The Undiscovered Country

Forward Planning

From the notebook of Lady Anarië of Warbeck:

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Never let a Necromancer get bored

Mortimer watched the popular vote, okay, we were going to camp out in a corridor laced with traps by the greatest wizard/necromancer the West had ever seen, Mortimer respected the tomb more than he suspected any of his fellows.. sure they feared it, and rightly so, but he respected it. It demanded observation, study, it punished clinging to material wealth, and it helped to have an army of undead going first. That place just seemed /sensible/ to him.

He looked back over his undead horde, he had 5 clean, fleshless, odourless skeletons aiding him, he suspected this was one of the few reasons his colleagues were tolerating his full exposed brand of magic. He had expected more resistance by now, the native Elf Noname seemed to be a total earth-child, but getting laid before they set off seemed to have distracted her from his necromantic “atrocities”, he feared he would learn the secret of undeath and never understand the ‘Breeders’, he had never felt a need to pair up with another or put oneself in a position of vulnerability by sacrificing their self-preservation for another.

Mortimer looked up to see Rima looking over at him, his and Master Burn’s spellbooks open before him, she seemed more interested in the books than him, of course, why would an elf be interested in a gnome? Mortimer tried to go back to his books, but a thought lingered, and being a student of unnatural sciences, he couldn’t ignore it: What did the queen see in Wully? What does and Elf prize in a Gnome? No more Gnomes to die!… Has Wully saved the Gnome race by blending it?

Mortimer looked at Rima, her big elven eyes eagerly exploring the magic in his and Master Burns spell book. No. He didn’t get it. I mean she should be considered attractive, he was sure his party thought so, Wully had found an Elf to be the love of his life, so should he appreciate the taller person’s beauty? But he had never managed to feel that. What more could it be than a distraction from important work?!

The Gnome spread both his and Master Burn’s spell books before him, taking from them spells as a starting point he sat and made notes with chalk on the flagstones, even as his friends slept or meditated around him.

At one point he uncovered an old note he’d made regarding stacking multiple Mage Hand spells inside a single “container service” of magical expression. As there was no one objecting, the midnight clad gnome selected a severed hand and tried his theorem… the result was a small crack in the opposing wall as the necrotically animated fist struck home…

“By the dead gods!” Mortimer exclaimed with a pleased look upon his face. He noted Rima and one of his skeletons were watching him with interest.

He went on innovating spells based on a mix of his theorems and Master Burn’s spell book, he’d never had access to such a superior Wizards thoughts before, back in the West his practice of XML had been a niche practice, Master Burn had applied a level of sophistication to it that Mortimer had never experienced.

By the end of his efforts Mortimer had written in chalk over a dozen flagstones and halfway up the stones of the nearby walls. He couldn’t help notice the flinch of his colleagues as he described XML on stones not prodded recently by 10” poles.

“Okay! What? You’ve got to stop flinching, There’s no traps here, I’m just writing simple spells, nothing scary, look, I put my hand here and….”

Mortimer put his hand on the previously sealed trapdoor from where they had entered. The mass of chalk scribblings suddenly gave way and the gnome collapsed through the sudden new door.

“Shit – did I leave that wall=solid class tag open? Hmmm, good news guys, I’ve found a way through dead ends… it’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”

At this point one of his, come to think of it, 6 skeletons, winked at him…

“JAAAAAACK!”

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Lifft Mynediad ar y Ddaear

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The sign adorning the stamped-metal shutters was caked in rust and grime. Carreg wiped away at the top line and read: “Surface Access Lift”.

It had been only a day since the malady bore down on her colony. A long day, filled only with preparations, one-sided goodbyes, chores, cleaning; anything to make the day longer. She’d headed down into the mines to deactivate the miles-long conveyor belts. Closed the vents on the forges and let the fires die. Even spun down the great flywheel that stored much of the colony’s mechanical energy. All of it unnecessary: she knew the dwarven machinery would idle for decades without maintenance. But anything to make the day longer.

When she caught herself polishing the brass at the sereneglwys a third time she knew she could put off leaving no longer.

She shouldered a small woven satchel, filled with dense dwarven oatcakes, enough for a fortnight, and a clever little dual-walled flask designed to keep ngaffi hot. She’d harvested and ground a handful of beans from the hydroponeg and painstakingly brewed two pints of the stuff. The nearest surface town was two days’ march away, and she needed to stay alert.

The old lift was at the very western fringe of the colony, which made it the westernmost point in all of the Underrealms. The shaft had been excavated a century ago: dwarven weaponry and armour was in high demand during the Great War, and as the war pushed west, so did the supply chain. By the time of the civil war, its 20 tonnes of cargo capacity was thoroughly outclassed by newer versions of the mechanism, but its geographical position was ideal, and it was pressed into service yet again.

Carreg read the last line of the sign (“operation only by trained personnel”) and smiled a small, sad smile.

She drew back the metal shutters, folding in on themselves like a concertina, and stepped through on to the wide platform. Pinion gears at the four corners meshed with racks set into the walls of the shaft. She made the mistake of looking upwards: bioluminescent patches lighting the vertical tunnel stretched into the distance beyond eyesight, and she grabbed the console to steady herself of vertigo. She glanced down at its dials: miraculously, the telekinetic link was still intact. Carreg pulled on the lever to the side, releasing the counterweight thousands of feet above, and the lift silently began its slow climb for the first time in two decades.

During the ascent, Carreg pondered her plan once she reached the surface. No use finding a healer; no doctor in the colony or further abroad in the Underrealms had been able to fathom Moreg’s illness. This was no physical ailment. No, she’d do best to make contact with overland religious leaders. Devotees of the Authority, she knew, were more widespread topside, but she would take what she could get.

The top of the shaft emerged into a warehouse hewn into the side of a cliff. When once this would have been a staging ground for further logistics, now it held only echoes and memories. Far-larger patches of algae than below adorned the walls, their constant glow lighting the chamber into dusklight, preparing eyes adjusted to years of near-darkness to the brightness above. Carreg lifted the bar across the great oak doors, grasped the handle, and pulled.

And stepped out into daylight for the first time in her life.

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Season 5 Session 4

Another day, another corridor, as our heroes emerge from a tunnel into a long, wide passage similar in size and style to the main corridor through which they entered the Tomb. The main differences are that here the walls are decorated with paintings of figures holding spheres of various colours, and (it will transpire) the floor appears to be free of pit traps.

Looking back, they can see that they have entered through one such sphere, silver in colour. With a sharp sound, the magic door concealed behind the sphere snaps shut. No Name magically divines that there are traps in this room, and reveals that her vision has shown magical spears flying from the wall and impaling an unwary adventurer. She does not reveal that in each case the adventurer in question was Anarië, nor whether this is a reliable indicator of the future or just the wishful thinking of the ill-bred.

Exploring the hall reveals that it leads at one end to a misty arch with three coloured spheres, similar to the one through which two skeletons vanished in the previous corridor. No one is in a hurry to play around with this one.

A systematic programme of sending mage hands with poles along the walls of the corridor, poking the many-coloured spheres, reveals that five of them are rather special, not counting the silver one through which the party has already travelled. The poles sink some way into three of them, indicating that they too might be some kind of portal, while two other spheres seem to conceal wooden surfaces that turn out to be doors.

Mindful of No Name’s prediction, the party takes care not to stand in front of the wooden doors when opening them – a wise choice, as in each case magical spears shoot out but fail to find a target. Carreg cannot be dissuaded from peering down the small holes from which the spears emerged, but she determines that there is no mechanism to be seen before any harm can come to her. Lubash rips off one of the doors to use as a shield, while Anarië mischievously inscribes OPEN HERE on the other door with a beam of fire, for the benefit of any travellers who might follow them.

The first portal is explored in careful stages. First a pole is inserted through the sphere, then a skeleton enters partway, then Mortimer sends a skeleton all the way in with instructions to keep going till it meets either an obstacle or danger, and then to report back, carrying anything portable it finds. The skeleton duly complies, returning with an armful of bones that reassemble themselves into one of its vanished comrades, who had evidently been transported here by the misty arch.

Entering the portal themselves, the party crawl through a short tunnel into a small room containing a hideous four-armed statue. Well, technically three-armed, as one of the arms is lying snapped off on the floor. The statue speaks a cryptic verse, then the three remaining hands turn and open upwards as if expecting to receive objects. In each palm is a socket, about the right size to fit a gemstone.

A Mending spell reaffixes the broken arm, but it remains unmoving. Using mage hands and much caution, Anarië and Rima pull gems from the necklace that was found around the gargoyle and place them in the hands. Three of the hands crush the gems then open up to receive more: the fourth is inert. Repeating this procedure twice over results in another cryptic declaration inviting the party to “look to the fourth”. The fourth hand is empty, but Anarië, exploring carefully with a gloved hand, finds a gem concealed by a coating of invisibility. This is a Gem of Seeing, which she takes for herself.

Back to the hall, and the other portals are explored with the same system. One leads to a dead end, the other to a trap door through which Carreg tumbles into another small room, this one with three chests – one gold, one silver, one wood. The others follow, Anarië managing not to fall down by casting Feather Fall to gracefully descend, while No Name achieves the same end by transforming into a bird and depositing a well-aimed poop onto Anarië’s shoulder.

A Detect Magic ritual reveals the the silver chest has magic in it, while the wooden chest has magic on it. Lubash cuts short the discussion of what to do about these chests by slightly opening the gold one with a ten foot pole – Mortimer and Anarië rush to opposite corners of the room as he does so. There is a hissing sound – not gas, but snakes. Lots and lots of snakes. Rima tries talking to them. They are very hungry, and very keen to get out. Very, very keen. It appears they are eating each other. They do make a promise not to eat our heroes, but no one gives this any credence. Rima pops some beef jerky into the chest, which they devour with abandon, then Lubash closes it up again.

The silver chest contains a glass box, within which is a silver ring. Anarië sends a mage hand to pick it up, which is just as well because several darts shoot upwards, impaling the mage hand. When the ring is finally retrieved, it turns out to be a Ring of Protection, which Anarië promptly wears. When Mortimer protests at Anarië taking all these things for herself she justifies herself on the grounds that they are very pretty. She then proceeds to magically inscribe a smiley face onto the gold chest, to put any subsequent travellers at their ease.

Coming now to the wooden chest, Mortimer dispels the magic that is on it. Inside, inscribed on the bottom of the chest, is a teleport circle – a portable teleport circle, no less. The party are sure this will come in very handy indeed – assuming any of them survive to carry it out of the Tomb.

Deaths so far: 0

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Gnome for the Wedding

It was a bright and sunny day, just what they’d hoped. Wullie gave his ceremonial armour one last buff, content that it wouldn’t get any shinier, and started to dress. Dipsy had nipped out to check on the rest of the Undying Force. They were going to be his honour guard as he marched from the barracks to the Palace and she was his best Gnome.

He wasn’t superstitious and neither was his fiance, but tradition had dictated that they shouldn’t spend the night under the same roof, as they had for much of their courtship. So Wullie had returned to the barracks, to his friends, to the place he had for so many years called home. While this morning his fiance was whisked to the home of her closest relatives, where they would do all the things brides did on their wedding morning. Wullie was hazy on the details, but he assumed dressing and having her hair decorated would be involved.

He’d just finished putting on his boots when Dipsy reappeared all smiles and excitement. He grabbed her hand to get her attention. “Dipsy, before you help me with the armour….” he started a lump in his throat. “I just wanted to say thank you for stepping in as my best Gnome…after…! I know you’d been looking forward to being one of the Queen’s flower ladies, but….I…..really appreciate having you here with me today. I…erm…made this for you as a thank you.”

Wullie handed Dipsy a small wrapped package. She opened it with her usual glee, throwing the paper to the floor with abandon. Inside was a small box containing a delicate necklace, a chain of gold and silver daisies. Dipsy grinned, pulled it over her head and enveloped Wullie in a bear hug.

“I wanted you to have a daisy chain that would last and never decay. To be as everlasting as your joyfulness.” he whispered into her ear.

Their hug over, Dipsy went to work helping Wullie into his armour, albeit with slight breaks when she was distracted by her reflection. Neither of them were use to such shiny metal armour, but this was a celebration and it wasn’t like he was going to be fighting in it. Wullie couldn’t dispute that his battle stained hide armour was hardly the thing for a wedding. In fact, all the Undying had been issued ceremonial armour for the occasion and when Wullie emerged into the mess to meet them, he was speechless at the fine sight they made. Saluting them proudly, he asked them to line up as he had gifts for them. Passing from one to another, he gave each of them a small present. Each of the Undying received a crest that attached to their uniforms. It was the unofficial crest of the Undying, but with the addition of a humanoid dragon rampant….like Hamish’s beloved pendant.

“My friends. Her Majesty’s Undying Force has been granted it’s own official crest for bravery in battle .” Wullie explained. “I made these for you myself. It is a pleasure to be one of you.”

A round of whoops broke out, followed by a quick round and a toast to absent friends and those that had gone before. It was then time for them to go. Filing out into the yard, they formed up, Corporal Skeleton and Elderon on point, Dipsy and Wullie bringing up the rear. A shouted command and they were off at a steady march into the streets of the citadel.

Their route was simple, a direct route to the palace. Much to Wullie’s surprise the streets were lined with people. His Queen and her advisors had told him it would be so, but he’d found it hard to believe. Sure – they would line the streets for any procession including his Queen, he’d have been one of them in years past, and for his brother….but for him….it seemed so unlikely. His Queen….a situation he had once only dreamed of…..but soon it would be writ in history. She would be embarking on her route to the palace soon. A more circuitous route, but then she was the ruler and of course couldn’t reach the palace till he’d arrived. Fighting the urge to look round at all the people along the streets he concentrated on marching, on watching his comrades ahead of him. A fine group of soldiers. They deserved the respect of the people of the citadel.

Ahead he could see the Palace looming ever larger. As they reached the steps up to the great doors, they turned and made their way up the long red carpet that had been laid from the doors. The doors were open, so that they could walk straight through and head straight to the great hall. The hall was full with dignitaries and representatives of the guilds. As they reached the front of the dais holding the Queen’s throne, the Undying Force split and lined up, only leaving space in the centre. Wullie and Dipsy took up position off centre and waited, all pent up excitement and nervousness.

Wullie lost all sense of time while they waited. It could’ve been minutes or hours for all he could tell. He wondered if it had all been a joke or a mistake, if his love would change her mind. If it hadn’t been for Dipsy letting out a delighted squeak, he might have missed the Queen’s entry with her retinue into the great hall. He’d completely missed the mistress of ceremonies taking to the dais with the elderly Gnome and ancient Elf Lord that would be directing events.

As the Queen walked towards him, Wullie’s heart soared, like the choir who were singing her in. He’d always thought her beautiful, but she was even more of a vision at that moment. It was as if she were lit by an inner glow. He felt weak at the knees and wished he had more to offer her. Her dress shimmered almost hypnotically as she moved till suddenly she was stood beside him, her smile of happiness contagious. Wullie took her hand and kissed it reverently. “My love!” he whispered breathlessly.

The ceremony went quickly to Wullie’s mind. They pledged their love in front of the crowds, exchanged rings and promises. The elderly Gnome chanted in Gnomish the oaths of love, while the ancient Elf Lord recited Elven marriage vows. There was singing, horns and thanks to Dipsy, a little bit of impromptu dancing. With the Mistress of ceremonies, Dipsy and one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting, they signed their names onto various parchments of the citadel, including one noting the Royal lineage over thousands of years Wullie reckoned. And then it was all over. As the Mistress of ceremonies brought things to a close, a lone rich voice began to sing. Wullie knew the song, it was one of the ones given to him by the Elf, Rima, in Hommlet. Love of the Wild had been his choice, but the Royal bard had found a wonderful singer to perform it. As musicians joined with the singer in a clever weaving of sound, Wullie looked up into his wife’s eyes. Both of them had tears of joy fighting to escape and, as if their thoughts were as linked as their hearts, they came together for their first wedded kiss.

The Riches Come Gnome

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Kindness with Killing
Young Mortimer

ALT-U: THIS POST SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS IN-GAME TRUTH

“Over a thousand years ago, as we covered a few semesters ago, the lands where much wider, the desert, according to sources, was fertile and the lands continued on, this gave rise to the many legendary races we covered earlier as well”

“except for gnomes” complained the only juvenile gnome in the group, harder for his tutor to pick out, hidden as he was by his classmates of humans and elves

“Erm, yes, so, the wider lands of mortal races back then are thought to have worshiped two gods, with some outlying older practices, popular particularly amongst the elven peoples.

Amongst the crowd the smallest member of the class, for he had been added to a class not of his age group but of his relative height, thumbed through a book on disruptive modern magical theories that drew on recently discovered writings of a wizard-master by the name of Burns.

“Almost all the races that believed in the One or in Asmodeus believed that their their lord was the fair and just one, believing the other unjust and wicked. It seems strange to us in this age as compared to the horrors our enemies lay upon us, both The One and Asmodeus seem fair and just, they did not condemn much beyond the use of divine or arcane magic to force a person to act against their free-will, for they judged the dead’s entry to the afterlife they believed in according to the actions they did of their own free will.”

“bull shit”… muttered a barely 3 foot tall student lost in the crowd. “laws of Enochian Dynamics rule out any afterlife as being more than an alternate plane, and planar travel is possible through simple reinterpretation of spells under Existential Markup!”

Ms Hel’rentai continued, apparently oblivious to the protests of her 15 year old student.

“There was an alternative however, here we are at the site of the Old Shrine, obviously the Old Shrine is gone now, this is the city defensive wall, but here there used to be a shrine to the Old Gods, or the Old Ways, or the Elven Ways as myself and our Queen remember them, Long may she reign over us.”

“By the age of the two gods most races had very polar ideas about the afterlife.”

The half elf tutor went on, showing the dried flowers that were still placed at the spot against the defensive wall that

“Interestingly, whatever races believed in The One or Asmodeus, they could never agree which was the ‘good guy’ and which was the corruptor, we have writings from ancient dwarf races that we haven’t heard from since before Acerrorack enslaved them, that praise Asmodeus, but traditional human teachings from the time preach The One was the saviour.

“He must have been! Grand Master Burns extols his virtues in his book “Inherited Theories of Advanced Magical Transcript” – it’s the basis of the whole arcane revolution!" Mortimer yelled out. “And he sites a Gnome as his source! A Gnome! You never cover our history!”

“He was writing about magic, and some pretty controversial magic if I understand it, in a time of serious wars and upheaval. Not religion, on that front he was just repeating his cultures established opinion… tell the class Mortimer, why do you admire this Grand-Master Burns?”

The youngster pushed his way through his younger classmates to the front of the class.

“Grand-Master Burn was the first of the older wizards to use Existential Markup for his spells, he revolutionised how magic is used and shared, someone convinced him to throw out the decrepit ideas of Tenser’s magic. His writings are worth far more than any defunct religious text you quote from. The God’s are dead! All the Gods, the ones of men and dwarves and”… he paused to make his verbal assault more venomous on his Elven teacher

“And the old ways, the elven ways, they had wishy washy ideas anyway, at least Azmodeus had order!”

“And who was the god of arcane magic Master Greysproket?” the tutor spat back,

“I… er… there was an arch fae associated with it but… But it was no part of those people’s faith because all magic had dealt to them was death, and all magic deals to us now is death!”

The half elf exclaimed at the younger gnome in reply.

“What will you do Master Greysprocket when the gods give you lemons?”

He could not reply, however, as the defensive wall of the Citadel behind them, at this point, exploded.

Mortimer back-peddled into his fellow students, crying out in XML as he fell
“#Shld —now!”

The exploding wall clattered off his arcane barrier which covered as many of the children near him as he could extend his will to cover.

As he shook the dust from himself and the ringing in his ears cleared he looked back and saw Ms Hel’rentai cradling the bodies of dead students. He looked back, and saw a small band of infiltrators pouring through the breach.

For a moment, locking his eyes with his history tutor he whispered:

“When the gods give you death?”

Then the 15 year old Gnome whirled around, standing short before the black clad and masked invading party… and he cried:

“DIE!”

Arcane forces ripped through him, shaped by no spell, no focus, no gesture, pure power responded to pure will, and those pouring through the breach lay dead. Behind him he watched as wisps of lifeforce were channeled from the attackers into gravely injured students blinked and woke to life.

Two days later a page found him in the city library, he was reading a paper published by some random old wizard Spugnoir. The page’s message was clear, he had been expelled from class for “use of magic unbecoming of a young student.”

“Expelled for saving a class full of students…” the young man muttered to himself, his face set in a snarl.

“What do you do when the gods give you lemons?” young Greysproket asked himself: “Marvel, because the gods are dead, and all we get given is death… so death must be all we can wield!

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Extract from treatise 'Rise of the Ogres Union'
Tails from the 'Toom of Horrors'

Sourced from the The Bards “Songs from the other side”. It is unknown how he came across this information. *1 But reliable sources confirm that a high ranking ogar union member went voluntarily went into the Toom of horrors as an independent adventurer.

Extract.
And Lobash Dragon Slayer*2 looked upon the coloured walls and said unto his Fellows " In poem there is talk of ring, such treasure is made of valued metal, would we not find it behind the orb of gold". All around him gloried in such intuition and Mortimer said unto him that it twas “A good idea”. None had ever before said such before unto Lobash, and he took unto himself to delve down the tunnel and investigate.
Coming upon a door of wood, he pressed his mighty weight upon it and discovered a hidden chamber beneath him. Descending unto it he discovered chests of three. One of gold, One of silver and one of wood bound in brass.
Lobash being brave of heart took a pole and raised the lid on each. Discovering snakes filled snakes filled with anger and hunger in gold, a ring in silver and a portal in wood.
Filled with pride, Lobash had been victorious, he had spoken words of wisdom and they hath come unto treasure.
Lobash Dragon slayer, had taken his first step unto the road less traveled by his kind. He twas not but a slave to a master’s whim nor twas he but a raider in the mountains as his father before him.

*1 This song is sighted by some as proof Lobash Dragon slayer were directly connected and adventured with The Bard and this is how he came across this information.
*2 May Ogres tails have been attributed to Lobash Dragon slayer, while The Bard is usually a reliable source there is secondary source for his name.

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An Ordinary Morning in Mwynglawdd-Orllewin

The altar was laid out exactly as specified in the Llyfr, measurements precise to the milfed. Moreg had always insisted on it. She wasn’t among those filing into the Sereneglwys this morning, but the elder priest’s health made that almost impossible these days.

As the last of the congregation shuffled in to the stone pews, Carreg sensed unease. To see an elder at death’s door was a rare and unsettling occurrence. Dwarvenkind society is a well-oiled machine, and Moreg’s gear meshed with so many parts of it.

Carreg clasped her hands and muttered a command in infernal, dimming the patches of algae around the room to a dull glow. Another word, and the intricate mechanism of the serentalflwr whirred into life. It cast a bright white point on the hemispherical ceiling, just above and to the left of the altar.

“Star of the morning, guide us.”

later

“Followers of the Authority believe that He is justice. No. Justice is balance. Justice is scales, with the Authority on one side and our Lord on the other. There is no night without the morning, no morning without the night. While it is true the Authority is the arbiter, even his followers concede the Lord is who reads our Ledgers. Never forget that.”

later

The second case came that morning. Owain had ceased work at the rock face. That afternoon, Ifanna froze while pouring a crucible. By the night shift, all of Mwynglawdd-Orllewin had stopped in place.

Except for one.

later

Carreg knelt by Moreg’s bed. The elder’s ashen grey face— not the pallor of death, but the solid unwavering grey of cast iron— took on the greenish glow of the algae. She brushed away a tear. No good to start breaking down now. No. I’m a dwarf. Dwarves fix things.

“I can fix this.”

“Just give me time, mother."

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Gnome to prepare

Wullie looked down at his fiance as she slept with her head resting on his chest. He smiled, stroking her hair softly. It had been a hard couple of weeks since Hamish had left him, but his beloved Queen had done everything she could to support him. With the comradeship of the Undying Force and the kind words of people in the citadel, the pain of his loss was beginning to ebb. He would always miss his brother and remember their adventures, but he could now envisage a time when he could think of Hamish without the horror of his death overshadowing the good times they’d had.

Of course the sadness that Hamish wouldn’t be with him for the new good times would remain forever. Wullie tried to swallow the wave of emotion that threatened to overwhelm him again. Hamish wouldn’t be there for what should be the happiest time in Wullie’s life….nor for his farewell to bachelorhood party. By all rights Hamish should’ve been the main organiser of his farewell party and the best gnome at his wedding, but………he sighed, there was no point tormenting himself.

The organisation of the wedding was taking a lot of their time now. It had been a very long time since there had been a royal wedding and the citadel needed something to celebrate, so the decision had been made that it should be a big event. Wullie didn’t mind either way – a big ceremony or small, so long as he could marry his Queen. He suspected she was likewise minded, especially after having to sit through hours of discussion about how the guests at the wedding feast should be seated. Two more weeks and it would all be ready – a few days later and they would finally be bound together.

Two weeks – he should speak to Dipsy and Corporal Skeleton to see how his farewell party arrangements were getting on. The Undying Force had been determined that in Hamish’s absence it was their responsibility to give Wullie a good farewell. He’d left them a few nights ago having a lengthy argument about which tavern they should start in and just how many daisy chains would be required for all the revelers. From a conversation with his beloved, she had witnessed a not dissimilar conversation with her courtiers, who had promised to arrange her farewell party. Wullie smiled fondly, Dipsy had expressed concern that the Queen wouldn’t have anyone who could provide her with daisy chains and had given Hamish a couple to pass on for the courtiers to study. He’d kept one and draped it on his love’s hair when they’d retired to their private quarters. Their simple beauty had complemented her own radiance and he had once again been speechless at his good fortune.

Tomorrow he would spend a little time in his little workshop, making some gifts for his friends as a thank you for their efforts in helping him prepare for his wedding (and everything else). He already had an idea what he would make for each of them. Then there was his wedding present for his fiance – that would take a bit more time, but he had a little over two weeks left which would be fine. He found great satisfaction in making things, especially now he was effectively retired from active duty in the Undying Force.

His mind drifted…..he wondered what had happened to the brave group that had headed to the Tomb of Horror. Nothing had been heard from them recently, but equally…nothing seemed to have changed to suggest they had yet failed in their task. Perhaps they would succeed and be able to celebrate their success at his wedding. He would like to meet the lovely Elf that had written all that music again, but maybe it would be too painful a celebration for her. He would’ve liked to introduce her to his Queen though. Oh well – only time would tell if they would succeed in their endeavors, but he truly hoped luck would be on their side for all their sakes.

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Season 5 Session 3

Emerging from the metal tower after a much-needed rest, the party are greeted by No Name, arriving late after dealing with some pressing business. (Speculation that this involved intimate relations with Captain Jonathan remains unconfirmed.)

After much discussion, the decision is eventually made to investigate further down the main corridor before going into the side passage that was previously hidden behind the fresco.

The party proceeds in the established cautious approach – skeletons, followed by mage hands with poles, followed by the party itself. Along the way, Mortimer manages finally to piece together the message inscribed in the painting, which turns out to be a lengthy, bombastic verse giving cryptic clues to the dangers in the Tomb framed by general abuse aimed at anyone who reads it. There is a division within the party as to how to approach this information, with Mortimer and Carreg in particular keen to decipher the verse for guidance, while Anarië remains sceptical on the grounds that the message may just as easily be disinformation.

At the end of the corridor is an archway with a curtain of grey mist, framed by three coloured globes, and a demon face sculpture whose mouth is a pure black circle. Pressing the coloured globes in sequence quickly banishes the mist, revealing a corridor beyond, but when two skeletons are sent through to investigate they vanish on entering the arch. A skeleton sent into the black mouth also disappears, appearing to be drawn swiftly in with a crunch of compression. Mortimer can sense that the skeletons that went into the arch still exist, though their location is unknown, but the one that went into the devil mouth appears lost for good.

Hoping that the secret corridor may provide a less hazardous way into the Tomb, the party moves back up the corridor. A number of ten foot poles lashed together provide a bridge over the pit in front of the door, and the party quickly moves down a short corridor to a door.

Behind the door is a room containing a living gargoyle! It doesn’t last long, destroyed by the party’s magical blasts before it can so much as advance towards them. Amongst the gargoyle’s remains is a necklace of ten blue jewels, which Anarië puts safely into a sack with a mage hand. Apart from this, the room appears empty – but Carreg’s dwarvish upbringing allows her to spot two secret doors.

Behind the first door is a small room whose walls are covered with an array of little holes. It transpires that entry into the room triggers metal darts that fly from the holes to the occupant. Mortimer surrounds himself with a shield of skeletons, while he and Carreg progress through this room through another secret door into a series of similar rooms, each featuring the same holes in the walls and more secret doors whose mechanisms Carreg proves adept at understanding. As their route through these rooms curves round, Lubash rushes through the hail of darts to join them.

Meanwhile, Rima grabs a handful of metal darts to use in her magic, before she, Anarië and No Name open the second secret door and explore within. This turns out to be a tedious exploration – a series of empty rooms culminating in a blank wall – only enlivened by a running debate over Anarië’s insouciant classism and No Name’s defiant lack of class.

Going back and rejoining their colleagues, the elf ladies are in time to go with them into a chamber that promises to be the end of this slow crawl through tiny, trap-ridden rooms.

Taking stock, they decide to return to the metal tower for a rest before continuing their exploration.

Deaths so far: 0 (not counting skeletons)

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