Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   November 9, 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:
"It gives us the pseudopod." -- Kent Jenkins

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

We were, as we had been for many days now, meeting for dinner at the Adventurer's Club, recounting our day in the city and talking about possibilities for the future. Lately, it seemed our conversations centered more and more on the future and less on the present; I think all of us were ready to put our backs to Suzail and travel the road again. We just hadn't realized quite how far we were to travel.

Tonight, our adventure came to us in the form of a short, swarthy man with a turban and a strange accent. He said his name was Cadiphal, and he had come to hire us on behalf of the wizard he served. This wizard, whom Cadiphal would not name at first, needed four components retrieved for a potion he wished to produce. He would provide us with magical transport to the items' locations. Our job was to actually retrieve them, which was almost certain to be much more difficult than it sounded. After a great deal of haggling, we struck on a bargain, and in exchange for 1000 gold pieces each and some potions of fine healing, we agreed to retrieve the items, so long as we saw no conflict with the good of the realm or our souls. I remain suspicious of the need of a magician to solicit so far from home for his help, but I'm happy to have a task before us, as long as we keep our eyes alert.

Borreau and I, as is now almost our custom, enjoyed our last evening in town alone. Borreau took us shopping, and we bought two dogs, his trained for guard duty, mine for hunting. We had originally thought of them as guards to help protect the party's horses while we were away, but I very much enjoy the dogs' company, too. Training them will be fun for both of us. For my part, on the advice of fellow guests at the Club, I took us to spend our night at Commishar's Festhouse. It was an excellent stay; the hot baths alone were worth the price of our room.

So, with the next morning, the Wayfarers met in full travel gear, and everyone looked brighter at the anticipation of the journey before us. I'm not sure exactly when we shifted from a group that merely stuck together through adversity to one that actually seeks out and enjoys these battles, but there's no denying it now. There's no denying now of the title of "adventuring party" for us.

Cadiphal presented our unlikely means of transport; a silver platter. We were to speak Cadiphal's name, and we would be taken to the vicinity of the object we sought, with the object's name appearing on the platter. Once we retrieved the object and placed it on the platter, we would be taken to the vicinity of the next object, and would begin again. Cadiphal said we had "no more than four" objects to retrieve. After a reminder of our bargain to discuss matters again if we saw problems with one of the requests, Cadiphal begrudgingly revealed the name of his master: Buvarik. If we called his name before the platter, we would be allowed to speak with him.

So we gathered around this small tray, and in an instant that was completely remarkable except for a gust of cold wind, found ourselves in a stone room deep below ground. The platter had our first objective written on it: "Four couatl feathers: 2 left, 2 right." The room we were in had dioramas - little scenes with figures in them - all around the room. There were hunters, and farmers, war, gods, and temples. One of the temple priests was dressed like a couatl. Verence and I had both seen drawings and figures like these before, although you only showed the drawings to me once; these were from Maztica, halfway around Toril, and Verence said they were called the Olmans. That was some plate - in a flash it had brought us farther than weeks and weeks of travel!

We started exploring the stone rooms we were in. Everything seemed foreign; the carvings on the walls, the construction of the rooms, even the silty water that swirled around our feet in many of the halls and rooms. Nory managed to clear out some traps made from thick, hollow reeds that were sharpened like spears. We found our way to a huge room, inches high in water, with what looked like a huge boulder in the middle of it. From behind the boulder came a crayfish the size of a cat. It was an impressive creature, but had no interest in attacking us. It even seemed intelligent, like it was trying to speak with us, but none of us had any chance of understanding what it was saying. It did, though, seem to be pointing the way toward one of the doors on the far side of this room.

We would have been able to continue without mishap, but B'rinth decided to prod at a stick that came out of the boulder in the middle of the room. The stick, as it turned out, was the antennae of a giant hermit crab that we had mistaken for a boulder. The crab sent B'rinth across the room, but we were able to scamper into the hallway the crayfish indicated to get away from it without having to worry about battling the animal.

The corridor only led to a sealed door, with urns of grain on either side of it, and lots of drawings and symbols around the seal. Verence and Borreau both felt certain that the room was a tomb, and unless the people here had entombed a couatl, we could see no reason to break into a desecrate a grave. So we went back to the large center room, to find that our hermit crab friend has decided to rest against the doorway, blocking our exit. We finally managed to push past without damage to the animal, and chose another hallway.

We walked through still more strange rooms, including one that seemed to have the markings of the stars in a dome above us. The water we were wading through now got even deeper, and we ended up in a room with a pool of water across the center, one that would be about waist-high in muck for most of us. Nory, of course, would have much more troubles. B'rinth and Nory both decided to use spells to scale the ceiling of the room and avoid the water. The rest of us were content to wade through, which proved to be the better of the two choices when the glowing green patch of slime at one end of the room started to move toward our ceiling-crawlers. This moldy beast wouldn't touch the water, but made enough speed chasing the gnome and elf that both had to just drop from the ceiling right into the deepest part of the water. We fished both of them out without problems, and thought for a while that a dunking had been the worst of our problems.

I realized our troubles were a bit more complex when I began to feel the cold of the stone floor through our shoes. My boots, which had been in the water all this time, were now worn completely through at the soles, and the stitching was falling apart. Nory, too, was losing his boots. Borreau's problem was a bit more severe; his pants were wearing through underneath his armor, and Verence had the biggest clothing problem of all; both his backpack and pants were tattering around him. Telaran was the only one to not lose clothing; but his magical spear and his quiver both were rotting in their place on his back, where they had also been subjected to this water. We repaired our damage as well as we could, but most of us are making do on makeshift clothing, now. I've patched the boots as well as I can, but I still have next to nothing covering my feet. That wouldn't be a problem in the forests, but on these cold stones, I'm having to worry about every sharp edge.

The sound of singing distracted us from our discomforts, and the strangest sight yet awaited us behind one of the carved doors. A woman, unclothed, lay in a tiny island of earth in the midst of a small lake. We tried our best to approach her, to speak with her, even though she only made noises more like the crayfish's chittering, but it didn't come to anything. She looked over everyone in the party as though she were looking for a sign of something. She must not have found it, though, because she disappeared into the water and did not return to us again.

Our current challenge is a long hall that we found hidden behind a painted wall in an arching corridor. This one has the carved heads of animals emerging from the sides of the hall: a coyote, a bear, a bison, and an eagle with a gold ring in its beak. I'll write more later to continue to fill you in on our explorations so far from home. I remain, as always,

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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