By Bryant Alexander
“We’re now an assassination team if we find the leader,” Aeryn remarked. “I hope it’s not Irae.”
“I hope not,” Armand said. “I hope it’s the sisters. We need to send scouts forward to see what’s out there. Don’t attract attention and don’t backstab anyone.”
“If everything goes wrong,” Aeryn said, “dimension door forms here.”
Planning our retreat did seem like a good idea, given what had happened last time we were here. And naturally, we paused to debate what spells to cast before the scouts went scouting. Aeryn considered keen edge for her sword.
“Could be a herd of skeletons,” I pointed out.
“Good point,” Aeryn said.
More like, a good point wouldn’t do much good against a skeleton. I wondered what the collective noun for skeletons was. It probably wasn’t herd.
“Sleet Storm would be funny if our enemies are chasing us up the web,” Armand commented.
“Which doesn’t prevent us from flying and beating them up,” Aeryn said.
“What we need now is scouting,” Armand said. “Find out what’s out there.”
“Should I go in disguise in case we’re spotted?” Aeryn asked.
“Yes,” I said.
We decided to cast all the enhancement spells we might need, in advance of the scouting, except Mage Armor on the troll.
“Cat’s Grace on the troll?” Aeryn considered.
“Purple panties on the troll?” I suggested.
“Green panties,” Aeryn said. “Only, how would you tell?”
“Not as lumpy,” Grolsch said.
Aeryn went to work disguising herself.
“Time for the sweat sock collection!” Aeryn said. “Not from you, Grolsch! And not from the troll!”
Grolsch was way too eager to donate to the cause.
“I can use Prestidigitation,” Armand offered.
Somehow, Aeryn got herself stuffed without having to resort to such things. I passed the hat of disguise to Neville. I did have some advantages over him in the mundane disguise department. I just needed a wig, paint, some padding... and my underwear instead of my robes.
Aeryn took Mireille’s pseudodragon along with her, for communication purposes. Much as Mireille hated being separated from her familiar, it was helpful. She was able to relay to us that the whinnying was coming from below the Commoners’ level.
“She’s stuffing my familiar in a bag,” Mireille complained.
That meant they must be going through the Forbiddance blocking the entrance of the temple/noble level. Aeryn relayed that they’d found the source of the noise: a nightmare, and seven skeletal wolves besides. Aeryn concluded that we wouldn’t be able to sneak through here.
“Wanna try finding another way in?” Armand suggested. “If we fight a nightmare in there, they’ll hear us.”
Mireille relayed that to her pseudodragon, who told Silvorglim, who told Aeryn, who relayed back that there was no other way in.
“I guess they’re gonna hear us,” Armand concluded.
Didn’t they always?
Aeryn and Neville came back up so we could plot anti-nightmare strategies. The wolves were my department, since they had to be undead. Grolsch pulled out the Greater Dispel scrolls we’d bought just for getting past this Forbiddance. We had to disguise the rest of the party, still. Most of the rest of the party. Grundle fit in just fine. He didn’t even have a purple dragon tabard to hide anymore. Coraym was the biggest problem. Nothing would hide his holy aura. We considered having him wear the hat, but hats and helms don’t mix.
“If anyone sees us,” I said, “we’ll say, ‘What do you mean, he’s a paladin?’”
“He must have lied to us,” Grolsch said.
Armand looked good with tufts of wig sticking out around his helmet. We considered who might need Fly spells. Most of the party could just climb down, and we might want to save the Fly spells for hasty retreats. It’d been a while since we were last down there, but the memory of the butt-kicking we took was still fresh for those of us who’d been there. Grundle was disappointed, but he would cope.
I had another idea.
“Put ice cubes in your pocket to defeat Dark Vision,” I suggested.
We all agreed that it would certainly confuse Dark Vision. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a handy source of ice cubes. We weren’t going to waste combat spells trying to freeze ourselves into invisibility.
Those party members who couldn’t fly, climbed. Me and Mireille agreed to hide behind Armand. A nightmare wouldn’t have much trouble killing me if I was in elf-form, and I couldn’t Turn the wolves in bat-form. I flew on the other side of the chasm from the web. There was only so much space for us to spread out, but we did our best. We didn’t wanna risk getting picked off by a single fireball.
“Grolsch,” Armand said, “it’s gonna be you, me, and the troll on this one.”
Grolsch read the scroll and the Forbiddance went down. The interior was just like I remembered it, save for the unfamiliar inhabitants. Besides the flaming horse, there were seven skeletal wolves, and four drow dressed in rags. Aeryn and Neville charged in on the ceiling. One of the drow seemed to be giving Aeryn the evil eye… at least until the nightmare huffed and exhaled a cloud of smoke that hid our scouts from view.
One of the drow charged at Armand. Grundle hurled his axe… which hit the nightmare at a bad angle, clanged off it and slammed into the wall. I had these sudden visions of Dreya… Mireille fired off a lightning blast at the nightmare.
I slapped a krael stone on my holy symbol and Turned three wolves back into their component bones. Coraym took a shot at Turning, too. He wasn’t as good as having another cleric, but he got one of the wolves to turn tail, such as it was. One of the remaining three snapped at Mireille, one snapped at Armand, and the last one got a bite out of Grundle.
Grolsch cast one of the ice storms that we didn’t waste on trying to fool Dark Vision. The four drow looked kinda sparkly with hailstones embedded in their skin, but they didn’t look damaged quite like they should’ve looked.
Then another drow, dressed in robes of Kiaransalee, came charging out of a hallway towards the nightmare. Neville and Aeryn flew in at her. The nightmare reared and nearly kicked Aeryn out of the air. One drow actually climbed over the rearing nightmare to take a swing at Aeryn. These drow were way too intent on specific people.
Armand got in a good shot on the drow in his face, but instead of going down, it backed away and glared at him. Armand stopped moving, as if his armor had rusted solid on him. The armor looked fine, so my guess was a paralysis spell of some kind. Luckily for him, I had a Cure Paralysis spell handy.
Turning the remaining wolves would have to wait. Grundle knocked two of them over as he charged across the room, but the drow he slammed into stopped him. The wolves bit him as he stepped on them, but he’d get better. The other wolf chased Mireille out her hiding place next to me, behind Armand. I cast my spell and Armand unfroze. Coraym raised his holy symbol, but Tyr had stopped answering. I always hated when that happened.
The priestess must’ve realized that hopping on her pet nightmare wasn’t the best option just now. She backed into the doorway she’d come from, but Neville was on her the stink on Grolsch’s socks. Aeryn ran her through and put her out of her misery. The nightmare, however, was truly pissed now.
Armand smashed one of the wolves and even got in a shot on one of the drow. They had to be some kind of undead. At a guess, they were undead that we’d made dead on a previous visit, and now they were revenants, intent on their killers. We would have to be more thorough this time.
One drow cut a slice off of Grundle, but Grundle ripped him open and spilled his insides out. Mireille slipped out of the crowd and flashed Burning Hands. Grundle’s open drow crisped, but Armand’s armor looked slightly heated, too. My Goddess was still with me. I managed to Turn the remaining two wolves. Coraym tried Turning one of the drow, to no effect. Maybe Tyr had punched out early today.
Grolsch beared out and shredded a drow. Aeryn and Neville paused to enjoy a couple Cure Light potions. I would’ve offered them assistance, but there was a rearing nightmare between me and them. Armand flattened another drow, but one of them was slashing at Neville. Grundle charged the nightmare and knocked it over.
Me and Coraym started burning the drow bodies. There wasn’t much we could do about the nightmare, and we would only get in the way if we tried to get at the remaining drow. Grolsch squeezed through the crowd and shredded the nightmare. Neville pounded on the last drow, Aeryn pelted him with magic missiles, Armand whacked it, and it was still trying to fight its way through Neville to get at Aeryn. Grundle reached a claw over the fallen nightmare and ripped the drow apart.
It was finally over.
“Drag the drow to the edge,” Aeryn instructed. “If we can’t destroy her, we have to toss her off, after which she should make a great splat.”
The drow did have some interesting items on her, like a magic morningstar, a couple Cure Light potions to replace the ones Aeryn and Neville had to use, the usual cloak of resistance, buckler, drow poison, etc, and a silver dagger.
“I’ll take that,” Aeryn said. “Oh, wait, I have one already.”
“I don’t want it!” I said.
We didn’t bother searching the drow revenants.
“Been there,” I said. “Searched that.”
“Decapitate the drow,” Aeryn said. “Light the drow on fire and throw her into the chasm. Short of a wish, we’re not seeing her again.”
That sounded like a good plan to me. There’s nothing like hacking the head off some dead drow to make my day.
“Vampires!” Armand shouted.
And just when we were having fun, too. Armand pulled out his bow and sighted down one of the hallways. Time to see if those vampire-destroying arrows were worth the investment. Grundle charged, but not at the hallway. The troll ran for where Aeryn and Neville were dragging the dead priestess. They jumped out of the way as Grundle headed for the chasm. He actually started to slow down before he reached the edge, but he started stopping a little too late. He went over the edge and disappeared.
“Don’t worry!” Grundle bellowed from the chasm. “I’m stuck!”
I worried. If he hit bottom, even if he didn’t bounce, he’d get better and we could retrieve him at our leisure. If he was stuck to the web, sooner or later, Cuddles would scuttle over to investigate. Cuddles might find Grundle to be a bit more than it could chew, but Cuddles was awfully big…
Grolsch switched back to half-orc form and cast a flamestrike down the other hallway, the one that Armand wasn’t covering. That wasn’t a good sign. I’d expected at least two vampires, since Armand had definitely said vampires, in the plural, but if they were coming at us from all sides…
Aeryn headed towards the center of the room, bow ready with magic arrow. Gathering at the center might be a good idea. Armand fired off his magic arrow. Mireille cast Eagle Splendor on me, as we’d planned. Not only would the charisma boost help me Turn the vampires, but my fake boobs looked more realistic now. Not that drow boobs looked realistic even on the drow, at least in my opinion…
“We need to fall back,” Armand said.
Somehow, I got the impression that his arrow hadn’t helped. The vampire that came out of the hallway only helped that impression, especially when it stabbed Neville. A female vampire emerged from the other hallway. I guessed that there would be more and held my Turning for when the rest showed up. I hit the vampiric female with Searing Light. Vampires hate suntans. Grolsch stabbed her and Aeryn shot her with her magical arrow.
We all backed into the center of the room. The vampires seemed to be focusing on Coraym, the most obviously holy member of our team. Neville danced up to a vampire, punched it, and danced back out of reach. Teasing vampires could be fun. Coraym showed a vampire how hard a pissed off paladin could hit with a sword. A third vampire charged into the room, aiming at Grolsch. I flashed my holy symbol, and… Maybe Sehanine had punched out early today, too.
Something in the chasm was bellowing.
Aeryn used the third and last magic arrow… and a vampire crumbled into dust. It took something over six thousand gold to kill one vampire. I wasn’t impressed. We weren’t spending money on those things again. Hitting the remaining two vampires wasn’t easy, either. Grolsch stabbed one, Armand missed, Coraym poked one rather ineffectually, even Neville swung and missed. My attempt at Turning didn’t work, either. Grolsch switched back to bear form, and still had trouble connecting. Aeryn did an acrobatic flight over the female vampire and poked her with her rapier. Armand knocked the male vampire’s sword out of his hand. My third try Turning the vampire failed. Sehanine had definitely chosen to sit this one out.
Grundle came roaring through the room and head butted Grolsch in the butt. The rather surprised, although very deserving, bear was propelled forward into a vampire that he knocked apart into mist. How traumatic must it be for a vampire to wake up in his coffin, when the last thing he’d seen before misting was a bear with a troll up his rear?
Aeryn and Armand hit the remaining vampire, who promptly misted, and retreated down the hallway opposite the one the other mist-cloud had taken.
“Moonshine, you’re with me,” Aeryn said.
“Coraym, Mireille, with me!” Armand said.
“Grolsch, Grundle…,” Aeryn said.
“Maybe we should leave Grolsch and Grundle alone together,” I suggested.
Grundle chose to join Armand’s group. Neville joined our party, and we chased the mist. Maybe we’d meet the others on the opposite side of the big octagon. Maybe not. We’d seen last time that there was another passage spiraling in to the center of the octagon. That seemed to be where our mist was heading when it went under the first door.
“Grolsch, do your thing!” Aeryn said.
Her thing was casting Bull’s Strength on the bear, just in case. Grolsch tore through the door. On the other side, we saw a room decorated with enormous, lurid tapestries featuring grisly deaths and walking corpses. The room was inhabited by two creatures that were half drow, half spider: driders. Near one wall stood a massive stone block draped with black silk and adorned with silver candelabras, silver bowls, and a silver handled dagger. Even if it wasn’t an evil altar, I wasn’t going near it. But then, I wasn’t the one who went around poking altars.
“Don’t touch the altar!” me and Aeryn shouted in unison.
Neville and Aeryn charged the driders. I sort of shuffled in sideways and blasted them with Searing Light. Grolsch, wisely, took the long way around to insure that he didn’t bump, jostle, or otherwise disturb the altar. Neville punched a drider into a mist.
“Vampiric driders!” I shouted.
Aeryn hit the other drider, and it turned to mist, too. The drider-clouds disappeared under the altar.
“Leave ‘em,” I said, watching how the cloud we’d chased here vanished under another closed door.
“Leave ‘em,” Aeryn agreed. “Break the door.”
Grolsch obliged by breaking down the door. The hallway beyond it went on about a hundred feet before turning right. It did occur to us that the door might not’ve been locked… The hallway turned again. There was a pair of double doors on our right, but the vampire-cloud went left, under a single door. Aeryn checked over the door and unlocked it.
The large room behind it was lavishly furnished. Fine leather couches were placed tastefully, golden lamps hung from the ceiling, and majestic tapestries of purple and gold decorated the walls. Several large armoires decorated with gold filigree stood along the walls. The mist disappeared into a couch.
“Put a drow on each couch,” I suggested, “and invite Armand in.”
Unfortunately, there already was a drow in the room, but it appeared to be of the male persuasion. His black full plate would’ve been more imposing if it wasn’t for the big red knee plates.
“Kneepads of Charisma!” Aeryn pointed.
He had something more in common with Armand besides being tall, dark and plate-mailed. The drow had a cat, too. Well, it was vaguely cat-like. It looked like an anorexic panther with six legs and tentacles reaching out of its shoulders that ended in horny-ridged pads. In short, it was a displacer beast.
Neville charged it and got slapped by a tentacle. But getting himself in that position allowed Aeryn to flank the cat and stab it. My Searing Light fizzled. It just wasn’t my day, apparently. The drow went after Aeryn with a nasty looking dire flail. The cat chose to chew on Grolsch. Neville hit the drow, and he went down. Grolsch bit the cat right back. My next shot of Searing Light fired, but not where I wanted it to. At least it didn’t hit one of my allies.
The cat got its paws on Neville and shredded him. He retreated to a handy corner. Handy for him to collapse in, not so handy for me to get to him with healing spells. Aeryn tried to hit the cat, but displacer beasts are notoriously hard to hit. Grolsch bit it again. I switched to bat form. If he could chew on the beast, I could chew on the beast.
Aeryn hit it. Grolsch’s next chomp killed the beast. I switched back to elf-form while Aeryn manacled the drow. Grolsch took up a guard position in the doorway. Aeryn rolled out the couch the mist had vanished into. Inside was a coffin.
“Grolsch, lift it out,” Aeryn said. “Then rip the head off.”
Grolsch had no problem doing just that. Aeryn rolled out another couch and found another vampire. The vampire’s eyes opened. Given the way things had been going, I should’ve expected my Turn to fail.
“Help!” Aeryn shouted. “It’s a live one!”
“An unalive one!” I shouted.
Oh, goody. The others had caught up to us.
“Kill the vampire first!” Aeryn shouted.
She knocked it down. It turned to mist again, but quickly reformed.
“Stake it!” Aeryn shouted. “Stake it!”
We staked it. We’d come prepared for vampires this time.
Besides the couches, we found that there was an actual bed in the room. It looked like the drow might’ve been lounging on it before we arrived.
“I have a prisoner for you to interrogate,” Aeryn remarked, and kicked the drow.
The armoires turned out to be full of aristocratic drow gowns, all decorated with sinister spider designs.
“We might need them for disguises,” Aeryn said.
“Uh…,” Grolsch said.
“Spiders are no longer in,” I said.
“Oh, right,” Aeryn said. “Wanna interrogate fat-head?”
“I can’t think of anything to ask him,” Armand said. “Except, ‘Where is everyone?’”
“That was on my mind,” Aeryn said.
We knew they were assembling an army. It had to be around here somewhere… In the meantime, we stripped the drow of his armor, including the kneepads, and gagged him.
“As long as we look like drow…,” I said. “We might get answers from him just by asking.”
“You guys scoot,” Aeryn said.
She waved the rest of the party towards the door, but they didn’t scoot. Coraym was rather uncomfortable near the drow, but he obviously wasn’t going to leave when no one else was going. Aeryn helpfully explained to the others that there were driders back the way we’d come, hidden inside that altar. That motivated them to leave.
“Can we come with you?” Aeryn called after Armand as he strode out. “It’s gonna take time for him to wake up.”
Armand kept going. I went over to the corner to heal up Neville.
“If it’s just us girls staying,” I remarked, “we can try on those drow dresses.”
“Are you really going to wear those as regular clothes?” Aeryn asked.
“No,” I said. “First off, drow have worn them. And second, they’d…”
She knew what my gesturing meant. Without padding, drow dresses would hang very loosely on my front.
Something down the hall screeched.
“Sounds like he found someone,” Aeryn said. “You want him banging someone new?”
“It sounds like screeching, not moaning,” I said.
“Give him time,” Aeryn said.
Armand stuck his head back into the room.
“Do you have another Greater Dispel?” he asked Grolsch.
“Grr,” said the bear.
I wasn’t going to waste a Speak With Animals to find out what he meant.
“What did you find?” Aeryn asked.
“An elder drow on a throne,” Armand said. “None of our spells do anything to her.”
“No need to get touchy about it,” Aeryn said.
“Maybe,” I suggested, “we’ll be lucky and she’ll be an undead that I can Turn.”
“That wouldn’t take luck,” Aeryn said. “That would take a divine miracle.”
“That is the idea,” I said.
We left our prisoner bound and unconscious and headed after the rest of the gang. The noise sounded like it was coming from behind the double doors. As we got closer, it sounded more like cackling than screeching. We found the rest of the party in a high ceilinged octagonal room. A pillar in the center of the room stood a good fifteen feet tall, topped by a throne made of bones. A gaunt drow woman was draped casually across the throne. Armand sometimes complained that Aeryn talked too much, but this bitch not only wouldn’t shut up, she kept repeating herself.
“You’re all gonna die!” the drow warned. “You’re the prey of Kiaransalee!”
Even those people who didn’t know enough elven to puzzle out anything of drow had to be catching the name Kiaransalee, if only because the message kept repeating. It couldn’t be real, not when she kept saying the same stupid thing over and over again.
“Who are you?” Aeryn shouted up at her.
Even that didn’t faze her. In fact… The pillar didn’t look entirely solid. The more I stared at it, the less real it seemed. There was a gaunt drow woman, but she was standing where the pillar only seemed to be. Aeryn charged her and stabbed her. Neville and Armand rushed in. I even took a swipe at her with my staff.
“Am I the only one worried about the army breathing down our necks?” Aeryn asked.
“When we find the army, I’ll worry,” I said.
The drow just kept on cackling her repeating message. Maybe it sounded funnier to those with a better command of drow than I had.
“I don’t think the army is here,” Armand said. “I’ve searched the whole area. Sucks for Daggerdale…”
The drow threw a flamestrike. Lucky me, I was outside the blast radius. Most of my companions, on the other hand, we properly situated to end up smoking. A smoldering Grundle swiped at her with his axe, which glinted off her elven chain. Coraym was still swinging at her, but I could see how hurt he was. I turned my staff around and healed him.
“Why do I think we’re doomed?” Aeryn asked as she hit the drow.
“Because we’re doomed?” I said.
The drow whacked Grundle with a mace. Coraym, now that he was feeling better, gave her a nice sword slash.
“Grolsch!” Aeryn shouted.
Judging by the confused look on the bear’s face, he thought we were attacking a pillar. Aeryn and Armand hit the drow again, and she dissolved into mist.
“If she goes past the driders…,” Aeryn said.
“They’re mine,” Armand said.
The vampiric cloud drifted across the room and vanished into a small hole in the wall. Aeryn hunted about for secret doors. There had to be another way other than through the hole. I was still mildly surprised when she did indeed find a round door. There were four loose stones set around the door. Presumably, depressing them in the right sequence would unlock the door.
“Everyone step back,” Aeryn said.
We stepped back, save for the bear who’d never stepped forward. Aeryn cast Mage Hand and toyed with the stones from a safe distance. After pressing a few wrong combinations, she hit on the right one and the door sank into the wall. It rolled off to the right, giving us a clear passage into another room.
We took a quick break to loot the pedestal chamber before continuing on. There were a couple obvious treasures we didn’t want to pass up. Several long tables of black wood stood along the walls. On one of them stood a large lyre inlaid with mithral, an obviously valuable instrument. A small jewelry case sat on another table, containing a dragonbone comb, a gold hairbrush, and a silver brooch bearing the emblem of House Morcane. The silk pouch full of agates didn’t impress us. Agates were fairly cheap.
We blocked the doorway, lest we get locked into a room we might not want to be in, and passed through. The next room was somewhat unusual for this area. The walls were plastered white and the floor was tiled with flagstones. A stone sepulcher covered in shining copper leaf stood in the middle of the room. Copper bands securely fastened the lid to the rest of the coffin. The lid itself was carved to resemble a beautiful drow woman, if one’s idea of beauty was huge hooters. An image of what the gaunt drow had once been, perhaps? Right now, she was the last bits of smoke pouring itself into the tiny holes drilled into the lid’s eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
Our next move was obvious. We stuck a funnel in a hole and poured in the holy water. Holy water plus unholy home soil equals useless mud. We followed that up with a flask of alchemist’s fire. Aeryn got out a chisel, but we had another thought. What if there were holes in the bottom of the coffin, too? As elaborate as this sepulcher was, it might be a trick so the vampire could escape to a lower level. We had the bear and the troll shove the coffin until we could clearly see that the floor it had rested on didn’t have holes.
“Try not to damage it too much,” I said. “In case we can resell it.”
“We can use it as a tub,” Aeryn said.
I’d been joking about reselling something so obviously un-portable. Aeryn had to be joking about using it for a tub, too. If drow dresses had drow-cooties, I really shuddered at the thought of bathing in a drow vampire’s coffin.
“We’re cleansing it with fire,” Aeryn pointed out.
She even poured in a second flask of alchemist’s fire, just to be on the safe side. Then she took her chisel to one of the copper bands. A storm of razor blades sprang up around the coffin, giving Grundle and Grolsch close shaves.
“One of you dispel this,” Aeryn requested.
Mireille took care of the blades.
“Stand back while I snip the second one,” Aeryn suggested.
After what happened to Grolsch and Grundle, we were quick to get out of the way. Aeryn snipped. Nothing happened. She moved onward. She discovered a small hole hidden by the third band. At a guess, probably a poison dart trap. She snipped the third band and again, nothing happened. She plugged up the hole in case lifting the lid activated it.
Grolsch and Grundle got the lid off. Inside the coffin was a shriveled husk of a body. It didn’t look very much like the image on the coffin lid anymore. So much for truth in packaging. We hammered a stake through her heart, as much as drow had hearts, and chopped her head off.
The body wasn’t alone in the coffin. We found a charred piece of parchment that might have once been a map. The blackened coins were probably salvageable. A wand and a scroll were definitely not.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Aeryn said.
“Hosed again,” Armand said.
“Mea culpa,” Aeryn blushed.
“We know you wouldn’t destroy treasure deliberately,” I said.
Poor Aeryn was really quite embarrassed. Who knew the drow would store valuables inside her coffin? As it turned out, there was something left intact, after all. Thrust through the remains of the drow’s belt was a bone scroll case containing a letter that Aeryn read for the party.
Our Dark Lady favors my efforts, and my research proceeds wells. Within five tendays, perhaps six, all will be ready for the Day of Great Vengeance. The Spider Queen is dead; we have already brought low the Spider-kissers and seized our rightful place in the realms of the dark. Now the Day draws near when we shall avenge ourselves upon those of the day-blasted lands, too, and achieve that ultimate triumph denied us so long ago.
While I prepare my Great Revenance, it falls to you to make ready the way. Harry the surface-dwellers, hunt them in their woods and fields, and take the measure of their strength. Do not concern yourself with putting them on guard; our Lady desires their blood, their fear, and their dreadful anticipation of our ultimate act of revenge. With each slaying we grow in her favor and sow the seeds of our coming victory.
If they come against you in Szith Morcane in irresistible strength, slay as many as you can. Withdraw from the fight if you must, and bring Zedarr with you but as for the rest-they are to stand and die for the glory of the White Banshee. The battle for Szith Morcane will come to nothing when our Great Revenance comes to pass. If anything, our final vengeance is made ever sweeter by each fleeting, false hope our enemies entertain before it falls upon them.
Work great slaughter for our Lady’s dark glory, my daughter. Soon I will come for you from Maerimydra with such dark and terrible might that all Faerûn will tremble before us.
“Yeah, right,” Aeryn said. “You wish. She’s also a lousy speller, capitalizing day.”
No wonder it felt like we weren’t accomplishing much here. If we believed this letter, we weren’t achieving anything at all by trashing Szith Morcane.
“Zedarr…,” Aeryn said. “I wonder if that’s buff boy.”
“Mother must be Irae,” Armand guessed.
“Then Irae must be a real mummy,” I said, considering how shriveled this daughter had looked before we kakked her.
“I wonder who she means by surface dwellers,” Armand said. “Surface elves, dalelanders, surface drow… Where’s the rest of their forces? All out doing nasties up above? It’s not dated. My guess is that five tendays may be over.”
“I can’t believe I burned up a map,” Aeryn said.
“I can try Prestidigitation,” Armand said.
“That’s the best idea you’re had all day,” Aeryn said.
“Screw you,” Armand growled.
“The couches are back that way,” I pointed.
“One of them’s occupied,” Aeryn added.
“Not my type,” Armand demurred. “I don’t do guys. You might enjoy doing it with male drow. They might be as well endowed as the females.”
“It’s not the size of the wand,” I said. “It’s the magic within it.”
As it turned out, Prestidigitation could clean the soot and ash off the ex-map, but it couldn’t put the map itself back on the burnt parchment. But at least we go to watch the drow’s shriveled body collapse into dust. If nothing else, Irae was getting one less Mother’s Day card this year.
The content of Moonshine's Journals is the property and copyright of Bryant Alexander, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.
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