The Adventures of The Stonelanders

Phylas' Journal XVII

Further Entries from Phylas' Journal

2nd of Kythorn

DSC: ONE. ENORMOUS. SPIDER.

I should probably clarify that, as we are now in the Underdark, the Daily Spider Count is going to be pretty much outrageous. In fact, I am writing this from a camp that we have setup outside a kind of labyrinth, and here we are, in the one place in all of Faerun that I don’t want to be, but we have to be, because the gods want us here or something. I mean, we’re doing good work, we’re doing what we ought to be doing, FINE, I get it, but sweet merciful Lathander can’t we be doing good work in some place sunny or at least somewhere that doesn’t have spiders THE SIZE OF HOUSES. HOUSES.

Small houses.

WHATEVER.

On a more serious note, Joy, our intrepid ranger, has left us. Joy and I did not get along particularly well, but she was an excellent ranger (well, you know, when she wasn’t triggering traps for the hell of it, though that was endearing in its own… peculiar… way), and has been taken away by her family to an arranged marriage. It’s a bit tragic, really, but her half-brother, August, has taken her place in our party.

August and I have, ahem, similar allies, so I don’t anticipate any problems. He also has an intelligent crossbow named Gertrude. I am told she hates vermin, so I expect we shall get on famously. Oh, that reminds me: though the departure of Joy is all very sad and whatnot, this has meant that that horrible talking sword of hers, Imp, is gone. Hooray! (Imp was not very fond of me, and the feeling was entirely mutual.)

Anyway, upon our venturing into the Underdark, we immediately encountered a little Halfling (as opposed to a big Halfling? Hmmm…) named Deneal Icebriar. Because, you know, what I wanted was another barbaric Halfling in the party. This one, unlike our worryingly uncouth barbarian Greizly, can actually read, and is some sort of spell-flinging tiny person. Well, he’s a sorcerer, but “spell-flinging tiny person” is much funnier.

The point is, he’s here in the Underdark for some reason (something about looking for a lost relic of his tribe that ended up here in the hands of the Drow) and is tagging along with us. He seems to have a rather deep-seated loathing of the Drow, and was particularly suspicious of Gorstag. I think I allayed his concerns somewhat, but we probably shouldn’t leave them alone in a room together.

Anyway, shortly after that was an encounter with a spider the size of a house (no, but seriously, it was), and that is all I have to say about that.

Oh, and I have just remembered the jumping spiders. JUMPING. SPIDERS.

I’m not updating my DSC. Deal with it.

So after some more wandering and spots of combat, we managed to encounter an enormous fang dragon, who I assume was brought here to be some sort of guardian or other. Not sure. Can’t say that I care. I mean, you know, I care insofar as it tried to kill us, and it was a big horrible monster, but I don’t much care about its motivations, you know? WHY does it want to eat me? WHY is it so angry all the time? Perhaps its mother didn’t love it enough as a child. Or… something. I’m not sure. To be fair, I didn’t have a mother, and I turned out alright.

Hey, I did!

After that I stumbled upon a scimitar. Funny story, really. So, we found this horrible altar (par for the course these days), and I was like, “Time to smash it!”, and Septimus readied his massive hammer, and I sprinkled some holy water on it to cleanse it first, and one-two-three click-click-click wouldn’t you know, it opened a secret door. Who knew? I guess I should start sprinkling all the unholy altars we come across. Anyway, it appears to be some sort of artifact; its powers are beyond the reckoning even of Gorstag “I know everything there is to know” Greycastle, so, ha! And also, drat!, because it would be nice to know.

3rd of Kythorn

DSC: Four Ocean Spiders.

Remember what I said about spiders the size of houses? Yeah, these were so big. I died a little inside when I saw them. More on this anon.

Well, and by “anon”, I mean “right now”, actually. So, we set off from our makeshift camp and came to a lake. Deneal very quickly demonstrated his usefulness and created a bridge of ice for us across the lake. It was a nice thought, but unfortunately this immediately attracted the attention of the aforementioned ocean spiders that rose up and attacked us.

I am super, super tired of the Underdark. Have you ever seen a spider the size of a house that can swim? And was it the most horrifying thing you had ever seen? Because if it wasn’t, please don’t tell me, I am really uninterested in things that are even more terrifying than that.

The combat attracted the attention of a bunch of row and kuo-tua soldiers; Deneal again demonstrated his usefulness and was quite effective in combat. Not, it should be noted, that my normal compatriots are not useful—far from it. Rather, I just point this out because he is a new addition, and whatnot. I am regretting having another Halfling slightly less.

After this came our assault on the Temple of Lolth down here. It was quite dramatic and heroic, though poor August got turned into a terrifying monster for the duration of the fight and I had to knock him out with a spray of colorful stars. Rather unfortunate.

Following the combat was a thrilling bit of temple desecration. Septimus was kind enough to loan me his hammer and let me stand on his soldiers and hack away at the enormous statue of the Spider Queen. It was quite horrible, really, but I like to hope it was a small step towards ridding myself of this crippling phobia.

In related news, I seriously doubt it was.

After that we discovered a number of Dalesfolk being held as slaves in what can only be described as, ahem, a chamber of sadomasochistic delight. So, you know, if you know anyone that needs a magical dildo, we have… several…

We liberated the Dalesfolk, and discovered a large bathing area next to the chambers. Septimus, Greizly, and Deneal decided to partake in it, so Gorstag, August, and I continued on ahead. We didn’t expect to find anything this deep into the complex, but we did, so we headed back to assemble the full party.

This involved walking into a scene of, um, various states of undress. You know, I’d never been particularly keen on seeing Halflings bathing, but there it is, forever burned into my memory. I have to say, if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought the situation between them and Septimus was… compromising… but I don’t think he’s gotten over Joy yet anyway. Not, mind, that I object to seeing him like that, at least. It’s quite a nice… wait, what? Sorry, I trailed off there.

Anyway, so we re-assembled our party (I should note that I don’t object to bathing by any stretch of the imagination, it was just… an unusual time for it), and headed back off. We then fought some bizarre magnetic monster. I haven’t the faintest what it was. It was, however, guarding quite a bit of cash, as well as the legendary Warblade, a major artifact that has been lost for some time. Septimus, being, well, Septimus, grabbed hold of the blade before we knew what it was, and apparently passed its tests of worthiness and what-have-you, because he is now the new, official wielder of said blade.

It is a powerful artifact, so that’s all well and good, and I would be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind that the wielder of the Warblade would make a powerful and prestigious addition to my budding Order…

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