Laurantha the Unbeautiful, elf (Cullen)
Jimmy Neckbeard, halfling (henchweenie)
Sapphean Gratchit, blue mage (Josh Rapp)
Sneakerly Trull, orcish thief (Zak S)
Mozarella, doggie (pet)
Sigismunde von Flederschnecke, gnome fighter/illusionist (Alexei McDonald)
Gary Oldman Badger, badger (pet)
Laurantha to the Sorcerer of the Azure Mask--A Missive
O! puissant one, I, Laurantha the Unbeautiful, have returned from an expedition into the Azure Vaults, armed with new information about Elexus Starchild, and with one of the servants of the dreaded Elf-King in hand. This is my account:
In company of four faithful allies--namely, Sneakerly Trull, Snaphean Gratchit, and Sigismond Flegelschneckel, as well as my sometime companion Jimmy Neckbeard--we descended into the vaults beneath the Azure Tower. Through my perusal of the maps of previous expeditions, I expected to find stairs down to the second level of the vault through certain eastern doors on the first level, in a large chamber with two of the Elf-King's agonizer cages. And thus we did; but entering the large agonizer chamber, we beheld two beholders, emaciated and miserable-seeming in the larger cage (the other was empty).
Sneakerly took the initiative to negotiate with these erstwhile fearsome beasts; they, being half-starved, readily agreed to call out to us in warning if any danger came a-stalking up behind us, and in return, we would feed them the remains of certain carrion crawlers rotting in a nearby chamber. Though not exactly enthused about the nature of this dish, they nevertheless agreed--much to our aid further on!
The stairs were as I recalled them to be from the previous maps; at their foot opened an ancient library, all a-mess and haunted by a ghostly librarian. When I approached the desk and rang the bell, this spiritual custodian obligingly appeared, and led me by my request to the special history section. There, I perused many works, and was able to glean two things concerning our foe: firstly, that the ancient Elf-Druid war was started when the Druids (they being non-human at the time) first taught magic to men, and that the Elves, led by the Elf-King, opposed this folly as madness (as it was, alas); secondly, that the Elf-King's most puissant servant and champion is known as the Purple Mist, which may be a single identity, or perhaps several (the writer seemed uncertain which in his use of number).
Meanwhile, as I researched, Sigismond sought out works on trichology, hoping for a remedy for his hairlessness. It was just as Sigismond finished copying an alchemical recipe, and I my notes on the Elf-King's history, that we heard a great shout and alarum from up the stairs behind us: 'Beware the shadows!'
Thanks to this timely alarum by the beholders above, we were able to escape quickly into the corridors beyond the library and slip away down a side corridor. There, we heard a deep rumbling snore; Sneakerly declared that sleeping giants generally meant nearby treasure, and the party agreed in hope; but when Sneakerly sought out the source of the noise, he discovered no sleeping giant, but a great brown dragon, coiled in sleep and chained to the wall in a wide upward-sloping chamber. When he returned and mouthed the warning, 'Dragon!' to us, that dolt Jimmy Neckbeard nearly wakened the thing by trudging up to gawk at it, but we dragged him back, and decided better to turn aside rather than possibly face a dragon on our way out of the vaults.
There followed a series of explorations of the rooms of the second level of the Azure Vaults. We discovered a great arena, where orcs and morloi battle horrid monstrosities; we discovered the laboratory where those horrid monstrosities are stitched together and stored in stasis, most likely by the Elf-King or his servants; and we also discovered a conference room, complete with a set of decanters bearing golden liquor which we appropriated (and sold above); and lastly, a room with a great pool entering onto a vast underground river. All of this was mapped by myself, and when I have copied it well, I will share it with yourself, o! puissant one, and with my comrades-in-arms.
Lastly, while returning from the room with the great pool, we heard a noise behind one of the many doors of the hallway; Laurantha knocked, thinking that perhaps an Elf might be mistaken for a servant of the Elf-King--but no answer. So Sigismond threw open the door, and alas, what was on the other side was indeed an Elf, but with a fireball at the ready in his gloved hands, which he cast into our midst. The fireball damaged us all, but none of our own were slain by it; and the Elf himself was also injured. He panicked and attempted to flee, but was not only seized on the buttocks by the jaws of Mozarella, Sneakerly's faithful hound, but Gary Oldman Badger also seized him in his great claws.
This Elf--a pathetic creature barely deserving that lofty appellation--wept openly as if the demons of Hell had him in their grasp, and only wept more horribly as Sneakerly suggested a great plan involving his employment as a native dissident intent on the assassination of the Elf-King and the overthrow of his oppressive regime--and wouldn't this Elf (by name of Thesarius) like to be a hero? He very much did not want to do so; in fact, what he wanted and had been intending to do was to quit the Elf-King and escape out of the dungeon, which thing we happily aided him in doing, by tying him up with slightly paralyzing carrion-crawler tentacles and hauling him out of the dungeon with us.
Now Thesarius is with us, and hopefully we can glean further information about the Elf-King from him .
Your lieutenant in the War Against the Elf-King,
A week in the life of Sapphean Gratchit
I was hanging out with Magic Meryl after hitting it off in our expedition to the Dwarven temple the other day. She asked me if she could cast a spell upon me which I was ecstatic about being able to learn spells the way I do. She said it would change something about me. I didn't listen very much at the time. I sat there and waited for the spell to be finished. As it did, I found myself whisked away immediately and looking around it was dark and I was unable to see clearly. I could feel however, my body being slowly melted away and yet they were not disappearing, I could feel the same parts of me still. It was as if they were being transposed several feet away. This process continued until I was just a head floating apart from my body but I could still feel my body. Then it stopped briefly, I heard a voice reach out to me. It sounded a little bit like Meryl except far more...motherly. It spoke this to me, " Hello, little one. Here is a gift. Let your newfound intellect be a boon to you and your companions. " Suddenly with a flash I was back outside the castle. I was me but I also felt strange like I was able to see the world, more. I understood some things that I didn't before and I thought. I was thinking about things ahead of time!
I was on my way to tell Meryl what had happened when an elf woman approached me and asked if I wanted to accompany her on an expedition to the Azure Vault beneath Castle Vyzor. It was exciting because I had just come here not that long ago. I heartily accepted her offer and ran off to tell Meryl all that had just transpired. She was glad for me and I asked about the spell was it was still ringing through my memory. I was in the middle of deciding to commit it to memory when Meryl interrupted my thought process. " It is a magnificent spell, unfortunately you must have a womb in order to cast it. " I do not in fact have a womb and as such put the spell out of my mind.
A few days past and after some brief preparations, Myself, Laurantha, Sneakerly Trull, and Sigismund with his companion Gary Badger (actually a badger), (There might have been a dog as well? I can't remember) all found ourselves descending into the vault. We go past a room which past expeditions have been in and marked out a pit trap in chalk. I remind myself that I have some chalk for just a thing. After an uneventful first room we walk into another previously encountered room full of dead...things. (Carrion Crawlers, I think? They didn't smell very good decaying and all.) After, seeing Sneakerly smack a dog( It was at this moment I realized there definitely was a dog. Was it his dog?) with one of the half-dry tentacles. The dog subsequently became semi-paralyzed as a result. I thought to myself ooooo that would be a cool ability to possess. I thought better of consuming the long dead corpse of something that might paralyze me before we had even gotten started though. Instead, we picked up all of the tentacle bits we could find and divided them among ourselves. I made off with two.
As we walked into the next room we could hear raspy breathing and as we walked closer two emaciated Beholders in cages suddenly became apparent. Sneakerly addressed them and found them to be both starving and not liking their captors. I wondered to myself why they didn't try to kill us on the way in, but they didn't so i guess we are lucky if nothing else. Sneakerly made a deal with the beholders that we might feed them if they warned of anyone following us. They happily agreed and we continued onward.
As we came to the next door, I couldn't help but notice that we kept on having trouble with doors. When we conquered this door though we found ourselves in a massive library. Laurantha had mentioned the elf king and wanting information on him. So, we stopped here for a bit to do some research. After asking what we were looking for I deftly climbed to the top of a bookcase using my inherent spider ability that I got from eating those dust-blood dwarves in the temple a short while back. I saw a glowing ghost woman and informed everyone as quietly as possible. Laurantha saw a bell on the desk in the middle of the library and rang it. The ghost woman disappeared from where i was staring at her and reappeared in front of Laurantha. Laurantha inquired about the Elf King and the apparition guided us to a section of histories. After sitting down for a while to sift through the books Laurantha seemed pleased about having found something. I couldn't help but notice that Sigismund seemed to be looking for something else during that time, of what I am unsure. Laurantha was mumbling something about a purple mist when we heard the shouting of what I assumed was the beholdrs. They said shadows were coming our way. Not one of us wanted to fight them so we fled deeper into the vault.
A small time later we came upon many intersections of corridors going this way and that. We followed a low rumbling noise that sounded like snoring. We picked a few directions and came upon a couple of corridors leading to the same room. Sneakerly Trull went ahead of us briefly and tripped on something as he walked into the room making some noise. He then almost immediately reappeared in the archway of the room and made some hand motions and whispered. I was at the back holding the Lantern and checking behind us for those shadows so I didn't quite hear it but then suddenly a loud exclamation came from behind me, something about a dragon. A chill went up and down my spine a few times. No way am I ready for that kind of spell absorption. Apparently, we were safe still.
We decided dragon-slaying could wait until another day. We headed back the way we came and found an Arena of sorts. There was fresh blood on the ground and posters depicting the fights that presumably were being held here semi-frequently. We didn't find anything useful but I saw Sneakerly palce a sling underneath a broken tile in the corner of the arena. As he walked backed to the group he said, " Heh, just in case I end up here sometime. It's happened before."
There wasn't much in the arena so we left and headed north down the intersection we had passed. We found a door that led to a room(brilliant Sapphean... brilliant writing) in which there was a sort of council table. I saw in the corner a couple of cloaks. I rushed over and threw one of them on. I also saw a hat which I put on immediately. I didn't feel any magic coming from them, alas. The hat was fun though. I look like a joker or something. Laurantha found much more valuable liquor crystals and we placed some of them in the other sack I brought down with me. I looked under the table as we were leaving but it was just chair legs.
We continued down the corridor to a very large room that glowed strangely as I held up the torch I had been given. There were all these bluish cylinders and as we looked into them we could see the creatures that were being depicted in the posters in the arena. It looked like some kind of mad wizard creation, necromancy or something like it. Some of my tutors had mentioned not to delve into this kind of magic whilst they were failing to teach me anything, or perhaps it was me failing to learn. In any case, we couldn't find another way out of this room at first glance. Sneakerly, Sigismund and I sat around a few of the tubes trying to figure out what was inside. A few were obvious to the eye. There was a giant four frog thing. It looked just like someone stitched a tapestry together but used four frogs instead of textiles. There was one we couldn't wuite place that looked like something of and Ogre but with more bear on it, but also it had horns but the horns weren't on its head. I mentined, " There is definitely some demon in it somewhere." We left it at that. Laurantha meanwhile, went searching around the perimeter and seemingly knew how to find the secret door that was hidden just near the original entrance to this room. She pushed on a stone and an archway opened as the wall slid to the side. We followed this down a ways and it came to the staging ground for what I can only assume is to let these abominations into the arena. There was not much else there.
We turned again back the way we came and went down the final intersection in this area. It led to a series of doors, symmetrical on each side of the corridor. At the end of the corridor was a pool with flowing water, like an underground spring. Also, I looked into a toilet in the corner to make sure it was a toilet. It was Most assuredly so. The pool seemed to continue under the wall wherever it was flowing. There wasn't anything much of interest in this room at the end of the corridor. Sneakerly went along all the doors and stopped at one saying he heard something coming from inside. we couldn't open the door ourselves so Laurantha went up to it and knocked. A few moments passed and nothing happened. I asked if anyone was in there. She said she heard something fall. Sigismund stepped up and used his prying bar to open the door and as soon as it was open any amount at all a flash burst from inside. Luckily, I was being apprehensive and shielded myself from the blast with my newfound cloak. It didn't help much but I suspect if I hadn't been so quick to cover my face I might not have had many more seconds left in this world at that point. I quickly quaffed the potion I had taken in with me just for such an occasion. I could feel the singed flesh on me cover over with magically renewed flesh. As i was doing this looking up there was a small man in goggles trying to run through our entire party, unsuccessfully. He was quickly snatched up by badger and dog. Then, subsequently smacked with a half-slimy tentacle of a dead paralyzing creature. He was then tied up with the tentacle touching him so he couldn't move very well.
When he could speak again the man said his name was Thesaurius and he was a servant of the elf king. He probably shouldn't have said that. Laurantha had specifically mentioned looking for exactly someone like that. Sneakerly then made an incredibly convincing and concise speech about how Thesaurius was going to help us and wanted to help us defeat the elf king. As Thesaurius shed tears of joy for now having known how he could help us defeat the elf king we led him out of the vault. Still bound.
we stopped for a brief moment on the way out at the cages of the beholdrs who harried us slightly about letting them out of their cages. Which we said we would do once all of the vault was explored. Mostly sneakerly said that actually. For a moment I thought I was going to have to give up my carrot and tentacles but luckily Sigismund had some Mock-gnome sausages that he was willing to part with. the beholders commented on the fact that real gnome would have been better but beggars cant be choosers.
we had successfully made it back to the surface with all of our small amount of loot and one live servant of the elf king. Laurantha and I decided to celebrate. I had never been on an expedition before so she decided to show me a good time. We drank and ate merrily. At some point Laurantha handed me something that I thought was just some of the leaves that people around here seemed to smoke quite often and it didn't seem too harsh to try. I was incredibly wrong. My vision swayed and Laurantha waned and waxed in form from my view. Eventually things started to come into view again. Laurantha was nowhere to be seen but instead I saw a woman in front of me whom I did not recognize. She was very beautiful but I had no idea who she was. She looked so incredibly pleased as well. I finally heard her say something clearly, "....future husband..." I panicked. What a night I had, I think? I rushed out of there as soon as she said that. I turned a corner climbed up a wall as quickly as I could and saw her rush out of the building were just in I got to the top of the wall and ducked down so she couldn't see me if she looked up.
I really need to find Meryl. She might know what to do.
ONGOING ROLL OF THE DEAD
Gachos Disco-Wang (NPC demon), John Lackwit (o-level loser), Szazsraz the Lizard Wizard (Chris Wilson), Iter the Physick (NPC), That Pictish Bastard (NPC), Bufo the Wizard (Makali’i F), Beefo the Gerblin Drinking Buddy (NPC), Willy Whats-His-Name (0-level Loser), Poor Brother Rupert (cleric hireling), unnamed serving boy (0-level hireling), Gwalin Rustbritches (dwarf hireling), Jarrod the Magic-User (Ian Reilly), Jonesy (0-level NPC), Little Liam Linkboy (0-level NPC), Limpy the Naileteer (Jeff Call), Engsal the Enchanter (Alex Joneth), Elfbraham Lincoln (Jeff Call)., Littlens (0-level NPC), Biggens (0-level NPC), Stimpy (0-level NPC), Ren (0-level NPC)
AZURE TOWER GUEST LIST
Sigismunde von Flegelschnecke (Alexei McDonald), Sapphean Gratchit (Josh Rapp), Lobat Greet (Jesse Goldshear), Brax of the Tallstones (Brad Black),
Mike O'Nidd (Matt Barclay), Kilic (Alex Joneth), Barnabus Sleet (Maxim Golubchik), Laurantha the Unbeautiful (Cullen), Big Gnome (Luke Rejec), Szazsraz the Wizard Lizard (Chris Wilson), Rose Royce (Kiel Chenier), Sneakerly Trull (Zak S.), Ilse Raagenkampf-Sleet (Perttu Vedenoja), Persimion Finch (Galen Fogarty), Magic Meryl (Nick Kuntz), Merrill Meadows (Michael Julius), Chef (Richie Cyngler)