Peli’s Posts #2 – “Who ARE these people?”
Moraday, Aprantus 28, 1017 A.G. (Continued)
After successfully reviving Grommel, he sits up and we tell him our plans to postpone our attack on the Glass Shrine. Without saying so much as a “thank you”, he informs us that he has to leave us quickly and he runs off! Ungus and I, once again left alone, look at each other and shake our heads. People seem to be coming and going frequently around these parts!
I complain to Ungus that I had expended too much energy in the last two battles to continue on without a long rest period. Especially faced with the fact that there are now only two of us left in the official Company. So s the day is quickly coming to an end, and it has been cold, rainy and miserable, we decide we should take shelter for the night and regain our strength before attempting another assault.
So dear old Ungus, more agile than he looks or has me believe, approaches one of the glass spires and proceeds to shimmy up the damn thing. Asking him what in the name of Underdark does he thinks he is doing, he says he wants to scout out the countryside for a safe place to camp for the night. His action proves worthwhile as he see a normal looking forest to the west. So we proceed west, trudging thru the rain and sleet with the afternoon quickly turning to dusk.
After a short distance, we see a small cabin in a clearing in the woods – a most welcome site. Preparing to approach and inquire for some food and lodging, we are shocked and surprised to see a small creature sitting on the roof who appears to be a cute young boy with pointy ears. Upon getting closer, we see that he is not a young human, but a gnome. He asked us what we were doing there and what did we want. We told him that we are hungry & tired adventurers looking for a place to spend the night. He tells us that this cabin belongs to his “paramour” and that he would have to check with her, then he scampers down the chimney. Ungus and I laugh, shake our heads and mouth “paramour”?
A few seconds later the cabin door opens and much to our surprise, out comes Grommel, followed by an older human female. Of course we have numerous questions for Grommel, but he just apologizes for running off so quickly, explaining his aunt needed help. He introduces the female as his Aunt Grenda. She explains that this is her cabin and she also tells us the gnome we saw is her “paramour”. Again, I think to myself “who uses that term?” She tells us that the two of them needs their privacy but that we may shelter in the woodshed. She ducks back inside and then comes back out with some hot soup for us. She tell us that she will see us in the morning and prepare a hot breakfast for us. Ungus sniffs at the soup and comments that he thinks there is something “special” about the soup. He thinks he detects some strong herbal component. Grommel tells us she uses a harmless herb that helps you relax and have pleasant dreams but that sometimes she uses too much and she needs to lighten up on it. By this time I have eaten half the soup (after removing the meat and handing it to Ungus) and drank most of the broth. A wonderful relaxed feeling starts to wash over me, much like I get when I enter my meditative trance.
While I am eating the remains of my soup, I happen to look over to the edge of the forest and I think I see Kuiperia coming out of the trees! I say to myself “Wow, those herbs must be stronger than I thought, because I am hallucinating now!” Not only do I think I see Kuiperia, but for a brief moment I thought I saw another female at the forest edge. It seemed she started to step into the clearing but then jumped back into the undergrowth. I look at Ungus and he indicates he sees the same thing. Kuiperia comes up to us and I realize it is really her. Lots of questions and answers go back & forth, but the gist of it was that Kuiperia couldn’t stand traveling with Uriah who was being obnoxious so she decided to reverse course and come and find us. Kuiperia then tells us of her journey and a strange encounter. After she passed thru Andok Sur, the glass forest and its glass structure, she continued west the way we had gone just moments before. Before reaching us however, she encountered an exotically beautiful but very shy female woodland creature. She introduces herself to Kuiperia, telling her that she is a Hamadryad and that her name is Itzehl. Itzehl seems to be very distressed and disoriented, as if she just landed here from another existence. She just keeps saying that she is looking for someone to help her. She says “her” forest, some 20 or more clicks away is in deep trouble. Kuiperia asked her if she had seen us but she insisted she had not. She again insisted that Kuiperia must help her by accompanying her back to “her” forest. She explains that “her” forest has been infested by Twig Blights. Kuiperiaappeases her and calms her down and agrees to follow her, thinking she will probably find us along the way. So that is how she came to the clearing and saw us.
While Kuiperia is telling us her story, Grommel once again emerges from the cabin to find out what is going on and who this new stranger is. Kuiperia is not trusting of Grommel and questions his actions and suspects Ungus and I are being poisoned by the soup. We assure her that all is well and Aunt Grenda and the gnome Bentwhistle come back out bringing more soup. Kuiperia calls to Itzehl that she can come out, these are friends. I am delighted to meet another fey creature and we hit it off immediately. I determine that I shall attempt to bring Itzehl out of her shell. Another lengthy discussion ensues, while I start yawning (must be the soup) – this time they argue about where everyone is going to sleep. Oh My Correlon!! Finally it was determined that Kuiperia would sleep in the woodshed with Ungus and I while Itzehl and her owl familiar return to the forest edge to make a nest in the trees. Grommel of course joins his aunt and her “paramour” in the cabin. As sleep overtakes us (even I sleep occasionally, helped by the soup!), I hear Grenda say she will make us a nice hot breakfast in the morning. I hope she leaves out the catnip or whatever it was! Kuiperia, still suspicious, sits up most of the night on watch! After 4 hours, I relieve her and she gets her rest as well.
Korday, Aprantus 29, 1017 A.G.
Everyone awakes to the smells of breakfast coming from the cabin. Itzehl and I have a private conversation where she asks me for help and asks me to tell her about the area and what is going on. I tell her about Arianna & Rhianna and that Rhianna was killed. She seemed pretty shaken up over that and I assure her that we won’t let anything happen to her. For a third time, she asks me for help and insists that we come with her to “her” forest to get rid of the Twig Blights. I have battled those nasty little things before. So entranced am I with her, that I agree we will help after we finish our battle with the evil demon. In exchange, she agrees to help us in that endeavor. Meanwhile, Ungus and the rest are all inside the cabin enjoying their breakfast. At some point Ungus talks to Itzehl, who tells him that I have agreed to help her. Ungus is a little upset with that piece of information and tells her we have more pressing missions to accomplish. Much to my astonishment the shy Hamadryad accosts Ungus and intimidates him into agreeing to assist her!! Well, allrighty then! I smile and Izehl and I go inside to have our breakfast meal as well.
Well fed and well rested, Ungus, Kuiperia, Itzehl and I set off to return to the glass forest and the Glass Shrine where the evil Xuldor resides. Grommel says that he would love to come with us but that his Aunt has forbidden him to go because she needs his assistance at the cabin. After a short hike, we arrive at the western edge of the clearance. Ungus instructs Kuiperia to check the entrance. She goes up towards the double doors, checking for traps and locks. She pauses at the opaque glass doors and listens. The only thing she hears is a gurgling sound such as come from fountains. Sensing no immediate danger, she carefully opens the right side door and enters a brightly lit chamber. She sees an empty room with a semi-frozen water fountain on the left and a hot, lava fountain on the right. Dead ahead, in the center of the room she sees a set of stairs descending into a lower chamber. Just as she ventures further into the room, two large glass scorpions come into view. Horrified by what she sees, she quickly retreats out the door and reports back to us. After relaying her findings, she also adds that if and when we enter the shrine, we must be careful as the floor is very slippery, smooth glass. Peli wonders if there might not be another entrance or exit and so Itzehl has her owl fly around the structure. Seeing thru its eyes, she reports there is no other door. So one by one we each enter the shrine. When I get thru the door, I nearly trip over Ungus, lying on the floor. I snarkily tell him to get up, this is no time for a nap. A short battle ensues whereby we kill one of the glass scorpions. During this battle, shy little Itzehl displays such a powerful attack that Ungus and I look at each other with our mouths agape!! Before we can finish off the second, badly wounded scorpion, up out of the lower chamber appears a totally gruesome creature with huge, long tentacles, capable of grabbing from 15 feet away. One of the tentacles attacks Kuiperia, inserting its tip into her head and making ongoing psychic attacks against her. Ungus also feels some lesser psychic attacks but is able to overcome them. Ungus and I debate whether this creature is the evil demon Xuldor who we have been seeking. Eventually we dispatch with this monstrosity as well as the second glass scorpion, who falls apart without hurting us as its “friend” did.
Ungus hustles us all outside as we all take a short breather. Perhaps still under the dead creatures psychic influence, Kuiperia decides to go back inside to check out the lower level. There she finds a glass case inside which appears to contain a glass shard which emanates power and chaos. Ungus goes in after Kuiperia, followed by Itzehl. I linger outside a moment longer. Inside, they see Kuiperia is hypnotized by the power of the evil shard, which is actually communicating to her, promising her riches and power if she will come over to its side. Kuiperia grabs the case and is unable or unwilling to let go. Suddenly Kuiperia sprouts a blue beard. HUH?? WTF?? Ungus and Itzehl both try to force Kuiperia to release the case but to no effect. I re-enter the shrine to see Ungus jumping up and grabbing Itzehl by the ankles, who has been levitated against her will. He brings her down and I decide to get out my grappling hook. I fire it at the glass case with the intention of wrapping around it and pulling it away from Kuiperia. I was successful in this attempt and then Ungus knocks Kuiperia out as she is still under its power. We all notice that the glass case has now levitated itself and has increased the intensity of its emanations. Itzehl, steeling herself against its unnatural mind control, runs down the stairs, grabs Kuiperia, throws her over her shoulder and rushes back up and out of the building. We all follow, instinctively knowing that we have to get out of this evil place.
Itzehl sets Kuiperia up against one of the glass spires and Ungus ties her up to be safe and then proceeds to heal her. As he does so, he brushes snow out of his hair and beard. (Peli is confused.) Kuiperia quickly returns to consciousness, startled to find she is sporting a blue beard and not remembering what happened. A long discussion over what to do with this thing then begins. . . . . .