A little place to relax and discuss your alternate life...
Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Location: Sandy, Utah
|Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:50 pm Post subject: Campaign Journals 07-19-08
|After our battle with the Archer and Sorcerer, we determined we needed more information than we currently had, to determine where this pool was that we needed to enter.
A student of magic myself, I often wonder how anyone has patience enough to create all these magical portals we keep running into. I suppose when your lifetime is measured in centuries and not decades, it would give you a little more time to explore the esoteric side of magic, instead of just its energy applications.
I know that 'I' won't be building anything like that any time soon. While my discipline is as strong as any moldy scholar of the arts, to be honest, it's just more FUN to blow things up.
To that end, I had spent some of our travel time examining my spells inside and out. I already knew them so well, I could tweak them in almost any manner to provide a larger, or hotter effect. But what about using them in less than ideal conditions? I knew my companions limitations, and while Ty and Yev would probably survive anything I threw their way, the others could be severely hurt or killed by my more powerful spells.
Ty could tell I was a little worried as we approached Hillsdale. I could see something bothering her also, but she guarded it too well.
"D" she spoke, having moved back silently from the front. "I think the others should go ahead without us..." Lucky for me she had made a LITTLE noise as she moved up beside me.
I looked at her in surprise. Hilldale had been a regular patrol area and I knew she had contacts here. "What are you thinking, Ty?" I knew she didn't often suggest a course of action without proper thought behind it.
"Oh, it's just that you’re a little too well known around here" she laughed, a little too forced I thought. "It might just be better to lie low for a bit"
Interesting thought and the more I pondered it, the more it seemed her suggestion was a good one.
So we setup a small camp in a sheltered area, and Ty and I stayed behind, while the others went to town. To pass the time, I practiced some new sigils I had been thinking up and Ty did a little provision hunting.
After awhile, the others came back and said they had some leads, but thought it best I come to town, since I knew the area better. I could see Ty was worried, but didn't see any way around it, and agreed.
Our first stop was a local 'historian' names Remus, who had evidently been gathering all the information he could about the forest we were entering. Evidently he had been a Ranger in the Cormyr army as well, when he was younger and told odd stories of the 'disappearances' of those close to the Hulock forest edge. But most important, he was able to get a picture for us of the crest we needed to get into the Hulock family keep.
Commissioning the creation of the crests, we set out to find the Pool of Eldrath, among some standing stones, which was rumored to be the entrance to the keep.
It was good to be back in familier territory, though to be honest, Ty spent far more time in the forest than I did. Often she would make up transparent excuses for me not to come along... which I could understand, as I generally scared away any game she was trying to track. I could usually make it up with a well places magic missile or two, but she always thought that was cheating.
The forest had grown almost... threatening, since the last time I was here. Granted, we didn't go that far in, but there was a definite change. I could see it was affecting Ty more than me.
About midday, I saw Ty stop and signal to be quiet. We all stopped and waited. A single elven woman strode from the trees, looking as if we had tresspassed on her property, and certianly her words showed she viewed this area as hers.
"Welcome." she almost purred at us."I am Djailia. Who might you be who are tresspassing in my forest?"
Ty was closest and responded for us. "We are travelers going to Standing Stones" she replied. They discussed our pretend 'mission' for a moment and it seemed that Djalia and Ty almost had some sort of connection, but Djalia had something odd about her and after seeing some of the wolves she commanded, we realized she must be a Lycanthrop.
Even more interesting, it seems Djalia was on her way to a group meeting with some of her other Lycanthrop buddies and wanted to hire us to actually take one of her rivals out. The interesting part was the location of the meeting... the very place we sought... the Pool or Eldrath.
We agreed and Ty kept up the conversation with her as we went along. Seems she shared the name of the forest, Amarathar, and had been attacked while a young elven lass, years before.
I was relieved, as it was possible we could help her, though she did not think she needed help.
As we approached the stones, Djalia told us to wait, then entered the circle. We were supposed to get into the ring before we attacked, but something seem to tip off the Wereboar, Gillshar, and he ordered his boar minions to attack.
We went on the offensive. The boars attacked and I responded by drawing the weaving into a coherent charge of lightning that lanced between the Gillshar and some of his boars. This had the unfortunate effect of making ME his next target and moving faster than I could respond, he charged and caught me in the side with his tusks... I could feel that something else had happened and felt a little nauseated. It also made me mad.
Calling on one of my major new spells, I fueled a column of white hot fire with my anger, right down on top of the boar. I unfortunately had forgotten how BIG the column of fire was on a Flame Strike spell and caught part of the tree next to him on fire.
This enraged the other leader, a Werebear named Taelgarth and he joined the fray. Urdin put out the flames and called to the Werebear to stop, but Talegarth ignored him and moved past.
Seeing that he was moving directly towards me, I decided that it was better I not be there, so I quickly drank my emergency Levitate potion and popped up into the sky not a moment too soon.
I could see the battle pretty well from my vantage, and it seemed that we were doing well against them. it looked like I was probably the worst hurt out of them.
A few more well placed orbs, and the fight was over.
The good news was our new 'ally', Djalia, didn't seem to mind we had killed both her rivals, instead of just the one. So we healed up and quickly took a look at the pool.
Djalia's last name was Amarathar, so we took a chance and convienced her to step into the pool, to see if she was actually the key. She was. But not wanting to go with us, she stepped out of the pool as we were sucked down into what seemed to be a crypt.
Shining above us, was a white Jemstone, hanging in the air. Still having my levitate working, I went up to it and looked it over, without touching it.
"I wouldn't touch that, if I were you." said a dead, life-less voice. A man stepped out of one of the crypts, clearly an undead creature of some sort.
"My name is Hulock" he went on. "What are the living doing here?"
We explained who we were and why we were there. We laid everything out and he seemed to believe us. BUT he could not help us. Only an direct desendant of the house of Amarathar could access the knowledge we needed in the Gem. Evidently we needed Djalia again.
We almost lost her, but with Ty being so quick, we were able to catch up and detain her. Getting her back to normal was a little harder. But eventually we were able to break the curse and bring her to meet Hulock.
A good thing, as that boar wound infected me as well... Good thing we were able to fix that quickly.
All in all, it turned out just great. We saved the damsel, learned where the dagger was located (on the isle of Mezeketh) and befriended a new lich, though it seemed it was my lot in life to run into major undead wizards, but be able to get any new spells from them.
Magic? Who needs Magic?
Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Location: "Hammer of Justice!!!"
|Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:23 pm Post subject:
|July 25, 2008
My companions were kind enough to let me sleep for several hours. It was not enough, in light of my recent sleep troubles, but it helped. Once I was back on my feet we headed through the forest toward the town of Hillmarch.
Once there, we left Ty and Dettrick as they felt they'd be too easily recognized. The rest of us went first to buy potions and scrolls. Healing potions were essential, as were boosting and modification potions. Having stocked up on some essentials, we headed over to the Lonesome Tankard Inn for some other "essentials."
The ale was passable; nothing nearly of dwar quality, unfortunately, but better than mud water. We struck up a conversation with one of the barmaids who refers us to a local historian -- a Seth Trumbolt. "A real nature freak, he is," she told us. Having this information, we returned to the camp in the woods where we left Tymora and Dettrick. As a group, then, we headed to the north side of town to meet with Seth.
"Hello the house," I called in Druidic. "Nature freak" is how I have often heard others refer to druids. It was decided that Dettrick, our negotiator, and I as our group's "nature freak" would approach the man alone. It was worth a try, anyway. There was no response from the cottage to my hail. I knocked at the door. Finally I heard someone come down the stairs inside. A voice called out, "Who is it?" "Garrik Garrik-mos Torgyth Urdin Elaster Darjyr, friend to Turlang, wielder of Rimgah," was my reply.
"I don't know you," came the voice. I responded again in Druidic, "No, you do not." Again the voice, with "What did you say?"
I answered him in Common and beckoned Dettrick up. Dettrick talked to him briefly and convinced him to open the door. Dettrick went inside after unbuckling his sword at the man's request. Once inside Dettrick worked his magic and charmed Seth into finding a picture of a family crest he thought would assist us. We met up with our comrades and together headed to a local craftsman to negotiate the building and painting of two copies of the crest. The craftsman told us it would take him several days to complete the work.
We decided to head off on our search and reconnoiter our destination. On our way we were warned of rumors of lycanthropes in the forest. We learned the truth for ourselves shortly after entering the forest as we walked into a clearing and were confronted by an elven female surrounded by worgs. There was something not quite right about her; as we watched how she ordered the worgs about, it became clear that she may, in fact, have been a lycanthrope.
This female, Djalia was her name, claimed this forest as her own. She ultimately agreed to give us free access to the forest if we were to take out her rival, an Orc. She invited us to a "great feast" with her, her "associates," and all their followers at the Standing Stones, where we could confront and battle with her rival. She seemed to think it would be an ideal place to carry out the task. She did not seem evil -- even Jalore agreed with this assessment -- but none in the party could read her true intentions to be certain. All that we could tell was that she hated this orc intensely.
We held a quick discussion; from what little she told us the Standing Stones did actually seem to be a good location for such a fight. However, because we fully believed her to be a lycanthrope, this idea of a "great feast" troubled us somewhat. We could very well end up as part of the main course for a horde of skinchangers. We made plans and strategies with Djalia even while expecting an ambush. The only fact that made the prospect palatable was that the meeting was taking place in the very location we were seeking; we would have an unsuspecting guide lead us right to our goal.
We finally settled upon a basic course of action -- Djalia was to enter the meeting place first, with us following. Once we were within the circle of stones we would launch our assault against her rival. As my cousin Boric always said, though, "The most carefully-mapped mine rarely matches the run of the lode. The most carefully-planned blade seldom survives the first strike of the smith's hammer." Such is the case with even the most well-laid plans. Ours were anything but well-laid. We knew very little about the personalities, the terrain, or anything about what to expect. I admit to a certain degree of reservation about the oncoming evening.
As we walked through the forest, Dettrick and Ty walked alongside Djalia. They kept up a steady stream of quiet conversation with her, although I could not quite hear most of what was said. At one point, however, Dettrick glanced back at Jalore and myself with a peculiar look on his face; then he smiled and gave us a knowing wink. "The fool," Jalore said, shaking his head. "He believes she can be cured. I think he intends to try it, too." I shook my head at this too; I was amazed. I had witnessed such an act years before; the effort nearly killed Master Delias, aside from the very real risks posed by capturing and restraining a skinchanger.
Finally we came to the Standing Stones. Djalia signaled to us to wait, then entered the ring. On the right side of the ring we could see a mighty wereboar -- this was Gillshar, Djalia's orcish rival -- standing among four other large boars. Straight ahead -- directly across the stone circle from where we stood -- was a massive werebear carrying an enormous axe. He was flanked by four large brown bears; this, then, must be Taelgarth. Although Djalia named his as a rival for control of the forest as well, she did not consider him of sufficient danger to her to warrant our help. She did, however, warn us against antagonizing him or his minions. Upon seeing him, I had to agree that it was considerably more prudent to engage only Gillshar. Bears, after all, are much stronger and more dangerous in my experience than a boar. Not by much, perhaps, depending on the individual animals, but better left as reluctant allies than angry foes.
Djalia entered the circle with upraised arms. She called out, "Gillshar, Taelgarth -- I greet you and . . . ." Gillshar roared out and the four bears charged towards us, snarling and spitting. It was good that we were expecting an ambush; I do not know how they could have known we were coming; something tells me this was not Djalia's doing. Perhaps Gillshar is simply that overly suspicious. At any rate, it is good we were somewhat prepared, for we moved immediately into action.
We all moved up into the ring of stones; Yev'rah and Tymora moved as one up near the center of the ring, with Ty firing arrows at Gillshar. Hayai ran into the circle and performed a stunning flying kick; he succeeded in dropping one of the wild boars. Creeg moved like a dancer, drawing his massive glaive and slicing into a second wild boar mid-stride. Meanwhile, a third boar charged Jalore.
Dettrick ran into the circle and a bolt of lightning surged from his hands and arced through each of the boars still standing, as well as Gillshar himself. Two of the boars dropped, smoking. The wereboar charged Dettrick and bit him; Dettrick cried out and fell back to my side. I covered his movement; I threw Rimgah followed quickly by a javelin. Rimgah sunk deep into Gillshar's shoulder, then vanished, traveling back to my hands. The javelin struck the same shoulder just after Rimgah disappeared; it sunk deep into the wound, deep enough that it protruded from the werebear's back.
At almost that same instant, Yev'rah threw a small bag at Gillshar's feet; the bag erupted with sticky strings wrapping around the wereboar's feet. Between the impact and weight of my javelin, and Yev's cunning trap, Gillshar was clearly off-balance. This was essential to our victory, of course, because if we allowed this creature to close with us, the result could be deadly.
Gillshar flailed about for a moment; Ty took this chance to fire several more arrows, knocking Gillshar backwards with their force. Unfortunately, the wereboar took several hops backward and maintained his balance. His movements freed his feet from the sticky substance and he charged at Dettrick. Dettrick hastily called out a spell; a pillar of fire stabbed down from the sky. Dettrick's spell caught Gillshar in its searing heat. In his haste, however, Dettrick was not careful with his aim and several trees ignited from the passing flames.
The wereboar quickly looked up in alarm; "Djalia!" Taelgarth growled. "What have you done? They'll burn down the forest!" He dropped into a crouch, his axe before him, and walked forward, focused on Dettrick. I did not have much time and moved almost without thinking. I grabbed the warmage and pulled him behind me. "Move, Dettrick. Move away now if you value your life," I growled at him. Then I focused on the werebear. My mind wandered back in time to that night nearly four years ago.
The Boldauk were wiped out, completely and utterly, except for myself. A large tribe of ork ambushed us. Their shaman wreaked havoc among us--green fire, unholy creatures fighting side by side, turning our bear-steeds against us. I received a near-killing blow from my own mount, Bara. It took three strikes from my warpike to put her down.
After Bara threw me from her back, she turned and came at me even as this werebear did tonight. He's going to take more than three strikes to put down, I fear. Since that night I have never trusted my life to any animal. They are all too intractable, too inconsistent. Since that night my hatred for all animals pours from my soul, emanates from me. Most lower animals sense my feelings and it causes them to flee. I do not expect it to work on this Taelgarth, but it may have some startling effect. With my right hand I quickly gathered the moisture from the air around us and dropped it in one large wave onto the flaming trees, dousing them and extinguishing the fire. Then I gripped Helgarn in both hands and turned my attention to Taelgarth. I hunkered down in the werebear's path and began yelling at him, trying to calm down the raging beast. I called him by name, told him the fires were out and no further harm would be done to the forest. I even called out my willingness to help repair the fire damage and promote heavy new growth.
Even walking, it did not take him long to close the distance between us. I sincerely hope that Dettrick has gotten away. I appealed to him once more. "Taelgarth, you surely know that I have a strong affinity for nature. I am also a friend to Turlang, the treant. I am certain that if you know aught else about Turlang, you know that it is difficult to have him call you friend. Turn aside; I have stopped the damage and will see to the health of the forest all around this circle. The human acted without thought; he does not deserve to die for this."
The werebear drew himself up to his full height and glared at me for a moment, then simply said, "Step aside, dwarf." Well. Diplomacy did not work. Intimidation? Not likely, but I have to try. I summoned all of my hatred for animals, and particularly bears, and focused it, pushed it at him. He only flinched. He glared at me again, shaking his head, and continued around me.
I should have let him go because he had not yet been hit. We had not yet drawn ursine blood. We still could have tried further diplomacy. In all honesty, that was where my mind went first. It would have been a risk to Dettrick -- if he was still there -- but it was still a chance for peaceful resolution. I said that was where my mind was. My heart said -- especially as the creature pushed past me, as if I was of no consequence -- even though I had a great love and affinity for the natural world, that: first, I had no great love for animals; second, bears themselves are hateful creatures; and third, Tel! I really hate bears. I acted, then, without really thinking, but letting my heart rule.
I had only one chance and I took it. Helgarn lanced out and sliced deep along the skinchanger's flank. Blood spurted; it was nearly black with lycanthropic contagion. Flesh and muscle parted beneath my blade. Taelgarth spun around, roaring insensibly. Both of his foreclaws slashed out; from my experience with bears, I anticipated the attack. I was not able to move quickly enough, however. Tel! The beast is fast -- even faster than Bara was, and she had years of intensive training with the Boldauk.
Taelgarth's claws hit with incredible force. His left paw raked my side; at least one plate of my stone armor was torn free by the power of his blow and his claws raked my flesh. They caught the underside of my armor and hooked me around to meet his oncoming right paw. Brilliant tactic! Increasing the power of his strongest blow by spinning me from one paw into the other! I shall have to remember this!
The claws on the werebear's right paw slashed at my face. I do not know how he missed my eyes, but he still succeeded in blinding me -- blood pouring from those wounds quickly obscured my vision. I dropped away from him feeling suddenly fatigued. I felt my vitality drain away from me; I felt sick and bile rose in my throat. Taelgarth lunged forward, his fangs snapping at my face.
Desperate to save my life, I gripped his head hard between my hands -- as hard as I could in my condition -- and quickly began to transform his blood, thinning it until it was little more than seawater. It was difficult because of the lycanthrope contagion, and there his body put up considerably more resistance than I had expected. Whatever it was, he did not suffer the full effects of the spell; it hurt him enough, however, that he paused in his attack and jerked away from me.
With that, I stumbled several steps back and fell to the ground. There was something tainting his claws. I could feel the corruption moving in my body like a rampant infection, weakening me as it raced through me. I fell into a state of lassitude then. I have a vague recollection of my friends surrounding Taelgarth and striking him, I suppose. It was difficult to see through the blood in my eyes, not to mention the incredible fatigue and sickness I felt.
I could hold up my weary head no longer and it flopped to my shoulder. Through a haze of pain and fatigue, I saw Yev, alone, threatened by the two remaining bears. No one else was close enough to do anything, even if their attention had not been focused on the defeat and demise of Taelgarth.
From somewhere deep within myself I summoned all of my remaining strength and surged to my feet. I charged towards the two bears; as I ran I focused all of my anger, all of my pain, and all of my hatred for the animals. I even drew upon the rage and anguish I felt during the Ambush of the Boldauk -- feelings I had long suppressed and denied. All of these emotions I gathered together, combining and refining as I ran. Then, I began to yell, wordlessly and incoherently. I felt a physical charge around me as all of the feelings coalesced into a palpable force. I do not know what the two bears saw or sensed at my approach, but it was sufficient to make them flee like mice, scampering into the safety of the forest.
With that, I sank to my knees and feel at Yev's feet, prostrate. Tears ran freely down my face. I seemed to hear Tymora move to negotiate with Djalia -- most of the words were no more than gibberish as I tried to recover some small bit of strength. Eventually, Yev nudged me -- he had taken a seat next to me -- and told me that Djalia had agreed to open the portal, but not to join us. He helped pull me to my feet to stand with the others.
After we went through the portal, we found ourselves below the standing stones. There was a 60-foot-high ceiling; there is a pool on the floor in the center of a ring of stones which rose to support the ceiling. Each pillar seemed to correspond to the individual stones around the portal.
Turning to take in the surroundings, I found myself standing next to a pillar. The details carved into the stone tell aobut a human druid named Hulag. A nearby pillar talked about the "Tomb of Hulag," which, I gathered, was where we stood. High above us was a brilliant white gemstone. It was truly a magnificent jewel. Dettrick levitated then rose upward until he hung in space near the white stone.
Just then, a misty-looking humanoid form walked from the tomb. Jalore, who stood nearby, looked a little shaken as the figure passed him. It -- he -- looked up at Dettrick and called, "I wouldn't touch that if I were you." I was sure it had to be Hulag himself; I took a chance and greeted him in Druidic. He looked around at me with a raised eyebrow. He responded in Druidic, "Tell your friend to come away from the lore gem." I motioned to Dettrick and waved him down.
The obviously-undead druid looked around, taking us all in with his cold eyes. "I am Hulag," he said. "What are the living doing here?" My companions quickly related to him the details of our quest. Shaking his head, he told us that only a member of the Aammarathar family can access the lore gem. Fortunately, Dettrick had learned earlier that Ammarathar was Djalia's family name. We quickly gathered for a return to the surface and promised Hulag we would return. I quaffed several healing draughts and felt a bit better, but remained very weak.
Upon our return to the portal entrance we found Djalia had fled. We easily tracked her and her worgs. Dettrick cast a spell, drawing black tentacles from the ground; these promptly snared both Djalia and her worgs. The worgs were quickly torn apart.
Yev approached me and spoke a prayer over me. My weakness vanished and I felt my strength and vigor return to me. I nodded my thanks to him and he just smiled and shrugged.
Dettrick dispelled the tentacles; Djalia immediately changed into her wolf form and four identical wolves appeared at her side. All five began to run. Small bolts flew from the mage's fingertips striking each of the wolves; four disappeared as quickly as they were summoned and only Djalia was left. After a brief tussle, Djalia resigned herself to return with us through the portal.
After we returned through the portal to Hurlag's tomb, Dettrick came to me as we were preparing to camp. "Urdin," he said, "I fully intend to do all possible to break the curse Djalia suffers. Will you help? It will take all of our skills."
"My friend, it is indeed a noble goal you set for yourself. I wonder, though, if you fully grasp the magnitude and the danger of your request. I have seen such a deed accomplished only once and my Master nearly died in the attempt. It is difficult to say the least to hold a skinchanger and break its curse."
Dettrick nodded. "As I saide, it will take all of us. Those of us who do not possess the magic to assist with the actual braking and cleansing will be responsible for holding Djalia here. I suspect the effort may be easier in this case as we've convinced Djalia it can be done and that it is for the best. I would guess the cure your Master attempted was applied on an unwilling recipient?"
I agreed, "Unwilling he was. That is an understatement. Even for a willing subject, however, it can be painful and traumatic. Djalia may find her mind changed before the cure is accomplished. Creeg and yourself must hold fast. Ty must be diligent." "You'll help then?" Dettrick asked, hopeful.
"Yes, but let su hasten before my resolve weakens."
"Good." Dettrick smiled briefly. "Because I will share with you a fear best left unspoken for now. Since that boar's attack I have felt -- not sick, per se -- but ... not quite right. I have been healed but I do not feel quite myself. I fear I have been infected, friend dwarf. I may have need of your help as well. But let us cure Djalia first, eh?"
It took all of skills: Yev'rah, Jalore, and I. We were able to break the curse under which Djalia suffered. It also took everything Creeg and Dettrick had to hold Djalia in place until we were finished. It was well it worked and worked quickly -- we had little time to help Dettrick before the curse set hold in his body. Creeg and Tymora had the honors to hold the warmage down as we worked. I am always surprised by the strength that girl has.
As the rest of us bedded down for the night, Hulag drew Djalia to one side and talked with her, late into the night. By morning, we knew that the dagger was somewhere on the Isle of Mezeketh. Somewhere. At least we had a beginning.
"Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual struggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs."
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