*** It's been a while since the last campaign journal. I don't know what happened to them. The player who usually makes these wasn't with us last session, so I decided to make some notes and write one. Also, we are missing the journal of the previous session, so I skipped one number in numbering this journal. If that other journal gets added it can still use its logical number. ***
Absent 08-01-2011: Nuryam and Jokul.
This journal is posted from the vantage point of Adamar.
Mistress, I do not understand your sudden interest in my exploits, but I am compelled to uphold my end of our bargain. Even though this appears to be a small sub-section of our bargain I was not aware of. I am left to wonder if my surge in power a few weeks ago has increased your interest in me personally. I find this train of thought disconcerting to be honest.
As you are undoubtedly aware we successfully defended the temple of Rilni from its invaders and repelled the Duergar back to the depths from which they had come. Unfortunately not before they managed to escape with a score of unique and powerful tomes of knowledge and a number of captives. We were asked to chase after the Duergar and retrieve as many captives and books as possible. I think that was our plan already, since the Duergar seem to be aligned with The Warlock, who seems to have a connection to most (if not all) of our pasts. However, the final combat in the temple library had left most of us drained. Indeed, even I had been drained of nearly half of my power for the day so I cannot imagine how my companions must have felt. So in lieu of the need to recharge, we decided to take a longer rest than before to regain our strength before we would pursuit the Duergar.
After barely a night’s rest we discussed our tactics with the new temple leaders, and amongst ourselves, and we decided that Sherabb, Snorri, Barsjt, Splug and myself would start the trek through the Underdark to find the Duergar, while Jokul would remain with the temple for a little longer to help the most grievously wounded and Nuryam would also stay behind a little longer. The reasons for Nuryam’s decision are as of yet unknown to me. I can only believe that our Sidhelien companion is more afraid of the Underdark than he wishes to acknowledge. It was decided that both of them would follow us a soon as possible. I’m convinced we will need the full strength of our party in order to succeed.
With things settled, the five of us climbed down the hole the Purple Worm had created and started following the tunnel. Hopefully to find the Duergar who, by now, had a head start of a few hours.
After a couple of hours we left the confined space of the tunnel and found ourselves on a ridge on the side of trench too wide and too deep to see across or into. The trench, or rather, abyss, felt bottomless and left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. After a few more hours we were greeted by the smells of rotting things and behind a rounding in the ridge we came upon a crossroads with a bridge. On the crossroads a battle had been fought and it was littered by the bodies of Orogs. One of the denizens of the Underdark.
After some investigation we found a mortally wounded Orog. I do not know how long this creature had managed to keep his soul inside his mortal shell, but it could have been days. These Orogs are hardy creatures indeed. We gave the Orog a potion to heal the worst of his wounds and sought to gain some information from him.
The Orog’s name turned out to be Roark. He told us he was part of a patrol that keeps an eye on the ruins across the bridge. These ruins are said to be infested with the likes of Aboleth, Mind Flayers and other rather unfriendly creatures. During their patrol they were ambushed by the Duergar. Roark pointed us in the direction the Duergar went to next and informed us of the old keep they now garrisoned; The Horned Hold. While we went towards the Horned Hold, Roark went back to his people to assemble a war band to get revenge on the Duergar. Concerned for our own well being we asked if we could get some guarantees regarding our safety from the hands of the Orogs. Roark agreed to give us a 24 hour head start, but after that he could no longer give us any more guarantees. Apparently these Orogs don’t really like us ‘pink-skins’.
We moved on and after a while came upon the Horned Hold. The Hold is positioned very favourably for defense, so after some debate we decided it would be fruitless to try and use stealth. It does seem kind of pointless to try and hide in the shadows from creatures that can see in the dark just as well as we can see in the bright sun light.
Taking our chances we just walked right up to the door, while Snorri would advance just a little further in the hopes of getting at least some additional scouting and not be completely stumbling in the dark. This turned out to be a good decision as Snorri did manage to find out that the door we happened upon had only a few Duergar behind it and they didn’t appear to be paying much attention. In fact the whole side of the Hold we were facing seemed more like the backside than anything else. We surmised the Duergar wanted to avoid the Orogs as much as possible when they made their way to the temple of Rilni and in doing so created a route to their back door for us.
When we heard the sound of a smithy, we decided this was a very fortunate time to force our way in. Hopefully the noise would cover the sounds of combat and postpone our inevitable detection just a little longer.
This was all the motivation Barsjt needed as he ran, head-first I believe, through the door. The sturdy looking door, obviously made to keep things out, didn’t even seem to slow down our Vos companion in the slightest. With the door open I managed to run in and surprise three Duergar playing cards at a table in one corner of the room. Using a power I only recently learned I killed all three of them while stealing part of their life-energy to toughen myself and allow two of my companions, Snorri and Sherabb, to teleport a short distance to gain an advantage against the remaining Duergar.
Snorri managed to kill her opponent as well, but Sherabb seemed to be disoriented a little from the teleportation and was unable to react swiftly enough, giving his opponent time to run through a door he was very near to. I wonder if the teleporting powers of Sherabb work differently than mine, since he is no stranger to teleporting. Maybe the swift back- and forth to the Fey Wyld is not how his teleporting powers work. When I get the chance I will discuss this with him. I do think he enjoys conversations about the workings of magic.
But I digress. We all ran after the last Duergar that had fled into a small hallway, but it was too late. The noise of our combat had alerted the Duergar in the next room and upon opening a double door at the end of the hallway we ran into a Duergar in plate armor. This one seemed much more confident than the Duergar we had dispatched so easily a few seconds ago. To make matters worse two more heavily armoured Duergar appeared from the adjoining room, one of which was apparently the smith, and two doors in the small hallway opened allowing sleepy looking Duergar to pour in. In a few seconds time Snorri and myself found ourselves all but surrounded by Duergar, while Sherabb and Barsjt were trading blows with the three heavily armoured Duergar in the next room.
The combat was heavy and brutal, since we did not have the availability of healing powers of Jokul we had to be much more careful. Fortunately Splug really started shining as a useful companion (aside from annoying Nuryam which, to be honest, was the whole reason I liked him up until now). I think Splug managed to get two healing powers off and even picked off some of the smaller Duergar himself. I myself found my recent increase in power and my understanding of harvesting and more efficiently using the fleeting life-energy of my enemies to be pivotal in winning this battle. I managed to keep myself just moderately wounded instead of almost dead by toughening myself with the life-energies of my falling and fallen enemies and I definitely kept Snorri alive by utilising my new understanding for distributing these energies amongst my companions.
With these Duergar dead I hope we have a few minutes to catch our breaths and get a quick recharge before the next batch of Duergar run into certain death. Even a mighty brown bear will eventually fall to the endless waves of birds picking at its hide.