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













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 7 - Kress Loses His Precious

Uktar 4, 1372 DR (9:00 AM) Deep Wastes: Szith Morcane to Lake of Shadows

"OK, Shall we go?" suggests Veracity. She looks to her cohort. "Another phantom steed for Hazen?" she suggests, raising an eyebrow. Brianna nods and conjures.

"Thanks!" says Hazen. He climbs up and the party sets out.

After about an hour's travel, the road forks.

"Which way?" says Hazen.

"We need more information. Easy enough..." says Veracity. "Yol, how about if you go back and question that dead cleric and ask her 'which fork leads to the Lake of Shadows?'"

Hazen pulls out his onyx dog. "I'm not giving up on this." He activates the dog and shows it the cleric's full plate. "Smell this. Which way did the owner of this armor come from?"

The dog smells the plate mail. "Woof, woof, woof. I have no idea. How about that way?" it says, in Common.

"Yol, let's go back," repeats Veracity.

"Just kidding," says the dog. "Go right."

"Good doggie!" says Hazen. He looks at his companions, smiling. "See? I told you this dog could track! Plus, he's got a sense of humor!"

"Yeah, better than yours!" laughs Kress.

"Very funny," replies Hazen, not at all amused.

"Very well," says Veracity. "We'll find out soon enough just how well it tracks!" She and Igor lead, taking the right fork.

After another mile or two, the fun begins. The corridor has narrowed to a mere five foot width, forcing all to march single-file. In front is Igor, followed by Veracity, Brianna, Tebryn, Yol, and Hazen. In the rear marches Kress.

Suddenly, next to Kress, the solid rock wall opens up and a huge creature bursts forth, its body glistening with slime. It slams Kress with one of the two huge shovel-like clawed appendages that emerge from its front end.

"Oh!" grunts Kress, "Acid!" as the mucus-like slime burns into him.

Veracity wheels around. Seeing the line of people standing between her and Kress, she incants and points at Kress, who suddenly starts to move faster. Hazen draws his sword and dagger and faces the creature attacking his cohort. Tebryn stares. "I've never seen anything like this. But, I'm sure Kress can handle it." Igor moves back thirty feet through his line of companions, drawing his sword as he moves. Brianna starts to sing a song of inspiration. The creature slams Kress twice more, dealing physical and acid damage each time. After the first hit, Kress's elven chain falls into pieces and drops to the floor. "Hey!" says Kress. "Not fair!" He groans, as the acid continues to burn him. Drawing his battle-axe, he strikes the creature. Yol mutters and waves her fingers. Three bolts of energy shoot from her fingers and strike the monster.

Veracity mutters and waves her fingers. Five bolts of force shoot from her fingers and plunge into the aberration. Hazen floats up five feet into the air and strikes the creature twice with his short sword and once with his dagger. After the second blow, his short sword dissolves into rust. "Huh?" he says, staring stupidly at the hilt in his hand. "Umm.." Tebryn notices this and raises his eyebrows. "Then again, perhaps magic is the right way to deal with this creature." He incants and sends five bolts of force at the creature. Igor moves up between Hazen and Kress and swings a powerful blow at the delver, having not noticed Hazen's little weapon mishap. The delver slams twice more at Kress, hitting only once, but delivering yet more slime. "Ouch! ouch!" screams Kress, as lingering acid continues to burn him. He hits the delver three mighty blows with his battle-axe. On the third blow, his opponent falls - but the metal head of his axe dissolves, leaving him holding just the wooden haft. Yol moves up next to Kress and incants. "You are now resisting the acid, Kress," she tells him.

Hazen pulls out his water skin and empties it over his cohort, washing off the slime.

"I can't stand it. I spend my whole career looking for a magical battle-axe. I finally found one and now, on my very next quest, it's taken away from me!" complains Kress.

"That's the one that you took from the constable you murdered in Sigil, wasn't it, Kress?" says Veracity. "He had it, you saw it, and you attacked him and took it?"

"I took it off him fair and square," says Kress. "Besides, he'd gone over to Vecna's side. I had to attack him!"

Veracity nods and smirks. "Right, Kress."

Brianna approaches Kress and looks at him. "Oh, my. You are severely burned. Let me cure you!" Kress nods, and Brianna sings four songs of healing for him, touching him and curing some of his damage after each one. Yol comes up and incants one of her healing spells, finishing the job.

"And my armor, too!" gripes Kress. "You wondered why I selected three suits from the loot pile, Veracity?"

Veracity examines the elven chain. "This is not completely destroyed. You can get it repaired. It'll cost you, but nowhere near as much as buying a new suit would cost."

"That's something, at least," says Kress. He unpacks the magical breastplate he'd taken from the drow officer and dons it. He packs up the ruined elven chain. "I'll keep this. And this, too," he adds, staring at the wooden handle of his axe. "What is it with me and these blobs? I was first done in by giant leaches, then shambling mounts, twice! Or was it three times? Now this chunk of mud has dissolved the weapon I've been seeking for my whole life!"

"Hey, at least you didn't get dissolved this time," consoles Hazen.

"I'll have to use a longsword for close quarter fighting - how boring," continues Kress.

"What's more boring is that now you're walking just as slowly as Hazen, Kress," observes Brianna. "I guess it's time for a phantom steed for you, too." She summons a shadowy mount for Hazen's henchman.

The party proceeds through the Underdark. Shortly before the end of the day's journey, the ten-foot-wide tunnel abruptly opens into a large natural cavern. Several large stone columns make it hard to judge the cavern's extent, but several openings are visible around the walls. There is a slight breeze, and the air seems a little more damp than usual.

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