The Troupe rescued Aaron from the Gnoll Stronghold, but he has asked them to find a ring that was stolen from him by one of his gnoll captors. The Troupe also needs to find Minsc’s witch, Dynaheir. Edwin believes she is dangerous, but they shall see the truth soon enough.
27 Mirtul 1368
Cat reminds me there are more gnolls in the tower to the north of us. We don’t want them to sneak up behind us, so we ascend the steps. We find some xvarts at the top.
These things again. There are only a few of them at least. They prove to be no match for us.
They only have a few coins and an andar gem in their pouches. I ask Cat to remind me where the gnolls are, and ready one of my scrolls of Fireball. I point toward the other side of the tower and we smell burning fur and flesh.
I prepare a second Fireball and the gnolls come into view.
I launch a third Fireball but it misses. Vienxay manages to Confuse the gnolls with her scroll.
After this it is easy to pick them off.
Imoen says she has learned a lot from our assault on the Stronghold so far.
I improve her base Open Locks and Find Traps skills to 45 and 50 respectively.
Apart from their halberds and a few gems, the gnolls had a Potion of Extra Healing as well as a couple of Oils of Speed. Jaheira takes the healing potion, and Imoen the speed potions.
They also have what looks like Aaron’s ring. Jaheira puts it on for now. She can use the extra protection.
The gnolls also had a small collection of spell scrolls. One is a scroll of Banishment. I don’t think we will encounter any extradimensional beings soon, so it goes into the scroll case.
The next is a spell to Conjure an Earth Elemental. This might be useful so I keep it in my belt.
There’s also a weaker version of the spell. Will holds on to this one for now.
They also have Invisible Stalker. Vienxay keeps this scroll ready.
Two powerful summon scrolls should help us turn the tide if the Chieftain guarding the witch is too tough for us.
The next scroll has Oracle, a spell that helps fight against illusions. This could be useful the next time we encounter a magic user.
Protection from Electricity could be useful against traps and mages.
These spells probably won’t help us so I store them in my scroll case. The last spell, Shadow Door, might be useful in a pinch. Vienxay stores this one in her belt.
We make our way back to the other side of the Stronghold and find gnolls guarding the main fortress.
These ones are easy to handle.
We dispatch all three and get ready to fight another cheiftan. If Cat is right, it has an entourage. We decide to use our summoning scrolls first and send them in to start the fight.
A gnoll chieftan is drawn out.
And killed by the invisible stalker.
The earth elemental is too big to cross the gap, but we send the other two summoned creatures in. We hear them engage the gnolls and follow them into the fight.
A gnoll veteran takes some damage, but closes in on us quickly.
We move back so the earth elemental can help.
The gnoll is distracted by the elemental, and catches a fatal arrow from Imoen.
We move in to help the invisible stalker and lesser elemental. The gnoll leader is almost dead.
Then the invisible stalker rips it apart.
Cat reminds me that there are more gnolls on the tower above, so we send the stalker and elemental up to deal with them.
Will feels a bit stronger now.
I pump all his points into pickpocketing. I never experiment with this skill, and the mods we have make it easier to use, so I want to try and use it more. We have Imoen for our trap and lockpicking skills for now.
We climb the tower and find there is still one more gnoll.
We kill it easily.
As we loot the corpses, our elementals return the Elemental Plane of Earth. The gnolls don’t have anything interesting on them, except for the leader, who has some kind of magical halberd.
Vienxay decides this is the moment to call out Jaheira’s stares.
Jaheira: Your air of superiority falls flat, exile. I am not convinced you are entirely innocent in your banishment.
Vienxay: Of course I am innocent. I was the victim.
Jaheira: Proclaiming and being are not the same, child.
Vienxay: Child?! You weren’t there! Nor would a mutt be welcome in Evermeet.
Jaheira: Seems being unwelcome in Evermeet is the only thing we have in common.
It must be hard to be welcome in Evermeet.
Jaheira descends into the pit and finds Dynaheir where Cat said she would be.
Jaheira: How did you come to be trapped in such a place? You do not look as though you are helpless.
Dynaheir: I fear I was separated from my guardian, Mins. I know not his fate, for we were ambushed in the night. Doubtless he is alive and looking for me, though the blow to the head he suffered cannot have further helped his wits. He is a good and noble warrior, though less gifted in matters of judgement. Mayhaps I could travel with thee until I find him?
Jaheira: I welcome your company in my group, and I’m sure we’ll meet this Minsc of yours sooner or later.
Dynaheir has a question for us before she leaves the pit.
Aegon: We will keep our eyes open as we travel. Perhaps someone has already found it.
Dynaheir is happy to join our troupe after her rescue.
Minsc called her a witch, but she is actually an invoker.
She tells us she can invoke Burning Hands, Chromatic Orbs, and Magic Missiles. She can also use her magic to Identify items.
The gnolls took her equipment, so we dig into our Bag of Holding to see what we can give her. She takes a sling, a quarterstaff, and the Robe of Electrical Resistance.
Now Dynaheir is safe, Jaheira decides it’s time to return to her husband. She tells us she will meet us in Nashkel if we ever need her again. I’m sure part of her just wants to get away from Vienxay.
Before we leave, we check the area around the Stronghold to try and clear out the gnolls for good. We find some more warriors outside the walls.
Imoen sticks the veteran with an arrow, but we have another to deal with.
Vienxay’s invisible stalker beats it to death.
We think we are in the clear, when more come down the hill toward us.
The invisible stalker rips apart one of the warriors.
The rest are easy to deal with. We’re getting used to fighting these gnolls.
There are no more gnolls on the north side of the island, so we move on to the southern side, beneath the Stronghold. Sure enough, there are more here as well.
Since it’s alone, we kill it quickly. We find xvarts here as well. Are they working with the gnolls?
As we fight our way through a few groups of xvarts, we come across a cave.
We fight our way inside to find an xvart nest.
I use Sleep to knock them unconscious.
Then we just pick them off one by one.
Deeper into the cave we find their pet carrion crawler.
It paralyses me, leaving me unable to defend myself.
Dynaheir and Imoen start launching Magic MIssiles at it.
Imoen draws her sword and tries to distract the crawler.
Imoen is also paralysed, but a second Magic Missile of Dynaheir’s kills it for good. Dynaheir suggests that everyone waits – the poison should wear off soon.
Eventually I can move again. Dynaheir and I talk while we wait for Imoen to recover.
Aegon: To tell you the truth, Dynaheir, everything is happening at such a fast pace that I have no chance to miss the library.
Dynaheir: I understand. Thou art excited with thy first adventure and this conceals all other worries.
Aegon: Nope. All of my thinking ability goes into watching out for myself, Dynaheir. I have no time to daydream if I want to stay alive, and in the night I have terrible nightmares, or I sleep ready to get up and fight… So it’s the worries that conceal everything.
Dynaheir: Thou hast nightmares? Pity, that one as young as thyself suffers from worries. ‘Tis true that few places are presently safe, but should we find such, I counsel thee to rest for a day or two.
Meanwhile Neera is finding Vienxay to be annoying.
Vienxay: I am entirely content with not talking to you…and instead talking about you.
Neera: How do you make any friends at all?
Vienxay: By having predictable, useful magic that doesn’t get them killed.
Eventually Imoen starts to move. We are wounded and have no healing spells left so we take the opportunity to rest. I don’t have nightmares this time. Our invisible stalker disappears during the night.
In the morning I heal myself and we prepare our Mage Armour.
Outside we find a second cave and go inside. There are more xvarts here, and this time they have some tame bears as pets.
I feel myself dying over and over again. I watch my party get torn apart one by one as a bears maw opens in my face. We try to retreat, but a bear catches Cat and starts to eat him and our psychic bond causes me to die as well. What is this? Why do these visions feel so real? We have to get out of here before any of this actuallyhappens.
This is a tough battle mainly because the area so tight. Since I can’t maneuvre, it’s basically impossible to dodge the bear attacks or get off spells quickly enough to take them down. Even leaving the caves I would find my familiar dies, which means Aegon dies as well.
I call for everyone to retreat and we leave the cave. A single xvart follows us out. Not a wise move on its part.
The rest of the xvarts seem content to remain inside the cave with their bears. We move on, perhaps we can come back for these xvarts later. Outside, we encounter more xvarts but they give us much less trouble.
At the very bottom of the island we come across something we don’t expect. Small yapping lizardlike kobolds.
And they have flaming arrows!
Will is hurt and retreats while we take care of the kobolds. They have a shaman, we need to kill that one quickly.
I heal Will, and we move back into the fight.
Neera, Dynaheir, and Vienxay assault a kobold witch doctor with magic.
The wounded witch doctor is struck in the skull with a bullet and is no more.
Imoen kills another witch doctor. It’s just a clan leader left now.
It doesn’t stand a chance.
Cat is wounded so I use my last healing spell on him.
We search the corpses of the kobolds. The clan leader’s bow is enchanted. Imoen takes it so she can hit harder with her arrows.
Will identifies the arrows they were using. They had several fire arrows.
Some poisonous arrows.
And a few explosive arrows.
Vienxay takes the Arrows of Biting and Imoen takes the Arrows of Fire. She also holds onto the Arrows of Detonation.
This is a fairly decent upgrade for our party right now.
The kobolds also had some strange looking Potions of Healing. I’m not sure I trust them so I stash them in my potion case.
There is another cave here. It’s probably full of kobolds. We make our way inside.
We were wrong. More xvarts.
I put most of them to Sleep. They aren’t much trouble after that.
We leave the empty cave and go back to the bridge. We find Aaron waiting on the other side and he asks about his ring.
Imoen: We have to sweep this place first. Please wait.
Aaron: Okay, but hurry. I would not stay here longer than necessary!
That’s right. Jaheira was wearing his ring…
I’m a dumb idiot…
We’re going to have to travel back to Nashkel. Maybe we can catch up with Jaheira on the way…
28 Mirtul 1368
We make haste for Nashkel, hoping to catch up with Jaheira. On our way we manage to disturb a bear.
While we fill it with arrows and Cat manages to sneak up and kill it.
Will says he’s learned a lot travelling with us.
He gets a couple of extra hit points and can use an extra spell each day now.
Neera says she’s managing to control her magic a bit more.
She has improved saves, 4 extra hit points and another spell per day.
29 Mirtul 1368
We don’t manage to catch up with Jaheira, but we reach Nashkel without further incident. Vienxay is happy to finally be here.
Vienxay: They’re bound to be in the vicinity, perhaps the inn. Let’s look around.
She’s still looking for Lacius, her former lover who betrayed her. I did agree to help her. At least we have something to do if we managed to beat Jaheira here.
It’s night time and we are tired so we need to go to the inn anyway. Inside, Vienxay spots Lacius right away.
Vienxay: Don’t recognise me, idiot “sweetheart”?
Lacius: Vienxay?! What… what are you doing here?
Vienxay: Tracking down our old master, Lacius. Now talk before I spill your guts on the floor.
Aegon: You best answer her questions.
Vienxay: Talk, Lacius. NOW.
Lacius: I’m not involved anymore with her, honest! She left me a letter to go see her in the Cloakwood, she’s collecting regents and components from the Shadow Druids, but I’m done serving her.
I didn’t know what she was until it was too late, and I didn’t have the courage to leave her when Evermeet began to get suspicious after Vienxay’s exile.
You got to believe me.
Vienxay: He’s lying. I’m going to spill his guts for betraying me and sticking with the Sharran, Lacius.
Aegon: Let him walk, Vienxay. He’s not the big fish anyway.
Vienxay: And why in the hells would I spare him?
Aegon: Because even if he hurt you, he is not the one that deserves death.
Vienxay: How I loath obeying your advice. Fine. Go, Lacius. I never loved you.
Lacius: You are not as heartless as you act. Thank you, Vienxay, and thank you stranger. I’ll be leaving and neither of you will hear from me again.
He makes a quick dash for the door before we change our minds.
We find Jaheira in the back room of the inn. She tells us Khalid is still recovering in the temple.
She tries to hide her embarrassment when we ask for the ring back.
We are getting tired, so we decide to rest up before returning to the Gnoll Stronghold. Hopefully Aaron will still be there when we get back. Neera is satisfied after her bath.
Neera: Though the man who filled up the tub wouldn’t stop twitching after he tried to spy on me. Can I help it if what he saw wasn’t actually representative of reality at all?
Aegon: Oh dear. What did you do?
Neera: I didn’t do anything! Well, not intentionally, anyway.
Okay, maybe a little.
Just an itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny little illusion, that’s all. It’s not like I hurt him!
Besides, he was peeping. He deserved a lot worse than what he got. He’s just lucky I was in a good mood, or he’d have ended up with a tail, or worse, bunny ears.
Aegon: I’d say he got off lightly, then.
Neera: Yeah. I mean, I don’t have a problem with my body or anything, but I do prefer people to actually get my permission to see it first.
Anyway, I should probably thank you. This has been a really nice night. Hopefully the beds don’t have *too* many bedbugs, too.
Aegon: Hey, I’ve enjoyed it as much as you have. It’s nice not to have to sleep on the ground every once in a while.
Neera: It really is. I think I’m finally starting to get used to it, at least. My back doesn’t hurt quite so much anymore in the mornings, so that’s a plus.
The bedrolls help I suppose. Before you came along, I was literally just sleeping on the ground. Don’t do that. Just take my word for it.
Anyways, I think I’m going to turn in…
Neera: Been a loooong day. Thanks again.
We go to our rooms and turn in for the night. The next morning I talk with Dynaheir over breakfast.
Aegon: Did you not call yourself a Wychlaran?
Dynaheir: Indeed, Wychlaran is commonly used. A more polite form is Hathran, but either is appropriate. Simply, Hathran are all women with a gift for the Arts. The Unproven are women that were not trained in the Arts. The Ethran are the trained, the Hathran are the senior amongst us, and the Othlor are the wisest and most honoured.
Aegon: And the most senior of you is called Amyrlin Seat. Right?
Dynaheir: Though must be confusing some foreign custom for Rashemi. No single Hathran is in charge of all the others.
That’s a lesson learned. I read a lot of books back at the Keep, but that’s no replacement for real world knowledge.
We finish our breakfast in silence.
It seems Amyrlin Seat is a reference to the Wheel of Time series. I’ve never read the books, so I didn’t catch on when making dialogue choices.