Excerpt from the journal of Zalius 29 day, 10th Month, 1479 DR
I started today with nothing but time on my hands. With a couple of day left until the air ship arrives, I had to find some way to pass the time. I really wanted to look at those scrolls, it’s just that I couldn’t. Apparently I could not look at them unless I was part of the local Mages guild, and I was still waiting on approval on my application. It’s not that I was overly excited about being a part of this guild per se, but it was the only way to get the assistance I needed. Plus the benefits seemed intriguing. Two days and still no word. Finally out of impatience, I decided to go to them.
They seemed quite pleased when I arrived, I suppose they lost my contact information. It appeared the application process went quite well and I certainly qualified; however, as with all things, there seemed to a condition, or in this case a “rite of passage.”
I have been asked to escort a young wizard who specializes in transmutation into the passages of the Undermountain to retrieve a magical item encased in living stone. My reward would be acceptance into the guild as a Master wizard. This wizard, Ranklecank Fitherwith, was quite young and as I would find out, overconfident and too ambitious for his own good. What the artifact was that he was to retrieve was not revealed to me, but the Undermountain is quite dangerous and it must be of great importance if we were to retrieve it. The guild also hired a few extra hands to go down with us as well.
First there was Erevan, an Eladrin warlock, a human monk named Farifax, a quite annoying half-elf bard named Zeke, and a Deva named Asha. I have never met a Deva before I was astounded by her rather large stature. And then there was Aak, a half-orc wielding two blades. There was no way I wanted to travel with any green skin. They assured me he was quite tame despite his appearance and a formidable fighter and asked me politely to put aside any prejudices against him. It was difficult, but I did so.
The guild also gave us a map, it was only of the first floor, but they expected the artifact to be in the third or fourth levels down. And so we set off.
As we proceeded into the first two levels of the Undermountain we met some resistance such a band of orcs and some large carnivorous toads, none of which presented much of a hindrance. But these battle showed me the resolve of the adventurers the Guild had hired. All of them were quite hardy. I wish I could say the same for Ranklecank. He was bossy, arrogant and cowardly. He did have some arcane knowledge, but he was apprentice at best. I stayed with him, since I didn’t want him getting hurt.
The third level down we came across a rather large machine. I still don’t understand what is was or what is was doing down there. But it seemed like a trap of some sort and the only likely way was to go through it. It turned out not to be one of my smarter ideas. We all made a lot mistakes and came out quite beaten, but luckily alive.
On the other side of the machine we found the living stone; however, the areas was heavily guarded by some Kua-Toa spearmen. They were perched on a balcony shooting down at us. Ranklecank headed towards the living stone to begin his rituals. I headed with him for protection and rest of the party headed up to fight the Kuo-Toa. It turned out they weren’t the real threat as we all felt the ground shake and rumble like something was moving under the ground. Then a giant purple worm (which looked starving) came out to attack us. As we engaged this beast Ranklecank took the opportunity to finish the ritual and flee leaving us to die. But we managed to kill the beast and stop Ranklecank from making good his escape although we took quite a beating.
We interrogated him using some kind of magical compulsion conjured by Erevan our Warlock and he admitted that he intended to steal it and keep it for himself and leave us to die. No knowing that he could not be trusted, we tie him to a spear and carry him an opposite exit.
As we ascended we reached a cave area with running water and stairs leading up a crevasse. We were not alone though. We encountered some Dark Creepers, Grimloks and Ithilids. The Ithilids I read of before and prayed I would never have to encounter them. They feed on brains and could kill quickly and we were already serious conditions battling the worm. The dark creepers started by surprising us the smoke bombs. It blinded us temporarily enough to get the best of us. Ranklecank was in the smoke tied and being stabbed, screaming in the process. He deserved it to an extent, but we needed him alive so I headed into the smoke. Fairfax, Aak and Asha were fighting the Ithilidan and Grimocks, all were in bad shape. The results of the battle were dire. All of the enemies were killed. Ranklecank, Aak, and Fairfax were knocked out, I was barely alive, and Asha had been killed. Asha’s death was a big blow to us all. Everyone agreed to bring her body with us, but we couldn’t carry two bodies so we released Ranklecank.
We reached a cliff with no way down. It turned out that Ranklecank had a featherfall ring. Knowing it was our only way out and we were his only safety net he gave me the ring. I promised I would return to him when we got out.
We finally made our way up the first level. We found some enemies, but we were in no condition to fight so we ran for the exit. Ranklecank used the opportunity to escape but thanks to Fairfax and his quick hands we were able to capture him again just before we reached the exit.
We went back to the wizards guild. We told them of Rankelcank’s treachery and one the wizards told me he would be punished severely. That wizard turned out to be Ranklecank’s older brother Spinklepump who is apparently a wizard of some considerable renown . I thanked all of the others for their help. They all earned my respect today. They took their payment and took Asha’s body to a cleric. I hope they could resurrect her.
I was welcomed into the guild. I was given robes and living quarters and access to their books and knowledge. Spinklepump also let me keep the featherfall ring as an apology for Ranklecank’s treachery. Additionally I received word from Cormyr that they have summoned me home. However, I first needed my wounds healed. So I went back to the Fiery Flagon to join my comrades and get some sleep. Interesting day off.