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OOC: We last left our adventurers after their defeat of a couple warforged and a giant tree-cutting construct. Our gnoll remembered it was Friday this time and we had a special guest – my geek boy was in town and played the part of Oko, the wimpy kobold cleric from the Siberys kobold tribe.
We travel two days back to the dryad’s tree, only to find it ripped from the ground by some powerful force. The gnoll drops everything and sprints to the tree, howling in agony. He hugs the tree and cries out in a tongue I don’t recognize. The kobold stands by him, looking concerned and terrified.
It is then that I see the naga approaching us, accompanied by a drow. But this isn’t one of my people. He has the dark skin and white hair, but he lacks tribal markings. He wears a chain shirt studded with a single Khyber shard and does not appear to be carrying any weapons. I draw my bow and aim at him. The others look at me like I’m crazy, but I know what he is and he is not to be trusted.
He holds up his hands. “I’m unarmed… mean no harm…” he blubbers.
The gnoll interrupts our lovely moment by exclaiming, “We must kill prisoners before they are released!” I keep the Sulatar in my peripheral vision and look towards the gnoll. He is shoving something into his mango bag and climbs down a gaping hole left in the ground where the dryad’s tree once stood. I try to convince him that the Sulatar killed the tree, but apparently I am not convincing.
“P-please don’t point that thing at me,” the Sulatar begs.
“If you kill him, I get his threads,” Hakim grins. Indeed, the Sulatar’s shirt would make a fine…. dress for the halfling. I’ll try not to bloody it too much when I kill him.
I accuse the Sulatar of performing salacious deeds on giants and tell him that he deserves to die.
“Don’t you wonder why I’m not with my people?” he asks.
I point out that I’m not with my people either, but that doesn’t make me hate him any less.
“I’m unarmed!” he blubbers. “How can I prove to you that I mean no harm?”
Meanwhile, the rest of the party is heading down the hole and we are the last two on the surface. I gesture with my bow towards the hole. “Go down the hole first.” He grabs hold of the rope and begins to climb down into the hole.
Now I’m not one for wasting energy, so I jump into the hole, bow still pointed at the Sulatar and let my Ring of Featherfall do the work. As I drift down the hole, I ponder shooting him in the back while he is defenseless. But, as much as I hate him, he may have useful information, so I let him live, at least until I get something out of him.
I arrive at the bottom before the rest of the party and rest my arms, keeping the arrow nocked just in case. There is a glowing Eberron shard on the ground which I pick up and toss into my bag. Finders keepers! The hole plunges into darkness and I hear Hakim whimper.
The gnoll, who is furthest down the rope, begins to narrate.
“Still climbing,” he grunts. “Still climbing. More rope. More rope. Still climbing. Ok, ground here.”
Slowly the party reconvenes, except Hakim, who I assume is hiding somewhere being afraid of the dark. As usual. We are in a round room with a rubble floor. There are five round slots in the wall and a lever on the ground. The Sulatar points out that there is writing above each of the slots. Since I am the only one who reads Draconic besides the wimpy kobold, I walk over and read the text out loud:
“This is the prison of the giant.”
It’s inscribed over all five slots. The gnoll has pulled a silver orb out of his bag and is comparing it to the slots in the wall.
“PUT IT IN THE THING!” he shouts.
“Where I come from, we call this the ‘oops method‘”, Hakim warns from the shadows.
The gnoll puts the orb into the center hole and Name pulls the lever. A glowing ramp appears, humming as it stretches upwards into the hole, connecting to four doors that I had not noticed on my descent. Hakim tries to pull the orb from the hole and fails.
“Let’s go up ramp!” The gnoll runs ahead.
“Is the gnoll the leader?” the Sulatar asks. We all crack up into hysterical laughter. The gnoll stops and turns around. “What funny?” he asks. We wipe the tears from our eyes and follow the gnoll up the ramp.
As I take in the features of this place, I realize we are in a prison constructed by dragons. It’s obviously designed to hold something big. I let the party in on this information and the gnoll’s face contorts with an expression of both fear and annoyance. Hakim pipes up, “I’ve always wanted to be a dragon.” I don’t want to ask.
We go through the first doorway into a long dark hall. Our footsteps echo no matter how quietly we attempt to walk. Voices bounce down the hall and Hakim gestures for us all to be silent. The voices are getting closer. Hakim fades into the wall.
A light approaches. The Sulatar hides. I ponder pulling out the glowing Eberron shard and putting it on his body so he’d make an easy target for whatever is coming. The gnoll and Name are still moving forward, so I hang back and wait until they encounter the source of the voices.
We see a humanoid and a giant metal ape approaching us. The humanoid is wearing a glowing pendant. The Sulatar says something out loud which echoes down the hallway with alarming volume, causing the humanoid and ape to stop in their tracks. I knew I should have killed him before jumping in the hole.
The two speak in a language none of us recognize, save the name of the house Dennith, which we had heard the warforged speak of some days before at the kobold camp.
The gnoll charges at them and the kobold throws up his arms to bless us and then scrambles away to hide. The humanoid pulls a wand and blasts the gnoll, hitting him hard. I discover that our resident giant-lover is in fact not unarmed, but is a caster himself. He begins to cast on the ape and eventually takes it down with the help of Hakim. Name brings the mage down, where he lay barely breathing on the ground.
The naga begins to work to stabilize the mage while we tie him up and take off his magic items. We find three wands as well as a brightly glowing necklace. The Sulatar roots through the mage’s bag, pulls out a book, and begins to flip through it.
We try a few different languages, but the mage appears to understand none of them. “Maybe you understand this!” the gnoll growls, kicking the mage, who falls unconscious again. The naga brings him back and we finally find a language that the mage speaks, albeit poorly. Halfling.
He is from the House Dennith and is exploring the ruins to find some source of power. Hakim is convinced that Dennith is a talking house (after all, there was a flying boat). Sometimes I am floored by his utter ignorance of everything.
Hakim asks about the laws of the “talking house” and the mage explains that there are many laws for each house and that the houses are governed by the Council of the 12 in Stormreach.
Meanwhile, the book has been passed from the Sulatar to the kobold. “I can’t read Draconic,” the Sulatar says. He’s going to trust a kobold with the intelligence of a soiled loincloth to read this book? I knew he was a Sulatar, but I didn’t know he was that stupid.
Hakim asks the mage what he knows about the prison and he says all he knows is what is written in the book.
After pulling what information we could out of our prisoner, discussion turns to his fate. The argument lasts forever because half of us want to kill him and the other half want to leave him tied up for later.
“Break all his fingers!” the gnoll exclaims. “He can’t cause trouble with fingers broken. TELL HIM!”
Hakim translates this into Halfling and the prisoner doesn’t look nearly scared enough. Sometimes I wonder about Hakim’s translation skills.
“Where is my book?” the mage asks. The kobold and Sulatar are discussing the book and I hear bits and pieces about primordial forces, giants, and a jail. We travel to the end of the hallway to find it dead-ends into a big square room with slots in the two far corners identical to the slots in the bottom chamber. One slot already has an orb in it. The gnoll tries to pull it out and fails.
Our magic users determine that something is trapped in an astral pocket in the room. We can’t see it, but it is there.
Meanwhile, I have snatched the book from the kobold to read it myself. The jail contains four cells for the four primordial forces and one for the giant. The kobold points out the part that says the forces are at their weakest when they are separated from each other.
I begin working to disable the slot and retrieve the orb. It takes me a couple hours, but I manage to get it out. Nothing happens. I put the orb in my bag and we go back to the central room to make camp, dragging our prisoner along with us.
The gnoll puts on the mage’s lavender robe. It stretches tight across his broad shoulders and the hem reaches to mid-thigh. It gapes open at the center. But the gnoll appears pleased with his new threads and it is an improvement on his previous attire.
I sleep with one eye on the Sulatar and my hand on my bow.