Mysteries & Myths

Death Awaits (Episode 28)

Jacare’s Journal
Entry #1
We escaped the undead dragon and found ourselves back in the crypt of the ancient kings of the vale. All was quiet for the moment. A few of us took up defensive positions at the door while the rest spread out and moved cautiously towards the alter at the front of the crypt. The last time we had investigated this place we fled a creature of darkness that sent chills up my spine and left several of us injured and slow to recover for days. In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think that it was odd that an acid breathing undead dragon was now menacing us as well, but we needed to try and discover what had happened to Lady Saldor so I put the thought from my mind for the moment.

Entry #2
Soon after entering the crypt Varis called a halt, he thought he saw someone lying on the floor, behind a column. Benus went to investigate. I kept watch at the door, a tension building within me and waited. And then it happened, like it seems to always happen. A shriek from outside and the doors shuddered. The undead dragon apparently wasn’t done with us and was trying to get in. I readied myself for the attack. Faintly, in the background, behind the shrieks of the dragon and the banging on the door I heard shouts from my companions. “Watch out Benus” someone shouted, I heard Moonglum’s strange chanting and caught the sight of strange lights from the corner of my eye, “Don’t let it touch you” someone yelled, “Where did it go”, “Watch the columns”. The door seemed to be holding for now so I turned my attention, and just in time. A small wispy creature of death was repositioning itself to attack Moonglum, who had retreated back towards me. I surprised the thing and killed it. And it was quiet again.
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Entry #3
And just as quickly our world went from calm to chaos in the blink of an eye. With no one watching the door, it suddenly burst open, shattering into pieces. A gush of acid spewed into the crypt spattering onto Moonglum while most of us were clear of the path. Darkness filled the doorway, and just as soon as it did a burst of unnatural daylight sprang forth and we could see again. Badger and I rushed to the dragon to try and keep it from gaining entry too far into the crypt. The rest of the companions would have to deal with the undead creature that haunted this place. With the beast confined to the building Badger and I were making a good go of keeping the beast at bay. I think we may have even been gaining the advantage. Unfortunately, one of its claws slipped past my plate mail and caught my flesh. I suddenly felt a strange sensation fill my bones. I couldn’t move! My body was paralyzed, but my mind took in all around me. Badger continued pressing the dragon, I heard shouts again; “help him, he’s down”, “watch out”. Soon I saw Varis join the fight with the dragon, and suddenly I could move again. Unfortunately it seemed that the rest of the party had not done well against the deathly visage. Before I could re-engage the dragon the spectral hands of the undead creature reached out from a nearby wall to try and grasp me. I dodged out of the way and rushed to engage the dragon again. It seemed we had it on the run and I did not want to let it escape.

Entry #4
I should know by now that things rarely go the way you plan, or want them to. The damned undead dragon escaped us, just when it seemed we may have been getting the better of it. Alacry had gone down and I dragged her back into the crypt. We would have to worry about the dragon another day. I rushed to the front of the crypt where the rest of the party had been dealing with the undead specter. Moonglum was lying on the floor, haggard and tired looking, his hand raised as if he had just finished directing those strange arcane energies he uses. Benus looked pale as death, and was wobbling up to his feet, leaning heavily against a column to keep his balance. Badger was bent over on a knee, recovering as well. There were potion bottles laying on the floor, and all of them looked as if they had just nearly seen death delivered upon them. And then I saw the body of Lady Saldor. It was the body that Varis had seen first. Checking her over we found she was dead, and no clues as to what she may have discovered here.

Entry #5
We needed to rest so I took charge. Barricade the entrance, set up watch, and hope that whatever new powers that Benus was discovering that he had could help mend our party back together. Aside from a pack of those damnable zombies we were able to rest and regroup. Searching the rest of the crypt we found nothing. So back to the White Keep we decided was the next step.

Entry #6
Orc balls and Ogres teeth! I am beginning the hate dragons. We had been making our way back to the White Keep when that undead dragon descended from the skies again to attack us. And it did not go well. Again I felt that there was some similarity in the tactics that this dragon used that were similar to the black dragon we had faced in the mountains of Khundrakar. We fought it as best we could, but it was smart. And again shortly after engaging it the zombies appeared adding more danger to our already perilous fight. We did our best to gain the advantage but we never did. Even after Moonglum imbued Badger and me with the ability to fly, we could not keep up with the dragon. The undead began to overwhelm the rest of the party on the ground and it was all we could do to stay alive. We finally ran off the dragon, and killed enough of the zombies so that we could at least retreat to the relative safety of the keep. I begin to tire of these cat and mouse games, especially since we seem to be the mice.

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Mysteries & Answers? (Episode 27)

Moonglum’s Journal
Entry #1
We arrived at the White Keep with little incident, avoiding any groups of undead as we went. The Keep looked to be in better condition than many of the other buildings in town. There was blood smeared on the walls and corpses littered the ground but it’s doors and windows were intact, as well as locked. Not only were the doors barred, but there was another note regarding The Whispered One nailed to it. Who is placing these notes, and to what end? We then headed through the courtyard in the direction we thought we had spotted a possible survivor. As we continued we noticed that many of the stone buildings were pitted, as if acid had been corroding them for years. An eerie similarity to the stone bridges of the black dragon’s lair was not lost on us. We spread out and suddenly heard a horrible shriek. Varis climbed a building to gain a better vantage, but before we knew what was happening, a horrible sense of dread filled the air, and banking from around one of the larger buildings the undead, skeletal corpse of what I swear looked just like the black dragon we had slain, was flying straight for us. I looked to my companions, but they were all stuck in their tracks, as if the dreadful sight of this beast was simply too much for them to bear. All but Alacry, she had the strangest grin on her face and was notching an arrow. I quickly called to bear my most powerful arcane attacks to try and slow the horrible undead beast down, and dashed towards Benus, we would need him if we wished to survive. All hell broke loose after that. The group was scattered and every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of one of them, apparently regaining their senses, and looking for an opportunity to engage in combat or attempting to take refuge. The beast may be dead, but it was smart. It circled around the buildings and would come flying in to rain acid down upon us, or to bite and claw at us when we were separated and vulnerable. Eventually we all took shelter in buildings and hunkered down. The seconds seemed to pass like hours, but all fell quite. When we finally ventured back to the streets Jacare yelled out to see if there were any surviving villagers, but all that did was draw a huge crowd of zombies to our location. We all dashed to the White Keep and I used a simple trick of magic that my mentor had taught me to open the doors. All was quiet within.
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Entry #2
I had spent much time in the Keeps library in the past and thought I had learned all there was to learn regarding our investigation. How wrong I was. After gaining entry we searched for clues regarding what had transpired with the undead invasion. We found little, save for a lone note on a desk stating that an evacuation was taking place. We did find the cities tax records however, and low and behold our good friend Tyrus’ address was listed. We may have to pay his home a visit. After that we decided to search the library for clues one last time. We discovered some old parchments regarding the history of the region, and more specifically The Grey Family History. I suggested we cross reference these documents with the current tax records to look for any living relatives of the Grey Family and too our astonishment we found one. It was none other than Badger! He seemed as shocked as we did to discover that he came from a family whose line was considered the founders of the Grey Vale. What does this all mean? We needed to rest so we looked for the safest place and eventually found a bunker with a passage to it secreted behind some furniture. It was well stocked and we decided to rest. But my mind was racing with all of this new information, and so I returned to the library and began pouring through the oldest of records, Varis assisted and proved invaluable. What I discovered next was simply astonishing.

Entry #3
In a nook of the library, back behind several crates, I found some of the oldest documents. The ink was faded, Varis brought me extra candles. The language was odd, but I eventually was able to translate, an old dialect that was a mixture of several languages and remixed with a version of the common tongue. The documents were brittle, great care had to be taken. It was then that I read a passage about The Whispered One! I stopped and re-read the passage again. The Whispered One, God of Necromancy, God of the Undead, Lord of the Rotted Tower, The Undying King, God of Secrets, The Maimed God, and then finally a true name, Vecna. It spoke of this God being betrayed by his lieutenant and his hand being chopped off, his eye taken out. Is this the one and the same Whispered One that we are finding notes about? But there was more. All of the children’s stories about Gods. Bahamut, a god of healing, and an ancient legendary silver dragon; The Raven Queen, goddess of undeath; Morradin, god of the dwarves, one of strength, morality and goodness, and Talos Stormcaller. But these were not just references to the gods. These texts spoke of them as if they had existed and that their followers could draw great power and strength from them. But something happened, they began to fade, their followers lost their powers, and the gods retreated. Retreated it said, but did not die. Were the gods real, did they exist? Do they exist? Are these strange events regarding the undead attack and the notes all part of The Whispered One’s followers trying to revive their god? What other myths are possibly true? And what time was it? The growls of my stomach were the only thing that let me know that I had passed the night in research, my mind was spinning. I rarely felt the need to rest, but I had to stop, to think, to take pause. I retreated to the bunker and related my findings to my companions. They were skeptical to say the least. All but Benus. After I described Bahamut he came to me and asked many more questions. Eventually he told me he had a dream during the night. In it he saw the image of a man appear before him. A tall man, taller than any he had ever seen with silver hair, a silver goatee and a comforting face. Odd. Also amongst our discoveries this day was the journal of Lady Saldor. Apparently she was concerned about some terrible creature of the undead being freed from one of the mausoleums. She was planning to investigate it as soon as she could. No other entries of interest. I must rest, then we set out again.

Entry #4
Before we set out the next morning we took the time to climb one of the towers of the keep and look towards Tyrus’ home. What we saw concerned us. That great skeletal dragon was circling the area and perching on a building every once in a while. We decided we would head towards the mausoleum first to investigate what may have become of Lady Saldor. We hadn’t been in the streets for more than a few moments when that horrible sense of dread started to creep up inside me. This time it was too much. Seeing the skeletal dragon flying at us I ran. I ran like I have never run before. Only one thing filled my mind. Fear, an unnatural fear that I could not shake. I wasn’t the only one running. We all ran as quickly as we could towards the entrance of the mausoleum. We got there just in time, as Benus and Alacry were just darting in when a gush of acid came spewing forth! Quickly they slammed the doors to the mausoleum. We were safe. Or were we?…

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A Glorious Return (Episode 26, Part 2)

Moonglum’s Journal
Entry #1
The wonders of this dwarven citadel will never cease to amaze me! I think I have found the most astonishing spellbook ever. Although the others are disgusted by the look of the worn leather bindings and the dessicated tongue nailed to its cover I have discovered that great power is held within it. Another strange thing, as we gathered our things to return to Drakonheim and deal with the Pale One we found more notes regarding the Whispered One. I am beginning to think that the childhood stories of the old gods may be more than that. And Benus, his strange powers; and now he babbles in his sleep. There is something going on here. We must hasten to Drakonheim and renew our research.

Entry #2
The road to Drakonheim was uneventful, as expected. It was as we neared the city that things turned strange. It was as if a blight had been sent down upon the surrounding area of the city. And then the undead. We dispatched of several groups of roaming undead until we found our first survivor. It was actually a distant relative of Varis. Her name was Alacry, and she had been sent to investigate the news of some unrest at the town of Drakonheim. What was happening here? What were the Pale One’s plans? Or is there something greater at work? After rescuing her from a band of undead we decided to dodge the undead that seemed to be roaming freely in packs all throughout the outskirts of the city and head to the sewers. We still had the map of the sewers and we intended to use them to move quickly and unseen throughout the city.

Entry #3
The city is overrun. The dead rule the streets, and the bodies of those not turned litter the ground. We made our entry to the sewers and found Greystone easy enough. Nothing but death awaited us there. Worse yet, some of these walking corpses seem to be able to resist my arcane arts, to an extent. There is something at play here that we do not understand. Finding nothing at Greystone we headed out to the White Keep. It was then that we found another note regarding the Whispered One nailed to the door of the building. I quickly added this note to the rest, and perused them again, all together. The thought that occurred to me shocked even myself. Could it be, could these strange notes be referring to one of the ancient ones, one of the gods? My thoughts were disturbed, was that a glimpse of another survivor that I just saw. Mani Marte?

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A Glorious Return (Episode 26, Part 1)

Swiftwind’s Journal
Entry #1
The great worm was dead. We all stood upon the small island and simply stared at the immense treasure of wealth and mighty weapons that lay before us, except Moonglum, he seemed more preoccupied than usual looking through that strange book he found. A strange sense of wonderment and dread filled me at the same time. I fear that our exploits on the road are beginning to take a toll on me. Everyone began to sort through the pile of treasure in amazement until Jacare finally realized that we had not fully explored this underground cave. Still possessing the magical ability to fly that Moonglum had given him he darted off and shortly came back to report that the rest of this cavern was nothing more than some dark corridors and dead ends. After pressing Moonglum a bit he finally performed an arcane ritual that allowed him to decipher some of the abilities of the weapons bearing Durgeddin’s mark on them. I plucked up a bow, Jacare a flail and Benus a shield. Then Moonglum said to put all the coin into a small bag. I thought he had finally succumbed to whatever madness ails him. How could all of this fit into such a small bag? But to my amazement as we dropped the coin in the bag never seemed to fill. And yet, on command Moonglum could reach in and pull out anything we told him, as if it were at the top of the bag, amazing. Then came the long process of collecting our loot from the rest of this enormous complex. We rested and then we gathered all the treasure we had stashed. It seemed though that the walls were pressing in against me. I longed greatly for the fresh air and the trees. Finally we made our way out of the ancient dwarven citadel and headed back to Blasingdell.

Entry#2
After two long days march back down the mountain the bustling town of Blasingdell appeared before us. We headed straight to the dwarven shop that boasted superior outfitting. I was glad to be free of the oppressing feeling of the deep mountain, but my companions were quickly equipping themselves to return to Drakonheim and begin their investigation of the Pale One. It seemed that they were not as touched by the near death experiences as I had been. The dwarf shop keep Tolm told us of some strange note that got the town in a bustle some days back and when we discovered that it was another page regarding the Whispered One. It was then that I knew that my time with my companions was done. They seemed resolute to return to Drakonheim and discover what was at the heart of these cryptic notes and the undead rising. I longed for the soft breeze of the Shimmerwood and the cool smell of wet grass. As they collected their horses I told them that I was not coming, I would stay and show the dwarf how to find his ancient ancestral home. I wished them luck and turned away. If their were gods to pray to I would pray to them now for my friends, but are there any gods left?

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Return to the Black Lake (Episode 25)

Badger’s Journal
Entry #1
Everyone seemed ready to prepare themselves to return to the Black Lake below, until I pointed out that there was one passageway yet unexplored. It was difficult to make our way through it because the river was running through the entire thing, but it was an unexplored section and who knows what was within. Much debate followed regarding if we should even bother exploring it. All I could think of was why start mining a shaft of ore if you are not going to take it all out of the ground. Since I still had the strange ability to fly that Moonglum had given me we decided that Jacare and I would fly over, I’d leave him and I would return for the rest. Why risk the rivers current. Unfortunately there were several creatures waiting our arrival. Just as we rounded the corner volleys of spears came flying out from two separate passageways. Several found there mark and we quickly retreated. The debate began again. In the end we decided to take a brief rest, regroup and make an assault on the creatures waiting within.

Entry #2
After regrouping we prepared to make our way back around the passageway and attack in full force. Yes! An actual full on assault of the enemy. I would fly our party across one at a time and after no more than half a minute we should all be there. Jacare volunteered to go first and hold the line while I brought reinforcement. All in all, I would say it went about as well as might be expected. We knew that we would be fighting on two fronts and expected some possible injuries. I dropped off Jacare and he charged into the main chamber on the west side. Of course, each time I was bringing one of the party over it seemed that the air was filled with spears flying at us. Varis flew over with us in the first wave, though I have no idea how he did that? He then charged in with Jacare. Moonglum was next, and quickly snuck in behind Jacare, who had backed out a little bit, as more spears came flying at me, while I go back for Benus and Swiftwind. By the time I returned with Benus, who charged into the western passage, Swiftwind had climbed the precariously slippery edge of the rock formations to make her way over to the small landing on the western edge. Since I could fly I decided enough was enough with these damned spears flying in from the east and headed that way. With Swiftwind backing me up with her bow we made quick work of the few troglodytes that were attempting to attack us from behind. After that I headed into the main western chamber only to find that the assault was over. The bodies of barely clothed troglodytes littered the floor as well as the corpses of a large pale troglodyte, two troglodytes in plate mail armor, and an incredibly large lizard. It appears that I was simply the cart that lead all of my companions to a glorious battle. At least after a quick search we discovered much coin, mostly silver, and some potions of great value. It now seemed that we were ready to prepare for our return to the Black lake below.

Entry #3
Our preparations took longer than expected. It took us two days to finally get Benus and me feeling ourselves again. We had been ill since entering those flooded chambers just south of the Gitterhame. After that we were ready to confront the black dragon below. We made our way to the chasm that fell to the depths of its lair and stared down, steeling ourselves for battle. We decided to let Moonglum assist most of the party down the long chasm to the lake with some sort of magical power that let the group float down. I decided to climb the ladder, why waste a perfectly good ladder? We had a plan to make our way towards the western shore of the lake and then regroup to make our final preparations but apparently the dragon had different ideas in store for us. Much like our first encounter our progress was abruptly interrupted by the dragon quickly poking his head out of the water and spewing acid at several of us.
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All hell broke loose and it wasn’t until I had retreated around the corner to the west that I found Moonglum heading towards Jacare, who had hidden in a corner. Jacare has seemed most unnerved by this beast both times we’ve encountered it now. I wasn’t sure what was happening to the rest of the group around the corner so I urged Moonglum to give me the ability to fly again, which he did, and I raced off back to where I had seen the great black beast before. It wasn’t but a moment later that Jacare came flying, literally, around the corner behind me carrying Moonglum. We saw the group ahead so we decided it was finally time to press the attack on this vexing creature that had eluded us so much in the past. As Benus, Varis and Swiftwind made there way to the shore I flew close to them, waiting for the creature to show himself again and engage it. Jacare and Moonglum flew past us and headed towards what we thought may be it’s lair across the lake. As I hovered above them we saw an explosion of fire and the familiar smell of sulfur deeper to the east in the lake, and not but a moment later the beast surfaced and spewed forth it’s acid breath upon Benus, Varis and Swiftwind, and then quickly disappeared into the water again.
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A few moments later, off to the east, across the lake I heard the distinct sound of something dropping into a pile of coins. And soon after, the angry shriek of the beast as it headed to what I assumed was its pile of treasure, and whoever had disturbed it! If it was Jacare and Moonglum that did so I hope they will survive. I had other things to do at the time though. With Benus at the shore and no way to continue to the east I picked him up and flew him over to another ledge that allowed him to at least see the small island that Jacare and Moonglum had landed on. Apparently they had found the dragons treasure, and the beast was none too happy. The next few moments were a blur. I was about to fly over and engage the dragon, but it targeted Moonglum and after nearly killing him it flung him into the water like a rag doll. Jacare stood against the beast alone now. Swiftwind was firing arrows as fast as she could, Benus and Varis were trying to get over to engage. I saw Jacare being viciously attacked by the beast and Moonglum being swept downstream. Fight the beast or rescue a companion? I had no choice, I had to rescue Moonglum. I recall how difficult it was to get out of the currents of this underground lake and I didn’t see any way that the thin little elf was going to get himself out. I quickly made my way to him, got him to shore and raced back to Jacare, hoping he was still alive. The battle finally seemed to turn in our favor. The dragon would not leave it’s treasure, and so it was exposed. Arrows flew in from Swiftwind, I finally had a chance to attack and sliced a huge chunk out of its side, a thunderous crash slammed into it as I heard Benus chanting, blue darts of some strange fire seemed to come from where I had dropped off Moonglum, piercing the scales of the beast. And finally……the beast collapsed. It was dead.

Entry #4
The treasure that we found! Amazing! Much wealth of coin but it was the weapons, many with Durgeddin’s mark upon them. It was amazing. But then there was that book that Moonglum was inspecting. It gave me pause. Why nail a dessicated tongue to a book? Why take a book like that? Why does that little elf seem to need to look and read and touch everything strange he comes across? These are things I will never know.

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The Stench (Episode 24)

Swiftwind’s Journal
Entry #1
Having explored nearly all of the complex, and not sure if we dared venture back to the Black Lake, we decided to investigate the remaining passageways of the Glitterhame that had been blocked off with a crude wall made of rocks and some sort of mud mortar. It didn’t take Badger too long to knock out an opening for us and we proceeded into the dark cavern ahead. That damned river flowed through this chamber as well making getting across to the other side a dangerous challenge. However, Moonglum incanted some strange words and touched Badger on the head. Badger could then fly! After a few moments he had carried us all across the river and we began to advance. I noticed the stench just a moment before I noticed the javelins flying towards me. Two of them found there mark and I thought perhaps this was the end of me. But just as I thought I might lose consciousness a strange sensation filled my being and my wounds miraculously were healed. Benus had used whatever strange power he possessed to aid me. We all advanced and quickly dispatched five Troglodytes before they could do much more damage to us. Aside from them the chamber was mostly empty, except for another blocked passage. We moved to that and let Badger get to work on making us an entrance.
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Entry #2
After a short time Badger had made a small entrance. He began to climb through and quickly backed out. He warned us that the low narrow passage ahead was filled with the foul smelling lizard folk and resonated with the shrill sound of chirping. Both sides played a game of cat and mouse launching ranged attacks through the narrow entrance. It seemed a stale mate until Moonglum rushed up and called upon his arcane arts again. He rained down a fiery death of fire into the narrow passage. Badger quickly rushed in and the remaining creatures fled deeper within. Three passages lay beyond and we moved to explore them, leaving a guard to watch the intersection so we would not be ambushed from behind.

Entry #3
We soon found the source of the chirping. The first chamber was some sort of nursery and was filled with the younglings of these lizards folk. Some females were there as well. All of the beasts were huddled against the back wall, frightened. A debate ensued about what to do with them. Apparently Moonglum became impatient and said for us to check the other two hallways and he would guard them. We had just rounded the corner to explore the other passages when a familiar smell of sulfur and a flash of fire came from the nursery. Moonglum rounded the corner and joined us. When asked what happened he simply said, they moved. Sometimes I wonder about him. The rest of the area proved to be nothing more than a disgusting pile of rotted food and makeshift litters. This was apparently were this tribe of Troglodytes lived. Now that we have explored the entirety of the Glitterhame we must decide if we leave with what information and treasure we have found or we descend back into the depths and face the menacing Black dragon below. It seemed the consensus was to confront the beast. I checked my quiver, tightened my bowstring and looked to my companions and said only one thing. Lle desiel?

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Expecting the Unexpected (Episode 23)

Varis’ Journal
Entry #1
Having decided to explore the rest of what seemed to be the main living and working complex of this great fortress we headed out. It proved to be at times most uneventful and at other times most harrowing. Many of the rooms we found appeared to have been either storage or barracks of some sorts. Some contained nothing but the rubble of years gone past, others were virtual empty. At one point we discovered that one of the ancient dwarves, a priest of sorts, had reanimated several objects and corpses to serve as the final defenses against the orcs. But some of the things we found were simply some of the strangest things I have seen in my many years.

Entry #2
One of the first strange things we found was in a small ante-chamber with a pool of clear water. As Jacare entered the room a moaning began to be heard throughout the room. Then a misty apparition appeared with a horrifying visage. The fear was palpable in the room as this strange creature engulfed Jacare. I believe that the fates were with us that day. We dealt with this terrifying creature, but I have the sense that some great dread could have befallen us if we hadn’t dealt with it quickly.

Not long after that we found a ancient dwarven temple hidden behind a set of secret doors. The strange thing was, besides all the skeletal remains, was the skeletal dwarf lying upon an alter, and the leathery remains of an orc kneeling before it. Weary from our last encounter we were not sure if we should proceed when the bones littering the floor pulled together to form two large skeletal warriors and the undead orc turned to face us. After a brief regrouping we decided to press on and charge the enemy. It turned out we were fretting a bit too much, as we make quick work of the enemies, however, we now needed to rest badly. We set up a watch order and hunkered down for the night, if it was night, I’ve lost track at this point.

Entry #3
As we continued to explore we found one room with six skeletal dwarves that attacked us, but we dealt with them very quickly. After defending an entire town from an undead invasion they proved to be a good workout after our rest. It was the next room that held a surprise for us. It was a simple room with only a bed and a desk in it, but when Badger and I entered the very floor itself suddenly sprang to life and enveloped us. This strange beast was squeezing the life out of us, but we managed to escape. After a quick retreat and regrouping we were able to kill the thing, but not without it nearly ending Moonglum.

We then found what must have been the armory, by the looks of the practice dummies and broken weaponry littering the floor. The odd thing was when two sword and a shield floated up and actually attacked us. Aside from the initial shock we quickly dealt with them.

Entry #4
Our greatest surprise was in one of the last rooms we searched, a library of sort. It wasn’t the library that was strange, it was the woman sitting in it that gave us pause. She claimed to be a prisoner of some wizard. We thought perhaps it was the dwarven arcanist we had killed earlier, but none of us could be sure. Something just didn’t seem right about the entire thing. But Moonglum insisted that we needed to help her. When she asked if she could at least be let out of the room he quickly rushed to the first door he was near and said, of course, come this way. Several of us sensed that something wasn’t right, but the two of them entered the small room and disappeared from our view briefly. It was when Moonglum came back out of the doorway muttering under his breath, and looking as if the very life had been drained out of him that our hesitation was warranted. All he said was that she had kissed him and then disappeared with a flash in her eyes saying she would spare him for his kindness. The wonders of this place will never cease to amaze me.

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Nightscale! (Episode 22)

Jacare’s Journal
Entry #1
I’m not sure what Moonglum was thinking but any chance of parley was now hopelessly lost. After we dealt with the dark skinned dwarven escort we regrouped and headed south towards the continuous sound of the hammers working. It didn’t take long and we entered a large furnace room with three great forges. At one of them 3 more of the dark dwarves worked the anvil while a fourth oversaw the process. I tried to act casual about the entire affair and acted like we belonged, approaching the group. That didn’t go well as the apparent leader took immediate offense and cursed at me in some foreign tongue. We quickly engaged the enemy and the leader simply vanished from sight. Not long after a small company of reinforcements arrived and we were hard pressed to keep the advantage. Eventually we came to realize that the reinforcements were merely an illusion. Apparently the leader was some sort of arcanist. When we focused our attention on the true enemy we made short work of them. That’s when we found the huge hole leading deep below into a giant chasm. I never did care for heights, but Moonglum assured me we would be fine. And so, we descended.

Entry #2
We explored this natural cave area for some time. All we found were some odd tracks, somewhat like an alligator, but much larger. Some of us speculated, could a dragon live down here? We tried to lure out whatever this creature was, but to no avail. Eventually we backtracked to another section of the cavern and that’s when all hell broke loose. Just as we had jumped across a damaged bridge, with Badger in the lead, a large Black dragon erupted from the lake.
Black dragon
Entry#3
I have not often felt fear in my life, but at that moment it was if I was transported back in time to that horrible night. I was helping my father work the small forge on our farm, repairing horseshoes when suddenly an arrow sunk into his chest. Out in the field four brigands were advancing on our farm. With the life draining from his eyes he looked to me and yelled, RUN. Just as I ran that night with the fear filling my entire being I ran now. A horrible sense of dread filled me when the scaled beast emerged and I ran as if the fires of hell were on my heels. Everything became a blur, as if I was flying back up the deep chasm we had descended until I finally found myself back in the great furnace room. Soon I saw Badger, who was soaking wet come flying, yes flying, up out of the chasm carrying Moonglum. Not long after, Benus, who was also flying, came up carrying Varis. Apparently Swiftwind had already come up, but I don’t know how or when. With that we retreated to the great columned hall and I finally began to feel myself again. And, just like those many years ago I swore that I would confront my fear. Those brigands were the first men that I hunted down, and this dragon would be the first dragon that I hunted down. I would pick the time at my choosing however. For now at least we decided we would explore more of the fortress on this level and wait to descend into the deep again.

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The Foundry (Episode 20)

Varis’ Journal
Entry #1
Tanya awra! I recall some hard days of training with my master, but the bruises that I have after that tentacled thing nearly killed us all surpass any I sustained in training. But just as the force of the water will always overcome the stone, we threw our might upon this strange creature and lived. Perhaps more disturbing than that experience was when Moonglum decided that if this thing had nearly killed all of us it may well have killed other victims, and so we should search it. How do you search a beast that looks like a ten foot tall stalagmite with tentacles you ask? Apparently you take out the enchanted blade that Badger had given to Moonglum and you gut it like a fish. Strangely enough, Moonglum actually found a strange bone ring mixed within the innards of this horrible beast. He spent some time examining the thing and after a strange look came over his face, he slipped it onto his finger and returned to his books that he carries with him. We set up a watch for the night and didn’t even venture from the ledge. We figured it was the safest place to try and regroup ourselves.

Entry #2
After several hours of uneasy rest, we finally continued on. There was but one door left to explore to the NE before we headed back the way we came to the glittering cavern. That proved rather uneventful, but for a short respite of competitive sport between our own group. After searching for any age-old traps we continued through the door. We discovered what proved to be a jail area with three cells, a jailors key, and another key on the skeletal corpse of a armored, female dwarf as well as a purse with several platinum pieces. Jacare kept the odd key to himself and divided up the platinum amongst us. He then took an extra piece for himself and flipped the remaining piece in the air. We all reached for it but for me it was nothing to quickly reach out and grab it. With that done, we made our way back to the glittering cave to check out that iron clad door.

We carefully made our way over to the NE door, upon Jacare’s insistence, and it proved to be a wise thing. As we passed the passed the northern ledge, hugging the walls, tentacles suddenly shot out at us. We feared the worst, after our most recent ordeal and responded in kind. Luckily it proved to be no more than a pair of those foul, gigantic centipede looking creatures that can paralyze you if your not careful. Regardless, we dispatched of them and found a grisly lair of theirs filled with nothing but the inedible remains of their victims. So back to the iron door we headed.

Entry #3
The door proved to be an intimidating structure to say the least. I would like to say some sage phrase that I learned from my master about the strength of the water wearing at stone or about the value of bending like a reed, but it was Jacare and that key he had kept that got us through. He is useful for a human, I must say. He also had us make a slow go of ascending the stairs beyond which rose steeply to end in an octagon shaped room with three menacing looking dwarven statues and two wooden doors between them. We were cautions though and it proved to be a wise thing. It turned out that the doors were false, and opening them was the trigger that would send the weapons of the large statues slamming into whoever opened the door. We disabled all but one of them, which cut a gash into Jacare when it landed a blow between the seams of his plate armor. Eventually we found a secret door and opened it to another marvelous sight.

Entry #4
The door opened into a huge chamber will pillars that were carved to look like giants and beasts. These pillars supported the vaulted ceiling some thirty feet above. At the end of the room was a raised dais with a single, simple stone throne upon it. Before we had hardly entered a gruff, female voice shouted out from the chamber somewhere, “Go back the way you came or die”! Jacare yelled back that we were simply lost and needed help, while Benus shouted that we were not with the orcs….no reply followed.

Jacare and Badger cautiously advanced, and were surprised when out of thin air a nine foot tall dark skinned dwarf simply appeared and wildly attacked. The rest of us advanced as well, while Moonglum and Swiftwind stayed behind aiding with ranged attacks. Besides the fact that these damned things kept appearing when we least expected it we prevailed and decided to check the door behind the throne before we examined the other four doors in the room.

Beyond the door we found a small room with a single female dark skinned dwarf. She was apparently waiting for us. Jacare invoked parley and she accepted. After a short while it was agreed that she would lead us out of here, further down below to some great riches, but we were not to come back here ever. She left to gather the escort and some of us began to feel a bit nervous about the whole situation. She returned shortly with twenty fully armed dark skinned dwarves and ordered us into marching formation so they could escort us out.

Over the many years I have known Moonglum I have learned that he is generally a good and kind person. However, he doesn’t always think that he needs to follow the rules. And sometimes he simply does what he thinks is best, regardless of any code of conduct. He must have felt the same sense of uneasiness about being surrounded by all potential combatants. Just as we began to slowly move towards the large group of them, I caught a glimpse of Moonglum throwing a wisp of fine sand into the air and whispering, Dolle naa lost……VDRI. Then six of the dwarves simply fell to the ground asleep. The female dwarf screamed for the attack, Jacare shook his head in disbelief at the turn of events and we charged to meet the enemy.

Immediately after we engaged a familiar resounding burst of energy exploded in the center of the group of our enemies and over half of them were flung from its center nothing more than lifeless corpses. We pressed our enemy hard and within moments we were victorious. Moonglum revived Benus, who had fallen from many blows early on. We searched the corpses, but to no avail. The bad part was that during the battle the female commander simply vanished into thin air and was nowhere to be found. I don’t think we will have the option of parley in the future as we continue exploring this massive complex.

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