By Beth Griese
Date: September 26, 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:
"Wouldn't it be embarrassing if they kick our ass with our own weapons?" --Brian Smith
To Garen Thundersson, cleric of Mielikki. From your faithful friend, Jade.
We continued our hunt for the plotting drow within the home of the fire giants. Obmi, our new dwarven friend, was eager to help; I had to pull him further back in the line more than once. We followed a sign marked as "Guest Quarters" in a few languages to a door that had been barred - unusual for "guests."
We opened the door to a huge but cozy room - lounge furniture and a warm fireplace kept a human, elf, and dwarf across the room comfortable. We held a fast, hushed conference with them. They introduced themselves, the human as Yergan Dragonslayer, a merchant anxious to get back to his business, the elf as Aris Trueguide, a bowyer, and the dwarf as Bosco Bugman, son of the famous family of ale brewers. They immediately began offering us large rewards for their rescue, but I was more interested in directing them towards the exit. But even as we tried to press on them one of the fire giant king's passes that would guarantee their safe passage, they insisted on going with us, even when I told them more than once that we were headed into the teeth of the dragon. I lost my temper, I'm afraid. The elf said he'd been kept in that room over the passage of seasons, and yet they wanted to not only walk into danger, but add to it for us. I couldn't understand it, but eventually we gave them arms as best we could to let them tag along.
We were about to leave; we would have been walking into the drow at our front with these three at our back, when Verence suddenly cried out an alarm. They were demons, he said, and sure enough, when they were hit, their true forms emerged: a head and shoulders taller than the tallest of us, wearing rich and fancy robes, with the heads of a tiger, a boar, and a bear. Our first reaction was so surprised and disorganized that I almost hit Obmi square on the head - to find our rescued merchants suddenly our enemies, and then suddenly in a completely different shape than they had been an instant before.
The fight was vicious; Nory tried his usual spells of illusion on them, but they showed no effects from it at all. These creatures cast spells as well as fought with weapons, but I had learned the best way to deal with magicians in combat - hit them before they can finish their spells. I ruined two spells that way, my fervent thanks to Mielikki. Just one of their spells brought a hail of ice and wind down on us, hurting and blinding us. The magicians tried everything they could think of to hurt these monsters, but nothing worked for them - even Nory's magical leap at one of them missed. I saw Verence finally swing his staff at the head of one of them in pure frustration. In the end, it was brute force that brought them down, with plenty of that force hitting us as well. We ended up in serious need to rest and healing, so we took up the room as a makeshift camp and rested for a few hours. The monsters' bodies had turned into slime by morning as if they had been lying in a fetid swamp for weeks.
With some recovery time given to us, we kept up our search, this time choosing a passage that led sharply down. At the bottom, we were at the juncture of hallways, each littered with doors, mostly human-sized, made all of metal with sliding grates at eye level. Prison doors. We started checking each door. We found a few corpses, a few feral gnolls and a troll that we left to their own devices, and quite a few surviving prisoners.
Our first captive was a scraggly bearded fellow named Endracott. He had been imprisoned by the drow these past three week, taken from a caravan out of Proskur. He was the first to confirm what we feared; that others were here, scattered all around. For such a withered-looking fellow, and for the flaying stripes across his back, his spirit was still fiery; he was eager to help us release the others. And he still had quite a grip; I thought his smelly hug around my neck when we opened his cell door would squeeze the life out of me - or maybe the stench was just stealing my breath.
Another human prisoner was a woman who, unlike the others, had been chained to the wall in her cell in addition to locked inside. Her name was Garis, and she was obviously the worse for wear. She offered very little commentary, though, and with her thanks for our release simply fell in with the group and joined our fast-growing army.
One door revealed not humans, but two centaurs. This was a first; I had seen centaurs on the streets of Suzail and, once, Arabel, but this was the first time I had talked with any. The pair were named Cedgar and Fawnsleaf, and I liked them immediately. They refused to be bowed by their imprisonment, and now relished the idea of finding and avenging their capture.
Behind one door were more gnolls, but unlike the animals the others had been, these immediately pleaded with us to not leave them to rot. I felt sympathy for their position, but none of us cared for the idea of leaving them free to roam at our backs. We exchanged solemn oaths - we that we would come back before we left to free them, they that they would leave the complex immediately without betraying us or the other prisoners.
The end of one hallway held a giant-sized door, and we peered inside cautiously, expecting some manner of giant, but not even giants could match the size of the massive foot we saw. We opened the door cautiously to find a huge room being filled to every corner by the hunched, deeply sleeping form of a titan. He had to be a titan - he was easily twice the size of any giant we'd seen. And he had been enspelled, or drugged - he kept sleeping, even when Borreau cautiously cast a spell to find out his nature, and proclaimed him not evil. We had to find a way to revive him.
Verence was the one able to find the nature of the poison that kept the titan sleeping and neutralize it. Huge, colorful eyes looked down at us, and I found us introducing ourselves to a titan, one of the gods of the earth, I'm sure. He told us, to our astonishment, that he had heard of The Wayfarers before - "gossip in the heavens," he said. I hope the gossip was good; he never explained. His name was Kendar, and in his gratitude, he agreed to lead all the other prisoners out and see them safely to their homes within a week. Faster than a lizard changes colors on a rock, he changed his shape down to a human- sized man, crafted like a sculpture, with a circlet of gold on his head, a tunic of pure white, and sandals. He would have looked the part of the divine even without his size.
The final hallway we checked was mostly empty of life, until we hit a room with eight elven soldiers inside. The moment we opened the grate and they saw human eyes, they began pleading with us to get "her" out. When we opened their door, they immediately pushed us toward the next cell. We found the "she" they were looking for - an elven woman, a princess from Graycloak Hills, they told us. The drow had been to work on her; one eye had been pulled out, her hair hacked short, the fingers on her left hand all broken. My stomach turned at the sight, and the elves were nearly a wreck.
Before our anger could boil over to a dangerous point, Kendar spoke up in his quiet, deep tones. He explained that he could fully heal one of us, and he asked The Wayfarers if we would like it for ourselves or for the princess - her name was Shallia. There was no question from any of us; none of us were even seriously injured, let alone ravaged to the extent this woman was. He merely touched her, and with a warm glow, she was whole again - her eye, her hair, her hand, every cut and bruise. It was amazing.
The dungeons had been cleared, and the titan was ready to live up to his promise. We told them all about the planned attack on Cormyr, gave them each every detail we knew so that the word about the drow and giants' plans could be spread as far as possible by Midsummer's Day. Kendar lined everyone up, and to my surprise, didn't start walking for the sloping passage up. Instead, he simply had them walk down the hall. Within five steps I could see the hallway walls through their bodies, and by the time they had taken ten steps, they were gone. When the titan promised to deliver them safely home, I hadn't realized how well he could ensure that.
The Wayfarers were alone again. Both our missions were that much closer to success - word was going out throughout the land now of the attack on Cormyr to come, and we had put one in the eye of these drow by setting all their prisoners free. But we still hadn't actually found the drow delegation here. And we now had a few extra things for them to answer for when we found them.
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