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













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 2 - Treachery at Night

Marpenoth 29, 1372 DR (1:00 AM) Szith Morcane: The Inverted Tower

Several hours later, Veracity wakes up with a start. She opens her eyes and sits up as, with a pop of displaced air, someone teleports into her room. She hears muttering, but sees nothing as an invisible mage casts a spell at her, which she resists. "Whoa," she says, grabbing Brianna. "Wha?" says Brianna, sleepily, pulling Veracity towards her. "We're out of here," says Veracity. She says one arcane word and disappears with her companion, just as the door of her room crashes open.

The dimension door spell deposits her in the instructional room, surrounded by her sleeping companions. "Yowl!" hisses Nightlife, arching his back and staring at her, before turning to Yol and nipping her ear.

Veracity sets her friend onto the floor. "Wake up Kress!" she calls to Brianna, as she runs over to Igor and starts to shake him. "Up! Up! Someone teleported into my room and cast a spell at me! Wake everyone up, and let's get them!"

Igor wakes and stands immediately. "Right!" he says, and moves in front of the door, near Tebryn. "Sqwark," says Drusilla, looking at him with her beady black eyes.

Brianna sits and rubs her eyes sleepily, before standing up and heading towards Kress.

Crash! The door bursts open. Someone invisible must have opened it, as nobody is standing in the doorway, but in the corridor stand a female drow with a holy symbol, a male drow in full plate mail, and two quth-marens

The cleric points her wand at Igor and mutters a command word. Igor momentarily stiffens but shrugs off the hold person spell.

The armored fighter enters the door and approaches Igor, displaying his dire flail. Igor smiles and punches him in the face. "Grr," growls the blackguard.

Brianna shakes Kress. "Wake up! Alarm! Attack!" Kress sits ups and shakes his head groggily. "I'm on it!"

One of the quth-marens gazes at Igor from the hallway. He stiffens and cowers. "Oh!"

The other quth-maren gazes at Kress, but he is unaffected.

Veracity runs towards the blackguard, drawing her swords. She strikes him with the Sword of Kas. He wheels around and growls at her, swinging the heads of his double flail.

Yol moves to get a clear view of the corridor and mutters, sending a bolt of electricity from her fingers down the hall with a crack. Even as he cowers, Igor instinctively evades the bolt. The cleric resists the magic. One of the quth-marens is somewhat scorched, while the other seems undamaged. "Hmm," says Yol. "That was an outstanding lightning bolt. It should have hurt more of them." She scowls.

Igor shakes his head clear of the magical fear effect. He draws his sword and strikes the blackguard from behind, dealing lots of damage.

A thin black ray shoots from a spot in the air and strikes Igor. He gasps. "Yow! I am weaker!"

The cleric mutters and waves her hand. Walking up, she touches Igor. He gasps again, and takes some damage, but remains standing. The cleric curses in Drow. "Die, won't you!"

Veracity's opponent swings each end of his double weapon at Veracity, hitting her once.

Drusilla pecks Tebryn's ear and he stands up and looks appraisingly at the battle.

"This is serious," observes Brianna. "I sing to you of the mighty heroes of old and of their perilous deeds of glory. You are heroes ..."

The first quth-maren walks up to the door and spits a globule of acidic blood at Yol, missing.

The second quth-maren walks up to Igor and gazes at him. Yet again, its foul magic makes Igor cower in fear.

Veracity swings the Sword of Kas twice and her Life Stealer once at the blackguard and hits once with each weapon.

The invisible creature mutters and the air around Hazen, Kress, Brianna, and Tebryn twinkles briefly with magical power. All save Kress shrug off the effect. The ever-susceptible Kress's eyes glaze and he looks around, wondering what he's doing here.

The blackguard again swings his double flail at Veracity, again hitting her once.

Tebryn looks at the various foes and points his finger at the cleric. "Stun!" he invokes. The priestess staggers back in a daze and leans against the wall, shaking her head.

Kress shakes his head and pulls himself together, for the moment. He draws his battle-axe and runs up to strike the dazed cleric.

Veracity strikes the blackguard with the Sword of Kas, slaying him. Stepping over his body, she strikes the quth-maren that is attacking Igor.

From a spot in the air, a spray of colored light fans out and strikes Yol. She covers her eyes and shakes her head, dazed.

"Ah hah!" says Hazen. He runs up and swings his sword at a spot in the air and connects with flesh, eliciting a Drowish curse.

Tebryn mutters. A thin gray ray comes from his hand and strikes the quth-maren standing next to Igor. It disintegrates into a fine dust.

Kress's eyes glaze again and he stands still next to the priestess, his battle-axe drooping idly in his hand.

The quth-maren in the doorway spits at Igor and misses, but splashes him, along with Brianna and Yol. "Ick!" says Brianna. "I'm not going to stand this close to Igor, if this is going to happen!"

Veracity chuckles. "This one will not be a problem to you for much longer!" She steps up to the quth-maren and strikes it three times with her swords.

Starting from a spot in the air, a cone-shaped area of air glows blue and becomes intensely cold. Yol, Igor, Tebryn, and Kress are enclosed within the spell. Igor leaps to the side and avoids the effect and Tebryn resists it, but both Yol and Kress take a lot of frost damage.

From the same spot in the air, a thin green ray shoots out and strikes Kress, to no apparent effect.

"Enough of all this. I wish I could see you," says Tebryn, glaring at the spot in the air. He mutters and wave his hands, dispelling one magical effect on the invisible mage, as well as one spell affecting each of Yol, Kress, and Brianna. Unfortunately, the mage was still invisible. "Rats!"

Kress, now firmly in control of his own mind, strikes the quth-maren and slays it. He follows through with his swing and strikes the cleric.

Veracity steps forward into the door and hits the cleric with both of her swords. She feels a whoosh of air as the invisible mage flies past her and escapes.

Kress strikes the cleric and she falls, bleeding.

"Wow!" says Veracity. She kneels next to the priestess. "Yol! Come stabilize her! I'd like to question her tomorrow."

Yol comes up and administers first aid. "She's not so badly off," observes Yol. "Unconscious, but not at death's door. Unfortunately." She scowls.

The door to the central shaft of the school opens. In flies Solom Ned'razak arrayed for battle, a grim expression on his face. "What's happening here?" He looks at the downed foes. "Oh, my."

Veracity wipes off her swords and sheaths them. She looks up at Solom and speaks. "I was sleeping in my room when somebody teleported in and cast a spell at me. I resisted it, grabbed Brianna, and used a dimension door to come up here, just as the door of my room was crashing open. Less than fifteen seconds later, the door to this room crashed open. We got them all, except for the invisible mage, who flew away once all of his companions were down, presumably having cast all his spells."

Solom's mouth sets in a firm line. "Hmm." He ponders. "Clearly, Dorina sent a powerful party to attack you. But this high-level mage worries me. I know of none in Szith Morcane save myself."

"Well, he wasn't that high-level," observes Tebryn. "He cast a cone of cold at us, and a variety of other spells of lesser power." Tebryn walks over to his backpack and rummages through it, finally emerging with his crystal ball. "I'm going to scry him. Hazen pinked him with his dagger, drawing blood. Did you wipe it off yet, Hazen?"

"Nah, Kress cleans my weapons for me," responds Hazen.

Tebryn extends his hand and Hazen places the dagger in it. "Thank you." Tebryn holds up the dagger and stares at it. "This gives us a bodily connection to our foe. The scrying should be trivial."

Solom nods his head in approval. "Good plan!"

Tebryn smiles. "Thanks." He gazes into the crystal ball. "I see a drow wizard. Unusually plump, soft, round. Hmm. Grey shirt, dark trousers, satchel. He's standing in a copse of trees." Tebryn snickers. "He's glaring right at me. You sense my scrying, do you?" Tebryn raises his eyes and looks at his companions. "He's fled to the surface." He hands the dagger and the crystal ball to Solom and whispers the command word to him.

Solom holds the dagger and looks into the crystal ball. His face grows ashen and he looks up, shocked. "That is my head student!" He puts the crystal ball and dagger down and flies out of the room. A couple of minutes later he returns, face grim. "His room is empty. He must have been Dorina's agent."

Tebryn smiles. "Shall we get him? We've scried him and can teleport to his location without too much chance of error."

Solom frowns. "I think he's fled and will cause no further problems. However, that was a grave betrayal, and must not go unpunished." Solom looks at Veracity. "This is my problem." He gazes into the crystal ball again, puts it down, and teleports away. Tebryn grabs the crystal ball and gazes into it. "Ah hah. Yes. Oh, very good. Uh huh." He puts down the crystal ball and looks at his companions. "It's over!"

Several minutes later, Solom reappears with a pop. "I apologize for this lamentable breach. A dirty business, indeed. I can't imagine there'll be any further trouble tonight. We shall talk again in the morning." He walks away, deep in thought.

"We need more healing," says Yol, looking at her frost bitten hands. "Unfortunately, I can't do any more tonight."

Brianna smiles. "No problem." She looks at Igor. "You are really beaten up. But you'll regenerate?" Igor nods. "All right." She sings a short tune and touches Yol, healing lots of damage. "Thank you," says Yol.

"Now, let's loot the bodies!" suggests Hazen, cheerfully. With the help of Igor, Kress, and Tebryn, he makes a pile of well-made items.

From the cleric, the adventurers take a set of fine elven chain, a small steel shield, a dagger, a ring, a wand, a cloak, two flasks, and four doses of drow poison.

The blackguard's body relinquishes a fine set of full plate, a dire flail, a ring, and a set of gauntlets.

Veracity picks up the dire flail and examines it. "What a peculiar weapon," she comments. "A metal shaft, with a spiked ball swinging on a chain at each end. Like that double sword those officers had, this looks harder to use than two individual weapons, but no more effective."

"May as well spar and try out these suits of armor and these gauntlets, eh, Igor?" suggests Kress.

"Sure," agrees Igor.

After a few minutes, the warriors return with their report.

"This full plate is as good as my set," says Kress. "Nice elven chain. And ... gauntlets of ogre power! Any warrior would find these useful. Igor and Veracity and me. Who wants to use them, for now?"

"I need my hands unrestricted for spell casting," says Veracity. "I could use gloves of dexterity or something, but not gauntlets."

Igor shrugs. "You can use them, Kress."

Kress smiles. "Great!"

Veracity yawns. "I want to go back to bed. This battle interrupted my rest, and I'll need a full eight hours from now before I can study spells again. See you in the morning!" She leaves with Brianna.

"Should we set watches this time?" asks Kress.

Hazen yawns. "I need my beauty sleep, just like the wizards. Feel free to stay up and watch, Kress."

Kress snorts. "Beauty sleep for YOU is hopeless, Hazen. Ah, never mind."

All retire.

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
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