Vita est ludus
The thin line between fantasy and reality...













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 1 - Maurezhi

Marpenoth 28, 1372 DR (2:30 PM) The Dordrien Crypts

The party starts back toward the path not taken with Igor and Veracity in the lead. Brianna and the invisible Hazen are in the second rank, followed by Tebryn.

Yol and Kress take the rear. Yol speaks to Kress. "I hope you can see by your experience back there with the ghost that life and vitality are temporary. Death and the corruption it inevitably brings are the ultimate fate of us all. You were quite masterful with the ghost. You have the potential within you to do that without a ring. Have you ever considered studying the ways of Death or exploring its profound spirituality?"

Kress shakes his head. "You're not the first to suggest I hit the books and start learning the chicken dances, but that stuff takes up too much time. Besides, my opponents can study Death all they want at the sharp edge of my axe!"

Yol sighs. "You're wasting your talents."

Kress chuckles. "Exactly. Wasting my talents is what I do best and enjoy the most!"

The party reaches the branch and turns right down the unexplored passage. This soon opens out into a large cavern. There are heaps of gear lying in several places around the floor and the reek of death fills the air.

"I'll look for hiding creatures around the perimeter," says Igor. He activates his ring and turns invisible.

Veracity walks over to one of the piles of gear, followed by Brianna. She pokes at it with her foot. "How odd. This looks like a full set of gear for a fighter, say, but there's no body." She examines the equipment more closely. "Quite nicely made. Worth taking away with us." She stands up and, turning towards the door where Tebryn, Yol, and Kress had stopped, she waves her hand. "Hey, Tebryn! Come over here. Let's load up this stuff into your portable hole." Tebryn moves into the room.

Suddenly, the invisible Hazen calls out. "Coming from behind us - ghouls!" In fact, one ghoul was standing behind Yol and another was behind Kress. Hazen runs up behind Yol's ghoul, but it senses him, in spite of his invisibility, and bites him. "Ouch!" says Hazen.

Veracity draws her swords and wheels around.

"What..." Igor starts to speak but freezes in place. A previously hidden creature steps out from a cranny in the wall. It, too, looks something like a ghoul, but somehow more fiendish. It also looks blurry.

Igor concentrates. His mind is too slippery to be compelled and he breaks free of the enchantment. Shaking his head, he draws his sword.

Hazen and Yol's ghoul turns its back on Hazen and claws at Yol, missing her. Hazen responds by striking it.

Kress turns around, draws his axe, and strikes the ghoul that had surprised him.

Veracity runs up to the maurezhi and strikes a mighty blow with the Sword of Kas, wounding the demon.

Yol wheels around, draws her sword, and strikes her ghoul, destroying it.

Kress's ghoul bites him, but fails to paralyze him.

The maurezhi bites at Veracity and claws twice at her. One of the claws scratches at her, but does no damage, simply skating off her stony skin. Veracity smiles.

Tebryn watches with interest, but chooses to do nothing, as everything seems to be under control.

Brianna runs up behind Veracity, to watch her battle more closely. Igor follows at her heels and swings his great sword at the demon, inflicting almost as much damage to it as Veracity had.

Kress strikes his ghoul once again, destroying it.

Veracity hits the ghoul another powerful blow with the Sword of Kas. Igor takes the opportunity to strike it with his sword and it dissipates.

Igor says, "Nice distraction, Veracity."

Veracity makes a rude sound. "Had to step in and take my fun away, eh, Igor? It was going down beneath my sword, quite nicely, thank you."

"You did help her," says Brianna. "You did almost as much damage to that demon as she did!"

Igor stares at her. "Almost as much?"

"Oh, yes," smirks Brianna. "Hmm. Yes. I can just hear the song now. Veracity and her minion..." She unslings her lute and speculatively starts to pluck a tune on it.

Igor scowls.

Veracity laughs. "We made a good team, Igor. Thanks for fighting at my side. I look forward to bigger challenges in the future. This was too easy."

Igor smiles. "Right."

Hazen comes up. "Did that creature have any stuff, or are the piles on the floor all there is? Let's search the walls!"

Hazen and Igor search the walls but find nothing of interest, while Tebryn loads all the masterwork-quality items into his portable hole.

"Are we ready to go?" asks Tebryn. "We learned something of what awaits us below from Veracity's prisoner. But as for a place to retreat to..." He looks around and wrinkles his nose. "I don't think much of this cavern."

"This smell of death seems quite suitable," comments Yol. "It reminds us of what inevitably waits for us all."

Veracity rolls her eyes. "I'll give you this, Yol - you are focused." She looks at Tebryn. "Did we miss anything? We've investigated all the passages we saw. Or do you think there's a concealed door or something?"

Tebryn sighs. "Who knows. Unless somebody thinks we might have missed a better hidey-hole back somewhere, I guess it's on into the Underdark!"

"Well, it wouldn't hurt to go back and look at all those graves," says Hazen. "And who knows - perhaps there were some concealed passages we missed."

Veracity stares at him. "Hazen. We looted the tombs of the rich. We didn't bother looking into graves that were simple holes dug out of the walls. Commoners, as my brother said. What grave goods would they have that we'd care about?"

"Aww, come on. You guys underestimate the common person," replies Hazen. "We could detect magic on them, so we won't miss all the good loot."

Tebryn laughs. "It'd be hard to overestimate the greed of the common person, Hazen," he comments, pointing a finger at the rogue. "You want to detect magic on the common graves? Go right ahead. Cast the spell!"

Hazen shifts uncomfortably and clears his throat. "Umm. Well... Oh, yeah, right! That's the ticket... I'm afraid I didn't learn that spell today. Otherwise, I'd be happy to do it!"

Veracity rolls her eyes and turns away, concealing her smile with her hand.

"I learned three detect magic spells today," says Yol. "Why not humor him, Tebryn? The contemplation of graves, common or not, will do us all good."

Tebryn sighs. "Fine. Shouldn't take too long, at least: you can just walk back up the hall, concentrating. Igor and I will follow, searching for possible concealed openings."

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