Saturday, January 23, 2010

8 Flamerule 1479

Oh, what a day. So we got to where the road curves one way to Kryptgarden and the other to Waterdeep, where there is a small "farming" town called "Last Chance" - because it's your last chance for an inn or caravan stop until Dragonwatch. It's really a sort of cross between a market town and a caravanserai. There's a big caravanserai at one end of town - fee of 10g to park your wagons - and a BIG inn central on the square. It is one damn fine inn. They offer lovely hot baths - with real soap - and your clothes cleaned and pressed and mended while you wait. Soak a while and go out in the common room - in these robe things they lend you - and eat and chat and whatever. Very nice - and a beautiful set-up for theft or whatnot, so I kept my eyes open.

They happened to light on a lovely little barmaid named Pearl. Friendly and cheerful, full of tales of local sites - haunted tombs and the like. I figured, she was pretty, she was friendly and it'd give me an obvious reason to skulk about in the innyard so I drew her out into a nice dark corner and tried not to get too distracted. Not easy that, she, really enthusiastic and the damned robe is...ANYWAY, I did spot what looked like one of the inn servants hanging Ugrun's clothes back up - but why would they have been down? I pulled myself away from Pearl and her many charms (it's so nice to meet a girl who understands the realities of the situation - well, at least the ones she needs to) and slipped back to the table and mentioned my find. We got our clothes back and went up to our rooms - except for Aprilane who went back to the caravanserai, she's still not real happy with towns - Waterdeep is going to be no fun for her, poor girl. (On the other hand, she'll have Ugrun - and that seems to be a great...thing now) Ugrun checked over his clothes and spotted a new button on one shirt - a magical tracking device. Nothing much to be done, better to try and fight 'em here if possible, when we know they're coming. If nothing happens, we'll just leave it behind in the morning. I tore it good and tossed it under the bed - likely a silly precaution, but it looks less suspicious.

Had the worst dream of my life - the prettiest girl I'd seen, but when I tried to chat her up, it went flat and she got icier. The more I flirted with her to warm her up, get her to smile, it just kept going more and more wrong and she got icier and icier and each time she did she got prettier and prettier and then she was just this beautiful ice statue. I shivered to think on it and it woke me up and I saw that Ugrun wasn't in his bed - I ran to the window, while Max and Gnf threw themselves outta bed - they had bad dreams too - and we saw this blue...portal like think in the square and Ugrun being bundled through it. So I gave a yell and we all went out the window - Allyson and Lyra from theirs too and Aprilane rounded the corner - I guess she'd been for a walk and we all sorta dived through the portal thing.

Must've been some kinda plane shift, 'cuz it looked like the town square still, but were inside a building. With a bunch of kenku who were not happy to see us. We could see a Ugrun-sized bag, all tied up in the back with some guys working on him. We wiped 'em all out and got Ugrun free - Gnf has some spell that gives him a sorta third hand - only spectral sorta. Anyway, we got Ugrun out and back through the portal, followed by skellies. Went to warn the townsfolk and I dashed to get Ugrun's things - can't fight worth shit without a sword, I think. I dropped the stuff at his feet and realized he wasn't fighting worth shit WITH his sword. He didn't even move like himself...DUH, idiot, that's because he's NOT. So I made sure Aprilane couldn't see my arm and pressed my dagger good and hard against his back and threatened him if he didn't come clean. Little coward threw it in at once - I mean who lets ME intimidate them? Anyway, turned out to be some kind of shapeshifter - the folks in town call him Shifty (ooh original) and he was working for "the guy in the black hood" - he was supposed to fool us so we wouldn't go deeper in to where Ugrun was up on the altar. (Of course, it's always an altar - y'know, I never realized how...alike all the old stories were) The big guy said to "just make sure she's dead" - to the kenku or to someone further in - Shifty was...shifty about it. He proved we couldn't really hold him or threaten him much - without flat out killing him, which wasn't gonna happen - largely by turning into Pearl.

SO many questions.

Anyway, obviously we let him go and headed back in. Gnf said he'd figured out it was plane shift but to no plane he could identify and no kind of teleportation. The first room - after the one that was the town square - was dimly lit and with bones all over the floor - hard to walk, they'd roll under your feet unless you did this shuffle step thing. Then the shadows swooped at us. Some wraith thing - doesn't seem to HURT you much, just makes you real tired (wonder if they can do something nasty once they get you tired enough) but you can't friggin' hurt THEM. One of 'em had this laugh was bugging the others a lot, but I don't see why. Anyway, the end of that room was some big brass-bound doors. Go through them and you're in altar central.

Standard kinda small temple layout - altar up front, pews in rows facing the altar. Only the pews were sarcophaguses. There behind the altar was a guy in a black hood - surprise - and a big skeleton with 3 heads (ok, real surprise). Also 2 mummies in that standard "guard the altar" pose and 4 zombies. No big deal right? Except for that big skeleton - Max said that was a skull lord and you had to kill each head separately and every time you killed one that sucker healed himself up and you had to start all over. Lovely. Well, the black hood threw some kinda switch, yelled "get them" and zipped away through the new blue portal. So we started forward - and found what the switch did - BIG swinging blades coming from the walls on the rows in between the sarcophaguses. Man, but Max can move outta the way fast. Tough damned fight without Ugrun - the more so as one of those damn heads kept bringing the zombies back as fast as we could kill 'em. But we win, yey. And I found a nifty set of pipes - magic even.

So many questions.

5 Flamerule 1479

The landscape has now taken a turn for the exciting. We're near one of the places where the Cataclysm did some real damage. This used to be - according to the old histories and maps I've seen - lovely fields with a big clear river running through it. It's all crags and rocks stabbing upward outta the earth - and of the Surbin river? Nothing now but a dirty trickle before it sneaks away underground.

We're starting to pass caravans coming FROM Waterdeep. The big ones all look so serious and nervous - they positively scream "hey, we got shit to steal". Then again, they've been cheating so long, using the portals, I guess they forgot how to do it right. The little caravans who've been driving for so long aren't so bad - they'll at least throw you a smile. Mind you, they've less to steal, but it's worth more to them too, so....

Ugrun pulled me aside while we took a break for lunch. He was kinda obvious so I blurted right out that he could have her. (Not real gentlemanly, but she'll never know) He sorta blinked - well, and it was clumsy, then asked me for advice. He can't explain - not to any of us, including her - but he's not free to pledge himself on his own say-so, but he's REALLY interested. (Sounds awful like nobility to me, y'know...all that life under a fellow's lord and shit) Anyway, I told him to just explain that and let things fall out where they're gonna. Figure Aprilane knows the customs, she's got a bunch of half-orc brothers doesn't she?

OOPS. I forgot, half-orcs raised entirely as humans. Ugrun brought her over a bunch of flowers - a real trick to find 'em around here - a rabbit pelt (as nice as the one she was working for me and I sure hope that IS a was) and a small dagger. Whooee. He's not dealing in small change, is he? No wonder he's worried about starting something when he can't pledge - that boy is thinking of some SERIOUS pledging. But he said his piece and she nodded with that "um, ok, where did THAT come from" look. He didn't walk off crushed, so she didn't dump him straight off. Instead she slipped over to Allyson for an explanation - I figured it was just ordinary girl talk so I snuck close enough to overhear - you never know when juicy gossip comes in handy. Poor Aprilane had NO clue. Ok, the flowers she figured 'cuz those are the same everywhere - well, almost - and she sorta guessed the rabbit pelt, but the dagger? Allyson explained that whole "orc girl can kill you if you try anything so going in her tent is a big risk" bit. Kinda lame, I mean what guy doesn't know where the lines are? It's not THAT big a risk, but anyway... So, Allyson told Aprilane that Ugrun (well, after a comedy routine where Allyson blinked that it was Ugrun doing this - honestly, did she think I was serious? You'd think she'd know me better, honestly.) was putting his life in Aprilane's hands.

Honestly, the idea that I was settling down at all.

1 Flamerule 1479

Ah, the joys of traveling - adventure? thrilling heroics? wine, women and song? No, no and Allyson would never let me anyway, but no. Just trudge, trudge, trudge and road dust. Well, beats farming at least.

Now if only Aprilane would...I mean everyone ELSE seems to be getting it - Lyra just GRINS at me - but not Aprilane. Ye gods, what happened to harmless flirting??? Anyway she has now a black rabbit fur she's been tanning - to make for a coat collar for me. Beautiful pelt, yes, but - eek. I had to really scramble - suggest that black wasn't really my color, that it was too hot for fur...

At least she and Ugrun had a nice chat about the tanning process. It would have been nicer for the rest of it if they'd left out the discussion about which types of piss were best in which situation. Yerg. I mean, I know how the leather is made - I just prefer not to think about it. Good, though, that Ugrun is making some progress.

Now, if only Allyson would quit pointing out what a lovely girl Aprilane would be to settle down with. Dammit, she's older, she has to go first.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

28 Kythorn 1479

Wow. Just wow.

I just spent half the night getting drunk with a lonely old dragon. (Well, ok he was getting drunk, I don't feel safe getting drunk, since Aprilane seems to maybe be the um...friendly kind of drunk)

Keep was HUGE (well, ok, duh) and a genuine keep, not a tarted up cave or something. K'lenth had it made special - he said it was designed by Fenster Wockle - I mean wow, that's what 600 years ago? And it had all sorts of fancy tapestries and carpets - and invisible servants and the finest in food and wine and orc ale (well, at least it's better than Lannen's...).

K'lenth wanted to talk and talk and talk - and being some 650 years old, he's got plenty of interesting stories. More to the point, though, he wanted a favor - it seems that as he's getting older, he's finding it difficult to see the writing in his ledgers. So, we did our best to try angd fit reading glasses for a dragon. I have NO idea if this will work, but then, that is the problem of the Waterdeep artisans.

That's the other thing - K'lenth wants us to take a message to Eldreth, seems K'lenth wants to talk to him.

Weird. Everything keeps tying back to him.

27 Kythorn 1479

Early this morning we spotted a smoke plume at a distance - Aprilane scouted it out and found a small walled town, half encircled by campfires? Anyway, the town had a big banner of a stylized blue dragon and the usual toll set-up. The usual bribe set-up it appeared at first - until the tolltaker noted down the bribe on her sheet - in a column marked "bribe" and filed away that payment. Organized corruption, amazing.

Anyway, we asked around Dragonwatch (which this is and yes the rumors are obvious nonsense) and to start with they said that they had been on good terms with Lord K'lenth up until a few days ago when the kobold army showed up outta nowhere, said K'lenth was upset that they were stealing from him and fork over 10,000 gold pieces in 3 days.

Yeah, right.

Gnf and I hit the tavern for better information on who was in on this - some soldiers had tried to take on the kobolds but they'd been either the dragon breathing lighting or the dragon breathing acid or some sort of strange machine that threw lightning - depending on who you asked.... They seemed the usual sort of scared and confused so we headed off toward the mayor's - the obvious inside man - and he said this was totally unlike Lord K'lenth, everything was carefully regimented, they go up to his castle once a month with the taxes and stay out of his hunting grounds the rest of the time - or else they're fair game. He seemed straight with us and wished someone could see what was going on in those camps, but he couldn't have it, it was too risky and he absolutely forbade us from scouting.

Lyra came from the barracks to report that those burns were ACID and that's a green dragon. Hm. But some of them were lightning - which is blue. Hm, hm. She said she thought she'd seen a big machine in one camp from the rooftop. While we were sharing our information we heard the oh-so-charming noise of a mob banging on the mayor's doors and insisting he fix everything and call in adventurer's to kill Lord K'lenth. Yeah, right. We figured that made it a good time to scout the camps.

Gnf sent his serpent in towards the machine and tried to describe it back to me. Max and Aprilane snuck around the main camps to find the, where the guy running the show is. They found it. A green dragon, pretending to be blue - and not even full-grown.

A long tiring fight - we found the machine and our plan to take it fast without getting hurt failed utterly - they managed to get a shot off with that sucker nailed us all - nearly taking poor Gnf down. But we took it and took the time to rest up while I tinkered with it a bit so they couldn't EVER put that sucker to work again - since the town had sent it's soldiers out again and it was clear that they could handle mere kobolds.

Then the dragon in the woods decided he'd had enough and challenged us to come in and fight him or he'd overfly the town with his breath. So we trudge in and see a sinuous figure wavery back in the trees....only it's just canvas, I yelled that out, even though I couldn't see where the bastard really was and he threw some kind of minor paralysis or something, meant I could barely move. He tried to talk his way out of it, but ha! they don't fall for me (um, usually) they're not gonna fall for HIM. We got him and then the trees starting shaking and bending in the wind - the intermittent, patterned wind - the kind of wind made by great big huge wings beating right over your head.

Lord K'linth sorta flicked the green away with a finger (right, 10? 20? foot long and he flicks it away? with ONE finger) and muttered "a green" in that same sorta disgusted voice the villagers always used about goblins. Anyway, he said he was pleased, well done, he'd expect us at his keep for a feast tomorrow. (Oh good, the giant dragon wants us to come for dinner)

At least we get to sleep first.

26 Kythorn 1479

Oddly quiet traveling - there is no one and I do mean no one, coming up the road from the other direction. It's prime caravan season, on the main caravan route, with portals malfunctioning and everything going by cart - and no one?

Possible answer though unlikely - the other day Ugrun pointed out over the Starpeaks, where there was a thunderstorm rolling up, typical for the time of year. It was miles and miles away, but there was a big - and I mean really big and really big even at that distance - blue winged shape swirling about the lightning bolts.

I wonder if that means that we're anywhere near Dragonwatch - and if those ridiculous rumors about them paying off the dragon with spare travelers are quite so ridiculous.

On the bright side, I am managing to fend off Aprilane nicely and Ugrun hasn't even hit me yet. This may work out yet.

23 Kythorn 1479

Dead. I am so dead. Beyond dead.

I cannot believe this. Barmaids know better. Merchant's daughters know better. Innocent village maidens in a small village hell and gone from ANYTHING besides a nice big orc and goblin filled forest know better. NO ONE takes my flirting seriously. It's ridiculous, it's impossible. Who could imagine for a second that anyone could mean anything as outlandish as what I come up with? Who in their right mind would believe me on anything anyway?

Oh, but NO. First thing this morning Aprilane comes over with a poultice for my neck - which was sore as all hell, so good - but she'd made it SPECIAL. With special herbs and stuff, that she was telling me about while she was blushing and patting my shoulder and standing close and all.

Aprilane. Who doesn't want anyone to stand within 5 feet of her. And blushing. And special treatment. So bad. And then I catch Ugrun's eye - and it's on fire. Bad enough Aprilane, is buying my bullshit (how can ANYONE believe...) but Ugrun wants her for himself - which I am all in favor of, I just don't want him to kill me to achieve it. All I have to do now is push the two together - with him too proud to say anything and her...well, she's buying my flirting, so enough said.

Well, if she's THAT innocent, at least I shouldn't have to worry about, pressing. Shame to skip the kissing, but it's just not worth the risk. At least the rest of the day was quiet.