Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   February 17, 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:
"Drow surrender a lot, don't they??" -- Brian Smith

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

We're finally beginning to understand why Mielikki wanted us to follow the adventurers' map. What an amazing discovery we made. We followed the rightmost path, the one that the korred wasn't sure about. The descent never seemed to end - there were times that we were almost sliding down the path. Nory enjoyed the sliding a bit too much.

When the gnome reported we were about a mile below the surface, the tunnel ended. Not in a dead end, but a dead opening, into a cavern so big we couldn't find the other walls or the ceiling. This cavern seemed as big as an ocean, and the first chill I got was from the amazing size of this hole in the rock.

My second chill was less natural. I felt a shiver of purpose, of finality. The hunt was at an end - this was definitely the place we were seeking. Now we just had to defeat our prey, whatever that may be. I also heard the strangest thing, a voice that sounded like it was buried in a pool. "Free me," it whispered, before the sense of it was gone as swiftly as if a door had been slammed shut. None of the others said they heard it.

We kept a wall at our side and decided to try following it around the open field of rock. We found a number of openings that led to more tunnels, but we continued to follow our wall all the way around. The cave must have spanned over 1000 feet. We still saw no hint of what might be in the center.

We were almost all the way around the cave when we found two pyramids of stacked, round stones. One was in perfect order and as tall as us, the other missing stones and knocked over. Between the pyramids sprawled a massive skeleton, 15 feet tall when it stood, that now was the center mark of a scorched blast. It had been pitching boulders at something, and something fought back with fire.

With our circuit completed, we left the safety of the walls to travel into the cave, and found a sight that still amazes me. A castle, as complete and as large as anything on the surface. It was abandoned now, and silent as a tomb. We walked around the castle walls and pieced together what had happened from the clues they gave. The castle had been sieged, successfully. The ruins of a siege tower lay half-buried in a tunnel it had collapsed. Several holes had been broken in the ramparts. The attacking army, judging by the skeletons and the remnant equipment, was made up of more of the huge humanoid creatures and smaller, thinner beings that we judged to be more drow. The castle inhabitants looked to have been human.

Once we ventured inside the castle - we started in the throne room of the main building - we found more, a story for the bards to sing back in Arabel. A mural at the far wall showed the castle in the midst of a battle - but on the surface, not here in the eternal night. Its land was beautiful, and the leader of the castle's forces was a noble-looking half- elf who wore Mielikki's symbol. We had definitely found our reason for being here. The mural depicted battle with the drow and what looked to be giant goblins, and the sinking of the castle into the earth below. What a tragic loss.

We decided to explore the rest of the main castle. We entered double doors, but pulling on them collapsed one on top of me, and from behind the door came the giant creatures from the mural. Two of them, to be exact, and Borreau and Telaran quickly dispatched both of them before they could emerge far.

We discovered some rooms that had been barricaded; obviously the castle inhabitants made these foul creatures fight for every room they gained. I was beginning to admire these lost soldiers more and more as we went. However, I managed to run afoul of some of that tenacity; a glyph exploded when I opened one door. The force was enough to blow me back against the hallway, and I saw stars as three more of these bugbears emerged. The castle was silent, but definitely not uninhabited. And these bugbear creatures were intelligent; one tried to cast a spell, but I made it into his field before he could finish. We destroyed this group, too, and started to examine the living quarters they had made out of this abandoned room.

Sometime as we did this, B'rinth stepped out into the hallway again. I didn't notice, and I don't think any of the others did, either, until he hit the floor with a cry. I turned around to find him sprawled on his side, gesturing madly at the end of the hall we had not yet reached.

I sprinted for the hallway, knowing we had found more trouble. Sure enough, at the end of the passage stood a drow woman, her dark features mostly hidden in the shadows. I charged, expecting my party companions to be right behind me. As it turned out, and as the shouts reported to me soon after, most of them tried to take a shortcut through another door, which instead led them to another group of bugbears, ready and waiting for them.

So our party fought two battles at once. Borreau, Telaran, and B'rinth slugged it out with the bugbears. Well, actually, Borreau and Telaran did the battle work. B'rinth, who was still reeling from whatever it was this drow woman did, supported them from the other room with spells. Likewise, Nory sent a few bolts and flashing lights over my shoulders at the drow woman as we squared off. Praise Mielikki for that new sword, because it practically sang as I struck at her again and again, sometimes finding flesh, other times missing her dratted speed. Actually, both our groups did very well for being split up. The others managed to destroy the bugbears, and as the drow woman began to pale, Nory, out of spells, stepped into the fray to strike his own killing blow with a dagger. Someday I've got to find out how he manages to do that.

We felt as if we had won a major battle, but we had yet to find any clue of the man who had called for help. We took advantage of the barricades to rest for a while and regain our strength and our spells, and during that time, I had a dream that I don't think qualifies as a dream. I think it more likely a vision from a powerful cleric.

The half-elf from the mural appeared in front of me. He was in shackles on a wall, tortured, and stripped of his garb, but Mielikki's symbol could still be seen above his head like a torchlight. "You are my salvation," he said in a scratched voice. I tried to ask where he was, but the door was shut again. My only hint was the worked red marble floor below him.

In the morning (or whatever passes for the beginning of a day in this accursed cave), most of the others seemed skeptical when I told them what I had seen, but I'm not sure whether they doubted my story or our success. But no one questioned continuing, even though the morning started out poorly, as this time it was Nory who found a trapped door, a fireball that sent him flying. I sympathized as Borreau and Verence gave him healing.

We had found some stairs before our rest, so we took those in the hopes of finding red marble stone below us. What we found instead at the bottom of the steps was a horrid stench, an unimaginable mix of festering decay. Nory didn't keep the rations we had eaten that morning, and the rest of us were assaulted by the four feral, gray humans who burst from the corners of the room.

The first arrival from their group, not surprisingly, attacked the first person in ours - me. I suppose I was fooled by his human appearance; I was expecting a thrown fist or a weapon to emerge.Instead, he tore at me with his teeth like a weasel, and his bite carried burning pain. It knocked me completely out of the rest of the fight, I'm afraid, as my blood burned like fire. Thank the winds, it wasn't poison, or permanently harmful. Verence recognized the monsters as ghasts, horrid undead creatures, and he and Borreau managed to keep them off-balance with their gods' symbols while the rest destroyed them.

And now, with the morning just begun and these wretched creatures finally put to rest, our hunt continues. But at least now, we know our purpose, and have our goal in sight. Hopefully we'll find our red marble soon, and we can find this suffering holy man before the door to him is closed for good.

Your faithful servant,


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

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