enris' presentation to the Elders of the Tialasarn Tribe and the Mobius Grove.

Elders, thank you for seeing me.

As you know, I have been away for more than 6 1/2 years. Believe me, this was not intentional. Worse, from my perspective, I've only been gone a few days.

As previously reported, Talmaris teleported Gladriel, Rommel and Fon to Korvalti to put an end to Yama's interference. He had been dogging us for weeks prior, and we felt it was time to bring him to an end.

Following their defeat of the evil creature, they found notes and a map written in drow. Yes, Yama had been studying the ancient tongue of the dark elves.

Unfortunately we were unable to make any sense of the map, though we were able to determine that one section of his notes provided a drow to common translation of the alphabet, and another appeared to be a calendar. Attempting to translate the marking of the map did us little good, however, as the language remained unknown to us.

Later, and, again, as previously reported, we set out to oust Valmoris from Whitehall. It was a dangerous plot, but one which we managed to pull off. Valmoris and his followers fled.

As part of the plot, I had assumed the form of one of Valmoris' allies, the mage-killer dwarf Hargen. In distracting Valmoris, Gladriel and the others gave me the time I needed to swipe from Valmoris desk a small sheaf of papers also written in drow.

Upon further study, our wizards Rommel and Quinn determined it was a spell-book index! We had in our hands the index of spells initially taught their human allies, by the drow, more than a millennium ago!

We spent some time working on an initial translation of Yama's map, and I managed to decipher two points of interest to the north: the Circle of Protection, and the Circle of Imprisonment. We also managed to translate a portion of Yama's notes, stating that "The drow legend endures in the Circle of Protection."

I conjectured that while the drow lie in the Circle of Protection, the Circle of Imprisonment may well hold high elves. So Gladriel, Jilas and I set out to visit the Circle of Imprisonment.

Unfortunately our approach was thwarted by a white wyrm! An amazing and beautiful creature, unlike any I'd previously encountered. It was, however, quite insistent that we leave the area, under threat of death. Its demeanor surprised me, as I assumed it would kill us instantly, without any warning. Nonetheless, it allowed us to leave, then disappeared into the heights.

Giving up on the Circle of Imprisonment, we decided to head west, in search of the Circle of Protection.

We eventually found our way to a forest that didn't quite look right. Every tree was an exact duplicate of every other tree, so we concluded we had arrived. We entered the forest in search of the Circle.

Unfortunately, upon landing (we'd been traveling in mist form, compliments of Gladriel's magic), the true nature of the forest was revealed to Gladriel and I. Where Jilas saw only trees, we saw the most atrocious, and obscene sight possible -- a forest of twisted, giant, undead trees.

I was furious! That the drow could create such a abomination was beyond me. Without any hesitation, I threw myself at the nearest tree, and began to dissolve its trunk. Naturally it attacked, and I eventually had to flee for my life. I suggest the Grove send a contingent north, and destroy this evil place.

Continuing through the forest, we eventually found our way to a circle of trees so overgrown and interwoven that they appeared to have grown into a single mass. I once again assumed ooze form, and ate a passage through to the center. It was pitch black inside, but the proper adjustment allowed me to see I was looking into the center of the grove. A hole appeared in the center of the grove, with what appeared to be a staircase heading down into the earth.

I called to Gladriel and Jilas, who joined me in the center of the trees. Instantly we found ourselves under attack, by a giant spider and some sort of floral parasite.

I felt something growing inside me, attempting to send its tendrils throughout my body. We began to choke as it filled our lungs. Gladriel began to chant, while I returned once again to ooze form to dissolve the parasite. When we finally managed to eliminate it from our systems, we began our descent into the earth.

Sadly, it didn't take long before the trap into which we'd talked had activated. The stairs dropped against the outer wall of the shaft, and we began to plummet. Since I'd already used all my forms for the day, there was nothing I could do to stop my fall. Jilas grabbed hold of me, and used his spider climb spell to glom onto a wall. I don't remember how Gladriel stopped his fall, but honestly I was more concerned with myself at the moment.

We found our way along the wall to a corridor opening up from the shaft. We made the mistake of exploring the corridor only to find ourselves in a chamber obviously designed to kill anybody entering from the surface. Fleeing the drow traps, we lowered ourselves down the shaft further to find another corridor.

In this corridor we found a small room, with what appeared to be an altar with a scroll upon it. As soon as Gladriel picked up the scroll, a foul beast came into being before the altar.

At first, appeared to be a minotaur. I was initially rather excited about this, as I hadn't seen one before. But during our combat with the creature, it became clear this was no ordinary minotaur. It wasn't a being of flesh and bone, rather it was nothing more than a skin covering some sort of elemental fire creature.

There was little Jilas or I could do about it, so we withdrew from combat to study the scroll in hopes it would provide a hint as to how to defeat the drow firetaur. Gladriel didn't seem to be making any progress against it, and from our translation we determined the creature was invincible, unless a "soul jar" was found and destroyed.

Calling this out to Gladriel, he managed to work his way past the beast to the door that stood closed behind the altar. Opening it and entering the room, he proceeded to smash the contents of every shelf in the room. In a poof of smoke, the creature vanished. Jilas and I peeked in to find Gladriel standing amist piles of broken glass with multi-colored vapors rising up from the floor.

Then the strangest thing happened: Quinn and Fon appeared before us.

We thought it was odd they'd managed to find us as quickly as they did, and suspected they'd been following us in secret. We'd only been gone a few days, after all. Quinn, of course, cast doubt upon this statement by saying we'd been missing for a year and a half!

In the discussion that followed, we concluded time passed more quickly within the drow circle. This did not make the three of us happy, though it did explain a cryptic comment on the scroll we found, saying something about "time passing in haste."

Quinn filled us in on recent events, informing us that war had broken out between the Empire and the Alliance, and that King Belvedere had vanished.

Shaken, we began to explore further with our newly re-acquired companions, only to run into another series of drow traps...

* A chasm filled with some sort of tentacled creature. * A wall which separated Quinn from his hands. * Another wall which gave me the sudden desire to kill Gladriel.

Admittedly the latter was nothing new, as I'd experienced the feeling before. This time I acted upon it, but stuck in this form there was little I could practically do. Before long the party subdued me, and the spell was broken.

Backing up, we received another surprise. As we were fighting off the tentacles from the chasm, a bright light appeared behind us in the corridor. Flanked by the enemy, Quinn surprised us all by not lobbing a fireball at the bright light: it was Rommel.

Already aware that time passed differently here, we asked Rommel how long he'd been looking for us. He'd departed Whitehall six months after Quinn and Fon, so by now more than two years had passed.

Reunited, we left the center corridor and proceeded to the next corridor down the shaft. The scroll had held another riddle about a "nightmare maze" below, so down seemed the logical place to continue search for the "drow legend."

We entered this corridor to find ourselves wandering seemingly aimlessly through a series of rooms. Each room had four doors, and every other room contained a creature even nastier than the last.

Before long, Jilas figured out that each room was during 90 degrees as we entered it, and he was able to determine that if we entered a room and immediately turned left, we'd find our way through the maze. We gave it a try, and sure enough we finally found our way out of the nightmare maze and into another series of corridors.

Searching, we found a large chamber that appeared to be a smithy and armory. There were horrible weapons lining the walls, which Quinn suggested we not touch. A forge stood at the end of the chamber, burning with a purple flame.

Leaving this chamber and proceeding through the complex, we entered another chamber which was lined with coffins. Quinn took the initiative here, and set the first row of coffins on fire. Immediately they began to open, and two suits of armor proceeded to attack us. They weren't much of a challenge, though it wasn't this room that held the prize. It was the next that could have done us in. Indeed, the moment we stepped through the doorway to the next chamber, we were attacked by another set of armor moving at incredible speeds.

Quinn lobbed a blazing fire attack at both suits, and within moments grasped at his chest and collapsed to the floor. I'd been hanging back for his protection, given I was stuck in this form and of little help on the front lines. Leaning over him, it was immediately apparent that his heart had stopped.

There was something in the room with power beyond anything we'd ever encountered.

While I tended to Quinn, the others fought the suits of armor, and finally destroyed them (after taking a fair amount of damage, I might add). As soon as the suits of armor fell to the ground, a wall appeared before us, blocking our path -- a wall of eyes.

It's incredibly disconcerting to find oneself facing a wall that's staring back at you. Fortunately by this point I'd managed to get Quinn back on his feet, and he proceeded to barbeque the wall out of existence.

When the wall fell, two things happened. Jilas rushed the retriever that was revealed to be standing behind the wall. Second, Gladriel cast a spell to sprout wings, and flew into the chamber in search of what we assumed to be a drow wizard.

While Gladriel sought out the drow, the rest of us fought the demon. Jilas had once again found himself in the pincers of a retriever, and didn't seem overly pleased. I imagine he has nightmares about these things by now.

We made short work of it, and when it fell I looked it over. So far, almost every creature we'd fought in keep had been a construct of some sort. Also, much of the magics we'd encountered had been illusions. I don't know if either statement is necessarily relevant, but I figured I should mention it.

Finding no sign of the wizard, who seems to have fled, we explored further into the room to find a throne standing at one end of the room. It sat upon a dias, and bore the symbols of the known gods, and a few unknown, though each symbol was upside down. I'd previously conjectured that the reason many of Gladriel's spells had failed, where Quinn's had not, was because something in the fortress was suppressing divine power. Given the scroll's description of a "godless throne," we were fairly certain this was the cause of Gladriel's discomfort.

Hovering above the throne, Gladriel released holy water upon it, hoping to destroy it. Instead the dias went exploded, while throne remained unscathed. The fortress, however, did not remain unscathed, and began to tremble. Once again, we found ourselves beneath the earth while it as beginning to collapse.

Rommel hoisted the throne up on his back, and we proceeded to leave. We attempted to destroy the throne on the drow forge, to no avail. So we headed up the shaft, which by this point had stairs again. Whatever we'd done had disrupted the magics surrounding the shaft, so we were finally able to escape.

Reaching the surface, we met with a terrifying sight. A 15' hole had been burned through the circle of tree, and imperial soldiers standing at guard commented on how it was about time we showed up, carrying what they'd been searching for. Gladriel and Rommel immediately took to the air, and headed for the exit with the throne. While they were taking flight, Quinn passed out reduce potions to Jilas, Fon and I, which we quickly drank, and grabbing hold of us, the forest was immediately replaced by the admissions area at the Wizard's Guild.

Quinn immediately summoned Talmaris, and we where shuffled into a room for a quick meeting. I don't know what they were talking about, as they were speaking draconic, but Talmaris immediately summoned two of his research assistants, and vanished. A few minutes later, he reappeared with Gladriel, Rommel and the dark throne.

The throne remains at the Wizard's Guild, for security purposes. Please note that I've furnished each of you with copies of my translations of the written drow language, as well as copies of Yama's notes, his alphabet translation, and of the map showing the locations of the drow Circles.

I will now answer any questions.

ack to the Age of Hope