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June 4, 2004

Mixed Feelings

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 4, 1373, Spine of the World

We didn’t travel too far before finding a spot to rest. Areon found us a ravine with a bit of overhang providing some cover; we all clambered in, decided how we would keep watches, and made camp with the intent of resting at least long enough for Deitricha to regain her healing spells.

I had assumed that Areon was the quiet type that would just gradually ease into the bond that had formed between us, but he surprised me with a gift of a beaded armband made of amber and green feathers, and a few more matching feathers to tie in my hair. I could see that he’d taken the time to craft the courting gifts himself in the time-honored fashion. This sort of pledge is traditionally made on Midsummer’s Eve; it was touching that he didn’t feel the need to wait!

With a quick look, as if for my permission, Areon gently placed the feathers in my hair and the band on my upper arm, I could see, finally, that he’d come to a decision about something that was troubling him. I think I was just as surprised by the story he shared with me as I was by his gifts.

Areon told me that he’d left the Coldwood in an effort to help the Uthgardt tribe his family has befriended. His mission is to find a stolen silver tiger; it is inscribed with the lineage of their tribe and is an important artifact to the Red Tiger barbarians. He got as far as Silverymoon before the trail went cold— remembering how we worked together to find Tassar, I understand that woodland tracking and city tracking are entirely different skills. Finding and returning such important objects is a very worthy cause, one that I am more than willing to help with. Wondering why he hadn’t shared this with me before, I realized I’d never told him of my quest either. Making sure that none of our friends were awake, I whispered to him what I knew of the ancestral blade lost from my family 500 years ago, and then had to admit I wasn’t actually sure it was a bladed weapon at all, but I do know that I will recognize the glyph on it— a moon with a feather superimposed over it. I also explained the reason I didn’t know more about it— I am the last in my family, having lost both of my parents when I was quite young (just shy of 50), and for some reason, even when in reverie, I cannot form a clear picture of them or the weapon. Or much from my childhood, for that matter.

I was surprised to notice that our shift at keeping watch had already passed. Tassar was up and forlornly counting out what rations he had left. Deitricha had rested just enough to provide us all with some healing; exhausted, she sat back down by our small campfire. Rosorc looked like he had not slept well— perhaps sleeping under the open sky is as painful to him as sleeping under tons of worked rock was to me. When Areon announced he would go forage for us, I decided I’d rather do something other than sit in the camp and slipped off with him.

We walked in a comfortable silence for a several hours until Areon felt we had gathered enough for a few meals, and then turned back towards where our companions waited. Suddenly he stopped stock-still and motioned for me to do so as well. We heard several guttural voices nearby, but luckily, we had not been heard. We slipped by the voices and hurried back to our camp.

Though I wasn’t clear on how he managed, Tassar wormed that bit of information out of us, and was off like a shot to see what else was camped out here, much to Deitricha’s dismay. Areon sent Nianque after Tassar, on the chance that we needed to find him in a hurry. After a few hours, Deitricha was absolutely agonizing over how long Tassar had been gone, and even though Nianque hadn’t come back to get Areon, he agreed to go back out and check on him. Rosorc wanted to accompany him, but I feared the dwarf would make much too much noise regardless of his good intentions— I begged him to stay with Deitricha while we went back out to find the halfling. I didn’t wait for an answer.

We walked through a terrain of rocks and a few sparse trees to a small ledge where the halfling crouched looking down on a camp. The small cook fire below revealed the forms of three ogres, no doubt the creatures whose voices we’d heard earlier. No amount of convincing could get Tassar to leave his perch, and he was quite upset that we didn’t agree to take out the ogres. We probably could have done so easily. My worry, and Areon’s too for that matter, is that the ogres wouldn’t be the only things out here, and a lot of noise could bring a us a lot more trouble. The halfling refused to return though, so we had the task of explaining that to Deitricha when we returned to our camp. I’m not sure, but I think Rosorc gave Areon a reproachful look. In fact, I have been sensing a growing unease between the two of them, and I don’t think there is much, if anything, that I can do about it.

At dawn, Tassar did finally return to camp, still disgruntled that he never had a chance to slay the three ogres. It was probably a small consolation to him that he hadn’t missed any exciting battles in our own camp.

We broke camp, and as before, Areon scouted ahead of the party. Things finally started to feel normal when I got into a rousing argument with Tassar about several words in the Elvish tongue that are apparently considered rude in mixed company (mixed company being Tel-Quessir and, um, anyone else). I finally realized that, while joking about it, he seemed genuinely upset that I use them, so I conceded his point by tossing him a flask of ale. I will have to make sure to tell Areon that Ke’revanthas-Quessir would be a more appropriate term, at least for our companions.

I guess our voices were carrying enough, as Areon was waiting for us on the trail ahead. We still weren’t to the Moonwood, but the small groves of trees were becoming more frequent. Rosorc had been looking more and more upset, and decided to take it out on the first really healthy trees we saw, using his waraxe. I was horrified, and worse, Areon, who grew up in woodlands, looked like he was going to take action. Before I could say anything though, a huge wolf darted out from another copse of trees and lunged at Rosorc. I could sense Areon’s hesitation, but I pulled my crossbow and shot the wolf. A second later, I was broadsided by another wolf and knocked down; Areon came to my aid and slew this wolf before it could attack me again, while our comrades dispatched the first. The tension now was palpable, and I think Deitricha was going to step in and say something, when we all turned as one— something else was rustling through the sparse trees beside us....

Posted by Kristin at 21:18 | Theona’s Journal

June 14, 2004

A Group of Adventurers

Beowulf's Journal

People from the city just don’t make any sense. I came across a group of adventurers that appeared to be lost. Apparently a dwarf called Rosorc was upset about something this Theona, an elf, had said. Well, instead of dealing with it directly he decided to attract attention to himself by attacking a tree. That is an atrocity I felt it wiser to let be than deal with. May Mielikki forgive me for this, but sometimes you need to chose which battles you will fight. Not every closed eye is asleep, and people tend to talk while on watch. You can discover a lot— like Deitricha, a human, and Tassar, a halfling, being a couple. I guess if it worked for them— at about that point in the discussion I did fall asleep. With Shadow at my back for warmth and a beautiful night above, I felt relaxed around this bunch. Strange I know, but they do seem like good people.

In the morning I woke to a voice asking where Tassar was. Deitricha was a cross between panicked and angry. She was obviously worried about him while being angry that he just left. There was a note— something about rent being due. Areon, another elf, explained to me that sometimes people pay others to live in a home that is not theirs. Now personally I’d prefer sleeping under the stars. Or a nice cave if the weather is bad. Well, anyway Shadow found a scent and Areon found Tassar’s trail so with Shadow guarding Areon they took the lead and we followed. After most of the day it seemed Tassar’s travels had taken him in the direct path of a giant of some type. Afraid we’d be too late, but hoping nonetheless, we followed the giant’s tracks to its lair. After some talk I turned into a small bat and went in to get an idea of the situation. It didn’t look good. I found 2 ettins, a closed door, and a pot on the fire. After I flew out and informed my companions of the situation a plan of attack was soon formed.

Rosorc lured an ettin out of the cave, and by the sounds of it, almost took the cave out with him. Once outside several of us hit it with a mixture of arrows, bolts, and sling bullets. After taking a few hits Rosorc was looking a little beat, so I healed him from a distance. I do need to be careful though, because on the fourth time doing that I accidentally hit the second ettin that came out to fight. Rosorc was still able to drop it though.

After the battle was over, Deitricha rushed in to find Tassar, but all we found was a pot of stew; either we were to late for him, or he had found a way to escape. The next thing I knew there was a loud noise coming from where the door is and thinking it’s another ettin I ran to help Rosorc who had already gone that way to check it out. Getting there I was a bit confused. Apparently the door itself was attacking Rosorc. In seconds we were all there and as soon as Rosorc was freed I went up to attack only to be held fast by some type of tentacles. Some oil came flying from behind hitting the door, and soon a flaming arrow followed lighting the oil. Then I was hit by oil, which actually helped me to escape the tentacles. I backed up a bit, as did the travelers, and the door dissolved into a puddle and came after us. We fought as we retreated, eventually destroying it. I’m not sure what they want to do now, but I think resting for the night should be a part of the plan.

Posted by Fred at 08:08 | Beowulf’s Journal

A weight lifted and love lost

Rosorc's Journal

Staggering into an alcove, we took refuge under a small overhang. Besides being saddened by our friend’s death, we were also badly battered. Setting watches, we decided to lay low for a couple of days to heal up. We passed the first day trying to rest, while watching and hoping we wouldn’t have to face another orc patrol party.

Deitricha prayed, Tassar ate and mumbled about his quickly disappearing rations, the elves sat together mumbling stuff back and forth, and I sat in melancholy, staring out beyond my surroundings.

I had noticed a small rift forming amongst our group. Seems no one likes being compared to a shovel or a crossbow. Tassar had been mumbling to himself a lot lately. His mood has been contagious; I have found my mood darkening.

My lady love has seemingly found the favour of another. At least if it is as it appears. Not to mention the constant belittling of the non elven members of our group. Seems none of us wish to be called non people or tool ever again.

I fought sleep, as I knew the nightmares and/ or dreams would be back. I tried to make conversation. With each attempt I found myself becoming more and more aggravated. Being talked down to by what I believe to be friends and companions is something I really don’t understand.

Before I blew up, I decided to close my eyes and risk the omnipresence lingering within the depth of my inner self. Several minutes passed. Then I finally succumbed to my exhaustion....


The cave was beyond dark, and yet I followed her. Her voice lured me as a moth to a lantern. Aimlessly I stumbled on, rose clutched tightly in my hand.

When my stamina had reached its end I fell to my knees. Beckoned by my lady love, I crawled on, holding the rose I carried for her in my teeth. Soon my every muscle ached. Time seemed to crawl, yet I followed the melodious voice.

Then, I collapsed. Body spent and strength gone, I cried out hoarsely to my lady love. There was no answer. No answer at all.

As I lay there I began to sob. Lost and alone I called out to Clangeddin. I begged for his strength and his resolve. I begged for answers to questions I didn’t understand.

Although I thought had given up hope, I felt light grow within me. My sweat, exhaustion, and my confusion slowly started to fade. Then, as if from a forge’s flame, the darkness melted around me.

A burly male dwarf stood over me and offered me his hand. As he pulled me to my feet, I felt as well as I had ever felt in my life. As I stood before him he spoke to me in an old dialect almost forgotten in the realms. Touching my forehead he said,”Be thee gone master of deceit and trickery. This one is one of mine. You shall have no more fun here. I drive you out and leave a mark for where you can’t return.” Aas he finished, he removed his hand.

My knees buckled and my head cleared. Peace touched the dark spots I have endured of late. With a warm smile and a nod, the dwarf turned his back and stepped into the darkness........

Waking up, I realized the elves were gone. I was surprised to hear it was night again already. Seems I had slept nearly a full day. Gathering myself, I asked Deitricha, “Where has Tassar gone? Is he with the elves?”

“I guess,” she replied, and then continued, “He went out to see some ogres. They went out to make sure he was all right.” “Maybe I should go help him,” I said.

After a long argument Deitricha convinced me she needed defended while the others were away. Not to mention that I would be as quiet as a herd of charging dire boars.

So I settled back in and dozed back off. Amazingly, I slept without dream or nightmare.

When I awoke I rolled over to find the group in heated discussion again. Tassar was in strong argument with Theona over her language and its disrespect of the other party members. Deitricha was trying to keep the peace.

After everything settled down, we decided to head out. Areon took point and we followed towards the woods. We traveled all day without incident. As evening settled in we started to look for a place to rest.

Tassar had started another argument. Seems things were getting pretty heated. As I got myself involved I noticed something odd. There was no glow to Theona. My heart didn’t pang at all as I put in my two cents. I too was tired of being treated like a second rate citizen.

By the time I was done my ears rung and my brow pulsed. I really needed to vent. As it grew dark I walked from the camp we made. Alone, I pulled my axe.

I raised it and struck the nearest tree for all I had. Then I set to a rythmic pace of chopping. Slowly I started to ease out of the foul mood I was in.

That was when I was hit from behind. A horse sized wolf dragged me to the ground. I didn’t yell, although his bite tore into me. I did roll and swing as I lay on the ground. Hitting true, I tried to stand. It was too fast; it kept me on the ground. As I recieved another bite I could hear a yell from camp.

Seems they were fighting a wolf of their own. Not one to leave work undone, I quickly struck the wolf again. Here I heard an arrow strike true to the wolf as it bit me again. Seems it was trying to drag me off when I struck its skull with one final killing blow.

Rising to my feet, my axe still dripping with blood, I turned to a rustling in the weeds just beyond our camp........

Posted by Erik at 09:37 | Rosorc’s Journal

Unexpected Problems

Deitricha's Journal

Staggering away from the pile of orc and boar bodies, we followed Areon to a ravine, protected by overhanging rock from prying eyes. Although it was cold, we quickly settled down and slept. It was a quiet night, and after praying in the morning, I was able to heal everyone at least partially. Happily, everyone decided to stay another day so I could finish the job.

This was when I noticed that our food supplies were getting low. Rosorc was kind enough to give me some of his rations, and Theona and Areon went foraging while we rested. As the sunlight began to fade, they returned, carrying food and news - guttural voices nearby! Tassar, after staying put all day, was absolutely bent upon going to check the voices out. The rest of us were appalled. Our arguments had no effect; he was soon clambering out of the ravine. Rosorc asked me to help him put his armor back on, and we settled in to see if the halfling would bring the wrath of the unknown down upon us.

Areon had sent his blue cat to follow Tassar; after some hours, both he and Theona decided to sneak after them and see what had happened. I don’t know if they were more worried about the cat or my halfling! Rosorc wanted to go, too, but I was afraid that he and I would be too loud; neither of us are very good at keeping quiet and hidden. Neither is Tassar, for that matter; I wondered why we hadn’t heard any scuffle? The elves soon returned with the answer. Tassar was watching three ogres, able to be quiet because he was in the nude. I decided to try and get some sleep.

Morning came with no disturbance; I prayed yet again. As I finished my healing duties, I realized I’d been listening for some time to Tassar berating the elves for “making noise” and “disturbing” the ogres. He also wanted back into the dwarven (now orcish) stronghold, which the elves rapidly vetoed! We packed up and headed back to the road, the elves in the lead. Tassar walked with me, teaching me many rude things to call an elf. Loud enough for the elves to hear. Apparently, Theona called him something very bad last night, that translates as “not people”, and he was rubbing it in that we’re not worthy to be in their presence. I guess it was past time for some of our races’ issues to crop up.

Further on, Areon pointed to some giants’ tracks crossing the road. Tassar lay down in one and decided that these were fine opponents to fight! I asked him to think about the implications of
lying in a footprint. So, we all continued, with Tassar muttering a lot about tall people. I realized he didn’t mean the giant and cried a little, while Rosorc offered him ale and food to console him. Evening came, and Areon found us a camp in the trees that were appearing at lower altitudes. I thanked him for his efforts, since Theona, Tassar, and Rosorc had gotten into another discussion.

Unfortunately, every time Theona tried to explain the meaning of the phrase she’d used, she dug herself in deeper. I understood, and even found it a little funny to see Tassar actually getting under her skin, but apparently Rosorc was taking it more seriously. Although it was dark and the wolves were howling, he stalked off into the woods and began chopping down a tree. While the elves winced at each thud, Tassar sat by the fire, sipping ale and grinning. But then, the chopping stopped. Tassar and I ran into the darkness to find him.

Rosorc was at the base of a tree, silently fighting with a dire wolf, who had him on the ground and was biting him repeatedly. We saw an arrow hit, and turned to see Theona lower her bow as she was struck by another dire wolf. As it pulled her down, Areon swung into the fight! Tassar, too, despite everything, turned back to help them, yelling, “Bad doggie!” I stayed with Rosorc, hoping I could help. As I heard the second wolf’s death gurgle by the campfire, Rosorc hacked the first wolf to death. He stood up, ignoring his wounds, and began to chop at the tree again. I begged him to stop, to not bring more attention down on us, and healed him up between swings, but all the answer I got was something about being Tassar’s woman, already. What? Of course, Tassar was shouting something down the hill at me, so I gave in and started to cry again. I have no idea what they’re talking about!

Naturally, in the middle of this scene, there came a rustling from the trees nearby. Everyone came to attention and aimed their weapons at the new danger!

Posted by Kate at 11:11 | Deitricha’s Journal

June 15, 2004

Was It Something We Said?

Deitricha's Journal

Differences forgotten for the moment, we stood with weapons drawn as a human in studded leather armor stepped from the woods, hands raised. I could see a holy symbol of Meilikki around his neck, which was a good sign. Upon questioning, he explained that he both lived and travelled in the area; in short, a Druid. He also has a wolf with him, but this one is regular-sized, black, and follows his directions. Shadow seems very nice, but won’t let Tassar ride on him.

Beowulf agreed to travel with us for at least part of our journey; no offense to Areon’s skills, but travelling near the Moonwood with a local seems wise. We settled down to rest for the night, and as we set watches, I noticed something odd. Rosorc was not watching Theona like he used to. I wonder when that happened? Before we left the mountain, or after he was chopping on the tree? I fell asleep while pondering.

Early in the morning, the elves woke me so I could pray at my proper time. By the time the rest of the party was stirring, they’d found that Tassar was gone, and a note was stuck to the ground. It said something about his rent being due back in Silverymoon! I was really upset; he didn’t even leave it to me, or say anything, just took off! Was it me? Was it the ongoing discussion with Theona? All I could do was beg Areon to check for tracks. Soon, we were following an errant halfling down the old dwarven road.

While we walked, we talked about which way to take to go around the Moonwood and reach the inn where our horses might still be at (I know they have probably been sold by now, but perhaps not all of them!). We decided to travel east, both being the quicker route, and one that would pass a dwarven stronghold, Feldbar; Rosorc wants to tell them that the old citadel is there, and full of orcs and drow!

I prayed to Tymora, deciding that if we didn’t catch up with Tassar before we had to turn east, I’d wish him luck in his travels and let him go. It was his own decision, after all. I have to respect that. Naturally, about that time, Areon found signs of a scuffle, and that the halfling had been carried off to the east by a giant! The whole party quickly followed, but only reached the giants’ probable cave as the sun went down. We hid nearby, watching the entrance, and I offered Areon one of the potions I’ve been carrying; it is supposed to help him see in the dark. He snuck off to check the place out and was soon back with news that the cave was lit, and used by ettin! He gave me the potion back, while I cried, sure my friend was dead.

Theona pointed out to me that Tassar has certainly survived worse situations, while the others discussed ways to lure the ettin out so they could sneak in and search. I feared it would be far too dangerous to try, when Beowulf offered to change shape and try it! I suggested some kind of regular and ignorable cave dweller; a bat or a snake. He changed into a pretty big bat and was off. Soon, he returned to tell us that the cave had two rooms off the main space, one for storage and one with a door in it. And only two ettin to fight, unless more behind the door! He didn’t see Tassar, but we tried to think that a good thing. Rosorc headed for the entrance while the rest of us stood off to one side.

Rosorc decided to play dumb, in hopes that the ettin would be lured out without calling for help. He walked into the cave, shouting Tassar’s name. He quickly came backing out as, with a crash of stone, an ettin charged out after him! Rosorc stood his ground, trading blows with the two-headed giant, while the rest of us stood at a distance and shot it with everything we had. The next ettin quickly arrived, so we shot at both. Theona broke her bowstring and pulled out her wand, which didn’t go off. Did she use it up already?

Areon shot the first ettin to death, and I hit Rosorc with my sling again. Sorry, Rosorc! As he waded into battle with the next ettin, Beowulf shot a ray of some kind at him, which healed him! I was amazed. As Areon and I shot at the ettin, Beowulf managed to heal Rosorc several times before accidentally hitting the ettin instead. Theona tried to throw a dagger and failed miserably, and I managed to hit her pretty hard with a sling bullet - we all needed some luck! Finally, she tried the wand again, and it did go off one more time; it even hit the ettin and not Rosorc. The ettin then tried to back into the cave, but Rosorc charged after it. Theona pulled out her rapier and followed; I was close behind, ready to heal. Rosorc dropped the thing and I healed him again, while the others began to search the cave.

We split up to check everything quickly (and I pray the stew in the pot over the fire isn’t Tassar), but soon we were all racing for the cave with the door - which had suddenly grown tentacles and was squeezing Rosorc to death! He pulled himself free, but then it grabbed Areon. Areon got loose when Beowulf stabbed the door, but then Beowulf got caught. Rosorc pulled out a flask of oil and smashed it on the door, and the elves set it on fire with a well-placed flaming arrow. Rosorc then hit Beowulf with a flask, which helped him get free, too. I was all for running at that point!

The others decided to kill the thing, though, hoping that it was defending something important. Areon shot the door, I healed Rosorc and Beowulf, and Theona accidentally shot herself with the wand of enfeeblement. Rosorc shot the door, too, at which point it detached itself from the wall (exposing an empty passage behind), and came after us all! We all ran from the flaming ooze. It hit me as I ran, but thenkfully I struggled free from its grasp. We turned to fight it in the main cavern, and our “luck” held when Areon broke his bowstring too. Thankfully, Theona hit it with her wand, and Rosorc’s last crossbow bolt caused it to collapse.

Still no sign of Tassar. On with the search?

Posted by Kate at 11:36 | Deitricha’s Journal

June 16, 2004

Dark Door

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 5, 1373, North of the Moonwood

The trees parted and a human male stepped out. He held his hands up in a gesture of peace, and once we saw the symbol of Mielikki, it was evident that he was a protector of the forest. As the human took in the scene around us, I thought for one horrible moment that the damaged tree or the dead wolves were his, but he indicated that his own wolf companion was alive and well— he called a black wolf out of the trees, which sauntered out and sat down at the druid’s feet. Beowulf, as the human calls himself, came and joined us at our camp, and after telling him some of our tale, he agreed to travel with us since he knows the area well. For someone that doesn’t spend a lot of time with people, he seemed quite at ease with us.

After our late meal, we set up our watches for the night— thankfully we were able to break it into three shifts with the addition of the druid. Areon suggested that we take separate watches, as we’d both rest better knowing the other was acting as sentinel. Of course, it wouldn’t do to just stare at him for four hours, so I decided to pick up where I’d left off with Deitricha on my attempts to understand inter-species relationships. Coincidentally, I noticed that Rosorc isn’t watching my every move anymore with that intensity that made me so uneasy. I am relieved— I’ve been stressed from trying to appear apathetic, as it only seemed to make my friends think I was being purposefully cold to all of them.

The night passed uneventfully, and in fact, I assumed that the fresh air was helping to ease everyone’s tension— my friends all looked like they’d slept better than usual— when we discovered that Tassar had snuck away during his own watch— leaving a note by the fire that said, “Just remembered my rent is due… I’ll catch up.

I realized I was quite sad that he left that way, and not just because he took my favorite ale flask with him. In all my adult life, I’ve never spent this much time with any group of people (an entire month!), Tel-quessir, or other. I made an awkward attempt to console Deitricha by assuring her that it wasn’t anything she did— I elaborated telling her what I’d read in his personal journal led me to believe that he didn’t feel worthy of her rather than the other way around. I don’t know if I made her feel better or not, but I think she enjoyed chewing me out for snooping. I made sure not to mention I’d liberated about half of his rations as well.

We attempted to sketch out the general roads of the area as much as we could remember in the dirt by our campfire, while Areon looked for the errant halfling’s tracks. It appeared that he’d traveled east; we decided this would be a good direction for us to go even if we don’t manage to catch up with Tassar. The trail leads, eventually, towards Citadel Felbarr (where Rosorc can report our discovery of the ancient dwarven stronghold) and Silverymoon, plus the River Redrun and various small settlements might provide us with some sort of transportation. It also eventually leads to Areon’s home in the Coldwood, but I don’t believe he’ll be returning there until we find the stolen silver tiger.

We gave the druid’s wolf Shadow something to find Tassar’s scent, and with Areon tracking and Shadow confirming the trail, we made reasonable time.

Several hours into our journey, we came across a new set of tracks: giant. Unfortunately, Tassar’s tracks ran straight into them, and judging by the multitude of marks in the dirt, they had scuffled, resulting in only one set of tracks— the giant’s. Deitricha looked horrified, but I pointed out that Tassar had fought off all those drow just a few days before— surely one giant wouldn’t be his doom. The tracks headed east anyway, so we could follow them and hopefully find Tassar safe and sound.

It wasn’t hard at all to follow the giant footprints, which eventually lead us to a cave entrance. We decided that only one of us should sneak in and see what lived there (and hopefully see Tassar). Of course, we all had a good reason for why we each should be the one to go in, but eventually Deitricha handed Areon a potion for darkvision— I can move as silently as he can, but I’d be no match for a large, angry creature.

He came out again a few (long) minutes later, with news of a two-headed giant stirring a pot over a fire. There were two tunnels beyond the ettin, but there was no way he could sneak past. I feared we’d have to give up, when our new druid companion came to our rescue— he transformed himself into a bat, hoping to “blend” in with the cave décor, and flapped off through the entrance. He was back a few moments later, having confirmed the first ettin, a storage room without inhabitants, and a second ettin in another room that also had a closed door leading off further into the rock. Seeing as we were pretty healthy at the moment, we agreed to have Rosorc “wander” in shouting for Tassar (and again, we hoped somehow we’d get a reply from him). This had the desired effect of making the ettin charge after him and out of the cave, where we planned to ambush the giant.

The ettin came out swinging a morningstar, and managed to hit Rosorc, who purposefully held the giant off so we could finish it with ranged attacks. Areon managed to kill the already wounded giant with a well-placed arrow and it went down— unfortunately before Deitricha could run up to heal Rosorc, the second ettin was upon him. Beowulf definitely saved the day here, using some unusual magic to make his healing spells work at a distance.

It was a good thing too— as our attacks on the second ettin were pitiful. I broke my bowstring first off. Areon hit Rosorc with an arrow, and Deitricha hit me with a sling stone. I grabbed a dagger off of Areon’s belt and threw it— and watched it sail off into the dark, no where near my target. Beowulf admitted afterwards that one of the heal spells meant for Rosorc hit the ettin instead. With that much bad luck in one combat, I wasn’t really offended when everyone yelled “no!” when they saw me pull out my wand, so I opted to send a moon mote in front of the ettin’s four eyes, hoping to at least irritate it. Perhaps it was too stupid to notice it, as the illusion seemed to have no effect on the creature. Frustrated, I ran towards the melee with my rapier drawn, knowing I’d probably get knocked out by the ettin if not worse. Luckily Rosorc was able to kill it while it was dividing its attacks between the two of us.

Deitricha quickly healed Rosorc and then ran past us into the cave, while the rest of us checked the remaining rooms. Areon and I went to the storage room, intent on checking the barrels and casks for signs of Tassar, while Rosorc intended to piton the door in the empty room. When we heard his war cry to Clangeddin, we dropped what we were doing and raced to the other room. Beowulf and Deitricha did the same. The four of us came to a halt as we saw the door was grappling with the dwarf with two long black ropey appendages. Rosorc pulled free as Areon charged the creature’s flailing psuedopods, which immediately adhered to him. Without thinking, I leaped into the fray to grab Areon around the waist to yank him off the thing—luckily he’s strong enough that he was able to pull free, dragging me back to a safer distance as Beowulf got yanked in. Almost as if rehearsed, Rosorc threw oil on the monster, while I lit an arrow— which Areon shot, lighting the creature on fire. Rosorc managed to “grease” the druid so that he broke free rather than catching on fire, at which point we ran to the next room. The creature slid off the doorway, revealing a tunnel or room beyond, and began to slither forward! Areon attempted one more shot at the thing, but his bowstring broke. Our bad luck was back— I tried to slow the creature down with my wand, and ended up shooting myself in the foot. Luckily the creature was still on fire; I managed to hit the creature with a ray from the wand and Rosorc shot it— which was finally enough to kill it.

I think we’ll just sit here at the cookfire for a few minutes (not looking in the pot!) while Areon mends our bowstrings and Deitricha mends us; but sooner or later, we’ll have to at least take a look at what was lies beyond the creature that mimicked a locked door.

Posted by Kristin at 20:22 | Theona’s Journal

June 19, 2004

Hunt for the comrade named Tassar

Rosorc's Journal

As a human male stepped out of the woods, he quickly threw up his hands to show he wasn’t a threat of any kind. Still a little wary, I held my crossbow ready. He said that he was a protector of the forest.

Theona and Areon, after seeing his holy symbol of Mielikki, spoke at length to him about our situation. He agreed to be a guide through the area as he was a protector of the Moonwood. He seemed all right until his wolf came walking out of the woods. Lucky for it, it sat down at his feet and did not move. Though I think it could tell I didn’t like it one bit at all. Heck, my armour was still covered in blood from the wolf I just had slain.

Tassar and I were joking back and forth about, “How great it was to have another “Elf” in the party.” We were cut short, though, by a death stare from Deitricha. Tassar said to her,”We know he is a human, right?” Then we both burst into laughter.

From what we gathered, his name Beowulf. Tassar and I just couldn’t bring ourselves to use it. Seems Beu or Bo stuck. Which was much better than some of the others we had contrived. Barbara was one of the better ones, though we were sure it wouldn’t have gone over well with the others.

We were laughing up a storm when I realized that I was truly happy again after a long time. I don’t know where it came from, but the light that burnt within me was growing stronger. I could sense a change in my inner spirit. My inner strength was growing.

Mood lost, we decided to set up watches and rest for the night. Since I had first watch I found a large rock to plant myself on. I looked up to the sky. The stars shone with an amazing brightness. Being attentive to my duties, I tried not to wander too far in thought.

As soon as it started, it seemed my watch was over. Tassar tapped me on the shoulder and said he was to take over. We kind of chuckled as we both mouthed Barbara at the same time. Turning away, I pulled out my bedroll, then returned it to my pack. “The ground would do me good, tonight,” I thought.

As I awoke in the morning, I heard Dietricha sobbing off to my right. The others were gathered around Theona who was reading a small piece of parchment to the others. Seems Tassar bolted in the middle of the night. He left some sort of note saying his rent was late. I didn’t buy it for a moment.

He wouldn’t have left Deitricha over rent. We had talked too many times in the past few weeks for me to even begin to believe this. I walked away from the others. “Something is amiss here,” I mumbled out loud. All I could figure was that it had something to do with our group’s inner rumblings over the last few days.

Hoping I was wrong, I returned to the others in time to finish the discussion on what to do. We were going to continue on our way home. We were hoping to catch up to Tassar on the way.

After many roads were discussed, we decided to travel to the east of the Moonwood. That way we could stop by Citadel Felbarr, and I could share the information of the lost Dwarven stronghold presently being held by - ughh!! Orcs and Drow.

Heading out, Areon took point. Beu’s wolf followed after we gave him a sniff of Tassar’s scent. It didn’t take long before the two of them found Tassar’s tracks. The rest of us followed along. We traveled for a couple of hours when Areon found a set of giant tracks.

Here’s where Tassar’s tracks ended. Even a novice like myself could tell there was a struggle here. Quickly we decided as a group to go see if Tassar was still alive.

It was only a short way to the cave. Tracks led in and out. Areon snuck into the cave. After a short time he returned. He told us about an Ettin sitting by a fire pit stirring a cooking pot. Here Deitricha started to whimper.

Beu offered up that he could shape change. He changed into a bat and searched the cave for us. When he returned, he offered up valuable information. Deciding a direct assault would be unwise, we decided on me going in.

Since there were two Ettins by Beu’s descriptions, I walked into the cave calling out for Tassar. Knowing I would be noticed immediately, I was ready to bolt for the cave entrance. I was not prepared for the Ettin’s speed. He must have heard me coming, for as soon as I hollered out he was on me, swinging two massive morning stars.

Luckily for me he missed with the first one. The second one went so far askew it hit the ceiling of the cave. I had to dive aside as large hunks of rock fell from the ceiling. Getting back to my feet, I bolted out of the cave. Knowing my friends were set up off to the left, I led the Ettin to the right.

Turning I stopped in my tracks. Dropping my visor I pulled my axe. As the ettin came out of the cave I let out a burst of dwarven song. “Axe be sharp / Hand be true / Split this giant / right in two...Stout and steady / A dwarf.....” My song fell from my lips as the Ettin’s first mighty blow landed on my shoulder. The weight of the morningstar almost drove me to my knees.

Undaunted, I stepped in with a low swing of my axe. I caught the Ettin in the knee. I suffered two more glancing blows. Then I heard the grunts as the missile weapons started landing on the Ettin from my friends.

Making the situation worse, the second Ettin appeared in the cave entrance. Now I was dodging four massive morningstars. I caught the original Ettin with a solid chop to its right thigh. As I pulled back to swing again, it fell backwards with an arrow sticking out of its throat.

The second Ettin let loose with two massive swings. One caught me in my other shoulder. A jarring blow, to say the least! Luckily for me, its other morningstar flew out of its hand as I caught it in the chest with a mighty chop. Then I was hit by an arrow and a sling round. Realizing my friends were trying their best, I fought on.

It started to retreat. As I started to follow it, I noted that for some reason my wounds kept healing every now and then. Not that I was complaining, but it was a little unnerving. Stepping back into the cave, I swung my axe again. This time I missed. Then Theona appeared at my side, her rapier in hand..

The Ettin hit Theona with a glancing blow. As she staggered back I caught the Ettin with a death blow to the neck. Its eyes rolled up in its head as it fell backwards. Shuddering once, it grew still.

The others came running in. Deitricha came over to heal me and Theona. The area secured, everyone followed Deitricha in to search for Tassar. Theona and Areon searched the store room. Beu and his wolf searched the cooking pot and I went to piton the door in the other room Beu had told us about.

As I approached the door, two long black appendages reached out and grabbed ahold of me. Yanking me with incredible strength they slammed me off the door twice, really rattling my head. I pulled back for all I was worth but it wasn’t enough. The monstrosity kept its hold.

Yelling to Clangeddin for strength, I renewed my efforts. Hearing my shouts, the others came to my aid. Struggling, I managed to get free. Falling back far enough to catch my wind, I saw Areon was now caught by this beast. Theona was trying to help free him. With a great pull they were successful, though Areon now looked as beat as I did. Whatever this thing is, it is incredibly powerful.

Before we could all move back, Beu was caught by an appendage. He was in deep trouble, by the looks of him. I quickly tossed a flask of oil at the doorway/monster. It broke all over it. Theona quickly lit an arrow for Areon who fired it into the beast. It quickly lit up like a bonfire.

Beu was still trying to break free when I threw my second flask of oil. By the guidance of Clangeddin it broke open on Beu, allowing him to break free with the new found slipperyness covering him.

We all backed up against the far wall. Dropping to the ground, the large black blob started coming towards us. All of us fired our missile weapons at it as we retreated. Unfortunately for Deitricha it briefly grabbed hold of her before she could break free. You could tell it had put a hurting on her.

Now we had backed all of the way back to the fire pit. Still firing rounds, I raised my crossbow one last time and with a with a final shot it stopped moving. All of us breathed a sigh of relief.

All of us were badly injured. None of us could go on any farther without a rest. The full day’s march and the two large fights were just too much. We retreated into the small room in the cave where the Ettins had kept their supplies and took a rest. All of us promising Deitricha as soon as we started back out that we would continue the look for Tassar.

Posted by Erik at 16:30 | Rosorc’s Journal

June 30, 2004


Theona's Journal

Flamerule 6, 1373, a cell

Beowulf looked into the pot. We were all relieved to hear that whatever it was the ettins were cooking, the bones in the stew were not humanoid.

Areon and I went back to investigate the storeroom. I stood there a moment, wondering if anything else in these caves could morph itself into a normally inanimate object such as a barrel, or grain sack. Areon is way too good at reading me (so much for 50+ years of practicing hiding my emotions!) and started to open barrels by himself. That got me moving. We eventually had taken inventory: two barrels of wine, two of water, several sacks of grain and dried meat, 6 large javelins, 3 large nets, a chain shirt (too big for a halfling), a rather nice set of nunchaku, a bone scroll case, and, best of all, nearly 1500 gold pieces. Areon was able to stow the weapons on himself. I was trying to calculate how to best carry 30 pounds of coin, when our very clever druid companion simply dropped the entire bag into his haversack. It apparently holds a lot more than it should! We’ll have to pour some of our other loot in there too, if he doesn’t mind.

We all decided to bed down in the storage area, and tried to get Deitricha to purify the wine. She resisted for now— I wasn’t going to insist she drink any of it! Areon and I took separate shifts again, so I got to ask both of our human companions lots of personal questions, none of which were answered entirely to my satisfaction. I am fairly sure Beowulf is not a Zhent, at least. I also think that Deitricha is developing feelings for Rosorc, though of course I would be amazed if anything came of it. Then again, Rosorc treats her the way I would expect a dwarf to treat a prospective mate— as an equal. Even when he was “wooing” me, he was much more open and happy around Deitricha. Perhaps Tassar noticed that too.

When I wasn’t grilling the humans, I decided to do some reading. I popped open the scroll case and looked over the contents. The parchment inside contained two spells: one for summoning monsters, and one for animating a rope. I’m not sure I’d trust myself to use these in an emergency, but I’ll hold on to them as none of my comrades use arcane magic.

Eventually all felt rested up enough, and Deitricha was able to heal some more of the wounds from the previous night. We headed to the room where the black creature had waited— the doorway beyond showed a 5’ passage stretching into the darkness. In a rare moment of solidarity, everyone suggested that I lead so that we could look for traps. I didn’t find any by the time we arrived in a crudely worked room with some tunnels leading off of it. I snuck ahead a wee bit until I heard guttural voices in the distance, then crept back to the group to tell of my findings. I was going to creep forward a bit more to see what all was there, but Beowulf reminded us that he could cover more area quickly and quietly as a bat. He transformed and flew off through each tunnel in turn, then came back to report a rather large group of humanoids (no halflings) and dire rats in one direction, and a minotaur in the other. The minotaur’s direction also had a closed door beyond it, so we decided to try and slip past it. I was surprised, but pleased that we were going to leave the humanoids alone so that we could cover more ground quickly, but of course, we still had to get past the large creature down the next hallway. I snuck past the minotaur’s room first, followed by Areon, and so on to Rosorc (being the least quiet in all his armor). Areon and I got past well enough, but the minotaur must have smelled us or had amazing hearing, because he charged up his side tunnel at us, brandishing a very large axe. The creature was so large that I could no longer see my companions on the opposite side of its bulk. Areon pushed me back a few feet and took a mighty swing, and then another, with his greatsword as I prepared to aim my crossbow. I heard Rosorc’s war cry as he apparently was chopping into it from the other side. Areon stabbed forward with all of his might, and.... the monster dropped dead. We didn’t have time to stare in awe though, as we heard the sounds of battle beyond the fresh corpse. Areon scrambled up over the beast, and I followed, with Beowulf clambering up behind as we waded into a room full of goblins and dire rats. We made quick work of them and followed a short tunnel, eventually finding ourselves behind the group Rosorc and Deitricha were fighting. We met up moments later as Rosorc was wiping gnoll blood off of his axe.

I am sorry to say that, even though my friends politely waited while I checked through the equipment of our slain adversaries (one of which was a gnome, which seemed out of place), there was nothing of value on any of them. We made sure there was nothing in any of the other little cracks and crevices in the little caves surrounding us, then went to the doorway beyond the minotaur carcass. I picked the lock and the closed door swung open. There were two bugbears waiting on the other side. I slipped into the room behind Areon and pulled out a poisoned bolt to take one out, but pricked my own finger instead! Thankfully the poison didn’t affect me right then, but it might have been a blessing if it had, for moments later, a humanoid with a tentacled maw entered the room— a mind flayer! It cast some sort of hold over all of us but Beowulf and his wolf, who bravely attempted to attack it— moments later, they too were paralyzed by the illithid’s power.

I am not sure if I succumbed to the drow poison or the mind flayer did something to us to knock us all unconscious. I came to in a cell, with none of my weapons or belongings (though I was relieved to find the gifts from Areon weren’t removed). I can sense that he’s nearby, and I believe I’ve heard some whispering from our friends on the other side of this wall....

Posted by Kristin at 15:08 | Theona’s Journal