Sorry if this entry is a little soggy, I’ve just spilt wine over the diary. I licked off most of it. Yummy!
Lemstilt (aptly named due to the houses being on stilts to stop bog water getting in) isn’t as bad as I feared. In fact, as I look round my rather opulant room, I’m beginning to like it here!
Upon our arrival we were taken to the Mayor, a rather nice tortle (is that how you spell it?) who pardoned Norben by putting it down to youth and a trauma in his past. Well I think being a prince of a town wiped out by bad things (no idea if any of this is true) would make you feel pretty bad: those subjects depended on you! But hearing that about poor Norben…. I wonder if he’s the most mentally traumatised of the lot of us…. And all of us are pretty screwed up.
Anyways, we went to the pub and after a mammoth steak (no, literally) Gabbie and I put on such a good stage performance we got free booze, free board AND two baths! The local fuzz tried to say we were spies from Zemnia, but the innkeeper covered for that too! Seriously, we had a totally different reason for having a Zemnian military cart but it was very sweet of the innkeeper anyway.
So here we are. Fed, watered, boozed and bathed. I let Fribs borrow the mage hand… I’ve now banished it.
The plan tomorrow, I think, is to eat breakfast and then head to this place called ‘Toecaps’. See, we overheard a stag party talking and eventually my curiosity got the better of me. Turns out there’s this house the the south where a lady used to live. The house is now abandoned and the locals say that you have two hours to solve the riddle in the house (wherever that means) to get a reward. Now this is where things get weird: earlier during the day our Naga friend contacted us: she spoke through the orb to Fribs and told him about some prophecy thing about spirits and leather-workers and stuff. All very odd, but Norben had the bright idea of asking if the lady who left was a leather-worker: she was. Spooky, huh?
Anyways, that’s about it.
P.S. Yes I know we should have done the nice thing and helped the locals but… it’s only two hours out of the day! Top! Honest….
What an exciting day that was. It feels like it’s been weeks since I wrote but it’s only been twenty four hours really!
Needless to say going to Toecap’s place wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. But we DID solve the mystery! Turns out Toecap’s family were murdered by someone who just wanted her money… because she was rich due to how good she was at her job. It’s really sad: and puts things into perspective to be honest. “Money doesn’t buy you happiness”… “But it does make life a bit easier”: a little thing you used to add, Sands.
I don’t really get any of it. What’s all this fuss over money? It’s a useful tool sure, but knowledge, tales, rumours, stories: that’s what’s truly valuable. The trill of finding out something no-one else knows about… that’s what I’ll take away from this little detour I think. I’m happy that her family now know the truth.
Anyway, let me explain how the house ’worked’ and how we kind of messed it up a bit. See, eventually we realised that we needed to open the door to the cellar and there were a load of hole, or slots, in it for stuff to go in. Four of the items were portraits and four were the correct names. The family were totally mean to their children and named them after stuff that had to do with their mum’s (Toecap’s) job! Leatherworking! And I thought MY parents were cruel with their naming!
We messed up the house by all darting off and forgetting to talk to each other… but it was ok in the end. Between us we got all the goods and Norben copied down the schematics for a hot water delivery system and a toilet that ‘washes away’ the waste! We’re gonna be rich! Eventually….
Anyway, after we solved all the clues between us there was this EPIC battle where I was turned into a chicken and then knocked out by Fribis and then… Norb went NUCKING FUTS!!! He took out Gabbie!!! Eventually Orlen blew him up while Fribs bravely help him off. Later we dragged a very confused and apologetic Norben to the local healer, Corky’s her name I think, where she dug out a ritual for Gabbie to perform. Which he did. And Norben was cured! Hopefully this’ll be a lesson learnt for everyone: let the Tabaxi tell you about an item before you use it. SIGH! Yeah, his new weapon was the source of all the problems but Gabbie explained that he’d removed that curse too AND made Norben’s weapon even more epic!
But I digress. So after this battle with dragons and Norbens we got into the last room only to see HUNDREDS of chests. No. Not naked ones, sadly. Wooden ones that you put stuff in. In one was the answer to the riddle, or puzzle of, ‘what the fudge happened to Topcap’s family’. Between us, working as a well oiled team of epicness, we figured it out and got a few awesome trinkets for out troubles. And a tonne of gold.
The guy guarding the house was a bit surprised and a bit sad (he was charging people to go try to solve the house puzzle) but we gave him lots of the gold. So I think he’ll be ok if he uses it wisely. And he also now knows what happened to his relatives.
We also went to see some Druid guy in town. Really nice chap who is helping me get a load of ‘rocks-bane’ for the big nosed lady in Zemnia. Not that I can mention Zemnia here. We’ll totally get thrown in jail for saying that!
Right, I’m shattered. I never should have agreed to perform again tonight. We’re off on another adventure tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it when we’re on our way!
Day…… who even knows any more?! 40 maybe?
I’ve not dared to take out this book for days. Blood is VERY difficult to get out of these pages even WITH the enchantment you must have paid to have put on this thing. How else has it survived?
I don’t know how many days we’ve been under ground… five I think? I’m hoping someone in town will tell us the date when we get back! I miss the sun, so much, and my fur is not enjoying the damp. I’m pretty sure Fribs feels the same: not that he would admit it. Buuuuuut my tabaxi senses are tingling and I can’t help but enjoy this adventure! We’ve battled monsters and solved puzzles and disabled traps and snuck past creatures of green fingers (all right, it was a gardener but we were soooo stealthy!) and found many wonderful potions! We’ve seen strange creatures, activated magical fountains and we have all proved our loyalty to each other many times over!
So, it all started with Fribs having a TERRIBLE nights sleep. He had a super weird dream and he woke up so exhausted he haddn’t even the strength to cast his spells! We went to see the local druid guy who told us it was the hag (possibly) and he suggested all this stuff to help Fribs sleep properly the next night. He also pointed out she needed to be close by to do it: I hope we can catch the bitch! He then went on to explain the town was being plagued by underground nasties (he suspected) because of a disturbance in nature. This disturbance seemed to come from an area northeast, possibly near some ruins called the Sunless Citadel. Awesome name, right! He told us that others had ventured there and never returned from the ruins. Well that had me hooked! Ruins, secrets, un-told tales and mystery: TOTALLY my thing! Plus I wanted to help Fribs.
Fribs wanted to help nature and that made sense, he felt the corruption too he said. Gabbie, Norben and Blue… I have no idea why they came with, I’m guessing it was to help the town? Well, that would make sense for Gabbie: he’s totally into helping people and being nice. Norben seems to be a nice guy but I’ve NEVER figured out why he’s travelling with us. Blue… who knows!? He’s super nice too, in a quiet way, but again I’ve never really figured out why he likes helping people.
Actually, yeah… why ARE we all travelling together? It started off with us all wanting to go to Zemnia for our own reasons and now we’re inseparable. Rescuing Blue from the curse, helping Fribs with ‘nature’ and, for reasons I will explain later, we’re going after my uncle! It’s not that I’m unhappy about it, far from it, I’ve not had this much fun in years! I hope we travel together for as long as we can, but I do wish we had something ‘tangible’ that would keep us together. I guess ‘beating the shit out of Xoltan for trying to kill us’ is a good reason admittedly. Yeah… yeah! That’s our real quest isn’t it! Damn it’s been so long since I thought about that guy. What a dick.
But anyways we decided it would be a GREAT idea to go to the Sunless Citadel.
We met with the local lady who ran the shop, a noble woman. Her two children were part of a group who went up there a few weeks ago and had not returned. A ranger and a paladin or warrior guy? Sir Bearington? Sir Fartimus? I dunno. We agreed to help her out: and I returned a priceless heirloom to her, you’d be SO proud of me for returning it without trade! I think I’m liking the ‘new me’, it got me this thing called a ‘discount’ so I could afford some shiny new armour.
Right, after a night out in a swamp and me showing off the bubble dome I remember seeing some other guy do once (damn I’m good, and the most modest) we were ambushed by horrible things. They died. It was glorious! Fribs actually slept! In fact he’s slept really well ever since we started using the bubble. Maybe its helping keep her out? Who knows. Anyway, we eventually found the ruins in a gorge after Blue burnt the shite out of some really creepy animated evil plants. He looked SO cool! And the ruins looked SO cool too! All poking up out of the ground and stuff.
Naturally we headed inside and after battling skeletons we found a dead goblin to talk to (again, I pulled it off after remembering some lady doing it once… it’s funny what you recall in the heat of the moment), and alive kobolds to talk to. This is where it all gets really complicated. So here’s the summation of information from who knows how many days we’ve even been here.
- Ashardalon: Some dragon who broke this entire city which used to house a dragon cult. Treasure still to be found! Assumed to be dead. This whole place seems to have been dedicated to it so I guess they SERIOUSLY upset this dragon for it to tear the place to bits. I have a feeling the residents were elven but I can’t recall why I think that? Were those skeletons we dismantled elven? Dunno!
- Goblins: Moved in many many years ago and created a home here. At war with the kobolds. Not sure I like goblins. They’re stupid too – fell for the old ‘Gabbie is a prisoner, I’m a goblin and Blue sneaks in a fireball’ trick.
- Kobolds: Moved in after the goblins. Fond of traps. Not sure I like kobolds but they’re cuter than the goblins and Norben left them trying to learn stone masonry… long story.
- Meepo: A kobold we made friends with, had lost his pet dragon. Bit of a moron but easy going enough.
- Pet Dragon: is an ACTUAL dragon, now dead, who was sick of being treated like a pet in a cage. Tyrannical arsehole. I mean TOTAL git. He just demanded respect, hurt his own kobolds without even trying to help them. All he wanted was his own little empire of worship through fear. Blue was absolutely right to kill that guy and I will stand by his decision! Though Gabbie had a point about ‘discussing it with the group first next time’ so I’ll take that one to heart. The kobolds were left trying to make a statue of him: I wonder if they’ll manage it?
- Dranissa (or what ever): Drow lady who escaped the Underdark… now dead. She started it so it’s only fair. Seems she knows of Xoltan and that’s why she left I think? She can’t stand him but liked the idea of ‘Underdark Invading The Surface’ so that’s why she tried (and failed) to kill us.
- Bellack (Bellend): druid who caused all these problems in the first place! Dead! He found a corrupted tree in these ruins and started experimenting on the plants and stuff. Necromantic experiments…… and trust me they were stupid horrible after what we saw in the labs we went through. He was thrown out of his druid circle for it. I have no-idea about any of this stuff really but Fribs said it was bad so I believe it! Hopefully we’ve now helped the town! At the very least stopped things getting worse. Urgh, I had to spend AGES talking to the creep.
- Evil Tree: grown from vampire of all things, that was one messed up convo with a skull let me tell you. Killed by elves a LONG time ago, but after Ashardalon destroyed the city. Dead! Or… Blue burnt it to the ground at least. Maybe the skeletons were these elves not the folk who worshipped the dragon.
- Snake dude: was kind of ‘running’ the kobolds? Seemed like an ok guy really now I think about it, but he’s dead. We were trying to help the dragon become master of the kobolds but I really think we picked the wrong side in this whole thing. Bit of a shame since it was my idea and now I feel SUPER bad about it! Apparently they had separated from some sort of evil snake worshipping cult or something? Which just makes me feel worse.
- Previous Adventuring party: dead. All dead… I really don’t want to tell the kids mum… but we did collect their family rings as proof.
Chipper the unicorn: popped in for a few minutes after one of Blue’s classic spell hiccups! Of course only Gabbie and I remember him but it was nice to see the old boy is ok!
- Creepy tentacle monster: One night, after Blue walked into a trap (again.. this time by walking into a room even Norben wouldn’t go in) I saw a monster in the dark and it was SO creepy! No-one believes me though.
And that’s about it. Messed up right? Gabbie thinks we should try to make peace with the goblins and the kobolds (as we were the ones to destroy their ‘overlords’) but I’m pretty sure they’ll agree to anything we say just to make us leave. Then they’ll go back to what they were doing before. When is enough meddling enough? Have we not caused enough damage? I think I’ll just leave the others to it, after the Conclave’s control over us and the way Al’Danab works and Pincher’s Row’s blackmailing I just don’t have a clear head about ‘leaders’ and ‘tyrants’ and ‘enslavement’ stuff. It’s best to leave this to those who weren’t forced into servitude.
Though, to be honest… I’m more interested in the two locked doors that we still haven’t opened! One is a dragon door I guess and the other is closed by a riddle. Gods I want to know what’s behind them! And, I’ve saved the BEST bit till last, I HAVE A LEAD ON SIX WISPS SINGING!!! Yes, it seems my uncle is alive and well! Possibly. Let me explain!
One of the goblin prisoners was this woman from another… dimension? Plane of existence? Realm? Anyways, she got stuck here and was trying to get back home along with a few friends of hers. I say friends. They’re the ones who built the death rays that took out Zemnia! They’re the ones who are working with Lady Belarous (if that’s even who she is) so she can do, whatever it is she’s up to, so they can fund the research to go home. What started off as an innocent venture to try to go home has spiralled into something much more sinister. I’m thinking if we find these people with this woman’s help then we can figure out how to find and stop Lady Belarous.
The woman (Feetra? Petra? Fi-Fi? Petunia?) helped us in our fight to save the town afer we helped find all her stuff. Before she ended up here though, she’d been working with Uncle Wisps to take down her old colleagues. Seems she had a change of heart when she realised how corrupt and mad they’d become. I can’t be angry at her involvement as it took these guys to show me that how I was viewing the world wasn’t right, and she figured it out on her own. I have great respect for her! But regardless, she said that she and Uncle Wisps were on the run, he got caught and is in jail. She got caught by the drow and wants to go back and help Uncle Wisps. It’s odd he’s never mentioned me to her, and odder still that he’s doing ANYTHING to help anyone but himself or family (he MUST have another motive) but it’s the best lead I have… even if it is some person who is impersonating Uncle Wisps.
I’m going back with her after this, to rescue Uncle Wisps. The others have all given their support and aid. They’re such kind and good people.
I… don’t want to put my new friends in danger though. And once I find Wisps… what do I do? Do I stay with my new friends, each I love dearly? Gabbie’s naive optimism, his unending kindness and joyous nature is a constant source of support. Norbie’s delight at knee chopping, ability to guess what is happening (even though we never listen) and gentle encouragement reminds me that I’m not alone. Blue’s stoic nature, lightning quick intelligence and clever wit never fails to brighten my mood. Fribs’ dear friendship, endearing grumpiness and fearless loyalty gives me so much comfort. They’re all amazing folk and I owe each of them my life many times over. And we have to beat Xoltan but… do they actually need me? I do screw up a lot and they have to pick up the pieces.
Or do I go back on holiday with Uncle Wisps? He’s the whole reason why I joined these people! He saved me from the Conclave, he took me all over the world, he taught me to cast magic, to sing, to play, and to love life again… without him I would have become nothing more than a regular thief. I’m so confused… and I feel like I’m abandoning one or the other… just thinking about it is tearing me up!
I think I’ll go back to trying not to get too confused and upset about it until the time comes… and enjoy every moment I have while I have it. My brooding can be done in here… I wonder if that’s why you gave me this book? Oh well, life isn’t supposed to be easy, right?
Anyway, I’ll write again when I next have a chance: for now we have the rest of a ruin to explore.
P.S. Blue got zapped by a dragon statue and now he’s super pretty!
P.P.S. Turns out Gabbie is a total blusher when it comes to bedroom antics! I thought maybe, given his devotion to Pelor, he was a sheltered monastery kid but he hinted that it was more than that. He also said he needed a stiff drink to tell his tale.
P.P.P.S. Norben randomly (after we found a ‘dinky sword of giant slaying’) mentioned his whole town was killed by giants! I’m not sure I’d be sane after that… I wonder if Norben even is… and how much pain the dwarf is hiding.