"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part One)


First Post

I think he seems like a leader because his personality fills a nessessary gap withing the group. Jana and Beorth are usually withdrawn, and Martin and Jeramy just don't make quick on the spot desisions, and Kazrack likes to think on problem before acting (Imho), but Ratchis just DECIDES what he thinks would be a good idea. And while he doesn't force his opinion on others, the whole group tends to follow his lead simply beacause noone else has givin any sort of command yet. Stange because a true leadership role would seem to be contrary to Ratchis's philosophy.

Speaking of Ratchis, could you (nemm) ask his player to conclude "the story of Ratchis" story hour. I don't want him to do anything he doesn't want to do, but it was really good.:)

Color is good
I Like Color:rolleyes:

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Wow Nemmerle,,another superb update!

How do you do it, compadre? Your story is better and better, each update is better than the prevoius, and the first one was already very good...


Moderator Emeritus
Session #20 (part II)

Martin’s body was still already falling backward from the force of the gargoyle landing one when it struck him twice with its stony clawed hands and slammed him once with the protrusion on its head.

It roared, and Jana stepped forward and spoke an arcane word and a ray of green light struck the beast. It bellowed again, and turned to Ratchis and Kazrack who came at standing over Martin’s crumpled form.

Ratchis swung his mighty hammer at the living statue, but the thing was unusually quick and Ratchis over-extended himself, twisting his ankle. Kazrack on the other hand slammed his heavy flail head right onto the thing’s face, a shot that would crushed a man’s skull. It had no effect at all.

The gargoyle grunted, and clipped the dwarf across the top of the head with a stony hand. Jana spoke some words again and flicked her wrist at the thing and it reeled, putting its hands to its face.

“It’s blind!” Jana called. “Finish it!”

The voice of Ratchis’ and Kazrack’s voices calling to their respective gods to grant their weapons a divine spark of magic could be head, as Jeremy squeezed past them, coming in close and behind the gargoyle.

The thing sensed the dual-wielding Neeragardian and it swung around to bring all its attacks to bear on him, but Jeremy was too nimble for the gargoyle to strike through his blindness.

Again, Jana spoke a word while she cast her fingers open towards the gargoyle. It stumbled as if dazed, giving Ratchis a chance to slam it with all his might with his temporarily enchanted hammer. Kazrack smiled and took his opening at well, his flail shining as it chipped off a piece of the stone guardian.

The creature was now reeling and swinging wildly. Jeremy drove his long sword between the thing’s legs and pushed with the hilt of his short sword, knocking it over. It struggled to get up, swinging at Kazrack and missing. Jana ran forward and pulled Martin from the fracas.

Ratchis lifted the warhammer in both hands over his head and brought it down on the gargoyle with a resounding crack. It wobbled and fell, and immediately tried to get back up again, even as cracks appeared near its joints and down its back.

“Natan-ahb has judged you and found you wanting!” (44) The dwarf gave it the finishing blow and it crumbled into hundreds of little pieces.

Ratchis ran down to Martin’s body on the lower stair where Jana was doing her best to stop his bleeding. The huge man knelt beside the Watch-Mage and laid a calloused hand on his fragile form.

“Nephthys, hear my prayer and heal this brave man who fights in your name as surely as I do,” Ratchis intoned, and in a second Martin the Green was coughing and coming back to consciousness.

He sat up slowly.

“Can you?” Ratchis asked.


“Can you move on?” Ratchis offered him a hand.

“Oh…yes,” Martin replied, being pulled up to his feet, shakily. “I just feel exhausted.”

Jeremy and Kazrack were keeping watch with their crossbows drawn, but the elves on the lookouts still did not seem to notice them.

Ratchis placed a hand on his belt of chain links and said aloud, "Nephthys grant me your strength!" and he felt his body surging with the might of a bull.

Ratchis and Kazrack examined the doubled doors, and pushing they found they were barred. They both began to push with all their might, and when a slight crack appeared between the doors, Ratchis slipped in his short sword in hopes of knocking out the bolt.

There was a bright flash, and a sizzling sound accompanied by the smell of singed hair and flesh, as both the dwarf and the half-orc cried out and flinched backward. Kazrack beard was smoking.

“I think it was trapped,” said Jeremy.

Ratchis roared and with a single might kick the doors flew open. He stopped took a deep breath, laid a hand on Kazrack’s shoulder and whispered, “Nephthys, please guard this dwarf so that he may see the glorious light of freedom always.”

Kazrack felt the warmth of the divine healing energies enter him, and he and Ratchis stepped through the doors, with Jeremy right behind them.

They stepped through a narrow entry hall to a broader perpendicular hallway that seemed to run the full length of the fort’s front wall. The floors and walls were lacquered wood, and torchlight, and huge hearths in the southernmost wall of the rooms at the end were the only sources of illumination.

On either side of the long hall elves emerged from doors at the top of wooden steps that seemed like they likely went up to the lookouts.

“Go away,” the elf on the left called. “You are not welcome here.”

And even as the first elf spoke the second one joined him saying the exact same thing, but only slightly behind him. They spoke in flat even tones.

“We are taking no guests. No visitors are welcome,” they nocked arrows in their short bows.

Ratchis called Martin forward, and stepped toward the elf on the left.

“Take no step forward,” an elf called to the half-orc, walking down the steps towards him.

“We do not want to hurt you,” said the elf on the other side to Kazrack.

“What is going on?” Jeremy asked stepping through the entry hall. Jana took up the rear, and Janx decided to join them, appearing and disappearing among their ranks.

“Wait, we come in peace,” Martin called back to the elf he faced, trying hard to sound reassuring.

“Do not come closer. Return the way you came,” the elf said,

“We are looking for one of your kind, her name is Tirhas,” Kazrack said to the elf on his side.

“I think they are ensorcelled,” Ratchis said stepping forward.

“Ratchis! No!” Martin cried, and the elf in front of him let loose an arrow that cut a half inch of flesh from Ratchis’ left side.

“Stop! We don’t want to fight!” Martin cried, putting his hands up. “Ratchis, stop!”

Kazrack charged toward the elf he faced, “If possible fight to subdue!” He sidestepped an arrow sent his way.

Ratchis charged as well, folding his arms in front of his face and chest, warhammer in hand. He was almost upon the elf, when he heard it say “sagitta magicus”. He felt the searing pain of something striking him, but he slammed his whole body into the elf. The elf, flew backward falling on his rear end.

A third elf appeared at the top of the stairs and fired an arrow down at Martin who yelped and leaped backward out of harm’s way.

Jana came around the corner to the right (past a metal ladder that seemed to go up into a crawl space above the entry hall) and flicked her wrist, blinding the elf Kazrack was approaching, and the dwarf slapped the elf’s long sword out of his hand with his halberd.

The elves were tall and comely, with an even balance of soft and angled features, giving them a beautiful and haunting androgyny. However, they did not move with the speed and grace that the party has witnessed in Tirhas when they traveled with her briefly. These elves seemed distracted, or one might even say sleepy.

Jeremy came around the corner to back up Ratchis, while the blind elf back away cautiously from Kazrack moving toward a dark hallway that led further into the fort.

As Kazrack wondered if he should stop him, he felt the bite of an arrow as still another elf appeared, dressed in muted blue and green, wielding a bow, at the top of the stairs.

The elf Ratchis has tackled, stood up and moving with some modicum of grace reached for pouch on his belt drew out a handful of sand as he spoke the word, “Dor-“. He failed, for he was trying to hard to not let Ratchis have an opening – but had the opposite effect. Ratchis dropped his hammer on the ground and slammed his two huge fists into the elf’s face. Blood exploded from the delicate being’s nose, and one eyes was swollen shut as blood oozed out thickly from beneath it. The elf collapsed bleeding to the floor. (45)

Jana prepared to cast her spell again, but the elf on the steps that had shot Kazrack dropped his bow and spoke the words “sagitta magicus”. He pointed at the young witch and an arrow of light struck her dead on. She let out a cry, and her spell was interrupted.

Kazrack kicked at the blind elf’s sword to make sure it was not picked up again.

Ratchis knelt at the side of the elf he had just struck and lay his hand on him.

“Nephthys, do not let this poor victim die from the treachery of a villainous sorcerer who charms them unwillingly.”

The elf at the top of the stairs fired another arrow at the half-orc, but it went far to wide, and Ratchis did not even try to move.

End of Session #20



(44) Natan-ahb is the Father of the Dwarves, first among all the dwarven gods.

(45) DM'S NOTE: Somehow, Ratchis' player managed to roll TWO "Triple Total Damage" crits with his fists, meaning that all the extra damage became REAL damage, after subdual surpassed the elf's current hit points. Having Bull's Strength cast on himself didn't help either. :D
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First Post
Thanks for the doggy goodness, Nem. I can tell you having a squirrel and a dog in the same party is going to lead to trouble. All dogs know the that squirrels are just minions of their undead squirrel Queen sent to carry out her evil schemes. All squirrels must be vanquished by the four legged forces of freedom (that is, dogs)!

My backyard is safe from the Squirrel Queen. Is yours?


Moderator Emeritus
Session #21

Jana loaded her crossbow and brought it to bear on the elf at the top of the stairs, while Martin retreated further back into the entry hall.

Kazrack stepped up to his blind opponent who was slowly trying to get away and with a low powerful blow, sent the elf flying off his feet. The elf scrambled on his hands and knee and felt around for his sword.

“Ratchis, I’ve got this guy. Cover my back,” Jeremy said as he made his way up the stairs, a sword in each hand. He came in with a sudden fury, but the elf nimbly avoided the blows, and riposted with a shallow cut to the Neergaardian’s wrist. Ratchis held his position, looking around, especially up the broad dark hallway that went to the right further into the fort.

The elf at the top of the stairs on Kazrack’s side fired his bow at the dwarf and the shaft went clear through his calf, making the dwarf cry out loudly, but he was able to knock the sword out of the blind elf’s seeking hand.

Jeremy and his opponent continued to trade parries and feints, and seemed evenly match, Ratchis turned from cautiously watching the hall to watch the fight for a moment, wondering how he could get up the narrow stair to the elf. Jeremy finally found an opening and shoved the hilt of his long sword into the elf’s gut. (46) Ratchis saw this decided to check out the adjacent hall.

The blind elf crawled away and got to his feet, stepping towards the dark hall for a second time, with his hands out in front of him.

Kazrack made a run for the elf on the stairs, but the elf leapt down out of the way and the dwarf was forced to come back down and was able to catch the elf in the side of the head with the flat of his halberd’s axe head. The elf wobbled, but continued to brandish his sword (having dropped his bow when he leapt). Jana, seeing an opening, fired her crossbow at the elf, but the bolt went wide.

“Those had better be blunt crossbow bolts you are using!” Kazrack threatened, and heard movement behind him to the left. Another elf was emerging from the dark hall. He was taller than the others, and wore a cloak of bright green, and had bright blonde hair tied in thick braids.

“Reinforcements are arriving!” Kazrack cried.

Jeremy struck the elf again, as its reflexes slowed, but always he used the flat of the blade or struck with the pommel, not looking to kill these foes that were trying to kill him and his friends.

Ratchis suddenly turned, his face bright red with a sudden idea and he charged at the second staircase that must go up to a lookout and leapt up on the stairs, and tried to bash the door. It held against his strength and weight.

Jana knew this new elf coming towards Kazrack was no joke, and with an arcane word, a sickly green ray fired from her pointed finger and struck the new elf dead square in the chest. The elf shook it off and grunted.

Martin stepped back into the hall and loaded his crossbow.

Kazrack turned his halberd around and shoved the butt end into the gut of the elf he still struggled with, and then brought the flat of the halberd head onto the top of the elf’s head. It collapsed in a lump on the g round. The dwarf did not hesitate, making his way towards the newly arrived foe.

“Are you ensorcelled as well?” Kazrack asked him.

“Intruders are not allowed here,” the elf replied in a flat voice.

“Okay, you are ensorcelled,” Kazrack said, grunting as an arrow from the new elf bit his shoulder.

There was an audible pop and Janx appear beside the elf that Kazrack had just dropped, and the blink dog sniffed it.

Jana moved to Janx, while Martin ran into the room and took a position by the wall, training his crossbow on the elf fighting Kazrack. This new elf dropped his bow and pulled his sword, meeting Kazrack halfway. The dwarf tried his fancy disarming trick he had practiced so often, but this elf seemed too skilled a warrior to fall for it. Kazrack had to duck to avoid what would have been a skull-splitting blow in reply. Janx appeared behind the elf, snapping and biting to distract him from Karack a bit.

Meanwhile, Jeremy felt his own arms growing heavy as he and his elven opponent struggled on the stairs.

“What does it take to keep you down?” Jeremy cursed, as the door behind the elf burst open.

It was Ratchis! He had finally burst through the other door to the lookout and had run around and came up behind the elf Jeremy face. The huge half-orc grappled the surprised elf and squeezed with all his might. The elf gasped and crumpled.

Jeremy and Ratchis came back down the stairs and could hear the combat from the other end of the hall echoing, but had not time to investigate, as yet another elf, in a cloak of silver and blue emerged from the shadows of the broad hall and fired an arrow that hung in Jeremy’s chain shirt for a moment before dropping down. The Neergaardian could feel the bruise swelling up in his ribcage.

Jana fired another ray of green light at the elf fighting Kazrack, but again the elf seemed to be made of stern stuff and shook off the effects of the enfeeblement.

Martin took the moment’s distraction to fire his crossbow at the elf, but the bolt went wide.

“Stop shooting at them!” Kazrack roared. “Tackle them! Throw stones at them! Do anything, but shooting them with crossbows!”

“Sorry,” Martin said meekly, and slung his crossbow back on his back

“Our people should not be at war,” the elf in the green cloak said to Kazrack, as he parried blow after blow from the dwarf’s halberd.

“Uh, yeah… “ Kazrack replied, and then looked to Janx. “Janx! Grab him by the sleeve! Hold him!.”

The dwarf tried to disarm the elf again, and this time the long sword went flying into the air and landed at the elf’s feet.

Jeremy scooped up the unconscious elf that Ratchis had beaten before and held his short sword to its throat.

“Shoot again and your friend get it!” Jeremy said, throwing a wink at Ratchis. “Drop your bow!”

“Jeremy! Put the elf down!” Ratchis yelled and yanked the elf from Jeremy’s grip, and then was gently laying him down, when the elf did put way his bow and with a flick of sand and the word “dormu” a wave of drowsiness came over Ratchis and Jeremy.

Ratchis shook it off, but Jeremy swooned and fell to the floor.

Jana cast another spell, her face twisted into horrid visage as she clawed her hands forward and spoke an arcane word, but the magical fear dissipated even as it washed over the powerful elf, who moved deftly to grab his sword, but felt the heavy blow of Kazrack’s halberd blade, even if it were turned aside as to not cut him.

But the elf was back on his feet and slashed downward on Kazrack’s foot even as he was still rolling up to a stable position. Blood began to pool beneath the dwarf.

Ratchis charged the spell-casting elf, and both his big hammy fist slammed into his face. The elf stumbled back, but did not fall, saying something in elvish and spitting blood.

“We’re going to need a prisoner,” Kazrack said, and Martin moved to tie up the unconscious elf in the middle of the floor. Jana stepped in front of him to cover him from the darkened hall as he tied up the elf.

Kazrack slapped the elf with halberd head again, using all his might, certain that the elf could take no more punishment, but he was wrong. The dwarf felt the bite of the elf’s sword and all went black. He was bleeding pile of armored flesh on the ground.

“Damn,” Martin cried as the dwarf dropped, but Jana just gritted her teeth and pulled out the club she had taken from one of the goblins that had fought what seemed long ago now. (47)

Janx blinked over to stand over Kazrack’s body as the elf moved towards Jana. The blink dog seemed unwilling to attack the elves, but was doing everything he could to help the party.

Jana ran towards the elf swinging her club with both hands, but he leapt away deftly.

“Sorceress, why do you attack us?” the elf asked in his flat voice.

Martin looked up from where he was tying the other elf, and spoke an arcane word and pointed at the elven warrior Jana faced, but no spell seemed to affect him.

Jana felt the bite of the elf’s blade.

At the other end of the hall Ratchis grappled the elf before him and again squeezed with all his might until the elf went limp. He carried the elf over next to his kin and laid him down gently.

Ratchis could hear the yelling from the other end of the hall, and threw a quick kick at Jeremy and then took off to help.

Jeremy sat up startled, unsure what had happened. He looked over at the second unconscious elf next to him and saw no one else around.

“Damn, I’m good,” he said to himself, and got up to run down the hall to his companions.

“Ratchis! Kazrack!” he yelled.

The elven warrior must have been tiring because Jana’s club made contact and he grunted from the blow. Jana was not holding back at all.

Martin hurried over to Kazrack and began to desperately try to close the dwarf’s wounds.

Jana’s blow did not go unpaid, and again the sword cut her, making a deep gash in her right forearm. Ratchis ran up beside her, to draw the elf off. Jana took the opportunity to move out of the fight.

Martin seeing Jana was free to help with the dwarf, reached into his red leather bag and tossed from it a ball of fur that tumbled and grew into a gray wolf that bit at the elven warrior, but missed.

However, now outnumbered and seriously wounded, the elf turned and ran hustled away down the dark corridor. Janx finally took a snap at the elf to try to stop his escape, but over-extended himself and plopped down on Kazrack’s body.

Ratchis took off after the elf, and at Martin’s command the wolf followed as well. They ran down a broad hall about ten feet wide, with ten foot by ten foot alcoves staggered on each side that held tall wooden statues. Ratchis ignored them and the wolf passed him within striking distance of the elf. However, the elven warrior spun around and drove his sword’s edge deep into the wolf’s shoulder. IT yelped in pain, and Janx appeared on the other side of the elf, to block his escape.

Jeremy began to run down the hall as well, but Ratchis finished it, running in and ducking under the elf’s attack and slamming two fists into the elf’s face. It dropped.

Janx growled at the wolf.

Ratchis came back up the hall carrying the elven warrior, and the wolf followed at Martin’s beckoning, but Janx disappeared and did not reappear.

Jana stabilized the elf, while Ratchis looked to Kazrack, stabilizing him with a Cure Minor Wounds spell. He then laid a hand on Jana and said, “Nephthys please lend your healing might to this young woman so we can flee this strange strange place.”

“We need to get out of here,” Martin said.

The others nodded.

“Ratchis, you grab Kazrack so I can grab one of these elves and bring them with us,” Jeremy said.

“Grab the one that cast that spell on you,” Ratchis suggested.

“What spell?” Jeremy asked.

“Don’t you remember when you fell down?”

“No idea what you are talking about,” and he scooped up the elf Ratchis had just been carrying.

The party gathered their things and met by the entry hall.

“Wait,” Ratchis said. “Why are we bringing an elf?”

“Kazrack said to grab a prisoner,” replied Martin.

“And we can ask him what is going on at our leisure,” added Jeremy.

“No, he’ll just slow us down when he wakes up and could alert other elves to wherever it is we are going to hide out for the night because we are not going to make it back to town in this condition,” Ratchis said.

“But maybe it this place that has him ensorcelled,” said Jeremy.

“And maybe not,” replied Martin.

“Just leave him,” said Ratchis, and Jeremy put down the elf he was carrying.

Jana led the way out of the fort, but at that moment Jeremy cried out, “Wha-what is that?!?”

A translucent white eye about six inches in diameter was floating down the hall at them.

Ratchis put down Kazrack and stepped towards it swinging. The blow went right through it, and it never stopped moving passing through Ratchis himself. The eye stopped at Martin and wheeled back and forth and up and down examining closely.

“What is this thing?” Martin said aloud.

“You are not exactly inspiring confidence in us with your arcane knowledge, Martin,” Jeremy said, hustling after Jana. “Let’s get out of here!”

Martin moved to leave as well and the eye followed him. Martin shooed at it, “Go away! What do you want from me? Leave me alone!”

The wolf stood there in entry hall confused.

“Wolf! Follow me, damn it!” Martin cried very annoyed, but the eye moved away and examined Jana who was waiting at the stop of the first stairway.

Ratchis ran past, the dwarf over one shoulder and the dwarf’s enormous pack over the other. He whispered a prayer of tanks to Nephthys for the great strength she gave him.

The party took off out of the clearing and into the woods. The eerie eye stopped at the bottom of the stairs and would not follow anymore.

They hurried as best they could through the deep snow back to the game trail.

“They got Janx!” Jeremy said, looking around. “Tirhas is going to be mad.”

“Does this group ever have an unquestionable victory?” Martin asked in an exhausted voice.

Ratchis scowled, “We go as far as we can and then we’ll go a little further to as safe a place as I can find us to camp.”

Martin looked at the tawny wolf that followed at his side, and opened his bag and called to it. The wolf leapt at Martin transforming into a perfectly tiny ball of fur that landed in the pouch.

“Disturbing…” Jeremy said in awe.


(46) DM’s Note: I usually describe fighting to subdue in this way, striking with the flat of the blade, the butt end of a weapon and in general trying not to hit as vital an area, but still strike hard.

(47) Jana took a club from the shaman of the Na-Sor Goblins way back in Session #3.


First Post
Hm, that seemed kind of futile. They were so injured from trying to subdue everyone, and yet when they come back (I'm assuming they'll go back) all the elves will be awake again. I think I would've taken an elf with me, if only to take one out of the equation. Ratchis rocks and it's awesome to see him keeping the party alive. Defintely a cool character, although he can be snippy sometimes.

The whole elven thing is pretty confusing. I can come up with one very shoddy reason as to why the elves would be like that, but nothing else. I'm curious as to how this'll turn out.


all the characters rock

I know I've seen a bunch of praise heaped on Ratchis (in part due to the many-post "Story of Ratchis"), but I also want to say how damned impressed I am with all of the characters. I love Martin's apparent lack of real world experience and his relationship with Thomas; the whole conflict with Jana and her witchcraft; and Kazrack's often stubborn adherence to a methodical patient approach to things.

I don't know the circumstances (beyond several absences), but Beorth, as has been said, is the quietest character. He's also a very interesting character, though not as fleshed out in the Story Hours.

I used to not like Jeremy for various reasons. I used to think that he was played in a rather haphazard way, but then I definetely started to see a pattern to his personality, and I have to say that he's a funny bastard and a really cool character. I loved that bit about him complaining about "the waste of rope" when the party was cutting the bonds on the dragon hunt deserters. I don't know if it was a joke or not, but I laughted when I read "and everyone ignored him."

It definetely would be a different party if Chance, Jeremy, and Malcom ended up together for an extended period of time. They would have been an interesting counter to Kazrack and Beorth.

i just wish my players would play as well as these guys......:eek:

Keep up the good work nemm,


Dusty Dragon
I agree with Metus, without a captive the whole thing is more or less futile. Especialy if the "echanter of elves" is still there, the opposition will be stiffer next time.


I second the compliments to ALL the players.

In some cases it took longer than others (probably due to more subtle character personalities a/k/a Jeremy as mentioned above), but every PC is well thought out and well-played. I particularly like Kazrack's attempts to find a place in the dwarven society of Derome-Delem with which he is unfamiliar via his clerical studies.

I do miss Beorth, who was at one time the party's leader, but real life intervenes at times.

As for not taking prisoners - it seems to me that Ratchis here was cleaving to his "no compulsion or tyranny" theme even though his stated arguments were about security (note his reaction to Jeremy's ruse de guerre a bit earlier in the session). All ideologies come with a price, and kudos to Roy for not being selective in his PC's practice of his faith.

On another note, I would recommend that Martin learn to hide in the back like all good wizards, even though it is fun to read about his being smacked around so frequently and effectively.

Hi Nemmerle! Just wanted to say that I really do love this story hour!

A quick question if you don't mind. Did Ratchis' player reveal his logic for not bringing along one of the elves as a "prisoner"? I have to agree with everyone else when they say that not bringing one of the elves along kind of makes the entire foray kind of futile...

Best case scenario is that they might have been able to gain information from him about what they are up against, and maybe gained an ally. Worst case would have been the elf still "under the influence" and having to be knocked out again.

Anyway, keep up the good work! :)



Wow Nemm, what two updates!

But I agree, IMHO the party was not very smart when they left all the elves there. I know it could be viewed as an act of tiranny, but it could also free the elf, if it was the building, or somebody in it, that ensorcelled him. At least they could have got some answers...

But the story is as good as ever!


Moderator Emeritus
Session #21 (part II)

As it got dark, Ratchis took them off the game trail and into the deep woods. There was nothing he could do about tracks in the deep snow, but he hoped they might be overlooked in the dark.

He brought the party to a tall fir tree and he and Jeremy started shoveling and shoving the snow out from under it to make camp. In an hour they had a tent staked into the ground, and a small fire burning.

Jana tended Kazrack, and Jeremy cleared more snow, while Ratchis ran out and found for firewood. Returning with an armload a sudden rustle in the brush turned out to be Kwa. The dog chased him happily back to camp, barking and jumping.

Ratchis dropped the wood and grabbed the dog, holding its snout shut and very sternly saying, “No!”

The dog was quiet for the rest of the night.

The party discussed if they should go back to town in the morning, or return to the enclave. A third option of resting a whole other day and night in this spot came up, but so did apprehension about the elves staging a assault on them.

“Did you see any signs that the elves patrol this area when you were hunting for firewood?” Jeremy asked Ratchis.

“No,” replied Ratchis. “But they’re elves, I wouldn’t expect to see any signs.”

“Well, if you were an elf, and you were on patrol…I know this is a stretch, but bear with me,” Jeremy gestured with his hands. “What would be the best way to approach this camp?”

“There is no best way. We’re in the middle of the forest. If they spot our camp they’ll surround us and shoot us full of arrows,” Ratchis said, chewing on tough piece of jerky, and tossing a piece to Kwa.

“Well, I have some caltrops and I wanted to know the best place to lay them, but I guess any direction is as good as any other,” Jeremy said.

“Caltrops, huh?” Ratchis half smiled.

“I don’t really use them for this purpose. They’re more for, you know…” He nudged the half-orc with his elbow. “Angry husbands.”

“No, I don’t know,” Ratchis said, dryly and stood. “Go to sleep, I’ll take first watch, and you’ll have to take an extra long after that.


Anulem, 28th of Nuiet – 564 H.E.

In the morning, Ratchis prayed for Nephthys to grant him spells of healing, and soon enough Kazrack was stirring.

“Ugh, I hope Lehrathonar will teach me the secrets of where traps lie,” he said, as he struggled to get up.

“Just rest,” said Ratchis.

“Where are our prisoners?” the dwarf asked, craning his neck around.

“We don’t have any prisoners,” Ratchis replied.

Kazrack sighed, “I’m afraid we’re just going to fight them again.”

Ratchis did not reply.

“Did we kill anyone by accident?” Kazrack inquired.

“Almost,” the half-orc replied.

“With your fists?” the dwarf asked.

“You’d better let someone else hold your hammer,” the dwarf said with a smile.


“You do more damage with your fists,” and Kazrack let out a hard guffaw that immediately turned into a groan of pain as he held his side.

After a moment, he retrieved his prayer stone from his pack and laid his head upon it to pray and prepare spells.

Martin lay sleeping in the tent, unwilling to face the morning. But Thomas was hungry and he scurried out of the tent and made his way over to where Ratchis was chewing on dried apple from a sack, and climbed up the behemoth and on to the top of his rat’s next hair.

Kwa came bounding into camp from off doing whatever it is dogs do when they’re alone and immediately noticed the squirrel chewing on a small piece of apple that the half-orc had given him, sitting on his master’s head. Kwa began to bark and bound atop of Ratchis to get Thomas, who leapt with great fear, running back into the tent. The dog of course, followed.

“Help me! Help me!” Thomas cried to his bonded master.

“Whu…? AUGH!” Martin leapt up as his familiar crawled into his robes and Kwa suddenly leapt upon him shoving his drooling cold snout all over the Watch-mage.

“Stop! Kwa! Stop!” Ratchis leaned into the tent and dragged out the dog, who was barking like mad.

Martin crawled out of the tent and stood, “Well, I guess sleep is out of the question around here. What are we going to do?”

“I was thinking about that,” said Jeremy dropping an armload of firewood. “You and Thomas are bonded right?”

“Why do you ask?” Martin said.

“Well, we could the squirrel back to the elf place and have him look around and report back to you what he sees,” Jeremy suggested.

“I’m not sending Thomas out to be killed, eaten or turned into squirrel shish-ka-bob. End of discussion,” Martin said matter-of-factly, and sat down by the fire with his spellbook in his lap.

Kazrack joined the others around the fire, “I guess we are spending the day here.”

“We’ll re-gather our strength and replenish our spells and head back tomorrow,” Ratchis said. “Maybe we can parley with them.”

“Kind of too late for that,” Jana said, scathingly.

“I don’t think I’m cut out for this adventuring life style,” Martin said dejectedly.

“Well, when this is all over with you can settle down with you books,” Kazrack said, trying to be comforting.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Martin replied.

“Can I borrow Thomas for a little while?” Kazrack asked. “I want to train the dog to not go after him.”

The dwarf held out a bit of dried fruit to the squirrel, which was sitting on Martin’s shoulder.

“What does he want?” Thomas asked Martin.

“He wants to train the dog not to attack you,” Martin explained.

“That dog is crazy! He wants to eat me! Kill it!”

“Here have an apricot,” said Martin feeding him a piece.

“Mmmmm… Kill it! Kill it!.” Thomas said, as he munched on his snack. “What does he need me for anyway?”

“I think Kazrack wants the dog to go for you so he can smack it around,” Martin speculated.

“Oh! I want a ringside set for that” Thomas said, and leapt on to the dwarf’s head.

While Kazrack pushed the dog back and down repeatedly, saying “No!” very sternly, with Thomas sitting on his head, goading the dog, Ratchis, Jeremy, Jana and Martin discussed the situation with the elves.

“What do you think is the matter with them?” Jeremy asked.

“They are charmed,” said Ratchis.

“It would be very difficult to ensorcel so many elves for so long a period of time,” Martin commented.

“Well, I wouldn’t know,” Jeremy said.

“I want to go back to Thricia,” Martin grumbled miserably, trying to warm his hands by the fire, but the cold had seemed to have nestled in his bones, unwilling to be moved.

Suddenly, Janx appeared in camp, and Kwa gave a yelp and disappeared into brush.

“I wonder why he’s scared of Janx,” Ratchis said aloud.

The albino blink dog stepped up to Ratchis and dropped a piece of sheer torn purple cloth on the ground.

“Janx, is that Tirhas’?” Jeremy asked, walking up to the dog, who moved to keep a distance between himself and anyone else. He looked at Jeremy and cocked his head.

“Is Tirhas in there?” Jeremy asked the blink dog, and it growled and yelped in reply, bobbing his head up and down.

“Where did you find her?” Ratchis asked and began to trace a map of elven enclave in the snow with an ashen stick from the fire.

Janx cocked his head in the other direction, as Ratchis pointed to the sketch and asked, “This way? Or this way?”

The blink dog stepped back and barked.

“I don’t he is smart enough to understand,” Kazrack whispered to the half-orc, and Janx growled at him.

“Well, he is obviously intelligent,” said Martin.

“Tirhas said he was intelligent and her friend,” Jeremy said. Janx would look at anyone who said the elf’s name.

“Well, that settles it,” Ratchis said. “We are going back tomorrow.”

“Maybe we should go back tonight and catch them unawares,” Kazrack suggested.

“We are in no shape to go back tonight,” Jana said.

“She’s right,” said Ratchis.

The day waned, and soon they were setting watches again.

Kazrack took the first watch. Jana and Jeremy took the second watch.

It was long and silent, and as it was winding down, Jana said, ‘I’ll wake Ratchis.”

“Uh, wait a second,” Jeremy said, touching the young witch’s shoulder. Jana had never heard such a tone in his voice, and did not know how to interpret it. “Listen, I’d talked to Chance a lot, and I wanted to say… uh, I’m sorry for you loss. I haven’t had much of a cha… opportunity to tell you before now. I know you two had something special, and when it comes time to fight this thing that killed him, I want you to know that we’re all right behind you.”

There was a long awkward silence.

“Thank you, “ Jana said softy, and walked off to wake the half-orc..

Ralem, 1st of Dek – 564 H.E.

The next morning the party marched back towards Aze Nuquerna, accompanied once again my Janx, who popped in and out of view all around them anxiously.

“Where are we going?’ Thomas asked Martin telepathically.

“Back to the elven place,” Martin replied.

“Ooh, I don’t want to go back there,” said Thomas with a frightened voice.

“Neither do I,” thought Martin sadly.

“Then why are we going? These people are crazy!”

Martin took the squirrel off his shoulder and gave him a cold stare.

“I’ll shut up now,” the familiar said and leapt back onto the Watch-mage’s shoulder.

They came to the clearing again and marched steadfastly toward the front of the place. Again, they could see an elf standing on the lookout towers, staring straight ahead of him. They were sure another just like him stood in the opposite tower. The double doors at the top of the steps were now closed, not open as the party had left them a day and half before.

“Nephthys, grant this dwarf some shred of your endurance,” prayed Ratchis laying a hand on his dwarven companion.

“Thank you,” Kazrack replied.

“Look some one is coming to the crawlspace behind where the living statue used to be,” Jeremy said.

“Come closer, so that we may speak with you,” an elven voice called. It had an even tone.

“Are you and your kind still ensorcelled?” Kazrack yelled, taking a few steps forward, but not mounting the first step.

“You and your companions attacked us and did us harm nigh a day ago,” the elf behind the opening only slightly wider than a murderhole said. The party could see the movement of his silhouette and a flash of bright yellow hair in the sunlight.

“We ourselves were attacked by your people,” replied the dwarf.

“We were provoked and invaded,” the elf said.

“Dwarves do not attack without provocation, either,” said Kazrack.

“You must have read different history books than I have,” said the elf, and despite the hint of humor in his words, his tone displayed no emotion.

“We wish to speak to Tirhas,” Kazrack said. Ratchis stood to his left, and Jeremy and Jana were behind further to the left. Martin stood wiping sweat from his brow despite the cold wind of the winter’s day, behind all of them to the right, near the reflecting pool.

“She is our guest,” said the elf.

“We have reason to believe she may be hurt… If we could see her if even only for a moment,” Kazrack suggested.

“I’m afraid that would be impossible,” came a deeper voice from behind the curtain of wall. “She is deeply involved in an elven ritual of great importance and cannot be disturbed.”

“Who are you?” Ratchis called.

“I am a guest of these fine elves,” the obviously male human voice said. “Why do you not come closer? Just up to the top of the first steps, so we can hear each other clearly.”

The man had a soft, but masculine voice, reassuring, but haughty at once.

“I think we can hear each other just fine,” called Kazrack. “Unless you’d rather come out and talk to us. We promise not to attack. No tricks.”

The man laughed. “I guess to gain trust one must give it, but still just one of you and at the top of the first step. You have an Academy Alumnus with you. I will meet with him, but the rest of you must stand away. He can trust me.”

“How can we be so sure?” Jeremy called.

“Because, I’m and Academy Alumnus, too. I am called Richard the Red.”

Martin’s jaw dropped to his chest.
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Is the Janx episode from a Side Trek adventure in Dungeon magazine a few years back? I remember running an adventure just like that...white blink dog with elf friend...the blink dog had a disease..etc...

Just Curious.


Moderator Emeritus
Re: Janx?

Kestrel said:

Is the Janx episode from a Side Trek adventure in Dungeon magazine a few years back? I remember running an adventure just like that...white blink dog with elf friend...the blink dog had a disease..etc...

Just Curious.

Janx's Jinx is from Dungeon #58 - just as the adventure in the "haunted" inn is based on an adventure called "Door to Darkness". . .

I use Dungeon Magazine quite a bit - but I adapt the adventures quite a bit as well.
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