Report: December 607 ER

This is Duncan's accounting of the gather in Greyhelm, in which we defeated the Drakeolich Traegor.   My own comments will be written in this color ink. ~Sinai

In August of 606 I took a trip south to the frontier lands known as Greyhelm. The weekend I spent there was most likely the most vigorous and tiring gathering I ever spent, with the possible exception of the defenseof the monolith in Stonegate a few months later. I enjoyed the time I spent there and the friends that I made, and I have long been telling myself that I was going to travel back there one day. I've kept my eye on events as they have unfolded, and when I learned of the culmination of the campaign against Traegor I decided this was as good a time as ever to visit again. As it turned out a fairly large number of people in the Blackstone and Therendry area gathered up to head down as a group.

The group that eventually assembled consisted of myself, Caliphar, Fenrir and Andris from Blackstone, Squire Tovolia from Therendry, Khel from Baddira, and Ifrit from I suppose Fengate. We barely made it halfway to Greyhelm before we had our first casualty. There was an accident regarding one of the wagons in which we were traveling, and to make a long story short Caliphar decided it would be best if he did not continue with the trip. It was a hard decision and I know he desperately wanted to come, but in the end there really wasn't much of a choice.

The accident delayed us a good bit, and as I result we arrived much later than we had originally planned. We pulled in to Elahdir's Haven at a little past 2:00AM. I could hear a battle going on in the field just outside the tavern. I rushed over to our assigned cabin and quickly got my things in order. In addition to the six of us, our cabin also housed Dame Tavi, Squire Beck, Althkaelis, Kivuli, and Viscount Telaris who had made the trip all the way from Ravenholt. We had a pretty large cabin, but we were none the less pretty tightly packed inside.

I threw my gear together and took off to hit the field. There were close to fifty people all milling around in a loose group. I had a hard time sorting out just where the good guys and bad guys were in the mass of people, and I hid crouched down by the tavern for a few minutes just trying to figure out the best angle to approach that wouldn't have me walking right into the middle of a bunch of monsters. Finally I got things sorted out and scampered over to join the group.

About the first person I ran into was Kellian. He is fairly easy to spot, even more so now that he was carrying around that great big white bow of his. I spoke with him to try to get up to speed on what we were doing. Unfortunately he didn't seem to know too much more than I did.

He told me the battle was supposed to be some kind of test for us put on by some sort of Fae.  The Firbolg Loris, who considered this "test" as his way of helping us in our future battle. Baron Travador and I were able to convince Loris to stop his forces from their first attack and give us the chance to "choose a leader and follow him".  This last part is what led to the following description.  Squire Khorvai was trying to get us organized in some fashion, and periodically some creature would run by and he would order us to chase it down and kill it. In a practical sense, what that meant was the huge group of people would lurch over to one side of the field, and then reverse course and lurch over to the other side, and in between Khorvai and Portia Kent and several others would yell at us to go this way or that way or keep up.

This went on for a short while and then it came to an end. I'm not sure if we passed out test or not. Although Loris still thought our fighting tactics were rather pathetic, he agreed that we had shown improvement, and gave us a stern admonishment about how we must fight as a team if we are to defeat Traegor.  He called back his forces and left.  The order was given to retire and we all filed off the field and into the tavern. This gave me a little more time to get settled and to talk to some people. I spent the next couple of minutes wandering around the tavern greeting people and catching up on things.

After a short time of this a group of about four people rifted in to the middle of the room. There was an immediate scrambling for weapons, but once everyone saw who it was they relaxed again a little. By relaxed, I mean they didn’t immediately descend upon them with bare blade and spell. The only one of the group I recognized was Viscount Telaris. I moved over to speak to him and asked what that was all about. He seemed a bit out of sorts and simply said he was almost killed. It wasn’t until several days later that I learned what he was talking about, and I’m not entirely sure I understand it now.

One of the other guys was clearly a creature of Fae. I presumed this all related to the series of tests we had just undergone on the field of battle. The fae gentleman and the other moved off and sought other people, and I decided now would be a good time to step outside and get the lay of the land.

There didn’t seem to be any monsters attacking at the moment so I took the opportunity to take a walk. The tavern in Elahdir’s Haven is nestled in a snug little valley. There is a field that lay before it, and a small pond beyond the field. Steep hills lie on two sides of it and on one side there are around a dozen small cabins in the edge of some woods. I crept around a bit to get a feel for where everything was at. I even went so far as to climb up the stone steps on one of the hills. I was rewarded with a wonderful view from the top. The lights from the tavern lit up most of the field. The tavern itself could be seen reflecting off the lake. Eladhir’s Haven was definitely picturesque.

After a little bit of hiking I returned, and I got back just in time. For the next several hours we faced sporadic attacks from all sorts of things. The first to emerge were a number of lumbering undead humanoids. I can’t say that I have fought anything precisely like them before. They fought and were destroyed much like the undead I’m used to, but shortly after falling they would rise up again good as new. Several people claimed that casting earth curative spells into them would prevent them from rising again, but that didn’t always seem to work. In any event, killing them over and over and over again seemed to do the trick. Eventually.

I began to notice during this attack that lots of people were falling, and the cry for a healer would go unanswered for quite some time. Several people came close to needing life spells despite falling right in the middle of everyone. I decided to take a quick run up to the tavern to see if I could do a little something about this, and ran right into Anno at the top of the porch. Perfect. He was just the person I wanted to see.

I knew Anno was an earth caster. I recently came into possession of an earthen spell store item. I figured I would get Anno to charge it up for me with a bunch of Cure Light Wound spells, and then I would run around playing mini healer. I could at least get the people up off the ground so we wouldn’t end up wasting life spells.

Anno was perfectly willing to help me out, but he tends to work in a rather, shall we say, deliberate fashion. I was rather impatient to get back to the fight, but Anno was taking his time trying to figure out how many spells of each level he had to spare. I suspect I looked like I had to go visit the latrine very badly as I stood there bouncing back and forth from foot to foot waiting for Anno to make up his mind about how many first level spells he had.

Eventually my item was charge and off I went. This particular battle did not last a very long time, but shortly after it ended another began. The next menace that we faced was a couple of packs of phase spiders. They came skittering in from the woods over behind the cabins. Several people called for us to stand our ground out on the open field and to let them come to us, but most people just charged headlong into the oncoming spiders and met them in the area of the cabins. There was such a mass of people there that I guess everyone was feeling a bit more bold than usual. I hung back in that fight and just tried to search around to make certain no one was killed and missed off in the darkness somewhere.

A short time later we began getting attacked by packs of what appeared to be either undead dogs or undead wolves. (first we had been attacked by living packs of winter wolves)  They emerged on a path from the woods between the tavern and the pond. The path was rather narrow and ended in a bridge just before it came out of the woods. So once we blunted the initial assault and got them pushed back a bit it became a rather simple matter to keep them bottled up on the bridge.

A few times they managed to push forward and put us back on our heels, but for the most part we handled them pretty easily. An amusing part of that battle was that Ami Aviel and one of the attending Stone Elves had earlier decided to have a nice quiet chat at that spot. So they sat down and put up a circle of power. They sat in their little circle chatting away the whole time while the battle was fought around them.

Eventually the undead dogs gave up trying to force their way down the path. They retreated, but reappeared a short time later on the other side of the field over by the stone staircase. They didn’t have much better luck over there. After a couple of quick trouncings they disappeared and that was the last I saw of them that night.

Around this time I learned that Count Wyndham was now here in town with us. I had heard just prior to arriving that he was not among the casualties in Keljin. I did not witness his arrival, but was told that he was brought to the gathering by the erstwhile liche Maylon.   Malyon spirit-walked the Count into the Guild's earth circle, and was allowed to leave unharmed because he had saved the Count's life.  He had also cast a Phoenix transform upon the Count, who was given enslavement antidotes.  When the Daystar rose Malyon was once again an outlaw.  I had encountered Maylon the last time I was in Greyhelm. Undead or living, I wasn’t all that disappointed in having missed him this time.

Pretty soon we heard a bunch of howling coming over from the area of the cabins. At first I thought this was those undead hounds coming back. But when I followed everyone over there I saw that it was a bunch of white wolf like creatures instead. I was told these were winter wolves, and their attacks did seem to have an icy nature to it.

Once again, everybody charged over into the cabin area and woods to chase these wolves around. We had a ton of people, and I had no concern about us being able to defeat the wolves, but I was scared to death someone was going to run around behind a building and get killed, or fall or in ditch or behind a bush and we were going to have a resurrection on our hands. Which is exactly what Loris had noticed, and why he challenged us with his "test".

I stayed away from the wolves and spent my time running around from fallen body to fallen body getting people back on their feet. Once again I was surprised at the lack of any healers on the field. As far as I could tell, I was the only person giving out any healing. Surely that couldn’t be the case.

I asked a number of times where all the healers were at. In retrospect I probably made too much of a big deal about that, and probably sounded a little whiny. I later learned that many of the earth casters were by that time rather done in from all of the earlier fighting. In any case, no one seemed to be to bad off for lack of healing.

Towards the end of the battle I heard a number of people shouting something about a pantherghast. From what I have come to understand those things were pretty much a regular fixture in Greyhelm. (In Eladhir's haven, mostly)  I never saw one during the battle and so at first I thought maybe someone made a mistake. But just as we were getting ready to leave the field I saw it.

It was in a battle with some of the elves, and even more elves joined in as I watched. The pantherghast seemed to be rather overmatched. It was doing very little attacking. It spent most of its efforts fending off the attacks of the ever growing pack of elves that was hounding it.

At that particular moment I was standing beside Telaris, and I made some joke to the effect that he had probably summoned it. Telaris has something of a reputation for summoning various pantherghasts in the course of his long adventuring career. Telaris took great offense at my comment. He proceeded to point out the many deficiencies and weaknesses in this particular pantherghast. His claws were too short, he clearly wasn’t very strong, his magic was rather low level and weak, and so forth an so on. To suggest the he, being the consummate connoisseur of pantherghasts that he is, would summon such a pathetic and miserable creature as this one was highly insulting to his ability and dignity. I apologized profusely.

I almost felt sorry for the thing. It was getting the tar beat out of it. It kept moving as if it was trying to break clear to find some room to fight. But the more it wandered around, the larger the crowd of elves attacking it became. It began imprisoning itself to get some respite, but each time it would immediately get hit with a bunch of dispels. Finally it took off running through the cabin area and found a spot and erected a circle of power.

I wandered over to watch this for a little bit. When I got there the pantherghast was calmly sitting in its circle and all the elves were getting themselves arranged in a perfect circle surrounding him. I thought the pantherghast was just going to sit there until it renewed its skills, but first five then ten then fifteen minutes passed and still it just sat there. I believe I suffered more during that time than it did, because I was subjected to no end of lame and corny cat jokes being made by the likes of Wolf and Talon as they tried unsuccessfully to taunt it to leave the circle.

Eventually I tired of this and wandered back over to the tavern. It was getting late by this point, but I didn’t seem that the crowd had thinned out all that much. So I grabbed another cup of coffee and slugged it down and then went back outside to see what else was going on. I could hear some commotion going on over by the back of the tavern, so I wandered up that way.

At this particular spot the road behind the tavern was paved in smooth stone. A small crowd of people were gathered around Kylou who was busy drawing things on the road with a piece of chalk. There was a large spiral drawn, and above it he had scratched out a large doorway. A bar was drawn across it, and sitting on top of it was a rather crudely drawn monkey. As I stepped up to see what was going on, the ground beneath Kylou visibly shook.

It was clear there was more to this drawing than just a bunch of chalk. The doorway was very real in some sense. Something was on the other side, and it wanted in. Portions of the drawing were moving, and some of the spectators were giving advice to Kylou for what he should draw next. Others were poking at the picture of the monkey with their swords, which resulted in the monkey throwing various items at people. Kylou finally had to draw a cage around the monkey to keep people from pestering it.

Whatever was on the other side of the door kept pounding on it, and pretty soon cracks began to appear in the doorway. Kylou was having trouble finding some way to prevent the door from breaking in part because he was by this time out of chalk. I dug around in my pouch and came up with the piece of chalk I carry and he went back to work drawing various things to try to strengthen the door and to hold back whatever was on the other side.

Sadly, in the end it didn’t help, and finally the door gave way and up through the ground came a large armored four legged creature. It had a huge gaping maw, sharp stubby claws and an enormous fin shaped armor plate on its back. It began lurching about snapping at people, and I heard several cries of “Landshark, landshark!”

It looked pretty terrifying to me, but a lot of people were laughing like it was some kind of joke. Luckily the crowd that had been standing there watching was fairly large by this point, so when the landshark finally came through it got pounded rather severely. In a few short moments it was mostly just a greasy spot on the road.

I next walked back down to the field where I saw Ifrit and Khel talking. I spoke to them for a few minutes. A short time earlier the crowd of elves camping the pantherghast had given up on him. He had already cast a second circle of power inside the first, and it made no indication it was planning to come out. As I stood there however I could see the pantherghast had now left the circle and was walking over towards the tavern.

It spotted us and began walking over in our direction. Khel placed her shield on the ground and when it became clear it was coming for her she used an item to cast a circle of power on a white circle painted on the back of her shield. The pantherghast came over and sniffed around just a bit and then resumed his walk towards the tavern.

It was moving at a leisurely pace, so I decided to see if I could get ahead of it and at least warn people it was coming. I jogged past it and started up the stairs to the tavern door. It decided at this point to pop me with a web spell. Luckily I had a shield magic spell on me. I scampered the rest of the way up the stairs and let everyone inside know it was coming. A bunch of people met it at the doorway.

It didn’t look like anyone was in any real danger, so I slipped out the back to see what else was going on. The answer appeared to be a whole lot of nothing. By this time it was seriously late, and I figured it was time to hit the bed. I went over to my cabin and went inside, and was surprised to see that we had guests.

Lady Akoya and Ami Aviel were both standing in my cabin. In fact they were practically standing on my cot. Tovolia was there as well and they were talking with him about using his Biata Mind Powers to do something with Ami. Under normal circumstances I would probably have been quite excited at the prospect of people coming to visit my cabin. But as it was I was very tired and starting to ache more than a little bit. I grumped at Tovolia a bit and then went back outside. Luckily their business didn’t seem to take very long, and before long I was back in my cabin and bundled away in my cot and fast asleep.

And thus ended my first night in Elahdir’s Haven, on the eve of the prophesied battle with Traegor. I’ll continue my tale with the events of the next day after I have had some time to better organize my notes. Hopefully by week’s end I can share with you the preparations we made for the coming battle, and stories of the battle itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It seemed like my head had scarcely hit the pillow then I was awakened to the sun shining in my face. The cabin had very dark curtain, but a little ray had snuck in through a crack to stab me in the eye. I knew from experience that I would have trouble getting back to sleep, so I decided to just get up and on with my day.

By the time I got showered and dressed and geared up it was about half past nine or so. The sun was shining bright and clear and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I was a bit surprised at the warmth in the weather given the lateness of the year. When I left Blackstone there were several inches of snow and ice on the ground. I could already see even at this early hour that it was going to be comfortably warm all day. I guess I ended up over packing just a tad in terms of coats and hats and mittens.

I spent a few minutes wandering about the tavern area seeing things for the first time in the light. I was again struck at how picturesque and quaint the town looked. I saw that there were a few people already up, but not many. There certainly didn’t appear to be any monsters about, and I got the feeling that looking for adventure at this time in the woods was quite unlikely to turn anything up.

I started to feel a bit hungry so I went in to the tavern. Halycon and a few members of her staff were hard at work getting breakfast started, but I could see it was going to be a while before anything was ready. Halycon was a bit cross because apparently some scoundrel had run off with all her muffin tins. She was having to improvise by baking her muffins in large rectangular pans and cutting them like cornbread.

Seeing that it would be some time before breakfast, and also seeing a lack of any suitable foe to strive against, I approached Halycon and asked if she had any task worthy of a mighty and capable adventurer such as myself. She pointed over to the sink where a veritable army of nasty, crusty, slime covered glasses and mugs stood poised and ready to attack. Here surely was battle I could throw myself into with wild abandon!

I launched myself at my foe with zeal and determination. Individually, the soldiers I faced were not much of a threat, but their numbers made the assault daunting to say the least. I considered what means I could use to vanquish such a smelly and disgusting army. For some reason the Mydian Valley was called to mind. I recalled that at the conclusion of my recent visit there a military campaign was ended by the strategy of causing a flood to wash away the town. That’s it!

I leapt to the sink adjoining the battlefield and turned on the tap. Soon it filled with several inches of scalding hot water. To this I added copious amounts of soap to lubricate the process. Then one by one I dashed each enemy soldier into the sink and consigned them to a watery sudsy doom! My plan was working brilliantly and victory was at hand when suddenly reinforcements arrived.

I looked up and there was a huge flat baking pan arriving on the battlefield. It had apparently been encased in a Burnt Food golem. I began hacking and pounding and slashing away at its armor, but it seemed to have a protection aura of some sort. I finally realized that it was just Immune to Normal Weapons. I switch over to Cold Iron Steel Wool and suddenly its armor was flying off at a rapid rate. I scrubbed it spotless and dumped it unceremoniously into the sink where it sank rapidly out of view.

I was just starting to the process of helping to move the spirits of the vanquished mugs to the Graveyard of the Drying Rack when I felt a dreadful presence at my rear. I whipped around and found myself face to face with a Crockpot of Doom. For the last twelve hours it had sat in its circle in the tavern casting formal magic rituals powered by chili components. And now it emerged in its new Exalted Form, with its Greater Chili Encrustation Transform fully active. And it was ready to do battle with me.

Here was to be a test of my prowess unlike any I had yet faced. I doused it in hot sudsy water repeatedly in the hopes that the magical energies in the soap would cause its transform to drop. No such luck. I tried normal sponges, Cold Iron Steel Wool, even a silverware knife I found laying around the sink. None seemed to work any better than the other in causing it damage. So there was just no helping it, I was going to have to do it the hard way. I settled in for a nice long strenuous slugfest.

Eventually, after long and tiresome effort, I prevailed and cast the spirit of the Crockpot into the Graveyard of the Drying Rack along with all the other vanquished troops. There were a few more foes who arrived to challenge me, but they were few and number and no where near as tough as what I had already been through. At long last the battlefield was swept clean, the sink was drained, I stood victorious!

Breakfast was now ready and I sat down and ate. It was mostly bacon and eggs and the aforementioned square cut muffins. I sat down and ate and talked with some guy named Val who apparently knew how to use a sword, but all the rest of his training he had placed into Alchemy. It seemed an odd career choice to me, but I was hardly in any position to be giving anyone else advice on how to train themselves.

After breakfast I decided I was going to explore the woods around the town much more thoroughly. I saw no sign of any bad guys about so I figured the town could survive without me for a little while. I walked over to my cabin and decided to just walk straight up the hill behind it. Once I got to the top I would figure out what to do then.

That was all much easier said than done. Due to a recent injury I don’t exercise as regularly as I once did, and I could really tell it on the climb up. But I persevered, and eventually the peak of the hill came into view. Just before I reached the top I came across a wide path running along the ridge. I recall someone saying that this path encircles the small valley that the tavern lies in. I decided to follow it to see where it led.

It was still well before noon, and I guess I’m just used to living adventurer’s hours. I just assumed that as early as it was and as far from town as it was I was quite unlikely to see anyone. In fact I ran into all sorts of townsfolk walking up and down the trail as I went along. I guess they weren’t much used to seeing adventurers, because I got a number of very odd looks at my sword. I started to feel rather self conscious.

The path did in fact circle around the valley, and it ran up on the peak of the ridge a couple of times making for some rather splendid views. As I circled around and got roughly halfway around the valley I can upon the road that we had ridden in on late the previous night. There was a resting area here as well as a sign showing a map of the valley, including the path I was now on.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry when I looked at the map. I saw that it showed the path I was on continued and eventually wound it’s way back to the tavern. I took off and saw the path starting on the other side of the road and began following it.

The path started down the other side of the mountain and I thought it curved just a little too much to the right. But I figured it would curve back soon enough. The trail then began to switch back and forth as it went further and further down the mountain. I thought this was the wrong side of the mountain to be on, but I wasn’t entirely sure.

When I got to the bottom and the trail started to level out I knew something was wrong. I was walking straight into the sun, which at this hour meant I was heading almost due south, and that was completely wrong. When I began to see houses I knew then for sure I had screwed up.

There was no way around it. I just turned around and marched right back up the side of the mountain I had just gone down. Needless to say the return trip was not as pleasant as the descent. In time I finally made it back to the road and saw my mistake. The correct trail to take lay a little ways down the road and was considerably smaller and less well marked.

My little side trip cost me about an hour’s time and considerable wear and tear on my feet, but this wasn’t too great a tragedy. The new path twisted and turned and headed down and pretty soon I could hear people out by the tavern. One voice in particular carried above most others. I swear, Khel is one of the loudest people I know, and she is always hollering about something.

I came back into town along the path that led by the pond, and I could look out across it and see a number of people on the field. They seemed to be practicing and sparring. Sure enough Khel was there and when she saw me she came over to meet me as I came out of the woods. She said a gypsy she didn’t know as going around town asking where I was. I had a feeling I knew what that was about.

I thanked her and headed off to the tavern. Sure enough, Marta Saldone was there finishing up her business. I had corresponded with her prior to my arrival in order to arrange for the purchase of various supplies. Principally I bought a whole pile of scrolls, along with a few other items for myself and for my Guildmaster back in Blackstone. Guildmistress Adrafae had asked me to see if I could pick up a few things in Greyhelm like cantrip tomes in order to fill out our own guild supplies.

When I arrived she was in the process of auctioning off a couple of magic items. I waited until this was done before I conducted my own business with her. One of the items she offered was a necklace with a couple of assorted spells on it. It contained a Magic Storm, a Banish, a Mystic Lock, a Destroy Undead and a Tarry. It would also last for two years. It was an odd item, but several of the spells looked useful and fun, and so I bid for it and managed to win it for the price of sixty gold.

After the auction and after I had purchased a few things from her she mentioned that she had some old stories she would like to tell. By this time the crowd that had been around her for the auction had thinned considerably, and I believe myself and Squire Tovolia were the only ones left. She said she would tell us of a story she had heard recently about the history of the Pillars where we were prophesied to fight Traegor.

Well, that sounded interesting to me. Viscount Telaris was nearby and so I called him over to listen as well. After scrambling around to find a pen and finally borrowing one from Kylou I sat down and listened and scribbled some notes. Tovolia did the same as well. When I get a chance in the next few days I plan to get with him to compare notes and write up the story she told us.

When all this was over I went back to my cabin to store away all the things I had bought. About the time I finished with this I heard some shouting down on the field so I went in that direction to see what was going on. There was a small battle taking place so I went over to see what I could do to help. I’m having trouble remembering what we fought this particular time. For some reason I want to say spiders, but I’m not entirely sure. I do remember that the battlefield was strewn with several small boxes propped up with sticks. Each was labeled “Draco-Liche Trap” or “Traegor Trap”. I wish it was only going to be that easy.

When this was all over people went back to socializing. Someone set up a bit circle of power in the middle of the field. The circle went up and down a few times. I went over to see what was going on. Lady Akoya was sitting in the circle along with some others, and she was sorting through some components. I asked what was going on and she explained that some folks had decided to enchant some swords for the upcoming battle.

They had been intending to let the enchantments expire after five days, but Akoya thought this was rather wasteful. She was trying to put together enough components to render the items and extend the enchantment to last for a year or two. She had managed to assemble everything except for nine components of power.

Normally when I travel to attend gatherings I don’t bring much of value. But on this particular occasion I decided to bring the bulk of my components with me. I thought I would end up using them or loaning them for Destroy Formal Magic rituals or possibly transforms. But this seemed as good a use for them as any. I ran back to the cabin and grabbed by stash and arranged a trade. I gave Akoya nine power components and she traded me twice that number of other components. I’m not sure what was eventually made, but I hope it worked out well for someone.

Around this time some of the women began to get their Women’s Club of Greyhelm organized and started. Sandrine had made plans to hold some kind of cotillion for all the distaff members of the adventuring community. I was mildly curious as to what they might have on their agenda for their meeting, but not enough so to want to crash the party or anything. I figured I could always ask afterwards.

As it turned out I ended up crashing the party briefly anyway. Shortly after they all gathered together in a little amphitheater, Juniper showed up. I recognized her from the brief appearance she put in at the gathering I had attended a little over a year ago. I only saw her briefly, but it wasn’t too hard to recognize her by all her leaves and foliage and forest garb.

Juniper had previously sent her servant Terran to the planning meeting in Keljin that was held about a week prior to the gathering. There he explained that Juniper would come to the gathering in Elahdir’s Haven to seek those whose spirits were pure and free of any elemental or bestial taint. I took that to be code for “does not have a transform”. She would take those who wished to come deep into the forest to a place of gathered energy in order to provide them aid for the coming battle.

I was one of a handful of people at the gathering who both did not have a transform and wasn’t particularly interested in one either. Under normal circumstances I try to avoid fooling around with powers at that level. However, these weren’t normal circumstances. I recognized that during the battle to come we would need every advantage we can get. It was quite possible that my desire to not screw around with my spirit may be a luxury that we could not afford. So I had decided to see what Juniper could offer me.

When Juniper arrived she spoke to Squire Khorvai and the Count. I was instructed to go gather up anyone else who wanted to go with Juniper. So I ran all around town, into the tavern, did a quick sweep of the nearby woods, and even crashed Sandrine’s party briefly to announce Juniper was here and would be leaving soon. I was a bit surprised at the small number of people who were interested.

As is often the way with such things the trip to leave got delayed. I was sent out twice more to gather people. The invitation was changed to include both people who wanted aid from Juniper and people who just wish to go with Juniper and watch. About this time another trip began to get organized to go to The Dreaming, whatever the heck that is. The plane of Dream.

Finally, when all got said and done, everyone in town was tasked with attending either the trip with Juniper to the Chaos Forest, or the trip to the Dreaming. As such our group was half the town, and numbered more than twenty people. Juniper gathered us all into a tight group and had us all touch a large tree, and then we rifted off to some distant place.

When we arrived I knew immediately I had made a mistake. For some reason I thought we were going to some hidden secret sylvan glade deep in the forest, with mossy trees, a tinkling brook, and little squirrels and chipmunks scampering in the woods. For this reason I didn’t bring much in the way of supplies. I left my shield back in my cabin, and only brought my short sword with me.

We came out of the rift into a forest of near madness. Chaos influence was clearly visible everywhere. The trees were twisted and corrupted. The moment you took your eyes off things they would seem to move and rearrange themselves when you looked back. A large swirling black pool of chaos lay in the middle of the forest floor. And there were several other things moving. I saw some putrid mushroom looking thing, a huge twisted tree, and other assorted chaos tainted forest monstrosities. To complete the set we had a black unicorn. Great.

Everyone immediately launched themselves at these creatures. Luckily we had numbers on our side. Due to the shifting nature of the terrain we had to keep it close and tight or else we might end up lost. The mushroom thing was flinging alchemical effects left and right, and some bog creature was spewing acid at us. Those both got mashed pretty fast, but others emerged to take their place. The black unicorn was an entirely different matter and it was taking a pretty heavy toll on us.

I spent a few moments trying to maneuver myself into a position to take a shot at the unicorn. But then I saw it spell strike a couple of people to death in rapid succession and decided it was probably more than a bit out of my league. Instead I concentrated on some kind of long armed swamp vegetation creature.

It wasn’t moving very fast, but it hit like a ton of bricks. It was doing massive damage to anything it hit. I found myself trying to dart in real fast to stab it once or twice in the back and then retreat rapidly before it spun around to squash me like a grape. I ended up going through quite a few magic armor spells. I was really missing my long sword right about then.

The unicorn swung by again and I ended up getting chased off. By this time there was a huge black willow lumbering around the battle as well, and I decided to leave that to others. I looped my way back over to the chaos pool to see what was going on there. I was surprised to see Kivuli squared off and fighting a bunch of people. I guessed he had somehow managed to get controlled or tainted by the pool. Luckily for me he was backing up towards me, and it was a simple matter to just conk him on the head.

Ifrit was also fighting people, but he wasn’t so easy to conk. He was leaping and jumping around too much. He ended up getting chased pretty far away before he was eventually imprisoned and fixed.
When I was able to bring my attention back to the chaos pool I saw that it was now little more than a puddle, and was shrinking even as I watched it. Viscount Telaris was crouched in a spot where the original shore of the pool had been, and he was carefully tossing harm undead spells at the pool. He must have used a Bane the Dead cantrip to counteract the pool’s power and was slowly draining away it’s chaos effect with earth magic.

Several things then happened at once. The pool disappeared entirely, the large black willow came over and began shrieking, and all the various corrupted forest creatures were finally destroyed. I got distracted at this point by running off with Khel and Kivuli to chase down Ifrit. When we got back things were pretty much over and calm once more.
A new creature had arrived from somewhere. A small dryad sat in the middle of the spot where the pool once lay. Several people were sitting near her talking. I was told I needed to speak to her if I was going to receive the aid that Juniper had spoken of earlier. So I went over and sat down with the rest of the people.

I had to get the dryad and some other people to explain to me what was going on at this point. The dryad was willing to offer us aid in the form of empowering our spirit with forces of the forest. When she explained this, it sounded suspiciously like a transform, which was something I emphatically did not want. However, she went on to explain that her powers were still weak, and that she could not permanently empower us. With that being the case, I went ahead and threw caution to the wind and accepted her aid.

Since she could only loan us her power, she asked that each of us in turn give her something of value in trade. When we returned to her the portion of power she was granting us, the item of value would be returned to us. I really didn’t have much of anything of significant value on me. I decided to give her my sword. It was a mediocre magic sword, but it had been given to me by a friend, and that gave it value to me above what it might otherwise be worth.

She took the sword and looked it over, and accepted it from me. She then reached out and clasped my hand in hers. Oh boy, here it comes. She closed her eyes and squeezed my hand gently. At first I didn’t notice anything at all. Then I felt a cold pain grow right in the pit of my stomach. It felt like I had quickly gulped down a nearly frozen glass of water. She opened her eyes and let go of my hand, and for a brief moment I had a glimpse of some dark and damp section of forest, with the trees heavily coated in moss. And then it was gone.

The dryad then moved on to other people, and so I got up and walked a little ways off to collect myself. The cold spot in my stomach slowly went away, and I was left with an oddly tingly feeling that I get after I cast a lot of celestial magic. Well, for what it was worth, it looked like I had a transform now, or at least something very similar to one. It remained to be seen precisely what it would be.

While the dryad finished with the rest of the people seeking her aid the rest of us sat down on the grass and socialized. I spent a little time speaking the Baron Travador about his new position as his Count’s seneschal. Kylou had a laugh gas trap he was playing with, and I screwed around with that some. That particular affair end in a predictable fashion and I had to go get Sereg to cast a Purify Blood Spell on Baron Travador.

The dryad finished up with everyone and the time came for us to leave. We gathered up into one great big group and rifted back to the tree outside the tavern. By this time the sun had just dipped down below the level of the surrounding hill and darkness was rapidly covering the valley. The air was starting to get a bit chilly. Dinner was in the process of being prepared in the tavern. People split up and began to get ready for the coming night.
All that remains for me now is to recount the events of the last night in Greyhelm. In the last installment of this journal I’ll tell off the army of transforms, and the battle against the draco-liche itself. And I promise it will be a little more gripping of a tale than stories about me washing dishes.

The Dreaming~

As half of the town had gathered for the trip to the Chaos forest, the rest of us had gathered together to travel with Lucidity (the icon(?) of dream in Greyhelm) through the Dream plane.  There was a section of Dream that had blended with the element of Life, in the manner of a planar bubble.  Inside the area of Life there was a magical item that would be of great use to us in our coming battle against Traegor.  Because it was not the pure element of Dream, Lucidity could not retrieve it for us, and only those adventurers who had a tie to Life would be able to touch it or retrieve it.  Luckily we had managed to gather most of the adventurers who had Life elemental transforms to accompany us, so this would be no difficulty.  The hard part would be in getting there, for the Life "bubble" was surrounded by Nightmare.  And this combination could very well cause our nightmares to come to life.

 Immediately upon entering, "Team Blue" which now consisted of myself and Enderr in addition to the other members, were separated from the rest of our group.  As before, we were plunged into a sharing of dream, and nightmare.  We all had glimpses of each other's greatest hopes and darkest fears, many of which involved Traegor and the battle to come.  We were told that the visit to Dream might be easier for us, because we knew what to expect.  I took it as my personal task to keep an eye on the rest who had come with us.  When we found the rest of our group, it was clear by the look in their eyes that they were also influenced by their Nightmares.  Only, because they had never been here, and did not understand the way of Dream, their nightmares were even more real.  At first I thought Du'Kratha was unaffected by any fears, but later I saw his increasing paranoia and protectiveness towards me, and he seemed to think that everyone else with us was there to kill me.  At first this was easily dealt with, as I made sure to keep others away from me, but as we continued down the path, and were attacked by other Nightmares, this became increasingly difficult.  We saw all manner of creatures in the Dream who attacked us, including the Liche Malyon, who had all of the abilities he had when we fought him.  As if this wasn't trouble enough, many of the people I traveled with either lost the ability to recognize their allies, or thought their allies were an enemy, and attacked each other.  I threw an awaken at "Malyon", and the Nightmare instantly poofed into nothingness.  I was also using my awakens, calms, and even charms to stop the other adventurer's with me from murdering each other.  I did have one moment of amusement, though.  Kyra was apparently very afraid of spiders, and stood still shaking because she thought they were all over her.  I calmly told her that I can voice control spiders, and ordered all the spiders on her to leave.  She visibly calmed and was able to continue with us.   At one point, some creature jumped into the trail in front of us, someone to my right started attacking somebody, and Du'Kratha started waylaying everyone.  The entire front line dropped, to the monster's astonishment.  Dame Tavi started attacking Du'Kratha, who attacked her back, all the while with me jumping between them yelling "Stop it!", and grappling with Du'Kratha.  I awakened Du'Kratha right after he had delivered a killing blow to one of the adventurer's he had waylay'd, so he life'd them and apologized.  It continued in this manner for most of the way down the trail.  At many points the Adventurers we had brought were more of a liability than the monsters.  Gabrial was very upset at everyone, and Tornaga would burst into killing frenzies and attack anyone near him.  And Du'Kratha was still attacking anyone who would get too close to me.  By now he had decided I was being controlled by "our" enemies all around us, and had started refusing my orders.  I managed to grapple his sword away from him, and he reached for alchemy.  Deciding that was worse, I gave him the sword back.

At one point, the front of the group had rushed along the path to reach Life, and had left behind a small group of our companions.  It seemed like I was the only one who cared if they made it through, so I ran back to see what was holding them up.  As I neared them, 4 people dropped to the ground and Tarnaak, still alive, started running towards me.  The nightmare Traegor had found them.  Not wanting to waste any more resources trying to take down the Drakeolich of our dreams, I threw my last awaken at him, and he poofed into nothingness.  Oh, I wished it could be that easy!

We all ran back to join the rest, who had entered the area where Life had leaked into Dream.  There was a circle of power around an orb on a pedestal.  Dracos and I had the same idea, and put our hands to the circle, attempting to enter.  Our hands became stuck to the circle, and once all those present with ties to life were touching the circle, we were able to enter.  In order to lift the pillar, we had to all hold onto it and carry it out.  Fortunately, the way out was not through Nightmare, so leaving was much easier.  We found out that this item was capable of casting 160 life spells, and could renew one's spirit 60 times.  Only those with a connection to the element of Life would be able to activate the item.  Lucidity rifted us all back...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Our trip to the Chaos Forest ended just about the time the trip to the Dreaming finished. So everyone ended up popping back into town at pretty much the same time. The other group had some strange pillar with a big blue ball on top of it which they hustled into the tavern real quick. We all sort of milled around in a large crowd beside the tavern for a while until Count Wyndham showed up and called for our attention. It was time to get organized for the battle to come.

The Count explained that he was going to be breaking us up into smaller groups. Each group would have a leader, and something of a vague mission or purpose. More specific missions would have to wait until we took the field and saw what was going on. To start things off he wanted us all to form ourselves into our own groups that we were comfortable with, and then he would combine and switch and swap people around according to his needs.

I started things off by hooking up with the crowd of people with which I came to Greyhelm. This consisted of Tovolia, Khel, Fenrir, and Andris. Viscount Telaris also joined us, along with Althkaelis, Dame Tavi and Squire Beck. The Count came over and surveyed us and combined our group with that of Team Blue, which was a collection of local folks who have been involved with this Traegor mess for some time. Kivuli was also added to our group.

There was a little bit of contention right at the beginning. Count Wyndham attempted to swap some of the members of Team Blue over to another group, and this led to a near revolt. Team Blue emphatically declared that they did not wish to separate. One of their members named Lady Niomi possessed one of the elemental weapons that were needed to destroy Traegor and they felt it was all their duty to protect this person.

Count Wyndham explained that while he understood and appreciated their feelings on the matter, he had a larger responsibility, that being to make all the teams as effective as possible. There was a bit of back and forth between them and the matter was eventually resolved. Given the general culture of resistance to authority that seems to be the rule in Greyhelm, I expect that this wasn’t going to be the worst problem that the Count had to work through.

Once our group was settled, the next order of business was appointing a leader. That job fell to Viscount Telaris. He held the most rank among us and was quite experienced in terms of leadership. Most of us already had a fair amount of experience under his command. Eranfel of Team Blue was made the second in command.

Once that was out of the way we spent a little while talking among ourselves getting further organized and familiarized. The first thing we got out of the way was to explain the natures of our various transforms, and in particular what precisely would heal us. As it turned out the bulk of us could be healed by good old fashioned earth healing. There were a few that were only healed by fire, and Fenrir said that he could only be healed by ice.

Next we went over any particular peculiarities of our transforms that we needed other people to know. Several people could renew or regenerate themselves under special conditions, and others had odd defenses we needed to know about. We also discussed the nature of the elemental weapon, who could use it, and the importance that it was to play in the upcoming battle.

All things considered I thought we sorted ourselves out in a fairly quick and efficient fashion, especially given the rather jumbled nature of our group. Count Wyndham came over one last time to make sure everything was in order and to give us a few final words. He explained that he would most likely make us one of the fast moving groups, whatever that was supposed to mean.

Once we had gone over everything we thought would be important, our group broke up and went on their separate ways for now. There seemed to have been four separate groups formed in total, with each group containing between fifteen and twenty people. The other groups were finishing up about this time as well, and so most everyone started moving over towards the tavern.

Sadly, dinner was still not prepared yet. This suited me fine, because I still had a lot of things I needed to take care of before the upcoming battle. Not the least of these was to get myself cleaned up. After all the hiking during the morning and all the scrubbing around in the Chaos Forest, I was rather aromatic. I figured there was no sense going into the greatest battle of my adventuring career smelling like the inside of a shoe.

So I went back to my cabin and grabbed a towel and took care of that particular chore. I won’t narrate this affair in great detail as I did earlier with the dishwashing. Once that was over I returned to the cabin and began the process of getting ready for the battle.

I am really not all that great in a straightforward standup fight. I do well in sneaking around behind folks and stabbing them, but I was quite certain there was going to be very little call for that kind of work this battle. I had decided that the best place for me in the coming battle would be to stay back in the second ranks. I knew we were going to have plenty of earth healing. So I decided that my role would be to provide elemental healing for the transformed people who required it.

I knew going into this gathering that I would be fighting with Fenrir. So for this reason I had begged, borrowed and stole and enormous pile of Ice Storm and Ice Bolt scrolls. Similarly, I had accumulated a huge stash of Lightning Storm scrolls because I had been intending to fight alongside Caliphar with his Lighting Transform. Since Caliphar ended up not making it to Greyhelm and no one else in our group was healed by lightning, this didn’t turn out so well.

By this time a bunch of our group was in the cabin and we all started to get our gear sorted out. We began swapping things back and forth. Once it was decided that I was going to be the scroll guy, Viscount Telaris unloaded an enormous pile of Flame Bolt, Magic Armor and Shield Magic scrolls on me. Kivuli loaned me his shield since he was not planning on using it. This was helpful because unlike mine it was rendered, and it several places on the back to attach scrolls.

Sadly, Ifit was also in the cabin with us, but he was already in bed. Something that he ate for lunch did not agree with his feline digestion. He was feeling violently ill at the moment. He warned us to not go running around behind the cabin to hide, because that is where he left a good portion of his last meal. His participation in the upcoming battle was quite doubtful.

Still, I went ahead and swapped him nearly all my fire based scrolls. He has this fire fetish thing and pretty much limits himself to those spells. Between all the Ice Storm, Ice Bolt, Shield Magic, Magic Armor and other assorted scrolls I had bolted to the back of Kivuli’s shield, I could barely lift it as it was.

Once I had the shield and scrolls put in order, I spent some time sorting out and swapping some potions with some people. Things went along this way for a while until eventually we had all our gear pretty much in order. Only one last item remained for me. Just prior to this gathering I finally received the Blackstone Ducal tabard that I had commissioned some time ago. I put this on for the first time for this battle. I guess this is as good a time as any for it to make its debut.

Dinner was still not ready yet, and so I went out to do a little wandering around to try to work off some nervous energy. I walked out on the field and found it completely deserted. I surveyed the woods line and saw that all was quiet and still. I strongly suspected that we would not be seeing any spiders or wolves or any other such nuisance monster between now and the battle. You could practically feel it in the air that something really important was about to happen.

I walked back to the tavern and ran into Baron Travador. He had decided to dress up in his finest outfit for the upcoming dinner. He had replaced his armor with fine clothes, and he was wearing a rather dashing red cape as well. Completing the ensemble was The Hat, which I understand is practically as famous as Travador himself.

I walked around to the porch of the tavern and sat for a time with Kellian, Autumn and Izzy the Lemur Scavenger. We passed the time swapping stories. We went over again what little we knew for certain about the upcoming battle. We were all still very vague about how things were supposed to start, or what we should be doing for most of the battle. About the only thing that was semi clear was the end.

Over the course of the last several gatherings a whole host of Dreamvisions, High Horoscopes and divinations of all sorts had been cast. We knew from these that Traegor could only be completely defeated by delivering a killing blow simultaneously with all four of the Elemental weapons that had been gathered. Additionally, Mandrake’s old sword Iron Fang needs to deliver a killing blow to one of the strange glowing green orbs that Traegor possessed.

Even this last part wasn’t entirely clear. Kellian was called away to assist with yet another Dreamvision to be cast by a number of people. They were still a bit uncertain as to the exact order of the killing blows. They wanted to make certain that Iron Fang was to be used as the exact same moment as the other four weapons, and not before or after.  We also wanted to find out a more precise layout of the circles for the final battle, and if there was more than one green orb, because at one point there were 3 of them...

Dinner was finally ready and so we all went in to the tavern to eat. It consisted of some sort of beef slices along with green beans and a few other sides. I was quite hungry at the time but I forced myself to not overeat. It promised to be a long battle, and the last thing I needed was to get nauseous right in the middle of things.

For most of the dinner a guy named Tyrilean played his fiddle for us. I’m not used to getting both dinner and a show back home in Blackstone. When dinner was starting to wind down Baron Travador stood up and sang us a drinking song as a way to keep our spirits up. I think he was figuring more people would know the words, but the only person I saw join in with him was Autumn of all people.

When dinner was completed there was still a lot of waiting around left to do. As I suspected we remained unmolested by any sort of monster or creature from the time of dinner until we eventually left to battle Traegor. That was still a long ways off, though.

I learned that we were waiting on Juniper to come and rift us to the spot where we would battle Traegor. We had no way of knowing precisely when that would be. So we waited and waited. I spend much of my time waiting on the porch of my cabin along with several of my roommates gossiping and telling silly stories. Given how dire the upcoming battle was supposed to be it seemed a bit incongruous that we would prepare for it by sitting around telling stupid jokes. But I guess we were all just trying our best to stay relaxed and positive.

As I sit here and think about it now, it was several hours between the time dinner ended and the moment Juniper arrived to rift us to the battlefield. But at the time it didn’t really seem that long at all. Once she arrived, all jokes and foolishness ended. It was just about time for the main event, the reason we had all come hear. The word went out to gather up and everyone scurried off to get their things.

We all began to collect up behind the tavern in one big loose group. Only twice before had I stood in such a large crowd of adventurers. I was feeling something, and I couldn’t decide whether it was nervousness or excitement. My vanity quickly assured me it was the latter. My vanity is often quite helpful in deciding these things.

I was happy to see that Ifrit was feeling well enough to join us. But given the miles we had traveled to be here it would take something pretty extraordinary to keep me from this battle, and I suspect it was the same for him. But now it was the moment that we had all been waiting for. It was time for the transforms.

A small group of folks gathered together right in the middle of the crowd.  We all moved in as close as we could. The people in the middle chanted out a short incantation and suddenly a tremendous wave of luminous force seemed to explode out of the middle of them and wash over top of us. (Adventurer's who had Spirit Guardian transforms, which were activated by Eladhir, were able to call upon great power to activate everyone else's transforms)

It happened so fast that it took me a bit by surprise. I don’t know what the source of this power was, but when it washed over us it had an immediate effect. Everyone’s transforms began to go active at once. I’ve seen transforms go active before. I have never seen over seventy transforms go active at the same moment in such a small space. The effect was mind boggling.

I was standing beside Fenrir, and he seemed to instantly freeze into a solid block of ice. Then he turned and looked at me and I could see his face covered in a mask of razor sharp ice shards. To my right I saw Khel practically erupt into a cascade of flames. Her entire form became covered by incandescent burning feathers as she took on the impossibly bright form of a phoenix.

Nearby I saw Squire Beck take on an entirely different aspect of fire. He hunched over slightly and seemed to grow half again his original size. Where Khel’s transform was bright, his transform was dark and smoky. He stood tall once more and rose up like avalanche of fire, with dull glowing smoking flame like burning pitch running down his form.

All around me were similar scenes. I saw Lady Akoya transform into a red maned unicorn, which briefly reminded me of my friend Dame Nightshine who I had fought beside so often. Dame Tavi also transformed into a unicorn, which confused me a bit, but I suppose that has something to do with her connection to Dream.

Several people took on the aspects of animals. I saw foxes and wolves aplenty. Kivuli and Ifrit each transformed into what appeared to be larger more powerful forms of themselves. I looked around to find the people who had been given the Forest Gift by the dryad. One I could see had turned into a spine covered plant creature. Another turned into what looked like a tree. But the tree suddenly elongated and rose up straight and tall above everyone. His arms became two thick wooden beams which he suddenly swung together to make a cracking sound like thunder.

All of this happened nearly in a blink of an eye. Before I could take it all in the cold feeling in the pit of my stomach returned. It began to grow rapidly to encompass my entire body. I looked down to see that my hands had taken on a chalky white complexion like a marble statue. My head began to pound and swell and I was momentarily overcome with a feeling of dizziness.

It only lasted a moment or two, and then the world around me steadied again. I could feel that I had been fundamentally changed. My skin was hard as a rock and I felt a sturdiness that I had never had when my flesh was pink and squishy. My mind seemed expanded in some way, and my command of celestial magic was greatly enhanced. But everything looked kind of strange and funny, like my eyes had been moved around on my head. I reached up to feel my head and my marble like hands found something wide, circular, and dome shaped.

Oh, for crying out loud. I was a freaking mushroom.

All around me people were reveling in their new exalted forms. Mighty creatures and elemental powers were in full display. There were even some people encased in some sort of golem shape. For some of them it was clear that this moment was something they had been working towards for a long time, perhaps all their life. And then there was me. A mushroom.

I really don’t know what it was I was expecting. But somehow when I pictured myself striding boldly forth to do battle with the dread Draco-Liche Traegor, I didn’t picture myself as a waddling mushroom. I could tell my new form was definitely a lot more powerful than my frail normal body. But still. Should I by some poor luck find myself meeting my permanent end tonight, which was not that unlikely a scenario, was I going to spend the rest of eternity squatting in a dank forest with a frog on my head?

But enough of that. What was done was done, and it was time to concentrate on the upcoming battle. Titinious was telling us to all be quite. He began to explain that he had been given overall command by the Count. He continued to give a speech which I believe was intended to inspire us. I felt a little bad for him, because I don’t think very many people were listening that close. Now that the transforms were all active everyone was all keyed up and ready to go.

When he finished, the order was given for us all to gather up in our groups. Our group, which we had given the name Group B, all formed up around Telaris. The other three groups did the same around their leaders. Once we were ready Juniper opened a gate, and we all marched through. This was what we had all come here for. The time had finally come.

When we emerged from the gate we found ourselves at the each of a large field. Several glowing circles of power lined the field. Several ran along the left side, several ran along the right, one was in the middle and a particularly large one lay at the far side of the field. Most of the circles were formed using the stone foundation of what looked to once be pillars of some sort. This was the location of the ancient pillars which lay on top of the ley lines. Several of the divinations centered on these, and Marta Saldone’s story did as well.

There did not seem to be any immediate opposition. We stepped upon the field and were ordered to form a large circle. An earth circle was going to be cast to serve as our base of operation and safe haven. A magical talisman had been obtained previously which would prevent this circle from either being destroyed or rifted into.

The circle would also house the strange glowing blue orb that had been retrieved during the trip to The Dreaming. The orb had the power to grant a large number of lifes, as well as the ability to refresh a person’s abilities. It could do both a large number of times, but it was limited. No one seemed to know the exact number of times it could do each.

Just as we took our place on the field we saw movement coming from the large circle at the far end. A group of nearly a dozen undead creatures lumbered forth and began to advance. I was standing at the edge of our circle that was the closest to them. I called out a warning, and there was much shouting as people were ordered to stop screwing around and get into the circle so that it could be cast. I drew my sword and thought I was about test my new mushroomy muscles, but the circle went up moments before the undead arrived.

We now had five minutes of free time while the formal magic took place. We were packed in so tight it wasn’t particularly comfortable. The undead paced around the perimeter of the circle and a couple of people took to taunting and insulting them. But I don’t think they particularly cared one way or the other.

When the formal magic was completed our group was ordered to leave the circle and deploy to the right side of the field. We moved out and formed a rough line and pushed the undead before us. Once we got into position our entire force formed a solid line stretching from one side of the field to the other. Our group formed the far right side of the line.

As I had originally planned, I set up behind the lines in order to cast spells on the people in our group that needed elemental healing. That consisted of Fenrir (ice), Beck and Khel and Katarina (fire). The first thing I did to each was to curse them with Elements Wrath. This was a spell I acquired from Sereg earlier in the day. It made the victim doubly susceptible to the element that I name during the casting. If the target is healed by an element, then they would take double healing if cursed to that element. That is how I was employing the spell. Since no scroll existed for this spell I had to cast it from memory. But I was loaded down with Magic Armor and Shield Magic scrolls. They went on next. Then we began the battle.

Thinks started off fairly slow, which was a good thing because I needed a little time to get my act together. The undead we faced were pretty powerful, but also fairly straightforward. Several swung for massive damage, and they tended to plow forward straight through our lines. It took us a little while to get our formation straightened out to repel them.

In theory, my job sounded pretty easy to me. Wander around the back of the line, cast protectives when needed, and heal when people take damage. Simple, right? In practice I found it to be a lot harder than I thought. Part of the reason was that I could only heal certain people, and they were spread out all up and down our line. I was also having to rapidly switch back and forth between about five different spells, none of which I was very used to casting. It wasn’t like standing behind one guy and shouting “Ten elemental healing!” until I was blue in the face.

As we began to push forward things started to get a little easier. People moved around on the line and Squire Beck, Fenrir and Khel moved over in front of me. Since these were the main folks I needed to heal that made my job much easier. I settled in to concentrating on them as well as Kivuli and Ifrit for protectives for the rest of the battle, and things started to go much smoother.

We slowly began pushing our way forward across the field. Several of the undead were emerging from the circles that lined the field. When the line reached a circle, someone would go over to destroy it using either a formal magic ceremony or some kind of wacky transform power. This is how much of the battle went.

As we started to cross more and more of the field things began to get a little trickier. A few liches began to show up in edition to the normal and massive swinging undead. A strange floating skull also arrived and began bobbing up and down the line. It was casting a steady stream of magic and arcane death. Whenever it would get close to the line it would attract a hail of spells from us, but as soon as it began to get damaged it was slowly float off into the distance only to come back later fully restored.

Titinious roamed back and forth across the rear of our lines shouting orders and trying to keep us in proper formation. As we got further and further from our earth circle a few undead began slipping around the flanks and into our rear area. Luckily none of them caused too much problems. They could not get into the earth circle, and there was a small group of people in the back who was handling them.

When we got roughly halfway across the field a horrible screaming was heard. A banshee now stood in the middle of the field and she began raining death spells down on our lines. She would toss about a dozen deaths or so, and then wander off to the enemy’s rear. A few minutes later she would step forward again and cut loose a scream and repeat the process. I saw tons of spells thrown her way, plenty of which were thrown by me, but in the darkness and the distance and the mist, I couldn’t tell if any connected.

Around this time things began to get a little shaky. The group that was to our immediately left started to develop gaps. Several of their members began dashing forward real quick to get into the rear of the enemy to attack targets of opportunity. They made a couple of dashes at the banshee, and a few runs at one of the liches. This causes some gaping holes to develop in the line, and our group was forced to shift left a number of times to plug up the center.

This slowed down our forward progress quite a bit. It also made it easier for undead to slip around the far end of our line. I ended up dividing my attention between what was in front and what was in back to make sure nothing came up behind us. It took me a few minutes of looking behind me to notice something, but when I did I thought we were screwed.

I called over to Telaris and pointed back the way we had come. All of the circles of power that we had destroyed on our way forward were now back up. Worse still, several contained creatures with glowing eyes. While we had been concentrating on fighting forward, some enemy had gotten in our rear and recast the circles. Now the enemy had safe havens in our rear, and worst still some of them were rifting in to those circles from elsewhere on the battlefield.

We now knew of the danger, but there really wasn’t anything we could do about it at the moment. We had to concentrate all our attention on the battle in front of us. About this time the field began to fill up with a hideous green mist. The cry of “Traegor! Traegor is coming!” filled the air. Moments later there was a horrible roar coming from the area of the large circle at the end of the field. Traegor had arrived.

Luckily for us he charged forward and hit the far left side of the line. I could hear all sorts of screaming and shouting going on over there, but I couldn’t see what was going on. Things were starting to fall apart around me. Telaris had rushed forward to try to retrieve someone who had fallen in the rear of the enemy’s line. Eranfel and some of the rest of Team Blue had reversed themselves to take care of a problem to our rear. Command of what was left fell to Tovolia.

We needed to get our act back together and fast. Tovolia screamed at Ifrit to get over to the far side of the line. I followed him over. Tovolia pointed to where a large undead creature with a polearm stood between our line and the spot where Telaris crouched down over top of the fallen adventurer inside his own Time Stasis imprison. Tovolia told Ifrit to load up and burn that undead down. Ifrit ordered his scrolls and fired up a hand full of aura.

I decided to follow him. The two of us moved to the very end of the line, and then dashed forward to within about fifteen feet of the undead with the polearm. Ifrit because lobbing Dragon’s Breaths and Flame Bolts one after the other onto him. I concentrated on my stack of Lighting Storm scrolls and let loose myself. The two of us pounded away at the undead for about ten scrolls each. The whole time it just stood there impassively while the spells slammed home into it’s chest.

I was amazed at the beating it took, but the whole time it just stood there. Finally a whole bunch of undead saw what was going on and started to move over towards us. Ifrit and I dashed back behind our lines and just looked at each other shaking our heads. But before we could figure out what to do next, we saw that Traegor was coming our way. We both ran back to our original place in line.

Traegor came slowly marching down the front of our lines, and then turned straight into the middle of our group. There was no standing before him. He was flinging deaths and obliterations in every direction, and smashing things to pieces with his claws. He split a hole right through our lines and continues marching forward into our rear.

I managed to miss the brunt of his attack, but our line was now in shambles. Several people, including Khel and Fenrir were dead in front of me, and I couldn’t fix that. Telaris was now back in the middle of us and trying to get us back into order. I started screaming for a life spell.

Life spells arrived from two different directions. One of the earth healers from our line came over and Kylou arrived from somewhere in the rear. In a surprising short amount of time our line was back up and in formation. I began trying to get Fenrir and Khel healed back up and covered in protectives. First I cursed them with Elements Wrath, filled them up with either flame or ice, and then threw on a Shield Magic, a Guardian of the Four, and a magic armor. Then I put some protectives on Kivuli and Ifrit and we were back in business.

Titinious was roaring for us to press forward. Traegor was once more on the left side of the line far away from us. We pressed our attack forward and began to get very close to the large circle at the end of the field. We could now see that it contained the strange glowing green orb that we needed to shatter with Iron Fang.

From close behind us I heard the unmistakable sound of someone rifting. I whirled around to see a lizard like creature appearing in the middle of the circle we had just passed. After a moment I recognized him as Baron Smolder. He knelt down and touched the circle and it was instantly snuffed out. I looked beyond him and saw that all the circles in our rear were now dark. At least one problem was now solved.

I took a moment to take stock of the situation. Our line was now in good shape, everyone in front of me was fully healed, but I was almost completely out of spells and the stacks of scrolls on my shield was greatly reduced at this point. I thought the time had come to get myself renewed before the final push.

I told Telaris where I was going and then I sprinted back to our earth circle. I explained that I needed to be renewed and got a very sour look in return. I was told there were only eight renews left in the glowing sphere. Well, crap. I considered skipping the renew and hoping my scrolls would last, but I was the only source of healing for several people in my group. I wasn’t willing to risk it. I got the renew and ran back to our line.

The field began to narrow as we approached the large circle. This served to compress our lines and give us a more solid front. Traegor was now in the front of our lines and he backed up and entered the large circle. With him out of the way our progress sped up and we covered the last twenty feet or so almost at a dead run. Our lines pushed up the fight to the very edge of the circle.

Suddenly Casanova started running around the circle shouting something over and over again. I finally understood that he was screaming “Recognized! Recognized! Recognized!” As a quirk of the way these circles were created Casanova was invested in all of them. Malyon had stolen a piece of Cassanova's spirit 2 years ago, and bottled it.  That piece of spirit was one of the components Traegor needed for his ritual, thus Cassanova had been invested into the circle. Now that we were all at the last circle and Traegor was inside of it, he was running around recognizing everyone in.

For a brief moment I thought to myself that there was no way in the world I was stepping inside that circle. But several people jumping inside and began to engage Traegor. Squire Beck jumped in and I was almost surprised to see myself leap in right behind him. Fortune favors the foolish. Or so I hope.

Squire Beck began raining blows onto Traegor, and in return he was getting an awful beating from Traegor’s claws. The arcane obliterations were flying all over the place, and if one of those landed there would be nothing I could do. I saw that there was going to be no way I could keep pace with the damage Traegor was dealing with any sort of flame based healing. I only had a few Dragon’s Breath left and a handful of Flame Bolt scrolls. So instead I concentrated on my stack of Magic Armor scrolls and cast them as fast as I could into Beck.

Then suddenly something pounded me from behind. Hard. It hit me again, and it turned around to see what was going on. There was an undead creature on the other side of the circle and he was hammering away at me with a polearm. Had I not been in my stone mushroom form I would have long since been pulped into jelly. I was just reaching for my sword when one of the obliterations from Traegor looped over Beck’s should and hit me square in the back.

I felt an instant of pain and then a black nothingness. The next thing I knew I was flat on my back and staring up at the retreating form of some healer. I was outside of the circle and Tovolia was beside me asking if I was okay. I could see his beak moving, but his voice sounding like it was coming from far away. Everything sounded muffled to me. I can’t ever remember feeling so horrible in all my life. It felt as though all my insides had been scrambled like an egg.

I slowly got to me feet and wobbled a bit like a drunk. I had trouble keeping my big fat mushroom head from bobbing back and forth. I needed healing, but what little bit I had in my earth spell store item wouldn’t last ten seconds in the battle. I needed a lot of healing.

I practically bounced off of Sandrine at this point. She turned and looked at me, and I managed to have on lucid thought. I said “Can I get a Regenerate?” She cast the spell on me and moved on. I squatted down right where I was, closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

All the sound around me was still muffled. I could slowly feel a warm flow of healing seem to seep up through the earth and into my stalk and all through me. My insides began to sort themselves out. Squatted down like I was I suspect I probably looked more like terrain than an adventurer. I vaguely recall hearing things running all around me, but nothing touched me at all.

Finally my insides sorted themselves out and my hearing popped back to normal. I slowly stood up and looked around. I found myself standing in what looked like utter pandemonium. We were no longer in any sense of formation or line. The battle had dissolved into a formless melee roughly centered on the large circle at the end of the field. I heard a loud roar and turned to look upon a sight I’ll probably never forget.

Traegor was now out of the circle. He was in the middle of a huge churning mass of bodies, mist and spells. I thought he looked like some enormous skeletal carp leaping and diving in and out of a frothing green pool. All around him were transformed adventurers hammering away. Flame and ice and lightning was crashing in and detonating on his body from all sides. In return he was blasting people’s very spirits from their body with obliterations, and tossing people left and right with his claws. Bodies were cartwheeling out of the fight left and right and even being tossed up in the air. I could see the glowing forms of healers working wonders to put broken people back together again, and they would rise up and charge once more into the maelstrom. Between Traegor’s roars and the sound of spells the noise was deafening.

I stood there for a moment completely spellbound. Despite all the gory violence, all the death and all the destruction, the scene held a strange sort of beauty. It was like some cataclysmic storm, awesome in its violent majesty. It was terrible. It was horrible. And yet at the same time it was glorious.

I heard my name and that broke me out of my reverie. I looked over behind me and saw that Fenrir was fighting something. I ran over to give him a little help. I looked around and saw that our group was pretty well scattered at this point, as was all the others. I heard Telaris call for us to gather up so I ran to the sound of his voice.

About three quarters of our group made it over to Telaris. He took a moment to survey us and the scene around us. The bulk of the people were still fighting Traegor. There was still a large number of other undead wandering the field. This included the floating skull of death and the banshee. Telaris grabbed a few people to go with him and instructed the rest of us to concentrate on cleaning up the lesser undead.

A group of about six of us decided to do just that. We reversed course and made our way back to the center of the field. The first thing that stood in our way was that annoying floating skull. After a moment's hesitation we decided to charge it and try to beat the stuffing out of it instead of pelting it with spells. I had barely even drawn my sword prior to this so I was anxious to put my mushroom muscles to work.

Sadly it didn't precisely work out all that well. When we rushed it Tovolia was immediately taken out by a death spell. I managed to make it to the skull and began flailing away at it for all I was worth. But I barely managed to hit it three time or so before is just floated straight up into the air and disappeared in the dark sky. Crap, I was beginning to think we were never going to finish that thing off.

However, with the skull gone, we noticed that laying right in front of us was two people including Andris. Standing over them was one of those polearm swinging undead. After we got Tovolia back on his feet we took on this new guy. He bounced his polearm across my big fat mushroom head a few times, but I was able to suck up the damage and help finish him off. We got Andris back on his feet and went looking for something else.

Not far away we could see our old friend mister floaty skull was back and tossing more death spells at some people. We charged it and once again I began beating on it with my sword. This time it stayed and fought me and concentrated it's death spell barrage on me. I found that it was a whole lot harder dodging spells when you are made of rock and your head is the size of a peach basket. Still, I eluded several of the spells and finally backed off once I thought I had pressed me luck far enough. But the next thing I knew something else was pounding me in the back.

I turned around and saw that some glowey eyed shadowy undead creature melting away into the darkness. I was rather lucky, because by this point about one more smack would have laid me out flat. I needed more healing badly. Luckily I was very near our earth circle base at this point so I jumped inside of it. One of the healers there gave me another Regeneration spell, and I closed my eyes and squatted down and let the earth magic do its work.

One minute later I was all ready to go. I applied a fresh set of protectives from my dwindling supply of scrolls. And just for good measure I got Ami to charge up my earthen spell store item with curing spells. I looked over the field to try to find someone I recognized, and then I waded back into the fray.

Things were beginning to stabilize to some extent. There seemed to be a lot less of the smaller undead wandering about now. The bulk of the battle was now focused on Traegor and some of the greater undead up by the far circle. I could also see a new dark elf on the field with an eye patch, and that was presumably Ralair.

I wanted nothing to do with Traegor at this point, so I ran over to where Ralair was fighting. I hooked up with Ifrit, Khel and Fenrir. Fenrir had just opened up a Bane of the Dead and was trying to loft spells over our lines into the bad guys. Traegor also worked his way over toward us and pretty soon nearly everyone was crowded over to our side of the field.

Suddenly a loud cry went up. "Traegor is down! Traegor is down! Weapons on Traegor!" This was the signal for all the people with the elemental weapons to run over to Traegor to get ready for the killing blow. I don't know where all these people were, but I guess they were slow to arrive because they kept calling for them over and over.

I turned around and saw that Simon was in the large circle trying to get ready to stab the large green orb with Iron Fang. He was having trouble because various undead kept rushing into the circle and chasing him off. The crowd of people there finally got things under control, but then another cry went up from the other side of the field. Traegor was back on his feet. I guess we took too long and didn't get the killing blow off in time. Well crap. I guess we have to start all over.

I tried to see if I could get hooked up with my group again, but this time I was having no luck finding anyone. Traegor made another pass close by to where I was standing, and he left a trail of broken bodies in his wake. I went over to see what I could do to help get people up. I bumped into Du'kratha who was just standing up. A bright and shiny Sinai was just beginning to heal him. Out of habit I reached over and cast a Cure Light Wound on him from my spell store item. As soon as I did it realized how utterly ridiculous that must have looked. Sinai was using her Life Transform powers to practically shovel healing into Du'kratha by the bucket load, and I walk up and hit him with a dinky cure light wound. They both stopped and turned around to look at me like I had lost my mind. I gave them the fungus equivalent of shrugging my shoulders and went back looking for something more productive to do.

Over on a nearby hill I saw some people confronting Ralair. I ran over to give them a hand, but just before I got there Ralair snapped off the tip of his weapon on the guy's shield. He then cursed a little and chucked the broken sword back over his shoulder. I thought surely he wasn't about to give up. And he wasn't. He took a few steps back and rifted out.

When I turned around I saw someone fighting with one of the few remaining lesser undead and I went over to help finish him off. Just as we did that I heard another cry go up. Traegor was down again. This time the people with the weapons were on top of his body in a flash. Simon was ready in the circle with Iron Fang and he had a crowd of people around him blocking anything that might come up to interrupt him. Someone loudly counted off one, two three, and I saw Simon plunge the sword into the green orb.

At that moment two tremendous explosions of energy detonated simultaneous. One was centered on Traegor's body, and the other went off in the circle. When the green mist cleared I saw that everyone in the circle was down except for Telaris. They had all taken an obliteration.  Luckily Casanova had wisely elected to remain outside the circle. He began recognizing people back inside and a few moments later everyone was back on their feet. I looked over and saw that things were similarly being taken care of over by Traegor's body.

It was now just before six in the morning. We had been fighting for about four hours. And even now, after the destruction of Traegor, it was still not entirely over. There were still plenty of undead of all sorts wandering the field that needed cleaning up. But we had accomplished our goal, and you could almost feel a collective sigh of relief wash over the field.

It only took a short time to mop up nearly all the remaining undead. The next step was to try to reform our groups and take a head count before leaving. When I found Group B once more they were standing around Althkaelis who was inside a circle of power with Khel at this feet. I asked him why in the world he was circle ressing Khel. He explained that Khel was completely tapped and had been trying to die for the last half hour so that she could use her powers of the Phoenix to renew herself. But every time she dropped someone would run over and give her a life spell. In exasperation she finally convinced Althkaelis to circle resurrect her. And sure enough, a few minutes later she was back on her feet and ready to go. 

 In the meantime, Baron Smolder and Baron Wolf had collected the spirit bottles that were left behind by Traegor, and were trying to decide which bottles to use their few remaining DFM's on.  We knew we could not destroy all of them, so I went through the bottles looking for ones who's spirit I recognized.  Ralair and Malshaar's bottles were not there, but we did find the piece of Cassanova's spirit and released it, to Cassanova's great relief.  I was also able to recognize Tonzen's spirit bottle, and that was destroyed as well.  The rest of the bottles were brought to the plane of Life, so that the undead would be destroyed each time they resurrected at their bottle.

 When we did a headcount we found that we were just one person short. The Redcap that was with us had a few minutes earlier been feared and ran off into the woods. Juniper was now back on the field and a new gate had opened over by our circle. The order was given to move out and return through the gate. Normally I would have loved to have spent some time scouring the field for missing people and items, but I could see that plenty of people were already doing that. I decided the best thing to do was to just get off the field and try to make things as simple as possible for the people in charge.

Just as we were about to walk through the gate the missing Redcap showed up so we were all finally accounted for. We all got into the line that was filing through the gate. When I stepped through I felt a long feeling of disorientation, and then I was back in Eladhir's Haven behind the tavern. And furthermore I had lost my swollen head. I was once more flesh and bone, and not fungus. Thus ended my career as a mushroom.

Pretty soon everyone was back through the gate and it was closed down. The sky in the east was starting to grow less dark as morning was fast approaching. All that remained was for us to distribute the treasure. There were a handful of magic items what were distributed by the roll of the die. I didn't win any of them. My cut was one gold, one silver, and an Ice Bolt scroll. Considering the mounds of Ice Bolt scroll I had burnt through during the battle I found this to be somewhat amusing.

Things wound down rapidly from that point. I wish that I had been given more time to talk to people after the battle, but I elected to head straight to bed. I needed to be up in less than three hours in order to be ready to head north again for Blackstone. To my knowledge we did not lose anyone during the battle to permanent death. I was told that there were about four resurrections in total. I know that the Redcap in our group resurrected twice, and once by his own hand in order to renew his skills. Dame Portia Kent was also one of our casualties. I don't know under what circumstance she died, but I know she successfully resurrected. I have not learned who else died.

This ends my tale of the Battle against Traegor.