Marpenoth 28, 1372 DR (4:15 PM) The Dordrien Crypts
"Wait," says Veracity, holding up her hand. "Hazen, would you mind having a little chat with Kress over there near that wall?"
Hazen raises his eyebrows. "I understand, Veracity. You have something you want to say and you want to exclude me. I won't be offended. Come on Kress. Veracity doesn't trust us."
Veracity rolls her eyes. "I'll talk to you soon, Hazen. I just need somebody to make distracting noise over there while I discuss an idea, and you are better at that than anybody else."
Hazen snorts and walks over to the illusory wall with Kress. "Look at this, Kress. Very realistic, but no dwarf would ever be fooled by this kind of trickery," he says to his cohort. "Why, I remember ..."
Everybody else gathers around Veracity. "Remember how we just bumbled through that last Illusory Wall with no clue about what was beyond? We can do better than that. Let me go through and scout. I'll activate my ring and be invisible, and as you know, I am very stealthy."
"Good idea, Veracity," says Brianna. "And I can cast a message spell on you so that you can report on what you see via a whisper, should you choose, rather than having to come back."
"Why not just come back to report?" asks Tebryn.
"That may be the right thing to do," says Veracity, "but I agree with Brianna's suggestion. With a message spell, I have more options: to return or not, as appropriate. More versatile."
"I don't really want to wait around, Veracity," says Igor, "but I agree that some quick scouting is reasonable. And I think that the message spell is an excellent idea."
"Very well," says Tebryn. "Go for it!"
Brianna sings a short tune and points to everybody in turn, including Hazen and Kress.
Veracity activates her ring and fades into invisibility. "Ready to go?" whispers Brianna. Hazen starts. "What was that in my ear?" "Keep babbling, Hazen," whispers Brianna.
"I'm going to hug the left wall of the passage," Veracity whispers to Brianna. "I'm off!"
Veracity moves in silence, keeping her left hand on the left wall of the passage and extending her right hand in front of her. After proceeding just a few feet, she detects a spongy barrier in front of her. "A web!" she whispers, and slides to the left, avoiding entanglement.
As she steps clear of the web, she sees two male drow. They are wearing armor covered by deep purple tabards emblazoned with a symbol of crossed rapiers beneath the image of a black widow spider. Their rapiers drawn, they are searching the immediate vicinity of Veracity with their eyes, as if they are aware that she is there, but cannot quite make out her exact location.
Standing nearby are two more drow. There is a male wearing a deep purple tunic and black breeches with a rapier slung at his side. He stares directly at Veracity with a slight sneer. Next to him stands a striking priestess wearing a fine mithril shirt and prominently displaying the holy symbol of Lolth. Her face seems etched by a permanent scowl, much like Yol's.
Veracity holds up her hand and, looking straight at the priestess, deactivates her ring. As she appears from invisibility, she speaks. "If you follow Lolth, peace. I mean you no harm. Talk with me."
The mage casts a spell and appears to be moving more quickly. He pauses, looking over at the priestess with what appears to be disdain. The guards look wary, but also look over to the priestess.
The priestess stares at Veracity, scowling. "Stand down," she orders her fighters, in Drow. "What are you doing here?" she asks Veracity.
"I'm not from around here. I'm on a mission to go to Maerimydra to deal with whatever is happening down there. Where are you from?" says Veracity.
"You might say that we're refugees," says the priestess. "But, since you are an outsider, I cannot tell you anything of what has happened in the last few months."
Veracity sighs. "Refugees from Maerimydra? Or from Szith Morcane?"
The priestess scowls even more deeply. "Szith Morcane. Why should we help you?"
Veracity stares at her. "Because I'm trying to help you. I understand that Szith Morcane has been captured by invaders from Maerimydra. As I said, I'm on my way to Maerimydra. Since we have to pass through Szith Morcane on the way, I expect I'll have to deal with the situation there first. Don't you want to go back? Who is Dorina?"
The priestess curls her lip. "Dorina is the leader of the gang of ruffians that drove us out. Who are you other than just another gang of ruffians coming from the opposite direction? We were hiding here, but, now that you have found us, we're going to have to leave."
Veracity cocks her head, as if she hears a small voice in her ear. "Hazen wants us all to come in," whispers Brianna. "I told him you were doing fine." "Right," whispers back Veracity. "Keep out."
Veracity fingers her holy symbol and looks back at the priestess. "As I said, I've been sent on a mission to deal with Maerimydra. I have no gripe with Szith Morcane. What can you tell me of Dorina?"
The priestess, who had been staring at Veracity's holy symbol, starts, and looks back at her face. "She's directing the raids on the surface dwellers. But, I've never seen her, myself."
"What's the problem with raids?" asks Veracity. "We drow always do things like that. Good source of slaves and such."
"It's not so clear, when you're in a border town like Szith Morcane," says the priestess. "It's often better to keep a low profile so that the surface dwellers don't come down and try to raid you."
Another whisper comes into Veracity's ear. "Hazen wants you to tell this priestess that we're going to solve Lolth's silence," says Brianna. Veracity frowns and whispers back. "I won't say that, since it's not clear that we are going to do that. Loviatar did not say that."
"Why are you whispering?" asks the priestess.
"My companions are getting restless," says Veracity. "Anything more you can tell me?"
The priestess shakes her head. "Thank you for your candor," says the priestess. "But I am sure you can understand why I cannot say more."
"I guess," says Veracity. "Would that you had us more, as it would have been helpful." She fingers her holy symbol again. "I am not your enemy. I hope Lolth starts talking to you again, soon."
The priestess starts violently and stares at Veracity, her face flushing and her mouth hanging open in surprise.
Veracity smiles and winks at her. She activates her ring and, fading into invisibility, slips back through the web and into other room. Moving silently to the far door, she turns and looks back at her companions, clustered around the illusory wall. She deactivates her ring and becomes visible. "Let's go!" she calls.
"Wha?" says Hazen, wheeling around.
Brianna grins at her. She approaches Veracity and grasps her arm. "Well done!" she says. "I heard the whole thing, and you handled it perfectly. Too bad she was so suspicious."
"Yes," says Veracity. "I am sure she could have given us a lot of information about what to expect in Szith Morcane. Oh, well!"
As the party starts back down the corridor, Veracity speaks to Tebryn. "Brother, that was a good hidey-hole. They seemed to feel they need to vacate it, so, it just may end up being our hidey-hole."
Prev Top Next
|Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.