Salma's Journal
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Salma’s Bio

Just graduated from atanapratta school in Absalom, curious about the world. Think roughly Jane Eyre-ish.

Character sheet: Salma [Human cleric of Irori from Absalom]

Posted by Kate on October 11, 2008, 19:16

Salma’s Journey

I awoke this morning to the sounds of the city preparing for the day’s festivities. It is the Second Moonday of Lamashan and the Harvest Feast. It should prove to be quite an interesting day.

Posted by Hugh on October 12, 2008, 00:25

Interesting Times

I am atanapratta, an unwanted daughter raised by the girls’ school in Absalom for the Vudrani who live here and follow traditional practices. I do not know my parents; I do not know my caste. Normally, I would have learned some useful trade and not questioned my role among my people, but, as some of the teachers lament, living among so many other cultures has had its effect on us. On me. I have prayed to Irori so many times to help me find my own path to enlightenment!

Perhaps as a result, Irori has blessed me with clerical abilities. We had classes in self-defense at school, but I must admit I would rather heal than fight. Since I have finished the education that the girls’ school offers, without wishing to take the employments they can give me, I have been somewhat at a loss for what to do next. This, then, was the state of mind I was in while wandering the city during one of the many holidays...

It’s not unusual to see various retainers for the Council families squaring off in the city; one is safest to stay out of the fray. It was obvious, therefore, that something out of the ordinary was happening when I saw people clustered at an alley to watch a fight! I saw that people were on the ground, bleeding, and worked my way through the crowd to help - such a public breach of the peace was bad enough without someone getting killed!

Once I reached the front of the group, however, I saw that it was worse than I first thought: not only were several House retainers in very serious shape, but three strangers were doing all the damage! I shouted at them, “What are you doing?!” while stabilizing the closest injured man. The male stranger was shouting, “Leave, or die!” while two women kept stabbing people. It was a chaotic mess, and then two retainers of an opposing House showed up - at least the original combatants had the sense to flee.

Except, of course, the three who had just gotten off the boat and wandered into Absalom. I checked the other wounded, horrified to realize that at least one was beyond saving. There was a man who had been beaten up, but he would be fine - yet the stranger was using this as justification for killing people!

The second House’s retainers thanked the strangers for interfering, and promised to “take care” of the mess. I was wishing myself invisible at this point; to be so publicly attached to both sides of a fight like this cannot be good. All I wanted to do was help.. and then, the strangers asked ME to guide them to the Golden Griffon Inn. Glad to be out of the immediate area, I agreed, on one condition: please don’t kill anyone else!

Once inside the Golden Griffon (including the man’s dog), I was invited to stay for a drink, and felt it unwise to refuse. I did decline the strong alcohols that the entire party ordered, apparently trying to outdo each other for exotic and potent effects! The man, Zandu, bought several rounds for the half-elf, Tythe and human woman, Astrid. They discussed many things, and I found myself interested in their plans despite myself. They nearly invited themselves to stay at the girls’ school with me, as well: impossible, but at least Astrid freely admits she hasn’t any idea what other cultures’ habits may be.

They’re all quite curious about Absalom, and had some rather impertinent questions about who I am... which is a sore spot, I must admit, as I do not know the answer myself. I’m also not sure they would understand or be interested in the quest for perfection that I have been raised to aspire to, and thought it better to leave the subject be. Meanwhile, it turned out that Zandu owns a mysterious map, and has come to the city to seek help from the Pathfinders’ Guild about it...

..which is how I ended up leading a half-sober party across the city by midmorning. I stood back while they parlayed with the Guild members, and eventually the Guild agreed to interpret Zandu’s map, if they would pick up a book from an old man living in the Puddles district. Blessed Irori, what message are you trying to give me?

The others talked freely as we set out across town a third time. Tythe is from an ocean-going family, while Astrid is from a cold northern land that does not approve of the use of magic. Zandu is following the advice of an old man with a Harrowed deck, which led him to the Pathfinders’ Guild. The neighborhoods slowly descended into poverty, and then we reached the Puddles, where the locals made some propositions that Astrid took quite literally (but no violence resulted).

We were knocking on the door of the dilapidated home when an old woman poked her head around the corner - then disappeared. Of course, Zandu and Astrid had to investigate while Tythe and I kept trying to get an answer from the house. Rather, I was knocking on the door, while Tythe was knocking back a bottle of rum she’d produced from somewhere on her person...

Zandu and Astrid returned with the news that the old man we wanted to talk to had actually been kidnapped half an hour before! We ran as fast as we could in the direction given by the old woman, catching up at the cliff’s edge to several tattooed men and not just one, but four old men, chained together. As we shouted to them, one of the tattoed men shoved the first old man off the cliff! Astrid made an amazing leap through the crowd, catching hold of the last man as he was pulled over the side. The rest of us had to fight.

I used my staff, but couldn’t blame the others for using lethal force. Arrows were flying, and swords swinging; Zandu’s dog was worrying at a tattooed man, while Astrid swore most creatively as she pulled the old men back up from the cliff’s edge. When she took one too many hits and went limp, I leaped forward to grab the chain instead! Thankfully, the last of the tattooed men were soon down, and Zandu was able to get Astrid on her feet while I checked on the old men.

Now to find out: what is going on?

Posted by Kate on October 25, 2008, 13:24

No rest for the weary

We couldn’t find any keys to unlock the chains on the old men, and Zandu admitted that he was nervous about Astrid’s offer to break the links with her (very large) sword, so Tythe set to work picking the locks while we questioned the former prisoners.

The old historian, Gill, told us about a book he had found, detailing the invasion codes used by an invasion fleet from Taldor - over one hundred years ago! Why would anyone care? Well, when he tried using some of the signal codes out of curiosity, old skeletons in Taldorean armor began rising from the harbor. Of course - the harbor full of old shipwrecks, the floating mass of debris offshore; an undead army waiting to be called up!

Of course, the book is already in the hands of someone named Nessiam, who had ordered the deaths of Gill and his friends, who were the only others who knew of the book’s power. We quickly offered all of them safe escort back to the Guild so they could tell the tale there. (No sign of the tattoed men, but just to be safe...)

As we walked, Gill tried to remember the codes he’d seen in the book. He was able to tell us that there is an “abort code” for emergencies, although he couldn’t remember the sequence. Tythe wondered aloud what we’d gotten ourselves into (my thoughts exactly!). Zandu kept almost stumbling into trouble with Astrid, who thinks he’s trying to flirt with her. I suspect he’ll get his arm broken, soon. Or maybe she’ll just use the song she says she has to put people to sleep when she doesn’t want to use her sword...

About this time, Gill remembered one of the codes - by seeing it flashing in red light from the top of a building across the city. I’ve never seen lights on top of the granary, before - apparently Nessiam was trying out the code to tell the “Black Echelon” to poison the city’s food supply. Zandu was all for racing to the scene, and the rest of Gill’s friends said they could make it to the Guild from here, so off we ran through the sunset streets and into a cold fog.

The building’s doors were open, three bodies in the uniform of the city guard inside, and all beyond my help. In we went, watching for the poisoners; I cast a light spell on Zandu’s bow so that we could see, and we quickly discovered and followed a trail of blood to another open set of doors. At this point, we asked Gill to go find help!

Astrid was singing something to inspire us as we entered the next chamber, which was full of grain, plus stairs leading up to a balcony, which I wanted to check out until I realized that there were three cloaked figures trying to open a rusty chest at the base of the steps. We pulled out our bows as the mist magically thickened, hiding the figures from us.

Zandu called to his dog to help Astrid, whose song had changed to one of fighting against the undead. Undead? I raised my arms and called out to Irori to turn them! The figures we could see began to back away; a fourth even emerged from the piled grain to move away from me, but one was unafraid. The mist grew thicker, and silence descended on us all.

Tythe plowed through the grain, longsword raised high, and Astrid followed suit. A fifth figure arrived, so I decided to try turning them again - and three crumbled to dust! The other two, of course, attacked me. Astrid destroyed one, and I turned the last, which caused the fog to dissipate so that we could see the chest full of gutwither poison, lid open. Thank Irori, the ten vials inside were unopened!

Astrid was not especially happy with Zandu’s way of checking for poison. She thinks little of certain types of magic, apparently. Still, at least we had good news for the town guard when they showed up! Better yet, they listened to our story instead of arresting us on sight. We did go up to the roof to check for any sign of the lights or who had sent the signals, but found nothing. (Zandu’s method of checking caused a discussion with Astrid about magic and the detection thereof. Hm..)

The only sign that anyone had been on the roof was a chipped stone parapet, and nothing to be seen below. I sighed and looked out over the city and harbor, which were thankfully quiet. We descended from the roof to head back to the Pathfinder’s Guild as night fell.

When we reached the Guild we discovered, to our dismay, that Gill’s friends had not arrived. Poor innocent victims.. and will we be next, knowing as much as we do? We filled the Guild in on what we’d learned; now they really want that book!

We asked for help in finding Nessiam, but the Guild had no idea where he would be. We ended up being led across the city by Gill, who was hoping that a man named Grand Master Torch could help us. This meant not only heading back to the Puddles after dark, but under them into the Siphon..

After wading for some time through the watery sewers (unknown things occasionally brushing by), we arrived at the iron door of the thieves’ guild. Gill told us to keep our weapons sheathed, and only then admitted that Torch disliked him! A small window opened in the door, showing a pair of red eyes, so we quickly composed ourselves and requested an audience.

A large half-orc finally ushered us inside, Astrid openly eyeing him up. (Does she think she can take him in a fight?) We ended up in front of a man in a bathtub, with two women pouring water over his scarred back. We explained our urgent need to fund Nessiam.. but the Grand Master was not concerned.

We finally figured out that Torch was more interested in being compensated for his trouble than Nessiam’s plans to use the undead to invade Absalom. There was no way we could pay the fee he demanded, but after amusing himself with our pleas for a while, Torch said he’d help us if we helped him, first.

Five locked safes were in the next room; he wanted us to open at least three of them. Tythe has the skills for that! But I was insulted when he threatened us with dire consequences if we stole anything. We have more important things to worry about!

Although it got Astrid going again, Zandu checked for magic before we started. Some safes were, some weren’t. One had strange freakish faces on it, another, carved ivy leaves. A third was all stone with nothing to be seen, the fourth had writing on it and holes in its lid.

Tythe quickly opened the iron box’s lock, but pointedly did not lift the lid. Astrid glared at the box of strange faces - and it unlocked as well! Tythe got the ivy-leaved one unlocked as well, and, flush with success, everyone looked over the last two.

I thought the box with holes in the lid contained a living thing, but Astrid played it like a flute, reading its writing to play the notes to unlock it. They thought the last, plain all over stone box, might be something I could figure out. I sat down before it, placed my hands on the top, and meditated.. nothing happened.

At this point, Zandu looked at it for magic again, then turned to Tythe and told her to “put the lid down!” With that hint we realized that the magic on this box was actually illusion; it was open already. I took the lid from Tythe and put it back on the box, and we went out to Torch to tell him we were done.

Apparently no one stole anything. Torch not only told us where Nessiam’s base of operations is, he gave us a hundred gold pieces each, while reminding us that we “don’t know” where our information came from. We headed back to the surface as dawn was breaking, working out how we were to reach the Pyramid of the Dog, an old collapsed siege tower outside of Absalom.

Unfortunately, someone was using the codes again; we saw orange and green lights flashing at the top of the cliffs above the Puddles. Gill remembered them as some of the final signals for a team of operatives to attack the Metro Cathedral; if the morning organ pipes don’t play, it’s a sign to attack the city.

So much for sleep; we’re off to the Cathedral...

Posted by Kate on November 7, 2008, 23:10

Needs sleep badly

The others asked me if I could get help from my people - as we were running across town! I doubted we had the time to make a detour like that.

Sure enough, we barely made it to the Cathedral before the organ began to play. Zandu sent his bat to look for trouble; the bat reported “ow!” at the same time the music fell into a jumble, then went silent!

Into the Cathedral we went. Row upon row of pews marched ahead of us to the high altar. Above it stood the pipe organ, filling the back wall. The keys alone are so massive that people leap from one to another to play it.

Unfortunately, the players were strewn across the keys or fallen to the floor in bloody heaps. We saw only one survivor left, and black ghostly figures all around. I quickly ran down the aisle, calling upon Irori to turn the undead!

Although the creatures standing on the keys (fifteen feet above the floor) ignored me, the undead surrounding the girl backed off and I saw her heal a little. Wisely, she stayed down while the fighting raged around her.

A familiar cold mist began to fill the Cathedral, but we were getting the hang of fighting the things. I was able to destroy a few by turning them again, Zandu and his dog fought them directly, Tythe shot them with arrows and Astrid chased several back up the steps to the keyboard.

While Astrid finished off the last of the undead, I explained things as best I could to the surviving player, especially the importance of finishing the morning organ music. She agreed to direct us.

A more amateur performance was never played in the Cathedral that morning, but it did the trick, I hope! At least, there was no sign of an invading army when the town guard banged through the doors to find out what was going on...

Of course, our next goal was to get to the Pyramid of the Dog before the next signal went out. All we’ve done this far is react after the fact. Leaving the organ player to explain, we trekked across the city yet again, tired as we were. At least we were able to buy breakfast from early morning vendors as we went.

Zandu has claws, by the way.

The Pyramid of the Dog was down the coast, an hour’s walk away from Absalom’s walls. It was guarded, fittingly enough, by a large dog on a chain in front of the main entrance. When Astrid’s ‘sleep song’ didn’t work, Zandu proposed killing it, with me arguing that was cruelty! Luckily, a second song worked, and we sent the bat to circle the building to discover a less-used or secret entrance.

No luck! There were guards at arrow slits around the tower, and their arrows and shouts of “Intruders!” quickly had us scurrying behind a pile of rocks for cover. Astrid sang another song, for us this time, while Tythe and I pulled our bows and returned fire.

I wanted to pretend to leave, let them settle down, and try again. Instead, we kept watching the windows for signs of movement to fire off arrows at. I argued again about walking away, Astrid sang a song that we were leaving, but everyone stayed put.

After a while, I started walking back to town. Astrid came with me. And, as soon as we got out of earshot the other two ran up under fire to pick the lock on the side door beneath an arrow slit.

I’m going to have to admit my teachers were right about non-Vudrani after all, at this rate.

When we looked back, Tythe had the door open and she and Zandu were disappearing inside. What could we do, but go back? At least we discovered that they were waiting on a report from the bat before climbing a ladder, the only exit to the room!

The bat reported no one alive on the second floor, so up we went. Our arrows had found the mark in this room, at least - but then we heard the sound of steps entering the room below. No one had stayed downstairs to guard our backs.. whoops.

The dog had woken and been loosed from his chain, followed by several guards. There was no way into the central tower from the roomswe were in, so we had to fight our way back out. I blessed the party, then went to the window to attempt shooting at the guards outside the door.

Astrid made it down the ladder and was soon at work with her sword. Tythe had her bow out at the window with me. We shot at two guards running around the corner; they turned tail and went for reinforcements. Zandu accidentally hit Astrid with acid as she fought off the guard dog.

As the guard dog went down, the reinforcements arrived. Tythe leapt out the window in a surprise attack! Astrid charged into the fray from the exit below, leaving enough room for me to make it down the ladder if I chose. By the time I reached the ground, the battle had left - everyone gone back around the corner, fighting over the main entryway.

There I saw a new face! Or, strangely, faces; a man who seemed to change appearance as I looked at him. Someone shouted that he was Nessiam, our target. Two guards were left, though, and Nessiam was fighting too.

He hit Zandu’s dog hard enough to make the dog back off, and staggered Tythe, who had to step back and quickly down a potion! Astrid and Zandu finished off the guards and attacked him with sword and claws. Still, he was able to get back inside the tower, slamming the door in our faces.

Zandu quickly gave a healing potion to Astrid: we must get inside that tower!

Posted by Kate on November 20, 2008, 23:31

What are we thinking?!

We stood at the closed and locked door, nursing our wounds and shouting insults. Zandu set the door on fire; when there was no response we walked around the structure checking windows, but no one exited. When the bat was sent in, it said the place was empty, so Astrid smashed through the weakened entrance.

We searched for hiding places or secret doors (and Zandu informed us that he has brass dragon blood), finally discovering a loose flagstone in the floor. Astrid lifted it easily, exposing a trap door and ladder. We descended some thirty feet below the surface and found ourselves standing in a tunnel that seemed to lead back to the city.

I tried to tell the others that I was too tired to run, but when Astrid thoughtfully tried to carry me I had to laugh and agree to continue the chase. Thankfully, we missed any traps that might have been laid along the way. Even our running failed to catch up with our prey, unfortunately. We hauled up short when we reached a small cavern with two exits; now which way?

Zandu’s dog came in handy at this point, tracking (I hope!) the man through the exit straight ahead. Then a T junction and turn left, and another tunnel leading to a ladder up with a trapdoor at the top! Pushing on the trap door a few times, we finally got it open by knocking something over, then climbed up into a storeroom.

The place was full of boxes, crates, sacks and jars, but no people. Astrid carried the dog up the ladder, Zandu sicced it on the trail again, and we followed the dog through a door that opened into an alleyway between buildings. I was glad to be back in Absalom, but I was not so happy to see that we were in the heart of the Coins district. I warned the others to watch their purses as we followed the dog.

The dog led us back to the Puddles and lost the trail. Argh! Ah, well, at least we could check on Gill while we were there. Zandu tried to pay a streetwalker for information on Nessian, but I didn’t really believe her when she pointed up the street. We went to Gill’s house, instead, only find no one at home. Hopefully, he was still at the Pathfinders’ Guild.

And, after all the running around, Zandu announced that he wanted to head BACK to the tower. I could have cried! He had a point, though; perhaps Nessian had hidden the book, expecting to return after he lost us in the city. So, before food and rest, we walked back to the Pyramid of the Dog to search.

At least the place was still abandoned when we got there. Nothing was found downstairs, but the office upstairs looked promising. We found the colored signal lanterns, and a desk to search. A locked box was discovered, and Tythe set to work on it while I took a quick walk outside to look for anyone coming our way.

There was no one, so I came back to the office. Although Tythe had poisoned herself on a trap, she’d gotten the box open. And there it was - an old book full of battle plans and signals for an invasion fleet. Before anything else, I insisted on sitting down and memorizing the abort code on the last page! We all did, just in case, then took the lanterns (and, I must admit, some gold coins and gems) and headed back to town.

Tythe was looking pretty sick from being poisoned; I wanted to hurry; we had to walk through the Coins once more on our way to the Pathfinders’ Guild. Of course, a drunk stumbled into Zandu. When we stopped to check on the book (and our money), Astrid and Zandu saw Nessian standing across the street! We stared as he ducked into an abandoned building, but decided to get to the Guild before anything else.

At least we made it there without further incident, and were cheered to find Gill safe as well. (Tythe had gotten ahold of some rum at some point and told us all that she now felt “fine”) He checked the book, we gave him the lanterns, and guarded him safely to the roof to send the abort code before anything else could happen to stop us. Thank Irori, it is done.

Now, Zandu showed off his “map” - actually a tattoo he says is a birthmark. The Guild was quite interested, asking to make a copy so they could search their archives for a similar location. Zandu was worried about the discretion of whomever might see the map, and asked to meet the copyist first. They brought a very deaf old man, who Zandu decided was trustworthy, and I think we all fell asleep while the copyist was working.

It was after midnight by the time the gentleman was done, and they still have to search the Archives. We told the Guild members we’d be at the Golden Griffon, warned them about Nessian, and finally got a chance for a bath and bed. Better yet, we had a quiet night. In the morning, we divided the gold and gems over breakfast - a small fortune apiece for our work saving the city.

Suddenly, an old woman burst through the door and collared the owner, chattering so fast we all listened in to hear what was going on. Demons? We quickly offered to help, and she told us a story of demons in her basement, calling her name! I quietly asked the owner if this was, er, normal behavior, and he told me that Goodwife Thestra is certainly of sound mind.

Well, then. We followed her next door to her house (watching for Nessian too), then around back to her cellar door. She explained that the voices were threatening to kill her, too. When we entered, it seemed quiet - but Astrid spotted a shadow moving across the room! She started singing, then shouting at it, and it disappeared. We quickly checked the corner, hearing a scratching noise but seeing nothing.

After moving everything away from the corner, we found planks leaning against the wall. I moved the planks while the others held their weapons ready... and we found a small tunnel, only about three feet high, with a T junction visible about fifteen feet back. Goodwife Thestra was very surprised to hear about her “addition”! She has no pets, her husband is dead, and we decided it was time to call the town guard.

They promptly declared the area a crime scene and kicked us out of the house. So much for helping! Back to the Griffon we went, telling the owner that he should probably check his own cellar for any disturbance. His place was quiet (we listened at the walls to hear if anything was happening next door, even). Finally, we shrugged our shoulders and went back to waiting for the Guild’s map people.

I took some time to check in at my school, asking if there were any news (No? Good!), and donated most of the money I’d earned. I told them where I was staying, then walked back across town to the others. They’d been out buying healing potions and such, so we’d all just sat down when a message was brought for Zandu.

Not from the Pathfinders’ Guild, though; an short note telling him “I am in need of your services. Meet me at the Salty Dog. T.R.” The House member they’d assisted in their original fight, apparently! So, once again, we headed to the Coins district. Why do I keep ending up in the worst part of town?

The bar went quiet when we walked in, but a man in the back by a closed door beckoned us over. Astrid glared about as we walked through the crowd and showed Zandu’s note. Through the door we went, ending up in a small room with a table and some chairs and the man from the alley fight sitting behind it. Zandu happily greeted him.

Of course, it turned out to be a problem between Houses. I groaned - family politics! He wanted our help rescuing his kidnapped sister, who had been enchanted so as to think she is in love. Of course he refused to believe that she might be there of her own free will. No one from his House could get into their manor, so he wants us to go to their fancy dress ball tonight and somehow get her back.

To my horror, the others quickly agreed to assist in this mad scheme, and we were supplied with fake IDs, fancy dress, and forged invitations before I could protest!


Zandu asked to see a portrait of the lady, which was shown, and then we were given a sleeping potion in case we couldn’t persuade her otherwise. Then, back to the Griffon until the party. Astrid entertained us with tales of her homeland - ice trolls, evil fae, Baba Yaga, and giants. I’m afraid I was distracted by my worries, however.

The fake IDs made Zandu a silk merchant, and me his wife. Astrid was a bodyguard to Tythe, a political emissary. Of course, everyone got changed at the Griffon anyway - I’m quickly becoming convinced that I’ll never be able to live in Absalom again, regardless of how big this city is!

We walked in all our finery back to the Salty Dog, where a carriage was waiting to take us to the fine manor house and the ball. Our IDs checked, we found ourselves some of the first “guests” to arrive. There was no sign of the hosts, or the sister. Zandu and I found a table and busied ourselves listening, while Tythe and Astrid made a scene as the drunk politician and her bodyguard at the bar.

Zandu and I heard a little talk of nobles going missing, and joined the dancing in order to glean more. Meanwhile, Tythe and Astrid tried to join a table of gossipy noblewomen, with no luck. Finally, a bell rang to announce the entrance of the Lord and Lady of the house. The Lady was the sister we were looking for, and she didn’t look at all like she was being coerced.

Zandu danced us over to them, introducing himself and thanking them for the invitation. He made up a tale about selling the Lord his silks and did his best to finagle an apppointment for more. I was embarrassed - so much for my career as a spy! But eventually we went to talk to the others at the bar —- and saw Nessian was there talking to a man we did not know.

Tythe boldly walked up to Nessian and his friend and invited them to dance, leaving the rest of us to sit at the bar and watch. I told Zandu that, honestly, I thought the Lady was fine and we should just come clean with her as to what her brother is up to. Although Tythe and Astrid flirted madly with Nessian and his friend, they weren’t able to stop them from leaving the ball early. What surprised us was that the Lord left with them!

This put a new spin on things, in my opinion. I desperately wanted somewhere private to talk things over with everyone. We ended up in the ladies’ room, talking over plans, while Zandu stood outside watching for anyone coming. I told the others that we ought to lure the Lady here, give her the sleeping potion, change her clothes with one of our own costumes, and sneak her out while pretending she’s drunk.

Zandu was soon in on the plan, which the others added their own finishing touches to. Tythe remained “passed out” on the couch in the ladies’ room, while Zandu went for a glass of wine at the bar, and Astrid walked up to the orchestra, halting them mid-song. She stood on the stage and began to sing... and everyone stopped, spellbound.

Quickly, I took the opportunity to step up behind the Lady, quietly telling her that I needed to talk privately, with a message from her brother. We met Zandu at the bathroom door, and he gave me the glass of wine as we walked inside and he stayed out to guard again. Once there, I couldn’t think of anything persuasive, so I just told her the truth about her brother’s fears.

She took it well enough, but she was determined to stand by her Lord. She wanted us to give her brother a message in return that she was just fine! But when she started to walk out, I gave her the wine, and as she held the glass, I told her what we knew of Nessian, and my fears that her Lord would be friends with this man. She was still determined to stay, and in the end, I let her walk away. At least she’d been warned...

Down the hall she went, obviously concerned, and without thinking she drank the glass of wine. She collapsed without a sound! We carried her back to the bathroom as fast as we could, changing her clothes with Tythe’s while changing plans slightly. Zandu and I carried the unconscious Lady out past the Master of Ceremonies, explaining that the “Ambassador” had had a bit too much, bundled her into her brother’s carriage, and were gone.

Astrid was still singing to the enrapt crowd when Tythe came screaming out of the bathroom naked as the day she was born to distrupt the entertainment. Astrid went into “bodyguard” mode; her charge had been robbed! Tythe had a grand fit about getting clothes and a ride home. There was a huge commotion and confusion, and they were soon back at the Griffon drinking their success.

Zandu and I, meanwhile, went straight to the Salty Dog with our passenger. The carriage let us out in front of the darkened bar and disappeared into the night. We went around back, finding an unlocked door, and headed across the dark room for the private door. Her brother sat behind the table... dead.

Posted by Kate on December 7, 2008, 16:46

No, not thinking at all.

There were several people in the room besides the Lady’s dead brother and ourselves, and of course, they were not friendly. They attacked Zandu and me; all I could think of was to get the Lady out of there! I was stabbed several times as I dragged her back into the main room. Zandu didn’t follow. I’m afraid he died almost instantly.

I didn’t have a moment to spare to mourn; I was certain that I was next! Screaming for help as loud as I could (I knew it was almost useless in the Coins, but hoped someone might be curious), I healed myself a little bit and wrestled with the masked men over the still-sleeping Lady. They won. Worse yet, the man holding her suddenly disappeared!

As the others stabbed at me, I wrenched the front door open and ran screaming into the night.

Bloody and exhausted, I actually reached the Golden Griffon without being attacked again. Tythe and Astrid sat happily at the bar, drinking. They asked me how things went, but were more interested in telling me about the fun they’d had getting out of the ball. I told them that Zandu was dead, the Lady’s brother was dead, the Lady was kidnapped... and they were too drunk to take me seriously. Miserably, I went upstairs to tend to my wounds.

While I was changing into my own clothes, someone started to thump on the door. Before I could answer it, they began shouting, “Town guard!” ..I panicked. I grabbed all of my things and climbed out the second-story window. Dropping to the ground and listening to confused shouting behind me, I decided to walk back to the girls’ school to spend the night.

I was walking up the street when I heard a sound, and turned to see one of the men from the bar shooting at a shadowy figure. Great, the assassins are on MY trail, now! I turned back to help my defender, dropping one of the masked men with my staff. The second man twisted a ring on his hand and disappeared - again, the disappearing act!

While I thanked him, the man quickly searched the other’s body, taking his longsword and pouch of gold and some vials, while I grabbed a strange cloth-wrapped dagger and a ring from his hand. Back to the bar we went, and I was determined to get Tythe and Astrid to talk seriously about what was going on. We are in danger! Of course, they were still too drunk to care, even when I flat out asked if they were going to let me die?

I showed them the ring, which had a skull face on it. Tythe took it from me, and instead of looking at it she put it on and twisted it, disappearing instantly!

Now what?

Perhaps Zandu’s dog could help us, again. We had left the dog at the Griffon; showing it Tythe’s scent, we headed out into the night. Our new friend, Deaglan, said he knew how to handle the dog; I hope it works. If nothing else, we’d be attacked again and perhaps survive to get more rings.

On a whim, we went back to where I had almost been mugged. The town guard was already there, working the “murder” scene. Astrid took the dog with her as she walked into the middle of things to ask what had happened, only to be turned away - but the dog had a scent!

The dog took us right back to the Golden Griffon. I groaned, but no - it led us next door, to Goodwife Thestra’s house. Of course, the cellar mystery! We knocked on the front door, so she wouldn’t think demons were infesting her home again, and an old man answered. He said it was all right for us to go around back, so we did, wondering if he was a butler or a “friend” ...

The door was unlocked, and the tunnel had been boarded over but the boards were broken open. This time, we climbed right into the tunnel, following the dog as it took a right turn at the T. Astrid noted that the tunnel was actually newly dug; it eventually widened out into an older chamber full of rubble. There was a chuckling sound and a faint glow ahead, which the dog didn’t like!

The glow disappeared while we talked over our options, and we eventually kept going. It looked like an old cellar, left over from a fire and collapse of a building. As we moved across the room, we saw another low tunnel that the dog seemed interested in. We were startled by a glowing, chuckling figure that came out of one wall and faded into another, but the ghost was nothing compared to the horror of three sets of undead hands coming out of the rubble to grab at us!

I turned the creatures; two fled, the third we had to kill. Into the tunnel before the others come back, and I really hope Tythe is actually down here somewhere!

Posted by Kate on January 20, 2009, 13:52

‘round and ‘round

This tunnel led to another cellar, but before we got there we heard a door open and hushed ourselves. Hearing steps on a ladder, we tried to hide the lights Astrid had been casting on rocks in the walls. Not fast enough - a masked face peeked into the tunnel, then ducked away. Forward!

Deaglan sicced the dog on the man, and we followed them out. The assassin was trying to climb back up the ladder; we tried to pull him back down. Astrid was yelling, “Halt!” but we had to stab and shoot at him until he fell dead. Checking the body, we found another ring and fancy dagger, plus a pouch with money and vials of healing and invisibility potions.

Astrid pointed out that the Lady was in someone else’s arms when they twisted the ring to disappear, so perhaps we could use one ring to transport everyone. Deaglan, Astrid, and the dog crowded close to me as I nervously put the ring on and gave it a turn.

We appeared inside a circle, in a strange chamber lit by torches. No one else was there, but there were doors to choose from. Before we could set the dog to search for Tythe, however, she also appeared in the room! Thank Irori!

She’d mostly been stumbling about in the dark. One room sounded like it had guards in it. Another had something that attacked and cut her, so she twisted the ring and came back to the circle. After we’d caught up with each other’s stories, we decided the best route would be to fight our way out through the guards.

The guards were sitting at a table slightly out of our sight around an L in the passage; Astrid cast a spell to grease the floor, and we began shooting. The guards came after us - it was a long battle, but we succeeded in killing all except one, who ran away. Follow!

Posted by Kate on February 26, 2009, 23:00

and ‘round we go

I performed a mass healing on the party, then went to watch around the corner while the others checked the guards’ bodies for anything useful. They got the usual gear and rings and even took the money from the card game on the table, reasoning that this was a dead enemy so it’s not really stealing!

The room beyond had two doors; Tythe checked the smaller of the two and found a room full of cloaks and bronze masks. Nothing in it was magical, and I felt it wisest to leave what looked like cultists’ stuff alone. The other door opened to a set of steps leading upward, which we followed while the others discussed the various ways they’d have liked to profane the cloaks and masks.

The steps ended at a torch-lit chamber with a circle of runes cut into the floor. There were no visible exits, so Tythe did the next obvious thing: she stepped into the circle and twisted the ring on her hand. She disappeared, and Astrid ran down to the other circle to see if she’d come back there again. Not this time! So, we all stepped into the circle of runes and followed suit.

Now we found ourselves in a ruined building above the Puddles. Thank Irori, almost home again! Of course, the Precipice quarters are dangerous and haunted, so we decided to hunker down and wait for sunrise, which was close at hand. Our luck held; instead of being left in peace, we were attacked by sturges, which drained our blood and our health!

We killed a few and the others flapped off once full of our blood. I healed us as best I could, and we staggered back to the Golden Griffon in the dawn’s early light. As we reached the inn, Astrid spotted more shadowy figures watching us. Great, more assassins, I bet; we need to get somewhere safe to rest and heal up.

The entire bar ground to a halt as we entered, bloody and battered. Astrid requested a bath, a meal, and a bed, and the owner couldn’t usher us out of the main room fast enough!

Will worry about the masked men later. Irori preserve me!

Posted by Kate on February 26, 2009, 23:21

Be careful what you wish for

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 on March 15, 2009, 14:16

on the move

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 on March 29, 2009, 16:53


Once more through the portal, and back to the inn! Would we find the dog or the eyewing alive? In the main room of the tavern Tythe surprised me by demanding water instead of rum. This day gets stranger and stranger...

Upstairs, we found the cage knocked over and the poor eyewing dead. The dog was in the corner, unconscious, probably due to the multiple puncture wounds on its body. Astrid cured the dog while Deaglan informed Zandu that Rufus was his dog, now. Zandu was still too beat up to argue much, poor guy!

After a lot of talk, we decided to go back to the beginning: go to the Pathfinders’ Guild and find out what they’d learned of Zandu’s map. I’d nearly forgotten that in the rest of our trouble. Speaking of which, Astrid noticed we were being followed all the way to the Guild.

Astrid, Zandu, and I went into the Guild, but Deaglan, Tythe, and the dog ducked into an alley beforehand to waylay our pursuer. Zandu went to find his map researcher while we waited on the others.

We eventually caught sight of them chasing a street urchin into another alley. Finally, they returned with a note from Grand Master Torch; he wants us to meet. Zandu came back at the same time with the news that his map leads to a spot in the Darkmoon Vale. Interesting!

The Puddles district seemed strangely quiet as we passed through. We were unmolested, even in the sewers. The same half-orc was at the door, and he still liked Astrid’s looks! Torch was still in his bath, too, with some news for us.

There had been more kidnappings of noblefolk, and purple-veiled figures seemed to be involved. Yet, the Lady we had kidnapped was back at her fiance’s palace as if nothing had happened! Does this mean her Lord runs this gang?

The others, meanwhile, decided to go and talk to the Lady. I seriously requested that they drop me off at the girls’ school. I thought a quiet life of teaching sounded wonderful, especially never leaving the front gate again. They must be insane!

Once more, they talked me out of it. I ended up suggesting that, at least, only Deaglan and Astrid go; the rest of us were too much involved in the kidnapping. Instead, we returned to the tavern to listen to the gossip.

At least we got a bath and dinner; there was no news of interest to us in the main room. The others returned safely to say that the Lady accepted our apologies for the incident; thankfully, nothing else had happened, though it’s all as much of a mystery as ever. Now what?

Well, the Lady did mention that Nessian has a shop, and told them where it is. We plan to go ask him directly what has happened, and why? At this point, nothing my companions propose could surprise me, I think.

Since it was well into evening at that point, we agreed to go in the morning. We may move to another inn, as well; we’ve certainly made ourselves noticeable at this one over the past few days...

Posted by Kate on May 10, 2009, 16:18