Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dorben 26 ---23rd Flamerule thru 25th Flamerule --- We rest & recover and make some inquiries into tax laws

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
23rd Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting
-The rest of the day


---It seems that our company is complete again, at least for the moment. Kaliki, Euphestas and Sa’d descended from their rooms to join us for breakfast. A good deal of conversation took place between bites and all were soon current as to what had occurred during their absence. There were a few joking comments about my haggard appearance but those more or less came to an end after we related the story of our fight with Blackblades at the Keep.

Seeing as how we were all feeling a bit under the weather, it was decided that we would take care of some errands and such today. We are somewhat anxious to continue our exploration of the Keep but felt it prudent to delay long enough that we might all be at top form. Since the positive energy given off from Emah’s candles greatly promotes the natural resting healing rate, I advised all that they should at least keep one near their beds tonight.

This great benefit of the candles almost makes me feel guilty for using them mainly as an extremely handy light source. It really is a boon to be able to place the candlelight source exactly where it will do the most good without having to worry about actually having a handy surface upon which said source might rest. But then I remember Nia’s comment, as she departed to seek out one of her paramours, that “it is always better by candlelight” and all the guilt just flushes right out of my system. I think that might be a side effect of all the blood rushing away from my brain, but I could be wrong. I suppose I really don’t have grounds for much complaint after all. Nia did fuss over my every need for the better part of an hour this morning; seeing that I was as comfortable as possible. The deep wounds of Blackblades’ making have left me feeling at least as bad as the very worst flu that ever held me down in prior days and I was appreciative of the comforting. Happily enough, the Silver Stallion’s kitchens have produced for me a wonderful spiced black tea with rum and honey. Quite soothing and somewhat nourishing; which is a fortuitous happenstance as I find I have little appetite for heavier fare at the moment.

While I rested and Nia cavorted, Kaliki decided to enquire with the local bardic community in pursuit of any reference to the woman Laria from her encounter at the bard’s conservatory in West Wall. She said that her research proved fruitless. It would seem Kaliki struck upon something quite obscure when she dredged the name Laria from her memory. Perhaps she might find reference to this person of ancient Raumathar somewhere further east and south in Damara? I understand that the north and west lost much during the ravages of the past war.

Aedron went to find training for his little furry white friend but he also found little of use at the moment. He did find her a little fur hood; so that she may look more like Aedron I suppose. Fine, I admit it. Even I thought it was rather cute. She really is quite attached to Aedron. That miniature great-axe that Nia had commissioned for her does add to that I suppose. It really is a masterwork; so small and yet it appears fully functional. The little fuzzy can often be seen following Aedron’s movements as he practices. I am thinking her miniscule size might detract somewhat from her efficacy as a melee combatant however. I believe she might do better to learn the ways of magic. Even the smallest who wield divine or arcane magic can wield great power. Now, if only she had a name.

I wonder if we might be overlooking a possible pairing that could prove very beneficial to both involved and useful to our company. If little fuzzy were to learn to be a good combatant and if Illandria’s animal companion, Onyx, could be trained to accept little fuzzy as a rider, we might just find ourselves with a very effective airborne scouting team. Both Onyx and little fuzzy seem to be proving themselves to be smarter than anyone had supposed. Raven or not, Onyx is the size of a bloody eagle and I would assume it (he, she? I’ll have to ask Illandria) could easily carry little fuzzy since she is light enough to fly under her own power. Although I suppose she glides more than she flies actually. Either way, it is most likely that Onyx is significantly faster when it comes to flying. Again, I think the both of them together may effectively become greater than the sum of their parts. Something we may have to look into. I shall speak to those concerned, definitely.

Ah well, I believe that covers today’s happenings and ongoing developments. I am to bed early this eve as even sitting about and simply studying have proven somewhat taxing to me. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
24th Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting


---Today was a good day, beginning with the fact that we all feel hale and hearty again. We decided the first thing on our agenda for today was to finish a little something we left undone back at the Keep; which also gave us an opportunity to show the new facade of the Keep to Kaliki, Euphestas and Illandria. We all quite liked the new wall plate that we found on the back wall of the entryway. The smaller contingent of us had seen the plate the other day when it first appeared, worked into the floor of the entry hall. But today it was the first thing one sees upon entering through the double doors and into what I can only call a foyer. Although I am not sure how many other manor houses have murder holes built into the stonework of their foyers. But my experience is far from exhaustive.

It took several hours of searching but we did finally find the activation switch to close the secret entrance we had found. Having all our clever secret delvers all together on the search helped immensely. And now we know where it is.

With that out of the way, we returned to town and began work on a plan that will hopefully soon enrich all our purses. I give credit for this clever plan, and a lion’s share of the effort, to Euphestas. He came up with a clever idea to delve further into the portal pouch, literally, using a spell which can reduce the size those whom it is cast upon. Euphestas had already located a copy of the spell and used today to add it to his repertoire. The rest of us were left to find a few other supplies to make the mission go more smoothly. On top of some new thin rope and climbing carabineers, we also now have a good deal of stout cord and small drawstring pouches.

We shall initiate the plan early tomorrow, as soon as Euphestas is ready. It appears the reptilians that invaded Master Kelso’s tower were using the pouch to deliver the mithral back to some holding spot. It has been several days since our paths parted ways and we do not wish to delay any longer.

I can think of little else that needs committing to pen and paper this evening, so I think I am for a pipe and some brandy. I did miss my chair near the fire while I was forced to convalesce upstairs. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

*****

Adventure Journal of Dorben Wainfoster
25th Flamerule, the Year of the Haunting


---The plan to “excavate” the portal pouch went fairly well. A few unforeseen factors did develop but it is not certain just how much they may or may not complicate matters. I am however, quite glad that we saw fit to purchase a strong box just big enough to secure that portal pouch within.

Firstly, we did of course undertake this expedition within the privacy of one of our rooms. Euphestas used his spells to make himself and Sa’d small enough to fit through the mouth of the pouch. Unfortunately, the spell can reduce the size of its target only so much and the rest of us are simply too big. Euphestas took along scrolls for the return trip since we were unsure how long it would take to recover the mithral. Both had a length of thin strong rope secured to their climbing harnesses so that we might draw them out quickly if needed. That need did not arise, thankfully.

The last preparation before they went through the portal was my casting of Chain of Eyes on Sa’d so that we might have some clue of the happenings at the other end of the portal. The addition of Aedron’s little white fuzzy friend to the expedition was not planned, but turned out well in the end. No sooner had Sa’d and Euphestas been turned invisible by Euphestas’ spells and dropped down into the pouch, when little fuzzy dropped from Aedron’s shoulder and glided right down into the pouch. Sa’d and Euphestas related later that she was quickly and quietly out of their sight as soon as they arrived on the other end.

From here until the return of our “spelunkers”, I am simply relating what Sa’d and Euphestas told me and what I could see through Sa’d's eyes. The other end of the portal proved to be in what looked to be a natural underground cavern. They landed in a trough which had apparently been tipped toward one end. The portal entered the cavern through a pouch which was apparently sewn into the bottom of an odd tapestry hanging on the wall just above the trough. The mouth of the pouch was, of course, facing downward and open. Otherwise, they would not have been able to descend through the portal.

They spotted a single tunnel leaving the natural cavern; the tunnel apparently was worked stone, similar to the construction of a mineshaft. Euphestas and Sa’d immediately began shoving mithral dust by hand into the pouches we had prepared for them ahead of time. Since the pouches were strung together at lengthy intervals along the cord, they did not have to bother securing them for transport. As soon as the first few pouches were full, we were given the signal and began drawing them out of the pouch. The one thing we did forget was decent shovels. Nevertheless, the plan did work effectively.

After they had been at it for a short time, Sa’d decided that he would explore just a bit. It is from his explorations that we have the description of the mine shaft tunnel construction. He had gone only a very short way before he heard what he felt sure was a weapon being drawn from a scabbard. He backed cautiously to Euphestas and warned him that the need for an exit was imminent. They called softly for little fuzzy to depart as they readied themselves to leave. Euphestas had just cast the Reduce spells on himself and Sa’d and were being drawn up through the portal when the little white streak zipped into the cavern and all but wrapped herself around Sa’d. We are thankful for her cute little oversized ears. The mouth of the pouch was closed securely as soon as our comrades were clear. We then doubled over the neck of the pouch and locked it securely within the box we had purchased for just such a purpose.

It seemed that little fuzzy was a bit anxious from her travels and we thought it would be helpful if we could learn what she had seen as well. Illandria used a Speak with Animals spell but it did not work. We had a discussion about what the criteria might be for “Animal” as far as that spell was concerned. Evidently, the deciding factor is considered to be an animal level of intellect. Well, we knew little fuzzy was more clever than the average house pet, so I tried a Comprehend Languages spell. At first I thought this was a failure as well since its response to my inquiry as to its name was met with a series of chirruping monkey chatter that made no sense to me at all. It turns out that sound is its way of expressing confusion. As we had thought, she does understand the spoken word; at least Daman and Common so far. Since her usual response to “What is your name?” was “Dunno”, we have decided that is what we shall call her.

In the time that we had remaining of the spell, Dunno related to me, and I to our friends, what she had seen in the caverns. Unfortunately, her vocabulary is not great at this time. She described seeing a black skinned person with white hair, she thinks female from the shape. We quickly though “drow” and questioned Dunno for more details. She used Illandria’s lovely features and ears as a comparison to the other’s facial structure, although I translated much more loosely, so as not to offend my elvish friend. Also, the armor Dunno described certainly sounded like the black elven chain the drow favor. She said that it looked as if the drow were searching through the tunnels or investigating. As if this might be its first time in those tunnels, but she was not sure.

Dunno said that while she was exploring, she found a “hot tunnel” where she heard rhythmic banging. We weren’t sure what to make of that at first but then she said it reminded her of when she had rode along with Aedron and Euphestas down to the foundry in West Wall to meet Gilbert. So it would seem that we have liberated a good deal of mithral from some nefarious purpose to which it was being delivered by the draconians. And liberate we did; a good thirty-five pounds of pure mithral dust by our reckonings.

We will need to learn a bit more about where the portal pouch leads before we make a final decision about its fate. Considering it was in the hands of the draconians and possibly related with the drow, I voted for putting the pouch into the river; with the mouth wide open. Cooler heads prevailed in the end. I had to agree that we did not know that those occupying the portal’s destination cavern were necessarily evil creatures. We’re also securing the box away somewhere safe since we don’t know that they’re not.

---With the “Portal Plan” taken care of before lunch time, we decided that our next course of action would be to begin exploring our Keep in earnest on the morrow. We would like to pursue the cure for the Blue Diamond Fever but no clues have been forthcoming. Arben did say we needed to be ready before we could solve that mystery. It would seem we are simply not ready as yet.

Since there are practical matters to consider, it seemed prudent to make inquiries to make sure there were no other claims against the land or the Keep itself and also, whether or not any taxes had been levied against the property. Wouldn’t that just be the horned luck? You go to the trouble of clearing all the nasty bugaboos out of a ruined keep and lay claim to the property, and then discover that a veritable mountain of back taxes are owed? It has probably happened to more than one company of adventurers over the years. We hoped to avoid such complications with a little initiative.

Kaliki found her way to the hall of records without any problems. The assayer dug out a map to check the location and informed Kaliki he found no records of any claim counter to ours. He also told her there were no records of any edifice upon that land. Considering that our earlier investigation indicated the Keep may very well have moved itself in the last few decades, that is not surprising.

And as to taxes, he said that they had been paid two days ago, by a tall, lanky, pointy eared fellow wearing a leafy cloak. Unfortunately, the assayer gave no better description than that. The taxes had been paid and a claim to the land filed, both in the name of The Company of Light and Frost. He explained that the land Kaliki was enquiring about rests outside the area that falls under the “eminent domain” of the city of Bloodstone. Therefore, if we showed enough wherewithal to clear the building and secure it, that would serve as our claim. Taxes would be assessed depending on whether we brought in people to work the land or if we further developed the existing buildings; that sort of thing. Any further taxes would not be due until Midsummer of next year in any case.

And so, that leaves it to us to explore and clear the demesnes of the Keep. What could be simpler? Again, I point out that there really needs to be a punctuation mark to indicate sarcasm in writing. There are so many obstacles yet before us in the path to reclaim the Keep. With thoughts of Blackblades still in mind, Meg and I set out to pursue purchase of a wand enchanted with Magic Missile to add to our arsenal. I asked advice from a sister priestess at the temple and she walked with us to the temple of Mystra to make introduction for us to an acquaintance of hers there. A suitable wand was available and we struck a fair deal. I hope we don’t need to make use of the wand too soon. But that will be tomorrow. By my Lady’s grace, I shall write again soon.

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