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(33) DM: 2157) DM: Your trek across dry land slowly comes to an end

(33) DM: 2157) DM: Your trek across dry land slowly comes to an end. The terrain has become wet and spongy, and healthy vegetation is replaced by twisted old trees, dark scraggly weeds, and an unhealthy-looking bloated, damp underbrush. Clouds of mist...or is it swamp gas? ...roll across the soggy terrain. The mist clings to your clothes and enters your mouth and nose, carrying with it the sickly odors of rotting plants, sulfur, decomposing flesh, and several unidentifiable, unsettling odors.
** Thom looks around at the horses. "If we take the ones from the coach as well - we have four horses, which if Morti and Yazut double up - we can get all PCs into the swamp on horse back. **
(2157) DM: Clammy moisture settles on everything, condensing beads of water on the edges of your swords, or trickling down the front of your shields.
(2157) DM: The thick air is dead and silent, punctuated only by the occasional shriek, the snapping of twigs, and ominous gurglings in the water.
(2158) Daelan: " Well from here on in,things get worse."
** Thom looks around at the horses. "If we take the ones from the coach as well - we have four horses, which if Morti and Yazut double up - we can get most of us into the swamp on horseback. Drenla - you can stay here with Elamurix and Rhian to make sure everything stays safe." **
(2157) DM: As your eyes adjust to the dim illumination of this place, you sometimes catch a small patch of something glowing, hovering in the distance. It’s either burning balls of the ever-present swamp gas, or will o'wisps. Staying alert, you trudge onward.
(2157) Drenla: All right.
** Thom gets everyone set up on horseback and they all head into the swamp. **
Atross: "Yes, this is obviously a moor now. Not a swamp at all. This is worse than plainsland in heavy rain or a forest at night for certain."
** (2149) Yazut isn't particularly disturbed by the odors, though his surroundings are far from comfortable to him-he leaps down from the coach, draws the cowl of his robe back, and wanders ahead and off a ways to the north west. **
(2144) Morti: (Morti and Yazut are pretty light, that horse might be able to take a third light body)
** (2144) Morti doesn't seem to mind the smells much either, entering the swamp with his usual eager curiousity, eyeing the flashing lights and trying to identify the gases in the air to amuse himself. **
** (2158) Daelan continues onward,using a branch to test the ground first before stepping forward. **
** (2149) Yazut wanders off from the group, picking through the muck and undergrowth, searching through the foliage for edible fungi and the like, keeping the others in view, but just. **
** Thom deals with the smells and continues to trek forward. he keeps to the back of the group, taking his semi-standard rear guard position. **
(2144) Morti: "I've never camped in a swamp before.. how do we find a dry spot?"
** (2149) Yazut grins, and plucks a number of caps from a patch of edible fingi, stuffing one into his mouth as he continues on, storing the rest into his pack. **
(2158) Daelan: " Sleep in the trees Morti."
** Atross seems to be in the front of the group more as a result of nobody going ahead of him and less from forging the path ahead. He keeps his gaze sharp and doesn't seem to have more objections though. **
(2144) Morti: "Trees.. what if I fall out?" :leans in as if he's confessing in secret: "I'm kind of clumsy."
** (2149) Yazut wanders back up out of a rather deep pool of muck, near Morti, "No, snake live in tree. Find tree that falls, sleep there. Out of mud, out of tree. Safest there.." **
(2158) Daelan: " Well the soft ground will break your fall."
** (2149) Yazut digs into his satchel and presents Morti with a thick, yellow cap from a mushroom he discovered, "Trys this, mm?" **
(2144) Morti: :looks to Yazut: "Fallen tree. Okay. Say, do you think there are aligators here?"
(2157) DM: Suddenly, the roiling mists part and a large spherical thing floats silently toward you, hovering a yard off the ground. Numerous eyestalks writhe, then focus on your group. The six-foot sphere halts about ten yards away from you and regards you with its middle eye.
(2157) Beholder: More dry-skins...
** (2144) Morti takes the mushroom, gives it a slight sniff before sticking it up under his mask and into his mouth, no heistation in trusting the smaller mage. **
** (2158) Daelan stops in his tracks **
** (2149) Yazut cocks a brow at the other-than-human Morti, "Uhm, maybe? Not knws what 'aligatoor' be?" **
(2157) Beholder: More dry-skins where they do not belong. A toll you must pay to cross my territory, else I unleash upon you one of my many ways of killing fools.
** Thom slowly leads his horse a few more paces up. "And what toll would that be? As you can see, we have very little on us." **
** (2149) Yazut stops dead in his tracks, glancing from Morti to the spherical beast, "Hwaa..." **
** Atross quickly jumps from his horse, but tries not to make an overt threatening move yet. **
** (2144) Morti chokes a bit at the sight of the beholder. Swallowing, he holds out the rest of his half eaten mushroom, offering to the abberation, "Do you like Mushroom?" **
(2157) DM: At the thing's last word, the mists part two feet to your right and you see the skull of a large drake lying in the mud, its skullcap missing. Bright twinkling objects inside the skull capture your attention. You realize a dagger is glowing in the skull, and numerous coins as well as a few gems catch its soft green light and reflect it.
(2157) DM: The thing growls in its hushed whisper, "Enough gawking. Place something of value in the skull, or die where you stand."
Atross: "What's the usual fee for great and mighty you to not kill us?"
** Atross walks carefully towards the drake skull. **
** (2149) Yazut eyes locked on the many-eyed creature, he slowly, and carefully sticks his hand into his satchel, and removes a large, brightly glowing gem. **
(2144) Morti: "Hmmm.... " :scrathes his head in itch and thought: "Well.. I think I have something I can part with."
(2157) DM: It drifts menancingly towards you (Atross) as if to protect the skull.
** (2149) Yazut keeps the gem tucked into the palm of his hand, his eyes not leaving the creature. **
Thom: "Please, how can we place something in there if we can't approach it? Atross meant no harm, right?"
** Atross slows down and stops, "I don't mean to alarm you, I just wished to place my offering to you." **
(2157) Beholder: Very well then. (grudgingly)
(2144) Morti: :holds up his hand to get the beholder's attention: "Excus me, Master."
(2157) Beholder: A sack of coins would be a start. (snorts)
Atross: "I'm afraid my stack of coins would be unfit for one of your majesty."
Thom: "Then we must confer and see what we have that would be worthy of a gift for you."
Atross: "It is but a meager pittance that I possess. Maybe we should pool our funds and see if that would be more fitting."
** (2149) Yazut creeps away from his position near Morti, around and outside of the beholders central gaze. **
** (2144) Morti stares intently at the Beholder, apparently waiting to be given permission to speak. **
(2158) Daelan: " If we pay to enter do we have to pay to leave as well?"
** Thom slowly works his way back to Morti. **
(2157) DM: It doesn't respond, but simply waits.
** Atross makes to start back toward the others, but stops with a sudden idea. "Actually, I do have something that would be more worthy than some shiny coins." **
(2157) Beholder: What is it? (eagerly)
(2157) DM: Drool drips from its open maw.
Atross: "I have an item of magic that I would part with, if you would but spare us."
(2157) Beholder: Oh just get on with it!
** Atross reaches over shoulder to pull out his bow. **
** (2149) Yazut glances briefly at Atross, then back to the many-eyed beast/ **
(2157) Beholder: Aaaak!!!!!!
Atross: "Though it is a puissant item, it's not worth my life. This I could part with. The Mace is simply too powerful to let go of however."
(2157) DM: It immediately sags to the ground and you distinctly hear two voices and the flap of wings...
Atross: "What'd I say?"
(2157) Voice: I knew this would happen!
** Thom stares blankly. **
(2157) Voice: It's your fault!
(2157) Voice: No, it's your fault!
(2157) Voice: No, it's yours!
(2144) Morti: :calls out to the 'Beholder': "Are you okay in there?"
Thom: "Show yourself, or selves!"
(2158) Daelan: " It was an illusion."
** Thom moves forward, trying to see where the voices are coming from. **
whispering to Zane, one 50' to the left, one 30' ahead
** Atross tries to move quickly through the swampy terrain but he's pretty sure he can't catch something with wings in this mess. **
** (2144) Morti hops down from the horse and moves toward the fallen abberation, "Do you need any help getting out?" **
Atross: "I...I was going to shoot him when he wasn't ready. Jeez."
** Thom points a hand out the the left of the path for a moment before continuing forward a bit still, his other hand on the pommel of Ringrist. **
(2158) Daelan: " Imps or Will'O'Wisps."
Atross: "So where are they now?"
(2158) Daelan: " Hiding I would guess."
Thom: "One is out there. Or at least, it sounds that way." Thom speeds up a little to get up to the voice he heard ahead of him.
(2158) Daelan: " Thom do not chase them,they lead people away and to thier deaths."
** (2144) Morti pokes at the beholder body, thinking something had been inside controlling it **
(2144) Morti: "So.... that's it then?"
Atross: "Thom, they're flying, we're walking. In a swamp. Someone check on the loot anyway."
(2158) Daelan: " Well there is the treasure."
** Thom stops. "Fine, as long as they leave us alone now." He returns to the party and the horses. **
** Thom stoops to see if the treasure is really there or not. **
** Thom pulls out some silver coins. "Well, not as nice as it looked." **
(2144) Morti: "Eeeeww..." :gives the corpse one last poke before calling out to the swamp pranksters: "We won't hurt you. If you want to talk later, it would be nice to have natives to guide us through to where we're going.We have food if you want to just talk." :makes invitations, not much thinking just what he may be inviting:
Atross: "I don't think they'll show themselves again until they get their courage up. Either to kick us when we're down or with another ploy."
Atross: "Let's just hope they weren't impersonating a real monster in this swamp."
** Thom fills up a sack with the items and returns to the horses, holding a small dull dinner knife in his hand. "Now this was not something I expected to find there." **
(2144) Morti: "Then... we keep going?"
** (2149) Yazut glances at Morti, and with a frown, tucks the gem back into his satchel and grabs a handful of the moshrooms to eat, stuffing another into his mouth as he trudges on ahead, grumbling a series of curses. **
** Thom remounts and answers Morti. "Of course." **
** (2158) Daelan walks over and inspects the head of the dead drake. **
** (2144) Morti nods and gets back up on the horse, ready to continue on their way. **
** (2149) Yazut swallows the morsel, and takes a long, deep breath, exhaling as he begins to poke and prod at a rotting stump. **
** Atross puts his bow away again somewhat disappointed now and mounts up as well. **
(2158) Daelan: " Better to have it ended this way,than the other Atross."
(2158) Daelan: " Well it was an Onyx Drake,killed about a year ago,not sure by whom or what."
Atross: "But think of how many times you could put an arrow through its eye. What a tale."
Thom: "Onyx drake killed in this swamp, does not bode very well. Let's keep moving."
Atross: "But I suppose you mean the thing about dying horribly that was mentioned. That would be bad."
** (2149) Yazut chips away at rotted bark, and snatches up a large grub of some sort crawling through the decaying debris-he holds it up to his nose, sniffs at his, and then bites into its tail, testing the taste and texture of the insect, before stuffing it into his mouth and swallowing it whole. **
** Thom takes the rear guard again as they travel deeper and deeper into the swamp. **
** (2149) Yazut steps around the debris, and balances a walk aross a large, thick tree root and them hops down into a pool of thick muck, and then back into more solid ground-he takes a seat on another large, exposed root, and watches the others. **
** (2158) Daelan continues moving forward,slowly through the swamp,keeping a sharp eye for anything.\ **
(2144) Morti: :speaks to Yazut as he rides: "You seem really comfortable here. Have you lived in a swamp?"
** Atross continues the trudging pace through the swamp. **
** (2149) Yazut watches their movements as they press, on, glancing about the bog once.. **
** (2149) Yazut looks up at Moerti, and silently shakes his head in response to the question. **
(2157) DM: After trudging for longer than you would have liked through the muck and mire, you come into view of a structure that must be the site Elamurix mentioned. Protruding from the swamp are slabs of ancient stone, most of it covered in green and brown plants. You judge that the structure used to be a walled keep of some sort, since remains of a perimeter wall and a front gate are evident.
(2157) DM: However, the architecture is not normal in one major respect. The NW corner of the keep is actually raised out of the muck, while the SE corner and most of the E side is sunk into the mire.
(2157) DM: A single black tower sticks out of the swamp, where you calculate the NE corner lies.
Thom: "Looks like even the buildings here get sucked in."
** (2149) Yazut keeps an eye on their rear as they make their way through the bog, but once they arrive at their destination, focuses entirely on the ruins before them. **
(2157) DM: Heaps of hacked vegetation lay piled all around the keep's perimeter. You guess that this is plant life that was cleared away by whomever discovered this place. The terrain around the keep is flat, and looks deceptively stable. You would be able to see for miles around if it weren't for the fog.
** (2144) Morti climbs down from his horse, looking over the miserable semi-sunken keep with interest. "You think any other towers sunk?" **
(2157) DM: Several trees are in the vicinity, as well as an abundance of vegetation. Despite the presence of many varieties of swamp life -- insects, maggots, spiders, snakes -- the air is very quiet as if the mist is smothering all signs of life. The air is cold, damp and oppresively suffocating. Dark clouds roll overhead, promising rain.
** (2149) Yazut hops down from a massive, half sunken stone, and points ahead at the ruins, glancing up at Thom, "You thinks to goes in this place, mm? Very dangerous, mm? Enjoy this much, yes?" **
(2157) DM: A glint of something catches your eye and diverts your attention to a spot west of the ruined keep. Something just shined there, ever so briefly. As you strain your eyes to see better, you can tell there are several leafless trees at the location in question. Some ominous shapes are hanging from two of the trees' lower branches.
** Atross climbs down from his horse and pulls up his bow. "Looks like it was a keep. And it is in the moor if not on it anymore." **
(2157) DM: Flocks of scavenger birds circle the area, occasionally alighting on the things hanging in the trees.
Thom: "Daelan, can you see what is over there?" he points to the spot west of the keep.
(2158) Daelan: " I would say that those over there are the ones who came before us,I would advise to ready your weapons."
** (2149) Yazut steps around Thom, "Death you finds here," he states matter-of-factly, and wanders just ahead and to the east of the ground, around the eastern end of the ruins. **
** Atross commands his bow to alight aflame. "Already ready." **
Thom: "That wasn't what I wanted to hear." he mumbles as he draws out Ringrist.
Thom: "Maybe Yazut, but we have no choice."
Atross: "So shall we go visit our predeceasors?"
(2157) DM: The sword glows with a faint, cold blue light from deep within its core.
** (2144) Morti pets Moiraine in his pocket as he looks to the hung figures **
(2144) Morti: "Maybe they have a map or a key to the premises."
** (2158) Daelan unslings his bow,his left hand hovering over his quiver **
(2144) Morti: :cocks his head: "Or maybe the pranksters are playing with us again."
Thom: "Yep, evil around us. Let's go."
(2158) Daelan: " No this is not the work of Imps or Will'o'Wisps Morti."
** Thom heads forward to the keep. **
** Atross makes his way towards the hanging shapes, commenting as he goes, "Bodies don't hang themselves. And this place should be abandoned in the condition it's in." **
** (2149) Yazut stops wherte he is, near t the ruins, and watches the others, awaiting their actions before proceeding. **
(2158) Daelan: " Atross do not go alone,stay with the rest of us."
** (2144) Morti pulls a bit of cured leather from his hip pouch, as he begins toward the hanging forms. With a bit of chanting and gesticulation, he touches the leather to his chest. A wash of misty blue aura coats his body for a brief second before disappearing. (mage armor) **
** Thom looks around at the entrance to the ruins, awaiting the others before entering them. **
Atross: "Well we're not going to leave them up there are we?"
(2158) Daelan: " Anyone good at looking for traps?"
(2158) Daelan: " They have been there for years Atross,what is a few more days to them?"
Thom: "We can get them down on the way out. Unless you want to just leave them lying in the swamp."
** (2149) Yazut looks to Atross, "Leaves the dead where they die..." **
(2144) Morti: "We should see who they are and how they were killed. It may clue us to dangers ahead."
Atross: "I believe the phrase is leave them where the lie, which they aren't."
(2158) Daelan: " Very well Morti,I will go and see how they met thier end."
** (2144) Morti nods to Daelan and turns to walk toward the hung figures **
(2158) Daelan: " Atross watch the back trail,Thom watch the tower,the rest of you do what it is that you need to do to ready yourselves."
** (2158) Daelan begins to walk towards the figures hanging in the trees **
** Atross tries to keep everything in view, "Very well." **
** Thom keeps a look out on the tower and the ruins in general. **
** (2149) Yazut glances up at the tower, and begins wandering aimless into the ruins.. **
(2157) DM: You arrive at the small group of trees where you saw the glint of light, but what is there makes you stop in your tracks. Hanging from one tree are two bodies, both human females, quite dead. Slumped one behind the other are two armored warriors, pinned to another tree by what seems to be a sharp, narrow slab of rock about three feet long. Someone or something, used the rock as a spear.
(2157) DM: A small body lies on the ground near the trees, pulverized beyond recognition. However, the hairy feet are intact, and you conclude these are the remains of a halfling.
(2158) Daelan: " Giant did this."
** (2144) Morti gives a discomforted groan at the gruesome sight **
(2158) Daelan: " Should I search the dead Morti?"
(2157) DM: The final body is that of a male human warrior, eyes wide with terror, his mouth permanently open in a silent scream of agony. Parts of his armor -- with his body still inside! -- have been pounded impossibly flat, while others are wrenched from odd angles. You wonder what sort of an opponent could or would do such a thing.
(2144) Morti: "Giants live here? Hmph.. figure they'd sink into the swamp."
(2157) DM: Scavenger birds have already started in on the bodies and each corpse is also host to a sickening variety of swamp bugs. Each body has been dead for several days.
** (2149) Yazut halts where he stands, and glances up at the tower again-he plucks something from his pocket, cleches it tight in his fist, wishpers something under his breath, and slowly opens his hand.. **
(2158) Daelan: " Well something quite large used that rock as a spear."
(2157) DM: As one of the hanged bodies swings a little, a belt buckle on the robed woman shines. This is your glint of light.
** (2158) Daelan moves from body to body,quickly checking them over for anything of use. **
** (2144) Morti nods Dael, and goes about examining the corses himself too. Swatting away the carrion feeders he searchers through their belongings for anything of interest, signs of identification or items which would have led them here **
(2157) DM: The ground is littered with broken staves, shattered swords, crushed rings and other small items, and even shields that have been punched through with a fist of great strength.
(2157) DM: Emblazoned on the clothing of some of the dead, etched on some ruined equipment trod underfoot, is the sign of a crimson eagle on a black field.
(2158) Daelan: " Well whatever killed them did so with great strength,any ideas Morti?"
** Thom calls Yazut over to where he is waiting. **
** (2149) Yazut seems transfixed by something, and doesn't respond. **
(2158) Daelan: " This emblem is the same one that Vael was wearing."
** (2144) Morti shrugs. There are lots of strong monsters that could have done this. But at least there don't seem to be any signs of magicks or mighty weapons." **
(2144) Morti: :holds up a swatch of cloth with the symbol, "It's the House of Dres.. I think..."
** Thom makes his way into the ruins to where Yazut is standing. "Yazut?" **
** (2149) Yazut eyes are glazed over, there is no response from him. **
** Thom looks up to where Yazut is staring. **
(2158) Daelan: " Time we should be heading back Morti."
** Atross calls over, "Might be some kind of magicka, want me to get Morti over here?" **
** (2144) Morti nods to Daelan and stands to follow back to the others **
** (2149) Yazut seems to be staring directly at the base of the toiwer rising out of the bog. **
** Thom shakes his head. "He will be here soon anyways." **
(2144) Morti: :he gives one last glance to the scattered remnants of the groups crushed belongings before following
** Thom looks over the tower. **
** (2149) Yazut finally snaps out of the apparent trance, and glances up at the porson speaking to him, "Mmh?" **
** Thom stumbles back a step. **
Thom: "Wow, and I thought Maximillian was insatiable."
Thom: "There is something in that tower - something very hungry. And a little confused."
** (2149) Yazut glances back at the tower, then back up at Thom, "It be -very- big lizard." **
Atross: "Hungry and confused?"
** (2158) Daelan heads back to the others,carrying a piece of the cloth that has the emblem on it. **
** Thom shrugs. "I don't know - just letting you know what I know. **
Thom: "It could be Yazut. We need to be careful." Thom slowly moves to the tower, looking for the entrance.
(2144) Morti: :as he comes back with Daelan: "Lizard?"
** (2149) Yazut frwns at Thom, "No, not *could be*, Yazut says there be big lizard, and there be -very- big lizard. inside there," he says, pointing at the tower. **
(2144) Morti: "What kind of Lizard?"
Thom: "Sorry Yazut, I misunderstood. In that case we know what to avoid, huh?"
** (2149) Yazut looks to Morti, to Thom, then back to Morti, "Big one, mm?" **
** (2144) Morti kneels down: "You saw it?" **
Atross: "I wonder how fast it is. Can it climb, fly?"
(2158) Daelan: " A big lizard? does not sound right,not with what Morti and I saw back there."
** (2149) Yazut pointedly ignored the elf, speaking to Morti, "Yes.." **
** (2144) Morti looks around. "Where?" **
** (2149) Yazut points at the tower yet again, "Beyond walls of tower.." **
(2144) Morti: "Eh?" :looks to the Tower: "You can see through walls?"
** (2149) Yazut cocks a brow at Morti, "Can you not?" **
Atross: "You know, it's not really worth quibbling at this moment. Did you see a silver statue anywhere?"
** (2144) Morti shakes his head. "I don't know much of divination magicka." **
** (2149) Yazut looks at Atross, and shakes his head. **
(2158) Daelan: " I would suffer a guess and say that it is inside guarded by this lizard."
** (2144) Morti takes Moiraine up from his pocket for a breather, as he inquires to Yazut, "Can you describe the lizard?" **
** Thom has moved forward and is checking the area around the tower. **
(2158) Daelan: " I appologize to you Atross and Thom I did not mean to give orders when Morti and I went to check out the dead."
(2144) Morti: "Huh?" :head suddenly spins aside to gawk at Daelan: "D-di-di you just... apol-ogize?"
Atross: "Eh, it happens sometimes. So anyone want to guess what else is in there? Lizards aren't well known for leaving people hanging from trees."
Thom: "Don't worry about it. In the environment of this swamp, you probably have a better idea of what to expect."
(2158) Daelan: " Even I have been known to err Morti."
(2158) Daelan: " Though it is few and far inbetween."
** (2149) Yazut frowns, pondering a moment, "Hard to do so. It be big, scales be dark, dark as
midnight on moonless night.." **
(2144) Morti: "Yeah... but I didn't think you ever apologized." :shurgs and turns back to Yazut: "So, can you describe the lizard?"
(2144) Morti: "How about shape? Does it go on four legs or two? Does int look like a dragon or one of the lizard folk?
(2158) Daelan: " Onyx Drake perhaps."
Atross: "You mean like that skull we saw earlier? And it's confused?"
** (2149) Yazut nods silently to Atross. **
Thom: "And hungry."
Atross: "So probably not chatty and more of the causing harm, curses, and removing limbs sort of mood."
** Thom returns from his search as he catches the end of the comments and adds his own. **
(2158) Daelan: " Any way in Thom?"
Thom: "Probably. But we would have to find some way in first. I couldn't find anything at this point. However, part of the tower is under muck, so it could be buried. In fact - the sinking could be what is confusing the creature."
** (2149) Yazut gestures to himself, "Yazut finds way inside. Big lizard, Yazut thinks, not be happy we pays him visit though.." **
Thom: "Probably not Yazut, but we need that statue."
** (2149) Yazut shrugs, and gestures to the tower, "So you goes. Go! Yazut show you where," he says, and starts towards the tower, glancing towards the section of the ruins where he saw the other creatures.. **
** Thom follows Yazut. **
** (2144) Morti follows after Yazut. "Is Big Lizard awake?" **
(2158) Daelan: " Did he see anything besides the Drake Morti?"
** (2149) Yazut trudges through the muck, "It watches.." **
(2144) Morti: :shrugs to Dael: "So it knows we're here then?"
Thom: "Watches us? It knows where we are?"
** (2149) Yazut stops for a moment, and holds up a finger, "You tells elf, if he wants to asks question of Yazut, he asks Yazut," he states, and continues. **
Atross: "I'm still willing to play the 'What murdered those people and left them hanging in the trees' game. I hear Giants?"
** (2144) Morti looks back to Daeal and just gestures him toward the goblin to speak **
Thom: "Good point, more than likely there are other things around as well.
Atross: "Trolls'd probably not let them go to waste."
(2158) Daelan: " Not sure Atross,but something large used a stone pillar as a spear and crushed another to pulp,only way to tell what it was,was by its feet,three dead male warriors,two dead human females and one halfling.some were wearing the same emblem as the one who captured me Atross.''
Atross: "Sounds like big giants."
Thom: "That might explain why he wanted to send someone else in and not more of his own men."
(2157) DM: Large bugs buzz over the surfaces of pools of stagnant water that dot the entry to the keep. A pair of statues stand silent watch a short distance past the gate. Blocks of rubble, half-sunken in the mire, give evidence that the main gate was originally a more elaborate construction than what remains.
(2158) Daelan: " Something big I can tell you that,they have not been dead that long,maybe a week give or take a day or two,hard to tell with the vultures and such."
** (2158) Daelan stops and stares at the statues **
** (2149) Yazut stops short of the tower, and points at the stataues with his staff, "Watch thems.." **
(2158) Daelan: " Well those are big."
** (2144) Morti eyes the statues, head cocked aside curiously **
** Thom looks at the statues. "Watch them for what?" **

(33) DM: (2157) DM: A pair of statues seven feet tall stand near the entrance to the keep's debris-strewn courtyard. Although time and travails have caused the statues to wear down differently, you can tell that they were originally mirror images of each other. And what an image.
** (2149) Yazut doesn't say anything more, he simply moves a bit more cautiously towatds the tower once they're within sight of the statues. **
Atross: "So now we have big giants. Or statues. Or maybe the lizard."
(2157) DM: Each statue shows a male human clawing away the skin from his chest and shows his heart and ribcage. Each face is contorted in wild-eyed terror, each mouth open in a silent scream of horror. A fat gray spider emerges from the mouth of the right-hand statue and skitters down the body, only to be gobbled up by a mottled snake curled at the statue's feet.
Thom: "But we just came from that way..."
(2157) DM: And that is when you notice the feet...or lack of them. Instead of feet, you see that each statue's legs below the knees have been replaced with a stone carving of a writhing mass of tentacles.
(2144) Morti: "Someone has a weird taste in art."
Thom: "Anything about Screaming Statues?"
** (2158) Daelan laughs **
(2158) Daelan: " So is this the way in Glamhath?"
** Thom keeps an eye on the statues, but also glances back to Yazut. **

(26) Sevis Goloens: "Those statues are disturbing, whoever carved them must have been quite insain"
** (32) Zane watches the statues, still unsure of what he is supposed to be watching for exactly. **
** (32) Thom watches the statues, still unsure of what he is supposed to be watching for exactly. **
(32) Thom: "Maybe it is supposed to be some kind of warning to those that think about entering. I'm thinking twice about it..."
(39) ticattack (exit): 22:10
(40) ticattack (enter): 22:10
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (40) ticattack...
** (37) Morti cocks his head about as he approaches the entranceway. A good ways back, he stops, holds out his hands and focuses his senses forth (detect magic toward the statues) **
** (26) Sevis Goloens nods "And Yazute said there was a large Lizard in there, Why is it we are here again? Oh yes to get a chalis to break a curse. Well if the cup is inside, there isnt much point in hanging around out here" **
whispering to Morti, there IS a slight aura about them. abjuration perhaps?
(37) Morti: "Hmmm... they have some magick about them. Doesn't seem to strong though."
** (32) Thom calls ahead to where Yazut had proceeded as everyone else stands before the statues. "Yazut, want to fill us in on what is happening?" **
** (32) Thom shifts Ringrist a little, getting a good grip on the weapon. **
(37) Morti: (Is there room to slip behind the statues toward the entrance rather than passing between them?)
(40) ticattack (exit): 22:19
(41) ticattack (enter): 22:19
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (41) ticattack...
whispering to Morti, yes
(37) Morti: "Umm... maybe we chould go behind the statues rather than between them. i'm not sure what magicka is on them."
(32) Thom: "Yazut seems to have an idea, even if he's not sharing it."
(33) DM: (so what's happening folks?)
(32) Thom: (( I guess we are waiting on Yazut, as he had asked us to watch the statues and wandered off... Unless his idea doesn't work, and then we try something else. ))
(25) Yazut: ((Oh, no, no. Watch them, as in be careful of them. Heh heh.))
(32) Thom: (( Yeah, now he clarifies... ))
(32) Thom: "Ok Morti, let's try that. The sooner we get this over with and out of this swamp, the better."
(37) Morti: "Hhaaaiii..."
** (32) Thom steps to the side and tries to walk around the statues, being sure to not pass between them. **
** (37) Morti watches thom curiously, wondering if he was even right. **
** (26) Sevis Goloens looks at Morti "What was that?" **
(37) Morti: "Eh?" :glances to Sevis:
(32) Thom: (( So, what parts of this keep are sunk? I can't recall now, nor find my notes. ))
(26) Sevis Goloens: "The Hhaaii noise you made." **Shrugs and follows Thorm**
** (37) Morti blinks at Sevis, cocking his head aside as he thinks it over. After a moment he just shrugs and offers incomprehensably: "I 'unno." **
** (25) Yazut creeps carefully through what remains of the courtyards to stand finally at the base of the tower, then glances over his shoulder to watch the progress of the others. **
(42) Donovan (enter): 22:32
(25) Yazut: ((Hurrah, Atross.))
** (32) Thom approaches Yazut. "Yes, I already looked around the tower, and if there is a direct enterance, it is already buried in the swamp." ((Praying that I remember that correctly...)) **
(33) DM: The courtyard was entirely paved with flat stones at one time, judging by the frequency with which you find them sticking out of the ground. However, most of the surface is wet mud, rubble, puddles of fetid water, and unhealthy looking plants and trees.

A mostly levelled building lies directly in the middle of the courtyard. Some of the walls along the perimeter of the keep are still standing, as are some small buildings adjacent to the walls.

Swamp water covers the eastern side of the keep, ranging from a depth of several inches in the northeast corner to several feet in the southeast corner. It is apparent that this section of the keep has sunk beneath the surface of the swamp. In sharp contrast, the northwest corner of the keep is elevated, as though it has been actually blasted up from beneath. A long fissure cuts diagonally from the west wall to the north wall, separating the elevated portion from the part of the courtyard that remains at ground level. Farther to the east, the submerged section of the courtyard is separated from the rest of it by a large crack that cuts through the north wall to the south wall.

The air is clammy and still, punctuated only by odd, random sucking sounds that do not seem to come from any one direction.

Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (42) Donovan...
(37) Morti: :groans: "Too bad I don't know any earth moving magicks." :turns back with a grin: "Yet..."
** (25) Yazut cocks a brow, then glances over his shoulder at the tower, trying to guesstimate its inner structure, "Oh, that not be problem. Yazut can still gets in, very easy." **
(32) Thom: "Well, let's see it then."
** (25) Yazut turns back to Thom, and shakes his head, 'No." **
(32) Thom: "No? Then why around stand here?"
** (26) Sevis Goloens looks a little confused **
(25) Yazut: "Just says Yazut can do this if he wants to, just so you knows."
(26) Sevis Goloens: "Wonder what caused the cracks" **Looks around for a dry path that leads someware**
(32) Thom: "Fine, thanks for sharing." (slightly annoyed tone) Thom then looks around himself for a moment.
** (42) Atross found the F12 macro key **
(32) Thom: (( the tower is in the southeast corner, yes? ))
(43) ticattack (enter): 22:42
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (43) ticattack...
(33) TaliesinNYC: (Jarvis, send me your node.)
(41) ticattack (exit): 22:43
(25) Yazut: ((Northeast))
(25) Yazut: ((Yeah?))
** (37) Morti looks follows around the statues, and looks over the tower's structure for windows or considerable cracks they could exploit for entry. **
(37) Morti: "Maybe in the fissure there's a tunnel to the tower."
(32) Thom: (( so the tower is at position 11 on the map? ))
(43) Jarvis: ((Aye. I'll have to do one up. I don't normally use them, and I reinstalled Open, I lost it. Workin' on it now.))
(33) DM: ((midtower, yes. several windows that a human in bulky armor can just maange to squeeze into or out of.))
(37) Morti: (how high up?)
(33) DM: ((the tower is beyond the door in the wall where 15 is))
(33) DM: ((70' high))
** (37) Morti points for the high window. "Can we go in through there?" **
** (25) Yazut glances up at the window, "Yazut can gets to window, yes. That not be problem." **
(42) Atross: "Looks like we may fit, if we can reach it."
(26) Sevis Goloens: "Well lets go someware, just standing here is pointless, we will not learn more about where this cup is without looking around"
(43) Jarvis: "I can get up there easily enough, but the rest of you might have some trouble." He turns to Morti. "Any magick that might help here?"
(37) Morti: :scratches his head: "Well.. I could teleport up there with a couple of you."
** (25) Yazut nods twice, "Yazut can does that, too." **
** (32) Thom heads to the north slightly to a couple of the small structures that somehow managed to remain standing. ((11 and 10)) He approaches one ((11 first) and peeks in, to see if there is any other way to the tower, or anything that can help. **
(42) Atross: "The place looks old enough that it may be easier to climb, if it's not too mossy."
** (25) Yazut glances at Thom's meanderings, and starts off after him. **
(37) Morti: "Heh.. I can just float up there."
** (43) Jarvis shrugs. "I'll take a look up there, anyway. If there's anything interesting, I'll come and get the rest of you." He looks at the window for a moment, crouches down and jumps into the air, thrusting his arms out wide as he does so. In the blink of an eye, feathers erupt from his skin, he shrinks and an eagle soars up the window. **
** (25) Yazut holds a finger up as he's walking off, "Yazut can does that, too!" **
whispering to ticattack, a strong acrid smell emanates from the open window
(37) Morti: "I believe it." :calls after Yazut happily:
** (42) Atross roughly follows Thom, heading towards the nearest door, while his bow blazes quietly. **
** (26) Sevis Goloens follows the others quietly **
** (32) Thom approaches the first door (to 11)) and opens it, looking inside for a moment before stepping in to better search the building. **
(33) DM: As you (Thom) approach one of the doors, the flagstones in the courtyard suddenly erupt and a mass of squirming, mewling sickly white, bloated worms appears in front of you. Each of them has a human head...
(33) DM: You estimate there are at least 30 of them.
(26) Sevis Goloens: "Eww, what are those?"
(32) Thom: "Bad place to be." he says to the worms as he prepares to swing Ringrist.
** (26) Sevis Goloens gets in a combat stance seeing Thom draw his sword **
(37) Morti: :answering Sevis: "Disgusting."
** (42) Atross raises his bow and takes aim at the nearest of the squirming mismatched monstrosities. **
(32) Thom: (( actually, Ringrist was already drawn, see the log. :P ))
(42) Atross: "Numerous, too."
(33) DM: (init, not Jarvis since he can't exactly see you)
(26) Sevis Goloens: INIT: [1d20+9] -> [11,9] = (20)
(32) Thom: Initiative: [1d20+9] -> [10,9] = (19)
** (25) Yazut stops dead in his tracks, and cocks his head, "Uhm," he begins, pointing at the beasties, "Don't let thems touch you!" **
(42) Atross: Initiative: [1d20+5] -> [5,5] = (10)
(25) Yazut: Initiative: [1d20+2] -> [2,2] = (4)
(37) Morti: init: [1d20+2] -> [14,2] = (16)
** (42) Atross nods, "Never plan to." **
(32) Thom: "That's usually the plan."
(33) DM: (20, Sev)
** (26) Sevis Goloens looks to Yazut "Why not?" ((Delay untill they one gets close enough to hit)) **
(48) No Name (enter): 23:05
(33) DM: (Thm, 19)
(32) Thom: (( how close are they to me, since I just graduated to 'front line'... ))
(33) DM: ((assume 10'. for the record, not using minis. assume you're within 30' of the door where 10 is, and the worm things are directly in front of you.))
** (32) Thom sees the sheer number of the things and decides to take a moment to prepare himself (defensive stance) and wait until they have moved to him. **
(43) ticattack (exit): 23:11
(33) DM: Each of the worm-like creatures turns their eyes towards you and smiles a rictus grin. They begin to raise a commotion straight out of your nightmares.
(33) DM: (16, Mort)
(49) ticattack (enter): 23:13
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (49) ticattack...
** (37) Morti wheels about on his hel, to face toward his threatened friend. Pulling a bit of this and that from his hip pouch, he encants cryptic words and waves his hands about, a cloud of sparking powder frothing in the air, before he flings it outward careening through the air to form as a large ball of roiling flames, ornamented with a howling mask of blue fire before Thom, right atop the worm closest to him. (flaming sphere: [2d6] -> [6,5] = (11) **
(37) Morti: "Here's hoping they don't like fire."
(37) Morti: (reflex dc 15)
whispering to TaliesinNYC, [1d20] -> [4] = (4)
(33) DM: The mass of mewling worms is engulfed within the flaming morass...
(33) DM: It doesn't appear as if there are any survivors.
(37) Morti: 0.0
(33) DM: They raise a death scream that makes your hair stand on end.
(37) Morti: :shivers:
(26) Sevis Goloens: "Good job, they burn well apperantly"
** (32) Thom stares at the burnt corpses a moment, shaking off the death scream, before looking over his shoulder at Morti. "Very nice work." **
(49) ticattack (exit): 23:19
(42) Atross: "Quite well done. I don't think they'd be very tasty anyway."
** (25) Yazut halts bites his tongue quickly to preserve his spell, his nose wrinkling up at the stench, he glances up at Sevis, "Dumb question! Why you think you not wants big ugly worm with ugly face like hims," he gestures to Thom,"..not wants to touch you?" **
(37) Morti: :The masked ball of flame opens it's blue maw, belching out hot air to make an almost laughing sound at it's enemy's demise.
** (32) Thom glances at Yazut but turns back forward again and continues on to the door (to 11). **
(50) ticattack (enter): 23:23
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (50) ticattack...
** (25) Yazut glances from Sevis to Morti, and frowns, "Uhm. That Yazut not can do. Much teach some time." **
** (42) Atross proceeds cautiously. (This ends up not looking very different.) **
** (37) Morti smiles proudly to the smaller more experienced mage, "Of course senior."

** (26) Sevis Goloens shrugs and continues toward the door they were heading for **
(37) Morti: :While they move on to the door, Morti directs his masked ball of fire to roll about the flagstone a bit, patroling for anymore worms before the spell poofs out.
(33) DM: It seems to have caught the stragglers...
(33) DM: The door seems to be closed.
(33) DM: Compared to the other structures in the courtyard, this structure is quite clean.
(33) DM: (relatively speaking)
** (32) Thom tries to open the door, and if locked - he will look at it quizzically for a moment before taking out his tools and unlocking it. **
(33) DM: (its locked, yes)
(32) Thom: (( then I make it unlocked. :P ))
whispering to TaliesinNYC, [1d20+23] -> [5,23] = (28)
(51) ticattack (enter): 23:34
(33) DM: The door comes open easily. Inside is a sparse room with a stone block two feet to a side, and a statue looming behind it. The statue is a representation of a winged, robed human clutching an hourglass in one arm and a scythe in the other. The hourglass is on a chain, and the chain's other end is attached to a neck collar, forever linking the figure and the hourglass.
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (51) ticattack...
(33) DM: There seems to be a feeling of sanctity here.
(32) Thom: "Lovely, more art."
** (32) Thom steps in and looks around the room to see if there are any other doors out. **
(50) ticattack (exit): 23:36
(33) TaliesinNYC: (nope)
(33) DM: Besides the stone block and the statue, the room is seemingly empty.
** (37) Morti allows the flaming sphere to disipate into so much smoke and heat waves, offering to it in passing, "Thanks again." Then he follows after Thom to peak into the new room. **
(26) Sevis Goloens: "Interesting statues in this place"
(37) Morti: "Hmmmm... looks like a room in a temple."
** (32) Thom turns back to head out and just about rns into Morti. "Nothing here, maybe the next one." **
(42) Atross: "Hmm, it's definitely a statue. Maybe the previous tenant was a collector of some kind."
** (37) Morti steps into the room to examine the statue and around it for any scripture or other markings **
whispering to ticattack, so what now?

** (32) Thom makes his way out and to the next building ((10)), checking to see if it's door is also locked. **
(33) DM: ((you mean 11. you were in 10.))
(52) ticattack (enter): 23:39
(33) DM: ((if you meant 11, then I messed up.))
Attempting to assign the role of PLAYER to (52) ticattack...
(33) TaliesinNYC: Booting '(51) ticattack' from room...
(51) ticattack (exit): 23:40
(25) Yazut: ((yeah, he was approaching the door to 11))
(32) Thom: (( ok - Thom chenged his mind and went to 10 first. ))
(32) Thom: (( now he's headed to 11. :P ))
** (32) Thom makes his way out and to the next building ((11)), checking to see if it's door is also locked. **
** (26) Sevis Goloens stays behind a moment to give the statue a look over **
** (32) Thom enters the next building with no difficulty. **
** (37) Morti shrugs and clasps his hands in prayer as he stands before the statue. Piously he offers, "If you are a god, please allow us safety within the home of your former followers." The fact that he doesn't know who the statue represents or what sanctity would remain in a ruined city, seem rather moot. **
** (37) Morti then drops a couple silver pieces on the block in sacrifice and heads out after Thom **
(33) DM: A blast of humid, rancid air welcomes you as you open the door. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you realize that the eastern half of the room has collapsed into a swampy mire. A couple of slime-covered boulders are poking out of the ooze.

The dry portion of the room has piles of old, warped wooden bowls, a fire pit with ancient ashes, and some extremely rusted tools that might be cooking utensils.

** (25) Yazut gives Morti a puzzled look as he exists the building, and follows after him. **
(33) DM: (hold a bit)
(33) DM: As Morti drops the coins on the altar, an image appears in the room.
(33) DM: It's the Tempest.
(37) Morti: "Eh?" :looks back to the image slowly and freezes: "Uh....."
(37) Morti: :stiffly holds up a hand in greeting: "H-hi...."
** (26) Sevis Goloens looks up from the statue as the image appears and then looks to Morti **
(33) DM: ** The Tempest leans back in her throne, languidly, as she watches the party leave her throne room with Borjad, then plucks a fig from a shining bowl on a pedestal next to her and begins inspecting it casually. Well, it's not a bowl, but rather a human skull that's had its top sliced off and its exterior polished rather smoothly. **
(522) The Tempest: You know, Lexin, we really should step up the pace of executions. The people are becoming restless, Lexin. I can feel it. They have little faith in their ruler. That is hardly acceptable, don't you think?
(522) Lexin: Quite, Magnificence.
(522) The Tempest: In fact...I'm certain that there is one remaining faithhold in the city. And we really can't have priests running around. Priests are dangerous, Lexin. They represent thought apart from the law. And to introduce thoughts that DEVIATE from the law is inherently unjust, or do you not agree? (glances at Lexin)
** Lexin forces himself to look at the Tempest, and cause his face to become a blank mask. "Yes, Magnificence. All the better to bathe in the light of your radiance." **
** The Tempest smiles sweetly as she gazes on the courtier for a few moments. "You see. You understand, Lexin. And I cannot, shall not tolerate any who do not follow the laws laid down by my hand. For to rebel against my rule is to rebel against the King of this land. (purrs in satisfaction) **
(522) The Tempest: Therefore, be it known that this day, we find Regnak of the Ulu'taari guilty as a thief caught with his hand inside a tillbox. He is to be hung from the neck until dead and then drawn and quartered.
** Lexin swallows audibly and bows low. "As you command, Magnificence." **
** The Tempest takes a healthy bite of the fig and settles back into her chair. "Now, is there aught else?" **
(522) Lexin: Yes, Magnificence. You have a visitor.
(522) The Tempest: Hmph. Well, bring him in then. Or her. I haven't got all day. I have an execution to attend. (fingers her necklace, grinning)
(522) DM: There is a commotion in the rear of the hall. The doors to the throne room are thrown open, and a guard fully clad in plate mail is hurled into the room. He strikes a stone column with a sickening crunch and falls to the ground, unmoving.
(522) The Tempest: Who dares?!? (rises from her throne suddenly, blue lightning crackling from the tips of her fingers)
(522) DM: A second guard is hurled into the throne room this time, with a sword jutting through his breastbone. He lands in a heap, his entrails splattering on the marble floor.
(522) DM: Seconds later, an armored figure strides into the chamber, as a deathly silence settles. Courtiers stand openmouthed, ready to bolt.
(522) Melisana Rothovien: My mistress is unaccustomed to having her wishes ignored, you who call yourself "The Tempest". I am here to ensure your obedience.
** Melisana Rothovien unsheathes her sword, its blade glowing with an intense blue light, its ebon hilt absorbing the radiance. "Strike me at your peril, daemon." **
** The Tempest grins broadly. "With pleasure. It has been quite a long time since our last meeting, and you will find that I am more fully in command of my Art than when we first met." (summons a ball of lightning into being as she prepares to hurl it at the Cyradian) **

(33) Melisana Rothovien: So. You've learned something new since our last encounter. I'm not surprised. (moves into a battle stance)
(33) The Tempest: Your pride will be your undoing, mercenary. (chuckles)
** The Tempest hurls a ball of scintillating purple lightning at the Cyradian with deadly accuracy. **
** Melisana Rothovien easily sidesteps the sphere, not bothering to glance behind her as the lightning ball slams into a hapless courtier who tried to escape. **
(33) Melisana Rothovien: Show yourself, daemon! Show these poor wretches who they follow here in this city!
** (37) Morti approaches the alter, eyes wide as he watches the scene raptly **
** Melisana Rothovien advances, sword at the ready, her knuckles gripping the haft of the blade so hard that they turn white with effort. **
** (42) Atross watches the scene unfold from through the open door. "Interesting statue. Morti seems to have a way with these things." **
** The Tempest curls her upper lip in contempt and gesticulates rapidly with her left hand, opening it palm out in an upturned gesture as crackling purple lightning streaks upwards and envelops her inside a scintillating sphere of electrical energy. "This should keep you busy for some time while I make my escape." (chuckling evilly) **
(33) DM: The vision fades as the silver coins on the altar crumble to dust and vanish.
(37) Morti: :answering Atross without turning his eyes from the scene: "Sacrifice is good for the soul." :points to his coins:
(26) Sevis Goloens: "That was, umm, interesting"
** (37) Morti looks to the crumbled coins and quickly reaches for another couple of coins, putting them down on the slab. **


[note from Stan:  I don’t have the rest of log Dam70.  as I recall, we stopped shortly after this.]

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