Well, things haven’t gotten any better for us. After we victoriously cured Limeport of its mechanical spider problem, we received a message from the king. Apparently that entire man-goat fiasco has ignited tempers between the Balenson and Goodwin supporters. Violence from both sides has erupted in Luccini: and here we are winning support for the king. But on a positive note, the message stated that the next ship to Limeport would have supplies and the possibility of reward!
The ship came and picked us up, and there was no monetary compensation for our fantastic work. Over the passing weeks, we travelled to and from different towns and villages and tried to gain their support for the king.
The first stop was the village of Durn, which was inhabited by Hill Dwarves. Diend sent us in there to win their support, while he just watched. When we arrived there was a pair of dwarves just running back and forth with heavy loads on their backs, seeing which could endure the most. We each in turn tried to please Haben, the head of the Durn council. Wenton went first and did his best to recall and tell some story on the history of the area. Shall we just say, that Wenton’s incredibly low charisma was very well emphasized, and Haben was very put off by the story. Failyn however, told a humorous tale about hanging out with some dwarves, which Haben liked much better. Willow did some impressive acrobatics which had a finale of lifting the only halfling over her head. This, too, went over well with Haben. Then it was Wenton’s turn to impress Haben again. For some reason, he felt that a drinking contest would win him favor. The dwarves definitely went for it, and Wenton was even able to best a couple of dwarves. However, Wenton was not a heavy drinker, and passed out momentarily.
While Wenton was drinking his way to favor, a barbarian dwarf was in a cage. While the party was entertaining Haben, he tried Rage-Lockpicking his way out of the cage. Even though his first attempt failed, he managed to rage from his cage! Needless to say, everyone nearby was startled by this event, including Failyn and Willow. As the guards moved in to apprehend this barbarian, Willow decided to grapple him into submission. After easily pinning the barbarian down, the barbarian, whose name was Beardicus, calmed down. At this point, the party learned that Beardicus was being detained for inappropriate actions with a cow?… Haben told us that we would have the kings favor, and especially so if we took Beardicus with us. We decided to add this barbarian with us, and we continued on our way.
The next city was the salt trading city of Portus. This town was known for its corruption. Diend, claiming that he would be recognized, instructed us to go and win favor (note: still no money). He at least arranged some child to guide the party to the city council. We went off and followed the child. However, after some time, we noticed the kid kept doubling back on us. Wenton, thoroughly tired of playing these games, asked their new found ally Beardicus to “persuade” the kid to cut the crap. After successfully scaring the crap out of the kid, we were quickly led to the city council. Inside, we talked to the secretary for the council. Diend was scheduled to meet with the council, but she wouldn’t let us in because they were “busy”. Another time for Beardicus to shine. He flexed his muscles and listened like a suave gentleman. While she was distracted by Beardicus, we wandered inside. We asked the council what we could do to gain their loyalty. Through very backwards speech, they noted how much trade they already did with the Balensons, and that such agreements should not be disturbed. We hinted at maybe a little side action of trade for the king, after which they gave us a letter to give to the king. We returned to the ship, and (shocker) were still not paid.
The next village, Tojen, was more colorful. They were a town of gnome farmers and artisans, and it just happened to be the Pickle Festival! Mayor Nester just wanted to know if the party go “get down and party”. Well, that was no problem. We ate pickles, did pickle illusions, and were all around pickle-party-people, thus winning us favor with another town… yet still not paid.
Finally, Diend told us that we were going to the Forest of Light, and we finally realized that the king had sent him a war chest with funds for the trip! We demanded to be paid before we went on this errand. After some haggling and threatening to walk out, he agreed to 10g before and 10g after we completed the job. Although meagre, some gold was better than nothing! We dutifully went to the Forest of Light. We were supposed to just follow the path and meet someone named Sim. Except we got lost along the way. While we were trying to get back to the path, some giant lizards started to attack us! They just kept talking into our minds that we shouldn’t be here. We agreed and asked them to help us out, but they didn’t offer and instead started biting and clawing at us. The party fought, bound in webs, and seriously injured one lizard. Failyn even tried disguising herself as an elf, although they could see her change. About this time, some elves came and stopped the fighting. The elves, the party, and the lizards got back to the path and went to where the meeting should be held. Eventually we made it to a large tree with a glowing doorway. Tired and wanting to get it over with, the party entered the doorway.
There are those who say, “don’t go into the light!” This was an instance where they were absolutely correct. As soon as we stepped into the glowing doorway, we were surrounded by light. When the light finally died down, we found ourselves in a room with no door or windows. We were on one end of the room, and at the other end was a red-headed priest and a row of archers. He yells to Willow that a monk should be silent and quick: he wanted her to reach him without him hearing her. We had no idea how we got here, where here was, and now this guy wanted us to play some twisted game. Willow started to run up the corridor to the other side, but she made a sound. At the sound, the archers turned around and fired at her. She was able to dodge most of them, and now we knew what the penalty of sound was. Wenton, unsure what to do, tiptoed forward to try to read some papers on the table in front of them. Failyn and Beardicus decided to stay still.
However, the walls did not appreciate that. The walls pushed Failyn and Beardicus forward, forcing them to make a sound. The archers took notice. So the game was move, and possibly be shot, or stand still, and still possibly be shot. Willow ran forward, more silently this time. Failyn cast Cat’s Grace on Willow through her familiar Flameon. After moments that felt like hours, Willow got behind the red haired monk and punched!… into nothing, for they were illusions.
There was a flash of white and we found ourselves in another room. We were once again at one end of a corridor. This time we saw an old woman with a staff at the other end. She spoke to Failyn and claimed to be Boccob him/herself! And for some reason, she was going to punish Failyn’s lack of devotion with a quiz? Boccob would ask question, and we would all try to discern an answer. While the quizzing occurred, we all tried to close the gap between us and her, hoping there was a way to cut the game short. As we kept getting questions correct, we got close enough to see a fire without a source and some whirling blue magical vortex. Beardicus, being fearless in the face of vortexes, tried to enter the vortex. Needless to say, it did not bode well. He was cursed with nightmares of the thing he feared most: the elderly. Back in the real world, Failyn was getting overconfident and somehow (I don’t remember what she said) got Boccob riled up to add an additional question to the quiz. About this time, Failyn finally got to Boccob and tried to take her staff. Boccob instantly teleported away, and asked some far-fetched question, which Failyn didn’t know. When she got it wrong, Boccob summoned a minor demon to fight us. During the fight, Beardicus regained consciousness and together we defeated the demon…
And there was another flash of white light. This time, we emerged in the center of a roughly square room. In each of the corners were old people, whom Beardicus recognized as friends and family. Did we mention that Beardicus hates old people? So we fought the old people, which were quite tough for old people. Their old person cheek pinching could leave quite a deadly wound, and their old person kisses… ew. But, being a resilient bunch