Ash's Diary

  • Day 1

    By the flames of Kossuth what has happened?

    The last thing I remember is charging towards the defiler and everything went white.

    Apparently we have fallen from the sky and we now have no idea where, or when, we are. What appears clear, thanks to our new friend Thaddeus, is that our foes have arrived in these lands too. We must hunt them down to ensure the monastery is threatened no more.

    As always I've found Jaipan fighting at my side. Together we will vanquish the foes that threatened our sanctuary.

    With us is a rather oafish Priest, Brother Illthinka. Apparently he is of the Maltese order of Pelor, whatever that means. I just know that if you want anything other than scraps you need to beat him to the dinner table!

    An Elf Wizard, Maijare, is with us too. I've never met an Elf Wizard before, and I'm not exactly encouraged to hear from Illthinka that it might have been the wizard that caused the explosion that sent us here.

    The less said about the human, Erik, the better. Illthinka tells me he is a thief of some sort, but he must be descended from woodcutters. While we tried to establish a plan for tracking down the Orcs and the Magi that attacked us he seemed more interested in discussing tree species! Presumably he believes every druid is also an arborist.

    Despite this we've managed to explore the location where we landed and, thanks to Thaddeus, have a lead on the nearest meteor site. We'll set off in the morning.

  • Day 2

    Hah! We stumbled across a three orcs in the forest and made the mistake of giving them the benefit of the doubt. They charged, and before we could react they were upon us. They got in a couple of swings but it must have come as quite a shock when I showed them what happens when I get angry.

    Result? 1 crispy orc and one smouldering.

    It was then my turn to be surprised as the air around me erupted in flame a second time. Maijare turns out to be quite handy with fire himself - a second orc in cinders!

    The sole surviving orc managed to get a strike in on Illthinka and the priest didn't look too healthy for a while.

    Jaipan quickly despatched the orc and our concern for our priest turned to laughter at the thief as he burst from the trees to our right and began rolling around the ground trying to put out the flames from my and Maijare's infernos! So much for stealth keeping him safe in a fight!

    We're resting up for the night and should get to the site tomorrow.

  • Day 3

    After an early start we found the crash site. A cave entrance nearby showed drag marks and huge footprints - never a good sign.

    We pushed on but the narrow passages made progress difficult. I found myself isolated at the front of our party when a group of orcs ambushed us. Illthinka started muttering (not for the first time). Usually this would annoy me but, if anything, I felt energised. I must remember to ask him about that. I managed to put down one of the orcs and broke past another into the chamber beyond. With the rest of the party now able to engage we quickly despatched the rest of them.

    Illthinka proved his worth with some healing words, and a potion managed the rest.

    We continued deeper into the tunnels until we came across a final chamber with a mage of some sort guarded by a huge ogre. Jaipan and I put our practice sessions at the monastery to good use and engaged the beast from two sides, but in the tight confines of the tunnels we couldn't put our lessons to best use. The sheer brute force of the ogre was turning the fight against us and things began to look grim when Jaipan was smashed to the floor.

    It was at this moment I noticed a shadow moving behind the creature - it was Erik! I'd no idea how the sneaky bastard managed it but it was clear the ogre had no idea where he was - until it felt Erik's blade flash across its legs and back. It staggered back opening the opportunity for Maijare to put it down with a blast of magical energy, all the while Erik carving it up from behind. I have a new found respect for the sneaky little human - he saved more than one of us there.

    I leapt over the still convulsing corpse mere moments before it exploded in green light, almost throwing me to the floor. I steadied myself and confronted the mage.

    Erik's luck around fire didn't change as I unleashed a burst of flame, only to see it deflected off my target and envelop our thief!

    Clearly magic wasn't going to cut it against this foe, but steel worked just fine. Despite being weakened from the battle with the ogre I managed to pin him in place long enough for the rest of our group, including a revived Japain, to join me in finishing off our enemy.

    They say bonds are forged in battle, and I've seen enough heart in my new comrades to know that they are worthy of fighting alongside Jaipan and I.

  • Day 4

    Well he may be useful in a fight, and he may be learned when it comes to books, but I still say our priest's head is full of rocks! Even as I write he's trying to scrabble together enough pieces of cloth to carry what must be thousands of copper pieces. We'll see how far he gets trying to carry that load!

    I checked the mage's body and found a nice ring and a pair of gloves. Being of the sorcerous persuasion I wonder if these have magical properties?

    I like the ring and will probably keep that, but the gloves wouldn't last beyond the first flare of my temper so we'll see if any of the others are interested in them.

  • Day 5

    I think the priest, Ilfinker, has had some sort of revelation. Certainly it has changed his attitude.

    I could scarcely believe it when he handed me a parcel of truffles he found while praying in the woods. Then he reveals a likeness of me that he had created for an icon during his prayers.

    Perhaps I judged him too harshly. His prayers have given us direction after all.

    On the other hand he is still trying to scrape those coppers together...

  • Day 7

    We’ve arrived outside the church to find it infested with ghouls.

    Maijare created a huge ball of fire and we tried to draw them into a choke point but for every one we destroyed another rose up in its place.

    We pressed forward and Ilfinker turned the undead filth away from us. This allowed us to quickly dispatch the few who were unaffected and burst into the church. The horde tried to pursue but were annihilated by some unseen ward as they tried to cross the threshold.

    Catching our breath, we found an apparition of the dead priest blessing his mace in the font. Putting our scholarly time in the monastery to good use Jaipan and I decrypted the words of blessing. Ilfinker whispered the words and anointed our weapons in the water.

    Finding the earth opening up outside the church we followed the stone staircase underground. We despatched three revenants in the tight corridors before coming face to face with our enemy.

    Quicker than the eye the dark champion fell upon Erik, dealing him a terrible blow. I charged towards the fiend, slashed him with my blessed longsword and smashed the smile from his face with my fist. Clearly he thought he was immune to mortal damage and he was clearly enraged to see me mocking his thoughts of immunity.

    He raged at me and furiously attacked but, while he managed to gravely injure me, in his frenzy he did not see Erik slip behind him. With the little human attacking from the rear, and Jaipan and I holding the fore (although I had to fall back latterly) the ‘champion’ soon realised his cause was lost, Jaipan dealing the telling blow.

    Whispering a warning to Jaipan, that the Teifling would take the place of this dark creature upon it’s return, the champion vanished.

    Bowed, but unbeaten, I retrieved the foul creature’s weapon. His blasphemy knew no bounds - what at first appeared to be a corroded artefact revealed itself to be a weapon blessed by Pelor, called Lightbringer.

    I will wield it well.

  • Day 8

    We can manage Orcs and the living dead but can this group manage a decision?

    In the end I had to just start walking along the river. Of course it was only a short while before I was ill thanks to the river. Fortunately the waters are rather calm so it wasn’t too bad.

    I felt quite the fool when Jaipan pointed out that a path ran alongside but some distance from the river.

    Still better to feel a fool than feel ill.

    Away from the water this feels much like the camp I grew up in. Happy memories - at least until father disappeared.

    I wonder if I’ll ever see him again. For that matter, we still have no idea where we are or how we got here - I wonder if I’ll ever make it back to the rest of my family again...

  • Day 9

    After following the river for a day we found ourselves in a region with swampland on the other side of the path. The place was thick with reeds, rushes and vines and the smell was awful.

    We shortly realised that the smell was from an armour clad human lying dead some way into the marshes.

    Ever keen to rifle through a corpse's pockets Erick quickly approached the fallen man. While Erick was careful to watch out for man made traps none of us were prepared for the ground around the body to come to life.

    In a second the vines around Erick's feet slipped up and around his body, binding his arms in place. Dozens of additional vines flew up simultaneously, flailing at the rest of the party. Najare and Ilfinka were immediately trapped, Ilfinka suffering a desparate wound from a gaping maw that rose up from the waters.

    At the second attempt I managed to free Najare from the twisting vines and together we sent flames surging over the heart of the creature. It recoiled and shrank visibly in the burning fire.

    The creature lashed out and bound me but Najare was free to continue his fiery onslaught and the creature was soon consumed by the inferno.

    After confirming the creature was dead we attended to the dead knight and recovered his heraldic breast plate before departing the area to make camp away from the marsh.

    After some hours we met the fallen knights kinsmen. Grateful for news of their comrade they invited us back to the nearby village.

    Tomorrow we meet their liege lord but for tonight we can get our first proper rest since we left Thaddeus.
    What I'd give to be attacked by Orcs again. At least they fight on dry land!

  • Day 10

    Tyburn brought us to his Lord’s keep. Lord Ritter welcomed us and along with his priest, Ulric, asked for details of our experiences so far. They seemed particularly interested in our own priest, Ilfinker and the shard of crystal she carries. Thanking us for uncovering the Lord’s son we were “invited” to spend the night in the keep.

    Seeking to discover more about the keep Jaipan and I managed to persuade our guards to take us down to the training grounds allowing us the opportunity to assess our surroundings. Unfortunately a rogue wisp of dust blew into my eye blinding me as we descended. Jaipan was too busy mocking me to notice anything amiss around us.

    Jaipan and I had a little fun with some practice bouts with the guards. Jaipan bested 4 recruits while I somewhat struggled against 7 well drilled regulars.

    Later that evening a merchant was found dead in the village with his heart removed.

    Day 11

    Our investigation and questioning of the townsfolk revealed no further information. The rest of the group decided to stay up to see if the culprit returned while I got some well needed rest.

    During the night one of the militia was killed and Maijare spotted the culprit as it fled into the night.

    Day 12

    We laid in wait for the creature the next night ensuring that the townspeople kept off the streets. I took the guards that had outfought me earlier to the tavern while the rest of the group manned the church and the fort. From these positions we had visibility of the whole village.

    Sure enough the creature was spotted and I led my team of guards to confront it. As we approached what we thought was it’s location one of the guards was picked up and hurled away, killed instantly. I instructed the rest to form up back to back but to no avail. The creature (a gargoyle) landed in the midst of the group killing two more instantly and injuring a third. I loosed off an arrow but it shattered harmlessly against it’s stone skin.

    I instructed the remaining guards to flee and confronted the gargoyle, drawing Lightbringer. The creature drew first blood with vicious slashes across my body before I unleashed flames from my hands wounding it. At the same time Maijare and Ilfinker arrived to provide support.

    With our combined efforts, and the arrival of the rest of the party we started to gain the upper hand, but before we could deal the telling blow the gargoyle launched into the air, tearing at Ilfinker as it rose, turned and flew off to the island off the coast, known to be inhabited by a wizard.

    Licking our wounds we informed Ritter, who asked us to go over and deal with the threat once and for all.

    Great - only a couple of leagues of water to cross to get there. I hate water!

  • After gathering the dead and taking them to the church Lord Ritter explains that the wizard of the island, Tanis, and his disciples have not been seen for some time.

    A young man and a wolf brought a message from Thaddeus advising that the grove in the centre of town can be entered in three days time.

    Day 13

    It’s cold and wet. We set out across the sea,catching sight of some truly massive catfish on the way. Fortunately we land at the jetty without incident and disembark to see a handful of buildings that make up the apprentices quarters. The buildings showed several scorch marks and Maijare announced that magic was in the air and the remnants of a magical ward could be felt at the end of the jetty. On the plus side we were back on dry land and it had stopped raining.

    We spotted an injured man who tried to warn us we were in danger and that his injured friends were nearby. No sooner had I wittily quipped that with the creature ‘abroad’ this must be the safest place than the gargoyle crashed into the midst of us. Thrashing limbs threw me and Illfinker aside.

    Only Maijare appeared to have any success with his fire magic. Unfortunately he undid this good work with a lightning attack that seemed to heal the creature.

    Jaipan showed that where weapons fail the open hand can succeeed, cracking its stony exterior. I followed his example but it quickly became clear that we needed magical weapons to do any significant damage.

    Finally I managed to bring Lightbringer to bear, dealing a cruel blow that visibly damaged it. I could see that the bonds that held the fell creature were about to break, but before I could shout the warning Maijare loosed a magic missile into the beast. The creature swelled up and blew itself to pieces showering us with shrapnel, Illfinker suffering greatly.

    From the remnants of the Gargoyle three smaller versions burst forth and set about us. Maijare and I tackled one, Lightbringer slicing it open and an open palm shattering the creature as I invoked the gods of fate. A second tried to carry Erik off, dropping him into the fray beside Illfinker.

    Our foe despatched we arrived in time to save Illfinker, drawing rebukes from the remaining creatures. As I raised my voice in battle song my attacks were unerringly accurate. The sound of singing lifted my comrades and a final open handed blow shattered the remaining creature.

  • Day 13 Continued

    The young initiate beckoned us to join him in the ‘safe’ area, identifying himself as Rowan and his injured friend as Fendril. Illfinker moved to provide aid.

    Having sought insight from the wizard, Tanis, Rowan healed our wounds in return for assistance in dealing with the threat to the island. We readily agreed and moved across to the far side of the island to tackle the invaders.

    “Lizardmen, thousands of ‘em” shouted Erik, the little thief, a bit too loudly for my liking. When we moved up to the edge of the woods we found the excitable little human had overstated the situation somewhat, but there was still easily a score of Lizardmen, backed up by a sea troll (I think it was a sea troll - it was bloody wet anyway!)

    After a couple of wasted arrows Jaipan led the way, charging towards the troll. Maijare and I unleashed fire upon the hordes of lizardmen before I hacked and smashed my way through the masses. A few moments later and only the troll was left standing.

    Erik was all alone facing the beast and I dived into the combat to save him, cutting deeply into the troll’s flesh. Erik promptly stabbed the beast before diving away, the treacherous little shit! Loyal as ever, Jaipan jumped back into the fray to cruelly wound the troll.

    A double slash of Lightbringer and an open handed punch felled the troll. But I looked on in despair seeing the wounds on the creature begin to heal once more. Maijare wreathed the troll in fire to prevent its regeneration once and for all.

    With that we slumped down on the field of battle.

  • Following the end of the battle Rowan asked us to seek out Tanis. He directed us to the tower on the coast that we spotted on our journey to the island.

    After a short time to rest we made our way towards the tower, and before long it was looming large before us. The tower was surrounded by trees and as we marched closer we began to hear the sounds of battle and occasional flashes lit up the copse ahead of us.

    Ilfinker blessed us as we prepared for battle.

    Suddenly two creatures crashed out of tree line close by either side of us. “They’re big fuckers” exclaimed Ilfinker, “Bugbears!” shouted Jaipan a little too gleefully (his delight that Master Noh Wae’s Exotic Creatures teachings had finally proved useful was clear to the whole party).

    The Bugbears swung their axes and hammers wildly, hitting Ilfinker and I. After taking a couple of severe blows I felled the first. Meanwhile Ilfinker traded blows with the second (Jaipan, unusually faring poorly against the woolly foe). As we closed around the second creature it slumped to the floor, to reveal Erik grinning maniacally as he pulls his blade from its back.

    With the Bugbears dead I notice that not a drop of their filth remains on Lightbringer, the weapon having cleansed itself of their evil.

    As the foot of the tower came into view we found a slender archer by the gate, accompanied by 4 wolves and a dire wolf tearing apart bodies in the courtyard. Two swordsmen were posted by the doorway to the tower.

    Wary of a head on attack we sent Erik off to investigate the possibility of moving around the defences.

    “He’s been spotted!”, hissed Ilfinker. “Let’s use this to our advantage,” I replied, drawing my bow. Jaipan missed and, unbelievably, the archer spotted his dart and sent his dire wolf after him.

    Jaipan, subdued the beast and leapt clear across the bridge to engage the archer as two swordsmen closed on Ilfinker. 4 wolves came dashing through the woods, swarming all over me and knocking me to the ground. Enraged I sent burning flame through them all, immolating the wolf atop me and setting the other three aflame, finishing them off with Lightbringer.

    Jaipan quickly despatched the archer then surged forward to aid Ilfinker just as the Cleric slew the first of the swordsmen. Taking advantage of his distraction I was able to put Lightbringer to good use, finishing off the last of the swordsmen.

  • Barely taking a breath we moved on to the tower, furious sounds of battle still coming from within.

    Jaipan led Erik up the stairs on the outside of the tower to the second floor while Ilfinker and I moved in through the doors of the ground floor. I dispatched one, broke the nose of another and ducked as Ilfinker sent her spiritual hammer to smash the third to the floor. Taking heavy blows in retaliation we quickly finished them off and charged up to the first floor.

    I ploughed into the midst of another 4 hobgoblins. I quickly despatched the first and prepared my defences for the counterattack. Almost overwhelmed I managed to stay on my feet and kill another. In the nick of time Ilfinker infused me with healing energy enabling me to survive the counterattack once more. With the situation looking bleak I targeted their leader, stunning him, but opened myself to attack by the remaining hobgoblin. Ilfinker threw herself into the fight bravely, but could do no harm. When it looked like we would succumb Jaipan, having cleared the second floor charged into the remaining hobgoblin. But it was little Erik, the glory seeking shit, that finally saved the day by finishing him off.

    Taking advantage of the respite I cut the leader in two with Lightbringer.

    With three floors cleared we charged up to the third floor straight into another melee. A human wizard, leading the attack, was spotted by Jaipan before he vanished from sight. Jaipan and Erik attacked the hobgoblins surrounding a warrior in silvered armour while I launched flame against another wizard, only to see it roaring back over me.I ran around to battle the wizard and Jaipan joined me to deal the telling blow.

    Tanis slumped in the corner and was stabilised by Ilfinker. Even as he did the wizard and his guard transformed before our eyes, revealing themselves to be elves hidden by Tanis’ magic to protect themselves against persecution from the druids.

    He directed us to pursue the wizard Jaipan saw to prevent him from destroying some magic gateway in the dungeons below. Tanis restored our health and transported us underground.

  • Day 13 continued...

    Taking a minute to orient ourselves we noticed the approach of a wisend old man who introduced himself as the Vaultkeeper. He advised that we must pass a series of tests in order to proceed.

    The first test involved navigating a corridor with moving beams of light. Sensing that these beams would be drawn to heat I focussed on raising my temperature to ensure the safety of my colleagues. I was right, the beams cut my flesh but none of the others were harmed.

    We passed through a portal and met our former travelling companion, Maijare, in a room with three stones and a door in front of us. Illfinker picked up the yellow stone, Maijare the red, and I picked up the blue. The stones stuck to our hands and as we discussed how to solve the puzzle I was wracked with pain. Eventually Illfinker figured that the letter S was causing me pain and the stone dropped from my hand and the door opened to reveal another. Erik realised that Illfinker was compelled to begin his sentences with the letter S, and the stone dropped from his hand opening a second door. Finally I figured out that Maijare could only talk while others were talking causing the last door to open.

    Having been wounded and tortured I lost my temper a little with the arsehole Vaultkeeper.

    We passed through another test that didn’t involve any party members being tortured then found ourself in a room with a cube and a light with annoying fairies around it. Illfinker encouraged the fairies to assist us but instead they attacked Erik. Quick as a flash I launched flame at the little pixies and scared them off. Shortly more of the demonic little creatures arrived, now armed with little knives. Concerned for the safety of my companions I fought a valiant rearguard action to see them all safely through.

    We found ourself in a room with a stone basilisk and what appeared to be its last victim. We covered the eyes of the basilisk and the man de-petrified and collapsed to the floor. With his dying breath he warned us to flee. We recovered the keys from around his neck and pressed on. The deceitful Vaultkeeper attacked us but I smote him in a ball of fire.

  • With the Vaultkeeper gone we pushed forward and soon found a cavern opening up ahead of us and we spied the enchanter we had confronted two weeks ago beneath the Dragon monastery.

    I charged ahead of the rest of the group to the stairs below the wizard just as he unleashed a fireball that engulfed my companions leaving them more than a little charred. As the flames subsided the wizard revealed himself to be a red dragon. I sliced into the beast’s flesh cutting deeply again and again. Jaipan joined me and he too damaged it heavily.

    The dragon breathed more fire that wreathed Erik, Illfinker and I before it flew off across the cavern.

    We chased the cursed creature back and forth across the cavern, Jaipan, Erik and I dealing blows that would have felled others but seemed to have little impact on our foe. Jaipan fell by my side in a swirl of smoke, teeth and smashed me to within a wisp of my life. I threw all my remaining strength into a final blow. The dragon fell back off the second floor onto poor Illfinker.

    Like a bad smell the Vaultkeeper returned to take Tanis’ amulet, prompting fury from the party. He issued gifts for us as a reward, including a necklace for me that worked well to hold the dragon teeth I had gathered.

    We gathered up the Starfallen shards and passed through a portal, leaving the detestable Vaultkeeper behind. Passing through the portal we found ourselves looking at a city populated by many races.

    Where were we?

    Oh boy!

  • I instantly felt uneasy. I could smell salt on the breeze and hear gulls overhead, and underneath it all was the roil of waves. My heart sank - I was by the sea, again! That vaultkeeper truly is a class A prick.

    It was busy, very busy. But unlike all our travels so far there were more races than just human. Many more races, creeds and classes of individuals interspersed among the dockers and warehouse workers.

    A noticeboard attracted our attention listing various bounties, help wanted ads, and notices of penalties for various crimes. Maijare pointed out the penalty for thievery to Erik.

    Ilfinker enquired with a local as to the location of temple of Pelor and promptly headed towards the city. Erik spied a male prostitute and headed off. Jaipan, Maijare and I joined Ilfinker heading into the city, anywhere to get away from the coast.

    Paying a gold each for the privilege we head into the heart of the city. We stopped by the market to replenish our supplies and Ilfinker headed off to see Pelor while Jaipan, Maijare and I went on to the Velvet Glove Inn for a drink and maybe a commission.

    On arriving at the Velvet Glove we immediately noticed that the Inn was split into two levels, with the upper level apparently reserved for the higher classes. We ordered a couple of ales and enquired after Master Holdsworth while we sat by the fire. It was good ale. Jaipan mentioned something about the brewers guild and headed off to chat with someone behind the bar.

    Holdsworth offered us a job protecting a caravan of 4 wagons carrying goods to and from several towns. The job would last for a month and pay 5gp per day plus food and board. We readily signed up, Holdsworth advising that the caravan would head off in 4 days and he would provide food and board to us in the meantime. Maijare and I settled in for a comfortable night.

    After a few hours, and many beers, Ilfinker wanders in and tells us a ghost story. It was funny, but for some reason she stormed off - women’s problems probably. Little Erik headed off after her. Maijare ordered us another round. We settled our bill and headed to bed above the carts.