Elf Poetry....Elfoetry

Count you the shadows, watch the sun,
The wise know where they stand;
While knowing not the time to shun,
The fools must find themselves undone.

Like lustful swain or panicked child
Who beg another’s gentle hand,
The fool delves heedless through the wild.
The wise are not so soon beguiled.

When darkness falls and dreams portend
The rising of a fearsome foe,
The fool, swift-striking, meets his end,
The wise know foe from friend.

Let art and image point the way,
Abandon all you think you know,
For common sense leads fool astray.
The key is simply this: Obey.

The wise must ever strategize;
They never play, unless to win.
They see the harm in comfort’s lies,
And seek to open weary eyes.

You’ve fought your way, you’ve risked demise,
To view the ivy heart within.
Now as the soul within you dies,
This knowledge is your only prize:
You’d never have come, were you truly wise.

A Vampire, with a Soul

I took a moment to observe the eternal prison I had made for myself. If I cast the ritual correctly, I may have already been here for a thousand years and would never know. Suddenly the ceiling of my prison shimmered and I found myself joined by four strange creatures.

An elf, eyes darting around and gripping a giant bow. A half-man, ridiculously dressed and visibly smeared in grease. An animalistic man wielding a comically oversized sword, and looking eager to use it on me. Lastly, a spiritual apparition, which seemed to be a projection of a small fey.

“Greetings”, I said, “give me a moment to look on the world, to see what has passed”. Looking up, I could sense that many years had indeed passed, and much had changed in the planes I could observe. Thankfully, I felt the blessing of the Gods on these creatures, and allowed them to live.
“Welcome, watchers of the valley. It grieves me to see you, for you were only to be anointed should the need arise.” I saw recognition in their faces, they knew my voice. Likely they had heard my message in the tablet’s resting place. “I can’t tell them what it is that you are protecting the world from. The Gods and primordials, and their servants, are bound to never speak of it again. I can tell you that it is a prison, and that which is contained in it will do unthinkable things to every plane it can find should it become free again”

“Even a creature who stood at the very door to the prison in the World has no method of divining how to open it. The prison is a masterpiece, subtly repelling any and all creations that would tamper with it should they find it. This however, doesn’t extend to the lock. Nearby, strands of power meet and form the lock of the prison. Long ago, there were Fey mages here who practiced their craft. The power of those strands was beyond their comprehension, they knew not why but found that magic would be more powerful when nearby. Rather than push them away, I placed in their minds, and the minds of their descendants, the need to protect the lock’s location. The compulsion took the form of honoring the location, and they began to bury their dead there. They placed great protective spells over their tombs, making it deadly to those who sought entry. This work had only just begun when I passed into the table. It appears that they cast so many protective spells that I can not even see into this graveyard. It also appears that their civilization is gone and that the spirits of nature have reclaimed their dominion.”

“Something is warping or weakening the wards, and this can only be happening at the lock’s location in the Graveyard. I’m sorry to say that you must venture into the very heart of the mage’s graveyard, past their protective spells, and find what is warping the lock.”

I stared into their eyes, one at a time, passing to them the location of the Graveyard. I then sent them back to the Feywild, and hoped my prison would never open again.

Bears made out of ice cream

Dear Diary,

Mood: Apathetic.

Got to watch my new bosses break into some elf fortress. I wonder if these fancy elves own any cats… Found a second spear, so now I use two spears to stand guard. I’m so awesome. The bosses went into some big woods, so now I’m stuck here with old borringlios. He keeps telling me to clean things, or to go away. I had a dream that he turned me into a sheep.

Hound rules!

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

Bolios stood in his flying machine, the gigantic Head he piloted for the Black cloak trading company, and looked out of one of the eyes at Silver lake. The light from a full moon on the rise shimmered on the water, while fires from inside the little houses lit up the town pleasantly in the darkness. The smell of roasted fish and baking bread was in the air, making Bolios’ mouth water.

Observing the peaceful town as such, it was hard to imagine that the Silver Lakers’ had undergone so much hardship of late. “The air here is different” he said, partly to himself, and party to his companion Joral.

Bolios took another deep breath of the cool air outside, then turned to contemplate his small companion. The gnome was in a blissful state, enshrouded in a haze of widowsbane, and content with his lot in life. “He’ll be less happy when he finds out that he only has a few more days worth of widowsbane left” Bolios though. “When he runs out, I don’t want to be the man to tell him”.

Bolios was eager to depart. Silverlake was a lovely place, but Bolios longed to fly again, longed to feel the flow of air rush about him as they danced amongst the clouds in the Giant Head he called home. Ever since he had deciphered the tablet, Bolios had felt the pulse of new adventure in his veins. He had never been to the Feywild, and even though he and his companions would likely face unimaginable peril while there, discovering this previously inaccessible land was all he could think of. “Soon now we will depart”. The moon would be at its apex in a few scant hours, the portal to the Fey would then open, and they would be on their way.

Turning his back on Joral, Bolios took a walk up to the observation deck. It was cool out, but offered a better vantage point to observe the return of his companions, so Bolios took the fine scarf Salopard had purchased for him in Overlook and wrapped it around his neck to ward off the chill while he waited.

Alone with his thoughts, Bolios had time to contemplate recent events. The companions had warded off an ambush in the forest while trying to rescue some of the Silver Lakers’, and had managed to acquire the location of the man who had sent the assassins. In the process the heroes had uncovered a mysterious tablet the asked him to look at, but not before they flew back to Overlook. When he had finally deciphered the tablet, the information dealt with such grave matters he ran right to the council chambers to find his friends. The rest of that afternoon was a blur of hurried discussions and planning, and it was only after the fact that Bolios found out what the Black Cloaks had been up to in their absence. Upon reaching Overlook they had discerned the location of the man who had sent the assassins and confronted this Wendel, turning him to their cause. They had then laid waste to the plans of a Succubus who was building a demonic army in an old winery on the outskirts of the city. Apparently the succubus had been controlling Hamish and his faction at the council chambers, and it’s death had left them in a stupor which baffled the council’s healers and mages. All the while, the Black Cloaks had somehow managed to secure the rights to the winery, and employed their former foe, Wendel, to get it up and running. And somehow along the way they’d recruited a young ruffian who had insisted he be called “The Hound” and that he’d been hired on as security for the Head.

Bolios sighed, thinking of the confrontation he’d had with the Hound an hour earlier. The Hound had insisted he was allowed to have his “pets” – a score of cats – on the Head, and that had been the last straw for Bolios. First a boar, then it was a horse to go along with the borderline psychopathic shifter that travelled with them. Now a man by the name of “the Hound” who wanted to bring aboard a collection of cats. He was a mage who piloted a Giant floating head, not some sort of bleating zookeeper! “I’ll have to talk to Salopard when he returns” Bolios thought, but he knew there were more pressing matters at hand. The moon was close now, and Bolios could see his companions lit up by flickering torchlight as they made their way back to the giant Head. A smile crossed his lips, and the air seemed less cool as the flush of adventure permeated his soul. It was time. With a flourish, Bolios tossed his scarf over his shoulder and made his way to the door, closing it on the night behind him.

At that moment, Bolios couldn’t help but remember the teachings of his mentor. “Young Bolios, you must always remember that when one door closes, another door opens”. It was never more true than now. As the Silver Lake faded from his view, he knew the portal to the Feywild had opened.

The Five Heads of Tiamat
Watchers of the Valley

The dagger’s blade slid ever closer to its intended target. Closer. Almost there. Its wielder thought, deftly bring it nearer to its target. At long last he would be rid of this annoying problem.
A sudden jerk in the room itself caused the knife to slip.
“Yeeee-Ouch! Dam it, Bilious!” Salopard spat the blood now following freely from his lip. “Fly this thing straight!” The halfling once more propped himself in front of the mirror and resumed his quest to remove the offending turkey skin from between his back molars.
Almost there…
“Uh, Saloparr?”
“Curses – what now Torr?” He would never get rid of the annoying skin. Likely the avenger had seen the most hated wren of Bahumat and demanded Bilios pull over.
“Saloparr, I think you see this. We have reached Silvarlake, but-”
“It’s Salopard, noble Torr. If you would be so good to tell Bilios to set this thing down – gently – I will buy the first helping of fish at Fred’s.”
“-but Saloparr,” the proper pronunciation seemed to be impossible for the shifter, “The village, it’s in flames.”
The halfling sighed. “Just my luck. Why do you plague me so, m’lady Avandra? Lead the way Torr. The werecreatures must have another belief with our employees.” Grabbing Moonclaw on way out, Salopard soon lagged behind the speedy shifter. Why is he always in such a rush, the paladin though, as he pulled his obese frame up the stairs to the stern of the flying stone head.
Out of breath, Salopard came to the top of stairs, pausing only briefly to wipe the sweat from his brow with a silk handkerchief and resume scrapping the turkey skin from his teeth.
Entering the steerage, he cast his gaze upon the motley crew Lady Luck had saw fit to gift him as travelling companions.
Torr, the gigantic shifter, whose ancestors had at one time been weretigers, was clad in his usual black leathers, with icons of the platinum dragon and swords adorning every inch of his person. The hackles on the back his neck were already raised and he was likely ready to rush off and face this new threat blindly. Again.
Next, to him looking out over the banister into the valley below was the elf Therren. In his hand was his massive seven foot ironwood bow, which when the ranger drew he seldom missed. Though the diminutive knight owed Therren his life many times over, he was plague by the thought should the small band get in over their heads, Therren may not be there in the end. Then there was the elf’s unusual tendency to relieve himself at the most inopportune times.
Flying the stone head – Salopard uttered a quick prayer of thanks to Avandra for granting him such a wonderful ship, which saved him from walking across the Schoff Valley – was the wizard Bilios. The rotund Bilios, never really venture out of the head, though he did get them from points on the map and could be counted on to enjoy a good fish fry.
The fourth occupant of the room, or what Salopard thought was the fourth occupant. The figure lost in a haze of blue smoke was little more than a huddled mass of robes and blankets. Joral. The gnome who could talk to spirits was again lost to material plane in the hallucinations brought on by smoke of the Widow’s Bane weed. The shaman would not be of any use to anyone this day.
Removing the dagger from his mouth, he spoke “Now, what seems to be the problem gentlemen?”
“There…” Therren spoke, pointing to the scene below.
Salopard approached the lookout and was amazing at the carnage below. Half the small village was ablaze (again – unlucky sods) and something was burned into one of fishing town’s small fields.
“What is that?” The halfling pointed towards the charred symbol.
Torr was first to respond, drawing his massive back sword, “The most hated enemy of Bahumat.” His voice dropping to a deep growl, “Tiamat has come to Silverlake.”
Salopard’s dagger clanged on the stone floor.
The occupants of Silverlake were abuzz with trying to put out there smouldering homes and mend the wounds of the injured. Some were pleased to see Salopard, Therren and Torr once again walking there streets, although the adventurers got the sense that far too many of the fishermen were upset by their presence.
Making their way towards the only pub in town, Torr pitching in to help where he could, the trio saw other markings of Tiamat etched about the town.
By the time they reached the small taproom that served as the town’s only watering hole, Salopard was more than confused. They have saved these people from an army of werecreatures, created new trade routes usurping in a new age of prosperity and they had given many of the villagers jobs in their upstart business, Black Dragon Trout.
After talking to some of the regulars, the heroes quickly established that a gang of cultists had entered the village, kidnapped some of the occupants and daring the ‘Protectors of this shanty to meet them at the cave.’
After spreading some good will, and coin about Torr left to seek healer Yura’s and the Shaman Oopik’s guidance. Meanwhile, Salopard got himself and Therren another pint and resumed their investigations.
Not long after Torr’s departure, the pub’s door slammed open and in stormed the village drunk, Puck.
“There’sss they are! TThe great heroesh. Brought n’thing, but pain and sshuffering, since we met’em.” Locals rushed to silence Puck’s ramblings.
“No, good fish trappers. Let the man speak.” Salopard spoke without bothering to glance at Puck.
“D’ey issh the reason we was attack! Kick’em out and that lowshy shop of theirs. Likely d’ey won’t even go to t’at dam cave.” Puck continued his drunken rant for some time, in spite of Therren’s attempts to bully him into silence, eventually he lost steam and went to bar to get a flagon of ale.
Sighing Salopard rose from his stool and took this opportunity to approach the foul smelling Puck. After paying for his drink, the two began a quiet conversation, interrupted only by Puck’s occasional vocal cursing and Therren’s further attempts to cow the drunk into submission. Salopard had to hide his laugher in his mug at the thought of the twig-like, five foot elf bullying anyone into submission.
It turned out that everyone male member of Puck’s family, save the drunk himself, had at one time ventured into a nearby cave never to return. It was here Puck told them, the cultist had taken the townsfolk.
After buying Puck another flagon, Therren and Salopard rehashed the drunks story and in spite of a few glaring errors – how did Puck know the cultist had fled there, for example – they decided to round up the avenger and make their way to this cave. Puck had informed them it would be easy to find, just follow the large path the cultist had hacked their way through the forest.
Through his investigation, Torr had discovered that one of the hostages taken was Brother Oopik, the local priest. Furthermore, Yura the town healer was too busy to aid the heroes in a direct way, but wished them luck in rescuing the villagers. Also, the shifters had stopped by and checked in with their company and discovered that it had been unharmed by the attack.
Prior to leaving, the heroes collected a small amount of coin from their purses and gave it to Fred the bar’s own to provide drinks and food for the villagers upon their departure and finally, gathering all inhabitants around the Big House in the middle of town, Salopard summoned his silvery plate armour and set his glowing force shield on his back its oval edge forming a halo over his curly hair. With the aid of Torr and Therren he got atop a wooden crate and began to address the villagers;
“Friends, Silverlakers, Employees lend me your ears. I come here not to guarantee success in saving your loved ones, but to ensure you get back to your fishing duties. The hurt that has been done to you and yours has been most unfortunate, but we go forth to bring back those stolen from our village and punish those who have inflicted these injustices…”
After addressing the crowd for some time, the heroes departed with great fanfare, with Therren and Torr easily tracking Tiamat’s followers.
For Therren the walk through the woods was no great difficulty. They were a sparse wood a pleasant mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees and variety of ferns and other under growth. Therren also spotted numerous patches of Widow’s Bane, making careful mental notes of each patch as Joral would be sure to be interested in them and Sally had mentioned a business scheme involving the sweet burning weed.
Continuing along, the elf began to seek a spot to relieve himself of some of the sour ale Sally had insisted they consume in the human town. His keen ears picked up a low howl through the woods. He glanced back and saw that Torr had also heard the noise, as he had raised his nose to air and was sniffing the air. Sally on the other hand, seemed to be oblivious to noise and was appeared to be trying to wipe some mud from the toe of his boot with another of his silk handkerchiefs.
Unable to ascertain the exact location of the howls, or the creatures creating them, Torr thought it best to continue and Therren agreed. The halfling never looked up from polishing his boots and soon once again they were following the tracks.
To Therren’s skilled eye it looked as if there were 20 humanoids, they were following; six lashed together, the villagers no doubt. Mixed amongst these tracks were a number of large canine paw prints. Not wolf, Therren was sure, perhaps mastiff or wolf hound. Even though there were the canines in the group, the ranger seem certain the howling he heard was not coming from those they pursued, but behind them.
Coming to a small vale in the woods, the trio on Sally insistence stopped for the midday meal. As the fat, little knight plopped himself down on some rocks to sun himself, Torr began to prepare a small cook fire. In spite of growing up in an abbey, Therren held the shifters tracking and survival skills in high regard and was confident the fire Torr prepared would be hot and smokeless.
Going behind a tree to finally empty his bladder, Therren saw movement in the woods.
Quickly drawing his bow, Therren let loose a volley of arrows dropping two of the charging canines.
Even as the arrows streaked towards the oncoming enemies, Torr had unsheathed his two short blades and had plunged one into a wolf’s belly and slid the other across its neck. The wolf took another two paces, still unaware of its own death, before it crashed to earth, a crimson pool quickly forming around it.
The final enraged wolf in the pack saw what it assume to easy prey – Sally, lying on his back dressed only in his silk travelling cloths – rushed forward to sink his teeth into what more closely resembled an overweight hog then an armed adventure. It was only through Advandra’s grace that Salopard smelt the wolf’s hot breath as its jaws snapped down, and was able to roll off the rock to safety.
Upon regaining his feet Salopard summoned his armour from whichever plane it had disappeared to, its weight and tightness around the waistline, causing him great discomfort. Finally, he reached down and touched the rune that caused the radiant energy of his magic shield to spring forth. Now ready to fight, he turned to face the wolf only to set two arrows and a short sword end the beast’s life.
As Therren went to fetch his spent arrows, he could not help but thinking how unusual it was for a pack of four wolves to attack three men, well two and a half Therren thought with a smirk in Sally’s direction. His grin quickly disappeared as he saw another six wolfen shapes came racing through the woods towards them. These creatures were slightly larger than the previous four wolves and looked like a mix between an insect, a wolf and a rat. Therren had no clue as to the name of these hellspawn, but as there wretched howling rushed closer he had no doubt it was these beast that had caused the common wolves to act so unnaturally.
Laying down a storm of arrows at the approaching howling devils, Therren watched as his companions charge to engage them with their swords. He would never understand his friends’ desire to spill their own blood. Another arrow hit flew into one of the beast’s nostril with a loud thewack, slaying the fiend in mid-howl. As he prepared to draw another missile, the ground beneath him erupted in a frenzy of dirt, teeth and elven blood.
Torr cleaned the deep scarlet ichor from his blade. Bahumat was pleased by the death of the land shark. It could be the only reason that his deity set the creature in his path. It was a test, to prepare him for further greatness. Bahumat hated the bullette and now it lay dead by his hand.
The massive sword cleaned and re-sheathed, Torr rejoined his place in behind his friends eager to find these worshippers of the Dragon Queen and test himself against these foes. He fealt the hair on the back of his neck begin to rise and smile with anticipation of the coming exam.
Deeper and deeper they tread into the forest. Long past the four hours, his campaigns had claim the drunk said it would take. How he wish he could have spoken to the coward. Convince the drunken sot that he should show them the way.
Torr froze. Up ahead Therren had motioned for silence, it took the Saloparr a moment to notice and stop his vulgar shanty about Bella the Half-Orc of Claini. Closing his ruined eye and squinting with the good one, Torr could make out two figures trying to claw at a third dangling just out of their reach in the branches above.
Torr saw Therren string his bow, and Saloparr bid his armour come forth once more, but most importantly he could recognized the two figures on the ground as zombies, and the third about to fall into their clutches. Rushing forward in his righteous fury Torr proclaimed the closest of the undead would be the first to fall to his blade in Bahumat’s divine name and blasted it radiant energy. The unliving thing was thrown back fifteen paces and seared with the Torr’s righteous fury.
In the fury of the battle, Torr realized that these creatures were not true undead, but living puppets. Shells animated by hundreds of grubs inhabiting their bodies. It mattered little to Torr, he brought he sword clean through their flesh time and again. Not noticing the small grubs latching onto his own skin. Soon through the combined force of arms, the automatons and the grubs that had inhabited their rotting flesh were well and dealt with. Though Torr could feel some of the creatures moving about in his forearm, this concern would have to wait until after the cultists were dealt with.
Quickly wrapping his arm in a bandage, he went to where Saloparr was helping the zombies injured prisoner remove his hood. As the sac was removed, Torr saw two small orbs drop and a lump of ruined meat fall to the ground. The man’s eyes and tongue! Torr’s could feel his fury towards the cultist could to rise. It seemed to spring erupt out of him as he recognized the wounded prisoner. It was Oopik, the holy man of Silverlake. No soul deserved this fate, much less than that piece fool friar.
As Torr drew closer, he could see Oopik was writing something in the dirt. Kill me. It read in the common tongue. Torr could never consent to such a thing, but Therren was all too ready to end the man’s life, believing it to be an act of mercy. As the two began to discuss this over the ruined man’s moanings, Saloparr brought his pummel down upon the Oopik’s head, knocking him unconscious.
Deciding Bahumat again testing him, Torr thought the only solution to this was to fix a quick litter and dragged Oopik along. Through these feats he would prove his greatness to his good and be granted the right to slay the most hated enemy of Bahumat. He would prove himself.
His feet hurt. The hilt of his sword had rubbed a soar into his under belly. His clothing was soaked through with his sweat. And to top it all off that turkey skin was still stuck between his back molars. Avandra had truly cursed him with misfortune this day, but finally they were at the cave. Soon they would have rescued the villagers and be on their way home. Salopard could already taste the plate of trout of the greenless rainbow in front of him and a pint of sour ale.
He was so caught up in his meal dream that at first he did not notice Therren had discovered something at the cave’s entrance. Salopard sidled over to where Therren and Torr now stood. There on the ground lay another of the villagers, dead with both his legs missing just above the knee. What had happened to the rest of the body it was unclear and known of the troop could figure it out.
Quickly stashing Oopik, still tied to the litter, in a nearby copse. The trio cautiously entered the cavern. Angered by a long day’s walk and frustrated by the head, Salopard took his knife quickly scratch on the unnaturally smoothed walls of the cave, Puck this is your da, help me please you coward! With Avandra’s luck this message would play a role in events yet to unfold, but at very least they made the tired halfling feel better.
The cave ran for sometime in an unnatural smooth path, with numerous ancient symbols of the pantheon of deities. Neither Torr in his religious upbringing nor Salopard in his haphazard studies had seen these ancient depictions of the pantheon, nor could they ascertain what the bas-reliefs meant. The adventurers just continued deeper into the cave.
Finally, they came to a fork in the tunnel the smooth hallway continued straight ahead and another rough hewn path branched out to the side. Its rough edges were in stark juxtaposition to the hall they had been travelling down and it was decided that they would venture into the rough pathway. Just as they were about to set foot down the second hallway, Torr saw a boot in the original hallway.
Deciding to leave no stone unturned the trio turn around to investigate the boot, or pair of boots it would turn out to be, with their owner’s feet still inside them. It was soon evident that these were the missing feet from the body that lay outside the cave. How did they get separated from their owner was unclear, but the massive door with more of the strange cravings upon might give some clue.
Torr crept forward to touch the door, whilst Therren and Salopard maintain a rear guard in the side tunnel. As Torr reached out to touch the massive doors a deep voice spoke to Salopard directly, “Enter only if you have proven yourself worthy.”
Unsure of what this meant Salopard glance at Therren and saw that he had an odd expression upon his elven face. Torr crept back to where his friends rest and the three informed each other that they had all heard the same message, though it had spoke to Therren in elven, not common like the others.
Still felling like Avandra was on their side and not willing to disappoint Bahumat if this were another test, Torr volunteered to once more crawl forward and open the door. Everyone once more took their positions and Torr pushed open the portal. Again the voice spoke to each of the heroes;
“Welcome Watchers of the Valley!”


From the logbook of Balden, Steward of Stonefang Keep.

After my father’s untimely death, Thane Harvak has seen fit to appoint me as his replacement as Steward. I am quite honoured, and will endeavor to do my father proud, in Moradin’s name.

The stores are in shambles after the riotous behaviour of the last week. Thankfully, we’ve been able to leave that mess be, while we focus on sorting and cataloguing the Council supplies. With the exception of some missing healing potions and food eaten along the way, the supplies match the manifest sent by the Council Steward.

Our guests are recovering and resting. At first I was worried that the rituals had damaged them somehow when both Longblade and Turkey Leg started claiming that Tattoo would arrive soon by means of a flying head, but Runner backs up their claims. I’ve seen and heard more than enough of their claims come true to doubt them now.

The guardsmen reported today that they’ve cleared out the tunnel that the Umber Hulk dug. Halfway through, they found that spider-eel’s corpse. Apparently it had been beaten to death by Trogs. The guardsmen confirmed our suspicions that the tunnel leads to the old Karak Mine! The Mine looked like it had spent the past decades infested with Trogs, but most of those were killed last week. The guardsmen were able to kill or chase off the stragglers, and set to work sealing the other entrances to the Mine to keep them from coming back.

With the Council supplies catalogued, we’ve starting work on accounting for and organizing our existing supplies. Next week, I’ll ask the Thane for permission to start rebuilding the forge and fixing up the old smelting furnace. With such a fast route to the Mine, we need to get ready to start refining the ores we haul up.

Turkey Leg seems to have decided he’s a musician! I guess warrior, boar rider, diplomat and merchant weren’t enough jobs for one halfling. No sign of any flying head.

Thane Harvak agreed with my advice to accept Misha’an’s offer. He’s authorized a full work party to get started down in the Mine right away.

Therren’s Lament / The end of the entouRAGE?


We took the supplies and escorted the Dwarves from Overlook to Stonefang in high spirits. If we only knew what awaited us in the depths of the mountain, surely we would not have entered. But alas, we cannot glimpse the future, and now “we” is simply “I”.

Our voyage was uneventful until Stonefang. We found the front and inner gates unattended, but could find no evidence to a struggle. We proceeded onwards sensing that something was wrong, but were unable to put our fingers on it. As we progressed, a foul spell came over everyone; The dwarves quarrelled and we were at each other’s throats. When we arrived at the keep, Thane would not let us in, and taunted us. Tor was the one who found the burned out Smithy, with the tunnel leading into the depths of the mountain. We followed him in and quickly overcame two battles that toyed with our minds, perplexing us with foes who did not die and with invisible abominations. Finally our descent was complete, and the source of the unease revealed. A brilliant shard of crystal seemed to be the cause. Tor, always hasty, was quick to charge in and attack the Umbra Hulk and Squid-Spider monster. By the time Salopard got to his side, Tor was horribly wounded and dazed, and in the end, Salopard’s effort was not enough. My two companions fought bravely as I peppered the Umbra Hulk with arrows, but all for not. They fell and only I remained. And still I could not fell the foul beasts.

Grievously injured, with no means to heal, and with the abominable monsters both in my path, I had a horrific decision to make: To fight to the end and to accept sure death or to flee and to return for my dying companions. My shame is my flight, but I am alive to tell the tale. This will be a burden I bear for as long as I live.

My own escape was very much in doubt, as I was harried all the way up to the keep, and only just managed to evade the pursuing Umber Hulk, finishing him with a lucky shot that left me totally spent. I found my way back to the Dwarves, who offered no assistance as I tried to rally and plead with them for aid. I was able to catch my breath between my glances at the Smithy, expecting the horrible monster to emerge at any moment to finish us all. Finally, with my cuts bandaged, I steadied myself for what had to be done next. Alone, I returned to the cave and snuck back into the depth of the mountain where I surprised the foul Spider, unleashing everything I had into its godforsaken hide…yet still it did not fall. I had hurt it though, and it scrabbled away through a small tunnel to its freedom. With no appetite to continue the fight, I destroyed the crystal in the center of the room and instantly felt the oppression that had plagued us all recede. I gathered my companions and hauled them to Caligula who let out a woefull moan at the smell of the fallen halfling. Reluctantly she let me sling them over her back and we set off to the keep. I could not give up. If Tor was able to be resurrected once, perhaps they could both be brought back to the living if I found a healer with haste.

I rue the day Joral stayed in Overlook to work with Bolious, and I’m angered by Tor’s recklessness, which led us into this mess. But most of all, I am shamed by being alive while my companions lie dead, their fate in the hands of a Dwarven high-priest. He offers no promises that I will see them alive again, so I wait and I pray to Melora to look over my friends and return them swiftly to my side.

Joral, Etoella and Bolios are due to arrive in a few weeks, and I am not sure what we shall do. This might be the end of the entouRAGE. All our plans, and the first companions…friends…that I have had since my chidhood are potentially gone. Etoella has lost her appetite for battle and it might be that only Joral and I remain, the black cloaks forevermore a symbol of what we have lost. Perhaps Bolios can return us to Yaun, if the head can fly with my heart so heavy.

Note: Hey, I hope you all know that the decision to retreat was not one made lightly. But given the situation where you were both down to 1 final death save strike each, Therren being down to one hit would kill him, the two guys remaining hitting every attack in the encounter consistently, with both monsters blocking my path to you, no means to heal you, and one the Spider monster only having been hit once in the battle, it was a call I had to make. It sucks and I feel bad about it, but I stayed until the last possible moment and Therren, by personaltiy would have retreated, even without the evil influence playing upon our minds. On a personal note, I also know if I stayed, it was the end of Therren, and I’m not ready to finish playing him yet. And there was no doubt about whether I’d have died. I came down fully charged w/ action point and unloaded 7d12 + 5d6 + 55HP damage on the last guy in 3 rounds aterwards and didn’t kill him. That meant for people to live in the original battle, staying alive for about 10 rounds while 1 shot would have killed me. If I wasn’t so invested in the character, I’d certainly be dead too, but I felt if I could get away I could come back, finish the fight, and bring you guys back in a manner that would let you continue to play these characters if you wanted to. Anyhow, just want you to know I didn’t want to retreat, but in the 2 years we’ve played, we’ve never had a situation where we came to be in a position of certain defeat. We’ve had close calls, but there was always a chance of victory before this encounter, which was a perfect storm of a very difficult encounter, minuses from defences from the previous encounter, bad luck, and our own ineptitude (missing two dailies in round 1, not focus firing, Tor getting so far ahead of Sally/destroyed so early).
- N

Taking the bulls by the horns
a.k.a. "Getting A Head in Life"


Posted around Overlook, and read aloud by several heralds:

Once again, we citizens of Overlook owe a great debt to the band of heroes who came to us from over the Western mountains. Seeking nothing but the resumption of valuable trade, which benefits us all, they sought out and killed a band of filthy minotaurs that had been responsible for murdering many caravan members along the Upper trade road.

Please note that the scheduled demolition of the Temple of Radiant Morn has been canceled, following the crushing of it by the Head in the Clouds. Bolios Whittish, who oversees the flying headquarters of our blackcloaked heroes, asks that citizens stay clear of the Head while he is not inside. “The head gets hungry, and might eat you faster than I eat good Silver Lake trout, if I’m not there to control it”

Temple Condemned

Posted around Overlook, and read aloud by several heralds:

Be aware that the so-called Temple of Radiant Morn has been condemned, and is not to be visited by anyone. Our visiting heroes, at the request of the Council, explored the godless Temple and found it to be overrun with vile beasts, which they have dispatched.

Billiam Grainbeard, of the Eastvalley Grainbeards, extended his great thanks to the heroes for rescuing him from the depths of the Temple, which he had entered completely by mistake. Billiam has declared that he will be personally funding the distribution of free bread on the first day of the next 10 moon cycles, in honour of the heroes, and in honour of Lead Councillor Misha’an who sent them.

Finding the Taint

Posted around the city, and read aloud by several heralds:

Good citizens of Overlook,

The Foul water plaguing our great city is fading, thanks to the heroic efforts of men who only recently came to our valley. Seeking only to help the people of the Schoff, these warriors answered the call of Lead Councillor Misha’an, to seek out the source of the mountain water taint. In the mountains, they found that a hideous dark dragon had taken up residence, and was preparing to terrorize the whole valley.
“The dragon was as dangerous as a Silver Lake Trout is tasty”, said resplendent and noble Salopard de la Sanglier.
Fearing neither pain nor death, the noble few tracked the black beast to its lair. Fighting off waves of the dragon’s minions, and letting none escape alive, they found the dragon in its nest.
“Then I killed it……..with a sword”, said the intensely staring feline warrior, Tor.

Rejoice citizens, for this dangerous threat to our peaceful valley is at an end. In homage to those who died fighting the great blue dragon, these heroes are said to be making capes from the very hide of the slain dragon. In honour of this most honourable action, the Council has declared that the Council Guard will wear black capes from this day forward.

The dragon’s head can be seen on display at the Council headquarters.


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