Awakening of the Twilight Gems

Halted at the Half

Feeling reasonably safe behind the barricade at the entrance to the cave structure, we were able to get some small degree of rest. It was not enough to clear our minds of the dim circumstances before us, but it was at least enough to prepare our bodies for the task. Donning my armor while discussing our intentions with my new allies, we resulted in a temporary parting of the party. It seems Dog had seen a glimmer off in the distance that he believed may have heralded ill-willed soldiers, and opted to stay behind with our “big gun”, Kazim Kazim. We would hopefully return to our friends soon, but we needed to find any survivors of either side and provide appropriate justice!

We found a pretty empty stronghold for the most part. No one was prepared to greet us until we entered more confined areas, which we approached through a hallway’s three doors with varying engraved emblems serving as direction. The “treasure” door (based on the depiction of a chest) led to a longer hallway, gradually dimmed by lack of torchlight. Seeing the glow of a fire on the walls beside us, we peeked into a room with a very large kobold guardsman leaning on his weapon. Assessing the threat, Ragnar, Lyra, and Io attempted to use surprise to their advantage and fired a barrage toward the unsuspecting kobold. With not a single shot hitting, the guardsman contains his laughter and threatens us in a noncommittal way- only were it that we tried to pass beyond him, of course. At least he’s not inherently brutal, what a chap! Not really feeling up to the challenge, we passed on the room, for now. We had more important things to take care of, after all.

Deciding to check out the room in the center (with a table), I eagerly knocked in the hopes of gaining the attention of whoever’s in charge such that we may negotiate. This seemed to have not been the best plan, as we heard several loud thuds on the ground and no other response. Entering the room we find the thuds were dining tables thrown down to gain cover from our attacks for a few hostile kobolds. Implementing clever strategies we managed to overtake them, but not without Lyra taking a bit of a drop into a pit trap they had employed. Thankfully we avoided a few others.. This room was headed with a golden door that we decided to return to a bit later, having discovered a secret passage just off the dining room.

This dark hallway was a little sketch, but that didn’t slow down some of the more eager members. We stealthily approached a large kitchen filled with kobold chef and sous chefs. Sneakily enough that we were able to catch them by surprise. A bit of intimidation and diplomacy thrown their way, and they were all running out the side door away from us. I certainly enjoy this method of success: it’s much less painful. With a few of our members grabbing shanks of lamb off the tables, we headed into the next room cautiously- with good reason too, as we were surprised to see three or four additional guardsmen waiting for us in a room that also contained a prison cell. The cell held three townsmen and our dear lost friend, Narlack the Dragon. Allowing the ensuing battle with my comrades act as a diversion, I took the moment to bust into the cell and attempt to bust Narlack out! It was more difficult than I expected, so my allies did not receive much help from me as a combatant. However, Narlack and the townsmen were now free and we surely had but few men left to chop through before we could discover the machinations of this dastardly plot. Letting Narlack leave with the townsmen, we left to re-investigate the treasure room, telling him we’d meet soon at the golden door.

Approaching the treasure room again, the large kobold was, of course, still at his post. However, after a bit more friendly chatting, he told us he would let us pass if we could solve a riddle of his. Perplexed at first, we jumped at the chance to avoid a scuffle. I cannot recall the specifics of the riddle, but one of our more clever members answered it swiftly and correctly, much to the kobold’s delight. He let us pass and investigate the large chest in the center, as he went up the adjacent stairs to join his ranged-fighting friend. My allies were stumped slightly with the chest, attempting to solve a numeric puzzle in which the vertical and horizontal axes had to total up to the same amount in order to open it. I wandered off, chatting a little more with these now-friendly kobolds, and foolishly pulled a lever in the hopes that it would open the secret door they had mentioned. This ended up dropping a large stone onto the unwary head of Ragnar, who was still fiddling with the chest. Thank Erathis that he has such quick reflexes and dodged out of the way just in time. He must have a much larger peripheral perception than myself, for were I him, my head would be as dented as Narlack’s punching bag. Finally realizing that the clue we had discovered from the kobold in the garrison was relevant, we quickly solved the puzzle and opened the chest. I opted for no gold, but did however attempt to claim the magical mace that was pulled out. Unfortunately, Lyra managed to grab it first, and though she was unable to even hold it properly, insisted she keep it. A bit of frustrated haggling, and I traded her a healing potion for the mace. It feels good in my hands and seems to glow with an uplifting light. Now was the time we headed to the golden door to meet what we presumed would be the master manipulator of these kobolds, the human mage.

With Narlack again at out side, we burst through the door, expecting to be met with arms and ill will. Much to our surprise.. we were met with arms and ill will! Several kobold fighters amassed near the entrance, while we saw the mage in question sitting leisurely on his throne at the other end of the great hall. That vile creature! He has the gall to ransack a peaceful village (as far as I know..) with bloodlust and still has the time to enjoy it! It was an all-out battle, with Narlack surprising us many times with his perseverance and extraordinary abilities. Were it not for him, we may not have made it out alive. Close on this matter we were as well, since Ragnar and myself ended the battle unconscious, at the mercy of the nameless mage. Coming to just as he was vanquished, I happened to feel an eerie, malicious intent in the air. I didn’t see any sentient creatures per se, but I noticed a magical portal open up near the exit that must have been the source of the evil emanations. Discussing with the group after this, it turns out they all saw similar but distinctive visions as well. Very odd that they were not all the same. Very odd indeed.. We headed back to the town feeling accomplished, and yet very weary all the same. It had been a very long day, and it was nice to finally let it end..
+ We found the boatmaster!

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Kazim Kazim write blog

My cohorts and I stand on the precipice of our second battle. Ahead lies a malicious looking gateway kept by a goblin. The Rouge sneaks around the bend, cleverly avoiding the goblin’s gaze. When we’ve perceived he is in striking distance, Jareth, the little angry one (I.O.), and I approached the gate. As is my custom, I presented myself with a bone chilling roar. Perhaps the most gruesome the goblin had ever heard. Horrified beyond all belief, it ran inside to tell his fellow gatekeepers.

The battle was hard fought. Each member of our rag-tag little team proved their keep. Jareth, in a moment of foolhardy bravery was knocked unconscious. The rest of us quickly snuffed out what remained of the enemy and ran to his aid. When all was said and done we turned our gaze to a slimy little prisoner. I struck his soul with fear using my barbarian rage. When he was prone, Jareth pried the truth out with diplomacy. The creature foreshadowed a trap that lay before us. The kobolds, lead by a human sorcerer, had brought the captive townspeople through the very gate we had just sieged and into the large cave at end of the road. He also left us with the number 15; its relevance is still unclear.

A tiff broke out between IO and Ragnar. The little one had a thirst for death. She attacked the captive goblin but Ragnar deflected her blade. I greatly enjoyed the interaction. Their trivial moral affiliations seem to contaminate their judgement. Even yet, we have grown quite dependent on each other. Our skills working in harmony as the mystery of the jewel binds us together.

We pillaged what we could. The Rouge’s pockets a bit heavier than my own. Our spirits were high but our flimsy bodies worn from the battle. We were all anxious. Trickery loomed in our future. We gingerly crept to the opening of the cave to see a corridor with a gate at the front and back. On either side of the entrance there was a wooden door. Sensing the trap would occur in the corridor, our powerful friend Dog smashed down one of the wooded doors. With a CRASH we fell into battle!

Dog, Jareth, and I found ourselves standing opposite our primary foe: more of the kobold scum who attacked us in the town. The gates fell to enclose the corridor while fake walls were activated to join the rooms behind each wooden door with the larger corridor. From the outside, Lyra shot bolts of magic while the enemies ran into attack position. Eventually everyone joined the battle inside. Again, our might proved greater than the foes. Our collective Gods gave us the strength greater than any I’ve ever experienced. Our bond is now perpetuated by a common quest as well as dependance as our enemies grow stronger. We have angered an entity of unknown strength and purpose. We cannot turn back.

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Dog Log #1

So I’ve got a jewel poking out from my shoulder from that treasure-hunting excursion a little while back. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s worrisome all the same. I’m attempting to make contact with one of the five others that helped me traverse the dungeon, the Dragonborn Kazim Kazim. We don’t see eye to eye on some things, and his lack of self-control (rage issues) could prove troublesome in the future, but his strength could be advantageous. We’ll find out I guess.

I met up with Kazim Kazim at a tavern in ______________, he’s a social drunk that one. His gem was also poking out of his shoulder, the same shoulder in fact. A disconcerting thought. He had recieved contact from another of the group, and learned that he/she was in the same boat, as were a couple of the others. Kazim Kazim didn’t know which one was which, I guess barbarians aren’t sticklers for detail. Regardless, we are going to rendezvous further north, and figure out some sort of I’ve ever dealt with.

We approached the small town of Faldor, our point of departure to Morradin. A boat up the river or something, there was lots of discussion and little action so I just waited until a consensus was reached. I don’t like boats, never did, but it would cut out three weeks of traveling. Jareth, that human cleric, tried to convert me to whatever his god is a couple times, but I convinced him that I was perfectly happy godless at the moment. Well, I’m not so sure that I convinced him, but the whole “clan of religious exiles” at seemed to at least to hit home. His heart’s in the right place at least, he’s got a sense of right and wrong that seems to be more ambiguous in these other folks.

We never got word to the other human, the rogue, fancy that. I don’t know if some misfortune fell on him, jewel-related or no. Maybe he got the message. Those types never seem team players.

The other two are hard to get a read on. No luck with women or magic, har har. The first is the gnome, Lyra, who I have to watch out for. Not for fear of tripping over her, but because she’s got quite the arsenal of magic. Yet, I’m yet to understand her motivations.

Then there’s Io, who’s rage matches Kazim Kazim’s, but is directed instead in the form of curses (magical and otherwise) and intimidation.

We arrived in Faldor, finally, and stumbled upon some little girl, Annie. She had some maps of town that she drew, oddly useful but it seems like she could make better use of her time (which we learned later when some of our motley crew was so kind as to break into a chest of her belongings). We went to the boat house run by some ex-pirate, or at least I think so.

He told us the boat was all booked up by some Dragonborn, and despite attempts to “pursuade” him otherwise by some of the more ill-tempered among us he was not dissuaded. And for good reason. We went to the tavern and saw the beast, Narlack the Dragon. I could tell immediately, even if we were to attack him en masse, that we were outclassed. The guy was massive, taller than any of us, and obviously had been through his fair share of battle. We talked him up, and eventually he agreed to allow us to ride along with him. That is, should we passes a few different tests he had all planned out. He must have a lot of free time, that one.

First, he challenge Kazim Kazim to a drinking competition, which Kazim Kazim sorely lost. But their common Dragonborn heritage seemed to overrule the turnout, or perhaps Narlack was just messing with us. Kazim Kazim got hammered.

I can’t remember everything else (I drank a little bit too), but I beat him in an arm-wrestling match (he was either going easy on me or was extremely sloshed) and Io intimidated the bartender into clearing Narlack’s tab, so he took a liking to us.

We went up to our rooms, and I slept on the floor along with ___________(Jareth/Kazim Kazim?). I didn’t feel like debating sleep arrangements, and beds in human towns rarely are big enough for me to sleep comfortably. And they never account for the horns!

In the middle of the night I heard a rumbling, and jumped to my feet just as a group of kobolds burst through the door! Groggily, and still a little drunk, I fought back along with _______ (Jareth?) as the rest of our party came to. The first wave was followed by a second, and when I was starting to worry (about some of the others) I saw a figure in the door sneak up behind one of the kobolds and stab him square in the back. I took this opportunity to charge and gored him square in the chest. Using part of your body as a stabbing implement is always an uncomfortable feeling, but that’s what the horns are there for I guess.

And who was it that came to our aid but Ragnar, the missing sixth man. He also had his gem stuck in his shoulder, same spot as the rest of us, and had (apparently) been following us since we banded together. We went back out in to the town, and saw that the village was essentially empty. We searched around for a while and the others, excluding Jareth, took this as an opportunity to loot. They weren’t particularly successful mind you, but neither I nor the stocky human wanted part of such things so we followed the road that the little girl’s crude drawing suggested would lead us to the exit of the town.

We walked out of town and spotted a goblin (?) guarding the checkpoint ahead. Everyone seems disgruntled from being roused from their sleep, having our journey being delayed, and perhaps from having their plans of theft foiled by a little girl. Not the cautious type, these guys. I hope nobody does anything stupid.

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