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The Adventures of Amiral and Dorsta

Amiral stood alone atop the wizard platform in the West Commons of Antonica. Around him he could see sloping hills of grass. To the west lay the water of a small lake, and to the north and south, in the distance, stood massive stone mountains. Suddenly, next to him appeared another human. This tall man was covered in shinning armor and carried a flaming sword. “Greetings Hude.” Amiral said. “Hello Wizard, as always, your port worked.” “I can only try.” Behind them came a voice which said, “One of these days, your spells will fizzle, and then where will we appear?” Hude and Amiral turned to see a female wood elf, armored and holding a sword in her hand. “Why, exactly where we were, Dorsta.” Amiral calmly answered. Turning to Hude, he said, “Beware, the Freeport Militia has not forgiven you for killing Sir Lucan. Avoid the guards.” “I remember, Wizard, and I know the secret ways around them. They will not catch me off guard and if they do find me, they will not live to tell the tale. It is a shame that a noble Paladin of Marr must sneak into Freeport via the sewers.” Dorsta Tallpines chimed in with, “That’s what you get for killing the captain of the guard.” “He was an evil man who forsook his holy Paladin’s vows!” Hude replied. “Well, then, until we next meet in the Seafarer’s Roost.” Amiral held out his arm. Hude grabbed the arm and shook it. Hude looked at Dorsta and said, “Watch out for him, will you?” “I always do.” Dorsta answered. She then began to cast a spell. Hude could feel his heart pump faster, and his feet seemed to wish to move on their own. “Thanks.” He said. Hude turned towards the east and the city of Freeport. With a leap down the side of the wizard platform, he began to sprint away. Amiral looked at Dorsta. “Well, now what?” “I suggest…..” “Help me, please…” A small voice asked from nearby. Amiral and Dorsta glanced down the side of the platform. Below them they could see a dark elf laying on the ground. Dorsta began to cast while Amiral descended to the dark elf. As soon as Dorsta’s spell finished, the Teir'Dal seemed to look in better spirits. Though still weak, he sat up and leaned against the side of the wizard platform. Amiral could see that the dark elf had been through some terrible ordeal. His clothes were in rags and shackles with shattered chains still hung around his ankles. Dorsta gave him some water and a ration. When he seemed to have recovered a bit, Amiral asked, “How did you come to be in this state? Did Innoruuk take a disliking to you?” “Amiral!” Dorsta admonished him. “No, laugh while you may, the god of Hate will punish you if he takes offense. He does not forget, and he always pays back his due, much as he aided me to escape the evil clutches of the Iksar.” “The Iksar!” Amiral’s tone was more serious now. “Tell us what you know!” “I know that I and several of my followers went to Kunark to find comrades who had traveled there before us. The elves of Firiona Vie hate us, so we entered through the outpost of Overthere. We had not ventured far from the city when we were ambushed by Iksar. The devils used various enchantments on our party to capture us. Blindfolded and gagged, we were taken to a mine where we were forced to dig. I dug up some of the largest gems I’ve ever seen.” The Dark Elf’s eyes lit up with the memory, then he seemed to remember who he was talking to. “But everything was taken from us. We were bound in magic chains that sapped our mana. I was only able to escape by trading my lifeforce for the power to cast one spell, a port anywhere.” “Well, that is an interesting tale.” Amiral said. “surely Dragoon Zytl will be along soon to hear it again. Come Dorsta, we must leave now.” “No! Wait! There is more, and I feel I do not have the time to tell all. Someone must save the others.” “What care I for trapped Teir'Dal?” Amiral asked. “Not everyone there was Teir'Dal. There were people there from every race of Norrath. When they can no longer work, they are taken away and killed. Their remains are cooked into a stew for the workers to eat.” “Ugh!” Dorsta grimaced. She turned away from the dark elf for a second, then looked back at him. “Was there by any chance a Teir'Dal named Crotan there with you?” “Hehe,” the dark elf smiled. “Yes, Crotan was there. A Necromancer, isn’t he? Yes, he was forced to use his arts to create skeleton guards from the remains of the prisoners who died. Oh, yes, I know this Crotan.” The dark elf spat on the ground next to him. This seemed to be more than he had, as he collapsed back onto the side of the wizard platform. Dorsta looked at Amiral. “If he’s telling the truth, we have to save Crotan.” “When have you ever heard the truth from a Teir'Dal?” “Can we afford to take the chance? You are sworn to protect and guide anyone in our guild. We have to find out if what he says is true.” Amiral thought for a few seconds, but what Dorsta had said was true. If one of his was being held by the Iksar, it was his responsibility to attempt a rescue. Amiral turned to the dieing dark elf. “You do not have long before you go to seek Innoruuk. Tell me now, where is this mine?” “Promise to save any you find there.” “I promise to do everything in my power to save whoever I find being held against their will. Now tell me!” The dark elf seemed satisfied, with his last dieing breath he whispered, “Nurga.” Dorsta looked at Amiral. “Nurga? What is Nurga?” “I don’t know, but I do know where to find out.” Amiral began casting.

A few seconds later, Amiral and Dorsta found themselves in a peaceful place of ancient buildings. Amiral grabbed Dorsta’s arm and hauled her towards a large building in the center of the town. “Where are we?” Dorsta asked. “The Plain of Knowledge. Here, we can learn what we need to know. Ahead of us is a vast library.” Once inside, it didn’t take our heroes long to find the information they sought. “The Mines of Nurga can only be reached via the Temple of Droga. The whole thing appears to belong to the Mountain Death Goblin Clan. My guess is that the Goblins are in league with the Iksar. The Iksar are trading slaves for gems and precious metals.” “Well, what is your plan?” Dorsta asked. “We could send out a general call for a raid of the place. The gems and ores should get us enough interested people.” Amiral replied. “Meanwhile, Crotan becomes tonight’s dinner!” Amiral looked at Dorsta. “or we could invis ourselves and go in and find him.” “Yes! Let’s do that!” “You realize this plan could go so wrong in so many ways?” “Like my mother used to say, a faulty plan now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” Dorsta leap up and started a little dance. She grabbed Amiral and tried to pull him into the dance with her. Several library patrons started to look at them. Amiral blushed. “Uh, Dorsta, can we not dance our victory dance quite yet?” Amiral asked. “I’m just so happy. Lets go now.” “No, I have one more stop before we can do this.” Amiral said as he began casting.

In the Northern desert of Ro there is a wizard platform mostly buried under the shifting sands. A desert tarantula crawled over the stones on it’s way to find dinner. In the distance, a desert madman saw the giant spider, and began casting a spell. The tarantula shook with the violence of the spell, then turned and ran towards the madman. The madman seemed to realize what he had done only too late. He turned to run, but the spider caught him up and bit him. Spinning it’s web around the still struggling madman, the spider carried him off. Dinner was found. On the wizard platform, two people appeared. “But Hude and the others won’t be at the Seafarer’s Roost for hours, and by then, it might be too late.” Dorsta complained. “We have to leave them a message at least.” Amiral told her. “There is one way you could make this go faster.” “Oh, very well.” Dorsta began to cast her spell, calling on the spirits of the wolves. Both of them felt their hearts beat faster and a great desire to rush over the sands. Amiral also began to cast spells and they began to float in the air. “Race you!” Dorsta cried as she ran ahead. Amiral mumbled something and took off after her. They flew over the valleys and dunes, Dorsta laughing all the way. Soon, they reached an area the sand had not yet conquered. Trees began to block their way. Huts appeared and curious guards looked up to see them fly by. Finally, before them appeared the east gate of the town of Freeport. They descended to pass through the gates. Amiral and Dorsta entered the Seafarer’s Roost. It was a dark bar in the dark docks of Freeport, a bar that caters to the kind of people that want to avoid the Freeport Militia. Amiral approached the master of the Roost, one Gregor Nasin. Amiral said, “Hail, Gregor Nasin” Gregor Nasin said “Welcome to my shop, Amiral. You would probably find a Bottle of Milk handy.” “Milk?” Dorsta said. “Why I’d love a nice….” She stopped as Amiral poked her. “I’ll have the water please.” Amiral replied. “That'll be 1 silver 6 copper per Water Flask.” Gregor Nasin told them. Amiral placed his money on the counter, along with a note. “I need this to reach someone.” Amiral said quietly. Dorsta looked around. Branis Noolright judged her amiably. Dorsta thought she could probably win this fight. “Hude Depeth?” Dorsta heard Gregor Nasin yell. “After what he did? He better not show his face in here! No deal! Now off with you, before I throw you both out!” Amiral grabbed Dorsta’s arm and led her to a corner table. “We’ve got to find someone to leave a message with.” He said. “How about that dark elf?” Dorsta asked. “I’ll try.” Amiral said as he got up and approached the Teir'Dal. “Hail, Imxil Tbrow.” Imxil Tbrow said “I have no desire to speak with anyone. That includes you!” From a nearby table, Trolon Lightleer said, “What a cheerful crowd.” Amiral returned to the table. Dorsta patted him on the arm and said, “Let me try.” She got up and went over to another bar patron. “Hail, Biggle Limbokker” Dorsta said. “Good day to you, Dorsta! Learn to mind your own business in this place. If a fight breaks out, do not get in the way.” Biggle Limbokker told her, then turned away. Dorsta returned to the table and drank her flask of water. Amiral looked up as someone came in the bar. “Wait a sec, someone I know just came in.” Amiral told her as he arose. “Hail, Lenka Stoutheart” Lenka Stoutheart screamed “Amiral! Run while ye still can!! The Wolves o' the North will not tolerate yer presence!” “Lenka, Lenka. Was I that bad to you?” Amiral asked. Lenka seemed on the verge of tears. “After ye, I became unsatisfied with any other man. The Wolves o' the North know about us and will not tolerate yer presence anywhere near me!” Amiral gently took her hand. “The Wolves of the North are not here. We are.” Lenka looked at Amiral hopefully, “Ten we could go upstairs in a room then?” Blushing, Amiral quickly glanced at Dorsta, who was trying not to laugh. “Ah, no, I’m on an important quest at the moment. I, I, er, can’t, oh, I don’t have time..” Lenka had noticed Amiral’s glance and could see Dorsta at the table in the corner. “Oh, I be seeing how it is. Ye be taken up wit dem elves. Well, Now I am done with ye Amiral! That wee harlot can’t be ‘alf the woman I am, and yet ye’d choose ‘er over me? Be gone, before I tell the Wolves o’ the North where to find you!” With that, Lenka ran from the Roost. Amiral felt something tugging at his robes. “Swiftfingers! Stay out of my pockets or you'll be called Lostfingers.” Amiral yelled at the gnome standing beside him. Amiral returned to the table amidst Dorsta’s laughter. A stout dwarf entered the Roost and made unsteadily for a table. Henna Treghost came over and told him “Greetings, Groflah Steadirt, you look like you could use an Innoruuk's Kiss of Death.” Dorsta leaned over to Amiral. “Now that sounds more like a drink!” Amiral looked at her strangely. “Don’t even think about it.” After the drink, a pitch black liquid with dark smoke rising out of it, was served, and the dwarf had slammed it down in one gulp, Amiral approached him. “Hail, Groflah Steadirt” Groflah Steadirt looked at him blearily and slurred, “Greetings, Amiral! Join in the celebration! Have a few drinks. Alas, there are no Tumpy Tonics.” “What celebration?” Amiral asked. Groflah Steadirt replied “The Freeport Militia now has a bar to themselves. Luckily, it is not this one. Ahh.. I tell you, I just don't feel up to much right now. I have had so much grog, my great grandma could best me!!” With that, his head dropped onto the table and he fell asleep. Amiral returned to the table and sat down. “Will he deliver your message?” Dorsta asked. “Should I…” “Don't bother, he’s drunk already.” The waitress, Henna Treghost, came to take our orders. “Hello there, Amiral. How about a nice Water Flask?” Amiral’s head jerked up, “I’ll have the water please.” Henna told them, “That'll be 1 silver 1 copper per Water Flask.” Amiral placed the money on the table, along with his note. “I’ll see that this gets to the proper person.” Henna said while placing the note inside her tunic. “Come on,” Amiral said. “Let’s get going.” “Yeah, before Lenka Stoutheart and the entire Wolves o' the North Clan has time to come find you.” Dorsta giggled. “That’s not funny.” Amiral said.

Freeport’s East gate behind them, they crossed the Northern desert of Ro. Soon, they entered the Oasis of Marr. There, they saw young adventurers killing orcs and crocs, and running from Hill Giants and Specters. On an old dock Amiral sat down to meditate. “Where to now?” Dorsta asked. “We take the boat to the Overthere.” Amiral replied, then went back to meditating. “Why can’t we just port there?” “I don’t have a spell for there.” Amiral said, still trying to meditate. “What will we do when we get there?” “Are all wood elves this annoying? Can’t you see I’m trying to meditate?” “Wow! No wonder wizards have a reputation for being grumpy. Just try to ask them a few innocent questions and snap! Why, when I was growing up in Faydark, if someone spoke to an elder like that…” Amiral reached over and pushed Dorsta. She lost her balance and fell into the water with a splash. Amiral started to go back to his meditation, but when Dorsta failed to come back to the water’s surface, he became worried. Amiral stood up and looked over the side of the pier. Suddenly, behind him he heard a giggle and felt a small hand on his back. He felt foolish as he fell face forward into the water. Soon, while still wet, they boarded a raft which magically started out to sea. They dried themselves in the sun while the raft took them to some small islands. Amiral sighed as the raft stopped….20 feet from the shore. He began to cast a spell to levitate himself across the water when Dorsta decided to cannonball into the water. Amiral’s spell was interrupted by the water splashing in his face. From shore, Dorsta asked, “Well, are you coming?” With as much dignity as he could summon, Amiral stepped off the raft and into the water. Once on shore, he began to shake off his robes. “So, where are we now? Are we at the Overthere yet?” Dorsta asked. “No,” Amiral informed her. “We are on Ogre Island.” “Oh, good, I have good Ogre faction.” “You have not yet met The Great Oowomp!” “Why, do you think he’ll invite us to dinner?” “I would guarantee he would, but you wouldn’t like it. You and I would be the main course!” “Well,” Dorsta stamped her foot. “I’m hungry!” “So, you’re a druid, forage something. Come on.” Amiral led them south along the water’s edge. A couple of times they had to go around large rock formations. Amiral walked straight ahead with a confidence born of experience, while Dorsta flitted about over turning rocks and digging under plants. She looked up to see Amiral against a rock looking around it. Curious, she approached behind him. “Wha-cha looking at?” She asked. “ACK!” Amiral spun around toward her. “Woman! You scared ten years of my life away!” “Sorry, oh great and fearful leader.” Dorsta giggled. “There is an ogress just around these rocks. Take a look. All we have to do is sneak past her and out to the end of the pier. I’ll invis us both.” Amiral said. “Oh, she won’t bother me.” Dorsta said as she walked brazenly out from behind the rocks. Amiral cursed under his breath while he fumbled with his bat wings and cast his spell. Walking across the warm sand, Dorsta kept her eyes on the ogress, who was fishing at the edge of the water. She did a little dance and calmly skipped to the pier. Once on the pier, she continued out over the water to what looked like an old wreck. Curiosity overcame her, and she began to explore the ruin. After she had explored the entire wreck, she found Amiral fishing off the far side. “Catch anything yet?” She asked. “Nope, don’t have any good bait.” Amiral replied. “Well, I’m still hungry and all I could forage was some grubs.” “Grubs? Let me have them!” Amiral took the squirmy grubs and skewered one on a hook. He then cast his fishing pole out into Timorous Deep. Soon, they had fresh fish and old sandals for dinner. “So, when does the boat get here?” Dorsta asked between bites. “Your on it.” Amiral answered. “This wreck? I would imagine the only reason it is still above water is because it is already sitting on the bottom.” The Bloated Belly began to groan and shiver. “Oh, great, now you’ve made it mad.” With a lurch, the Bloated Belly, the remains of a once mighty Ogre sailing vessel, began to move. Dorsta looked around but could see no means of locomotion. “Wonderful,” she said, “Another magic boat. I ask you, why didn’t we take the Maiden’s Voyage? At least we would have been fed and housed nicely.” “Because the Maiden’s Voyage takes you to Firiona Vie, on the opposite side of Kunark, while the Bloated Belly takes us to the Overthere.” Amiral said. A few hours, and a brief scuffle with pirates later, Dorsta and Amiral found themselves nearing the Overthere. Amiral was standing near the front of the Bloated Belly watching the city approach. Dorsta asked him, “What kind of city is the Overthere?” “It’s an evil city governed by the Teir’Dal and hosting many ogres.” Amiral turned to Dorsta and said, “The Teir’Dal Dragoons will kill us the moment we dock.” Dorsta looked worried. “Then what do we do?” “We jump off the ship before she docks. Stay close!” Amiral hugged Dorsta and hurled them both off the Bloated Belly. Dorsta kicked for the surface of the water as they were thrown around in the big wreck’s wake. She could tell Amiral wasn’t swimming at all, and as he was holding her tight, they both sank into the depths of Timorous Deep. She was about to start learning how to breath like a fish when she became dizzy and found herself on dry land. “One of these days, Wizard, your spells will fail and I can only hope I live to see it.” Amiral coughed up some water and smiled at her. “We are safe for the moment. Try to relax.”

The two made good time along the grassy plains that were the area near the Overthere. Soon, they crossed secretly into the Frontier Mountains. Once firmly inside the Frontier Mountains, Amiral led them west along the ridges, keeping up high on the walls of the mountains. Not long after, they could hear drums beating below them. “Down there is the entrance to the Temple of Droga. We have to get through it to find the deep mines of Nurga. Are you ready?” Dorsta looked at Amiral and shook her head. “We have to help them. I just hope Crotan is still alive.” Amiral began to cast his spells. The two heroes descended into the entrance, past the unknowing goblin guards. They followed the sounds of metal being worked to great underground factories. In one section, Goblin blacksmiths forged weapons and armor for their armies. In another, Jewelers smithed gold and silver treasures, encrusted with bright gems torn from the earth by the power of slaves. Some of the gems were so large that they became center pieces for large boxes, the gold and silver worked around them. Here, Amiral’s map faltered. “I’m not sure which way to go.” He said. “Well, even invisible, I don’t think we can get through here. Lets go back to the other passage near the entrance.” Dorsta suggested. “Hummm, ok. Maybe I can find a familiar passage off of there. They back tracked up to the passage and followed it. “It’s taking us more west than I think we need to go. Nurga is supposed to have entrances to the east and to the south.” Amiral pondered. “Quiet, someone’s coming.” Dorsta whispered. They hid in a small niche and watched as a large party of Goblins and Iksar passed them. “I know, let’s follow them.” Dorsta suggested as she left the niche. “Wait!” Amiral cried as he came behind her, but she was too far ahead. He continued after her until they came to a huge cavern. In the center was a deep pool. The entire cavern was illuminated by the green glow from the water in the pool. Goblins could be seen dumping hoards of treasure into the pool and the sounds of drums seemed to repeat, Droga, Droga, Droga. Tearing his eyes away from the sight, Amiral saw the party of Goblins and Iksar disappearing down another tunnel and Dorsta halfway to the tunnels entrance. Praise Marr, she’s going to get us both killed yet, Amiral thought as he chased after the wood elf. Amiral finally caught up in a slightly smaller chamber. Inside, on a huge gem encrusted and gold inlayed throne, sat the largest Goblin Amiral had ever seen. Beside him stood a Goblin shaman who appeared to be blind. Amiral could make out a conversation between the Goblins and a richly robed Iksar standing before the throne. “What are they saying?” Dorsta whispered. “I told you to go to one of the Sister Seraphim language classes, didn’t I? Now please be quiet. I can’t hear.” Amiral admonished her. “Ssssss, Your exsssilensssseee Chief RukGussss, we hopes you have found our ssshipmentsss of sslavesss to be ssatissfactory.” Said the Iksar in robes. “In deed they are not. We need more slaves for our mines. The last ones you brought us cause us much trouble before we were able to train them. One even escaped!” “Weese only provides the sslavesss, weese do not train them or guarrunteess their behaiviorsss. Weese leeavesss that to your capable handssss.” “I need more slaves, so they can work the mines, so we can have more ores, so we can make more weapons, so we can finally destroy the dreaded Sarnak. We must drive the Sarnak from our lands! It is our mission from Droga! We will prevail!” RukGus seemed to be on a roll, when his shaman reached out and touched his arm. “Master, I feel a presence. A presence I haven’t felt since….Master, we are being watched.” The shaman seemed to sniff the air, then pointed straight at Amiral and Dorsta! The Shaman began to cast and suddenly Amiral and Dorsta were no longer invisible. “From there!” “Time to leave.” Amiral said as he dragged Dorsta away from the throne room. “I don’t suppose you can do that wolf thing about now.” “We’d have to stop so I can cast it and you know it only works outside.” “That’s what I was afraid of.” Goblins and Iksar hot on their heels, our two heroes raced through the twisted passages of Droga. At the Temple itself they picked a corridor at random and seemed to throw their pursuers off for a moment. Amiral began to cast furiously. Suddenly, they found themselves someplace else. It was dark and they could not hear sounds of pursuit. Sounds act strangely in caves. You may not hear someone in the next room, or hear clearly conversations far away. So it was that our heroes heard one last conversation spoken by Chief RukGus. “I have sealed off the Temple entrance. If those two spies get away to warn the Sarnak about our impending war, I’ll kill the gate guards myself.” “Yessss, your exsssilensssseee. It wouldss be very unfortunate if the Ssssarrrnak knew about your plansss.” “Do not worry about my problems! Just bring me more slaves! I will be killing all of the ones I have the evening before the attack.” “Master” Said the blind shaman. “One of the spies was a wizard full of mana. I could taste it. I must have him, please master?” “ A wizard huh? They could have ported out already. We will have to speed up our plans. My friend Iksar, you have with you a large group of bandits. Perhaps…..” The conversation moved off and Amiral and Dorsta could hear no more. Dorsta turned to Amiral and said, “Now what? They are going to kill all the slaves unless we do something.” “I don’t think it changes our plan any. We came to free the slaves, so lets free the slaves.” “Ok, which way do we go now?” “How should I know?” Amiral answered gruffly. “Well, you ported us!” “Evacuation is supposed to take us someplace safe nearby. That’s what it did. I have no clue where we are!” “Oh great! Every Goblin in the Temple looking for us, and we’re lost.” “Better lost than found then. Let me think a moment.” Amiral sat down in the darkness and meditated. Dorsta stood over him and tapped her foot impatiently. “Well?” She asked. “I thought elves were known for their patience.” Amiral replied. “That’s high elves. I’m a wood elf. We are known for our love of the forest, our laughter and gaiety. We are not supposed to be trapped underground like dirty dwarves.” “Ok, I’ve got a plan. The mines of Nurga are further underground, so we follow the passages that lead down and to the south or east. Sooner or later, we will find the correct path.” “That’s your plan?” Dorsta wondered. “Unless you’ve got a better. I doubt the guards will look for us deeper in the caves. They probably will think we will attempt to escape.” Amiral tried to say with confidence. “Uh-huh, something we have no intention on doing, right?” “Correct, at least not without the slaves to back us up.” “Welp, sooner started, sooner ended my mother always said.” Dorsta started off down the passage. Amiral chased after her to cast invisibility on them again. Sure enough, Amiral’s plan was not without merit. Soon, they found themselves entering worked stone passages. Rotting wooden beams strained to hold up tons of rock above their heads as they passed into the mines proper. Avoiding guards, they crept further down the tunnels. “You don’t think there are spiders here, do you?” Amiral asked. “No, even spiders need something to eat, and it seems the Goblins have kept this place pretty bare. Why do you ask?” “Oh, nothing.” Ahead of them, they could see more light. Sounds of picks and shovels reached their ears. Dorsta looked cautiously around a corner. Three slaves, a female human, male halfling and a male high elf were being watched over by a bored goblin holding a wicked looking sword. Dorsta turned to Amiral and said, “Let me handle this.” “That might not be a good idea…” Amiral attempted to say as Dorsta leapt around the corner with her sword drawn. Amiral followed her, but by then it was too late to help. The Goblin lay on the ground bleeding to death from more cuts than Amiral could count. Stunned, Amiral said, “I can’t believe how fast you killed him.” Dorsta laughed. “Ha, you thought all we wood elves did was laugh and dance and play?” Seriously, she added, “The Crushbone orcs have forced us to learn to fight too.” She stooped down to search the dead Goblin. “You have doomed us all strangers.” The high elf said. “Don’t be a fool, we have come to rescue you.” Amiral told him. “Then you are the ones who are fools! No one escapes this place….alive that is.” “We happen to know differently.” Amiral said. “There are no keys on him.” Dorsta announced. “You halfling,” Amiral lifted the halfling to his feet. “Quickly, pick these locks so we can get out of here.” “Oh, I see how it is with you big people. I’m a halfling, so I must be a thief and automatically able to pick locks! Well, I’ll have you know that halfling mothers do not lock up their children at night hoping to find them free by dawn. We are a happy, peace loving people who do not go around stealing everything we can lay our hands on!” “So,” Amiral asked, “What was your profession before you arrived here?” The halfling drew himself up as tall as he could, threw out his chest and proudly proclaimed, “I am Fansee the rogue!” All the others looked at the halfling with surprise. “You are the famous Fansy?” “NO! I’m Fansee Bigfoot. I’m a rogue. That faker Fansy is a bard!” Exasperated, Amiral yelled at him, “Then unlock the shackles!” “I can’t!” Fansee said, “They are magically locked! There are no locks to pick! Don’t you think I would have tried?” Amiral inspected the shackles around the slaves feet. Sure enough, each was seamlessly attached to their ankles. “Well, now what?” “See, I told you we were doomed.” The high elf repeated. “Then you’re not going to save us?” The human woman asked in a tired voice. Amiral turned to her and said, “Of course we are, it just might take a little more time. What is your name?” “I am Joana DeArc, a Cleric of Rodcet Nife. I, I, came to Kunark to help the people of Firiona Vie.” “Well, Joana, don’t you fret. We’ll get you out of here somehow.” Amiral turned back to Fansee. “How do the guards unlock the shackles?” “They don’t, at least as far as I’ve ever seen. But then again, I’ve only been here a short amount of time. Ask the elf, he’s been here the longest.” Amiral turned towards the high elf. “Well?” “When someone dies, the guards remove the shackles by cutting off a foot.” The high elf answered. “Do you think that information will help?” “No!” Amiral was getting testy with the slaves now. Dorsta chimed in. “What we need to know is how to free all of the slaves at once. Who would know how this could be done? Someone we could talk to without raising the alarm.” Joana looked up. “You could try the dark elf. He has been working with the Goblins more closely, but I don’t think he is one of them.” “Oh, yes,” the high elf smirked. “He just makes undead guards out of our skeletons.” “Crotan?” Dorsta asked. “Yes,” Joana answered, “That is his name. In return for helping the guards, he gets better food and a chance to practice his arts.” “Yes, on us!” the high elf added. “Can one of you lead us to him?” Amiral asked. “I can.” Joana said. “Fine, I’m going to try one more thing. I’m going to translocate Mr. Elf to Greater Faydark, so he can get us help. You must tell your elders that the Goblins plan to kill all of the slaves just prior to sending out an army to attack the Sarnak. I think this will happen soon, so they must get here quickly.” “This I swear I will do.” The high elf said. “Fine, here goes.” Amiral began to cast his spell. Flashing blue lights danced around the high elf, then sank down to his ankles to be absorbed by the shackles. The high elf just stood there. “As I said before, we are all doomed.” “Oh, forever more!” Dorsta said. “The, the mana just disappeared into the shackles.” Amiral stammered out. “I couldn’t get the spell off. I’ll need a few minutes to rest.” Amiral sat down and meditated. “Wow, wizards sure do tire easily.” Dorsta said. She turned back to the goblin and began to strip his clothes off. When she had him naked, she started to cut off his head, hands and feet. It appeared she was flaying him. Amiral looked up to see what she was doing. “What are you thinking Dorsta?” Amiral asked. “I’ll need a disguise.” She answered. “I don’t want to think about it.” Amiral said. Later, Dorsta in her Goblin disguise, led the three slaves to find Crotan. Amiral followed invisibly. The party soon reached better lit areas of the mines and noticed more skeleton guards mixed in with the Goblins and slaves. Near a wooden shack, Joana told Dorsta, “There is where Crotan works his foul deeds.” “Fine, I need to have a word with that boy.” Dorsta strode up to the front of the shack and without knocking, kicked in the door. Amiral and the slaves followed her in. Inside they found a surprised dark elf male working over a dead body. “What is the meaning of this intrusion?” He yelled. “I’ve come to take you home, boy!” the disguised Dorsta said. “Mom?” Dorsta tore the gruesome Goblin face off her head. “You bet it’s me. Just what mischief have you been up to this time?” Amiral suddenly appeared next to Dorsta. “We’re here to rescue you and all of the slaves.” “Amiral? You too?” Crotan looked like a child who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar as he back away from the two heroes. “I swear, they made me do it!” “Crotan, you know your father and I have always tried to over look your, um, darker habits, but really, making skeleton guards for the Goblins? If you weren’t so old, why I’d turn you over my knee… In fact, I think I just might…” “Dorsta!” Amiral said, “We are here on a mission. We don’t have time for this.” “You don’t understand! I swear, when I had enough skeletons, I was going to lead them in a revolt against the Goblins.” Crotan pleaded. Dorsta’s tone changed suddenly. “Why Crotan, I’m so proud of you! What a wonderful plan!” Amiral stepped away from Dorsta while giving her a look. Then he turned back to Crotan and said, “So, how many skeletons have you got? Enough? We need to get out of here now.” “Oh, dear, I don’t have near enough yet. I need many more for my plan to work.” Crotan answered. Amiral was disappointed, but decided to forge ahead. “How do we get the shackles off of the slaves.” Crotan answered, “I usually cut their feet off.” “We’re doomed.” The high elf intoned. Everyone turned towards the high elf and said, “Shut up!” Crotan added, “There is a magic key held by the chief guard’s enchanter that powers the shackles. If we could get a hold of it, we could destroy it and remove the magic absorption abilities of the shackles. Then they should just fall off.” “Fine, that’s our plan then.” Amiral said.

Our six heroes crept silently towards the main guard shack. Crotan said, “Inside that building is where the guards sleep. The chief guard and his enchanter should be there now.” Amiral turned to him and said, “Fine, begin your skeletal revolt. When the guards come out, Dorsta can engage the chief while I take care of the enchanter. Once I destroy the key, the other slaves will be freed and join our escape.” Amiral looked at the others. “Everyone ready?” Several nodded their heads yes, with the high elf looking depressed. Crotan seemed to fall asleep as he closed his eyes and willed the many skeletons to come to the guard shack. They started to congregate in the cavern around the party. Their high pitched laughter was getting on the party’s nerves. “Why do skeleton’s always laugh?” Dorsta asked. “It’s the cosmic joke.” Joana replied. “They have cheated death, but are not alive. They realize they are abominations to everything, including themselves. They laugh because they can not cry.” Amiral looked at her. “I have a Paladin I should introduce you to.” Crotan opened his eyes. “They are all here. As many as I can summon. I will begin the attack now.” Crotan closed his eyes again and the skeletons began to enter the guard shack. The sounds of fighting soon could be heard. “We need to draw out the chief and his enchanter. Hold some of the skeletons out here.” Amiral told Crotan. Soon the tide of battle changed. The Goblins were winning. Goblin guards began to leave the shack and attack the skeletons in the cavern. Through the door, a large mean looking Goblin appeared. Next to him stood a small frail looking Goblin who was casting on the skeletons. Ina voice that filled the cavern, the large Goblin yelled, “Bring me that dark elf! I’ll flay him alive for this!” Crotan’s control slipped for a second, but he regained his concentration. “Now Dorsta!” Amiral commanded. Dorsta flew like a banshee toward the Goblin chief, her sword a spinning circle of death to all who got in her way. Amiral stood up and began casting a mighty spell. The Goblin enchanter saw him and began to cast his own spell. The two casters raced to get their spells off first. Amiral had counted on more surprise, so had cast a long spell to finish off his opponent with one blow. The Goblin, on the other hand, was used to slave revolts, and cast a small spell which took effect quickly. Behind Amiral, a pair of shackles floated up and towards our unsuspecting hero. As they fastened around his ankles, his mana simply dried up, absorbed by the magic of the cursed chains. Amiral fell to his knees exhausted. Dorsta, meanwhile, was fighting the Goblin chief. He was hard pressed to hold her off, but able to call for assistance. Goblin guards came to help him and soon Dorsta was overwhelmed and shackled too. The last of Crotan’s skeleton army died under a pile of Goblin guards. The high elf threw down his sword and said in a tired voice, “I told you we were doomed.”

Suddenly, from the back of the cavern came the din of approaching battle. Into the cave ran retreating Goblins, followed by a massive Ogre warrior. Behind him acme several more adventurers led by two holy knights with burning swords. Crotan stood up from where he had been hiding and yelled, “Pannone! Over here!” The ogre, Pannone Bonecrusher, turned toward Crotan, then began to move in his direction. Any Goblins that got in his way were thrown aside like dolls. The two Paladins, Javon Michaels and Hude Depeth, followed in his wake, their swords cutting down Goblins like wheat. Javon’s brother, Davon cast spells to streangthen the heroes, while a small figure darted between their feet adding to the Goblin’s distress. Novagar and Qamile stood back to back casting enchantments to puzzle the foes. “Now this is fun!” Yelled Morromid Hostaleaf, the halfling druid, as he scampered towards Amiral. “What has happened to you, oh great one?” he asked sarcasticly. “Magic shackles, saps mana.” Amiral struggled to say. “Destroy the key on the enchanter.” “Yo! Hude! Javon! See the frail looking enchanter? Get him!” Morromid called out. “Your will is our command!” Javon said as the two pallies began to cut a path. Pannone approached the Goblin chief guard and tore Dorsta from his clutches. “Ogre, you have come to meet your death.” The Goblin chief told Pannone. “I think you are mistaken about who is going to die, greenskin.” They began to battle amidst the other Goblins, who moved aside to make room for the two combatants. They circled each other, throwing blows to test each other’s skills. Meanwhile, Dorsta picked up her forgotten sword and began to lay into the hordes watching the specticale. Samilya Gyrhart attempted to keep up with the heals needed to keep her charges alive, while the dwarf, Battleforge Taskmaster, guarded her. Joana looked on in awe of the senior cleric’s healing skills. At last, Pannone swung his mighty fist and crushed the Goblin chief’s head. The goblin’s body fell to the ground with a final thud. The two Paladins neared the Goblin enchanter, who was furiously casting in their direction. Charmed Goblin guards suicidaly leapt in front of the charging holy knights, attempting to stop them, but a charmed creatures do not fight as well as normal, thinking, ones and these Goblins were used to pacifying slaves. Their efforts to protect the Goblin enchanter were futile. Javon Michaels cut off the Goblin enchanter’s head and Hude Depeth smote the key with his Soulfire sword. The key shattered and around the heroes, all the shackles fell off. Slaves began to cheer, jumping up and down with laughter, their long nightmare over at last. Amiral stood up again and told them all, “We are not out of here yet!” Dorsta quietly told Morromid, “He really is a party pooper.” “We need to round up all of the slaves and get out of here before Chief RukGus sends his army down here.” Amiral continued. “Not to worry, Amiral,” Hude told him, “We have the passage cleared all the way to the surface.” “But Chief RukGus’ army must stand between us and the exit? Didn’t you fight past it on your way in?” “Now why would we take the long way,” Javon asked, “When we could come in the southern entrance to the mines?” Dorsta overheard Javon and shrieked, “Southern entrance? Southern entrance? We did all that running around in the Temple of Droga when there was a southern entrance?” “How was I to know?” Asked Amiral. “All my maps from the Library in the Plain of Knowledge don’t mention a southern entrance. Myrist never wrote about a southern entrance!”

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