Tir Na n'Fir

Because of course there are more spiders...

… The two spiders crawling out of the passageways are enormous.

Apparently, the side effect of whatever Jaeger was trying to do created some sort of enlarging effect on the arachnids, making them about 25 feet across. They are so large that they are tearing holes into the webbing around us, and all we can see behind them is more legs.

The three remaining drow turned to flee, but fell in their haste to escape, and became tangled in the webs. One of the giant spiders shoots a web towards Kellyn, sticking her to the wall.

I take aim with Thass at the spider behind us and manage to wound it.
Tobias, still blinded from Jaeger’s spell effect, is struggling to recover. Aelfric strikes out with their rapier, which glows blue, and a massive bolt of blue energy explodes out causing the air to grow bitingly cold. The spider in front is now covered with ice crystals, and seems to be frozen in place. Lan waves her hands toward the front spider, and we see it shrink down a small amount.

Kellyn struggles against the sticky webbing pinning her to the wall, and she manages to tear free and grapple with the front spider.
That spider shoots visibly thicker webbing at Jaeger, but he also manages to tear himself free to brawl with it in close combat.
Osmand takes aim at the spider in front and puts an arrow straight through one of its eyes.

I take aim with Thass again, aiming at the frozen spider but this time the arrow glances harmlessly away. Tobias swings Crawlzargot blindly, and somehow manages to miss both Jaeger and Kellyn, and hit the spider solidly. Lan waved her hands toward the spider entangled with Jaeger and Kellyn, and it shrinks down another 5 feet. The spider then bites Jaeger, and there is a power surge, and suddenly the spider explodes into a swarm of.. bees? Bees. Great.

Aelfric stabs at the frozen spider with the rapier, but it appears like there was no effect. Osmand also scored a direct hit on the rear spider, but it appears to be either dead or frozen solid.

I move to stab the spider behind us, to verify that it is actually dead.
Tobias misses hitting any of the bees, but the swarm turns its attention directly to him with the action and begins buzzing angrily.
Elyise swings the mace at the frozen spider, and it smashes to powder with a rather oddly beautiful tinkling sound. As it disintegrates, we can see the yawning void in the hole in the webbing behind it. Then Lan moves her hands in a graceful gesture, and water comes fountaining out of her hands, knocking the bee swarm out of the air and through the hole out into the void.

With the immediate dangers taken care of, the party stops for a moment to catch our breath and take a look around. The hole that the spiders crawled through is about 25 ft across, and essentially takes out the entire floor, and a piece of the ceiling where the second spider crawled through. We can either try to figure out how to repair the web, try to jump across, or make our way back the way we came toward the room with the tower filled with drow.

Aelfric says something about the tower being possibly the place we needed, and I point out with some mild irritation that they are the ones who originally said that the tower was NOT the place we needed to be, which is why we ended up in this tunnel in the first place.

Jaeger tries to cast a spell to create a brick, and instead only looks very confused. He looks like he is thinking very hard about something for a moment, and then says that we can climb on top of the web tunnel and move over the holes in the floor. I ask the party which directions they were given, and one of them points out that I have an actual map of the underwebbing. (that would have been SUPER useful to know earlier.)

I point out that once we can get up on top of the web tunnels, I can use the map to navigate. Jaeger climbs up first, then secures a rope to himself which allows the rest of the party to easily climb up as well. Aelfric draws their rapier slightly, and a circle of glowing violet light appears around us. Otherwise it is utterly lightless. I use my sense of direction to guide us to a crossroad, and then indicate that we need to go left. We need to make our way between pockets of sticky webs that look from the outside like nests or dens for some sort of critter. As we carefully move between the nests, we hear a scuttling underneath us, and decide to move a little bit faster.

In the distance, we see some movement up ahead and, thanks to the owl-vision spell that was cast on the party, we can see a large bat that suddenly turns and begins moving towards us quickly. Osmand nocks his bow and puts an arrow cleanly into it. It veers off, but makes absolutely no noise, and we see that it is actually much larger than we previously thought. I can only barely see it, as it swerves to come back in for another attack, and I follow Osmand’s lead and try to shoot it out of the sky. My first shot misses, and I quickly ask if one of the mages can light it up to make it easier to see.
Kellyn’s eyes brighten and she laughs a bit as she casts her spell. A glowing dot appears on the bat, giving us a clear target to shoot at. It swoops in quickly to try to attack Osmand.

I use Thass and draw back, nodding to Kellyn to cast a destruction spell on the end of my arrow, using a tactic that has worked well for us in the past. She finishes the spell, and I loose the arrow, aiming for the glowing dot. The arrow hits the bat, and while the actual projectile does no damage, the spell is effective and the bat stumbles momentarily.

As it flies closer, the others are able to take shots at it, but most of them miss entirely. The bat swerves as if it can sense where the hits are coming from. Osmand manages to hit, and the arrow bounces off of one ear and then into the other.
Jaeger etches a quick circle around himself to cast some sort of spell, and as the bat flies into range, Tobias slashes at the bat with Crawlzargot.

He scores a hard hit with the sword, and the bat seems dazed as it disappears, spinning, into the mists below. We hear a screeching noise and see two other forms chasing the falling bat below and then there is a shrill scream, and then silence.

Jaeger mutters a curse under his breath, realizing he would need to let go of the power he had been trying to gather, and reaches down to touch the web only to have the entire roof of the web tunnel collapse under him. He quickly climbs back up, but says that this is the correct tunnel and that we need to be back down in the tunnels to reach where we need to go.

I quickly use my sense of direction and the map to verify where we are, and then agree that we should climb back down to continue. As we travel the corridors, we see the floor is dotted with deep pits, and we see a silvery door up ahead of us. The details are hard to see from a distance, and we hear a faint but dissonant whispering noise, as if there are several voices all talking at once. I ask Tobias to see if he knows anything about the pits or about what could be causing the sounds. While he can think of a few things, none would be in this region, so I quietly ask Thass if it might know. I can sense the bow telling me that it’s definitely a demon, and I realize that I am growing rather fond of having the bow by my side. I ask if Thass if there’s anything that it can do, and with it I am able to use my ability to spot hidden to see a demonic creature that looks vaguely like an old rug hanging from the ceiling. I draw the bow and quickly shoot it, landing a solid hit with an arrow and making the rest of the party aware of the thing in our path.

Jaeger quickly uses a fairy fire spell to light up the rug thing and I use Thass to shoot it again, but this time my arrow misses its mark. Tobias draws his dagger, and there is a brief moment where his brow furrows in concentration before he says “Be quiet!” towards the rug thing. As he does, we all feel a sudden sense of relief as the muttering lessens, and we realize that it was causing a confusion effect that we weren’t even aware of. As the whispering quiets, however, several undead creatures crawl up out of the pits in the floor and begin to shamble towards us.

Aelfric pulls out their amulet, and it has no effect at all, which causes them to blink in surprise since it should have been able to turn aside any lesser undead. Kellyn casts her spell at the rug thing, saying “That’s right bitch, shut up.” causing the low muttering sound to cease entirely.

Lan moves her hands and the front three shambling creatures stop and look over at her and then slowly turn to crawl back into the pits. Osmand fires his arrow at the hanging creature and hits solidly but causes no damage. The back four creatures rise up and float over the pits and continue towards us with their arms outstretched in an attempt to touch and kill anything they contact.

As the undead creatures continue to shuffle forward, I see the rug demon twitch and a portal to another demonic plane begins to open up underneath it.

I quickly use Thass again, asking it to help me close the portal, and draw back a glowing shaft of light which streaks towards the opening portal, closing it before anything can come through.

Elyise shoots the rug thing with her crossbow but appears to have no effect.
Aelfric strums their lute and sings an odd little sound, but it also seems to not have any effect on the floating creatures. Lan makes the same gesture she made earlier at the floating creatures, and two of them stop and slink back into the pits.

One of the remaining ghost creatures tries to reach out and touch Kellyn. It’s not able to touch her but it’s moving in such a way as to appear to have a hypnotic effect which Kellyn is able to completely ignore.

Osmand shoots at the rug thing and manages to hit it successfully, but we can not tell how much damage we have done to it.

Jaeger etches a circle around himself quickly, calling up a warding power to protect himself. I continue to use Thass, and shoot at the rug thing, hitting it squarely.
Tobias uses his dagger again, and stares hard at the rug, telling it “I said do. Not. Speak.” Aelfric sings a simple song, and all of us feel just a little more inspired.

Kellyn grimaces and mutters “I hope this works” as she casts a wild spell to try to destroy the ghosts. I feel a massive spell go off, and a circle appears across the floor reaching all the way over to the silver door at the other end, inscribed in glowing green Fyrewerian. “abandon all hope those crossing into this realm” The rug thing falls limply into one of the pits and disappears. Jaeger’s warding deflects the magic around him, and the other ghost creatures also crawl back into the pits and disappear entirely.

We are able to walk all the way across the pits without further encounters to see the giant silver double doors covered in webbing that comes from a single key-hole. We hear skittering noises from the other side of the doors, and they open to reveal Lloth standing there in full glory, with an army of a hundred thousand spiders behind her poised ready to attack.

Wide-eyed, Tobias and I quickly look around for some means to escape, and see a heavily disguised walkway off to the left. We grab everyone and throw them into the passage behind us, yelling that we needed to run and run fast.
We run with the panic of someone knowing they are being chased by the wrath of a god, expecting every moment to be overcome by thousands of angry spiders. But nothing follows us, and after a moment, we realize that nothing can cross over the massive Fyrewerian ward that was thrown in place by Kellyn’s wild magic.

Debris is everywhere and tunnels have been collapsed to prevent our escape from the Underweb. I recognize the space we were headed into though, and as quickly as I am able to, I brush off the floor to see a small silver cube on the ground. I remember the portal functions, and the small silver cube I had picked up previously and tell the party to hold on to me. We step through and find ourselves in the center of a drow city, but look up and see …stars? It is the open sky. I look up and, with some surprise, recognize the constellations as putting us in the middle of Tir Na Nasaleen… or… what remains of it. We are surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the drow city, but no one pays us any attention, because we were all wearing the cloaks and brooches of the drow patrol we had dispatched only a few hours… days? before.

We decide to use this to our advantage, and travel along the southern roads, as far out of the city as we can get. As we walk, the sun rises, and the cloaks evaporate off of us into smoke.

.oOo..oOo..oOo.

“…bide your time and flee when the goddess shakes her web.”

Flee we did.

We came face to face with the Dread Lady herself, and are surviving to tell the tale. Our first priority is finding a place of safety to rest and evaluate what we do next. The stanzas of the note will tell us more, I think. We still need to locate some sort of key from a tower. We need to … we need to do so many things. There’s also the matter of recovering, if possible, all of our missing or stolen belongings from the cart. At the very least I have to recover the two sylvan saplings. Their loss is like a pain in my heart.

But now that we are out of the Underweb and once again under open sky, our priority is safety and rest. The connection to the divine is restored now, and I need to see if there is advice or counsel that my reluctant deity can provide me. We have a task ahead of us, an adventure that should we survive, will be told for generations to other adventure seekers.

I just hope we can survive it.
I like this bow, Thass. But I am wary of it. I know the willpower that it takes for me to simply listen to it as an advisor, instead of allowing it to control me. I must admit though that it has been truly helpful. We shall see what happens, though for the moment I am thankful to have such a powerful weapon in my hands, knowing what lies ahead.

“The bow of beasts dissolves the taint of the corrupted,
The bitter ice hides a giant’s sword to crack Abyssal armor.
Search The Lady’s wisdom and the book of flesh
Bide your time, and flee when the goddess shakes her web.
A pair of keys: a blackened tongue, a golden word
Pass through three gates: serpent, darkness, stone.
Kill the queen in her black pearl, and find
Near the throne a fourth gate – home.”

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1/2/2022 – The Floor is Lava? Nope. The floor is Nothing.

We are in a passage leading out of the magma caverns, and it is covered in webbing. As we are traveling through the passage, we hear voices in front of us. When we turn the corner, we see 4 drow with swords on their hips. They say something, and Jaeger is able to say something, but it is poorly worded apparently, as all 4 draw their weapons and lunge at us to attack. One of them manages to stab Jaeger, and he grabs them to fight. The other two turn to attack Kellyn. Kellyn promptly smashes their heads together with a satisfying “clunk” sound, and Tobias smashes one of the ones attacking Kellyn with his mace, effectively killing him instantly. The bard sings a quick little jingle which seems to give Jaeger some extra inspiration as he grapples with the two other drow.
The remaining drow fighting with Kellyn manages to stab at her, but the rapier only bends when it comes in contact with her.

With two of their companions incapacitated, the other two turn tail and begin to run. Tobias dashes ahead of them using his speed to knock them back with his maces, and Osmand puts an arrow through both of their skulls.

I step forward to cut the throat of one of them to make sure they are dead, and lay him down so he doesn’t bleed out on everything. With all 4 of the drow dead we go through and search the bodies to find:

4 dwarven hand crossbows,
4 ammunition belts holding 12 crossbow bolts
4 brooches, each made of 3 pieces of amethyst
4 small shields made of a mottled metal
4 rapiers made of the same mottled metal as the shields.
4 extremely fine cloaks

I take one of the crossbows and ammunition belts to replace the one I gave to the squirrels, and I also take one of the cloaks to replace the one I am currently wearing. Elyise and Aelfric also take one of the cloaks. Tobias claims one of the small shields, Aelfric claims one of the rapiers. Osmand claims the last cloak, and we cut a hole into the webbing to hide the bodies only to see the black expanse of void behind it.

We yeet the bodies through the hole and then close the webbing back up again and continue on our way down the passage. As we come around the next corner, we see the ceiling crawling with spiders that look like they are ready to drop down on our heads. We look around, and I ask the magic users if any of them know how to make an air barrier or some kind of moving shield to keep things from falling on our head. They say no, and Lan tries to use a spell to make the spiders smaller. The spell works, and the spider… creature.. thing.. which appears to be nothing but a mass of legs shrinks down from 10 ft across to 5 feet across and it shrieks and tries to scuttle away.

Aelfric quickly points out that it will likely warn everything around us, and Osmand tries to shoot it in the middle of the mass of legs, but the arrow just passes through it. Kellyn tries to cast some kind of spell and a stream of water shoots out of it and it falls down and curls up dead.
Thinking it was an actual spider, I go over to harvest some of the legs as a delicacy, but find pieces of drow body at the center, so am uncertain about it. Tobias confirms it looks like spider, and the bard says it’s a chwinchia – a poor unfortunate that displeased the spider queen.

I do end up taking the legs, and since they are throrouly dehydrated already, I crumble them up into flakes and put them into a box to use as seasoning for later. (yum crispy spider!)
We hear more voices coming from the passage ahead, and as we look for what to do next, in the deep corner, we see a web pocket tucked away where we could hide. We decide to hide, and as I crouch in the corner, I find a small cube of silver about a centimeter across. I show it to the group, and they say it feels like one of the transportation devices that would keep a portal open. I keep it safe until we can figure out where it links to, and we cautiously continue down the passage.

We approach a large opening that comes out into a black spherical room with passages that lead out in different directions. The floor is polished black marble, and two sections of the wall are covered with silver and iron scrollwork that looks like webbing. The scrollwork meets up at the top of the room in a dome shape. The floor has the images of the different types of portal keys at various points, but it wobbles alarmingly when we step foot on it.

I ask the party where we go from here, and the bard says something about the Hall of Greater Webbing. I point out that the scrollwork looks like webbing, so this could be that place. The passage to the left appears to go straight out and maybe up, as does the one straight across, but the one to the right appears to go down.

There is an odd tremble in the air, and suddenly there are 4 drow suddenly appear on the bronze star. They say something in drow, and Jaeger responds. Surprisingly, they nod, and continue on down the path straight across from us. The party is indecisive about which way to go, so I head off down the left passage. We encounter another party of 4 drow, but they ignore us completely, and we breathe a sigh of quiet relief and keep moving.

The space ahead is heavily webbed, and we can see that it clears out a bit, but is shivering and shaking. We look up to see a stream of webbing that sticks us all to the walls. The bard manages to avoid being stuck, and Tobias, Kellyn, and Jaeger all manage to shrug out of the webbing but Osmand, Elyise, and I are still stuck fast. The bard draws their rapier and tries to cut the webbing, but the rapier flashes red, and sets everything on fire instead.

Kellyn manages to put the fire out, and the webbing is singed enough that we can break free. We see a 5 ft spider is still charging at us. The bard stabs at the spider, and manages to hit it squarely. It begins steaming, and Osmand draws his bow and tries shoots it twice.

The spider tries to jump and bite Kellyn. Osmand and I both shoot the spider and manage to wound it. Kellyn jumps towards the spider, and brawls with it, but doesn’t manage to cause any damage. The spider twists and turns to try to get Kellyn off of it’s back, and Lan successfully shrinks the spider down. Osmand’s second shot hits the spider in one of it’s eyes. Kellyn jumps up and down on it, and the spider collapses and begins twitching. The two other large spiders that had crawled out turned around and crawled right back into their holes to hide. Since this spider was not dehydrated, I take a moment to harvest the legs for later, and we continue on the path, which begins to go in an upward direction.
It leads out into a large central cavern which looks like a major anchor point for the webbing. As we look around the cavern we see a large citadel with open turrets. We see 20-30 warriors walking around on various levels.

A group of 16 warriors marches out across the drawbridge towards us, but the bard is adamant that this is not where we are supposed to be, so we turn around and head back into the passage we came out of before the warrior party can reach us. We see the two spiders from before, and one of them turns into smoke, and the other turns into a dark skinned woman who charges at us screaming.

I feel a strong pulse from Thass, the demon-killer bow, and I pull it out without question and knock an arrow. The rest of the party sees me draw the bow and starts trying to prepare to fight the demons. One of the demons opens a portal to a realm full of other demons, and the other jumps at Tobias to stab him.

The bow tells me that I can stop the summoning, and I agree, pulling the string and letting loose a bolt of energy that strikes the opening portal, causing it to vanish.

Tobias tries to dodge the strikes and doesn’t manage to get out of the way entirely but is saved from taking any damage because of the leyan armor he wears. Elyise shoots the demon that looks like a woman with something that is coated in a viscous looking liquid, but it doesn’t seem to do anything.

Lan says something in a language that sounds gravelly and dark, making a “shoo!” gesture with her hands. The demon who turned to a woman suddenly screams as a second portal opens up, and she is sucked back into it. It closes behind her, and the demon that turned into smoke is all that’s left.

Osmand turns to watch the corridor behind us, and he sees another group of 4 drow that come running around the corner, but suddenly skid to a stop.

The demon that turned into a cloud moves to try to envelop me. I mentally ask the bow if there’s anything we can do against the cloud, and I get a sense that if I pull a little harder on the string it will be effective. I notice the string is a little tougher to pull back, and the arrow looses with a cracking sound, noticeably causing damage somehow to the glowing green cloud.

The cloud drops around me, and I can feel it trying to poison me, but I am thankfully immune to poison effects so am able to just shrug it off. I can tell though, that if this were to hit any of the other party members, it would cause some serious damage.

Osmand, the bard, and Elyise engage the group of drow coming up the corridor behind us, and the bard points their rapier (which is now glowing blue) and a wave of green gas rolls out towards the drow, causing them to cough and sputter. Osmand rapid fires an arrow through the head of one, dropping him instantly.

A glowing circle of magic appears around Jaeger’s feet, and the air hums thickly, and Lan says something else in that gravelly language. Suddenly I am struggling against being sucked down into a gate that opened up to pull the cloud into it. I manage to pull myself free right before it closes behind me with a snap, and I hear Jaeger mutter an obscenity under his breath as he frantically yells to the party to duck! The air grows thick and the power leaps and arcs and seems to increase exponentially, and suddenly Jaeger is radiating power and light in a brilliant radius. The 3 remaining drow behind us cover their eyes and start screaming, and Tobais also covers his eyes and starts cursing. The two spiders that fled from us earlier crawl out of the passageways on either side, tearing holes into the sides of the webbing and start clawing their way towards us.

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The Quest Poem

The bow of beasts dissolves the taint of the corrupted,
The bitter ice hides a giant’s sword to crack Abyssal armor.
Search The Lady’s wisdom and the book of flesh
Bide your time, and flee when the goddess shakes her web.

A pair of keys: a blackened tongue, a golden word
Pass through three gates: serpent, darkness, stone.
Kill the queen in her black pearl, and find
Near the throne a fourth gate – home.

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Travel log
  • Per margins of journal, drow consider Trisonoma to be a great sacrifice to help bring Spider Bitch over
  • Corra put on the Drow chainmail (P180) – no dex penalty; places leather in boat (Str+2D, no dex penalty), and detects as magical. She puts on the black silk gloves help with dexterous/nimble finger actions, +2pips to Dex. and adds the highly polished onyx stone, size of a robin’s egg.
  • Composite Longbows: min 3D+1 Str, +2pips to Str damage. Power is transferred into the shot
  • Clerical Wand dedicated to something: Destroy Human Magic, 50 pts – Cause Moderate Wounds. Three word phrase activation. Used the wand to charge the Staff of Charging 22 charges, now (27/50). Wand breaks apart.
  • At the Nomadic Outpost: calls themselves the Mubers(sp?). traded 5 Edebi longbows for a stack of processed skins a foot high (8 skins).
  • Dark Lands is another word for the plains of the Underworld/Underdark (per the nomads).
  • Xuxan goes missing from watch on the 11th day of travel – signs of struggle and signs of a large riding lizard.
  • Tracked Xuxan to a cave entrance on a hill that is magically darkened. Also on a Form: Human leyline.
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Cora Returns

https://mistressofmemory.blogspot.com/2021/08/cora-returns.html

A year and a half.

It may sound like a long time to some, but it’s not. Not really. At least not for me, for whom time is essentially meaningless. What is an hour? A day? A week? A month?

In comparison to the endless stretch of eternity, these things are merely mortal constructions and concepts created to fulfill their need to quantify the space of time that they exist in. Grains of sand in an endless sea of desert.

.oOo..oOo..oOo.

We were defending a wall. A city under siege. There was a cacophany of chaos and sound, and then an impact. I found myself falling. The glimpse of Tobias’ horrified face as I crashed into the rushing river below, one of the last things I recall seeing. I hit the water with enough force that I blacked out…

Things were dark and cold, and it seemed only to be the blink of an eye.

When I finally awoke, I found myself laying upon a bier of raised rock and moss. The echoes of a sonorous chanting still resonated in my ears and my bones. A muted, green-tinged shaft of sunlight shone through a small gap, and I slowly sat up and started taking measure of myself and my surroundings.

I still had my beautifully carved maple and dragonbone bow, and my sword. These laid out beside me carefully, but in pristine condition and within easy reach. My armor was damaged, but still basically functional, and I wore the sheer gauzy green robes that I was fond of, somehow undamaged, like a shroud. I still had a pack, laying against the base of the stones, and it contained the druidic etched scroll tube, though it had obviously been water damaged. It also still contained the small bag of various gemstones that I had collected during previous travels. No food, but a full water skin, a small bottle of olive oil, a small jar of honey, and a bottle of the wine I had come to favor the most were set near the pack as well.

I moved slowly at first, and discovered that, while stiff and sore from laying on stone for …however long it has been, I was otherwise uninjured and unmarred. I put myself through a series of gentle stretches and movements to get blood properly flowing again, and then sat down and said a long prayer of thanks.

After a span of time in deep meditation, I looked and saw that the sunlight was coming through what appeared to be a bricked up doorway. I gathered what belongings I still had, worked to pull away the stones, and stepped out into…

Green.

So much green.

I was on a small island, surrounded by murky brown waters. Everything here breathed with verdant, vibrant life and I could feel the ebb and flow of energies swirling around me like a gentle breeze. I looked back at the doorway I just walked through and realized that it was a cairn. I gently restacked the stones and started looking around for pathways that might lead out of the area.

As I explored I discovered that the area I found myself in was nothing BUT small islands and islets, everything teeming with flora and fauna. I took some time and try to adjust my spells and the magic I pull from to be better suited to the area. It was almost cloying, and I found myself wanting to be away from the damp and the wet and the weight of it.

A space of time (weeks maybe?) passed, but I eventually found an area where the water moved faster and seemed a bit clearer. I followed this out to a river, and guessed that this was how I got into the marshlands. Having nowhere else to begin, I moved upstream toward where I set about doing what I do best. Tracking.

It took several more days of steady travel before I reached any signs of population. As much as I dislike going into towns and cities, I looked down at my broken armor and scant supplies, and realized that if I wanted to continue on, this time I would have to. I found a decent looking inn close to the edge of the area to use as a base and began some true reconaissance for the rest of my traveling companions.

It was here that I learned of the time frame that I was actually missing, and was able to glean through rumors and various tales that the group I sought had understandably moved on, but could not gather enough information to tell me which direction to go next. This town did have a reputable armor shop, thankfully, so I was able to get a new set of fine black leather armor made for me. Supple and strong, it fit me well without encumberance, and I praised the maker on his craft. I was able to replace the torn pouches and bags as well, finding task of reprovisioning in a city to be just as frustrating as I remember it being.

Once I had gathered what small belongings I had, I set off in search of notable places of power with the thought that the group might be drawn there considering some of the things I remember them having to do. Plus, how difficult should it be to locate a ship that sails on land?

More difficult than I guessed it would be.

I traveled again for a span of nameless time, listening to rumors and tales to guide my way. Eventually I came across an old grove in an even older enchanted forest, and remembered that it was once called Druidhome. I stopped here for a while to rest and revel in the peace of the green. Being surrounded by verdant life helps me to keep my memories firmly in the present. It’s so easy for me to just let it all disappear into the background when I am on my own.

While I was resting at Druidhome, I took the time to try to remember what tasks the group had been given before I got separated from them. My hope was that some memory might spark a sense of direction or a recollection of a place where we had been headed.

I reflected on the wars currently raging, spurred on by the Spider queen and her drow minions, which were the primary focus for the group as a whole. The Spider queen cares not about anything except her endless goal to take over this plane of existence. She almost succeeded 2000 years ago, a memory that has grown dim with age. She was ultimately supplanted by the rise of the human gods and their devotional service to them rather than to the fear that she cultivated and relished in. Replaced and driven under ground to be banished to the dark. It fueled her anger and resentment even further when the elves of the surface worked in direct opposition to her own children, and she continued to lose power in both the Inner and Outer planes.

This gave rise to a name that rang out like a bell. Trisonora.

A half breed being from both the divine and material planes. Not wholly of one or the other, but belonging to neither as well. They have the desire to steal a realm for themselves, and the current chaos of the ongoing Dark War leaves the grounds ripe for theft. Their goal is not only the theft of a realm, but the linking of Outer, Inner, and Prime Material worlds. This makes them an immediate threat.

I focused my attentions on these rumors specifically and learned that there is a large city somewhere in the mountains on this continent where humans do not go. I was able to gather enough information to tell me that I should head towards an old mage tower to the north east.

I did find the tower, crumbling and abandoned, with no sign of any recent traveler near by. There was a large road, however, and so I followed that road through the winter and on into summer. Eventually I did see the city I guessed was Barth off in the distance, about two or three days journey away. Deciding to continue that direction the next morning, I foraged for a bit and then made a small camp for the night. A stranger approaced and asked if they could share my fire, and I welcomed them with the offer of a shared meal. During the conversations shared, the stranger told me of an odd meeting he had only two mountain ridges over from where we were, with a group of “those human types, plus two elves, all on a ship with wheels!”

So I turned my head toward the road behind me, and set off the next morning in search of the group I knew to be the traveling companions I searched for. The human natives of the area are kind, if extremely skittish and wary of me. They think I am some sort of spirit-made-flesh, and tend to be almost reverential when I come to them for trade or for news of the area. The land here never goes green, and is constantly wreathed in snow and ice, but they are a hearty folk and I enjoy spending time with them when we encounter one another.

Recently, they have been speaking to me about a “dark one” off the road to the south, towards the cities. They say that he can be trusted, only in that what he says tends to be true. But they warn that he also talks with bones, which is something that one shouldn’t do. They call him “Nanaquin” which I learned means only “not of the ice, not of the people.”

It makes me wonder what they call me.

Regardless though, this Nanaquin seems to be exactly the sort of person that the group I seek would try to find. So maybe I could speak with them to find out how close I am to finally locating the adventurers.

I found my way to a house that matched the description that I was given, but there was something that put me ill at ease about it. It was well after nightfall, so I moved cautiously, keeping to the edge of the path, but staying in the shelter and cover of the trees and doing my best to stay silent and stay hidden until I could discover more. There was a clearing with a raging bonfire in the center, but the fire was .. there was a wrongness about it. The flames were not natural colors, and there was a figure moving in slow circles around it, voicing a deep low chanting sound that seemed oddly familiar. That same resonance I felt in my bones when I first woke up in the marshlands.

It put me on edge and made me instinctively check my weapons and surroudings, which is when I heard something crashing along the road with enough noise that it could wake the dead. After a few more moments, I could hear a number of different voices that seemed to be arguing about who would go up the road and who would stay behind with the supplies.

I had to smile to myself when I recognized Tobais’ voice among them, realizing that I had indeed finally found the group I sought. I smiled too, at the familiarness of it all, to think that this was what they thought of as being stealthy and I moved more into the cover of the trees so that I could make my way closer to them. It was nice to know that some things didn’t change. They kept arguing about what their next steps should be, when two of them pointed out that they thought that they noticed something else in the woods as well. Realizing that they meant me, and not wanting to risk being attacked, I stepped out of the shadows silently and told them that they really needed to work on being more quiet.

The look of awed amazement and the immediate bombardment of questions that I got was almost enough to make me laugh aloud. Oh, how I have missed this ecclectic group of adventurers.

I noticed there were a couple of new faces in the sea of familiar ones, but realized that the reunion would need to wait at least a little while longer. I told them quietly that I would answer their questions soon enough, but the person ahead of them demanded our immediate attention. I told them what I knew of him, and suggested a cautious approach.

So, as a group, we approached the chanting man to see him talking with a figure shrouded in the flames who spoke of wars and the goddess walking again. The figure was large, towering over 8 feet, and continued to tell Nanaquin about the “emmisary of the Dark One” that he was supposed to meet and deliver a message to. After the conversation completed, the figure vanished, and some of the party members strode into the clearing as bold as brass.

Nanaquin glared at them and accused them of coming to set his house on fire again. There’s a story there that I am sure I will hear about later. They somehow bluffed their way past that part of the conversation and lead him to believe that THEY were the emmissaries that he had been instructed to find and that they would be the ones that delivered the message to where it needed to go.

I am not sure how exactly they got him to believe it, but believe it he did. He handed over a scroll case that was clearly carved from the femur bone of a human. He told us of a rest stop where we would meet our contact, and that further instructions would follow there.

The scroll tube was accepted, and we moved away back down the road to regroup and figure out next steps.

.oOo..oOo..oOo.

Author’s Note:

5 years of real time have passed since the last update here. In that time frame, massive life changes happened to turn my world upside down. But I’m back to gaming again, and have been able to rejoin the previous gaming crew with an old familiar character. It’s good to be back. ~ NKH

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Exploring Underneath the Monument of Badir al Museok
  • in 20ft empty room with marble walls, behind the secret door, is a rough-hewn 10 ft corridor that turns right, and ends after 100 ft to another secret door -
  • 30 ft octagonal room; 8 ft tall obelisk of black stone, with alcoves 10 ft deep in the cardinal directions. Detailed engravings (magical writing) around the edge of the obelisk; black on black on black. Left alcove – archway leads to an opening to a large pit, and a body is falling past. Across alcove – empty. Has space for a possibly missing statue – there is a hidden door. Right alcove – closed door.
  • Magical script is medium/low power of Modify Image or Mind
  • Behind hidden door is 30ft square room, in the center is a 10 ft cube. Flat ceiling is only 10 ft higher. Right side of room has an alcove. Cube is hollow and filled with 4 giant snake skeletons with fanged human heads. 2 heads have been bashed. They were surrounding/guarding something that is no longer there. The empty alcove again has a hidden door, which leads to….
  • 30ft octagonal room with a black obelisk. Obelisk has a create air spell underneath. Modify mind/Create Air; medium spell range for the Auditory effect. However, it is still a door to the right, empty alcove straight across, and an archway to the left. Leads to a pit but there is a falling scroll, helmet – there is no bodies.
  • Behind obvious door on right; 50 ft circular room; clear glass altar in the center with light shining down. There are five inscriptions on the walls, and big doors at the other cardinal directions.
  • Inscriptions are in Ancient Desert Common – Seccor welcomes you to his tomb. He is a God and is here to purify your soul. Seccor welcomes sacrifices at his altar. His might will tear apart evil and put an end to it all.
  • Seccor is a Desert diety known as the God of Morning, Sunrise, Spring Harvest, used to represent the first sunlight before planting and buried in the Fall to represent the dying/fallowness of the Fall and Winter.
  • Jaegar sacrificed the Ring of Undead Protection to Seccor; received a Glove of Seccor: is made of leather and metal; a harness that comes down the wrist and forearm. Clerical item that can only be used by clerics aligned to light and good energy; wil damage others. Attuned to the undead – recognizes when undead is nearby, and discharging bolts of energy to the undead by invoking the name of Seccor. Has four charges, one for each finger. Will probably fall apart after it uses all charges; carrying god-like power and used by aiming it at the undead creature.
  • Entering the left door and right door takes us into 30 ft obelisk rooms with archway and alcoves. The center door leads to a 10 ft bridge with 20 ft gaps (50 ft wide room) stretching into the darkness; bridge covered in moss, wet, and smelled of rot and death. There were moans from below.
  • After numbering the obelisks, went back to the pit of Obelisk 1 and found another opening 150 ft up/250ft down (pit loops). Attached and left rope behind. Upper path is a stairway to a crystal room with a LOT of beams of light in all directions. A bunch of light sources on the walls but four really intense ones. One two feet across the floor; another right to left six feet in the air; one four feet in the air, and one further off about 20 ft across about three feet in the air. Walking into one of the beams throws a high-powered lightning bolt at you.
  • Tried to detect the location of the beams and had to externalize a 93 pt + ley line power Perception spell.
  • Tried to destroy with an area of effect Winds of Mundanity at 106 pts; had to externalize but meditation means Jaegar controlled it into a 106 Destroy Mind spell. Jaegar seems to have great powers of suggestion to the rest of the party.
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Still in Phoenix - Libraries and Bathhouses
  • Library Trash Pile – shredded human remains, trashed armor and weapons that could be used as scrap.
  • Small magical oil lamp of move/control spirir and demons – probably summons a djinn – prefers to be called El’Kariffa (cleaned up room and received one boon; El’Kariffa will travel with us until we ask of the boon) – pushed button for rock wall to fall and open passage to next room
  • Spartan room with two doors and a giant carving of a skull – runes automatically read, “Death to All Who Enter Here”. Beyond the carving is an empty room with a brown stain. We go right to the next room -
  • Hanging crystals from the ceiling reflect the low coals, floors highly polished; frescos on the walls of legendary creatures; on the right is a dais with a stonework screen. Small set of stairs connecting it to the floor; three doorways on opposite wall – looks like a court receiving room or ballroom. Once you step in, music plays. You must dance across the room to the next hallway that leads to an iron-banded door to the next room -
  • Gentle counter-clockwise spiral slide down to the next level. Slideout has a little bit of lighting onto an avenue outside. Across the avenue is a building with rose-colored stone; all sides covered by sand and rubble; three main doors still accessible -
  • Opens into gallery, stairs on either side leading down to main floor with decorative domed rooms in the corners of the building. Between columns are very large depressions (dried up public baths) and black and white marble benches. Ylsse gathers some seeds. There are dead adventurer skeletons – while trying to search, a wraith attacks.
  • Defeated the wraiths and the skeletons it summoned/raised. There is a drain exit and additional exits in this bathhouse – need to choose next path.
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Exploring the One-Way Path of Phoenix

Dining Room: Khaleef Mubarak – gold cup; red wine. After eating with gusto, one of Khaleef’s rings are left on the table for each of us, with the departing saying from the ghost, “Long Life”. (2 – 500 gp ring) Everyone collects their footwear and ring, and proceed to the next area
Hallway with windows to the outside – door leading forward and door leading outside; body nailed/on the door. While checking for traps, door dissolved into sand. Forward is the kitchen
Kitchen – all cupboards are empty. Pipes have three levers. (left – water; middle – water; right – water). Water does not flow into anything but the drain. Door on far side has auto-translated writings that say, “Go out through here”. Next area:
Long narrow hall; center of hall is a large obelisk of black stone with a raised hand, palm facing kitchen door. Several bodies on floor. Window near the end of the room shining light on bodies (2 humans, 1 elf, 1 dwarf w/ a pickaxe – killed in combat). Once Tobias moves past the obelisk, a second Tobias appears and must be fought. Tobias successfully defeated his doppelganger and looted all mundane items.
Jaegar attempted to duplicate – Taryn set everything and herself on fire during the fight – Jaegar willpowered the doppelganger out of existence, no items dropped.
Taryn on fire ran out into the courtyard/road between us to the next house; Lan spent an hour magically healing Taryn of all wounds. Next house/door leads to:
Darkened room with torches: musty smell of stale air. Runes auto-translate to – “Step carefully if you enter here, this is not a room for cowards. Conquer your fears will be rewarded.” Lan remembers that this building is a maze.
Black stone that seems to absorb all light. Passed thru darkness and ended up in mirror (white marble) hallways. Lan cast path spell again thru the mirror hallways; continuing to follow Tobias (with snow goggles) until…
Corridor stretching into distance; arched door in front with mosaics and bound with metal, latched on the left. Pushed door and…failed. After Ylsse investigated the mechanics, the door needs the latch to be pulled down and pulled on the left. Entered a room that…
has long been looted. Chests, furniture, etc. – everything smashed. Something is long dead buried in the center of the trash. Tobias remembers this room used to be the library. Belonged to a cleric that had invited the previous party to return and peruse the library (before its destruction).

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Entering Phoenix: Ancient Desert City
  • Reported to Court; handed over the Medallion of Honor to the Oasis of the White Palm
  • Medallion of Honor + daughter = image of mountain range, zooms in on ancient city off to the northwest of the Oasis -
  • Accidentally teleported Taryn. With enough Research, we can learn the spell Teleport Human.
  • City used to be known as Phoenix; home of Pashas Brewers; descendents of the ones that brought and hid magic from the world; city is punished due to the one that introduced magic created a gate and accidentally summoned a great evil. The evil being brought ruin to this area and surrounding areas – the areas of Carthag. The city is underground.
  • Sphinx confirms Tobias has been here before but no longer remembers. We will have to fall thru the sands to the Underground.
  • Made it to Phoenix; underground city with buildings of white marble; landed on a street.
  • Courtyard – per Tobias’s memory there’s a trick to getting in. Words on door automatically translates to known written language, translates to “My fun is your fun.”
  • walking in, you get hit in the face with a pie. you are in a sitting room with chairs and couches and very nice frescoes. There is a throne chair in sitting room, “Rule ye all who sit here.” And a door to the right. Sitting in the chair will have it announce your full name and status.
  • Kellyn cursed by Staff of Antrum which needs to be returned to the creator to be given back to the original giftee. Last surviving member of her family (brother has died at some point).
  • Next room: dining room with an arched ceiling with elven and nautical themes; brass oil lamps with seven spouts. Wool rugs; long low table that can sit 24 guests sitting on the floor. Rugs attack anyone wearing shoes.
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And then everyone died.....
.... and rocks fell on them.....

They rode hard for the gate, hoping to make it to safety. They knew of the protection of the Oasis, and they hoped that they could find the last clues they needed on their quest for the artifacts to defeat the army outside!

WHAM. WHAM WHAM WHAM.

And the rocks fell and killed them all.

Meanwhile, OUR adventurers were inside doing something else.

[you guys do know you can update this during game with your story like this, right? That way you know what you were doing when….]

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