Dawn of the Red Moon

24 Legs
In Which "Squishy" Gains a Phobia

(11.3.2008)

The Dragonborn should have known better than to walk with the female Human.

Among the Unshackled it is often said that "Warriors cannot fight enemies and themselves at the same time," and that "Females are the supreme adversary."

Rhomaug carried on a desultory conversation with the wizardess, Alundra, as the morning ripened and the party retrod the trail from Baldur's Gate to [Hotel Goblinfornia]. When the taciturn woman fell silent, the bladesman pondered the aromas and visual signals from the female, trying to learn if the Human was friend or foe. Humans were not strangers to Rhomaug, but he had never had prolonged exposure to one, or any as friends.

The witchsword also reflected on his unseemly ways in relation to his race. Unlike most of his brethren he was interested in language and writing, and in matters of the mind as much as of the flesh. He also had a growing appreciation for the females of other species. It occurred to the just-past-adolescent male that Dragonborn are an awkward hybrid of dragon and human, and so it only made sense on one level for there to be a fascination — and dread — concerning other sorts of being.

The Human, like her male relative, Eldarion, was spare with her words, and yet in her face Rhomaug thought he saw traces of….

Rhomaug noticed with annoyance and alarm that Eldarion, who had been walking point with the enamored Halfling, had suddenly broken from the trail and run back to some rocks the Dragonborn and Human were just now passing. `Maug felt a sinking sensation as he realized he had not been paying nearly enough attention to the tactical situation.

With that much warning, the Halfling shrilled a cry of shock and pain and a bristling, leggy brown spider larger than she was upon her, biting at her.

In a blink there was another spider and Rhomaug, furious with himself, ran into the fray. The Halfling was gashed and stabbed and bleeding profusely, staggering, trying weakly to defend but obviously having trouble. Snarling, the Unshackled began swinging the recently-acquired enchanted blade at the first attacker, but a third monster sprang from nowhere and landed right next to the falling comrade, Nibbles. Rhomaug summoned the power of his training and exchanged places with the stricken Halfling, facing her with one opponent and placing himself in the very fangs of two chittering fiends. They were very fast and large and their poision chilled the Dragoborn's heart.

Preparing to unleash a lightning charge through his blade, Rhomaug's heart faltered and his vision dimmed, flickered, and then he saw nothing, heard the distant sounds of a muffled battle, and felt death washing about his insides like dead gray fish in a darkening, warm pond….

Then Rhomaug's lips burned and his gut twisted as if a small fire had been kindled inside. He opened his eyes and above him was the human, Alundra, gazing into his focusing eyes, her own blinking and going from some unreadable expression to one Rhomaug was very familiar with … anger.

As he struggled to his feet, shrugging off the carcass of the largest of the spiders which had died on top of the Dragonborn, the Wyrm-man saw Alundra standing next to the Drow female (who had moved up from her "drag" position and was emitting a disturbing vibratin that seemed to repel the monsters), both sending horrible, wonderful forces of arcane might at the spiders. Rhomaug shook his head to bring the tripled images close enough to one for him to make out that the Halfling was down and far, far too still.

Like the savage bite of orc-peppers in a stew, Rhomaug had come to enjoy the runtish little female who, when the need was great, proved to be a worthy comrade in battle. To see her lively face twisted in the memory of pain, if breathing at all, too shallowly to be seen, angered the witchsword. He knealt beside the ridiculously small person and found her worst injuries and pinched them shut fiercely, slowing the loss of her blood. When her rosey complexion began to return and oust the sickening gray-green palor of the spider poison, Rhomaug stepped back to the side of the arcane women and sent his blade to support their attacks, but they had little need of his feeble assistance, and in an instant more the spiders were dead, Eldarion's own body lying near death right next to one eight-legged corpse.

Rhomaug's mind thawed slowly from the fog of near-death, the jangling alarm of a potion and the ebbing tide of filthy poison, and the party revived Eldarion and made camp.

Uxia, the Drow princess, was giddy with the acquisition of provender apparently more to her liking than trail rations. His own health slowly returning, and a perverse sense of justice sparking him, Rhomaug asked to sample a leg. Perhaps the Drow knew something of exotic food he might find enjoyable. In fact, the flavor was palatable enough, if bland, but he liked the crunch of the chitenous exoskeleton on the leg followed by the pulping of the tender meat inside….

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Char'rissen dal Uxia d' ilta iston lu' tangin:
Messages from Uxia on her nights and days:

10/26/08 There has been much travelling since last I wrote. We talked with the ‘sacrifice’ or flaming fist spy who was travelling with the cultists. She bargined her fate with us- I felt this was quite risky but we’ll see what will happen when we return.

The party is continuing toward the manor and as we do so we have been encountering several more entities than I would have expected.

The first, and goodness knows why he did, was a tiefling lady who was resting after obviously a long day of slaughter as one could tell from the four hanging bodies adorning the trees beside her… the lizard-thing Rhomaug woke her from her slumber and asked if she needed assistance. After some urging we left her to sleep once more.

Second there was a rather long caravan, though where it came from escapes me now, it was heading for Baldur’s Gate. I just know there were some delicious, perhaps even exotic foods in those wagons. I wish the theives who travel with us could have pulled some out for us but it seems their morals won out and we are left with nothing but the journey rations like before. I’m so tired of that bland, grating flavor! I want sweet fruit, savory spider meat… even the rats in that manor aren’t looking bad except that I know they’re diseased after what’s happened to Alundra.

At night I took my usual shift on guard when toward an outcropping of stones I heard something… saw something… Naturally going to investigate I was attacked by several males. Fortunately the others came when I shouted and we defeated them handily. They simply wanted to rob us, which irritated me more than anything. We took a number of their goods in the end… the last being a bag holding that black flying lizard.

11/2/08 ...Well. I have spider meat now at least. Several meals worth. It should be noted that it was at quite a cost- three of the party members falling before three, eh, medium sized spiders. They were obviously hunting and found our small companion, the aptly named “Nibbles”, to be the right size for their needs and quickly set about solidifying their ‘plan’. I’m quite thankful for having worn the repulsion armor, which was quite helpful in particular. After the beasts were dealt with our comrades were roused and revived fully. I offered cooked spider meat to each, but only Rhomaug the lizard-thing tried some. I’m fairly sure he won’t be asking me for it in particular later.

In the morning we arrived at the manor and with a little planning the halfling nimbly snatched back the guard’s head. The goblins, suffice to say, have been harboring some rather strong feelings toward us, however that did not seem to come up as an issue then. Our return was swift and uneventful until the lizard-thing and I saw a huge dragon flying toward the city. While I wanted to stay in the relative safty of the forest but conceded to follow it to Baldur’s Gate.

Pillagers, wreckage, there were no Fists standing about, and our enterance of the city seemed unnoticed. Coming to the Flaming Fist headquarters it was clearly a target of the brunt of something’s wrath. Unsure of where to go, we ventured to Rand’s only to find the tower looted and the door open. I was… foolishly bold. Perhaps jauntily walking into the tower and finding Irving Trink’s hand on my collar and the door closed behind me. He suspected me but soon let go. I was given a communication scroll to give to Rand when we found him and told not to go to his store. It seems Trink has no interest in being linked to our party. Self preservation? He left as disagreeable as he presented himself, ignoring “Nibbles” as pushing past Rhomaug.

Upstairs we found a letter and some markings on the wall reading “SIT”. We’re assuming these stand for “Sir Irving Trink”. Rhomaug’s plan was to find Lou- ugh.- and we did. Apparently the city has been ravaged by dragons for a few days now, I assume by the cultists. Without Fists many locations were pillaged and by the end of the night, and by now to no one’s surprise considering our luck, my townhouse was hit as well. Strangely the spider meat remained.

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Quips and Giggles...
...from the mind of Nibbles...

Night of the Festival -

Ok, so I’m having the time of my life padding my pockets on a most sacred night for my lady Selune, the lunar eclipse festival here in Baldur’s Gate. Then, from out of NO WHERE there’s this shocking, rocking pain from my tumtum and I nearly topple over in agony! I did double over, almost screaming in pain, and I see like.. blood? seeping out from under my shoes and in a neat circle around me. I’m not used to bleeding so I want to freak the heck out and run away, but the ground starts shaking violently, and people are flung every which way.

I decided that curling up into a little ball and crying was probably my best bet.

The tree at the center of the market was all that was standing between a small number of people who were not thrown back by the crazy earthquake, and then something was tearing at it like it was busting out of prison with a dull spoon. It was weird to watch, but all I could do from joining the masses of bodies and screaming people. I would have been trampled for sure! It was.. clear, yet metal… shining in the eclipse’s fullest red light, but still not.. it.. I could see directly to the skeleton.

I don’t like skeletons. They’re scary.

It made its way out from under the tree which was looking pretty mangled by now because the dragon thing was almost a hundered.. no TWO HUNDERED times my size! I couldn’t move, and then it growled or said something weird. Can they talk? With those teeth? Yikes. Oh, and THEN it tried to swipe at some guy standing about as far away from the tree as I was, only not facing me, but something weird happened… I don’t know the dragon thing missed or whatever. It was nuts! It flew off to the north west and into a group of guards that had come running up.

By that time I had come to my senses and “assisted” those around me. Most of them were unfortunately passed after the.. oh yeah after the dragon left, the ground where he had come from flew back into place—even the tree! Magic is so weird, I heard that people can get magic stuff happening to them if they go to some places. I think I would want a tail like a monkey. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

Nah, I look too good in these pants. Yeow! Hee hee!

Well, the people that had passed away would have no need for the coins in their pockets, so as a service of my attending to them I took the money that would be useless in their next life. It’s for the best.

So… The guards ran up to me, and I “don’t know what’s going on” so I poked myself in the eye a little and started “crying.” This poor sap bought it and walked me to the office. Of course I didn’t get in trouble! I’m too cute! They had some other people come along too. One was really cute, but he smelt funny… There were some other folks around too, one was passed out and this HUGE kobald was calling her Nancy. Anywhoo, they all kinda sat around and we had to tell the guards what happened, and they like.. well…

They let us go, asking that we talk to some guy the next day. Pfft, right? Whatever, but this GIGANTIC kobald insisted that we went, then they’re all pointing everywhere and start running after this guy after the kobald coughs on him.

Weird. I’m not sure if I’ll fit in with this band of misfits, honestly… There’s one lady that’s really tall and skinny and her skin is dark, but she’s got white white white hair. I think she’s a drow or a wood elf. She’s kinda snippy to me, but the funny smelling human let me have a piggyback ride.

That guy we chased down told us to go to some lawyer’s office. Buh… lame… There was no one there, and it was getting late.

Some halflings like to get their beauty sleep.

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Char'rissen dal Uxia d' ilta iston lu' tangin:
Messages from Uxia on her nights and days:

9/28/08 I was beginning to feel lost in a large crowd despite them keeping their respectful distance from my person… or I suppose that could have been fear. The moon festival was in full swing as I made my way through it’s gathering in order to get some food for the coming days when I suddenly as if I had suddenly met the fate of my sisters, the feeling of knives ripped through my body… I could see blood first pooling at my feet and then it formed a circle which must have envoked some magic as it would seem the apparent cause for the sudden earth rumbling, a large undead dragon emerged from under a large tree. The dragon attempted to attack one of the four others who had apparently also been placed under this spell and failed. It then looked over at a man aiding a woman… or perhaps the tower behind him and bound away.

I was… irritated at best. I decided I should head home, clearly it didn’t intend to return to us so I made for my home once the debris and bodies landed only to be stopped by those infernal Fists. They’re such pests, nosing into other’s business. They escorted myself and the other four, an emotionally unstable halfling calling herself “Nibbles”, two humans- female and male, and a sort of creature which looks much like the lizard mother used to ride as a mount in the Underdark. Nothing happened in their station except we were told to speak with some man named Rand Drannor. How annoying. When we were released the lizard decided he wanted us all to remain close. The woman, “Nancy”, would be held in the station until she awoke, having apparently fainted during the first part of the events of the night.

Apparently this wasn’t enough, though. The first human noticed someone spying on us and after a short chase, ending on my call, he gave word of Sir Trink, a man who deals in information… Information I do not by any means spreading, I’m sure. We investigated and found no one in the store. The plan is to return tomorrow before we find this Rand character.

After dispersing, I went back to the scene of chaos, to the corner it so intently watched and found nothing. I suspect that man and woman might have something to do with the beast.

10/5/08 I slept in, how terrible. The wretched sun was high by the time I made my way back to the store front, “Trink and Trink”. The man was there! His name is Lou and there isn’t much really to note about his on the outset besides the fact his very being makes me want to throw myself onto a bed of rusted blades. Idiocy has no better host besides, perhaps, an elf. The woman was [Martha]. We were told Trink was out on vacation, and if we weren’t so pressed for time to find Rand I would have gladly spent a few more minutes squeezing answers out of the pale worm who sat at the desk.

Rand lives alone it seems, in a tower where he keeps his dragon mythos. The building felt inviting to me, with few windows and thick walls. Perhaps it was simply very much like some of the rooms in the Delyl house. He asked us to return later, so we went back to Trink and Trink only to encounter cultists whom we handily defeated. The wizard, Alundra who the lizard-thing Rhomaug called “Nancy” was quite impressive, however after we dealt with the men several fists came to investigate.

I do NOT like the Fists, and right now I really hate Trink. There was a drow male – quite handsome I would say, and vicious, It would be a lie if I said he would not be a valuable male in any court of mine were I to still have part of one. He decapitated one of the officials with my sickle, no doubt to get me in trouble… The wizard and I explained our way out of the mess and the halfling hid the head. I hope our paths cross again, it’s not everynight I see such delicious…..[Rylgyrn], his name is Rylgyrn…

Rand has asked us to go out of Baldur’s Gate to get him some books from some building overrun by goblins. I am not ecstatic about the newest development, but perhaps I can bring something back for myself.

10/12/08 I hate him. That fowl, disgusting, wretched…

The last few days we’ve been travelling we’ve encountered a pack of kobolds which were going to ambush us, I’m sure, if it were for one of them looking like our companion giant lizard-thing. Besides that we found the building, ruined and filled with goblins like we were told it would be. Alundra and I bought some books from them but before leaving looked about in a few rooms finding mostly just rats but a few other items of interest. The goblins weren’t pleased and tried attacking us, nearly killing our lizard-thing, but were defeated in turn.

The male human, Eldarion spotted seven heads on spears outside, one being the guard from Baldur’s Gate from which hung my sickle. We were followed by Rylgyrn. He’s apparently from the scum of the world, Qu’ellar Druugiir, and tracked us this far to insult me and finally slaughter me. He was slaughtered in turn. I wanted to ask him… so many questions but “Nibbles” dispatched him so quickly… We did find several items on his person including A Letter To Rylgyrn.

10/19/08 During our travels back I heard something following us though, and to my surprise, I couldn’t get a clear look to see what exactly it was. It’s troublesome, but I doubt anything that quick could be a bandit. The mage isn’t doing very well. Sickness setting in due to infection, no doubt… I’ve yet to thank her or the others for their deed paid to me by destroying that Druugiir… I’m not sure how to say it, honestly. Perhaps I will leave my gratitude in the realm of deeds.

We arrived back at Baldur’s Gate, greeted by the guards with glares and suspicion… A few even followed us at a distance. We dropped off the books at Rand’s and had Alundra healed. While we were there, Rand presented us with a scroll with five symbols surrounding a large tree and told us he believes it’s connected, though he isn’t sure exactly what the symbols mean other than one… “hopeless”. He also explained that the Fists have sent out bounty hunters to track us down. He suggested getting a lawyer as well (which got us nothing but yelled at.) To my greatest displeasure Lou followed us from the office to the Fist’s headquarters where we were against made aware of our suspciousness… and the fact they believed that we were the ones who took off that general’s head. Wonderful.

We explained that it was the D—They explained it. My… diplomacy is not the kind suited for these humans. Rhomaug and Eldarion pointed out the drow killed him and then stole his head away as a scare tactic for us. Long story short they’re making us go back and get the head.

On our way out we encountered several men and overcame them but not without loss. Eldarion was incapacitated during the battle and that shadow which followed us quietly appears to have given us aid. As of yet we are not sure how to deal with the human male, but the halfling seems quite upset.

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Diary of a Mad Dragonborn Swordmage

Diary of a Mad Dragonborn Swordmage

(9.28.08)
Arrived in Baldur's Gate by ship. City is a stew of most races. While exploring the town came upon a huge tree in the center of a busy bazaar, in the midst of a festival honoring the lunar eclipse. Knocked to the ground and almost unconscious by blinding pain and the ground began to shake. The earth opened up and huge claws reached out of the chasm and dragged the tree down into the pit. Many people fell into the pit and died, but around the rim were four other people in bubbles of protection, one unconscious. A strange, undead dragon [dracolich] flew up from the lava below and attacked one of the survivors but could not touch him [human male]. The dragon crawled out and went off through the city, attacking the Flaming Fists and turning them undead as well. Some of these guards came to investigate the scene.

In order to protect the unconscious human, a woman, pretended to know her and called her "Nancy." Later learned her name is "Alundra." Went with Fists, carrying "Nancy", to a nearby station to give statements. The other survivor/victims were the human male, Eldarion, a Drow female named Uxia'Delyl and a pink, squishy kobold [halfling] calling herself "Nibbles."

Released by Fists and told to visit the tower of Rand Drannor the next day to see if he could unravel the mystery. While comparing notes outside the station, someone noticed a spy. Went to the corner he used to hide and coughed poison breath around the corner at him, but he was too quick and ran. The four gave chase, Alundra still being unconscious inside, and caught him after a short chase. Claimed to be "Chuck", spying to sell information to "Sir Trink." Thought anyone buying information should also have information, went there to question the man, but the office was closed so waited across the street for him to arrive in the morning. Turned out he was out of town.

(10.5.08)
Went to Rand's tower. Met "Nancy" ... Alundra. Rand is an expert in the affairs of dragons. Said our case was interesting and that he would tell us more if we came back before sundown. Uxia wanted to revisit the shop of Trink & Trink to see if the clerk there was holding out information, but stopped by ambush of nine humans dressed similarly to "Chuck." Beat all but one down to submission, killing one. Nibbles took time to loot the bodies and three Fists arrived to investigate. Gave a report, but a Drow male (Rylgyrn) appeared claiming to have seen everything, and said the cultists (all carried ceremonial daggers with a circle sigil with a dragon inside) were having a peaceful rally. Showed dagger to Fist sergeant but he did not recognize the emblem. Explained innocence and volunteered to go to station and make a full report. Drow agreed to go along. Uxia harassed the male along the way, and he suddenly took her scythe, beheaded the sergeant, laughed at her, dropped the weapon and disappeared in a smudge of blackness. Halfling emerged from the alleys and hid the head, but no time to dispose of the body as other two Fists came to investigate. In the confusion of the witnesses, stepped aside and walked away unnoticed, along with Eldarion the human and Nibbles. Female human, Alundra, dressed after the fashion of a wizard, and Uxia, similarly attired, yet with light armor and weapons, so, a warlock, convinced the Fists that they were also witnesses and not involved in the sergeant's death.

All converged at Rand's, again. Said the tree in the bazaar was a magical seal imprisoning the undead dragon, set by a complex series of rituals. To protect the amalgamated magic, the individual rituals were destroyed … but someone may have rediscovered all of them and reversed the warding. Showed Rand the dagger of the cultists and the emblem … he confirmed that the sigil was that of the Red Moon. Suspect that the cultists liberated the dragon for some evil purpose. Rand said his old mentor had more resources in his ruined manor estate some distance from the Baldur's Gate, but could not explore it because it had become infested with goblins. Agreed to go search the manor for more information.

Met a small band of kobolds en route to the manor. Others suspect they meant to attack us, but one of them … "Joe" ... had a striking resemblance and they turned out to be friendly, funny folk. Hated to leave them but honor demanded faithfulness to the mission.

After two evening rests on the little-used road, shortly before mid-morning, arrived at the ruined estate. Accosted a goblin drawing water from a well, who ran inside the manor. Followed him inside and spoke with the leader, agreeing to pay 4gp to go through the books and papers of the library, which he called "kindling." Leaving, Alundra wanted to explore. Encountered a room filled with rats and killed them. Encountered another room of rats and killed them, as well. This room contained items of interest to alchemists and wizards, and Alundra, Uxia and Nibbles sorted out and took some items. Room was used as a pen for rats as food for the goblins.

(10.12.08)
The goblins came and demanded an explanation for killing the rats. Nibbles explained that the party was preparing a feast for the goblins, but a fight ensued anyway. Goblins were vanquished, but not without cost [down to 2HP before last goblin died].

Just prior to the fight, Eldarion, the human, looked out the window of the room and spotted kobold lances with kobold heads on top … including Joe’s. There was a seventh stick with the head of the Fist sergeant. Someone was following from Baldur’s Gate.

While recovering from the goblin fight, Alundra conjured a floating disc for carrying books and alchemical items. Waited at the front door with Eldarion, keeping an eye on the courtyard, anxious to get out of the manor before darkness and the return of any patrolling goblins, or worse. When pillagers at last loaded to capacity, set out for the city.

Stick with human Fist head turned out to be Uxia’s scythe. The Drow was on the second floor of the manor and attacked with an impressive hand crossbow weapon. Nibbles ran for the wall as Uxia, Alundra and Eldarion maneuvered to attack up into the window where the Drow was hiding, spying on us with a mirror. Charged inside to cut off Drow’s escape route and flank him with those outside. Nibbles scaled the wall nimbly as the others sent Eldritch, magical and missile fire into the window.

Came upon the Drow in the small, ruined chamber, repulsed by an unseen force, but threw Iarunn [longsword] and injured him, to his surprise. Nibbles popped up behind the Drow and mortally wounded him, them committed the coup de grace.

After looting the Drow’s body for valuables and useful items … finding an impressive shortsword and claiming an interest in it … set out again to put distance from the manor for nightfall, on the way back to Baldur’s Gate….

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