I must admit, given how this day began I was skeptical that it would end as well as it did. After our battle, the guardsmen who fought with us went off to report in. There were still a few stragglers within the city to be dealt with. We took the opportunity to return to the temple of Kaltia Melith to enquire about some curse removal for Richard. The courtyard before the temple was quite different from how we’d left it an hour or so before. Tents had been set up and temple acolytes were sorting the wounded into groups based upon their need for healing. We were told that the higher priests were indisposed at the present, but if we could return tomorrow, we could seek an audience then. Fortunately, we had blunted the attack which left the southern and inner city intact. Thus we were able to get the recommendation of a good inn. Finally! I’ve been waiting for days for some down time to peruse my new spellbook collection.
After a quick breakfast in the morning I began my work. I have a few spells to scribe over from the grimoire that I successfully examined. Once that is finished I can turn my attention to looking over the others. The rest of the group returned to the temple to see about getting Richard’s cursed sword dealt with. There, they spoke with a temple high up called, Talleshard. He was amicable enough. He offered to remove the curse in exchange for a small service. It seems that all the healing they’d had to bestow had depleted the temples stock of renwort, a local herb with medicinal properties. While it does grow around here, it is only found in small patches. The group was informed that if we could return with 5 satchels full, we could get a cures removal. As no one present had any knowledge of herbology, they returned to the inn to disturb me. Being in the middle of my work, I requested that we wait until noon before departing and I returned to my scribing, but not before sending Callard off with the bag of gems that we’d looted. He and Wilhelm were able to sell them and get a good price for which he took a share. The remainder was divided amongst Callard, myself and the party, most going to the party fund.
During this time, Azroth also saw fit to go and deposit the heads he’d taken during our battle with the city officials. They were somewhat taken aback, but grateful. To his credit, Azroth also came up with a decent plan of action. Some digging for rumors about the city revealed a little more to the story behind the attack. An elf called “the dark princess” (whose name we later learned was Aileen) was behind everything. She has been waging a war against elven lands for awhile now. Her 4 lieutenants or “the 4 devas” as they are called, of whom Trollson was one, have been prosecuting her war against the elven nations. The other 3; Casollandra, another elf maiden was the consort of the princess. Gullet, a goblin, was her assassin. He’d developed quite a reputation for killing important persons with one shot of an arrow. Finally there was Dell’enaye, an important general who had bogged down the elven army in a campaign in the northern forests, essentially tying them up so as to be unable to reinforce the city during the attack yesterday. Azroth suggested that we set ourselves up as bait to draw Gullet out. Wilhelm approved of the plan and managed to gain an audience with the Lord Chamberlain to discuss things.
Wilhelm’s meeting with the Lord Chamberlain seemed to have gone well. After hearing that we were the adventurers that everyone was talking about, he agreed to give the plan a try. It will take a couple days to make the arrangements, but word is being spread far and wide that a ceremony is being held to honor the heroes whose actions saved the city. Now someone just has to explain to Azroth that, as it was his plan, he will be the primary target. Heh heh.
The time came to leave on our herb gathering mission. I requested that we make a stop on the way out of town. Per the clerk’s recommendation, we detoured to Malfora’s Oddities, a cluttered but well stocked magic shop on the edge of the city. Malfora was a shrewd female Halfling who seemed to have many years of experience dealing with magical gear. We sold a few items that we didn’t need and I picked up a couple things, including a much needed bag of holding. This place could be quite useful to us in the future.
After our shopping trip we got down to business. After a few hours of scrounging around in the brush, we came up with enough renwort to fill the temples’ quota. We returned with their herbs and were informed that if Richard would present himself on the morrow, the curse would be removed.
The next morning, Richard and some others went off to deal with his curse situation. Meanwhile, Callard and I set about examining the evil tainted grimoires that we’d recovered. The first book that we tried, which was untitled, didn’t go so well. When I opened it, I triggered a fire trap. Luckily I was able to drop the book and save myself from the worst of it. Unfortunately, the book landed at Callard’s feet and due to his armor wasn’t as nimble on his feet as I. After taking the worst of the blast, Callard decided to go and lie down for awhile. I hope that the inn staff doesn’t notice the fire damage to the room. I elected to stow the evil tomes away for awhile and examine them in a more controlled setting when I am more properly prepared.
Richard’s de-cursing seemed to have gone according to plan. Wilhelm devised a test to determine if it had truly worked. After narrowly breaking out into a fistfight afterward, it was concluded that he was rid of the blade, said weapon having been left in the care of the temple. Upon their return to the inn, I enlisted Varel’s help with the next book, also untitled. Varel discovered a vampiric touch rune within this book. I attempted to assist him in removing it. This also didn’t go so well. The rune was triggered and succeeded in draining a portion of Varel’s life force before expiring. Varel then left to seek clerical attention while I took a look at the book.
Sometimes I think the multi-verse is trying to tell me something. After all the work and pain, I find that this book is written in Auran! At this point, it just isn’t worth the numerous castings of read magic that it would require to peruse this tome. I’ve decided to salt the books away with the bag of holding and revisit them when I am better able to prepare. At any rate, I have accessible to me the spells that I need for the moment, as much as I’m salivating over the chance to tear into these books, they can wait. In the meantime, I’m going to get some food and await the return of Shengus to tend my injuries. Varel said that he and Azroth had gone out to find some companionship in the arms (and hopefully beds) of some elven wenches.
I knew that things had started to go too well around here! According to the story as it was related to me. Azroth and Shengas succeeded in locating a pair of elven women who’d gotten an early start on the day in a nearby tavern. While Shengas actually conversed and had dinner with one, it seems that Azroth just cut to the point and offered her money for her time. Fair enough. However, things became complicated when he slipped her a draught of the sleeping potion we’d so foolishly left in his keeping! What his intentions were, I have no clue. But he then proceeded to throw her over his shoulder and carry her down the stair and outside onto the street. Naturally he was observed doing this, and when the inevitable guards patrol arrived to question him, he’d about reached our inn. Claiming she was just drunk did him little good when a magical examination revealed that she was under the effects of an enchantment. This also was secondary to the fact that he was unable to offer sufficient explanation as to why he was walking down the street with an unconscious elven woman over his shoulder? Needless to say he was swiftly arrested. The others, having gotten fully fed up with antics like this were bound and determined to let him rot in whatever hole the elves decide to throw him into, as his coin pouch went missing, we can at least rest knowing that he will be unable to bail himself out of jail.
After reconvening, it was decided and agreed that Azroth would remain where was and would face whatever punishment he brought upon himself ALONE! If he tried to escape, he would find no help from us, and if any attempt was made to gain aid through threats or blackmail, he would be considered an enemy and killed. Wilhelm paid him a visit in jail to inform him of this. He seemed surprised that we had no intention of assisting him. I can’t imagine why, we’d told him numerous times that his behavior was not going to be tolerated forever. At any rate that leaves us a man down and in need of a new target for Grunt tomorrow. Callard offered his services, hopefully it will work out.
This is the day. Our plan (such as it is) is in place. The previous night, Varel scouted several locations that he would use were he attempting to snipe a target. He and Wilhelm took station on 2 of the most promising targets, elven sentries were posted on the remainder. As the ceremony began, all seemed to go well. A lesser city official stood on stage with Richard, Callard, Shengas, Shengas’s date? (the elven damsel he’d met the day before, why he brought her here is a mystery), and myself. Suddenly, Richard came thundering over, planting his tower shield to my left while shouldering me out of the way? He’d noticed that 2 of the guards on a nearby building had vanished and saw someone drawing a bead on me. He saw this in just enough time to run over an take the hit in my place. It’s a sobering feeling, realizing that you owe your life to someone. It was at this moment too that I realized that I really, really, should have used protection from arrows on myself earlier as well! Some damn wizard I am! A 1st year would’ve remembered to do that! At any rate, luckily I did have invisibility ready to go. I used it and hopped down off the stage to use the now panicked crowd as cover. Game on!
I began summoning while the others tried to move up to engage. The crowd made moving next to impossible. I was able to summon a pair of air elementals who were able to close the distance and begin to attack. Unfortunately, they weren’t as effective as I’d hoped. While doing some damage, it wasn’t enough to prevent him from shooting down at Callard and catching him in the face with one of his special killing arrows. Grunt then descended the building and I believe was going to try and make an escape using the confusion. Luckily, at that moment, Wilhelm was able to hold him with a spell! Varel arrived soon after and between him, my elementals and a newly summoned dire bat, we finished him!
Alas poor Callard. After taking a couple minutes to strip Grunt of his possessions and a strange note written in some kind of code, we borrowed a cart and brought Callard straight away to the temple of Kaltia Melith. Wilhelm was pessimistic about our chances, but the 2 of us were able to talk Talleshard into at least considering the idea of raising Callard. The fact that he was human and served another faith was more of a complicating factor than I’d thought. We saved the city and killed 2 of the Dark Princesses lieutenants! What more do these people want? At any rate, he agreed to pray over night about it and requested that we come back tomorrow. The temple promised to care for and preserve his body in the meantime.
The next day, we returned to news other than what we’d hoped. Talleshard agreed to do the raising, upon completion of a task. We were to kill Nashalar the Twisted, a former priest of Kaltia Melith who had renounced his faith and now served a rival deity, Labal’neth. We had no further information than this? Talleshard himself even claimed to know nothing of this individual, he stated that he simply passed on the message as it was given to him, and as soon as his soul hit the afterlife, they would raise Callard. Nothing is ever easy.
This new wrinkle was an unwelcome change of plans. After a brief discussion, it was decided. Callard’s misfortune would be Azroth’s lucky day. I retired to my room to begin scribing some scrolls, while Wilhelm returned to the jail and after getting an oath of better behavior from him, to see about securing Azroth’s release. He was able to do so by stating his intention to use him in the quest to slay the Dark Princess and her minions. This was sufficient to obtain an almost immediate hearing from a city arbiter and secure the release of Azroth. With one condition. A geas was placed upon him. He would begin to weaken every day not spent in pursuit of the destruction of the Dark Princess. The geas would remain until he presented her head as proof of her death. With Azroth in tow, Wilhelm returned to the Lord Chamberlain and got his approval for our proposal.
While the 2 of them went to consult a sage about Nashalar, I sent the others on additional tasks of information gathering. Shengas returned to the arms of the lass whom he’d spent the previous night with to see if she had any information about Nashalar. Varel went prowling into some of the seedier corners of the city to see if we could find an alternative. In the past, Callard had made statements indicating that in the event of his death, he’d be … open to the notion of reincarnation is resurrection wasn’t possible. Varel went to see if there happened to be any druids in the vicinity who would be approachable. I’m not sure where he got his information from, but we were looking for someone who operated underground and that’s who we got, literally. The shady types who Varel spoke with pointed us toward a goblin shaman who hid out just outside of the city. He was the type people went to who couldn’t afford real potions or charms or had no other options, we were both.
Varel and Richard then proceeded to the shamans burrow. His hovel was located in the side of a small hill in a meadow outside of the city. It door and awning were made of a hollowed out log that led into the hillside, nearby hung a sign that seemed to be a human getting shot with an arrow? As in most cases, the coin spoke louder than words. Varel and Richard were quickly admitted into his foul smelling den after announcing that they had coin to spend. The shaman, Zook as he was called, claimed it would be simple to reincarnate Callard, he even claimed to have extra body parts in necessary. They promised to return with the body and the money as soon as possible.
After a quick stop at the inn for money and the temple for Callard, the group, minus Shengas and myself returned to Zook. He’d decked himself out in his ritual gear and prepared an altar. With payment received he began. After dancing, chanting (a long stream of words that upon repetition to me sounded like gibberish), invoking the names of several goblin gods (again, many whom were simply made up, although I’m curious as to how the human god of books and scribes became the goblin god of death?), and smacking Callard’s forehead with his stick several times, Callard then awoke!
Though not being a religious sort, I do know quite a bit about deities and their faiths. I am also familiar with the potential outcomes that could result from a reincarnation ritual. That being said, I have no idea what happened here! All I can say is that wherever it may be in the multi-verse that the cosmic dice that determine our fates are tossed, Callard set must have been loaded. Either that or he used up a lifetime of karma? Maybe his deity intervened on some level, who knows? The outcome, however, was that Callard was reincarnated back into his original body! I’ve never heard of this happening before! I guess the dice said he was coming back as a male human and the fates just felt it easier to put him back the way they found him? At any rate, Callard is back amongst us, though diminished from his passing, but we welcome his return.
The next item being our course of action? Shengas’s girlfriend told him of hearing of Nashalar the Twisted from a group of elven adventurers that was staying at the inn at which she works. Shengas spoke with them and found out that they were on a holy quest to kill him for stealing a number of holy relics. As he didn’t press for more, I’ll need to pay them a visit. I get the feeling that this wayward priest is somehow connected to this whole affair. This seems like much more than just a feud between elven factions, this feels more like a holy war. There are rumors that the 2 of them worship the same dark elven god. I believe that Nashalar should be our first target. I can’t shake the idea that his death will in some way advance our cause to destroy the Dark Princess. At any rate, we have preparations to make. I need more information about Aileen and Nashalar, I need more scrolls and hopefully, with the death of Nashalar, we can get Callard’s weakened condition reversed. I’m sure that we will need everyone at full strength for what we have to face.