After the fight with the elves, my companions and I posted a watch and went back to sleep, awaking in the early morning. The two elves whose lives I was able to save woke a few hours after I alleviated their wounds. They would not speak to us at first, but though a combined effort they eventually assisted us in burying their companions. I spoke to them in elven several times, to which our new companion, Master Druger, seemed uneasy. Master Rukh spoke of his trust in me, which was enough to satisfy Master Druger’s suspicions for the moment. I offered the elves a ritual I could perform which would preserve the body of one of their companions until which time they could be brought back to life, if the elves had such ability back in their city. They did not accept my offer, so I prayed for the souls of their fallen compatriots. With their allies buried, the elves left in one direction and my companions and I in another. I wish we had not killed so many of their kin.
The trip back to Coldwell might have been uneventful if it were not for another bridge crossing. It seems every time we try to cross a river or bridge, we are met by trouble. It was no different this time, as two hobgoblins, who referred to each other as Megg and Pegg, were standing in the middle of the bridge and would not let us pass. Before we could attempt any sort of diplomacy or even intimidation, Master Gaervesk hurled a spell at the two blocking our path. Of course there were more than just those two, as they called for their friends hiding in the wood. Several hobgoblins and bugbears joined the battle, which raged on, all around and under the bridge. I need not go into details, but Master Rukh was downed in battle, and I rushed to save him. I was able to do so, and it was not long thereafter we were able to win the fight. A single bugbear attempted to get away, but was chased after and finally brought down. I tried to save as many of the foes’ lives as I could, but only succeeded in reviving the two bugbears. Master Eisenheim wasted no time stripping all weapons, armor and any other valuables from the fallen. After a brief rest, we continued on our way.
We arrived in Coldwell around midnight. We entered the east gate where a single guard was present. We tried speaking with him, and he seemed odd, but gave us no rise not to enter the city. Even though it was late at night, Coldwell was strangely empty, insofar as we saw no one on the city streets. We proceeded to The Silver Dragon, and Master Rizoff was sitting at the front desk. He quickly rose upon seeing us, as though he were surprised to see us at all. He told us we had been gone some two or three weeks, to which we were all stunned. It had felt to us we had been gone perhaps a few days, a week at most. He told us the date was Novaire 1st, and that since we had been gone, the city had come under some strange plague. It began with confusion, then progressed into anger. Some had even died. Master Rukh could not believe the city was not in lockdown, as we had passed through a gate without any trouble. We expressed concern about Lord Stern, and Master Rizoff told us that the Lord Stern had not been seen in some time. We were very worried, and after dropping off some things in my room, we all immediately left to Lord Stern’s keep.
At the keep’s entrance, some guards were posted. Among them was a face I had hoped not to see again. It was Guard Kirk, who upon seeing me said, “Hello beautiful.” He seemed drunk as he approached, reminding me of the favor I owed him. I did not know what to do or say, so I asked him how he would like the favor repaid. It was clear he wanted to take me back to his quarters for… something I was saving for someone special, and would certainly not give to him in any case. He approached closer, and I thought if I could keep him busy my friends could enter the keep, but Master Rukh, quite irritated, grabbed Guard Kirk by the head and slammed it into the large wooden door. Calling it the ‘orcish hangover cure’, he asked if Kirk would like another. Guard Kirk backed down and allowed us entry. I later thanked Master Rukh for handling the situation, but I pray he not be so physical. He replied he did not like women being taken advantage of, and would endeavor to be more diplomatic in the future.
Once inside the keep, we were met by one of the jailers I believe, then by someone of higher rank. We asked him about Lord Stern’s condition and what happened to Lord Jolar and Lord Lasit. He said Lord Jolar had been executed, but Lord Lasit was still locked up in the dungeon. We asked to see him, and handing us the keys, we went to and descended the stairs to the dungeon. Upon entering the prison, Lord Lasit was nowhere to be found. We searched the area, myself looking around Lord Lasit’s cell. I noticed something odd about the floor, and the closer I looked, the more odd it was. In one corner of the cell, there were scratches in an arc, too perfect to be made by chance. I looked at the walls meeting at this corner, and noticed a regular pattern in the stones. I called my companions to take note of this, and believing it was a door, we thought of a way to open it. Master Eisenheim had come up with a complicated plan of using smoke to detect handprints, but Master Rukh just grabbed the stones and pulled. The wall budged. He yanked again, and the door revealed itself and opened.
We peered into the darkness. Rufu immediately ran in, Master Rukh trying to grab her, but she wiggled free. I tried to call her back, but she would not listen. I wanted to go first into the tunnel, but Master Rukh demanded I stay behind him. I yielded, and into the dark we went. We did not get very far, a set of stairs ran up into a ceiling. I looked about, and found a handle lodged between two stones. Not thinking, I pulled the ring and the ceiling opened, revealing the night sky. Everyone looked at me, and I said I had found the opening mechanism, to which they requested I give them notice first. I apologized, I should not have pulled a strange handle without knowing what it did first. With the way made clear, we left the tunnel.
Upon seeing his surroundings, Master Al’Der’eth exclaimed he knew where he was. Apparently, where we were standing was not far from where Master Al’Der’eth had lost Lord Lasit the first time we, or rather he and Master Eisenheim, had released him from his shackles. With the night being so late, the majority voted to return to The Silver Dragon for sleep. We went back through the tunnel, closing the secret door behind us, and to the keep’s main hall. I noticed Master Eisenheim had ran off somewhere, and I told this to the rest of my companions. Master Rukh advised me not to care, but concerned, I stayed behind to wait for him. I sat and wrote of my adventures up until that point. Finishing the log, I got up and went to the keep’s infirmary, curious if the keep was housing any of those afflicted with the strange illness. There was a doctor present, and she told me all those showing signs of the sickness were sent away. I remarked I thought I had met a guard who showed general confusion, but his name I could not remember.
While conversing with the doctor, there was a sudden commotion of noise and shouting, and I quickly ran in the direction of the source. I was stopped at the top of a flight of stairs by two guards, demanding to know who I was and what I was doing in the Lord’s keep. I answered their questions, but they regarded me strangely, and asked that I come with them. I did so, and after handing me off to another guard, had a talk with what looked to be a senior guard. After much pointing and motioning, they eventually approached me, asked me some questions, and the next thing I know, two guards grab my arms. They lead me into a room, handling me roughly. I commented they need not be so physical, I would cooperate fully. The senior guard interrogated me, and I answered all his questions honestly. He did not seem to believe my story, and I replied that it was against the tenets of my faith to lie. Regardless, he said I would be staying the night, and I asked if I was being arrested. He said I was not, and I requested a meal, specifying I did not eat the meat of animals. He would have it done, leaving quickly and the audible sound of the door being locked behind him. A vegetable soup was brought, and I realized I did not order anything for Rufu, who was being very quiet through all this. I suppose she really wanted to go after Lord Lasit. I ate some of the soup, and left the rest for Rufu. She lapped up the broth, but left the rest, and I petted her head, apologizing for forgetting her.
Being confined to a single room, which was by no means a prison cell but rather a plush sitting room, I took off my boots, outer robe and dalmatica so they would not wrinkle, and curled up in the large stuffed chair. It was quite comfortable, and I slept well enough that I can not complain.
I woke early and donned my robes before anyone saw me without them. Not that I was without any clothing under my robes, but being one of Pelor’s clerics, I always want to look suitable. After my morning prayers, a guard knocked on the door and entered to give me breakfast. It was a cheese omelet, which I cut in half and gave Rufu her portion. She chewed it up quickly, seeming to prefer it to the vegetable soup the night before. I wrote of the events of last night, and after a while, another knock came at the door, and an officer of some kind entered and apologized to me profusely, and wanting to be polite, I replied I was thankful for the hospitality I was shown. He led me to another room where my companions were gathered. They did not ask what had happened to me, and soon after we left the keep.
It seemed most of my companions wanted to go shopping. I had nothing to buy, and not knowing what to do with my free time, I went to Coldwell’s temple. It was surprisingly empty, but an acolyte took notice and approached me. I greeted her and asked about the illness spreading throughout the city. She had little more information for me than I had already known, but giving the symptoms some thought, I gave her a portion of the special herbal remedy Healer Sheldy had given me when Master Rukh and Master Gaervesk had taken ill from the werewolf bites they suffered. Master Al’Der’eth made his presence known to me quite suddenly; I did not know how long he had been there. He told me we needed to buy some healing potions at Master Rukh’s request. It was also at this time I had a very odd conversation, which I must detail here. It was Acolyte Janocin who approached and said;
“Oh, Miss Delena, your donation is greatly appreciated!,” she said with a smile.
“Donation? What donation?,” I asked, surprised.
“A dapper gentlemen walked in and made a gracious donation in your name… did you not make the donation?,” she asked quizzically.
“N-No, I suppose indirectly I have,” I replied quite confused. “If I may ask, how much was the donation for?,” I added after a moment.
“It was two hundred gold pieces,” Acolyte Janocin said as though it was quite ordinary.
“Two hundred gold pieces!,” I exclaimed, for it was a goodly sum of money.
“Yes, you are most generous,” she happily commented.
“Yes, I suppose I am!,” I answered.
Master Al’Der’eth was telling me it was time to get back to The Silver Dragon to meet with the rest of our companions. I excused myself and to the inn we went. On the way, I thought of who could have made the donation. It must have been Master Eisenheim, as he fit the description and it seemed like something he would do. Upon entering the inn, I approached Master Eisenheim and thanked him for making such a charitable donation to Pelor. He replied in modesty that he didn’t know what I was talking about. I thanked him all the same, as a letter was handed to me by Master Rizoff. It said that ‘he’ would came back to help us soon, and it was signed ‘L’. It was quite probably Lord Lasit, but my companions wanted to find him for themselves. We set out after packing our things, to the spot where Master Al’Der’eth had lost then ‘Klimb’ the first time. We suspected he was hiding in a lair of some sort, and we did find tracks to follow. Rufu seemed to know the way best, so I tied a loose collar around her neck, and Master Rukh held the end of the rope. The deeper we traveled into the wood, the most anxious Rufu seemed to get. I tried calming her, but she yanked so hard on the rope that it snapped, and off she ran.
We followed Rufu to the edge of a wide, fast-moving river. She was leaping up and down and barking. It was clear we had to cross this river. Master Druger had magical boots that allowed him to walk across the top of the water, so he was able to get to the opposite bank with little trouble. Master Eisenheim strode out onto a large tree that had fallen partially into the river, and from there he leapt off and teleported the rest of the way. Myself, I came up with my own clever plan. I tied a rope to one of my arrows, and shot it at a tree on the opposite bank. It seemed to stick in quite well, so I tied the other end around a tree, and pulled myself along the top of the rope. I made it to the other side with little effort, but there was Rufu to worry about. The problem was solved when Master Rukh tied a harness around her and pulled her with him as he made his way across. She gave a good wet shake of her fur when she set foot on the dry ground.
With everyone safely on the opposite bank, our journey continued. I am genuinely surprised we were not ambushed at the river like we were at so many others. Our trek lasted until nightfall when we came upon a small cave. Rufu bolted inside, and we followed her. The cave was empty, but littered with half-eaten animal carcasses, and in one corner was a crude bed and pillow. Rufu ran to it and wagged her tail. She nuzzled the pillow, trying to get at something underneath. Master Gaervesk lifted the pillow and picked up a piece of paper. He shrieked and dropped it nearly as soon as he first touched it. It was clear the magic in the slip of paper was very strong.
- paper used to teleport Lord Lasit somewhere
- slept the night, saw wolves, did not engage, returned to Coldwell next day
- demanded to see Lord Stern, led to chamber filled with elves and guards
- Lord Jolar appeared, elves attacked, guards controlled
- Lord Lasit appears, attacks Jolar
- Jolar killed by beheading
- rescued Lord Sonnet and removed magical runes from keep
- rewarded by Lord Stern
[err, need a refresher for the rest]