Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   January 6, 1996


Bearded fellow

Supreme Being

Jim Leitzel


Blonde human

Tempus Cleric

Brian Smith

B'rinth L'rea

Gold Elf


Vaughan Herron


Gypsy woman


Beth Griese

Nory Gnome Illusionist/Thief Stu Collins


1/2 Elf, Scruffy Beard


Jim Gaynor

Verence Gallow Thin human Mystra Cleric Kent Jenkins

Quote of the Day:
"On the roan again..." -- Jim Gaynor

To Garen Thundersson, cleric of Mielikki. From your faithful servant, Jade.

After so many months now of being a wanderer without purpose, it's striking to suddenly receive a lightning bolt of direction. Your messenger companion arrived, of course, just as I was questioning most whether I should stay with this party.

Was it really necessary for her to make such an entrance, though? I was lying in bed at the Murdered Manticore, trying to plan what to say in the morning, when I was pulled right through - literally through! - the blankets (and Borreau) and dropped into a chair. It was so dream-like I hardly blinked; I barely even registered surprise when Escadel Lhal appeared in the chair opposite mine as if she had been smoke.

Of course, she had to introduce herself to me, and she did at least have the courtesy to apologize for interrupting the night. Borreau slept on, and the regular noises of the inn were shut away. Just like the Regent of Arabel the evening before, she explained that she had set up privacy for us to speak unheard and undisturbed. In fact, she even looked a bit like Myrmeen, although Escadel was elvish, so it was easy for her to explain that she and the Regent are sisters. What a powerful family!

Escadel presented herself as a cleric of Mielikki, and an adventuring companion of yours. I still don't fully understand all this, but she said that the treasure map the party planned to follow lead to great peril. I asked whether we abandon it, but she said we should continue on its course, that Mielikki herself wanted to see this place reached. She wouldn't tell me anything about what the map led to, or what manner of danger we faced. She said Telaran and B'rinth faced greater danger where we were going, because of their elvish blood, and that I would meet my life's work, the enemy I would have to face the rest of my adventuring days.

She said other things, too: that Verence and Borreau would be the party's anvil of strength on this trip, and that I was the hammer. She told me Mielikki watches over me and our party, and relayed your message. That you had heard of our deeds, read my journals... and was proud of me. Sweet Forest Mother, I thought I would burst pride, that you had heard of us and approved. Finally! A sign that I hadn't been making a huge mistake with my time away from you.

Escadel granted me earrings that would help us find the doorway to this place we were seeking, and a crystal blood drop pendant that promised Mielikki's protection for the party if we ever needed it. I was so stunned I think I mostly just nodded my head like an idiot until she finally left and let me return to the inn's nighttime sounds and my bed. I watched the dawn crawl across the ceiling without sleeping a wink.

So in the morning, my conversation with the party turned out to be very different than I had originally planned. I still told them in no uncertain terms that I was not prepared to continue travelling with men who stole from their own, and that our communication with each other must be honest in the extreme. Verence and B'rinth, not surprisingly, both wanted to bandy words (when B'rinth deigned to even show interest), but they did both agree to deal fairly with the party. I'm not certain I believe them, but since trust must begin somewhere, and I have extra reason now to travel at least once more with them, I'm placing my faith in their word.

Everyone, not surprisingly, showed a good deal more interest in my story of Escadel's visit. Since we had been planning to follow this map, anyway, there were no objections. Verence and Borreau seemed to enjoy being called the anvil of the party, although Telaran looked a bit miffed. He made a crack about being able to grow his hair long enough to cover his ears. Our only extra preparation was to buy a good map of Cormyr to fill in the gaps the treasure map left, and we were off to the city of Espar, which looked to lie just north of the site of our "treasure," or whatever lay at the end of this map.

We headed through Eveningstar yet again, and our travel was unremarkable except for our fourth day on the road. The disquiet of the horses was the first signal that something was happening, followed by their panic. Verence was bounced right off his horse, and Nory passed out completely as this wash of... awe... swept over the field, racing in front of a shadow the size of a lake. By my bow, it was a dragon, as large as anything I've ever imagined could live, and it swung overhead as gracefully and silently as a hawk on the hunt. I was prepared to die like a mouse in front of a snake; if it had dove, I don't think any of us could have budged. Instead, it flew on. It didn't even take notice of us. I'll never forget how white Telaran looked as the rest of us gathered the horses and our friends who had fallen to the ground.

Nothing else, of course, came near to causing such a stir, and on the sixth day we had reached Espar and turned our noses toward Cloud Tower, the mountain that should house the end of our map. The countryside contained nothing more sinister than a mountain lion that thought our horses might make a good meal, but I sent it on its way peacefully enough. Still, I think all of us were mindful of the warnings of Escadel. The towering peak in front of us that looked calm and majestic was supposed to contain some great danger, momentous peril. Strange contrast.

With the help of the earrings that led us, we easily found the entrance door in the mountain that would have been nearly invisible to everyone else. They were huge, and hidden behind thick brush that rolled away from the entrance once we knew where to look. Borreau planned to firetrap the door so we could rest undisturbed and enter with the dawn, but as he approached the door, he disappeared like a magician's trick when the ground collapsed beneath him into a pit.

I think Borreau was screaming, my heart in my throat certainly said so, but it was hard to tell, because those thorny bushes we had pushed aside so easily a few minutes ago now came to life, and they made an unearthly screech of their own that drowned out any other noise around us. It certainly lent to the chaos of the moment, and we certainly weren't going to be surprising anyone behind those doors anymore. We hacked at the bushes that pushed at us, and I was scratched by the thorns, which glistened with pale memories of all those damned sleeping magics I had met already. I think this time, though, the bracers of elven magic I had bought might have done their duty, because I managed to break apart the attacking plants, and though my knees gave way again, I didn't become lost in slumber like before. I was feeling clear again by the time the others had reached the pit and started pulling Borreau out by a rope.

Poor Borreau's legs were a ghastly mess; the pit had been spiked at the bottom. He and Verence were able to make short work of his wounds, though, so he could at least walk, and we set camp about a mile away from the mountain door. Apparently, isn't wasn't far enough away, because in the early hours of morning we were attacked by spiders. We were able to fight them off without great damage, but our magicians and clerics had lost their rest, and weren't going to be able to recover their magic. We couldn't very well breach the mountain without being on top of our hunt, so we stayed the day, and prepared to spend our second night in the shadow of Cloud Tower.

Once again, our rest was interrupted, at almost the same time as the night before. This time, the attack was nothing more than an arrow that was shot at Telaran as he stood guard. No more assault came, but of course it was enough to rouse us all to our toes and produce the same effect as the night before.

It's obvious this isn't coincidence; the mysterious denizens of the mountain don't plan to let us rest through the night. We held a quick council and decided the best thing was to let our magical friends sleep into the day, and get the rest they needed, and we will approach the mountain with the afternoon sun on our backs. It won't give us as much a day to start with as we'd like, but it will guarantee our rest. And so I write this as Telaran, Nory, and I (Nory had no new spells to learn, so is awake and fine) get our packs ready and the horses tethered for their stay outside. I hope Trellant manages well while we're inside this place, and I hope Mielikki won't forget her concern for us when we enter this place.

Your faithful servant,


The Jade Letters are the property and copyright of Beth Griese, not to be published or redistributed without permission.

Read the Previous Jade Letter

Read the Next Jade Letter

Return to The Jade Letters main page

Return to Campaign Logs