Talking to the Orb

Chad is away on trip again for the next few weeks, so once more we continue onto Jeff's mini.

We continue on our way to the dragon lair.

Jeff makes noises with his mouth again. It's battle starting noises. In case there was any confusion.

It becomes slow going. Andry usually seems to have an easy way around swampy land, but even this area seems to bog her down. It almost feels like the swamp wishes us ill will. Stupid swamp!

In the distance, we hear a panicked voice, yelling for help. Before I can stop him, Nera bounds off after it. Andry and I follow, and see that Nera is chasing after a faint light, that dances away from him.

Nera runs around an enormous tree, avoid running into massive wasp nest, but not enough to avoid the attention of the wasps inside. Giant wasps the size of ponies erupt from the nest.

Nera kills two of them right off, but more wasps pour out of the nest. We catch up with him, and help him deal with the wasps. The wisp reappears, shocking one of us, before disappearing again and then shocking another.

Andry lights a torch, and sets the nest on fire. It burns, and the queen wasps comes out. We kill it, and a few other wasps. Soon only the wisp is left, and we kill that too.

It's what we do.

We continue on, and after a while, stumble upon a crudely built trap.

Andry sets it off from a safe distance, and spikes shoot up out of the water. From above, we can hear sinister voices whispering.

Several bulky almost wolflike humanoid creatures land in front of us, and attack us.

Nera makes some strange gibbering noises, because why not, apparently. Some of them create phantasms, but it doesn't stop us from killing them.

We continue on again. Andry is leading, but she gets lost, and Nera sets us straight.

We find the cave entrance, and camp briefly before going in.

Do we give up? Dan suggests we start a logging company.

The tunnel leads down, and is flooded at the bottom. In the water we can see shapes moving.

Nera takes a javelin and stabs it into the water, into several quippers like piranhas.

We need to get through the water, and we decide we should do it as quickly as possible. We rope ourselves together and jump into water.

Nera swims furiously, dragging us behind him. I distract some of quippers with the dead ones caught earlier, but it's only partially effective.

But ever several intense moments, we make it to the other side.

On this side of the flooded tunnel, it smells real bad. But we must go forward, so we follow the tunnel as it leads gently upwards.

After about ten minutes, the tunnel widens out into a large cavern. I bless us.

From above us we hear a deep booming voice a voice much too large to be a dwarf. "It's about time you showed up. Food usually arrives faster...unless you have something else for me."

Nera yells, "In the name of Baronness Amberdean and also baby we slay you."

The voice rumbles "So, Amberdean wishes to cut off relations."

We hear the flapping of wings above us and the sound of claws on rock, Jess wonders how big the wings are. LIKE THIS? HOW ABOUT LIKE THIS? and it shoots acid at us.

I fill my sword with holy fire, and circle around the room.

At the center of the room, we notice a tiny little hoard. Nera starts messing with it, trying to provoke the dragon into landing, but it seems much more interested in Andry.

Finally, we give up on trying to kill the brute, and retreat the entrance. Finally, it lands in front of me, in striking distance.

We kill it, and upon take its death blow, the enormous dragon shrinks down a bit.

We loot its hoard. Several thousand gold, a few elixirs, a scroll with arcane text, and most importantly several items (a mirror, a pendant and a signet ring) that can be traced back to the Baroness.

Nera looks in the mirror. Yup, he still looks pretty.

We arrive back in Beligard. It seems the other knights were busy dealing with banditry while we were gone.

We take care of some business in town. We find a wizard named Urinan Manxif, to identify the items that we had found, including the elixir (of health) and the potion (of dimuniation), as well as boots of elvenkind (which Andry takes), a kite shield (I take that) and a hat of disguise (Nera puts it on his head). In return, we give him the scroll and sell him the rod. I then go and get my armor repaired, and we buy some basic supplies.

We return the hall. Stonebreaker is already there, and we show him the items we retrieved Jess wonders why someone would give something so incriminating to a dragon, and he congratulates us on succeeding in our mission.

Stonebreaker thinks this is of significant help. He already imprisoned her, and she is awaiting transport to the capital. In the meanwhile, he would like us to investigate her estate. A raid, if you will.

Nera can't help but bother the monk and show her the dragon skull we retrieved. She's not amused. I don't think the warlock much likes Nera either.

The next day, we go to the estate.

Two guards block our path, but after a little of insistence, they abandon their post. Apparently the baroness was not much loved.

The servants pay us little heed. We head to the second floor, where a servant tells us the treasury is.

Nera breaks into the treasury. There is some gold here, but a lot less than we expected.

We poke around her room a little bit. It's pretty frilly. Nera breaks the bed but not like a kit-kat bar.

Andry finds a dumb waiter, and notes that the shaft seems to go farther than the base floor, so she rides it down like her own personal elevator. Below it, she finds a trap door, and she goes through.

I don't think I'd be a good fit, so I run back down the stairs. Nera thinks he would be a good fit, and to his credit, he does fit as he leaps down the shaft.

The room underneath the dumb waiter is spartan, except for an orb sitting on a pedestal in the center of the room.

A voice speaks from the orb, asking if we are "her ladyship." It answers its own question. Of course, you're not, you're nothing like her.

Nera agrees. "We're heroes!"

Andry wonders what it is, and the orb responds. "Evon the master, ruler of Exscar." Nera in turn, wonders why the masters aren't very big.

The orb's previous owner was a very droll dragon, and the Baroness recognized the orb for what it was, and traded a rather substantial portion of wealth for it.

The voice in the orb continues. "Zidarrian once ruled your world, or tried to. Perchance you might know the status of my city? Some call it the Sunken City. It was also called Zardax, and was the staging area for an invasion."

We have no idea what he's talking about, but the voice in the orb continues. "The druids of the time sunk the city. It was a simple matter to convince the Baroness there was much loot contained within." From there the voice goes onto ramble on about how we lost our way, and he can't be stopped, but if we wish to futilely test our mettle against him, to find the Sunken City, which is easy of the iron tower.

Nera gets angry and tries to smash the orb with his axe, but his axe shatters.

Andry, a little more calmly, puts the orb in her belt pouch.

Nera buys a new axe, and has his old one repaired, and we discuss what we should do next.

The most important thing, of course, is to mount the dragon skull in our hall in Myremoore. While we're at it, we can talk to Grelin, before heading east over the bridge to find the druids at the grove and then the Sunken City.

We also send a letter to Stonebreaker to tell him our plan.

We reach Myremoore without incident. Grelin gives us the potions she promised for us.

The entire village has pitched in to help rebuild the Everstone residence. We pitch in some gold to help out.

The hunters have been keeping an eye on things while we were gone, and things have been getting a little better, but there's still some strange activity in the region.

Meanwhile, the minstrel, who had been staying at the inn in town for several months on end, comes to find us. He's a layabout, but he pays his bills.

Specifically he comes to find Andry. Apparently he thinks because she is also a halfling, she also has a love for the musical arts. She doesn't, but she is willing to humor him when he asks to come along with us. Apparently he thinks the missing piece of his epic is farther in the swamp.

He knows a bit of the history of the area, so bringing him along is useful to us, so we agree. In fact, aside from knowing of the battles along ago, when the elves fought bravely, he has an idea where the sunken city would be located.

Does it cover the whole bottom?

We arrive at the druid's grove, but it's abandoned.

Andry speaks to one of the Hymnthrushes, and who tells her that the druids left several days ago with supplies for a march to stop the greatest evil.

The minstrel is quite fascinated by Andry talking to it. See, she is minstrelly inclined!

We travel south, towards where the Sunken City should be. We chance upon voices and the signs of a campfire.

We cautiously go and see who it is, and catch some whispering. Something about a battle and a name. Another shushes the others.

It's a crude encampment of six people, and several of them look wounded. One of the them spots us and cries out in alarm.

I greet them warmly, but they're suspicious of us. They doubt the veracity of my offer of help, and they let on that the druids attacked them.

No matter though, they're wounded need help, and I manage to convince them to let me help them, but they only allow me in their perimeter.

Soon as I've tended to their wounded, they're much more willing to talk. They tell us of creatures with strange glowing sacs, and they point us in the direction of the battle we overheard.

We tell them they should leave this land, which they readily agree to, and head off immediately.