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Luckily for us, we have 5 GM's that run fun games for all. 6, I forgot one. Mini me has run for his "younger" friends and he would be the seventh GM. Out of 10 players, that's a lot of help.
Since I played the cancer card let me just say, the guys have been great and many of them have a card or two that they never play. My expiration date was three years ago. I'm as heathy as anyone except for the cancer. You'd never know it.
Nervous voice; because you the readers didn't know my secret until now.
UseplanB began this AP to give me a break. I have cancer and was on Chemo two years ago. And again now. I will be done with this round of Chemo in a couple of months.
My hope is to run a more open campaign using pathfinder and starting in Magnimar. I'll use this world and many of the hero's and villains. But that is still in the works. Surprise
The battle was epic. The druid soaked up over 300 HP with my help (Xandu). The palidin took close to 1000hp of damage, lots of healing to keep him going and much of it was from himself as I was busy keeping Sheldor up. I only had to use breath of life on Sheldor once but he used up my three Heal spells by himself. In the end we only saved two of the giants and let them go.
LOL the palidin almost picked up the golden sword but we were all screaming at him not to touch it. Thinking he would be amune to what ever effects it might have, he almost ignored us. That would have made Kori'el's day if she had to fight him, she was so ready for him to pick it up.
More to come in better detail as the journals are written. Good night for now.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
It’s been days now since I’ve had time to tell you all about our time here at Xin Shalast.
We were being ambushed by huge living mounds of shrubs or so it seemed and I yelled for Sheldor to do something. I was apart from the group and facing these shambling mounds without the support of the troupe, I thought I’d have to go toe to toe with these things and I couldn’t see any friends about. I could hear them fighting and cursing but could only see foes in front of me. Then Sheldor did something remarkable. He let lose some magic that laid low all vegetation for hundreds of feet, allowing the troupe, me included, to use range weapons and spells. I used a fire wall and a blade barrier to keep the mounds from advancing upon us.
Seeing Sheldor in the middle of this new clearing brought about a new vigor in me to do what ever I could to keep the troupe up and fighting. I healed and moved as fast as I could to my troupe mates. While doing so I noticed a fungus on the mounds that I would later ask Friederich about. The battle with out all the “jungle” in the way was short and the troupe performed admirably. It was quickly agreed that we leave the jungle and return to the relative safety of Xin Shalast. Ha!
We approached a large building and giant spiders of sorts attacked. Kori’el and Davok were hit first and hard. Then GrAnnie and Moxie were also attacked by these giant spiders. I healed Kori’el and GrAnnie healed Davok and we had to improvise to get the rest of the troupe healed up. This actually took a couple of days and me watching the infected very closely, ready to heal them if they didn’t make it on their own.
The spiders dealt with we moved on inside looking for clues. Clues and a Daemon of all things that had also attacked us. The building was immense beyond words. And it was a maze of walls and obstacles. We saw many more spiders and avoided what we could and dispatched the ones we couldn’t. Still in search of this Daemon. Devil, Daemon what ever and where we were maybe it was another building. I do remember more than one devil and I remember them really liking to hurt me. We never found him or even saw him again but we came upon what we considered a hideout of his. He had left in a hurry but left us something too. Along with a couple of treasure chests he left us a ring one like we had with the Sihedron on it. One more down and several to go. It’s the collective thought of the troupe that we need these Sihedron rings or amulets (like the one I have) to bypass some field that protects the upper portion of Xin Shalast from entry. Anyway we have several but need several more. We think.
Moving during the day and sleeping in GrAnnie’s pocket plane, we’ve managed our way further into the heart of the city. Have I mentioned how HUGE this place is? Well it’s HUGE!
We spotted some fliers and tried to avoid them as best we could but then a dragon gave us quite a fright. It flew towards another huge building and we decided to go after it. As we approached the building we could make the dragon out moving about so we sneaked the best we could trying to find it before it found us. This may have been foolhardy at best. While we were looking around we came to dead end after dead end. We were all getting pretty touchy by now and the group no longer paid a great deal to where the dragon may be. I was no where near when it attacked the troupe. Breathing icy cold and gnashing of horrendous teeth. Those uf us that weren’t near the thing could clearly imagine what terror our friends were in. We ran to their aid. The dragon flew right over us and breathed more icy breath. Sheldor ran, so did others.
Kori’el advanced while calmly talking to the dragon explaining in no uncertain terms it would meet it’s death here today if it did not cease and desist. After a couple of these flyby’s and one nasty landing on your’s truly. OUCH!!
Kori’el (I believe) convinced it to leave. That girl is something. Crazy no doubt but still I admire her. In the dragon’s lair or hoard we found the remaining rings we needed. Oh yeah, there was lots of loot too. It’s funny, right now nobody cares about the treasure, we just want to survive. That being said, we still collect as much loot as we can and try to use any magic items to their best.
Now we climb…or better yet we could BLINK
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
While Iomedae’s power flowed through me I also reached for Desna’s. I could feel each of their powers flowing together. The Ranseur I held became light in my hands and it had red and orange flame licking it’s way to the end’s of it’s tips. The Beast had just been killed by Rikert but instead of dieing it turned into a mist and sank into the ground near the throne dais. I took a step towards one of the Vampiric Skulks and thrust the Ranseur into it. I felt little resistance as the Ranseur turned it into mist as well. The wrathful part of the power flowing through me was not diminished and I moved to the next Vampire Skulk. In just one strike I again fell another of the disgusting things. Again it turned to mist and floated along the floor and into a crack but not to the same place as the Hidden Beast. I heard Moxie’s pistol shot from the place the Skulk’s mist had gone.
Fearing she was in trouble I melded into the stone and saw Moxie in a room full of coffins, smiling as a Skulk materialized. She carefully lowered her pistol BOOM. The noise in this little room was deafening, Moxie didn’t care. She walked to the coffin’s giving the inhabitant’s their last farewell. Seeing that she did not need any help or acknowledgement from me I returned to the rest of the troupe and waited patiently for Moxie’s return and report. I let Iomedae’s and Desna’s power stay with me even though it was no longer necessary. It felt good to be surrounded by power. I looked at the others to see if they saw any change in me, happily I saw no one had given any notice to me at all. They were more concerned with me healing them and making sure that we had ways to fix some of the drains that had taken place among them. I healed them up and reassured them that if they did mend on their own I would be happy to help them.
Morgiv was still in the corridor waiting to see if we would actually be able to defeat the Hidden Beast. He seemed pleased and more self-confident that we had. He walked with purpose as he lead us back to his people. A feast was prepared and while I was okay eating the grubs and slimy things and crunchy things not everyone in the troupe was as adventurous. I prepared a Hero’s Feast for the troupe and any skulk that wanted to try it was welcome. Eventually we retired into GrAnnie’s hideaway for the night. It was a very taxing day and the rest was welcome.
The next day Morgiv told us that there was news of groups of chosen or Karzoug’s favored looking for us. We would need to be careful as we made our way through the city. It was decided to stay on the causeway as much as possible and use it’s height to our advantage. Sometimes though it was necessary to go to ground level and traverse the difficult terrain.
At one such juncture we were attacked by two frost worms and I had barely enough strength to save Sheldor from the grave. I had been keeping GrAnnie alive by sharing her damage and then the second frost worm exploded trying to kill us all. Desna continued to smile on me and gave enough of her healing for us all to run for the jungle that has grown in this frozen place. Jungle? What?
Fark me it’s alive!!!! SHELDOR
I just spent the last hour reading some of the posts to my wife. She's a little upset (not) that I don't talk to her like some of my posts.
The funniest part about all of this is that she was married to a banker (one of many, probably) that turned down a loan to Gary Gygax to fund D&D. What a small world.
I had to edit this because..... for the record, my wife was only married to one banker. Tee Hee
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
Morgiv was the name of the sneaky one, Skulks are the names we were given. He didn’t have much on other than a bit of cloth for cover or clothes. His ability to blend into his background turned out to be an ability and not some spell. Darn That could have come in handy. Morgiv’s demeanor lent one to believe he was more of a slave than a free person.
The giants that spoke to us seemed to be more free than Morgiv, although the ones that fought us may have been acting on orders but why would one group of giants fight us and another group not? Morgiv took us deeper into the lava flow and he talked the entire time. At one point he had ducked into a space in the wall that I could have easily passed without notice had he not been talking. I wondered how many such places had I missed that we just walked passed without notice. I started looking for these fissures and passages as we continued. I didn’t see any more but I’m not convinced that they weren’t there, and I just missed them.
At length Morgiv pointed to drawings on the walls and he gave us a brief history lesson about his people and the prophecy of our freeing his people. It was all very fascinating and when he had stopped we were in a large cavern. Like a bubble that was formed when the rock had been in a more liquid state. Another thing was that as he was finishing up his story there had been a number of others like Morgiv that made their presence known. They appeared out of nowhere and then were there. It seems that all of his kind has the ability to blend. There were male and female young and older ones too. They were discussing the pro’s and con’s of Us “The out siders” trying to defeat a foe of Morgiv and his people. Morgiv had told us that there were no elders or leaders of his people and that there was a Hidden Beast that took his people and turned them into something else something bad. Maybe that’s who we should call Skulks.
Morgiv was of the idea that we should go a defeat this Beast and many agreed with him pointing out the prophecy. Others weren’t as keen on any one provoking the Hidden Beast, lest he get mad and retaliate. Morgiv was sure of the prophecy but did not want to be the one to take us any closer to the Beast’s lair. In the end Morgiv, so distraught of the lack of faith that his people had in us and the prophecy, decided to take us through the maze of tunnels to the Beast’s lair himself. He hushed the agitated crowd and shouted that he, Morgiv, would take the Hero’s to the Beast’s Lair no matter what anyone else thought of us or his idea.
Morgiv then lead us through a huge maze of tunnels to the entrance of the Hidden Beast’s lair. He then blended into the surroundings and we were left alone with our light sources (small to be sure, as we didn’t what to alert anything to our presence. Rikert was being rather loud and we were getting close to the Beast’s lair so I cast silence on a stone and put it near Rikert so it would keep us quiet for a moment as we got closer to the lair’s entrance. The sneakier of us were up ahead, I could barley make any of them out then I saw Moxie talk with Davok and he waved us forward.
I started buffing with power from Desna, Rikert did the same as soon as we were out of the silence spells radius. The fight had just started as I reached the edge of the spell. I could see more light ahead of us and the troupe was pouring into a chamber a few feet from me and I heard A voice in abyssal shouting at someone. (not good) My fear was that who ever this was, was dominating the troupe one by one as we entered the room. I hurried in and saw Sheldor fall to the ground as a skeleton fell to pieces. I ignored the laughing skull as I reached Sheldor in time to bring him back from the brink. That got someone’s attention.
There were a number of “Bad” Skulks and something else too. That’s when Mr. I have way to many arms, decided to “HUG” me, OUCH!!!
I dropped to the ground……. Ah, the divine power from another’s god reached me before I slipped away. Iomedae bathed me in her power. Rikert, I’ll need to thank him. His god is strong and fierce. I did not feel the warmth as I do with Desna’s power but I felt a wrath like power that was not going to let me just lie there and die. Make no bones about it when Iomedae’s power came to me I knew it was to finish this fight.
Wow…just Wow. I’m alive and back in the fight. For the first time in a long time I want to kill something. I want to Avenge all the Skulks. Avenge the people of Sandpoint. Avenge our fallen troupe members. Avenge the Gruffmin’s, Horran and his late Lettie. Avenge Morgiv and all his people, the giant’s, the world. I want Revenge. I want to kill Karzog.
I love the fact that the air is so thin that it makes the simple hard.
Once, a long time ago I ran an epic level group. Unknown to them they were after high level vampires. The vamps have life support so they made their lair in a pyramid with no air at all. It took the group several minutes before things started getting funny. They couldn't figure out why they were laughing and couldn't concentrate. They barely made it out in time to go to town and buy rings of sustainance. Fun times!
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
Our time in the Vekkers cabin went by swiftly and I was able to get needed sleep and visit Hannah nightly. However when the time came to go to the fens Svevenka was busy and became bored with us early into the night. We were left to try and find the “Path” on our own. Not knowing what the path was or where we decided to split up find the path and alert the others to it. Nice plan but it failed. Several of us found ourselves on “The Path” but we had lost the others and there was not a clear way to find them and bring them to us.
Kori’el and Sheldor went back to search for the others. It was early morning so I did my daily devotions to Desna. When I arrived at the white tree Hannah was surprised to see me and told me under no certain terms was I to return to this spot while within close proximity of Xin-Shalast. She told me it was fine for this morning but that I would need to go back to my old way of praying for Desna’s guidance. I didn’t know how to take this and asked about it. Hannah said that if I continued to come here every morning it could bring scrutiny upon both me and the troupe. Not wanting to displease Desna or Hannah for that matter I obeyed. I did get some rest and new spells while waiting for the rest to gather on the path.
We continued on the path and were barraged by a hail of boulders from ahead of us. We fought four giants before continuing towards Xin-Shalast. This was not a good time for me as my morning prayers no longer included seeing Hannah or feeling refreshed by the white tree and flowing stream. Desna was there but slightly further than I liked. I wanted to see something from all this walking. Something other than snow. Then the vista opened up before us.
And what a sight it was. In a glacial valley was a city like no other, I can’t even try right now to describe the immensity the enormousness of the vast city that waited for us. It looked a lot closer than it was and it took us many hours before we were really within it’s boarders.
When we walked into town we came upon a pen of huge cattle but that was nothing compared to the flying creatures that attacked us as we approached. The fight wasn’t long and the cattle stampeded into town. But there seemed to be no one else around. Save one very sneaky person I spotted during the fight. After the fight he was no where to be found.
Looking for more inhabitants we searched through some homes or shops. That’s when I was spotted by some more giants. There seemed to be at least two separate groups of giants and one group looked like they were just going to watch the other giants beat us to a pulp. The only thing is I heard one say about the aggressive group of giants “Let them die”. Allies? That could be handy. When we had won the fight, the “friendly” giant said that although he was for us he couldn’t openly oppose the others or befriend us. He gave us information and we headed to the Causeway.
I spotted the hiding fellow again and as he came into view he begged for us not to harm him. How did he do that? I wonder if he could teach me.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
The wall of the cabin burst open and a huge monster bit Kori’el munching on her as it rended me with it’s claws. Kori’el was dragged from my side as I tried to reach her to teleport her to safety. With her out of reach and still in it’s mouth I did a healing burst to keep her alive. I didn’t notice how hurt I was until Desna’s power rushed into me and healed my broken body. I was afraid. Not just for my troupe mates but for me as well. I did another healing burst to keep us alive. Kori’el transported herself to safety and the rest ran out to engage the beast. Kori’el was yelling something as the others headed outside but I didn’t understand what she had said.
Time stood still and I heard a voice, one that I had not heard before, say “Give it to me.” “Give what to you?” And who was I talking to? The creature was other worldly so I attempted to banish it back from whence it came.
It warned us of the path we were on to be deadly but gave us the missing pages of the journal that Kori’el had spoke of. From these pages Kori’el, Friedrich and Davok discerned a path that would take us some 200 miles North to some ice fens, where we would need to wait until the next full moon, (some two weeks away) fast, and then a path to Xin Shalast would be revealed.
So we wind walked to the start of the Ice fens then Sheldor and Davok tried to guide us through the semi frozen marsh. I wasn’t doing so well and kept slipping into the muck. Moxie came over to help me at one point and that’s when the otter surfaced close by. Moxie froze, Sheldor said “Hold” in an unfamiliar tone that made me freeze in my tracks.
The otter changed into a beautiful woman and even though I had never seen her, she was somehow known to me. She spoke to Moxie and I and said that she was Svevenka and her sister was Myriana. She knew that we had helped her sister as much as we could and for this she would return the favor and help us in anyway she could. As long as we did not damage her fen. She also spoke of a monster that we may encounter. A monster that has been haunting (to soon?) her fen, and that she had no love for the beast. If we found it she would be grateful if we destroyed it.
We agreed to her terms and were just settling into camp. I was going to softly play some music for her when Kori’el and Rikert started quarreling about the quality of our lodgings. Sheldor was right in there arguing on Kori’el side. They liked the company of Svevenka and the beauty of her fen. Rikert on the other hand had nothing but contempt for the cold ice fens and wanted to teleport to Magnimar. He went on about hot baths and warm food. I had never seen Kori’el so adamant about anything. She called Rikert all kinds of slurs, things I had only heard sailors say. She was quite animated. She went as far as to hand him some items from her pouch that only women use. That even got a laugh from Svevenka. I told Rikert he was about to lose this fight and he needed to rethink his tactics. He shut up and started thinking. During his brooding GrAnnie started having troubles breathing. At first I looked at Rikert to see if he had somehow caused the coughing fit and wheezing of GrAnnie but he looked just as surprised as the rest of us. It was determined to be caused by the lack of breathable air at this height. The troupe was about to side with Rikert, I thought, until Kori’el said in a very hushed tone “We should just go back to the mining camp and hold up there as best we can, to help us acclimate to this higher altitude.”
We all knew how much Kori’el disliked the mining camp. She would rather suffer the altitude sickness than to go back to that camp so for her to say this showed us all how much she was willing to go through for the sake of the troupe. Rikert was the only one to complain any more on the subject. Moxie looked sullen, Sheldor kept looking back to Svevenka, Kori’el was lost in her thoughts and so was Friedrich. Davok didn’t care. I think he was looking for the fen monster until we were long gone from there. We wind walked back to the mining camp and Sheldor Davok and I started repairing the wall of the cabin that the (Wendigo?) had torn off.
That night I had a terrible dream. I was witness to Moxie’s death by Kori’el biting off strips of Moxie’s flesh and chunks of meat and muscle. Only for Kori’el’s visage to be replaced by my own. I was nastily biting huge pieces of Moxie’s flesh, right off the bone while she screamed in pain. The more she screamed the hungrier I became. I would wake, drenched in sweat. I thought it might be the altitude and asked Kori’el if she was sleeping okay at night and I asked if she had any nightmares. She looked at me quizzically and said “No. Why?” Embarrassed I said “I had some nightmares and was having a hard time sleeping.” I left it at that. The same kind of dreams interfered with my sleep the next two nights. I wasn’t able to commune with Desna for three nights in a row. I was starting to worry, I’m sure everyone had to have noticed but by the forth night I was able to collect my thoughts and Hanna was there waiting for me by the white tree.
Hanna was in her fine armor, a troubled smile on her face as she greeted me. “Where have you been my little gypsy?” I didn’t know how to answer. I felt flush as embarrassment took hold. I did not however look away. ”I think I was lost.”
“Can you tell me what Desna meant?” Hanna asked.
I was dumbfounded, I had no idea what Hanna had just asked. Desna said I made friends? What? I don’t know. Feeling very out classed I winked and said “She must of meant you. You’re my friend aren’t you. How many other human friends do you have?” As soon as the words were out of my mouth I wanted them back. What was I thinking? Holly crap I never meant to ask Hanna anything of the sort. And the wink? Really?
Hanna took a step back letting go of just one hand and I could feel the blood draining from the other as she held it tighter than before. Her free hand sought her blade and rested just atop the pommel. She smiled a smile, you know the kind, I knew without a doubt that she could take my life at any second and I think she was weighing that option. Instead she tapped on the pommel rolling her fingers rhythmically.
We talked more of what I’d had gone through and where I was going. She was very interested in the troupe and our adventure. As a matter of fact we talked a lot about the troupe and each person and their personalities, more than we did preparing spells. She really liked the fight between Rikert and Kori’el. I could tell she favors Kori’el and Moxie but she plays it pretty safe when talking about Moxie. To tell the truth, I think I do too.
It was a good visit and I slept well for the first time in days.
I saw what you did there. Well played!I have to admit that these two years have gone by quickly. I know it's been difficult for USEPLANB at times and even the rest of us because of real life issues but I want to take a moment and thank all of you ( my friends and the readers too) for a great time. I look forward to the rest of this AP and beyond. Life's a game.....Play!
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
Isn’t it funny how we all perceive the same events in such differing ways. That’s what makes us so unique.
The troupe was so against wind walk when it was time to embark on our next trek that GrAnnie had to cast shadow walk in order for everyone to agree on heading out. I think they all just got used to a soft bed and hot wonderful food. Not to mention the drinking and laughing.
Our three weeks in Sandpoint and Magnimar went way to fast. I divided my time teleporting members around and making scrolls. I was also able to find my orphaned child of Magnimar and introduced him to the temple of Desna and it’s priests. What ever happens with that happens, you can lead a camel to water they say. I also gave the owner of the tavern that looks after him more funds. I can only hope the boy receives a decent share. The owner however does seem pleased with him and commented that he brings new paying customers often and is very polite. And doesn’t make a nuisance of himself.
Back in Sandpoint I spent most of my time at the asylum. Making scrolls and praying and a good time playing with the two tieflings that call it home. They have started teaching me some new languages but nothing I’ve mastered yet. I’m sure that some of the sounds can only be made if you have a forked tongue. Their friendship, I treasure.
I bought Moxie a whole basket full of perfumed soaps but I’m afraid I delivered them to late, as we left the same morning they were to arrive at her room. A nice gift for when we return, I guess.
After traveling for a day Sheldor made a grove out of nothing and we camped in relative peace for the night.
We heard a cry of some sort, it sounded like a wounded beast but Friedrich didn’t think so. We were approaching the camp and something startled us and I instantly teleported Moxie and Davok to the top of the ridge so they would be able to use their range weapons. They weren’t very happy that I just used teleport but I don’t understand the hesitation. I mean it’s been a long time since I messed one up but they lever let me forget that I have made errors in the past.
Leaving them to complain to my double (casting mislead), I flew down to help the rest as I could. Which turned out to be a good thing. What was thought to be a diseased tree turned out to be an undead Treant. The Treant started bashing party members into the ground like smashing ripe apples. I healed as fast as it smashed and kept ahead of it’s destruction, barely. The troupe cut the undead thing down. I felt Sheldor’s shame and pity that he couldn’t help the Treant in any other way. I flew back to Davok and Moxie after healing everyone on the lower level.
Figuring that the two structures would somehow connect the three of us started our search from above while the others came from below. Davok and especially Moxie were in a hurry to get into the cabin. I was more interested in what I thought I kept seeing off in the distance, just hidden from me by the snow falling and blowing. I asked Davok to look too because sometimes he sees things before me but he said it was just the snow. We were on the porch when all of a sudden an emaciated Dwarf came running at us screaming don’t let them eat me, eat you….then he was gone. Wow. Did that just happen? The first door was shut tight and we moved to the next. Moxie of course was checking the doors for all manner of nasties after that encounter with the spirit Dwarf. Finding none she moved aside to allow Davok to work his magic. You know bashing!
We moved into the cabin and started searching for clues. We moved about, Moxie in the lead finding levers and other trappy things and bypassing them. She’s so cute. Always allowing us to move ahead after she’s disarmed what ever was going to foil us and not making any fuss about it. The others came up via some stairs in the shaft part. Announcing that they were attacked by some kind of haunt. And another that had Friedrich eating something he shouldn’t but he said he was immune to anyway so no harm no foul.??
Haunt…oh ..that’s probably what we had encountered outside. I tightened my precious red scarf. Thoughts of Uther and his almost unfortunate demise at the hands of the Haunts of the Foxglove Manor. As a full troupe we started to search the rest of the cabin. I felt a pain as if I hadn’t eaten in days but it passed. Davok on the other hand looked at Moxie and I as if we were tender morsels. He went as far as to start a fire in what must have been the kitchen.
Moxie was checking some paintings and I was opening the portable hole I had bought to place them in. It was fun not to have to cut up the paintings in order to carry them out. I folded up the hole while Moxie checked a door near me and Rikert checked one behind me. I moved into the room that Moxie had opened and saw bones on the ground. I moved closer and was attacked by hungry angry Dwarves, ripping and tearing and biting me to pieces. As soon as it started it was gone but I had real bites and parts missing. Ouch Time to heal up. Desna answered generously. All was fine until I handed Davok some rations and he grabbed my arm. I thought he was going to take a bite but he just went back to making the fire. Whew!!!!
Moxie and Kori’el had found a secret room and needed some portable hole action so I went there to assist.
Anyway by the time we reached the bottom the whole place started shaking and I thought it was coming down on us so we ran for the door and the safety of the outdoors. Unfortunately the rumbling did not subside when we reached the snow. I made a magic circle allowing Desna’s power to protect me and those that could get to me. The tremors subsided somewhat and I spotted Rikert flying down from the ridge. I called for him to come and told him he and I needed to channel positive energy into the area to suppress the haunts. When we did the building groaned so we did it again and it stopped.
A scream of horror…no…anguish came from inside. Kori’el had just let out a noise I will never forget. The whole troupe heard it and each ran into the building even as I was still channeling energy to stop the haunts.
I was last. As I ran to the stairs the first floor was already packed with the troupe. Surrounding Kori’el. Kori’el was covered in blood, tears made clean streaks down her frail and scared face. She barred her teath at anyone that came close to her. Get away from me and don't touch me she screamed. Get Xandu, he’ll fix it. The tears, the blood, the pitiful look in her eyes. What had happened to her? I couldn’t think of what could make her lash out at the others like this. Then I saw.
Kori’el sat on the ground in the center of the shaft, holding… no…cradling the lifeless body of Moxie. No one got any closer to her and while she was yelling at Friedrich to get away, I touched her.
I firmly placed my hand on her shoulder drawing her eyes to mine, I let Desna’s love flow right through me. All of it meant for Kori’el alone. Heal
I sat down with Kori’el and stroked Moxie’s brow. I looked at the troupe and said “This will take a moment don’t let anything happen.” Then I closed my tearing eyes and let Desna’s power coalesce around me. Mentally I reached out, I drew from it and once again asked permission to escort one of my most beloved troupe mates from the Great Shadow. There was no smile from my Mother Moon. Desna was there, her power filled me, I burned, I was a star, but there was more. I could sense Desna as always but this was different, more, another…something strong…something beautiful. Shelyn! Shelyn stood with or beside Desna, I don’t know why. But they were both there, that's all I can tell you. And I beamed. My light Sang. I moved to the darkness and I bowed to the Great Shadow and it swept it’s return bow. Then it allowed me to receive Moxie’s perfect light. She was with me. We swiftly moved through the nothing back to our bodies. I was aware of the others and thankfully Kori’el had cleaned the three of us up while I was bringing our troupe mate home.I whispered to Moxie "Dawn is coming so open your eyes."
Kori’el was back! Moxie was back! We were BACK!!!! Praise be to Desna! Praise be to Shelyn! And Praise to the Great Shadow! Thank you ever kind, Desna, Tender of Dreams.
It has been a lot of fun playing this AP as a rag tag group (troupe) of miss fits. We don't have high stats and for a change it's been a lot of fun bumbling around. I would say Friedrich and Kori'el are the most learned of us followed by Rikert. The rest of us are just regular folk on an adventure. We've tried not to meta game to much. It's fun playing because we truly need each other for our individual strengths. No one person dominates. We all have to help in order to survive.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
I was panicked, Moxie was possibly dead and I had no way to try and speak with her. Scrying takes so long and we still need to find the Wizard (litch). I was thinking that he maybe in the negative energy field that we had seen before. The Golem was slowly climbing up the pit of crypts and the troupe was spread about. I had to heal Davok, his brain was pouring out of a hole in his head but with Desna’s power it was easily repaired. The troupe gathered at the doors to the negative portal room and we entered ready for a fight but no one was there. GrAnnie then cast a spell to locate the litch and pointed towards where he had been when he had vanished. It was a foot race back into the halls of the mummies and back to the secret room.
Davok had located another secret door in the floor of the litch's room and some of the troupe had jumped into it but we could tell that there wasn’t enough room for everyone. The one’s that could make it were fighting the litch. They eventually took it down and had to pass up one of our fallen so I could heal him and that gave room for Rikert to go down and clear the room. While he was there I started my scrying on Moxie. Sweat covered my brow as I franticly gathered her possessions to aid in the scrying. I was able to get her and she was in the Rusty Dragon along side Ameiko???. I was in shock. I asked (rather stupidly) if she was dead. She said no but was waiting to tell us what had happened until we came for her. ARRRRGGG
I told everyone that Moxie was alive and well in Sandpoint. We then rested so that I could try and get us to Moxie. Some wanted to make our rune forge weapons first but I couldn’t wait that long. As soon as I could I tried to teleport out but ended in the void or a void. I felt like I was falling and didn’t know what had gone wrong I didn’t know how much time I had so I tried to teleport back and (Blink) I was back with the troupe.
They were quite put out that I had tried but at least we knew that teleporting out of the rune forge was not an option. I then disgusted plane shifting with GrAnnie and she said she could use a spell from one of the spell books. The troupe was adamant about the weapons so I waited. I still felt the need to be reunited with Moxie and couldn’t think straight.
We departed our safe place, each of us with the items needed to make weapons to fight Karzoug. As we entered the rune forge with the giant pool, it’s tentacle’s started flowing out, touching us and our weapons. I took the items from my pouch and tossed them into the pool then I took the Flaming Ranseur that I had taken from the Halls of Wrath. I thought it fitting since I use a long spear but hardly ever use a weapon any more. Plus it was a favored weapon of one of the Rune Lords so…. take that.
It just sat there in the pool. Did it not work? I picked it back out and that’s when the fit it the shan. Karzoug’s voice rumbled and spoke laughing at us telling us we would die. Then His statue came to life and attacked. I sped around trying to stay out of it’s reach and yet keep as many of the troupe within my healing burst. GrAnnie cast a spell that made it take damage as it damaged us so as long as I could keep us healthy it would lose this fight. That’s just what I did.
After the statue fell, the rest of the troupe was able to make their weapons. Then we gathered all that we could take back to Sandpoint. First I plane shifted us to the place I meet Hannah for morning prayers. We weren’t there long but I think she was around, just watching us. From there GrAnnie plane shifted us to our plane fairly close to Sandpoint and from there it was a quick teleport to the Rusty Dragon and MOXIE!!!!
I tried to be professional but I think I hugged Moxie a bit to long. I just didn’t want to let go. I think she was blushing as she lightly pushed me back and greeted the rest of the troupe. She had new clothes for everyone. Ameiko was there along with the Mayor and the Sheriff. Father Zantus greeted us as well. The visit was a blur. There just wasn’t time (funny that). A few short hours later we had teleported back to the mountains and regained the keys necessary to open the portal.
Dreams of Mortals (An Interlude):
Simon once told me how important I was to the success of the troupe. I had no idea until now what he may have been referring too.
I have brought Davok back from the dead twice but never gave it much thought until now. I just thought it was part of the power that Desna had given me to help with our quest.
Sheldor’s body lay broken and beaten in a dark pool of his own blood. Limbs broken, eyes unfocussed and glazed. Mother Not’s cold body lay nearby her eyes fixed on oblivion. Both were dead. I thought I knew what to do and what to expect, boy was I ever wrong. Unlike with Lynn’s death, I knew I could bring both of my fallen troupe mates back. With Lynn I have the way but not the means. With these two I had both the way and the means. It’s funny how ones mind works in times of stress, Sheldor was hurt the most so I started with him. As if one death was more dead than the other.
It has been said that some one was brought back from Death’s door. I now know how correct that statement is. It has become my practice to pray to Dena for an audience with the recently deceased to converse with and/or make sure that they are willing to return to the living. This I did with Sheldor and GrAnnie (Moxie’s endearing nick name for Mother Not). I had never pondered the profound meaning of speaking with the dead. It takes place in a void, just blackness and voice. If they are connected with their God there is no sign of it or interference. The meeting is brief, I don’t know if I go to them or if they come to me but there is an exchange of ideas and words, that’s about all one is allowed. This can only be done if there is a body part left to talk to. Alas I have no way to even try and talk to our fallen brother, Lynn. Something that has weighed heavily on my mind.
Back to my two friends that lay dead before me. The prayer should only take a few moments but whether because of the place we’re in or because I was paying more attention I don’t know but as I went to seek his spirit out to bring him back I noticed a Great Vast Darkness with dim lights like stars in the nights sky, only very dim. I was a light too but brighter and I wasn’t in darkness, well lets just say that the Dark that I was heading towards was darker. So you have a black night sky and in front of you, you have a blacker night sky with dim lights within it. I could see that I wasn’t the only bright star headed for the darkness but that there were others like me. The others like me were not fixed to a spot but were floating toward the Vast Darkness, I felt like I was cocooned in Desna’s power and that is where my light came from. The other stars like me were probably cocooned in their Gods power going to the Darkness to bring one of their fallen back.
My thoughts were of Sheldor and his spirit, as I got closer to the Darkness, the Darkness moved. It was if it had moved to allow Sheldor’s light to be closer to mine. Like a great cloak opening to allow something hidden to be freed. I had an overwhelming sense of duty. The Darkness was “allowing” Sheldor to return but only under my protection. That is how I perceived bringing Sheldor back. When my prayer was ending I witnessed Sheldor’s life return to his body. A body that wasn’t broken but whole. I moved quickly to GrAnnie.
I eagerly started my prayer to Desna. In my prayer I asked Desna for the grace to allow me to escort GrAnnie back to the Troupe. I know Desna smiled. She knew I had learned something important, her power filled me with joy and love. Again I approached the Vast Darkness with all it’s dim stars. Without a body or shape I bowed to the Darkness and I can tell you without doubt that it bowed back. Then it opened it’s great cloak to allow GrAnnie’s spirit to return with me.
The Great Mantle of Death held no hate or love for GrAnnie nor me. It allowed, without remorse or regret, me to escort GrAnnie’s spirit away from it and back to the living. I no longer feel as if I could nor would I ever try to seize a spirit away from Death but that sometimes I would be “Allowed” access into and back out by some pact that the Gods have with Death. I now know that no matter what others may say, no one holds or could ever hold enough power to overcome Death’s embrace. As strange as it may sound I am comforted by my discovery. Death is truly a wondrous thing.
As I departed with GrAnnie’s spirit, I turned, again I bowed this time with great reverence. To my surprise the Vast Darkness gave me a sweeping return bow. I opened my eyes at the end of my prayer to see GrAnnie return to us. Had I made a new friend? One can only dream.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
It’s as if time here is of little importance. I don’t think we are aging at all. I know we’re only talking about a few days but still. Some of us eat out of habit, others don’t. We search the halls and rest after battles. I never really feel tiered but I rest and pray. Hannah is very excited these days. She has noticed that I don’t prepare offensive spells and that seams to please her. She never asked me not to take them but is quick to point out how not taking them has allowed me to learn to overcome what others might call shortcomings. She very much wants me to learn to be and take on a support roll. She is a lot like Simon in that matter. Keep your friends, your troupe, alive. Find ways to make them grow in their strengths as you grow in yours. She says to be patient, that we are doing something together that wasn’t thought possible. I asked about that statement and she acts as if she didn’t say a word. She always hints but never lets the cat out of the bag. I think she enjoys knowing more than I do.
Hannah says that I have surprised her on many occasions and that my ability to mold Desna’s power is amazing. Yes, Simon that’s right, Hannah called my use of the power that is granted to me “Amazing”. She also has taken an interest in Kori’el. The newest member to our troupe. Very plain looking but she tries hard to help our troupe. I know that Moxie has taken a shine to her. Then again, I’ve noticed Moxie watching over everyone in the troupe at times. It’s almost as if she’s making a running tab on where everyone is at any given moment.
Then Moxie will just act out of the blue as if she were bored with the whole thing and go wander off. Moxie has been very sweet and even affectionate lately too. I sometimes wonder what’s behind the looks she gives me. I hope I haven’t vexed her in any way.
Just yesterday we were in a battle with two demons and a sorcerer of some kind. As we walked through a curtain of smoke we were hit by two waves of bitter cold from a flying sorceress flanked by two very large demons that started pummeling my troupe mates to pulp. I was almost dead (1hp), GrAnne was dead Sheldor was hurt badly if not dead, Rikert and Kori’el were paralyzed and the only thing I could think of was get as many as I could out of the beaten zone. I took Rikert, Kori‘el (who were not responsive), Moxie and Friedrich across the room and behind a large marble pillar. Moxie cursed at me for making her move (she had to re-aim) Friedrich huffed and disappeared and to top it all off one of the demons had followed us. He was so close and Moxie was out in plain view, I had to do something before she was crushed. I moved to Moxie but in doing so I could only reach Moxie and Kori’el, I could only pray that Rikert would be behind the pillar enough that he wouldn’t be seen by the approaching demon.
Moving the three of us back to the front of the room but still behind a pillar, Moxie again cursed and said “Xandu! For Shelyn’s sake, stop all this flittering about and just let me be. I can’t figure out where you’ve taken me.”
That’s what I mean by I hope I haven’t vexed her. She’s been a little on edge today.
I’ll go ahead and continue my story since I’ve started.
I prepared and healed us as best I could before a demon found us. It was then that I got the idea to teleport the demon out of the room and onto another of the teleport circles. Poof, I went but the demon stayed. Horrible dread set in as I realized I had just left Moxie and a paralyzed Kori’el alone with a huge demon. (did I mention that the demons were HUGE). Desna save us.
As I re-entered the room I saw Rikert had slain one of the demons and engaged with the one that I had so unceremoniously left with Moxie. Moxie had moved closer to the entrance but at least she was still up. I couldn’t see Kori’el, hopefully she was still hidden behind the pillar and not dead. Davok was inside of some wall of force unable to help but alive and Friedrich had a very, very, very lost look about him. He was not himself at all. I called upon Desna to heal him and her power flowed like a strong river current through me and into Friedrich. He snapped out of his stupor and engaged the flying sorceress. I allowed the river to continue flowing as I changed it into healing flows of power.
At some point at the end of the fight with the last demon and Friedrich’s fight with the sorceress. A power was traded between the sorceress and Friedrich. Friedrich claims it’s a Boon but it looks like a target to me. After everyone was brought back to life and healed as best as could be. Kori’el was constantly teasing Friedrich about giving her his mark. With the full knowledge that she would need to kill him in order to receive it. “Xandu will bring you back, won’t you ,Xandu.” She smiles and winks at me but looks seriously back at Friedrich. She’s so needed in this troupe. It’s stuff like that that lets me know we’re going to be alright.
We stayed there to rest so that Sheldor and I could prepare spells to retrieve some magic weapons. Then we moved to the hall of Gluttony. I had given several of the troupe Ant haul as to aid in their carrying capacity. This was done mainly so that more would be able to carry a wounded troupe mate to safety if need be.
When we entered the hall I started casting protective spells on the troupe. I had just finished a spell on Kori’el when a mummy walked from a secret door and smashed into her. Most of the troupe was frightened by the mummies but Rikert quickly took care of us and got us fighting again.
The next room was a large pit with walkways that crossed in the center. We quickly moved to our left and looked inside the room. Dark energy arced between two pillars. Negative energies coursing to form a vile portal. Next Room Please! The room that was next would be the one that was straight in front of where we had entered. This one lead to a chamber of vileness I hadn’t seen since the farm house. You remember the hillbilly ogres….yuck. Any way.
We moved swiftly through that room and into another. Then down a hall and …MUMMIES. This time Rikert and Kori’el were in, just the right spots and they pretty much with some help but they pretty much took charge of the mummies. Thank you Rikert, Thank you Kori’el. After the mummies were dead (again) Davok found a secret door and then Moxie found yet another.
It gets strange here as I couldn’t see what was going on ahead of me. I was at the back of the troupe save Rikert who was the very last. We could hear our troupe mates conversing with someone but had no idea what was going on. It didn’t sound as if there was any fighting and I thought maybe they had found a prisoner locked away for eons but NOOOO as I got a glance at the man that they were talking to, the very old and pale man with a crown on his head, the man that had just finished sewing up a patch work corpse. This is the man the troupe was so eagerly talking to. I couldn't believe it but I didn’t want to seam rude so I to engaged it in conversation also. Then all of a sudden, a rainbow of colors heads right for us and we’re almost whisked away to another plane. ????
Time. As I started this entry time seemed like nothing and now the time I have left is slipping through my fingers.
Moxie’s gone. The fricking lich is behind a protective wall and I need him to tell me what he did with Moxie. NOW
I grab Rikert and hop him to the lich. Rikert pummels said litch but the lich dimension doors away. We hop back to the troupe and start our hasty search of this wing. Davok bashes through a door and into a room and says “That’s not him” I shout that he’s not in this room as the rest of the troupe save Rikert egnore and pile right past me into the room with Davok. Rikert and I race past the gruesome room and out into the pit entrance. We head to the remaining door way. I have a suspicion about the negative energy room, that is directly behind us now.
Davok walks slowly to me with his brains half eaten.??? I heal him and scream at Rikert and the others that we need to go to the room with the negative energies. TIME
A fun fact is that Xandu had given Rikert 156pts of cold protection and himself the same but from fire. As we entered the room Rikert said oh sure you have fire protection. That's when we get hit with two cold spells. Later Xandu gets hit a few times with fire. Xandu turned to Rikert and proclaimed the wisdom of Desna! It was a great fight. Xandu, with one hit point kept moving Moxie (Rikert once) and Kori'el to keep Moxie at range and Kori'el out of trouble. Even had to help Friedrich. Something that hardly ever happens.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
As I looked at the cloak I discovered that it only did dimensional door once /day not as good as I had thought but everyone was still adamant about me wearing it. I do like to move about during any fights so I agreed.
We went through the double doors after Moxie had declared them safe, and into a bigger library and study. This large room had been burnt or destroyed with flame. Not much was salvageable as we looked around. Moxie checked the first of three doors that were easily accessible and found it safe and unlocked . Rikert opened it and we all readied for an encounter. Just a neatly stacked pile of dead bodies lay like cord-wood. Upon inspection the bodies were all the same as the man in the other room. At first I thought the bodies came from the mirrors but no they had to do with a cloning spell he had worked on in order to send spies out into the world because he (we) are stuck here. He did mention a possible way out in his ledger. We will need to spend some time deciphering it. The next room was the same, neatly piled bodies of deceased clones.
Moxie checked the next door and again found it free of traps and unlocked. By this time we had all relaxed just a bit and were busy looking around at the shelves of burnt books and thinking about the dead bodies as we approached the doors and Moxie did her thing and Rikert opened the door so we were a bit taken aback when Rikert yelled and was set upon by none other than Delvahine. The demon from the silken pavilion. Actually it was six of her clones. Only one was visible to Rikert. I could see the rest and they had surrounded us outside the door so I divinely moved Davok, GrAnne and myself away so they would have a better shot at the clones. Forgetting that they couldn’t see them. Even after giving Davok true sight He still had to wait for them to materialize before he could hurt them.
Unfortunately a few of the Delvahine clones came after us and we needed to be a little closer to the Paladin so we wouldn’t get our minds taken from us so I had to move us all back to the troupe. We all fared well against the mind attacks save Moxie (poor girl) she was taken briefly by the desire to shoot Rikert. In the heat of battle maybe it was an accident but Moxie fessed up right away after all the Delvahines were dead.
Moxie even gave Rikert a great gift that she had found in the area, to make a mends. Rikert accepted but now must learn to read Thassilonian. We returned to the first study behind the secret door. Friedrich and Kori’el were getting quite a lot of information from Vraxerises tome when the secret door opened and an elderly gentleman came in. The room got colder, he smiled, closed the door and transformed into Arkhryst, the white dragon that had followed us here.
Xandu's Journal Entry:
I checked everyone for wounds and it was decided that Moxie would escort GrAnne and Sheldor back to the other mirrors and destroy them and then meet up with the rest of us in the large room. (Players missing at the beginning of the night)
I cast true seeing on myself and shield other on Friedrich. I was about to cast true sight on Davok when many voices shouted at once ( telling us to keep the screams down as we died, the master was in his study and was not to be disturbed). That's when the fireballs came raining down on us and Davok ran screaming (just to piss them off) straight into the large room. I told the troupe that the Peacock in the center was an illusion and healed myself. I then cast mislead, (turning me invisible and creating an exact duplicate of myself) my double and I split up. I needed to catch up to Davok in order to allow him to see the foe but he had a large lead on me. Friedrich and Kori'el went towards the center, Davok and Rikert moved straight down the left side of the room. I had my double moving straight till he got half way into the room then turn right.
As I got farther into the room I started spotting the enemy as they reached my true sight's range. At first I tried to avoid them for fear that they could see me but I realized that they couldn't, as they cast spells at my double. I had my double fend off the attacks like he was being effected by the spells. I finally reached Davok but he ran off before I could give him sight. I took a deep breath and raced after him again, this time giving him Desna's grace to see the enemy. He was very excited for his new sight. And started firing away at the enemy with his bow. At the same moment I gave Davok his sight I heard GrAnne scream in pain. I turned in time to see her falling from the sky and off her broom, she landed hard on the ground.
I had no time so I dimensional hopped to her and breathed a healing breath into her body. then healed her she groaned and looked right past me.. I turned to see what it was she saw but it was just her little dragon, I realized that she couldn't see me and might have thought that her dragon had saved her. Good enough for me. At that same moment Davok went down in a horrible display of bodily contortions. As if being eaten. I couldn't get to him in time to save him but I went anyway. I started to bring him back from his sleep but was interrupted by two of the mages running in our direction, they were being chased by the rest of the troupe, Friedrich, Kori'el, and Rikert. I readied myself for their arival and when they reached us I gave one of the mages a mighty whack with Simon's sword. It's much harder to swing than I thought and even mages with no armor don't just die when hit with a sword, I think it's best if I stick with the healing.
As the fight moved on from Davok's body I started the prayer again to bring him back to us. I finished the prayer at about the same time that the rest of my troupe mates finished the mages. I explained to them that there was a secret door next to Davok and I and after picking through the mages for loot we moved into the secret room.
There was a deceased man sitting at a table looking into a mirror. For what ever reason no one wanted to look at the mirror. One object of note other than the many books (many, many books) was the cloak the dead man had on. It looked like peacock feathers, so brightly colored. I'm pretty sure that i moved without even realizing it as I stroked the soft cloak and marveled at all the bright colors. Every one in the troupe agreed that I should have it. These guys are great. Wait till I tell them or show them what it does. Not only is it beautiful it is very functional as in dimensional door three times a day functional.
Because USEPLANB asked me to post how Xandu dresses (items found in the AP, I will add) I gladly, boldly say....He is wearing at times
1. Pink gloves (spider climb)
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
The afternoon went smooth and the troupe received much needed rest or at least down time. Moxie and I talked about Simon and Lynn. We talked about Sandpoint and the people we missed. The troupe had to hush us several times because we were laughing to loud. It felt good to laugh. Moxie stopped and gave me a look at one point and asked what she was going to do with me, half to herself I think. I told her not to worry about me, that we need to get our troupe out of this alive and that was our main focus for now. I apologized for kissing her earlier and told her I was caught up in the moment. I don’t think I should have used the word apologize because she looked hurt and I started back pedaling saying that I was sorry for kissing her. She gave me such a look, her hands went to her hips her head went all sideways and …. (That’s when it got weird)
I said “No, I’m not sorry I kissed you, I was sorry for the way I kissed you…..Agh” I through up my arms and tried to get up and she pounced on me and kissed me. Then she said “Yep you’re right, it was a sorry kiss. Maybe some day if you’re lucky I’ll teach you how to kiss.“ I started to ask what was wrong with the way I kissed and she gave me that look and I knew we were done with the kissing conversation. We both started laughing and we promptly got hushed by the rest. We talked with the troupe and we tried to figure out how best to help Kori’el get caught up on our findings and ways to keep us all alive. We told her about the beings we had fought and the things we’d seen. She’s a bit odd, she talks to herself a lot, she doesn’t keep her appearance up like most girls or most people for that matter. She’s a mess but endearing at the same time and smart too. Girls!!!! I need a rest.
Fighting demons is going to be rough. My morning prayers went well. Hannah taught me many new spells I could use to help my friends. One of them was a feast and it was so impressive I wanted to show the troupe so I started the day with it. It was a great feast and everyone liked it but no one was hungry. I told the troupe of my great plan to retrieve Lynn’s body but no one liked it. Hannah didn’t think I should try either but she told me to ask the troupe maybe they would help me make a better one, they didn’t. Friedrich called it a “Fools Errand.” Jeez I just wanted to get Lynn back. Rikert said that Lynn was gone from his body and that we didn’t really need his body in order for us to wake him from his sleep (if he chose to come back). I left my daring rescue plan at the table. I guess I was still trying to be like “Simon” like Hannah had said.
We left the “safety” of our hiding place and slowly made our way across the open chamber ready to run from the dragon but it wasn’t there. We entered into Xanderghul’s wing, the walls were mirrored and there were chandeliers lighting our way. I could look into the mirrors and I counted passed forty some images of myself. It looked like it went on forever. While awesome at first it really started to be annoying when trying to keep a vigilant eye. As soon as we turned left (hard to tell the corridor even went right and left) we were attacked by doubles of Moxie and Friedrich. Followed by Sheldor’s and my doubles. At first I was stunned as to how well I looked. I was trying to heal people (Friedrich had just been blown up by his double. He died just like Simon. Well he mostly died…anyway) and trying to help Rikert fight an invisible Friedrich Double (luckily the doubles only tried to “kill” their original) when I noticed my double running towards me. I would have loved to see me dance and swing the totem spear that I use to use…my scarf looks great when I run and my hat is so cool, maybe I should get some different pants. Back to the fight. Davok and Moxie expertly picked out my imposters and shot them full of holes. Why did they look so surprised when they figured out that they had dispatched the right ones?
One final blow to a bear and more healing for Friedrich, would you look at that “Do you see the size of that Peacock?”
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
The void came quickly. The tree and the world around it came into view like a blinding light, then I blinked and I was there on the hill. I could hear the stream bubbling behind me. The soft white grass felt cool and a warm breeze blew my scarf and it smelled like summer. The stars shone brightly over head. Hanna was sitting against the tree reading. She closed the book and looked over to me. “A bit early aren’t you? Or is this just a visit because you missed me to much.” That accent, she could have said I have mud on my face and I’d just smile and nod cause I loved to hear her talk. She went on, “I’m teasing of course. I was watching you. I don’t always, you know, but today some things were all coming together. A pattern that has been weaving around the Storm Guard and it is coalescing.” Hanna put the book away, I don’t know where it went, it was there, then it wasn’t.
She stretched her arms out and above her head and arched her back. Then she planted her palms on the grass and her body rose up, palms and bare feet still on the grass, then she stretched up to the sky. Hands on her hips she slowly turned right then left, occasionally looking in my direction. She didn’t have the armor on that I’d seen before and was dressed like the first time I had met her. Fine white robes that still had patterns but the colors were muted now that she was touching the ground. I looked at my clothes, a bit battle worn, I should have fixed them first. I let out a sigh. “You were watching me? Can you do that? Can you see the others?” She laughed but it wasn’t a big laugh more of a giggle. “No.” she said “It doesn’t work quite like that but I do know that you were in trouble. I was even ready to come to your aid if you asked.”
“What? Oh, that” I knew what she meant. There was a way for me now to call upon Desna to send Hanna to my aid. I didn’t want to say that that might make me uncomfortable. Moxie and all. I let it be. “Hanna, do you know how to fight with a sword?” I asked. I had just come up with an idea and I wanted Hanna to teach me how to fight, like Simon. I told her my idea and she listened with a caring look and even approval it seemed but when I finished my explanation. She took me by my hands and explained that while that would be a most honorable reason to learn how to fight with a sword, that that wasn’t why I was placed into the Storm Guard. She said to me “A foot doesn’t become a hand when the hand is lost. Or a thumb become an eye when the eye is lost. It’s the same with the Storm Guard. When one of you falls you can’t replace them you have to just move on without them. Some one may fill in but never replace them. And then that person becomes a part. And that part is irreplaceable but you didn’t even realize it until they’ve shown up. Take Kori’el for instance Desna had her in mind a while back and even sent you to get her from Magnimar. You missed her then but still here she is and just when she’s needed. As for you, you are an irreplaceable part too. Now get back to your friends and figure out a way to get through this. I’m always here for you but so are your friends. So go but don’t forget to come back this morning. I will have missed you even more by then. Be yourself Xandu, always the humble servant that Desna loves, that we all love.“ She reached out and pulled off my hat and tousled my hair.
Moxie was still lightly singing and playing with my hair. Her eyes were shut. I closed mine again and gave my most humble thanks to Desna for all the beautiful parts she surrounded me with called The Storm Guard.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
After I said that, Rikert turned towards me with a smile and said “Not just yet but I agree with you she must and will be dealt with”. To that I said we need to retrieve Lynn’s body and remember he had “The” Scroll tube”. Everyone’s eyes widened. I was needing to rest and so I went to Moxie and asked her if she would watch over me while I prayed. Her tears had stopped and she made herself comfortable and I lay beside her with my head in her lap. She sang softly and stroked my hair.
The white tree, the stream…….Hanna.
Xandu’s Journal Entry:
Wow, where to start? I went back to Magnimar and retrieved Friedrich but there was no sign of the woman that Desna had told me about so reluctantly I returned with only Friedrich. We spent a while in the Jorgunfist Library studying. Then back to Magnimar to sell our goods and buy new ones. From there we traveled back to Sandpoint. It was good to see that the giants we had left there remained. Unfortunately there was a sink hole that had appeared and we found more clues to the Thessalonian connection we were investigating. From Sandpoint we traveled to a place we believed would lead us to the Rune Forge so that we could make or forge weapons to fight the Rune Lords in particular Karzoug. We needed to travel to a mountain with a face on it and Simon had a map that seamed to show just the spot. No one wanted me to just teleport us there so I gave them the option of Wind walking, a spell Hanna had introduced me to in one of my dream visitations. The troupe all agreed and away we went. Hanna’s instruction has been very useful. My nightly prayers and meetings with her have become necessary in my growth in Desna’s power.
My bond with her is making me feel closer to Desna and farther from my troupe. Even though she says it is just the opposite. I often have found myself getting through the night just so I can meet with Hanna early in the morning. Our time together has stretched on ‘til dawn on occasion. That is very rare but it did happen once when I was in Sandpoint. Even Hanna was a bit surprised at the length of time that had past. There are many people that I know that I love and trust but there are some that also confuse the dickens out of me.
Hanna is one but not the first. If I was to be honest Ameiko is the first. She makes me feel so welcome and uncomfortable at the same time. I think she was my first crush of Sandpoint. That being said, the next is the little gnome, Moxie, who joined forces with a group of misfits that I found myself apart of. Both continue to muddle my brain when ever I’m around them. Strangely enough when in the Rusty Dragon performing I forget all about Ameiko and my focus is strictly on Moxie and the crowd. Okay Moxie first the crowd is secondary. When I perform well and Moxie dances and sings I have never felt that kind of connectedness with anyone. It reminds me of my caravan days but stronger. Funny, those days were not that long ago.
And no, I’m not without experience, I’ve had female friends, girl friends even intimate ones, lovers. I thought I might try and establish one with Ameiko when I was then distracted by my feelings for Moxie. But although she shows interest she is also aloof and standoffish. Ameiko seems content with staying in Sandpoint. That is so appealing to me because I’d love a place to call “Home”, raise kids. I want so much to be part of a real family. I think that maybe Moxie would like to settle down some time and maybe even in Sandpoint. The thing with Moxie is how she shines when she’s part of the “our” troupe. I could never deny her of that joy. There are so many facets to her that I doubt my ability to facilitate them all. Though I’d love the opportunity to try. So I find myself thus…..
I enjoy the warm friendliness of Ameiko and leave it at that. I absolutely enjoy the radiance of Moxie both when she’s performing before a crowd and when she’s just being the Moxie that lets kept bunnies free in the dead of the night. She melts my heart by smiling at me. From the twinkle in her eye the dimple of her chin. She captivates me. Just to be in her presence, I am happy.
This brings me to where I find myself now. A third wonderful woman has entered my thoughts. I haven’t even acted on the first one and now I have a third woman invading my conciseness. Yeah, I know it is way out there and believe you me it caught me totally off guard. I truly find Desna’s guide for me, her tutor for training me in using her power, has totally taken over my world. I want to please her, I want her to like me. I want to do well when I try the new spells that she teaches me in my morning prayers. I’ve even prayed to Desna about all of this and she just laughs and gives me no advice at all. It’s like she doesn’t care that I find Hanna attractive to the point of distraction. She doesn’t seam to care that I my love someone here where I live on the material plain and someone that might just be an illusion in my dreams. Desna is absolutely no help in this matter at all. She’s the one that is supposed to be on my side. I blame my human side for all these feelings. The sensible elf side would have no trouble at all just picking one and moving on with that choice. So I blame this on my humanity.
So by now you can figure out where my head has been. Not at all with the task at hand.
It’s winter and it’s cold and we made our way north of Sandpoint and into the mountains. Simon had a map that showed a face in the mountain region and Friedrich had told us of a mountain with a face carved into it that would lead us into the Rune Forge. We found a flat hill with seven standing stones in a circle at the base of the mountain with a face. Stairs went up from the plateau up to the mouth of the face, an entrance into the mountain. Each with an open mouth. We guessed that by casting the apropos spell at a stone it would produce a key. The unfortunate part of this is that the stone let out a scream each time it was made to produce a key. We no sooner collected most of the key if not all of them, than a dragon attacked the party. Yours truly was part of it’s first breathe and pass. My endure elements did nothing to stop the cold that came from the dragons mouth. And I took damage.
Without thought I raced to my troupe mates to heal them, move them, help them in any way I could. Then I thought, it would be wise to just make a run for the entrance since we had all the keys so I yelled at the troupe to fly above the stairs to the mouth of the mountain. The face had been carved and its mouth was the entrance. Away I flew deep into the cave until I could no longer see and even a little past that. I waited, it shouldn’t take the troupe long to catch up because we all can travel at the same speed when flying. It wasn’t until I heard something very large suddenly appear some distance beyond me in the dark. Meaning I heard something “blip” in and continue farther into the cave. The troupe arrived shortly after and said that the dragon had blipped OUT and I said that he had blipped In shortly before so lets be careful.
Down and down we went. Simon tried sliding to his death but stopped just shy of it. He wasn’t even worried, woo hooing all the way, because he had a plan. Yeah, well, he could of told us that instead of us worrying about him. At the edge, Lynn and Rikert helped Simon over to the walking path and we took the long way around and to the bottom. There were seven standing stones around an eighth . There was also a pile of treasure. Probably the dragons that was here some where mending his wounds. With Friedrich’s assistance we used our keys to activate the center stone. It turned into a gate or portal to the Rune Forge we hoped.
We came out in a huge chamber with twenty foot statures of the seven Rune Lords and in the center was what Friedrich said was the Rune Well, the place we’d make the weapons. I am not sure how that can be possible. I know how to craft arms and armor and a glowing pool isn’t usually part of the process. Friedrich assures me that this is in fact where we will need to place the ingredients to form our new weapons. He just hasn’t figured out what ingredients we need or where we will find them. He says he has an idea but is not sure yet he’ll think about it and get back with me. Okay?!!?
We chose a corridor to be the first and a plan as to which one was next in line, in case of trouble we would not move randomly about this place should we get separated. The first passage seamed short enough but as we stepped in, a loud voice sounded saying to us, we weren’t worthy and would parish. Simon actually said he felt unwelcome but he was the only one to mention an effect from what ever that warning was. The passage opened into a partially collapsed chamber, a battle took place here and even though every place these Thessalonians build has a lasting and preserving power I don’t think this battle happened thousands of years ago I think it was much more recent. In the middle of the room crackled a rod stuck into the ground. Electricity arced off of it. Most went around it but I wanted to touch it so I did and nothing, the hair stood up on my arms but that was about it. I tied to move the rod but it was stuck solid so I moved on passed.
Friedrich wanted a closer look at the rod and about that time Lynn said “Watch out!” and the rod pulsed. I felt an energy pass through me. I was aglow with Desna’s power feeding several spells I had going They all continued so I paid it no attention. Others started cursing (Simon), he was sure that it was us that set off the rod but Friedrich and Lynn said it would continue it’s pulse for some time if not forever. They were quite amazed at it. That was nothing compared to what we found next. A silvery pool. Friedrich couldn’t get his flasks out fast enough, filling them with the silvery substance, he explained that it was an ingredient we would need and he wanted to get as much as he could because he wasn’t sure how much was needed. Great! I think he’s making this up as he goes. Actually it’s good to see him so excited about something. He is much more animated now that he’s here in this place. Like a kid in a candy shop. And he wants it all. We all waited while our happy alchemist gathered the stuff of wonder.
After he had collected it all, we went back to cross the main chamber, we waited for the pulse then ran to the other side to explore another corridor. All we really found was a kind of ooze. It attacked Davok and Simon. I tried helping with fighting it with little or no result. I think Simon rolled his eyes as I attempted to stick it with my spear. He called me an idiot for trying but who was the one all gooey and stuck so really, who’s the idiot? Davok had found a hidden panel and that is why they had entered into the goo in the first place. After Friedrich killed the ooze the Davok opened the panel and through a lever as far as we know nothing happened. We then moved back to the main chamber. The next chamber we entered, Friedrich said belonged to the Rune Lord Sorshen “Lust” is the sin she was tied to.
Her chamber was immense and colorful and vibrant. The scenes on the ceiling were questionable and provocative. Naked statues, of Sorshen I guess, held up the ceiling. There were cages along it’s outer walls and a huge pavilion in the middle that was made of silk. I hate to admit it but as I looked at the ceiling I couldn’t help but think of Ameiko, Moxie and Hanna. Simon had an approving look as he looked at them and then there were four naked flying female creatures taunting us and making lewd gestures, pouting when we refused them. They were demonic in appearance but still quite lovely. Except Rikert, no one paid them much attention. They were flying out of reach and weren’t really bothering us but Rikert flew up to engage one in a fight. The rest came to the aid of the one Rikert was fighting. Everything happened so fast it is going to be hard to tell the tale without leaving something out so bare with me. Simon, Davok, Friedrich and Rikert maybe Moxie and Lynn as well. Were just ripping the flying ladies apart. All that they had done was to taunt us, Simon has done worse to any multitude of people including us. So I tried to hop up to one and keep her safe but she refused and dimension doored away.
I found out that they really didn’t like the paladin, Rikert was torn up by them, all attacking at the same time like they did. I took out a wand and was healing him when Lynn yelled out that there were giants. Davok braced himself and smiled, notching an arrow to his bow. Lynn was at the huge pavilion and through the door (a curtain not really a door) I saw Lynn being splattered to the floor by giants with huge clubs so I ran. Simon was screaming at me not to get in front but that is where Lynn lie dieing so I dimensional hopped to him and back out allowing Desna’s power to flow out of me to all the troupe and especially Lynn. Then I concentrated Desna’s power to revive just Lynn. I’m going to take just a moment here to explain all I saw in the first room of this pavilion. Colorful silks and soft pillows were every where. Had it not been for the giants and all that followed I would have loved to stay here a while.
It seems that every time I stop to heal one of our troupe, bad things happen elsewhere. Here I am healing Lynn when Simon, Davok and Rikert go racing off into the next room. Not one to be left behind Friedrich disappears, I have no idea where he went. Now Rikert and Simon are arguing about tactics and the like, the same banter as in all our battles. Who did more, who pissed their pants, etc, etc. It just stopped Simon was in the middle of calling Rikert a long line of names when he just went silent. Davok, who is at least usually laughing at them, was also missing from the banter and Rikert’s voice goes from normal horse play to something different it had been replaced by awe or dismay. He called for a halt and as I came running to them I could only see Davok, hands covered in blood holding his stomach together. He was saying that Friedrich had exploded Simon to dust and ash and that he thought the little one (Moxie) had gutted him (Davok) after he had shot Friedrich with an arrow. Davok is difficult to understand at times, his speech is, let’s say, rudimentary at best. I think I know what he said but did I really? I was looking for Simon as I reached Davok. Davok said stinky not right, Simon dead, lit’l sneaky bad, stinky blowed up Simon with sparks, lit’l sneaky shot me, is all I got from my big green friend. Rikert told me not to enter the hall as I ran past him to reach Davok. It was all I could do to get to Davok, I couldn’t have gone any farther if I wanted. There was no sign of Simon, not even yelling or rather cursing. Davok had to be wrong, Simon was just around the corner waiting for me to heal him. Rikert was furious he wanted to regroup but Lynn couldn’t make it to us. GrAnnie for some reason, only known to her, stayed behind and then cut of the path for Lynn to follow us. Everyone is acting strange here. Rikert told Davok and I to stay close to him as we moved down the hall and into the next room. He said he had an aura that would protect us.
I think I healed Davok afterwards I cast mislead, something new that Hanna had showed me, it created an illusion of myself and I turned invisible. Both my illusion and I moved down the hall but in different spots. I was staying within the protective aura of Rikert. Rikert, Davok and I moved in the hall towards a large bed chamber, as we did I searched the room for Friedrich and/or Moxie. Rikert and I had a feeling that they were under some spell that would make them attack their own troupe. Moxie has fallen under such spells before, come to think of it we all have at one time or another, even Rikert. Now I know there is no blame for them but I have to get her and Friedrich out of here before someone is killed. I moved down the hall and pain like a punch to the gut hit me. It was a sword slice from another invisible adversary. I stumbled forward. I couldn’t see who had just sliced me open but I could see the lady I had tried to save in the Great Room, she was standing against the far wall on my left. My illusion continued into the room. As Rikert and Davok came into the room a creature of light or flame emerged at the far wall and it opened its mouth and a blinding flash or ray of light struck my illusion and I let it go. That would have hurt if it hit me. Then a voice from somewhere in the room spoke to us. I still hadn’t found Moxie or Friedrich so I engaged it in conversation.
It (She) complained about how we had come in fighting and all she wanted for us was “Love” yeah, right. I became visible and grabbed a pillow from the nearest bed and moved to the middle of the room and sat down on the pillow. I said “Ask her (pointing to the naked flying lady that had been in the great room) I tried to save her from harm but she refused and fled here.” The voice still had no body and a pillow flew from yet another bed. I was sitting in front of a throne but facing now two shining creatures plus the lady I tried to help. The voice was calling the flying lady her “Daughter” so that’s what I’ll refer to her as. The “Daughter” didn’t look as happy as she did in the great room, she looked scared. I wanted to get out of here but I hadn’t found Moxie or Friedrich. I panicked and said we had come here to make weapons to fight the Rune Lord Karzoug and not to fight with her (the voice). Rikert joined in on the negotiations. Then Friedrich became visible and the voice became angry but she some tense moments ( of which I didn’t know what was happening. Later found out that GrAnnie had claimed Friedrich’s body much like what Delvahine did.) Eventually all parties agreed to help thus we would learn how to make the weapons. A female with wings (probably a demon if I read Rikert’s face right) became visible sitting on the throne with Moxie and her daughter flanking her along with the two shining children. A price was agreed on and we would get our weapons. I then asked for the renewal of our friends, Moxie and Friedrich. That’s where the story goes south.
Delvahine whole heartily agreed to let Moxie and Friedrich go as long as I would bed her. I was at a loss. (Where is Simon when you need him, he would have jumped at the chance to bang some demon in order to free Moxie. Just so he could tease Moxie about it. I could hear it now. Hey Moxie remember the time I had to do that demon to save your sorry a$$ and what do I get in return not even a thank you. I could hear him as if he was right there in the room.) I couldn’t bed Delvahine. Moxie was right there. I had no intension of soiling myself not even if it meant Moxie’s freedom. She would never forgive me, not for that. I told Delvahine that the one that could have sated her had been killed already. I was ready for a fight, Moxie was in view, Friedrich close at hand, and I knew for sure that GrAnnie could fix them if I couldn’t.
I readied myself for a fight. Then Lynn spoke up. “I’ll do it” I’ll sleep with you to free our mates. Delvahine reluctantly agreed. I was in shock, Lynn?, the elf that never said boo or anything. Of the troupe Lynn had been with us from the beginning and I knew almost nothing about him. He kept to himself for the most part. Kind of like Davok. Not partaking in the festivities of the troupe. Why would Lynn do this? There was a lot of commotion, then Lynn said aloud “Are we going to do this or not?” Delvahine showed him to her boudoir. Moxie and Friedrich stood guard just outside the door. We could hear….well we heard. Delvahine came out moments later, blood everywhere, with a smile on her face. She released Moxie first then Friedrich. She went to her throne and sat. I asked for the remains of Lynn and was refused. (That’s not going to go over well) She waved us out and we left Rikert had already left by the time Davok and I had collected Simons remains. We headed out passed the dead giants, passed the cages and when we got to the corridor Sheldor and Rikert were talking to a woman. Friedrich vouched for her and we all headed to the chamber passed the rod for some needed rest and regroup. It seams that the dragon had followed us here and is lose.
It was a funeral precession as we entered the main chamber (a statue had been destroyed just moments ago, Zutha) Friedrich and Kori’el talked as we walked, heads together and in hushed tones. We all waited for the rod to pulse then moved into the chamber beyond to rest. Rikert hadn’t said a single thing not even when introduced to Kori’el. Sheldor kept a vigilant eye on the entrance along with Davok. Moxie fussed over Simon’s body. GrAnnie cackled in a corner. I set myself up to find out what all the rod may have ruined of my stuff and said prayers to Desna. I always find reason not to look at Moxie, she was a few feet from me fixing Simon the best she could, tears streaming down her face, snot running out of her nose, she was a mess and I felt helpless to do anything. Kori’el walked over to the pile of stuff that was Simons. Picked up a dagger and held it high. “ I was a friend of Simon Rogue. Though I never met him, I heard of how he stood alone against the dragon in Sandpoint. I hope that when my time comes, I have the courage to do the same.” She looked hopefully at Friedrich but it was Moxie who stood next. Moxie walked over to Simons stuff and produced a ever burning torch, raising it above her head she said “I too was a friend or Simon Rogue. I am honored to have called him my troupe mate and proudly testify to the valor of his actions in our noble cause.”
What was I going to do? I stood up and walked over to Friedrich and punched him in the arm. “That’s for probably killing Simon” I slapped his face. “That’s for probably stabbing me” Then I gave him a big 'ol bear hug. “That’s for coming back.” I released him gently and winked, I turned towards Moxie. The torch was at her side she no longer held it up. I walked over to her and she shied just a little as I got close, she closed her eyes I could see her body tense as she must of thought I’d hit her. I leaned into her holding her tightly in my arms and kissed her, then whispered that’s in case you ever shoot me you’ll know I already forgive you. Her eyes opened and I kissed her again. I gave her a giant bear hug too. I reached for Simons sword and held it high. “I was a friend and troupe mate of Simon Rogue and he not only believed in me but he believed in us. So I say we go back to that pleasure place and do what he never got a chance to, and Fark that b!@+@let.”
We were on the verge of TPK. Our small plan fell apart at its start. Xanadu couldn't get close enough to Moxie so he started talking. Rikert also started talking. Not knowing who were allies or foes Xandu decided to explain that they were here to make weapons to fight Karzog.
The short version so you can rest well is that we regained Moxie and Friedrich but lost Lynn as he agreed to spend some "alone" time with De. She wanted Xandu but he just couldn't soil himself especially with Moxie present he would have died fighting first. That's when Lynn volunterred his services. The Palidan is still pissed.
The write ups should be interesting to say the least.