Death, Rebirth, and Aaron

What was that? Am I dead? I remember hitting the rocks below the bridge and then.

I am back on the bridge. Everyone is still alive. Imoen is approaching us. She tells us there is a mage and a dwarf warrior waiting in ambush.

Didn’t do this I already?

21 Mirtul 1368

I tell Edwin we need to stagger our summons. The Weave won’t let us have too many allies. We need to focus on the mage first, and be wary of assassins. Edwin and I prepare our Mage Armour.

Edwin summons a Web in the area where the ambushers wait for us. This should slow them down more than Jaheira’s vines.

I summon some gibberlings to get the ambushers attention. One of them is killed almost instantly by a Sound Burst.

The dwarf wanders into Edwin’s web and we begin our assault.

Imoen downs her Potion of Speed. Edwin summons some green slimes to distract our assailants.

Jaheira adds to the distraction by summoning some weasels. I attempt to charm the dwarf with my Ring, but he resists.

Every one of our opponents and summons is caught in Edwin’s web. But our sense of security is immediately shattered when a dagger is thrust into Edwin’s heart.

Jaheira draws her club and engages the assassin. Khalid covers her.

Imoen starts assaulting the assassin with her Wand of Magic Missiles.

I cast a Chromatic Orb at the dwarf. Verr’Sza attempts to inflict him with Blindness on Edwin’s killer.

Khalid and Jaheira seriously injure the assassin, who cries out for help. Unfortunately for her, her allies are still caught in the Web.

Verr’Sza and I finish off the assassin with a couple of spells, but Jaheira gets caught in the Web.

The mage breaks free and summons a copy of himself. Jaheira manages to move away from the Web.

I throw another magic missile at the dwarf while Verr’Sza and Jaheira strike him with bullets.

Verr’Sza is charmed by the mage.

Khalid kills the dwarven warrior.

I attempt to put Verr’Sza to Sleep. Unfortunately, Rakshasha must be resistant to this magic.

Khalid gives the mage’s double an arrow to the face.

I summon some more distractions.

Aegon levelled up. Nice.

Verr’Sza sinks a throwing dagger into Imoen. I rush to heal her.

The mage casts a Vitriolic Sphere at Jaheira. A cloud of acid explodes around her and burns through Khalid and Verr’Sza’s armour. They both drop dead, fur and skin peeling off. The druid barely survives the acid cloud.

We need to engage the mage in close. His protection spells deflect missile. We retreat to a safe distance so Jaheira can recover. She casts Regenerate Light Wounds on herself.

But the acid is still burning her skin…

She supplements her regeneration with some Potions of Healing.

I release Cat. I don’t know if he can help, but I’m getting desperate.

We move back in to rush the mage before he can throw another spell at us.

He creates another Vitriolic Sphere, but we are too close and the acid cloud hits him as well. His face disappears revealing his skull as he collapses to the ground.

Unfortunately Jaheira and I have acid burning our elven skin.

We need to heal quickly. I drink a Potion of Healing, and try to keep Jaheira alive with Corellon’s blessings.

My skin is still burning, but I find another Potion of Healing on one of the corpses. I drink it immediately.

That spell scared me. I genuinely thought after managing to kill the assassins Aegon was still going to die anyway and I’d have to do it all again. I’ve still lost half my party, but at least I don’t have to reload.

I feel stronger after this fight.

Aegon levels up as a mage. He is now better at identifying magic items and can memorise an extra spell.

We gather up the our dead allies and begin to search the corpse. We find notes on each body confirming they were also assassins sent for me.

Among their equipment we find a magical crossbow.

With some magical bolts.

A magical dagger.

And some enchanted studded leather.

There are also some bolts we can’t identify.

The dwarf was wearing some enchanted chain mail.

As well as a large battle axe that is unidentifiable to us.

The mage carries some protective bracers.

I pass them to Imoen. She doesn’t like wearing armour, and I have my mage armour, so these are good for her.

He also carries some fire bullets. I load them into my sling.

He has a protection from undead scroll.

And a potion of extra healing that should save us in a pinch.

He also had a few things we can’t identify: some mage robes, a magical ring, and a dagger.

His spellbook contains a few spells. Dimension Jump, which I already have memorised. He also has a few fireball scrolls.

The original AoE damage spell.

A dispel magic scroll.

Our first real anti-mage spell. I wonder how useful this would have been in the fight we just had.

A know opponent scroll.

This can be a good spell to help take down a stronger opponent quickly.

A protection from missiles scroll.

This is the reason I was trying to engage in melee before the mage killed himself in rather anticlimactic way.

And a scroll of confusion.

This is a really powerful spell right now. It’s much better than Sleep or Command, especially as it works on higher level opponents.

These scrolls are too advanced for me right now, but I tuck them into my scroll case to study later.

Our situation isn’t too good. Half our party is dead. If we are to rescue people from the Stronghold we need more people. I talk with Jaheira and she agrees to wait here on the bridge while Imoen and I gather more help.

Basically I’m leaving Jaheira here so I can keep her after I kick Khalid from the party. She’s going to be leaving when we get Dynaheir anyway, so she’ll be back with Khalid soon enough.

23 Mirtul 1368

We travel back to Nashkel and go to the Temple of Helm. It costs nearly all the gold we have to raise our fallen allies.

We leave the three of them here to recover in the temple, while Imoen and I go to the Inn to rest. During the night we talk about the various assassins we have encountered.

Aegon: Another assassin. Not the same one who killed Gorion, though. If it were, we’d not be standing here right now.

Imoen: Another one!? I knew she was after you once she attacked, but this… this is just too much for me. I mean, I don’t like this, not at all. First you get attacked in front of Candlekeep by some blazing maniac out for your blood, and Gorion dies. Then ‘gain outside the Friendly Arm Inn, even before we met up with Jaheira and Khalid! Now here, as well! You got attacked and almost died on the doorstep of yet another inn! This is just too much!

Aegon: Yes, I know it’s difficult, and yes, I’m grateful for your help. As long as we stick together, no assassins will be able to defeat us…

Imoen: Yeah! That’s right! We’re an unstoppable team!

C’mon, quit standin’ there, like you’re waiting for another assassin to come get you!

In the morning we set out for Beregost. We have a couple of friends there who can help us.

We find Vienxay in front of Feldepost’s Inn.

And Will Scarlet O’Hara is outside the Thunderhammer Smithy.

They both agree to join us. I look at Will’s armour and tell him I have some magical studded leather he can wear. He gladly accepts it.

Our next ally is at the Friendly Arm, so we set off immediately.

24 Mirtul 1368

Neera, the wild mage, is in the Friendly Arm Inn’s bar. She is happy to join us again.

She takes the magical crossbow we found on the assassins.

Before we leave for the Gnoll Stronghold again, Vienxay and I identify some of the equipment we took from the assassins. The robes provide electrical resistance.

And the ring seems to be specially created for druids.

Maybe Jaheira could use this?

Will identifies a dagger we have been carrying around as the Heart of the Golem.

We leave again, and begin our journey back to the Stronghold.

26 Mirtul 1368

Neera has some thoughts about our journey to the Stronghold.

Aegon: Easy? We face our share of danger, Neera.

Neera: Oh, well, yes, there’s obviously that. I just meant that ordinary things are easier. I’m not constantly worried where my next meal is coming from or whether a kobold will sneak up and slit my throat as I sleep.

Aegon: And that was your life before we met?

Neera: Yes. Rocks for a pillow, eating clay, all that and more. My fortune seems to have come in in waves. Ever since Hight Forest.

Aegon: High Forest? Is that where you come from?

Neera: That’s me, born and raised in the thicket. At least until my mistakes piled up high enough to come crashing down on me.

Aegon: What drove you out of your home?

Neera: You know, this and that. I was never a very good student of magic, and part of that could be attributed to never studying. I ended up flubbing a few spells, and, uh… here I am!

Aegon: It would appear that you glossed over some of the finer details.

Neera: A maiming or two, if you don’t count the second-degree burns. Completely accidental, and everybody lived. At least, I’m pretty sure everybody lived.

Aegon: Surely it wasn’t your fault. What happened?

Neera: During our magical training, we were supposed to summon a sphere of fire, and mine got away from me somehow. One moment I was concentrating, the next moment my classmates were rolling on the floor screaming.

Aegon: Perhaps your poor teachers are the ones to blame.

Neera: No. I did it. It was my fault. Accident or not, I should have been more careful. I could have taken responsibility or fetched a bucket of water. Instead, I ran away, terrified of what I’d done.

Aegon: I can understand why you might panic in that situation.

Neera: It’s kind of you to put it that way. There are times when I’ve wanted to think that way. It was confusing, and I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. Still…

Afterwards, I ran into the woods and couldn’t bear to go back to face the consequences. I snuck back into the village now and then for food, and once to leave a note for my parents, but eventually I had to leave.

I took to wandering High Forest, but I kept running into the wrong people and doing the wrong thing. Eventually, Turlag the treant grabbed me and said, “Take a hike.” Well, maybe not in those words exactly.

Aegon: An interesting tale. I would like to hear more sometime.

Neera: All right. Then I’ll yank on your ear when I’m ready to gab some more.

Jaheira is exactly where we left here. She says she has yet to approach the Stronghold so has little information on what awaits us.

I ask Jaheira about the Ring of the Druid. She says that she’s not the kind of druid that can make use of it, so we put it back into our bag of holding.

Will notices the gauntlets Jaheira is wearing, and tells us the are the Brawling Hands.

We decide to rest up before we attack the fortress. The next morning, Vienxay, Neera, and I prepare our Mage Armour. We approach a gate made of large branches and skulls and are spotted by a gnoll guarding the entrance.

It falls quickly to our arrows.

We loot its corpse and move on. I send Cat ahead to scout their defenses. He spots a small squad of gnolls atop the stairs. A few of them look stronger, and one wears the trappings of a clan leader.

He finds more gnolls further into the stronghold.

One of the prison pits is guarded by what looks like the chief of the tribe.

He goes down the pit and finds a woman. This must be the witch, Dynaheir.

That’s one of the people we need to rescue, but what of Aaron?

Cat continues to scout, noting the location of the gnolls. He finds Aaron in another pit on the far side of the stronghold.

Cat returns to us and relays the locations of the gnolls and the prisoners. We ascend the steps, ready to face the first squad of gnolls. Before we get to the top, we find one of the elites has followed Cat.

It is no match for us on its own.

We climb the steps and find the gnolls at the top.

We pick off one of the veterans easily.

The clan leader hears the sound of our battel. This one is probably tougher than the other gnolls.

We assault it with Chromatic Orbs and Magic Missiles while Jaheira engages it with her club.

Will manages to Command it to sleep for moment.

The moment is short lived as it jumps back up and cuts Jaheira pretty bad with its halberd.

I manage to Charm the Gnoll Leader with my Ring of Human Influence. Guess it can influence more than just humans after all.

I send it back to the top of the stairs while we heal up Jaheira.

I summon some gibberlings to support our new ally.

We hear them get slaughtered very quickly. Jaheira casts Entangle before we approach again.

It pays off, the clan leader is caught in the vines. We are caught as well, but we have ranged weapons and magic.

Our good fortune is short lived – it breaks free and moves toward us again. We launch magical orbs, missiles and a Command at it again.

A second barrage of spells and it is almost dead as it gets caught by the vines again.

And I knock it dead with a Fire Bullet.

I didn’t actually realise I was using Fire Bullets, but oh well. It turned out to be useful

A gnoll veteran walks into our arrows and dies. Another gnoll gets caught in the vines.

I destroy it with a bullet.

The vines sink back into the ground and disappear. Another gnoll charges Jaheira. They just keep coming.

Another Fire Bullet, another kill.

The gnolls don’t have much on them other than halberds, but the clan leader’s halberd is enchanted in a way we can’t identify.

We don’t have much magic left, but there are stronger gnolls ahead according to Cat, so I distribute some of our scrolls to everyone. They have powerful spells on them, so hopefully they will help.

We decide to try and rescue Aaron first. We move around the pit to the south to get a position where we can better defend ourselves.

The gnoll warriors follow us around.

I didn’t realise this was a dead end. We’re actually in a pretty bad position here.

I heal Jaheira as she fights.

A gnoll warrior gets an arrow to the eye from Imoen.

We find a gnoll that has descended into the pit.

We lure it out and I crack its skull open with a bullet.

We charge the last two gnolls.

I have to heal Jaheira to keep her alive, but they are otherwise dispatched easily.

Another gnoll blocks the entrance to Aaron’s prison.

We kill it, and another gnoll we find near Aaron’s pit prison.

Jaheira descends the pit and Aaron immediately rushes to talk to her.

Jaheira: You are Aaron, right? Your mother has sent us to your rescue!

Aaron: Yes, that’s me! Aaron Brunnstein. Please, ma’am. Please get me out of here!

Jaheira: At once. I will cut your bonds.

Aaron: Oh thank you, thank you! I will get out of here!

Jaheira: Will you find the way?

Aaron: Yes, I was conscious when they threw me in here.

But… I have one request.

I had a ring with me. The gnolls took it from me. Please, go see if yo can find it for me.

Jaheira: We’ll see what we can do.

Aaron: Then we should leave here at once! I’ll meet you at the other side of the bridge!

Damn. This means I need to kill all of the gnolls before I rescue Dynaheir. Otherwise my party will be a lot weaker. I was hoping to skip a battle here since the gnolls look a lot tougher than what we have faced so far. Hopefully I can do it with these scrolls.

We ascend the steps again. Jaheira has some questions for her adoptive daughter.

Imoen: Heh, he often talked to me of how I wasn’t cleanin’ good enough, and how I will never find myself a good husband if I keep climbing on fences and erm… borrowing things…

Jaheira: Yes, those are useful instructions, but I meant other sorts of things. You’re of age now, and I think it is my duty to forewarn you.

Imoen: Forewarn me of what?

Jaheira: There are a few herbs that a grown up woman should know how to prepare properly, when she starts taking interest in comely lads. First there is tansy…

Imoen: Cookin’ bores me, Jaheira. I don’t need to-

Jaheira: We’re not talking about *cooking*, Imoen!

Imoen: Oh, *what* are we talkin’ ’bout then?

Jaheira: Eh, maybe this talk can wait for a while longer.

Probably best to wait. Not sure how slaying a bunch of giant dog-men made you want to talk about *that*.

I tell them that we need to move quickly. We still have one more person to rescue and we can’t leave the gnolls time to call for reinforcements…

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