By Spell Bound
Veracity paid a visit to her friend, Chondara, also a founding member of the Society of the Moon, who was also a priestess of Isis, the goddess of the "3 M's": Magic, Matrimony, and Motherhood. Chondara was agreeable to adventuring again with Veracity and had an idea: her friend, the dwarven fighter Squint, had told her of a ruined castle, several days east of Mansfield, that was reputed to hold a valuable piece of artwork which Squint wanted to recover and present to the Fighter's guild. The next morning, Veracity, Chondara, and Squint set out, accompanied by an elf named Sneeje, an aged Druid named Granny, and an uncouth savage fighter named Box.
While on the road, the party heard a strange moaning off the road. Investigating, they found a small protective circle containing the body of a mage slumped over a book if conjuration. His subject, a black demon, howled in despair, trapped in a larger arcane circle. Box released the captive who showed his gratitude by attacking the adventurers, who quickly destroyed the abishai.
Armor? What Armor?
Proceeding on to the ruined castle, the party descended into the dungeon and set loose a pair of horrible insect like creatures: rust monsters. Veracity squealed, and scurried up a wall, fearful of losing Nick's elven chain on her very first adventure. The others soon pummeled the destructive bugs to death.
Down a passage, Squint plunged into a pit trap. Veracity and Chondara flew down on Veracity's broom of flying and rescued the wretch from nagas. There in the lair, Squint spied a beautiful painting. "Yah, I have found it," he exclaimed. There was no help for it but that he take it back immediately to the Fighter's Guild, and so the intrepid party returned to Mansfield, even though there was more to explore, as the dungeon corridor had gone on past the trap.
Squint presented the painting to the Fighter's Guild and was the toast of the guild all that evening. Late in the evening, when the fire had burned low and almost all had gone home, the few remaining fighters were standing by the fire, talking and drinking. To their surprise, a spectre emerged from the painting and attacked them. They quickly overcame it, but Squint was in disgrace and persona non grata at the guild.
Further Exploration of the Ruined Castle's Crypt
A few weeks later, Veracity and Chondara recruited Hazen, Kress, and Yol to finish exploring the ruined castle. Squint had not shown his face since his embarrassing gift. The new party defeated various monsters and found some loot, but nothing really of note.
Trouble along the ancient Mansfield road
Veracity did not adventure for almost a year after this expedition. When she sought out Chondara again to see if she'd like to adventure, she found that the priestess was following the dicates of her goddess - she was pregnant. She did not expect to adventure for a long time, intending to simply tend her temple and raise her family. Veracity then went to her friend Yol, and the two decided to head out of town to the north and see what they can find. Yol suggested that they pick up a friend of hers, a half-orc named Black Star, and bring him along. Veracity was dubious, but agreed.
They found Black Star in The Swollen Nose, a seedy tavern. He agreed to accompany the two drow. As they left the tavern, Roethan came swaggering out of a neighboring brothel and, to Veracity's horror, Black Star invited him to join the expedition. To her further disgust, he agreed, with many a vile and disrespectful word directed at her.
The adventurers went north. They met up with Marga, a priestess of Sif, and Gordion, an eager young mage, who had been traveling from Hommlet to Mansfield and were eager to join such a brave and virtuous party of adventurers. The six proceeded up the road and made camp when evening fell. That night, a blood-curdling keen shook the bones of all: a banshee! Fortunately, all survived the shock. The next day, the party decided not to seek the banshee, but to go farther down the road. The wisdom of this decision was unclear, as the party was beset by four trolls. With great difficulty, three were destroyed, forcing the fourth to flee. But at what cost? Roethan lay dead and Veracity was near death.
Several weeks later, Marga reassembled the party to go after the banshee. "We must not allow such foul undead to ravage the countryside," she argued. Not everybody felt sanguine at the prospect of hunting a creature that could slay one instantly with its voice, but all agreed to help the priestess. Again, the party went north and pitched camp in the same spot they had found during the first expedition. That night, the banshee keened again - and this time, poor Gordion dropped dead on the spot. The whole party chased after the undead creature, with Roethan lagging behind on his stubby dwarf legs. After losing track and giving up, they returned to their camp, and discovered, to their horror, that his body had been thoroughly looted in the few hours it had been left alone.
The next morning, Gordion was temporarily buried, and the party searched for the banshee's lair. They didn't find it, but decided to move camp closer to where they thought it was. That night, the banshee returned. It keened again, and Veracity's heart stopped.
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|Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.