Gyruff (Grand Duchy of Geoff)

Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #10
Thorn - Obad Hai Druid and back to Fairyland

Day 358
Reached Gorna and warned the Regent of the apparent links between Gyruff’s archmage and the chained god as well as the Duegar as well as the teleportation gate at the Duergar”s monastery.

Day 379
Have been trying to round up heroes to go back into the monastery but haven’t had any success yet. Heard that druid Aoth as well as some others are expected to return from the ways of the world a couple days north of the monastery. A place called the crying circle, weeping woods, sewing circle I can’t remember but anyhow Aurora and I head up their.

Day 381
We are in luck we reach the place and Llewellyn, Aoth and party arrive at nearly the same time. Llewellyn shape changes so he is large enough to carry the Dagda’s staff back to him. He is gone before I can even tell him about the chained gods followers and their thoughts on trying to sway the Dagda to help them.
Before I can broach the subject of the monastery a raven flies down and starts speaking “Thorn, Thorn, seek thorn”. Aoth speaks with animals with the bird but it seems evasive, however he does learn its mistress is the goddess the raven queen. We follow the direction the raven goes and discover the druid protecting these parts. The druid follows Obad Hai and was one of those involved with the rebellion. But he also works on eliminating the shadows in the Dim so he can’t be all bad. We have a peaceful conversation in which we learn that Thorn is the fey Queen of Bright Summer right hand creature. I ask why it is we would want to do the Raven Queen’s bidding to earn Queen Aisling’s enmity. Getting caught between to powerful beings like that makes us pawns who they can deal with in whatever capricious manner they decide. Now Dandelion blows his top and suggests that I don’t have to go on the mission to Fey. Well of course I was willing to go. Not happy to go back to Fey lands but willing. I also knew that Dandelion was going to try and trade some magic items to get rid of the plagues sent by Queen Aisling to Oerth. That is a noble endeavor even if the Thorn part turned out negatively. I suggested that we use my nettles to get Queen Aisling’s land instead of the nearby fairy ring. Of course Dandelion took the opposite view. He asked the Obad Hai druid how to use the fairy ring. As I continue to insist we should use the nettles because I know exactly where we will appear a relatively safe area a short distance below Queen Aisling’s court. The druid says if used at the right time the fairy ring will take us to the bloody wood. That is farther away and most likely more dangerous path if the druid is trutstworthy. Then Dandelion goes railing on about me not trusting the druid. Why would why? I never met him before. He was also part of the rebellion against Gyruff. Why take the chance when I have a perfectly good method that I have actually used before? With Aoth’s help the party is convinced to use the nettles. Dandelion enjoyed the part that I had to do 1 point of damage for every creature that came with us to Fey. I think that was the deciding factor in his mind.
Before we head to Fey I suggest to everyone in the party that they should have at least two presents for the queen. One for being in fey and talking to her and another for leaving Fey. I turned some copper pieces into small statues. One resembling myself and the other my mount Rammy.
So in Feyland we reach the entrance to Queen Aisling’s court without incident. The wooden guardian at the gate will not let us in. Even when I tell him about the presents for the queen. Eventually Thorn comes down. He immediately states that the Queen is not seeing anyone. When we mention Thorn by name and tell him we were told to seek him he gets all coy and appeared worried should Queen Aisling find out. It seems like Thorn might be secretly following the Raven Queen behind Queen Aisling’s back. Thorn eventually changes his mind and takes us to the queen. Dandelion has Thorn introduce us with him being the noble human and the rest of us his minions. The queen is looking bored and perturbed at being bothered. I quickly decide to keep quiet and still. I’m ready with my gifts when called for but decide not to draw her attention until needed. Dandelion provides a gift and does his suck up spiel. He offers the portable hole and cursed treasue in return he asks that the plagues she sent to Oerth be curable by those that follow gods of the old faith. I felt somewhat betrayed by this. That’s not any better then Caswallon requiring everyone in the country to follow Obad Hai and be Flan. He should have asked it to be lifted from all of Oerth. Despite this I bite my tongue and hold my peace as the queen agrees. I wonder what nasty uses Queen Aisling will use on the mummy rotted cursed treasure? The queen dismisses us telling us to leave. But Dandelion defies her edict. Most of the party seems ready to blend into the walls. With some further compliments he then offers a gift to have Evendur’s curse lifted. She counters asking for about a dozen impossible to get gifts and then has us leave.
At the start of the audience Thorn passes a not to Dandelion. It is somewhat cryptic. But it basically says that Queen Aisling will not willingly help us. Instead we should seek the three sisters to learn the Queen’s weakness.
A Scarecrow directed us to find the three sisters in the swamp. We can get to the swamp by either going through the poppy fields, The nettles or the thorns. We decide to cut our way through the thorns which rapidly but not too much so regrow. Evendur accidently pricks himself with a thorn and falls asleep but Morrick casts a spell that suppresses the poison so he can continued. We reach the swamp and find a pool with lily pads and an island with a cottage and a giant lamb laying outside the cottage. The lamb hops from one lily pad to another in a circuitous route. Upon reaching us it sheds its lamb clothing. It is a werewolf in sheep’s clothing. It is easily dispatched but a half a dozen more show up. Dandelion is attacked multiple times and appears to be close to panicking. I knock one of the two werewolves away from Dandelion but fail to move the second. I also yell out that Thorn has sent us and to please call your dogs off of us. Aurora tries a spell but misses. Meanwhile Dandelion is heckling both of us. Dandelion should save his vicious mockery for our enemies. A short while later a little girl comes out of the cottage and calls off the werewolves. We carefully cross to the cottage and talk to the three sisters. I start off by complimenting them on their home and offering the copper statue of Rammy as a gift. They don’t overtly give a gift in return but I imagine that their answering our questions was their gift to us. They tell us that the queens flowing fiery heart (her weakness) is beneath the woodcutters house and if we said little hut little hut show us the door we would be able to enter. The little girl (sister) told us we would die in the house.
After taking our leave the Air Genassi takes the lamb clothing. I wonder if he realizes that the Fey and Fey objects are essentially one and the same. If the lambs clothing is Fey then a Fey took part of itself to make it. I wonder if the lamb clothing is Fey and whether the Fey will take offense. A scarecrow directs us towards the woodcutters shack. We come to a crossroads that has a sign. One of the directions is to the woodcutters shack. The sign however is loose and can be turned. One of the party spins the sign. Two of the posts point the same way. One points a different way and the fourth changed its name to frogs. I spun it again and this time one road had no post pointing at it and one angling into the woods read gingerbread house.
We followed the sign directing us to the gingerbread house. We came across a childs skeleton. In its hand was a colorful frog which looked like the same type of poisonous frog we face in the temple of Wastri. A small hollow golden ball was lying next to the skeleton as if it had rolled from her hand. After Dandelion cast prestidigitation on it to clean any poison he pocketed the ball using a glove. I wonder if the Fey will will be insulted for him taking the ball. Probably not, as it was obviously a trap. And since he foiled the trap it probably will not cause him problems. Still it would have been a good idea to leave a gift in return.
After saying little hut little hut show us the door the gingerbread house stood up on its chicken legs turned its door towards us and then sat(?) back down. As we went to the front bone fence door we were asked why we were hear. Dandelion told it we were hear to get the queen’s heart. The fence gate allowed us entry and warned us not to steal anything. In the house was a small room with two children Hansel and Gretl tending a fireplace. The fireplace seemed the likeliest place for a flowing fiery heart so we convinced Hansel and Gretl that when the witch returned she would be happy to have had the dirty hearth cleaned. In cleaning it we did not find the queen’s heart. We did however find a secret trap door in the fireplaces floor. The downstairs was a maze of endless rooms. In talking to a fire giant also trapped in Baba Yaga’s hut we learned that the maze was a tesseract. He would not overtly help us with the heart but he asked us to get him if we found the way out and Dandelion agreed. In searching the rooms we also came across a large drunken white mouse. It turned out he once was a human who came here to find his charge a little boy. He had been here a long time and he had some information that proved useful. He remembered their being an attic with a carpet which he though important to get out with the heart. The drunk couldn’t remember why it was important only that it was. With his vague memory he helped us get to the attic. First we had to cross the stable with opens stalls containing nightmares. After having no plan as to how to get past the nightmares unobserved I offered to go firs trying to be stealthy. I was not stealthy at all but the nightmares were not interested. It is amazing what acting like you belong can do. We came to an octagon room which the mouse said should have a door on the opposite side. Dandelion found the secret door their and we let us into the witches personal chambers. Two identical witches one a simulcrum were in the room as well as a unfinished stone golem. Dandelion tried to assuage their outrage in being tresspassed on with a song. It was the worst song I ever heard. I stepped up between the witch and simulcrum hoping the rest of the party would spread out so that we all wouldn’t get affected by any area affect spell the witch might use. I then told them to surrender and live. They chose to fight. I was able to distract the witch. Unfortunately the simulcrum cast a high level fireball. All but two of the party had moved up after me and were all caught in the blast. Morrick and the air Genassi went down. But Aurora healed Morrick who then did a mass heal. The battle didn’t last long before we took them out. After searching her rooms we found that her bed would provide a full days rest in one minute and most of us made use of it. We discovered a secret door in the ceiling. I was boosted up and found a small room with a carpet and a mirror. The mirror showed the chamber of Rhys and Jagr. Jagr was changing, getting ready for bed. When I told the others that the mirror was showing Jagr changing Dandelion immediately wanted to climb up. I told him that he had missed it and Jagr was now fully clothed.
With the carpet we were able get the heart and leave the house taking the mouse and the Fire giant with us. We returned to queen Aisling. Dandelion was using it to blackmail her into releasing Evendur from his geas and to outright eliminate the curses/plagues from all who follow the old faith. I could no longer hold my tongue and demanded the plagues be removed from Oerth altogether. Dandelion also required her to return us to Oerth with no more then 10 minutes on Oerth having passed since we left.

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Hochoch Blues 6

A wood elf friend of Princess Jagr, a paladin named Dón, came looking for her. Prince Rhys had heard rumors of smuggling by the river rats gang. He recruited Princess Jagr, Dón, Mazer and I to help investigate. The Illustrious, the boat in which Princess Jagr and Mazer have part ownership, is in port so the Prince decided to use it as bait. He loaded 5 chests of gold on the boat and we stationed ourselves to watch the boat. The Dantelchaig ship Pier Pressure was berthed next to the Illustrious. Princess Jagr noticed two chests being off loaded off the other side of the ship. Prince Rhys notified the dock master, but the two chests were not on the manifest. Prince Rhys and Princess Jagr decided to follow the trail while the rest of us stayed with the Illustrious. Apparently they followed the tracks to Glorandaal Bank and Exchange, where they found three books under one bed and some creepy items under another bed in the private quarters. With the state of the legal system, I am not sure what is legal anymore. And there is no proof that the items came off the ship, even though the Prince and Princess are sure they did.

Mazer sent his familiar, an illustrian named Peepers, to check on the Prince and Princess after they had been gone for a time. Peepers found them once at Glorandaal Bank and Exchange, but they were no longer there when Peepers returned Mazer and Dón got worried and went looking for them. They eventually found them at the castle where they had taken the Glorendaal Bank and Exchange employees and the items.

After a time, I saw some flashes of light (like firebolts) coming from the Cracked Cup. After several flashes that looked like fireballs, I decided to leave my post on the Illustrious and investigate. When I got to the Cracked Cup two minutes later, I found that my fellows had been attacked by a mage from the Pier Pressure. On further examination of the mage, we found that he had arcane disease as well as being drunk. I don’t have anything which could help cure the fey diseases. Hopefully that can happen soon.

Not long after I left, the River Rats gang attacked the Illustrious. They apparently took advantage oft the distraction of the mage to attack. The crew noticed the gang coming over the rail and repelled the attack with no loss of life. However, several chests went missing, including one chest of gold.

One of the books the Prince found was on disease and cures. I will petition to read the book and maybe I can find some answers for the grey disease afflicting Newbridge.

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Pain in the Neck – Wealsun 618
I received a sending from Mayor Yseult which alarmed me more than all the reports of stirge attacks. She reported that everything was fine and I did not need to come. I set out for Hochoch at once to find others who would accompany me.

When I returned to Hochoch, I heard that Prince Rhys had heard that vampires had settled in Newbridge and that Princess Jagr, Dasut, Yhanni Dentrack, Spector and G’zo were planning to investigate. Aoth, Tornado, Evendur and Evendur’s squire Cedric agreed to come along. We all set out for the short journey to Newbridge. The obsidian mirror that Dasut had found under Hochoch came along with Princess Jagr. It did nothing on the journey, it just appeared from time to time on the trail ahead of us. Just before we reached the town, we were swarmed by over 100 stirges. Yhanni and I went down, but our companions aided us and defeated the stirges.

Newbridge had an unnatural fog and the crops looked even worse than the rest of Gyruff. When I was last here, the town had continual flame everywhere as a deterrent to the shadows from the Dim, but much of that had been taken down. Many of the people were grey and dour and wore hats or scarves when outside. Some referred to Mayor Yseult as a yoke of oppression.

We stopped by the barracks to speak with Corfforals Wynn and Gwern. They were grey and unfriendly. We then visited the temple of Merrika to speak with Father Brynmor. I don’t remember so many acolytes. He was also grey and dour. He told us much of the town now had the wasting disease, causing the grey skin. Xilvyre has wasting disease and these are not the symptoms. He wanted us to leave, but Dasut asked a few more questions. The vampires were recent arrivals (last few months). Korwyn Merchhouse had purchased Reese ap Aregwedd’s estate. The priest also told us that if a body is killed, it is taken to 3 old women in the woods, about 1 ½ miles north along the logging road. In a few days they then get a replacement body. These old women have also brought refugees to town. The priest then refused to answer any more questions and the acolytes showed us out.

We were continuing down the street when Aoth noticed we were being quietly hailed by Ornora merch Tieryrnon, one of the landlords in town. She had normal skin tone and a normal attitude, except for being worried. She said the disease was strange, attacking the wealthy and the town council first. Of the 5 person town council, only the farmer Adwen was still acting herself. She told us the problems started when Reese sold out to Korwyn. Then several acolytes were killed fighting the shadows in the Dim. Reginald, the acolyte who just survived the attack, was the first to succumb to the illness. The woods to the north are creeping closer to town as the wood cutters refuse to cut them anymore. Also, several teamsters were missing, but the head of the teamsters suddenly stopped looking for them and got sick.

We next went to visit the Aghna merch Imar of the teamsters. All the teamsters were grey. She said she was no longer concerned about the missing teamsters. It seems that all the members of a household are either healthy or sick, just like the insanity in Hochoch.

We next visited the alchemist as people wanted a few potions. Grania de Wood was still healthy. She told us that the town council had been taking down the continual flame as the light bothers the sick.

All those at my manor house were sick. I tried turning them, but they do not seem to be undead. They are also not magical. We headed to the book store in search of answers. Being a small town, they did not have much. We purchased a book on extra planar, but none could understand it. We also purchased a book on vampires and learned some things for our attack tomorrow. I purchased a book on fey as I wonder if the old women are hags, but the book was too general.

We rested at the manor house and took turns watching through the night. In the morning, we went to the house formerly owned by Reese. The large pale man who answered the door refused us entrance. Aoth and Tornado went around the house opening shutters and drapes. Evendur broke down the door. Servants lined the open windows and shot at us as we attacked. We eventually gained entrance to the house. During the fight, another Aoth appeared and fought him for a time before disappearing suddenly.

Tornado jumped into a window at the side of the house and suddenly found himself face to face with Ser Korum ap Melwyn, head of Prince Rhys’ griffon guard. He also saw four servants rapidly exiting the back door with two coffins. Upon hearing the news, we rushed to help him. G’zo cast two fire balls on the servants and coffins. A moonbeam and a magic circle trapped Ser Korum. We finished off the vampires who exited the burning coffins and Ser Korum died after being pulled through the wall into the daylight. Four other vampires came up from the basement, but they were sucked into the mirror. Tornado could not resist looking into the mirror, despite the warnings of our friends. He saw the four vampires trying to escape, but was mesmerized until Aoth cast Dispel Magic on him.

We need to return to Hochoch to get more information on the disease afflicting the townsfolk. Hopefully they can be cured.

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Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #9
Temple of Black Earth – undead chickens, a dirty butcher, a new mount, the chained gods cult and worries for the crown

Day 332
Mazer believes that Dandelion and myself were responsible for his being locked up without his magic items after he turned insane and kept “escaping” from our view. I tried to tell him that I hadn’t been involved in his being locked up although I had agreed that for his own safety that it needed to be done. So I didn’t prevent it. I admitted to being lax in insuring his incarceration had been done properly. I should have checked on him more often and ensured his well being. I just don’t understand how I missed seeing that his magic protection had been stored away with his other items. I assured him I would have taken steps if I had known. He was not having any of it. He wanted to know who did the arresting. I told him I didn’t know. Even if I had known I would not have said as he seemed to be out for revenge. I believe he has not violent intentions against me but I don’t think he trusts me any more.

Day 330
The Dagda primordial has been making demands. He wants several of his old magic/artifact items and a place to do his alchemy. He is powerful enough already. I’m sure he see’s us humanoids as lesser beings and not of particular interest. He is as likely to squash us as to leave us alone or be a benefit. I think giving him any of his items will come back and bite Oerth in the butt. However no one I know is powerful enough to kill him without thousands dying. And more covert ways are as unappealing. We have a recipe that purports to be able to put him back to sleep. But evil acts must be performed to make the foul potion and the recipe comes from a night hag and who knows for sure that it will do as she said. In any case it seems the course presently chosen is to try and keep The Dagda happy. So a group of my fellows have gone off to retrieve his items. His staff and harp were returned to him. Evidently they had also recovered a dragon’s hoard with cursed items. For some reason that group left the items to be dealt with by dandelion and Morrick. Trusting Dandelion with cursed magic items??? Look what happened with what Dandelion did with that mage box. It released an insanity sickness on Oerth. Insanity seems attracted to him or him to it. How much trouble will Dandelion cause in getting rid of a dragon’s hoard of cursed items? Well at least Morrick is involved. I can trust him to make sure they are taken care of properly. If they are bound to the queen of the fey to get her to stop her plagues then it could turn out to be a good thing. But still, they should be careful as to what items they “gift” to her. They should consider how each item could be used by the queen and ensure that the damage they can cause is substantially less then the damage her plagues cause. We don’t want to cure the disease by killing the patient.

Day 346
The damage that the cult of the chained one has done to HochHoch and to Mazer and Dandelion needs to be addressed. The cult is still active in other locations. They need to be stopped. Also, I confess that I feel guilty about not better protecting Mazer and Dandelion. After their illness I have failed them. I will see the chained god’s followers vanquished before the end of my days. I was able to recrut Gelwen, Benton and Aurora to use the map showing a location that this cult was going to in order to acquire another of those “gems” (obsidian Obelisks). Dandelion seems a little gun shy about dealing with the cult. Perhaps the though of revenge might change his mind in the future. It would be better if he would be interested in justice but that does not seem to be much a priority with him. At least in his current state. I believe Mazer would be more then happy to help but I fear his lack of trust in me would cause problems on this mission. Perhaps with this mission and future ones I can earn Mazer’s trust back.

Day 348
Passing through the crown prince Rhys’ cantrev went with little to report.

Day 349
Outside of Groessfford we saw some undead chickens. They acted as chickens do. Scratching the ground and picking up insects which then fell though their bones to the ground below. Unsettled I considered squashing them. However, not knowing their origin or the local laws I felt it best to refrain from action until we learned more.
Talking to the Brehyr he would be more then happy to be rid of the undead chickens. The Breyhr said that they while they caused no harm they were still bad business. He indicated that their creation appeared spontaneous. He told us that previous investigations by the cleric found no cause. We offered to investigate. First we talked to the cleric. He was most unusual. He seems to be of the same race as Tornado. Very broad minded clerics will minister to those of other faiths. This priest took it much further then that. He was very unusual he worshiped all of the old gods but did not hold any one above the other. Most people let alone a priest have one god that they most identify with and worship. He had no useful information about the undead. Next we talked to the butcher. Note to self do not eat any meat that he sells. Its about as sanitary as a goblins eatery. Gelwen kept antagonizing him, Yes he looked sickly but it was obvious he had a naturally poor constitution and could not be helped. Yet she continued to ask to heal or bless him despite his obvious distrust and disinterest. Despite this we were able to learn that other small animals foxes even some birds were also undead. We also learned that he had a bone pile out back.
I knew that this was no spontaneous occurrence but some “foul” necromancer. Why the undead chickens and small animals? Perhaps it was a necromancer of limited power that was studying and refining his illegal and unnatural craft. Although we were to be in town just this one night, it seemed to me that our best bet in discovering the necromancer was to stake out the bone pile. We had plenty of cover so come dusk we hid in the woods where we could watch the bone pile. It was quite easy to stay hidden. At least I thought it was. Gelwen seemed not suited for this type of work. She stood out and couldn’t keep still. She heard on incoming noise. At one point it stopped and then retreated. The person obviously saw Gelwen and decided to retreat. We began to follow quietly. Unfortunately Gelwen stepped on a branch exposing our trailing. We then all heard the person to uncatiously run away. We took off in pursuit. Then I heard the person cast a dimension door spell. This was no low level necromancer but a high level and potentially dangerous one. Rather then try to pick up the persons trail where they dimensioned door to I suggested we follow the trail from where the person came from. It was more likely that we would find where the person lives if we followed that. They would be less likely to conceal their previous movements coming to the sight the leading us their after having discovered us. Plus picking up the fresh trail if we could do so at all would be difficult and more time consuming. We were able to follow the tracks back to a house in the woods. Outside of the house was an owl who I determined to be a familiar. It did not respond to anything we said but it was not afraid of our approach. We knocked at the door and a little old lady answered. I tried to get her to admit that she was the one we saw in the woods for she would only deny it. She said she had been in her home all night. While she was wearing bed clothes Benton noticed he disheveled appearance with twigs and leaves caught in her hair. As she wouldn’t admit to being the person who ran from us and even though it seemed likely she was the necromancer creating undead animals we did not have sufficient evidence, cause or jurisdiction to harass her further, We left and told the Brehyr that the old lady in the woods is likely the necromancer creating the undead chickens. In the middle of the night she was headed toward the bone pile when she saw us and ran from us. We told him we followed her tracks to her home and that she lied to us about being outside in the woods. The Brehyr told us that she was crazy Ellen an elder and board member of the town. He had his doubts that she could be doing this but he agreed to discuss the matter with her. We left the matter in his hands. I wonder if she will be any more forthcoming with him.

Day 350
We met the Brehyr of Llanarch and warned him that members of the cult of the chained god are searching for the temple of black earth. He recognized the name and I good see he was alarmed. We asked him if he had seen any strangers particularly a halfling female named Kendra. He said he had not but suggested we talk to the tavern keeper. He provided us and introduced us to a guide who could take us to the temple which used to be a monastery before the war. Benton went to the priest while the rest of us went to the tavern. We learned that some individuals headed up into the monastery’s mountains late last year and he suspected that with the prevalence of large dangerous creatures and the winter weather that they had not survived. When Benton returned he told us that the priest was a strange one and that something wasn’t quite right about him. The church had symbols for all the old faith except for Obad Hai. It was obvious that his symbol had been removed as there was a place for it. The town has a exotic animal trainer in town. I went to speak to her about the animal we could expect in the mountains. She said there were many. Giant boars, giant sheep most any of the giant animal can could be found. Also earth moving creatures such as Bullettes. She convinced me to purchase one of her giant war rams. It is quite nimble and I am no longer the slowest member of the party when riding.

Day 351
We headed out with our guide. Before reaching the monastery he found tracks of on boar and multile giant sheep. They appeared to be together and we took it to be some sort of patrol. We followed the tracks and they headed east before turning back north and west towards the temple of Black Earth. As it was getting late we decided to camp and reach the monastery at first light. From survey the monastery at a distance we could see guards of dwarven size wearing stone masks and a smaller number that also wore stone armor. I had heard of no such usage of stone by dwarves or religions. We watched and saw a patrol go back out. They were lead by a dwarf in stone armor and mask wearing a mask and riding a giant boar. He had with him a group of dwarves with stone masks but no apparent armor.
Confused at the sight, I was thinking it was some a strange group of Dwarves that now had taken over the monastery. The monastery was of dwarven construction but pains had been take to try and conceal this fact. Thinking we might find potential allies we approached openly. We did not trust our luck completely so we waited for the patrol to get out of hearing range. In approaching the gate a dwarf came out onto the ramparts and addressed us. We requested entry and were refused. It was during this discussion that these creatures were not true dwarves but Duergar. I was surprised that they did not simply immediately attack. Perhaps when I mentioned Kendra and that she would be displeased if we were not allowed entrance prevented an attack. But it did not gain us entrance. I thought perhaps they felt their number insufficient to face a true dwarf and his compatriots. The Duergar returned to his post. Rather then leaving I jumped from my sheep landing on the gate wall. Before they could react I had jumped down inside, removed the wooden bar, opened the door and stepped into the courtyard. We seemed to be in luck. For their were only two in the courtyard and two on the walls. I closed with the two in the courtyard and bloodied one of them. The others of my group stayed near the front gate to engage those in the tower of the wall. Unfortunately one of the Duergar had a horn and sounded the alarm. Assured of victory upon each swing of my axe I yelled submit. The stubborn Duergar refused to do so. In the end Benton went down temporarily and I nearly so. We took down 10 of those foul evil beings We needed a respite before continuing further. So I place my sheep in a stall and Aurora’s horse in as well. We secured the tower and took a short rest.
As we were in the tower we decided to check out the second floor. More of an attic really. There was nothing of interest. We then searched the first floor. There was a chapel for Moredin that appeared unused. We found a library with some interesting books regarding the elements but no magical texts. Perhaps the books have some relation to the chained gods cult. I do hope Aurora will mention any useful information that she finds. We found an armory which I had us pack up and take to prevent the enemies use. The armory was relatively small with about a dozen or so weapons. That seemed a good sign. Hopefully the enemies numbers would be limited. The last room we searched was a bedroom it contained a pentagram for which Gelwen found a magic aura. However, she could not tell its purpose. In describing it to me I determined it was conjuration magic. It could be for summoning or even a teleport circle although it wasn’t of proper size for that. Since I have had time to think it must be a teleportation circle as I will explain later on. I think it was Aurora who found the secret door in the bedroom. Through that door was 3 cells the cell doors had windows that could be opened to see inside. One was occupied as a woman cried out for help. I immediately distrusted that she was a helpless prisoner and avoided looking in or opening her cell. She sounded very unhappy that their was a female with us. She tried to convince us to let her out. However I told her that we had yet to clear out the remaining dangers in this place so it was safest if she waited here and we would return shortly. I checked the other two cells which were empty. For some reason Benton couldn’t resist looking in to the ladies cell. That was a mistake. One that he was lucky to survive. He seemed quite shaken. I was getting ready to knock him clear and shut the window if needed. But he closed the window himself. When queried he would not speak of what he had seen but said we would not want to know. While curious I took him at his word and we left the are. We descended to below the monastery. The first room we entered was large. It contained a 10’ tall obsidian obelisk. It had arcana symbols for the chained god. However they were of recent vintage for there were a hammer and chisel nearby and the symbols were incomplete. Gelwen found that it was not magical and Benton went to destroy it. I said to wait as the noise might bring attention. I now wish I had agreed and we destroyed it then for there was no time later. The room had 3 exits. One had a yellowish ominous glow. I may have smelled sulphur. I am thinking it was magma and the obsidian a cooled relic from it. We followed one of the other passages which led to a door as the passage turned and continued. I could hear snoring within. So quietly cracking the door I spied 2 dozen Duergar asleep as well as another exit on the other side of this barracks. After some discussion we thought it best to leave them undisturbed. We continued down the passage which extended well away from the monastery. Eventually we heard voices and noises it sounded like there was a dining hall ahead. We tried to approach stealthily and failed. Some heard us and came into the hallway to attack. Two ran the opposite direction most likely to give warning. This 10’ wide hall was much easier to defend. As I was in the lead and a dwarf the Duergar focused on me. My newly acquired magic shield and Benton’s ability to add protection prevented many attacks from getting through. We made short work of the Duergar in front of us. About a dozen more no longer haunt this realm. Would that they were all gone.
As the last Duergar fell we hear someone yelling “out of the way” as they get closer. At first site was the last and strangest thing I expected. A human running straight at me wearing a black leather hood with no eye holds. Some black leather straps and black leather loin cloth. I quickly decided that this was no escaping prisoner and could only be a foe. So as he tried to run past me I prevented it. I then attacked him and missed. I think Gelwen cast a spell but missed. Aurora and Benton acted unsure whether he was a combatant. The he cast a fireball 20 feet in front of himself. Catching all of us. I decided to circle around him and attack so that he couldn’t get all of us in another area spell. I missed him again. He had bloodied me in one round and my fellow heroes were seriously injured as well. As he ran on some of us attacked at this opportunity but failed to connect. This was a good thing. As if we had caused him injury and he took offense he would have certainly killed us. For one of my compatriots revealed that this was the Archmage of Gyruff Gleep Wurp and the Benton revealed that it was a Medusa he had seen in the cell. We followed Gleep Wurp back to his wife staying with in hearing but out of site. It seems the Medusa was quite unhappy something regarding another female being here. We heard her hit him and then a magical pop all was quiet and they were gone. Which is why I believe the pentagram to be a teleportation circle. Being severely injured and low on spells we were forced to retreat. I shall return and finish the job.
So Gleep Wurp is in league with Duergar and the cult of the chained god. In fact from what I have now learned Gleep Wurp was with the cloud giants when they were collecting obelisks from stone circles. It makes sense that the obelisks are the gems spoken about by Heidi of the cult. This assuredly means that Gleep Wurp is an enemy of Gyruff despite being its self appointed arch-mage. I wonder if the giants know what is going on or if they have been duped. The regent must hear of this so that he can take steps. Perhaps he should be wary of this Gruka Duk that leads the giant.

For any that follow, I provide the following information about the Duergar and the temple of Black earth.

We met two classes of the masked Duergar. Those wearing stone armor are fighters they are harder to hit, do slightly more damage with their two attacks and have around 45 hit points. The unarmored Duergar were more common in number are monks doing less damage are easier to hit and have somewhere between 30 and 40 hit points. They have a high save against magic. Magic requiring no saves appeared to do the full amount all though I am not entirely sure of this.

To the best of my memory the layout of the monastery is mapped below.

Temple_of_Black_Earth.jpg

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Temple of Black Earth – Flocktime 618

Princess Jagr had found a map to the Temple of Black Earth in western Rhwng yr Coed when defeating the cultists of T. A urora and Bothan were looking for companions to travel to the Temple, so Benton and I joined them.

We stopped at Daufforth to warn Lady Grace Shininglight of the zombies roaming the countryside. We then stopped at New Midwood and Groesfford o n our way to Llanerch. Groesfford had a small problem with undead chickens. We think an elderly lady called Crazy Ellen is the cause of the chickens but the Brehyr, Tucker Walsh, wanted to handle it. The local cleric reminded me of Tornado with his bluish skin and wisp white hair.

Llanerch is plagued by giant boars, burrowing creatures, orcs raiding from the mountains and townsfolk gone missing. A small group of adventurers headed northwest into the mountains about six or seven months ago. Among the group were a female halfling and an Elvish rune caster named El-Char. They have not been seen since. Bothan also found an animal trainer who sold him a mountain sheep. Rams are easy to get, but ewes are much harder as the rams will fight to protect the ewes.

Brehyr Gellslayer gave us a guide named Donnduban the Thaxter. He led us southwest toward the temple. When we were close to the temple, we crossed the tracks of 4 giant sheep following a giant boar. We followed them as they looped around the monastery and back. We caught up to them just before they entered the monastery. We saw 4 dwarves in robes and stone masks riding the sheep and a dwarf in stone plate riding the boar. The monastery was an ancient dwarven temple in a human style. We saw several guards in the tower and some others around. Since it was late, we decided to wait for morning and the patrol leaving before we entered.

The next morning after the patrol left, we approached the monastery. Bothan asked for entrance and claimed to have come on Kendra’s orders. The guard claimed to worship Moredin and looked uncomfortable at the mention of Kendra, but would not let us enter. Bothan jumped from the back of his mountain sheep to the top of the wall and opened the gate to let us in. We were attacked by numerous dwarves in robes and two in stone armor. On closer examination, the stone armor was crusted on and the dwarves had grayish hands. Bothan identified them as Duegar. They concentrated the fight on Bothan and we slowly wore them down. When we searched the monastery, We found an old temple room with an altar with Moredin’s hammer symbol, but it was no longer used. We found a library with shelves of books in Dwarven. Aurora took the four elemental books.

Then things got weird. We found a room with a poster bed and a bookshelf with arcane, elemental books. Using detect magic, I found an invisible pentagram on the floor with strong conjuration magic. I think it might be a teleportation circle, but Aurora thinks it might be a summoning circle. Someone found a secret door leading to three cells. From one cell we heard a voice calling for help. Benton looked into the cell. For a while all he would say is “Don’t look”. Eventually he told us it was a medusa. We left her there and continued downstairs.

We found a large chamber about 100 by 80 feet. In the chamber was a black obelisk about 10 feet on each side being carved with symbols of T or the elder elemental eye. The obelisk was not finished yet and not magical, but needs to be stopped. We noticed a hot sulfur smell and an orangish red glow to the right, but we went left. We found a barracks with more than 20 bunks, many of them filled. Down the hall we heard the sound of eating, so we went that way. We were attacked by another dozen or so Duegar, but the hall helped us limit the number of attackers at one time. Two of the Duegar ran back down the hall. Soon after we defeated the last Duegar, a flan man scantily clad and wearing a hood with no eye holes ran down the hall shouting to get out of his way. Bothan decided to block his movement, at which time the man cast a fire ball. Benton said something about the man’s girlfriend being alright. He then shouted that his wife had better be alright and took off down the hall. For not being able to see, he made the corners perfectly. We followed behind, but by the time we got back upstairs, the couple was gone. The only mage we know who is married to a medusa is Gleep Wurp, but why is he here. He is obviously at home here.

Being low on spells, we left before the rest of the garrison awoke. But someone must return here to stop the worship of T.

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Laments of Llewellyn – Flocktime 618

My birthday passed quietly. There does not seem to be much to celebrate this year.

Dandelion had been helping Llewellyn with Dagda and knew of some items that Dagda wanted. He wants the return of his cauldron, called Coire Ansic, the return of his magic club, named Lorg Mor, the return of his magic harp, named Uaithne, an area to work in with reagents necessary for him to brew potions and make magic again and some (preferably giant/dire/huge or larger) animals and plants to begin his breeding programs again. Osiris, Morrick, Aoth, Evendur, Tornado and I decided to help him find Llewellyn and then a club for Dagda. We set out for the Isle of Rhun. Morrick and Dandelion remembered to leave gifts for the fey, so gear was maintained. The trip was uneventful except for one lone, easily dispatched zombie we saw on the way to Daufforth. We stayed in New Midwood, Trehalwyn and Dersyth among other towns on the route to the Isle of Rhun. The people in Trahalwyn and all of Gwyrth Bryn are feeling defeated. Many of the young men are dead and the towns just have women, children and elderly. Many of the druid circles are unattended since many of the druids died in the brief war.

When we got to Dersyth, I was pleasantly surprised to see Arglwyth Andras Dryadson and his personal guard helping rebuild the town, which bore the brunt of the fighting. His focus is getting the homes of the commoners rebuilt, then the businesses, the temple and finally his own estate. He is winning the hearts of his people. We stayed for 2 days to help in the effort. Dagda is still outside Dersyth, but he is peaceful and no longer capturing people. Aoth and Dandelion talked to people and found out that Caswallon’s daughter Maelan in is the Barrier Peaks or the Crystal Mists. We sighted wereboars a few times or their tracks. The druids that Aoth has spoken to are afraid that Maelan will recruit the wereboars. They also learned that the Knights of the Watch terrorizing Arweth starved to death over the winter. Llewelyn is rumored to be at the Isle of Rhun, so we pressed on.

I had forgotten how difficult the trip to the Isle was. It was cold and steep and long. The horses we left in Dersyth, but those with ponies brought them all the way to the Isle. We found one herd of large sheep with three rams and about a dozen ewes. Evendur or Osaris speculated that if we could get a ram and one ewe for Dagda, it would be the start of a herd for him and help make him happy. After two days, we finally reached the shore of the lake. Dandelion blew the horn quite musically and after about 45 minutes the boat appeared rowed by 6 monks with a druid in the stern.

Once we reached Kindler’s Isle, the druid (Ellen d Ash or something like that) told Llewellyn we had arrived. Caitlynn is still having trouble fitting into Llewellyn’s body. The young girl shows in every skip and giggle. Hopefully with more time she can remember her life 4000 years ago and again become that person. But maybe I gave her/him the wrong advice. Time will tell.

Llewelynn had been researching Dagda’s club. He found a legend that Dagda many years ago before the first gods had met three brothers (other primordials). Each had a new inheritance from their father. One had a staff, one end would kill, the other end would bring the dead back to life. Dagda borrowed the staff and slew the three brothers. He then raised the three and borrowed the staff. The staff was rumored to need 8 grown men to carry it. Llewelyn had found the location of the three brothers far in the east and took us there via plants and the ways of the world. Caitlyn showed through as she enjoyed using Llewelyn’s power to destroy the vargoyles before they could harm us.

We emerged from the ways of the world on a mountain peak above a ruined city. We were making our way down to the ruined city when we were attacked by kobolds on griffons. I had fallen down the peak, so I was a little separated from the others. Llewelyn turned some of the group into beasts. The kobolds threw barrels of grey ooze at us and flew back to another peak. Llewelyn flew after them and destroyed the kobolds and adult griffons. Aoth noticed that three of the mountains were moving. Morrick, Dandelion and I remembered that the Raven Queen had brought the three brothers back to life in her quest to become the goddess of death and kill Nerull. Hopefully they do not interfere or seek their staff.

In the mean time, we regrouped and decided to check for the staff in the royal palace. Llewelyn came back. For our help getting the staff for Dagda, he would get a young griffon for anyone who wanted one. The kobolds had left many traps, but Evendur made good use of the animal form to “disarm” the traps. We came across a room with three tombs. Dandelion read the inscription, which mentioned a curse, so we left them alone. Further on, we heard some talking. Osaris snuck down the passage and hear in draconic someone reporting to a master that humans were approaching. Osaris saw a white dragon and a kobold before he came back to report. Dandelion decided to try to talk to the dragon. Her name was Shissirississ and in true Dandelion style, he tried to seduce her. She was interested, but too young to be able to polymorph. Instead we ambushed her and had to kill her. We took her treasure, including the staff, and returned to Kindler’s Isle.

We returned to Dersyth and Llewelyn and Dandelion gave Dagda the staff and the harp. By the time, we noticed the art objects from the dragon’s hoard were all cursed. Morrick could remove curse for us and he and Dandelion volunteered to take care of the items.

I decided to stay in Dersyth for a little while to help the town rebuild. I gave my baby griffon to Arglwyth Andras Dryadson. May Gwyrth Bryn heal and the druids be rebuilt.

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Hochoch Street Blues 4 part 2

Planting 21, 618. I was doing my normal patrol of the common quarter when suddenly people started screaming. 500 to 600 zombies from the river started swarming the town. But more pressing, a hag, a unicorn turned nightmare and two slaads started attacking people in the quarter. Xilvyre, Dandelion, Morrick and some others ran to the walls to fight the zombies. As they ran past, they warned us that the nightmare could shoot fireballs and the hag could kill with a look.

Jagr, Dentrak, G’zo, Dasut, Yahnny Aurora and Bothan converged on the area and we started to do battle. The four were spread out, so we could concentrate on one at a time. Aurora suggested going after the hag first, but I could not locate her, so I went after a slaad. Bothan concentrated on the nightmare and hag with the rest of us concentrating on the slaads and the nightmare. With the four spread out, they could not just ethereal stride away as they had before. The hag turned out to be a sea hag. According to Xilvyre’s research, hag covens can be made up of hags of different types and have three members. Hopefully this is the third hag from the coven and Hochoch is rid of hags. The nightmare threw one fireball, but we spread out and only two people and two houses were caught in the blast. After putting out the fire on the houses, we continued the mission of the missing teamsters and missing carts. The two slaads had eaten two of the teamsters, so they were unhappily found.

We went back to Django’s Chichken house to pick up the tracks of the carts. Dasut found the tracks, so we followed them to the Buy and Sell Pawn Shop just down the street. They were found covered in blood, feathers and scales. Bothan arrested the pawn shop owner for receiving stolen goods. We questioned the surviving teamsters, who said that they were delivering chickens, turtles, and snakes to the chicken house. We questioned the staff at Django’s, who said they received the cargo. We then searched under the chicken house and saw the temple area and the goblin area.

Next we decided to find the other cart and teamsters who had a delivery for Lord Mundinguluss. The teamsters told us the cargo was a huge load about 8 feet in diameter covered by a tarp. The load was soft, squishy and heavy, not at all like the book in a sea chest described by Mundinguluss. The cart tracks led to the back door of Lord Mundinguluss’ estate then out the nearby gate. We found the empty cart under a tent in the homeless section. We found liquid around the cart and blood on the cart with slimy fluid.

Lord Mundinguluss had lied. And Judge Jia is his friend, so getting a warrant from her would not happen. We decided to follow the sewer system and hope to come up under the estate. We went down 60 feet under the street through a maintenance tunnel and followed along to a side tunnel we judged would go under the estate. At the end of the tunnel, we found a 12 inch hole above our heads. Dasut boosted Yahnny through to investigate. He reported seeing a large circular room with the tiled loo in the center of the room. Bothan and I examined the refuse in the sewer and found humanoid alien poo with bits of humanoid skull fragments. We also identified dirt from the excavation. Jagr informed her Prince of the findings and we decided to go in. We widened the hole to allow the passage of our wider friends and entered the room. All the rooms and tunnels we found were oval shaped with strange patterns in the tiles. After Xilvyre and some other heroes were given a tour some months ago, she researched and found the architecture to resemble mind flayer lairs.

We followed the only finished tunnel and found strange things. We found several rooms of fonts. We also found a room with a briny pool in the center with some strange tadpole-like creatures and an iris valve in the ceiling. As we were investigating, a teamster named Bronwyn, not one of the recently missing, found us. He wanted to take us to his master, but we did not follow. He climbed a rope though a hole in the ceiling to another story of the lair. Dentrak lifted Bothan up through another hole. Bothan reported finding a room with niches with funeral jars of brains.

At this point, we heard a splash from the pool room and Princess Jagr yelled “Beholder”. We took parting shots at the beholder on our way back to the exit, but it did not react. Bothan and Dasut got close to the beholder and determined that it was stunned or drugged or something. Between all of us, we took it down to unconsciousness, but we did not finish it off. This is something we all regret.

We decided to continue our investigation and climbed up the rope the teamster had used. We found ourselves in a room with a surgery table and four doors in addition to the rope out. Bothan opened the doors and we found four teamsters in a stunned state. We decided to leave them for now as we could not protect them if we ran into trouble.

We climbed the rope to the next level and found a room with a curved hallway. One of the town guard lieutenants and his squad appeared to be guarding a room. The lieutenant offered to show us out, but we did not follow. At that point, Mundinguluss and a merchant friend came and offered to discuss things with us. He explained that the town guard had come when he received word of intruders, us. The Princess asked that the town guard leave before discussions, so they went down the tunnel. Bothan went down into another room instead of coming to talk and found more cells with a dozen or two captives. The merchant then appeared to start to speak and I got a splitting headache and was stunned, as was the Princess. Others just got a headache, apparently from a mind stun. Mundinguluss then cast Hypnotic Pattern, catching some others. G’zo was not affected and cast web, catching the returning town guard and Mundinguluss. Aurora and Bothan escaped effect and took down Mundinguluss. Dasut and Dentrak started attacking town guard. When the each guard went down, a brain with legs came out of the head. Later we discovered these are intellect devourers.

During this time, Yahnny went the other way to see if the tunnel connected. He got a horrid surprise and came back yelling about danger. He found an elder brain, Judge Jia and several teamsters standing guard. Eventually we killed all the town guard, who could not be saved, and the intellect devourers. By that time, we heard a flush and the elder brain, Jia and the teamsters were gone, along with the merchant and the beholder. We did manage to free some townsfolk and some teamsters and a library of books.

We questioned Mundinguluss and found that he and Jia were captured by the illithads and reprogrammed. The illithads made sure Jia was elected judge.

From reading Mundinguluss’ books, I believe a protection from evil and good spell would drive the intellect devourers out, killing the host. The brain is gone.
We might also have people who are hosts to slaad eggs. Those can be cured with lesser restoration. It should be detectible with medicine checks.
I don’t know how much of the town will submit to health checks. Maybe at least the castle staff and the town guard should be required to have an exam. My acolytes and I would be happy to help. Maybe some of the other clerics in town would also help after their own examination.
Then my debt to the Prince will be somewhat satisfied and I can go to Newbridge. Many of the ills plaguing Hochoch have been removed. The Prince has been installed as Arlwyth and laws have been restored. A town guard had been recruited and trained. The hags have been removed, one permanently. The cult of Tharizdun and the cult of Incabulous have been eradicated. The temples to the evil deities have been closed down. Only a few problems remain. Hochoch needs a new high judge and more town guard. The apocathery house and the Quivering Hills Companionship Hall need further investigation. Nestrum Eldoran is believed to worship big V. Zombies are loose in the countryside. Gangs still roam town and the orphanage is teaching the children to steal. All in all I feel the town is becoming a decent place to live.

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Chapter 9: Into the Void

It has been a round about trip back to Hochoch but I see little has changed. The city is still in the throes of evil magic and it seems normalcy may be something it never experiences again. After spending a few days in Thorndyke, I moved on back to Gorna to let my father know what Mazer had told me about Alena. A lot of it seems like the ravings of a mad man but in my experience, even the craziest tales hold a kernel of truth. I hope that Gorna does not fall victim to the same insanity that Hochoch has. From Gorna, it was off to Preston to meet an old and new friend. I wish I had been able to take the trip to Dersyth to check in on Andras. I promised him I would meet him there after the Gyri civil war cooled down. Gwyneth Bryn was hit hard by the war, pitting families against each other and dividing friends. I hope it is all behind us but with Caswallon’s daughter still on the loose, I suspect there will be more to pay on that end.

The trip back to Hochoch was mostly uneventful though we did run into some helpful fey along the way that brought me news of the goings on in Hochoch. Mazer was recently seen there. Why am I not surprised. He is impulsive, even for a sorcerer and one of these days it is going to get him in trouble. Oh, wait, it already has. He has some fragment of the Chained God wandering around inside his head giving him nightmares and is eating dirt. Well at least this time it sounds like he was able to keep it together long enough for a group of heroes he was with to break the Cult of the Chained God in Hochoch. With the digging around the obelisk stopped, the insanity has begun to fade. Well, the insanity caused by the obelisk anyway. There is a lot more insanity still going around.

Arriving at Hochoch was a bit more exciting than I expected. It seems that in my absence a zombie apocalypse had broken out along with evil outsiders slaughtering commoners in the street. That just wouldn’t do. After negotiating the ravening undead outside the city wall, I managed to catch up with several others including the dwarf Bothan, the wayward priestess Gelwyn, and a couple of the more colorful figures that I had accompanied on the trek from Aberglaine to Gorna all those months ago. At least the crazy tall sorcerer one wasn’t wearing a horse head for a helmet this time.

Dodging from building to building we began to take out what turned out to be a pair of red slaad, a sea hag, and a corrupted unicorn. It seems that another group of heroes had assaulted a hidden Temple of the Lord of Pestilence and had drawn the attention of these outsiders. I wonder if that raid had anything to do with the zombie plague. Anyway, while the others beat a hasty retreat after their dust up with the cultists, Bothan decided to charge headlong into battle wielding the glaive he had acquired from the raid on the Temple of Wastri. With a pair of monks running around on the rooftops and the cleric charging into battle it seemed that slowing down at least one of the slaads might be a good idea so I unleashed a couple of frost arrows, though it didn’t really matter with everyone rushing forward. The group acted with surprising coordination and took the outsiders down one by one. Not wanting the slaads to get back up I finished them off permanently with some magic missiles. The corrupted unicorn, on the other hand proved much more elusive for me. Fortunately it was not elusive towards the dwarf, though it kept kicking him in the shins every time someone attacked it. With the four creatures down, it was time to put out the fires that the battle had started. We found the grisly remains of two of the missing teamsters inside the slaads so I guess that part of the mystery is solved.

Following the battle, we took some time to check out the tunnels the others had found under Django’s Chicken House. Much like Aberglaine, the ground beneath Hochoch is riddled with hidden passages and rooms and much of it seems to predate the magical reconstruction following the city’s liberation from the giants. There is an entire goblin warren right beneath the largest city in Arweth. The Princess seemed unconcerned and maybe we should learn to appreciate the differences in others. I just have a hard time believing that goblins and humans could live in close proximity, although some would say that about humans and giants and despite a few rough edges, that relationship seems to be going well despite the scars of war. The tunnels went on for quite a ways and we did not have time to explore them further lest the trail of the missing shipment to Lord Mundinguluss grow to cold to follow. Witnesses placed the teamsters cart very close to Lord Mundinguluss’ estate when it disappeared. From what we could get from the teamsters, the cart carried something large, heavy , and soft under a tarp. We would later find out what that object was and it was not a sea chest like Mundinguluss had claimed but I will get to that later. We found the missing cart, without its cargo of course, just outside the wall of the city pushed into a squatter’s tent. Like the carts from Django’s Chicken House, which were also craftily hidden right out in the open, this cart seemed to have reached its destination before being “disposed” of. It was not hard to convince even the skeptical dwarf that asking Mundinguluss about the cart would prove fruitless, so we decided to take a more direct approach. With all the tunnels and sewers beneath the city, there had to be an underground entrance into Mundinguluss’ estate. From the descriptions that had been passed on by several “guests” of the sage, the construction of the lower levels of the mansion was indeed strange. Rumors of illithids in Hochoch started to take on a bit more substance and it was possible, one might even say likely, that Mundinguluss was involved with them.

Finding a passage into the sewers was not difficult and after a moment or two of orienting ourselves, we were able to locate a “passageway” leading to what we expected was one of the lower levels of the Mundinguluss estate. Gelwyn made a disturbing find in the waste that had apparently fallen from above. Fragments of humanoid skulls were mixed with the other detritus in a proportion that would be considered most unnatural. After a bit of sanitational engineering we had widened the passage to a degree that it could be used to ascend to the level above. The room it emerged into was quite bizarre. It was the largest and most lavishly decorated gardarobe I had ever seen. Not many people would put the loo in the center of the room all by itself. All in all the construction of the entire level was bizarre with ellipsoid corridors and rooms shaped more like kidney beans than classical construction, hardly a straight line in sight. No one in this place had ever heard of stairs either. At least they could have used magic to provide lifts instead of having to climb ropes and pull ourselves up through holes in the floor.

The lowest level contained several rooms with what appeared to be fonts and a large central chamber that was very much like a salt water pond. Swimming in the pool were many creatures that had squid like heads and worm like bodies. Based on some of the things we found later, it seems likely that these were illithid larvae. As we were about to explore further, we came across someone who, for all intents, looked like one of the teamsters. He seemed oddly at home in this bizarre environment and after Bothan convinced him to take us to his master, Lord Mundinguluss we assumed, he headed up one of the shafts. Being unusually contrarian, Bothan decided to go in the other direction and discovered another shaft. In climbing up, he discovered dozens of urns stacked up like a larder. A larder is what it turned out to be after all, a larder for illithids that is. Each urn contained a preserved humanoid brain. How many people had lost their lives as a result of this place was hard to conceive. How many of those who had gone missing on the streets above had ended up here. While Bothan was exploring the larder, we heard the sound of metal sliding on metal and then a splash as if something had dropped into the pool. The princess was standing near one of the doorways into the pool chamber and yelled out “Beholder” before firing two arrows and moving to the side. Thinking we were in for a big fight, everyone launched an attack on the creature while moving toward the exit. The beholder did not respond to the attacks so it was apparent something was not right. Bothan and the monk approached the creature while I took up a position near where the teamster had gone, in case he came back. It turned out that the beholder was stunned and unable to act. Though we knocked it unconscious, we neglected to finish it off, a decision we would later regret. Before leaving this area, Bothan decided to dump out all of the fonts we had seen on this level while the rest of us moved on to the next level.

There we found a surgical table and four sealed doors. Behind each of the doors, in a room not much bigger than an alcove, were several townspeople including the two remaining missing teamsters. They were totally unresponsive so we decided to leave them there while we continued our search. It was becoming very clear that Mundinguluss was in league with the illithids and that they had been abducting townspeople for months. Up one more level we came across the last piece of the puzzle. While searching, we encountered a town guard unit that wanted to lead us “out” but seemed to be protecting several other passages. The dwarf confronted them and just before hostilities broke out, Mundinguluss and another man who he introduced as a fellow merchant came down a passageway to the north that we had not yet explored, we would soon find out why the guards wanted us to go there and why Mundinguluss and his associate were there. Mundinguluss thought we should talk about the situation and dismissed the guards. Bothan, being the curious sort, or some might say mischievous, had decided to drop down into another chamber while we were “talking” to the two merchants. Down there he found another 50 or so townspeople. No sooner had the guards left than the “conversation” took a turn for the worse. Mundinguluss’ associate stood up as if he were going to say something but instead lashed out with a psychic blast of some strength. Gelwyn and Jagr were stunned while I was outside the apparent area of effect being intrigued why Bothan had decided to drop down through a hole in the floor while we were talking to the merchants. Mundinguluss called for the guards and the battle was joined.

Mundinguluss and the other merchant tried to flee while the guards occupied us but a well placed web spell by the tall sorcerer stopped Mundinguluss and most of the guards in their tracks. This turned out to be a fortuitous event as we later found out that the guards were not town guards anymore. Mundinguluss was caught in the edge of the web and I let him have a good taste of magic from my bow which incidentally burned away the webs around him causing him further discomfort. Bothan took him down a moment later with non-lethal damage and our questioning of him later would prove most enlightening. Now, the guards were much more than they seemed. Each had been taken over by creatures I later learned were called intellect devourers. It seems these creatures are creations of or allies of the illithids. The books I found on the subject were not all that clear on the topic. As each guard was disabled, the intellect devourer emerged from the body to continue the fight. They are vicious little things capable of disabling at a thought. Bothan took a direct hit from the psychic attack of one of the creatures and it nearly toppled him. It seems that their psychic attack not only does physical damage but can allow them to disable their opponent by draining their intelligence as well. Though powerful psychically, their defenses were weak, although they do seem quite resistant to normal weapons. Magic cut them to pieces though.

During the fight, several characters decided to try and circle around behind the fleeing merchant by taking the north passage. What they discovered there made a lot of things much clearer. I am sorry to say that Mazer and Dandelion may be quite distressed by what I have to say next but Jia Buckman was not on our side. In that room to the north was a creature that Mundinguluss’ books called an Elder Brain. From what I can tell, it is effectively the queen of the illithid swarm. Along with this elder brain was High Justice Jia Buckman and several teamsters. This is where Mundinguluss and his merchant associate had come from. Based on events, it is likely that the other merchant was in fact an illithid in disguise. Had we come down from above instead of from beneath through the sewers, we likely would not have made it out of that alien place. Our wayward companions hotfooted it back to the battle and we quickly vanquished the remaining intellect devourers, being careful to “release” them one by one. As the battle was ending we heard a loud “whooshing” sound from the room to the north and when we investigated we found that all of the previous occupants were gone. In addition, the beholder we had left below had also been dragged off.

It took a while to break Mundinguluss’ conditioning, but when we did he was able to provide a wealth of information that brought some recent events into perspective. It seems that Mundinguluss and his illithid allies had been capturing people from the town above and turning them either into thralls through a form of psychic surgery or as vessels for intellect devourers. It will be almost impossible to ferret out spies of these types without killing them. How many of the town guard and important personages in the town have been “replaced”. How many of those sent to prison by Jia Buckman have been modified. Where did she and the Elder Brain go. All serious questions that place the future of Hochoch in jeopardy. Add to that an infectious zombie plague, a rampaging primordial, and links to additional elemental cults worshiping the Elder Eye, an aspect of the Chained God, and the future for Gyruff looks bleak. It is a time for heroes, the question is, who will answer the call.

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Excerpts Bothan Rodric the dwarf's Journal #8
HochHoch Street Blues – Wrapping up Incabulos and the Illithids

Day 301
Yesterday other heroes in the town guard have been able to shut down the mining to take out the spike in the primoridals brain under HochHoch. Our previous investigations starting with Mephistopheles led the way to this successful conclusion. With the primoridal question solved those previously gone insane are coming back to their sense. It appears that my hard work at the sanitarium is no longer required. But I will certainly continue to spend some of my free time check in with the Ehlonna priestess and provide my help as long as there is need.

Day 315
I am quite impressed with how far HochHoch has come in the time I have spent here. Upon my first visit there was total chaos with most of the population preying on one another. There is still much work to do, but I can see the great strides and improvements that have occurred. I don’t think it will be too much longer before only the typical street crimes with maybe a rare flare up of more powerful misdeeds occurring.

Day 316
All of the guards have been called to arms for some of my fellow heroes have stirred a hornet’s nest in shutting down the Incabulos temple. They found an entrance leading below at the goblin’s chicken restaurant. Beside defeating the worshipers they had do defeat score of undead that were below. This must have brought the undead to attack the town from the river. Most of the undead swarmed docks and ships. But many also wandered aimlessly into the hinterland. Killing many sailors many who frequent the wharves and some of the poor that couldn’t reach the town wall before their closure. Most of these zombies swarmed the town walls smelling the human flesh that they love. In the mean time those fellow heroes encountered some slaad, a hag and a unicorn turned nightmare. In all their efforts they had expended many of their spells and needed a respite. So after those enemies broke from the encounter the heroes gained a brief respite and requested myself, Gelwen, Aurora, Jagr and three move true and stout heroes to find and punish the enemy. While they helped man the towns walls preventing the zombies entry.
We found the Hag, unicorn turned nightmare and two slaads causing havoc in the common quarter. The talk of our friends regarding this enemy appears a tad exaggerated. We actually had little trouble dispatching them. It became clear that the Hag was not the third night hag it was of some other type and hence of some other coven. Most of the party attacked Vlad the slaad and made short round of it in a couple of turns. I waded into the heat of battle going up against the hag and the unicorn turned nightmare. I focused on the previously wounded hag. Despite its fearsome nature I attacked and my first series of attacks blooded it. In response it used its penetrating death glare on me to no avail. Seeing me as the greatest threat and also the closest the unicorn turned night mare attacked with substantial effect. It almost blooding me in its first set of attacks. Several of my comrades came to my aid and attacked the nightmare from range. This was both good and bad. For the nightmare could employ further attacks against me when they hit it. Happily my stout armor shielded me. The nightmare then cast a fireball targeting me and one other compatriot. After that my fellows and I took down the nightmare and Tad the remaining slaad. By the end of the battle I had been grievously injured and one other fellow slightly injured with the rest of the party coming though without a scratch. We discovered the bodies of two teamsters in the slaads bellies.
We learned that the fight on the town walls were tapering off, so we continued on the hunt for the missing teamsters and their wagons. From the goblin’s restaurant were were able to trace the delivery wagons to the back of a nearby pawn shop. I went into the pawnshop and asked the proprietor if the wagons in back were his and if they were for hire. He applied affirmatively. I then immediately arrested him for dealing in stolen goods. I initially felt good in shutting down trade in illicit goods. However, I now fear that without Judge Jia to pass sentence he may languish in jail until a new High Judge is elected.
Having solved half the mystery of missing wagons and teamster we moved on to the ones that were to deliver at Lord Muninglass. We picked up the tracks of the cart they lead to Muninglasses front door. The wagon tracks then continued outside the nearby town gate and was found abandoned in the slums. The evidence seemed clear if not conclusive. Lord Muninglass had requested the aid of the guard in finding his missing delivery which was a small chest containing a rare book. The tracks indicated that the delivery had been made. In conjunction one of the teamsters helping with the loading of the caravan indicated that they had transferred something covered in canvas about 8 foot long and squishy.
Initially, I thought to approach the mansion directly with our probable cause to interrogate Muninglass and search his house. But Aurora rightly pointed out that Lord Muninglass who was friends with High Judge Jia could cause problems in such a direct approach. So since Lord Muninglass lied about the cargo he was receiving and the cart carrying this cargo led to his front door and then Lord Muninglass himself requested the help of the guard in search for his missing property. I felt we had two legal precedence’s for entering his property covertly. Probable cause for the appearance that the goods had been delivered and I took the request of finding his stolen book as implicit permission to search his estate. For if his stolen book was in his mansion and since he had requested the guard to find it for him then he at least tacitly approved of a search on his premises proving there was evidence of that being the case.
We descended into the sewers near his mansion. We made a way to a hole in the ceiling of the sewers under Lord Mundinglasses mansion. I had never thought my young life in the army on latrine duty would provide any future benefits. However, it came in quite useful here. For from the hole had been dumped incriminating evidence. Xikvre had mentioned suspicions that rooms for illithids were being constructed under the mansion. The excrement below the hole showed clearly that they were from an alien species of another plane. Also dumped but not digested were bits of skull bone. We made are way up the hole and entered a tiled room. It had one completed exit and three exits still in construction. The architecture was odd shaped with dome ceiling and tiles on surfaces. Designs in and shaped by the tiles appeared to have some pattern I believe were in some fashion astronomical. Exiting this room the hallway branched into another curving hallway. A large room with an closed iris opening in the ceiling was the first investigated. A large pool was located under the Iris. It contained cave fish, tadpoles and other life of tiny proportions. In a smaller room were a circle of fonts containing water with tiny tadpole like creatures swimming in them. I tried to grab one to examine it more closely and missed. But having done so could see that it was an aberrant creature.
It was at this point our presence was exposed. An individual dressed like a teamster but not matching descriptions of those missing challenged us. I informed him that we were present at Lord Munglasses behest. He insisted that we follow him to Muninglass. We declined and he left to warn his master. We then began a fast and furious search of the rest of the area to try and find more concrete evidence of illegal activity. The dragonborn had just lifted me up into another room reached from below. In it I found many urn in which were brains of terrestrial humanoids. It is then I heard Jagr call out the word BEHOLDER. By the time I jumped down and entered the are things appeared in chaos. I had heard signs of battle. Some of the group appeared to be fleeing and others taking cover. However, the beholder that had come from the iris in the ceiling of the large room did not chase anyone out. Many of the party took turns looking in the room firing at range and taking cover. I rushed in attacking the Beholder with Bothan’s Balky Blade™ but could see immediately something was wrong about it. Its eye stalks were droop and not active. It was not levitating but floating in the brackish pool and the only thing it did was to attempt speak to me. I could not understand it. My compatriots finished it off although no one couped it. We left it to bleed out. Having no where left to explore below me fellows followed the path up were the teamster went. I spent a minute below toppling the fonts so that the alien tadpoles of alien origin. Perhaps an early stage of Illithids??? I rejoined the party before they left the newly explored room This room had a surgical table with straps, one hallway exit and 5 iris doors on the walls. Within each door was a cell with a teamster in each. Two of the teamsters matched the descriptions of those still missing. They were standing and took no action or movement. We closed their doors to keep them safe for later retrieval. The next room was kidney shaped and had two further exits. I immediately went to one to cover and saw a room with town guards standing in it. Jar ordered the guards to show us the way out. The lieutenant appeared to comply but the others blocked the exit. They tried to usher me back but I stood my ground. It was then from the other exit that Lord Muninglass and a richly dressed person entered. Lord Muninglass was unhappy with our intrusion. Jagr explained that we were here on official business and it appears that some illegal activities were taking place. Jagr asked what the town guard were doing here. Lord Muninglass responded that they had been called in because of a break-in. Lord Muniglass suggested that we enter the lounge (room where the guards had been standing) to discuss matters. Jagr agreed providing the town guards be sent back their duties. Lord Muninglass agreed and they departed.
It seemed like talking was going to last a little while, so I immediately entered the lounge room and exited into the next room opposite of where the guards left. In this room was a hole in the floor and no rope. But it was only 15 foot drop so I continued below. As I heard mumbled conversation above I explored this room with only the ceiling hole for exit. In this room were many cells most containing townsfolk in the common stunned state. It is not to long before I hear conversation turned to battle. Aurora throws a rope down and allows me to climb up. I see an interesting situation. Some of the party appear to be stunned. I later learned by the well dressed stranger. I’m thinking illithid. The “illithid’ rushes down the path the guards had taken as Muninglass calls the guards to come and help. The guards did not leave but had waited outside view. I’m sure this didn’t really surprise any of us as their refusal to follow Jagr’s orders but complied with Munglasses showed their true colors. I was able to move forward just enough to be caught in a hypnotic suggestion spell. Happily it is an intelligence save and those pose no problem for me. A web was cast catching most of the guards. However the wealthy dressed “illithid” freed itself and made its escape. Much of the party was incapacitated but matters changed in our favor. Aurora cast a fire spell on Lord Munglass. He was injure by the spell and then again by the burning webs. I was then able make use of Bothan’s Balky Blade ™ against Lord Muninglass. I knocked him unconscious using nonlethal damage so he could be questioned later. When he fell unconscious the hypnotic gaze dropped from some of my inflicted friends. Since the way to the “illithid” was blocked with webs, I suggested that the room from Muninglass first appeared might likewise circle around and our fast people could perhaps catch him that way. The monk sent his apprentice that direction to see if it would lead that way and we then focused on the lieutenant. The monk easily took down the lieutenant but from it body came a creature that appeared as a brain on legs. I dispatched it quickly before it could act. All of the guards had these creatures inside them. I got careless and took down a guard with not enough actions to also kill the brain creature. It attacked me doing almost half my total hit points. Fortunately my high intelligence prevented the psychic blast from stunning me. As we now became careful in our attacking on soldier/brain at a time some of the others in our group followed the apprentice to try and catch the “illithid”. But it was not long before they come running back. With stories of a huge brain with human controlled guards.
As our group destroyed the last of the town guard/brains we here a splash. The huge brain, its guards escaped to the sewers apparently taking the unconscious Beholder with them.
So we learn that these aliens have been establishing a colony here in HochHoch. They use brains for food. Sometime use human bodies as hosts for the small brain beings. Can tear down and remake the brains of humanoids rather then taking direct control of them. They did such with Muninglass. Oh they also did that with high judge Jia who some of us witnessed with the huge brain and its guards. Jia escaped and has not been found. The wealthy “illithid?” escaped above ground its whereabouts unknown. These ilithids worked to get Jia elected to high judge. When I first saw he favoritism over illegal activities at Evard’s shop I distrusted her. I am happy that my instincts were correct but would have preferred if she had been a hero instead.
This only increases my worry over Evard. Jia and him were also very friendly. Is Evard a member of these illithids or mereley complicit in dealings. He needs further investigation.

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DiD yoU SeE tHAt? ovER tHerE!? iTS WatChiNG mE!

So Mazer fans, a lot has happened to me since my last journal. I am jotting this down in the morning hours while I am most coherent (mostly) and typically Mazer-like. Towards dusk…yeah. Not so much. I do and see strange things but we’ll get more into that later. Ole Mazer here has come into a rough stretch of life lately. I hear this happens to some people but, come on! I’m Mazer man!!! Everything had been going really great: Being a Baronet, hot women, parties, gigs, coin, schmoozing with Gyruff’s other Big Timers, more women, you know…the important stuff. Our Group would help out Gyruff now and then for even more fame and notoriety. I was nominated for a new position in Hochoch…High Judge! Wow. People just love me. Anyway, this was certainly a high point of life. All until while on a little adventure under some condemned crappy building in Hochoch. See, there was this creepy dark pit with a long black stone-like obelisk thing and some flying demon creatures in there. That’s when ole Mazer made an unknowing mistake…I know, it can happen. While standing on the obelisk and in conversation with friends, ummm, I accidentally said the real full name of T-Chain…and this happened to be an altar to Him. BOOM! I had an very, VERY, V E R Y unpleasant visit/vision/dream or whatever with T-Chain. Well, he kind of wanted me to serve and obey Him or something. I’m not really down with that and kind of…directive…so I told him off! T-Chain SACK! After almost dying (Death Saving Throws) from that decision I came back to reality with this strange upside down triangle mark on my body. Later in the day some of the growing insane population in Hochoch surrounded me and called ole Mazer here “Eyes that See” and “One of Us”. I guess that is my new T-Chain codename – Eyes that See. This was the spark where my life’s downward spiral began…OMG I can’t be screwed! (Denial & Disbelief musical interlude on the Lute…)

You see, I visited this Neheli chick…who was pretty hot and coincidentally recently just lost her husband. For a change ole Mazer here was NOT in pursuit or anything that I like typically do. I was just going to talk with her about her High Judge votes possibly supporting me, as she was also nominated and probably grieving so much and didn’t care. Well before I knew what hit me, she excused her servants, invited and pulled me upstairs for a rock ‘in rough good time. Her brief grieving period was over I guess. Mazer can roll with unexpected things and I was all in baby! Well, after we were done her mood drastically changed even faster than mine could and she stated that if I did not support HER for High Judge, she would accuse me of assaulting her. WHAAATTT!!? Henceforth she then became known to me as Crazy Neheli-sack. I told her off too…just like T-Chain . Everyone knows ole Mazer loves women, I don’t abuse anyone. Well that was her cue to grab a vase and smash it over her head, throw herself head first against the walls a couple times, and dropped hard to the floor bloody, bruised, and screaming for help. WTF!!? She IS a Crazy Neheli-sack! She also timed an afternoon lunch party with many guests perfectly, great. I cast invisibility on myself and high tailed it to the castle to warn my best Super Buddy and friend Prince Rhys! Jagr was there too…ahem. Well, word of her false accusations had already gotten to them and to appear all neutral and conflict of interest free like, Mazer here got a ticket to visit and reside in a castle dungeon cell…come on! There went my High Judge chances and a temporary hold on women, music, drinks, freedom, etc. The things I hold most dear. Since I want Prince Rhys to succeed here in Hochoch, I didn’t try busting out or anything. Even though Mazer don’t like jail cells. That’s when it started to get really creepy. I started having REALLY unpleasant visits from T-Chain at night haunting and consistently tormenting me, felt a cold presence nearby and saw a figures standing in the dark corners of the room watching me, sharp stabbing pains in my head, crazy hallucinations & thoughts, etc. Well let’s just say that when one is crazy and nuts…the passage of time gets a bit blurry and confusing. (Chaotic hallucinations & Terror musical interlude on the Lute…)

Well, I don’t remember much in these troubling crazy times. I think various people came into see ole Mazer in the dungeon…unfortunately I acted all weird. I remember Ben slapping me with a branch many times, a hot naked woman with toys, my cool new buddy Advocate Mr. Darrow, Morrik was there a bunch, rolling dice, Minister Alena danced all seductively for me on a shiny golden pole that appeared in my cell huh…didn’t think she did that type of stuff but yeah…lost track of reality there. I kind of remember my trial and being found innocent of course. Thanks High Judge! She’s hot too! Throwing a celebration party and then an unpleasant visit from someone called Claws that Rip just when I was about to get back in the game with an adoring female fan at the Quivering Hills Companionship Hall. After Claws that Rip beat, clawed, and scraped me up badly my friends found me eating dirt form a potted plant. Yeah, that’s my new thing. I LOVE dirt! Can’t get enough of it! Ole Mazer here likes digging, eating, and covering myself with dirt. Real fun! For some reason it makes me feel better and helps hide me from T-Chain’s gaze and avoids most of his unpleasant visits. I remember feeling compelled to slip away and dig a lot at night somewhere, removing stone from around that long black stone-like obelisk thing I think. I then figured the dirt combined with my Ring of Mind Shielding and a loaner Ring of Protection from Evil started to block most of the really bad effects of my craziness. Almost back to normal baby! That’s when my SO-CALLED FRIENDS didn’t like me slipping away at night, doing nothing illegal I might add, and thought it best to lock ole Mazer up in a dark windowless room in the castle chained to a bed without any of my special items that were protecting me from T-Chain!!!! Yeah…that’s gonna hurt!!! (Betrayed By Friends and Taking It Up the @$$ musical interlude on the Lute…)

Now I really lost it! Don’t know who’s smart-@$$ idea that was but thanks a bunch man! T-Chain really had a great time messing me up this way and that way as he gave extra special attention to ole Mazer since I was eluding him previously! There may be permanent psychological damage from the torture I repeatedly got to experience. A bunch of screaming in agony too. I think I saw Dandelion at some point locked in the room with me but wasn’t sure. That’s when my new buddies came in to break me out. Ears that Hear (T-Chain codename) and this cool Water Girl with a bucket had my back. They even gave me back my confiscated stuff too! THAT’S what friends do! WARNING: I have been asking who’s bright idea this was, to lock up Mazer and take my stuff. No one has admitted to it as of yet but someone is going have a REAL PROBLEM when I find out. (Eyes that See is Looking for Y O U musical interlude on the Lute…)

Well, I must of went to dig stone again with Ears that Hear and Water Girl…I don’t remember much. The next morning I ended up at some tavern drinking trying to calm my nerves. My magic items must have started to attune and kick in because I started to feel better. That’s when Aurora, Ben, and Xilvyre found me. I was still a bit messed up and I could tell that they were treating and talking to me gently. None of them admitted to being responsible for resealing me up in a locked room chained to a bed. They just wanted to see where I was going every night, I told them all the action, “the show”, happens at night but they insisted to go during the daytime hours when it was less busy and to get the best seats for this “show”. Okay, let’s do it! I lead the group down to the Boar’s Knuckle tavern area to one of the houses near the tavern in the Commons District. A fellow marked individual, hey…I am Eyes that See so I can tell, let us in and we proceeded down through a trap door into some tunnels. As we walked under some big beams with inscriptions. I pointed up to it as we passed so the rest could take notice, read it aloud, and “buy the ticket” to enter but I kept on going. So crazy people are not very good engineers and the scaffolding ramps leading down are pretty dangerous and barely holding together. I kept on walking down, down, down as the others followed. Some of those demon shadow guys came out to attack Aurora, Ben, and Xilvyre as they must NOT have bought the ticket at the inscription when I pointed. I could hear them fighting…once in a while I launched a magic missile volley to help them out. Other times I played my lute and sang quite wonderfully. You know, whatever. Then I heard it!!! A cool song being sung by all females of course! It was called “The Celebration of Mazer”! It went:

“Maa-zer… Maaaaazer….Eyes that See! Ears that Hear, Mouth that Talks, Claws that Rip, Hands that Craft, Arms that Lift, Feet that Walk, Legs that Kick, All form the Body to Diiie For! Wispy Air of Thought and Whimsy, Flowing Water…the Lifeblood, Burning Fire of Desire, All Built on the Foundation of Rock and Earth!”

Being an expert musician I adlibbed some quite excellent lute music accompaniment to the song and sang along with all the Women! Well these demon shadows didn’t touch me at all so I kept going down the ramp while singing playing my lute! Aurora, Ben, and Xilvyre must have handled the first group of monsters just fine. Then some big flying brain like octopus things with beaks started floating at us…well floating at them. They left me alone too. The Signing Mazorites (thanks to Aurora for that great term) with Ears that Hear started lowering themselves down the pit with ropes. Half naked women on ropes…what a sight and sooo cool! Aurora, Ben, and Xilvyre were more concerned with the flying brain-sacks and a few fireballs shot out from Xilvyre. No buildings to destroy down here right Xilvyre? Well fire BAD for flying brain-sacks. Fire also BAD for barely holding together and poor rickety wood scaffolding. Yeah, lit up pretty good Xilvyre, again! It was all pretty hectic. We got down to the bottom, the flying brain-sacks were dead, there happened to be some really life like stone statues down here…huh, and bunch of smaller tunnels. So ole Mazer did what anyone would do in this situation…I grabbed a shovel, a bucket, put on my helmet – safety first you know, and dug out some stone…hard brain matter…whatever from around the obelisk! Some really weird mouth-pudding-mound like things came out from one of the tunnels. Well by that time, the Signing Mazorites touched down and started helping us and shewed the mouth-pudding-mounds back in their tunnel. We were all signing having a great time when the all-woman mob tried forcing Aurora, Ben, and Xilvyre to touch the obelisk via grappling them. Aurora popped away (Misty Step) up to some scaffolding above everyone. Ben resisted but they made Xilvyre touch it but nothing seemed to happened. I was surrounded by scantily clad to naked women singing away. What could be better! Well Xilvyre didn’t like that touch on the obelisk very much and let another fireball out and shaped it around her friendlies. A majority of the Signing Mazorites died, some were still standing along with Ears that Hear. (Xilvyre II, Everything is Burning Again AND She Killed My Song musical interlude on the Lute…)

The wooden scaffolding was being eaten by fire and working its way up the pit. We were at the bottom and even a bit crazy Mazer could tell everyone wanted out. I twinned my fly spell and Aurora, Ben, Xilvyre, and I flew up to the tunnels we entered from. <cough,> Lots of smoke too! I couldn’t let the remaining Signing Mazorites be trapped down there with a fire going so flew back down and carried each surviving woman out including Ears that Hear, my rescuer from my castle locked room. What I guy I am! After that I met back up with my buds and we went to get Dandelion out of that dark locked room (I guess he really was there with me) and traveled to Thorndyke where an obelisk was reported recently removed. The bottom of it was pointed shaped as we examined the hole in the ground where it once stood. We also made arrangements to meet Minister Alena! To see what she could be with Dandelion & I. She examined us, cast some spells on us too. I was waiting for the shiny golden pole to re-materialize so she could dance for me again…but that might have been a crazy hallucination. Darn. Good news though…D was cured! Bad news…I was kind-of sort-of but not really. The T-Chain mark was still present on me. Now, after Minister Alena’s spells with just the ring of mind shielding and some dirt I am able to hold off the desire to go dig and T-Chain can’t see me. Also…I saw something…disturbing…and I reported it to the group. Aurora said she will follow-up with that juicy one for sure. I’m still a tad jittery which is a big improvement but I’ll have to head back to Hochoch to return Gelwen’s Ring of Protection form Evil. (Going Back to Hochoch musical interlude on the Lute…)

Well my return into Hochoch was coincidentally great! I met up with some of my other adventuring buddies: Princess Jagr, Gelwen, D-Track, Dasut & his reformed thief boy Yahnny, G-Zo, Osirus, and the very tall Thia. Hey guys! I’m less crazy now! I returned Gelwen’s ring…thanks Babe! We were all walking through town catching up with each other when it got suddenly quiet. We noticed a large group of people headed our way from in front of us and behind! Yikes! That’s when we all heard it, another song to ole Mazer here but the slight hints in the lyrics made me think that this encounter was not going to go well. It started with stomping and clapping in unison and was called “We will, we will KILL YOU”! It went:

Thump Thump……Thump! Thump Thump……Thump! Thump Thump……Thump! Thump Thump……Thump!

“Mazer you’re a boy, make a big noise

Playin’ in the street, gonna be a big man someday

You got mud on yo’ face, you big disgrace

Kickin’ your can all over the place

Singin’

We will we will KILL you

We will we will KILL you

Mazer you’re a young man hard man

Shouting in the street gonna take on the world some day

You got blood on yo’ face, you big disgrace

Wavin’ your banner all over the place

Singin’

We will we will KILL YOU!

We will we will KILL YOU!”

Ummm yeah. I guess not so slight hints as to their intent after all…well then. What a great time to be with a very large selection of my closest and bestest friends! Guys!!? Well it didn’t take long for the large mob to close in on us and attack…attack Mazer that is! The mob left everyone else alone and focused on ME! Normally everything is focused on me but this type of focus I don’t like. THAT’S IT!!! I’m not adlibbing some excellent lute music accompaniment to this song! Well, my fellow sorcerer G-Zo did a really good job and harmlessly immobilized a good number of Mazer Killer-Sacks with Hypnotic Pattern. The remaining hundreds threw, shot, attacked ole Mazer here with everything they had including ALL the other T-Chain members with cool special codenames. My shield spell helped in deflecting most of the incoming damage but little by little started to wear me down. Initially our group tried non-lethal methods but soon realized that that was not an option because of the Mazer Killer-Sacks mob size. (Mazer will need a Medic Soon musical interlude on the Lute…)

Just then some creepy looking guy came over to watch the now ensuing mayhem in the streets of Hochoch. He was called Mezophilosis someone said. HE was playing some quite excelle…I mean very slightly average lute music accompaniment to this Kill Mazer song! HEY! Well he didn’t attack anyone on either side. Accompanying musicians would magically pop in next to him once in a while but they didn’t interfere. He did look quite happy with the spectacle before his eyes though. Jerk! You would need more band members to make you sound better! Well, I could see the writing on the wall and had to get off the street. I twinned a fly spell to Princess Jagr since she likes to ALWAYS be close to ole Mazer here…you know…for protection purposes only but I do see the way she looks at me all the time! We flew on the roof of a nearby building. Ha Ha! Can’t touch me! That’s when Fire that Burns hit Jagr & I with a fireball and set the roof on fire. I managed to quickly shout out to everyone in extreme pain but for the record “That was not Xilvyre this time!” Let’s just say in the ensuing battle, many fireballs were cast, arrows shot, melee attacks, and the normally sturdy Mazer here set a new adventuring record for the number of times being knocked unconscious during a single battle at FIVE frick’in times! I must give thanks to all of my fellow buddies that helped and healed to revive ole Mazer here, keeping me alive so I could be “Whack-a-Mole’d’ right back down! The group also started laying into my friends too. But, we started chipping away the Mazer Killer-Sacks I thought, when I was conscious. It was a long battle but eventually we were victorious! I look really messed up. Most the gang was fine but those who were not got professionally healed by others in our group. A few mob stragglers started to run but we wanted to finish this. Our trackers moved in and we followed the remaining Mazer Killer-Sacks to another building nearby that darn pit. (Mopping-Up the Mess musical interlude on the Lute…)

There were not many baddies left. Finished a bunch off in the house and the sole remaining member of the Mazer Killer-Sacks was Ears that Hear! We found her in a really cramp freshly dug tunnel. We took turns jumping in, shooting and getting out for the next party member. Ears that Hear must have had some kind of spell on that made it more difficult to attacker her. When it was ole Mazer’s turn I could see that she was either digging or burying something. I let a volley of Magic Missiles go and that’s all it took to finish her off. The Mazer Killer-Sacks were all dead. Since I was in the tunnel I went over to her and searched. Dasut was next in line so he jumped in to and found a larger item she had recently buried. Later it turned out to be some crazy cursed mirror thing that is slightly disturbing. Sorry Dasut, Mazer has had his fill of crazy and disturbing lately! Glad you found that. I found something very cool on Ears that Hear. I’ll have to tinker with it to see what in can do but yeah, nothing to see here, move along!

Over the next few days I’ll have to get into my normal routine again and repair any relationships my extreme craziness might have damaged. But hey, look at me. A perfect smile and a wink from me can repair almost anything. Granted, I do have that stupid T-Chain mark on me yet and must figure how to remove it. Also, my dirt thing is still with me. But all in all I’m feeling mostly back to normal…more or less. Keep an eye out for a Two Lutes for Love performance near you. My recent experiences, both crazy and semi-crazy, provided my with a vast depth of new material to inspire me musically. Wait until you see what my new found item can do! Sweet!!! My new…Precious! Now you are caught up. Later! Mazer

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