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No place to go but up

Seren’s Journal

There we were, chained to a wall in the darkness. I listened as hard as I could, and it seemed quiet except for my friends, so I glowed just a little to find out how the others were. The room was some fifteen by twenty feet in area, with only one door. I could see Soveliss was breathing, but unconscious, and that there was no sign of any of our gear. I did see a mouse scamper across the floor...

Flin began to fuss with his manacles, while Roywyn sent her bat over to Soveliss, who woke up after it landed on him. I yanked on my restraints, too, which earned me a “Hush!” from Flin. He seemed to think I was making enough noise to get our captors’ attention. I glared at him - until he actually got a manacle open! Huh! He soon had the other one loose, too, and went to work on ‘Wyn’s. She was concentrating on giving healing spells to her bat, who would transfer them to Soveliss. I wonder if Archimedes could? Of course, my bird could have been sold to a dozen other people, by now...

I realized that the mouse was still sitting by the door, listening intently, and asked the others if they’d noticed. Flin eyed it and said that yes, it did look like a mouse, but didn’t seem too worried about the fact that the thing was just sitting there watching. He also somehow knew that someone was coming toward the door long before the rest of us could hear anything...! Everyone scattered to their restraints, trying to look chained up (easy for me), and I stopped glowing just before we heard a key rattling in the lock.

A robed figure entered with a torch held high, accompanied by two ghouls. He looked over all of us, while I yanked on my chains, hoping to distract him with my obviously-locked manacles. It worked too well; he muttered something about who to “deal with” first - then picked me! Out the door he went, while the ghouls unlocked me and carried me out of the room. He re-locked the cell door, and down the hall we went!

I waited quietly through several passages and halls before I decided to start struggling. Unfortunately, the ghoul was impervious to “surprise” and had a good grip. We soon ended up in a room some twenty-five feet square, with several tables that were covered in blood and surgical tools. There was a pile of what looked to be skin and bones in one corner, and if I was struggling before, I was really fighting now!

As the ghouls tried to shackle me to a table, I managed to break free. I ran for the door, bitten but not paralyzed, thank Shaundakul. The robed man tried to grab me as I dashed by, missed, and I got a good look at a human man - and he was NOT undead of any kind. I yanked the door open, glad he hadn’t locked it behind him, and took off down the hall screaming, and flying to try and make it harder for the ghouls to swipe at me. Because you know they were hot on my heels...

Down the hall I flew, right into Flin and Soveliss. I was glad they’d gotten out of the cell, but now I was bringing trouble back with me! From out of nowhere, Flin cast a handful of caltrops across the floor, and I flew over their heads to land next to ‘Wyn. She was singing her creepy song, which the ghouls ignored, so she switched to an inspiring one for us, instead.

I was working my way down the hall, trying to find a door out (especially a secret one!), when I heard Soveliss shouting at us all to run. Flin was paralyzed, ‘Wyn was dragging him away from the fight, and Soveliss was trying to block the ghouls - and more attackers arriving every moment. Soveliss caught up with us fast when we ran past our former cell and hit a doorway at the end of the hall.

Luckily, Flin’s paralysis wore off and he quickly got the door open. A short hallway opened out into a storeroom full of barrels and boxes, which Soveliss rapidly stacked in front of the door. I began searching the walls for some way out, while Flin started opening boxes - and jackpot! He found our gear! I was as happy to get my stuff back as I was to find a secret door in one wall. Of course, throwing on your armor while the enemy is bashing on the door is no fun... and poor ‘Wyn and Flin’s familiars were on the wrong side of the barricade!

Having no rogue to check for me, I simply opened the secret door, not surprised at all to hear a *click* and get hit by an arrow that burned when it hit me. Since it didn’t knock me out, I shrugged it off and started up the staircase inside. The others followed, and Flin opened the next door for me. This one opened into a large room full of tables, chairs, and seedy-looking people who grabbed for the weapons at their belts!

I shouted out that we just wanted to get out of there, and Flin told the lot that he’d brought “his” dragon along, while ‘Wyn sang her eerie song from just out of sight; I glowed, backlighting Soveliss as he stepped into the doorway. It seemed to shake some of the strangers, but most of them still stepped up to attack, while one ran out another door. Great - gone for reinforcements!

I stood in the doorway and killed an attacker with a single well-aimed shot. Soveliss and Flin were locked in combat, while ‘Wyn stood back, singing and shooting together. Soveliss killed his first attacker, but more moved in, and I killed another with my bow before heading his way - he looked bad! Three of the four left suddenly broke and ran, which gave me a chance to heal Soveliss, while ‘Wyn tripped the last guy with her whip. Soveliss held a dagger to the human’s throat, telling him not to move... that didn’t end well.

We took a few minutes to heal as best we could (and Flin searched the bodies in the room), then we followed the fleeing men. This new set of steps ended at a chamber about twenty-five feet across, with no obvious exits, but four arched alcoves in the walls and an engraved symbol in the floor. A single open eye: they must be Agents of the Eye. A thieves’ guild... wonderful. And we just crashed their party!

(About this time we discovered that ‘Wyn’s bat was hiding in Flin’s pocket with his mouse, which occasioned much joy. Neither familiar was willing to explain how it got there!)

The arches showed blank walls, but when I walked closer (avoiding the Eye), I found a portal in one. In fact, ‘Wyn cast a spell and discovered that each held a portal; we only had to choose. While Soveliss held a drawn bow on the empty staircase, we walked from one to the next. I quickly sensed that one was malfunctioning, but the other two led to a grove of trees and a large dwarven-made stone hall. My first “hit” led to an alleyway, which I decided must be in Waterdeep, and jumped through to find out.

The rest followed me quickly, and we were relieved to find that we were, indeed, back on the streets of Waterdeep. Flin told ‘Wyn to mark the portal (she drew a big chalk eyeball), and we talked over what to do next. The others had discovered more prisoners being held while I was being carted off by the ghouls and their master, so our first impulse was to try and save them. Unfortunately, we knew that it would do no one any good for us to disappear without a trace! Luckily, we quickly found some city guards to report to.

After a quick talk, and a run through the marketplace nearby in the vain hope of finding a spell to temporarily reduce Soveliss’ size, we ended up back at the portal, with four volunteers from the Guard to help.


The portal was still active, so Roywyn sang a song to boost our morale as the group stepped through. The portal room was empty, and we headed down the stairs to the thieves’ guild room. Also empty - so through the secret door and down the steps into the storage room; the door was still barricaded. We quietly pulled the boxes away from the door, while Flin fiddled with the secret door behind us.

We listened at the door a moment, then Soveliss quietly opened it and peered out. Nothing! So off we went down the hall, looking for signs of life or unlife. Instead, we ended up at the hallway with the cells that the others said were recently full of human prisoners. Flin got one of the two doors open, peered inside, then stepped inside. Bang! He was hit by something, and paralyzed - and so we knew that the enemy had had enough time to escape, leaving a trap for us do-gooders.

Soveliss and I ran into the room, trying to help Flin. I landed a good blow with my sword, then heard a commotion out in the hall. Apparently, the cell across the hall also had undead lying in wait. Soveliss killed one undead, I hit the next, while hearing two of the guards fighting undead in the hallway while ‘Wyn used her whip. Soveliss hit, then I killed an undead, and headed out to the hall to help.

One guard was hurt badly, and another was holding a lantern at the junction between halls, looking away from us and saying, “What is that??” Soveliss was quickly there, shouting, but I decided to help the two guards in the hall finish off the last of the ghouls. ‘Wyn ran down, too, healing the hurt guard as she passed and apologizing for shooting him by mistake. There was an awful, bloated, pale horror of a thing that may once have been human descending upon the party, and I heard a chorus of disgusted cries as it splashed foul fluids on everyone nearby each time it was hit.

Flin shook off his paralysis and began to collect the heads of the undead, while the two guards and I finished off the last ghoul from the cells. I then shot at the bloated thing from a safe distance - but it still splattered Soveliss and the others who were close with blood and gore. All I wanted to do was burn it, purify with fire! After another shot, and watching a brave guard step in and stab it even though he knew he’d get sprayed, I dashed down the hall to get distance and take off overhead.

Over the fight I flew, getting swatted hard and covered with blood and fluid, landed on the other side from my companions and smashed a flask of oil at the thing’s feet. ‘Wyn was now holding the lantern so we could see, and singing to keep our spirits up, but as soon as she saw me smash the oil, her bat came flying by with a lit candle in his claws. The thing swung at him and missed, down went the candle, and *whoosh* up in flames!

The fight continued, so I backed down the hall, shooting arrows into the flaming monster. On my second shot it exploded, spattering everywhere. At least it was gone! ‘Wyn quickly cast a spell to clean all of us up (although I fear whatever diseases it must have been carrying; another two days in the Temple of Helm are probably a better alternative - even I can see that!). Flin pulled out a wand and started healing people; when he got to me, I danced with him for thanks! Soveliss was calling me the “killer of undead”, perhaps Shaundakul is pleased with me, again? Only time will tell!

We decided to search some more for the prisoners, though with little hope. The next door we opened led to the experiment room I’d almost been trapped in. It was empty, and Flin took some of the surgical instruments. ‘Wyn wanted to burn the pile of skin and organs, but the guards wanted to leave it for evidence, so we did. We then checked the rest of the doors in the passage, finding a kitchen, a sleeping room, and then...

A dark room, forty feet across and long, with a hole in the floor at the far end. Soveliss had opened the door, and Soveliss felt the gaze of several sets of eyes! He quickly closed the door and warned the rest of us that six ghouls were on the way. Sure enough, a room full of ghouls quickly burst out and followed him down the hall. ‘Wyn cast a spell that knocked most of them off their feet, and Soveliss, too. I decided to fly over the fight and attack from the other side, since it worked well enough in the last hallway battle. Unfortunately, once I landed inside the dark room, I could see that it was still occupied!

Another of the awful bloated fleshy humanoids stood in the far corner; behind it, I saw a thin, gaunt, robed figure, with dry cracked skin and evil eyes, watching me. They stood in front of yet another door. Since neither of them moved, and I doubted my ability to fight them alone, I turned and shot a ghoul in the hallway twice. It died, leaving five more before my friends could reach me to help. Of course, the lich then hit me in the back with a spell! And it spoke, telling the bloated thing to attack.

Ow! I hope help comes soon!

Posted by Kate on December 13, 2006, 00:14 | Seren’s Journal