PEREGRINE (a.k.a. K'Thyra)
The Palmdale Chronicles

April 9, 1983
A small group of four adventurers from the town of Glendale in central New Britain, including several clerics and a thief, journey into the hills near their town in search of treasure but are killed on their first outing by a pack of wolves.
Kirok, a lawful-good human cleric, and Ator, a lawful-neutral human fighter, are members of another adventuring group starting out from the city of Kingsrest in central New Britain. They round the southern tip of the Kabbarra Desert and discover a failing village named Goldenspur. Despite limited finances, the group bargains with the 28 villagers (mostly poor farmers) to become the town protectors and sponsors if the townspeople will stay. The group unofficially changes the name of the town to Palmdale, catalogs the crops grown by farmers, and begins to explore the surrounding area, clearing out lairs. A headquarters is established in a two-story building, building #6.
Ator, using his special Ring of Invisibility/Inaudibility, spies on certain members of the populace, and at one point a farmer with a pitchfork becomes aware of Ator's presence, thinking he is an invisible demon. Frog, a neutral-evil human assassin/thief, tracks an evil family trying to leave town with treasure, and eliminates them outside of town without Kirok's knowledge. Some of the townspeople leave despite the agreement. Eventually the government sends representatives to Goldenspur to find out what is going on.

April 21, 1983
The Palmdale group hires Ahlric, a lawful-good human fighter, to lead the town's guards when the group is absent.
While mapping the desert near Palmdale, the group enters a cave complex. Inside, two sphinx-like creatures sitting on ledges ask the group riddles in exchange for opening one of two doors, behind which is either a key or a monster.
Riddle one: "Suppose you and I have the same amount of gold pieces. How much must I give you so that you have ten gold pieces more than I?" (Answer: five gold pieces)
Riddle two: "A bottle of wine costs ten gold pieces. The wine is worth nine gold pieces more than the bottle. How much is the bottle worth?" (Answer: five silver pieces)

The group correctly answers the riddles and chooses the correct door, obtaining the key to a treasure. At a later date, when members of the Palmdale group attempt to locate this mysterious lair, they discover that it has mysteriously disappeared.

April 30, 1983
Clea, a lawful-neutral human cleric, and Frog, a neutral-evil human assassin/thief, join the group. Continuing to map the area around Palmdale, the group finds a cave complex to the northwest with female statues guarding the entrance. The statues ask members of the party, especially Clea, questions before they are allowed to enter the complex. Inside is found a well containing a blood-red liquid and bags of gold; hooks attached to ropes are used to get the bags, but it is found that the bags must be replaced with an equal weight.

early May 1983
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Clea saves the day)
While exploring the small graveyard just outside of Palmdale, the group is attacked by ghouls in the ramshackle chapel. After some intense fighting, Clea is left as the only unparalyzed member of the party. Fortunately, she is able to remain unparalyzed, eliminates the last ghoul and brings the others out of their paralyses.
Clea, Kirok, Ator and Frog travel to Malveria, the regional seat of government for the eastern third of New Britain. They pass a burned out inn along the way. When they reach the town, they learn of the orc war currently raging to the east and far south of Malveria, where orcs, ogres and hill giants are streaming out of the Eastern Korallan Mountains and laying siege to poorly protected human settlements and towns. While in Malveria, the four adventurers visit the Shrine of the Oracle of Malveria, where they are each given the opportunity to ask the Oracle a question regarding their personal future, which is allowed at a special time during each year. There have been instances, however, when the person receiving a hint about their future has managed to change its outcome because of that knowledge. They first learn of the Oracle's protective abilities for the city at this time...during times of great crisis, the Oracle has been known to extend its influence beyond its own shrine to cover the entire city in a protective dome. Within that dome the citizenry are surrounded by a soothing aura-violence is foreign and weapons are not allowed.
During this period of time the group sets up a zombie work force, animated by Kirok and Clea, to dig a moat around Palmdale as a protective measure, and to act as guards. This work force is affectionately known as 'The Grateful Dead', and includes humanoid and non-humanoid bodies, ogre skeletons and two gargoyles. As the group passes through towns and villages, they try to obtain freshly killed undesirables to animate and add to the workforce. Although the majority of the gods do not forbid this practice (with the exception of some of the lawful-good pantheon), the governments of New Britain and Bothnia both forbid the use of zombie slaves and 'The Grateful Dead' work force is eventually disbanded.
Exploring the town of Palmdale, Kirok, Ator, Frog and Clea discover a primitive network of tunnels connecting several buildings in the town. The buildings are later revealed to be a former witch's home (Witch Clara), and a pair of connected, run-down, two-story buildings set up as a vampiric refuge containing coffins. The buildings are explored, and traps are found in one of the two-story buildings. The tunnel also runs outside of town to an opening in the wilderness, concealed by a hollow tree stump. Clearing out several menaces who took lodging in the abandoned tunnels, the group sets undead workers to clearing the tunnels out for future use. Kirok places fire glyphs in the tunnels and on the doorways of these buildings; the glyph in the tunnel leading outside the town is set off, and the two-story vampiric refuges soon burn to the ground under mysterious circumstances.

May 14, 1983
Oidlehere, a chaotic-good elf, joins the group as their first magic-user. Tilbrand ('Tootsie'), a lawful-neutral human fighter originally from the town of East Eden, is hired and begins adventuring with the group.
While mapping the desert northeast of Palmdale, at less than a day's travel, Kirok, Oidlehere, Frog and Clea locate a hidden entrance to an underground maze. Inside the maze are found a cross-shaped treasure room with two columns containing trash and ogre bones, another cross-shaped room with six columns, and storerooms containing electrum, silver, copper, jewelry and weapons. A new rough-hewn coffin is found.
After successfully battling rats, a wererat, a giant spider, ogres and a minotaur, the group clears out the treasure, including a Decanter of Endless Water and +2 dagger; they also find a rusted-out but still intact cannon on wheels. Frog hauls it back to Palmdale, to be placed in the main square.

May 21,1983
THE JUMPING SNAKE (Ator has a bad day)
Ator and Tootsie, en route to the regional capital of Malveria, are camped out by the stream which flows between Ylldana and Malveria. That night a large snake 'jumps' (falls) from a tree above them and fatally wounds Ator. Tootsie, in a greedy panic, strips Ator of all his belongings and disappears into the distance.
Only Ator's invisibility and inaudibility ring is left behind, and it is stolen from his hastily buried body by someone else (probably local lizardmen). Ator is eventually presumed lost by the Palmdale group.

May 28,1983
LACTAR STRIKES IT RICH (and is incredibly lucky, while Grudge isn't)
Lactar, a lawful-neutral human fighter, and Grudge the cleric explore a lizardmen's temple somewhere between Ylldana and Malveria. Entering through an underwater entrance through the use of Water Breathing potion, avoiding a giant octopus near the entrance and killing many lizardmen, Grudge is eventually killed and Lactar, left alone, finds a huge treasure. Scooping up as much jewelry as he can carry, Lactar manages to make it out of the lair alive, dragging large sacks of treasure.
Barely alive, Lactar doesn't stop walking until he reaches the nearest city, Malveria, and recuperates. He soon scouts out local magic shops and buys many wonderful magic items, making him a formidable force. The Palmdale group meets Lactar as they are scouring the towns of Malveria and Zyconia for hirelings, and he is offered and accepts membership with the group.

June-September 1983
June 4, 1983
Prince Andrew's aides approach the Palmdale group, offering legitimate title to their town and other beneficial social rewards if the Palmdale adventurers agree to take on a mission. Prince Andrew's wife and daughter have recently been taken from the palace in Malveria; all the royal forces which could have attempted to rescue them from their abductors are engaged in the orc war. The Palmdale organization agrees to take on this quest; they are equipped by the prince, including a box of waxy flares which can be placed on the ends of arrows. The prince hires additional individuals for the team, including Frank Burns.
Lactar, having become accustomed to the greater strength of his magical Girdle of Giant Strength, has weaponsmiths construct special bows requiring giant strenth to pull, and two types of arrows: some tipped with glass bubbles filled with oil, others tipped with armor-piercing heads. A rush is placed on the job.
They quickly set sail in search of the mysterious black ship carrying black-clad kidnappers, journeying south on the River Wyrd, which is suspected of containing the imprisoned royalty. Darkon (chaotic-good half-elf magic user), his friend Jehanna (neutral human magic-user), and Weird, a lawful neutral human cleric, join the group. Frog is killed, but his body is saved for future use in the zombie work force.
June 11, 1983
Bugs (neutral elven fighter) Face (lawful-neutral human cleric) and Shifty (chaotic-neutral human thief) join the group. Oidlethere, a lawful-neutral human cleric and older stepbrother of Oidlehere, also joins the Palmdale group. Rick (chaotic-good human cleric) and Amanda (chaotic neutral human fighter) are hired to join the force against Vermithrax.
June 18, 1983
The Palmdale group, only days behind the black ship, stop at every port to inquire about the ship and also to check if there are any convicted criminals they might purchase to use as zombies. Lactar inquires at magic shops about his silver headband, which he found earlier in a treasure. The headband stretches to just behind both temples, with a small green gem at either temple. There is a medium sized diamond in the center of the forehead, and this diamond can cast a dim light if willed to; the headband also increases the armor class of the wearer's head. Lactar is told there are only about 20 on the continent-an estimate later proven to be far below the actual total. Friwynn is hired, and I Ferget, a neutral elven fighter/magic-user, joins the group.
Continuing past Silvermist (named after a mysterious fog, known to kill people), they reach the delta at the end of the river and continue to the ocean. The mission concludes at Vermithrax Isle, where the kidnappers (ninjas) are revealed to be working for Daltros Vermithrax, an anti-paladin and leader of a band of pirates. Upon reaching the island, they follow rocky inlets along the coast and gain entrance to Vermithrax's hidden port in the cliffs. After brief battles with defenders, the group decides to head in by land from the other side of the island. The ship docks at the only town on the island, Seaman's Quest, population 500, with an equal mix of colonists from the continent and natives. Native guides are available to the group.
The group decides to split into A and B teams in order to advance upon Castle Vermithrax from two directions. I Ferget attempts to fashion flares to allow the two groups to communicate. To communicate between groups, they decide that one flare means we're in trouble and you're on your own; two flares mean come to us, we're starting our attack run; and three flares mean return to the ship. If no flares are seen after three days, the groups have to use their own judgment. Lactar periodically uses his silver headband, which he discovers tingles when within 100' of danger or 50' of treasure.
July 2, 1983
While exploring the island, several members of one team, including Bugs, are killed. Camped one evening near the road to Vermithrax Castle, the B team sentry is surprised by a shambling moss encrusted creature, which begins attacking the magic items of the group. It drains several magic swords and a sword recharge scabbard (a magic item previously found which places a temporary magic charge on normal swords placed in the scabbard overnight). The group outruns the creature, occasionally stopping to fire arrows and distance weapons, until the creature is destroyed. Jehanna, a member of the A team (previously turned into a penanggalan by a hired hand, Friwynn, who had also been a penanggalan, unbeknownst to the group), attempts to kill others of her group...successfully in the case of Darkon. Lactar chases her into the woods. He soon finds it, sitting in its vat of vinegar, and barely survives the sight. He attacks and kills it.
Corbin, a lawful-neutral human magic-user, and Marcos, a neutral human fighter, are hired to assist the Palmdale force.
THE FINAL PROBLEM (Lactar has a bad day)
July 9, 1983
The groups eventually reach the fortress, high on a bluff, by following a path cut into the rock. Inside the castle a shaft is discovered which allows party members to slowly ascend and descend, in a means similar to the Feather Fall spell, merely by thinking which direction they wish to go. The shaft extends all the way down to the hidden cove, where the ships are now missing. Water ghouls are encountered and fought in the cove.
Using descriptions they had heard of Count Vermithrax, Lactar is polymorphed into a rough likeness of him. Scamming their way into the throne room, Lactar walks in on the true count. In the ensuing battle, Lactar uses Vermithrax's cook as a weapon, throwing him. During the battle, the count escapes. The group escapes under cover of night along with rescued prisoners, including the royals. They move down the path, trying to avoid patrols of soldiers hired by Vermithrax. Flares are used to signal meeting at the ship. The group makes its way across land to the port.
Lactar forces one of Vermithrax's henchmen to show him where Vermithrax is. The henchman leads him to a transport door (a non-magical transport device), and they step through, appearing beyond the cliffs, hundreds of feet above the ocean. Lactar, in a desperate bid for life, squeezes the life out of the henchman with the power of his Girdle of Giant Strength at the moment of impact, hoping his Vampiric Regeneration Ring would absorb enough to offset the damage caused by the impact. It doesn't.
Lactar's body is recovered, and out of the generosity of the royal family he is soon raised. The rescued prisoners are sent on their way. While practicing with the non-combat mode of his silver headband, Lactar begins getting strange sensations, becoming aware of something trying to locate him through the head-gems at both temples. Lactar and Vermithrax, without physical contact, wage a mental battle in a misty realm through their magic headbands, one which lasts about an hour to the combatants but only minutes to observers, with Lactar's body twitching in response to mental attacks. Lactar is nearly defeated during this battle, but is able to withdraw before being destroyed.
The group heads out on a frantic overland chase to save their unsuspecting ship from an attack by Vermithrax and his men back at Seaman's Quest. On the way the group detours to a nearly abandoned community, on the shore of a small lake in the northern part of Vermithrax Isle. After the locals inform the adventurers about an ancient temple located on a rocky outcrop in the center of the lake, the group goes to investigate. There they discover that the ruins of an ancient temple are actually the prison of the Ashrin, a group of ancient beings imprisoned eons ago in a long-forgotten war between the Ashrin and the Dor-Ashrin, ages before the current inhabitants of K'Thyra came into existence. In a room beneath the ruins is found a handle stuck in the stone wall, which everyone attempts to remove. Most of the group merely receives shocks except for Kirok, who successfully pulls and removes a mace. He is instructed to use the mace as a key to open a glowing doorway, and frees the Ashrin souls who had been imprisoned by the Dor-Ashrin so long ago. Before disappearing, the departing Ashrin (who have evolved to an energy state) reward Kirok, granting him a Magic Missile Mace, a Limited Wish, and also a Talisman of Pure Good. The group learns about another group of Ashrin imprisoned in the swampy jungle on the island.
Kirok uses his Limited Wish to request a face-to-face battle between his group and Vermithrax and his main lieutenants on the sandy shore of the island's inland lake. The wording of his wish also requests that Vermithrax and his men be unarmed and without armor. Both groups are teleported to the shore near the village of Magurmasa, and a fierce but short-lived battle is begun. The Palmdale group triumphs and Lactar removes Vermithrax's head ('snicker-snack') with his vorpal blade. Vermithrax's body, except for a small portion kept by the group, is taken to the capital for storage and disposal, but the group later learns that it is missing.
July 31, 1983
S. Frog, a neutral elven fighter/magic-user, and another fighter join the group. Meanwhile on the count's ship, the slaves and poorly treated low-level hirelings (who have no idea what has happened to Vermithrax and his main allies) decide to steal the ship and begin sailing west in search of safe haven and a place to sell the vessel. Hoping to claim Vermithrax' ship as booty, the Palmdale group pursues, sailing west until reaching the Sardinian coast, then turning north. After visiting the coastal cities of Bally, Merchant's End and Norringrad (and discovering that they are less than two days behing the pirate vessel the entire time), the Palmdale group heads east from Norringrad to Balthazar Island.

Reaching the island and docking at Port Catherine, they are warned about the fog rolling in that evening. Legend says that anyone outside of buildings at night when the fog rolls in will be killed and turned into zombies. The group spends the evening in the hotel's bar, and hears a knocking at the door. They are warned not to open the door. Kirok casts a Protection from Evil spell on himself and opens the door, finding a recently killed human turned into a zombie, trying to enter the bar. Because of the spell, the zombie cannot enter through the door due to the proximity of Kirok, and the door is shut. The group waits until daylight to leave. On their way out of town they empty the pockets of the unfortunates killed by the mist. On the other side of Balthazar Island, they dock at Kent Harbor, where they finally find the black ship, crewless, having been sold to the harbormaster. Lactar argues with the harbormaster, finally buying it for little more than the harbormaster paid for it. The group renames it Free Enterprise.
Upon the successful completion of this rescue mission, the group sails Free Enterprise due east; they head for the mouth of the River Wyrd and the long journey back to Malveria. Those hired to assist the Palmdale group on this mission return to their previous occupations. Nearly a month later, after the group has returned to Goldenspur, representatives of the New Britain government arrive in town with the official proclamation signed by King Randolff II renaming Goldenspur to Palmdale and acknowledging the members of the Palmdale group as being the town's leaders. The representatives also establish a New Britain taxing office and arrange for the resumption of a military outpost in Palmdale.

September-December 1983
September 17, 1983
Sailing Free Enterprise upriver on the Wyrd from Delta Vale to Malveria, the Palmdale group discovers that the forces of invading orcs, ogres and hill giants have reached west as far as the river-at several points. Still two days' journey south of Farhaven, the ship encounters a group of the invaders attempting to construct a crude wood and rope bridge across a narrow section of the river. Using the ship as a battering ram, they ram through and destroy the bridge.
A boulder thrown from shore during an orc, ogre and giant attack hits the ship at the waterline, the crew is forced to abandon
Free Enterprise, and it sinks; Shifty is killed. Happy, a neutral dwarven fighter, joins the group.
October 15, 1983
Concealed in the forest after the destruction of their ship in order to avoid the enemy army, the members of the Palmdale group each draw from a recently acquired Deck of Many Things in an attempt to boost their fighting capabilities. As is standard practice, Kirok gives all worldly possessions to the group before drawing. Among the cards he draws: defeat the next monster you encounter and go up one level, and defeat a minor death or forever die. Thinking quickly, Kirok grabs his Magic Missile Mace and a Potion of Flying. He begins fighting a low-level death while grabbing it and flying straight up. Lactar and Clea attempt to help, receiving their own deaths to fight, as does S. Frog, who polymorphs into a flying creature and bombards them from the air. Once a sufficient altitude is reached, Kirok breaks death's grip and death plummets to the ground, destroyed on impact. The other minor deaths are destroyed as well. Kirok goes up in level to fifth.
Face draws from the deck as well, and draws the imprisonment card. He finds himself shackled in a dungeon cell without any equipment. He makes a valiant effort to escape, but is killed by the guards. Lactar is granted a keep and an increased charisma by the deck.
Fighter X (N human fighter), Morey Arty (N-E human magic-user) and an elf assassin begin adventuring.
LACTAR DIES...AGAIN (Lactar has another bad day)
Lactar, Clea and Quid (a neutral human fighter), following the river Wyrd towards Malveria, fight many orcs and hill giants. Lactar becomes separated from the rest of the group in a thinly wooded area, with ogres and hill giants streaming out of the hills. Lactar begins throwing rocks, but he is victim to a well-placed basketball-sized boulder thrown at his head by a hill giant, which causes a critical wound. The boulder also destroys his silver headband.
Bringing the shattered husk of Lactar's body back to Malveria, the surviving members of the Palmdale group have him revived. Baron, a lawful neutral human fighter, is hired to assist the group.
Upon recovering sufficiently to travel, Lactar gathers his magical belongings and leaves northward in an effort to find the keep he had been granted from a lucky draw from the Deck of Many Things.
THE COUNTER-CLOCK INCIDENT (S. Frog has a bad day)
October 15, 1983
As the rest of the group heads north, Kirok and S. Frog fly to Farhaven on S. Frog's Figurine of Wonderous Power (a nightmare) in order to help the human army turn back the orc invasion. The nightmare is uneasy about having Kirok flying on it, and the feeling is mutual.
Kirok and S. Frog join forces with the army, led by General Patton, which has been fighting the orc and ogre invasion. Flying near Farhaven, a town deserted and nearly destroyed by the orc war that has been raging in its vicinity, Kirok and S. Frog discover 12 evil clerics in the process of summoning a devil. While S. Frog fires wildly into the midst of the clerics, Kirok uses a Talisman of Pure Good to send them to their doom, but not before they accomplish their task. S. Frog then pushes Kirok off the nightmare they were riding and Kirok lands on an orc, killing it. Hutijin, the summoned devil, goes after S. Frog as his nightmare shifts to another plane. S. Frog fumbles badly and loses control of his hands in the process. He dies before Hutijin can reach him.
Hutijin's attention turns to Kirok and the human army, and he begins summoning lesser evil beings to wipe out the human forces. Kirok desperately outruns Hutijin and the other summoned beings with his Boots of Speed. He is able to survive long enough to successfully light his Candle of Invocation and gate in Bahamut, who then destroys Hutijin and his summoned beings on this plane. Upon seeing Hutijin destroyed and the Platinum Dragon overhead, the human army rallies and the orcs and their allies begin to flee.
October 22, 1983
Leaving the army to finish off resistance in the ongoing war, Kirok and Bahamut discover a seemingly endless vertical shaft in the fields of the orc wars battles. Descending into it, they reach a shimmering bottom and continue through, finding themselves plunging through the skies of a primitive past version of K'Thyra, where time runs backward at an accelerated rate.
While exploring this land they encounter Izekiel, an old man from Peregrine Prime who came here to recapture his youth. He takes them to his home and offers to show them the way back to their world if they will destroy a gang of criminals who use this place to store their ill-gotten gain.
THE ORC WAR (continued)
November 5, 1983
Morey Arty, the elf assassin and a fighter are killed. Quid (N human fighter) briefly joins the group, dying quickly.
Treasure, a C-N human thief, joins the group. His fondest wish is to find a great treasure just lying around. He soon dies horribly, and it can be said that there is Treasure lying around. Zulu Warrior, a lawful-neutral human fighter, and Akharin, a neutral human fighter, join the group, as does Lucky (N-G human fighter), Tim the Enchanter (L-N human cleric) and Wisar (N human magic-user).

November 12, 1983
The remainder of the group (minus Kirok) returns to Palmdale. A traveling magic shop, operated by a magic-user named Parsel, soon arrives in Palmdale for a week, giving the town its first magic shop and an opportunity for group members to buy magic items.
December 3, 1983
Erztin-1 (N human fighter), Fighter X and Tim the Enchanter are killed north of Malveria by a band of theives. The human fighter Badsadmo joins the group, as does Erztin-2 (N human fighter) and Noah (L-G human cleric). Akharin, Badsadmo and Lucky fight and kill 16 orcs, a hill giant and four lizard men. They, along with Zulu, recover 2 Heal potions and five +2 black arrows; Zulu also gets a Ring of Dexterity within a black box.
December 10, 1983
Lucky is killed. Zulu's group acquires a gem and two bags of platinum coins totaling 100 pp. Seven orcs are fought and killed; 500 electrum pieces are gathered from their bodies, along with a scroll.
December 17, 1983
While approaching the criminals' location, Kirok and Bahamut encounter a dinosaur, invisibly evade it, and subsequently find the domed building the criminals are using to store their loot. Bahamut uses a breath weapon to destroy six thieves inside the dome, also unfortunately destroying most but not all of the magic items inside. After recovering the remaining valuables, including 7800 in gold pieces and gems, Izekiel gives Kirok several magic items in gratitude.
While heading towards the exit home, they are attacked by a pterydactal, which Kirok destroys. Izekiel takes Kirok and Bahamut to a cave, which is the exit from this world. Bahamut decides to stay behind for awhile to continue exploring this world. Kirok advances further into the cave, where it branches into two tunnels. He chooses the correct branch and arrives near Malveria, only about a week after Kirok had left, with Kirok now several years younger. He crosses the nearby lake using his Ring of Water Walking.
Kirok, using information provided by Izekiel, takes his gems to a gem changing shop in Zyconia, which gives him a special rate - no gem-changing fee is charged.
Meanwhile, Joe (L-G human cleric) joins the group. Erztin-2 is killed. Lactar kills a bat while on the quest for his keep.

December 31, 1983
Following a treasure map, Akharin, Badsadmo, Clea and Zulu find and explore a Dragyn (multi-headed, hydra-like dragon variety) lair southwest of Palmdale, encountering a number of the Dragyn's host of zombie slaves and ogre guardians. At the top of a slope, two paths are found. One contains screaming mushrooms and the other contains a mimic in the shape of a treasure chest. Amazingly, the group convinces the mimic to accompany them as a guard for their headquarters, in exchange for food. The group names the mimic 'Spot'.
After the rest of the group is incapacitated, Clea shows particular bravery in defeating several ogres single-handedly. The group together defeats the one Dragyn. Clea then destroys four zombies. Further exploration of the Dragyn's caves results in a battle with a roper, which is killed by Akharin and Zulu. They discover a small fortune in gems and jewelry, as well as magic armor, a Rod of Cancellation, a Tome of Clear Thought, a Carpet of Flying and a Bag of Holding. The coinage, gems and jewelry are worth a total of 169,269 gold pieces.
On the way out of the lair, nine ogres and two wights are killed; Clea and Zulu kill two ogres; Zulu and Akharin destroy an otyugh; four shriekers are destroyed and Zulu kills a large spider. In the aftermath, the group has acquired a Superheroism potion, a Stone of Good Luck, a Dagger of Venom, a Periapt of Proof against Poison, a Ring of Contrariness (Levitation), Bracers of Defense and clerical scrolls.
January 1984
January 6-7, 1984
Having journeyed north along the eastern border of the Kabbarra Desert for several days, Lactar cuts directly west across the desert, in search of the keep he is to receive as a result of a lucky deck draw. After seemingly weeks of searching, he finally locates the keep and discovers that it is his family keep-Keep Anak, which is found a short distance from the village of Greyhaven in northcentral New Britain. The keep was mysteriously abandoned some years ago by the members and retainers of House Anak, after the family was dishonored and its lands reduced. Making his way inside, Lactar finds activity in the keep and its environs...strange metallic men move behind its walls and in the surrounding forests. As Lactar moves through the abandoned but solidly built ancestral home he battles giant rats. He burns a giant spider's web out of one parapet.
His most persistent foes are the legions of coinheads roaming the corridors. The coinheads, metallic golems created from base metal coins and valuable gems, are slow moving creatures, seemingly left with instructions by their mysterious and unidentified creator to attack anyone who enters the building. Firing a Wand of Wonder and staying outside their reach, Lactar patiently uses lightning bolts to slag the numerous metal men, who explode in bursts of molten metal as they die.
Having cleared the keep of its intruders, Lactar explores his former home, memories flooding back to him as he does so. Lactar finds papers in a second-floor study formerly used by his father. These papers concern his family, and he learns of the sister he never knew he had (Alinea), his mother who was said to have died giving birth to him, and of his father, Jarus, who became possessed of some strange madness and vanished into the countryside years ago. Lactar also discovers a treasure map and learns of the family fortune, hidden in the wilderness by Jarus before he disappeared. As Lactar vows to locate his inheritance before returning to Palmdale, he vaguely recalls having been forced to leave Keep Anak as little more than an infant, in the care of family servants.
THE LIZARDMAN TEMPLE (many people have bad days)
Akharin, Badsadmo, Noah and Joe help kill a giant octopus and five lizardmen, but are eventually killed while infiltrating a lizardman temple east of Ylldana; the same one Lactar had earlier pillaged. Only Zulu Warrior and Zentar (lawful-neutral halfling thief) survive.
The two survivors proceed to kill three more lizardmen, and discover a Lesser Deck of Many Things, a +2 bastard sword, six +1 daggers (if one hits, they all hit), two Water Breathing potions and gems worth 2500 gold pieces.
Meanwhile, Argamas (N-G human magic-user) and his partner, the fighter Flint, leave the New Britain army to try adventuring. They successfully raid the stash of a group of thieves, battling five humans, including a magic-user; they acquire 4690 gold pieces' worth of coinage and gems, along with a Cloak of Displacement and a Potion of Climbing.

January 13, 1984
DUEL (Lactar has a great day)
Continuing his search of his ancestral home, Lactar discovers an unfinished tunnel leading from the basement of the keep into the surrounding forest, and seals it from use. In his search of the basement level, he pulls back a curtain and mistakenly uncovers a Mirror of Opposition. He suddenly finds himself facing an evil duplicate of himself, down to the last magic item, intent on his destruction. Following a brief battle, Lactar attempts a desperate move to kill his foe, throwing his vorpal blade sword at his double's chest, where it miraculously strikes a lethal blow-destroying the doppleganger and causing it to disappear.
Palmdale Group
Back in the Palmdale area, Ahlric, Clea, the recently returned Kirok and four guards fight a large group of orcs; one of the guards is killed during the battle. 425 gold pieces and Sands of Shrinking and Enlarging are acquired. Kirok claims the magical sands.
Quietus, a human fighter/magic-user from the region of the twin cities of East and West Eden, and Neon (C-N human magic-user) join the group; Neon is soon killed. Kri (L-E human assassin) is soon associated with the group.
Flint and Argamas are killed by the vengeful thieves they had previously robbed.

February-March 1984
February 25, 1984
Using the maps discovered among his father's papers, Lactar begins searching for the family fortune, hidden in the forest north and east of Keep Anak. After several days' searching, he finds a clearing, which matches the instructions on the map...only to discover a band of drow elves attempting to raid the site. Observing their activities, Lactar sees that the drow are using some sort of 'living manhole cover' to conceal the entrance to the underground chamber where his father hid the family fortune. The drow are also carrying "black fire", an unusual weapon which seems to attack and destroy living tissue but does not harm non-living material.
When it appears the drow will make off with his inheritance, Lactar attacks, using the drows' own black fire against the 'living manhole cover', which is quickly consumed. Lactar's superior strength and skills allow him to kill several drow; finally one drow with the ability to create magical portals uses his power to allow his compatriots to escape. Lactar sees what appears to be an underground drow city through the portal, and throws a large vial of the black fire through the portal just before it closes.
Palmdale Group
Zithaz-Fraguad, a neutral human fighter, joins the group. Zithaz-Fraguad and Kirok kill five thieves, acquiring 10,200 g.p. and potions of Growth and Levitation. Zulu and Zentar kill two giant cockroaches. The group of Clea, Kirok, Oidlethere, Zulu and Zentar destroy four gargoyles and six orcs. They acquire 7920 g.p., a Wand of Polymorphing, several potions, a scroll, Horseshoes of a Zephyr and 16 +2 arrows.
March 3, 1984
Lactar recovers part of his family fortune after killing 14 drow: 70,000 gold pieces and a number of magic items including magic swords, potions, rods, staves and wands. His sister had taken the remainder of the fortune.
After clearing out his keep, Lactar travels to Greyhaven and tries to make a deal with the mayor to become lord of the area around his keep, unsuccessfully. It is here that he hires Higgins to manage his keep, "Lactar's Nest". Higgins' two patrol dogs, "the lads", are later given to him by Q from a Robe of Useful Items.
Palmdale Group
Oidlethere retires from the Palmdale group, and is given a respectable financial gift in parting. He settles in Silvermist, where he works with Rick and Amanda.
Clea, Kirok, Kri, Zulu and Zentar follow a treasure map belonging to Zentar. They destroy a drelb, acquiring a Cloak of Protection, Plate Mail of Etherealness, a Ring of Feather Falling, potions of Healing and Invisibility, a magical short sword, a scroll and 18,040 g.p. Kirok, Zulu and Clea kill two giant spiders.
March 10, 1984
Clea, Kirok, Kri, Zentar, Zithaz-Fraguad, Zulu and a recently joined member, Jest, battle and kill ten ogres and five trolls. 1,335 g.p. are recovered from the ogres.
The human fighter Clod is killed on his first adventure. Meanwhile, Lactar kills two perytons.

March 1984
OUR DINNER WITH ANDREAS (Zentar and Zithaz-Fraguad have a bad day)
March 17, 1984
Eight rats and six wolves are fought in the woods the group is traversing through. The group is invited to a nearby castle for dinner, not realizing the true identities of Andreas and Marina, their hosts. Kirok soon learns that the wealthy couple is evil. The group makes a point of drinking from the same pitcher as their hosts, for fear of being poisoned. Zulu Warrior, activating his Plate Mail of Etherealness, follows their servant from the dining room and sees Andreas, a vampire, exhibit superhuman strength, nearly killing the servant.
A battle ensues and several members of the party, including Kirok, are drained levels; Zithaz-Fraguad and Zentar are permanently killed; Kri is also killed. Clea valiantly fights the vampires in physical battle. Other undead are fought as well. Andreas is badly disabled during the fighting.
March 30, 1984
Zulu slips through the walls of the vampire's castle to its lowest level, discovering the bloodsucker's deepest hiding hole, complete with coffin. Waiting ethereally, Zulu is present when Andreas' gaseous form returns to the coffin and regains its physical form. Zulu then positions a stake through its heart and returns to material form, instantly striking a fatal blow. He then cuts the vampire's head off and burns the body and head separately.
The group destroys Marina and four fighters. A third vampire uses a mirror-like communication device in an attempt to summon help from a demon. While the vampire is pleading with the demon, Kirok uses his Rod of Cancellation to destroy the device. Zulu joins the rest of the group and helps destroy the remaining vampire. Clea and Kirok turn 30 skeletons during the conflict. Among the items found in the castle are a Ring of Keys, a Horn of Valhalla, a Rod of Clerical Enhancement, a Wand of Metal & Mineral Detection, Horseshoes of Speed, magical weaponry and armor, a scroll, potions and 48,290 g.p.
Meanwhile, Howard, a neutral human fighter, Ugely, a chaotic-neutral half-elf magic-user/cleric, and WKRP begin adventuring. They kill 25 orcs; Howard gets 19,567 g.p., a scroll and two potions; Ugely gets 7,079 g.p. and a potion; WKRP gets 4,436 g.p., a potion and a ring. WKRP dies soon afterwards. Saurin, a neutral human magic-user, joins this group.
Lactar participates in a contest involving the finding of silver dragon scales in the desert. The winner will be given a noble title. He roams the countryside by flying carpet for weeks and weeks, but never finds any.

April 1984
April 7, 1984
Howard, Ugely and Saurin fight and destroy six wardogs and 9 orcs. They acquire 4,684 g.p., including gems and jewelry; five potions, a Trident of Warning, a +4 mace and a scroll.
April 14, 1984
Kirok tests an Ioun Stone found in a treasure. Upon activating it, he becomes possessed by the stone, and attacks and kills four fighters. He subsequently becomes immobile. Zulu and Jest subdue Kirok and destroy the stone, removing the possession.
April 21, 1984
A lock and key for the transport door system are found by Jest, Kirok, Clea and Zulu.
April 28, 1984
Howard, Ugely and Saurin battle four men; acquired from them are a +2 shield, Bracers of Defense and a scroll. Ugely and Saurin get 13,107 g.p., while Howard gets a separate share of 3,026 g.p.

May 5, 1984
THE COMPETITION (Kirok has a particularly nice day)
In the annual physical Competition in 2172 (held in Malveria that year), Kirok, Clea and Zulu each compete. People are allowed to bet on the contestants, including the contestants, and the Palmdale group places many bets on their people. Clea and Zulu are each eliminated in their second round, but Kirok, in six rounds, becomes one of the top two finishers, losing the final round. As a reward, he is knighted Sir Kirok, Knight-Errant of New Britain by King Randolff II, and is given a purple cloak and insignia ring as badges of his office. His rank equivalence in situations where he has opportunity to command the king's soldiers is that of lieutenant. He is also given a prize of 50,000 gold pieces.
One of the Competition contestants turns out to be Tilbrand, who shows up at their hotel room after the event, congratulates Kirok, and confesses to him what transpired with Ator. She gives the group the equivalent of what she took from Ator. The king accompanies the Palmdale group on their return trip.
Passing through Ylldana while returning home from the competition, Quietus buys a hot-air balloon from a traveling vendor.
May 12, 1984
Clea is assigned by her church to deliver a packet of important papers. In route, she kills two lizardmen and successfully delivers the packet to another church.
Kirok kills one fighter and captures two more, obtaining 5200 gold pieces from them.

May 29, 1984
BATTLE BEYOND THE UNIVERSE (Tom Jones has a bad day)
The Palmdale group is mysteriously transported to another universe and given greater powers by a mysterious force in order to destroy a powerful, ancient adamantine dragon residing in a tower, and recover a powerful artifact. Ugely is given a +5 hammer and a wand that creates skeletons. The group is attacked by pesky orcs, which are quickly taken care of. The group immunizes itself to a Mirror of Opposition by killing the magically created opponent of each member of the party, one at a time. Before moving around corners, the Mirror of Opposition is placed to the front of the group. Saurin is attacked by an invisible magic-user stalking the group, but since he has a Shield spell in effect the attack bounces off him and the attacker is killed.
Following a Find the Path spell cast by Kirok, the group avoids many elaborate traps. These include: bypassing a thin wall with acid on one side and lizardmen on the other; a mimic, which was shot full of arrows from a safe distance; and a moving floor which shunts Zulu away from the rest. Zulu is quickly reunited with the group through disintegration of the floor, using a henchman shape-changed into a beholder. To quickly obtain important artifacts, everything within a treasure room is disintegrated, leaving behind artifacts immune to the effect. Gnolls who automatically hit their targets attack the group, and are dealt with. The group reaches the dragon in relatively little time. Zulu is transformed by Quietus, using a Shape Change spell from a scroll, into a powerful magical sword, Stormbringer, which is wielded by Lactar. He kills the creature with his second blow. "She isn't awake." The group is returned to their own world with enough experience to attain another level. Clea, Kirok and Lactar become 8th level, Zulu 6th level, Saurin 4th level, Howard 3rd level, Quietus 3rd level fighter/3rd level magic-user and Ugely 3rd level magic-user/4th level cleric.

June 2, 1984
STIRGES (Zulu has a bad day)
Returning back to Palmdale from the annual Competition in Malveria (for 2172), the group is riding between Ylldana and Palmdale when it is attacked by a flock of blood-sucking stirges. Traveling ahead of the rest of the group, Zulu is brought near death in their attack, and is actually killed when his fellow group members use a fire attack against the hideous flying creatures and envelop Zulu as well. Upon being revived, Zulu has gained a lifelong fear of stirges and distaste for both the smell and taste of cooked fowl.
Saurin and Ugely kill three trolls.

June 1984
WAR OF THE SAINTS (Kirok has a bad day)
June 16, 1984
Saurin and Ugely battle ten orcs and two ogres; they acquire a Rod of Resurrection, a Wand of Fire, potions and 40,440 g.p.
Palmdale plays host to King Randolff II and his large entourage, which has stopped to visit the renamed city-and to thank the Palmdale group for having saved Randolff's daughter-in-law and grandchild in the Vermithrax campaign-while traveling by land from Malveria to Prestana. While the dignitaries are being entertained, chaos ensues as a magical sword, known to teleport to various places on the planet at various times, appears in Palmdale's central courtyard; it is held by a vaguely humanoid statue, containing an unknown item within its base. A death knight arrives to claim the sword, and the Palmdale group, accompanied by King Randolff and his men, initiate battle with the evil force. During the battle, the death knight casts a fireball that hits the headquarters of the Palmdale group, destroying it and everything inside, including the mimic named Spot.
Despite the assistance from Randolff, who is wearing special armor that allows him to go ethereal at will, the battle goes poorly, and Kirok attempts to gate in a powerful entity to assist their cause. What arrives, suddenly, is Lactar-gated in from his own adventures near his keep. Lactar helps by destroying two lesser demons, which were gated in by the death knight. Kirok asks for and receives a blessing from the god Tyche, allowing him to defeat his next opponent. Kirok destroys the death knight with Randolff's assistance. This causes Lactar to be pulled back to where he had been before being gated. The death knight's riderless nightmare then retaliates; Kirok, Clea, Saurin, Jest, Randolff and several fighters battle the nightmare. Kirok is killed during the battle. A saint soon arrives to claim the sword, riding a flying chariot; but before the saint can do so, the sword has teleported again and the saint and all the remaining lesser demons rapidly depart.
June 23, 1984
During the battle for the sword, the small balloon (nicknamed
"Free Enterprise"), which the Palmdale group (through Quietus) had bought in Ylldana, comes out of hibernation and transforms into one of the living airships, complete with built-in distance weapons. During the confusion of the battle, Zulu (aboard the ship) takes it upon himself to attempt to assassinate King Randolff, firing the ship's energy weapons at the monarch following the death knight's demise. The ill-conceived attempt fails, as Randolff uses his ethereal armor to allow the blasts to pass right through him.
Kirok is raised. Due to goodwill generated by the group through the rescuing of the king's granddaughter, and pleading by Kirok on Zulu's behalf, Zulu is not killed or imprisoned. He is, however, persona non grata as far as the king and government are concerned. The group choses a new headquarters in building #18.

July 1984-fall 1984
Following Zulu's ill-conceived and poorly executed coup attempt against King Randolff II with the weapons of the Palmdale group's youthful airship, Damien, a very old human in a mechanical wheelchair, calls together a meeting of the continent's leading rulers and military and magical minds. No references to Damien exist in written records. While studying at a desk in the Palmdale group's headquarters, Kirok is transported to this meeting on board Damien's airship, the Megalodan. It is decided not to leave a fully powered airship in the hands of such a reckless group. The group's airship (with the assistance of the airships Megalodan and Excalibur) is put through a forced which it grows considerably in size but all of its weapons systems are bred out of it. It is then left with the Palmdale group.
This is Kirok's first meeting with Damien and his giant servant Igor, and his first visit to the mighty airship
Megalodan, the largest of the dozen or more airships currently in existance-and with a very different internal structure than the others. Kirok is taken to the Megalodan's "strategy room", where a map of the entire continent is located, with "trouble spots" marked in various areas of Bothnia, New Britain and Sandria. During their conversations, Damien explains to Kirok who he is, and in the process explains the origins of humanity on K'Thyra. It is revealed that Damien is a native of the planet Earth, where over two thousand years ago a massive space-going vessel, the Cygnus, was constructed in Earth orbit in order to allow 10,000 pacifistic scientists and intellectuals to escape a coming world war. The starship, which encountered some difficulties in its trip, journeyed across space before locating K'Thyra, where it split into ten component parts and descended to the surface...depositing its human cargo on their new colony in various areas across the globe. Damien also explains that he is one of the original 10,000, and has used both equipment from (or based upon) the starships and K'Thyra's magical field to extend his life to over 2200 years. He believes he is the last surviving colonist, although he knew of at least two or three others who had used magic to maintain their existance until the last decade or so. Now, however, Damien senses that he is close to dying, and wants to bring order to the continent before his death.
Damien offers the Palmdale group benefits if they will go on a mission to prevent the detonation of an anti-magic bomb in the north-central portion of the continent, placed there by a previous group in an attempt to stop an influx of parademons. They are told that the bomb is not needed now and will cause more harm than good. Kirok informs Damien of the land of Izekiel, where time runs backwards, as a way to increase his life span. Because of this information, Damien allows Kirok to draw from a special Deck of Many Things, containing no bad cards. Kirok receives five wishes. They are: a cloaking device similar to the one on the
Megalodan for Free Enterprise, the location of the Cygnus 10, engineering knowledge, a Book of Exalted Deeds, and a Mirror of Mental Prowess. When Kirok concludes his wish requests, he has immediately gained all of the items except for the cloaking device, which Damien and Igor begin constructing after they return Kirok to Palmdale. Kirok informs the group of Damien's offer, and they accept.

late 1984
Free Enterprise begins heading towards the location of the anti-magic bomb. While in route, Kirok, Lactar and Clea take the opportunity to scry on people and places of importance with the newly acquired small Mirror of Mental Prowess. Ator's body is scryed on and retrieved; it is missing its ring finger. The body is placed in a stasis chamber on board Free Enterprise. Ator's invisibility and inaudibility ring is scryed on as well, and is seen being thrown into a volcano, the Shrine of Fire, in the Mountains of Ending, by a group of dwarves as part of an ongoing effort by certain conservative religious dwarven groups to destroy magic.
When attempting to scry on the starship
Cygnus 10, which he learned about from Damien, Kirok instead scrys into what he later learns is a submerged portion of the ill-fated Cygnus 9, which he begins to explore. While opening a door leading out of one of the lab areas, a hideous menagerie of undead farm animals including cattle, pigs and chickens, covered with yellow powder and mucus-like material, move towards him to attack. He turns them easily, but there are too many of them for him to handle at one time. He quickly shuts the door, and makes a mental note not to open it again. Continuing to explore, he encounters several ghouls dressed in medical uniforms, wandering the ship's lab, searching for living creatures to kill; he destroys the undead.
Kirok discovers that some of the passengers are still alive in functioning cryogenic sleep chambers. Before his scry runs out, he places four glowing sling bullets in the lab and seven in the suspended animation chambers as sources of light, and to increase his scrying potential. Kirok creates a doorway in the back of a suspended animation chamber and brings a woman from the chamber through the mirror to the airship. He doesn't have the serum necessary to revive her properly, and she rapidly ages and dies. Later, Kirok picks another sleeping crewmember, brings him back through the mirror and successfully revives him. Kirok also brings as many of the medical kits containing vials of serum as he can find, found in a locker, a total of eight. The revived man's name is Steve, an engineer. Kirok teaches him about the new world he finds himself on.
When Kirok later returns to the
Megalodan, both Damien and Igor begin exhibiting strange behavior, trying to attack Kirok; Kirok cures them. On his next visit to the Megalodan, Kirok is apprehended and placed in a chamber with a strange gas. Damien subsequently tells him that he had been infected with a disease from the starship, the same disease that had affected Damien and Igor, and that he was placed in the chamber to remove the disease. Kirok then alerts authorities in Malveria, which he had visited since exploring the Cygnus 9, and helps cure those who are identified as being infected, conveniently failing to mention how the plague began.
Damien sets up a decontamination chamber on the
Megalodan and the Mirror of Mental Prowess is placed inside when scrys are attempted on the Cygnus 9. Damien gives Kirok a portable tank of chemicals for decontamination as well, and a decontamination chamber is established on board Free Enterprise. Returning to the Cygnus 9 later, Kirok continues exploring the remains.
While moving along a service tunnel, he happens upon a metal plate welded to block the tunnel. Using his Girdle of Cloud Giant Strength, he kicks open the metal plate and water begins rushing in. He tells Damien what happened, and learns that portions of the
Cygnus 9 had been submerged to contain the plague. Kirok returns to the Cygnus 9, accompanied by primitive work robots constructed by Damien, where they are eventually able to seal the breach. Kirok later scrys on them and returns them to Damien. Personnel in the functioning sleep chambers are eventually revived and relocated.

January 1985
After signing a peace treaty with his brother King Randolff II of New Britain in the winter of 2172, Richard I of Bothnia plans to invade New Britain. This will be a diversionary tactic to cover an invasion of minor devils from the lower planes, Richard having been promised power upon the success of his invasion. Richard heads the main thrust of his army himself, and is currently staying in the commandeered castle of Lord Artis Boronnen, which is unprotected by magical screens.
Kirok offers the use of the group's magic mirror to scry on Richard I. Randolff gathers elite members of his army and Kirok successfully opens a door on Richard, who is in bed with a wench. Randolff defeats and kills his brother and prevents his body from being recovered for possible raising from the dead.
January 10, 1985
Corbin and Marcos, former hirelings of the Palmdale group, are killed while defending a village from invasion during the orc war.

January-February 1985
Kirok continues in his exuberance to attempt scrying on everything of possible importance. He successfully scrys on the den of Lord Malikot, a former associate of King Randolff I. The doorway appears along a wall covered with trophies; Kirok sticks his head out through the mirror to get a better view of the room. As Malikot enters the room, his face hideously scarred, he doesn't notice Kirok, who has blended in with the trophies. Malikot moves to a communications device and makes contact with Lucifer, Kirok's evil half-demon grandfather. Lucifer soon notices Kirok's presence, and Kirok quickly withdraws, shutting down the doorway.
February 4, 1985
While Kirok is in the sickbay area of Free Enterprise, he is teleported away to a misty realm and forced into mental battle with a statue of Lucifer containing glowing eyes. Kirok is victorious and the statue is shattered. The head and eyes are taken by Kirok and placed in a bag. When the rest of the group realizes he is missing, they scry him back aboard.

February 1985
Kirok examines items he recovered from the Cygnus 9 (contaminated, sealed and sunk in the frozen arctic waters of northern K'Thyra). While looking through a locker, he discovers a magnificent diamond hidden in a former passenger's belongings. A journal within the locker reveals the diamond to be the Hope Diamond, a cursed stone from Earth's past, thought to be lost at the time of the Cygnus ship's launch. The journal seems to suggest that the Hope Diamond might have had something to do with the crash landing of the ship, and the leakage and mutation of the plague which killed so many of the Cygnus 9's passengers.
Kirok senses within the gem the souls of many beings who had met misfortune as a result of possessing the gem. The souls include many people from the planet Earth including a king of France, as well as the gem's last owner. Kirok, intent on helping the trapped souls, uses his Magic Missile Mace to crush the gem, freeing all those who were cursed by it from their eternal torment.

February-April 1985
A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON (many people have several bad days)
February 17, 1985
Acting on Damien's request for help in dismantling an anti-magic bomb in northeastern New Britain, the Palmdale group contacts several people they had previously worked with on the mission to Vermithrax Isle. Kirok scrys on Rick and Amanda in Silvermist, inviting them along; Amanda stays behind, as she is pregnant ­ Kirok congratulates them. Kirok also gives his regards to Oidlethere. The group hires several new mercenaries as well. Aboard the newly renamed airship Enterprise, the group reaches the site of the bomb.
March 1, 1985
As the group enters a massive underground cavern complex, they encounter and kill five lizard demons ('parademons') that had been released from their own dimension before Damien's previous strike force managed to close down the gateway between dimensions. The group also encounters a large number of young dwarves, driven insane and horribly mutated into mindless killing devices-they nickname these hideously altered creatures "death dwarves". In an attack on the group by death dwarves, Zulu and Clea kill six of the dwarves. Saurin creates a fireball that destroys eight more death dwarves.
The Palmdale group and their allies split up in the caverns in order to seek the anti-magic bomb. While investigating the caverns, Quietus finds a fountain that is the source of the catalyst water that can activate his unique magical ability. When the group is badly hurt while fighting the lizard demons, he attempts to use his new power to help. Activating his new ability, he proceeds to explode into a fireball, killing Zulu, Lactar, Kirok, Ugely, Howard, Baron and Rick.
March 24, 1985
Clea raises Kirok, and Kirok raises the rest. Zulu is raised but has become incurably insane; he is killed again and raised once more by Kirok, free of madness. Later, Kirok fires a fireball from Lactar's helm in an attempt to destroy a group of lizard demons; he doesn't realize how large the blast radius is, and accidentally kills Clea and Zulu along with the lizard demons. He proceeds to raise Clea and Zulu.
Five more lizard demons are destroyed, and Saurin destroys 37 death dwarves. As the group enters a 30' x 30' cavern six gargoyles near the ceiling attack but are defeated. Quietus keeps the gargoyle horns. An altar in the cavern is found to open a door when blood is poured on it. Five people are discovered, turned to stone. Apparently they are the remains of the first team.
A barrel-shaped Apparatus of Kwalish is discovered buried under a pile of silver and copper pieces. A spider tank emerges from a well, which extends down into a bubbling pool of lava; the tank begins attacking the group. The attacking tank is dented and shaken enough during attacks by Kirok, Rick, Steve and Q to kill the death dwarf operator, but it still works. The spider tank is exceptionally small. Janice is the only group member small enough to fit in, so she is assigned to operate the tank.
April 12, 1985
One more lizard demon is killed. At the bottom of a series of stairs is discovered a bridge, originally 110' long, but now only 30' is left attached. An anti-magic field exists in this area, disrupting spells and magic items from working. Thirty feet beneath the landing is found a five-foot ledge, 35'-40' in length, with a sheer drop of over 500'. Thirty feet from the ledge on the same level is a ten-foot wide plateau, which somehow survived a previous bomb blast. Clea discovers an invisible bridge, crosses over to the plateau and takes the artifact Horn of Jericho.
Giant centipedes and rot grubs are battled. A treasure is claimed including 32,250 gold pieces and 7000 gold pieces' worth of gems.
April 21, 1985
The group finds a 50' x 50' room containing many stalactites and stalagmites, some of them broken; in the center is a ten-foot wide pit. On a ledge 50' down is found a sword. Quietus claims the sword, named Darkwing [+2/+4 vs. flying creatures while flying, with the power of flight, 12" per turn, one hour/day, non-intelligent, with a good relationship with non-evils].
The group finds another Ring of Keys and a dagger effective against undead. Lactar finds fire stones. Saurin is disguised as a death dwarf to observe the enemy.
Once the group realizes there is not enough time to reach the bomb and prevent it from detonating, they flee to
Enterprise. Along the way they encounter a dwarven force camped outside, which was there to investigate what had happened to their young (who had been turned into death dwarves). The dwarves are quickly loaded onto the ship. Upon reaching the ship, Kirok demands "Zulu, I need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead!" and Enterprise warps out of the area as the bomb detonates. A wave of anti-magic is created by the explosion, which Enterprise barely escapes. One of the dwarves, Stott, wishes to join the Palmdale group.
The people who assisted the Palmdale group with the mission are released. Baron shows his respect for the group by giving them the seal of his noble house, House Callan, which is good for discounts when trading with establishments associated with his house.
Later explorations by members of New Britain's Magical Institute reveal that the physical force of the explosion completely destroyed the cavern complex south of Van Rhysedale where the bomb had been located-including all living creatures within the caverns. Of more devastating impact, however, is the discovery that the bomb had been located on one of the magic-energy nodes of the planet. The force of the anti-magic energy release had traveled along the planet's magical energy lines to a point some 350-400 miles north-northwest of Van Rhysedale, in the mountains between New Britain and Bothnia, north of the town of Oasis. There, the magic and anti-magic energy were released in a cataclysmic blast which obliterated hundreds of cubic miles of mountains, and which opened a great gash which extended some 400 miles both to the north and south of the blast's epicenter. That gash has continued to widen, with crumbling erosion, to this day. Although the northern part of the chasm extended directly to the ocean through Bothnia, the damage was not extensive enough to cause the ocean to flood until several months later, during an invasion by darkling forces. The epicenter of the explosion and the chasm formed a massive canyon, which radiated anti-magic energy. Within the hexes included in the canyon, magic is destroyed; within one hex outside the canyon, magic no longer works. It has also been discovered that devices which use straight-line aiming (such as Mirrors of Mental Prowess) are unable to scry through the interference caused by such a field effect.
The New Britain Magical Institute now has a department specially set up to study both the short and long-term effects of this anti-magic crack, and any possible additional threat it may pose to the Aegican continent. As it is, communication, transportation and trade have been dealt a near-lethal blow, especially in Bothnia, which has essentially been torn into two separate countries. The Bothnian communities of Kastidian and Newhaven and New Britain's Markoven now find themselves too close to the crack for magic to work, and the New Britain community of Oasis was entirely swallowed up by the crack.

April 28, 1985
The group recuperates from their disastrous mission to try to prevent the detonation of a powerful anti-magic bomb in northeastern New Britain, and the ship heads towards Palmdale at normal speed. Kirok, Clea and Lactar daily scry on objects and places of importance, including Vermithrax (alive and dead), Earth (once a week), Kirok's mother, Lactar's keep, the starships and Prestana. They also scry on each other to improve their scrying potential. Kirok and Saurin, having studied the Aegican Encyclopedia during visits to the library and the Magical Institute in Prestana, help the Palmdale group members continue in their efforts to scry on odd and unusual locations and persons throughout Aegica.
An ancient bridge connecting two islands off the western coast of Aegica is scryed on by Kirok on the 7th day of their return voyage. The bridge floats 10'-15' above the ocean, is about 15' wide and has no supports. It was apparently created long before humans arrived on the planet. People are seen traveling on it in both directions, but always within groups, since legend says the bridge is rumored to 'eat' people who travel alone. Slavers herding groups of slaves are seen on one scry (the three main governments on the Aegican continent have outlawed slavery). Kirok opens a doorway, staves are pushed through the door to touch the surface of the bridge and Q takes several steps on it. It is debated whether the bridge might be a living being. An item is placed on the bridge and slowly sinks through it. Q flies beneath the bridge to see if the item falls through. It doesn't. Q returns through the portal before it closes.
Having learned of the existance of his older sister Alinea, from the papers he recovered from Keep Anak, Lactar continues to search for his missing sibling. He eventually discovers that she is serving aboard the pirate vessel
Black Hand. The group monitors the ship's progress by scrying on a crewmember of the Black Hand whom Saurin had seen, and by scrying on Alinea herself. On the 9th day of the return trip, the crewmember is scryed on while the Black Hand is in the town of Za-thenan.

May 12, 1985
On the 10th day of the return voyage, Clea scrys on Palmdale. Kirok, Clea, Zulu and Saurin return to the town and check on its status. While investigating the surrounding countryside, the Palmdalians, along with Ahlric, discover a mysterious storage dome in the nearby desert. They are set upon by a moderately large group of sandmen. Kirok, Ahlric, Clea, Zulu and Saurin battle 18 of the deadly creatures.
Kirok and Ahlric together kill eight of the sandmen, Clea four more and Zulu three; rats controlled by Saurin kill one more; the remaining sandmen flee. The group gathers up the treasures of the dome, including a technological aircar, a treasure map, 19,900 gold pieces, 13,500 gold pieces' worth of jewelry, two Extra-Heal potions, a Bag of Blackmagiks and a cursed Ring of Cockroaches. After
Enterprise returns to Palmdale, a rope is attached to the dome and it is moved to town with the help of the ship.
Experimenting with the treasures they found in a sandman-guarded desert treasure dome outside of Palmdale, Zulu places a ring upon his finger and activates it mentally. Although the results are slow to begin, Palmdale is soon subjected to an immense invasion of cockroaches, both large and small (from the surrounding fields and woods).
Kirok and Zulu soon find themselves leading the townspeople, their own town guards and the local army outpost in a desperate defense against the cockroach invasion. A firebreak is set up in the area around the town, taking advantage of the protective moat under construction for some time, and the hoard of insects is eventually brought under control.
Also on the 10th day of the return trip, a lucky scry puts Kirok in contact with his mother, Alanna, missing since Kirok was a child. His scry opens up on a mountainous plateau retreat in southern Sandria that lies beneath the magic line. Kirok steps out of the doorway, inadvertently frightening someone walking by, who then falls off the cliff and is killed. Kirok retrieves the body and returns it to a somewhat angry populace, offering to raise the person.
In order to meet his mother, who is above the magic line, Kirok has to remove his magic items and climb up a mountain path. Kirok briefly meets his mother, and learns more details about his origins and her present status as a bard, an acolyte of a peaceful non-magic-using order settled in the mountains beyond the realm of magic. Kirok fills her in on his recent adventures and current status. A peace is established between mother and son, with the potential for future meetings more likely.

late May 1985
The crewmember on the Black Hand is scryed upon on the 15th, 19th, 30th and 34th days of the return voyage. Saurin is scryed to Prestana several times in order to continue his research. Palmdale is checked several times during this period, and Lactar monitors the mayor of the nearby town of Greyhaven.
The group continues voyaging across the continent towards Palmdale in
Enterprise. Lactar, Clea and Kirok attempt to scry on Vermithrax as both a living and dead being, and eventually determine he is still alive, but scry protected. Kirok is finally able to break through Vermithrax's anti-scrying device on the 37th day of their return trip, and successfully opens a door on Vermithrax's location, high in the mountains. The group takes on his henchmen, then bring Vermithrax aboard the ship, tying him down to a sick bay bed. Kirok then destroys him, his father, permanently.
On the 43rd day of the return trip, Lactar scrys on Alinea and finds her buried up to her neck in sand on a beach, the tide rising towards her. He is unable to open a doorway.

June-July 1985
On the 45th day of the return voyage to Palmdale, the library of the Cygnus 10 is scryed on by Kirok. It is learned that the Cygnus 10 is partially buried on an island between the Aegican and Corellan continents. The ship, a hollow metal cylinder 100 yards long, is damaged but relatively intact. Kirok, Lactar, Clea and the hirelings take all the removable information discs and tapes (including 15 library cassettes), along with the reader for accessing the storage forms (a CD ROM system). Two glowing sling stones are left in this section. The system is later transferred to the basement storage rooms of Lactar's keep, in preparation for setting up a technological library in the keep for future studies. Also transferred to the keep are a bomb and an all-terrain vehicle, capable of carrying 2-4 passengers for two hours. A technician team including revived starship personnel is left at the keep to assemble the system.
Later that day, Kirok scrys onto the engineering section of the starship. A collection of artifacts from the ship is gathered for study in Palmdale. These include survival kits, as well as eight rods found to give off a numbing shock, along with a device to recharge them. The rods, nicknamed "cattle prods", are issued to the senior members of the group. Three glowing sling stones are left in this section. These scrys also increase Kirok's later scrying potential on the
Cygnus 10 and other remains of such starships that might be found in pieces across K'Thyra's surface.
Lactar scrys on Kirok to increase his scrying potential on him: he also scrys on his keep and on Greyhaven. Clea scrys on the crewmember of the
Black Hand; later she scrys on Prestana.
June 22, 1985
The next day (day 46), Kirok once again scrys on the Cygnus 10. Kirok discovers a group of military adventurer types exploring the ship, having gained entrance through a service hatch (opened inward) on the internal core. This group is monitored using the Mirror of Mental Prowess as a window. Before any confrontation can occur, a shifting, phasing doorway moves down the entire length of the ship's central core, cutting off the mirror and apparently killing and/or transporting the other adventuring party.
Further attempts to scry on any of the other adventurers are blocked by an unknown form of static. The Palmdale group soon returns via scry to the
Cygnus 10. A dragon is battled and destroyed, and is found to be some kind of mechanical dragon-like defense mechanism guarding the starship. The brain of the mechanical guard is saved for further study.
The ship continues to be explored. Six safes on the starship are found to contain a personal computer with a personalized account by the second-in-command of events leading up to the launch, ten data discs containing two hours each of information about Earth, a holographic projection device containing a record of the Sol system (and can focus on any one planet), a focused light beam weapon with holster and 50 rounds, a star crystal (used to channel energy through the ship), and an envelope containing last orders to the captain. A motorcycle is found in a crate, as are digging implements and other equipment to help a colony get started.
A radio found on the ship, containing ten bands, one for each of the starships, is monitored. Most of the bands have only static, but band six has a fragmented message and band seven has unusual static. Six walkie-talkies are also found.
On the 47th day Lactar is able to scry on Alinea's body with a doorway, and recovers her. She is resurrected but inflicted with a form of insanity, becoming a nymphomaniac. Lactar also scrys on his keep. Clea scrys on Saurin and the crewmember of the
Black Hand. Kirok scrys on Prestana. On the 48th day, Lactar scrys on Zulu, and Clea, using the treasure map found in the dome near Palmdale, scrys near the location of the treasure but is unable to reach it before the window closes.

July 14, 1985
Enterprise nears Palmdale, 49 days into its return trip. Clea manages to scry on former Palmdale member S. Frog, learning the body is on another plane. Clea, Kirok, Lactar, Saurin, and Quietus go in search of S. Frog's body in hopes of recovering his magic items and learning his fate, and the group travels across many planes. The body is discovered on one of the levels of hades; it has been stripped of magic items and turned into a minor demon. Saurin destroys five spine devils, and also fights four ermyes. Quietus, on another plane, bides his time in a deistic 'lobby' while muzak is played, hoping to pal around with Odin and gain a one-of-a-kind hammer as a boon. He doesn't. He considers taking items from the lobby but thinks better of it.
Lactar scrys on Saurin. He later scrys on Keep Anak and finds evidence of intruders at the keep; a team is sent to investigate. An intruder is discovered there and questioned, then placed inside a wall of the keep using a Passwall spell. The group returns to

late July 1985
THE PIRATES OF AEGICA (just about everyone has a bad day)
The next day (day 50), Kirok manages to scry on the location indicated by the dome treasure map. Lactar, Kirok, Saurin, Janice and others investigate the treasure-filled cavern, which they soon find is guarded by a red dragon. Bahamut is called up by Kirok to help defeat the red dragon, but the battle goes badly, Bahamut gets a critical hit and is destroyed on this plane. The red dragon is finally killed by the Palmdalians, and they begin gathering up the treasure. Lactar collects 'dragon juice' from the red dragon for future use, and becomes fond of the smell. In a surprise move, a similarly powerful party from a pirate airship, the Dragonspawn, attacks the group members in the cave. Lactar observes, "10 to 1, that's OK, 100 to 1, that's a different story!" Saurin is quickly killed with a soul-stealing blade by a pirate who teleports behind him. Pirates wielding soul-stealing blades also kill Lactar and Janice; the remaining group members in the cave are also killed, except for Kirok. Kirok is presumed killed when a Talisman of Ultimate Evil is used against him by an evil cleric. The talisman creates a rip in the fabric of space. The pirates strip the magic and money carried by the Palmdale group from their bodies, and Lactar's body is taken.
Clea soon scrys on the cavern, seeing the results of the battle. She attacks the pirates with her magic weapons as well as thrown rocks. Using the Horn of Jericho, she manages to blast the pirate airship as it is leaving, causing major damage. The pirate ship uses its jump warp to escape total destruction. Clea then gathers the remaining treasure and the bodies of her comrades aboard
Enterprise. The rip in space is patched using the Lyre of Building. Clea raises the group members. Saurin and Janice are raised, but remain blank, expressionless. Lactar's body is eventually found on a bluff, all his possessions stripped from him, with an anti-scry device placed on his body to prevent direct scrying, perhaps to cause annoyance to the Palmdale group. Lactar is raised, but also remains blank, expressionless.

July 31, 1985
During the battle with the crew of the Dragonspawn, a Talisman of Ultimate Evil is used against Kirok by an evil cleric. Kirok is cast down through a rip in reality and through sheer luck ends up splashing into a freshwater lake. Kirok is in danger of drowning from his equipment, which has become heavier than normal; a nearby fishing boat subsequently rescues him. He finds himself in a subterranean pocket beneath K'Thyra's surface, inhabited by humans and other races, where magic does not exist. Transportation networks involving ropes, pullies and hanging gondolas criss-cross the ceiling, and several villages are contained within the pocket.
Kirok befriends Erik, a chaotic-good human cavalier and native of the land. He searches in libraries for information on passages back to the surface, and learns of a possible passage on the lake bottom. Both of them hire a boat to take them to this area of the lake. Taking a non-magical equivalent of the Water Breathing potion, they dive to the lake bottom and find a multi-branched passage, choose one branch and reach the surface world, half-a-continent away from where Kirok disappeared, surfacing in the lake near Malveria.

August 10, 1985
THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (Kirok has yet another bad day)
Kirok returns to Palmdale, and joins other members of the group in once again exploring the lizardmen temple east of Ylldana. Kirok is killed for a third time by two critical hits in a row while battling lizardmen. Clea later raises him.

fall 1985
Q, Erik, Zulu and Kirok enter a mountainous maze where they battle drow elves, seven of which are killed by Zulu; also encountered are tanks with treads, armed with nuclear energy cannons powered by special coins. At the center of the maze is a powerful sentient being who gives each of them their choice of a magical item or a limited wish. Kirok wishes himself to Earth, while the other three each choose differently colored, specially powered swords. Q's sword has the abilities [Invisibility 3 times/day, Animate Dead, one figure 7 times/week, Tongues, Cause Serious Wounds, X-Ray Vision, and causes weight loss 5-30 pounds, small wood items to rot, and a chance that Q's soul would be destroyed]. Erik's sword has the abilities [Find Traps 3 times/day, Levitate 3 times/day, Stone to Flesh once/day, Teleport in sight twice/day, and Shape Change with potential problems of sex change, loss of interest in sex, and lycanthropy]. One of the cannons on tank treads is brought back to Enterprise by Zulu and fastened in the shuttlecraft bay.
Kirok appears next to a road, the surrounding countryside composed of a red soil, with bluffs in the distance. Kirok is unable to cast magic on Earth, but magic already cast on him continues to operate, and he remains invisible. He follows the road, his footsteps kicking up puffs of red dust; the road leads to some sort of launch facility. Avoiding guards and slipping into the operations complex, he eventually finds those in charge of the base and uses the rudimentary English he learned from Damien to communicate with them. He becomes visible in order to calm them and to find out where he is and what is going on. He learns he is on the Australian continent on Earth in the early 21st century, mere days before the
Cygnus starship is forced to leave orbit in a rushed Operation: Phoenix. This is a secret project to evacuate a group of pacifistic humans from Earth before the next and possibly last World War breaks out. Apparently, while in route to Peregrine, the starships somehow traveled not only through space but also time, moving backwards in time several thousand Earth years, so Kirok is contemporary with these people. Kirok convinces those in charge of the starship project that he is from their future, sort of, and must accompany them in order to return home. They agree to bring him along.
As the
Cygnus prepares to depart, orbiting strategic defense satellites fire on it. The drive system and computer of the vessel are damaged. The Cygnus was originally expected to make a series of pre-programmed "jumps" to known solar systems to seek an uninhabited planet, which could sustain the lives of the human colonists. However, with both the drive system and the on-board computer badly compromised, the ship begins making a series of uncontrolled "jumps" to random solar systems in order to locate a habitable planet for the humans to settle on. The ship's computer catalogs solar systems it encounters using the names of birds as an identifier. A habitable planet is eventually located (code-named 'Peregrine' by the ship's computer, known as K'Thyra in the native elven tongue) and the Cygnus breaks up into 10 parts in preparation for landing. Kirok discovers that he is aboard the Cygnus 6--a dangerous situation, since he knows from his discussions with Damien that the Cygnus 6 crash-landed on the western coastline of the Aegican continent with much loss of life.
Awakened from his undamaged hypersleep chamber by the surviving members of the
Cygnus 6's crew, Kirok is witness to the deadly toll the ship has taken in its barely controlled plunge to the surface. Over a third of the 1000 colonists and crew have perished, including the pilot (Bob), and chief medical officer. Kirok helps the survivors get started in their new life, and helps them bury their dead. After informing the colonists that they have apparently been thrown backwards in their own timeline over 2000 years, but that he is now 2000 years behind where he should be himself, Kirok asks to be placed in suspended animation in order to return to his own time. The colonists move equipment to a small offshore island (visible from the shore of the mainland) and build a small, protected shrine, with a single hypersleep chamber at the center of it. Not wanting to endanger his own future by providing the colonists with too much information about K'Thyra, Kirok blesses their efforts to resettle, and warns them to use caution and respect in dealing with the planet's native races. Kirok is then placed into the sleep chamber, which is activated (using solar energy cells rigged from material on the Cygnus 6). Over 2000 years later, the members of the Palmdale group attempt one of their regular scrys on Kirok and successfully reach him in the shrine, where they find him weak but otherwise healthy-having aged approximately six years during his lengthy hibernation.

November 1985
Following the battle with the pirate airship Dragonspawn, a magical ark was discovered in the cavern amongst the red dragon's treasure. This ark has the ability to trap the souls of some types of creatures who are nearby and at the point of death. Experimenting with the box aboard Enterprise, a number of different souls are discovered trapped within the box, including Dylan (an illusionist-fighter), Bruce (a fighter), Lactar, Saurin, Janice, a null setting containing death, Bob (the pilot from the Cygnus 6), a storm giant, and a lizard-like creature. As each soul is uncovered, it is interrogated using the Helm of Telepathy to learn who it was and how it died. The pilot recounts his last memories of the starship nearing the ground and the cockpit being crushed, killing the flight crew. It is learned that if the storage limit of the box is reached, one of the souls will pop out into the nearest abandoned body.
Contact is made with the Isle of Life through associates on the mainland, in an effort to return the souls to bodies. The community on the island is made up of both clerics and magic-users of various racial types. The group is taken by boat to the island. Before the group members are allowed onto the island they are required to remove their weaponry. The souls (katras) of Lactar, Saurin and Janice are returned to their bodies. The pilot's soul is placed within the body of a half-elf and is nicknamed "Spock" by the group. Bruce's katra is placed in Howard's body. The lizard-like creature (one of the "old ones") is placed in the body of a lizardman. The storm giant is placed into a large human body. The null setting contains a minor death, which disintegrates its prepared body. The box is loaned to academicians on the Isle of Life for study. Having tired of the adventuring life, Saurin petitions the academy of renowned scholars on the island to accept him as an acolyte. He stays behind to live in Sardinia, awaiting his acceptance to the Isle of Life's student staff.

fall 1985-summer 1986
Having learned of a mysterious anomaly in the Kabbarra Desert from the Encyclopedia Aegica in the library at Prestana, Kirok attempts to scry on the anomaly, and after going through the doorway finds himself in the desert facing a small stone structure. Inside the structure, Kirok discovers a deep shaft plunging vertically beneath the ground, containing shimmering doorways (similar to the transport doors located above ground) at various levels. He also finds evidence of recent passage by humanoid beings through this area. He enters one of the doorways and finds himself transported to a large complex, consisting of many levels, and peopled by a large number of robed and armored men. Determining that a passing guard is evil, Kirok dispatches him, taking from the dead man a ring which controls the use of a system of shimmering transport doors throughout the complex-except for those requiring a higher level of security than the guard apparently had. Attempting to remain out of sight, Kirok continues to explore various rooms on various levels of the complex. He eventually finds a room containing approximately 50 translucent pods with humans and elves in suspended animation, floating within a green liquid. After detecting for evil, Kirok frees and revives one of the humans, who has a glazed look in his eyes and tries to attack Kirok; Kirok subdues him and discovers the Dispel Magic spell removes the mind-control spell from him. Kirok removes the mind-control from the rest, and frees and revives the remaining non-evils. Leading the former prisoners, Kirok soon finds a room (on level 84 _) containing a large reflective pool on the floor and a control panel attached to it. Activating the controls, the pool begins to show images of other places, and Kirok adjusts the monitoring controls, seeing a variety of locales appear. One of the images he sees is of the inside of a bar, with someone wearing a symbol from an entertainment video (The Greatest American Hero) from old Earth. It is later learned that this bar is Sandy's Sin & Suds Emporium, located in the town of Castoria. Kirok finally locates an open field and sends the released prisoners, along with him, through the one-way mirror to escape the complex.
Having successfully scryed Kirok back aboard, the group takes
Enterprise to the location of the anomaly, and finds it is now protected with a force field. The group has Enterprise send physical probes towards the field to learn more about it. Breaking through, the group encounters demonic flying creatures, 'The Children of Hastur', guarding the doorways in the shaft. Fighting their way past the creatures, the Palmdale group enters a shimmering doorway, and finds itself on one of the main levels of the complex. Exploring that level and trying to remain hidden, the group discovers a chasm with numerous evil priests on the other side performing a ceremony, chanting about "The one who shall not be named." The Palmdale group disrupts the spell, and the priests call out the name 'Hastur'. The group makes a hasty retreat as Hastur suddenly appears and begins killing all the priests.
The group members continue to infiltrate the complex, in part to gather whatever treasures they can lay their hands on, and in part to discover the purposes for the facility. In the process, Quietus obtains another transport ring, and Stotty obtains two. Seven mysterious full-body coverings (later revealed to be radiation suits) are recovered and later sold. A bird cloak discovered by Q is later destroyed in battle while someone else is wearing it. Four quaffs of a blue liquid contained in a fancy beaker, later revealed to be a teleportation potion, are also acquired.
The group attempts to use the transport-door rings to travel within the complex, with only limited success; they are able to move from place to place, but are unable to control what their destination will be, and randomly move from one level of the complex to another. On a lower level, an evil priest's quarters are searched, and an ancient gun is found hidden within a book. On another level, Lactar finds a series of imprisonment cells and proceeds to free the prisoners, including the insane Princess Lisa of Sardinia. On level 88, the lowest level the group reaches, a mining operation is discovered where humans are harvesting large chunks of crystal. The miners are eliminated. A Detect Magic spell reveals that the rocks are crystallized magic in solid form.
In the end, by putting together the bits and pieces of evidence they've found, and by interrogating a group of technicians, the Palmdale group learns that this complex is an evil high priests' refuge on the Corellan continent. A cabal of evil priests is preparing an invasion of some sort-possibly on the Aegican continent-using soldiers of various races who have had their minds wiped and reformed by the clerics. The Palmdale explorers discover a massive amphitheater filled with more of the hanging fluid bags, each containing a "processed" human or elf. Fighting their way into the room's control chamber, the group begins a release sequence prematurely, and the pods start falling from their ceiling ropes ("like bags of wet cement"), causing some damage to Zulu. Zulu and Erik end up combating a squadron of enemy soldiers among the falling bags before being forced to retreat.
Several of the high priests, realizing their operation has been discovered, and fearing possible defeat or capture, activate a self-destruct mechanism, which begins to destroy the entire multi-level complex. The Palmdale group makes it to the surface by climbing a steep ventilation shaft, emerging on the beach just in time, along with 14 released prisoners. Of the prisoners, one knows of a minor treasure, one is distantly related to Stott, and one is a thief who had tried to rob the clerics.
July 6, 1986
Clea scrys on the group, and they return home. The Palmdale group takes on three new associates: Einur, a neutral elven fighter/thief, Inebrius, a chaotic-neutral human cleric, and Mud-Lin the Independent, a chaotic-neutral human thief. After their ordeal in the clerical installation, the Palmdale group takes it easy for a while, and the three new members decide to form their own independent team, leaving Palmdale in anger.

August-November 1986

August 9, 1986
Kirok acquires a coupon within a treasure, allowing admittance to a health spa on Vermithrax Isle. The coupon is good for a quaff of the special catalyst water, which will activate his innate magical ability, if any. He is scryed to the island, and on arrival at the health spa is given the water and drinks it. Immediately, armed men emerge from behind a curtain, surrounding Kirok. He tries to fight them off using his new ability, melting some of their faces, but is finally forced to surrender.
A man named Meynick, one of Count Daltros Vermithrax' former underlings, is found to be behind the abduction, employing other former Vermithrax men. Meynick's body has been destroyed, and only his mind remains. He promises he will only use Kirok's body until he is able to fashion a mechanical body for himself. Kirok's mind and awareness are imprisoned in a specially prepared canister, with the personality and awareness of the unscrupulous magician placed into Kirok's body.
Kirok-two rejoins the Palmdale group, where he attempts to learn as much as possible about the group as quickly as possible. Kirok-two rigs a self-destruct circuit into the engines of
Enterprise, set to engage if Kirok-two's true identity is ever discovered. He begins building a mechanical body.
September 6, 1986
While heading from Prestana to Palmdale, Kirok-two, Q, Zulu and Erik skirt the edge of a massive canyon west of Kingsrest, following a map to an underground canyon lair. Along the way they investigate a giant eagle lair, where Erik kills a giant eagle.
The lair is eventually reached. It contains two black dragons and a nearby ogre lair. Many of the ogres are fought and killed, and treasures are gathered, including a Ring of Telekinesis, Rod of Cancellation, +1 hammer, two quaffs of Potion of Levitation, a golden chalice, jewelry, lockets and rings. While in the underground lair, Zulu makes friends with a young miniature dragon, which he gives the name Lockheed. Following this adventure, Lockheed accompanies Zulu off-and-on for the rest of his days with the Palmdale group.
late September-October 1986
While on the western side of the great anti-magic chasm, Enterprise receives a distress call from the Megalodan, informing them that creatures called darklings have begun streaming out of the chasm formed by the anti-magic bomb, and threaten all life on the planet. The communication is quickly cut off as the Megalodan is attacked by airborne darklings, as is the Antigone on another continent. Kirok-two, using Kirok's abilities, prays to Tyche in an attempt to stem this disaster. Tyche will stop the flow of darklings from the trench, but those already on the surface will have to be dealt with by the Palmdale group. To close the breach, Tyche demands the yet-unborn child of Ahlric and Kirok, the result of a previous night of passion. This birth will claim the life of Ahlric. Meynick, as Kirok-two, agrees to this condition-knowing, in part, that it will be Kirok that will have to live up to the agreement several months later.
Enterprise hovers over the darkling hoard, its crew trying numerous weapons with little effect, since the darklings number in the hundreds of thousands. Through experimentation by pouring various types of liquids onto the hoard from the shuttlecraft bay, it is discovered that salt water destroys the creatures; every Decanter of Endless Water is switched to produce salt water, and the other airships are alerted to this fact, although the task seems hopeless.
October 1986
During the darkling invasion, Quietus hooks up the brain of the mechanical dragon (recovered from the area of the Cygnus 10) into Enterprise's organic computer in an attempt to access the origin and mission of the creature and possibly assist in the current struggle with the darklings. Instead, the ship warps into a closed 'pocket' universe. There they find the airship Bree, second largest of the airships (after the Megalodan) and crewed entirely by elves, which had been missing for several days. In order to return to normal space they find they must join the two ships together so that enough power is generated to breech the barrier. While preparing for the trip back, Steve is apparently disintegrated in an explosion on the shuttlecraft deck while trying to toss an explosive device overboard. A marker is left behind in his memory.
Lactar flies outside
Enterprise in an environmental suit, attempting to contact an intelligence existing in this universe. He soon finds it to be hostile to the intruders. Landing parties from both ships explore the nearby land. The joined ships eventually return to their universe, with Enterprise appearing on the Corellan continent, but the Bree is nowhere to be seen...and seems to be out of communications range for the airships' comm systems. A little over a week has passed. All traces of the darklings have vanished. Later investigation reveals that, on the Aegican continent at least, the human forces released the last of the earthen dams holding back the ocean water from filling the massive anti-magic chasm, and allowed the ocean salt water to fill the crack. Despite the ecological devastation this caused, it was the simplest solution to the darkling problem, as the humans merely needed to drive the darkling hordes into the crack, now filled with the salt water which would destroy the creatures.
During attempts to find out what happened to the
Megalodan and her crew, the body of Igor, Damien's servant, is found by scry. No trace of the Megalodan is found, since it went down in salt water, which quickly decays the flesh of the living airships. Bob/'Spock', who had been on loan to Damien, is later found in a field hospital, appearing to have been tortured. He is later brought out of his fear trance by Q, but has amnesia about the events after the Darkling attack. Damien is nowhere to be found, although he is known to wear an anti-scrying device. An attempt is made to scry on Damien, but there is only static.
A 'shuttlecraft' of the airship
Dragonspawn is later found on a hillside, beginning to break down. Quietus connects with the shuttle's log and discovers a way to access the log entries. The Dragonspawn is discovered submerged nearby in a large lake in central Bothnia (not far from the shrine of Eliasa-Ras), partially disintegrated and its crew dead, all magic and treasure stripped from it; it was apparently attacked and forced to crash during the recent darkling invasion. The shuttlecraft, born prematurely and away from the airship breeding grounds, can't survive alone. Now that its 'mother' is dead, it is also deteriorating. Soon after, the shuttle disintegrates.
November 1986
Lactar becomes suspicious about recent happenings on Enterprise. He searches the crew personnel logs in their quarters and discovers that the ones belonging to Clea, Kirok, Quietus and Zulu have been erased. He discovers that a lab on the ship is locked, with access allowed to Kirok only, and becomes more suspicious. Lactar overrides the security codes and gains entrance to the lab, finding a partially formed mechanical body. Steve is found in a stasis chamber and released. Steve had discovered something wasn't right with Kirok, and Kirok-two knocked Steve out and placed him in stasis, subsequently fabricating his death on the shuttlecraft deck.
Lactar hunts down Kirok-two while Stotty and a henchman try to remove a bomb placed in the ship's self-destruct tunnel ('Jeffries Tube') while a technician monitors the ship's computer system. Kirok-two is subdued, but only after he nearly sets off the self-destruct mechanism. Kirok's mind is scryed on, the group enters the magician's lab, and after the magician's assistant is subdued, technicians are forced to return Kirok's mind to his body.
The self-destruct bomb is taken to the surface in an attempt by Lactar and Q to disable it. The attempt fails and the bomb is activated. Thinking quickly, Q slaps Lactar with a Sepia Snake Sigil, placing a force field around Lactar, and uses him as a blast shield, sustaining only minimal injury to himself. Meanwhile, the airship
Enterprise suffers severe scorching but no lasting damage.
Once Kirok has recovered, he molds Q's features at his request to appear as a half-elf ("Ears by Kirok").

November 28, 1986
Lactar teleports to the desert and finds a dome similar to the one found near Palmdale, which contains two technological landspeeders. Also in the dome are 17,000 g.p., 5,000 e.p., 4,000 s.p., 18 gems, 18 pieces of jewelry, a ring, a map, a scroll tube and an Extra-Heal potion. Lactar drives one of the aircars to the nearby town of Alberstam and stores it in a stable at an inn. Ahlric is later sent to retrieve it and takes it to Palmdale. At this point, the group has 643,782.86 gold pieces.
Continuing to scry on anything and everything of potential importance to the group, one of the members successfully scrys on a large underground drow city on the Corellan continent. The group attempts to infiltrate the city and learn the secret of the black fire. Q and Erik kill six drow during an underground battle. It is learned that the drow are beginning preparations for an invasion of the surface.

December 1986-January 1987
It is decided that the group must stop the imminent invasion of the surface by the drow. Before leaving, Lactar gathers the airship troopers onto the shuttlecraft deck and gives them a stirring speech, based on records found in the Cygnus 10 of a speech given by an ancient Earth general:
"Be seated. I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his kingdom. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his kingdom. People, all this stuff you've heard about Palmdale not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Palmdalians traditionally love to fight. All real Palmdalians love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the best jouster, the toughest boxers. Palmdalians love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Palmdalians play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for someone who lost and laughed. That's why Palmdalians have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Palmdalians."
"An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The billious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality in the weekly parchments don't know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating. Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit and the best people in the world. You know, by the gods, I actually pity those poor bastards we're up against. By the gods, I do! We're not just going to kill the bastards, we're going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease our armor! We're going to murder those lousy drow bastards by the bushel!"
"Some of you, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under battle. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The drow are the enemy. Wade into them, spill their blood, stab them in the belly! When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do."
"There's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything ­ let the drow do that! We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass! We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're going to go through him like crap through a goose!"
"There's one thing that you will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank the gods for it. Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you what you did in the great drow war, you won't have to say, well, I shoveled shit in Malveria. Alright now you offspring of bitches, you know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful people into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all."
Using an elaborate system of underground canals, the group (Lactar, Kirok, Q, Zulu ­ without Lockheed, Erik, Steve and a group of Palmdale fighters) gains access to the heart of the drow city. They infiltrate a prison complex and kill over 80 drow. Many prisoners are freed by them, including three from the Corellan continent: Lenard, a 70 year old neutral-good human cleric, Mallory MacGyver, a 39 year old expert on the use of magic crystals within airships ­ disbarred from a magical academy for his reckless testing methods, and another man who owns an airship station, who offers free refueling for
Enterprise; and one from Aegica ­ Cassie, the daughter of one of Sandria's most prominent warlords. The group also causes general havoc. A drow torture disk is found. Lenard is found to have maps showing the secret entrances to the Hannai leader's castle. A shield is left hidden within the network of canals outside the city to facilitate future scrying.
In an attempt to increase their chances of surviving in the drow city, the group decides to draw from a magical deck. Q is granted a drow henchman who becomes the group's guide. This drow is later separated from the group. Kirok also draws from the deck; he obtains a Ring of Sustenance and the ability to be raised in level after defeating the next creature encountered. Another draw causes his god to refuse him; a wish is used to negate his draws and prevent this from happening.
While in the caverns, Zulu Warrior is separated from the group and presumed dead. He is later scryed on and his body is found, stripped of armor and equipment and floating in a boat in the canal system outside the drow city, and is recovered. An attempt is made to raise him but it is learned that he was killed with a soul-stealing blade, making the attempt futile. He is buried with full honors in the Palmdale graveyard.
Lactar, as leader of the Palmdale group, arranges to have a regional spying network in north-central New Britain and central Bothnia placed on his payroll, with instructions to pass any occasional information they may uncover to Keep Anak, in the care of the keep's caretaker, Higgins. For a nominal fee, this will keep the group up-to-date on rumors being spread about them as well as giving them some inside information about political and social maneuvering going on in the local government scene.
Shortly after this, the Palmdale group hires a gypsy troupe to spread stories about the great adventures the group has been involved in. Later, the group passes through a town that already knew of the group through these stories.

spring-September 1987
Returning to the huge clerical installation on the Corellan continent, Lactar uses a wish (granted from a draw from a Deck of Many Things) to request that the facility be reactivated so that the group can explore and claim salvage. Shortly after the Palmdale group begins exploring, systems begin failing throughout the complex due to the lack of skilled operators. Kirok, Lactar, Q, Erik, Stotty and a group of henchmen gather as much miscellaneous magic and technology items as they can in the limited time available to them. A chunk of the teleportation mirror is obtained.
At the lowest level of the complex on level 88 is found a cave containing crystallized magic, the 'Crystal Palace', later discovered to be the bodies of creatures, the Silliasthra ('old ones'), who inhabited the planet long ago. The group operates the conveyor belt mining operation awhile. Several large crystals and many smaller chips are brought back to
Enterprise, and MacGyver, recently rescued from a drow prison and knowledgeable about the use of magic crystals, is allowed to experiment with some small chips. He becomes quite excited when he learns of the larger chunks. Dirt from the mining operation is fed to the ship as magical fuel. Necklaces containing a shard of crystalline magic are fashioned for members of the group, including Lactar, Kirok, Clea, Q and Erik. A spacial storage closet, the 'tardis', is found here and claimed by Q.
Lactar briefly makes contact with one of the Silliasthra, or 'slugs', using the Helm of Telepathy. The creature brings itself down to the group's level, and he learns that it had been hunting the group, until Lactar convinces it otherwise.
Lactar attempts to disarm a wish-restored self-destruct bomb containing an anti-tamper device. He flies along the ceiling of that level, following wires leading to the bomb. He accidentally activates the bomb and is scryed out before it explodes. The group abandons the installation as it collapses completely this time.

September 6, 1987
Kirok draws the wrong card from a Deck of Many Things, and finds himself imprisoned in a sealed room containing garbage. He eventually manages to escape through a chute, and finds that he is inside the Danley airship station on the Corellan continent. Kirok is then captured and tied up in the isolation ward of the station's medical lab, with the medical personnel claiming that a disease has affected him; his personal items are taken from him and sterilized. When alone, his former mentor Jurgen, long dead, appears and shows Kirok how to free himself. He informs Kirok that the station crew is possessed by creatures called mindworms, brought to the station by the infected crew of the airship M'Jarrin, which is currently docked to the station. They plan to spread the mindworms using the recently arrived airship. Kirok is told that cold is detrimental to the mindworms.
Kirok puts together a team of non-possessed personnel by capturing them and using Dispel Evil to remove the creatures, and uses Detect Evil to determine who is and isn't possessed. Kirok and his allies, including Lt. Simonson, 'Doc' Brown, Tara and Mark, make it to the station controls and begin sealing sections off, turning down thermostats to cool the station down. Infected personnel on the M'Jarrin set the ship to self-destruct, setting off alarms, but Kirok rushes to the airship and aborts the self-destruct. The mindworms are finally destroyed by the cold. Kirok is eventually scryed on and returns to

September-October 1987
New Britain's King Randolff II, wishing to help war-ravaged Bothnia recover from the economic hardships and deprivations of his brother Richard's corrupt reign but not wanting to allow another despot to come to power, offers to install Lactar of the House of Anak as the new king of Bothnia. Though the House of Anak had come into disgrace and had recently been forgiven by the New Britain government, Lactar's father Jarus had had many influential contacts among the powerful families of Bothnia, and most of them agree to have a Lord of New Britain installed as their new ruler.
Not wanting to simply attempt to take over as sovereign of Bothnia (and risk continued civil war), Randolff II offers the kingship of Bothnia to Lactar, as a reward for his and the Palmdale group's help and past valor. He also wishes to place someone on the throne with experience, but who is also young enough to be controlled, or at least strongly influenced into positive dealings with New Britain. Randolff's two requirements are that Lactar accept several of Randolff's trusted aides as part of his initial "inner circle" of staff members, and that the Palmdale group member Zulu not be given any position in the Bothnian power structure ­ Randolff is informed of Zulu's recent demise. Lactar agrees to this arrangement, and visits Cass Majoris, the Bothnian capital, in preparation for his coronation.
October 26, 1987
Kirok and Erik go through training to be raised a level in ability.

November-December 1987
November 1, 1987
In an elegant but somewhat subdued coronation ceremony, presided over by Randolff II of New Britain and the head of Bothnia's lawful-neutral church, Lactar, of the House of Anak, son of Jarus, is installed as the eighth king of Bothnia. Lactar begins setting up his personal staff and is given a run-down on the power structure within the Bothnian political and economic world.
King Lactar's initial staff includes: Baker, the Chief of Staff (a 4th level administrator); Haden, a personal aide (on loan from Randolff); Lt. Calypso is Army Military Aide (also from New Britain, replacing a corrupt military officer from Richard's reign); Admiral Cartwright, the Naval Military Aide, and a long-standing head of Bothnia's navy; Arkham, a commerce and economics advisor; Daniel (an 11th level L-N cleric as personal spiritual advisor); Matthew (a 6th level magic-user as magical advisor [Lactar requests an advisor of higher level eventually]). Additional aides include the head of the Cass Majoris magic-users guild, representatives of all the local alignment churches, and an espionage advisor. Several key positions remain unfilled; several others are filled, as part of the conditions of Lactar's ascendancy, with men from Randolff's staff.
Lactar is informed of the seven dukedoms that comprise Bothnia. Their leaders include: Martin, who comes from a military background and who was very loyal to Richard; Carver, who has a strong economics background and can easily be swayed to Lactar's side; William, a somewhat weak-willed man who will go with whatever political faction seems most powerful-he was related to the king who reigned prior to Richard, and was a popular figurehead in Richard's reign; Brendon, a strong-willed leader who was unhappy with Richard and will side with Lactar depending on Lactar's policy decisions regarding the treatment of the populace; Christa, whose primary concern is commerce-as long as taxes and tariffs aren't increased much, she's agreeable...she has many strong contacts through the business community; Justin, whose loyalty is questionable-he has a small territory, but will do whatever it takes to stay in power; and Robert, who is openly hostile to the new regime, but who has powerful friends in Bothnia's military and ties to the independent island states off the western coasts of Bothnia and New Britain.
Lactar also learns that the current treasury (in cash and valuables) of Bothnia is 332,960,850 g.p. The costs of the recent war have yet to be paid, and are estimated at more than 15 million g.p. Artifacts in the Bothnian treasury include the Empress Diadem, the Gems of the Nallareen and Salir's Silver Teardrop.
Lactar's sister Alinea agrees to captain a ship in his Bothnian navy, battling pirates along Bothnia's northwestern coast beginning in 2173.
Palmdale Group
Having continued to scry on locations learned of in the Encyclopedia Aegica, the Palmdale group sends a team through the mirror to explore the ancient ruins of Dra-Benora, in central Bothnia. The pair of massive abandoned towers, connected by a bridge over the swiftly flowing Eastern Carvas River, emits an eerie sense of forboding, which drives most humans and other humanoids away. However, Q, Kirok, Erik and several henchmen set out to explore the towers and the vicinity.
The initial exploration of the towers reveals the presence of unfriendly creatures. Erik and a henchman assist in the removal of a number of werewolves and zombies, and begin to scout the surrounding terrain. They acquire two sets of magical plate mail, a Medallion of Thought Projection, a Bag of Tricks, a +1 short sword, three quaffs of Speed potion, 1,040 g.p. and 68,300 g.p. worth of jewelry. Five advanced zombies are fought and defeated.
Hoping to transform the ancient Dra-Benora towers into a functional airbase station, Q, Kirok and two henchmen proceed to explore the two towers. Quietus later journeys to the nearest town containing a magical scholarly library (Castedan, on the northern Bothnian coast) and begins researching his spell, Magical Mechanics.
Clea, still aboard
Enterprise on the eastern coast of the Corellan continent, scrys Kirok back to the ship. Together, they go to Cutter's Quay, where they purchase supplies and hire new crew and personnel to man the Dra-Benora airship station on the Aegican continent. Kirok raises several dead crewmembers. In all, 20 new technicians are hired and sent through the next scry to Dra-Benora (now nicknamed Farpoint by the Palmdale group) to make it operational. This includes six hired from Danley Station, where Kirok fought the mindworms.
November 15, 1987
While Erik and his assistant are hunting werewolves, they begin finding werewolf statues, and realize something is turning them to stone. Erik later finds the bones of a basilisk, apparently torn to pieces by werewolves.
Despite weeks of research and assistance from local mages, as well as a small fortune paid for supplies and boarding, the precise elements of the complicated Magical Mechanics spell elude Quietus, until over a month later when he smoothes it out to a working incantation.
November 29, 1987
Erik begins exploring a wilderness cave. He finds a treasure including a Bag of Holding, a Ring of Human Influence, potions of ESP, Levitation and Invulnerability, and a Quall's Feather Token: Whip.

December 13, 1987
Lactar studies the taxation methods of Richard I, which included 40% of all income, of which _ went to the dukedoms. He restructures the tax codes to give the populace a break. His new taxation rates: 25% of all income, of which 1/5 goes to the dukedoms. His advisors warn him that the dukes will be less than happy at this, but Lactar's main concern is saving his new country's populace from starvation. By Royal Proclamation, Lactar announces the formation of a Bothnian Royal Magical Institute, patterned after New Britain's similar organization-and to which he suggest establishing ties. Lactar also requests the formation of a Royal Scientific Reasearch department as well, a new institution for any of the human governments of this continent. Following these proclamations, Lactar begins a journey down the eastern coast of Bothnia to meet his people and see what shape his kingdom is in. He travels by sea, stopping at every town with a seaport.

Palmdale Group
Having finished his business on the Corellan continent, and having built up a reserve of magical energy in the ship's drive system, Kirok jumps Enterprise from near Cutter's Quay to the island chain between the Corellan and Aegican continents. The ship's energy readings drop dramatically but it is not in any danger. The ship slowly moves to near the coastal city of Destry (trying to remain hidden), where Kirok seeks information on their whereabouts. Kirok begins searching the island for the location of the Cygnus 10, visiting the cities of Talisman and Corona, before eventually locating the Cygnus 10 partially buried within unstable swampland, in the center of the largest of the islands in the chain.
Erik continues to explore a wilderness cave. He fights off were-creatures and werewolves, destroying 21 of them.

December 20, 1987
Kirok explores the Cygnus 10 in depth. From a total of 1000 occupied sleep chambers, 717 still operate. A total of 687 humans have been successfully revived from suspended animation on this ship. Quietus uses a wish to activate the Cygnus 10's power supply and make all of the ship's minimal systems operational, despite the great rend in the ship's side, which it received on landing. The ship, though shaky, is raised to a floating height of about 35 feet and is prepared for its journey off of the island and across the ocean to Aegica. Stotty and a team of his techies are on board to monitor the ship's functions and begin cleaning up damaged and/or destroyed portions of the ship's internal workings.
The passengers and crew of the
Cygnus 10 are given several options for their future. They decide to place their people on Vermithrax Isle, in the nearly abandoned village of Magurmasa (where the climactic battle between the Palmdale group and Vermithrax' forces originally took place), under the leadership of Captain Danielle. They request and are given some of the equipment from the starship to help them get started, including the motorcycle.

February 6, 1988
During the process of making the Cygnus 10 operational, Kirok discovers a furtive little rat-faced git snooping around the interior corridors of the ship. Capturing the intruder, Kirok interrogates him using the Helm of Telepathy. Kirok eventually discovers that the man is a spy, sent by the rulers of the kingdom to the east. A military group representing the kingdom in which the Cygnus is currently located is soon discovered approaching the vessel. Kirok meets with them, reading in their minds that the two kingdoms are preparing to go to war with each other, and that the local king's forces had just recently discovered the Cygnus 10 and were preparing to lay claim to it.
A tactical neutron bomb, placed aboard the starship in its overgrown greenhouse, is set by another spy to detonate very soon in order to keep the vessel and its technology out of the hands of the ruler of this country. Kirok, using a Helm of Teleportation, transports with the bomb high above the local kingdom's capital city of Latham, then teleports away just before it detonates...destroying the city and killing thousands of people.
Meanwhile, Lactar continues his tour of Bothnia.

spring 1988
With Stott and his team of technicians piloting the massive starship around the island's mountain ranges and then across the ocean towards Aegica, Kirok leaves the decimated city of Latham in his wake, taking Enterprise to the easternmost coast of the small island continent. With her energy stores as high as they can be, the ship's warp engines are put to the most extreme test, as she is pointed toward Aegica herself and Kirok issues the command to "engage".
The crew feels the incredibly distorting effects (blurred visual images, slurred speech, etc.) of incredibly high-speed transport, as the ship is pushed to its ultimate limits; communications are cut off from the outside world. After an uncertain amount of time has passed,
Enterprise achieves landfall on the western coast of Aegica, just south of Massadania. Emergency claxons begin blaring, and the crew discovers that the ship has burned nearly all of its magical energies to get them home. A series of spells and small magic items fed to the ship's power grid are enough to bring it out of danger.
Enterprise recuperates from her recent journey, recharging its energy systems, Clea, having previously learned of the location of her catalyst water through a draw from a Deck of Many Things, goes in search of the water, which lies within a mountain pool in the mountains of Bothnia. She brings along a force of four henchmen, all females. Once she reaches her water and drinks it, she is ambushed and abducted, awaking in a strange facility with no sign of the henchwomen.
After several days, Kirok and the crew decide to attempt to have
Enterprise use its randomizing jump drive to bring them closer to Palmdale. They activate the jump drive, unaware that the ship is still too weak to withstand this use of its systems; it has begun to feel the breeding call of its species.

(June 12-October 2, 1988: Pre-Gen group [to be posted later])
(The PreGen group is an earlier generation of adventurers on the Corellan continent, whose adventures take place approximately 80 years before the Palmdale group, who are on the Aegican continent. A record of these adventures will be posted to the site at a future date.)

October 9, 1988
In the middle of the New Britain night, the airship warps back into real space just east of the Western Korallan Mountains and warns the crew they must immediately evacuate. As the ship hovers dangerously close to the ground, personnel evacuate through the shuttlecraft bay. The ship's transport devices are put to the test as the entire crew (save one, Erik, who will accompany the airship to observe the breeding procedure) abandon ship with only their few personal belongings, including 11 shards of crystalline magic carried on necklaces. Most of the group's magic items are left on the ship, including 21 fully charged wands.
The crew and passengers find themselves dropping in uninvited on the small camp of a young lawful-good dwarven fighter/cleric named Dagobert, who welcomes them to his campsite; he is invited to join the Palmdale group on their return trip. The crew is given the option to disperse and the majority chooses to do so, but Lenard, MacGyver, Steve and thirty others choose to remain. The entire crew is scryed to Prestana, and those wishing to remain with the group return to Palmdale by land. Dagobert soon acquires a Daern's Instant Fortress.

November 1988
November 6, 1988
The Palmdale group fights three bandits and a flesh golem. The Palmdalians attack while on one-man carpets; Q creates sleet beneath the bandits and golem, causing them to lose their footing, and they are killed. Their treasure includes a Medal of Honor, a seal of the House Callan, a Ring of Wonder, a Girdle of Dwarvenkind, and 67,355 gold pieces.
The group reaches the town of Exeter by evening; the town gates are closed, and the group sets up the fortress outside of town. People carrying torches soon approach the tower. Kirok, wearing his purple robe, lowers himself by carpet to talk with a group of town guards as the rest of the group throw out copper coins to the people. Dagobert buys a Dwarven Thrower from the magic shop using group funds
November 13, 1988
It is learned from the town elders that giant demonic flies are abducting people from the town of Exeter. The Palmdale group is hired to locate the missing people and solve the mystery. Kirok and Q fly high cover over the nearby town of Quintell the next evening, and soon begin hearing a droning sound. While trying to prevent an abduction by the flies in Quintell, Kirok tests his Ring of Wonder, causing grass to grow beneath the flies, the flies to turn blue, music to play from nowhere, a one ton weight to fall on one, etc. Kirok and Q destroy one of the flies, a giant globbird construct with a possessed jewel inside containing a trapped soul. The jewel is kept. The flies are defeated and the most recently abducted group of townspeople returned; the previous abductees are not found. Kirok uses a Quest spell on one of the giant flies, ordering it to return and destroy its master. The fly teleports away. Kirok and Q are given 5000 gold pieces as reward.
The colossus medallion (non-magical) is discovered to have an inscription leading to a site at the joining of the three branches of the River Carvas. Due to changes in the rivers' courses since the medallion was created, only two branches currently join, with a third branch now further south.

November 20, 1988
Kirok kills one chasme and captures an injured one. Q, using the Magical Mechanics spell, creates a body for the entity in the gem. Dagobert continues to train to go up a level.
November 27, 1988
Jym, a lawful-neutral human magic user, joins the Palmdale group, along with his familiar, Stringfellow Hawk. People at the magic institute, who raised and taught him, had adopted Jym.
On a rainy day, while the group is inside the Daern's Instant Fortress for shelter, three attacking hill giants are battled and killed. Kirok, using his Ring of Wonder to attack, is nearly killed when he begins teleporting from place to place due to the ring. While continuing to use the ring, a one-ton weight falls towards the location he teleports to, nearly crushing him until he teleports again, just before the weight reaches him. 3000 gold pieces and a +4 shield are recovered.
Dagobert scares six drunks.

December 1988
December 4, 1988
Starting in Prestana, the group passes through the King's Faith Inn, the Merryman Inn, Persh, and finally reaches the River Carvas. Kirok spies on Crescentville flunkies. Upon reaching the site shown on the medallion after dark, a group of elven women, the 'Solid Gold Dancers', are seen trying to summon the colossus, performing a dance and creating a glowing light in the middle of the group. Jym flies in and, using the inscription on the back of the old colossus medallion, summons the colossus Thornival. Upon the arrival of the colossus, the elves scatter. One of them tries to get its attention, complaining that they were here first, but is ignored.
December 11, 1988
It is learned that Thornival, a 25-foot tall magical creation with self-awareness, must perform a task for the summoner. The task that Thornival will perform is debated among the group. Jym proposes that he be sent to kill King Randolff, but Kirok argues against this. Thornival is given the task of searching for the nearest undiscovered artifact and returning it to Jym, wherever he may be. The colossus thinks this task is perhaps too easy for a being of his powers, but he agrees to perform it. The colossus only responds to Jym at first, but later acknowledges the rest when he realizes they act as a group.

December 1988-April 1989

December 11, 1988
After sending Thornival on his mission, the group heads to Crescentville. Along the way, ten thugs attack; nine are killed, one is captured. From the thugs are acquired: two +1 long swords; +1 plate mail (human size nine); four potion vials; a Wand of Magic Missiles (62 charges); a Wand of Lightning (21 charges); a Stone of Good Luck; a +1 dagger (+2 vs. small); +2 chain mail (human size 4); and 3180 g.p. It is learned that they were transporting equipment to Crescentville, and that the town is under the control of a demon. Jym and Dagobert have enough experience to go up one level, and Q and Kirok regain spells.
Before entering town, members of the group travel by scry to Prestana and inform the government of potential problems in Crescentville. Before returning, Kirok, using the Combine spell with four other clerics, creates badges containing the Dispel Evil spell, one for each member of the group. Q creates Protection from Normal Missiles badges; the badges are created over a period of several days. The group treasury at this point is 52,755 gold pieces.
December 18, 1988
Kirok scouts Crescentville, and then the group enters the town separately, in disguise. Kirok hobnobs with the town's high society. Jym cases the mid-quality bars and is hit on by a man. The group begins to notice strange things going on in the town of Crescentville. Kirok discovers all the town's clerics are not what they seem. Dagobert, meanwhile, spits soot as part of a clever disguise.
While scouting, Q is suspected by two members of the local militia, and is chased by many more. Q stops in an alley and moves out of the shadows in such a way as to infer that he is a thief. Jym tries to rescue Q from his captors, but fails, and heads to the hotel to retrieve his Staff of the Magi. Q says of Jym, "It's a good thing he left, he would have been dangerous." Using his sword's ability, Q goes ethereal en route to militia HQ, observes the chaos briefly, and then heads for the inn.
Dagobert, hearing the excitement at the bar he's in, intuits that it probably has something to do with the group. He hastily makes his way to an alleyway off the square where commotion is still going on. To give the impression that the events had nothing to do with the demon occupation, he takes on an affected voice and yells "No! How could they have found me here...I will have to flee again! THE HEAD! Out of the way, shorty!" He then deliberately falls into a puddle of sewage and leaps up, shaking his fist and yelling. When the guards rush up, he complains of a fat merchant knocking him over. The guards somehow do not make the connection between this and their encounter with Q and Jym, and wander away.

(December 30, 1988-January 20, 1989: Pre-Gen group [not yet posted])

January 27, 1989
Q beats Jym to the room and shape-changes to appear as Stotty, and appears in the room with guards. Jym enters the room invisibly to retrieve the staff, and refuses to stop for Q-Stotty. Q-Stotty follows Jym back to the militia building, is briefly delayed by Abbott & Costello, and loses the invisible Jym. At militia HQ, Jym cases the building. While ethereal, Q sees some sort of protective bubble surrounding the building, and notices long shapes emanating from the chimneys of the churches, appearing to be spirits. Q returns to his own form, then becomes invisible. He watches from above while levitating. Jym uses his staff to create a Passwall in the side of the HQ, after Wizard-Locking all visible exits except the main doors. The Passwall sets off an alarm, but creates an entrance into a treasure vault and prison cell with seven nubile young women chained to a wall. Tossing cash bags into the alley as a diversion, Jym uses a Knock spell to release all the women and a group of men in the next room over. Jym, invisible, leads the group into the alley and has the women give out a cryptic warning to gathering townspeople regarding an ancient elvish legend vowing retribution. Using another Passwall, Jym and the women escape into a nearby building.
Eventually Dagobert gravitates to the HQ and discovers Jym moving from the first to a second building with the women. Dagobert goes into the second building. Jym moves to Dagobert invisibly and tells him that he is here. Dagobert asks if Jym has seven naked women, and Jym replies, "Yes." Dagobert then says, "I don't want to know!" He then leads Jym and the women back to the hotel safely. In route, Dagobert informs guards that he saw a fat merchant heading east out of town with naked women; the same merchant who knocked him down earlier. The guards ask his name, and he gives it as "Merovech".
Kirok is witness to the chaos around the HQ after Q escapes, and tries to figure out what is going on. Q and Kirok eventually search the building Jym escaped to, but find nothing and return to the hotel. Number One arranges for a larger suite of rooms at the inn and everybody relaxes while the women recuperate. Dagobert then takes a bath and puts on another disguise for the next day.
February 12, 1989
A citywide search for individuals matching the descriptions of Jym and one of their guards forces the group to send them back to Palmdale, along with the women. The search in town is later cooled down. Kirok uses a scry to inspect the HQ and sets off an alarm. He moves the scry to inspect the mayoral offices and discovers a hidden stairwell as the scry runs out. Q then uses a Wizard Eye to explore the stairwell and discovers a secret underground prison facility.
Posing as a bounty hunter, Dagobert visits a bar frequented by dwarves and lowlifes. He announces to the bar that he's looking for Merovech, 'The Scourge of Junker, Dark Boatman of the Fokker, Black Spitting Bastard of the Western Mountains.' His only response is from a drunken human who tells him a completely unrelated story with an innocuous reference to a severed head, at which Dagobert does a take and says "Did you say Head?!"
Also in the bar sit a dwarf couple. He approaches their table and asks if he can speak with them; they look at him suspiciously and the dwarf woman asks why. Shielding it from the view of the evil patrons, he pulls out his holy symbol and says in a low voice "It's all right ma'am, I'm a cleric." They look at each other, then ask him to join them. He says he wants to know about (non-specified) things going on in the town, to which the man replies that they shouldn't talk here but meet later at his shop. The couple leaves, Dagobert stays on. Later, he meets them at their weapons/metal-working shop. Curiously, the wife seals the door with some sort of magic spell. They go to the basement where they tell him that people they knew they don't know any more, including the town's priests. They would like help to leave. They agree to meet later tonight at the hotel.
Kirok and Vina (a guard) visit a N-G church and find it run by N-E clerics with the people inside held in thrall by drugged incense.
Kirok and Q go back to the N-G church and infiltrate it ethereally. They witness a mass service for enthralled citizens, and try to prevent the sacrifice of five innocents by attacking the high priest and his five assistant priests. One sacrifice is turned to wood and attacks, only to be set aflame by Q. A dying priest throws himself into the furnace as an alternate sacrifice. Combat continues with Kirok and Q against the high priest and several paralyzed clerics. The high priest prepares to attack with a spell, even though seriously wounded.

April 21, 1989
The high priest removes the paralysis from his clerics, but Kirok and Q are finally able to defeat them. Q writes 'THE HEAD' on the wall of the church with the high priest's blood. Two surviving priests are smuggled unconscious back to the hotel room. While Dagobert watches, Kirok uses a Dispel Evil spell from a badge on one of them, causing the priest to disappear. Casting an Exorcise on the other priest removes the creature possessing him, and then a Dispel Evil spell from a badge causes the creature to disappear. The priest is sent to Palmdale along with the dwarf couple and Q, who is sent to recharge weapons.
Dagobert, curious about what would happen if a church chimney were blocked, puts on a scarf and goes out and kills an evil person. He then cuts off the hands and stuffs the body in the chimney of the L-N church during a service. He returns to the hotel to write messages to be placed in the severed hands, in an effort to compensate for Q's earlier message. In the left hand, he places the message, "Our organization is aware of your activities and has no interest in interfering. We are only looking for someone we are pursuing." In the right hand, he places the message "Oh by the way, the incident at the church was an attempt by Kiwanis International, our enemies, to discredit us." (Signed) "Minister of Hands for THE HEAD". Dagobert is careful to wear a mask while doing this, in case a Speak with Dead spell is later used to question the hands. Wearing Kirok's Ring of Invisibility, Dagobert goes back to the HQ, outside the shield by the main entrance, and throws the left hand and then the right, insuring that the two guards see them. Three guards try to remove the body from the chimney. Kirok uses his Ring of Wonder on one of them, causing him to teleport wildly (blinking), saying "Whoa, hey!" each time he appears.
That evening, after retrieving his Ring of Invisibility, Kirok spends several hours using his Ring of Wonder to attack guards outside the town's evil church. He causes portions of the building to disappear, grass to grow, and a one-ton weight to fall on it; a Flame Strike burns the building to the ground. A guard is made to teleport wildly, saying "Whoa, shit!" each time he appears.
The next day a group of what appears to be priests, wearing armor and expensive robes, begin approaching the hotel in which the group is staying, inquiring about the Palmdale party, and the group hears rumors that the hotel is being searched, as well as other hotels. The priests head upstairs and begin searching rooms. Five militiamen enter the hotel's restaurant, where Q, Kirok and Dagobert are sitting at one table and their henchmen at another. The men talk to the desk clerk, and a priest comes down from searching to inform them that something important was found in the Palmdale group's room, and the men ask if they are still around. Using the Helm of Telepathy, Dagobert suggests that the desk clerk misleads the men, but it doesn't work. He then suggests to one of the men that he hates the main priest, and he proceeds to attack the priest. The head militiaman hits the attacker with his sword, getting a critical hit and slitting the man's throat. Kirok turns invisible and leaves the room, heading upstairs, as Dagobert drops beneath the table and the head militiaman hacks ineffectually at it. The group proceeds to take out the other four militiamen; Dagobert then yells, "So perish all the sons of Zadoc!" Kirok hears a commotion as guards continuing to search the room find the group's magic items.
April 28, 1989
Kirok enters the hotel room invisibly and lights a Candle of Invocation. The guards see the candle flame and a fireball is launched his way. He is able to teleport to his sanctuary just before the fireball hits what was behind him-the large Mirror of Mental Prowess. The mirror explodes, taking the second floor of the hotel and several flying carpets with it. Dagobert and the henchmen, on the floor below, survive.
Kirok, Jym and Q are scryed back to the town shortly, to find that the main buildings have exploded. They meet up with Dagobert and the guards. Subsequently, bone demons are encountered and fought. The man who created the explosives, Orson Cass (a.k.a. Oppenheimer), is detected flying around town in a flying car, the 'Cosmic Jeep', which flies above ground at a slightly higher level than the average height of humans, and is wrapped within an invisibility sheet he had developed. The group apprehends him. A portal near the militia HQ is discovered, radiating heat. At first Jym volunteers to enter the portal, but is dissuaded by the rest of the group. A pole is stuck into the portal, and when removed is covered with a green substance which is placed in a quartz vial, which then cracks from the heat. The group, after some deliberation, has the dijinni create several torpedoes, each composed of two hollow copper spheres; the first sealed and filled with shrapnel and water; the second with vanes and a thinner layer over a rear hole, attached to a pole. A torpedo is placed inside the portal, and once the water boils, proceeds to explode. It is noticed that the doorway is fading in and out at an ever-quickening rate. Soon after, more bone demons emerge from the portal, and are defeated. An egg-shaped thing then emerges from the portal, made of flexible material. It opens up, revealing a mass of arms. A carpet is flown over it and a heavy object is dropped onto it, but the object is thrown back.
The group is able to determine when the portal will close. Just before the portal closes, the face of a demon (named Arrat) is briefly glimpsed and arms emerge from the portal, dropping a bundle wrapped in leather. A zombie is sent first to examine the bundle, and is asked questions by the group from a distance, such as: "If it's human and you know it stomp your feet." It is later determined that the bundle is a human baby. The baby, called David (also known as Fenster-from a dwarf legend concerning a rascally natured spirit who torments arrogant and avaricious dwarves), is sent to Prestana to be raised by L-G clerics. Number One and three henchmen, who had been accompanying the group, are sent to Palmdale due to the destruction of the magic carpets. They accompany Oppenheimer and his flying car back to Palmdale by land, walking beneath the car for shade.

summer 1989
The entire group (except for Kirok) undergoes training for their next level. Investigating a locker in a pawnshop in Prestana, the number and key to which had been discovered in a locket found in Crescentville, Kirok finds drawers containing many gems, as well as odd-shaped wands with bulbous heads. On the way out, Kirok notices a necklace with a symbol from a video entertainment from Earth
(The Greatest American Hero) and buys it. A government agent contacts Kirok and requests his help in capturing the aristocrat who placed the wands there; these were new weapons being developed by the magical institute that had been stolen. This aristocrat, Lord Boronnen, previously had dealings with Lactar, and was a member of a subversive group of devil worshippers located on an island to the west.
Kirok returns invisibly to the pawnshop to retrieve the items. After removing the items from the locker and preparing to leave, two people with wands step out of the shadows. Mysteriously, Kirok is seen; one of the men points a wand at Kirok and fires, knocking him unconscious. Later, Jym is contacted on his crystal ball by 'the secretary' (Professor Nimrod), who shows him a recording of the person responsible; the group is given the names of the cities where this man had recently been seen, all along the western coast. The professor sends Jym (and the group) on a mission to recover Kirok, should he decide to accept it. If he or any of his Palmdale force is caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of their actions.

September 30, 1989
Jym, Q and Dagobert arrive in Northrup and purchase a Mirror of Mental Prowess with which to scry. The Cygnus 10 is restocked, and landfall is estimated to be in six weeks.
The group attempts to scry on Kirok. At first only static is seen, but on a subsequent try the outside of a volcano is seen. As the field of view is moved into the crater, some sort of force field over the top blocks further movement. The group inquires about the location of all volcanic islands. Later, Kirok is finally found via scry, unconscious, lying in a boat beached on the shore of a lake inside a volcanic crater off the western coast of New Britain. All possessions have been stripped from him, and he has no memory of what transpired after he was kidnapped.

November 1989-February 1990
Kirok is sent to Prestana by scry to recover spells. As the group heads west along the border of a forest for an eventual rendezvous with the Cygnus 10, Q has his dijinni create numerous tents to make it look as if an army is camping in the area. A group of peasants bypasses the tent city; the Palmdalians create another tent city in their path and set up the Daern's Instant Fortress to block their progress.
Jym casts a continual light on Dagobert's helm. Jym and Q stay inside while Dagobert heads to the top of the fortress, sticks his glowing head out of the tower's trapdoor, and says hello. Dagobert scans them with the helm; they appear to be on some sort of pilgrimage, and have something large covered in a cart. Since it requires no charges from his staff, Jym begins enlarging portions of certain peasants' anatomy, leaving them light-headed for the duration of the spell.
The silliness continues as Jym orders a tree to be cut down with a herring. Dagobert, from the top of the tower, in an attempt to alleviate the distress caused by the temporarily insane Jym, tells the people that this is the tower of goofy spirits, teleporting from place to place on the continent in order to subject unsuspecting people to a series of tests. The group gives them a replacement wagon for one that had burned up earlier.
The people finally begin to flee. Dagobert flies over them, appearing to be on a flying carpet created by the dijinni, his helm still glowing. He tells the peasants that they have passed the test, and yells "Tents, tents for everyone!" as the dijinni creates hundred's of tents above the peasants. An especially hardened herring is later found stuck in a tree. Kirok is retrieved from Prestana via scry, told what transpired, and is appalled.

February 10, 1990
Kirok, Q, Dagobert and Jym are at the edge of a forest southwest of Quintell. At this point the members of the group have the following amounts of gold pieces: Kirok, 12,700; Q, 250; Dagobert, 6152; and Jym, 5132. The group, flying higher than treetop level, skirts the southern edge of the western anti-magic crack, bypassing Transport Door #6, since the possibility exists that the Mirror of Mental Prowess might explode if taken through the door. The non-magical transport door is about eight inches in diameter, indicating a greater distance of transport, and is pointed northwest. The carpet begins to sputter and descend, indicating they are within several hexes of the anti-magic crack.
The group reaches Exeter several days later, flying over farmland and orchards tended by farm hands. The farm hands look up, befuddled, apparently having been drinking fermented apple juice. Kirok asks if there have been more abductions; they respond that the abductions ceased several weeks ago. Kirok contacts the town elders, who recognize Kirok and the rest of the group (excluding Jym) as the group who helped fight off the attacking marauders a few weeks before, and they offer aid and assistance to the Palmdale group if needed. The elders inform Kirok that shortly after his group left on their mission, the attacks ceased. Those townspeople taken before the Palmdale group intervened never returned. The elders thank the group for their help.
Kirok goes in search of someone who knows a person who was abducted, and finds a man who runs the biggest trading post in town, whose wife was abducted. The man had previously hired people to try and scry on his wife, but all attempts were blocked. It has been three months since his wife was abducted; more abductions of townspeople had begun three to four weeks after that. Q tries to scry on the shopkeeper's missing (kidnapped) wife only to be blocked, either by great distance or by the woman being elsewhere, such as on another plane. In the local dwarf bars, Dagobert learns about recent inter-species disharmony involving dwarves. It is developing farther to the west in the mountains, especially including the northern area around Junker-his homeland. Inter-species conflicts of the last several hundred years had for the most part ceased in the last 70 years or so, but something recently has stirred things up again. He also learns of some hostility between humans and dwarves in this town. The dwarves pretty much keep to themselves, and no one knows the precise cause. Dagobert hears the names of seven to eight towns where things are becoming uncomfortable. He notes that humans have generally kept away from the mountains, and that there are no human cities within 35-45 miles of the eastern edge of the mountains.
Wyre, a lawful-good human paladin, joins the group, and they continue west on carpet and flying broom, intending to meet the
Cygnus 10 in four to five weeks when it makes landfall. Four days later, late in the day, the group sees another silvery, glittering transport door (Transport Door #2) in the light of the full moon and camps nearby in the fortress. During the night, the transport doorway is seen to be increasing in size. At about 2:00 o'clock in the morning is seen a line of 15-20 torches from the northwest. Jym flies closer to get a better look, and sees about 40 people, 28-30 on horseback, lightly armored, along with 12 servants moving by foot. They are all humans, speaking high-class common tongue. The riders have magic items in their possession. Jym returns to the tower and wakes the others. The group leaves the fortress, with Q flying out on a broom. He sees that the humans have gathered near the transport door, in groups of two to three. Q scans the group for alignments, finding mainly N and L-N, with a few C-N in one group. Q veers off without being noticed, but a group of four to five then notices the tower. The groups continue towards the transport door. The door flicks to the south direction, and all go through, with no contact being attempted.

March-November 1990
March 2, 1990
The group continues traveling west for an eventual rendezvous with the Cygnus, and observes mountains in the distance. The Palmdalians reach the eastern fringes of the mountains and slowly begin to move south in the mountain range. The second day is overcast, but begins to clear later in the day. Near sunset Wyre, flying on the broom, scouts for a valley campsite. To the north he sights a string of approximately 20 torches at ground level curving between two peaks, about ten minutes travel from the Palmdale group. As night is falling, the group moves to observe the others, a caravan of dwarves and humans carrying heavy packs and wearing cloaks, following a trail to the south (where a community of dwarves is known to have great anti-human tendencies).
After observing the convoy for an hour, a minor rockslide is created to judge the convoy's reaction, and then a disaster occurs when Q's mule (from a Robe of Useful Items) falls downhill onto some climbing dwarves, causing a landslide. Jym creates more rockslides to trap the rear portion of the convoy on a narrow cliff side trail, while Dagobert interrogates a lone, injured dwarf, the only survivor of the forward portion of the convoy. He learns that this is apparently a supply convoy for the southern dwarven community-but a supply convoy carting mysterious marbles in boxes and a large amount of platinum. The human mercenaries, seven of whom are still alive, were only brought along because of their fighting ability. The dwarven convoy was to meet up with a dwarf general named Kapland later that night, which is a name that fills Dagobert's captive with fear.
April 13, 1990
The group decides to advance along the mountain pathway and pose as the only survivors of a rockslide which otherwise decimated the supply caravan, and rendezvous with whomever the caravan was supposed to meet with. With Jym invisible (since his body resisted Kirok's shaping ability), Dagobert leading, Wyre changed into dwarf appearance by Kirok and wearing the Girdle of Dwarvenkind, Kirok and Q posing as human mercenaries, and having roughed up their appearance, the group flies to a location where they will be only a half-hour from the rendezvous point. They follow the canyon trail to the south, and see evidence of rock falls along the way. A cliff face is to their right; 75'-80' below to the left is a ten-foot wide stream. Jym sees a hole in the cliff face with light shining on the path. Getting a closer look, he sees a ten foot by ten foot room enlarged from a natural crevice with five to six dwarves around a cooking fire, two of them moving around. From about 25' ahead, a voice calls out from the darkness, "Who goes there?" Dagobert, speaking in a stunned voice, responds "The survivors of the party." From behind the group appear three to four armed dwarf sentries. One of them steps out from the rocks, gestures for two more to follow, and ask what happened, observing their disheveled state. Dagobert checks their alignments, finding that two are C-N, one is N. An older group of dwarves emerges from the room and one of them scans the group and gives Dagobert a liquid to drink. Dagobert then secretly scans the dwarf, who is N. The older dwarf tells Dagobert to follow him; they'll fix him up.
Q remains outside with the mirror. The rest of the group starts down sloping passageways, passing many side branches, some with flowing air. Most of the branches are natural crevices. Dagobert and Wyre are split off and taken down a series of labyrinthine tunnels to General Kapland, while Kirok is taken to the human quarters far below. Jym follows Dagobert and Wyre invisibly.

May 18, 1990
With Jym following, Dagobert and Wyre are led through a labyrinth of passages and caverns to a pulley tram and a lower level. Wyre is left behind while Dagobert (and the invisible Jym) are taken to Kapland's offices. After a brief delay Dagobert is led in to give his report (as survivor of the massacre) to the general. An aide whispers something to the general, causing the general to be suspicious of Dagobert. Sensing danger, Jym Wizard Locks most of the doors in the armory and launches an attack once Q scrys onto him. During the attack, Kapland goes invisible and his aides are killed. When a lightning bolt is shot into the magical armory, the resultant explosion sets off a chain reaction that starts to collapse the level. Dagobert yells, "It is the Dark Lord Tes-La!" Q enhances Jym's appearance, casting a glow around his body.
Sensing imminent defeat, the general opens a box and removes two hemispheres, yelling "Die, die, kill you all!" as flames leap around him. Jym and Dagobert escape into the mirror doorway and close it just as a flash begins to form. Wyre, who had remained in the complex on a level below the general's offices, is killed.
September 29, 1990
Kirok is recovered from the human quarters, which are deep enough to escape the effects of the bomb. More comments about THE HEAD are made in the presence of the other humans. Wyre's body is scryed on and recovered, as well as a few nearby magic items. Kirok raises Wyre, and the group recovers overnight.

October 27, 1990
The group observes humans outside the entrance, ready to mount a raid. Since the complex is destroyed, the humans place a message on the walls of the entrance and leave. The group goes back into the mountain complex to search for treasure. In the partially collapsed entrance, Dagobert erases the message placed there by the humans and writes, "Inhabitants engaging in unauthorized revolutionary movement which has not been approved by THE HEAD'S committee on subversive activities" (signed) "The Dark Lord Tes-La of the House of Westing", along with THE HEAD sigil. The group collapses the entranceway to stall the escape of the human mercenaries from the lower levels of the complex as well as the soon-to-arrive dwarven reinforcements, then begin exploring.
November 17, 1990
Rats and ratmen are found in one room, along with a mutilated dwarf. Other mutilated dwarves are found in other side-chambers, evidence that something else is in the complex on a rampage. A flickering anti-magic effect is noticed. The group acquires a magical sword and a package rigged for destruction. Personal papers of the late General Kapland are found, revealing that the dwarves in this complex were working on a biological agent that would destroy all magic on the planet. Some of the names found in a list among the papers are familiar to Dagobert, as they are the names of dwarves living in Junker, his hometown. Jym wears the Helm of Telepathy while Dagobert thinks of Junker, and the town is successfully scryed on. The names are given to authorities in Junker.

January 22, 1994
The group continues west through the mountains. A dire wolf pack is encountered. While on watch one night, Kirok senses a presence with his Helm of Telepathy. The consciousness belongs to a dragon flying high above Kirok. Kirok talks to the dragon using the helm and bargains with it to avoid conflict, saying he will leave 100 gold pieces at their campsite as tribute. The next morning the group leaves camp but hides nearby to see what will happen. After a while, a group of gnome-like creatures scurry out of the rocks and gather the gold. The group follows, finds a small tunnel and squeezes inside, entering an underground tunnel and cave complex. They find a room to the side with several of the creatures smashing vials containing a magical substance, which creates a fog when broken. Kirok reads their minds and finds that the creatures feel more powerful when in the presence of the fog.
The group moves further into the caverns and enters a large room containing three dragon eggs inside a fire pit, magic items and treasure. After battling the gnomish guardians, the group is able to gather up some mixed coinage, gems, three magic items, and two of the eggs before the dragon returns to the lair. They create an illusion of their group moving towards the dragon as the group actually heads back towards the caverns, flying on the Rug of Welcome and Broom of Flying, battling the creatures and their lizard-dogs along the way. Finding a locked secret door, they enter a storage room and remain hidden. Q applies Sepia Snake Sigils to the two dragon eggs. Jym invisibly scouts ahead while Q scrys onto Lactar's keep, removes the eggs from the tardis and gives them to Higgins for safe keeping.
Q manages to break through Lactar's anti-scry device and finds him in a hotel room with an assistant; he is currently on a tour of his kingdom. The group updates him on events. He gives the group a lock of an assistant's hair to facilitate scrying onto him and therefore making it easier to contact Lactar. Lactar then orders an investigation as to why the anti-scry device failed. The colossus is also scryed on, and is seen digging energetically in a remote location.
Once things quiet down, Jym returns and the rest of the group leave the cave and continue west.

July 9, 1994
The group (Kirok, Q, Wyre, Jym and Dagobert) has been traveling through the mountains for about two weeks, moving west to rendezvous with the
Cygnus 10. They set up camp on a mountain slope, and while Dagobert is on watch, he sees a line of three to four torches in the valley below. Wyre borrows the Helm of Telepathy from Kirok and flies down on the broom to investigate. He sees a group of eight humans, some on horseback, and reads the mind of one. They are primarily a group of neutrals, in fear of something they've left behind. The group decides to leave them alone. It rains most of the next day, and the following day the party leaves the mountains and enters hilly terrain. The following day Q scrys on Stotty, who is on board the Cygnus 10. He reports that it has been quiet, but three to four days ago they spotted ocean vessels. The group hangs a banner from the starship, with symbols representing both New Britain and Palmdale, and returns through the portal. The following afternoon approximately 20 humans are seen traveling west, apparently farmers. The group arrives at a small town that evening-Port Indiana-and stays at the inn. Quarrel, the regional capital, lies to the north. The group brings three magic items to the magic shop to be identified. Kirok takes this opportunity to return Wyre from dwarf to human form.
The group's total treasure in gold pieces from the dragon's lair is 56,870 gold pieces. With this the group acquires a Ring of Flying, Kirok gets a Cloak of Displacement, and Wyre receives +3 plate mail. Dagobert and Wyre acquire enough experience to rise a level.
That night Jym goes out to eat, and encounters a horseback rider who has just arrived in town, who says that a strange object has arrived from sea near the regional capital, and is hovering near the port. Q scrys on Stotty and finds him resting in a storage compartment. Kirok, Dagobert and Wyre board the
Cygnus 10, bringing with them the gems and magic items remaining to be analyzed. Stotty informs them that the town sent ships out to investigate and he told their representative that the vessel belongs to Captain Kirok. Currently a flotilla of ships with sightseers sits beneath the starship. Kirok places continual light running lights on the outer hull of the ship and to illuminate the banner.
The following morning Q retrieves the magic items remaining to be identified. They are: a Ring of Jumping, an Ioun Stone of Paralyzation with 13 charges left, and a glowing long sword with double damage and the ability to hit creatures which can only be hit with magic weapons. At the starship, a watchman reports four more ships approaching, from the New Britain Navy. Kirok flies out to the lead ship, wearing items signifying his knight errant status. The Admiral treats Kirok with respect, seems relieved, and tells him that King Randolff wishes to speak to him. The lead ship heads to port, and another ship moves beneath the
Cygnus 10 to transport Wyre & Dagobert to shore to have magic items analyzed and to train.
Kirok is taken to the mayor's office with a guard escort, and is shown to a two-way communications device. He tells the king of plans to move the ship to Palmdale, and the king offers to send the airship
Excalibur as an escort, but the airship is currently on the other side of the continent. The king asks Kirok to avoid population centers, since mistrust and fear of technology is still rather widespread. Kirok proceeds to investigate the town's magic shops, and at the last one he meets Ugely, a former associate of the Palmdale group whom Kirok invites to rejoin the group. Q scrys Kirok and Ugely back to the hotel room in Port Indiana that evening.
The next day the group moves north along the road, and the following day the group except for Q is scryed aboard the ship, with Q transporting the Magic Mirror to the ship by Flying Broom. The remaining magic items are identified: a +3 short sword, a Wand of Magic Missiles (33 charges), a Gauntlet of Dexterity, a +2 Hammer, and a Necklace of Adaptation. The gems bring 3300 gold pieces.
While waiting for people to finish training, the group spends several days to map the road northeast to the town of Xeron, then north to Martinet. That evening Q scrys Dagobert & Wyre to the
Cygnus 10, and the rest of the group returns by foot to Quarrel. They proceed to pool their gold and Q buys a Talisman of Zagy. It has a negative/non-hostile reaction; therefore 20,000 gold pieces were spent for a 10,000 gold piece gem.

August 20, 1994
SOUL HUNTERS (Q has a bad day)
The group sells off a number of miscellaneous magic items they feel are unneeded, and the remaining money is pooled. They go on a shopping trip to all the local magic shops to purchase more useful items, including a suit of magical armor for Kirok and a primary Deck of Many Things. The group then returns to Quarrel and the Cygnus.
With Ugely and Wyre both close to their next experience level, the group decides to make several draws from the deck. In preparation, the group moves outside of Quarrel into a clearing in a lightly wooded area. There, preparing themselves with Stoneskin and Hero's Feast spells, and transforming Ugely into a planatar, they then choose the order in which they will draw: Kirok, Wyre, Ugely, Q and Jym. Dagobert wisely chooses not to draw at all. Leaving all worldly possessions (except for magical items, which have to be 'claimed' by an individual), they each summon the courage to face the perils of the deck.
Kirok chooses to draw twice. On his first draw, he removes the Key card (treasure map plus a single magical weapon), although no bounty immediately appears. On his second draw, he feels a great change in his outward personality & appearance as he draws the Throne card (18 charisma & small keep); however, once again, no maps or scrolls immediately appear.
Wyre chooses to draw four times. On his first draw, he pulls the Knight card (gain services of a fourth level fighter), although no servant immediately appears. On his second draw, he pulls the Rogue card, which he knows to mean a henchman will turn against him. On his third draw, he removes the Ruin card (immediately lose all wealth and real property), upon which he loses the sword he was recently able to claim. On his final draw, he pulls the Star card (add two points to your major ability), upon which he suddenly feels filled with greater strength.
Ugely chooses to draw four times. Upon his first draw he pulls the Euryale card (-3 on all saves against petrifaction), though he feels no immediate effect. With his second draw he pulls the dreaded Skull card.
Immediately a shrouded, scythe-bearing figure appears from the forest's edge, walking towards Ugely, intoning, "Ugely...I have come for you." Ugely flies above the ground, hoping to remain out of the reach of the deadly creature, as Wyre and Kirok (aboard the Rug of Welcome) prepare to attack Ugely's death. Apparently, when raised from the dead by Kirok, Wyre acquired the ability to use magic items normally able to be used only by magic-users. Immediately, two additional death figures approach from the forest's edge, saying to the carpet-bound adventurers, "Kirok/Wyre...I have come for you." Fortunately, as was the case over a year ago in which Kirok drew a similar card from an earlier deck, the group is dealing with less-powerful deaths than this case, deaths which cannot fly themselves. While the three adventurers try to remain at a high altitude, the deaths fling their scythes with minimal accuracy at the airborne targets. Ugely continues trying to catch the scythes, and at one point Wyre is successful, holding on as the scythe attempts to pull back towards its master. Although Wyre takes repeated hits, requiring numerous quaffs of healing potion, the three are able to pool their efforts to destroy the three deaths without any fatalities among the group. Jym observes, "I haven't faced death, I've cheated death." They descend from their heights to allow Ugely to continue with his remaining deck draws.
With his third draw, Ugely pulls the Key card, although as before with Kirok, no items immediately appear. On his final draw, Ugely pulls the Sun card (beneficial miscellaneous magic item and 50,000 experience points).
Q chooses multiple draws as well. However, upon his very first draw, the deck disappears, and Q's body goes slack and unresponsive. The remaining group members, talking to him and trying to bring him out of his trance-like state, realize he must have drawn the Void card...meaning that although his body will function in an automaton-like fashion, his psyche is trapped elsewhere...another planet or plane perhaps. Jym asks, "Is he dead?" to which Kirok replies, "He's worse than dead, his psyche is gone!"
As the group comes to terms with their loss, suddenly items appear in Kirok's and Ugely's hands: each holds a small portion of a map, with notations indicating town names and that the map leads to a treasure. Additionally, Kirok is holding a +2 magical hammer and Ugely a magical sling (of seeking) and a fully powered Staff of Thunder & Lightning. They are not aware of the specific abilities of these items, however.
Returning to Quarrel with the maps, the group hopes to learn where the cities are that are mentioned on each map. Jym takes them to the branch of the Royal Magic Institute in Quarrel, where he learns that one map originates in a town just to the east, on the eastern side of the Korallan Mountains. The other map originates in a coastal city along the central coast of the continent, not far from Vermithrax Isle.
The group returns to the
Cygnus, to ask Stotty whether he thinks the starship can make the cross-country journey to Palmdale, and what the fuel supply for the ship is like.

October 22, 1994
Ugely trains for two weeks and Wyre for one. During this time, rooms adjoining the gash in the starship's side-excluding the central, widest section used as the entrance-are locked off and inscribed with screaming glyphs by Kirok and acceleration glyphs by Dagobert. They are also outfitted with illusory guards in red armor generated by the dijinni. For the benefit of the occasional passing ship, an illusion of workers progressively repairing the gap is cast, leading eventually to an illusion of a completely repaired hull. Orders are placed in town for prefabricated timber walls, bracing, and a gate to be installed as an entrance fortification.
Meanwhile, Jym attempts mostly unsuccessful scrys on four subjects over the next several days: Q's psyche, the other Gauntlet of Dexterity to match the one found in the dwarven extremist complex (DEC), the treasure from Ugely's map and Gap's End-the town near the treasure. On the seventh day of attempts, Jym senses he may have come close to locking on Quietus, getting static. A lock on the gauntlet is achieved, but the view is skewed and scrambled. On the eighth day, a window is achieved on the gauntlet-not good enough for a door, but the room is examined. It is 15'x20' with an upper wedge of stable rubble, the lower portion is clear with no exit. The gauntlet projects slightly from the rubble, not being worn. There are three cots in the open section and the partially buried body of an apparently mid-level dwarf fighter. On the ninth day a successful door is achieved, and Wyre and Dagobert go through. They retrieve the dwarf corpse, discover a leather packet adhered to the bottom of a cot, and retrieve the gauntlet, returning just before the time limit. A Detect Magic spell had highlighted nothing else, but revealed flickering anti-magic effects, which also caused the portal to get progressively worse, seriously concerning the remainder of the party as to the chances of the two getting back. The leather packet is found to contain a sheaf of records written in a southern dwarvish dialect, mostly shipping manifests, as well as a sheet torn from a larger list, containing 17 names and their contributions to the cause. A coin purse containing 250 g.p. is found on the dwarf along with a +2 sword, but there is nothing on him with which to identify him. The gauntlets are assigned to Jym.
On the 11th morning, Gap's End is successfully scryed on, and Kirok, Dagobert and Wyre go through, leaving instructions to scry on them at sundown in three days. While checking out the town, Wyre goes to a tavern and meets Flagg, a lawful-good human fighter, an old friend from when they had both been in the employ of Wyre's former liege. Intuition tells the group that this might be the deadly henchman of doom promised by the Deck. Flagg joins up with the group along with Jan and Dean, identical twin sister and brother, a lawful-neutral human cleric and a lawful-neutral human fighter who had been traveling with Flagg. The group leaves the next morning on horseback, traveling through open country for a day, mountains on the next, and camps before approaching the treasure site the following morning.
A path leads up the side of a mountain to a natural, unimproved tunnel of loose rock and packed dirt. The tunnel curves steadily to the right, large enough to admit the group single file with some room to pass if necessary, with larger members having to stoop somewhat. There are no air currents or strange smells; the floor shows signs of being well traveled, though apparently not in the past four to six months. Dagobert enters first, using no lights while checking for signs of traps or falling stones. Wyre detects for evil and wears the Girdle of Dwarvenkind; Kirok uses the Locate Object spell to find the treasure, followed by Flagg, Dean and Jan. After moving 70 yards an arrowhead of piled stones are found, pointing left, where an obviously false wall is seen. Kirok senses this is the proper direction, but Dagobert is suspicious of the construction. He checks 20 yards beyond with the twins while the others disassemble the wall. He finds only scuffmarks indicating that section was well traveled, but also not for the last four to six months.
The cleared entrance reveals a narrow (2_') and much more jagged passage, apparently a manually widened crack, going about 20' before cutting left. The party enters in the same order, using flashlights. Just past the bend, Dagobert notices a (roughly one-and-one-half square foot) patch of rock on the floor with different coloring from the surrounding rock, and an additional five further along. The group steps carefully over them, except for Kirok. Dagobert, who was just past the fourth patch at the time, places an ear against the wall and hears a distant, deep grinding ahead and to the left that was not otherwise audible. The group continues on for 45-50' past the last stone and finds the tunnel opening up; they are careful not to let light shine in. Dust falls from the ceiling, and the grinding sound is now normally audible as a low and subtle grinding sound, which ends with a metallic click while the group discusses options.
The group advances into the oblong alcove, 10-12' across, 25' long and eight feet high. In the center of the room is a pit with ten bags (100 g.p. size) packed in. At the far end of the room are two lifelike stone humans, armored, with fresh stone dust around them; they were seemingly aware of the group, an impression confirmed when they swung their arms down to their sides to their long swords. Dagobert and the twins fanned to the right, the rest to the left, staying on their respective sides of the pit and not directly approaching the guardians or the treasure. At Dagobert's urging, Kirok attempts to speak to the guardians (because of his high charisma), indicating the map and assuring them that they are in fact supposed to be here. A settling sound is heard but there is no obvious response, nor any response or movement as the group moves in. Jan, her hands behind her, moves towards the pit and moves a hand past the edge of the pit, still with no response. Around the edge of the pit are seen dark brownish stains (something like blood), as well as in scrape marks on the inner wall and on the rough rock above. Between the pit and the guardians is a distance of 12', and as the group moves past the pit there is a slight grinding and arm movements.
Jan ties a couple of coins in a piece of cloth with a rope attached, and throws it into the pit. There is no effect, but while reeling it back the shape of the guardians' faces alters and their eyes turn red. Throwing it back causes the eyes to turn dark. She then whips it back and forth, causing the eyes to strobe, remain lit, and the sword arms to rise. Throwing it back and leaving it causes the arms to lower but the eyes remain lit. Standing with her back to the guardians so that the others blocked their view, she removes it again, the sword arms raising and not descending as far when the bag is returned. Closer inspection of the features and armor reveal workmanship so detailed as to suggest they may be men turned to stone, but with no obvious chinks in the armor. Kirok casts Dispel Magic, causing the figures to collapse as flesh and armor. The long dead and emaciated bodies decay as they watch. The swords and armor are of high (non-magical) workmanship and in good shape except for cracked and broken leather fastenings, and are collected.
Dagobert inspects the rock around the pit and finds no moving parts, but still regards Jan's suggestion that they just grab the bags at the base of the pit as very, very bad. Ropes are tied to bags (one contains magic), and they are pulled out. Dean slips close to the pit, observing the sides trickle reddish fluid and the bottom rise, accompanied by a harsh acrid smell. The group runs back to the false wall without incident.
They decide to descend further. The twins, feeling that the magic item in the bag might be of use, dump it out, revealing ornate daggers (non-magical) and a goblet, which gurgles as though activated when Kirok picks it up by the base, but with no obvious results after being dropped. It is then picked up sideways and returned to the bag. Wyre thinks the twins should stay behind to see if the red substance would begin flowing again, but everyone wanted to come along, and Wyre then yells that he's pissed no one would stay behind.
After 40' the path begins to level, straighten, and widen (eventually to five feet). 35' further it enters the approximate center of a cavern, 40-45' lower than the side tunnel, with no evidence of passage for several months. The cavern is 15' directly across from the entrance, and is 40' long and 50-60' high. Filling the cavern are stalactites and stalagmites, with two skeletal human-size figures, one with a sword scabbard, obviously impaled for a long time. Lights are turned off in order to observe in infravision, and a warm liquid is disclosed at the base of the stalagmites, which hadn't reflected the lights. Jan throws down part of a ration in the liquid, and around the splash the heat increases tremendously and the liquid seems to move towards it. A rock thrown in another location has no effect. The liquid is estimated to be two inches deep across the floor of the room.
Casting a Detect Magic spell, Kirok flies into the chamber on the broom. Below the bodies he detects a sword and a small package. The area where the liquid fed gives off a magical signature, but not the liquid as a whole. Dagobert flings a lit lantern at a stalagmite, and the flaming splatter causes the glow to dissipate, like a 'fog in the wind'; Jan throws another ration into the flames and the liquid surges towards it and then retreats, forming a glowing rim straining around it. It also appears that the liquid may be entering through cracks in the floor. A Ring of Fire is thrown around the items, dividing the liquid into a larger and a smaller pool. Another ration is thrown far from the ring in the larger pool, and oil is splattered on the smaller pool, which has been surging towards Kirok; another ration is thrown into it. It is discovered that the small package contains a ring.
As the group moves back to the entrance, Kirok wistfully comments that if Quietus were here, he would have taken a specimen. Dagobert replies, "Yeah...some cave blows its nose and he wants a sample." They leave without incident, exiting the cave in the early afternoon. Jan and Dean decide not to accompany the group and are given three riding horses, two long swords, and 350 g.p. as their share. At sunset the group returns to the
Cygnus via Jym's scry.

December 10, 1994
The group decides to start moving the Cygnus inland towards the mountain pass, meanwhile having magic items analyzed in town, and selling the two daggers from the cave for 600 g.p. Kirok, while wearing the Girdle of Dwarvenkind and using the Speak with Dead spell, asks four questions of the dead dwarf recovered from the dwarven extremist complex (DEC), who turns out to be a southern dwarf, just out of his 'teens'. During the interrogation, Dagobert uses the Helm of Telepathy to evaluate dwarf accents and dialects.

Question one: "What is your knowledge of the list of names and shipping manifests found under a bed in the room where you died?"
Answer: "I recall that a bunkmate of mine had a package of papers which he kept under his bed, but I don't know what they contained."
Question two: "Tell me what you know about this bunkmate who kept papers under his bed."
Answer: "This dwarf, Rudolph, seemed secretive, didn't socialize much. Rudolph was an older male dwarf, had mentioned a wife and kids, but I don't know where they lived."
Question three: "Repeat the most detailed conversation you had with Rudolph."
Answer: From the answer, it is observed that Rudolph was a northern dwarf, and was in this for the money rather than for philosophical reasons, as were most of the rest.
Question four: "What is your knowledge of the location of treasure and magic items in the DEC?"
Answer: "Treasure was kept in the lowest level of the complex, but I never saw it. Only high ranking personnel knew of the location of magic items, and most had been destroyed."

The body of the dwarf is dropped off at a church in town. Jym attempts to scry on Q's psyche, but fails. He then scrys on Wyre, and asks of the mirror, "What is the class of his special power?" The mirror answers that it is a common, mildly useful ability. Scrys are then attempted on the dragon's lair and Rudolph, both failing. Kirok has Stotty's men begin to monitor the starship's radio on a 24-hour basis. Nothing unusual is detected during the first 24-hour period.
The next day Jym tries to scry on Q's psyche, the dragon's lair, Rudolph and Kirok's Magic Missile Mace, with only the last scry being successful. A window is opened onto darkness with a shimmering greenish-greyish light, underwater, in the ocean. It turns out to be a 10'x10'x8' storeroom on a sunken ship lying on its side, with light streaming in through breaks in the hull, apparently caused by cannon balls. Several half-eaten bodies are seen, one with the mace strapped to it. Two human-shaped forms carrying lights are seen to swim outside the hull breaches. After half of the scry time has elapsed, Jym opens a door. Wyre, with a rope attached and wearing a Necklace of Adaptation, passes through the door and begins loading the bodies onto the
Cygnus, hearing tearing noises in the meanwhile as if something is breaking through wood on the hull of the sunken ship. Wyre detects patches of evil, but not within the storeroom. After loading two bodies he sees a face peering into the storeroom from the outside through one of the holes. Wyre continues with his work, plunging two hooks attached to ropes into two more bodies for the rest of the party to drag through. Wyre grabs the remaining body and brings it through the door, with about five minutes remaining. Kirok gives the Helm of Telepathy to Wyre, who scans approximately 25 beings, only one of which seems to be human, the rest unrecognizable. He looks out a hole and sees seven to eight 'merpeople' ripping away boards and another four to five floating, looking for a way in. Wyre tries "suggesting" to one to follow him but fails. Wyre is pulled back before the door closes.
The five bodies are human males, apparently dead for several weeks to a month. One is wearing salvageable magic plate armor (size three). Five daggers with dragons' heads carved into the handle are found, along with 150 gold pieces, 15 small gems, two pieces of jewelry, and the Magic Missile Mace. Kirok questions the body that held the mace.

Question one: "How did you come by the Magic Missile Mace?"
Answer: "It was given to me as part of the crew allotment of weaponry, and as a reward for performing well."
Question two: "What happened to your ship to cause it to sink?"
Answer: "It was attacked from outside suddenly, and many were caught below decks. A hole was caused by a ramming pole."
Question three: "What was the location of your ship when it was attacked?"
Answer: "Off the southwest coast of Sandria."
Question four: "What was the organization you belonged to?"
Answer: "The Procurers (an unofficial name). People contract us to acquire things."

A second body is questioned.
Question one: "What are the names of the leaders of the 'Procurers'?"
Answer: "Lt. Anders (an informal title), from Bothnia, was my direct supervisor, and I know of no others."
Question two: "What is the significance of the dragon's head symbol?"
Answer: "It is a symbol for the 'Procurers'. If the hilt of the dagger is removed, inside can be found a quaff of either healing potion or poison, depending on the personality of the owner."
Question three: "What kind of treasure was your ship carrying when attacked?"
Answer: "Gold for the current operation, I don't know what else."
Question four: "From where were your operations based?"
Answer: "Sandria. Our last port of call was Blade."

A third body, the one that was wearing magic armor, is questioned.
Question one: "What were the last four missions you were involved in, including the one in which you were killed?"
Answer: From most recent to oldest:
1: In route to western New Britain coast to meet another ship to recover a large item off the coast (
Cygnus 10?).
2: Rescue a kidnap victim from kidnappers.
3: Transport a high level magic-user to an island off the southern New Britain coast.
4: Part of team sent to assassinate a high-level business leader and recover a family crest.
Question two: "What is the structure of your organization?"
Answer: "A handful of people at the top take on clients and hire specialists who then hire mid to high level people like myself who then hire cannon fodder to assist."
Question three: "What knowledge do you have of the lord who had the weapons stolen from the magic institute in New Britain?"
Answer: "None."
Question four: "Tell me all you know about the superiors you've run into during operations."
Answer: There are a half-dozen he can identify by name or characteristics.
1: Vandemir ­ a chunin hired out to Daltros Vermithrax.
2: A general who retired at a young age.
3: The captain of a private sailing vessel in eastern Bothnia.
4: A high-level male magic-user in the town of Bally (a town on the southern coast, which Kirok had visited during the Vermithrax Isle campaign).
5: A high-level female cleric in the northwestern Korallan Mountains.
6: A contact in Prestana.

Stotty estimates that repair work, consisting of the placement of barricades over the gash in the hull, will take three to four days, and will be finished by the time the ship passes through the mountains. The group has the dijinni place an illusory dragon symbol on the breastplates of each of the red-clothed illusory guards. Kirok has Jym fly him to the mayor's office near the close of business hours in order to inform the king of what they have learned, but the mayor has left for the day, and Kirok decides to wait until the next day. The Cygnus is stopped for the night near the town.
The next morning Kirok and Jym return to town to pick up analyzed magic items, which turn out to be a +1 short sword and a Ring of Dwarven Influence. The dried red substance turns out to be a mixture of blood and oil, possibly some sort of lubricant. Jym flies Kirok to the mayor's office. Jym subsequently leaves to try and contact the institute in Prestana. Kirok is taken to speak to the mayor, who seems agitated along with his staff. The mayor takes Kirok to a communications room with four mirrors set up. All display static, but one has less static, with a scene of confusion in the capital displayed, as Crown Prince Michael and his advisors try to determine what is happening; Prestana has been sealed off. The mayor informs Kirok that another orc & ogre war has broken out in the Eastern Korallan Mountains, and that contact has been lost with the king and the
Excalibur. There seems to be a large-scale use of anti-scrying devices. There is still contact with Prestana, but not with Bothnia or New Britain east of the major anti-magic crack. The government has contacted the Sandrian airship, Lighthelm, which has volunteered to investigate, and is currently in warp. There apparently was no magical disruption as there was when the anti-magic crack was formed, rather a low-level, widespread anti-scrying device. People teleported into the area have not been able to be subsequently recovered. All military forces in the country are being mobilized. Kirok tells the mayor that he will discuss this with his group and will get back to him after the expected communication from the Lighthelm. Kirok waits for Jym and they return to the Cygnus, where everyone is informed of events. Jym's next officially scheduled contact with the institute is the day after tomorrow.
Jym attempts to scry on the dragon's lair, Kirok's Girdle of Cloud Giant Strength (15% chance) and Kirok's Ring of Wonder (18% chance). He succeeds with the ring, but only gets static. Kirok and Ugely fly back to town on the Rug of Welcome as the
Cygnus continues east. Kirok returns to the mayor's office, which is now surrounded by a crowd of several hundred whom apparently know that something is going on. They fly into the central courtyard and are taken to the mayor. The mayor informs them that they received a brief message from the Lighthelm, lasting less than one minute, before contact was lost. They were experiencing a low-level field effect, affecting all magic items in different ways; magic armor was weighing more and magic swords were glowing more brightly. Sensors were showing something approaching, but which was not panicking the crew; the ship, following the preexisting plan, was going to try to warp out and reestablish contact after a short reconnaissance; communications were then cut off. The Magical Institute thinks the field will not advance further; teams have been sent out to map its edge. Riders had been sent into it to find out if there are any physical effects. No normal traffic had come out of the area; it normally would be high at this time. A military state of emergency had been called in all large cities along the effect.
The mayor gives Kirok a small hand held communications device, a pocket mirror, to keep in contact, with communications scheduled for noon each day, if necessary. It is two-way, but communications must be initiated by the west coast government. Kirok and Ugely return to the
Cygnus, noting much traffic on the roads in preparation for mid-Spring planting. An attempt is made to scry on Q's psyche, which fails. Around 11:00 p.m., the Tapestry of Viewing is examined. It has room for 52 images, 37 of which are filled. It now contains 19 dead images (smoky in appearance), where there were only 17 the last time it was examined. Of the 18 living images, four are indistinct, possibly blocked by the trouble to the east. It is decided to have the tapestry and the radio within the same room, so that one person can monitor both.
The following day is stormy. The
Cygnus 10 finally makes landfall after crossing the bay. Jym successfully scrys on Kirok's Girdle of Giant Strength, opening a door 25' in the air, below which can be seen a group of ten men and women-three of them not wearing armor. All are on horseback, moving down a road towards a village, which is later learned to be King's Crossing. Wyre and Kirok place their heads through the door, Wyre checking for evil (three are evil) and Kirok scanning thoughts; the group has been on the road for several days, is tired, and wants to rest in town. Kirok, Ugely and Wyre move through the door on the rug, the bottom of which contains an illusion created by the djinni to blend in with the sky. The group consists of clerics, fighters, magic-users and a thief. This is a chaotic group, well equipped but motley. The leader is the one wearing the girdle and seems to be a mid-level fighter/cleric. The thief and two of the fighters are evil. The leader is near the front, talking to the female second-in-command. The leader is frustrated at not being able to tell the rest about the mission, which is for the 'Procurers'. A dust trail is seen in the distance, moving towards the group from the town. Kirok casts a Hold Person spell on the leader while the carpet descends, while Jym opens a new doorway according to plan, barely, the preceding one having run out of time. Kirok holds Wyre to steady him while Wyre grabs the leader and lifts him out of the saddle as the second-in-command tries to grab and misses. Several members of her group fire their crossbows and miss. The carpet moves back through the doorway.
Another member, who is levitating towards the doorway, has a weighted tent thrown on him, and sinks to the ground while trying to disentangle himself. Kirok begins stripping items from the leader while the dijinni writes a message on foil, saying, "You're fired!" along with the red-on-gold dragonhead symbol. Dagobert fires a crossbow bolt at another 'Procurer' who is also levitating and preparing to fire a wand, as Jym attempts to telekinetically pull the wand with his staff. The combination causes the wand to fire towards the ground, causing some damage to the person covered with a tent, who is currently out of sight of the doorway. Dagobert fires again, getting a critical hit, while Jym successfully yanks the wand from the other's hand and brings it aboard. The mercenaries fire in the general area of the doorway, and crossbow bolts narrowly avoid Dagobert. Jym drags the levitating person towards the doorway as the person reaches for a dagger; he tries to break it open but is stopped, and is tied up and blindfolded, as is the leader. During the battle, one of the bodies from the shipwreck has been gathered, and is set aflame and dropped out of the doorway along with the note. The body hits the person trying to disentangle himself from the weighted tent. Another member of this party, who had been reading a scroll, finishes and a stretching effect is seen nearby in a field. A humanoid figure appears, and Wyre senses intense evil. The figure notices Wyre waving his hand at him just before the doorway is closed.

April 8, 1995
The two prisoners are stripped of their items. Kirok scans the prisoners for alignment, determining that the leader is chaotic-neutral and the magic-user is neutral-evil. The prisoners are moved to separate rooms on the underside of the ship, to be guarded by Wyre and Ugely. Jym scans for magic. Kirok claims his Girdle of Cloud Giant Strength.
The magic items recovered are found to be:

Wand of Fireballs (37 charges) ­ claimed by Dagobert
Girdle of Levitation, human size six; limited to sizes five to seven (51 charges) ­ loaned to Flagg
+2 full plate armor, size four ­ to be sold
short sword, +1/+2 vs. regenerating creatures ­ to be sold
Fire Resistance potion, three quaffs ­ claimed by Ugely
Wand of Negation ­ to be sold

A scroll tube is found, with information on their mission. They were to have assassinated Trevor Allegor, a businessman in King's Crossing. Along with their basic equipment, 760 gold pieces' worth of gems are found. Copper sheeting to cover the barricades being built to close the gash in the ship is discussed, as is a demon gun.
Several days previously, on the other side of the continent, Lactar had been heading south along the coast by ship to rendezvous with King Randolff II for a cultural summit. They meet on an island off the southern coast with two major population centers, Lactar suspicious of the king's every move. That evening, some sort of anti-magic effect manifests itself, as Lactar notices the magic items he is wearing become heavier and glow less. He begins testing magic items and spells and has someone cast a fireball out of a window, which fizzles out shortly after being cast. +1 magic swords apparently no longer have a plus, although it seems they would still be effective against creatures requiring magic to be damaged. Lactar loans his magic crystal to a magic-user, and finds that this allows normal casting of spells, but doesn't help in the use of magic items. Lactar sends his ship to the mainland to place his troops on alert. The king and Lactar meet. The king was barely able to contact Prestana, and he has lost contact with the
Excalibur; it may have panicked when this effect set in, and gone into warp, cutting off contact even with non-magical means of communications. Lactar declines an offer of transport by the king to the mainland, and instead hires a ship to take him there. Once on the mainland, they decide to head along the coast to the pass in the northern mountains, the king heading west and Lactar heading east, even though this will take weeks. The king sends 800 of his soldiers along the western edge of the mountains, and Lactar sends 150-180 of his soldiers along the eastern edge of the mountains in an effort to counter a possible invasion by orcs and ogres, who may be taking advantage of the current chaos.
Back on the
Cygnus 10, Jym and Dagobert question the magic-user first, with Wyre guarding. Jym is wearing the Helm of Telepathy, and the prisoner remains bound and blindfolded. Questioning reveals the prisoner's name is Marcus, he is quite nervous, inexperienced, and is not intentionally concealing things, as determined by the helm. During questioning, it is learned that there were eight cadre members, and later the two leaders showed up. In addition to himself, there were Sarah and Timon, clerics; Chris, Matthew and Argos, fighters; and two other fighters he was unfamiliar with. They received a message to meet in Tobago, and have been on the road for the last three days. They have no particular home base, but wait for instructions. This group has been together for the last three weeks, after each member was contacted individually with a scroll containing orders. The message said, "Report to _____. Leaders will give you instructions there."
Pretending to be a member of their organization, Jym asks "Were the leaders to identify you in the normal way?" and at this the prisoner thinks of a sigil being presented and code words being said. Their last mission was to pilfer a scroll from a selected location. Jym asks "Do you know why you were intercepted?" to which Marcus replies "No. We just came under attack." Dagobert adds "Ha!" Jym asks if Marcus saw the dragon's head, to which Marcus stammers. Jym comments "Marcus, Marcus, Marcus. Are you seriously asking me to believe you are so blind?" while making sounds of a dagger being sharpened. Dagobert continues this line of questioning, asking why he insists on playing games, and how long will he persist with this charade, to which Marcus has no answer. Dagobert says, "Do you really expect us to believe you thought you were on a mission, rather than with the renegades? Do you think, in this time of crisis, the organization would have you remove so small a target as a businessman?" The prisoner replies that he didn't know there was anything else going on, that he just does the job he's told to do. This is the fourth job he's been on. Dagobert says, "We'll let you think about the error of your ways." Jym says "Why would a loyal employee kill himself before being questioned by internal affairs?" to which the prisoner replies, "That's what all cadre members do if captured." Jym and Dagobert leave the room to interrogate the other prisoner.
Jym, scanning the leader, feels anger and outrage as the leader wonders who would have the audacity? At Jym's suggestion, Dagobert slaps the prisoner, making him angrier. Dagobert says, " So now you see the wages of your betrayal." The prisoner continues to be confused, his mouth bleeding. Dagobert says, "Did you think your renegade activities would go unnoticed?" as Jym uses the helm to suggest that they are high placed officials of the 'procurers'. Prisoner: "I'm not sure what you mean?" Jym, in a bored voice: "Let's get the technicalities out of the way." It is learned that the prisoner's name is Cleante, who is several steps above his flunkies; he is an independent contractor. His last mission was the delivery of a package to the town of Bergendale, and the mission prior to that was to provide support muscle during a duel in Caledonia; the person he was working for lost the duel. Jym: "Can you repeat that? You mean to tell me that your mission was not to remove the mayor of Greyhaven, and before that to deliver a letter from Palmdale to Tobago?" The prisoner responds that Greyhaven is a long way away, and that he didn't know anything about this. He claims that his current mission began three days before meeting with his team, with the delivery of a scroll. The mission was to take Trevor Allegor out of the picture, and make it look like an accident. The scroll appeared among his personal items one day ­ this is the normal way of receiving scrolls for missions. He claims he has always been a loyal member of the organization, and sensed no problem, no troubles with his superiors. At this, Jym receives a mental image of a duel ­ the prisoner thinks this was questionable, because he thought the person he was working for would win (the duel took place six weeks ago). When asked if he destroyed the messages, he replies "Of course." and thinks there should be paperwork higher up.
Jym asks for more information on the duel, giving the impression that the man killed in the duel was a member of the organization. When the prisoner asks why he waited six weeks, Jym slaps him. Cleante says, "I wasn't the only one there. Did you talk to Deirdre?" to which Jym responds, "She was with you?" Cleante says that he saw her after it happened, he didn't see what was in her bag, and that she was in a hurry to leave. Jym says "Wait here." and leaves.
Jym returns shortly. He says, "Perhaps you are just a pawn. We need complete details of previous missions. If you lie, the punishment will be exquisite."
The prisoner only gives the bare facts, working backwards from the present:
1: current mission ­ his second-in-command is named Corissa ­ they met for the first time a day before meeting the rest of the party. He'd worked with two of the fighters separately on previous missions.
2: four weeks ago ­ solo mission ­ delivered a package to the town of Bergendale.
3: six weeks ago ­ with one other person ­ assisted in a duel in Caledonia between two noblemen; the mission seemed to backfire. The assistant to the other duelist was the man's son. Seven to eight people were selected as witnesses.
4: Eight weeks ago ­ with three others ­ recovered a pair of missing goblets, belonging to a wealthy family in Haladan, stolen in an interfamily quarrel. (Jym interjects: "No wand?")
5: Three months ago ­ with four others ­ poisoned an entire family (he knows the family name) of four in Exeter, except for a six-year-old girl who managed to survive. He recalls seeing giant blue flies. (Jym interjects: "Nothing about 5,000 gold ingots?")
6: four months ago ­ solo mission ­ delivered a long sword & scabbard to a N-E monastery in Gallion. (Jym adds "Nothing about a painting?" to which Cleante replies "Only if it was in the scabbard.")
7: Six months ago ­ with two others ­ assassinated a Sardinian businessman in Felham, on an island off the southern coast. (Jym says offhandedly "That one seems to match.")
Jym asks "When did Deirdre join the resistance?" to which the prisoner replies that he only worked with her on a couple of missions. She is normally based in southeastern Bothnia. She is apparently a fighter/cleric, and has a sensual effect on men. The last mission was not in her usual area.
Jym leaves to scry on Deirdre, and gets static, indicating she is alive but being blocked, probably by the continent-wide effect. Jym returns to the room. Jym asks, "Why do you think Deirdre was there? What was in the bag? Why was she in a hurry? And what about Naomi?" During this questioning, the prisoner is picturing Deirdre among the witnesses at the duel, in the evening, carrying a large (500 g.p.) bag with no effort, and stepping through a transport doorway. When the name Naomi is mentioned, he thinks of an incredibly pretty looking redhead in magic-user robes, in a dark place with flames nearby. Jym becomes entranced with this mental picture, and Ugely moves to take off the helm. Dagobert comments, "You almost had us thinking that you weren't working for Naomi."
Upon hearing this, the captive experiences terror, going mentally catatonic, and Jym tries calming him with the helm. Shortly his mental connection to the captive is broken with a snap, as is the captive's will. He is only vaguely aware, incredibly depressed, and begins to curl into a fetal position. Dagobert begins smelling burning flesh, and Jym soon does as well. Heat sheen is seen around the body. He is given a quaff of Healing potion, but he soon bursts into flame. Jym casts a Dispel Magic, which douses the flames. Dagobert casts Cure Light Wounds as Ugely gives him a quaff of Fire Resistance. Jym hears a whooshing sound, sees a hole opening in the air above the prisoner. Jym points his staff towards the doorway, yelling "doorway", as Dagobert backs off, attempting to get out his Wand of Fireballs and his shield. The prisoner, tied to the chair, begins rising. Dagobert slips and falls on his rear, only pulling out the wand. Jym tries to jump through the doorway as Ugely slaps a Sepia Snake Sigil on the prisoner. Jym hits the chair, bounces off, while the chair hooks on the edge of the doorway as someone above tries to maneuver it into the hole. As Cleante's feet disappear into the hole, Jym tries to cast Dispel Magic, with no visible effect, and tries to enter the hole, bouncing off. He tries again, but by this time the hole has been closed down. Jym rushes to the mirror as Kirok finally arrives. Jym tries to scry on the prisoner as well as the chair, failing both times. Ugely is sent ahead to Martinet to sell items. The rest of the day is uneventful.
The next day, Jym tries to scry on Cleante, Rudolph, Q and the high priest in Junker, failing all attempts. Kirok demon wards the room formerly containing Cleante, the scrying room and the control room. The starship is made by the dijinni to appear as an airship. The disposition of the remaining prisoner is discussed in the evening, with Dagobert and Ugely proposing to encase him within a Sepia Snake Sigil in mid-air. Jym, after mild protest from Kirok, kills the prisoner, and the body is burned.
Later that evening, Stotty informs Jym to come to the bridge to view something. Looking out the window onto dark and overcast plains, a rough circle of glowing stones, ten feet wide, surrounding a box 2_'x2_'x5' is seen 300 yards ahead, under the path of the
Cygnus, which is at an altitude of about 35'. Jym wakes the crew and changes course so the ship won't pass over the circle.
Kirok and Jym fly down on a carpet to investigate. The box is an ornate casket, very expensive, and large enough to hold up to a size eight to nine human. Jym finds that portions of the box and whatever is inside radiate magic. It was apparently left one to one-and-a-half hours ago. Kirok, casting Find Traps, detects mechanical traps within the hinges, and magical traps on the lid handles. Kirok also casts Detect Evil, and whatever is within radiates strongly. Kirok casts Speak with Plants, and learns that the object was placed there by five humanoids who arrived out of the air, and who talked about a ship. The box was always closed, they were here for only a few minutes, they said it was a "gift"; they wore no symbols, and were of different classes. The group gets battle ready, spending the night on the ground while the ship continues on.
The next morning at sunrise, a henchman sees a scroll tube appear on the coffin. A rope is used to drag the tube out of the circle. Jym opens it, and a note inside says, "To Kirok and friends, thanks for the help. Naomi." An earth elemental is conjured to help, and Jym casts Protection from Evil on everyone. Kirok casts an Augury to determine if having the earth elemental open the coffin lid will be weal or woe for the group ­ the answer is weal.
The earth elemental opens the lid by the handles, setting off a paralyzation flash. Green gas is emitted, and a scream is heard. The elemental lifts the coffin to allow the group to view inside ­ it appears to be Ahlric! Kirok watches in horror, calling out to her; Ahlric, who is now a vampire, is allowed to disintegrate in the sunlight. The elemental searches her clothing and finds a Palmdale medallion, slightly radiating evil. Holy water is poured onto it to remove the evil, while the remaining items, including the coffin, are buried. Kirok consecrates the ground.
Kirok adds, "That Naomi bitch is toast."

July-August 1995
July 2, 1995
Ugely returns later in the day, around noon. The ship is redirected northward. Scrys are attempted and fail on Cleante and Q (2% chance); a scry on Cleante's chair appears to succeed, but is blocked by an anti-scry device. A door is successfully opened at the floor of the dragon's lair (48% chance). It is very dim, with the only light provided by lichens on the walls. No movement is heard; the glitter of lumpy, melted metal can be seen, and the room is cold. Jym detects magic with his staff, locating five items within range. Dagobert scans the room with infravision, Wyre scans for evil, and Kirok scans with the Helm of Telepathy, sensing nothing. The room is 80'-90' wide. The group, except for Jym, goes through the doorway, prying and ripping the slabs of fused coinage, which are concentrated towards the center of the room. The large tunnel leading to the outside is scorched, but wind is still flowing through. After about ten minutes, a guard hears the sound of scurrying feet. As Kirok breaks up the remaining chunks of metal containing magic items, Ugely, Dagobert, Wyre and Flagg run towards the other, smaller tunnel, hearing many scrabbling feet; Wyre detects chaotic evil, up to several dozen approaching. As the creatures emerge from the smaller tunnel, Dagobert fires a fireball from his wand, incinerating many of the creatures and collapsing the tunnel, and killing the rest. While prying apart the slabs, one magic item is destroyed. The group decides to stay behind, and has Jym transfer the Rug and Broom to them. Kirok and Wyre sense about 15 of the creatures on the other side of the collapse, about 20' away. Kirok and Dagobert gather the remaining wealth, while Wyre and Flagg check out the dragon tunnel, and Ugely monitors the collapsed tunnel.
The dragon tunnel rises at a 10-15 degree slope, and is smooth. About 30' up, the tunnel curves to the left, and Wyre and Flagg see something off to the right hand side, looking like broken rock; there is a slight air current. The tunnel is 20'-25' wide, and 15'-20' high; generally a natural passage, earthen. Apparently the dragon flamed the tunnel in anger. They continue moving, and find the debris consists of broken eggshell. Wyre grabs a piece of the shell for scrying purposes. He heads back to tell the rest what he found, then checks out the rest of the tunnel. The tunnel eventually levels out, about 70' above the level of the cavern floor, and there is more fresh air blowing in. The main tunnel continues ahead; two tunnels, five feet wide, branch off perpendicular to the main tunnel, descending slightly, and are obviously dug out, with claw marks on the floor. Continuing about another 150', they see light, smell fresh air, and the tunnel dips down slightly. After another 50' they emerge outside; the day is somewhat overcast. The tunnel opening has widened to 35', with a lip extending out about five feet, concealing the tunnel from below. A 15'-20' wide river flows below. The tunnel is near the top of the mountain, about 70'-80' below the peak. Wyre detects evil, and sees 40-50 of the gnome-like creatures approaching the entrance.
Meanwhile, Kirok scans for magic, finding five more items. Ugely senses that the creatures are clearing the tunnel faster than they expected. Dagobert listens at the collapse debris, and finds that the creatures are also digging through the wall, but will take longer than those clearing debris. Kirok places a scream glyph on the collapsed tunnel entrance while Ugely prepares oil. Wyre flies in, informing them that the creatures are moving up the mountainside. Kirok and Ugely remain in the room, while the rest move towards the entrance. Upon reaching the entrance, they see three of the creatures crawling over the lip of the tunnel, with more coming. Dagobert begins launching fireballs towards the lip, while Wyre and Flagg fight hand-to-hand, killing several of the creatures. Dagobert fires a total of seven fireballs, collapsing a portion of the lip each time, in the process crushing some of the creatures.
In the cavern room, the creatures begin breaking through the wall earlier than expected. Ugely spreads oil by the new opening. Two creatures break through the wall, and almost immediately thereafter the creatures clearing the collapse debris set off the glyph; all of them are stunned. Kirok throws a total of six flasks of oil towards the just-cleared tunnel entrance; one slips and splashes Kirok and Ugely's feet. Meanwhile, Wyre flies out of the opening, carrying a body; he sees about 30 of the creatures still alive, and many bodies. Wyre throws the body, killing another creature, while Flagg lowers by levitation, trying to see where the creatures are coming from. Kirok finishes covering the tunnel entrance with oil; nine of the creatures can be seen lying stunned, seven of them in the tunnel. Kirok notices earth being moved in the fire pit.
August 12, 1995
Kirok begins throwing chunks of gold into the fire pit to prevent the creatures from emerging, crushing several in the process. Kirok uses the helm to scan for thoughts, taking care not to scan the stunned creatures for fear of being affected by the stun himself; he senses nothing. The smell of burning wood begins emanating from the main entrance. Ugely ignites the pool of oil in which the stunned creatures lie, and five of them begin burning. Kirok moves towards the dragon entrance to try and sense for other threats, and senses a malevolent presence. The burning wood scent becomes very strong. Kirok casts Tongues in order to understand the thoughts from the helm. What he is sensing is an animal level of intelligence, hungry, and annoyed at the noise emanating from the glyph. Kirok and Ugely hug the cavern wall and wait for the creature, which is attracted by the scent of burning flesh. The creature appears to be semi-gaseous, a grayish-white cloud, changing shape, slowly moving towards the burning bodies. The cloud creature enters the area affected by the scream glyph, and settles to the ground, appearing to have a solid component. Several of the gnome-like creatures revive, and continue tunneling. Two of them break through the side passage they have created; the flames begin to die down. Ugely and Kirok move further into the large tunnel, and Kirok senses another, younger cloud creature. They move back against the wall. While trying to hide, the second cloud creature notices them. The scent of this creature is somewhat different, like green wood burning. Kirok uses the helm to implant the location of the creature's parent, and the young creature moves towards it. The glyph ends, the adult creature rises, moves to the flames and settles down. The creature then rises; the flames have nearly died out, but the bodies have not been touched. Seven of the gnome-like creatures break through the side tunnel, looking for invaders, with more following. The large creature settles to the ground near the center of the cavern; when it rises, a metallic substance is left behind. Three of the gnome-like creatures move towards Kirok and Ugely, who have positioned themselves at the main tunnel entrance, and battle begins; eight more lie beyond, waiting to attack. The first three are killed, but Ugely has become badly injured; Kirok moves forward to take the attacks, killing several more.
Meanwhile, Flagg levitates back to the opening and is loaned the Wand of Fire in order to seal the four crevasse-like cracks the creatures have been emerging from. Flagg fireballs the deepest crack, sealing it. Dagobert and Wyre begin to fight three of the gnome-like creatures that climb over the lip of the opening, eventually killing them, although Wyre fumbles at one point. Flagg seals another opening. He fires again, and a small piece of the entrance lip breaks off due to the vibrations. He fires a fourth fireball but fumbles in the process, getting slightly singed and dropping the wand. Another chunk breaks off the lip of the opening. Wyre kills his creature and moves to help Dagobert. Flagg recovers the wand, returns to the entrance and says he has sealed the openings and took out four of the creatures climbing the slopes. Ten creatures remain on the cliff side. Dagobert launches a fireball at the injured creatures remaining on the mountainside. The outside group then returns to the cavern.
The outside group, flying on the carpet, arrives in the cavern and attack at the rear of the group of gnome-like creatures; the creatures are destroyed. The material left behind by the clouds is apparently a base metal, hardening and cooling. A fire is started using the bodies of the gnome-like creatures; the cloud creatures approach the fire, settle on the bodies, and the fire is extinguished. Kirok senses that the creatures feel pleasure during the process. After another ten minutes, the small creature moves back up the tunnel and the large creature follows. The group follows on the carpet except for Kirok, who remains in the cavern.
The creatures turn left where the tunnel branches, and the tunnel narrows, not allowing the carpet room to fly. The group flies to the outside entrance, and the one surviving creature is gone. They circle the mountain for a quick look; it is late afternoon. They return to the left-hand tunnel and follow 70'-80'; the tunnel ends in a circular room, natural but cleared out. Dagobert notices condensation on the opposite wall. He enters the room and disappears. Ugely throws a sling stone into the room; nothing happens. He follows it and disappears. Wyre and Flagg walk into the room and disappear.
Each one of them feels tingly as they enter the room, and then black out. They are each probed for the thing which is currently most important to them. When they awake, it seems only five to ten seconds have passed. Dagobert appears in Junker. Ugely appears in an abandoned storeroom containing bags of gold, one ripped open, with which he will be able to buy magical armor to better protect himself in battle. Wyre and Flagg appear in a dungeon cell, near where Q is imprisoned.
After about an hour, Kirok follows their path and traces their footprints to the circular room, where they end. He casts Locate Object on the Rug but senses nothing. He then casts Commune and asks the following questions and receives the following replies:
1: Are the adventurers I was with still alive? Yes.
2: Were they transported somewhere? Yes.
3: Are any of them still within this mountain cavern system? Yes.
4: Are any of them imprisoned? Yes.
5: If I step through this doorway, will I be transported and face the possibility of imprisonment? Yes.
6: Would the imprisonment be by the gnome-like creatures? No.
7: If I step through, will I be transported to the same general location as at least one of my comrades? Yes.
8: Have any of the previously mentioned comrades been harmed? No.
9: Will I be harmed if I step through the doorway? No.
10: Will Jym be able to scry on me if I step through the doorway? Yes.
At this point, about two hours have passed; it is seven to eight o'clock in the evening. Kirok casts Prayer, gets out a magical mace and steps through the doorway. As with the others, he at first feels tingly, and things go black. His mind is probed for the thing utmost in his mind at the moment: Palmdale, the condition of the people there, and what had happened to Ahlric.
He wakes up; it feels to him as if five to ten seconds have passed, but his Prayer has elapsed. It is still dark outside; he is in a wooded clearing, and hears a creek nearby. The terrain seems familiar to him; he is several days' travel east of Palmdale.

October 1995-December 1996
October 15, 1995
Kirok senses his magic items are not nearly as effective as they should be, with a lack of support from his girdle. His spells do not seem to be in effect, probably due to elapsed time rather than the anti-magic effect over the area. He heads east, towards the sound of running water, and after 15-20 minutes, reaches a stream. He notes that a slight amount of light is generated by a handful of glowing sling stones. He follows the river to the north. After about an hour, he smells wood smoke off to the northwest, while the river flows from the northeast. Heading towards the smoke, he hears voices and chopping sounds. Dawn is still several hours away. Making sure his New Britain government symbols are visible, including a replacement ring obtained in Port Indiana, he moves towards a fire in the distance. It originates from a depression in the forest ahead; it is bowl-shaped, about 20' across, containing a large fire. About 20 figures, two ogres and 18 orcs, are seen dancing around the fire, which contains three stakes, each with a dead humanoid. A pile of equipment lies on the opposite side of the depression from Kirok, near the edge of the trees. One ogre and five orcs enter the clearing; this ogre appears to be the leader. After arguing a bit, two of the ogres and 12 orcs leave, apparently on a mission; the rest throw more wood on the fire. Kirok observes for 15-20 minutes more; he then hears sounds of humans being dragged towards the clearing; one is a male, wearing the uniform of the New Britain army; the other is a peasant woman, screaming. They are both dumped near the equipment pile. The man tries to reason with the ogres, with no success. They are stripped of equipment, except for their undergarments. One ogre and ten orcs leave on another raid. Kirok waits until they are out of hearing range, then he begins moving towards the humans.
He hears a noise behind him, and moves behind a tree. A knife is held to his throat; he is asked who he is. He replies with every title available to him, including being a lieutenant in the New Britain army; he adds that he had waited until part of the ogre & orc group was out of hearing, and was about to attempt a rescue. Kirok is told to follow, and sees a total of six darkly clad figures, camouflaged, and armed with bows and swords. They stop in a small clearing about 30-40 yards away to discuss strategy. The ogres and orcs have raided a village, and the rangers are trying to save the populace of about 100 people. The leader suggests Kirok follow the group, since other groups are preparing to strike. There are now two ogres and 20 orcs in the clearing, preparing the humans for burning. As orcs prepare to throw the prisoners into the fire, there is the sound of projectiles, and three of the four orcs fall. 15-20 of the ranger-types enter the clearing. Another wave of missile weapons fly, hitting one of the ogres. Kirok heads along the edge of the clearing towards the other ogre, who is holding the male prisoner as a shield, squeezing his neck. Six orcs and three rangers have fallen by this time. Kirok attacks the ogre from behind as it is leaving, then attempts to subdue it. The ogre throws the man at Kirok, misses, and then runs. Kirok gets in one more hit, then tends to the prisoner, taking him back to the clearing. Two of the rangers have been killed, while the third will likely recover. One of the rangers who was in chase of the retreating orcs and ogres returns, reports that the ogre and 10-15 orcs are moving towards Alberstam, the town that was devastated (where Lactar had at one time left an aircar). There are about 50 rangers in all, which were sent from the south to assist the local population.
Wyre & Flagg
They find themselves in a single person cell, which hasn't been occupied for awhile. Wyre tries the door; it isn't locked, and creaks open. It is cool, underground. The cell is in the middle of a ten-foot wide tunnel, with T's at either end. Wyre scans for evil, sensing something stationary around the corner. They see light from one cell door. They check another cell, which contains a female and is locked. A second is empty, and a third has a dejected-looking male. They hear noise from around the corner. Wyre looks into the lighted cell, which contains a better-dressed male. Wyre gets his attention and asks his name, which is Timothy. He tries to break the lock and fails. They hear the approaching scratch of claws, and two fighting dogs appear from around the corner. Wyre and Flagg attack and kill the dogs. The jailer yells out for the dogs from around the corner, and approaches with another person. Wyre attacks and kills the jailer; the other flees. Wyre chases and tries to get the man to surrender; he doesn't. Wyre attacks, nearly killing the man. Leaving Flagg to guard him, Wyre breaks down the door to Timothy's cell and asks him where they are. Timothy thinks they are on an island owned by an evil merchant who uses the jail to coerce people. Timothy has been here about two months, and is a merchant.
The other guard is coerced into telling them that the keys are in the jailer's desk, but a guard will be patrolling very soon. The guard is tied up, and Flagg gets the keys. Timothy begins unlocking the cells, and gets to several before the sounds of three sets of footsteps are heard. Three guards enter the hallway and attack. All have nice-looking armor. Wyre attacks the youngest guard, Flagg the mid-range guard, and the leader yells for them to surrender. Wyre dispatches his guard, then takes on the leader, who fumbles. Wyre hits several times, giving the guard a critical hit, and he dies. The remaining guard refuses to surrender and lunges at Wyre. Flagg gives the guard a critical hit and proceeds to kill the guard.
January 20, 1996
Wyre & Flagg
The released prisoners remove the weapons off of the bodies. The female prisoner has been there for four months. Both were interrogated, asked for contacts, ransom, etc. They were both blindfolded, so neither knows much about the layout of the place other than that to get to the interrogation room, they were led down sets of stairs.
Wyre is in the lead, Flagg in the rear as they head past the key desk and up stairways. They enter a 20-foot hallway with a left-hand turn at the end; there is the smell of meat cooking and associated sounds and voices. Two evils are detected. 35-40 feet past the turn, the hallway opens into a large kitchen; the eight people there are wearing cleaner than normal clothes. There are open roasting pits, and a source of fresh air. They go back down and pass through a cellblock to the opposite hallway, turn right and reach a T-junction. From the cells to the right emanates a noxious smell, coming from an old, emaciated man who is chained to a bed. Wyre unlocks the door and tells the man that he is free, but should remain quiet if he wants to come along; the man makes incoherent noises. Wyre suggests "Just sit here awhile." and turns to consult Flagg, who had gone off to the left. He reports that they are right next to the guards' quarters, and some of them are getting up. Wyre closes the door and says, "We'll be right back, don't tell anyone we were here."
They continue on and find another set of cellblocks, two of them lit, containing three prisoners. Two of them are evil; the third is an attractive young woman who says upon her release "Give me a weapon. Now." "Zena" follows along. Following the corridor and turning left, an entrance is seen on the right in mid-corridor, and the sound of a metallic winch is heard as an elevator comes down. Three evils are in the car, and the legs of five are seen before the group ducks back around the corner. The elevator soon stops and the riders can be heard to leave. Wyre rings the bell call set in the wall. The operator, a non-evil in expensive civilian clothing and a skullcap headband, obviously doesn't recognize the group. Wyre asks, "How's it going?" He then draws his sword and threatens the man, named Chet. They all board while Wyre asks him which level gets them out, to which he replies, oddly, "You mean, like outside?" Wyre pulls off the headband but is told he won't be able to take them without it, so Wyre holds a knife to the man's throat and says they're not stopping until the top. Ropes and pulleys can be seen on the sides, well oiled. They are currently on level five, with the elevator taking 30 seconds per level. The smell of cooking and sounds of people moving are passed on the way up. On level two, Chet shakes, glancing furtively about; Zena is now standing beside him with a sword. A guard sits behind a desk directly across, and all try to look nonchalant. The guard glances lazily up and vaguely seems not to recognize them. As they pass by, he gets up and calls to people, and clanking armor is heard. On level one, the headpiece is taken from Chet, and he is tied up and gagged.
Winding through the hallways on the first floor, a door is found which leads to the outside. Wyre scouts ahead; they are on a rocky outcrop leading to a rocky plain 15-20 feet below, with the sound of surf several blocks away, and forest is several blocks to the north; this is apparently a side entrance. It is raining and cool. Voices are heard yelling in the distance from the presumed main entrance. Wyre tells the rest to go to the forest while he and Flagg do something; Zena protests, but then leads the rest of the group towards the forest.
Wyre and Flagg go back in, and find clerk cubicles with an office at the far end, and unhappy muttering from within. They hear a door open near the entrance, and dash into the office. An old man in civilian attire looks up, surprised, clutches his chest and collapses; Wyre says "Darn!" Flagg listens at the door while Wyre checks the old man's pulse, which is thready and irregular; he then throws wine in the man's face and slaps him around. The man awakes in pain, unaware. Wyre asks him where they are, and the man says they are in his office, and something about a base; the man slips into unconsciousness and death. Various types of paperwork is on his desk, including humans listed as commodities. Flagg points out a signal pull rope in the corner. As they leave, Wyre turns and says "Sorry." Wyre and Flagg back against a wall, not noticed, as they hear shouted commands and movement. They move to the next hallway to an open door with a larger cubicle inside the room. They rush in and Flagg slams the door, as a younger man rushes for a bell cord; Wyre slams him against the wall. Wyre asks, "Where are we?" The man begins to open his mouth, and Wyre states "No, not in your office. We already killed one guy for that." The man closes his mouth. Wyre asks which continent they are on; just off the Agican continent, off the coast of Bothnia. Wyre asks "Any way off the island? That way being ­ before I kill you." The answer is yes, usually by ship or transport gate; they get the location of the gate from him, and tie him up. "Nothing personal", says Wyre.
They leave the complex, trying to avoid people on the way out. Outside, they notice a large number of armored men massing at the entrance. They estimate the rest of their group has a 10-15 minute head start on them. They head back in with flasks of oil, intending to slow down pursuers, but the wind blows the door open, revealing three guards. Wyre and Flagg charge them as the guards order them to stop; Wyre kills one, the other yells for help. Wyre pushes Flagg outside and holds the door shut while he tries to find a key, and more guards arrive to push against the door. He finally bends the door handle, and does the same to the other door. As they move down the hillside, they see 8-10 bobbing lights, which don't immediately follow until they reach the end of the boulder field; they have a 10-15 minute head start at best. After Wyre and Flagg enter the forest, Zena makes contact and motions to where the others were sheltering.
The remainder of the night is spent in a forced hike. Towards dawn they clear the forest, but are slowing considerably. Wyre calls for his magic warhorse and places three of them on it. The transport door is ahead, pointing towards the mainland, which is to the west. They soon reach the door, and wait an hour until the door is large enough for the horse. They go through, and find themselves on a grassy plain, at about the same altitude. Flagg uses the Girdle of Levitation to see if magic works; the device flickers, as if barely functional, but it is not useful.
He wakes in the small side chapel he used when stationed in Moradin's temple complex in Junker. Only devotional candles light the room; he can barely hear chanting from a service. He leaves, putting out one of the candles. The corridors are empty; as he approaches the small worship hall, it's clear that it is the end-of-day service. Five parishioners sit on rocks, with a cleric and forge boy in the sanctuary. Dagobert kneels briefly in the center aisle and bangs an anvil by the door with a hammer as he leaves. He heads towards the quarters wing of the temple hierarchy, passing one guard on the way. The wing is unguarded, with one unarmed concierge sitting behind a desk. Both recognize each other; the concierge, a warrior-type, was two classes behind Dagobert. He requests to see Eberwulf, the cleric he trained under, who is fairly high in the hierarchy. The dwarf protests that it is late, but goes to get him while Dagobert signs the register.
Eberwulf appears 10-15 minutes later in his bathrobe, and invites Dagobert back to his small suite. They sit at the kitchen table as Dagobert explains about the
Cygnus and the potential utility of its technology in slowing the humans' use of magic. He tells of the group's ties to the New Britain government, and the litany of threats to the ship and the group as well as the currently poor state of its defense. He also mentions their spying among the dwarven extremists and the documents they recovered. Eberwulf agrees to let Dagobert use a temple storage room for transfers between the Cygnus and the temple, and to allow Dagobert to recruit fighters for the starship, keeping the ship and the group secret during the hiring process. Dagobert is given quarters for his stay.
He wakes up in a long, dusty, carved stone room. The room is silent, unlit, with stale, dank air. There is a door at one end without a lock, just a latch. There is about 30,000 g.p. within canvas bags; about 10% of the bags are in deteriorating condition. The other side of the door is hidden; beyond the door lies a meeting room with 40-50 decrepit chairs and four tables, and a door hanging off its hinges on the opposite wall. The air is a little fresher, with less dust. In the hall outside is a faint heat trace, as if something had passed in the last 4-5 minutes. Fresher air is sensed from a fireplace in the center of the right wall; the chimney is too narrow to pass through. Ugely is unable to open another secret door to the right of the other.
Ugely hears snuffling and scratching sounds outside of the room, and a large dog, a Rotweiler, looks inside the room. The dog is wary but not hostile, with a wound on its left shoulder. Ugely tosses food halfway to the dog, but it won't come closer than five feet. Ugely explores the hallway, the dog following 10-15 feet behind. The hallway turns to the left and the right beyond the room; to the left can be seen steps, which are heavily worn on the side closest to the room. On the right is another room containing sleeping cots for 10-12 humans, secret doors, shelving and weapons racks with 10 sheathed longswords and room for 90 more. Ugely goes around the right corner and up the stairs; the dog had briefly come this way earlier. At the top the hallway curves to the right; they follow it for about 20 feet when the dog crouches down and growls, the hair on its neck standing. They continue on, and the sound of aimless, abnormal footsteps can be heard; the hallway soon joins up with the mirror corridor to the other set of stairs, with another hallway heading to the left. Ugely creeps to the intersection and is hit by a wave of decay and putrefaction. Using the Helm of Telepathy, he senses hostility and hunger from several beings. He rounds the corner on a carpet; the hallway opens out into a 20-foot wide arc shape with a closed doorway. The floor is strewn with fresh bones, armor fragments, and six ghouls who notice and come towards him.
Ugely heads back downstairs the way he came, trying not to get too far ahead so the ghouls will follow. The dog follows, nervous about the rug. He stops at the bottom to allow the ghouls to catch up, then hovers at the far door, heads up the stairway. Fresh bones from a badly dismembered body lie at the end of the hallway; he is able to only partially open a door, which leads to 25 feet of passageway and a crack in the hillside. The dog is very excited by this and quickly leaves. He returns to the intersection as three ghouls round the corner. He proceeds to turn them, then another, then the last two. He follows them down past the sleeping quarters as they drag debris to block the stairway. It soon becomes clear that they aren't going to return.
He returns to the crack; outside is a rocky hill area with a valley and the lights of a city in the distance, and there is a salty tang to the air. The ground is wet; the dog's footprints lead towards the city, the ghouls' footprints in random directions. He closes the door to the outside and sleeps on the rug in the gold room until morning. He leaves the Girdle of Dwarvenkind in the room, seals it up, and heads towards town.
Jym unsuccessfully attempts to scry on Kirok and Dagobert. He does open a poorly placed scry on Ugely, who can be seen walking away down a street. Jym sticks his head out and yells "Hey, Ugely!" Several people reply "I beg your pardon?", "Same to you!" etc. Jym points to Ugely saying "No, him Ugely." to which they reply "Yeah? You dumbass." Ugely notices and responds "Hey Jym, what are you doing?" Jym asks where he is. "Kithis." Jym says "Well...bite me. But where are you?" Jym asks if there was anything interesting in the magic shops, but Ugely hadn't yet made it to one. Jym tells Ugely that he better get back to the ship, to which Ugely replies, "Why should I?" Ugely does indeed board the ship. Jym unsuccessfully attempts to scry on Wyre.
October 11, 1996
It is approximately 1:00 a.m. The leader of the rangers says that Kirok can come along with them, but he must stay in the background. Kirok asks about Palmdale. The leader received orders from Malveria before the dome went up over the city, and doesn't know what's happening to the west. The field affecting magic is centered in the mountains to the east. The rangers leave the two prisoners in Kirok's care, as he decides to head towards Palmdale. They are: Miranda, a L-G fighter, and "Black Fox" or Frentilias, a N-G elven Magic-User. They camp for the night, uneventfully.
The next day they travel through the woods in a south-southwest direction, following the river. Towards dusk, it feels like it is going to rain. As the group walks along, with Kirok in the lead, Frentilias sees the head and shoulders of a human-sized shape in the river, which then submerges. The group moves a bit further away from the river. Kirok senses a bolt being fired and has the group drop. More are fired, and Frentilias, now invisible, sees about eight bipedal shapes approaching. Frentilias and Miranda continue to observe invisibly and see a total of about 15 figures. Kirok casts a Prayer while Miranda fires a warning arrow. Kirok fires a Magic Missile, as does Frentilias, and Miranda fires more arrows at what now appear to be lizardmen. Kirok kills the leader and knocks another one out. Frentilias uses Burning Hands and burns the crossbow of one of the lizardmen. He is then critically hurt and falls unconscious to the ground. Miranda is also critically hurt. Kirok smashes one, while Miranda is bit. Kirok is hit, then kills another. He uses Cure Light Wounds on Miranda as she binds her wound. Miranda kills a lizardman with a critical hit, kills another, and inflicts another critical wound. Kirok kills another. Miranda kills the critically hit lizardman. The seven remaining lizardmen retreat to the river; Kirok fires Magic Missiles at them. A potion of Life Restoration is administered to Frentilias to restore him to life. Parts are taken from the dead lizardmen for bounty. On the bodies of the eight lizardmen are found six gems, six pieces of jewelry and one crossbow, the other having burned up.
The group keeps moving for awhile, then sets up the Daern's Instant Fortress for the night. They continue on the next day, and by 4:00 p.m. they reach a bridge and head for Ylldana, encountering some traffic. A caravan of about 20 people, protected by mercenaries, passes by; the group asks for a ride. They ask to check the groups' alignment, and the wife casts a Know Alignment. Kirok asks to do the same, but they say they just wanted to be careful and ask that he not cast the spell. The fortress is set up for the night for the entire group. They reach Ylldana around dusk of the following evening; there are more soldiers around town than usual, with more being mobilized. Kirok checks with the military about borrowing horses to get to Palmdale, and if there is any news about Palmdale; there is none. Zyconia has been overrun, and the dome is up over Malveria, but it is flickering. Kirok is later asked by townspeople who know of him about the news from where he has been. It is decided not to set up the fortress outside of town, due to the unpredictability of the magical field. Kirok monitors the communications mirror given to him by the government; communications from the west coast are blocked by the anti-magic crack.
November 16, 1996
Wyre, Flagg & Zena
The group heads west from the transport door. Around 2:00 p.m., a pillar of black smoke is seen to the north. The group camps for the night. Wyre wakes before sunrise, and notices that Flagg is gone. Wyre tracks him, and eventually finds him digging at a pile of rocks, with a bag nearby. Wyre asks him what is going on; Flagg is unsure. Wyre picks up the bag, and Flagg becomes concerned. Upon opening the bag, Wyre finds a small container filled with mushrooms. Wyre sends Flagg back to the rest of the group.
Wyre rides on towards the site of the black smoke, and soon nears a town, primarily clustered along the southwest edge of a lake. The business district has been badly damaged, and he sees bodies as he approaches. He hears the voices of children, who panic when they see him; he calms them down. He learns ogres and orcs have attacked the town. A wildeyed shopkeeper attacks, but Wyre is able to disarm him. Two more survivors come out to meet Wyre. A barge containing four people is seen moving away from shore. Wyre talks to them, but they don't think he can be trusted. He eventually convinces them to return, but one of the men jumps off and swims away from town. A surviving militiaman, Zachary, is in command of the barge. He tells Wyre that as the town was being invaded, the magic shop owner waited until the attackers approached his shop; he then blew it up. Following this, the ogres and orcs went berserk.
Eventually, 15 survivors gather; they ask if Wyre could go to the nearest town or transport door for help. He arms the citizens and helps clear the bodies. Wyre returns to his campsite. As Flagg wakes up, he momentarily seems to have a second personality, but soon returns to normal ­ Wyre takes away his weapons as a precaution. They camp for the night, then the group heads for Jasin ­ the devastated town. 25 survivors have gathered by this time, led by Zachary.
While in Junker, Dagobert recruits four dwarves for the Cygnus 10; two of them are brothers. He tells them that he is hiring to staff a very old, above ground building; it will consist mostly of guard duty, with some work in adjacent areas. Dagobert spends the night in the temple, and is scryed on the next morning by Jym.
Kirok, Miranda & Frentilias (Black Fox)
Everyone in Ylldana is nervous about the ongoing war. Kirok is loaned one light warhorse by the local garrison; the group buys two additional light riding horses. They spend the night at an inn, and leave the next morning, with Kirok carrying a status report from the garrison to the military outpost in Palmdale. That evening, they decide to chance raising the Fortress, and are successful; there are no incidents. In the morning they are able to retrieve the Fortress, barely, and continue on. Around noon they pass by the old, burned-out inn, which has recently been used as a campground. Later in the afternoon, four horsemen approach from the direction of Palmdale and initially react cautiously, then relax. Their leader approaches and small talk is exchanged. Kirok asks about Palmdale; there are many refugees gathered there, and the moat has been filled. The rest of the group approaches ­ they appear to be a successful adventuring group, and soon depart. The group leaves the forest.
By nightfall, the group is about an hour's distance from Palmdale, and can see flickering lights about 25 city blocks away. Black Fox hears the noise of someone tripping nearby and moves his horse out ahead; the others wheel around, drawing weapons. Kirok yells "Who goes there!" A larger-than-human figure throws a large rock, missing Kirok. Kirok sees three figures, 30 feet out into the grass. A light appears on one of the figures as Black Fox casts a spell, and a group of six orcs and three ogres is illuminated. Kirok attempts a Flame Strike, but it fizzles. Miranda fires arrows; another boulder is thrown at Kirok and misses. Kirok tries another Flame Strike and fails. Black Fox fires Magic Missiles, and the third ogre drops its boulder.
Black Fox heads for Palmdale as Kirok and Miranda dismount, fighting back-to-back. Kirok hits one of the ogres, but the glyph on his weapon doesn't go off. Miranda hits in the next round, as does Kirok. The glyph goes off, paralyzing the ogre. Miranda kills her ogre, then an orc. Kirok uses the paralyzed ogre as a shield, but is hit. Kirok kills an orc, as does Miranda; who is also slightly wounded. Meanwhile, as Black Fox approaches the bridge over the moat, the guards and a spellcaster mobilize. Miranda kills two more orcs, Kirok a third with a critical hit. The paralyzed ogre becomes free and attacks Kirok, as Miranda mounts Kirok's horse to chase the remaining ogre, who has stopped trying to swat the light above it as the battle turns against it. Kirok hits his ogre; the ogre fumbles, hitting Kirok's mace for additional damage.
Black Fox is stopped and questioned about what is happening. Miranda continues her chase; the ogre bellows for help as the light goes out. Miranda hits well but is hit in turn. Kirok continues to attack his ogre, and continues missing, as the ogre flees. Five townspeople arrive and help Kirok give chase.
December 14, 1996
Kirok, Miranda & Black Fox
Miranda fires a crossbow bolt at her ogre and misses. Meanwhile, guards reach Kirok, looking to him for information; he tells them to attack his retreating ogre. One of the guards hits the ogre twice with arrows, killing it. Kirok tells them to look for Miranda. Miranda chases her ogre and fires, fumbling. She then hits and kills the ogre. As Kirok and the guards continue looking for her, Kirok notices all the magical lights in Palmdale go out; only torchlight remains. Magic items no longer work, except for the shard of crystalline magic worn by Kirok. Miranda searches her ogre and finds a small pouch. She then rides towards the road and meets up with the others; one of the guards soon finds the remaining horse. The group heads to Palmdale. There is no one on the outer edge of the moat; along the inner edge, there are a large number of army personnel and guards watching for invaders. Kirok asks about recent events; in the last 4-5 days, the anti-magic effects have become most pronounced. Runners were sent out for information, and some of them have failed to return, especially those sent towards the south. Kirok asks about Ahlric; she disappeared about three weeks ago, during a period when there was alot of activity at the headquarters building. Before Ahlric left, some former residents of the town had begun returning, and a magic-user had inquired about setting up a magic shop.
They are halted at the edge of town, and a rider comes out with two men; the rider is Colonel Westing of the New Britain army. He remarks that Kirok is shorter than he expected; Kirok replies that he can be replaced. The colonel, who asks that Kirok remove his weapons before entering town, questions Kirok. Kirok balks at this, stating that he founded this town, and is a member of the army. The colonel assigns four "honor guards" to accompany Kirok's group, which then crosses the bridge into town. The corner of town they first pass through is quiet; townspeople can be seen gathered near the center of town, as well as Black Fox. There are 74 townspeople, 23 guards and about 50 army personnel gathered in addition to Black Fox. Janice sees Kirok, yells out to him, and moves towards him along with others. The colonel realizes Kirok is who he says he is, and heads back to army headquarters to look at the message brought by Kirok. Kirok speaks with Janice as they head for Palmdale Headquarters; Leonard sees Kirok from a second floor window and yells out; people rush out of the headquarters building (#18) to greet him.
Wyre, Flagg & Zena
The town survivors have scrounged supplies for 30 people to survive for about two weeks. 95% of the buildings have been destroyed. Five horses and two serviceable wagons are found ­ Wyre sends them out, keeps the remaining people in town with Flagg; Wyre says Flagg is not well and should stay behind. The wagons, accompanied by Wyre, leave around noon. Travel that day is uneventful.
The next day they see a trampled-down area in the grass off to the side of their route, circular, about 30 feet in diameter, which contained a campfire; about 15 individuals had been here. Wyre sees a glint of metal in the clearing, which turns out to be a ceremonial dagger, deliberately hidden, which is of the house of King Randolff.
The group approaches a body of water near evening; the magic is flickering more than it had been. They see a north-south river at dusk, with a road paralleling it on the opposite side. They camp for the night. During the night Zena wakes Wyre, says she hears noises. Wyre sends Zena to wake the others while he watches the road. He sees many torches and hears the clanking of armor. There are 30-40 people with about 12 torches, armored horses in a column. Wyre decides to let them pass. Zena objects but goes along. The column stops, having seen their campfire. Wyre, Zena and Zachary return to the group. Soon they hear a large thud, sounds of movement, than sloshing sounds, whispering. A yell inquires who they are, and Wyre replies with who they are and where they are going. Zachary rushes towards the army and is subdued. About 12 soldiers approach, wearing New Britain uniforms. The leader is Lieutenant Kassidy from Sustrillo base; the group is on their way to the town of Pinnacle. Wyre says he would like to accompany them. Wyre detects no evils; the army group uses a wand to scan Wyre's group, and detects no evils. The soldiers have been on the road for eight days since heading north from Sustrillo. The lieutenant is surprised to hear of the attack on Jasin. Wyre asks if anyone has been kidnapped recently; the lieutenant says the king's grandson, Andrew, a captain, had been assigned to protect villages to the south, and contact has been lost with him. Zachary asks if they could go get the other townspeople from Jasin, but the lieutenant thinks they should go to Pinnacle first.
They continue on the next day. By 2:00 p.m. they reach an area to ford the river, and cross it to join the army group. They camp for the night. The next day they follow the road to the northwest, and push through the evening, reaching the town around 9:00 p.m. The lieutenant takes Zachary to the government office to inform them of what happened to Jasin. Wyre and Zena separate from the others for the night and get lodging. Wyre checks out the magic shops the next morning, in an effort to find scrying services; he is told that mirrors are available in Kroft, which is three days away. He tells Zena that he has something to do, but can't tell her yet; she goes along.
They travel for a day and camp; traffic can be heard on the river. The next day they pass travelers from Kroft, and camp for the evening. The next day they reach Kroft around 10:00 p.m., and camp outside the town. There is one large magic shop. Wyre checks for a mirror ­ there is one wall-sized mirror available here, smaller than what Wyre had hoped for. Wyre bargains with the shop owner, offering to give him the ceremonial dagger if he can shrink Andrew after scrying on him. Wyre wishes to do this at midnight. He informs Zena about what he is planning.
Wyre returns to the shop at 11:30 p.m. The shopkeeper's son will watch the shop during the operation; protections have been set up. The first scry attempt fails. They are able to try again in an hour, and are successful. It is a dark view of a large cave and smoky figures of at least ten orcs. The view is at human-head height; the cave is 25-30 feet across with a fire burning in a pit. About 30 feet away is seen a bound and gagged Andrew along with two others. The shop owner has two patches ready to shrink people; Wyre asks if he can cast a spell to reduce the size of the third person, and is told his son can. With 25 minutes left until the doorway closes, Wyre goes through, invisibly. He tries to light an oil flask to throw up one hallway, but drops the tinderbox; he tries again and is successful. Eight orcs begin running towards the fire while one remains to guard the prisoners. Wyre throws another flask. The remaining orc moves around the fire pit to see what is happening. Wyre unties Andrew, then a woman ­ she tries to talk, and the orc looks in her direction. Wyre whispers for her to be silent, and the orc looks away. Wyre unties the third person, tells them his plan and shrinks Andrew and the woman. The three captives move towards the doorway, with a rope hanging out. The woman climbs up first; Andrew has a little trouble, but gets through. Wyre kills the orc. The third man grabs the window edge, is shrunk, and goes through. Wyre follows.

February 1, 1997

Jym, Ugely & Dagobert
Jym successfully scrys on Dagobert, opening a window onto a storeroom containing Dagobert and four dwarven fighters; blackboards in the room have written on them "Come in Jym, I'm expecting you." Jym cautiously sticks his head through the mirror to communicate. Dagobert fills in Jym about what has happened since his disappearance. Dagobert and the dwarves go through the mirror, and Dagobert quickly explains the true nature of the starship to them, as the gold from the dragon's lair is transferred to the dwarven complex to be refined. Jym attempts to scry on Ugely's girdle and fails.
Townspeople from Martinet watch as the starship passes nearby. Jym flies by magic carpet into town to have magic items analyzed, and makes a deal at the second shop for a cost of 600 g.p., with the items to be ready the next day. The following morning, Jym tries to scry on Ugely's girdle and fails; he successfully scrys on Eddie, a technician from the ship who stayed behind at the temple yesterday ­ supplies for the crew are transferred through. Jym attempts to scry on the dragon's lair and Kirok's Ring of Wonder, and fails. He returns to town for the magic items; the longsword couldn't be analyzed (must be claimed), and the scroll must be read to learn its properties. Analyzed items include a Pearl of Wisdom, +1 small shield, Broadsword of Anything, +2 axe, Scarab of Protection, and a Wand of Illusion (27 charges). Jym sells the scroll, shield, and axe. He learns that runners from Quarrel have mentioned rumors about the starship; it is heading to the north. Jym spreads rumors that the ship is heading back towards the mountains. He buys supplies for himself before leaving town.
The next day Jym fails on attempts to scry on the girdle, dragon's lair, Ring of Wonder, and Rudolph. Late that night, Q, who has been suspended by a rope in anticipation, has his monthly explosion. Early the following day, Jym successfully scrys on the girdle ­ the doorway opens on a dark room. Jym throws a glowing sling stone through to light the area, and nothing has changed. Jym, Ugely, and Dagobert go through to explore, as technicians gather the gold. Jym unlocks the secret door in this room with a Knock spell; stale air emanates from the opening. Ugely opens the door, and Dagobert enters first. Dust is on the floor, as well as a mummified body in leather armor with a small bag, and magic tool (lock pick) grasped in its hand. A sliding panel is discovered on the floor near the body, which had apparently opened it. A technician enters and says that something is happening outside the ship. Jym leaves for the ship, Ugely grabs the lock pick, and Dagobert grabs the head. Ugely and Dagobert go through the mirror; Dagobert hears a sliding sound from the secret room, and a large snakehead is seen coming through the secret door as the mirror doorway closes. A technician says that Stotty wants them on the bridge immediately; Dagobert drops the head and tells the technician to guard the gash in the ship as they run towards the bridge. The red alert klaxon goes off, and the ship shudders, changes directions. Jym announces that all dwarven crewmembers are to go to observation posts to monitor what is happening. Jym announces, "Prepare for collision! All hands stand by for crash landing!" On the bridge, the viewscreen shows trees in the lower portion. Stotty yells for the two to strap themselves in. Rending metal is heard, and Stotty yells "Jym, the ship canna take much more o' this!" The ship comes to a stop in about two minutes; it is at an angle, with the front lower than the back. Jym tries to use the intercom; there is static, but it still works. Someone announces that apparently Tyree was lost in the area of the gash. A tech says another person is also missing in that area, and the wall has been ripped away. Technicians are told to report in; two techs and one of the new hires are not heard from.
Jym explains on the way that Stotty had seen a silver dragyn pass by the ship, and it had apparently teleported the ship about 400 miles distance to the east; there may be mountains to the north. The three exit the ship through the rear core, and see a trail of crushed trees. Jym flies with his Ring of Flying to view the situation as Stotty begins damage control. Jym finds the bodies of the three missing personnel. He returns to the ship, checks the Mirror of Mental Prowess ­ it appears to be frosted. He tries for a window on himself but can't get a picture. He fails the next time; on the last scry of the day he opens a door. He pushes a stick through ­ it feels like a viscous liquid. He pushes the stick all the way through, then throws a light stone through, appearing to cause ripples. A sentience begins communicating with him in a sing-song tone, saying it is of the world of magic and feels that Jym is a part of that magic, and wants Jym to join it. It says it will give Jym time to consider, as manufactured hands emerge from the mirror, delivering skeletal remains clothed in an early form of the Palmdale uniform ­ it is the body of Ator, previously stored in stasis aboard the airship
Wyre & Zena
Wyre is told by Andrew that before he was taken prisoner, Andrew had learned from a captured human allied with the orcs and ogres that the town of Heaven's Glen was being used as a base by a group of humans who had allied themselves with the orcs and ogres. Their secret weapon, the being that was causing the distortions in the magic field, also was based in this town. The being's name is Clea.
The following morning, Wyre and Zena accompany Andrew and six soldiers as they leave town for the nearby magical institute, near a pass in the mountains leading to Bothnia. They reach it the next day; the institute hasn't had luck in contacting the outside world, only nearby cities. A team soon begins scrying attempts on Heaven's Glen.
Kirok, Miranda & Black Fox
The staff comes out of the headquarters building to greet Kirok. There are rumors of enemy troops massing around the cities; groups that went out into the wilderness, to the south and southeast, didn't report back. Colonel Westing leaves an aide behind with Kirok. Some of the people associated with the Palmdale group are living in individual homes; George and Gracie are living in one of the business fronts. Kirok asks about Ahlric ­ Lenard says he should explain inside the headquarters, and takes him to Ahlric's room. There is a burnt smell ­ items inside the room were charred, covered with ash; the fire was centered in the bed. It happened during the night with the sound of fire and a window breaking. They couldn't get in at first, as if the door were barred. Once they were able to enter they saw what is seen now, with no sign of Ahlric's child who had not yet been born. This took place about two days before Ahlric was destroyed. Kirok tells Lenard what had happened with Ahlric. Lenard informs Kirok that a few more people had settled in town.
Miranda checks the contents of the bag found on an ogre; it contains 10 black, uncut, gem-like objects. Pressure changes the shape of the objects. She picks one up ­ no reaction; she returns them back to the bag, and some warmth is emanated. Meanwhile, Black Fox helps clear homes with a town guard; the guard tells tall tales about the Palmdalians. Around midnight, as they near the edge of town closest to the desert, it is difficult to see due to the sand blowing in. The guard and two sentrys head back towards the main part of town while Black Fox continues looking towards the edge of town; he sees a humanoid form, which then melts into the background. Black Fox alerts the guard and throws a torch towards the moat ­ he sees three figures, and fires in their direction. The sound of rubbing sand increases. The guard goes for assistance, tells Kirok that he should take a look. Kirok and guards head for that part of town. Three soldiers head out towards where the figures were last sighted ­ one man disappears into the sand, and the others dig for him with their swords, only finding his torch.

March 1, 1997
Kirok, Miranda & Black Fox
Eighteen people have now gathered around Kirok. Kirok sends a runner to get an aircar, shovels and weapons, and orders the soldiers back inside the moat; the soldiers walk along the hard ground on the edge of the moat towards the bridge. A bubble of sand about five feet in diameter is seen at the edge of torchlight, following the soldiers. Miranda suggests torches be thrown out towards the area of the bubble to keep it at bay, and Miranda, Black Fox and a soldier begin throwing lit torches. The bubble leaps over the thrown torches in a last effort to catch the men. A thrown torch hits the creature, and a bubbling sound is heard. The creature lands on the lower portion of one of the soldiers, attempting to drag him back with it. A group of 24 people have now gathered. The attacked soldier tries to hit the sand creature with his sword, as arrows are fired and more torches are thrown; Miranda hits with an arrow and Kirok with a torch. A soldier fumbles while two more arrows hit, and two guards inflict critical hits; the attacked man hits the creature, and it stops moving.
Kirok sees five smaller bubbles at the edge of the firelight. Black Fox looks for more torch material as Miranda and soldiers head to the bridge. Janice rounds one of the buildings in an aircar. The small bubbles move towards the large, unmoving bubble. One of the smaller creatures is hit, stops and quivers, making a high-pitched whining. Kirok yells for people to hold their fire unless the creatures come closer; at the same time a soldier fires an arrow, getting a critical hit. Fifteen soldiers reach the attacked man; the texture of the creature has now changed, and the soldier is easily able to get up. Meanwhile, Kirok tells Janice to take a crew to dig for the lost soldier. The freed man hits at the remains of the mother creature while other soldiers stand guard on the hard ground. Kirok goes on foot to check on the large creature. The aircar dips into the moat as Janice tries to cross, and the sound of gears grinding is heard as she tries to pull it back out. A crowd of 35 people has now gathered near the bridge.
On reaching the remains of the mother creature, Kirok sees the armor of the missing man; the freed soldier has sand burns on his lower body. Two of the small creatures begin retreating; a captain yells to stop them. Miranda suggests using shields in an attempt to capture the creatures. She tries this on one, and it exudes a psudopod of sand towards her, but misses. Containers are rounded up for the creatures as soldiers join in the capture. A soldier catches another creature, but it wraps a tentacle around his head. Black Fox throws sheets of canvas across the moat to help with the capture effort. One of the creatures is placed inside a canvas, another wraps itself around a soldier's head, and a third is captured on a shield, guarded by a group of people; the other two creatures escape into the darkness. The creature on the shield is thrown onto solid ground near the moat and quivers there. Miranda tries to free the attacked soldier and fumbles as the creature falls to the ground. A soldier fires and misses. Kirok tries to capture it and fumbles. The quivering creature bounces into the moat in an effort to escape. Miranda's creature moves towards freedom; meanwhile, a large bubble of air rises from the submerged creature in the moat, and a film of sand is left behind. Miranda captures the creature near her, and it hits her; she hangs on to it with the help of a soldier. Another air bubble rises from the moat, and an amorphous blob rises to the surface. It is pulled out of the moat and placed along the side ­ it doesn't move. The creature Miranda captured is placed inside canvas.
The remains of the missing soldier are found among the remains of the mother creature. The aircar is extracted. The two captured creatures are placed inside barrels and taken to the abandoned shop building #11. It is about 2:00 a.m.
Jym, Ugely & Dagobert
It is now around noon. Reports are given on the shape of the ship; there is now a smaller gash on the underside of the ship. The sleep chambers, arboretum and engine room have been damaged. Stotty suggests moving the ship only a short distance, if possible, and all non-essential systems should be turned off. Jym contacts Professor Nimrod, asking him about the dragyn and the current state of the mirror. Nimrod knows of cracked mirrors that still operated as communications devices, but led onto other planes. He recommends that Jym take a crystal ball with him. He says that illusion-using creatures, demons and their like have been known to speak the way the mirror did, in a child-like voice. He says this is an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. Jym says he plans to go through the mirror tomorrow morning, and will later try to contact him. Jym learns that Palmdale is out of contact; he tells Nimrod that they should be notified of the situation with the starship when possible.
Jym sends his hawk (Stringfellow) north to scout during daylight, and to return during the night. The next morning, the hawk says that halfway back on its return to the ship, is saw a campfire to the east. Jym prepares to scry, leaving the Broom of Flying behind and giving Dagobert the Pearl of Wisdom. Jym, carrying a wand, opens a door with the mirror; Dagobert and Ugely are there to see him off. Jym senses intelligence from the mirror; in the distance, a pounding can be felt. Over the intercom is announced that something is coming from the west, below the treetops. Jym curses. The intelligence says, "Jym, you have returned. Are you ready to join me in the magic?" Jym sends Stringfellow out to scout. The creature beyond the mirror continues to urge Jym; Jym asks it how it knew his name, and it tells him "All those in the magic know those outside the magic. We have need of you now in the magic. If you don't join us now, we may not be able to try again." Meanwhile, Stringfellow flies outside the ship and sees a shape. The intelligence is more insistent, saying he must go through now. Jym says he can't, he is still preparing himself, and it must be patient. It says it must leave now, but if Jym leaves a part of himself, it may be able to communicate again. Outside the ship, Stringfellow sees the colossus Thornival approaching, carrying a gold ring one-foot in diameter. Jym removes his magic shard, and mentally says he hopes to learn of the magic, and is sending a part of his magic, and hopes to soon follow; he throws it through. He gets a faint response about exchanging gifts, and a small bundle, the size of a small suitcase and wrapped in cloth, comes through the mirror. Cracks begin appearing in the corners of the mirror. Jym unwraps the object; it is a box.
Thornival steps into the clearing around the ship. Stringfellow sees inscriptions on the ring. Jym goes to the inner core of the ship. Thornival speaks: "Jym, I have returned, please present yourself." Thornival sees Jym coming up the tube, and Jym soon reaches the lip. Thornival says, "My quest is complete." and hands Jym the ring. Dagobert uses Detect Evil on it, but it is not. There are rune-like inscriptions, images ­ elven pictographs. Ugely says it is ancient, and he isn't able to understand most of it. It appears to be either a blessing or a warning to the user. The three pictographs he understands are for the concept of space or distance travel, the healing arts, and of a group, more than one individual. Jym grasps it, thanking Thornival, and asks it if knows anything about the ring. Thornival says it had been buried in the remains of an ancient elven village in the mountains to the north. Jym says if it needs him in the future, he would be willing to help. Thornival ignores him and heads to the north.

March 15, 1997
Jym, Ugely & Dagobert
Jym has grasped the foot-long artifact with no effect. A Detect Magic spell gives off a bright, old glow. The metal is cold at first but soon warms, as if it has no antipathy towards him. Jym concentrates, reaching out with his feelings; he senses an awareness of Jym's presence, as if it is waiting for Jym to do something. Jym thinks of himself and of his ownership of the artifact, but doesn't make a connection. He tries to think in elvish, with the same result. He requests help from the object ­ with his eyes closed, he begins to see images of places he's been, places he's familiar with. Prestana, the orphanage, a voyage at sea, a trip to where his parents were born, a magician's retreat, a small town near Prestana, a seaport south of Prestana, an embarkation port to the Isle of Life. He focuses on the study chamber of a magician Jym studied artifacts under. The artifact prompts him for an activation command, and how many others will be with him. He tries alone, but after several minutes gets the sensation that a trigger has been pulled, but whatever was supposed to happen wasn't set off. He concentrates on the lobby of the magical institute in Prestana, with the same results.
Jym briefs Ugely and the rest on what has been happening, and has Ugely also grasp the artifact. He concentrates on the magician's study chamber in Bothnia, currently under the magic-damping effect. They get the sensation of energy building, and Dagobert sees a shimmering effect for a second, then they are gone. Jym and Ugely get the feeling of pressure building; seemingly a few seconds later they appear in the location that Jym pictured in his mind. The room is darkened, containing a woman studying scrolls, her back to them. Jym concentrates on where he had previously been, near the
Cygnus 10; the artifact seems to sputter. The two quietly back out into the hall. As they climb the stairs, a scullery maid sees them, drops her tray and yells for help. The two hide in a supply closet behind containers. Male voices are heard asking the woman what she saw.
Meanwhile, Dagobert, using the Speak with Animals spell, asks Stringfellow if he knows where Jym is ­ the hawk only knows that Jym is still alive; four hours have elapsed since Jym and Ugely teleported. Dagobert flies on the broom to investigate the group that had been camping nearby, letting the rest of the crew know where he is going.
Jym and Ugely, still holding on to the artifact, concentrate and teleport out, appearing at dusk in the interior of the
Cygnus 10.
Wyre & Zena
Wyre asks if the people at the magic institute could use a scry to take him, Zena and the prince to Malveria, and try and scry on him again the next day and pick them up. They tell him their scrying ability is decreasing by the hour, and they have to use crystal magic to boost the mirror. They tell him he has half an hour to gather supplies before they attempt a scry, and they won't be able to scry them back. The last report said the semi-translucent shield is up over Malveria. The scry opens up on the road between Malveria and Zyconia; the dome is about 100 yards away to the south. They go through, Wyre and Zena with their horses. The magic-user sticks his head through and says they have three more groups to send out, then they will abandon the location due to orc and ogre infestation in the area.
It is about 3:00 p.m., a clear day. Magic is barely working in this area as well. A large group of about 60-70 orcs, not mounted, are south of them on the road, notice their presence and rush towards them. The prince's group rushes towards Malveria. The prince stops at the edge of the shield, and tells the others to think peaceful thoughts. Zena and two guards bounce off at first, but soon go through; one of the guards has a problem. Wyre tries to calm him, tells him to look at something, and hits him in the head, making him groggy. Wyre drags him through. Orcs follow, but bounce off the shield. The prince goes to the seat of government, the rest follow. The prince reports what has happened to him, and what he's learned. There has been no success in raising a force to respond to the orcs due to the pacifying effect of the dome. The city is crowded with refugees seeking shelter. Wyre discusses with the others possible questions to ask the oracle.
Kirok, Miranda & Black Fox
In the morning, the army and the town guards send a group of eight to investigate the Palmdale graveyard; Kirok, Miranda and Black Fox choose to accompany them. A rider from Ylldana says he had no trouble on the road. Kirok informs those at Palmdale headquarters of where he is going. Oppenheimer offers to go along with his aircar and a recently installed 'gattling gun' which rapidly fires crossbow bolts. By about 10:30 a.m. the group nears the graveyard, and a soldier scouts ahead; he looks over a rise near the graveyard and has the group halt, having seen movement in the graveyard.
The chapel is in the center of the graveyard. The army lieutenant suggests sending someone out to get a view inside the chapel. Black Fox volunteers to scout, along with one of the soldiers. Black Fox sees four orcs outside the building, and two more leave the building. One of the orcs is looking through a pile of clothing, moving it around with a staff. Near the back of the building is what appears to be a freshly dug grave. The soldier returns to the group, saying he saw a large number of orcs and a human inside the chapel, and metal objects on the altar. The group decides to send one person out to lure the orcs into a trap. Meanwhile, Black Fox from his hiding place behind a tombstone sees a group of eight orcs and an ogre; they have seen him and are heading his way. The ogre yells to the rest of his group. Another human stands in the recently dug grave to see what is going on.
The rest of the Palmdale group hears the ogre yell. Miranda, having snuck into the graveyard, begins running through the gravestones as a distraction. Black Fox runs towards the ridge surrounding the graveyard; he tries to hit the man getting out of the pit, missing. One of the guards fumbles badly and is stunned; another takes out an orc. The Palmdale group moves over the ridge along the road to engage the invaders. The man originally sent out with Black Fox hits the human in the pit twice, and he falls out of sight. Black Fox moves towards the open grave, hearing human voices from it. The ogre is critically hit, while the stunned guard is overwhelmed and killed by orcs. Two orcs and a human appear in the doorway of the chapel. An archer hits an orc, while another fumbles. Miranda mounts her horse and fires, missing her target. Black Fox sees torchlight from the pit, and the wounded human attempting to climb out. Meanwhile, the aircar/gattling gun combination has been brought to the entrance of the chapel, firing on the human there. Miranda hits an orc. Black Fox kills the human rising out of the pit. Kirok kills an orc. Another archer slightly fumbles, as does Miranda. Black Fox demands the surrender of the remaining humans in the pit. The gattling gun jams. Miranda kills her orc. The remaining human in the pit tries to work out a deal with Black Fox; an archer joins up to cover him and Black Fox frisks the man. A soldier is injured. Miranda finds evidence of a trail trampled in the vegetation.
As Black Fox reaches for his daggers, the human prisoner's hand darts behind his back; the archer fires at him, preventing the man from reaching a dagger, and warns him not to try that again. The prisoner is forced to the ground, where Black Fox finds on him four daggers and a small bag.
Kirok and six Palmdale personnel stand by outside the chapel with the gattling gun; inside are seen about 25 orcs. Kirok yells "fire"; as orc bodies begin falling, a crashing, tinkling sound is heard near the altar, which seems to be on fire, with splashed oil around it. Ten orcs come rushing out, climbing over the bodies of the others, and are taken captive and tied up. Inside the chapel can be seen the body of a human, lying on the burning altar; the chapel is soon engulfed in flames and destroyed, the metallic objects on the altar melted. The battle ends around 1:30 p.m. In the pit are found five bags, each containing 100 g.p., as well as ten longswords, six shortswords and three broadswords; the two longswords appear to be a matched set. The melted precious metal inside the chapel is recovered, worth about 400 g.p. Kirok mourns the loss of the building.
The orcs are tied up into a chain gang, and the group returns to Palmdale; the captives are turned over to the military. Kirok holds a service for the slain guard.

May 3, 1997
Jym, Ugely & Dagobert
Dagobert flies on the broom to investigate a group camping nearby; he sees elven sentries in trees, wearing insignias. He decides to leave them alone for now. He traces his path back to the starship; about an hour before sunrise, he sees a group of camped humans in a thick, forested area, along with horses in a nearby clearing. 12 of the 16 humans detect as evils. He sees a large eagle land nearby and change into a small man. The man begins rummaging in a bag and pulls out a metallic object that gives off a dark glow to Dagobert's Detect Evil spell; Dagobert pulls out his Wand of Fireballs and fires at the man and bag. As he fires, he sees that the metallic object is a golden helm. A guard looks up with a surprised look on his face just before the fireball explodes. The blast catches 2/3 of the encampment; the guard and a sleeper are killed. A cook points to where he saw the blast originate, as the man with the helm puts it on. Dagobert fires again; the cook is among those killed, with six surviving, including one sleeper and the man with the helm. A small fire begins to spread. Dagobert throws his dwarven throwing-hammer at 'Matt' (the man with the helm) and misses. 'Matt' tries to do something with his hands but fails; he removes the helm with a suctioning sound. 'Matt' yells for the remaining men to attack; he changes shape again to the form of an eagle as Dagobert throws again and hits, knocking 'Matt' to the ground and back to human form. Smoke from the fire begins to obscure the area. Dagobert throws again and misses, as do the guards on the ground firing arrows. 'Matt' runs to the horses as Dagobert throws once more and kills him ­ the hammer is stuck inside his body. Dagobert releases the horses and recovers his hammer.
Two men break into the clearing. Dagobert says, "I will let you live if you put out the fires and leave the forest"; he then rises majestically on the broom as the others break into the clearing. Dagobert tries to recover the helm back where it was dropped, but it is gone; he recovers the bag it was in and rises back above the trees. In the sack is a pair of small, golden metal gloves. The fires are soon contained by the survivors as they gather their remaining supplies; they treat 'Matt"s body reverently. Dagobert fires his crossbow at a man carrying a large bag, yelling "Now, Fritz" and misses, saying, "That was a warning." After some confusion, Dagobert says, "I see only two of you are being good boys. The HEAD will not be pleased with this." The man with the bag says, "You don't know what you're dealing with." Dagobert fires another fireball, yelling "Eggzorg". Four men in the clearing are killed; Dagobert says he likes the other two. He puts out the fires and recovers the helm. One of the horses returns and he ties it up, then uses a Speak With Dead spell on the corpse of the polymorpher to ask two questions. First: who are you? "Matthew of Bern, the leader of the group." Second: your purpose in being here? He and the mercenaries were transporting merchandise from Bern, which had been gathered in Prestana. Dagobert gathers salvageable material and ties it in a tree. On the bodies he finds two rings, gold, a wand, three shortswords, six longswords, a small crossbow with five bolts, three longbows and 30 arrows. He returns to the starship.
After having teleported, Jym notices that a cut he had has quickly healed. Jym and Ugely go to the mirror room, where Stotty joins them shortly. Stotty says the ship's internal systems are not too badly off; the ship might possibly make it to Lactar's keep. Ugely notes that while teleporting it felt as if he had been normally working during the elapsed time, and that the teleport was a light load. Jym examines the box brought through the mirror ­ it is very well made, highly polished wood with metal corners, and radiates magic; it is wrapped in an older cloth. Jym places his thumbs on the locks of the box and it soon opens. Inside is a bundle wrapped in an ornate cloth, containing two objects: a small dagger and a small keypad, apparently from an airship. Stotty says the keypad is probably from a personal quarters. The dagger has a 'shadow' dweomer of magic, as if it has been in contact with magic but is not magic itself. Jym ties it to his arm to keep it handy. Jym tries to scry with the mirror, but gets no reaction.
During the night a guard wakes Jym, saying that explosions have been heard in the distance to the north. He sends Stringfellow out to look; he sees a glow in the distance and eventually sees Dagobert, who soon returns to the ship. Jym tries again to scry on himself; the surface of the mirror turns milky, a sucking sound is heard and Jym disappears, pulled into the mirror. Jym finds himself suspended in a 'milkyness' with an absence of sound. Using his staff, he first casts Light but sees nothing else; he then casts Detect Magic ­ magic is detected all around him. He is able to move with his Ring of Flying. He senses something solid; leaving behind a glowing slingstone as a marker, he nears the solid area, sensing another solid area to his left. He sees an outline of a constructed, metallic doorway; he feels a vibration as he touches the frame. He finds a slightly smaller doorway to the left, and senses two more. The third is the largest yet, apparently very old; the fourth is the smallest. Jym gets the feeling of movement when touching the frame. He wets a finger and again touches the frame, getting a sense of energy. Jym tries his crystal ball; it activates, but makes no connection. The doorway hums, as if it is now aware of his presence.
Jym moves to the ancient doorway using the same procedures; he senses more energy. Touching the door, he senses a presence (one he's not felt since...). He tries to communicate; movement is sensed, as well as something behind him. He touches the door with the crystal ball, while in the milkyness he senses a wake of something malevolent. He hears a communication from the crystal ball, in an old male voice, asking who he is. The voice comments that no one could be on the other side of the door; meanwhile the 'shape' again passes by, closer this time, and a large black eye can be seen. The voice says he has been alone for some time and doesn't know how to get out; he thought he was in hell. He says his name is David, although he has many names. A light is activated above the door; the creature moves up behind Jym, and Jym moves behind the door as David says he almost has the door open. Jym sees what appears to be a cross between a shark and an alligator. As the door opens, the creature becomes wedged in the doorway frame; Jym casts Protection from Evil as the creature tries to extract itself from the doorway ­ Jym bounces away from the creature due to the spell. Jym casts Enlarge on the creature; it grows inside the doorway and the man inside screams. Jym backs up. Screams from both creature and man are heard; there is an explosion, and Jym is thrown back. As his eyes clear he hears Stotty's voice ­ he is back on board the starship, with the lower half of a human body lying on top of him; the mirror is shattered. Q's body is used to hold the severed body in suspended animation with a Sepia Snake Sigil.
Jym contacts the magical institute and speaks to an underling, then to Professor Nimrod; he tells Nimrod what has happened, and asks whether the milky area can be reached through plane travel. Nimrod says he will learn what he can before the next contact. Jym also asks Nimrod to recruit elves to help with the artifact. Jym has Stotty investigate how the starship could be cut up in order to be teleported.
Ugely and Dagobert attempt to teleport, with Dagobert focusing on the clearing he left earlier; they reach it in the early afternoon ­ four to five hours have passed. A few embers are left in the clearing. It appears that the two survivors returned and rummaged through things and took the horse. The equipment left in the trees is recovered, then the two teleport back to the mouth of the ship; Ugely is very tired from the exertion, and it is concluded that the more weight which is teleported, the greater the fatigue which Ugely experiences. It is now dusk.
Kirok, Miranda & Black Fox
Kirok pays Miranda 9,000 g.p. for a seal she possesses so she will be able to train for her next level. Miranda undergoes training for a week with an army officer. During the week, Kirok works on monetary issues involving the town, the town's defenses and the training of the sand creatures.

August 2, 1997
The starship crew is gathered by a campfire in the evening near the starship, discussing the potential of getting help with the artifact from elves in order to teleport the ship. It is noted that Ugely, who is now resting, was originally from an elven village. Stotty thinks a wish would shore up the structure of the ship enough to survive teleportation; otherwise it might be ripped apart. Ugely is sufficiently rested by the next morning; however, it appears that the artifact is slowly possessing him. He had a dream about the area where the item was forged long ago, and of eight ancient grey elves placing pictograms on the device ­ it possibly was meant for peacebonding for the ancient elven groups. He has an urge to grasp the ring and go there, but is able to fight it for now. He doesn't sense good or evil from the dream; things are vague due to his being a half-elf.
Jym contacts Professor Nimrod, going through his receptionist first. He has found nothing on the milky white area ­ records concerning an airship burial ground sound similar to what Jym described. No one has ever been there. An instructor and two apprentices, both elves, are willing to help with the ring. The device matches up with legends of an ancient elven artifact created 10,000 years before humans arrived, during a period when elves were prominent. Either eight different clans or elves from eight different belief systems created the device to help with communication and to keep the peace. Powers of the artifact include moving from place to place (the primary power), healing, and communication. The last recorded sighting was 4,000 years ago. Jym asks where it was forged. It was forged in an elven village now shrouded in legend, in thick forest; perhaps the village is now in ruins. The ring may also have quirks to it; the good elves were concerned that the more ruthless groups may have placed a backdoor trap in the device. It was created not in a seat of elven power but a neutral location not associated with any one group. There is a possibility of enchanted items in that area ­ it doesn't match up with the place Thornival found it. The ring traveled from clan to clan. Jym thanks the professor and asks him to continue his research.
Dagobert claims a recently acquired magic sword and changes it to a Luck Blade. The wording of a wish to teleport the starship is discussed in detail. It is wished that the space enclosed by the starship and all its contents be teleported to Palmdale, beneath the northwest terminus of the tunnel beneath the town, 20 feet below the tunnel floor. The long axis of the ship is to run perpendicular to the tunnel (the ship is 200'x65', with a core 45' in diameter). The material in the space the ship will occupy is to be displaced 1,000 yards to the west of Palmdale. The side with the gash is to be oriented towards Palmdale. It is early afternoon when the group is ready to use the wish, but they decide to wait until nightfall to provide more secrecy. The crew strap themselves into the bridge and the wish is used; lights flicker and metal groans, then red emergency lights flicker on and off, and light stones shut off.
The group wakes from unconsciousness, getting a sense of pressure and of time passing. There are no sounds except for slight pings from settling; the hull metal is cool. The crewmembers have several days of beard growth and are hungry, and time passage is confirmed by the ship's chronometer. Stotty says there is a problem with the ship's power, and soon gets lights up on the bridge. Jym stays there while the rest investigate the ship's condition. Ugely touches the artifact, and senses that the power is greatly damped; Ugely's possession is continuing to grow stronger. There is about a day and a half of air left in the ship. The dwarves say the ship is at a slight angle of about 10 degrees, and the central hatch (6B) is 30 feet below the surface. Dagobert heads to the gash ­ there are fragments of trees and rocks inside the gash, and the outside material is loess-like, sandy. Ugely and a dwarf go to the central core, finding it clear. Stotty works in engineering to get systems up, there are currently scattered lights on. Digging is begun to clear a tunnel above the hatch. Jym monitors Ugely and hides the ring. After digging has been going on for 8-10 hours, regular lighting is restored on the ship. Ugely is getting edgy. After 16 hours the soil is getting looser, after digging 22-23 feet. Stotty says that the air filtration system will take several days to repair. At 19 hours a probe breaks through into an air space ­ about 25 feet has been dug. Digging breaks through along the edge of the old tunnel. A guard and a technician are left at the entrance while the rest move towards town.
Previously: it has been one and a half days into Miranda's training; around 10:00 p.m. a town militia scout reports a small, oddly shaped mountain has appeared outside town accompanied by a 'poof' sound and billowing sand. Kirok goes to investigate in an aircar, taking Oppenheimer as driver as well as Black Fox and a guard. The military takes note and talks to the town guards. As the aircar approaches the object, Kirok can see the shape of clamps on a cylindrical shape, strongly resembling the
Cygnus starship. As they round the tip, edges break off the cylinder; it is now after 11:00 p.m. Kirok takes a sample and the group heads back. Black Fox alerts him that there are ripplings in the ground heading towards the object, eight tracks in total. The group reaches town and Kirok informs an army lieutenant of what he's found, and they plan a meeting for tomorrow during lunch. The object is observed overnight. The meeting the next day is held between Kirok and Colonel Westing.
Meanwhile, the group from the
Cygnus travels along the tunnel to Witch Clara's house, entering into a ground floor room, and can hear people outside. Looking out a window, they see a military man and his aides walk out of view. A guard and the technicians are left in the building while the rest head for the headquarters building, and note the Palmdale flag flying. Janice, relaxing on the front porch of the building, sees the group and greets them in surprise. Dagobert says, "We're looking for our dirt." Janice leads them to the meeting room, where the groups update one another.

September 27, 1997
The army reports that all patrols have returned after evening scouting; nothing was detected in the surrounding countryside. Scouts sent further out to the dragyn cavern haven't reported back yet. Currently there are 45 soldiers stationed here, and the town has 27 guards. It is suggested that contact be maintained with the nearby town of Roberot, with regular army runs. A runner from Prestana should arrive in a few days. The sand creatures continue to be monitored; the injured one has been unresponsive, and the healthy one has been hostile towards people.
Kirok prepares to Commune. In recent days, the refugees streaming into town have been speaking to Kirok as the town leader; an elderly refugee, a man from the lay leadership of a L-G church, accompanies Kirok into his chapel in preparation for the spell, as does Dagobert. The building is guarded by several of the town militia. Kirok moves to the front to cast the spell, all available magic shards gathered near him. He senses a weak field as the spell is cast. Kirok asks the following questions:

1: Was the magic-damping field intentionally deployed? Yes.
2: Is the effect caused by a living being? Yes.
3: Is there a specific action we can take to reverse the effect? Yes. (10-minute wait)
4: Will the magic-damping field grow if it is unchecked? No.
5: Will the source of the magic-damping field have to be destroyed in order for the field to be stopped?
6: Is this living being known to the Palmdale group? Yes.
7: Can we use the hoop to teleport us to the location of the generation of the magic-damping field? Yes. (15-minute wait, the magic field is noticeably weakening)
8: Would you be willing to impart an image of the creature responsible for the magic-damping field to
me in exchange for an action by us which you name? No. (10-minute wait)
9: Is it a bad thing for the Palmdale group if Ugely teleports with the hoop to where he desires to go?
No. (15-minute wait)

No more questions can be asked, as the magic field dissapates; about an hour has elapsed. The magic shards are not drained.
The Palmdale group and Colonel Westing have a meeting to decide on people for positions in the operation of the town. Before the meeting, Stotty, Oppenheimer and four techs are put in charge of repairing the air purification system on the starship. 'Spock' is placed in administrative control of the town. Building number 54 is designated the administrative center of town. The seven lady caravaners rescued from Crescentville are in charge of the town's merchant trade and procuring supplies. Steve is assigned as an assistant to Spock and Lenard. Black Fox is made the military liason to Palmdale. Settlers petition to rent 15 available buildings (9 singles, 6 married couples). There are currently 125 refugees in town, and the government is currently helping with feeding them. A town meeting is planned for dusk. Meanwhile, while experimenting with the sand creatures, a magic shard held above them makes them uncomfortable, and they shy away from it.
Kirok holds a town meeting a dusk, reassuring the people that the Palmdale group is in charge of the situation, dealing with the threat and their welfare. He encourages those people with skills to set up shop and settle in Palmdale. An aide to Colonel Westing tells Kirok that a squad will be sent along with three women merchants to Roberot.
People begin reporting to Spock the next day. In the afternoon, riders from Ylldana say they have fortified the town, and Malveria is surrounded. Stotty reports it will take a considerable amount of time to repair the air purification system, and suggests that another entrance to the starship be dug to help circulate air; the idea is vetoed for now. Stotty tells Kirok where the 'oop is hidden. More scouting parties return from the southwest in the evening ­ they had run into the merchants leaving town. They report that Kingsrest is without magic, the loss happening quickly. The following day, scouts from the east who had been gone for a week, report orc intrusions and evidence of orc camps (at least 40 individuals), fragments of human bones. Spock has issued weapons to people who have registered, about 50 so far. The injured sand creature has died; rock-like pellets are accumulating in the healthy one's cage. Meat is thrown into its cage, and it devours it; upon further testing, it will only eat meat.
The next day is very stormy, rainy ­ unusual for this time of year. Scouts report no attacks on Ylldana, but the bridge between Malveria and Ylldana has been destroyed. People are leaving Alberstam for Tirth. A merchant arrives from Gallinea and reports things are well there. Lenard and Steve have dissected the dead sand creature; it appears to use sand as blood, the flesh of the creature is like very fine sand, and the digestive tract had ruptured, resulting in the death of the creature. From the south-southeast, two scouts return from the canyon complex: moving east through the canyon, they saw evidence of orcs and ogres passing through. In the evening they spotted a caravan of about 50 orcs and 7-8 ogres moving through the dark; the soldiers tried a rockslide to stop the caravan, and the next day saw that about half of the group had been killed, with no sign of the survivors. The dragyn lair is being used as an orc base. Six scouts remained to scout the caverns. Colonel Westing sends riders out to request reinforcements. Stotty reports the filtration system has been restored, improving the air quality in the starship somewhat.
Riders leave the next morning for reinforcements to the west, and to the canyon. Most of the refugees are now armed. Riders from Ylldana report that orcs and ogres have reached this side of the river; they are 1-2 days from Ylldana. An alarm is raised by the army ­ from the southwest is seen a cloud of dust; 50 soldier reinforcements have arrived. A lone rider arrives, also from the southwest, and asks for Kirok; they go to the inn. Over beer the man, Michaelson, about 60 years of age, gives Kirok a package. One of the professors at the clerical academy thought Kirok showed great promise, and decided in his will to leave him a keep on the western half of the continent. He says the mood in the central part of the continent is edgy, with very little information known. Rumors are that the magic-damping field will continue to grow. Prestana is closed to all but official business. Randolff's ship has not been seen, but there is a rumor that he was seen leading a battle near the mountains. The kingdom of Bothnia is falling apart, the provinces to the west of the anti-magic crack are revolting, and people are streaming into New Britain. About 30 teams have been sent into the magic-dampened area in recent weeks, with no subsequent contact. Kirok updates Michaelson with the information he has been able to determine.
It is misty the next morning. The three merchant women return, with the news that Roberot has plenty of goods. Miranda finishes her training. The group begins testing Miranda's gummy gems. Miranda nudges one with her finger; it feels warm and sticky. It seems to want to mold around her fingertip. Veins within it pulse with a brighter color. It does not respond to dead meat set nearby. A goat is acquired from a refugee, tied up, and a gummy gem is placed on its leg. The gem flattens over the surface of the leg and is absorbed into it. The goat twitches for awhile, then calms down; it looks around, seeming more intelligent than before. Jym places a dagger and a scroll tube in front of the goat; it looks at both, then moves to the scroll tube, placing it in its mouth. Jym places his hand out for the goat to return it, but the goat drops it to the ground; Jym nods knowingly. Other gems in the bag are now moving around. The goat's eyes are now tinged with veins, the same color as in the gems. Jym holds a magic shard out, looks for more tools. Dagobert yelps as the goat gnaws on its rope, and Jym hits the goat with his staff to get its attention, shaking his head; numerous swords are drawn. The goat's eyes are now glowing green. A second gummy gem is placed on a table, and Miranda places a sword above it. Jym threatens the goat with his staff, shaking his head; the goat snarls. Kirok asks the goat if it understands him ­ it brays, then nods. Jym asks if it is involved in the magic damping and the uprising of the orcs and ogres. It sits down until threatened by Jym, then nods affirmatively. It is learned through questioning that it considers itself to be leading the war, although the orcs don't acknowledge this. It knows of the magic-damping field but is not responsible and doesn't know who is. Miranda asks if anyone else in the bag knows; it replies with a shake of its head. It is an opportunistic creature, taking advantage of the situation, and can't communicate with the other gems at this point. It acknowledges that the magic-damping field affects it. The goat then goes into convulsions, and a gem drops from its mouth. The goat dies.

November 22, 1997
The ordeal with the goat is finished around 10:00 a.m. In evaluating the situation of the town, it is noted that the dwarf couple set up shop in the former smithy's shop, building #41. Oppenheimer's workshop is in a new building constructed on the remains of buildings #32 and 33. The aircars are stored in a warehouse, building #20. Oppenheimer reports small success in creating explosives ­ if the baseball-sized spheres he has created are shocked, breaking the sphere, they will explode. He has created 25 so far, and can construct 1-2 more per day. He needs supplies from a large city to construct more than a total of about 30, or to create larger explosives. Oppenheimer and his gattling gun are placed on call, should the town be attacked. Dagobert begins training for his next level. Aircars are used to begin hauling the dirt displaced by the starship to form a berm inside the moat. Most of the explosives are buried along the perimeter of the town; pottery shards and nails are placed around the explosives to increase damage.
Two soldiers are sent with Michaelson on his trip to Prestana, and Black Fox accompanies them to acquire more supplies for explosives, train for another level, deliver messages from Kirok and Jym and check on baby Fenster and the green stuff. He takes four of the gummy gems, and the remaining six are left with Lenard. Michaelson tells Kirok that after he reaches Prestana he will head to the Holy Retreat of the Good Clerics. The group leaves around noon. Another group consisting of Mallory, two women merchants and a soldier head for Roberot in an aircar.
Explosive spheres are loaded into the cannon to increase its firepower, and it is moved to the berm encircling the town. Twenty of the explosives are hidden around the circumference of the town. Around 2:00 p.m. riders arrive from the south-southeast and from Ylldana. The army requests Kirok for a meeting. A scout from the dragyn's lair reports they have found a network of 2-3 mile-long caverns and an incredibly heavy concentration of orcs and ogres, heading to the west; there are three groups, totaling over 100 orcs and 8-10 ogres. The scout from Ylldana, who left the town 1_ days ago, says the town was being overrun but the attackers had no mounted capabilities, and they are at least 4-5 days away from Palmdale.
Late in the afternoon, mines are set further out on the road by three groups of workers to panic any approaching orcs and ogres. The Palmdale group eats dinner at the Journey's End tavern ­ a runner has a message from Colonel Westing requesting a meeting. At the meeting besides the Palmdale group are higher level soldiers and skilled townspeople. Two soldiers have a report: a group of five soldiers, while exploring the maze near town (4-6 hour ride away) have discovered that magic is working in the maze, and tested a Ring of Wonder and a Ring of Flying there. This was not a property of the walls of the maze, tested by the soldiers when they chipped away at the wall material. Westing suggests sending more people to check on the safety of the maze; Kirok and his group suggest using their djinni to create food for the townspeople and the Lyre of Building to expand the area of the maze and possibly move the people into it. Westing is told about the buried starship, should his soldiers remaining behind need a place to evacuate to. Meanwhile Ugely has been on edge, acting like a drug addict, and he occasionally disappears, looking for something.
The next morning before sunrise, a group consisting of Kirok, Dagobert, Jym, Miranda, Janice and eight soldiers leave for the maze; the weather is cool, overcast. They reach the maze around 1:00 p.m.; there are five airholes above the maze, three of them functioning. The group can feel magic filling their items as they approach the entrance. Jym checks the maze for magic items while Miranda, Dagobert and Janice clear the hallways and expand the maze area with the Spade of Excavation and the Lyre of Building. Miranda notices that her recently acquired headband has a magical aura. Dagobert heals Miranda, who had not yet fully recovered from her last battle. Kirok casts a Divination in order to find the source of the magic and any important items still in the maze. He gets the sensation that there is something under the piles of trash in the central room he is in, as well as something else down the hall. He digs through the trash with an ogre bone, finding a metallic ring about 6" in diameter with wooden pegs on either end. In the other pile he finds five short wooden rods, the ends of each having a slightly different geometric shape. Kirok gets the urge to climb one of the columns in this room.
While gathering the items, he hears a booming thud from the eastern portion of the maze, as if something heavy fell. The Palmdale members and several guards move towards the sound, and upon arriving see clouds of dust and hear a cry for help coming from a room. Part of a wall has collapsed, and Jym and a soldier are beneath rubble, while another soldier in the room is stunned. The wall had held a wooden and metal weapons rack; attempted removal of the rack had caused the wall to collapse. Kirok and Miranda remove the rubble; Jym is badly hurt and unconscious, the soldier has a broken leg. Kirok and Dagobert tend to the injured personnel, setting the soldier's broken leg. The third soldier recounts that the weapons rack had detected magic, and the soldiers had lightly pulled at it, causing it to collapse. The soldier notes that Jym had noticed a haze of magic at the entranceway to the maze. Kirok senses his knowledge of the location of magic items is slightly diminishing. He casts Cure Light Wounds on Jym, but it fails to stop the flow of blood from his head wound; he binds the wound and casts Cure Serious Wounds on Jym, who remains unconscious. Kirok takes a guard back with him to check on the magic items.
Kirok arrives at a wall where he senses a humanoid figure. He goes back to check on the columns and casts an Augury concerning his planned action to climb the columns ­ the answer is weal for the group. He tries to climb the south column but is too heavy with all his equipment, and removes some items and his boots. He slides the ring into a depression near the top and turns it; a door opens, revealing a compartment with a small black bag containing a silver dagger and a sealed Lesser Deck of Many Things. The handle of the dagger has a whirlwind-like design, with the large opening of the whirlwind towards the bottom of the handle. Climbing the other column, he finds a panel with holes for the rods. Inserting the rods, five panels open along the top of the column. In the first is a pair of golden goblets. The second contains a small pouch with five gems, the third has a decayed scroll and a coil of very thin rope, the fourth has a large, wrapped parcel with four full potion vials and a small bag containing 50 platinum pieces; the fifth contains a switch. One of the vials is marked Extra Healing, and another contains oil. Kirok lowers the items to the ground; he then pulls the switch. The column descends, revealing a cylindrical void in the ceiling; the column stops about five feet above the ground. Most of the group is now in this central room. Janice uses Jym's staff to detect magic ­ the void where the column had been glows, as does the silver dagger, the Deck, the rope and the vials. The wall where Kirok had sensed a humanoid shape also glows.
Kirok taps the wall with his Magic Missile Mace, given to him by the beings he released on Vermithrax Island. The mace slides into the wall, and becomes the handle to a door; meanwhile, time has stopped for the rest of the group. Opening the door, he sees a glowing whiteness beyond. A voice asks "What mortal is it who sets me free?" Giving it his name, the being then asks what reward Kirok wants for releasing it. Kirok asks for help to counteract the magic damping and stop evil from overrunning the continent. Kirok receives rapid-fire images of the humanoid-appearing beings that inhabited the planet long ago, the airship towers they built and the history of the planet. He is told "Take what I give you, destroy the evil of this world." The glow dissipates, time begins flowing for the rest of the group and Kirok is left with three things: his Magic Missile Mace is charged with the ability to kill the next being it is used against, as are the primary weapons of all within the room. He senses that they have a distant ally, know to the group, who is also working on the problem. Finally, the wall where the creature was imprisoned has become a gateway to the heart of the problem, open only for a short time. Kirok tells the others in the hallway what happened, as well as those remaining in the central room. He has the highest-ranking soldier ('Sarge') pick a man to stay behind and get word to Palmdale about what they are doing. Janice yells for them to hurry and jumps through, followed by Kirok, Dagobert, Miranda, Sarge and three soldiers.
The group wakes up at about the same time, outside, in the early to mid-afternoon. The area they are in is hilly, windswept, at a high altitude, with mountains to the northwest and far to the south; it is cool, with wispy clouds in the sky. Magic is marginally working in this area. A guard yelps, pointing to the southwest; Sarge tells everyone to get down. A party of five humans is seen moving to the northeast, towards the group. Kirok casts a Detect Evil, and the other party is found to be entirely evil. The evil group stops briefly and a cloaked individual looks briefly towards Sarge's position, then they move on. Two groups are formed; one with Palmdale members, the other made up of soldiers. Following the evil group from several blocks' distance, they descend into a valley; the terrain is less rocky with more grass. The evil group stops and 4-5 wardogs approach them; Kirok looks to the side and sees four wardogs heading towards him. The group attacks, Kirok hits twice with Magic Missiles, Janice stops one with a Web and Miranda hits a third with an arrow. Kirok smears one with his +2 mace. Dagobert impales a fourth with his spear. Janice casts a Web on the other wardog on Kirok. Miranda uses the magic dagger from the maze. Kirok kills a second wardog, Dagobert continues to shake the dog impaled on his spear and Miranda hits hers. Kirok hits the wardog on Miranda with a critical, killing it. Dagobert's impaled wardog finally dies.

December 20, 1997
Jym & Ugely
Jym awakes with ringing in his head, and a bad headache; he is in the central chamber of the maze. Jym asks to be briefed on what has happened since his injury; it has been about half an hour since the group went through the doorway. There are seven soldiers remaining, one with a broken leg. Jym climbs the lowered column; the top of the column is obsidian. The height of the void in the ceiling is about six feet, while the column is about two and one-half feet wide. Jym climbs onto the shoulders of the strongest soldier to look in the empty space above the column. Jym doesn't see anything, but a soldier points out hand-shaped depressions along the wall. The soldier under Jym pushes him up enough for Jym to place his hands in the depressions, and after several seconds he feel warmth. Shortly afterwards a grinding is heard and the column begins rising; both men jump off the column. Jym places a scryable metallic token on top of the column before it locks in place. They gather the non-magic treasure that was left behind by Kirok. Two soldiers are left behind with their injured comrade; the remaining individuals finish the search of the maze.
In a room in the farthest part of the complex is found a hidden door to a closet. In the closet are a variety of weapons: six halberds, two longswords, four quivers (12 arrows each) and four shortswords; they are collected by the group. The weapons appear to have been made by the same person. About an hour has passed since the first exploration, it is now around 4:00 p.m. The group heads back to Palmdale. Around dusk, the group hears the sound of horses approaching, 20-25 mounts heading towards Palmdale. The group hides and watches ­ the riders are humanoid and wearing armor; the group follows them as they approach Palmdale. In the distance, to the southeast (about a half-hour from town) can be seen pinpricks of light moving towards the town. The town has been put on alert.
An airship can be seen approaching from the southwest, seen in the moonlight; it is about 50 feet above the ground and 40 yards long. Jym sends the lowest-level guard straight to Palmdale with the injured soldier. He also sends two soldiers out without armor to ride towards the torchlight to scout; one will then rush towards Palmdale to report, while the other will try to get behind the approaching group to gauge their strength. He will fire one flaming arrow into the air for each 50 troops he sees. The rest of the group heads to intercept the airship; two explosions are heard on the road to Ylldana, southwest of Palmdale. The airship appears to be half the size of
Enterprise. Jym orders the soldiers not to fire on the airship unless he orders it. A light is seen on the opposite end. Jym lights a torch, dismounts and approaches the airship. He sees a beacon of light from Palmdale; apparently the town can see the airship. The airship slows to a crawl. A very dim light emanates from the front of the ship and focuses on Jym, the others, then back to Jym. After about a minute the ship stops. A soldier yells: a flaming arrow is seen in the distance, then more, with a total of seven in all. Jym tries to mentally contact the ship, and the light at the back end brightens considerably. Jym tries to bond with the ship. The light focuses on his Palmdale insignia; Jym thinks of other Palmdale members. The ship moves towards town, descending. A soldier near the end of the ship yells to look, saying something is being thrown down ­ it turns out to be a rope ladder. The soldier grabs onto it and climbs, as does Jym. The two remaining soldiers are sent to Palmdale. Flames can be seen in the distance.
Both men climb into the shuttle bay, with a door at the far end. The rope ladder retracts and the rear light dims. A male voice is heard over the speakers, saying "Welcome Palmdalian, aboard the airship
Erikson." Jym asks how to reach the bridge and is told to touch a panel for information. The soldier, Gary Seven, is told to as well. They follow the flashing lights, and can hear an emergency claxon. They take the turbolift to the bridge, where introductions are made; they are the only people on board. Jym asks to take command but is told it will not be necessary. A static-filled image of Palmdale is seen on the viewscreen. On a nearby panel, names begin appearing, including Kirok, Lactar, Clea, Ugely, Lenard, Mallory, Steve, etc. After each name is displayed, the ship asks where that individual is, and Jym tells the ship what he knows. Jym asks the ship to increase height due to the danger of the nearby enemy army. The ship thanks Jym, and says it must talk to Ugely. A badge appears in a drawer by the center seat, and the men are told to go to transporter room one. The ship asks if the creatures around town are evil, a danger to Palmdale, and is told they are.
Both men are transported to the middle of town; explosions are heard. Jym runs to the headquarters, tells Gary to report to his commander. The badge tells Jym to press it when he has found Ugely. More refugees are in town; soldiers with bows are ringing the moat. Steve and two guards react in surprise when Jym enters the headquarters. Ugely is tied down ­ he had gone mad, continuing to dig, and attacked Stotty. Jym has Steve untie Ugely from the bed. He taps his badge, saying that Ugely is unstable, and Steve is also here; the ship says Steve is satisfactory, has Jym touch Steve, and they are beamed aboard. Jym fills Steve in about recent events as they go to the bridge. The ship says "Welcome, Steve." Large fires are seen on the viewscreen, as Steve begins operating the controls at the science station. The ship wonders about the lack of magic; Jym explains. The ship asks about the absence of other airships; Jym asks where it came from. The ship had left the birthing grounds and found itself in the middle of the continent, and headed for Palmdale. Jym tells what he knows of what happened to the other airships. Steve notes that this is offspring of
Enterprise, and has engrams of Erik impressed on it; it is starving for magic. It had fired 2-3 shots at the attacking army (10-20 points of damage each), but is now nearly drained.
Jym heads for the shuttle bay, throws his magic shard into the feeding web. Steve says it is enough for the ship to survive overnight. Jym throws in a group of four +1 daggers and four other magic daggers; Steve says it is only marginal. Jym puts in an almost fully charged Wand of Lightning. Steve tells him to return to the bridge. The torchlight is spreading, heading towards the eastern part of Palmdale. Jym beams back down, hears another explosion. He gets Lenard, Ugely's shard and returns to the ship. Jym places the shard and Ugely's Wand of Illusion into the power grid ­ the power is up 22%. Two more communicators are created; one is given to Lenard, the other is saved for Stotty.
Jym returns to the surface and hears explosions, the sounds of battle. He runs to the entrance of the starship, where a dwarven guard stops him. Jym calls for Stotty to come up immediately, gives the badge to Stotty, and they both beam up and head for the bridge. The crew takes command. Erik's face appears in the corner of the viewscreen when addressing the crew. Steve reports the ship is unable to contact any others due to the damping field; it is now 50 yards above the ground. The enemy army surrounds Palmdale, except on the desert side; the army primarily consists of orcs and ogres, but other species are involved as well. Most of the land mines have been set off. The human army heavily defends the bridge, while most of the civilians are near the center of town. Jym sends Lenard down with another communicator for Colonel Westing. An evil magical helm is thrown into the power grid, increasing power to 25-29%, giving it about five days of life left. Stotty gets the teleportation ring and returns it to the ship. He then returns to the starship to complete repairs on the air circulation system.
Black Fox
Heading towards Prestana, Black Fox, Michaelson and two soldiers encounter 20 troops on the road on the second day of travel, and join them to camp. Black Fox tells the soldiers the latest news about Palmdale. Part of the group is heading for the town of Bonaventure across the river, the rest to Palmdale. The next night they find an abandoned wagon, probably attacked about a week ago. They are beginning to enter the magical field. They encounter a road and farmland near the end of the fifth day, and reach King's Rest the following day. There is an army base there; the people are tired of war. Those not involved in farming have joined the army or become mercenaries. The magic field returns to full during the trip. A road to the northwest is encountered near the end of the 12th day. The next day they encounter cropland, small settlements and finally Prestana. The next day Black Fox drops off paperwork with the military and the church, saying he will return in a week for any information they have for him to return to Palmdale. He reports to the magic institute and begins training for his next level.
Wyre & Zena
Upon arriving in Malveria, Wyre and Zena join the prince at the royal castle. An emergency conference is called to discuss methods of dealing with the threat of the enemy army surrounding the town, and the more widespread threat to the eastern part of the kingdom. Attending the meeting are Wyre, the prince and all the highest-ranking military, magical and religious leaders/advisors. It is noted that the power of the Oracle is weakening, and experts believe that in as little as seven to ten days it will be unable to maintain the protective dome over the city. Because of this emergency, the proposed plan to ask the Oracle questions about the magic-damping field and the war is to be limited to three questions. After much discussion and debate, it is agreed that the prince, a high-ranking cleric of the lawful-neutral church and Wyre the paladin would be the individuals asking questions.
At the Oracle, the prince asks about the fate of his father. After nearly an hour in the seclusion of the Oracle chamber, the prince emerges to say he had a vision of his father and the majority of the crew of the airship
Excalibur trapped in the high mountains somewhere to the south. They were alive, but unable to escape from where they were. He does not know what happened to the Excalibur.
The L-N High Cleric, Remillius, asks about the origin and nature of the magic-damping effect. After an even longer wait in the chamber, he emerges and speaks of a nearly nude woman, trapped in a metallic web against her wishes, appearing to have been tortured and nearing the end of her life.
Wyre is last, asking about how the magic-damping field can be ended, preferably without killing the woman. Over two hours pass while he awaits an answer, and he can feel the power of the Oracle fading; it will only be able to protect Malveria for four more days. He is given the image of a conch shell for sale in one of Malveria's shops ­ a minor artifact with the ability to communicate long-distance, at least once more. He is instructed to use this shell, concentrating on passing a verbal message to someone who is in a position to end the magic-damping field. Emerging from the Oracle chamber, he relays this information to the assembled group and prepares to immediately journey to the magic shop. He concurrently tries to word his message and think of a way to be physically transported to the heart of the problem.
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
The evil group the Palmdalians are pursuing has gotten about a block further, heading to the northeast; Sergeant Gentry and his men can occasionally be seen. They follow for several hours; there is less concealment as they move downhill. As the evils reach a clear area, about 8-10 of the 'rocks' move, as dwarves move from under cover and aim distance weapons at the evils' backs. Janice yelps and points to Sergeant Gentry's men ­ one of his men is grappling with a dwarf. Kirok uses the Helm of Telepathy to suggest to Gentry not to attack the dwarves, and Gentry subsequently lays down his weapon. Dagobert moves up, displaying his holy symbol.
Meanwhile, the other dwarven group fires at the evil group, getting a critical hit on one human. Kirok imparts feelings of friendliness to the dwarf nearest Gentry, and he becomes more relaxed. Dagobert says "Excuse me, they're with me." Miranda and Janice move to observe the combat. Dagobert asks if they can help the other group. The dwarf leader asks whom Dagobert represents. Dagobert says he represents the government of New Britain; the leader decides to trust him for now. They all move to help with the other group's combat. One dwarf has been killed, several injured; there are 17 left. A dwarf kills a wardog with a critical hit. One of the evils yells to retreat, and they try to escape ­ two are tackled while two others try to escape, along with three remaining wardogs. Miranda hits a robed man twice, and he falls; Janice webs two more. Miranda and Kirok kill the remaining wardogs, Kirok using his Wand of Magic Missiles. The webbed individuals are subdued.

January-February 1998

January 31, 1998
Steve tests the ship's systems, notes that creating communication badges takes alot of energy. Cargo to be beamed aboard must be marked, but comm badges can be used for now. Jym tries to use a large sack patch from his Robe of Useful Things ­ after a delay, it activates; there is a magic field within the ship's structure. The ship rises to a height of 200 feet. Below, in Palmdale, the attacking army sets fire to the bridge to prevent escape. Jym contacts Colonel Westing, updating him on the airship situation. Jym sees a cluster of enemy around the tree stump entrance to the tunnel, entering the tunnel. Jym warns Westing to have troops guard the exit, and contacts Stotty, telling him and the starship guards to collapse the side tunnel to the ship if the enemy approaches. Jym has Steve look for the enemy commander. Ogres with wooden beams can be seen trying to cross the moat. Attackers on the desert side of town have difficulty moving through the sand; wakes can be seen moving towards them. More lights are seen in the distance on the road, a group of 50-100 individuals. In the group attacking the town, 10-12 humans can be seen. Jym continues updating Westing on what he is seeing. Steve informs Jym that the approaching group is enemy, hauling a cannon, and Westing is informed.
Stotty reports that they have encountered the enemy, 15-20 of them, and are trying to collapse the tunnel. Jym, having moved to the shuttle bay, drops oil on the edge of the wooden beams below, starting a fire on the ground; another dropped oil flask causes the ogres to drop the beam. Steve sees the soldier sent to spy on the enemy, still monitoring the situation. Stotty sends a garbled message before communication is cut off. Westing reports the desert side is clear of enemy, destroyed by the sand creatures. Archers have killed dozens of the enemy, and the timbers have been abandoned.
The approaching enemy group consists primarily of orcs and ogres, with about 20 enslaved humans pulling the cannon. Jym and Steve determine that the ship must relieve itself of liquid waste once a week, keeping this in mind for a possible form of attack. Westing reports on the battle, finally yells for troops to go to the weaponsmith shop to stem an invasion ­ an explosion is seen in town. In the approaching group can be seen about 20 ogres and 60 orcs and other creatures; enslaved humans are carrying torches. Steve turns the ship in order to come up from the rear of the group, which has not yet noticed the airship. Jym drops an oil flask in front of the cannon, which rests on a cart with six wheels, with balls and bags on racks to the sides; a cart to the rear contains more cannonballs. A second flask hits the rear of the cannon, and a third hits several orcs to the side of the cannon. The cannon goes off, and the projectile impacts about halfway to Palmdale. Several gunpowder bags ignite; some of the enemy tries to put out flames, others scatter. Jym hits the other side of the cannon wagon with oil, and several humans break free when their ropes burn through. Jym's last oil flask hits the front of the second wagon, setting it on fire. He returns to the bridge, seeing that the cannon cart is burning and the humans have freed themselves, and are now moving off the road. Jym sends the ship back to Palmdale.
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
Gear is stripped from the captives ­ one is dead, four are subdued. The robed man is middle-aged, the rest are younger; one of them is a very large man. The old clothing they are wearing indicates they are a mercenary band. They are carrying four suits of plate armor, sizes 1, 6, 9 and 10; three shields (two large, one small); three longswords, two shortswords, one broadsword and ten daggers. Also found are one longbow with two quivers (24 arrows) and a crossbow with 20 bolts (from the dead man), small bags with two weeks of rations; about 4,000 g.p. worth of gems, equally distributed; two loops of rope; a pouch with two scroll tubes containing scrolls, one of the tubes covered with gold filigree; a large bag with four sealed boxes, one metal and three wooden, all locked (carried by the large man). The robed man had two rings, a wand, and a headband bonded to his head. Janice detects magic, and the two largest suits of armor, all the longswords and shortswords, the crossbow and bolts, the smaller loop of rope, the two scrolls and one tube with gold filigree, the contents of the four locked boxes, two rings, one wand and the headband all radiate magic. The crossbow and bolts radiate evil and are left behind.
It is noted that all the dwarves are with the military; they are part of an advance force from a town in the mountains. They had noted an unusual amount of traffic in this area, centered on the town of Heaven's Glen. A transport gate lies within the valley, back in the direction the group had come from. They had been in contact with King Randolff & King Lactar's armies ­ they are sending forces to this area, and are probably several days away. The dwarves are an observation force; they estimate they are six to eight hours' travel from the town. There are dog patrols twice a day. Gentry explains that their group is an advance force from the New Britain army, and the dwarf leader (Grizzley) looks to Dagobert for confirmation. Grizzley says that non-humans have sensed discomfort from the Heaven's Glen area for several years (the town was settled about 30 years ago). The local building materials seem to generate this discomfort; an ancient dragon in these mountains also avoids the area. Hundreds of people have disappeared in the last year. Grizzley, Gentry and Dagobert compare notes as Janice binds the wounds of hurt dwarves. Kirok monitors the thoughts of the captives: from the cloaked man he gets static, occasional snatches of foreign words, references to 'others'; the rest of the group is mainly frightened. The robed man sits calm and smiling. From the dwarves, Kirok reads a dislike of humans, of being on a timetable, rushed.
Kirok has Janice use the staff to cast Dispel Magic on the robed man's headband: his body jerks and he falls forward to the ground. Clear thoughts of "must escape" are read from him. Kirok turns the body over, tries to remove the headband, but it won't budge. Material begins oozing from the man's mouth. Kirok melts the man's skin in order to remove the headband, and a sucking, ripping sound is heard. Where the gems had been connected to the forehead and temples, wires now emerge. The gummy gem from his mouth is then wrapped securely. After pulling the headband about three inches, the wires are removed from the head and retract into the headband. The body convulses, and two more gummy gems ooze from the ears. Dagobert places the gems in glass vials and Kirok wraps the headband in lead foil as Miranda guards. Kirok tries to resuscitate the man to no effect. The body is concealed and a dwarf lotion is used to mask its odors.
As the dwarves oil down the dead man, Kirok scans the other prisoners ­ they are surprised at what happened to Fyll, had been looking to him for leadership. Kirok asks how long they knew the dead man and did they know he was possesed; one prisoner's thoughts are that he was in charge of the current mission. The papers the men had list activities and locations, all in a foreign tongue that Kirok thinks might be drow. Meanwhile, Gentry asks questions of the prisoners, as Kirok sees patterns of ancient prefixes in some of the location names, indicating towns on the east coast of the continent. There are 70-80 town names, most of which have been checked off; about 12 have the ancient prefixes, none of which have been checked off. The list is of recent origin. Gentry learns that the group had come from the Bothnian village of Penthas, which had been decimated; they left yesterday. They had picked up a package from a human mercenary. They were supposed to report in the evening to Heaven's Glen. The humans there have been pouring gold into their effort to build a mercenary force. Kirok asks about the transport door. Fyll had a recall device on the last mission to return them; normally the door runs on a 24-hour cycle. Fyll had spoken an enchantment before going through the door. The farthest they went was to the eastern Bothnian coast. They were basically organized looters. The man being questioned had been on four missions ­ three to destroyed towns, the fourth to a larger town with no resistance. Fyll was the leader on two of the missions. Another leader had a headband while the fourth did not. The leaders seem to be emphasizing the formation of teams of people who do not know each other.
Grizzley gives the Palmdalians a dwarven phrase to give to any of the three other dwarven groups surrounding the town, if they should happen to run into them. Continuing the questioning, it is noted that there are 60-70 mercenaries in town at any one time, housed near the edge, and perhaps 9-10 of the leaders; the rest of the people in town are there to service the effort. The large man's thoughts indicate he was not to bring anyone outside of his group back to the town. Gentry asks what will happen if they don't report back and is told "The Synod has ways of locating others".
The fate of the prisoners is discussed, and it is thought that the magic rope might be an entrance to a storage area on another plane; Kirok throws the rope in the direction of the large man. The rope lashes towards the man, wrapping around him and leaving red marks on his body. Kirok pulls back, the rope untangles and spins the man, who is horribly injured. The rope appears to absorb blood, and small blades can be seen retracting from the rope. Gentry's men kill the prisoners.
The group changes their course to a more northerly direction. After about an hour, the rear guard gives a warning ­ three men on carpets can be seen heading for town. At dusk, the sound of wardogs is heard near the location of the prisoners' bodies. The lights of town can be seen, and a small wall surrounding the town. The town gates open and guards with wardogs stream out in all directions: about 40 mercenaries and 20-30 wardogs in all.
The Daern's Instant Fortress is set up invisibly, and soon after the group enters it, a wardog runs into the Fortress and begins howling. Kirok suggests to it that it should attack its master, he is tasty; the wardog leaves and attacks its master, and is subdued. The net of mercenaries continues outward. Janice puts on the helm and suggests to a guard about to discover the Fortress that he should look elsewhere, and he does.
Plans are made to send a team consisting of Gentry, Janice, Kirok, Miranda and Dagobert into the town, keeping three soldiers and five dwarves with the Fortress, the rest of the dwarves moving out on their own. Enlarge is used on the locks of the three wooden boxes and the hinges of the metal box in order to open them, and two traps are set off. The wooden boxes contain a black velvet bag with an archery brace inside, a pair of metallic gloves and a necklace/choker with a very large jewel in the center. The metal box contains a faucet-like device inside form-fitting packing.
Explosions are heard outside, one large, four or five smaller. The guard on top of the Fortress says to come up, he can't describe what is happening. The group goes to the top and sees flames and damage to the gate and walls of the town. Humans in uniform can be seen rising from the landscape, heading towards the town, yelling to destroy the town, burn it to the ground. Six of the dwarves leave to investigate. A ghostly, unrecognizable voice is heard from inside the Fortress: "To whoever is receiving this message: you are in a position to do great good. Near where you are, possibly even at the heart of where you currently are seeking to be, evil men are using a powerful woman named Clea. You must remove her from the metal web she is trapped in, without killing her, for I feel she has great value to our world."

February 1, 1998
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
Kirok casts a Detect Evil on the magic items before the group leaves towards town: the crossbow, bolts and headband give off an evil aura. Grizzley says his dwarves will continue on their mission, remaining outside of town. More explosions are heard, as fireballs are fired at tall buildings in town. Kirok takes the headband, necklace/choker and three gummy gems, Dagobert takes the Fortress (once it is evacuated) and the faucet-like device, Janice takes the gloves and Miranda takes the archery brace and four gummy gems. Four members of the team going to town are turned invisible by Janice, while Miranda uses her Ring of Invisibility.
Two guards with wardogs near their position. The four visible soldiers stand on the opposite side of the pit left by the Fortress, and bodies are heard to fall in with yelps. Fireballs continue to be fired in the distance. There is flaming debris in the town, and 20-30 humans are at the town walls trying to gain entrance, with the soldiers wearing various types of armor. Magic weapons are fired at the army, generating fireballs and ice storms. Fifty attackers have now reached the town, and a siren is heard in the distance. Kirok begins sensing the thoughts of the soldiers as his group nears Heaven's Glen: they are instructed to reach the center of town and destroy everything along the way.
Two wardogs are seen near their position. Kirok gives off a sense of fear of the attacking soldiers to one of the wardogs, and it nearly collides with the other, which tries to trail the group for a bit, then moves off. Three soldiers are seen entering the town through the nearest hole in the town's wall. A battle is raging at the town gates, and most of the attackers have reached the town, and are wearing Bothnian uniforms. The group enters the nearby hole in the wall, 50 yards from the southwest corner; there are two more holes between this one and the gate. They emerge into a dark alley, and Kirok scans for nearby minds. Dagobert sees heat traces from a nearby building. Gentry suggests splitting into two groups, in order to keep the advancing forces from killing Clea during the mayhem.

March 28, 1998
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
It is noted that the town is about 300 yards per side, the town walls are 3-4 feet thick, the main gate is 30-40 feet across; seven holes have been blown into the wall. There is a guard post on each corner of the wall, but not all are manned. So far, 15-20 soldiers have broken into the town. Three buildings can be seen; the largest has the heat traces. A thrumming sound can be heard from the center of town. Kirok suggests that Gentry make contact with the army, and the rest will continue to the center of town. Dagobert sees about ten mercenaries moving to the door of the large building. Two more fireballs can be seen exploding inside the town. Kirok picks up more thoughts of mercenaries and Bothnian soldiers.
The group decides to stay together by holding on to a rope, and heads further into town. Janice tells the group to halt, and listens ­ there are a large number of wardogs coming their way, about 15. They pass the group, heading towards the battle, which is getting nearer to the center of the town. As they approach a group of three warehouses, Dagobert senses that the center building is much colder than the surroundings. There are sounds from the far end of the right building, as people emerge. Moving north, Kirok gets thoughts of two people, one of them weaker; one thinks he's not sure he can use 'this', while the other is angry, thinking that what he is doing is disturbing, the project is almost done; the door of the cold warehouse is not completely closed. Janice warns again, and about ten wardogs pass, with two briefly stopping but soon continuing on with the pack.
The explosions in town are not as frequent. The thrumming sound is getting louder along with hissing sounds, as of pressure being released. The door to the cold building is ratcheted open, and a couple blades emerge, held by two guards. Two more guards follow, along with two robed men who are carrying a pallet holding a small wooden chest, which is very cold. The robed figures have thoughts of urgency, a timetable being moved up. One of the robed men tells them to move, and heads in the direction of the Palmdale group. A voice yells from the building telling them to wait, they forgot something, and a clerk brings cloth garments ­ one of the robed men thinks of the possible danger without those, of sizzling skin.
Janice uses the staff to enlarge the pallet, the poles are enlarged from four to seven feet, and the people jump back. An explosion is heard from the main building, and there are thoughts of increased urgency, that they must get to the facility. The clerk questions what has just happened. Janice enlarges the wooden chest, and the cloaked figures back off ­ there are thoughts of astonishment, and one of them says he believes they are under attack. A guard runs towards the town center for reinforcements, and Janice enlarges his armor, causing him to tumble. Another guard sees the now-visible Janice; the cloaked man who previously thought of the danger of not having the garments, now outstretches his arms to cast a spell, while the other grabs the wooden chest, thinking he must get it to safety. Janice absorbs the cast spell, charging the staff five levels. Janice ridicules the man, saying "What a little man you are." Kirok casts Hold Person on the two cloaked individuals, as the other prepares to cast a spell. The standing person is unaffected, while the other one teleports out, but his scream is immediately heard from the center of town, and soon dies off; Kirok becomes visible.
The remaining cloaked man says "Attack, them!" Janice casts an Enlarge on his headband, and he staggers backward, the spell he was casting now disrupted, and Janice laughs again. The man falls on his back, unconscious or dead, and Kirok senses a symbiotic relationship has just been severed. Janice says "Next!" Kirok senses that the guards are more loyal than the mercenaries they have been encountering. Dagobert plants a magic spear in front of an onrushing guard, who impales his leg on the invisible spear and is stunned. Dagobert retrieves the spear. Kirok hits an attacking guard, while Miranda tries to hit another guard, but misses. Janice enlarges the chain mail armor on an approaching guard, laughs maniacally, and yells for Bylly-Bubba to bring up the other platoon. All but Miranda are now visible.
The explosion of a fireball is seen and heard from the main building; 10-15 Bothnian soldiers are seen running towards the group ­ a guard yells for the rest to run. Janice cackles as she enlarges the mortar of the cold building, asks for a moment of silence for those about to die, and says "Greetings from the brain of THE HEAD!" A grinding sound is heard, and the building begins changing shape. The guard on Kirok fumbles, while Kirok gets a critical hit and kills him. The mortar continues enlarging, with the building near collapse. Janice enlarges another guard's armor, as the guards flee. Miranda picks up the protective clothes, Janice enlarges the mortar on the other side of the building as cold air escapes from it. Kirok yells, "Let's get going!" and heads for the Bothnian soldiers.
Another large fireball hits the main building, and the approaching soldiers stagger from the explosion. The sound of rending, shearing metal is heard from the center of town, and the magic field, which had not been quite up to full power, jumps up to 100%. Magic armor suddenly becomes light in weight, and magic swords begin glowing brightly. The rest follow Kirok, with Janice briefly stumbling. Kirok yells "We're friends, I'm Kirok, you've probably heard of me..." Dagobert sees about five wardogs coming up an adjoining street, yells "Dogs!" There are 17 Bothnians in the group, and the leader yells for the Palmdale group to halt, he hadn't heard of Kirok. The cold building collapses. Dagobert fires a fireball at the wardogs, killing one and sending the rest running ­ Dagobert yells "No dogs!" In the ruins of the cold building, Miranda sees 3-4 frozen human bodies. A couple of people remain in the collapsed building, pounding on the door. Dagobert bargains with them, says he will help them out if they give him information. Dagobert asks what is in the center of town, and is told "The Masters' Shrine".
Kirok explains they are with a New Britain force sent to stop the magic-dampening effect. The leader turns to an assistant and tells him to do a Detect on Kirok; Janice runs up, says she will run a Detect on them. The aide says "No evils here." Janice whispers to Kirok "Lot's of magic here." At this moment, a saucer-like object is seen rising from the center of town, originating from below ground level. It is about 90 yards across and 20-30 yards in height, dark in color with no lights. Three fireballs are fired from the ground, and as they hit the saucer, a shimmering effect is seen from the ship's shielding, with no damage. Janice fires lightning at the ship, with a similiar efffect. A humming sound is heard as a light beam shoots from the saucer to the area where the fireballs were launched. Screams are heard immediately thereafter. The group scatters, and a peach-colored beam emits from the ship, hitting the area where Janice had been. Part of a nearby building glows; shortly it explodes. The ship continues to rise. Frost attacks and more fireballs are fired at the ship, with little effect; smaller, multiple blasts are now emitted from the saucer at multiple ground targets. Kirok and Janice run toward the launching point of the ship. A hole is seen being blasted into the wall of the main building, with several armored humans appearing from it.
Meanwhile, Dagobert says, "I don't think you're in a position to negotiate, but if you think you are, I can collapse more of the building." The response from the person Dagobert is talking to in the building is that he doesn't know anything about the ship. The pounding on the door of the building stops. The bottom of the ship is now 40-50 feet above the ground. It is seen that physical attacks launched at the ship do not cause the shields to shimmer. The ship fires four beams at targets on the ground. Dagobert and Miranda notice the body of the cloaked man writhing during the attack by the ship. Three energy blasts are heard from the ground, and people are seen firing energy rifles at the ship, loading rounds from cases. These blasts seem to be causing more damage, knocking the ship with each hit. The cloaked man begins staggering toward the center of town.
Kirok yanks at a building stone while Janice casts Detect Magic on the ship ­ the ship does not radiate magic, although items on board might be. Wires can be seen hanging from the bottom of the ship, where it ripped out of the ground. Kirok throws a boulder at the ship as Janice uses an Enlarge on the boulder; it misses. Two more beams are fired at the ship. Kirok and Janice use the same procedure to hurl another boulder at the ship, which is missed again, hitting instead the depression in the ground where the ship took off. The ship fires at the people firing energy weapons. Kirok throws another boulder and hits, with the boulder shattering and the ship jerking back. Kirok and Janice run to the next building for cover, and there is an explosion behind them. Kirok senses a presence, one that he's not felt since...and he hears the weak voice of Clea inside his head, saying "Kirok, Lactar, Q, help me." (Kirok is in a trance state while hearing this).
Kirok and Janice, at the lip of the pit, can see people with energy cannons, exposed wires, burst energy storage containers with liquid oozing from them, leaking into the pit, and exposed rooms that had butted against the saucer. Kirok throws another boulder at the ship, critically hitting it ­ the ship is now at a list, but still rising. Janice fires two more lightnings, causing jolts to the saucer, but the shields still activate. A spark of orange flame can be seen from the saucer. Gentry emerges from the main building holding an energy cannon, says there are more inside. The leader of the Bothnian force shows up, and it is agreed to go after the ship on horseback.
Dagobert and Miranda continue following the cloaked man; he walks over burning rubble, and the cloak catches fire. The cloaked man, now on fire, enters the main building. A musky-smelling liquid is on the floor, leaked from the adjoining rooms. Dagobert and Miranda pass rooms containing energy cannons, and follow the cloaked man down some stairs: the headband is hanging off the side of his face. Meanwhile, a Bothnian soldier with Kirok's group says he just saw a dwarf following a flaming man. The stairs lead into a dimly lit passageway ending in a curved wall where the pit is, and an emaciated woman (Clea) strung up in a metal web. The cloaked man, now definitely a corpse, stops in front of the woman and collapses, with three gummy gems leaking from his head. Two catch on fire, giving off a sickly-sweet smell. There are palmprint panels at both ends of the room, with about 50 pinprick holes in each palm.
Kirok, Janice and Gentry follow Dagobert and Miranda, with Gentry going after the weapons. Kirok stops and concentrates, and weakly hears Clea. Miranda sets the third gummy gem on fire. Dagobert cuts off the remaining relatively intact hand of the dead man; he then casts a Cure Light Wounds on Clea. Kirok and Janice approach down the stairs, and Kirok gives Clea water. Janice begins cutting the wires holding Clea in place. She is very cold, so Janice wraps Clea in her cloak. As soon as Clea is loose, Kirok begins carrying her, as they hear shouts to get out of the building. Once outside, they see the saucer returning, hundreds of feet away. It is on fire, heading towards the town. The group begins running south, along with the remaining soldiers and mercenaries, occasionally looking back at the ship. An explosion is seen from the ship, with a portion of it blowing off. The Palmdale group goes through the main gate, then to the east. A huge fireball is seen as the ship impacts near the center of town, slides along the ground, and bursts through the main gate to the south.

June 27, 1998
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
It is dark, around 9:00 p.m. The impact of the saucer has knocked some people to the ground. The Palmdale group is just beyond the path of destruction. The saucer has broken into pieces. Many fires illuminate the town and body parts are strewn about. None of the cloaked individuals are visible. About 100 people are crowded nearby, and about 10 dwarves appear from the surrounding fields. It is learned from Clea that the people here used a foretelling device to learn of Clea's power, and had set a trap for her at the location of her catalyst water. She was attacked and subdued quickly, and she hasn't seen the guards she had been with since then. Her power is the ability to dampen magic fields, and turn off magic devices.
A Bothnian major is issuing orders, telling his soldiers to subdue the mercenaries. Of the 100 people nearby, about 60 are Bothnians, the rest are mercenaries and townspeople. Dagobert yells to the mercenaries that they are surrounded by dwarves. A Necklace of Adaptation is placed on Clea. Wardogs are heard howling in the distance, leaderless. Kirok informs the Bothnian leader, Major Callahan, that he will set up a Daern's Instant Fortress at the southeast corner of the town's walls, and informs the major that wounded may be placed within it. While Kirok and the major are talking, a Bothnian soldier cuts off the head of one of the mercenaries. Miranda yells a warning that any 'gummy gems' should be destroyed. Dagobert informs the major about the approaching dwarves. Janice moves off to investigate the saucer crash site. Meanwhile, explosions have been heard from town. The wind is blowing the smoke from the crash to the west.
Janice investigates a large chunk of the saucer, working her way through fires on the ground. She moves 15-20 ' into the debris field, along with two soldiers; she detects no magic except for the soldiers' swords. The chunk is 15' x 20' and is 7' high, and may have been along the outer edge. It is not stable on the ground. Janice moves to the other side of the chunk. There are two compartments separated by a wall, with a black oily slick leaking out of one from a closet. The other compartment contains storage lockers, some of which have broken open, spilling out glowing metallic coins.
Miranda sees more dwarves approaching, yells that they are Bothnian allies. Miranda rounds the edge of the saucer crash site and sees two bodies, the legs moving on one, and yells for help. Miranda starts to uncover the injured man, who is in pain. Two mercenaries are approaching her position, but one runs. Miranda yells for the other to help her uncover the injured man.
Kirok sees four field clerics, helping along three victims to the site designated for the Fortress. He follows and sets up the Fortress; movement can be seen in the town through holes in the town wall ­ soldiers are seen moving in. Kirok goes to the top of the Fortress (30' above ground); there is a grey haze over two-thirds of the town, and fires are still burning. He sees two flying carpets lifting off near the depression in the center of town. Callahan's forces are subduing the remaining mercenaries.
Dagobert encounters a leader of one of the dwarven groups (a total of four). They exchange code phrases, and the leader tells Dagobert that the dwarves are there to support the Bothnian troops. Dagobert says they should try to help the Bothnians injured in the crash. The leader asks if Dagobert has seen any dwarven prisoners, and he replies that he hasn't.
Kirok and others nearby begin choking from different-colored fumes emanating from a nearby building. Kirok and the clerics close the arrow slits in the Fortress. While Miranda uncovers the injured man, the mercenary with her uncovers the unmoving body ­ they both begin choking. Dagobert reaches Miranda; there are now about 40 dwarves in view.
Janice begins smelling noxious fumes and hears soldiers retching, sees wardogs sniffing at bodies. She collects the spilled coins. The cabinets that remained shut are locked. She enlarges a door, which bends, warps and pops out, remaining attached only by a hinge, and reveals six human arms! The arms are well preserved, and the air inside the cabinet is cool. There are three pairs of arms from three males, muscular, and cleanly severed at the shoulder. Of the remaining locked compartments, two are large with the remainder smaller. Using the same technique, she pops off the door of a large compartment (2'x3'). The locker contains five pairs of human legs, cut off at mid-thigh; she hears yelps from the nearby wardogs, as if they are in pain.
The noxious fumes thicken; the dwarves are more resistant, but their lungs begin burning as well. Miranda pulls the injured man out of the wreckage; he has a broken arm and is thrashing, and she knocks him unconscious and carries him. The mercenary coughs, gets up and follows at her command.
Janice opens the other large locker, noticing other wardogs picking through debris and trying to leave the city. She is still unaffected by the fumes. The door pops open on two hinges; inside are two human torsos, male, having been pulled apart. All body parts have been refrigerated. Janice hears a noise behind her, and turns to see wardogs behind her, with green, glowing eyes. She carefully throws an arm towards the wardogs, and one picks it up and backs away. She throws an arm at the other wardog and it looks at Janice for a moment, then grabs the arm and backs up.
Miranda notices that the eyes of the mercenary with her have taken on a green sheen. She warns away the approaching dwarves. She lays the body she is carrying on the ground and follows the mercenary. Dagobert begins to throw his hammer at the mercenary, but Miranda stops him. The mercenary turns his head and stares; Dagobert puts the hammer behind his back and whistles, and the mercenary continues on. Miranda grabs Dagobert by the scruff of his neck, and yells to the dwarves "Tell Kirok that I have his dwarf." Dagobert says "When my master Kirok finds out that you've kidnapped me, then" The mercenary is not paying attention. They follow 20-25' behind 'Green Eyes'. Dagobert motions for the dwarves to follow, and about four follow, while the others move to inform the army.
Meanwhile, Kirok leaves the fortress, passing incapacitated people while running towards the source of the fumes. He sees the ruins of a building, around the corner of which he sees zombie-like figures with bluish skin, also coming down the side streets, about 20 total. Kirok heads back, going through another hole in the town wall, having grabbed an incapacitated Bothnian soldier on the way. He goes to inform Callahan, whose army has surrounded a group of mercenaries. More clerics are heading for the Fortress, and Kirok gives the incapacitated soldier to them. He tells Callahan of the possessed people approaching and of the creatures possessing them. The Major orders those with magic weapons to attack. Kirok uses the Helm of Telepathy to monitor the possessed individuals, and reads a blinding fury and a desire for revenge from multiple sources. Eight have come through an opening in the wall, with others behind. The army launches two fireballs along with lightning bolts. Body parts fly, and only one of the attackers is left standing; Kirok staggers him with a Magic Missile.
Janice opens two small lockers, which contain two torsos, two arms and a leg. Another small locker contains eyeballs, which roll out of the locker due to the angle of the wreckage ­ the contents of the other lockers are beginning to slide out as well. She breathes from one of the lockers to get fresh air, then climbs towards fresher air, and hears sounds from the direction of the town. Two people dressed in civilian clothing, as well as a dead man, get up and begin approaching her. She heads for the army, working her way through the debris field.
Dagobert and Miranda continue to follow the possesed mercenary, who suddenly whistles loudly and says, "We'll be safe in a few minutes, keep moving." Dagobert says "Define safe." Two loud, rumbling explosions are heard from the far side of town. The mercenary turns back, smiles in the direction of the explosions and continues on. The rumbling continues. Miranda asks the mercenary "Are you sure we're going to make it out of here?" The mercenary stops, doesn't seem to understand. Miranda says, "I mean, to safety." The mercenary replies "Oh yes,
we'll be safe." Eight wardogs approach. Five of them have glowing eyes, the other three are apparently being herded. A wardog whines as it sees that Dagobert and Miranda are not following.
Kirok sees Janice emerge from the smoke and debris, with three shambling figures following. Kirok says that Dispel Magic causes the creatures to leave their hosts. The dwarven leader examines the rumbling ground, getting a reading. He tells Callahan "Leave, get out now!" Meanwhile, another dwarf yells to Kirok "Miranda took your dwarf!" Kirok runs to the Fortress, with Janice following, as Callahan yells for his group to leave. Kirok reaches the Fortress, commands the door to open, and tells those within (nine clerics and ten wounded) to get out, they are in danger. More shambling figures are seen coming through the wall. Kirok asks for suggestions from those nearby.
It is about 8:30 p.m. It will take several minutes to return to town. Steve says the magic field is at 2%, but will need to be at least 10% to get weapons functioning. The jump warp might operate, but it could damage the ship. The enemy hasn't yet crossed the moat. Flames are rising from several buildings. Jym tries communications and finally gets through to Westing, who is shouting and sending additional men to Oppenheimer's lab and the main bridge. His lieutenant answers and says Westing is tied up. Jym tells him the cannon is disabled, but he needs some sort of weapon, such as oil. The lieutenant says they will gather up what they can. He asks Jym to fly over the main force for information.
Oppenheimer's lab can be seen blazing, and orcs are on all sides of the town except the desert. Black-clad human allies can be seen among the attackers. After a few minutes, Stotty can be heard screaming for help, that he needs assistance at once, and under the stress breaks into his dwarven accent; "Jym, the ship canna take much more o' this pounding, the hatch door is buckling!" Jym informs the army of the situation with the starship; Westing says the explosion at Oppenheimer's was the result of a booby trap. He will send forces to the witch's house to help Stotty. Several minutes later, Steve lowers the ship and Jym heads for the shuttle bay. Townspeople below quickly load oil onto the ship. Jym asks the lieutenant for arrow sharpshooters if they can get to the ship immediately. Westing breaks in and says the orcs are using their dead to bridge the moat; he will send two sharpshooters. The ship begins rising to 50', and the two sharpshooters grab a rope and rope ladder and climb aboard; there are five townspeople on board as well to help. The ship moves to where the bodies are being piled.
Stotty says he's been able to close off some sections, while a booming sound can be heard near his position. Westing breaks in and says he is moving about 15 soldiers to the tunnel; rubble deliberately placed in the tunnel is slowing them down, and the orcs have also barricaded themselves in Witch Clara's house. Jym drops 2/3 of the oil he has on the bodies in the moat and ignites it; the enemy backs off. The fires at Oppenheimer's are nearly under control, and the witch's house is surrounded. More oil is thrown on the bodies, while the sharpshooters hit several human targets. Steve begins repositioning the ship, which is now 70' above the ground; systems readouts begin coming on line, the ship shudders and the archers have to grab onto the ship, as three of the townspeople fall out of the shuttle bay. The ship begins warping, Steve yells "Grab onto something, we're in for a bumpy ride!"

September-November 1998

Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
September 24, 1998
Miranda and Dagobert continue heading south, following the possessed man; they are now 250-300' beyond the debris field, and the terrain is rising towards the edge of the valley. The largest of the green-eyed wardogs stares at the two; the dogs are catching up with 'Possessed Man', who begins walking faster, ignoring rumbling in the distance. Individuals can be seen scattering towards the hills.
Cries of pain can be heard within the Daern's Instant Fortress as the ground rumbles and the injured are being carried outside; there are about 20-25 individuals nearby, and Clea has passed out. The rumbling seems to be centered in the city. Kirok asks if anyone has the Rainbow spell, and a cleric on the upper level says he can cast two. Callahan is rallying his forces, and the dwarves are heading for higher ground ­ the valley, it is noticed, is unnaturally shaped, too regular. The Fortress begins tilting towards the town as the ground starts to subside; a crack begins forming between the Fortress and the town, and someone is seen to be hanging on to the edge of the crack. Callahan and his people also begin moving towards the hills, but two soldiers remain behind to help Kirok and the clerics with the wounded.
Miranda hears a fluttering sound 40-50' in the air: the sound of flying carpets, moving to rendezvous with 'Possessed Man'. It feels to Dagobert as if the mountainside is shearing off. The wardogs are now staying with 'PM', not rushing ahead.
Meanwhile, the cracks emanating from town are widening, and the town walls are shaking; possessed individuals move towards the Fortress. Kirok casts Dispel Magic, and Janice does the same with the staff; the three closest fall, with dark liquid oozing from the openings in their bodies, forming puddles. Most of the remaining individuals begin writhing from the spell Kirok cast. A grinding sound can now be heard. Two clerics haul the last injured man from the Fortress, and Kirok collapses it and takes it. A large ground shock knocks Janice and about half of the nearby group to the ground. Smaller cracks are widening, and the town is collapsing into the ground; cries can be heard from within.
The flying carpets have disappeared into the darkness, but Dagobert sees them land, one figure per carpet. Shocks are increasing from the direction of the town. Miranda tries to convince Dagobert to attack the wardogs, but Dagobert is concentrating on the flash of heat and light in the distance, as human or elf-sized figures move through a torus-shaped hole in space, appearing near the carpets. 'Possessed Man' says, "Our ride is here." Dagobert sees more figures come through the hole, and he and Miranda increase their speed. 'PM' says, "They'll be here shortly." and lifts a hand towards the approaching dwarves in order to cast a spell.
Kirok has the people gather together for a Rainbow spell. Damon, the cleric with the spell, moves to the center of a 10' diameter circle, and Kirok tells him to "Engage". The group begins moving, 15' above the ground. Damon says that something is interfering with the spell; a cleric begins falling through, and is grabbed by Kirok, who also begins slipping through. Janice tries to wake Clea, thinking she might be the reason the magic is failing. Kirok notices that the hole in the center of town is now twice as large. A cleric casts Cure Serious Wounds on Clea, and she revives, disoriented, and asks Janice where she is. Janice asks Clea to assist with the Rainbow spell.
Jym senses reality bending around him. His next awareness is of waking up in the shuttlecraft bay; it is still dark out, the engines can be heard to be straining, and the ship is descending. He feels lethargic, and feels that possibly a day has gone by. Magic is still working. He hears the sound of metal on metal and smells burning wood. He looks over the edge of the shuttlecraft bay and sees they are over a town with many fires along the edge, and a nearby town is seen to be in flames. He asks the ship for a status report, and it reports in a crackling voice that the jump warp was activated and life support is failing. Steve says the ship is not absorbing enough magic by itself. Jym gives it his Robe of Useful Items, and lights flicker in the shuttlecraft bay; Steve says it will give the ship a couple of hours, and it is not descending as fast now. Jym tells Steve he thinks they are over Malveria; the nearby town of Zyconia is engulfed in flames. He has Steve dock at the port on the castle. Steve says it will be slow, and will take about ten minutes. The archers take positions in the bay, with orders to fire only if attacked. Jym heads for the bridge, and the ship prepares to dock; running lights from the dock can be seen.
November 5, 1998
Q comes to consciousness and finds himself in unfamiliar territory; he attempts to gain control of the body he currently inhabits, and pushes Flagg to the background. His last memory is of drawing from a magical Deck. It is early evening, and he is lying on a cot in a tent containing three additional cots with injured humans. They all have wounds from recent combat. People can be seen nearby in civilian clothing. He limps to the entrance and sees eight people gathered around a fire, with a meal being cooked; they are near the center of a devastated town. A man and a woman help him to the fire and ask who he is; he says his last memory is of talking to King Lactar. He asks the current date, and about his traveling companions, and is told that Wyre and Zena left yesterday. He asks about magic users, and is told the town's was killed; he is shown the magic user's workshop, which is 95% destroyed. He investigates the rubble as a woman, named Desiree, assists him. A strong box is found beneath the hearth and opened; a cylinder of polished wood remains in the bottom, with finger holds on one end ­ Q/Flagg takes it. He asks about what has happened in the last year, especially in the last few months. He offers to train the people in fighting techniques, and checks on the status of weapons, food stores.
The next five days are spent exploring the ruins and training the survivors. A man runs into town from the north, and says a nearby transport door on the other side of the lake is still functional, allowing travel to the south and to the southeast, and the size varies. It has been used before to travel near Malveria and into Bothnian territory. There is only a half-hour window each day to get past the mountains, and for a half-hour each day it will drop travelers into a bottomless canyon. An old woman says she can predict fairly accurately where the door will lead at a given time.
Days later, wagons roll into town to assist the people; Zachary says his traveling companions continued on to Kroft three days ago. Q/Flagg says he wants to travel to the transport door with the old woman, along with two soldiers to escort the woman back. Desiree wants to accompany him, but Q refuses her. The two scouts who investigated the doorway accompany him. The group circles around the lake to the northwest, skirting the forest, and set up camp. It is estimated that the door is a day and a half further. Later, Q/Flagg is shaken awake by a guard. The sound of marching feet is heard, and the guard says they are close and getting closer, but are not heading directly towards their camp; they are heading towards Jasin. Q/Flagg sends the two scouts back to warn the town; one of the scouts is on a horse, the other accompanies the old woman. Q/Flagg and the two soldiers also head back. That evening, a soldier says "Did you feel that?" as their magic items snap on. Q/Flagg picks up the magic rod and feels warmth ­ it is not a standard rod. He attempts to fire it and senses a buildup of energy, which is not being released. He wills it to activate, and each end telescopes out. He tests it, and it seems to be bonding with him. They reach town at daybreak the next morning, as people are being evacuated to the island in the lake.
After having left a message with the Palmdale assault group at Heaven's Glen, the magic conch shell is drained, and it is unknown if this condition is tempory or permanent. Zyconia has fallen. Hundreds of orcs and others have surrounded Malveria, which is packed with refugees. Prince Andrew asks his military aides to allow Wyre to assist with the castle defenses; Wyre requests to have Zena accompany him, and the prince agrees. It is estimated that the dome will be breached in about a day, and defenses are being readied. It is near midnight. Wyre notices a large, faceted magic crystal near the airship tower. On the outer parapet he hears and sees a flare from the dome in the direction of Zyconia ­ something has broken through to the south. The prince says he may need to take underground tunnels to his docked ship. There are several more breaches during the night, and attackers are setting buildings on fire.
The next morning, Wyre asks the prince concerning use of the magic crystal to power the Oracle. His advisers are not sure if they are compatible, but it is taken to the Oracle temple. The guardian of the Oracle thinks it may be dead, but he is willing to try. The crystal is wheeled into the Oracle chamber. A faint presence is felt; to test the Oracle, a magic-user is left alone to ask a question. As the day wears on, the fighting does not approach the castle. In the evening there is a horrific explosion of the magic crystal in the Oracle chamber, leaving a gaping hole and killing the guardian; the dome disappears. Investigating the debris, someone announces that the Oracle is dead. Suddenly a wave of energy is felt, and magic items begin operating. Wyre runs to the castle to join Prince Andrew in the airship tower, where he is watching the fighting; fires can be seen and explosions heard in the distance. Wyre asks to be allowed to directly engage the enemy. The prince understands and agrees, giving him a field promotion to Lieutenant, and tells him to report to General Waverly.
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
The disk created by the Rainbow spell feels as if it is crumbling, and the surface is soft, pockmarked. Clea appears to be confused. Kirok is losing his grip on the cleric who fell through the disk. In the distance, the town can be seen collapsing into a giant hole. An injured person falls through the disk onto the collapsing ground. Kirok uses the Helm of Telepathy to Suggest to Clea that she calm down and attempt to strengthen the magic field supporting the Rainbow spell. Clea stops thrashing, stretches ­ and the magic field collapses, along with the Rainbow spell! They fall to the ground and Kirok loses his grip on the cleric he had grabbed. Kirok mentally commands Clea to "Stop!" A soldier yells "Run!" as the collapsing ground can be seen approaching, 35'-40' away.
Meanwhile, the dwarves continue to advance towards the hole in space. Dagobert says "Wait, these are not the dwarves you're looking for. Miranda pretends to shield 'Possessed Man' from the approaching dwarves; 'PM' says "Why don't you kill all the dwarves. They're not going to do us any good." Dagobert throws his hammer at 'PM'; it impacts his chest, and 'PM"s body falls backward onto the ground, twitching spasmodically, but doesn't get up. The twitching subsides as Dagobert's hammer returns to him, covered in flesh. The wardogs appear to want to flee towards the distant light.
November 10, 1998
Dagobert & Miranda
The valley continues to collapse, accompanied by a dull roar. The dwarves following Miranda and Dagobert are surprised by the single blow death of 'Possessed Man' a.k.a. 'Green Eyes'. People nearby appear to be scattering from a central area, three to the east and six to the west. All nearby wardogs have run to the gate. 'Green Eyes' sits up and looks around, his gaze settling on Dagobert. Miranda attempts to grab Dagobert's arm as 'Green Eyes' moves towards him. Dagobert quips "Nice boss you have lady." as Miranda misses and 'Green Eyes' comes under dwarven attack. "You should have stolen a dwarf body like we did." taunts Dagobert; the severely injured body attempts to respond but is in no condition to be understood. A dwarven blow cuts 'Green Eyes' almost in half. The dwarf responsible whoops in triumph when the top half falls sideways as the legs fall backwards. Miranda hears a carpet pass overhead on its way to the gate, and Dagobert sees the possesed wardogs returning; both warn their small group. Miranda pulls on the severed torso's arm and Dagobert watches for the expected gem, as pieces fall out and a portion of the legs seem to have minor attachment to the body. The gem is seen when the dwarf who severed the body pulls on one leg, saying, "Make a wish." Dagobert retorts, "Did you wish for something falling out of its esophagus?" The gem falls out and the body snaps apart. Its pieces are quickly ignored as the gem glows an agitated shade of green.
Miranda, wearing gauntlets, scoops the gem into an oilskin pouch. Dagobert suggests that going through the gate may be a rather bad idea. Miranda insists that information about this group is needed, and begins running towards the gate. She calls to the wardogs in an attempt to have them follow her instead of attacking the battle-ready dwarves. A dwarf hits one of the wardogs with a crossbow bolt and it falls to the ground; the remaining four skid to a halt. Dagobert throws his hammer at the lead dog and it falls to the ground, unable to rise again. The other wounded dog is hit again after regaining its footing. The remaining three dogs follow Miranda. Dagobert instructs the dwarves to capture the lead wardog's gem alive and destroy the other. Dagobert throws his hammer at the retreating wardogs, and a dwarf fires his crossbow. The hammer blow collapses the dog's entire side, impressing the young dwarf with the crossbow. Dagobert stops to contain this gem as well since Miranda and the remaining two wardogs are now out of weapon range. Using his spear, Dagobert lifts the dog's head in search of its gem, while the dwarves behind him can be heard smacking something to death; he reminds them to be careful. A gem drops out of the dog's open mouth; he orders it not to move, and uses a sword to transfer it to a vial. The young crossbow-wielding dwarf asks "Now what?"
It appears that the people to the west have come closer. The dwarves think that this group may have been the same people seen earlier near town, consisting of military personnel, but they are not sure. The sound of clashing metal can be heard coming from the direction of the gate. Miranda continues running towards the gate, followed by the two wardogs. In the light from the gate, dozens of humanoids of different sizes are seen engaged in battle. A large carpet passes approximately from south to north, its path possibly beginning more to the side of the city than the previous one. The larger wardog pulls even with Miranda and passes her, the other remaining five feet behind. Figures in the light appear to be humans or elves in combat with dwarves or halflings, but little can be seen at 450 yards distance.
November 17, 1998
In addition to Kirok, Clea and Janice, six clerics and eight injured personnel were on the Rainbow Bridge, for a total of 17. As they hit the ground, there is an explosion at the far side of the group as an item on the side of a cleric bursts; he screams and is still. In addition to Clea, four others also are not moving; two are badly injured. The remaining 12 rise to their feet as the ground can be seen cracking behind them. Other groups of individuals can be seen running, looking behind them; dwarven groups are just running as fast as they can. Kirok yells to Janice "Use the staff to get us out!" One cleric is seen to be floating, and Damon has pulled a wand out. Janice uses the staff to lift herself and Kirok off the ground, as Kirok grabs Clea; the presence of Clea is causing the Levitate spell to sputter.
The people at the farthest edge of the group are about to be devoured by the sinkhole, and a cloud of dust and debris is seen approaching. As the cloud hits Damon, he and three of the four surviving clerics, along with two of the unconcious injured, blink out. The remainder scream as they fall into the hole. Kirok scans below and reads the dying thoughts of at least the six injured and one cleric, thoughts of terror, suddenly snapping off. Janice, Kirok and Clea continue moving in the same direction as they had been, towards the edge of the valley. The movement of the sinkhole can be seen to be slowing. Billowing clouds of dust obscure their vision, and they can only see about 50' down. While scanning with the Helm of Telepathy, Kirok senses beyond the normal scanning range a godlike being, chuckling, concentrating on some action.

December 1998-October 1999
Dagobert & Miranda
December 5, 1998
The tide of battle is turning towards the recently arrived tall figures. Torchlight reveals a blackish sheen to their armor; a few cloaked ones stand to one side. Dagobert sends a scout to identify the nearby group of people while he leads the remaining dwarves towards the portal.
December 10, 1998
Dagobert and the dwarves run towards the gate as the scout disappears into the darkness. A strange whistling sound is heard nearby, and two of the dwarves indicate that it is a recognition signal used among their forces here; a return signal is given. The scout returns, followed by six Bothnian soldiers. The dwarves are again signaled, this time to regroup and prepare for combat. The humans follow the dwarves, and Dagobert informs them of the portal and the gems.
Two dwarves appear ahead out of a hollow in the ground. The leader states in a hushed voice "Griffin's flank unit 18, report." One of the dwarves with Dagobert replies "Dark Mountain 12. Our commander has been killed." Dagobert identifies himself as being with a small task force representing the New Britain government, asks for news of the portal, and warns of Miranda's attempted infiltration. The dwarf general explains that the attacking forces from the portal are drow, and Dagobert's comrade is probably dead. Dagobert gives Miranda's description and tells the general that Kirok and Janice might show up during battle. The humans are pleased with the news of a drow invasion, and news of a bounty on drow is passed around the small group; it is the result of a new edict passed down several months ago, apparently the result of a personal grudge of the king. The bounty is 50 gold pieces per body and 100 gold pieces for a live drow; this has brightened the human's spirits as they near battle.
Meanwhile, Miranda runs towards the three figures standing to the side of the battle. Still 320 yards away, she trips over a body that yelps in pain. The wardog that had been following her begins snarling. She orders it towards the battle to warn them of the dwarves; the dog hesitates until she repeats the command. She investigates the body, which is laying face down, is covered by a cloak and is wearing leather armor. Its right side is soaked in blood. Flipping the body over causes the individual to scream in pain. Its hood falls back revealing what appears to be a young male drow, in shock. Miranda removes his cloak, two daggers from a waistband, and gloves, which reveal a silver ring on the left hand. A metallic pendant can be seen beneath the lacing of his shirt.
The drow begins to revive and struggles to speak, finally asking, "What's going on?" Fear crosses his face upon seeing Miranda; she offers him a quaff of healing potion. He thanks her and asks her name; she tells him and suggests they leave the area. He insists on a status report. Informed of the nearby battle and the approaching hordes of dwarves, he is shocked and reaches towards his medallion. He asks Miranda of her home and liege but is disappointed in her response. He then asks if she fights on the side of good or evil. Miranda replies that she fights where she chooses, and moves to lift him off the ground; he implores her to wait. Struggling with his shirt laces, he reaches for his medallion. Pulling it off his own neck he hands it to Miranda, insisting that she is his only hope.
The sky is cloudy when Q/Flagg and a soldier approach the town of Jasin. Perimeter scouts greet them and situation reports are exchanged. Only about 20 people remain in town to be evacuated. The boat just left with a full load of six people and will return in about six hours. There are about three weeks worth of supplies on the island. Everything of use from the town has been removed. A scout waits in the woods to signal the enemy's approach. If the remaining people must fight, there are three wooden structures near town that can be defended for a limited time, or a basement near the center of town to hide in. Q/Flagg instructs the remaining townspeople to build an emergency raft.
The boat returns in the afternoon, and a load of seven people are sent out under cloudier skies. Q/Flagg heads towards the forest to recall the scout. As he enters the edge of the forest it begins to rain, and he builds a quick shelter to ward off the cold rain. Q/Flagg catches a whiff of wood smoke, and looking out of his shelter he hears the screams of a human. Cautiously approaching the origin of the smoke, he finds an encampment of orcs and ogres. A human can be seen roasting over the campfire. Q/Flagg quickly dispatches a nearby orc guard and assumes its position.

December 14, 1998
The group of Kirok, Clea and Janice descend rapidly, sinking 10'-15' for every 25'-30' of horizontal movement. Kirok is still able to sense the godlike chuckling ­ no specific words, but a feeling of a sealing spell being cast, something being closed. The dust is beginning to clear. Janice tells Kirok that he should suggest sleep to Clea; he does, and she falls asleep. The staff seems to be functioning well, but is strained by the added weight. The crumbled remains of the ground can be seen 75'-80' below, gradually rising to the former surface of the valley. Kirok, still monitoring the godlike presence, senses satisfaction, a door closing; he also hears thoughts of fear and pain from below. Clea is having trouble breathing due to the dust. Contact with the godlike being ends. Kirok has Janice descend faster, as she is losing her grip on the staff. Fifteen feet above the ground Janice loses her grip, and the group drops to the ground; Janice and Kirok land on their feet, while Clea is slightly hurt by her fall.
Looking back towards where the city had been, flashes of fire can be seen, with total blackness at the center; the hole is steeper towards the epicenter. There is the smell of burning wood and possibly flesh. They are 75'-100' from the rim of the valley. Kirok has Janice scout ahead while he stays with Clea and tries to find any injured individuals. Janice's staff is sputtering, but gaining strength the further she gets from Clea. Kirok scans and receives indications of several people; the strongest is 35 yards away and he heads towards it, picking up thoughts of a trapped human. He approaches a female Bothnian soldier, her legs trapped and appearing to be blinded, attempting to pry away rubble with a broken sword.

December 19, 1998
The airship
Erikson is backed into the docking platform above the castle in Malveria. Erikson estimates that 28-29 hours have passed since the return of magic warped the ship away from Palmdale. Unable to communicate with the castle, Jym returns to the shuttlecraft bay to assist with docking. Two archers, a pewterer and a beggar from Palmdale help him lash down the ropes thrown from the castle. Prince Andrew greets Jym, accompanied by Wyre. The prince is disappointed that only one airship has arrived, but offers food and assistance for the young airship. News of the war is exchanged and the prince is escorted to the bridge. Schematics of the ship's layout are displayed while Jym checks for battle damage. The prince unsuccessfully attempts to contact his father's airship, which had been stationed where the southern mountains of Bothnia meet New Britain; the king had taken an armed force into the mountains. The prince is concerned about his father and asks Jym to take him to the location of Excalibur; Jym politely suggests that the country needs him here and Andrew reluctantly agrees. The prince supplies the ship for relief efforts in Palmdale and Ylldana.
Jym returns to the shuttlecraft bay and notices that the beggar is gone; the remaining three Palmdalians await his orders. The prince's staff reports that Palmdale has been contacted, and Westing reports that the town has received damage but remains standing. Andrew sends along 20 soldiers with the airship, under Wyre's temporary command. While waiting for supplies to be loaded, Jym contacts Professor Nimrod, who says martial law has been lifted in Prestana. When asked about young airships, the professor says that little is known about them but he will investigate further. A known fact is the inability of young airships to control power usage, which is a learned skill as they grow.
Erikson leaves for Ylldana, traveling 400 feet above the road. Farmers in their fields notice the airship; a few wave at it. Near dusk, a bonfire is spotted to the side of the road. Running lights are activated and the spotlight is turned onto the site. Wyre transports down among the group of refugees, who are returning to their homes in Ylldana after seeking safety in Malveria. Jym offers to transport a scout and a horse to Ylldana to report on the town. Tennyson, an apprentice brewer, is chosen as the scout.
The following morning
Erikson crosses the river ­ the bridge is gone. Looters are seen on the road and scatter at the sight of the airship. Ylldana has been burned and looted, with some stone buildings remaining; a third of the town may be salvageable. An away team is sent to find the remains of the magic shop and determine if food can be found for Erikson. After some debate, it is decided not to send a force after the looters since a garrison could not be spared to hold the town. A number of the stone buildings, including the brewery, appear to be salvageable; the magic shop is standing but has been looted.
A concealed door detects magic in the back office of the shop. Once the door is opened, Jym leads a small party into the discovered tunnel, and a door is found near the center of town. The door seems to be a magical portal with a large knocker; Jym knocks. A voice asks, "Who's there?" Identifying himself as Jym from the magical institute, Jym is asked if he is alone. Jym says "Are any of us truly alone?" The annoyed voice insists that Jym provide a more informative answer. When he admits that representatives of the king are with him, Jym is politely refused admittance and told he should not be here. Jym suggests that the same argument could be made for the person he is speaking to.
The door is heard to unlatch. Jym states that he intends to open the door, but the only response is what sounds like a large dog sniffing under the door. Testing the door and finding it locked, Jym decides not to press the issue and warns the voice of the town's misfortune. Something thumps against the door. Jym leaves a light stone behind and returns to the airship.
Erikson is fed and a night watch is posted to monitor the viewscreens. The looters have apparently fled the town. Around 2:00 a.m., three lifesigns appear in the magic shop; dim light can be seen from inside the building. The head of a very large black dog is seen looking out of the doorway, is quickly pulled back and the lifesigns disappear one at a time. The next morning, Tennyson leaves on his horse with information on the town's status and warnings about the strange people found there.
Dagobert & Miranda
The battle near the portal is going badly for the dwarves, until reinforcements arrive, forming two lines of attack. A few drow notice their arrival and ready their crossbows. The dying drow warns Miranda that the gateway must be shut down before it is too late for those who live here. The medallion must be attached to Iliasa, the one responsible for the gate. She thanks him, moments before he dies. She covers the body with its cloak and continues towards the portal.
Miranda passes behind a cluster of robed figures standing to the side of the battle. One of the possessed wardogs has joined them and they appear to be spellcasting. An aircar passes overhead in route to the portal. A rosy light begins to form in the center of the circle of cloaked figures. Miranda activates her Invisibility Ring. The light grows in size and becomes a deeper shade of red, with electrical tendrils beginning to snake around the area.
Miranda reaches the gate, becomes visible and hails a trio of recent drow arrivals. She warns them about the dwarves and suggests quickly evacuating their people and closing the portal. Three human faces can be seen peering over the edge of the overhead aircar. The drow question her identity. Three more drow arrive, one of which has a higher rank than the rest. Miranda warns him of the poor situation the drow currently are in and implores him to attach the medallion to Iliasa on the other side of the gate. He dismisses her pleas and tells the others to take her back with them through the portal; they have other work to do.
Dagobert alerts the dwarves to the growing fireball; it flares, knocking the circle of cloaked figures and the wardog to the ground. The drow and the dwarves begin exchanging fire. Dagobert launches a fireball towards the drow, hitting three and knocking nearby drow and dwarves to the ground. Miranda again warns of the slaughter the drow have been led into. She can feel warmth emanating from the medallion. The energy ball approaches the portal, as two drow approach Miranda to escort her through the portal.
January 5, 1999
The valley floor continues to settle; dust is settling out of the air, making it easier to see, and spots of flame can be seen around the central pit where the town had been. Kirok announces his presence to the Bothnian soldier, who is a lieutenant; she says she can't feel her legs, can't see, and asks for his help. Her left arm is also limp at her side. Settling soil is sliding where the soldier currently lies, and will cover her within a few minutes. Kirok moves the large rocks off of her legs ­ her right leg is crushed. Her name is Alyssa, she is with the Nightwing Division, and she doesn't know what happened to the others. She asks about Kirok, who says he is with the New Britain army on a special mission. As he is finishing, Alyssa says, "Do you hear that?" Kirok scans with the helm and reads the alien thoughts of two individuals, of anger and hunger, and they can feel something burrowing underground. Janice is outside of scanning range.
Kirok yells for Janice and tries to pick up the woman while monitoring the creatures, and loses his grip. An arachnid-like creature breaks through the surface 10'-15' beyond the woman. It is a mature anhkheg, about 20' long, with a slick, shiny surface, pincer mouth and four arms. Kirok hits it with his footman's mace, setting off a glyph and paralyzing it. A smaller anhkheg emerges from behind it. Kirok places the body of the larger one between himself and the new arrival. This one waits, seems to be expectant, and more rumblings can be felt from underground. Kirok moves in to attack and hits, while it misses. Four more anhkhegs, younger and smaller at about 12' long, break the surface. Alyssa begins calling for help as well. The young move to investigate the battle as both Kirok and the creature miss. Kirok tells Alyssa that he is holding his own, but she is to keep yelling for Janice. Kirok kills the creature; he then kills the paralyzed male. Two of the young attack Kirok, who kills one of them. The remaining creatures begin an almost painful shrieking. Janice yells that she is on her way. Kirok wounds two of the young, one seriously. The ground gives way under the third creature, which slides down the slope. Kirok and the remaining two creatures miss several times. The creatures begin backing off, with the badly injured one heading down the slope to where the third creature slid; Kirok kills this one. Janice reports that she saw a battle in the distance, possibly involving magic-users.
January 16, 1999
Jym & Wyre
The Erikson continues along the road to Palmdale, hovering 200 feet above ground, passing several ruined vehicles along the road. Near dusk the ground is seen to be muddy, as if it rained recently. The ship reaches the ruins of the inn along the road and seven orc heads, several days old, are seen hanging on pikes nearby. Jym drops several light stones to help illuminate the area. It appears that the foundation has been cleared recently. The next morning, the sky is overcast. Jym beams down and picks up the light stones. A sign says "This property claimed by Aylman. Construction to begin in the spring."
The ship continues in a southwest direction. Sprinkles turn into showers for a while, with winds from the southwest. The ship leaves the road where it bends, angling to the northwest to approach Palmdale from the south. Palmdale is reached after nightfall, around 9:00 p.m. It can be seen in the bright moonlight, with a large bonfire blazing outside of town along the road to the southeast. The height of the ship is raised to 400 feet. The bonfire is 200 yards outside of town and 50 feet to the south of the road, with townspeople and soldiers gathered around. Damage to the berm surrounding the moat can be seen, and several buildings have been damaged around the perimeter.
Jym attempts to contact Stotty, getting only static for several minutes. Stotty's voice, choked by smoke, is then heard. Stotty recounts to Jym that his group was able to repel the enemy force that had entered the ship, minor damage had been done to the hatch, and the air filtration system is having problems. Jym then attempts to contact Colonel Westing; an aide answers, then gets the colonel. Voices in the background are jubiliant, and the bonfire can be heard crackling. Westing tells Jym to enjoy the celebration. Jym tells him privately that Ylldana is only rubble, the Oracle and the shield around Malveria are gone, and Zyconia is ablaze.
Jym has Steve move the ship in and lowers it to 100 feet. The ship docks near the dome and the passengers and crew depart. Jym takes a look around town, observes the damaged buildings; the odor of burning flesh can be smelled from the bonfire, and 30-35 people can be seen gathered around it. Jym heads to the headquarters building, which is now being used as a field hospital for 17 patients. Lenard reports that Ugely is now completely insane. Jym follows the tunnel from the witch's former house to the starship to talk to Stotty, who appears to be very tired, along with his five assistants. Jym tells him to rest; he will have a staff meeting tomorrow morning. Jym asks for a report tomorrow from the current head of the guards. It is learned that Number One has been badly injured.
The staff meeting begins shortly after sunrise in the Palmdale headquaters, and includes Wyre, Stotty and the military and civilian leaders in the town. Jym asks for an update, and is told that the enemy had been trying to cross the moat, as well as invade the starship through the tunnel. The tunnel leading out of town was collapsed to stop them. The outlying buildings had been set on fire, but the enemy was finally turned back. Number One had been injured in the first attack. Fresh troops arrived yesterday before dawn and turned the tide, killing many of the enemy and forcing 60 percent to retreat. One townsperson had been killed in the attack. Twelve more refugees have arrived, bringing the current number of townspeople to 136. Out of 145 army personnel, 16 are dead and 11 badly injured. Of the town's 27 guards, 6 are badly injured. Enemy forces are retreating rapidly to the east. Towns to the north are intact, and the enemy has retreated into the hills. Jym updates the group on his adventures.
Jym orders the moat to be drained for repairs, the width be increased to 30' and the depth to 20'. The Lyre of Building is to be used to rebuild the damaged and destroyed buildings. He asks that Wyre and some of Colonel Westing's men go to Ylldana to extend temporary governance over the devastated town. Lieutenant Halborson and 20 soldiers accompany Wyre.
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
Janice points out a path out of the valley to Kirok. The remaining two anhkhegs are 70'-80' down the slope. Kirok asks Janice if she has distance weapons ­ she doesn't. She guards while Kirok casts Cure Blindness on Alyssa; her sight is restored. He then casts Cure Serious Wounds on her. He senses the thoughts of several humans in the distance. Kirok asks Janice to bind Alyssa's broken limbs as he looks for other wounded individuals. Cries for help can be heard from beyond the anhkhegs, and Kirok moves in that direction. Kirok sees a moving spot of light 40'-50' beyond the anhkhegs. While moving towards the light, Kirok stumbles and rolls into the stunned anhkheg, breaking his potion vials and becoming slightly injured.
Kirok staggers to his feet and can see humanoid figures in the distance. He kills the stunned anhkheg while the other moves out of range into the night. Voices call out to Kirok; he calls back to them and gets out a glowing slingstone. While waiting he casts two Cure Light Wound spells on himself. The group of humans approaching Kirok consists of two males and a female, civilian, with the males apparently not normally exposed to these types of conditions. Kirok senses that the woman ended up with the other two due to circumstances. She is concealing, trying to plan how to use this situation. He also picks up that Janice is finished with binding broken limbs, and the group moves to her location.
Meanwhile the electrical ball, maintaining the same shape, continues moving towards the portal. Miranda shields her eyes from the fireball and breaks the grip of one drow. She says, "These people are not your allies." The drow commander yells for his people to check the cloaked figures lying on the ground. The dwarves and drow knocked to the ground begin staggering to their feet, except for the three drow hit by a fireball. Dagobert notices a human being dragged towards the portal. There are seven to eight drow between Dagobert and the gateway, with five engaged in fighting with the dwarves. Dagobert retrieves his crossbow from the dwarf he gave it to, after it has been fired, and tells his people to clear a path to the gateway. A drow is hit in the leg by a crossbow bolt. Dagobert throws his hammer at a drow armed with a crossbow and misses. The battle continues, evenly matched.
The aircar begins descending from a 20' height towards the portal. Miranda says that these people will destroy you as they have everyone else, and that they must find Iliasa. She drags a drow guard, one that seems to find truth in what she is saying. Miranda says, "I'm sorry for the choices you've made." She goes through the portal; the medallion begins tingling in her gauntleted hand. A human in the aircar begins gesturing against this action. Miranda along with the drow she has grabbed go through the doorway, as well as the other guard.
Dagobert fires a fireball near the aircar; flames hit the passengers, with several on fire. The electrical ball has gained intensity, apparently from the fireball. Dagobert uses his hammer to hit the drow with the crossbow. The aircar slowly descends to the ground. While working his way around the perimeter of the battle, Dagobert assists a dwarf in trouble. The glowing orb hovers in front of the gate. Three drow trapped while they were passing through the gateway begin dancing like puppets; the gate now has the same color as the orb. Dagobert sneaks up on a drow and misses. The gate begins shrinking, and the bodies within it go limp. Another dwarf moves to help Dagobert, who has hit the drow he is attacking. The gate continues collapsing. A humanoid figure (Miranda) leaps out of the gate and hits the globe with a sword, which causes the globe to begin radiating wildly.
Miranda falls unconscious, and Dagobert kills the drow he had been battling. The third dwarf aids his badly injured comrade. The gate is now down to 11/2' in diameter. The orb begins shooting out tendrils towards nearby living beings, including Miranda, the drow commander and the crew of the aircar. The orb continues shrinking, becoming darker red in color.
February 27, 1999
Dagobert fires a fireball at a group of 9-10 drow not currently near any dwarves; seven are killed, two injured. Dagobert yells for the dwarves to shield their eyes from the blast. Those not blinded try to search for the source of the fireball. There are currently 118 drow still living, 72 dwarves and six humans (not including Miranda). Seven to eight energy tendrils now radiate from the energy globe. Two drow have been hit by tendrils (including the commander) and are writhing on the ground. Another tendril is moving towards Miranda. One dwarf in nearby combat with the drow has gone down, while Dagobert and another dwarf, Axel, move to assist with ongoing battles. The gateway has nearly closed, and the energy orb is now pulsing and glowing very brightly. Where the aircar went down, two humanoid silhouettes are seen moving against the flames, one of them cloaked. The two drow touched by energy tendrils have stopped moving, their bodies smoking.
During combat, Axel hits a drow but takes a critical hit. So far 12 drow, 19 dwarves and one human have fallen in combat. The gate disappears, cutting off the tendril connected to the orb ­ it is now pulsing, rising. Another dwarf falls in battle; areas with greater concentrations of drow have more fallen dwarves. Miranda regains consciousness, sees the pulsing orb and hears the ongoing combat, as well as a growl behind her. From the direction of the pit where the town had once existed, Dagobert hears a thrumming sound.
Dagobert gets a critcal hit and kills his drow, and the third nearby dwarf kills a drow as well. Dagobert then comments "Hear that men? The human commander has activated the other doomsday device. But we'll finish this fight in hell!" Dagobert whispers to nearby dwarves that it is a bluff. A nearby drow says, "What the hell are you talking about?" Dagobert says that New Britain couldn't get troops here, so they sent a cyclotron from a human starship. The drow is confused; the voice of an older drow is heard in the distance, speaking in the drow tongue. The drow begin to retreat, breaking off their battles. Resulting from the recent fighting are eight more dead drow and seven more dead dwarves. The energy ball has risen to 50 feet, hovering and pulsing faster, in time with the thrumming sound. Dagobert points significantly at the globe, while whispering to nearby dwarves that he has no idea what is going on.
Meanwhile, Miranda turns and sees a cloaked human male and a drow near the wreck of the aircar. Behind her is a wardog with green glowing eyes, a foaming mouth and two non-possessed wardogs behind it. Miranda attacks the possessed wardog ­ the dog hits her, while she severely injures the wardog. Miranda yells for the dogs to stay back. The injured dog backs up, howling, and a fresh dog leaps forward. The injured dog moves toward the downed aircar, protected by another dog. Miranda follows the injured dog, as the drow near the aircar begins casting a spell. Miranda says "Call off your dogs, I have one of your gems." The spellcaster stops casting. A dog hits Miranda; she takes a quaff of Healing.
The dwarf with Axel falls to the ground, weakened by drow poison. Dagobert tells Axel to let the drow go, "We'll all be dead soon anyway." He casts Cure Light Wounds on the collapsed dwarf. The thrumming sound is now almost continuous, as is the glow from the orb ­ it emits a high-pitched whistling which is painful to the drow and to the non-possessed wardogs. From a nearby hillside come several dozen Bothnian soldiers, yelling war cries. Miranda takes another quaff of Healing. Both Miranda and Dagobert see the cloaked figure command the spellcasting drow to return to him. Brilliant light explodes, encompassing everything in the area.
In Kirok's group, the two males (in their 40s) are very happy to see him, an authority figure. These men, civilian technicians from the town, keep glancing back, and Kirok senses that they think that corpses are following them. The woman (in her late 20s) is controlling her thoughts ­ Kirok senses an image of a larger-than-human shadow. Kirok asks how they survived the collapse, and the men reply that as the crack opened near them they kept ahead of the debris, and found refuge in a sort of cave formed by slabs of collapsed rock. They add that they thought they saw animated bodies moving this way. Each containment facility contained 100 bodies to be used as foodstuff, and one may not have been destroyed. The bodies are animated by technical means with chemicals, and are motivated to attack. Kirok gets imagery from the woman of her attempting to steal unusual items, breaching security, and of a job that went horribly wrong, a shadowy creature with the same booming laugh he had recently heard. Kirok says, "You must feel that a great shadow has been lifted from you, having survived this catastrophe." The woman is somewhat alarmed, wondering what Kirok knows and making sure her thoughts are concealed.
Reaching Alyssa, they find her stable but badly injured. A thrumming sound is heard emanating from the middle of the sinkhole, and from beyond the rim of the valley can be seen a pulsing, pinkish-red light. Janice scatters light stones to get a better view of the area. The thrumming sound appears to be approaching, and a solid black fog with an oily surface is seen to be rising out of the center of the sinkhole. A chitinous shell from an anhkheg is recovered by Kirok to carry Alyssa, but breaks when she is placed on it. He moves to get another from the body of an anhkheg, feels rumbling and sees three anhkhegs emerge from the ground. One moves to the black oil and screams, sizzles. Kirok and one of the technicians carry Alyssa on the shell. The two remaining anhkhegs investigate their dead comrade, keeping back from the oil. Kirok senses that the woman does not recognize the black substance. The anhkheg in the oil is mostly dissolved, while the other anhkhegs apparently sense an odor. The oily substance oozes down into an anhkheg tunnel.
Kirok and his group reach Clea, and Kirok wakes her up. She asks about the situation; Kirok helps her move towards the rim of the valley with the rest of the group, updating her on events. Janice reports that the creatures are moving up the hill, following their path. Janice reports that the two young anhkhegs have reached one of their dead, and one of them continues on towards the group. The thrumming sound and the pulsing light are now constant, and the black oil continues to rise ­ movement can be seen on the surface. There is a massive explosion of light from over the rim of the valley, making the sky brighter than day, which disappears moments later.
Having dispatched a nearby orc guard, Q/Flagg puts on its cloak and helm. The human on the spit stops screaming, apparently dead. One other human can be seen near the pile of equipment. Q/Flagg heads towards the next nearest guard, gesturing as if he is relieving the guard. The guard becomes suspicious, and Q/Flagg heads to the fire, smacking his lips. The guard turns to deal with two approaching orc scouts, and Q/Flagg moves out of sight behind trees. He moves to the next guard, kills it and hides the body. He sees the ogre in the camp falling unconscious. Another orc scout reports in. An orc moves towards Q/Flagg's position, apparently to relieve him. When close enough, Q/Flagg attack the orc, who falls but is able to yell. Q/Flagg moves to his encampment, avoiding pursuit.
Q/Flagg reaches town by mid-afternoon, and finds that neither boat is at the dock. A guard shows him a hidden rowboat and takes him to the island. The guards will use flares to warn the island, if necessary. Q/Flagg sleeps. The next day, shortly before sunset, he awakes ­ a woman is tending to him. He checks the pouches and material he gathered from the orcs ­ 75 g.p., 12 gems, an older silver coin of a monarch unknown to him, as well as several swords. Flares are seen, alerting that the army has arrived. The rowboat later returns to the island with news that about 30 New Britain soldiers have arrived.

May-July 1999
May 6, 1999
The black substance filling the hole where the town had been slows it rising rate. The group continues climbing towards the edge of the valley. One of the anhkhegs moves towards the center of the group, Kirok moves to intercept; the other anhkheg retreats from the black oil. Kirok smashes the attacking anhkheg severely, and it spews an acid just behind him, as the rest of the group reaches the edge of the depression. Kirok then assists them. Looking back, it appears that the black oil won't reach the lip of the depression. Janice sees no sign of the lights and battle she had seen earlier. While resting for ten minutes, no sign is seen of other humanoids. The injured anhkheg is seen being enveloped by the black oil. Kirok scans for thoughts ­ the men are happy to have escaped, the woman, "Crysta", is fearful of being pursued, she has something that needs to be returned to a temple.
The group moves towards where the battle had been raging. There appears to have been a blast, the grass has been blown down but is slowly rising back into place. Near the other edge of the valley can be seen lights from several bonfires. The group moves to the epicenter of the blast. Crysta continues thinking about the object, a religious icon. Janice, scanning for magic with the staff, gets an indication off to the right. Investigating, she finds a cloaked body; flipping it over, it is seen to be a very old man, 80-85 years old; he appears to be a professorial-type who has been dead for at least a day. He has a holy symbol of the lawful-good alignment, resembling an Ankh; two cloth pouches and a pair of daggers; the designs on the blades of the daggers appear to mesh. There is etching on the back of the holy symbol, in a language almost familiar. One pouch contains an ornate silver ring with twists and spirals on the exterior and an inscription on the interior of the thick band; it emits a small magical aura. The other pouch contains coins. Janice takes all the items except for the holy symbol. Kirok transmits to her that he wishes to use the Speak with Dead spell to ask questions of the body. He casts the spell and asks four questions, in common tongue. From his accent, the man, "Bernard", sounds like a native of New Britain.

Question one: "What were you doing here that led to your death?"
Answer: "Seeking the prophesied one but not prepared for what I encountered."
Question two: "What did you encounter when seeking the prophesied one?"
Answer: "The enemy, spoken of in scripture, was vaster than expected. I didn't have the power to overcome them."
Question three: "What is the language and meaning of the inscription on your holy symbol?"
Answer: "It is written in a personal code by my master, it is the conclusion of a riddle for which the beginning is on my brother's medallion."
Question four: "What is the meaning of the inscription on the ring and what is the ring used for?"
Answer: "Under the proper circumstances, the inscription is a binding device, and the ring is for the prophesied one."

The group continues towards the epicenter of the blast, Kirok dragging the body with him.
Dagobert & Miranda
An explosion of light emanates from the orb. Everything turns white and the surroundings "blink" out. Dagobert's next awareness is of being on his knees with a fading headache. All of his equipment is white, though his skin retains its normal color. He senses that time has passed, he is not in as stressful a condition and his injuries have been healed. His surroundings are milky-white, foggy. Looking around, he finds that he is not alone ­ three other dwarves and a human can be seen further away. The human is even more confused than the others; his blade has not turned white. Dagobert's magic shard is throbbing with power, his sheathed sword appears normal and his holy symbol appears polished, and he feels strength from it.
The human approaches the dwarves. One of the dwarves says he hears the sound of a blade being forged. The human has no idea of what is going on and says so. Dagobert says, "Do you hear anythingbesides me?" The human, Private Pyle, thought his head was ringing. The dwarf who hears sounds, "Stockard", begins moving in the direction he thinks they are coming from. Dagobert says that is a good idea, and asks what they have in common. He introduces himself. Pvt. Pyle mentions his hometown. Dagobert recognizes one of the dwarves as being near him during the battle. The other dwarves are named Merk, Fallon. The rest of the group begins hearing the sounds as they continue on. Dagobert asks Stockard what he is thinking about; Stockard says he is getting a flashback from his childhood of stories about the afterlife.
Dagobert comes to the conclusion that this is a transitional phase of the afterlife. He begins to smell fire. Stockard points to a swirling in the fog, sparks flying from a giant anvil and a glowing blade, and says it is The Stoker, guarding the eternal flame.
Miranda's surroundings are similar, but with the sound of a gurgling stream nearby. Her blade appears normal, but the rest of her equipment is white. A drow is nearby, his equipment also white, his sight unaffected by the bright light of the surroundings. Miranda's pouch, which had contained a gummy gem, now feels empty. Miranda and the drow walk towards each other, making non-threatening moves. She suggests they head towards the sound of the brook, the drow agrees. As they move along, it feels as if they are ascending. The drow asks, "Do you have any idea why we're heretogether?" Miranda can see a creek but not to the other side. She says, "We were taken from battle." The drow replies "This I do recall. Why would we, apparent foes, have been selected?" Miranda says, "Perhaps we are not foes." The drow produces his hand in greeting, suggesting they work together as allies, and Miranda agrees. A chuckling sound is heard, possibly from beyond the stream. A voice in her alignment tongue says "Good choice."

July 3, 1999
The lieutenant in charge of the recently arrived soldiers from the town of Pinnacle says his men are capable of defending against the orc and ogre forces, which have retreated to the hills and mountains; citizens can return to town tomorrow. Using three boats, it takes several hours to return the people and their equipment to town, and the process is completed before noon. The lieutenant asks Q/Flagg for more information on the enemy forces. Q/Flagg asks that news be sent to Lactar or the Palmdale group that Q is alive. The lieutenant invites Q/Flagg to accompany his soldiers when they investigate his information, and he agrees. The following day is overcast. The group reaches the forest by early afternoon. Around 4:00 p.m. a boy with the group indicates a grove where children often gather; this may be where a missing boy and an old woman may be hiding, and in fact both are soon found there. They had evaded a group of orcs and ogres after Q/Flagg had been here last. The enemy had left in the direction the soldiers had come from, but nothing had been seen of them.
The enemy's camp is reached near nightfall. Skeletal human remains are found, but the old woman, Darla, says it is not someone from her village. In searching the camp, a bracelet in the form of a dragon is found in the vest pocket of clothing lying in a pile of equipment. The soldiers also find a dagger, but nothing else usable. Q/Flagg takes a broken staff; he then buries the skeletal remains. The group sets up camp several hundred yards further into the forest. The woman identifies the bracelet ­ it gives a wearer with no other magical items a limited magic ability. The shape of the bracelet gives some indication of its ability, and it is usable about once a week. Q/Flagg gives it to the woman. Meanwhile it is learned that the enemy had come within 1000 yards of the edge of the forest, but then the trail is lost.
The group reaches town late that night. Desiree serves food to Q/Flagg. The buildings nearest to the lake have survived relatively intact, and people should be able to move into them in about a week. A soldier allows Q/Flagg to study his magic book in order to gain spells; he is also able to create four scrolls using available materials. The next day Q/Flagg, along with three villagers and six soldiers travel towards Pinnacle, which is about four days away. They reach the town by evening of the third day, encountering a group of about 30 New Britain soldiers leaving the town, patrolling the road. Pinnacle is back to normal, but there are still some refugees there. Q/Flagg accompanies soldiers to the army headquarters and inquires about Wyre ­ they recall that he was insistent on contacting Malveria. Moving on to the seat of government, he is told that Wyre had been sent to Kroft. He proceeds to purchase equipment.

Black Fox
Black Fox has finished his training, and learns that the war is over. He is given two days of leave before returning to duty as a full elf linguist for the army. Communication to the east and especially with Bothnia is sporadic. An unidentified flying organism (airship) was seen over Palmdale. Zyconia has been severely devastated and may not be rebuilt. He stops in 'elftown' and gets news about home. There is a movement among younger elves to interact more with other species, and this is causing a rift to form with the older elves.
The military has a package for him to take back to Palmdale. Checking at the Magic Institute, it is learned that the gummy gems are related to the sithilastra. One of the 'gems' was destroyed (burned) in testing. Moving on to the magic shop, the man at the counter seems relieved, nervous when Black Fox asks about the 'green stuff'. The man returns with a sturdy potion vial containing 10 quaffs' worth. Black Fox is told that it appears to be an extremely corrosive digestive fluid with the capacity to channel magical energy. It is used to digest or maintain things in the same state. It could be used as a binding agent in the other dimension. It made the casting of a spell more powerful, but this used up a large amount of the material (originally 22 ounces, now 15). It also has an evil aura about it, and the man is happy to be getting rid of it. Black Fox looks through four magic shops in Prestana. He buys a potion of two scrolls, 1st level Sleep and 7th level Mordenkainen's Magical Mansion. He sells them and buys a Necklace of Missiles/Healing Potion (16 quaffs).
Black Fox then goes to the LG church to check on Fenster. A high-ranking cleric there gives him a report scroll ­ the child appears to be human, but there are indications that he is not a normal human. He is ageing more rapidly, after four months now appearing to be three years old; he is very intelligent, close to being able to read and write. There is a dweomer of evil about him, and everyone at the church senses uneasiness, an evil field, or presence about him. The gods are not responding to prayers concerning him, and spells have not worked. Father Cameron says that the church is the best place for him now. They give Black Fox a sealed scroll tube to be given to Kirok, only meant for his eyes.
Black Fox heads back with a group of eight human merchants. They reach King's Faith Inn by lunchtime of the second day. Glendale is reached shortly after sunset on the fifth day. Antoine, the merchant he had made arrangements with to accompany the group, gives him a token usable in his shop in Merchant's Inn. The next morning he leaves town along the road to Palmdale. After several hours he leaves the road and casts Find Familiar ­ a toad shows up around sunrise the following morning.
Dagobert & Miranda
The vision Dagobert sees, of a large dwarf fashioning a glowing blade and sparks flying from a giant anvil is not what he would have thought appropriate from his teachings concerning the afterlife. Stockard is enthralled by the large dwarven god he sees behind the sheen of heat emanating from the firepit. The human in the group, Pyle, is confused, and only sees the cotton candy look of the place. The other dwarves are following, but more cautiously; they see The Stoker, who looks at them with an expectant look. He appears to be an ancient dwarf. Dagobert tries to get the attention of the others ­ only Pyle and one of the dwarves, Fallon, respond. Dagobert asks about The Stoker, and Fallon says he is the judge of whether we lived our lives appropriately; this is the first stage of that, and he has a compulsion to move on. Dagobert feels this compulsion, but not as strongly. The Stoker points his bellows at the lead dwarves, Stockard and Merc. Dagobert asks Fallon if he thinks it is strange that Pyle is here with them. He does, but is not concerned about it.
The Stoker uses his bellows on Stockard and Merc, and they are hit by a blast of wind; Pyle is knocked to the ground. To Dagobert, it is a cool, refreshing breeze. The Stoker sets his bellows aside and looks at the two nearest dwarves ­ Stockard is enveloped by glitter, Merc only partially so, as well as Fallon. Dagobert feels as if he passed through an energy field, but he sees no glitter apparent on him, which Fallon confirms. The Stoker extends his hand towards Stockard and says "Welcome, Stockard, to the eternal flames. You have proven yourself worthy, and may pass to the next stage of your journey." He touches Stockard, who subsequently vanishes. Merc says "What about me?" The Stoker says, "You have proven yourself unworthy to continue your journey, you will be returned." Merc screams as glittering spots envelop him and he disappears. Pyle asks what happened to them, to which Dagobert replies "Why don't you let me do the talking." The Stoker is filling his bellows again when Dagobert asks, "What is the appropriate way to address a demigod? Sir, I apologize for any breach in protocol, but there seems to be some incongruities in our circumstances that I wondered if you would comment on." The Stoker pauses, as if he has never been spoken to in that way before. He points at Dagobert and says, "Come forward." Fallon looks relieved. The Stoker has Dagobert halt and looks at him, trying to figure him out (as have many others). He chuckles, almost smiling, and says, "I see you are one of my brother's children, you have that look about you. My fire's smoke must have drifted too far to catch you." Looking at Pyle he says, "Indeed, my smoke has become much too thin. You do not belong here at all. My brother will test your mettle soon enough, but the human does not belong among us at all." Pyle blinks out, and The Stoker stops chuckling. He says "Since this unscheduled visit is my error, I leave you with a favor. You may call upon me to grant you a boon when you most need it." He waves his hand at Dagobert, who says "Thank you, who may I call upon?" A ghostly voice says, "Simply call for 'The Stoker'." Dagobert fades out.
Meanwhile, the drow with Miranda acquires a shocked expression, then trepidation, uneasiness and discomfort. Miranda sees a tall, slender drow elf, 15'-20' tall, white-haired, dressed in leather with a robe, extremely old but fit. He is relaxed, stately and calm, with a half-smile. His hand is grasping a staff, which contains a silver pattern similar to the one on his robe. Miranda hears a rustling sound behind her as the drow falls on his knee in supplication; Miranda follows suit. The drow says "My apologies, master, I did not realize where I was. The old drow smiles fully and says, "It is quite alright my son, but who is this friend you've brought, and why have you brought her. The drow glances at Miranda and says "I apologize, master, I do not know why this human is here with me." Miranda tells him her name. The ancient drow says "Rise, both of you, my children. Tell me, young Miranda, in what way are you a servant of the Drow Empire?" Miranda says "One of your children asked for my assistance." The ancient drow cocks his eyebrow and says "And you just volunteered to help?" Miranda replies "It seemed a good idea at the time." He says, "Come here my child." and Miranda slowly approaches, glancing back at the drow still on his knee in supplication. The drow says, "Have no fear my child." He taps his staff on the tip of her head, and she senses a discharge of energy. He looks at her with an expression of surprise and wonder, and says, "Our people do indeed owe you much. Remain here please. Son, come; your time has come, a hero's welcome awaits you." He then turns to Miranda and says, "You do not belong among our people, even though your time has come." He raises his staff towards the drow and says, "Go, Kalis, you are expected." The drow's eyes widen and he moves towards the water, walking on the surface. He melts into the white surroundings and disappears in a few seconds. The old drow cocks his eyebrow and says, "I've only done this once before, I don't know if it will work. Close your eyes, and I will attempt to return you whence you came." She does, hears the rustling of his movement, the feel of his staff on her head, and an energy discharge. She loses her concentration.
Both Dagobert and Miranda sense a change, finding themselves in the field where the battle took place, in the same location they had last been. Miranda finds a black, shiny medallion in her hand, with writing similar to that of the staff and robe. It is still the middle of the night. Miranda is very tired, exhausted. Bodies are strewn all over the field; some begin moving, including Pyle, who has bloody gashes. About 10% of the people are still alive.

Kirok's group moves through a grassy area with rock outcroppings. The sky is overcast, with some breaks in the clouds. In about 15-20 minutes they begin to find traces of a battle, and the body of a human who had tried to flee the battle. They pass dropped weapons, shattered shields. Rising over a hillock, they see the carnage of the main battle in a bowl-shaped valley. Some figures are beginning to rise, including drow, elves and humans ­ there are far fewer of the drow. There is flaming wreckage on the other side of the valley, possibly the remains of an aircar. They move to help the injured, keeping a wary eye on the drow.

August 14, 1999
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
Many of the 40-45 individuals staggering to their feet have injuries from the recent battle, out of a total of about 300 individuals. About 15 are drow, most at the edges of the battlefield. Dwarves and drow begin to renew the battle. Kirok has Janice begin casting Light above the position of centrally located drow in order to affect their vision; they shield their eyes in response. Kirok has Janice cast Light on his helm, and he moves towards the battle. He sees two drow, rising off the ground, apparently trying to find the source of the spells. Kirok has Clea follow outside the range of his light, having her concentrate on dampening the magic of the two drow. Kirok can pick up feelings of anger, frustration and fear from the retreating drow; Clea's thoughts are mainly concealed by static. The two drow begin gesticulating, and Kirok fires six Magic Missiles from his mace in succession at the nearest one. The first hits a protective barrier, the rest go through and injure the drow. The drow finishes his spell, and the light on Kirok's helm blinks out. Janice fires a fireball at the same drow, also hitting three on the ground, one of whom had been standing, and remains standing after the blast. There are about 25 drow in the area of combat. The other drow spellcaster finishes his spell, and 15-foot spectral hands with black flame move towards Janice.
Kirok gets out his Wand of Magic Missiles. Clea continues concentrating, almost in a trance, and the black flames around the spectral hands are extinguished. Janice is able to resist the crushing of the hands as the image wavers, the spell being absorbed by the staff. The drow yells, concentrating on crushing Janice, but his efforts are frustrated. Kirok fires three missiles, and all miss their target. Janice collapses as the hands disappear; the floating drow begins spinning out of control, also unconscious. Clea snaps out of her trance. Crysta picks up the staff from the unconscious Janice; Kirok sees this and mentally yells to her "Drop me!" She drops it in surprise. Kirok waves Clea to continue watching the drow spellcasters while following him back to the group. Crysta moves to grab the staff again; Kirok mentally commands the two men to stop her, and mentally tells Crysta "Drop me or I'll explode!" She turns around in surprise but doesn't drop it, as the men jump her.
Clea puts out her hands, focusing on the smoking drow spellcaster. While running up the hill, Kirok hears the discharge of energy at his back, as if it dissipated before hitting him. Crysta, struggling with the men, hits one across the face with the staff, while the other has his arms around her; she swings him off. Kirok mentally imitates the booming laugh of the being she is frightened of. Crysta says, "Everybody stay away, don't try to stop me, I've got to do this!" Looking back, Kirok sees the spinning drow beginning to wake up, as is Janice. Clea is on her knees, staggered by her efforts. Kirok says, "What is this thing you've got to do?" as Crysta points the staff at him.
Meanwhile, Miranda doesn't see any sign of the two individuals who had been near the downed aircar, which is burning intensely. The three wardogs are wandering aimlessly; the eyes of the injured one that had been possessed no longer have a green glow. Miranda warily approaches them, and the two uninjured ones move to protect the injured one. They retreat to the side, and Miranda throws a piece of food to one of the protective dogs, then two more pieces. The two dogs eat while the injured dog licks its wounds. She sees Dagobert approaching. The burning aircar shifts position and green fire can be seen from the cargo container of the vehicle.
Dagobert sees a number of nearby dwarves and humans rising to their feet. He sees the dead bodies of the three dwarves who had been with him in The Stoker's glowing realm; three other nearby dwarves are alive. Of about 35 nearby humans, 10 or 11 are now getting to their feet. Dagobert announces in an authoritative voice that he is a cleric and offers to help any of the injured humans nearby. A human in command says they are able to take care of themselves, check your dwarves. Dagobert advises him to take drow prisoners for more information; he then moves to check on Miranda and the burning aircar, noticing a light appear in a central location above the battlefield and recognizes Kirok in an approaching group. He continues moving towards Miranda's location.
Dagobert asks for a quick update from Miranda. He checks the vial that had contained a gummy gem; only green dust is left. Dagobert moves to the lip of the valley. He hears at least three voices in an unknown language; two are conversing, one is chanting. He waves Miranda over from her investigation of the aircar; she had found a containment device that had been breached. The chanting stops, replaced by the sound of something crackling into existance, followed by a sizzling sound and the distant sound of surf crashing. Rising over the lip, Dagobert sees a 25-foot diameter disk lying flat on the ground, with the shimmering image of a beach lying 10 feet beneath the disk. He sees a human, a robed figure of unknown race and a drow, who is concentrating on the disk. The robed figure jumps through the disk, accompanied by a snapping sound and a flash.
Dagobert fires a fireball to explode above the portal, then rolls back over the lip of the valley. The drow exclaims, the fireball explodes, followed by a much louder roar. A sucking sound can be heard; large chunks of scorched earth begin falling to the ground. The sucking sound of air continues. Miranda and Dagobert are injured by four chunks of debris; two more hit the aircar. One chunk flips the aircar over, while in mid-air the second chunk spins it, and its cargo is tossed onto the ground ­ inert, non-moving gummy gems within a burning jelly. Flickers of burning debris are reflected from beyond the lip of the valley by a dust cloud. The wardogs run away, while people in the valley look towards the direction of the explosion, several of them moving in that direction. Dagobert says "Well, that was unexpected. Are you ok, relatively speaking?" Miranda replies, "I've had better days." Miranda takes a Heal potion while Dagobert says "You've just experienced your first pointless explosion with the Palmdale GroupTM, but I'm the only one who will apologize for it."
The sound of the explosion is heard throughout the valley, and the ground shakes. Kirok remains standing, but Crysta falls to the ground, as does Clea. Kirok grabs the staff successfully as Crysta continues rolling downhill, yelling "No!" Most combatants have now moved out of the well-lit area. Crysta stops rolling and rises to her feet, angry and fearful. She begins thinking "Tra"; then her thoughts shift ­ she thinks that was her last chance, that she is lost. Kirok throws the staff to Janice and mentally gives her a brief synopsis of events since she was knocked unconscious. Crysta follows the retreating drow in a blind panic; Kirok mentally informs her that he is the one who has been sending her thoughts. She stops and turns around, with feelings of regret but also determination, and continues on. The smoking drow begins casting again; Kirok and Janice fire at him. Kirok's Magic Missile hits the drow just as he disappears, and Janice's fireball explodes where he had been. A scream of agony is heard elsewhere in the valley. The other spellcasting drow is not visible. Kirok helps the collapsed Clea, who says her efforts pull energy right out of her, eventually leaving her exhausted. Janice thinks to Kirok what she can see in the valley; the two men with her are only slightly bruised.
Dagobert looks over the rim and sees a 70 foot-wide, irregular crater where the disk had been, containing crashing waves of roiling energy. Smoke is being sucked in one end, while oily, chunky liquid spews from the other, and the hole continues to crack and widen. The skeletal remnants of the drow spellcaster can be seen, still moving, casting a spell at the crater. The walking corpse raises its arms while standing on a rock outcrop at the edge of the crater, and falls forward onto the oily surface. Multi-branching lightning is emitted from where his body impacted, and slowly fades as the body sinks in. Dagobert observes, "That was unexpected." When the body completely disappears, the swirling stops and the liquid surface smoothes out. A rumbling sound and the sound of grinding stone can be heard as the pool begins shrinking in on itself, the cracks filling in with earth. Dagobert pats the ground saying, "I'm sorry."
Three dwarves and four humans approach the location of the former disk. Eight drow have been captured. Dagobert hears a brief scream behind the approaching group of seven individuals, and sees the upper portion of a drow body whose lower portion has merged with the ground. Dagobert removes a bracelet from the drow. The drow captives and dead are stripped of armor, weapons and equipment, including five pouches.

Q/Flagg collects four zero level spells during the day while in Pinnacle. He accompanies a group of merchants for two days to the town of Kroft, and spends the night at an inn. He spends the next day gathering supplies for a new magic book. The following morning he travels to nearby woods and casts Find Familiar. After 30 hours a crow arrives, and he returns to town. Inquiring about Wyre, he gets the impression that Bothnian forces had restored the magic.
October 14, 1999
Q/Flagg studies magic for three days while in the town of Kroft. The following evening there is a knock on his door. Kurven, a member of Palmdale's militia, has come looking for Flagg. Q/Flagg accepts the summons to Palmdale. The next morning the two are scryed to Silvermist by a mage, Vallorean. He discusses other scrying with Kurven. They return to Palmdale the next day, stepping out into the town square.

Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
A dwarf and two humans approach Dagobert and Miranda near the remaining portion of a drow's body; the dwarf asks Dagobert what happened. He gives a brief overview of the recent events, mentioning the dimensional rift and the drow allies. The dwarf agrees that technical personnel should look at the aircar, but it will be awhile before that happens. Dagobert returns to the aircar while the dwarf looks at the area where the rift had appeared. At the aircar, a human is poking around with his sword in the aircar remains. Dagobert warns him about the mind-possessing gems and the man cautiously proceeds. He manages to find an unbroken vial of liquid and quickly places it with the rest of his possessions. He offers to let Dagobert look at the vial, and Dagobert is able to determine that the markings on its seal have an elvish quality to them.
A man named Rand approaches Miranda. He sheathes his sword and retrieves healing potion, which he offers to Miranda. She tells him to save it for the wounded, but he observes that she is also in that category. Miranda continues down the hill towards the drow captives. Along the way she passes the remains of the battle: dwarven bodies frozen in positions of apparently great agony, and drow bodies that appear to be rapidly aging and withering away. A nearby soldier mentions that the ear he just cut from a drow corpse is crumbling. Miranda tells him not to touch the bodies, and warns those in the area. The soldier wipes his now empty hand on his clothing and wanders away, muttering to nearby people. Interrupting the human and dwarven leaders, she warns them to keep their personnel away from the drow bodies. Neither is amused, and the human demands to know who she is. Miranda gives her name and says they need to secure the prisoners. The human leader says he has reinforcements due at sunrise and will interrogate the eight prisoners then. Miranda warns that sunrise may be too late and that interrogation is unlikely to work. The dwarf leader mentions that there are wounded and dead to deal with.
A light appears in the center of the drow captives, causing them to moan and shield their eyes, as Kirok and Janice approach from the darkness. Seeing them, Dagobert heads towards the field hospital. Kirok demands to know whom is in charge, and Miranda snaps back at him to put the light out. Kirok asks for a good reason first. Miranda insists that harming the prisoners would hamper their chances of getting information from them. Kirok and Janice balk at wasting a charge from the staff in order to make the prisoners more comfortable; Miranda tosses her own cloak over two of the captives and tries to fashion blindfolds for the rest. The dwarven leader tells the Bothnian lieutenant, Lychen, to deal with the newcomers and wanders away to attend to other things, while the lieutenant sputters about all the nonsense going on now when his troops will be here in two hours. Kirok explains that they are part of a task force sent from New Britain and were separated. He concedes that Miranda might have a better idea about the current situation with the drow.
Kirok scans the drow prisoners with his helm while Miranda attempts to blindfold them. The drow are angry and frightened, but the violent rage of a nearby human cuts through everthing else. The soldier charges at the captives with his sword held high. Kirok shouts a warning and tries to project mellow thoughts. Miranda skillfully throws a drow dagger at the man, slashing his leg and causing him to fall to the ground before being able to strike the drow. Miranda removes his sword from reach and binds his leg, while the stunned man cries that the drow killed Steven. Lieutenant Lychen orders everyone to stay away from the drow and posts three guards. Miranda tells Kirok that the dagger she used was drow and was likely poisoned ­ he casts Neutralize Poison on the injured man.
Miranda returns to blindfolding the prisoners while Kirok approaches one of the drow, lifting up the drow's chin and asking him why his fallen comrades are disintegrating. Kirok gets the impression that the drow understands, and gets the impression of anger and disgust. The drow prepares to spit in Kirok's face. Sensing this and drawing on his Girdle of Giant Strength, Kirok uses one finger to snap the drow's head aside. The drow glares at him in fury. Kirok grudgingly agrees to erect the fortress at Miranda's suggestion. He takes out a glowing slingstone to light his way, waving it in the drow's face before heading into the darkness to set up the fortress. Miranda follows with the prisoners and the trio of guards provided by the Bothnian army, and the drow are placed in the basement.
Kirok walks to the nearby field hospital to help with the wounded (mostly dwarves); the drow bodies he passes are now little more than skin and bones. He meets up with the rest of his group. Ruby, the man Miranda wounded, is showing no effects of the poison. Miranda remains behind with the drow in order to bind the wounds of three of the drow, and to attempt to gather information.

November-December 1999
November 4, 1999
Black Fox
After acquiring a familiar, Black Fox rests for part of the day, studying for spells. He travels within sight of scrubland and sets up camp, activating magical alarms. Near dusk, he sees a pair of figures in the distance, an ogre chasing a human in a tattered New Britain uniform. Black Fox rides toward them, the ogre sees him and begins running away. He fires a Magic Missile at the ogre and staggers it, but it continues running. Black Fox asks the human, Elias, what happened ­ the man's unit of ten soldiers had been captured, and he was the only one to escape. He believes the rest are dead, and the ogres have their equipment. He has been on the run for several hours. Black Fox gives him Healing potion. Black Fox brings Elias along on his horse to pursue the ogre. As Black Fox nears the ogre, it grabs for a rock; Black Fox casts a Web and tangles the ogre. He then fires an acid arrow at the ogre and hits it ­ the ogre eventually dies from the damage inflicted.
Elias has been out of touch for about three weeks and asks for news. He tells Black Fox about the orc and ogre encampment his unit encountered in the desert. They camp for the night; it rains overnight, clearing the next day. Continuing to travel, they camp another night, and the following day is overcast with showers, clearing off by the evening. While on guard this night, Black Fox sees a group of five to six humanoid figures at the edge of his vision, approaching his campsite. He can hear the sounds of moving armor. When they are about 50 yards away he hears human voices, and the approaching group splits into three separate groups. Black Fox asks, "Who goes there?" The other voice says "You first." Black Fox explains that he is a corporal in the New Britain army; the leader of the other group is Sergeant Brannigan assigned to the Palmdale garrison. They exchange information ­ Brannigan's unit was sent to patrol the canyons near Palmdale.
The next day, Brannigan sends Black Fox and Elias ahead to report, and they reach Palmdale in mid-morning. There are many refugees in town. Black Fox reports to Westing.
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
Miranda binds the wounds of the wounded drow, while Kirok helps out at the field hospital with much more worthy patients. The dwarves tend to their own, as do the humans. The dwarf general, Tainen, looks in on his wounded dwarves. Miranda goes to the hospital and recommends to Kirok and Dagobert that they investigate what happened to the cloaked figures that created the orb. With Kirok in the lead, they head to the area they had last been seen, with Janice following. Meanwhile, Miranda investigates in another direction.
Kirok passes a ring of human and dwarven soldiers moving out in a ring, searching the area. Kirok reaches the site first, finding the bodies of three cloaked figures and a wardog ­ two of the cloaked bodies are misshapen, disintegrating. Checking the intact body, he finds it is an old human female with pain frozen on her facial features. Janice and Dagobert arrive, while Kirok removes a ring from the woman's hand; another ring is hard to remove. Dagobert warns about the gummy gems, just as Kirok jumps back and narrowly avoids having one slide beneath his gauntlet. He removes it with his gauntleted fingers and drops it to the ground. Janice is not so lucky. A gummy gem also attacks her; as she begins feeling strange, she throws the Staff of the Magi to Kirok.
November 7, 1999
Miranda leaves the field of battle in search of the body of the drow she encountered earlier, who had given her the medallion. Searching awhile, she is finally able to locate it ­ it is undisturbed from the last time she left it. Unlike those killed in battle, this body has not decayed; blood from his wounds has dried on his clothing, which is finer than that seen on the drow fighters, more like a scholar or spell caster. Miranda inspects the body and prepares it for travel. She feels two hidden pockets, one containing five or six gem-like objects and the other with a vial-like object. She does not search further, but wraps the body in its own cloak, hiding the fact that it is a drow.
Miranda carries the body with her and returns to the battlefield. She hears a sound similar to moving sand coming from the area of the sinkhole where the town of Heaven's Glen recently existed. Strangely, there has been no sign of people moving outside the area of the battlefield.
December 4, 1999
Kirok & Dagobert
Janice convulses briefly, then stares at Kirok with glowing green eyes. In a gravelly voice, she says "Whatever you're planning, think again or I'll boil the blood in this one!" Kirok casts Hold Person on her and she freezes. He thinks to Dagobert to use the Bead of Curing. Through the helm, Kirok hears a painful sound of fury and impotent power, and has to remove the helm. Dagobert uses the bead and Janice's eyes stop glowing. Dagobert does not see the gem emerge, and looks around for it. Placing the helm back on his head, Kirok reads that Janice is confused. Kirok thinks calming thoughts, and she thinks that it is not gone, she is just in control now; Kirok tells this to Dagobert. Dagobert warns a group of five dwarves (who have been following on the orders of the dwarven general) about the gummy gems. Kirok places the gem that attacked him into a glass vial. Dagobert casts Dispel Magic on Janice, and her thoughts become clearer ­ the creature has apparently been driven into hiding. Kirok ties up Janice and picks up her staff. Dagobert asks the dwarves to look for any remaining gems, and one is apparently found near the body of the wardog, impaled on the point of a dwarven sword; the dwarf asks if it is a gummy gem. Dagobert says "I can't see it, but let's assume yes." He places the wounded gem, oozing ichor, into a vial. The dwarves inspect the bodies for objects of interest, and Kirok obtains the remaining items from the woman's body, two coin pouches and two rings, pulling the ring finger off to obtain one of the rings. A tattoo depicting an infinity symbol is found on her forearm.
It is decided that Kirok will cast Exorcise on Janice to remove the parasite. Kirok, accompanied by the leader of the dwarven group and two others, takes Janice to the clearing where the transport torus had been created. The Hold Person wears off, and Janice is still in control. Dagobert uses a fireball on the bodies to ensure the destruction of gummy gems in the area; he then searches the perimeter along with the remaining two dwarves. While Kirok is preparing to cast the spell, a sound like shifting sand is heard from the direction of the former town. The search circle of soldiers passes the group and continues to move out, shortly reaching the lip of the valley. A human soldier finds a metal object in the ash left by the fireball and places it in a pouch. Soldiers on the rim report that more survivors from the town are approaching. The general sends food for Dagobert and Kirok.
From the direction of the transport door, Dagobert hears a military drum beat. Janice is now in a semi-conscious state. Dagobert, using the Helm of Telepathy, picks up overlying thoughts from her ­ "Soon I can take over, make them suffer." There is a flickering, greenish tinge in her eyes. Dagobert mentally talks to her to keep her awake. Several hundred Bothnian soldiers begin marching into the valley, led by a highly decorated field marshal. The field marshal goes to the field hospital and talks to the dwarf general ­ Dagobert notices the dwarf gesticulating angrily. He comments to the nearby dwarves "It's just like the Bothnians are taking over, it's just like them to hog the glory!"
As the exorcism continues, the gem mentally tells Dagobert "Stop you're blithering friend and get me out of this valley and I won't kill this girl ­ continue with this foolish course and you will all die!" Dagobert uses the helm to suggest to it that it desperately needs to get out of the body immediately with the utmost urgency. Janice's body convulses, her mouth opens unnaturally wide and the gummy gem emerges, and is immediately placed in a vial.
Miranda takes the body of the drow who had given her a medallion to the basement of the fortress. She notes that several of the drow prisoners have tried to remove their blindfolds. She removes the blindfold from the oldest prisoner and asks if he recognizes the body. The drow has a brief expression of disdain, which he then covers up when he sees the body. Miranda resecures the prisoners. Outside, all remaining injured have been moved to the field hospital. Most drow items have been placed in a pile, to be destroyed by sunlight. A consistent, sand pouring sound is heard from the direction of the destroyed town, and dwarves are sent to investigate. Miranda goes looking for the dwarf general, finding him meeting with other dwarves and waits for him. The sky to the east is brightening as dawn approaches.
When the meeting is concluded, Miranda tells the general that she found the intact body of a drow and asks if he has someone who could help identify it, and someone to ask it questions through magic spells. A junior officer, Xerxes, who is fluent in drow is assigned, and he and the dwarf adjutant Kreller accompany Janice to the fortress. Xerxes examines the body, hidden pockets and daggers, and Miranda describes the medallion the drow had given her. Three of the drow prisoners are obviously listening to the conversation. Xerxes notes that drow courriers are known to carry items in hidden pouches. He thinks he has heard the name Iliasa; it is someone in the drow power structure. The daggers are of high value or an ancestral collection, not the type warriors would possess. The medallion sounds as if dwarves created it; some dwarven clans are known to use magics to counterbalance other magics.
A guard tells Miranda that the drow prisoners appear to be in pain. The prisoners begin moaning, accompanied by a smell of smoke and rotting meat; heat can be seen emanating from the bodies. Xerxes gags and leaves the fortress. One drow dies and its body begins collapsing into dust. Three more soon collapse; the oldest one is in the best condition. Miranda asks what is happening, and the old one says, "I'm assuming it's daylight." She replies that it is, and if there is anything she can do. Having removed his blindfold now, the drow is on his knees and says "The least you can do is let me die like a warrior." She frees his arms and gets a sense of appreciation from him; dark fluid begins oozing from his mouth. The three who collapsed are now disintegrating. She cuts the bonds of the other three who still live. The old one utters a prayer. He soon dies along with the remaining drow. The stench begins dissapating. Sunlight begins destroying the piled drow equipment. Miranda directs the cleanup of the fortress, the tower is aired out and the disintegrating bodies are removed. A cleric arrives to cast Speak with Dead on the drow body.
The recently arrived Bothnian field marshal sends a group to investigate the fortress. Miranda explains to the leader of the group, the second-in-command, why she is here. He asks where her leader is; she tells him that Kirok is otherwise involved and is not to be disturbed, but shows where he is. He asks about the fortress and is told it is the headquarters of the New Britain team, and she is going to interrogate a dead drow. The Bothnian tells her that she is on Bothnian territory. A senior Bothnian soldier must accompany her during the interrogation, and all spoils go to the Bothnians.
Soon three Bothnian fighters and an officer, Captain Crichton, arrive at the fortress to take part in the interrogation of the dead prisoner; Miranda explains the unusual situation involving the drow body. The cleric casts Speak with Dead, asking two questions:

Question one: "Why were you sent here?"
Answer: "I was not sent, I came of my own free will to stop what my grandfather and associates were
attempting to do."
Question two: "What were you attempting to do?"
Answer: "In retaliation against the surface dwellers, grandfather and high-ranking drow were attempting
to open a breach so his allies, the gummy gems, would gain control of the surface."

The cleric says that from the tone of the drow's voice, he had wanted to prevent the invasion. The captain says his force is here to support the covert mission into the valley ­ during the past year the Bothnians knew something was happening in the valley. Crichton suggests to Kreller that he reports this information to his superiors, and he will do the same. Kreller leaves, taking Xerxes with him. After they leave, Crichton says the body needs to be secured, and he may use a sigil to transport it to a Bothnian facility. Miranda responds that it is her prisoner and she doesn't want it out of her control. Crichton appears angry but agrees to this, then he leaves; Miranda sees him say something to his soldiers before he leaves the area, and one of them goes to report to the field marshal.
December 19, 1999
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
After imprisoning the gummy gem, Dagobert returns the Helm of Telepathy to Kirok. Janice is exhausted from her ordeal and sleeps. The dwarf guards return to their comrades. The recently arrived Bothnian soldiers are seen to congregate primarily in the area of the field hospital, but ten are seen near the fortress, some conversing with Miranda. Three carpets fly over the area for reconaissance. The dwarves are clustering together as the Bothnians take over. Kirok carries Janice and her staff to the fortress, as Dagobert heads to a large cluster of dwarves, avoiding the main concentration of Bothnian soldiers. As Kirok approaches the fortress, he reads the thoughts of the soldiers ­ they are wondering why they were positioned in this area, why it is so important, and they think things seem to be going well. The leader of this group thinks about how he will stop these people if they barricade themselves in the fortress or collapse it. Miranda is waiting in the entrance, and they exchange information; Miranda says that Captain Crichton may pose problems with them keeping the dead drow. Inside, the fortress has a lingering odor of decaying bodies; Janice is placed in the upper level.
Meanwhile Dagobert goes to the field hospital to help Clea to the fortress, should the situation take a turn for the worst. He learns from the dwarves that they are not happy about the Bothnians taking control of the valley. The Bothnian field marshal, Carnahan, had thanked General Tainen for his assistance; he then told the dwarves to return to their homes in the mountains. Tainen then argued with Carnahan that the dwarves needed to monitor the situation for a while to counter any further threats in this unstable situation, and the field marshal disagreed.
Dwarven soldiers sent to the rim of the valley begin returning, except from the direction of the sound of shifting sand. Dagobert arrives at the fortress with the slowly walking Clea. Behind him can be seen 25 Bothnian soldiers approaching, commanded by Captain Crichton; the soldiers posted near the fortress begin approaching as well. In the distance, the dwarves can also be seen moving in the direction of the fortress. Dagobert tells Kirok and Miranda that the valley has been taken over in the name of Bothnia.

January 15, 2000
Kirok, Dagobert & Miranda
The sky overhead is partly cloudy, and there is a light wind. Humans, civilians or mercenaries, are seen approaching the valley from the direction of the destroyed town; dwarves are seen approaching from another direction. The main body of dwarves in the valley is approaching the general vicinity of the fortress. The Palmdale Group discusses contingency plans. Clea climbs to the top of the fortress to observe events in the valley. Miranda goes to gather Janice and the drow body, to move them near the doorway for a quick exit if necessary. A "poof" is heard, followed by a wet slapping sound. Miranda sees a wet, nearly naked dwarf lying on the ground floor of the fortress. He is semi-conscious, covered with a gelatinous, wet material. Miranda and Clea investigate. Miranda asks "Would you care to explain what you're doing here?" The dwarf tries to respond; instead he spits out some of the gelatinous material. The dwarf says, "Kirok, has it started yet?" Miranda asks, "Has what started?" The dwarf, eyes welling with tears, replies "The bloody conflict, the killing of dwarves." Clea asks where he came from and who sent him, and he replies "Kraddich sent me."
Meanwhile, Kirok focuses his helm on the approaching humans; the troops have a sense of purpose, the captain has orders to obtain the body. The captain is somewhat conflicted, in a negotiating mentality. While scanning the area, Dagobert notices the dwarf in the fortress, and says, "I'm sure that naked dwarf isn't supposed to be in the fortress." Kirok replies "What!" A flying carpet, meanwhile, passes overhead. The thoughts Kirok reads from the dwarf are confused, the dwarf is trying to focus his thoughts; he has been through a trauma. He thinks that he must reach Kirok and stop the conflict. Kirok tells Dagobert to keep the approaching individuals busy if he's not back when they arrive, and he heads for the fortress. Dagobert says, "I can do that. It's good luck to rub their stomachs, but it makes them very angry."
Entering the fortress, Kirok says to the dwarf "I'm Kirok, you have a message for me?" The dwarf looks at Kirok with panic, and sees the approaching army through the doorway. He grasps Kirok and says, "You must stop this before it begins! Just let it go, our master Kradditch will get us out." Clea keeps asking, "Who is Kradditch?" Meanwhile, Dagobert moves out to meet the approaching soldiers. Kirok reassures the dwarf that he will take care of things, then joins Dagobert. Clea bitch-slaps the dwarf, and Dagobert tells her "Don't get that stuff on your skin, it's very bad for humans." Crichton dismounts from his horse and demands the drow body from Kirok, paying less attention to Dagobert. Kirok asks where it will be taken, and is told it will be sent to the capital city of Cass Majoris. Kirok insures that the body will be under the jurisdiction of King Lactar's government, and Crichton says that Field Marshal Carnahan and the Bothnian troops are loyal to the king, although his thoughts indicate that his is not sure all the troops are loyal to the central government. Kirok requests that any information obtained from the body will be given to the New Britain government.
After speaking with the dwarf, Clea emerges from the fortress, trying to appear fit and strong, and heads for Crichton and Kirok; Tainen also moves in. Dagobert says, "Captain Crichton, we appreciate that you are following orders, your motives are personally unsullied in this matter. Perhaps your superior's behavior towards these allies who reversed your enemies' longterm occupation of Bothnian-claimed territory is perhaps a little high-handed" Clea uncharacteristically interrupts, saying "Dagobert, shut up!" Kirok says, "You have something to say Clea?" Clea walks nose to nose to Crichton and tells him to take the drow, it is unimportant. Clea continues, "I have spoken with the future. You must treat this valley and inhabitants with respect and equality, or the events of the last 24 hours will pale in comparison with the maelstrom which will occur." Clea expansively extends her arm to include the former city and the nearby lava pit. Kirok suggests to Crichton that he should treat his dwarf allies with more respect.
Miranda removes items from the drow body, including a vial containing a silvery liquid and sealed with a wax stopper, and a pouch containing five gems. She also removes a ring from its finger; there is an inscription on the inside of the band. Clea tells Miranda to bring out the body. Crichton tells Kirok "On my honor, any results will be shared with my dwarf allies." Kirok asks General Tainen if that is satisfactory. Tainen grunts, "That will be acceptable, but we will not leave this valley." Clea tells him, with a pleading look, "Do not give too much importance to this valley, it is small in the scope of things. It is more important that you and humans co-exist in peace, or a holocaust will be the result." Crichton asks Kirok "Who is this woman?" Kirok replies "She is a senior member of our New Britain group and a trusted member of my group." Tainen says, "Wise words young woman. Who are you, how do you know these things and why should I trust you?" Clea goes down to her knees and says, "Does it matter if my words are wise? I have spoken to the future." Tainen closes his eyes, puts a hand on her shoulder, opens his eyes and says in dwarvish "Gentlemen, sheath your swords." In common tongue he tells Clea "The future rests on your shoulders." Clea drops her head in relief and says to Dagobert "We need to leave this place as soon as possible." Tainen asks "What do we do now, girl?" Clea rises to her feet with assistance from Tainen, placing her hands on the shoulders of Tainen and Crichton. She says, "All the future has told me is that we of Palmdale must not be here, we will be the catalyst to a cataclysm. Each of you must find the strength and wisdom to coexist, or it will be the end." Miranda emerges from the fortress with the body.
Reading thoughts, Kirok senses that Crichton is not sure what is going on, Tainen's wisdom is telling him to trust. Clea drops her arms to her side. Tainen tells Crichton that they can work it out amongst themselves. Crichton has his men sheath their weapons, and says to Kirok "On behalf of the Bothnian government, I hereby request this drow prisoner's body." Miranda hands the body over, and says that the drow saved hundreds of lives and the body should be treated with respect. The body is placed on a horse. Miranda asks to be kept informed. A wet "poof" is heard from the fortress. Tainen selects Xerxes to accompany the body to the capital.
Clea steps away from the group and prays, giving thanks for the strength given to her in this effort. A small stone appears in the air and begins circling her head ­ she feels stronger. Miranda tells Crichton she has more information about what occurred here, and that she can be reached through the city of Palmdale; she gives him a lock of her hair for him to scry on her with, when more information is learned about the drow. Kirok goes into the fortress to check on the sound and to get Janice. By the time he reaches Janice his helm is operational again. Dagobert tells Crichton that he should check with Lactar about Kirok before doing anything rash.
The drow body is placed on the ground, with Xerxes in contact. Crichton uses a patch to teleport them to the Bothnian military headquarters. Most of Crichton's forces return to the field hospital, while Tainen's men remain clustered around the fortress. Dagobert speaks with Tainen. Kirok asks Clea what she had learned from the dwarf ­ she tells him that the Palmdale Group, and he in particular, were to be a catalyst for a bloody racial war. Since the dwarves used this much magic to send the dwarf back, it must have been very important. Kradditch is the leader of the dwarven magic users.
Around noon, more survivors trickle into the valley. Kirok requests that Crichton inform him of any news concerning the New Britain soldiers that had accompanied him. After about an hour, one of the soldiers is found. He had nearly been pulled into the collapsing city, and saw two other soldiers who were and did not survive. It is learned that the sound eminating from the direction of the destroyed city, similar to shifting sand, is apparently the result of the solidification of the black liquid. A guarded holding area is established near the field hospital for surviving mercenaries.
Dagobert tells Tainen that the Palmdale Group has information on what happened here, but he doesn't know who to give the information to. Tainen says he will pass the information to the eight dwarven kingdoms west of the Eastern Korallan Mountains ­ the largest kingdom is ruled by Krichek. Dagobert gives him background on the gummy gems, Miranda's shutdown of the gateway and the dwarf community in Palmdale.
Gelatinous material from the dwarf who teleported into the fortress is placed into a vial. Kirok collapses the fortress and lets Crichton and Tainen know the Palmdale Group is heading for the transport door, should any more surviving New Britain soldiers be found. The group travels until nightfall. The following morning, cure spells are cast on the wounded and the group moves on. During the day, a magic carpet passes overhead. The group moves into rocky terrain as they near the gate, and set up camp at nightfall. Near daybreak, Dagobert spots a pair of wardogs, observing the fortress about 50 feet away, and informs the others. Breakfast is eaten, with people remaining watchful. Under a cloudy sky, Miranda approaches the wardogs carrying scraps. The dogs are uninjured, standing and apparently unpossesed. She signals them to sit and the lead one does, and she throws it a scrap. She signals to the other, it sits and she throws it a scrap. Both dogs approach and she gives them more. They then sit, still distrustful of her. She motions for the dogs to follow; they hesitate, then do so, under a darkening sky.
The group continues on towards the gate, Miranda and the wardogs in the lead; Miranda rewards the dogs when they behave. They reach the doorway around noon. It is on a seven-minute cycle, and is currently midway through the cycling size. It begins sprinkling. The group waits about an hour; then a rock attached with a rope is thrown through, and indicates a solid surface. After the group debates for a bit, the New Britain soldier volunteers to go through. Kirok instead goes through first and pulls twice on the rope to indicate safety. Clea follows, then the rest. After about seven minutes the dogs haven't followed, and the group continues on. They find themselves in a clear area, at a lower altitude, partly cloudy and warmer. To the south is a lake, and a path oriented north-south leading to it. They head towards the lake, reaching it in about an hour. There is a boat dock along the edge, well maintained. In the distance is seen a large oar driven boat, six oars to a side, moving towards the dock. It contains four people along with cargo. As the boat nears the dock, lines are thrown to the group; an older man appears to be the leader. Miranda tells him the group is from Palmdale, and the man thinks he has heard of it. The man tells them they are from the town of Herondale to the north, and there is a transport gate nearby, oriented southwest/northeast. To the south along a neaby river is Prestana. The path to the north intersects with a main road, which eventually leads to Greyhaven. Soon, a group of ten men come down the path for the cargo. The Palmdale Group accompanies them on the path back to the north, and the boat crew leaves in the direction they came.

March 25, 2000
It is about 4:00 p.m. when the Palmdale Group begins to accompany the cargo haulers from Herondale. It is about two-and-a-half days' travel to Herondale, half on the path and half on the road. It is learned that the war didn't extend this far. Kirok asks about Lactar and his keep, and one of the older men makes a snide comment about King Lactar. Dagobert asks about Crescentville, and a younger man tells him he had lived there, but moved with his family after the "trouble" there. The town elders are trying to rebuild, but many people are leaving. With two more hours to the road, the group camps for the night: it is slightly overcast. Kirok sets up the Daern's Instant Fortress for the entire group, then everyone settles down for dinner. The New Britain soldier asks if there is a garrison in Herondale ­ there is. The cargo carriers ask the Palmdale Group for stories of their adventures. Miranda recounts being captured by orcs. Dagobert, after joking that there are a few dogs in his ancestry but no humans, tells of hunting down the bandit Merovich in the mountains to the east. Janice speaks of the general adventure and travel she has experienced with the Palmdale Group. Kirok summarizes the group's battle with the crew of a pirate airship, and being sent through a rift into an underground world. The New Britain soldier tells disjointed references to battles in the valley and the destruction of Heaven's Glen.
The following morning is partly cloudy. The group breaks camp and takes the road to the northwest, eventually moving into cropland; four men on horseback, two merchants and their bodyguards, pass the other way. The group reaches Herondale around noon, and begins inventorying recently acquired items. Kirok spends two days praying in the lawful-good church (of Forseti) to recover spells; while there, he learns that the Ankh holy symbol is of Diancecht, physician of the gods. Dagobert and Janice spend a week training to increase a level in experience. The fortress is set up on the edge of town for the rest of the group. The New Britain soldier is sent with a group of soldiers to eventually reach Palmdale.
Kirok sends a message by crystal ball to Jym's contact in Prestana, to be relayed to him:

Group was successful in our mission. We are currently spending about a week in Herondale; we
plan to visit our associate's nearby keep, then travel to Prestana and return home ­ Kirok

Once training is completed for Dagobert and Janice, the group spends 2775 g.p. analyzing magic items. The items include:

Miranda's headband ­ must be claimed, claimed by Janice
Miranda's archery brace ­ once per day, an unerring hit
Ring of Fire Resistance ­ claimed by Kirok
Ring of Sustenance ­ claimed by Kirok
Wand of Fireballs, 17 charges ­ kept by Miranda
dagger with whirlwind design ­ a soul stealer; kept in Kirok's custody, packed away along with other evil
Rope of Climbing ­ kept by Miranda
three quaffs each of Climbing (Dagobert), Heroism (Miranda) and Oil of Impact (Kirok); Janice is given
four quaffs of Extra Heal
Gauntlets of Dexterity (metallic gloves), claimed by Dagobert
Necklace of Spell Amplification (necklace with deep purple amethyst gem); doubles effects of cast spells,
once per day; claimed by Kirok
Ring of Healing Multiplication (ornate ring); clerics able to cast five additional Cure Light Wounds per
day; kept by Dagobert
pair of daggers ­ claimable item, destructive; claimed by Miranda
scroll with healing sigil, five spells: Cure Light Wounds, Cure Diseases, Cure Serious Wounds, Cure
Critical Wounds, Raise Dead ­ claimed by Dagobert
Transmogrifying Tube (filigreed scroll tube); spell on scroll placed inside will be changed, once per scroll
per week ­ held by Janice
Lesser Deck of Many Things ­ claimed by Dagobert

The magic shop can attempt to scry to Prestana, at 200 g.p. per person. Kirok makes a 100 g.p. donation to the lawful-good church. After the purchase of horses, there is 2785 g.p. remaining from the recently acquired treasure. The scroll placed in the filigreed tube has become a high-level magic-user spell, cursed to shrivel the hands of the caster.
On the morning of the eighth day after reaching town, group members test some of the magic items. The ornate ring contains an inscription on the inside of the band, which Janice believes is a dedication, a gift, in the shorthand used by jewelers. A jeweler translates the inscription: "This ring is for the healing of destruction in the world, and He shall know how to use it." Kirok tries it on and feels there is something extra to the ring, but can't quite tell what. Dagobert also tries it on, with no reaction; he keeps it. Miranda declines to claim the headband, and Janice tries it on and claims it; the stones glow softly and there is a slight tingle. She makes several tests and finds it sharpens her vision, almost painfully, and works much better in the dark.
Miranda claims the daggers and begins testing them; when the blades are placed together, they appear to form a stylized lightning bolt. There are scrapes on the blades, except for the cutting edges. When they are held apart, Miranda has a feeling of energy, and people nearby see a sheen of energy, strongest when the daggers are farthest apart. She gets a buzzing sensation when turning past someone. She sticks the blade of one into the ground and begins moving away; about five feet away the energy builds to its greatest extent then snaps off, building back up when she moves back towards the other dagger. It is strongest when the blade is pointed down. She plants both at the optimal distance and moves out of range, feeling the rubberband effect and the energy snapping off. As she moves back into the circle, there is a flash of light visible to the others. Janice tosses an ear of corn at the circle; it bounces back at her with the same force. Janice throws it again at an angle, and it hits her once again; she tries to enter the circle and bounces off. Miranda pulls up the daggers and Janice attempts to activate them, but they do not activate for her.

June 17, 2000
Later in the day, Miranda speaks with a cleric at the lawful-good church concerning her encounter with the glowing orb. The cleric knows of someone who is familiar with this phenomenon; it is either a doorway to alternate realities or used to gate in a demon, and three to five individuals are needed to create it. Those struck by the energy tendrils tend to have bad luck, which can be counteracted by the Bless spell or the use of magic wards.
The following day is slightly stormy; the group leaves town and follows the road to Doring, setting up the fortress after dark on the edge of town. The next morning Kirok inquires with the lawful-good church about items he had recently acquired, but there is no new information. The group leaves town and travels to a lightly forested area and camps. Janice, Kirok, Dagobert and Miranda take watches during the night, in that order. During Dagobert's watch, he hears the sound of a great exhalation of air. In the clear sky he sees the large, warm body of a dragon skimming the treetops at 40-50 miles per hour. It is flying southwest to northeast, getting as close as 20 yards from the fortress, but doesn't notice it. Dagobert tells the rest "Dragon, but don't worry." The next day they move into hilly terrain and camp. The group reaches Greyhaven in early afternoon of the following day, and investigates magic shops. Clea prays for several hours at the lawful-neutral church ­ she feels disconnected, empty when trying to speak to her god.
The next day the group continues on to Lactar's keep, reaching it at dusk; the torches are lit and the drawbridge up. The bleating of sheep and the barking of a dog is heard, and a voice calling for Zeus. The dog runs up to the group and Kirok greets it, petting it. The groundskeeper, Jasper, approaches and inquires who has arrived. Kirok announces himself and asks about Higgins. The group enters the keep, and Higgins welcomes Kirok, Clea and the rest. They have a private dinner with Higgins, updating him on Palmdale Group adventures. Higgins reports that things are relatively calm; he has hired additional groundskeepers and bought more sheep. A few coinheads have shown up, and were subdued; the creator has never been identified. There have been occasional visitors to the keep. There had been a message from Lactar's sister, who had inquired if Lactar had recently been to the keep ­ she was told that he hadn't been. The western portion of Bothnia is trying to break away from the central government; there have been immigrants from Bothnia to New Britain. The starship disc reader has been installed and the discs catalogued ­ they cover earth history. The tunnel to the forest is closed. There are currently 20-25 people at the keep. Higgins has heard rumors about the Palmdale Group; they were at the west coast about the same time the starship reached the coast. There has been more drow activity in the forest; they are apparently looking for something of value other than the Anak fortune. Currently there are five guards at the keep.
The group debates whether to travel to Prestana or go straight to Palmdale, eventually deciding on Palmdale. They stay the night and begin traveling the following morning, camping that night as well as the following night. On the morning of the third day after leaving the keep, Miranda hears sounds from the horses outside of the keep and sees a pack of wolves. She informs the others and fires an arrow at what she believes to be the leader. Most of the creatures slink off, but two remain. She hits again with an arrow and yells, and the wolves back off. Investigating, the group finds a trail of blood but no sign of the wolves. The skeletal remains of a dragon are encountered later on the journey, only large bones remaining from the scavenged body, the head missing. The group soon begins moving through desert. Towards the end of the seventh day a trail of dust is seen in the distance, moving away. The next day they come across evidence of a caravan of 20-30 people on horses.
Near the end of the tenth day an encampment is seen in the distance, made up of about ten tents. Figures wrapped in clothing point to the approaching Palmdale Group. About 16 people emerge from the tents, in ragged clothing. Clea casts Detect Evil ­ her Ioun stone orbits closer to her head, moving faster, and she detects that two are evil. The leader of the group, a middle-aged woman, steps forward. Kirok, at the head of the Palmdale Group, greets the woman, who says they did not expect to find anyone this far into the desert. She invites the group to eat with them; the horses are tied to the edge of a tent containing mules and carts. They didn't see the caravan the Palmdale Group had seen signs of previously.
The leader, Glynnis, says that their group, originating from different communities, is journeying to the north on a pilgrimage. Most, if not all of them, have a brown tattoo on the back of their hand of a dragon eating its tail. There are seven males and nine females; three are teenagers. Bowls of stew are provided to the Palmdale Group. When Glynnis is asked about her religion, she refers to "The Provider, He who shall deliver us." Members of the group bow their heads for a moment. She is surprised that the Palmdale Group hasn't heard of their religion. "Legends have told of The Providerwe must divest of all worldly goods, cross the breach." Clea asks if the breach is the anti-magic crack ­ it is. "The holy breach awaits us." Clea inquires about their view on magic. "Our views are our own, it is not our way." Their views also extend towards creatures and things imbued with magic. Inquiring about their plans once they reach their destination, Clea is told that the group will cross the breach and reach The Provider.
Meanwhile, Kirok scans the two evils. One, a man in his 30s, thinks that the group he is with is a bunch of schmucks; the other, a middle-aged woman, believes but thinks that the leader is an old-fashioned bitty. Kirok scans the leader, and sees images of a choker and a jeweled necklace, tributes to The Provider. Others also think of items they are taking as tribute, five items total; a dagger, a ring, a carved wooden children's toy shaped as a dragon, a scroll, and finally a choker and jeweled necklace. The evil male thinks that when they reach the crack, he will take the tribute items. Kirok picks up an obsessive belief in a Provider who has no physicality from the group. After the meal, Clea moves behind a tent and experiments with a light stone. She stops her Ioun stone and the light stone darkens; starting the Ioun stone again, the light stone flickers back to normal. She tries to use her power on the light stone after stopping the Ioun stone, but the stone is unaffected.
When the meal breaks up, Glynnis and another woman invite Clea to speak with them in a tent. Clea tells them that she has gone through life-changing events; she tells them she is going to demonstrate something. She pulls out a light stone, stops the Ioun stone and darkens the light stone. The eyebrows of both women arch in surprise. Clea tells the women that she was responsible for the recent dampening of magic in the world. Glynnis is disbelieving, but the other woman, Martha, whispers to Glynnis, and they move to talk alone. Meanwhile Miranda talks to the teenagers, asking them why they will kill themselves; they reply that they are not going to die, but are passing on to a better world. Kirok notes that his helm power drops briefly, then returns to normal. Clea emerges from the tent and waits.
Glynnis and Martha soon emerge from the tent, and Glynnis says "Our group needs to have a meeting, I will speak with you afterwards." She invites the Palmdale Group to a tent and attends her meeting. Kirok notes the last part of the conversation. Clea briefly explains what she has been discussing and asks Kirok to monitor the thoughts of those in the meeting. Kirok receives scratchy references, an argument between two factions; Martha on one side, the evil man on the other. Martha refers to Clea as The Prophet, those on the other side think she is just a woman, not of the prophecy; Glynnis takes a neutral position. By the end of the meeting, a majority of them agree with Martha. She appears at the tent flap and tells the group, Clea specifically, that they have an issue of importance that they would like to discuss with Clea. Clea tells her "You don't believe me." Martha responds "There are always those who must be convinced, a demonstration would be further proof."
August 12, 2000
While Kirok monitors the meeting, Miranda tests her daggers, placing them in the ground and attempting to carry Janice into the circle; she encounters resistance, pushes against it and pops into the circle ­ she senses that Janice was the cause of the resistance. Dagobert sees a brief shimmer as the two pass through the barrier. Miranda sets Janice down and attempts to leave the circle, encountering a physical barrier. Janice tries to leave, with the same result. Miranda once again carries Janice and tries to leave, encountering the same resistance, and both pop out of the circle. She then tries with Dagobert, but can't pull him through the barrier.
In response to Martha's statement, Clea replies, "That is to be expected." After Martha leaves with Clea, Miranda comments, "Does anyone else get the feeling that these people are not all here?" Miranda and Janice leave the tent, Miranda staying by the front entrance. Kirok continues monitoring thoughts while Dagobert waits outside at the back of the tent. Clea is ushered into the meeting; Kirok senses scattered thoughts, a great sense of expectation, a reverence for Clea, of something to be shown. Glynnis explains that their religion promises a prophet to lead them through the wilderness; they want Clea to make a greater display of her abilities. Clea protests that she is not a prophet, that she has concerns about the extent of testing, the effects on other people in their group. She is assured that the testing will only go as far as she is comfortable.
Martha and her group take torches and lead Clea a distance away from the group of tents, into a circle of torches. Miranda follows from a distance, observing chairs within a circle of torches, people singing intermittently for about 15 minutes. Following the testing, Glynnis apologizes for having put Clea through the testing; Miranda is able to hear portions of the conversation. Clea appears not to have passed their tests, and tells the people she is sorry she is not The Prophet, and invites the people to live in Palmdale. After about 25 minutes the group returns to camp. Martha then angrily confronts Glynnis, saying she believes Clea is The Prophet, and will commune with her god outside. Clea returns to the Palmdale tent, while Miranda observes Martha ­ she is sitting cross-legged, appealing for guidance. The Palmdalians are invited to stay the night.
Once Miranda returns to the tent, Kirok asks what she has learned ­ she says Martha was actually talking to her god, who said to keep an eye on the Palmdale Group. Kirok inquires about the voice, and Miranda says it was male, speaking in common tongue. Kirok continues to inquire, disbelieving, and Miranda leaves the tent in a huff. Kirok monitors the thoughts of Martha and Glynnis, the only two in the main tent. Martha is angry and frustrated, not speaking to Glynnis, keeping something from her. Martha has a sense of urgency, thinking of possibly following the Palmdale Group and of ways to convince the others to follow her. Kirok senses no thoughts from her god. The Palmdale Group members stand watch during the night. The following morning the tents are taken down, the group is invited to eat by Glynnis and two others; Janice decides not to eat with them. Miranda eats but does not take part in conversation. Dagobert says something about fasting. Kirok and Clea remain sociable. Glynnis says her group will continue to the north; they are two to three days from their destination. Clea asks about Martha; Glynnis says she was in the tent when they fell asleep, but was gone by morning. In conversation, some people express interest in Clea's offer to settle in Palmdale. Kirok reads minds ­ people are not surprised by Martha's disappearance. The evil male, Matthias, continues to follow his plan of acquiring items at the end of the pilgrimage; Clea advises Glynnis to watch him. Janice scans for magic, finding nothing unusual, but finding that the pilgrims' magic dagger is missing. Glynnis wishes the group well, apologizes and thanks Clea for her forbearance. Clea repeats her offer, with no takers. The Palmdale Group travels southeast, reaching Palmdale at the end of the second day.
Jym continues with the staff meeting, dealing with the damage caused by the attack on Palmdale. A team is sent to reinforce the tunnel to the starship. Steve is sent out in
Erikson to patrol outside of town. A team of farmers is organized to analyze the soil displaced by the burial of the starship for farmability. The seven female caravaners are assigned to make regular runs to towns to the north. Following the meeting, Jym contacts the secretary, initially reaching a receptionist, who places him in contact with Professor Nimrod. Jym is told more magic users are reporting in from outlying towns, but a number of field agents sent to areas without magic are still out of touch; there is not a lot of news from Prestana. Jym reports the Oracle was destroyed and the king is missing; the professor tells Jym that the king and his forces have been located and are well, but Excalibur is missing. Enemy forces have retreated beyond the Wyrd River. Jym tells Nimrod about the airship Erikson. Nimrod is trying to arrange a meeting in about two months in Prestana.
Jym attempts contacting
Excalibur, only receiving static; Steve thinks something is blocking the signal. Jym then successfully contacts Bree, which is on the Bothnian side of the mountains, attempting to track the king. Jym asks them to check on Lactar. When contact is attempted with Enterprise, the communications system responds as if the vessel does not exist.
September 14, 2000
It is decided that four patrols will be conducted daily in the desert within sight of Palmdale, using an aircar piloted by a town militiaman accompanied by two soldiers. Material salvaged from the remains of Oppenheimer's lab will be used with the Lyre of Building to strengthen the tunnel to the starship. Work crews are assigned to also acquire raw building material from the forest.
Wyre returns to Palmdale, seven days after he left. Recounting his trip to the Palmdale Group, he tells them that the soldiers who accompanied him, along with soldiers already in Ylldana have set up a more secure environment for the townspeople. By the time he left Ylldana, 200-250 people had returned to the town, having previously scattered when it appeared the town would be overrun. Many members of the town council had also returned by that point, precluding Palmdale from taking jurisdiction. He estimates 50-60% of the structures in town are salvageable. He was unable to gain entrance into the magic shop Jim had mentioned, but learned it was owned by a husband and wife, the wife having been killed and the husband returning to the shop. The husband had hidden his stock magically in a hiding hole, and has now reopened the shop. Wyre was in the town for three days; on the second day he asks to speak to the surviving townspeople. He gives a speech congratulating them on their fortitude to rebuild the town, but encourages those people who want to rebuild their lives elsewhere to go to Palmdale, where they will be welcomed. He can tell that some are considering it. When he left on the third day to return to Palmdale, 20 townspeople follow him, including two familes totaling 7 people, and none of them are evil. Most of them had not been west of the town since Palmdale was incorporated. There is word that the town of Alberstam sustained major damage; people are attempting to rebuild. There is no news from further up the river. Some people saw a New Britain work crew repairing the bridge, but using no magical enhancements.
Jym contacts the secretary. He is told that King Randolff was scryed back to Prestana along with some of his advisers; the rest of his group is tracking the enemy into the mountains to the north, where the orcs and ogres are in retreat. The king is rallying support against the invaders, and he will probably eventually request the use of the Erikson. During the war, the town of Silvermist was not heavily damaged. There was another mist attack during the war; previously, the townspeople had believed it to be a curse. The enemy had surrounded the town, and the people had prayed for deliverance. That night the fog came in, and the next morning the enemy were dead. Townspeople are debating whether this was an answer to their prayers or mere happenstance. Concerning Malveria and Zyconia, about one quarter of the town of Zyconia is salvageable, and people are coming in to the area to help rebuild. There will be a magic-user conference in a few months, where changes in the magical field and new spells will be announced.
Through friends in Silvermist, Q in Flagg's body is scryed to Palmdale along with a soldier. Q reports to headquarters and explains what has happened to him. Wyre is wary of him.
Soon after work is completed on the Journey's Inn tavern, two army officers accompanied by a well-dressed man arrive in Palmdale. They go to the Palmdale Group headquarters carrying a scroll tube embossed with the king's seal; the well-dressed man asks to speak with Kirok or the highest-ranking member available ­ both Jym and Q say "That would be me." The man says "Whichever one it is, I deliver this on behalf of the king of New Britain, he requests your immediate response." Q tells Jym "Don't you have something to do?" Jym sputters, then seems to understand, agrees, then goes into the next room and closes the door.

November 9, 2000
After Jym leaves, the well-dressed messenger, named Armitage, looks around the room. Q invites Armitage to have a seat; Armitage is reluctant. Q introduces himself as Quietus; Armitage checks a list of names while Q sits behind a desk. Armitage says the LG high priest in Prestana assigned him to deliver the scroll tube to Kirok or the highest-ranking cleric in Palmdale; the list includes Clea. The item is intended for Kirok, who must be present to make use of it. Armitage is to wait for a response; he has a room in town, and will wait for Kirok for three weeks. Q unscrews the lid from the tube, finding an unusually shaped crystal rod, similar to a lengthy shard of magic but not glowing. Near the far end of the rod is an etching, unrecognizable to Q. Q asks Armitage to leave the room for a while, and he does so.
Q asks Jym about the rod; Jym looks at the etching, thinking it might be an instruction. Q thinks the etching is vaguely familiar, perhaps in an alignment tongue. Jym looks for Wyre, eventually finding him working on the Journey's Inn tavern, which is nearing completion. Meanwhile, Lenard takes a look at the etching ­ he had been tending to three wounded people on the second floor of the headquarters. Lenard has seen the language before, but he can't read it. Wyre returns to headquarters and looks at the etching; he is able to read some of it ­ Kirok is to hold the item, invoke the name of his deity, and it will infuse his request with rich magic; it also mentions something about
Enterprise. Jym communicates with Erikson, mentioning that Enterprise is named on the shard, and wondering if it would bring Enterprise back; the ship doesn't know, suggests bringing the shard aboard. Q has Lenard detect for magic on the shard and scroll tube, and the items have a mild aura.
Jym and Wyre beam up to the ship and take the lift to the bridge; on the way Wyre detects no evil from the object. Jym asks where he should hold the rod, telling the ship the rod is to be used by another member of the group. The ship has ports that would fit the rod, and it eagerly suggests placing the rod into one of them, although it thinks that would probably not activate the rod. Steve looks at the rod, saying he hasn't seen anything like it on the ship and doesn't know how the ship would know. Steve warns that the ship doesn't always do what is asked of it. Jym doesn't want to take the risk, and says that Kirok would be upset; the ship sighs but doesn't disagree.
Jym beams down, goes inside building #10. He asks Wyre to report to Q; Wyre asks not to, he doesn't trust "it". Jym sends a guard to tell Q he is taking "the package" to the starship. Jym checks in with Stotty, giving him the tube and telling him to hide it until Kirok returns. Stotty reports that some of the ventilation problems are now stabilized; 40% of the undamaged portion of the ship is now workable. Discussing the Lyre of Building, Stotty says it might help with the gash in the hull, but he wouldn't trust it to repair ship systems. It is possible for the ship to recycle a limited amount of waste from townspeople to sell to farmers as fertilizer. Vacuum-packed seed packets have been found aboard the ship and are being catalogued; most of the garden aboard the ship is not in good shape. Jym returns to the airship, where he has been lodging. There is currently 20,000 g.p. stored aboard the airship. It is noted that the airship is too young to generate stasis chambers.
The next day, Black Fox and Elias return to town along with soldiers sent to search out orcs and ogres in the nearby canyons ­ none were found. He updates the Palmdale group on what he has done since he left, and they update him. Three days later, Kirok's group reaches the outskirts of Palmdale late at night, approaching from the south, noticing that the moat has been widened. It is the 21st day of November. Through the partial cloud cover, Janice notices an airship overhead, moving in the group's direction. The town guards notice the group, and the airship hovers over the group as Jym is notified of five riders approaching. The guards question the riders, and Kirok tells them who they are. Jym goes to the bridge, the ship descends, and Dagobert waves as a spotlight focuses on him. The ship continues lowering until Steve recognizes Clea and Kirok in the viewscreen; the ship says, "The captain is below." One of Westing's aides greets Kirok. Jym asks the ship to slow its descent, he will get Kirok, to which the ship replies "Yes, I agree, bring Kirok and the captain." As the five riders enter town, they smell the scent of food cooking from the tent area set aside for refugees in the south end of town. Jym beams down in front of the group as they approach headquarters. Jym says, "It's about time!" Dagobert replies "For what, cookies?"

November 25, 2000
Jym welcomes back the returning group, telling Kirok that the airship is anxious to meet him, as well as its captain, turning to Clea. Q says, "We are Q." Kirok says it's been a long ride and asks if this needs to be dealt with right now; Clea is confused. Jym says, "I don't know who you are, the airship thinks you are its captain. Clea asks how urgent this is; the group is tired. Jym hands Clea the communicator; she contacts Erikson, asking it if she needs to come aboard. Erikson replies, "Yes, captain." Clea asks Jym for more information, and he tells her generally what happened since the airship showed up. Jym comments, "Then you show up, the ship tells me to bring its captain." Meanwhile, Q tells Kirok about Armitage and the crystal rod. Clea inquires about the number of remaining communicators; she mentions her ability to dampen magic and is not sure how it will affect the ship, and that Steve should be prepared to immediately beam her back down. Jym turns stridently away to get Lenard's communicator. Clea asks the ship if she would be able to board it from a tall building, but the ship would rather that she beam aboard; Clea asks Kirok for other options.
Jym, using Lenard's communicator, asks too be beamed aboard, only to be told that the ship is too busy now. Jym tells the ship that he feels a responsibility to protect it. The ship asks if there is something it needs protection from; Jym replies that he would rather err on the side of caution. Meanwhile Kirok, Q and Clea debate courses of action. The ship is anxious for Clea to board it. Stotty approaches from the direction of the buried starship, smiling, and welcomes the group back. Clea requests that all communicators become active, then says "This is Clea of the Palmdale Group, I'm beaming aboard
Erikson, will remain in constant communication." She asks for Steve to meet her in the transporter room. Erikson, having moved away from inhabited portions of the town at Clea's request, beams her aboard. There are no negative reactions immediately noticed once she boards the ship.
Jym has also beamed aboard the ship; on the bridge, he notices energy and magic level readings spiking. Clea asks the ship if her presence is hurting it. Erikson says, "I'm in no pain, but something feelswrong." Clea inquires about what is wrong, and the airship describes feeling a void of some sort. Jym sees that the readings on the bridge are fluxuating rapidly, and contacts Steve. Steve asks about the energy reading, and is told it is slowly decreasing; Jym estimates power levels will drop to zero in four to five hours. Clea, after asking everyone to be quiet, asks the ship if her presence is a threat to it.
Erikson replies "I do not believe you are a threat where you are, but please don't go to the bridge." Jym, monitoring the K-12 indicator, asks Erikson if the drain is due to Clea's presence; the ship thinks so. Clea tells the ship about her magical ability to impede and dampen magic. Jym tells the ship "If she stays aboard, energy will be zero before morning."
On the ground, Westing approaches the group, carrying his communicator, with a look of "Now what?" Stotty suggests that Clea go to the shuttlecraft bay, where the energy intake is located, but Clea would rather be able to beam quickly off the ship, if necessary.
Erikson asks Jym for his recommendations; he recommends that Clea leave the ship now, while Steve recommends that Clea stay where she is. Steve tells Clea that there is a measureable drop in the ship's life energy that wasn't happening before she boarded. Jym again suggests that Clea leave before she kills Erikson. Clea says that she is happy to be the ship's captain, but it would be safer for both of them at the moment if she beams down. Erikson agrees, but wants her to have a communicator.
Once Clea leaves the ship, bridge readings begin stabilizing; Jym informs Clea of this. Q says, "Usually, when Kirok is in a city, it blows up." Clea says "
Erikson, please remain in the vicinity of Palmdale until I communicate again." Westing says, "I'm not sure what's going on, staff meeting in the morning." Jym talks with Erikson about its past and its relation with Clea; the airship knows very little of its own history prior to its appearance in the northwestern plains of the continent. Its connection to Clea is based on Kirok being captain of Enterprise ­ the same person can't be captain of two ships at the same time. Clea was also chosen because she is the highest-ranking female of the group. Jym asks about the possibility of Clea being unable to be captain; the ship is unsure and will have to think about it. Erikson tells Jym "No matter what else happens, you'll always be my first commander." Jym stays aboard ship overnight. Dagobert accompanies Stotty to the starship to sleep, as does Q. Miranda spends the night in a room just off the entryway of the headquarters building; Clea stays upstairs. Kirok investigates the crystal rod before going to sleep. As the rod comes into contact with Kirok's hand, the etchings change shape, becoming words he can read ­ "Insert this into the slot on the main control panel of the bridge of Erikson, all will be revealed." Kirok says "I'll sleep on that." Kirok and Janice stay on the second floor of the building formerly belonging to Old Witch Clara.
The next morning Jym beams down, looking for Janice and the Staff of the Magi. Q and Dagobert return to the surface. Jym checks the headquarters building for Janice, and is told by Clea and Miranda where she is. Q enters the building where Kirok and Janice are staying, and asks a guard if Jym has been in the building; he is told no. Q goes upstairs to wait for Jym, smiling. Dagobert enters the building from below; Jym arrives and asks him Janice's location ­ on the second floor. Kirok's room is the first door on the left side, while Janice's is the second. Jym knocks on Janice's door and wakes her up, asking to talk to her over breakfast, and gets the Staff of the Magi. Q intercepts him as he is leaving, asking Jym where his magic items are ­ Jym thinks they are in the tardis aboard the starship. While Jym waits for Janice, he asks Dagobert about what happened since the group left; Dagobert quickly covers what he can until Janice arrives. Dagobert accompanies Q to the starship. Kirok is the last to wake up, as Clea and Miranda tour the town on the way to breakfast at the Dragon's Lair Inn.
Black Fox, accompanied by another elf in civilian clothing, talks to Clea and Miranda for about 15 minutes. Black Fox recommends bringing his kinsman, Link into the group's confidence ­ since the Palmdale group has been actively seeking a full-blooded elf (in addition to Black Fox, himself), to possibly help use the ring artifact. Although the group is initially cautious about integrating an outsider into their inner circle, Kirok uses the helm of telepathy to question the young elvan fighter and discovers him to be an honest man, who makes no attempts to conceal his background or motivations. Link, (a humanized version of his elvin given name of L'Nk), has been adventuring for nearly a year as a sword-for-hire, since the death of his grandfather. That grandfather, who himself had been a successful elvin fighter, on his deathbed bequeathed his magical sword to Link, under the condition that Link carry on his tradition of glorifying the family's reputation through his adventures. Link reveals to his new comrades in the Palmdale group that his trusty longsword has the ability to truthfully answer one "yes or no" question posed to it weekly about whatever it is allowed to touch.
Jym and Janice also eat breakfast at the inn, sitting at an open table. Clea tells those at her table that she will try to convince the ship to allow someone else to become captain. She wants to establish a church and examine her power. Miranda suggests that Clea could have a position of authority without being aboard the airship; Clea responds that if the ship had to leave, she wouldn't be able to communicate with it. Miranda says, "Every ship has to have a home port somewhere." Meanwhile Janice updates Jym on events, and Jym describes the battle to save Palmdale.
Kirok gets up and talks to the guard about the Palmdale people who had come into the building earlier. He goes to the inn lobby, seeing the Palmdale people. Kirok asks the clerk about Armitage and goes to see him. He talks to Armitage about the rod. Kirok goes to Jym and Clea, asking to talk to them outside. Kirok tells the others about the rod-shaped shard, telling them he plans to check it out before the staff meeting. They decide to beam the core group aboard
Erikson to view the message. Meanwhile Q and Dagobert meet at the tardis; Q asks Dagobert what he knows about mind transference ­ Dagobert hems and haws, but doesn't know anything. Q checks the tardis and gets his magic items.
December 16, 2000
While Clea, Janice, Black Fox and Link go to the headquarters building, Jym beams aboard the airship. The airship moves to the outskirts of town, lowering enough to allow Kirok, Q, Dagobert and Miranda to board it. As Jym settles into the commander's chair aboard the bridge of
Erikson, and Miranda, Dagobert, and Q-as-Flagg seat themselves at the other stations, filling the bridge. Kirok places the irregularly shaped crystal shard into the port on the communications console that Steve has pointed out to him. After a few seconds of clicking and humming, a miniaturized transparent projection of the group's long-absent member Erik appears ­ looking similar to the projected images that are present when the ships crew communicates with other ships' crews, but in this case a recorded message. The 2' tall image of Erik speaks, not directly to any individual but to the empty stillness of Erikson's bridge. "Greetings to you all, my former comrades. Enterprise and I will not be returning to you. She has chosen to explore another realm, and has given me the opportunity to accompany her, which I have accepted. I will try to communicate again with you if circumstances allow it. Enterprise has left a parting gift for you at coordinates which this crystal will place inside Erikson's memories." The expression on the face of Erik's projected image turns wistful. "I leave you with one final, parting message ­ The things I've witnessed and participated in these past few months have changed my life forever. Your new ship, Erikson, and its sister Moria, will keep Enterprise's legends alive for coming generations. I look forward to seeing you all again in the future, or in the next world!" The image of Erik freezes, then fades out...leaving an eerie silence on the ship's bridge. A silence broken by Miranda's quiet question, "So where is Moria"...
Jym asks
Erikson the coordinates that were input to the ship's computers ­ they lie in the western part of the continent, south of the northern mountains. Kirok has Steve attempt to contact Moria, but there is no success after several minutes. Kirok also asks for the status of the other airships:

Bree ­ active on this continent Excaliber ­ blocked Lighthelm ­ active on this continent
Eledrea ­ blocked Gallea ­ blocked M'Jarrin ­ too far
Enterprise ­ blocked K'Thyra ­ blocked Paladin ­ too far

Jym asks if there are any new ships; nothing shows up. He asks Erikson if there are other ways to contact Moria ­ none that it knows of. Jym asks the ship how it feels about Enterprise leaving it; it is melancholy, doesn't know where Enterprise would have gone. The ship descends. Steve says that there are seven communicators available; four of them are with Westing, Stotty, Jym and Clea.
A staff meeting is held at military HQ. In attendance are Westing and several of his top aides, as well as the core Palmdale Group, Black Fox, Stotty, Spock and a teamster representative. Trade with communities to the north is discussed. A group of gnome miners at the edge of the hills would like trade relations with Palmdale. The military reports that repair of the bridge between Malveria and Ylldana is continuing, travel will be possible within a week, the reconstruction of Ylldana is continuing. Refugees are continuing to trickle into town ­ Spock is responsible for their welfare. Palmdale Group construction priorities are the tunnel, the Journey's Inn tavern and the rear entrance to town, to be followed by enhancement of the front gate. The blacksmith shop run by the dwarves George and Gracie is able to do small jobs, and will be fully functional within a few weeks. Stotty reports that the starship air filtration system has a few glitches yet; he thinks everyone in town could be evacuated to the starship if necessary. A dwarf guard named Bertek is selected to catalog plants and seeds from the starship's botany bay. Kirok asks that an antenna for the starship radio be constructed, and suggests having the djinni create wood each day for construction purposes. It is noted that all of the refugees have been human, elf or half-elf. The meeting adjourns, and the Palmdale Group returns to their HQ.
It is decided that Clea and Wyre will remain with the town. Jym wants to investigate the equipment left by Enterprise. Kirok reminds the group about Ugely and the transport ring; Q is concerned about recovering his body, Dagobert about the gold and guards remaining in Junker. The ring is discussed, and Jym has Stotty retrieve the ring from the starship. The two elves observe the ring; it contains eight pictographs in no specific order. The elves attempt to decipher the symbols, coming up with the following: formula or combination, blessing, curse, home/homing, or a place that is a focal point; one of the symbols is associated with the ancient magical slug creatures. Frentilias verifies the three that Ugely identified ­ travel, healing and group. The ring is estimated to be 5000 years old.
Link proposes using his sword's magical questioning ability to help determine the safety of Black Fox using the ring, however the other group members recommend holding back on such a "yes or no" question until they've narrowed down their options. Kirok casts an Augury: "What will be the results to Frentilias touching the ring?" The answer is weal. Link observes that a full elf might not need to concentrate in order to use the ring. The Helm of Telepathy is transferred to Frentilias. Kirok casts another Augury, concerning the results to Jym and Q if they touch the ring along with Frentilias; the answer is neutral. They all touch the ring; the two magic users feel nothing, while Frentilias learns more about the ring settings. From the travel symbol, he gets the feeling that the ring can take you to someplace you have been to or are aware of. The healing symbol, when used, can be used to heal any species. The group symbol indicates that four individuals total can be transported. The combination/formula reveals that things must be thought of in steps in order to work properly. Blessing/curse ­ prior to use, the user may institute a blessing or curse to those traveling. The symbol associated with the ancient magic slugs gives the impression that some of those creatures are built into the ring. The home/homing symbol is the focal point or home setting for the ring, and is driving Ugely's compulsion.
With the rest of the group watching with concern, Frentilias [Black Fox] grasps the ring strongly with one ungloved hand, reporting a tingling feeling of energy. Taking positions facing outward, both Dagobert and Q-as-Flagg also grasp the Ring, making direct contact between the metal and their skin. Black Fox, wearing the helm of telepathy, reads Dagobert's thoughts as the dwarf focuses his concentration on the forested clearing where Q's body was left behind. When, after a few moments of concentration, Black Fox has a clear image in his mind of the forested clearing, he gives a mental command to the ring to power up, lock on location, and...GO! All three of the travelers feel an intense build-up of energy (similar to a build-up of static electricity), then in a split second they find themselves standing...elsewhere. Examining their surroundings, they discover that they are in a cool, damp open area in the midst of a heavily forested region. Q's quick interpretation of the sun's angle reveals that they have most likely traveled several hundred miles to the west (presuming there was no measurable passage of time during their transport). Approximately 15 feet away, the trio see Q's body, frozen in the sepia-toned energy column which is the result of the Sepia Snake Sigil ­ still holding the lower half of the late Damien's body. Seeing no evidence of threat, Dagobert and Q let go of the Ring, and Black Fox tells them he senses that the artifact must recharge for a time before being used to teleport again ­ perhaps 15 to 20 minutes. A closer look in their vicinity reveals heavy foot traffic around Q's statuesque form, and around the nearby crash site where the Cygnus came to rest mere weeks ago. The markings on the groups indicate both old and recent passage of numerous individuals ­ all apparently on horseback. After a brief discussion about magical physics, and whether or not Q's body will automatically "blow up" (which he is supposed to do once per month) when the sepia snake sigil effects are dispelled, the Palmdalian trio find cover behind some downed trees 50 feet from Q's frozen body. Dagobert casts Dispel Magic, eliminating the effects holding Q still, and the trio see the energy column dissipate. Q decides to risk examing his body himself, and turns over all his magic and weapons to Black Fox and Dagobert, who he requests remain behind cover. Q-as-Flagg approaches Q's body, which has dropped Damien's eviscerated remnants. As Q-as-F gets within 10 feet of Q's body, Dagobert and Black Fox can see both figures begin twitching, almost as if they are suffering a seizure. Black Fox, using his own and his Toad familiar's vision to scan their clearing for threats, sees movement deep in the trees ­ figures 8-10 feet tall but indistinct...several of them. Dagobert can see Q's body and Flagg's body arguing intensely as the dwarf and the elf move out of cover towards the arguing figures. As the indistinct creatures continue to move to encircle the band of adventurers, Black Fox and Dagobert rejoin Q (now in his own body) and Flagg (now in charge of his own body again ­ and not particularly happy about his weeks of subjugation). Black Fox unwraps the Ring, identifies the potential threat in the trees and says "We need to get out of here...Now!" Q picks up Damien's remains and quickly asks Black Fox if he can transport the additional weight, to which Black Fox responds "It's worth trying...but we need to go NOW!" As Dagobert, Q and Flagg all grip the ring and Black Fox concentrates on returning to the Palmdalian HQ, all but Black Fox can see the vague forms of riders on horseback encircling the clearing ­ before the energy buildup bursts, carrying them back to Palmdale.
In the Palmdale HQ, approximately 30 minutes have elapsed since the Ring-bearing trio disappeared, when they suddenly reappear ­ only this time there's four of them! As Black Fox weakly falls to his knees, obviously exhausted from controlling the Ring, Dagobert, Flagg and Q let go of the artifact and Q takes one step towards his comrades, holding onto the bloody half of Damien's body and saying "I'm back!"

January 27, 2001
The Ring-teleporting group recounts what happened to them. Lenard, investigating the remaining half of Damien, comments "He's worse than dead, his upper half is gone!" The disposition of Damien the half-a-body is discussed. Wyre thinks of several refugees that may be willing to have a sepia snake sigil placed on them in order to place the body in stasis. Within a half-hour, Wyre returns with an Ylldana refugee, a man in his 20s named Pall, who is hired for this task as a bearer/porter. He has a sister in Malveria who is safe. He and Damien are placed in Ahlric's former room; exterior damage to the room has been repaired, but the interior needs work. It is about noon.
Miranda wishes to make contact with Captain Crichton, and suggests telling the Bothnian government about the gummy gems. Stotty begins work on an antenna for the starship radio. It is determined that 10-15,000 g.p. need to be left with the town for normal operation, while 50,000 g.p. is to be taken with the group. Wyre and Flagg will remain with the town. Plans are debated ­ Jym wants the group to stay together and investigate the
Enterprise treasure; Kirok wants the ring tested and an attempt made to cure Ugely.
In the evening, after Black Fox has recouperated, the teleport ring is tested inside headquarters. Dagobert, Lenard, Jym and Kirok observe the testing, Kirok monitoring thoughts. Black Fox and Link touch the ring at the same time, and are able to sense each other through the Ring. Kirok then touches the Ring, but the elves only sense additional weight. Black Fox senses a feeling of greater power due to the two elves, Link senses the Ring's abilities, senses a home setting but no compulsion to use it. With the two of them grasping the Ring, they sense that they are much farther from reaching the maximum teleport weight. Jym touches Link's skin, but Link senses no change. The elves don't sense additional information about the Ring's functions. Black Fox touches the ring alone, tries to control the Ring, then Link touches it; there is no change.
Lenard brings down the injured Number One. Black Fox tries to heal her, first without touching her ­ he senses the function is not working due to distance. Link touches the Ring, sensing it is under Black Fox's control. Black Fox touches Number One, the heal function still doesn't function due to distance, even with both elves trying at the same time. Black Fox touches the ring to Number One's skin, senses a connection is established, that something needs to be healed. As he tries to heal her, the two blip out of the room, popping back a moment later in slightly different positions. Number One steps away, feeling completely healed. The two senses that they had teleported into a void for a moment; Black Fox does not feel weakened by having used the function. Link touches the ring while Black Fox is in control, and they sense an energy buildup, each other.
Janice gathers people with varying degrees of injury; Number One insures they are blindfolded. Both of the elves mentally examine the Ring's icons, not being able to sense what the other is doing. Black Fox tries the blessing setting, both sense power turning on; Link tries the healing setting, the ring switches to healing and Black Fox is unable to get control back. Link concentrates on heal but doesn't try to control, Black Fox is able to change the setting. When Black Fox tries to control the Ring, Link is able to take control away from him. They then try to do the same thing by just touching the ring to skin; the link is broken when not touching skin, but Link is able to take control while in skin contact with the Ring.
A man with a broken arm is led in, blindfolded, and Black Fox and Link touch the ring to his skin, but sense no contact. Jym wishes to slightly injure the man and then attempt to cure him with the Ring; Kirok and Dagobert debate the merits of this course of action with Jym. The blindfolded man changes his mind, declines, and Black Fox tries to calm him. The man leaves. A construction worker with an infection is brought in, is given a seat. Both of the elves are needed to activate a cure for the man. The same process occurs as when Number One was healed, but it takes longer than previously, and the elves are slightly drained; a scar is left on the man's arm. The man sensed a grey void during teleportation. A man missing a leg is brought in ­ no connection is made. While testing the Ring, the elves sense that eight individuals (two elves and six passengers) would not exceed the Ring's capabilities. A ninth passenger would begin to overload the Ring, and a tenth would not be possible. Link attempts teleporting while activating the bless function, taking Janice as a passenger. They teleport to another room ­ not much energy was used, but the group feels blessed. They note that they are weightless in the grey area. After testing the ring, both elves board the airship to familiarize themselves with it for teleportation purposes.
Meanwhile, Q looks into getting a suspended animation chamber operational. In the evening, Q and Miranda return to headquarters. The two elves, Kirok, Miranda and Q go to Ugely's room. Kirok monitors Ugely with the helm while the rest prepare with the Ring, touching it to the skin of the lightly snoring Ugely. Energy builds, but no connection is made. The elves feel that the energy capacity increased slightly. Kirok mentally recommends to Black Fox that they teleport nearby; Black Fox decides to hold the ring on Ugely longer, and Kirok mentally informs the rest of the group. After about 20 seconds a buildup is sensed, just as Ugely wakes up. Kirok reads from Ugely's thoughts a very brief sense of confusion, then a realization of what is happening and that he can take advantage of it, with one thought ­ "The Ring!" Kirok uses the helm in an attempt to Suggest to Ugely "You will not use the Ring." It doesn't work; Q sees Kirok mentally communicate to Ugely, the two elves sense the presence of Ugely as he takes control of the Ring. Black Fox wrenches the ring away from Ugely; Miranda loses her grip on the Ring, and in a burst of energy, the remaining three teleport out. Kirok senses madness and confusion from Ugely, of a missed opportunity. Ugely mentally shouts "No!" He then becomes incoherent; Kirok senses homesickness and longing from him. It is about 9:00 p.m.
Black Fox, Link and Q are in the grey zone for about five seconds. They wake to find themselves lying on the ground at night in a forested glen, Black Fox with the ring in his hand; he senses they haven't reached the home setting. The air is cool; he senses that time has passed or they have traveled a considerable distance to the west, at a slightly higher elevation. The glen looks like a place where elves may have gathered in the past. It is estimated that the ring will take 15-30 minutes to recharge. Markings, difficult to make out, are seen on trees facing into the glen; stones are set into the ground in an unusual pattern, overgrown. The elves think this is a large summoning ward for an elven deity. Q places a transport target outside the edge of the circle pattern. Black Fox wraps up the ring in a cloak, moves to the center of the pattern and feels a vibration from the Ring. He tells the others, and Q advises Black Fox to move out of the pattern. The ring vibrates less outside of the power circle; the ring power is apparently building faster.
Q's lightstone blinks; the elves hear a soft female voice, faint, speaking in old elvish which only Black Fox understands ­ "Why are you here?" Q only hears the wind. Black Fox tells the voice "Through an accident." He informs the others of what was said. The voice wishes to know what they brought. Q tries his levitation boots, and they work. Black Fox says "Kinsmen, or those who would like to be." The voice asks, "Why do you despoil my realm with the unclean?" Black Fox replies, "That was not our intention, nor did we mean any disrespect." Q, backing off, sees a foggy mist uniformly moving into the glen depression, and informs the others. Q, moving towards the edge of the clearing, feels as if the mist has snagged him, feels resistance. Black Fox paraphrases the latest communication from the entity, telling the rest that the entity says that the portal has been defiled, and has asked how the toll will be paid. Black Fox, at Q's urging asks, "What manner of toll would you accept?" The entity replies "A life will suffice."
The mist reaches Black Fox, but doesn't restrain him. Q is unable to break free, the fog encasing his lower extremities; he settles back to the ground. Black Fox tells Q that it doesn't like being addressed by him. With two minutes to go until the ring is recharged, a strong buzz is felt from the Ring. Q is able to move to where the two elves are standing. Black Fox tells the entity "His life shall not be the toll, what other toll would you ask?" The entity says, "One life will suffice, that of an animal, but not an elf." Black Fox thinks about a reply, then about the Ring's blessing function, then teleportation; the other two grab ahold of the ring and blip out, with something trying to hold back Q; they blink out.
March 29, 2001
Kirok informs Dagobert and Lenard what has happened, and asks Lenard to try and calm Ugely down ­ the best he can do is make a drink to calm him. Ugely appears to be speaking an ancient language; Kirok suggests "Sleep" to him, and it works. The group rests for the night.
In a room to the side of the main headquarters room, the two elves and Q pop in, exhausted, especially Black Fox. Q loses his grip on the ring. The two elves hear a trailing whisper, and Black Fox makes this out to be "Wait for m", and the rest is lost. Dagobert is woken up by the returnees, and yells that they have returned; Lenard is heard moving upstairs, and Miranda is woken up; it is 3-4:00 a.m. The elves feel that the ring is drained. Lenard comes downstairs and asks if they need assistance, they decline, and wrap the ring in cloth. Clea comes down to investigate, calls the airship to let them know that the testing is complete and there will be a meeting in the morning. A guard goes to tell Kirok that the three have returned. The elves sleep in the headquarters building, keeping the ring with them.
The next morning the Palmdale Group, along with Janice, Number One and Lenard, meet at HQ. Lenard reports that Ugely is still sleeping. Link checks the ring, it is still recharging. The three travelers are placed at the head of the table, and recount the events after they teleported. Q says that non-elves shouldn't return to the glen. Jym urges that the
Enterprise treasure be recovered. Wyre, Flagg, Clea, Janice, Number One and Lenard will be staying with the town, and Miranda wishes to contact Captain Crichton. Options are debated. It is decided that Lenard, along with two guards, will take Ugely to Prestana in an attempt to cure him. Eight guards, former Enterprise crewmen, will help man the airship. To help the town hire more guards, 5,000 g.p. is left there, leaving 45,000 g.p. on the airship. In addition to the eight guards, Kirok, Jym, Q, Dagobert, Black Fox, Link and Steve will accompany the airship. The teleport ring is placed in the captain's quarters. Miranda gives up two quaffs of Heroism potion to Link and a Wand of Fireballs to Black Fox.
The next morning, Lenard and his group leave town for Prestana. Miranda asks Kirok to cast a Bless on her before she begins her journey to the north, and he does so. Final preparations are made, and the airship warps away to the northwest. On the viewscreen, the ship can be seen passing over desert, clear terrain and two rivers; the ship returns to normal space around 11:00 p.m. in hilly terrain. Steve states that within 6-7 hours the ship will be able to warp again. The ship moves two hexes to the north while recharging. Before daybreak, the ship warps again, passing over a river, clear and hilly terrain, popping back to normal space over hilly terrain, having traveled less distance than the first warp. There is cropland to the southwest, and wood smoke scenting the air.
Dagobert uses the broom to investigate the area as the ship heads for town. He flies over fields, and after five minutes he spots three individuals with a wagon, walking a path and heading the same direction. Dagobert lands behind them and walks up to them, asking them what the town ahead is called. After initial surprise and suspicion at seeing a dwarf in farmland, the farmer, in his 50s, tells him the town is named North Saldon, and is about six miles away, with a population of several hundred people. The farmer, Silas, and his two sons are heading to their farmhouse and offer Dagobert food, but he declines. Dagobert thanks them for their help and flies to town, seeing lights from farmhouses on the way, and lands at the edge of town at dusk. Several people can be seen walking towards the inn. He sees mainly humans, with one half-elf seen entering the inn/tavern. Dagobert spots a magic shop, closed for the day. He sees that there are no major roads leading into town. He flies back to the airship. Erikson is parked at the edge of town for the night, hovering over cropland.

June 16, 2001
The ship warps, ending up in a forest. After resting, the ship warps again, stopping at the edge of a mountain range, in a hilly area; the ship senses magic. The next morning Steve reports the ship is at 60% power. Erikson moves north, following a river into a small canyon. The ship begins feeling edgy, excited by a tingle of energy while nervous at being in a confined space above water. Steve says the ship is recharging faster than usual.
Link takes the Broom of Flying in order to fly ahead of the ship and investigate the package left by
Enterprise; Jym monitors him using Stringfellow Hawk, watching Link follow a bend in the river canyon and light diminishing as contact is lost. About a half-hour later Jym senses String returning, with a fragment of parchment in its claw. The message says that about four hours ship travel time from when Link left, he found a hole in the side of a mountain, containing glowing crystals, goblins, and something larger than human, which attacked the goblins, throwing them off the mountain.
The ship continues on. Jym, Dagobert, Q and Black Fox board the Rug of Welcome, Q wearing the Helm of Telepathy. Jym sends String ahead, and Q sends his raven; the hawk reaches the mountain first, seeing a gaping hole in the mountainside, a debris field about two-thirds of the way up the side, and goblins converging on the hole from above and below. Inside the hole is a vaguely humanoid creature, covered in moss and plants, its legs and arms the size of tree trunks, roaring at Link who is flying out of reach. There are glowing stones inside the hole, as well as scattered down the mountainside below, being pushed by goblins.
Link sees String return with a message. The creature picks up a chunk of debris; Link retrieves the message and moves into the shadows, and is missed when the creature throws the debris at him. The message advises Link not to do anything stupid, a group will back him up soon. Link hits the creature with an arrow, while the creature crushes a goblin's skull in rage and picks up more debris. String sees at least three arrows in the creature, and a large wound on the side of its animal-like face, vines coming off of its body. The creature is 10'-12' tall, with a shifting nature to its appearance. It grabs a chunk of crystal and places it near its face. Link fires, misses. The creature pauses to digest, withdraw energy, and appears to be healing itself. The creature throws a rock at Link, misses. Link orders goblins to drop more rocks down the mountainside ­ Link sees dozens of goblins at this point. Link hits the creature, while it misses.
Goblins coming up from below the hole are wearing armor. The goblin leader instructs an underling to use ropes in order to ensnare the creature. Link accidentally hits a goblin in the back, others nearby look at Link. The raven flies up to Link and asks "Who is the enemy?" Link replies it is a shambler, and the goblins are also trying to destroy it. The goblins have no distance weapons and have been unable to subdue the creature. Link tries to convince the goblins he is a friend. The familiars are able to see 50-75 goblins; the carpet is still about 15 minutes from reaching the site. Link thinks there is a goblin encampment or community nearby. Link yells for the goblins to cut the vines; Link hits the creature once again with an arrow, it turns toward him, then begins toppling down, hitting 15'-20' down the mountainside, held by ropes. The ropes are cut; Link hits the creature again with an arrow. A rope breaks, the creature tumbles down the mountainside through the debris field, into the stream, and is carried downstream ­ the creature is still moving. Goblins are gathering crystals on the mountainside, placing them in packs, while Link gathers crystals further away. The raven investigates where the goblins are coming from.
About ten minutes after the fall of the creature, the creature is spotted by the crew of the approaching rug. The creature, 150' below, is still moving and floating downstream. Jym fires a lightning bolt at the creature ­ it shudders, wails, stops moving and continues floating downstream; he then casts Light on the creature, and it is absorbed. Jym once again fires a lightning bolt at the creature ­ its body shudders, breaks into multiple pieces. They soon reach Link, whose saddlebags are slightly glowing. Jym throws out a few lightstones, illuminating about 20 goblins that remain within the cavern, the entrance of which is about 40' wide. The goblin leaders are urging their followers to hurry up. Jym sends String to search for the goblin camp. Large chunks of magic crystal that the goblins couldn't move remain within the cavern. More goblins can be seen climbing along the mountainside above the cavern entrance. The Palmdalians attack the goblins on the mountainside; Dagobert hits and kills one with his Dwarven Thrower, while Q kills one with an arrow. Jym webs the entrance. Black Fox fires a fireball, which detonates above the cavern opening and interacts with the crystals; a web of energy connects the goblins with the crystals, there is an energy discharge, chunks of the mountain fall through the web covering the entrance and flaming goblins hit the water below. Six goblins remain hanging onto the mountain high above the cavern.
Aboard the airship, the crew hears a dull, booming roar that echoes back and forth; Steve detects less magic ahead. Meanwhile, Jym and Dagobert tell Black Fox "Don't do that again." A cloud of dust and debris obscure the entrance, but it is possible to see that the web is torn. The rug is moved in order to get a better view, and Link follows. Dagobert kills one of the goblins climbing above the entrance. About three-fourths of the web has been torn away, but only the entrance to the cavern has collapsed, the cavern remains. Jym webs three goblins climbing above the right side of the entrance. Dagobert hits another, which falls downslope, and Link kills one more; two of the webbed goblins beg to be spared. Black Fox hits one of the climbing goblins with a slingstone and it falls, Dagobert kills another.
March 30, 2002
Miranda travels northward from Alberstam to New Havendish. There was recently a clerical convocation in the city and Miranda is able to learn that clerics from most of the alignments in the area are planning to help the smaller communities rebuild after recent attacks. A few people from this area are being sent to Ylldana but there is no plan to send anyone to Palmdale. Miranda goes to the magic shop in mid-morning, purchasing a scry to Valley Base South of the mountain passes. The scry opens up on the back of a middle-aged man, walking down a narrow street; footsteps can be heard, which recede. The window is turned into a doorway, and she goes through with her horse ­ the weather is clear, sunny. She leads her horse to an intersection where some New Britain uniforms and one Bothnian uniform are seen on soldiers; this is the commercial part of town. She exchanges a gem with a gemologist for some Bothnian currency. She gets a room for the night, heads north the next day and camps that evening. She reaches Mountain Base West the next evening before dark. The guard at the gate asks her business ­ she has a message for someone in the dwarf community. She heads for the dwarf embassy gives the following report to a secretary in the Dwarven "embassy", requesting that it be passed on to General Tainen:
The Palmdale group has recovered 10 of the gem type creatures who seemed to have had a major role in the events of Heaven's Glen. They were found near Palmdale before that event took place and one has since been killed while being studied in Prestana. One was interrogated while in possession of a goat and it claimed that the gems were leading the war. The gems had been found being carried in a pouch by an Ogre. The gem admitted that they are effected by the recent magic dampening field and it has been shown that dispel magic does separate them from their host, leaving the host dead. Killing the host does not appear to damage the gems and they have been seen to leave a host willingly, also leaving the host dead. One victim of possession was recovered after using a Bead of Curing and Exorcism. She has not shown adverse effects since her recovery.
In the city of Heaven's Glen buildings were seen that were kept cold inside. A group of humans was found who had protective clothing. A building towards the center of town was seen to have 5'X5' containers of liquid. It was in this building where they kept the prisoner they were using to project the magic dampening field. The gems are known to use metal wires in some cases while connected to humans but their purpose is yet unknown. The ship that crashed into Heaven's Glen was found to have contained human body parts, probably male. They had been sorted into compartments by type, i.e. leg, arm, etc.
A group of men were encountered near the Valley of Heaven's Glen. They had just returned from the city of Penthas. They had with them a list of what appeared to be city names; the writing seemed to have an elvish base, possibly drow. A number of the names were crossed out. The leader was wearing a metal headband and once struck with a dispel magic spell was found to be under the control of three gems. Interrogation of the other men revealed a system of sending out parties to destroy cities, but at least one man had been sent to a city that put up no resistance.
Gems were also seen in the wreckage of an aircar downed near the Dwarven battle. It is assumed the car had come from Heaven's Glen. Two humans and a drow were seen leaving the car, the drow opening a gate allowing the two humans to escape. The drow was killed after a fireball was shot at the gate and the magic went bad. It is known that others escaped the area before and after the destruction of Heaven's Glen.
While being followed one of the possessed humans commented that Dwarves would be of no use. It is unknown in what context that was meant. The gems knew of the drow arriving where the Dwarves found them. Possessed humans and a possessed dog where seen casting a spell to gate in a large evil being from another dimension. The gate or the gems involved killed the hosts used to cast the gate and later killed a handful of drow. The killing of the first three drow by the gate did assist in convincing the drow to close the gate and hopefully cast doubt in the minds of the drow about the wisdom of any alliance the drow may have had with the gems.
The unconscious body of a drow was found over 300 yards away from the Dwarven battle. He was severely wounded and close to death. The drow was wearing a cloak, gloves and leather armor. Still sheathed in his belt were a pair of daggers; he had no other weapons on him, but did carry a hidden vial of silver liquid. He seemed surprised to learn of the nearby battle involving Dwarves. He requested that the medallion he had around his neck be taken through the gate the drow were using and be attached to Iliasa "before it's too late for all who live here". He dismissed his name as being unimportant and died soon after. Xerxes later suggested the possibility of such a medallion being Dwarven in origin to counteract the gate.
Upon seeing drow killed by the gem's gate and being told (possibly falsely but convincingly) that the drow had been betrayed, Iliasa agreed to wear the medallion and close the gate, commenting that perhaps his son had been right. This prevented the addition of over one hundred armed drow to the battle. It is hoped that perhaps the son of Iliasa whose name and allegiance are also unknown may be of some use if located. It is the dead drow, possibly the grandson of Iliasa, about which more information is likely to be found.
This is the drow who was later questioned by the Dwarf Xerxes using speak with dead. It was then learned that the drow had come to stop what his grandfather and his grandfather's associates were planning to do. The plan involved the drow opening a breach so their allies could gain control of the surface. The drow were interested in retaliation against the surface. The Bothnian army removed the body of the drow from the valley, mention was made of taking it to Cass Majoris. The bodies of the drow killed during battle disintegrated soon after death while the few drow captives did not do so until sunrise. It is known that drow retreated from the battle but their fate is unknown. This body was the only drow recovered from the valley.
Another body was found dead 100-200 yards from the battle. This was an elderly human male lawful good cleric. It was determined that he had been dead for a day already. This deceased body was also spoken to. He had come seeking the Prophesied One. He mentioned the enemy whom was spoken of in scripture and was found to be greater than he had been prepared for. He carried a ring for the Prophesied One who is known to be male. The cleric had part of a riddle inscribed on his holy symbol by his master. The other part of the riddle is inscribed on the holy symbol of his brother. The language has not yet been translated, leaving the riddle unknown. It is also unknown whether either of these dead bodies had known about the other's existence while alive.
Miranda is told that the consul will send communication for Tainen or a subordinate to get this information. At the evening meal, Miranda overhears merchants at a nearby table ­ there is a resistance to finding a more effective trade route, difficulty getting trade goods for Bothnians, something about Lactar, upheaval, struggle, loyalty, naval forces. She speaks with two bureacrat types after learning from a waitress that they are heading back north; she offers to provide them protection and they agree, they are leaving the morning after next and welcome the company. Their names are Tybold and long-time companion Reynaldo; they are full of themselves, full of bravado.
Erikson Crew
Jym enlarges keystones pointed out by Dagobert near the base of the debris covering the right end of the entrance to the cave, in order for the debris to move downslope once the spell wears off. He begins enlarging the stones, which causes shifting of the debris, enlarging a total of 25 in a string to hopefully begin a chain reaction. Stringfellow returns and tells Jym that the goblins, many carrying large shards, disappeared into cracks in the mountainside as they were climbing. Jym looks chagrined, thinking that only a size one human would be able to follow them. The raven hasn't yet returned. Link hovers at the edge of the magic, monitoring the situation.
June 27, 2002
Erikson Crew
The flying familiars note that magic shards carried by the goblins above the magic line are still glowing. Jym, Q and Black Fox examine the rubble below the trapped goblins. Jym casts Light into the cavern, which gives off 2-3 times normal brilliance, and filters through the dust and out of holes in the debris. Dagobert approaches the three trapped goblins, his short sword out; one of the goblins, larger than the others, is hostile and whispering to the two on either side of him, who are panicked. He walks up to the hostile goblin and beats him about the head many times with the flat of his sword, then says in goblin "Now, do talk to me." The other two whimper and shriek while the hostile one tenses, tells the others not to say anything. Dagobert asks, "Where are you from?" He notices a bulge in the hostile goblin's pants. One of the whimpering goblins says they are from the clan that lives in the mountains between Bothnia and New Britain; the leader of the clan family ordered them here, everyone in the family was sent here, and he is the bully's brother. Dagobert stares at the bully and asks him about the bulge in his pants ­ irregular in shape, the size of a small pouch. The bully snaps at his brother; Dagobert then says to his brother "It might be better for your big brother if you told me what's in his pants." The bully scowls and stares at his smaller brother, hangs his head, and says, "It is my kreflach."
Meanwhile, the toad familiar is sent into the cavern, hopping from rock to rock. Inside the cavern, 30'-40' high, it can see that the back of the cavern is not collapsed. It moves in further, seeing a disheveled pile of crystals, and three goblins on the opposite side of the pile, armed, cautiously trying to find a way out. There is some collapse at the other side of the cavern. Two of the goblins have pouches. Outside, Jym has Q search the goblin bodies; he also gathers body parts.
Dagobert says to the bully goblin "Tsk, tsk, tsk and you shouldn't have your kreflach here, should you?" The bully, embarrassed and angry, looks at Dagobert and replies, "What's it to you dwarf, you probably have no trouble getting women!" Dagobert nods his head, while the bully's younger brother hangs his head in shame. From about 10 feet away, Q stares at Dagobert in fascination; he isn't familiar with the word. Dagobert taps the kreflach lightly with the flat of his sword ­ it is slightly squishy; the goblin is angry that his kreflach is being touched. The goblin tries to strike a deal with Dagobert; Dagobert twirls the end of his short sword around the kreflach and says, "This isn't a negotiation, you're relying entirely on my good will." The goblin hardens back up, won't say anything, and looks glaringly at the other goblins.
Jym informs Dagobert about the three goblins in the cavern. Dagobert asks Jym for his familiar to land on his helmet in order to intimidate the goblin; Jym does so. Black Fox contines monitoring the cave with his toad, while Q's raven, Alyn, returns to him. Q then heads towards the cave. As Stringfellow lands on Dagobert's helmet, the goblin bully flinches, while his little brother smell's of having relieved himself. Dagobert asks Jym to ask Black Fox about kreflach; the goblin bully glances down in shame, sniffs towards his brother with a look of utter disgust. After more intimidation, the younger goblin, 'Stinky', offers to tell Dagobert whatever he wants to know.
Black Fox tells Jym that the goblins in the cave have a crossbow and two short swords among them. Jym asks him about kreflach; Black Fox says, "Kreflach! What do you know about it!" Jym replies, "I don't know, but Dagobert wanted a bird on his head and wants to know about kreflach." Q informs Jym that his raven sees goblins streaming out of the mountain. Black Fox has his toad return to him. Link returns, asking, "What's going on here?" Dagobert replies, "It's not complicated but it would take a long time to explain." To the younger goblin, Dagobert says, "The winged one would be a worry to you, he would track you down relentlessly, I'm the only thing standing between it and you. I'm an honorable dwarf." 'Stinky' asks about his fate. Dagobert tells him, "When the web's dissolved, it's your choice whether you die in battle or flee like the rest of your kraven clan. It doesn't matter to us, you're no threat either way." 'Stinky' volunteers to provide any information; Dagobert asks about a leader, the goblin didn't see any.
Jym asks Black Fox if he knows how much kreflach there is, whether it is species-specific; Black Fox replies that it doesn't affect some species. Q informs Dagobert that there are more goblins coming; Dagobert asks Q about kreflach. The goblin bully is even more embarrassed, and 'Stinky' asks, "Really, could you stop saying that? I thought you weren't cruel and weren't going to harm us?" Dagobert tells him, "But you have earned my goodwill, your brother has yet to do so." Q sends his raven to monitor the approaching forces. Link asks, "What's kreflach?" Jym tells him, "You don't need any kreflach. Until I met Dagobert, I didn't know what kreflach was." Black Fox asks, "Where's the kreflach." Meanwhile, the goblin bully is trying to swallow his own tongue, and 'Stinky' has an intense expression of pity. The third goblin rouses from his catatonic state, wonders what's going on, sees the kreflach bulge and is embarrassed. Dagobert says in common tongue, "I'll get back to everyone on this, you need not ask again." He looks sympathetically towards the goblins, tells them, "I realize this is difficult for you, it need not be mentioned again."
Jym asks Black Fox about the expense of kreflach, Black Fox says it is hard to come by. 'Stinky' tells them, "Please, before you bring further shame to our family!" Dagobert says, "Your clan has not fled so far that our flying messengers cannot reach them. Must we proclaim it from the skies?" The goblins panic. Jym asks, "Where's the kreflach?" Black Fox says,"Don't waste any of it!" Dagobert tells them, "I have the sinking suspicion that if I told you, you'd never hear the end of it." Jym, looking at the goblins, comments, "Is this where the kreflach is?" The third goblin glances at the bully's bulge. Dagobert says, "A few simple questions and we need never mention it again." Black Fox says, "And try not to expose it to the air." The goblin bully offers to tell them what they want to know.
Dagobert asks about their leader's knowledge of the magic crystals, and is told that the leader consulted with seers, and the goblins were sent on this mission several days ago, with instructions to gather as much of the treasure as they could carry out. Dagobert tells the rest of his group, in common, to stop the comments on kreflach, and wonders what the others have been commenting about. Jym approaches the bully while holding a dagger and says, "Oh, it's so much more fun if you don't know, butit is a valuable and rare drug. To which Dagobert replies, "I think I saw that coming."
September 28, 2002
The dwarven consul recommends hiring help for her upcoming journey. Early in the evening, as she is eating, she listens to a nearby table with three Bothnian soldiers, on three weeks' leave, who are drinking, bragging about taking down raiders, recovering items of value and keeping some for themselves before turning in the remainder. There seems to be human-dwarf antipathy, dwarves generally remain separate, but cooperate with humans. The men are looking for companionship. Miranda asks them about the raiders they encountered, wondering about the area where she will be escorting the merchants. The largest and most talkative of the soldiers, 'Sloshy' (Bertram), says, "Should be safe now, we took care of those guys." Another soldier, less drunk ('Sober'), says that things are not too bad, should be safe, only a couple of reports of danger in the last few weeks.
'Sloshy' offers Miranda a chair, and she joins them. She learns that the raiders generally use distance weapons. About 20 raiders recently attacked a caravan. ' Sloshy' says that four days ago, about ten raiders were taken down. The third soldier at the table, and the drunkest, sits with eyes glazed. 'Sober' (Alex) says, "So, where are you from?" Miranda tells him she's from Kell, and is adventuring for a while. The third soldier says, "My cousin lives in Kell." 'Sober' says there are rumors that things are not good there, only high-level magic users can communicate across the crack. 'Sloshy' interrupts, recounts the fight ­ the raiders were ill-equipped, the soldiers set up a trap with a small camp and captured the raiders. Miranda buys the two soldiers a drink, while the third falls asleep. She asks if they heard about the events at Heaven's Glen. 'Sober' says they heard something, several units were called in for cleanup, to haul large quantities of material, doesn't know much else, understands there was the opportunity to acquire much. Miranda takes her leave. 'Sober' says, "I hope I see you again sometime." Miranda returns to her room.
The next day is foggy; she meets the two merchants, along with three other horses, two with baggage and a third carrying an armored rider. The rider has a hammer; Miranda thinks he is probably a good cleric. Tybold says they hired another 'traveler', named Tomasino. He says they are going at least as far as the army base. The fog begins lifting, and the group leaves town, heading northeast towards the mountains. Miranda talks to Tomasino, learns he's chaotic good. The next day they continue on, reaching the army base; the merchants stay at the inn, as does Miranda. The merchants eat in their room, while Miranda eats in a tavern. She learns there have been no reports of attacks in the last week, as sense of soldiers being overworked. The next day, Tomasino tells the group that his contacts say the risk of encounters is high; he's a mid-level cleric. Miranda asks Tomasino's opinion of the merchants ­ they are not used to traveling by horseback, are "foppish dolts". Mid-afternoon they pass a road marker indicating a transport door two miles away, oriented southeast/southwest. They continue to follow the river. The next morning, there is clear weather for the first time in a while. They enter a forest. Tomasino mentions a shortcut to Cass Majoris. She thanks him, but she had given her word to the merchants.
That night, Tomasino shakes Miranda awake. He tells her something in the forest is possibly surrounding the camp. They wake up the merchants and prepare. Tomasino casts a spell, says his opponents are human-sized or larger, not doing a good job of concealing themselves. The group acts as if they are preparing to leave; Tomasino whispers that there are 14 of them; the smallest concentration of them is towards the forest. After some time has passed with no attack, the merchants become annoyed, wondering why they're worrying. Tomasino thinks their opponents are human.
Two horses are hit by arrows, one is badly wounded, both whiny in pain. Miranda advises that they abandon their cargo. The merchants mount their horses; Reynaldo is thrown to the ground. More arrows are fired; Reynaldo's horse is hit, while the remaining arrows miss their intended targets. Both cargo horses collapse. Another volley of arrows is fired, and Tybold is hit in the shoulder; Tomasino urges Reynaldo to get moving. There is another volley of arrows fired, and a horse and a human are hit. The group leaves the clearing. Miranda gags Tybold, pulls out the arrow and binds his wound. She orders Tybold to head towards the forest, while she heads back to camp. She sees a burst of light from thrown lightstones, sees Reynaldo and Tomasino fighting their opponents, and yells. Three men surround Reynaldo; he is clutching his leg. Five men surround Tomasino. The attackers appear to be thugs, with various types of armor and weapons. Six of the attackers are armored. The men fighting Tomasino are intent on killing him, while those on Reynaldo are preventing him from escaping. The apparent leader is fighting Tomasino. One of the archers surrounding the two is giving instructions to the others. Miranda becomes invisible, throws damp seaweed onto the fire, and throws a bag of 30 silver coins into the air, landing near Reynaldo. Tomasino and Miranda hit the leader; Miranda becomes visible. Another man hits Tomasino. The seaweed is creating a very bad smell. Miranda is hit, as well as Tomasino. Miranda offers the attackers 50 gold pieces if they allow them to leave unmolested; one of the attackers says their weapons and armor are worth more. Miranda gives him a critical hit, while Tomasino fumbles. An archer fires at Miranda, misses her. People begin to cough from the stench of the seaweed. Miranda is hit by an arrow; the fighter she hit falls to the ground. The leader yells, "You killed Malcolm!" Miranda tells him, "Let us go!" Reynaldo echoes this sentiment.
The leader tells them, "Leave your stuff, walk out now, or we will kill you. And I will find you!" Miranda says, "I keep the sword." The leader says, "Whatever, just leave now." Leaving three horses and their equipment behind, they leave; the leader watches the group leave, with fire in his eyes. Tomasino casts a Cure on Reynaldo; Miranda takes a quaff of Healing. They meet Tybold where Miranda had sent him, and continue on; it is about dawn. Around noon, Tomasino set up camp to deal with the injured. He suggests they take the merchants to Loring. Miranda asks Tomasino about the prophesied one. Tomasino says many cultures have a 'prophesied one'; he can't help her with that. They reach Loring after 10:00 p.m. The merchants take them to a general merchandise store, MacKenzie's; it is closed, but they have a key. Reynaldo thanks them both, telling them that it is only through their actions that they are alive. Tomasino goes to church to recover, and as part of his personal quest to visit churches. He will then head for Dulrup, the last surviving town near the crack.
Erikson Crew
Jym recommends that the raven, 'Alyn', and Link go as high as they can, and report on the approaching goblins; there are dozens to a hundred goblins coming. Jym cuts out the kreflach and puts it in a pouch. Jym casts Passwall on a thin area of rocks covering the cavern entrance. Jym, Dagobert, Q and Black Fox pass through the opening, surprising the three somewhat blinded goblins inside. Dagobert and Q each kill a goblin; the remaining goblin is frozen in terror. It tries to run away, Dagobert kills it. The group sees a large mound of various-sized magic shards. Q opens his tardis and begins loading it with shards. Jym goes back outside to remain in contact with the familiars, Link.
After about five minutes, Q exclaims; one of the shards looks different; it is a 3'x9" cylinder, machined. After about ten minutes, Jym returns to the cavern; Alyn has a report for Q. Q says that hundreds of goblins are descending the mountainside, and will begin reaching their location in about five minutes. They can hear goblins yells of pain outside, goblins falling down the mountainside. Jym yells for Dagobert and Black Fox to join him outside, and for Q to wrap things up. Q sends the raven back up, while Jym grabs a cantaloupe-sized chunk of magic; the others in the cave also grab shards. Link descends, says hundreds of goblins are coming. They board the Rug; Dagobert tells the three webbed goblins, "You might want to close your eyes and grimace." Taking off, Jym, holding the shard, creates an ice storm with the Staff. A blinding blizzard extends about 50'-75' above the cavern entrance, 25' to either side of the cavern, creating an icy surface. Eight goblin bodies tumble down the mountainside; six charges are left on the staff. Many goblins remain above the ice storm. Jym creates another ice storm at a higher elevation, hitting several dozen goblins. The goblins begin spreading out further along the mountainside.
Q takes the Broom back to the ship in order to unload the Tardis, arriving there in about 15 minutes. He has the fighters unload the Tardis, informs Kirok of recent events. He flies back to the cavern, with the ship about 20-25 minutes away. Kirok feeds some magic to the ship for full power. The goblins get closer; the ice is beginning to melt. Jym creates another ice storm, this one less effective; the crystal is cracking. Meanwhile, the enlarged stones at the base of the debris covering the cavern entrance begin shrinking, creating a chain reaction; part of the wall collapses and falls toward the river. The three goblin prisoners, now freed from the webbing, scamper sideways. Q begins loading the Tardis once again. Link takes the Broom back up; Jym takes the Rug. Dagobert, Black Fox and Q load the Tardis; about 80% of the shard pile has been removed. As the huge form of an airship rounds the last bend in the canyon, Jym says, "The ship is here." Dagobert calls the ship, asks them to shine a light on the goblins; the ship can't adjust its light higher.
The next day, Miranda reports the attack to the authorities.
November 23, 2002

[missing data]

Erikson Crew
The group returns on the Rug, soldiers help unload the Tardis. Jym's Staff has five charges left. Jym briefs Kirok. The airship is moved to a location over the cavern entrance in about a minute. Lookouts report that goblins are moving through the frozen areas, and goblins are slipping. Link returns to the ship, and reports that 90-100 goblins are massed above the icy area; it will be 10-15 minutes before they can reach the cavern level. Jym returns the other three to the cavern to continue gathering magic shards, and returns to the ship, bringing back three soldiers with distance weapons; an archer takes position to cover the entrance. Jym brings three more soldiers. Kirok suggests using Detect Magic to find anything hidden. Link comes down and informs the rest that the ice is melting much faster, about five minutes before the goblins arrive. The birds return, and inform them that more goblins are coming from cracks in the mountain. Link fires arrows at the goblins as they descend.
Jym scans for magic; the magic dust in the area makes it difficult. He focuses on the cavern wall on the far end, a 3_-foot tall doorway shape only visible with the scan. Dagobert looks closely, sees an artificial entryway, a false door. He trips the latch and the door swings away from him. A small, two-foot wide tunnel, small for humans, lies beyond the door. The tunnel is an old construction, traps there are no longer functional, the ground is covered with dust, and there is no air movement. Dagobert carefully opens the door with a sword; Jym senses a magic item about 20 feet down the tunnel. Dagobert moves down the tunnel into a small circular chamber about 15-feet across. Inside is a bier, runic carvings around the edge, with a body lying on it. The body is similar to that of a goblin, but larger, and mummified. The body is wearing armor, a headpiece and a small sword. Dagobert casts Detect Magic; the sword lightly glows, the helm glows brightly, as does the doorway. Jym thinks that non-human cultures use movement of magic doors as an alarm. Dagobert casts Augury ­ taking the goblin body and items to the ship reveals woe. The sword is of goblin manufacture, fine workmanship. The warrior's helm has nicks and dings, but is better than goblin manufacture. Dagobert casts Detect Evil ­ both items are evil, as is the body, the helm has the strongest aura. Dagobert informs Jym of his findings, discusses the possibility of using a fireball to collapse the cavern. As Dagobert leaves the tunnel, he hears a scraping sound behind him. Dagobert says "Let them know there's a scraping sound behind me", turns around ­ there are two scraping noises, the body is moving off of the bier, and the door is closing. Dagobert makes it through the door before it closes; a shambling form is seen moving down the tunnel. Jym fires a fireball down the tunnel; the two of them are singed slightly as the fireball moves down the tunnel. There is a thundering sound inside the mountain, a continuous rumbling as the chamber collapses. The door clicks shut, but doesn't fit quite as nicely as before. Dagobert knocks, says "Hello".
Archers begin firing at the goblins. Dagobert and Jym communicate events to Kirok. Black Fox helps cover the entrance. Goblins are coming around both ends of the cavern. Once the Tardis is loaded, Black Fox takes it to the ship. Black Fox unloads the Tardis; Kirok joins him on the Rug. Black Fox fires the Wand of Fireballs at a group of 12 goblins; three remain on the mountainside afterwards. Black Fox drops off Kirok, then moves to the other side of the cavern and fires ­ out of ten, nine tumble down the mountainside, and the clothes of the remaining one catch on fire; the blast comes close to the ship. Link informs Black Fox that the goblins are still coming. Kirok helps three fighters attack six goblins; Kirok kills one, two fighters get hits, as does a goblin. Black Fox lands. On the other side of the cavern, two fighters hit goblins, while a goblin gets a good hit on a fighter. Black Fox informs the group of an immense number of goblins approaching; he goes to help the guards on the other side of the cavern. In Kirok's group, a goblin is killed; one of the goblins fumbles, another strikes a critical hit on a guard who then goes down. Kirok kills that goblin; the other guard hits another goblin. Black Fox casts Magic Missile at two injured goblins, they both fall. A guard gets a critical hit on a goblin, while no goblins are successful. Kirok kills a goblin; a guard hits another. Q joins the battle, killing another goblin. In Black Fox's group, a goblin is killed, while two fighters are hit. Kirok binds a fighter's wound, while a fighter fumbles. The combatants look towards the sound of rumbling within the mountain.
Dagobert says "Mummy king, nothing to worry about." Meanwhile, Black Fox's goblin misses, a guard hits. Kirok casts Cure Light Wounds on the guard he is treating to stop the flow of blood. Dagobert goes to the side of the cavern where there are more goblins, in order to help. He offers a +3 sword to a guard, who accepts it, and misses a goblin, who fumbles; another goblin hits the guard. The last goblin in Q's group is killed by a guard. Link estimates they have about five minutes before more goblins arrive. Dagobert kills a goblin; the fighter with the magic sword kills another, leaving a lone goblin, soon killed.
Black Fox, the injurd guard and two others return to the ship; the scrambling of approaching goblins can be heard. Black Fox drops off his passengers, gets three more and drops them off. As he returns to the cavern, two goblins jump onto the Rug, strike but miss him; he commands the Rug to smother them, jumps off. He deactivates the Rug after Kirok and Q line up, and they kill both goblins. Black Fox takes Jym and Q to the ship, returns for Dagobert and Kirok, and returns them to the ship. Link joins them in the hangar bay, turns to face the cavern, and casts Taunt on the goblins entering the cavern; the ship is about 40 feet away. Black Fox says, "You guys can't jump worth crap!" A group at the lip of the cavern gesticulates, three of them step back 15 feet, and run as fast as they can; they travel 12-15 feet, and plunge down the canyon. The group continues taunting the goblins non-magically, waiting 10-15 minutes as the goblins continue streaming in. Link observes that about 60 goblins are now inside the cavern. Jym suggests that he and Black Fox fire a total of 4 fireballs towards the center of the cavern. They each fire one, the two small blasts continuing to expand; the cavern fills with flame, some of the goblins are blasted out into the cavern. The two fire again, and the cavern collapses.
March 1, 2003
[missing data]
Erikson Crew
The airship returns along the river the way it came, stopping at the town of Bern. Steve, reviewing the New Britain map, suggests warping to the south, then southwest, in order to reach the gold left by Dagobert in Junker. The ship warps south into a clear area. After the second warp, the ship reaches a sandy coastline. The next morning, the ship is moved to the southern edge of the town of LaVista, a small trading community of several hundered people, less well off than nearby towns. The ship is parked along a road linking LaVista with the towns of Beachport and Point Omega; LaVista is the only town without beach access. People on the road stop to look at the ship, then move on after a few minutes.
Jym enters the magic shop, while Kirok and Dagobert head to city hall to meet with the mayor. The receptionist shows them in to a middle-aged man, Mayor Julie. The mayor asks how they can be of service; Kirok states that they are with the airship parked outside of town, and asks for general information about the area, and the men exchange news. The town is making a bid for next year's summer games, and the mayor congratulates Kirok for his performace in the previous competition. The two meet with Jym afterwards and compare notes.
Jym returns to the magic shop and asks about the availability of certain items, and discusses the magic shards with the shopkeeper, who examines the one Jym has with him, and Jym explains their usefulness. The shopkeeper is willing to cut the price of a Ring of Flying in half in exchange for the shard; Jym and the shopkeeper haggle over the price. Jym agrees to let the shopkeeper test the shard. The shopkeeper scrys with a crystal ball, a face appears in it, and the shopkeeper talks for a couple of minutes; afterwards the shopkeeper offers Jym the ring and 3,000 g.p. Jym asks about the scry ­ the man's wife's brother lives a great distance away on an island, he had trouble communicating before, but not now. The shopkeeper wraps the ring for Jym, who then leaves.
The ship heads south, continuing along the road through the night and into the morning. The town of Point Omega is reached the next morning, and the ship is parked outside of town. This is a more thriving port community, with two magic shops. Kirok waits about 15 minutes to see the mayor and his aide; the mayor seems busy. There is news of trouble on the high seas around the Union of Free Islands to the north. There is a lot of ship traffic, less land traffic to the south, where is is more inhospitable. The next day the ship moves south along the mountains, continuing on through the night. Dagobert recognizes the terrain in the morning. The mountain pass is reached midday, the group waits there until the following morning.
Kirok, Jym and Dagobert take the Rug, and reach the access point near dusk. They pay for storage of the Rug, reach the main, underground portion of Junker around 6:00 p.m., and head for the temple; several sub-chapels are in use. The hireling left there with the gold is very happy to see them, after more than two had passed, he was wondering what had happened. They head to the storeroom containing the ingots, and spend the night there. Jym and Kirok remain with the precious metals in the morning, while Dagobert files a report including a summary of the war and the dwarf from the future. He makes arrangements to move the ingots, hiring three carts with horses and 15 laborers for 500 g.p., to be ready in two days.
The next day, Dagobert interviews ten prospective dwarf employees about their feelings towards humans, magic, flying ­ Kirok monitors them with the Helm of Telepathy. Among the five fighters, the general feeling is that they are seeking more than they can accomplish here; two of them are not thrilled about working with elves. The remaining five civilians have no problem working with humans, but one of them has antipathy towards elves, and is not hired. None of the dwarves have been on the surface. The next day, Dagobert donates twice the normal lodging costs to the temple for storage of the ingots. The wagons are loaded and taken to the surface; the group travels through the pass and reaches the airship after four days with no incidents.
June 14, 2003
Miranda, in Cass Majoris, reports on the events at Heaven's Glen. She tells of the symptoms of possession by the gummy gems, the ship taking off and crashing. Captain Crichton's notes state that he had a drow body, but despite the best attempts to preserve it, the body decayed. The drow was carrying silver liquid in a vial and an inscribed ring; a technician is given these items and three gummy gems to analyze. It is afternoon by the time the debriefing is over, and Miranda has lunch. She buys candlesticks. There are three LG churches in town, Miranda goes to the Celtic church, tells an elderly cleric there, who once had been an adventurer, of the dead cleric Bernard at Heaven's Glen. Miranda shows him daggers she acquired, and the cleric studies them awhile. The cleric exclaims that similar artwork and style is often used on tattoos, marking on weapons. The style is from western New Britain, from a small, organized, warrior culture that doesn't seem to exist anymore. Only a fragment of the name of the culture, `Fel', can be seen. The daggers are not evil. By 3:00 p.m. she goes to another chapel to meditate. Miranda investigates residences on the outskirts of town, examines a smaller, poorly maintained house. Moving to a nearby, larger house, she inquires of the plump merchant living there of the other house. He rents it out to his brother-in-law, charging 15 g.p. each month. He is not unagreeable to dealing with her, and will show her the house tomorrow. He is willing to rent it to her at the same price, but will not sell the house. He gives her the names of several representatives. In the evening, Miranda travels to the dockyard ­ it is busy, with dozens of vessels of varying size.

Erikson Crew
The ingots (492 gold, 321 silver and 37 platinum) are loaded into the ship, and the carts are returned to the dwarves. At 2:00 p.m. the ship departs, heading northeast. Black Fox and Link fly the Rug to the south of the ship and Dagobert to the north, alternating each day, in order to increase the area mapped during the day. Kirok monitors the status of the other airships ­ Bree and Lighthelm are active on the continent, the status of the other airships is unchanged. The following day is uneventful; Dagobert spots a river while mapping. On the third day of travel, the river is encountered, flowing in a northeast/southwest direction, bending to the north. While monitoring communications in the early afternoon, Steve alerts Kirok and Jym that the airship Gallea is no longer blocked and is active on the continent; the Bree first officer is asking for communication from anyone, with the message repeating every 15 minutes. Steve opens a channel; Jym takes the center seat while Kirok goes to the communication console. The Bree's first officer asks the Erikson's position; Kirok gives their general location. They are informed that he Bree is at the southeast edge of the continent, the Excalibur has disappeared and there has been no success in attempts to contact the crewmembers. The first officer believes the Excalibur may have made it to the independent island off the southeast coast, which is surrounded by smaller islands containing ancient ruins from an earlier civilization; there have been problems in attempts to inhabit those islands. The Bree will attempt to jump to the main island in the next day or two. They will attempt to communicate before the jump and afterwards at least once a day. They have been in contact with King Randolff.
The next day is overcast. In the late afternoon the Bree sends a communication; the first officer, looking stern, reports that the ship is preparing for the jump, and will attempt to communicate tomorrow if possible. Several minutes later, the ship's status shows the Bree in warp with communication impossible. The following morning is stormy with lightning and thunder, and the Ancillary Flying Devices (AFDs) are kept inside. Shortly after dusk, Jym is experimenting with magic shards while Kirok is monitoring airship status ­ the Bree changes from in warp to active. Within moments there is a flickering communication of the ship shaking and elvish cursing. The Bree's commander informs anyone who hears the communication that the atmosphere surrounding the island is causing the ship to descend; they are going to attempt an emergency warp. Their energy reserves are being drained at a rapid rate; they will attempt communication as soon as possible. The Bree's status changes to flickering in warp.
By next morning, the storm has abated to a drizzle; the AFDs are sent out. Towards evening, Dagobert sees a thick plume of oily smoke to the north, and heads towards it. Forty-five minutes later he spots the remains of an encampment ­ several wagons, smashed, with dead horses and at least 15 human bodies; belongings are strewn everywhere. About 50 yards away Dagobert spots an injured female who had dragged herself behind rocks. One horse remains alive, and raises its head. The overcast sky begins to clear. Dagobert flies to the woman, whose clothes are bloodstained; she has a slash along the right side of her body, and there are spots of blood on the ground. Dagobert casts Detect Evil over the camp and surrounding area, detecting nothing. Dagobert tries speaking to the woman, but she doesn't respond. Landing near her, he casts Cure Light Wounds; she awakens, frightened, backing away from Dagobert, shrieking, surprised at her recovery; he shows her his holy symbol. She inquires about Dagobert, who orders the Broom with the spear attached to it to turn around. The woman says, "If you are to be credited with this, you are to be thanked, little man." Dagobert raises his eyebrows and says, "It's my job, ma'am" and wiggles his holy symbol. The woman looks at the campsite and feels her side she thanks Dagobert once again, and asks if there were any other survivors. Dagobert informs her that he's seen 15 bodies; the woman cries, mutters a prayer in common tongue, and wails, "Even the children?" The woman looks for survivors, staggering; Dagobert follows with the Broom. She approaches the least damaged wagon, on its side, with ransacked belongings, broken furniture. Dagobert tosses a dagger to the woman, tells her to stay with the Broom. He inspects the wagon's contents, senses movement, a small face which darts back. Dagobert has the woman call the children's names. Kethan responds; the woman says they're safe, and the child runs out, crying. She asks Kethan, a five-year-old, about the other children; he says he ran when the bad men started hitting the adults. The woman says, "This is Kethan, he is my nephew. He and his parents were traveling with us." She tells Dagobert that the attack occurred in the morning before the camp was taken down. Dagobert checks on the horse, Silas ­ it was stabbed in its side; he gives the horse a quaff of Healing. The condition of the horse improves, is more aware. The child calms somewhat. The woman says it looks like the bad men were attempting to get at the material in Kethan's wagon; the leader of the group said they had to leave immediately, and they didn't look through the wagon. Her group, travelers and farmers, had stayed in Mensendor; there were 20 adults and 5 children. Ten to fifteen horsemen attacked, she saw her husband killed; it was still somewhat dark, going to hide was the last thing she remembered. Dagobert gives the Silas another quaff of Healing; the horse keeps trying to lick Dagobert. It gets back on its feet, quivering, and Dagobert casts Cure Light Wounds on it. Searching the other wagons, Dagobert finds the body of a boy; the woman feeds the horse. Dagobert asks the woman about the group she was in, if there was anyone who seemed odd; the group consisted of 16 adults and 5 children; the farmers were taking cargo to Prestana to get a better price, merchants joined them in Mensendor for protection. She thought one of the merchants' group was a bodyguard. The merchants had shared stories with the farmers and were not standoffish. The farmers had purchased the horses. The group had traveled directly overland to save time. The attack seemed to come from all sides, and the attackers seemed to have left to the east. Four of the merchants are not found among the bodies.

edition current to: December 14, 2004

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