"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part Two) - {complete}


Moderator Emeritus
Session #26

“We found out some information about the Circle of the Thorn for you,” Ethiel said. “They can be found in a wood north and west of here called ‘Dybbuk Akvram’.”

“That sound like old dwarvish,” Kazrack said. “It means something like, ‘bruised spirit’.”

“Yes,” Ethiel said. “Men called it ‘the Forest of the Blood Sap’.”

“Well, that sounds warm and welcoming,” Jeremy said, sarcastically.

“Ethiel, I was hoping that on the morrow I might get a chance to examine some the works in your library, and perhaps look at some local maps,” Martin asked politely.

“I am sure we can arrange something,” Ethiel replied. “The way to the Circle of Thorn can probably be found in the trading post called ‘Archet’. It is only a couple of hours march from here, and the hunters there know this area better than anyone.”

There was a long pause, and Ratchis’ eyes wandered over to the basket of food waiting for their celebration of the second night of the Malar Days.

“One last thing, and the we will leave you to rest and discuss your options,” Ethiel said. “While we are happy to extend our hospitality, we must ask that you do not stay here longer than three days. The final witch may become desperate if she can sense that her two sisters have escaped. And while under normal circumstances we doubt she’d try to possess a human, we cannot be too careful. Jana cannot stay here too long.”

“Yes, we understand,” said Martin.

Ethiel and Arion bid them good night and left the room.

“Well, looks like our welcome is going to wear out,” Jeremy said. “Where do we go next?”

“I don’ think any of us planned to stay three days anyway,” Kazrack said.

“Are we ready to have this meal?” Ratchis asked, eagerly.

“I think we still have a lot to talk about,” Beorth said flatly. “And I would not like to interrupt the reverence of the occasion with talk of our troubles. Best we do our talking first.”

“Agreed,” said Ratchis.

“I think we should start at the beginning and go over everything that has happened and that we have learned in a systematic way. I will take some notes,” Beorth suggested. “Let’s start at the beginning.”

“Well, back when I was six years old…” Jeremy looked at the unsmiling faces of his companions. “Never mind, just a joke to break the tension.”

“Well, here are our tasks,” Beorth began, ignoring Jeremy. “Find a dragon, defeat the drow, find an extra-planar gate of some sort…”

“Does that include the stuff about the urn?” Jeremy asked.

“Don’t forget to include the gnomes as well,” Kazrack added. “And the true intentions of the king.”

“How’d that happen?” Jeremy asked, as he grabbed an extra pillow and propped it up against the wall and leaned back comfortably.

“What?” Kazrack asked.

“How’d the list get so long?”

Kazrack looked over at Beorth who was busily jotting down notes about their adventures and goals on separate sheets of parchment.

“I never trust paper for recording important things,” Kazrack said.

“We don’t have time for you to chisel it all down,” Jeremy said, sarcastically.

“I wasn’t think of etching it in stone. Maybe clay, but not stone.” Kazrack gave a rare smile.

“Do we really think King Brevelan really plans to sell the dragon-hunters into slavery?” Martin asked.

“I think he is up to something,” Ratchis grunted. “I trust that man even less than I like him.”

”Oh, don’t forget the amulet and the need to destroy it,” Kazrack said to the paladin.

“Don’t worry, no way for me to forget that,” Beorth said. “The real question is, we have all these tasks, but which is the most important to deal with first and where does each one take place so we can plan a course of action?”

“I’ve actually been visited in my dreams, I guess by Osiris, indicating that my task in return for Jeremy’s life must be done soon,” Kazrack said. (98)

“Interesting,” Martin said.

“Really?” Jeremy said softly, slightly awed by the idea that a god was sending dreams because of him.

“I think in terms of the dragon hunt, we need to find a way to determine one way or another if the dragon is real or an illusion,” Kazrack said.

“Well, if it really landed on the roof of the alderman’s house, it might have left claw marks on the shingles,” Martin suggested.

“Could it have even landed on the roof without collapsing it?” Kazrack asked.

“Well, dragons are magical so that could explain it,” Martin mused. “But also we don’t really know how large it really is. The various accounts of its appearance have varied in size, shape and coloration.”

“Have the elves reported seeing the dragon?” Beorth asked.

“No, they have not seen it,” Ratchis said.

“Speculations at this point are not helping. We should try to get a detailed story from someone who has seen the dragon and who we think we can trust to have observed it well, and go from there,” Jana said.

“Well, could Rindalith change into different forms?” Kazrack asked Jana. “Could it have been him I saw fly across the moon?” (99)

“He could never change his form at all that I knew of in the time I knew him,” said Jana. “So, I don’t know.”

“It is very possible that there are two dragons,” said Beorth. One that is an illusion, and one that is not a dragon, but is being mistaken for a dragon. The house that burned down could have been burned down by a gnome.”

“Yeah, but we also heard it ate sheep,” Jeremy said. “Hmm, maybe we can set a trap for it.”

“You want to buy sheep?” Kazrack asked.

“The logistics of such a plan make it difficult to undertake,” said Ratchis. “We have no way of knowing the dragon or whatever it is would come for our sheep.”

“Well, how did we find out that the dragon might be an illusion? Mozek told us,” Beorth said. “Why would he tell us that if it were true or untrue? What is his relation to the dragon?”

“All we know about him is that he is some kind of demonic creature,” Kazrack looked to Jana. “That is not a lot to go on,, but I do want to say that I think we should go help the gnomes, even if that means ignoring the tasks for Osiris and going to back to the gnomes first.”

“Well, it seems to me that if we tried to confront the gnomes now we’d die,” said Ratchis, speaking the unfettered truth. ‘It seems to me that if Hurgun’s Maze is the key to all this and the source of some great power, that the drow witches might seek it out. We already know there is some connection between the gnomes and the Maze because of that creature we saw there.”

“Well, how do we find this place?” Jeremy asked.

“That is the question,” Beorth said. “From what I have learned people have been searching for it for over a hundred years to no avail.”

“Well, we have no reason to think that the drow witches even know about this place,” Kazrack said.

“Wrong,” said Jana scathingly. Everyone turned to look at her. “Don’t forget we told Tirhas everything we know about Mozek, and the gnomes and the creature and the little about the Maze we knew then. She know a lot more than she did before, and is probably smart enough to start putting things together.”

Jeremy sighed.

The party contemplated their predicament.

“Let’s not forget that we’re in a community with knowledge and legends that date back to the Mountain Wars,” Beorth said. “Perhaps when Martin looks in their library he can look for information on Hurgun’s Maze as well. Now, what else is there to do.”

“There are the quests that we’ve taken to bring Jeremy back to life,” Kazrack said. “There are four of them. I have to make sickle for the Circle of Thorns and Ratchis has to do some task for them.”

“So those are the prices you have to pay,” Beorth said, shaking his head. He seemed disappointed.

“They never asked if I wanted to be brought back,” Jeremy said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “Of course, I’m glad to be back. I supposed that in a different world I might have been not glad.”

“The burden of carrying the dead back to the land of the living is a heavy one,” said Beorth, solemnly.

“So, would you have done it?” Jeremy asked the paladin of Anubis.

“No,” Beorth replied without hesitating.

“Well, thanks for being honest.”

“I think it was a fool’s mistake,” Beorth looked at each of his companions in turn.

“Ok, can we stop talking about this now?” Jeremy said, he leaned his head back against the pillow and closed his eyes.

“Well, this is as good a time as any to mention that I would like to by Summit, if at all possible, and reclaim my spellbook,” Martin said.

“But you have been summoned by the King, and if you do not respond to the summoning there may be difficulties,” Ratchis said.

“I think we have enough time before the meeting time to go to Summit, and I can always send word that the meeting needs to be moved somewhere else or at another time. The message gave me that option. Let’s add this to the list,” Martin replied. “And of course, my task for Osiris, to retrieve the Book of Black Circles from the Brotherhood of the Lost, whoever they are.”

“I think I know who they are,” Beorth said. “I have had visions of their activities. I believe they are related to the schism in the worship of Anubis.”

Beorth turned to Jana, “And what is your task?’

“It’s kind of personal,” said Jana hesitantly. “I have to go an learn to use the pure sources of magic through Isis.”

Both Martin and Beorth smiled broadly.

“So the gods have taken an interest in you personally,” Beorth commented.

“So it would seem,” Jana replied.

“Jana, when the pull on you grows strong, I will take you to Nikar. I know it is far out of our way, but we have all taken an oath,” Ratchis said. “There is a temple of Isis there.”

There was another pause. Ratchis’ stomach growled.

“So there are four groups interested in this area: the humans, the elves, the gnomes and the dwarves,: said Beorth, making a note in his papers.

“You’re forgetting the drow,” Martin said.

“Oh yes, and the drow,” Beorth added. “Now, what do we do first?

“I say we go to Summit,” said Jana.

“Thank you,” said Martin.

“…if only because we know where Summit is, and we don’t know where Archet is, and I really think Martin should get his spellbook.”

There was a knock on the door, and then it opened. The dog Kwa came bounding in, leaping at Ratchis and licking his face. An elf stood at the door, “You canine companion returned, so we brought him to you.”

Ratchis thanked the elf, who then left.

“Please keep him away from Thomas,” said Martin.

The dog ran around the room in a frenzy, sniffing and licking everyone. It then began to sniff at the basket of food. Ratchis pulled him away. “Sit!” the half-orc commanded, pushing down lightly but firmly on the dog’s haunches. It lay down.

“We still have not finished talking about this murder you committed,” said Kazrack, glaring at Jana. “We would not want to forget about that.”

Jana rolled her eyes.

“Perhaps if we can present some evidence that Rindalith is not who he says he is and that you only acted in self-defense,” the dwarf continued.

“Your faith in the judicial system is exemplary, but misplaced,” Jana said, condescendingly.

“Well, to be honest, what I am most interested in is whether you have any regrets for what you did, and if these regrets on a moral level or a pragmatic level,” Kazrack said.

“Yeah, that is the kind of question you’d ask,” Jana replied.

“Maybe what she meant by what she said before was that she was not in control of herself when she killed that person,” Jeremy said.

“I was not possess by any demon, if that is what you’re implying,” Jana said.

“So?” Kazrack asked.

“So, what?” Jana replied.

“You have not answered my question,” the dwarf said.

Jana sighed, “I am not sure you are going to like the answer, but I guess it’s both. On a purely intellectual level I regret that it had to be done, but…”

Kazrack interrupted, “But do you think it was wrong?”

“There is a difference between killing because you have to and killing because you can,” Jana said.

“So did you have to kill him?”

“No, and that’s the problem,” Jana said. “I don’t think there is anyone here who would understand…the rush…”

“I think it is very arrogant of you,” Kazrack said.

“And it is arrgant of you to sit there in judgment of me,” Jana snapped back. “But if you want me to be blunt, I’m upset because I liked it. I liked the killing.”

“Oh,” Martin covered his mouth, but his eyes did not stop staring at the young witch.

“Jana, you have the ability to kill, but you also have the ability to heal. How do you feel when you heal people or help people?” Beorth asked, looking at her imploringly.

“It depends,” the girl answered.

“On who they are?”

“Yes, I guess,” Jana replied. She looked over her companions’ faces. “Listen. I just have to ask that if it comes down to Rindalith confronting us that you take no action and let me deal with it.”

“But you have made it sound like he may try to kill you,” Kazrack said.

“He may, but nevertheless, I do not want you involved or risking yourselves,” Jana said.

“I cannot agree to that,” said Ratchis.

“It’s okay, we’ll just make a secret pact to protect Jana, and talk about something, and she won’t have to know,” Jeremy said.

“Well, it is too late for that now!” Jana said.

“Ok, I take it back. There won’t be any secret pact,” Jeremy said, but then he winked at Kazrack.

“You know, I still understand the lot of you,” Jana said exasperated.

“Well, I don’t understand you either. We’re a mystery to each other,” Kazrack said.

Again, silence for a time - Kwa’s tail began to thump against Ratchis as it wagged its tail.

“I think we should have the meal now,” Ratchis said. “And honor Malar and thank Nephthys. We can talk more later, but I think we can use a respite from our troubles.”

Ratchis began to pass out the fish and greens the inn-keeper had prepared for their meal, he then filled the goblet he had purchased with wine and held it up.

“Now we shall share of this wine,” Ratchis said. “We shall each take a sip and then pass the goblet, until there is but one sip left and that will be left in honor of Malar.”

They ate in silence, allowing the aching of the day’s journey to settle into their fatigued bodies.

“And now, traditionally someone would tell the part of the story of St. Malar of the Nine Days that corresponds with this day of the holiday,” Ratchis said. “As I think I am the only one here that know it, I will tell it.”

And so he did. (100)

Afterwards, Kazrack asked, “Was Malar the first priest of Nephthys?”

“Yes,” Ratchis replied.

“Did Malar use a spear because it is the weapon of Nephthys?” he asked.


“An old man in my village once said that Nephthys is the goddess of freedom because she was once married to Set and had to free herself from him,” Martin said.

“Yes,” Ratchis said. “She disobeyed her husband, and aided Isis in recovering the pieces of Osiris’ body that Set had scattered about the world during The Time Before (101). It is because of Nephthys that I had the strength to free myself from own bondage.”

“I’ve never heard that before, about your past. It must be a horrible thing to be a slave,” said Martin with sympathy.

“Yes, and there are still many in the world who are slaves to others,” Ratchis said.

“You know one can be a slave to the past as well,” said Kazrack, looking at Jana. “And by admitting our sins and errors we can free ourselves.”

Jana sighed. “Are you still going to go on and on about this?”

And they did, arguing semantic way into the night until Jana had carefully crafted her expression of regret in a way that satisfied the dwarf, without requiring her to explain too much,

By the time they were done, Martin was rubbing his throbbing temples, and Jeremy was gently snoring as Kwa licked grease from the Neergaardian’s fingers.

They made their way to their cells, and called it a night.

Teflem, 6th of Dek – 564 H.E.

The next morning they had a breakfast of some kind of thick soup made of red fruit with petals of white flowers floating on top, and buttery biscuits that melted in their mouths. Kazrack made faces the whole time he ate.

The were joined by several elves, among them Arion and Ethiel.

Martin and Ethiel politely discussed spells, while Jana and Ratchis spoke with Ethiel about the route to Archet.

“Do you know of Hurgun’s Maze?” Beorth suddenly asked.

The elves all stopped talking.

Arion spoke first. “That would have been when I was just learning to walk,” he said dreamily, as if he had a clear picture of the memory in his mind. His voice was mellifluous, and the candles on the table seemed to burn brighter. “When it was closed.”

“You mean during the Mountain Wars?” Martin asked.

“Yes… It is a dire place, and it is now sealed. None may enter or leave,” Arion said, ominously.

“We have reason to believe it is open again,” said Ratchis, a flower petal flapping from where it was stuck between his front teeth. He picked it out.

“The gnomes we told you of found a creature they said may have come from there. I have seen it, and it does not come from any place in this world,” Martin explained.

Arion took a deep breath, and began a tale, “During the Mountain Wars, the elves, dwarves and gnomes who joined together to fend off the invasion sent a group of emissaries with a personal guard and a small troop of dwarven soldiers to Hurgun’s Maze. They begged him to intervene on their side, and to help stem the constant flux of humans that seemed to be arriving on the shores daily and making their way into the mountains. Hurgun would not listen. He closed the gates and sealed the Maze. But then tragedy struck, spies of the crown of Herman Land had learned of the Maze, and they too came to entreat Hurgun to help them, and to stop the emissaries. Now the small troop begged to be allowed in the Maze for shelter, for they were vastly outnumbered by the arriving human army. But Hurgun had sealed the Maze. He would not listen. They fought bravely, but they were slaughtered, some say outnumbered 10 to 1. However the details of this battle are hazy at best, for all we know of it has been learned since through scrying. The human army never returned either and the entrance to the Maze disappeared, apparently forever. Until now.”

“Do you know where Maze might be found?” Beorth asked.

“Hurgun’s Maze is not in Derome-Delem,” Arion replied.

The tall elf surveyed the puzzled looks on everyone’s face.

“How do you mean?” Martin the Green finally asked.

“Hurgun’s Maze is some kind of planar focal point. It does not wholly exist in this world, or in any other, but in several at once,” Arion tried to explain.

“So, are you saying there could be more than one entrance?” Martin asked.

“Yes, very likely that there are at least ways in through the elemental planes,” Arion said.

“Well, I do not think we are going to have access to such places any time soon, so we need to discover some other option,” Martin replied. “Perhaps my time in the library today will shed some light on the matter.”

After breakfast, it was decided that Kazrack, Ratchis and Beorth would take the stairway to the Honeycombe on the lowest level (as they had done before) and retrieve the gold and gems they had seen piled on that stone at the bottom of the stair (102).

Ethiel led them down to the stairway, speaking the word that opened the door. He stationed two elves to await them at the entrance, while he brought Martin to the library. It was reached by means of another of the arched passageways off of the chamber full of garbage.

Martin gasped as he walked in. The only place he had ever seen so many books was at the Academy of Wizardry library, and there most books were off limits. Here everything was wonderfully open and within reach. Books, scrolls and maps were piled on tables and shoved on shelves in no order that he could tell off hand. Everything was covered in elven script. Martin reached out to grab a book.

“No, not those,” Ethiel said. “Unless you can read our script.”

“No, I cannot,” Martin said, disappointed.

”Here are the books in common,” Ethiel said, leading Martin to the rear of the chamber. There was a small bookcase with less than a dozen books. Near it was a table full of maps. Martin’s mouth went dry with anticipation.

“I will return for you later,” Ethiel said.


As Beorth, Kazrack, and Ratchis retrieved the treasure without incident (smashing the altar-like stone by shoving it off the tall stone platform), Jeremy was running about the complex practicing handstands against the walls and sneaking around practicing not being seen or heard. Several times elves would walk by and ignore him and he wondered if they had seen him and just thought him crazy, or if he was really improving his skills of stealth.

Jana spent the day sleeping and lazing around, taking the opportunity to rest.


Beorth, Ratchis and Kazrack emerged from the caverns beneath Aze-Nuquerna carrying sacks of coins, obleks, gems and other items of precious metal. Of course, Kazrack carried less than his two companions, as his arm was still splinted and in a sling. Ethiel was there with the elves he had stationed to wait for them.

He looked through what they had brought up.

“We will simply take the gold pieces and call it even,” Ethiel said.

Kazrack frowned. Beorth frowned at the dwarf’s frowning.

“Oh, you wanted some of this?” Kazrack asked, trying to sound polite, but failing.

Ethiel cocked an eyebrow, as if to say, “Typical greedy dwarf.”

“We will count it out and try to appraise some of this stuff and then give you a share we think is fair,” said Ratchis, trying to hide his annoyance.

“That will be fine,” said Ethiel.

Beorth asked Ethiel to bring him to the library as well so that he could help Martin with his research. Ethiel agreed to do so.

In the library, Beorth found Martin painstakingly making a map of the surrounding area from several other maps and trying to trace elven letters where things were not labeled in common. On the table beside him he had a stack of books in common he hoped to look through, but he passed them to Beorth to do as he continued his cartography. He also hoped to make a map of the entirety of Derome-Delem as well.

Among the books in common was a book on herblore, the journal of a Librarian of Thoth who journeyed in Derome-Delem about 60 years after the Mountain Wars, a ledger that had mostly been used by a general from the Black Islands during that war to keep track of elven, dwarven, gnomish and halfling prisoners. There was also a three volume set in stilted language covering “the entirety of human life and culture”, written by an elf, and finally a travelogue written by some unknown traveler about his journeys in the Freetowns of Derome-Delem’s eastern shore about thirty years before current time.

Beorth looked through the books until dinner time, and then had to pull Martin away from the maps to join the others for the meal. They met up with Jeremy in the hall to the dining room, and walked with him to join the others.

“So Beorth, what have you learned thus far from the books?” Martin asked, as they saw Jana, Ratchis and Kazrack awaiting them.

“I’ve discovered a possible route to Hurgun’s Maze,” Beorth said, addressing the others as well as he sat.

“How do we get there?” Jeremy asked.

“It starts at a place called The Pit of Bones,” Beorth said, quietly.

“Oh, yes I found that on one of the maps I was copying,” Martin commented.

“It seems that there was some kind of compound or fortress there at one time and in a map room of some kind was the location of the Maze,” Beorth said. “But now the place is less than a ruin. It is a crater full of the buried, but unconsecrated dead. At least, I hope it is unconsecrated.”

“Why do you hope it is unconsecrated?” asked Kazrack.

“I was there,” Beorth said, sadly. “I helped to move remains out, as the monks looked for the map.”

“So do they know where it is?” Jeremy asked. “I mean the map.”

“I’m afraid my order knows exactly where it is,” replied Beorth.

“Are you afraid because you don’t think they’ll give it to us?” Kazrack asked.

“Or are you afraid because you think they will?” Ratchis added.

“I am afraid because there seems to be a schism in the brotherhood, and a fear that one is moving away from the will of Anubis,” Beorth replied. “And yet, I must obey…”

His words trailed off.

“Yes, a man cannot serve two masters,” Kazrack said.

“My true master is Anubis. I must decide whether the monks at the Pit of Bones is acting in the true interest of Anubis, and then my course will be clear,” Beorth said.

“The Pit of Bones was the site of a great battle,” Ethiel said. “It happened right around the same time Hurgun closed his maze.”

“Well, I guess we know where we are going after we are done with the Circle of the Thorn,” said Kazrack. “Unless Jana or Martin’s quests interrupt.”

“We should leave tomorrow,” Ratchis said.

“Ethiel, that being the case would you mind terribly if I continued with my work in the library after dinner?” Martin asked the elf.

“Of course not,” Ethiel replied.

“We should leave the Urn of Osiris here,” said Jana. “We would not want anything to happen to it.”

“We will happily guard over it for you,” said Ethiel.

The others agreed.

“Perhaps we cab skip Archet and go straight to Dybbuk Akvram,” Kazrack suggested.

“No, we should go to Archet and ask around about the druids there so we know what to expect,” Ratchis said. “They might shoot intruders on sight or something.”

“But we should stop in Summit first to get the things we left behind,” Martin interjected, sounding more like a question than a statement.

And so it was agreed.

Ratchis told the tale of the third night of Malar flight from the Minions of Set, and everyone retired soon afterward – Except for Martin who sleepily finished copying his maps way into the night, and was wakened the next day slumped over the table in the library, a corner of the map he worked on smudged by his drool.

Anulem, 7th of Dek – 564 H.E.

The next morning found the party marching northward through the woods, well west of Ogre’s Bluff. They marched through some deep snow drifts as Ratchis walked upon its surface as if it were packed sand with the help of Uller’s Boots. Birds twittered in the distance, and sunlight danced in trios of icicles hanging in bunches on tree boughs. Kwa leapt around in the snow happily barking at each party member in turn. Several times Ratchis stopped to firmly hold the dog’s snout close and say “No!” He was soon walking more calmly, at least most of the time. Thomas eyed the dog nervously from his occasional perch on Martin’s shoulder.

Just after their mid-day stop to munch on some rations they came to broad clearing. They could not see the other side, and to the east and west the tree line could barely be seen. Ratchis began to lead the way across.

“This isn’t on any of the maps,” Martin commented to whomever might want to listen.

As they made across the clearing they could see up head the ruin of some large building or several smaller buildings. Even from their distance they could see the crumbled walls scarred with black ash, and the black of the roof shining in the sun against the backdrop of snow.

Behind them there was the sound of birds suddenly bursting from the tree line, and cawing loudly. Beorth turned and pointed. The others glanced seeing the flock of black birds move to the east at a fast pace right above the trees.

Kazrack continued to walk without looking, concentrating on getting his short muscular legs above the snow as much as possible.

There was the sound of something moving in the trees. It was a cracking and rustling that could be seen to make the trees sway from the quarter mile they stood from the forest edge.

“I think we better run,” said Beorth.

Ratchis looked again, and Jeremy cocked a head over his shoulder as a humongous form burst out of the trees. It flew about twenty feet off the ground. It was hard to see what it was exactly at the distance, but it had four legs, a tail curled over its body and long bat-like wings of over twenty-five feet in length.

“Run!” Ratchis roared, but everyone had already started.



(98) Kazrack dreamt that he was forging an item in a clearing in a dark forest at night, and the perimeter of the clearing was alive with eerie glowing eyes that watched hungrily.

(99) See Session #19

(100) I wanted to re-print the story of St. Malar of the Nine Days (which was printed in Thoth’s Libram), but the disks the document is on is corrupt. I still have a hard copy somewhere. If people want I will scan and convert it and make it available on my site.

(101) The Time Before is the name for the period of time before the First Age, when it is said the gods lived among men and were a lot more involved in their affairs.

(102) See Session #23

log in or register to remove this ad


Moderator Emeritus

Here are the maps Martin "made". . .


Map of the Major Area of Gothanius + more



First Post
Great story hour, I'm glad I finally had the time to catch up.

Didn't Boerth swear not to tell anyone about the Pit of Bones, only to tell the whole group about it?

Forgot to add:
I find it interesting that the Dragon/whateveritmaybe killed the guard's father in the same way that Chance was killed. It could be coincidence, but I have had the naggling feeling that the Dragon and the Gnome usurper were one and the same.
Last edited:


First Post
Beorth did NOT swear to keep the knowledge of the location secret. Hamfast asked him to make a vow but it was never made.

The only vow that Beorth made was to return at some point and establish a monastery.


Moderator Emeritus
Um. . .

"I swear in Anubis' name that I will tell no one of the location of this site. If the powerful magics that you speak of are located here then many would come to disturb the sanctity of this grave site. I would that these spirits find the rest that they have needed for all this time. A caretaker for these souls is exactly what the Pit of Bones needs. In the future this place will be a place of peace and I will make it so. I swear this to you and to our Father Anubis."

That was in Beorth's own words taken from the document you yourself sent me Sinuhe. . . and from the email exchanges as well. . . Sorry, but he did promise. . .

On the other hand, the party found out the location from the map, not from Beorth. :D


Phorck said:
Forgot to add:
I find it interesting that the Dragon/whateveritmaybe killed the guard's father in the same way that Chance was killed. It could be coincidence, but I have had the naggling feeling that the Dragon and the Gnome usurper were one and the same.

I had the same sneaky suspiction, but with a Rat Bastard DM as Nemmerle nobody can know...


First Post
sorry, Nemm.

I doublechecked.... and like always you are correct..... I didn't read far enough to find it.... though I thought I tried to sidestep that oath.

*bows graciously*

That should suffice as an apologia.


First Post
Well it appears that our party may get to see this "dragon" first hand.

Wow they have a lot to accomplish. No wonder they needed time to talk through all the quests and unfinished business. I'm interested, Nemm, how do you keep track of it? Do you have a flowchart or just really good notes?


Moderator Emeritus
Well, I make an outline of each session ahead of time with major points and actions I want NPCs to undertake or set events tha twill occur. I use this in conjunction with a calender on which I keep careful track of *when* events occur.

I also have a notebook full of notes on a variety of things - including a "master list" of plot point, npcs and their goals. Along with an associated list of NPCs and things that concern them more directly.

Still wrapping my head around it...

That was a great session!

It started off with the recitation of the rather long to do list (great to have it summarized for us), diverged into the continuing and very well-played disagreements over Jana's past, then ended with the cliffhanger of the party in full flight from something nasty that, err, flies faster!


Moderator Emeritus
I am diligently working on the next installment and hope to have it by sometime tomorrow. . .

This next installment will be a special treat as it will include for the first time *SOUND EFFECTS*!

In the meantime, what shall we do?

We've done favorite characters - what about favorite encounters?


Favorite encounters.....hmmm.....probably the Silverback subplot (never resolved :) ) and Jeremy's unexpected "encounter" with Richard the Red at the trading post.



First Post
As encounters go, I’ll have to stick with the one where the group meets Richard the Red deep inside the Elven stronghold. I love his question/answer session with the PCs. That was handled expertly by both the DM and the players.


Moderator Emeritus
Session #26 (part II)

The party ran as fast as they could, their boots crunching loudly on the frost-covered snow that sparkled up at them in the mid-day sun. Soon, Beorth and Kazrack began to fall behind, so Ratchis adjusted his speed to match them. Kwa leapt about them barking happily, not realizing the great danger they were all fleeing from.

“Let’s try to get to the house!” Kazrack called to the others. “Keep running! Don’t look back!”

The ruin bobbed up and down in their field of vision, getting ever closer, but spying over his shoulder Ratchis saw the winged form was approaching with greater speed.

“If it gets too close be ready with missile weapons,” Ratchis cried out, he fumbled for his heavy crossbow on his back while he ran.

And on they ran. Jana made it to the embankment first and pumped her legs with all her might to get up to the shelter of the ruined walls. Martin was right behind her, but Jeremy’s wind gave out and he began to slow, allowing Beorth, Kazrack and Ratchis to catch up.

Ratchis stole another look, as he was not working as hard to keep up his speed as the others were. He could see the huge form more clearly now. It had a huge leonine body covered in a bronze and black fur, long bat-like black leathery wings. It had a large human face with a black beard streaked with rust, but a mouth full of jagged teeth. Above its body, its tail was full of long spines.

“It’s not a dragon,” Ratchis cried. “I think it’s a manticore!”

“A what?” cried Kazrack.

Jana made her way to what looked like it had once been an outer building and turned, and watched as the monster flew in lower, now only eighty feet behind her companions. She pulled out her crossbow and began to load it.

“Try and find a spot with some roof left,” Kazrack suggested, as he finally got to the embankment, running even with Jeremy who scrambled up. Martin also began to load his crossbow. He stood separated from Jana by sharp rubble on the ground, his back to a crumbling wall. Kazrack stopped at the top of the embankment, while Beorth ran past and stood beside Martin. Ratchis climbed to the right, and placed his back to the wall of the outer building Jana took some cover by. Jeremy hustled to the corner of the outer building and turned. Kwa stood beside Ratchis, barking nervously at the manticore.

Ratchis leaned over to Kazrack and laying a hand on the dwarf’s shoulder said, “Nephthys, please lend your divine strength to this dwarf so that he may aid me in the fight for freedom.” Meanwhile, Kazrack was petitioning Rivkinal (107) to lend him her protection against evil, but casting spells with his broken arm was difficult and the pain broke his concentration (108).

Beorth called to Anubis to infuse his sword with divine energy to better defend himself against the approaching monstrousity.

Martin stepped back in a space between two crumbling walls, the area behind him littered with wooden beams and shingles, and fired his crossbow at the thing, but the bolt went wide of it.

“Are manticores evil?” Kazrack asked.

“From what I’ve heard, I think so,” replied Ratchis.

“They eat people,” Martin called out.

”So do bears,” replied Kazrack.

Martin groaned, as Jeremy prepared his own crossbow.

The manticore slowed its progress and gained some height, its tail whipping around wildly. The cold air swirled around him and his wings buffeted a strange sulfur smell from its hide. It’s eyes were bright red circled with black.

“Watch-mage!” It cried in a deep and inhuman voice that seemed to reverberate in their heads. “Give yourself up and the others may live.”

In reply, Jana let a crossbow bolt fly, but as it struck the creature it seemed to disintegrate into a puff of acrid smoke with no effect.

“But, I don’t want to give myself up,” Martin said softly.

“Martin, get cover!” Kazrack said, and moved back to shield his wizard companion while successfully calling his gods’ blessing on his light flail (which he was force to use in his off-hand).

“Nephthys, Bless my weapon that I may affect this foul beast that has been sent from the deepest pits of hell!” Ratchis called out, channeling his goddess’ power into his hammer.

“You have three seconds to comply,” the manticore intoned. It snapped its wings and gained a bit more height and came forward some more.

“Help!” cried Martin and dashed behind the partially roofed ruin of the small outer building for cover.

Jeremy fired his cross bow at the thing, but the shot was too low to strike the thing.

Jana made ready to run if it got closer, but instead it turned slightly to the right and its tail whipped in their direction.

“My patience is done with,” it said, and as it whipped it tail six long spikes like thick metallic insect hairs came down in a flurry.

One of the spikes went flying at Kwa, but the dog leapt towards Ratchis and the thing embedded itself in the wall behind the dog instead. Ratchis ducked, and hear the crack of stone as one of the spikes struck behind him. Kazrack was not as lucky, moving out of the reach of one, just to have another puncture his chain shirt at the shoulder painfully, sending blood to pour down his left arm. Beorth leapt awkwardly to avoid the things, but only managed to insure that he was hit by two, one in the hip and one in the thigh. The paladin could feel his leg going numb, but was immediately moving feeling it begin to throb again as he join Martin under the cover the partially collapsed roof.

“Get cover! It is going to pepper us from a distance!” Kazrack cried, with a curse. “Foul creature!”

Beorth lay his hands upon his injured leg and said solemnly, “Father Anubis, lend me you aid,” and he felt the healing warmth move through him.

Ratchis ran around the corner of the crumbling wall and lay a hand on Kazrack calling for Nephthys to cure him, while Kwa ran leaping over the rubble deeper into the ruin of what they could now see was once a fine and large house at one time. Kazrack slammed into Ratchis trying to push him by force under cover, but the hulking half-orc did not budge.

Jeremy stepped away from the wall he was near and fired his crossbow again. This time there was the slightest spurt of ichor from the thing as the bolt disappeared into a puff of smoke.

The thing began to fly past them from above and to the right.

“Your life and death mean nothing to me, but your suffering, that will bring me pleasure,” it said in its inhuman voice.

As it swooped over them, its tail moving to fling spikes down and into the sheltered area, Martin stepped forward and cast a spray of swirling colors at it, but it had not effect. Jana followed suit with her word of blindness, but she found her spell blocked before it even touched the thing. (109)

“Nephthys, hide us!” Ratchis cried out and brought down an obscuring mist that blocked their view of the entire area, including the monster.

They heard the distinct snap of the manticore’s leathery wings as it pulled away. The party all waited in breathless silence for a moment, listening, and keeping their weapons at the ready.

After a minute, they relaxed a bit. Jeremy began to make his way towards the others by following the wall and the sound of their whispering voices.

“I don’t have a ranged weapon, so the only way I can fight this thing is if is comes down,” said Kazrack, frustrated.

“Martin,” Beorth whispered into the mist. “Why does this thing want with you?”

“Don’t ask me!” Martin said, his voice filled with fear. “I’ve never seen it before.”

Kwa began to whine as he sniffed and made his way to Ratchis, who patted his head and cooed to calm the dog.

“Martin, perhaps if you summon strong winds you can knock it to the ground where we can all attack it,” suggested Kazrack.

“I cannot do that,” said Martin, annoyed.

“Oh,” replied the dwarf and went back to thinking.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Jeremy asked, coming around the wall and feeling ahead of him for which what to go.

“Get under here!” called Kazrack.

“Under where?” Jeremy said.

“Come towards my voice,” Kazrack said. “We have a roof over our head.”

“Did you do this?” Jeremy asked the dwarf, motioning to the mist that obscured the very motioning he made.

“Make what?” asked Kazrack.

“All this,” Jeremy repeated his gesture.

“I made it,” Ratchis said, flatly.

Jana passed her loaded crossbow to Beorth.

Again, they listened. The mist swirled in patterns of gray dispersing slowly in the occasional whispers of wind.

And they waited and waited, and finally a few minutes that seemed like an eternity later the mist dissipated.

They all looked around frantically for signs of the monster.

“Martin,” Kazrack hissed. “See if Thomas can smell it coming.”

“Thomas, can you smell it?” Martin asked his familiar.

“No,” Thomas chittered. “The wind isn’t right.”

Suddenly, there was the snap of leathery wings as the thing came swooping down towards them from the left, between the crumbling outer wall of the house, and the partially collapsed outer building most of the party was trying to hide in. It was coming in about twelve feet off the ground, and Ratchis roared and charged it, leaping up to strike it heavily with his hammer. He felt the impact vibrate down his arm, and knew such a blow would have crush the skull of any man or beast, but the manticore did not even grunt, even though black blood seeped from the wound.

Jana stepped clear of the wall and cast her blindness spell again, but again it could not penetrate the thing’s resistance to magic.

Kazrack stepped forward, readying himself if the manticore came close enough to strike at, but instead it gained altitude as it passed them. Martin and Beorth both fired at it, but their bolts went wide.

Ratchis dropped his hammer, and ran towards the fleeing monstrous form while pulling out his already loaded heavy crossbow. He let a bolt go, which embedded itself deeply into the thing’s rear haunch before it vaporized. This time the manticore actually roared in pain.

Again, Jana frantically tried to blind the creature, but she just was not able to make her spells affect it. Martin hurriedly reloaded his crossbow, but was so anxious to lift it and fire he ended it up tossing it away from himself. The bolt ricocheted off some rubble. Beorth also reloaded and fired, but his lack of hand-eye coordination made him miss once again.

They could tell now that the manticore was not that deft a flier. It flew away and banked in a wide turn to come back around.

Ratchis continued to run, mimicking its wide circle around the right side of the ruin, while Martin carefully stepped through the sharp rubble to retrieve his crossbow. Jeremy hustled into the ruin itself, past a partially collapsed stair that stood beneath the open sky and towards a pair of double doors that seem to lead to the still covered entry hall.

“Ratchis!” Kazrack called running to the left of the ruin, figuring the manticore would come back around from that side. “I have an idea, and I need your help!”

“What is it?” Ratchis called, pausing in his pursuit to reload his heavy crossbow.

“”It’s circling around!” Jeremy warned from his new vantage point, through the broken double doors and at what had once been the front of this house.

“We can use my grappling hook,” Kazrack said.

“Well, get it out!” Ratchis said, continuing his run, which took him away from the rest of the group.

Kazrack scrambled to get his grappling hook and rope from his nearby pack, while Jeremy reloaded his crossbow as well.

“I think there is shelter over near Jeremy,” Kazrack called to Jana, Martin and Beorth.

“Should we follow?” Martin called.

“Yes!” and with that he began to make his way past the crumbling wall. “It is pretty close. I don’t know if we’ll make it.”

Martin and Jana began to hustle around the crumbling wall and through the ruin the direction of the doorway into the entry hall where Jeremy stood.

The manticore swooped back to the left of the ruin, and looked down at Jeremy, who felt a sudden elation, as if the boundaries of human possibility had fallen away. He nearly swooned, but shook his head clear of the euphoric feeling.

Ratchis finally made his way around the far side of the ruin, bringing the low-flying manticore directly into his sight. He brought the weapon up to his eye and fired, but the bolt plummeted into the snow way short of its flying target. He dropped his crossbow in disgust.

Meanwhile, Kazrack moved to intercept the manticore’s course, and readied his flail in case it passed low enough for him to strike.

Martin’s progress toward the shelter of the entry hall, however, was delayed by his stepping on a huge rusty nail that impaled itself in his foot. Jana followed close behind, but managed to avoid the sharp shards of the former house all over the place.

Jeremy took his shot and cried out in joy as he saw his bolt actually do some damage before it burst into smoke. Kazrack was also in range now and he swung his flail down on its side with his weaker off-hand. The blow did not have the weight needed to slow the thing down in the slightest.

The manticore flew past them and retaliated with a barrage of spikes. One struck Jeremy soundly in the side, while three impaled Kazrack. He swayed, but kept his feet, his clothes and armor awash in dwarven blood.

Beorth came around the wall and fired Jana’s crossbow again, and again he missed.

Ratchis continued his run after the monster, while Martin finally made it under the cover of the entry hall. Jana passed by the watch-mage and fired a ray of sickly green light at the manticore through the open doorway. The ray struck the thing squarely, but her spells did not seem powerful enough to affect it. Kazrack caught up to the slow flying manticore and swung again, but the blow missed completely as it picked up speed again.

The monster looked back at the dwarf and suddenly he felt a great elation, as if he were ten feet tall and as strong as an ogre, but he shook off the drug-like feeling.

Beorth, however, finally was able to make a bolt find its target, and cause some black steaming ichor to come hissing from the manticore.

Pulling a bit of wool from his cloak, Martin spoke an arcane word as he looked out the door. In the air before him hovered an illusory Richard the Red.

“Halt your attacks creature! I am Richard the Red, Watch-Mage!” the false Richard called to the monster. “I am the one you seek!”

“Let’s regroup under the roof!” Kazrack called, as he dropped his flail and turned to chuck a dagger at the manticore. It missed its mark.

Again, Jana tried and failed to blind it, as Jeremy came running out to the front of the house as Ratchis passed.

The manticore turned widely again, and flicked its tail sending painful spikes at Ratchis, Beorth and Kazrack. The half-orc cried out as one pierced his forearm clear through. Kazrack grunted as two bit him as well. Beorth grimaced through his own pain and fired the crossbow once again, but his aim was not true.

Roaring with frustration, Jana pointed her finger at the thing again, sending another ray of green light at it, but it had turned and gained height. She missed. Jeremy adjusted his crossbow’s aim upward and saw the bolt hit the mark, but fizzle away before doing any damage.

“Curses!” he cried.

Kazrack picked up his flail, and moved towards the doorway. The manticore turned some more moving parallel with the open doorway, but over the open roof. It looked down at Jeremy, and once again he felt a great elation, and this time he realized that it was okay to feel.

“I am a hero, and an adventurer,” he thought. “I can’t lose. I am the best at everything I try!”

“That’s right creature,” the illusory Richard continued to taunt the monster. “Fly back to your masters lest I banish you to the pits from whence you came!”

“It matters not,” the manticore replied not even looking at the new watch-mage. His voice chilled their bones, except for Jeremy who decided it was a perfect time to climb to the roof of the entry hall to get a better shot as the monster fled from him in terror of his mythic heroism.

End of Session #26


(107) Rivkanal is the dwarven goddess of motherhood and the home. She is Natan-Ahb’s wife.

(108) In Aquerra spell-casters are required to use both hands to perform somatic components. Since he has a broken arm that is still healing, every time Kazrack attempts to cast a spell with a somatic component he must make a concentration check.

(109) DM’s Note: It had spell resistance (18).
Last edited:


An amazing update as always Nemm! I had a few of the more aggressive songs from Conan the Destroyer and the Gladiator soundtrack on while I read it, and I really got into the battle .

You are quite deft at using well-written narrative to clue the reader in on what is actually happening in terms of 3e game mechanics, but I haven't a clue where Jeremy was going with his "elation." It was very cool though, and that fearlessness, whether rule-related or roleplayed was translated by you nicely.



Updated PC stats?

Hey nemm, if its not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could post the party's stats and levels in Rogue's Gallery again. If not that, maybe just let us know what's everyone's current levels and classes.



Moderator Emeritus
Re: Updated PC stats?

Cyronax said:
Hey nemm, if its not too much trouble, I was wondering if you could post the party's stats and levels in Rogue's Gallery again. If not that, maybe just let us know what's everyone's current levels and classes.



The stats that appear here: http://www.enworld.org/messageboards/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4367

Are up to date as far as the story hour goes. . . Some of the party have recently advanced a level - but until the story hour gets that far I do not plan to update them. . .

However, I will happily post the stats for some NPCs if you request them. . . but of course, I cannot post the stats of folks who might still pose a threat to the party.


Moderator Emeritus

That thread was already there so it did not take any time from my writing the next installment (which to be honest I have not even started yet).

I had Tirhas and Janx up on the old boards - but I will gladly put her back up in the next day or two - I'll post here when I do.


Moderator Emeritus
Hey yo!
Check it out. . .

The story hour has now caught up enough in teh actual game so you all can look at or comment on this thread on the AQUERRA boards without fear of spoilers.

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement