|06/09/2004||06/09/1374 DR - 06/20/1374 DR|
The party with Romae, Ferella, and their bugbear prisoners, returned to Khelb, arriving on 9 Kythorn.
Upon entering the village, they were approached by a band of Knights in Silver who were patrolling. They requested that the party explain what they were doing with the bugbears. Daria explained that they were on a mission for Silverymoon, commissioned by Fredegar. The guards allowed the party to lock the bugbears up in their brig while the party was in Khelb.
The party searched for pearls suitable for use as a component in identify spells. Finding two, Setara identified the shield as a +2 shield with light fortification. She identified the cape as a Cape of the Mountebank. The shield was given to Romae. The cape was given to Setara. Kartoffl kept the strand of prayer beads.
The party then held discussions about Romae. They felt that she had more than carried her weight in their recent missions. In the end, they decided to offer her membership in the party with Kartoffl offering the invitation.
Kartoffl spoke to Romae about joining the group. She replied that she was willing to join, but would need Dain Rumblegut's permission to do so. Kartoffl resolved to accompany her back to the mine to address Thane Dain Rumblegut. The party would journey to Silverymoon ahead of him, and he would rejoin the party there.
On 10 Kythorn, Romae and Kartoffl leave for the mine, and arrive on 12 Kythorn. Thane Rumblegut declares a feast at their return. During the feast, Kartoffl asked that Romae be allowed to join their party. The Thane replied that she was free to join if she agreed, and when Romae agreed, he released her from service to him. Kartoffl, in turn, released the dwarves from any debt that they might owe the party for their service in freeing the mine.
The rest of the party arrived in Silverymoon on 13 Kythorn. They immediately turned their prisoners over to the Knights in Silver. They gave Ferella Treestretch 10 gp, and helped her find a caravan to Everlund where she could safely travel home.
The party then went to the High Palace to see Fredegar to tell him about their excursion into the Nether Mountains. Daria explained what had happened, and the party answered any questions that he had. Finally satisfied, he paid the party 3,000 gp for their efforts.
On 14 Kythorn, Setara set up a meeting between her father, Naaman the Trader, and the party to discuss their proposed deal with the stone giants and gnomes. He agreed to handle the transportation of cockatrice eggs and feathers from Khelb and the selling of those items. For their efforts, Naaman paid the party a "one-time fee" of 7,000 gp. He also offered them one free pearl usable for identify spells for every 3 that they purchase up to a maximum of 10 per month and 100 per year. With a little discussion, the party agreed to these terms.
Kartoffl and Romae arrive in Silverymoon on 18 Kythorn, and rejoin the party.
Later that same day, Naaman contacted the party with a business proposition. He had recently come into the possession of an old journal which contained an interesting passage. It spoke of a great treasure hidden in a well. Naaman wished the party to find the well and recover the treasure for him. In turn, he would give each party member a 1,000 gp discount for the purchase of a magic item from one of his magical shops. (Limit one discount per person and it cannot be combined with any other discount.)
Kartoffl debated about proper ownership of the item or if the item was evil. Naaman stated that if a proper owner could be found, the item would be returned to that person or persons, and the party would still be paid. If the item was tainted in some way, it would be sold to a proper collector, and Kartoffl would be given right of approval over any deal.
The party also worried about what would happen if the item were extremely valuable. (The journal spoke of the item being the kingdom's greatest treasure.) Naaman offered the party the original discount provided the discount was not less than 10% of the item's value. If it were, the party would be paid 10% of that value.
After agreement was obtained, Naaman showed the party the journal, and allowed them to examine it in detail. Daria was able to date it from about 150 years ago. It was a time just before Silverymoon was sacked by orcs.
Delight in the wildness of the eternal screaming. The tithes one pays to gods, in the name of gods! We who breathe immortal air, when we must share its warmth in our ever dying lungs. Ceaseless it bears fruit, and then in withering and dusk, turns pallid. For them, for myself, for tales of our own mortal vengeance, the gods smile in mockery and irony. Now with my own twilight, I indulge in solemn coronation and crown myself king fool, the greatest of rogues, whose true tale will never be revealed. Heir apparent to lost titles, master thief of the kingdom's greatest treasure! All these years of illusion and deceit. Ha! Never once did their prying fingers find my trove. Those fools, those poor fools, gave me far more than baubles. Never can they retrieve what they've lost. They never peeped into the well, not once. All their pathetic longing, all their wasted tears, all their vain prayers. It's too bad they never thought to make a wish.
On 19 & 20 Kythorn, Daria and the party researched the time period, from which they had dated the journal, in the Vault of the Sages. They found that the time period was around the time that Sepur was the High Mage of Silverymoon.
Much information from that time period is missing or sketchy at best. Sepur was the former apprentice of Orjalin, the previous High Mage. Orjalin was a competent High Mage who was marked by Mystra at birth. His reign was marked by the emergence of many great mages (including Ahghairon of Deepwater and Bowgentle), but also by the plague of 1150 DR that slew half of the population of Silverymoon. When he was finally ready to retire in 1230 DR, he appointed Sepur as his successor.
Sepur abandoned the city in 1232 DR for reasons unknown. His departure led to a series of deadly spell-battles between resident wizards for rule of the city. In the absence of a worthy mage, the folk of Silverymoon elected a mayor to rule the city.
In 1235, the Silvermayor lost control of the city to Warlord Khallos Shieldsunder and his orc horde. They broke into the city and sacked it. Later that year, they were defeated by an army of elves and Harpers led by Storm Silverhand and Alustriel.
As the party reasoned that Orjalin would have wisely chosen a successor, something must have happened to cause Sepur to leave the city. Perhaps, the kingdom's greatest treasure belonged to him, and its loss caused him to leave. Of course, this was only speculation.
The party then researched to see if any wells from that period still existed. After much work, they discovered that a single well in the southern portion of the city still existed but was covered over. The southern portion of the city was outside of the city during Sepur's time.
The party concluded their research, and then decided that they should speak to Lady Alustriel. They realized that since she was actively involved in the city during that time period, she might have first hand information about the kingdom's greatest treasure lost around that time.
On the morning of 21 Kythorn, the party went to the station for the Knights in Silver closest to the well. After explaining that they had been hired by Naaman the Trader, they asked permission to explore the well. After some conversation in which Daria was recognized as the daughter of the head of the Knights, they were granted permission to explore. A detachment of Knights were assigned guard the top of the well while the party was down below so that no one accidentally hurt themselves while it was open.
First, Thistle with Kartoffl and Romae helping tried to move the boulder that sealed the well. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, Kartoffl relieved Thistle as the main pusher with Thistle assisting. This time, they were able to open the well.
Yassel tied off a rope on a nearby tree, and prepared to descend into the well. He dropped the rope in, but did not hear a splash. Pulling the rope back up, he found that it was not wet. Attaching a second segment to the rope, he dropped in down again. He pulled it up, and found that most of the second portion was wet. Kartoffl estimated that it was approximately 60 ft. between the top of the well and the surface of the water.
Yassel and Daria climbed down using the rope, and found that they were standing in 3 ft. of water, which was up to Yassel's neck. The chamber below the well was about 40 ft. in diameter with opening towards the north and south. The current flowed slowly to the south. The walls and ceilings were eroded limestone. The ceiling was about 10 ft. above the water level. Once they were sure that it was safe, the rest of the party descended.
The party headed south, and found that the passage split into two. The current flowed mainly down the right-hand passage, so the party waded left. They found a 15 ft.-wide passage heading south. Halfway down the passage, they were attacked by 5 huge water spiders. After a short battle, they managed to kill all the spiders.
They followed the passage into a large cavern with a small cul-de-sac in the southeastern corner. Another exit led to the northeast. After the party had entered the cavern, a section of the wall gave way, and fell upon the party, injuring Thistle, Daria, Yassel, and Romae.
The party then explored the cul-de-sac. They found a half-rotted hobgoblin carcass wedged into the corner. It was wearing rotting leather armor and carrying a rusted falchion. Eltairin noticed that in its left eye it was wearing a single lens. When a thorough search failed to produce the second lens, Eltairin resorted to a detect magic to locate it. Both lenses were indeed magical.
Setara and Eltairin cleaned and sanitized the lenses, and Eltairin tried them on. He found that he was better able to detect motion. (In other words, it aided his spot check.)
The party exited by the other passage, and followed it north. They came to a split in the passage. Choosing the left-hand passage, they followed it until they came to a section where water was leaching into the cave. As they approached, they spotted blood coming from where the water was entering. The blood was immediately followed by the scream of a young female. A search of the area uncovered nothing abnormal. Kartoffl estimated that only about a pint of blood had been spilt into the water.
They followed the passage, which narrowed so that they could only travel single-file, back to the well chamber. Before they could enter the well chamber, something struck Thistle from behind, and swam away before the party could attack. It left Thistle with a large bite mark.
They circled around into the chamber with the stronger current. As they started across, a large chunk of debris dislodged and floated in their direction. Thankfully, everyone was able to avoid it,and it floated harmlessly downstream.
The party then backtracked to the fork that they had passed a short time ago. They followed the other passage, and passed another section where water was leaking into the caves. They eventually came to a chamber with exits to the south and west. The water was 5 ft-deep. The party started across the cavern. Daria put Yassel on her shoulders to carry him.
Suddenly, Daria was struck by an uncontrollable fit of laughter. She doubled over into the water, dumping Yassel off of her shoulders. Her greatsword dropped into the cloudy water. Eltairin, Kartoffl, and Romae combined to rescue the incapacitated Daria while Yassel swam to safety. Eventually, Daria stopped laughing, and the party was able to recover her sword. Setara told them that a Tasha's Uncontrollable Laughter spell had probably been cast upon Daria.
The party continued on, down the passage that had the least current. It led them to a chamber that had an alcove with an eddy in it. The party avoided that alcove, and continued on. It eventually led to a dead end passage.
They started to explore the end when a web formed above the water in the section that they were exploring. Only Eltairin spotted a large creature swimming towards the party, and was able to fire an arrow in its general direction.
|06/24/2004||06/21/1374 DR - 06/22/1374 DR|
At last, the party saw a huge snake-like creature threatening Thistle in the rear of the party. A brief battle ensued with the creature retreating after attacking only once. Kartoffl and Eltairin tended to the injured while Daria and Yassel explored the dead end. Finding nothing, the party headed back upstream.
Daria, with Yassel on her shoulders, scouted out the passage that they had not explored, wading down about 40 ft with a rope attached for safety. They saw an alcove about 10 ft in diameter, but did not thoroughly explore it.
The party returned to the well chamber, and climbed out. With the Knights help, they resealed the well. The party spent the rest of the day in Silverymoon. They returned in the evening to stand watch over the well along with the detachment of the Knights.
After leaving the well, the party discussed watch they had observed about the creature. Eltairin recalled a series of colorful spines along its back. Thistle saw its vaguely human-looking head. Daria thought about their descriptions, and was able to identify the creature as a water naga. Unfortunately, she was unable to recall anything else about nagas. She went to the Vault of Sages to study water nagas.
Setara returned to her father's shop to identify the lenses they had found in the well. She found that they were Eyes of the Eagle.
Eltairin and Kartoffl worked on preparing a map of the caves. After locating the portions of the caves that extended beyond the city walls, Eltairin explored the countryside, looking for another entrance to the complex. After several hours of searching, he was unable to find any other entrance than the well itself.
Yassel went out to provision the party for further exploration. He purchased 2 rowboats, 4 oars, and 2 10 ft-long poles.
The next morning (22 Kythorn), the party lowered the rowboats into the well. Eltairin helped stabilize them. Daria descended to aid in controlling the boats once they were brought down, and cleared them out of the way as the rest of the party descended the well. This turned out to be a wise decision on her part as Romae plummeted down the well shortly after starting down.
Once everyone was down, they practiced handling the rowboats in the well chamber where there was little current. The first boat held Yassel, Daria, Eltairin, and Setara; the second, Romae, Thistle, and Kartoffl. After they had gotten used to piloting them, they paddled towards the section that Daria and Yassel had scouted the day before.
A short distance outside of the well chamber, Daria called out to the water naga. (Her research the day before assured her that water nagas spoke Common.) She tried to greet the naga and reassure it that they did not mean it any harm. She greetings were met with a curt reply of, "Leave Now!"
Daria stated that they couldn't and tried to explain, but she was rudely interrupted by a stinking cloud that engulfed the party. Several members of the party were nauseated by the cloud. Those that weren't limped their rowboats out of it.
Once on the other side and recovered, Daria took the time before the cloud dissipated to talk with the naga. At first, diplomacy was very difficult, but she kept her patience and tried to explain the situation. Finally after promising that the naga's existence and domain would only remain secret if the party was allowed to continue their exploration did it seem to get results.
The naga told them that it did not know anything about the item that they sought. If it were to be found within its domain, they must look in the direction of where the current runs the swiftest. There is a cave just beyond where what they seek is likely to be found. In any event, they were to avoid the region where they had scouted the day before, and return no more to its domain once their searching was over.
Daria thanked the naga for its help, and the party left for cavern just beyond the well chamber where the current was very strong. Once they arrived, they braced the rear boat against the wall, and tethered the forward boat for a slow, controlled trek down the passage.
At first, they were easily able to maintain control over the front rowboat, but the current kept increasing as it headed downstream. Rounding a bend, the crew saw a large whirlpool spinning in the center of a cavern just beyond. A opening to another chamber was just behind the whirlpool's chamber. Knowing that it was extremely dangerous to progress any farther, the party hauled the rowboat back to where the second rowboat was braced. They would proceed farther only with the aid of the water walking spell that Kartoffl had prepared.
|07/01/2004||06/22/1374 DR - 07/03/1374 DR|
Kartoffl cast his water walking spell with the aid of the strand of prayer beads so that it would last longer. Only Yassel refused the spell because he wanted to be able to explore under the water if need be. Daria agreed to carry the halfling once again.
The party then walked down the passage with the rapid current, and safely passed the whirlpool. The party stopped at the entrance to the cave just beyond the whirlpool.
Daria cast detect magic to get an idea if the cave was worth exploring. She detected a single magical object in the cavern - a rod- or sword-shaped object lying at the bottom on the far side.
Suddenly, the group was attacked by a large mound of vegetation that was waiting just below the surface! Setara cast lightning bolt on the plant, but that only seemed to strengthen it. Romae charged in only to be struck viciously several times, and grappled by the vegetation.
The battle raged on. Yassel fed Romae several healing potions to keep her alive as the party struck back at the plant. She sacrificed herself, knowing that the plant was actually doing less damage to her while she was grappled than it would do the rest of the party if she were not in its clutches. Eventually, Romae was forced to consume a potion of gaseous form to escape, having run out of available healing potions.
The battle continued. Kartoffl next found himself being grappled by the mound. Fortunately for him, the plant was soon destroyed. It released Kartoffl, and sank harmlessly into the water.
Daria and Yassel went to work locating the object that Daria had spotted with her detect magic. With Daria's guidance, Yassel brought up a bastard sword, which Setara found to radiate moderate conjuration and moderate transmutation magic.
Upon examination, Daria found several inscriptions on the sword. Various party members were able to read "Elves suck!" , "Die elves, die!", and several other derogatory writings on it. At this point, they wisely wrapped it away, and stored it in Yassel's backpack.
The party decided to follow the other passage that led away from the whirlpool. A short distance down the corridor, Yassel spotted a pit underneath the water. Forgetting that Daria was water walking and she was carrying him, he pulled Daria back away from the pit. In a moment, they both realized that neither had anything to fear from it, and they continued on.
Eventually the water became shallower, and the passage ended in a section where water was actively draining into the tunnel. At the end of the passage, a number of bones in various stages of decay were piled high enough to clear the waterline.
Yassel poked through the bones while Daria detected magic. They located a magical tiara and an amulet on a single adolescent human skeleton. Judging from the remains of the clothing, the party thought that the skeleton was that of a female and that it had been there for quite some time. Looking through the rest of the area,Yassel was able to find coins up to the time that the well had been closed, about 50 years ago.
The party followed the last passage in the tunnels for a while. Eventually, Kartoffl, Yassel, and Daria all agreed that the passage led to the area where they thought the naga was laired. The group stopped exploring at that point, not wanting to anger the naga in any way as it had promised them safe passage as long as they left it alone.
They returned to the bones, and carefully recovered them. They wrapped them in a blanket to protect them.
The party then exited the well, and closed it behind them. The Knights agreed to continue to guard the well for a while just in case something decided to follow the party up to the surface.
Setara went to her father's shop to identify the items that they had found in the caves. The tiara functioned as a periapt of wound closure. The amulet was an amulet of proof against detection and location. The sword was a +2 elfbane bastard sword.
Daria went to the Vault of the Sages, and spent 3 days investigating what they had found. She was able to determine that, while the amulet was typical for its type, the tiara was probably unique. No further identification on it was possible.
Daria also found that Sepur did have a daughter and that her name was Adthene. Little if anything could be found out about her. She did note that a few sorrowful odes featured the name Adthene.
The party went to the High Palace to seek an audience with the High Lady. They explained their investigation in the well to her. They then presented her with the remains, tiara, and amulet, explaining their theories to her. She accepted them for examination and eventual proper burial for the remains, promising to keep the party informed about anything she found out.
The party visited with Naaman the Trader to explain their findings in the well. He accepted that the remains were probably the treasure that the writing had referred. Noting that their investigation would probably bring him a great deal of good will from the city, he thanked the party, and paid them what he had promised.
Four days after their meeting with Lady Alustriel, she returned the amulet to the party. The sages had determined that it was an "ordinary" magical amulet,and could safely be returned to the party.
© Copyright Maryrita Steinhour, 2002, 2004.