The beedleboop of my external brain did not awaken me, but
the commotion of breakfast did, and I was not even the last person ready
Amazon Quartet of Justice VIc: "Assault on the Dimensional
Pocket! Are You Sure You're Not Evil?"
After loading up on equipment from the royal armory, Our Heroines, plus
the bard Gabrielle and Marika the mercenary (now with the town guard), go
into the pocket dimension where the Prince and Princess are being held.
Of course the villains keep a guard on the portal cave, but the five
salamanders and huge eight-legged snake-creature are soon dispatched. There
is only one exit, so the debate over which way to go is brief.
After travelling through the tunnel for an hour or two and surviving a
few boobytraps, the Amazons are assaulted by snakes which drop from hidden
crevices in the ceiling and transform into human or semi-humanoid form.
Although badly outnumbered, Our Heroines prevail, at the expense of most of
their magic and healing for the day. After determining that the gate they
came through is one-way, they hole up in the pocket dimension they got from
the villains who kidnapped Stephan; even though they don't fully trust it,
it seems more secure than the alternative.
Refreshed, the Amazons continue their journey through the bowels of
something that isn't the Earth. A few more traps are dealt with, including
a pit containing a huge black ameboid monster, and finally the tunnel
debouches into a huge cavern. Amaryllis sends an elemental to scout and it
reports a large body of water a few hundred yards ahead, where some people
with a boat are wrangling some captives. Alyra sneaks forward and discovers
that half a dozen dark-skinned, pale-haired elves have taken about a dozen
humans prisoner. Despite being invisible, she is apparently spotted and has
to retreat, pursued by a stirge.
Over the objections of some, Sophia rides forward to parlay,
accompanied by Gabrielle and Marika. This alarms the dark elves, who
conjure glitterdust at the parlay party and start hustling the prisoners
aboard. The rest of the party, lurking in the darkness for just this
eventuality, springs to the attack, but not before Marika is felled by a
poisoned crossbow bolt.
Sophia jumps Shekina from the shore to the boat to confront the drow
leader, but as soon as he sees her shield he starts yelling to stop
fighting. Sophia confirms that the drow are not evil (!) but the
prisoners are. The drow leader claims to be a paladin of St Cuthbert,
on a pirate-hunting expedition that got sidetracked into the pocket
dimension. The prisoners are the remains of the pirates who sank the
paladin's ship, forcing the drow to board the pirate ship.
No one entirely trusts the drow, even after they give Marika the
antidote, but at least drow men are easy on the eyes.
* * *
Star-party planning interrupted the gaming, sadly, and also
pointlessly, because when Al went ahead to set up, he reported the
weather was no good. Earl, Dave, and Harold scarpered even before that,
but the rest of us sat around entertaining Sherilyn or reading or
something, until finally we went home and Marith and Ayse talked and
sang and talked and talked some more.
We got home well after 1:00. Glargh.
Re: Star Party by Image (Tue Aug 12 09:32:56 2003)
That would be the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society star party... we have star parties every new moon weekend in good weather, up in the Sierras near Tahoe at an ubersecret location, codenamed HGO, known only to those who are taught the SVAS Handshake and who own the Decoder Finderscope.
It's a bit of a drive for our bay friends (e.g. Trip), so we're trying to arrange where they come up for something else -- like gaming -- and stay at least one night at our convenient-to-the-sierras-if-you-like-driving Roseville house.
You have me beat in accoutrements but not equipment; I own a 23-year-old C-11 Orange Tube with nothing but clock drive, which is just as I like it. (As far as I know, stargazers and porn actors are the only people who can without embarrassment ask and answer the question "So how many inches is that?" while setting up to ply their trade.)
If you'd like to join us for a trip up to the Sierras, you're welcome to -- though I need to know in advance if I'm going to bring up a large troupe, so I can clear it with the SVAS.
Also, I can put you in contact with the SVAS if you like to drive -- or I can ask around the SVAS to find the bay-area equivalent. Amateur stargazers are much like birders; they're eccentric but extremely friendly, anxious to show off their equipment, and thoroughly harmless (I bring my 7- and 5- year old children with me to SVAS star parties without a second thought).