Things aren’t going well for us at the moment though we have sighted that bastard-spawned piece of troll shit Vanth Vanderboren. Even exchanged words with him—not myself personally, but my companion Henry Darger did. And actually, not words per se, profanities being a better descriptor. But let me explain. . .
I have finally recovered from the gibbering mouther attack, though I did suffer from a definite sense of disorientation when facing the Vault of Tarkania a couple days ago. Before attempting the vault, our company has been swelled by two: Ibid, a dwarven cleric of Ptah and an old acquaintance and fellow Seeker, Xrng Ke Kadu. Hired by Lavinia on my recommendation, Xrng is, well, unusual. She is Xixchil, an insect-like species with four arms, two smaller limbs capable of the most delicate of crafts and two large and frankly intimidating arms used in combat. I am most grateful to my masters for the sending of a familiar face in response to my request for assistance. She is a very skilled young wizard and most adept at the making of maps and diagrams. My milieu is words not visuals unfortunately so her assist on this end of the record keeping will be most valued on my part. I cannot say much of Ibid though he seems to be a decent fellow and has no slaves attending him, a plus in my book (pardon the pun!).
The vault was most interesting and yielded much for our consideration. The vault was largely looted (by that orc prick Vanth naturally) but he missed a few chests. Most of the chests were filled with the predictable gold and gems, but two chests contained the most precious of all things—documents. The moment I spotted them, I leapt to the fore, ready to plunge my paws into the mass of paper. The moment I did, I felt the Lady Lavinia’s sharp-nailed fingers dig into my ruff and cast me away! Mrow! “Family business,” she said crisply. Such was the strength and suddenness of the move that I felt myself spiral back in time to when my dam would snatch me up in like manner whenever I was about to get into trouble. Quick on its heels was a sense of outrage. Does she not know she handled (rather rudely I might add) the last of the great Taanmrow??? But it is her property and family’s business so she is right and I was rather, well, graceless. Poor Henry! If he ever does manage to bed the hellcat, his poor back will be in ribbons.
Vanth did miss a valuable resource though, leaving behind (inadvertently?) numerous IOUs owed to the Vanderboren family. Including, interestingly enough, a 250,000 GP contract signed by the Temple of Ptah. There was a diary as well belonging to the Lady’s (and Vanth’s) mother. Praise all the Gods that the diary fell into Lavinia’s hands rather than Vanth’s for Vanth would only destroy it. Perhaps it will bring some comfort to Lavinia and become a treasured heirloom in time. After walking Lady Lavinia home, we went to the docks with tentative plans to return to Haven-Fahr where Vanth had been.
When we arrived, we discovered seven Elven Man-O-Wars at dock, fully half the Realmspace fleet and all combat-ready and under the direction of Admiral Icarus. I tracked down a member of a Hadozee Oathpack (wish I had time to talk with him personally) and he told me that a critical meeting was going down here on Dragon Rock concerning the Elven-Orc conflict. Rumored to be attending the meeting as well was the mage of all mages, Mystra the Goddess of Magic’s rumored lover, Arch Mage Elminster. Ah, to be breathing such rarefied air and in such intriguing circumstances, circumstances which became all the more intriguing as events unfolded.
I spotted Captain Galen of Haven Fahr, marched in manacles to one of the Elven ships under heavy guard. I couldn’t believe it. Some justice was served after a fashion as the gaoler now found himself gaolee. But what business did the Elven Fleet have at Haven-Fahr? And how did the fleet’s arrival there affect Nemeitia’s and the Araneans situation? While telling the others of what I saw, some common ruffian slipped Lemmy a note warning us that the Lotus Dragons (a violent mafia) were following our activities closely and warning us off our quest.
So we finally decide to swipe a skiff when Henry noticed someone following us. When confronted, the guy (Shefton Rusk) tells us he’s a former top lieutenant of Vanderboren’s in some exotic animal scheme and wants to sell Vanth out due to conflict over a woman. (I really must spend some time soon at Lucille’s in order to learn further of these womanly powers that make men go to such extremes. Such wiles might well profit my scholarship as well as help me resurrect the Taanmrow.)
After sealing the deal with Rusk, a most unpleasant individual if I ever met one, we returned to the docks to again seek a ride out. We milled about and I heard a ringing voice exclaiming, “There he is! Henry Darger! How ridiculous!” followed by a scandalized yet oddly regal snort. I grabbed Lemmy (really I plucked at his clothing rather than truly grab. With someone so massive how does one “grab”?) and headed back to the group quickly in order to alert everyone that someone was on to us.
As I relayed the information, a truly awe-inspiring sight came upon us. A woman of noble, even arrogant bearing wearing a simply blinding amount of jewels of outrageous style broke up our party as quickly as a charge of bad-tempered Orcs. “Casimir? Casimir Syzygy!”, she demanded, cornering a suddenly embarrassed looking Henry. My jaw dropped in astonishment. This overwhelming and magnificent creature was Henry’s dam! I was frankly so intimidated that even the thought of batting at the woman’s jewels didn’t cross my mind. Yet this terrifying creature brought us glad tidings. Henry’s uncle has departed this world (May his Gods receive him kindly!), leaving Henry (embarrassed son of a premier Dragon Rock founding family) the recipient of a small jammer named Void Skimmer, making Lavinia’s offer of the Blue Nixy redundant. A most timely ride in my opinion.
Under Rusk’s direction, we arrived at a small asteroid where Vanth supposedly had a bolthole. I assume Vanth has many of these as so many people seem to be hunting our Mr. Popular.
We entered the underground tunnel and while scouting it out, Violetta was attacked, tumbling down into the tunnel with us along with a dead Rusk, a knife sticking out of his back. Above us the infamous murdering bastard Vanth appeared. After an exchange of profanities, along with one intriguing sentence (“Give my regards to Penkus, Casimir!”), Vanth trapped us in the tunnel, sealing the trap door with rocks and debris.
After exploring the tunnel, we came upon a labyrinth of rooms. I felt my hackles rise as we went along, hearing a very distant thread of sound, a tone of misery and desolation that became more distinct to my ears as we moved further into unknown territory. After clearing the first room (with 5 illusion-clad wooden doors with brass hardware), we entered a second room and I discovered from whom the sounds of anguish came.
Frickin’ Space Zombies. Hate those things. Nasty to dispose of though one should be glad of being the instrument of freeing a soul’s body from bondage. Xrng went into attack stance when confronted by the three creatures. Ibid neatly drove two of them back into the shadows. Delighted I followed my instincts that morning (all honor to the Taanmrow!) and loaded up an undead spell, I let it rip on the remaining Zombie. And scored, melting the hell-spawned creature’s face. Henry dispatched the thing to its just reward with his gun.
So, one down and two to go. Ibid is quite good at holding the enslaved creatures back I must admit.
*Write acknowledgement to Master Tsing Cho, Seeker Fifth Degree for gracious release of Xrng to our company.
*Keep Sai handy.