Duncan's Report ~ March 608ER

The original can be found on the Fey tree of Greyhelm. 

After the excitement of the recent tournament in Blackstone I was feeling a bit worn out.  I had put in a lot of effort getting ready for it, and the tournament and feast turned out to be a lot more eventful than I imagined.  I could also tell that in a short time things were again going to be very busy and that I’ll have my hands full with things on the home front.  For all these reasons I was looking for a nice relaxing trip to take while I still had the chance.

I learned that Tovolia and Caliphar were planning on taking another excursion down to Greyhelm.  I made arrangements to accompany them.  At the last minute Boo joined our little group.  For reasons that I suppose I’m to blame we got a much later start than I would have liked.  As a result we arrived in Eladhir’s Haven well past midnight on the night of Friday the fourteenth of March.

The four of us went to a cabin and stowed away our gear.  The other three were in no particular hurry to make their way into town, but I was.  I grabbed my sword and shield and hurried over to the tavern in hopes that I had not already missed too much action.  As it turned out I need not have rushed at all.  I found both the town and the tavern completely deserted of adventurers.

For a brief moment I was afraid we had gotten some date wrong and showed up a week too early or too late.  But then I noticed a number of things piled around the tavern that let me know that adventurers were in town.  I reasoned that they must all be off on some sort of affair.  I knew from my reading that trips to planes of Terror and Rage had been planned.  It was my guess that was where everyone was at.

About half an hour later everyone arrived back at the tavern and I learned that my guess had been correct.  The adventurers were just now returning from the Plane of Terror.  I saw a number of folks that I knew and nodded to them in greeting.  Kellian came over and sat with me for a while and got me caught up on what I had missed.

He explained that they had journeyed to the Plane of Terror in an attempt to free some Nymerian elves that were being held prisoner there.  He said the trip went fairly smoothly until the end.  The prisoners were located, but there were bound in some fashion to the Plane and could not be removed. 

Everyone was stymied for a time until someone came up with the idea to use a Courage spell.  This dispelled the effect that was keeping the elves prisoner.  I listened to this with a certain amount of frustration.  When I learned there might be a trip to a Plane called Terror I reasoned on my own that Courage spells might be needed.  For that reason I went through the effort of composing a four stanza spellsong that I might use to cast the spell on a continual basis when the time came.  By arriving late, all that effort and preparation went to waste.  But at least things worked out well enough for everyone else in the end.

 
I saw Kylou come in and head straight for Tovolia.  I learned that Tovolia had been asked to translate some sort of coded message to Kylou.  He gave the message to Kylou along with some sort of magic coin that went with it.  From what I understood Kylou was supposed to make a wish and throw the coin in a pond. 

About this time a rather odd creature arrived in the tavern.  It appeared to be a Bunny Scavenger of some sort, but when I got a closer look at her I could see she was plainly a creature of Fae.  She was posting notices all over the place that gave rules for an Egg Hunt.  When she finished she went outside to hide a bunch of eggs.

The eggs contained prizes and enchantments.  The rules were fairly simple.  They seemed to be mostly concerned with making sure that the most people would have fun with the eggs.  We could only collect two eggs at a time, and they had to be opened in the tavern in the presence of others.  This would keep someone from running out and collecting all the eggs and opening them in the safety of their cabin, or things to that effect.

Shortly the Bunny returned and announced the eggs were all hidden.  In a few minutes people were rushing in and out of the tavern grabbing eggs and breaking them open.  Opening the eggs had a variety of different effects.  All of them had candy inside of some kind or another.  Many had small items of value like scrolls, potions, money and even components.  The one I opened had nothing but candy.  Or so I thought.

Others had a decided different effect.  A number of times when an egg was opened a creature of some kind would appear and attack everyone.  There were a couple of different elementals that popped out and at the rate people were breaking into eggs the tavern quickly became pandemonium.

Sir Khorvai eventually decided that enough was enough.  He told everyone they were forbidden to open any more eggs.  Things were just getting too much out of hand.  This noble decree wasn’t particularly well received, but people complied with as much grace as they could muster.  A few people muttered just a bit, and Ami Aviel flounced out onto the porch and began to pout in spectacular fashion.

About this time I realized what other effects the eggs had in them.  I had only opened one egg, but ever since then the back of my hands and forehead had been itching something fierce.  Now that we had a break in the action, Kellian came over to ask what was wrong with my.  He said I was looking pretty strange.

Sure enough, I looked at my hands and saw that the back of them were now covered in hair.  I quick look in a mirror showed that I also had bushy eyebrows and sideburns.  I didn’t need to take off my shoes to know the tops of my feet were fuzzy as well.  I’ll be damn, I thought.  I’m a freaking hobling.

Now I have nothing at all against the hobling race.  If these eggs were going to change me into some other race, then hobling is probably about as good as I was going to get.  But for several months now it seems like every time I come to a gathering I end up getting turned into some kind of monster or spirit forged or race changed or some sort of transformation.  It was really starting to get old.  Oh well.  There was nothing to do for it now.  I figured I would just ride it out and hope it was temporary, and get a race change formal if I had to later on.

Tovolia and I stood for a bit talking to Sir Khorvai.  In jest the two of us began pestering him to allow us to open some more eggs.  We pleaded with him and bargained and proposed all sorts of preposterous circumstances and precautions we could take. Finally Sir Khorvai threw up his hands in the air and said “You know what?  Screw it.” 

He turned around and walked out on the porch and said “You win Ami, go open your eggs.”  She jumped up and ran inside and pretty soon eggshells were once again piling up on the floor.  I was afraid at first that Sir Khorvai misunderstood Tovolia and me.  We weren’t trying to nag.  But when he came back in I got the impression he wasn’t that upset.

Someone cracked open an egg and a great big shining ball of light appeared.  A few people tried to attack it, but it just cast charms on them so that it would be left alone.  Pretty soon it was floating around peacefully through the room with a small crowd of glassy eyed individuals following it.

When it appeared, I knew it was a Will o’ Wisp.  Given the number of people that were around I thought it would be handled fairly quickly so I wasn’t paying it much attention.  But when I looked up next and saw that it was floating outside with its little parade of charmed individual trailing along behind I got a bit alarmed.

I shouted that we might need some help and then grabbed sword and shield and followed.  By the time I caught up the crowd had just reached the edge of the clearing outside the tavern.  I heard a quick succession of Death spells, followed by a quick succession of Create Undead spells, and suddenly everyone was lurching their way back towards the tavern.

The Will o’ Wisp launched a couple of spells out Katarina who was also following along.  She jumped out of the way and ran back to the tavern for help.  I tried to drift unnoticed off to the side and did a fairly nice job of it.  Of course, it isn’t particularly difficult to fool undead.  The crowd of now undead adventurers shuffled past me and towards the group of people now emerging in force from the tavern.

Now that everyone was motivated the problem got solved pretty fast.  Folks from the tavern clobbered all the undead and began administering life spells.  For my part I moved in behind them and tapped Inga a few times in the back until she keeled over and got fixed.  All that left was the Will o’ Wisp.  Once about six people started beating on it, it popped like an over ripe tomato.

 
Once everyone got all healed and back on their feet and dusted off we headed back into the tavern.  Hardly had I gotten back in the door when a large black horse appeared in the middle of the tavern.  I briefly panicked and thought we had a Dark Unicorn to deal with, and that would have been a real problem.  But I quickly saw it lacked a horn, and it immediately began tossing sleep effects left and right.  Someone shouted that it was a Nightmare, and that made sense to me.

Tovolia began to tear into it with his polearm.  The Nightmare decided to make a break for open ground.  It ran out the door and down the steps of the porch with Tovolia in hot pursuit and me not far behind.  Once it made it to the field outside it turned and began attacking.  I got to the bottom of the steps and was greeted by a nice warm and fuzzy sleep spell, and it was nighty night time for Duncan.

I woke up I don’t know how much later with someone standing over top of me.  Tovolia and the Nightmare were still going at it tooth and nail.  I decided I didn’t feel like tangling with this thing up close again.  I jumped up and ditched my shield and started my incants.

I began to toss out a stream of magic missiles into it.  I hoped it get it distracted so that Tovolia could finish it off.  To my complete surprise, when the third magic missile slammed home the Nightmare keeled over dead.  Apparently with the beating that Tovolia had administered it was already on its last legs.

That was the last of the monsters I remember coming out of the eggs.  I think by about this time most of the eggs the Fae Bunny had hid had already been found and opened.  Well, except for the two special eggs.  The Bunny had explained that two of the eggs were a bit larger than the others.  One was silver and the other gold.  One contain a Great Reward.  The other contained Unspeakable Horror.  Of course she wouldn’t tell us which one was which.

So we sat around in the tavern for a while comparing all the stuff we had gotten out of the eggs.  Some people had made out quite a bit better than others.  Caliphar for instance had opened nearly half a dozen eggs and had collected a considerable stack of components from them.  I just gritted my teeth and smiled and scratched my itchy sideburns.

After a while I decided to get up and stretch my legs.  I can’t sit for any length of time in a tavern before I feel compelled to go outside and walk around.  So I wandered out onto the field outside and looked around.  Who should I see walking up from around the corner of the tavern but Kylou and two buddies.

I walked over to see what was going on.  Kylou introduced me to his two new friends.  The first one was dressed like a jester.  Kylou explained that this was his friend Jack, his erstwhile hat.  Now that I looked I saw that Kylou wasn’t wearing his hat like usual.  The other guy was some kind of bone golem or undead looking jester that Kylou said came out of the hat.

 
I smiled, said hello, excused myself, and hightailed it back to the tavern.  I told Sir Khorvai the situation, and pretty soon a bunch of people were out on the field confronting the trio of jesters.  Sir Khorvai tried to get Kylou to explain what happened and where Jack and the bone guy had come from.  Kylou gave some story about using his magic wishing coin and wishing for something, and suddenly these other two guys had appeared.  I really didn’t follow his story too closely.  It didn’t make any sense to me.  Of course, very little of what Kylou says or does makes sense to me.

The bone and hat jesters weren’t particularly hostile.  Sort of.  They laughed and joked around, and pretty soon they were tossing laugh gas poisons and people, and then people were demanding that the jesters fix those that were laughing, and then the jesters cast Death spells on those people, and I think by this point you can see where all of this is going. 

In a very short period of time the entire town is chasing these two jingling maniacs all over heck and creation.  People were raining blows and spells down on them.  Nothing seemed to slow them down.  Despite the frightful amount of damage they were taking they kept in good spirits.  They attacked a little, laughed a little, ran a whole lot, and kept up a constant barrage of laugh gas poisons.

I don’t know what Kylou was up to all this time.  Eventually those of us that were attacking the jesters just got wore out.  We had been beating on them for almost half and hour and they both still looked fresh as daisies.  We finally just gave up, threw our hands in the air and headed back to the tavern.

The two jesters followed and stood outside trying to talk to us.  They said they were sorry, they wanted to play, asked silly questions, and generally made a nuisance of themselves.  Finally we decided to have another go at it.  A couple of folks gathered up and went outside and pretty soon we were chasing jesters willy nilly.

About this time I got tagged by a laugh gas poison.  I chuckled my way back towards the tavern to see if anyone at all had any Purify Bloods left.  I think by this point all the healers were in bed.  When I turned around Tovolia and some others were walking back up the road carrying Kylou’s hat, which now looked like a hat.

I laughed and laughed at that because, well, because I was still poisoned.  I figured I might as well let it run its course now.  Tovolia told me that both the jesters had been destroyed.  I followed him and a few others down to the pond.  Tovolia tied a rock around the hat and chucked it way out into the middle of the water.  No sooner had it sank than the hat popped back up the surface and swam away to the other side of the pond.

The laugh gas poison then wore off and I decided I was done for the evening.  I was exhausted.  Sir Khorvai headed off to deal with Kylou, and I headed off to bed.  Tovolia was not far behind me.  Once in our cabin we made arrangements for the defense of the cabin and drifted off into blissful slumber.

 

I was awakened on Saturday morning by the sound of some birds or squirrels scurrying around outside.  I bright beam of sunlight bore through a gap in the curtains right onto my bed.  Though I had gone to bed a little late I wasn't feeling particularly tired.  I decided to get up and have a look around town while it was still early and quiet.

I tiptoed out to the showers so that I wouldn't wake up my room mates.  After I got that taken care of I spent a little bit of time just wandering about.  I was pleasantly surprised at the warm and clear weather.  I had been expecting both rain and a chill.  

I nosed about town to see if I might find any eggs that were missed last night in the dark.  I was a bit surprised to find only a single one.  No one else seemed to be up yet, and the tavern and kitchen were completely deserted.  I thought about taking a nice long hike through the woods while I waited for things to start up.  But after I had taken only a short stroll down past the pond I found myself heading back towards the tavern.  I just didn't seem all that interested in hiking. I think that was the inner hobling in me.

I went back to the tavern and noticed something I had missed before.  Face down on a few of the tables was a newsletter.  It was titled the Free Voice of Greyhelm.  At first I thought that maybe the Greyhelm Champion had changed its name and scaled back.  But after I read a few lines I realized what this was.

The newsletter had three articles printed on a single sheet.  They were all basically hatchet jobs.  The first one was a purported expose on the villainous and dastardly deeds that Sinai has perpetrated under the guise of collecting and spreading information.  The second was some kind of conspiracy theory about Malyon.  The last article described Du'kratha in a rather unflattering tone.

The newsletter was obviously written by someone trying to stir up a little trouble.  But it was also so outrageous and over the top that you could tell it wasn't meant to convince anyone or to be taken seriously.  I rather thought it to be pretty funny myself, though I admit that I might have thought otherwise had I been the subject of one of the articles.

I saw that Kylou was over in the corner of the tavern snoring softly in the Celestial Circle.  I had no idea what that was about but decided not to wake him.  I loitered a bit longer in the tavern hoping that breakfast or at least a cook would magically appear.  My belly kept telling me that I was a hobling now and that I better start getting with the program.  Katarina eventually appeared, and Kellian was not far behind.  They discovered the newsletters and read them with a whole lot of "Oh...oh my...oh my word."

I finally began to hear some sounds coming from the kitchen.  It looked like there would be breakfast after all.  I peeked my head around the corner to see if maybe they needed any help, but it looked like they were on top of things. So I wandered outside again.

I saw that Caliphar was now up.  He was puttering around on the field outside the tavern.  He asked if I had something he could use for a marker.  He was setting up some kind of running course.  Caliphar had earlier placed notices that he would be holding an exercise and training course just before noon.  That time was fast approaching.  I went and got him a rope to use.  He seemed a tad peeved that no one was up and around to attend his class.

I went back up to the tavern and saw that our friend the Fae Bunny had returned with a whole new basket of eggs.  Personally, I would have preferred the eggs to have been hard boiled, or scrambled, or over easy.  I was starved by now.  But instead they were just the stupid old magic eggs she had last night.  Off she went outside to hide them.

Breakfast was still not ready, so I sat inside for a bit talking with folks about the eggs, the newsletter, the trip to Terror and other topics.  Ami and Tovolia joined us, and Caliphar came inside as well.  Suddenly we heard a scream come from outside.  We rushed to the door and saw that a large pack of trolls were over on the other side of the field.  They had the magic Fae Bunny cornered and they were closing in.

Save the Bunny!  We all charged off to her rescue.  As it turned out we need not have bothered.  Once the trolls got close enough the Bunny started nailing them with Magic Death spells.  By the time we got there they were all dead except for one, and he was hightailing it out of there.

Despite the ease at which she dispatched her foes, the Bunny seemed fairly distraught.  Ami did what she could to console her, while Tovolia did what he could to relieve the troll corpses of their treasure.  We shooed away the last troll and let the Bunny get on with her task of hiding eggs. Once everything was back in order we started to head back towards the tavern.  

We were met halfway by a second group of trolls.  It seems the retreating troll had gone and gotten reinforcements, and these guys were looking for a rematch.  With the Bunny safely out of the way it was just us against the bad guys.  I would have preferred not to have fought on an empty stomach, but what could I do?

The battle was joined, and things went pretty poorly for us at first.  Caliphar got drawn off to the side and Kellian went down quick.  That left several on Tovolia and he executed a masterful reverse charge.  He ran around for a bit with the trolls in pursuit until he managed to hook up with Caliphar.  Once they got together and started supporting each other things settled down and the trolls were finished off without much trouble.

Breakfast was now finally ready.  I had a nice long extended and relaxing meal.  Kylou was now awake and he kept nagging people to let him out of the circle.  Sir Khorvai had placed him in there the previous night.  Unfortunately there was no one around to let him out even if they wanted to.

More and more people started showing up in the tavern, and people started the process of finding and opening eggs again.  This time I didn't see any horrible monsters.  Tovolia opened a few and then quickly left the tavern and headed back to the cabin.  Caliphar once again reaped untold riches from the eggs he opened.  I considered opening a few myself, but instead I just scratched the back of my hands and put them back in my pockets.

About this time Count Wyndham arrived in town.  He was unaccompanied by anyone, and he just strolled into the tavern and sat down.  I spent a few minutes talking to him.  To be honest I was mostly just trying to play the part of the diplomatic foreign noble.  This was my first chance to actually act like a knight, so I hammed it up just a little bit.  

We discussed local events and what I might expect for the weekend.  The Count explained that the Kingdom of Dremora was returning to some sense of normalcy after the defeat of Traegor and after the internal insurrection was put down.  He said fewer and fewer dark elf refugees were being seen wandering about the country side.

He explained that without the every present menace of undead roaming the countryside it was much easier to travel about.  I asked him what challenges Greyhelm faced, and he explained it was mostly a matter of lack of trade and manpower.  The county was vast and raw material were plentiful.  Great mineral wealth had recently been discovered.  But there was a distinct lack of people to exploit the wealth, and no market currently for the raw material.  He said his main focus at the moment was attracting both settlers and trade.

The next bit of excitement came from outside.  I heard some shouting and emerged to find some people fighting a bunch of beetle type monsters.  It seemed to me that I should recognize them, but for the moment I couldn't remember exactly what they were.  I ran up to one and bounced my sword harmlessly off its shell and then I remembered.  These were Beetlars, or something like that.  They were pretty much immune to magic weapons.

Luckily there were enough people standing there with normal and silver weapons to finish them off. I was over by my cabin so I went inside and dropped off my magic sword and started rummaging around for my normal one.  I got distracted by Caliphar and Boo though, and stopped to speak with them for a moment.

This was fairly stupid on my part as it turns out.  The three of us were standing out in the field over by the steps leading up the hill.  We turned around and saw that a bunch more beetlars were coming at us.  I didn't have a sword on me and Boo would have a hard time spelling them down.  We decided to retreat, but the only direction to go was up the stairs.

I did my best impression of a mountain goat and ran up the stairs.  When I got to the top I saw that Boo was coming up a bit more slowly and Caliphar was behind her.  Caliphar told me to scram so I took off down the path at the top of the stairs.  I knew those two would be fine.  If nothing else, either of them could cast a Circle of Power.

After I had gone a ways down the path I stopped to see if I was being followed.  Sure enough, the bugs came around the corner after me.  I noticed that none of them appeared to be wiping Caliphar or Boo juice off their face so I took that as a good sign.  So I kept going and followed the path all the way around to the damn on the other side of the pond.  Here I met Kier and Count Wyndham who were coming from this direction to take on the bugs.

Count Wyndham took a stand right at a corner of a switchback where it came down the hill.  Kier was carrying two swords, and since I had basically nothing I borrowed one of his.  When I turned around I realized we weren't in a very good position.  The path was narrow, and given where we were standing on the switchback only Count Wyndham could fight.

The count made a good show of it, but one of the beetlars cut him down.  With nothing but me and Kier, and only two swords and no shield between us, I figured we needed to beat a hasty retreat.  I told Kier to back up and get out of there, but he said we could take them.  That was when I noticed he was sorting through some alchemy in his hands.  Ahhhh, that changes things considerably.

Now all I had to do was block the path.  I turned around and waved Kier's sword around in front of the first bug.  Now the rest of the Beetlars piled up behind the first, and Kier made short work of them with his gas globes.  And just for good measure, Caliphar chose this moment to show up from the rear and take out the last one.

We got the count healed and back on his feet and decided we needed to head back over to the tavern.  I made a side trip to retrieve my sword, though.  When I got back to the tavern I saw Tovolia walking up with Caliphar.  Despite the warm weather Tovolia was bundled up with a large mantle and hood over his head.  Caliphar thought something was funny and kept pretending to pull the hood off.

When they got closer I figured out what was going on.  The egg that Tovolia had opened earlier in the day had changed him into a Mystic Wood Elf.  While I was rather annoyed at my own race change, I can well imagine what Tovolia must be going through.  Tovolia is nothing if not intensely proud of his racial heritage.  While I found the situation to be rather amusing and ironic, I had no intention of risking Tovolia's wrath by making a big deal over it.  

Caliphar then decided to go and climb up on top of a great big tall tree stump that stands beside the tavern.  It is about on level with the porch, and everyone was standing outside throwing spells and arrows and whatnot at Caliphar trying to get him to dodge.  That kept people busy and amused for a while.

There was a sparkly new guy there as well.  He was some surly intoxicated fae that kept asking for something to drink and grousing about all the seelie he saw running around.  He seemed to feel that the various elves like Ami and Kier were offensive for some reason.  He must have popped out of somebodies egg.  I learned later that he was a Clurichaun.  He hung around for a bit getting on people's nerves until Caliphar gave him something to drink.  He disappeared a few minutes later.

The sky had been clouding up for some time now and rain began to fall.  It started off fairly light, but pretty soon it got pretty heavy.  There were still a number of people in bed despite the fact it was not around noon.  Once the rain hit, those that were up all gathered in the tavern since it was about the only dry place around.

I saw Tovolia messing around in the earth circle.  He must have found someone to recognize him in.  He was rooting around in a pile of components and fiddling with a scroll.  I reasoned he was getting ready to perform a race change to get himself back to his former feathered form.

Caliphar got himself adjusted in a different fashion.  Some crazy guy showed up in the tavern with a big fat frying pan.  I don’t know where he came from or what he was.  When I first some him he was given Caliphar what a thought was a massage to the back of the neck.

But then suddenly he picked up his frying pan and clobbered Caliphar on the back of the head with it.  Someone told me he was readjusting Caliphar’s brain with a magic pan, and that Caliphar would be able to know different skills now.  The process looked rather painful to me, but Caliphar seemed to think it was okay.  A short time later the guy disappeared.

There were still a few of the magic eggs lying around the tavern that people had collected and I saw one of the Rosewidow mercenaries named Jing open one up.  He puzzled over what he found inside for a bit, and he kept looking over at Boo who was sitting nearby.  Intrigued, I walked over to see what he had.  He showed me a small note that read "Pinch the bottom of the nearest Dark Elf and you will receive a magical prize."

Now I understood why he kept looking over at Boo.  I stood back a safe distance and watched the scene unfold.  Jing approached Boo and explained that he should probably be seeking her permission before proceeding any further.  When she looked at him funny he just showed her the note that he had gotten from the egg.

Of course, it goes without saying that Boo was NOT amused.  Pinch her bottom?  The audacity of the thought!  It was outrageous to suggest that some ham handed mercenary would receive some magical prize for daring to tweak her derriere.  Clearly if there was going to be any business involving Boo's bottom, then Boo is going to need a little compensation.

So the negotiations began.  Jing suggested a gold piece.  A gold piece!?  For such a privilege and honor?  Jing upped the price to two.  At this point one of the other Rosewidow mercenaries who had been watching decided to join in the bidding.  This precipitated an argument with Jing, but the competition did drive the price up.  

In the end I believe the final price for the pinch came to some amount of components.  I didn't witness the actual pinch itself because I got distracted watching Tovolia do his race change.  When it was all over I asked Boo how it went.  She didn't seem over traumatized by the affair.  In fact, she said, after all the effort Jing went through to secure pinching rights, she thought he was rather diffident in the commission of the pinch.  

If Jing ever received a magical prize I didn't hear about it.  I would be curious as to what exactly you might win for doing that.  I asked Boo what happened to the note Jing found in the egg.  She said she stuck it back inside another egg and hid it in the tavern.  She was hoping to get more components.

Tovolia emerged from the earth circle as a new man, or rather as his old self.  Now that he could safely show his face in public he began to organize his history lesson.  Tovolia planned to do a lecture and quiz on early Evendarrian history, specifically on some events which led to the formation of the kingdom and the Battle of Fire Downs.  I had done something very similar to this in Blackstone a few months earlier so I decided to skip the lesson.

I noticed that a new lady had shown up.  She wore a dark formal gown and a tall pointed hat.  Someone told me this was Moliendreaharinael Greenbriar.  For obvious reasons most people called her Molly.  She was hear to challenge us to a game.  The winner would be awarded a formal scroll of their choosing.

She had to wait a bit, though.  Tovolia's history lesson was still going on, and a poker game was also playing at one of the tables.  Kylou was one of the poker players.  Sir Khorvai had arrived a bit earlier and let him out of the Celestial Circle.  I learned that after I had gone to bed the previous evening Sir Khorvai had sentenced Kylou to the status of Outlaw within the kingdom for his part in the affair with the hat and undead jester.  He had not extracted any additional punishment, though.  I believe the reasoning was that his way Kylou could stay around, but he would need to be on his best behavior or else people would get him.  I also noticed that at some point Kylou had race changed into a rabbit.  More magical fae eggs, I figured.

The rain at this point began to really come down.  It was difficult to see any distance outside the tavern.  Water began to cascade down the pathway beside the tavern and down to the pond.  A torrent of water came down off the roof and fell right beside the porch.  There was an amusing moment when Caliphar jumped up from the Tovolia's history lesson and ran outside to stand under it.  It is a long running joke that Caliphar never baths, so this was a rare sight indeed.

Just as the history lesson and poker game started to break up we got interrupted by more bugs.  This time there were some kind of burrowing roach like monster that people kept calling Roachar's.  The kept crawling out from the fireplace even after a Wall of Force was put up to try to keep them in.

We kept killing them, but more kept coming.  And coming.  And coming.  Mollie had been waiting patiently for some time to hold her contest, and she was most perturbed at being made to wait even further.  I tried throwing burning paper into the fireplace but that didn't stop them either.  

Finally someone suggested tidying up the tavern and throwing away some of the trash.  Surprisingly, that worked.  The bugs stopped coming.  I thought that was a bit odd because even though the tavern was a bit messy it was by no means the messiest that I had seen it all weekend.  But I was just happy it worked.

Now that things were finally settling down Mollie began to arrange us for her game.  I can’t remember what she called it.  It was something like Forbidden Words.  She had a deck of cards.  At the top of each card was a name or term.  Below it was listed a number of related words or terms.  The object was for one person to read the card, and then get the rest of his team to guess the top term by describing it without using any of the related words listed on the card.  Mollie gave us a limited amount of time to guess.

My team consisted of myself, Tovolia, Ami and Kellian.  There were three other teams of four people.  If a team was unable to guess the word in the allotted time she let the other teams guess the word for a point.  Once she finished the deck, the team with the most points won.  Simple.

The game presented some unique problems for many of the participants.  One team was severely handicapped because two of it’s members were attending their very first gathering and yet they had to guess and describe terms and people they have never met.  Another problem were the names.  In most cases, the name we had to guess included a first and last name, and Mollie required us to guess both.  So while quite often we quickly guessed the person being described, we didn’t know the last name.  Our team had real problems with this.

Some of the terms were quite easy.  Others were highly obscure.  Some were guessed using highly inventive clues.  When one particular creature was the clue, the person doing the describing pointed across the room and said “He has this transform!”  This resulted in the term being guessed, but the person with the transform clearly wasn’t happy having it revealed in such a public fashion.

The ones that were the most fun were people’s names.  Sometimes the name that we had to guess was one of the participants in the game.  On those occasions Mollie gave us extra instructions so that we could not just simply point.  At one point during the game I ended up having to describe myself. 

People enjoyed the game immensely.  When particular people or events close to some person was chosen as a clue, they would often pocket the clue card as a souvenir.  In the end the game was surprisingly close.  Only two points separated first and last place, and so it was won or lost on the final round. 

Once the game finally ended the rain began to taper off just a bit.  A few latecomers arrived in the tavern and people began to mill around a bit.  Suddenly the door burst open and a lady came running in.  She was nearly hysterical.  She said that spiders had come and stole her baby and ran off with it.

No sooner had the words gotten out of her mouth than a handful of people began running outside and down the road.  Practically as soon as they stepped away from the tavern they encountered several spiders.  There were a number of different kinds.  Some were small, some were large, others were dark and shifty while others were hairy.  At first the spiders prevented anyone from getting very far down the road.  But as more and more people began to come out of the tavern the tide began to turn.

The spiders were now on retreat and they led the way to a dark cranny in the side of a hill.  The entranceway was very small and cramped, but clearly there was a cavern on the other side.  Several attempts were made to force the breach that was being defended by the spiders.  After a time some headway was made and people began to slowly push their way into the cavern.

There were spiders all over the place and more and more kept popping out of crevices and climbing down from the ceiling.  The battle moved its way to the rear of the cavern where a horrible scene awaited.  Several Attercobs stood an a small alcove inside of a Circle of Power.  The missing baby was inside the circle as well.

The Attercobs are despicable spider like humanoids.  There appeared to be conducting some sort of formal.  The battle had reached the very edge of the circle when the formal reached its climax.  The center Attercob took the baby and ripped it asunder.  At this point it began to grow and become darker as it absorbed whatever cursed power the formal provided him.

The circle then dropped and the Attercobs attacked.  The tide of battle reversed immediately.  The lesser Attercob ran interference for the main one, and the empowered Attercob cast dreadful spells and swung swaths of death with its poisoned claws.  Everyone immediately gave ground and a new battle line formed in about the middle of the cavern.

Two adventurers went down and got trapped behind the lines over by the alcove.  A few attempts were made to push the Attercobs and spiders back so that they could be reached, but it was no use.  The empowered Attercob was just too strong.  Once the two dissipated, there was little reason to remain in the cavern.

The Attercobs may have been thinking the same thing because they made a break for it.  They managed to get out of the cavern and they took off running.  Some adventurers followed, while some remained behind to clean up the last of the spiders.  The Attercobs kept moving and more and more people stopped following.  Finally the Attercob just paralyze the few remaining pursuers and made its escape.

This was obviously not one of our finest moments.  We had to tell the poor lady that her baby had been lost, and the culprit had gotten away.  But sometimes that is how it works out.  The two adventurers successfully resurrected so at least we didn’t lose anyone that way.  To cap things off, the rain started to pick up again.

That was about the last thing of significance that went on until around dinner time.  I’ll pick things up there with my next journal.   

-----------------------------

Once everyone got tired of chasing spiders all over the place we all returned to town.  With nothing else going on I decided to spend a little more time with Caliphar searching around town for the magic eggs.  I’m pretty sure by now all of the regular magic eggs had been found, but the gold and silver eggs that contained a Great Prize and Unspeakable Horror had not shown up yet.  Unfortunately it was starting to get dark, and it also started to rain again.  

It was now getting close to dinner time, so most people started getting ready for the meal and festivities.  The amount of running and fighting we had been doing along with the copious amounts of rain and mud had rendered many of us less that presentable.

In addition to just getting cleaned up many folks needed to get ready for their performance.  A Leprechaun by the name of Finagle was planning to arrive at dinner time to host a show or talent contest.  Several people were planning to perform.

I had not met Finagle prior to this, but I knew him by reputation.  He put in an appearance over a year ago when I first visited Greyhelm.  At the time he was being put on trial for various crimes of a Fae nature and various people in town were recruited to serve as defense and prosecution.  In the end he was found innocent of a few charges, guilty of a few other, and some he was found guilty but funny.  He seemed satisfied with the result.

When Finagle finally arrived he was not alone.  He had an entire Fae entourage with him.  There was a Redcap, a Brownie, two Pixies or Sprites, a Quickling, and some other horned guy with a cape.  I never figured out what that last guy was.  They made quite a dramatic entrance into the tavern.

Finagle and his group came in a socialized for a bit prior to the performances.  A number of people who knew him personally spoke with him.  The Quickling spent the entire time running, jumping, twitching and doing whatever he could to keep in constant motion.  He and Caliphar ran a few laps around the tavern to burn off some energy.

The two Pixies immediately latched on to Joho.  For whatever reason they were absolutely fascinated with him.  I think it might have been the fur.  They kept begging Finagle to let them keep him as a pet. Finagle sternly reminded them of what happened to the last pet they had.  They pleaded and swore that this time they would take better care of him, but Finagle was having none of it.  I have no idea what Joho’s view was on all of this.

Dinner was still not ready, so Finagle decided to go ahead and kick off his talent contest.  The first contestant was Squire Tovolia Aberdeen and the Therenstone Players putting on a play entitled “The Saga of the Mydian Valley”.  The Therenstone Players consisted of Tovolia, Caliphar and Kivuli.  I had been invited to participate as well, but declined for various reasons.

Last summer Tovolia took a trip along with a number of people to the Mydian Valley.  He found the people and customs there to be highly unusual, quaint, and in some cases quite bizarre.  The experience left an indelible impression on him.  His play was part tragedy, part comedy, and for the most part satire.  

The play was done in several acts.  Tovolia explored the valley’s somewhat odd customs regarding pregnancy, the rather strange effect Pox Morgh’s name has on some of its residents, the horror of such infernal contraptions as the Steam Bombs, and much more.  In general the play was quite well received and garnered much laughs and applause.

When Finagle asked for the next contestant no one responded at first.  I decided I might as well give it a try.  I volunteered to be next, and for my performance I gave an oration.  I told a story describing some of the early exploits of Telaris and Althkaelis back when they first began working with each other.  

When I was done Kylou volunteered to go next.  For his part he told a story about the luckiest day in his life wherein he faced nearly impossible odds yet always miraculously prevailed due to some piece of luck.  It wasn’t a bad story, but I think he drug it out just a bit too long.  When he finally finished Finagle felt compelled to stand up and throw a generous amount of Arcane Awaken spells into the audience to try to perk up some people whose attention had wandered.

Kivuli performed next.  He sang a song about a squire’s service to his lord.  Joho performed next and told a somewhat comical story about using a peanut butter sandwich to defeat a lich.  The last person was Nahbdee who recited a rather odd poem about drinking, which he finished up by providing drinks for everyone.

When the performances were all done we all sat down for dinner.  If I recall the menu correctly it was corned beef, various types of bread, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and shepherds pie.  I ended up sitting with Finagle, the Redcap and the two Pixies for dinner.  I was a little surprised at some of the dinner time conversation.  Some of the things that came from the Pixie’s mouths would have seemed more likely to be said by the Redcap.

There was yet one more performance in the talent show.  Inga had arrived a bit late and needed some time to get things set up and ready.  She waited until dinner was done and then performed her number.  She sang an ode to the trials and tribulations of being green.  She vamped it up quite a bit.

After dinner Finagle and his crew had one more surprise for us.  The rolled out a tarp onto the floor and announced a new game.  The tarp was covered by and arrangement of colored squares.  Everyone stood around the outside edge of the tarp.  Finagle would then draw two cards.  One would specify either a right or left arm or leg, and the second card would specify a color.  The object was to quickly place the limb specified on the square corresponding to the color drawn.  It sounds simple enough, but when a whole crowd of people tried to do it at once the result was something of a tangled mess.

I’m not as flexible as I was in my youth so I opted to sit out the game.  As it was there was no shortage of people willing to play, adventurer and fae alike.  Things went along pretty well there in the beginning with most people doing a pretty good job.  I’m guessing that someone decided this was too easy.  Halfway through the game Finagle discovered that somebody had slipped a new card into his deck that read “Left Ear”.  When people had to put their ear on a color the game got quite a bit more difficult.  I don’t recall who ended up winning the game.  I think it got played twice.

Just before he left Finagle passed out his awards.  Most of the people that participated in some fashion received at the very least a small magic stone with a minor enchantment on it.  The winner of the talent contest was judged to be Tovolia and his Therenstone players.  They received a rather gaudy necklace that can be used to Inspire people three times a day.

That ended up being very lucky for me.  As it just so happened Tovolia, Caliphar and Kivuli all had some other item or spell which they could use to Inspire themselves.  Since you can only be the beneficiary of an Inspiration spell once a day that made the necklace a tad redundant.  The huddled up and held a quick conference.

They then approached me.  With great pomp and fanfare, Tovolia presented me with the necklace in celebration of my recent elevation into the peerage, and charged me to use it to its best advantage as often as possible.  I thought that to be a rather generous gift and I thanked them profusely.

It was now time for Finagle to leave.  He made goodbyes and gathering up his flock of Fae and rifted out.  People started to either clean up the tavern or make their way back to their cabins to change out of their nice clothes.  Soon there were only a couple of us left in the tavern.

We all sat around a table and started playing the story telling game.  Someone would tell some story about something that happened to them a while ago, and that would remind someone else of that time when they did something, and so on and so on.  This went on for quite a while.

Tovolia and I ended up in the kitchen washing dishes.  Every once in a while one of us would duck back into the tavern to tell a story.  The rain had mostly stopped, but it was still pretty wet and miserable outside so the tavern started filling up with people again.  One of the cooks in the back asked Tovolia to take a pot of leftover vegetables outside to throw away.

Tovolia was gone for a good amount of time, and I thought I was going to have to do outside looking for him.  But then he came striding boldly through the door and held aloof two large eggs, one gold and one silver.  It was the eggs of a Great Prize and Unspeakable Horror!  When he had stepped outside Tovolia found himself moved by some strange spirit.   He felt strangely drawn to a log lying behind the bath house on the other side of town.  Once he arrived there he discovered both of the eggs hidden underneath.

Everyone was quite excited to find out what was inside.  Nearly everyone was back in the tavern at this point.  Tovolia chose one of the eggs to open first.  Everyone gathered around as he knelt in the middle of the tavern and cracked it open.  A large clear gem fell out.  Could this be the Great Prize?

No sooner had the gem fallen out then it disappeared to be replaced by some kind of hideous monster.  It was a black hairy spider like creature with a large bulbous head like a praying mantis.  It began slashing about with its two huge claws.  Surely this was the Unspeakable Horror.

The entire crowd of people in the tavern began pouring spells and swords into it, and it shrugged them all off like they were feathers.  Its claws did a frightful amount of damage and often left people either drained of all energy or terrified for their life.  In a very short period of time much of the people in the tavern were either drained or running away.

Once it had opened a path to the door it ran outside.  Several people took off after it and followed it as it ran down the road.  A long running battle took place as it headed further out of town.  People ended up running back and forth up and down the road as they would first find themselves feared by the monster and then their courage returned by a spell.

Eventually the creature got away by running nearly straight up the side of a mountain.  I heard several people calling it Spidermantis.  I recalled Dame Tavi and Dame Nightshine reading a humorous document a month earlier at a gathering in Blackstone that purported to explain the strange powers of some mythical creature called a Spidermantis.  Perhaps it wasn’t so mythical after all.

There was nothing left to do except return to the tavern and open the last egg.  Tovolia cracked it open and the Magical Bunny immediately appeared.  She had her basket with her and it was full of more magical eggs.  Yeah!  She must be the Great Prize!

She passed out eggs to everyone present.  She then explained to Tovolia that he would get a magic item of his choosing.  I believe he negotiated with her to instead receive two magic items of lesser worth.  I think he wanted to get himself a polearm and also to replace the magic lightning sword that his fiancé Tavi misplaced.

Everyone else began opening eggs and getting prizes.  Caliphar opened several and once again received a huge pile of components.  I sat for a while with an unopened egg in my lap watching other folks.  No one seemed to have anything horrible happen to them.  Maybe since this was the Great Prize all the eggs in this batch were benign.  

So I decided to go ahead and risk it.  I opened the egg I had in my lap.  Inside I found a gold piece and a piece of candy.  Oh well, nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible either.  So I put the gold piece in my pocket and popped the candy in my mouth.

As I did so I noticed that the hair on the back of my hand had started to fall off.  I sat their staring at my hand and pretty soon all the hair was gone.  I was no longer a hobbling.  Just as I was about the get excited I noticed that my hands had started to change color.  

Oh no.  Sure enough, they grew darker and darker under they were a nice deep shade of forest green.  I didn’t need a mirror to tell me I was green from head to toe.  I looked around the tavern and was amazed to discover that all the adventurers were gone.  In their place stood a crowd of walking moneybags with soft spots on the backs of their heads just waiting to get konked.

I was a goblin.

Okay, so I suddenly found myself a member of one of the most annoying and loathed races on the face of Tyrra. I wasn’t going to panic.  I could deal with this.  There was just one thing I had to check.  I cautiously cleared my throat and said a few tentative words.  Relief washed over me when what came forth was my own familiar tone of voice and not the horrible maddening squeak of a goblin.

 

The time finally arrived for our assault on the Plane of Rage.  We needed to go there in order to free the trapped Elinel elves.  Sir Khorvai informed us that we would be leaving soon and so we all began to get ready.  I went and gathered up my shield and my armor, which thankfully still fit me despite my new goblinoid body.

Just before we headed out Caliphar proposed a swap.  After all the craziness involving magic eggs and skill rearranging frying pans, Caliphar was currently much more efficient as a spell caster and no longer very skilled in swordplay.  Since my own sword wasn’t particularly great he suggested that I borrow his.

His sword is something of a local celebrity where I normally adventure.  Plenty of people are acquainted with the Sword Named Elf.  In a way I was quite excited to be given the chance to use it.  I was also quite aware of the irony of the Sword Named Elf being wielded by Dummy who Became a Goblin.

Once everyone was ready we moved out to the far side of the field.  Sir Khorvai had some means by which he was going to open a gate to the Plane of Rage.  When we got to the spot from which we were to leave we were a bit surprised to find a Fairy of some sort there.

The Fairy attempted to dissuade Khorvai from undertaking this mission.  She suggested it was a waste of time and there was no point rescuing the trapped Elinel elves.  I had heard it mentioned that there is a strong suspicion that some agent of the Fae was behind the problems the Elinel were experiencing, so it stood to reason that this fairy was all part of that conspiracy.

For the most part everyone stood around laughing and joking while they waited for Khorvai to finish talking to the Fairy and open the gate.  I tried more than once to suggest that people settle down and pay attention to what was going on, but gave up after that.  The Fairy wasn’t having much luck convincing Khorvai to abandon his mission, but Khorvai spent a fair amount of time discussing the subject with her.

I had a feeling things were going to come to blows.  I saw that Tovolia was standing there beside Khorvai with his back turned just idly staring out across the field in a way that suggested he was just waiting for the moment to come.  Sure enough, the Fairy tossed in a quick charming spell on Sir Khorvai.

The first one caught us a bit my surprise.  Someone cast an awaken spell on Khorvai, but then she did it again.  At that point I had had enough.  I told someone to take care of Khorvai and told people to attack the fairy.  I ran around the tree she was beside to see if I could hit her in the back.  By the time I got in position she was already rifting out.  Tovolia was tearing her up with his silver polearm.  It was a good thing, too.  When I tried to get in a parting shot with my magic sword it just bounced right off of her.

With the Fairy out of the way and Sir Khorvai himself once more we finally got the mission started.  He opened a gate and we all stepped through.  The scene that awaited us on the far side was appalling.

We emerged in a dim blasted wasteland.  The sky was dark and full of swirling reddish black clouds.  The ground was mostly bare.  A steady rain of red blood fell and soaked us.  Off in the distance we could see various twisted and torn figures brutally beating the tar out of each other.  You could practically feel the anger and hatred radiating off of every stone and rock of the place.

We had emerged at the mouth of a small gully or channel that cut between some rock strewn hills.  In the dim light we could see that at the far side of this little passageway was some kind of structure.  This is where we needed to go.  The twisted and torn figures that we saw upon arriving left off of beating each other and began to run towards us from the distance.

We started out way up the gully and immediately met resistance.  We formed a battle line across the gully and began to press forward.  Fighting was very difficult.  The denizens of this plane had the means by which to cause us to become so enraged that we lost all reason and began to attack everything in sight with a berserk rage.

When various people began to go berserk we needed some means by which to calm them down.  Someone immediately called out that the Awaken spell would not work on this plane, and that we would need to cast a Calm spell instead on people that were berserk.  This turned out to be untrue, and it caused us a number of problems.

For a little while we managed to fix up the people in the front of the line who got hit with Berserk effects.  Then someone hit Tovolia with one, and he spun around and began laying waste to the rear of our line with his polearm.  Someone threw a Calm spell at him.  I knew what was coming next but there was nothing I could do about it.

Tovolia is a Biata, and he has an immense distaste of being charmed second only to his hatred of Celestial magic.  I knew from prior experience that he has trained himself to be highly resistant to charming effects.  Unlike an Awaken spell, a Calm spell is a charm.  So when someone cast it on him he just shrugged it off and kept swinging.  More Calm spells fly out him, but it was like throwing water on a duck.  He just resisted them all and continued to carve chunks out of the rear ranks with his polearm.

Someone finally managed to knock him down and get him fixed up.  About this time we realized that Awaken spells did in fact remove the rage that was being inflicted on us. We got ourselves put back together and reformed our lines and pressed on.

The things that we were fighting seemed to come in a number of different varieties.  Some were a bit stronger than others.  Our forward progress got stalled at one point as we came up against some tougher opponents.  Joho has been acting funny ever since we had gotten on the plane.  I hadn’t been paying him too much attention, but I guess all the rage and anger on this plane triggered his transform.  He suddenly burst from our lines as a werewolf and started clawing away at one of the creatures.

Sadly, while he was obviously quite motivated, he picked a rather tough target and quickly got the snot beat out of him.  But it did serve to break things up a bit and we managed to gain some more ground.  We worked our way through a narrow portion of the gully and got to the point where things opened up a bit just at the foot of the structure we were heading towards.

I was standing behind Tovolia on the left side of the line when he got hit with another enraging effect.  He spun around and looked at me with murder in his eyes.  Even at that moment, as serious as it was, I couldn’t help but be amused at how familiar that look was.  But not wanting to find myself skewered at the end of his polearm I knew I needed to do something.

The first thing that popped into my head was that I need Tovolia to get away from me.  So I hit him with a Repel spell.  That turned out to be a pretty good choice.  It pushed Tovolia away from me and right into the middle of the enemy’s line.  Tovolia then proceeded to exercise his rage on the bad guys and managed to pulverize a few of them before he finally went down.

I yelled out that we needed to push forward so that we could pick up Tovolia.  Of course no one was listening.  Everyone was just doing their own thing, and not listening to orders, and wasting time talking to each other instead of paying attention to the battle and trying to take ground.  Idiots.  I could have stood there yelling at them, but I didn’t feel like wasting my time.

We finally managed to push ahead a little more and we got Tovolia back.  But once we moved out of the narrow gully and into the open area before the structure things got a little bit tougher.  Our formation broke up and we began to get attacked from things coming at us from all sides.   

Khorvai made some attempt at organization, but he was wasting his time.  He was screaming at people but no one was listening.  I decided there was no point standing around fighting stuff forever.  We needed to get into the structure, so I ran over there to see how to get inside.

There was a staircase leading up to a doorway.  The staircase was blocked by some kind of barrier or ward.  In front of the barrier was a small bottle with a single red marble in it.  I yelled over to Khorvai and he came over to take a look at it.

We tried fiddling with the bottle and casting spells on it.  Khorvai cut himself and bled in the bottle, but that didn’t work either.  Someone said that the marble in the bottle looked a lot like the marbles everyone was looting.  Huh?

Apparently, throughout the entire battle people had been wasting time looting the stuff we had been killing.  As it turned out it might not have been quite such a waste of time.  When something on this plane was killed, it produced some kind of red marble that seemed to be their last drop of blood congealed and solidified by sheer force of hatred and rage.

Well, that was all quite interesting.  Of course no one had bothered to say anything about it.  Once we realized that various people had been snatching marbles throughout the fight, Khorvai ordered everyone to hand them over.  We poured them all into the bottle.  It nearly filled the entire bottle, but there was still some room left.

So we stood around at the base of the structure fighting things as they showed up, and looting the red marbles off them when they died.  Tempers were pretty high at this point.  People we tired and frustrated, and plenty of people were just acting like idiots.  I just kept telling myself that it would be all over soon, and then I could go to bed.

Eventually things stopped showing up for us to kill.  There was still room for one last marble in the bottle, and now we didn’t have any place to get marbles.  I was certain that somebody had to have that last marble and that they had pocketed it.  The thought infuriated me.  Several other people had the same thought.  A few fights almost broke out.

While the various morons were fighting among themselves to see who was holding out on the marble, me and a few others decided to try to retrace our steps to see if any marble fell out on the ground.  It was by now quite dark, the ground was covered in refuse, it was raining blood, and we needed to find a small red marble on the ground.  Joy.

We got in a line and Tosscobble stood in the middle waving a Light spell back and forth.  We walked all the way back to the gate and found nothing.  We turned around and worked our way back when lo and behold we actually found a marble.  Amazing.

We ran back to the bottle and dropped it in.  Nothing.  We looked at the bottle and realized there was still room for one more marble.  I thought I was going to scream.  Were we never going to get into this damn building?  I made my way back to the path to start looking for more marbles before I strangled someone.

As it turned out, strangling someone was actually the right idea to begin with.  I had hardly gotten back to the path before people started yelling that the barrier was down.  Where had the last marble come from?  It turns out that not only did the natives us this plane bleed out a marble when they die, we did as well.  Someone finally got the bright idea to just kill someone, and out popped a marble.  Luckily we discovered this when we only needed a single marble or we might have faced wholesale slaughter.

We all scrambled up the steps and into the structure.  The inside was extremely disorienting.  The air was thick with some kind of obscuring fog, and lights flashed constantly like lightning.  Out in the middle of all this was some kind of bizarre twisted personification of rage.  Its face was a contorted mask and it lashed at people causing horrible wounds that opened regardless of whether or not you were wearing armor.

In addition to this there were two automatons of some sort.  Even though there were only three creatures, the small space inside made it difficult to move without bumping into one of the three.  Along the wall we could see shapes and hear moaning.  These were the Elinel elves we were here to rescue.

The obscuring fog did make it a little easier to sneak around.  I had no illusions of fighting these crazy monsters.  I left that for other people.  I managed to eventually work my way around to the back and grab some elf.  He was horribly mangled and covered in wounds and chains.  He screamed every time I tried to move him, which wasn’t helping in the sneaking department at all. 

I got his broken carcass drug outside.  A group of people were guarding the bottom of the stairs.  I gave him over to those folks and told them to make themselves useful and to take him back through the gate.  As soon as they touched him he started screaming again and I thought they were going to drop him.  What a freaking bunch of babies.  I told them to grow up and haul his busted carcass off this plane, and to ignore his screaming because he would be worse off if we left him here.

I went back inside and saw that things weren’t exactly going well.  Some other folks were in the process of hauling out more elves, but there was also a fairly sizable pile of bodies lying in the middle of the floor.  It was time to put my trusty earthen spell store item to work again.

I jumped down on the floor and belly crawled through the fog until I got beside the pile.  I surreptitiously healed on person, who healed another, and so on until everyone was back alive.  Unfortunately the creepy face rage guy was standing right in the middle of the pile, so we all had to continue to play dead.

I could see pretty well where I was laying at the edge of the pile looking in.  Once creepy guy moved off I yelled for everyone to get up and move.  We all jumped up and got back over to friendly line.  Unfortunately, Arquen was laying a little ways off and heard me and she jumped up too.  One of the automatons was standing right behind him.  He proceeded to plaster her right back onto the floor. 

Luckily the automatons were pretty dumb and it moved off and we got Arquen back too.  I was standing there trying to figure out whether to attack creepy guy or help with the elf hauling when the situation made up my mind for me.  Several people all jumped on the rage monster at once and began beating the daylights out of him.  Finally he fell down and exploded in a great big blast of pure hatred and rage.

Those who were standing right beside him went berserk when the rage washed over them.  They started to attack everything in sight.  Kellian was standing right in front of me shooting people with his bow.  Kellian always wears this great big fat iron helmet.  Luckily for me I’m very good at waylaying people.  I pasted him on the back of his head with my sword pommel and he dropped like a dead fish.  The newfound goblin in me was practically giddy with delight.  It was all I could do to not loot him.

Unfortunately for me, I stood there too long admiring my work.  Next thing I know someone lowered the boom on me and I went down in a blood spattered heap.  I don’t know how long I lay there, but the next thing I knew I was standing at the edge of the woods back on Tyrra beside the gate we had entered.

Needless to say I was rather disoriented.  After I gathered my wits I realized what had happened.  I had been told stories before by several people that they had seen people who had Goblin Transforms that would allow them to be dropped and immediately dissipate and show back up at the edge of the battle.  I could only guess that is what happened to me.

In front of me I could see the group that I had previously sent back through the gate carrying the elf I had rescued.  They jumped up when they saw me coming out of the woods, but I told them to stand down.  I went back through the gate and headed back to the structure.

On the way back in I went past other people leaving and carrying out elves.  When I got back inside the structure I saw that things were pretty much over.  People were searching around on the floor and outside.  The elves had all been rescued.  I asked why in the world were we still here?

I was told that Boo had lost her spider Skitters and that we were trying to find it.  We were hanging around on the Plane of Rage so that we could find Boo’s bug?  You have got to be kidding me.  Screw the stupid thing.  Eventually it will be squashed and show back up in an earth circle on Tyrra.  Let’s just get the heck out of here already.  Luckily Skitters was found a few moments later and we all finally left the crappy plane behind.

Once I had emerged again from the gate into the cool night air of Tyrra my head started to clear a little.  It felt good to leave the blood soaked Plane of Rage behind and to find myself in the soft comfortable darkness of the woods of Tyrra. 

As I paused for a moment to collect myself I began to realize how I had let the Plane of Rage overcome my reason to a certain extent.  While I was on the plane I was subtly influenced by it, and I became irrationally angry at everyone and everything.  As I thought back it was pretty clear that all of us were affected to some degree.  This explains why everything and everyone there seemed to infuriate me, and why everyone else’s tempers were so short.

Everyone began moving towards the tavern.  On the way there I stopped where a group of people has paused to examine one of the elves.  They were trying to cast healing spells in order to fix the horrible wounds on his body, but none of them were having any effect.  I suggested they try a Regeneration spell.

I made my way into the tavern and sat down to relax for a bit.  Now that they were inside in the light I could see the elves a little better.  They were all a mess.  One of the guys looked like he had been hacked up with and axe.  Another was nothing but a head stuck on top of a skeleton corpse.  They were all in such terrible shape that it was clear that they would not be alive under normal circumstances.

Several were placed in the earth circle where a group of people attempted to aid them.  One was taken over to the celestial circle where Eranfel tried to identify him.  He learned that the reason they were still alive was that some immense force of rage was somehow trapping their spirits to their broken body.  This force was also preventing them from being healed.

Ami ended up in the middle of the room with a box of stuff that had been retrieved from the plane along with the elves.  It was full of various pieces of treasure.  A group of us sat down with her for a little while to try to get it sorted out into some semblance of a reasonable split.  We counted coins, identified potions and gasses, and went through all the normal treasure divvy tasks. 

Once we finished up with that I walked over to the earth circle where there were still working on the Elinel elves.  They were going through all the various spells and remedies they had already tried to no effect.  I asked if they had tried a Regeneration spell yet.  Apparently they hadn’t.  Someone cast a regeneration spell on one of the elves and his wounds immediately began to close and heal.

Pretty soon all the elves were regenerating.  It wasn’t long before they were back on their feet.  I figured this was a pretty nice satisfactory end for the weekend and decided to end things on a good note.  I made a few farewells and toddled off to bed so that I might be able to get up early the next morning to start my long trip north back to Blackstone.