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July 3, 2004

May Mielikki Guide Me

Beowulf's Journal

We rested for the evening. I noticed several ominous glances at the pot of stew. I’m pretty sure it’s not their friend Tassar in there, I recognize the aroma of an animal of some type, but I can’t quite place my finger on which one. Shadow reminded me it was time to eat in his usual way by sniffing my backpack. After feeding him and sleeping for a bit the adventures decided it was time to explore the lower levels of this cave. Right away I’m leery. Two ettins and a “mimic,” I think I heard someone say, obviously as guards. I’m expecting someone very powerful down here.

We followed a stairwell down a few feet then came to a room. It was either left or right. After some talk about which way Tassar would go we went left. Suddenly the procession stopped and we went back out to the first room. Voices were heard and after mentioning it I wild shaped into a bat again. I was able to explore most of the area without even being noticed. It seems most people in caves just ignores bats. Go figure. I reported back my findings, three medium-sized creatures in one room, I think there were eighteen slightly smaller creatures in the other, and off to the right, one empty room, a closed door and a very large creature. Bats see with their ears and that makes it difficult to tell exactly what they were so we decided to go to the right and sneak past the large creature. We failed miserably, but luckily enough Areon and Rosorc were able to surround it and kill it unusually quickly. We were then attacked by dire rats and goblins. I watched Areon climb over the fallen beast and attack the advancing horde. Rosorc went the other way realizing that more creatures wound be coming from that direction. Theona followed Areon while Deitricha followed Rosorc. After a moment of personal debate I decided I would fair better with Areon and Theona. The little beasts were slain before I got into the room. Now that makes two things that don’t seem right. The three of us followed a side passage over to the room that had the most creatures in it when I scouted. I saw a magic user there and figured he would be the one in charge, but as quickly as he fell I realized that wasn’t so. Theona looted the bodies of our fallen foes as Rosorc dropped the last one.

I knew something wasn’t right, and as we opened the door the blocked my way earlier I realized why. There were two bugbears everyone attacked on sight, then an illithid showed up stunning everyone except Shadow and me. Looking back I realized I should have stepped away and cast a couple of “summon nature’s allies” till the illithid’s spell let me friends loose, but I was a little rash at the moment and charged in only to fall to its stunning spell. I’m surprised I’m alive, and only hope I live to rectify my mistake. May Mielikki guide me.

Posted by Fred at 07:39 | Beowulf’s Journal

Hang Together or Hang the Fighters

Areon's Journal

Two days have past since the battle with the orcs. We spent our time resting and Deitricha used what magic her goddess blessed her with. I found food for us to survive on while we rested, and we decided that we would be able to leave the next morning.

While we were searching for food (Theona had accompanied me to “help,” fortunately she can move just as quietly as I can), we came upon the sound of several creatures bickering in a guttural tongue. I recognized the tongue as giant, and Theona and I slipped quietly away. When we returned to camp, I told everyone that we had best be quiet around camp and slip away in the morning. Tassar demanded to know why, and I mistakenly told him what Theona and I had heard. He decided that it would be best to spend the night spying on them. I sent Nianque with him so that she could return to us quickly and let us know if something had happened to Tassar.

After Tassar and Nianque had been gone for about an hour, I decided that I had better go to check to make sure that they had not been captured or killed. Theona opted to come with me again (I am beginning to think she is looking for any reason to slip away from our acquaintances), and we set out to where we had heard the voices before. We found Tassar’s armor, laying on the ground and the naked halfling watching the camp intently.

Now I understand that he can move about more quietly without his armor slowing him down, but I cannot understand why that stupid halfling would be so willing to give up ALL his protection, especially when he is spying on creatures that would probably kill him if they saw him. I did creep up far enough to see what the creatures were: ogres.

I had had enough foolishness by then, so I brought Nianque back to camp with me. When I returned, I found Rosorc and Deitricha in a heated debate about whether or not Rosorc should be going out to help Tassar.

In all my life I have not dealt with anything this foolhardy. Even the Barbarians are intelligent enough not to go picking fights with everything that lives near them. If Rosorc had gone out to where Tassar was, we would have had to fight the ogres, because unless Rosorc is completely still, his armor makes enough noise to wake the dead.

Fortunately after Theona and I returned to camp Rosorc gave up trying to go out and see what Tassar was doing. We rested the rest of the night uneventfully; Tassar came back into camp (wearing his armor) just before dawn.

We were in good enough shape to travel, so we set out along the road, towards the Moonwood. The day’s travel was uneventful, other than some footprints of a passing giant. I opted not to find the giant that made them and continued on. I found a well-concealed camp for us to spend the night in. I went out to search for food and had a much easier time. I only spent a few hours out, and I managed to get enough for all of us to eat. When I returned Rosorc decided that it would be a good idea if he started attacking a tree with his axe.

I feel like Theona and I are the only two in this party who have any idea whatsoever how to stay “safe” while adventuring. Everyone else seems to assume that Deitricha is a walking bandage. So Tassar and Rosorc will walk blindly into any situation, because surely the cleric can make it “all better.”

I feel bad for Theona. I know she can tell how upset I am, and I think it is affecting her. But the only way I see this getting better anytime soon is if the fighters manage to stumble into something that kills them and not the rest of us, or if we make it back to civilization, and decide to go our separate ways.

Posted by Tim at 23:55 | Areon’s Journal

July 4, 2004

Rent Tracking

Areon's Journal

Rosorc’s tree chopping brought the attention of two dire wolves, and later a druid. The Dire wolves attacked, one dragging Rosorc to the ground and the other attacking Theona, knocking her over.

I had resolved to stay out of the fight because of Rosorc’s senseless actions, but when Theona was knocked to the ground I realized that Solonor Thelandira had blessed me with an answer to the question I had asked.

I was filled with a sense of dread that I have never felt in all my life. I immediately abandoned my resolution, and ran to help Theona. I killed the wolf, and Rosorc and Tassar dealt with the other.

We had no more than stopped fighting, and a man stepped into the clearing. His peaceful demeanor and his symbol of Mielikki marked him as a non-combatant.

He introduced himself as Beowulf, a druid in the service to Mielikki. He also called forth a companion: a black wolf he had named Shadow. We exchanged greetings, and after a few minutes of conversation, the group decided that it would benefit everyone to have another man of nature traveling with us.

We rested the remainder of the night and awoke the next morning finding Tassar missing and a note left in Dietricha’s bag saying that he needed to pay his rent, so he was heading back to Silverymoon on his own.

I think Tassar has gone over the edge. He knew we were headed back to Silverymoon. I can’t understand why he thinks he could get there faster than us. As I recall, he was the one who was huffing and puffing to keep pace with us!

We quickly packed up our gear and headed down the road. I easily found his tracks and followed them along the path. After a while we came upon a place where there were signs of a struggle, and Tassar’s tracks disappeared. Fearing the worst, we followed the giant tracks off the path and through the rocky terrain to a cave. I found a defensible spot not to far from the cave, and while my companions were setting up a camp, I snuck up to the cave to investigate.

The entrance was well worn, so I could not estimate the number of creatures inhabiting the cave. I carefully snuck in, until I saw an ettin stirring some type of stew over a small fire. I returned to the rest of the group and told them what I had seen.

Beowulf turned into bat, and flew into the cave, scouting relatively unnoticed, or at least hopefully unnoticed. He returned safely, and told us that he had detected two ettins, a small storeroom, and a door deeper in the cave.

We decided that going in for Tassar would be the best course of action, rather than waiting and going in the next morning. Rosorc volunteered to be the bait, as he has had special training in fighting giants. The rest of us moved a safe distance from the cave and prepared ranged weapons.

Rosorc entered the cave, shouting for Tassar, and came running back out shortly after, with two ettins hot on his heals. The first ettin fell between Rosorc burying his axe in it and the fusillade from everyone else. We were not nearly as fortunate with the second ettin. Theona broke her bowstring and Rosorc stepped into my line of fire just as I let my arrow fly. The arrow slipped through armor and Rosorc staggered slightly (but not enough to dodge out of the way of an incoming blow).

We did manage to kill the second, and then we made our way into the cave. Theona and I were checking out the supplies when we heard Rosorc yell in surprise. He was being attacked by a door! The door actually turned out to be a mimic, but it did manage to get a good hold on Rosorc, Beowulf and myself at different points during the battle. Rosorc threw a flask of oil on it, and Theona lit one of my arrows, which I fired into the beast, lighting it on fire. I tried to shoot a second arrow at it, but I pulled too hard and my bowstring broke. The mimic succumbed to the fire a few seconds later, and we holed ourselves up in the storeroom, hoping that nothing else wandered out during the night.

Theona and I are still keeping watch over each other while we rest, and the others supplement our watch, or maybe we supplement theirs….

I did repair both of our bowstrings for the time being though, and I need to make bolts for Theona soon, as she doesn’t have that many left.

Theona is now stirring from her meditations, so I must do mine. I hope that we are able to find Tassar soon and get back to Silverymoon.

Posted by Tim at 07:55 | Areon’s Journal

Darkness slips through the light

Rosorc's Journal

Worn out, I pulled a large draught from my flask. Sadly it was now empty. A quick inventory of my belongings told me I was down to two flasks left. What is a dwarf to do? We definitely need to hit an Inn soon!

Gathering ourselves around the cooking pot on the fire pit, we decided it was definitely not Tassar bubbling away inside. It was a relief to everybody. That is not a way for any companion to go, even if he has spent plenty of time around a cooking pot in his day.

Since I was chosen for first watch, I decided to fill my empty four flasks in the store room we rested in. Deciding wine wasn’t my favorite drink, I split them; two full of wine and two full of water. I briefly closed my eyes and gave thanks to Clangeddin for all of his strength and guidance on this day.

Since that strange last dream I had, I have felt a little different. I was glad that the strange dreams and nightmares had stopped. Now, though, I had a strange burning within my heart and spirit. It was as if my spiritual fire had lit within me. Unsure of what to do, I figured I would just ride it out.

Beu was tapping me on my shoulder. “Huh?” I asked. “My watch,” he replied. With a nod I walked over to my pack. Deciding to skip my bed roll, I removed my armour, and lay down on the cave floor.


Awaking in the morning, I found a small blanket laying over me. Confused, I scanned the room. Seems Deitricha had risen earlier and had covered me with hers. She looked very sad, standing over by the barrels at the back of the store room. I rose and walked over to her.

“Here is your blanket,” I said, and then continued,”We will find him, he can’t be that far ahead of us.” She forced a smile and replied, “I hope.” She then stepped forward and laid her hands on me. Closing her eyes she started to mumble something. By the time she was done, all of my wounds that remained from yesterday had healed.

I took a piece of hardtack from my pack, gave some to her, and ate a little myself. Seeing that not only was my ale low, but I was down to three days’ rations left, I went over to the grain sacks and filled two small sacks full. I also filled a medium-sized sack with dried meat.

Placing everything back in my pack, I donned my armour, politely asking Beu for a helping hand on occasion. By the time I was done, everybody else had gotten around. All looked rested and healed, thanks to Deitricha’s healing spells.


Heading out, we walked back over to the now-open tunnel where we’d been attacked by that black blob. It was dark inside. Theona decided to lead the way to look for traps. I followed, as I could check for changes in the stone work or any stone traps she missed. Seems I am now the the new trap magnet with Tassar’s absence.

After a couple of minutes, we found ourselves at an intersection. Unsure of what to do, Beu offered up changing into a bat again and scouting for us. Everyone agreed that it would be most helpful. All of us shuffled around in the small hallway while he was gone. To my suprise, his wolf Shadow sat where he had asked him to the whole time he was gone.

After what seemed like an eternity Beu returned. After his retransformation he told of us of his findings. Seems there were a lot of nasties up ahead. He said there was a room full of small humanoids, another with three gnolls, and another with a large beast with a bull’s head.. He also mentioned two locked doors that he couldn’t search past.

We quickly decided to go right. We would pass the large bull-headed creature first and head towards the closest locked door. Travelling in darkness, Theona and Areon went first, followed by Deitricha, Beu, and Shadow. I said I would go last. Since there were many foes here, I would cover our back a little better with my dark vision to aid me. Plus the fact that I am as quiet as a walking Smithy! At least this way, if he heard me, the others should have already passed to safety.

As with everything in life, it seems the best plans always go awry. After traveling a short distance down the hall we all heard a large “snorting” noise. Then I heard Theona yelp and suddenly someone pulled their torch. Ahead, a large Minotaur had charged out of its lair and was attacking Areon and Theona.

I hollered at Deitricha and Beu to move out of my way. They quickly obliged me by darting down a side hall. Shadow was right on his master’s heels. A clear charging lane opened up. Taking full advantage, I was upon the Minotaur in a moment it seemed. I took a large over hand chop.

Unfortunately I missed. So I quickly took a step back, trying to bait the Minotaur out of the hallway that was giving him a fighting advantage. He obliged us nicely. Just as a large Dire Rat charged out of the side hallway in front of us, both Areon and I swung as soon as the Minotaur popped out into the open. Both of our attacks rang true, because when we retracted our weapons the Minotaur slumped lifelessly to the floor.

Amazed, I watched as the small Dire Rat ran right over the fallen Minotaur and charged at the noises coming from within in his lair. I was quickly distracted, though, by the sounds of goblins charging me from behind.

I turned and rushed up into the hallway I had just left. There I set up shop; I didn’t want to let them into the larger room to swarm me. The first couple dropped in a row. While there was a break in the action, I stepped forward so I could be near the the corner in the passageway. As I did, another goblin and a gnoll rolled around into my killing zone. It took two swings and they were both dispatched..

Soon I heard Deitricha behind me. She hollered that the others were also fighting Goblins and Dire Rats. It was nice at least to have someone watching my back. Especially an accomplished healer at that.

As I turned back around, there seemed to be no more foes coming around the corner. So I ran around it and ran smack into a goblin and a gnoll. Seems that here there was another intersection, so they had reversed my plans on me. Now they had the tactical advantage.

A gnoll quickly hit me with his mace, as two goblin spears glanced off my legs. Having no time to decide who to hit first I lowered my weapon and did a massive spinning attack. When I had stopped my momentum neither of them were still standing.

But they were quickly replaced by another like pair of foes. I tried the same attack but this time it didn’t work. My axe clanged off the stone wall above the goblin’s head. Momentarily dizzy, the two took advantage of my miss. Each struck me with their weapons. Neither blow was particularly heavy, though they did manage to make me lose my composure.

Screaming, ”Clangeddin!”, I turned around and went on a killing spree. I never stopped swinging. First a goblin fell to my axe. Then another dropped with terror in his eyes as I split him in two. A gnoll could only wimper as my axe tore through his soft midsection, sending him to meet his maker.

One last goblin quivered before me. His body seemed to split at the seams as I took him with an upper cut. Thinking I was done, I raised my visor, only to be struck by a short sword from behind. It was a blow that rang true. In a lot of pain I spun to find a Gnome fighter there with a bloody weapon and a crazed look on his face.

I swung my weapon for all I was worth, and at the same time Areon was there swinging also. When our momentum stopped, all there was was a small crumpled red smear on the floor. Not even a twitch from his dead body.


After Beu and Deitricha healed up our wounds and Theona searched the bodies for loot, we decided to go search the original locked door we were on the way to before we were so rudely interrupted. This time we made it to the door without incident.

When we pushed the door open, we were facing two Bugbears. Areon and Theona charged into the room to attack the one. I quickly followed and attacked the other. Deitricha was right behind me, with Beu and Shadow trying to get through the doorway.

We definitely had the advantage; the Bugbears were being torn up. Then, something really weird happened. A Mind Flayer stepped out of what seemed to be the wall itself, and all of the sudden my world went blank.


I awoke in a cell. Not a very large one at that. I was stripped of my armour and weapons. I yelled in anger. Someone had taken my prize possessions. They would definately pay. It took three years of working as a caravan guard to finally afford my armour.

They also had taken my ale. Someone was definitely going to be hurt. Crouching in the corner of my cell I started to sing. A song that reverbated through my very soul as my mood grew dark and angry. The time of troubles rolled from my lips......

“....Greatly outnumbered the sky had grown dark...Hushed whispers of fear ran through their hearts...Clutching their axes and swords to their breasts...the Dwarves and the Elves braced themselves for death...From on high the horns sounded as the dark horde came...Driving the valiant defenders from life to their grave...Their mates and their young they fought to save..That last heroic stand on that ill-fated day...Their sparse numbers dwindled yet they fought on...Any glimmer of hope was quickly gone...Laying defeated both dwarf and elf bled...Eyes going dark and no thoughts left in their heads...Still clutching their axes and swords to their breast...These unknown warriors’ souls went to rest...”

Finishing my song, I closed my eyes and asked Clangeddin what I should do. After several moments a plan rolled through my mind. Now only if I could contact the others.

Posted by Erik at 08:44 | Rosorc’s Journal

July 6, 2004

Blue Ruin

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 7, 1373, an Illithid’s lair north of the Moonwood

A few minutes later we’d taken a head count and discovered we were all present, but in different cells (even poor Shadow had his own little prison). Rosorc was the only one that could see at first, but suddenly a light, accompanied by a familiar voice, appeared in the hallway between our cells. The mind flayer and its two bugbear companions appeared with a torch-toting halfling— Tassar! Before any of us could say anything, however, Tassar turned to the illithid and handed it a small pouch, saying, “The Order thanks you for your assistance.” They then all turned and left us again, taking the light source with them. I had been able to see that Areon and Nianque were in the cell opposite me, and I could see where Rosorc was too. I’d also had a quick glance at my own manacles and the lock on my cell door. I was without any good lock picks and I had to settle for one of the pins I use to hold back my hair. It took a few minutes for me to get out of one pair of shackles and my cell. Practicality asserted itself, and I went to open Ro’s cell first, since he could actually see in the total darkness enough to point me in the right direction for the cells I’d been unable to see from my vantage point.

I got him loose much more quickly. Instead of guiding me in the right direction, he tossed me over his should for the half dozen steps to Areon’s cell. I was thankful that he was not wearing the spiked armor, and that it was too dark for my companions to witness it! I went around and opened the doors and manacles of Areon, Beowulf and Shadow— Deitricha just appeared beside me without needing any help. We also found two cells that we not empty, though the occupants had obviously been there a long time. While my stronger comrades decided to carry their manacles and chains to use as impromptu weapons, practicality struck me again— I grabbed a femur from one of the long-dead prisoners.

We followed closely behind Rosorc down a narrow passage with one turn in it, till we came to a locked door. As I was attempting to pick the lock from our side, someone on the other side was unlocking it! The door flew open and we were faced with three hobgoblins. The only reason I could see them was that Deitricha (who was obviously still having a hard time over the last thing she’d been witness to) cast a bright light spell on her holy symbol and held it aloft. Rosorc immediately smashed his shackles over the head of the hobgoblin facing him, while Areon moved past me to slay the one I faced. Shadow flew past us all as the third took off running.

Areon and Rosorc quickly grabbed a few things off the guards, including a key ring that Areon tossed to me for safekeeping. We heard a yelp off in the distance, and then Beowulf was calling Shadow back to his side. The wolf looked pretty beat up, but trusted his companion enough to follow instructions even when wounded. As Beowulf healed Shadow, Areon and Rosorc slammed the door shut and I locked it; they then put all their weight against it. With Deitricha’s light, she and I found the lock on the door opposite and went in, hoping to find another means out (or at least our equipment!). Instead we found a room littered with skulls, all of which had four holes poked in them. There was also a tentacled, three-legged, ugly beast in the room— or so we thought for a moment, till we realized it wasn’t moving. But it certainly was a life-like rendering of something best left to nightmares! We couldn’t find any doors out, so we backtracked as far as the prison cells (now that we had adequate light)— no ways out there either. Our male counterparts were still holding the door shut, though it was beginning to splinter as our captors hit it with something heavy from the other side. Much as it scared me, I went behind the statue of the hideous beast and, clearing a mound of bones away, found a trapdoor in the floor. We quickly and quietly alerted our friends to our find, then all dashed into the bone room and locked that door. We could hear that our enemy had just broken through the previous door and were bashing down this one. One by one we quickly dropped down into a dark tunnel and closed the trapdoor behind us. Fortunately, no one followed.

We walked about a quarter of a mile, with the tunnel gradually sloping upward until we could see sunlight. We were free! Unfortunately, we had no gear to survive in the wild for long, and that’s where we found ourselves. The ettin cave entrance was only a few hundred yards off. Rosorc wanted to go back and see if our equipment was still there— he had spent three years of his life working just to pay for his armor and would regret leaving it behind without at least trying to retrieve it. Areon was adamant about moving on, suggesting that we be thankful we were still alive and replace the equipment when circumstances allowed. I wanted my crossbow back and all that coin we’d collected, but I wasn’t going back without Areon, so remained vacillating between the two options. Beowulf and Deitricha were not casting a vote either way. We needed to rest, and hadn’t been followed out, so I suggested we put off the decision until morning. Areon found us a good enough place to camp (though we had nothing to camp with and made no fire). Beowulf enhanced some berries that he and Areon collected and we at least had a bit of food before retiring.

The night was bitter cold, and this is the warmest month of the year! Everyone looked worse for wear by dawn, but I must have looked really, really bad, as Areon felt the need to cast a spell on me to protect me from the elements. I have to admit though, I felt much better afterwards. He also relented and agreed to go back to the cave— probably fearing I’d die of exposure if we didn’t. All those years of living in a weather-protected mythal have not prepared me for “roughing it” I’m afraid. I lamented that a flask of ale or two would have made me feel much better, and, while I’m sure that at least Deitricha and Rosorc would have agreed with me, Areon apparently believes that’s a vice I should cut back on. I was surprised, since we met in a tavern.

We worked out a very good plan though, hoping to stack the odds in our favor— after all who would be crazy enough to break back into their own prison eight hours after escaping? We walked quietly to the cave entrance, where Beowulf again turned into a bat and checked the entire level. He came back and gave us his “all clear” sign (squeak!) and then continued on to the next level down. He soon came back and again signaled the way was safe. We made our way down. The bodies from our previous skirmishes were still there, so we grabbed some armor from the gnolls and a few javelins and other weapons. Feeling a bit more prepared, we continued on to the room where the mind flayer had stunned us. It turns out the room was a lab of some sort. More importantly, I found a hidden door— I opened it, revealing a set of steps descending into darkness. Beowulf would have checked the way down, but we saw something lumbering up the steps, so he transformed back into a human to battle whatever it turned out to be.

Moments later, an ogre appeared in the doorway— and was immediately killed by blows from Areon and Rosorc. Another ogre followed. Having no armor on, I threw a javelin at it then slipped behind Beowulf, who was wearing some secondhand gnoll attire. That ogre was also dispatched quickly.

No other creatures came up the steps, so we snuck down into what served as a barracks for the various guards we’d fought— we could see the other side of the splintered door leading to the cells. There was one closed door here that we hadn’t come upon before. I listened at it and could hear some movement behind it, so we prepared for a fight. Opening the door revealed the two bugbears in a darkened, elaborately furnished room. As we fought them, the mind flayer made its appearance again— thankfully I was the only one stunned this time. My friends had no trouble killing the bugbears, but the mind flayer vanished the moment it was engaged in physical combat.

My paralysis from being stunned finally wore off, and we checked the room. I eventually found a concealed door— surely our equipment would be behind it! My friends crowded close to me as I checked for traps and picked the lock. We opened the door and with a flash…

…found ourselves in a dark, empty room, without Deitricha! Before we had much chance to consider our fate, our location abruptly shifted, and we found ourselves on the floor of the illithid’s room again, all of us covered in cuts as if from a fall through jagged glass. Deitricha was running to each of us in turn, providing healing and apologizing for the nature of our reappearance, as she had found us all imprisoned inside of an emerald on a pedestal in the mind flayer’s “safe,” which she smashed to free us. This safe was behind the door that I had just opened. The good news was that all of our equipment, plus some healing potions, an obviously magical staff, and well over 2000 gold pieces, was right where we’d hoped it would be.

There was sad news too. Areon’s tressym had been killed by our return trip; the poor little flying cat was cut to ribbons by the shards of our magical prison. The irony is that every one feels like they are responsible, though we have to remember, the “Order” is ultimately culpable for our current situation. Rosorc kindly offered to help get Areon a new one, not realizing, I don’t think, that his little feline companion was more of a friend than, well, admittedly, I don’t really understand the relationship either, but I think that it’s more like a wizard’s familiar than, say, a favorite piece of equipment. I can tell Areon is upset but not blaming anyone. Deitricha is blaming herself, when in fact, she probably saved the rest of us from being recaptured by the illithid.

Posted by Kristin at 18:05 | Theona’s Journal

July 8, 2004

Expect the unexpected

Deitricha's Journal

With everything quiet, we checked the stew for bones. The druid, thankfully, eyed them carefully and pronounced them to be animal bones - not humanoid, not halfling! The barrels in the storeroom were full of water and wine, and the sacks were full of grain and dried meat. There were several large javelins and nets, a chain shirt, some smaller weapons and a scroll. There was also a sack full of gold coins!

We decided to rest up in the storeroom, as the most defensible spot. The night did pass quietly, except for Theona, asking questions. About everything. I wonder what she’s really looking for? She finally settled down to eyeing the new scrolls. I prayed in the morning until the smell of Rosorc peeing in the firepit reached me. Dwarves must be all bladder! We filled our waterskins and took some food to replace our rations, and found out that Beowulf has a most useful bag for carrying the gold; it magically holds a lot more than usual.

I was pleased to find that my healing abilities have really expanded; although Rosorc and Areon were pretty beat up, I had no trouble healing them. I just wish I didn’t get so much practice! Beowulf is teaching me how to cast healing from a distance, too. Not that I fear battle, but some of the creatures we’ve encountered lately hit really hard! Finally, we were ready to check out the doorway left clear after the mimic creature’s death. It led down a winding stairway.

Theona took the lead, checking carefully for more traps. Rosorc, having the best vision underground, went next. The rest of us followed, surprised to find that the stairs and the rooms and halls below were too small for ettins to use. The room we entered had two hallways leading off; we pulled out everburning torches, and Theona led the way left but quickly waved us back at the sound of guttural voices! Beowulf was brave enough to fly off as a bat again into the unknown; he even checked down the other hall for us. Soon, he was able to give us a quick layout of the place. Better yet, he gave us an idea of what to expect; a roomful of small creatures, another with several larger, and a minotaur alone in a third.

We decided to stay away from the mass of trouble, and try to sneak by the single minotaur. We hid our lights and headed blindly down the passage, each with one hand on the shoulder of the person ahead. Rosorc bravely stayed in the back of the party, knowing he was the loudest with all his armor. Unfortunately, we hadn’t gone far before I heard a loud snort in the darkness. Only then did it occur to me that the thing might well have a good sense of smell! Of course, no one else had thought of that, either...

Figuring that our cover was blown, anyway, I pulled out my everburning torch and lit the passage. I could see an empty one to my right, and another ahead and to the left, from which the thump of heavy footsteps could be heard. Theona was past the passage, Areon was right there, shouting, “Minotaur!”, and Beowulf, Shadow, and I crowded into the right-hand passage to allow Rosorc to charge by! I stepped back out, in case I needed to heal anyone, and was nearly deafened by the bellowing of the minotaur. Now everyone would know we were there!

The minotaur finally stepped into the hallway to meet Areon and Rosorc. They have been getting a lot better at what they do, too; despite its size, the two of them dropped it immediately with mighty blows! We didn’t get much time to congratulate them, though. I heard footsteps from behind, and Theona and Areon heard something following the minotaur. They climbed right over its body to check things out, while Beowulf called a giant rat into existence to help us fight. Soon, goblins were throwing javelins at us.

Rosorc charged into battle, trapping the goblins in the hallway at a corner to prevent them from swarming us. He really mowed through them, and then he met a gnoll. That slowed him down a little, but several goblins and three gnolls later, we met Areon coming from the other direction, and the two of them killed a gnome who turned out to be the last of the bunch. I healed them up while Theona searched several rooms’ worth of bodies and found a few more halls and doors. Most led back around to each other, but the last we tried opened into a laboratory of some kind.

Theona had opened the door, and she quickly pulled her bow - and shot herself in the foot! Luckily, she wasn’t hurt too badly to keep from telling us that there were two bugbears in there. She told us a bunch of other things, too, but they’re not repeatable. Areon and Rosorc charged by her and into the fight, and I was waiting in the doorway to heal them, when..

Wham! Stunned by a mind flayer!

I woke up in a dark cell, alone. All I had was my holy symbol and my clothing. Now what will we do?

Posted by Kate at 21:13 | Deitricha’s Journal

Broken Wings

Areon's Journal

After resting in the cave’s makeshift storeroom, we prepared to head down further into the caves. After passing through the doorway, the walls became crude worked stone, not nearly as magnificent as that of the dwarves. Beowulf turned into a bat and scouted out the underground halls. He told us of four rooms: one with a large number of small humanoids, one with 3 humanoids of a human’s size, and one with a large humanoid standing guard. The last room was empty as far as he could tell.

We decided to head in the least defended direction. We covered our magical torches to avoid detection and tried to move as silently as possible. Unfortunately, as we were moving along in the dark we heard heavy footsteps approaching us, and I realized that we must have been heard. I uncovered my torch and dropped it to the ground to pull my sword and face whatever was coming.

The large humanoid turned out to be a minotaur, bearing down on us with a huge axe. We tried to get away from it and forced it to come into the hallway if it wanted to attack anyone. It stepped into the hall, and Rosorc and I immediately attacked it. The minotaur only managed to make one wild swing that passed well above my head before Rosorc buried his axe into its back and I almost split it in half with two sweeps of my massive sword.

The commotion brought the attention of all the other humanoids that Beowulf had found. I recovered my torch and clambered over the fallen minotaur down the hallway it had come from. I saw Rosorc had charged back into the fray with Deitricha in tow, away from Theona, Beowulf and I. When I saw goblins similar to the group he was fighting, I guessed that the hallways must form some kind of circle, and decided to fight through it and see if I could flank the force that Rosorc was fighting.

I cut my way into the next room, while Theona and Beowulf sent sling stones and arrows past me. We killed all the creatures in the room, and I moved into a hallway which led to the rear of a force trying to crowd into a hallway, I dropped my torch to the floor again to better use my sword, and charged. The goblins were shocked to see another fighting group attacking from behind and fell quickly.

Rosorc finished killing a gnoll and stepped into another hallway. When I stepped up I saw him fighting a gnome! I switched to my longbow, nocked two arrows and let them fly. They both thudded into the gnome’s chest, staggering it enough for Rosorc to finish him with one last swing.

We collected the equipment of the fallen creatures, and found that there was nothing that any of us really wanted. We set off to the last door in the halls, which hadn’t yet been opened.

We opened the door and charged into two very surprised looking bugbears. But then we had a turn to be surprised. A form appeared from nowhere with the air seeming to ripple out from it in a wave. As the wave hit me, I felt like I had been crushed by a massive weight and I could not think clearly, the last thing I remember seeing is a pink-skinned creature with four tentacles where a mouth would be on a person. The darkness stole my sight.

I awakened with my hands and feet chained together, though I could feel Nianque rubbing against me. I felt as if Theona were somewhere near me, though I could not see anything in the darkness.

Then a light came bobbing into view and I heard a familiar voice: Tassar!

“The Order thanks you for your assistance.” He said to the creature I had seen just before losing consciousness. He then handed a small pouch to the creature.

Nianque arched her back and hissed, drawing me out of my shock. I had thought that Tassar was a friend. If I see the halfling again, I don’t think I will hesitate in killing him.

The small group left, bugbear guards leading the way, leaving us in pitch blackness again. I heard a large amount of rattling chains, and then I heard Theona say she had gotten herself free from her bindings. For a while, I heard a huge amount of chain and door rattling, and then Theona came and unlocked my bindings.

Rosorc and I collected chains to use as make shift flails, and Theona and Deitricha picked up the thigh bones of long-dead prisoners who had been left to rot. We then moved up the hallway until Rosorc found a door. Theona started to pick the lock, but something opened it before she could unlock it herself. Rosorc struck out, and the cry and following thud as a body hit the ground suggested that one creature was out of the fight. Detricha cast a spell that filled the room with light, and I saw our hobgoblin foes. I stepped past Theona and swung my former bonds into another hobgoblin, felling him. The last took off running and Beowulf ordered Shadow to attack him. Shadow leapt out the door, hot on the heels of the fleeing hobgoblin. I heard a body hit the ground in the outside corridor, and almost immediately I heard a sickening thud and a yelp.

Rosorc and I picked up the weapons and shields of fallen hobgoblins. I found a ring of keys and tossed them to Theona, knowing she was more likely to be the one using them.

Beowulf called Shadow back to him and as soon as Shadow came into the room Rosorc shut the door and held it shut. I added my strength to help bar the door, and the women tried to find a way out. After what seemed like an eternity of holding the door shut, Theona shouted that she found a trapdoor hidden in the room opposite us. Rosorc and I waited for a thump on the door, then retreated into the room, shutting and barring its door.

The room was filled with bones and the ugliest looking statue that I had ever seen. We paid little attention to it though, as we squeezed into the trapdoor and into the hallway below. After following the passage a short distance, we found daylight.

As soon as we were out, Rosorc became adamant about returning in to the cave (which we spotted not far away). I felt that there was no reason whatsoever to return to the cave, even for equipment. Between Beowulf and I we would be able to find shelter and food. We would also be able to find a town where we could probably get help from a temple, or at east hire on to a caravan to get back to Silverymoon.

We argued about our options until Theona pointed out that we were getting nowhere and it would be best if we at least found some shelter for the night. I agreed and found us a place to rest that was well sheltered. After finding shelter I went to find us enough food to survive the night. Though there was little about, I did manage to find enough edible things to keep us from going hungry. Beowulf enchanted some berries that would provide a full meal if eaten.

The bitter cold of the night was extremely hard on most of us, though Theona was shivering so badly by morning that I was worried that the exposure would kill her. I cast a weather protection spell on her, and we decided (as a group) to at least see if we could collect the supplies we had found in the cave.

Once we had entered the cave, Beowulf turned into a bat once again, and scouted through the rooms until he had determined that no one was around. He signaled his findings, or lack thereof, to us and we headed back into the halls we had been captured in. We were able to collect a good number of weapons, and I felt at least a little better prepared to fight our tentacled friend.

We entered the room that we had been captured in, and found it to be empty. After a bit of searching, Theona found a secret door with a stairwell leading down. Beowulf (still as a bat) flew down and quickly came back up, warning us of ogres. Sure enough, two ogres came up the stairs. Rosorc and I managed to kill one between a javelin that I threw and the blows with the battleaxe that Rosorc had picked up. The second ogre took a little more time, but we killed it without too much trouble.

We clambered down the passageway to find the bedding area of the creatures that we had previously killed, and through a crushed door, we saw the rooms that we had just escaped from.

Theona searched around once again, and found another secret door. This one led into a small, but very luxurious bedroom. Part of our group charged in, finding the two bugbears and our tentacled friend. He must have used his attack again, as Theona stopped responding to everything around her, but the creature disappeared when no one else seemed to be hurt by his attack.

We were elated by our victory and looted the room. Theona found yet another secret door, but when we opened it, there was a great flash of light, and we found ourselves (minus Deitricha) in a small room with no apparent exits.

Almost as soon as we realized our predicament, the room began to quake then shattered around us as our prison was broken. We tumbled out onto the floor of the room that Theona had opened.

It was at that moment I felt something terribly wrong. I looked around to see blue feathers floating lazily to the floor. I rushed over to Nianque who was lying on the floor in a pool of blood. I picked her up and cradled her broken body. She looked up at me with her green eyes and managed a weak, rasping purr. She then closed her eyes and fell into the sleep that few have wakened from.

Deitricha blamed herself for Nianque’s death, and apologized for not being able to free us from the prison with magic. I could only nod my head in acceptance of her apology.

Rosorc suggested we take time to find Nianque a resting place and give her a proper burial. I agreed with him, and collected the blue feathers littering the floor.

We traveled part of the day, and found a precipice looking across what seemed to be all of Faerun. Each of us paid our respects to the fallen animal. I said a prayer taught to me by the Red Tiger tribe to bless the fallen and Theona gave an elven blessing which I remembered vaguely from my childhood. Deitricha and Beowulf each asked their patrons to bless Nianque in her new life. Rosorc recited a dwarven prayer blessing the fallen and calling for punishment on those who had taken her life.

I have kept some of the feathers that fell from Nianque’s body. I will keep one in my journal to remind me of friend I had in her. The rest I will use to make arrows for one special purpose: To kill the type of creature who is responsible for taking her life.

I find it odd that I feel so strongly about Nianque. I have only had her as a companion for a few days, yet I had always felt like she was a part of me. Losing her felt like the gods had played a cruel joke on me, allowing me to save her from a horrible fate, only to have her die a few days after, to a creature more evil than the one selling her as food.

Theona has stayed close to me since we left the lair. I know she can feel a little of my feelings, and knowing that she is here with me does afford comfort.

Posted by Tim at 22:05 | Areon’s Journal

July 9, 2004

A strange sad journey

Deitricha's Journal

I woke to darkness, cold stone, and manacles on my hands and feet. I could hear the others whispering, which was a relief. Then, footsteps outside our prison. To my shock, it was Tassar, the mind flayer, and two guards! Before I could express my relief that he was alive, he laughed at us! “Well, you’re in a bind!”, he said, before giving the illithid a sack of coin, and permission to do whatever it wanted with us. They all turned and left, then, leaving us in the dark in more ways than one.

Oh, Tymora! I wept. I could hear Theona muttering about Zhents, and I wondered if he were under a spell of some kind. Or, did he sneak off to lead us to this, knowing we’d follow? I can’t believe it! Struggling to think clearly, I told Theona (who was next door) that I might be able to transport myself out of my cell, but that I couldn’t get anyone else out (or see, for that matter). She didn’t answer except for some rustling and clicking; next thing I knew, she’d picked her locks and was out of her cell.

Of course, she couldn’t see, either, but she didn’t need to for picking locks. While she worked on the others, I tried dimension door, landing unmanacled in the hallway. The fighters kept their chains and manacles for flails, while Theona and I picked up femur bones from previous prisoners to use as clubs. Slowly, we worked our way down the hall, Rosorc in the lead. We reached a locked door, and Theona started to work. She quickly stepped back, however, when she heard it opening from the other side!

Thank Tymora, I suddenly remembered that I could cast light. My holy symbol seemed appropriate, and I held it above my head so the others could fight the three hobgoblins in the doorway. Rosorc was already battling one as Theona dodged away, making room for Areon. The third hobgoblin ran, but Beowulf called to Shadow, and the wolf sped off after it. We could hear him fighting several creatures in another room as we pushed through the doorway and stripped the hobgoblins’ bodies of anything useful. I shoved my club in my belt and grabbed a short spear while holding my light aloft.

Beowulf called Shadow back; the wolf arrived looking much worse for wear, and followed by two ogres! Rosorc slammed the door shut on them and Theona locked it with a set of keys she’d found on a hobgoblin. I pointed out another door to her, and we quickly checked it out while Rosorc and Areon did their best to hold the door shut, and Beowulf healed Shadow. The new room was a fright - full of skeletons and illithid-maimed skulls, and a huge stone statue. Theona checked it fast, found nothing, and we headed back to the cells to make sure we hadn’t missed anything in the dark.

Finding nothing there, we headed back into the room full of bones (trying to ignore the thumping from the other side of Rosorc and Areon), and this time Theona steeled herself to scoop bones aside on the floor. Sure enough, there was a trap door in the floor behind the statue. We shouted to the fighters and none too soon - the guys came running in as the other door was smashed to bits, and locked the statue room’s door behind to slow them down again. We all piled down the ladder (luckily not too deep for Shadow), and headed up a narrow stone passage.

It wasn’t long before we heard pounding on the trap door. Praying the passage was too narrow for ogres, Rosorc and Theona went ahead to search for traps. Off we went! The passage was only about a quarter of a mile long; soon it sloped up, and then, daylight! To my surprise, we were on a rocky slope across the valley from the cave of the ettin! I wonder how differently things would have gone if we’d found this entrance first.

Sadly, the party then got into an argument. Some wanted to head for civilization, some wanted to find a way to get our gear back. Beowulf got us all to agree that we needed rest before anything else! Areon found shelter - or at least, enough for us to huddle together. It was a long, cold night. I spent it trying to decide which was worse - travelling unprotected, or risking facing the mind flayer again? In the morning, Areon must have realized that he and Beowulf were the only ones really capable of survival in the wilderness. He didn’t argue when Beowulf changed to a bat again to check out the chambers of the ettins’ cave and below.

Rosorc again walked into the cave while the rest of us waited. Soon, the bat gave the all-clear for the first level, so we walked inside while he headed below. Gradually, we worked our way through the tunnels. We picked up leather armor and an axe and sword for Rosorc and Areon, javelins for Theona, and a morningstar for me, from the bodies of the goblins, gnolls, and gnome. None had been disturbed. Beowulf crawled out from under the closed door to the laboratory and gave the all-clear, then hung from the ceiling to watch as Rosorc and I entered.

It was dark. I cast light on my morningstar as the others entered, and we waited while Theona searched. Sure enough, she found a secret door; we knew we must have been carried somewhere after the mind flayer stunned us! As she opened it, Beowulf flew inside and down the stairs, only to return and transform to say that a very big ugly thing was on its way! The first ogre to come up was killed immediately by Rosorc and Areon; the second lived long enough for me to throw my spear at (and miss). I decided it was better to just hold the light while Theona searched the bodies. Finally, we headed down the new steps, into a room that was obviously the other side of the door Rosorc and Areon held shut for so long while we found the trap door out! There was one more new door, however, so in we went, expecting the illithid at any moment.

We found a bedroom. And the two bugbears. They crowded Rosorc into a corner and the rest of us had trouble getting inside to help! Areon was able to javelin the one in the door a few times, when we heard Rosorc go charging off into the room (and yelling to stay off the rug, whatever that meant). Guessing that the mind flayer had arrived, Beowulf and Shadow charged inside as Areon killed the bugbear in the doorway and something caused Theona to drop to the floor next to me! Praying for strength, I dashed into the room, around the rug, and ended up behind the mind flayer, which was being attacked by both Rosorc and the wolf (which was on the rug. Oops. He seemed OK, though). Before I could do anything, it disappeared! This left the bugbear for Rosorc and Areon to finish off.

Shadow continued to check where the illithid had been, but I swung my morningstar through the air and met no resistance. We checked out the room for a while; when Theona snapped out of the fog the mind flayer had put on her, she stepped inside and rolled up the rug. It still defied expectations - nothing underneath. She finally found a secret door in the wall. We crowded around, hoping that it would lead to a storeroom with our gear so we could get out of there before the illithid returned! Theona opened the door, and..

Oh, Tymora! Everyone disappeared except for myself!

The room did turn out to be full of our gear, but it wasn’t much use to me - all I could think of was, where are my friends? I checked the doorway and around the room for any switch or sign of the trap that got them, and finally lit upon a green gem across the room from the door. Praying the mind flayer would stay away, I stared at the gem, and tried to think of anything I might have heard about such traps. Picking it up, I could see the tiny figures of my friends inside. Finally, I decided that a dispel magic might work. The only other option was to break the gem outright, and that would hurt them pretty badly. I cast my dispel magic, and..

Nothing. This left me with a dilemma. I could wait for the next day and try again (and see the illithid long before then, I was sure). I could gather as much gear as I could, and try to make it back to Silverymoon on my own for other magic-users to dispel it (me? alone? how laughable!). Or I could break it and hope for the best. I knew what my only option was, but I hated to do it!

There was a large explosion. Gladly, I saw that everyone was back! Theona was hurt especially badly, so I ran to her and healed her while apologizing to everyone else. I turned from Theona to find Areon holding his blue winged cat. Bless her, she was far beyond my help, poor thing! I did my best to apologize to him, but he just nodded. Finally, we put our own stuff back on and Theona searched through the rest of the mind flayer’s haul, finding some potions and a new quarterstaff for me. Now, before it returns, we must bury the cat, and be on our way.

Posted by Kate at 21:45 | Deitricha’s Journal

July 17, 2004

Shackled in Darkness

Beowulf's Journal

I could hear Shadow restless a few feet away. My first thought was to wild shape into a snake or something and slip out of my bonds, but I soon realized that was impossible till the next day. Not knowing what else to do I decided to get some rest. Before I could I noticed a light coming up what appeared to be a corridor. Soon the Illithid showed with its two bugbear bodyguards and, much to my surprise, the little halfling I meet the other night, Tassar, I believe his name is. The halfling handed the Illithid a bag that rang with coins, said it had done a good job and then turned to leave. Once again bathed in darkness and unable to do anything till the next day I decided to get some rest. Just before nodding off Theona opened my cell door. She came over and worked on my bonds. I’ll never know how she was able to unlock the manacles in utter darkness, but I’m overjoyed that she was not only able too free me but also Shadow and the rest of my new companions. It was mentioned that we could use the manacles as makeshift flails and thus we had weapons. Venturing forth I stayed in the back with one hand on the wall and the other on Shadow. I heard a click and then a door opened and we suddenly I could see. Light burst forth from Deitricha’s holy symbol as Rosorc started fighting what I believe was a hobgoblin. He and Areon dropped two and as the third ran I yelled for Shadow to kill it. I believe he did but at a price, for I heard a yelp. Seconds later he returned to me needing healing. We had apparently moved forward into a room. With Shadow having returned, Rosorc and Areon shut one door and held it shut. I could hear a lot of crashing and banging on the other side, and am sure I didn’t want to fight in our current condition. Theona found a way out and we all quickly followed. We walked for what seamed like forever down a small passageway. Finally we came to an opening. Looking around we could see the original cave entrance about a quarter mile away. There was some debate about going back and getting our belongings. My only suggestion was that we rest first. Walking through these woods was going to be difficult enough with all the equipment, but no armor, no real weapons, and no supplies, I said we should rest then go back, and that we did.

When we woke I mentioned about turning into a bat again and told them I would look give them an “all clear” sign then go down to the next level. I would repeat as necessary to inform them of danger. Everything was clear, but I decided to stay a bat for a bit just in case because we still didn’t know how to get from the lower level of the cave to the Illithid’s lair. Theona found a secret door in the room we first encountered the Illithid and I was off again to scout, but it was a short trip as I found the giant things Rosorc and Areon were holding at bay with a closed door. I flew up fast landed a safe distance, reformed into my human self and said, “It’s large, it’s ugly, and it’s coming.” With that everyone got ready for battle. The first fell as soon as it came through the door. The second, only moments later. I told Shadow to guard Areon as we walked down a flight of stairs. We came to a room that had two doors. One was smashed so we knew it went to our back exit. The other was closed. Rosorc went in first and was immediately attacked by the bugbears. I followed to help. Moments later the Illithid appeared. I called for Shadow to attack as I felt it try to control my mind. Thank Mielikki I was bale to shake it off. Soon both bugbears were disposed of and the Illithid vanished. Realizing the battle was over we searched the room. Unable to find our belongings, Theona went into this mad search that paid off. She found a secret door. We all stood around waiting foir it to be opened— bad decision. Apparently a trap went off and everyone, except Deitricha, was transported to a stone room.

Now at this point I must stress that some times even the best decision you could make in a given situation will lead to undesirable consequences. Deitricha found that out firsthand when she smashed a gem that released us from our prison, killing Nianque, Areon’s companion. Areon was obviously upset. I can relate; it would be very difficult for me if I lost Shadow. We held a small ceremony for her many many yards from the cave, I dropped a seed in with the fallen comrade along with a prayer for safe resting. Areon will be ok in time I believe and I hope Deitricha is wise enough to forgive herself. She did do the best thing she could at the time.

Gathering our respective belongings and the treasure acquired from the Illithid’s lair, we headed off for their home. Something still doesn’t seem right, and I wonder if this is something I need to inform the elders of. I’ll have to ask more about this Tassar first then make a decision. Tomorrow maybe I take to the air and scout ahead to give Areon rest.

Posted by Fred at 08:55 | Beowulf’s Journal

July 25, 2004

Strange reunions and another sad parting

Rosorc's Journal

Waking from a fog, I pulled myself off the ground. Being manacled really ticked me off. Being without my axe, armour, or ale sent me through the roof. Calling out for the others, I asked if everyone was all right. Hearing several responses, I went to work trying to break the chains binding me.

I tried both arm chains first. Neither gave at all. The chain binding my left leg held tight also. The chain on the right leg gave some but wouldn’t let loose all the way. I called to Clangeddin for assistance. Tried again. Realized these bindings were beyond my strength.

Walking forward, I approached the front of my cell. I then heard voices coming up the hall. Casually strolling up the hall with our jailers was our dear old friend Tassar. He was with the Illithid and two Bugbears. He was thanking the Illithid for capturing us, then tossed him a small sack. With a curt nod from him, they all turned and disappeared into the dark hall.

I could hear Deitricha whimpering and Theona griping. I was just plain irate. Heck, we had shared many flasks. That was and always will be the true bond amongst fighters. “You are worth my sharing what may possibly be my last drink.” To see that he betrayed my trust and loyalty was too much. A dark notch may have to be carved on my axe! ...If I ever get it back.

Coming out of my moment of thought, I heard the girls were out of their cells. Theona had found her way over to my cell and freed me. After I carried her to the front of Areon’s cell, I went back and picked up what were once my bonds and used the lock to form the chains into a form of flail.

Gathering everyone together after they were free, I led them around the corner to a doorway. Being as I was the only one with dark vision, it seemed the logical choice. Wanting my weapons and ale back made it the only choice for me.

Since the door was locked, we all jockeyed around in the dark to let Theona try to unlock it with her makeshift pick. It opened before she could even start. There, standing before us, were three hobgoblins.

Before the one could breathe I had ended its life with my new flail of death. The lock itself left an awful imprint on its skull as it crashed to the floor. Areon pushed past Theona and quickly dispatched another. As the third one started to run, Shadow gave chase and drug him to the floor somewhere in the distance. We heard Shadow yelp and then Beu called him back in earnest.

Our adversaries at hand being down, we quickly scavenged what we could off them. Small bits of armour, small shields, a key ring, and a few spears was the lot of it. Not much, but at least we were on the move again.

Throat dry, I started to hum a dwarven drinking song. After what seemed like everyone in the party hit me, I quit as quickly as I started. Shadow then darted back into the room looking very bad. I turned around just in time to see two Ogres charging up the hallway. Thinking it would be wise, I drove the door shut and held it while Theona locked it. Areon came over and helped me hold the door while the others searched for another way out..

Several minutes passed of Areon and me holding the door for all we were worth. Every few moments the ogres would slam into it. We would push against them. The door was definitely weakening though. Fearing it would break at any momentm we were glad when the girls called to us that they had found the alternate way out. On the count of three Areon and I ran for the other door. As we did, the door behind us exploded from its hinges.

As the ogres streamed though into the room we had just fled, I quickly slammed the next door and held it long enough for Theona to lock it. After it was locked, Areon and Beu held it as the rest of us went down the hatch that was in the floor behind the most god awful statue I had ever seen. I think what made it worse was all of the broken bones scattered at its feet.

Leading the way, I came down into a narrow passageway. Heading out, I followed it until it led out into the sunshine. Staring in disbelief, we were across the valley from the original Ettin’s cave we had entered.

Relieved everyone had escaped out of the tunnel unharmed, we quickly discussed what we should do. Here there were great differences of opinion. Areon and Beu were leaning towards us escaping across country to civilization. The rest of us wanted to go get our stuff back. There was no way we would make it a hundred-plus miles in undergarments and no real weapons or gear to mention.

After a few curt words, we decided just to find a place to hide and rest for the night. The night became very cold. Everyone was frozen to the bone by morning. The cold in my bones was worth it, though, because it made up our minds that we weren’t going anywhere without our gear.

Heading across the valley, we decided that Beu would transform into a bat again and we would search the caves by levels. Beu would travel ahead, and I would be his safety valve. If he got into trouble, he would fly back to me and I would cover him until he got to safety.

Everything went as planned. We made it all the way back to the room we had first had encountered the Illithid. We decided from here on out that we would stay in separate rooms to keep from performing a repeat. of our mistakes the first time around.

After several minutes of searching, Theona found a secret door. Upon opening it, we were quickly greeted by a pair of pissed-off Ogres. Areon and I killed the first one with a blow apiece. The second one fell to a group effort. All sorts of odd weapons and projectiles had battered him.

After he fell, we crept down the steps. At the bottom we found a door. It wasn’t locked. I pushed it open. Here the Bugbears were hiding with our old friend the mind flayer. Realizing I was closest, I charged forward and attacked the closest bugbear. It struggled briefly but then crumpled to the floor.

As the others engaged the second bugbear, I charged the mind flayer, Shadow right behind me. I chopped into its ribs with a heck of a blow as Shadow tore into his leg. I felt a strange tingling in my head, but I hollered to Clangeddin. The feeling passed. I swung again but I hit nothing but air. The mind flayer was gone.

We searched all over the room. Eventually we found a secret door. All of us were hoping our gear was stowed inside. Gathered in excitement, we didn’t even realize when Theona set off the trap......

All of us but Deitricha were in a large dark room. No door, windows, or any other form of exits could be found. Fitting that we escape one prison only to fall into another prison. I started to pace. Then the pacing led to worried humming. Then I realized Deitricha would come through for us. I had already seen her do some amazing things. For a human woman, of course.

About that time there was a large explosion. I fell from out of nowhere into a treasure room full of our Belongings! I was already holding my axe, trying to put on my armour, as I pulled my first draught of ale from my pack.

Then I noticed the sad faces. Areon’s cat was not moving. Deitricha was looking at him sadly and apologizing. She said that there was nothing she could do and that she was very sorry. Areon got quiet. Gathered up his little friend and his other belongings and headed out of the room.

We soon reached the outside. Fully geared and ready to take on the world, I followed Areon and the others to a peaceful spot where we laid another companion to rest.......

Posted by Erik at 00:40 | Rosorc’s Journal

July 28, 2004

Going South

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 16, 1373, outside of Beorunna’s Well

We walked for a while until we found a place suitable for a burial. I was awed at the various burial prayers my friends gave— even Shadow gave a mournful howl at one point during Rosorc’s impassioned prayer. I recited an ancient elven one I didn’t even realize I knew, blessing the animal’s departing soul. I do hope that it wasn’t a hunter’s prayer.

We traveled in relative comfort under a sunny, clear sky for the remainder of the day, heading ESE in the general direction of Beorunna’s Well. Areon found us a good spot to camp with a small fire, and then he and Beowulf foraged a bit while Rosorc rummaged through the packs to find the meat and other edibles (and wine— blessed by Deitricha!) we’d acquired at the Ettin’s lair. I felt a little off, but I assumed it was the protective spell Areon had placed on me the day before wearing off. I was wrong though— Areon limped to sit down at the campfire, looking quite ill and, rolling up his pant leg, we found that the dire rat bite he’d received during a skirmish yesterday was red and inflamed. Deitricha treated the symptoms, with a promise to cure the “filth fever” in the morning after she’d prayed to Tymora. I wanted him to rest after our meal, but he insisted on staying up and keeping first watch with Rosorc.

Areon gently shook me out of my meditation a few hours later, not for me to take watch, but to take cover! This horrible, reptilian creature had flapped low over our camp and Rosorc was able to see through the pitch-dark night that it was wheeling around to come back. Moments later, we were all up and could see the monstrous form coming towards us— it was at least 20’ long with a wingspan of at least twice that. Someone, I’m not sure who, yelled “Yrthak!” as the ground between us all erupted in a shower of rocks from the creature’s sonic attack. We all dove for cover in the boulder-strewn ground around our camp, except for Deitricha, who perhaps noticed that the creature was eyeless. Her stance paid off for me, as I was, apparently, the target of its attack. In the space of a few seconds, I was hiding (I thought) between three large rocks, then I was nearly killed outright by the creature as it passed over me with its talons outstretched, then completely healed by Deitricha. We managed to chase it off with a few projectiles, but it was hard to rest afterwards!

I tried to engage Deitricha in meaningful conversation during our watch, as I do want to get to know my comrades better, but she seems to think my questions are too “personal.” The rest of the night passed without further incident.

Deitricha rid Areon of the filth fever before we broke camp at sunrise. We headed out under increasingly cloudy skies; eventually a hard, cold rain began to fall— we quickly took shelter in a shallow cave. Thankfully it was an abandoned cave, because the weather was so bad that we were stranded there for three nights. I chose to ask Deitricha the “personal” questions in the Elven tongue on our shifts, hoping that would somehow she’d be more inclined to answer. Either she doesn’t understand Elven very well, or she understands it too well and was making some rather alarming suggestions. I’ll leave it at that for now.

The fourth morning of our trek from the Ettin’s cave dawned sunny and we were quick to get headed toward Beorunna’s Well again. Beowulf transformed into a bird to get an aerial view of what was ahead, hoping to give Areon a break from scouting, but of course Areon stayed about 100’ in front of the rest of us anyway. They saw three ogres joining an orc encampment about a quarter mile from where we were traveling. Areon told me about this quietly and in Sylvan. Perhaps that was the language he and the druid were using while scouting ahead— we certainly didn’t have to worry about a certain halfling overhearing this time.

After another uneventful night we walked until we reached the plains— by our guess Beorunna’s Well was still a three-day hike. In fact, we must have been doing quite well with the method used for scouting ahead, as we only encountered a single ogre the entire trek. Beowulf and Areon didn’t even alert us that they were in combat— it was the ogre’s javelin that had sailed well past them and landed in the path in front of Rosorc, Deitricha and I that clued us in. I got there in time to get one shot off before the ogre was dispatched. We got a nice purse of gold for our troubles.

Another two clear (both of encounters and rain clouds) days brought us to where we can see the little town of Beorunna’s Well. Barring any incidents, we should make it to the town by nightfall.

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