Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   August 31, 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
Telaran 1/2 Elf, Buzz cut fighter Jim Gaynor
Verence Gallow Thin human Mystra Cleric Kent Jenkins

Quote of the Day:
"Ignore him, he's bitter." -- Jim Gaynor
"How clever of me to break my fall with my spine." -- Jim Leitzel

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

And so, for the sake of a drinking companion we had just met that day, I was separated from my friends and taken by a monstrous demon to my own trial room. Each of us would be subjected to their own trials, the demon's rumbling voice explained as we left, and our only goal was to survive for three hours. My hand tightened and loosened on my sword grip. Three hours of holding these devils at bay. I wasn't very sure of my chances, but I was vowing to make them pay for my blood with three times their own before I would fall. I was ready.

"You must survive..." the nine-foot demon behind me growled. I was ready.

"Socially." I was shoved from behind into a room with the door slamming shut behind me. I was in the middle of a parlor room filled to the brim with powered, frilled, proper ladies.

I wasn't ready.

Before I had even gathered my senses, the women around me were whispering, quite loudly enough for me to hear, about how crude I looked for a hostess. How ill-dressed. How coarse. All the things I expect refined socialites would say about me. And I had to deal with these fripperies for the next three hours? I would have preferred the demons.

Still, a test was a test. A servant scuttled up to ask if I wanted to change to something more befitting the occasion. I declined - I'd see the king's forests torched before I'd cinch up my waist like these ladies - but I did hand over my sword belt, deciding there was a line of compromise to be reached. And I was pushed by whispers to go to the front table and serve tea. As if I had any idea of what to do besides dump hot liquid into people's cups.

I looked desperately for faces that might be even slightly kind as I headed for the serving table. Two women managed smiles for me; one about my age, another an old woman near the front. I decided to try to take advantage of the wisdom of age, and once I had the damned silly painted teapot, I filled the old woman's cup first. Apparently, that was the right thing to do, because the nasty whispers that were following me everywhere suddenly shifted to a hint of approval. The old woman took pity on me, and with only a little direction from her, I managed to get everyone's useless little cups filled. And so it went, for the next three hours that seemed like three days, with ridiculous rules and customs and refinements that had me looking like a lumbering idiot the entire time. But thank Mielikki, I had managed to find a guide, and when I thought there was little more pinky-raising I could stand, I found myself instantly back in my bar seat, cup of tea still in hand, with everyone else also appearing before me . I seemed we had all "survived," although all of us looked the worse for wear.

Verence's torn clothing, battered face, and scratched and bloodied arms looked as though he got into a losing battle with the side of a hill. And as he explained to us later, that was exactly what happened, although he didn't quite lose. His task was to take medicine from the top of a mountain to the town at the bottom. The medicine was in an iron box too heavy to lift, but carried by a mule team in a wagon. With only a few false starts, he managed to get the team moving in the direction he intended. He dodged avalanches left and right as he went, dove down hillsides, and ended up, as best as I can tell, riding the loose wagon down the hill at breakneck speeds to reach the town just under his limit.

The smell of oatmeal and other, more pungent, odors, had announced Telaran's return. He, it seemed, had also been in the building with my tea party. But his task had been to babysit. He was charged with not allowing a baby, a toddler, and a 4-year-old bent on self-destruction to disturb the party. Much to his horror, our half-elven adventurer had been subjected to changing diapers. It sounds like he utilized some very unorthodox methods of child control, including knocking a bookshelf on the floor to prevent the children from climbing on it and spiking the door shut to prevent their escape.

Nory seemed the most broken of us all. He twitched and muttered figures with a hunched back and cramped hand. He had been adding numbers for three hours straight. Useless numbers that all added up to the same amount, but a whole pile of papers of them that had to be tallied within the time limit.It's been a few days since, and he still has ink blotches staining his skin. He shudders every time he looks at them.

I was the most relieved to see Borreau's return, of course, although I was a bit surprised to see him reappear with his pants in his hand. As it turned out, he had appeared in a boat in the middle of a huge lake, and was told to find land, without any help from magic. Not being a sailor, Borreau decided his best bet for transportation was to use his pants as an oar. He rummaged out his signal whistle - the one he had always told me would come in handy someday - and used it to listen for an echo off land. That gave him the direction to go in, but by the end of his time limit he was bottomed out, taking on water, and drawing the boat along desperately to touch beach. As far as he can tell, he made it just in time.

B'rinth looked as knocked around as Verence had; bruised, dusty, and wheezing. The elf had been stuck in a mine deep underground, and ordered to fill two carts with rock by his time limit. Our magician, though, seems to have managed the best time of any of us, for he decided the best place to mine the rock from was directly above the carts. He used his wand of missiles to pierce the ceiling, and sure enough, more than enough rock descended onto the carts, along with bucketfuls of dust and other nastiness that left Verence coughing for the rest of his three hours, but with his task successfully completed.

And so we had all survived, and our half of the wager was finished. the demon turned out to honor his word, which took me partially by surprise. We were released, and Lord Digglesby with us, because the demon declared that he had been sufficiently amused. None of us even had the spark left to disagree, nor to give Digglesby any of the hellfire he so richly deserved for what he had put us through. We stumbled our beaten and dusty way back to the Inn and commandeered some of Digglesby's rooms for our lodgings that night.

The next morning, we were a dejected, beaten lot. We had no leads of ways to bring in money, and no causes that seemed to be presented to us. We had lost our direction. Until someone, I can't remember who, brought up the fact that we had left behind a few adventures where we had been before. The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar, our first adventure ever, still had plenty of caverns to explore, and the Drow City under Cloud Tower had never been infiltrated. It was like magic; suddenly, sparks lit in everyone's eyes again. Back to some of our old territory, this time with more purpose and confidence than ever before, with monsters to rout before us and treasure to be collected! My heart pounded a little faster as we talked about it. We agreed to visit the Haunted Halls first, then to the Drow City.

And so we travelled north again, making our way back to Eveningstar. Most of the trip was quiet and uneventful; Telaran and B'rinth broke up their boredom whenever it loomed by suggesting that Nory become our party accountant just to watch him shiver. We only had one mishap on our travels, and that one ended up the worse for our gnome companion, too.

We were on the road to Immersea when our horses began to bolt in every direction. A giant eagle, a bird the size of a festhall, was swooping down on us. Nory acted quickly; he sprayed color at the bird. Nory acted too quickly; he knocked the bird out cold, which meant it continued its dive all the way onto Nory's pony. Eagle and pony collided like mountain goats, creating a pretty sticky mess, and Nory was shot from the impact like an arrow, colliding with a number of solid objects before crumpling into a heap. Nory was healed back onto his feet, but no such luck for the pony. We quartered the eagle and made the most of our fortunes, though, taking the bird to Immersea for sales.

Indeed, our arrival in Immersea, the old home of the pirate band we had broken up some months ago, was welcomed with the good we carried. The scribe we knew agreed to buy the eagle meat for a city-wide potluck, and we were invited as guests of honor. We ended up with enough money to buy a new pony for Nory and with overfilled stomachs to boot. We even had a little bit of coin left over for each of us. Borreau showed up at the pot luck with candies and fine wine for me, and I had hatched a plan for romance of my own. During our passage through Arabel, I rented the attic room, the poshest in the house, for our night's stay.

And so I finish my entry for tonight, with the cooling breezes at the window to remind me that Midwinter's Day grows ever nearer. This time, the rest of the party has said they also wish to meet you. So I plan to leave these logs, as always, in our home as we pass through to the Haunted Halls. And come Midwinter's Day, I should have even more friends to introduce you to. Borreau has asked me to send you my regards and finish writing since it's already gotten quite late. So I leave you now, and remain,

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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