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Sluiced into the Unknown

I cannot even begin to describe where I am. I had thought that, as a circus, we had some understanding of all the places in the world. No, I believe that there was at least one facet we missed—this moving world of smoke and boxes and machines that we now inhabit. While I cannot tell where we are, I can tell how we came to be here.

It started as an expedition to rid the world of Sister Adilade’s imposter who we now know as the assassin Fadellah. In this expedition, we have travelled under the Abbey and into the Underdark, seeking clues to where this creature who destroyed children and priests might have gone. At first we found a gray dwarf merchant who would sell information to us if we would find and deliver some very special mushrooms. That ordeal lead us to a spire, a battle, and a curse that pressed us.

After getting the mushrooms we started to Pedestal to deliver them. Not shortly thereafter we found ourselves at the most enchanted Dripstone Inn with its mysterious owner and power broker of Pedestal. After our delivery, we received the information we needed to connect Fadellah and the creature we were tracking. However, our host had a proposition for us: He would provide resources if we would kill the Drow priestess building a power base in Pedestal. Although she was most likely from Drow peasantry, it appeared that she had enough favor to begin acting and performing like a Drow noble.

Given a magnificent and warded room by our host, our company of friends debated if and how we would aid our benefactor. I was pleased that we could have a somewhat rational discussion and come to good conclusions that I think fit within our ethics and set a direction for us as a group. We chose not to be assassins but to rather talk about our objectives in this world and how we felt we could best accomplish them. While we have no grand conclusion, we did set some precedents that I think will help guide us in the future.

We would go for our target who we know to be evil and then we will go our own way. I think the spirit of that decision guided our hands and minds, for the rest of the story is less an epic combat and more an epic of wit.

We informed our host and made our preparations, not without significant cost to us. One cost was unforeseen—Salivaar’s curse worsened and sucked all of us into his nightmare. In Salivaar’s dream, our dream, we found ourselves bound in a cave with a foreboding altar in it. A Drow priest offered Salivaar a dagger and bade him to chose the one of us that would be the sacrifice. Salivaar chose Silas and Silas was bound to the altar. After a bit of hesitation, Salivaar aimed the dagger and plunged it into himself rather than Silas. While we woke as if emerging from being suffocated, Salivaar awake screaming and needed immediate healing. We found the spider tattoo the curse of the spire had left him with burned off—now, a large sun-shaped scar was present over his heart where he had stabbed himself. This was a significant moment.

Salivaar then confided that he had been hiding the darkness creeping into his mind and spells from us and meant to tell us before anything happened. Let us hope that our outrage at his silence will guide him when he is next tempted.

With the auspicious although previously deceptive start, we finalized out assault on Dusklorn and our pursuit of Fadellah.

It was fate that guided us. We snuck in the back and quickly dispatched the two guards stationed there. It appear that they were unable to raise any alarm and we quickly found our way to the entry room full of gray dust and green mists. We had been warned about the room and had the key we needed to go through. The key was a ring that would protect us all, but only for a very short while, from whatever destruction would seep into us from its evil pores. After making our way through the entry we encountered a ghostly Drow who lead us to his magical cloak and made our way through empty rooms to a trapped stairwell.

Three things then made our progress quick. First, we could hear haunting singing coming from floors about us, so we were inspired to climb wherever possible. Second, I realized rapidly that we had somehow found our way in the central escape route that connected many of the rooms in the complex so that those who inhabited the complex could evacuate quickly but in stages so as to keep the invaders busy while building a hidden force that could either retaliate when least expected or retreat in force. So, we could avoid many rooms and halls by travelling in secret and direct passages toward our goal. Third, and probably most importantly, Bell used a magic mirror in a scrying room we found to locate Fadellah and trace the path to her.

Reversing the steps in Bell’s path, we made our way quick, with only one difficult encounter before we reached Fadellah. After we realized and a significant factor in the encounter we faced was that our enemies were enhanced with illusions, we were better able to make successful attacks and dispatch creatures bound into that trap set for invaders.

We made our way quickly to the room in which we did not know Fadellah was waiting for us in hiding. After her lightning trap discharged twice and we luckily struck her accidentally in our attempts to disarm her devastating trap, she fled into tight quarters. After her form was cut down, her essence lept to a crystal shard which we beat on until it was destroyed.

But that was not the end of the story. Thrice she used a curse similar to Fortunato’s. three times she bid the Mists to take us. As we crushed the crystal holding Fadellah, the halls and rooms filled with mists. As the mists thickened they also became sulfurous and then black. We joined hands to attempt to all stay together, and we felt ourselves falling through worlds.

When at last there was something stable under us, the mists were heave, choking smoke. A figure appeared in our midst and admonished us to close the window. We looke at him dumbfoundedly and I cannot recall whether he, dressed in some strange formal uniform went over to the windo and closed it or if one of us did it. Whatever the case, when he left, the smoke was clearing quickly and we could see that we were in some sort of room, rocking as if it were on a ship, with us in strange clothes, me without being able to feel Midnight, and Silas no where to be found.

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April 2010

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