Winter has set in at Relkath’s Foot, and it shows on the faces of the inhabitants. Cloaks are drawn tighter, scarves cover faces up to the eyes, and gloves are on, all to ward off the frigid winds that blow in from Thay to the east. The guards and patrols are even more vigilant, because they know that some creatures will become more brazen and desperate in their search for food as the winter months drag on.
The heightened state of vigilance seems to have overcome Nikola, as the patrol he set out with returned without him – it would seem that my ranger brother was either restless or on to something, because he insisted on staying out. The rest of the party heads back to Nikola’s last known camp, aided by the patrol members. We fan out and search, and eventually track him to a menhir ring. I cast analyze portal and determine that the portal has several properties: two-way, not creature-only, not password activated but instead elf-activated, and has two destinations. The most unusual property is detected by Callum when he employs his detect evil and discovers that the portal itself detects evil!
Our efforts to activate the portal are for naught, and scrying fails as well. We return to Relkath’s Foot and seek counsel from my father, who in turn consults with the local portal magic scholar. The scholar returns with us to the menhir ring to see if he can help us activate it. Things seem to be going well when the portal scholar takes an arrow in the neck and one of the ½ elf rangers is killed! The now-familiar voice of T’see Larak is heard to ask “Where is my brother?” – is he talking about me [Garrity is ½ drow] or just messing with us? In any event, the wounded scholar activates the portal and we jump through. The surviving ½ elf ranger stays behind to care for the scholar.
We land near a massive tower in Anauroch, across the Sea of Fallen Stars and well northwest of the Yuirwood. There is no visible entrance, so we head to the top of the tower via spells, potions, and the always-useful ebon fly. The top of the tower is the lair of a most unusual creature – so unusual, we can’t identify it or even attach a name to it – the thing has a head that resembles an octopus, a large beak, and several tentacles. Oh, and it seems to be able to summon lightning from the clouds above. We manage to defeat it, along with the three wights who were prowling around the corpse of a black dragon that the tower guardian was picking over. We descend into the tower and work our way down.
Along the way our cleric and paladin get a chance to unleash their holy wrath on some undead who cross our path. Real wrath of the gods stuff, if you know what I mean. We eventually re-acquire Nikola (via scrying, I believe) and find that he has left the building. Fortunately, he is not far from the tower, and we track him to a smallish keep or outpost that is in disrepair. Unfortunately, Nikola is the captive of two phaerimm, who appear to be negotiating with some vampires and their undead minions – not good!
With my brother in sight, we spring into action. The undead are tough, but we are tougher! Our blades and spells are able to vanquish them after a pitched battle. The phaerimm prove to be a bit more of a challenge, though. My disintegrate spell succeeds in vaporizing one of the phaerimm, but the other one teleports away with Nikola. In hindsight, we should have tried to grab Nikola during the melee, but we were so caught up in the action that we didn’t even think about that. Our redemption comes when we succeed in our scrying attempt, and we teleport into a tunnel the phaerimm is attempting to escape through. The lone phaerimm decides that discretion is the better part of valor, and flees once again – this time without Nikola.
So we are once again a whole party, although the intrigue that seems to follow us around is even murkier and unsettling than ever. Hopefully Nikola has learned his lesson that heading off on his own, even in the relative safety of the Yuirwood, will never EVER be a good idea.
On the lighter side of gaming, I really need to get myself a can of Unicorn Meat. When I attempted to read the description on the back of the can out loud, I failed. It was just too goddamned funny! Look, I love my pets and animals in general, and believe I will one day see them again across The Rainbow Bridge – but when I was reading about these poor unicorns and the DOUBLE Rainbow Bridge, I lost it. My stomach hurt from laughing, and I am always glad to provide some wheezing, laughing comic relief at our sessions. Best unintentional comedic line came from Dino who declared “I am going to eat the fuck out of that pizza!” – the poor pizza never stood a chance! I love my friends, and I know they love me. At least they treat me like the younger, dim-witted brother they are thankful they never had.