Tam-Tam slips through the tunnel entrance. Though he has no dark or infravision, Tam's eyes adjust to the low light, near the entrance, quickly. He then steps into the tunnel as far as he can until the darkness impairs any standard vision, putting him next to Sylvar.

No bows here in the tunnel's dark, Tam has his rapier in his strong hand, and one of his daggers in the weak hand.

"Friend Sylvar," Tam whispers, "May I join you?"

Then, in his nervous excitement he whispers the rest all in one breath it seems, and all the while looking back to make sure no one else is close enough to hear, yet ---

"In truth, I would take up with Red (Thallok), nothing personal mind you, I just thought you, like me, work better alone, or with a strong arm beside you; but, anyway, I fear Red will be all about frontal attacks and such, brave fool that he is; and, that's a method unsuited to my usual approach, except with bow, which I don't think will be useful here --- at least not at first. I would also have worked with Respen, for I owe him much for saving me from my brash self back in Skorane; but, I fear his consort because of a sense of impending doom I feel surrounds her. And it was Drow led Hobgoblin and Ogre raids on Willip and our nearby hobbit-town of Tamlin, that I do not trust her, even if she is loyal and faithful to Respen."

Tam then looks up to Sylvar...

"Am I wrong for feeling this way about people I really like and respect, Friend Sylvar?"
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
DM NOTE: Vale's tunnel goes left, right, up, and down, mostly down, but it is impossible to have a perfectly straight tunnel, due to the problem of having to dig around hard rock deposits. The Limestone and Shale are slow to dig through, but it can be done; however, Vale occasionally runs into granite, which cannot be burrowed through AT ALL. Thus, the tunnel winds this way and that, wherever necessity dictates. The tunnel is 5' wide, and 6'1" tall, so anyone taller than that will need to stoop a little.

Sylvar B.

Sylvar looks at Tam You can join me if you like....and no...its not bad to think of people in this way. In battle you should be where you are best suited. I will be enhancing our party and individuals from a distance, I'll also be attacking with my bow. It may be your place to do the same. I cannot tell, this is for each man to decide for himself. In any case you are an asset to our little venturing group. Sylvar lowers his voice Help me keep an eye on Respen's toy, if it looks like she is about to betray us put an arrow in her back, one of mine will join yours shortly after.

Sylvar returns to looking down the tunnel and begins singing a song quietly. He allows the song to trail off as he begins to think.

Sylvar looks at Tam I'll be right back... he runs back to the wagon holding the weapons...he drops his Naginata and picks up one of the human sized MW long-swords and replaces his composite longbow with one of the human MW longbow. While he is standing there he concentrates on the wand... he casts detect magic, and uses his arcane knowledge to find out what he can about the wand.... if the wand is useful and he can wield it, or if he thinks Respen or Nel can use it he will tuck it into his belt run back to the tunnel, if he cannot use it he will leave it and run back to the tunnel.

OOC: Spellcraft 24, Knowledge Arcana 22

Results of Sylvar's examination of the wand using the Detect Magic spell:

Spellcraft: The wand is of the Enchantment school, and of minor power. (i.e., contains a 1st, 2nd, or perhaps 3rd level spell.) It is almost fully charged. (49 of a possible 50 charges.)
Knowledge Arcana: The symbols on the wand indicate Compulsion.
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Creator of The Untamed Wilds
As he moves through the tunnel, Lathir adjusts his hat. In the dark it would be difficult to see the changes, so he lets everyone in the party know. His hair darkens and appears greasy, his hat now appearing as a headband. His skin darkens and reddens. His clothing remains the same. He is using the same semblance of disguise as before. He now appears to be an Orc shaman.

He speaks in a gruff voice, starting in Common and finishing the last in Orcish
"If I shapeshift, you will know it is me; but in the mean time, I appear as our enemy. Are we ready?"


Tam, always impressed, and enamored, with magic and magic users, is quietly envious of Lathir's skill...and the other spellcasters.


Creator of The Untamed Wilds
Tam, always impressed, and enamored, with magic and magic users, is quietly envious of Lathir's skill...and the other spellcasters.
Noticing the attentiveness of the Halfling and seeing the expression of interest and intrigue on his face Lathir / Orc turns to him and says, in his own voice.
"Little man, there should come a time, hopefully in the not too distant future, that I should no longer have need of this hat. When that time occurs, if we are still known to one another, I will give it to you. I am sure you will find a way to continue to put it to good use."

Aust Thale

Vale & Respen - The Tunnel, Preparations, Conversation, and Planning The Assault


Vale has spent the last several days planning and building and roughing out the tunnel from the party's camp to a 10x10 foot 'bunker' about 20 feet past and under the cliff face at ground level with the fort.
The tunnel is big enough for medium creatures less than 6'1" tall without stooping, and wide enough for 5 foot clearance in most places, except in a couple of turns to wind its way through harder rock formations. It's snug. It travels down a 9-10 degree grade, making it easily manageable. The 'bunker' at the bottom is dug out to have a 6'6" ceiling, as well as a 15-20 degree planed opening 3 feet across and 10 foot long on the west side along the edge closes to the cliff, allowing egress/ingress by simply walking out away. Vale covers it with a crude trapdoor made of the back gate of the wagon, a torn canvas sack, and some tie-downs made from leather straps from some of the less quality armor. Underneath, until they use it, he shoves several of the less quality javelins into the ground aiming one end toward the diagonally toward the opening. It won't stop somebody intent on coming in, but it might delay them and make them think twice about coming into the room from ground level. Especially given the weather, it's not easily seen unless someone is on top of it. And by then, hopefully it will not matter.

It dawns on Vale during his finish out of the tunnel that the wagon will not fit. Therefore, the only way to get it down is to levitate it 90 feet +/- down the hill. After the encounter with the ants, Vale comes to another realization.
OOC: The dispatching of giant ants was one of the random encounters that DM determined during the wait time
~ If we leave the horses up here, they stand a chance of being attacked and eaten by more insects, or worse. ~ After encountering Respen and the Drow sorceress, and discussing with the others along with Respen, Vale resolves to finish out the tunnel such that the horses can be taken down into it and left in the bunker. He will block off the tunnel at the upper end with the wagon. Respen offers to assist in building snares to catch any creature trying to enter behind them.
OOC: Respen rolls #1d20+5 for Profession Skill (Hunter) = 20; animal/insect snare
As well, Respen offers the ten (10) regular torches he has to light the tunnel and bunker at the end. Vale replies to Respen and the party, "I have five (5) more and a sunrod for the room below. The tunnel is roughly 600 feet long. Anyone who needs a torch to traverse the tunnel can have one. Once at the room, we can light it as necessary. Remember to conserve your torches in case we need to return."

Vale to Respen: "This is a fantastic base. High ground. Places to burrow tunnels. Comfortable camp location with difficult to see light or campfire. Easy path to cliff overlook. The only worry is the eastward ingress from up the road. The teleport circle put us about 4 hours east and slightly south of here. We ran into one war party that overran merchants. We saw another go looking for them, and we pasted them as well; hence, the stuff. The trail is narrow and at ground level with the fort; a switchback got us up here. Nobody coming from that direction, and as many eyes as we have put on these guys, we'd know if any went back that direction unless they teleported back there. My interest in getting us down into the tunnel is as much to limit our footprint up here as getting to that fort straight away."

Vale gestures to their camp, which is surprisingly clean for the time they have been here. The forest is heavy, prone to thicket conditions in many places. "It's not as if finding us would be easy, but one can't be too careful. Respen, not to change the subject, but did you find my dog?"

To the party toward the end of the day, as he explains his plans regarding the horses as well as the layout of the tunnel: "Comrades, this will work. You may proceed down into the tunnel. Here are torches. I recommend we stay up here tonight and attack in the morning after daybreak. It will give us all the opportunity to prepare ourselves for our encounters tomorrow. "

If nothing else occurs to interrupt the day, Vale has some rations from their haul, and cleans himself as best he can from the cave dirt. He sleeps and wakes, praying for his spells, rolling up camp, eating breakfast rations, and considering the trek down the tunnel, and to the fort. The tunnel takes only a few minutes normally to traverse. He prepares the horses to be pulled down into the tunnel after him. They will take a few more minutes apiece. Before finishing up, he places the wagon exactly above the tunnel entrance, wedged between a nearby tree and a pile of dirt. Respen sets the snares behind them.

OOC: Vale can use his magical haversack now to tote considerably more, if anybody needs to store anything capable of being stored in the haversack going forward

Sylvar takes the wand to Respen and asks him if he knows what spells it can cast.

Respen spends a great deal of the afternoon talking with Vale and assisting with the tunnel. He explains Gus' condition in considerable detail, as well as the fact that he left him in Laramon's care. "He'll be taken very well care of; you should worry no more about that.
OOC: He shares the following with the entire group
I don't know what happened to Vega, nor Margull other than what you saw while we were in his office. I believe she travelled somewhere, though I am uncertain she went after him or not. He expressly told her to watch over his office. Laramon, I am certain, is doing so now, at least based on my conversation with him. He knows Margull much better than we certainly realized. Wherever she went, she left no note, no trace. That mirror could have sent her anywhere. Respen answers any questions with no hint of guile. He realizes that Nel's presence here has the party concerned; he does not want to add to it.

He spends some time examining the party's loot gained in his absence. Particularly, he sees it stored amidst and near the wagon, with the horses kept on long leashes near it. After Vale's sharing his rationale of having the horses down the tunnel, he is also concerned that coming back up here after attacking the fort. He agrees with the snares, and he wishes he could be more help with more complex traps; however, other than simple ones related to hunting, he is without that level of skill.

At Sylvar's questions regarding the wand, he is happy to have Sylvar not be so suspicious of him. He mentally shares with Nel, ~ I realize you don't like him, and I understand why. It appears that we all have some proving up to do. ~ Respen replies to Sylvar, "Brother, that's a great question. I have something that will come in handy for this.

Respen reaches into one of his pockets (These being Auror's garb, he had a penchant for a truly ridiculous number of pockets. Not special; not magic. Just lots of pockets.) and retrieves his magical monocle. "I can use this three (3) times a day, every day." He uses the monocle to look at the wand, whispering to the monocle in Elvish, until the spell does its work.

OOC: Identify is cast at the wand

To the party: "I should not waste any opportunity. Show me what else you want to identify; I can do two (2) more items today. First two proposed it shall be. "

Respen will assist in any way possible. In addition, he points out as Vale is verbalizing his design of moving the horses as well, that he can stuff all of the current loot for the party into his portable hole.
He places the portable hole at the back of the wagon, placing contents into it.
OOC: None of these are Respen's nor Nel's; it is simply a means of making the party move light while having a lot of stuff.

He takes even the less quality equipment as it is not really his place to not do so; however, if and when more valuable equipment is found, it might be necessary to upgrade and toss some of the less valuable equipment. He magically organizes the contents so as to utilize space as efficiently as possible.
OOC: Respen casts prestidigitation and uses it to move things around in the portable hole.

After doing so, he picks up the portable hole cloth and puts it away in his backpack. He shows everyone that he has it in his backpack, and he makes specific mention of it twice more to Sylvar. Respen whispers, "Brother, do not forget that this is here. If I fall, you should grab my backpack, my staff, my hat, my gloves, my belts, this ring, and this monocle. The magical hole that stores your treasure is within my backpack as are many other good things. They should all go to your care until such time that they may be given to Laramon with instructions that they go to my heirs. " He winks at Sylvar, leaving him either confused or more aware than when Respen arrived. Respen also prepares himself for the evening, preparing his own meal with Nel. He shares his bedroll and blanket with her while he trances instead of sleeps. He arises with the rest of the party, leaving Nel to her own time, and studying his own spell books (after retrieving from the portable hole), and he works hard to make sure that he picks the proper ones.
OOC: Respen has left his main spellbook at Laramon's, but he has brought his travelling spell book (basically a copy) and research spellbook (for new spells) along with him. He left little to nothing of his belongings except a non-masterwork short-bow at Dame Clare's.
He then works with Vale to prepare the party's descent into the tunnel, and he helps the others get their gear tied down, etc.

To the Fort!!!


Noticing the attentiveness of the Halfling and seeing the expression of interest and intrigue on his face Lathir / Orc turns to him and says, in his own voice.
"Little man, there should come a time, hopefully in the not too distant future, that I should no longer have need of this hat. When that time occurs, if we are still known to one another, I will give it to you. I am sure you will find a way to continue to put it to good use."

A thrill courses through Tam as he realizes the wondrous and magical gift, Lathir has just promised him. He thanks Lathir for the future boon, then heads back to the camp.

Tam, reorganizes his Elven arrows, now that he has used almost half of one of the two quivers he acquired. He balances the quantity between the two (16 in each). He then goes over his armor for any repairs needed, sharpens his blades, checks the rest of his accouterments, and rolls out his bedroll for some shut eye, though the internal buzz of energy and excitement about tomorrow's attack makes it adequate, if somewhat restless.

Tam wakes up, rolls up the bedroll arranges his weapons, backpack and belt pouches for quick and efficient usage if, or when, needed. Surprisingly, the excitement of it their attack quenches his appetite, and though he eats breakfast, for a halfling, it is only a fairly small amount. He then heads down the tunnel, lights one of the torches when he gets to a dark region, lights the torch and carries it with him to place far enough away that he can focus on the events ahead, calming his nerves, curbing his brash tendency and calling on Yondalla for courage, luck, and even battle wit, halfling style, and he calls on Olidammara for Cunning and Stealth.

As the rest approach, Tam is, for all intents and purposes, his "old self". He gives his big smile while saying:

"Are we ready for this? 'Cause I say --- Let's go."
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Heading into the tunnel I request, "please let me know just before we break through the ground to open air again. I have a few spells I need to cast before we face any threats."

Sylvar nods in agreement, ”Same goes for me.”
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