by Michael D.
It’s been two days since the party had returned from the goliath’s tomb. Some of them had been missing for four days and presumed dead. One of that party, Kathra Holderhek, sits before you. A half eaten meal in front of her, seemingly forgotten, and an untouched beer at her elbow. She sits staring off into the distance. A moment passes and she notices you.
“Oh, sorry. Didn’t see you there. You want to know what happened? It was horrible. We had found Queen Fesnora’s golden apple and decided to set off to return it to Delabotta. The dryad had promised to leave and remove the blight that plagued this land were we to return the apple to her. It seemed so simple. Oh, how stupid we were. I remember that day, though it seems so long ago. It was the beginning of the celebration of Dragon Heart. All the children were dancing around Dilondorg, I had never actually seen him smile before that. We were all pretty happy. I had gotten pretty drunk the night before and cast a spell to light Madash’s head on fire. That gave him a big grin. That smile wouldn’t last long. None of our cheer did…
Where was I? Oh yes, the dryad. Lying tree lady. We gave her that accursed apple and what does she do? Plants it into the ground and tells us we need to cleanse the tomb or she wouldn’t leave. That was not part of the deal! We should have known better. We gave her a copy of Queen Fesnora’s letter and what does she do with it? Tosses it in the air and has one of her foul trees cast a fireball at it! Burnt it right to a crisp. Didn’t even read it! How are we supposed to bargain with someone like that? I thought that being one with nature, she would be filled with Chauntea’s grace, but none of us were that day. Lacking any option, we inserted the ornate dagger into the tomb’s lid, and down we descended.
The first room was pretty nice, and obviously dedicated to the goliath gods. A table dominated the room, covered by a burlap cloth. Amarath ripped it off to reveal glorious weapons beneath - a battle axe, a war hammer, a staff, and a long sword. I prayed to Chauntea and gave thanks to the goliath gods for showing us these wonders, and the weapons began to glow with a holy light. Methinks they may be connected to artifacts of greater power, but I don’t know much about that. Talafor and Norman were exchanging stories of how we could find these other artifacts, so you should ask them. Anyway, we continued on….
Dilondorf touched a strange door in the room covered in odd sigils. We pressed on and found 5 corpses downstairs with their brains sucked out. It was horrible! What kind of monster would do that?! Madash scoffed and said they were only duergar, but even those poor lost dwarfs don’t deserve this. We also found some dug up ore, maybe a blacksmith can make something out of it.
We entered the last room and were greeted by a gigantic fire elemental. It’s fury raged about and it was definitely not happy to see us. At the same time, a voice entered my head. One I can still hear. It told me I would be delicious.”
Kathra pauses for a moment to collect herself. After a long while, she continues..
“I feared we had bitten off too much. The fire elemental attacked Madash in a great rush and utterly consumed him. I could see him burning before my eyes while inside the elemental. The smell was too much. As we were attacking the elemental, we found the source of the voice in my head. A horrible mindflayer with icky tentacles where his mouth should be. I panicked and smashed the cloud crystal I was told to only smash in an emergency. Well, this seemed like one. An air elemental, equal in size to the fire one we were fighting, arose and helped us make battle. It killed the fire elemental and I quickly told it to go outside. I was a little afraid it would turn on us. That might have been a crucial mistake. The illithid went invisible as soon as the fire elemental was gone. We searched around for it for a while before Dilondorf convinced us something bad was coming and that we should go upstairs. They all rushed for the door and as I was trying to follow, the mindflayer put me to sleep. The horrible thing dragged me down to it’s lair and tortured me for four days. It was in my mind! It told me of all the horrors that would befall my friends and of my own damnation. I started to believe him. It was too dark down there! Too deep! I couldn’t feel my lady’s presence either. All alone. With the voices. The horrible voices. AHHHHHHHHH.”
At this point Kathra breaks down in tears and puts her head down into her unfinished meal. One of her compatriots notices the commotion and escorts her to her room where she doesn’t arise until two more days has passed. When her friend returns, you notice an odd exchange. A tall, elegant elf sitting in a magnificently constructed chair sits up when a tiny gnome approaches him. The elf gives the gnome a stately bow, which the gnome returns with a doff of his cap. The elf sits at a nearby table while the gnome scampers up the chair and somehow balances himself on the very top. When seated, he takes out a lute and plays a few background notes to accompany his tale…
“Good evening merry travelers! It is I, Namfoodle the Dragonslayer! I know I need no introduction for many of you are already aware of my exploits in Black River Island. Yes, yes, the people call me savior there and I did have a large role to play in defeating the foul hags that had tried to work their dark magics upon the good folk there. But that is not the story I want to tell to you tonight! Tonight, I have a brand new tale, one of heroes and villains. Psionic threats below the surface and a daring rescue of one of your own!
After we had charmed Delabotta into leaving this land and saving your children from bugbears, we returned to this very inn to toast to our success. But one of my friends was wracked with guilt. The noble Quest, tiefling from afar, grew anxious when his friends did not return from the tomb we had spotted in the dryads liar. Not to be assured by mere words, he was determined to return to the spot to aid them. Leaving no choice for gnomes of pure heart, I offered to protect him on his journey along with my friend Basil, the bravest bear of the land. You hear a high pitched “BRRROOOO!” echo from a corner of the room. We set off for the dryad’s former lair to see what we could do.
Descending into the cold crypt there, we quickly found the missing party as they were making their way out. But they were missing one! A small dwarf by the name of Kathra was no longer accompanying them. They say they had seen a mindflayer drag her away a few days ago, but were unsure of how to rescue her. I assured them that with me by their side, they had nothing to fear! I would slay this evil mindflayer and all would again be right with the world.”
You hear Quest give out a sigh and you see him roll his eyes.
“We traversed the now quiet crypt and entered the tunnels to the illithid lair. Now illithids are no dumb creatures, and their lairs are often packed with traps and monstrous creatures to beleaguer noble adventurers. This one was no different! With my gnomish cunning, we picked our way over the fiendish traps and defeated a grotesque basilisk at the lair’s entrance!”
Dilondorg mutters, “You jibbering fool, we didn’t even see a basilisk. All we found were stone corpses.”
Finally, we found the lurking mindflayer attempting to warp the mind of poor Kathra. Two evil elves, a mage and a great warrior, accompanied him and a dozen bound duergar lay tied up at his feet. We leaped into battle against the elves, only to have the cowardly mage disappear into the ether. The warrior swung his greatsword, but was no match for Madash’s brawn and the pointed edge of my rapier. Madash grabbed that evil elf and tried to drown him in the river! The elf barely survived the fall by clinging to the cave floor, but quickly fell to our metal. The cowardly mage casts spells while invisible, but your stalwart heroes were able to stand strong until his arcane power was spent for the day. The mage slinked off into the darkness while we confronted the illithid. Not to be so easily overrun, the mindflayer sucked out the brains of the helpess duergar, turning them into mindless zombies attacking us for their master. We dispatched the unholy constructs with little difficulty while Basil the brave bear leaped over them to confront the illithid himself. While the mindflayer was distracted by his ferocious roars, noble Amarath grabbed that foul octopus faced bastard from behind and cut his neck from ear to ear. He will trouble this land no more! We freed Kathra from her chains only to find a parasitic brain trying to burrow its way into her school. She helplessly looked at us, moments away from being turned into a mindless drone, before Amarath and Talafor saved her life by slaying the creature. She asked us for a beer before collapsing into our arms.
Normally our tale would end here with the heroes returning home triumphant. But I fear we have troubling news. Behind the cavern in which we fought the illithid lies a dark city controlled by more of his kind. We know not the nature of this city, but know it can only forebode trouble for the good people of Cavalier’s Watch. So be ever vigilant! Dangers lurk in the night.
The journal entries here are provided by the active player characters participating in the Detroit Marches.
All Abaza Amaranth Aredhel Lethe Astrid Gilrin Atuji Of Clan Greatscale Audra Ayten Gilrin Basil Benedict Greenfield Black River Swamp Blackscale Brea Daergle Brynn Bryn Naikaho Cavalier's Watch Chat Clan Shimmerscale Crimson Surgeon Cylowboborow Nonsoon Demogorgon Diamondshard Banwyze DILONDORG KAAL Doros Doross Dorros Dredge Dufdor Dwain Eilis Eilis Gilrin Eladrinne Escobar Fagan Far Reach Fort Providence Gator Rock Genji The Wererat Glin Ybendawien Droat Golden Apple Great Cataclysm Griffin's Roost Grildor Trueforge Haldor Kemleigh Ham Hamilton Hekili Nalani HEYKITD GETOFF MELAYN Icegate Jerimiah Jerwin Jinn Kanyu Il Senya Kathra Kegrove Kellen McCall Kenku Kiera Lyssandria Kohaku Ruim Koltalon Kresh Krolan Kunyata Kar Leatherhead Liam Buckham Liana Lindir Lizardfolk Longtail Lucretzia Borgia Makani Pahili Malmir Merelda Meznen Midden Heap Mindartis Morgrimm Naill Amakir Namfoodle Nehi Xum Nehi-Xum New Cadeni Njord Noric Synphase Noxochiyotl Obelisks Of The Bayou Omgar Onen Peter The Wolf Phoncledeh Player Character Journal Entry Polar Bear Polg Pollen Quinzli Rabbits Ralthor Rawq Elrid Rhogar Roscoe Greenfeld Rotten Morgan Bonecrusher Rube Lastname Ruins Salazar Sang Woo Ser Mathius Shaena Tosscobble Silent Mockingbird Som Sorrel Summerport Syndar Beratos Tabaxi Tainted Falls Teddy Bear Tharrus The Fist Theobold Peacekeeper Thur’a’ugh Tormund Firehammer Tortles Treewalker Truss Stacianodel Udoroth UDOROTH THAMMILIDAAR Umberlee Underdark Valaquaraptors Vandil Varron Greensleeves Vengir Duskhallow Verloren Yuan Ti Zorak Dreadmast