The trials and tribulations of travel in T’ra Penitus are legendary in the annals of humans (the few annals that exist that is). Monsters and Demons of varied size and ferocity inhabit the UnderDark and routinely parole its caverns and tunnels in search of prey or challenge. I am able to continue my report solely due to the latter, or rather the lack of, presented by our adventurers.
After a few weeks of boring travel that saw moments of mind-numbing terror (like when Feebus, a 30 foot Fire Demon stepped over them on his way to cool off at the Core), the party found themselves with a dilemma. Diogenes’ aim was continuing to be a problem, exacerbated by his ocular restrictions. As if by some divine providence, the caravan of Dwarves caring for the feared Brim Dox Guld arrived with him in tow. A discussion took place amongst all attending and it was decided that, for the greater good, Dio would return with the Tuaga to work on his aim in dim-light situations (his Elven nature not withstanding).
So, with rest and relaxation a thing of the past, the party began its quest anew to find out what happened to the Tuaga outpost town of D’einburgh.
The Party So Far:
Brim Dox Guld A Tiefling Warlock held back by random flare-ups of kleptomania
Dake Throne A Human Bard attempting to find a place in the adventuring world again
Roggi Knight-Beard A Dwarven Knight with a perfect balance of courage and fear
Tir Sadi The stealthiest Elven Avenger around…just ask him
As the party began again its quest, Roggi pointed out that the quickest way to D’einburgh was through a stretch of tunnels that passed through the plane of Sh’Da, the realm of the underworld. With no foe in sight and a few weeks of mind-numbing boredom (not relieved at all by the few moments of mind-numbing terror), the party boldy proclaimed themselves ready to tackle anything ahead.
After a few hours of walking, Tir Sadi heard what sounded like chanting noises coming off a side tunnel. The party stopped to decide what to do. After a discussion with Roggi Knight-Beard (a dwarf who shares his races’ distaste for undead), in which he wanted to continue forth to find the missing outpost, the party decided to tuck tail and continue through Sh’Da.
After another uneventful hour of travelling, the gang found themselves in a long tunnel, with smoke billowing out of a small device attached to the cavern ceiling. Again a discussion ensued, and again, the brave band of warriors decided to flee the smoke, rather than attempt to disable or wait to see what further adventures to which the smoke device may have led. Perhaps Y’oc the Recorder will be fortunate enough to follow adventurers of such ilk, but for my crimes I suffer to extoll the virtues of the meek.
The party, having bravely traveled most of Sh’Da territory without unneccessary incident, continued forth towards D’einburgh. Their plans, however, were quickly tossed in the air, when it was discovered that for some, yet-to-be explained, reason Roggi Knight-Beard had lost his way. He led them to a cavern wall, claiming that a tunnel should exist where wall now appears. Backtracking to the last fork, the party attempted to go around the destruction only to find themselves in a small chamber, whose only door shimmered in darkness.
Following what is becoming routine, the party held a discussion to figure out if they should go through the door or follow the weeks long path that would take them a days walk around. It was fortunate, perhaps, that this cavern had recently seen some action, as there was scree aplenty. The reader may wonder why a collection of rocks would seem so important in this situation, but with their normal scout away learning how to not attack his friends with arrows, the party was at a loss to proceed. Enter Brim Dox Guld, a warlock of ever-growing power and magic.
Using techniques learned forging his magical powers deep in the prison copper mine known as Thay, Brim Dox Guld picked up a rather large sized pebble and flung it with all his might into the void. All he heard was a clunk of the rock hitting something and then silence again.
With the recon complete, Tir Sadi and Brim Dox Guld charged forth, weapons at the ready, through the door to whatever awaited on the other side. Dake reverted to his days in politics and decided to see where the chips lay before he ventured forth and Roggi stood still, paralyzed by confusion and the prospect of the undead.
A Recorder is bound to truthfully tell the story (even if allowances are made for slight commentary), and do so in a light worthy of the subject. I would love to record our heroes fighting triumphantly against a Skull Lord and his skeletal minions, with neither a care or worry. I would love to tell the tale of how Tir and Brim snuck into the underworld, skilfully overpowerd their foes and made instruments of the remaining bones. However, that is a rather difficult tale to tell considering as soon as the two brave adventurers entered the realm of Sh’Da they were ambushed by four quadra-armed scimitar-wiedling skeletons.
::Author’s Note:: (For the reader who desires completeness, may I recommend reading Nave the Recorder’s final chapter of Lukas – Skull Lord of Light and his eternal quest to bring hope to the undead. While it ends rather depressingly with his untimely death (and eventual re-unbirth), the final chapter begins with Lukas’ discovery of The Rune of Eternal Death (the only way to end the suffering of the undead by way of re-birth as a “lifer”), their intial surprise at a flying object suddenly hitting Bilas the Noble in the head and his subsequent collapse, the yelling of “look how sneaky I am” by a voice of Elven timbre and their ambush of the two odd looking “lifers” who murdered Bilas.)
The eventual decision was inevitable once our group of powerful adventurers were able to get their bearings. Accustomed to warming up before fighting something with the power of the Skull Lord, the adventurers had to take a beating before finally overcoming the odds.
Upon examination of the remaining bones, Brim found the Skull Lord’s staff and decided that what was good enough for an Undead, multi-faced, Lord of the Underworld was good enough for him. Meanwhile, the former councilman and Tir discussed the glowing Rune of unknown power.
At this point, they both followed the lightning quick exit of Roggi and the unashmed departure of Brim, staff in hand, leaving that chamber of the Underworld nothing but a dusty pile of bones and a glowing Rune of unknown power.
Upon return to the land of the living, Roggi Knight-Beard was pleased to find his senses return to him and led the party through the twists and turns of T’ra Penitus, eventually finding a very intact, but very barren D’einburgh.
Quickly discovering the cavern outpost was covered in a flaming red aura, the party searched for survivors to no avail. Their hunt did turn up the source of the aura as they noticed a small wooden box, hidden amongst the rubble. As they were examining it, it was noted by Tir Sadi that the flaming aura seemed to be growing smaller and specifically surrounding them.
Futile ideas always lead to futile results, and without a brave and intelligent rogue to rely on, the gang was forced to depend on each other for an answer. The best early attempt to disarm the trap involved Dake opening the lid to reveal a depressed button surrounded by fire. Attempts to push the button with the tip of his knife yeilded no results. At this point (and stay with me here), Brim Dox Guld thought it a good idea to pull out the unexamined staff, pilfered from the dead body of a Skull Lord while inside the realm of Sh’Da, and use it to poke at the button. As I’m not privy to all internal thoughts of those I record, I can only assume that this did not have the intended effect. That is, of course, unless he intended to reveal the staff’s location to those looking for it in the Underworld and summon a skeleton warrior to retreive it, which is exactly what happened.
While Brim struggled with his foe (invisible and harmless to anyone not physically touching the staff), the rest of the group noted a tall Minotaur and a slender human, both in military uniforms similar to that found near The Passage of Jewels.
The Minotaur (who was smiling, though that fact was lost on the adventurers who are uneducated in the finer points of Minotaur facial expressions) and Human (who was not smiling, a fact not lost on our adventurers) waited until the group had sprung free of the firey magical trap (though only by temporarily escaping its aura, not by actually disarming it) before commencing their attack.
The soliders did not seem to be plussed about a robed Tiefling flaling around with staff in hand, fighting off an invisible swarm of bees. In fact, it is unknown to this Recorder if they even registered when the Tiefling dropped unconcious, losing his grip on the staff in the process. They did not seem to notice these things because they were busy getting sneaked up on by Tir Sadi, who aided Dake and Roggi in quickly knocking their foes down and out. It was a major victory for the group and there was much rejoicing to be had.
After basking in their collective glory, the gang decided to attempt to disarm the trap without the distraction of the Underworld or extremely expressive Minotaurs. It took them awhile to turn over the wooden box and discover the carving of a water drop, leading to them eventually putting out the magical fire inside the box and pressing the button. Immediately, the box broke apart in their hand and the shrinking bubble was dis-spelled.
Two victories in a row were to lead to a third when the gang decided to interrogate the soldiers to learn more information. First, they approached the unconcious Minotaur, (who was dreaming of running through the Minotaurian Meadows) and fearing not his strength due to his recently severed spinal cord (courtesy of a vicious hammer blow by the mighty, not heighty knight), proceeded to have Tir Sadi heal the disabled soldier out of his slumber.
::Author’s Note:: (Quoted from the Sorcerers of the Forest Guide to Creatures, Real & Mythical: “There is no such thing as a disabled Minotaur. Attempts to interrogate a disabled Minotaur should refer to the previous sentence.” Apparently this was common enough practice to warrant advisement.)
As soon as the Minotaur’s eyes focused on the figure of Tir standing over him, he thrust forth his horns with all his might, ripping at the diminutive Elf’s torso. A mere second later, he eyes shut again, this time for good as the brave descendant of the noble house of Ruahd slit the defenseless Minotaur’s throat, silencing him forever. I would like to record the conversation that followed regarding the morality of reviving a severely wounded enemy (not restrained to be fair…sort of) only to sever his throat, but I can not…as it did not happen.
Finding their interrogation methods harsher than planned, the group turned to the human soldier, only to find he had vanished. Ten minutes, and much bumbling, bungling, tripping and falling, later, the gang returned the the chamber empty handed but assured to continue their quest to find D’einburgh.
As chance would have it, the gang found themselves in a cavern with four tunnels branching off. A search of each finally revealed to Tir a tiny peep hole within a cavern wall. When one looked inside, they could see the people of D’einburgh, happy and apparently unaware of the predicament they were in. True to form, a discussion began and the gang decided to re-search every room in case they could find another clue, perhaps larger than the one before them. Failing at that, they returned to the peephole where Dake noticed that the air around the peephole seemed to be directed towards it with some sort of magic. Using the best part of his dagger, Dake stuck it in the peephole, disconnecting the magic with its illusion, causing the whole wall to disappear.
It was revealed that the Dwarves of D’einburgh had recently been attacked by a Drow wizard who was holed up nearby. They had thought to have chased him off, but unbeknownst to them, he had his revenge.
Roggi, finding his quest continued on to the fortress of the Drow wizard, enlisted the aid of his fellow adventurers. They agreed, though after some discussion of leaving the Minotaur-crippling Dwarf to face the wizard alone.
With plans drawn and weapons sharpened, the gang decided to bravely face down any threat to the Tuagi outpost and try and nobly hunt down their AWOL prisoner at the same time.
-Ocin the Recorder
Year 1,000 of the Sixth Age of the Third Watch