Deitricha's Journal
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Deitricha’s Bio

Deitricha, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Born in Silverymoon, Deitricha’s parents are scholars. Her father is a tutor, her mother, a librarian. Of nine children, she is lucky number seven, and therefore encouraged to think of the church. She has been a cleric of Tymora for a few years, and helped defend the Silver Marches, but now Deitricha is growing curious about other parts of the world. She is book-learned, but only just beginning much practical experience.

Character sheet: Deitricha Gerhardt [Human Cleric]

Posted by Kate on January 2, 2004, 17:59

Be careful what you wish for.. just might get it!

I’ve worked with the knights and rangers of Silverymoon before, travelling with parties of fighters to clear the surrounding regions of dangerous folk, and I dearly love the city. I have a good life, friends, family (I’d be dumb not to understand how many people wish to be here; I’m lucky to have been born and raised in the place!), but I’d grown curious about the rest of the world. Reading about it, no matter how clever the author, was not the same as seeing new places, myself.

Tymora encourages folk to do more than read and dream - you have to go out and DO! Yet, I’d been wasting time, hanging out with friends, and going to the taverns to hear others talk about their adventurous lives. I knew I had to change, and one morning at the Bright Blade Brandished, I got my chance. Lucky for me, several of my aquaintance from about town were bored at the same time, and someone decided to quiz the barkeeper about what “jobs” might be out there for a party of five. (Perhaps we’d had a bit too much to drink, all things considered, but it got things started!).

He took us seriously enough to point the way to Lord Greycastle’s, a minor noble of Silverymoon. The Lord offered us 100gp each to clear a small copper mine he’d inherited, which his surveyors had reported was overrun with some kind of critter. This sounded like a challenge we could handle, although I think the mage needs to stop buying our fighter ale. And who bought a full-sized mug for a halfling? No wonder he forgot his manners!

Of course, Tassar had a full day of hard travel to sober up. It didn’t put him in a good mood, for which I can’t blame him, but he lost his sense of humor, too! Areon, the ranger, found a hollow in the side of the mountain that made a great place to rest until dawn, so long as we didn’t make a fire to light a beacon in the wilderness. This was barbaric to poor Tassar, I fear, who wanted to cook his trail rations and didn’t think sitting on them to warm them up was at all funny. Thank heavens Antonio was willing to use some fire magic on them instead!

The morning found us rested and prepared for anything, we hoped! Areon ranged the area, deciding that there were a ton of kobold tracks in and out of the mine, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Theona, our artifact hunter, used her sharp eyes to check for traps, instead. Once inside, we found a mystery. Statues of people, so good they appeared to be frozen in stone! And then battered, I fear, but kobolds couldn’t do such a thing.. could they? We debated whether to follow the most-used trails, or to clear the less-used ones first. Despite Tassar’s encouragement to head into unused spaces (imaginary and undescribable elven artifacts), we decided that following the main path might not be the best idea, and headed down a slightly-used passage.

Being a mine, of course, there are few straight roads. The whole place is tunnels and ladders, leading up, down, and around. Theona was hard-put to watch for traps! One of the first rooms with anything in it, unfortunately, was infested with giant spiders who’ve been enjoying a ready source of food. Daring the fire mage to light the webbing was bad, but chucking rocks into it was worse. Theona and Tassar are good shots with their bows, although poor Antonio got in the way of a few. I healed him up and reminded him that, while he IS the tallest in the party by a long shot, he need not be first into battle. Theona found kobold bodies in the cocoons, giving Tassar his first glimpse of what we were here to fight.

A little more travel and we found some living specimens, as well. The odd levels and corners came in handy for both sides as everyone found a niche and began shooting arrows or slinging rocks. I cast a most useful spell to make myself harder to be hit by such things, which did double duty when I found Theona dashing behind me! We were able to see where the kobolds were; up on a ledge above us, and Tassar hollering at the top of his lungs about dragons while clambering up the ladder and wading into a hand-to-hand fight. Several of the kobolds were killed, and the last ran away. I took a sling and bullets from one body, and we set off in pursuit!

Theona was a little embarrassed - right after she said out loud that the way should be clear if a panicky kobold hadn’t set off any traps, Tassar fell right into one! Guess it pays to know the area, even if you’re in full flight from an angry halfing and crew. We followed its footsteps, a little more carefully, but not carefully enough. We were attacked by many kobolds in the next open space, and although I killed one myself, I saw Theona was down, but decided I’d better keep fighting. I usually fight well enough, but my shots went wild - poor Tymora probably trying to remind me that I’m a healer, first! Even Antonio had figured out to stay out of the way by then!

Areon has a very big sword, and was mowing through the kobolds with glee. Tassar can’t seem to fight without a lot of screaming and swearing and talk of dragons. Antonio, I presume, was the cause of several firey spells flying into the battle, but I was hit by one too many sling bullets, and found myself slumping to the floor next to Theona...

Posted by Kate on January 11, 2004, 10:05

Well, when I was awake..

I woke to the sight of a rather worried party; apparently, I’d been knocked out for the better part of a day. They were starting to wonder if I’d ever wake up at all! I was quickly able to heal myself and the worst-looking wounds of the others, at least.

It turned out that Areon and Tassar had managed to drag the rest of us into a dead-end tunnel, and ably defended us from the attacking kobolds until “smoked out”, whatever that meant. They had then dragged us all to a ledge that was defensible, and fought off any attackers that came near. Now they were tired, so we gave them a rest. I found myself wondering what the kobolds were thinking of our behavior!

Tassar decided to sneak off into the darkness in the direction we wished to go, and see how many kobolds were lying in wait. I offered him my everburning torch just in case he needed light, and sure enough, Areon soon heard an “oof”. Light appeared at the end of the tunnel as the halfling pulled my torch out from under his shirt, and kobolds attacked from both directions!

As we moved into position to either defend or attack, poor Antonio collapsed next to me. He hadn’t been healed enough from the last battle, I fear! I dragged him into what I hoped was an out-of-the-way corner, and, out of healing spells, decided to try the sling again. Tassar wasn’t shouting about dragons so much this time (still need to ask him about that), but he had decided to keep count of his kills. At least, I think that’s what he was counting.

We began to get the upper hand in both directions as Tassar’s count reached nine; the few remaining creatures broke and fled. Because we’d all been wounded, and Antonio was unconscious again, we decided to yet again rest in our defensible spot! The kobolds must have thought we’d decided to take up residence.

Finally, our fourth day out of Silverymoon began. I got to pray properly, and healed us all as best I could. We set off for the second time, dragging a ladder that the halfling thought might come in handy. Theona listened as best she could, and soon turned us down a corridor from which yipping could be discerned. Of course, we tripped a trap. *BANG* went a thunderstone, leaving me, at least, totally deaf, and letting the world know we were on the way!

With little to lose, we ran into a room full of kobolds. Antonio then set off a thunderstone of his own, to judge from the creatures’ reactions. Areon was getting hit pretty hard, so I ran into the room (mostly trying to find space to fight in), and healed him as I went by. This may have been a mistake; I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a big kobold, wearing chain mail and heaving a big axe. He had a scar over one eye, but my healing had gotten his attention - with one hard swing he knocked me out, once again.

I woke up back in Silverymoon, in my own blessed Temple. Theona says there’s quite a party down at the bar. Apparently, we did quite well after all. The kobolds were defeated, and their women and children offered a chest full of treasure in return for leaving the place safely. I’m glad that my friends let them go.

I think, overall, that was fun! I’d like to try again; I hope the rest of the group wants me to come along again. I can’t always be getting knocked out, can I?

Posted by Kate on January 12, 2004, 23:15

Full mug, foul mouth.

I still blame Antonio. Just kidding!

Then again, I have flowers pressed into my journal.

Guess I have to elaborate; maybe it’ll help me figure out what to do!

We started the day by going over the treasure from the kobolds’ lair. Among the coins and other things, there was a beautiful alexandrite pendant. I loved it! And, to my joy, everyone agreed that I could have it. The rest of the treasure was divided, and folk left to shop. Tassar came back with a new dog — to ride! Of course, he was soon drinking again, even before we left for Lord Greycastle’s to get paid.

Theona mentioned the strange statues to the lord, and offered our “services” to make sure the mine stayed free of vermin. He wasn’t interested in that, but did mention a caravan in need of guards — a quick trip, to Everlund and back. It seemed like a good deal to us, especially as he was willing to pay half up front this time. Nice to know others find us trustworthy! There’s always the possibility of orc attack, or worse, but that’s the chance you take in this part of the world!

We headed back to the tavern to talk over what we’d need for the trip, and found out that Antonio LOVES to shop. We all donated towards a horse and wagon, and then he began to think of other things we could carry IN the wagon besides our gear! He was soon off all over town, buying stuff. And then Tassar arrived with a barrel of ale for the trip.

Seriously, this worried me. We need to be on our toes at all times when we’re not safe in Silverymoon! Drinking and fun have their place, I’ll be the last to say otherwise, but I decided to try to explain to the halfling that drinking had no place on a journey in which one could be attacked at any time.

It didn’t turn out quite like I expected! Tassar was insulted, of course, and it occurred to me that he IS a fighter, he must know these things already. I’ll have to trust that he does know better than to drink enough to be incapacitated in the wild. So, when he offered to listen to me talk about Tymora, IF I would drink with him, I decided to take him up on it. (The look on his face was worth it, right there!)

I was glad we had another day before the caravan left. I drank a lot. I spoke of Tymora. I think I worried Theona a little; she sat down ON our table and tried to tell us about some rumors she’d heard about a ruined tower and the town docks. At least, I think that’s what she said — it was so obvious she was trying to get me away from Tassar and the bottomless mug of ale that we got the giggles. When she left for a minute to “talk to the town guard”, we thought it would be funny to take off before she got back!

Well, my train of thought about Tymora was lost for the day, but we had a lot of fun hitting a bunch of bars, “hiding from Theona”, and talking about whatever came into our heads. Tassar is a lot of fun to be around. So much fun, apparently, that I ended up going home with him.

Well, I woke up a bit confused about the room I was in.. and why I was naked. About the time I remembered that it was Tassar’s place, he arrived with a big grin and a bigger bunch of flowers! I was rather embarrassed, although not entirely for the reasons he may think. Still, I got dressed and we headed downstairs quietly, only to discover that his landlady had made us breakfast! Here I was hoping my family wouldn’t tease me too much about letting loose outside of Midsummer, and instead had to respond to the good manners of the lady of the house. She is a sweetheart, but I’d rather have been introduced under different circumstances.

We headed off to the bar, late enough that everyone else was already there. I wondered what they’d say but everyone seems to think it’s a joke or no big deal. Theona gave me a look — it turns out they could have used our help last night! They checked out the rumors of people disappearing from the docks, and ran into a ghoul and slavers down in the sewers! I felt like a hypocrite; worrying about the halfling drinking on the trail and not being ready for a fight, we’d ended up doing exactly that when our friends needed us. Theona told Tassar that a halfling named Portia had been asking about him before we got there, and I’m not sure she was joking.

I realized that I really needed to sit down and think about my actions. Despite Tassar’s invitation, I decided to spend the night in my room at the Temple, sorting myself out. I’ve been acting without thinking things through beforehand, that’s not what blessed Tymora expects from her worshipers.

Mostly, however, I need to explain myself to Tassar before he thinks worse of me. I think I’ll write him a note and give it to him before we start out with the caravan tomorrow.

Dear Tassar,

I’m sorry if I acted funny yesterday. I needed to get away and think, and didn’t get a chance to until last night. I owe you an explanation and this is the best I can do.

I like you. You can be impulsive and rude but even when we’re not drunk you’re really funny and brave. I wasn’t embarrassed yesterday morning by waking up with a halfling, I was embarrassed because I don’t usually do things like that unless it’s a religious festival. Having a big family in town to tease me tends to make me more careful about my behavior than some of my fellow clerics.

Your landlady is a sweetheart. I’m glad she wasn’t upset, but I’d just gotten over that worry when we found out that our friends got into trouble last night and could have used our help. I was worried that drinking on the trail would make for a dangerous situation, but instead, drinking right in town did it for our friends! And, when Theona asked about Portia, whomever she is, I wondered if you had a friend elsewhere, and I’d hate to be in the middle of that.

Hope this explains things a little. Hope we’re still friends!

Blessed Be,

Posted by Kate on January 25, 2004, 14:43

Oh, For Tymora’s Sake..

Well, I gave Tassar my note. He took it and rode off on his dog, Otto, and hasn’t said a word about it since. I guess that means things are OK.

We met with the caravan and its master, Mr. Drake. There are two wagons (ours makes it three), and each wagon has a driver and a crossbow-wielding passenger, so we’re not the only defenders. I think Mr. Drake was relieved by that fact - some of my friends don’t think before they speak, at all! There are even extra horses for us to ride; I’m glad I have had some practice. We set off into the fog, with Theona watching the mountains, me watching the river, Tassar pacing the length of the caravan, Antonio driving, and Areon ranging ahead. It seemed to work out well.

A couple of hours into our journey, we met a patrol heading back into town and were pleased to hear that the road was clear ahead. The rest of the day passed quietly, although unusually foggy, cold, and windy. Toward evening, as we set up camp, it turned to snow. Antonio lit a fire but the blizzardlike conditions made it a poor one! The wagons were rocking in the wind, so Areon and Tassar went searching for better shelter and soon returned with word of a cave that we could get the wagons to. It wasn’t easy, but we had incentive!

When we got to the cave, Areon and I waited with the caravan while the others searched for signs of life. Antonio soon called out that the place was clear, so we led everyone in and settled down. It was a tight fit, but once some old ogre bones were piled into a corner and a fire lit (again) it wasn’t uncomfortable. There was a side cave to tether the horses in, and it didn’t take long for us to set watches and relax for the night.

I had a nap, and then second watch. Theona was up with me, and pretty nosy, too! I told her that it wasn’t polite to tell tales, but her curiosity about Tassar is kind of funny. I wonder just how curious she’ll get? I wonder what he would think? In the middle of asking me something quite rude, however, she suddenly cocked her head and whispered, “What’s that?”, while looking off to the horses’ cave. I got up to look, and so did Areon, but the horses’ agitation quickly turned to panic, and suddenly several bolted as one of their mates screamed in pain!

I could see an orc in the far corner, seemingly come from out of nowhere, attacking the horse closest to it. Areon charged in and killed the orc, which showed us that there was a secret door in the wall and several figures moving within. I hollered to the others (no doubt they were awake by now), telling them what was in the cave, and the next orc that shambled through the opening was rapidly met by Tassar and shot by Theona. Even as the other orcs tried to get through the doorway, we realized they were all undead; I raised my holy symbol and shouted, and they all retreated! Tassar killed the closest as it fled, and we were left with an open door.

I wondered out loud whether it would be better to simply block the door. The mountains are riddled with such foul creations, and we have a responsibility to stay with and protect the caravan. I don’t think anyone listened; Antonio flung something down the tunnel and set them all on fire, and he, Areon, and Tassar dashed through the doorway while Theona and I turned to check on the caravan. Poor Theona was terribly upset with herself for missing that secret door and gave the rest of the place another search, while I peered into the snowstorm in hopes that the caravaners would return with the escaped horses.

Even as the guards came back with the horses, including one poor beast that I had to heal, Tassar and Antonio arrived from the other direction (with Areon over his shoulder) and tales of live orcs as well as undead to fight. Areon used a wand of healing on himself while I healed Tassar, and we all walked down to make sure that nothing else would disturb us. I waited at a T junction of two tunnels to make sure nothing snuck up as the others searched in one direction, and then we set off together in the other. We found smoldering bodies from Antonio’s fires, which pleased him to no end. We also found a temple to an evil god, full of undead orcs!

We were rapidly engaged in battle - Tassar and Areon fightng hand-to-hand, Theona shooting arrows, Antonio flinging flaming flasks of oil into the crowd, and I, turning every one possible. It wasn’t enough. Both Tassar and Areon went down, so we pulled them out of danger and went running back up the tunnel. Tassar was only stunned; I was praying I’d be able to heal him, but next thing I knew, he was very much alive and kicking, wanting to be set down so he could go back and fight! We stopped to argue over this, letting the orcs catch up, which I found out when Antonio stopped next to us and suddenly cast some firey spell fifteen feet down the hallway into the ranks of our pursuers!

I saw Theona use Areon’s wand on him, but he still wasn’t moving, so I let Tassar go and began to drag the unconscious elf up the hallway instead. I didn’t get far before I saw Tassar go down again - whatever he took must not have healed him much. Leaving Areon to Theona, I dashed back down to grab him, earning myself a blow from one of the orcs even as Antonio got ahold of his friend and headed up the tunnel. I quickly turned and ran, and we all finally got away from our pursuers. We ran, in fact, all the way back to the cave, where I begged Theona to block the secret doorway so that we could rest in some sort of peace! Theona did so, and despite a muffled thumping from the other side, we left the elves watching, and napped the rest of the night away.

I woke the next morning to the sight of Mr. Drake scowling at the cave entrance; the weather had not let up all night. We talked it over, and decided to stay another day. Everyone was glad to rest up, pray, and memorize spells. Unfortunately, it also made for time to get bored. Areon and Tassar, especially, wanted to go fight undead! I tried my best to talk them out of it. I pointed out that we were being paid to guard the caravan, and not be distracted. If they go running off after every undead we find in the frozen North, we’ll never get anywhere! They were too busy making firebombs out of oil flasks and rags to listen. Soon, they cracked open the door, and the orc that had been thumping all night hacked its way into the room.

I swear, Tymora was trying to tell them something! My turning failed. Areon shot Antonio by mistake. Antonio set the thing on fire, but also got shot by Theona, and slumped to the floor. Areon finally killed the thing, only to find an empty tunnel behind. I made the mistake of waking Antonio up - the whole crazy lot of them immediately ran off down the tunnel! We made it to the temple without incident; it, too, was now empty. Disappointed, Antonio set a tapestry on fire, while Tassar wandered up yet another passage, and came dashing back to tell us he could hear live voices ahead. Itching for a fight we don’t need, I watched my cohorts disappear into the darkness. I’ll have to follow; I don’t want anyone to get killed. I just pray that the caravan is still safe when we return!

Posted by Kate on January 26, 2004, 22:27

Finally, Everlund!

The party dashed merrily into the unknown ahead of me, which left me free to glare at them all. We made no effort at stealth; I soon heard orcs’ voices - getting ready to meet us! The party turned a corner and found four one-eyed creatures and a campfire in the middle of the cave. They all had only one eye. It really does seem silly to worship a god who requires such senseless mutilation!

As everyone ran forward (Antonio nearly fried Tassar with a spell, I fear), the orcs shouted for reinforcements. Not good! Then, Tassar dashed ahead - and fell into a pit trap! Two of the orcs flung javelins at us, which downed Antonio right away, so I dragged him from the fray and healed him while Theona killed an orc, and arrows shot from the pit with a fair amount of accuracy. I was glad to know Tassar was OK. Areon killed a second orc, and the last two raced up and attacked - Antonio, again. More orcs, both live and undead, ran into the room as I pulled Antonio out of the fray a second time. I saw an orc stabbing a long spear into the pit, but he was rapidly shot to death from below. I healed Antonio and got him on his feet just as Areon killed two more orcs and succumbed to his wounds.

I prayed that Areon could hold on and turned the undead before I went to him - turned them right to dust, an amazing feeling! Antonio got into a battle of spellcasting with an orc, but neither really did much damage before Theona’s deadly aim removed the orc from competition. At least Antonio stayed on his feet.. and the rest of the orcs were killed, except for one which escaped us as I healed Areon. I called to Tassar and found out that he was fine, and fairly pleased with his orc tally, all things considered. The others took their time searching the bodies, but I got worried about the last survivor - would he be running for more help?

Theona and Antonio were bickering over that very thought - enough that I gave him a pinch to hush a moment! Finally, at least, he was willing to go back to the caravan, but Tassar was off searching the last tunnel already. We followed; climbed, found ourselves outside in the storm! Footprints led to a trail up into the mountains, and we could see the caravan trail below. Tassar and Areon were ready to head up the trail, but - finally - the rest of us convinced them that the orcs would still be there after we got done guarding the caravan to Everlund and back. Thank Tymora! We all left the lookout post, and searched the last couple of tunnels before returning to the caravan.

The first tunnel, shockingly, contained an orc in a cell, who told Theona that she was a sight for sore eyes! Our lady elf proved quite susceptible to flattery, letting him out simply because he spoke common, spoke it well, still had both eyes, and told quite a story! Then again, I don’t know how many orcs would try to say they were a human bard from Waterdeep, under a spell due to a “misunderstanding”. Assuming that Dante is telling the truth, it’s good to know what we’re dealing with up that mountain; an orc necromancer named Grom who is amassing undead armies and taking over the other orc tribes. He managed to hit on Theona outrageously at the same time; a bardish accomplishment?

Areon, naturally, is watching Dante like a hawk. Tassar isn’t too comfortable with him, either. Antonio left the question of bringing the orc bard back to the caravan to us, and made a bonfire of the orc bodies. At least the stench got us moving; we found some wine and trade goods in the last tunnel, and made our way back to the caravan. Thankfully, they were still there, and safe. They told us that Dante was our problem, and he made better friends with Areon and Tassar by proving to have some healing ability. Tassar and I have agreed that he really shouldn’t be armed, for now. He took over Antonio’s role as driver of our wagon, instead.

Antonio and I, again, had the same thought; if one orc had escaped up the mountain, perhaps the hordes were already on their way to avenge their comrades? Even though it was night, the weather had improved. We talked the party into setting forth in the darkness - as soon as they heard the drums begin to pound, it was no trouble at all! We traveled all night, listening to the drums and waiting for an attack, but made it to sunrise with no change except a sudden silence. We decided to keep going as long as possible, but that wasn’t long; two horses went down. I could hear the howl of wolves approaching, so we circled the wagons against the river and did our best to ready ourselves for a defense. We had time to eat a little and feed the horses (Tassar even gave Dante some rations), when I caught sight of the pack approaching. Even Dante got a crossbow at that point!

He quickly proved his usefulness as a bard, cracking jokes to relieve the tension as the wolves charged in. At least they appeared to be normal wolves; I’d feared the orcs had sent their terrible beasts after us. We did our best to do damage from a distance; Antonio was flinging fire, of course, but even my little sling was in use! We did some damage, but the first wolves leapt into our circle and attacked. This made for confusion - Antonio tried to set Areon on fire, and Tassar shot both Dante and the wolf attacking him. Antonio then managed to fire on Tassar. We did defeat the wolves, but not before I lost my temper and accused poor Antonio of trying to kill us all!

At least it made for better relations; I prayed over our one casualty, a dead guard, and Tassar offered Dante some of his precious ale in apology for shooting him. We decided to spend the rest of the day there to give the horses (and us!) a proper rest. Tassar finally got to cook something; he cooked a wolf! It wasn’t too bad, although not my first choice in meat! The next morning, we all felt much improved. The sun was out, the wagonmaster thought we might make the city by nightfall, and even Antonio’s strange addiction, coffee, was a warm drink to start on. I started a snowball fight but quickly got knocked right off my horse - halflings have deadly aim!

We slowly made our way to Everlund, without further trouble. Once at the city, Mr. Drake decided to postpone our return for a few days to let the snow melt. I wonder if we can pick a different route? I wonder if those orcs will be lying in wait! Still, we settled at the Stone Griffin tavern and tried to think of things to do. Firstly, of course, we needed rooms; we left it to Antonio and he promptly rented one for himself, one for Areon, one for Tassar and me, and one for Theona and Dante! Theona looked a little embarrassed, but Tassar and I merrily took advantage of some privacy. Theona, in fact, had to bang on the wall a few times at four in the morning. Oops! Of course, we had to get Antonio back, so Tassar gave ten gold pieces for a fine young lady to sneak in and share Antonio’s bedroom. He has quite a glow, now!

We also looked up a friend of Dante’s, who couldn’t help him out, but at least was able to reassure us that this person was usually a human. Theona was awful curious about what he looks like when not an orc! We decided to bring him back to Silverymoon; with all the magical colleges, there must be someone who can help him! We sold the orcs’ weapons, the wine, and the wolf pelts, and then went shopping! We needed arrows and ale and food, and Tassar got me a wand of healing, since Areon’s has proven so useful when I run low on holy magic. He’s really very thoughtful!

Posted by Kate on February 9, 2004, 14:33

Family ties

Yet again, Antonio and I were thinking the same thought - that we should do everything possible to keep from stopping near the orcs’ cave on the way home! Even better, Mr. Drake felt the same. We decided to travel straight through, and hope for the best. The day began well, with sunshine and warmer temperatures. Night fell, still clear, and a quarter moon to drive by. We were in the same arrangement as before, watching for trouble, when the animals became nervous; soon we all smelled smoke.

Tassar and Areon rode ahead as soon as a glow became visible; as I watched them approach two burning wagons, I saw several bodies rise up from the snow and stagger at our friends. Tassar was soon hollering that he had them surrounded, which is never a good sign, and next thing I knew he was knocked off his dog and into the snow at the feet of the undead! That was enough for me - I rode up and turned the zombies, probably the poor former caravaners. The rest of the party attacked the fleeing creatures while I checked the wagons for any sign of life. No luck - stripped of valuables and set ablaze, obviously a trap.

We talked briefly about whether to turn back or push onwards, and moving on seemed the better idea. The undead began to stagger back into the firelight as we worked out how to move the wagons. Tassar began giggling even before Dante started telling jokes, which earned him an odd look or two. I’d just decided it wasn’t worth it to turn them again - they’d be back long before we got the wagons moved - when Tassar told us all to just light them on fire instead. He’s been learning from Antonio! We shot at them before they came into burning range (I even killed one very damaged one with my sling), and all were destroyed except for one which went for Tassar again. I tried to ride over and swat it with my staff, but only succeeded in falling off my horse and getting called a copycat by Tassar. Theona went after my horse while the last zombie chased Tassar and me around and eventually burned to death.

Unfortunately, we then heard a horn sounding in the mountains above. Moving those wagons became a real priority! I created water over one of the wagons, puttng out one end so we could push the thing out of the way of our own caravan. Theona returned with my horse, and news of movement on the mountainside - we didn’t have much time! Thank Tymora, the way was soon clear, and the horses needed little prodding to race for their lives as a band of one-eyed orcs arrived on the scene. One of them was riding a dire wolf and wearing armor - the feared Grom himself? We may find out; Tassar shot him with a well-placed arrow even as we raced away, while shouting his name and where to find him. We got a hail of javelins embedded in the backs of the wagons in return. Luckily, they didn’t follow, and we made it to the gates of Silverymoon by the next day.

The guards didn’t much like Dante - we should have known! Luckily, he was well able to speak for himself, we all vouched for him, and, of course, we had a very interesting story to tell of Grom and his hordes, which was a lot more important. We left them talking over the news, stabled the horses, and were pleasantly surprised when Antonio ran off and returned with a set of silver mugs engraved with our names! Tassar handed Dante his “old” mug so he didn’t feel left out, and we headed for Lord Greycastle’s for the rest of our payment (I hope Antonio has something left over for himself after such a gift!). The butler still refused to fill Tassar’s mug, and said the Lord was out of town, but he did have authority to pay us. We decided to split up and rest, then meet the next morning to talk over Dante’s situation and Theona’s rumor about the tower outside of town. The Temple was a welcome sight!

Meeting for breakfast the next day, we realized just how many awful looks the locals were giving poor Dante, and decided that he had to get “fixed” before anything else. Luckily, Antonio knew some people (if not, I was going to ask Mother or Father for help), and Dante got to be the subject of a class lecture on removing such spells. It cost us plenty, but it worked! He’s a human, again, and very relieved. Theona looked faintly disappointed, so I gave him clothes money so he could make a better impression. She still didn’t seem happy when he met us back at the tavern in his new gear, so we decided to get them both drunk and leave them at her place to let nature take its course. Unfortunately, they both passed out, so we left them at her place and headed back to the tavern to party. It didn’t take long before I was under the table, too.

I woke up at the Temple, with an aching head. And my oldest brother sitting at the end of the bed, glaring at me. I guess I know how I got home - he’s a member of the Guard, and very good at what he does. I’m always hearing of another promotion! Unfortunately, he’s also rather suspicious of my calling, or, at least, some of Tymora’s tenets. He thinks we’re all getting a bit wild, and that it’s all MY fault. Don’t I wish he could have been along with us on these little adventures when no one would listen! Before I got a chance to defend myself, though, he sobered me right up by accusing me of getting Antonio kicked out of his house. “I work with his father, Deitricha, and what could I say to him? You’re making quite a scene! Getting drunk and disorderly and dragging folk through the streets” ( I guess that was Theona and Dante), “not to mention running around with an orc yesterday, I don’t care if he’s really a human, you could have handled that a bit better! And as for your ‘fling’ with that halfling, now you’re dragging Lady Brenin’s name into this!” Well, I gave up trying to defend myself and ordered him out of my room. I was so mad that I went and threw sling bullets at the target post in the Temple practice area to let off some steam. One of my brethren came by and was surprised at how much my aim has improved, and told me I ought to try Tymora’s shuriken again. All the practice I’ve gotten recently has really improved my throwing skills!

I guess I’ll have to think about my brother’s words some more. He has some points; I just wish he didn’t think he had to fill in for Mother and Father with all us kids, just because he’s the oldest. We’re all adults, thank you!

Posted by Kate on February 21, 2004, 06:49

A terrible time, altogether.

Well, I finally left the practice grounds and headed for the tavern. Everyone else was there already, looking grim. Antonio immediately said he wanted to leave, and so did Tassar, who looked awful! When I asked what happened, he just shook his head darkly and muttered that “the guard is evil”. What? Somehow, it came out that Antonio’s father and some other guards had beaten him up. Suddenly, Tassar wanted to know all about this brother of mine in the Guards, too. Impossible!

We did all agree to head out of town and let things settle down. Theona and I set off for her place to tell Dante to go (I guess things didn’t work out, I was too distracted looking for my brother to ask), but he had left already. Tassar and Antonio soon arrived with the pack horses and we headed out of town (with no trouble at the gates, thank Tymora, but no sign of our family members, either. Antonio must have been in quite an argument with his Dad!). We traveled all day, set up camp, and I finally got to quiz Theona about Tassar. It wasn’t good. I could just cry - and I’m definitely telling my parents!

The night was quiet. The morning was bright and clear, and Antonio gave us all some coffee. I tried to apologize to Tassar about my family, but he just seems to want to forget it all. We hadn’t traveled far before finding a dead cow by the side of the road. Curious, we checked closer, and found that it had been drained of blood, yet there were no prints to show what had done the killing! We gave up looking and went on, but it was a quiet walk - I was pondering just what may be in this tower, after all. When we saw some farmsteads, we decided to tell them about the cow and ask for any news of the area.

As we walked up to some farmers by the barn, the smell of fresh-baked pie wafted from the house. We told the farmers about the cow, and they were unsurprised. We started to ask why not, but Tassar was so distracted by the smell of baking, I left the others to the task and headed for the house. I asked the housewife politely for a slice or two, and she was glad to oblige. Tassar soon had a big glass of milk and plate of pie in front of him, and I think she was pleased with the compliment to her cooking - she wouldn’t let us pay her for the treat! Full for the moment, we headed back to our friends, to hear that we were still heading for the ruined tower. At least there was a small town and tavern before the place. Tassar was already looking for some ale. Halflings and their famous appetites!

I found that the farmers must have mentioned something vampiric, as Antonio was racking his brain for ways to keep the things off. I fear his advice will be taken with a large grain of salt, since Tassar decided to mimic him behind his back. I did my best to restrain my giggles, and finally, we were back on the road. We reached White Haven by the end of the day - a small hamlet, but the Frosty Mug tavern was ample for our needs - food and drink! Theona went into information-gathering mode, but didn’t find out much. The tower’s a hundred years old, the wizard who built it disappeared when the tower blew up but may also be haunting the place. Strange lights are seen there, and the last party of adventurers to visit haven’t returned.

I wonder if the last party even made it to the tower; we certainly did not! The horses became nervous as we walked, and then all of us could see the large tracks crossing the road. Troll! We quickly talked over whether to follow it, and Tassar made up our minds again - already almost out of sight before we knew he was going. The troll was not far away, with the river at his back. Hoping to slow it down, Theona began shooting at it from a distance; it charged, and was met in battle by our Tassar! The others kept shooting at it as I ran to the horses for one of Antonio’s flasks of oil. I turned back in time to see the troll doing an incredible amount of damage to Tassar, who kept right on stabbing, even as its wounds healed up.

Well, it was my turn for crazy heroics, I guess. I raced up to the troll, getting shot from behind by one of my cohorts (was that Areon yelling, “sorry!”?), and splashed it with the contents of the flask. Tassar was staggering badly, so I grabbed him and ran for our lives. Of course, he was shouting at me, but this time it was different - I turned in time to see Antonio run up to the troll to set it on fire. I guess he wanted to make sure he didn’t miss, but it cost him his life. The troll, enraged by the flames engulfing it, immediately tore him to pieces! It was a terrible sight. Areon and Theona shot the thing, Tassar threw his dagger, and the troll quickly burned to death, but there was no joy in the victory. Antonio was beyond my help.

I healed Tassar and prayed over our friend. I realized the others weren’t entirely sure what to do next - but I had no doubts. The tower must wait; we must take our fallen friend home. The longer we waited, the harder it would be to face his family. It was a very sad trip. I told the guards at the gates to send Antonio’s father home, and brought him to his mother. I told her how he had died, saving our lives, and bore with their grief as best I could. We weren’t there long, which turned out to be a blessing, since Theona blames his father’s behavior for causing this, somehow. Lady Tymora, I hope they didn’t hear her in the street! We then separated for a little while; I wanted to pray at my Temple, and then I went and told my parents about my brother. They agreed that he’d overstepped his bounds, but since he’s out on patrol, I’ll have to have words with him later.

Meanwhile, Areon’s watching over Tassar, who’s holed up somewhere in town in hiding. He’s probably right that the guards will find a way to blame him for this, no matter what’s the truth. I’m hoping to see Theona soon; until then, I’m just going to wait in the tavern to see what turns up. Poor Antonio! He was a really good guy.

Posted by Kate on February 29, 2004, 13:21

To the Tower!

I spent half the morning hanging out at the tavern. At least I didn’t hear of anything bad happening to anyone I knew! After a while, I was distracted by a funny sight out of the window; Theona, walking over from her treehouse ahead of a humanoid creature. She was also sneaking around him, and hiding from him, while he stood out in the street and cast odd looks after her! Finally they entered the tavern and I was introduced to “William, a nonhuman mage” (think silver eyes), who was looking for work and offered to join us after our loss. I had no objections, nor did Areon from his quiet corner of the bar, so he and Theona headed out to get Tassar. William and I headed out of town with the party’s mounts. I met Comet the Warhorse, who probably outweighs our packhorses and Otto altogether!

We all met outside the West Gate in the rain. Tassar was looking a lot better, and in a better mood, which made me so glad I hugged him. He lit right into William, showing him his back and pointing out that it’s not a good idea to stab party members there. He also demanded that William buy him ale, and pretended to be miffed that he hadn’t the means to do so right there! William, thankfully, took it in good part. He mentioned there were quite some rumors going around about our crew; I imagine we’d be hard-put to top whatever stories the gossip mill has invented for us! Since two of the party were already riding, and it was still raining, Theona, Areon, and I decided to try riding the packhorses for the day. It wasn’t terribly comfortable, but the trip did go faster!

We re-reached the Frosty Mug by nightfall, and had a short debate about whether to press on to the tower right then. We agreed that the animals could use a rest, but I admit, I didn’t act very heroic; I announced that I was cold, wet, and tired, and I wanted to go to bed! I then paid over a gold piece and got a room to myself and turned in. I must have been quite a sight; Tassar elected to stay down in the common room with everyone else. In truth, if the bad things around here all happen at night, it would be wiser to check things out in the daylight. This night, at least, passed quietly at the inn; we ate breakfast, paid to stable the horses for a few days while we checked the tower, and headed out on foot (and one Otto). Oh, yes, and two extra waterskins full of ale; one for Tassar, and one for Theona of all folk!

It was still raining, but the way was clear. We made it past the former troll’s tracks without another incident, and soon could see the low remains of the tower on top of a hill. We all heard a howl, and saw a wolf at the crest, watching us. William was not at all comfortable with the sight, telling us there would be more, but we didn’t have many options, and decided to walk on up. Sure enough, by the time we reached the tower, there were quite a few wolves coming out of the brush! Tassar shouted for us to get our backs to the tower, but the wolves took that opportunity to charge into battle. Theona and Areon made it to the tower, and began shooting arrows into our attackers, but the rest of us were not so light on our feet. Poor William was soon knocked right off of his feet and dragged away. Tassar was dragged off of Otto but the two of them kept right on fighting beside each other, and I was at their backs, cracking wolves over the head with my quarterstaff. It was mass confusion for a while, but I saw Areon go charging by to help William, and then come back to us - next thing I knew, the remaining wolves were running away and Tassar was informing me that I looked like hell. Sheesh!

We killed quite a few wolves; I hope it keeps the others away for a while. Tassar, of course, had to cook one, and William was happy to help him dispose of it. I was able to heal him up but his one boot is now well-chewed! While we sat just inside the doorway, and I healed myself and the others, Theona noted that the wolves had never followed her into the enclosure during the fight. Interesting! Despite this sign of unusual things, William wandered off to check the place out, earning himself a scolding from Theona. She’s a little protective of our mage, now, methinks! He did find a spiral staircase into the ground below the tower, and there wasn’t really anything left aboveground, so we carefully headed inside. Of course, it was still raining and slippery, so several of the party took the fast trip down! Luckily, it wasn’t too deep; we all found ourselves in a hallway, and set to exploring the rooms.

I was standing in the hallway and watching the others when I heard Theona’s strangled cry for help. Running to her, I found a strange buglike creature attached to the back of her neck and smashed it off with my staff. Several more flew out of the room and attacked us all! Unfortunately, Theona and I were closest, and took the most damage. The things were sucking our blood, and our health with it! We managed to kill them all, eventually (in fact, I saw Tassar kill two at once - one attached to Otto, and one to me!), and I’m covered with blood from the last - magic missiles make them explode! I guess we’ll soon be moving on from here to see what else may by lurking. If we’re lucky, those awful creatures were the cause of the animal deaths on the district. But how much luck have we had, so far?

Posted by Kate on March 1, 2004, 18:27

Hasty Halfling

Covered with blood (mostly mine), we all stopped a moment to catch our breath. Soon, Tassar was riding about again and Theona was burning cobwebs off the rest of the walls. Finding nothing, we headed down the hallway and descended another staircase. We could smell a terrible stench, but it didn’t stop us - in fact, Tassar went charging off ahead of us as Theona tried to check for traps. I tried to ask him to be more careful; it is a wizard’s tower, after all! But he rode off and was soon in the middle of a roomful of bones and rusty metal. Theona followed carefully, the rest of us watching from the hall, but we couldn’t find out anything about the place. The bones were smashed up badly, and no clue as to why!

The new hall ended at a door. Theona and Tassar tried to open it, but they were getting in each other’s way and arguing, so I finally reached between them and gave it a yank. The door opened to a long chamber, eight statues of mages ranged down the sides, and two bodies! Tassar, of course, wished to charge right in. I was getting a little exasperated; for Tymora’s sake, we had no idea what killed these two new bodies, or left the bones, or caused the tower to be abandoned in the first place! Of course, when I get mad I do silly things; I decided I’d be the first into the room instead. Poor Theona tried to check for traps further in, which gave Tassar ample time to snap at her for being slow and me for taking point. I made a rude gesture in his direction and headed over to check the bodies. When he followed me, I told him he looked like hell and went back to my work (next thing I know, I hear Theona trying to give him advice on human women. What does she know about human women?).

The elf on the floor had been dead for about a month. He had a very nice bow, which was quickly appropriated. The other body was pinned to the wall by a sword; he looked like a mage, also dead for several weeks. William, however, was the first to notice that the sword matched a scabbard on the elf’s body. I wonder what caused this trouble, and where the rest of their party is? Tassar was disappointed to find no money pouch, but he did pick up the elf’s shield, which makes for lots of protection for him! We were getting ready to search the rest of the room, when we heard a shout from the hallway out of the room - Tassar had already mounted Otto and dashed on ahead of us! I swear, he acts like trouble might wander off if we don’t run into it full-tilt! Areon yanked the sword out of the wall (and mage), and we ran after our fighter.

Tassar had only rounded a corner; we caught up with him in time to see another room at the end, more mage statues, and statues of something else, when he spurred Otto ahead, and they both dropped right through the floor! We were close enough to see the twenty feet down. Tassar was injured and cursing, Otto was impaled on the spiked pit floor, and so was yet another body. The trap door swung closed, and I didn’t stop to think. Before our expert in traps could get a look at things, I tried to push the trap door open with one foot, and fell right in myself! By Tymora’s grace, Tassar saw me fall and actually caught me! I gave him a well-earned kiss and let him tease me about following him around. I couldn’t even be mad at him for rushing into things; poor Otto was beyond my help. Tassar’s faithful companion was dead. I pulled out the wand he’d bought me and healed him up a little while we waited for our friends above to rescue us; we also checked out the body nearby. She must have been the party’s rogue; a very nice set of thieves’ tools (I think that’s what they are!) and also a well-made bow, arrows, rapier, some gold, and some vials that turned out to be useful potions. I felt a little bad to be making use of another party’s equipment without even knowing who they were, but I said a prayer of thanks over her as Theona opened the trap and dropped us a rope.

We climbed out and tried to figure out a safe way across the pit trap. Theona tied a rope around her waist and tried jumping, but didn’t have much space to run, and fell in. The wall knocked her breathless but at least she didn’t hit the spikes! Tassar then jumped back into the pit, for reasons only he can fathom, and, although re-injured, walked across. There, he waited for Theona to make a successful jump; as soon as she did, she dropped him a rope and he climbed up the other side. Before anyone else could make it over, we saw two of the statues come to life and attack our friends! Figures in banded plate mail, red eyes glowing, approached the two of them and ignored my turning completely. They smashed into Theona and Tassar even as he shouted his name at them; it was too much for Areon, who used the rope still tied about Theona’s waist to drag her back across the pit to safety. Tassar called to us that he had the situation under control, which is always a bad thing. The statues pinned him into a corner away from the doorway, and our sling, shuriken, arrows and spells did little or no damage; Tassar soon fell, and they returned to their places and became still once again.

I was desperately hoping that Tassar was unconscious but alive; I hope Theona didn’t take it personally that I was screaming at her to fix the door so I could get across. She wedged the trap shut (and closed this time) and I flew across it, around the corner, and laid a healing spell on him without even checking to see if he were alive. Thank the goddess, I was there in time, this time! He sat up, looked over my shoulder, and immediately shoved me behind him, telling me to stay put. I should have known the statues would respond to more folk entering the room! I crouched behind him and his shield, trying in vain to convince him to back off as the statues’ blows rained down. Next time, I think I’ll move his body away from the battle and then I’ll heal him! I stepped out and hit one of the statues with my quarterstaff, provoking a stream of invective from my protector. I didn’t have time to apologize for trying to take some of the heat off him before the statue hit me hard. I saw arrows and magic missiles flying by as things got fuzzy, but was rejuvenated by a sudden heal from behind. Areon had arrived on the scene! He had good timing, too, for he healed me enough to not be killed by the next blow. I had just enough strength to crawl out of the way of the battle, after drinking one of the unknown rogue’s potions. Areon stepped into my place as I became aware of William’s chanting.. in fact, he’d been chanting a lot but I hadn’t noticed any effects until now, when he somehow hit Tassar, dropping him. Tassar wasn’t cursing at me anymore after that; William was his new focus! At least I was in a position to heal him as I reached a safe place and stood up away from the fight.

Tassar charged into the fray, too fast for Theona, who hit him with an arrow as he ran in front. My heal hadn’t been for much, and he fell again. I stepped over his prone body and attacked the statue myself, and learned a few new curses from the prone-but-awake fighter. Theona tumbled past us and attacked the thing from behind, I swung at it and missed, and both Areon and I almost stepped on poor Tassar! I took another hit from the statue, and things went black to the tune of our fighter’s opinions of the whole mess. I woke to the welcome sight of Areon - and the crumbled remains of the statues. Tassar was now unconscious, and William was trying to bind his wounds. Areon soon used his wand to fix him up enough to crawl over and yell at me while Theona searched the room. I decided to try tickling him into a better humor but it took his favorite waterskin (full of ale) to restore his mood (and his throat, which must be sore by now!). I healed him some more myself, noting that the wand was getting low, and we all decided to rest for a day and recover.

Our rest was uneventful, and I was glad for the chance to pray and heal us all, especially Theona’s residual weakness from the bloodsuckers’ attacks. We headed for the end of the room, where Theona had found a pit, labeled the Vault of Sorrow by some unknown hand. Tassar dropped a torch into it, which disappeared about twenty feet down. Next, they lowered one on a rope, with the same result. We figured we couldn’t see but maybe still could find the depth; I don’t know why they had to use a dead body to do it, but we did figure out that the pit was sixty feet deep. Tassar then decided to go “fishing”, which meant dragging a grappling hook around the bottom of the shaft! He certainly woke up anything still aware down there, and pulled up nothing. I guess this means we’ll be climbing down ourselves, next!

Posted by Kate on March 12, 2004, 22:51

I’m starting to get used to this kind of thing.

The party, instead of heading down the well, decided to scatter. William went all the way outside for some “fresh air”, and returned to tell us that the wolves were still there. I was trying to listen at the pit, but having no success (Tassar was chucking things into it). Tassar suddenly decided that hunting more wolves with William would be fun. As they headed out the door I realized Theona and I were having the same thought - would both Tassar and William come back alive from this trip? She and I followed, and Areon followed Theona. So much for the pit!

As we walked back through the hall of mage statues, both Theona and I noticed a crack in the wall. Leaving Areon to chaperone Tassar and William, we decided to figure out the door. Theona soon had it open, and the two of us looked down a narrow secret hallway, wondering out loud what it could lead to. As I started to make out a hole in the floor about twenty feet away, our voices woke something up; a loud roar filled the hall, startling me so much that I ran right out of the catacombs, shouting for help! By the time I got back with the others, we could hear words in the roaring - “My head hurts! Get me out of here!” - and learned that somehow, there was a survivor from the other parties.

The end of the hall led down a shaft, with a broken-off ladder, and a dwarf at the bottom. He seemed to be pinned under some rubble, and very irritated. I can’t blame him! We sent Tassar down to help, being the strongest, but that was a mistake. The two of them quickly began to argue and the rest of us ended up climbing down, both to help the dwarf and get Tassar to stop badgering him. There was another tunnel, here; hopefully a safer passage than the pit to whatever was to be found. We finally got Rosorc to tell us his name and a little history; no more than we’d already guessed, his party had died in an adventure, and he’d fallen into the shaft, luckily within reach of food and water! William made introductions around the party, while Theona tried to dissuade Tassar from playing with the door at the end of the new passage. She also made herself a friend for life by giving Rosorc her aleskin!

Unfortunately, this gave Tassar the chance to open the doors for Theona. Statues on each side of the doors began to crackle with energy, and lightning bolts shot between them! Theona made it out of the way, but Tassar got zapped. Much as I thought he deserved it, I still got mad at the dwarf, who was laughing his butt off at “little people”. With the doors now open, Tassar walked off down the hallway, and I decided to walk with him instead. Naturally, as I caught up to him, we both heard a “click” under his foot, and metal bars slammed down at both ends of the hallway, trapping us inside a cage! Tassar kept telling me to stay behind him, as he got ready to fight whatever showed up, but I doubted things would work out that way.

Soon, a door opened at each end of the cage, and more of the banded mail statues with glowing red eyes appeared! Tassar really wanted me to stay safely behind him, but there wasn’t a safe place, so we were stuck back-to-back. He jokingly cursed at me, which made me start laughing, especially when Theona chimed in from the end of the hall that we “looked like hell”! I guess we all took lessons from Dante the bard about relieving tension in battle! Rosorc, however, must have thought us all insane. The statues closed in, William cast magic missiles at them, Areon and Rosorc were shooting arrows, and, of course, many skeletons with scimitars began to follow the statues into the hall! Rosorc and William, hoping the things were weak, started setting them on fire by flinging oil through the bars and lighting it. I, on the other hand, decided to try dealing with things my way, and turned them all to dust!

Unfortunately, the big statues were still there, and Tassar pretended to be disappointed that the skeletons were gone until the two statues smashed into us, and another mass of skeletons came through the doors! This led to Tassar shouting, “I thought you got rid of them?!”, so I turned them all to dust, too, and earned myself a good hit from a statue. Those things hurt a lot! Tassar then went back to complaining that I wasn’t staying “safely” behind him. I was just glad that our friends were still firing arrows and spells down the hall to help us. Rosorc and William seem to be a match made in heaven - their end of the hall was a smoking mess from Rosorc’s oil and William’s fire! About that time, I took a swing at a statue, missed, bashed my arm numb against the wall, and was knocked out by my foe.

I woke to someone pouring something down my throat; Theona had found the healing potion I was carrying and put it to good use. I quickly cured Tassar, who was also down, and then looked around to see the cage was open and the statues destroyed. Did I mention that the dwarf has spiked armor? I was amused to see that the last statue was full of holes! Finally, we turned to the door at the end of the hallway, beyond the cage trap. The door opened to reveal a large vaulted room, in shambles. There was a body on a table, but the rest of the place had been smashed and shattered and burned. The body seemed to have been dissected, poor gnome! He, too, looked to have been dead only about a month. Rosorc, to our surprise, was very respectful of the gnome, asking for a cloak to cover the body and a moment of silence. This may have been a mistake, although well-intentioned; as William stood by the gnome, it turned to him, and said, “Leave!” .. which sent William right out the door even as Rosorc cleaved its head with his axe.

This seemed the signal for all hell to break loose; something swooped down from the rafters and stung Theona as she inspected a secret door in the wall, and then disappeared! We were ready to retreat forward through the new door, except that William was still running the other way. I took it upon myself to go get him, and left the others to deal with the flying things. I found William trying to climb out of the shaft, and dragged him off the rope. I couldn’t snap him out of whatever fugue the gnome’s body had set on him, and I fear I was reduced to sitting on him and smacking him around until he lost consciousness. I dragged his body back to the room, only to find everyone still fighting an invisible flying thing and looking strangely clumsy. Apparently it had poison, too. I stood in the doorway, throwing sling bullets and shuriken whenever I caught a glimpse of the creature (and I had to apologize to Areon, who took a shuriken from me and a lassoing from Tassar). Rosorc whipped out a ten-foot length of chain, and tried to catch it that way.

Theona was looking pretty bad by then, which worried me enough to suggest quitting the field of battle until I could heal everyone up. Theona took my advice but the menfolk were determined to kill the thing outright. We waited in the hall until Rosorc finally managed to entangle the creature, bringing it out of the air, and making it an easy target for Tassar and Areon. The one chopped off its poisonous tail, and the other chopped it in half, outright! At this point I had to explain why William was unconscious, which was a little embarrassing! I asked if we could wait a day, so I could heal everyone, and this time they all agreed. They searched the broken-up room, and we wedged the door closed. Theona found a secret panel in the wall, and came out with a box and vials. The vials helped us heal, and the box, when finally broken open, spilled platinum coins across the floor!

William finally woke up to accept my apologies (thank Tymora!), and I healed everyone as much as I could before we dropped off to sleep. In the morning, I healed everyone again as much as possible, and to my surprise, the party agreed to wait one more day so we could all be at full strength for our next adventure. The dwarf, to be sure, was sad that he had to water down his aleskin, but overall, I think it was a good idea. We also got a chance to talk and learn a little more about each other. Finally, the next day dawned, and we opened Theona’s secret door.

Well, another room was revealed, with a ritual circle in the center, surrounded by glowing runes. William was unable to decipher them, but noticed a chest in the corner, which drew Tassar and Rosorc right over to try their own brand of “lock-picking” upon. This sent Theona, at least, running from the room just in case! Luckily, the chest wasn’t trapped (that we could tell), and she was soon back, identifying the things inside and passing them out for us to carry. At this point, disaster struck. William, still pondering the runes, decided that the ritual circle was actually a teleportation device; the trouble began when he also mentioned that he thought it was a two-way portal. Without further ado, Tassar walked right in!

Well, I couldn’t let him face the unknown alone. Hearing someone mutter something about just leaving the halfling to his ill-fated decision really spurred me on! I quickly stepped onto the circle, and the others soon followed. What a sight met our eyes! A flat, dusty, red plain, random jets of flame, and the faint sound of screaming easily identified this new place as Hell. Of course, there was no circle to return home by! We could see a fortress in the distance and mountains in the other direction. There were groups of awful creatures wandering the plains, and William was doing his best to hide inside his own cloak. Whatever is not-human about him, apparently, is the exact opposite of creatures here. I can’t be angry at his mistake when he’s obviously terrified that he’ll pay for it with his life!

Tassar is now leading the way to the mountains. I hope we make it out of here alive! Tymora, guide my footsteps!

Posted by Kate on March 19, 2004, 01:22

Out of the frying pan?

Travel across the plain was hot and dry. Rosorc tried taking off his armor in order to travel lighter, but between the random gouts of flame and the noise of dragging it behind him, he soon decided to just wear it and be hot. We all learned a little about helping him into it! I was glad we had, however, as we finally ran out of luck (we thought); rounding a boulder in time to come face-to-face with a little spiky figure and no time to hide!

Tassar immediately introduced himself, at which the figure dropped flat to the ground! We all came over to see it, although I was watching the sky in case something else was coming over to see us. The thing was already trying to back away, even as Tassar “bartered” for its weapon, a war fork. It spoke an odd language until William spoke to it in Common; luckily, Hixtali spoke a little. The poor thing was immmediately overwhelmed by questions from us all.

Slowly, it became clear that the castle belonged to Lord Bel, and this area was known to have a portal in it - therefore, Hixtali was the guard. I wonder why the Lord sent out such a guard? Once we told it we weren’t trying to invade, and in fact wanted OUT, it relaxed slightly. It seemed to like Theona best, which was a riot, as she was making some pretty outrageous statements that weren’t quite lies and yet.. and yet! By the time she finished both threatening and pretending to be friends, Hixtali described someone called Hexla who hurt the locals, by which we hoped and prayed it meant a good person who could help us out.

The only other option, apparently, was to go back to the Lord’s citadel and use a portal there, or go to the front lines of some Hellish battle, or to some rift into a worse place! Instead, Hixtali led us across the plains, to a river of blood. The ford was “only” about three feet deep, which was over both Hixtali’s and Tassar’s heads. Hixtali waded right in, but Tassar asked nicely for a ride. I was glad to help; none of us liked the idea of walking through the awful stuff! I headed across with Tassar on my shoulder, and it didn’t take long for some thing to latch onto my leg! I started running for the far shore, even as it drained my strength away. Before I reached the bank, another one did the same.

I made it to the far side, thank Tymora, and my friends quickly got two disgusting worms off me. Tassar killed one while the other made it back to the blood. I agreed with him that I looked like hell - I felt like it! Luckily, I was able to heal myself of the worst of the damage, and we continued on. Poor William was really bothered by Hixtali’s method of cleaning itself - it licked off the river’s blood as he walked. The rest of us simply suffered.

A couple of hours later, we reached the foothills of the mountains. Soon, we wound up at the bottom of a slope, the mouth of a cave above. Hixtali flat-out refused to climb up with us and Theona’s bribes had no effect. William and Tassar started climbing, Rosorc tossed a hunk of meat to Hixtali, and Theona tried to talk it into waiting for us. I think it promised just to get us moving; as soon as the last of us reached the cave we turned to see a black dot racing away. We had little time to worry about that, however, as William decided to holler into the cave an announce our presence!

The rest of us held our weapons at the ready, peering into a cave strewn with bones and skulls, and also a small wooden hut. Willliam was already knocking on the door. A female voice shouted at him, “Who’s there?”, so Tassar introduced himself, but she hadn’t heard of him. We told the voice that we were looking for directions out of Hell, and got yelled at some more. At least she was asking if we had anything to offer for her services, and not trying to add us to her collection of dead things outside. The door cracked open slightly when we promised we were not demons, and we caught sight of an eye. The voice asked for a bat skull, which we were unable to provide, but apparently we didn’t look too dangerous, as the door finally opened all the way and a female half-elf came out.

Tassar, naturally, asked right away if she had any ale! She gave him a sweet smile and poured a red liquid into his mug, which he sipped at and found quite strong! She chuckled and agreed with him that “blood ale” is very strong, indeed. Hexla, too, ended up here by accident, and with her cabin! Tassar by now was having conversations with the skulls in the cave instead of us, and singing. Hexla had been in Hell for a while, but thought it too dangerous a place to explore for a way out. I pointed out that the locals were terrified of her, but Tassar gave her a distraction by asking if he could keep one of the horned skulls (the “cute” one) for his helmet.

Hexla said she could send us home, but she needed one of William’s silver eyes to use in the spell. And, she wanted his other eye so that she could send herself home, too! Apparently, she isn’t from the same realm as we are, but I was surprised to find William desperate enough to get out, that he was really thinking about it! I mean, we didn’t even have proof that her spell would work, and he would be blinded! Meanwhile, Tassar staggered into the hut and passed out on her cot. I turned back to see Hexla cutting William’s hair off, and telling him about the Pillar of Skulls to the south in return. She said the Pillar would ask for something, too, but we prayed it wouldn’t be William’s eyes! He then picked up Tassar, who puked on him. I really began to feel sorry for William at this point!

Before we left, Theona traded another skin of ale with Rosorc for an amber gem, which she traded with Hexla for two potions (the inside of the hut was full of potion-making equipment), and then asked Hexla to drink one to show it was safe. She then drank the second, and pulled out a couple of spell scrolls to read. We finally understood that she hoped the scrolls from the chest next to the portal would have some clue to return us there, but after perusing the scrolls, shook her head sadly. We said goodbye to Hexla and headed for the Pillar of Skulls.

We didn’t get far before we saw a formation of creatures coming our way. We scattered into a field of boulders, trying to hide from the big blue-skinned dwarf-like beings. Some were better at it than others, and Areon was a big help! Rosorc, unfortunately, found his spiked armor a real disadvantage until Theona tossed him a vial and told him to drink. He disappeared just before the war band passed us by! As soon as they were out of sight we headed south again, walking for three hours and more before a tall pillar came into sight. We stepped off the path, briefly discussing what to say to whatever we found, and Tassar finally woke up from his drunken stupor.

Tassar’s headache was exacerbated by the Pillar; it turned out to be a column of heads, all talking, and shouting, and arguing with each other and then with us! Each head claimed it knew the way out, and each one wanted a boon - one wanted a party member, another a fiend, etc. It was very loud and confusing! I wondered how we’d tell any one’s story from another; they were all in Hell, why tell the truth? Finally, Theona found an elf that she thought might be worth listening to, and Rosorc and Tassar busied themselves attacking an ogre’s head nearby that the elf happened to especially hate. I thought it was useless, but they soon chopped it out and pitched it into the river of blood (swearing at us the whole way), and the elf told Theona about a portal further south.

Although another head swore the way to go was west, we decided to follow Theona’s hunch and learned about a horseshoe-shaped formation, and that we needed a brick from the highway leading from the Lord Bel’s citadel to the Blood Rift in order to open it. None of us looked forward to wading the river again, but the elf explained that the one bridge was heavily guarded. I guess Hixtali didn’t do too badly by us after all! Tassar, meanwhile, decided to head south to check out the bridge first, just in case, and we followed. The bridge of bones was there, all right - and guarded by a varied multitude! We turned around without a word, followed by an irate halfling.

We made it to the ford without trouble, at least. I picked up Tassar again, and we all ran across! Theona shouted, but it was William who got drained this time. He came out of the blood with a worm on him, yanked it off, and held it up only to be bitten again. As soon as he dropped it Theona dealt with it. I quickly healed him up, glad that we made it with so little trouble. We then headed toward the castle, swinging around to where the road was, and finding, to our dismay, that the road was choked with a massive army! We tried to settle down and wait them out, getting singed in the process when a fireball exploded nearby, but finally hid near the road and waited for the army to march. It took hours - we even got some naps!

Finally, quiet seemed to descend. Tassar bolted for the road, picked a brick out of it, and raced back to us. As he did so, a flight of winged beasts swept out of the fortress and headed our way! Rosorc somehow ended up with the brick as the fiends came screaming out of the sky. Tassar, naturally, wanted to stop and fight. I feared it was pointless, but at that moment one of the fireballs hit the center of the formation, knocking many to the ground. We knew we couldn’t outrun them, so we tried to ready ourselves for battle with the remainder (and Tassar wanted me behind him again), when another flight of creatures flew overhead and attacked the first group! Praying they were sufficiently distracted, we bolted for the river. Our third crossing was quiet - but as soon as we reached the shore, shouts told us that the detachment of blue-skinned creatures had finally caught sight of their prey.

Tassar wanted to fight, the others to run. I told him that it was probably a moot point, we’d be fighting eventually, and he agreed to run with us until then. He and Rosorc were pretty slow, I fear - but so were the things chasing us! We managed to keep ahead of them, barely. We made it past the Pillar (what an exciting day for those poor souls!), and gave the bridge a wide berth. It wasn’t enough, we soon found out - the whole guard was soon on our trail. We didn’t have time to worry - the horseshoe shaped formation came into view, and a big guardian in front of it! It shouted at us to hold and a wall of flames burst ahead of us.. but our pursuers turned back!

We didn’t have time to think what that meant, as the thing told us we could pass through the portal to the “City of Doors” if we brought a black orb along. It also said we’d die if we didn’t take it, and Tassar grabbed the orb with one hand, me with the other, and we all dashed into the portal! Rosorc pulled out the brick, William gave the guardian a funny look, and next thing, we found ourselves on a cobblestone street. The orb crumbled to dust.

The street curved faintly upward in both directions, and the houses looked a little rundown. There was a haze overhead, and lights twinkling faintly through it. They didn’t look like any stars I’ve ever seen! The street itself was full of the strangest creatures I’ve ever seen before - although we must be quite a sight ourselves; dusty, hot, and covered with three layers of blood. I’m glad we’re out of Hell, but what is this City of Doors, and how will we get home?

I hope our money is good, here. Rosorc is practically weeping with joy as he heads down the street to find an inn and ale. A bath would be nice, too...

Posted by Kate on April 3, 2004, 21:09

I’m Falling...!

Well, we were soon following Rosorc up the street toward a sign with a bed on it. One look inside and we changed our minds, however - it was only a flophouse, no food or drink or privacy! The houses and alleys were looking more rundown than ever when we caught sight of another building ahead; huge and black and rather spider-like, it gave us all a bad feeling. We turned back, hoping to retrace our steps and maybe find a better part of town. Not before a gnome tried to talk us into following him down a dark alley to an “inn” he knew of - we must have looked like real strangers to town, I fear!

We managed to extract ourselves from that conversation, and walked on up what passed for a main street. Finally, we reached a crossroads - with a zombie standing smack in the middle of it! It was not only not attacking anything, it was covered with notes! I was horrified, and I think Areon was, too; we stayed as far from it as we could, while Rosorc and Theona walked right up to check it out. The papers, apparently, were job notices and other messages, and the zombie itself would even give directions by pointing when asked. I was very glad when we moved on.

The town was still pretty rundown, and someone asked if it was worth trying to find a “better” area - maybe this was all there was! I said that it only made sense for a portal from Hell to land in the worst part of a place, so I had faith that we could find a safer spot to rest. Even as we spoke, we had to dodge a flapping imp-shaped ooze overhead, carrying a scroll. Sights like that helped keep us moving! Unfortunately, looking up at it caused me to finally register that I could see rooftops directly overhead in the sky. Whatever shape this city is, it was too much for my sense of up and down - I learned the true meaning of the word vertigo!

Of course, this meant the rest of the party realized the strangeness of the city as well, and Theona pulled out an aleskin which we happily shared right there in the street! Tossing the empty to a voice in an alley, we began walking again. Areon, bless him, suggested that I hold someone’s shoulder and look at the ground rather than keep staring into the sky until I felt like I was falling upward. This also helped me keep out of trouble when strange creatures passed us, including a gigantic, red, winged demon that gave us the eye as we passed. I wonder if we’ve met him recently?

The area finally began to improve; we passed through an industrial area full of foundries and sulfrous smells, and when we noticed that the locals were well-dressed enough to give us looks, we figured it was time to find an inn. The Alabaster Mermaid was the first we saw, and to my amusement, Rosorc insisted on holding the door open for Theona. The innkeeper was glad to offer us access to his bath rooms, sending a very nervous serving girl to lead the way. At least our money is good here! There were three big rooms, so Tassar and I made a merry dash for the first one. We weren’t planning on a private room but no one followed us! Leaving my backpack and bags and weapons on the verge, I jumped into the bath and proceeded to clean my armor, my clothes, and myself!

Finally, we all met in the common room, feeling much more presentable. William’s hair, I fear, looked really bad now that what was left of it was clean. Areon generously paid for all our rooms for the night, and we settled into one to divide up the treasure and gear that we’d collected. Everyone then headed back downstairs for food! The menu was rather eye-opening, so we ordered one of everything and sampled. I think I’ll stick with the goat, myself. At least I know what that is! Realizing that it was nightfall, we headed back up to sleep. We found that Areon had paid for three rooms. While the rest eyed each other in some embarrassment (except for Rosorc), Tassar and I gleefully dashed into the first again. I have no idea how the others divided up in the end.

The night passed quietly - what a blessing! Meeting for breakfast in the morning, we found a note saying that the elves “went shopping”. They soon came back from selling the leftover treasure, carrying a lot of gold and a winged cat for Areon. I like the cat! We all then “went shopping”! I changed my gold into six amethysts, leaving almost seventy in gold pieces and some silver, plenty of walking money! Still, it’s just fun to be adventuring with friends. The bazaar was lots of fun to just walk around and window-shop in. What an amazing place this City of Doors is! William got his hair trimmed a little better, and as for Rosorc - he returned with an intricately braided beard, decorated with mithril chain and gemstones! It was a work of art. Theona got a “gift” from a small boy - two roses and a mithril chain. How she did blush! Rosorc then braided it into her hair. It’s very pretty - but Theona’s not sure what to make of that dwarf!

I thought that perhaps we could get ideas for a way home from the local temples, but the merchant I spoke to said that there weren’t many in town. The lady who runs this city doesn’t approve of a lot of magics, which I decided to keep in mind. Thank Tymora we hadn’t had much reason to cast anything, yet! William found out that the best way to find a portal home would be in the Clerks’ Ward, which was back where we’d spent the night. Theona handed me a bunch of healing type potions, and we left the market.

Back at the Clerks’ Ward, we found a large marble building titled the Hall of Records. The first clerk we found, however, told us that we were in the wrong place. The goatlike centaur directed us down the street a couple of buildings to Information. That clerk sent us further down the hallway to the Portal Registry. This clerk seemed to know what we wanted, but insisted that we fill out about twenty pages’ worth of forms, applying for information on a portal to Faerun. Areon, to my surprise, turned out to have the patience to sit down and do the job, although I read over his shoulder. Five gold pieces and a filled-out application later, the clerk told us it was closing time and to come back tomorrow. I feared we’d have a minor explosion from the party at that point!

Back at the inn, we got a sample of how smitten Rosorc truly is. He ordered a fine private dinner for two, himself and Theona, who instead slipped out the door “for a moment”! Rosorc gave her a little while, then began to eat. I tried to tell him that she might not return his favor, but he wouldn’t talk to me. Finally, Theona returned, covered with cuts! Rosorc didn’t even blink, just cleaned her up and gave her an ale. Theona started drinking like I’ve never seen before. She finally managed to tell him that dwarves and elves don’t mix - as she passed out under the table. Poor Rosorc! He wasn’t bothered at all, though, which made me wonder how dwarven women are normally wooed? He just bought her a room, carried her up to it, and locked her in alone!

The next morning, Tassar and I cracked our door open to see a kid bringing a tray to Theona’s door. On it was breakfast and a note. She looked confused, so we, giggling, told her all about her fine dinner of the night before. She disappeared for the baths as we headed downstairs to find breakfast. Rosorc was still not listening to me about Theona, and I was finally sent to get her out of the baths, as she seemed inclined to spend the whole day there instead of going to the Hall of Information! I talked to her through the door, finally giving up and walking in only to find her hiding underwater! Pulling her out, I finally got her dressed and ready to face us all when we figured out that she was still confused about the night before. She thought her cuts were from Rosorc’s armor! That elf should not drink so much! I convinced her that she only had dinner with him and we finally headed out.

There was a different clerk, of course. We feared we’d have to start all over, but he managed to find our file and, even better, a lot of details about how to get home! There’s one portal back to Faerun, right under the worst part of town, and in its catacombs (no, I’m not going to think too hard about that, I’ll just get vertigo again!). It’s only open once every thirty-two days, and it’s open today! We needed a black rose to open the portal, and we could hire a guide to get us to the right area. Off we went! First stop was the market, where Rosorc’s shopping came in handy; he knew right where to find a flower shop selling black roses. And two more for Theona! We also hired “Bob” to get us there.

Bob led us to an alley in the Hive district, and an archway in a wall, with steps leading downward. There were white-haired workmen across the way but they didn’t bother us as we headed inside, leaving Bob behind. Rosorc led the way, carrying the rose, and we wandered the corridors for some time. It was all we could do - there was no sign of a portal. We did find more zombies, however, and these acted like the real thing! I worried that I couldn’t or shouldn’t turn them, but the others did just fine without my help. Rosorc and Tassar waded right into battle, Theona and Areon shot arrows, and William and I tossed shurikan and spells. We all managed not to hit a party member this time!

Zombies killed, we’re off to wander the tunnels again. I pray we find this portal, soon!

Posted by Kate on April 6, 2004, 13:38

Good news, bad news

Finished with killing the zombies, we took a deep breath and looked about. Tassar walked down one of several hallways and immediately called out to us that he had things under control. This caused us to abandon our other searches and chase after him. Bless him, he’s figured out how to get our attention - no monsters to fight, but he had found the real catacombs! Theona set to checking the closed stone coffins, Rosorc paced the perimeter, holding the black rose, and I stood in the middle, watching the multiple exits; it didn’t take long for me to see movement in four!

Several zombies and at least one ghoul met our attacks. Arrows, lightning bolts, and my staff struck the creatures. Theona and I soon decided that I ought to ignore the prohibition against magic (which from the lightning bolts, William had been ignoring for some time), and I turned several to dust. Thank Tymora it was successful! Perhaps defending yourself from attack is tolerated. Unfortunately, several of the things remained, and we fought on. I noticed Tassar in trouble, even as William walked up next to me and cast magic missiles into Tassar’s foe. Go, William! Still, as Tassar was wildly missing, I decided to turn the mass again. More crumbled, leaving Tassar and William with just one zombie to argue over killing. We left it to Tassar, who decided to make us another torch. I was just glad he was all right!

Rosorc headed off into the darkness, soon telling us he’d found sarcophagi; William headed another way and found broken-open crypts, which Theona went to check, and soon, everyone was agan spread out, walking down hallways while I stayed in the main room, listening for trouble. Soon enough, Tassar shouted, “Tempus!!”; I told the others and started to run after him. I could hear an awful shrieking! Theona shouted that it sounded as if Rosorc had found trouble, too, even as Areon dashed by me toward Tassar. I thought we would split the party evenly, when I heard cries for a cleric in Rosorc’s hall. Praying Tassar and Areon would be OK, I turned back, soon finding Rosorc surrounded by two shadowy figures. Theona, clutching a scroll and surrounded by dancing lights, dashed past me to get help from the others, William cast a cone of flame down the hallway at the shadows, and I tried turning the things, but only one left. William kept casting spells to no avail, Rosorc’s axe passed right through, and the creature touched me, draining my strength. In desperation, I raced towards Rosorc, casting magic weapon on his axe and praying it would work!

Rosorc’s next blow seemed to make contact, thank Tymora! Staying behind the fighter for once (wouldn’t Tassar be mad?), I realized that Rosorc had lost strength to the thing as well. I restored him a little, and then realized I could hear sounds of battle from ahead of us, Tassar’s voice especially! What a maze we must be in! Of course, he had something surrounded, again. Knowing we had to finish this battle to get to our friends, I kept healing Rosorc as he attacked the creature, until he destroyed it outright! Knowing our friends were in trouble, the three of us raced down the hallway. We’re lucky there weren’t any traps! Tassar was being attacked by four undead and looking pretty bad, as William’s spells flew overhead and Rosorc barrelled into the middle of the crowd. I couldn’t see the elves, or hear the shrieking anymore, but I turned three of the four undead to dust. Tassar was disgusted, as usual, but I pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to turn anything else until I had prayed for spells, so he was in luck.

Tassar set about dispatching the last undead, as I finally heard sounds of fighting and the elves’ voices. I turned up another passage in time to see Areon cleave the last undead right in front of Theona. Suddenly, shouts from behind let us know that the portal had finally been found! And, at the same time, screams told us that the other shadowy firgure had finally returned. It hit William even as he dashed into the portal. Rosorc stepped up to fight it, shouting at us to enter the portal, but of course, Tassar stepped up beside him, attacking the thing with his torch. Rosorc’s axe was still magical, thank Tymora! And he was able to disperse the evil thing. I healed Tassar a little, and we stepped into the portal with our friends.

We found ourselves standing in a great stone hall. By the carvings, anyone could guess this was dwarven stonework. Thick dust on the floor, quiet, and Rosorc said the style was ancient. Tassar and Areon immediately headed in opposite directions, looking for a way out! I healed everyone as much as I could, earning myself a smooch from the halfling, and Theona passed out a handful of gold to each of us - all the treasure she’d had a chance to find in the catacombs, she told us sadly. Areon found a set of huge double doors at the end of the hall, and Tassar began finding smaller doors set into the walls of the hallway. We waited at the big doors for him to get bored, but he opened a door, whistled, and walked right in! Rosorc, muttering about not disturbing dwarven keeps, headed after him, and the rest of us followed. I told Tassar, “You win!”, which got me a grin, and I think it was a good thing after all, at least for Rosorc! The room was full of carvings, writings, and a stone garden that he said was a shrine to the god Moradin’s wife. Most interestingly, the writing (over the course of several rooms), told the tale of the hold, part of a lost dwarven kingdom some three millenia old.

This was a relief - at least we are back in our own world! We also found faint, old, orc prints in the dust as we walked around, which put Areon on edge (Rosorc was distracted by the story or he’d have been more angry, too, I think). Rosorc made a good suggestion - that we stop and rest here, where it was obviously quiet, and leave by the large doors afterwards. Tassar was trying to find a chink in the big doors to see through, when Rosorc walked up and tried saying various dwarven gods’ names while touching the doors. He didn’t get a response but found the doors moved easily. We then settled down in a side room and slept. I was finally able to heal everyone up!

After some discussion about which set of doors to try (there turned out to be another at the other end of the hall), Rosorc pushed them gently open and we found ourselves in a much greater hallway, indeed! What craftsmen these dwarves must have been! There were balconies above us, and tapestries of dwarven families - and more recent orc tracks in the dust on the floor. Carefully, we began checking the doors in the walls, hoping to find a way to the surface. One of the first doors checked, however, opened into a hallway full of doors which led to sleeping chambers. I’d have expeted them all to be the same and moved on, but Tassar decided to run down the hall and open every door. Suddenly, he shouted, threw his torch behind him into the hall, and went running through the door he’d just opened! Rosorc was next - turning to look into the doorway, then suddenly dashing inside. The rest of us ran up, found a small hallway instead of a room, and chased the first two into a roomful of about twenty orcs.

With no other choice, we attacked.

Posted by Kate on April 20, 2004, 14:12

And ‘Round We Go

Luckily for us, the room full of orcs were actually sitting down to dinner. We had a chance to charge in and take them by surprise. Tassar and Rosorc traded claims over orc kills; one would get a shot in, the other would finish the job. Rosorc has developed the knack of continuing a swing when he knocks an enemy down; a few times, he really mowed through the crowd!

Theona shot one dead right in front of us, and William killed one with a spell! He’s really gaining confidence in his spellcasting, and this day, it showed. Areon, of course, was simply in a battle rage. Even as the rest of the orcs grabbed their weapons and headed our way, he was up on a table, swinging wildly. Unfortunately, an orc in the corner grabbed a horn and began to blow; Theona’s arrow-shot surprised but didn’t stop him.

As the battle raged, I saw Theona looking pretty bad; orcs with bows were targeting her. I raced over and healed her up, then turned to see the reinforcements arrive! Two huge ogres and a mage-like, one-eyed orc. Uh, oh! William cast something at the ogres, causing them to charge through the melee after him. Poor William! Huge javelins barely missed him as he ducked back into the hallway!

Both Areon and Rosorc were looking worse for wear (which didn’t stop Rosorc from mowing down three orcs in a row, or Areon fighting like mad); Theona pointed me at Areon and waved a healing potion as she ran towards Rosorc, so I tried to make my way to Areon. An ogre reached right over me to smash at William, but Tassar killed the other one with a well-placed stab. I was amazed! Finally, I got Areon healed, and he ran to attack the archers at the other end of the room. I then healed Rosorc, and suddenly, every enemy was dead and I could heal the rest of the party!

Of course, we knew that several (including the mage) had escaped, and we could hear horns calling in the distance, so our time was limited. That didn’t stop us from searching the bodies, or me from giving a kiss and congratulations to a very proud Tassar! I asked the others if it would be wiser to follow the escapees through the kitchen, or to move back into uninhabited regions. Exploring the room, we found one other door. Theona found blood and scratches on the floor of the passage, and Rosorc went ahead of her. He got spiked by a trap, showing us where the blood and scratches came from! Stoically, he walked on, followed by the rest of us, except for Tassar, who said he was keeping watch. In the kitchen. It sounded like his mouth was full.

The hallway ended in a wooden door, barred, and marked with a symbol for the dark elves. For once, we all agreed that we were not interested in adding trouble with the drow to our situation! We turned back just in time to hear Tassar snap, “No! It’s my stew!!”, which warned us that more reinforcements must have arrived. Rosorc led the charge into the kitchen, killing two orcs right away, but taking a lot of damage, too. While I healed him up, Areon charged after the rest. So much for getting back into unoccupied territory! We ended up in another room, with columns down the sides, and a cave-in at one end. The other end held more orcs, another ogre, and the mage, again.

Shooting arrows and spells, we dashed in and hid behind the columns. Except for Rosorc, who charged right down the middle of the room into battle. He killed some orcs, but the mage pulled a lever, and Rosorc fell into a pit, several inches deep in oil! Two of the orcs lit a torch and dropped it in, Rosorc managed to catch it, but still set himself on fire! I raced forward, uncoiling my rope, and praying the others would cover me. William cast more spells, very effectively! Again, this got him more attention than he liked.

The ogre grabbed a dead orc body and flung it at Rosorc, luckily missing so badly that it knocked another orc to its death as well. It then took another body, and flung it at William, knocking him to the floor! Rosorc was climbing slowly, but I was worrying about William, and when Tassar fell into the pit full of oil, the goddess gave me strength! I hauled Rosorc the last few feet out of the pit and headed over to stabilize William. The ogre was still throwing bodies, but that ended fast when Tassar flung his war fork from Hell at the ogre and killed it outright!

Finally, I got Tassar out of the pit, and set to using up all but one of the charges from the healing wand he’d given me. With everyone healed as much as possible, we checked out the doors at the end of the room. Unfortunately, the orcs had had enough time to lock them thoroughly. Theona tried using her mystery wand, and we found out it shot a ray of enfeeblement, but that didn’t get us anywhere. I pointed out that the orcs might be using other passages to close in from behind, and we turned back. Tassar was far ahead of us, already. We did stop to penny the kitchen door shut, then caught up with Tassar, who was opening random doors in the Great Hall. He quickly found something of interest!

Four green-lit torches in the corners, an altar at the end surrounded by charred orc bodies, and fifteen-foot tall statues of dwarves in wall alcoves. One held a waraxe, the other, a warhammer. There was a mithril axe on the altar, and Tassar shouting for Rosorc! We decided to leave the dwarf alone in that room, since he wanted the mithril axe and we didn’t want to mess things up with non-dwarf presences (except for Tassar, who decided to open all the other doors while we waited). The door soon opened, and Rosorc came out, axe in hand. Theona snagged the torches, passing them out so we all had permanent light.

While Tassar explored a new passageway, I decided to check the other doors quickly before following. A roomful of statues got Rosorc’s attention, but as I headed for the next, Tassar reappeared, red-faced and choking! He slammed the door behind him and told us there were bad things were that way. I healed him up, and told everyone that I was out of spells for the day. The guys, of course, decided to check the “bad thing” out with Rosorc’s new axe. The rest of us waited at the end of the hall while the fighters walked down to where a hole in the ceiling was barely visible. When nothing came out to fight them, they got impatient and began shooting arrows into it!

I got impatient with the waste of ammunition and time and chucked a couple of sling bullets at them, which got their attention (thank heavens no one shot an arrow at me, come to think of it!). Tassar is now pretending to be cowed by my mighty sling, but spoils the effect by giggling. He won’t let us forget those two ogres any time soon! The party has reassembled in the room, and chocked the doors shut to settle down for a bit. So far, we’ve heard no sound of pursuit, and I pray we can get some rest after this eventful day!

Posted by Kate on April 27, 2004, 13:01

Short Trips!

We had a quiet rest. Praying to Tymora, I was able to heal Tassar some more. While doing so, I heard Rosorc suggesting that we try to track down the orc mage! He told Theona that there would probably be lots of loot involved; he’s certainly learned how to get her attention!

With no idea where the orc mage was, however, we simply began opening doors and checking out the hallways. Randomly picking one, we headed down a sloping ramp. The first thing our searchers found was a hole - in the ceiling! Rosorc was certain it was a dwarven trap - lucky for us, already tripped. Sure enough, we passed the crushed remnants of a body on our way to the bottom of the slope.

A large stone cylinder explained the rest of the trap to the non-dwarves, and then movement down one of the hallways at the bottom caught our attention! Rosorc knew what the new creatures were right away; rust monsters, which quickly picked up the scent of our metal gear and rushed down the hall for a snack! Arrows were soon winging their way, and William began to cast spells. I used my sling, but didn’t do much at all to slow the things.

Theona managed to shoot one to death even as Rosorc stepped behind us and reloaded his crossbow - although Tassar insisted the move was simply to protect his spiked armor. I tried smacking the remaining thing with my wooden staff, also to no effect, but William finished it off for me. Poor William, however, had taken the brunt of the attack - losing his armor and shield in the process!

Guessing that there would be no more rust monsters from that direction, Tassar made off down the hall they’d come from. Before we got too far, both Theona and Areon noticed a secret door in the wall! They quickly had it open, and we turned down the new passage, ending in another door - also soon open. To our surprise, as we entered the new room, we heard a ‘click’ as William closed the secret door behind us! He heard about that, I fear, but it hadn’t occurred to any of us that he would take such a chance of locking us in!

We were quickly distracted by new trouble; the floor of the secret room began to move, and a huge earth elemental formed! Rosorc attacked, Theona stood screaming, Tassar charged. He was immediately kicked across the room! The thing then attacked so fast that it hit every fighter, hard, including Tassar, who didn’t get up. I don’t know what posessed me, but I dashed into the thick of battle, grabbed him, and ran for the dubious safety of the passage before the elemental could strike me, too. Tymora’s blessings were upon me! Meanwhile, Areon managed to push Theona into the hallway, too, and ran into the fight to get hammered by the thing.

Theona, seeing our friends in real trouble, leaned out of the doorway and shot the wand of enfeeblement at the elemental. It actually seemed to work! I healed Tassar back onto his feet even as the others attacked with renewed hope. The dwarf broke into song, the halfling flung his war fork through the battle (narrowly missing the elf), and the mage cast magic missiles into the crumbling mass. Theona gave it another shot, and Areon was able to hack big chunks out with his sword, as I healed Tassar enough to see him head back into the fray. Rosorc, unfortunately, took one blow too many; next thing I knew, I was dashing by the monster for the second time, relying on Tymora’s grace to do my duty. I dragged him to safety as Areon smashed the elemental to bits.

Tassar’s healing wand came in handy for the last time, as I did all I could to get my party back in decent shape. Tassar had a snack while I worked. Theona found a new hall, another trap (unsprung), marked it with chalk, then checked the door William had closed (thankfully, it opened after all), while the rest of us settled down for another rest. She searched the room while we slept, and Tassar graffitied the place with her chalk. I woke up with the power to heal Rosorc much more, and turned to Tassar, only to see him walk beyond the marked trap and set off another! He reached for a door handle and promptly fell through the floor!

I flipped out, insisting that someone trip the door again so we knew what had happened to him! It seemed a very long time before Theona had the door open and I could lie down and holler down what turned out to be a long chute in the floor - only to hear the sounds of fighting, then silence. I lowered my rope only to find that it didn’t reach far enough. Rosorc then carefully climbed down, bless him! He soon called for someone to drop another rope, which William did, and apparently that was just long enough; they both climbed back up the chute. Tassar had some new toys from his battle with three drow! He told me all about the battle, showed me his new black dagger and sword that’s taller than he is, and suddenly fell asleep from their poisoned arrows even as I healed his wounds. Knowing he’d be out for a while, and unable to help for that day, I picked him up and followed the others down the hall.

Theona had found yet another door, untrapped, through which we discovered the old armory (there were arrow slits across the way; we ducked below them as best we could, fearing more traps). A few weapons had survived the ages, and we collected them while she opened yet another secret door. This one led to the other side of the wall and the arrow slits, another hallway, and another secret door! That one opened to a room full of cobwebs, which Rosorc set to burning away, when we were, naturally, attacked by the inhabitants. The giant spiders were soon killed, despite the fact that Tassar wouldn’t wake up, and Rosorc was bitten several times and considerably weakened (not to mention accidentally shot by Theona, while William’s spells flew overhead!).

We have to rest, yet again. Rosorc is awake, but can hardly move, though he seems happy to just gaze lovingly on Theona. Theona, on the other hand, is looking a little claustrophobic from being underground so long. She hasn’t been the same since that earth elemental! I hate to let her down, but until Tassar wakes up and I can pray to restore Rosorc’s strength, we’re stuck. May the time pass quickly!

Posted by Kate on May 15, 2004, 15:54

Very Bad Things

I was very relieved to see Tassar wake up with the rest of us. The drow poison seems to have had no lasting effects. I prayed, and restored Rosorc’s strength and the others’ health.

Opening the only other door in the room, the party found several tunnels - and immmediately split up to follow several at once! Eventually, most of us were headed in one direction, while Rosorc tapped his way down a hall behind us. This made for both good news and bad news.

I was following Tassar when he stopped at two doors opposite each other, and opened the one to the left. He found a library of sorts; stone shelves, and stone tablets on the shelves. Unfortunately, he also found a tattoed, red-robed wizard poring over them with an assistant, and several gnolls standing guard! Tassar screamed out Tempus’ name and charged into the room.

I shouted behind me what I’d seen, heard Rosorc come charging, and saw him round the corner even as a ray of light hit the wall over his head! Areon had walked to the turning, suddenly, he pulled his bow and began shooting down the hallway behind Rosorc. At least we weren’t surprised by attackers from behind, but it didn’t make things easier!

William pushed by me, into the room, and began casting spells at the gnolls attacking Tassar. He was quickly set upon, so I ran in and tried to help. I managed to distract the gnolls long enough for William, remembering that he had no armor, to squeeze back outside. The red-robed wizard cast some kind of spell, summoning a wolf-like thing that joined the attack on Tassar. He was getting overwhelmed by sheer numbers, when Rosorc charged into the room. I couldn’t get out of the way in time and took a hit, but I was very glad to see another fighter come to Tassar’s aid! Especially as I seem to have gotten out of fighting practice; I couldn’t land a blow to save my life!

Shouts from the hall let me know what the ray had come from - a beholder and several drow were attacking from behind! They’d cast a magical darkness, and the others came piling into the room, except for William. I was shocked to see them pushing the door shut, but apparently he’d gone down to a poisoned arrow and they simply were unable to get to him. Poor William! I didn’t have much time to worry about him, though, for the fighting continued, and the wizard was shooting spells, too. Theona got hit by something acidic, but managed to shoot my attacker dead with an arrow before it killed me.

The wizard, seeing Tassar and Rosorc mowing down his guards, suddenly disappeared with his assistant. But even as Tassar finished the last one, the drow and beholder began to win the battle of the door! Rays shot into the room, hitting some party members. Luckily for us, it also accidentally incincerated one of the drow in the doorway, which gave Theona a chance to slam the door a second time. Areon held it shut while I healed myself a little, and moved away from the door for some cover while the others prepared to do battle, yet again.

The drow gave the door another shove while Theona and I took a quick look around the room, hoping to find another exit. We had no luck. Tassar even climbed the shelves. We had just agreed that we’d have to fight our way out, when Areon said that the hallway had gone quiet. We walked up, he cracked the door open, and there was an empty hall. Poor William! Who knows what the drow would think of his strange ancestry? Quietly, I healed the others (giving Rosorc a flask of healing potion in case he needed it fast), and the elves listened for any movement. We agreed that we had to try to follow the drow and recover our friend, and Tassar had already started down the hall, when Rosorc decided to check the door across from us before moving out.

It was just as well that he did! He and the elves caught sight of the beholder, floating in another library! He slammed the door quickly, and we gathered around it. I punched it open with my staff so that no one was directly in the path of any rays, and those with bows shot the thing! Then we all ducked as it responded with a barrage of attacks from its eyes. Rosorc was hit and immediately fell asleep; thankfully, I was able to shake him awake right away! Tassar was hit hard enough to shatter his shield into pieces, plus falling asleep, and Areon suddenly looked absolutely exhausted. Rosorc charged into the room as I shook Tassar awake; he quickly shot another arrow into the beholder, and ran after the dwarf.

He didn’t get far; the drow suddenly appeared from near the walls! Rosorc was hit by a poison arrow and collapsed in a heap, right in front of the beholder! I tried to break the spell on Areon and failed, but he was still more than able to step up and kill one of the drow attacking Tassar. Areon was hit by the beholder again - luckily, damage that I could heal. He then shot the beholder - to death! Running low on healing spells, I gave him my last potion, then stepped into the room to help Tassar against the three drow still fighting him. I finally landed a hit, killing one, and with a flurry of blows, he finished off the others! The last drow left disappeared again.

While Areon held the door shut against the presumably invisible drow, I managed to wake Rosorc; the others searched the room - and found William! Blessed Tymora, what luck! He was in a deep sleep, of course, and Tassar suddenly fell asleep again, too. I’m out of spells, we will soon be on the run again, but I still feel hopeful. After surviving multiple threats like that, someone must be watching out for us!

Posted by Kate on May 18, 2004, 01:34

Triumph and Tragedy

Knowing the drow would soon return, we did not search the entire library. We did check out the tablets that the Red Wizard had been perusing, however! His assistant had been making a rubbing of an ancient stone map of the North. The Anauroch Desert, even, was shown as a fertile land! The map also showed where to find the burial tombs of ancient mages of the Netheril Empire. I asked if we had the materials to make a rubbing of our own, which got my belt rubbed by Tassar. While I was laughing, Rosorc pulled out some parchment and he and Theona set about copying the map.

While they worked, we read some of the tablets nearby. Apparently, the map is especially for finding the burial tomb of the Archmage Trelzun. I tried to explain what I remembered of Netheril’s history, and its powerful magic. I think it may be worthwhile to find out more about these burial tombs, especially if the Red Wizards are interested, too! I was a little distracted by Tassar gutting the beholder in the background, I’m afraid. Or maybe it was the sight of him waving eyestalks around and making them “talk”.

As soon as the map was done, we began to argue about which way to go! We knew we wanted away from both the drow and the orcs, and, of course, the elves just wanted outside already, but no one knew which way that was. Both Theona and Areon wanted to see what lay beyond the doors at the other end of the hallway we’d entered by the portal. The ones that Tassar had led us away from by his curiosity. Growing a little exasperated, I pointed out to Tassar that they wouldn’t be happy until we knew what was on the other side of those doors - and he was off! Thankfully, everyone else decided to follow. At least we were on the move before anything else showed up!

We made it back to the original hallway, and readied ourselves for trouble around the unopened doors. Theona checked for traps, and gently pushed the doors open to reveal an empty chamber beyond. We could see ominous-looking slits in the ceiling, and another set of doors across the way. Tassar poked an eyestalk into the room and got no reaction (from the room, at least). He then snuck inside, keeping by the walls, and heading for the doors on the opposite side. We watched quietly as he reached them and flung them wide - to blinding sunlight! Thank Tymora! We followed him around the edge of the room and saw our first open sky in what seemed like ages.

We found ourselves on a rocky ledge, with an ancient roadbed winding off to the right. I studied the mountain ranges and forests below, and made an educated guess - I think this road will take us to the Moonwood! At least we’ll be closer to home, but we’ll have to be extra careful, as the Wood is full of evil lycanthropes. Still, we’ll worry about that when we get there. Areon quickly scouted ahead as we moved out - glad to be doing his own thing again, I’m sure! He wasn’t looking very healthy, I fear; as I looked at my friends in the bright light, I realized that Tassar didn’t look much better, and William was barely on his feet. I felt badly that I couldn’t heal them, but at that point it seemed more important to keep moving. In the Spine of the World, resting for a day on an open road isn’t a good idea!

Unfortunately, fate took any options out of our hands. Areon came rushing back up the road to tell us that there was a good-sized party of orcs coming toward us! We scattered, hoping to hide behind boulders as we’d done in Hell. Unfortunately, Rosorc had the same trouble as before, and no potion of invisibility. William, too, was unable to hide well. A crowd of orcs and two dire boars marched up the road, took one look around, and headed right for us! Rosorc was first into battle - I was glad that he was the healthiest of us all! William cast a spell over our heads and killed one of the orcs outright; the other nineteen kept coming. Rosorc charged into the midst of them as elves’ arrows flew overhead and I used my sling. Soon, everyone was surrounded.

I managed to kill an orc, myself, and saw William kill several with a burst of fire before turning to run. He didn’t make it far - out of nowhere, one of the dire boars loomed large. It smashed him to death! It didn’t have a chance to sink in before two more orcs attacked me. I saw Theona’s ray of enfeeblement going off, swung my staff, then caught sight of Tassar going down under the other dire boar! Forgetting my own attackers, I ran for him! The orcs hit me a couple of times before I remembered Tymora’s blessings and cast fly upon myself. I snatched Tassar’s motionless body from the boar, getting hit as I flew past, and managed to stabilize him while hiding him away from the battle.

Flying above the battle, I saw that we were actually starting to come out ahead, except for William. The elves were down to two attackers, and Rosorc to one, but the boars and two more orcs were heading into the fight. Theona backed up to nock an arrow, and I flew overhead with my sling and managed to kill the two orcs that Areon had been hacking into. Rosorc charged one of the boars, ending up in battle with both an orc and the beast. He killed it and turned to the orc as Areon killed an orc for himself, and went down to the last boar. Theona went berserk, screaming and shooting arrows into the thing. I wondered what effect a little arrow would have on a creature that size, when it collapsed! She’d found a good use for the drow poison! She ran up to cut its throat and I turned to see how Rosorc was doing.

He and the last orc were staggering around each other, both looking haggard. I shot sling bullets at the orc but missed badly, even hitting Rosorc once. Thankfully, he was able to kill it despite my help. He then found the healing potion I’d given him, and used it on Tassar! Bless him! We piled the bodies, and the others searched out what loot they could find. I made my way to William’s body and sadly buried him under a cairn. I’ve prayed to Tymora to guide his spirit! With my last healing, we’re all on our feet, but barely. Areon is going to have to find us a good hiding place away from here. We simply can’t go any further.

May Tymora watch over us!

Posted by Kate on May 26, 2004, 00:37

Unexpected Problems

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 on June 14, 2004, 11:11

Was It Something We Said?

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 on June 15, 2004, 11:36

Expect the unexpected

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 on July 8, 2004, 21:13

A strange sad journey

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 on July 9, 2004, 21:45

No Roses for Rosorc

Once free of the ilithid’s cave, we buried Areon’s blue cat, and moved on into the wilderness. Areon and Beowulf led us toward the settlement of Beorunna’s Well, as Theona thought it was both the closest town, and the most likely to provide us with a safer trip to Silverymoon. There are regular caravan runs and we need safety in numbers! We’ve all given up on the idea of getting our horses back; they’ve surely been sold off long ago.

We travelled all day, and settled into a niche, a depression in the ground, for the night. I had everyone pile their food and water, and blessed the lot for Theona’s peace of mind. We have collected some of it from questionable sources! Areon actually admitted he wasn’t feeling well. The elf has refused to complain when seriously injured, so I was quick to give him a once-over. Sure enough, he’d been bitten by a rat during the underground battles. I cleaned out the wound and used spells to restore him to health as best I could, but promised to pray for the ability to cure disease outright in the morning.

It seemed like I had barely closed my eyes when Beowulf was shaking me awake. It wasn’t second watch yet, though - it was that something had just overflown our camp! Gathered around the fire, we all pulled out whatever we could shoot or throw at the thing which was swooping back toward us. When I saw the wingspan, I feared a white dragon; I caught a glimpse of a horn on its head and no arms just as Beowulf shouted, “Yrthak!” and we all fired. I hit Theona with my shuriken instead, and suddenly the ground in the middle of our party exploded!

As the yrthak flew around for another pass, Areon shouted at us to spread out. Everyone ran for cover away from the fire, toward the rim of the depression. I stayed by the fire, thinking perhaps to give it a target while the others could take a shot. Or maybe I was just guided by Tymora, for the yrthak used the rocks that Rosorc and Theona were using as cover as weapons instead, causing them to explode and doing a lot of shrapnel damage! Rosorc did it some damage, but Theona was barely on her feet. I raced up the hill to heal her as the creature flapped off into the night.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully. Theona took second watch with me to quiz me about “interspecies relationships” again. I pointed out to her that my own attempt had failed badly, but then she implied something about Rosorc and me. I looked at her, I looked at Rosorc... what? I was glad that he stopped mooning after her, but now that I think of it, he does seem kind of sad. Poor Rosorc doesn’t need any more complications in his life, but maybe I can cheer him up without his knowing?

In the morning, I prayed to Tymora and cured Areon’s rat bite fever. We packed up and set out, but it was a wet and windy day. As we struggled along, it got colder. Finally, our scouts found a cave and we settled in around a fire for a few days. Beowulf went out every day to fly around and watch for trouble, Areon made some arrows, and I found some sling stones. Theona talked to me about Rosorc, using elven, which he apparently doesn’t understand. Or else he’s gotten very good at ignoring us! He polished his armor to a fine shine before the weather changed and we all set out again.

The next few days were uneventful, which I thanked Tymora for every night! Beowulf in the sky and Areon on the ground were a good team, apparently leading us around various trouble spots. The only fight they got into, they didn’t even need any help except for looting the body and burying the skull of its last victim. I was passing a little stream the first day when I saw some wildflowers by the bank. I don’t know what came over me, but I picked one quickly and hid it. That night, I managed to tuck it into Rosorc’s beard without either waking him or being seen by Theona, a creditable feat! I suspect Areon thinks I’m nuts, but I hope it makes Rosorc smile. If he gets too worried, I suppose I’ll tell him it was just a joke on my part.

I managed to find a flower or two every day for the rest of the trip. If nothing else, it seemed to get Rosorc wondering about the group he was a part of instead of walking along deep in his own thoughts. By the time we were in sight of Beorunna’s Well, he was sharing out the last of his ale and singing some utterly reprehensible tavern songs with Theona. The two of them had a lot of “the last of the ale” stored away!

As evening fell, we saw the wooden palisade of Beorunna’s Well across the plain. A caravan was just entering the gates. We were soon there, too, and asking for the nearest inn! A good night’s sleep and a proper wash sounded like just the thing! Lucky for us, there were four rooms left. Beowulf and wolf, Theona and Areon, Rosorc, and I each got one. Sleeping out for days makes you really appreciate a mattress and blankets! I did get up in the middle of the night for a trip to Rosorc’s locked door, however. There may not be many wildflowers in the rocky foothills, but that walk across the plain found me quite a few. I hope he notices that none are roses; I don’t want him to think it’s Theona being a tease.

The next morning, we all met at the elves’ room to divide up our treasure. Beowulf used detect magic to separate out anything special, and mentioned that my new staff definitely glowed. This is a rough frontier town, but it has several shops, so we set out to find someone to identify our magical items. With over 2500 gold apiece, we also kept an eye out for anything else that looked useful! The trip to the magic-users’ shop went very well; not only did I get a wand of cure light wounds, but the mage gave me the command word to my staff - of shocking! When he told me there was no limit on the staff’s charges, he got a tip!

Areon found the armory, and we really made some inroads on their stock of mithril. Even Rosorc got new armor, had more spikes added, and headed right back to the mage’s to get it enchanted. I stocked up on shuriken and asked about the local shrines, but there were none for Tymora, so I saved my donation for when we get back to Silverymoon. For that matter, how do we plan to get back? I decided to ask the innkeeper about any caravans back to the city, and found out that the one we’d seen earlier was going that way soon. Beowulf, Rosorc and I went to speak to him while Theona and Areon went searching through the pawnshops for something.

Rosorc, being our best advertisement, did the bargaining. Lukeon, the caravan master, was quite glad to have more folk travelling with him, and even hired us as guards. At 25 gold a day and a 15-day trip, it’s a bonus! I’m just happy to be travelling in a bigger group. We’ll be passing through an area of Uthgardt raiders, the Sky Pony tribe. They’re focusing on dwarven caravans but will attack anyone. Beowulf told us that he expected clear weather for the next several days, and soon we were on the road.

The elves, by the way, did find something in their search of the shops. It’s a silver tiger statue, vaguely familiar. Areon hopes to find another one like it, or even the maker of this one. I guess both of our elves are searching for mysterious artifacts!

The next morning, we headed out. Beowulf handed me a wand to carry for him, while he and Areon continued their scouting pattern. The first day went uneventfully, and the night passed quietly except for Theona suddenly realizing that Midsummer was nearly upon us. She’s wondering what Beowulf and I, the two religious folk, plan to do to celebrate. I’m starting to think she’s obsessed with the human body!

The second day, we passed through the region called the Night Trees; strange lights floated in the woods, and could be seen even from our campsite in the fields outside. We wisely let them alone. The third and fourth days went well, but the weather began to change for the worse. The druid thinks it will be warm and windy like this for the next few days. At least it’s not raining! The fifth day was quiet, except for Rosorc’s growing boredom. He bought all that new gear and hasn’t had a chance to use it on anything! Day six, and that changed. Beowulf flew back to tell us that there is an Uthgardt ambush ahead, maybe six riders. After a little discussion, we decided to keep going, hands on weapons. There’s going to be a fight!

Posted by Kate on August 8, 2004, 08:22

Ouch! Fire Hot!

Cautiously, the caravan moved ahead. Beowulf gave me his wand to hold again, and told Shadow to stay with Areon. The elves scouted off ahead of us to watch for trouble. Before Beowulf transformed into a bird for the day, he caught sight of a troop of barbarians heading through the woods. They passed us by! Unsure of what that meant, we set out. The rest of the day was quiet, leaving us wondering; did the barbarians decide to avoid us, or did they go for reinforcements?

We got something of an answer as we circled the wagons and made camp that evening. Beowulf circled the area as an owl, and returned to tell us that the barbarians were watching us from about a quarter mile off in the grass. This got everyone talking! Beowulf himself wanted to either go talk to them or attack them, while I leaned toward setting extra watches and expecting trouble. The caravan leader decided we should avoid contact, set watches, and hope for the best. Perhaps all travelers in this area get an ‘escort’.

The night passed quietly, thank Tymora! I did so during morning prayers! While the rest of the caravan preprared to set out, we helped Areon hide himself; he wanted to see if he could learn more about our followers. Rosorc was especially grumpy; apparently, the trip so far was boring for one who wanted to test his new armor and weapons. I guess the flowers aren’t helping his mood, but it’s gotten to be a habit. I bet he’d be disappointed if they weren’t there when he woke up!

My musings were interrupted by the sight of a wild hawk flying up to Theona with a message attached to its leg. She read it and got very worried! Apparently, Areon was now following our followers, but he got close enough to see that they’re from the Grey Wolf tribe, and that means trouble. That tribe is infested with lycanthropy, and Midsummer moon not far off! Beowulf flew off with a quiver of silver arrows for Areon, after giving me a handful of silver sling bullets.

It was a long day. Areon made it safely into camp by nightfall, and this turned into the routine for the next couple of days; we traveled, they followed, we all kept a wary eye on each other. They figured out that Beowulf-the-bird was part of the party pretty quickly, but still didn’t disturb him or us. By the eighth day out, I was starting to hope that we’d be OK if we didn’t provoke trouble. Instead, trouble of a different kind came to provoke us.

Out of nowhere, a red dragon swooped in on our party as we made camp! He was small enough to land inside the ring of wagons - barely. Panic quickly ensued; animals and humans were in chaos! I found myself plastered up against the outside of one of the wagons, knowing that the dragon would see me if I made a dash for safety. The dragon looked around complacently, announced that we had encroached upon his lands, then demanded tribute! I looked for the caravan master, only to see him hiding under a wagon...

Rosorc, on the other hand, bravely walked up to the dragon to parley! His bravery inspired others; the panic slowly subsided Rosorc and the dragon began to talk instead of trash the place. And I thought the dwarf was just itching for an excuse to fight! The dragon, knowing his own strength, casually checked out the contents of the traders’ wagons while asking for either two thousand gold pieces, or magical items. We certainly didn’t have the gold, but the caravan master came up with a ring that satisfied the dragon’s greed.

Apparently thinking to solve our other problem, Rosorc and Theona told the dragon about our barbarian trackers, who would also be “trespassing” on his lands. The dragon looked off, smiled, and flew away. We packed the camp back up and headed out, determined to put as much distance between us and the dragon as possible! It was a long night, but no one complained.

The next morning, however, showed us the sight of the dragon in the distance and closing in on us fast. As one, the caravan armed itself; we knew that if the first tribute hadn’t been enough, this beast would harry us all the way back to Silverymoon. The dragon, instead of landing, swooped over the last wagon and breathed fire, leaving behind a charred hulk as the rest of the drivers whipped their teams into a run! This was when I realized that the dragon was covered with burns and cuts - apparently, the barbarians put up a strong resistance. Dragons aren’t stupid; this one was going to make us pay for getting him hurt.

Our arrows were bouncing off the dragon’s hide even as it came around for a second run, strafing Rosorc as he crouched behind his shield, shouting insults. A few arrows hit their mark as it passed, and then both Beowulf and I ran to the dwarf to heal him. He shooed us away, however, as our armor wasn’t going to withstand dragonfire like his could. Areon hit it with a well-placed shot and earned the next strafe; I broke my new bowstring and decided to heal Areon instead. Rosorc’s warning came back to haunt me, as the dragon engulfed us both in flame!

As the dragon circled around for his next run, I healed myself, then cast Fly. Although it was fast in the air, I was hoping to be able to dart around it and hit it with my staff of shocking, perhaps knocking it out of the sky if I caught it just right. Of course, having a target at eye-level meant the dragon was heading right for me! At least it kept him from seeing the giant owl the Beowulf called up, until it grappled with him! Arrows kept finding their mark even as the dragon and owl fought, and I got close enough to hit it, myself. I don’t know if it was Beowulf’s last well-placed arrow shot, or the electrical shock I landed on the dragon’s rear end, but the beast suddenly flew off, and did not come back for another attack.

I quickly flew to a higher altitude, watching the dragon until he was lost to sight, and never saw him turn. I also looked for the barbarian lycanthropes, but saw no sign of them, either. Praying that our troubles were over for the moment, I then descended to help the party. I could see two wagons were gone; destroyed by dragonfire, and their guards with them. Sadly, I buried the bodies and prayed over them. Then, we turned our faces toward Silverymoon. This has been a long and difficult journey; I want to be home for a while!

I wonder what Rosorc will think of the city?

Posted by Kate on August 15, 2004, 08:04

Drowning sorrow in dwarven ale

Our much-reduced caravan finally quit running at nightfall. We were almost too exhausted to make camp! Thankfully, the only thing to fall from the sky that night was rain. I was getting tired of rain. At least it was warm. I prayed in the morning, and asked Areon to repair my bowstring. I can only hope to be of more use with it next time!

The day and next evening passed quietly, if wet. Areon realized that if we kept our pace, we’d make it to Silverymoon in time for Midsummer. This caused me to practice my dance steps, while Theona and Areon showed the caravan master their silver tiger statue. He did recognize the maker’s mark, who lives in the city. Beowulf chose this time to ask for his wand back, so I pulled him into the dance. We even got Rosorc to try!

The next day we continued; the area was becoming more settled every mile. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the holiday! I asked a few locals if there was any news, and was glad to hear that there was not. The third night from the dragon, we set up camp in the rain, and went to bed. I woke in the middle of third watch to the sound of Theona shouting, “Ambush!” and shooting into the dark.

Quickly getting up, I pulled out my torch and looked toward her target. I could see a humanoid figure worrying at one of the guards’ bodies. As it ran off into the night, we heard screams from the other end of camp! Shouting, “Undead!”, Theona let loose another volley of arrows and Rosorc charged at a pasty-skinned thing that did not bleed when struck. At this point, Beowulf got a good look at the thing and shouted that it was a wight. I turned the creature, which disappeared into the night.

I quickly got up on a wagon box, knowing the attack was not over and wanting to reach as many as possible with my next turning. I was barely there when one attacked Areon. Then the first dead guard got to his feet with an evil gleam in his eyes! The new wight attacked Rosorc, who hadn’t had a chance to get his heavy armor on and was only holding his shield and axe. Although he hacked it to pieces, it weakened him considerably.

The other guards began to join us at this point in the firelight. I cast another turning, just in case; sure enough, the dead guard that Beowulf was standing over got up and attacked. Theona shot it, Rosorc charged in, and Areon finished it off with his bow. Finally, we had a chance to check around the campsite, finding no more wights. Hoping there were no more, we set a careful watch for the rest of the (thankfully quiet) night.

I buried the guards’ bodies in the morning, and we set off. Soon, we could see our destination - Silverymoon in the distance! Most of us were enjoying the view, but Areon was quick-sighted, noticing giant tracks crossing the track and headed west. We were determined to honor our caravan contract, but decided to ask Beowulf to check out where the tracks led. We have a committment to protect our city, too, and I am grateful to the druid for helping us. He was able to tell us about a large pack of orcs and hill giants, geared for battle, wearing a bloody fang insignia, and far too close to the city!

We warned the gate guards of our findings when we reached the city at dusk. The rain let up immediately, which surprised Rosorc and Beowulf, and I quickly explained the magical phenomena. Meanwhile, we followed the caravan master to his lodgings, to be paid 300 gold apiece. As it was well into night, we next split up to go to bed. The elves retired to Theona’s treehouse, while I invited the dwarf and druid to my temple, knowing that Tymora’s chosen welcome adventurers. The beds, baths, and fresh clothing seemed to do the trick; we all looked better in the morning, especially Rosorc! I was glad to see the wight’s attack hadn’t harmed him more seriously.

I tithed my 300 gp to the temple, and decided to visit Lady Brennan, Tassar’s landlady. Beowulf tagged along, while Rosorc walked off to see the sights of the city alone. I could see Theona’s house standing empty across the street (checking out their artist?) as I knocked on the Lady’s door. I explained his disappearance and note, but not his later reappearance in an evil role, and asked if she’d seen him. I must admit I was not expecting her to smile and nod!

He’d returned some four days before, paid up, and left again. He did leave me another note, however.

“Deitricha, we have much to discuss and explain. Meet me at 29 Dark Alley Way. Come alone. Tassar XXOOX”

I was stunned. How did he get back - how did he know I’d be back, too? What could he possibly want to say? I thanked Lady Brennan, and made my way to the Bright Blade Brandished, a rather confused Beowulf in tow. I’m afraid I was a little rude to him, but all I could think of was getting a drink. Or two. He did make the point that he wasn’t letting me go anywhere alone after what he’d seen of Tassar lately!

Eventually, Rosorc appeared at the bar, easily guessing that we’d congregate at the one place we all wished for while on the road! I bought him a round, and he bought me dwarven spirits. The dwarven spirits were very nice, so I told him and Beowulf about Tassar and me and his note. They seemed to think I’m the easiest target of the party for him to get to. They’re likely right. I cried on Rosorc’s shoulder and drank some more, while the Midsummer celebrations went on around us.

By sundown, I was dancing on the tables while Beowulf checked out the celebrants in the bar, Rosorc giving me odd looks. The elves finally wandered in; I offered Theona a drink, while Beowulf and Rosorc updated them both on the Tassar problem. Theona refused my offer of dwarven spirits, saying they caused her to end up in strange places. I told her that I intended to do exactly that! In fact, it suddenly seemed that the best time to go would be right now, as I certainly wasn’t in a state to tell Tassar anything useful.

I made it halfway to the door before I found myself walking back to the table with the dwarf. He offered me one more drink, and I found myself drifting gently to the floor...

Posted by Kate on August 21, 2004, 18:25

What Did I Miss?

The morning after Midsummer’s Night came far too soon for my aching head. I really should have thought about how long it’s been since I really indulged in ale! Much less trying out new kinds of alcohol...

No one else was in the room, but at least I was IN a room, and so was all of my stuff! I pulled myself together as best I could (was I trying to head for Dark Alley Way last night?!), and headed downstairs to see what my bill was going to be.

Rosorc, bless him, had paid in full. I’ll have to find and thank him, soon. First, however, the sight of Beowulf eating breakfast and chatting with a stranger caught my attention. I ordered breakfast of my own, with a big mug of ale to go along, and settled down by the druid and his wolf. And the new guy’s rat, which drinks ale too!

Beowulf introduced Tyan, who is apparently interested in seeing what trouble and treasure our little group can get into. He also said that no one went to find Tassar last night. He commented on Tassar in somewhat unmentionable terms, and got some of my breakfast chucked at him in return. I am trying to keep an open mind in regards to the halfling!

Theona and Areon soon dropped by. Instead of partying last night, they tracked down their silver tiger statue some more. What was most interesting is that they recognized the Red Wizard’s library assistant from the ancient dwarven hall, making a midnight run to the same auction house that’s disposing of the fake tiger statues. Is it related?

The tiger statue itself has a history of the tribe inscribed on it but not much else. Therefore, we headed for the library my mother works at to do some research of our own. The map I’d copied after the Red Wizard and assistant left, described the kingdom before the Anauroch Desert was formed. So, we asked for and paid to read books about that, about the Mage Tombs, and about the Red Tiger tribe. Tyan, however, read a book about the anatomy of the red dragon, despite our first-hand experience. I hope he doesn’t think he can learn everything from a book!

Mom works in a restricted area, but I sent her a note, and she soon came out to give me a hug and kiss. When I asked her about the rest of the family, she said everyone was fine, but my oldest brother is acting a little oddly. I guess I’d better go talk to him; perhaps he can give me more details about Tassar. Maybe he had more reason than I thought to attack the guy, or maybe he knows something now that would clear things up?

Posted by Kate on January 8, 2005, 21:14

Not Trolls Again...

After searching a few hours for my brother, I gave up and returned to the tavern. Sure enough, the others had gathered there already! Rosorc didn’t say much about where he’d been, but the rest had gone to a scryer about the whereabouts of the silver tiger statue.

The statue was found, moving away from us as part of a caravan’s cargo. It was two hundred miles away already. So, we’re going to pay for a teleport to the next town the caravan should pass through. After that, we’d either try to barter for it, try to explain its significance and ask for it, or else just steal or take it. Hopefully in that order. Everyone picked up some last-minute supplies, and we were off.

The teleport landed us right in the middle of Yartar’s market. The place turned out to be a small fortified town, with a keep across the river. For some reason, Tyan made a point of pulling his hood up, and kept it that way the whole time we were there...

We started by finding the gate that the Silverymoon caravans would enter by, and I expected to wait there and speak to the traders when they were set up in town to trade like everyone else. The others wanted to go and meet the caravan; I guess Areon’s impatience infected them? Since the scryer said there were ten wagons in the caravan, Beowulf took the form of an eagle and scouted ahead.

We hadn’t walked for very long when Beowulf returned, saying that a ten-wagon caravan was a few hours away - being attacked by trolls! He had stopped to give them warning, but we hustled to reach them and perhaps help, anyway. A little while later, we saw three wagons bearing the marks of battle coming up the road at top speed.

While the rest of us either prudently got out of their way, or waved arms in an attempt to stop them and ask after their party, Rosorc suddenly went mad. On one of his trips into a shop, he’d found and purchased a real bag of snakes. He just smiled when I said it was cruel to keep them penned up like that, and said they might come in handy. He now flung them into the lead wagon in a vain attempt to slow or stop it!

As I turned to holler at the dwarf, two humans jumped out of the wagon, yelling about bandits. I was appalled. Tyan and Beowulf immediately took off running - that looked really bad! Rosorc took offense at being called a bandit, pulling down his helmet’s visor and grabbing his weapon. (He ignored me yelling “Idiot!!” at him, though). Since the snake-infested wagon kept going, the two humans grabbed ahold of the last wagon to pass by and made their escape.

In the silence that ensued, Areon pointed out that we might as well go on and check the other wagons for survivors. Theona had pulled out a bottle and was quietly getting very drunk, while I trudged along wishing I’d thought to bring a drink, too. We all look like criminals now! We were pretty well tired out by the time we reached the site of the battle.

It was awful. There were two charred troll bodies, burning wagons, blood everywhere. The wagons were well-looted, and no sign of any bodies at all - not human or horse. Without much hope, we set out along the trolls’ trail and into the Evermoors, praying that someone may still be alive. Perhaps the statue was among the loot taken from the wagons, but without knowing how many trolls we’ll encounter, it was low on my list of things to worry about!

I was remembering how we’d lost Antonio to a single troll, when two loomed up from each side of the trail and attacked! The battle was long and painful to many, but we did destroy them both in the end. Healed up, we followed the trail to its end; the mouth of a cave. Tymora bless us, we need all the luck we can get!

Posted by Kate on January 16, 2005, 09:11

a little luck

We decided to head right into the trolls’ cave, following the newest trail of blood around a complex of tunnels. Just as we were able to make out the sound of voices and cracking bones, the owners of the same made out the sound of our party! We had just a moment to prepare before three trolls shambled around the corner and attacked.

Areon and Rosorc stepped ahead, bravely facing the claws of the trolls as our people with fire prepared to attack. Theona pulled out her wand of enfeeblement, hoping it would help, and I waited to heal those who needed it. Fireballs and lightning spheres, plus the fighters’ weapons, soon had the trolls looking in bad shape, but as we moved forward to finish them off, two more trolls attacked us from behind!

Instead of healing Rosorc, who looked especially bad, I found myself being clawed horribly by one of the new and healthy creatures. We backed into the cavern full of three burning (stinking) troll corpses, and killed one more troll while its partner ran away. Finally, all the trolls in the cavern were dead and burned, but we knew there had to be at least two more around...

We found only corpses of men and horses in the cavern; we’d interrupted dinner. I healed everyone as best I could (myself included!), then we searched for any sign of prisoners. We also wondered what had happened to the stolen loot from the caravan, and if the tiger statue was with it? As we searched the trolls’ “bedroom”, the elves noticed a strange crack in one wall, but before they could check it out, four trolls dropped from ledges near the ceiling!

There was one burned one from our first battle, two healthy, and one very big troll with a sword. We fought them as best we could, backing to the doorway, killed one in the passage and set it on fire to block the others. But the biggest one stepped right onto the body - so much for fearing fire! Things got a little confusing; I was trying to keep the fighters on their feet with healing spells, then throwing a lit torch on an oil-soaked troll, then found myself at the front of the fight next to Rosorc and attacking a troll, which is the last place I wanted to be! Sure enough, I ended up hitting the floor - ouch!

Luckily, someone was able to heal me onto my feet, barely... in time to see the last troll disappearing through the strange crack in the wall. We healed up a little, and checked out the rest of the caves as fast as we could. To my pleasant surprise, we have found some pits with what look to be some survivors inside! Maybe we can explain Rosorc’s snake-throwing incident in some way as to not be branded bandits, after all...

Posted by Kate on January 30, 2005, 09:08


We found two pits, both inhabited. One held a troll, who looked up at us and muttered something in an unknown tongue. None of us could come up with a language in common with the creature, and moved on to the other pit. This one held two of the looted caravan’s guards, looking much worse for wear! Neither was moving, so Areon let himself down into the pit and we helped pull them up.

After a lot of healing, they woke up, understandably confused. They then accused Beowulf of causing all the trouble by getting in their way! Poor Beowulf thought he was helping… after what apologies we could make, we found out that one of the guards spoke troll. He translated for the one in the pit. It turned out that these trolls have been working for some giants who want the silver tiger statue; this troll disagreed with working for others and was imprisoned.

Areon, I think, is pleased to know that we’re on the right path; the statue was taken from the caravan and moved north to the giants within the past few days. We’re getting closer! Next, we found out that the troll is willing to lead us to the giants. Unfortunately, the guard was totally unwilling to go with us as a translator. We couldn’t offer him enough money to come on what he’s sure is a suicide mission!

We let the troll up, and settled in to rest for the evening. In the morning, I prayed for spells to let me understand or speak to the troll, and hoped that being able to communicate a few times a day would be enough. Theona spent her time practicing with her new crystal wand. She managed to cause a wall to collapse! Rosorc, on awakening, decided to go back with the guards. I think he feels responsible for their safety. I’ll miss him, though, and putting flowers in his beard when he sleeps!

Finally, Beowulf settled into bird form to watch over us, and we set out north over the Evermoors. It was a quiet day, to my surprise! I guess nothing wanted to mess with Gral all that much. I tried to exchange a few words with him, so we could learn each other’s language, but I didn’t get far. So, when he stopped late in the day, I had to cast a spell to ask what was wrong. Giants! We quickly followed Gral’s lead and found places to hide.

I found out that my spell let me understand the giants, too, as they passed us. I found out that the giants, too, don’t like to be working for another species! The giants’ leader, “Crank”, is following orders from hobgoblins, and the hobgoblins’ leader, “Grom”, is an utter ass. The giants are tired of collecting items for him. I wonder what part the silver tiger statue plays in all this? I passed on what I’d heard to the others as we set up camp for the night.

The second day passed quietly, although I figured out that poor Gral just isn’t very smart. On the second evening, I even found him trying to eat rocks. I offered him a hunk of meat instead (all the while praying that Rosorc never finds out what use I put his gifts to!). That night Theona woke me, having been warned by Beowulf of humanoids coming our way. Sure enough, almost twenty orcs and a dire boar charged into the middle of our party, howling!

Areon threw an everburning torch onto the ground, and we fought for our lives by its light. Tyan started us off well with a powerful spell that brought their numbers down to ten… while the dire boar attacked Gral, who responded by nearly tearing the thing in half. We were able to get the upper hand pretty quickly, thank Tymora, but we were left with many pieces of Gral by the time the boar was finished off! It was a tense few moments for us to find all the parts and make sure he grew back together, rather than each part into a new troll. One is enough!

At least Gral got a good meal out of the dire boar. We then moved to a new campsite for the rest of the evening. The next morning, we headed north again. This day, we finally reached our destination; looking over a ridge into a river valley, Gral explained that the crumbling fortress below was the giants’ stronghold. The fortress was built on both sides of the river, with a bridge connecting it. It used to have a second story but that had crumbled; there were no windows. The gates were closed, and there was no sign of life.

We discussed our next move, finally deciding to wait for dark and explore the ruins then. Beowulf volunteered to go over the place as a bat, and we settled in to wait. We didn’t wait long! He was soon back, in bird form, and with a tale of being attacked by a goblin and struck by a javelin. He barely got away. The fortress may look quiet, but it’s full of bad guys! We decided to wait the next day out, and sneak down as a group the next evening. I explained our plan to Gral, and gave him another hunk of meat.

Partway through the day, the elves got bored and went “foraging”. I don’t know what they got into, but they came back asking if we’d seen the white dragon! I hope that was some obscure joke on their part… eventually, night fell, and we all worked our way down to the remains of a collapsed tower, hoping it would lead us inside. Areon checked the top of the wall and waved us up, but as soon as we all reached the top, something looked around the corner of the hall and ran off! Areon threw alchemist’s fire into the doorway and we followed up with a charge.

Unfortunately, a pit trap opened up in front of us, and Theona fell in. Hobgoblins came through the flames and threw something into the pit with her, while poor Gral fled the flames… so much for him being useful in a fight. We quickly killed the first wave, and Beowulf was pulling Theona out of the trap, when more hobgoblins started throwing javelins at us! Worse yet, a horn began to blow, so we knew reinforcements were on the way.

Tyan finished off the second wave with a spell, and I healed Theona while Areon charged over the pit and fire and into a room full of hobgoblins. Theona managed to close the pit trap, and Tyan cast a spell at Areon which caused him to double in size. That was quite a sight! Beowulf ran across the pit to back him up, but ran into the reinforcements; ogres! Including one with blue skin that started to cast a spell, even as Areon shouted at us to get back.

We did so, but it wasn’t enough; the blue skinned ogre cast a spell of cold that knocked Areon down and killed Beowulf and his wolf outright. It was an awful moment! Theona and I managed to get Areon back on his feet and fighting, but the ogre cast another spell that made him stop for some reason. Thank Tymora, he went back to attacking when Theona went down! I was healing, shooting crossbow bolts, and ducking the spells that Tyan cast over our heads, when the blue skinned ogre disappeared through a doorway and we turned as one to escape.

We tumbled over the top of the wall, carrying our comrades’ bodies, while Tyan stayed a moment to defend our retreat. He waited until he saw movement, and cast a lightning bolt down the hall. He saw a hill giant in the flash, and did not wait for more. We fled from the ruins and into the night.

Posted by Kate on June 21, 2005, 00:48


Happily, the searchers were unable to discover our hiding place, thanks to Areon’s skill. Sadly, I buried Beowulf and his wolf at dawn. I hope they’ve found peace. Gral, too, seems to be long gone. While I sat down to meditate and pray (especially for some divine guidance), the others were surprised to see a party of humans, apparently headed for the fortress! They quickly agreed to join our party for the safety in numbers, and waited while I cast my divination spell. I asked where to find the silver tiger statue, and got this response:

“Beyond the path of water, resting with the dead, that seeks the living”

Hmm. Well, that seemed to point us to the other side of the bridge, anyway! Healed and refreshed, we headed down to the fortress, this time in daylight. Ebin is a human fighter, and I am ashamed to say that I did not catch the names of the others, only that they are caravan guards. They must be looking for some of the stolen cargo. We tried the locked front door, than walked all about the fortress on our side of the river. Theona found a possible stairwell, much blocked with stones, and we set to clearing them as quietly as possible (though not enough for Areon, who was nervous and cursing most of the day). Once there was a small gap, Tyan sent his rat familiar inside to take a look around. I’m glad he did - there were two hill giants waiting for us!

I thought we should have one person continue to move rocks as a decoy, while the others looked for a different way inside, but we eventually agreed to move to the other side of the river and try to get inside the fortress where the divination seemed to lead. Tyan was able to levitate everyone, and I was able to pull them over, using a rope and a fly spell. Ebin was especially nervous; I wonder if he can swim? An hour of searching on the new rooftop showed us another blocked-up stairwell. We set to clearing it while Tyan used a detect magic spell to look “through” the roof, eventually pointing out an especially “glowy” spot under the southwest corner. We’ll have to keep that in mind! Meanwhile, his poor familiar tried sneaking down the stairwell, but ended up teleported to a cell somewhere else in the building!

Now that we’d set off a trap for sure, Tyan decided to enter the building by an unexpected route. He walked to the middle of the roof, and set off nine shatter charges from a wand right into the stone! Of course, this got the attention of everything on both sides of the fortress; I saw several hobgoblins, two cats with six legs and tentacles, a green-skinned ogre, and two hill giants (surprise!) coming over the bridge and climbing onto the roof with us… or throwing rocks onto the roof at us! Tyan, too, took one look into the hole he’d made in the roof and moved away swearing, which I took to mean it wasn’t much of an escape route.

The battle was long and hard. We fought with spells and weapons and luck, and barely made it. Ebin was the only member of his party to survive! All the evil creatures were killed, except for one hill giant that fled north. I hope we get a little time to finish this search before it brings back more friends!

Posted by Kate on June 21, 2005, 00:52


While Theona stripped the bodies of anything useful (Tyan ended up with some scrolls), we all cast a lot of healing spells on each other. Tyan explained that the hole in the roof was most unwelcoming, so we decided to let ourselves down the side of the building, and try the front door on this side as well. Theona, also, has gotten back into her worry about Zhents. She’s giving poor Ebin the third degree (although I must admit I’m surprised he claims to know nothing about them. Then again, he says he was raised by elves, so what do I know?).

Theona applied her skills to the front door, and it soon opened to show an entryway, and another door. She and Areon headed inside, and she soon had that door open, too. This time, however, they quickly backed out of the building, looking nervous! Something was clicking away inside the doorway, but, eventually, Theona decided it was the trap, even though disarmed. She carefully worked her way back inside, and we carefully followed. The place was a maze of doors and hallways, but we finally found a stretch that seemed likely to be the prison.

Tyan sent a mental request, and soon, we could hear squeaking from his rat! Theona soon had the door open and Glitch was back on his master’s shoulder. We continued our searching, trying to ignore the rat’s antics all over again… Eventually, we found a room full of sarcophagi, which I prayed over and checked for the presence of undead, finding nothing. Sure enough, we lifted the lids to discover desiccated human remains, and moved on.

One room we found had four hobgoblin corpses strewn about it, and the stench of recent death! We looked them over and found huge puncture wounds in their necks, about eight inches apart! The sight filled us with concern; none of us has met a giant-sized vampire, and I doubt any of us want to. Ebin, in fact, quickly decapitated the corpses and shot wooden arrows through all their hearts, “just in case”.

We worked our way toward the middle of the building, finally discovering the room Tyan had put a skylight into. He’d given us some warning to expect a hydra, and, sure enough, that’s what Ebin attacked! Tyan made for the roof while I healed Ebin from his experience. We ended up in a pitched battle, behind, before, and above the creature. To my great relief (after taking five bites at once!), all our attacks overwhelmed it, and it dropped dead. I then took the time to do a lot of healing for us all!

Theona took a look through the next doorway, the one the hydra had been guarding. She found a giant stone sarcophagus, over twenty feet long! There must be a giant vampire here, after all - what a thought! Since it was still daylight, we decided to make an attempt at destroying it’s lair. We climbed onto the roof, and shattered another hole. We threw huge rocks down onto the lid. We racked our brains. Eventually, however, the sun began to sink to the horizon.

Wisely for once, we decided to move away from the fortress and hide for the night. Not a moment too soon, for as the night fell, we heard a horrible howl of rage from the giants’ lair! Areon had done his job well, however, and we were safe until morning. I wonder what we will find when we go back there today?

Posted by Kate on June 21, 2005, 00:54

Well. *That* was sudden.

Daylight came quietly. We broke camp, and re-entered the fortress at the broken-down wall where Beowulf had lost his life. The bodies of our enemies were still there, so we searched them for anything useful, then moved on to the barracks and checked beds and chests. We found the insignia of the hobgoblin mercenary band “The Chill” on everything, and I fear the rest of them won’t be pleased with what happened here! We also found some gems and gold, and added them to our own stash.

We moved further into the building, sending Glitch on ahead under doors and around corners to see what lay ahead. Everything was quiet until he found the kitchen! We took as much food as we could carry, then Theona, Glitch and I had a well-deserved drink from the wine casks while the others explored some more. We followed when they found the weapons room, but there wasn’t much left that hadn’t rotted. I think Areon found some arrows. We walked around some more, found the front doors, then opened a lot more doors. Theona and I refilled our personalized mugs with wine a few times while the others looked over some more barracks. Finally, we walked over the bridge to the room with the sarcophagus.

The hydra still lay in a heap in the corner of the entrance room, and there were still holes in both rooms’ ceilings. Tyan climbed up to check the sarcophagus from overhead, and found it closed. He also chucked a rock at the hydra to be sure it was dead. It was. We all began to wonder if the vampire was even still here – or if the statue was! I sat down and prayed to my goddess, divining that the statue was, indeed, still in the fortress. I then asked about the sarcophagus and got a mixed response: I guessed to the others that both the vampire and the statue were inside!

We waited outside the room while Tyan cast scintillating spheres of force inside, cracking the sarcophagus’ lid and bringing down more of the roof. Ebin went up on the roof to help smash more of it in, then came down to bash on the sarcophagus. After a while, a very small hole was made. Tyan was all ready to cast a powerful spell through the crack when Areon stopped him, worried that the statue, too, would be damaged! Ebin took a quick look through the crack and said that a giant form was definitely in there, so Tyan used an acid spell on it.

What a response! The lid flew off – and shattered into thousands of sharp shards! We were all hurt, but the sight of the vampire banished the pain from our thoughts. It was over ten feet tall, and very angry! At least the sun was up, which slowed it, but the sky was overcast and drizzling – not much help. Theona cast enfeeblement at it, and I was about to cast searing light when Ebin charged into the fray, so I tried to turn the creature instead. It didn’t work; worse, when Ebin tried to get away from the thing, it smashed him into the ground, then picked him up and drained him of all his blood! It was terrible!

I cast searing light and hurt the thing badly, but also got its attention. Tyan cast another blast of acid at it, Areon ran for the sarcophagus and joyfully held up the silver tiger statue, and the giant clubbed me into the floor.

I remember telling my goddess that I was disappointed; things had just gotten interesting!

Next thing I knew, I woke up in a strange temple and a strange town, with my friends all around me. They put together the money and made the effort to get Ebin and me raised, bless them!

Posted by Kate on July 15, 2005, 14:24


My comrades and I talked over how best to get the rescued silver tiger statue back to its proper owners over a good meal and several mugs of ale. It felt good to be alive! When we realized that it would take over twenty days to get back to Silverymoon, and then several more to get to the Red Tiger tribe, with who knows what searching for us, it seemed a good idea to ask about a quicker method. Luckily, we were able to pay for a teleport right to the Red Tiger tribe…

Which landed us right in the middle of a large encampment of human barbarians, who were unpleasantly surprised by our sudden appearance! Thank Tymora, they recognized Areon and put their weapons away, leading us to their chief, Garth. Areon told them how he’d fulfilled the quest he left the tribe to accomplish, and handed over the statue. They were very pleased! Then, Theona gave Garth the copy, explaining what the artisans had been doing with the statue after it was stolen. The chief was disturbed by that, but glad to be forewarned. He then offered Areon a boon on behalf of the whole tribe.

By now, Tyan and Glitch were hungry and thirsty (like we hadn’t just teleported out of a town?), so the tribe set out to have a big feast and celebration. I listened to Tyan chatting up everyone while he eyed the girls; he found out that the denizens of the Moonwood have been raiding more often lately, but I don’t think any girls caught his eye. I’m not sure where Glitch was, either, now that I think of it…

We took the time to tell Ebin about the ruined tombs in the Anauroch Desert, and how the Red Wizards seemed to be interested in the same place. He was interested in finding out how much treasure and magic was left in those tombs, too, so I guess we’ll all stick together a while longer. I don’t know what else they talked about, because Theona suddenly grabbed me and announced that she wanted a bath! The first barbarian woman we asked pointed us to the creek, and off we went.

I’m glad I had a couple of drinks in me beforehand, because it was not a warm evening at all. Still, I was too curious about why Theona wanted to get all cleaned up not to go! We took turns with soap and water and holding up a cloak in case someone walked by, and I found out that we’re going to see Areon’s parents tomorrow. Ah, ha! Poor Theona was so worried about what they’d think of her, she was even asking me for advice! About all I could think of was to tell her NOT to have a shot of anything stronger than water beforehand… no matter how much she thought she needed it!

The next morning, we thanked the tribe for their hospitality and headed into the woods. Areon stopped in the wildest-looking part and climbed straight up a tree trunk! Most of us were able to follow, except for Ebin in his plate mail armor, so Areon dropped him a rope. Eventually, we were all eating breakfast with his parents, listening as they asked him all about where he’d been and what he’d done. They were pleasant enough to us all but I didn’t see if they distinguished Theona… maybe it’s some secret elf thing? Maybe not; she spent most of the time kind of in the background, eyeing the room (and at one point telling me she wanted a bath again. Guess that’s what she does when she’s nervous? I thought having to pull her out of the bath after her “date” with Rosorc was a fluke!).

It turned out that Areon’s mother can also teleport, and she was glad to help us get to the closest city by the Anauroch Desert. We need to buy desert gear in Llorkh, since we have no idea what we’ll find at the tombs - or if we’ll find them! After a quick goodbye and good luck, she left us in a field outside the city walls. Tyan, again, seemed to think he and Glitch would be recognized… but wouldn’t elaborate. I’m sure we’ll find out if it’s important! Still, the guards let us all in with only a few questions and a small toll.

The guards suggested the Dark Raven tavern as a likely inn, and “dragon’s breath” for a good drink. We walked into the city of a few thousand people… and got a little worried. Ebin headed right off to find an armory, to exchange his plate mail for something better suited for the desert, while the rest of us had to pass a large temple to the Prince of Lies to get to the tavern! The common room was dimly lit; Areon put his back to the wall while the rest of us sat around a table and ate some dinner. We talked over what we’d need for our journey; I volunteered that I could create food and water, and Theona pointed out that I could also help everyone endure the elements as well. Finally, we headed out to do some shopping. Areon thinks it will take thirty days just to get there, much less how long we’ll stay or how long to return!

Although the town was full of worshippers of an evil god, we weren’t harassed. I was relieved! We picked up wagons, camels, barrels of water and food, tents and desert clothing. Ebin suggested finding a guide, but I think Areon feels up to the task, himself. I was just beginning to relax when a caravan leaving the east gate caught my eye. I was puzzling out the small black oval with a yellow “Z” inside it, when I heard a hiss beside me and turned to grab Theona’s arm before she went berserk! After all these weeks of paranoia, she finally had many Zhents in front of her - and none of us would let her act. Poor elf!

Well, we plied her with ale and begged her to behave, since making a scene was pointless in a town like this one. I don’t think she agreed with us that a full frontal attack was suicidal, but she did calm down enough for us to finish our purchases. I decided to ignore the glint in her eye… after all, we are also headed east toward the desert in the morning, and elves don’t sleep much!

Posted by Kate on July 20, 2005, 00:49


Packed and ready, we set out down the Black Road of the Zhents. We knew there were plains, mountains, and more plains to cover before we reached the Anauroch Desert, and began to settle down for a long journey. I thought it best to ride with Ebin and Tyan, at least at first, so Theona and Areon could have some time alone together.

Of course, we weren’t half a mile along the road when Areon and Theona’s wagon stopped ahead of us. We peered around the side and saw - a small cart and donkey in the ditch. Their owner was an elderly man, almost blind, who was muttering about being pushed off the road by the caravan ahead of us. Theona seemed to think this was typical Zhent behavior.

Of course, we all pitched in to help, with the usual results - the donkey and cart eventually made it back onto the road, while the rest of us ended up covered with mud and looking like we’d done battle with half the Zhent caravan. The old man was thankful, at least, and offered to sell us anything he had for a good price. Theona bought fishooks and twine, while Ebin was pleased to get some holy water. We put him in the right direction and told him he was almost to town, then moved on.

That evening as we made camp, Theona and Ebin had a surprise waiting for them! Their small purchases had turned into items of much greater value: twine into troll-gut rope, fishooks into glowing crossbolts, holy water into eight vials of cure serious wounds which Ebin was happy to share out to us all. I thought things like that were travelers’ tales! I wonder who that old man really is? Pleasantly surprised, we settled down to a quiet night.

The second day was quiet, too. We reached the foothills of the mountains and began our trek toward the pass. That evening, I asked Theona about how meeting Areon’s parents went. She said she’d been too stressed and sober(!) to pay much attention. How odd. The next day was quiet, except for the sight of a large red dragon sillouhetted against the distant mountaintops. We camped that night along the trail, finding signs of the bigger caravan. We seem to be using well-established stops, but no one seems too worried about being predictable. The fifth night, Areon heard stones sliding and caught sight of small humanoids riding wolves and fanning out to attack us...

I woke up to Areon shooting and shouting, and a wolf chewing on me! Goblins rode other wolves, and the scene quickly became one of confusion. I remember stabbing at the wolf with my dagger, seeing Tyan being attacked in his bedroll as well, and Theona shooting her crossbow from under her tent flap. As we killed the various wolves and goblins, it became clear that the wolf attacking Ebin was a hybrid of something else. A lot of our attacks passed right through it! And then, Ebin suddenly stopped fighting and told the rest of us that the thing needed to be protected, not destroyed!

Next thing I knew, we were attacking the creature, and Ebin was shouting and trying to attack us. Theona pulled out her wand of enfeeblement and began using it on Ebin while he tried to charge her. By the time we hit the thing enough to make it leave - we didn’t kill it, it just disappeared - Ebin was lying on the ground with Theona holding a sword over his throat, still trying to attack her. Tyan had to cast some spell that made him drool and flop about helplessly before we could relax! I’m ashamed to say that we simply tied him to a wagon wheel and went back to bed rather than wait for the spells to wear off. Next day, we passed over the crest of the mountain range and descended toward the plains.

Posted by Kate on September 8, 2005, 19:16

The desert or bust

We travelled all day, stopped to camp, and I finished healing Areon from the battle the night before. The next morning, we saw a large caravan on the road, headed our way. We discussed moving off the road to let them pass, but it seemed wide enough at this point to accomodate. We carefully ignored the large Z painted on each wagon, and the wagoneers ignored us right back, thank Tymora! Tyan, I fear, was unable to resist taunting “Theona the great Zhent hunter” - I mean, she knows where he sleeps! At least we are still in separate wagons.

The fourth day out, the road passed between a rocky plateau and a moorland. As we set up camp that evening, we could hear wolves howling on the moor. The fifth night out, we were awoken by the sound of Theona screaming as something burst out of the ground in the middle of the camp! I rolled out of my bedroll and grabbed my staff, as the thing leaped upon Ebin and Tyan cast a scintillating sphere upon them both. I hit it but found it to be both huge and covered with armor plates - and then it bit me. Tyan was casting spells at it while Areon entangled it and Theona actually got in front of me while trying to enfeeble it with her wand - I must have looked pretty bad!

Theona hit it with an enfeeblement spell, then was bitten, but Tyan cast lightning bolts and I got off a couple of searing light spells, which seemed to stagger the beast. Ebin charged in and bounced his sword off its armor while Theona and I took turns pulling each other out of harm’s way, and Areon finally finished it off with his bow. He skinned those armor plates off for our own use later, while I healed everyone and we all collapsed back to sleep. Whew!

The next day we finally reached the desert. Theona warned us to watch out for a floating city or castle in the region (sounds like a mirage of some kind, but I’ve heard of stranger things, I suppose). We changed to the desert gear we’d bought, and decided to wait the day out in order to change our travel schedule; sleep during the hottest hours and travel at night. I prayed for many water spells to carry us through. Evening came, and we set out side-by-side across the desert, chatting quietly and watching for trouble. Tyan was sprinkling salt on me and I was pretending it burned and Ebin was laughing when - the elves caught sight of humanoid forms approaching from the darkness!

I cast light, then Tyan cast acid at them. Grey-skinned humanoids came out of the gloom and we were being charged by ghouls! As we whipped the camels into a run I climbed to the back of our wagon and held up my holy symbol... called to my goddess and dusted the lot. ALL of our attackers. I was so shocked that I fell out of the back of the wagon for laughing! Theona seemed to think that implied I didn’t have faith in my goddess - but that’s not true, it’s simply never worked so well and I am deeply grateful. We waited a little while for Areon and Theona to backtrack the ghouls, searching for treasure or trouble, I’m not sure which. They returned empty-handed, so we traveled on through the night.

Posted by Kate on September 8, 2005, 19:31


We continued down the Black Road, chatting about whatever came to mind - Theona’s urge to have water enough for baths, even in the desert, whether or not it would be useful for me to fly above the party to see if anything’s about, but I don’t see too well in the dark, things like that. It probably didn’t help that we were drinking our ale supply at a steady rate, too. The first night in, Tyan woke me up when Theona and Areon heard movement in the desert. Ebin spotted something and pointed, at which time several red-furred hounds charged at us! Ebin charged them in return, and all four jumped on him.

Between slingshots from me, Theona and Areon shooting arrows, Tyan casting spells and Ebin swinging his sword, all four were soon dead. That’s when we spotted something else watching us - with the lower body of a lion, upper body of a woman, and apparently not interested in a fight since it left as soon as we saw it. We debated moving on, but Tyan had already gone back to bed. I did a little healing and started to crash, when Ebin insisted I stay awake to help Areon watch. I stayed up until Ebin crashed, then went back to bed. I did ask Areon if he really needed help, first!

I was praying the next evening when I heard Ebin laughing. I’m glad he didn’t mind me arranging all his weaponry around him as he slept, points inward. We set off on our night’s travels, turning off the Road and north across the desert at Areon’s direction. Everything was quiet when I went to sleep, even with Ebin staying up to help Theona watch. Of course, we were rudely awakened by something casting magic missiles from a lanternlike light in the distance! Ebin and Tyan were hit, Tyan sent a scintillating sphere in return - and then there were two “lanterns”! Tyan retreated into a cloud of darkness while I cast searing light, and missed.

The lights flew up into the air over Ebin and hit him with more magic missiles, Theona cast dancing lights to try and distract the things, and I decided to fly up myself and see the things from a closer view, but still - I could only make out two lantern-sized lights. I tried creating water over one, but it passed right through and drenched Ebin instead. So did all the arrows shot at it and my staff. Finally, the things seemed to get bored - one disappeared, while the other shot off into the night. We moved camp a little bit, healed up, and slept.

The next seven days passed quietly, thank Tymora! Areon even finished work on a fine new bow. Finally, as we travelled, Theona’s sharp ears caught a new sound. We stopped the wagons, and Theona and Areon snuck off toward the noise. Tyan followed, while Ebin and I turned the wagons around in case we needed to make a quick getaway. Maybe we’ve learned a little!

Finally, everyone returned to tell of an encampment full of gnolls and slaves, slowly unearthing a ruined building. There’s one tent covered with magical symbols, and a kitchen tent where everyone gathers. We’re above the whole place on a cliff, so we’re going to find a hiding place to settle in and discuss the best way to attack the place and free the slaves. And then, find whatever treasure is hidden inside!

Posted by Kate on September 8, 2005, 19:33