This crater expedition has been long and bloody and we have lost dear companions — but finally we have discovered the treasures we were seeking. They will never be worth three lives (what could ever be worth that?) but I’m so relieved we have something to show for the high price we have paid.
Tonight we rest inside the Palace of Spires — that mysterious building behind the enormous hedge — having finally retrieved the scrolls and documents we came for and discovered many other items of value as well.
The Palace of Spires
The palace is a marvel. Beautiful. All bright air and carved marble. It is definitely a mage’s palace, though, and I fear we would not have made it very far today without our new friend, Squirrel.
There can be no doubt after today that Squirrel has mage blood, although he has tried to keep it hidden. But it was Squirrel alone who could pass unchallenged through the great doors into the palace. And Squirrel alone who could activate certain portals within.
Before the rest of us could enter the palace, we had to defeat a pair of guardians made of whirling wind. They were terribly hard to hit and poor Vaantus was almost slain, but in the end we prevailed. Blizzard made some ground in gaining party trust by helping Vaantus (although it might have been a ploy).
Inside the palace of spires, we explored the three floors thoroughly and discovered many items — weapons, armour, objects, books and potions — of great value.
The documents and scrolls we sought were not in fact here; but we found instructions and information as to their location.
We find what we were looking for
We knew immediately where we needed to go next — back to the wooden door we found in the rim of the caldera during our earlier explorations. Armed with a knock spell to open the door, we finally discovered a crate of magical documents, preserved here for 25 years. And some other magical loot.
It’s so hard to believe our quest is almost over. I am desperate to get out of this awful place, but that is for tomorrow. It’s been a big day, so tonight, after divvying up all the treasures among our party of seven, we rest.
That is, most of us rest. Squirrel is sitting by himself in the corner poring over a large book he found in the library (he was so excited), muttering and writing into another large volume. I believe he is learning new spells…
I cannot help but wonder what the cleric of Kaltan thinks about this.
Xolra has murdered Ragal. It’s too horrifying. We all thought they were friends, but she stitched him up and stole from us as well.
We were all leaving the crater this morning (thank you, blessed Emrys, for seeing me and Ash through this campaign), hauling the crate of documents and other heavy stuff on a magical floating disk; but we decided to make one last attempt to find Brynn. We assume he’s dead, but I felt we owed it to him to find out for sure.
So we stowed all our extra gear in the mage stronghold at the entrance to this crater (so close to getting out of here!) and set off for one final search. Xolra and Ragal waited, supposedly to guard our gear, and Alix left her pack with them as well.
But we returned (unsuccessful) to the stronghold to find Ragal sprawled out dead on the floor, multiple sword wounds all over him. And much much blood.
Pursuit through the night
All the weapons comprising Xolra and Ragal’s share were gone, along with some extra armour that was ours and a couple of potions from Alix’s pack. As far as we could make out, Xolra was carrying the full load herself, so she couldn’t have been travelling very fast. She had about a five-hour head-start, but we decided to pursue.
We made it through the caverns and finally finally got out into the fresh air and natural forest (oh it’s wonderful to be out of that cursed crater). And then I tracked that bitch through the forest until it got dark. And then I took a dark vision potion and we kept going into the night.
Eventually, we arrived at a path and clear evidence of a horse-drawn wagon. Dammit! An accomplice! At this point, it felt like we weren’t far behind at all — no more than an hour.
Alix was really struggling to keep up by then, so she and Squirrel waited with our heavy gear, while Vaantus, Blizzard and myself ran on after that wagon. We ran for hours, but we didn’t catch it.
In the end, we gave up and trudged back to rejoin Alix and Squirrel. We are so pissed off and upset about poor Ragal. Squirrel is now saying he didn’t actually know them well at all, but that such behaviour doesn’t tend to go down well with the local thieves guild.
Glad to hear it. I hope she meets the pointy end of someone’s dagger sometime soon.
So what do we do now?
We have a couple of days to get back to meet up with Abhorran, the mage who sent us on this expedition. He seems to have dealt with us fairly until now, so I can only hope he continues to do so and takes these magical documents off our hands for a fair price.
The last thing we need in this part of the world is to be discovered carrying all this illegal magical and weapons contraband. I’m hoping Squirrel’s local contacts will be able to help us there. It’s in his best interests too.
Also, the lawbringers could still be hunting for Alix and me, a price on our heads. And now that Xolra has shown her true colours, she could prove to be a problem.