No, we didn’t just get back from Australia (though, really, how awesome would that be?!), we actually managed to all get together for a game session which means it’s time for another installment of…
I woke up alone.
We’d fallen so far, for so very long, that it didn’t even feel like falling anymore. And then there wasn’t anything anymore, and the next thing I knew I was laying on hard, hot rock. It wasn’t just the rock that was hot, everything was, and the hot air smelled of sulphur. There were no stars, sun, or planets visible in the dusky magenta sky. And I was alone, save Mischa [my monkey companion]. Where my fellow adventurers were, if they were alive, or dead, or even in this realm was uncertain.
Looking around I saw nothing, I heard nothing. There was a haze not far off in the shimmering distance, but everything around me was flat. I called out, in case I’d merely been separated from the party just beyond current visibility. There was no answer.
With nothing else to do, I set out to whatever lay in front of me, calling out periodically in the hope of eventually finding others, acknowledging that I could just as easily be calling out to whatever predators this land harbored. It didn’t matter, solitary doesn’t suit me.
Eventually one of my calls brought forth a whistled reply from ahead. On alert, I sent Mischa ahead to investigate beyond the haze. She came back excited, not scared–it was our newest friend, Etrigg, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see another person in my life. Just then, thunder sounded to my right. As this was the first native sound we’d encountered, we decided to head towards it.
Before long we heard the thunder again, and saw a fiery orb in the sky. Unfortunately that fiery orb was heading to the ground in our general direction, landing with a cloud of smoke and dust, creating a crater about 30 feet wide, littered with shards of glittering obsidian. We would have collected some had it not been too hot to touch. We thanked our various deities for being clear of the blast and continued on from when the fireball seemed to emerge. There didn’t seem like much else to do under the circumstances.
Eventually we saw foothills ahead, and a stone (or so we hoped) mountain that bore a strong resemblance to a skull, half-buried in the rocky ground. Cautiously we approached, using both Mischa and Etrigg’s more stealthy abilities to avoid walking into a trap but hoping to at least find a place to shelter (though whether we were currently in day or night conditions we could not be sure). The cave appeared empty, but as we entered Etrigg turned to check behind us and saw another light in the sky, different from the earlier fireball and without the thunder. Etrigg send out another cautious whistle and the ball of light (which had been moving slowly in our direction) disappeared. On high alert, we concealed ourselves in the shadows of the cave, waiting to see who–or what–might approach.
After a tense stand-off, we were relieved to find it was the rest of our party approaching the cave. They–Teran, Kelch, Vlax, and Kira–had met up at different points along the way, also travelling towards the thunder. Surprised to see Kelch–we thought he, Larem, and Shannon had taken their leave back at Castle Panterra–we were dismayed to hear that our companions had no more information about this land than we did, save Vlax who’d been able to use his flight ability to see a formation in the opposite direction they’d come from that resembled a face. What are the odds of two such configurations in an otherwise barren land?
Continuing as one into the cave we eventually came to a cavern that caused us no little apprehension. There was a circle of deep blue inlaid stone. In the middle of the circle lay a body that looked suspiciously like Shannon! Vlax identified the circle as a portal of some sort, so we were wary of crossing it to help the still unconscious girl, but Kira and Etrigg were able to work a rope across the portal with no ill effect and drag her into more neutral territory.
As Vlax revived her, we suddenly realized Etrigg appeared to be talking to someone–or something–we could not see. In the shadows was concealed a dark, spiny little thing, seemingly terrified but also looking to make a run for it down one of the two other tunnels that led into the room. Etrigg’s attempt at calming the creature was not working, so Vlax tried to hold it with a spell and, when that didn’t work, Teran tackled it (he’d been sneaking up behind). We were shocked to hear it speak in Common, so shocked that it was able to then phase into the portal and sprint for the cave entrance!
Vlax summons his imp to try to detain the creature once more, only to have the Imp attack Vlax instead! Since shows of force were having no effect, I attempted to block it;s way and tried a bit of dimplomacy, instead. We were able to learn that Helitzer’s job was to watch this portal and report anyone who came through it to Bel, the ruler of this land. (Avernis, the first plane of Beattor.) Disappointed that our earlier suspicions had been confirmed–we were, in fact, in Hell–we were intrigued to hear that there was someone “like us” not too far away, the Witch across the river. Helitzer agreed not to mention Shannon appearing in his portal and gave us directions to the Witch.
Our hope at being able to find water in this barren plane was short-lived. The river was indeed where he said it would be, but it was not flowing with water but with blood. At it’s narrowest point it appeared to be 150 yards across, but a depth gauge made of rope and carried by Vlax’s Mage Hand showed us the river was relatively shallow. It was a disgusting trek, but we managed.
The white smoke coming from the mouth of a nearby cave was a welcome sight, we would soon meet the witch though the question remained: was she a good witch, or a bad witch?
I don’t know what we did to deserve being transported by fog to Ravenloft and then via portal to Hell, but it must’ve been something BAD! Will we ever see Waterdeep again?! The DM’s not telling. And some of the group is actually suspecting we’re dead and just don’t know it. More will be revealed, and hopefully it won’t be 3 months until our next session!
Party Party Party!
While my convention appearances officially ended with ACC back in June, I had one ace in the hole that is now coming up: the 3rd Annual Unicorn Party–Woot! Woot! Remember, the Unicorn Party is a celebration of women in comics, gaming, and geekdom in general–both creators and fans alike, but the event is not a ladies-only night. Everyone is invited!
This year’s event will take place Saturday, September 28, starting at 7pm and going until whenever. We’ll have the food trucks back this year, some fun and games inside the host store (Secret Headquarters), and a bit of entertainment as well! If you’ll be in Tallahassee that evening make sure you stop by, pick up some comics, and check out what the vendors have in store. And if you, yourself, are a local female artist or artisan and want to come set up a table at this year’s party to sell your wares, you are more than welcome to! Just contact Brian and let him know you’re coming!
Final Reminder: You have one more week to get your picture proof up that you completed this month’s Recipe Challenge. Do it for the XP, do it for the noms, just do it!