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March 7, 2009

Caught Your Eye

Astrid's Journal

17 Lamashan 4709 AR

We tried to stay out of trouble for a day. Determined to stay in our room at the Golden Griffin until we were all well-rested and healed, we managed for at least 8 hours, until Tythe needed a fresh drink. Salma was adamant that she was not leaving, so Deaglan and I agreed to take turns staying with her. Tythe and I decided to go with our “personas” of the night before, which was not overly difficult, since no one in Absalom really knows us anyway.

We entered the crowded tavern area—there were no tables available so we sat down at the bar. Looking around the room, I spotted one of our “shadows” from the night before, and told Tythe I would be back in a minute after letting our friends know that trouble might be brewing. I told Salma and Deaglan and then hurried back down to the tavern in time to see Tythe had wandered over to the table of mystery stalker. I heard that she was quizzing him about which event she might have met him at. I wandered over and asked their forgiveness and told Tythe I would be ordering food for us to go up to the room we were staying in. I offered to do the same for the stalker, pretending I had never seen him before, but he was not giving up any info on where he was staying or what his name was.

We ordered food and went back upstairs. I put an alarm spell on the room, and we opted to shut the shutters to our room, somehow sure that snipers would be attacking us at any moment.

Then we heard a thump.

Something had hit the shuttered window. Tythe peeked out and said she saw a big “eye” looking back at her. I took a quick look and saw that yes, there was a big eye staring in. It had black fur and batlike wings. I thought it looked like a creature I had once heard of called an “eyewing” but it was much too small. Deaglan and Salma had a look in turn as well— none of us had ever seen such a thing.

We figured it was either a harmless creature that we had all somehow never seen before, an exotic pet, or a familiar of some spying wizard. It looked harmless otherwise, and we were getting cabin fever, having nearly been in the inn for a half of a day now, so we opened the shutters and I dismissed the alarm. The ocular creature scuttled (on three little bird-like legs) up to the frame of the window, still staring in at us. I attempt to coax it in with a lullaby (even though I did not see any ears on the creature) and it gradually scuttled in for a closer look.

Without having much of a plan at this point, Deaglan and Tythe closed the shutters again, and the mini eyewing retreated up to a corner of the ceiling. Salma got it down with her staff, and was struggling with prying it off the staff when it turned its spindly little legs towards her chest and burrowed in! We quickly got it off of her, bundling it into a cloak— we could see that the little “legs” had inserted tendrils through her flesh, but I think we got the creature off in its entirety. Deaglan and I went down to the inn owner and got him to have a one of his servers procure a crate for us, so we had something to place the creature in. I did not see any of our stalkers in the great room this time.

So, here we sit, in a room in the tavern, still battered and bruised, with a mysterious bat-eye in a crate.

Posted by Kristin at 15:25 | Astrid’s Journal

March 13, 2009

Catching Up

Tythe's Journal

Yeah, I’m drunk. What of it? I wanted that thrice-damned creature of filth impaled on my sword after all we’d been through and he escaped!

The old man in the street was too slow and I took the bottle from him with a flourish of my rapier. Laughing as I bowed to him, I threw the gold with a wink to see his look of anger turn to one of drunken glee as he realized I’d just given him enough to stay drunk for a week. Removing my sword from the handle of the jug sheathing sword and raising the bottle to my lips I ran to catch up with the rest. Where to now? Who cares. I need a drink. More rum!

Too much has happened for me to keep up with in the past days. My mind swims and it’s not just because of the booze. I sit here in the dark on watch, waiting, keeping myself ready for the assassin’s blade not because I fear it but because I have sworn to kill everyone and anyone who may have had to do with Zandu’s death. He was a good man and didn’t deserve to die. I should have been at his back not playing at the indignant dignitary. As chaotic an individual as he was he will be sorely missed by all of us.

I think the trouble began long before any of us realized. Things went so well at the ball that we became over confident so that while Zandu and Salma were taking the Princess to their destination and Astrid and I were making our way back to the Golden Griffin after, the plans were already in place to trap us. It was at the cost of Zandu’s death that we barely managed to escape. We found our employer dead, the one whom we were to kidnap was gone and now we hide in this room waiting, for what— for me to get drunker for one thing for the others to heal and for our dear Salma to calm and regain herself.

I don’t know how this young hunter? came to be with us. But his arrow came in handy more than once so I guess we’ll keep him. I almost wish I hadn’t jokingly twisted that ring I found on the dead assassin’s finger. It was a waste of time running around in the dark like I did and I nearly got myself killed. And the others for that matter since they chose to follow me. I can only say it was a good thing I was back where I’d first found myself when they appeared. I was able to lead them away from the direction I’d gone and after a fight that seemed almost anticlimactic we found another room similar to the one we first entered the place through and I once again impulsively gave my ring a twist.

I’ve got to say I really hate ghosts but where did I end up taking my companions and myself but the cliff region of Absalom. Haunted and deadly it was not a place to be caught out in the dark. And it wasn’t long before the place lived up to its name and we were once again fighting for our lives. No ghost thank whatever Gods played with our lives this night but creatures such as I’d never seen. They attacked in numbers but were small and hard to hit with arrow or steel. We managed to fight them off for a time but they regrouped and attacked again but the sun showed a sliver of light over the distant horizon and the things didn’t seem to like that and those we hadn’t managed to kill left us and we made our way back to the Golden Griffin and now here we are. What started out to be a day of healing and resting and just regrouping became for most of us a day of watching, waiting, looking in every shadow for a dagger, every flash of light a sword, but it never came. Instead we were quietly subtly ensnared within our own curiosity by a tiny creature that looked and felt and seemed in every way perfectly harmless yet it nearly killed Salma burrowing itself into her chest by means of tiny clawed feet and tendrils that entered her flesh. We managed to get the thing off her and trap it in a crate supplied by the manager’s daughter who went to the local market to secure it. And now here I sit just trying to remember through rum-hazed memory the occurrences of the past few days staring at a tiny thing wondering just what use this thing could be to us.

The rum running through me like fresh blood through the dried-out husk of a vampire I hold the coin in my hand flipping it over and over, multicolored reflections of mythical creatures seeming to stand before my eyes until I lay my hand upon the thing, covering it and raise it once again to my eye. It’s tails, a creature like a dog but with three heads tearing at the body of a giant spider-like creature, the dark half of my soul wins out once again and I look to a tiny creature lying under a cloak in a crate. I can only hope it lives long enough for me to do what I must do. The assassins that have been following us must be sent by that vile bastard that we’ve been fruitlessly chasing all over Absalom. By the time I catch one, if I can catch one, our little one-eyed friend should be good and hungry and assassin will make as good a meal as any after first answering a few questions; but if it dies from hunger in the mean time then we are out nothing. I catch my eye reflected in the coin looking like an inset ruby, the purple iris turning dark and bloody. It seems I’m going to have to fight harder to contain the darkness within me. I do not wish to become my sister. She opened herself up to the darkness that was heritage from our Drow mother. I pick up the bottle on the nearby table, look at it and throw it across the room to smash in a corner. No more; I’m done with that. There is a hunter that needs hunting and something vile that needs expunged.

Posted by Jon at 02:17 | Tythe’s Journal

March 15, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

Salma's Journal

The dog has been named Rufus.

We decided to spend the day at the inn. In fact, I didn’t even want to leave the room. At dinnertime, Astrid and Tythe went to get food. They left Deaglan with me, with orders to “scream real loud” if there was trouble.

Of course, that meant Deaglan was very suspicious when someone knocked! Astrid stuck her head in the door to tell us that there was an assassin IN the tavern. I was ready to climb out the window (again) when it occurred to us that we were probably being watched from that direction, too...

We went to the window and closed the shutters without being shot, and a peek through the slats showed no one obviously watching us. I stayed away from the window while Astrid headed back downstairs and we settled in to wait for our meal.

Now we heard something at the window, of course... the flapping of wings! Astrid and Tythe returned and Tythe peeked out. All she said was, “Well, that’s unusual!” Astrid took a look and described an eyeball with wings that also “climbs real well”. She ended up hanging half out the window, singing, trying to lure it inside.

I expected the sniper to strike at any time. If this was a trap to lure us out, they certainly knew their targets well!

After several false starts, scuttling up and down the outside of the building, the creature came inside the room. We quickly shut the window and watched it crawl around on the ceiling. The dog, Rufus, really didn’t like it!

We talked over what it could be; I’ve never seen nor heard of such a creature in Absalom. With the one big eye, was it sent to spy on us? It was very skittish for something that should want to be inside watching us, though.

Eventually I was able to snag it out of the air, and cradled it close to my chest so it couldn’t hurt itself with struggling and flapping. It promptly dug its talons into my skin. Now that it had a hold of me it didn’t want to let go; once we detached it we found out why.

The talons had tendrils! It was trying to feed off of me! Yech! But Tythe, with a wicked gleam in her eye, told us that she wanted to keep it. We wrapped it in a cloak until Astrid and Deaglan returned with a cage. She dumped it in, and then they headed off for a drink!

Ah, Irori, what a change from my previous life!

Posted by Kate at 14:16 | Salma’s Journal

March 21, 2009

Killing the Zombies More

Astrid's Journal

17 Lamashan 4709 AR

Curiously, Tythe decided to give up the rum in one moment, smashing the bottle in the corner of the room, and then twisting her ring (again). Deaglan, looking for any excuse to leave those four walls behind, did the same. I had to convince Salma it was better for us to keep up with them rather than split up, so we quickly followed.

It was only after we all found ourselves in that familiar room with the circle on the floor that we remembered that we’d left the dog (Rufus, Deaglan calls him) in the room with the bat-eye thing.

Planning to explore the rooms we’d missed previously, we went out into the hall, only to find the guards were back— sort of. It looked like the same bunch we’d dispatched earlier, only this time they were decidedly undead. Inexplicably, I couldn’t seem to hit any of them with my sword, but luckily Salma was able to turn them with divine power. Tythe set about to piling the zombies’ bodies and lighting them (they won’t get up again!) while I chased the last one down. I made sure it was quite dead this time and made some war paint from the remains. Strangely, no one else in my group wanted to wear any, even though I’m sure they’ll be wanting to bathe again when we get back to the inn.

Tythe led us to a chamber she’d not been able to see before. I was sure to provide copious amounts of light via a little cantrip so we’d not fall into any traps like she had previously. We found ourselves in a room with a large stone altar and an opening in one wall with a stairwell leading down. We followed those steps and came to the pit Tythe had “found” before. Fortunately, it was only 5’ across with a door on the other side. Unfortunately, the door led to a room with a half-dozen armored skeletons animated and waiting for us. Salma easily destroyed these with her divine energy, allowing the rest of us to follow her in without mishap.

I have no idea why we are doing this.

Posted by Kristin at 14:37 | Astrid’s Journal

March 29, 2009

on the move

Salma's Journal

After we’d wasted hours on capturing a flying eyeball, we realized that boredom was a greater enemy than the mysterious assassins. I even offered to walk the streets as bait - it worked last time!

Tythe instead twisted the assassin-aquired ring on her finger (again), and Deaglan followed suit. Astrid and I quickly talked it over. Being separated wasn’t safe; leaving the room wasn’t safe!

Still, no one would see us leave (the eyeball’s cage was covered), so hopefully we’d be able to surprise some assassins back in the lair. Astrid and I twisted the rings on our fingers and followed our teammates.

The ring of runes hadn’t changed, but someone had reanimated the poor guards we’d battled before. They were still covered with wounds, but attacked us as undead. As the others fought them, I turned them, trying to release their souls from their unholy prisons.

To make sure of the job we also burned the bodies. If anyone live was around, they certainly knew we were there after that! No one was upstairs at the other rune circle, so, before exiting to the haunted part of the city, we decided to explore the other tunnel Tythe had found.

She’d been unable to see, before, having been on such an unplanned visit. We argued a little about Astrid casting light on the walls and it being too obvious. I ended up with a light spell on my headdress as a result...

Luckily, the sixty foot hallway was empty. The double doors at the end were open, showing a great hall with two rows of columns and a large stone slab at the end. It remained quiet even when we walked inside.

There was, however, an opening in the left wall. It turned out to be a doorway with steps leading down. There was an closed door at the bottom, but an open pit at the base of the steps between us and it!

Tythe remembered hearing movement on the other side of the door, and being attacked in the dark when she went inside. Leaning across the pit, which was five feet across, twenty feet deep, and full of spikes, she opened it again.

There were several bodies in the next room.. upright rusty armor and skeletal remains and undead eyes glinting at us! We instantly thought to try to lure them into the pit trap, shouting and waving, but they just stared.

When I shot at one, it dodged away; Deaglan hit one but didn’t really hurt them. I turned them, destroying the closest, but the wave of energy didn’t reach to the rest. I tied a rope around my waist for Tythe to hold and jumped across into the room.

That got a reaction! Several turns later (I am eternally grateful to Irori for granting me access to extra spells!), and the room was cleared. The others jumped across and we walked the length of the room.

Now we’re standing before another closed door...

Posted by Kate at 16:53 | Salma’s Journal