Darkmoon Vale

DarkMoon Vale: Session 30
The Second Letter to the Followers of Gozreh in Falcon’s Hollow

The Second Letter to the Followers of Gozreh in Falcon’s Hollow
The Introduction and the Sojourn of Bay-Wynn 

Dear Friends,

About two weeks have passed since I last wrote you. We have had many adventures and harrowing experiences exploring this ancient temple, and the task has fallen to me to record a conclusion to these events, and to find some meaningful lessons in them. What I once referred to as “the Party of Godric” has become over these many weeks, in my mind, the Party of Bay-Wynn. Bay-Wynn’s journey, you will discover, is one that is shared by us all. To understand this, we must first come to know Bay-Wynn. Bay-Wynn, you see, was orphaned at a young age. She was told that her parents had been killed in a Dwarf raid long ago. Later, she learned the truth; her parents had died while involved in criminal activity. This instilled in Bay-Wynn a sense of alienation and distrust. She found some solace in the study of music for a time, but was then kicked out of the school ran by her Bard’s guild, more for her teacher’s envy of her talent than for anything she had done wrong. In conversation, Bay-Wynn confided in me that to this day she still “wanders the world looking for her place in it.” To some degree, I believe that we are all Bay-Wynn in this regard. What follows is the story of how Bay-Wynn and the rest of us found our own place in the world and what the journey to that place has taught me. Just a couple of days ago, I overheard Pint and Bay-Wynn having a disagreement about items looted from this place. Not long after this argument, Bay-Wynn went missing from our group, disappearing into the shadows. .. We were able to get some rest as we held up in the room with the six lobes that my dwarven friend Pint had described as “boobs”. (These dwarves have an uncanny ability to map any underground location in their minds, translating what they see into an overhead view.) Once we all arose from our rest, I sought out Mira, who had been drained of her constitution by some of the undead filth in this place during the preceding battles. I called upon Gozreh as I knelt before the half-Orc and was granted the power to restore Mira’s her constitution. In the condition she was left in, she may have soon become one of ‘them’.

Each member of the party made their usual preparations before assembling in the usual marching order, minus Bay-Wynn. We slowly moved our way down a long corridor that ended in a large room. Into this room there appeared an animated corpse with no weapons or amour that we identified as a mummy. Before we could approach the mummy, or it could react to us, three arrows flashed from an opening to the right of the mummy. The arrows glowed with a blue light of a pure flame as they struck the mummy from the side. BAY-WYNN WAS ALIVE!

I followed closely behind Pint as we charged the mummy, a maneuver that we had performed so many times before these past couple of weeks. Pint hit the mummy while I nearly lost my grip on my trident in a wild miss. An instant later, magic missiles arched overhead with a whoosh, striking the mummy, as Mira pulled up beside us. Bertha feinted and charged to try strike the mummy from the rear. Instead, two ghouls rushed down the corridor beyond this room to outflank Bertha. She was caught in the surprise attack and paralyzed. The mummy was finally brought down with a hit from Mira, three more arrows from Bay-Wynn, and scorching rays from Osric. Then Mira sliced through both ghouls to save Berth from the death she seemed to be so eagerly seeking. Bertha was in terrible shape as her paralyzation wore off. Although Bertha protested, Mira and I did what we could to heal Berth’s wounds. Bay-Wynn joined beside Mira and I as if she had never left us, without saying a word about what had transpired over the past few days. Once we had all had the chance to catch our breath, Bay-Wynn explained what had happened during her absence without giving much explanation about why she had left. I think that in part Bay-Wynn realized that she had overreacted to whatever threats Pint had made against her. After all, no one else in the party had made a threatening move toward her. Yet, Bay-Wynn never admitted to any error in judgment. She only mentioned that she observed undead still being drawn into the temple from the outside as she considered escaping the temple on her own. There were too many undead for Bay-Wynn to get out on her own. As she made her way down into the lower level of the temple, she chose to go straight where the rest of us went left. This is the point where the party soon entered the room with the six lobes.

_Meanwhile, Bay-Wynn went down a hallway into a thirty-foot-diameter antechamber. In the center of the room was a large green transparent crystal. Large iron chains extended from the crystal into the ceiling, holding it a few feet above the floor. Within the crystal was a heavily tattooed man dressed in a hooded robe of archaic style, a century or more out of date. Bay-Wynn identified the tattoos as sacred symbols of Pharasma, the god of fate, death, prophecy and birth. A piece of the crystal was broken off, exposing the man’s hand, and tiny fragments of the broken crystal were scattered about the floor.

Just as Bay-Wynn entered the chamber, the tattooed man contacted her telepathically. The man identified himself as a seer and warned Bay-Wynn that a reckless necromancer had broken the ancient seal entombing the ancient master of this place who he referred to as the Whispering Tyrant. The seer continued, explaining that the Seal is one of several that keep the Whispering Tyrant imprisoned. Furthermore, the Whispering Tyrant has become aware that the one of the seas has been broken. If the Whispering Tyrant continues to gain strength, the seer fears he could be strong enough to seize mental command of the necromancer, using him to locate and break the other seals. The seer begged Bay-Wynn to destroy the invader and either reseal the Vault or collapse the tunnels leading to it. The seer told Bay-Wynn that he attempted to defeat the necromancer at the time he first arrived at the temple, but woefully underestimated the necromancer’s strength. Though the seer was unable to kill the immortal priest, he did manage to drain him of all his powers, leaving him hanging helpless in his crystal. The seer also bound an undead spirit of one of his former allies within him in effort to gain the strength to defeat the necromancer. But the seer explained that he could feel the necromancer watching him though the spirit of his former ally. Soon after the story was finished, Bay-Wynn noticed that r the crystal began to sway menacingly. The seer’s face, within this imprisoned shell, contorted into a menacing snarl as he telepathically spewed forth curses in a fiendish tongue. Then, Bay-Wynn saw the undead spirit bound within the seer escape seer’s body through the seer’s mouth in the seer’s silent scream. The seer collapsed to the floor, leaving Bay-Wynn face to face with a wraith. Somehow, Bay-Wynn was able to defeat the wraith without it doing much harm to her. Bay-Wynn mentioned that she had to use a gift from a goddess in order to survive the encounter. The details of this encounter are the bard’s tale to tell.

_
After defeating the wraith, Bay-Wynn started back down the tunnel to find the rest of the party. With Bay-Wynn’s fateful sojourn and the information gained from it, the reunited party might be able to prevent the escape of the Whispering Tyrant…

After telling her story, Bay-Wynn motioned for us to cut the head off of the mummy. Bay-Wynn still held onto the magical cage that we had gained from the ancient dwarf shortly after I entered this place. The magic in the cage had not diminished. After we placed the head of the mummy in this cage, we were able to learn from the mummy that his “master” lay ahead. Soon, this adventure would be over, for good or for ill.

The corridor ahead was lined with sconces holding candles that burned with an intense white light. Ruins were spotted on the wall of the corridor signifying “death” in a least a dozen languages. We cautiously approached the end of the corridor where there was a kind of plug with a handle on it. We speculated that this may be one of the seals that Bay-Wynn spoke of, so we hesitated. We did not want to release the seal and unleash the Whispering Tyrant upon the world. Osric detected magic on the candles in the corridor, but surmised that the unnatural light that they burned with was their only magical ability. After pondering our situation for a while, Pint gave us his confidence that we had left no other region of these ruins unexplored. We realized that there was no reasonable option but to move forward. Bertha detected no mechanical trap on the plug, and proceeded to pull the plug, revealing a curved path ahead. Bertha felt herself pulled into the path ahead and began to float in the absence of gravity along the path. As Bertha floated along, she was rammed by a floating sphere that accelerated into her. A couple of other spheres flew by her, narrowly missing her. One by one, we each ran this gauntlet of the spheres. Many of us were harmed by the colliding spheres before we reached the end of the path, where we found ourselves faced with another plug. Mira was able to open the second plug, and we quickly passed through the portal beyond into a long corridor leading to a rotunda. In the distance, at the center of this rotunda we saw a machine of some kind, a complicated network of gears. Ten ghouls stood before this machine, guarding our path to it. Above the network of gears we saw a terrifying sight. Levitating above the machine, there was a hideous animated body with entrails hanging out from the pelvic inlet. Bay-Wynn was the quickest out of the portal and she pressed forward. Two of her arrows found their mark, staggering two of the ghouls. I reached out instinctively to heal Pint and Osric as they pulled themselves out of the portal. As soon as I felt the power go out of me, Pint and Bertha charged toward the ghouls and Osric ran up to protect Bay-Wynn’s let flank. Six of the ghouls enveloped Bertha and Pint, and they were cut off from the rest of us. The remaining four ghouls rushed toward Bay-Wynn and Osric. Mira, with the poise of an experience fighter, was waiting for the move and countered it, rushing to Bay-Wynn’s right to chop down one of the ghouls with one blow. Bay-Wynn stepped back and launched arrows into another ghoul from point blank range. Meanwhile, Bertha felled one ghoul of the six surrounding her and Pint as Pint went into a berserk rage. I channeled power from Gozreh, killing one of the remaining three ghouls in separating us from Pint and Bertha, and injuring the two others. The ghouls responded to this evidently seeing me as the greatest threat, and attacked me brutally, wounding me in several places. An animated sword then appeared out of the corner to slash at the unsuspecting Mira. Mira slashed back at the sword and a loud ring filled the rotunda when her axe met the sword. Bay-Wynn fired again with her bow, dropping another ghoul and Bertha killed another ghoul bettering her odds to four against two. I tried to cast a lightning bolt on the last ghoul facing me, but it was no more than a very potent spark. With its shock troops whittled down, the Lich finally went into action, flying out from its perch above the gears to ram Osric, knocking him to the floor, while the remaining ghoul followed and savagely attacked the helpless wizard. Before I was able to react, the animated sword flew over and attacked me from the side, bloodying me further. An instant later, Mira countered that attack killing the ghoul that had just attacked me. At this point, Berta and Pint faced four ghouls, while Mira, Bay-Wynn and I faced the Lich and the magic sword with the wizard Osric lying prone before us. The Lich was horrifying and my instincts were telling me to flee. But Bay-Wynn had begun to sing a spell to inspire courage and my heart no longer faltered. Bertha attempted a feint, stumbled, and still caught a ghoul frozen by the move. Bertha seized this momentary advantage to slip behind the ghoul and kill it with one blow. Gaining composure, I channeled the power again to grant healing to those within my range. Osric cast a fireball killing two of the remaining three ghouls and seriously scorching the other. Then, Mira was hit by the magic sword as she attempted to seize it and the Lich took its revenge upon Osric, knocking him down a second time. Pint was ragged with fatigue, but finally killed the last ghoul, enabling the party to focus all of its power upon the dreaded Lich. I went to the aid of Osric again and cast my most potent healing spell upon him. Osric sprung to his feet and cast a lightning bolt at the Lich. The Lich returned fire with a lightning bolt of his own that burned into Bay-Wynn, Osric and I in a line, but Osric was able to dodge the worst of it. I channeled again to heal as many as I could reach. Then, Osric cast a fireball on the Lich, who responded by slamming Osric to the ground yet again. The Lich tried to drain Osric of his will, but Osric resisted. Mira was able to seize the sword on her second attempt, as Bay-Wynn continued to fire arrows without finding a vulnerable target. I channeled healing power again as Bertha charged into the fray. Osric rose again with the toughness of a prize fighter and he summoned an air elemental to our aid. Pint, knowing that it was impossible to harm the Lich with his main weapon, pulled out his sling and hit the Lich square in the forehead. Bay-Wynn used her staff of power to heal Osric again. I cast a spell of holy power against the Lich, who was then struck by an acid arrow from Osric. Pint rushed with his next sling attack, dropping the bolt and needing to reload. Bertha stood before the Lich exclaiming that it’s time was at an end. The expression on the Lich’s face grew despondent. It knew that it was defeated. It fought on only to try to take some of us down with it. I cast lightning on the Lich and Osric seemed to shimmer and then disappear from my view. The Lich cast a scorching ray of fire back at me in desperation. Then the air elemental hit the Lich. Finally, Pint let loose a sling bolt and Bay-Wynn let loose arrows that both found their mark, and the Lich fell backward with a mighty crash. The battle for the temple and the control of the seals had ended, for now. We realized that we were not strong enough to tangle with the Whispering Tyrant. When we get back to Falcon’s Hollow, we must see to it that the approach to this place has a guard placed upon it, and travelers are warned to stay clear of the temple. After all the adventure and some petty squabbles along the way, we have survived and likely saved the region from impending ruin. I do still don’t know what caused Bay-Wynn to have a change of heart, or even if she did indeed have such a change of heart. But seeing Pint and Bay-Wynn nearly come to blows and then team together to bring down the Lich, I began to ponder what it takes to build a successful team like the one we had become. My thoughts went to the words of a famous cleric of another god:

Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” There may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

This is for me the greatest definition of a team, that if one part suffers, all parts suffer with it. If one part is honored, all parts share some measure of that honor. What then about the individual members? For this, I turn to a poem about a man entering into marriage called, The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet. The poem explained that it took a measure of each of those persona to commit to another person for life. I think it may take the same three persona for a human to be able to place his life in the hands of a couple of dwarves, a couple of elves and a half-orc. Yet, it turns out that my answer to Bay-Wynn’s question is that my place in the world is beside them! For the people of Falcon’s Hollow who have suffered so much, the poem says:

_Let this be the last day
where tears roll down your face
savor the sadness and pain,
for tomorrow will be a new day.

Pack your bags and be ready ‘cos Tomorrow we’ll ride across the plain Headed to the place where They specialize in happy endings and where none of our fears remain_
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DarkMoon Vale: Session 29
Excerpt from Pint Bloodhorns' journal:

Excerpt from Pint Bloodhorn’s journal:

Although there was still much debate on whether that thing we just killed was made out of wax or flesh, it was agreed that it was indeed a golem and we were gonna leave it at that. Got better things than arguing about the specifics of the things we kill— for instance, more killing! I will say I do like knowing how we kill things though, wish we could spend more time discussing that. Speaking of extremely inefficient ways of spending our time, these two buggers that joined our group to look for their zombified family have proven to be more than just extremely irritating. They also happen to be outstandingly bad adventurers, though I should stop being surprised of that by now. Suffice to say that they keep going in different directions shouting the names of their lost family members— do they not realize we’re in a zombie infested dungeon?? And they have the gall of calling me stupid. Well, if it gets them killed no skin off my bones, I ain’t getting paid to baby sit. That I end up doing that anyway most of the time is another matter. As the two wankers go in another corridor, Mira, Bertha and I trek northward whilst Osric and Casimir cover the rear as a proper military unit ought to do. We encounter a lever that opens a secret entrance by causing the stone wall to spin like a revolving door. Unfortunately, no one decided to jump into the revolving entrance and now the lever is stuck in place. Well, I never said we were a good or even effective military unit. Deciding to sod that mess, we move back and catch up with the two blighters that are still wandering about the darkness shouting names. I take point because if anyone’s gonna die here is gonna be because their own stupidity and not because I failed at protecting them. You know, like it normally happens whenever someone bites the dust around here. Scouting ahead, I run into a crossroads that lead to the left and right. After peering over a wall I spot a group of zombies lumbering about and I’m quick to inform my group that we’re about to make contact. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting that no one here besides Bertha and I have military training and the two rookies take my hand gestures as a sign of moving forward. As expected they immediately get jumped by zombies and chomped on, forcing the rest of us to engage the undead and try to pry them off. I have to give credit to the bloke looking for his family though. He makes an effort to not hurt the zombies even as they are attacking him and his cohort on the off chance they are members of his family. Wish he put that level of dedication on more useful things like surviving. Bertha, Mira and I chop the front line of zombies whilst Osric and Casmir back us up. To my surprise, the bloke orders his cohort Rabina to do something useful for a change and controls a large portion of the zombies and makes them hold still. I have to wonder what kind of relation that human and elf have since I can’t imagine anyone complying to that bloke’s orders unless they are getting their jollies outta it. Leaving that as it may, the spell proves very effective. The immobilized zombies are disposed off in short order and the bloke finds his zombified father among them. Kudos to that. Rabina ties dad zombie up with a suspicious amount of skill, making me wonder even more about what kind of stuff these blighters are into. Nothing else in this room. We leave dad zombie tied up and we move forward. There’s an oddly shaped room up ahead. And by oddly shaped I mean it looks like there’s boobs everywhere. Boobs.. (The next page of the journal consists of badly, scratched out, doodles that oddly resemble Bertha) Crud! I need to conserve paper! As we go into the room we run head straight into what appears to be a monster stitched out from parts of other monsters. With several pairs of arms, legs, eyes and mouths everywhere and heads coming out from different places in his body. Very cute. Casimir has the brilliant idea of baiting the beastie back into the other room were we can properly circle it and use our superior numbers to our advantage. That would have been great, where it not for the fact that Rabina and her boss were way too overextended as usual and got grappled by the beast. Hopefully, Casimir now understands how I feel every day working with these fools. Moral obligation compels us to save our party members, no matter how utterly obnoxious, bossy and egocentric they may be so rather than leave them to their fate Mira, Bertha and I make a mad dash to try and pry them off the monster’s several arms. Mira grabs hold of Rabina, whilst Bertha and I both try to yank out the bloke. They are really stuck in there. Yeah, that didn’t work. Beast grabbed them good and squeezed them to death. Bah. Just.. bah. Having taking a few casualties, Casimir’s idea of falling back and fighting the beast in our terms is starting to look really good. For some reason though, Bertha took great offense at that thing killing our two rookies — I guess she wanted to kill them herself — and charged the beast. Sod it, I know its a bad idea, but I’m never opposed to killing stuff. Might as well go out with a bang. Bertha and I engage first and I start parrying the blows thrown at me though Bertha takes a few stray blows. Mira comes in on the oblique angle and starts hacking it apart with her axe while we keep it occupied. Under normal circumstances I’d say we are doing pretty well but these thing has like four arms which evens out the odds by quite a bit. In a stroke of pure tactical genius — which no doubt comes from hanging out with me for such a long time — Osric masterfully summons a pack of hyenas to flank the beast. They immediately assail its rear and trip it up giving us a few precious moments to whack at it while it regains its balance. I would have gone out of my way to congratulate him where it not for him casting grease soon after and making the daft move of reminding me of Bay’wynn. Now I’m gonna pretend like I didn’t notice. After a solid axe chop, Mira manages to finish the thing off and it collapses, vanquished at our feet. Eh, its Bay’wynn’s loss for missing out on that battle. A song about this epic would have earned her more than a pretty penny. In strength, Pint Bloodhorns.
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Darkmoon Vale: Session 28
Rahimiras' Journey Continues

As they descended into the darkness, Casimir held a gloved hand to his face. “It smells like death”. Mira thought to herself that so did almost everywhere they had ventured in the past year. At first it seemed that death followed them. Now it seemed that they sought it out. Seemed to embrace it. Maybe that was what she was doing. Why she was still here. She told herself that these people were her friends. Her family. But maybe she had just come to relished the fighting and the death. Maybe she should just leave; like Njord and now Bay-Wynn. When Bay-Wynn disappeared, Mira had wanted to go looking for her, but Pint insisted that she had chosen to leave on her own. Even though he claimed to not know her reasons, Mira was sure that Pint had something to do with her leaving. Ever since the other dwarves began showing up, Pint seemed to be different somehow. He had left his home to find himself, but it seemed that they weren’t going to let that happen. Even though she respected their skills as fighters, Mira could never seem to fully trust the other dwarves. First Tank and his apparent desire to be killed in battle and now Bertha who only seemed to be interested in what treasures she could attain; regardless of who got hurt.

Though Mira though often about returning to Falcon’s Hollow she didn’t feel that she belonged there anymore. She had learned things that the average villager didn’t know and had done things that no civilized folk should do. She had always wanted to separate herself from her Orc heritage. What she had heard people whisper about her. But she could not deny the fighter that she had become. There was obviously no escaping what she was meant to be. The incline into the cavern became more steep and Casimir gripped Mira’s shoulder tighter in the inky blackness. The group had decided that, since they weren’t sure what they would find, that it would be more prudent not to light their path and possibly alert anyone of their approach. Those who could see in the dark (Mira, Pint and Bertha) were staggered through the group, leading those who could not. Mira lead the way with Casimir close behind. They were followed by Bertha and Osric while Pint brought up the rear. Casimir had a weird sensation that they were being watched in the darkness, but he told himself that it was just the eeriness that accompanied his temporary loss of sight. They rounded a sharp bend and the path opened into a wide cavern that was dimly lit by a glow coming from a massive pit that took up most of the cavern floor. The pit was filled with screaming people, their flesh rotting from their bones as they tried to claw their way out. Along the edge, Casimir laid eyes on creatures that made his skin crawl. He wasn’t sure if they were transformed through corrupt deeds or birthed from a pure evil. Seemingly unaffected by the sight of the repugnant creatures, Bertha rushed forward destroying one quickly and raising her weapon again to attack another. Despite the air of slow death that hung from them, the creatures moved quickly and surrounded her. Osric summoned a fire elemental hoping to dispel them quickly, but it was easily repelled by one of the creatures. Osric took note that these creatures were not just undead, but something inherently more powerful. Mira cast entanglement in hopes of slowing them down while Pint moved in to provide aid to Bertha. Casimir’s earlier premonition was brought to light as the cavern filled with a rumbling voice commanding them to stop. His eyes darted to the ceiling to asses the new danger and he saw a man floating along the ceiling. Casimir feared that it could be a necromancer and that it had caused the plight of the people in the pit and had created the creatures they now faced. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed another figure moving surreptitiously into the cavern. While he was distracted another creature crept along his flank. It reached out a decrepit hand and burned his wrist in it’s icy grip. He flung an acid dart to repel it. Thankfully his gloves offered some protection though his entire forearm now burned with pain. Casimir thought that his fears were confirmed when the floating figure shouted through the cavern “You are killing my family!” Anyone that would claim kinship to these creatures must surely have heinous intentions. Mira noticed three of the undead jumping into the pit and stepped back as the voice continued to plead that they stop fighting and asserted that it could stop the creatures. “Who are you?” she screamed at the ceiling and remained suspicious when she did not receive an answer. She heard Pint grunt in pain as one of the creatures stabbed him through his shoulder. Mira rushed to help and pulled her axe over her head to swing at another creature that was encroaching on his left side. A strong gust blew over them and pushed the creature backwards causing it to miss Pint and Mira’s axe to clank on the stone floor at her feet. She swiveled quickly and saw the mysterious figure with a look of fury in his eyes. She watched him as his attention was drawn to the cavern entrance where Bertha was charging a female that appeared to be human. She wasn’t certain about the intentions of the newcomers and was distracted in trying to figure out what to do about them. She heard a small blast over her left shoulder and turned to see a creature melting just inches away from her. She looked up to see Casimir’s disapproving eyes and nodded a thanks as she steeled herself to ridding the cavern floor of these creatures. Then they would worry about the two humans and those in the pit. Once the creatures were finally defeated, Casimir turned his attention to the people still stuck in the pit. “What are you doing here?” Mira questioned the newcomers. “My name is Corgman. And this is Robenah”. He nodded over his shoulder to the young girl eyeing Berta with deadly intent. “Our family disappeared months ago and we are searching for them.” “So you think they are in the pit?” Mira asked.

“They could be anywhere. Or turned into anything. We have to find them and maybe we can turn them back.”

“We can help you. We’re here to – “ “You may have already killed them!” Corgman shouted angrily at her. “We don’t know where they are or what has happened to them.”

Corgman was obviously distraught and still a potential threat. Mira took a few seconds to gather her thoughts before responding. “That is something that I truly regret, friend, but we could not risk our own lives on the chance that your kin were among these creatures.”

Corgman calmed a bit as he considered the truth of her words. “Admittedly, the chances were slim, but we are desperate to find them! We have to check everyone and check everywhere.” Mira could hear the anguish in his voice. Though she did not have family of her own, she knew what it meant to care for someone. She stepped forward and extended her hand. “We will do everything we can to help reunite you and your family.

She thought she heard Bertha scoff and looked up, but her attention was drawn to Casimir instead. He had pulled two people from the pit. The decay on their bodies made them look partly burned and partly eaten. Their cries chilled her blood as they pleaded for death. Osric came to offer Casimir aid as he prayed over them to try to repel the decay, but their charges collapsed as death released them from their pain.
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DarkMoon Vale: Session 27
A Wizards Perspective

After the last long arduous leg of our journey, we finally were rested. We gained our full strength and then some. We used up the last bit of healing left in Godric’s power and sent him on his way. It was now our time to enter the lair of the evil we had been following.

Using Viktor the raven as a scout, Osric sent his pet ahead to ascertain what sorts of threats we would be encountering. At an intersection of passages, Viktor took the left and discovered a wide hall filled with vile creatures of the undead. With the intelligence gathered by the raven, we got the drop on the creatures and were able to dispatch them forthwith.

At this time, Bay-Wynn peered down the right corridor and discovered and immense cavern with a large pit at its center. The cave held scores of more undead toiling at throwing poor live souls into the pit as they screamed for their lives. Despite seeing this horror before us, we decided to keep moving down the left corridor. In retrospect this seems very cold.

At the end of the passage we encountered a large turnstile device connected to many large gears strewn about the room. Through careful inspection, Bertha was able to undo the lock on the turnstile which we discovered opened a large door to the right of the device. Beyond the large sliding door, Osric once again sent his trusty bird to reconnoiter what lay ahead of us. What Viktor discovered was a long, wide corridor with a floor covered in disembodied, fist-sized eyeballs.

Bay-Wynn used her trusty spider slippers to walk the ceiling to the opposite side of the long passage which had an exit portal which continued on. Osric used his arcane powers to destroy most of the eyes on the floor with an ice storm out of thin air. As we passed through the room, avoiding the newly discovered pits that the eyeballs had been hiding, a disgusting creature emerged from one of these pits near the far end of the room. The vile beast was shapeless yet contained uncountable mouths ringed in razor sharp teeth. We tangled with the beast (literally), but we prevailed. Osric and Bertha were nearly killed when they were engulfed by the creature, but were saved at the last moment by Casimir’s holy smite.

At the end of the long chamber we entered a smaller hallway that led to a small room with a statue. Osric lit a candle and placed it at the base of the statue which caused the door behind it to unlock. Beyond was a room that contained old cloaks hanging on hooks around the perimeter. In one of the cloaks Bay-Wynn discovers a ring. Bertha decided that it would be a good idea to try and steal it from her. This causes all sorts of havoc and Bay-Wynn and Pint nearly kill each other. Luckily cooler heads prevailed.

After the pointless ruckus, we doubled back to the large cavern with the pit of unfortunate souls. It was time to save them from their horrendous fate…

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DarkMoon Vale: Session 26
A Letter to the Followers of Gozreh in Falcon’s Hollow

A Letter to the Followers of Gozreh in Falcon’s Hollow

Dear Friends, In my journeys, I managed to find myself on an errand to find the paladin Godric, who set out with a party of explorers to investigate an ancient dwarven temple site near here. I set out cautiously alone to track the company down. When I finally encountered the party within the temple, I found their situation dire. I caught a glimpse of a large tentacle lifting one of the explorers into the air, followed by a splash and many sounds of terror and struggle. As the rush of battle hit me, I lost my usual composure. Hoping that the water below was deep enough to keep me buoyant, I called on all that within nature that is chaotic, ran past an elf standing at the edge of the cliff and leapt over. What seemed to me at first to be a beautiful dive, flattened out as I fell, sending me flopping into the water with a thud. So much for my grand entrance! After the kraken-like creatures were defeated, I was able to introduce myself to the battered and bruised company of Godric. (For more context, I refer you to the entry from the journal of Pint the Dwarf that precedes this letter. If we ever see the light of day again, the entire chronicle of this party will be made available to you.) I only impart this part of the story to you to let you see that the company initially thinks me half-crazed. Remember always that you only get one chance to make a first impression. The record is a bit unclear as to how we first encountered these two peculiar figures within the temple. The first figure had its head and eyes stitched together, while the second was the disembodied head of a dwarf that had been fixed to a cage. Most of the party was wounded at this point. We needed rest and we needed information! The elf Bay-Wynn tried to cut the mouth and eye slits of the first figure open. Perhaps we might then speak to this creature. Meanwhile, Pint the Dwarf was attempting to free the head from its cage. I had little to offer in this endeavor, so I took some rest. We found that an enchantment was placed on the head allowing us to speak with its former owner, a dwarf named Gimble. Unfortunately, we were not able to gain any significant information before the spirit of the dwarf was silenced. If the spirit of the dwarf held any secrets of this place, he was not sharing them. Pint secured the cage in his backpack with the head still attached, and we moved onward. We passed though a hallway into a widening room ahead supported with rows of pillars. A headless body lay at the far end of the room still flapping as if still in its death throes. It was if some ritual of sacrifice had recently taken place here. With no immediate danger apparent, I took the opportunity to cure Godric and Pint, who were among the worst off. (Bertha was also badly hurt, but put on a brave face, saying that she was fine.) Just as I felt the flow of the power of Gozreh ebb, I noticed a creature of shadow emerge to the right hand of the headless body. The wizard Osric must have seen the wraith quickly, since he cast a spell of protection upon Pint, who promptly charged to the right of the wraith. Mira the half-orc charged to the aid of Pint, and she shuddered as she was touched by the wraith. I followed into center of the room behind Bertha to protect her rear while keeping a wary eye on the battle with the wraith. Mira hit the wraith as Bay-Wynn set up to our right flank. Bay-Wynn had her timing thrown off waiting for Bertha and I to pass, and she let an arrow fly into her foot. Her second arrow rang true however, burning into the wraith after impact. Bertha circled deftly behind the wraith with Godric close behind, and I took position behind Mira, as Osric cast and arrow of acid at the wraith. I saw Pint wince after a mighty thrust with his spear passed through the wraith, striking the wall beyond. Mira and Bertha both connected as did Bay-Wynn again with two more arrows. Mira reeled as she was rendered senseless by another touch from the wraith. I missed with my trident, but the wraith dissipated an instant later with Godric’s finishing blow. After the encounter with the wraith, we gathered to assess our condition. Mira was in bad shape. It is a sad sight to see a half-orc muttering about being afraid of the dark, when the monsters come out. But good Godric slowly approached Mira, speaking soothing words as he gently took her hand. And so, by the power of his God, Godric restored Mira’s tortured mind. Bertha took the initiative to remove the head of the dwarf from its cage and placed the head near the body at the far end of the room. The head and body fused together for a moment, and then turned to dust. I bowed my head in silent prayer for the blessing upon the dwarf and for blessing upon Bertha for her thoughtful act. Bertha approached the pillars to examine some ancient script carved in relief upon them. With help from Osric, Bertha pieced together some of the history of this place. It turns out that some 500 years ago; this temple was taken over by a wizard that was described as “anti-life”. The wizard made this place the seat of his power as he practiced the dark arts of becoming a lich. As he grew in power, he assembled and army, slew the long ago king of this realm, and committed genocide against his people. Such vile crimes against nature must be avenged! This place must be cleansed of the evil that took hold here so long ago. It must not be allowed to stand to threaten the good people of Falcon’s Hollow. We continued on through the corridor that the wraith came from and entered a room with a statue of a priest at the center. I must confess that neither, I nor any of my companions recognized the figure. I struggled to see with most of the company in front of me. There were also alcoves positioned around the room with skeletons held back from us by metal gates. I thought it prudent to perform some healing before these skeletons were somehow released upon us. Before I had much time to prepare, Bertha walked up to the door at the far end of the room and opened it. She seems to abhor inactivity. She sometimes seems to be running headlong and hell-bent in pursuit of her own death. I heard Pint mention something about being stuck, to which Bay-Wynn replied, “You stick to everything with your bathing habits”. I turned to see the expressions on their faces soften to a look of respect, or maybe even fondness. The tension was broken for only a fleeting instant however. When Bertha opened the door we were greeted by two more shadowy forms. One hit Bertha immediately, sapping her strength, while the other found Pint isolated near the center of the room, and hit him from behind. Pint fought back desperately without an effective weapon against such a foe. The rest of us finally entered the fray. I channeled the power of Gozreh against the shadows, while Osric cast a fireball that burst upon the shadows, Pint and Bertha. Mira wheeled clockwise around the statue of the priest to gain the flank of the shadow attacking Pint, but missed with the first sweep of her axe. I then saw two arrows streak by and burn into the shadow that Bertha was facing. It was now noticeably fading. Bertha and Mira were both hit again. Bertha finished off the shadow facing her, and I tried to gain a position behind the other only to witness its end from another mighty swing from the half-orc’s axe. By this point we were all physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Here is where I believe I found my place in this company. Bertha wished to press on, always the ambitious one. Bay-Wynn and I were the most adamant that we needed time to rest and recover before moving on. I felt a kindred spirit in the elf. Bay-Wynn was a welcome voice of caution. I feared that pressing on, we might all perish, and the evil here would be left to fester. The problem was to find a defensible position as Pint pointed out. By making our camp back at the room with the water at our back, we hoped to defend one direction. Sentries were posted and we tried to get some rest. Underground and no longer aware of the passage of day or night, we were woken by wave upon wave of zombies until we were mercifully allowed to rest. We have all narrowly escaped death, but it is a new day. We stand together, with renewed strength, and steadfast dedication to the task at hand.
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DarkMoon Vale: Session 25
Excerpt from Pint Bloodhorns' journal:
Sodding wet. Back again in this blasted cathedral and this time we’re going deeper into the catacombs underneath. Not too surprising that its got bloody tunnels running every which way considering it was a dwarven temple of worship, but come on, the closest dwarven settlement is hundreds of miles away — I should know coming from there — what could they possibly need these extensive tunnels for? Bloody fanatics. Anyway, deep tunnels are really the least of me problems right now. We ran into some well infested with eyes and some other beasties that like to yank blokes by the ankles and try to drown them. Ya know, like blasted cowards, instead of fighting toe to toe like real dwarves. One of them pulled me down deep and I spent the better part of a minute struggling with the fiend underwater. I could hear me comrades struggling in the surface with some other beasts of their own. Every time I managed to break free, another would just pull me down into the water before I could do anything. Eventually, I just decided to disengage and get to higher ground. Tactics is what keeps a fighter alive when the foe refuses to fight fair. Those bloody darkmantles from months ago come to mind. When I finally manged to get to shore and pepper the things with me sling I got to see a good look at the situation. Mira had chopped one of the creatures in half as she often does with things and I could see clearly they were some kind of nasty, tentacle infested, diseased ghoul with their lips stitched together to make them look real pretty. These weren’t normal undead from folk that drowned here. These were guardians that someone deliberately put here I think. Things were looking pretty grim though, Godric was pulled underwater too and I could see he was trying to heal himself just to stay alive. Mira was in the thick of it as was Bertha and Otho’s adopted brother, Osric or something, he had followed my example and got to dry land. Only Bay-Wynn was left behind and up the chasm where we climbed/jumped down to shoot arrows at the creatures. Standard elven tactics I reckon, at least someone is learning some kind of strategy around here. Just then some crazed human in armor jumped in out of nowhere to try and help us and ended up belly flopping straight into the water. I just want to know how do I keep running into these terribly bad adventurers. I mean, it doesn’t look like Otho’s brother even knows how to swim, though that’s not too surprising seeing that he’s an elf. Mira’s wolf turned badger joined in and started doing some work on the water zombies. She got grabbed but that only caused for it and Mira to go berserk and start shredding the blighters apart. The belly flop bloke finally snapped out of it and joined the fight, at least it looks like he knows how to swim. He has a trident too, always been a big fan of the weapons. Why, me old man Quart Bloodhorns is an expert sasumata user which is much like a trident.

Journal goes on several pages about the history and usage of polearm weapons among dwarven kind

.. and that’s why the Urgrosh is sodding amazing. Did I mention to write I got a masterwork Urgrosh now? I probably did but it bears writing it many more times. I’ve decided to give it a name, because all great weapons have names. I will call my Urgrosh; Snicker-Snack. I came up with that one all on my own! And Bay-Wynn says I can’t write. Hah. At any rate, we killed the bloody things after an arduous fight and I must say that was quite the harrowing encounter. Did I really just write that? I really have been spending way too much time with Bay-Wynn. Speaking of which, right after we finished the creatures off, Bay-Wynn tried to swing from the rope down and ended up falling in the water anyway. What a daft bimbo. We talked to the guy that came to help us, says his name is Casimir and that he was sent here by that wench of a priestess to drag Godric out of here so he can move on with his quest. Casimir took a good look at the banged up form of Godric and declared that he is in no condition to travel and I have to agree, besides, I’d prefer if Godric can stick around with us at least until we are done exploring these catacombs. I can always use more bodies in the field. I initially thought that this Casimir guy was maybe sent by the lumberjack company to try and weasel us out of more money but Bay-Wynn says he’s straight. Guess I’ll trust her on this — because clearly that has never come back to bite me in the arse. With that out of the way, we’ve sat here for a spell to dry and get all the water out of me beard. -- Moving through the catacombs we encounter a large suspicious looking chamber. Bay-Wynn and Bertha move first to scout ahead and right behind them some bladed pendulums drop from the ceiling. We were standing a ways off so they miss us completely but now we have the group split in two. As we’re trying to figure out what to do, Bertha says she spots some fairies further down the corridor. Bloody fairies, I’ll kill the lot of them I will! Except she said she wasn’t sure they were fairies because they look more like zombies, which honestly doesn’t matter to me any since I was gonna kill whatever they were anyways. Casimir the Cleric casts a big wall of wind to keep those zombie fairies away from us while we negotiate this bladed pendulum situation we got in front of us. Right off, the elf Osric shows he has some moves and dives right between them avoiding them all. Now if only he could just that kind of dexterity when he was nearly drowning back with the water zombies. His raven didn’t seem to be so lucky as it flew in to follow his master and got sliced nearly in half for his trouble. I muscle my way in after them because, well, sod this waiting around I need to kill stuff. One of them hits me across the shoulder but I just ignore it and pelt the zombie things first with my sling braining one of them. In the meantime, Godric, Mira and Casimir begin slashing the pendulums apart and Bay-Wynn, who’s currently upside down in the ceiling using her magical spider walk slippers, shoots one of the zombies in the head with an arrow. Bertha who is the closest does the sensible thing and charges the lot of them head first. She smashes one good but the rest start piling on her right afterwards. Not to be left out though, our elf gets rushed by one of the zombies too and gets caught way out of position. Otho’s family just seems to have no bloody understanding of what battle maneuvering even is. Could use a couple lessons in military tactics, provided they stay alive long enough to learn. Fortunately, everyone’s favorite paladin Godric is on the case and rushes to the elf’s side, hacking the zombie apart with his sword. Problem is the bloated zombie then had the indecency of exploding all over Godric’s face covering him in innards and stomach refuse. This of course then caused Godric to dry heave real bad and lose his lunch all over the ground. It was great. That looked like fun, so naturally I charge in after one that is attacking Bertha and impale it with the spear end of Snicker-Snack. The zombie then pops like a balloon on me too but I have the fortune of reveling on this stuff because I FREAKIN’ LOVE FIGHTING. Besides, I’ve drank ale that is way more poisonous than this and tastes just as bad. Once the bladed pendulums are taken care off, Mira charges into the fray and slices the zombies apart, Bertha hammers in the rest of them, and Bay-Wynn nails the last one on the head. Casimir totally went and stole my kill with a lightning bolt though. Talk about rude!! I’m gonna need to have a serious talk with him about party dynamics. After making sure that the elf’s bird didn’t die on us, we marched on and entered a dark room where we ran into some wanker holding a dwarven’s head inside a cage. Feeling aggravated by such a brazen display, I walked up to the skinny basterd and asked him if he was trying to pick a fight with us. Bloke said nothing, he only smiled with stitched together lips like those underwater zombies and lunged at us, so I am going to assume that was a yes. I lock in with the pale sod whilst Mira and Bertha flank him from both sides and start wailing on him with both axe and hammer. Casimir thrusts his trident at him and skewer him nice and bloody, which I approve of. Our elf wizard way back behind us then charges a lighting bolt and blasts at it, but not without singeing both Casimir and I since we were up close and personal with the bloke. Ey, it’s standard ‘tank and spank’ strategy, I won’t begrudge the elf none. Note to self: Punch that elf’s jaw off. This blighter is somehow penetrating my armor despite all my defenses and Mira starts shouting at me to back off, whilst Bertha starts taunting me to stick to it and prove that I am a man contrary to popular belief. I instantly start having flashbacks of me telling Tank to back out, only for him to stubbornly refuse and pay the price of his bravery. Ultimately, I decide to go full defense and try to parry the fiend’s blows. That way I minimize the probabilities of me getting killed while still staying in the fight. Mira begrudged me for it saying that it was a stupid move. She wouldn’t understand though, she’s not a man. Great fighter though. Eventually we just hammer that guy’s skull in whilst he was busy wasting his time trying kill me. Blasted thing banged me up pretty good though and I feel a wee bit woozy after that brawl. Hope I’m not coming down with something. In Strength, Pint Bloodhorns -— How come I can never get any good enchantments?
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DarkMoon Vale: Session 24
Letter from Bay-Wynn

From: Bay-Wynn
To: My glorious editor and dear friend

I can’t keep doing this. I can’t. I woke up last night screaming in a room in that damn pub. It was a dream, just a dream. Otho was standing at the end of my bed watching me. He looked right into me – but he had black eyes, lifeless, like a dolls eyes. And the screaming. The terrible high pitched screaming. And then I woke up in that cold, empty room. Like waking up in a tomb. Its my fault he died. I tried to get him to follow. I was too far gone to carry him. The world was swimming and it was all I could do to stagger, covered in so much blood. Everywhere. I saw him go down. I was only alive because of him and now I couldn’t get to him. I was too weak! Sarenrae forgive me!! So many dead. Otho, Randy, Tank, Nobbla. I still see them in my dreams. Why did I live? Why not them!! I’m just a … I just tell dirty stories for coin. I don’t know if I can keep writing about this adventure. It hurts too much. Everyone is really torn up (except for Pint who is too obsessed with his new urgrosh to notice anything else. I swear in 9 months there will be little baby ugreshes with dwarf legs running around that smell just like Pint’s armpit. If Pint inflicts damage on anyone with that thing they will have to get checked to make sure they didn’t catch a dwarven STD). We went to the chapel where Otho was resting. On the way there we ran into someone carrying Otho’s body towards a funeral pyre. It was his half brother Osric Halfbottom. Half elf. Adopted. Nice enough chap but when we shook hands the mark that Sarenrae gave me tingled. No idea what it means. Was it a warning or a sign? I am glad that we burned Otho. I would hate to see Otho come back as a Zombie. He deserved so much better than what we could offer. But we did the best by him that we could. After the funeral we needed to rest a bit and figure out what our next plan of attack was so we stayed one more night in that damn tavern. Lots of rumors. A sorceress a couple towns over really causing problems. A man fleeing town, being chased by another man (wanna bet that was Njord and whatsherface’s husband), a unicorn. Oh and Pint trying to talk Myra and Bertha into making out. I would like to see the unicorn but we didn’t have time. I would not like to see Myra and Bertha making out. We have got to stop these zombies. We found and followed a zombie trail though the woods. Actually it was more like the great zombie migration. No tracking was needed. I’m surprised they didn’t put up signs. More kept joining as the herd moved. Guess where they went? You remember that fortress where we rescued the kids? Yep. That’s the one! Gawd we should have torched the place when we had the chance. Only 3 of us remain of the original group. Pint, Myra and myself. And we almost lost Godric crossing a stream. Thank goodness Myra was able to dive in and save his non-swimming ass when he lost his grip on the rope while crossing. As we approached the keep, Osric’s bird (Viktor) let Osric warn us that we were being watched. I’m stoopid and impulsive so I walked towards the keep to see if I could spot who it was that was watching us. A wolf came down towards us in a non-threatening manner. His name was Locmer, companion of the Druid Kusmit (or so he says). Evidently there was a great burst of energy from deep within the keep a couple days ago (or so he says). He really wants us to go figure out what is going on down in the keep (or so he says). But then he just walks off. How rude! So we go back into the Keep. I keep warning everyone that we do not have a healer so be careful. We find a slit in the floor that leads to a room below that was filled with water and green slime. Pint dives through the slit and falls like a wet sack of cats 50 feet. Bertha jumps. Myra climbs down and Godric loses his grip on the rope and falls. WHAT PART OF CAREFUL DID THEY NOT UNDERSTAND!! So now I’m sitting on the roof of this room and I notice there are eyeballs growing out of the walls. Just then WHAM Pint and Bertha get pulled underwater. I whip out my arrows, take out a couple of eyeballs (they sound like balloons when they pop and smell like dwarf underwear), and then I sent light under the water to try and find Pint and Bertha. Bertha manages to get free and surface but Pint is trapped under there. I can see shadows moving under the water so I start firing at them, hoping I hit the right one. Given Pint’s armor he should be ok but a gooey water creature, I stand a chance. There is a really good chance Pint is going to drown. If anyone else dies, I’m seeing a therapist!
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Darkmoon Vale: Session 23
Being yet another excerpt from Bertha Wildhearth's boring letters home.

Beloved family,

I hope you can forgive me for the long gap between missives; I trust when you read this letter you will understand why I have been able to write for a considerable length of time. If you recall, my newfound friends and I (and Pint Bloodhorns) had return to the town of Falcon’s Hollow… well, when I say ‘town’ you will understand that it is not a town in the Dwarven sense of the word – it is small, sparsely populated, barely defended, with no useful industry save the logging company (who at least are chopping down the trees, even if wood cannot compare to stone) and worst of all, open to the sky. If I wanted to stare at an expanse of blue all day, then I would sneak into our King’s magically protected vaults and gaze at the famous blue stone of Galveston (which rumour has it, is almost as blue as the notorious Infanta’s eyes – now there was a strong woman…). But I digress. We had returned to the town in the hopes of claiming our reward for rescuing the logging company’s lumberjacks who had been kidnapped by the undead kobolds (it’s a long, long story, see my previous letters for a true account of what happened, or if you would prefer a more fabricated version then read the insane dribblings of Pint’s saga he insists the Elf bard Bae-Wynn composes for him). But we had very little time to rest or recuperate as no soon as we had ordered the first round of pints of ale at the local tavern than we heard screams coming from the streets outside. When we ventured out to the town square (which is about as much of a square as Falcon’s Hollow is a town… honestly, these humans have no architectural sense whatsoever…) we almost immediately found ourselves surrounded by a horde of the shambling undead. Not kobolds this time but countless zombies. Naturally, I reacted before anyone else. I swear, Elves and Humans like to laugh at how slow we Dwarves are but I’ve never yet met one who can keep up with me. Of course, Pint is rather slow… yes, forgive the pun there… but that’s mostly because he’s weight down with so much armour, which makes him rather dense too… Anyway, I leapt into the fray, running towards the enemy as I swung my mighty hammer, Jacqueline, in a threatening gesture. Naturally, my comrades in arms also prepared for battle… in exactly the way you would expect. Bae-Wynn shot herself in the foot with an arrow and the Halfling Cleric, Otho, screamed like a little girl (well, not a Dwarven girl you understand), hoisted up his skirts and ran away. Yeah. Thankfully the rest of the party fared a little better. As the zombies advanced upon us, one lunging forward and biting Bae-Wynn on the arm, both Pint and Godric (the human Paladin, charming fellow but not the brightest coin in the treasure pile, if you know what I mean…) ran along beside me and both struck at the other zombies that threatened me. Meanwhile the Half-Orc ranger, Mira, ran after Ortho in an attempt to protect the hysterical Halfling, who was now being chased by several more zombies. No doubt his high pitched screams of terror were attracting them. Ortho tried to channel the power of his weakling deity but either he was too panicked to concentrate or his god had abandoned him for such a show of cowardice, as his prayers only managed to return one zombie to his grave. Mira, focusing hard on protecting the Halfling, allowed another zombie to get past her defenses and was bitten on the thigh, but she immediately struck back and dispatched the rotting beast, while her pet wolf lunged at the throat of another and brought it down. Meanwhile, I had killed one of the zombies threatening our group, and Godric and Pint each barely managed to kill another. One more zombie tried to plunge its decaying and rotten teeth into my flesh but I escaped with a mere scratch and I crushed my attacker’s skull in retaliation. At this point, Bae-Wynn was in danger of being overwhelmed by the zombies. Another clawed at her and tore a chunk of her thigh. Like the Halfling before her, the Elf bard decides that discretion is the better part of valour and turns tail and runs after Ortho, who was still trying to flee the combat as fast as his short legs can carry him. Left alone by her comrades, Mira now found herself being piled on by countless zombies and she battled hard to fight them off. With one mighty swing of her massive great axe, along with what sounded to me like a guttural Half-Orc curse or two, Mira managed to cleave through no less than four zombies. However, the remaining zombies vengefully tore apart her pet wolf into a series of bloody chunks. Several zombies managed to catch up with the running Ortho and clawed and bit at him, knocking him unconscious. Now defenseless, the Halfling Cleric was swarmed by the undead and pulled apart in a horrible display of carnage and gore. Seeing Ortho die so terribly, Bae-Wynn had a minor change of heart. She still fled, but now turned on her heels and ran to hide behind me. A wise decision as no zombie would ever better me in combat. But while I still stood steadfast, battling the undead horde, as did Pint, not all of my fellow warriors fared so well. Godric was clawed by the razor sharp talons of another zombie and in an act of reprisal he channeled, summoning the mystical energy of his own god who thankfully rewarded bravery as much as the Halfling’s god punished cowardice, and several more of the zombies dropped to the ground, dead once again. Over near the still twitching corpse of the Halfling Cleric, Mira had become enraged (as due to her inability to defend them or her own inactions, I am given to understand from the other members of the party that this was the third short ally that she had let die when she was supposed to be protecting them…) and the hot Orcish blood that pumped through her veins allowed her to cleave through three more of the shambling undead monstrosities in a single blow. It was impressive but sadly it was far too late to save Ortho in any way. Now that all of the immediate threats surrounding Godric, Pint and myself had been dispatched, the party began to move together. Bae-Wynn overcome her nervous panic and pumped two more arrows into the eye sockets of one nearby zombie, killing it instantly as the metal arrowheads shredded what little remained of the creature’s brain. Meanwhile I ran at another group of zombies and managed to smash in the ribs of one large brute, and Pint and Godric followed me closely behind (Godric with the hopes of pleasing his god by killing yet more of the foul undead creatures and Pint just to have a feeble excuse to look at my arse as I ran ahead… he’s not exactly subtle about these things, believe me…). We were all immediately swarmed by even more zombies and Godric and myself were clawed and bitten by the stinking and filthy rejects from the grave. Pint was only saved by his heavy adamantium armour, which resisted every effort of the zombies to pry open. At the same time, more zombies pounced on (well, as much as a bunch of shuffling undead unthinking reanimated corpses can pounce) on Mira, their decaying, rotten and worm-infested teeth sinking into her flesh and tearing at her muscles. This fresh wound only served to anger the Half-Orc warrior even further and in a flurry of blows from her great axe she chopped no less than six of her assailants to bits, creating a fountain spray of blood, ichor and gore that drenched her through to the skin. I then swung my mighty hammer over my own head at the skull of another zombie, driving the heavy blunt weapon down through its face and into its rib cage, pulping both its brain and heart in one swift action. And at the same time the Elven bard behind us all unleashed another barrage of her accurate arrows, felling another of the creatures. That left only one zombie left shuffling towards us all. Godric leapt forward and punched that last zombie square in the face with a heavy gauntleted fist, breaking its nose and pushing the shards of bone up into the creature’s brain, killing it instantaneously. Now that this zombie horde had finally been crushed beneath our might, we all took a moment to breathe. Pint and myself, every practical, immediately began to clean our weapons and armour of the blood and gore that now thoroughly caked them. The rest of the party, not sharing the stoic nature or Dwarves or being particularly rational, began to weep and wail and moan and gnash their teeth at the loss of the Halfling Cleric Ortho. Don’t ask me, my family, I’m not familiar with the mourning processes of Humans and Elves… well, with anything but the sensible Dwarven mourning process, actually. Whatever. The rest of the party began to offer their devout (and some perhaps not so devout) prayers to their various gods in the hopes that (like with Bae-Wynn once before) there would be some kind of divine intervention and Ortho would be miraculously resurrected before their eyes. But apparently the gods had all turned a deaf ear to all of these pleas as Ortho stayed dead. He was now an immortal member of the dead Halflings’ society. Ortho was no more. He ceased to be. He had expired and gone to meet his maker (who was in no doubt very disappointed to be see him again). He was now a stiff, bereft of life, resting in peace. We thought about nailing him to a perch but we weren’t near a fish pond. Ortho was pushing up daisies, had brought down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. No doubt whatever realm he found himself in now, whatever afterlife awaited him, he was pining for the fjords of his Halfling home. In short, Ortho was now an ex-Halfling. But maybe there is some practicality to them all after all – Ortho was the party’s only decent healer and losing him does endanger us all in the long run. We now have to rely on the whims of Bae-Wynn, who is the only other person among us who possesses any kind of healing magic… and as you know an Elf’s whims are totally and utterly unpredictable. So my next letter might even be longer in coming as we might all join Ortho in the afterlife soon enough. (Although I honestly think Mira was more upset about the loss of her wolf than the Halfling, it being closer to her, more loyal, larger, and more useful… still, in the time since the beast’s death I think she’s begun to overcome the grieving process, mostly because she’s been trying to ensnare a particularly large and ugly badger that’s been following us around a lot lately…) At Bae-Wynn’s insistence, she, Mira and myself went across town to the chapel of Immodae to dump the body… my apologies, Bae-Wynn is looking over my shoulder, so let me rewrite that… went to the chapel to ask the priestess there to take good care of the body and give the beloved Ortho the appropriate and very respectful funerary rites. We found the chapel to be locked up tight with boarded up windows, having obviously been a strong defensive point for many of the town’s citizens. Bae-Wynn, always the charmer, managed to persuade Sister Krys into letting us into the chapel and once inside the Elf bard questioned both the priestess and the local necromancer (who, to my Dwarven eyes, was acting very suspiciously) and discerned that although most of the zombies came from the town’s cemetery, the actual source of the zombies might be centered in the woods outside of Falcon’s Hollow. Fortunately, due to Bae-Wynn’s silver tongue, Sister Krys was persuaded to cast several of her last remaining healing spells on the party, restoring many of us (myself included) back to full health, or near enough anyway. As our bodies were infused with a holy glowing light, our bruises faded away, our wounds stopped bleeding and the flesh sealed up without leaving a scar, and our broken bones mystically set fully. I don’t mind telling you, beloved family, that although I am distrustful of Human spell casting and even more so of Elven witchery, disgusting, vile and particularly non-Dwarven as it all is (and you know how often I say that magic generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth, always a coppery taste like I had bitten my own lip and now have to swallow blood with each breath I take), I could not help but be impressed at this priestess’ power, how quickly and effortless she healed us, with just a few murmured words to her god. It’s almost enough to make a woman religious… but not quite. It’s certainly nowhere near enough to make a Dwarf trust a magic user. We then caught up with Pint, who, being unhurt in the battle against the zombie hordes, had decided to go and do some trading. You know Pint, if there’s two things in life that are absolutely certain it is one, that Pint is as tough as nails (and not just ordinary nails, well forged iron nails, no, well forged adamantium nails created by a master Dwarf weaponsmith who was having a particularly good day and which were then used in the wedding bed of the Dwarven god of defensive fighting and the Dwarven goddess of unbreakable armour…), and two, he is always ALWAYS on the look out for better weapons and armour and will go to almost any lengths to get them. Strangely, the town’s only trading post (or at least the only one we know of, which isn’t saying very much as we don’t ever seem to stay in town for very long… and if you ever get to see what can only be described as the quaint charm of Falcon’s Hollow you would understand why, especially considering that whenever you enter a house or tavern or store in the town you have to scrape quite a bit of that quaint charm off your boots) was still open for business, despite the apparent end of the world (or whatever the historians will call that little zombie outbreak that we dealt with so thoroughly). You’d think that any one sensible would be out in the streets fighting the undead, or at least cleaning up the streets from the massive amount of dead (both recent and not so recent) and looting into the bargain, or even understandably hiding under their beds. But no, this store owner, an annoying little Gnome who had no taste in friends (he seemed to like Pint, for a perfect example of this lack of taste) had decided to keep his trading post open for business. Maybe he hadn’t heard the screams or seen any of the carnage, I don’t know. Or maybe zombies are known in these parts for their frequent and lavish spending sprees. At Intestinal Tracts Fifth Avenue, perhaps. Or Gloomingdales. Or Whiffanys, known for their smelly but expensive jewelry. I’ve heard of people paying an arm and a leg for something, maybe that’s where the expression comes from. Anyway, surprisingly Bae-Wynn showed something of a practical side – or at least as practical as a wayward Elf can be – by bargaining hard with the annoying little Gnome storekeeper and trying to get as much as possible in return for Ortho’s possessions (and his body still warm… for shame…). At Pint’s urging, Bae-Wynn manages to haggle a good price for a masterwork ugresh (which he will not shut up about… and he’s been polishing it fanatically ever since he laid his hands on it…) and also traded the rest of the dead Halfling’s gear for several healing potions, which she generously shared among the party. However, Bae-Wynn was smart enough to hang on to the staff of empowerment the party took from the undead Kobold King many days before, thinking that it would most likely come in useful later. Thinking kindly of the grieving Mira, Bae-Wynn also managed to convince the Gnome storekeeper to write out an introduction to a crusty old human druid he knew, named Gunther, who would be able to reincarnate the Half-Orc’s slain wolf, provided of course we also agreed to take a package for him to the druid. Bae-Wynn readily agreed and I personally believe in all three of my Dwarven hearts that yes, that agreement is going to come back to bite us in our butts. A Cerberus sized number of bites too, no doubt. Still, away we all traipsed to find this hermit-like druid called Gunther, with the plan of moving on to the woods afterwards to try to hunt down the unknown source of the zombie outbreak. When we finally found the guy (which was remarkably easy thanks to Mira’s superb tracking skills) and finally managed to convince him of our good intentions (well, Mira and Bae-Wynn’s good intentions anyway, the rest of the party were either more suspicious or really didn’t care all that much), he did agree to reincarnate Mira’s pet wolf, thankfully enough. In the meadow outside his broken down hut, he performed a quick ceremony with a few wild incantations, and then we found that badger approaching once again, with Mira immediately recognizing something about it being the reborn spirit of her pet wolf…
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Darkmoon Vale: Session 22
Excerpt from Pint Bloodhorns' Journal

Blimey, I feel like shait.

That’s the last bloody time I run into a bunch of undead shadow blighters without knowing what they actually are.

I guess that’s what I get for trying to impress Bertha, but now after dealing with those wretches I feel all sorts of drained. No big deal though, I can still block most things thrown me way, I’ll just do my job and stand in front of everybody, hopefully this time none of us will die because they were adamant about running off ahead of the group. That’s been happening too frequently for me liking. If what happened to Tank happens to Bertha I’ll never be able to forgive myself.

We really lucked out with the loot this time. Last time we fought this kobold bastard we could only find things that only Otho could use, but on the second go as an undead even Mira found a magical axe and Bertha found some kinna magical scroll. Maybe on the third go when we fight the kobold as a lich or some rot we’ll find something I can use for a change. Still holding out for a magical urgrosh.. I can’t possibly be the only person in the world that uses one of these, right? I mean, yeah, they were considered obsolete in the army, and everyone laughed at me when I took one with me, but if my clan’s army knew anything about fighting they would have let me join in a long time ago. So sod them.

Our cleric revealed that Mira’s axe is particularly good against the undead. Something tells me that’ll come very in handy. My only question is; why couldn’t we find that before entering the bloody catacomb?

By this time we know that most of us are cursed by some kind of enchantment that protected the entrance of the catacomb. Bertha triple assured us that she disarmed the trap, g̶u̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶s̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶a̶g̶ed t̶o̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶a̶r̶m̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶r̶t̶ but I guess there were some nuances she didn’t take into consideration. She was always better at cracking stones than picking locks.

Otho, Bay-Wynn and Bertha are cursed, and the problem is our cleric can only remove one curse before having to replenish his strength. Otho cured himself, a sound strategical maneuver as far as I’m concerned, since of our cleric dies then we are all screwed. Hopefully Bay-Wynn and Bertha will hold out until we get back to town.

On the way back to town, some of Bay-Wynn and Bertha’s teeth began to fall out and they both got the chills. This curse is really serious!

We barreled into the local temple to have the town’s cleric restore our cursed members of the group. It was a tough decision to pick who would be cured first since the cleric could only cure one at a time. In the end, we opted for Bay-Wynn, because she actually paid for her remove curse so I guess that narrowed it down a bit. I hope Bertha can forgive me. Cleric told us to come back tomorrow to have her cured.

Mira and I went to the lumbermill to collect our reward and deliver the missing lumberjacks. It was night time so everyone was on their way out and the bloody supervisor was nowhere to be found to pay us. I reckon we’ll have to head back there tomorrow.

Went to check on Kimi to see how she was doing. She’s a tough cookie and she’s doing just fine without her mom, although she gave me the fantastic news that her badass ranger dad is coming back to town. I better tell Njord to go hide.

Heading to the bar for a drink and to meet up with everyone else.

GODRIC IS BACK

That was a pretty spectacular reunion. We found that goofball of a paladin sitting at the bar minding his own business and we all rushed to dog pile him. I think we may have actually caused some physical harm to the poor bloke when we all jumped on him, Bay-Wynn has been putting on a few pounds after all, but he’s ever the resilient blighter and laughed it off. He looks better than ever in fact, turns out he’s been going to a few adventures of his own after being revived. He even managed to restore some of my drained strength with some new power he acquired.

I also introduced him to Bertha as if she were my girlfriend. Fortunately she was too out of it due to the curse to refute my claims. Maybe if I can get enough people to believe it it’ll actually become true!


The next day, I’m all ready to carry Bertha to the cleric bridal style when that blasted priestess actually shows up to the bar herself to heal her. There goes my attempt to have us married. For too long has this cleric been a thorn on my side.

Some crazed old fool came in screaming into the inn yelling something about the dead having risen. Who the hell cares? I’m not killing anyone until I get paid.

We were on our way to collect our reward but it turns out that there really are zombies everywhere. They’ve literally swarmed Falcon’s Hollow and are attacking the villagers. Godric charges in first screaming about ‘saving the children’ and suddenly it’s just like old times.

I can’t find Njord anywhere. Guess he must have heard about his girlfriend’s /husband/ coming back. Can’t say I blame him for skipping town.

The first wave of zombies goes straight for us as we come out of the tavern. Bay-Wynn softens them up with arrows, Godric and Bertha take out one each, Otho weakens them more with holy energy and Mira barrels into them taking out three of the sodding basterds with one axe cleave. Her dog Droggeda takes out the last.

Huh, I didn’t get to do anything.

Second wave incoming, Otho obliterates them with another blast of holy energy.

When do I get hit something is what I want to know.

Godric accidentally hits Droggeda and the dog starts barking at growling at him. Guess the two have yet to be properly acquainted.

A third wave of zombies approaches, this time they are coming from two sides trying to surround us.

We take a moment to heal up and I tell everyone to hold their ground. We’ll fire upon them as they charge us to maximize casualties on their side.

My sling doesn’t seem to be doing much good though. Note to self; next time bring the atl-atl.

Rather than attacking us head on like last time, the zombies break their charge and start spreading out to attack the civilians. We’re forced to break ranks and rush out to join separate pockets of fighting leaving Otho by his lonesome. He casts a consecration spell around himself for defense.

Bertha, Bay-Wynn and Mira head north while Godric, Droggeda and I charge south.

The zombies are actively avoiding us now and manage to surround Otho. How in the hell are these mindless things outmaneuvering us?? There has to be someone controlling them, there’s no way these undead can make those kinds of tactical decisions by themselves.

Fortunately Godric and Otho combine their holy magics and manage to disintegrate the zombies, though our cleric is now pretty banged up.

Fourth wave incoming.

I charge to the east and hold the lot of them back. Mangy curs can’t swing for crap. Otho takes them all out while they are all busy dealing with me.

Fifth wave attacking from the north.

I have to wonder where Kimi is in all this mess. Hopefully she still has that axe I gave her.

Bertha comes in to assist me in taking out the north wave, though once again, the zombies manage to flank us and get a lucky shot on Otho whom they are starting to view as the biggest threat. I charge in and manage to take out the zombies about to overwhelm him but he seems to be momentarily paralyzed.

Out in the distance we can see Godric being swarmed by zombies from all sides and getting drowned upon a sea of undead.

Mira rushes in and intercepts a second wave coming to attack him, wiping them out all by herself with frenzied axe swings.

Bay-Wynn picks up the still paralyzed Otho and rushes towards Godric while I cover her. Droggeda and I take out the zombies following after her and the dog takes that moment to bolt out of combat since she got herself pretty injured too.

With all scattered pockets of resistance dealt with, we all start piling on the zombies swarming Godric and start pulling them off one by one. We can see that Godric is holding still in some kind of pose while the undead are clawing and gnawing at his armor and flesh. If I didn’t know any better I’d say that Godric actually meant to do all that, but I’m pretty sure he actually got paralyzed just like Otho.

Mira and Otho take out a big chunk of the mob attacking our wayward paladin with Bay-Wynn successfully nailing the last one right in the head with an arrow. Looks like we’ve managed to save him.

Good thing too, if Godric died on us again I was totally going to kill him.

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Darkmoon Vale: Session 21
Being an excerpt from Bertha Wildhearth's letters home

Greetings, beloved family,

I bring news of my journeys far from our mountain stronghold. As you know, the outside world is bright and full of sunlight, neither of which particularly appeals to any Dwarf worth his beard. But up here in the north, near Falcon’s Hollow, at least there are plenty of dungeons and caverns where I can at least feel comfortable for a short while. And there’s gold too, if we can find it. As everyone knows, all gold in the world is Dwarven gold, it belongs to the Dwarven kingdoms no matter who currently has it out on loan, so I really have no problem taking it back – by force or stealth, I’m naturally good at both. Well, pretty good. Well, I’m pretty, even if I’m not so good. Most of all, of course, the world outside our home in the mountains is full of weirdos. And Elves, who are the weirdest of them all, that goes with saying. And the people I’ve ended up with are weird. Make no mistake about that. A Halfling Cleric who does next to nothing but heal us, a half-Elf sorcerer who is… shall we say flamboyant? Yes, that’s probably the best word for it. The rest of the group tells me he has a way with women. I’ve yet to see it honestly. Where was I? Oh yes, an Elf archer who talks way too much during combat, and a Half-Orc ranger who likes killing and occasionally babbles upsettingly about someone she lost called Randy. I can’t tell yet if that’s a person or a pet. At least those last two are strong, capable women, that’s something I suppose. Oh, and do you want to know the worst? When in Falcon’s Hollow looking for adventure, I ran into Pint Bloodthorn. Do you remember him? Half-Pint, we all called him, do you remember? We went together to the Party Revering Our Mountain dance at the end of our schooling. Yes, him. Thankfully he no longer has that horrible powder-blue armour with flared greaves he wore back then. I wanted to go with Othrik Granitesoul, the dragonslayer, but no, you said I had to go with Pint as he came from a good family. Yeah, we know how that worked out, don’t we? Look at his deranged half-mad cousin, Tankard. He was worse. Anyway, apparently Pint still has a thing for me, no matter what I do to discourage him. But I suppose there is some safety in numbers, the legends tell us this, and woe betide any Dwarf who ends up delving into the underdark by herself. So Pint recruited me into this party of adventurers and we set up to catch the rest of the group who were scouting the wilderness for some lost humans. Yes, I know, only a human would be dumb enough to get lost in the wide open spaces of the outside world. It’s not like the mountain, where dangers lurk around every corner, is it? So after we caught up with the rest of the party, we made our way to the Kobold temple, which I think is where I ended my last letter. I wanted to send that by pigeon post but sadly Pint ate all our pigeons one night around the campfire. So instead I guess I’ll mail it when I get back to Falcon’s Hollow with the human postal service. As weird as Pint is, I doubt he’d eat a human… no, no, he wouldn’t. No. I’m almost sure he wouldn’t. We had tried had to figure out the true meaning of the two large discs of stone in the very centre of the ruined Kobold temple. I figured out that the lettering meant the discs were some kind of calendar (you know I always good with languages) but other than that we were all completely stumped. Baewynn… that’s the Elf, she’s good with a bow, I’ll give her that, but she has an inquisitive side that gets her into trouble from what I’ve heard – oh, and get this, she’s only supposed to be writing this epic poem of Pint’s exploits out here in the outside world, like he’s some kind of hero! Yes, the same gawky teenaged Dwarf who didn’t even bring me the usual gift of a Goblin’s head corasage for the Party Revering Our Mountain, can you believe it? I lost my train of thought there, sorry. What was I saying? Oh, yeah, so Baewynn really wanted to try to move the stones. Bad idea. I mean, horrendously, gloriously, horrifically bad idea. An idea so bad that to describe it with full justice we would all have to admit it could only have been put into Baewynn’s mind by the goddess of bad ideas. That’s an Elven goddess, in case you didn’t know, but that should have been obvious. Luckily Baewynn couldn’t move those massive stone discs all on her own. Still, she asked everyone for help and although I wisely said I would take no part in such foolishness several of the others volunteered, including Mira (the half-Orc) and Pint, believe it or not. He said it was something about party I think he was trying to show off his muscles and impress me. Needless to say it did not. Fortunately even the combined might of all three had no effect and those stone discs didn’t budge an inch. But still that infuriating Elf bard wouldn’t give up. She insisted on examining every square inch of that monument. Which, it turns out, was probably just as well as she found there was a large sapphire hidden between the two discs. I offered to appraise the stone’s worth but apparently Pint had warned told the others in the party of my thievery tendency to borrow things without people’s permission, so naturally my kind offer was refused. The half-Elf sorcerer in the party informed us that there was a touch of magic about the stone, a simple illumination spell of some sort, don’t ask me, I’ve never really understood magic. I’m one of those people who is perfectly happy to use magic but who really has no idea how in the world it actually works. At this point in our tale, I will admit I took the time to lecture the other women in the party of the evils of the patriarchy that currently dominates all modern society, even the foolish Elvish kingdoms. Kingdom – there! Right there that sums up what is wrong in today’s world. I mean…

(Long and exceedingly boring excerpt, all in the original Dwarven text of course, was cut from the original text here. You’re welcome.)

…and I’m sure my sisters in the Delta Omega Rho Kappa sorority would be sorely disappointed in me. Pint was the only one in the party who would listen and although he wisely agreed with me I fear he only did so in order to impress me. Once Baewynn was finally done with her thorough handling of the two large circular objects she insisted on moving further down and nimbly exploring the mossy mound. The Elf found four charred corpses by the entrance to the mound and Pint made a lot of noise and a big thing out of nothing, pretending to have invented his own particular brand of science. Again, I’m not so smart so I didn’t really understand it, it’s something to do with ill birds. At least I think it is. He called it for-wrens-sick, so I guess that’s what he meant. Which is weird, as he spent ten minutes poking around the dead bodies. But then Pint always was a bit odd, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I think Pint disturbed the sanctity of the corpses somehow as at that point the four of them stood up and advanced upon us menacingly. With glowing red eyes, their deathly visage obviously terrified some in our party but to his credit Pint bravely charged forward into battle. Brave but foolish it appeared as these creatures struck him easily and greatly sapped his strength, reducing him to the strength of a mere infant. Luckily the Halfling Cleric summoned up the power of his deity and struck down three of the accursed creatures through prayer. Both Mira and I then raced to deal with the remaining corpse and we both struck at the same time. My magic hammer, Jacqueline, broke several of the creatures brittle bones but Mira’s battleaxe, although connecting, did no damage to the unnatural magic that summoned up these enemies. Njord and Ortho managed to destroy this last creature through a combination of their magic. Despite their unwillingness to trust me with a priceless sapphire – as if I would walk off with it, in the middle of the wilderness, really… I’m at least smart enough to wait to get back to Falcon’s Hollow and to find a decent fence and then I’ll walk off with it – the party suddenly decided they wanted my help to check for traps around the entrance to the burial mound. Suddenly I’m useful, go figure. I found a magical trap hidden in the runes that were carved around the entry way easily enough but I couldn’t disable it while wearing by bulky armour, so I told the party this. Of course they insist that I disrobe so that I have better chance of disabling the trap and for the party’s sake I agree, although needless to say I felt quite humiliated by this, especially with Pint leering and cheering me on. And Baewynn insisted on playing some kind of bizarre music to accompany me, which was not appreciated. Elvish humour is lost on me, I’m afraid. At least Mira, the half-Orc, was nice enough to help me dress again after I disarmed the magical trap. Still wary of what might lay in wait for us ahead in the burial mound, Baewynn used her bizarre and unsettling Elvish magic to turn invisible for a short time and scout ahead. She reported that there were stone stairs leading downstairs into the barrow to find a square room with fountains in each corner, the water running from vicious looking fish head statues with gaping, needle-toothed, jaws and the water running into basins beneath carved to look like the fish’s arms. Not exactly as classy or refined as Dwarven architecture but to each their own, I suppose. Another archway led to a corridor and a room beyond, but the Elf did not dare tread further. When Baewynn returned to the outside, she informed us of what she had found and how she was certain that the water everywhere in the room was in reality water elementals, magical guardians summoned to protect whatever lay within the barrow. Njord then went into the barrow, with the logic that as he speaks Aquaean, the language of the water elementals, he might be able to persuade these defenders of the barrow into letting us past. However, at this point in my narrative, dear family, things went a little wonky. Firstly, when Njord walked down the stone steps and through the rune inscribed entrance, the trap I thought I had disarmed was triggered. Not my fault, of course. I can only surmise that I had been distracted by my state of near-nudity and the constant whistles and cat-calls from the rest of the party that in my attempts to disarm the trap I had overlooked something. Njord was affected by the trap’s magic, a curse slowly turning his heart colder and colder. But he still bravely carried on, down the steps to converse with the elementals. That conversation went nowhere as despite speaking the same language Njord could get little out of the water elementals, only that they were here to stop people getting into the tomb and they would let us by it we had a pass. Which obviously we did not. But while Njord was trying to talk his way past the water elementals (and from what I’ve heard that half-Elf can talk his way into a devout nun’s undies, so his lack of success came as something of a surprise to us all) I took the initiative and decided to use Jacqueline, my magical hammer, to smash the runes in the hopes of permanently destroying that evil trap. This particularly clever idea backfired on me however as my destructive tendencies led to the trap being triggered with all of the party well within range. Fortunately only Baewynn, Ortho and myself were affected, each of us feeling those cursed icy fingers clutching at our hearts. When Njord returned to tell us of his chat with the water elementals the party broke into a lengthy discussion of whether or not it was safe to continue. After all, we didn’t know exactly what dangers lurked in that barrow and Pint was greatly reduced in strength and everyone else complained of being tired due to the day’s efforts. I, of course, wanted to continue on, and eventually it was agreed that rather than returning to the logging camp to rest we would press on and face our foes. Once all of the party were down the steps we were attacked by the water elementals. Although the weakened Pint did his best, it was up to the rest of us to fight as best we could. Baewynn impressively shot and killed two of the creatures, while Bertha and Mira killed the remaining two. With the water elementals dealt with, the party pressed on deeper into the burial mound. Baewynn once again scouted ahead into the next room, a large and rectangular chamber with three exits leading off to the east (directly ahead), west and north. There was a decorative mural painted all around the walls, depicting a godlike being among the clouds. But there was also a real mist hidden among those painted clouds. At first we thought it was a trap the Elf had triggered but as it descended when Baewynn crept into the room it coalesced into a large face and claws, with a tremendous gaping jaw that lunged at Baewynn, who wisely fled back to warn the rest of the party in the first chamber. But the mist followed and launched its smokey tendrils at the entire group of us. Njord was the fastest to react, launching a series of magic missiles at the mist in that strangely flamboyant gesturing manner of his. Pint charged in to attack the mist and even managed to do a little damage but was then grabbed by the jaws of the mist and flung around like a ragdoll in the mouth of a hunting dog. The group flailed with several attacks at the strange mist. Again, Baewynn stood back and let fly with her arrows, inflicting a small amount of damage on the unnatural cloud. The mist somehow seemed to evade the party’s attempts to harm it, with only Njord’s continual barrage of magic missiles seeming to have any effect on it at all. And then finally, after Njord had managed to whittle away at the creature, I stepped forward and swung the deciding blow. My hammer, Jacqueline, smacked through the mist and forced it to disperse. With the mist finally dealt with, the party pressed on. We moved east, towards the sounds of humans moaning in torment, thinking we might find some of the missing logging company workers we had been assigned to find and rescue. And find them we did. But first a large group of zombie Kobolds that stood in our way had to be dealt with. The trio of warriors in the party – myself, Pint and Mira – stepped forward and bravely battled the undead. Further back Ortho channeled the energy of his Halfling deity and the spiritual power promptly smashed their bones apart. Njord made another over the top gesture and sent a blast of cold fire bursting forth from this outstretched hands, killing several more of the undead Kobolds. Mira managed to get overwhelmed by the Kobolds and in the process she accidentally swiped at Pint and her battleaxes sliced into the already weakened Dwarf’s muscles. Pint muttered a curse that I’m sure he never learned in our mountain stronghold, I can only assume it is some saying in the Common tongue that I’m not familiar with. To my Dwarven ears it sounded like “Dood wottha ell” but I couldn’t be sure. I struggled to kill one more of the Kobolds but the battle was finally decided when Ortho channeled his deity’s energy once again and sent the remainder back to whatever graves they may have once had. In the next room, we finally encountered two of the lumberjacks we had been sent to find, bound and tied behind a sarcophagus with a crude stone throne upon it. Seated on the throne was the Kobold King who, according to what I was told after anyway, the party had already killed once before. Now undead, this insane cackling Kobold King had two bodyguards, both armed with spears. Baewynn, with her fast Elvish reflexes, immediately shot two arrows towards the King but only one struck him lightly, as he was quick enough to dodge the other. Mira and Pint faced off against the two Kobold bodyguards, so thinking quickly, I leapt forward to attack the King. The two bodyguards did their best to stop me, jabbing their spears into my ribs as I ran past, but I ignored those minor scratches. My hammer blow knocked the King off his feet and on to his back, but he nimbly jumped up and scrambled backwards, hiding behind the sarcophagus like the true coward he was. Hiding behind the sarcophagus and throne did him little good, however, as Njord sent several more of his magic missiles unerringly towards the cowering Kobold King and then the Halfling Cleric Ortho summoned up the power of his prayers and weakened all the undead creatures a little more. It turned out that the King of the Kobolds still had a few tricks beneath his rotten red cloak though. He muttered a few evil sounding curses and the room was suddenly filled with a sleeping enchantment. The weaker-willed members of the party immediately collapsed and started dozing. I personally struggled vainly against the effects of the wicked spell but I too soon succumbed to the sheer magical power. This could have been the turning point in the battle (and of course, dear family, I must rely briefly on unreliable sources at this point in the narrative as I was unconscious and thus unaware of what happened around me, if only for a short time). Baewynn was still proving a skilled archer but she could not stop the Kobolds on her own, and while Pint was weakened by his earlier undead encounter, Mira could not seem to summon up the skill this day, and so neither proved able to dispatch the Kobolds as easily as they may have on any other day. With Ortho, Njord and myself fast asleep, the three proven biggest threats to the Kobolds had been taken out with just a few simple magical words and gestures. However, Baewynn’s luck rubbed off. Due to her superb oratory skills the Halfling Cleric managed to resist the effects of the sleep spell and stagger back to his feet. I woke soon after, thanks to a spearpoint that one of the undead Kobold bodyguards shoved into my arm, but thankfully that was only a flesh wound. Enraged at this unfair assault on an unconscious foe, and at the patriarchal use of such a phallic weapon, I jumped to my feet in anger, even if this opened me to more attacks. Spears and blades clattered against my armour, cut my flesh, but I paid them no heed. I leapt forward and slammed my hammer into the chest of the Kobold King, smashing ribs and pulverizing his heart, killing him instantly. It was a more generous and kindly fate than the old crazed revenant King deserved, believe me. But one of the bodyguards took advantage of my anger and carelessness and stabbed me once again. I was by now quite weak myself through blood loss from numerous cuts, wounds, and scratches and hardly able to stay on my feet. Luckily Baewynn’s expertise with her bow put an arrow through the eye of one of the two Kobold bodyguards and Mira finally found some good fortune and chopped the other neatly in twain with her battleaxe. We found a small magical adamantium battleaxe upon the corpse of the Kobold King and I must confess feeling somewhat grateful he never had the chance to use it. Once we had recovered somewhat, thanks to the healing spells of both Baewynn and Ortho, Baewynn insisted that we open the sarcophagus and after some thought and much heavy lifting it was decided to tie a rope around the lid and see if it could not be pulled free. No luck. Nothing, it seemed, would enable us to lift this lid. Either it was sealed in some way (and I could not detect any locks, nor any traps), perhaps magically, or the lid was simply far too heavy for just a few of us to budge. I therefore decided to be more direct and started to smash the stone apart with my hammer. The noise of my efforts, however, attracted the attention of more undead Kobolds which ran into the rest of the party. Battle quickly ensued but I was quicker, rushing up to strike at the leader of these creatures. However, the leader stuck back at me and her claws sheared through my armour, sickening me through some form of witchcraft. Ortho continually prayed to his Halfling God and begged for divine assistance in defeating these foes while we fought and his prayers were answered, with several of the undead beasts being dispersed by his power. Between Baewynn’s precise arrows and Njord’s spells (he cast a spell that summoned a rolling spherical ball of flame that badly burned anyone it touched) the leader was thankfully dealt with. Once we had mopped up the last few undead that still challenged us, we realized we had left the fleeing lumberjacks unattended and unguarded. We raced after them only to find a couple more of the undead Kobolds attacking them. Due to my speed I managed to smash one into a pulp with a single blow of my hammer and Baewynn dropped the other with two arrows shot into his spine. I shall write further when time allows.
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