By Bryant Alexander
He Broke the Bed
Our next move was to do some selling and shopping. As nice a place as Dagger Falls might be, it didn't hold a candle to Waterdeep. Getting there wasn't too hard. We just had to cough up two hundred and fifty gold for every four hundred pounds of passengers to be teleported. That meant that me and Aeryn could go together, along with Cinnabar, but Armand had to be teleported by himself.
Getting our spoils appraised revealed some interesting items. We had a shocking spear, four javelins of lightning, four cloaks of resistance, evil amulets of Dark Blessing (which some of us would not touch), a wand of Neutralize Poison, a wand of Searing Light, and two wands of Lightning Bolt. I got the wand of Searing Light. I could recharge it and save my prayers for some other spells.
We also had a House Morcane insignia that allowed the wearer to levitate once a day. We decided that might be useful for Grolsch. He also got the wand of Neutralize Poison. He could recharge it and we'd be needing it when we faced more spiders and more drow.
“Who wants the spear?” Aeryn asked.
“Spear too complicated,” Grolsch demurred.
Aeryn still liked the elven chain mail.
“I need to have the spider excised,” she said.
“Spiders are good eating,” Grolsch said.
One more reason not to eat at an orcish restaurant. Of course, even if we were all the same species, I had a funny feeling we'd still have difficulty deciding on a single restaurant for all of us. We were way too good at debating things.
“I need to save for a Ring of Polymorph Self,” Armand said.
He had a point. If he was still a growing boy, the time would come when he wouldn't fit into the caverns. Not to mention that we were rapidly acquiring enemies and he needed something magical to disguise himself.
“Get one for the kitty,” Aeryn suggested. “Now you have a poodle.”
It was suggested that I might want one of the suits of plate mail that we'd acquired. It would armor me more effectively than my clerical robes did, and it wouldn't interfere with me in bat-form… but a mithral shirt was more my style. I just needed the spider removed. Some merchants with overdeveloped senses of cute suggested I have a smiley face sewn onto the spider. That might be cheaper than having it removed, but I wanted the spider gone. I did consider having a bat sewn on in its place, but I wouldn't consider converting the spider into a bat.
It was suggested Armand take the Boots of Levitation.
“They're good for up and down, but not for forward,” I reminded people. “You'd have to grab stalactites and haul yourself along… or point the Ring of the Ram over your shoulder and blast yourself forward.”
“Just don't kakk yourself on a stalactite when you do,” Aeryn said.
That would be embarrassing.
“You and Dreya are the slower members of the party,” Aeryn said. “Not your fault. Get Boots of Striding and Springing.”
“For her, not for me,” Armand said. “Unless Grolsch takes the Boots of Levitation and I get Boots of Striding and Springing.”
In the end, that's what we did. We sold the House Morcane insignia. It didn't look good on Grolsch, anyways.
We decided to rent a house for a month. We had items to charge and research to do. After several very short minutes of consideration, we decided to get separate bedrooms. It wasn't like we couldn't afford it.
Then one day Armand showed up with a female halfling in tow.
“Guess what followed me home,” Armand said. “It's cute. Can I keep it?”
Aeryn was giving the halfling a measuring look.
“Not for that !” Armand said. “Not until I learn to shapeshift. Or she does.”
I think we could be forgiven for thinking what we were thinking.
“Didn't the last one run in terror?” Aeryn asked.
Last one. Aeryn had to be referring to the housekeeper they had when they were last renting in Waterdeep. Although, as I recalled, their half orc housekeeper had stomped off cursing after Pain and Suffering ran roughshod over her.
“She's motivated to stay,” Armand said. “I just saved her butt. Some thugs thought that once she ran out of magic missiles she'd be easy. I convinced them to pick on someone else.”
If she had magic missiles, then she probably wasn't applying to be our housekeeper. Her name was Lobelia Greenbottle of Halfhollow Hills, a wizard just beginning to venture out on adventures. We could teach her a lot about what not to do if she came along with us and kept her head down.
We heard an interesting rumor that late last month, near Silverymoon, two dragons were seen fighting in the sky. Accounts varied regarding what colors the combatants were.
On our nineteenth day in Waterdeep, we received a message from the Dalelands. They'd suffered at least two more drow raids. Lord Morn still had work for us. But we still had business to finish in Waterdeep.
The mages suggested we show our goo sample to the temples. The temples suggested we show our goo sample to the mages. The one thing they agreed on was that the skinless drow had been some form of undead, as if we hadn't figured that out. None of our sources were thrilled to know that there was another type of undead out there that we didn't already know about.
Another interesting rumor said that a city had become visible in the Anarock desert, a city of darkness. I could go for visiting a place like Silverymoon and trying to find out if one of the dragons was Palasiraks out looking for us. But I preferred to keep my distance from cities of darkness.
While we didn't hear any direct word about Palasiraks, Armand did seem to be smiling excessively one day. Aeryn's look was as good as a question.
“ You could get laid here,” Armand told her. “You're picky, but there's twenty thousand men.”
An even better rumor going around said that Lolth's clerics had lost their power. We didn't like Lolth, and we especially didn't like having spells thrown at us by her clerics. We'd gotten confirmation that the spiders on our sale items were indeed Lolth spiders. If she wasn't answering her clerics' prayers, so much the better for us.
Then came the day when Aeryn appeared to be smiling excessively. At least, she was smiling until Armand paid the town crier to run through the streets shouting, “Aeryn got laid!” Aeryn steadfastly refused to believe the crier was shouting what we all heard him shouting. I was just surprised that Armand didn't hire a brass band, too. Maybe next time.
Aeryn tried researching the Cult of the Dragon, but there wasn't much to learn around here. She did find out that they're loosely associated with the wizards of Thay. Somehow, I wasn't too surprised. We knew that the Cult used slaves, and the Thayans were slavers.
“This could be bad,” Armand said.
“I'm amused,” Aeryn said. “The Zhentarim are not amused. Should we annoy…”
“No,” Armand said without even waiting for her to finish. “We will not start shit here.”
I heard another rumor, that Aeryn was cheating on Armand. I tried not to laugh in my source's face, and kept that one to myself. They didn't believe that people were mistaking them for a couple, anyways. They just squabbled like one.
Finally, having thoroughly enjoyed our vacation, we returned to Dagger Falls . Most of us did, that is. I wasn't sure if Nanoc had gone back to his old job as a bouncer or not.
Daggerdale had seen better days. Several farms and homesteads had been burned in our absence. There were no survivors, but everyone was betting on the drow being behind it. In the meantime, our prisoner was having nightly conferences with Lord Morn. She seemed to have acquired a whip somehow, and Lord Morn had a leather outfit he wore during interrogations…
“This place has gone to hell in our absence,” Aeryn complained. “We should smack Lord Morn.”
“I'd rather smack the drow,” Armand said. “She's gorgeous, but turning sex into a pain and submission thing is disgusting. If she did that to me in bed, I'd break her neck.”
“We should've given her to him,” I told Aeryn.
“We still can,” Aeryn said.
“Are they all like that?” Armand asked.
“Pretty much,” Aeryn said. “Now do you begin to get it?”
“Stick with us light-skinned elves,” I advised Armand.
“Stick with the winning side,” Aeryn said.
While I was sure Lord Morn was learning all sorts of things from the prisoner, Sir Guin still wanted us to go back and find out what's going on. We weren't ready to charge back in just yet. Armand took a tour of the local settlements (the unburned ones) and hammered out watch schedules and alarm procedures with them. Maybe fewer settlements would get burned if the people got a bit organized.
Grolsch communed with the local lichen.
Since we'd confirmed back in Waterdeep that the drow poison we'd collected could be countered with standard antitoxin, we arranged for the local clerics to start mass producing the stuff.
Then a troop of Zhents showed up, seven soldiers and a guy in robes. Of course. Why should Lord Morn have bothered teaching the peasants to defend themselves, like Armand was trying to do, when he could just hire Zhents? Some of my sources said the Zhents were just opportunistic merchants, but others were convinced they were out for world domination.
When we actually got around to seeing Lord Morn himself, we found out that our prisoner, Xora, had fairly free run of the keep. She hadn't started redecorating yet, but I could see this place redone in dungeon-chic any day now.
“I see you've found a place,” Aeryn remarked. “On your knees. Are those Kneepads of Charisma?”
“It's too bad you walked away from your fiancée,” Xora smirked. “I hear he was quite a catch.”
“Ahem,” said Lord Morn. “It's already cold enough in here.”
The weather had cleared recently, although there was a foot of snow on the ground. I decided to hold my tongue. If I said anything, it would only get colder in here. Xora attempted to tweak Armand's nose. She would've needed a levitation spell to succeed.
“Nice position,” Aeryn mocked. “Are you sure it wouldn't be better on your knees?”
Lord Morn decided to meet with us without Xora present. That was probably wise of him.
“Was that wise?” Aeryn asked him. “Allying with the Zhents?”
“We're too far from their main base,” Lord Morn said. “The Zhents are mostly interested in trade.”
Sure they were. I could see this place changing hands sometime in the near future. Again.
“Maybe we should poison the drow,” Aeryn suggested.
“I don't think the drow is the problem,” Armand said.
I doubt she'd suggested hiring the Zents. Of course, she'd find a way to become the mistress pulling the strings of whoever was in charge here. Xora did seem to know which side her toast was buttered on. Or at least, she knew creative uses for butter.
“The fact that she's still breathing is… irritating,” I said.
“Next time, I'll try to catch a male,” Armand offered.
I wasn't sure if that would be better or worse. Aeryn and me certainly wouldn't be tempted by a drow male, though.
Aeryn and Armand decided to take a quick trip back to Elminster's tower. Once again, he turned out to be out.
“He's visiting new orcs,” Aeryn said. “…crystal ball shaped like a box with knobs that disrupt magic…”
It sounded like they'd been talking to the blue guy again.
“What are we trying to do?” Armand asked.
“Find out what's down there,” I said.
“A tunnel,” Armand said.
“Tunnels lead somewhere,” I said.
“The tunnel we entered was a footpath,” Armand said. “We found the highway.”
“Highways lead somewhere,” I said.
“I'll try asking the drow,” Armand said.
“Slap her around,” Aeryn said.
“I don't bark,” Armand said. “I don't beg. And I don't wear leather bondage gear.”
Xora would be so disappointed.
I was leaving the keep later when I spotted Aeryn and Lobelia outside, peering in a second story window near the rear of the building. Aeryn waved me over. Curiosity got the better of me and I went up to join them. I saw exactly what I'd expected to see. Armand wasn't exactly interrogating Xora, but he was certainly pumping her.
“He didn't get fairy clap last time,” Aeryn muttered, “but look what he's doing now!”
We weren't the only ones watching, either. Some townsfolk had set up a ladder so they could peek into the next window down from us. Then, with a resounding crash, the bed broke. Aeryn clamped a hand over her mouth, but the tears were rolling down her face. I couldn't watch any more. I dropped down to the ground and rolled over on my back, trying not to laugh too loud. Then the ladder tipped over. One unlucky peasant went through the window of the building on the other side of the alley. Aeryn grabbed Lobelia and hastily retreated to the roof. I rolled off around the corner, out of sight.
I heard a window open.
“I don't see you, but I know you're out there, Aeryn!” Armand shouted. “I know you have this incredible fascination with my sex life.”
That night, we ladies shared wine and giggles in Aeryn's room. We took turns saying “He broke the bed!” and cracking up.
The content of Moonshine's Journals is the property and copyright of Bryant Alexander, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Return to the Moonshine's Journals main page
Return to Campaign Logs