Spoiler Alert: This is a adventure that uses the "H1: Keep on the Shadowfell" Adventure from Wizards of the Coast. Be aware that the adventure notes below contains spoilers about this adventure.
|Fall 2008||Spring 2009|
|Adventurer's Name||Description||Portrayed by||Miniatures||
|Artemis||Half-Elf Gaurdian Fighter||Heather B.||Artemis's unpainted mini||Character Sheet|
|Azrael||Elven Archer Ranger||Jennifer Y.||Azrael's unpainted mini||Character Sheet|
|Jelenneth||Eladrin Control Wizard||Rebecca N.||Jelenneth's unpainted mini||Character Sheet|
|Commander Paelias||Eladrin Tactical Warlord||Will H.||Commander Paelias' unpainted mini||Character Sheet|
|Reggie the Rogue||Elven Trickster Rogue||Danielle W.||Character Sheet|
|Svanhilde the Shieldmaid||Human Paladin||Kat O.||Character Sheet|
|GameMaster||GameMaster||Lionel W.||GM's painted figure (My Little Cthulhu) ;-)||Not Applicable|
|Armillary||Human Devoted Cleric||Myron M.||Armillary's unpainted mini||Not Available|
|Sora||Dragonborn Great Weapon Fighter||Allison Z.||Sora's unpainted mini||Character Sheet|
The First Entry from the Journal of Armillary (September 24)
I am Armillary, Pious Cleric of Ioun the Goddess of Knowledge, History, and Prophecy. After I finished my lessons from Archbishop Tomias of my Congregation, I decided to set out in the world to help all by spreading knowledge, wisdom, peace, and healing in the name of Ioun. I met up with a traveling group of adventurers on the road. They stated they needed a good Cleric on their team and invited me to join them. I saw this as an opportunity to complete my personal goals and decided to join them. I introduced myself and got know each one of the adventurers.
Artemis is an Half-Elf Fighter who seems to be a good protector. She was polite and demonstrated her swordsmanship to me. She seems quite skillful and I know I can rely on her protection from attacks. The next one I met was an Elf named Azrael who from looking at her bow and quiver of arrows, appeared to be an Archer. When I saw her surveying the surrounding forest and road for any attacks, I assumed she must be a Ranger. She must be excellent with the bow and a good surveyor if she is with us. I then saw a tall strong Dragonborn named Sora. She merely grumble towards me which I assumed was a "Hello". I asked her how strong she was and she then took her Great axe and sliced a thin tree in half with it in mere seconds. I know I can rely on her to kill things for me. Another came forth and greeted me and introduced himself as Commander Paelias an Eladrin Warlord. He told me he was the expert tactician and battle leader in the group. He seems like a nice enough guy who has lots of battle lore. I noticed he had a slight wound and healed him with a small prayer. The last member was another Eladrin named Jelenneth a Wizard. She was pointing her finger at a tree changing it to different shades of colors, and pointed a finger to the sky and shot lighting from it. She seems like an well learned student of the arcane arts.
As I followed them I was told they were on a quest to find a man named Dauven Staul in the town of Winterhaven. When we almost there, we were attacked by kobolds, but with team effort we managed to defeat them. When we got to town the guards at the gate told us to go to the inn to check for Duaven. When we got to inn, Sora was arguing she wanted to go in first with Jelenneth. I sighed and decided and not to get involved. When we got in we ordered some food and I kindly gave Paelias a gold coin since he had none to pay for a meal. The innkeeper told us that Duaven had been in town and was last seen going to the trash dump. We decided to go there in the morning since it was late and got ourselves some rooms.
May Ioun watch over us as we sleep.
The First Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (September 24)
I'm really not sure how I got involved in this quest. All of a sudden, I found some lady telling me that her husband, Dauven Staul, went missing several months ago. And for some reason, she thinks that a ragtag group of fighters and I are the only ones who are able to find him.
There's an eladrin named Jelenneth who's a control wizard. She gave a demonstration of her "Thunderwave" ability on some pigs outside the lady's house. It's really impressive. She's the stereotypical eladrin and constantly talks about how she's better than our other companions. At least Jelenneth has treated me pretty well since I'm an eladrin too. She insisted on keeping track of what we learned since she says she has the most intelligence.
We've got an Elven Archer Ranger named Azrael. When I asked her what she was good at, she whipped out her bow, shot off an arrow... and I saw it squarely hit an apple hanging on a tree some distance away. Very impressive.
I found a Human Cleric sitting alone on a rock. He introduced himself as Armillary. He seems to be a kind soul and is very devoted to his god. He took one look at a cut I'd gained from sparring last week, laid his hands on it, and said a few words. Instantly, I felt a tingle in my arm and I found my wound had been healed!
There's a Dragonborn named Sora. I couldn't get her to say much. After looking at her giant axe she was sharpening, I figured it'd be best not to try talking to her. Later, I was pleased to find a more courteous fighter, a Half Elf named Artemis. She seems to be a decent soldier and I'm glad to have her on our side.
The lady said she last saw Dauven on his way to Winterhaven. So we went out towards that town. On our way, we were suddenly attacked by a whole pack of kobolds. They were pretty easy to dispatch though. I was a bit rusty on fighting since I hadn't fought a real enemy since the Seven Winter's War, but I was pleased to find that much of my old talent was still there.
When we finally killed the last of the kobolds, we walked into Winterhaven. I looked back and realized that I could see the smoke from the old lady's village from where I stood. Geez, if Winterhaven is that close, it definitely makes you wonder what happened to Dauven. The guards said to check the local inn to see if anyone might have known Dauven. Jelenneth insisted that she enter the inn first and the other group members started arguing about who should go into the inn when. It was rather pathetic. Armillary was kind enough to spare me a gold piece for a meal since I was broke. Eventually, the owner of the inn told us that he'd seen Dauven a while back. He'd gone to the trash heap and hadn't been seen since. Since it was late, we figured we'd have a look in the morning.
The Second Entry from the Journal of Armillary (October 1)
When morning came I immediately got up and prepared myself for personal reflection and prayer in the town temple before we went off on our journey. The innkeeper was calling us for breakfast, so all of us but Artemis; who as sick in bed, went to eat breakfast to give ourselves some nourishment before any dangers ahead. I wish I could of healed her, but I am still young in the ways of healing.
When we got outside I told everyone I will meet them back here in the Square after they were finished shopping and selling our loot from the battle. As I stepped into the temple, I saw it was very modest and was aligned for the Goddess of Nature and travels. But I noticed a small shrine to Ioun in the corner and decided to make do with what I had. So I prayed with there for a few minutes for protection on our journey. After praying I left the temple and went back to the square and did not see the guys. I decided to wait for them for about 5 minutes and then notice them coming from the Grand Shoppe.
We then traveled outside of town to the dump. Azarael being a ranger scouted the surroundings from a distance from us and gesture that she saw something. To our surprised more of the same creatures that attacked us yesterday, jumped out from behind the rocks and attacked us. I switched my mace to my left hand, touched my symbol of Ioun around my neck, whispered a prayer and summoned forth a lance of light in my right hand and threw it at one of the foul creatures and it was a success as it cringed in pain. Sparkles flew in the air and gave Paelias a guding light to attack the creature. The battle commenced on as Paelias constantly cheered on others and was attacked repeatedly attacked by orbs of acid, his screams of pain was slightly humors, but I healed him with my best effort. I saw Sora blew fire at two creatures in front of her and some of it got onto the forest behind them. SHE WAS DESTROYING THE FOREST!!, what was she thinking? She could of destroyed innocent animals. But nonetheless, it had to be done as the creatures slowly fell from our attacks and was finally defeated. I saw Azrael picked up a necklace from a distance and I only caught a glance from a distance before she put it away, but I could only make out a few symbols on it which looked familiar to me. We looked at the forest as it continued to burn, and I turned to look down the road towards the dump, and hoped that we would find Dauven safe and in one peace.
May Ioun guides to our goal.
The Second Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (October 1)
We woke up to the waitress banging a pot and yelling that breakfast was ready. I tried to sneak in five more minutes, but was rudely awakened when she hit me over the head with the pot. Ouch! We had a nice, simple breakfast. Since I was broke, I was very glad that the meal was included in the night's stay. Artemis said she was feeling sick, so we let her sleep.
Armillary went off to the temple by himself, so the rest of us went to the Smithy to sell some of our loot from our battle. The smithy was a short dwarf and, although we pointed out that the dragon scale shields we had were just his size, he wasn't interested much in what we had. He did buy a few short swords and a sling with some pots. He suggested we try to go to the Grand Shoppe to sell the rest. I asked him if he'd seen the man we were looking for and he said that he'd come by recently to get some digging equipment.
We met up with Armillary who wondered why it took us so long to barter with the guy. As we stepped into the Shoppe, I was instantly reminded of the attic of my grandmother's house. She was always such a packrat and had things that didn't seem to have any purpose. I looked around the Shoppe and tried hard to imagine why anybody would actually create the things I was seeing, but I had quit when my head started to hurt. This shopkeeper wasn't very interested in our stuff either. After all, when the guards actually did their duty, they brought that sort of stuff all the time. We convinced Sora to buy an Adventurer's Pack because she had forgotten to buy one when we started our quest. I guess she was too excited about her big, hunkin' axe to think about survival...
Having finished our business, we decided to go ahead and leave town to go to the trash heap. Azrael thought something was wrong and she ran ahead of us. Suddenly, several monsters jumped out and ambushed us. So we went out to counterattack. They were the same type of monsters we'd met on our way to town. However, one of them appeared to be somewhat more distinguished among them. He was wearing jewelry and acted much more confident. We all began our fighting in earnest. I used my new hand crossbow for the first time and got a hit off of one of them. A few more monsters began to appear reinforcing the original group. As we nearly killed the bloody leader, it limped out of our sight. About this time, Sora started saying different things to herself and acting like she had multiple personalities, much like a little pink guy I once met who kept talking about "his precious."
The fighting continued in earnest. I was injured and decided to give myself some encouragement to make me feel better. "Yay! Yeah Paelias! You're doing a good... aggh!!!" My injuries hurt less, but I'd suddenly been hit by something! Azrael screamed to me that an acid blast had come from the direction the leader had fled to. I guess he didn't like it when I gave a cheer for my hard work.
Over my shoulder, I heard a ferocious roar and the sound of fire blazing. Sora was breathing flames on a group of monsters. Unfortunately, since they were near a forest, Sora accidently set the forest on fire. Or maybe it was partly intentional. I didn't have time to watch because the monsters surrounded me and tried to take me down. They injured me pretty badly, but I was still able to fight. About this time, Jelenneth, who was helping Sora out, yelled that she was hurt. So I decided to give her some encouragement to make her feel better too. "Jelenneth! Yeah! You can beat 'em! You can...aarrgh!" Yet again, that stupid leader fired another acid blast at me. "Do you realize how much it hurts me to encourage you?!" I yelled back in pain. Man, that guy doesn't like it when I encourage people. I was extremely bloody and tried to get away. After a bit of rest, I was able to get my second wind and was back in the battle to fight.
Azrael took a shot at that stupid leader and he finally died. Soon after, we finally slay the rest of the wretched beasts. We gathered a few swords and some spears from the guys. Azrael took the necklace that the leader was wearing. She looked at it for a moment before stashing it away. Sora was standing towards the forest, clearly enamored by the blazing trees. We all gathered around, happily watching the last few trees ignite and burn fiercely.
The Third Entry from the Journal of Armillary (October 8)
After we rested up from our battle, we noticed Artemis running towards us on the road. "Sorry guys, I was not feeling too well. But I am here now." She said yawning and smiling. We continued down the road with the sun shining high in the sky and we finally made it to the entrance of the dump. My what a clean place for a dump I said to myself, I was a small 10 feet canyon. Azrael walked up on the cliff and decided to scout form above in case something would attack us. She hid near one of the dead trees and kept the look out. Me and the other walked closer inside the dump and found two big lizard creatures guarding the entrance and some cretures in the distance. We also saw a big crater in the center of the dump with what appeared to be dragon bones in it. I also noticed runes surrounding the crater with symbols that look familiar to me. The creatures growled at us and then, a short creature which looked like a goblin came towards us and greeted us. "Hi, my name is Agrid, I am the leader of my mining group." He said. We introduced ourselves and asked if he saw a man named Dauven around here. He said they saw him a day ago digging in a spot to the east of the crater, but that is all they knew as when they got up in the morning they said he was gone. Strange why was he digging in that spot? Why did he suddenly get up and leave. We inquired about what the bones where and they stated the only thing they knew is that it was a dragon.
We began talking amongst ourselves thinking what to do next when suddenly, Commander Paelias noticed something a burlap bag moving behind the crates near the miners. "Hey why is that bag moving over there?" He said as we all looked towards the crates. "Get'em boys!!" Agrid said as they all charged towards us as a battle ensured. The battle was looking in our favor in the beginning as Jelenneth killed off four miners with her signature "Thunderwave" spell in a matter of seconds. Spraying their blood and intestines all over the place. I was able to successfully hit the lizards with my lace of faith, aiding Artemis' attacks against it. But then, it started to get rough. Azreal missed Agrid many times with her arrows and a new enemy appeared in the distance and shot Jelenneth with a bullet from a sling. Jelenneth was in bad shape, but I tried to heal her with my prayer, "Ioun heals your wounds" but it only removed a few scratches as she was attacked once again and fell unconscious. She was badly bleeding but I managed to make it to her in time and stabilize her. Azareal kept missing with her shots and I sighed, hoping we would win. Agrid was then fleeing the scene after one of the lizards fell. Paelias teleported to try and stop him, but he did not make it in time as Agrid managed to escaped. "IRONTOOTH WILL GET YOU ALL FOR THIS!!", he shouted as he disappeared into the distance.
"I KILL" Sora said as she slashed at the lizard and managed to do a little damage to it. With team effort we managed to send the lizard to its grave. The new enemy also began running away from as Artemis and Paelias was shooting him with there hand crossbows. He too shouted revenge as he disappeared into the distance. We managed to revitalize Jelenneth and bring her to her feet. We went over to the crates and open to burlap bag and found a man bound and gagged within it. We untied him and he thanked us for saving him. He said his name was Dauven and he was looking for some gold near the crater. We were all happy to find he was safe and revealed to him our quest given to us by his wife to look for him. He told us he was trying to get away from his nagging wife, by mining for gold in this area. He then walked pasted us and continued looking for gold in the crater. "There's got to be gold around here somewhere" he said. Since dragons are known for keeping hordes of treasure, he figured there would be some near its body. We decided to look into the crates and found only, shovels, bones, and rations. While the group decided to help Dauven dig, I decided to investigate the runes surrounding the site which looked familiar. I then remembered the symbols on the runes were the symbols of Orcus the demon prince of the underworld. I was shocked and immediately told everyone to get out of the crater. They complied, but Dauven decided not to listen and continue digging. I told Paelias to drag him out of the crater and he did, with Dauven whining about gold. I revealed my epiphany to the others and they were shocked with Sora confused about who Orcus was.
We decided to make camp around the dump, incase they came back to start more trouble. I set up my tent and so did Jelenneth. I decided to sleep in the tent with Dauven and Sora slept with Artemis. Jelenneth and Paelias sat outside and stood watch while in a trance. Azrael slept on top of a tree also keeping watch. We woke up the next day and decided to break camp head back to town. On our way on the road, one of the creatures that attacked us yesterday, threw a huge orb of acid upon the group, which hit me, Artemis', Azreal, and Sora. "Compliments of Irontooth" he said as he ran off. "OUUUCCCHHH" I said out loudly.
He will pay for doing that to us I said to myself.
When we got back to town Dauven decided to go and get a room for the day and went into the tavern. We looked around and noticed there were less citizens and that they were acting strangely. I asked one of them what was going on and they stated the air was heavier. "The air?" I said, I did not sense anything at all. The citizen stated it has always been there as he wondered off. Strange I said to myself, as I decided to go to the temple and pray. Jelenneth and Paelias went to the local spell caster's tower for information, Artemis and Azreal began gathering more info on the street and Sora followed Dauven into the inn. The temple again offered no services today so I decided to pray at the shrine of Ioun once again. 10 minutes later, I hear a loud bang on the temple doors as Sora burst in shouting my name, "ARMILLARY,WHERE ARE YOU!!!" I stood up and shouted to her "SHOW SOME RESPECT!!, you are in a sacred place." "COME ON, WE GOT TO GO MEET THE MAYOR OF THE TOWN", she said shouting again. "At least let me finish up my prayer" I said as I knelt down finishing up my prayer. I then felt a big hard hand smack against my head as my eyes nearly popped out of my sockets. "OWWWWWWWW!!!" I said loudly in pain. "STOP PRAYING, WE GOT TO GO MEET THE MAYOR!!" she said to me. "FINE, lets go. You impious heathen" I said as we left the temple. She shoved my into the tavern into the tavern as we were all greeted by the mayor. He invited us to sit down around a round table and discuss a new quest he had for us. He stated he heard of our exploits and decided to give us the quest to destroy the source of the kobold and goblin problem, that has been harming the towns farms. We agreed to be paid 7 gold coins each when we were successful. He pointed on our map on where the nest of the creatures were. Azareal noticed it was right next to the dump in the same direction Agrid was fleeing too. Who was Irontooth? And why does he wish to attack this town? I hope all of our questions will be answered ahead.
May Ioun gives us insight in our quest.
The Third Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (October 8)
As we were cleaning our weapons from the last attack, I suddenly heard a commotion from behind me. Fearing some more kobolds, I drew my sword. But it was just Artemis. She said she felt better now and was able to join us. Azrael pulled out the necklace she'd discovered and told us that it had the symbol of Orcus on it. Armillary gave us some background on him. He's the god of the Underworld. And he's just plain evil. It seems some cantankerous and callous kobold creatures cavort with a cursed and corrupt king. Curious...
We travelled down the road and arrived at a large crater. As we approached, we saw two large lizard beasts glaring and grunting at us. A little further, there were several miners digging around what appeared to be dragon bones. They spotted us and asked for us to come on down. We asked the lead miner, a man named Agrid, if they'd met Dauven. He said that he'd been digging on the other side of the crater for a while, but hadn't been seen in a while. I saw some crates in the distance and spotted a burlap bag shuffling around. I pointed it out to my companions. Suddenly, Agrid yelled, "Everyone, attack them!" and took a shot at me before running away.
The miners were rather easy to dispatch. Jelenneth killed three of them in one of her Thunderwave blasts. The lizard beasts were quite a bit more difficult. They had a lot of stamina and a pretty fierce bite. We killed the first without much difficulty. While we were all ganging up against the second one, I noticed that Agrid was on the run trying to flee from us. I quickly fey stepped, teleporting to a location near him. But I wasn't close enough. Agrid slipped by me shouting that his boss, Iron Tooth, wouldn't be happy to hear about this. (Come to think of it, I'm not sure that was the name. Was it Iron Hand? Iron Giant? Iron Man?).
When the remaining miners had been killed, I noticed that Jelenneth had fallen on the ground with a large gash. Thankfully, it was just a flesh wound and she was able to get back up. I opened up the moving burlap sack. Sure enough, Dauven was inside. I ungagged and untied him. He thanked us profusely for freeing him. Dauven said he'd come to look for a dragon's buried treasure and found the bones. The bones had been excavated further by the miners since he'd been captured about an hour ago. There were also some runes written around the grave pit. Armillary suddenly panicked and told us to get out of the pit. We all complied, all except Dauven. He was so focused on digging for treasure that I had to force him out. Armillary told us that the runes were related to Orcus. So we figured it was best to not do anything with the pit for now. Weary from the battle, we decided it was best to set up camp. I tented with Dauvin and stayed in a trance as I looked out towards the pit. Thankfully, nothing happened all night.
In the morning, Dauven went to one of the mining crates to search for his notes. He pulled out a mirror and gave it to us in thanks. It seemed a rather useless gift, but we accepted it. Dauven asked us to escort him to Winterhaven. On the road back, we passed by a cliff when suddenly, a pot of burning oil fell upon us! I was able to dodge it, but some of the others weren't as lucky. We heard Agrid's voice yelling, "Ha! That's a gift from Iron Tooth!" Unfortunately, he ran away so we couldn't pursue him. Aside from that, the journey was uneventful.
The townspeople seemed much more on edge than last time we were here. One person said that he began having an eerie sensation about a day ago. I wonder if this might be related to what we've discovered. Jelenneth and I decided to see if a wizard in town might be able to help us. We knocked on his tower, but got no answer. We contemplated teleporting in, but figured that might be a bad idea. Who knows what sort of defenses a wizard might have set up in his tower? Sora told us that the mayor wanted to speak with our party at the inn. When we arrived, he told us that the town had been raided by kobolds for some time and would pay us to go to the kobolds' lair and exterminate them. The mayor drew a map and sure enough, their lair was right where the dragon bones were. We decided to call it a night and check it out in the morning. I can't help but wonder if we are getting into something much bigger than we anticipated when we started.
The Fourth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (October 15th)
I felt an incredible sense of purpose today, much like after I had recruited for the army. Back then, I had signed up to protect my country from bands of barbarians, but was drawn straight into open war when Vaylen declared himself Emperor. As I put on my chainmail this morning, I began to wonder if I was getting into the same sort of thing now. I signed up to find a lost man. Now I was getting dragged into so much more.
Sora wouldn't come out of her room. She just yelled at us and told us to go away. Artemis said Sora had put herself into a drunken stupor because she was so upset from not killing people. Dragonborn... I don't think I'll ever understand them. We said goodbye to the innkeeper and went on our way. My comrades pointed out to me that the kobold lair wasn't at the dragon bones like I thought, but at a different spot. They laughed at me and said I couldn't even read a map! Some people make such a huge deal when an Eladran makes a tiny mistake.
We came up to a field with a line of trees running through the middle and a waterfall in the distance. I could see a group of kobolds through the trees. Unfortunately, they saw us before we could sneak up on them. I fey stepped past the forest to surprise a group of them. There was a small ring of stones on the ground with runes in it that the kobolds seemed to like to stay in. I dispatched a few of the kobolds easily, but more and more seemed to keep streaming towards us. I'm thankful that Jelenneth was able to Thunderwave many of them away, but there were too man of them and she was quickly overwhelmed. It's always sad to see a fallen Eladran, but I had to stay focused and keep fighting. Eventually, I made my way into the circle they kept standing in, but didn't feel anything special. After we killed the final the last of the kobolds, we took a look at the ring. It had battle runes on them. No doubt it enhanced one's abilities while fighting. Perhaps it only helps when one is in dire need.
Over the roar of the waterfall, Azrael yelled to us that she'd found an entrance to a cave. Intrigued, we all went through it. I took the lead. As soon as I was past the water and my eyes adjusted to dim light, I found that there were many kobolds standing around, growling at me. I took a swing at the nearest one and killed him. Many began to surround me and I did my best to hold them back. Suddenly, I heard very loud footsteps tramping towards me. I gasped in horror as I him: Iron Tooth himself! He was a beast much taller than I and he wielded two axes. As he took his first swing at me, he gave a giant evil grin, exposing a large metal tooth that was blackened by bloodstains. I deftly evaded his attacks and those of the kobolds around me. I tried to focus my energy and strike Iron Tooth where he was most vulnerable, but his armor was too strong. I dodged several more of his attacks and he decided to run towards the rest of the group in order to defeat some easier targets.
I took care of most of the kobolds easily enough, but there was one that seemed almost as skilled as I was. Although he kept dodging every swing I took at him, I was able to dodge every one of his. This went on for some time. Finally, I lunged at him, then shifted my blade and attacked him again, finally hitting him. I glanced over at the rest of the group. They weren't doing too well. Iron Tooth had knocked out Jelenneth and a caster was throwing fireballs towards them, severely injuring Artemis. I abandoned my fruitless duel and charged towards the caster, landing a powerful blow. Azrael finally killed Iron Tooth, but not before Armillary sacrificed himself to heal some of Jelenneth's wounds. I continued battle with that troublesome kobold, but he finally hit me and I fell to the ground and blacked out. The next thing I knew, Jelenneth was standing over me and I felt many of my injuries healing. The kobold I was fighting was lying asleep next to me and Jelenneth promptly killed it.
We were all in bad shape after the battle. Everyone had blacked out at some time during the battle except Azrael (but even she had suffered deep wounds). We thought we lost Armillary, but he pulled through in the end (praise Ioun, I guess...). Azrael went through Iron Tooth's possessions and found a letter. Unfortunately, my head hurt and I couldn't concentrate on the words. As I remember, it was addressed to Iron Tooth saying that a spy in Winterhaven had helped their goal. A rift would open and Orcus would be resurrected. Those might not have been the right words, but I got the gist of it: doom was going to be coming to all of us!
Ever the mercenary, Jelenneth quit worrying about the letter as soon as she saw a chest in an ornately decorated room. A key we had found on Iron Tooth seemed to fit. Everyone was afraid that the chest might be trapped or cursed. To me, it just seemed like an ordinary chest, so I just went ahead and opened it. I closed it quickly... there was so much gold inside! I considered lying about the contents so that I could keep it all, but the looks of my comrades made me decide that honesty was the best policy. I showed them the contents and we split the gold evenly. At the bottom of the chest was a set of chainmail with Dwarven insignia on it. Figuring that this would make up for the fact that I wasn't getting any extra gold for being the only one brave enough to open the chest, I decided to wear it instead of my regular set of chainmail. I noticed instantly that it was much sturdier than my regular set, likely because of the Dwarves' superior craftsmanship. I also found that some of my minor wounds were instantly healed. Perhaps the set is enchanted in some way. Artemis decided to take my old set of chainmail. I hope that it serves her as well as it has served me. We're going to need all of the advantages we can get for the days to come...
The Fifth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (October 22nd)
Wounded, but not defeated, we made our way back to Winterhaven. Everyone seemed to be in an even more somber mood than last time we were there. Artemis became ill again almost as soon as we arrived at the town. I'm beginning to wonder if her illness is somehow related to everything that is going on. I remember how my grandmother used to tell me about "soul sickness," which was caused by being exposed to areas of dark magic for long periods of time. While Artemis doesn't have the symptoms of soul sickness, the fact that Armillary can't heal her leads me to wonder if she might have contracted something similar to it.
Sora was outside of town terrorizing some pigs and the farmer was only too relieved to have us take her away. The mayor wasn't at home, but the guards told us he was at the inn. We arrived, but it seemed to be a totally different place. Our first day there, everyone was joyful and a pair of Halflings even hopped onto the tables and burst into a song about the Green Dragon Inn. Today, all the patrons sat in silence, staring at their mugs and drinking their worries away. But as we walked in, many people looked up at us and began whispering excitedly to their comrades. The mayor caught our attention and we walked over to his table. He sat next to a robed man with a small, white beard and glasses who studied us carefully. The mayor introduced his companion as Valthran, who I remembered was the owner of the tower Jelenneth and I had gone to during our last visit to town. We began to explain that we eliminated the kobolds, but there seemed to be worse problems ahead. The mayor read over the letter and looked rather concerned. He asked Valthran what he thought of it. Valthran read aloud the part about how the rift would be opened. He explained to us that the rift must be referring to the passage to the Shadowfell. He explained that some time ago, a rift between our world and the Shadowfell was created. The rift was sealed and a keep was built over it to ensure that it was not opened again. However, the keep had been abandoned long ago for unknown reasons. It seems that if the rift was to be reopened, hordes of undead would be released, which would be bad for everyone. Valthran was unsure about the nature of the rift, but he felt it was best if we investigate and do whatever we could to ensure that others wouldn't open the rift. Although he wasn't willing to accompany us, Valthran told us he would be studying his texts to see if he could find out anything more to help us.
During our conversation, Azrael left our table. I hadn't thought much about it, but when she returned, Jelenneth asked her who she was talking to at the door. Azrael replied that it was an old Elven friend of hers who warned her that enemies were coming to the town and she should leave. Azrael wouldn't say any more about her friend. I began to wonder if her friend may have been the spy. The mayor, Valthran, and ourselves were the only ones who knew about Iron Tooth's letter and what it harbingers. But the letter did mention a spy in Winterhaven who would also know about what is to come. It seems to me that Azrael's friend is that spy and didn't want his friend to be caught in the impending doom. Azrael wouldn't respond to my claims. In hindsight, I probably should have made a bigger deal of it than this, but I had let the matter drop.
The mayor paid us the promised seven gold pieces each, plus one more for each of us and free lodging in the inn as a bonus. The people of the inn seemed to be a bit merrier and a few of them even sang a song in our honor. It was the one I used to hear often in the army about how Vivec, Trinon, and Sesencia saved the world from the Demon Lords hundreds of years ago. It was flattering, but I really didn't feel we compared at all to those heroes of old.
Dawn came and we made our way to the keep. It certainly seemed like it had seen better days. Although I could see no enemies in the exterior, I couldn't help but feel we were being watched. There was a set of stairs that led downward into the keep. Jelenneth set up a light and we went into the room below. In the distance, we saw an irate goblin who kept telling us to get out. We tried to talk with him and learn something, but it didn't help. He took a step closer and then I charged towards him, only to have the floor give way under me. I fell several feet, but sustained no major injuries. To make things worse, rats were inside of the pit. I hate rats. I climbed out quickly and took another stab at that goblin. The goblins were fierce fighters, but we defeated them eventually. The room branched into three paths. We decided to take the West path. It led to a room with three doors. One was just a food storage room, another had the voices of goblins coming from it, and the third, which we went down, led to another hallway. That room had had several lizard creatures in it, which were pushovers. Tapestries lined the rooms and revealed hidden passages with more angry goblins (surprise, surprise). They were eliminated too. We found another food storage room and a room with two beds. Since we were weary from our fighting, we decided to make that our base camp and take a short rest there. It's not the best place, but it will do.
The Sixth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (October 29th)
I had a dream last night while I was in trance. I was back in the house where I grew up and my brother, Lucan, and I went down to the orchard to play. We picked up some branches and started play sword fighting. Suddenly, the sky grew dark and the earth began to shake. The ground beneath Lucan split open and he fell into the chasm. I tried to reach out to save him, but I wasn't fast enough. As he fell, he started growing bat-like wings. He flew out and I was overjoyed to see him alive... until I saw an evil grin on his face. Lucan kept changing, becoming more ghastly and growing in size. I saw the branch he was holding grow a skull on its end. As I looked back up at his face, I was horrified to see that Lucan had transformed into Orcus! He gave a blood-curdling laugh and swung his staff at me! I instantly broke out of trance screaming. Armillary came over and, as he said a few words in a language I didn't understand, I found myself calming down and falling back into trance.
The rest of the night was uneventful. Since Jelenneth was awake at the beginning of the night, I took my turn being awake later on. It really felt uneasy resting in this room of the dungeon and I kept expecting some goblin to come barging in on us. When everyone else woke up, I was only too eager to leave. I opened the door and an arrow flew past my. I realized all too late that we were being ambushed. There was a set of goblins, a few standing lizard creatures like the ones from last night, and one of those ugly, giant lizard beasts like the ones we'd seen back at the pit of dragon bones. The battle was being fought in close quarters, which wasn't very good for us since Jelenneth couldn't get enough room to do her Thunderwave attack without hurting one of us. There was also a goblin sorcerer of some sort who kept attacking us from behind the other monsters. I finally had enough of him attacking and fey stepped to him. But the sorcerer commanded some of the others, including that giant lizard beast, to attack me. While I focused on them fighting them, the sorcerer escaped. The remaining monsters were swiftly killed.
When it all was finished, I thought about how far I'd come since the start of our quest. Azrael had taught me to be a little more perceptive, Armillary had given me a few pointers about how to heal, Artemis began to teach me a bit about stealth, Jelenneth had revealed some mysteries of magic, and sparring with Sora had improved my fighting. I felt stronger, more intelligent, and more deadly. The training I'd had as an Eladran soldier began to come back to me and I even began to remember some of the sword-fighting techniques I thought I'd forgotten. Because of this, I decided to switch back to using my long sword. I never did like Iron Tooth's Battleaxe much anyway.
Azrael had seen the sorcerer go down the hallway toward the room where we had heard goblin voices. I carefully opened the door a bit to peak in. We saw a very large human dressed as an executioner arguing with the sorcerer, but we couldn't make out what they were saying. There were several other goblins in the room, which appeared to be a torture chamber. Azrael took an expert shot through the sliver and hit one of the goblins. It only took a moment for them to realize that we were at the door.
I took the lead and focused all my energy on the executioner landing a blow squarely on him. We all mercilessly attacked him and he was soon down. One of the goblins began forcing Sora back towards an Iron Maiden, but she soon stood her ground and finished him off. Azrael, inspired by this tactic, pushed a goblin sorcerer into a pot of boiling oil, severely injuring him. One of the goblins had gotten on the table and jumped on my back. Armillary and Artemis tried to attack him without injuring me and I was thankful that they were such skilled fighters. Sora also tried to attack the goblin, but I had to scream for her not to do try swinging her Great Axe anywhere near me! I was soon able to force the goblin off and killed the miserable beast. When everything calmed down, we examined the room. The cells were empty and unfortunately, we weren't able to find anything that was of help to us. So, we'll just have to continue onwards.
The Seventh Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (November 5)
We continued on our perilous journey through the dungeon and arrived at a large, double door. Unfortunately, it was locked and we couldn't advance. I was considering picking the lock when I heard a ferocious scream and saw Sora trying to roundhouse kick the door down. It put a large dent in it, but didn't the door was still standing. Jelenneth told everyone to stand back and she unleashed a Thunderwave to blow down the door. It imploded with a loud bang, which echoed down the hallway. I braced myself, half expecting something bad to happen, but the noise died down and nothing happened.
Inside the room were a few beds and a large tapestry covering one of the corners. I drew my sword and started slashing through the tapestry. I wasn't going to let it be an obstruction like last time. Sora started chopping it down too. My long sword wasn't all that useful against the thick tapestry, but Sora's great axe was able to separate a sizable section. Inside, she was able to see a chest and she charged into it attacking the lock on the chest. Why she did that, I still don't know. The lock on the chest dented slightly. She took another swing and made a slightly larger dent, but it became clear that this axe wasn't going to be destroyed. Azrael took some time picking the lock and was able to get it open. Inside was a large stockpile of gold! We filled our bags with it. I looked around the rest of the area and saw a bed with a pillow on it. Remembering how the quartermaster of my legion used to hide things under his pillow, I looked underneath the pillow on the bed. Sure enough, there was the key to the chest we just opened. I felt incredibly stupid to have not thought to look under there before. I'll have to be more observant in the future.
Azrael noticed that the wall had a section that didn't appear to be quite right and seemed to be a door. Before we could try to open it, Sora bull-rushed into it. It opened easily, but unfortunately, she fell down a staircase that was right behind the door, clanking her armor along the way. With all the noise we've been making, I'm really surprised that we don't have all of the goblins in the keep out to find us! She rolled into another door at the bottom of the staircase as well. We arrived in a small hallway with two doors. There was also an opening and we heard goblin voices coming from it, so we decided to check it out. We could see several goblins digging in a pit, but they had stopped for a moment and were arguing about something. Azrael took a shot and killed one of them. Sora, either out of bravery or stupidity, jumped down ten feet into the pit and sliced through one of the goblins. I just took the ramp down into the pit. Several more goblin miners and two of those large lizard beasts came to their comrades' aid. We dispatched them and only suffered minor wounds. The battle seemed to be too easy, but I need to be sure that I don't become overconfident in my abilities. Even the heroes of old were not invincible, as Trinon's sacrifice to save his friends had proved.
The Eigth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (November 12)
One of the doors in the passageway led to the atrium of the keep, which we'd already visited. So we chose the last remaining door. It led into a dark area that had quite a bit of rubble all around. Because I'm an Eladrin, I was able to see the area a little more clearly than some of the others, but I still couldn't see all that far. I walked down a passageway and saw a dead corpse being gnawed on by giant rats. I hate rats! They spotted us and tried to kill us. I killed many, giving those foul pests as painful a death as I possibly could. After examining the body they were chewing, I realized that the unfortunate soul was killed about a day ago, but unfortunately, there wasn't enough left of him to determine who it might be. He didn't have anything useful on his person, but I'm not sure if he didn't come with anything or if it was taken away. I asked Armillary if he might say a prayer for the man. He gave me a funny look, but said a few words for protection of the man's soul and comfort for his family. Artemis whispered to me later that Ioun, Armillary's god, was the god of wisdom and did not concern himself with death, which explains why he gave me a strange look. I'll have to make a more concerted effort to understand the differences of the gods.
We walked a little further and saw another man being chewed by giant rats, which we dispatched just as easily. Our noise must have attracted other giant rats and we quickly found that we were being swarmed by them. There must have been at least two dozen of them in all. Sudden, Sora cried out that there was a "giant ooze thing" in one of the side rooms. I ran to have a look. Sure enough, there was an ochre jelly that was incredibly large. I swung my sword through it. It seemed to recoil from my blows, but I felt as though my sword just pushed through water. The jelly sent a section of itself hurling towards me and I felt my skin burning with acid. "Not again!" I cried out.
After several blows, Sora swung her great axe and the thing split in two! The two jellies were smaller, but they were still as vicious. Acid burns continued to hurt me. I was able to destroy one of the halves, but the acid took its toll and I fell to the ground, too weak to continue. Suddenly, I felt as though invisible hands were lifting me up and I found myself back up on my feet with some of my wounds healed. Apparently, Armillary had done some sort of divine healing thing. Although I was thankful to be alive, I was too weak to continue fighting and so I got out of the way of the others. They were finally able to defeat the remaining half of the jelly it melted into a puddle of slime, which began to disintegrate before our eyes. I sat down for a moment to rest. Azrael told us she found a hidden door that led to a small room. I hobbled over there with the help of Artemis and fell to the floor, exhausted, injured, and unable to continue on.
The Ninth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (December 3rd)
The Eladrin say that when you are on your last thread of life that you will see a fey spirit ready to take you to paradise. I didn't see anything despite the fact that I was so injured. Perhaps they only appear if you are dying without hope of survival. I'm fortunate that I was able to recover from my wounds. It was a rough night for me, but I made it through to the morning (or whatever counts as morning in this forsaken dungeon).
We left our safe haven and explored the room. There were no more rats, thank goodness. A large double door was on one area, but we decided to go down a passageway deeper into the dungeon. We walked a ways until suddenly I signaled our party to stop. Up ahead was a pit. Down below was a dead six-legged lizard and some broken tile, indicating that it was a trap that had been sprung. I told everyone that we had to be more careful in case there were other traps. I cautiously went into the next room. A nose-wrinkling smell overwhelmed us. We also noticed that the walls had small holes in them, as if something burrowed into them. I was a bit wary of something that could burrow through solid rock. Nonetheless, we decided that stopping the rift was more important than going into a smelly and dangerous area.
At each step, I carefully examined the tiles to see if any might be trapped. I found one that was a bit higher than some of the others. Jelenneth gave it a whack with her mace, but only cracked it. I hit it with the handle of my battle axe and was about to break it. Sure enough, underneath the tile was a pit like the last one. There was nothing inside. I continued on, checking each tile. I approached a corner. Jelenneth hadn't moved her light up yet and I couldn't see very clearly. Rather than waiting for her, I went ahead and tried to check for traps. Seeing none, I took a step forward... only to fall ten feet into a pit.
The walls were difficult to climb out of. I could hear Sora yelling that there were Khilliks in the room. I nearly yelled in anger. Khilliks are like really vicious rats. And I hate rats! The sooner they were dead, the better. Jelenneth tried putting the lot of them to sleep, but only a few actually succumbed to it. Two more had flanked Armillary and Azrael, preventing them from assisting. I finally managed to get out of my pit and I went towards one of the larger ones, slashing it with my long sword. Unfortunately, it bit my hand as my blade struck it a nearby one sunk its teeth into my leg. I shook them off. I officially hate these guys! I felt a great sense of satisfaction when Jelenneth thunderwaved the rats, smashing them into the wall and killing them. Artemis went towards the remaining Khillik and fell straight into a pit. The Khillik, out of bloodlust or stupidity, jumped in afterwards. Armillary expertly attacked it with a lance of faith, without hurting Artemis in the process. I lowered a rope down to Artemis to help her out. Jelenneth discovered a pouch with two potions (she couldn't tell what type though), several pieces of gold, and a few gems, which she said might go for fifty gold pieces on the market. Smiling as I examined one of the gems, I realized that perhaps going into this keep wasn't such a bad thing after all.
The Tenth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (December 10th)
We approached a large door we'd found earlier. There was an inscription on it, "Keep out. No, really, go away!" Since Goblins probably wrote it, we figured it was worth a grain of salt. Inside was a dank tunnel with fungus-covered stairs that led downwards towards a large pool of water. A small island was in the center of it with the remains of some unfortunate soul. Something didn't seem quite right here. The water began bubbling. Azrael yelled for Sora and I to get back. I took two steps, then suddenly a foul stench overwhelmed us all and a towering slime came out from the depths. Artemis and Sora attacked it head on, but when I saw that it was able to crush them both at once, I figured it would be better to flank it from the back. Worse, the thing was made of acid and it burned us every time it touched us. I figured with all the acid I've taken, I ought to be building up an immunity or something, so I kept attacking it. We took several shots at it, then it sunk into the water and reappeared a bit further away from us. Artemis took a nasty hit from it and fell into the water, but Armillary quickly said his healing word and she was back in fighting shape. After many blows, the slime began to quiver, then exploded into a massive burst of acid, knocking out Sora and I. Jelenneth was able to heal me and brought me back.
After we took a quick rest, we examined the skeleton we'd found. He had some gold, a large shield, and a message container. Inside the message container was a map showing the location of the Keep (which we of course already knew), a message with instructions to avoid the slime creature we'd just dispatched, and a third message about a slave trade. Although I decided back during the war that I would stop slavery so that nobody would suffer like Ajirae did, I had to resign myself to the fact that there were more important things at stake.
Looking at a map we'd made to chart our progress, I realized that we'd explored a fair portion of the Keep, but thus far hadn't found anything worthwhile. Azrael pointed to an area we hadn't explored yet and urged us to have a look. Sora sliced down another of those pesky tapestries, but as soon as that happened, an arrow whizzed past her head. Jelenneth created a light in the room and we could see a few goblins hiding behind some boxes. We dispatched them all quite easily. I found it rather relieving to fight goblins instead of rats or giant slimes.
Soon after the battle was over, Armillary seemed to have a vision of some sort. He couldn't explain all that he saw, but he told us that we needed to go back to Winterhaven. While I was concerned that we were leaving the keep, Armillary insisted that it was important, something about the hands of fate controlling us. I'm not crazy about abandoning the Keep because of some dream, but Armillary has been trustworthy and helpful. Besides, I'd kind of like to sleep in a bed instead of in some dank dungeon room for once.
The Eleventh Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (January 21st)
Winterhaven wasn't nearly as welcoming as it was the first time we saw it. The gates were shut and solemn guards paced upon the parapets. As we cautiously approached, one of the spotted us and eagerly pointed us out to his comrades. When we were close enough to hear them, the commander happily greeted us. But their joyous mood soon left them as quickly as it had come. The commander explained that Winterhaven had been attacked by legions of undead. They were able to hold them off for the time being, but they dared not open the city gates lest they charge into the city. I reminded myself that Winterhaven isn't a military fortress like Kaza-Halam and that the few guards that were in the city were likely ill-equiped and poorly trained.
Earlier, a group of undead beings had somehow made their way into Winterhaven. Their attack threw the citizens into panic and injured many guards before they were defeated. The commander humbly requested that Armillary come into the city to heal the fallen and to comfort the people. I looked at Armillary's face. He had a sad, knowing look as he told the guard that he would do whatever he could to help. I asked Armillary if this was what he foresaw while we were in the Shadowfell. He sadly responded that it was, but he also saw us helping the town. Closing his eyes to remember, Armillary said that he saw us slaying those who would not die with the help of a foreign blade. I asked what he meant by that and if we would survive, but he calmly smiled and told us all "May Ioun watch over all of you."
Inspired by Armillary's selfless devotion to a town of strangers, Sora volunteered to help fortify the garrison in Winterhaven. I'm glad she decided to help; they badly need it and I think that Sora could train them a bit. The remaining four of us stood in front of the gate as it was quickly opened to allow Sora and Armillary inside. I glanced back as they went in, wondering if I'd live to see them again.
Azrael pointed down the road to a figure on horseback. I strained my eyes to see a female warrior. She came up to us and introduced herself as Svanhilde, a paladin of Kord. Apparently, the local monastery had recruited her to help the town with the zombie problem. She boldly announced that she planned on doing it alone and that we shouldn't get in her way. Such an arrogant paladin! I told her we had another offer: we'd go to the graveyard alone and she'd stay behind. Jelenneth interrupted us and said we needed to set aside our rivalries and save Winterhaven. Reluctantly, we all set off towards the graveyard together. I remembered Armillary's prophecy. Perhaps she was the "foreign blade" Armillary spoke of?
When we arrived, Svanhilde and I took the lead into the graveyard. I don't know why I ran ahead. Maybe I was showing off. Maybe I was just trying to prove I was more brave than some stuck up paladin. I ran ahead and before I knew it, I was surrounded by Skeletons and Zombies! A grotesque zombie dog bit my leg and it started to decay. Quickly, I retreated back towards everyone else. Azrael ran off, but the rest of us stood together like gladiators in an arena match. Svanhilde got bitten by one of those zombie dogs and fell. Suddenly, I was afraid that she'd die. I still don't understand why, but I was. I rushed over to her and administered first aid, stabilizing her temporarily. In a fit of rage, I lashed out at the remaining skeletons, making them pay for what they did.
As soon as the skeletons were defeated, I heard Azrael yell for us to come over to her. A large glowing portal was on the ground. I recognized it as some sort of arcane magic. Azrael claimed that the undead were entering through that portal. Remembering the dispel techniques Master Uthar taught me, I attempted to disable the portal. It began pulsing, faster and faster. Just as I thought that another wave of undead were about to stream forth, Jelenneth was able to disable it. We all breathed a sigh of relief. I looked over at Svanhilde. She was weak, but alive. Quickly, she thanked me for saving her. I smiled and said that she owed me one. Besides, I didn't fall during the battle and she'd need me to save her when she got hurt again. Svanhilde yelled something about the power of Kord within her that would keep her strong, but I just smiled. Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitue for a good longsword at your side.
The Twelfth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (January 28th)
As we were walking back to town, I noticed that Azrael was looking very nervously at a piece of paper. When I asked what was wrong, she'd said that the Elven Ranger she'd seen back in Winterhaven was the one who created the portal that was unleashing skeletons. Azrael had killed her during the battle and found the paper on her person. It said that there were adventurers (which I assume meant us) who were becoming a nuisance and that an army of skeletons could be created to defeat us and besiege Winterhaven as well. It also mentioned that the password for a secret hideout in the second level of the Keep on the Shadowfell was "From the ground some magic was found." I pointed out that it was fortunate that we were able to come across that.
When we returned to Winterhaven, we triumphantly announced that we'd stopped the skeletons. The guards cheered wildly and opened the gates for us. A few of them offered to buy us drinks at the inn, but we had to turn them down because we had to tell the mayor immediately about our progress in the Keep.
Jelenneth knocked on the door of the mayor's house. After a few moments, the mayor appeared looking like he had hardly slept the last few days. However, his face brightened as he saw us and he quickly invited us in for breakfast. He was pleased to hear that we'd defeated the skeletons and asked about the Keep. We told him about how we'd wiped out many goblins and other monstrosities, but the mayor seemed somewhat disappointed when we said we hadn't been able to locate those trying to open the rift to the Shadowfell. Azrael showed him the note from the Elven Ranger and pointed out that without the password, we probably wouldn't have been able to stop those people. I asked if Valthran had found out anything more about the Shadowfell. The mayor told us that from his studies of other planes, Valthran figured it was only a matter of days before the rift to the Shadowfell would be opened. Quickly, we thanked the mayor for breakfast and headed out.
We stopped at a shop to sell some of the gear we'd found in the Shadowfell. I think the town needed it far more than we did. As we walked through the streets to the town entrance, Armillary spotted us and rushed over. He said that the local cleric had died at the hands of the skeletons and that the town was without a cleric. He felt that Ioun was calling him to remain in town and offer spiritual guidance to these people. Moreover, Armillary thought that Ioun might be able to offer us some sort of divine aid in return for his service. While it saddened me to realize that Armillary would not be returning into the Keep with us, I was glad to know that he did it to selflessly serve others. Armillary took one last look at us and, making the symbol of Ioun with his hand, said one last time, "May Ioun watch over all of you."
The Thirteenth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (February 4th)
Svanhilde decided to travel with us back to the Keep. She was sent to save Winterhaven and now that the skeletons were defeated, she figured the best way to ensure that Winterhaven remained safe was to come with us. We told her what we knew, but when she asked for the third time what the Shadowfell was, I really hoped that she had enough brawn to make up for her lack of brains.
A few goblins had set up a feeble barricade near the entrance of the Keep. I couldn't help laughing at the sight of it. We killed them without taking a scratch. Next, we opened an unexplored door and found a flight of stairs going downwards. I remembered that the password we'd learned was for some sort of hidden door on the second floor, but I held my tongue. Besides, I had a gut feeling that we were supposed to go downstairs first.
At the bottom of the stairs, I took a few steps and looked into a room. I froze in terror. Zombies! Lots of them! Unfortunately, by the time I found the ability to speak again, the zombies were upon us. As they drew nearer, a terrible stench filled my nostrils and left some of us in a daze, however, we endured and quickly killed those foul creatures.
We progressed a bit further and found several sepulchers and a large glowing door flanked by two altars. As we cautiously walked by the sepulchers, they suddenly opened up and fiendish undead crawled out and started attacking us! I attacked a few, but found that there were too many of them. Jelenneth feystepped past the zombies to one of the altars and yelled that they were for the god Bahamut. I remembered that we'd found a symbol of Bahamut back with that nasty business with the dragon bones and Dauven Staul, so I grabbed it from Artemis. Without thinking, I feystepped past the zombies, ran to the altar, knelt down, raised the symbol of Bahamut above my head and cried, "Bahamut save us!" An ethereal light filled the room and the remaining zombies returned to their sepulchers, which closed behind them. As I lowered the symbol, I started to think that perhaps there was something to these "hokey religions" after all.
Cautiously, we approached the glowing door and opened it. Behind it was a large coffin. Suddenly, I remembered my grandmother's ghost stories about Count Strahd von Zarovich and was afraid that the vampire himself would emerge from the coffin. Svanhilde and Artemis wanted to open it, so I hid my childish fear and helped. As soon as we lifted the lid, it vanished and out came a skeleton with a glowing sword.
I braced for an attack, but the skeleton never struck. He began questioning us, asking our motives and if we could be trusted. Svanhilde didn't think before she spoke and said some pretty stupid things. Twice the skeleton hit her with his sword, deeply injuring her. When we finally convinced him that we were here to prevent the Shadowfell from being reopened, he calmed down. From what I could gather, he was a soldier from when the Keep was first buil who was responsible for something bad happening to it (he wouldn't say what, although I suspect it had to do with the Keep being overrun). He couldn't leave the tomb and said he had to return to the coffin. As the coffin lid rematerialized, the skeleton said, "Watch out for the sigils on the floor!"
The Fourteenth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (February 11th)
The skeleton's words kept ringing through my ears. "Watch out for the sigils on the floor!" Why? Were they traps? Magic? I had no clue. Suddenly, Azrael motioned for us to stop. She pointed to the floor ahead of us and a faint outline was visible. It looked like a symbol of some sort, but none of us knew its meaning.
And then Svanhilde tried to jump over it. She tripped and fell. Suddenly, the sigil glowed and we heard a loud scream emanating from it. When we dragged the clumsy oaf off, the screaming stopped only to be replaced by the footsteps of undead creatures coming. The must have heard the scream and were drawn to it. We quickly killed them. I had to resist the urge to attack Svanhilde after what she did, but I went through my meditation techniques to calm myself down. Jelenneth and I deftly feystepped past the sigils while the others jumped. Actually succeeded in making it past the sigils. Artemis unfortunately miscalculated one of her jumps and stepped on a sigil. It glowed and screamed again, but no undead came this time.
As we went on, we found a set of stairs going downwards. We crept drown them and were ambushed by hobgoblins! Two of them ran off, but Azrael killed one before it could make it to the door. Unfortunately, the other got away. The hobgoblins started overwhelming us, and just was we began thinking that the tide was turning, a giant spider descended from the ceiling! It bit and paralyzed Jelenneth and Artemis, but we all kept fighting and endured.
I brutally attacked one particular hobgoblin, forcing him back so that he fell into a giant pit in the room. Unfortunately, another hobgoblin pushed Artemis into the pit as well. In retaliation, I started attacking him and he fell in as wel. I heard Artemis yell when a hobgoblin suddenly landed on top of her, but she did her best to fight the two. While this was happening, the spider was attacking the others, but managed to kill the foul creature.
Although the room was littered with bodies, we weren't in such great shape. Svanhilde lowered a rope to help Artemis out of the pit and, although covered in hobgoblin gore, she seemed to be fine. We decided it would be best for us to find a spot where we could rest for the night.
The Fifteenth Entry of Our Journey from the Journal of Commander Paelias (February 18th)
I had a strange dream. I was a Halfling rogue named Drogo and was much more talented than I am now. I was with other adventurers, some who looked like those I'm with now, but some who didn't. We were sent by a wizard to retrieve a book from the Shadowfell. So we walked through a portal and found ourselves in a desert. After scaling a wall, we fought horrific undead snakes. Although others were hurt and diseased, I was without a scratch. We wandered through the halls when suddenly, one of the comrades (who looked like Artemis) was hit by a fire trap! I tried to run in and try to disarm the trap when I heard a loud bang and suddenly woke up.
I had been in a trance in front of the room we'd set up camp in. Jelenneth was beside me, also in trance. The other three comrades were sleeping in beds behind me, unware of what was going on. Suddenly, I realized what was happening! The hobgoblins were trying to break down the door! We'd created a makeshift barricade to hold the door, but I drew my sword, seeing that it wouldn't hold. Suddenly, they broke in. I feystepped to the other side of them to flank them, but found that I was overwhelmed by enemies I hadn't seen. Azrael took down several with her arrows and Jelenneth's "cloud of daggers" ability sliced open the rest. The others were reluctant to wake up, but did attack with their crossbows when they saw the danger.
When the room was full of corpses, we went back to sleep, reinforcing our barricade again. Although we all slept uneasily, we were able to sleep for several hours. When we were ready, I cautiously opened the door. "About time you all woke up!" I heard in a gruff voice. More hobgoblins! No doubt they weren't too keen on having their allies attacked like that. There was one in particular who seemed to be their leader. I brutally attacked him, forcing him back into a pit, as I'd done with the hobgoblins earlier. Unfortunately, he climbed out, but I pushed him back. Finally, he fell. He didn't come up again and seemed to have broken his leg.
Without a leader, the rest seemed disorganized. One ran off, and the remaining ones fought out of instinct and were quickly killed. When it was all over, I stood still as the blood dripped from my longsword and I began to wonder: how much time did we really have left to save the world?
These are diagrams of the plans the party came up with for barricading themselves in the room.
|Character sketches of Azrael|
|Character sketches of a Little Lion|