The first order of the day was to check on our darknes ssituation. Marigold had marked out how much there was the previous evening, so we headed back into the town to check if the darkness ahd grown. The good news was that there seemed to be no undead presence in the town at all, my guess is that the altar and the encromancer between them had been controlling all the undead in the town. The bad news was that there was a lot more darkness in the basement than there had been the previous evening. We sealed the trapdoor up again, Argent reckonned we'd have a week or two to find a solution, and then argued quite a bit over what to do.
Eventually, exasperated and frustrated that none of them could agree to do anything, I suggested we continue on to the wizard's tower, find the teleportation circle, and then consult Kelemvor or Amaunator. We headed along to the tower, sadly deserted, and made our way up.
The top room was guarded by an ominous looking door, with a very complicated lock. Marigold spent some time looking at it, then promptly declared that to open it she'd need a key made of brass, but at freezing temperature, and that she'd need to open the door left-handed. Without these conditions it would be impossible to open the door. Argent and Vincent decided now would be a good time to have a lengthy argument about the relative merits of disenchanting a powerful magical door against knocking the door down. I swear without me looking after them the party'd never get anything done! I might not be smart or brave, but at least I'm decisive... Using a mixture of a brass lockpick, the amphora of infinite water, Tyrael, Marigold's dexterity and my timing, the two of us managed to freeze a brass-cored ice key into the lock before they noticed what we were doing, and soon enough the door was open.
Noting down the combination for the ritual circle, we proceeded to jump over to the last town in order to revisit the temples. Kelemvor was true to his word, telling us we could have any reward we liked in return for our victory over the necromancer. Amaunator provided us with a few rituals that we could use against the black darkness. They require very large amounts of gold and priests, the one to destroy it is too much for our party to perform, but we can at least put an impenetrable seal on it, which should slow it down. Thinking quickly I asked Kelemvor for the reward he thought would best aid us in our battle against the drow. He gave me this:
The instructions we recieved were simple enough. Place the bottle somewhere, seal the area, and open it. The bottle contains "death" and should deal with our problems for us. This terrifies me, but if it's our only option, we'll use it. It is cold to the touch, and I am ery concerned that we might accidentally break it. However, now there is hope where before there was none. That alone is enough to put a spring in my step.
Year 120: Eleasis 2:
Today, finally, we go to meet our destiny. My destiny. Well, hopefully not my whole destiny, it would be a bit of a damper if my whole destiny was to go to this rift, there has to be more in the future. I'd not normally pay any credance to this whole destiny business, but there have been enough signals that this is something I have to do. I'm babbling. Why couldn't it have been Ayeena? or Vincent? they look and act like heroes from the stories. They have the courage, strength and presence you expect from a leader. I'm a full foot shorter than either of them, even wearing my boots, with a little timid voice, and I tremble whenever a monster even looks my way. I think I'm babbling. It's because I'm afraid, I'm not ready for this kind of thing!
The rift was very, very deep. We could just about make out the bottom from where we were. Maybe two-hundred feet deep? Once again, there was an argument about how to approach this, half the party were uncomfortable with the idea of climbing down the sheer edge, the other half of us were uncomfortable with the other solutions.
The way I saw it, we came here to meet some people. perhaps I have a destiny to meet these people. If I climbed down on a rope, they'd see an unarmed girl making her way slowly down the cliff face, and see no threat in this. If we were to say, summon a floating disc to carry us down, they'd see a party of people using magic to descend into their homes, and maybe take us as hostile. I'm very comfortable with ropes, I regularly brought dinner to the thatchers in Hollow, so I convinced the others to hop into my bag, and let me do the hard work. We had enough rope Terry offered to wait at the top with the rope in case we needed pulling up quickly, and Vincent refused to let me carry him, so we set off down the rope.
Maybe destiny is a more powerful force than I gave it credit for. As we were climbing down, Vincent lost his grip on the rope and fell. I reacted on reflex, locking my legs into the rope, catching him as he crashed into me. Perhaps this is Tymora's way of telling me to buck up and accept she wants me to be a hero, since she's made up her mind and nothing I feel is going to get me out of it. For the first time I feel that I've made a difference here, without me being here, he'd have fallen to the rocks below. I don't feel any less scared of this whole business, but at least I feel like I've contributed. Vincent refused to talk to me for the rest of the descent.
At the bottom, I let everyone out of the bag, and we waited for Terry to make his descent. We had no choice but to leave the ropes. Making our way over the scree, we spied a dwarf in the distance. After some experimentation, we determined that the best shared language we had was common, and that the dwarves here spoke it in an unusual way. Determining that our intentions were not hostile (any enemy of the gnolls is an friend of the people here.) he invited us to a tavern to rest our feet and tell our story.
The dwarves here are another amazing sight. The dwarves in our hometown are introverted, jittery and have little in the way of aptitude for anything other than mining. Ocasionally they craft items, and while they are of good quality, they craft them because they have a lot of metal and they're bored. The dwarves here can cast metal, making items of far superior quality than Hollow's efforts. They have very little in the way of resources other than metal, so anything that can be made out of metal is, even their clothing it seems. They're not wearing armour, but garments of woven metal that serve the purpose of clothing instead of cloth. I wonder how they get on with it chafing? Maybe they have cloth undergarments, but linen is hard to find, so they use as little as they can. Nevertheless, the workmanship in their metalworking is unsurpassed, and if we could possibly find a way to get these peopel trading with Scardale Keep and Hollow, we could start to see a very healthy trade between the three.
This place has two names, "Rest" and "Halt" - so far as I can tell, the dwarves here are split into two communities, one of them believes in the prophecy, the other does not. The dwarves of "Rest" believe this is a temporary stop on their journey, and the arrival of their prophesised one will herald the next stage. The dwarves of "halt" have decided that this is where they are to make their homes. I hope I've gotten that right, or things wil get very embarassing later. A little more querying and I got a summary of the prophecy. It goes something like this:
She will carry death in her pocket, and bring back the sea.
When she comes she will lead our people in her mission to our new homes.
And here I was hoping that maybe they'd gotten it wrong. Well, I may not be the amazing hero they were looking for, but I think I match all the parts of the prophecy they're willing to tell me about. With Tyrael I can freeze nearly anything, with my nightmares and fears I can set things on fire, the bottle from Kelemvar counts for the third, and the amphora of water I carry could fill an ocean, albeit slowly. This doesn't seem to be a prophecy about me so much as about a person carrying my equpiment. Nevertheless, Tymora seems to have led me to a people who have some reason to follow us and help us fight the drow.
I proceeded to demonstrate this to the dwarves present, and their mood changed instantly. I think I might have made several cultural blunders over my conversation, it was clear that they'd expected someone like Ayeena to be the hero. However, as soon as I showed I came with fire and ice and the sea, they sent for the elders of Halt and Rest, to introduce me. I was informed that a while ago, the dwarves had dug down to far, and discovered creatures of fire that could not be reasonned with. The description made them sound a little like elementals, but the dwarves apparently had trouble combatting them in any way, and feared for their people. Tyrael was made to fight these creatures, I know this. I suspect this is the place where I must cast him aside, or rather, present him to the dwarves so they can keep him to fight against these creatures.
We were shown to a guest room in the town, so that we could relax a little, confer, and clean up after our travels. This evening there is to be a grand meal in the main hall where we will be the guests of honour, and likely we will discuss what recent events mean for these people. I want the best for them that I can manage. Ideally, we can defeat this fiery menace they fear so, and then with the dwarves at our back we can free the people of Yare from their slavery. Finally we can work together to beat the drow - if we can get back in time.
I'd picked up some formal clothes in Scardale Keep. I figured if we were exploring the world, the time would come where we were invited to a formal meal somewhere, and as heroes, we should look the part. Marigold insisted that she preferred some clothes she'd looted from a crypt to the dress I'd found for her, and Ayeena predictably refused to remove her plate. In the latter case, I'd at least managed to get the people of Scardale Keep to make up a neat looking surcoat for her. This guest room actually has coloured inks, so I spent a few moments drawing out the party before we headed off to meet the elders for dinner. I'm so excited!
I hope if I can eat dwarf food...