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Where we started

Seren’s Journal

We stepped out of the tavern and onto the streets of Skullport, ready to find the alley and its portal. Roywyn and Soveliss, however, immediately spotted a strange sight: a chained and unconscious halfling being carried by four humanoid figures, who walked away down an alley across the street! When they told me he looked familiar, I quietly flew over for a closer look. I was followed by a bat, which seemed to take directions from ‘Wyn. That’s new...

As the figures opened a door and carried the halfling inside, I caught a glimpse of his face. It was Flin! So much for executing criminals - the githyanki sell them into slavery! I waited for the others to catch up, and told them what I’d seen. We found ourselves staring at the door of a dilapidated two-story tenement building.

(I kept glancing at the bat flapping around our heads until ‘Wyn explained that Pratt was her new familiar. She also told me that she may occasionally look different than her usual self. That trip to the astral plane certainly gave her some new tricks!)

Soveliss worked to get the door open, while ‘Wyn sang a quiet song to calm our nerves. He opened it to reveal a hallway with several doors on each side, and no lights at all. Soveliss checked each door, listening, and then I lay down on the floor to look through the crack at the bottom. Nothing in one, plaster and wood scraps behind the next, table legs behind the third. With no clues as to where the others might be, we started opening doors.

The first room held crates and boxes, nothing more. The second was a hallway, but the ceiling had collapsed into the pile of rubble I’d glimpsed. There was no sign that anything had been that way in a long time. The third room held the table and chairs - an old kitchen. The whole place was falling apart and seemed abandoned. Soveliss even asked me if I was sure this was the right building! I reassured him on that count, so he began to search for hidden rooms... and found something behind the crates.

Telling us to have our weapons ready, Soveliss swung a couple of the crates to one side on an invisible pivot, exposing a hole in the floor. Stairs led down into darkness, and we quietly stepped in. We went down a flight, then turned left. We were following Soveliss when - click! - and the steps dropped into a ramp, sending us on a slide before anyone could catch themself! Worse yet, there was a pit at the bottom, with spikes. I got the worst of that, but ‘Wyn quickly pulled me free and healed me up. I thanked her and finished healing myself, while Soveliss tied a grappling hook to a rope and tossed it up over the edge of the pit.

When it seemed to catch (and ‘Wyn’s bat said it looked OK), I climbed up, being the lightest of the three of us. I was very glad that all our noise had not yet brought someone to investigate! I looked over the edge of the pit very carefully, and saw nothing but a doorway across from the pit in a ten by fifteen foot room. I climbed out and checked the hook, then waited for the others to arrive before we tried the new door.

When Soveliss opened the door, we saw a glow of light. Inside was a long chamber with alcoves in the walls, and steps at the far end leading up to an altar. Behind the altar was the symbol of Cyric - a white jawless skull on a black sunburst, representing murder, lies, and worse. On the altar lay the body of our shipboard companion, Flic. Four humanoid figures were in front of the altar, and turned toward us - zombies!

The zombies crossed the room and attacked us, despite my holy symbol and attempt to turn them. Soveliss pulled his rapier and advanced to fight - but suddenly felt compelled to leave the chamber! The zombies followed, and outside the chamber, my holy symbol had more effect, driving three of them cowering all the way behind the altar. The fourth attacked ‘Wyn while being stabbed by Soveliss. I pulled out a flask of oil and smashed it at the thing’s feet, then pulled out a firestick - which went out halfway to the pool of oil.

‘Wyn saw what I was trying to do, however, and created a flame of her own while dodging the zombie’s blows. Whoosh! It went up in flames, and soon collapsed in a burning pile in front of the door. We were able to jump over the mess, however, and - wow! Now I was the one pushed out of the room by some invisible force! ‘Wyn made it inside, and cast spells at the zombies to make them fall down. I was shooting at them from the doorway, while Soveliss managed to force his way inside.

He quickly grabbed Flin off the altar and dashed past us into the room with the pit. ‘Wyn and I followed, slamming the door on the remaining zombies. Perhaps we should have stayed to destroy them, but we all seemed to think it better to get Flic to safety and find out if he was hurt, before something worse than zombies showed up! I tried to wedge the door shut, while Soveliss discovered a hidden winch and began to crank it in the hopes that it would reset the slide to stairs.

The zombies were thumping at the door, ‘Wyn wasn’t able to wake Flin, but Soveliss got the stairs back in working order and we were soon out of the building and running for the alley where the portal to Waterdeep hopefully was to be found. No one stopped us, and I “found” the portal by falling through it while running up and down the alley searching! The others quickly followed...

...a clear blue sky, the smell of salt water on the breeze, and another alley with people walking along the street outside met our eyes. It looked like Waterdeep to me! We stepped out onto the street and were about to start asking directions to the nearest temple when I realized that Flin was merely in a drugged stupor. It was a relief to know he just needed to sleep it off, and we went looking for a decent inn, instead. Soveliss was kind enough to rent a couple of rooms at the Dripping Dagger Inn near the dock ward for us all, and we took turns getting a bath and watching over Flin.

It took an hour or so for him to wake up, quite startled at the change in our circumstances! He refused at first to believe that we were real, and went searching through his pack while muttering to himself. No talk of Bob anymore, but requests for ale and lots of it. Soveliss ordered meals brought up, and we talked over whether to tell the guards about the Red Wizards and their weapons purchases. We had to let the idea drop, realizing that there was no crime committed, as far we could tell.

So, now what? Flin wanted to hunt Red Wizards, while Soveliss wanted to hunt spawn of Tiamat. I didn’t care where my path led next, but Flin walked off in the middle of the discussion, so ‘Wyn and I decided to sell our extra stuff while Soveliss also went sightseeing, and we’d hopefully meet later and come to an agreement. I waited until ‘Wyn and I were walking alone before telling her about the stash of black pearls Kor’tac had had in his pack...

We had quite a shopping trip after selling everything we couldn’t use! I got a greater holy symbol, and a silver bird statue which turns into a raven that follows my commands. I just had to practice this right in the marketplace while we went to have the magic ring and dagger identified - but the raven wasn’t able to find Flin from my description. We did learn that the ring gave magical protection, and the dagger made its wearer extra lucky. Good for us both! Since the day was getting late, we then headed back to the inn.

We sat in the main room, watching travelers of all shapes and sizes mingle. I tried to get ‘Wyn to sing a song of caution about the githyanki laws, but she didn’t want to risk irritating them, even here! We ended up having dinner in the main room with Soveliss, but no sign of Flin yet. After I was done eating, I flew up to the rafters (along with Pratt and a bunch of other familiars) to watch over the bar, and finally caught sight of Flin across the room.

He came over to our table, said nothing about where he’d been all day, and ignored my raven when I sent it down to get a close look at him (why do I suspect that will come in handy, someday?). ‘Wyn wandered away to “learn things”, coming back with talk of gang wars, disappearances, competitions at bars, and something about Waterdeep’s naval maneuvers. Flin then walked over to a big board with messages stuck all over it, read several, returned to the table and announced that he was going to the dock ward in the morning. Sounded interesting!

I waited until the bar closed down, for a brawl that didn’t happen, then made my way upstairs to bed. The night passed quietly, and I woke, prayed, and went to breakfast, where I got to see a hungry halfling at work. Flin seemed preoccupied, though, so when we left for the dock ward, I bought a bunch of flowers from a vendor and spent the trip dropping flower petals in front of (and onto) the group as they walked. Flin talked to many halfling shopkeepers, but spent the longest time in a pawnshop with a perfect perch over the front door for me to sit on and scatter petals from.

‘Wyn entertained people inside the shop by juggling jingling bells, and Soveliss looked over the merchandise, while I tossed petals that occasionally floated back up to me, and finally Flin was off to wander the docks some more. We followed, talking over various subjects. I swung from Soveliss’ wing claws a bit, then stood on his shoulder, holding one of his horns for balance. Yet ‘Wyn and Flin were asking nosy questions about gloamings, instead of our unique companion!

Soveliss was most curious about the humans that were disappearing, since apparently most had vanished from a small area of the city. After eating dinner, we decided the best way to learn more for ourselves was to hide ourselves in the area, and watch to see what was after human prey. Soveliss wanted ‘Wyn to change her appearance to look human as bait, but that seemed awful risky! So, we waited until dark, found an intersection with lots of streets off of it, and hid ourselves all around. I’m up on a ledge right now, peering over the edge...

Posted by Kate on October 20, 2006, 00:10 | Seren’s Journal