Of Barghests and Quests

The witch goddess of the dreadwood
A tale of me.

As the spider venom overcame me i fell back, hard, against the sl dirt and leaves of the forest.

My eyes unable to close; I had no choice but to stare straight up and watch glimpses of fire and a flurry of fur and spear flutter above me. It was not long before the remaining spiders retreated back to the treetops.

My Companions crowded me for a moment and then to my eyes they were gone, their voices never travelled far so I believe they stayed by my side and awaited my revival (such faith did they have in my emense fortitude and the steely resolve of a warrior to negate the certain ravages of death)

I will admit that in my time lying there I did start to wonder if I had died. Maybe that is how it feels before ones spirit meets the great deities. Should that be true I wonder how long that might last. And now have great sympathy for the interred… mayhap the simple undead derive their aggressive actions from such torment.

Time seemed to run much slower whilst I lay there. So many thoughts danced through my mind. I thought on the nature of power, on the state of my being, on the world and my place in it… truly time seemed to stretch for eons before the warmth of movement returned to my limbs but I felt strangely invigorated upon my revival.

What followed was by all accounts a daring and cunning plan where I did throw my life into peril to ensure the safety of my comrades and although convincing as my performance was it seemed I was caught slightly unaware by the guile of my foe (atribute this to the dulling of the senses from my aching loins)

I shall spare the heroic detail of my acts as I am sure they will be told in song and campfire fable for many years to come however I will say that some time into the battle with the dreaded night witch I found a unique opportunity.

I stood in the centre of battle my lips readied and my fingers corressed my lute when all upon a sudden I realised… my power to assail the mind of my foes with gibberish, the same power that had caused many a foe to turn tail and flee and which racked them with physical pain from the confusion. … This was a mere larval form of what I could do ..

Instead of letting loose a torrent of inane drivel I focused all of my attentions and delayed the full frontal brutal attack of the mind to instead relay a command. A simple idea or notion. I will grant you I have no real power to crush a beings entire will but by angling this to make it seem like an idea… by coercing them and planting a powerful seed into the center of the mind…

I allowed my hubris free reign and told the queen of witches that she should follow us peacefully… I winced and then stared up in time to see her scowl relax and watched in raptured disbelief as she slowly walked the couple of steps to me… I could feel my insidious seed bore deeper and gain control of the night witch Queens mind…

To feel my ability grow to this level… mayhap’s my quiet meditative time amongst the trees has proven for the best.

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Hag in the Bag

Our encounter with the spiders ended with us once again tasting victory (although The Naive must think victory tastes pretty bad, given that he was biting large chunks of spider while in bear form). The Bold succumbed to a poisonous spider bite and was rendered paralysed, but soon recovered after the remainder of the spiders took flight in the face of our overwhelming opposition.

Amongst the loot was a magnificent silver longsword which The Bold informed us was once the blade of a famous warrior queen.

We pressed on in search of the hag, The Bold scouting ahead with a plan of using a bird call when he found anything. He happened across what he thought was a beautiful elven lady and took up her invitation to join her in her hut, mesmerised by her beauty. No bird call came.

After a while, with no word from The Bold, the rest of the party sneaked up to the clearing containing the hut. The Naive stealthily sneaked a peak in the window, and saw a night hag draining The Bold’s dreams. On hearing The Naive’s danger call, Korath burst forth, charging through the wall of the hut, followed by me (Felix) casting a Hold Person spell, which succeeds. We try tying the hag up, only to find that she can turn ethereal. When she returns to the material plane, combat ensued. We were doing well and had given up on the idea of capturing her alive, when the Bold cast ‘Suggestion’, encouraging her to follow us to the city. She succumbed and we ran back to Lyssa with Korath carrying her in a sack.

The hag was taken to the Tower of Tomas, where we were received by the floating skull of Sir Edgar III. We had a few japes at his expense, with The Bold casting an illusionary body for him. Our bounty for the hag was 500 gp per person.

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Overdue at the Library

The Naive dropped off his smuggled shipment of ‘Red Milk’ and was rewarded with a princely sum of two gold, well worth the consternation of getting through the gate. He shared this with Korath; those two have really hit it off. Apparently they only met shortly before I ran into the group.

Seeking refuge and refreshment, our bold band head to the Dancing Unicorn Inn. The Bold attempts to secure us free bed and board, only to realise that he was previously barred from the venue after setting light to a mouse head on the wall. As the establishment was under new management, this did not prove to be too much of an issue, however his attempts to gain the favour of the new barkeep failed when he could not remember her name (it was Chainor), having met her on his last visit, when she was a lowly waitress. The Snowflake decides to burgle his way into getting a free room, leaving Stephen, the dead Merrow in an alley.

After lunch, we head for the Grand Library, but are accosted on the way by a very rude beggar. The Snowflake steals 20 CP from him but gives it back (via Korath as he refused to take money from the Snowflake). The beggar is obviously mentally unstable, as he also turns down an offer of one gold given to him by the Naive because “he threw it at him”.

In the Grand Library we meet Jennifer, the Loremaster. I explain the accident that caused my teleportation, which also caused a fire affecting the top three floors of the tower. She is concerned that it may be a malicious action against the order, or even against me personally, but I do not think that I have ever caused anyone enough bother to be concerned about me. We also give her the black page that we found so that she can examine it. The Lost has an addition goal of finding certain materials for a tracking ritual, which Jennifer agrees to provide. Lastly, she tells us of a hag occupying the nearby forest, so we make plans to investigate.

After resting, we head off at night (yes night, the Bold seemed to think it was better this way. Perhaps he should be re-named “The Foolhardy”). With Adriel taking the lead, we get a bit lost. We then encounter 18(!) giant spiders and combat begins…

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Water+Gate

It took a little longer than anticipated to dispatch the three merrow. Korath, our Goliath Champion, displayed great expertise with the harpoon, turning the creatures’ weapons against them and dragging two of them onto the barge. He killed the first of these, while ‘The Naive’ doubled-teamed with him on the other, smashing in its head with a devastating blow from his quarterstaff. Adrie had taken quite a bit of damage in the fight, after one of the merrow took exception to her using her thorn whip and short bow on him. My own efforts, concentrating a witch bolt on the third merrow, were rather pitiful. The Snowflake at one time in mortal danger, locked in combat underwater, managed to dispatch the last.

Resting after the fight, we encountered a mermaid. The merrow were escaped prisoners. She rewarded us with a bag of gems for slaying the beasts. The Snowflake decided to take one of the merrow corpses with us, naming him ‘Stephen’.

We proceeded down the river to Lysa. The banks of the forest were disturbed by a presence, but we pressed on towards the city. When we arrived, we discovered that these disturbing events were affecting many of the residents. This may be something worth investigating.

In order to help him cart around ‘Stephen’, The Snowflake purchased a wheelbarrow from a manure collector for a princely sum of 3gp. We were approached by a cloaked goblin, who offered money to smuggle in a bottle of ‘Red Milk’. I know that this stuff is contraband, but not what it actually is. The Naive accepted the offer, which the Snowflake took great exception to, more for the fact that it was a goblin who offered it.

[At this point, real time is 8:15]
We approached the gate, with The Naive shape changed into a dog in order to get the Red Milk past the guards, but The Snowflake informed on him, trying to get them to arrest The Naive. I spectacularly failed to convince the guard that he was a normal dog by casting a spell (which I pretended was Detect Magic), only convincing him that I was not a real wizard. Turning invisible pointed out his error. Having raised the guard’s suspicion so much, he was of a mind to detain everyone. The Naive ran away and shape changed into a mouse, sneaking in. The guard then got fed up with the whole situation and let us pass.
[At this point, real time is 9:00. 45 minutes to get past a gate that we had permission to enter.]

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Side effects

Seldinor warned me that teleportation enchantment would be too difficult, but I think this was a little more than even he expected.

It was at least partially successful, I teleported after all. Okay, so it was not anywhere near where I was intending to go, and setting myself alight was not what I had in mind.

It was great fortune that landed me in front of a kind High-Elf Druid who extinguished me, despite having to deal with a vampire spawn and skeletons. The scene before me at this time was a strange one; as well as the High-Elf, I was greeted by the sight of a naked Halfling with an arrow sticking out of his posterior, a Goliath, grappling on the floor with the aforementioned vampire spawn, a Half-Elven fighter, who showed some impressive skill with a dagger, and a Gnome Bard, who must have noticed the confused expression on my charred face, and spurred me to action.

We dispatched the vile undead creatures and in a secret compartment I found some spectacles (which I later found out allowed the user to see into the shadow plane), and a spell book in a language that I do no know.

The naked Halfling, it turns out had lost his armour in the battle. He replaced this by looting attire from the former inhabitant, a human female. It was a strange sight, but who am I to judge.

My new companions filled me in on the circumstances; the vampire spawn that we defeated was the mayor of Alara, the town that we were now in. They are all members of ‘The Lost’ and on their way to Lysa (by happy coincidence), and invited me to join the on their journey.

We took a small barge and were making good progress, when we were ambushed by three Merrow…

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Descent

As Vaspar begins the descent down the stairs he turns over the days events in his mind

“It has been a weird one, the missing short orc, Sarcastic being sent off… The new guy”

another step, a cold wind assails Vaspar and sends a chill down his spine

“it’s so much easier acting brave when you have an audience, and oh boy what a show!”

Step

“Still the giant fellow must applaud my brass, his will be testimony to my amazing feats, not only to have just met such a cunning mind but to also possess bravery paralleling any berzerking ruffian…”

Step

“Though if i do not return; who will tell of my story? … I suppose in a strange way the report to the commander will be a story… or perhaps Naive will tell of my magnificence… he could even tell the sheep” a slight smile curves the edges of his gnomish lips

Step

“The mind… no he is not one for telling stories… Snowflake? well her effect on culture has not yet been positive”

With the next step Vaspar slows considerably, noticing he is not far from the bottom of the staircase, the nerves now making his thoughts more sporadic

“This is not going to end here, i just have to be down here until the others come, as long as they think i am fighting down here that should be enough, hells maybe i don’t know how to wake a vampire … or maybe … maybe”

Stops on current step

“Vampires… the tale of bertrum? they stabbed it with a steak… the others sharpened wood… why did i not sharpen wood? stupid sheep… the ballad of cassidy.. oh, no that one didn’t end well… The adventure of nibbles … damn i am not a rat…”

Vaspar holds his breath as he takes the next step, the final few steps now come into view

“well here goes, the next chapter in the amazing adventures of Vaspar the…” Gulp "brave… "

from here thoughts escape Vaspar as panic grips him he enters the room beyond the bottom of the stairs. His right hand holds shakily onto the handle of his rapier, his left clutches the first thing in his pocket, a fist-full of paper.

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New Home
(2-HM)

In a dark dark keep, up some long long stairs, across a fancy fancy room and down a secret hidden passage, past a mystically locked door and in a dimly lit recess he sits, sulking on the floor.

Vaspar glances at his right hand, looking at the healing burn scars and scratches on his stubby digits. He looks up now to his newest contraption, wandering across the floor slowly winding down, clockwork clicking as it moves and small flames sparking from the mouth, hastily tethered together the lower half that of a legged serpent with no head, the top half that of a mighty dragon, minus the legs lurches towards the far wall.

As the device slows to a complete stop Vaspar rolls one more Gold coin to the corner of the room, now counting a full 21 attempts. He lets his head fall back, hitting the wall with a soft clunk and wracks his mind in the dimly lit gloom.

There must be a way . . .

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Keep - 3
Allies are dangerous things

So there we are, standing tall in a vast library of historic tomes, stories abound at the cast of every glance.

I go to look at a book on a table, snowflake runs it through with a dagger!
I go to look at another tome, yet again another dagger, i am beginning to think Snowflake has a problem with the arts (i had best watch my back).

No sooner had my last potential reading material been rendered unintelligible than we are assailed by the very books themselves cloaking themselves in protection of a ghastly set of bones. Perhaps should we have walked with quieter a step this might have been avoided, truly even in death librarians take the job to heart.

Let us not make this a spectators account hit by hit of the creature but summarise it by saying that the creature itself did me less harm than my own cohorts, though I admit this was by my good friend Naive and was also my own fault, he really does “bear” a grudge against the woman he perceived (also my visage did little to pacify the angered library i soon found after taking a hard backed version of the History of Old Haven to the face).
Still we triumph through the combined efforts of the group including our newest angry peculiar drum beating friend.

We probed further into the dank and sinister lofty heights of this keep only to emerge into a room of beauty, stars lined both the ceiling and floors, constellations looking so vibrant and visible my little Gnome heart was aflutter with joy… until the mind destroyed the telescope responsible for the projected imagery… surely he also has no eye for the beauties of this world.

A captive in the room held very little in the way of interest for me, being too unintelligible himself to recount his story in a meaningful coherent manner, and with far too much calamity about him to allow my probing of the matter.

With not a moment to morn the loss of the majestic sky viewing apparatus we find that our friendly undead creating, finger amputee, ring was actually the source of our greatest threat, soon to be unleashed.

I admit with my strength now largely spent and my wits reaching their end my bravery did falter and i took the ring unto myself and looked to release it out of the room by means of the glass dome that constructed the roof of this observatory. But alas my nature has become all too easy to read as i was dissuaded from this course of action by the mind and his quip about the hero’s of tales not taking such a cowardly recourse.

Still never one to let the hard truth get in the way of the tale i came to the conclusion that if i had to keep this cursed object and allow for the devil inside to emerge i would not make it easy, i would play the mind at his own crux and make this a story to remember, i took the shreds of courage left available to me and attempted to swallow the ring!

This did not come to pass however as the entity from within managed to escape before passing my lips.

The fight that ensued will go into my ever growing tales of the undead and the vicious natures of spirits no longer bound for this realm.

Though it is worth noting that through our fight snowflake was once again cast a curious glance as she started to attack our own party. I understand this now to be an act under duress of the spirit however i believe the spirit, weak as it was for the legendary undead, was only able to hold snowflakes consciousness under reign as i believe she may already be a twisted and devious soul. This makes sense to me that as one not entirely “pure” of heart the entity may have found an easy, if not somewhat willing, host.

The battle concluded and what was once left of this wonderful room came falling to pieces around us, I cannot help but think of the art, culture, story and majesty we have undone with our own acts since entering this keep. A careful hand may be needed in future to preserve such curiosities and wondrous artifacts.

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The finger

Diary entry shakily entered

Well Diary his a fine how do you do….

I find this new shiny ring just laying around so I decide to pick it up and try it on, for style…little did I know that it was magic and made me look like a lady in mirrors!!!!….

I also uncovered that the bold has a strange desire to take my pretty picture cards…I’m all sharing but I found them and they are pretty….also I was told we were allowed our share of loot!

Later…uhh….later we found this creepy tentacle thing but luckily I have learned to channel my druid ability and take the form of a fuzzy bear…well I was told it’d be fuzzy…I was actually all dead and rotting! but we were swift enough to kill the thing before the smell stuck.

Then…then…then…well we came across the lady mirror and of course I was scared…i remember what the girl druid of my circle did to me….The Mind well he must have been upset or something because he tried to cut my finger off!!! the Bold tried helping him which may have been him trying to take my cards…

They said that I was going to be possessed and go full lady which sounded like it’d hurt so….I agreed to…the finger….cu…cho…..slic…takey off. It was quick maybe too quick because NOW I HAVE AN UPSIDE DOWN FINGER!!!!!

The Bold said it would be a good story but I am finding it hard….I sure hope we go to a city soon…this petrol isn’t as fun as I thought…

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Keep - 2
The undead really are fascinating

Suppose i had best pen this before the brute awakes…

This is a vast keep. Much larger than i had assumed on first entering, and the number of secrets it keeps must be truly the work of master architects and brilliant minds.

everything here is a keeper of secrets in one way or another, every item a story in it’s own right. For instance after the initial incident we journeyed further in and what do we meet but a prisoner, an odd fellow with no real recollection of the time he had been there but a prisoner all the same. He is journeying with us for the time, must keep an eye on that one though. He holds an affinity for music and entertainment with which i can relate but with this it is ever present he may try to steal my stories for himself and that cannot be allowed, a good tale is a thing of beauty but a stolen tale is a tragedy.

How can you trust a soul that stands restrained (or so he claimed) near the most magnificently enchanted wall i have yet to see?
The wall itself was nothing short of a marvel! As soon as i set foot near it the stones themselves seemed to call to me, there was something hidden something amazing a tale to tell and the best kept secret in existence, through wit, cunning and guile (and a helping shove from a friend) my senses were regained and i realised this for what it was, a nefarious trap meant to keep searching bodies still until famine or thirst overcame them.
Though quite evil i tip my hat to the conjurer of such spells as it has a certain whimsy i can definitely relate to.

We pushed on further and came to a kennel of sorts, all manner of beasts housed within all lupine in form but with varying numbers of heads, some seemed poorly nourished and some appeared to have died of their neglect. However upon our entry a few of the deceased began to stir, i tried to trap one for further inspection but a crossbow bolt from snowflake quickly saw to it that no further study could be taken, that snowflake really has lost all semblance of guile since we entered and if i didn’t know better i would question her very sanity.

Still further we push on and enter a hallway above the entrance hall, this hall was filled with a great many rooms and yet i really entered very few, even my wanderlust was overwhelmed with the recent events. In the first room i have found the most exquisite pair of boots, though these do not fit i will keep these for now, i think i will surely find use for them along the road.

More illusions were afoot here and the plates themselves seemed manifest of some potent ability to make one gorge on air, this is likely similar to my experience with the wall and once again pangs of a familiar sense of trickery did play on my mind. Whoever or whatever this entity it i must pay due respect, i may have to use these traps in the future…

A ring was found by naive and once again taking leave of her senses the snowflake began defiling masterful artworks. A cry from sarcastic took us to a lower chamber where, despite my warnings, the mind decided to throw down with a large member of the eye tyrant species. It doesn’t take much of a brain to realise if it has more appendages than you maybe gathering intel would be wise.

Our small half orc friend (ex-prisoner) was the first to spring to action, he seems willing to jump into the fray though this is how i would gain the trust of others if need arose…

Suddenly, before my very eyes, naive transformed in a fit of rage and agony into the largest bear i have seen, yet with this transformation was heralded another strange twist in the tale of this keep, with the form bearing no real flesh and being quite undead, why is it no one else shares such fascination; a living breathing halfling ups and turns into a giant undead bear throwing it’s weight around with surprising effect and everyone blinks and carries on. I had to further inspect and it was no illusion, the bones were exposed and bore the hollow rattle that undeath commonly holds, the tongue of our friend was in tact (and clumsily injured by our transforming brethren- new shapes must take some getting used to) aside from this every aspect of this form was marred with decay and corruption.

The sarcastic did a surprisingly bold maneuver here and rushed forth digging hands into the eyeballs of the tyrant and melting it, this seems powerful magic and bore marks of mending in reverse, truly the clerical trained are terrifying creatures unto themselves.

To calm his nerves i played a little game of cards with naive (now back among the living as halfling form) and humorous though burning cards are they did not really prove to be very comforting to him. I was not allowed to see any of them asides the one i pulled which was quite rude of my comrade. If the cards were mine i see no reason i wouldn’t let my friends hold them…

I looked around this room a little and went back up to the previous room a short while later to hear the sounds of our friendly undead bear once more, this time in quite a commotion, knocking down walls and threatening to collapse the entire higher floors upon us.

Though i know well the undead and their necessity to sleep (or lack thereof) i decided to test his new form. Though it pained me to use it i drew out my flute and chimed a steady tune, which soothed the savage beast and down he fell into a slumber.

This was quite a shock, it would appear that despite the appearance and some semblance of undeath our friend is not in fact among them, he has his own will and can be spooked, he has enough of a constitution and mind to be affected by my music, thise really is an oddity and i would love to study further.

Oh dear i had best go now, he has awoken and it seems that counselling him has begun, though i am interested in what has spooked him so…

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