Rosorc's Journal
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Rosorc’s Bio

Rosorc, image (c) Kristin Johnson
Greetings. As you don’t know me yet let me spin you a yarn. As the knot on my brow is pulsing I will try to get it right. Damn that pain again........ Oh I must have passed out I do apologize. What a dwarf would give for an ale!

Fifty-eight years ago I was born in the great Citadel Adbar. Being a Iron Smith’s youngest son I was not of any wealth or prestige. Seeing my older brothers’ love of the forge I realized young that my place was elsewhere. Anywhere else would definitely do. At a ripe young age of 35 I, Rosorc Ironfeld, wandered out of the citadel one day (leaving my glorious job of hauling coal far, so very far behind).

Oops am I nodding out again... What is that damn throb in my head coming from? Oh yeah, back to the tale. Leaving the great citadel out the back entrance, to, well, no fanfare at all, I started my great trek to anywhere else. My life savings jangling at my side and newly acquired travel gear strapped to my back I wandered off down the road of life.

Bright eyed and unworldly as I was, soon my life’s fortune had traveled much farther than I had. Seems someone else needed it more.....

Where was I again? Was that a noise? I wish I could reach my axe. Anyways an ale would be great. Frothy, thick, and warm in the gullet..... Sorry I seem to be rambling again.

Soon I found myself hiring out as a caravan guard, traveling back and forth from the Silver Marches to the Sword Coast. Finding my true calling this way in the Savage Frontier. My axe became notched many times on the skulls of kobolds and other unmentionables. Speaking of skulls why does mine seem to be splitting?

Years seemed to melt away and I grew bored in my duties as a guard.

Feeling the greater call of adventure and fortune I decided to join an ill-fated adventuring party. I should have known by the stupid name we were doomed from the start. Who calls themselves the Bumbling Beatknicks? Seems I still am learning this worldly thing.

At first things seemed promising. We scored some loot. Partied a lot though and we and our loot soon parted. Thick and frothy..... Anyways we got a tip of some serious goodies and headed off....

Here the story gets foggy. Tillimore fell first. Seems elves are partial to arrows. Just not sticking through their gullet in multiples.

Krag stumbled shortly after as we ran, arrows taking out his knees. His screams behind us were heart wrenching as we ran on. Maria fell last. Her spell of invisibility failed and they were upon her mobbing her and dragging her to the ground.

Eyes slick with blood: some my own, some of others I ran on into the night. Growing weaker and more confused I ran and ran. Base instinct told me I needed to hide and recover my strength. Staggering blindly I found a strange structure.....

This, it seems, is where I blacked out. A large amount of time must have passed as when I awoke I was very stiff, hungry, and where is my flask? I know I had a few flasks left. Oh yeah and very thirsty. Seems whereever I am I pulled something very heavy on myself and can’t seem to get free. Luckily my pack is still near and full of .... Ughh!!... road rations and water. What is that damn noise?

Maybe just a little nap before I continue. Maybe my head will stop pounding and I will remember where I put those flasks.....

Character sheet: Rosorc Ironfeld [Shield Dwarf Fighter]

Cause of death: Okay, not really dead, just decided it was better to wander the countryside with 8 hit points than to spend another moment with the party.

Posted by Erik on March 9, 2004, 15:59

What’s Old is What’s New

Such is a dwarf’s life... My head is pounding and there is that damned noise again. Where... What the heck is making all of that ruckus? A drink would surely help the situation. Hey, that’s a voice.... a loud and shrill voice.

“Stop that damn noise you’re hurting my head,” I yelled. Suddenly a halfling appeared above me. “What is your name?”, he asked, standing above my prone form. Not knowing my status I quickly belted out, “Who the blazes are you?!”. Several more painful minutes passed of his shrill halfling voice assaulting my pounding head. Nothing really making sense to me. When he finally stopped I noticed we were no longer alone.

A ramshackle party surrounded me. As I looked them over you could tell they were a group of adventurers. They looked as bad as the group of friends I had lost not so long ago. They pulled the rubble off of me that had me pinned to the ground. Several greetings were made. Being a little cloudy in the head I just kind of nodded along. Being free I slowly picked up my AXE!!!! Oh how great it is to have it back in my hands. They didn’t seem very threatening so I tried to converse with some of them. Small talk was made and then I asked....

“Does anyone have any ale for a dry dwarf?” A melodious voice of an angel said, “I have an extra flask you could have.” If she wouldn’t have been an elf I would have placed a large smacker right on her I was so happy. How long had it been... “Oh, thats the stuff!”, I thought, as I pulled a long draught. Quickly, though, my bliss was displaced by suprise as a large discharge of electricity pulsed on the far side of the room.

The halfling had a little smoke drifting off him and people were diving out of the way. Followed by a bunch of people all hollering at him.. you could get the feel this was a regular situation, as they weren’t being very considerate of his charred condition. Through the verbal berating I got the gist that his name was Tassar. Several other names rang out too, but I am sure not even a halfling family would name their offspring any of them..

Pulling another quick draught I was getting my head about me. Surveying the situation, it seemed Tassar had set off some sort of a magical trap. Seems statues were on each side of the door and had discharged the magic. Asking the glorious elf maiden (“Wonder if she likes ale too?” I thought), to move I approached the statues and surveyed them. I pulled out my hammer from my pack and smashed the one’s hand with it. A finger snapped off but nothing else happened. The best I could guess they were now harmless.

At this point a mage of sorts started to talk to me. I was put back a minute as I had never seen such eyes before. He said his name was William and that there were many such traps in the area. Then I noticed the door was open. Tassar and a human cleric were walking down the hall. He was calling her Deitricha as he told her to stay behind him. After they traveled about 12 feet there was a terrible clang. A heavy barred gate had dropped down on each side of them. They were caught in the middle as two secret doors popped open. A large animated suit of armour charged out of each at them, followed by a group of shambling skeltons. Sensing what I guess would be new comrades in danger, I pulled my crossbow and fired a bolt at the closest armor. It clanked off and fell to the floor.

Then there was a commotion of arrows and bolts from our outer position. The battle raged on within, though. Tassar seemed to be faring much better than Deitricha, landing several blows and dodging most tossed at him. She was taking quite a pounding when she put her holy symbol into the air. At the same time I was convincing the mage William that I would smash some oil flasks at and on the skeletons if he could light them. It was a coin toss of what went off first, our combined firey cocktail or her turning but it had great results. All the skeletons dropped to the floor. The elf they had called Areon hit the closest armour with an arrow.

Just as it seemed the situation was getting better another batch of skeletons appeared on each side of them. William and I blasted our oily cocktail of fire at them again on our side. Followed by another blast from Deitricha’s holy symbol, they all collapsed. Followed by Deitricha collapsing to the floor. Soon Tassar dropped, also succumbing to his wounds. Being the smart one, the elf they had called Theona, giver of the ale, found a release switch for the gates behind one of the statues. Flipping it, the gates retreated. At that point Areon dropped the closer armour with his arrow. So I charged with my spike shield before me and slammed the last armour to the ground. It didn’t rise again.

Quickly Theona poured a healing potion into the cleric’s mouth. She revived and gained her bearing. Being the giver of care, Detricha quickly turned to Tassar and healed him with a prayer. As they composed themselves and Theona made sure they were all right, William and I checked out the halls from where the minions had come. Both were empty, small, and went no where. Several of them then checked them for hidden doors and there just weren’t any to be found.

After securing arrows, bolts, and two usable light shields we headed for the visible door at the end of the hall. It quickly was opened. I stepped in first. Inside was a scorched room. A large altar was in the middle with a dissected gnome laying on it. Soon the others were in there with me. Feeling a sense of sadness, I asked Tassar for his cloak to cover the gnome up. He gave it to me and as I went to place it on the body, that is when the gnome’s head turned and yelled at William for him to leave. Dropping the cloak, I quickly split the gnome’s head with my axe, fearing further mischief.

I couldn’t believe how fast William took off. Like a shot. As Deitricha took off after William, Theona, goddess of ale, put out a yelp of pain on the far side of the room. Seems she had found a secret door as something else had found her. Theona yelled to “Watch out! My arm is limp, it seems to have a poison attack!”. So we all took care; as we went to rush to her aid as we saw an imp-like creature materialize, then disappear as it attacked Areon.

I felt the urge to sing as the battle began. Bolts flew, arrows richocheted, and the imp attacked on. Deep within my breast the first note broke out. “Crossbow and axe. Crossbow and axe. Clangeddin soul will stop their tracks. Fiends and minions will all bow down, to the power of the Crossbow and Axe. ” Seeing our missile weapons were’t doing any good we gathered in a huddle with our hand weapons. The imp was fast and had invisibility as an advantage. Soon we were frustrated and several of us were wounded.

Deitricha pulled a limp William up out in the hall and joined the fray from a distance. Growing angry I pulled out a 10 foot chain out of my pouch and hollered I was going to try and bind it like as with a whip. Hoping to draw it towards me I belted back into song, I have found almost anyone or anything in the Realms wishes to shut up a bad singing dwarf.

“Rock and stone yields the gold. Silver and Gold clears the soul. Clangeddin strength makes us bold.” Damn the first attempt missed. “I deserve two flasks after this one”, I thought. “Fiend or Foe has no hold. As Clangeddin’s strength makes us bold.” I shouted as the second attempt caught the vile beast and drug him to the floor. Upon landing, Areon cut it in half and I hollered for Tassar to cut off and save its tail. I figured it may buy a draft or three later if sold to the right guild.

Theona found a secret stash after the battle. Seems loot is a good thing. I had already started counting the kegs in my head as we bagged it up. Seeing we were all battered and tired we decided to barricade the doors to the room and get a day’s rest. Deitrcha was very busy in this time healing our wounds. During which we ate and got to know a little about each other.

At the end of the day we decided as beat as we were we should rest another day. I tried to teach Tassar some dwarven songs; being another fighter I felt he may draw strength from them but his high voice just couldn’t carry the notes. Besides, there were death stares coming from everyone else in the room.

Waking in the morning we opened the next door before us. Inside was a large circle of some kind drawn on the floor. More importantly, there was a large chest in the corner. It was locked, but Tassar and I fixed that. Within moments we experienced another pile of loot. I think I really like these guys. Thick and frothy... How many kegs is that. Oh yeah, back to where I was.

As we bagged the rest of the goodies, Theona had rolled a copper into the circle. To my suprise it had disappeared. During all of this Tassar and William had a loud conversation about portals.. One way.. Both ways.. or something like that. Then the halfling went running into circle painted on the floor and was gone.

We all stared in disbelief. Waited a while and nothing happened. William said,”I told him it might go both ways - I wasn’t sure.” Then Deitricha walked in and winked out, too. Slowly, we all decided to follow the halfling to wherever he may have went. As I stepped in I yelled, “Clange...

...ddin!” I finished as I was standing on blood red plains, under a blood red sky. Definitely not having any good thoughts about halflings, at the moment. There was a sinking feeling in my stomach telling me this was really bad. By the looks on all of the others’ faces I knew my gut was right. A bad time to start to develop some of that worldly thought thing I have been lacking!

Pulling out my ale, I noticed it was a little low. Not figuring I would get any more for a while, I filled it up with water and asked the others what we should do. There was some Tassar ripping, followed by a few shrugs. We noticed a large train of beings shambling to a large ominous keep to the south. They looked like demons, twisted and deformed; that dark, sinister keep was definitely out of the question. Tassar piped up, “There is a mountain to the north. Sounds like a better idea than that keep.” Without really discussing it we all started trudging our way north with heavy hearts and deep thoughts.

As we trudged I ran my favorite songs through my head but none seemed to chase the damper off my spirit. Then realized the watery ale in my flask wouldn’t work either. Maybe Theona, goddess of ale, has another.........

Posted by Erik on March 21, 2004, 00:59

Bright Spots in the Dark

As we trudged forward towards the mountain a quick two hours passed. Not feeling very cheerful, I started to hum quietly to myself. An old song my mother had sung to me as a babe; “Gold and Silver...Diamonds and Gems...Steel and Mirthril...All bring a Dwarf’s heart to mend...Spiced Potatoes and Heaps of Meat......Sour Cheese and Thick Heavy Bread...Spirits by the Bottle and Hearty Ale”, oh, so thick and frothy, “by the Keg...”.

Not able to wait any longer I took a good swig from my flask; watery or not it helped take the edge off. As I was replacing my flask I noticed a short, black, and horned being running our way with a war fork. Immediately, I pulled my axe and shield into a defensive position. Edging a little in front of Theona, the goddess of ale (Does she always glow that way? Or is it the red sky that makes her cheeks so full and vibrant?).

On cue, breaking my inner musings, Tassar yelled out his name and that he was sure the vile beast had heard of him. Amazingly enough the beast dropped to the ground shivering. Fearing foul play I pulled my shield above my head and took a knee. I really didn’t want to be suprised an attack from above. Seeing one was not coming the party and I slowly approached the beast.

By my arrival, Tassar had already acquired the war fork, in what seemed to be some sort of strange trade for a mace he had been carrying. William was asking whether the little beast spoke common. In broken common it wimpered out, “A little. My name is Hixtali.” Finding communication was possible we all took turns asking him questions about the local area, portals, and directions.

Sensing Theona had procured our needed information we decided to let Hixtali lead us to an “Evil” mage’s lair who supposedly could help us. So smart and worldly.... Oh, back to where I was, we headed out.

After traveling a short while we reached some sort of disgusting, putrid red river. Walking up the bank a little Hixtali said it would be safe for us to cross here, waded out, and crossed in a short amount of time unharmed. For a short while of the 200 foot expanse all we could see of him was the top of his head. Realizing I was tall enough to cross the river I headed out. Disgusting as it was, the less thinking about it the better, I thought. Poor Theona really didn’t like the idea. Nor did Deitricha who had placed Tassar on her shoulder to help him as he would have surely drowned before he had crossed. As we forded across Dietricha gave out a terrible yelp and started to run.

“Something has grabbed onto my legs,” she hollered. Upon those words we all ran for the other side. When she staggered out of the river she dropped Tassar and stumbled to the ground. Two large blood leeches were attached to her legs. Quickly, Areon and Theona helped remove them. One wriggled back into the river but the other was slain by Tassar as it hit the ground. Luckily Deitricha was strong enough yet to heal herself. As she did I could swear I saw a white pillar of light faintly shoot into the sky directly above her. I hoped I was seeing things. Strongly wishing I had been, I didn’t bring mention it to the group.

While Deitricha gathered her strength we all took a moment to clean our weapons and ourselves to the best of our ability. I handed Theona a water flask to aid in her struggles. She shot me a gleaming smile and said, “Thanks”.... Stroking my beard I nodded and walked away smiling. I barely caught the curt look shot my way by Areon. Wonder what that was about?

We quickly got back on our way. Miles passed and soon we were at our destination. A large cave loomed before us. The entrance was dark and ominous.

Upon arrival, Hixtali stopped dead in his tracks and refused to go any farther. Looking upon the ground I could see why. Hundreds of sets of demon bones and skulls lay strewn about the ground in front of it. Seems we may like this “Evil” mage after all. Upon orders from Tassar, Hixtali agreed to wait for us out here. Feeling it may help bring a little loyalty, I threw the little beast a hunk of dried meat out of my pack. The way he devoured it you’d have thought he had never eaten before.

As I turned, William was already walking into the cave yelling,”Hello...Hello... Is anyone in there?” Immediately any form of suprise was gone. If looks could have killed poor William would have dropped on the spot. Tassar, Areon, and I followed him in first, followed by the ladies.

Inside the cave was an old, small, wooden hut. Right down to a front door and shutters on the windows. This seemed really out of place. Made even more eerie by another large batch of demon bones and skulls littering the ground around it. Not sensing his earlier stares of death William walked right up to the door and knocked, asking,”Is anyone here? We are here to see the mage.”

As the door started to creak open I don’t know where most of the arrows, slings, and crossbows were pointing - at William’s back or the slowly opening door. I thought I had problems with that worldly thing, he definitely takes the keg! I now know I have been trumped in this department, hands down.

Staggering back from the door William looked shocked as a large, flying disembodied eye levitated through the door and asked what we wanted. Stuttering he asked,”If we could meet with the mage.” Shortly after that the eye disappeared and a wild eyed half elf appeared in its place. She stated curtly,”Welcome, my name is Hexla, Won’t you come in?” Upon which she turned her back to us and headed inside her home. Leaving the door open for us to follow. Lowering our weapons, exchanging quizzical glances, we all followed her in.

The interior was sparsley furnished. Mostly shelves and tables. Books, tubes, pots, beakers, and other oddities lined them. There was a large bed in one corner and a table with a mixture of stools and chairs around it in the center of the room. Shortly after the general pleasantries of meeting someone new were exchanged, Tassar piped up, “Do you have any ale?” She smiled politely and brought him a large mug of what appeared to be some sort of thick, red liquid. He nodded and tossed a gulp down. Seeing his eyes cross and face flush I quickly realized that wasn’t the ale for me. Did I just say that? Clangeddin forgive me!

As the rest of the group discussed our predicament with Hexla, Tassar started playing with some demon skulls in one corner of the room. Talking to himself and definitley feeling no pain. Two more draughts and he feel asleep on the floor where he sat. Snoring loudly. Very loudly.

Hexla said that she could help us but she would need a pair of silver eyes for the spell. Luckily for us William had a pair in his head. Seems he took objection though. He said,”I need them to see.” That is when Theona told William she was pretty sure they would grow back. William just didn’t seem to agree with her on this. So he offered his sliver hair in their place.

Hexla agreed she could use the silver hair for something else she was working on. Then offered the information we needed to start looking for a portal home in exchange. Quickly she sheared Williams head, placing the hair in a small sack, and then sat down at the table. Following suit the lot of us minus Tassar, who some how wound up sleeping on the mage’s bed of all places, and listened to her words.

She said that she didn’t have the exact info but knew of a place we could find it. She told us of a Pillar of Skulls that reached far into the sky. That we could find the info there. She then drew us a small map. At this point we had thanked her and were standing. William stated he would return and offer up his eyes if all of our other endeavors to return home failed. Hexla’s eyes lit up at this. Seems she had been stuck here a long time and wanted to return home herself, very badly.

Upon rising Theona asked Hexla,”Do you have any potions of read magic?” She said yes and then they haggled price. Seems Theona wanted two and that the final price was a hundred gold. I offered up my last large stash of treasure, a big hunk of amber. It was enough to close the deal. Upon recieving the potions Theona asked Hexla to drink one first. Seems Theona really has some of that worldy stuff I have been looking for. Hexla quickly drank hers, followed by Theona. After a short period of time Theona said she had to read a spell book she found before we crossed into hell. Seeming pleased she placed it back in her pack. She then thanked Hexla.

We had started for the door when William walked over and picked Tassar up off the bed. Throwing him over his shoulder we took our leave. Walking out of the cave we found that Hixtali had deserted us, probably as quick as we turned our backs.

Starting down the hill I glanced at William. He looked terrible, even for in hell. Covered in dried blood, his head recently sheared, and Tassar had just purged his innards down his back, I still had to have a good thought for him. He seemed sincere in his offer to come back and offer up his eyes to take us home if all else failed. Seems he possesses a strength I hadn’t seen to that point yet.

After a quick direction check we headed off toward the Pillar of Skulls, closely skirting the River of Blood. After we had traveled a while we heard a terrible clattering noise. We could see in the distance, a squad of twenty large, bluish, demonic looking dwarves in heavy armor. Seems they were after something as they were in full doubletime. Everyone yelled to hide. Almost everyone but myself found a large enough boulder to get behind. Seems I stood out like a sore thumb. Theona got my attention and threw me a potion. Through hand signals and whispering she bade me to drink it. Knowing it was from Theona, goddess of ale, I threw it back in one gulp.

Then a fuzzy feeling hit my gullet. Then I couldn’t see my hands. Heck I couldn’t see any of me. I think I yelped out. Luckily the squad of demons were making so much noise that they didn’t hear me. Once again, the fair lady had saved my day.

We waited patiently for the creatures to be way out of sight before we rose to our feet. Luckily by then I could see myself. From Theona or not I don’t think I like potions... Now a thick and frothy ale, that would hit the spot...

A few moments passed of watching behind us for any signs of the strange and threatening beings to return, and then we were back on the trail following the directions given to us by the Mage Hexla. We hadn’t traveled long when Tassar recovered from his stupor and took to foot himself. Luckily for William as the load was clearly wearing on him. At first he staggered a bit but then after a time he seemed to fully recover. At least I think so. The chatter was definitely back along with the halfling bounce in his step.

We could see the Pillar of Skulls way before we were there. It rose for miles into the sky. The closer we got to it the louder the noise of voices that rose from it. They were deafening by the time we reached its base. All trying to shout at us at once. Then all shouting at each other to shut up so they could speak. It was incredible in a horrible kind of way. So many differant races were present. Some I knew and some I had never seen before. Thanks to Clangeddin I won’t be here I thought. As I was already peering upwards I could have sworn I saw that white pillar of light above me this time. Guess I better watch what I think.

By the time I refocused on the world around me the others were already in full banter with some of the skulls. Three in particular argued back in forth. The largest obviously from an Ogre claimed to know what we wanted but he wanted one of our companions in exchange. Deciding this was a non issue we listend to the second and his request.

“I will tell you what I want if you bring me a fiend,” he cried. This being a little more appropriate we gave thought. Then an elf skull turned to Theona and said,”Remove the large mouthy one from the pillar and I will tell you what you want.” Sensing this was our best deal I quickly grabbed my axe and charged forward. I bashed and bashed until the Ogre skull fell to the ground. Seeing what I was doing, Tassar stopped pouring that horrible red ale into different skulls’ mouths and came to help me.

He kicked it a couple of times trying to shut it up, but it wouldn’t stop yelling. So he threw it into the Blood River which ran close by. The loud mouthy one finally silenced, the Elven skull answered all of the questions we asked. He gave us directions to a known portal on the plains. He then said we would need a key to open it. A red brick from the Avernus Road leaving Lord Bel’s Keep. Seems he is the ruler of this level of hell and the bricks in his road are quite magical.

After brief description we realized we would be skirting that ominous keep we had first seen when we arrived. It also meant we would have to cross that dreaded river again. After a few more minutes of listening to the other skulls shriek the Elven skull regained control and told us of a bridge to the south that we may cross instead of fording the river again. Though he warned it was heavily guarded.

All along our conversation, the second skull that had wanted a fiend as payment for his knowledge, kept saying the elf was lying. Throwing out his own directions and crazy statements of what we would need to open the portal. Finally Theona asked the Elven skull why he was here. He told a sad tale of a life as a merchant going terribly wrong some where along the way. This was enough to satisfy her so it was enough to satisfy the rest of us.

We turned our backs to the Pillar of Skulls and moved a short distance away so we could here each other better. After much discussion we headed down river to try our luck at the bridge.

When we arrived it was apparent we weren’t crossing here. Huge and made of bones, the bridge was covered with several different types of fiends, both winged and on foot, large and small, there was no way to sneak across. By the looks of them there was also no way to fight our way across. Even Tassar’s,”We can take ‘em”, statement rang hollow. Disappointed, we headed back to the crossing point we had used earlier.

On our second, not so glorious, bath in the Blood River we all ran across with all of the speed we could muster. Still I heard both Theona and William yell as they crossed. Seems Theona was all right but William had a blood worm attached to his leg. He pulled it from his leg upon which Theona killed it with her rapier. A little healing by Deitricha, ughhh...that is a white pillar of light above her, and we were soon on our way to Lord Bel’s keep.

Deciding discretion was the better part of valour, we snuck around it at a very large distance. Even then, when we came into view of the road we were staggered by what we saw. An uncountable army of Fiends and Demons were standing on the road!!!! What I wouldn’t give for a good kegger right now.

Sensing they were ready to depart somewhere we attempted to wait them out. We got several hours hours of much needed rest in this manner. Gouts of flame erupted from the ground around us. Demons shrieked and cackled in the distance but it was the first real moment’s peace we had in a long while.

Like an angel from the skies above, Theona took this time to hand me a fresh flask of ale out of her pouch. Glorious woman. After a large swig, I thanked her with a wink and an especially masculine stroke of my beard. I think she actually blushed. Or is it just that damned red sky again, showing on her cheeks?

Being brought out of my contemplation by screeches and what I guess would pass for demonic fanfare, the tremendous army moved down the road. As the last glimpse of them passed around the corner, Tassar made his break for the road.

He quickly worked a brick free and was returning when a deafening roar let loose from the ramparts of the keep. At least 50 or more winged demons took flight and were heading straight for Tassar. At first he started to run. Then realizing his plight he threw me the brick and turned to face his impending doom. I think I heard Deitricha yell “No!” at this point but the surrounding noise was very great.

As I caught the brick I realized my fate was entwined with his. Both being so short and no place to hide, we would never out run the winged fiends. Placing the brick in my pouch I turned to meet my fate. No sooner had my visor dropped and my axe was pulled out when a large gout of flame struck down part of the onrushing fiends.

Sensing we had a chance, Areon yelled for us to retreat in a defensive manner and fighting only when needed. We could already see the fiends on the ground starting to regenerate. Agreeing, we started to back up as a group when another cry deafened the sky. Another batch of winged fiends slammed into our pursuers from the side. Weapons clashed and screams tore through what seemed to be our very bones.

We all could tell that we were no longer even noticed at all. We turned and ran. We ran all the way to and through the river of blood again without pause. Thankfully, no one was carrying any unwanted passengers after the fording. We took a sharp turn in the path and nearly ran right into the Demonic looking dwarf squad we had earlier avoided. Seeing us in full view there was no hiding this time!

Tassar and I turned to fight. Everyone else yelled for us to run. As our friends dissapeared behind us we decided they might need us more.... So we set out at a blinding pace. To the others in the group it had to almost be comical. Seems elves and humans, lightly geared, can move a lot faster than a dwarf and a halfling fully geared for battle.

We ran and ran. All of the years of carrying coal in the forges paid its just dues here. Some how we maintained a steady lead on them. We ran all of the way to the bridge we had seen before. Unlike last time, though, we were definitely noticed. The winged fiends took to the air and the fiends on foot joined the chase.

Shortly after we passed the bridge, our tailers slowly gaining ground, both Areon and William yelled that they could see our destination ahead. To our disbelief a lone figure stood in our way. He was very tall and dark. He had what was an unmistakable evil aura about him. We all started to yell at each other at once. I screamed I would ram him with my shield so the rest could get through, but as I started my final charge he yelled for us to halt. Amazingly we all did. More amazingly, the fiends chasing us did also.

He called us forward and told us he would let us pass through the portal on one condition. We would have to carry a black orb with us to the other side. His words crackled like the flames that inter the bones of a funeral pyre. His demeanor left no question that we would obey him or surely die. Tassar looked briefly at Deitricha, said,”Sure,” and grabbed the orb. I pulled the brick out of my pouch and as a group ran through the horsehoe shaped portal......

We found ourselves in of all places the middle of a cobblestone street. One that perversely headed up in both directions. There were also lights somewhere high over head. Then I noticed there were run down houses, shops, and Inns, I can taste it now mug after mug.....thick and frothy...I wonder if Theona, goddess of ale, will let me repay all of her kindness in true dwarven fashion....

Breaking my mental meanderings, I gathered my senses. I noticed all sorts of strange beings shambling by us. Most definitely nothing my sparse travels had encountered. I also noticed that the Orb in Tassar’s hand had crumbled to dust at his feet. Somehow that seemed to deeply disturb me.........

Posted by Erik on April 1, 2004, 12:36

Smitten in the City of Doors

A strange city indeed, this place of doors. Roofs over our heads and such sights I never could have imagined before. Seems fitting such an amazing thing was to occur. As I searched the horizon I caught sight of what could be an Inn ahead. Letting the group know, we wandered up the street.

Now I have always been a level headed dwarf, more or less, and have kept to myself by nature. Never being close to any family member but my mother, so feelings come difficult to me. Which makes what is going on inside me so trying now.

Standing in front of what we believed to be an Inn I held the door for this wonderful, beautiful being named Theona. Making it more difficult for me is I know that as a plain, average dwarf, that this is probably going to hurt me very bad. Being a Silver Elf, with much grace and beauty, she will more than likely never return what I feel. Nor in rights I guess should I ever hope her to.

Though told by my Mother as a youngster that, “You will know the one. From the depths of your heart, my son, it will be as if the mountains themselves have taken hold. Will give you their knowledge and share their joy.” As a young boy I used to laugh this off, believing my Mother to be a little romantic in thought.

As I grew, left home, and travelled I have still thought such. Places came and went. People passed through my life. Never even a tingle from the mountains. Now I have a chain of mountains landing on my heart, and a head swimming as if I have consumed all of the ale in the Realms. While a wonderful thought not something that will help me in this instance. Did I just say that?

This in itself is making me a little uneasy. I can catch myself glancing in her direction and feel as if I am walking in the clouds or in dwarven terms rolling in gold....

Ughhh! What’s this? This isn’t an inn, it’s a flop house. We really can’t stay here. Heck there is No Ale!!!, food, bath houses, or for that matter privacy. After quick discussion we decide to move on and test our luck somewhere else.

Moving out to the street we head off to look for another Inn. A real Inn. At this point our surroundings’ oddities are starting to affect some of our party members. Deitricha is definitely freaked by there being no up or down here. She keeps whispering back and forth with Tassar who really seems confused by her concerns. Bouncing up and down he seems to be looking everywhere at once. Exuberant over every new wierd thing we happen to pass.

After travelling several blocks a dirty little gnome approaches William and says,”Guvnor may I interest you in an Inn. Just a couple of alleys away.” Taken back by the obvious danger we all convinced William that we would find an Inn on our own.

Growing weary from our searches, we stopped for a moment. Feeling it would take some tension off, Theona, giver of ale and seemingly new center of my world, decided to pass a flask of ale around. Learning the hard way, I realized from now on to get mine before Tassar. For his size he seems to drink a very large share.

Heading back out we decided to change directions again. A very dark and spidery looking building lay ahead. Which usually only means one thing. Avoid at all costs. From the look in Areon and Theona’s eyes they had the same dark thoughts.

Starting out again, we came to a little better part of town. At this point we ran into an amazing sight. A very large zombie was standing in the middle of the intersection with billboards nailed to him. Most of our party skirted the sight, but Theona and I ran up to take a look.

I was amazed at all of the languages she could speak, heck for that matter read. Oh, this is bad. I think I’m blushing. I’ve got to get it together. All right, we’re moving again. Whew! What was that about “help needed”? Oh, well, we aren’t staying here anyways. At least that isn’t the plan...

Travelling for quite some time we passed through a lot of different areas of town. Finally arriving in a good neighborhood with nothing less than a fine Inn. First at the door, I was quick to hold it for Theona. Am I being too obvious? I wish I understood this stuff better! I have to remember to try and talk to Tassar alone sometime about this stuff. He and Deitricha seem pretty happy. Heck they are completely as strange of a pair as we would be. What am I saying a pair.....

Areon generously paid for baths and rooms for us for the night. Each of us took off for our own cleaning rituals. Seems there are more than two sexes here in the City of Doors. Three different bath house rooms were available. Pulling my gear in the male’s bathroom I cleaned everything I owned. Finishing up I dried myself, my armour, and the rest of my belongings. Then I put on my finest traveler’s outfit. Which, under the circumstances, just didn’t seem as fine as I once thought.

Taking the time I took my gear to one of the rooms Areon had rented and stowed it. Areon then brought me my share of the coin we had found a few days earlier. Things in order, I went down stairs for a drink and some food. Soon, I was joined by the rest of the group. Listening to the server, we decided to try one of each meal. That way everyone could try some of each. Luckily for myself, they had hard bread upon my request. A little taste of home!

Having a full belly and several thick and frothies in me to help my swimming head and heart, I excused myself. As I wandered up to the room my head started to buzz again, as if on cue. How am I going to show Theona how I feel? Wishing I had more life experience at at this point, I arrived at my room in time to see William laying down for the evening. Thinking I may ask him some pointed questions about the workings of female elves I opened my mouth to speak..... Only to be greeted by the sound of snoring. My luck. No answers. Just snoring to think by.

Sometime in the night, sleep took me for a time. Waking early I rose and went down to eat some breakfast. Convincing the cook that I really would like some potatoes and onions with my meat, I leaned back in my booth. A plan was formulating in my mind. Being full of second guesses, I was glad when Tassar staggered down to join me.

After several minutes of wild talk from Tassar, I realized that I wouldn’t be needing any advice from him at all. Not that his heart wasn’t in the right place, but we are two different individuals. He wanted to control and protect Deitricha in an odd way, it seemed to me. Where as I was looking for an equal and a partner. I may have misinterpreted the conversation, as confused as my head was, but I still think I will follow my own heart’s advice here.

Having finished eating as a group, we headed out to the market for some shopping.
Quickly splitting off when we arrived, I headed out to attain the items I needed for many things.

First I headed to a Jeweler. A short, squat man with pudgy fingers. He said his name was Kythar. No matter his appearance or manners, which were definitely lacking, his work was exquisite. I required two lengths of fine Mithril chain from him. One of 24” in length and the other 18” length. Both were to match the other in all other ways.

Having this order in, I went about restocking my gear and supplies. I even inquired about a magical bag I had overheard two celestials talking about. Seems these bags hold an amazing amount of stuff without ever growing heavy. Finding a shop with them, I quickly realized the expense was way beyond my means. Though I do now know they are called Bags of Holding, for my effort. I believe one day I will own one of these. They would make an adventurer’s life a whole lot easier.

Getting warm, I took a quick pull from a flask and continued my preparations. Unbeknownst the others, I slipped back to the Inn and talked to the proprietor. I ordered a feast for two. Private booth, candle light, both elven and dwarven ale and spirits, and lots of flowers on the table.

This being done, I bolted back to the market, so as to not arouse the curiosity or worry of the others with a lengthy absence. Upon arrival I picked up the chains Kythar had made for me. The small fortune was worth every last gold. As I said before, his work was exquisite. Borrowing a silver mirror from him I put an elablorate courting braid into my beard with the larger length. There is usually a lot more ceremony with something like this, but I really didn’t have the time. Thanking Kythar with a grateful arm clasp, I turned and took off back into the market.

It was a short time later that I had procurred the paper and ink to write a note, two roses, and a seemingly trustworthy boy for delivery. Still unsure of myself, I had made the note out as a thank you from a friend. Though I wanted to say, no, holler to the heavens, so much more.

Plans in place I casually walked up to the others. Seems everyone was having a reasonably good time. It was good to blow off some steam after our crazy past few days. Hard to believe how recently I had met this group. Now it seems as if we go back a long ways.

“A gift for Lady Theona,” the boy called out as he approached us. “Here my lady,” he continued as he handed her the flowers with the mithril chain wrapped around them. He then passed my note to her. I nearly fainted. She was taken back but thanked the youth. Then quizzically looked at the card. Smelled the flowers and unwrapped the chain.

Seems Deitricha noticed the connection between my chain and this one immediately. I don’t know how to describe the look but it was almost bewildered. I think she had figured me out.

Seeing she was unsure of what to do with her new gift, I approached fair Lady Theona. I gently pulled it from her hands and nimbly wrapped it and one of the flowers into her lovely silvery, soft hair. Noticing myself as if out of a dream, at first I stepped back, not believing I had been so forward. I thanked her for everything and quickly meeked away. Embarrassed for sure. Seems everyone was giving me a slack jawed look of shock.

Shopping done, whispering settled, we headed for the Clerks’ Ward for some info. Along the way I found myself nipping some ale to help calm my nerves. Upon arrival we got a bearaucratic run around for a while. Seems this place is definitley into its paper work.

Areon filed the proper papers, it would seem, at the third office we visited. We paid the five gold coin fee. Then the clerk told us to return tomorrow and we would have our information. Slightly miffed we thanked him and headed out back to the Inn.

Seems I will remember The Alabaster Mermaid as long as I live. Upon our arrival back I approached the Lady Theona and requested her presence for dinner. After what could have been mistaken for confusion or outright fear she stammered she would join me. As we sat, the rest of our troupe (all but Areon who had retired to his room) gathered around as if at a theater. So, I had our server pull the privacy blind.

A few awkward, quiet moments passed, and Theona asked to be excused for a moment. A few moments became a half hour. Feeling saddened I started to eat by myself. Deitricha at this point approached my table and asked if she could speak to me.

She told me that I was going to be rejected. That Dwarves and Elves don’t mix and many other things I didn’t bother to hear. I sort of nodded along. I didn’t bother trying to explain to her that this was the one and only person I had ever or will ever feel this way about. That the mountain had spoken. I had listened. My life’s partner was set.

There would be no other. I had already accepted that upon rejection I would grow old alone. A dwarf’s heart is a deep and puzzling thing. It was not for me to decide now. All I can do is try. Show my best and pray.

When Deitricha had finally walked away my heart nearly skipped a beat. Theona was standing back at the table. She was mumbling some sort of apology. Her hands were cut so I helped clean them up. She then sat back down and nearly drank the table dry. Dwarven spriits...Elven mead... She ate her meal. Conversation was sparse but I could see she was wrestling things over in her own mind. Her eyes sparkled in the candle light, her smile brightened the room, and her presence alone made me feel complete.

Feeling better I drank a few healthy rounds with her. As she started to get talkative, the alcohol finally caught up. My Lady Theona passed out and slid limply under the table. Pushing the table aside, I gently raised her to my shoulder. Carried her upstairs and placed her in the room I had rented for myself. I tucked her into bed. I pressed my hand to my mouth in the form of a kiss. Then gently placed it on her forehead and walked quietly out of the room, making sure the door locked as I left.

Going back downstairs I rented myself another room for the night. Wrote Theona a note, ordered her breakfast in bed, and paid to have flowers placed on the tray when it was delivered. Head spinning, thoroughly exausted both mentally and physically, I then went off and passed out in my new room.

Morning was quick to come. Everyone was up early except for Theona. We all waited outside the Inn for her. Seems she was in the bath and wasn’t in any hurry to come out. Deitricha volunteered to go and retrieve her. After what seemed like a long time they returned together. Both barely giving me more than a quick glance.

Areon for that matter was acting a little quiet around me too. William was talking enough for everyone though. Soon we headed back to the clerk district. All went rather uneventfully. To our disbelief, we received all of the information that we needed. Seems a portal was open today for our trip home. It was below the city and we needed a black rose to open it.

Already knowing where to get flowers, we headed off. As we passed through the Bazaar, I stopped and got a black rose from the shop I was at the day before. We also found a guide to take us to the catacombs while we were there. He was a young man named Bob.

Under Bob’s directions we made quick time to the catacombs. This is where he stopped and said we would be on our own. We thanked him and headed in. Leading the way with the black rose, I was the first to see the shambling forms of zombies lumbering our way.

I tucked the rose in a safe spot, dropped my visor, and charged with my axe. Quickly I had dispatched one and was working on the next. I could hear my comrades fighting behind me. It was a brief fight. Having dropped two foes I breathed a sigh of relief. “Now this is something I am used to”, I thought. Wiping off my weapon, I rejoined the others. Glad to see no one was hurt. Also glad to see that beaming smile I was so quickly growing to adore.....

Posted by Erik on April 7, 2004, 12:53

Once Lost, Once Found

Walking around the first corner into the next room, we met the onslaught of another pile of undead beings. Quickly, I manuvered myself to cover Theona’s back while still charging the closest zombie available. Two quick swings and I was on to the next. Nothing like a good fight to displace all of the thoughts rolling through my head.

Realizing Theona, William, and Areon were doing little damage to the zombies, I whirled as I dropped the next one. Lowering my visor I heard the song of battle rage in my head. A song, no, a good song, one that this dwarf is used to. Swinging my axe with cold and methodical precision, I helped my friends in need.

As a new batch of undead charged out of the catacombs, Deitricha hollered to her god and turned a large part of them. After they crumbled to dust, all that was left were a few friends Tassar was playing with at the far end of the chamber. Still charged with the lust for battle, I helped put his wanna-be comrades to rest for good.

Room clear of any acting foes, I pulled my visor up, glancing for my Lady Theona. Somehow, through all of the commotion, she wound up next to Areon. Now I am not the brightest dwarf but I have to think that something is up. Ever since Theona and my wonderful night of dinner, it seems like the only one getting closer to her is Areon.

Brushing off any such thoughts I started listening to the others. Every one was scrambling about looking for loot. Concerned about finding the portal in time, I pulled out the rose and waved it around the room. Definitely no portals, here. Placing it back safely behind my shield, I started to explore the catacombs myself.

I wandered down a short hall, hearing the voices of my friends still echoing here and there. Not having a torch didn’t bother me. Being a dwarf, it was a non-issue, or so I thought. Not seeing anything of the portal in this room, I wandered into the next. My friends’ voices were moving the other way. Seems Tassar was in some sort of trouble. Their voices seemed to be coming from both ways, in front of and behind me. So, I chose to run forward to help. I figured I could search for the portal along the way.

As I ran forward to help Tassar I ran into two very cold and shadowy forms. They immediately closed to attack. Dropping my visor, I swung my axe. The only reward for my effort was a clean pass right through the nearest being. Then they were on me.

I must have screamed as they both touched me the first time. A chilling burst of energy sapped the strength right out of my chest. Their damned hands passed right through my armour. My legs buckled momentarily. Then I stepped back and swung my axe again. The same nonsense. My axe passed right through, not even fazing my foe.

Now I knew I was in trouble. I backed to the wall and fished an oil flask out of my pouch. At this point, I heard William’s and Theona’s voices coming up the hall. I threw the oil flask in the shadowy figures’ general direction and shattered it on the floor. Remembering the ploy William and I had used once before, I called for him to use his burning hands spell. He let loose but it didn’t seem to affect either creature. On top of which, it missed the oil.

A low light came from the hallway. Then Theona was there with a small globe of light in her hand. Her beauty shone even in the low light. Not wanting her to know I was in trouble, and fearing for my very existence, I quickly mumbled something about Tassar needing her and tossed her a scroll I told her I had found in the catacombs. Now this was no ordinary scroll. It was a well penned letter from myself to her with all that I felt for her......

My Dearest Lady Theona,

Your every whim holds me bound in rapture. I am struck beyond return. From your dimples, to your wry upturned smile, your beautiful long flowing hair, your wit and intellect that seems to have no bounds, I am mesmerized and transfixed. Truly I don’t now what I can do. My waking moments are consumed with seeing you happy and just being there in your life.

My inner being cries for me to share the beauty and joy gifted to me by the mountains. To hold your hand, to stroke your cheek, to sing the sweet joys of life, to grow old in your arms. The well of this dwarf’s heart runs deep indeed. Strong and pure, undaunted and open, for all to see.

I have prayed long and hard to Clangeddin as to what I should do. He has sent me signs that the mountains do not lie. My heart is bound to you. It may not be probable that your feelings will ever change, but it is written in the great halls that I must and will be there, if or when they do.

Caring and living from a distance, I will not hide my feelings. Nor shall I push too hard. I shall be there; your rock of security in life’s darkest storms.
My Lady, I ask you this one boon. I bid you always wear your chain as I shall always wear mine. Bound in destiny under the mountains, somewhere is written our love truly belongs.

Always Yours,

Believing I was indeed in trouble, I truly wanted her to know how I felt if I succumbed to these foes I seemingly couldn’t hurt. Within in a moment she had turned and was gone. Relieved and stressed at the same time, I braced myself for the beings’ next round of attacks.

That is when I heard Deitricha yell. As she did, one of the figures dropped right into the floor. The other one put what could be its hand right into my chest again, and I dropped to a knee. My breath labored in my chest, and my armour seemed to weigh a ton. I tried to raise my axe but it hung limply in my hands.

Then Deitricha started to mumble, then yell. A wave of strength washed through my body. The cold spots in my chest disappeared. Then my axe began to glow. Not a bright light but a low almost throbbing light. Knowing in some way I should, I swung my axe for all I was worth.

A smile slowly crept across my face as I felt it slowly pass though the creature. Rising up off my knee, for the first time I knew I had struck home. It shuddered and then touched me again. My strength momentarily lapsed. Then Deitricha stepped behind me and started to yell. I don’t know what she was doing but she forced the weakness out of my body as I fought the shadowy figure.

Finally with a great chop I dispersed the being for good. Turning to Deitricha with a greatful smile, I thanked her. Then I turned to run ahead towards where Tassar’s voice was coming from. Seems even from here, I could hear the grunts of battle and the clatter of weapons.

William ran at my side. Both of us encountered the whirling battle at the same time. As I entered the fray I took a quick gouge wound. Somehow the ghoul had found an open spot in one of the joints of my armour. A quick queasy feeling came over me, though my body pushed it off. Axe still glowing with Deitricha’s magic, I quickly put it to work. I dropped one quickly before I heard another yell.

All of the undead dropped to the floor in piles of dust. I knew that Deitricha was the only one in the group with such power, so I looked at her and gave her a quick salute with my axe. She then turned quickly and started inspecting Tassar. Seems he had taken lots of damage in his battles so far. She laid hands upon him and called for the aid of her Goddess, healing up what she could for him. Areon and Theona came down the hall at this point... looking no worse for wear.

I had dropped the black rose at my feet in my last swing. As I bent to pick it up, a large glimmering door appeared in the wall several feet from me. I knew right away that this was what we were looking for. I quickly hollered for everyone to hurry through and that I would buy the first round....Clangeddin be praised I could use a couple of thick and frothies at this point... when we got to an Inn or tavern.

As my companions started to leap through the portal, the shadowy figure Deitricha had driven away returned and charged me. Weapon still glowing I charged right at it. Tassar, quick to seek a fight, was right at my side. As I drew close I hollered for him to go to the portal, that his weapons would be no good on this foe... besides, this one was personal.

I swung once, a mighty blow. Nearly running lengthwise through its corporeal body. After a quick dodge I cleaved it out of existence with my second swing. As I turned in triumph I noticed I was alone. Everyone else was gone. Portal glowing in front of me, I dropped into thought....

In retrospect, I wondered what I was doing here, new companions aside. The old Rosorc would have pushed off all of these trying situations and caught a good buzz at the local Inn. Now, I’m not thinking that I would go dry or anything as ludicrous as that. I realized that some things in life are worth working for. Heck worth working hard for....I really know I just didn’t say that!

My brain buzzing with so many thoughts, I raised the black rose and took a long whiff of its heady fragrance. I thought of my beautiful Theona’s face in that low candle light not so long ago and stepped blindly into the portal.

Opening my eyes, I was almost knocked off my feet. As far as I could see was the most amazing stonework I had ever seen. A thirty foot wide corridor. No visible support pillars. Every part of the walls and ceiling intricately etched. This was a dwarves’ Nirvana. I was so engrossed by my new surroundings, I hadn’t noticed Tassar take off down the hall. Or Theona and Areon take off the other way.

Hearing Tassar yell for me I turned and walked in awe. Reaching the large door he had entered, I followed. A large sitting chamber with a rock garden was inside. This was obviously a holy site. The rocks in the room almost hummed with dwarven power and might. No one else was present in the room, but the rocks obviously remembered times past.

Taking several minutes, I translated a story along the wall. From it I gathered we were in the lost Hold of the Delzoun Dwarves. They had been lost from history over 3,000 years prior. A place that no other dwarf in a long time had tread. I took a quick nip from my flask and then offered thanks to Clangeddin for his favor. I was witnessing what dwarven scholars only dreamed of. I walked through all ten chambers, devouring every story written on every wall. Dwarven heroes’ names and deeds that were only faint myths at home, were commonplace here.

Worn out, we decided to rest. As I was still looking about this glorious place, I said I would take first watch. The time passed uneventfully. I reread some of what was on the walls. After my watch ended I passed out from exhaustion.

Sleep took me but I didn’t rest. I had a dream.. Well what I think was a dream. It was so real. When I awoke I was covered in sweat and shivering to the bone. I quickly jotted down all that I remembered. I will write this out in full, I thought. There is a message here. Not wanting to alarm the others, I kept this to myself.

Already shaken, I rose to see Theona and Areon huddled together. They were whipering back and forth. I saw her hand him my letter. Then, she slowly removed my chain and attached it to a fine silver drinking flask.

I couldn’t believe it. She was ready to show her true feelings. Now she had taken our courtship to the next level. I wonder how she knew dwarven culture so well. That she knew she would have to return the chain to me with a gift to acknowledge us as life partners under the mountain. What was I worrying about? I hope Areon didn’t take it too hard. This Lady Theona is such a wonderful being. How was I blessed to find her.....

Happy as the brewmaster on taste test day, I got myself around. Ate some hard tack and washed it down with some ale. I then sat down and changed the braid in my beard. It was an intricate braid. It was to let all know that this dwarf was spoken for.

After the others rose I didn’t let on to what I had seen. I would wait for the surprise from my lady. Tassar was up, grumbling about food and badgering Deitricha about more privacy. William was talking to Areon about being somewhere around the “spine mountains”.

As I listened, I noticed Tassar must have gotten bored again. He was wandering down the hall with Deitricha in tow. I turned to follow. Shooting Theona a wink and smile, I realized that this would be a great day.

After traveling down a large corridor we came to what had to be the Great Hall. It was huge, making Citadel Adbar seem small by comparison. War banners hung as if they were just placed there yesterday. Tapestries hung with family names and crests. This was getting weird. Just like in my dream... I stopped cold in my tracks. There was a family banner that I knew very well. It hung in my father’s smithy. It was ours. The Ironfeld Crest. What strange tie did I have to this long dead place?

Tassar was asking if I would “mind if we took some of the tapestries for sale later”. Taken out of my suprised stupor I quickly snapped, “No.” That is when we saw them. Orc tracks in the dust. Fresh orc tracks at that.

One thing we all agree on, it is the hatred of orcs. Tassar was almost possessed as he hurried about, running from one room to the next. Knowing his intentions, I tried to keep up. As he ripped open the fifth door I heard him shout with glee. Tearing down the hall, I was quick to follow.

Down the hall was a room filled with orcs. Stinky, smelly, ugly orcs. Defiling, now what I can only assume, what was at one time my forefathers’ home. I was so angered, I stopped feeling the ground beneath me as I charged down the hall....

Posted by Erik on April 16, 2004, 14:00

From Where Dreams May Come

Sleep took me but I didn’t rest. I had a dream.. Well what I think was a dream. It was so real. I walked from our bed chamber, I passed down the hall to our dining room. It was a large, decorative room. My whole family was gathered around our feasting table. Each brought joy to my heart. My lovely wife Theona was teaching our children their lessons.

Raising her eyes, she gave me a wonderful smile. Alaysia Alana, our sweet and beautiful daughter, jumped up and ran over to give me a hug. A little angel, she could be the spitting image of her mother. Long flowing hair, neatly brushed, her thin frame, and an incredible smile. You could see all of her mother’s elven traits. Releasing her hug, she asked,”Are you going to be joining us, Father?” A quick nod, a peck on her forehead, and then I dropped into the nearest open chair.

Theroduin, our son, asked,”Will you and Mother be leaving again, soon? You know you have just returned home from your last trip.” Taking my time answering, I admired my son. A fine young man he was. He was a cross somewhere between my grandfather and myself. Dark hair and coal black eyes. Rather tall for a dwarf, but very broad and powerful already for his young age. You could swear that he was already starting to grow some stubble on that chin of his.

I started to ponder his question as the servants began to bring in lunch. Shooting an inquisitive glance to my wife, she nodded her head yes. Sad that we had to leave the children so soon, myself, I told him,”Yes, my boy, but we will return shortly. Of course, with presents for all!”

Alaysia Alana’s eyes lit up. She also had her mother’s appetite for the finer things in life.......

Standing in the rock garden, you could feel the power and blessing of Berronar Truesilver in this place. Even though Delzoun had been long abandoned. As I stood there in this long forgotten holy place, I called out for her to hear my plea. I opened my heart and mind. I asked her for what I wished for most. Almost sad when I was finished with my prayer, as I believed it was impossible if not just improbable for it to come true.

Little did I know that the full moon outside had reached its apex. That magic ran thick in the air of this old and powerful shrine. As I lowered my head and returned to my watch, I never even noticed the two interlocking silver circles that had appeared on the rocks below my feet, and then within the same instant, were gone.

......”Please hurry back Father,” Alaysia Alana whispered. “I will, my dear, I will,” I said. Then continued as I messed up the hair on Theroduin’s head,”Take care of your sister, my boy.” Theona was giving them both hugs as we left our humble abode in Silvery Moon. Walking out to the stable, we waved one last time before we headed out for the mission at hand......

Wandering off, I travelled the halls of Delzoun. It was as if I had first-hand knowledge of this place where I had never been. I passed through many common areas. I saw our family crest, the Ironfeld Crest, hung in the great hall and several other places along the way. After seeming to travel hours through Delzoun, I came to a rather large door.

Etched right into the stone of the door was our family crest. More than a little curious, I pushed the door open. Inside was a very large, lavish dwelling. Now this wasn’t an Ironsmith’s lodging. I walked through the door into plush decour. There were many books on shelves and scattered about a low table. One, left open, caught my interest. It was the family tree of the Ironfeld lineage from eons back. Sitting down, I skimmed through page after page, not stopping till I reached a page that shook me to my inner core.

“Rosorc and Theona Ironfeld, No descendants” The scariest thing of all was that the passage was penned 3200 years prior. How did they know? What did they know? Putting the book in my pack to show the others, I investigated the rest of the rooms in my ancestor’s dwelling.

......”Ro’ dear, do you think the children will ever figure out our secret?” Theona asked as we rode along. Caught off guard, I nearly fell off my light war horse, Cadderly. Now I was wondering which secret of many my lovely wife meant. Still stumbling for words, she continued,”Eventually someone in the Realms will tell them that it isn’t natural to have an elf and a dwarf born as twins.”

Slowing my mount down, I turned to her and replied thoughtfully,”They are but ten and five winters old. Though I have feared this myself of late. How do we tell our children that they are born of their parents’ love and the magic of the gods only?” Then I continued on,”When would they be ready to accept the prophecy of their birth?” Upon the mention of the prophecy Theona lowered her head in thought as we rode towards our goal.....

Every room in the dwelling seemed to be set up in 2 different sizes. Confused, I walked into what must have been the study. Standing slack jawed I stood there staring at what could only be paintings of myself and the fair Lady Theona on the wall, but dressed in the garb of a much older time. After brushing off this shock, I continued on to what had to be the master bedroom of the house. Here I found a diary of what had to have been Theona’s - or the lady’s of the house, I think.

I was very confused at this point. Not knowing whose diary it was, I skimmed it. It seems the writer and her husband had been very sad for a very long time. That they had not been able to have children in their long marriage. That the grief was slowly killing her, now that her husband was reaching old age.

Here I went kind of fuzzy. I felt light headed and started to black out. Before I went out I caught a glimpse of a very strange thing....

A strong and powerful dwarven matron was standing above me. She was talking with a very thin and beautiful elven woman. Both had the glow of magic as they weaved their hands above me. Seems as they spoke they were dead set that they weren’t going to fail this time. That a debt would be repaid, and a prophecy would be fulfilled.

When I awoke I was covered in sweat and shivering to the bone. I quickly jotted down all that I remembered. There is a message here, I thought. Not wanting to alarm the others, I kept this information to myself.

Posted by Erik on April 21, 2004, 12:40

Orcs to Slay!

As I charged into the room, anger boiled in my blood. Visor dropped and axe drawn, I went into a frenzy of action. A heavy fore-swing with my axe quickly separated the first orc I encountered from his head. Still enraged, I reversed my axe and dropped an injured orc by Tassar.

Surveying the situation, it seemed we were in some sort of orc-ridden mess hall. As I looked about, I saw Areon jump on the table in front of me and join the fray. He dropped an orc with a mighty swing of his sword. Then four more orcs fell upon him with a vengeance. Two of them struck home with their spears. Blood was running freely down his side.

Rushing to his aid, I stepped between three of the uglier foes in the room. Here Clangeddin himself seemed to posess me. Placing my axe into motion, within seconds all three of them lay lifeless on the ground. Though my glee was quickly dispersed when four more orcs charged in! Two of them found gaps in my armour with their spears. Another hit me with his old rusty sword.

There was the sound of a horn being blown from across the room and then the twang of a bow. Halfway thru the note it altered. Seems Theona was putting her bow to very good use.

Tassar yelled something about numbers....and then my lady Theona was there. She quickly tossed me a potion of healing, which I tucked in my pouch. Was that a wink. I swear that was a wink. I wonder when I will get my new mug and chain back? Soon, I hope. Even in battle her beauty is unmatched....

Deitricha ran forward and healed Areon. He seemed to be in pretty rough shape. Then I noticed the ogres in the room. Brought to my attention by William’s magic missiles flying across the room at them. Followed by two huge javelins flying back the other way at him. Luckily for him they hit the stone wall by his head. From the amount of stone dislodged they surely would have ended his days in the Realms.

Then one of the ogres charged me. He swung his large club. Greatfully, he missed high. From behind me, I heard Tassar yell as he dropped the Ogre charging William. I then put my axe to work. I lunged in and dropped one of the orcs battering Areon. Then took a back swing at the ogre, hitting squarely in his side. He started to wobble just as a barrage of magic missles burnt into his chest. He fell unceremoniously to the floor.

Within seconds the room was silent. All the orcs were dead. The ogres, too. Theona quickly went to work collecting any loot that may lay about. Deitricha was busy healing us fighters, since all of us seemed worse for the wear.

I took a long draught from my ale flask. Killing orcs seems to make you very thirsty indeed. After I was healed up and refreshed I went over and gave the lady Theona her healing potion back. She tucked it away in her pack, and started to investigate up a small hallway leading out of the mess hall. Wanting to make sure she would be all right, I followed along.

We came to a corner about fifteen feet up the hall. Here Theona stopped and looked puzzled. Noticing Areon had followed along, I moved up so we could all get a look. There were a bunch of scratches and chips out of the floor. There was a lot of dried blood there, also. Thinking Areon or I might know what type of blood was on the floor, Lady Theona asked us if we knew. Neither of us could answer her.

She and Areon talked about the scratches and blood for a while. Sensing no major danger I decided to continue around the corner. As I stepped in the area of the blood I heard a sharp cracking sound. Then an iron rod shot down out of the ceiling toward me. Luckily I was nimble on my feet and managed to move mostly out of its way. I did receive a small cut on my arm. Mystery solved, the three of us continued down the hall.

It was a short distance later when we came to a bolted and barred door. On it was a bunch of orc runes and wards. Since neither of the elves could read orc I translated for them. Beware death ahead...Drow...
Realizing we were in no condition to deal with dark elves we left the door shut, and returned to the mess hall.

Upon arrival there was a clamour in the next room; what sounded like pots and pans being crashed about and Tassar yelling that this was his stew. Then the guttural speech of orcs set us into action. I charged around the corner. Running right up to a doorway that was spilling out orcs. With a mighty back handed swing I dropped the two that had entered the room.

Next a barrage of bolts and arrows flew up the hallway. Looking back it seemed everyone else in the party had let loose a round. Following Areon, I ran down the short hallway into the next chamber. It was long and wide. It had pillars every fifteen feet up each side along the walls. Everyone else followed us in.
Guess I was the only one who didn’t decide to hide behind a pillar.

Standing in the open, I let a crossbow bolt fly at the group of orcs, an ogre, and a cleric at the other end of the room. Hitting one, it winced in pain. Then the round of bolts flew both ways. A spear caught me in my thigh. Being a shallow wound I quickly pulled it out and charged across the room. I met the group of orcs with a flurry of blows.

Two orcs fell to thier deaths before I felt the world drop out beneath me. The floor dropped down into a twenty foot pit. I tried to dive for the edge, but I wasn’t fast enough. It is amazing how fast an armoured, equipped dwarf can fall twenty feet. As I landed, it momentarily knocked the wind out of me, and covered me in oil. I was standing in four inches of it from what I could tell. I recovered just in time to see a torch being tossed over the edge, down into the pit.

I lunged forward and caught the torch out of the air, saving myself a firey death. Though my arm did catch fire on my armour. Running towards the far wall of the pit near my comrades, I threw the torch up and out of the pit. Still on fire and no place to roll it out, I was pleased to see a rope tossed down to me. It was Deitricha yelling for me to climb up.

As the battle raged over head I slowly climbed up the rope. With a final pull Dietricha pulled me out. I immediatly began rolling until the flames were out on my arm. By the time I stood up, the battle was over. Orc bodies were flung all about on both sides of the pit. The ogre lay dead with a familiar green warfork in him, and somehow Tassar was down in the pit I had just escaped from.

After we pulled Tassar out of the pit, Theona pulled the lever to restore the floor. Then we looted the bodies, and set to figuring out how to open the door ahead of us. Much energy spent and time wasted, we (finally) gave up after every effort we tried, failed. The door just would not budge. Turning back, we followed Tassar back the way we had come.

Returning to the area we had rested in the night before we regrouped. Tassar continued to check doors out we had not opened, yet. In the second door he opened he found an amazing sight. It was obviously a holy site. Giant stone reliefs to Moradin with his hammer and Clangeddin with his axe adorned the walls. Underneath them was a pedestal with a large Mithril axe on it. Lying on the floor around it was a large group of charred dead orcs.

Motioning for the others not to touch the axe, I walked up and inspected it. It was beautiful. Exquisite dwarven craftsmanship. And if you looked at it just right, it seemed to have a dull glow. This was an axe of power. Fearing I may not be worthy of this weapon, I asked the others to leave the chamber and close the door behind them. Looking at all of the dead, burnt bodies all around me I closed my eyes and gave prayer.

With a swift motion I cried out my lady love’s name and pulled the axe from its resting place. A crackle of energy rushed up my arms and then it stopped as quick as it had started. I looked the axe over, and then hung it across my back. Exiting the room, I encountered a beat-up Tassar. He said that something had attacked him up in the ceiling of another room. Curious to see what my new weapon could do, I said I would help him take care of it.

Entering the room I saw a large hole in the ceiling. We fired some bolts at it but nothing came out. Seems the others wanted to rest. Dietricha got our attention with a couple of rocks fired from her sling.

Growing bored anyway, we obliged the others and joined the group. We made camp. The elves agreed to take watch so we could rest. Exhausted, I collapsed......

Posted by Erik on May 2, 2004, 08:45

Dark Tidings Whispering...

As I closed my eyes, I drifted to another place. I felt as if I was really there, yet I was not me....

....”Ro’, hey, Ro’ please wake up. I need to talk to you,” Theona purred. “Huh, is it morning already,” Rosorc answered. “Seems I just fell asleep.” .. “You did. I can’t rest at all. I went to see the sage, today. He didn’t have good news, I’m afraid,” Theona finished, laying her arm over Rosorc’s back.

As she started to cry, he turned to hug her. He knew that their long time attempts at having children were tearing his wife up inside. Stroking her hair, he held her until her sobbing stopped. Knowing that his wife wouldn’t go sleep, he strained to stave off sleep himself.

“My dear, I went to the temple again today,” Rosorc whispered to his wife. Then continued, ”There might be a way. Berronar has sent me a sign. As I stood in the stone circle in prayer, two entwined silver circles appeared at my feet. There has to be a way, my dear,” Rosorc mumbled, as he fell asleep.

Kissing her husband on the head, Theona slipped out of bed and walked to her writing table. She made a prayer to her Goddess Sehanine, then took up her diary and began to write....


Cadderly knickered loudly as they paused in the road. Brushing his mane with his hand, Rosorc tried to ease his mount’s stress. Whispering to his wife, Theona, he asked,”Which way did they go?” Getting up and remounting, she said, ”To the east.” Fire burnt in her eyes. They could tell that they were gaining on them. Justice would be served.

“Justice will be served,” Rosorc thought out loud. Kicking the horses into action, they galloped up the road.


Alaysia sat in her room. She was playing with her favorite doll. As she braided the doll’s hair the nape of her neck ran cold. Stopping what she was doing, she looked up. A shadowy form was in the corner by her clothes chest. Too afraid to scream, she started to cry.

The dark figure floated towards her. As it approached, its stench alone gagged her. Under its hood it could see decaying flesh and partially exposed bones. It was chanting something in an unknown language.

Getting her bearings, she dove across her bed. Dropping her doll, she twisted the ring her mother had given her on her finger. With a wink she disappeared from sight. Her pursuer stopped and looked around. As quietly as she could, she crawled to the door. Then tore it open and ran down the hall screaming for her brother.


Jerking myself out of sleep, I rolled over and sat up. Sweat soaked my body. Again with the dreaming. “What is going on?” I thought. So much didn’t make any sense. Yet, I was sure that I was bound to this elven female in more ways than one.

As I pulled out my journal and started to feverishly write down everything I could remember, I glanced her way. Even in meditation, Theona glowed with beauty that seemed to touch me deep within my soul. It was almost scary. I have known her such a short time, yet, it seems my love for her has lasted lifetimes.....

Posted by Erik on May 9, 2004, 08:17

Out to Lunch

Around and recovered, I tucked my journal in my pack. Pulling out some hard tack, I slowly chewed a large hunk. Then, as I surveyed my companions, I pulled a large draught from my favorite ale flask. Feeling the edge taken off, I walked over to Tassar and Deitricha.

They were discussing something quietly, so I decided not to disturb them. Continuing on towards William I asked, ”Are you recovered yet? You took quite a pounding from the Ogres.” He just smiled and said, ”I’ll be all right.”

As I went over to speak to Theona, I noticed Tassar had gone wandering already. He was yelling something about ‘cool and neat’. No time left to speak to Theona, I filed my questions for a future point and took off after the halfling.

As I chased him with the others down the halls I started to sing to myself. Seems my soul and inner being were wrestling with something major. I had not sung the song of “Troubled Times” in a long, long time....

....Greatly outnumbered the sky had grown dark...Hushed whispers of fear ran through their hearts...Clutching their axes and swords to thier breasts...the Dwarves and the Elves braced themselves for death...From on high the horns sounded as the dark horde came...Driving the valiant defenders from life to their grave...

As I heard Tassar yell that there was something coming from ahead, I snapped out of song. I looked up in time to see two rust monsters charging at us. Quickly pulling my crossbow, I fired at the closest one as it charged. Not being a true shot, it bounced harmlessly off the hard shell.

William stepped forward to meet the charge. Within seconds, his armor and weapon turned to rust at his feet. Areon stepped forward next, landing several quick blows on one. Theona then fired her bow. Somewhere in the mix of hits, the first rust monster fell.

Not having time to reload my crossbow, I stepped behind the people who had less metal on them to reload. After dealing with this type of creature for years in the mines back home, I knew what to do. We used to take turns chasing them out of the mines with leather armour and strong wooden staffs, to keep them from destroying all the metals being mined.

I realized that they were no real threat to our persons, though they would destroy our armour and weapons, something that would hurt us later on if the fighters of the party were to be weaponless and without armour. Before I looked up from reloading, the second monster had already dropped.

Rehanging my crossbow, I noticed Theona looked at me kind of funny. With my limited knowledge of this glorious woman’s inner workings, I just kind of shrugged it off and flashed her a wink and a smile.

Soon, we were continuing down the hall. I was following Theona closely when she found a secret door. Areon pushed the panel and it opened easily.
It opened into a medium size room. As we walked into it a large earth elemental rose out of the floor. Being a dwarf I tried to speak to it. I hollered that we wished to pass in peace and respected its place as guardian. All I recieved for my efforts was a pummeling fist to the chest.

Tassar came charging into the room. He took a major swing and then was pounded by one of the elemental’s large fists. Before I could prevent it, he received two more blows and lay still on the ground. Magic missiles flew, arrows struck home, but the elemental didn’t waver.

Deitricha was rushing forward to pull Tassar away, so I drew its attention towards me. Reaching deep within myself, I swung my axe for all of my worth. A large hunk of sod flew from its side, though it repaid the wound with blows even I could not withstand. As the third fist struck my world went dark....

The day was beautiful and sunny. The clerics were dressed in ther finest ornate robes. All who stood in circle were dressed for the festive occasion. Theona stood in the middle of the circle wearing a beautiful white gown, decorated in silver and trimmed in mithril. Her beauty rivaled the sun’s, the moon’s , and the heavens themselves. Rosorc stood at her side, very well dressed in a nobleman’s attire. Beard and hair braided, mithril and silver interwoven into the braids, beaming as he basked in his soon-to-be-bride’s presence.

A chorus of voices began to sing. The two clerics began to speak in unison. “Do you Rosorc take this woman to be your bride? In sickness and in health? Through good times and bad times? Under the trees and the mountains; so say you?” Piping up with love in his voice, Rosorc answered, “I do.” The clerics continued,”Do you Theona take this man to be your husband? In sickness and health? In good times and bad times? Under the trees and under the mountains?” Smiling warmly, Theona answered.......

“Hey Rosorc, wake up. Are you all right?” Theona asked. “I guess”, I stammered; Deitricha was laying her hands on me as I felt a warm healing energy wash through my body. Looking around, I saw the earth elemental was laying in a lump on the floor. Looking back to Theona, I could picture the sun illuminating her face.

A few moments passed. I then heard Tassar yelling,”Weeee!!!!” No matter what was really going on, that couldn’t be a good sign. I ran off with the rest of the group to see what mishap had befallen our comrade. Rounding the bend, we saw a pit trap open in the floor, with a very steep chute leading off into the darkness.

Deitricha dropped to the edge of the pit and started hollering for Tassar but he didn’t answer back. Then a fifty foot rope was produced and lowered down into the hole. It was not grabbed from the other end. Everyone feared this was the end of Tassar.

Not giving up hope, I jumped into the pit and rode the chute down to the end of the 50 foot rope. Here I grabbed onto it and tied it around my waist. I started calling for Tassar myself. I could hear him yelling, though not to me. Seems he was engaged in some sort of combat. So I hollered above for another 50 foot rope to be lowered to me. When I received it, I tied one end to myself and lowered the rest beneath me. Within a few moments I felt a few tugs. Then Tassar yelling.”It’s about time! Those Drow wanted to kill me.”

Upon arrival at the top Deitricha with great relief on her face gave Tassar a big hug. Everyone else broke into the “Tassar, watch out for traps!” record.

After which he burst into his tale of how he killed the Drow with his crossbow and lasso’d and drug his body over to his cage bars so he could steal his weapons. All in all it was a good story. With the blacksteel weapons to show for his effort he was quite proud of himself.

Moving on, we opened the next door. As a group, we started down a short hall that opened into a small weapons cache. Fearing the arrow slots were traps on the far side of the room we skirted the edges. Gathering all of the usable items from the room we continued down another short hallway.

Theona and I walked in together. It was a barracks style room. The whole thing was covered and filled with spider webs. Calling back, someone handed me up a torch. Lighting it and holding it with my shield hand, I pulled my axe. With Theona guarding my back I started to burn back the webs. As I heard Theona scream, three large spiders dropped down and attacked me.

I held one off with the torch. I hit one with my axe and then I was bitten three times within seconds. I felt the poison rush through my veins. My body fought to stave off the effects. Then the weakness set in. I dropped to a knee. My head started to swim for me to keep my senses. Something sharp hit my back. I started to fall forward.....

”I do.” Tears of joy streamed from their eyes as they embraced at the ceremony’s end. Holding his wife to his chest Rosorc knew that his life path was now complete.....

“Is he out again,” Tassar asked. Then continuing, “Figures, he gets all of the good spider venom. Look at his eyes. He must be really out there.” Deitricha answered, ”That is the look of love. I don’t think the spider bites have anything to do with it.” Quickly she glanced Theona’s way, then looked back and gave me a knowing wink.

Posted by Erik on May 15, 2004, 15:59

Peril from both ends

Coming to, I shook off the last of the spider venom that was clouding my head. Standing up, I pulled a long draught of ale. Noticing my flask was getting a little low, I took inventory of my pack. Seems the gods favour me; there were still four more full flasks in there.

Realizing that there was a discussion going on around me, I tried to tune in. Seems everyone had different ideas of what we should do. Theona and Areon wanted to try and find a way out. Tassar, from what I could tell, just wanted to run wild.

William was his aloof self, with no real opinion. Deitricha was game either way. I, feeling at home in this dwarven hold, wanted to go looking for some more loot. Plus, there seemed to be a neverending supply of bad guys in this place to deal with.

After a few heated words were exchanged, everyone noticed Tassar was gone again. He had taken off down the hall. As everyone else followed him, I decided to take the other way. Since I was tired of all of the traps, I started tapping the floor out in front of me with the butt of my axe. I’d travelled about forty feet when I started to hear shouting behind me.

Stopping in my tracks, I listened quietly for a moment. “Damn, they are in trouble again”, I thought. Right as the train of thought finished, I heard something coming up the hallway ahead of me. Luckily there was a corner. Before whoever or whatever was coming got there, I turned and bolted up the hall. At first, I ducked into the room we’d rested in.

Pulling my axe, I caught my breath. I held it ready to swing as I stood alongside the door. Then, I heard many of my companions yelling and the clash of weapons. Not caring for my safety, I tore out of the room and ran up the hallway yelling,”Incoming!” As I ran for all I was worth, a large flash of a ray shot over my head. Seeing the corner approaching, I reached within myself and turned it up.

That is when I saw Areon leap around the corner and fire an arrow past me. Then I was hit by several crossbow bolts from behind. None penetrated my armour. Risking a glance back, I was very suprised. Hell, there were six drow and a beholder behind me.

Reaching Areon, I quickly pushed him around the corner as I ran past him, hearing bolts hit the wall behind us where we had been but a moment before. Looking ahead, I could see William and Theona. Deitricha and Tassar were out of sight. There was a doorway ahead. From within it I could hear Tassar fighting with something. There were a lot of guttural, almost barking noises coming from within.

Running forward, I charged into the room. Here I was confronted by another bad situation. Tassar was engaged with four gnolls and a hellhound. Looking beyond the battle, I could see a red robed wizard who was covered head to toe with tattoos, and a scribe of some sorts, copying some of the stone tablets off of the shelves.

William, Theona and Areon followed me in. William took a quick pounding from a pair of gnolls. His missing armour at this point really hurt him. Theona backed into a corner and started firing her bow at the Mage. Areon pulled his sword and joined the fray with Tassar and myself.

Knocked loopy by his wounds, William rapidly retreated out into the hallway. Sadly for him, it was right into the advancing drow and beholder. Quickly he collapsed to the ground, riddled with crossbow bolts. We tried to pull him back in, but under the current conditions it was a non issue.

Two of the four gnolls had succumbed to our efforts. The hell hound was also twitching on the ground. Theona was screaming in the corner. Looking her way, I could see my beloved holding her shoulder. Seems the mage had hit her with some sort of missile spell.

Hollering for Areon to try and close the door, I turned and struck a gnoll down with a mighty swing. Areon tried to push the door shut but was met by a drow, rapier in hand. Next thing we knew, the two of us were being pelted by eye stalk weapons from the beholder. We were luckier than the drow in the doorway. He disintegrated before our eyes. Seems the beholder didn’t care who he killed.

A gap in the drow advancers allowed Areon to push the door shut. Theona quickly jumped to help him. Seems the Red Wizard didn’t hang out to meet the beholder. He and his scribe took off through a portal as soon as his last gnoll escort collapsed to the ground.

With the wizard gone Deitricha healed herself, and then started to heal the rest of us within the room. Areon and Theona held the door long enough for me to place two pitons in front of it. Then we all held it for all we were worth.

Seconds became minutes. Minutes became a long time by halfling reckoning. Tassar was convinced the drow had left scared of us. We all took a breath and started to look for a separate exit to this room. We also discussed what we were going to do about poor William. Our thoughts were varied.

After Deitricha finished patching us up, we decided to open the door and take a look. The hallway was empty. No one anywhere in sight. The doorway across the hall looked suspicious to me. As the others discussed chasing down the drow and saving William, I checked inside the door. Peeking in, I could see the beholder passing back and forth as if on guard duty.

Closing the door, we made battle plans. Deitricha pushed the door back open with her staff as Areon, Tassar, Theona, and I unloaded our bows and crossbows on the beholder. Though the beholder was waiting on us. He hit Tassar and me first and both of us passed out.


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

“How does this pertain to me and sis, Father?” Theroduin asked. “I wish I knew, my son, I really wish I knew,” I answered.


Deitricha kicked me in my ribs. Groggily, I stood back up. I motioned to Areon that I was going to charge the beholder. With a quick nod, I knew he would follow. As I took off, my companions fired their ranged weapons around me. I made it all the way to the beholder and put a huge chop into its side. Pulling back to swing again, I didn’t even see the five drow materialze around me.

The next thing I knew I was falling to the ground. Darkness taking me again....


“You and your sister are children born of fate,” I started. Then continued, ”Your steps are spoken of by the gods. Your mother and I have tried long and hard to find out what that fate may be but as of now we are no closer than when we started.”


As I pulled mysellf off the floor, I saw that we had found William, and luckily, he was still alive. My poor Theona must have been pretty injured, as Areon was helping her keep her feet. Tassar closed the door, locking us in. After Deitricha healed us, we set watch schedules. Then, being still under the effect of the drow poison, I quickly dropped into slumber....

Posted by Erik on May 23, 2004, 06:05

Out of the Dark... into the Dark a friend falls

I walked through the darkness. I could hear my love in the distance. She beckoned me like a haunt in the night. As I proceeded, the darkness thickened. Chills rolled up and down my spine.

I rounded a large bend in the road. Here there was a hole in the ground. A large, ominously dark, hole in the ground. Fetid odors and eerie sounds rolled out from the darkness. Somewhere down below Theona’s voice beckoned to me. Begging me to join her. Telling me we would be together forever.

With great trepidation I entered the hole. Walking down its slick and musky path, my dark vision started to fail me. Then, it was gone. All there was was the sound of my love’s voice and the slimy wall to track my way forward with.

For what seemed to be hours, may have been days, or even weeks in that dreadful place, I continued on. Always seeming to be just one step behind my lady love. Growing tired, I called out to her,”Please, my love, won’t you wait so I can join you? I grow weary from these travels, and wish just to hold you in my arms.”

What I had mistaken for a dark cackling laughter was actually Theona’s reply, I think, “Soon, my dear, you will join me in the darkness and we shall be together forever!”


Jumping off the floor, I shuddered uncontrollably. I couldn’t throw the chill. “What is going on inside my head? What are all of these dreams?” I thought. “Clangeddin help me,” I said out loud. Shaking off the moment, I took in what my friends had done during my brief but strange drow poison-induced sleep.

Everyone was milling around. The elves were saying that they wanted to leave and find our way above ground. Looking at us as a whole, I argued that we should find a place underground to hole up in until we could heal our wounds. I was the only one of the bunch that didn’t look like he had spent the last 24 hours being tortured by drow.

Tassar was limping and holding his ribs. William could hardly stand upright, and some of his wounds hadn’t closed properly. Our healer Deitricha was looking pretty frazzled, herself, and made more so by the fact she couldn’t help anyone else today. She had already spent herself helping us survive the battle with the beholder, Drow, Red Wizard, and Gnolls.

Finally I gave in to my lady. I agreed that, after we checked out the stone tablets the Red Wizard was checking, we would try to go above ground. (Though I still mumbled my displeasure about the decision for all to hear.)

Heading over to the other room, we checked out the stone tablets the Red Wizard had been scribing earlier. Having parchment, I agreed to make rubbings of them all as they deemed them important. As the others could read dwarven, I really didn’t listen as I worked on the rubbings.

I did look up to see Tassar dancing around with the Beholder’s eye stalks; he had cut them off and was making them talk like hand puppets. I had to crack a smile. Even in that much pain a halfling could have fun.

Information rubbed, I tried listening to what they were saying about what was on them, though I really didn’t care at the moment. My head full of dark tidings. Listening for the Drow or Orcs to return at this point, I went into a sullen mood. I knew we were in trouble. Or maybe it was just my bad dream running over into the real world. Either way, I was not interested in small talk. “Let’s go,” I said.

Ranking up, Theona and Tassar led the way. We skirted along at a pretty good pace, retracing our steps back to where we entered this place. Amazingly, we didn’t run into any resistance along the way.

Coming to the original double doors we didn’t choose, Theona looked them over and we opened them. A large room with another pair of large double doors lay on the other side of it. We could see arrow slits and oil holes in the ceiling. Fearing there may be traps, Theona started to check the room.

Tassar quickly grew bored, walked around the room’s edge, and threw open the doors on the other side. A bright sunny day greeted him for his efforts. Seeing it wasn’t trapped we all quickly followed.

Areon almost seemed healed by the outside air. Theona became as giddy as the night we shared our wonderful dinner in the City of Doors. (After the heavy drinking, of course.)

The rest just looked down the old dwarven road, and talked about going home. I looked down the road and made a map in my head. “This place needs taken back by the dwarves,” I thought.

There being no place in the area to hide and rest, we decided to make our way down to the Moonwood below. No one was comfortable being so heavily exposed. We could see for miles, and therefore be seen for miles. Moving at a rapid pace Areon decided to travel at point.

As we approached the wood’s edge, he came running back and told us of an orc war party heading this way. Quickly, we dispersed behind some rocks. Areon, Theona, and Tassar on one side, William, Deitricha, and myself on the other.

At first it seemed all right. Then, as a group, our side of the road was noticed by the fifteen orcs, three larger orcs, and two dire boars. “Clangeddin, we are in trouble,” I thought. As the band charged our way, I saw William draw first blood as he dropped an ugly orc archer with a pair of magic missiles.

Sensing no escape, I charged into the center of the group, quickly felling an orc with a quick axe swipe, and turning a back swing into one of the larger orc’s chest. It was a powerful blow. Though it didn’t even seem to faze him; he just got a wild and sinister look in his eyes.

I was surrounded within seconds by another large orc and two more small orcs. The two large orcs got off quick attacks that caught me hard. I had to catch my breath. These weren’t any run-of-the-mill orcs. They hit like an ogre.

Seeing two more magic missiles fly by, I listened for and heard the tell-tale death gurgle. William had gotten another one. Then I heard the twang of bows. Several orcs in the party started to shout in pain.

Brought back to my own situation, I quickly took a large swing and dropped a smaller foe, again hitting the large orc with the back swing. He grunted at my effort and caught me with a glancing blow with his sword. His two remaining comrades both missed, luckily.

Somewhere in the distance I heard Deitricha scream. A large burst of flame erupted in Williams direction. Tassar yelled something about, “A glorious day for Tempus.”, but was eerily cut off in mid-sentence.

Catching the last small orc with a heavy blow, he dropped to the ground. Turning my axe to the large orc I had been hitting, I struck home with my axe a third time. At least this time I could see fear register in his beady pig-like eyes. Again I was struck from behind by the other large orc. I definitely knew I was bleeding from several places at this point.

Hearing Theona scream put me into a rage. I ripped the one orc I had been hitting nearly in half, then charged in her general direction. I couldn’t see her at this point with all of the boulders between us.

Rounding a large boulder I saw Deitricha “Fly” past me and pick up a crumpled Tassar from the ground. Rubbing my eyes, I looked again. Yes, she was definitely flying.

Watching her, I nearly ran headfirst into the dire boar that had dropped Tassar. I slammed my axe into him. At the same time the large orc caught me from behind again. It luckily was only a glancing blow.

Areon, Theona, and the flying Deitricha were slowly whittling down their oposition. I tried a new technique. I hit the dire boar and tried side stepping him. It seemed to work, as both the boar and the large orc missed me with their attacks. I repeated the attack process to the same effect.

I heard Theona scream and looked up in time to see Areon drop to the ground under the attack of the other dire boar. She was pointing a wand at it.

I over handed the dire boar I was fighting with a mammoth attack; it teetered, then dropped to its back, twitched, and then grew still. Not having time to rejoice, I turned to fight the large orc behind me.

As I turned, we slammed into each other. He reacted first with a heavy swing of his sword. Dropping to a knee, his attack went high. I then came up with a blow to his ribs, definitely catching something important. He was heavily favouring his side after that.

Lunging forward, he caught my leg. Blood ran freely from the wound. I paced a little to my left and was trying to take advantage of his injured side, while protecting my injured right leg, whan a rock hit me from the back. Barely having time to swing, I fell forward and cleaved for all I was worth. My axe rang true. I felt the death shudder as he fell from my axe, eyes already closed.

Wheeling to see this new foe, I found Deitricha flying by, apologizing for the errant shot from her sling. Recouping my bearings, I charged over to help Theona who was chopping up an already dead dire boar.

Surveying the field, not a foe stood. Though only three companions stood at the moment. Areon stirred on the ground, and healed himself some with a wand he held in his hand. He then rose to his feet.

Deitricha flew Tassar to the group and laid him on the ground. I tossed her back the healing potion she had given me the day before. Told her that, “Tassar needs it more then I do.” She thanked me with a relieved look in her eyes. Within a few moments he was up and about, though definitely hurting.

At this point Deitricha started to cry. She told us of William’s valiant last stand. His burst of flame killed several orcs before he was gored to death by the dire boar.

All brought to sadness by this news, we went to gather his body. I thought about this great victory. How shallow it ran in comparison to the loss of another friend and companion. How the real battle was lost when I gave in to leaving the underground before we were ready.

Burying William, we all stood silent while Deitricha blessed his passing into the nether world. Regaining composure, we gathered up the orc bodies. Theona looted them as we went. I dropped the couple of stone tablets I had taken from the library by them. We then placed some of the drow weapons and armour around the bodies, making it look like a drow ambush.

Hobbling together as a group, we staggered off to find a safe place to hide and rest. At this point we couldn’t fend off an angry kobold. As we moved off, I started to think of how I could immortalize this fallen friend in song.......

Posted by Erik on May 30, 2004, 08:24

A weight lifted and love lost

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Erik on June 14, 2004, 09:37

Hunt for the comrade named Tassar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Erik on June 19, 2004, 16:30

Darkness slips through the light

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Posted by Erik on July 4, 2004, 08:44

Strange reunions and another sad parting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Erik on July 25, 2004, 00:40

A trip to town and flowers to boot!

After regrouping, we decided to head south east to Beorunna’s Well, a small Barbarian town. Everyone was relieved and excited to have a relatively close destination for the moment. Ale! was low along with all of our other provisions. We would have to spend time foraging and hunting along the way just to meet our base needs.

Walking along, I whistled a long forgotten drinking song from my youth back in the halls of Citadel Adbar. It was a rousing little ditty about a fine young ale conniseur and a wayward princess..... Snapping out of my inner musings, I stopped my whistling and fetched my ale skin. All of these ale thoughts had peaked my thirst.

Pulling a small draught, I rinsed it through my mouth, savouring the flavor. It was not the Realms’ finest ale but it was enough to raise this Dwarf’s spirit. Placing my flask back in my pack, I grabbed a small hunk of dried meat and slowly ate it as we walked along.

The strangest thing was going on around me. Every time I looked at Theona and Deitricha they were always speaking back and forth in Elven. They’d stare at me, and then there was a scary following round of giggling.

Feeling very self conscious, I tried to check my armour and gear to make sure everything was intact. After reassuring myself I was completely covered and decent, I mumbled to myself, “Clangeddin forgive me. But I will never understand females.”

Several more hours of travel had passed and it was now growing dark. Beau and Areon found us a nice little grove to camp in for the night. Setting up camp, we decided to set our usual round of watches.

Seems Areon had developed some sort of infection in his leg. Deitricha laid her hands on his leg where the original wound was, and prayed very loudly to her deity. Her hands glowed in the dark for a brief moment and then she said, “You should be fine, Areon,” and walked over near me and sat down.

Pulling out her bed roll, she laid it out by the fire and laid down to rest. The Elves had already settled into their meditative state, I’ll never understand how someone just doesn’t sleep, and Beau and Shadow were snoring in unison on the other side of the fire.

Climbing onto a comfortable rock, I started my watch. Being as it takes way too much effort to get my armour on in the middle of the night, I had volunteered to always take first or last watch.

It was a nice night. A very clear sky. The stars shone like an underground cavern of gems in the flickering light of a torch. Trying to forget the seeming betrayal of our comrade Tassar, I looked out into the night. Still, thoughts of our (what seemed to me anyways) short friendship rolled through my head.

I had never been betrayed before by a close companion. Sure, I had been robbed, lied to, and definitely badly beaten but never by someone who I had considered a friend.... What in the nine hells was that?

Quietly I started to call for the others to awake as I scrambled up the hill into a defensive postion. Something very large just flew overhead and it was definitely coming back. I pulled my crossbow and hunched down behind my tower shield, crossbow drawn and ready to fire.

I heard the others scurring around below me to take cover. Right then our now-be assailant flew over head. I launched a crossbow bolt in his direction. Whether I hit or not I was not able to tell in the night sky.

Though I did hear the explosion of rocks below me and the grunting of several of my companions as they were hit by the debris as it flew into the night sky. Seeing everyone but Deitricha had scrambled to some sort of cover, I set about reloading my crossbow at a feverish pace. Heck, that thing was huge. It had to have at least a twenty-plus foot wing span. Not to mention it was ugly as an orc bride on her wedding night!

The beast flew around again to make another pass. I heard Beau and Shadow make several grunts and whimpers of pain as the boulders they hid in exploded around them. I heard the hum of the elves’ bow and crossbow as I left loose myself into the night sky.

Several more passes from the creature went about the same way. Each of us being randomly attacked by its strange sonic attack. Finally, after being hit by more than its fair share of bolts and arrows, it winged off into the night.

Gathering together we found that everyone only had minor wounds. Dietricha had fared the best. She hadn’t even been attacked. After several more minutes of watching the sky in vain I removed my armour, as my watch was over.

Laying myself on a soft, mossy expanse of ground, I closed my eyes to sleep. When morning arrived, I found myself covered with my blanket again and a small flower tucked in my beard. Absolutely freaked, I quickly hid it from the others. My head started to swim. I knew Clangeddin had saved me from things like this. Who? What? Why? Not knowing, or sure I wanted to find out, I quickly slammed almost an entire wineskin of wine in a single gulp.

Then realized what it was and had to rinse it down with the last of my ale. Trying to forget what I had found I started putting my armour on and talking to myself out loud about the strange creature we had seen the night before.

As I ducked out behind a group of trees to take care of some business, I swear I heard a couple of laughing female voices off in the distance.....

We headed out shortly after. The day was relatively nice and the traveling was uneventful. Evening came and went. The only thing out of the ordinary over the next three days’ travels was the more and more ornate flower growths that were appearing in my beard during my sleep. Heck I had even tried staying awake to catch the culprit or culprits. Though to no avail.

We were all glad to see the town ahead on the fourth night. Ale!!!!!! Cooked potaoes and hard bread. What the heck am I saying, Ale!!!!!!!!

Ariving at the gate, we quickly explained to the guard we were here for trading purposes. They welcomed us and let us enter. They even were so nice to suggest a nice inn up the street.

As much of a hurry as we were in for warm food, clean bedding, and lots of ale we still took the time to check the place out a little. It was definitely a barbarian town. Beau’s wolf was not only accepted, heck, it had playmates running through the street.

Interest sated, we went to the Inn. It was a nice place called The Lion’s Den. After acquiring a room, I quickly scarfed down some delicious meat and potatoes and drowned it with a large amount of ale.

Head a little funny, I staggered up to my room. I checked the windows. Then pulled my bed over to block entrance through the doorway as I slept. No flower fairies were going to weave anything in my my beard tonight.

Morning came early. As I staggered to the mirror I was relieved to see the flower mischief had stopped. Dawning my best traveling clothes, I headed for the door. As I opened the door I nearly fell to the floor. A large weave of flowers hung in the doorway. More than a little freaked/scared, I went down to breakfast.

Everyone enjoyed a quick meal. I looked about the group as we ate. Was one of my companions the freaky flower fairie? This is a riddle I must solve and soon!

Breakfast done, we went about the task of splitting up the loot. A large chunk of gold apiece and a large amount of stuff we needed to have identified, so we headed out to town. Deitricha followed along with me, prattling the whole way about some summer feastival thing that had her all excited. I really didn’t understand it, but nodded along sympathetically as she spoke. At some point she seemed very pleased with herself and started to walk in an eerie silence.

Luckily for me, we were at the mage’s. He identified all of the stuff I had been lugging along. As I had figured, the waraxe I had picked up in the dwarven keep was a worthless axe with an illusion on it. Though my throwing axe was a little nicer than I had thought.

As we left we caught Areon and Theona leaving the chamber of another mage. She laughed and tossed me a silver ring. She said, “Its yours. It’ll make you swim like a fish. Even with that heavy armour.” With a grateful smile I gave her thanks.

Stuff identified, I left for the local shop. I sold both of my hand held crossbows I had gotten from the Drow. My beloved spiked armour and spiked shield, the wareaxe and my old throwing hatchet. I picked up all of my base necessities. Much ale. All of the wine had already been dumped on the ground out of my flasks, long before we arrived.

I also bought new very high quality black spiked half plate, a black spiked shield, and a matching set of black chained gauntlets. I tried bickering with the shop keep but he was very adamant on the price.

Being armoured again, I headed for the jewelers. I knew what I had to do.
Clangeddin was to be praised. I bought a large golden holy symbol and placed it on my mithril chain.

Wearing out, not to mention broke, shaking my now light coin bag I headed back to the Inn. With a happily humming Deitricha in tow.

Along the way, we heard that a caravan was leaving for Silverymoon in the morning and that they were looking for guards. Interested, we asked the Inn Keep if he knew where we could find out some information.

Glumly he pointed down to the other end of the bar. The Caravan Master was having a drink. To our luck he was still out some guards. After a couple of drinks’ worth of negotiating we came to a deal.

Twenty five gold goins a day, mounts, and supplies. We agreed to meet him in the morning. Afterwards we went and told the others of our good fortunes.

Tired after a long day I headed to my room. Not bothering to pull the bed over to the door, I just collapsed on it and fell asleep. Soundly, I might add. And in the morning there was a whopper of a flower garden encompassing my entire head. Braided in my beard and my hair. Enough is enough, I thought! I will catch the responsible party and they will definitely pay.

Flowers removed and gear stowed, I headed down and out to take my place in the caravan. Quickly I was given a large war pony to ride. He was not my Cadderly but he would do for the job at hand.

The day passed without event and we made good time. The next five days did the same, with the exception of my new nightly terror. But on the seventh day we encountered something up ahead. The scouts were all a buzz. Excited, I pulled my crossbow and made myself ready.

Someone called back, “Barbarians ahead”. An ambush of sorts, I thought. A wry smile crossed my face. Seems life is funny in its own way. I had been a guard for years to buy my first set of spiked plate. Now I was a guard again because I had just bought my second set of spiked plate.

Though now it would earn its weight in gold. “Clangeddin give me strength,” I yelled, as I pulled my visor down and spurred my mount forward. Now a large smile was on my face as a raunchy battle song burst from my lips......

Posted by Erik on August 8, 2004, 08:28

A Pony Named Marxithial the Mighty

Riding forth from the caravan and out to the left, I found myself quickly disappointed. Seems the Barbarian ambushers were an elusive bunch and had already disappeared, long before we arrived.

Taking a swig of ale to console myself, I wheeled my pony around back to the caravan. Seemed funny that I had ridden this beast for almost a week and I didn’t even have a name for him. Oh, well, I guess that would have to change. Patting him on the neck, I started to think of a name.

Several long hours later, evening had drawn near and we were wheeling the wagons in for camp. At this point no name had yet come to me. Dismounting, I fed and rubbed down my pony. Securing him with the other animals, I headed over to the closest campfire.

A few of the guards were gathered around it. Something definitely smelled good. I could see the makeshift spit already had a few rabbits spinning nicely. Sajin, a rather burly and rough spoken guard, offered me a swig from the aleskin they were passing around. Not wanting to offend them, I pulled a long draught and then produced one of my own.

Hunching down, I handed my flask around the fire. Seemed everyone was very thirsty indeed. When it returned to me, there was hardly a good swallow left. Seeing my plight, another guard named Timoth passed me a fresh hunk of rabbit from the fire. More than happy for the trade, I bid everyone a good night and headed off to pull my shift of guard duty.

My position for my watch was on the south side of the camp. Being as the camp was so large, I would have to keep moving to cover my territory. Looking up at the night sky, I began to pace.

Seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep quiet in my endeavors. My armour and weapons clanked through the night like an orcish horde on parade.

The hours of my watch passed quickly. Soon Beau was there with Shadow to replace me. Bidding them a peaceful watch, I retired to the campfire which our group was around. Theona and Areon were in their meditative state and Deitricha was passed out in her bedroll.

Removing my armour I lay down on the ground. As it was a little damp with dew, I decided on the comforts of my bedroll. Pulling the blankets up tight, I closed my eyes.

Laying there I tried to wait out the flower weaving culprit that I knew would come. Shortly after, I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew it was morning. I heard the others milling about. Guards were hooking up the wagon teams. Others were eating, cleaning their weapons, or donning their armour.

Fearing the worst, I slowly opened my eyes. As expected, the flower demon had arrived. My beard looked like a mountain field in midsummer. What was worse, my hair had violets and dandelions braided into it, giving me a hellish purple and orange mane.

Somewhere off in the distance, I could hear snickers and guffaws. Not even bothering to give the offenders the benefit of a death stare, I pulled each of the flowers from my person.

Being done with what seemed to be my new daily ritual, I stowed my gear in a wagon and mounted up on my pony. Still perplexed on what to call him, I headed out for the day’s travels.

Rumors still swirled about the caravan of the Barbarian pursuers we had. Some said they were a scouting party for a large army. Others were saying they were a band of werewolves. In any case, I was itching for some action.

Just as I feared boredom would be the death of me there was a stir from one end of the caravan to the other. The unmistakable shape of a large red dragon winged across the afternoon sky, on a direct path towards us.

Lukan, the head of the caravan, called for an all “Stop”. As we waited, the dragon winged in and landed. It declared in a booming voice, “I am Marxithial the Mighty and you have dared to trespass in my territory. For this I demand tribute.”

Lukan at this point was hiding in the wagon in which he rode. The same with most of the other guards. Theona and I quickly stepped forward, Areon and Beau right behind.

I asked, “What would be a fair tribute to one such as yourself?” Looking into one of the closer wagons, the dragon muttered, “Two thousand gold or the equivalent in magical items.”

Theona and I looked at each other. We knew we didn’t have that kind of gold. We had blown our loot back in Beorunna’s Well. Pulling Lukan from his hiding place I quickly asked him, “Do you have any gold or magical items to exchange for this caravan’s safety?” Nodding his head sadly he moaned, “I have no gold as I have spent all of my money on the merchandise within these wagons, though I do have this magical ring.”

Pulling the ring from his hand, I walked it up and handed it to the dragon, keeping a wary eye on his every action. After several moments of the dragon eyeing his new bauble he declared, “This is a fitting tribute. You shall be allowed to pass.”

You could hear the concerted sigh of relief across the caravan. As Marxithial the Mighty went to take wing, it seems Theona and I had the same idea at once. We quickly pointed out the other trespassers following us through the dragon’s territory. We said that we were pretty sure they would be an easy target to collect tribute from. You could almost see the “gold gleam” in his eyes as the dragon leapt into the air.

Once he had taken off, Lukan hollered for us to move out. Seems that neither he nor no one else wanted to see the dragon again. Several hours of quick travel passed. Then, in the distance behind us, a familiar sight appeared.

Coming up on us fast was a red dragon. He wheeled towards us, though this time he didn’t stop. He just incinerated the rear wagon with his firey breath. As he passed over, you could see his undersides were badly damaged. He had been in a doozy of a battle. Kind of made me glad the Dragon met the Barbarians in battle and not our little caravan.

Seeing he was returning at an incredibly fast pace, I pulled down my visor and dismounted. Raising my shield and my crossbow, I took a shot at the fire breathing wurm. As my bolt hit him, a second wagon was incinerated before my eyes.

Several of my companions at this point were also firing their bows at him. So were the guards that weren’t driving the wagons away at breakneck speed.

As the dragon approached again my next bolt found a very tender spot in his wounded belly. Seems this caught his attention. As he flew over this time I was the new target of his firey breath weapon.

It sounded as if the world was exploding within my head. I sucked for air as the earth around me burst into flames. I could feel my beard and hair singe under helm. I felt the heat of my shield and armour as it protected my body. Then as quickly as it started it was over.

Seeing I was still standing seemed to piss the dragon off. He quickly wheeled around for another pass. As he approached I grabbed my axe and beat my chest defiantly. I hollered, “You daughter of an adulterous wyvern! Come down here and fight me! I will kick your scaly ass from here to Silverymoon!”

As much as my comments pissed him off, I couldn’t trick him into landing and fighting us on the ground where we had the upper hand. Instead, he wheeled in and blasted Areon with his firey breath weapon, leaving him much worse for the wear. Though still smoking, he managed to fire off a couple of arrows at the dragon.

Several more passes from the dragon came and passed. Each time we pelted him with arrows and bolts. Beau had summoned a giant owl to help with the battle, though it was very short lived as the dragon shredded it with it’s powerful claws.

Beau and Deitricha healed us as we suffered heavy wounds from the dragon. Deitricha herself was blasted once from the dragon as she flew around it trying to hit it with her quarterstaff. Surprisingly, she survived. Her lithe form flew out of the fire and immediately started praying to her god for healing.

We sent a final barrage of bolts and arrows the dragon’s way. More than a couple hit true. The other guards had returned with us and were also firing now. The dragon’s underside ran slick with blood as it wheeled off to the north. This time, it did not return.

Regrouping the caravan we then buried our dead. Deitricha said a solemn prayer for them. Then we decided to head out and place some (more) distance between us and the dragon.

Walking over to my pony I went to mount up when his new name came to my mind. “You, my friend, will be Marxithial the Mighty.” I said as I stroked his side.

“Come, Marxithial, we have a caravan to guard,” I mumbled to myself as we headed out. Then I sang a song for our fallen companions. Sajin was driving the last wagon and he wouldn’t be sharing any ale with us this evening around the fire. Nor would a young man named Seth.

“A Warrior’s soul shall come and pass...His heart and strength will never last................”

Posted by Erik on August 15, 2004, 00:57