The Journals of Old Greyhawk and the Founding of NewHawk City
- Chapter Eleven

Adventure Date: January 5, 2007
Last Updated: January 9, 2009

Day 113

Feeling frustration and anger at the theft of the third piece of the Rod of Seven Parts, the heroes reentered the city of Greyhawk to plan their next move. They gathered in a tavern and sat down at a table in the corner to get some privacy.

"We need to get that third piece back from those thieves!" Agrona declared.

"Did you see the monsters they had ripped through to get the piece? We may be a little over our heads. It didnít even look like they had broken a sweat," Ebreck cautioned.

Nuria voiced her opinion. "We need to prepare ourselves well and get as much information as possible before we face them, or we will fail and die. If they are minions of my mother, then they will not be easy to overcome."

"Thanks for keeping up the morale, Nuria! At least we have you on our side, so we have some inside information. Anyway, while weíre planning, letís go through some of the loot! I call the shiny gems!" quipped Pennyweight.

"We do need the resources, so letís see what weíve got," said Xanaphia.

Pennyweight and Nuria pulled out the gems from the pouch that had held them, and peered at them through a magnifying glass.

"Theyíre a good cut, and their colour is nice, but they arenít that clear," Pennyweight said with an air of authority.

"Werenít there more gems before?" asked HHH. "I seem to recall there being 11 gems in that cave, and weíre looking at just ten".

"Are you sure?" Agrona responded.

"I may not be the sharpest blade in the sheath, but I do know how to count to 11!" HHH sarcastically replied. "You wouldnít happen to have some sticky fingers, would you Pennyweight?"

In a calm voice, Ebreck stated, "Now, now. Iím sure the good halfling hasnít resorted to stealing from his own companions (yet)."

"Well, no matter," voiced Pennyweight. "We should get some good market value out of them. Iíll take them to my fence ... errr ... personal tradesperson and bring back some gold. Be back in a minute!" Before anyone could object, he slid the gems into his pouch and rushed off.

"Well, thatís one less problem to deal with. What should we do with the rest of the treasure we found?" Xanaphia asked.

The party debated the merits of each item, and each member received items that best suited their abilities.

"Take these, Xanaphia. Theyíll help protect you when you shape change. Make sure to remember that, when you change into something big and fierce, we are not snacks!" HHH joked as he handed her his ring of protection and Ebreck handed her his ring of featherfall. "I hope you get better use out of this than I did. Stupid exploding trap door."

"Well, if weíre giving each other little presents, take these Agrona. Iíve scented them with leaves of mint," Xanaphia said as she handed him her boots of winterlands.

"You guys need this more than I do," HHH stated as he handed Ebreck 3 cure light wounds potions and 2 healing salves to Pennyweight.

"What do we do with these bracers?" Xanaphia asked.

"Well, nobody really needs them, so letís trade them in" replied Nuria.

"While weíre at it, letís stock up on equipment we need. Like you said, Nuria, when we face Lady Valeraís minions, we had best be ready," said HHH.

Just as the party was to leave, Pennyweight returned with the gold he received for the gems. "Mission accomplished. Itís not much, but Iím sure it will help us in our campaign!" The party left the table, paying their meager bill, and went off to purchase new equipment.

"Now before we go a little crazy with the shopping, letís divvy up the gold evenly to be fair," Ebreck pronounced. The party split the gold evenly, with each member receiving 1273 pieces, and proceeded to shop.

"What?!?! Only a 1000 pieces of gold for these MAGICAL and very useful bracers?!?!?! Look at their quality! Youíve got to be crazy!" These were the sounds of bartering as Nuria tried to sell the magical bracers. "Forget it. Iíll wear them myself. At least I realize their true quality."

A couple of stalls down, Pennyweight muttered to himself, "Iím glad sheís not negotiating this deal." In a louder tone, he continued. "Now, where were we, good merchant? Ah yes, my companions and I would like to enchant our armor, for we face a dreadful foe for the sake of all the people of this fair city...not just this city, but for all the people in the realm! Since our resources arenít limitless, we need your assistance to guarantee our success."

"Uh-huh...Well, you only look semi-honest to me, but your stories are very amusing, and you have the cutest little cheeks." As she was saying this, the merchant reached over and pinched Pennyweightís cheeks (take that as you see fit). "Iíll cut you a little slack in the cost, okay?"

"Deal. And if you want to pinch my cheeks again, send out word for Pennyweight, and Iíll come quickly (again, take that as you see fit)."

Xanaphia, Pennyweight, and Agrona handed over their Darkwood heavy shield, full plate mail, and buckler to be reinforced with magic. "Come back in a day, and it will be all ready for you."

Ebreck searched for a good blacksmith to create a magical, mithril chain shirt for himself. To help finance the deal, he traded in his magical chain shirt. "Itíll take 4 days, but you wonít complain when you see the quality of my work!" boasted the blacksmith.

"I look forward to seeing the final product," replied Ebreck.

After her previous attempt at haggling, Nuria decided to stick to what she knows best (ie: magic) and just purchased what she needed. For herself, she bought a magical Cloak of Protection and a headband to help her to focus and concentrate. "I think Iíll need some personal protection as well," she thought to herself. With that, she also bought a cold iron morningstar of the highest workmanship. "Hmm...Not bad. I should be able to pound some sense into those minions of my sweet, sweet mother."

HHH had been wandering around to find some equipment for Henrietta. Finally, he found an armorer who specialized in mounts.

"Iíd like you to make a military saddle and breast plate barding for my mount," stated HHH to the armorer.

"No problem," he replied with a sneer. "Just one thing: I need your horse to measure, or would you rather have me guess?"

HHH exploded. "A horse?!?! What are you, stupid? Does it look like I ride a horse?"

Abashed, the armorer replied, "Well, what do you ride then?"

With a glint in his eye, HHH said, "Iíll show you." With a snap of his fingers, Henrietta appeared beside the armorer, and started breathing down his neck. A little bit of drool slid down his neck. "Do you think you could do your measurements after you change your pants?" The armorer nodded his head slowly, never taking his eyes off of Henrietta.

"Iíll be back in a minute. Try to play nice, Henrietta." With a quick pat to her muzzle, and a grin to the armorer, HHH went off to purchase a masterwork, cold iron scimitar for himself.

The heroes regrouped and considered their next step. Xanaphia spoke up in the middle of the discussion, "We need information. ĎKnowledge is power. Ignorance is death.í as the old saying goes. Letís split up and see what we can find out about Lady Valera and her minions."

Pennyweight went out in search of Talin and found him in a well-to-do inn.

"I need your help. Do you know anything about Lady Valera and a group of 6 minions working for her? I also need to find a trainer if I ever want to be a Shadowdancer. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated."

"Well, information doesnít come cheap, my friend," Talin responded. "My agents could ferret out the information you need about Lady Valera, but theyíll need some money to Ďgrease the wheelsí to get it. I think 25 pieces of gold should do the trick."

Sullenly, Pennyweight handed over the gold, counting it twice to make sure he got the right amount.

"Good, good. I should have the information for you in a day. Iíll contact you when I have it." Talin closed his eyes briefly, as if in deep thought. "Now, as to your other problem of finding a trainer, the only person I know who is qualified to teach you is your old friend, Gregory. Iíll leave it to his discretion as to when he feels youíre ready to begin your training. If there is nothing else, I would like to enjoy my meal. Iíll be seeing you shortly."

Pennyweight, a little conflicted, left Talin to do some thinking of his own.

Meanwhile, Agrona went to his order of clerics to find the precise location of the third piece of the rod. After turning over a large portion of his treasure to the church coffers, he approached Benedict the Elder to ask for his help. "What you ask may be difficult to do. The rod may be warded from detection, and Lady Valera likes to maintain her privacy. But, we will do what we can," Benedict promised. "Come back later this evening, and I will give you whatever information we collect from our divinations."

Nuria went to the Magesí Tower to talk to Belgarath about Lady Valera and her recent activities. "My mother must be stopped. I do not know if she retrieved the piece of the rod to spite me or if she has some twisted, greater plan, but it doesnít matter. She must be stopped."

Belgarath peered at Nuria with eyes half-closed. "Do not be consumed by your anger. It will lead you to the same path your mother followed. Now come with me."

Belgarath led Nuria to his inner sanctum and placed his hands on his staff. Closing his eyes, Belgarath tightened his grip on his staff and started to chant slowly. A look of pain flashed across his face as Nuria watched him perform his magic. In a strangled voice, Belgarath began to speak. "A feeling of great power is coming from Torlorn, your motherís old demesne. I believe the third piece of the rod went there."

Releasing his grip on his staff, Belgarath slumped over in exhaustion. "The area is well warded with magical defenses against scrying. Unfortunately, that is all the information I could get for you for now. I will try to gather more. If I succeed, I will contact you."

"On a more pleasant note, I have some good news for you and your companions. In 1 month, the city of Greyhawk will be holding a huge celebration, and you and your friends will be the guests of honour. So, you need to return here in that time after you go to Torlorn to seek the third piece of the rod. Torlorn is about 9 or 10 days by horseback from here, so plan accordingly."

"Thank you for your help," Nuria replied. "We will be back with the third piece in time for the celebration."

Later that evening, Agrona returned to talk to Benedict. "Weíve managed to locate the third piece of the rod, but due to the magical barriers in place, we canít give you its precise location. The third piece is in the town of Torlorn where Lady Valera makes her lair. We also found something else out that relates to your quest: The fourth piece of the rod is approaching the city of Greyhawk. We donít know how far it is or the direction it is coming from, but all divinations indicate it is being brought to the city. What this means, we do not know. It is another puzzle to be solved at a later time."

Agrona, in a thoughtful voice, said, "This confirms what we know. We werenít certain if that band of thieves had worked for Lady Valera, but this information seems to indicate that they do. Now we can plan how to retrieve the third piece."

HHH had been visiting the paladin enclave to observe the new recruits. Since the whereabouts of his fellow paladins was unknown, and their ranks had been severely thinned, recruitment was of the utmost importance.

"How are we going to train these people," HHH thought to himself. "With only three senior paladins remaining, it will be a very difficult task to get them all prepared for the tasks that await them. I hope that the others are safe, but I just donít know."

Meanwhile, Ebreck had gone to talk to Thork Orkcrusher at his watering hole. Sitting and drinking ale, bits of conversation floated by. "... Rod of Seven Parts ... demons being unleashed ... the dead rising to attack ..."

"What is with all this noise around us? I just wanted some down time and then these people talking with their outside voices! Sheesh! Man, I wish I could just drown them out!" With that, Ebreck stuck his fingers in his ears.

Day 114

The heroes gathered to discuss all that they had discovered. Nuria sketched out the layout of her motherís tower in Torlorn for the others to look at. "This will help us with our planning, though weíll need to get closer to get a good idea of what weíre facing, in case my mother redecorated the place. Hereís a little background on Torlorn. It is a little village northwest of Littleberg near Vesve Forest. It is an oppressed town, where the people plod along helplessly, never knowing when they will become 'entertainment' for Lady Valera. Torlorn isnít the only area affected by my motherís evil. Highfolk is an area nearby that some elves call home. She considers Highfolk her personal hunting ground, and the elves her prey. She stalks them, and rounds them up so they can be held and tortured for her amusement. The elves cannot or will not leave the area; they are trapped and slowly being driven to extinction."

During the discussion to plan out the best strategy to take the tower (which included a plan to make a giant wooden rabbit to sneak into the tower, which was quickly shot down), Xanaphia felt her anger rising. "Why did we help Elizar? We are talking about ridding the world of one evil, and yet my friends died and had their hearts ripped out, and what did we get out of it? A piece of an item we may or may not need, and that we may or may not complete! Where is the justice in that? I need answers!" With that, Xanaphia got up and stormed out of the inn.

"Whereís she going?" asked Agrona.

"Wherever sheís going, she looked really upset. Iíll follow to make sure sheís okay," said Pennyweight. He too got up and left the inn.

Though upset, Xanaphia knew where she was going: the Magesí Tower. With a thought, she changed into a hawk and sped off to get some answers.

"Xana, where are you? Where did she go? Maybe, she went down this alleyway. Well, it wonít hurt to look and maybe Iíll stop talking to myself," mused Pennyweight. As he proceeded down the alley, an arrow shot out, passed over his shoulder, and embedded itself in the wall in front of him. Seeing a note attached, he quickly untied and read it: ĎMeet me at the next corner in an hour. Taliní

"He wonít sneak up on me again. Iíll scout out the area and Ďreturní his arrow back to him!" With that, Pennyweight started skulking around for a good place to hide. Exactly an hour later, Talin showed up. Taking careful aim, Pennyweight was about to launch the arrow, when Talin looked up at him and winked. In frustration, Pennyweight rushed over to the corner to join Talin.

"You know you could just send flowers instead of arrows. It makes me feel slightly less wanted when I could be killed by the messages that are sent to me," Pennyweight griped.

"You ran over, didnít you?" Talinís grin fell from his face. "This news couldnít wait for the usual pleasantries. First, that band of cut-throats working for Lady Valera has been reported in Torlorn, but the Lady herself hasnít been seen there for quite some time. Second, if you face these minions, watch out for Kimmurel. He is the human in plate armor. It is believed that he is a blackguard. He is well known for his ferocity in combat and his willingness to do anything to win. Tell your companions to be prepared for an onslaught when you face these foes."

"Oh great. This should be fun," groaned Pennyweight.

Meanwhile, Xanaphia had reached the Magesí Tower and was waiting to meet Belgarath. She sat calmly, trying to focus herself and maintain an image of coolness. As Belgarath approached, her words came out sharp as a knife. "Why allow the druids to die? Why did Elizar need the heart of the Head of our Order? Is Elizar really that important that your own allies had to be sacrificed for him?"

"I have no words to comfort you, just my regrets that you and your order had to suffer so much. The massacre at Druids Gate was unforeseen and happened so quickly that it was over before we knew it was happening. If we had known, please believe me when I say that we would have been there to help defend the druids. As to why the druids died, the assassins were searching for a potent magical ingredient necessary for Elizarís rejuvenation. Elizar had been a demi-lich, an evil, incorporeal spirit who still possessed great power, but no physical body. The druidís heart transformed Elizar from his demi-lich state to that of a full lich, giving him a physical body and revitalizing his powers."

"Why not hunt him down now and destroy him?" hissed Xana.

"Elizar is far beyond your power now and he would overwhelm you before you had a chance to harm him. Also, Elizar has an important role to play, but what it is, we are not certain. What we do know is that there is no known relationship between Lady Valera and Elizar, and that the undead despise Orcus. We donít know if Lady Valera worships Orcus, so we will have to wait and see. In the future, you may have an opportunity to exact a measure of revenge on Elizar. For now, I advise patience and focus on the problem on hand."

Xanaphia, feeling no measure of peace, turned and left to rejoin her companions.

Day 115

Itís a beautiful day and the birds are singing.

Day 116

Itís a beautiful day and the sheep are bleating.

Day 117

In the morning, last minute preparations were completed before the party set out to Torlorn. HHH bought 2 invisibility potions, and Nuria procured a magnifying glass. The party left the city of Greyhawk to retrieve the third piece of the rod in Torlorn. The miles passed quickly beneath their hooves and their travels were uneventful.

Day 118

As the party continued there journey, Ebreck casually glanced at the sky above. It was very fortunate that he had done so, for he noticed a very large humanoid shape with angelic wings swooping down towards them. Crying out a warning, the companions prepared themselves for battle. Xanaphia called down holy fire onto their enemy as Agrona called down a blast of holy energy to smite their foe. Undaunted, the enemy continued to approach, but suddenly, 4 other mirror images appeared to confound the party. Quickly saying mystical words, Nuria cast a fireball at their foe, catching 2 of the images. One squawked in pain as the other vanished. The others cast bolts and arrows to slow the enemyís approach. Unfortunately, Ebreck, in his haste, allowed his bowstring to slip and he struck Xanaphia with an arrow. Calling down several afflictions on his head (all of them very painful), Xanaphia pulled the arrow out of her posterior.

As the battle raged, more images vanished. Enraged, the enemy snarled and disappeared, only to reappear directly behind Agrona! Nuria shouted out a quick word of power, but her magic missiles couldnít overcome the foeís natural resistance to magic. Suddenly, Agrona and Nuria were struck by the enemyís evil aura which sapped them of their fortitude. HHH, seeing their pain, quickly mounted Henrietta and charged into the fray. The close quarters combat continued, but the heroes noticed that their weapons had no effect on their enemy! To bolster their weapons, Agrona summoned a sphere of power which imbued all of his alliesí weapons with holy power. Suddenly, their weapons proved effective against their foe. Shouting his deityís name, HHH charged the foe again, but inadvertently hit himself in the chest with the butt of his lance, winding himself very badly. Infuriated, the enemy focused his attacks solely on Agrona. With claws slashing at his throat, Agrona went on the defensive, but the enemyís attacks still reached him. His companions continued to assault the foe, who continued to focus on Agrona. Finally, Agrona was overcome by his wounds and was knocked unconscious.

Xanaphia screamed out, "No one else dies." With no regard for her own safety, Xanaphia pulled out her wand of curing to heal Agrona. As he regained consciousness, she helped guide him away from combat. As he escaped, the enemy took a final swing at him, but missed (barely). With spells and weapons striking the enemy, it was finally defeated when Ebreck struck it between the eyes with his arrow.

"Well, that was fun. What the heck was it?" asked Pennyweight.

Agrona, healing himself and the others, replied, "A vrock. An outsider from the planes of the Abyss and a vile opponent. We were fortunate that there had not been two."

With that, the heroes continued their journey towards Torlorn.

Day 119

Itís a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day in the neighbourhood ...

Day 120

After taking down their camp, the heroes were traveling swiftly to Torlorn. Suddenly, having a bad premonition, HHH looked up to the sky.

"Ah crap." He was staring at a very large dragon soaring towards them.

Nuria called to the party, "We are no match for this dragon. Quickly, gather around me under this tree!" When everyone joined up, Nuria cast a sphere of invisibility around the party to hide from the dragon. They watched as the dragon got closer and circled the area, as if searching for something.

"Look at the size of that thing," whispered Pennyweight.

"I wonder if this is the same dragon that was reported to be in the mountain area near Greyhawk," Ebreck said in a low voice.

As they sat and waited, the dragon, black in colour, continued to circle, but finally gave up and left. The party heaved a sigh of relief and carried on.

Day 121 to Day 124

Nothing to see here except nymphs frolicking in a pond ... Nothing to see ...

Day 125

The party was taking a short break at midday. "Weíre almost there," Nuria exclaimed. "At most, another day of traveling and we should see Torlorn."

"Thank goodness," sighed Xanaphia, "it hasnít been too eventful."

"Speak for yourself," retorted Ebreck. "I was hoping to bang a couple more heads together."

Pointing at the sky, Pennyweight exclaimed, "Watch what you wish for! Our old friend the black dragon is back! Get to cover!"

"Ah crap." Ebreck groaned.

The party quickly dismounted and prepared themselves. Nuria cast a haste spell to help the party, while Agrona cast his sphere of energy to make all their weapons holy. Ebreck, thinking quickly, cast a spell to increase his and Rhodesiaís resistance to acid. Xanaphia cast a spell to make herself more agile. Unfortunately, before they could scatter, the dragon was upon them. Inhaling deeply, the dragon strafed the area with its acidic breath, scoring Henrietta, HHH, Xanaphia, Nuria, and Agrona.

Spreading themselves out, the heroes pelted the dragon with spells and weapons. Ebreck, to assist Agrona, cast a spell on him to protect him from the dragonís acid breath. Xanaphia, though loathe to do it, summoned a great eagle to help combat the dragon in the air. The dragon circled the area, watching the party and then left, heading towards Torlorn.

Healing their wounds, the party maintained a careful watch as they continued their trek.

Day 126

The morning passed uneventfully. In the early afternoon, the party sighted the town of Torlorn. Lady Valeraís tower dominated the landscape, surrounded by small, decrepit barns. Well outside the townís limits, the party paused to discuss tactics.

Nuria started, "Here is the layout of the tower, level by level."

"What is the floor made of under the tower?" HHH inquired.

"Why?" replied Nuria.

"Well, I got a plan that they would never expect. Henrietta can burrow under the tower and we can come up through the dungeon. We can catch them by surprise, which may be the edge we need to win," HHH explained.

"Not a bad idea," stated Pennyweight. "Letís get a little closer to get a better understanding of the area. We may be able to use one of the barns as a starting point, and it would hide the entrance to the tunnel."

As the party approached silently, Xanaphia poked HHH and pointed at the top of the tower. There, perched like a bird, was the black dragon! Seeming to be resting, it let out 3 or 4 cries, and then flew away. The party saw some of the villagers, but noticed they didnít run away. "Hmmm. They must be used to this. That means the dragon must come on a regular basis to the tower. Either itís a willing ally or a thrall. No matter what, it is a dangerous enemy," thought Nuria.

As the party crept closer, a small sphere, thrown from their flank, landed by the party, and suddenly exploded! The entire party was engulfed in flames; they were badly damaged, and thrown into confusion. Trying to assess the situation, they saw 3 humanoids to the right of them: a druid, a barbarian and a drow mage! The party then noticed that Nuria was knocked unconscious! The blast had hit her very hard and incapacitated her. The battle began in earnest.

Before the heroes could do anything, Ebreck felt a magic effect coming down on him. Failing to overcome it, they noticed that the area around him had been silenced! Wishing to end the spell, he drew back on his bow and targeted the drow.

Meanwhile, Pennyweight hid in shadows and began to approach the enemy. "Theyíll never know what hit them. As long as Ebreck keeps pelting the drow with arrows, I can get close enough to the drow and finish him off quickly." As he was thinking this, Pennyweight glanced over at Ebreck in time to see him trip and fall! A rock had turned under his foot, and as he fell, he struck his head hard on another stone and stunned himself. "Ah crap!"

Being on the fringe of the silenced area, Xanaphia, Deus, and Agrona stepped out of it.

"We have to hit them hard so that HHH has a chance to heal Nuria!" shouted Agrona.

Both started chanting words of power. Xanaphia finished first and a terrible storm of ice engulfed the barbarian, druid, and drow. A short time later, a blast of holy energy smote their foes as well as Agrona finished his spell. The enemy was hurt, but not seriously and continued to attack. After Xanaphia and Agrona completed their spells, the party noticed that the drow had not been touched at all by their spells. A shimmering aura surrounded the drow and seemed to nullify all spells entering it. The barbarian, screaming a warcry, rushed at the Agrona and Xanaphia. The druid, finishing her spell, blasted Ebreck, HHH, Rhodesia, Henrietta, Agrona, Xanaphia, and Deus with an ice storm. Overcome, Deus collapsed, badly hurt. Henrietta, having been hurt and wanting revenge, slipped into a rage, readying herself to attack the druid. "Iím not doing so well," moaned Xanaphia. "Iím just barely holding on." Rhodesia stood over Ebreck, growling a warning to any who would approach his fallen master.

As this was happening, Pennyweight realized he had company (and it wasnít pleasant). A thief materialized behind him and tried to stab him in the back, but failed to do serious damage. Seeing an opponent near his master and within easy reach, Rhodesia pounced on the thief. The thief nimbly dodged the attack.

The drow thrust her arm forward, summoning magic missiles to assault Agrona. "Iím not doing so well myself. Xanaphia, get behind me! Iíll hold off the barbarian and you keep hammering them with your spells. We have to take out one of them shortly or we wonít survive!"

"Got it," she replied weakly.

Meanwhile, HHH was Ďconvincingí Henrietta not to charge the enemy. "I have to heal my friends, first. Then we can wreak havoc on them. But they need our help first!" With a huff, Henrietta acceded to HHHís wishes. Riding over to Nuria, HHH laid his hands on her and cured her of all her damage. "Rise and shine, beautiful! We really need your assistance!"

Nuria took a quick look-see around, and muttered, "Ah crap."

"So you tried to sneak up on me! Shame on you! Oh, by the way, your shoelaces are untied." Pennyweight kept up a verbal assault to distract the thief, and it worked. The thief looked down at her feet (she was wearing loafers with no laces) and left herself open to a sneaky attack from Pennyweight! Not being all that bright, the thief fell for Pennyweightís trick one more time. Unfortunately, the thief refused to fall, and they continued to trade blows.

Xanaphia moved herself behind Agrona and struck the enemy druid with a column of holy fire. "She has to drop after this," Xanaphia thought, but no such luck.

Right after, a resuscitated Nuria cast a fireball at the druid, hoping to knock her out of the fight, but with limited success. Though she only hurt the druid, she managed to incapacitate the druidís wolf.

"Iím going to need to be a little healthier than this to be able to act as a human shield. Heironeous, heal my wounds and mend my broken body so that I may continue to fight in your name!" beseeched Agrona. A nimbus of light surrounded him and his wounds magically disappeared.

The battle continued. The drow, with a mad grin, pulled a wand out of his robes and pointed it at the area near Rhodesia, Ebreck, Pennyweight, and his own companion, the thief. With a quick word, a ball of fire flew from the wand and engulfed the four, or almost.

"Incoming!" shouted Pennyweight. Ducking and dodging, Pennyweight, Rhodesia, and the thief miraculously dodged the blast of the fireball and emerged unscathed.

The barbarian continued to rush Agrona. Almost upon him, Agrona thought, "This is going to hurt." The barbarian braced himself to swing his huge greataxe to sunder his foe in two. Seeing his peril, HHH and Henrietta charged the barbarian and prevented him from reaching his target. "If someone is going to slap Agrona around, itís going to be me!" HHH shouted.

To bolster their ranks, Xanaphia summoned 3 dire badgers to attack their enemies. "That should put the odds in our favor." Just as she said that, the evil human knight, the blackguard, walked around the corner of one of the buildings and engaged Pennyweight. "Ah crap, I spoke too soon."

The barbarian, frustrated at being prevented from rending Agrona in two, focused his ire on HHH. He repeatedly swung his greataxe at HHH, who stoically took the damage while trying to retaliate. Meanwhile, Nuria, recognizing the threat of the druid, focused and struck the druid repeatedly with her magic missiles. The druid, sorely wounded, continued to fight.

As the battle continued, Agrona blasted the enemy druid with a ray of blistering light, who finally succumbed to her wounds. "One down, four to go," Agrona thought. As the thought floated through his head, the enemy cleric showed up. "Ah crap. When it rains, it pours."

The conflict continued, and the tide was turning, but not in the heroesí favour. As the struggle wore on, the heroesí stance became more and more desperate. To slow their assault, Nuria webbed not only the blackguard and thief, but Pennyweight, Ebreck, and Rhodesia. This still didnít stop the thief, who managed another stab at Pennyweight. As the blade slipped between his ribs, and his vision began to blur, Pennyweight thought, "Well, this didnít turn out the way we wanted." With that, he slumped over.

The drow cast another fireball, this time at Agrona, Xanaphia, and Nuria. Again overcome by her wounds, Nuria collapsed. The situation seemed hopeless. Suddenly, time seemed to stop for Agrona. A voice called out to him:

"Your friends have fallen. I can help you conquer your enemies and exact revenge. I will give you the power to kill your enemies. Do you accept it?"

Looking around at his friends, he knew they were lost unless he took this chance. It may be a trick to taunt and torment him, but he had no choice. Knowing it was an evil act, Agrona replied, "I accept."

Suddenly, time reverted to its normal flow, but with a change. Shouting words of magic, Agrona smote his enemies, watching their bodies crumble under his power. Seeing that they had lost, the drow quickly pulled out a unicornís horn, broke it, and vanished as Agronaís magical assault reached her.

Nuria woke up with Agrona healing her wounds. "What happened? How is everyone else?"

Tight-lipped, Agrona replied, "They are all well. I managed to heal everyone. As to what happened, Iím not sure."


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