uinn's Journal
Session 3: Marching the Wrong Way
Session 4: Cashing in on Success
Session 8: The Mad Mage
Session 9: Nightmares and Farewells
Session 10: The Impossible Happens
Session 17: Time Flies

18th of Summer, A.H. 1018

ormally I like to break in a new journal, but not under these circumstances. Virtually everything I own is now sitting at the bottom of Skelitown bay, not to mention several of my crew mates.

It was supposed to be a night in port after The Manta Ray dropped off her cargo. Me and the boys were having some fun in the pub when the mist rolled in.

Then the screams started. Ol' Neptune decided to let all those buried at sea join in our night of revelry! There must have been hundreds of them in the streets, killing everyone in sight. We got lucky. The pub was far enough from the water that we had warning. The crew that stayed on The Manta Ray never had a chance.

Everyone in the pub started running, but we would have been dead too if it weren't for the blessed lighthouse and its light shining in the darkness. Dozens of us ran to it, just steps ahead of the fell beasts.

We are now locked in the lighthouse. I'm sure that anyone who didn't make it inside before we had to bare the doors is dead. My magics are exhausted until I can get some sleep. Before I rested, though, I had to get the last events of my life in a journal, just in case.

Pelor be praised! The sun drove them off. Hugo made a quick fly around and says that none of the sunken dead can be seen. We might make it through after all. The survivors are grabbing any food and supplies we can carry and are off for the Baron's stronghold. I'm sure he can solve this situation.

The Baron had one of his elite guards talk to me about what I saw in Skelitown. This guy was impressive! All decked out in his gray cloak and custom armor. I'll bet he could take on 100 zombies just by himself, and there are at least a dozen more around town.

I was hoping their leader would want to talk to me, but I can't tell if he talks at all!!! You can't even see his face under that black cloak of his. I'm sure these guys will take care of everything.

Now for a few days rest and then to find a new ship.

Everything in this town is becoming unaffordable. You would think they would give a price break for a hero like me, but I just got evicted from my room because someone was willing to pay more! I can't wait to find a new ship, but so few can dock in this little town that I'll have to end up signing onto a fishing boat.

At least I'm getting to know some people in town. A fellow named Nick has been livening up the over-crowed pub. I know he denies it, but I can tell he has some money. Maybe he'll commission a painting?

I don't believe it! I've been pressed into the army!!! After dodging the gangs for all these years, I thought I was safe. Who knew they did the same thing on dry land?!?

I guess the Baron didn't have the confidence in his Gray Cloaks that I did. He decided that he needs hundreds of peasants to help out. I hope we aren't just going to end up joining the army of the dead! Every able body man in the barony would be dead and the entire area would be easy picking for anyone.

Fortunately, the Baron has me. With my first-hand knowledge of the situation, he will probably want me to join the officers as an advisor.

22nd of Latesummer, A.H. 1018

is Highness, the Baron, just told us that the Elves are behind the attacks. Sneaky bastards!!! I hate them all. We march on their city at dawn. Death to them all!!!

Lucky break for me. I hear that the squad next to mine has two priests in it. Those are definitely some people I need to be friends with. You never know when a stinking elf will be hiding behind a tree and shoot you.

Something is wrong. One of the priests is an elf. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Baron can tell a trustworthy elf from one who is an enemy, but I'm still confused. Also, I just remembered that Elves loath Necromancy more than anyone (strange that I forgot that). Why would they be summoning zombies?

The other priest is a Klod, at least that is what the other sailors called their short, stumpy race when I saw them on my trip to the other continent. Always dirty and grumpy. The only thing that cheered them up was gold and ale, and I don't have either!

There was a skeleton attack tonight. Row after row tried to charge us from the wood. The elven priest Galadriel was amazing!!! He called Correlon's wrath down upon those brittle bones and shattered them into dust!!!

I helped out as much as I could. I cast Light on a crossbow bolt to let us see better, but I got too excited and fired it into the dirt. Then I tried Animate Rope on a rope being dragged between the horses of an elven hunter named Jilas and a young man with a sword bigger than him called Rommel. The two charged the skeletons from the side, but Jilas ended up getting speared before getting very far. Fortunately the Dwarf (apparently Klod is an insult) Priest Argyle was able to heal him in time.

A difficult win, but we did it. We were attacked by the Elves by someone, but we prevailed. I'll be curious how The Baron describes what happened.

I can't believe I was worried about The Baron's understanding of the situation. It is clear that he understands the evil of the elves. I am so tempted to have my damned pointy ears burned off with blacksmith's tools, but then I would be out of the fight and couldn't collect my share of elf scalps. I'll do it afterwards.

Gladriel says they have some idea of where the undead will attack next. He says that we need to take the enemies by surprise, but we'll have to sneak out of camp to do it. I want to help, but he is an elf. He might be behind everything himself. If that is the case, I'll just kill him myself in the woods.

I am lucky to be writing tonight. If not for the timely intervention of the Klod Dwarven Priest, I would be with my father now, wherever that is.

Gladriel was right about the attack coming from the woods. It turned out he had two men in the trees watching our backs. One turned out to be my buddy Nick from the town. He looked totally out of place in the woods and seemed the very uncomfortable in his torn, dew soaked clothes. The elven druid Vlag on the other hand seemed in his element.

The whole group of us snuck into the woods and circled around a wagon being drawn by 4 Gray Cloaks & the Black Cloak. I wasn't sure that attacking representatives from the King himself was such a good idea, but we quickly didn't have an option.

Vlag attempted to subdue them peacefully by making the forest itself grabbed them. The wagon became ensnared, but the soldiers began to force through. The Black Cloak seemed to drain the very life from one of his own men to empower himself, using Dark Arts the likes of which I've only hears stories about. My new allies attempted to overcome them quickly, with myself using my formidable magic, but the Gray Cloaks were veterans and fought with poisoned blades. The Black Cloak managed to the boxes in the wagon and began to cast a spell I could not even fathom. From the box rose a corpse long dead, but with evil life breathed back into it.

Unable to reach the Black Cloak from my position, I went to the aid of Argyle, who was in a fight to the death with a Gray Cloak. Catching him off guard, I hit him solidly with my belaying pin. Unfortunately, bar fights had not prepared me for dealing with a seasoned soldier. With a flick of his wrist, he slashed open my throat and went back to fighting Argyle like I wasn't there.

I remembered how it felt the time I started drowning in Gull Bay all those years ago. Except this time it was my own blood. I could hear the waves crashing nearer and nearer to me, and I thought I could hear my mother singing. Then suddenly I could breath! I will never forget how good that air tasted. Argyle, bloody from the fight (or was it my own blood?), crouched above me with the symbol of his deity telling me my work wasn't over yet.

When I had the energy to get up, I found that all the enemies had been slain, including the undead beast. They had stripped Black Cloak and found him to be a human with black face-grease. His cloak has the symbol of the King sewn into its trim, confirming some people's belief that His Majesty was behind these events.

Using the black cloak & a gray one, Nick @amp; Rommel plan on dressing as King's Guards and got in to speak with the Baron. They says that his emerald amulet is somehow the key.

I don't have the energy for it. I've returned to camp to sleep. But I won't be able to until I get these events into my journal.

Ugh. It keeps getting worse! That little fish-skinner Argyle made me sketch a severed head!!! I know I owe him my life, but there must be a more civilized way to pay him back, like a painting of him inside a locket for his girl. But he really wanted to me to draw Black Cloak's face, but not until he cut off his head & stuck it in the ground. If it weren't for my great skill, no one would have been able to recognize it as anything other than something a dog was playing with.

26th of Latesummer, A.H. 1018

ll hail Lord Nickolas!!! He has overthrown the evil Baron and now will lead us against our real enemies.

I have to get away from that Damned Emerald Amulet!!! When people wear it, I believe what they say! Fortunately, some of us are riding ahead, so I can get away from Nickolas and that ghastly stone.

It has been a hard ride. Whenever the horses got tired, Galadriel would cast spells on them and give them more energy (Argyle stayed with Lord Nickolas). Shame no spells could be wasted on the riders!

Just to make things more difficult, we are dragging the Baron with us. He has been just babbling since we defeated him. I think he is faking it.

So that is what magic feels like! I've never had a FIREBALL explode near me before. I look forward to being on the other side of it.

The elves were amazing. They came from nowhere and threw fire as easily as arrows. Fortunately, Galadriel had sent word ahead and they were expecting us. I shutter to think what their reaction would have been if he hadn't.

They had never seen a parrot like Hugo before. He was nervous to meet them, but enjoyed all the attention once he calmed down.

Naturally, the elves are concerned about this attack on them. One of their old guys looked at the Baron and said that he was under the effects of powerful magics that even they couldn't easily identify. More terrifyingly, one of the flasks we took from Black Cloak contained 'Blood of an Immortal'. That even scared them!

We have to get back to town. Lord Nickolas & Argyle will probably need our help dispersing the army.

Well pickle me in brine! Nickolas has gone power mad just like the Baron did. We just got word that as soon as the army returned to town, he started drilling them in preparation for some other (or the same?) enemy.

We are making plans and sneaking in and "dealing" with Nickolas. Too bad. Still owed me for that hotel room...

1st of Fall, A.H. 1018

hat was easier than expected. While we were making plans, Father Argyle managed to get Nick drunk and then took the Evil Amulet from him. I guess not all plans have to be complicated. Too bad Nick started drooling and muttering once the amulet was taken off. People who make mystic items should really be more careful.

For our next simple plan - take Nick to the elves and then ride to the capitol to see what His Lowness is up to.

Several pages of the Journal are missing...

15th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

am writing this entry from the comfortable confines of my new spell: Quinn's Portable Stateroom. Instead of a decrepit shack, we all got to sleep in the warm & dry dome my magic created.

I just finished preparing my spells for our latest adventure, so I am making some notes and doing a few drawings before we leave. It is important that I stay in practice, now that there is such a demand for my "art".

Nymriell, The Great Magus of the Mountain, has chosen us to do a special mission for him. The final component he needs for some wondrous creation is in a catacomb below his tower that even he is afraid to enter. He has asked me and my associates to enter their depths and locate an exotic crystal for him As a down-payment, he gave each of us a small bag of multi-faceted gems. He has promised us great rewards for success. I'm sure I'll be able to charm him out of a few new spells for my book.

Before taking up this important mission, we decided to spend the night resting & preparing. Also, the party had acquired some items while I was away studying which needed distributing. Knowing that I was the only one who could effectively use them, they presented me with numerous scrolls & a Staff of Fire.

Several of my party-members have admired my tattoos. Finally someone asked why they seem to almost move. I explained that I had imbued them with magic. The Parrot on my left forearm can make me as light as a feather, while the Mermaid on my right bicep has a minor shape-changing spell bound to it. By simply touching either one and concentrating, I can evoke its magic. Immediately everyone wanted their own.

Since I only have time to do one tattoo before I sleep, I am going to give Father Argyle one which will let him float slowly to the earth. Apparently while I was away, he fell several times. The tattoo is thanks for the time he saved my life after my throat was cut by those Gray-Cloaked bastards. He has requested a hammer on the back of his weapon hand. It is not a challenging drawing, but to each their own. Also, a hammer is an odd choice for a rune to keep you from hitting the ground hard, but Dwarves will be Dwarves. I just hope my needles won't go dull on his tough hide.

Nymriell made us wait and wait and wait. He just sat there, scribbling in a book as if we weren't even in the room. I'm not sure he always remembers that there are other people in the world. We again asked how we would find a single rock in the entire area under his keep. To this he presented us with a magic compass that should point us to what he seeks.

Nicholas has decided not to join us. Apparently the last few days have made him less fond of heroics. Too bad.

Once we said we were ready, Nymriell teleported us into his 'basement'. I was picturing something smaller, like a coliseum! His basement is a bottomless pit hundreds of feet across!!! We appeared on a small landing. In both directions a small path wound up and down. Nicholas may not have been so foolish after all. Due to the enclosed space, I've decided to put Hugo into an air-tight Familiar Pocket. There is an hour of air in there, and I can add more whenever it seems safe. Now if only there was a Wizard Pocket spell to go with it.

We tied ourselves together and began walking down the stairs. Argyle immediately commented that they were not of Dwarf design, since each stair was not exactly the same width. I shudder to think of the monotony of his lands.

Unexpectedly, the ledge collapsed! Argyle was on the end of the rope and went over the edge. He dragged a few others with him before we could take up the slack and suspend his fall. Once be pulled him back up, I asked why he didn't activate his tattoo. He said he did, but it didn't work. I checked & surely the magic has been expended from my art, leaving just the lovely tattoo. I guess Dwarf skin doesn't work with my inks.

I recommended that Argyle take over in the lead. For some reason the party ignored me until the next collapse happened. This time I used my own Feather Fall spell to keep the whole party from being dragged into the depths.

At this point, they realized the sense of my advice and Father Argyle took over in the lead. He immediately began pointing out cracks and fissures that I certainly couldn't see. To make sure our exit would be unhindered, I marked each danger with some white paint.

Break time's over. Time to start marching again.

I just finished preparing with my spellbook and am taking some quick notes. Part way down the pit, we came across a side passage. After bypassing several traps, we started to smell a loam-like aroma that the others identified as a "breeding pit" where orcs grow from the ooze.

We cautiously entered a huge room. As we worked our way around the outside, we could make out bubbling red ooze with humanoid forms slowly working their way free. A few steps away stood several orcs, but they were not yet a threat. Apparently once created, orcs hibernate standing up. When someone arrives to collect them, they awaken and follow. From experience, Galadriel knew that they would also wake once attacked. Unfortunately they had equipped themselves before 'sleeping' and were heavily armed. The orcs came in many sizes, from runt'ish ones that Father Argyle towered over, to hulking brutes over twice my height!

To take advantage of our surprise, we opened fire on the largest one we could see, knowing there we countless more in the darkness. As expected, when we killed the first, all the rest awakened and tried to charge into battle. The party took a defensive position of half-circle of warriors surrounding myself & the Necromancer Yama in the center & the wall at our back. The two of us used our magics to good advantage. Those we did not slay outright with our fire were easily dealt with by the warriors. From the darkness, archers rained arrows on us, including an unpleasant number pointed at me. Then one of the great brutes reached over my comrades heads and smashed me to the ground.

Although in agony, I knew that the battle would get even more desperate if all the orcs in the room closed with us. So I used my new staff's more fearsome ability - a Wall of Fire. Bisecting the room, I trapped most of the archers behind a 20' curtain of flames. With the tides turned, we made short work of the remaining orcs.

We had but moments before the wall would fall. We quickly healed ourselves and approached the wall. When the flames dispersed, the warriors charged the nearby archers so as the fight them in melee. Yama and I stayed in a defensible position with the elves Gray & Jilas alternating guarding us.

As the close archers were cut apart, more arrows appeared from the darkness. Gray bravely kept himself between me and the archers while we tried to figure out where they were. Yama's Dancing Lights located them in the room's center and my Fireball ended their shooting. The few left standing were finished off by the warriors.

More proto-orcs were trying to crawl from the ooze. Yama and I used Flaming Spheres to incinerate these unfinished beasts and the breeding pit they came from.

Since I did not know this morning what we would face, I left some of my mystic energies uncommitted. I have just used this break for healing to prepare the remainder of my spells, mostly to replace those I have already cast.

Galadriel is calling for us to make haste. It is time for me to sign off.

Again my bravery has almost cost me my life. We came upon a brute who tried to push Jilas over the ledge. Cleverly, he drank a potion of Spider Climb and stuck to the walls. Meanwhile Yama & I used spells to paralyze the monster. Once he was held, the party wasted no time pushing him off the ledge.

The tunnel he appeared from was coated with a strange fungus that the Druid Vlage had never seen before. As we tried to determine its purpose, another brute entered with a wheelbarrow. Seeing us, it left the wheelbarrow to block the passage and ran. Being closest to the door, I gave chase, only to find it laying in ambush just outside the door. I took a fierce blow with its shovel and might have fallen except for Jilas, still attached to the wall, scurried out, grabbed me, and climbed up the wall to safety.

Once that brute had been knocked from the ledge, Jilas & I returned. We realized that the fungus was being harvested from this room and transferred to another with the wheelbarrow. The party tied up again and continued.

Farther down the path, we found another breeding pit, except this one was still under construction. The red ooze was only an inch or so deep. Clearly the red ooze was being fed the mold to get it to full size. Unwilling to waste any magic, we decided to destroy this room on the way out.

Time to get going.

After taking some loot from the remains of another adventuring party in some prison cells, we finally made it to the end of the path. Not far above the lava, a circular path works its way all around the "pit". The compass is finally pointing in a direction, so we thought we were close.

According to Argyle & Galadriel, the lava formed a river from one orc spawning area to another. They were created by tapping into its power.

As we worked our way around, we came across an amazing door, encrusted with runes, precious metals, and filling everyone of us with apprehension. Yama was able to read some of the runes & determined that it was a Gate to the Realm of Fire. In Dwarven, Drow, and a few other languages were warnings about tampering with the door, implying that those who did would release the fires of another world.

We wisely bypassed that door and ended up at a simpler one (though still labeled in Drow) where the compass pointed into. We didn't make it far before a gas trap nearly ate away our lungs. In a store-room, Yama located the crystal we were looking for in a common crate.

We are now catching our breath is a somewhat clear area before we brave the corridor filled with gas again. Gray is actually coughing up blood and none of the rest of us feel very good. I'm sure there is loot around here, but everyone feels that it would be too dangerous to look for it.

I'd better wrap this up. I still have to refresh the air in Hugo's Familiar Pocket before we make a run for the exit.

May all Archmages burn for their arrogance!!! I need to get help and this antediluvian bastard won't even open his door!

A lava monster the size of his whole tower bubbled up from the magma at the bottom of the "pit" and came after us. We made some pitiful attacks that had the same effect as throwing a dagger at a Ship-of-the-Line. Then someone got the idea to throw the little crystals that Nymriell gave us at it, since he had said they were some kind of weapon. Jilas dropped his, so I threw the largest at the thing. The green stone changed into a great energy bolt which sheared off a few of its hundred arms. The party cheered and dug around for their crystals.

I reviewed my spells: Fireball, Web, Animate Rope, Dancing Lights, Read Magic. Nothing I had left was going to hurt a 100' living blob of lava. Galadriel yelled for me to use the Teleport scroll and get Nymriell's help. As I dug for it, a glob of magma struck me down. I awoke with Argyle again healing me from the brink & ordering me to get out of here.

So here I am, in total safety, on the edge of tears, pounding on this magically locked door, wondering if "our employer" knows what is going on, or if he is transcribing a recipe for mutton stew.

Wait. I hear him coming...

From this outcropping, I see the fire clearly. Some days when the sun set at sea, it seemed like the whole world was on fire. Who would have guess I'd see the same thing some day on land, and it would actually be fire.

When Nymriell opened the door, he already knew about the lava monster and the fight. In fact, he had been watching the who episode in his Crystal Ball, but just as an observer. Naturally he didn't bother to let me in until it was over.

In the Crystal Ball, he reviewed for me my friends handing from a ledge fighting the lava beast and the smog creatures it belched up. They threw virtually every crystal the party had at it, but it still made it to them. Clearly it was weakened, with the last crystal leaving a hole through its center, but on it moved to sweep the party into the lava like so many bread-crumbs. Then Rommel pulled out a "bomb" that he had acquired and tossed it into the opening. The weapon detonated larger than any Fireball I had ever seen, and the lava monster shattered. I sighed in relief, but was still in a fury that he didn't help.

While we had been reviewing, the party had made their way to the top of the "pit" with one of Yama's scroll's. The group entered, gravely wounded, but still standing. Nymriell calmly asked for his prize as if we had done no more than walk to the market square to pick it up for him. Yama tossed it to him, and then Jilas tossed something too. He still had his crystal weapon. It hit Nymriell square in the chest with motes of black and white light that burned into his body like acid.

I guess that no one had attacked him to his face in decades. He stood their stunned for a moment. Rommel charged him to try and keep him from casting spells. I had no spells I could cast in a confined area. Nothing would have made any difference. With the slightest of gestures, Nymriell teleported away.

As we hesitated a moment, the earth began to shake and from somewhere above us, we could hear Nymriell screaming "NO!!!" Everyone else ran for the door because they knew what was happening. I followed because I knew it must be bad. Outside, we all ran down the mountain, except for Yama who ran up it. Vlage transformed himself into an eagle to give chase.

I yelled to find out what I was running from, besides the shaking earth. Galadriel yelled back that after the magma monster died, they realized that the element they had retried for Nymriell was the final ingredient he needed for the Elixir of Immortality, the Curse of the previous Age. So as the spell to take them to the surface was being cast, he summoned an Air Elemental with instructions to wait for them to get out, then to break the seal on the Door of Fire. I started running faster.

People began to fall off the path due to the tremors. Argyle tumbled over one hundred feet before I was able to catch him in a Web. At that point, Galadriel cast an Air Walk, pick up those that needed help, and "walked" down to Argyle, who once stable also cast Air Walk. I used my tattoo to shape-change into having wings. In this way, we all got clear of the mountain before it exploded!

The gout of lava was so powerful that it actually tore Nymriell's tower off its foundation. We all wished he was still in it, but realistically we can hope that the Elixir was destroyed before he could finish or move it.

The priests found this safe place to land. Vlage joined us. He said that Yama was whisked away before the lava flowed, so he survived, but probably in Nymriell's clutches.

We have a nice view of the lava seeping out of one crack after another in the mountain range. I think I'll sketch.

16th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

The fire is getting worse. More and more of the forest is getting eaten up by the flames every hour. Vlage & Jilas says it is spreading unnaturally fast. Maybe opening that door to the Plane of Fire wasn't such a good idea. I shudder to think what elemental monsters have come through it.

We've traveled far enough that we should be safe for the night. I'm exhausted. I can't believe it is still the same day that we first went down into that "bottomless pit". I'll feel better in the morning, after I've slept & restocked my spells.

Sir Gladriel has put summoning glyphs on a set of long tapestries, which he is laying out around the camp. It is good to know if anything sneaks up on us, it will be pounced on by Celestial Bears.

That half-breed son of an orc & a scullery maid!!! He's in my head! He filled my dreams with horrible mocking images of me loosing a wizard's duel to him.

From the sounds of everyone else's shrieks, their dreams were almost as bad as mine. I doubt any of us will be able to sleep tonight. I hope I can go just one more day without the spells I have left.

17th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

We arrived at a no-name village earlier today. After showing around a picture I drew of Nikolaus...

we determined that he had been in town, but had left to find a healer. The local one had been hit by a falling ceiling & badly injured. Sir Gladriel & Father Argyle made a good show of healing him & much of the rest of town.

After warning them to get out of the area in case of lava, we handed out some coins to help them relocate. They were overwhelmed by the bent farthings we passed around.

To give the town something to honor us with, I painted up a quick icon for them. Nothing much, but it should be enough for them to convince people we were really in their town.

Once we acquired some horses & mules, we set off again for Whitehall.

18th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Curse all wizards!!! He has invaded my dreams yet again! One day I'll burn him from the inside, leaving only his leathery flesh, which I will use to make a scarecrow to keep away the birds!!!

Vlage has left us to converse with his Druid Circle. He says they have the best chance of dealing with the fires.

19th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Not since the restless dead invaded Talport have I lived through such an awful day. After tricking us for so many days with nightmares, that son-of-a-barnacle-scraper sent actual nightmares after us. I don't know what bottomless pit of hell he pulled those spider-demons out of, but I hope it cost him his eternal soul.

Despite a week without sleep, the night attack, & those monsters, we handled ourselves so well. With fire, blades, & summoned bears, we tore each one limb-from-limb. But it was not enough to save poor Jilas. All I can say is that with his brave fighting, the beast could not give Jilas the slow death it longed for. No, it took every infernal trick it knew to slay our dear friend before it was smashed to pieces. Would that we could have kept that last cowardly spider-monster from disappearing with his body!!!

It is just as well that a restful sleep is deprived me, since I would not be able to sleep a moment tonight. At least nothing worse can happen.

21st of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Surely that fell wizard is laughing himself sick! Seeing us from afar unable to stop him, so we turn on ourselves in frustration. He may even slow the pace at which he kills us to see if we will save him the trouble!

It is bad enough he turned Jilas' body into a zombie & had it attack us. Not even in the nightmares he gave me did I picture such a vile act. I'm just glad that Rommel could see past his friend's face to cut him down.

Despite all this, I had hope. The scroll with the spell called "Clone" would have allowed me to regrow his body from a piece of flesh, which his soul could then reinhabit. Naturally I can't tell others about this since I know that the wizard must be watching us at all times.

While I was finding a suitable piece of flesh to form the basis of the spell, Argyle and Gladriel were arguing, which is common. I turned my back on them & entered the shroud of silence the wizard had place on the zombie before sending it at us. Thus I had no warning when a pillar of flame struck the body, myself, & Grey. Naturally it was not powerful enough to overly harm me, so I stepped to a clear location to find the enemy.

To my amazement, Gladriel had drawn a sword on Argyle & was swinging at him. With a lucky swing, he shattered Argyle holy symbol, which drove the dwarf berserk. Within moments, the stout-hearted priest was trying kill Gladriel with his bare-hands, while the rest battered him with the flats of their blades until he dropped.

Gladriel says that it was Argyle that cast the Flame Strike on Jilas' body & that I was just unlucky enough to be near. More amazing, he apparently wasn't possessed. The Order of Endings, of which Argyle is a member, believes that it is blasphemous magic to bring a soul back from its rest, since their deity Calaam guards the door between world. When Gladriel explained that he was going to use Corellon & Elohna's favor to return Jilas to us, Argyle attempted to destroy the remains to protect the sanctity of Jilas' spirit.

None of this makes any sense to me. The only religion I was raised with was throwing coins into sea when your ship left port so that the nixies would be too busy collecting them to sink you. I know nothing of the negotiation between Calaam & Corellon to arrange passage from one world to the next. I just know that Argyle was willing to take a chance on killing me & Grey to "protect" Jilas' soul.

Maybe I can just blame all of this on lack of sleep. No one seems like themselves anymore.

We are going to ride day & night to get to Whitehall. Argyle has been tied up & thrown over a horse. Another carries what is left of Jilas' remains. I have only the most trivial of magics left at my command after a week without real sleep. Maybe something in the city will save us.

22nd of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

If I ever write a book of lessons I have learned from my travels, the first rule will be not to try and enter a city with a dead body in the middle of the night. If it weren't for the distraction caused by our Dwarven "prisoner", I expect we all would have ended up in a cell.

With most of the party leading Argyle to the jail, I was left with the task of finding a place to keep the body until morning. I asked the few people I could find on the street & all said that the greatest cathedral in town was dedicated to Pelor, the Guiding Sun. It sounded close enough to Sir Gladriel's Order of the Sunbrand that they might take me & my burden in.

I couldn't take the horses near the temple, so I had to carry Jilas' carcass myself to the door. The priest who met me must be used to this because he didn't slam the door in my face like I expected. Actually, Tobias and his brethren were amazingly kind. I was led to a room designed for the departed. Tobias said that he could wait for the rest of my party to arrive the next day before arrangement would need to be discussed.

Then he gave me the greatest kindness -- I was led to a room where they say Nymriell's evil can not touch me. For the first time in more than a week, I may sleep.

23rd of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Blessed be Pelor! I have slept. My mind is finally clear enough for me to memorize spells again. Even though an Archmage wants me dead, one friend is being fitted for a tomb upstarts, & another is in jail for trying to incinerate me, I feel pretty good.

Clearly one night of sleep will not protect me from the Mad Mage. I'll have to go to the Wizard's Guild and do some fast research.

Clearly the word "fast" is not taught at this guild. I didn't expect them to shang-hi members right off the street, but I'm not sure I am going to live long enough to do all the paper-work.

Fortunately, Master Talmaris, a member of the Guild's Ruling Council, has sensed the power of the magics that surround me & agreed to a consultation. Hopefully he will be able to help.

It is always bad when you tell an Archmage the name of your enemy & he has to change his pants.

Blessed be Pelor! In his brightness, we are safe. By his guiding torch, we are led from evil.

Tobias, who turns out to be the Cathedral's Bishop, has performed a miracle & called Jilas' soul back to his desiccated corpse, which he also healed. Jilas seems disoriented, but peaceful. He and the High Priest had a long conversation and Jilas convinced him that he as work left to do on this world. I guess I won't need that finger after all.

In other news, Argyle has apparently accepted banishment for his heresy against the accepted tenants of Pelor, the Sunbrand, & the other dominant religions. He is being escorted out of the kingdom as I write this, most likely toward the rest of his Order.

Father Argyle never had a chance to apologize to me.

25th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Well, it took two days, but I managed not to Fireball any scribes!!! I am now a member of the Wizard's Guild of Whitehall. I know the "secret-handshake" spell & everything.

I'll be attending my first dinner tonight, which will give me access to Councilor Larnel. Master Talmaris told me that Our Foe was once High Councilor of the Guild long ago, but left under a cloud many, many years ago. Councilor Larnel is the only member left who was part of the Council at that time and the most likely wizard to be able to help me.

Now the Council's oversight on letting The Towerless Mage get away has come back to haunt all of us. I'm sure he will shoulder this task & help me rid the Kingdom of such a dangerous menace.

All Wizards should be shrunk down and fed to their own familiars!!! What an arrogant useless bunch!!!

The Guild's Dinning Hall is impressive, with stairs going from level to level. Each platform has a coven of Wizards discussing an obscure arcane topic, such as the optimal number of toes on a stone golem. Meanwhile, the mountain range north of here was riddled with orc breeding pits & now is leaking lava like a worm-infested sailboat. I'm sure the entire army of the sunken dead from Talport could walk up to the Guild Hall's door and the wizard's main goal would be to see if the fingernails kept growing after the bodies died.

After working my way through several conversations that bored Hugo to sleep, I finally located Councilor Larnel in a conversation with some other wizen wizards. I don't think I've ever seen an Elf look so old. I can't picture how many seasons he has lived through. Anyway, the wizard's circle was reenacting the Great Treant Debate of 965, 966, & 967 at its original speed.

After watching them talk to each other in single words over an hour, I decided to take the direct approach. I wrote The Mad One's name on a piece of paper & had Hugo fly it over to him. Eventually he gave it a side-long glance, but it might as well have said that 'the sky is blue' for all the reaction it evoked from him. When he finally left with the others, I tried to talk with him, but one of his companions got in the way & questioned me until Councilor Larnel was gone.

For all the good it did me, I might as well have gone out drinking with Nik...

26th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Wow. That is a powerful wizard. Councilor Larnel teleported me out of the Pelor safe-room like he was summoning an Unseen Servant to do his dishes. When we finished talking, he sent me back with no more effort than a wave.

Councilor Larnel started with the standard "I can melt you where you stand" routine, but when he found me unfazed, we began to talk like peers. He is very concerned with the actions of He-Who-Definitely-Will-Be-Killed. He knows better than most what he is capable of doing. I explained about Elixir of Immortality & the Fire Gate. He was appropriately impressed that The Mad Mage hadn't successfully killed me yet.

Councilor Larnel has agreed to help, but he can't until I solve a problem for him. Although he understands the big picture, he is limited by the short-sightedness of High Councilor Quintus. With him discredited, Councilor Larnel will be able to direct the Council (and the entire Guild) to fight & defeat the evil forces allied against the city, the kingdom, & all life in the area.

Someone as old as Quintus is bound to have skeletons in his closet. While he is attending to them, I'll be able to track down what embarrasses him. Nikolaus & the others may be help in this project.

Council of Elders of the Whitehall Wizard's Guild
High Councilor Quintus
Councilor Larnel
Councilor Thiluderm
Councilor Joachim
Councilor Stephen, the Orange
Councilor Talmaris
Councilor Anika

26th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

lage has joined us in Whitehall. Apparently the Druids of the Mobius Grove have a safe way for them to close the Door of Fire - they want us to do it. We are under some kind of death sentence by them & the Wild Tribe of Elves unless we close the breach. Not to take the situation lightly, but my response was "get in line". Until they invade our sleep & send demons after us, dealing with the Mad Mage is our first priority.

Vlage brought some muscle with him in case we needed some "softening up". He's goes by "Fenris", which I guess has to do with his feral looks. His ears have a slight point to them, so he may be part elf, but he may be part wolf for all I know. Fenris is particularly adamant that we close the gate and die trying. He just doesn't understand the situation we are in.

Fenris & Vlage now understand the situation we are in.

To put it another way, Fenris dragged Vlage's corpse by one hand into the Temple of Pelor within a few hours of leaving. Fenris' other hand was in a sack at his side.

Apparently against our advice, they went outside the city's wall & tried to Scry on The Homeless Archmage. It's never good to get the attention of a guy like that. He sent some netherworld goons to rough them up & did a pretty good job.

Gladriel managed to revive Vlage. The good news is that neither of the druids are threatening our lives anymore.

Gladriel has found a way to talk right into my mind with a spell named 'Sending'. He is using it to plan an attack on Mister Nightmare, since there is no way for him to overhear us.

I guess this is Gladriel's way of coping with our situation. Jilas' is to spend the night in bars. Mine is to think about who I would will my possessions to... assuming I had any.

27th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

Something unexpected today. Rommel came up to me and started asking questions about how one goes about learning magic. This was not an idle curiosity either. Apparently he wants to learn it himself!

It took some prying, but he eventually told me the whole story. Rommel's uncle Lars was a wizard back in his home village. At a young boy, strange things happened around Rommel. When running, he would suddenly accelerate as fast as a horse for a few seconds. Other times, he would reach for a door and it would simply swing open. Lars tested Rommel, said that he had the gift, and offered to be his teacher.

Rommel's father was furious. "No son of mine is going to stand in the back while honest warriors battle with swords!" Rommel was immediately apprenticed to the Captain of the Guard. The belief that magic was for the weak was strengthened in Rommel's father (and Rommel himself) a few years later when Lars died in a skirmish against goblins.

Rommel's feelings had wavered over the last few months & were shattered by his encounter with The Master of Volcano-Cork Castle. Here was someone who could stop whole armies in their tracks. Now he was actually thinking about pursuing his long-ignored talents.

I've offered to bring Rommel to the guild for lessons. I'm not sure he will be patient enough to go through with it, but Rommel deserves a chance to make something useful of himself.

Jilas ran in a few minutes ago with a red face & an empty purse. He spent the evening at 'The Drunken Boar'. Apparently there is some dancer there he call "The Butterfly Lady". Jilas wants a tattoo of her on his arm. Since no one could realistically be as beautiful as he says, I told him that I would need to see "The Butterfly Lady" to draw her accurately. Now I'm scheduled to visit 'The Drunken Boar' tomorrow night after helping Rommel get into the Guild.

I guess Wild Elves don't get into the city often. I'm sure it is just another trollop with too much makeup, but I can fix it in the tattoo.

I'm impressed. Rommel has been filling out the apprentice paperwork for half a day now & hasn't given up. He may make it through the Guild's "first test" after all.

In the time I've been here, I've notice someone Scrying on me at least three times. It seems like Our Guardian Devil is keeping a regular, but not constant, eye on us.

I wonder if the Tower of Necromancy uses zombies as clerks. I'll bet they are faster than the living ones in this tower.

That corpse-stealing son of an overweight donkey with bad breath!!! It's Yama that's watching me, not The Mad Mage of the Melting Mountain. He has turned on us and is the dirty work for that dried up quinticenterian. He probably thinks he will learn about Immortality from the One Who Must Be Killed Quickly.

After a day of doing forms, the clerk informed us of the multi-week review process. Instead of Fireballing her, I decided to see my one supporter in the Guild, Councilor Talmaris.

His talking-monkey familiar agreed to let us go up to The Purple Tower. Councilor Talmaris only took 10 minutes to answer his door, which might just be a personal best.

We went to Talmaris' scry-proof chamber and I introduced Rommel to him. The two chatted for a while and then Rommel proceeded to gracefully fail every one of Archmage's tests. Fortunately, Rommel's field experience impressed him, particularly the story of "The Ant-Eater". Councilor Talmaris seems to think that just getting such a device working while under attack by an army meant he had some talent as a Transmuter (the ability to make people or object function better than they would normally).

After he agreed to sign off on Rommel's paper-work (thus saving us countless days & fees), I asked to see The Councilor in private. Once Rommel had excused himself, I showed Talmaris the High Elvish Tome that was acquired at the bottom of Lake Chillblain. I actually think he started to drool at the sight of it.

Lost in excitement on finding a book he had not read before, Talmaris causally gave me the Scroll of Temporal Stasis that I needed for the plan against He-Who-Cannot-See-Me-In-This-Room-Or-His-Master. Just to be safe, I've been casting Illusionary Script on my journal, making it just look like a sketch book.

Now, we are off for a night of drinking with Jilas and his "beautiful woman".

I shall not underestimate Jilas' powers of observation again. This isn't a dock-side skirt-shaker. His Butterfly Lady is amazing! I'm surprised the King hasn't added her to his harem (do they do that in this land?) already.

I hope I can ink a tattoo that does her justice.

600 gold sovereigns! I just made 600 gold sovereigns giving tattoos to drunken Drunken Boar patrons of The Butterfly Lady. And that was only my cut. I can barely write this entry due to all the cramping in my fingers, but I don't think I've ever had this many coins with me in my entire life.

Even more amazing, I've been asked back on the morrow. This is the best I've felt in months.

28th of Midfall, 1018 A.H.

The Mad Mage has struck again. Vlage has been driven mad by a cursed scroll that he was tricked into reading. He is currently tied up in a lower level of the Temple of Pelor until we figure out how to pay for his cure.

In unrelated news, the Priests of Pelor are counting the hours until we leave.

I left Rommel in the care of his new Instructor. When I say 'new instructor', I mean she is new at being an instructor. Fortunately Rommel won't know the difference.

I've decided to spend the day figuring out how to close the Door to Fire. The Summoning tower seems to be the place to start.

Good News: If a permanent Gate to the Plane of Ice is created exactly on top of The Door To Fire, then both will be negated. Bad News: Anyone within 500' of the gates negating will be killed. Bad News: The Door To Fire is buried in lava of an active volcano. Bad News: The last time we got near that volcano, an elemental the size of this tower tried to destroy us.

Time for an ale.

Jilas really has a thing for The Butterfly Woman. The tattoo I gave him today is even bigger than the one yesterday.

It looks like good work is its own punishment -- there is a line forming for more tattoos.

1st of Latefall, 1018 A.H.

Gladriel is telling Rommel stories, which is putting Rommel to sleep. To keep awake myself, I'll catch up on my writing

It was another good night doing tattoos at "The Drunken Boar". I did two dozen more tattoos. My hands are cramped from all the work, but I am several hundred gold pieces closer to being able to pay for Vlage to be healed.

Jilas spent another evening there. He is definitely smitten. Amazingly enough, the Butterfly Lady actually seems fond of him too.

I should be sleepy, but there is too much stress in the air.

2nd of Latefall, 1018 A.H.

It is time! Shortly after Rommel fell asleep, he started being effected by The Mad Mage's 'Nightmare' spell. Gladriel exploited that spell's one weakness by casting 'Dispel Evil'. If our research is correct, High Lord Hubris should be stunned for several minutes. Gladriel followed up by casting 'Find the Path' and located Our Nemesis near the Bitter-Cold lake.

Gladriel is quickly casting 'Protection from Evil' & other spells on himself, Rommel, & me. I have scrolls of 'Teleport' & 'Temporal Stasis' ready to go.

Gladriel is almost done. I'm going to shrink this journal & leave it behind with Hugo. If I don't return, his last instruction before going free will be to bring it to Bishop Tobias so he can say one last prayer for us.

So that is what it feels like.

Nymriell is gone. His soul is fuel for the unquenchable fires. By the light of Pelor, I have returned to continue the Shining One's work.

The three of us appeared in an underground cavern. One end gave access to an underground lake. Before us knelt Nymriell on a pedestal covered with runes. He was breathing shallowly & holding his head in confusion.

Surrounding us were undead & outsiders of various shapes & sizes. I ignored the guard since Rommel & Gladriel were to deal with them while I put Nymriell into Stasis.

Within a breath of us arriving, the air around (but not above) the pedestal was enveloped with an Incendiary Cloud of fire. My skin began to sear from my bones. I would have been dead within seconds if I had not jumped onto the pedestal with Nymriell. Unfortunately he was prepared for that. I was immediately incapacitated by a Stunning Rune. I could still see & hear, but I was totally unable to act. Nymriell & I just stared at each other, knowing the one who shook it off first would survive.

Outside the cloud, I could hear Rommel fighting for his life. Gladriel had protected himself from fire & was standing before Nymriell. Using an obscure spell that his deity has provided for this occasion, Gladriel began to age Nymriell. We had guessed that his frame must be near death if he was risking so much for immortality.

Gladriel channeled more and more divine energy into pushing Nymriell past his allocated time. His face wrinkled & hair began to fall like snow. In the distance, I heard Rommel scream in agony. All I could focus on was trying to move even a single finger.

Nymriell's soul was released with a flash. This wasn't a metaphorical flash. The old bastard had booby-trapped his body to explode on his death. The force of the blast tore my soul from my body too.

For a moment, our two souls continued to sit in the ruins of our charred bodies, eyes still locked. The smoke became thicker & thicker until I lost track of the battle. Nymriell opened his mouth to speak, but seemed at a loss for what to say. Then I felt a warm light off to one side. As I walked towards it, the light burned my fears & dread away. I looked back at Nymriell, but every time he steeped into the light, he burned like old paper. There was nothing left of him but husk full of fear. As I lost him in the smoke, he finally made a sound - a pitiful wail of despair, despair born of 700 years of dread.

I stood in the light. Rommel must have suffered a similar fate to me because he was now at my side. We could see the brightness shown through a great iron arch. Through it, I could see people, happy people. I recognized my crew members from Oskith, who cheered and raised a pint in my name. Several others who bore a resemblance to Rommel waved at him.

Then a previously unseen door in the haze opened. I could see Gladriel through it, his face dripping with sweat & his knuckles white from holding his sword so tightly. I found myself walking towards him and burnt body before him. A portcullis in the shape of iron teeth fell to close off the arch. A voice a low as the echo of a fog horn in the morning mist said, "You have decided".

After those few moments of peace, I awoke to pain. My skin was burned & charred. New skin grew under it, itching terribly. Gladriel was praying over Rommel's body, which eventually came to life with a gasp. I began to peel off old burn skin to expose new flesh beneath. With a smile, Gladriel said, "Let's tell everyone the good news."

I had the great pleasure today of telling Councilor Talmaris that Nymriell is no longer endangering us. I met with him outside of his safe room and actually said Nymriell's name out loud.

At first he didn't believe me. But as I kept repeating the name and as the tower continued to not collapse, it finally sunk in.

He is still working his way through the High Elf Book, but hopes to have news for me when I return from my next trip. Talmaris was unusually excited when speaking of it.

Note to self: Research a 'Protection from Spittle' cantrip.

I ventured into the Guild Dining Room to inform Councilor Larnel that Nymriell was dead. I had Hugo bring him a note again. This one said "Nymriell is Dead" (I never tire of writing that in my journal). Just like last time, he simply held the note in his hand and continued with this leaf-by-leaf description of a tree in autumn.

Not needing an answer, I simply left. As I got near the door, I could hear the unmistakable sound of someone so surprised that soup was coming out of his nose.

I seem to have the unusual ability to make Archmages loose control of their bodily functions.

Today is a good day. Pelor has accepted me into his healing light & in it I find hope.

This day I pledge myself to pass on the mercy that was given me in my darkest hour of need. Although it was Correlon & Ehlonna who armed me for battle, it was for Pelor that I fought, it was Pelor who bade me to put down my weapons when battle was done.

In Pelor's Light I am Reborn.

26th of Latesummer, 1025 A.H.

ver the last year, Nyssa has read my previous journals over and over again, so I decided to write a new one on my latest "adventure".

When the news of the King's abduction spread, the Guild Council immediately requested volunteers to search far and wide to search for his abductors. Since no one else in all of Whitehall had ever been to the Icy Wastes, Fon and I stepped forward to search that area for signs of The Empire.

When we were there two years ago, searching for signs of Gladriel, Fenris, & Jilas, the land itself had been infused with an evil I could not understand. Even the trees could not rest after death. I loath to return, but finding the King is paramount. Also, my magic will allow Fon & myself to teleport there in the blink of an eye. I should be back in time for the next day of Worship.

The hill I chose as my teleportation target is just how I drew it two years ago. Barely a rock has moved. No army is sneaking through this flank. I doubt we will find anything, but time will tell.



Nothing... I never did understand Jilas' fascination of trees. The ones that don't attack are boring.

Strange... I remember this clearing, but before it had one great tree in the center. Now there are two dozen adult trees in a tight grove surrounding the great tree's old location. If century had gone by, this might make sense, but it has only been two years...

In the center of the grove is a staircase spiraling deep into the earth. I do not recognize the black stone from which it is composed, but the whole area is saturated with an odd combinations of magic that I have not seen before. This may be what Fenris, Jilas, & Gladriel were searching for all those years ago.

I guess Fon & I will have to enter. Their bodies deserve a proper burial.

Pelor be Praised!!! They live!!! After going down a spiral staircase around the outside of the "well", we hear the sounds of a fight coming from the second entrance down. After covering us both with Invisibility, Fon and I investigated, only to find Gladriel, Fenris, & Jilas finishing off a demon. They did not look any different than I remember (which was the first sign that something very strange was happening). As Gladriel raised his Sunbrand Sword high, I stopped a moment to sketch and then we revealed ourselves.

My fears were confirmed when the party was surprised at "how quickly we had caught up with them." It quickly became clear that all three though it had only been a few days since they had seen me last. Clearly time moves quickly in this Drow Pit. That explains the unrecognizable magics around me.

Along with the dead demon, the party found a cryptic note telling of a Nightmare Maze & a Throne. We have agreed to exit this terrible place and discuss our options outside of the grove above.

Alright... time for our back-up plan. The stairs have disappeared, the walls are slick as ice, & magic is nullified as we approached the top. It is clear that we need to find the "deadman switch" for this complex if we ever hope to leave.

According to the others, the first level is just a long loop of traps. There is still an unsearched passage at the back of the demon's room. Hopefully it will lead us to our goal.

If we had been looking for a giant chasm, this would have been the right passage. Unfortunately, we aren't, so back we go.

The good news (for us) is that Rommel has joined us in our predicament. Apparently the Alliance's war with the Empire has been going well in the SIX MONTHS(!!!) since Fon & I have disappeared!!! Since we had not reported in, 'Major' Rommel was sent to find us. No one is looking for Fenris, Jilas, & Gladriel any more.

We drew straws for the honor of telling Major Rommel that by the time he gets out of this Drow Pit, the troops he personally trained will be collecting their pension!!!

We made it down to the 3rd & final entrance. Gladriel looked past the current opening & found the stairs end over an almost bottomless pit. Our way out is somewhere down this tunnel.

The passage ended in a wall. It took a bit, but we proved that the wall was an Illusion & walked through. Naturally, a Glyph of Fire was set off, leaving us all smoldering. On the other side, there the passage continues. I've got a bad feeling about this...

I look forward to meeting a Drow some day. I think we could share some interesting perspectives. The Drow could tell me what it is like to have lived in the previous Age and I could tell WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HAVE BOTH MY HANDS CUT OFF!!! Or maybe I should just let him experience it for himself.

The passage again ended in a wall. For some reason, it was harder to prove that this one was an illusion, so I tried pushing my hands through it. Sure enough, my hands went through, but they didn't come back out. Some mystic force blade guillotined them off!

While Rommel & Jilas worked out the blade's reset time with torches (the wimps!), Gladriel regenerated my hands with a spell (Fenris is correct: they do itch).

Rommel thinks we have almost a second to jump though before the force blade will cut again. I think I'll be clever and cast "Rope Trick" in the hall. It should be large enough to let us climb in one side and out the other safely.

I'll blame it on the trauma of the last hour, but I forgot that Bags of Holding are immiscible with "Rope Trick" spells based on the Principle of Non-Stackability of Extra-Dimensional Spaces (also known as the "Oh no! Where did all my stuff go!" Effect). The Rope Trick and Gladriel's Haversack folded in on each other when Gladriel tried to climb in. He jumped clear, but a year's worth of scrolls have been lost somewhere into the Ethereal plane.

We have all made it past the wall now. I don't know how we will continue, but we have little choice.

We have made it to the "Nightmare Maze" that was mentioned in the note that the original group found.

The next few Illusionary Walls went quickly, despite Fenris becoming momentarily convinced we were all enemies & trying to attack. Fortunately, he could not transform into a monster, so we were able to subdue him & break the "charm".

Now we are at a series of 20' x 20' rooms that have a door on each wall. I've been marking each door and was quickly able to prove that the door-ways are teleportation portals. For example, when we go through the west door of one room, we may come out of the south door of the other room. Also, if we were to close that door & reopen it, we may find ourselves entering a totally different room from the north side. Naturally, some of the rooms also have traps. We just need to figure out how to get through the "maze"

Jilas & Gladriel sorted out the pattern of untrapped rooms, so we have made it through, but not before being trashed by giant spiders, motes of light, a room full of water and angry crabs, etc. None of our attackers were alive, though. The spider & crabs were desiccated exoskeletons that had been animated. There is no proof that anything in this place is actually alive.

We have located a 3-way intersection. One of them must be the way out.

The room at the end of the left passage is the most amazing armory I've ever seen. The walls are lined with armor & weapons of black metal. At the end of room is a forged heated with the purple flames of Hellfire. Before it stands the fabled "Anvil of the Drow". With this relic, the Dark Elves have forged hundred of dread objects. I wish we could destroy it, but there is little chance of that we could even scratch an object upon which mithral is hammered. We will have to leave it for another day.

There are still no signs of inhabitants. What does this mean?

The middle passage has ended with a huge chamber filled with upright coffins. Our light was not bright enough to see the extent of this underground mausoleum.

As we neared, a mystic horn sounded. Within moments, four guards, fully encased in the metal armor we saw in the previous room, began advancing upon us. I put up a "Wall of Fire" to slow the enemies & to begin burning a row of wooden coffins. The armor figures did not relent, but a full line of coffins had caught fire.

The four guards were blindingly fast, but with a combination of my magics and our party's swords & arrows, we prevailed. We were not very surprised to find that the armor was empty.

Seeing no additional enemies & all the visible coffins burning nicely, we pulled back and tried to heal. That is when we realized that Gladriel & Jilas (and presumably Fenris) could not channel their magic. Myself and the other arcane casters had no trouble, so clearly this place was totally cut off from the power of the gods.

Feeling even more urgency, we hurry to the final passage.

Two more suits of armor met us at the last chamber. If anything, they were faster than the previous ones. Knowing we could not heal the damage they would inflict, I hit them with the biggest spell I had left, the Cascade of Fire. When they were smoking & glowing from the heat, the party proceeded to pound them into plow-blades. Rommel (my occasional apprentice) used his tattoo of the Armored Phalanx to generate "Mirror Images". By the time our opponents had finished dealing with the illusionary Rommels, he had neatly sorted the empty armor into stacks of helmets, grieves, breastplates, etc.

From this point, my memory is hazy. Apparently a Drow (!!!) was watching within the darkness of the room, assessing our strength and weaknesses. Unfortunately, it decided that I was both. I felt a sudden tightness in my chest & then my heart stopped. Fenris was kind enough to get it started for me again.

By the time my head had cleared, the Drow had raised a wall entirely composed of eyes to block our path. It was even more disgusting than it sounds. I felt like I was doing it a favor when I destroyed it with fire.

The Drow gave us one more present: a giant extradinensional spider, just like the one that killed Jilas. He was not about to let that happen again, so he charged it... and was quickly snatched up by its mandibles.

While we fought the Retriever, Gladriel used the "Alter Self" tattoo I made him (which shows Correlon's Herald flying into the dawn) to grow wings & fly over the battle. At the far end of the room was the Throne for which we had been searching. It stood upon a dais covered with vile & blasphemous runes. Gladriel used his magically shrunken Font of Holy Water in a way that probably was not covered in his seminary: he dropped it on the dais! The Holy Water and Unholy Runes exploded on contact, knocking the breath out of all of us. Once the steam cleared, the font lay in pieces, the dais was destroyed, the Drow had fled, & the Throne was not even scratched!

The strange, unidentified magical aura that I had seen all around since entering faded. Sensing that we might be able to finally escape, we tried to move the Throne. It turned out to be made form the same light & unharmable metal that the Drown liked to use and could be carried without too much trouble. We considered melting the Throne in the Forge, but it was too big. Instead, we have decided to lug it out.

Once the dais had broken, the pit was easy to escape. At the top, we were surprised to find that a large hole had been blasted through one of the trees in the grove & that we were surrounded by the very Army of the Empire that I had been sent to scout for "a few days ago". For course to the outside world, we had been gone for years. For all I knew, the Empire had won.

The Empire's officer stepped forward & said we had what they had been looking for: The Throne. Rommel activated his Tattoo of Correlon's Herald and, between himself & Gladriel, they started to fly the Throne away. I passed out Potions of Reduction to the rest of the party during the distraction, which they drank in unison. While the soldiers puzzled as to why they were suddenly facing a party of halflings, I used the opportunity to teleport the suddenly lighter group back to White Hall.

Arriving in the Guild's Administrative Office (I've spent more time pacing in that room than my own home!), I actually summoned Councilor Larnel to me. Normally I would have been reduced to dust for such arrogance, but the words "Drow", "Artifact", & "in the possession of people who could be captured at any moment" (in Draconic that is a single word) got him off to save Gladriel & Rommel in the blink of an eye.

Over four years have gone by since I left on my "5 day scouting mission". I'm afraid Nyssa & the children have assumed me dead for a long-time now. To avoid facing them, I have been catching up on the "current events". The King was never found. We are under the Queen's command. The Alliance and the Empire are no longer at war. We have been fighting together against the endless hordes of undead coming from the South.

My friend and mentor, Councilor Talmaris, thinks what we retrieved is the legendary "Throne of the Unbeliever", which nullified Divine magics for hundreds of feet in all directions. That explains why Gladriel's magic would not work.

My fellow mages have decided to study the chair. As usual, I am shocked by their behavior. I have already proposed a mission to destroy such a foul item. I'll have to speak with the Bishop about this.

ack to Journals