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December 5, 2004

More trouble!

Nosila's Journal

Well, Roscoe was determined to tell the elf everything that had happened to us since we met in the bar, but Sprocket got a few questions in edgewise! This place is called Arania, and it’s not part of our world... there is nothing beyond the mountains around us. The place doesn’t have seasons, so no “years”. Although Elzen and Sprocket were speaking in draconic, he’s never heard of a dragon! Which led to the discovery that he’s never heard of or seen any of our races before, either. No wonder he was boggled at the sight of us!

(Sprocket’s muttering about demi-planes or something)

The barrier isn’t normal - nor the suspended state of the rest of the Court. The door thing is normal; if you know where you want to go, it takes you there. It’s not supposed to be random! The elves here haven’t any enemies that they know of, and had no warning that something was going to happen. The only odd event before, was the arrival of another “stranger to the realm”, who looked like an elf - with glowing red eyes. After that, the queen got sick.

We found out that there are some spellcasters in the palace who might have ideas on breaking the curse, and got ready to go back inside. This time, Bryrgar stayed outside to watch our things, while Sprocket, Roscoe and I were to follow the elf to a spellcaster and I’d carry him or her to the wall. We also, finally, checked to see how many languages we knew between us for the next time we get stuck like this. I found out no one else knew Goblin. Now I know what to swear at people in!

(That halfling is enjoying the clothes issue a little too much, methinks. I gave Sprocket part of the long skirt of my gown to wrap herself in after we went through).

My cheerfulness lasted as long as it took to walk back through the magical wall: Elzen promptly turned back into a statue. We pulled him back through, and he had no memory of it. This was a setback, indeed! Still, we got a pretty good description of the chief mage, Haran, and headed back in without the elf. We quickly found out that the doors remained random; I guess you have to be an elf for that trick to work. Still, with three of us opening doors in the entrance hall, we figured to find him eventually.

Roscoe found the study, first. He and Sprocket just had to search the place! I held the door open so as not to lose track of them, and watched the sunset glow through the walls. I wondered, for the first time in a while, what my husband was doing, wherever he was?

As the last rays of light faded, I saw the translucent walls turn dark, and blood red streaks appeared in them. At the same time, I heard shrieks, and saw the sprites’ skin darkening while their fingernails sharpened into claws. Worse, they were finally moving - launching themselves at Sprocket and Roscoe! As they dashed into the entrance hall, I slammed the door, and we ran for the outside carrying only the random books they’d been looking at when the change occurred.

We were glad to get outside with no trouble, and surprised to see that the barrier wall was gone completely. Bryrgar was standing over the body of the elf - which had changed the same way as the sprites. We grabbed our gear and ran for the forest under the light of a full moon. Behind us, we heard Sprocket’s alarm spell go off, then Bryrgar and Roscoe were slashed by invisible claws! I could hear flapping and swung at it, but got slashed for my trouble.

Sprocket caused a sun to appear, but it didn’t scare the invisible sprite monsters off. We gave up on outrunning them, and stood near each other, swinging wildly into the air whenever we heard the flapping of invisible wings. Eventually, we killed enough of them to make the rest fly away. Sprocket dusted one to see that, yes, it was a strangely altered sprite that had attacked. We could hear awful sounds from the castle and couldn’t imagine what was going on inside. These poor beings! How long has this been going on?

Everyone was talking - the mystery of the normal rabbit killed by day, and the other fanged rabbits attacking by night seems to be solved. This whole realm is cursed, but only the elves are trapped in suspension in their castle. We must help them, somehow. Realizing that a good night’s sleep was unlikely, I told them to wake me for second watch, and settled into my bedroll right where we stood. To my surprise, however, we weren’t attacked for the rest of the night.

In the morning, Bryrgar was able to heal everyone up a lot. I found out that Roscoe planned to wait for the sunrise inside the barrier; I hope we’re not going to lose our only elven speaker and reader to this curse. Sprocket put all her stuff inside the barrier and waited outside, while I left everything of mine outside except my kukri, and myself. We did leave the rod outside, too... and the sun rose. Roscoe promptly turned into a statue. Argh! When Sprocket pulled him out, he didn’t remember it at all. He cheerfully told us that we’d have to tie him up at night “just in case”, and sat down to read one of the purloined elven books!

I guess we’ll be off to search the castle again. We have the day to solve this; Ubtao guide my steps!

Posted by Kate at 09:14 | Nosila’s Journal

December 7, 2004

The Rat, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 7, 1373 DR, Outside the Crystal Palace

We left Roscoe with what equipment was left on the outside of the dome and headed back into the palace. I got to see quite a few rooms:

A bedchamber
A long corridor that turned left at the end
A 30’ long hall with a door at the end
A kitchen (with still-life elves preparing food)
A study with six sprites
An armory (Bryrgar had to stop and check this one for armor that would fit either him or Nosila!)
A room containing a fountain, with an overall “nymph” motif
A 15’ long hall that turned to the right
A throne room (we noticed that Elzen had not reappeared here, though apparently everyone else was back in place)
A library
And… an elegant bedchamber.

Nosila and Bryrgar had left various things in some of these rooms before, “breadcrumbs” if you will, but could not see them today. Bryrgar would just rip a piece of Nosila’s borrowed clothing off to leave behind the rooms they wanted to mark. I offered a piece of chalk, but they continued to use bits of cloth instead.

But back to the most important room— the library! So many books, and nearly all of them in elven! There were also a few frozen elves in here, perhaps working to stop the curse before it took hold however long ago this all started? We looked at the books they were holding first, and though I couldn’t make out the language, I did notice that the symbol of the elven deity Corellen Larethian was on the spines or covers of several. I was about to give up and grab a few things for Roscoe to read when I found one in a different script that looked like magical writing. Casting a spell to read magic, I made out the title: All Curses Malevolent. What luck! I was about to sit down to read right away, when we heard another door in the library close. Looking up, we counted one less frozen elf. Of course, the elf that left could be the red-eyed stranger, or at least, someone not under the palace curse, but running to open the door just revealed an empty hallway. We started opening and closing doors, at one point opening a door and seeing our surprised selves staring back at us (we closed the door quickly that time!).

I sat down to read while Nosila and Bryrgar puzzled over the multitude of destinations available, and within a half hour I managed to find something worthwhile in the 100-page book. It appears to me that the curse is a combination of a spell to stop time, connected to a nightmare realm. As I turned to read about the curse removal, I was disappointed to see that page had been ripped out of the tome. I paused in my reading to share my findings just as my friends managed to find the Queen’s bedchamber— and Haran, watching over her. Both were, of course, frozen in time.

We were preparing to carry them outside when I heard the murmuring of what sounded like an incantation from a corner of the room. I’m not sure if Bryrgar and Nosila heard my warning because suddenly a wardrobe standing near me fell on me! Additionally, it had opened its doors as it fell, scooping me inside, violently shaking me around within it. I could hear the muffled sounds of combat in the room beyond. I cast (belatedly) an armor spell on myself and Widget, who luckily was missing the battering from the wardrobe in the relative safety of my backpack. Moments later, the wardrobe spit me out on the floor, and I found my comrades battling two chairs. I threw a handful of black ribbons to cast a Shadow Spray on the corner the murmuring had come from mere moments before, but it was a wasted effort— the assailant had moved. I had to move too, before the wardrobe attacked me again, so I scrambled backwards without standing up.

It was almost a fatal mistake. I heard the scrape of a footstep near my head, then a burning pain in my chest.

A few moments later, Bryrgar was standing over me, providing divine healing. I could have hugged him, but then I saw my poor Widget covered in blood! Luckily, it was only my blood— he had used his own little body to attempt to keep me warm, and had managed to staunch my wound until the cleric could heal me.

I had to cast a spell so I could really talk to Widget and make sure all was okay with him. He told me he could smell the assassin, or rather, smell for the assassin, who was no longer in the room. At the very least, he’ll be able to smell my blood on the assassin’s dagger. But for now, we needed to take Haran outside to “unfreeze” him, and take the Queen as well, so he could see her when he was revived.

Roscoe was glad to see us— he’d spent the day reading about methods of making fertilizer, by the sounds of it. We let him bloviate at Haran for a few minutes, and eventually I was able to explain a few crucial things to Haran about how and why we were here (and for the record, Haran did recognize some of my images of planar creatures, so all is not lost on these elves). This elven mage is sure we can get back home to our own realm, but first we must at least try to help Arania. He offered to grab a crystal key out of his robes, which were, of course, lumped on the other side of the dome, and Roscoe showed him how he would be frozen if he attempted to go back in, using himself for the example. In the process, Roscoe managed to only numb himself from the neck down, and lay at the edge of the dome asking for someone to tug him back out for a few moments.

Um, anyway, the key would provide us access to Haran’s lab (third drawer, fourth cabinet!), where we could find Dust of Invisibility Purge— if we can hear (or Widget can smell) our way back to the assassin, this will hopefully give us the edge we need, and if we’re really lucky, access to that missing page from the magical tome.

Posted by Kristin at 17:21 | Sprocket’s Journal

December 12, 2004

A new trouble

Nosila's Journal

The three of us opened three doors in the entrance hall at the same time. I thought hard of the throne room, but still no luck - a random hallway appeared. The other two had random rooms, as well. We kept it up until the armory appeared, at which I held the door while Bryrgar went in and grabbed some weapons and armor. The chain mail was a little tight, but better than just a ragged nightgown!

We went back to opening doors, marking them with scraps of cloth from the gown. I found the library again, with its eight elves, and held the door a second time while the others checked out the books. As they did so, we all heard the distinct sound of a door opening... and closing! Only seven elves were in the room, and we all ran to the door at the other end of the library.

Sadly, this one, too, was set to random. We hit a few empty places, then the kitchen. Since no one had been counting elves before, Bryrgar ran in and knocked everyone in the kitchen over to see if they were all truly frozen in place. Then we were back to the opening and shutting.. we even opened the other door to the library and saw ourselves at the other end! Eeek!

Bryrgar knocked down any elves we found, and Sprocket eyed the book she’d picked up in the hurry. Apparently, it’s for “all curses malevolent”, which sounds quite useful! So, she sat down and paged through it while Bryrgar and I searched the random rooms shown by the magical door. We found the throne room again, and Bryrgar took an unholy joy in barrelling through every elf in the place. I did note that poor Elzan had not reappeared. I felt some grief that we’d had to kill such an elderly and wise elf.

We finally found Haran - in the queen’s bedroom, looking over her sickbed. Sprocket mentioned that she’d found the curse that this place is under, but the page to reverse it is, of course, missing. We went in to grab Haran and head for the entrance hall, when Sprocket cried, “Someone’s casting!” and a chair began to attack Bryrgar. As I boggled, another chair attacked me! The large wardrobe, however, went after poor little Sprocket; when it spit her out after tumbling her inside its doors, I shouted at her to run out and close the door behind her - she could find us again later!

No such luck - she couldn’t get away from the wardrobe’s attacks. Bryrgar was tripped up by the chair attacking him even as he tried to get to the corner Sprocket had pointed to. I grabbed my own attacker and flung it at the wardrobe, but it only bounced off. At least the wardrobe then got tangled up in the chair and fell over! But before I could rejoice in that, I saw that something had stabbed Sprocket in the chest. I shouted to Bryrgar and charged the space over her unmoving body.

Thank Ubtao, I actually struck home against our invisible assailant! As I stood over her, prepared to defend against another attack, I saw the door open to a hallway, then close. Hoping our assailant was gone, I knelt beside the gnome to give her what help I could - and found that her rat familiar had already stopped the bleeding with his own body. What an amazing creature! Bryrgar swung his axe around the space near the door (good thought!), and I discovered that the furniture had not stopped moving (ouch). We smashed at it until it did.

Bryrgar was able to heal Sprocket enough to wake her up. Then, we searched the room for any sign of the loose page. No one said our sad thought out loud - that the invisible assailant probably had it! Giving up, we grabbed Haran and (more gently) the queen, and Sprocket opened the door until we found the entrance hall. For better or for worse, her rat now recognizes the smell of the invisible one, and can hopefully warn us of danger in time!

Finally, the entrance hall appeared. We ran down to the barrier, and Bryrgar and Sprocket went through with Haran while I stayed inside with the queen. It had occurred to me that she’s probably better off inanimate, as she’s sick... and it was kind of funny to watch yet another elf react to his first sight of our strange races. We’re lucky he didn’t blast the lot of us! Roscoe chattered away at him, then Sprocket finished up.

Haran says he can fix the curse - but he needs that missing page! He does think he can get us home afterwards, too, which is a relief. He has a “laboratory”, in which we will find stuff to make the invisible person visible again, and almost walked through the barrier to get it himself when Roscoe forestalled him by a demonstration. I gave the frozen halfling a shove and he fell partway back through, yelling at us while his arms and legs were still frozen on my side. In a fit of fun, I tangled his legs up and pushed him through. It took the poor fellow a few minutes to get himself sorted out and run off yelling that he hates us all... I laughed, but Haran looks worried. Although Sprocket is reassuring him, I think I need to think ahead a bit more!

We have the key to the laboratory, and Sprocket has instructions to the materials he needs. Off we go again!

Posted by Kate at 09:17 | Nosila’s Journal

December 17, 2004

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 at 13:09 | Sprocket’s Journal

December 19, 2004

How Very Odd

Nosila's Journal

Well, we began to open doors in the castle... again. I was looking for a door with a keyhole to appear across the room or down a hallway. I noticed that Bryrgar was removing doors from their hinges... hmmm. We all began to do so (and we also counted any elves we came across, in case the attacker tried to fool us as he had in the library). Sprocket’s rat sniffed away, searching for the attacker as well.

Finally, I found a door with a lock and called to the others. Sure enough, the key fit and we were in Haran’s laboratory. Sprocket quickly found the cabinet described and got the anti-invisibility stuff... and then she and Bryrgar decided to ransack the lab for anything else that might be useful. I thought this a bit wrong, and kept by the door, listening for trouble.

Trouble came from another source, unfortunately. We hadn’t been watching the time! As the walls began to darken and the bloodred streaks appear, my first response was to yank the key out of the door and close us all inside the lab. We soon realized that being trapped inside at daybreak would be worse, and began to pull the door open until we found the entrance hall (lucky for us we did not open it to an occupied room).

Bryrgar did check down one of the doors-off-hinges pathways, following the sound of screams until he saw the throne room’s occupants tearing each other apart. We all then went outside. To my surprise, the sick queen still slept on peacefully, and she had not changed at all! Sadly, Haran and Roscoe had changed, and they had torn each other apart, too.

On a half-formed hope, I pulled their bodies (and the body of Elzan) inside the barrier to wait for morning. Sprocket cast something over her loot from the lab, and Bryrgar tried casting something over the queen, to no avail. Touching her with the bishop’s wand didn’t help, nor did giving her his remove curse potion. Poor lady! Realizing the screams from the castle were dying down, we decided to make another search for the invisible attacker - before he came out here and got us again.

We found two “elves” in the hallway to the throne room, but after killing them, we found that the rest had torn each other apart like Roscoe and Haran. We worked our way to the library, at which point, Sprocket’s rat smelled trouble. Sprocket chucked a cloud of magical dust into the air, which clung to the outline of a humanoid - with bat wings! We all attacked. After a short battle and some lucky shots, we managed to kill the creature. Not only did it have red eyes... it had the missing page to the book of curses. Thank Ubtao! We retired to the outside of the barrier, and waited for morning.

Sprocket studied like mad, telling us that she’d need some more ingredients from the well-searched laboratory, but we decided to wait for daylight. Morning came, and the barrier sprang up... both elves disappeared, and Roscoe was suddenly standing, whole, in the same spot as the previous day! Whew! We ran inside (oops, all the doors were back in place, too), and dragged Haran out into the morning sun.

It turned out that he had no memory of the previous day at all. While Sprocket explained for the third time just who we were and why we were there (plus why she had stuff from his lab and books from the library), I got Roscoe and pushed his head through the barrier. Sure enough, he had no memory of anything since he’d first been frozen by the curse, too. So, I tied his legs into another knot and pushed him all the way through. He untangled himself and ran off shouting that he hated us, and it was just as funny the second time around. Oops... Haran just as worried-looking. I was going to curb those impulses, wasn’t I???

Together, Haran and Sprocket performed the ritual, one on each side of the barrier. There was a blinding flash of light and we were thrown to the ground! When I opened my eyes, everything was in darkness. I quickly reached for a torch and got it lit, startled to find ourselves in a tomb! Alas, it was not so easy - I’d have loved to find ourselves in the lich’s tomb, and quickly slapped the bishop’s rod into place. Still, this place was beautiful, with statues of elven warriors in the corners and a relief of what looked like the elven queen on the lid of the sarcophagus.

Mystified, we checked each other and our gear. Everything from that strange realm had disappeared, except for what we’d taken off the red-eyed creature’s body. Seeing a set of steps, we headed up, and slowly opened the door at the top. All I could see and hear was forest, so we finally stepped outside. Sprocket stared at the ancient tomb we’d just left. If I understand her, we somehow got into a loop of time and freed those elves, even if it was thousands of years ago. This forest is indeed a strange place!

Roscoe climbed a tree, and eventually returned to tell us that he thinks we’re back where we started, but months have passed. We’ll head out west in the morning again, and hope that there’s something left of the town we tried to protect.

I wonder if Charzth has been looking for me?

Posted by Kate at 08:19 | Nosila’s Journal

December 28, 2004

Doing the Rat Thing

Sprocket's Journal

Uktar 15, 1373 DR, Pommeville?

The walk to Pommeville was uneventful. I spent most of the time trying to confirm the season, and then the year. I decided, based on the farms full of rotting produce, that it must still be 1373 DR, and at least four weeks after the harvests should have been brought in. When we got to Pommeville, we were better able to see why the harvest never took place.

Large hyena-headed humanoids were directing enslaved people and zombies to reconstruct the ruined temple to Tiamat, while the town’s shrine to Ilmater was now gone! Roscoe wanted to sneak off and investigate quietly on his own. I was sure the gnolls would see him, but we remembered the ring we’d taken from the once-invisible fiend. Roscoe tried it on and managed to zap himself— a whiff of ozone and a flash— leaving a still-visible, if singed, halfling. I tried it on and finished the incantation for an invisibility spell and vanished from view. After showing Roscoe how it worked, he disappeared, and was off to see what he could see.

He was sneaking past a few gnoll taskmasters, zombies, and enslaved townsfolk when the spell wore off. Ooops! I didn’t think to tell him that it might wear off after 24 seconds. Four gnolls and a hyena attempted to attack him, but he was, for the most part, too quick to be hit. I used a few shadow spray spells to confuse and weaken the gnolls, while Nosila attacked outright and Bryrgar created a magic weapon and summoned celestial badgers to aid us. Roscoe kept the hyena occupied. Suddenly, one of the gnolls ran straight at me, as if to attack. I ran to hide behind our dwarven cleric, who had seen the gnoll and was in turn running after it! He got it!

Next we decided to find a way into the temple unseen, hoping to return the silver rod, though we were unsure how to handle the lich, who had undoubtedly regained his full strength while we were gone. I suggested the path from the mausoleum that passed underground to the temple’s altar room, and Roscoe more than readily agreed. Bryrgar was sure it would be packed with undead.

Bryrgar was, of course, right about the undead. Apparently not all of them were involved in construction— our cleric had to send four of them shambling in the opposite direction while we found our way to the small tomb, and then we had two shadows to deal with in there. It was so dark that I had to cast dancing lights just to provide illumination while my comrades found torches to light, and then we descended the steps in the mausoleum and headed to the temple.

Either Nedrezzar and his minions didn’t know about this entrance, or simply didn’t care, as it was unguarded save for the two shadows. Roscoe snuck into the altar room, invisibility ring in use, and attacked two kneeling petitioners at the altar. He forgot that the altar had four skeletal warriors that would pop out— which they did! I suspect we need to carry something, perhaps like a symbol of Tiamat, to pass unharmed by that trap. We all ran in and attacked the acolytes and skeletons. I didn’t do much damage with my pistol, but in the end I was able to destroy a skeleton just charging it with my staff! I am not used to relying on my own physical strength, so that was quite astonishing to me!

We hurried down the stairs beneath the altar and to the room containing Nedrezzar’s crypt. This time is was quite dark— that’s what we get for removing the braziers from each corner. We saw movement in the far corners of the dark room. Someone produced a light, which revealed a dozen mindless undead and one lich! I cast the illusion of a portcullis between us and the undead (I made sure my friends could tell from our side of the gate that it wasn’t real), which kept them from overwhelming us right in the doorway. Unfortunately, Nedrezzar was quite able to handle us on his own, and began casting spells on my friends! Skeletons were reaching through the illusory bars to claw Bryrgar, who attempted to charge them and tripped. He was knocked out, and bleeding to death! I dragged him out of harm’s way while my dear little Widget was again able to save a companion’s life by covering the most severe wound with his own body to stop the bleeding.

Things were not going well though— one by one, my friends appeared to be held in place, no doubt through some evil spell of the lich’s. I eventually lost consciousness myself.

I became conscious some time later, shackled in a dungeon. I quick looked around and saw all of my friends in chains as well. Even poor Widget was in some rat-sized handcuffs! All of our equipment was gone. Before we could take stock of the situation, the lich appeared and gave us an ultimatum— our freedom could be purchased by ridding a neighboring kingdom of a fiend that had taken it over. His reasoning was that his enslavement of the population of Pommeville wasn’t nearly as “evil” as what the demon was doing, and the silver rod that would imprison the lich could be used to banish the demon.

Now, I would be quite willing to banish the demon, but I also want to help the town of Pommeville, and prevent the rebuilding of the temple to Tiamat. However, I feel a strong compulsion (and what I suspect is an enchantment or geas) to help Nedrezzar. Perhaps we can take care of the demon and come back and save the town from the lich when we are stronger? Bryrgar feels strongly that it is better to die here or remain imprisoned rather than do anything the lich asks. Nosila and Roscoe (and Widget!) feel as I do. Widget took this opportunity to point out (with me translating) that he’d just saved the dwarf’s life and it would be a shame to waste that life when some good could come from ridding the region of one evil overlord, and be alive to possibly finish off the other as well. Hopefully Widget can budge the dwarf for us, for I have no doubt that we will fail the quest without his strength and healing abilities!

Posted by Kristin at 14:52 | Sprocket’s Journal