Friday, March 31, 2006

Dorben, Entry 7 ---29th Mirtul – 3rd Kythorn--- Ice from Fire; lots of Fire

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-29th Mirtul, Year of the Haunting

---Well then, another very interesting and eventful day we’ve had. There is so much, I’ll have to start at the beginning. First off, Euphestus decided his time would be better spent in camp, investigating the magical treasures we’ve gained. That is his decision to make, and quite useful indeed, so we went in without him.

The goblin shaman did as agreed all but two of us were able to enter the cold rooms with Resistance spells and all had Endure Elements spells who needed them. The cold blue energy at the entry doors could have been lethal if not for our enchantments. It felt as some magical cold attacks do. The chill within the hallways felt, at first, like that of a deeply but naturally cold day in winter that chills one to the bone. But this was worse, as it seemed to penetrate straight to the core of our spirit. I know no other way to describe it. Suffice to say, it was in no way natural and almost seemed to come in waves, as if an ocean of icy waves continued to crash upon the beach of our souls.

Frost clung to all of us as we moved cautiously through the halls toward the left. We had determined that we would confront what appeared to be the greater concentration of zombies first. A cautious peek around the first corner spotted us a group of some eight goblins and two hobgoblins. The thin layer of hoarfrost covered all surfaces, including the zombies. I had only a moment to make this assessment when I saw what appeared to be a spark of cold energy light pass through the zombies’ eyes. The jig was up, as they say.

I moved around the corner to present my Lady’s holy symbol to Turn the beasts and I was gratified that my new companions, good and true, stepped up to either side to protect me. (Can it truly be that we’ve only been together some six days now?) It felt as if my channeling of Selune’s grace was somehow hindered. Despite the evil interference, my Turning was at least partially successful and most of the goblin zombies did flee before the sight of my Lady’s symbol and her good servant. My compatriots laid into the undead bane with gusto, striking down zombies right, left and center. None passed our strong line. It almost went unnoticed that some few of the zombies seemed to twitch after they had fallen. Seemingly, the cold energies which animated them were not so easily sundered from their poor mortal shells. The simple expediency of a finishing blow shattered their bodies and brought their pitiful enslavement to an end.

We continued our pursuit of the zombies down the hall. We followed them as they fled around the corner and continued on. As the halls seemed to be laid out in a square, we warned the back ranks to beware. I believe Meg spent several of the next few minutes all but walking backwards to keep a watchful eye to our rear flank. In the middle of the interior wall, guarded by the strongest looking zombie we’d encountered so far, we found a pair of double doors. Our combined attack strength quickly waylaid the creature and freed it from its vile servitude. I say “our attack” yet I must admit that it was mainly Aedron’s axe that held the day. Rarely did his axe not take a zombie to the floor whenever it connected. I must say that seeing Aedron and Nia flanking a creature, the two of them with such disparate combat techniques and body shapes is a sight to behold.

The guard zombie at the door was short work and we opened these new doors. The doors seemed to have writing upon them but we were soon distracted from any reading. A blast of heat from within almost staggered us as we crossed the threshold. I would hazard the sensation as similar to stepping directly from the coldest and bitterest winter storm and directly into the blacksmith’s forge, not just his smithy. But neither heat nor cold crossed a razor thin line of demarcation at the center of that doorway; neither encroaching into the other’s territory.

At the center of the room we spied the seeming source of the heat. A column of fire as broad as a man’s chest burned without fuel atop a stone pedestal. And suspended in the middle of that fire was a golden dagger hilt which seemed to be attached to a bubble of water. We guessed, rather obviously I thought, that the dagger thing was the Key which Koe had referred to as having a blade of solid ice. The walls to right and left were hung end to end and floor to ceiling with what looked to be every craftsman tool, weapon and armor one might find in the most well provisioned stores. An even greater treasure was ensconced at the end of the room. Bookshelves filled to capacity covered the entirety of the wall. One half the books were all bound in reddish leather and the other half in blue.

It was about this time that Sa’d came scampering in from the hallway. It seems he’d just reappeared back in camp and, knowing our plans were to further explore the Vault, came to find us. He’d seen no sign of Euphestas in our camp though. Sa’d joined the short debate we were having as to whether or not this magic dagger was too powerful a thing to hand over to a bunch of goblins, no matter how clever they seemed to be. Considering we were unable to figure out a safe way to obtain the dagger at the moment, the debate was moot.

We turned our investigation to the books and tools next. Kaliki noticed that a thin sheet of clear flame seemed to ripple just above the surface of the tools and books. We found two pairs of tongs hanging to either side of the pedestal and used one of them to rather cautiously remove another pair of tongs from their wall mount. Where they intersected the barely visible sheet of flame, the metal of the tongs almost instantly glowed cherry red with heat. The tongs retrieved from the wall bore the heat slightly better but were still quite hot from their passage. It became apparent that all the items on the walls, except the books, were made of metal and masterfully crafted. We tried using the tongs to retrieve a book but the curtain of flame reduced it to ashes almost instantly.

We next tried to use the tongs to retrieve the Key from the pedestal. Our attempt and the tongs were doomed from the start. The tongs melted as soon as they touched the edge of the pillar of Flame; running like water and pooling upon the pedestal. The liquid iron bubbled only a moment before evaporating. I would hazard a guess at the column being made of elemental Flame or an equivalent crafted from magic. I thought we might be able to use the alchemical ice formulas scribed upon the outer doors but we will need to use a spell to more precisely translate the contents. Obviously we needed more research before we could proceed.

Next, we talked shortly about whether or not to finish off the zombies. There was some thought of leaving them as a safeguard against the goblins possibly entering the Vault and retrieving the Key while our backs were turned. We decided that it were best to destroy the zombies now rather than waste efforts doing it all over again on the morrow. We fought a small group almost immediately as we left. It appeared to be the remainder of the first we’d encountered. No longer fleeing from my Turn channeling, they came to fight. They were little work. Since the zombies seemed to leak cold, we thought to experiment by tossing one of those still twitching into the pillar of Flame. The first attempt didn’t get past the threshold as the heat of the room ceased the things struggles almost instantly. For the next attempt, Aedron picked one up and heaved it bodily into the Flame. There was no affect on the Flame and the zombie was reduced to no more than a greasy puff of smoke and a stench that would have surely gagged an otyugh.

As we were near the end of our healing magics, we thought to try something clever on the remaining zombies that were simply standing and waiting in the far hallway. We retrieved a long trencher table from the goblin kitchen and set it as a barricade at the inner door with most of our number posted behind. Myself and Aedron, carrying Sa’d, went the opposite direction. I used the last of my channeling energy to Turn the zombies and they fled, towards our barricade. I remained behind to keep the pressure on the zombies while Aedron quickly carried Sa’d back to the barricade. Sa’d used the power granted him by Tymora and Turned the zombies as they approached the barricade. We had hoped that the things’ would turn at the barricade and continue along the only path left to them, through the doors into the Flame’s room. It did not work however. The zombies seemed to consider the heat as if it were another wall and cowered in our trap. Dispatching their pitiful shells was simplicity.

Upon leaving the Vault, we informed Koe that we were going back to the village to retrieve our camping gear and horses as this venture looked to be a long haul. When we got to our camp, we found Euphestas gone and a note in his place. It simply read, “Needed the gnome. –Z”. Ours is not to question why I suppose. We’ll simply have to muddle through without him.

Upon returning to the village, we informed the headman that the adventurers he hired had died in their attempt. We did not give them the exact particulars of the encounter. We thought to attempt buying the chunk of unmelting ice that Snowbeast had given in trade for her cow snack. It seemed a good possibility that it could help us with retrieving the Key from the Fire. The innkeep had guessed it worth more than the cow and we did not have sufficient funds.

The ride back to the cavern area was much quicker on the horses, obviously, and we chose a slightly more defensible area for camp. It was hard to believe so much had happened and it was only a few hours past highsun. Aedron went hunting and scared up another large beasty for us to feast. In fact, there was enough that I thought we could host our goblin “friends”. Truthfully, we were still unsure as to how far we could trust Koe’s tribe and we wanted to get a better idea of their numbers.

Koe accepted the invitation and my cooking area was soon descending upon by quite a number of goblins hauling what amounted to a portable kitchen. Enough pots and pans and spits and skewers and hands to help me easily create a great feast. I even learned a few tricks and a new recipe with the help of Kaliki’s translating. Kaliki indicated that these goblins were speaking what amounted to a very civilized version of the goblin speech. I had no idea there even was a more civilized version but she assured me it was so. She seemed to indicate it was more a difference of slang and speech patterns rather than fully different languages. It made me chuckle to think that it was Kaliki using what amounted to dockworker pidgin while the people of Koe’s tribe were using the equivalent of scholars and merchants. Quite amusing really.

Our impromptu picnic feast seemed to serve as a wonderful icebreaker. More and more goblins emerged from the caverns, bringing tables and the like. Before long, somebody arrived with barrels of what proved to be a rather decent rum. Nia pronounced that she was bored and proceeded to provide a wonderful display of tumbling and frolic. Before long, there was music as well. The party continued well after dark. Food, drink and entertainment lowered inhibitions and loosened tongues.

I found myself conversing with Koe and realized that his Common had lost its former accent. He spoke as one with some education and his bearing seemed to carry that impression as well. Before long Koe let us know that his people were not from our world. Over a span that seemed to cover several years, more than 300 of his people had come to our world in a quest to save their own. Their world is slowly freezing to death and a being Koe referred to as the Great Ghost in the mountains told them to seek the Key to save their world. Now just how is a dagger with a blade of solid ice supposed to save a freezing world? It is beyond me, I must say. I would also guess that in Koe’s world, the goblins have ascended to civilization while the humans are the raider tribes in the wilderness. He made a comment that we seemed “very civilized for humans.”

The festivities were winding down somewhat and most of us were relaxing when we thought to make sure everybody had been healed as much as we might provide before retiring for the evening. Being proud adventurers, some had of course not spoken up when they were injured in the first place. When will patients ever learn? One’s healer must be made aware of the injury if one’s healer is to treat the injury. But truthfully, none were hurt too grievously. Mundane healing and the smallest of curative blessings were all that were required. Although I thought I myself would have a seizure after going to heal fair Nia. I reached a hand to lay on her shoulder, as I generally do when passing along my Lady’s healing blessings. Nia said, “But, it hurts here…” as she gently and gracefully intercepted my hand, drew it lower and pressed my palm to her ample bosom. Truly, her armor is a miracle of engineering if ever there was one. I must say, some days it is GOOD to be the healer. A hot rush bolted through me at that touch. I’ll not try to paint a silly poetic picture of some deep emotional connection of spirits at first sight or chaste fawning for a love that cannot be. Oh no. Emotionally, I feel for Miss Nia as a good new friend, with an open mind for what may be. But this was not emotion that struck me at that moment. No deep philosophy this. It was desire that tweaked my senses and raw lust that clamored at my gut, veritably howling to be set loose.

Her forthrightness caught me totally off guard which made my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth and my jaw drop as I forgot all powers of speech. Every etiquette lesson ever learned simply fled from my brain. I am surprised there wasn’t an audible clangor like a highsun bell to be heard from my codpiece. Again, a veritable masterwork of armored engineering that the bloody thing wasn’t shot cross the campsite. As it is, I am sure that my blush was red enough that tinder could have been lit from my ear tips. Although, how there was enough blood left for a blush when it was all rushing elsewhere at that moment, I do not know. With words the woman raised the hairs along my nape and ruff as if she had gently grazed a knowing fingertip just behind my ear.

I had almost remembered some few of the words taught to me through all those many years of classes and tutoring when Nia queried if I might kiss the hurt to make it all better next time. I might have heard her wrong what with the rushing in my ears from the entirety of blood flow in my body moving AWAY from my brain at that moment. I did have presence of mind to at least bring my jaws back together before a bird made good use of the space for a nest and was able to sputter one intelligible reply when she next asked if my Faith required vows of chastity. The answer of course being, no. Her reply was a rather direct question of “Then what is stopping you?” Again, I stood in stunned silence. If it weren’t for the cramped quarters in our tents, I would reply most positively to the young lady’s offer this evening. Sadly, there is not even an illusion of privacy while sharing billet space. There are certain things to which I do not believe my adventuring partners need be privy, and this is one such. I shall attempt to explain this to Miss Nia a bit later. I only hope we return soon to some place that has private rooms or any such vestige of privacy.

Ah well, all in all, we’ve had a pleasant enough evening. I shall endeavor to turn my thoughts away from how much more pleasant it might be so that I may actually sleep. We shall continue to keep night watches as there is more in this wilderness than our goblin friends. Tomorrow, we will see what further delving may reveal. By my Silver Lady’s grace, I shall write again before long.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-30th Mirtul, Year of the Haunting

---Again, a short but very fruitful day. Using Comprehend Language spells revealed a great deal from the inscriptions on the outer and inner doors.

Upon the outer doors was scribed:
“This is the vault in which Auril’s Tooth is entombed. Here it resides within the purest Fire. To be released only with the purest of Ice. The Core of Fire shields this sacred artifact from those who would use it for ill. Its magics still extend beyond the Core to enact her will. Beware, you who would act as its receptacle, for its cold can only be held within one’s soul.”

Upon the inner doors we read this:
“Within is the Core of Fire. Held in check by the utter cold. Beware the loss of the cold for then the fire shall burn itself up.”

The texts upon the doors matched those we found on the red and blue books in the Vault. Ancient Narfel and Raumathar. I could not even say I am passingly familiar with Narfel and even less so with Raumathar. Evidently, both were mighty empires of magic in their time and most likely waged war upon each other. It appears that these two empires came together to build this Vault and bind Auril’s Tooth and the Core of Fire within. And we are looking to release them? Oh joy. But it does seem to be what needs to be done.

The inscriptions all seemed fairly straight forward as far as cryptic messages were concerned. Auril’s Tooth was the Key and the Core of Fire was the pillar which held it. These clearer clues also steered us toward an obvious conclusion. There were no recipes for alchemical ice and we needed a cold equivalent of the Core to remove the Key. Fortunately, we knew just where to find it and it only took us moments to realize where we could find funds to purchase it. Koe and his tribe were sitting on quite a sizeable stash of treasure and he was willing to part with some of it. He didn’t even flinch when we guessed that the purchase price might be upwards of three to five thousand gold. He simply gave commands and soon, two gnomes appeared with a chest carried between them. The gnomes were of course two of Koe’s goblins under some disguising magic.

Also, the writing on the inner doors seemed fairly clear about the Core of Fire expanding once Auril’s Tooth was no longer keeping it in check. We have no idea of how fast it will expand so it seemed prudent to remove any items we wished to retrieve from the inner Vault now. We also advised Koe that it would be best if his people evacuated this warren. Again, the Core could expand enough to make the caverns dangerous or even uninhabitable. He thought this a wise precaution and said that the tribe would move to their northern caves some five miles north. He believes the move will only take them a few days. He certainly does seem to have his tribe fairly well organized. Preliminary preparations to evacuate the caves had begun even before we had left for the village.

The negotiations were barely even that. Our Meg is quite adept at haggling, I must say. We offered only slight assistance and the trade went in our favor. Almost to the point of my feeling guilty about the whole thing. Other than the fact that what he had was worth much more than a cow, the innkeeper had no idea what he had. Koe’s “agent” only needed hand over 300 gold to secure our purchase and we returned, posthaste. It was tempting to stay for a bath but it was not to be so.

And so, it comes to another night in camp. The tribe’s preparations for the move to the northern caves have begun. Some few of Koe’s people will remain to aid us further. Once again, we’ve had a rather uneventful but very fruitful day. Unfortunately, once again, we also share communal tent space and I will enjoy only the warmth of my bedroll. Ah, the adventurers life for me. There really should be a punctuation mark to signify sarcasm. But, it is sleeping rough upon the ground that makes us truly appreciate the fine pillow and quilt once we’ve returned home. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-1st Kythorn, Year of the Haunting

---Well, today was not as fruitful as we had hoped. Clearing out the tools, armor and weapons from storage on the walls of the vault was fairly easy once we made allowances for the items to cool after their passage through the curtain of flame. Other than what might prove useful to us immediately, the rest has been packed north with Koe’s tribe. Even that much hardware is easily moved when split up amongst 300 pairs of hands. Again, I must say that Koe’s tribe is very well organized. I’ve seen experienced caravaneers that didn’t move in concert as well as this tribe. I find myself forgetting they are goblins from time to time. And, when compared to the goblins we are familiar with, there is no comparison beyond the most simple physical resemblance. They really are decent folk. I am glad we have not had to fight them.

Kaliki volunteered to attempt removing some of the books from the Vault. The tribal shaman gave her a protection spell but he warned that his magic was not totally reliable since he’d come to our world. I would suspect that may most likely be as a result of him being too far separated from his god. Forewarned, Kaliki still made a try. She removed a book with her first attempt and a sheaf of sheet music on her second. She made one more attempt but the spell failed at the last moment. Her hands were burned somewhat and the books she had been trying to retrieve almost instantly disintegrated to ash. I am so glad we took the precaution of casting a resistance spell to buffer the protection. I fear her injury might have been much more severe otherwise.

As it was, healing magics had her right as rain once again in only a few moments. We all but lost the entirety of her services for the remainder of the day from that point. She and the goblin bard absconded to more private environs so they might consult the treasure of ancient music. I can hear them even now, practicing. I must admit that I cannot recall the goblin bard’s name at the moment. He really does have a nice enough voice.

We did give some thought to attempting to retrieve more books with only the resistance spells. But magic is fickle. Only through physical contact may a book be protected by the resistance spells we are able to cast. But the curtain of clear flame is quite powerful and exceeds the protection afforded. Unfortunately, the conclusion we were forced admit was that even the ancient knowledge within those tomes was not worth the possible death of one of our number. I see Kaliki and her little singing partner coming our way so I’ve come to my conclusion at seemingly just the right moment. By my Lady’s grace, I will write again soon.

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Adventure journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-2nd Kythorn, Year of the Haunting

---Here we are in camp once again. It’s rather quiet with all but two of Koe’s tribe gone. The rest have made their way to the northern caves. Only the shaman remains to offer his spell support and the goblin called Po who is the one who volunteered to take on the burden of carrying Auril’s Tooth. He assures us he is fully aware of any and all risks and eager to serve his people in this matter. I only hope we are successful come the morrow.

This should be our last night at this location. We exhausted our last avenue of research today and the only thing remaining is the finality of this quest and plan. Speaking of plans, I believe we’ve come up with a corker. I’ll relate its details presently. If it keeps my comrades from being hurt tomorrow, I will declare it an unmitigated success.

We returned to the Vault today for one last attempt at retrieval of any more books and to test the limits of the Ice ball provided by Snowbeast. No wanting to risk the entire ball on a simple experiment, we chipped off a smallish sliver, perhaps the span of a young lass’s palm, and experimented with the flame curtain. The curtain was unable to melt the Ice but that was the entirety of their interaction. We had held out some slim hope the Ice might interrupt an area of the curtain so that we might remove more tomes but it was not to be so. It hadn’t seemed likely but we would have never forgiven ourselves if we had not at least tried.

Since we had an Ice sliver handy, we thought it prudent to see just how the Ice would interact with the Core of Fire. The sliver melted almost immediately, but not quite totally. A blob of water was suspended in the flames for several moments before it boiled away. We had been thinking that the large ball of Ice would somehow counteract or interrupt the Flame, but that appears to not be the case. In fact, we believe the Ice ball’s properties will simply let it survive long enough to provide enough mass to knock the dagger hilt out of the flames.

We hatched a plan to hasten our retreat from the Vault and its environs. Considering that the removal of the Tooth will set loose the Core, those within range will have need of spells to resist both cold and heat. Due to our limited spell resources and the requirements of the plan only Nia, Aedron, Kaliki, Meg and Po will enter the Vault. The rest of us have other jobs outside. Those within the Vault will have with them the fly tarp from one of our tents and plenty of rope. The rope will be strung through the eyelets of the fly tarp so that it will cinch closed like a large bag when the other end of the rope is pulled taught. The tarp is a one last hope of saving any of the books from the Flames. We still think it possible that removing the Tooth might interrupt the fire curtain, leaving us access to the books of ancient knowledge. If the opportunity does present itself, those within the Vault will throw as many books as possible upon the tarp in the time they have. And then there’s the next step.

The rope from that tarp will lead out of the caverns and be tied to our two strong Nars horses, bestrode by Sa’d and Illandria. Nia’s little crystal friend, Bug, will also be outside with the riders. Since Nia is able to communicate mentally with Bug, she will be able to signal through it. As soon as Bug gives the signal, Sa’d and Illandria will spur their horses and ride as fast as they are able. I too shall be a rider, leading the rest of our animals as fast as we can gallop. Before Nia gives the signal, she will have used a psi ability of hers to make her group move faster than they can normally. As well, she will use said ability, I believe she calls it Skate, upon the tarp. She says that this will make any weight resting upon the tarp move as if reduced to one tenth of true. All within the Vault will grab the tow ropes so that the horses’ speed may carry them out of the caverns more quickly than they might under their own power.

The plan seems sound but I am sure that there are so many ways that it might be shot to flinders that we are simply not seeing right now. The loss of so much knowledge would be great but I would sacrifice each and every one of those ancient tomes to guarantee no harm comes to my comrades and assure the successful retrieval of the Key so that Koe’s world might be saved. I hope I may sleep soundly this night. Tomorrow should be intense, one way or another. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
-3rd Kythorn, Year of the Haunting

---Well, I suppose things could have gone better today but at least we are all alive. There were apprehensions but the plan went off virtually without a hitch. Many questions still remain unanswered but I believe I shall chalk up this day’s endeavors as a success. I was posted outside and so my relation of what happened within comes second hand from my comrades.

All was set in readiness and the plan proceeded. The day started with the goblin shaman casting his spells and then quickly making his way to the north. We would be joining him in his flight before long. Within the Vault, Aedron and Po took up positions on opposite sides of the Core. Meg used a spell to assure Aedron’s accuracy and he threw the Ice ball at the Tooth. The ball did indeed survive long enough to knock the Tooth free of the Core and Po was splashed with melt water. The impact of that much water staggered Po slightly and Nia, prepared for just such an eventuality, moved to support him. She felt a wash of cold as the residual water froze almost instantly to frost and ice. Po had indeed caught Auril’s Tooth and he now radiated pulses of lethal frigid cold. The curtains of fire had not ceased function with the interruption of the Core but Po assured Nia that knew that he could get more books. Unfortunately, they had only moments to retrieve any books as the Core of Fire had already begun to expand in all directions, consuming all that it touched, beginning with the stone pillar. Po had time only to grab three tomes before they felt the need to call for the escape.

Nia and Po leapt upon the spread tarp and all made fast hold upon the tow ropes. The expansion of the Core proceeded at faster and faster speed every second and they knew that even running with the assistance of Nia’s speed enhancing would not be fast enough. Nia cast her Skate ability upon the tarp as she sent her mental signal to Bug. Myself, Illandria and Sa’d spurred the horses into full gallop immediately and we all rode pell-mell north along the vale. Greater speed might have been reached but for the fact the vale is neither straight nor bereft of obstacles. But still, not quite maximum speed for our horses was still upwards of three times the speed our comrades might have been able to achieve on their own.

Our comrades had quite a frantic ride of a few moments on their way out of the caverns. Nia related that they were mostly occupied with steering themselves safely around the twists and turns on the way out of the caverns. Our flight north was slightly less intense but still included avoiding obstacles along the way. The Core was expanding at great speed by the time our comrades were pulled from the caves and had indeed pierced the roof of the Vault. The expanding column of flame became visible to the outer world as it burned upwards through the hill as we sped away.

We did not cease our flight for some time; not bothering to look behind us for more than a mile at least. When we did turn to look, the sight we beheld made us pause. I know that I was stunned. The Core had expanded to a pillar of Flame that I would guess extended into the sky perhaps a quarter of a mile’s distance and was may haps half that in width. It was truly astounding. As we watched, it began to creep lower on the horizon. There was no impression of the Fire burning itself out; only that it was becoming less in height. I believe the Core was effectively burrowing downward, in a quest for more fuel after attaining its maximum dimensions for even stone is consumed by elemental Fire. We have since conjectured that the Core may continue to burn itself into the ground until it perhaps creates some type of volcano. I wonder how much of the Underdark below us will be decimated in the process. We can only wonder.

We continued north and have made camp with Koe’s tribe. The glow of the Core and its surrounding conflagration can be seen for miles. I shall attempt to paint the sight I behold. I only hope my paltry skills may come close to an accurate representation. I am sure Kaliki and the Koe’s tribal bard are hard at work on ballads and poems to remember the sight.

It appears that Po has paid a stiff price for the salvation of his people. Although he does not seem a hollow shell like that of some sentient zombie, he looks to be completely bereft of emotion. His people celebrate around him but he is a cold empty eye at the middle of their storm of elation. I only hope that his sacrifice will save their world. I suspect it is not the Tooth that will truly save Koe’s world but its removal and freeing of the Core of Fire that will do so. There are very powerful magics, far beyond my ken, that might move the Core elsewhere by means of a Gate or some such. Perhaps the Core is destined to be gated to Koe’s world and to somehow be used to warm his homelands? I do hope to hear of their outcome at some later date, for this is not truly our quest.

During the celebrations it struck me, and others apparently, that although we had done something striking here, it was not our original goal. “Dealing” with these goblins was simply the means to an end. I am pleased that we may have saved people on another world but that is far away. OUR quest is to find Arben and to find a cure for the Blue Diamond Disease that is even now striking down children here in our world. I am sorry that elation at our accomplishment blinded me. I shall endeavor for my path to rejoin its original purpose from this wandering. By my Lady’s grace, I will write again soon.

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