Seren's Journal
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Seren’s Bio

What - never heard of a gloaming? Or just never met one? Yours truly is from well beneath Waterdeep, raised by one parent or the other, sometimes both - as each felt like it. I learned plenty on my own, too, and liked it that way.

Yes, I suppose I do look like a moth and glow like a firefly, but if you keep laughing you’ll get a surprise - I sting like a wasp as well. Hah - felt that arrow, did you?

I’ll be kind, however, and let you off with just a sting. I’m nice like that - Shaundakul would rather his clerics stay on the good side of life’s ledger. He asks so little of us, it’s a joy to worship him!

Well, my parents decided that I was ready to be on my own - or maybe I kind of decided it myself, when mother dropped me off at the usual meeting spot, and I didn’t wait for father to appear.

It was while I was working my way up to the surface on my own for the first time that I met the man who told me of Shaundakul. Now, I’ve picked myself a name with which to wander for a while, and see what there is to be seen.

Shaundakul makes it easy to wander - his holy day’s gift to his clerics being a full day of floating, ethereal, wherever the wind may take us. My trip landed me in Triboar, many miles to the northeast...

Seren, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Character sheet: Seren Udayudrim [Gloaming Ranger/Cleric]

Posted by Kate on July 25, 2006, 09:33

Night Stalking

I’d spent the better part of a month quietly watching the people who live here, and the travelers who stop by. I admit that I was a little more cautious than usual, simply because it all was new to me. I found myself drawn to the Frost Touched Frog tavern the most, however, being crowded with folk around my own size.

The one exception was an orc lurking in the corner. He was watching all the people eating, drinking, talking to each other, but he seemed a little sad. I’d seen him before, selling all kinds of stuff that wasn’t orc-sized, and wondered what his story might be.

Speaking of stories, I was also listening to two bards performing on the stage, but I was distracted by shouts from below me (with the barkeep’s kind permission, I was perched on a rafter well above the crowd). A gnome was shouting at me about my wings... and offering me something to eat. Well, I don’t mind a free meal, so I dropped down for a bite. I also had to explain that he’d need wings to fly like I did...

The red-haired gnome was also curious about the orc in the corner. We decided that we’d break the ice by offering him a meal as well. I don’t think he minded the free dinner, but the gnome peppered him with so many questions (especially about all his weapons, most of which looked like they weighed more than me!) that the poor orc had no chance to eat. Next thing we knew - he’d gotten up and walked off. Ah, well.

The red-haired gnome now decided to make friends with the bards on stage by tossing them some silver coins - right into the food they’d stopped to eat, unfortunately. As the male bard flicked the coins back at the red-haired gnome, I flew up to the safety of my rafter. The orc watched me closely, and I watched him right back, knowing that he was about the only one in the bar who could reach my perch! (He later told me that he’d been thinking of hiding from the red-haired gnome up there, too. Hee!)

The male bard, after watching the red-headed gnome’s progress around the room, looked at the orc and mentioned something about fifty gold pieces... and the female bard said she’d chip in another fifty, herself! I guess gnomes who act like mosquitos are not the norm! The orc refrained from assassinating the poor guy, and asked instead for a dwarven tale.

The tale was very good. I applauded from the rafters, the orc gave gold coins, and the bards moved into a juggling exhibition. I could hear the other gnome chattering away but then - the door opened, and an injured halfling limped inside. He made his way to the bar and ordered a drink. Poor guy was then attacked by the chattering gnome - what happened, when where and why? I flew overhead to listen.

When the halfling said he’d been attacked by a wolf, the orc focused on him as well. He wanted to know where the wolf was to be found, and seemed really determined to go after it. I dropped onto his shoulder (ignoring the chattergnome who was doing a let’s-kill-the-wolf chant below), and asked him why he was so interested in one wolf. Apparently, this wolf heals up when injured, and had attacked a friend of his with bad results. He warned the halfling to go to a cleric for healing - but the halfling explained that he had no money.

In fact, he’d been looking for some treasure in those very woods, despite the stories that the place had become infested with evil, especially goblins. I muttered that drow were worse, which got the attention of the bards, who asked me if the chattergnome was with me. I admitted that I had thought he was with them! Meanwhile, the halfling was trying to sell the secret of the treasure to us for a thousand gold, and the orc was threatening him to tell it for free (I whispered in his ear that the poor guy needed the money for healing). The male bard flattered the orc on his obvious fighting skills, while upping the price on the chattergnome’s head every few minutes. And, somehow, I found myself in the street with the bards, the chattergnome, and the orc, headed west to hunt a wolf.

I finally discovered that the orc’s name is Kor’tac. Roywyn is the female gnome bard, Rowind is the male gnome bard, and Rookinoniak is the chattergnome. I might call him Rook, eventually. Rowind was of the opinion that if we killed the wolf, all of its victims would be spared the curse of lycanthropy - without expensive healing at a temple. As the party walked (and I rode on Kor’tac’s shoulder, very kind of him!), evening began to fall, and it was Roywyn who first noticed that I glow.

As darkness gathered, we walked into the woods. Chattergnome went on and on about fighting wolves until he noticed me glowing brighter to help light our way and then he wanted to do that too and then the bards were telling him to shut up already so they could ask some of the forest creatures about wolves or goblins and then - a wolf howled long and loud, and we all realized that it was an almost full moon that night. Rook got very very quiet.

Roywyn began to sing quietly to boost our spirits, and I asked the others to tell me if they wanted me to turn down my glow - less of a target? Kor’tac was calling, “Here, wolfie wolfie!” and gripping a huge axe in his fists. The wolf howled again, closely followed by a second, and Rowind heard the sound of many creatures surrounding us. I pulled my bow and got ready to fire - and Kor’tac pointed out that perhaps his shoulder wasn’t the most stable spot, so I flew up to a tree branch overhead with a good view of the party.

Out of the underbrush darted eight wolves, two for each of those on the ground. The chattergnome fell beneath his attackers, so I shot twice at them, hitting one. Rook had a wand out and shot one of them with a magic missile, as well. Rowind pulled out a wand with a handle and POW shot a wolf with something! Kor’tac was happily swinging his axe with great effect. I killed one, then Roywyn did, too. Rowind was pulled down, but Rook killed one of his attackers. Roywyn cast something that knocked several wolves over - and before they could run, Kor’tac pulled out a glaive and killed the last three with mighty blows!

Roywyn quickly checked the wolves and reported that all were normal - no werewolves or dire wolves among them. So, our main target is still out there. The bards still wanted to talk to some of the local fauna, but I pointed out that there wouldn’t be anything staying near the battle, so I returned to Kor’tac’s shoulder and we headed west until Roywyn found a porcupine to talk to. It didn’t seem to know much, but we kept going west...

...until someone spotted movement up in the trees. I was just making out small humanoid shapes when the chattergnome shouted out loud and - the trees all around us erupted in screams! There were many many shapes in the darkness, small fuzzy humanoids that looked kind of goblinish, which seemed to really upset the bards. Rowind began to tell a story - to boost our fighting spirit, again - and Roywyn killed one with her crossbow as they advanced.

Most of the creatures carried nets, which they threw at us; one had on armor, and carried an axe. Kor’tac was smashing his way through the crowd, but I got tangled in a net before I could take off this time. Rook was down, too, and fighting to free himself. I pulled out a dagger and set to work, but the axe-wielding goblin hit me. Ow! Then, POW from one side; Rowind was at it with his strange weapon, while Rook was hit next by the axe (and Roywyn cast something at him that healed him from across the fray. Interesting..!). Kor’tac was mowing the little creatures down, but he barely got to my attackers in time. I owe him and the others big time. I do NOT like being stuck on the ground!

Time for healing - and deciding what to do with the rest of the night!

Posted by Kate on August 2, 2006, 00:21

One should not speak ill of the dead

After the battle, we took stock of our situation and decided to head back to town for the night. This wasn’t a problem until we left the woods and could see each other clearly in the moonlight - I looked around at my companions and saw: two gnomes, an orc, and a wolf walking upright on its hind legs! It was also talking with the chattergnome’s voice, but I took a shot at it just in case. I seemed to miss - but realized that it was an illusion of a wolf around Rook.

Kor’tac and Rowind also seemed unfazed by the spell, but Roywyn got very upset. We could not convince her that Rook was not a werewolf, and Rook himself wasn’t helping the situation by going on and on about how to kill a werewolf when we met one. I shot another arrow at him and told him, “That’s how!”, while Kor’tac quietly walked him away from ‘Wyn and ‘Wind. Next thing we knew, he’d pulled out his axe and whomped Rook in the head with the flat side!

It took a couple of shots before Rook went out cold, at which point Kor’tac slung him over one shoulder and walked off to the tavern. When we found that the bar was closed, Kor’tac went looking for the temple to find the injured halfling. We argued with ‘Wyn the whole way - she couldn’t understand why we were not upset by Rook’s “transformation”, unconscious or not! At the temple, Kor’tac knocked politely, but the poor acolyte on night watch took one look at the orc and his burden and slammed the door in his face.

We did finally get the acolyte to speak to us through a crack in the door. It turned out that the halfling hadn’t come to them for healing, anyway, so we walked back to the tavern to rest for the night. We went to the gnomes’ room, wrapped Rook in some of the nets we’d taken from the goblins, and Kor’tac hung him from a rafter in the ceiling. ‘Wyn decided to “test” him and pressed a silver coin onto his forehead, and the strangest thing happened - he stopped seeming like an illusion, and became a real lycanthrope. The sight of the coin actually burning his flesh did it for me, and I was flying at him with silvered dagger drawn!

*Poof* and Rook was just Rook again, thank Shaundakul! I couldn’t even be angry when I saw ‘Wyn giving ‘Wind a dirty look and figured out he’d been playing tricks. I just hooked my feet through the mesh of the nets, and went to sleep! Just in case, you know...

The next morning we were woken by shouts from the net - one angry chattergnome, of course! Still being cautious, Kor’tac gagged him and brought him downstairs still bound up. This time he was hung from a rafter in the barroom. We then went back upstairs to talk to the injured halfling, who was in room 3. At least this time the door didn’t get slammed in our faces! (He must not have noticed Kor’tac had his axe out and hidden behind his back).

The halfling and ‘Wind got into a long drawn-out discussion of the “treasure map” he’d talked about the night before. Instead of just paying a thousand gold, ‘Wind suggested a down payment of two-hundred fifty, plus healing in full, plus ten percent of whatever we find. And, just like that, they were talking about having breakfast and going to get a contract drawn up!

I was only half-listening by then, but while we waited for the halfling to get dressed I realized the others were talking about Rook, and thumping on him some more before releasing him from the nets. Now, a little fun is one thing, but my conscience smote me - this was going too far. I quietly flew off downstairs and set to work cutting Rook free and lowering him to the floor. I had barely begun when a loud shout right behind me - in midair - caused me to drop the poor guy instead!

I quickly healed him up, and he started in talking about werewolves again. ‘Wyn gave us both a look of disgust, so I shrugged my shoulders and walked off to order breakfast. Whatever Rook got himself into this time, at least his feet were free to run from it! As we all settled in the corner, ‘Wind reminded us that we had to give 250 gold before we got the map. I handed over a moonstone worth fifty, and the others made contributions, then went back to eating. Except Rook was trying to make up for the hours of being gagged; he ignored me when I put my bow on the table and glared at him, but he settled down when Kor’tac did the same with his axe. In the meantime, ‘Wyn and ‘Wind had left the table, muttering about silence spells.

By the time the halfling was downstairs eating breakfast, they returned - with saps for each of us, and about 400 gold each as well! Dalabrac Merrymar joined us for a walk to the notary, who wrote up a whole contract for the gnomes to check out. They got into an argument about the definition of a “full healing”, but the contract was finally signed and notarized and copied for us all. ‘Wind and I healed the halfling, and he handed us the map. Back to the bar we went to check it out!

The map had strange handwriting on it, which thankfully Kor’tac could read. Apparently, the path to find the treasure is only to be found when the moon is full. Tonight, then - we needed to hurry, and hoped not to be attacked by any real werewolves! Leaving Dalabrac to wait at the inn, and disappointing ‘Wyn’s wish for some horses to ride through the woods, we headed back to the forest. I was sitting on Kor’tac’s shoulder, reading the map and pointing the way, when we heard the sound of many folk coming through the wood.

I put the map away, and Roywyn began to sing for us. We stood in a group and waited... only to see a whole group of drow appear from the trees ahead! I can’t describe my feelings about drow, but my actions did - without hesitation I screamed, drew back, and shot the lead drow dead!! ‘Wyn was next, casting an illusionary portal in between our parties, and Rook shot off some magic missiles at the drow who was obviously beginning to cast a spell on us.

A mass of webbing fell from the sky, entangling us in its sticky strands. I was able to get free, thanks to Shaundakul’s blessings, yet not before several drow arrows hit me. I was badly hurt, but managed to get away and hide myself among the leaves and branches overhead. I drank down a healing potion while watching a ball of fire from Rook burn a swath through the webs. It didn’t reach Kor’tac, unfortunately - he was struggling like mad to get free. He looked like he felt the same way as myself about drow!

Rowind had disappeared from view, although we could hear him screaming at us to run. Kor’tac and Roywyn were still stuck, (Kor’tac swearing volubly) while the drow archers next took aim at Rook. Down he went! ‘Wyn shot another drow, singing all the while, and then a wall appeared between some of the drow and the rest of the party. I aimed my next shots at the two drow spellcasters, and killed them both outright - go, me! Unfortunately, this made me a target for the next volley. Several of the drow aimed at ‘Wyn, too, offended by her song.

Kor’tac was finally breaking free from his bonds, and I had killed another drow or two, when I saw Rook was still bleeding out - but I was unable to help! I’d already been hit by more arrows, almost negating the healing potion’s effects, and the others were fighting for their lives as well. A new spellcaster appeared from nowhere as I hid in the leaves and drank my last healing potion, and then I heard Rowind’s voice, telling me where he was hiding so I could fly down and be healed by him. I was determined to kill the new spellcaster, first, but he drank something and disappeared from view.

Kor’tac went on the rampage, mowing down several drow in front of him. I shot one more archer to death, then flew to ‘Wind, who healed me completely. The wall disappeared, and I saw that Rook had stopped bleeding and lay dead before us. Oh, no... but, first, we had to finish off our enemies. Kor’tac killed two more, Roywyn got one, and the last drow ran as fast as he could off into the woods. The last spellcaster, thankfully, failed to reappear, and we were left with the bodies of the enemy and the body of our friend.

I hope Rook doesn’t mind that I’m now using his amulet of protection.

I hope we desecrated the bodies of his killers in a fashion that will bring peace to his soul! He is well avenged!

Posted by Kate on August 9, 2006, 01:18

New friends, new places

We settled down from our battle and re-arrangements, and returned to walking through the forest. The sun set, the moon began to rise, and we reached a clearing in the woods. At the center, four stone columns stood some twenty feet apart, making a square. They were carved with strange runes and overgrown with moss. We’d walked out to take a closer look when Roywyn admitted to having heard a “flapping noise” behind us a few minutes before...

Kor’tac was quickly on the lookout for more drow, come to avenge their friends, while I listened as hard as I could toward the treeline. After a few minutes, we relaxed a little and went back to looking at the runes. ‘Wyn cast something, while I realized that the runes were for teleporting and travel spells. I realized this after Kor’tac had walked through the middle of the square to look at the opposite columns - thank Shaundakul for not activating anything before we were prepared to travel, as I was still standing on his shoulder!

Rowind had been keeping alert, unlike the rest of us, and quietly sent us all a whispered message that he could see someone behind us inside the treeline. Kor’tac flipped me into the air and was charging across the clearing in a heartbeat! By the time I righted myself in midair, he was holding his glaive’s blade to the throat of a humanoid figure, who was being surprisingly calm about it. In fact, he was holding his hands in the air and saying things like, “It’s OK! Relax!”

Well, Kor’tac guided him out into the open and we all got a look at a human druid, who seemed to think we were in “his” forest and deserved following. He didn’t look like he was part of the drow we’d fought earlier, but neither Kor’tac nor ‘Wyn were ruling out his being the werewolf we’d heard of. It didn’t help that ‘Wind took another look around and whispered to us all that, “He’s not alone!” while ‘Wyn was borrowing my silvered dagger to scratch the possible werewolf with.

Well, we finally decided that Mishklo was not a werewolf (although a bit off; humans get strange(r) when they’re by themselves a lot, I think), and he swore that “Moonlight” was a friend, so we let him call for his friend. He got no answer, so I flew into the woods for a look. I saw nothing, and came back to hear the others quizzing Mishklo about the werewolf - although these are his woods, he’s not interested in bothering such a creature. He also claimed ignorance as to where the portal in the pillars goes, although he’s seen others disappear through it. ‘Wind took his scimitar away, and pointed out to me where he saw a “glow” of magic in the woods.

This time I discovered a white wolf, resting in the underbrush. It watched me as I stood on a branch overhead and shouted to the others just who/what Moonlight really was. I tried to get it to follow me, but it just stared, while I heard Mishklo telling the others that his companion is sometimes stubborn. ‘Wyn was arguing with ‘Wind that perhaps the white wolf was the real werewolf! Finally, the wolf decided to answer Mishklo’s calling and came out into the clearing - at which point ‘Wyn shot it with a magic missile from a wand.


Well, it did establish that the white wolf did not “heal up like a werewolf would”, but it also ensured that the wolf was growling and getting ready to attack ‘Wyn! Luckily, the wolf did decide to obey Mishklo’s command to “stay” and not go for the gnome’s throat. Kor’tac was now satisfied that the druid wasn’t an enemy, and let him go heal his wolf from the magic missile test. This was when we all noticed that the wolf was wearing bracers on its front legs - the source of the protective magic that ‘Wind spotted, before. Whatever works, I guess!

Kor’tac next asked Mishklo if he was interested in the portal and where it led. Mishklo seemed surprised by the offer, but admitted he was curious. As the moon rose higher, we all saw the portal form in the middle of the square... and Kor’tac waved the druid and the wolf through first, exposing his ulterior motive of letting the new guy test the thing out. That orc is devious... but Kor’tac did follow through next, leaving the gnomes having a quiet talk, and myself. Well, it looked like they wanted some privacy, so I flew through the portal.

I found myself in a large courtyard, full of an overgrown garden. We were standing at one end, with four columns behind us, there was a large satyr statue in a fountain at the center, and steps up to double doors at the base of a four-story tower at the far end. I could see lights behind some of the windows in the tower, overgrown vines and rosebushes all across the courtyard, and bright sunlight pouring down from overhead. Interesting! At that point, the gnomes arrived, and Mishklo began to ask for his scimitar back. ‘Wind seeemed to enjoy telling him “No” repeatedly, but finally gave in.

This turned out to be a good thing. Kor’tac was walking slowly up to the fountain, holding his shield up, when several large thorns embedded themselves in him and his shield! Kor’tac shouted to us to burn the bushes, while crouching down behind his shield. I shot into the bushes with my bow a couple of times, while ‘Wyn used her magic missile wand, and Mishklo created a burning sphere in the same direction. The gnomes began to sing and tell tales, while Kor’tac and shield were peppered with more thorns.

The next thing that happened was ‘Wyn decided to shoot at the satyr statue in the fountain; she seemed to think that it was the cause of the trouble. While I took off and began sprinkling flasks of oil over the bushes, she tried to talk to the statue, asking it to stop. I don’t know if it was the statue or her walking up a little, but the next round of thorns were aimed at her. Kor’tac grabbed her and headed back behind the cover of his shield, while an opaque dome appeared over the statue from... somewhere! I finished sprinkling the left side and headed over to the right, while Mishklo’s ball of flame quickly lit the primed foliage.

I took a quick flight straight up and was able to tell the rest that this place was surrounded entirely by snowcapped mountain ranges. I then settled down back at the columns, and Kor’tac left ‘Wyn next to me while the rest of them set about burning everything growing in the courtyard. He was walking back to the carnage when a vine crawled over and wrapped itself around his ankle, tripping him up. He didn’t get up or fight, however, and I noticed that the white roses were turning pink. I flew down and chopped at the vine with my greatsword, and listened to the orc describe the pretty cloud shapes that he was watching overhead. At this point, Mishklo reached us and severed the vine with one blow of his scimitar.

The rosebush shrieked! Vines were waving, blood was flying everywhere - I was struck with fear and stood as if turned to stone. Although Kor’tac was getting back up, looking angry, and thorns were flying from all directions, I stood where I was until another vine wrapped itself around me and began to drain my blood, too. It smelled wonderful, but I shook off the urge to just lie down, and began slashing at it with my sword even as it made me sick and weak. ‘Wind was trying to calm me down and Mishklo was swinging his scimitar wildly at the vine (I think).

Kor’tac came back with a blazing torch and beat at the vine with it, but it kept draining me. One of the gnomes hit me by mistake with a very sharp whip, but I was finally able to slice the vine apart with my sword - and ignored the shrieking this time with the gnomes’ song and stories to help. I made my way back to the column and pulled out my bow, trying to stay out of the way until the burning was done. Unfortunately, there was a lot of garden to burn. Mishklo was able to help heal me of the weakness, and I decided to fly around the mysterious statue. It really did turn to watch me!

Mishklo was hollering that the statue was an illusion, but I was able to land on it with no trouble. In fact, I poked at its eyes, too. That’s when I figured out that it was a real statue but had an illusion on it - so it seemed to look at everyone who looked at it. First mystery solved, we went back to making the courtyard safe to walk through. This meant sprinking more oil and starting more fire, plus another battle between Kor’tac and a bloodthirsty vine. Eventually, it meant that we had to move away from the fire’s progress with the prevailing breeze. Somehow, everyone ended up on the steps at the double doors - except for Mishklo and Moonlight, standing in the smoke by the stone columns.

I sat on Kor’tac’s shoulder, watching across the courtyard but pretty sure that the flames wouldn’t reach the columns. Kor’tac thought that the smoke would smother human and wolf, however, and decided to go rescue them. I guess he felt responsible for putting them in the situation, but he ended up carrying me and the gnomes back through the fire as they hung onto his knees and begged him not to go! ‘Wind even made a wall appear in front of him, but he just dodged around it and kept going (while I had to create a shower of water over us all to put out stray flames).

Mishklo and Moonlight were dodging the advances of some moving thorn bushes, so Kor’tac’s help came in handy. Roywyn and Rowind dashed back through the fireline, while I flew over the flames; killing done, the others followed. We all ended up safely on the steps, and I healed Kor’tac while we sat glaring at each other while nursing our scorches and watching the fire burn. That was not a well-planned or executed event. Hopefully, our teamwork improves - fast!

Posted by Kate on August 16, 2006, 00:34

I Leap From The Tower

Together, we stood on the steps of the tower. They looked... blasted, scorched by some great heat long before we came along to burn the garden below. The stone itself was cracked and blackened. The windows above were still whole, however, and I was willing to fly up and check them out.

We threw things into the air and over the garden walls first, however, to be sure that my other flights weren’t just luck and some barrier existed to limit our movements. Having decided that it was safe enough, Roywyn and Kor’tac walked over to inspect the fountain for clues in the form of coins while I took off to check the upper levels of the tower. (Kor’tac called out to me to bring a rope along for the rest to climb).

I picked an unlit window, first, peeping over the edge of the sill as best I could without exposing myself to attack from inside. I couldn’t see a thing. I gave up and flew to the lit window, making out a large burning humanoid shape through the grime on the pane. I managed to wipe the pane cleaner, and after flying up to the parapet of the roof, shouted to the others that it looked like a burning human shape walking around a well-scorched room.

I tied the rope to the stonework, then looked over the rest of the roof. It was flat, and had a trap door. I shouted that down to the others, and walked to the other side of the roof. There wasn’t much. This side had no garden, just a steep dropoff. More mountains could be seen, but the tower seemed to be built on a plateau that will be nearly impossible to get down from - not just for the folks who would have to climb; even my wings would get tired!

I walked back to where Kor’tac was climbing over the parapet, and watched him put his armor back on. Wondering what the others were up to, I leapt into space, catching myself halfway down to land neatly by the gnomes. Kor’tac called down to tell me to tie a knot in the rope about seven feet off the ground. I wondered why, but he kept chuckling in a way that kept me from asking. Meanwhile, Rowind and ‘Wyn had opened - and slammed shut - the front door.

Apparently the first floor was a large room, full of bones, rusted armor, weapons, and a large iron statue that turned toward them when the doors opened! I quickly flew back up to tell Kor’tac what they’d found. He was trying to open the trap door in the roof, and having no luck. Finally, he smashed it to bits, setting off a flash of light. We could see a ladder below, and a room with a door to exit by, but no window. Kor’tac asked me to tell the others, so I jumped off the roof a second time.

Downstairs, I was relieved to hear that the statue had not come out of the doors. I told the others that we could get inside from the roof, but this set off an argument with the druid. Mishklo refused to leave the now ash-grey wolf, but we had no good way to get it onto the roof. He didn’t think it was funny when I offered various ways to tie it with a rope and lift it up, either. I left them messing around with a blanket and calling to Moonlight (who was wisely staying away), and flew back to Kor’tac.

Kor’tac was standing on thin air. The trap door had some magical field over it, so we couldn’t get in even with the door gone! I leaned over the parapet and told ‘Wyn and ‘Wind about it, since they were climbing the rope to the roof. Mishklo and Moonlight were wandering the scorched garden - just as well, with the trapdoor not working. It didn’t even yield to a serious bashing from Kor’tac, so he climbed back down the rope while the gnomes gave the spell a once-over.

They asked me to try and open one of the windows, but I quickly discovered that they were all flush with the tower walls. I didn’t have the leverage to bash on one while flying, but tied my sword to a rope and the rope to the roof, and tried flying out and dropping it to crash into the window. I managed to hit the window, but it didn’t break. I borrowed a mace from ‘Wyn (the gnomes were climbing back down again), and tried holding the rope while bashing the window directly. No luck, and shouts from below distracted me, anyway.

Kor’tac and Mishklo had been waving and throwing things at the iron statue. Sure enough, it woke up and headed across the room at them, so they were shouting at _us_ to stay out of danger! Kor’tac backed up, trying to lure it into the open, while Mishklo narrowly ducked a huge swing from the thing’s long arm. ‘Wyn was singing above the battle, but there was no battle all of a sudden: when the golem reached the doorway, it simply slammed the doors shut in their faces!

Well, it seemed suicidal, but what other option did we have? We set ourselves up in front of the doors, and prepared to attack together. I got to shove the doors open, while the druid cast something, Kor’tac charged in, and ‘Wyn sent a magic missile into the iron giant. ‘Wyn sang, and ‘Wind shot it, while Kor’tac waded in with his glaive. The bullet stuck in the thing and seemed to be absorbed, but Kor’tac’s weapon did not. He and the thing began to trade mighty blows, while the rest of us got out of the way!

I managed to fly over the battle (and not be hit by the golem, whew!), and landed on a balcony which afforded me a good view to shoot arrows at the thing. (I was hoping to find an “off” button to it, but no luck). ‘Wyn wrapped a blanket around its head, but it didn’t seem to care. ‘Wind and I kept shooting (my arrows stuck and absorbed, too), between Kor’tac’s attacks, and Mishklo healed Kor’tac repeatedly. ‘Wyn tried to trip the thing up, using a grease spell and her whip, but it was just too big.

Thankfully, Kor’tac was able to destroy the golem. It took forever!

Rowind cast a spell to find any magical items in the tangle of bones and metal, discovering some magical arrows, a dagger, some vials, and a ring. He gave the ring to Roywyn on bended knee, which made me applaud him from the balcony - but she just laughed and brushed him off. I booed.

There’s a hallway on the second floor, and doors. Time to explore!

Posted by Kate on September 17, 2006, 10:58

Hot, cold, hot, cold...

There were two sets of steps to the balcony, and two more to the hallway on the next floor. When Kor’tac took the other set of steps, I saw him appear at the opposite end of the hall. After the rest arrived, we talked over which door was most likely to match the fire elemental’s room. There were two doors on one side and only one on the other, so the others gathered around the single door. Kor’tac put his shield up, and Rowind turned the handle and shoved open the door.

It turned out that they’d found the kitchen. As I began to walk down the hallway, I heard someone muttering about how cold it was in there. I also suddenly thought I remembered which door on the other side matched the fire elemental’s room. Since it was at the other end of the hall, I popped open the closer door for a quick look as I walked by.

This was a mistake. The fire elemental reached right out and smacked me before I pulled the door shut! I dimly heard shouting from down the hall as I created a shower of water over my head to put out the flames. It didn’t work, but I was hoping that I hadn’t broken whatever spell kept the thing in its room.

The shouting in the kitchen had turned to the sounds of fighting. Still, Roywyn, bless her, came to my aid, rolling me in the water on the floor to smother the flames. Mishklo even came over to heal me up! This meant that we were all right next to the door when it exploded into the hallway. I need to apologize later for putting them in danger. I’m used to being the only one who pays for my mistakes!

I got up and backed up to Kor’tac, pulling out my bow, and found that he was killing things with wings in the kitchen. Mishklo was healing me a second time when the fire elemental reached down the hall and knocked me down...

....I woke up on the floor - third healing from Mishklo in as many minutes, I fear! Someone had created a wall of ice between us and the fire elemental, so Kor’tac could concentrate on one threat at a time. There was also a fire on the ceiling, moving toward the creatures, and the others were right - that room was *cold*. I found out why an instant later, when one of the creatures unleashed a blast of icy shards at us. I expressed my opinions rather creatively and began shooting.

Mishklo was healing, I was shooting, ‘Wind was keeping the ice wall up, ‘Wyn was directing the flames on the ceiling, and Kor’tac was mowing the things down with his glaive. I managed to kill - one. Argh! Finally, we finished them all off and Mishklo tried to get us healed back up while we talked over our options. It turned out that the wall of ice was one of ‘Wind’s illusions, so ‘Wyn sang for us, and we lined up to send a volley of shots through the wall at the elemental.

It seemed to work - the thing left the doorway and headed off down the hall. In fact, it was moving down the steps, too, which didn’t bother me until Mishklo freaked out. His wolf had been told to “stay” out in the scorched garden, and Mishklo didn’t want to see his friend hurt or killed. He took off down the hall, while Kor’tac was looking in the other doors of the kitchen and ‘Wyn and I found out that I wasn’t exactly wrong about which room the elemental came from (there were two doors, but one room. I just hadn’t seen it move from one end to the other, before).

It didn’t take long for the maniac druid to lure the fire elemental back up the steps to save his wolf. Although I am very grateful for his help, I was ready to kill him or his wolf, myself, at that moment! In fact, I tried to call the wolf, too, in the vain hope that the thing would give up on its “stay” command in the face of obvious trouble. ‘Wind now made his ice wall move to the end of the hall to block the elemental’s progress (he even let Mishklo get by, first) - and when the elemental charged down the steps to come up the other way, he moved it to that end.

‘Wyn took a chance that the thing could be distracted, and set herself at the top of the steps to sing and juggle. Amazingly, it worked! The fire elemental stood still to watch her, and allowed Mishklo to sneak by to find his wolf. Even more amazing, they both made it back to us. We gathered in the kitchen, again, and ‘Wind moved the ice wall one last time. Kor’tac had found more steps, so we left ‘Wind holding the spell and went up the stairs for a quick look.

The door at the top opened to show another hallway with three more doors. We found a dusty living room, which gave ‘Wyn lots of furniture to check underneath and then jump up and down on. She was hollering for ‘Wind to come take a look upstairs, while Mishklo was hollering for his wolf - it was staying in the kitchen and failing to listen to him, yet again. Kor’tac opened another door and found a plush bedroom, also dusty, with many cabinets to open and search.

‘Wind, at least, had come upstairs (the elemental had wandered off and not been back in a while), and cast detect magic to find anything of interest. I’m not sure where the wolf was but - bash! Here was the fire elemental, and our party blocked in a bedroom with no exits. After trying to block out the smoke coming under the door, we gave up and decided an all-out attack was our only hope.

‘Wyn cast a “wave” of water at it, which not only knocked it back a few steps but knocked Kor’tac over. I shot wildy, hitting Mishklo, sorry! Between spells, arrows from my magical bow, and Kor’tac’s glaive, we surprised the thing into retreat. This led to a chase from room to room, with Mishklo healing us periodically and occasionally putting out Kor’tac when the thing set him on fire (the rest of us were able to stand back and shoot it from a distance).

It took forever, but Kor’tac finally damaged the thing to the point that an arrow of mine finished it off. Thank Shaundakul that bed is large, as I think we’re all climbing onto it for a nap!

Posted by Kate on September 19, 2006, 12:06

I think I better go atone for this

We did take the time to set up watches, but our rest was quiet. Quiet enough that Roywyn spent her watch identifying some of the potions we’d found. When I woke up, she gave me one for fire resistance - hah, funny! There was also a fancy dagger, which she gave to Kor’tac. He threw it at things (like the door) while I prayed. She was encouraging him to try knife-throwing stunts, while talking about her and Rowind’s “act” and if his performance would be an asset. Kor’tac eventally tucked the daggers away for later use. He also put all of the clothes from the wardobes into his haversack, although none of us can wear them! Mishklo healed me up the rest of the way, and we searched some more.

The library had not survived the fire elemental’s passage - too bad! The bedroom had (now empty) wardrobes, and a nightstand with candles, tindertwigs, and a book on botany. We learned some more about the vampire roses, and I tucked the candles and tindertwigs away for future use. We then opened another door... and found the study. The double-bladed sword mounted above the desk caught my eye right away, and I walked over for a closer look. ‘Wind was checking for magic, and I had hopped onto the desk for a closer look at the sword when - “Don’t touch that!” - came a voice out of nowhere!

It sounded like it was coming from the left, although when I looked, nothing was there. I asked out loud, “The desk, or the sword?”, but lost any answer in the barrage of questions that everyone asked at once. Whatever the voice was, it was left there by its master, Illic, and told to guard the room - not let anyone touch anything. It wouldn’t shake Kor’tac’s hand, or tell him its own name, but we did find out that Illic was human and the sword was a trophy of some battle. Unfortunately, it had no information about where we were, or how long it had been since it had seen its “master”. When ‘Wyn puffed some ash from the other room into the corner, a humanoid shape was revealed.

We did find out from the being that its master was most likely to be in his workshop - plus, directions to it. ‘Wyn left dust in front of the study, in case it followed us out, and we walked to yet another door. I knocked - no answer; I turned the handle - it was locked. Kor’tac offered to fix that, so I stepped back and waited for him to crack it open with his axe. We were at the bottom of a set of steps, and ‘Wyn and I headed up first. I made it about halfway before I sensed a portal in the wall next to me! I grabbed ‘Wyn, whispered what I’d found, and she handed me a coin to toss at it. No luck - the portal wasn’t active. In fact, Kor’tac proved it by putting his hand on the wall when he came up to see why we’d stopped.

Still trying to think of ways to open the portal, I checked out the top of the steps, but found another locked door. This one also yielded to Kor’tac’s axe, and we finally rediscovered the trap-door room. Although we were inside, the spell held; we couldn’t exit to the roof. The room itself was empty, so we headed back to check the portal again. It must lead to the workshop... While I undertook a most careful search of the stonework of the wall, ‘Wyn and Kor’tac headed back to the study. Apparently, they got around the invisible guardian’s orders not to touch anything by using magic: they returned with ‘Wyn concentrating on floating a stone in front of her, which proved to be the key. When she brought it up to the portal, glowing lines appeared.

We all went inside - even the wolf followed. The workshop proved to be a chamber some forty feet square, with benches and tables dedicated to chemical and alchemical experiments. A humanoid metal shape was in one corner, not moving, and a large throne stood opposite the door. A dusty withered figure sat in the chair, one hand on a glowing blue orb. ‘Wind quickly began to chant, while Kor’tac stepped forward and greeted Master Illic. A voice answered, “Begone, leave me!” Kor’tac asked if we could have permission to touch the things in the other rooms, while I realized that the figure hadn’t moved when the words were spoken. I crept nearer the throne to see behind it - nothing - and, when he snarled at me for “sneaking” I saw clearly that the dead thing in the chair was not animated at all. So, I asked him, “What happened to you?”

I heard a muttered word, and two skeletons appeared out of nowhere to attack me. Ow! Kor’tac immediately charged the figure on the throne, cleaving it with his axe and quickly turning to smash a skeleton to bits. I waved my holy symbol, but the skeletons ignored me. In fact, more appeared. Kor’tac smashed another, then hit the blue orb with all his might. He was the one to collapse, however, while the orb remained intact and flashed a brighter blue! I tried to turn the skeletons again, and was ignored a second time. Mishklo dashed forward, trying to pull Kor’tac to safety, but collapsed before he got close - and the orb flashed again. Worse yet, ‘Wind shot at the orb from a distance, and the same thing happened. ‘Wyn and I were the only two still fighting, and more skeletons arrived every moment!

I gave up on trying to turn the things, pulled my sword, and suggested to ‘Wyn that she “float” the orb over the wall of the castle. A big enough drop ought to smash it! She gave it a magical shove, but it didn’t move. We were dodging and fighting skeletons, and getting desperate, when she thought of the handy haversacks that we all carry. She made a dash for Mishklo’s bag, dodged forward between skeletons, and swept it over the orb in one swift movement.

I have no idea what happened next. An explosion? Not exactly. A flash? Sort of. The next thing I could see was - nothingness, a void all around; no orb, and the skeletons disappearing *poof*poof*. No Mishklo or wolf or Rowind, but ‘Wyn and Kor’tac floating nearby. When I tried to step or fly, I didn’t move at all, which helped me figure out that we’d been transported to another plane of existence. I tried to tell Roywyn how to move, while willing myself over to Kor’tac - when she tumbled into me! We got straightened out and headed over to Kor’tac, and discovered that he was dead. That’s when ‘Wyn figured out that the orb had been a “magic jar” capturing our friends’ souls. We’d destroyed the jar, and our friends, with the best of intentions.

May Shaundakul forgive us!

I prayed over Kor’tac, grieved for our friends’ bodies left in Illic’s workshop, and prepared to search for a portal off this plane. We can’t get anything out of our magical haversacks, but we took Kor’tac’s shield to sit on, and as much of his other things as we could as well. Who knows what may come in useful after this? We then picked a random direction, and willed ourselves into the unknown.

After an unknown period of time, we saw a ship sailing through the void...

Posted by Kate on September 26, 2006, 22:52

New Things

As the ship neared, we decided to take a chance and hail it. We waved our arms (and wings) and shouted for all we were worth. Soon, the ship turned onto a heading that would intersect our path. As we got closer, however, we spotted the crew - all humanoid, but yellowish skin, and Roywyn recognized them as Githyanki. When she told me that they were usually hostile to non-githyanki, I wished us away as fast as thought!

Although I’d turned us “down” compared to their heading, the ship gracefully heeled over and followed at a fast clip. ‘Wyn began a song, but we were startled by the “thunk” of an arrow embedding itself in the shield between us! It had a scrap of parchment wrapped around the shaft, on which a single word was written: HI.

Looking back at the ship, I saw that there were non-githyanki on board, after all. Now there was a gnome, a halfling, and a strange humanoid with wings waving at us. Realizing that we stood little chance of outrunning the ship (I’d hoped it would ignore us after we fled), I decided to stop. As the ship scooped us up, landing the shield on the deck, we met another non-Githyanki. ‘Wyn recognized the large blue figure as another planar dweller, whose race tended to be merchants.

Thank Shaundakul, the blue merchant was in fact the one who had hired the ship, the Gaath, and the crew was paid to ignore us. Jrun - for that was the merchant’s name - actually floated instead of walking, and “spoke” directly into our heads instead of talking! He was willing to take Kor’tac’s shield and battleaxe as payment for taking us on board, and even offered to hire us as guards, for he was trading between Tu-narath and Waterdeep. We were a little worried to discover that we were headed for a lich queen’s city, full of githyanki, but we’d be under his protection, and have Waterdeep for a final destination!

I was learning quickly that the githyanki may not like other races, but they were very lawful, and as long as we followed the rules, got visas, etc., we would not have trouble in their city. In fact, it’s a major trading port on this plane. Soveliss, Jrun, githyanki, and soon-to-be visiting the city of Tu-narath: I ended up being kind of excited about the trip. Completely new people and places; an adventure! I only wished that our former teammates were here to see it, too.

The gnome had disappeared to parts unknown before we were done “talking” to Jrun. The halfling, Flin, was rather odd. He was making very strange and paranoid comments, and using magic to lift things and float them about. Things like the blue dragonish humanoid, Soveliss, who was trying to look unconcerned while floating upside-down. Jrun had rescued all three, floating in the void - my guess being that Flin was out here the longest. When I took the time to look more closely at the githyanki and their ship, he showed me the whole place, while naming everyone and everything in it “Bob”.

Eventually, we made our way back on deck to talk to ‘Wyn. Flin was floating above ‘Wyn as if he were standing on her head, and chattering about Bobs, and explaining that none of this was real, and he must be sleeping in the forest “back home” when - out of nowhere, an arrow bounced off the back of his head! I grabbed him by an ankle, yanked him to the deck, and cast a healing spell on him, although he turned out to be bruised, not bleeding. When I looked up, I realized that the githyanki were all standing over the strange gnome, greatswords drawn!

He was quickly marched away, but then - the githyanki took Flin, too! I was confused, but when ‘Wyn and Jrun told me more about githyanki laws, I was very worried, indeed. Maintaining order is more important than who started what, especially when both parties are non-githyanki races. If they can’t explain themselves very well, they’ll both be put to death. Jrun was only a guest, with no authority, so ‘Wyn went to find the captain while I ran down to the brig to get the gnome’s and halfling’s stories.

Well, the gnome muttered something about having taken the head off the arrow, and Flin, of course, thought this was part of his dream. He was quite certain they - or Bob - were trying to kill him, but he seemed quite merry about it! I met up with ‘Wyn, and we tried to talk the captain of the ship out of turning the two offenders over for trial in the city. Explaining that the gnome thought he’d met the letter of the law by blunting the arrow didn’t work - it was still considered assault. Trying to talk of different interpretations of the law failed, and there were no options within the laws to prevent them seeing githyanki “justice”.

Two days passed before we reached the city... and my joy in seeing a new place was much muted by fear of what the arrival meant for our fellow travelers. Soveliss especially feared for his own safety; after learning all he could about githyanki society, he was now paranoid about so much as crossing one’s path! We were still impressed by the sight of the city; several miles long, vaguely humanoid-shaped, but with extra arms, and covered over with a multitude of buildings; there were even secure citadels floating nearby, attached only by chains to the “body”.

As we flew by the “feet” and “legs”, we spotted red dragons resting in caves. We were steered toward an “arm”, apparently the docks, while Soveliss asked Jrun about getting proper visas. On closer view, we could see many clean and well-ordered buildings and beings, and plenty of guards. When we docked, a female githyanki approached the captain of the ship. Each of us were asked our names and purpose for being there, and then Jrun passed over a sack of money. She gave green armbands to each of us, and ‘Wyn, Soveliss and I followed Jrun off the ship. As I looked back, I saw the prisoners being escorted in another direction...

Curious, I asked Jrun if we could see what happened to them. He agreed, which surprised me, but it turned out that githyanki justice is swift! We were quickly at the courts, and watching the gnome and the halfling being charged with assault and endangerment, and how do you plead? Flin answered, not guilty - his reason being that he was not even here, and Bob’s trying to kill him. The gnome refused to say anything at all. Jrun turned to us and asked if we wanted to stay for the execution - no! - and we were quickly back on the street. I wish there had been something we could do...

Sad circumstances behind us, we headed for the merchants’ district. Jrun led us straight to a warehouse full of boxes and crates. When we walked in, a human female stepped into view - human, except for glowing red eyes and feathered wings! They didn’t speak, but opened a crate and looked at several weapons inside. Jrun held up a greenish-colored dagger that looked very sharp, indeed. He replaced it, closed the crate, and levitated three crates together as he walked toward the door.

The door opened, and two githyanki guards entered - I must admit I had a moment of fear! But they simply led in a group of humanoids of various races, all chained together, and handed them over to the winged female (who was now smiling in a most unpleasant way). As we left, I saw her open a red portal, and they all passed through, probably to one of the nine hells. This place is no adventure: it’s full of sad happenings.

Back to the ship we walked, with the crates of strange weapons, and sailed off into the void.

Three more days of Soveliss being paranoid of githyanki (who ignored him, thank Shaundakul), and ‘Wyn worrying about evil. I asked Jrun about the weapons - if they were all spoken for, or maybe a dagger was available? No luck - he already had a buyer. Finally, we reached a grey swirling portal to the material plane, collected the crates, and disembarked.

We stepped out into a large port city, built inside a huge cavern. It was seedy, dirty, full of strange races - the opposite of what we’d just left. Whatever else I think of the githyanki, I didn’t feel it necessary to watch my haversacks while walking down the street! Soveliss asked what ‘Wyn had already guessed - we were below Waterdeep, in Skullport. Not quite home, but pretty close, and better than where we expected to be after all that had happened!

Our job with Jrun was not quite done: we escorted him to the rear of the Iron Tankard Tavern, where he knocked on the door. A slot opened, and an eye peered out - then the door opened, and a halfling led us and the crates to a back room. Three Red Wizards sat behind a table, watching Jrun bow to them! They looked over the crates of weapons, pronounced them acceptable, and said they looked forward to doing more business... then each took a crate, and disappeared.

Jrun handed each of us a pouch. Soveliss asked the quickest - no, safest - way to the surface. Jrun was not sure, and suggested asking the barkeeper. Then he was gone!

‘Wyn, Soveliss, and I made our way out to the main room of the tavern, and sat at the bar. A mostly-human looking bartender brought us ale while ‘Wyn asked if they needed a bard to entertain the customers. Apparently, it’s not that kind of bar. So, she asked directions elsewhere, but he feigned ignorance until Sobeliss put a gold coin on the counter. Roywyn was so embarrassed! When he said he knew a way, I added another gold coin, and we got directions to a portal in an alley just a few streets off.

So, out the door we go, hoping my knack for finding portals plus the barkeep’s directions get us back to Waterdeep!

Posted by Kate on October 5, 2006, 00:06

Where we started

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

Chasing Mysteries

We hadn’t settled down in our hiding places for very long, it seemed, before a drunken human came stumbling down the street. We watched him pass by, then, we saw three small shadows detach themselves from the walls behind him. The cloaked figures closed in as he lurched to a stop, noticed them, and merrily blessed the “little folk” in Tymora’s name. Unfortunately, the figures responded to the drunken cleric’s words by drawing daggers on him, at which point Soveliss and Roywyn shot two of them.

The creatures howled with pain, and their cloaks fell away to reveal furry snouts and long tails - wererats! Two of them leaped toward where ‘Wyn and Soveliss’ arrows came from, while the third jumped at the drunk. There were daggers waving and teeth flashing; I shot at the third wererat and caught sight of Flin sneaking around the edges of the fight to get in a good position to attack, and then the drunk collapsed in the middle of the street. Next, I was ducking away from a crossbolt - the wererats carried more than just daggers!

‘Wyn suddenly started to convulse - then changed into a large white wererat, herself! The other three turned to attack her, so I shot one, causing it to convulse and change shape. Flin attacked it next. At least ‘Wyn was fighting against the other wererats and not us, but I saw Soveliss get bitten and stabbed and wondered how many of us would need a trip to a temple, soon. I kept shooting the rats when I could, while the others were in the thick of it.

All three of the wererats suddenly disappeared into the shadows - and we realized that no one had kept an eye on the human when he began screaming. We caught sight of clawed hands as he was dragged into the shadows, and we all took off after! I flew up high and glowed as brightly as I could, illuminating two greenish humanoid figures running down an alley with the human cleric over one shoulder. The others caught up quickly, but were sickened by the smell of the things up close. The lizard-folk looked to be animated dead!

One of the undead stopped to fight, while the other ran off with his human captive. I followed, pulling out my holy symbol, but couldn’t fly fast enough to get ahead and cast a turning. Flin was following, too, and was able to keep up with it, so I followed as fast as I could until I caught up with Flin standing over an open sewer grate. Hoping that ‘Wyn and Soveliss were handling the other creature all right, we descended into the unknown.

Thirty feet below the city streets, and we were in a large tunnel. Hearing movement ahead, we ran, only to hear stone grinding - we ran faster, hoping to catch the thing before it lost itself in a maze of intersections. When we reached the area we thought the sound originated from, there was nothing to see - luckily, I spotted an irregularity in the wall, and Flin soon had it checked and open. The new passage was half the height of the first, but we were able to walk upright, so Flin wedged the secret door open, and I left my old holy symbol stuck in the wall stones, in case ‘Wyn and Soveliss made it this far.

We followed the new passage until it ended at a sewer, with a path extending to the left and the right. There was no sign of our quarry, so Flin turned left, I turned right, and activated my bird, telling it to go with Flin but fly to me if he ran into anything. Off to the right I went, pondering what to call the bird and watching for the lizard-person or his victim.

I ran out of tunnel to follow, first. My pathway above the sewer’s flow ended at an intersection of tunnels, and the pathways across the water showed no sign of anything wading over to reach them. I was looking at a ladder which led up to a grate, and listening to the sounds of music in the streets above, and had just decided to call the raven Archimedes, when I heard steps running up from behind. I readied an arrow and waited to see who was coming...

...the good news was that ‘Wyn and Soveliss had finished off their opponent and caught up with me. The bad news was that Archimedes was flying along just ahead of them! They asked me where Flin was, and I told them about sending him off with my bird. I told Archimedes his name, asked him to lead us to Flin, and we were off.


We followed Archimedes down the tunnel until it ended at a T, and the raven didn’t know where Flin had been taken. Soveliss found blood, though, and I was able to track it to the left. We followed the trail until it ended, and looked around. Although the pathway continued, a smaller side tunnel could be seen about seven feet above us. Soveliss pulled himself up for a look, and found claw marks on the rim, so Roywyn and I asked for a boost up. We could walk upright, but Soveliss had to crawl; the new tunnel was only about three feet high.

‘Wyn and I went ahead until we hit another T junction, and this time I found a trail to the right. We walked up the passage until we heard the sounds of tearing and the gnashing of teeth - then, we ran! The tunnel opened out into a round chamber with six exits radiating outward. In the chamber, one of the undead things was tearing at and eating from something lying on the ground. I charged in, sword held high! The thing stood up and turned toward us, biting at me. I swung my sword at it and missed, and it bit me again, paralyzing me where I stood!

‘Wyn, thank Shaundakul, shot it to death. She then went to the body, which did turn out to be Flin, and rummaged through his pack. She healed him with her wand, and he started moving - and screaming! Poor Flin. He then healed himself some more with his own wand, and I finally relaxed from my own paralysis and listened at all the exits. Several had chittering noises coming from them, but not moving toward us so I didn’t go in. ‘Wyn, on the other hand, heard a scream come from one, so we followed the sound.

The tunnel sloped downward, and Flin now could hear someone crying, so we ran. ‘Wyn sang a magical song, and Soveliss followed up behind as fast as he could crawl. The tunnel soon opened out into another room, bigger, with eight passages outward. I stopped at the entrance, looking at four figures chained to posts in the middle of the floor. One was sobbing and shielding her eyes from my glow. When ‘Wyn whispered to them, the sobbing woman began screaming for help!

I stepped inside, glowing brightly, and circled the group while ‘Wyn checked their bonds, and Flin held a drawn bow on them. Soveliss finally crawled out of the tunnel and began to unlock the manacles, I saw that one of the humans was dead, and asked the others to tell us what had happened. Before they could answer, the dead man convulsed, and stood up as a ghast! The screaming began again, much louder! Soveliss had one man unlocked, who stumbled off up a random tunnel past ‘Wyn who was yelling at him to stop while shooting her crossbow.

Soveliss bravely continued to unlock the living humans, and the creature lunged at me. I hit it with my greatsword, and it clawed me. Again, I was paralyzed. The second human was running for a tunnel, ‘Wyn killed the ghast, and grabbed ahold of me while yelling at the humans to follow us. The two still in the room did so; the female telling us she wasn’t sure how many people were in the sewers, or how long they’d been there. We could hear something crawling toward the room, and headed back up the tunnel. Soveliss insisted on going last - not from his size, but because he says he’s immune to paralysis. How I envied him then!

Flin dragged me up the tunnel, while the human woman held up Soveliss and ‘Wyn until she threatened to put a bat in her hair. The other human was long gone ahead - but then we heard him scream! We raced for the room with six exits, only to find three more ghasts eating the remains of the man. Unparalyzed, I waved my holy symbol at them - with no effect. Flin grabbed several of my oil flasks and threw them, instead, and I could hear ‘Wyn singing from down the tunnel.

My second turning spell worked, and the ghasts fled even as Flin set one on fire. Finally, the rest of our party arrived, and we continued on our way out - we wanted to get one survivor out, at least! Soveliss did make sure that the dead human didn’t return by chopping off his head, first. Flin stayed behind while we escaped, using flasks of oil to block the path. When the rest of us reached the main tunnel, ‘Wyn and I turned back to get him. We were running down the tunnel when there was a terrific crash!

Dust and stone rained down from the walls and ceiling, I fell down and got right back up, wondering why I heard wood splintering. When we got back to the six-exit room, we found a huge tree trunk sideways, and a pair of halfling feet sticking out from underneath! The feet were wiggling and giggling - Flin had gauged his spell very carefully not to be crushed, and the ghasts were no more!

We each grabbed a foot and pulled Flin free, and I healed him some while I was at it. He was very pleased with himself! I was glad to catch up with Soveliss and the human woman on their way to the surface; we all ended up back in an alley, looking out onto a main street, and hearing the sound of music. It was barely midnight! We went looking for a temple, and some guards, talking to Miranda, the human woman, on the way.

We walked past a large and brightly lit building that seemed to be hosting a festival, and ran into a guard troop. They heard us out, and wanted us to fill out a report, but agreed to take us to a temple, first. They took us to a temple of Helm, whose clerics were willing to cure us of anything nasty we’d caught from the ghasts - for a lot of money - or watch us for a few days to be sure we were healthy. Ack! I had no interest in being caught inside for days, but the others agreed to it!

Miranda got sick, but the clerics did their best to heal her, and the rest of us talked over our adventures and filled out the report for the guards. I got tired of the place in a few hours and spent the rest of the time bouncing off the walls and ceiling... and yelling “I told you so” at ‘Wyn when she tried to leave and they wouldn’t let her. She acted surprised about it! I guess her bat was in need of “counseling” over some sin it had committed... and Flin was practicing being sick. Finally, after two days, they cleared us to leave. I must admit to being less than gracious in my thanks.

The city watch had read our report of the goings-on under the dock wards, and asked us to go back to find out why ghouls and ghasts were acting in an intelligent manner. They offered us 2000 gold pieces to find the source! ‘Wyn and Soveliss bargained for a 50 gp reward for every undead head we returned with, too. I asked about healing - as I have no desire to be stuck in the Temple of Helm for two days ever again. Finally, we headed back to the Dripping Dagger for real rest, and talk over how to proceed.

The Fest Hall night club had caught our eye before, being so close to the disappearances. When evening fell, we decided to start our search by getting in line for the festivities. It was a long line, and an entrance fee to get in! It was a large single story wooden building, and one big room inside. There was a raised central stage and benches all around it. Bards were performing onstage while folks sat and watched while eating and drinking, and there were lots of bouncers. We made our way to a table and settled in to observe.

Posted by Kate on November 14, 2006, 00:10

I am not happy with myself.

We sat in the Three Pearls nightclub, looking around and listening to the acts. Soveliss ordered food... again. Roywyn’s bat told her to tell me that moths are attracted to my glowing skin, which was how he managed to eat one by mistake. I patted the bat on the head and told him to relax, but the little thing just chittered to itself until ‘Wyn took it off on a tour of the room, listening for tidbits of gossip.

I was enjoying the music and comedy acts when the food arrived, which prompted us to ask about what alcohol was available, too. Soveliss and Flin decided to try “dragon bitters” - stingy Flin wasn’t sharing so I called him on it, then bought the table a round. He was quite cheerful in short order! ‘Wyn came back to tell us that she hadn’t heard much, but learned that many famous bards got their start on this stage. I quickly encouraged her to go on, too!

Leaving the guys to their bitters, we went looking for a manager. We were pointed toward a pudgy human man, who chatted with ‘Wyn for a bit, then told her to go on up. I sat back down with my party while she headed for the stage and began to sing for the crowd. When they threw things, I was mad! I ran up and found out that the crowd was throwing money, though, which couldn’t be bad, so I waited while she sang two more songs, then collected the coppers while she took her bows.

Flin then ran up and began to dance before the next act. He was hauled offstage while being pelted with a few coins. And, when he sat back down at the table, his drink tipped itself over into his lap! He burst out laughing, and took a fresh beer over to a table nearby, where a well-dressed stranger sat laughing. I wondered what that was about, but was afraid to ask. We ended up wandering back to our inn for the night, Flin pretending to stagger drunkenly, and turning various unnatural colors for the amusement of passerby.

Once back at the inn, I stopped to check the message board; seeing nothing new, I went to bed. In the morning, we prepared to search the sewers properly -‘Wyn even thought to ask the guards for a map. They gave us a letter to take to the plumbers’ guild, who gave us a copy (and we promised to “update” it for them!). After a quick perusal, we decided to start our search by climbing down the sewer grate nearest the Three Pearls nightclub.

‘Wyn had chalk with her, and used it to mark our way. We were soon back at the “oak tree chamber”, which boggled Soveliss - he hadn’t seen it, before! Flin giggled madly over that story, while we reminded him that we needed intact ghoul heads to claim the reward money. We reached the smaller tunnels without incident, and back to the chamber with tunnels that had scuttling noises... which were louder this time! I pulled my sword and waved it to warn the others as something came down the tunnel at us.

A six-legged hairless ratlike thing came into view, causing me to raise my sword - except ‘Wyn then tried to speak to it, so I held back to see what it would do. I don’t know if it listened to her, or to Flin’s threats to “Stop or I’ll shoot!” but it turned back and ran away from us. Flin shot an arrow after it, and I ran after, trying to see where it would lead us. We ended up in one of the rooms with eight exits, and poles (no victims chained up, this time). ‘Wyn marked which exit was “ours”, and we followed the rat-thing into another.

It didn’t go far up the passage before turning into a tunnel that looked very unlike the rest of the construction down here. Many new-burrowed passages could be seen up ahead, as well. I peered down one or two and caught sight of lots of flashing teeth, and heard a lot of hissing and rustling! We backed off, marking the new warrens on the map for someone else to worry about. The others were dismantling the poles and chains, and I searched the entrance to each tunnel for any clues as to what’s been happening down here.

‘Wyn and I heard it at almost the same time - but no time to warn the others as a monstrous looking thing crawled down one of the tunnels and into the chamber, a ball of flesh that looked sort of like a brain on tentacles, with a big mouth, and many many eyes all over it! We attacked without a second thought! Soveliss hit it first, so it charged at him, while a second thing followed it into the room. I charged that one with my sword, missing, and ‘Wyn cast a bright light at it, but it bit me.

I don’t know what happened, but to my great shame, a panic came over me that I could not fight. I screamed, dropped my sword, and ran for my life.

Thank Shaundakul that no one was killed - I’d have felt responsible forever. I mastered my fear, eventually, and made my way back to the chamber to find that Soveliss killed both the things, and saved my sword, too. Apparently, he was the only one not struck by fear when the things struck out! Warily, we prepared to search for the source of the flesh-balls...


I walked up the tunnel, glowing brightly for the others, watching for more of the strange balls of flesh. When I reached a fork in the tunnel, the right-hand branch showed some disturbance, so I turned that way. Another fork in the tunnel some hundred feet away, and no sign of anything at all passing through either. Hmmm... a secret entrance that we missed? We searched all the way back to the first fork with no luck, and finally gave up.

Someone mentioned hearing noises from other tunnels in the room with the posts, so we decided to follow up on that next. Before we set out, something invisible moved my wings! I quickly pulled my sword, slicing through the air around me in a vain search for the culprit. Probably because the culprit was looking innocently around while Soveliss pointed at him! After giving Flin the eye, I began to look and listen at the two tunnels noises had come from.

One curved away to the left, the other curved off to the right. We argued over various ways to check both, then sent the bat up the left-hand tunnel while I started up the right-hand one. We quickly reached another T junction, so I pulled out the map to see where we were. To the right from the T was a sewer grate to the surface - good! Straight ahead was another of the junction rooms, with two exits. For the sake of Soveliss’ back, we headed for the junction room and its higher ceilings.

The room had the two exits shown on the map, plus two more posts with manacles. They were soon torn down, and Soveliss stretched while I noted on the map all the junction rooms that had been altered to hold prisoners. Then, while looking into the tunnel across the room, I heard movement! I waved to the others, who quickly had their bows out, and Roywyn began a quiet song. We’re getting better at getting ready for a fight...

This time, the movement stopped before we could see the source, and something began to tap upon the stone walls. Fearing it was a code to call more trouble down on us, I charged into the tunnel, sword drawn! The passage curved, but I ran until I saw an undead crawling in the low tunnel, away from us! I shouted to the others, and Soveliss responded that it must be a trap, and I hollered back “Not if it’s dead!” which sounded good but now I had to back it up.

In that time, the undead had stopped backing away from me, and now I traded blows with it before flattening myself to the wall so the others could shoot past me and hit it. Flin got in the lethal shot, and I quickly took the head off and into a haversack for later. I then clambered over the body to check further up the tunnel, while Flin and ‘Wyn dragged the remains down the tunnel so Soveliss could pass. ‘Wyn kept muttering about getting a spell that will make him small enough for all these three-foot-high tunnels!

The bat came along with me - it must have forgiven me the moth incident. We found another junction room, thirty feet across, and several more posts with two more people. I dimmed down and looked at the map quickly, marking both the new posts and the nearest grate to get the people out by. Then, I moved a little closer, glowing brighter to find out if the people were live, dead, or undead. One stirred as I neared - it was undead! As it lunged at me, I found out that it was NOT chained up, this time! Here came the second, also unchained!

I shrieked lots, also trusting the bat to let the others know I’d walked into Soveliss’ trap after all. I ran for the passage to the nearest sewer grate - and ran into more undead crawling in! I held up my holy symbol and turned the ones ahead and behind me... then turned back to the junction room, knowing the others were on their way. I ended up killing the second undead and bagging its head, while hearing the others fighting and shouting in the tunnel about their own kill.

Unfortunately, Flin arrived in the junction room at the same time as yet more undead. We were being overwhelmed! I tried another turning, and it had no effect at all. ‘Wyn came singing and fighting into the room, while I warned Flin that more undead would probably come down the tunnel behind me when my first turn wore off. Then, I was fighting again. Badly. ‘Wyn was having a hard time, too, so I tried to turn yet again, and - nothing!

As I ranted at Shaundakul - what have I done to anger him? One of the undead finally managed to paralyze me. While the others fought, the ghoul dragged me off to a corner, obviously planning to eat me alive. The others noticed, and came to my rescue, I don’t know why. I am so discouraged by my failures as a cleric and a fighter...

Soveliss’ immunity to paralysis came in handy, as ‘Wyn was struck down and, although some undead were killed, more arrived every minute. Even the stinky undead lizard folk reappeared - through a secret door, no less! The battle continued long enough that Soveliss began to look really beat up, and I actually came unparalyzed. I quickly held up my holy symbol for one last try at scaring the things off...

...I should have known better.

By the time everything was over, we were all dragged off through the secret door, either paralyzed or unconscious. We woke up chained to poles, our gear missing, and wondering what will happen next?

Posted by Kate on November 18, 2006, 00:24

No place to go but up

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


I made a desperate attempt to get back to the others, screaming a warning as I flew over the remaining ghouls and away from the lich and bloated blood thing. The guards were shooting arrows, Soveliss was fighting hand-to-hand, and I was hollering that we had to get out of there while Roywyn sang songs and slashed at the ghouls with her whip dagger. Sure enough, the lich (with strangely shifting features) and the blood thing appeared in the doorway. I said “I told you so!!” a lot, while pointing, so the lich pointed back - ow, ray of frost spells HURT.

I was thinking of getting a potion out when the world went funny - the whole place disappeared, and was replaced by a nightmarish swamp all around. I hoped it was an illusion, but I couldn’t see more than a few feet - Flin scared the heck out of me when he appeared out of nowhere to pour a healing potion down my throat! I quickly followed it with one of my own, and began to follow ‘Wyn up the hallway, flask of oil in hand. I threw the oil blindly at the sounds of the blood monster, knowing it was fighting with Soveliss. ‘Wyn finished off the last ghoul and joined in, while I lit a torch and began to crawl around on the floor looking for oil to ignite.

When I found the pool of oil (and narrowly missed getting hit by the blood monster fighting in the middle of it), I set it alight with my torch and quickly backed away. Soveliss backed down, too, to drink a healing potion, so I took my opportunity to throw oil onto the thing, itself. ‘Wyn kept singing and hitting it with her whip dagger, Soveliss charged back in, followed by the guards, and I found myself wondering where the lich was in all this mess? When I stepped up and hit it with my torch, whoosh! Up it went! And I found myself trading swings with it (thankfully, it missed).

‘Wyn went on into the room, followed by her bat and Flin, and I heard her shouting at something. The blood monster exploded behind me - ew! - so I followed my friends into the room I had discovered the lich in. ‘Wyn was sweeping her whip through a globe of darkness, shouting that “he has no legs” - the lich? And Flin was now looking as frosty as I felt. Ouch. He was pitching a grappling hook into the globe, fishing for something without success. A ray shot out from the darkness, hitting him, but he kept at it.

The guards were now in the doorway, looking confused, Soveliss was healing himself, and ‘Wyn walked right into the globe of darkness to search for her prey. I took a quick look into the pit, but found only bones some twenty feet below. A garbage pit for the ghouls? Who knew? I then began to search the corner where I’d first seen the lich, convinced that there was a door to be found there. The guards began to enter the room...

...and a whip flew out of the magical darkness and wrapped itself around Flin’s leg. With a yank, it pulled him off his feet and into the dark, and we soon heard much shouting between the halfling and the gnome! It would have been funny if it wasn’t so serious - the two of them yelling “I got it!” while the lich stood by, invisible. I went back to searching the corner - it was only an alcove, but I was convinced there was something more - until I heard ‘Wyn holler “Ow!”, and a hand reached out from the dark to hit me. I slashed at it with my torch, missing, then chased into the dark for myself - and hit a wall.

Another ray hit me, and I could hear the guards shooting blindly into the dark (great, add to the danger!), so I followed the wall until I got out of the magical area of effect. I pulled my bow and watched for more rays, hoping to gauge their source and hit the lich that way - but ‘Wyn and Flin solved the problem for me by finally finding and pulling it out. Once we could see it, we all attacked - shooting and hacking at it while Flin kept dragging to keep it off balance. ‘Wyn hit it with her mace, Soveliss speared it with his rapier, and an arrow from me finally finished it off. Whew!

Imagine our surprise to find that it wasn’t a lich at all, but a human we’ve never seen before, wearing a mask. What is this new mystery?

Posted by Kate on January 20, 2007, 13:54