So, there we were, having just defeated a small army of dopplegangers. We realized that the Rakust doppleganger had managed to run away during the fight, since he was nowhere to be seen when the dust settled. We spent some time discussing what to do, with the remaining population of dopplegangers (what we could only assume were the women and children) giving us strange looks, kinda the same look we gave Rakust when we woke up that morning and he was… different. We toyed with the idea of muscling into their town, demanding to be given a house, and sleeping the night away there, but then we imagined a torch-and-pitchfork mob descending on us in the night when they realized we’d slaughtered all of their menfolk, and we thought better of it.
We headed back into the woods some distance to camp, but we couldn’t get our bearings again. Not even Alex could tell us which way it was to the road. We weren’t very concerned, so we just hunkered down for the night and resumed our trek the next morning.
The next day we headed south, towards Bonro and eventually Pell, where we’d heard there was a cure for lycanthropy, both for me and for the townsfolk of the village where we fought the Nerullites. We met some strange weather. The others had to point it out to me, but the wind was coming in gusts as regular as a pendulum. Once we noticed the pattern, we could predict when the next gust was going to be each time.
It was raining cats and dogs, and while we were trying to figure out what might be causing the weird weather, Billy summoned one of his invisible disk thingies to hold over his head and keep him dry, and the weather just stopped. I’m not talking about the sun coming out to dry up all the rain or such nonsense, I mean everything just stopped. In mid air. Water droplets were just hanging there in front of our faces.
Rakust got a little unnerved at this (though I’m sure he wouldn’t admit it), so he decided to set something on fire with his prayers. That was when the ground around us just lifted straight up in the air and started flying us south.
The disk of earth brought us to a huge tower, ringed by eight smaller towers, which Billy identified as the Towers of Eight, home to the Circle of Eight, who were eight goddamn powerful wizards. I don’t remember their names. I think one of them was Tanser, or something like that. I was too astonished to pay attention, really. Billy acted like he was being taken to see the gods themselves.
They were pretty perceptive, and realized we were seeking the runes. They said they wanted to help us, and gave each of us a ring. Each ring did something different. Mine let me see in the dark, which is pretty damn helpful when you’re trying to be sneaky. They also decided to cure my lycanthropy, for which I’m a million times grateful. Really makes me wish I’d remembered their names. Well, I’m sure Billy would know. Anyway, they offered to cure Alex, but he didn’t want to be cured. His wasn’t as bad as mine – he wasn’t going to turn into a mindless beast that would slaughter everything. He just got big and hairy, but stayed a nice guy.
They also said something about us helping out by dealing with some giants… sorry, I was so distracted with everything going on that I forgot to write down the details about that. I hope somebody else remembers. Last thing we want is eight super powerful wizards mad at us for not doing a simple quest they asked in return for their help. Well, we’ll deal with that later.
They transported us to Bonro, which was really great because my feet were killing me. As soon as we got there, Aeris realized she’d been here before. This was apparently once where the dragoons lived, before something slaughtered them all. Apparently she’d just barely escaped as a child. The townsfolk recognized her as a dragoon and put up a big fuss about one of the dragoons returning.
She took us to a mausoleum of sorts where they’d memorialized her family and the rest of the dragoons. The doors were made of solid gold! All of the stuff inside was fakes, however. Apparently they told us that the old city had been entombed, and there were tons of undead down there, so nobody wanted to go down and get the real bits of armor, jewelry, and whatnot.
They showed us the doors to the undercity, and we bickered a little bit over whether we wanted to go down there or not. I was leaning towards “not”. (I hate undead. Hate.) Then somebody mentioned that there could be a run down there. We pulled out the map, and sure enough, it looked like there was a rune here in Bonro, and down in the old city seemed like the most likely place to find it. Crap.
When we realized there was a rune down there Billy was just about to dispel the locks on the doors when Rakust pulled him aside and said we should probably take a day to prepare before we go down into undead-city. So we rested a night in Bonro and prepared ourselves.
The next day we came back, Billy unlocked the doors, and we went down. The first thing we saw was the city gates, flanked by some large armored statues. They didn’t look right to me, and knowing there was tons of magic and undead down here I didn’t trust them, so I snuck into range and bounced a sling bullet off of one of their heads. Sure enough, they stepped away from the gates and headed towards us, slowly.
At first it looked like these guys were out of our league. My sling bullets were just putting little pockmarks in their sides, if anything, and not seeming to phase them at all. Then Billy pulled out this spell that made them all cracked, and Rakust used his shape stone prayer to turn one of them into a gigantic stone sphere, which rolled downhill away from us and crashed the gates open. We took down the last one quick enough, after it had been weakened by the magic.
I sneaked ahead and saw that the city was crawling with ghosts. Rakust had another handy prayer prepared that made us invisible to undead as long as we didn’t attack anything, so he cast that and we headed into the city.
We walked for a little while, heading towards the city barracks and the castle, when we came upon a bunch of holes in the ground. We realized quickly that these were carrion crawler holes, and we knew that they had the ability to feel when somebody was walking nearby, so we changed course and headed to an aqueduct we saw that was running towards the castle. On our way we passed by an old inn where we heard voices. I peeked in a window and realized they were trolls. We knew that if we fought anything we’d become visible to the ghosts and who-knows-what-else was in this city, so we opted for the better part of valor and ran away.
On our way to the aqueduct we passed close by the barracks. Billy lifted us up to the roof with his flying disk, and we crawled inside using a trapdoor. Some sort of something was forming in there – something skeletal with red glowing eyes. It seemed to know we were there (we couldn’t help but step on the tons of bone littering the floor), though it couldn’t see us. Once again, we decided it was smartest not to stick around, so we left.
We got to the aqueduct without any further incident, headed up using Billy’s disk, and walked to the castle. Once there, we got from the aqueduct to castle using Billy’s disk again, and made our way down. We came upon a dining room with ohmygods so much nice silverware. There were gold chalices with gems, silver plates, I couldn’t keep my hands off of it, and neither could Billy, apparently, though Aeris insisted that this was all hers since this was the dragoon castle she was the last surviving dragoon. We told he that we were just helping her carry it.
Billy found a room with some pillars with gold-inlaid dragoon crests. He tried to pry the crests out of the pillars when a mechanism in the wall started moving. We could hear it, but not see it. We realized there was some sort of secret door there, and we eventually got it open by having everybody stand by one of the crests and pushing them in a certain order.
Oh, gods, there was so much treasure! Gold, gems, treasure chests, you name it. Billy identified some of the magic items, and some of the chests also radiated magic. I tried to open the first chest, but it bit me. We realized pretty quickly that it was a mimic and killed it. The second chest had some scrolls in it, mostly boring history stuff, but Rakust and Billy got excited at some of them. I think they had spells written on them or something. Another chest had some gold and a big book that Billy nearly fell off of his disk to get at. The last chest had a pretty complex magical trap on it and the word “lightning” in Elven. When I got that open, we found that it was the rune.
This one looked like a ball of lightning. Unlike the friendly water rune, nobody really wanted to pick this one up. As we were pondering how to carry it, a voice called out of the darkness. Aeris realized it could be a lich. I hurriedly scooped up the lightning rune with my bag of holding, and we got ready for the worst.