Korday, Aprantus 11, 1018 A.G. – GABBE’s Pool in Hammerfast, now known as Dythan’s Hold.
As stated in my previous post, we are emerging from the pool, and trying to keep our companions calm. Sir Grails has filled us in on what has happened in the town. Evidently Dythan’s Legion has overrun the town and renamed it Dythan’s Hold. Half-in, half-out of the water is an anxious looking GABBE. My companion, Zandrian Velfarren, looks at GABBE aghast, even though I had prepared him for this sight. Ungus introduces Groa and Morthwyl to GABBE as Itzehl is distracted, talking to her new friend Groa. GABBE greets them both telepathically.
Uncle Crogan comes bursting into the room, looking frantic and disheveled. As he nods to Morthwyl and welcomes him and Groa, he excitedly says: “Listen up, there is no time to waste! In exactly 3 minutes and 14 seconds from now you all must drink these potions. You must go back to your timeline. Basically, he says we must cut a deal with Tick Tock the Beholder, help Squire Jarnl complete his quest, Morthwyl must slay the Orc Chief and the Red Dragon before the Trolls and we must complete the Deck of Many Things! Tall order, those last two! He apologizes to Zandrian, saying he will have to return to his Aberrant Wretch state for the good of the world. He then instructs us that we can never reveal that we have been to the future and returned. Saying it is time for us to go, he gives us each a potion and says “DRINK NOW!” I cry out “But, but, but – I need to upgrade my greatbow!!” Nevertheless, I obey Management, trusting he knows what he is doing. Hopefully this timeline will change for the better. As we are fading away, we notice that Kuiperia is hesitating to drink her potion, sniffing at it. Uncle Crogan says to Sir Grails, “Do what you need to do!” He starts to approach Kuiperia behind her back, his dirk drawn. Ungus starts to warn Kuiperia, but at the last minute, she also drinks her potion. We feel the familiar room spinning routine and find ourselves back in the aberrant Watchtower room, in a no-time existence, facing the crazy cigar-smoking Beholder and its four “servants”, one of which is the aberrant version of poor Mr. Velfarren.
Oh dear Corellon – it’s giving the same speech we heard before! We have to live thru this nonsense once more! I just want to punch it in all of its eleven eyes!!! On and on it goes about wanting to make a deal, wanting our three Cards to join with its three Cards, telling us of its long range plans to take over our world after we help it get there, etc., etc. And then it wants us to TRUST him??? It’s even passing out brandy and cigars again! Ungus actually starts bargaining with it. I look over at my feymate, Lady Itzehl who is unusually quiet and somber. Maybe she is remembering that she killed this thing just a short while ago!? Both Ungus and Groa notice that Kuiperia has pulled out her mirror just as before and is readying to shoot. Didn’t she hear Management’s instructions? Ungus mentally tells her to stay her hand. True to form, Kuiperia tells Ungus to shove it. But Groa moves into her line of fire, blocking her action.
Much to our horror, Kuiperia’s face turns an unhealthy shade of blue as she collapses to the floor. Mr. Tick Tock says it’s not his fault. He didn’t do anything. We rush over to her and Ungus tries to stabilize her but it’s too late, she has been fatally poisoned! As Morthwyl checks for cuts or injections sites, Ungus says it was a potent and fatal poison, given to her by Management! As he cradles her head, a solitary tear drops down Ungus’ bulbous nose onto Kuperia’s face. He whispers goodbye to her and then he and Groa offer up prayers. Ungus’ god Boldrei then speaks to Ungus thru his spirit bear Boldra who says: “Kuiperia will be able to join our world and our mission once again but it is up to her. Care for her body in the meantime but her will to return is up to her.” Ungus asks Itzehl if she has the amulet that will preserve Kuiperia’s body and if we can use it. Lady Itzehl is just staring at Kuiperia, almost turning blue herself, her rage and frustration is so great. She starts yelling that she can’t do this anymore, she wants to rip the scarab out of her chest, she wants to go back to Pomora Wood, etc., etc. I rush over to her and hug her tight, telling her she is having an expected panic attack, much like I had when we had to leave the Fey Wild. I stroke her hair and tell her everything will be all right. But she is not having it much. We are forced to repeat our request for her amulet and this time she removes it and hands it to Ungus who places it around Kuiperia’s neck. With Morthwyl’s assistance, I reverently place Kuiperia in my Haversack. I note that Jarnl’s treasure chest is still in there but the magical weapons we worked so hard to retrieve are gone.
Turning our attention back to Ticky Tocky, Ungus asks it what it needs and Morthwyl and Groa ask it about its plan and what do we get out of it. When questioned what he will do with the Cards, he says that when he is done, we can have all six of them back – our three and his three! Ungus gets him to throw in the brandy and Groa asks about his “servants”. He says they will go with us into Arantus. After a brief discussion, we decide Management must know what he is doing, so we agree to the Beholder’s plan. Ungus tells Itzehl to give it the Cards, so she petulantly throws the cards on the floor. He has his “servants” pick them up and hand them to him and then he tells us he will start the ritual now and we will all travel together. As he begins, all eleven of his eye stalks begin undulating whereupon Groa whispers that he is using the power of the Cards and tapping into Planar magic. Everything begins to vibrate, spin and then come to an abrupt halt. Tick Tock says we have arrived back in our normal timeline on Arantus, puts the Cards on the table and prepares to part ways from us. It wants us to stay here for a while and give it time to get away before we come out. Then it tells us about a stash of magic weapons in the Armory. Out of its hearing range, we briefly discuss whether we should let it go or kill it now. We’ll be letting more evil loose on the world and we don’t know its real intentions. But Management was pretty adamant that we cut a deal with it. And letting him go was part of that deal? Against my better judgment, as a group, we decide to let him go and stand aside. After they leave, Ungus picks up all six Cards and tries to hand them to Itzehl. She’s nearly catatonic now but says she doesn’t want them. (Did I hear Gem sniffle?) So Groa takes the Cards and assures Itzehl she will take good care of them.
Ungus asks Jarnl what is our next step who then says he guesses we should go back to the Temple and eat crickets. I cringe! But first we need to check on the magic weapons in the Armory and also check to see if we are indeed back in the right timeline. So we all go down to the Armory and see that all the magic weapons are back there, just as before. Then we go down to the ground floor, open the door and see that it is night. Ungus and Groa both check their senses and find that we are back in Septantus. Oh goody, I get to look forward to winter! (NOT!)
Erathday, Septantus 7, 1017 A.G. – late night in the Watchtower
After discussing the best way to get the magic weapons back to Hammerfast, we agree that we can have them retrieved at a later date. Right now we need to rest – either here or back in Hammerfast. First we barricade the door and Ungus casts his “Hold Portal” ritual on it. Ungus and Groa both check with their respective gods for guidance as Ungus take yet another drink of brandy. Then Groa introduces herself to the Cards and asks for their assistance. Each one of them introduces themselves and what they can do for us. Euryale says her gaze can petrify or immobilize a creature. The Fool says he can play with the mind of an attacker and also knock it down. Vizier says he can weaken the defenses of nearby enemies and cause extra damage to them. Gem says she can give us extra actions and Star says she can buff attack rolls and give the attacker more accuracy. Jester says he will let someone shift away if they get hit – and laugh while they are doing it! All very handy tricks to have on our side!
We are ready to rest and I am personally so stressed out at all the drama that I just need to meditate – like right now! But before we commit to staying here the night, we want to see if Itzehl is up to taking us to Hammerfast. When we ask her, she says no, she doesn’t want to go. She’s very despondent but Ungus tries to convince her and fails. So we settle down to stay here. Ungus sits down, takes out his pipe and begins to tell all our stories to Groa and Morthwyl. I go over to a corner, alone and try to start my meditation but his voice keeps cutting into my concentration. And so goes the night. Eventually everyone stops talking and blissful quiet allows me to go into my aware trance. Ahhh!!
Iounday, Septantus 8, 1017 A.G. – in the Watchtower at Gardmore Abbey
After a hearty breakfast, Ungus once more tries to get Itzehl to perform “The Bringing” and return us to Hammerfast. She tells him she is still thinking about it and will let him know. Like she said before! So now Morthwyl suggests that Jarnl lead the way to the Temple. Along the way, Ungus asks Groa and Morthwyl to review how they both came to us. Groa says she was looking for Lady Itzehl. She is from The Cloak Wood and her people sent her out to find out what is going on in the world as weird things were happening in the woods. She talks about Twig Blights and other things and about that evil bitch Gnome – Mother Gerd who slew Rhianna, Hamadryad of The Cloak Wood. I only catch portions of her talk but my big ears certainly hear the words “Mother Gerd”!!! Morthwyl’s explanation is short and sweet. He says a Red Dragon and a large band of Orcs destroyed the caravan where he was working and he came to us seeking help with his revenge.
With me alternately scouting out ahead and coming back to guard our rear, we proceed. As we follow the road upwards, we round a switchback and Jarnl glances back. He warns us: “Look at what is coming up the road!!” We stop and turn, seeing four Orc Pummelers and two Ogre Mercenaries accompanied by a Hill Giant. Great! And they notice us too! I thought we were being pretty stealthy, but those two Dwarves can never be quiet! Grrrr!!
A lengthy battle begins with Groa calling for Euryale’s assistance. I kill an Ogre, Morthwyl kills an Orc, Groa kills another Orc and Ungus kills the Giant. The last Ogre yells something to the remaining two Orcs as they try to retreat. I kill another Orc as Morthwyl charges the Ogre, killing it. As the last Orc runs away, Morthwyl throws his hammer long distance, turning its head to mush!