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.