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Scraps' log: Goodbye Earth Cave, hello Nerul

Let’s see, where did I leave off. Oh, yeah, we killed nasty spiders, the big bad spider let us pass because it liked the way Alatar smelled (or something like that), and we ran into some drow. We tried to get Alatar to talk to them, but he didn’t seem to be proud of his drowish heritage and didn’t even know the language. That’s both good and bad. Good, because he’s probably not some drow bastard who’ll betray us at the first sign of weakness, bad because they drow we met didn’t seem to like him and captured us.

We went without a fight because we’re not stupid (well, not all of us) and they had a whole squadron of soldiers. They brought us to some cells to stay for the night. I heard Billy trying to get Rakust to play cards with him. Somewhere Billy got these cards with naked goblins on them, but they all have Billy’s head. It’s the type of thing you cannot un-see no matter how hard you try. I still have nightmares about them sometimes. He doesn’t seem to realize they have the potential to cause mental illness and keeps trying to get us to play games with them.

After they gave us some time to stew, they took us up to meet their priestess, Alexia. She gave us the opportunity to die or fight for our freedom, so of course we chose fighting. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have more experience fighting than dying, so I’m probably better at fighting. Of course, I could be a natural at dying. I could be the best dead halfling you’ve ever seen. Not quite ready to try it yet, though.

So they gave us different armor and weapons and stuck us in line for what I’m assuming is an arena. We never actually got to see the thing. We waited for a while, moving towards these doors, and we realized that the people of Rakust were in the line with us. The drow bastards must have somehow got past us while we were in the Earth Cave and sacked the town. We traded a few insults (they were still unhappy with us for refusing to commit suicide by sea monster) along the way and tried to figure out how we were going to get out of this when apparently one of the monsters they put into the arena got out and started wreaking havoc.

We quickly realized that it was a massive shadow dragon. It killed masses of drow and prisoners in front of us. We took advantage of the distraction to grab our gear and get the heck out of there, dragon at our heels. It wasn’t until we were back at the spider cave that Aris and Rakust mentioned that they saw what might be the rune back in the priestess’s throne room. Ohh, I could’ve throttled both of them for not mentioning it sooner.

So we had to trek back down to the drow cavern. It was quiet as a graveyard (well, the consecrated kind). Seems the dragon had eaten or killed every last drow, and was taking a nap, curled around the tower stairs that went up to the throne room. Aris knew a lot about dragons and said that a sleeping shadow dragon is very hard to wake up, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I took my time, heading slowly and carefully up the tower in the dark.

It took me a while to figure out how to get the rune out of the back of the throne, but eventually it popped out. From the look it seemed to be water-based, and as I touched it, it healed the scratches in my hands and arms. I tucked it away in my pack and started to head back when I noticed that the body of the priestess was in the room. I started to loot the corpse when I realized it wasn’t a corpse. I was tense from knowing there was a dragon down below that had slaughtered an entire drow city, and the fact that she was still alive freaked me out, so I just booked it out of there and back to the party, not bothering to finish the looting job or slit her throat.

When I got back, we passed the rune around. We were pretty sure it was indeed a rune because after I picked it up the light on the map for the Earth Cave winked out. Rakust seemed to be freaked out by it because he didn’t put up any sort of fight when I put it back in my own bag. Up until now he’s been insisting on carrying anything important. Gods forbid he let the thief carry anything. I might use it to stab him in the back or sell it when he’s not looking. Sheesh.

We took another route, walked a little while, and got attacked by some nasty carrion crawlers. We killed them all, but Alatar took some nasty wounds during the fight. I got an idea and asked him to hold the water rune for a moment. He actually looked reluctant to take it. Eventually he did, and it healed him up just like I thought, but he was almost as reluctant to give it back to me. Wonder what he’s up to.

After the fight we finally found the earth cave exit. Man was it nice to see fresh air again and smell the ocean. Except there were still sea monsters out there that we could see, and before we left the cave we could still hear the shadow dragon roaring back down in the earth. Neither one really made me feel good.

We found what obviously used to be a road, but it hadn’t been kept up for a long time. We assumed it went to Bonro and started following it. After a day of walking we set up camp right on the road (didn’t see much of a need to hide). As night fell, a really cold fog rolled in. It was definitely not natural. Rakust was having fun making a larger fire (one thing I have to say about him – he makes a very good lighter) when shapes started coming out of the fog. A horde of skeletons set upon us. They had some sort of circle with a V insignia on their armor. We made quick work of them, extended our fire into a ring around the camp, and tried to get some sleep.

In the morning, we decided to investigate the village ruins we saw from the road, thinking it might have something to do with the undead that attacked us last night. We didn’t see anything moving, and nothing looked really unusual except for more of those circle-V symbols, until we came to the church. It had obviously been a church of Pelor at one time, but had burned down and been defaced with signs of Nerul. I was in favor of just leaving the place alone, but Rakust insisted on seeing what was going on.

We heard chanting when we came in. The party convinced me to sneak down to the basement, where I heard someone talking about a “final sacrifice” and summoning an avatar of Nerul, which was going to destroy the world. Normally I stay out of the gods’ way and they stay out of mine, but I’m kinda fond of this world. I warned the rest of the party, and headed back down to see if I could find some part of the ritual to disturb, like a candle to knock over or something. Rakust started casting spells behind me, and I turned a corner to come nearly face-to-groin with a death knight. After that we—

Oh, crap, got to go. Sounds like Billy picked up a poisonous snake or did something else stupid. Rakust is yelling something about stupid goblins. Will write more later.

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