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The Log of Patrick Logopolis

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 17

July 24th

I fear for your lives, brethren, for I have had a vision. I hope that it is a sign of things to come, rather than a view of things that have actually taken place. Perhaps I can prevent the events in the vision from occuring. I must return to Ionia! With that goal in mind, I have urged the party to move through this labyrinth quickly.

As I've said before, it is difficult to keep track of time down here, but I am relatively sure that it is the 24th. Today we began the exploration of another wing of the complex. Oghma is a god of three aspects: The head, the heart, and the hands, as represented by academics, music, and physical fitness. The first wing was dedicated to the head. The next wing, the one we started today, was dedicated to the hands, and the last will probably turn out to be dedicated to the heart.

The first room we found was a gymnasium. A pair of mats lay on the floor. Blades and Corwin each stepped on one, and illusionary wrestling partners appeared. Corwin disbelieved, and was released, but Blades, stubborn as ever, insisted on fighting the illusion. He was thrown from the mat and knocked unconscious, but he soon came to.

A bath and sauna were here as well, but the mist inside was cold, and coalesced into a white cloud with three red eyes and tentacles. It attacked me, but Corwin killed it. He has been much more effective lately--that two handed sword is a dangerous weapon.

Next door to the gym was another latrine. A patch of moss (Finis called it "Memory Moss"), apparently stole magic missile from Rinver's memory. The moss attacked us, and we decided to leave it alone. Rinver, interestingly enough, seems to have forgotten everything that happened in the last twenty-four hours, including the fight with the Fruk. On the bright side, he is no longer angry at Suleiman, even though we told him all that had transpired. He is a strange man.

A curious puzzle confronted us at the next door. The door had no iron straps, or hinges, or any metal of any kind. In fact, rust particles lay all around the door. I suggested that there may be one of the adventurer's most feared adversaries--a rust monster--on the other side. We decided to leave that room alone.

Corwin heard murmuring behind another door. As we approached, it sounded as if there were many, many voices behind it. Anticipating a serious fight, I prayed for Prometheus to protect us, and hinder our foes. We charged inside, only to be confronted with a hideous blob of goo, with eyes and mouths floating in its gelatinous mass: a Gibbering Mouther. Blades was terrified, and fled into the hall. Corwin simply stood there, stunned. Finis and I attacked, and it bit me several times, grabbing a hold of me. Finis struck several incredible blows on the beast, quickly killing it. However, Corwin still seemed under the sway of the beasts' confusing voices, and attacked Suleiman in a rage. Suleiman tried valiantly to parry with his little dagger, but to no avail; he took a serious blow. Corwin snapped out of it, and was of course very sorry. We took care of Suleiman's injury, and went to look for Blades.

He was soon found in the gymnasium, wandering around aimlessly. He asked us if we had "defeated the dragon". Playing along, we assured him that we had, and returned to the room it had inhabited. The room was completely bare; the gibbering mouther had eaten everything that had once occupied the room, including a chalkboard.

The hall went around a corner, and led to a room full of doors, various pieces of equipment--looms, cloth, tools, etc.--and a large basalt statue standing guard. It was quickly decided that we should leave the statue and the contents of the room alone, so we checked out another room.

This room was a bar, complete with stools, liquor, and some books on making drinks. One was entitled Bloodstone's Bartending, so we took it back to the gibbering mouther room, and prepared for a fight.

Then it happened. As I cast Arms of Flame on Corwin's sword, I saw an image forming in the fire. I saw my sister--now grown to womanhood, and she seemed angry. Then there was some other woman, and an Amazon, a tree standing on water, and Zek K'tri of the Worker Caste. What does it mean? There was also something about Ares, but I cannot remember it all; it was too brief. Could Aresopolis have betrayed the alliance? The Gods help us if their bloodthirsty troops are on the rampage! Finally, there was a terrible image, that will stay with me for all my days: I saw Demopolis burning! Can it be? I pray not, with all my heart!
Is this a sending from High Priestess Octavia? Or is it from my sister? Can it be from Prometheus Himself? The last possibility is the most exciting, but also the most frightening--the situation must be dire indeed if he is sending visions to me, a lowly Wanderer! I must pray for more insight.

The other members of the Pentachromata must have thought that there was something wrong with me; I must have stood there gazing into the flames for several minutes. I was rattled, but if I want to find out what is going on, I have to get out of here. So, we continued our plan to open the book. Once again, a plate fell out, and this time, a white lizard devil appeared. Finis struck it, and Blades killed it. Now we have the letter B.

Our next discovery was a lounge, with weapons on the walls. Corwin took a very finely crafted two-handed sword from the wall. We found yet another book with an alliterative title: Silent Solace. Blades opened it, and a black devil appeared. After two incredible blows from Blades, the creature dissipated. Strangely, no plate fell out of this book.

Moving on, we found an room used in creating musical instruments. After a thorough search, we found a basalt ring. Having no more rooms left to explore, except for the ones guarded by the statue in the equipment room, we came up with a plan to lure the rust monster to it, using pieces of ferrous metal. It then occurred to Blades that the basalt ring might control the basalt statue! Finis tested the theory, and it proved correct--he could give it simple commands, and it would obey them. We all hid in the gymnasium, and Rinver turned Finis invisible. Then Finis led the statue to the rust monster's room. He ordered the statue to bash through the door, and it did so (quite easily, I might add). The rust monster, covered with plates and with a small beak, ran into the hall. Finis ordered the statue to attack it, and it did--unfortunately, the rust monster decided to flee in the direction of the gymnasium. Alarmed, we clambered up ropes and onto cabinets, in a desperate attempt to remove ourselves (and our iron equipment) from the path of the rust monster. The statue chased the rust monster into the bath, and then killed it. I must say, that was rather clever of us (and brave of Finis), don't you think?

Very little remained in the rust monster's room. Reddish dust was all that remained of a forge and some anvils. We did find a book entitled "Hephaestus' Handbook" on a shelf. Blades found five ingots of mithril in a cabinet! Blades is truly a master armor smith; if he decides to craft a suit of armor from that metal, he will be nearly invulnerable.

Our next destination was, once again, the gibbering mouther room, where we lay the book on the floor, walked outside, and ordered the statue to open the book. The creature leaned over, and then suddenly smashed book with its heavy fist. It turned, and walked toward us. We slammed the door shut, and heard the statue's movement stop. Even after we opened the door again, the statue stood motionless. Finis hypothesized that he had lost control of the statue, and that someone else should give it a try. As Finis handed the ring to Suleiman, the statue attacked. It hit Blades, but stopped when ordered to do so by Suleiman. This time, Suleiman told it to simply pick up the book. The statue grabbed the book by the front cover, and a plate fell on the floor. A red devil appeared, and attacked the statue. The devil and the statue fought for a while, but Blades grew impatient, and rushed to the statue's aid. Blades killed the devil, but the statue turned its attention on Blades, despite Suleiman's orders. Fortunately, Blades easily dispatched the statue as well. Now we have the letter H.

Now that the statue was destroyed, we decided that it was safe to search the room it had originally guarded. We found a book entitled Goblins, Giants and Giant Kin. Following what had become standard procedure, we defeated its blue devil guardian in the gibbering mouther room, gaining the letter G.

Returning to the statue's original room, we searched some closets. I found a secret door in one, leading to a small room with a table, some chairs, and a skeleton. A bottle filled with a foul liquid sat on a shelf, along with a gold goblet and several glasses. There was also a good cloak on the wall, which we took, along with the goblet and glasses.

Having passed another busy day in a productive fashion, we are now retiring again, in the map room. I am not sure that I will be able to sleep; the sight of Demopolis burning is carved into my mind. What can it mean? Who wants me to see such a thing? How can I get home quickly? Will the rest of the Pentachromata help me, or am I on my own? I fear my shoulders are too narrow for the burden that may soon be placed upon them.

July 25th

Finis had a clever suggestion this morning: he said that he could use his stone shape ability to remove the walls around the main doors guarding the Vault of Knowledge, allowing us to simply move the doors out of the way. Blades strongly objected, and we should have listened to him. The idea worked, and with a mighty tug, Corwin pulled the doors down. With a loud crack, the seal on the doors split, and we could see inside. Stepping through, we could see rows and rows of books, and huge scroll tubes. We could also see the three stone golems charging us. One of them breathed a poison gas on us, to which Suleiman and Rinver succumbed. Their movements became sluggish and slow. Another shouted loudly, and the blast struck us painfully. We made a fighting withdrawal, and the golems stopped in the doorway. Corwin took a serious blow, but he is all right now.

The three golems apparently represent the three aspects of Oghma. One is a burly wrestler, another seems scholarly, and the third looks like an enlightened artist or musician. We decided to leave them alone, and gather the rest of the plates.

We entered the third branch of the complex, representing art and music. The first room contained two statues representing the classical archetypes of theater: comedy and tragedy. As we poked around the room, they attacked us. Unfortunately, Suleiman broke his magical dagger on one of them. The "tragedy" statue hit Corwin, and he became sullen and depressed. Fortunately, they were not very tough, and we soundly defeated them.

Suleiman summoned Tanvil again, to help us look around. He reported the smell of fresh water behind a door. We opened it, and found a curious, magical pool. Looking into it apparently showed reflections of ancestors; I recognized some of my own features in the face below the water. Strangely, Corwin's reflection looked not at all human. A nearby plaque names this the "Pool of Ages".

The next room was a dance studio, complete with wooden floor and mirrors, both of which had warped with age. We continued on, into an art gallery, where a mimic disguised itself as a vase, a pedestal, and a painting in an attempt to surprise us. It was quickly killed, and we took a look at several of the books lying around. We found Ionian Inkprints and Knights, Knaves, and Knobs.

Blades opened the first book, revealing a plate with the letter I, and another black devil. Surprisingly, Corwin killed it with a mighty blow from his newly acquired fine-quality sword.

We suspect that we must gain the letters to spell "Oghma the Binder". Therefore, we do not need a K. Nonetheless, we were curious about what might be inside, and Arms of Flame was still in effect on Corwin's blade. So, we opened Knights, Knaves, and Knobs. A glowing sphere appeared and attacked. It struck Blades with a searing beam of light, destroying his ring of strength. Corwin, in another impressive display of his incredible strength, destroyed the glowing sphere.

As we have suffered several wounds in the course of today's excitement, and because Finis and I are nearly out of spells, it is time to rest. I wish that we had not tried to sneak into the Vault of Knowledge; with the seal broken, I am not sure that gathering all the letters will still work. Still, it is worth a try; those golems are far too tough for us to face in direct combat. Perhaps we will finish our task tomorrow.

Still the image of Demopolis burning fills my thoughts. I feel so helpless. I wonder, where does Rinver want us to take him, once we have gotten what he came for? I hope it is not far off. I was interested in exploring Duncan Keep, but it looks as though that will have to wait for another time--or perhaps another man. It seems as though my destiny lies in Ionia, not in Ailech. I hear my home calling to me; I must answer.

July 26th

We now have all the letters necessary to spell "Oghma the Binder". Tonight we rest, eagerly awaiting the morning, when we will (hopefully) reach the library. Today was very productive and interesting.

After tending to our remaining wounds, we renewed our search. We found another living area, with a book entitled The Terrible Tempest. Of course, we opened the book. A red devil appeared, which Blades handily dispatched.

The next room was merely a latrine, but the room after that quite a surprise. Or rather, the person in it was a surprise. A tall, emaciated man, of the race of Githyanki, stood a room full of paintings, finishing a picture of what Suleiman tells me is Limbo. The frightening being greeted us telepathically, telling us that his name was Relmor Zenaroth, and adventurer. Apparently, he took something of value from some friends of his, and is hiding from them. We were quite leery and suspicious of him, so we explored the room beyond. Relmor told us that a living shadow lurked in the room.

As we entered, our rocks of continual light dimmed, and the shadow beast attacked. We seemed unable to harm it, so we retreated through the doorway. Suleiman pulled out the wand of illumination we found so long ago, and said "noon" in elvish, filling the room with a blazing light. The creature hid behind the bed, and we ran inside, grabbed everything that was not bolted to the floor, and ran out, shutting the door behind us. The poor creature lost almost all of his furniture in just a few seconds! We found two books: Hibernian Hymns and Revelations of Ramen-Hotep. We also found what I am calling a jar of wizard armor and a hat of difference.
The books contained the letters H and R, and of course, devils (green and red). That left us with only an O and an E to find. After explaining to Finis exactly what a Githyanki is, we took our leave of Relmor. Finis then used stone shape to block the door using the stone of the wall, in what turned out to be a futile attempt to keep Relmor inside.

Musical Instruments filled the next room. A most curious instrument, with many black and white "keys" caught my eye. It had not weathered the years well, but I tried a key. It worked, much to my surprise. Corwin tried placing his hand on it--and several strings broke. Oh well. Suleiman found a lute that had weathered the years particularly well; perhaps it is magic. A book entitled "Partok's Perfect Performance" lay on a music stand. We don't need a P, so we left it unopened.
Backtracking through the room in which the Golems of the theater were defeated, we entered an auditorium. Suleiman and I walked up on to the stage. It was filled with props, and were about to begin a thorough search when we heard footsteps from behind the stage. The continual light rock was extinguished, and I grabbed Suleiman in an attempt to run from the stage. A ghostly figure stepped onto the stage, and suddenly Blades, Corwin, Rinver, and I were compelled to walk up to the stage and begin reciting lines from some play.

The spirit let us act for a while, and then beckoned Blades towards him. Finis leaped into action, striking the Ghost soundly. Blades shook himself free from the compulsion and began his attack, while Suleiman readied a spell. The rest of us continued playing our roles.

Incredibly, Suleiman's magic missiles shimmered strangely in midair, and knocked the ghost's head right off of its shoulders! Its body searched around on the floor for a while, and Blades continued his attack. Finally, he dispatched the undead, freeing us from our theatrical enslavement.

A passage way behind the stage led down to a costume room, where we found two books: Hamlet (this was apparently the play we had been reciting), Orlem's Ovids, and Poetry of the Trees. Of course, Finis wanted the last book. Suleiman took the first, and Blades tucked Orlem's Ovids to open later. We looked around some more, finding that a trap door on the stage led to a dusty equipment room. Suleiman found a magical scarf, but we are unsure what it does. I found a magical make-up kit; I suspect it allows one to disguise oneself.

While arguing about where to go next, we noticed that Relmor sat out in the "audience", as if watching us perform. He must have escaped the stone barrier Finis placed in front of the door to his "painting room". We politely left and went to investigate the "cold room". Our curiosity had finally gotten the better of us; we had to know what was inside.

A huge, white insect creature was inside! It stood in a circle on the ground of the chamber. As we stood watching our breath, the creature asked us to free it. Blades seemed interested, especially after it promised to do him a favor if he released it. I was suspicious, so I cast detect evil. I was stunned by the incredible evil emanating from the being, and I bid everyone to leave, and quickly! Blades and Corwin were reluctant, but they were finally persuaded.

After defeating the devil in Orlem's Ovids to get the letter O, we began our search for the last book. After a great deal of arguing, we decided that Corwin should go into the "memory moss" room and have a look about. It ended up costing him two days' memories, but he handily dispatched the moss. We were thrilled to find the book Eagle Eyes in the room, near some baths.

Once again, we went to the gibbering mouther room to slay the black devil in, gaining the letter E. In an impressive display, Corwin parried two of the beast's swings, allowing Blades to dispatch it with impunity.

Back in the map room, we had something to eat, and investigated some of the items we had picked up. If you will recall, we found a cloak and a goblet in hidden room, where a skeleton was slumped on a table. The goblet appears to be a goblet of treasure finding; pouring water into it revealed the view of a treasure chest on the ocean floor. Finis drank from it, and got a sense of its direction: South. The cloak is a cloak of protection.

It has been another productive day; we now have all the letters! Tomorrow, when we are fully rested and healed, we will attempt entry to the library. I am so excited; I hope that I can sleep! Soon, I will begin my return home. I will be glad to be out of this dark pit.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 18

July 27th
We are free, and eating a rabbit dinner, expertly prepared by Urym. The air is fresher than I imagined. I hope that the monastery has not caused me to develop claustrophobia!

The day started at the entrance to the library. We were somewhat surprised (but not too much) to find Relmor waiting for us there. We politely told him that he was making us uncomfortable, and he left. That creature makes me so nervous! Perhaps we've seen the last of him.

It was decided that Rinver should do the honors; he stacked the plates, placed them on the podium, and said "Oghma the Binder". Nothing seemed to happen, but Rinver assured us that we were free to enter. We did, and were pleased to find those large golems that had easily pummeled us the other day were standing, unmoving, against a wall.

The room was absolutely filled with books. Two huge scroll tubes, with mechanisms for turning them, sat near a table, at which a skeleton lay slumped over. Apparently, the priest had drunk poison. Three holy symbols lay on the table as well.

Three statues, representing the aspects of Oghma, stood on a dais in the middle of the room. When placed in the statues' hands, the holy symbols caused a shimmering triangle of light to shoot from the wall to the ceiling, briefly forming a beautiful triangular column. The light soon faded. Blades went to find out whether the fog was gone from the stairs.

Rinver has announced that he plans to claim the library as his own, and "set up shop", so to speak. I am not sure that the library is his to claim, but I will leave that up to the remaining priests of Oghma. While Suleiman, Finis, and I did research on various subjects, Corwin followed after Blades.

They came back down a while later, reporting that they had been attacked by giant rats, which they had defeated (but not without a few nasty, disease-causing bites). Strange, lifelike statues, without bases or pedastals, were scattered around the side of the above-ground monastery that we had not explored. They then heard footsteps coming toward them. Suspecting that it might be the medusa, they came back down. That was a wise decision.

After looking around some more, we decided that it was time to leave. Rinver plans to return with another adventuring party, to finish clearing the ruins. We walked up the stairs, with our eyes firmly fixed on the ground. I'd wager that nothing had come up the stairs in a long, long time. As we stepped into the cool, fresh air, we remained on our guard. Corwin kept his huge ears cocked for signs of the medusa, but she did not appear. I cannot blame her; we probably looked like seasoned adventurers.

It did not take us long to reach the hill at which we had promised to meet Urym. He came marching up, playing a stirring piece on his bagpipes. We set up camp a short distance away, and feasted on his excellent roast rabbit. It wasn't nearly enough for Corwin, but I don't think he wanted any more magically created food. It was rather dull, but I'm working on it. Suleiman presented Urym with the magic lute. He seemed interested, but I'm not sure that he knows how to play it.

We've traveled short distance toward Prolingmur this afternoon. It will be nice to sleep outside, under the stars tonight. The trials of life, such as that dank, haunted monastery, truly make one appreciate the comforts that we often take for granted. I will endeavor to pay greater attention to my blessings, from now on.

July 28th
It has been a day of uneventful, plain travel. Urym has cooked and prepared several rabbits for us; with just a little variation in their seasonings, he can dramatically change the taste. He is a skilled cook; if he would join our party, he would not go unappreciated. I believe that Finis has had further discussions with him on this subject.

July 29th
Today I tried to determine who in the party would be willing to travel with me to Ionia. Much to my surprise, the entire party agreed! I was, needless to say, quite delighted. Finis, in particular, was quite eloquent in voicing his support. Friendships like these are priceless. I wonder; would I have such friends if I had stayed in the temple, in Ionia? I do not think I would.

We near Prolingmur, and the signs of habitation grow. A few cattle and fisherman have been seen. Tomorrow, we should reach the town.

July 30th
At last, we have returned to civilization (or at least, something closely resembling it). Never did six dilapidated buildings look so urban. Rinver is jubilant, and is already making plans to hire another party, to get rid of the medusa.

Finis and Urym have decided upon terms of employment. We now have a bard as well!

Unfortunately, our joy was short-lived. While Suleiman and I were trying to find a way to open Nelbar's Spellbook (Suleiman feels that he can now return to using his skills as a thief, without detracting from his wizard training), Relmor appeared. He warned that his former companions were coming. We quickly tried to scatter, hoping that Relmor would be left to fight his foes alone (as we wanted no part of his fight).

Of course, that didn't work. Four Githyanki appeared, assumed that we were Relmor's slaves, and attacked us. While we fought them off, Relmor stood there. One of the Githyanki had a wand, and turned first Finis,and then me into tiny puppy dogs. Finis, however, waddled behind the fighting Githyanki, and (much to our amazement), turned back into himself! I was unable to do anything so dramatically effective, so I moved away from combat.

Suleiman was faced with some kind of martial artist, who gave him a severe beating. Suleiman summoned Tanvil, however, and the odds improved somewhat. Nonetheless, Corwin and Suleiman were knocked unconscious, and things looked bad.

A crowd of MacFinden clansmen gathered around, watching the fight. Somehow, Tanvil managed to kill both the martial artist and another Githyanki, while Blades dispatched the other two. However, Blades, possessed by the combat fury of his magical sword, could not stop, and struck Finis twice before managing to sheath his weapon. Finis quickly tended to some wounds, and then he and Blades turned on Relmor.

Relmor was totally taken by surprise, and was on the defensive. Suleiman, though badly wounded, managed to restore me to normal using the wand. Meanwhile, Blades and Finis had quickly defeated Relmor, with a little help from Connel MacFinden.

We consulted Nelbar's encyclopedia to find out whether Githyanki come after all items left behind, or only their weapons. Apparently, they are only interested in recovering their magical silver weapons. So, we resolved to dump them into a lake or stream, and keep whatever other items seemed interesting. That was a close fight; I am glad that we will not leave it empty-handed.

Plans must be made for our travel to Ionia. Right now, we are planning to travel south, by river, to Galway, and then on to Wicklow, on the cost. From there, we will take a ship to Alcyone, and then to Ionia. Urym warns us that there is a group of overzealous mages in Wicklow that is obsessed with "justice"; we shall have to be careful of them. Justice is good, but blind pursuit of it is dangerous.

Once again, the Pentachromata have come through victorious. Of course, there are still several hours left in the day. You never know what might happen next. I, for one, am eating lunch.
_______________________
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 19

We are now headed to bed, looking up at the stars. Why can we see the stars, if we're in an inn, you ask? Well, we sort of blew the roof up.

After lunch, we attended to our wounds, and then Suleiman and I attempted to open Nelbar's magically warded spell book. Finis and the others went to bury the Githyanki and their items. Suleiman successfully picked the lock, but the magical trap remained. A dispel magic was unsuccessful. So, I opened it. A huge ball of flame erupted as a powerful firetrap went off. The book was undamaged, but the thatch roof quickly caught fire. I told Suleiman to grab the book and run, before the roof collapsed. I managed to cast a create water before the roof collapsed, dowsing the flames. Although the roof was no longer on fire, it collapsed nonetheless, giving me some bumps and scratches. Of course, we compensated the innkeeper for the damage.

Suleiman tried reading the first page, and it exploded in his face, as well. This time, some of the book was damaged. I cast detect magic and carefully folded over two other magically trapped pages in the book. Suleiman now has access to several new spells.

The rest of the party soon returned, wondering what happened to our building. After explaining, the group fell into a discussion about what to do about the mithril we left in the temple of Oghma. I had considered using the candle of invocation to cast flaming pegasus, enabling me to travel there and back in one day. However, this would use thirty precious minutes of the candle, and I would have to travel there alone. Also, we would have to leave Nelbar's encyclopedia behind, in order to put the mithril in the bag of holding. Blades was very eager to get the mithril, but I'm afraid that Finis talked me out of it. Blades is understandably upset.

Tomorrow we make final preparations to leave. I cannot wait to begin traveling again; I have yet to see the sections of Connaught we will be visiting.

July 31st
We began the morning by packing some of our gear. Urym soon returned from a night visiting "friends"; I suspect that he meant "ladies". He looks exhausted.

Rinver came by, and offered us a topaz as payment for our services. It was time to say good-bye, and it was an emotional farewell. I asked if he could hold the mithril for us; he promised that we could have a whole wing of the complex if we wanted. After some hugs and handshakes, Rinver left us.

While Blades spent much of the day trying to fit the magical Githyanki splint mail to Corwin, the rest of us went to visit Torin's grave. Finis attempted to stone-shape the symbol of the Pentachromata into the obelisk Blades had constructed, but it didn't look quite right. At least it was a nice gesture. After a moment of silence and prayer, we returned to Prolingmur.

Blades had succeeded in fitting the armor to Corwin, and I asked him to try to remove the distinctive markings from the set of Githyanki splint mail I was to wear. Unfortunately, the strange metal could not stand the stress, and crumbled. We have another set of Githyanki splint; I suppose I must learn to live with the strange designs.

Meanwhile, Corwin had rounded up a rowboat--ours had been stolen, and the one Corwin found turned out to be our own. We bought our own stolen rowboat back! We spent some time reallocating our magical items, tending to our remaining wounds, and making a few last minute purchases of supplies, and we are going to bed early. Our journey begins early tomorrow.

August 1st
With Urym and Finis in a canoe, Blades in a Kayak, Suleiman, Corwin, and our chest in a rowboat, and me in canoe, we set off down river. Urym has warned that a creature known as Guulg the Devourer lives further south, in a loch. We plan to portage around the loch when the water begins to slow.

Fortunately, we don't seem to be close to him today. Our first day of travel has been quiet, with a cool breeze gently blowing. Large hills and thick woods stand on both sides of the river.

A strange thing happened tonight while we set up camp. When Suleiman approached the fire, it turned blue. We are not exactly sure what causes this, but we suspect it may be related to his problems, which I have alluded to before. I suspect that it is meant to be a reminder, but I am not certain. It is puzzling.

August 2nd
It has been another day of quiet downstream travel. I saw another one of those strange "moose" creatures today. Their incredibly oversized antlers make them look awkward. I wish that you could see the beauty of the landscape!

August 3rd
While paddling downstream today, Blades spotted a dark shape moving towards us through the water. Thinking quickly, he shouted to us to paddle to the right bank. Blades jumped into the water, his magical otter pelt turning him into an otter. It was not a moment too soon, as a huge hand reached up, pulling his entire kayak under the water.

The creature, which was, of course, Guulg, then turned his attention to Finis and Urym, who were frantically trying to reach the shore. The hand reached up, pulling Finis under. The rest of us managed to get to shore. I cast water breathing on myself and Blades, thinking that we would have to enter into combat with the beast. However, Suleiman cast levitate, floating into the air, and Corwin strode, using the ring of water walking, straight toward the spot where the beast held Finis underwater. Blades and I simply watched from the side of the river.

It suddenly seemed that Finis had disappeared; the creature then devoted its attention to Corwin. It turns out that Finis had turned into a frog, and swam away. The creature surged upward, wrapping both hands around Corwin. Incredibly, Corwin stood his ground (water?), continuing to attack Guulg with his sword. He was actually supporting the weight of this monster, by himself!

Suleiman struck it with several magic missiles, and Corwin smote it with mighty blows. It tried to flee, but I managed to hit it with sunscorch before it could get away. Dead, Guulg floated to the surface, and off downstream. It must have been nine feet tall and five feet wide; it looked like some kind of frog-lizard-fish thing.

Needless to say, Urym was impressed, as we all were with Corwen's incredible feat of strength (feet of strength?). Finis cast speak with animals, turned into an otter, and went off downstream to locate Guulg's lair. He came back a while later with a broach from an underwater cave, to which he had been (slowly) directed by a turtle. A careful search of the cave uncovered some bronze pieces and a magical spear. Upon leaving the water, the tip of the spear burst into flames. Urym was quite excited, telling us that it was a hero's spear, a weapon quite effective against the undead. Apparently, such weapons are very valuable--kings even fight over them! We must guard it carefully. After finishing our search of the cave, we returned to the river, with Blades traveling as an otter, now that his kayak lies crushed on the river bottom.

Not long ago, while encamped near the river bank, Suleiman warned us of approaching footsteps. An older man's voice called out, asking who we were. We responded, asking the same. A man calling himself Amylawd the Seer approached our camp, saying that he was out getting water, when he saw our fire. He lives nearby, so he invited us to stay with him.

We concealed our boats, and followed him to his small, sturdy cottage. On the way, he said that we have the "mark of destiny" on us; he predicts that we will accomplish great things of importance. I hope so!

Once in the cottage, he shared his soup with us, and we shared some of our stories. He offered to tell our fortunes. Blades stepped up first, throwing a handful of stones. Amylawd interprets them based on the way they land. Of Blades, he said "Attainment of one hope leads to discovery of those around you". I decided to give it a try, hoping that Prometheus would reveal something through the stones. Strangely, several of the stones began spinning on their edge. Eventually, they settled down, but it still took quite a while for Amylawd to read. They said "Forces move through you that are vast and powerful; you are an agent that must follow your own mind. You will face a danger of many faces in the near future that will help you accomplish your goal." Of Finis the stones say "Mysteries of the past must be faced to understand the puzzles of the future." Of Corwin: "The future is uncertain, but an enemy defeated may still be a friend". Finally, Suleiman cast the stones, revealing that "From shadows fled to shadows returned, the road to freedom is bound by chains."

None of us are sure what any of the statements mean; perhaps they will be revealed in time. We thanked Amylawd, and prepared for bed. Urym is entertaining us with his bagpipes. My eyes grow heavy, and this bundle of straw is so comfortable. I must put down my quill before my handwriting deteriorates further.

August 4th
We took our leave of Amylawd this morning, after I placed a blessing on his household. It was another beautiful day of peaceful travel, until late in the afternoon, when we saw a flashing light coming from some standing stones, several miles away from the river's edge. We stashed the boats and went to investigate. Finis transformed into a hawk, and went to take a closer look. He said that there were no creatures there, and that the light was emanating from a stone in the center.

By the time we reached the stone, the sun had set. The air thickened oppressively near the stone circle. As we approached, a brown-skinned man came toward us, asking us what we wanted. Finis was strangely silent; as this was an area of concentrated natural power, I expected him to take charge. Blades, however, stepped up, and said that he wanted "power". The brown-skinned man asked him to elaborate, and Blades said that he wanted power over Jarvos Ironforge (apparently the person who stole his armor). The man walked off, then came back with a black arrow, saying that it would give him that power.

Since Finis was still silent, I asked the man who he was. He replied that he was Imal Trevarin, a "dow". According to him, the druids placed the circle here to control the dow, but apparently it no longer did so. He turned around, walked away, and disappeared.

Suddenly the center stone cracked, collapsing into dust and rubble, and an earth elemental arose. Between Finis, Corwin, Blades, and Arms of Flame, the creature was soon dispatched. The oppressive feeling in the air left, and we were left wondering just what had taken place. We returned to the camp, traveled a bit downstream, and are now encamped once again.

I suspect that we will never know exactly what happened at the stone circle tonight. Then again, Prometheus has ways of revealing things to those who are willing to look and listen.

August 5th
As we travel, I've noticed that the leaves on the trees are starting to change colors from their full summer green to the oranges, browns, and golds of autumn. This is only the second real autumn I've ever seen; our Ionian fall and winter is so mild by comparison.

Not long after we set out, Corwin spotted a large shape moving parallel to us, through the forest. We soon ascertained that it was a Fomorian, with a huge ball and chain. At first, we planned to fight it, as we were afraid that it might lob boulders or trees at us. However, Urym has informed us that Fomorians cannot throw. So, much to Blades' disappointment, we left it behind--it eventually spotted us, and stood on the river bank, shaking its fist at us.

As we journey southward, I've been attempting to teach Ionian to the party members that are interested. They seem to be catching on quickly, especially Suleiman, who has heard it before. The bright and sunny weather has kept everyone's spirits up, and kept them alert, despite the tedium of the lessons. This afternoon, however, clouds started rolling in, and it quickly became overcast.

Our evening became even more miserable when a group of winged humanoids--huge gargoyles, in fact--attacked our camp. I was badly beaten, but the party quickly came to my aid, and we prevailed. Urym says that these gargoyles are servants of a black dragon named Seguvox, who lives a quite a distance away. It's not clear what the gargoyles are doing in this part of the country. Three possibilities spring to mind: 1) Seguvox is expanding his territory. 2) These gargoyles were sent specifically for us. Neither of these are especially comforting. 3) Seguvox has been defeated, his forces scattered. I hope it is the third one.

With our wounds mostly healed, we once again retire for the night.

August 6th
This afternoon we began to see signs of civilization. People were traveling a road next to the river, south toward Galway. In large carts they took the last of the summer's harvest of wheat to town. We soon pulled into the somewhat dilapidated docks, tied our boats, and began our search for an inn.

Galway is a sizable town, of around 3,000 people. Most of the homes are of clay and stone, with thatch roofs. The populace is busy collecting, storing, and selling the harvest. We soon located an inn called The Dryad, which seems nice and cozy. In exchange for Urym performing tonight, the innkeeper offered us one of the rooms for free.

Conversation with the innkeeper revealed some interesting information. The King is having a fall festival of some sort, to celebrate the last harvest. Also, someone called "Gutatar the Firelord" is attacking the kingdom with firedrakes. This is fascinating, but we must be on to Ionia!

Suleiman, Finis, and I went out to see the town. Finis' hero's spear attracted a lot of attention, and we were sure to advertise Urym's performance. Suleiman found an herbalist, and picked up a few odds and ends. The shopkeeper turned out to be a wizard of some ability, and traded spells with Suleiman. Now Suleiman can cast invisibility! Also, the shopkeeper agreed to identify some of our items for us. We will pick them up in the morning.

Urym's performance was excellent, although I feel a little embarrassed, as I am a part of some of the stories he told. I was amazed at the number of people that showed up to listen to Urym. The inn was packed! I have retired a little early, although the performance continues. I am more than a little tired.

August 7th
The first thing we did today was go to get our items from the wizard. He could not identify the magic ring, but he said that the scarf allows the wearer to charm people, as well as improving singing and speaking ability (I think Finis should get the scarf, as he mumbles most of the time). The arrow that the dow gave Blades is an arrow of fighter slaying.

Soon it was time to resume our journey to Wicklow. We saw people traveling upstream to Galway until the afternoon. Other than the occasional friendly greeting, our travel has been quiet.

August 8th
While packing to leave camp this morning, we saw a man on the other side of the river, who was standing by a cart full of apples, cursing. We paddled our boats to his side of the river, and offered to help. Apparently, one of the wheels of the cart had broken. So, Suleiman and Corwin lifted the heavy cart, much to the man's amazement, and the man replaced the wheel. As a reward, he let us partake of some of his delicious apples.

As we ate, an elderly woman came down the road toward us, carrying a cage with a bird in it. We talked to her for a while, and quickly discovered that each of us saw a different kind of bird in the cage. She said that her name was Taleri, and that she had tried to kill herself over fifty years ago, when the Taygete League invaded her land and killed her family. But a druid intervened, giving her a cage, and saying that she must bear it until she finds someone who sees the same thing in it that she sees. However, she cannot tell anyone what she sees. When she finds that person, he or she will give her what she needs.

We were intrigued by this puzzle, but unable to do anything to assist her. So, we offered to accompany her to Wicklow. She has traveled with us today, during another peaceful voyage. I continue to teach Ionian to those who are interested.

August 9th
Once again, we were interrupted in the morning while packing our belongings. Two large, flying creatures, resembling manticores, but with reptilian faces, approached and attacked.

They threw their tail spikes at Suleiman, almost knocking him unconscious. We scrambled for cover, and they spat streams of vile acid on us. Finis harassed one with a cloud of insects, while I managed to blind one with a sunscorch, forcing it to land. Corwin charged and killed it. Suleiman tried to cast a spell, but instead of the intended effect, darkness 15' radius appeared. That was okay; it provided some protection from the tail spikes. He and I hid inside it, until I had healed the damage caused by the acid and spikes. I then ran to Corwen's aid.

He was under attack by the other creature. As it flew in, Finis cast a spell, exploding a nearby pine tree. The needles flew out, striking the creature. It landed and blasted Corwin with acid, then flung him around with its mouth, badly mauling him. Blades and Finis finished the creature, and we saved Corwin from the brink of death. He has an incredible scar on his chest now. On a strange looking man like Corwin, it is barely noticeable.

We went through the familiar procedure of tending to wounds, and returned to the river. As we stop now for dinner, I can smell the sea air ahead, and we have spotted a few sea gulls in the distance. The roar of the sea can faintly be heard; I think that it is a little disconcerting for those in the party who have never been to the ocean. In a few more hours, we will be in Wicklow. I can barely contain my excitement. From there, we should be able to catch a ship to Alcyone, and then to Anarchopolis. If all goes well, I will be home in less than two months! May Prometheus continue to guide us swiftly to Ionia!
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Ooh, the plot really thickens now!

SESSION 20

We continued toward Wicklow after dinner. More conversations with the elderly woman, Taleri, yielded no more clues. The river soon split, heading into a lake crowded with recently-cut logs, with a large lumber mill, on the right, and continuing to Wicklow on the left. We took the left branch, and after passing under some bridges emerged into the harbor.

Several ships lay in port, including some Ionian galleys, and we passed a large, impressive one called the Wraith, which had its own special dock. We tied our boats up, and I marked them with a continual flame rock.

After passing up two inns (the Three Old Kegs and the Bronze Cup), we settled on the Blushing Mermaid. Because it is harvest time, the room rates are somewhat high. While we went to our room and took inventory of all of our magical items, Urym went down to the bar to collect some information about the town and its inhabitants.

After deciding on an arrangement of equipment, we joined Urym downstairs, and had the displeasure of watching a raw oyster eating contest. The unfortunate loser regurgitated all that he had worked so hard to eat. I asked some sailors about ships going to Ionia. They mentioned that one called the Gift was going straight to Urbs Deorum. I will try to speak to the Gift's captain, Xallicles, tomorrow.

As we prepared for bed, Urym told us what he had found. There is a new king, Colin O'Shea. His father was killed fighting the Fomorians. The Children of the Light are a group of wizards that enforce their own version of justice, and the king favors them. There were also some seemingly irrelevant bits of information: Nightstalker is a famous local thief, there is a ghost at some place called Blackwell Manor, and another adventuring band, the Loremasters, are in town. The Loremasters seem to be local heroes.

Tomorrow will be a busy day; we must get some rest.

August 10
Poor Suleiman couldn't sleep over all the noise in the bar last night. Fortunately, I grabbed the magical pillow, so I will still be able to cast spells today.

After a hearty breakfast, Blades, Suleiman, and I headed out to pick up some new clothes. However, we did not immediately don our new clothes; instead, we went to the baths, where we all had a badly needed cleaning-up. I had a haircut, and shaved off my beard. Blades has braided his beard--it makes him look quite distinguished. Suleiman, on the other hand, has shaved all the hair off of his head, except for a goatee. He looks even more intimidating than before. We have all moved our Pentachromata patches onto our new clothes (and burnt our old clothes).

After that, I went to find the Gift, while Blades and Suleiman went in search of spells and armor. Suleiman later told me that while they were passing down an empty street, he heard a woman's voice call out his name, and he looked up in time to catch a falling rose. He caught it, and it wilted in his hand. They investigated the building from which the rose seemed to fall, only to find that it was basically empty. I suspect this was meant to be a warning, but I cannot elaborate on this further until Suleiman feels that it acceptable to make his secret known.

I found the Gift without too much trouble. It is a one-mast galley. I sneaked under the dock to cast detect evil, in order to survey the captain and crew. A helpful crewman, Cyriscos, went to get captain Xallicles. He informed me that the boat was leaving on the 13th, and that they could carry us. I told them that I would let them know if we decided to book passage.

According to the harbormaster, three boats are headed towards Alcyone. The soonest, the Foam Spray, is supposedly very fast. The first mate says that they will leave on the 12th, and I suspect that they use magic--some kind of wind spell, I think--to power the boat. This ship has promise.

Suleiman and Blades managed to find me, and we went to a store called the Time and Tide, so that Suleiman could inquire about gaining some spells. After some serious bartering, they struck upon a possible bargain. Suleiman wanted to discuss it with the group first, so we returned to the inn.

Once there, we decided to relocate to the Lighthouse, a much finer inn, in which we would be assured of a peaceful night's sleep. We picked up our belongings and started up the hill toward the inn.

Along the way, a beggar stopped, asking us for money. I gave him several bronze, and he was thankful. Finis, on a whim, asked him what he saw in Taleri's cage. The beggar became agitated, refusing to answer the question. As he ranted louder and louder, it became clear that something strange was happening. Suddenly, the man's flesh contorted, and he changed into a terrible wereboar.

I quickly read off my scroll of protection from lycanthropes. Much to my surprise, Finis and Urym were flung away from me as the sphere of protection appeared. Apparently, the magic does not distinguish between lycanthropes and shape-changers. Still, that does not explain why Urym was thrown--does he have lycanthropy?

Regretfully, we had to kill the man in self-defense. Finis was gored by his tusks, and we were concerned that he might have contracted lycanthropy. We had little time to ponder this, however, as several town guards ran up to us, led by a man carrying a staff with a lantern on its end. At this point, I noticed that Suleiman had slinked off somewhere.

The man with the staff, apparently a wizard who introduced himself as Shepherd Karl, wanted Finis to go to their tower to be treated for Lycanthropy. They said that it would take a month to treat him, if he had it. We were reluctant to waste that much time here, but we eventually decided that it was a good idea to find out if Finis had lycanthropy. Blades, Urym, and Corwin went with him.

Suleiman reemerged from the shadows after they had gone, and we walked to the Lighthouse. Along the way, Suleiman told me that he could see lines of magical power emanating from Shepherd Karl's lantern. One of them strayed close to Suleiman, and changed color. Suspecting that he was being tracked somehow, he hid. I suspect that, once again, his secret is causing him trouble. Apparently, in addition to turning fires blue, he now radiates evil. I know that he is not evil; I have checked myself on prior occasions. This is most puzzling.

After signing our names to the register at the Lighthouse, we went to our rooms to discuss matters further. Meanwhile, Finis had been given a clean bill of health, and allowed to leave the tower. As they made their way up the hill to the inn, they were stopped at a bridge by a mighty bearman, or Angentyr, who wanted to fight Corwin.

Corwin obliged him, and although I hear that he put up a good fight, he lost. The large man nonetheless invited Corwin to go drinking with him at the Bronze Cup. He has yet to return; I hope that he is all right.

I can happily report that Finis has freed Taleri from her fifty year old curse. He tried to imagine a horrible catastrophe, such as the entire party being slaughtered. Opening his eyes, he gazed into the cage, and saw absolutely nothing. Apparently, Taleri saw the same thing, but did not know what it meant. Finis told her that it meant that her life was devoid of purpose--and that she must find a purpose to make life worth living again. He suggested caring for children, perhaps in an orphanage, as she apparently cared a great deal for her family in Alcyone. She didn't seem to like this idea, as she suddenly turned into a young warrior woman. She explained that she would have revenge on the Taygete League, thanked him, and left. Finis seems to have learned a great deal from the experience.

August 11th
I do not know if you will believe the tale I am about to relate. I also do not know if you will consider me worthy of our order, once you hear what grievous sins I have committed. I can only hope to one day atone for my evil actions.

The day started innocently enough. Corwin returned, slightly hung over, from his night of revelry. We got up, ate breakfast, and went to the Time and Tide, where Suleiman and the owner (a gnomish wizard) began copying spells from each other. The rest of us went to the Foam Spray, and booked passage. The captain wanted each of us to surrender a weapon as a sign of good faith before boarding. We agreed, but as we still had things to do in town, we kept our weapons with us.

Our next goal was to find the dwarf armorer who works for the king. Blades is in need of better armor, although I fear that heavier armor would only slow him down further.

We never got even got close to the dwarf. As we walked into town, we were stopped by Shepherd Karl and several guards. Karl demanded to know who and where Suleiman was. I'm not sure how he found out about Suleiman, but I suspect that they may have looked at the register at the inn, or perhaps they heard one of Urym's tales from someone.

I was determined not to hand Suleiman over to them--they planned to keep Finis a month for lycanthropy, so there was no telling how long they would have kept Suleiman to deal with his problems. Actually, I do not trust their idea of justice, and I suspect that a fate much worse than treatment would await Suleiman.

Finis, who did not know of Suleiman's secret, nonetheless seemed to have similar feelings on the matter. We both refused to turn him over without some kind of proof of wrongdoing, or some kind of formal charge. Karl refused present either, simply stating that he represented justice, so we must do whatever he said to do.

The conversation escalated into an argument. We continued to refuse to cooperate without some justification, and Karl continued not to provide any. Finally, he insulted both Prometheus (calling him a false god!), and Druidism, and that was the last straw. We turned to walk off, and Karl directed his men to attack. A verbis ad verbera!

Chaos ensued. Karl used some kind of spell or magic item to blind many of us. Prometheus restored my sight with cure blindness, and I reentered the fray. Corwin and Blades were soon caught by a hold person and knocked out by the guards, and then Karl caught Finis in a magical lasso. I thought for a moment that we were doomed, but Finis turned into a hawk and escaped from the lasso. I read a scroll with hold person on it, freezing Shepherd Karl where he stood. While I dispatched several guards with sunscorch, I shouted to Finis, asking him to take Karl out of commission somehow.

Finis responded by pecking out Shepherd Karl's eyes. As shocking as this was, it was strangely fitting. Karl's distorted view of justice had blinded him figuratively; now it had blinded him literally, and I felt only a little remorse at this. A guard frantically waved Finis away from Karl, and they began to carry him, still frozen by hold person, away from the fight. Finis returned to human form, and we woke Corwin and Blades from unconsciousness.

We gathered our wits, and some town guardsmen down the street blew some horns and charged toward us. Realizing that the entire city would soon be mobilized against us, we made for the nearest gate, which lay along the Northeast portion of the wall. Finis turned into a bat to scout ahead, and Urym, Corwin, and I picked up Blades in order to move faster.

As we ran, I heard spell casting begin behind us, and Corwin was suddenly polymorphed into a large bison. He apparently kept his wits about him, and we ducked behind a building to avoid further spells. While we were putting Blades on Corwen's shaggy back, several guards rounded the corner. We held them off for a moment, and then resumed our mad dash for the gate. Several guards tried to block our way, but Corwin plowed through them. They managed to hit Urym as we ran past, and he slowed for a moment. Nonetheless, we had made it outside the city.

Now we had to find Suleiman and get as far away from the town as possible. He was near the docks, to the south, in a poorer district of town that lay outside the city walls (still copying spells from the gnome's spellbook). We ran through the fields to the east of Wicklow, maintaining a safe distance from the wall.

Many guards and a few adventurers were giving chase behind us. At this point I began to realize that many of these men were innocently doing their job. Nonetheless, there was not much time to ponder this.

Finis appeared, in human form, some distance in front of us, and cast spike growth on the ground in front of our pursuers. This certainly slowed our pursuers down, and even brought low several guards. This was disturbing to me as well--the death toll was getting high. Still, the fate of Demopolis may hinge on our escape! Our pursuers were joined by a flying wizard.

Finis joined us again, and I ran ahead of the group to check out the next gate. Several guards stood blocking it, although they were looking inward. They had not yet heard that we had made it out of the walls, and were expecting us to try to break out. I decided to try to attract their attention--once I was in range, I cast a sunscorch on a wooden building inside the walls. The guards shouted in surprise and abandoned their post to douse the flames and determine their cause.

This seemed to be a clever idea. Still, I wish I had not done it, or that I would have been more careful. The flames apparently spread quickly among the wooden hovels of this impoverished section of town. How many lives have I ruined? How many innocents lost their lives as a result of my selfish action? If I had been just a little more thoughtful, I would have set a cart or other object ablaze. It would have been just as effective, and less innocents would have been endangered. Worse still, I doubt that I will ever be able to return to Wicklow to compensate those injured for their losses--I would surely be killed on sight.

But there was no time to consider this at the moment. We continued our sprint toward the Time and Tide, with Blades bouncing along on Corwen's back. Urym took a few arrows, and was badly injured, but he managed to keep up. We rushed into the slums, interrupting Suleiman just as he finished copying fireball into his spellbook. Alas, he did not have time to copy the other spells he wanted, but fireball is quite satisfactory.

We had a moment's respite from our pursuers, which we used to heal Urym. Urym concealed the area behind us with a wall of fog. We told Suleiman to begin using his wand of polymorph, which we had captured from the Githyanki in Prolingmur, to turn us into seagulls, so that we could fly away. As Suleiman turned Urym into a bird, the flying wizard, from some concealed location, dispelled the wall of fog (and, inadvertently, returned Corwin to his normal shape), and two adventurers charged into combat with us. Blades and Corwin took care of them, and I helped out with a sunscorch. Another guard rushed up, and tried to blow a horn, but Finis struck him, and entreated him to flee for his life. Sadly, he did not listen.

After I knocked one of the adventurers unconscious with another sunscorch, Suleiman turned me into a seagull as well. Corwin and Blades took care of the last adventurer, and the guard with the horn. Urym, flying overhead, had located the wizard. He was summoning an earth elemental. Finis read his scroll of protection from elementals, and tried to get to the wizard. Urym fluttered around in the wizard's face, and managed to disrupt his concentration.

The Earth Elemental sank back into the earth, and the wizard attempted to escape. Suleiman tried to polymorph him with the wand, but he dodged the magical beam. Corwin managed to nick him with his mighty sword, but he escaped. Suleiman polymorphed Blades, while Finis healed some of the wounds of the unconscious adventurer (his companion was dead), and apologized for things turning out the way that they did.

From our vantage point in the sky, Blades, Suleiman and I could see that the Riders of the Mark, the local cavalry, were assembling in the fields to the east of Wicklow. Also, the flames from the sunscorch that I had used to distract the guardsmen at the gate had spread to several more buildings, but it seemed that the flames were, for the moment, contained. Finis cast speak with animals, summoned a flock of seagulls with his linden staff, and Suleiman turned him into a seagull as well. Several guardsmen were charging towards Suleiman and Corwin (the only ones left unchanged), but Finis led a flock of seagulls toward the guards, causing them to stop and frantically slap at the birds.

This provided enough time for Suleiman to change Corwin and himself. Fortunately, Suleiman had the foresight to give each of us a unique mark--a streak of color on our wings, which allowed us to identify each other. Finis asked the birds about places the gulls meet in the ocean, and they led us to an island rock, standing alone in the harbor.

Once there, we found some rocks with lichen on them, and scratched messages in them with our beaks to communicate (a tedious process). It was agreed that we would head Northwest, toward the shore, and then follow it west until the spell wore off.

After what must have been a couple of hours of flying, the spell wore off, dropping first Urym, and then the rest of us to the ground. We left the shore for the concealment of the nearby forest. I can hardly believe that we are still alive! Unfortunately, our gain was possible only because of the terrible losses of many innocent people. Although I am relieved to be safe, I am struck by grief--how could I have allowed this to happen? I am a servant of Prometheus, not Epimetheus! I stepped out of the forest, and into the surf, to pray for forgiveness.

Of course, we were all tired and hungry, so I decided that trying to cast a spell would be a good way to determine whether Prometheus still thought me worthy of his gifts. Much to my relief, create food and water worked; however the food had an ashen taste to it. Prometheus, in His wisdom, has decided that I have done wrong, but I am not yet lost. I must strive to regain his trust; I will begin by starting the Sacred Mystery of Purification immediately.

Suleiman is clearly upset by the whole ordeal. He is honored that we would go to such lengths to protect him, but feels (not without justification) that it is his fault that we are in this mess. So, he decided that it was time to explain why all these odd things had been happening to him. If Suleiman is comfortable letting the group know his secret, then I feel comfortable writing it in this log. I am sorry that I have kept this from you for so long.

More than a month ago, when we were in Tesplyn's Grove, Suleiman went for a walk at night while we rested. He heard a commotion, and came upon a dwarf killing a man. The dwarf said he was a king, and that the man was an assassin, or something like that. The dwarf left, and as Suleiman watched him go, he was approached by a tall man who spoke Hejazian. He explained that he was called Utgard Loki, Puck, and several other names, and that the man the dwarf had killed was one of his greatest servants. He knew that Suleiman wanted to become a wizard, but was unwilling to spend the years of training that Rinver said it would require. Suleiman had been a slave for eight years of his youth, and two years of magical training, serving a master as an apprentice, seemed too much like more slavery. Serving the somewhat scatterbrained Rinver, of all possible masters, for two years seemed even worse (he might get his eye poked out by Rinver's eternally emphasizing index finger)! Still, he badly wanted to learn the magical arts.

Utgard Loki offered Suleiman a deal: He would grant spells to Suleiman, in exchange for Suleiman completing two tasks. First, he must destroy the Torc of the Bull in Ailech (a gift from Dagda to his followers). Second, he must locate the Mantle of Twilight (a magical item helpful to assassins). At the time, Suleiman did not know what these objects were, and he agreed to the deal, signing a contract. Utgard Loki said that failure to satisfy the terms of the contract would result in the taking of one year of Suleiman's life.

We all pondered this for a while, and in an emotional moment, the group forgave him. Suleiman was much relieved, and I told everyone that I intended to see what our church could do for him--perhaps offer him some kind of protection. Perhaps I can find a lawyer in Anarchopolis that could find a loophole in the contract.

Our next course of action is uncertain. Blades has come up with a very clever idea: We could use the wand of polymorph to change Blades or Corwin into a Dragonne (Screech was a Dragonne, if you will recall), build a riding harness from rope and wood, and fly west to Alcyone. However, there is some uncertainty about whether even Corwin would be strong enough to carry all of us--after all, he would only be polymorphed into Dragonne form; he would not be a real Dragonne.

This seems rather trivial to me. We have our freedom, although at a terrible cost. Urym tried to console me by saying that there is no dishonor in fighting valiantly; I pointed out that this was true, so long as innocents were not injured. He quickly went back to learning to play the lute. Prometheus willing, I may find another member of our church in Alcyone who can cast atonement for me. For now, meditation on my sins and the Purification will have to suffice. Pray for me, brethren, and forgive me my transgressions.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I'm so glad you're still posting this! Thanks for doing that.

My actual-play D&D 5e podcast is finally posting episodes. You can find us here: http://tftggw.libsyn.com/
You can also listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.
Well I sort of stopped for the holidays and then I forgot :/

Sorry everyone, I will resume this promptly, I apologize for the delay!

I look forward to seeing your podcast.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 21

Once again, we have lost a member of the Pentachromata, although this parting was not so sad, as it was voluntary. I have just bade farewell to Blades, and my heart is heavy. But I will return to this in a moment.

Although we are now far from Wicklow (at least 30 miles, possibly much more), we are still not safe. Our progress is being tracked by magical devices, and it is possible that more mundane forces are following us.

The rest of the afternoon was spent constructing a pair of harnesses, following Suleiman's careful instructions. Suleiman polymorphed both Corwin and himself into small Dragonnes, and a few test flights suggested that the harnesses would work. Finis turned into a snake, and curled about Blades to reduce Suleiman's load, while Urym and I rode on Corwin.

Although Corwin and Suleiman are quite strong, they were not strong enough to fly at full speed with so much weight on their backs. We flew for several hours, and landed in the dark.

Our camp seemed safe and comfortable enough, but several of the party members spotted a hazy ball of light floating above us. I could not see it, but Suleiman, Blades, and Urym assured me that it was there. I quickly surmised that it was a scrying device, and cast dispel magic in the area. I am told that it disappeared quickly, but I suspect that they saw us.

So, we are being tracked, by a very reliable means. I am not sure if there is anything we can do, except hope that we travel faster than our pursuers.

Blades and I shared a watch tonight. I soon noticed that Blades seemed uncomfortable, and he asked me to walk a short distance from camp with him. I did so, and once we were out of earshot, Blades quietly asked me to release him from his vow to assist me in Ionia.

I was stunned and confused, and Blades took advantage of my silence to explain. He said that he felt as though he was becoming more distant from the party. Suleiman always addressed him in a patronizing tone as "Dwarf", never by his real name. Corwin constantly mocked his abilities, and while Finis was never rude to him, he rarely listened, either. Also, he felt that he was straying too far from his mission, which was to recover his family armor.

I, of course, said that he must choose his own path, and that I understood his decision. His immediate plans are to return to the temple of Oghma (now Rinver's library), restore the forge to working order, and make something out of the mithril ingots. After that, he will resume tracking down Jarvos Ironforge.

He gave me his ring of protection, saying that it rarely worked anyway, and the magical ring which we have yet to identify. I gave him a rock of continual light, a rock of continual flame in a flask, my rations, and the blessings of Prometheus. Also, I cast dispel fatigue upon him so that he could travel through the night.

I encouraged him to wear the patch with the Pentachromata symbol on it, when he felt it was safe again, as he will always, in my mind, be a part of the group. After a sad, fond farewell, I pointed him north, and wished him good luck. Perhaps we will meet again some day.

Although Blades is a mighty warrior, he has little in the way of survival skills, and I fear for his safety. He has only a few days of rations, and he does not know how to hunt. With his heavy armor, he moves very slowly (although if he can find a river, his otter pelt will allow him to move more quickly). He also has no map, and no clear idea of what direction he needs to go. Perhaps fortune will smile upon him, and take him safely to his goal. I will pray for him.

August 12th
This morning, as Finis was clearing his throat to sing to the sun (and wake us all up), he was attacked by an invisible entity. I suspect that it was sent by the Children of Light, guided by scrying devices. It badly mauled Finis, and attempted to pull him into the air and carry him away.

Finis caught hold of a tree, and the rest of us took to pummeling the invisible creature. Corwin struck a mighty blow against it, but it continued to pull on Finis. Finis changed into a rattlesnake, and wrapped himself around a tree trunk, but the creature persisted. Finally, Urym surprised us with an amazing swing--it sounded as though he cut the thing in half.

For a moment, we simply stood, stunned at the force of Urym's swing, but we soon congratulated him and prepared to leave. Of course, everyone wanted to know where Blades was, and I explained. Some seemed genuinely sad and concerned, but others were angry. Finis seemed to suspect some kind of foul play, and questioned me to make sure that I was the real Patrick. It was more than a little strange.

There was little time to ponder Blades' departure, as we were now more keenly aware of our pursuit. Suleiman changed us all into Hibernian Geese, and we flew west as fast as we could.

After flying for while, we spotted some huge birds to the north. We flew lower, in case we needed to take to the ground quickly, but they ignored us. Resuming our flight, we passed over a loch with a giant turtle lounging casually in it.

The spell wore off around lunch time; we are getting better at estimating how long the spell has left, so we did not waste much time on the ground waiting for it to expire. I tried to go through my prayers while they ate, but I must admit, the smell of the food was tempting. Nonetheless, I can make do with water.

We took off again after lunch, once again as geese. I wonder how many charges the wand has left. Anyway, we passed over a large gray winged reptile, lounging on some rocks by the sea. It appeared to be sunning itself, and it looked at us, as though curious. We sped past, and it left us alone.

The sky began to grow dark, and a light rain began to fall. Toward evening, just before landing, I noticed a fireball go off, in the woods to the north. We landed, except for Finis, who flew to the area (still as a goose) to check it out. The rest of us approached on foot, slowly and cautiously.
Finis soon returned, reporting that a wizard had killed a large bear with the spell, and was cutting off pieces of the bear. The wizard appeared to have ridden in on a magical horse. Suleiman volunteered to go ahead with Tanvil, and they disappeared into the deepening dark. We continued to approach slowly.

By this time, the rain was absolutely torrential, and we were without shelter, except for the trees. Suleiman and Tanvil returned to report that the clearing made by the fireball was empty. We proceeded to the clearing and examined the bear's remains. It seems that the wizard removed its tongue, one eye, some teeth, and the left forepaw, most likely for spell components (perhaps for some sort of strength spell).

It was dark and miserably wet, so we tried to locate a drier spot to camp. We were unsuccessful, and lay on the wet ground, next to a pile of rocks of continual flame. They have allowed me to use the magic pillow, as I had some spells to recover. Still, I do not think even I will sleep comfortably tonight. Perhaps we should procure some tents for future travels.

August 13th
Our clothes were soggy and uncomfortable, and we felt stiff and tired, but we decided to begin walking today. Corwin is a remarkable woodsman, and leaves almost no trail to follow, despite his size. We move much faster than we used to, as we do not have Blades slowing us down.

The morning march was uneventful. No sooner had we stopped for lunch than Suleiman heard branches breaking, as someone approached the party. We hid behind trees, and soon saw two Fomorians walk toward us. One of them noticed Corwen's sword, and started to point to it, but the other (apparently a female) slapped him and they continued forward. Suleiman attempted to sneak up behind them, but one had an extra nose on its hip, and smelled him as he approached.

The giant wheeled about, smacking Suleiman to the ground in one blow. Finis and I scrambled to heal him, while Corwin charged into the melee. After Suleiman's condition had stabilized, I tried to strike a Fomorian with a sunscorch, but the spell would not come to me. I am not sure if Prometheus has forbidden me to cast that spell because of the evil deeds I have done with it, or if he has forbidden me to cast all offensive spells. I accepted his decision and concentrated on healing the wounded.

Corwin managed to kill one of the giants, but his mate knocked Corwin unconscious with a heavy fist. Finis and I brought him back from the brink of death again, and prepared to face the giant's onslaught. We were surprised to see that the female giant had decided prudence was the better part of valor, and she backed away from the group carefully. Of course, we let her go, and continued to mend our wounds. Corwin now has a noticeable limp, as his leg seems not to have healed properly.

We searched the male Fomorian, finding two gemstones, a battered bronze cup, and a finely carved box. The cup clearly worthless, and there was nothing special about the gems, but the box (which was empty) seemed interesting. The carvings on it depicted ocean scenes, including a boat. It seemed to be made of wood panels laid over each other, so I suggested that it might be a magic box that unfolds into a boat.

They jeered me! They thought that was a ridiculous idea. I placed it in a puddle, thinking water might trigger it, but nothing happened. So, I began to say some nautical phrases, like "anchors away!", and "ahoy!", and such. Corwin said "Hoist the mainsail", and suddenly the box exploded into a twenty-four foot, one-sailed boat! I had to dive out of the way to avoid being crushed by it. Unfortunately, we activated the box in the dense forest, and it expanded into several trees, damaging a section the hull, and damaging the riggings. "Raise the anchor" caused it to fold up again.

After some discussion, we took it to a cove on the shore, and tried again. The boat again expanded, but the damage remained, and it was taking on water. While I bailed, Finis tried to mend some of the broken boards with shape wood. It helped, but there is still work left to do. Although it is not a large boat, it is striking, with a carved wooden dragon on the front, clutching a shield.

As our wounded members are in no condition to travel, we have decided to stay here for the night. I have tried to untangle some of the riggings, and Urym used mend to repair some ripped sections of sail. If Finis continues to work on a few boards every day, we should have it seaworthy in a couple weeks. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to stay here and repair the boat. Tomorrow we will resume our travels, on foot.

August 14th
After folding the boat back into a box, we continued westward, through the woods. Our march was peaceful, and the weather has been clearer.
Our lunch was interrupted by the sound of footsteps running towards us. Once again, we hid behind trees, and waited to see what was coming. What appeared to be a lone elf was running in the general direction of our camp. Corwin stepped onto the trail, totally surprising the elf, and asked him where he was going.

The elf introduced himself as Kellindel Falconhands, and pleaded for our assistance. We asked him what he needed, and he said that he had a friend, a dryad, who was in mortal peril. He offered to explain more on the way.

Cautiously, we followed him, with Suleiman (who had remained hidden the whole time) following a distance behind. Kellindel explained that his mentor was killed by a wizard who is trying to take over this forest (what would a wizard want with a forest?). He has taken up the fight against the wizard, but he feels that he is too inexperienced to be effective against the threat. We surmised that he was a ranger, and he looks to be a capable one. He wears leather armor, a bow across his back, and has two swords at his hips.

We picked up our pace and reached the dryad quickly. She appeared to be a strikingly beautiful woman, and was bleeding profusely. Cure moderate wounds did not seem to have much effect; she explained that her tree had been cut down, and pulled an acorn from the trunk, saying that she needed a new tree. She then collapsed. Finis planted the acorn in the ground and cast plant growth upon it. A sapling sprung from the earth, and the dryad's body disappeared.

A moment later, she stepped out of the sapling (a strange sight to behold!), and introduced herself as Mistle. She thanked us for our efforts, and she had a reward as well. The leaves of her old tree would heal our wounds, she said, and there were stones hidden beneath her old stump.
The leaves were not pleasing to eat, but they did magically cure our injuries, so we managed to ingest as many as necessary (I was not injured at the time, and I did not break my fast). We also found the magical stones she referred to. Suleiman said that one would call woodland beings, and the other was a powerful animal summoning spell; apparently he had seen druids use these before.

We talked with Kellindel for a while. He seems interested in joining us, as he has much to learn before he confronts the wizard threatening his forest. Also, he said that he is an elf (there was some confusion over whether or not he might be a half-elf), and a follower of Meilikki (a nature goddess). A town named Earmark's Haven is only two day's travel to the west, and Suleiman has suggested that we allow Kellindel to guide us at least that far.

I was about to tell Kellindel that we were being pursued, and that we were a dangerous group with which to travel, when I was (ironically) interrupted by the appearance of another scrying "window". Once again, Finis was attacked by an invisible creature. Corwin managed to kill it, and Kellindel cast cure light wounds on Finis, revealing that he was in fact a ranger and a priest--or at least, he has some priestly abilities.
Kellindel proved to be a good guide, and we have traveled swiftly. We set up camp at dark. Kellindel and I have just finished our watch, and it was an exciting one. We heard the sound of voices speaking orcish approach, and much to my surprise, Kellindel translated what they were saying. They were apparently looking for a patrol. We noted that there were two ogres with the orcs, and quickly woke everyone up.

Then our attack began. Kellindel rained arrows down upon them, while Finis caught most of the orcs in an entangle. A faerie fire made the unentangled ones easy targets; I even struck one with my staff sling.

The pair of ogres and thirteen orcs didn't stand a chance. A search revealed only that they were wearing surprisingly well-maintained chainmail, and that their symbol was an evil looking man/tree combination.

We cut off the orcs' ears, hoping that we might be able to redeem them for coin in a city, and returned to bed.

August 15th
Once again, we have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat! The Pentachromata (or what is left of them, anyway) have truly triumphed today. I did not believe that we could be so effective!

It was a quiet day of marching, and we made good time with Kellindel leading the way. By the afternoon we had reached a river, which Kellindel says leads straight to Earmark's Haven. As we proceeded, Corwin began to hear a growling, roaring noise downstream. We could not hear it, but he said that it sounded like something talking, pausing, and talking again. He could not understand what it was saying.

While the rest of us proceeded ahead slowly, Finis shape-shifted into a squirrel and scampered through the trees toward the noise. Corwin spotted a frog-like creature--I believe they are called bullywogs--keeping watch over the path, blended into the forest. Kellindel pulled out his bow and killed it with a single arrow. He believes that it was a scout or guard; the whistle around its neck supported his theory.

Finis returned, changed back into human form, and explained that a large group of bullywogs were assembled, and one of them was negotiating with a monstrous lizard beast. The creature was obviously huge, even though much of it lay beneath the river's surface. Kellindel informed us that bullywogs like these are probably servants of the wizard trying to take control of the forest. He and Finis quickly decided that, no matter what this deal was about, it could not be allowed to go through.

A plan of attack was laid out; Suleiman was to approach them from the river bank and kill as many as possible with a fireball. The rest of us would loop around and attack from the opposite direction, from the woods. Kellindel would hide in a tree and shoot arrows at them from a safe distance.

It was a good plan, but it did not work as planned. Our survival is proof that our abilities as individuals and as a team have improved. As Kellindel approached a suitable tree, another sentry, hidden in the woods, blew his whistle and attacked Kellindel.

Chaos erupted. Suleiman's fireball went off, killing at least twenty bullywogs, instantly. The bullywug that spotted Kellindel hit him, but Kellindel struck back, killing the beast. He then clambered up the tree.

The rest of us charged into melee with the remaining bullywugs. Unbeknownst to us, they had two large reptile riding beasts (nowhere near as large as the huge creature lounging in the water), which they mounted and directed to attack us.

Meanwhile, the huge creature (which I believe was a Behir, although I have never heard of one so huge!) reared back and breathed a stream of lightning into Suleiman. Suleiman managed to stay on his feet, but when the monster came at him again, he used the wand to polymorph into a sparrow and fly to the other side of the river.

One of the bullywogs was a spellcaster, and began interrupting our casting with magic missiles from a wand and other annoyances. However, Suleiman took care of him with two barrages of very large, deadly magic missiles. With the spellcaster down, I was able to cast some healing spells, although Finis was getting hit too often by the bullywugs in melee to cast many spells of his own.

Urym was severely injured several times during the fight, but Finis and I barely managed to keep him alive. At first, we were surrounded by bullywugs, but we (especially Corwin, who killed one of the lizard mounts) slowly wittled their numbers down. One of the lizard mounts, with bullywugs on its back, slithered into the water and disappeared.

Then the fight really became difficult. While we were still fighting bullywugs, the behir had turned its attention on us, and struck some of us with another jolt of lightning. We stayed on our feet, and Corwin strode forward to do battle with it.

The fight was incredible to behold. Corwin, remarkably agile for a man his size, and still limping slightly, jumped nimbly aside as the behir's jaws snapped just inches away from him. It also tried to encircle him in its massive coils, either to crush him or kick him with one of its six legs. Similarly, the creature dodged many of Corwen's mighty swings--but not all of them. Corwin was aided by a rain of arrows, shot by Suleiman and Kellindel, which slowly weakened the beast.

The rest of us continued to fight off the Bullywugs, and tried to protect Urym as he stumbled and crawled away. I cast an occasional healing spell on Corwin and Urym, and then rejoined the fight against the remaining frog-beasts. Then we heard a mighty crash, as the Behir fell to the ground, brought low by a final swing from Corwin. Only a few bullywugs remained, and we finished them quickly.

We stopped, exhausted, clutching our wounds, and surveyed the battlefield. It was amazing. We had killed over forty bullywugs and a Behir, as well as the spellcaster, which now appeared to be a lizardman (we surmised that his bullywug guise was magical). Kellindel and Suleiman rejoined the party, and we began to search the area.

Two huge chests, each carrying what I estimate to be 40,000 bronze pieces, sat on the river's edge. The lizardman had a sheet of paper, the writing on which we could not read. It had a symbol at the bottom, with a "Z" in it--probably a mage's insignia. He had a wand of magic missiles, which we do not know how to activate, a necklace of ESP, and a helmet which blocks ESP, and probably many other mind-affecting spells.
It was unclear what we should do with all the bronze. After all, the chests must weigh at least a ton each; we could not possibly carry it all. I picked up enough bronze to buy a night's rest and a few meals, but most of the rest of the party loaded themselves down with as much as they could carry. We are not pressed for money; I do not see why we must encumber ourselves further. Still, I suppose it might prove useful.

We continued onward, and later this evening, I ended my three day fast by eating some of the magical leaves from Mistle's tree. I was happy to find that my wounds healed quickly. I expect that the leaves will only last another day or so; it would be best to make use of them while we can.

I am exhausted from today's exertions; it is time for bed. Today was exciting, even exhilarating. Such a victory does wonders for one's
confidence; Prometheus has granted us the tools we need to succeed. Nonetheless, I hope that the rest of our journey is uneventful. We should reach Earmark's Haven sometime tomorrow.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 22

August 16th
We are in Earmark's Haven, or rather, we are just outside it. The smell of smoke heralded its presence as we approached. It looks to be a pirate town, or at least a town of thugs. It was decided that Corwin, Suleiman, and Urym should go into this dilapidated, run down, smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall and inquire about inns and ships. The rest of us waited outside of town. Kellindel made it clear that he did not like the looks of the town. While we waited, Finis and Kellindel discussed the ranger's plans and goals, as well as his falcon. Did I not mention he has a trained falcon? It has only shown up recently; apparently they have some kind of bond.

Much, much later, Suleiman, Urym, and Corwin returned. Upon entering the town, they had immediately noticed a statue of a 14' tall man, with a surprised look on his face--it was obviously some kind of giant that had been turned to stone. The entire town had a smoky smell to it, and the first tavern they passed had almost been destroyed by fire, forcing it to shut down.

They entered the second tavern, the Last Tooth, finding ogres and men inside. They talked to a man named Sebastian, who told them that "The Boss" had created the statue. The man was Iago, the former head of the town, and The Boss did not like the way the town was run. We all agreed that, based on Sebastian's comments, The Boss was a beholder! While Suleiman talked to Sebastian, Urym walked around the tavern trying to gather information.

Sebastian pointed them to some sailors working on the Siren's Song, the only fully functional ship in town (Sebastian's ship had been destroyed as a result of a "misunderstanding" between The Boss and the captain).

Suleiman and Corwin began talking to crew of the Siren's Song, when Urym's backpack was cut open, spilling its contents onto the floor. There was a mad dash for the coins that fell out, but Suleiman leaped onto a table and announced the location of the two chests full of bronze that we left up the river. This instantly emptied the room, as men made a mad dash to be the first to find it. He also explained that we had defeated the minions of a wizard bent on taking over the forest, and possibly the town, which attracted the attention of two ogres that worked for The Boss. They told him that they were going to tell The Boss, and that he had better not leave town, in case The Boss had questions.

The crew informed Suleiman that the Siren's Song was headed straight for Anarchopolis, so they went to arrange passage with the captain. The captain, who insists on being called Duke Northton in his native tongue of Pembrook, is from Leinster. He's something of a fop, but he sounds as though he must be competent. After some haggling, they agreed on the outrageous price of 200 gold for our entire party. The ship leaves at dusk tomorrow.

When they returned to our rendezvous point outside of town, we discussed our plans for the night. It was decided that we ought not to stay in the town's inn, the Flying Pig, as the town looked like trouble. Also, Kellindel does not enjoy cities, and Finis would like to take this last chance to stay in a "normal" forest.

As we prepared our camp, and Kellindel went about catching mice to feed his falcon on our long trip, Suleiman suddenly stood up straight and looked around. He said that there were lines of force emanating from the woods, and that they seemed be trying to locate Finis. He followed the lines and spotted a pair of eyes in the dark. We soon saw them as well, and sprung into action.

Unfortunately, we should have coordinated our actions more carefully. Finis attempted to entangle, it while I, assuming that it was some kind of magical creature sent by the Children of Light, cast dispel magic. Of course, I ended up dispelling the entangle, and it tried to fly away. Fortunately, Suleiman struck it with a magic missile, bringing it crashing to the ground. We ran up to it, finding a small, winged creature with needle-sharp teeth and black eyes, melting into a pool of slime. Uncertain of what we had just done, we returned to our camp.

Once camp was set up, the original members of the Pentachromata (Suleiman, Finis, and myself) had a discussion about what to do with Kellindel. He is interested in traveling with us, to learn from us and to gain allies in his fight against the wizard threatening his forest. We decided that he is a "trial member" of the Pentachromata; he will be inducted as a full member once he proves himself.

The food from create food and water tastes a little better tonight; I will take that as a good sign. Kellindel and I are keeping~~~

Excuse me! Kellindel was about to tell me something, when suddenly our camp was charged by a giant creature with the body of a bear and the head of an owl--an owlbear! I tried and failed to blind it with a light spell, but Corwin stepped up and struck it soundly. Unfortunately, it wrapped him in its powerful arms and began to squeeze. We managed to kill it before it crushed Corwin. We will track it in the morning, in hopes of finding its lair.

Now, back to my watch. Let us hope the rest of the night is peaceful.

August 17th
Our day started with a long trek, following the swath left by the owlbear. In the afternoon we found bloody scraps of cloth on the trail, and continued on. We were just considering turning back when we came upon a clearing created by combat, with the grisly remains of four men scattered around. Strangely, one seemed to be burned, although none of the ground or plants around are burned. We hypothesized that they may have run into a wizard, then the owlbear. Or perhaps the wizard killed them, and the owlbear just toyed with their remains.

There was no time to investigate further, so we returned to town. We decided to skirt the edge of town, in an effort to avoid all the ogres and other unsavory characters in it. We passed the town dumping ground, and were attacked by an otyugh, but Finis wisely advised that we leave it alone. It is probably The Boss' waste disposal system. We retreated, and after several cure disease spells, we continued on our way to the Siren's Song.

The first mate, Isaac, let us aboard, and I tended to some wounds he said he had received while being robbed. We paid the captain, and Suleiman left with Finis to get some bow-making equipment for Kellindel, as well as some barrels into which he will put the mice he has caught thus far.

While they looked for barrels, two ogres came up and told them to go with them to see The Boss. I overheard this, and followed behind them. I caught up to them as the reached The Boss' headquarters, and two more ogres joined us. Finis used his magical scarf to suggest that The Boss didn't need to question us. One of them apparently found this persuasive, and walked off. One of the ogres, confused by his departure, dispatched another ogre to chase down the one that left, leaving us, once again, with two ogres. They took us into a room that strongly resembled a cell (complete with bars on the window), and we began to wait.

We waited for what seemed a very long while, and finally became concerned that the ship might leave without us. Suleiman used the wand of polymorph to change us into seagulls, and we flew out the window, and back to the docks. Suleiman quickly purchased a barrel, and we clambered aboard.

Our timing was excellent. No sooner were we aboard than the boat shoved off. We are sailing towards the moon Faeros, straight out to sea. Kellindel has been training his bird to become accustomed to the sea--in fact, all of us are trying to get used to the shifting deck. Suleiman and I are experienced in sea travel, but the others, especially Corwin, haven't got their sea legs yet.

Corwin has been working below decks, the part of the ship that moves the least, helping with the cargo. Not long after leaving Earmark's haven there was a commotion from below, and soon Corwin emerged with a large, squirming sack, tied at the top. I went to get the captain, and with the crew gathered around, Corwin pulled back the sack.

A bizarre creature was revealed. It had a horse's body, a hawk's head, wings, talons on its fore legs, and hooves on its hind legs. Our encyclopedia says that it is a hippogriff, and that such creatures are quite valuable. This one must be young indeed.

After much negotiation, Captain Northton agreed to allow us to keep it (he wanted to toss it overboard) for sixty gold, and a share of the price it fetches in Anarchopolis, if we can sell it. We took it below, to our cabin, and tried feeding it. It nibbled at an apple, but seems to like mice and fish very much.

Now we have two creatures to feed: the falcon and the hippogriff. Finis and I have busied ourselves catching fish. The falcon doesn't seem to care for fish very much, but we are trying to convince it to eat them, if only to extend our supply of mice.

It is nice to end the day out at sea; I think that I can confidently say that this will be an interesting voyage.

August 18th
The hippogriff seems to have taken a liking to Corwin, probably because he is the one that feeds it. He and Suleiman are the only ones strong enough to handle it if it gets out of control.

Unfortunately, Corwin is still very seasick, and is unable to bring the creature up to the deck for exercise. Urym is also feeling very queasy, although he did manage to sing a song for us on his magical lute. Much to our surprise (and Urym's, as well), the lute caused him to begin levitating, and he hovered over the deck as the ship passed below him. Luckily, he slammed into a mast--otherwise we may have left him floating over the ocean, behind us.

Like my voyage to Aragon, this trip is fairly uneventful. Those of us who can stand and move about are trying to help with the ship's operations. I will simply skip days which are uneventful enough not to warrant a log entry.

August 19th
Suleiman has begun tanning, his skin turning an even darker, brownish color. Poor Urym and Finis, both whom are fair-skinned, are burning rather badly. Still, I think they are getting more used to the rocking of the boat.

The hippogriff has taken to sleeping next to Corwin on the floor (he is too large to fit into hammocks, like the rest of us). Perhaps it will become some kind of unusual pet.

August 20th

My skin has begun returning to its normal, darker Ionian tint. Corwin, who has ventured on deck a few times, has begun taking on a bizarre, mottled appearance, as some parts of his skin tan and others burn.

Finis has been teaching me about fishing (although he admits that he has no experience with salt-water fishing), and I've been continuing my lessons in Ionian. I think that they should all be ready by the time we reach Anarchopolis.

August 21st
Uneventful.
August 22nd
Uneventful.
August 23rd
Uneventful.
August 24th
Uneventful.

August 25th
My eyelids are heavy, and this hammock is so comfortable, but I will not shirk from my duties. Here is my account of this day.

Land was sighted this afternoon. We have arrived at the island of Asturi. Asturi is a small island, with a farming village consisting of thirty or forty buildings. The entire island is perhaps twenty square miles in area.

We ventured ashore as the crew restocked the ship's provisions, and went out to stretch their legs. News soon reached our ears of a massive creature that had been terrorizing the town. It is apparently some kind of giant multi-headed reptile, which attacks from the other side of a hill behind the town.

The captain has offered us until noon tomorrow to kill the beast, and the townspeople have offered us fifty gold if we kill it. These poor villagers don't stand a chance against such a beast; we resolved to do our best.

Our best barely turned out to be enough. We locked the Hippogriff in the cabin (it squawked sadly as Corwin shut the door), and set out on the creatures trail. Finis says he can sense that nature is badly out of balance here.

Soon we heard the creature bellowing. I started a prayer to Prometheus, and Urym sang an inspiring song to urge us on. It came roaring at us, and it was apparent that the beast was indeed a hydra. Suleiman struck it with a fireball, but the fireball did not seem very effective. In fact, nothing seemed very effective. We tried cutting heads off, but two grew back for every one we cut. The main body of the beast seemed impervious to our blows. Too late, we realized that we should cut off its heads and cauterize the stumps with fire.

We decided to flee. I covered our flight with a darkness spell, and we barely escaped alive. The hydra could run only very slowly, so we gained ground on it easily.

What had been a ten-headed hydra now had twelve heads. Suleiman was nowhere to be seen, but he suddenly reappeared in our midst. We laid out another plan of attack, equipping ourselves with torches, and turned to face the monster.

It charged us mercilessly, and once again, we found that we were not very effective. We were too badly wounded to stand against it for long, and we were forced to retreat once more. Suleiman, once again, was nowhere to be seen.

Kellindel and Corwin were badly wounded and barely able to walk, so Finis cast an entangle on the hydra to slow it down, while we gained ground and cast healing spells. We resumed our flight from the hydra, and it eventually gave up the chase.

Soon, Suleiman appeared in the form of a raven, and returned to human form clutching a shield and a staff. He said that he and Tanvil had located the creature's lair, in a cave, and retrieved a few items. Unfortunately, he had used the last of wand of polymorph's charges in his escape from the hydra. Finis took the staff, and it vibrated, coursing with magical power.

Finis, Kellindel and I used the last of our healing magic, and we planned again. I cast Forethought, and Prometheus (or his servants) advised us that items from the hydra's cave would be useful against it, in the right hands. It was decided that I would use my candle of invocation, granting me the ability to cast more powerful spells against the beast. Corwin took the shield and Finis' hero's spear (which, you will recall, has a flaming tip), and we marched up to the beast's cave.

This time, we were victorious. As I ended a prayer, Suleiman and Kellindel fired arrows into the beast, luring it toward us. Corwin prepared to stop its charge, and I cast produce fire on it, burning it badly. We stabbed at it viciously with our torches and weapons--Finis discovered that the magical staff is a staff of striking--and, soon had it down to only a few heads. For the first time, I felt holy rage swelling inside me, and the Fury of Prometheus unleashed itself upon the beast. With a few more blows, the creature was no more.

Or so we thought. Although all the heads had been cut off, and the creature's body lay unmoving, one head continued to writhe. Any injury we did to the head was instantly healed. Amazingly, we seem to have defeated a Lyrnian hydra--they are, in a way, immortal.

I was aware that the blood of such a creature can have magical properties, so Suleiman poured some into a wineskin. We are concerned that the beast might be able to grow a new body, so Finis cleverly used stone shape to encase the head in a large rock, which we will cast into the ocean.

Although we were growing very tired by this time, we nonetheless searched the hydra's cave. Three eggs lay inside, and we destroyed them, lest the island be terrorized by more hydras. We were much more excited by the trove of items we found inside--there was no coin of any kind, but the cave was filled with magic. In addition to the staff and shield Suleiman had shown us, he had found a magical wand which casts various fire spells. Also in the cave were magic incense, a magic longsword, a potion of sweetwater, a potion of delusion (which Urym thought made him a giant), a potion of heroism, a scroll of protection from demons, and various spell components. Finally, twenty-two ivory plaques lay, face-down, on the floor--the dreaded Deck of Many Things.

We stumbled back into town, exhausted. The townspeople were ecstatic, and went about collecting our reward. They made a great show of scraping to find fifty gold, so we let them keep their money. Upon returning to the boat, we found that the hippogriff had broken into the barrel and eaten all the mice. Kellindel will have to catch some more on the island tomorrow.

So, we have returned to the ship, victorious and devoid of any energy. The people of this town will not soon forget the Pentachromata, I am sure. I am curious; who will be the first to draw from the deck of many things? I am not sure that I want to take the risk. What shall we name the hippogriff? What dangers await us in Anarchopolis? I am too tired to ponder these questions; I cannot keep my eyes open. I will stop now before my handwriting becomes illegible.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 23

August 26th
Once again, we have lost a member of the Pentachromata. Mighty Corwin fell to death's blade. This is quite a serious blow to the party; not only was I especially fond of Corwin, but we also lost our most powerful fighting force. Now the Pentachromata is reduced to three members: Finis Conwell, Suleiman, and myself (Corwin was not an official member, but had been accepted as such for all practical purposes). Kellindel shows promise, but we have not yet decided to officially induct him into the Pentachromata. I am getting ahead of myself; let me start at the beginning of the day.

We arose early, as we still had things left to do before the ship set sail. Kellindel and Suleiman started to go get some arrows and catch some mice for Kellindel's falcon, but instead we all began discussing the deck of many things. Kellindel was determined to draw from it. No one else seemed especially interested, but Kellindel was so adamant that we agreed to go to an isolated beach and those who wished to do so could draw.

Kellindel decided to take a huge risk and draw five cards; he made out quite well. As soon as he drew the first card a magical sword appeared at his side, and a map appeared in his hand. The map apparently indicates some place in Hejaz. As soon as he drew the second card, his newly gained magical sword disappeared, along with all the other magic he was carrying (which was very little). Nothing seemed to happen after he drew the third card, except that he seemed to stand a little taller and more confidently. After drawing the fourth card a pile a jewels and interesting works of art appeared on the beach before him. Finally, the fifth card granted him five arrows, which, when put together, formed another map. This one's location was not immediately obvious.

Corwin was amazed at all the things the deck had given Kellindel, and decided to draw three cards. This was not a wise idea; Kellindel had just been extraordinarily lucky. Unfortunately, Corwin was not known for his wisdom.

His first draw didn't appear to do anything at all. We asked him what happened, and he just turned around and smiled, saying "nothing". I could swear there was a look of malice in his eyes, but I might be wrong. He made his second draw, and suddenly a silent, cloaked figure wielding a scythe appeared and struck him. Corwin seemed unable to hit the terrible spirit; even a potion of heroism did him no good. He was practically helpless, and death slew him quickly.

As soon as he hit the ground, the deck and the phantom disappeared. Stunned, we gathered Corwen's body and carried him to a cliff which looked north to the sea. Finis stone shaped a tomb for him, and I cast continual flame on a small stone pillar. His tombstone is visible from the sea, and it says "Here lies Corwin, slayer of the Lyrnian Hydra". After saying a few words over his grave, Finis and I sanctified the area, and I performed the farewell ritual. Corwen's poor hippogriff seems just as upset as the rest of us.

There was little time to ponder Corwen's fate, as the ship was about to shove off. None of the sailors seemed to notice Corwen's absence, but the captain eventually asked, and we told him what happened. He expressed sympathy, and left us to our sorrow. We have split up care of the hippogriff between us. Suleiman is the only one strong enough to handle it, should it get out of control.

The rest of the day was far too dull; we have had nothing to think about but our loss. If we should ever come upon the opportunity to use another wish, I would like to restore Corwin to life.

August 27th
Our misery and boredom was relieved today by a group of whales, which came to the surface for air. I'm told that a group of whales is sometimes called a "pod". These creatures are truly gigantic; I am glad that they are harmless.

August 28th
Uneventful.

August 29th
I have been reading the Book of Animate Thyngs for quite some time now, and I now feel that I am comfortable enough with the spells and materials to create a rag golem. I have begun to gather rags from around the ship; perhaps I can try it in a few days.

August 30th
This day was unusual only in that we were treated with a beautiful display of falling stars tonight. I have never seen such a constant, extended shower of stars before. Could it be an omen of some sort?

September 1st
September already! Has it been so long since I left home? I have learned so much in such a short time--we all have, for that matter. I hope that the information I have gathered proves useful to my fellow Ionians.

I successfully created a rog golem today; I have named it Little Corwin. The unusual creature seems to be quite intelligent, and bewildered by its surroundings. At first, it was curious, asking what its purpose was, and following me around. It still follows me around, but it now seems content to simply follow my instructions. It is a little unusual, but I am sure that Little Corwin will prove useful. I have imbued him with the knowledge of healing, herbs, and the ability to speak Ionian.

Unfortunately, the hippogriff seems to be fond of playing with rags, much as a dog would, so we must be careful to keep the golem away from it.

September 2nd
The hippogriff has taken to sleeping next to Suleiman; I am glad that someone has recovered from the loss of Corwin. The rag golem continues to follow me around, and simply sits or stands contentedly while we sleep. It is a little strange.

September 3rd
Nothing exciting happened today, but the weather has become warmer. Clouds rolled in during the day, and we had some rain tonight. I hope that we get to Ionia soon; I do not want to experience a storm at sea.

September 4th
Finally, we have seen some sign that we are nearing Ionia. We passed several of the Ionian Islands to the north of the continent. We gave them a fairly wide berth, out of fear that they might be inhabited by minotaurs or other beasts. I have also warned the rest of the Pentachromata about the lost continent of Minetia, and the tendency of small pieces of it to resurface at inopportune times. So far, there have been no signs of that ancient world.

September 5th
A Leinstern Cog passed us today, probably also on its way to Anarchopolis. Our lookout kept an eye on it, just in case it was crewed by pirates. In any case, it has pulled far ahead of us by now.

September 6th
A strange vessel appeared on the sea today; I believe the captain said it was a "junk", a ship from Chi-ung. It has a strange square sail, that looks as though it might be made of paper. It seems to be keeping pace with us, but I don't believe it presents a threat.

September 7th
Finally, I am home! I have been away for so long that I felt as though I were in a strange land at first. However, I quickly became comfortable, and I now feel at home. We stand on a balcony of our temporary residence, in the district of Anarchopolis known as The Syrinx.

I suppose that, because I am home, I do not need to continue this log. Still, trouble has a way of following us around, so I think that I should continue writing, in case anything exciting happens. Besides, this has become a sort of habit.

The Siren's Song pulled into the dock just before the sun was setting. The sun still reflected off the white marble and red tile roofs. All around our ship were dozens of vessels from around the world, including the massive quadreme under construction for the Emathian navy (I have heard that plans for a quinquereme are being drawn), and the multitude of languages spoken was stunning. We gathered our possessions and thanked Duke Northton. He let us know that the ship would be here for two weeks, if we needed passage back to Connaught. I don't think that will be necessary.

Immediately after disembarking I called for a protection agency, and two Ionians emerged from the crowd in answer. One wore a sash, saying he represented the Paraplus Metic. The other, whose name was Dimitri, wore a disc around his neck, and said he represented the Obol protection agency. We decided to accept Dimitri's offer, as the Obol agency specializes in helping foreigners, and will provide us with lodging.

He escorted us to the Syrinx district, and showed us around our very comfortable villa. The building is made of white marble, and well furnished. There are even potted plants inside, and a fountain in the courtyard! Finis and Kellindel seem puzzled by the concept of putting a plant in a pot; they discussed it for quite some time. In fact, Kellindel looks positively uncomfortable; he is not used to large cities and large numbers of people.

For ten gold coins a week we get the house and a servant, and for an extra one gold a week per person, we are represented by the Obol agency (we wear discs around our neck to signify that they are our protectors). Our servant, an older man named Kyros, showed up not long after our arrival. He began to cook a goat for us, while Suleiman attempted to appraise the large stock of jewelry the deck of many things had given to Kellindel.

The goat was excellent; our villa is excellent; it is excellent to be home! The hippogriff enjoyed dining on the goat's entrails; it is probably a refreshing change from all the fish it ate on the voyage. We are all making changes to adapt to this continent; I have returned to simply wearing a chiton and sandals; I suspect that the others will do likewise as they realize how uncomfortable humidity can be.

We took advantage of this peaceful evening to reflect quietly on the events of the past several months, looking out at the city from our balcony. Kellindel has decided to sleep in the courtyard, under a potted tree. Praise to the great teacher, we are finally here!

September 8th
Breakfast today consisted of a wide variety of fruits, the likes of which I have not tasted for a long, long time. The others seemed to enjoy them a great deal, especially Kellindel. We changed our attire to be more in keeping with the temperature, and headed out into the city.

We waded through the crowd, with Suleiman using his considerable strength to clear a path. A Demopol stood on a street corner, speaking about the innate goodness of man, but the citizens of Anarchopolis were too busy to pay him any heed. We continued on, headed toward the temple of Prometheus and the Academic Campus. As we neared the temple, I caught sight of an acquaintance, Leander of Terapolis. He did not recognize me at first, but when he did, he was delighted to see me. In fact, he recognized Suleiman and Finis--apparently, the log I sent off from Duma Faifni made it all the way back to Demopolis! Bless Glaucon's soul, he was true to his word!

I asked to speak to head priest Ator, so that I could discuss my vision with him. Leander explained that Ator was busy until the afternoon, but that he (Leander) and some other priests would like to take us to eat at a Hejazian restaurant. We agreed to meet at the cedar grove around noon.

Kyros led us through the marketplace, where we procured some supplies. Suleiman and Kellindel were both short on arrows. Some singers were performing, and we stopped briefly to listen. Urym put his ear to the ground and heard that Cyrus, the son of Apollo, has slain the warlock Farmia. Kyros tells us that a new philosophy, called sophism, has become popular, and that an Isutian Prince (with an elephant caravan, no less!) is in town.

When noon came we met with Leander and a few other priests at the cedar grove. As we walked to the restaurant, they barraged us with questions about our travels. We were nearing the Hejazian district when we heard a commotion, and the crowd of people seemed to form a wall. Suleiman started to force his way through, and once the people noticed him, they got out of his way quickly.

We emerged from the crowd to find a combat in progress. Three humans in strange armor squared off against what seemed to be orcs. Two more humans lay dead on the ground, and the orcs, who numbered ten, clearly held the upper hand. We were unsure of who to assist--things are not always what they seem in Anarchopolis, but Kellindel did not hesitate. He jumped in to help the humans, while Finis cast know alignment. He determined that the orcs were evil, and we joined the fight against them.

The orcs proved to be surprisingly tough; they killed yet another one of the strangely armored humans, and one of them survived a Fury of Prometheus before they were finally defeated. Kellindel used hold person twice during the fight, to great effect. I can see that such a spell will prove useful. Strangely, the last orc slit his own throat.

Our attempts to communicate with the human warriors were useless at first. Apparently they are from Nobunaga, and do not speak Ionian. Fortunately, one of my fellow priests could speak Nobunagan. Apparently one of the two surviving men is a noble of some sort, named Hadoshi Tokeda. He said that the orcs are from his land, and have enmity against his family. Hadoshi then ordered the other human, a samurai named Daito Tokeda, to accompany us, apparently both to repay us for saving them, and to show us that warriors of his family are not incompetent. As we are much weakened by the loss of Corwin, we agreed. He has been ordered to accompany us for one month.

Hadoshi Tokeda walked off, and we resumed our walk to the Hejazian restaurant. I cast Teaching and Learning on Daito, so that he might temporarily gain my knowledge of Ionian. He thanked us for helping his lord, but said little else. His armor is most unusual; it seems to be made of wicker and bamboo.

We reached the Hejazian Merchant Exchange, and Suleiman seemed a little stunned. I have been told that the district looks like a small sample of Hejaz; apparently it is true. The food was delicious indeed; we ate sheep and drank tea, coffee, and lhassi. They don't seem to use any kind of utensils in Hejaz, so we ate with our hands (except for Daito, who used two pieces of bamboo from his armor to make chopsticks). The conversation was pleasant and relaxed. It feels so strange to go from life devoid of comforts to such luxury.

Kyros led us on a brief tour of the Hejazian district before we returned to the temple to meet with High Priest Ator. He was very pleased to see us, and invited us to sit and talk with him. The others seemed uncomfortable inside our temple at first, but Ator's kind manner soon calmed them. I explained everything that had happened up until my vision in Oghma's Monastery. While Ator could not explain the meaning of the vision, he did tell me some things that might be helpful. First, forces of the Taygete League are secretly gathering near the border of the Magic Lands--forces composed of living men, not undead. Second, he said that he can sense Prometheus' anger--He is very displeased about something.

It occurred to me that Prometheus might be angry with me, so I began to tell Ator what had happened after I had the vision. I must have sounded like a babbling fool when I came to the events of Wicklow. Ator gently calmed me, and suggested an atonement. I heartily agreed, and it was decided that the ceremony would take place tonight. Ator also agreed to ask around about my sister, Damara, from whom I have not heard for several years. I tithed an amber gem, as part of my share of the party treasure, and we returned to the villa.

I felt a great sense of relief, having voiced all my concerns to Ator, and dinner seemed more enjoyable because of it. After resting and bathing, we returned to the academy for the ceremony. Urym decided to look around the libraries, and Kellindel went to talk to a priest about the map on his arrows (it turned out to be a lake in southeast Aragon). Suleiman, Finis, and Daito waited quietly for the ceremony to end.

The ceremony was simple and elegant, and everything went as planned, until the end. As soon as Ator was finished casting the spell, I was suddenly frozen in place and my sight was replaced by another vision. I saw a burning boat, a tree standing on water, and a man, garbed in the vestments of Ares, attacking. I had seen all three in my vision before, but I had forgotten about the burning boat, and the first vision was too brief for me to remember exactly what Ares had to do with it.
I grabbed Ator; he seemed to think that I was embracing him, and tried to embrace me, but I shook him and told him what I had seen. He did not know what to make of it, but he did say that a trireme, named the Hammer, had mysteriously caught fire and sank in the harbor the other day.

Despite the disconcerting vision, I feel much better now that Prometheus has forgiven me. We found Urym and Kellindel, and decided to investigate the Hammer's demise by visiting a harbormaster. It was beginning to get dark outside, but Anarchopolis, of course, was still busy. We saw a group of men riding ornthas, carrying green banners with a silver trireme on them. I am not sure what the banner means.

The young harbormaster was very helpful; he said that the ship caught fire just as it reached the dock. Apparently, it was coming from Urbs Deorum, and its cargo consisted only of a group of priests of Hephaestus. They were led by Corax, a powerful clergyman. The harbormaster also mentioned that an Amazon, named Narissa, had inquired about the boat earlier today.

It was becoming very dark by then, so we went on one last errand before returning to the villa. Suleiman wanted to send a letter home to Hejaz. He offered to pay a sailor to do it, but the man seemed reluctant. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the man asked Suleiman a question, and when Suleiman answered, the man got down and prostrated himself before Suleiman! Suleiman encouraged the sailor to stand, and he took Suleiman's letter, holding it closely as he clambered back aboard his ship. It seems that there are still many things about Suleiman that we do not know.

Once again, we are relaxing in the incredible comfort of our villa. I hope that this easy living is not making us soft. I fear that we will need to be in prime condition soon.

September 9th
Our work never seems to be done. We are all exhausted after another day of walking around the city (among other things). After another excellent breakfast, we set out in search of the site of the Hammer's sinking. On the way to the docks, we passed a group of young men, all following another man who was obviously in excellent physical condition. Apparently the leader is the town's champion runner, Xemon.

We eventually reached the waterfront, and the Hammer's dock. The water was smooth and calm, with no sign of the terrible fire that sank the ship. I tossed in a continual light rock, and it sank, and sank, and sank some more--the harbor must be fifty or sixty feet deep!

Finis jumped into the water, transforming into a dolphin. We all thought it would be an excellent way to explore the wreck; it was, in fact, a disastrous idea. Finis swam to the bottom, and was surprised by a group of three sea trolls--scrags--which nearly tore him to pieces. He swam for the surface and changed into a small frog (healing some of his wounds in the transformation). The scrags were close behind, and Urym plucked him from the water just in time.

Only two of the scrags pursued Finis, and they attacked us soon as they surfaced. Their attack was vicious; One of them wrapped its claws around Kellindel and was about to pull him under, but I wrenched him from the fiend's grip with a watery fist.

They submerged and escaped--I grabbed one of them with the watery fist, but it easily broke my hold and disappeared into the depths. By this time, a crowd had gathered, and several sailors told us that they were indeed scrags, and that the nasty creatures quickly heal their wounds when submerged in saltwater. Also, we found out that the Liberty Bank (the five-story high structure in the middle of town) owned the docks.

After pondering what to do about the scrags, we decided to eat lunch, and then go to the temple of Hephaestus. Lunch consisted of some hearty flaffel.

We were greeted at the temple by a priest named Gorca. He asked us to wait for high priest Hassad. I was slightly worried that the old discomfort between my priesthood and theirs might cause problems, but it did not. Hassad and Gorca were both very hospitable, in their own gruff manner.

I explained why we were interested in the wreck, and told them of my visions. He did not know what they meant, but he did ask us to help them recover the priests' bodies, and the holy items they brought with them. To aid us, he presented us with a pair of magical gauntlets which greatly enhance their wearer's strength, as well as the assistance of Gorca. Apparently, the temple of Hephaestus already hired an group of adventurers to explore the ship, but they never returned.

We decided that we would attack the trolls tomorrow morning, when we were fully recovered. Gorca accompanied us back to the Syrinx, where we found that a beggar named Avel had invoked the Right of Hospitality. Of course, we allowed him in. Gorca and Urym enjoyed casting their bad luck onto him, but the rest of us refrained. Avel said a prayer to Zeus, blessing us, and joined us in our meal.

After dinner I went to the temple of Prometheus with Suleiman, Gorca, and Finis. Urym headed off to the Symposium, and I'm sure he's still there, in a drunken stupor. On the way to the temple Suleiman informed us that he had named the hippogriff Kwame MacBennan. Kwame was apparently the name of a slave that once took care of him, and MacBennan was, of course, Corwen's last name.

Leander approached us as we entered the temple, and took me aside. He had heard some news about my sister, Damara, through his contacts with the Synod, a shady protection agency--more of a thieves' guild, really. Apparently she has thrown in with them. This does not bode well. I related this to Finis and Suleiman, who were unsure of what to make of it.

The reason we had travelled to the temple was to fill in the gaps in my log, and to relate what had occurred since I last sent the log, from Duma Faifni. Finis, Suleiman, and I all took turns speaking in front of the rather large audience that had assembled in the auditorium. No less than four scribes wrote down every word we said! Curiously, a centaur was in the audience as well.

Fortunately, we all spoke very well, and answered all questions to the best of our abilities. Suleiman was asked to return and speak on the subject of Planar Travel, and Finis was asked to speak about druids. They both seemed delighted, and we agreed to return tomorrow. Brother Prebis hinted to me that there might be a position available at the new temple in Libertopolis. I will have to consider the offer at length.

By the time we finished, it was quite late, so we returned to our villa. Gorca seemed to have enjoyed the whole thing immensely. It is very strange, having all these people, whom I formerly was far below, looking up to me! I hope that I am worthy of their esteem.

It is time for bed; we have an appointment with some scrags in the morning.
------------------
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
only a few more sessions to go!

SESSION 24

September 10th
Something strange is afoot. The trolls have been slain, and the priests' items have been returned, but the mystery only deepens.

I presented Kellindel with the elven chain mail before leaving in the morning; he seemed quite excited about it. We tried to persuade Daito Tokedo to put on our extra suit of Githyanki splint mail, but he was either unwilling or didn't understand. Urym returned shortly afterward, looking totally exhausted. It seems that he spent most of the night in revelry (again). As you shall see, this causes us a great deal of trouble later on.

On the way to the docks we discussed several different plans. Our first idea was "fishing for scrags": we filled a large fish with wyvern poison, tied a line onto it, and hoped they would eat it and die.

As we reached the docks, we found a large group of beggars leaving. Apparently they spent the night there. We stopped one beggar and, after lubricating his memory with coin, he told us that he saw the Hammer burn! He claims to have seen a large man walk to the dock as the boat approached and leap fifty feet onto the boat. Fire shot from his hands onto the deck and rigging, and some sort of gas sank into the deck. The sailors below deck shouted at first, but soon became silent. He then jumped back onto the dock and walked off as the Hammer sank. According to the beggar, he was dressed like an aristocrat. Suleiman have surmised that the magics he used were burning hands and cloud kill, but the beggar says that he did not use any verbal or somatic components. It is puzzling indeed.

We began our first attempt to kill the trolls, using the fish and wyvern poison. Finis turned into a sea otter and followed the fish down to check on the results. It seems that the poison worked, but the troll that ate it recovered relatively quickly. Just to experiment, we tried it again with another fish. This time, they tugged on the rope, pulling Suleiman into the water. We quickly pulled him out, and the trolls briefly surfaced after seeing him splashing around.

This prompted us to try our second idea. Suleiman cast levitate on himself, tied a rope around his waist and around the dock, and pushed off, floating just above the water. Finis returned to his human form and joined us on the dock, as I prayed for blessings from Prometheus. We handed Daito a net, hoping that he would use it to pull dead trolls from the water, and Suleiman lowered himself into the water, flailing with his feet and making a great deal of commotion.

The scrags wasted no time coming after him. They shot toward the surface, and Suleiman floated out of the water just in time. Only two of the trolls came to the surface at first, and Kellindel, his strength greatly increased by the magical gauntlets of Hephaestus, gave them a good work-out. He poured the potion of sweetwater into the water by the dock, making them unable to regenerate, and cut one of the scrags down quickly (although it savaged him badly in return). Daito, unfortunately, tried to use the net on the other scrag. The scrag promptly shredded the net and tore into Daito. Little Corwin the rag golem was on hand to quickly bind his wounds.

Suleiman tried to cast levitate on the other troll, but his spell seemed to go awry; the levitate worked on the troll, but he and the troll switched bodies, leaving him looking up, from the troll's body, at his own form, flailing and screaming in mid-air. He took advantage of the opportunity to swim to the bottom of the harbor and investigate the wreck.

Two more trolls surfaced and attacked, and Kellindel killed yet another one. I had been using a watery fist to attack, but I abandoned it in order to heal the grievous wounds Kellindel had received. Finally, I cast Fury of Prometheus, and Daito finished the troll off with an arrow from his enormous bow. That left only the troll that had switched bodies with Suleiman (who was just now emerging from the water, in the scrag's body, with a huge chest from the wreck).

Several men had offered to pull the dead scrags from the water for a few bronze, and we burnt the trolls bodies immediately. The stench was foul indeed. We did not have enough bronze coin on us to pay the men, so we dispatched Urym and Daito to our villa in the Syrinx, to retrieve some coin.

Suleiman and the troll were still in each others' bodies, but they switched back suddenly, leaving the troll, in its own body, standing on the dock, and Suleiman floating in the air. Enraged, the troll attacked us. Finis smote it mightily with his staff of striking, but that appeared to exhaust the staff's charges, as it shattered on impact. The troll, realizing that it was outnumbered, turned to jump off the dock. Unfortunately for the scrag, the levitate was still in effect (naturally Suleiman had been able to control it while in the troll's body), and it simply hovered there, caught in midair, above the water. We dispatched it easily.

I cast water breathing on Finis, Kellindel, and Gorca, and they went down to investigate the wreck further. They soon returned, bearing the bodies of the priests, and many magical hammers and suits of armor. In addition, they recovered the bodies of the first group of adventurers to explore the wreck. Gorca said that he would take care of their burial arrangements, and that we may collect whatever items from them that we found useful.

It turns out that they had a great many useful items. After careful examination, we found that they had a magical shield of Ionian design (which I have claimed), boots of speed, a ring of fire resistance, and two strange stones. Urym says they are called ioun stones; when tossed into the air by the user, they circle around the user's head. After a short period of time, they begin to bestow magical enhancements to the users abilities. It seems that one increases the user's strength, while the other improves the user's abilities in general. Oddly, there is an extra magical right boot. We are considering looking around the wreck further, in hopes that its left foot mate will turn up.

After we had finally finished hauling everything to the surface, a representative of the Obol protection agency came up to us and said that we had been robbed. Urym and Daito seem to have come upon two of the thieves, and dispatched them. The rest got away with a great deal of gold and jewelry (most of which Kellindel had gained from the deck of many things).

We made our way to the Syrinx, and found that Kyros had been badly wounded, and Kwame the hippogriff had been slightly injured. I could do nothing for the creature, as it is supernatural in nature; my spells work only on natural creatures. The bag of holding, containing Nelbar's encyclopedia, had also been stolen but they had left the bronze and some other coins in the chest.

I cast locate object, and Urym pointed me in the direction that he believed the thieves had gone. We soon found the bag of holding (with encyclopedia intact) in an alley, with a pile of jewelry. Unfortunately, all the gems had been removed from the jewelry. The thieves must have anticipated that we would be able to magically locate anything as unique as a piece of jewelry, but not a plain gem.

I am not too concerned with this; it is only money. There was one piece, however, that it is sad too see ruined: a platinum globe, representing the whole of Ermoon, with gems signifying the continents. It was a stunning piece of work, but it is much less valuable without the gems. Kellindel was planning to use the wealth to raise an army, and use the army to defeat the wizard threatening his forest in Aragon. Now he must find another way.

We returned to the Syrinx, where we informed Dimitri that we had recovered the jewels, but not the gems. He seems genuinely concerned that this could break the Obol agency; they cannot afford to insure us for the loss of all the gems. Apparently they forgot to ask us in advance exactly for what they were providing insurance. I do not think that Kellindel will require them to pay the entire sum back; he does not want to ruin their company. Still, we will make sure that they try their best to recover at least some of the gems.

Some of the members of the group grumbled about how stupid the private law enforcement system is. They were especially upset that the Obol might not be able to repay us the entire value of Kellindel's stolen gems. This strikes me as a strange complaint--in what government-run law enforcement system does the government offer any insurance if it fails in its duty to protect? Since it costs the government little to fail, why should it try as hard as these agencies do? The continued profitablity (and therefore, existence) of these agencies depends on protecting their customers, and compensating customers when they fail! I do not think they have thought about the issue clearly.

Urym believes that he recognizes one of the two thieves he and Daito caught. Apparently, Urym told him (and many other people) of how fabulously wealthy and successful the Pentachromata are while he was out reveling. He seems to be somewhat embarrassed and ashamed, and rightfully so. In an attempt to make up for it, he tried to identify some of the magic we recovered from the other adventuring party; I have related to you the results of his attempts earlier.

We then traveled to the temple of Hephaestus to meet with high priest Hassad, and tell him what happened at the docks. Gorca had already told him about the fight and about the robbery. He expressed his sympathy, and told us that he had grave news, acquired by casting speak with dead on the deceased priests.

It seems that the Hammer of Hephaestus (the importance of which to Hephaestus' priests I do not need to tell you) has been stolen from their temple in Urbs Deorum, by a red-headed Ionian--could it be my sister? If so, she brings shame upon my whole family. After the theft, the priests of Hephaestus came to Anarchopolis to speak to the priests of Prometheus, but their ship was sunk just as it arrived. He cannot tell why they would want to talk to the priests of Prometheus, but he is sure that it is very serious. Something seems to have partially obstructed his communication with the dead priests, so he had no more information (yet).

It was beginning to get late. We headed to the temple of Prometheus to tell the brothers there what had occurred. Leander met us at the door, saying that he had heard more news about my sister. She left on a ship called the Arboria the same day that the Hammer burned. It occurred to both Suleiman and I that the Arboria was the ship on the water! But what does the attacking priest of Ares mean? My vision's meaning is not yet clear.

In order to gain more information, we asked Leander to arrange another meeting with his contacts, so that Suleiman might use his Helm of ESP to read their minds. Perhaps there is something they are not telling Leander. Leander said that he would try to make the meeting in the morning.

Our next destination was the harbormaster. We were hoping that we might discover some more information about the Arboria and her cargo. On the way we heard a young boy calling out our names. He said that we were wanted at the temple of Hephaestus. We thanked him and quickly made our way to the temple, where Hassad awaited us.

He had more information for us, as well as a mission. We are to go to Urbs Deorum, where some kind of sacrilege has offended Prometheus. I am uncertain what could have happened, as He has neither a temple nor a shrine there (as we all know, Prometheus rarely gets along with the misguided, amoral Olympians). We are to discover the cause of Prometheus' anger; it is somehow tied to the theft of the Hammer of Hephaestus, and perhaps other strange occurrences. To aid us, Hessad is allowing us to keep the Gauntlets of Hephaestus, and sending Gorca with us. We are to contact high priest Actinos once we arrive. We left the temple with the blessings of Hephaestus; could this joint effort lead to the healing of the rift that has long existed between our two gods and churches?

It was late indeed when we left the temple, but we made our way to the harbormaster nonetheless. While we asked about the Arboria, Gorca went to secure passage on a ship to Urbs Deorum.

I asked the young man at the counter about the Arboria, and he said that he would have to look in a book. Suleiman, using the Helm of ESP, read the clerk's mind; he was wondering why a priest of Prometheus was asking about a Synod ship. Suleiman decided that it should not be known that we are looking for a ship owned by a criminal organization. He made up the name of another ship (which, of course, the clerk could not find in his register). We left the poor clerk somewhat confused. Hopefully, the Synod does not know that we are investigating them.

We waited for Gorca to return. He had arranged for the ship to leave early in the morning. We arranged for the ship, the Kozimo, to leave in the afternoon instead, as we have several things left to do tomorrow. Suleiman must give a talk at the temple on planar travel (and I will endeavor to assist him), and we must eavesdrop on Leander's meeting with his Synod contacts. Also, it would be a good idea to let Dimitri and the Obol protection agency know that, although we will be gone, they had better find some of our gems. Urym and Daito did not kill the two thieves they discovered in the villa; they were merely knocked unconscious. We may interrogate them tomorrow. Perhaps I should send this log on to Demopolis as well.

Finally, we returned to the Syrinx to get some rest. There was one magical item, a helm, which we could not identify. Daito tried it on, and suddenly found that he could understand all of us (although we still could not understand him). He has learned a little Ionian, but his accent is far too thick for anyone to understand him. The helm of comprehend languages will be useful.

Obol has posted two guards outside of our villa. I do not think that anyone would be so stupid as to attempt another robbery, but it is comforting to know the guards are there. I had better get some sleep; tomorrow will be yet another busy day.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 25

September 11

Dearest Brethren,

Praise to the light-bringer! I hope that you received the third portion of my log. The first was sent from Caer Dorban, the second from Duma Faifni, and the third was sent from Anarchopolis. I now begin the fourth section, starting with our last day in Anarchopolis.

While Kyros served us our last breakfast, we discussed how best to distribute our new magical equipment. I took the Ionian magic shield, and because Daito seems to be catching on to the Ionian tongue very quickly (he seems to have learned it almost overnight!), I took the helm of comprehend languages as well. Kellindel took the ioun stone which increases the wearer's abilities, and Daito took the strength stone. Finis took the boots of speed. We couldn't decide who could best use the ring of fire resistance, so Suleiman took it.

Daito, Gorca, Suleiman, and myself went to the Academy and temple of Prometheus. On the way, we passed a large display in the Agora; it seems that many ornthra dealers have chosen to hawk their wares today. If only we knew how to ride them!

We found Leander at the temple, in prayer. I joined him until he finished, and he informed us that he had arranged for a meeting with a Synod contact. I asked him to have my log sent to Demopolis, and he gladly agreed. Leander is to be praised for his assistance; he has been very helpful. I am sure that Prometheus will reward his devotion to his duties.

Leander led us to a run-down section of town. The meeting was to take place in a shop called the One-Eyed Parrot. Judging by the run down exterior, lack of customers, and lack of merchandise on the inside, we surmised that this was in fact a front for a "fence"--a broker of stolen goods.

Once inside, we immediately noticed four men pretending to look at the rotting silk and rusted cooking implements. They were obviously hired thugs, kept on call in case trouble should arise. We ignored them, and introduced ourselves to Solon, the well-dressed man behind the counter. He was very evasive in his answers, but he said that he knew my sister, and that she left on a ship for Leinster. Suleiman was using his necklace of ESP, and later told me that Solon was lying; my sister headed for the Isutian colony on the southeast coast of Ionia.

He said that he would be willing to take a message for her, and I began to give him one, when a voice called from behind a curtain "The numbers don't lie!". Solon walked behind the curtain, and the voice of unkown origin continued, saying something about a high probability of something-or-other. Suleiman wandered toward the door, and was blocked by the four thugs that had been pretending to browse the store.

Suddenly there was a loud, angry snorting sound, and a giant bull, seemingly clad in metal plates, appeared before us! Gas spewed from is flaring nostrils, and Leander shouted "Gorgon!". We braced ourselves for combat, and the Gorgon unleashed its noxious breath. I was unaffected, but Gorca and Daito were frozen in place. Strangely, they did not turn to stone--and this was the only clue I needed. It was an illusion; upon realizing this, the beast disappeared, replaced by a dark, shadow form. I announced that it was an illusion, but Daito did not seem persuaded. Gorca, Leander, and I struck the shadow, and Leander delivered the final blow. I jumped over the counter and ran behind the curtain, entering a small room. A door on the opposite side had just shut. Not wishing to run into what was likely a trap, I returned, and we stirred Daito from his frozen state.

The four thugs wisely retreated. Suleiman said that the spell used against us was a shadow monster; I suspect that the Pythagorean Cult of Numbers was involved. Their control over numbers is known to give them strange powers. A sheet of paper in the back room, filled with formulas that were on the edge of my understanding, verified my suspicion.

With no other interesting clues, we headed to the Hejazian district to get lunch, before returning to the temple. Suleiman's lecture went very well; he hardly needed any assistance from me. The various scholars practically begged him to stay and tell them more over dinner, but he declined so that we could make it to our ship, the Kozimo, on time. We briefly met with Ator, who said that he did not have any suggestions for Suleiman and his dilemma (regarding Utgard Loki). However, he said High Priestess Octavia may have some ideas.

Interestingly, Ator said that my name keeps coming up in connection with the temple to be established in Libertopolis. It would be a great honor to have a role in such an event, but can I leave the Pentachromata? I hope that Prometheus may provide me with some guidance on this subject.
Our business in the temple having been completed, we said our farewells, particularly to Leander. If I am placed in charge of the temple at Libertopolis, I would like him to be my second. He has proven his dedication.

We returned to the Syrinx, finding Kellindel, Finis, Urym, and Kwame all looking very refreshed. It seems that they spent the day in a park, enjoying the sunshine. Kellindel's falcon apparently reduced the park's population of pigeons significantly.

Kellindel has made what seems to me to be a very shrewd decision; he has forgiven the debt of the Obol protection agency. They do not have to pay him for the all the stolen gems. However, he did ask them to convert his existing wealth into convenient gems, and he asked that they continue to pursue the thieves. Dimitri was very pleased with this arrangement, and even offered Kellindel and his friends the service of the Obol, whenever they are in Anarchopolis.

Dimitri provided us with an escort to the harbor, where we handed over our Obol medallions, and boarded the Kozimo. The crew is short a few hands, so we assisted them in moving the ship out of port and onto the open sea. I must admit, I am sad to see Anarchopolis sinking below the horizon. It was the closest thing to my home in Demopolis that I had felt in a long time.

The evening has been amazingly quiet; there is nothing to do but ponder where we have been, and where we are going. I have never been to Urbs Deorum, and I do not know what to expect there. Our small schooner is making good time, and the captain expects to be there in a week, if all goes well. Let us hope that all goes well.

September 12th
So far, so good. There have been a few ships about, but nothing of interest has occurred. Playing with Kwame is one of the few activities that relieves the tedium of sailing. Hesperos, a crewman, seems to be especially interested in Kwame. He says that he had a dog when he was younger. Kwame is growing quite rapidly now; Suleiman is barely large enough to handle him safely (not that he would intentionally harm any of us).

September 13th
The empty hills of northen Ionia have become dotted with occasional shrubs, and we have passed a few fishing villages. The fisherman usually wave to us in a friendly manner. The weather continues to be warm and humid, but not terribly uncomfortable (especially since we removed all of our armor).

September 14th
Today we were stopped by a frantic fisherman, who warned us that a horrible creature was terrorizing ships traveling west. It flies, has several heads, and breathes fire. It sounds as though it might be a chimera. We have taken the warning seriously, posting a watchman and staying closer to the shore. The captain suggested that we could try to avoid the chimera by going further north, but that would take us dangerously close to harpy-infested islands. We will stay on our original course. Fortunately, the moon is full, so we can keep watch at night, as well.

September 15th
We had been under way for several hours when Lysurgis spotted the chimera. The terrible beast had a lion's head, a goat's head, and a lizard's head. We opened fire with ranged weapons as I prayed, and the chimera flew straight for us. Finis tried to dampen the boat with a precipitation spell, so that it would be less flammable, and the sailors pulled the sail down. The creature landed on the boat, knocking several of us off of our feet. Kellindel bravely stood against the chimera, dealing it several terrible blows, but the dragon head reared back and covered the deck with flame. Most of the sailors jumped into the water and out of danger, but Little Corwin went up in a puff of smoke.

Suleiman tried to use a wand on the chimera, but the wand didn't seem to work. He then cast a magic missile, but it seems that the strange working of Ionian magic caused it go awry--the spell struck me instead! Fortunately, I was not badly wounded.

We pressed our attack, with Kellindel leading the way. Despite its massive size, it could not last long against Kellindel. The chimera soon fell dead into the ocean. The crew, which had reached the shore by now, cheered and returned to the boat. Unfortunately, it seems that Lysurgis, the sailor who had spotted the chimera had been killed. We buried him at sea, and made for the shore to effect some repairs on the hull. Thanks to the precipitation spell, the fire damage seems minimal, and Finis repaired much of the hull with a shape wood spell.

The triumphant Pentachromata went in search of the chimera's lair, and we soon found a road leading inland. Did you think killing the chimera was impressive? Wait until you read this.

We traveled a short distance down the road and came upon a single man, standing in the middle of the road, with a longsword at his side. He said that he was Nyceas, which meant nothing to us. Gorca informed us that he was a bandit, and the son of Aphrodite! Of course, he told us that if we gave him all our wealth, he would let us go; we noted that he had several armed men standing in the woods. Hoping that we could bluff our way out of fighting a demigod, I said that if he gave us his long sword, we'd let him go. He didn't seem to care for that, and seemed to charm Daito simply by speaking to him.

Suleiman asked for a moment to discuss it, and we gathered around to discuss it. I informed them, quietly, that I was about to cast a spell, and that they should all attack as soon as I began. We whirled about, and Nyceas and his forces seemed stunned for a moment.

The results of our attack were devastating. The charm Nyceas had placed on Daito didn't extend any protection to the men in the woods, who stepped forward with slings. Daito charged into a group on one side of the road, gave a great shout, and proceeded to kill them very quickly. Finis trapped the other group of men with slings on the other side of the road with a spike growth, and Suleiman began raining arrows down upon them.

Four men in bronze armor charged down the road toward us, and Kellindel froze two of them in place with a hold person. He and Gorca made short work of the two that were free to move, and knocked the other two unconscious.

Meanwhile, Urym and I squared off against Nyceas. Once again, Nyceas used his enchanting voice to remove Urym from the fight, and we circled each other. Fortunately, his swings bounced harmlessly off of my armor and shield, but I could not keep him away for long.

Kellindel and Gorca soon came to my aid, and Nyceas soon saw that he had made a serious miscalculation. By this time, Daito had turned five of the men with slings into a grisly pile of body parts, and Suleiman had picked off the other group with his bow. The four armored men were dead or unconscious. It was Nyceas versus all of us.

Fortunately for Nyceas, his godlike powers kept us from all attacking him; some of us just could not bring ourselves to swing at him, unless he was attacking us directly. Kellindel, however, felt no such restriction, and dealt Nyceas two terrible wounds.

It was clear that Nyceas was defeated, and I offered him an opportunity to surrender. He accepted, but said "First, the payback", and then struck Kellindel with his sword. The blow was strong, but Kellindel shrugged it off. Nyceas then backed away, turned, and ran off.

We recovered some bronze from the bandits and returned to the boat. By this time, all the repairs were complete and we were ready to resume our journey. The crew seemed very impressed with our exploits. I suppose we could have killed Nyceas without too much effort, but incurring the wrath of Aphrodite does not sound very appealing. Perhaps Nyceas will think twice before his next robbery.

September 16th
The ship has taken a more southernly tack; we must be getting close to Urbs Deorum. The fishing boats have reappeared, as we leave the area terrorized by the chimera. The captain anticipates our arrival in two days, at the most.

September 17th
While Kellindel was allowing his falcon to stretch its wings this afternoon, we spotted several flying creatures in the distance, coming from the large mountain range that has appeared. At first we were alarmed, and Kellindel recalled his falcon. Then I realized that they were Aarakocra, and posed no threat to us at all. I waved to them, and one flipped a wing in a sort of greeting. We left them to their fishing, and they left us to our sailing. Other than this, the day has been quiet. I think that it may be getting a little more humid.

September 18th
Finally, we have reached Urbs Deorum. Neither the city nor our greeting are what I expected. The city itself is large, and is surrounded by a colossal wall. The harbor is crammed with ships, as this is, of course, the headquarters of the Emathian navy. Statues, temples, and inns to house the large numbers of pilgrims seem almost as numerous as the people themselves. An aquaduct is under construction by Zek k'tri workers--they scale the vertical supports while carrying huge blocks of stone!

We docked the ship, gathered our belongings, and disembarked. Hesperos, who has grown so fond of Kwame, asked us to look him up should we ever return to Anarchopolis. He says that he knows someone that trains Ornthras, and may be able to train Kwame. We told him that we might take him up on the offer.

As Gorca led us to the temple of Hephaestus, a bell chimed the time, reminding us briefly of Tesplyn's Grove. Gorca entered the temple alone, in order to prepare them for our arrival (and probably our unusual appearance). As we waited outside, I began to feel a little uncomfortable; something here seems awry, but I cannot put my finger on it. Gorca returned and said that we would speak to the head journeyman, Actinos, in one hour. We took advantage of the hour to find an Inn, called the Pilgrim, and quickly eat a light dinner (which consisted of fish stew, except for Gorca and Suleiman, who ate scallops).

Upon our return to the temple of Hephaestus, we were escorted into Actinos' office, where he sat on a large chair, set slightly above our own. The manner in which he looked down upon us was meant to unsettle us; it worked on Gorca, who seemed mildly annoyed.

I told him of my vision, of what had happened to the Hammer, and of our misssion. I refrained from telling him about my sister, as I do not trust this man, and I cannot predict his reaction. He asked us if we knew anything about an Amazon named Narissa. Of course, that was the mysterious Amazon who had inquired about the Arboria before us at the harbormaster in Anarchopolis.

He looked at us, in a disdainful but calculating manner, and we waited. He finally said that he would tell us why the priests of Hephaestus wanted to talk to the the priests of Prometheus--if we paid a price. At this point, we could hear Gorca's teeth grinding. He gave us a choice of tasks to perform. Two artifacts have been stolen from their temple. The first, a golem called the Golden Forger, was stolen hundreds of years ago by a cyclops, and placed on an island. Gorca stood up in anger, and objected that many adventurers have tried to recover it, but none have succeeded. Actinos ignored him and continued.

Our second option is to proceed on to the Isutian colony and recover the Hammer of Hephaestus. We asked if he had any information that would help us recover it, and he said yes--but he will not give it to us until we recover the Golden Forger. Basically, this man was forcing us to recover the Golden Forger. We said that we would return in the morning with an answer.

Gorca led us on a brief tour of the temple. Suleiman seemed particularly interested in the sacred forge, from which the Hammer of Hephaestus was stolen. Apparently, they found two priests inside, their throats slit, a thread of red hair near a forge, and the rack, on which the hammer lay, empty.

There were no signs of intrusion, but Suleiman was determined to continue investigating. He climbed to the roof, where the forges vented their gases, but all possible entrances were sealed shut by metal bars and grates. There seemed to be no way the hammer could have been stolen.
Finally, we returned to the inn. Urym went out to collect information--with strict instructions not to get drunk and tell everyone that we are fabulously wealth. Suleiman talked to the barkeeper and found that in two days, the city will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Emathian victory over the Taygete League. It is not likely that we will be around to see the celebration, as we will probably be headed south to the Isutian colony, or west to the island of the Cyclops.

Urym returned and informed us that no one in this town seemed interested in gossip or chat. Everyone is busy with business or religious work. Upon his return, we began discussing our options. Actinos has left us few; it seems that we must try to recover the Golden Forger.

September 19th
After eating more fish stew for breakfast, we headed to the temple of Hephaestus. There was no choice; we had to find and return the golem.
Actinos immediately sent us to a fast ship called the Wings of Hermes. He must have known we would accept; we were underway quickly. The crew of this ship is sullen and unfriendly. They would likely abandon us in a second. This could be our most difficult trial yet.

To make matters worse, I think the weather may be getting rough soon. It is a bad omen.

September 20th
The sky grew even more overcast in the morning, and the rain began to pour down in the afternoon. We heard a strange, roaring sound in the distance. The crew attributed it to sea lions. I assumed that they meant the creatures which resembled seals or walruses, but they said they are strange creatures, with a lion's head and forelegs, and a fish's tail. So far, there is no sign of the creatures. The crew seems hopeful that we will reach the island without encountering them.

September 21st
We have sighted the island, and pulled up close to it. A giant temple stands atop its rocky summit. Soon we will row in close, jump from the boat, and walk ashore. We must leave the chest behind, so I am making a last log entry, should this be my downfall. I have convinced Daito to put on our extra suit of Githyanki splint mail, so he is better protected. I hope that Prometheus' wisdom lights our path.
------------------
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 26

What a disaster! We have returned to the boat, with the golem intact. Unfortunately, Kellindel and Gorca are not intact; they were killed on the island.

Our initial landing was very successful. We waded onto the beach, and were quickly attacked by six incredibly ugly cyclopskins. Their leader wielded a magic shield and hammer, but he was soon dispatched, thanks to a sunscorch and Gorca's hammer. The rest fell to Kellindel's flashing blades very quickly.

The temple stood a hundred yards up the hill, and we began our climb toward it. Suleiman summoned Tanvil, and sent him ahead to explore. He did not return, so we charged up the hill, cast prayer and bless at the entrance, and ran inside the temple.
There was no sign of Tanvil; only a small scattering of bloody fur lay in the middle of the temple. We surmised that the temple's guardians must have killed Tanvil, and set about exploring cautiously.

We could see a set of stairs leading down at the back of the temple, and statues of the gods, their features distorted into cruel mockeries of the Olympians, lined the walls. Suleiman walked to the spot that seemed to mark Tanvil's final stand, and was suddenly attacked by several margoyles!

They battered him brutally, but we came to his aid quickly; he used the ring of jumping to leap away. He used the wand of flame's burning hands power on one of the margoyles, and it actually worked. Apparently, we are far enough away from Ionia to be beyond Hecate's control of magic. Gorca, using the magical hammer of striking taken from the cyclopskin, killed two of the margoyles. Finis killed the other one.

There was still no sign of Tanvil, but we continued our search. Several bones seemed to jut out from a ledge that ran around the temple, near the ceiling. Suleiman cast levitate to investigate, and was surprised to see several young margoyles in a nest. We dispatched the foul beasts with arrows, and searched the area.

A large assortment of magic items was stashed on the ledge; a flask, four javelins, a discus made of gray metal, and, miraculously, Tanvil's statue! The javelins have the symbol of Artemis on them, and I suspect that they may be very powerful weapons. None of us can use them well, so we are holding them for an emergency.

We proceeded to the staircase, and descended slowly. After about forty feet, it opened onto a room. Kellindel and I approached the entrance, but two tentacles lashed out at us from the floor! They missed, and we withdrew beyond their range.

I tossed a continual light rock into the room, and a grisly sight greeted us. The floor was covered with bones and armor, and an imposing column of stone glared at us with a single eye. Suleiman, who was growing weary of the island's annoying defenders, told us to step back. He checked his ring of fire resistance to make sure that he was wearing it, and cast a huge fireball into the room. The reverberation echoed for some time, but we did not wait for the sound to fade. Suleiman stepped up to examine the result--the column had abandoned its stone facade; it was obvious that it was some kind of monster. He blasted it with a magic missile, and it fell over, dead. Our encyclopedia suggests that it may have been a Stone Roper.

A brief search of the room turned up nothing, except for a single sword. It was stuck in the back of the stone roper--perhaps a previous interloper's desperate last stab. Suleiman picked it up, and it instantly began to speak aloud! It spoke in Isutian and Bengali--only I could understand it, as I am wearing the helm. It said that its name was Dacla Iman, and it continually asked us who we were. None of us speak Isutian or Bengali, so Suleiman shrugged and strapped it across his back. It seems to be one of those rare Khopesh swords.

I picked up the continual light rock, and tossed it down a hallway which led out of the room. We were surprised to see it hit a huge door and fall to the ground. The door is at least twenty feet tall, and a riddle was inscribed on it. It said

"What are these Olympians together worth?
Goddess of Victory I
The Sun God III..."

The list of titles, each with a corresponding number, continued. We came up with the following names, which I will write with their number:

Nike I
Apollo III
Demeter V
Hades I
Artemis VI
Athena V
Gaia I

After a brief, intense discussion, Kellindel and I found the answer to the riddle: Nothing. Match the number to the corresponding letters in the names, and you will see.

We prepared ourselves for a fight; I prayed and blessed the group, as they drew their weapons and Urym sang an inspiring tune. As soon as I had pronounced the word "nothing", the doors slowly swung open, revealing a strange scene.

The floor of the room was littered with skeletons, armor and weapons, but all the metal had taken on a gray, dull look. A statue of gold--obviously the golem known as the Golden Forger--stood in the middle of the room. Two shapes moved among the bones and metal--small, dark bear-like creatures, which froze upon seeing us.

They stood there, glaring at us, and began to take on the color of the stone under their feet. We were not sure what was happening, so we waited for them to charge us. We should have attacked when we had a chance. They leaped at us, tearing at our armor. Suleiman sent magic missiles flying at one, but they dissipated without having any effect. As one clawed at Kellindel's elven chain, the armor turned gray and crumbled to dust--leaving Kellindel unprotected! He swung valiantly at the beast, and struck it down. The other creature struck Daito, destroying the magical Githyanki splint mail and the magic shield. It seemed to gain strength from the magic armor, and inexplicably gave up on Daito and turned to attack Kellindel. With two terrible blows, it knocked Kellindel to the ground, dead. Daito tried to hold it off, but it knocked him down, destroying his shield. I dragged Daito away and Gorca stepped up to hold the line. I cast Fury of Prometheus--which had no effect! Gorca was the next to fall. In desperation, Suleiman used the wand of flame to encircle the beast with a wall of fire. Unfortunately, Gorca was also trapped inside, but there was nothing else to do. The creature seemed to be affected by the magical flames--it was badly burnt, and then died trying to jump out of the flames. Just to make sure they were dead, we beat the creatures into a bloody pulp, and tried to rouse Daito. With a little curative magic, Daito was back on his feet.

The loss of Gorca and Kellindel lay heavily upon us, but we had to attend to the task of getting the Golden Forger to the boat. Gorca would have been able to activate and control the golem, but as he was no longer with us, we searched for another way to move the massive gold figure. Finis used stone shape to create several rollers, and we carefully tipped the golem onto them. Rolling the statue to the stairs was easy (especially since I donned the Gauntlets of Hephaestus, that Kellindel had been wearing). Getting him up the stairs was difficult. We tied a rope around it, and used the rollers to slowly, painfully tug the heavy golem up the stairs. Fortunately, the stairs were not very steep; it took us quite a while, but we got it up the stairs.

We surveyed the island, to make sure that all was as we left it. Strangely, we could see a lone man, clinging to piece of wood, floating near the beach. He seemed to be the survivor of a shipwreck. Suleiman donned Finis' boots of speed, and the cloak of elvenkind, and ran down to the beach. After getting a closer look at the man, he emerged from the rocks and helped him onto the shore. The man has introduced himself as Thadeus McGrue; he is a Cimbrian, and he speaks only Cimbrian. He recalls only that he was on a ship called the Clover. Thadeus is quite secretive, to the point of being annoying--he is something of a caudex. Still, he helped us move the golem after we gave him some water; I suppose we could keep him around until he gets "back on his feet", so to speak.

Our next task was moving the statue down to the beach. While we carefully, methodically rolled it down the hill, Daito shot a flaming arrow into the air--a signal to our boat that we were ready to leave. The crew cautiously rowed the boat near to the shore, and helped us move the Golden Forger onto the boat. It took the rest of the afternoon, but we were successful.

I have wrapped Gorca and Kellindel in bandages, so as to preserve their bodies. I intend to ask Actinos to resurrect them--we are not pawns to be used to further his ends; I will not allow members of the Pentachromata to be sacrificed for Hephaestus!

Upon reading over what I have just written, I realized that Kellindel was never officially inducted into the Pentachromata. Because he has died in our defense, I think he has earned a full membership. Even if he cannot be resurrected, we can make him a posthumous member. The very idea of being sent out here to this desolate rock, only because Actinos is too selfish to give us a little information, infuriates me.

I am so angry that I am having difficulty sleeping; I must calm down. Perhaps a night of rest will settle my temper.

September 22nd
The ship continues sailing east to Urbs Deorum. Thadeus is still evasive in his answers to our questions. This only serves to irritate me further. I am tired of being toyed with! It seems that it will take more than rest to satisfy my anger. We shall see what answers Actinos has for us when we return.

Kellindel's falcon is very distraught over his death. Finis has managed to calm it down, but it is still not eating enough.

September 23rd
My anger has been partially reduced; in some ways, things look better than they did yesterday. In other ways, the future looks grim indeed. I have some understanding why Prometheus sent for me.

We arrived at Urbs Deorum late in the evening. The priests of Hephaestus seemed reluctant to let us in, especially with the corpses of Kellindel and Gorca slung over our shoulders. We were finally taken to the door of Actinos' office and asked to wait. The door opened shortly, and Actinos asked us to come in.

Angrily, I dumped Kellindel's body on his desk, and Suleiman dumped Gorca's body next to Kellindel's. Actinos was, naturally, shocked. I demanded that he answer our questions, now that we had returned the Forger, and that he resurrect Kellindel and Gorca, who had both died in service to this temple.

Actinos was angry at first, but when he heard that we had retrieved the Golden Forger, he became much more accommodating. He then revealed the secret he had been holding from us. Prepare yourself! This is shocking indeed.

The Hammer of Hephaestus, a mighty artifact used to forge magical weapons, was stolen from the temple of Hephaestus in Urbs Deorum several weeks ago. This much we knew. Actinos dispatched a group of priests to Anarchopolis in the hope of catching the thieves, but they were, of course, killed before they even docked their boat. Actinos has evidence--specifically, pieces of rock found in the room from which the Hammer of Hephaestus was taken--suggesting that the thief came from the Red Mountains, to the east. In fact, a casting of stone tell revealed that the thief came from the Mountain of Lament--the mountain to which Prometheus was bound for millennia! He now suspects that the thief has gone to Tephut-Reh, a port in the Isutian Colony to the south.

An Amazon, Narissa, has also been in pursuit of the thief. She gave Actinos a girdle of cyclopean strength in exchange for the same information Actinos has given us. He does not know why the Amazon is after the thief, but he said that he suspects the thief is from the Taygete League. This makes me wonder whether the thief is my sister Damara after all--but if my sister is capable of throwing in with the Synod, perhaps she could sink even lower. I do not need to tell you how dangerous the Hammer of Hephaestus would be in the hands of the Taygete League. Still, I wonder why the thief visited the Mountain of Lament.

Actinos has agreed to resurrect Kellindel, if I will accept a geas cast upon me. The geas will require me to retrieve the Hammer of Hephaestus and return it to the temple. I find this arrangement to be more than fair--especially as I was planning to do this anyway. I suppose that Actinos, in a way, is getting a bad deal. For some reason, I do not feel the least bit guilty.

The geas and resurrection will take place tomorrow morning. Actinos has refused to resurrect Gorca, saying that he died in service to Hephaestus, and that he knew the risks when he got involved. Before going to bed (once again, we are staying at the Pilgrim), we looked up the armor-destroying creatures on the island. Nelbar's Encyclopedia says that they are called Zorba. I will have to remember to avoid zorba in the future, at all costs.

September 24th
With freshly cooked rabbit in my stomach, and the stars shining clearly above, I can happily say that this has been a pleasant day of travel. The day began at the temple of Hephaestus, where Actinos placed a geas upon me. I do not feel very different, and I suppose that I will not unless I deviate from my appointed task.

Once the geas had been cast, Actinos resurrected Kellindel, who was both surprised and grateful. He seemed amazed that I had accepted a geas in exchange for his life. We happily informed him that he was now an official member of the Pentachromata, and then filled him in on the details of the past few days.

The priests of Hephaestus have arranged a guide for us, to take us to the Mountain of Lament, so that we may find out what the thief was doing there. Our guide is named Epiderus; he has two ornthras as pack animals.

Our next task was to purchase sufficient supplies. We bought several days' worth of rations, as well as some rope and other assorted items. Perhaps most importantly, we bought new patches, with the symbol of the Pentachromata, to sew onto our sleeves. Kellindel seems to be very humbled and excited by it all, and he even paid for it all with one of his diamonds.

We left Urbs Deorum while the day was still young, exiting through the imposing East Gate. The road led south, then southeast. It was clear that this road was not used often. It was not long before we reached the foothills of the Red Mountains, and began our slow ascent. Thadeus (who decided to go with us, as he doesn't speak Ionian and apparently doesn't have anything better to do) has had some trouble keeping up with us, but he has been quiet for most of the day. Nonetheless, we managed to locate some herbs to soothe the pain in his legs.

Kellindel surprised us by bringing a rabbit his falcon had caught to the camp. He and Urym cooked it with great skill; we were all impressed. I hope that the rest of our trip to the Mountain of Lament goes so smoothly!

September 25th
The road into the mountains has become a trail, and the angle of ascent has increased sharply. Fortunately, the hot, humid air of Urbs Deorum is being replaced by the cool, dry (albeit thin) mountain air. A few Aarakocra have been spotted circling overhead, but they have not attempted to communicate with us.

We can still see the ocean from our campsite. It is somewhat reassuring, for some reason.

September 26th
Our path today led us into a canyon--and a trap. It seems that the Synod is trying to stop us from reaching the mountain. While walking through the canyon, Daito noticed movement in the rocks above. Epiderus suggested that it was probably nothing, but something in his tone seemed wrong. He began to walk further ahead.

Suleiman and Thadeus began scaling the canyon wall, when Epiderus suddenly broke into a run. Kellindel froze him in place with a hold person, and Epiderus fell to the ground, breaking his arm. Two men appeared on the cliff above, dropping large rocks on Thadeus and Suleiman. Both fell, and Thadeus was badly jarred.

It was then clear that we had walked into a trap; twelve men with slings stood on the top of one canyon wall, and four cyclopskins with polearms marched up the trail toward us.

Suleiman, who had recovered from his fall by now, took a great risk and cast fireball on the slingmen. The spell went awry, of course, due to the interference of Hecate, but in our favor this time--two fireballs shot from his finger, exploding in the midst of the slingmen. When the roar faded from our ears, there was little left of that group of attackers.

I turned on the advancing cyclopskins and set them alight with a produce fire spell. One fell to the spell, while Kellindel killed two more, and Daito finished off the last one.

We were out of danger for the moment, so we turned to Epiderus, who still lay frozen on the ground. I set his arm, and healed some of the damage done to him. We disarmed and bound him, and Kellindel released him from the spell. A quick interrogation revealed that he had been hired by two men from Anarchopolis--apparently one was a member of the Cult of Pythagoras; the identity of the other is uncertain. Thadeus searched through Epiderus' belongings, finding a coded message. Epiderus said that the message was supposed to be left under a rock, notifying our pursuers that we did not suspect him, and that we were continuing forward.

We forced Epiderus to leave a false note, saying that we had defeated the ambush, but we did not suspect him yet (Suleiman used the necklace of ESP to make sure he did not try to trick us). Perhaps we can lure anyone still following us into a trap of our own.

Our camp has been made; Epiderus sleeps under our watchful eyes. Kellindel and I are now retiring, so that Urym and Daito can take watch.

September 28th
Yes, I have skipped September 27th; I was unable to write yesterday, as I spent most of the day in Urbs Deorum without my paper and ink. Daito and Finis were in desperate need of powerful healing magic, which could only be obtained in Urbs Deorum.

Finis and Suleiman were just about finished with their watch yesterday morning when the attack began. Finis and Daito woke us up as a spell went off, centered on the campsite. Kellindel and I were affected, and ended up wandering around in a daze through the rest of the combat; it was some kind of confusion spell. I had to piece together what happened from what Suleiman and Finis told me after the spell wore off.

A man appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and attacked Finis. Finis raised his staff to defend himself, but the man cut off Finis' arm! To make matters worse, a gorgon (the metallic bull kind, not the medusa kind) came charging down a hill toward us. Most of the party was able to disbelieve in the illusion, and Suleiman set out to find the spellcaster.

It did not take long to locate him; unfortunately, the spellcaster saw Suleiman as well. He tossed what appeared to be a small ball of fur in his direction, and it grew into a large crocodile! Suleiman used the ring of jumping to leap over the crocodile, and land next to the surprised spellcaster. Suleiman managed to strike him once, but the spellcaster disappeared, without even casting a spell. The wizard had left a small bag behind, so Suleiman grabbed it, leaped over the crocodile again, and ran to assist the rest of the party.

Things were not going well; Daito was squaring off against the man with the deadly sword. Finis had turned into a snake and slithered away after having his arm cut off, but had managed to get behind the warrior and turn into a huge, one-pawed bear. The warrior sliced off one of Daito's legs, turned, and was about to take off one of Finis' legs when Suleiman cast a hold person. Miraculously, it worked, freezing the swordsman in place.

Soon afterwards, Kellindel and I recovered from the effects of the confusion spell, to find the party in terrible condition. Finis was missing an arm, and Daito a leg. The crocodile had disappeared, and a ball of fur appeared in the bag Suleiman had picked up. Suleiman's magic sword began speaking again, and I translated using the helm of comprehend languages. It was saying an evil sword was nearby. Suleiman pointed Dacla Iman at the (still held) warrior's sword of sharpness, and it confirmed Suleiman's suspicion. With one mighty swing, Suleiman destroyed the sword of sharpness. We also found a magic ring, bracers, and a spoon on the warrior. Kellindel knocked the warrior unconscious, and we tied him to a boulder. His identity was now obvious; he was Solon, the man from the "shop" in Anarchopolis, who had been Leander's Synod contact.
We decided that our quest was hopeless without Daito's sword, and Finis' spells, so we took drastic action: I summoned a Fiery Pegasus, Finis turned into a bird and hopped on my shoulder, and I slung Daito over my other shoulder, careful not to let him get burned. We flew to Urbs Deorum as fast as the Pegasus would carry us.

As we flew, a group of Aarakocra formed a formation around us. I explained our situation to one of them. He seemed to understand, but he did not speak, or was not capable of speaking, well enough to reply. I could have understood whatever he said, thanks to the helm of comprehend languages, but he chose not to speak. The continued to guard us all the way to Urbs Deorum, where I gave them a friendly wave, and they returned to the mountains.

It was shortly after lunch when I brought the Pegasus roaring down in front of the temple of Hephaestus (inadvertently frightening a few onlookers). Strangely, the priests didn't seem to know who we were at first, but they eventually let us in. Much to my surprise, Actinos offered to cast regenerate on them at no charge--perhaps he finally saw that the recovery of the Hammer of Hephaestus depended on the success of the Pentachromata. He did tell me that he expected the Gauntlets of Hephaestus to be returned once we had found the Hammer. Finis, Daito, and I spent the night at the Pilgrim again, and set out on another Fiery Pegasus first thing in the morning.

Back in the mountains, the party had experimented with the magical items taken from the Synod attackers, and determined their uses. They turned out to be bracers of defense, a ring of protection, and a spoon of sustenance. Suleiman was able to determine the use of the bag with fuzz in it; apparently, the user may throw the ball, and it will turn into some kind of animal which obeys the caster. He has determined that it is able to be come both a crocodile and a war ornthra, and possibly other creatures as well. Every time it is used, the ball of fur reappears in the bag after the creature disappears.

They interrogated Solon for much of the day; he claimed that his attacks on us were a favor for Damara. He tried to bribe the party to release him, but that, of course, did not work. They left him tied to the rock as they awaited my return.

Indeed, we did return, around noon today, September 27th. After we explained to each other what had happened in our absence, we discussed the fate of Solon. Thadeus came up with the novel idea of drugging him with local plants and leaving him tied, a knife at his feet. After a brief search, we found the appropriate plants, drugged him, and resumed our march to the Mountain of Lament.

Epiderus has led us ever higher and deeper into the mountains; the sea is only occasionally visible now, and it grows colder as we ascend. The winds make it even more uncomfortable. Still, we are making good progress.

September 29th
The sea was lost from view completely today. The winds have slowed, and an eerie quiet has settled over the trail. Thadeus seems to be getting used to the marching.

September 30th
Another quiet day.

September 31st
The silence was abruptly broken at dusk, when the sound of strange howling filled the air. Epiderus and I think that it must be the sound of death dogs, the children of Cerebus. Their two heads make haunting, two-tone howls. I've never encountered such creatures before; we will try to give them a wide berth.

October 1st
We have reached and ascended the holy mountain, and we have suspicions about why the thieves came here. I hope that we are capable of stopping this foul plot!

The mountain was first visible as we rounded a corner on the trail. While the rest of the Red Mountains are, of course, red, the Mountain of Lament is made of gray stone. In fact, it looks more like a huge pillar than a mountain.

After reaching the base of the mountain, and after I had finished my prayers at this most holy site, we began to search for a way to reach the top. We walked around it, hoping to find a trail or staircase. Kellindel spotted a human corpse in some shrubs, and we began to look around. Our search soon uncovered six more bodies, and a death dog. The large, two-headed dog was orangish in color, and, like the corpses, had no cuts or bruises, suggesting that poison or magic might be the cause of death.

Kellindel's keen eyes continued to scan the area, and he soon deduced that two groups had been here. One headed north, and consisted of sandal prints and strange, unidentifiable prints, that looked like an army of peg-legged men. The other group headed south, and consisted of boots and pawprints. Both sets of tracks were around two weeks old.

Further inspection of the corpses led us to suspect that they may have been slaves. I decided that we needed more information, so I cast speak with dead upon one of the corpses. The spirit revealed that he was killed by a gas cloud, and that he was brought here by his masters, the priests of Ares.

Further searching revealed a narrow path, leading to the top of the mountain. After hours of climbing, we reached the top. A shocking scene awaited us there. Two huge chains were attached to the stone. One chain ended in a massive manacle--big enough for all of the Pentachromata to stand inside! The other chain ended only in a melted link. I prayed again, and we began our search.

We soon found three Zek K'tri, which were obviously the creatures that made the strange peg-like tracks below. They had been killed by sword blows, although it is not clear why a battle occurred here.

It was also not clear why the manacle had been taken, but Suleiman soon came up with an idea--with the Hammer of Hephaestus, the manacle could be forged into a terrible weapon. Actually, considering how huge the manacle is, it could be made into many terrible weapons, and several suits of impenetrable armor. Obviously, such arms and armor would be used for evil purposes. The thieves must be stopped

On the way back down the mountain, it was decided that we would follow the tracks to the north, as they head towards Urbs Deorum and the ocean. The thieves probably had a ship waiting. We know that the thief who stole the Hammer of Hephaestus went first to Anarchopolis, and then to Tephut-reh. It is likely that those who stole the manacle also went to Tephut-reh. Therefore, we will go to Tephut-reh as quickly as possible.
Finis and Urym have decided that they will go to Aresopolis to investigate the other set of tracks, as well as pick up whatever other information they can. I am curious about how the priests of Ares are involved, exactly. Finis can, of course, change into a bird and fly, and Urym will wear the boots of speed, so they will travel quickly. Hopefully, they will catch up with us in Urbs Deorum; if not, we will head on to Tephut-Reh and hope that we can find them later.

It is dark already, so we will make camp here tonight.
------------------
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 27

October 2nd
This morning, just as Suleiman and Daito finished their watch, they heard the call of horns to the south. As they woke us up, we could hear the strange double-bark of the death dogs. We donned our armor, and quickly made our way down the trail.

Not long after, we heard the sound of a horn blast to the east, surprisingly close. We continued to run north, but then we spotted a group of soldiers in the valley below. They had their backs to us, facing south. Their armor had the symbol of Ares--a sword crossed with a spear. Some held swords, some held spears, and others held slings. They continued to wait, looking southward in anticipation.

Soon there was another horn blast, and we told Epiderus and Thadeus to lead the ornthras away, further down the trail, where they would be safer. The rest of us quietly crept southward, to get a closer look.

A large woman sprinted into the valley, pursued by men with swords, led by hounds. I quickly surmised that this must be Narissa, the Amazon that we had heard about, and that had been in my vision. We decided that we should attempt a rescue.

The valley floor was about six hundred feet down; I summoned a fiery pegasus, climbed onto its back, and compelled it to dive into the valley. As the floor rose up at me, I could see that more pursuers were coming from the south--men on chariots, pulled by ornthras, and accompanied by Zek K'tri! They began casting spells at me, so I shouted for Narissa to climb aboard quickly, but at the same time, one of the priests managed to dispel the fiery pegasus. Fortunately, I did not have far to fall; it was more embarrassing than painful.

Narissa helped me to my feet, thanked me for trying, and we prepared to face the charge. I cast sanctuary on myself, and the priests of Ares worked their warriors into a rage with a Frenzy of Ares spell. They also tried to protect them with a Warcry, but I countered it with a prayer. Then they were upon us; a death dog knocked Narissa on her back, but she threw it off of her and began cutting through their ranks. Most of the soldiers and dogs ignored me, thanks to the sanctuary spell.

Fortunately, the rest of the Pentachromata came to my aid. Kellindel cast a flurry of hold person spells, freezing many of the soldiers around us in place. Suleiman took a great risk, attempting to cast a fireball. The strange forces of Ionian magic worked in our favor this time; a thick cloud of smoke blanketed the area around the chariot-mounted priests, and then the fireball exploded. Suleiman then tossed the fuzzball toward the combat, and it turned into a giant crocodile. Unfortunately, the fuzzball did not reach the bottom before the transformation was complete, and the crocodile tumbled clumsily down the mountain. But the crocodile was not badly injured. It slowly walked into the fray, and swallowed an unsuspecting swordsman in single gulp.

The Zek K'tri bounded up the mountain in huge leaps, and were soon slashing at Daito. With a mighty shout, Daito swung at the giant insect. He did not kill it with the blow, but the creature lost its balance and went crashing down the mountain to its death. At that moment, one of the priests of Ares emerged from the cloud of smoke, on foot, holding a black Spear of Ares. Suleiman was the intended target, and I shouted a warning. I cast a heat metal on the priests and one of the nearby swordsman, and they quickly dropped their weapons, but the priest with the spear prepared to throw.

Suleiman once again took a great risk, and prepared to cast a magic missile. This time, however, it did not work as planned--just as had happened in the monastery of Oghma, a rip in space appeared, and a Fruk stepped through, looking very unhappy. The priest of Ares threw the spear at Suleiman, but missed, and Suleiman cleverly pretended that he had summoned the demon, and directed it to attack the priests.

Meanwhile, Narissa and I were holding off the remaining swordsmen; Narissa soon finished off the death dogs. I cast a sunscorch on one of the priests, and he fell to the ground. Another priest tried to cast silence on us, but I dodged the spell, and Narissa and I quickly left the area of effect. It was then that a powerful warrior waded into the combat, and attacked with a magical scourge. He struck me, and the pain was incredible. I fell to the ground, unable to do anything but think about how much it hurt. Narissa tried her best to keep the warriors away from me.

The head priest of Ares seemed to have believed Suleiman's ruse, as his eyes grew wide and he swore profusely. He tried desperately to dispel the Fruk. Fortunately for everyone, it worked, and the Fruk disappeared.

By this time, two more Zek K'tri had bounded up the mountain to attack Daito and Kellindel. The fight was furious, but Daito ended it quickly. He gave another mighty shout, and struck one of the insects incredibly hard, knocking it up and over the cliff's edge. He then turned to the other insect and lopped its head off in a single swing. This left Kellindel free to take aim at the head priest with his bow. For the first time, he pulled out his magic arrows (which he had gained from the deck of many things), and let one fly.

At the same time as Kellindel fired, the priest was pulling out a flask or potion of some sort, and was prepared to throw it. The arrow struck him before he had a chance, and much to our surprise, the arrow exploded in a large cloud of fire and smoke. Then the flask exploded even more impressively--it must have been oil of fiery burning. The head priest was no more.

It was obvious at this point that the tide had turned; the remaining priest turned to run, along with most of the men with slings. The warriors affected by the Frenzy of Ares, however, were too battle-crazed to cease their attacks; between Narissa, the hungry crocodile, and Kellindel's arrows they were eventually reduced to the man with the magical scourge. Kellindel fired two more of the magical arrows into him. One created a brief, painful surge of cold, and the other created a loud, stunning boom.

Narissa allowed me to square off with the injured scourge-wielding warrior, while she killed the fighters still under the effects of Kellindel's hold person spells. I struck him twice, but a single blow from the scourge paralyzed me again. Narissa, however, took pity on me, and killed him quickly.

And that is how the Pentachromata defeated more than forty soldiers, priests, and Zek K'tri from the forces of Aresopolis. Venimus, vidimus, nates calce concidimus.
We quickly searched the corpses, recovering the magical scourge, a magic pearl on a chain around the head priest's neck, a potion, and a scroll with Restoration, Heal, and Raise Dead on it. There may have been more, but staying around the scene of the battle did not seem like a good idea. We resumed our northward travel, with Narissa and I on the valley floor, and the rest of the party on the cliff trail.

It was clear that it would only become more difficult to reach the trail from the valley floor, as the trail went higher. Prometheus allowed me to share Narissa's knowledge of climbing using teaching and learning (although she was understandably reluctant to allow me to touch her head), and we scaled the valley wall.

Once we were all together again, we made good time down the trail. After a while, Narissa asked for some water, and said that she wanted to speak to me alone. I agreed, and while she washed the blood from herself, I explained who we were, and how I had come to know her name.

She said that she is in pursuit of Kolete, a priestess of Hecate who slew her sister. Narissa has chased Kolete through the magic lands, and all the way to these mountains, and then the priests of Ares began chasing her. Apparently, Kolete has red hair--could there be some confusion about my sister and Kolete? Or are they working together? I am confident that Prometheus will reveal all in time. In any case, Narissa has agreed to join forces with us, as we seek a common goal. It is good that she cannot understand the crude comments about her that Thadeus has made in Cimbrian; she would probably break his neck.

We distributed the magical items (I took the pearl, which I suspect may be a pearl of wisdom, and the scroll, Kellindel took the potion of speed) and returned to our northward march. Just to make sure we were far away from the battleground, we continued our march a little longer than normal before making camp. Several flocks of migrating birds have flown overhead. It makes me think about Finis and Urym; I hope that they are all right.

October 3rd
We were awakened by Suleiman and Daito this morning, as they pointed in horror at a giant one-eyed creature stomping toward us--a cyclops! Everyone drew weapons and attacked, knowing that the giant would give us no quarter.

The giant dodged a sunscorch, and struck Daito with his spear, sending Daito sprawling on the ground. Narissa slashed viciously at it, but it stood its ground, even as Kellindel's magic arrows (some of which return to their quiver after being fired) struck it. One of the arrows sent lightning coursing up and down its body, and the other created that loud, booming noise. The giant was about to swing again when suddenly it cried out, turned its head to look behind it, and fell forward, dead. Suleiman had crept behind the giant and stabbed it in the back with Dacla Iman, the Isutian sword.

Dacla Iman spoke, saying that it was good to be in combat again, but of course, we could not reply to it. Suleiman has been trying to pick up on Isutian by listening to the sword talk; as intelligent as he is, he probably will have mastered the language by the time we get to Tephut-reh.

The rest of our day was spent in quiet travel.

October 4th
You probably won't believe this, but Kellindel has died again. I am not sure how we could possibly succeed without his sword arm, so we are going to try to have him resurrected again.

The day started well. We were all surprised to see Kwame, our "pet" hippogriff, fly for the first time. He has been stretching his wings and hopping around a great deal, but today, he really flapped his wings and flew around. Epiderus and Suleiman had a long conversation about proper care of of avian creatures. It seems that Suleiman has his work cut out for him, if he is to raise this creature to be a large, healthy hippogriff.

We spent the day marching and keeping an eye on Kwame, to make sure that he did not lose control or get carried away with his newfound ability to fly. Our rest tonight was interrupted by four attacking trolls. Ionian trolls seem to be more reddish in color than the trolls we faced in Aragon. I used a continual light stone to light them up, and we attacked them with ranged weapons and spells, then closed to melee. The fight was surprisingly difficult, but we eventually won, and Suleiman put all the trolls to the torch.

At this point, the group fell into arguing about what to do next. I needed to rest to recover my spells, and Narissa had no interest in hunting down trolls. Kellindel, however, had found the trolls' tracks, and insisted on tracking them to their lair, as he might not be able to find them again in the morning (which puzzles me, because it is much easier to track in the day, and it was only a few hours before sunrise). Daito and Thadeus agreed to go with him, and they walked down the trail, using the continual light rock to see.

So they set out, the three of them, as the rest of us slept. Thadeus changed his mind quickly, and returned to the camp. Not long afterward, Kellindel and Daito were spotted by five trolls. They tried to run, but Daito, encumbered by his armor, could not keep up with Kellindel. They were eventually forced to stop and face them. We tried to assist them, but arrived too late. Kellindel drank the potion recovered from the head priest of Ares (which turned out to be a potion of speed), but even that was not enough to save him. We were eventually victorious (and Thadeus surprised us all with some very well-placed stones from his sling), but Kellindel was killed. We were far too weak, of course, to face any more trolls, so we decided that the lair would have to wait until morning. I do not think that all of Kellindel's gems will be enough to resurrect him, but perhaps we can trade some magic as well.

October 5th
After healing our remaining wounds, we walked back down the trail and spotted the troll lair, a cave higher up the mountain. Our cautious approach proved useless, as there were no more trolls inside. The grisly remains of their victims and their victims' possessions were spread about; they had even converted a chariot into a kind of chair or bench. Despite the stench, we searched until we found four gems, a small clay pot, a pair of sandals with wings, and a silver band with a shell on it--the symbol of Poseidon.

We took the items and resumed our march to Urbs Deorum. Our travel back has gone much more quickly, as we are going downhill. Urbs Deorum was in sight this afternoon, and we were soon passing through the large East Gate. A pair of guards stopped us to ask what we were doing with Kellindel's corpse, when suddenly, Thadeus was caught trying to pick someone's pocket. The guards started to haul him off (I was tempted to let them take him away), but we intervened, saying that he was our slave, and that he was obviously a barbarian. The guards seemed sympathetic, and for ten gold, they let him go, with a warning to keep our slave under control in the future. We agreed and, as the guards walked off, took turns cuffing him on the head for his incredible stupidity.

The guards had asked us to put Kellindel on a cart, and cover him with a shroud. We did so, and wheeled him to the temple of Apollo, hoping that his affinity with archers would give our request some extra weight. Narissa went to arrange passage to Tephut-Reh on a ship, and we entered the temple.

A very friendly priest named Stavros seemed to take a liking to Suleiman, and they negotiated in private for a while. We had decided that the magic arrows might be valuable to these priests, but Suleiman said that they were not enough. In the end, we gave them the magic arrows, three sticks of incense of meditation, a gem worth a thousand gold, and the scroll of heal, raise dead, and restoration. It was a steep price, but resurrection is a powerful spell.

Suleiman stayed to chat with Stavros for a while; he was interested in our adventures, and Kellindel's role in particular. The rest of us went to the Pilgrim, where we met Narissa, and told her of our success. She has arranged passage on a ship called the Thessalian, commanded by captain Pericles.

We were expecting to meet Finis and Urym at the Pilgrim, but they are not here. I pray that their journey is short and safe; may Prometheus grant them the wisdom they need to succeed!

October 6th
The ocean moves beneath us yet again, and we are traveling south. Unfortunately, Daito has had to return to his master; his allotted month with us has nearly expired. We said goodbye to him at the docks, and Kellindel (having been resurrected at the temple of Apollo early in the morning) gave him a gem to pay for his passage. Kellindel seems very sullen lately; it seems to me that he should be happy to be alive. Then again, I suppose being killed twice is very sobering.

We also took on an unexpected passenger; an old man named Aphetis asked if he could journey with us on the small galley. He did not have any gold, so Kellindel paid for his passage. He says that he is a carpenter (or was a carpenter; he is too old and frail now), and he is going to visit his son, a merchant, in Tephut-Reh.

The crew seems very pleasant, and they sing merry tunes as they work. It is too bad Urym is not around to hear them; I think that he would enjoy learning some new songs. The captain has graciously given us his cabin, and here inside it I lay, as finish today's entry. Let us consider our departure from Urbs Deorum a new beginning; we shall put the many disasters of the past behind us, and resolve to accomplish our mission.

October 7th
Yet another day spent in cheerful travel.

October 8th
The Thessalian is hugging the coast, and from the ship we can see more flocks of migrating birds. It seems that winter is coming upon the world. Nonetheless, we will be warm here in Ionia.

October 9th
What an exciting day it has been! In the afternoon, Suleiman spotted a golden shape moving toward us through the water. As it came closer, we could see gold hair rippling behind it. I suggested that it might be a Sea Lion, and we prepared for a fight. I conjured forth a watery fist, and the Pentachromata readied their bows and slings.

We were all surprised when a mermaid emerged from the water, and asked for our help. Of course, I was somewhat embarrassed; I tried to turn the threatening watery fist into a friendly wave, with little success. Fortunately, she seemed to understand that we were not really hostile.

She introduced herself as Parthanene. She has friends--members of the race known as Locatha--who have been attacked recently by a terrible giant octopus. Suleiman asked if it was the Kraken (he seems to have some kind of obsession about the Kraken), but Parthanene said it was not that terrible.

We consulted Pericles and Narissa. Pericles said he did not mind helping out a mermaid, and Narissa said she would tolerate a brief diversion from her pursuit of Kolete. As a reward, Parthanene offered us a magic pearl, which bestows great swimming skill on the owner.

The crew took down the sail and rigging, and retreated below deck, to avoid the wrath of the Octopus. Soon, the shy Locatha appeared and began to move our ship toward the area the octopus was last spotted. The sun soon set, and I cast water breathing on the entire party, so that we would all survive if pulled under the ocean's surface by a tentacle.

Suddenly Parthanene announced "It is coming!", and she and the Locatha disappeared beneath the waves. We waited nervously for the attack to come. The octopus wasted no time; soon tentacles were writhing across the deck toward us.

I prayed for protection, and the fight began. Suleiman, Thadeus and Kellindel were quickly seized by the grasping limbs. Narissa, armed with the magical javelins (you will recall they came from the island of the cyclops, where we recovered the golden forger, and had the name of the huntress on them) said "Artemis" and threw one at a tentacle. The effect was devastating; the javelin seemed to fly from her hand of its own accord, and it severed the large tentacle instantly.

Suleiman spoke a few words and disappeared from the tentacle's grasp, only to reappear on the deck--he has recently learned dimension door, and it seems to work very well. Narissa freed Thadeus from a tentacle with another javelin, when I was grabbed. Suleiman summoned a group of six vicious barracuda with a spell, and sent them against the Octopus, before being grabbed by another tentacle. Thadeus quickly severed the writhing limb that held him, and Narissa freed me. We watched the barracuda go to work.

At the same time, Kellindel had been pulled under the water by a tentacle, and was trying his best to stay away from the octopus' large beak. Fortunately, the barracuda proved exceedingly hungry. We could not see what was going on, but the large amounts of blood and tentacle quickly filling the water by the boat suggested that the octopus was getting the worst of it. Soon Kellindel surfaced, and the water filled with a black, inky substance, as the octopus tried to make its escape. The barracuda proved too fast and too hungry; they made short work of the octopus and disappeared.

Parthanene and the Locatha returned as soon as the barracuda were gone. Of course, they were ecstatic. The mermaid gave Suleiman the magic pearl--and a kiss (he certainly has a way with women)--and told him that he was welcome to come visit her whenever he wanted. With a wink, she and the Locatha disappeared.

We shook Suleiman from his giddy daze and took to investigating our magic items. The pearl allows the wearer to swim as fast as a dolphin. Suleiman cannot swim, so he is keeping it. The ring from the troll cave, with the seashell on it, also allows the wearer to swim quickly, as well as hold his breath for a long time. Kellindel cannot swim either , so we gave him the ring.

Suleiman rubbed some of the oil from the clay pot on his toe and finger, and was shocked to see them disappear! They were not merely invisible, they were gone! We waited nervously, hoping that they would return. Fortunately, he felt no pain. Suleiman's finger and toe returned after about an hour. Narissa suggested that it must be oil of etherealness. She asked if she could have it, so that she could chase Kolete no matter where she tries to hide. One does not argue with an Amazon; she kept the pot.

I put on the winged sandals and, of course, they granted me the ability to fly. I was somewhat reluctant to give up my old, trusty sandals that had carried me so far, but these are far more useful.

The crew emerged from below deck and we were soon underway again. The night has been quiet so far, except for the crew's happy singing. Captain Pericles says that we have several days left before Tephut-Reh.

October 10th
Nothing much of interest today.

October 11th
Uneventful.

October 12th
We were joined by a group of dolphins today; the captain and crew have taken it as a sign of good fortune. I hope that it bodes well for the Pentachromata as well.

October 13th
Uneventful.

October 14th
The ship is headed more west than south now; we will be there soon. Tephut-Reh is perhaps as little as a day away. We are all in good shape and good spirits. I wonder what awaits us in this Isutian port.
__________________________________
The story is almost over....
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
SESSION 28

October 15th
Late in the afternoon, we reached the city of Tephut-Reh. I must warn any travelers, the heat here is almost overwhelming. Because we (correctly) anticipated running into trouble, I have been wearing my splint mail, resulting in even more discomfort. Nonetheless, we have gained a few clues.

The harbor was filled with a wide variety of ships, from junks to reed barges. Most importantly, the Arboria was moored to a dock, listing slightly to one side. It looked abandoned. A large temple (of what god I do not know) stood upon a hill above the town, and the activity on the docks reminded me of the frenetic pace of Anarchopolis.

We disembarked, bidding farewell to Pericles and his happy crew, as well as to Aphetis, the old man who had come here to visit his grandson. Kellindel immediately made an interesting suggestion: We should attempt to find a potion shop, and equip everyone with potions of extra-healing. A few quick inquiries (Most inhabitants of Tephut-Reh speak Ionian, and often several other languages) revealed that a wizard named Phirip owned a potion shop in town. It was a good idea, but we wanted to check out the Arboria first.

On the way to the Arboria, we passed several strange, hump-backed creatures Suleiman calls "camels". They are quite bizarre. Also, a prostitute asked us if we required her services; we sent her quickly on her way. Among the Isutians, it is apparently normal for both men and women to wear cosmetics, especially around the eyes.

The Arboria is a huge galley, sitting abandoned on the end of a long row of docks. As we approached, Suleiman picked out a marker on the mast in the secret language of thieves. It said "under the third". We walked up to the bow and shouted "Ahoy!", but received no answer. I cast find traps, and climbed aboard. Kellindel climbed up after me, and together we decided that the deck was safe. Kellindel pointed out that the ship seemed to have gone through a sever storm recently.

Narissa climbed up, followed by Suleiman and Thadeus. Thadeus kept watch while the rest of us began to make a more thorough search. We quickly found some numbered belaying pins on the mast. Suleiman pulled out the third one, revealing a paper note inside. It read:

Red kite falcon in Demopolis is sometimes found hiding
down below at the treeline. The nest or house must be
of items favored Horus. But friend, beware training of
the falcon is devil's tricks and illusions.

Suleiman stayed on the deck trying to decode it, while Kellindel, Narissa, and I began to search below the deck. Suleiman quickly surmised that the true message is every third word: "Falcon is hiding at the house of Horus. Beware the devil's illusions." I am told that Horus is an Isutian god of revenge, and the son of Osirus.

A brief search turned up little of interest. We found only two storage rooms and two officer's quarters. Kellindel, however, spotted an illusionary wall. After successfully resisting the effects of the illusion, he reported that four undead awaited us on the other side. I concentrated, dispelling the image of the wall in my mind, and then succeeded in destroying three of the undead in the name of Prometheus.

Narissa stepped through the wall to finish off the last one, and then things got more complicated. Undead came streaming through several doors beyond the illusionary wall. I managed to destroy five, and Kellindel waded into the fray, striking down several more.

Suddenly a strange woman, naked but with what appeared to be dirty white wings, appeared behind me, and suggested that I climb the mast. I resisted, and the woman waved both a wand and a rope threateningly in my direction.

While Narissa dealt with the undead, Kellindel and I turned our attention to the woman. Her wand changed into a dagger, and she flung the rope at Kellindel. Kellindel nimbly jumped aside, and suddenly Suleiman appeared behind the woman. Wielding the Isutian khopesh Dacla Iman, he surprised the winged female, stabbing her from behind. The woman disappeared instantly, and Dacla Iman announced that she was an outer-planar creature, and must be destroyed.

The woman reappeared behind Suleiman, who deftly jumped away from her rope and dagger. Narissa and Kellindel had made short work of the zombies, and I killed the last one, leaving us all free to concentrate on the outer-planar creature.

She disappeared yet again, and reappeared on the poop deck, just above us. She asked Thadeus to climb the mast, which he did. I charged up the stairs and swung my warhammer as I ran under her, but missed. She counterattacked, and managed to catch me in her magic rope. I was unable to move. Narissa tried to attack the woman, but was poisoned by the magic wand-dagger.

Suddenly a blade thrust up through the deck below the woman's feet. In an incredible strike, Suleiman had stood below her and stabbed her with Dacla Iman. She screamed and faded away. The rope fell apart, and I immediately cast slow poison on Narissa (who was in a great deal of pain due to the poison). Suleiman used Dacla Iman to destroy the woman's poisonous magic dagger, and after some contemplation, decided that the woman had been an Erinye, a lesser devil.

We coaxed Thadeus down from the mast and renewed our search. Some people had gathered on the dock after our fight, but we ignored them. After searching more storage rooms, we found the captain's quarters. According the log, the Arboria left Anarchopolis on September 7th. His log was confusing, but seemed to suggest that at some point crew members disappeared, only to reappear later--perhaps as undead? The captain was imprisoned, and there was clearly some kind of disaster (probably the storm that damaged the ship). Someone named Minos apparently killed the captain after he discovered the nature of the cargo they were carrying. The final piece of information we gleaned from the log was that Damara and Kolete are, in fact, not the same person. We did not think that they were, but the possibility had existed (after all, what are the odds of there being two red-haired Ionians both conspiring to transport magical artifacts?).

The cargo hold was empty, except for some rats, a dead Zek K'tri, and a circular burn mark on the floor--probably from the manacle. A feeling of gloom pervaded the area, and we were all growing uncomfortable. Doors leading from the cargo hold revealed two cabins full of corpses, lined up against the walls, as if they were on display. A third door revealed a gathering room, and what seemed to have been the Erinye's nest.

The sun was beginning to set, and there was some kind of moaning noise coming from below decks. We decided that we had enough information for now. We had to find the House of Horus, and a potion shop. So, the Pentachromata climbed down from the ship and waked into the city of Tephut-Reh. The city is incredibly crowded, with a great diversity of people. It reminds me of Anarchopolis, although the population here is predominantly Isutian.

As I mentioned before, Kellindel had obtained directions to Phirip's potion shop, and we followed them as best we could. It became obvious that we were being followed. Ten Ionian soldiers, with the symbol of Ares (the sword and spear) on their chests were close behind, and making no efforts to hide their pursuit. Five more joined the group, and we stopped to ask a pair of town guards what to do. They said that the servants of Ares were of no concern to them, unless they started hurting citizens of Tephut-Reh. The guards do not seem very interested in keeping order; I wonder if the Pharaoh in Isutia would approve of the way this colony is run.

There was little to do but proceed on our way. We found Phirip's Potion Shop, despite the confusing, winding streets. Kellindel and Suleiman went in, while the rest of us stood guard. The followers of Ares grew in numbers, and grinned evilly at us, but kept their distance. After what seemed like an eternity, Suleiman and Kellindel emerged from the shop, carrying six potions and looking somewhat upset. It seems that the shop owner (who was not Phirip, but Geth--Phirip apparently died recently) spotted a large group of priests of Ares--roughly thirty--behind his shop.

We quickly set off in search of an inn, but our pursuers seemed to be blocking certain alleys, forcing us to go to a battleground of their choosing. Narissa suggested that we could try to take to the rooftops, so we ducked into an alley and scampered up as quickly as possible. Suleiman turned invisible (some of his spells, notably hold person and invisibility, seem to work flawlessly here), and we quietly made our way to safety.

A group of children (who were fascinated by Suleiman's invisibility) led us to an inn called the Inn of 101 Delights. It was a very unsavory place, but we were sure that the priests of Ares would not think to look for us here. Kwame immediately leaped up onto the bar, knocking over the dinners of several patrons, and squawked loudly. It looked like there might be a fight, but Suleiman brought Kwame under control, and we compensated the unfortunate diners. They became much more civil after that, and even told Suleiman that the House of Horus is an inn. We will investigate it in the morning.

Despite the noise downstairs, I will try to get some sleep. Kellindel and Suleiman managed to procure a potion of super-heroism and five potions of extra-healing (although two of the potions are suspect, as they look and smell differently). We will be well equipped for whatever trouble comes tomorrow.

October 16th
The moment of truth is nearly at hand; just one more night's rest, and we will launch our assault on Kolete and her forces. We are currently in what was once a wizard's enclave. Wizards are strange folk, and this wizard was no different. Unfortunately, he left so many guardians (or perhaps they are all interlopers) that we must rest to recover from our wounds before beginning our attack.

The Inn of 101 Delights was very loud, filled with all sorts of unsavory revelry, but we managed to rest well enough. It is strange to wake up without Finis singing to the sun. After ordering breakfast (including a huge, diverse meal for Kwame), we made our way into the streets of Tephut-Reh once again. The priests of Ares were nowhere to be seen this time. Our first goal was to put Kwame in a kennel temporarily, so that we might be a little less conspicuous and more mobile. Having finished that task, we searched for the House of Horus. It was over near the docks, and it did not take long to locate. Before entering, we first walked around the building, checking for signs of ambush, or any other clues. Suleiman pointed out a thief symbol marking the building as belonging to the Synod.

Proceeding with great caution, we entered the establishment, and immediately noticed that it was almost completely empty. The Isutian innkeeper stood at the bar, pretending to keep busy. We asked him about a room, mentioning the falcon (by cleverly referring to Kellindel's falcon, Glide). We couldn't think of a way to mention the "devil's illusions", but it turned out that didn't matter.

The innkeeper gave Suleiman a key, and told us to look in the second urn in room 3. We did so, and found a handle inside the urn. Of course, we pulled the handle, and a floor panel shifted, revealing steps leading down into a room lit by a lamp. A pleasant smell wafted up toward us, and we walked down into the room.

A woman--with red hair--sat at a desk, with her back to us, writing. On a pile of pillows sat a huge humanoid, seemingly made of a grayish stone, and wearing the headdress and cloak. The huge stone man was petting a cat that looked tiny by comparison. It was amazing that he did not accidentally crush the feline.

The woman noticed our presence, and turned around--it was my sister, Damara! How she has changed these past few years! I have not seen her since she left to be trained by the Sisters of Magic in the few forms of magic available to those who do not worship Hecate, around 1081. Of course, she is a fully grown, beautiful woman now. She has changed so much!

Damara was very happy to see me, although I was somewhat reserved, as I did not yet know with what forces her loyalties lay. Nonetheless, I gave her a hug, and was about to introduce the group, when Suleiman interrupted me. He seems particularly taken by Damara, and he introduced himself very gracefully. I then introduced the rest of the Pentachromata, and she introduced the stone man as T'charm, an obsidisman. It appears that he wears a cloak of displacement. I tried to give a quick summary of our adventures and our reason for pursuing her.

She then began her explanation of events. She joined the Synod after leaving the Sisters of Magic, because the Synod does not let gender get in the way of her progress. I must admit, in many Ionian towns and cities, it is much harder for a woman to pursue her goals. Still, I do not see why she could not have worked for anyone in Anarchopolis; most businesses there happily place higher priority on profits than on satisfying their gender preferences. Damara says that she does not (knowingly) do evil, but I wonder if her definition of evil would be commonly accepted. Anyway, Kolete contracted with the Synod to carry a cargo--the Hammer and the Manacle--to Tephut-Reh, and the Synod put Damara in charge. It seems that everything went terribly wrong. Many of the ship's crew members disappeared, then reappeared as zombies, doing Kolete's bidding. Damara wisely hid from Kolete, and escaped upon reaching Tephut-Reh. Kolete is accompanied by several allies, including Minos, whom Damara suspects is not human. He may even be the one who sank the ship carrying the priests of Hephaestus to Anarchopolis.

Damara is obviously angry about the whole affair, and she wants revenge. She quickly added that she wants to stop their foul plot, but I think she is mostly interested in revenge. In any case, she is on our side. We asked her about Solon, and whether she sent him after us. She apologized, and was thankful that we merely drugged him and left him in the mountains, rather than killing him. According to Damara, Kolete is headed for Irem, the City of Pillars, one of the ruined Damned Cities of the Arachnith, deep inside the Magic Lands. They have a large head start on us, but Damara knows of a wizard named Setem-Nefer who may be able to get us to Irem quickly--perhaps via teleportation.

Suleiman and T'charm the Obsidisman went to take Kwame out of the kennel, to be placed in the care of the Synod. Damara suggested that the priests of Ares might try to get Kwame otherwise. I'm not sure that I trust the Synod, but I suppose our hippogriff will be safer with them than elsewhere. Damara also dispatched another servant to get some supplies for us--arrows, sling bullets, food, oil, torches, and a tent.

Upon the return of Suleiman and T'charm, we set out on foot for the wizard's enclave. The area outside the city is surrounded with irrigated fields. The heat was overwhelming; travelers should be prepared to carry plenty of water through this area. The irrigated fields continue a way into the countryside, then abruptly end in rocky desert.

It did not take long to run out of water. Fortunately, a rider from the city came carrying supplies on his ornthra in midmorning. We had not thought to ask for water, but the rider had a little for us. After distributing the supplies, we continued our walk to the home of Setem-Nefer.

A short time later we reached the white stone structure. Two huge pylons stood on either side of the gate, covered with hieroglyphs. Eerie quiet reigned, but we broke it by pounding loudly on the large gate. T'charm announced that a creature on top of a pylon was looking at us, and we all looked up to see a sphinx as it flew down and landed nearby.

The creature claimed that it controlled the surrounding territory now, and demanded tribute. We refused, and, of course, it attacked. T'charm swung at it with a massive maul, and Suleiman's magic missile went off without a problem. They managed to bring it down, but not before it dealt several fearsome blows to Kellindel.

Using the sandals of flying, I went up to check its nest at the top of the pylon. Among the bones and refuse I found a crystal flask and a scarab with the words "see the way" on it. I opened the flask, and a blue mist quickly emerged. I shut it before much of the gas could escape.

I flew down the other side of the wall and opened the gate. T'charm raised the large portcullis behind it. A large building filled the middle of the complex. Birds, antelope, and small lizards wandered freely through what was once a well-tended garden. The front door was wooden, and sheathed in copper. The knocker appeared to be a large spider.

It was clear that the wizard was either no longer here, or had for some reason lost interest in maintaining his complex. It seemed prudent to enter via some entrance other than the front door. We turned to the left and walked around the building, finding two more doors and a pool of water, surrounded by fruit trees. One door had open windows, and a quick look inside revealed nothing of interest--just a large table, some chairs, faded frescoes, and leaves that had blown inside.

We filled our waterskins at the fountain, and Suleiman tried some of the water. He was surprised to feel even more nimble than he was before--and proved it by doing several impressive somersaults and flips. Damara was impressed, and drank some as well. If anything, she seems even more captivating and beautiful than she was before. Thadeus was excited by these results, and tried drinking as well. Unfortunately, it seemed to have the opposite effect--he seems even more annoying than he was before (naturally, none of us drank after Thadeus). Oh well.

The other exterior door was locked, and Suleiman found signs of a trap, possibly on the handle. Damara tried to pick the lock, but broke her lockpick. T'charm, who was growing tired of waiting, simply smashed the door in.

Several ju-ju zombies awaited us inside, arrayed around some kind of spider-god shrine. I tried to turn them, but surprisingly, I could not. Fortunately, T'charm and Narissa made short work of them, while I smashed the shrine. The room appeared to have been a barracks at one time. A door in the room revealed a pantry full of spoiled food, and a hallway led out of the room. We followed the hallway to a sarcophagus which, much to our surprise, began to open. A corpse wrapped in bandages--what the Isutians call a "mummy"-- emerged, paralyzing several of us with fright. Narissa, however, was unaffected, and she struck it. It struck her as well, and she cried out as she contracted that dreaded disease, mummy rot. T'charm came to his senses, and destroyed the undead. Fortunately for Narissa, Prometheus cured the disease.

Suleiman tried a nearby door, and was surprised to find a beautiful Isutian woman inside, rising to her feet. She stared at him, and he seemed to relax. It has been a long time, but I have seen a vampire's charming gaze before, and we attacked. T'charm dealt her a heavy blow, but she threw some dust onto a nearby brazier. T'charm and Suleiman instantly fell to the ground, asleep. Narissa squared off against the fiend, but the vampiress struck her, draining some of the very life from her body. In desperation and anger, I called upon the fury of Prometheus, and destroyed the vampire.

T'charm and Suleiman awoke after ten minutes, and we searched the room using Dacla Iman's ability to detect magic. The sword quickly pointed out a rod, and what seemed to be a very large bag of holding. We immediately placed the chest and other assorted items in the bag, so that they would not encumber us so. Damara experimented with the rod, and found it to be a rod of splendor--it creates the illusion that she is dressed regally.

Thadeus listened to a nearby door, and heard the sound of bubbling. It was locked, but Suleiman picked the lock, and T'charm led the way inside. The smell of preservative chemicals was overwhelming. A large stone slab lay in the middle of the room. This was apparently some kind of laboratory or embalming room.

A soft moaning sound came from a shelf, and we all turned to see a horrible, grisly sight: A severed head sat on a bronze plate, covered in grubs and maggots. The head spoke aloud, asking for help. He called himself Imshar, and he was once a servant of Setem Nefer. Setem Nefer took his body and used it to make some kind of golem. The wizard is apparently no longer human; he is some kind of man-spider. Most importantly, Imshar says Setem Nefer had a portal that could be used to travel great distances. He offered to lead us to the portal, if we would kill him in exchange. The offer was very fair, so we agreed. Imshar said that several powerful golems guard the great hall (into which the front door opens), so he said that he would lead us to the library, and his own room, to get several items which might be helpful.

We exited the building, making our way to the opposite wing of the complex, where we found another fountain. This one was overflowing, and a large three-headed monster arose from it to attack us. The creature had a crocodile's body, and each head served a different purpose. One had fangs, another fangs with venom, and the third spat poison. I immediately cast slow poison on T'charm, and he attacked it. Suleiman activated his magic fuzzball, but it only turned into a rat this time. Nonetheless, the rat swam bravely to attack the monster.

The creature poisoned T'charm, but the slow poison protected him, and he angrily dispatched it. Once we had recovered our wits, Imshur told us to go through the nearby stables (which held the rotting remains of a chariot) into a hallway. From the hallway we could see the doors to Setem Nefer's library and Imshur's room.

T'charm opened the door to Imshur's room, and was instantly attacked by a bizarre creature, with a crocodile's head, a man's body, and a burning Ank in one hand. T'charm killed it, but Kellindel's weapons could not affect it (Takarm's maul is magical). Imshur sighed and explained that the man's body had been his. Inside Imshur's desk we found a ewer containing oil of sharpness, oil of slipperiness, and oil of disenchantment. They can apparently be called forth on command. Also, a scroll of restoration lay inside a drawer. I immediately used it on Narissa, so that she could regain some of the life force drained by the Vampire. She was not fully restored, but she was grateful nonetheless. I was concerned that I might not be able to make a scroll of such power work!

The library door was locked, but Suleiman once again succeeded in picking the lock. T'charm pushed the door open, and we proceeded cautiously. Many books on dark, evil magic, as well as spider-gods, were contained on the book shelves. Of course, books on many other topics were there as well. A large book rested in a stand, encased in glass. The title was impossible to read; it was magically blurred. Imshur directed us to a cabinet containing several scrolls with powerful spells. Suleiman took the wizard scrolls (which included summon earth elemental, anti-magic shell, monster summoning of the fourth circle, and stone to flesh). I took a scroll containing raise dead and restoration. I was going to use the scroll to restore Narissa fully, but it was very risky--I could easily make a mess of such a powerful spell. So, I lit the candle of invocation, to improve my odds, and it worked--barely. I could feel the power slipping away, but the candle made the difference. Thank Prometheus! Narissa was restored. I also used the spell temporarily granted to me by the candle to cast cure serious wounds on T'charm.

Next we had to get past the golems in the main entrance hall. We walked over to the wing of the building we had explored first, and stood behind the door that led into the entrance hall (There are three doors leading into the hall: The front door, the left wing door, and the right wing door). I cast Arms of Flame onto Kellindel's weapons, and we charged inside.

Those of us who went in, that is, myself, T'charm, and Kellindel, were struck by a field of what appeared to be lightning; we felt an incredible pain--and it would not go away. Four large skeletons, coated in copper, stepped out from the wall, and more lightning coursed across their bodies. We prepared to face them despite our pain, while Suleiman, Damara, and Thadeus raced around to try the front door--perhaps it did not have a similar protection on it.

T'charm drew his maul back and took a mighty swing at a skeleton, smashing the undead in one incredible blow. Lightning played across the head of his giant hammer, but the wooden handle insulated him. Narissa was not so lucky; she struck a skeleton, but was shocked in return as the energy traveled down her blades.

Meanwhile, Suleiman, Damara, and Thadeus had charged in through the front door, but that door was also trapped. A confusion spell took effect on them, but only Thadeus was unable to resist its effects. He became enraged, and struck Suleiman. Damara knocked him unconscious with a skilled blow to the head.

The rest of us were faring even worse. Narissa was so badly hurt by both the skeletons' swings and her own that I had to cover for her as she retreated and drank her potion of extra-healing. My warhammer has a wooden shaft, so I could strike the skeletons without fear of being shocked, but they struck at me fiercely in return. Despite the pain and our injuries, we reduced the skeletons down to one, and that skeleton was dispatched by a flurry of magic missiles from Suleiman and Damara. It seems that all of their magic works flawlessly around the wizard's enclave.

We discovered symbols above each door leading into the main hall--these glyphs had caused the pain and confusion. We were uncertain what the third glyph did, but we destroyed them all anyway. It seemed like a good time to stop and recover from our wounds, but Thadeus awoke and hit Suleiman again. Narissa tackled him, and we tied him up until the confusion could wear off.

I was almost out of spells, and we were all in bad shape, so we decided to rest for a little while. There was a door in the main hall which led to the wizard's inner chamber, but we decided to block it with rubble, so that we could rest safely. As T'charm placed the first boulder in front of the door, it began to open slowly. Kellindel and Thadeus were siezed by supernatural fear, and ran straight out of the building (Thadeus hid behind the front gate, and I think Kellindel hid behind some trees). While the rest of us were not so terrified, we nonetheless took to our feet, and Suleiman used the wand of fire to place a wall of fire in front of the doorway. Suleiman lagged behind us a little as we ran outside, and once again used the wand, this time to cast a fireball into the passage behind him as he ran. We emerged from the building near the magical fountain, and Suleiman was close behind.

The creature that was once Setem Nefer exited quickly after Suleiman. It had climbed on the ceiling to evade the wall of fire, but had taken the full brunt of Suleiman's fireball. The burned creature was horrible to behold. It was some kind of combination of a man and a spider, wrapped in bandages. Narissa, Suleiman, and myself turned to face it (the others were all badly wounded, or unprepared for a combat). Suleiman launched a magic missile at it, and it dodged a sunscorch. Narissa landed several blows, but it counterattacked viciously. Using its many limbs, it hit both Narissa and me, causing our skin to bubble with some strange skin disease. Suleiman cast levitate on it, and it floated up into the air, but not before spitting a spider out of its mouth at Narissa! The spider bit her, but she seemed all right.

I cast cure disease on both myself and Narissa. The man-spider was not done with us yet, and it shot a line of sticky web-like material at the roof of the building. It was pulling itself down toward the ground, despite the levitate spell. Suleiman was growing tired of the monster, so he sent another fireball at it. The creature exploded in a disgusting mess, and we finally relaxed.

With the creature that was once Setem-Nefer dispatched, we decided to investigate the room containing the portal. We picked up Imshur's severed head (which we had left on the ground before fighting the skeletal golems), and he directed us through the door we had tried to barricade.

The room was very impressive. On a pedestal resembling an upside-down spider there sat a crystal ball. Dacla Iman also pointed out a magic sword, a robe, and a rod. Kellindel took the magical sword, and it glowed in his hand. Thadeus took the robe, which turned out to be a robe of arachnids, granting the wearer the ability to climb walls and ceilings, as well as throw webs. Most importantly, a large circle of stone stood against a wall. Hieroglyphs ran all the way around the ring, although it did not appear to lead anywhere except into the impassable stones of the wall.

Imshur told us the command words: "In the name of Setem Nefer, I command the portals to be opened!"; the user must simply visualize the place he or she wishes to go, and the portal will take the user there. It can be closed by saying, of course, "In the name of Setem Nefer, I command the portals to be closed!". He is not sure if the portal will stay open on the other side.

Imshur, having fulfilled his end of the bargain, asked us to destroy him by immolating him in flames. We obliged, although I was briefly tempted to try using the candle to gain the ability to cast regenerate on him. However, I think that the spell would not work on a being so obviously ensorcelled. In any case, Imshur was happy to be destroyed, and gave us the blessings of Thoth.

I could not get the crystal ball to work, but Damara had no trouble with it at all. I suppose only wizards can work such devices. After some experimentation, she called me over, telling me to look into it. At first she concentrated on Suleiman, and we could see him. Then the ball grew foggy, and she concentrated again. We could see our mother! She was preparing for bed, looking sadly at a drawing of us as children. She blew out a candle, and lay down to sleep.

I was almost brought to tears; I have not seen my mother in so long! Then the image changed again. A red-haired woman worked over a forge on a strange metal, shaping it into armor--it was Kolete!

At this point, we fell into arguing about what to do next. My impatient sister wanted to charge through the portal immediately, without resting or recovering spells. I, of course, argued that we could not defeat Kolete wounded and devoid of all healing magic! Fortunately, patience and wisdom prevailed--we will wait until tomorrow to attack.

We made our camp; it was still early, so we prepared lunch. Suleiman, Damara, and T'charm went to investigate the book with the unreadable cover, and came back a short while later. Suleiman is very upset. It seems that, as soon as they lifted the glass cover on the book, a glowing tentacled being--similar to the one we fought in the monastery of Oghmain that it was cold, but this one was dark--appeared, and attacked. It used a magic beam to destroy Suleiman's ring of jumping and, most terribly, his magic sword--Dacla Iman. T'charm destroyed it with his maul, and they took the book and returned to camp (the cover remains unreadable, so we're not reading the inside, either). Naturally, Suleiman is angry at having lost his sword; he even snapped at Damara and I as we argued (again) over whether we should attack now or tomorrow. I understand how he feels, but I think Damara was hurt. She and Suleiman seem to be fond of each other; Damara could certainly do much worse than to marry a good and powerful wizard like Suleiman. I hope that her anger does not cloud her judgment. Oh well; amantium irae amoris integratio!

After eating lunch, I lit a block of incense of meditation, and began to pray. I will need all of my spells to be at full effectiveness tomorrow. I have prayed all afternoon, and into the night. Finally, I feel that the incense has worked its magic. I hope that Prometheus hears and answers my prayers!

Damara says that Kolete caught her spying with the crystal ball. That could make our task more difficult. The rest of the Pentachromata have been resting and trying to prepare for tomorrow's ordeal. Kellindel had a few healing spells remaining. I hope that they are enough. May Prometheus protect us!

October 17th
I am still alive, so you might surmise that we were victorious. But I think that I will keep you in suspense for a while. I may take at least a little dramatic license, may I not? Besides, we are apparently stranded here, in the middle of the Magic Lands. I have nothing better to do.

Our wounds were, for the most part, gone when we woke up this morning. We immediately proceeded to the portal, and asked Narissa to envision the city of Irem (she had been there before, when pursuing Kolete through the magic lands). She did so, and spoke the command words, but nothing happened. Suleiman hypothesized that only wizards could use the device, and he read Narissa's mind to get a picture of the city. He said "In the name of Setem Nefer, I command the portals to be opened!", and an inky blackness filled the space inside the circle of stone.

We stepped through the portal, with Suleiman walking through last. As soon as he was safely through the portal closed behind him, trapping us in the Magic Lands. The only way out now was on foot. Suleiman says that teleportation was one of Dacla Iman's powers. If the sword had not been destroyed, we could have used it to go anywhere we wanted. Well, actually, we could have taken only six hundred pounds of us wherever we wanted (the sword was limited).

There was no time to ponder our fate; we had a duty to perform. The entire area was covered with sand and gray stone. The moon Faeros ominously hung directly overhead. We stood atop a tall plateau, overlooking the ancient accursed city of Irem. It was truly a bizarre sight. Columns of stone ringed the city, jutting from the ground at strange, impossible angles. The columns surrounded a huge hole--perhaps pit would be a better word--with what appeared to be a web strung over it. The web was dotted with circular buildings, which were apparently the homes in which the Arachnith lived. The lines of the web seemed to overlap each other in ways that defied comprehension; they appeared to be straight lines, but you could not follow them straight to the edge of the pit. It seems that this whole city defies the geometric laws of Euclid. I began to get a dull headache just from looking at it.

Far below, at the very bottom of the web, a reddish-orange glow emanated from the windows and door of a spherical chamber. We surmised that the light must be coming from Kolete's forge. But how could we get down to it? No path seemed to lead directly down to the center.

It occurred to me that we had found the scarab which had the words "see the way" inscribed upon it. I suggested that we might read them aloud, and see what happened. Everyone agreed, so I held the scarab and said "see the way". The area was filled with magical energy, as a confusion spell took effect upon us. Only T'charm and Kellindel were unable to resist its effects. Kellindel merely stood in a stupor, but T'charm had a look of sudden understanding on his face. It seems that the scarab of insanity had indeed made him temporarily insane--and thus able to comprehend the organization of the confusing city layout.

Once the spell's effects on Kellindel wore off, T'charm led us down into the web. The web is, in fact, not made of spider's silk at all. Instead, the strands are stone, and inscribed with runes. As a precaution, Suleiman turned invisible, and we made our way down. Incredibly, we seemed to be going away from the center of the pit, but then again, we didn't seem to be going to anywhere in particular. The stone paths were narrow enough to be difficult to walk upon; I hovered below the group using the sandals of flying, prepared to catch anyone that might fall.

The air was suddenly filled with mad laughter, and we looked toward the building containing Kolete's forge. A man stood outside--we presumed that it was Minos, one of Kolete's minions. He took a step forward, and his skin melted away, leaving a black, slimy, winged creature. It leaped into the air and flew toward us.

There were several of the empty spherical buildings about, so we jumped inside the nearest one for cover (and to avoid fighting on the narrow pathways). Once inside, I cast prayer, and we used a scroll of protection from gases (we were relatively certain that Minos was the one that used a cloud of gas to kill the passengers and crew on the Hammer, the ship that sank in the harbor of Anarchopolis). Our weapons drawn, we awaited the beast's attack.

It landed and, as we thought, breathed a cloud of noxious yellow gas at us . The scroll provided a protective sphere around us, and we were unaffected. Suleiman, Damara, and Narissa were nowhere to be seen--they had disappeared after we entered the building (well, Suleiman was already invisible). Only Thadeus, Kellindel, T'charm, and myself stood against the beast.

A fierce melee ensued. Fire sprung from the creatures fingertips, burning Kellindel, but I cast cure moderate wounds on Kellindel. Thanks to the incense of meditation, the spell had full effect. Kellindel and T'charm both smashed the creature with powerful blows, but the creature retaliated by grabbing T'charm, holding him close to its body. Minos was apparently covered in acid, and even Takarm's stone-like skin could not resist.

Then the sphere of protection, which was holding back the poisonous gas, began to shimmer, and we knew that it would fall quickly. I cast dispel magic, attempting to dissipate the magical gas cloud, but instead, it simply dispelled the protective sphere (which didn't really matter; the protective sphere was about to collapse anyway). The gas rushed in, choking us. Thadeus fell to the ground, killed instantly, as did Kellindel's falcon, Glide. The rest of us suffered a great deal of pain, but survived.

We withdrew from the cloud, onto the path outside. Kellindel, in an impressive leap, jumped to the top of the doorway, and swung at Minos from above. T'charm continued to swing his maul at the monster, as I provided healing magic. In a powerful blow, T'charm struck the monster square in the face, and it quickly dissolved; the corpse ate a hole straight through the floor of the sphere. Suleiman is not certain, but he believes Minos may have been a Kelubar-Demodan.

The cloud of gas remained, and we waited for it to dissipate before reentering the spherical dwelling. It took only a few minutes; inside, we found Thadeus and Glide on the floor, dead. There was no sign of Narissa or Damara, but Suleiman made his (invisible) presence known, saying that he had stayed out of the fight to save his invisibility for the final battle against Kolete. We had no time to do anything for Thadeus (and there was nothing at all we could do for Glide), so I put on the robe of arachnid, and we followed T'charm down the path to the forge.

After barely one hundred yards of progress, we saw a woman appear on a ledge outside the front door of the sphere containing the forge. It was obviously Kolete, and she was preparing a spell! We charged forward, and as I flew I tried to use the robe's web ability to trap her. She jumped inside the doorway, dodging the effect, and the webs fell uselessly around the building. We could do nothing but wait for her spell to go off.

Much to our surprise, Suleiman appeared in midair above Kolete, and fell directly onto her, interrupting her spell. He had very cleverly cast dimension door! Suleiman had bravely placed himself directly in harm's way, as there was also a large man in magical armor inside the building, directly behind him (but not visible to us). Suleiman later told us that he had recognized the spell Kolete had been casting: chain lightning!

Kellindel stayed on the path, trying to cast hold person on Kolete. He tried several times, but it simply did not work. We were surprised to hear Damara and Narissa as they attacked Kolete. We could not see them--they had somehow turned themselves invisible, and they remained invisible, even though they were attacking. Suleiman was left to deal with the large armored man, who we found was called Brasidas. I tried to help by casting Fury of Prometheus on Brasidas, but it did no good--he seemed immune to the spell's effects.

Damara gave Suleiman some help by creating an illusionary double of him, while Suleiman used his magic fuzzball--this time, it turned into a large, angry bull, and charged at Brasidas. Unfortunately, Brasidas proved to be immovable; the bull could not budge him.

It did not take long for T'charm to reach Brasidas; the two of them squared off, leaving Suleiman temporarily safe. Brasidas swung his blade at T'charm, striking him. T'charm cried out surprisingly loudly, and Brasidas laughed and announced "I'm draining your power!".

Meanwhile, Damara had turned Suleiman invisible once again, using dust of disappearance (this was how they stayed invisible). Kolete was taking quite a beating. She fired magic missiles at an invisible target--probably Narissa--and I scorched Kolete with the second strike from the Fury of Prometheus. Despite the fact that the spell operated at maximum effect, she remained standing. Damara and Suleiman backstabbed her, and someone struck her with a gout of flame, but still she stood. I poured as much healing magic into T'charm as I could--thank Prometheus that I had the forethought to use the incense of meditation!

By this time, Kellindel had given up trying to hold Kolete, and had quaffed a potion. He seemed to stand taller, and with great confidence, he strode forward and helped T'charm against Brasidas. Suleiman cast shocking grasp, and struck Kolete, who staggered back. The invisibility on Damara and Narissa had worn off, but they pressed the attack. Suleiman briefly tried to aid Kellindel and T'charm by using his wand of illumination in an attempt to blind Brasidas, but Brasidas looked away and was unaffected. Suleiman returned his attention to Kolete, and with a final swing, struck her down. Narissa and Damara made sure that she was dead before joining the fight against Brasidas.

Brasidas was an impressive opponent. He was tall, strong, and very powerful, especially after draining life from T'charm. Nonetheless, T'charm and Kellindel had struck him several times. Brasidas had been unable to drain any more life from either of them, but he was still standing tall. T'charm was gravely wounded, and I my ability to channel healing magic was nearly exhausted. So, I switched places with T'charm, holding off Brasidas while T'charm drank a potion of extra-healing. Rotating injured party members out of the front line is a skill that we have finally learned after many painful fights.

But the switch proved unnecessary. For the past several minutes, after Kellindel had imbibed the potion, it was clear that he was holding back. He seemed to be studying Brasidas' moves. Kellindel occasionally struck out, but he seemed to be experimenting, perhaps even toying with Brasidas. As I changed places with T'charm, Kellindel made his move.

In a brilliant whirl of blades, Kellindel feinted to the left, then thrust his magical long sword at an opening in Brasidas' defense. The sword slipped cleanly between two plates in his armor--Kellindel's aim was remarkable; the armor was nearly impenetrable. Aided by the power of the Gauntlets of Hephaestus, Kellindel buried the blade deep inside Brasidas. The giant man looked surprised then toppled over backwards as Kellindel withdrew his sword. I have never seen such an incredible blow struck before; I doubt that I ever will again.

We stared at Kellindel, stunned, and then came to our senses. Brasidas was stripped of his armor, and we made sure that he was dead before beginning a search of the area. T'charm smashed Brasidas' sword, an evil lifestealer. We also found a magical periapt, an amulet, a ring, and (finally!), the Hammer of Hephaestus.

More importantly, we finally found out what Kolete had planned to do with the rest of the metal from the Manacle of Prometheus from the Mountain of Lament. Of course, she had made the suit of armor which Brasidas wore, but she was also working on making eight large "spider golems": nearly invincible metal golems in the shape of spiders. With such terrible creations, and an army provided by the Taygete League, Kolete could have done terrible damage to any nation or polis in Ionia. No doubt the Taygetan army gathering on the border of the Magic Lands (mentioned by High Priest Ator) was intended to join forces with Kolete and her minions, and march on Emathia or Amazonia.

If you will recall, we had found a scroll of raise dead in Setem Nefer's complex. I hoped to use it on Thadeus, but we could not tell which building we had left him in. The confusing maze of paths was simply too complicated. So, I cast locate object, and flew around the city, searching for the odd purple potion from Phirip's Potion Shop which we had given to him. After a few minutes of flying about, I located him, and used the scroll to raise him. When he woke up, he said only "Dammit!", and I could not help but laugh. I flew him back down to the forge.

Once we returned, Damara attempted to cast detect magic to locate any other items that might be useful. The whole area, however, seemed to be under the influence of the strange forces of Wild Magic, and the spell went awry--instead, we were all affected by a heal spell!

After a final search of the area, we placed all of the pieces of the manacle in our large, recently acquired bag of holding. There was nothing to do but begin the long, slow march out of the Magic Lands, around Silva, and north to Anarchopolis. The Magic Lands are a frightening place; I have new respect for Narissa, who says she traveled through this area alone! Shadows seemed to flit all around, and I feel as though we were being watched constantly. My advice to travelers in the Magic Lands: If at all possible, don't go there. I wish we had not lost Dacla Iman; Suleiman could simply teleport to Setem Nefer's enclave, open a gate to our camp, and we could instantly return to safety!

Nevertheless, I am happy to be alive, and happy to have completed our mission successfully! I am so proud to have companions so stalwart and skilled. I am sure that Prometheus will bless their good souls!

That gives me an idea, actually. I shall have to consider it longer. Perhaps I should sleep on it. Praise to Prometheus for his wisdom and guidance!

October 18th
Once we were a safe distance away from the city of Irem, Damara tried once again to cast detect magic on our newly acquired amulet, periapt, and some other items recovered from Kolete. The amulet and periapt are magical, as were a ring, wand, and sword that Kolete possessed. Kellindel took the short sword, and Suleiman took the ring.

As soon as Suleiman placed the ring upon his finger, a cloud of smoke appeared, and a large, muscular man appeared, from the waist up--a Djinni! He announced that he was Ephrem Allyek-Bi, and that Suleiman was his new master. Suleiman had a choice: Ephrem could serve Suleiman (by carrying things and fighting for him), or grant him a wish. Once the wish was granted, Ephrem would be free to return to his home in the elemental plane of air.

Suleiman said that he wanted time to think about this, so Ephrem withdrew inside the ring, and we continued our journey. Thadeus and T'charm said they saw a large winged creature fly overhead last night during their watch; today we saw a huge reptile skeleton sprawled across the sand. I wonder if they are the same kind of creature.

While strange flashes of light illuminated the sky to the south, Suleiman summoned the Djinni once again, and said that he had decided upon a wish. He wished for Dacla Iman to be restored. The Djinni, thankful for being freed, said that Suleiman was welcome in his castle in the Elemental Plane of Air at any time.

With Dacla Iman once again fully functional, Suleiman swung the khopesh through the air, slicing a black tear that hovered in front of us. He stepped through, the tear repaired itself, and soon, the inky black disc appeared. In just a few paces, we were once again inside Setem Nefer's enclave.

Now that we are safe again, our plan is to rest here for a day. Damara has sent T'charm to retrieve Kwame, and they should be back in the morning. Suleiman, who was much more cheerful because Dacla Iman was restored, apologized to Damara for snapping at her the other day. He had to use all the charm at his disposal, but she eventually forgave him. We have spent the rest of the night in quiet celebration. Tomorrow, we can return the Hammer to the temple of Hephaestus in Anarchopolis. Yes, I am returning it to Anarchopolis, rather than Urbs Deorum, because I do not believe that Actinos, that priest of Hephaestus, deserves it.

Fortunately, the geas spell cast by Actinos did not stipulate to which temple I must return the Hammer of Hephaestus. Actinos, displaying great hubris, obviously could not even conceive of the notion that any temple of Hephaestus, other than his own, would be deserving of the Hammer of Hephaestus.

Speaking of the Hephaestus, Kellindel has grown especially fond of, and impressed with, the magical gauntlets which were given to him by Hassad, the high priest of Hephaestus in Anarchopolis. He has been much more effective in combat ever since donning the gauntlets, although much of that is doubtless due to all the practice he has had with his swords since joining the Pentachromata. Kellindel plans to ask Hessad if he may keep the gauntlets, and tell everyone he meets that it is the power of Hephaestus that makes him so strong. He has also asked me a great deal about Prometheus, and Ionian worship in general. I explained to him that in Ionia, most people do not worship one god exclusively; they worship whatever gods whose favors they desire at the moment. So it is perfectly all right for him to worship Hephaestus and Prometheus, and continue worshipping Meilikki.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day, hopefully full of merriment. We had better get some rest!

October 19th
Once again, the Pentachromata rest under the protection of the Obol protection agency, viewing the city from our villa in the Syrinx district of Anarchopolis. It has been a busy but beautiful day.

After cleaning ourselves and our clothes in the fountains of Setem Nefer's complex, we returned to the magic portal. Suleiman said the magic words, and moments later, we were standing in front of the temple of Hephaestus in Anarchopolis (and we were very pleased to be out of the intolerably hot sun of Tephut-Reh).

Standing in front of the rest of the Pentachromata, I held the Hammer of Hephaestus before me, and we marched into the temple together. The look on the face of the priests was priceless; at first, they asked who we were. Then they saw the Hammer, and ran to get Hassad.

Hassad was delighted. We gave him a very brief explanation of how we came to find it. He clearly wanted to know more, but Kellindel took advantage of his cheerful mood to make his case for keeping the gauntlets. Kellindel pointed out that we returned both the Golden Forger and the Hammer of Hephaestus to the priests of Hephaestus, and that Kellindel had become a worshipper of Hephaestus. Hassad listened thoughtfully to these and other well-spoken arguments made by Kellindel. I also added my support to Kellindel's cause, and Hassad was eventually swayed. Kellindel may keep the powerful Gauntlets of Hephaestus!

Of course, Hessad wanted to know more about our journey (as well as the fate of Gorca, the priest that traveled with us until his death on the island of the cyclops). I suddenly had an idea. I explained that I would have to tell my fellow priests of Prometheus all that had happened. Instead of telling the story twice, I suggested that the priests of Hephaestus could come to the Academy at the temple of Prometheus, and we would fill a conference hall with our stories and celebration. Hassad suggested a more neutral meeting ground, so we arranged to rent a dining hall for the evening.

The temple of Prometheus was our next destination. Leander was very happy to see us, and he led us to High Priest Ator. We opened our new, larger bag of holding, to present to him the pieces into which the Manacle of Prometheus had been fashioned. Suddenly, the bag fell apart, spilling out the pieces of metal, as well as our wooden chest and everything else we had placed inside it. All of our gold and gems had been changed to worthless paste! It seems that it was a bag of transmuting. Fortunately, Kellindel keeps his stash of diamonds in his backpack, so we are not destitute.

Ator wanted to know how we came to find the strange armor and spider golems. I gave him a brief explanation, but told him that the entire story would be revealed at a banquet tonight. He seemed a little wary (understandably, he has a hard time overcoming the distrust between our priesthood and others, especially the priests of Hephaestus), but he agreed.

Ator had a surprise for us, as well: It seems that Finis and Urym safely returned from their trip to Aresopolis, and were waiting for us in the Syrinx! We thanked him, promised to meet him at the dinner celebration, and made our way up the hill to the Syrinx. The Obol guards recognized us (they had been expecting us), and let us in. It was a most happy reunion. Finis and Urym looked a little tired, but they are in good health.

They told us that they made it safely to the extinct volcano whose crater houses Aresopolis. Using the magical disguise kit, they managed to gain some valuable information: Ares himself ordered his priests to seize the manacle, so that Aresopolis could make powerful weapons out of it! I wonder if Aresopolis planned to use these weapons on the Taygete League, or the other poleis of Emathia.

Finis and Urym also found out about the Taygetan witch Kolete and the creature which was Minos. They made their way to Urbs Deorum as quickly as they could, but the rest of us had left two days earlier. They met with Daito in the Pilgrim (the inn in which we had rested), and traveled with him back to Anarchopolis. Daito, who explained to Urym and Finis how we had met up with Narissa and where we had gone, has since left to return to his master in Nobunaga.

It was quite a large group, with all of us together--Kellindel, Damara, T'charm, Finis, Urym, Thadeus, Narissa, Suleiman and myself. After all the stories had been told, we were free until dinner, and we took the opportunity to give many of our unidentified magical items to Damara, so that she could have contacts at the Synod take a look at them. We should have the results tomorrow.

We also used our afternoon to visit the local oracle. Suleiman wanted to know if it would be beneficial (and safe) for him to read the large book (whose cover, you will recall, was magically rendered illegible) we found in Setem Nefer's complex. He made a very generous donation, and the oracle confidently informed him that the book would be very beneficial for him. He has taken a brief look at it--apparently it teaches the reader a great deal about magic. Suleiman is very excited about it.

The banquet was excellent. Not only were the food and drink delightful (much better than our rations and create food and water), but the company was entertaining. We took turns telling our story before the attentive priests of Hephaestus and Prometheus. We even received a round of applause at the end! There was some discomfort, as the priests of Hephaestus and Prometheus are still somewhat distrustful of each other, but for the most part, everyone got along wonderfully. I hope that this can be the beginning of a new friendship between our two churches (and our gods?).

The celebration continued long into the night. Finally, we excused ourselves and made our way back to the Syrinx. Despite our victory, our journey is not done. We must travel to Demopolis, to return the pieces of the Manacle of Prometheus to the main temple. Also, I must present my log to High Priestess Octavia, and see if she can do anything about Suleiman's problem. I can hardly keep my eyes open; I hope that my handwriting is legible. I suppose that I do not need to continue keeping this log, but it is a hard habit to break by now. I must at least continue it until I present it to Octavia.

October 20th
On this fine day, we set out from Anarchopolis to Demopolis. Traveling with us is a large group of priests (mostly of Prometheus, but a few of Hephaestus) and other friends of the church. We ride on carts pulled by Ornthras, and I must say that it is much faster than traveling on foot, as we usually do.

Before leaving this morning, Damara brought us the items we wanted to identify. What a treasure trove! We have a short sword of giant slaying, an amulet of proof against undead, a periapt of proof against poison, a rod of splendor, a rod of cancellation, a wand of enemy detection, a scarab of insanity, a pearl of wisdom, and a bag of tricks (the bag with the fuzzball that turns into animals). Of those, I had already claimed the pearl of wisdom; I had no interest in the rest of it.

We are carrying an important and potentially dangerous religious artifact (the remains of the manacle), yet the atmosphere is one of celebration. Singing, dancing, and story-telling make the day pass quickly. It is good to see everyone in such high spirits.

October 21st
Leander and I discussed the prospect of starting a new temple in Libertopolis. He seemed excited that I wanted him to assist me. I wonder if I would make a good high priest. Am I worthy of such a position? I will pray about this--and give thanks for our success!

October 22nd
Yet another day has passed in happy travel. Other people traveling down the road look at us jealously--they probably wish that they could travel with such a merry bunch!

October 23rd
Kellindel has been upset for several days over the death of his falcon, Glide. Today, he seems to have cheered up a little. Perhaps one day he will find a new falcon to befriend.

October 24th
Another uneventful day of happy travel.

October 25th
After further discussion, Leander and I have decided to accept positions at the new temple in Libertopolis. This will, of course, mean an end to my adventuring career--perhaps it will only be temporary! I know that the other members of the Pentachromata will understand. Who will keep a log for me? Someone must keep track of their travels, or I will die of curiosity!

October 26th
Nothing exciting happened today. We are almost to Demopolis! I have discussed an idea (one to which I referred briefly at the end of my October 17th log) with Leander--a sort of parting gift to my adventuring companions. Leander thinks it is a good idea. I hope that Octavia goes along with it!

October 27th
We are not far from Demopolis now. Finis says that the holy festival of Samhain will start within a few days. He wants to go all the way back to Midhe (in Aragon) to celebrate it. In order to do that, he will have to get Suleiman to teleport him--there is no possible way for him to reach Aragon by ship, and march to Midhe, in time for the ceremonies. I am afraid that he and the rest of the Pentachromata will have to get going very soon. Suleiman has mentioned that he may stay around for a while to train Kwame, read the magic book from Setem Nefer's enclave, and (with my happy approval) woo my sister, Damara. The two of them seem to be getting along very well.

October 28th
Sadly, the end of my adventuring career is almost over. We arrived in Demopolis late this morning. It seems that we were expected; a ceremonial greeting awaited our entourage at the temple. High Priestess Octavia was very dignified, but she could not conceal her excitement. There was much praise for all of the Pentachromata.

I decided that now was the appropriate time to ask for a boon from Octavia--the parting gift I mentioned earlier. I believe that, due to the strength of their friendship with me, and the importance of their deeds to Prometheus, Finis, Kellindel, and Suleiman have earned the right to read from the Tome of Prometheus. I believe Suleiman has an especially strong claim, as I promised him that I would find a way to help him get out of his enslavement to Utgar Loki in Ionia.

I pointed this out to Octavia, who was aware of some of their deeds because of the first log (sent from Duma Faifni) and the second log (sent from Anarchopolis). Despite the strength of my arguments, she had to consider the request for a while; it is no small thing for non-clergy to read from the book. My companions, however, have come a long way from their early religious beliefs. I remember, when we first met Suleiman, how he proclaimed that Shai'allah was the only god, and insisted (politely) that all others are pretenders. I believe he now has a great deal of respect for Prometheus. Kellindel actually prays to Prometheus on occasion now! Finis and I have not discussed religious matters much, but I know he respects Prometheus.

Octavia thought about the request for a while, and then agreed. Finis was quite insistent that he did not have time--he wanted Suleiman to teleport him to Midhe as quickly as possible, so that he could attend the festival of Samhain. I entreated him to wait just a little longer, and led them into the inner chamber. My heart stirred at the sight of the holy book. How long has it been since I have seen it? More than a year?

Finis volunteered to read first. He opened the book and began to read. Soon, he shut the book and turned around, looking quite satisfied--it seems that Prometheus told him something very useful. Kellindel was next. After reading his entry several times, he asked for a piece of paper and a quill, so that he could make a copy of the entry. It seems that Prometheus revealed an astrological date at which to awaken the "Ancient One", and "the Heirophant". The entry suggests that following the instructions will save his forest (which, you will recall, is in danger of being overrun by the forces of an evil wizard).

Suleiman was last. I prayed that Prometheus would help me to fulfill my promise, so that he might be free from Utgar Loki. My prayer was answered. Apparently he must go to Hejaz, to the city of Qaybar, then cross the Pillars of Wickedness (the magical storm which separates Hejaz and Isutia), and defeat a powerful wizard. This will not be easy, but if anyone can succeed, it is Suleiman.

Octavia shut the book, and the members of the Pentachromata expressed their thanks. I announced that I would stay here, to prepare for the construction of a new temple in Libertopolis. They were very happy for me, and congratulated me. We were all sad that we would have to part ways, but these things are a part of life. Fortunately, Suleiman will be staying with me for some time. He will be quite busy, but I must introduce him to my parents--and I wonder if he can explain that Hejazian numbering system to me! I could write an excellent set of treatises on the subject, I am sure. I expect to see the rest of the Pentachromata from time to time, thanks to the teleportation powers of Dacla Iman. They will always be welcome here.

High Priestess Octavia and I have discussed what to do with the material that once made up the Manacle of Prometheus. She suggested that we wait until spells can be cast to determine what Prometheus would like us to do. It has occurred to me that there is nothing to stop Aresopolis from trying to take the other Manacle, as well as the chains, and forge terrible weapons. I think it might be a good idea to keep both manacles here, in the temple. Another alternative is to start a temple, or perhaps an outpost, at the Mountain of Lament. I will look into this further.

October 29th
I have said my farewells to Finis, Kellindel, Thadeus, and Urym. Early this morning, Suleiman teleported them to Setem Nefer's dwelling (Finis had to turn into a bird to avoid the 600 pound limit of the sword). He then used his necklace of ESP to read Finis' mind, in order to obtain a mental picture of the location in Midhe. Suleiman said the magic words, and they stepped through the black disc, and onto another continent. Suleiman will return here to Demopolis soon--perhaps tomorrow.

I will stay here through the mild Ionian winter, and then begin construction of the new temple in the spring. Suleiman will go to join the rest of the Pentachromata, and my adventures will be over. Or will they? There are many things left for me to do; I even have unfinished business in Aragon. I often think of Balstead, the youth we met in Duma Faifni. I wonder how he is doing. And who was it that summoned the demon which chased us out of our inn, in that same city? I suppose that there are many things left for me to do, but for now, I must concentrate on my new duties.

I have traveled from Demopolis, to Anarchopolis, to Alcyone in Aragon, to Connaught. In the small Connaught town of Mag Tara I met Taelsyn, Blades Trueblood, Torin, and Finis Conwell. We traveled into Ailech, where Taelsyn died, and we were joined by Suleiman Matar al-Qazim. From there we journeyed to Thorindel, and then back into Connaught, where Torin was killed, and were joined by Corwin Macbennan. I then had a vision sent by Prometheus, and we made haste to the coast of Connaught, where Blades left us, and we were joined by Kellindel Falconhands. From the coast we sailed to Anarchopolis, then to Urbs Deorum, where we met Thadeus, to Tephut-Reh, to the Magic Lands and the cursed city of Irem, back to Anarchopolis, and then to Demopolis.

What an incredible distance I have traveled! I have seen friends die and met new friends. I have learned much about the world around us, and passed that knowledge on to our priesthood, and from them to the world. I have done all for the glory of the great teacher, Prometheus, who has led me to knowledge, and through me, taught others as well. Now, I have a new task to perform--a new temple to construct! And so, my journey, and my log, ends. It has been the greatest of pleasures to make this record, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading it. I now pass my quill and paper on to another, whose adventures will surely be even more exciting. I hope that you have learned a little more about this grand world called Ermoon--a world of which its creator should be very proud.
Praise to the light-bringer!

THE END
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
And that's it. I was a bit disappointed by the low amounts of responses this thread got, but I do hope the few lurkers who read it did enjoy it :)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Thank you to [MENTION=9893]UtilityMaximizer[/MENTION] for allowing me to post this but most importantly writing it in the first place.
 
This game log is epic and Patrick is awesome. I read it years ago and it inspired me to get back into D&D when 3e came out. Perhaps I'll start playing again with 5e. I really enjoyed the classic D&D magic items that were employed.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
This game log is epic and Patrick is awesome. I read it years ago and it inspired me to get back into D&D when 3e came out. Perhaps I'll start playing again with 5e. I really enjoyed the classic D&D magic items that were employed.
Ah - that single post made all the time I spent posting these worthwhile! :D

The magical items in 5e are very "2nd ed flavored" so they will please you I think! 5e is easy to learn and is faster to play and easier to run than 3e.
 
I've been so busy running my 5E podcast that I forgot to follow up on this whole thing! Thanks, Ancalagon, for posting this again! It brings back a lot of memories. I learned a lot being a player in that campaign, and I like to think I'm putting it to good use now.

If anyone is curious, my podcast is an actual-play 5E D&D podcast, called "Tales from the Glass-Guarded World", available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and all the other usual places. You can follow it on Twitter as @TFTGGW.

That old campaign continued after I left, actually, but I don't think anyone continued to keep a log.
 

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