caveIn the morning they meet with Marcus who explains about the distances involved and the rigors of their destination. He also informs them that they are meeting another guide in the Deep Dark who will take them the rest of the way to the Spiral Prison of Manzessine. The other guide’s fee will have to be negotiated once they meet.

Taj spends the evening scribing scrolls in preparation for the delve. She scribes two each of fireball and lightning bolt and one of invisibility sphere.

While the xixchil is hard at work crafting scrolls a messenger from Mordenkainen comes to offices to deliver a pair of scrolls to the party.  Mordenkainen’s Disjunction and Mord’s Luculution. He then disappears as though using a teleport. Taj immediately yells out “Grimm! We need better teleport protection on this place, NOW!”

Tavist and Kaolin head back to Sigil and hit the Market Ward securing a dorje of Intellect Fortress (15 ch) and two power stones with conceal thoughts and detect psioncs. Tavist also barters his old elven chain, which no longer fits now that his wings have sprouted,  for 5 sets of darkvision goggles. Then they head over to Emetriels Fine Flights where Kaolin finds arrows of aberration slaying. While she dickers with Emetriel Tavist stops by the PlanewalkersGuild to ask some questions.

Upon their arrival back in the City of Greyhawk  Taj drools over the dorje. She then takes Kaolin’s spell storing arrows and casts lightning bolts into them.

Tavist heads to  the Green Dragon after stopping by the offices. He ends up sitting around drinking with former Keoland military hearing news from the front about Empire of Iuz.

Once finished with the prep work Taj grabs Kaolin and they head to the Green Dragon to meet Tavist. As they confer and strategize Tavist reminds them that they still have several scrolls they looted from Vecna’s Citadel Cavitus, including a wish. They all agree that no one in the party has enough skill with spellcraft to utilize the scrolls.

After a few more rounds they decide to get some sleep for possible departure the next day.

{Taj Pach’s Dream – The Xixchil teacher finds herself in a rough hewn cavern, mists swirling ankle deep around her legs. Before her are a series of colored columns: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. As she approaches the closest column, the red one, she sees athe face of smiling, red cheeked, white haired human of wizardly mein appear on its side. The face opens it’s eyes and asks her, “What drconic creator deity emerged from the First Void in the Age before Ages and shed blood in the Shadow Void to inspire all creation?” Summoning up her memories of draconic arcana she confidently answers “Io, the Ninefold Dragon.”

“You May Pass,” says the face and fades from sight. Just ahead it reforms on the next closest column, the orange one.

“Potent magical workigns such as the wish spell or the appearance of a god’s avatar sometimes leave behind a specific magical phenomenon that is detectable only by arcane means, What form do such symbols take?”  Taking a bit longer to answer this time Taj answers, ” Ummm… Shadow helices?”

“You may Pass”

Once again the face fades from view only to appear on the yellow column. Smiling broadly it asks another question of obscure arcana.

“What five planar races are signatories of the Draeden Compact governing the transmission of Pre-Great Wheel arcane secrets?”

The next few moments drag on and seem never to end. Finally she stares up at the face with her compound eyes and says, ” I don’t know.” At that moment she awakes.}

The next morning after breakfast Kaolin, Taj Pach, Kattar, and Tavist meet up with Marcus. Kaolin then calls upon the power of Celestian and teleports them to the edge of the Vesve Forest. Having been warned by Marcus that  this area is the border between the Empire of Iuz and the stout yeomanry and elves of Highfolk Kaolin casts sanctuary and Taj manifests detect psionics as they enter the forest.

A short way into the forest both Taj Pach and Tavist detect several man sized, magic radiating, figures in hte trees above.  Since Marcus does not even appear to notice them no actions are taken, although the xixchil and the dragon disciple remain vigilant.

Entering a cave mouth that is conealed by the roots of the massive bronzewood tree above it, Tavist and Kaolin don their darkvision goggles. Marcus leads them through twisting tunnels and tight switchbacks until they reach an underground cliff, fallling far past their vision’s range. As Marcus takes out his grappling hook and rope the others burst into laughter. “Kaolin scoops him up under the arms and flies down, Tavist and Taj behind her. “God of Travel, remember? Silly.” she says in his ear as they descend about 300 feet to land on irregular rock.

Explainging that the scarcity of resources makes the underdark flora and fauna particularly deadly. Pointing to what seems to be a small pool of water at the cavern’s edge he explains that that is “fool’s water.” If is alive and deadly acid. Tavist pulls out a bottle of wine and the party pass it around till empty. He then uses mage hand to fill it with the fools water, using prestidigitation to clean off any traces from the outside of the bottle. Corking it he stashes it away as possibly useful.

More tight, winding passages and steep inclines await them ahead. At one point the xixchil manages to get caught in a switchback unable to move forward or back. Finally, in a huff, she casts ectoplasmic form and proceeds. Unfortunately Kattar gets caught right behind her. Still ectoplasmic Taj goes back to him and dimension doors them out.

Continuing downwards they eventually reach a resonably straight corridoor in the stone. It proceeds for about a mile before taking a sharp left. As they approach the bend they hearthe sound of blos and a sharp cry of pain followed by a steely soundig female voice.

Marcus inches ahead, careful not make any noise, and peeks around the corner. He pulls his head back quickly and returns. Taj connects them all with correspond.

Mrcus turns and looks grimly at the others his voice echoing one word in their heads: “Drow”

Image courtesy of SamuraiCatJB, used under its Creative Commons license