Tassar's Journal
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Tassar’s Bio

Tassar, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Tassar is a spoiled rotten kid who has driven his parents to the point of kicking him out. The family took nearly every one of his possessions and kicked him out. His father told him not to return until he has grown up.

Furious at what he considered a betrayal, Tassar set out to make a name for himself. He hopes to return one day and rub his fame in his family’s faces.

Slowly he began wandering, looking for a place to give him a chance to prove himself a great fighter. He has joined many a party, just to find himself getting kicked out after a short amount of time. Once, he had the first watch, just to wake up and find the party moved out without him in the morning.

Tassar is trying to change, but it may take a great deal of time.

Character sheet: Tassar Dardragon [Strongheart Halfling Fighter]

Cause of death: Okay, not really dead, just hiding from us. His riding dog is dead though.

Posted by Jim on January 2, 2004, 18:08

A new party?

As I sit in the comfort of my favorite barstool, still pondering how to approach the woman of my dreams I am disrupted by the barkeep asking if I want another ale. “Of course” I quickly reply for it easier to sink myself into a drunken stupor than to face Portia. She is the sweetest and most fair woman I have ever had the blessings to view with these eyes. Oh sure to most she is just another halfling rogue, but I see her in a different light. One of these days I will have the courage to ask for her hand, but for now I will have to settle for our current relationship, which is to say she doesn’t acknowledge my existence.

Ah, my acquaintance the firebug is here. Damned if I won’t be forced to listen to more of his tales of glory and greatness, it makes it hard to drink while someone is lying to me. I would not go as far as to call this tall and lanky human a friend; no Antonio is more a drinking partner who tolerates me and my lies of glory and greatness. Well at least his pockets are usually deep.

As the night progresses a few more people come in for some ale or stew. I see Deitricha the cleric, she seems to tolerate me the most. I have decided to try to take care of her if something happens, obviously she is touched. I don’t know what I would do if she stumbled into some trouble that I could save her from. Tempus rewards the brave and strong, but I believe he sometimes also protects those who do not have all their faculties. Theona and Areon are sharing a table, elves always stick together. I believe that Theona not only tolerates me but enjoys arguing with me more than she would ever admit. Areon, he is a strange one. While I truly understand the wanderlust and desire to move about, rangers have always been an enigma to me.

Though some strange form of luck, these three have taken to not minding me. I don’t know what I have done different to gain this manner of friendliness, but it brings me some comfort.

Antonio is asking about work again, I had asked him before if I might join in his next adventure and despite knowing me he said yes. To my surprise that day is today. It seems that some Lord of Greycastle is seeking a group of adventurers and Antonio thinks this is for us. Theona, Areon and Deitricha have decided to go along as well. This will be ok as long as they understand I am in it for the glory and they don’t get in the way. We head off to meet this fellow and see what he has to offer.

We meet and accept this fellow’s quest, a small mine that needs cleared of some disturbance. I think the meeting would have gone smoother if I was not so drunk, never the less we gather our belongings and head off on the one day march to the mine.

By nightfall we find the entrance and decide to camp the night rather that go any further without rest. Areon finds a small spot out of the wind for us to make a nice camp in, then the trouble starts. I ask firebug to start a little fire with the wood I collected and the group starts complaining about the light. I do my best to explain that we, ok I, need to eat and want to eat warm food. This argument has confronted me before and brought about some bad endings that I would prefer to forget. Luckily Antonio had an answer, this magic user may prove himself quite useful yet indeed. And all troubles pass for the evening.

We found the entrance and worked our way in to find some statues. Statues that seem to be carved a little too well, except the damage each of them shows. It is as if something has tried to gnaw on them. We follow some footprints that the ranger found to cobwebs. Here we find ourselves fighting a group of large spiders. The battle was quick and easy, well except for Antonio who while dodging the fierce advances of the spiders, had to avoid three arrows from behind while we tried to save him. I fired two arrows sinking both deep into flesh. Antonio was angry that one of my arrows now protruded from his back end. I tried to explain that he moved in front of my shot, but he still seems pissed.

After a bit three large spiders lay dead on the floor and I am proud to say I felled one of the beasts. The thief and I, oops, she doesn’t like being called a thief. Ok the “seeker of lost artifacts” and I looked through the room for any treasure just to find some dried husks of what Theona called Kobolds.

We press on into the mine and run into a small ambush. Four of the not-so-dead Kobolds who sat up on a ledge waiting for us. My companions took cover and returned fire while I rushed to tear into their flank. While two of the creatures turned and prepared to engage me my comrades stuck from a distance killing two of them, including one of the ones in front of me. The farthest one broke for help. I quickly cut the remaining one in half when he turned to run. These little devils will learn to fear the name of Tassar Dardragon.

We followed its path to a spot on the floor that dropped me into a pit. I did my best to blame my fellow party members, I just hope it was enough that they didn’t see the embarrassment on my face.

Off we went again into the twist and turns of the mine until we reached a spot where we found two more of the creatures setting up another ambush. I rushed out and fired my bow at them, followed by Theona. Although I don’t know which one did it, there was apparently four more Kobolds hiding behind me and her that we didn’t notice. I have never walked into the ambush to get ambushed from behind; quick minds these little fellow have. After that it became a little of a blur, Areon and me stood shoulder to shoulder against a couple of the creatures, trading shot for shot. Eventually we finished our foes to find we were the only members of the party standing. I believe I got two of them in this room, a small bit is still blurry to me.

The ranger and I dragged our friends to a safe alcove and set up a basic defense for one of the red-skinned creatures got away and called for help. I don’t know how this will end, but by Tempus’s eye I will not go down without taking a fare number more of these beasts with me. And my ranger buddy has proven himself handy with that huge thing he calls a sword as well.

Posted by Jim on January 6, 2004, 18:39

At journey’s end

After a night of playing a hunting game with the kobolds, the party was starting to stir. During the night the ranger and I had killed another handful of the beasts and wounded a few more. Areon and I had been up for near 24 hours and were in need of rest. Theona and Antonio took a turn at watch while we rested. To our luck, the kobolds too needed a break from battle; they have also been around the clock. I myself was in the most need of sleep, to give true measure of my condition; I was near falling unconscious anyway.

When I awoke I immediately checked on the condition of our healer Deitricha, she was still unconscious. I gave myself a moment to curse my failure to protect her, then set about to check out our predicament further.

Some time passed with little action, although old fire-bug did have another chance to get knocked unconscious as we took two more of the kobolds that attempted to sneak up on us in the darkness. The party was looking worse for wear and I pondered to myself if anyone other than I and the ranger had a chance to get out of this mine alive. I look at my friends and see a look of defeat on their faces.

Finally it was a stirring from Deitricha that gave us hope. She was weak; apparently she had been wounded far worse than any of us expected. She used her powers to heal herself and us a little. It would be a while before she could help us with that again, I was just happy to have her to help fight. Moments later Antonio woke again, for the first time in nearly two days the entire party was awake and moving.

As I sized up the situation, the kobolds have been coming in smaller and smaller numbers and were too familiar with our surroundings for us to sneak up on them. This led me to believe we needed to take the attack to them to use our skills and strengths, if we continued to just sling arrows at each other the kobolds will kill us. If they had charged us during the last 12 hours with their full numbers, we would be dead.

I told the party I needed a chance to go and scout our surroundings, to get a better understanding of their positions and numbers. Truth be told that was partially true, but we needed to weed a few more from the enemy’s numbers to stand a chance. The party is clearly without a leader and the only two that didn’t want me to scout ahead had proven to me they do not understand battle as well as I, nor do they see the power of our enemy. I was handed an ever-burning torch which I hid under my cloak as I slid along the walls of the mine. Eventually I got far enough ahead to sense both the presence of others and the fact that I was a fool for walking blindly into the dark. The final clue that it was time to take the torch out was the stone bouncing inches from my face with enough force that it took a bit of the wall with it.

Quickly I pulled the light out and tossed it on the floor and prepared to fight. Truth be told in hand to hand I could stand against them for a long time, and that was my hope in going out alone. I shouted to the party to let them know I found a group worth fighting as three kobolds rushed me with spears from a lower ledge and three more attacked with slings from a higher one. Quickly I sank an arrow into one on the ledge and dropped the bow to pull my sword for hand to hand. To my amazement my arrow had found the mark of the one kobold, sinking to the feathers into his chest, and the kobold didn’t seem to flinch at all.

I turned my attention to the three rushing me, cutting them down with more ease than I expected. Between the inability of the three on the ledge and now the four that charged to their death on my sword, I began to wonder if all their experienced fighters may have fallen to us already. As the last of the four fell I switched back to my bow to help Theona who had rushed to my aid fight off the three on the ledge. I sunk another arrow into the one I hit earlier and he turned and ran. As quickly as this tougher one began to run, his two remaining companions’ faces turned to horror; I think we have found the kobold leader. Before the other two could turn and run I released two more arrows, felling another of the kobolds.

Sounds of battle from behind sent Theona and me running back to check on the party. While I had fought in the front the kobolds launched a counter attack in the back. They had some success for Antonio was again slumped on the floor with the look of anguish on his face. I turned the corner to find the last of the kobolds running, apparently the ranger and cleric had given them enough to cut down half of the raiding party and scare the other half away. I am impressed with this ranger; he would make a fine fighter if he could just learn to sit still long enough to learn better tactics.

Again we found ourselves camping to regain strength and bind wounds. I do not think anyone got more than up to 50% of normal, but we had to continue our task, so after about a day of hiding on the shelf and playing the defensive sparring game we set out to finish our enemy.

We went down the passage that I had found earlier to find it unguarded. This further proved to me that we had the enemy on their heels so we continued down the ladder which the four kobolds had used earlier. We had formed up for scouting and Theona had taken point, followed by Antonio, Deitricha and Areon. We had not gone far when disaster struck in the form of a trap.
Although we had found and disarmed an earlier devise, this one escaped Theona’s eyes. As we passed a corner she stepped on a trip wire releasing a thunderstone from the ceiling. Theona and I both tried to catch it once it started to fall, but it was too late and the thunderstone hit the ground with a mighty explosion. Clenching our ears in anguish we realized they now new we were coming.

Quickly I jumped to my feet and took the front position, trying in vain to get the party to turn around and go back. As it turns out only Areon could hear and didn’t want to go back. Realizing our party was stuck deaf in a small hallway I decided to forge ahead and try to find a larger room or the enemy, whichever came first.

After traveling 30 or 40 feet in the twists and turns of the mine, I came to a large room. I was not the first one there though as I was greeted by a group of seven kobolds. The battle ensued; Areon and I tried to form up a front line to let the others attack from a distance. As the fight began it was obvious that this would be the last battle, but it was not obvious which way it would go. Our enemy had us right were they wanted us. To our front we were confronted by two normal kobolds and one larger one which wore armor. Behind him stood another who seemed to be chanting some spell, a cleric to my guess. Then behind us, and up a ten foot rise, stood three kobolds with slings.

The battle was short but devastating. Deitricha, Theona and Antonio took on the three on the ledge. Areon attacked the larger fighter who appeared to be their leader. I took out the two normal fighters in front of us while Antonio took out the cleric. Then seeing his cleric downed, the armored one launched a furry of blows against Areon that he could not defend. Areon dropped and I feared him dead with a nasty gash in his chest.

Seeing Areon drop inspired us; with a couple spells from Antonio and swings of my sword the kobold leader went down. It was then I noticed that Deitricha had also fallen so I moved with Theona to bandage and try to stop their bleeding. This left Antonio with the three ineffective kobolds and their slings. Antonio killed one which left the other two to run for their lives.

Tempus was looking on us this day, for if the kobolds above us had any skill they would have easily defeated us. I can not tell a kobold’s age, but I would guess they were the last of the adult males and they had no experience in battle. This was definitely a blessing.

I walked over to an edge of another drop off to look for more to fight. What I found was a huddled mass of scared women and children kobolds. I told the party of this and Antonio came over to help. Never ceasing to amaze me, old fire-bug could talk to them. He told them that they had to go and never return to this place. In return they offered what treasure they had to thank us for not killing them. Though I doubt any of the party would have stomached the slaughtering of any children, we gratefully accepted their treasure. We may be kind but we are not stupid.

Deciding that we needed to get Deitricha back to town for help soon, we made a skid from one of the ladders and immediately headed off to find her temple. When we got there they were glad to see her, though not too glad for her condition. I think the clerics there seemed to blame me for this. Maybe they were right.

As I began to feel worse for seeing her so torn up it appears that Antonio read my eyes and dragged me and the rest of the party off to celebrate our success. As promised he bought the first round and I bought the next. I did my best to brag and tell of my kills, which numbered either 10 and or 11 and , I will need time to sort that out. But I found not much heart in it after a more experienced fighter came over and told me “It is not a measure of my skill to kill the enemy, it is better measured in how the party comes back.” It took another ale to sink in,; I had never like that dwarf, but his words rang true.

The party was in full force now that Antonio was standing on the bar telling our tale. That man can tell a tale, and seems more at peace being the life of the party than crawling through a mine. Never the less I have decided to call it a night. I have much to think about. I said my goodbyes and headed out into the evening air.

It was a quite night in Silverymoon, a nice spring night with only a touch of a chill. As I walked back to my room I was reminded of the tale of woe that kept me here. When I first arrived here a good year ago, I had stopped in a store to get some supplies, intent on traveling on when I met the sweet human that I now call Lady Brenin. Lady Brenin is short for humans, maybe five feet in all, and has long hair as white as silk. I have never asked her age but I would place it around 65. I watched her place a note on the community board in the front of the store and then wonder off, muttering something to herself.

Intrigued by her I went over and read the note. It was for a room. I was soon joined by one of the town guards. He had seen my reaction to the lady and told me her tale. Lady Brenin was young and in love with a sergeant of the town guard nearly 50 years ago. They had just married and bought a home of their own when he had been killed. Krin, her husband had gone out on the city with a patrol to check on a story of trouble in the woods. Krin and his men found no thieves though, it was a band of orcs. The patrol was not prepared for such and encounter but did their best. It was said that when the bodies were found that the five-man patrol had cut down 14 orcs before dying. Her husband’s body was never found.

In all the years since, Lady Brenin has kept a candle lit in her window in hopes of his return. She even opened her house up to boarders in hopes of hearing a new traveler tell her of seeing her husband alive. The local barracks had taken turns renting from her whenever the room was empty for a while, in duty to both her and her husband. It seemed that her last tenant moved out the week prior and she was putting a notice up again. The soldier was about to take the notice down and go there himself but something inside me wouldn’t let him. I told him I would take the room for now.

Startled by my action he invited me to a local bar for a meal and to talk. He wanted to make sure that I was the right sort I guess. Lady Brenin had become like an adopted mother to the men of the barracks and he wasn’t going to let someone move in and take advantage of her. In our conversation, he explained that the men of the barracks would do severe things to anyone who brought an ounce of pain or misery to her life.

After the meal and feeling good enough about me to let me rent from her, he sent me on my way. I do not know exactly what I did in that conversation, but for the first time in my life someone seemed to think me ok. This fact amazed me. For some unknown reason this guard decided that a grumpy, spoiled and arrogant halfling may be good company for someone. Yet for all of my efforts I couldn’t see how I had been different from my usual self. Nor could I figure out why this woman and her life took so quickly to my heart.

I met with Lady Brenin that day and bartered for the room. She wanted two gold per day for the place and it was easily worth it. Not setting out to argue, but only to make less obvious that I wanted the room. After some tea and couple of cookies we agreed on a price. Seventy-five gold a month and not a penny less was the deal. It was only a couple of days later when I realized she had taken me on that one. I could have gone and argued it at any time, but the truth is she doesn’t care for the money, to me she just wants the company. And it was also about this time when I figured that her cooking alone was worth the price difference.

In the past year we have developed a real close relationship. Her sight is starting to fade so I have been trying to help her around the house more and more. We even go for a walk together every once and a while. She tells me of the changes the city has had in her years and stories of great heroes that have passed through. I have come to relish these walks with my white-haired beauty. In all my life I have never had such a bond with anyone.

Posted by Jim on January 13, 2004, 22:26

It Was a Good Day

I awoke early that morning, earlier than normal, I can’t say exactly why. I had some aches and pains from the fight in the mine, but they were not the cause. In fact I actually felt a little better than normal. As I sat on the edge of my bed pondering this feeling, I began to feel that maybe I have been blessed by Tempus for the skill I showed in battle. This indeed will be a good day I decided, yes I shall get around and have a nice breakfast and then head off to the tavern to see on my companions.

Not to my surprise Lady Brenin was up and around and had started breakfast already. Oh can that lady cook. I often lie awake at night wondering what could ever cause one of her tenants to move out. This sweet lady may be the best cook in the Realms. Beside that she is honest and sweet; it’s almost like being a child and having a loving mother dote over your every move. I can’t tell you how many times she has sewed my items for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the love I got growing up. In fact I still believe my mother to be one of the greatest women to ever live. Maybe it’s all in a matter of perspective, I expected my mother to love me and take care of me, she is my mother after all. But Lady Brenin has no such claim on me, and I can only believe her affection for me comes from her true love of people. No other explanation is possible; she is simply a loving and kind person. Never would she admit to it though. She has a different sense of humor, maybe dryer, often it will take me a while to figure out the joke she has played on me.

Well after a fine meal I gathered some things and headed off to find my companions to see if we can check on Deitricha and collect our money. As I walk along the winding streets I get nods and friendly waves from every town guard I pass. Sometimes I think they all know me a little too well, and to think I probably have only talked to three of them in all the time I have been here. I think they all keep an eye on me, to make sure that Lady Brenin is safe. I do not take offense by it, it didn’t take me long at all to realize the effect that Lady Brenin has on people. I tell you if I ever find out that someone ever hurt her, well, that person wouldn’t have to worry about much any more, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I get to the tavern at a decent time and find the lanky Antonio already there. After a few words of welcome he informs me that our cleric friend should be around today, in fact she is supposed to have been healing at a remarkable speed. That is a good bit of news, worthy of celebration if I don’t say. I order an ale only to find that a meal came with it, courtesy of Antonio. That fellow should run for a government position, never have I seen anyone in this town do as much as raise their voice to him. And no one should let a fine meal go to waste, especially when someone else paid for it, so sat down by him and had my second fine breakfast of the day. Wow, truly a great day this is.

A bit of a while later all of my companions arrived, wanting to get over to Lord Greycastle’s and collect out fees. Now mind you, I am not one to want to go and work all the time, not that I am unable to, just... a man needs to relax once in a while. But, I cannot deny how well we had worked together, and I have enjoyed more and more each time Theona takes the time to argue with me. I can’t think of us ever having a good reason, but the joy I feel each time I get her flustered has become one of the highlights of my day.

The group headed off together and was a bit jovial on the way. The feeling of collecting money always puts people in a good mood. We were once again greeted by the butler, who again refused to fill my ale-mug. This Lord Greycastle is not the most hospitable man, he never even offers us a meal.

As I was not drunk enough to help in the negotiations, I resolved myself to looking at my friends. I quickly hid the smirk from my face, Theona was listening and talking about the business at hand, yet her eyes continued to dart about the room. Ha!, not a thief she always tells me. Antonio, while also talking business, keeps his eyes focused in a small hearth near by. Fire-bug I call him, fire-bug he is. Deitricha, unconcerned with the art of negotiating completely, has resolved herself to drawing her holy symbol on the floor with her toes. Areon, while I get the sense he does not like this entire business end of it all, he seems more determined to make sure we get a fair deal than the worth of the deal.

After a few moments of blissful thoughts of the statue they will assuredly build me in Luiren, I am brought back to reality by the poke in the ribs by Antonio. “Yes” I answer, not really sure of the question. The answer made him happy; it must have been the right one. As we all depart and walk back to the tavern Antonio hands me my share of the money and tells me we will be leaving in two days. Friggen Ey!, I have got to learn to pay attention to them. I got no clue to what in the Nine Hells we have agreed to do.

Well, back at the bar Areon explains to me that we agreed to be caravan guards on a short trip to the south and back. Unable to consider this bad news, again I am convinced this is a blessed day for me. I order another ale, then it starts. Deitricha sits down next to me and begins to tell me the evils of my ways. “Drinking will kill you,” she says. After a few minutes of this, and remembering that I have seen her drink, I put out an offer, “Sit down here and tell me about your god all you want,” I say to her, “But, you will have to drink the entire time.” Thinking she wouldn’t drink while telling me I shouldn’t drink, my face suddenly contorted from my jaw dropping to the table as she accepted my offer.

Still trying to figure out if my good fortunes have turned or not, I bought us drink after drink. Let me tell you, for a woman that says she can’t drink much, she can really drink. As our mood turned more to the silly we were joined by Theona. Wow was she not in a fun mood. We tried to get her to drink and have a good time but all she could talk about was work, work, and work. This lasted for what seemed forever when suddenly she got up and said she had to ask someone a question. Deitricha and I quickly gave each other a wink and ducked out the door to go and find a less somber place to continue our fun.

In the next two hours we went to two more bars, unable to find the right place to drink. It seems that noon was not the time anyone wanted to see two drunken people laughing at the top of their lungs. Then I realized, no problem, we can go back to my place and drink without all these people bothering us. Now I know what you are thinking and I will swear on my left eye that my plans were not really what happened next. Yes... I did mention that halflings are taller when they lay down. Yes, maybe a few more similar things may have been mentioned, but I swear those are things I usually end up saying when I am drunk.

What happened was an epiphany, a time of total rapture and happiness. It seems one way or the other we ended up not wearing any of our clothes. And that glorious moment was only the beginning. Now this was not the first time I have ever been with a woman, although it was the first time with a human woman, yet that was not where the experience of grandeur really came from. I cannot name the feeling or the reason for such a moment. Not that over twelve hours has ever been called a moment before.

The time passed with unbridled passion to the likes that I could never have dreamed. I won’t be a cad and go details of that time, just know that it was a glorious day indeed. That time would be enough for any man, but that is not the key to the time that I cannot forget. The thing that will never leave me was the time we spent talking and just being ourselves. I absolutely will not pretend I did not enjoy the touch of her silky skin against mine, which the memory of I shall also always carry. What was amazing was the way she made me feel. Never was I so alive or filled with as much joy.

We talked until near dawn, and for the life of me, I can’t really tell you about what. After she fell asleep I spent some time just watching her sleep. It was in that time that I realized that this was just a fleeting moment. The most meaningful time in my life was just a romantic moment to her. My eyes were then drawn to her holy symbol, and I could not hold back the sigh. Never would a cleric of Tymora fall in love with someone like me. Never could a cleric of Tymora dedicate themselves to one man either. That is not a bad thing for them, simply the way they are, and for all my efforts I could never hold it against her.

Needing to clear my head I went out to get some air. Not knowing my direction I found myself buying Deitricha flowers. Apparently I decided to try to woo her, subconsciously I decided to try this mad course even knowing the chance for it to work. A little while later I arrived back at the house, and slipped back into the room, to wait for her to awake. I think the moment was a bit awkward for me when she awoke, more so for me than her. She slowly got out of bed, kissed me on the forehead and then got dressed.

Neither of us said a word for a while, then she decided we should go to the inn to get some breakfast. As we left the room we became frozen in our tracks, a voice from another room chilled us to the bone. “Breakfast is ready for the two of you!” came the call from Lady Brenin in her kitchen. Quickly Deitricha glared at me and whispered, “You said she wouldn’t be up yet!” and, “I hope for your sake we didn’t offend her.” To Deitricha’s disappointment all I could do is shrug my shoulders and lead her into the kitchen. “She knows we are here, we should eat.” was all that I could come up with.

Then began the quietest meal of my life, Lady Brenin wasn’t eating with us, but she still hovered around the room straightening things and humming to herself. Deitricha never looked up from her plate. I felt knee high to a pixie at that moment. Finally we were done as we both got up and thanked our gracious host for the meal. Slowly we made our way to the tavern to see the group already there. There was a couple of subtle jokes made, and a lot of smiles from our friends, but we endured.

Still my subconscious was in control, trying to be nice and sweet. Eventually reality set in and I ordered some ale. Ah blessed ale, nectar of the gods. How often this liquid came to my rescue. After a little dry and typical conversation Theona broke into the adventure of the night before for her, Antonio and Areon. They had gone to the docks to investigate some disappearances and ended up in a battle in the sewers. It was an exciting story, it got better with each ale. We stayed there for a while waiting and relaxing, knowing the next day would bring adventure.

Eventually Deitricha got up and mentioned it was time to get some rest. I tried one last time to invite her back to my room, she politely declined, citing the need to get some sleep before the trip. And as the last sliver of hope I had was completely crushed, I finished another ale and headed off to get some sleep myself.

Walking though the streets I noticed that I was not going the direct route, in fact I was meandering all over the place. Eventually I came near the docks and saw Portia at work, removing the heavy load of coin from unsuspecting sailors. I wonder is she my future, a woman that doesn’t see me. A woman that thinks me a foolish man without the cash or power to command her respect. With a firm hand on my coin pouch, I left the docks and headed back to my room.

And as the day before had been so splendid, today refused to release me from torment. Calron, one of the town’s more elite guards pulled me into an alley and held a dagger to my throat. As I try my best to hold my bladder, Calron presses the dagger tighter against my throat. “Calron, how are you today?” was the bravest thing I could muster, convinced he was going to kill me for breaking Lady Brenin’s trust, or worse yet her heart. “You would do best to keep the sanctity of the Lady’s house, or …” Calron had said his piece and stared into my eyes. The longer he looked, it seemed the more he realized that his threat was meaningless to me, but the thought that I had hurt her feelings was the truest fear in me. Eventually he let me go and walked off to towards the docks. As I watched him leave, seven other guards came out of nowhere and followed him, more to set in the point of their leader’s threat than anything. One of them mumbled something about killing me now to save Lady Brenin’s feelings. Another said, “Not again.”

About a minute later I realized I wasn’t breathing and had to force myself to take a deep breath. Then again I headed off toward my room. It was only a little past sundown when I arrived, Lady Brenin was sitting on the porch. I tried to make a slight hand wave and sneak past her when I heard, “She was very lovely Tassar.” Frozen for what felt like the tenth time that day, I quietly answered, “Pardon me Lady Brenin,” trying to pretend I didn’t hear.
“Tassar, I am not that old to forget the desire of men and women to spend time together.” This time I saw a bit of a smile on her lips.

“I apologize…” I began to say only to be cut off by the raising of her hand. “You owe me no apology Tassar. I have seen this lady about town before, she is very pretty. Perhaps you notice she is a cleric of Tymora. She will only break your heart, they almost never have marry.” she began to tell me.

“And who said we were …” again she cut me off. “Tassar I have come to think highly of you. You know you have lived with me longer than anyone not related to me. Perhaps you could learn to call me Trisha.” she stated as she pointed her thin finger at me.

Then we began to laugh, me at this kind woman scolding me like a mother, and her at my fears of what she would think. She invited me to sit on the front porch swing with her for a while, and I accepted gleefully. Several hours passed as she told me of her childhood, I listened until a chill wind came along and convinced her it was time to go in.

“Good night Lady Br…” a tried to get out, only to be cut off again by her hand.

“Trisha.” she said.

I gently took her hand and kissed it as I said, “Goodnight Lady Brenin.” Then off I went to get some much needed and deserved rest. It is funny how things turn out for me, whenever I think I am doomed, I end up having a great time. And when I feel nothing can go wrong, I end up eating crow. Three years have passed since I was sent from my home, and in all that time I have tried to figure out the way to become so famous and powerful that my family could not refuse to take me back. For the first time I began to wonder if I ever wanted to go back. And then I fell asleep.

Posted by Jim on January 19, 2004, 20:59

The Storm Approaches

Up early for the day’s trip, I found myself with a few extra minutes to think about things. We have a trip to the south, but something feels … off today. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe we are traveling too soon. Maybe we are being paid too much for this work. More than that, definitely more than that, but for the life of me I can’t think of why. I begin gathering my gear and getting dressed when I notice my boots, still covered in the dirt from the mines.

I thought about my boots for a bit; they are getting a little worn. Maybe if we have a little layover in Everlund I will have time to visit a cobbler. If I ever find myself in Waterdeep again, I shall have to buy two more pairs of these from that shop on the docks. By far these are the best boots I have ever owned. Indeed, this pair of boots has been with me longer than anything I own, guess that makes them my oldest friends.

After realizing I wasted half an hour looking at my feet, I got up and headed to our pre-determined meeting place. Upon arrival I notice that I am the last one to get there, but I am also the only one who already owned his own mount and I had to stop at the stables.
I ride up to our group as they are talking to some of the men from the caravan. First things first, I point out that the ale is mine and I don’t expect to see them in it. Then I rode around the wagons we are to protect. Strange, we are guarding two wagons…. I have rarely seen such a small caravan.

Inspecting our new comrades I continue to be discouraged. I can see that I will have to keep my opinions to myself on this trip, not one of the party has seemed alarmed about the oddity of this trip. The caravan group is four men of an unsavory appearance. One driver and one guard to stay with each wagon, yet they still pay us a handsome wage to travel with them. One of the two men armed with crossbows seems a bit familiar, yet I can not place him. I have a couple hairs raising on my neck and we haven’t even left yet.

Finally the party gathers to plan where who rides and what we may do in specific situations. It is a normal conversation for such a trip, yet the heavy fog that surrounds us is putting us in a bit of a foul mood. Even the normally quiet but good spirited Areon nearly backhanded me when I called him a “tree hugger”; all three times. Eventually though we get started, Areon in front and me to the rear, Theona and Deitricha in the center, all of us moving in preset patterns to maximize our protection of the caravan. Antonio is driving our wagon, no one wanted to tell him, but his large profile would stick-out more to the possible thieves than if we had set one of the wagons on fire.

On we travel into the fog, and as we advance into the morning it never lifts. Eventually the weather breaks, nearly breaking our backs that is. From nowhere a fierce storm attacks us with unrelenting snow and wind. We tried to keep moving but within a short time the snow is over a foot tall and we are forced to find shelter.

Areon quickly finds a cave large enough for us to put the entire caravan in. Not that I will ever doubt his skills, at least to his face, but it seemed a little too convenient. Three of us scouted the cave to find it secure, yet disgustingly filled with bones. We quickly get the caravan in and put the horses in an alcove where they are tethered and fed. We split up watches and begin to try to get some rest in hopes of setting out the next morning.

After me and Areon finish our watch, we wake up the women for second watch. Then I find a comfortable spot by the fire and close my eyes. That’s when it began I guess, the noise from near the horses. I notice the party trying to work there way into the cove with the horses and tried to yell warnings to them as I got under the nearest wagon. Now don’t even think I was hiding, I was just using my head. As the group of scared horses began flailing out in every direction and started to tear their tethers loose I tried to warn them of the potential stampede.

Being a little fellow I have long been aware of situations like this, if I tried to release the horses I would be killed by them. Horses are notorious for not paying attention to little people when they get scared. Many a halfling and gnome have fallen for the attempt, and I was not about to be one.

Finally the horses broke free and were cut free by someone leaving free the view of the doorway that opened in the back of the cave. The party had put down the first of the intruders, an undead orc. This is so wrong, this cave must be their trapping spot. As I go to help defend the opening we are faced with several more of these creatures, each one seems to be missing one eye. This is a bad sign, a sign of evil that must be driven from this land.

We fight our way into the tunnel and find the undead running, and we almost fell into the trick as several not-so-undead orcs attack us from a side tunnel. We fight off the ambush and set off to track down the source of this evil. Areon is nearly in a barbaric rage, he seems to be frothing at the mouth at the chance to fight these monsters. I feel driven to do it as well, but his fury is almost scarier than the thought of what is ahead.

Running down twisting paths we come out suddenly to a large cavern with our prey gathered together. Ok, in hindsight this was a bad idea, but you had to be there. We engaged the undead orcs, all twenty some of them with their falchions. Areon and I took the front while the others attacked with ranged weapons around and over us. For a second or two we seemed to make progress, then the reality of the situation took hold. Areon collapsed when a flurry of blades bore him to the ground unconscious. I tried to hold the front myself with everything I had, seconds later as the party began dragging Areon to safety, I was hit for the fourth time with their deadly blades and fell to the floor.

Before I could do anything, Deitricha picked me up and began running down the hall leaving Antonio to guard our rear, since Theona already was running with Areon on her shoulder. I took one of my potions and broke free from Deitricha, insisting that I should guard the rear, never should a mage be left to slow the onrush of these monsters. A part of me did notice that Antonio has done more damage with fire than the rest of the party, but there are certain principle that any fighting man needs to hold to. One is the matter of honor, and to be honorable I have to protect the party’s retreat. For the gods, never should a mage be left against such odds while men of blade are around.

As I got free and ran to guard the retreat I yelled at Antonio to run, to which he finally did the part of a true mage, he ran. He got no more than five steps before my attempt at saving face found me looking at two blades imbedded in my chest. I didn’t even see the move, I guess I was so concerned with being in their way I wasn’t paying attention to their skill. As the creatures glared at me with their undead eye, or eyes as each creature only had one, I felt a smile come across my face, then everything went black.

Maybe an hour later I awoke in the cave that we had been protecting, the entire party made it here and had blocked the door from the enemy. The creatures had apparently followed us there and were pounding on the door. As my senses began to clear I realized that once again Deitricha had come to my rescue. Now this wasn’t just a casual observation, no I gathered these facts from the screaming that Deitricha continued to yell at the party. While she had a good point, and maybe we should have listened, we found ourselves as a group determined to put an end to these monsters.

We didn’t just ignore our cleric, we camped for a while and thought about taking the caravan out to continue the trip, only to be trumped by the weather which continued to rage with a fury, as if the gods had suddenly declared a weather war on this part of the realm. And I think as the decision to stay in from the storm came from the caravan men, several of us began to believe that we will never get out of here without the destruction of whatever cleric of Gruumsh is causing this weather. Yet, none of us spoke of it, as if it was such a obvious thing in our way that speaking of it would only be an insult to each other.

Later that day after the fire-bug had rested and prepared his spells, we decided to open the still pounded door and finish our enemy. With continued the comments of Deitricha ringing in our ears, we opened the door and killed the only undead orc there. As we continued back to the large room that we had found earlier, we passed burned after burned undead. Even the great Tempus would have a hard time getting the smile off of Antonio’s face at that moment. He before us realized that he had set enough of them on fire that their unthinking attack on us would prevent them from putting themselves out. As they had apparently tried to rush the door to the cave, they spread their fire to each other, and killed themselves.

We found the large cavern empty, save for the tapestry to the one eyed god of evil, Gruumsh. The party argued over burning it or not, only to give in to Antonio’s begging and let him put his torch to it. As the party discussed options and talked among themselves I walked away to check out the two other tunnels out of this room. A short distance up the first one, I heard voices. Easily figuring out that the undead don’t talk, maybe this is the where the evil cleric will be found, I went back to the large room to inform the party.

Then in an unspoken agreement Areon and I started up the tunnel. We were followed by our companions, but I think we would have gone on without them. Areon for his hated blood enemy, and me to mainly clear my conscious to Tempus for the way I had failed in battle the day before.

Posted by Jim on January 31, 2004, 14:33

Of Orcs and Arrows…

The party tightened together as we traveled up the path towards the voices, soon we would be upon them. As we get closer we were bathed in the light of the Orcs camp fire, yet for all of our encounters in this cave, the four orcs around the fire seemed unaware of our presence.

A resounding cracking sound went up the hall as someone behind me kicked a loose stone into the wall, the orcs were immediately alarmed. With me and Areon in front and the others following close behind I was confident we had the upper hand. I yelled for Areon to follow me and ran at the orcs. It is here that things went a little astray. It seems for all the hatred that had been twisting up inside Areon no longer drove him to want to wade into the fights with sword drawn. No, a new Areon is emerging, an archer. I came to this conclusion as I raced toward the orcs alone.

It was strange, the orcs stood their ground. As I neared them I discovered my folly, cursing myself as I fell through a trap door slamming myself into the floor of the 10 foot pit.

The party took up a defensive stand in the hall, and launched a volley of arrows at the orcs. I think I heard Deitricha yelling for me, her voice sounded a little different. The orcs screamed out, both in pain and for help which soon arrived. As the cobwebs cleared from my head and I realized my position, I decided that climbing out was impossible, so why not just fight from here? I quickly pulled by bow out and examined it for damage from the fall, I could not hold back the smile when I saw it was unharmed.

As I nocked the first arrow one of the orcs tried to run past the pit and attack my friends, well he did get by but the arrow it put in his shoulder would surely hinder him in the fight with my friends. Soon another tried to pass the pit, this one seemed to be one of the undead orcs. No matter; I shot my arrow and removed its life. “ONE!” Yes I may be in the pit, but they will sting of my bow if they think they can pass me to get at my friends.

Soon a group came up to the pit, three passed me on the left as one on the right tried to run me through with his gisarme. After barely avoiding that well-aimed attack I returned it with my own, soon the orc with the gisarme was falling over backward with two arrows through his heart. “TWO!” I turned my head for a second listening to the roar of the battle as the three that had gotten by me were met by the party. I heard some weapons clink, the sound of sword on flesh and some bodies hit the floor. It is strange, but one of the noises, a “flumping” sound of wind leaving lungs seemed familiar. Then I realized that Antonio must be down again; I can’t believe I have learned the sound of him hitting the floor.

Another group passed me as again, one orc came at me with its long weapons to distract me. This orc too found the error of his ways as he hit the floor and the life drifted away from him through the arrow in his neck. “THREE!”

Chants, this is bad, one of the orcs must be a cleric. I look up and see a small ball of fire go past, harmlessly into a wall. Antonio is awake again. The orc cleric is standing above the pit, between the party and me. As he starts another chant I teach him the folly of forgetting the halfling in the pit. My aim was perfect, through the lower back of his skull and out his forehead. Tempus will be pleased.

The orc still stands? I do not understand. Then it begins to chant once more, and I realize how strong the evil of this place is. Before I can nock another arrow my face is sprayed with a mist of blood. Looking up I see the cleric orc has found one of Theona’s bolts, and it is through his eye, then the cleric finally dropped.

The battle was over and soon Deitricha and Antonio were helping me out of the pit. The group seemed to be not too bad off from the fight. I was relived to see them in such good shape. Areon said that one of the orcs got away, and he pointed to a tunnel off to our side. That was all he needed to say as the fire from the battle still raged in us both, we ran up the hall looking for more fuel to settle our lust for battle. Unfortunately all we found was an exit from the cave out into the mountains.

I was all for chasing the last orc down but the party argued until I too could see the foolishness of the chase. I hate when they do that. Anyway, we went back in and destroyed the orc bodies; the one-eyed god will not use these orcs against anyone again. Then we set off to examine the other halls we had not gone through; we had grown tired of being attacked from behind and it seemed a good idea to check every corner for future trouble.

Of Orcs and Lust……

We traveled to one hall that split in two. Theona had begun to search for traps. A good thing I guess, but her thoroughness bordered on insanity so I walked past and went into the hall on the left. I find barrels, and bags of moldy grain. As I turn to go and check out the other path I hear voices, and one of them is not from my party. I run, sword drawn, into the next room to find Theona talking to an orc. An orc in a small cell. An orc that talks common. As I look around I notice that only me and Areon have weapons out— this is getting weird.

“Dante” is his name. The talking orc says he was once human and was changed into this shape by an angry wizard. Dante says he was a bard from Waterdeep and that this was the result of a tryst with a magic user’s daughter. Antonio and Deitricha talk Areon and me into lowering our weapons, they believe him and want to let him out. Theona too says this opinion, but the look on her face is not of concern for saving a bard, no she seems to intent on something else, lust. I have seen it on the faces of elves before, the tall freaks couldn’t hide it if their lives depended on it. Forget weird this is getting sickening.

Theona claims personal responsibility for Dante and we let him out. Dante tells us this is just the forward guard post of a huge orc army. He tells us of a new orc leader who is uniting all the clans into one massive army. He tells us more, but I am distracted by the bile rising in my throat at the thought of such a large force attacking Silverymoon. The city could be wiped out by such a force.

We get back to the cave with the wagons and inform our companions of the dilemma, the orc that got away would be bringing back help, lots of help. If we stay here we will have to defend the cave from hundreds of orcs. If we travel out now, we battle the weather and possibly hundreds of orcs. The decision is made to run for it. We load up the wagons and head out. We put Dante in our wagon and asked him to drive while me and Otto sit in the back. Neither Otto or I could travel very fast through three foot high snow, so we stood watch at the back of the wagon.

Of Flames and Arrows …..

The party was soon underway into the snow and driving wind. The going was slow even though each man driving the carts was yelling and whipping the horses in a furry. It wasn’t long before we heard howls and yelps behind us. Something was coming, either wolf or worse, we all feared it could be the howls of worgs. We traveled as far as we could in the storm, but finally we realized that we would be caught from behind, so we took the wagons to the water’s edge and made a defensive position.

We made a nice little fortification with the wagons. Antonio made a fire in middle to help keep us warm. Theona and Deitricha insisted that we arm Dante. I only agreed to give him a crossbow if he was in the front and I was behind him. We took up positions and waited as the howls got closer. Theona and Antonio were walking around giving encouragement and coffee. If I didn’t know better I would say that I saw Theona give Dante a kiss for luck. I am not sure because at that moment Antonio was giving me the coffee.

Coffee, this is the vile liquid that Antonio discovered and was always handing us. While it is warm and seems to help me stay awake, it has an acrid smell and taste that brings pains to my stomach when I drink it. None of us have had the heart to tell Antonio that we don’t like it, it is an expensive and hard to get item that he shares with us out of friendship. I thank Antonio for the coffee and turn back to watch for the enemy. It is then that I spilled some on the one wagon, and watched the paint be eaten away. I hear the howls again, they are very close, so I put the coffee down next to me, I will use it as a weapon if I have the chance.

Soon we see the wolves, a large pack coming right at us. Just as we began to tighten up our muscles I heard Dante. Dante was telling jokes, and his humor is relieving the tension in the party. Maybe this fellow is really the bard he says he is. When the wolves get about a hundred feet away we open fire and cut a few down, but soon they are upon us. I hear a yell of pain and smell burnt flesh. I look over to see Areon fighting a wolf, Areon seems pissed. A closer look and I see a large burn mark on his back, then I look to Antonio who is trying to apologize for it while Deitricha is smacking him in the head.

My attention is returned to the front of me as a large wolf leaps at Dante. I fire two arrows which make solid contact, the wolf and Dante howl in pain. It was an accident but deep inside I was laughing at the irony of it. It was enough for Dante though— he backed away from the wolf with a slight limp from my arrow stuck in his thigh.

I drew my sword and charged into the wolf, slicing its underbelly open as the heat hit me. Yep, Antonio hit me with a fire spell again. If he doesn’t learn to aim those damned things soon, someone is going to kill him. As I look over my shoulder at the once again apologizing Antonio, I notice that one of the caravan guards has his crossbow aimed at Antonio and his eyes are looking at me for permission to fire it. I shake my head no and return my attention to helping finish off the last of the wolves.

Of Rooms and Company ….

We rested for a while and then the caravan got back on the journey. We found the town a day later and told them of the new orc army that was growing. Drake said we will wait for the snow to melt and told us to meet him in five days to go back to Silverymoon. We went to the Stone Griffin for rooms. Antonio arranged for the room— he told us he got one for Deitricha and me. I looked to her and was pleased to see that she had no objection. Then Antonio announced that he had gotten one room for Dante and Theona, neither of them seemed to mind, in fact Theona took the key and Dante’s hand and went right up to the room. It was noon and we didn’t see them until the next day.

That night was very nice, the only disturbance was the banging on the wall near morning when Theona, who was in the next room, was yelling at us for our bed had apparently been banging on the wall all night and she couldn’t sleep. This only brought a gleam of challenge to Deitricha and I am sorry to say, we had to pay for a new bed the next day. That poor bed didn’t have a chance.

Over the next couple of days there seemed to be a bit of competition, as who could stay up longer, ummm, I mean stay awake and busy longer. Each morning Deitricha arrived for breakfast having won that nights competition. Dante was looking worse for wear, poor fellow must be having a tough time with the elf’s endurance. Not that five hours should ever be thought of as not able to do enough, but that seemed to be the poor fellow’s limit.

Before the last night Deitricha and I agreed to get to sleep early, to be ready for the trip. But we had a surprise for Antonio, he had mentioned his complete lack of experience during one of the conversations the day before, so Deitricha suggested that I go and find him some company. I did, a ravishing red head named Lirna, who was a finer, higher-priced companion. I told her to wait for Antonio in his room and surprise him.

That night Deitricha and I went to sleep early. About two hours before dawn she woke me with a giggle and a thought. She mentioned that it would be a shame to let Theona and Dante go to breakfast thinking they outlasted us. So we spent the rest of the night jumping up and down on the bed and making noises. It was well worth it when the familiar knock on the wall came from next door.

The next morning we were all down stairs before Antonio. When he finally came to sit and eat I asked how everyone slept last night. Antonio was just starting to drink his coffee when I said it, which was a problem because he looked up at me and tried to gasp, only to find the coffee coming out of his nose and spilling all over his plate of breakfast.

We all laughed. Antonio didn’t say another word all morning.

Posted by Jim on February 15, 2004, 15:38

I Hate Families….

After an entertaining breakfast of eggs and potatoes, we decided it was time to find Drake. We gathered our possessions and headed toward the stables to find that Drake had already gotten the horses, and Otto, around for a quick departure. We were even introduced to the new member of the caravan, a young human named Staven.

After the few words of greetings we took our positions and headed out the gates. I was thinking to myself that this little town seemed nice; perhaps I should return one day to see more of it. Snickering to myself I realized that I had been given a good opportunity to just that, but had wasted a good portion of each day napping to regain my strength from the nights activities.

Not that I am complaining, it was a grand time. But it may soon become hard to continue to please Tempus on the battlefield in the day, after pleasing Deitricha in the night. Both endeavors seem to take all my strength and agility. I am just trying to figure out which one is more likely to kill me.

Journey into the night …

With a slight shift in my saddle and a strong pat on Otto’s head we are on our way. It feels good to be on the road again, almost like home. Even the dust and muck from the road gives me some measure of ease.

The day’s travel was mostly uneventful; in fact we only stopped for rations and to feed the mounts twice. Good thing I had Otto’s saddle bags to hold plenty of rations to snack on while we rode. The more I am around these tall folks the more I am amazed in how much they don’t eat. How in the Nine Hells they get so tall without eating properly is beyond me.

Anyway it was a beautiful spring day, and the rushing water and returning birds seemed to give hope to the area. Maybe a false hope if these stories of a new orc leader are true. I have not been around this area for that long, but I can’t imagine an orc leader so strong that he can gather such a force as what Dante described. It is just not in their nature to work together for very long. In fact it has been the one constant that we depend on to help keep their forces at bay.

Drake had informed us that we would ride through the night, while I see the point of it; I also see the possible bad. But I have gotten used to keeping my opinions to myself, tall folks, especially humans, just don’t seem to take the word of little folk seriously. Anyway we ride on as the day turns to dusk. I can’t see too much of the caravan from my position, I keep moving side to side and looking in areas that may be covering would-be attackers. At least I had one good moment of humor provided to me by Antonio. At one point, when I rode near the back wagon, I heard Antonio trying to tell Dante a story about how to cast magic. His story ended with a couple of hand gestures that left his cloak on fire. He put it out quickly, but Dante’s laugh lasted for a few minutes.

On we rode until Areon stopped the caravan. I rode up to the front to see what was going on, it was then that Areon pointed out a faint light in the distance. He said that it was a burning wagon and that the two of us should ride up and check it out before the caravan gets there. He said he had gotten close and it seemed like a trap.

We moved quickly up toward the burning wagon, not on the road but in the brush and trees to provide us some cover. When we got within a hundred yards we noticed four forms lying prone on the ground near the wagon, actually wagons. There were two wagons apparently put in position to block the road, and then set on fire. Areon said the bodies looked like caravan guards, so we moved in closer to see if any of them survived.

As we got closer the bodies got up. Not like people normally get up mind you, no these got up with great laboring effort. I shouted out to our friends and rushed in to attack the undead. I tried the new move I had worked on with Otto, I just wish Otto had been trying the same maneuver. I guided Otto in hard to the left of the first zombie and then pulled his reigns hard to the right, and then I hit the ground headfirst and rolled to the feet of the zombie. I spit out a mouth full of dirt and pick up my sword. Otto continued to the left and ran on into the darkness. I think I will have to have a talk with him about this.

The battle was on! Areon let loose a couple of arrows on the zombies to the left while I hacked into the two on the right. Soon Theona and Deitricha came up from behind and joined in. Theona fired her crossbow with amazing skill; soon the one zombie on the left would have two of her bolts in its chest and three of Areon’s arrows. Yet it kept coming.

Deitricha rode up near me and promptly fell off her horse, I knew she was all right by the mixture of laughter and curses that she let out. I fought over to her side and helped her up, the two zombies I was fighting were slow and cumbersome, but were not going down easy. After regaining her senses Deitricha pulled out her holy symbol and held it high. The zombies turned and fled at the sight of her power.

The Orc king?

The rest of our caravan came up then to find a way through. While Deitricha joined them in moving one of the burning wagons; Areon, Theona and I finished off the zombies that had wondered back into the area. Theona then rode off to get Deitricha’s horse.

Otto had returned during the second part of the battle and actually stood by me and fought very well. While I was impressed at this, it made it harder to yell at him for dumping me on the ground. I pulled Otto to the side and tried to talk to him, he is an odd dog. For one thing he bites a lot; I am telling you he bites a lot. Anyway, he seems to pay attention to me, but sometimes I think he is just humoring me and he will do what he wants when the time comes.

Just before Theona arrived with the lost horse in hand we heard the sound of a great horn, somewhere nearby. Theona arrived with a look on her face like she had just seen a ghost. She spoke so quickly that I could barely understand, she said there is movement just a little up the mountains side. The thing she said clearly was “HUNDREDS.” That was enough for us; the caravan mounted up and started off. I put Otto in the last wagon and climbed up with him. Next to me I put all of my arrows and prepared my bow.

We had gotten about eighty feet away from the burning wagons I saw a group of orcs ride into the fire light. At least a dozen warriors led by the largest orc I had ever seen, and he was riding a worg. This large orc wore chain mail and had an aura of evil that I could feel even from this distance. This may not be Grom the new orc leader, but he was obviously of great importance.

The opportunity was too good and too short; I pulled my bow and fired one arrow. My aim was true and I hit the large orc. I shouted my name and told him that I would be back for him. The dozen orc warriors seemed really angry that I attacked their leader, now at over a hundred feet and moving, they all threw their javelins. A couple where good shots and their javelins stuck in the wagon to my right and left. Dante let out some kind of curse at me, at least I think it was a curse, it was in a language I didn’t understand. But I am confident it was meant for me.

Now nearly two hundred feet away, as the fire grew small in the distance the big orc let loose his spell. A bolt of light came at me with stunning force. Praised be Tempus it missed me. But Dante let out several more curses due to the fact that it did hit the wagon and he almost lost control. Wow can that fellow get mad.


The caravan rode hard all the way through the night, even the horses didn’t want to stop. In fact we may have just ridden through the city gates to the bar if they had not stopped us. We told them of the orc attacks and of the building horde.

Boy, were they disturbed about Dante. Before we could plead very much of a case for him they let us in. I had to chuckle at the few guards they sent to follow us, it is if the word “hide” was unknown to them. I counted at least seven of them.

Next thing I knew Antonio was off for a minute and then back again with gifts for us. Not much of a surprise, he could have at least wrapped them, then we wouldn’t have seen them coming from fifty feet away. Pretty things though, the mugs were, all silvery and with our names on them. Theona and me looked at our mugs then each other and said at the same time, “There is not ale in them.” At which point Antonio promised to buy the first round.

Poor Dante seemed to feel left out. And seeing how I already had a mug in my backpack, and there was no need to carry two, I gave Dante my old mug. He thanked me and offered to buy me a round in the future. I could tell he was lying, bards never buy a round, they just drink other people’s drinks. I smiled anyway.

Then we were off to the Greycastle place to get more pay. I don’t like that fellow, to me he seems too shifty. When we arrive we are once again greeted by his overdressed butler who seems to not like me very much. He informs us that his master is out of the house, but he had left our payment with the butler. After that I asked for some ale for my new mug and the tall freak turned me down again. And I am very certain that there is a good amount of spirits to be drunk in that house.

Oh well, I let the others talk to the butler and I look around again at the town guards that are following us. Hmm, their numbers have doubles. No problem, I am sure they will be confident in Dante before long.

I liked him better as an orc…

Soon after leaving the home of Lord Greycastle, Antonio led us to a place where we could try to get Dante turned back into a human. At first Theona and Deitricha organized a fund for us all to pitch-in, that lead to chaos as we put in too much money. Then everyone started arguing about how to work it, so I took my money back to help them figure it out. I am not convinced that Dante seems too eager to get his body back.

As usual the party argued amongst themselves for a while, so I again turned my attention to the guards, who seemed to be still gaining in numbers. This is beginning to give me the creeps. Some one high up must be really angry to have sent so many men to follow one orc.

Next thing I knew the deed was done and we were looking at a human. Not a particularly tall, strong, or good-looking fellow. But his humor was still there. Theona seemed disappointed. Theona offered to get him some clothes and Dante threw a hissy fit. He wanted fine clothes and anything else would be an insult. And people call me a jerk some times. Areon too had seen enough and went off on his own.

The failed drinking party…

We all went back to the Bright Blade Brandished to have a few and talk about our recent adventure. I challenged Dante to a drinking contest, he almost got two in before he passed out. It seemed all the group was trying to drink with me and soon was three sheets to the wind. I tell you there is nothing worse than watching people who can’t handle their ale.

When I looked up I noticed that Deitricha was helping Theona up and Antonio was helping Dante, thinking that they were going to help these two to a place to sleep things off I helped. As we walked down the street I began to understand their true intentions. I did my best to try and talk them out of it, without any luck. To tell you the truth I was a little tipsy, not drunk mind you I had only had seven ales, but I found it hard to pay attention to what I was arguing about. I was definitely too drunk to remember all the extra eyes on us at the time.

When we got to Theona’s place I had regained a bit of my composure and I tried to talk Dante, who had begun to wake up, into running. My two friends convinced Theona to climb up to her apartment with a little help. Then they threw a rope down for me to tie around Dante, so they could pull him up. I refused!

This did not deter them in the slightest as Antonio climbed down and tied the rope himself before climbing back up to help pull him up. I took the opportunity to try to put real fear in Dante. I told him some things to try and make him run, I even told him that they planned on killing him. All to no avail as Dante was too hammered to do much more than drool.

After a few minutes the two pulling the rope had gotten Dante off the ground five or six times just to drop the poor fellow on his face. At this point I pulled one of my daggers and cut the rope. Antonio promised not to do it anymore and like a fool I believed him. When I took a minute to go around a corner to relieve myself, Antonio and Deitricha hauled Dante up somehow. I had had enough and told them so, and went back to the bar.

After a little bit the would-be cupids joined me at the bar for a couple more rounds. I relaxed a bit and we drank, and drank. After a little Antonio was asleep on the table. Then went Deitricha; in fact she fell asleep latterly. I picked her up and put her in her chair, then leaned her head on the table. I ordered three more rounds and finished them too. After that, things got a little fussy, so I leaned my head against the table.

The forgotten guards…

Some time later I awoke with the need to relieve some of the ale from its imprisonment in my bladder. I was still a bit woozy, but I did notice that my two friends were gone. Oh, well, nature called so I walked around to the back of the bar to the ally to let some pressure out. Just after pulling my pants back up I was grabbed by several sets of powerful hands. I had been in a few back ally skirmishes, but this one caught me unaware.

I was pummeled for a few minutes by who I couldn’t tell. All I did know is that they all had the same clothes on, almost like a uniform. CRAP!!! Now I remember, now if I can just figure out what I did this time I should be ok. “Calron I surrender!” I shouted. Only to become more confused because the man who was usually the head thug wasn’t in front of me, no he was one of the men holding me.

“Let me just finish him and throw him in the water by the docks.” came the plea from Calron. I knew he didn’t like me, but just what in the Nine Hells could I have done to make him want me dead?

“Not yet.” came the reply from in front of me. It took a second to focus my one not swollen closed eye on the speaker. It was Antonio’s father. I had seen him before but I couldn’t remember his name. Over his shoulder I caught a glimpse of someone on a rooftop. It looked like Areon. Maybe he will save me.

Feeling a bit of the alcohol still, and thinking I had some backup, I ventured out an opinion, “Well I see you are a real tough man, you need six men to hold down a halfling so you can have a chance.” Then everything went black, real quick.

Twisting in pain…

Some hours later I was awaken by a bucket of water being thrown on me. Let me tell you that is not a good way to be waken up. Then it got worse! I realized that I was hanging upside down, and that my ankles seemed to be bound to a rope attacked to some rafters. I didn’t recognize the place, but mind you I could only see out of one eye and my body was wracked in pain. In fact I think most of my ribs and my nose have been broken.

“Think you’re a tough guy huh?” came a voice from behind me. I twisted my body around to see who it was only to face three humans that I have never seen before. One of them had the uniform of the town guard, the other two seemed to be dressed in leather. The one in uniform was the tallest, and seemed to be angry.

“Halflings are meant to be with halflings, do you understand?” the uniformed one said. I may not be smart but I could figure out what was happening here.

“I am surprised that so many town guard, and of such rank, have been called out to inform me of this. In case you missed it, I have already been beaten.” After that I even managed a smile thinking my ordeal soon over.

“That wasn’t my business earlier.” the man said gruffly, “You brought that on yourself, I just asked to have you when they were done.” The man then smacked me in the head with the empty bucket, as if to press in the point.

Unfortunately this just added to my difficulty in understanding. I tried to ask for more information but all I got was a gag pushed into my mouth. The next hour was very bad for me. I tried to block out the pain; it was severe. After about an hour I passed out from the pain. There is only so much a man can take. I did accomplish one thing though; I burned the image of the three men into my mind. Sometime in the future they will get their due. I do not know what I did to deserve the first beating of the day, but at least they had the compassion to stop after a while.

I do not know how long passed, but I was once again waken by a bucket of water. This time I couldn’t see out of either eye and had no idea of who was going to beat me this time. In fact I was expecting to not survive this one. Then a couple sets of hands held me as my feet were freed from the rope. Some kind of liquid was poured into my mouth that stung at first, but eventually took much of the pain away. I was very weak though and was about to pass out again. Just before slipping back into the darkness of slumber I heard a voice giving instructions on what temple to take me too, and to avoid the guards. I did not understand all of what was being said, but I did understand that the one giving orders sounded a lot like Areon. I will owe him big for this. I will owe him even more if he can tell me more about why I went through all of this.

I am starting to hate this town.

Posted by Jim on February 22, 2004, 08:23

Lessons of Tempus…

Hurried breakfast…

I hurt, even with the wonderful work of the clerics I am in a lot of pain. I find myself limping to the Inn to find my friends. I am going to see if we can leave town for a few days. I am needing a break. Huh, come to think of it I didn’t even make it back home.

As I reach the bar I find I am regaining my sight quicker than I thought. In fact I am only seeing double right now. My right arm still feels broken, but the clerics insist it will be fine in a couple of days. My left knee does not want to bend, and both ankles still burn from the rope. My ribs feel like apple sauce. And I got a knot on the left side of my head that throbs with every breath I take. That was the worst beating I have ever had in my life.

I see Antonio; he is always the first one here. He seems disturbed by my appearance. I try to pass it off but he presses me for some information. So I inform him that I had had a run in with some town guards, and that it wasn’t anything major. This seemed to make him even more edgy than he was. Strange, I never mentioned his father, yet he seems to be making the connection anyway.

Moments later Areon, Deitricha and Theona arrive. Deitricha seemed to be in a bad mood before she noticed my bruises, and got even more so afterwards. I quickly give her the same excuse I gave Antonio. She seemed quite appalled that the town guard could do such a thing. This brought a smile to my lips, it hurt to smile but it felt good too.

When no one was looking I thanked Areon and Theona for their help. The clerics had filled me in on my friends’ great efforts to find and help me last night. They seemed to act like it was a common task to save a friend’s life in the dead of night, I on the other had think it was a wonderful deed that shall not be forgotten.

After a bit more of discussion on the behavior of town guards I found my self being the only one arguing for them. In my opinion they have a lot of responsibilities that most people never see. It becomes part of their nature to use force to resolve a few situations. I did not like the methods they used on me, but they certainly got their point across. At least most of them did, I still am trying to figure out the last part of the night. I have been corrected by town guards for a few different reasons over the years, but never for dating a human. I think something else is going on and I don’t have all the information yet.

Eventually the conversation returns to the idea of what to do next, or as Antonio wanted, when to do something. I agreed with him, I could use some distance from this town for a little bit. Maybe things can blow over by the time I return. In any event on my return I plan on getting a little information about Mr. Bucket as I have decided to call him. Him I will make the time to deal with.

The party has decided to go to the west, something about a tower. I admit I wasn’t paying the closest attention again. All I know is they all seem to agree and who am I to get in their way? Antonio and I went to get the mounts and then meet the rest of the party after they see if the bard Dante is going with us. In all the excitement I forgot to find out what happened to him last night.

Smooth trail …

We head out and find it to be a delightful day to be traveling. The weather is nice and so many things are blooming. Spring is truly the season of rebirth. Being out on days like this raises one’s spirits; the entire party seems to have a little bounce in their steps. Even the edgy Antonio is smiling. Back to normal, it is just the five of us since the party’s friend Dante has decide to take off without even much of a thank you. It is better this way; he didn’t seem to fit in much after he got changed back to human.

In a pleasant bit of comfort, we travel the first day without so much as seeing a couple of farmers and travelers. Areon finds us a nice spot to set up camp for the night and I quickly settled down to get some rest. After all, it had been a couple of days since I actually got any sleep. I think I have been generally awake since leaving Everlund.

The night went peaceful as well; I am starting to get a good feeling about this trip. Maybe it is just what the cleric ordered. Over breakfast my opinion changed. Apparently during their watch the ladies were talking and Theona mentioned a bit more about my encounter with the town guards than she needed. It had Deitricha in a feisty mood. It was during their conversation, which had renewed over breakfast, which I heard Deitricha mention that she didn’t think it was her brother. I almost couldn’t eat my breakfast. I asked her to repeat what she had said, and she did.

Now the pieces are falling into place, Mr. Bucket must be her brother. Oh he is going to pay for this. I disagree with what Antonio’s father had done, but that I understand. He is trying to protect his son. But I haven’t brought any harm to Deitricha; in fact I think we have been good for each other lately. Just another tall freak that hates little people. I can understand wanting to protect your sister, but from dating? And the fact is that he beat me relentlessly. He beat me until I passed out, just to wake me up and start again. I would have died if Areon and Theona hadn’t found me when they did. No he took things too far, and I will have to teach him a lesson. One that he will never forget.

Fresh pie and fairytales …

We set out after breakfast, one that disturbed me so much I barely had room for seconds. Other than Deitricha and my new simmering anger at Mr. Bucket, the rest of the party still seemed to be in good spirits. I even caught Areon whistling a little tune to himself. I would even go as far as to say that he was doing more daydreaming than watching where we were going. It became obvious to the rest of us when he nearly tripped over a dead cow. I don’t think he heard our snickers, he was to busy trying to look intrigued by the cow.

As usual I began to let my mind wonder while they looked at the body. But the rest of the party was taking it as if it was a great sign from the gods. In fact I only joined their conversation when I heard them say it must be a vampire. Ha! There is no such thing, and I had to tell them. While they continued to tell each other stories of vampires; I walked around them and mocked them, using my fingers as fangs. It was bad enough that they wanted to see a tower with a supposed ghost, now we are to believe a vampire came to the area. And it came to feed on a cow in the middle of nowhere. HA!

Shortly after they finished the stories of creatures THAT NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN, we continued on our path to the tower. This leg of the journey was shorter then the last, for as we rounded the very next bend we spotted a few small farms. The party wondered if they should go down and talk to the farmers, a bit of time wasting I was not interested in, then I smelled it. Oh yes, fresh baked pie. I told the group that they definitely needed to talk to the farmers and started walking to the nearest farm. This was the one with the pie; I could smell it a mile away. And after all, it had been so long since breakfast.

When we were greeted by a couple of the farmers near a small barn I let them try to ask their questions, I really did. But sooner than I could help my belly made me ask about the pie. The rude farmers didn’t even listen to me, I think the simpletons thought I was just a kid. Before I could get angry Deitricha grabbed my hand and dragged me to the house to inquire about the pie, a fact that probably seemed to confirm the farmer’s opinion.

The lady that answered the door was a very kind and talkative lady. She, unlike her family seemed to recognize a Halfling and talked to me like an adult. In fact the kind woman refused any pay for the pie, insisting that, “Anyone who visits this house will find friends, not an innkeeper.” I like her, she even gave me a couple of extra rolls when Deitricha was distracted, telling me that she understands how halflings need to keep their strength up. While Deitricha tried in vain to offer the lady some payment for her kindness, I took a few silvers and put them under my napkin. My guess is that she could definitely use the money, and I found the kindness worth more than the food. I only hope to get away before she tries to give the money back.

Tourists …

After we move on away from the farmhouses, my friends try to tell me of the stories they learned from the farmers. This only led to me mocking them more. I just can’t imagine grown adults believing in such stories. Things like vampires and ghost are just made up to keep little children in line. I have had enough of it.

Theona says we are traveling to a town called Evergreen, or was it Wintergreen, …Everwinter, oh it was something like that. It is no more than two hours from the farmsteads and she said we should make it there quickly.

True to her word we found the little hamlet just after peaking a small hill. It is a small town; one bar. This is nearly unlivable to my standards. How can the people of this town survive with only one bar? No wonder I have never heard of this place.

We stop into the bar and get a drink, oh it feels good to wash the dust from the road down. After a quick bite I thought we would be going, I was wrong. Antonio and I were done eating and ready to go when Theona and Deitricha decided to get some information about the tower. They found a local who was happy to tell them anything they would like to hear for a few ales.

Now, having traveled enough to see the futility of this act, I left the bar with Antonio, the last thing I needed was him paying for more rounds of ale for the story teller. You see, in every bar there is a person who will give you an exiting tale, for ale that is. And if you don’t know any better, he will drink all your money up without telling you anything real. I have seen the look of these people before, and Theona’s new friend has that look.

Figuring to have some time on my hands, as Theona had lots of coin to offer for ale, I took Antonio to the general store across from the bar. Two minutes later, after seeing everything the town had to offer, we decided to go to the edge of town and wait for our friends. I began teaching Otto to bring me my backpack. It was amusing, and led to a couple of games of chase. I think Otto is teaching me the game instead.

After the second hour of doing nothing, we were joined by Areon who had finally had enough. He mentioned that the man had been repeating the same stories for a little while, but Theona seemed not to notice. The three of us, and Otto, settled down under a large oak and took a nap. It was a nice little nap which lasted about an hour and a half before the ladies had their fill of the story teller.

The road to the tower…

It didn’t take long for the men in the party to get around and ready to leave, in fact we practically dragged the women out of the town, in fear they wanted to talk to the drunk again. The tower should be close, from all stories it is within two hours of this town. We hit the road and start a nice conversation. Areon is beginning to get a sense of humor, he doesn’t even get mad when I call him a tree-hugger anymore.

Things are going quite nice, bordering on extreme boredom, until we came across a set of tracks. Areon said it is troll tracks, just one though. He then gets down on his knees and examines the tracks closer. He tells us they are very fresh, then mumbles something in another language. Being the first thing to do in days and really itching for a good fight we head off to follow the tracks.

It didn’t take long, the troll was by the river, just a couple hundred feet from us. He was big. I have never seen, let alone fought one of these, but I still think this would be a large troll. It stands nearly nine feet tall, it has a greenish yet brownish skin. Deep eyes and the largest nose of any creature that I have ever seen on two legs.

Tempus’s call is strong so I shout at the creature and begin towards it. The rest of the party apparently did not hear Tempus as clearly, as they lagged behind. The beast was upon me before I could imagine. It has a speed that defies its large size. Luck is with me as I get first blood. My short sword digs a deep gash in its thigh, which begins to heal almost immediately. Truly the stories about these creatures have not been wrong. Before I can level my sword and dagger for defense the massive brute strikes with speed and power that I will never forget. In one quick action it hit me with both of its massive claws and then if that wasn’t enough, it sunk the strikes in and twisted them in my flesh. This was the greatest hit I have ever witnessed in my life.

I was nearly knocked from my feet. It took everything I had to remain standing in defiance of the creature. I think that may have bought me a few minutes for the creature seemed to study me in wonder as how I didn’t fall dead from his first move. I was left with a bit of a slump, my left arm nearly useless and my vision blurred by both my blood and the fact that my mind was screaming in pain. Somehow, from deep within I gathered strength and lashed out with both weapons. Mind you they were weak swings, but my blades did taste its flesh and send a clear signal that I was still in this.

Over the next few minutes we traded swings, mine mostly in parry for I was nearer to death at this moment than life, but something told me if I fall here my friends will be slaughtered. I stood my ground. Every few seconds an arrow would fly by, luckily not hitting me, but most missed the massive beast also. I felt the presence of someone behind me, I could not tell who as I was using every ounce of my resources to fend of the deadly attacks of the troll.

It was Deitricha, she shouted something and flung some oil on the beast. I shouted for her to get back, I told her I had it under control. To tell the truth my body was begging me to give in to the creature and stop the pain. I think I was about to pass out from the blood loss when Deitricha grabbed me by my armor and dragged me away from the fight. Everything in my soul shouted “NO!” but my body truly did not have the ability to listen. Just then the horrible happened, Antonio rushed in to a short distance and cast fire on the troll. To most creatures this would have been bad, but to this troll, in the midst of battle rage, this was an unforgivable act. The troll was in flames, both the oil and its natural flammability had the entire length of the creature burning. It didn’t seem to care about me anymore, it was going after Antonio.

In the same swift and devastating attack it had brought on me, it struck Antonio and rendered my friend to pieces. The heart of the party broke, I broke free of Deitricha and launched my dagger into the creature as Areon and Theona launched their arrows and bolts. The creature soon fell, succumbed by the combined wounds and fire damage. But its damage was done. The party stood in silent awe at the loss of our charismatic friend.

I was prepared to bury my friend right on the spot, but Deitricha said we should take him back to his family. So they can grieve properly. I could see the honor in that, but seconds later, I realized that this could lead to my death. Oh his father will want some retribution, and who else will he want to feel his pain but his new punching dummy Tassar?

The silent trail…

The party traveled an unobstructed road back to Silverymoon. Every inch of the way I felt more and more fear for my life. I have never feared before, and was having a hard time dealing with it. I kept mostly to myself the day and a half it took to reach Silverymoon, lost in the thoughts of my lost friend and the upcoming consequences. We got to the gates of the town and a part of me wanted to be shot down at the spot, I have had a growing feeling of guilt ever since the battle with the troll. If I had stayed in combat with the beast, Antonio would be alive. I am filled with shame and anger.

After entering the city, I went to the nearest Inn and registered under the name of Otto. Once in my room I block the door and prepare my weapons for battle. I truly believe that I shall have a troop of town guards at any time. I just keep rocking back and forth thinking: I am going to die, I am going to die.

Lessons of Tempus…

After a few hours of panic in the small room I fell into a sleep. The hours on the road and lack of sleep the last two days overtook me. I dreamed of the battle, again and again. I dream of seeing Antonio’s eyes in the moment of his pain. Then I dreamt of a man, he was a cleric of Tempus. He was very angry with me, he said my friend would be alive if I had not been such a coward. Tempus teaches us that we must stand against our enemies; any ground given is given in a loss that takes a bit of our soul.

The cleric then tells me that no worshiper of Tempus would hide, caved up in a room and shaking in fear. Then the man touched my cheek with his hand and all the fear I had went away. In fact I was filled with an inner strength and a sense of purpose that I have never felt before. I asked the man his name, he shook his head and said, “In time, little warrior.” Then in a flash I was awake. It took a while to put all the pieces together in my mind. This couldn’t have been just a dream, no, I still feel the power of the man’s words.

Slow at first, but then with more speed and confidence I unblock the door and gather my belongings. I have not seen Lady Brenin in over a week. I will not be in town twice and not see her. She must be worried about me and I can not let that be. I check out of the Inn and began walking home. For that is what Lady Brenin’s place has become, my home. As I walk I begin to plan, I will have a meeting with Mr. Bucket. Yes, he shall pay the consequences for his actions. Before that, I shall have to give my respects to Antonio’s family. That shall be the order: Lady Brenin, Antonio’s family, then Mr. Bucket.

Posted by Jim on February 29, 2004, 13:17

Upside-Down Tower…

Shortened plans…

As I begin working my way through the meandering streets of Silverymoon, I find myself aware of each and every shadow. Glimpses of something, and nothing. I am not paranoid, just highly aware and prepared for the inevitable meeting with town guards. My only hope is that Mr. Bucket is with them; broad daylight and public streets be damned, that man will pay and pay dearly for his actions.

First I will see Lady Brenin and assure her all is well; the last thing I need is the pressure of that sweet old lady being worried about me. Besides, her voice and overall grace will put me a little more at ease. I don’t know what it is about her, but I feel very comforted by her presence.

My thoughts are distracted by the pattern of footpads behind me. They seem to be gaining on me, not walking at normal speed. I take a peek over my shoulder expecting to see a group of town guards only to be pleasantly surprised by two of my companions. Theona and Areon have found me, hmm, again. That Areon could probably track me through all Nine Hells and back.

After a short greeting, in which Theona kept calling me Mr. Otto (rubbing the salt into the wounds of my fears) and they insisted that we head back out of town. Apparently Theona had found a mage seeking to join our group. I asked her if she did the “follow me” routine to test him, she said that she did and that the fellow passed with flying colors. She went on to explain that she searched his belongings and confirmed him to be a magic user of some kind, and more importantly he seemed honestly broke. She explained that part as trying to make sure no one was hired to follow us, but to tell you the truth she likes picking pockets despite her insistence that she is not a thief.

I informed my friends that I wanted to at least see Lady Brenin and pay her the next month’s rent. They agreed only if they could come along and that we would leave soon after.

It didn’t take long to find the house and to my great pleasure Lady Brenin was home. She welcomed us and talked a little. I introduced my friends, at which point I got the impression that Lady Brenin and Theona knew each other, yet they seemed to act as if it was the first time they met. Well time was running and Areon wanted out of the town so we said our goodbyes and were on our way. The last comment that Lady Brenin made is sticking in my head though, she told me to stay away from things with long arms. Now I am forced to realize that she is aware of a great deal more than I thought she was. I hope she will be all right while I am gone; I will have to have another walk with her when I get back.

The new guy…

At the edge of town we meet our friend Deitricha and the almost human-looking new fellow. Deciding to not waste any time on formalities I went right up to the lad and informed him that his spells are not to be torching my backside. In a courtesy I told him to get a shield and carry it over his rear end, as this group has been known to shoot each other in the rear, not the back mind you— just the rear. Then he tried to tell me his name but I cut him off, “you are just the new guy, until you prove yourself, and buy me some ale also.” He then explained that he was broke; truly not a good start for him.

After a few more moments of conversation we headed out through the gates. In part to be on our way to the tower, in part to get through before they detained us.

Soon the road was at our feet and once again it brought comfort to my party. The road seemed to be where we belonged, as if it too was part of our group. The road offered a chance for us to think about our lost friend or the new one we found. In fact, it was a comical point as Areon realized that no one had seen the new guy ever cast a spell. Theona who claimed to have checked him out was forced to admit having never checked that vital part out. We could be going into danger with a buffoon apprentice for all she knew. Maybe this fellow couldn’t even cast a simple spell without disastrous effects. Too late now; this will be good.

The party soon found that the rain and mud forced those walking to get on the packhorses. The pace was quicker and we actually found that little town, I can’t remember the name, just before nightfall. Not a bad day’s travel in the rain. We decided to hole up the night and stable the horses for some much needed rest. Rarely have I seen something worse than a horse that was rode hard and put away wet, but Deitricha pushed passed that point. She had begun a bit of whining an hour before we hit the town, her horse had been behind the new guy’s warhorse and had gotten a lot of mud flung her way. Having only passing skills at riding, she was just happy to keep the horse moving the right direction.

We found the inn to be empty beyond ourselves and the one innkeeper at this hour, for most sane people did not travel in these conditions. I saw Deitricha get a room and go stomping up the stairs, flinging mud in every direction as she continued cursing her muddy clothes. I decided it would be much more comfortable curling up by the fire in the great room and joined the rest of the group there. It was a hard floor and the log I used for a pillow must have still had some bugs in it, for I was forced to toss it in the fire after being bitten a good dozen times.

The tower…

The next morning after a couple of nice breakfasts, we set out onto the road to the tower. The party had left the mounts at the town, except for me who kept Otto with me. The walk to the tower took nearly two hours. The only real distraction was crossing the path where the troll had been days earlier.

But we soon came over a small rise to see the tower. Now to all my learning and experience towers go up, but this thing showed no more than ten feet of wall at its highest point. It appears that it collapsed long ago. I took this chance to rekindle my mocking of the vampires, which only seemed to anger Theona more. The new guy seemed nervous too, but not from the vampire story, no he had spotted a wolf. He began to warn us about wolves. A point that Areon must have taken to heart for he began moving us to the ruined tower immediately.

Some fifty feet from the tower the lone wolf returned with some friends. I shouted for everyone to get to the tower and put their backs to the walls. Before we could do much more than step in that direction the wolves where upon us. Areon and Theona made it to the wall, but the rest of us where soon engaged. A game of attack and retreat began, and the new guy went down quick. I had my hands full so I shouted to the others, I meant to yell that our new companion was in danger, but it didn’t come out that way. “New guy is down.” came out of my mouth with a chuckle.

Soon the battle was in full force, I killed one or two before being pulled off of Otto by one of the beasts. The wolves are a difficult opponent; they don’t fight with any sense of honor, more of a weakling’s approach. They come in numbers and only fight long enough for one of the others to come up behind you, and then they back away.

After regaining my feet, which was difficult due to the one foot having spent a few minutes being gnawed upon, I sent Otto to Deitricha’s aid. Then after finishing the current wolf I went to her also and we stood back to back. Areon had blazed by in an effort to save the chew toy I called the new guy, while Deitricha and I fought on. Every few seconds or so a bolt from Theona would whiz by and sink into the side of a wolf.

Eventually we killed off most of the wolves and scared away the others. It wasn’t till then that I realized how bad Deitricha was wounded. I guess a day without drinking had loosened my tongue a bit as I told her she look like hell. She seemed a little hurt, but what else could I say after that, so I wondered off to see Areon and help him bring the barely alive new guy back to safety.

We made a little camp within the walls of the tower, the new guy proved to not be too good at fighting, but he could skin a wolf like a pro. Soon we had some meat cooking and the party was getting healed up. Theona did eat a little, but spent most of the meal reminding me that it had only been two hours sinse I had two breakfasts at the inn. Try as I might I couldn’t understand her point.

As we packed things back up the new guy said he found the stairs. Now this fellow seems to be ok, but in the hollowed out ring that we were in, the only thing standing up more than two feet was the stairs. Everyone had seen them; they stuck up almost six feet.

Anyway, we went over and Theona lead the way, for a bit. I was first to the bottom. I apparently was too busy still eating a nice cut of meat to watch my feet on the rain slicked steps. Most of the party slid down and slammed into me at the bottom. I think Theona, the first one on the steps was the last one to come off the steps.

Theona began searching for traps. It was a good full minute before I got bored this time and wondered off on my own to check things out. I think I am getting better at the patience thing. As I burned away some cobwebs I heard a scream from Theona, and then one from Deitricha. I wanted to go right out and fight but the new guy was standing in the doorway blocking my progress. I need to teach him to let the fighter through when there is trouble.

When I finally got into the hall I found both ladies being attacked by some kind of half bat — half mosquito things. I rode up to them and began slicing the little creatures up. They were easy to hit, but they seemed to be hurting the ladies bad. I got a couple and then prepared to slice the last one up when a glowing ball of magic flew, just over my head, and hit the last creature. Unfortunately this one had been drinking some blood and exploded when it was hit. I think it will take the ladies some time to clean up their hair and faces. Luckily they got most of the goo. I backed up and the three of us men kind of chuckled quietly as the ladies peeled the mess off of their bodies.

Posted by Jim on March 7, 2004, 07:10

Holes in the Front, Holes in the Back…

Hello again pit….

After a bit of waiting for the ladies to de-goo, we began looking around the room that the flittering creatures came from. We didn’t find much. Some of the party thinks that the super mosquitoes are the cause of death of the local farm animals. I am not so inclined to believe them. As I remember the dead cow that was drained of blood, the party had pointed out the lack of footprints from what had killed it. Truth be known, there wasn’t any cow prints either. I don’t believe that the little creatures we fought could have lifted a cow.

Theona began her “checking for traps.” It took me a while but I figured out what this long drawn out process really means, it means “Tassar can you lead the way.” So as she started looking at the steps down, I rode past and looked around a room at the bottom. Moments later the party joined me. The room was scattered full of bones and debris. It is as if a major battle had taken place here many years ago. There was a few weapons and armor, which had been beyond usable for a long, long time. Otto seemed to like the bones though.

As I looked around the mess for a goody of some kind, the new guy came in and cast a spell that can detect magic items. While we looked in the room the rest of the party went down a small hallway to a door and beyond to another room. When I caught up I viewed a room with many statues along the side walls. Each statue was of a magic user casting a spell, strange but no two were alike. Statue after statue seemed to be in the process of casting a spell. To me, it was a little creepy.

But the statues were of little interest for the room contained two dead bodies. A magic user and a fighter, they appeared to have killed each other. The warrior was in the middle of the floor and the mage was pinned to the wall by a sword. We examined the bodies and concluded that they must be part of the party that had come this way a little while ago. They had a couple of weapons that were better than just usable; in fact I took a short bow that is a fair bit better than mine. Oh, and a shield that is twice the size of my own. It is made of fine steel and I have taken a fancy to it.

During this time Deitricha seemed a little miffed with me. Theona said that it was my fault. She also said that human women do not like being told that they ‘look like hell.’ I took the message to heart, although I do like arguing with Theona, this information seemed to be given to help me.

End of a fine companion…

The group was ready to move on and I followed Theona, we talked about the fact that it was odd; the two dead did not have coin pouches. And if they were a party, where were the rest of them? I then guided Otto into a small hallway and began toward another room, and then the floor fell out from under us. I have fallen in a few pits in my time, but never with a mount. Poor Otto took it bad, for the pit was lined with spikes. I took a good bit of damage. When I pulled myself off of the last spike I looked at Otto, his loyal eyes were staring back at me as he breathed his final breaths.

I didn’t have too much time to miss my companion as I noticed I was not alone in the pit, next to me was a dead human rogue. Before I could do much more in the way of investigating I was forced to run across the spiked pit to catch Deitricha, who had fallen in the pit while trying to get me out. Her god must have been smiling on her as I somehow crossed to where she fell and caught her before she hit the spikes. In her joy from me catching her she had given me a hug and kiss that nearly knocked us over. Then she told me I ‘looked like hell.’ We shared a small laugh. Together we examined the corpse of the rogue and found a few more items that we could use, including a few potions of healing.

The crew above the trap finally figured out how to keep the trap open and lowered a rope to us. We eagerly climbed out and joined our friends. It is then that we were faced with another problem, how to cross this open spiked pit. Now in hindsight I see that we were quite stupid.

First Theona tied a rope to herself and let Areon hold the other end. They only gave her enough slack to cross the pit, but not enough to reach the bottom of the pit. She then got a running start and jumped. It wasn’t much of a running start as we didn’t have much room, again this was noticed in hindsight. She got about half way across and then swung like a pendulum into the pit wall with a smack that I believe broke her nose.

As they hoisted her up I decide that I could jump the pit and got the same running start that Theona got. I remind you again that we were stupid at this point. I made it about half way across when I notice my momentum beginning to change. I looked down at the spikes and said to myself “Yup, this is going to hurt.” At least Deitricha didn’t try to come in after me for there is no way I could have gotten up in time to even attempt to catch her, as I took a bit of time pulling myself off the spikes this time.

Theona and Areon thought they had figured out the jump and I looked up in time to see her leap the pit and land on the other side. I then tossed up my rope to her and she helped me climb up. While she had the rope I was on, she backed up into the new room, which became a bad thing. As she had noticed some more of the statue of mages, she also noticed two statues of armored knights. The knights began to move and came after her. I arrived at the top of the pit just in time to run in front of her to protect her. I am not saying that she cannot fight well, just that she seemed no match for these creatures. And after all, if something happened to her, who would I argue with?

An ugly battle…

Now the fight was on as both statues engaged me. Theona who was still tied about the waist decide to jump back across the pit. I did not see her go, but I did hear the familiar thud as she hit the wall in the pit. At least she didn’t make the same, wet, blood splattering sound when she hit.

Normally I would love this situation, a good fight and my friends in a safe spot, but as it happened to be I was in bad shape from my two visits to the bottom of the pit. I didn’t let on; in fact I found a corner to fight in and yelled at both of my enemies. They didn’t seem to be affected. It seems my fame hasn’t yet reached some old abandoned dungeons.

I held my own for a good bit, the statues only seemed to be able to nick at me. It appears that I have become a tough target with my new shield. The problem was I couldn’t really go on an offensive as I was busy trying not to slip on the floor, which was covered in my blood. Eventually the nicks and scrapes added up and I collapsed into blackness.

In that time the party realized I could use some help and this is also about the time the stupid part stopped. Apparently one of them asked Theona, “if you can keep the trap door open, can you keep it closed?” Quickly the trap was closed and pinned in that position. The party crossed the hall and Deitricha blessed me with a healing. She also took the time to let me know I ‘looked like hell.’

The statues had gone back to there stances along the wall; it appears that they only fight things that move, and while I was unconscious I must not have moved too much. Now that Deitricha and Theona were in the room and helping me up the two statues came once again to life and began toward us. I once again jumped in between the statues and my friends, although it seemed to mean more to me when I was protecting Deitricha.

I told the ladies to stand behind me, which Theona was happy to do. Deitricha let me know she could handle herself and told me to stop being chauvinistic. This lead to a bit of bickering that seemed to do more to make her angry than to do anything creative. She then leaped from behind me and engaged one of the statues. And while it was nice to have a little help, she was about the last one who should have been in the front of this melee.

I yelled at her, she yelled back. Moments later she was hit with several tough shots from the statue that sent her to the ground. Thankfully Areon came up and helped her with one of the magical healing wands. Deitricha then crawled out of the way as I yelled over my shoulder to her that she ‘looked like hell.’ Areon then joined me in the front. The fighting was vicious but the statues and I were well armored and shielded, leaving most of the deadly blows as no more than a twinge of metal on metal.

Soon I realize a very bad thing, the healing that Deitricha had given me was very light and had left me in a dangerous state for this battle. As I began to plan to split these two statues into two separate battles I was sent once more into floor as a spell hit me full in the back. Deitricha was quick to my side again and had me on my feat and back in the battle in a few moments, with a now comical you ‘look like hell.’ I had not gone unconscious this time and had quickly figured out what had happened. I let a few curses out at the new guy; he seemed indifferent as I heard nothing in return.

Armed with a new fury I began tearing a bit more viciously into the statue in front of me. My fury got a little worse when after only a couple of seconds I was struck in the back again. This time Theona had accidentally hit me with her crossbow. To her credit she was apologizing to me before I once again hit the floor, nearly going unconscious. While I was down Deitricha tried to keep one of the statues off of me and paid the price. With a powerful cleave, the statue sent her to the floor. She was seeing the darkness of unconscious before she hit the floor. I was in no shape to move but I tried my best to go to her, this led me to join her in the darkness.

Post battle…

Luck was with us, as while two of us where out, our companions managed to finish off the statues. I came awake after a bit of healing from Areon. Deitricha and I crawled over to the nearest wall and just sat for a bit. Neither of us had the energy to get up or really do much else, except one thing. Yup, I asked Areon to bring over my backpack and I pulled out my ale-skin. Deitricha and I shared some spirits and talked about how the rest of the party ‘looked like hell.’

This lead to a few good chuckles, which hurt a bit, but we accepted the pain for the laugh felt so good. Near the time that the ale ran out I remembered the new guy magic-ing me in the back. I let out a little bit of a steam about it, loud enough for him to hear. I thought I would get an apology then; I thought wrong. He seemed to be indifferent to the result of his actions and to my comments about it. Now Tempus does not have many rules to govern a warrior’s life, but one is to not suffer fools in battle. I decided to teach the new guy a lesson, perhaps a slap to the head will do more than the talk I had had with him on the day we met.

Most of the party was making camp when I gave the new guy one last chance to apologize, when he didn’t I made it clear what I was going to do. No one made any move to get in my way, although Areon made a humorous attempt to stop me: as he said, “No don’t do that give the man a chance, it was an accident”. Now the funny part was that he said the entire thing while laying out his bedroll, and not once did he lift his eyes from his bedroll while saying it. Then he lay down, covered his face with his cloak and proceeded to laugh his elven butt off.

While I walked right at the new guy, he just stared at me, made no move of any kind. So, I launched my shoulder into his right leg. This brought his face closer to me as he instinctively bent over to grab his bruise. I then put everything I had into a well-timed and well-placed uppercut. I believe the lad was seeing stars before his body hit the floor. I looked around for complaints, but didn’t get any. Having expressed my opinion, I walked back over to my bedroll and got some sleep.

A while later I awoke to hear Theona talking about the hole. I tried to help, I dropped a torch in and it vanished after twenty feet. Then I got some stuff on the end of a rope and dropped it down in, and found the hole did have a bottom. Then I lost most interest and went back to get more rest. There was no use playing there until the entire party was rested and ready to move on.

Posted by Jim on March 11, 2004, 16:35

Mental note, pay attention more….

After getting some rest, the group was sort of meandering around. None of us really wanted to go into the dark hole, so we were just waiting for someone to stand up and be in charge and say ‘we are not going into the hole.’ Eventually the new guy went up to the surface to see if the wolves were still around. He returned and we thought it would be fun to go fight some wolves until someone found a way to go besides the dark hole.

Off we went, the rest of the party decided not to join us. They all were staring at us though as if waiting for a punch line from a joke. Disregarding the looks, we started up to the surface to kill a few wolves and maybe gain some meat for breakfast. We never made it to the surface. A scream came from below us as we were just steps away from the surface. It sounded like Deitricha and I was off and running.

Seconds later and with a few stubbed toes, I found Deitricha with a panicked look she had never shown. She stated that there was a voice coming from a hidden room that the two ladies had found. I prepared my sword and shield and went in after the voices. I must admit I was expecting something other than what I found. Perhaps, the reported vampire that I had been mocking for so long. As I peered over the edge of a pit I saw a pile of rubble, with a pile of rubble on top of him. What I mean is I found a Dwarf.

Having no great love for the boisterous creatures I told Deitricha “It’s just a Dwarf, leave him.’ After recoiling from the smack to the back of my head, I apologized to her and went down to see if I could help. The Dwarf had somehow become trapped. It looked like he was climbing the ladder on the wall and it collapsed with some of the wall. I think the new guy followed me, I just know that I found a chance to have some fun and took it. I climbed onto a large chunk of stone that was deposited on the Dwarf’s chest. To my joy the burly fellow yelled at me. I returned the favor by asking his name, without making the slightest effort to free him. Instead he ruffed back at me and I back at him. Before long the rest of the party was beside me pulling me off of the Dwarf and apologizing to him for my behavior.

I took a bit more of yelling from Deitricha before I wondered off to see what Theona was doing. Sometimes I think Deitricha does not understand how fighters talk to each other. We are not a breed of huggy-kissy people. We insult each other and lie about our deeds, it is an unwritten rule.

Anyway Theona was looking at a set of doors, she muttered something about ‘not locked,’ then began looking at other stuff. I took my normal queue and opened the door. Theona dove to the side as the two statues on either side of the doors let loose brilliant blue bolts of lightning. It hurt a little, but it was worth the pain to see the light show. Well, it was until the ladies started yelling at me for it. Even Areon put in his two bits. That is probably why I started walking down the hallway that the door revealed, just to find some piece and quiet, and to figure out if what Theona said was even physically possible.

I was followed as usual by Deitricha who continued to tell me to take more precautions. I stated that I would do so if she learned to stay behind me in the battle. For Tempus’ sake that woman can argue. She was just telling me, again, to let Theona look for traps as I stepped on something that clicked. Before I could look down there was another sound, a sound of bars closing us into a trap, then the sound of stone on stone. Two doors opened in the hall, one on each side and inside the trap we were in. I began telling Deitricha to get behind me when we were flanked by two more of the armored statues that attacked us earlier. We quickly stood back to back and began fighting the statues when we were joined by skeletons.

I began telling Deitricha to stand behind me and she began to tell me that she had nowhere to go. About that time the arrows began. Thank the gods I am a short fellow, as at least six arrows flew just over my head and into the far wall. Deitricha raised her holy symbol and turned the skeletons to dust. I told her that she took some of my kills, and to get behind me. By this time we had both taken a few shots from the armored statues and Theona was yelling ‘You two look like hell.’

As we enjoyed a slight chuckle, and ducked yet more arrows (my friends need some time on a practice range), more skeletons came out from the doors. As Deitricha again hoisted her holy symbol to destroy the skeletons, some of the party set the trapped area on fire. At least they set the end near them on fire and not where we were. I heard Deitricha hit the floor and I turned to try to protect her as the suit of armor I was fighting took advantage of my distraction and landed a solid blow that knocked me from consciousness.

Soon I was brought back around and the battle had ended. Theona, I am told, found the way to open the bars and the party finished the statues off. I was also coherent to two more facts: first the new guy wondered off to check out the passages that the statues had come out of instead of trying to save Deitricha and my life, second was the fact that the Dwarf (named Rosorc) had fought bravely in our behalf. That settles it for me, Rosorc is Rosorc, and William is still the new guy.

Eventually we walked up to another door, which I did let Theona check for traps, she then opened it and we walked in to find a dead Gnome on a table. Well, I will call it a Gnome, there wasn’t very much left of him. Rosorc, showing a good heart wanted to cover the fellow and I gave him my cloak. Before we knew it the dead, long dead, Gnome turned his head and looked at the new guy with hollow eyes. Then the dead fellow told the new guy to get out. I admit this was a new one for me, a creature with no innards turning and talking to some one. The new guy had had enough and was off and running, Deitricha followed him.

Then Theona, who was off to the side of the room, yelped in pain. Areon, Rosorc and I then took to fighting this new foe. It took a little while to figure out what or where it was for it could blink into invisibility and was very fast when we could see it. Areon after getting a good look at it, and a sting in the shoulder for the effort, told us it was some kind of Imp. Then Deitricha came back to the room and told us she ‘had to beat William into unconsciousness to stop him.’ I said “Sure, you had to. Who gets to beat him up tomorrow?” Then our attention was forced back to the attacking Imp.

It didn’t take long for the ladies to retreat into the hall to escape the speedy Imp’s attacks. The three of us men still standing, gathered into a tight group to give us extra chances to hit the speedy foe. The Dwarf then pulled out a length of chain and swung it at the Imp. On his second attempt, he actually caught the little creature. Taking nothing for chance I reached over and cut the tail and stinger off of the thing. Areon then stepped up next to me and cleaved the creature in half.

The party then gathered around and decided to rest for a while. We took the chance to get to know Rosorc better and kind of unofficially asked him to join us for a while. It was funny, we never had asked him, he just joined in and helped us.

After two days of rest I was ready to climb the walls. Finally Theona opened a hidden door off of the room that the Imp was in, we then followed her into the new room. In the center of the room was a large and ornate circle. It had many symbols on it that told something that I could not understand. In the corner of the room we found a chest, which was locked. Theona said she was going to get her tools. Soon as she was out of the room Rosorc and I looked at each other and without speaking a word, we agreed to open it before she got back. I held a dagger in the lock and he swung a small hammer that he produced from his pack. Just as we opened the lock Theona came back in and was yelling at us. It felt nice to have someone to share the blame with.

As the party went through the treasure I turned my attention back to the circle. I pulled a copper coin from my pouch and took a second to admire the flying Pegasus that was on the face of the coin, the symbol of Silverymoon. Then my attention was drawn back to the circle as Theona and the new guy were talking about the meaning of the symbols. The new guy said it was some kind of portal. I then rolled the copper coin into the circle and it disappeared. Then the new guy was telling Theona that it was probably a two-way device. Then I pulled another copper and tossed it into the circle, about ten feet in the air. This coin too disappeared.

Then I decided to go through the portal and see what was there. I don’t know why I had decided to do this. Perhaps I trusted the new guy, but that makes less sense to me in hindsight. I think it was just because we had spent two days cooped up in that room. As I walked toward it I heard the beginnings of something from Theona, but I was too far into the circle to hear what it was.

Suddenly my all of my senses were bombarded by heat and light and some dizziness from the trip through the portal. The heat was from the fires that erupted at random in every direction. The light was from both a red sky and from lightning that danced about. “Friggen Ehh, where in the Nine Hells am I …”? I stopped my thoughts as I realized that for the first time in my life, that was a true statement.

I quickly looked around for the returning symbol only to realize that there was none. Then they caught my eye, out in the distance, groups of creatures moving in small packs. Some appeared to have wings, others had horns. All of them where in shapes I have never seen in all my years. As sweat rolled down my cheek from the intense heat, I began to pray that no one follows me. Then in a flash Deitricha was next to me. I was not happy, but yet I had to laugh, she followed me to Hell. I went to her and gave her a hug. Soon all the party was there.

Theona lit into me real good. It appears that someone had warned us that there were passages to ‘Hell’ in the tower. I could only shrug and apologize, I didn’t know. I then turned my attention back to the new surroundings. Off to one side was a large castle that had a greenish tint to it. Other than that the only landmark was a mountain in the opposite direction.

I figured that the mountain might be a good place to find a place to hide while we figured out the trouble we were in. We all started off in that direction. The new guy pulled his cloak tight around his head, he was very afraid of this place. Rosorc seemed indifferent, and Areon was busy pointing out to Theona all the ‘unnatural’ things that were running about. Deitricha kept close to me, keeping her thoughts to herself. Again in this obviously bad moment, I had to smile to myself. She followed me to Hell.

Posted by Jim on March 22, 2004, 17:43

Of what I can remember…

Ok, it is still clear that we were walking and found… someone. I don’t remember who or what it was, but it took us to someone else. This other person lived in a cave on the mountain. I do remember climbing the mountain, but I don’t remember the little fellow being there with us when we reached the cave.

Now, the cave entrance I will remember forever. I have seen bone piles before; in caves of animals or some particular evil thing that had gathered its prizes. But this took the cake, no questions asked. This cave was filled, with of all things, the skulls of demons. Quite impressive. Some of the skulls were the size of my hand, other I could nearly stand in the eye sockets alone. Horns and all kinds of misshaped growths were represented on all of them.

In this cave we found a small house. Thinking this a possible deadly foe, everyone was checking their weapons and making sure they had a clear route to run if things went bad, when the new guy strolled up and yelled into the place. Then if that were not enough he knocked on the door. I guess he was thinking if you are going to one of the nine hells to get killed and eaten, you might as well be polite about it. No need to scare the possible mad creature with untold power by arriving unannounced.

Then I think some time passed, it is still a little fuzzy. I do clearly remember asking the lady who lived in the house for some ale. She gladly went into her house and returned and filled my mug. I intended to sip it first, but it was so tasty that my first sip was a good gulp. I was warm and feeling a little fuzzy in seconds. Then I don’t remember much for a while.

From what I gathered from my companions I must have passed out after only a few more of my sips. I was also told that I vomited all over the new guy. At least I wasn’t useless. Oh, Hexi something, that is what Areon said the little creature who took us to cave was named. Anyway, then we went to some kind of tower of heads and got directions. After that we went to a bridge and I am told that I tried to make a point for fighting some really big creatures. Again, I do not remember any of this.

As Deitricha tells me, the Hexi something was the elf-lady, or half elf-lady. I am a little confused on this all still. She also said that we went to a road and stole a brick from it. And that I had insisted on fighting a large hoard of flying demons. If she didn’t look so serious, I would say she was pulling my leg. But as she told me the story, it was confirmed by nods from the others. I guess they talked me out of it, as I am alive and all.

She went on to tell me that the party then went back across the river of blood again (I might remember a river of blood) and we found more people to fight. As it is told, Rosorc and I both were wanting to stay and fight this batch. But, again we were not allowed to do so. Instead we ran to a portal. On the way to the portal we found a man with a black orb. This too I do not remember.

What I do remember is standing in a street with all my friends and some black orb was in my hands and it was turning to dust. I am not sure of much of this, with the pain still throbbing in my head from the ale. As we walk to find an inn, I notice a couple of things. First, everyone is covered in blood but me. Second, I have a war fork, and I can’t remember where I got it. Third, the new guy is missing most of his hair. And there has got to be a good story about that.

Fourth, I got a chance to be in several fights and got as much as a swing in on a foe. This seems weird. Fifth and final, we are all still alive.

Posted by Jim on April 4, 2004, 16:29

A chance to rest…

After a bit of wandering through this odd town, by the way, how do they know what is down town, if every part is down from another? I was concerning my time with helping Deitricha who had become greatly bothered by the city. I held her hand and kept telling her not to look up. I think it was too much of challenge to her senses though.

Me, I found this place amazing. If I didn’t know better, I would say it was built by a quirky Gnome named Eldrek, or Gadgets as my father called him. Gadgets seemed to make everything upside down. Not that his creations didn’t work proper, they just seemed completely built upside down. Well, Gadgets was a fine person indeed, and I would sneak over to visit him some nights. He had things that had lights and whistles and moved in so many odd ways. He would always show me his newest attempts, then we would sit down and share some of his finest Gnomish weed. Come to think of it, maybe that is why I always snuck over to visit him.

Well, the party tried to lead us to an inn. It took a while, but eventually we found a signpost. Now, I had to try my hardest to look disgusted by it, but inside, I was laughing my guts out. In this strange place, which I have yet to hear a name for, hmm… I will call it Gadgets. Well here in Gadgets they make signposts out of mummies. Deitricha wanted to stomp it out of existence; I did my best to hold her back. After all, how could let her destroy a part of Gadgets, especially a part that was so odd it would seem if old Gadgets made it personally. Eventually two of the party went to read the thing, I was quite busy holding Deitricha back, and they found directions to a nice inn. Here is the kicker; I looked up in time to see the mummy point out the direction to go. I love this place.

The pointing was all she could take; I think we moved on just to calm Deitricha down more than to find the inn. We took a path that we thought most promising and passed many, many, many more oddities. Gadgets is a great place!

Finally we found an inn and the ladies were exited to find that it had baths. I followed Deitricha in to one room and did my best to clean her clothes and items for her, between getting her new bars of soap. She was trying to rub her skin off to get the feeling of blood off of her. I had to keep telling her that it was all gone, but she continued to clean. Eventually I cleaned up too, although I don’t take the pleasure in a bath as humans seem too. I have heard that elves are worse, but I have never seen that in person. I can only imagine the Dwarf, Rosorc, is probably trying to rub some foundry dust into his skin rather than rub it out.

Well, Areon had purchased the rooms and we got some food and went up to get some rest. The inn was very nice; I think it may be the nicest inn I have ever been in. The food! Oh, blessed by the gods in my opinion. Yes, it was the finest meal, seconds and thirds, which I have ever had. For a while I think my mind was wandering, we had all gone to some places to find a portal, which meant we needed to negotiate and fill out forms. Now, why any society needs so much paperwork I can’t imagine. I let my mind wander most of the day, well maybe the entire day.

To me, it felt as if I have changed a little, as if Tempus is smiling upon me. I feel energized and maybe even a little bit hardened by the trip to the Nine Hells. Perhaps Tempus is showing me that I don’t have to kill every foe I meet. Or maybe he is happy that I have survived the trip. I don’t know, but I do feel … stronger.

I think we were at a market; I was just enjoying my company and the wonderful city of Gadgets. The rest of the party seemed to be having a good time. I noticed for some reason, that Rosorc kept looking at Theona. If I didn’t know better I would think he was in love. But, he is a Dwarf, how do they show love? Do they hit their prospective mate with a hammer? Do they five them an Orc head? I have to admit that this will be very curious to witness. Oh, I almost forgot, Areon likes her too. This will be good.

Finally we were back at the inn, Areon had told me the name of the place, but to me it is still Gadgets. After another night of a comfortable bed, in which I am ashamed to admit I really enjoyed, I got up early to get some breakfast. I have to get up early; it takes a little time to get some breakfast in before the party usually gets up to join me, for more breakfast. Today I found Rosorc already eating. He called me over for some food and a talk. I could see by his uncomfortable body motion that he wanting to talk about some personal thoughts. Now first Dwarves don’t talk about their personal feelings to anyone, and having a guess of what the talk would be about, I was more amazed that he wanted to talk to me.

If you don’t know, Dwarves in particular are the most mischievous race in all the Realms. I didn’t know that until I moved to Silverymoon, where I met many a Dwarf. Now what a Dwarf does is plays games with others. Their favorite game is to play stupid. Oh the joys I have witnessed watching a Dwarf in a bar. For instance, one may come up to the bar and take someone’s ale, drink it down in one gulp, and wander away as if it was no big deal. Usually it is done to humans for humans think themselves so smart. Well, after a bit of astonishment passes and the human realizes that someone drank his ale, he will get up and confront the Dwarf. Now the Dwarf first will act like he does not know what the human is talking about. And let me tell you, a Dwarf can keep a straight face. And if the human makes a strong enough case for the deed, the Dwarf will change his method to looking confused and telling the human that it was either his ale to drink, or better yet, he will tell the human that he had offered it to the Dwarf. After a while the human gets tired of beating his head against a stone wall or believes the Dwarf. In any way it goes, the Dwarf always gets the drink for free and the human is convinced that the Dwarf is the stupid one.

Now knowing this, it was time to play a game on a Dwarf. After all, they think themselves smarter than anyone else. So when Rosorc asked how Deitricha and I get along, I smiled greatly and made some mentions of how to be in the right position of to use leverage. After his initial shock wore off, he stopped me and stated that he meant since we were of different races. With an even bigger smile I started to explain that all the races in our realm seem to have ‘boy parts and girl parts.’ And before he could stop me again I began the stupid birds and the bees speech my father gave to me. I was having so much fun; I thought I might stain my shorts.

Rosorc stopped me again and with a quite a bit of effort to ask me in unmistakable terms how it was for me to date a person of another race, in the way of personal feelings and if it was strange to be with one that was different from myself. It was hard to not laugh out with all of my being, but by some means I kept a straight face. I then began to tell him how to protect a person of another race in battle. Always making sure not to mention Theona’s name, instead I used “loved one of another race and other gender.” Each time I used the “other gender” phrase he seemed to wince, I was not saying that his hammer swung the other way, no just picking on him. For in all of his trouble he never mentioned that it was a woman that he was interested in. Oh, the looks on his face that day will stay with me forever.

Eventually he was saved from more confusion as other members of our party started filtering in to get some breakfast. Deitricha was the only one to notice my smile, I told her that I would tell her later. And I did, when no one was around to hear her laughter, she nearly fell to the ground when I explained the looks the Rosorc was giving me.

After some more breakfast we headed out to finish the paperwork. Some time, which I had little concept to the time in this place, we finally got directions. I was pleased to have a feeling of direction or goal. We went to the market again to find a black rose for the portal. I wonder if it just had to be a black thing, like the orb I carried. That is still bothering me too.

Anyway, blessed Tempus was upon us for he gave us a chance for a little battle before we leave. A couple of meager undead. Not a real challenge, but it got our muscles into use, and that felt good.

Posted by Jim on April 10, 2004, 11:10

Tempus will be pleased…

Our battles in the catacombs were just beginning; shambling zombies and ghouls were around almost every corner. At one point we were fighting at every entrance to the room we were in while Deitricha (finally staying behind me) used her holy symbol to turn them to dust. Although Rosorc and I were making sure each other knew how many we had killed. He had the lead, 3 to 2.

After we cleared that room, the party split into different directions to check out the open caskets and to look for more undead to fight. I went to our left, the direction that two ghouls had come from. I found a small alcove with empty caskets, well except for a few coins and a silver dagger, and then the caskets were empty. I worked my way back to the room to check on the party and it seemed that Deitricha was the only one there. Apparently she decided to stay in a central location so she could run to whichever side she was needed.

With no screams or sounds of battle, I decided to continue to search. A search that didn’t take long to find trouble. I re-entered the hall I was just in and went the other direction, when I was halted by what sounded like voices. Now, curiosity got the better of me. I have never heard undead talk, so I went right into the room to check it out without telling anyone I found voices.

Once in the room that had the voices the source became clear as several creatures flew into view. They looked like human sized heads with fangs, long teeth and long tongues. Where ears would or should be, these creatures had what looked like big bat wings attached. Four of them came out me with shrieks that could curdle ale. I yelled back at them and attacked. As I began cutting them down I heard Areon come to help me. Well, at least he tried for the creatures let out another one of the screeches and it apparently had a bad effect on him. When I had the creatures down to two, I took the chance to peer over my shoulder at him and he was standing still. Some kind of fear must have gotten him.

A moment later Theona came into the room as I cut down the last of the creatures. She had a look of confusion on her face as she looked at Areon. I told her ‘not to worry, he was as useful as normal.’ She said that Rosorc and the others needed help and she would stay with Areon, hmm. Ok, I took off toward the direction of the battle sounds, running full speed until I had to duck to keep from losing my head.

Out from behind a corner came another ghoul and several more shuffling undead. With a smile and a call to Tempus I began cutting into them when Rosorc came into the room to help me. He held up four fingers with a proud grin across his face. I gave him a smirk and said six. He gave a short gruffing noise and all but jumped right into the pile of zombies fighting me. We each got one more before Deitricha came in and turned the rest to dust. Rosorc and I just looked at each other and shrugged. How can we have fun if she keeps taking away our foes?

The party came back together and Deitricha (the destroyer of our toys) healed me some with her powers. It seems her deity requires her to give me a small speech each time she heals me also.

Rosorc was telling me about the creatures of shadow they had fought when he noticed his black rose was glowing. He lead us a short distance, lead by the glow of the rose and we found the portal. As we looked at the shimmering glow of the portal, William (yes Rosorc said how well he fought and now he earned a name) went running past us and leaped into the portal. First we stared at each other, wondering what had overcome him, then we noticed that one of the shadow things was back. Rosorc ordered us all to go through the portal. They all went. I stayed with him and tried to use my torch to distract it. With two quick swings he put the beast down. Then together we went through the portal.

On the other side we found our party in a huge hallway. It was obvious we were in a Dwarven stronghold. But the dust on the floor was thick, showing very few have passed this way in a long time. Areon went one way and I went the other. I found many small rooms with what looked like small stone shrines in them. I called the others down to look and Rosorc was in near tears (at the beauty of it for a Dwarf I guess). He claimed it was just dust in his eyes though.

We rested for a while to let the group get some rest and recoup spells. I found out during this time that Deitricha has great aim. You see, each time I looked at Rosorc and Theona I began to snicker, and Deitricha hit me in the back of the head. And later, when I looked at Theona and Areon and snickered, again she smacked me in the back of the head. It really wasn’t fair; she was snickering here and there too.

Well, the next morning did come and we had some breakfast and began to look for what else this place held. We went through some big doors (really big doors) and found a great hall. It must have been really dusty because Rosorc was wiping his eyes a lot.

We then went into one of the small doorways leading off of the great room. We found a small hallway with more doors to the side. Now I tried to be patient, I really did. I thought Rosorc had the right to look at the stuff first, since we came to believe this is a long lost Dwarven stronghold. But the fellow was just too slow. And there were so many doors. And well, no one was looking so I began to scout ahead. At first I just found small rooms that seemed to be personal quarters, then I opened one door to another hallway. This hallway had torches lit and the guttural sounds of Orcs.

Now I know what Rosorc will do if I tell him first that there are Orcs in the other room of this Dwarven place. And I know if I told Areon about a room full of Orcs he would have the same slobbering drool and slobber hanging form his mouth as Rosorc would as he dove into the room of Orcs with reckless abandon. So, seeing how those two will get here eventually, and I can’t let them get all the fun I tossed my torch back into the hall that the party is in. They will figure it out. Then I pulled my sword and dagger and began running. I figure I can get two maybe three before they realize what is going on. The noise should bring my friends.

I was just reaching full speed when I passed out of the hall and into the room. I now notice there is about 20 Orcs in here, all soon to be dead. I pick two with their backs to me and charge in.


Posted by Jim on April 17, 2004, 12:18

One Orc, Two Orc,…

With surprise on my side, I ran into the room and plunged my weapons into the first two Orcs I could see. Before they had time to react I pulled my blades back and attacked again. One of the Orcs was dead before his soup spoon hit the table.

Like a flash, Rosorc appeared beside me and cut down another. Areon, with a gleam in his eyes came up by my other side and finished the one in front of him. As the three Orcs laid there dead and another wounded, the three of us faced the looks of about twenty more Orcs. These were the dim looks of recognition, recognition that they were about to die. I almost felt sorry for them….. almost.

And the battle raged, Rosorc plowed into the ranks to my left and Areon leaped upon the nearest table and swung his massive sword in a wide arc that nearly took three heads from their owners. For a moment I was still, awestruck by the carnage my comrades were reaping upon the Orcish foe. Then I heard a sound that struck fear into me, the sound of “THREE.” Realizing I was still on one, I had some work to do.

I finished the one Orc that I wounded earlier and then ran to a spot between my two friends. As it was, the Orcs were so infuriated at the Elf and Dwarf in their midst that they paid no attention to me. No problem.

With sword and dagger I went to work. Dagger to the back of a knee, followed by a sword to the small of the back. The silly Orcs never even looked at me as I took their lives, they just kept trying to kill my two friends, even as they fell. “THREE” I shouted, only to hear “FIVE” come as response. Damned Dwarf.

I finished another Orc when I noticed Areon heavily favoring his one side. Upon a closer look he was bleeding fiercely from a spear wound. A quick glance over at Rosorc told me he was getting a bit ruffed up also. To Areon’s side I went, just in time to cut down a well-scarred Orc that had slipped around us and intended to stab him in the back.

I then looked up to see a look of fear on Deitricha’s face. I followed her gaze to see two huge Ogres coming into the room. I never seen them this big, and Deitricha said there was a spell caster with them too. Just then William cast some spell at one of the Ogres, and ducked behind the wall as two massive javelins came at him. The one Ogre, wounded by William’s spell, drew a great club and crossed the room with speed and agility of an elf. Before I could come to his aid the creature swung the club and mashed William a good one. With its body in an exposed position from the swing, I ran right under it and took its throat out with a well placed swing.

I then had to dodge to my right side quickly to avoid the weight of the brute as it fell to the ground. I turned to see the other Ogre falling dead and there was only one Orc left in the room. Areon finished it before I could even lift my sword. I looked at my other friends who were a bit wounded but alive. Rosorc looked at me and said, “the big ones only count as one.” Having said that we added up our kills and decided he was still ahead by two. I went over to the doorway that two of the Orcs had escaped through to notice the kitchen. Hmm, loot the bodies or loot the stew, hmmm. It is then that I announced that I will keep watch and went into the kitchen to see what was cooking.

I found a somewhat clean bowl and spoon, filled the first with some stew from the kettle and sat on the counter. Then remembering the watching thing, I got down and placed a few pots and pans around the kitchen’s other doors. Seconds later, back on the counter, I dug into the stew. It wasn’t the best stew, but I had not eaten in at least an hour. Near the end of my second bowl I heard the sounds of Orcs cursing. It appears some of them didn’t notice the pans on the floor and fell over them. I put my stew bowl behind me, drew my weapons and stood up, “My stew!” I let them know. Then the first two Orcs seemed to disappear as a massive ball of beard and axe called Rosorc leaped into their path and cut them down. Areon, Theona and I all then pulled our bows and shot down the hall at the nice line of targets. Targets that noticed too late that they had no where to go, all they could do is watch the one in front die and wait their turn.

As the last one fell, Rosorc charged into and through the hall followed by Areon, me and the others. We all appeared in a larger hall with pillars and Orcs. One look at Rosorc and I knew he was thinking about removing one of the two. With my bow still in hand I began shooting the Orcs. Theona joined me and William cast a spell. He cast a spell at the Ogre in the back line. Slow learner that one.

Before I could say something to William, Rosorc charge ahead and into a pit that seemed to open suddenly. Theona looked at the pit then me, I could only shrug. Across the way two Orcs lit a torch and threw it into the pit. Areon said something about oil, I came to the edge of the pit to see Rosorc standing in oil up to his knees and holding the torch. Oh, he was on fire too. Yet he had a smile on his face for the flame had not touched off the massive pool of oil he was standing in. Deitricha began lowering a rope to him when I noticed the first Orc fly our way. The second Orc projectile launched by the Ogre hit William squarely; I thought we would lose him then. I tried to work my way around to shoot and distract the Ogre only to have my bowstring snap. Oh well, it was either sit and avoid the flying Orcs or try to cross a narrow ledge and do something about it. I chose the ledge.

Seconds later, in the bottom of the pit, I found myself screaming out to Tempus. To tell the truth I would have cursed the god of traps if I knew which one it was. Another Orc flew across above me. Determined to be of some help I pulled my warfork and threw it at the Ogre who had moved near the edge to get more ammo (dead Orcs). My shot must have pleased Tempus for the fork entered the Ogre under the chin and buried itself almost completely in its skull. I then heard a massive door shut and Rosorc yell “they are still just one a piece Tassar.”

Posted by Jim on May 1, 2004, 12:35