Eternal Winter

Gnaughty Gnomes

We still had a few wee loose ends to tie up: the Abomination ravaging Lietherack, for instance. We keep putting that off for some reason. No more! In we rushed, heroes to defeat it! But, funny thing, turns out it was long dead. While we were away, Parsy led the fight to kill it after it spend a couple days using the sewers as its personal metro and orphans as snacks. It killed a lot of militia with its snakey ways, and chaos reigned. Parsy rallied—and why didn’t he call us? He managed to put down the abomination. But in the fracas, Korn died! Oh no! We liked him! I felt pretty bad about that. If we had stayed on top of things, we could have avoided all this. Mom always said my disorganisation would get a little goblin friend killed someday. Well, maybe that not exactly, but still, I need to take better notes. Anyway, they were trying to raise Korn from the dead. I came to lend whatever help I could, and felt special devotion to the task when I met the three lovely young acolyte women who were attending to the ritual. Though I tried to lighten the necromantic mood by playing a few tunes on the old accordion, they seemed a bit distracted. I never did get anywhere with them. In fact, I struck out badly finding a girlfriend in Lietherack {rolled a 1}. I hope all this hanging around with the undead is not giving me a creepy air… look how charming I still can be…

Korn did in fact come back from the dead, though he looks a bit, err, still dead. All the same, I used my best charm to convince Parsy to let Korn come with us as Talithe’s squire. Talithe has designs on becoming a knight of Lietherack, and I think she has a real shot. She needs to prove her heroism and ability to lead others, but I think she will get her chance once we meet up with the army assembling to follow our charge into Tarkin Hall.

We made our way to the Gnomish Enclaves and soon found ourselves at a massive gate guarded by a giant statue who we later learned was called Herdecus’ Son. He quizzed us a bit and found we were fine upstanding citizens and the gnomes owe Parsy a favour. However, this was interrupted by Larth Parsy poking his infuriating head into our business again.

Larth said he was about to go to the City of Doors to fight Orcus avatars. That gave Grimm a huge undead hardon, and a demand to follow Larth in there. Larth scoffed and said Grimm only could come if he beat him in a duel. To make it interesting I bet with Marcus that Grimm would be killed in two rounds or less. So the duel began. I saw that in this big open bright space, 1 on 1, poor defenceless Larth could not get combat advantage against big mean Grimm, so in my eagerness I decided to level the playing field a bit by casting Symphony of Misfortune on Grimm, to make a wee zone of CA. I was a bit too eager and blasted Grimm badly {rolling a natural 20}. Larth managed to beat Grimm in the second round, yay for Orgoo! Larth left via his purple crayon. I healed Grimm and all was looking smiley until Marcus and Grimm attacked me. What the what? Talithe tried to make us act like adults but we are way too immature for that to work, so soon I went down like a prom date.

Meanwhile the statue snorted at our stupidity and went to open the gate. Markus showed what real maturity was all about, throwing a rock at the back of the statue’s head then running. The statue charged, took about three steps to go 30 feet, and kicked Markus into next week. Markus was knocked out. But at least it went on to open the gate.

So there we were, ready for action, fresh as daisies except for having used about four daily powers and five healing surges among us all. We rock!

We entered the gnomish city and it was bustling like a kindergarten recess. I piped up a merry tune, and I may as well have farted into my accordion {rolling a 1}. What the hell was wrong with me? I was starting to seriously worry about my charm factor. I was lost in thought as we walked the streets—well, Markus was sneaking. {Only Page, Matt, and Josh were playing at this point.} We tried to fit in and I rolled out some of my legendary diplomacy. My loser stink cloud grew and I started to officially fret about losing my touch. I soothed my sorrows in a handful of mushrooms but even hallucinations did not make me happy.

Our search for a map was interrupted by a scuffle among three gnomes about matters of love. I have to say, it’s a little creepy to see these child-sized people get into marital spats. A gnome named Seline saw a couple, Nisha and Nuor, walking hand in hand, and I guess this was evidence of some hanky panky. He chased them into an alley and we followed, to see Seline grinning wickedly over Nuor, the latter now sporting a wee little axe sticking out of his wee little head. He was about to do the same to Nisha but we stopped him—quite efficiently, I must say. But this “Nisha” now said her name was Cerise, and she could not remember how she got there. Hmmm. Mistaken identity? Bad magic? Mushroom hallucination? We did not find out. They guards took them away.

We toured the city and were impressed. One nice spot had a big glowing cross-like icon in a cavern with a huge glowing gem. I told Markus, “Ixnay on ealingstay the emgay”. The gem seemed to be a force of life and creation and we later learned it, the Gem of Elements, was used to empower Herdecus’ Son out front. Herdecus is the god they are all into here, a god of creation and gnomish protection.

We eventually made it to the royal sector and charmed the receptionist so we could talk to Lord Gimblefoot who was in heavy party mode. We started to gather that the higher-ups were a little overly decadent here. We talked about needing the special residuum, called meridium. All agreed by the Lord here, except it was going to take a week to get together, and they were about to evacuate. What the what? Seems like there was a portal to a nasty plane here, and it was no longer being kept closed. That meant whatever was on the other side was going to come here and start munching away. These baddies are called the Danthu. They don’t sound nice. Demonic, actually. So what’s up with the portal? It stays closed as long as it’s attended by a fairy creature the bloodline of which has been here for a long time. Vithia is the current portal-plugging fairy. (That sounds a bit naughty, I know, but it’s a strange world. I had a girlfriend once whose best friend was a portal-plugging fairy—a nice guy, but he was always hanging around us, plying us with bottle after bottle of strong wine, and I suspect it was not purely altruistic. He had a nice haircut, though.) Anyway, Vithia is missing and we needed to find her, or else the evacuation would begin and we’d be out of our magical dust.

We talked to a town guard Quicklock who was holding in a cell a moody poet named Sirth, who was in lurve with Vithia, knew where she was, and was not going to tell anyone where to find her. Turns out not every gnome here is a fan of the nobility and Sirth did not give a little rat’s ass about needing to evacuate. He thinks these fairies are being used, essentially as slaves, by the gnomes to keep the portal closed and Vithia did not care to carry on the family duty. Over time {in a skill challenge} with much insight, diplomacy and bluffing, we got on Sirth’s good side and he said that we should find a Norsa to find Vithia. In exchange we promised we’d set the fairy free—though this was a bluff on my part, I’m inclined to actually do it, the more I learn about this place.

We found Norsa, who is a nursemaid for fairies, who then directed us to an abandoned house where Vithia was hiding. Markus snuck in but was discovered by her. They were chatting pretty well but we decided to join in. Vithia hated the gnomes even more than Sirth, and was content for them all to be eaten by Danthu, for all she cared. We convinced her {in a continued skill challenge} to give us another option, and she relented. She gave us a gem that would protect us from the plane’s mental ravaging, and told us if we were especially brave, or stupid, we could go into the portal—which is one-way—and find a way to close it from the other side. As for how to get back home… well, what kind of heroes would we be if we let worries like that stop us? We thanked her for her help, told her we’d be going into the portal the next morning, and we’d tell Gimblefoot we never saw her. As for our last night here, err, I suggested with my most charming voice that she, a beautiful fairy on the run, and me, a handsome bard about to risk his life, might… you know… She looked at me like I was a bug. No, she probably likes bugs, at least the winged kind. She looked at me like I was a slug. I’m sure fairies don’t like slugs. {I rolled another very poor Cha roll}. Certainly it did not help that Markus was cockblocking me—don’t you have a one-eyed girl you should be screwing, mate??—but again I felt the chill of a curse upon me.

We talked to Lord Gimblefoot again, said we did not find Vithia, but that we were willing to jump into the portal all hero-like and save the day. We shored up our heroism by suggesting we get some.. er… material assurances that they would not panic and evacuate while we were in there. The Lord gave us his chalice, which is nothing to sneeze at (or into). Solid gold, lots of gems. It will do. We also asked to have some nice rooms to spend the night, it being the last night we might ever have on the Material Plane and all… and, I suggested, perhaps there are some lovely gnomish ladies that would like to express their gratitude to their hero? And at last, Orgoo scores! It took five of them to make me feel like I had finally, fully broken my losing streak, but I’m back, baby! Now facing the cold, maddening void does not seem so bad. To quote a great writer, “There are few troubles in this world that can’t be cured by a woman’s fanny.” Hear hear—I’ll drink to that from my ridiculously bejewelled cup! And if this is the last of my words to ever be read, let me bid my many fans farewell. And Orogg, my brother: for the gods’ sake pull that stick out of your ass and enjoy life for a change. I leave you all of my goods, and a list of gorgeous, delightful companions on which to spend all my money. Farewell all, for now at least…

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MatthewFord

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