Archive for July 11th, 2005

Diary Entry – Somewhere in the Cormanthor – 1373

Monday, July 11th, 2005

Well!  Two days ago I was tending the counter at the TTC store in
Elventree and here I am, deep in the Cormanthor Forest with Rock and
Nigel (!) and some new friends, hunting down drow slavers who’ve taken
hostage someone Berol feels is important to Fate.

OK, maybe I should back up and explain.

So there I was behind the counter, playing a little Sembia Hold ‘Em
with Greebo and generally humming a tune, and in walks this pale woman
dressed in a lot of black frippery.  She said she’d heard of me,
and heard of the Tinker Traders, and was going to be dancing at the pub
that night and wanted me to provide her musical accompaniment.  I
am, of course, never one to shy away from the stage, or from
new people, so I agreed.  After the show, she told me she sought
passage into the Cormanthor in search of a mantle that would increase
her skills in some regard.  To be honest, I thought she was being
a little shady about it, but whatever.  She seemed absolutely
disinterested in harming us, and we were headed to Sessuadra to meet up
with Berol anyway, so I invited her to teleport down there with us in
the morning.  We did, of course, run her through The
Question.  She assured us that she was not to her knowledge a
doppleganger and we assured her that they are generally aware of their
condition, so everyone was entirely satisfied.

Next morning, we were off to Sessuadra.  It’s always exciting to
teleport somewhere, especially somewhere dangerous!  When we got
there we were greeted with the usual grim and crumbling facades and a
wagon of relations all carrying their patriarch to Berol’s temple to
spend his final days with dignity before passing on.  (One of them
recognized me!  I was very pleased, despite the somber
circumstance.)  We escorted them into the city and about halfway
to the temple we met Berol and some others coming our way.  Before
we could greet each other, though, a hollow-eyed elven woman appeared
before Berol and demanded her “fair share” of the dead and dying. 
Rock and I could hear huge footsteps and with a few words I could see
what was making them – an enormous giant!  We called out
that an ambush was under way and moments later we were in the thick of
it!  All of Sessuadra’s worst were on hand to try to take out
Berol and anyone on his side.  We were being jumped by hill
giants, this other kind of huge monster thing, some nagas, even gargoyles
Katarina, the woman we’d brought with us from Elventree, started
stabbing the gargoyles and a shadow detached from one of the walls and
started attacking the big grey thing and then a tiger and an ape – I
know, odd! – were fighting everything and I was casting sonic fireballs
and arcs of flame were shooting back and forth and Rock was knee-deep
in enemies hacking them to pieces and this priest was waving his hands
around and casting spells and it was just crazy.  We took
everything out, though, and soon enough we were all standing in the
street (the mendicants we’d met at the gate were all fine – well,
except for the fact that their grandfather, or whoever, was on his
deathbed) meeting and greeting.  It turned out that the main naga
was their champion, and with her destruction we had managed to break
what remained of the monstrous resistance to the reoccupation of
Sessuadra.  Rock even saw the last hill giant pack up his few
belongings and leave the city the next morning.  With that, we
knew we had once and for all cleaned out Sessuadra.  How cool is that?

Back to getting to talk to Berol, though!  We made sure he was
okay (he was the main target of the attack, and kept getting knocked
around pretty bad) and then met his companions.  Nigel, from back
in the old days of the Flatliners, of all people, was with Berol –
apparently Berol freed him from enslavement by the Drow, which all
sounded very unpleasant – and then we got to meet the Tiger, named Badl
Ojingyrbir, who is actually a gnome druid, and we met his ape, and we
were also introduced to a priest of Lathander named Adric.  They
were all very nice, and if they’re friends of Berol’s then they’re
friends of ours, so we all went back to the temple and ate a big dinner
together and got to know one another.  Badl taught Rock the
traditional drinking dances of the gnomes while I played, and I got to
admire Adric’s very fashionable robes and civilized demeanor. 
Berol may not be much for the small-talk, but he certainly knows how to
put together a crew!

Before bed, Berol called us all back together to discuss why we were
there.  He had a mission of the utmost importance, he told us, and
he needed to ask us to complete it for him.  Those of us who
weren’t immediately willing to accept by simple virtue of it being
Berol were at least interested, so we settled in while he explained
that his temple’s seers had determined that there was a time coming of
terrible death and destruction in the future and that a certain
halfling named Alec was important to these events somehow. 
However, this Alec had been taken captive by the Drow trying to invade
the Cormanthor.  We were all eager for an opportunity to mess with
the Drow, so we took the job of going and rescuing Alec and bringing
him to Berol, and Berol told us the Drow access from the underworld was
in a general area three days’ ride to the west.  The next morning
we had one of his priests scry us a likely spot and Nigel and I whisked
everyone away to the middle of the forest to begin our search for the
Drow and wherever they might be holding this Alec person.

Badl, being a druid, suggested we find a bear with whom he could talk
about where any drow might have been.  This sounded like a great
idea, and very shortly we came across a bear that was, in fact, running
full-speed in the opposite direction of where we were going.  Badl
caught up to it and found out that They were coming, the They being
something terrible that made “the sound of fear.”  We were all a
bit curious about that, and various of us went about our plentiful
means of concealing ourselves when one tiny – uh, well, it looked
monkeyish, to be honest, kind of halflingish with some monkey around
the edges – came gibbering out of the woods and tried to flail at Rock
before it was summarily cut down.

To be honest, diary, I wondered what it was about this one little
monkey that had the bear so worked up when more of these little monkey
things appeared – then more, then even more than that, then hundreds of
them.  Nigel and I started taking out as many as we could in a
single go while Badl worked to protect the wildlife from the horde of
little monkey things and Rock and Adric drew their attention to
themselves to try to get them gathered in as small a space as
possible.  With enough fireballs and sonic fireballs, and Rock’s
unbelievably fast blades and a huge column of fire called down by
Aldric and a hail of crossbow bolts from Katarina, we cut them all
down.  Admittedly, we sprayed ourselves in gore when Rock would
slice several of them in two and then Nigel would fry them and then I
would liquify what was left, but in the end we managed to best them and
calm back down (their mindless chitter had a deeply unsettling effect,
making it hard to concentrate on anything beyond a sort of rising
panic) and assess our situation.  All told, we had managed pretty
well, and now Badl’s gone to go make sure the bear we saw is still okay
and ask it what it knows. 

Whewf!  Day two of my return to an active adventuring career and
it is already every bit as exciting as I remember it being.

I love my job.

PS:  While we were in Sessuadra, Berol told us that his temple has
managed to free Snowdown from the restraints which kept her trapped
there and she can now travel freely.  He asked her to favor us
with her presence on our journey, and now she is able to assist us in a
number of ways.  It was very good to hear of the progress made in
setting her free, and Rock was very happy to see her.  She, in
turn, was not so happy to hear that he’s married now, but you know how
it is.  She’s an ancient elven ghost, he’s a half-elven ranger
with a wife and home… it wasn’t meant to be.

PPS:  I feel I should note that Badl’s ape wears a shirt like a
person.  It is, I have to admit, adorable in this regard.  It
somehow makes it easier to forget that his ape could snap our necks
with a gesture if it wanted. (more…)