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Heroes Community > Bards Glade Pyre (RPG) > Thread: Baldur's Gate Diaries
Thread: Baldur's Gate Diaries This thread is 4 pages long: 1 2 3 4 · «PREV / NEXT»
gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted April 07, 2004 09:42 PM

DANG U VADSKEY!!! It's my job to put it up top!! Oh, that reminds me...hehe...Top!
____________
When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 12, 2004 06:12 PM
Edited By: Consis on 16 Apr 2004

Bleeding Information

Baldur's Gate
Log entry-06:

Dear diary,

So it was that we left Beregost with high hopes and determination to find this conglomeration of ruffians and scallywags. I had thought, with more certainty, that Peldvale be the more likely area for the bandit camp, however, Imoen's choice for LarsWood turned out to be a more profitable venture. Just as we came to no more than a few paces into the LarsWood, we were greeted by an interestingly armored fellow by the name of Teven.

He approached us with a great deal of confidence considering that he was all alone. I'm sure we all thought him to be quite untrustworthy despite his demeanor, attire, and quirky smile. He wore no helmet, no shield, and carried a sheathed long sword. The man was dressed in a finely crafted suit of polished obsidian splint mail. It was adorned as if to be of officer rank in some dog and pony show parade. Even his gloves were unworn. The entire suit was practically custom made! I didn't like it one bit. What would such a wealthy guardsman be doing out here in the middle of nowhere? And to whom was he captain for? Neither Baldur's Gate nor Amnish soldiers sported those colors. He stepped forward quite casually with a serious look and said, "Drop yer weapons! I'll no be sayin it twice."

Sharteel laughed, "Men are pathetic." She drew her sword and started to walk forward. As she did, Teven whistled a subtle bird-like call. The bushes rustled and we looked around to see that we were surrounded by atleast three times as many bushmen. I thought to myself, "Hmm, that's not good." I motioned everyone to take their hands off their weapons. We clearly needed to look for a fast alternative. Teven questioned us as to what our business was in that neck of the woods. I wanted to ask him the same question but that was, obviously, not the best thing to do for the time being. Imoen quickly spoke up, “We want in!” Once I noticed that it was too late to run, I decided that Imoen’s instincts were right on. I answered by saying that we were here to join his group. I told him we wanted in on the raids for iron. I made it sound like that was the only profitable venture for anyone these days. I could tell he didn't trust me. His eyes stayed fixed on me as he stood in thoughtful deliberation. He finally replied that we would have to meet with 'the boss' just to ease his nerves.

So it was that he decided to take us directly to the location of his camp! I wondered if he was truly that incompetent or if they meant to kill and enslave us when we arrived. Along the way, the group and I had exchanged some reassuring glances and nods, as if to say, 'if they want a fight then they'll get one'. That seemed all well and good for the more heavily armored in our group but what about Imoen and myself? I supposed Imoen could run off to hide in the shadows but not me. What was I supposed to do with that many arrowtips pointed straight at my throat? The odds were not in my favor to survive any likely confrontation that might ensue.

(a bit of inward thinking)
It turns out both Imoen and I were incorrect. Teven led us to a very tactical location indeed. Interestingly enough, the bandit camp lay far off the road between Baldur's Gate and the Friendly Arms Inn. From a certain viewpoint this was the most advantageous if one's goal was to sabotage the trade and supply routes for iron in the region. The inhospitable mountains just to the south of Nashkel would make for some terrible ambushes and it was too far from the focal point of a safe haven like the Friendly Arms Inn. If indeed it was a safe haven. As I think on it, the Friendly Arms must be. Considering that the bandits and other such figures of nefarious cause kept to the offroads and crucial junctioning points, I would have to say that the Friendly Arms Inn was, in fact, safe. As I recall, Officer Jessa Vai, of the Flaming Fist, had her contingent cut off between the Friendly Arms Inn and Beregost. Hmm, cities left untouched and trade routes tormented. This gives me pause for a slight on the masterminds. Could it be that they wish to starve the local populations of much needed supplies? Hmm, it can't be. Why would they only target iron shipments? Why not food and other supplies? More answers are needed. Both, officer Vai and others, have described some sort of contract between Friendly Arms and the Baldur's Gate police force. That information would cause me to think that all other areas, outside of the Flaming Fist's jurisdiction, are likely hotspots for the iron-shortage conspiracy members.
(a bit of inward thinking)

Bandit Camp Continued

Having been brought to the camp, we were then introduced to the camp’s leader, Tazok. Tazok was half-ogre. He must’ve been atleast as tall as a normal ogre. I’d say seven feet tall, no less.  The large brute was very intimidating as he approached us with a two-handed sword held in one hand. I was quite amazed with his suit of armor. It was the first time I had ever seen such a large and well-made set of plate. If I’m not mistaken I’d say full plate! That brute sported a handcrafted custom-made suit of full plate armor! Being that he was over seven feet in height and probably weighed close to 400 lbs, I think it’s safe to say that this finely crafted suit of armor was nigh on thousands of gold pieces in worth! Heck, the only suit I’ve seen, outside of this, was in Beregost at the Thunderhammer Smithy. Yes, Taerom Fuiruim was his name. He had a finely made suit for no less than 10,000 gold pieces on sale.

A Thoughtful Tangent

Come to think of it, this reminds me of his offer to craft the ankheg shell. I haven’t actually done so yet. Hmm, perhaps next season when I’m allowed to hunt more ankhegs. Ah I must get back to the matter. I’ve strayed too far.

Bandit Camp Continued

As I was saying, this Tazok bloke had approached us to kill us for being brought into the secret location of the bandit camp. When we confronted him as a group he took a few good hits from the sword and backed down. His armor protected him well. He laughed and said we were in. I quietly thought to myself, “Good job Imoen. Your excellent idea worked!”

Once inside the camp we had full run of it. I decided it was best to keep Ajantis and Minsc occupied while the rest of us mingled with the separate camp members. Sharteel and Viconia stuck together. They seemed to fit right in. I noticed they had quickly stirred up small talk with an interesting fellow near the main tent. Imoen stayed close to me. Together, we met and spoke with many of the low-life bandits that walked the grounds. At first, I wasn’t fitting in all too well, but after a few instructions from Imoen on how to properly address these types of people I found a much more agreeable response. Strangely enough, they mostly reacted well to aggressive threats and respect of the strong-armed.

We found that the camp consisted of three groups. The two main groups were hobgoblin and human. The hobgoblin leader was named Ardenor Crush. The human leader was named, Taugosz Khosann or ‘Tenhammer’, as he liked to be called. I found this to be especially odd considering that humans and hobgoblins do not normally work together in any capacity. In fact, I’ve run into quite a few along the way here that I, myself, have had to put to the sword.

Even stranger, we found that there was also a clan of gnolls led by a chieftain they called Garclax. We actually found the gnoll clan imprisoned in a cave for unruly behavior among the camp. Unfortunately, we had to kill them in self-defense. Once we entered the cave they were being kept in, they attacked us almost immediately. I basically ran in circles through the cave until Imoen returned with Minsc. I almost felt sorry for the dog-creatures as I watched Minsc unleash his wrath upon them. Minsc is not a welcoming sort when he sees a gnoll. I think he still carries the pain of his lost Dynaheir inside him.

The question was, what, in all the realms, were these sketchy characters doing working together? It was clear that they had no love for each other even among the camp. Both entities thought they were being paid by the Zhentarim. However upon closer investigation, I found that the human faction was being hired to work for a group called ‘the Iron Throne’. This was the piece of news that caught my attention. This was a name I’d not heard of until this time. Through my curiosity, I decided to ask some questions.

I noticed Sharteel and Viconia chatting with Tenhammer. He seemed to be in some friendly words with Viconia. I thought his good mood made him the best candidate to pry for answers. Upon approaching him I noticed that he, too, had himself a very finely crafted suit of arms. “These must be some well-paid bandits”, I thought to myself. One wouldn’t think of bandits having such access to city-based smithies. Before I even opened my mouth he addressed me belittlingly, “You are small and weak compared. Remember this, you cross Talons and I kill you. Not with hammer, with little finger, slowly.” He certainly thought highly of himself. After responding in the appropriate manner(stroking his ego), he explained that Tazok hires the Black Talons to work for the Iron Throne. This confirmed my earlier suspicions. He also told me to stay away from the ‘Chill’ as well. The ‘Chill’, being the name of the hobgoblin faction. He said they were only friends until the job was done.

After the chat with Tenhammer I decided to gather the party before venturing forth. We talked amongst ourselves and all decided to infiltrate the main headquarters tent under the cover of night. We knew we had to see what they were keeping in the main tent. The guard outside said that he was posted there to keep watch over some important documents and a prisoner that had been recently captured.

Nightfall came and we snuck up to the front where the main guard was on duty, or so we thought. Tenhammer and the other humans were dancing around the campfires while drinking heavily. We thought the guard was watching the drunken stupor with envy. Imoen snuck up behind him and was going to give him a knife in the back until we noticed that he was actually passed out while leaning on his sword. It sort of struck me as idiotic. I half wondered if breaking into the main tent was even worth it. My opinion changed once we entered the tent. It was huge on the inside.

The inner walls were lined with stolen booty and separate flags representing each faction of the camp. Inside and toward the back we were met with a gaze from three of what could have been bandit lieutenants. They were, however, far from any respectable officers considering the nature of their subordinates.  There was a gnoll captain, a human mage of some sort, a hobgoblin captain, and some half-ogre. I don’t even know their names. After they saw us enter the human asked me what my business was while the others got up from the table and slowly began to draw their weapons. I tried a casual response describing a summons from Tazok but they didn’t fall for it. The man said he knew who I was and ordered the others to attack me. They simply came at us with intense dislike. I had never met this person and yet he knew my face. On top of that, I had been roaming the camp for three nights with no mention of my presence to him.

The Plot Thickens

After Ajantis, Sharteel, and Minsc handled the dirty work we freed the captor. The man was named Ender Sai. He said he was from the Gate. He also described how he’d been caught trying to infiltrate the camp. He said that during his time conspiring with the bandits he found out about Mulahey. He told us that Mulahey had set himself up as the Kobold god returned and the little rodents believed him. Ender Sai thanked us before leaving and we exited the camp. During our exit we were neither confronted nor battled anyone. No one heard the commotion in the headquarters and no one checked to see what happened to the gnolls in the cave. I left feeling a good deal of disgust for such a lack of order.

Present Location With Time for Questions

After looting the entire inside of the headquarters tent we found some helpful letters that led us to the next clue for our investigation of the iron shortage. Thus we come to the Cloakwood forest. The letters indicated that Tazok had left the night before our raid on the bandit camp leadership to a place called the Cloakwood forest. They were signed by two individuals, both of which I have yet to meet. Davaeorn and Sarevok. As a party we have decided to turn this forest on its head to find these chief bandits at the center of this little deceptive iron crisis. Together we’ll find what we’re looking for, I’m sure of it. I certainly hope the next criminals we encounter have a little more control than the last. If not, then this may be the easiest crime anyone has ever tried to investigate. Sharteel says she’d like to have another go at the hulking Tazok to see if he truly has what it takes to measure up to her skill. I, personally, would like to see it myself. If I were a betting man I would place my gold on my love ofcourse. She’s quite the woman, as I knew from the start. What a catch she might be for the right man someday. What a catch.

Fruitful are the rewards that come with thorough investigations. If information was food then we would have recently had a large banquet to feast upon. Oh, what a way to go. I think that's the problem with bandits. The amount of unadulterated inorganization stifles me to say the least. It's no wonder their command structure is so forcibly based on fear and chaos. From an objective standpoint they really were a failing cult. Their ideas were flawed, leaders led by force of might, dissention among the ranks, incoherent motivational aspects, and yet all of them were mere puppets. The question, then, marionettes handled by whose authority? These letters are quite enough to involve the authorities from the Gate itself. I'm sure someone at the Flaming Fist headquarters would pay handsomely to bring these into the light.

____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 14, 2004 05:58 PM
Edited By: Consis on 14 Apr 2004

Judge, Jury, and Educationer

Baldur’s Gate
Log entry-07:

Dear diary,

I had another dream last night. I dreamt I was standing before a cave that I could not see into. As I stood before the cave entrance I knew there was something inside that I had to see. It was something very important that I must know. My interest for knowledge compelled me to go forward into the blackened mouth of earthen solitude. As I entered I was enveloped by the soft darkness that filled the hollow hall. I walked for a bit and soon the way became dimly lit as it was once before in the cave that I dreamt of with Mulahey. It was as if the moon had crept in through the entrance with me. Off in the distance I could see a pale figure standing unmoving. As I approached the figure it became more clearly a statue. I stopped in front of it and marveled at the detail of its craftsmanship. As I stood there in appreciation I realized the statue was none other than myself! I was looking at a bold representation of myself standing tall and firm. Its eyes were looking off into the distance with confidence and strength. The incandescent light that seemed to be present without source reflected off the statue in a most brilliantly illuminating way. Tiny sparkles shown as miniature stars within its makeup of pure marble and granite. I wondered what sculptor could possibly create something so fantastically rendered. I leaned forward to touch the masterpiece and noticed that my hand was transparent! I looked at my hand and saw that I could see through it! Upon further examination, I became frozen with terror as I saw that my entire being was ghostly as well. I raised to look back at the statue and saw that the luminescent light appeared to be emanating from me. I was the source of the glow that lit the inside of the cavern. More precisely, I noticed that it came from my chest. I looked down and saw that inside my ethereal chest floated the dagger of bone that had once tried to kill me for not having used it in my dream of Mulahey. It flew from my chest and impaled itself on the statue. The strike made the ground shake and a crack appeared where it stabbed. A pain coursed through me. I was rent asunder by the incredible power of its magnitude. A voice spoke clearly, “You were made as you are but can also be broken.”


CloakWood’s Edge,

This forest looked to be massive. I’d wager that it will be a full season before we’re able to make any real progress within its reach. The thickness was considerable. In fact, I’m not sure how we’ll be able to navigate through such dense foliage.

Minsc happily stepped forward for the job. Apparently he was a ranger of sorts. He’d had a good deal of forest training in his youth from his perspective. As I thought on it, I did notice that he seemed to be quite at home through every rural passing between the towns. He would talk of how much his hamster liked the forest. He calls it by name but I refuse to write anything of the sort. To give a rodent proper address and identification is downright laughable. I understand that Minsc considers it to be of great value therefore I shall simply classify the pet as his living rabbit's foot, so to speak. He probably feels more lucky while carrying it than actual companionship.

Not but a few cliques in, we stumbled upon a fancy woodland cabin harboring a man of noble demeanor. He called himself Aldeth Sashenstar. At first, he wouldn’t open his door when we knocked. We could see him peering through the boarded windows. Why, we wondered, would he be so afraid of us? After a few more knocks he slowly opened the door and immediately exhaled a sigh of relief. Apparently, he was glad to see we were of ‘the rough sort’. As we listened, he explained to us how he, and his very old friend, had been hunting in the area, when they were attacked by some unforgiving druids.

Minsc was suspicious. He asked, “Why? What were you doing that made them so angry?” Aldeth replied that they were merely hunting wild animals. He continued by explaining how he and his longtime friend were citizens of Baldur’s Gate and had every right to hunt in these lands. Minsc explained his belief of how the land can belong to no man, nor the trees and animals which grow from it.

Aldeth rolled his eyes, “Learn some manners brute.” I decided to step in at this point. I explained to Aldeth that we were here investigating the iron shortage. He paid it no mind and offered to pay us handsomely if we protected him from the druids that had killed his friend.

We agreed and not much longer afterwards, the druids did approach the cabin with hostile intent. They didn’t want to talk and demanded that we hand over Aldeth for his crimes in the forest. Once we refused to do anything without first talking, the druids attacked. They weren’t much of a match for us considering they had no weapons or armor. I didn’t want to kill them but while I was hiding behind Ajantis, I couldn’t do much to stop my companions from cutting them down. We were in the right, as Aldeth observed, but it just didn’t feel right. After the job was done, we gave the bodies a proper burial and were paid by Aldeth. As he left he offered to help us should we ever come to the Gate.

I’m sure that we would eventually be led there considering that we needed to report our findings to the proper authorities after mopping up the rest of this iron shortage caper. Of that I had no doubt.


Finding Out the Truth,

Here it is then that I write of a tested friendship between Viconia and myself. Tonight I write with questions left unanswered and loyalties left unchecked. As group leader I am uncertain what to think at this point but it is with heavy heart that I must bring into question a member’s loyalty. Long has Viconia traveled with the group. I remember it like it was yesterday when we met her. We saved her from that fanatical Flaming Fist guard. He’d tracked and hunted her down until she had nowhere left to hide. When we met her she was tired and exhausted from the chase. It was apparent that the hunt did not begin with the guard but if we hadn’t met her when we did then it would have most certainly ended with him. As I understand it, Viconia is of questionable race and upbringing. Her ancestors have carved out an especially hate-filled niche in the great circle of inhabitants on this land. As I recall reading, during my studies at Candlekeep, the drow race, as they are called, is a race of dark-skinned elves that live entirely underground. The tomes I have read describe an overall belief in the worship of the goddess of spiders and their kin. I believe “Lolth” is her name. Within that ethos or pantheon, as many call it, the believers tend to behave according to a network of power, ritualistic sacrifice, spider worship, domination through war, and other such acts. I do recall reading, and Viconia’s behavior would tend to confirm this, that the female gender of the species is considered to be of greater cultural status. Elves, in general, are commonly known to live longer than do humans and dwarves. I believe their life span is a third longer than that of humans, which would make them live one quarter longer than a dwarf. Because of this I really have no idea how old Viconia truly is and thusly so I would have no way of knowing how much time she could have possibly spent inside the normal culture(if it can possibly be called such) of the drow race. There is no way for me to know without asking and that sort of question is usually left unsaid until the questionee decides to initiate the answer first. I shall now attempt to recall, by use of quill and parchment, the events that took place leading up to this very serious predicament.

It was a good distance into the forest we had traveled before our search for the secret location of the Iron Throne’s base was halted. The forest had become thick and its foliage intertwined with thorny vines and dangling roots. The dankness reminded me of the swamp stories yet there were no such sporadic troughs of stagnant water. It was very humid, cool, and moist. I couldn’t tell if the moisture on my skin was from my sweat or simply the condensation from the air around me. The canopy of thickly grown intertwined branch tops covered the entire undergrowth. The light barely shown through and I wondered how the dense vegetation of forest floor was able to grow at all with so little to absorb.

The thickness was so great that our forward movement was effectively stopped. We knew we couldn’t continue much further with our armor as heavy and immovable as it was. We decided to have Imoen climb a tree and try to scope out the boundaries of this unyielding wall of trees, vines, shrubs, and other plants. After her scout and my magic, to help her see a bit further, she returned with some good news. She explained that the entire grove was really only a few cliques in size and wouldn’t take more than a few days to completely check for the hidden base. We knew that we could search the entire grove much more easily and quickly with less encumberment. So it was that we all agreed to dig a hole and mark it as our cache site for containing most of our heavy armor and packs. The tall tree that Imoen climbed became the marker with a white banner tied to its highest branch. We decided to keep our food supplies with us and carry only our weapons. If we found the base we could come back and retrieve the items for a full infiltration and assault.

Pantaloons were torn, tunics were ripped, and blouses came apart at the seams as we slowly made our way through. Our weapons caused a lot of snags and tugs, which, in turn, slowed our progress even more. There were spiderwebs, hung moss, mushrooms and toadstools, and a great many other obstacles that all seemed to work in conjunction both collectively and effectively, to decrease the amount of progress we made. While some of us hacked our way through, some crawled, and others climbed. All the while, we began to notice the increasingly growing amount of webs presenting themselves. Small webs became big webs and those became larger still. The size, however, didn’t much correspond with the size of the tiny spiders that would scurry away when their delicate webbing was destroyed by the towering people crashing through their, once still, natural habitat. In fact the web size was the only clue that could have told us what was ahead.

Although the tiny spiders would scatter and flee, I noticed that it was becoming more and more difficult to push through the webbing. I also found that the sticky silk-like webbing was more attracted to itself than the skin and clothing I was wearing. I found this to be of particular interest. Although the beautiful strains of majestic cords would break and wrap around the object which broke it, the webbing didn’t actually connect until it touched the other piece of web wrapping from the opposite direction. This allowed one’s hand to continue to move within the wrapping itself while the web maintained a strong hold containing the object within. Furthermore, I found that the more the web-wrapped object moved through other webs, by way of struggle, the greater the containing strength of the original web would become. As it would stick to other webbing the original web would be reinforced. This was fascinating to me.

As I looked about for the others to describe my fantastically interesting experiments with my hand, I noticed that they were all busy in frustration while trying to remove each piece of web stuck to their hair and clothing. I realized that this was probably not the best time to share my findings with the rest of the group. They seemed a bit preoccupied.(sic)

It wasn’t much further before we noticed a cocooned body drained and decaying in a mass of webbing and branches. Imoen found it first and screamed in shock. The rest of us made our way over to inspect the body and found that it must have been a person who died a long time ago. It was shrunken and drained to the bone.

As if I were some complete idiot, I dismissed it as having been caught unawares by the many number of spiders we’d seen thus far. I was sorely mistaken. Insofar as we traveled not but a few hundred paces further we noticed that the tiny spiders were no longer fleeing as we treaded their sacred ground. They all took up residence on the far out-lying branches about ten paces from the group at all times. I was intrigued by their organization. There couldn’t have been more than a few hundred of the tiny arachnids. It was when we stopped at the head of a funnel that I noticed the little things moving away.

It became very quiet as we all stood there silently. There were no birds singing, no wind, and I could hear my heartbeat. Viconia jeered, “Why don’t you go in there and see if the secret base is there?” I didn’t answer. I looked about at the rest of the group. Imoen clung close to me, Minsc was slowly drawing his sword, Sharteel stood poised for battle, and Ajantis stayed still as he pondered his next action. I asked the group, “Perhaps we should go back. This is obviously not the secret base.” Viconia laughed, “I pity you for your short life span. We cannot go back. Nor can we go forward. We are all fools. And I am a fool for having left my home. We’re all going to die.” We all wondered what she meant by that.

As I think on it now, I wonder what her true intent was. How did she know what was in there? How did she know where we were? Such questions imply mutiny.

The truth is, I’m not sure what happened next. It all happened so fast.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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Vadskye91
Vadskye91


Promising
Supreme Hero
Back again
posted April 14, 2004 06:14 PM

I'm on the edge of my seat...
____________
Knowledge is power...

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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted April 15, 2004 12:11 AM

Hey! I'm the only one allowed to spam here!!! :@
Oh...btw....TOP!
*I was given permission to spam this thread to keep it near the top*
____________
When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 15, 2004 06:51 PM
Edited By: Consis on 7 May 2004

Log Entry-08

Dear diary,

Den of the Spiders

We had come to a place that no man would wish to go had he any choice in the matter. I know from inside my mind, what is worse. Standing in front of the large funnel opening, we looked about and scanned for signs of movement. We looked, listened, and felt the soft web that covered the ground beneath our feet. It cushioned our feet so as to keep silent the fall of heavy steps. It was when I realized this that my mind took control over my rational thinking. I realized that if something was nearby we would most certainly not hear its footsteps. “Where had all the spiders gone?” I wondered. “Why was it so quiet?” Fear came over me as I began to remember my hand experiments with the web material. If we broke the web of the funnel it would wrap around and bind us in place. I wondered, “What could make a funnel so large? Surely not the tiny spiders we had seen?” I tried to reason but came to no conclusion other than I was starting to believe what Viconia was saying.

I took command quickly and ordered us all back to back so we would not be flanked unawares. Viconia stood where she was. She didn’t take part in the defense. I stood in the center next to Imoen. Sharteel, Minsc, and Ajantis circled us while facing outward. Lighting was acceptable. The sun was shining through the webbed treetops. It was a bit shady but we could see fairly well. Viconia looked at me straight in the eyes with a deadly serious expression and said, “You don’t know spiders very well. They don’t think like humans. Do you think they’re going to jump through that door? They don’t hunt prey. They wait for it to come to them.” I paused to consider what she meant and then it began.

I still have nightmares because you really can’t see them. Usually when a man sees the task before him, he is able to size it up, measure it according to his own abilities, and engage it with an educated and logical approach. The truth was, I didn’t have any education of this circumstance. How was I to know these monsters grew so large? How was I to know they hid in their secretly-made trap doors beneath us? Viconia knew but it didn’t matter. The bait was set, the creatures had us, and the trap was sprung.

The entire group was lifted off their feet when the door beneath bounced us upward. Underneath the door, legs of a giant spider protruded, waiting for us to land so that it could grab us and pull us under but it didn’t. In mid air with lightning speed three massive spiders lunged from the funnel portal, out of it’s protective darkness, and snatched us out of the air. We were pulled into the lair kicking and screaming. Somehow, between the sprung toss and lightning fast abduction, these gargantuan monsters had time to thread our legs with sticky threads of silky webbing. I was quickly becoming woven with Imoen and Ajantis. Minsc raged and was able to break his biological bonds. Sharteel somehow managed to get her sword-arm free and was wildly swinging at the nearest arachnid. During the commotion I heard Viconia scream in agony. I looked over and saw her half-wrapped body lying lifeless on the damp-spun floor. She was bleeding from the side of her hip. It only made me struggle harder to break free of my own half-made cocoon. Logic and rational thinking left me. Had I remembered my experiment then I would have remembered not to struggle but instead to try and slip out of the half of the webbing that bound my arms and legs. I yelled for Imoen to reach her dagger but she couldn’t. Ajantis reached his and began to cut himself free of his entrapment. Sharteel had managed to cut her legs free with her sword and was engaging the nearest giant spider head-on. Two engaged Sharteel and one was parrying Minsc’s volley of careless blows. We had only our weapons without any armor. The one attacking Minsc waited for the right moment and stabbed him on his knee with its over-sized poisonous fangs. Minsc kept swinging as he fell on one knee. Sharteel was able to hack through the fur-ridden legs of the two that faced off with her and Ajantis managed to climb to his feet. Both converged on the last and ended its miserable existence.

I began to think more clearly as the danger seemed to subside. Minsc was dropped to both knees in a heavy sweat of labored breathing. Ajantis kneeled next to Minsc and began a short prayer. He put his hands on his head and began to ask Helm to forgive Minsc of his sins. Sharteel cut Imoen and myself free. I quickly raced to Minsc and pulled out a small vial with a concoction of poison remedy. It was an old recipe that I learned from my father. It was meant to slow a variety of poisonous inflictions. As Ajantis cradled Minsc I comforted him with a look of confidence in the recovery for his friend.

Sharteel stood over Viconia’s body. I quickly walked over to assess her condition. Imoen unraveled her while I checked her for wounds. Sharteel stayed alert as she kept an eye out for other would-be attackers. She warned that we shouldn’t linger in such a place. She wasn’t breathing and, as I had thought, the drow elf had indeed been stabbed by the monster’s teeth in her left hip. I rolled her on to the uninjured side to check for other wounds. I found nothing but the puncture marks. As I applied pressure to her open wounds she began to stir. I rolled her on to her back and looked into her eyes. She slowly fluttered them open. She looked straight up as I asked if she was all right. Her chest heaved forward as she suddenly drew in a large gasp of air. She screamed as she sat up and reached forward as if to grab something. She cried, “Don’t kill them”, and fell back again unconscious. I shook her to revive her, she awoke coughing and wheezing, and I asked her what she was talking about. She rubbed her head to quell a headache that formed from the poison in her veins most likely. Under her breath she explained that the spiders we fought were of an endangered species. I responded, “What? Are you kidding? They almost killed us and I thought they killed you!” She explained of her being raised in some kind of drow torture chamber. She said that her blood was highly resistant to many kinds of spider poison. I, particularly, did not care for such information at the time. I wanted to egress quickly with our lives intact.

I looked back to the hole that offered entrance to the cave. There was a small amount of light that shined through the small portal. We would have to climb the finely woven threads to escape this deathtrap. I quietly projected a whisper over to Ajantis that we should quickly and cautiously withdraw from the cave. I asked if he could see much further into the cave from where he sat with Minsc. There wasn’t much light beyond the area near the entrance. He said it was too dimly lit to see any further. Viconia coughed as she chuckled, “Where are you sisters? Come out and show yourselves. I can see atleast a handful of you waiting in the darkness.”

I responded in a loud whisper, “Viconia what are you talking about?” She replied with a grin, “Where do you think you are Surfacer? Do you think this is a cave? We seem to have stumbled upon the remnants of the last of Menshara Brood. I always wondered where they scurried off to. This is a spider’s hive for an endangered species. This species was thought to have become extinct after the last House-war.” Viconia struggled to her feet and called out into the darkness, “Where is your matron mother my sisters? There is no need to hide when I can see you.” With the utterance of those words a sound hissed from the darkness. The door behind us snapped shut and our short supply of light went with it. Viconia yelled, “Who are you! What have you done with the house of Menshara?” Viconia became frustrated and angry. I looked in the direction of where I last saw Viconia before the door was shut and saw two eyes in her place. They burned bright red and penetrated my very soul as she enchanted a spell from her old calling. She called out the name of my suspicion. She called for the sight of Lolth. As she did, the darkness became dimly illuminated by the soft blue glow that surrounded each figure off in the distance.

We could now see clearly, that which was not meant to be seen. We observed that the cave was not a cave. It was a large dome built from web and branches. The wall was lined with the silent bones of past victims. Many victims remained attached to the web that bound them at their departure while still grasping their swords and wearing their armor. We found ourselves at the edge of the dome. In the center sat a large and fattened pulsating massive woman. It was clear that she couldn’t move because of her immense proportions.

As I recall, the thing didn’t have to move at all. It was in command of all the monsters that inhabited that place. From where we stood we could see more of the large spiders slowly creeping around the sides and top of dome towards us. At floor level from behind the fat woman crept two very large and metallic looking spiders. As if Mother Nature hadn’t played enough cruel jokes by creating those gigantic tarantulas, now we saw that she had mixed a pair of swords with one. They had no hair for sensors but didn’t need it. The front two legs were razor-sharp and held high in an offensive posture. Not only were the large ‘Menshara’ and swordspiders, as I have come to label them, creeping toward us but the floor and walls crawled with hundreds of smaller species of spiders.

Viconia pointed to the fat woman with a burning glare in her eyes, "Who are you! What have you done with the House of Menshara? Answer me or I shall have your entrails spread out for the pets you have stolen. These are not your kin!" The disgusting and practically amorphous woman replied in a guttural growling hissing voice, "I am Centeol and you are not at home in my house drow. You have no alliesss here. My ssspidersss! Kill them! Kill them all!"

____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted April 16, 2004 02:03 AM

Top!
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When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Vadskye91
Vadskye91


Promising
Supreme Hero
Back again
posted April 16, 2004 07:15 PM

You're toast.
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Knowledge is power...

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Asmodean
Asmodean


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Heroine at the weekend.
posted April 16, 2004 10:02 PM

The spider gif's a real nice touch
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To err is human, to arr is pirate.

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Vadskye91
Vadskye91


Promising
Supreme Hero
Back again
posted April 17, 2004 01:18 AM

I also recommend this pic.


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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted April 17, 2004 08:44 AM

Recent Purchase...

Having recently bought Baldur's Gate 2, I have decided that instead of "Top!" ing all the time, I shall try to commit to the diary side of this Thread. Once installed I shall record my diary and place i here as well.
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When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted April 19, 2004 09:01 PM
Edited By: Consis on 7 May 2004

Log Entry-09

Dear diary,

Further Recounting Of The Events Which Took Place

There we stood, facing certain doom. We were surrounded and our only exit was cut off. We were trapped! Imoen panicked and made for the sealed hole that now blocked our exit. I don’t blame her. What else could she have done? Minsc was down, Viconia seemed preoccupied, and a horde of eight-legged monsters slowly crept toward us like a blackened wave of dark death.

Viconia, filled with hatred, screamed to the fattened spider queen, “You insolent abomination! How dare you send the children of my people against me? I’ll have your diseased mind thrown to a pit of starving illithids! But before I do, I’ll see to it that your disgusting carcass is fed to the children you’ve poisoned.”

I wasn’t so focused as she. My mind was moving and calculating a thousand pieces of information all at once. What spell to use, how to use it, where, and what effect would it have on my friends?

Sharteel laughed maniacally. She slowly dropped her shield-arm to her side and drew out her dagger. She exclaimed, “If it bleeds, I can kill it.”

I didn’t think there was any other way but I had to do it. My hands began to glow brightly with an orange aura as I looked to the far wall behind the queen and her sword-spiders. I wasn’t sure the distance was sufficiently safe. I growled, “Viconia, protect us from fire!” And then I cried to my friends, “Ajantis, Sharteel, and Viconia get behind me, all of you!” Ajantis drug Minsc backward behind me and Viconia turned to me with her blazing red eyes. “No! I can’t let you harm the children! They’re only babies!” In between incantations I yelled, “Sharteel! Move out of the way!” Sharteel turned to see a light emanating from my hands as the glow grew brighter and the, once sultry, air began to boil. Magic was becoming reality and Sharteel, although lusting for battle, dove behind me next to Minsc and Ajantis.

It was in this instant that I now bring into question. I had not noticed, but while Sharteel was escaping the path of my spell, Viconia had begun to weave a magic of her own.

Ajantis cried out, “Consis beware! Her eyes are turned upon us. They are fixed with evil intent!”

I could not stop. I was focused on the greater threat. I could only hope that whatever she had planned would be caught within my intricate design. It was indeed too late for us all, I had thought. I knew the consequences for what I was about to do and without Viconia’s protective magic we would all surely be burned alive. I had to take the risk. It was this or the alternative. Be devoured by a thousand creeping monsters and their kin. I made the choice and acted upon it.

The air became hot and the room was lit up by the streak of light that shot forth from my fingertips. It raced across the room, over the head of the queen, and passed by the metallic spiders’ swords, to the exact location for which I had intended it. A few inches before touching the far wall of the dome it ignited and plumed into a massive explosion.

The fire was magical. In school, we were taught the nature of magical fires versus normal fires. Because of the manipulation of such powerful energies, the fire brought about through the colliding of magic created a flame that burned brighter and hotter than any normal fire. I had never actually used this spell before this time. I had been taught it, studied it, and practiced it in theory, but hadn’t actually executed the spell yet. It was more blinding, explosive, and heat-intensive than I had been told or imagined.

At the point where I had designated the detonation, there now appeared a gaping hole where the fire had burned through the web and branching to the outside. All of the smaller and the larger, hair-ridden, spiders had been blackened to a lifeless cinder. We were all thrown back against the entrance like dolls from a little girl’s tantrum. Everything was scorched and charred. There burned tiny fires all around the inside of the spider lair. The stench of grilled spider-remains filled the air. We choked and coughed on the smoke as we inhaled it from the many still smoldering embers. The effects of the spell were devastating.

The webbing that once clung to our feet stuck no more. The silky make-up of the shiny strands and the hidden trap doors that lay beneath and in front of us on the lair floor were completely burned away. It was an interesting light that had been shed on the ground lurkers, as I call them. They were, in fact, not spiders, as I had previously thought them to be. They looked almost humanoid. They were certainly as large as any man and appeared to have an abdomen like a well-fed human. Their skin was light purple. Their arms and legs strangely resembled a spider’s legs. That explained why I thought they were spiders before. They appeared to be without a neck and their heads resembled that of a spider’s with multiple eyes and fangs. There must’ve been atleast three or four of them as they lay, quietly, in their graven secret holes. Some lay drooped over the edge and some lay curled up into a ball to protect themselves from the intense heat that exploded from the ball of fire. Not one was left alive, nor was the queen. All things creeping were sent to their graves that day. That is, except for Viconia and the sword-spiders.

I do not know how but the drow elf was left unscathed by the explosion and the fires. She managed to complete her spell as well. She had taken a small sharp fragment of one of the bones from the surrounding corpses and cut her arm with it. She let the drops of blood fall onto the bone fragment and spoke some arcane words in an unknown language. But all was for naught. After all that we had experienced, the team pulled through and fought with unwavering courage and valor.

As she spoke the final words in the utterance of spell, Ajantis had already climbed back to his feet and was holding his sword while calmly awaiting and watching her from where he stood. It was as if he was waiting for her to finish the spell. His eyes were those of judgement. He remained silent and his posture was firm.

I had seen this spell once before but not by her. I remembered when Mulahey used it to gain an advantage against us in the Nashkel mines. I remember how Viconia took control and Ajantis scorned her for it. Although it played in our favor at the time, I was most unsettled by it. Now it had come to this. ‘The truth speaks volumes’, they say.

All around us came the sounds of bones on burnt wood. As I looked about I saw the dead come to life before my very eyes. The remains of the once warrior souls began to stir and move. They grasped their ancient and rusted weapons and rose to their feet. Once again I was struck with terror yet this time it was different. This time Ajantis stepped in. As the nameless dead approached us with weapons raised, Ajantis made clear his intentions. He said, “Helm knows all and sees all. Know that and be judged.” With that, he turned his sword upside down and thrust it into the scorched ground. He then grasped it tightly and bellowed a mighty roar. The dead crept closer within reach and just as they swung to land their blows upon us Ajantis screamed. “Be judged!” In a blinding flash of light every last bone carrying a weapon, was obliterated where it stood. There was nothing left, not bones, nor weapons, nor dust.

Shar Teel regained her composure and stood with weapons ready. Imoen stood still, next to me, as I held on to Minsc. Ajantis waited a half-second and charged Viconia. But before he could reach her, one of the remaining two sword-spiders took the advantage and sliced through her already injured left hip. She faltered, grabbed her wound, and screamed in great pain as the blood splattered onto the ground. Just as she screamed Ajantis lunged forward and silenced her yelp with a stiff blow across her cheek. She was thrown to the ground as the two metallic-looking monsters surrounded Ajantis.

He didn’t have his armor and held only a bastard sword. He fought bravely, fending off a volley of multiple jabs and swings from the spiders but it was too much even for the holy knight. As he turned to parry a swing from the spider behind him, he took a hit in his right leg, low in the region of his calf. It most likely severed every tendon that held his leg aloft. As he dropped to his knee for his final doom Sharteel screamed in her deepest voice and lunged for the nearest spider. With her sword and dagger she flawlessly fended off both spiders! Both had two sword-like arms each and both fought as two fighters. With a quickness I have not seen rivaled, she gained the upper hand! Her sword arm was moving so quickly that my eyes could not follow its movements. The dagger was being used as a shield while her sword pushed through with powerful offensive maneuvers. Apparently, she was a fighter and a skilled mathematician. As she landed her blows she calculated which of her moves would best suit the next target on the monsters’ bodies. She was as scientific as she was beautiful.

From where I stood, they seemed to guard their eyes over the other parts of their bodies. While single-handedly thrusting, parrying, and maneuvering her sword and dagger, she managed to finesse a slight laceration on one of the many eyes of one of the creatures. It seemed to work because its attacks now seemed less coordinated and accurate. She whidded and hacked away until the two of them began swinging so wildly that they would occasionally hit each other. It was an amazing feat of swordsmanship, or swordswomanship, I should say. With unwavering determination, she managed to whittle them down to incapacity.

She saved us all. As the last spider fell she stood dripping with perspiration and heavy breathing. As if to mock the great battle she had been through, she immediately withdrew a small handkerchief and began to wipe her blades clean. She spat on the bodies and lifted her chin as she returned to see to our well being.

Possibly My Last Entry

None of us had been fatally wounded. All of us needed proper care and treatment of our wounds but it was a long way back to the Friendly Arms. The road was perilous and we need not risk another confrontation with bandits in our current state.

Thus we come to where we are. Beaten, bruised, bleeding, and in pain, we find ourselves without aid or support. Imoen found a sword among the bodies of the slain that she would like me to have a look at but I see no way to do it. Not only do I not see any way of identifying some mysterious sword but I also see no future for our group of wayward companions. Unless we find help soon Minsc and Viconia will surely perish.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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Celfious
Celfious


Promising
Legendary Hero
From earth
posted April 20, 2004 07:41 AM
Edited By: Celfious on 20 Apr 2004

Quote:




Space hamster boo
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What are you up to

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Vadskye91
Vadskye91


Promising
Supreme Hero
Back again
posted April 20, 2004 06:17 PM



Wow, I never realized Sharteel was so strong.
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Knowledge is power...

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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted April 21, 2004 02:29 AM

Hey! Boo's awesome!!! Unfortunatly I'm refusing to write what has happened in my diary.... Since I died 6 times in the same place it's rather embarassing....
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When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted May 07, 2004 04:18 PM

Log Entry-10

Dear diary,

Nature Revealed

We’ve a short time before our descent. We have decided to make camp for the night, just before we make our approach on the abandoned mines. Faldorn tells us that the mines are well guarded and have been in use for some time. It’s good to have an experienced informant on our quest, though I’m not sure we’ll be making use of her talents permanently.

I shall begin with where I left off. In my last entry we were stranded in the forest just outside of the spider lair. I sent Imoen and Sharteel to retrieve our equipment from under the cache tree. They returned, out of breath, sweating, and with frightful news. They quickly explained that our equipment had been ‘acquiesced’ and were being chased by a pack of wolves. They also described some very large bears guarding the stockpile.

I was very suspicious of the information. It occurred to me that a bear does not normally hoard treasure with a pack of wolves. I wondered as to the possibility of a trainer of some kind. There must have been a trainer present. I asked but the two replied that they saw no other people in the area. They also said that it could have been a possibility. They said the forest was too well for cover and concealment.

It wasn’t long before we heard howls in the distance. The night seemed to quickly creep closer to us. Considering our present state and the wounds on Viconia, I was worried. I wondered how many animals would take advantage of us. I would imagine that the laws of nature dictate that stronger animals prey on the weak. Weak, we were, and bleeding too. They could probably smell us for miles if the wind was right.

We heard rustling in the trees to our left. Sharteel and Imoen drew their weapons as we turned, looked, and saw a peasant man stepping through the foliage. He looked very poor and wore only a burlap cloth over his chest and waist. His face was dirty and his hands were worn with mud. He half-reminded me of the wood-folk that attacked Eldoth Sashenstar back at his cabin. I observed his demeanor to be condescending and forth-coming. He set his eyes on us and pointed to the west, from which we came. He said that these woods were forbidden to outsiders. I immediately responded by directing his attention to our wounded. He raised his hand turned his head. He said that their plight was within the natural course of life. With no small amount of anger, I explained that we had been inside a spider’s lair, just south of here. To his surprise, we had lived to tell about it. This intrigued him as he questioned us further. He wanted to know the details of what occurred. Imoen quickly told the story of how we took heavy losses but managed to dethrone the fattened spider queen. I interjected that we did not willingly choose to do so. We were forced by ignorance and circumstance. Regardless of this testimony he had a different point of view. He explained to us of the problem with that particular hive. He said it was unnatural and that the creatures were not obeying the Oak Father’s law. He said that no creature had the right to expand its territory, only relocation was permitted. According to him, we accomplished a great service to him and his fellow caretakers by ‘establishing order’ to the region.

I was a bit surprised as I was introduced to an interesting new philosophy on life. It struck me as sound logic and yet incredibly unforgiving. I realized that if I were to ever be perceived of as ‘unbalanced’, as he called it, then they would turn against me on the spot. I didn’t like the thought of that at all. Despite my fear, it was well within my intellectual capability to examine myself and catch the possibility of being a threat to such a philosophy. I therefore decided to ‘tread lightly’ around his beliefs so as gain favor. Our group was in need of immediate care and I realized this man could possibly be our only savior. So it was that I caught him in his own philosophy. I took the advantage and haggled a thoughtful direction which would suit his purposes and my needs. I explained to him that we could be of great use to his cult. (I didn’t actually use the word ‘cult’ per say. I made sure to sprinkle the conversation with verbally attractive tangents.) It was then that he finally released some much needed information of the existence and location of the Iron Throne’s secret base. He told us there were some humans that had recently begun to re-open the ancient abandoned iron mine once harvested by a family of dwarves. He decided that we could aid his family in this cause.

I was thrilled to hear of both, an opportunity to forge an alliance with him and learn that he was not alone in this immensely dense forested area. So it was that he revealed that it was he who commanded the animals that had guarded our supplies and equipment. After returning to the cache site he made it possible for a well-traveled journey. With his command we were able to mount the bears as horses and strap the wolves with our equipment. I was very surprised by the short amount of time in which we were able to reach his home. What would have taken a normal horseman days, we traveled the amazing distance in a matter of hours through an impossible stretch of hills and natural obstacles.

Revealing Natures

So it was that we came to the home of the Shadow Druids, as they called themselves. We came to a clearing in the trees socketed with a strangely constructed circle of large ten-foot tall stones. They were rectangular in shape and set up two holding a third on top. The one on top lay flat while the two standing remained standing at a height of ten feet tall. Each stone was symmetrical. Each stone was about three feet thick. At the north edge of the stone-hedge, as I have decided to call it, was a very large tree trunk. In fact, the entire tree seemed to be nothing more than a three-story trunk with a few tiny sporadic branches blossoming into a handful of green leaves here and there. The dimensions of the trunk-like tree were enormous. At the base was a wooden door and along the sides, a little higher up, were a few carved windows. It appeared to have easily been capable of housing a large group of people! And house people it did indeed. Our sick and wounded were ushered into the tree by some of its denizens. Apparently the tree was a sacred house of healing and protection from the elements. The healthy were not permitted entrance.

Shortly after our arrival we were directed to a cult member by the name of Faldorn.

She was briefly informed of our accomplishments in the spider’s lair by our unnamed escort. It was as though our passage was paid for by our deeds. She quickly accepted us on board for the mission of cleaning out the iron mines to the east. She described the cult’s the mission as ‘stabilizing the balance’. Apparently the shadow druids were planning an attack on the humans that currently inhabited the old iron mine. Our task would be to assist her in whatever capacity that we could so as restore balance to the region’s ecosystem. Imoen, Sharteel, Ajantis, and myself agreed that an extra hand could be very helpful should the mines be well fortified. We went over a small map, handed to us from Faldorn, and carefully planned our advance on the secret base.

The next day we were met by a fully restored Viconia and Minsc in the grove clearing. The two of them emerged from the great tree with a smile and approached the group in good health. It was then that I decided to call a hearing for group the counsel to decide whether to keep Viconia in light of her actions in the spider’s lair.

Before we met, Viconia pleaded her case. In her own defense she stated that we simply didn’t understand the culture of the drow race. She said it was in her instinctive nature to care for the well being of endangered spider species. She explained that a spider’s role in the great scheme of things is pivotal and that every time a species dies it causes the philosophy of strength and survival to falter. She explained that the races and species of all living things require a firm mother to lead the family. She exclaimed that strength was vital in obtaining the best chances of survival in a world where so much chaos reigned. I, and even Faldorn, agreed that these were logical arguments.

While the group met, discussed and convened, she stood by and watched quietly. I asked Faldorn to stand next to Viconia. I queried them both on what they had to offer the group in the way of healing crafts and skills. One at a time, they both answered and gave a long list of highly skilled credentials.  Both were more than capable of handling the duty of group healer, however Viconia’s actions leaned against her and Faldorn’s healing potential was slightly more focused.

I’m not sure if we did the right thing but one fact is for certain. We didn’t have a choice. It was either join with Faldorn or risk another confrontation with Viconia. I must say that, after carefully weighing the evidence to the best of my recollection, I have found her to be too unpredictable. It was clear that she knew a great deal more than she led us to believe. After a detailed review of what took place, it is this person’s opinion that Viconia could have warned us of the coming danger. She chose to remain silent after clearly observing the threat of the dangerous road we were taking. I think she let her past influence her decision-making process. Because of this, we nearly perished.

I have not made this decision alone either. I have consulted with the rest of the group members and they have unanimously voted to replace Viconia with Faldorn. Although Faldorn seems to be quite the extremist in her beliefs, I believe she will be of great value to us in our quest to locate the hidden base for the Iron Throne. As usual, Ajantis was clear on his position. He very clearly stated, “Duty to one’s cause outweighs all.” Imoen offered her usual insight as well. She stated that she thought of Viconia as ‘queer’. I think she uses that word too much to be honest. From what I gather, I think Imoen is used to not trusting people considering that she, herself, is of the sort that occasionally dabbles in the ‘trade’, as she calls it. Sharteel gave me pause as I was introduced to some her logic. When I approached her to ask her opinion on Viconia’s actions in the spider lair she leaned forward almost as if she were going to kiss me. She grinned slightly and slowly removed her blade. I had never been this close to her blade before. She waved it in front of my nose and exclaimed with a sinister smile, “Steel is the only thing a woman can depend on.” That was an experience I hope to never have again. After what I had seen of her with Ajantis and the sword-spiders, I hope to never be on receiving end of her fury and skill. Minsc did as Minsc does. I let out a sigh and rolled my eyes when I saw Minsc approach Viconia with the look of divine judgement in his eyes. His look was fierce and his posture was to serve justice but his response was about as Minsc as we have come to know him. He walked straight up to her, pointed his blade her chest, and motioned for her to leave. “Away with you!” He said. “Boo does not like you.”

I actually had respect for him all the way up to the point where he opened his mouth. I honestly thought he was going to order for her execution or something. Whatever respect I did have for him left me at that moment. I couldn’t believe he said that. Imoen giggled while the rest of us rolled our eyes and dismissed his comments as quickly as they came. I will say this. Minsc is one incredibly strong man but I think his strength is limited to his sword. I don’t mind having him travel with the group but I’ve taken note to make sure that he doesn’t ever speak for future reference. If we are to be taken seriously then this is of the utmost importance.

So it was that we decided, as a group, to give Viconia some time to herself. I felt she needed time to think about what she had done. We decided to give her the option of waiting here at the druid grove while we performed our task at the new iron mines or she could move on with her life and look for companionship elsewhere.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted May 08, 2004 04:11 AM

?

A quick Question for Consis...May I post Neverwinter Nights Diary instead? I can remember NWN better
____________
When all else fails... Take notes.... ALL the time... ESPECIALLY when playing D&D.... or Pokemon in my case

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted May 10, 2004 05:57 PM
Edited By: Consis on 10 May 2004

Log Entry-11

Dear diary,

Help Wanted

This log shall be my personal note to remind myself to try and make sure that any new members of my adventuring party be put to a moral character test. It is all too obvious that my character judgement capabilities need thorough re-evaluation, thus far. In fact, I am so confounded at my own utter lack of foresight that I remain uncertain where to begin. I had thought that I was experienced enough to see the sorts of things that might betray a person to the true nature of their being. Why wasn’t I taught this during my scholastic academia in Candlekeep? Having grown up in the confines of such considerable wealth of knowledge, one might think that someone at sometime could have possibly taken the opportunity to give a short class on character observation! Well this is fantastic! Here I am, stuck in the middle of nowhere, without a single colleague having participated in any medical education. If anyone of us should fall prey to illness or bad fortune we’re doomed! I simply can’t fathom such self-shortcomings after having so recently knocked on death’s door and then ending up in such a similar predicament! What, in all the nine hells, was I thinking? So much for my scholastic resume’. Bah!

Ah well, I suppose I should atleast reserve some small amount of composure. I can’t very well have my feathers ruffled by every inconvenient miniscule frustration now can I? As team leader I must do more than use my wits. I can’t let the people working for me see my distress. They need a leader who reflects confidence. I suppose I shall have to continue forward with unwavering courage, much like the courage I have seen Sharteel and Ajantis display. Not only is it the right thing to do but, at this point, it is the only thing to do. We’ve come too far to go back now. Whatever consequences we face, we do so with each other. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’, as I once read. We must stay focused if we are to complete this task.

I can’t help but wonder if, somehow, the reward for this task might lead me to once again gain entrance to my home in Candlekeep. There was so much I had yet to learn. Tethtoril would constantly remind me that knowledge was a never-ending quest for the search of it. Back then I didn’t pay it much attention. However, after spending so much time on the road and having met so many different people, I think I finally understand. I think he meant for it to be used as one’s protection against the many challenges one may or may not face on the road of life. Having realized this, now, it would seem that I was a fool in my youth. Now, more than ever, I need the advice of my tutors. Oh that I could have but one small chat with a single monk. Wishful, yes, but valuable beyond compare. A single shred of good advice would be a small slice of heaven in these dreary woods.

Actually, as I think on it, one of the many lessons I was taught during my school years was, ‘a wise man is one whom is aware of his own limits. To know them is to exceed them’, I believe was what they said. I think it’s time for me to acknowledge my deficiency in the character judgement department. Yes, I think it’s best for the group if I appoint someone else to this task. My greater degree of education has taught me to know when to step down in certain regards. Let this log entry be the record for my decision to appoint Ajantis as group counselor. I have watched him with the rest of the group and although I have found him to be extreme at times, he always seems to know when a person is of ill nature. In fact, to my recollection, he has never been wrong. I’m positive that he will receive my offer with acceptance and great responsibility. I have seen him shine on more than one occasion.

This is not to say that I am relinquishing my role as group leader. Although I am young and a bit slow to realize whom I’m dealing with, I still consider myself the most qualified and best suited for the job. I was taught many things during my stay in Candlekeep, most of which, has yet to be taken advantage of. Another lesson, received during my time there, was that ‘all things come to he who waits’. I was trained to be patient and as such I shall reflect it.

Before continuing our assault on the veritable Iron Throne outpost fortress I shall record the events that took place leading to my decision to pass the responsibility of character judgement to Ajantis. To be completely honest, this role had not been a priority, however my recount should clearly illustrate the need for such a responsibility to be of renewed valuable status.

My Account Of Faldorn

During the night before we started our approach on the Iron Throne’s fortress outpost, we all sat about a campfire telling stories and listening to each other’s account of how they remember the events of the spider lair.

Viconia departed late that evening. As she was leaving she maintained her innocence and described us as a ‘powerful ally’ to her when she had none. I felt sad to see her go but our decision was for the best. She knew we couldn’t overlook her actions in the lair. Sometimes my heart disagrees with my intellect. This was one of those times. Somehow, I did not feel betrayed by her actions. I felt as though she was simply acting on instinct rather than malice. Disloyalty not withstanding, I think she would have made a fine addition to our group. As she departed that evening, I wondered what might become of her. “How”, I wondered, “would she find companionship in a world so bent on the historic actions of her people?” I suppose I shall never know. I gave a small wave goodbye as she walked away but she did not see it. She left us that night for better fortunes. I hope she finds what she is looking for in life. May good luck find her when she is most in need of it.

Imoen comforted me with a pat on the back. She gave me a look of certainty as she, too, felt it was the right thing to do. She then asked if I had time to finish identifying the sword that she found amongst the charred remains of all the quiet corpses left in the spider lair.

I did so and it was revealed to me that this was no ordinary weapon. Through the use of a minor incantation of clairvoyance cast in succession with identification, it was revealed to me that the sword was once used by several citizens of nobility. As I closed my eyes I noticed, more clearly, that their garments seemed similar to those of the visitors from Baldur’s Gate. While I was in Candlekeep we would occasionally get a visit from those who wished to sample our widely known selection of ancient tomes. In order to gain entrance a patron was required to pay a small fee of atleast one tome worth no less than 5,000 gold pieces. Some of the visitors would come from Baldur’s Gate. I remember how expensive their attire looked and as I recall, it was of a particular style as well. The blade, itself, matched the length of a long sword yet closer to the hilt was much heavier. Heavier, I would say, than a bastard sword as well. The hilt was adorned by a small metal representation of a spider and the blade was inscribed with what appeared to be runes from the dwarven language. The abdomen of the spider was ornately filled with a large and bright deeply red ruby. The hilt and spider were of very finely crafted gray pewter sprinkled with flushed-white quartz gems. The quartz gems were so carefully woven into the metal of the hilt that when holding the sword one couldn't even tell they were there. Indeed the sword handle was as smooth as an infant’s buttocks. It seemed odd to me because I know that lead is a metal that is normally soft in composition yet the blade and hilt had not a single dent nor scratch upon them. It is commonly known that quartz isn’t the most durable of elements. I can recall shattering quartz fragments, found in a geode, as a child back in Candlekeep. As for the dwarven runes, I have only studied an introduction to the dwarf language. I was not able to decipher this particular dialect. It looked similar to what I was taught but many of the engravings were foreign to me.

Minsc was letting his hamster crawl about on his arm and shoulder. He certainly seemed at home out here. He told me that his “Boo likes the forest”. I just laughed and shook my head. I was remembering when he was letting his hamster decide whom to hire back in Nashkel outside of the barracks. I wonder what will happen when his hamster dies? I am certain they don’t live as long as humans do.

Sharteel sat, quietly, next to the crackling campfire. She was fixated on the flames while sharpening her blade with a wet stone. She grasped the stone to catch the oils and massaged the hilt so as to give it a protective covering from rust, rain, and other such elements. She treated her sword like it was a newborn infant. It was obviously very important to her. I remember what she said about steel. It was very insightful and gave me pause, once again, as to who the woman was under the hard exterior.

Ajantis was trying to find a comfortable position to sit in. He did not seek the treatment of the druids when we arrived with Minsc and Viconia. He was too proud. He did his best to hide the pain, though occasionally, revealing a limp on his right side. From the way I saw that spider hit him, it appeared as though he would not be able to walk on his right leg anymore but he remained quiet about it and kept up with the group, never once complaining of pain or discomfort. I knew he was in a lot of pain and I also knew he was too proud to show it. Imoen offered to ask the druids for some aid but he refused. He said that he, ‘didn’t need their cultist hands poisoning his spirit’. Ever since we met, he has maintained his purity of spirit. This is a man of impeccable character with great composure and the courage of a lion. I would trust him with my life and I think he knows that. He has protected it on more than one occasion. Bandits, Mulahey, abominable hideous spiders, they’re all in the ‘line of duty’ according to him. Sometimes I wonder where his strength comes from. Is it truly from his God, as he usually professes, or was he simply born this way? All I know is that someday he will make a fine member of the Order of the Most Radiant Heart.

It was then that I first became aware of Faldorn’s questionable views. She approached Ajantis after noticing his stiff refusal of treatment. He barked that he didn’t need her help and to leave him alone but she did anyway. He was in so much pain that when she removed his own makeshift bandage he screamed. She remained quiet while continuing to redress his wound with the proper techniques and medicines. While she was wrapping, and spotting, and wiping away the dried blood, she began to talk to him in a very calm voice. She explained that he was too strong for his own good. She also told him that he was much like her in many respects. To this he snorted and turned his head. The thought of them being alike wasn’t very appealing to him. She continued by telling him that she was the child of a Black Raven Uthgardt woman. She said that, as an infant, she was given over to the Shadow Druids as an offering and was raised according to their beliefs. She told him that, a splinter group of the main druidic order, Shadow Druids often engage in very aggressive protection of nature. She also said that she was sent to the Swordcoast to test her devotion to their ideals. As she described it, her ongoing mission is to ‘use any means available to stop the despoiling of nature, no matter the risk or cost to her life or any other.’

If that wasn’t clue enough, I simply took her as an extremist and thought little else. How could I have been so naïve? It wasn’t long after that when I was stopped dead in my tracks by her extremist natural views. Apparently she and the others of her cult knew the exact location of the Iron Throne’s secret base location.

It was well past nightfall. Upon our arrival, just outside the high fortress walls, we scouted the entire area. Through our reconnaissance we were able to ascertain most of the details for the well-guarded compound. It appeared to be a military outpost. It was fortified with twenty-foot high walls of thickly sharpened logs. The entire fort was surrounded by a shallow moat that seemed to be supplied by an unknown source of water. The main compound was connected to a smaller shed, as if to say, they built the shed first and then the fort. I suspect this smaller building contains the entrance to the actual mines. The only entrance offered by the fort was a small plank-like drawbridge. At the time, this small flimsy drawbridge was left open.

After regrouping to share information we decided that it was best not to make a full assault. We needed the drawbridge kept down if we were to have any chance of gaining access to the inner grounds. Scouting also revealed that the entrance was guarded by a pair of Black Talon Elite guards, much like the ones we saw back at the bandit camp working for Tenhammer.

Before we agreed on a plan of attack, Faldorn took the initiative. She whispered that our entrance was guaranteed and that she had already taken care of it. We quickly scurried behind a group of trees overlooking the outer edge of the drawbridge. Apparently Faldorn had asked for the help of some nearby wolves. We saw the wolves stealthily sneak up on the two sentries. It was very dark and the wolves seemed to move without making a single sound. The only light came from a single lantern torch held high on a staff leaning on the wall just inside the gate. As the two wolves approached, one stopped and let the other creep forward. The forward wolf moved to within inches of both guards and pounced the nearest. The other wolf waited a half-second and then moved forward. Just as the first wolf was being stabbed by the other guard, the second lunged forward to the guard with the knife. Both guards were struggling with both wolves until the wolf that was stabbed dropped to the ground from its wound. The other wolf leaped backward and growled at the guards. As the guard, that was attacked first, rose to his feet, the second guard cautiously approached the second wolf. The first guard made sure the first wolf was dead by stabbing it three more times with his blade. The second wolf kept cautiously backing away, further and further, into the forest while being cautiously pursued by both guards at this point. The remaining wolf managed to lure both guards into the forest just outside of the gate. At this point we saw some other guards arriving at the gate to see what all the commotion was. They saw the dead wolf lying in a puddle of blood and called out to the guards that had chased the wolf into the forest. The guards in forest cried back that they were going to finish the hunt of the last wolf. I suppose the guards at the gate were satisfied because they left the gate unguarded as they walked back inside. This was the perfect opportunity for us to make our advance but Faldorn motioned for us to stay as we were. We crept over near where the two guards had cornered the last wolf and saw them mocking the lone wolf while swinging at it. It cried an ear-shattering yelp of pain as one of the men landed a blow on its left flank. The rest of us looked at each other in confusion as to why Faldorn wouldn’t let us jump in and help take down the guards. To our horror and shock, we saw why she didn’t need our help. Shortly after the wolf took the hit in its hindquarters a fearful thing happened. We watched in horror as we saw the previously dead wolf leap from behind the two men and literally remove the head from one of the men with its jaws. The other guard tried to run away but the injured wolf had already grasped his leg and was holding him there. As he swung and killed the wolf holding him, the other jumped at his throat, forcing him to the ground. All we could see was a fountain of blood that spewed forth from the insatiable hunger of the undead abomination. It was a horrible sight. I shall never forget that night.

Some things in life were not meant to be seen. I was forcibly witness to one of the most gruesome deaths I have ever seen. That thing tore him apart. It didn’t stop rending his flesh until Ajantis took control of the situation. While I helped comfort Imoen, who was in tears and shaking from the horror, Ajantis ordered Minsc to destroy the monster while he rushed at Faldorn with his sword drawn. Faldorn screeched, jumped out of the way to avoid his blade, and retreated to the dark forest. Minsc roared as he attacked, using both hands on his sword. It turned, saw Minsc coming, and salivated a drool stained with the blood of its victims. It showed its horrible teeth and growled a blood-congested snarl. Torn flesh was still hanging from its jaws as it leaped for Minsc’s throat. He swung with all his might and missed. The wolf, although not alive, remained quick. It easily dodged his swings until it was hit from behind by Ajantis. He had circled to its rear after chasing off Faldorn. The thing had stopped moving. Whether it was dead or not, I could not say. We cut off its head and buried it last night just to be safe.

Regarding Future Candidates

So it is that we have now lost the element of surprise. Whether the guards would eventually realize we were behind it, I cannot say for sure. It seems unlikely given the scene of the murders. Both of the men died from their fight with the wolves. The sun was beginning to rise by the time we had finished burying the crazed wolf. We shall have to wait until the next nightfall to attempt another approach. Until then we are short one member. I don’t know if we’ll make a successful assault tonight but we have to try. As I’ve said, we’ve come to far to go back now. I shall hope for the best and let Ajantis do the praying. Time for a day nap. I’m tired and we need our rest before the fall of night.
____________
Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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Asmodean
Asmodean


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Heroine at the weekend.
posted May 10, 2004 07:35 PM

Top! :)

Er.....Top!
____________

To err is human, to arr is pirate.

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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted May 14, 2004 08:45 PM
Edited By: Consis on 14 May 2004

Log Entry-12

Dear diary,

We Did It!

We did it, we did it, we did it! Hah, hah, hah! Not only did we thwart the plans of those outlaw rascals but we also saved the lives of hundreds of slaves! Order has been restored to the Swordcoast way! The people of the Swordcoast will no longer live in fear! All of those bandits and rapscallions shall neither rue the day nor profit from the hard work of the many farmers, settlers, and trades-people that break their backs daily in an honest day’s living. They’ll think twice now that we’ve cut off their precious supply of rueful iron ore. So much for the misdeeds of such rabble. I hope they learn their lesson from all of this. Crime doesn’t pay. Oh dear, listen to me. I sound more like Ajantis when I say such things. Oh the glory, the fame, the honor and pride. This could very well be the act of heroism needed to elevate my status to that of a nobleman. I can see it now. No more washing of my own pantaloons, tunics, and robes. I’ll simply pay someone else to do it with the reward I’ll most likely receive for heroically refurbishing the sickly Swordcoast economy. What a reward indeed. I suppose I shall have to think more on what to do with it exactly.

Once the authorities and nobility of Baldur’s Gate learn of our deeds, they might even give me my own estate. If that is so then I will make sure not to lose sight of my upbringing. Father always said that with great power comes great responsibility. I think he also meant that a true leader is someone who remains firmly grounded in his outlook on life. It’s very important to make sure not to put yourself above other people. If I were to be offered a nobility status then I pledge, here in these journals, to maintain an estate of equality. No subordinate shall call me master nor perform tasks for me unless willing. All of my servants shall be well paid, even if I am to live by the quarterly earnings. I shall focus all of my attention on building a school for both the local children and myself. As they say back in Candlekeep, “knowledge and wisdom are only possessed by the learn’ed.” Within those walls lies the world’s knowledge. It is protected by a fortress, guarded with abjurative magicks, and maintained by both a scholarly coven of groundskeepers and tactically skilled guardsmen. I want my estate to mirror the confines of those libraries. I’ll have my own personal study built atop a tower that overlooks the entire property. I should like to have the capability of spotting threats long before they reach the estate.

Enough about me. I mustn’t forget to make a complete and detailed record of the events that took place. I must take good care of my detail and description so as not to give pause, in any way, as to the exact nature of what occurred, how we accomplished this monumental task, and how we came to be from those happenings. (This could very well be the most accurate report the Flaming Fist authorities shall ever receive)

Now, as it happened, from my last journal entry:

There we were, camped outside of the rural fortress. We waited until evening to make our move. As we had expected, the night following the previous afforded more guards at the front gate to successfully defend against another possible assault from wolves in the forest. The drawbridge was actually slightly raised at this point for a hasty closing if need be. We knew we couldn’t simply rush them and it was highly unlikely they could be surprised in such a defensive stance. We, therefore, re-inspected the grounds for any other possibilities of encroachment. Through further investigation Imoen discovered a breach. In my previous description of the fort, I took note of the east bailey appearing to have been the foundational beginning of the entire ground’s construction. It was the fact that the main grounds were connected to a fortified escarpment by a hanging rope bridge. Imoen discovered that the bridge, connecting the east bailey to the main grounds, was low enough, at its center to be grasped by a person swimming in the moat. Among the five of us, she was, ofcourse, the most agile and therefore most qualified for the job.

She doffed her heavy restrictive armaments and stripped down to her tunic and knickers. She silently entered the water and, to my surprise, sunk down to her neck. She then swam, eyes barely protruding, over to the deepest slump in the bridge, which was no more than a few feet above the water’s surface.

I had thought the moat was only four feet deep or so. (As the events unfolded I learned it was much deeper and with good reason.)

Once under the bridge she jumped, like a fish, as far out of the water as she could. She grabbed hold of the under-netting that held the wooden footholds aloft and nimbly skirted the underside like a squirrel on a tree. She quickly made her way to the end of the bridge secured, fifteen feet off the ground, to the twenty-foot high log-post walls. Once there she looked around to check if anyone had seen her and then securely fastened the two top ends of her home-made rope ladder. The ladder had two-foot long wooden step panels. She then quietly released the ladder to the ground. We each waded through a shallow portion of the moat closest to where she had let down the ladder. We then climbed the small, but sturdy, ladder and huddled to whisper our first assault move.

Ajantis motioned with his hand and pointed out the main ground's courtyard. As we looked at the lamp-lit courtyard we observed a large group of soldiers standing in front of the stables next to the two-story barracks. Next to us and near the bridge was a small food storage shed. Oddly enough, we noticed there were no guard towers of any kind anywhere within or out of the fort. This would have given them the advantage against an inner and outer assault. As I have learned in my dealings with these bandits, they have little in the way of common sense. Sharteel looked behind us from her crouched position and saw no one guarding the east bailey. Our options were to simply enter the mines and start our assault as we descended or ensure a safe exit by dispersing the guards in the courtyard. Sharteel didn’t like the possibility of being flanked by such a large number of ruffians so we all decided to hit the squad and barracks first.

We passed some reassuring glances between each other and strategically approached the men. Imoen and I followed Ajantis, Sharteel, and Minsc at a few paces back. We didn’t exactly creep. We simply walked straight up to the men. We probably would have waltzed right up behind them had Minsc not started his telltale battlecry. Well maybe it wasn’t telltale but it certainly described his norm. As Ajantis and Sharteel approached, swords drawn, Minsc called out, “Butt-kicking for goodness!” This, ofcourse, turned the entire courtyard loose on us. Minsc dropped his shield and raised his large two-handed sword over his head while crying out a deep barbaric guttural howl. Ajantis and Sharteel raised the shield and advanced with skill of arms. Imoen covered each warrior with her short bow and I was flipping through my spellbook pages to decide which ones to use. I noticed two of the guardsmen weaving some incantational magicks of their own so I decided it best to simply ensure a quick dispel for whatever they planned on casting. This is probably my spell of choice. It’s good for almost anything and helps keep the playing field from falling out of favor of the swordsmen. I knew we had some exceptionally skilled sword-fighters in our group so I decided it best to simply make sure they fought freely without worry of magical tricks. Slowly but surely the guards fell to the superior skill of my team. A few spells were successfully cast but I managed to keep up. I successfully dispelled them almost immediately after they were cast. Imoen’s arrows flew both with precision and accuracy. She enabled an easier takedown by our fighters. She didn’t exactly stop them in their tracks but effectively kept them from maintaining focus on the swordplay. The advantage soon became apparent and we systematically brought down each assailant. A few escaped, some fought to the death, and others tripped over themselves from a lack of leadership and coordination.

There seemed to be no leader. Nothing much was said except the usual taunting and "flee-cry", as I call it. No one came out of the barracks or mines to support the scuffle. Again I was appalled at the sheer lack of honor and dignity. One might think, whatever goals one finds oneself adhering to, that he or she would at least have the courage to see them through to the very end with strength and determination. Alas, I suppose it’s too much to ask of the unlawful heart. To think that some people would choose such skullduggery as a profession is beyond me. Well we searched through the stables, food storage shed, and remainder of the barracks. We found a sniveling coward holed up on the second floor of the barracks. He was quick to reveal the location of the ‘east bailey’. We rolled our eyes and let the coward go. We also stumbled upon a deserter hiding among the dried food storage. Upon entering he offered us some lotus and then realized who we were. I would have let him go had he not picked up his weapon and lunged at us.

A Thoughtful Tangent
(I have a strict code of ethics concerning conflict though. If any man raises his sword against us under any questionable circumstances then I feel I have the right to defend myself appropriately.)

Continued,
Unfortunately for this incoherent numbskull, he found I came well equipped to defend myself. Sharteel didn’t even wait for the order. The man was down in a single stroke. I half felt sorry for him because I’m not sure he was fully aware of his own actions, but he left me with little choice. We were there on a mission and he was in direct conflict with its goals.

It seemed I was correct about the entrance location. We marched across the bridge and up the slope to the east bailey. The shed was built on the side of a hill. It was held up by supporting wooden stilts. We climbed the wooden stairwell that afforded us entrance and found a pair of unruly black talon guards playing a game of cards while drinking ale. Such was commonplace among known riffraff and I was not amused.

On A Personal Note,
I was disgusted that people thought they were above the law. The laziness and disregard for other people’s welfare was staggeringly blithe. All the while that we rummaged through the hordes of carefree criminals, I was half tempted to let Ajantis exercise his austere judgement. Albeit an unfavorable decision, I knew these people had the rest of their lives to consider what they had done to the many people who inhabited the SwordCoast.

Continued,
We dispatched the criminals without letting them warn the rest holed up in the mine. As I came to find out, the mine however, was not what I thought it would be.

Return To My Thoughts
Within those earthen walls lies a piece of my conscience and the proof of my guilt. Therein lies a part of me that I must learn to live with for the rest of my life. As I ponder the consequence of my actions down there, I continually come to the same conclusion. But for some reason, it doesn’t make me feel any better. The dark depths of cold ore, painstaking toil, a plot uncovered, and the unforgiving wet will haunt me for the rest of my days. Even now Ajantis says little or nothing. He cannot look me in the eyes to give comforting reassurance. It is with a heavy heart and heavy mind that I now recount my decision that led to the deaths of some unknown number of unjudged, unprosecuted, and possibly innocent persons left behind in the wake of a disaster, my disaster.

For The Authorities
Before writing down the truth I would like to say to whom it may concern, be it the authorities of The Gate, a God of the realms, or my traveling companions and peers:
“I take full responsibility, as party leader, for the actions which have taken place during the time of my leadership. During such time I was followed loyally by the members of my group. Some questioned my decision while others obeyed and did not falter under my direct orders. Let this statement be a testament to the will of my party. Let them be void of all possible responsibility associated with the role of a leader. I made the choice and rightfully, I should suffer the consequences for both my actions and the actions of those under my command.”

Signed,
Consis of Candlekeep/Son of Gorion/Student of knowledge and wisdom

The Orothiar Iron Mine, My Orothiar Iron Mine
The shaft that led down into the bowels of the ground looked to have been carved a very long time ago. A system of levers and pulleys mechanically held aloft a single wooden platform that allowed us to be lowered through the hole down to the mining pits and tunnels. Down we went, into the darkness, into the dusty torch-lit caverns. The walls perspired as if to sweat from a long day of work. The air was cool and moist as there echoed the sound of falling pickaxes, hammers, and squeaky ore carts that transported the ill begotten coveted resource called iron. The chaos began and ended there at the only available shaft offering the only available exit. Once we landed the elevator we hadn’t stepped more than two paces into a narrow cavernous corridor before being met by a ringing bell. Our element of surprise granted us little more than entrance to the mines. We faced a single guard and a chorus of chiming bells far back into the caves from responding guards. The tunnels reverberated the voices, bells, footsteps, and the cries of beaten slaves being trampled by the onrushing regiment of well-paid cave sentries. We were tightly cramped in a space that was no wider than two shoulder widths apart. The guards came with fury and malicious intent glowing from their torch-lit faces. They were bent on stopping our progress forward. Imoen and myself were thrown and pushed aside by an anxious Ajantis and Sharteel. We tried to at least get through their legs or see over their heads but Minsc blocked our path and our sight. As huge as he was, he was not about to let us take the front line. Ajantis and Sharteel were best suited anyway. They each had a pair of shields, both large and small. They each switched from a large shield to a small shield for better agility and sword freedom within the tight space. Side by side, they fended, blocked soaring arrows, and fought their way forward. Progress was slow but steady. It seemed their skill as fighters could not be broken by the less fortunate and lesser-trained Iron Throne employees. Slowly but surely they crept with us close behind as Minsc guarded the flanks, inch by inch, fighting, blocking, and moving forward. Finally, the last swordsman fell and the remaining archers had spent their last arrows before turning to flee.

Admission Of My Guilt
It was the last I saw of them. As I remember their faces, they seemed determined to stop us. I now wonder how many others hid in the caves and tunnels deep in the rock that formed their grave. They were probably paid a good amount of gold to work for the Iron Throne. They were afforded no trial, no witnesses, no testimonials, and no chance of having survived. I don’t fault them for needing food and other such things to feed themselves or their families. I realize that money can be a powerful influence when given to the starving, poor, and misfortunate impoverished. They could have very well been poor farmers, desperate for money to pay for food and clothing for their children all because of some unforeseeable drought or famine. Iron is gold and gold might as well be just as valuable in these troubled times. The intentions of the desperate, the innocent, or possibly guilty I may never know.

Continued,
As the doomed fled we were greeted by several slaves. They told us they had been forced into a labor contract by the Iron Throne. These poor men looked starved, deprived of rest, and probably weren’t even being paid. We helped a few of them up that had been pushed to the side and stepped on by the now fallen soldiers. An enslaved miner approached us with some interesting information. Apparently he had been witness to the mine’s reconstruction. An older fellow, wearing not much more than a tattered set of rags for clothing, he described the story in great detail. The man said the mine was once the property of a dwarf clan at the turn of the century.

According to him:
The mine had been flooded by an underground river. The Iron Throne managed to build an obsidian plug of superb craftsmanship reinforced with magical wards. The plug itself was sealed and locked by an enchanted key.

The man led us to where the plug was located. The old miner explained that if we could get the key from the master of the mines then we could use it to flood every cave and passage. Upon inspection and observation, the plug appeared to be about twenty feet in diameter. It was indeed a marvelous work of craftsmanship. “How”, I wondered, “could someone carve, with such precision, such a fragile boulder of black obsidian glass?” It was a massive circular door shaped like a round shield with glass rivets and dwarven markings adorning the raised relief of the central section that protruded about inch out from the main part of itself. All of it was ornately cut so as to be perfectly symmetrical in every way. It was a literal twenty-foot shield against the immense weight of the underground river behind it. It was truly remarkable in every sense of the word. As it turns out, I finally learned of the secret water source supplying the moat encircling the fort. Apparently the water was re-directed to feed the surrounding protective moat. It all seemed an ingenious and elaborate operation to me. It sort of stifled me for a few moments, how such ingenuity and creativity could accompany such a flagrant lack of coordination.

We pressed on with great reservations to releasing the river as an option for permanently closing the mines. I considered it a last option. It was with no small degree of horror that I had even begun to assign any higher priority to such a disastrous deed.

Together, each miner helped us learn of the entire layout of the rest of the mine. The mine was set up as such:
It consisted of four levels. The elevator shaft, leading into the mine, would take you straight down to the lowest level where the miners worked, new caves were being dug out, and small iron tracks were used to wheel the transport carts carrying the freshly mined iron ore. A cavernous stairway connected the lower level to the third level. According to one of the enslaved miners, the third level was connected to the second level by another cavernous stairway leading upward. The third level contained a series of barracks, privileged officer quarters, planning rooms, armory, dining hall, and smelting furnace. The second level contained a smaller outlay of several compartmentalized rooms and areas. It had an area reserved for imprisoning unruly miners, an area for storing iron in large shippable wooden crates, and an area reserved for Iron Throne employees that housed a banquet hall, a kitchen, and a few sentry posts. Apparently, neither he nor any other miner or guardsman had seen what lay beyond the wooden door that connected the second level to the top level. The miners all agreed that’d be the place to find the master and his key.

We headed straight for the stairway that led to the third level above us.

My Consideration As Group Leader
At the time, I thought while on the move. I considered the consequences for destroying the mine. I thought of the entire SwordCoast and all of the misery its people had suffered from the iron shortage. There was no question that this mine was immensely valuable in speeding the process of recovery. It would take months if not years to return the local economy back to its health. This mine could have possibly cut the recovery time in half thus lessening the blow to the poverty class and creating an entirely new set of jobs for them to respectfully make an honest living for their families. It was a very attractive option to let the mine stay open and in turn giving hope and promise to a starved desperate people. Iron was indeed more valuable than gold here on the coast of the Sea of Swords. In fact, the name itself is derived from a common misconception that any and all, who visit these lands, do so at their own risk under the constant fear of sellsword bandits lusting after their own selfish unlawful enterprises. With the economy strengthening and a good healthy flow of iron, the Gate might be able to attract a larger police force that would most certainly ensure a safer journey between established civilizations. No longer would the journeyman feel weary about walking the roads of the coast off the Sea of Swords.
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Roses Are RedAnd So Am I

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