Mithrandir Journals

Notes from the Surface

Entry 1 – A Dagger

I entered the Apothecary not entirely sure of my intentions. Of course I wanted
to grab a sample of whatever it was we were compelled to stir (if the
opportunity arose), but really didn’t feel like loosing one of my handsome and
precious limbs over the exercise. I know the man “looks” old, but there is
certainly more power in him than I have witnessed before in my brief 110 years
below the surface. I shudder to think of what he is capable of, and reflecting
upon that made me desire a meeting with him. I planned to offer my services
as a strapping young man and gain access through him to power and magic
well beyond my expectations. What services that might be? I didn’t really
know. I figured I would leave that up to the Old Man as he would better know
what he needs.

So, shoving fear aside I did what anyone would do after an encounter with
Cerberus, I rushed headlong towards the door and performed a most elegant
divebomb tumble to gain cover behind the rows of items for sale all the while
screaming out at the top of my lungs HEY OLD MAN!!! Leaping up to my feet
I looked around anticipating one of those three huge heads viciously lunging
for my throat, with blood pumping through my veins and fear palpable on my
face I see….nothing. No dog heads, no old man, no bodies getting
dismembered, just a normal looking store with pleasant lighting. Fear begins
to change to embarrassment as I look around the shelf I am hiding behind and
see Cerberus chained up in his corner. This is further exacerbated when I see
the halfwit Darian come walking in normally as if he knew there would be
nothing to fear. Perhaps he forgot about Cerberus from last time. He does
seem to be sharp with his sword and battlerelated wit, but a real dolt
otherwise. He’s lucky Mathias is still cordial to him after almost getting killed
when Darian jumped on him from friggin 60 feet up! Anyway, having the numskull come in gave me the opportunity that I desired. While Darian skulked over to the counter looking for a bell to ring I leaped up on the platform next to the cauldron, quickly dumped out my vial of ink (not to
stealthily unfortunately) and dipped it into the obsidian colored liquid. The
heat was intense, but I was able to get the stopper back in and toss the ink vial
into my bag just before the Old Man came through the door to talk to Darian.
After Darian weakly pretended not to have a reason to spend 100 gold pieces on
something to remove taint I was able to have some time alone discussing my
intentions with the Old Man. I showed him the dragon book, not so much for
the concern I have with it’s contents, but because I know it is special and hoped
it would pique his interest. I wanted him to trust that I was someone capable
of big things. I don’t want him to see any worry in my face or speech and thus
when he brought out a dagger that he said he no longer wished to have in the
shop I nonchalantly said I’d be happy to carry it for him. Imagine that! An
item so…whatever… that he DOES NOT want it in his shop. I fear that I have
gone too far and gotten myself entangled in things I should not mettle with.
That feeling of disquiet when reaching out for the dagger was confirmed when
it disappeared and turned into a raised tattoo on my hand. I can still feel the
dagger there, but I’m pretty confident that I cannot put it down. Which on the
one hand is exciting to have such a strong weapon be a part of me, but chilling
to think of the possible outcome of carrying this for the Old Man. I’m sure that
Sir Bane’s visceral reaction to an evil item in the room was related to this
dagger. It’s either that or the book, but the book was not technically with us in
the room. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out but I can say that I look
forward to using the dagger sometime…..

Entry 2 – A Conversation

Kaz. Who is Kaz?
This question has been bothering me since I overheard the Drow guards
conversing over a hand of cards. Presumably Drow Poker which is much like
regular poker played in Faerun, with the minor exception that the winner gets
a free strike against his opponents to remind them how much it sucks to be a
loser. In any event, Kaz was mentioned and I could not help immediately
thinking of the cloaked rider on the horse behind the gibberling horde. A few
things come to mind here, first Kaz must be quite powerful to control such a
mass of usually uncontrollable gibberlings, and second, the strength of
Mykaeleus may be larger than I previously envisioned. But before I go on, I
should step back a bit and discuss what led up to overhearing “the
conversation”.

Although we did not get much sleep, this evening has turned out to be quite
enjoyable really. Although I can take pleasure in an occasional prank or two I
tend to get weary of day-to-day living in town. I’m much more comfortable
underground and feel exceptionally comfortable when both underground and
hidden. I take particular joy in moving quietly from room to room or cavern to
cavern picking up pieces of information that prove valuable. There has been
more than one occasion where a mere slip of the tongue has blessed me with
such advantage that surrender or death is the only possible outcome for my
target.

Anyway, after Jubei opened the hidden door to the gibberling layer it was
natural that I would go scout a bit to see what we were in for. He mentioned
there were a few Drow guarding his sister, but I’m not the type to be trusting of
outsiders with my neck. Not at least until they prove themselves both
trustworthy and useful to me. Much like the disparate group I’ve found myself
traveling and adventuring with. We are certainly not a subtle group, but thus
far have worked well together when the need arises.

I left the rest of our party outside to continue their cacophonous clanking of
armor, sharpening of swords, talking as if they are across the room from one
another etc etc. Somehow Mortimer makes a diverse array of noise even while
standing still (and trying hard not to make any noise). After entering the lair
and descending a few steps I found myself looking at what could only be
described as a massive cell. Based on the stench and the discarded bits of bone
and fur it is easy to conclude that this is where the gibberlings rest during the
day. There were two doors into the cage and luckily for me the door I tried was
unlocked. It made a faint squeaking sound as it opened which reminded me to
be more careful in the future. No sense having something as precious as me
alone down in here if I end up making the same clatter as Mortimer.

I stepped my way carefully over the carrion and dung, moving steadily towards
one of two large iron doors at the back of the cage. Being a tad smarter this
time I pulled out my silent portal disk and placed it on the door before trying
the handle. It was locked. Now a mere mortal at this point would head back
to the group and prepare to charge the door. Would it work? Yes. Would it also
ruin any chance at ambushing the guards presumably inside? Yes again. So I
concentrated and cast the spell I learned as “Knock”. Making my voice just
loud enough to cast the spell I commanded the door to unlock. Satisfaction
swept through me as I again grabbed the handle and easily opened the door a
crack.

At which point I could hear the Drow guards talking in an dimly lit adjacent
room. It sounded like it was just a few of them which was good news for Jubei.
The party would not have taken kindly to being setup and I would have been
most pleased to show J just how much he must suffer for his deception. I listen
intently for a few minutes and hear them talking about the girl we are here to
save. At some point in their conversation I hear the name Kaz. They say that
he is going to sell the girl behind Mykaeleus’s back. The implications of all of
this is astounding to me. If this building and the gibberlings are any
indication of Mykaeleus’s defenses then we are really in for it as a party, but if
we can work out a deal with Kaz for the girl we may be able to quickly gain the
upper hand against Mykaeleus and let Kaz’s troops do most of the dirty work
for us. How does that phrase go? …A house divided against itself cannot
stand. Well Kaz is powerful and he is at least considering division against
Mykaeleus. I think more than anything else that occurred today that piece of
information from “the conversation” is most useful.

Entry 3 – The Vampire

What is wrong with this party? A simple search of the room we were in would
have easily led to the doorway behind the cell, but no. We decide that it is most
expedient to let an almost deity-level being out of his cell merely to find an
easier way out of Kaz’s lair. Which, as an aside, is also a bit retarded in that
the lair is well set up to be a great home base for the party. It was well hidden,
had a working kitchen, a nice office for me and cells to hold anyone that we
need to “detain”. Any information gained by letting the vampire out of his cell
could been gathered over time by conversation with him. Eventually we might
have let him go, but at least then it would have been a rational decision.
Instead the barbarian consults with the party for about a ½ second and then
starts smashing mirrors. Yes mirrors. Bars can’t hold this gentlemen so he is
encased in a cell of mirrors. Seems odd at first, yes? So naturally lets just
throw caution to the wind and break the damn mirrors. Wonderful idea.
The barbarian has a good heart, but needs to realize that not everyone is
coming from the same place. Vampires are evil. Always. And an evil being,
especially a powerful evil being, is best kept locked up. Think of all the work
and death that must have occurred to get him locked up in the first place! To
undo that in the blink of an eye and with the wave of a mace is just too
impetuous for me. Anyway… I’m rambling. My frustration over the incident is
almost overwhelming, but I’m better off spending this time with pen and paper
documenting what we learned from our brief discussion with the Vampire.
His name is Kestod and according to Grunthum he is some sort of assistant to
Kiransalee. I find that tidbit interesting since all of the Drow we killed during
the raid were wearing pendants of Kiransalee. So why would her supposed
followers have her assistant locked up? What did he do or threaten to do that
would cause his imprisonment? This is something that I must ponder further
when I have the time.

He was Drow like me, but also entirely unlike me. His skin was not the dark
obsidian of a healthy Drow, but almost ashen and dead looking. After
breaking the mirrors he emerged from his confinement and performed the sort
of stretch that one only does when being released from an uncomfortable
position. Then with an unsettling smirk on his face he bowed to Evangelyne.
Which I must agree is better than just slaying everyone as I expected. As he
promised before Evangelyne released him he did let us know an alternate way
out of the lair. And again, it was a bigass opening behind his cell that would
only be missed if you were blind and drunk.

We exchanged a few pleasantries and got his name and then he started talking
about things most interesting and personal to me. He could sense what Darian
is carrying for the Old Man to present to Mykaeleus and essentially told us
that Mykaeleus should not have whatever is in the package. Mykaeleus is
messing with things far greater than he understands and apparently is
working to release a wickedly evil deity that is currently imprisoned. The
package Darian is carrying is connected in one fashion or another to this
release. Kestod told us the name of the deity Mykaeleus is working to release,
and seemed to be telling the truth when he told us not to repeat it. At the mere
mention of the name the whole room went entirely silent. Much like a magical
silence with absolutely no noise. It was weird, and just to be safe I’m not going
to write it down here either. I shall only say that it reminds me of a whale.
He further went on to say that we can recognize the whalegod
by his symbol..

A scepter with a skull on the top. At that my mind started swimming and my
heart racing. I know not what was discussed shortly thereafter as I was
entirely focused on the tattoo on my hand. I have seen that symbol before and
I’m carrying it on me right now. The dagger entrusted to me by the Old Man is
engraved with a scepter with a skull on top. I knew it was evil, but knowing
that it has connections with the abject evil Mykaeleus is working to release is
grievous to me. I must hide this knowledge for now from the group. They are
all going to be on the lookout for this symbol and I fear it may cause our
separation if I am found out. I now have more of an understanding of why Sir
Bane was able to feel its presence in the room. Clearly it is more wicked and
cursed than I previously imagined.

Entry 4 – The Potion

What changes in but an evening! After meeting Kestod and working our way
out of Kaz’s lair we all sat around for a bit talking about how to move forward
with our mission to grab Mykaeleus. It was ironically determined that the best
course of action was to head back into Kaz’s lair and have a chat with him.
The thought was that we might be able to win him over to our side and use his
help not only getting to Mykaeleus’s position quickly, but also perhaps for cover
and disguise among some fake gibberlings.

Well it turns out that Kaz is not really the negotiating type and our plan fell
flat on it’s face. On the plus side though he was relatively easy to disable. The
downside was that we were trying to disable him yet keep him alive and it
seems a disgruntled gargoyle had a different view of what was right to do with
a bludgeoned Kaz. The gargoyle grabbed him in the air, and dropped him into
a mass of gibberlings who appeared to make short order of doing the final
killing. Because of the way they eat there wasn’t a body left for us to find, but
the general consensus is that this was a real event and he is gone for good.
So after making our way (once again) back out of the lair we took a bit of rest
and got ready for our trek to Mykaeleus the next morning. That evening I got a
chance to spend some time studying the potion that I grabbed from the Old
Man’s cauldron. I was surprised to find that the liquid appears to have
hardened into what can only be described as an obsidian rock within the vial.
I guess not knowing what it is made of that change should not really surprise
me, but nonetheless I found it odd. After relaxing and clearing my mind for a
bit I was able to concentrate and mustering my ability to detect magic I found
that the potion has some association with the spell Plane Shift. It could even
be that the material inside would allow us as a group to move to another plane
of existence, but I’m not really very familiar with this spell and using this vial
as a magic device to try a spell that I don’t know is just a bit too risky a
thought for me right now.

I ended up drifting off to sleep contemplating this potion and its spell and was
well rested the next morning (when I am now writing this). I have some time
to sit and write because we really have no quick way to get to Mykaeleus and
therefore are going to see if we can recreate one of Kaz’s nebulous horses. We
found some wands where we expected to find Kaz’s remains, and at the
moment the fool Darian is actually trying to activate one not knowing either
what it does or how to use it. It’s funny, I find him like the characters of many
legends or bedtime stories who exist merely to provide mental relief from tense
moments and are often killed off at their own hand. Perhaps this will be that
moment for him. In reality that would be a shame as I am growing to like him
a bit more each day. Especially when I get to mess with him.
Hmmm. Turns out this is not Darian’s time to die. The numbskull actually
conjured up some horses… Guess even a broken clock is right twice a day. Off
to Mykaeleus!

Entry 5 – Mini Mykaeleus

At the moment I’m in a cavern. A completely dark and for now silent cavern.
I’m sure we will make our way out shortly, but in the meantime I thought it
was wise to recount the events that led the party to an unknown cavern in an
unknown part of the word. In fact I’m not even confident yet what plane of
existence we are on…

It all started with a discussion while we were on Darian’s magical horses
about how to approach Mykaeleus. The group decided that it was best to be
upfront and diplomatic about the situation and elected me as the spokesperson
for the party. And why not? I’m a Drow and therefore would not be foreign at
all to Mykaeleus and I’m a wonderful speaker full of passion and a unique
ability to win people to my way of thinking. I thought the idea sounded
splendid and was ready for whatever verbal swordfighting
might come.

After finding the location of his moving citadel we used the key that Gruntham
was holding to find and open a door on the side of the building. We entered
and I yelled out that I wished to speak with Mykaeleus. He did not reply, but
allowed us to move into a small room with another door. I confidently
approached the door and was immediately stricken DEAD by some freakish
shadow monster hiding in the door. I can assure you now that you have seen
the last of “diplomatic” Mithrandir. Only by the quick movement of Gruntham
putting Bane’s ring on my finger was I able to avoid becoming the enemy and
was resurrected back to life. I shall be grateful to him for some time to come.
To preserve time I shall spare the details of much of what happened next.
Essentially we were forced to move through a series of what can only be
described as puzzles as we made our way to Mykaeleus. Along the way we were
able to pick up some gear and create some mayhem breaking just about all the
glass that we encountered. In fact, breaking glass ended up being a key part of
understanding a particularly challenging trap that I could swear was an
endless pit. Turns out that it was rather shallow with some very deadly
looking spikes at the bottom of it. That explains what I felt when I slowly
crawled down there, but I am very glad that we did not have some people jump
in just to test if it was another of the many illusions that we have been
experiencing. The spikes were 100% real.

After moving through the passageway with the spikes we were able to meet
Mykaeleus. He was dressed in some very interesting armor and seemed quite
happy to see us. After chatting for a bit about differences of opinion, Dastan
took it upon himself to shoot out one of the many mirrors that were in the room.
This completely enraged Mykaeleus and a fierce battle ensued. He was a
challenging opponent to hit and seemed to have it out for Dastan. At one point
I was able to detect that Mykaeleus was casting Dominate Person on Dastan
and only by such luck that one would think he is cheating was Dastan able to
resist the spell. That moment could have turned out very badly for all of us,
but in the end we prevailed and Evangelyne dispatched Mykaeleus with an
incredibly impressive move.

As soon as he was killed his body turned into a pile of snow with all of his gear
around it. Not what you would expect with a normal mortal being. The
building started violently shaking and a portal opened up in the wall in front
of us. Dastan quickly grabbed the gear and we all rushed through the portal to
avoid getting crushed by the collapsing citadel. Once through we found
ourselves in this cavern. The really really interesting thing is this: Mathias
informed us that the pile of snow was significant. Apparently this was NOT
the real Mykaeleus, but an autonomous being created by him to do his will. So
now here we are resting for a bit, wondering what is coming next, and yet we
still have the burden of finding and detaining Mykaeleus for Bane.
Our group has really impressed me lately. I’m becoming more comfortable
with each of them and am actually beginning to trust them. Yes, of course
Dastan is a hothead and Darian is, well, Darian, but on the whole I feel we
are able to handle this task for Bane. After we complete it I know not which
ways our paths will go. But for the time being this feels right.

Mithrandir Journals

A Faerunian Tale AzraelDM