By Beth Griese
Date: January 31, 1998
|Borreau||Blonde Human||Tempus Cleric||Brian Smith|
|Lorivar Menasson||Short, dark, & hairy||Monk||Vaughan Herron|
|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:
"You can shriek like a girl and run." - Jim Leitzel
"In this room are the following things..." Jim Leitzel
"...Death, death, and more death." - Jim Gaynor
To Garen Thundersson, cleric of Mielikki. From your faithful friend, Jade.
We had managed to - temporarily, at least - clear out the giants in the stronghold that had attacked our castle. But we still had a basement to explore, and maybe find out some answers to why we had been attacked, and about the drow who had ordered the attack on us.
We slipped downstairs. Borreau cast his spell to sight out traps, and almost immediately, he saw a trap waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs. Young Lorivar stepped forward to check it out, and he did find it... by crashing a portcullis gate down two inches in front of our noses. Borreau and I reached forward to try to grab the gate as it fell, but we might as well have been trying to stop a tree from falling.
Lorivars sheepish look reminded us of our early days with Nory. I suppose hell get the hang of these things eventually, but just to be safe, when Telaran spotted a secret door in the wall beside the portcullis that Borreau said was also trapped, Nory checked that one out. Good thing, too, because it turned out to be much more lethal; a blade meant to swing across at head height. He disarmed it and the next trap just inside the room; a huge block of stone that would fall from the ceiling.
We knew that so many traps must guard something important. Sure enough, the room we found must have been the cache of the giants... or at least, of the leader. We found magical weapons (I got a very nice set of magic arrows, and Telaran picked up a sword that can flame on command), coffers full of coin, and a small box that held a black metal chain and a scroll with crudely-written instructions. The instructions told the user, in less than polite terms, to make the chain into a circle and step inside to "come back to me," and was signed with an elvish-looking figure. That was the discovery that excited me the most; another link back to Eclavdra.
We only had one major mishap as we explored, and as seems to happen so often, I was the one who stumbled into it. When I opened one of the chests, a splinter hit my hand, and every muscle seized as if I had to fight the air to move. Borreau spotted my problem almost immediately and cast a blessing from his god on me, which left me tired and sore but in control of my own limbs again.
Our group was already low on spells and now had nothing but an impassable gate at our back and a small fortune in coin in our hands... hopefully, easily enough to rebuild the damage the giants did to our castle and care for the families of the people who were killed in the attack. We were content to go back upstairs, rest, and go home. While Telaran and I watched over the party, though, we heard noise and thudding coming from the portcullis below. I went downstairs to investigate and saw an amazing sight; a manticore, indoors, in a hallway, throwing himself against the gate. I gave a shout upstairs, and while the manticore tried to throw its spikes at me, I used my bow to bring it down. It failed to get through my armor more often than it succeeded, but I still felt like I was throwing rocks at a porcupine while it threw quills at me.
With the manticore killed, the Wayfarers met at the top of the stairs and voted for leaving this place immediately. But the crashes resumed downstairs. A second manticore had arrived and had taken up where the first had left off. I guess they were hungry. While Telaran and I kept up a steady stream of arrows below us, the rest of the group at the top of the stairs heard reports of more bad news; the crashing and ruckus of the return of the fleeing giants. We were trapped.
My first inkling of the amount of trouble we were in came when Nory fell head over heels down the stairs and landed in a heap around us. Telaran and I abandoned our argument with the manticores (the shadows of more were in the hallway), and we ran upstairs at top speed. The door to the room we were in was thrown open. Verence had trapped the door with fire, but the giants proved a little too smart for that to do us much good. They prodded a couple of reluctant goblins to go through the door first, who were immediately blown apart by the trap, and the real danger could step safely through. And they stepped, and stepped, and kept stepping, as the remaining terrified goblins, two nervous- looking ogres, and two hill giants lumbered inside.
I drank the potion of giant-control we had found earlier, and to my surprise, it worked; one of the giants minds was my own to command, and I gave it my order quickly - to attack the other giant. They immediately locked in battle, Lorivar and Telaran swept the remaining goblins out of the way, and our spellcasters felled the ogres easily. Things were looking good, and I was beginning to breathe normally again, until we saw dark shapes down the hallway in front of us. The shapes cleared, though, and I knew what evil I was looking at: drow. Two of them knelt in front, shooting darts at us, and a woman - Eclavdra at last? - stood in back. I drew my steel and charged right past the fighting giants; all I knew was that some justice against those obscene monsters may be at hand.
I charged the woman in back, ignoring her guards, and swung hard enough to cleave a person nearly in half... and my blade bounced right off her armor with a shock that rattled my teeth. Borreau, Lorivar, and Telaran followed my heels, and attacked the guards. Lorivar got there fast enough (of course!) to keep them from shooting more darts, and Borreau almost immediately killed one of them. In the meantime, I was trying to get my blade on that damned woman drow, but I felt like I was trying to swat a hummingbird. She swept around like the wind, and when I did manage to get a blade near her, that armor of hers slid it away without a scratch.
She was casting a spell, and I knew I was about to be in deep trouble, when Nory appeared - I mean actually appeared - right next to her and leapt at her like a catapult shot. She went down in a tackle, which didnt really do her any harm, but it interrupted her spell, thank the gods, and Nory was gone again in a blink. Cute spell our gnome found, there. She looked up at me, then, and for a split second we just hated each other. Every bit of hatred I feel for these destroyers of nature, she obviously mirrors back for the light and sun we use. She spat one word at me that I couldnt understand, and I braced for more spell-casting, but instead she disappeared without so much as a glimmer.
Meanwhile, our friends in the back of the room found new trouble; the manticores had managed to break through the portcullis at last. They announced their arrival by filling Verences back with quills, which dropped him to the ground. Nory managed to kill one with an illusion of a fireball, the one that had my arrows already sticking out of its shoulders from our earlier encounter. But two healthy ones stood in its place.
Our spell-casters were in trouble, and for a moment looked to be in even worse shape, as a monstrous cloud giant pounded around the corner and into the room. But then the cloud giant pounded its chest and shouted "IM NORYS ILLUSION!" loud enough that even we at the other end of the hall heard it. It started swinging at the manticores for us, and the lion beasts seemed completely convinced that the roaring giant was real. Verence stumbled back around the corner, apparently at least partially healed from the quills he took, and sent his magic staff to help the "giant," and I managed to get at least some of my frustration out by killing the second drow guard.
Our situation was looking up again, which meant it was time for another problem. During this entire fight, the two giants had been locked in battle with each other, but now the one I controlled lost the fight, and the remaining one turned on us. For having just battled one of his own, this giant still had enough strength to bounce me off the walls a couple of times while I tried to bring it down. Lorivar gave a tremendous kick that took the giants leg out from underneath it, and we were able to kill it at last.
By this point, I was convinced that any break we had was only going to be temporary; surely, more were going to come again. I felt as though I had been fighting for hours, and the wall was the only thing keeping me (mostly) upright. But I was convinced that the danger was gone when the giant that had pounded the two manticores into the flagstone turned to face us all and parted his robes like a lecherous old man, but instead of revealing a body, revealed three clowns inside it, working its limbs like puppets. Verences magic staff promptly bopped Nory on the head, and the last thing I remember clearly was smiling slightly as Borreaus arms began to lead me back to the room we had been using for some healing and recovery.
Obviously, Im strong enough again to write, now. Verence cast a spell to help us all get some quick rest that refreshes as if we were cradled in an inn; I have no idea why we havent used this spell before. Once weve grabbed enough rest to make us capable of travel, well head back for home with the spoils of the giants and a new drow enemy for me to ponder. Until my next letter, I remain,
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