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













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 3 - Interrogation, Treasure, and Planning

Marpenoth 30, 1372 DR (8:00 AM) Szith Morcane: The Inverted Tower

All wake up early, except for Hazen. Yol prays to Hel for spells and then studies her spell book. Tebryn and Veracity study their spell books, and Brianna clears her mind by strumming reflectively on her lute and singing softly to herself.

All meet for breakfast in the instructional room.

"Number one on my list is to fix up Hazen from Dorina's damage," says Yol. "Is he awake yet?"

Hazen opens one eye. "I heard everything you said, and that's number one on MY list, too!" He hops up and approaches Yol. "I'm ready to be fixed!"

Yol pulls some diamond dust from her pouch and sprinkles it over Hazen. She incants and touches him. Hazen's face loses a pall of grayness, recovering its normal shade of gray. "Thanks!" says the beaming Hazen.

"Now, down to question the other two corpses," suggests Yol. Again, all follow her down to the guardroom. Yol kneels at the side of the second priestess.

"You need not ask this one of her relationship to Irae," says Veracity. "If she's the sister of the other one, she's another niece." Yol nods. She mutters and waves her holy symbol over the corpse in the same elaborate pattern she'd used with the first priestess.

The corpse speaks. "What would you know?"

"What is your full name?" asks Yol.

"I am Velina T'sarran," responds the corpse.

"What are Irae T'sarran's goals?" asks Yol.

"She desires to fulfill the age-old dream of all drow of exacting revenge on the peoples of the surface world," says the corpse.

"What's the problem with that?" wonders Veracity. "There must be something more." Yol scowls at her.

"What does the Undying Temple look like?" asks Yol.

"It's a tower surrounding a sphere of eternal blackness," answers the corpse.

"Interesting, but nothing all that useful," observes Tebryn. "If it surrounds a sphere of eternal blackness, you couldn't necessarily pick it out from the outside, could you?"

"Perhaps this male will have more useful information," suggests Yol. She kneels at the side of the blackguard and incants in the same manner as she had twice before.

The corpse speaks. "What would you know?"

"What is your full name?" asks Yol.

"I am Zedarr T'sarran," responds the corpse.

"What is the Great Revanance?" asks Yol.

"It is a new spell being researched by my mother guided by Kiaransalee's divine whispers which, in conjunction with the potent negative energies of the temple, will simultaneously animate into revanants the thousands of fallen drow, goblins, ogres, and giants in and around Maerimydra into a single horde under her command," answers the corpse.

Veracity gasps, Brianna's mouth falls open, and Tebryn arches his eyebrows. All who understood the Drow utterance look at each other in consternation.

"What did he say?" asks Hazen.

Yol snaps out of her reverie. "Later. Let me ask my final question." She turns back to the corpse and says: "Tell me about Irae T'sarran's most powerful ally in Maerimydra."

The corpse answers: "The Undying Temple can cast many spells per day, with great potency."

"Interesting," comments Tebryn. "I'd have thought a death priestess would have a lich, say, for her ally. She may well, but the temple itself is more powerful? Wow!"

"Come on. What did he say?" repeats Hazen. Yol translates for him. Hazen's gray skin pales. "Yikes! We should go home!"

"I see why Loviatar sent us to stop this," says Veracity. "As a drow, I can't really fault Irae's goals, but her plan will do no good for drow as a whole, I think - only for Kiaransalee. In fact, destroying a drow city in order to raise an undead army doesn't help the drow at all. I certainly would not want to become an undead creature. Irae must be stopped." Veracity shudders. Brianna clutches her arm.

"We don't have to go to Marimydra," persists Hazen. "We can stay here."

"Right, Hazen," says Tebryn. "And when the horde of thousands of undead comes pouring out of Szith Morcane on the way to the surface, I suppose you'll just pick them off one by one? Besides - you are forgetting my goal. Let's get the Cryptichronos from Maerimydra, before the city is totally awash with undead. And I have no objection to helping my sister with her quest while we're there. I agree - it's not good for the drow of this world."

"Hazen, I can understand why you would be scared. We learned many scary and painful things. Things that could lead to a painful death. But death is inevitable, so just accept it," advises Yol.

"And if death is inevitable," observes Veracity, "it may as well be painful. Come on Hazen."

Hazen glares at all three drow. "You guys are so comforting. Well, one for all and all for me, I always say. This trip has gotten a lot more dangerous than I expected, Tebryn. What happened to the 'riches beyond my wildest imagination' part?"

Tebryn smiles at him. "That's what we're identifying right now, Hazen. Let's get on with it and figure out what we've got!"

Hazen brightens up. "Right!"

Tebryn and Veracity each retire to a private space to spend the next eight hours magically identifying the less obvious magical items. Brianna spends the duration writing lyrics and picking out a new tune on her lute. Everybody else spars with the various weapons, armor, and shields. Late in the afternoon, all reassemble in the instructional room and share what they have learned. After much discussion, the party comes to a consensus and each adventurer admires the pile of items she has selected for her own use.

Brianna's is the largest pile. She has three wands: one of neutralize poison, one of dispel magic, and one of hold person. She also has Velasta's fine set of girly dark-colored elven chain and a large mithral shield, formerly borne by one of the vampires. From the weapons, she selects Velasta's corrosive dagger and a spiked chain. A ring of protection, slippers of spider climbing, three potions, and the weirwood lyre from the Matron Mother's quarters completes her collection.

"Quite a haul!" comments Brianna to Veracity. "This armor, shield, and ring have really boosted my physical protection. I should be able to help you fight, now. I can sing and fight at the same time, you know." Veracity nods and looks at her admiringly. "You look very martial. That elven chain mail fits you very nicely indeed. Quite fetching! That spiked chain is interesting, though. Do you know how to use it?" Brianna shakes her head. "It's a novelty," she replies.

"I don't have quite as much from this adventure as you," says Veracity, "but I was better equipped to start with. Mostly potions, but also this wand of fly, Velasta's ring of counterspells, and the dragon bone comb. The ring will counter the next slay living spell targeted at me." Brianna nods appreciatively. "That's certainly a good spell to avoid!"

"Yeah! That's what I thought!" says Hazen. "I got Velina's ring of counterspells. Although, I think I'd rather have it set up to counter the next suggestion spell, considering who I'm traveling with." He glares at Veracity, who hides a smile with her hand and turns away. "What's he talking about?" whispers Brianna. "I'll tell you later," says Veracity, shaking her head and chuckling. She turns back to Hazen. "I see that you also got a bunch of potions. I hope that the potions of bull's grace and of cat's strength will serve you well!" Hazen smiles and nods. He stops and a look of puzzlement appears on his face. He starts muttering to himself, as if confused about something she'd just said. Veracity grins impishly at him and moves over to look at Kress's pile of loot.

"More bull's grace and cat's strength, I see," she comments. "But you really stocked up on armor. Three suits, Kress?" He nods, as he packs away the suit of magical full plate that he'd worn for years. "Yeah! A mithral shirt, a breastplate, and this elven chain. Not to mention this mithral large shield and Zedarr's gauntlets of ogre strength. Nice, straightforward stuff!" Brianna snickers. "I see you got Velina's elven chain. Do you think it will fit, or will it pinch you in certain places and hang loose elsewhere?" Kress snorts. "You're teasing me. It's magical. It'll fit." Veracity nods. "Of course, Kress, of course. We'll see." She smirks and moves off with Brianna, laughing. Kress frowns.

Yol admires her haul. "Two clerical scrolls, wands of searing light and magic missile, half a dozen potions - and most of the drow poison. No reason not to treat all my weapons with this," she comments.

Tebryn nods. "I agree. I have some of that poison. Also wands of web and hold person, slippers of spider climbing, Velina's corrosive dagger, and a couple of potions. bull's strength and cat's grace for me," he says, smirking at Veracity, "rather than what they got!" He gestures at Hazen & Kress.

"And you, Igor?" asks Veracity. "Just this golden chess set, for our solarium," responds Igor. "None of the other stuff interests me, so I'm taking the rest of my share in gold. All that stuff will fetch us a pretty copper piece in Dagger Falls," he observes, pointing to the large pile of unselected loot. "I'm hoping to purchase some useful stuff in town." All nod their heads in agreement.

"And I have just the song to convince Randal Morn to be generous with us," says Brianna. "As before, let me do the talking with him and I think things will go very well."

"Let's hear the song," says Igor.

Brianna smiles. "Gladly." She pulls out her lute as her companions seat themselves around her. She tunes, and starts to sing. Her ballad is a masterly composition. It celebrates the conquering of Szith Morcane by Veracity's party, highlighting Veracity's skillful leadership and brave deeds, but each of her companions has at least one spot of glory. As she sings, everybody sits quietly listening, as if spellbound. When she finishes, her audience sits in silence for a while, pondering what they have heard.

Igor sighs. "There's a certain 'slant' to that account, but I can't really fault its accuracy. If you sing it like that to Randal Morn, he can hardly fail to be impressed. Well done!"

Brianna grins. "Thank you, Igor! But, know this: all so-called 'history' has been colored by the voice of the teller. I've often heard different songs recounting the same battle written by bards allied with opposing sides of the conflict that you'd hardly recognize were telling of the same event. My songs emphasize what I find important." Veracity pulls her into a hug, and she sighs contentedly.

After some more discussion, Veracity and Brianna retire to their room and, as in the previous evening, each group has several hours more of quiet conversation before falling asleep.

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