The Dwarf Campaign
Grudge Book Excerpts, Part II
Marginal note: Ever since I can remember, I have been able to speak with the stones of the earth. It is not a common ability among my people, but it is not unheard of. Often I would wander the many halls and tunnels of the Citadel, conversing with the walls and hearing their tales of times of old…
Day 24: We returned to the home of the missing alchemist, Norada. The mayor refused to send any members of his Guard with us. Just as well; if you want a job done right, leave it to the dwarves. Kilak and I made a thorough exploration of the house and its grounds. It seems something burst from a container (leaving behind a corrosive slime that nearly did us in), caught aflame, and made a dramatic exit from the opposite side of the house. I also found a bundle of aged love notes addressed to the alchemist from the disgraced wizard Kyristam. I pocketed the letters, as they may prove useful in later dealings with these humans.
Finding nothing else of interest, we returned to the mayor’s house in low spirits. There I had a startling realization. Somehow it had escaped me earlier, but as I stood in the parlor, examining that strange portrait of the old Wizard Guild members, I realized one of the young acolytes was none other than the farmer Aldwald Clootin! I knew it – he was far too nice! Kilak and I, with Harkell in tow, immediately set out for the farmer’s hut. We arrived as night began to fall to find the hearth cold and the inhabitants colder: the whole family was dead.
Well, not the whole family. Aldwald, unsurprisingly, was missing. His name has been added to the List of Grudges. We took the bodies outside and settled in within the house to wait out the night, but our sleep was interrupted when Clootin’s family came knocking. Animated by some kind of foul necromancy, they hungered for our flesh. The Ember put the fear of Dumathoin into them instead and they fled, Kilak cutting them down as they shambled off. A blue glow on the horizon similar to the one we saw back in town gave us some idea of where the necromancy was coming from.
Day 25: We set out at first light in the direction of the blue light from last night. After quite a bit of walking through light woodland, we came at last to a clearing, but it was bare. I felt in my bones there had to be something here, however. A large stone seemed to be looking at me, so I asked it if there was something here we were not seeing. The stone said there was, so I looked again…and there before me stood a great tower! Thanking the stone, I led the way inside.
The interior was clearly the demesne of an arcanist. Strange statues and symbols adorned the floor and walls. We poked around a bit and found a strange device, a cylinder about as wide as a body that passed up into the ceiling. When I tossed my iron pot into it, the pot floated gently up and out of sight. A daring plan occurred to us and we stepped into the cylinder. Sure enough, we were lifted up, passing several floors. We could have stepped out at any of these points, but we stayed in the cylinder until it reached the top level.
Exploring this level yielded little of interest beside my iron pot. Following a stairway up, we came to a small chamber about half the size of the room below. Opening a door revealed the other half of the floor, and it was packed with animated skeletons! Again, Dumathoin’s fire repelled the foul abominations and Kilak sent them back to their final rest. Exploring the room, we determined it was a bedroom – what those skeletons were doing in there is a question best left unasked, but if this is a room belonging to a member of the evil Guild, I think I already know…
It was obviously a room still in use, and among an assortment of clothes and personal items, we found a finely-wrought short sword, a silver ring, a stone bearing strange carvings, and a beautiful sapphire. I took the sword as a backup weapon while Kilak took the gem. No doubt the previous owner would have put these items to evil use anyway. The carven stone exerted a strange hold over me and I examined it closer.
The stone bore strange markings of a type I had never seen before. Just small enough to close my fist around, it was of an amber color although completely opaque. I spoke to it: “Who are you?” Its response was curious: “Throw me into the air!” It repeated this over and over in a monotone voice. Never knowing stones to be much for deceit or treachery, I did so. The stone went up – and stayed up. Indeed, it began circling my head, orbiting about three feet away. Harkel recognized it as one of the legendary Ioun Stones, enchanted items of great age that grant their masters a small benefit. The stone currently circling my head, he said, would help protect me from attacks, presumably by interjecting itself between my vitals and incoming blows. A boon indeed!
Another stairway led up, so we followed. We arrived in some sort of laboratory or study, and there was someone waiting for us. He was blue and translucent. I feared a ghost, yet he seemed less menacing. Perhaps he was just a shade? “Kyristam?” I called.
“Not Kyristam, no! I am his servant, the Ghost Prince Syrisk – and I am your doom!” With that he attacked us with bolts of dark energy. My attempt to turn him away with the flame of the Ember counted little, so instead I infused Kilak with the Strength of Stone. As Harkel sent a bolt of arcane energy at the Ghost Prince, Kilak waded in. A flurry of axe blows and the ghost was no more. My terror quickly abated, though for a moment I thought we had surely met our end.