symbol, he found out that this was as far as Bryrgar had walked, before! As soon as he stepped into the room, the skeletons began to move! He ran back, cursing (I think, I didn’t recognize the language but you could guess!), while Bryrgar raised his holy symbol a second time - and reduced another roomful of creatures to dust. This time, Roscoe was able to search in peace. He soon found a door, opened it, and we trooped off down a staircase into the unknown.

This time, the passage had only dead-end halls leading off it, and a chamber at the end, full of sacks of old grain. In a mausolem?! Even stranger was the sight of dead centipedes, and burned bits of cloak on the floor.. of course, we were now on the other side of the door that Ronya and Zym had opened earlier in the day. All that work to find the secret entrance and nothing else! Nothing else, except the surviving centipedes!

I passed my torch to the front, as Roscoe was bitten and poisoned. He got out of the way and Bryrgar used my torch to finish the things off. Opening the door, we found ourselves back by the altar room, to no one’s surprise. I guess we’ll be following Giles, after all, hoping he has the staff so we can get it back and contain the lich once again.

We’ve decided to risk a night’s rest in town before starting out. Roscoe’s foot is numb, but they say it will get better. Sprocket has gone over all the treasure (and we did a little shopping), but she’ll wait until we find a bigger town to find out what the magical items are for.

Ubtao, watch over us! We need all the help we can get!

Posted by Kate at 09:12 | Nosila’s Journal

November 8, 2004

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 at 15:38 | Sprocket’s Journal

November 14, 2004

Three Different Poisons

Roscoe's Journal

Okay, something very strange is going on here. We divvied up some new found wealth and I did some shopping, ate and got some sleep. In the morning Charzth wasn’t here anymore. The really strange thing is Nosila is. She obviously didn’t want to talk, and was very upset, so when she picked me up I just went along with it, it seemed to make her feel better to carry me. Besides I still feel a little stiff from that centipede bite. Bryrgar hasn’t been arguing as readily with me as he has been. I hope he doesn’t think those arrows I accidentally hit Charzth with were on purpose. By Brandobaris I hope that’s not why Charzth left. Now I really feel bad, and no, it’s not the three different poisons going through me right now.

Anyway, we decided to go after the rod to contain the lich, and bumped into this forest gnome, I forget his name, who was nice enough to take us directly to the place we wanted to go. Unfortunately I couldn’t persuade him to join us even though it would help keep his woods safe from undead and stuff.

Bryrgar didn’t say much about me looking for traps, and had nothing to say when I got caught in a spider web, of course at the time I chalked it up to us having to fight giant spiders. I got bit and was unable to even wear my armor. Still feeling the centipede venom in my limbs I now had lost most of my strength, not that I was all that strong to begin with. The others made easy work of the spiders though. So we followed some tracks in the dust to where the path Ts off. I saw the perfect spot for a secret passage, but was dragged away because someone notice Bryrgar had wandered off on his own. I tell you for as old as the boy is you’d think he’d have learned some patience.

Anyway we found him fighting four giant spiders and there was this strange looking spider thing sitting way back kinda watching. So I grab one of my poisoned arrows and accidentally poison myself with it. I tell you it isn’t easy functioning with the effects of three poisons working at once, but I kept going, and together we were able to put down the spider beast.

That was when I noticed the unusual silence from Bryrgar. He muttered and mumbled a lot, but didn’t direct anything at me, at least not as openly as he was.

To be honest the only one who isn’t acting any differently right now is Sprocket. I’m afraid they think I did the arrow thing to Charzth on purpose and I didn’t. I don’t want them to think I’d do that. Oh man, now what am I going to do, not only do they not trust my skills, but they think I’ll do some kind of retribution on them if they won’ let me work. I got it. I gotta prove myself to them. That’s it— I’ll show them I’m a good guy. I don’t quite know how yet, but I’ll think of something. I swear it.

Posted by Fred at 00:49 | Roscoe’s Journal

A lass and A lack!

Nosila's Journal

We shared out the loot, reserving the magic items for our “party” to take to a larger town. I have more gold and silver than I’ve ever seen, before! I wonder what I will buy with it?

After that, we went to bed.

Except, Charzth said to me, “We need to talk”. He said that he “needed some space!” He said that he needed “time off” to think! He said that being married wasn’t turning out like he thought it would, that it was “his problem, not mine.” And he’ll maybe be back sometime, and he still thinks I smell good. Then he was gone. What did I do wrong?

I’m too embarrassed to go home. What would my father think?

The next morning, I met with the rest of the group, who decided to go shopping. I tried to pay attention to what one buys with 800-plus gold, but I found myself looking all around, just in case Charzth had done enough thinking already and come back. By the third time I tripped over a little person, they realized I was the only tall one around today.

(OK, it came out because I finally realized Roscoe was loading me down with his purchases like a pack animal and I picked him up by one ankle to discuss the matter, which got everyone’s attention...)

I sat down and cried a little, which really did help some, and explained to them the best I could that my husband wasn’t going to be around for a while, but I didn’t want to go home without him. They seemed glad that I wanted to stay with them for now. They even tried to make me feel better but I’m not up for jokes just yet.

Back at the tavern, we talked about whether the magical stuff we’d found was cursed, and, if it was, how to remove any curses? I told them I was willing to try anything on as a test, even the plain gold band that looks just like the wedding rings they wear in some parts of the realm...

The gold ring didn’t do anything. Roscoe tried it on and decided to keep it, since it matched his pendant. The silver ring made me stop feeling chilly - I was happy to keep that one, for now! The mace didn’t do anything, but it felt wonderfully well-made. I gave a couple of swings with it and liked it a lot. I thought that perhaps Bryrgar would want it, but he seems happy with the axe his deity honors, so I ended up with the mace, too, for now.

Finally, we set off east, after the cleric Giles and his band, and hopefully, the bishop’s rod for the lich! Bryrgar still had his warbarrow and braziers, thumping his way around the trees and rocks of the forest floor. Sprocket ended up sitting on my shoulders and using my head as a prop for the lich’s journal. Sometimes she read parts out loud for us. She and Roscoe talked about a bunch of things. They lie a lot! I told them about our winter Lying Contest and thought they’d do very well in it, especially Sprocket! At least the walk wasn’t boring...

Suddenly, a bear loomed out of the darkness of the woods! We all stopped right away. When it didn’t immediately attack, we began to slowly back away. Then, a gnome with a spear stepped out from behind the bear! He didn’t attack, either. In fact, he tried to warn us that the woods were not safe. After some confusing conversation, Sprocket finally got us all introduced, and asked the wild gnome about the last party of travelers to come through. And, thank Ubtao, he had seen them!

Colmarr was interested in our story of the lich and the zombie attacks on the village. He knew which set of ruins Giles and his party went to some days ago, and was willing to lead us there. We hid Bryrgar’s warbarrow, and set off with the wild gnome. After he made the mistake of pointing out owlbear tracks (we had to dissuade Roscoe from chasing after them, instead), we kept everyone on-topic by talking about the other group. Colmarr said there were two human, one half-elf, and one “almost-human” - with all black eyes. Wonder what that is? We reached the edge of the ruins as night fell.

Expecting the other group to be long-gone anyway, we camped outside. The night passed quietly, once we got used to the strange shadows that flitted about inside the ruins.. Roscoe’s watch passed with him occasionally muttering, “There goes one! Whoops! There’s another!” but he didn’t try to chase them. Restless spirits of the forest, said Colmarr, former inhabitants of a kingdom cursed and lost to monsters. It made me wonder what Giles wanted to do here... set off more trouble?

We found a circular stair into the ground inside the ruins. Colmarr would not go any further, saying the forest only was his realm. We thanked him, and, praying he hadn’t led us to a trap, set off into the deeps.

The hallway at the base of the steps was full of cobwebs, but we could see tracks through the dust. Roscoe got tangled in a web, which woke up the giant spiders! He was bitten several times, even as I shot arrows and Bryrgar went swinging with his axe and Sprocket pulled out a weird tube thing and BOOM, I found out the source of the strange noise in our fights! It did take a big chunk out of a spider, though. Poor Roscoe was poisoned, losing his strength to the point that he couldn’t even carry his own pack... or his armor. So I’m his pack mule after all, but I don’t mind.

Bryrgar used a torch to burn away the webs, following the footprints. We met with more spiders, and these ones shot webbing to tangle us. Roscoe managed to shoot me - what is his problem? Breaking free, I found that the mace works very well in close fighting. With all the spiders dead and Bryrgar healing himself up, Roscoe checked the hallway. He got obsessed with the dead-end, certain that a secret door must be there. When I noticed that Bryrgar was long-gone, I had to pick up the halfling by the ankle again to follow.

He’s going to start watching me for that trick. I’ll have to be careful.

Since Roscoe and Sprocket were pretty much eye-to-eye, they kept right on with their talk about “tall people” while I tried to listen for Bryrgar. Roscoe was arguing the benefits of taking some poison glands from the spiders (probably get himself in more trouble that way), when I heard a scuffle up ahead! We ran to help Bryrgar.

He’d found the main spider den - and a very big spider! Roscoe promptly poisoned himself with an arrow (see what I mean?), and got hit by spider webbing. He kept shooting arrows. I ended up fighting with the smaller spiders, while the others shot at the big one (BOOM) and we all got entangled but pulled loose.. and Roscoe poisoned himself, again.. and then the little ones were all dead but the big one came racing across the room!

As it got closer, we saw that the wounds on it were already healing. When I hit it with the new mace, it didn’t heal. I found myself raging into battle, then! I ignored everything, including the “potato fire” from Sprocket that engulfed the thing, and smashed it to bits with the mace. Sprocket is still trying to figure out how to let us know when she’s faking an image.. what a contestant in the Lying Contest she would be! If I were going home any time soon, that is...

Tired and sad, I watched as the others tore open the cocoons in the spider’s web. Everyone in them was dead - we found the other party, and some animals. Searching their stuff, we found armor, torches (I took them), packs, and a silver rod which I pray is for the lich’s lair! The cleric - Giles? - turned out to have a symbol of Helm with him. So, he wasn’t evil after all. I wonder why he did this, then?

We must head back to the village, and soon. I fear that one last passageway in these ruins has caught our curiosity, though. After some more rest, we’ll decide what to do.

Posted by Kate at 10:24 | Nosila’s Journal

A Strange Turn

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 5, 1373 DR, Um....

We took a quick peek into the last hallway we’d left unexplored. Burning away a few dozen webs revealed some cocoons, but no more recognizable bodies, just a few old bones.

We went back up the steps out of the ruins, and Colmarr and his bear were waiting for us. I was glad, as Bryrgar had no healing left to provide and I was hoping the druid could patch up Roscoe a bit. However, the forest gnome was more interested in what we’d done to the inhabitants of the ruins. When we told him we’d killed a large spider with red eyes, he seemed a bit put out and said, “Why did you go and do that? Now I’ll have to breed another one.”

We stared at him for a few moments more, too stunned to really react. He reacted though— saying, “Well, I can feed you to one of my other pets!” and began waving his hands for a spell. As his bear reared up in front of us, we found vines beginning to curl up around us, trying to hold us in place. Having no offensive spells left, I tried shooting the druid with my pistol. I missed, and became entwined in his spell of entanglement. To make matters worse, another large bear appeared by the druid’s companion, and both of the ursine creatures began to attack the taller members of our group (Bryrgar was doing his best to keep between me and Bear at all times).

All the while, Bryrgar and Roscoe yelled bear recipes back and forth to each other.

I managed to have enough strength to rip the vines away from myself, but before I could get another shot at the druid, he ran away. His bear followed almost immediately. The second bear was slain, but moments later, its body disappeared.

We knew we had to get out of the woods as quickly as possible, but since we no longer had a guide (and hadn’t kept track of how we’d gotten here), getting out was going to be tricky. Nosila, who hunted in the jungles of Chult up until quite recently, figured she could get us headed in the right direction without being able to see the sun, so we went in what she thought was a generally west direction.

After a while, we heard the howling of wolves, and soon five of the creatures appeared, first nipping at Bryrgar (who again tried to keep me safe) and then eventually attacking all of us. I was bit by one and went down hard, and had to shoot it in the jaw to drive it off. It circled around and came back for another attack a few seconds later— another bullet drove it off, and two of its pack mates ran off as well; two lay where they fell to my companions’ weapons. We were looking nearly as bad ourselves. Nosila was unconscious— we dumped all of our healing potions into her just to bring her back to consciousness. We decided to rest until Bryrgar could provide some proper healing, which meant a long rest in a not-too-protected area. While we rested, I checked the magic items we’d found again. The silver rod appeared to be abjuration magic, so I figured whoever was on watch should hold it on the off-chance it could provide some protection. The potion, now that I’d looked at it, was obviously radiating illusion magic— perhaps an invisibility potion. Widget even tried to help, but most of what he knows of magic he learned from me. That, thankfully, was the most excitement we had for the next few hours— I didn’t feel up to sharing any more gnomish lore with my friends, even though Roscoe seems to genuinely enjoy them. The shadows came out again at sundown, but, like the night before, we didn’t bother them and they ignored us.

We felt a bit better in the morning, and Bryrgar provided what healing he could to us. We started off again in what we thought was the general direction of west.

About an hour later, we heard strange music— pipes and fiddles. It didn’t sound threatening, so we continued towards it, and eventually came to a clearing where several satyrs and some tiny grasshopper centaurs (I believe they go by the name “grig,” though I’ve never seen them before) were playing instruments and drinking. They offered us some mushroom wine— Bryrgar was willing to drink some, but I was having trouble getting over the strangeness of the situation and was glad when we were on our way again. About an hour later, I wish we’d stayed and chatted with them, for perhaps they could have prepared us for what we saw.

We had arrived in another clearing. We found that we were in a valley, surrounded by the forest, fog and mountains on all sides. To the north and south of us were rivers— but no Lake of Steam. And to the west, a crystal palace. For lack of anything specific to walk towards, it looks like we’ll head to the palace. I know we didn’t walk through a portal (I’m sure I would have noticed that!), so how did we end up so far away from our destination?

Posted by Kristin at 23:42 | Sprocket’s Journal

November 20, 2004

Now Where?

Roscoe's Journal

Ok, now where are we? I don’t think we’re in Faerun anymore. We got out of the ruins in relatively one piece only to find out that the druid, what’s his name, intended us to be dinner for what ended up as his pet. Yes, that’s right; the spider beast was this druid’s pet. Upon hearing of its death he attacked us.

Although he escaped, he’ll think twice before messing with us again. We decided it would be best to try and find our way home. Along the way we were attacked by a pack of wolves. That’s when it happened. Every time I nocked an arrow it seemed as if the world stood still for a minute and I could see my target clear as day. Almost all of my arrows flew true, even with companions in the way. As I let lose my arrows the world would speed up and as I drew another it would slow down again almost like it froze for a split second. We felled several of the beasts and the rest ran away.

Being drained, wounded and mentally exhausted, we rested in a grove of trees. I hid under some roots and there we waited till morning of the next day. We head out to finally get back to the small village and heard music off in the distance. I tried to stop him, but Bryrgar seemed almost enchanted by it and, hanging off his belt trying to stop him, I was dragged into a clearing. It was an interesting sight to behold satyrs and some type of human-cricket combo all playing songs and dancing. Luckily enough Bryrgar came to his senses and off we went leaving these creatures to their own ways, but the damage was done.

We crested the top of a hill only to see us between two rivers we did not cross, encircled by a mountain range which we did not climb. And off to the one side rising above this forest was a crystal palace that we’ve never heard of. No one has any clue how we got here but due to a majority vote we are going to the palace, which I believe will be the only way out.

Posted by Fred at 21:59 | Roscoe’s Journal

November 21, 2004

Out of the frying pan...

Nosila's Journal

Bryrgar and I ran up the last corridor, hoping to check it out quickly and go back to the village. Sprocket and Roscoe followed more slowly, Roscoe muttering all the way about the precarious state of his health. Poor guy! Lucky for us all, the last chamber held webs, cocoons, and little else.

We went back upstairs, passing Roscoe’s “secret passage” a second time (hope he forgives us for ignoring it sometime soon), and found that the gnome and bear had waited for our return. This was good news - I’d thought we’d be finding our way out of the forest by ourselves.

Colmarr was surprised to see us so soon. He asked us what had happened, and when we told him, he wasn’t pleased. When he muttered something about having to breed a “new queen spider”, I think we all backed up a step! As he began to weave a spell, we all realized that he had trapped the previous party, and had planned to do the same with us!

Even as I shot my first arrow into the evil gnome, his first spell went off and the undergrowth began to curl up and entangle our feet and legs. We all tried to jump away from the vines and shoot at the gnome at the same time (BOOM from Sprocket!), except for Bryrgar, who stepped between us and the bear. It was looking really unfriendly by then; I’m sure it would have done for Roscoe or Sprocket in one swipe!

As Bryrgar and the bear fought, the gnome kept backing up, casting another spell. I shot him again, but another bear suddenly appeared in front of us! This got Bryrgar and Roscoe talking about how good bear meat tastes. They’re a confident pair! I’d gotten entangled by then, distracted by the second bear. Then it swiped at me. Bears hit hard! I shot the gnome once more, since my arrow was already nocked and I was hoping the bear(s) would go if I killed their master.

Well, the last shot was enough for Colmarr; he ran off into the woods at top speed. Unfortunately, his minions did not. We were left to face two big angry bears, and who knew what reinforcements? When the second bear swiped me with its claws again, I went into a rage. I smashed it with my mace, and Bryrgar finished it off with one charge. The other bear finally ran after its master.

Bryrgar quickly healed some of my wounds, thank Ubtao! I pulled out the healing potion I’d been carrying and drank it while sitting on the ground, recovering my breath. What a situation! Alone in dangerous territory, and with an important mission to boot. How I missed my husband, then!

There was some talk of hiding in the spider’s lair until we had healed some, but I feared what would be waiting for us when we came out again. We decided to put some space bewteen us and the fight, and, having the most experience travelling in forests, I found myself leading the way west, hopefully back to the village. Wolves howled in the distance.

Sometime later, the wolves tracked us down. They crawled through the underbrush, and attacked poor Roscoe first. Soon, we were all fighting for our lives. We had killed several, when one pulled me down. Everything went dark.

I didn’t expect to wake up, but I did! The others had managed to chase the remaining wolves away, then poured a few more healing potions down my throat. Still, I was barely on my feet, and the others looked no better. There was talk of going back to the ruins again, but this time, I remembered the shadows - what would they do if we were actually in their realm when night fell?

Still staggering westward, I watched for a safe spot, if such a thing existed. A thick grove of trees seemed to have possibilities. We settled in, and spent the rest of the day watching (me), praying (Bryrgar), studying (Sprocket), and hiding (Roscoe, who managed to hide inside our hiding place somewhere. He was in bad shape!).

Night fell, and fog rolled in. More shadows appeared, to my dismay, but these also ignored us, thank Ubtao! I found myself wondering where Charzth was, and if he missed me at all. I wonder what he’d think of this adventure? Morning was a long time coming.

We were all much better for a night’s rest, and Bryrgar healed us some more as well. We set off to the west, wondering how much longer our trip would take. That gnome only took a few hours to lead us to the ruins, but the trip back seemed endless. I started to wonder how well my forest skills worked when it wasn’t the jungles of Chult.

Slowly, we realized that we could hear music in the woods ahead. Most of us wanted to ignore and avoid it, but Bryrgar hoped that we could get help. With Roscoe hanging from his armor and screaming “No!”, he walked into a clearing full of dancers, playing pipes and violins. The pipe players were half goat, half boy.. the violin players were something like a cricket centaur. It was eerie, but Bryrgar applauded their talent, and they offered to dance and drink with us!

While Bryrgar took a drink of wine and tried to explain we had a mission to accomplish, Roscoe clung to his armor, screaming, “Evil, evil!” .. I decided that wouldn’t help matters, and picked him up. I missed most of the conversation after that, but the forest folk sounded very rustic - very surprised to hear that there is anything but forest in the world! Thankfully, they let us leave; I took my bearings in the clearing and we headed west for sure.

Another hour went by, and we came to a clearing at the top of a hill. What a beautiful and terrifying sight met our eyes!

The forest stretched away in all directions. Past that, mountains rose. We crossed no mountains to get here! We were between two rivers. We crossed no rivers to get to the ruins! Where are we?

In the distance, a crystal palace rose above the forest. After a little talk, we headed for the palace, hoping it held the answer to our situation.

I miss my husband!

Posted by Kate at 08:50 | Nosila’s Journal

November 24, 2004

It is the Rabbit!

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 6, 1373 DR, Outside the Crystal Palace

As we walked towards the palace, we were serenaded by woodland creatures. We hadn’t seen or heard anything the least bit threatening since we first caught sight of the majestic building. We were at least halfway to it when we decided to stop and camp for the night. We got a fire going and I was pulling out some trail rations when Roscoe came back from “hunting” — with a sweet little bunny corpse he’d killed for food! He had the nerve to skin it, cook it, and offer pieces of the poor thing to us! Right at the same campfire where Widget and I had to eat! Widget gave him quite an earful, or rather, he tried to, but I don’t think halflings speak to small creatures. Come to think of it, I don’t think humans or dwarves do either. I’m sure if they had talked to a few, they’d have at least been hesitant to eat one. Widget (who managed to find out that Roscoe doesn’t like the color of slime green and soon had turned his fur, and my hair, just that shade) was so distressed about it that I just couldn’t speak to Roscoe— I wasn’t sure if I’d be expressing my feelings or my rat’s.

As my friends settled down to rest, Widget and I took the first watch. The forest seemed more ominous as night fell, so I set up an alarm spell around the perimeter of our camp— just in case. I am so glad I did! About an hour into my watch, the alarm went off, waking my companions as I turned to see a little brown rabbit had hopped into range. I quickly cast a spell to speak to it, to warn it away from the Rabbit Eaters, when it bared its teeth. It had a lot more teeth than a rabbit should have, and they were pointy and razor sharp! It never replied to me (but my spell let me hear exactly what Widget had been saying about the incidents of the evening), and as it leaped across the camp, intent on biting, No stabbed it with a kukri. Moments later, the alarm went off again, and again— soon we were being accosted by five more of these vorpal bunnies. I was bitten by one (as were all of my comrades) in spite of Bryrgar’s courageous attempts to keep between me and the rampaging rabbits. I cast the image of a wolf (with a potato on a collar, so my friends would realize it wasn’t a real wolf) and one of the bunnies kept occupied attempting to attack it. Soon all were dead or unconscious.

I didn’t stop Roscoe from skinning these, even though they did look like bunnies (I couldn’t talk to them, so I’m just not sure what they really were). However, when I found out he skinned one of them while it was still alive, I was horrified by that. He apparently doesn’t have a problem with eating anything that hops past him either.

Widget tells me he whizzed in the halfling’s backpack, and considered the matter settled.

Dawn arrived without any further incidents, and after we ate (rations again for Widget and I), we headed off towards the crystal palace again. We traveled most of the day, eventually arriving there shortly before sundown. The palace is 100’ wide, with very tall spires, and (what we couldn’t see from a distance) a white shimmering field or wall surrounding it in its entirety. We tried bouncing rocks off of it with no apparent harm to the rocks or the magical dome, so Bryrgar bravely tossed Roscoe through it. The halfling arrived safely on the other side, though all of his clothes and equipment stayed on our side. He quickly came back out and got dressed, while Bryrgar disrobed and walked through, no doubt counting on his beard to cover his nakedness at the palace doors. He walked in through the unlocked doors and, though the palace is translucent; we couldn’t see him on the other side. Nosila eventually decided she’d better go check on him. I wanted to go look too, but with my spellbook (admittedly, not worth much, but all I have to work with at the moment) and the silver rod (the only thing we absolutely could not replace) to keep watch of, I stayed outside. Roscoe did too. When it became apparent to us that they were going to be in the palace a long while (we had no idea that the entire inside was enchanted and literally swapping rooms around as our two taller companions attempted to navigate the inside), we started trying to figure out ways of getting inside with our belongings. Widget tried to burrow under the wall, but discovered that the force field went down as far as he could dig. Roscoe tried to climb it, but fell through and all of his clothing slid down the outside of the dome. We tried to push the silver rod through, attempted to attack the wall with a minor spell, and I even tried to use a net of shadows to “hide” us as we went in; none of these things worked. And, I’m not sure I am comfortable with the way the halfling was looking at me after that!

We had all but given up when we saw Bryrgar and Nosila coming out through the main entrance with three very realistic-looking statues— two winged sprite creatures, and one that looked like an elf. As they pushed the two sprite figures through the barrier, they each became animated, made a horrified shriek, and disappeared. I hope that is normal for a surprised sprite! The elf, on the other hand, seemed to wake from a spell of some sort as he was pulled through. Interestingly, his clothes remained inside the wall.

He seemed alarmed at first, but we tossed him a few cloaks to cover up with and gave some hurried introductions. He didn’t seem to understand Common, but Roscoe was able to talk to him in Elven, and he understood my questions in Draconic as well. Elzen, as he called himself, is the Chief Advisor to Queen Avaria. Nosila and Bryrgar wondered about that as we translated for them— they had seen a court full of still-life elves, including a jester and a king, but no queen. Elzen did confirm that we are no longer in Faerun, and I suspect, since we are here, we will do our best to help these people, and hopefully, someone will in turn be able to help us get home!

Posted by Kristin at 22:48 | Sprocket’s Journal

November 27, 2004

Strange Days

Nosila's Journal

We walked toward the crystal tower, wondering out loud how we ended up in this strange place. Sprocket claimed to be an expert on portals, and felt strongly that she would have noticed us passing through one. Roscoe blamed the fog, and the satyrs; I’m not sure why. As the sun began to set, we realized the tower was still far off and we’d have to camp.

As we settled down, Roscoe pulled out his bow and arrows and walked into the woods, saying he was going hunting. By the time Bryrgar had a fire going, the halfling was back, carrying a rabbit skewered on the shaft of an arrow. He dropped it by the fire and began to walk back into the woods, but when I asked him what he expected us to do with the remains, it turned out that he’d never hunted before, much less cleaned or skinned a kill! I taught him right then, wondering if the mess would turn him off of hunting, but he was quite enthusiastic.

The gnome’s rat familiar was very upset by the death of a small woodland creature, or so she said. The dwarf remarked sourly that the smell of cooking meat would attract all the wrong attention. The halfling and I ate the rabbit, saving our rations for another time. As darkness fell, the forest began to feel distinctly ominous... Bryrgar was right. Sprocket set an alarm spell, which went off almost as soon as the rest of us fell asleep.

I rolled over in my blanket, hearing Sprocket’s voice as she tried to talk soothingly to another rabbit. Instead of responding (and before Roscoe could take a potshot at it), it bared a mouthful of fangs that no rabbit ought to possess, and leapt some twenty feet across the camp at her! It landed within ten feet of me, so I grabbed my kukri from under my head and stabbed it to death. I’d just begun to settle back into my bedroll when several more of the unnatural creatures leapt out of the woods and into battle.

We all ducked when we heard Roscoe say, “Oops!”, but for once no one was hit. I found out quickly that the fanged rabbits bit hard, and switched to the mace to dispatch them more quickly. Sprocket conjured up a wolf (with a potato around its neck), and we finally killed off all the rabbits except one. I managed to capture it, and hold it still. I wanted to get a closer look at such a thing - the rabbit Roscoe shot didn’t have teeth like that! Sprocket tried to talk to it like before, but this rabbit was more interested in trying to chew on me. It got even angrier when Roscoe decided to practice his new skinning skills on the dead ones. He wasn’t very good at it yet, I admit.. Bryrgar then knocked it on the head. When Roscoe wasn’t looking, he slipped it into the pile of dead rabbits. We sat back and waited for it to wake up and give him a good scare - but instead, he skinned it, too! The poor thing never had a chance. I guess that halfling really has no experience with hunting!

Well, after everything else that had happened, it was laugh or cry - and Bryrgar and I fell over laughing. Poor Sprocket took the other view, glaring at all of us in turn. I tried to apologize, but she didn’t believe me. Uncontrollable giggling will do that. I really am sorry... it’s just that this is all so strange. We set watches and spent the rest of the night quietly. If you don’t count Bryrgar stealing all the fanged rabbit skulls, and me setting the skins all around Roscoe’s sleeping bag, that is. (They got a few more arrow holes in them when he woke up screaming). I think I saw Sprocket’s rat sneaking around his stuff, too...

We found the crystal palace by midday. As we got closer, we could see a strange shimmering white wall all around it. There was no movement or sound. Bryrgar tried throwing a stick at the wall, but it bounced off. The rest of us walked around the castle, looking for an entrance, but found nothing. Shouting got no response from inside, nor tapping with an arrowhead. Roscoe finally tapped it with a fingertip - and his whole finger went into the wall! He quickly pulled it out, relieved to find it still attached. Seeing that he was OK, Bryrgar promptly picked the halfling up and threw him through! He landed on the other side, unhurt, but totally nude. All of his gear was in a pile at the base of the wall on our side. Bryrgar collapsed in laughter again, while Roscoe ran back through and redressed. I think I learned how to curse in Halfling.

After some talk, Bryrgar neatly stacked his gear and walked off to explore the castle, leaving us to experiment. He was soon inside, while we discovered that the bishop’s rod would not pass through the wall, nor Sprocket’s spellbook. She didn’t want to leave her book, and I didn’t like to leave the rod unattended. When Bryrgar stuck his head out of the castle door and shouted to come on in, we agreed that only I would go in for now while the other two waited. I hoped Sprocket wouldn’t sic any potato rabbits on Roscoe while we were gone...

The entrance hallway held four doors, and Bryrgar. Opening them, we found a hallway, a fountain, a bedroom.. which Bryrgar walked into while I went to open the fourth door (another passageway). I heard a thump as his door closed, and ran back to see what had happened. Opening the door, I found that the dwarf and the bedroom were gone! Instead, there was yet another empty passage. It was an awful moment. I shut the door, then, on a guess, opened it again. This time, I saw a dining hall, with elven figures at the table. They were very still. I was curious, but kept shutting the door until, thank Ubtao! There was the dwarf again!

He was holding some lacy slip of cloth and telling me I’d look good in it. I answered that he had scared me, and tried to explain the magic of the door and my glimpse of frozen elves. He was soon out in the hall, trying it for himself. He shut and opened the door, to see... the same bedroom he’d just left. I got quite a look from the dwarf, then! But when I grabbed the door and tried, it changed to a hallway, and he believed me. We shouted our news out the door to the other two (who were doing some kind of naked dance through the wall, I just don’t want to know), then set off in search of the elves, if nothing else.

I did put on the clothes Bryrgar had found, but there wasn’t anything for him to wear. We found that all the doors did the same trick, although it didn’t work if you held a door open and tried another in the same room. We got some weapons from the kitchen (and tried waking the elves frozen there, no luck). We found the entrance hall again, and started dropping bits of cloth to mark rooms we’d already seen. We hadn’t made it to the dining hall when we found a study, instead. Books! And all of them magic. There were a bunch of tiny sprites frozen on the desk, too. On a hunch, we took two of them, and opened the door once more.

Jackpot! We’d found the throne room! It was full of elves, and two thrones. We grabbed an older-looking elf who was standing near the throne, and carried him to the door. Bryrgar lit a candle, using the wax to mark rooms, and we opened the door until we found the entrance hall once more. Carrying our three statues, we headed down to the wall.

I handed a sprite to Roscoe. Sure enough, it passed through the wall, came to life in his hand, shrieked and disappeared. We decided that this was normal for a sprite, and carried the other one plus the elf through. My new clothes and the elf’s stayed on the inside, but the elf woke up! Maybe the shrieking of the other sprite startled him, maybe he didn’t know what had happened, but it took a moment to calm him down. I’d be a little startled, too, really..

Roscoe and Sprocket each speak a language the elf, Elzan, understands. He’s an advisor to the elven queen Ovaria. I hope we picked someone who can help us figure out this mystery!

Posted by Kate at 20:19 | Nosila’s Journal

November 29, 2004

So Many Possibilities

Roscoe's Journal

We traveled a good part of the morning toward the palace only to find a transparent barrier completely encompassing it. Someone hit it and it sounded very solid, but when I touched it my hand went through. I slowly pushed myself through the barrier only to find myself naked on the other side. Standing completely in the buff I turned around to find all my belongings on the ground outside the barrier.

After a few tests Bryrgar walked through the barrier and up to the front doors. Completely naked he stepped inside for a minute then came out and hollered for someone to go with him. Nosila did, and Sprocket and I waited here doing various tests on the barrier to see if we could find a way in, one included a spell; another was attaching a rope to an arrow and shooting it across the barrier. Nothing worked; even directly attacking it didn’t work.

At one point Sprocket walked through the barrier herself to test a spell, and I saw the most beautiful being ever at that moment. I’ll be haunted by her beauty in my dreams for many nights.

It was getting fairly close to evening when Bryrgar and Nosila came back with what looked liked a very stiff elf. Upon passing the elf through the barrier it seemed less stiff at first, then looked at us and, in Elven, asked us why he was naked and who we were. We talked for a while, I don’t remember everything that was said being as mainly I translated, but the basic gist was he had no clue what happened.

The sun was still up when Nosila, Sprocket and I went into the palace to find a wizard that may help. We were informed on how to use the magic doors, but it didn’t work for us. We did find a study with pixies on a desk. We were looking around as the sun was setting and that is when strange things began to happen. The emerald colored walls became black and veins of pure crimson red streaked through them. The fairies on the desk shrieked and their once beautiful skin grew black, as claws elongated from their fingers and fangs protruded out of their mouths.

Thankfully Nosila had held the one door open. I grabbed three books and bolted for the main door; I noticed Sprocket and Nosila were right behind me as we left the accursed palace and ran for Bryrgar.

Apparently the elf we met had gone through a similar transformation for when we got there Bryrgar had planted his axe into the once-elf creature. I knew the fairies were still after us. Even though we couldn’t see them we could hear them and the gashes appearing on our flesh were a dead give away.

We fought for a while then decided to run only to have Bryrgar fall behind. So we ran back and helped him fight off our attackers. Nosila got one with a lucky swing, and I nailed another with an arrow. Not hearing anymore wings we relaxed and made camp right where we were.

After a little discussion we decided to do a little test. Being as I’m probably the least useful at the moment I volunteered for this. I stood inside the area where the barrier stood during the day and watched as the sun rose. As the rays of the morning light hit the top of the palace....

I find myself naked again being dragged out of the barrier. Our fears were true, anyone caught inside the barrier as the sun comes up is cursed to be a frozen statue during the day and a monster at night. The rest of my companions are going to go inside the palace to find anything useful, I’m going to wait out here and read whatever is in these books I took out last night.

I wonder though. If the elves put up the barrier, was it really meant to keep others out, or themselves in? Maybe it was supposed to freeze them at night, but something went wrong and it got reversed. Or is the barrier itself the cure for what was a curse they already had. So many possibilities, but no answers. Hopefully there will be something in one of these books.

Posted by Fred at 22:49 | Roscoe’s Journal

November 30, 2004

Diabolical Demiplane

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 7, 1373 DR, Outside the Crystal Palace

We managed to get a little more information out of the confused elf. We are in a realm called Arania. Upon questioning him about magic, and specifically, other planes, I discovered that they know nothing of elemental magic, and stranger still— they don’t speak Common because there are no gnomes here! In fact, there are no humans, dwarves, or halflings as far as Elzen knew. The elf insisted that there is nothing beyond the mountains, rivers and forest either! As Roscoe and I translated back and forth, we learned of the last thing Elzen remembered: a strange traveler with red eyes came to the palace, and the queen grew ill and was supposed to be resting in her bedchamber. Upon trying to take him back through the dome, we discovered that he became inanimate as soon as he was passed through. Bryrgar agreed to stay outside the dome with him (and our stuff), giving Roscoe and I a chance to go in with Nosila— Roscoe wanted to look at the books in the study (we were assuming all were in Elven), and I was to look for an elven wizard Elzen called Haran. Elzen assured us that the randomly displayed rooms behind the hallway doors were a perfectly normal function of the castle. I cast an alarm spell where the elf and Bryrgar sat, in case some of those killer rabbits showed up.

I put on some of the clothes from the heap by the dome, so Roscoe would stop looking at me so oddly. You’d think he’d never seen a female before! We followed Nosila in, and she showed us how the doors worked— after a fashion. I would have loved to stay longer and figure out how this all was accomplished. For a while we kept “finding” the kitchen and an empty bedchamber, but eventually a study appeared and Roscoe and I ran in before Nosila could stop us. Luckily she held the door open so we didn’t find ourselves lost elsewhere in the palace.

There were lots of books and Roscoe was pulling several off the shelves. I had stopped to look at the three remaining sprites frozen in place on the shelves, when I thought I saw one of them moving slightly. Suddenly, we all realized that, as the sun set outside, the inside of the palace took on demonic features: the walls became pitch black streaked with blood-red lines, the skin on the sprites darkened to black, and their teeth and nails elongated. Then the hellish screeching started, first from the sprites, and then we could hear it from elsewhere in the palace. We ran! If I had picked up something other than Widget, I dropped it in my haste to get out of that palace, and I was able to keep up with Nosila and Roscoe (who managed to hold on to three tomes as he ran). The dome was gone, but apparently, the evil was not contained to the palace grounds. We found Bryrgar pulling his axe out of the forehead of the dead Elzen, who was almost unrecognizable with his blackened skin and mouth full of fangs.

There was a full moon overhead, providing some light, but we suddenly found small wounds appearing on us, caused by some unseen assailants. I cast the illusion of a sun overhead, hoping to see the creatures better, but they were completely invisible. The screech of one told us that the sprites we’d seen in the study had found us, and were out for blood! We began running, and swinging weapons around us and overhead, hoping to hit them by chance. Then Bryrgar decided to stand still so we could get away while he took on however many of the demonic pixies there were. We all ran back to him and Nosila actually hit one, then Roscoe impaled the other on an arrow. I threw dirt on each one just so we could see their outlines— though as they expired, their hideously twisted corpses became visible.

The attacks ceased with the demise of these two creatures, so we camped where we were. Bryrgar provided us with what healing he could. Thankfully no other transformed beasts bothered us.

We formulated a plan for sunrise. It went as I feared it would.

We stood at the barrier in the morning, with most of our equipment (sans the books from the study) on the “dome” side of the palace grounds. Roscoe decided to stand inside where the dome would be, with our equipment, though I wish he hadn’t. As the sun came up, the dome reappeared and the red and black streaks disappeared from the palace. Roscoe ceased moving. I jumped across and pushed him to my friends, who grabbed him as he reanimated. He will spend the day outside reading the elven books while Nosila, Bryrgar, Widget and I try to find a way out of this cursed demiplane.

Posted by Kristin at 17:23 | Sprocket’s Journal