Chapter 9 - Into the Darkwatch (1359DR, 23rd Uktar - 3rd Nightal)
The words of Thorn Silverburch -
A frigidly cold wind carrying a light powdering of snow blew down from
the mountains behind us as we began to descend down towards the foothills.
Already the pass we had taken was indiscernible from the rest of the mountain
range, with the exception of Amber we would have been hard-pressed to
find it again.
Sometimes riding, sometimes leading the horses we made a steady journey
downwards during what daylight was left. After about two hours the sun
disappeared behind the Thunderpeaks, the mountains’ vast shadow
rushed across the land and night fell. Looking back the way we had come
in the last moments of the day we saw the setting sun illuminate the mountains
with a magnificent, rosy fire.
The night was dark and cold. It took us a while to get a fire burning
due to the scarcity of fuel and even then the strong winds constantly
threatened to put it out.
The light of the new day was reflected back off the glittering frost that
now covered the landscape. The priests amongst us spent a few hours in
devotion to our gods, time that Faergil used to relearn a few spells.
Baynar also used the time wisely, scouting out ahead a little way to find
the easiest path downwards. Despite this it was slow going throughout
the day with the mountains never seeming to get any further away. However,
by evening, we had just reached the shelter of Cormanthor. We ate well
that evening as Amber hunted down a deer.
The next day our journey through the ancient, elven forest began in earnest.
Amongst the trees it was cold but not the biting cold we had experienced
for the last few days of travel. Even with the perilous mission that lay
only a little way ahead being back within the embrace of Cormanthor, even
one that was sleeping through the winter months, made my spirit rise and
I think those of my companions too. It would have been too easy, if it
wasn’t for the problem of the Drow, to slip out of my human form
and become one more creature in the forest for days or weeks or a lifetime.
As we travelled Baldric, Josh and myself saw to the last of The Company’s
By the end of our second day among the trees the forest had become too
dense for us to ride. Our immediate destination was Lake Sember. According
to Faergil at the lake was an abandoned elven refuge of Semberholme. From
his description Semberholme was constructed partially in the trees and
partially in underground caves, some water filled, and had been used by
the elves during times of danger.
After travelling the elven woods for three days we crested a ridge and
before us was a stunning view of Lake Sember, it’s still, silvery
waters a perfect mirror in which the forest and sky above was captured.
As I watched, for a fleeting second, I thought I could see towers beneath
the surface. Regrettably, on that journey, we didn’t find Semberholme
but we did find a good place to camp a little way from the lakeside. Amber
went off to bath in the lake. While she was gone Colatto took the opportunity
to suggest that, since she was the only one of us who could find The Dark
Watch, more then any of us she needed to be kept safe. We all knew that
Amber would not agree to this, which, I guess is why Colatto had waited
for her to be out of the way. Baynar agreed to say close to Amber when
things got rough.
I indulged in a little fishing. The lake was well stocked and, with only
the most basic of tools, within an hour I had caught half a dozen, freshwater
trout which we consumed that night. The night was clear and the moon and
stars were captured in the waters of Lake Sember. The baleful light of
the red stars that had heralded the beginning of so much danger shone
with particular intensity from the mirror-mire. With good food and a good
camp that night found us in good spirits and we talked long about the
road ahead; about the Drow and their strategies, speculation as to the
nature of The Legacy of Srinshee and the dangers of The Dark Watch. It
was clear that the knowledge that there were eight, Drow arch-mages and
who knew how many bodyguards already in The Dark Watch lay heavily on
some of The Company.
For the next two days we followed the lake’s edge. On the second
day it snowed. Towards the end of the third day the lake became a river,
one that we had to cross. The river, though slow moving, was over one
hundred and fifty feet wide and for the most very deep. It would have
presented quite an obstacle if there hadn’t been a wide, flat ridge
some three feet below the water stretching from one bank to another to
create a deep but passable ford. We led the horses across. The far bank
was steep but there seemed to be a path, old but distinct, that aided
our ascent. Once on the far side we quickly built a hot fire and set to
work drying ourselves out. As we did so we became aware of a disquieting
feeling in the air, as if unseen, hostile eyes were watching us. The night
was drawing in so we decided to camp where we were. Amber announced that
she felt us to be close to our goal. We had already decided that we were
not going to take the horses into The Dark Watch and Amber suggested that
come the morning we take them back over the ford and leave them their.
The uneasy feeling of being watched played heavily on my mind, mixing
with my concern about The Dark Watch and memories of the Drow ambush that
could so easily have ended our mission. Moving a little way from the camp
I invoked one of the most powerful miracles I had at my disposal; my spirit
slipped from my body and for a few moments was infused with the forest
itself for some six miles in all directions. In the short time I had my
spirit probed and quested. I could sense no trace of the Drow or their
Fiendish allies. I sensed a powerful presence to the north. Bending my
mind to it discovered it to be a Green Dragon. Finally I tried to determine
if I could feel The Dark Watch and was puzzled by the result; I didn’t
find it but at the same time I didn’t not find it, I simply couldn’t
tell. This had to be a manifestation of The Dark Watch’s power to
trick and mislead. When I returned to the camp I learnt that I wasn’t
the only member of The Company who had been prompted to take action by
the feeling of unease that filled the darkness; Amber had summoned Dwindar
and was scouting the camp’s vicinity for signs of trouble. When
Amber returned I shared with The Company all I had learnt. The knowledge
that there was a dragon about did nothing to steady my friend’s
nerves though my intuition told me that a dragon attack was unlikely.
I aired my idea that we might be within six miles of the Dark Watch; Amber
disagreed saying it was further then that, possibly a couple of days travel.
Before retiring for the night Colatto decided to take Fireheart back over
the ford. It took him a little while to return and it is easy to imagine
such a loyal mount being unwilling to be left behind.
At dawn the next day Amber gathered together the remaining horses and,
using her Gift, explained that we needed them to stay behind. She asked
them to wait for us for a “few sleeps” and that we would return
for them if we could. Once this was done I led them back over the ford
to where Fireheart waited. We pushed on through the forest by foot, totally
dependent on Amber for direction. The feeling of unease grew with each
passing mile, intensified by the total lack of animal life in the trees
around us. Despite the tension in the air the day was without incident.
Clearly I had been wrong about The Dark Watch being within six miles of
our previous camp but as it turned out not by a great deal. In the early
hours of the next morning, as Josh and I watched over a sleeping camp,
I noticed movement coming up from the trees to the south. As I watched
I saw a low mist floating with what I could only describe as a malicious,
purposefully intelligence towards us. It moved like some living creature,
tendrils of fog seeming to extend ahead of it, twisting around trees and
bushes and seeming to almost pull the body of the mist forwards. When
a plant was touched by the fog it seemed to sway and move, as if awakening
it. Quickly Josh and I woke the others and they were up just in time for
the mist’s inexorable march to bring it into the camp.
I physically braced myself against the touch of the mist. Fingers of
blood chilling vapour touched my feet and then my legs and then I was
engulfed. The fog was thickest close to the ground; my legs were concealed
from the knee down. Even with the elven sight I could see no more then
twenty feet, all but the nearest of my companions was an instinct shape
in the mist. And then there were the voices, dark mutterings in a fell
tongue that seemed to challenge and taunt. All of us had our weapons drawn
and the flaming auras of the Blades of Demron suffused the fog with a
diffused light that only added to the nightmarish unreality of the campsite.
At Bazil’s suggestion we formed a tight circle, wary of the dangers
we instinctively knew were out there just beyond sight, hidden but able
to see us. As we stood in our defensive circle old fears welled up inside
me. I remembered the dreams from The Vale of Lost Voices and the night
in the Royal Courts, dreams of being lost in both mind and body; was it
The Dark Watch they had warned of? In those long seconds I felt my resolved
hardening, Silvanus had set my feet upon this trail and I would see the
task done no matter what the cost.
Seconds stretched into minutes but no danger materialised out of the mists.
We discussed what to do next. As it was clear that sleeping was not an
option both Bazil and I wanted to push on but Amber and Brother Baldric
wanted to wait for sunrise. The idea of sleeping in a tree was suggested
and, despite his initial dismissal of the notion Colatto decided to scale
the nearest one. Colatto was halfway up the broad, dark trunk when he
gave a cry of surprise and pain. A large hollow he had used as a foothold
turned out to be a crushing maw ringed with tooth-like thorns that snapped
shut on his foot like a bear-trap. Instinctively he tried to wrench his
foot free but the grip was too great. Seconds later the pain of the crushing
maw was added to by a sharp burning sensation in his foot. Hearing Colatto’s
cry we rushed to his aid, both Faergil and Feyondra launched flurries
of magical darts into the tree but they seemed to have little or no effect.
Invoking the name of The Oak Father I intoned a miracle to paralyse the
carnivorous tree but it proved resistant to that too. By then Amber, Josh
and Primrose had closed on the tree and were hacking away at it’s
trunk with swords and scimitars. Josh’s blade bounced of the truck
but The Tears of Tymora and Dragothil cut deep gashes in it. The tree
retaliated as thick vines fell down from the branches and snagged around
Amber and Primrose’s necks, choking them. A little slower off the
mark Bazil and Baynar reached the tree. Bazil hacked away with his shortswords
at the vine throttling Primrose but couldn’t cut it. Baynar faired
better and with two, powerful strikes severed the vine on Amber. Still
up the tree Colatto was fighting with all his strength to stop himself
being sucked into it’s maw while at the same time having to endure
the burning sensation in his leg. Having failed with is magic missiles
Faergil upped-the-ante and launched two burning darts into the tree. The
effect was instant; the truck caught aflame and the branches began to
trash about in what was clearly pain. Primrose was thrown back to the
ground when the vine noose holding her went slack. The force trying to
draw Colatto up into the tree stopped but it still had a death grip on
his leg and, to make matters worse, flame was racing up the tree towards
him. Realising Colatto’s danger Bazil called over to me and I placed
a ward on the brave hobbit to guard him from flame. Bazil had intended
to scale the tree and prize Colatto loose but Colatto took matters into
his own hands and, despite the damage the thorns caused to his leg, tore
himself free and jumped down to the ground. Evidently the inside of the
tree was full of a powerful acid as Colatto’s right boot had completely
dissolved (luckily Amber had a spare pair) and the skin of that foot was
badly blistered. As I watched and heard the tree’s demise I could
not help but remember one of the tales I had learnt of The Dark Watch,
that some of it’s life-hating occupants were originally the elven
citizens of Tsornyl, corrupted by the touch of Moander. It wasn’t
a pleasant thought but I reminded myself that there was nothing we could
do to help them if we were dead. As we backed away from the burning remains
of the tree the whispering, which had stopped when Colatto first started
to climb the tree, began again with renewed menace and for a few moments
it seemed that the trees around us had encroached on our camp.
We stayed awake till dawn. Only Baldric was brave, or foolish, enough
to try to sleep in the thick ground fog but in the cold light of day it
was clear from his cold, drawn features that he had got no more sleep
then those of us who had remained standing.
We broke camp and began our journey into the heart of The Dark Watch.
We could not see the sky and could only guess at the time. Indeed time
seemed to lose all meaning within The Dark Watch. The air was icy cold
and clammy at the same time, a combination that seemed to leach all the
heat from your body and make every step an effort. We could see further
in the daylight but between the fog and the densely packed trees we could
still see no more then thirty to forty feet. The ground under foot was
soft and mossy, though we could not see our feet through the thick ground
fog we could feel the ground yielding under our weight and filling with
icy water that soon soaked our boots through. There was no path and the
undergrowth was tough and invariably covered in sharp thorns. Additionally,
hidden in the ground fog, there were an uncounted number of roots that
our feet invariably found. Even in The Dark Watch Josh and I had the grace
of Silvanus but the rest of The Company were constantly fighting their
way through bushes and branches and tripping and tumbling on hidden hazards.
And all the time there was the overpowering smell of decay and putrefaction
and the sensation of being spied upon. The only trace of animal life we
saw that day was a fleeting glimpse of some man-serpent hybrid; a Yaun-ti
or a Naga perhaps, darting through the branches of a tree.
After fighting our way through the Dark Watch for hours it became clear
we needed a rest. No one felt like sitting on the ground, submerging him
or herself in the fog, and so we cast around for something to sit on,
a fallen log perhaps. We didn’t find a log but Amber spied a cluster
of raised tuffets. We headed over to rest, Amber giving one an experimental
kick to see how sold it was. In an instant we were fighting for our lives.
It happened so fast that all but Amber and Colatto were taken completely
off guard. The once solid looking mounds, now revealed to be heaps of
damp, rooting vegetable matter, sprouted pairs of thick pseudopodia and
started to attack us. One creature, which we later learnt was called a
Shambling Mound, attacked Amber. She ducked under one thick limb but was
hit by a second. Regaining her balance in a heartbeat Amber retaliated
with her swords, delivering three blows in the blink of an eye, the Mound
weathered the attacks and kept going. Brother Baldric likewise side-stepped
one attack only to receive a hammer blow from a second limb. The third
Shambling Mound attacked Primrose. Taken off guard she was caught between
the limbs of the Mound, limbs that suddenly deformed and flowed around
the hobbit until, in the blink of an eye, she was entombed in a shell
of rotting vegetation. Colatto leapt to Primrose’s side and attempted
the split the Mound in two with an overhead blow but the strike was poorly
judged and slipped harmlessly of the plant creature.
By now the rest of us were recovering from the initial shock of the attack.
Faergil unleashed a volley of magical darts into the twisting envelope
of plant matter that held Primrose, the darts blasted it but the Mound
refused to let Primrose go. I focused on the Mound attacking Amber and,
as I had against the tree, tried to paralyses it with the same lack of
success. Josh went for a more hands-on approach and summoned a Flameblade.
A second later the Mound managed to hit Amber with both of its crude arms
and drag her, kicking and swearing, into its body. Almost at the same
instant the third Mound managed to trap Brother Baldric. Bazil moved over
and joined Colatto hacking at the Mound that still held Primrose while
Baynar rushed to attack the one that had just engulfed Amber. All three
of my companions found that their sword blades were having little effect
on the fibrous bodied of the Shambling Mounds. Seconds after Baynar reached
his target it seemed to swell and stretched as Amber exerted her great
strength and tore her way free. Almost simultaneously Brother Baldric,
guided by the luck of The Lady, found a weakness in the grip of the Mound
that held him and slipped free. Both were covered from head to toe in
thick, green slime and lay sprawled on the floor for a few moments as
they gulped down lung-fulls of air.
I had just finished summoning a Flameblade of my own when I heard Josh,
whom had joined Colatto and Bazil in their attempt to free Primrose, calling
out that the Mounds didn’t burn! A few moments later, after both
heads of Twin-Death had sunk harmlessly into his opponent, Baldric added
that bludgeoning weapons were also useless. The Luck-Bringer was barely
able to dodge back out of arms’ reach as his Mound lunged for him
again. Amber wasn’t so lucky and before she could properly recover
from her first smothering the Shambling Mound had got her once again.
While she didn’t get a chance to use it she had pulled one of her
throwing axes out of her belt. Baynar snatched it up from where Amber
had dropped it and hacked at the Mound but, if anything, had less effect
with the axe then the with his sword.
Things were looking direr by the moment. The Shambling Mound attacking
Baldric had the Luck-Bringer totally on the defensive. Amber was trapped
again and, despite a near constant barrage of sword blows and magical
darts, the third Mound was still engulfing Primrose. To make things worse
it was clear that Primrose’s struggling was getting weaker and more
sporadic, she wouldn’t last much longer. I called upon Silvanus
again and intoned a powerful prayer, one I had only ever used once before
and never in such a way. Life and growth are part of the Cycle of Life
but so is death and decay and I directed that power at the Shambling Mound.
In a fraction of a second it blackened and liquefied, rotting away to
nothing and releasing it’s victim. Now Primrose was safe Josh turned
his attention to the Mound attacking Baldric and tried, unsuccessfully,
to paralyses it as I had done.
Running low on useful spells Faergil darted up to the Mound attacking
Baldric and stabbed at it with his dagger. The blow didn’t harm
the Mound but did distract it enough for Baldric to dash over to where
Primrose laid and heal some of her injuries. Colatto moved over the join
Baynar (who had by now swapped back to using his sword) in attacking the
Mound that still had Amber. Their blows must have weaken it as, a moment
later, Amber was able to once again rip herself free. Seeing an opening
as the Shambling Mound tried to pull itself together I moved in and placed
a hand firmly against its clammy, spongy flesh. The power that so often
healed my friends can also destroy in equal measure. The Shambling Mound
shuddered in pain and for the first time I noticed that it had broad,
crude features, not unlike a Treant but lacking the latter’s inner
light of wisdom. A moment later is went still and then to collapse in
Free once again and spitting mad Amber snatched up her swords and charged
at the remaining Shambling Mound. She had time to deliver two heavy blows
before the Mound sunk back into the ground and seemed to flow away from
her and the battle; she had driven it off.
Not wanting to remain where we were we gathered our wits and pushed off
into the Dark Watch once more. While washing the slime off of Primrose
Bazil made a nasty discovery, the water he was carrying (indeed all our
water) had become stagnant and rank. This was nothing compared to Baldric’s
discovery as he went through the group to see to our wounds; Feyondra
was missing! No one could remember seeing her since the fight with the
Shambling Mounds, could she have been engulfed by a forth Mound so quickly
we didn’t notice? It seemed unlikely but what was the alternative,
that she had wandered away form the group either by accident or purposefully?
That seemed just as unlikely. Amber quickly turned to retrace our steps
to the site of the attack only to discover she didn’t know where
that was. Quickly she and Colatto examined the terrain but had to concede
that the spongy layer of decaying matter through which we had trudged
since sunrise retained no sign of our passage. Surrounded by the featureless
mist and cut of from the sun we could only guess how far and how long
we had travelled since the fight. If we were going to find Feyondra it
would have to be via the Art or by Divine means. Over the next thirty
minutes Colatto, Baldric and myself tried and failed to divine her location,
the location of her equipment, of the Shambling Mounds and even Amber’s
lost hand-axe (abandoned at the scene of the fight) all to no avail. When
these measures failed we had to face the unpleasant question of whether
we should commit to an extensive search of the area to find Feyondra or
give up on her and continue on to the heart of The Dark Watch. The argument
that followed was a bitter one that split The Company. Most, particularly
Amber and myself, wanted to press on, to reach The Legacy of Srinshee
before The Drow did. Primrose and Colatto were determined that we use
every available means to find Feyondra, Colatto in particular refused
to take a step until he had reviewed every spell in his and Faergil’s
possession. As the argument dragged on and on it became more bitter and
personal. Old slights and new frustrations were dragged out and aired.
Only Bazil had enough sense to keep out of it all together though I bit
my tongue pretty early on. Under any other circumstance I would have applauded
Primrose and Colatto’s dogged loyalty but now it just made me angry;
couldn’t they see the stakes we were playing for, the lives that
would be lost if we didn’t stay focused on our goal? My anger and
impatience almost clouding my judgement altogether and I caught myself
seriously considering striking out on my own, particularly when I discovered
that The Lens could see through the mist. Looking back now I should have
anticipated Primrose’s stance based on how she reacted to Colatto’s
death in The Lost Vale. That time The Tears of Tymora literally made her
wish come true but on this occasion she was as helpless and frustrated
as the rest of us.
After I don’t know how long we started on our way again. The lingering
resentment of the argument did nothing to ease an already difficult journey.
Hungry and thirsty we ate as we walked after I called upon the power of
Silvanus to purify our supplies that had been corrupted by exposure to
the dark atmosphere of The Dark Watch.
As we had been pushing our way through the Dark Watch Brother Baldric
had taken up position at the rear. Due to the thick mist the people at
the front of our little expedition couldn’t see the people at the
back and visa-versa. For most of the journey Baldric had been running
through his repertoire of songs; drinking songs, war songs, The Cormyrian
national anthem, etc, so we would know he was still there. Suddenly the
Luck-Bringer was cut off in mid verse. Turning about we saw Baldric by
hauled towards the foot of a tree by a vine noose about his neck. Reacting
quickly Faergil used the Art to fire an arrow of acid at the vine but
it seemed to have no effect. Baynar dashed to Baldric’s side but
was only able to make one slash at the vine before the priest was yanked
by the neck up into the air. Baldric was now suspended with his feet some
ten feet above the ground by a noose presumably cast by the same type
of murderous tree that had tried to consume Colatto the night before.
Even as Baynar looked up another vine sped down towards him and the knight
only avoided the same fate as Baldric through quick use of his shield.
Amber heaved her second hand-axe at the vine in an attempt to finish what
Baynar had started but missed. Colatto was more effective however when
by the Art he hurled a ball of fire up into the branches. The effect was
immediate; an agonised roar filled the air as the branches caught alight.
The vine holding Baldric went limp and he plunged to the, thankfully soft,
We didn’t travel much further after that. The day’s travel
had been exhausting, cold and draining of both body and spirit. Although
Amber knew our ultimate destination she didn’t know the route and
again and again during the day we had been forced to backtrack or taken
the long way around. By the time the sunlight began to fade we had walked
a great distance to get as far as we had. Once again we were faced with
the unenviable choice of either trying to sleep in the claustrophobic
ground mists or spend the night standing. It was Baynar who suggested
that, once again, we try the sleep in a tree. After Baldric “tested”
a likely looking tree with Twin-Death to make sure it wasn’t dangerous
Bazil, Primrose, Colatto, Josh and Faergil climbed up into its branches.
Despite my talons I have no real talent for climbing trees so instead
took the form of an owl and flew up to roost on a limb. While the tree
didn’t appear dangerous it was clearly not health; in places its
blackened bark was turning to slime and the white, living wood inside
was exposed like bones from a festering wound. The tree was literally
rotting alive. Baynar, Baldric and Amber decided that tree climbing was
not for them, though I’m sure that even in her elven chain Amber
would have been strong and agile enough join us, and spent the night sleeping
propped up against the trees trunk.
It was sometime during the night when most of us were awakened by a sound
of something large moving through the forest. With my owl’s eyes
I’m sure that I was the only one of The Company who could make out
the hulking form of what looked like a Treant moving amongst the trees.
I considered and rejected the idea of trying to make contact with the
mighty Tree-Herder; I did not what to imagine what effect life in The
Dark Watch could have on such a powerful being. Instead I watched it until
it was out of sight, ready to warn the others if it looked to be coming
our way. We had barely begun to settle down again when a black, foul smelling
mass fell on to Colatto. It transpired that, while we had been making
our unusual camp, Colatto had torn a few pages from one of Lord Worren’s
spell books and, using it like a scroll, summoned an Invisible Stalker.
He had sent the elemental being to find Feyondra and guide her back if
she was alive or bring him her body if she were dead. It had brought back
her corpse. In the light of Colatto’s light stone, diffused through
the mist, Feyondra’s remains were a nightmarish sight. It looked
like they had been decomposing for months rather then hours but despite
the putrefaction it was possible to recognise the features of the woman
who had travelled and fought with us for the last few Rides. Colatto and
Baynar set to the grizzly task for burying the War Wizard’s remains.
Somehow we managed to get enough sleep during the night for Faergil and
the priests to go some way to renew their Divine Favour and relearn spells,
though none of us had the time to do so fully. Food was running very low
but Amber retrieved a good, fortifying wine from Faergil’s Portable
Hole. Our food was not the only thing to be suffering in the unhealthy
atmosphere of The Dark Watch. My companions’ wounds, though only
minor, were starting to fester and Baldric spent a few minutes using his
training in the Healers’ arts as well as the power of Tymora to
Without much enthusiasm we continued our journey. Early on Amber told
us that she now thought that the heart of The Dark Watch was closer then
she had first thought Though I could not have believed it possible the
day before the landscape of the Dark Watch actually became grimmer as
we travelled through that second morning. Everywhere we looked was death;
the trees that stood upright were dying almost before our very eyes and
the ground was littered with dead tree trunks like bodies on a fresh battlefield.
At some point on the second day in The Dark Watch, time seemed to have
lost all meaning but I think it was before noon, we became aware of figures
ahead of us in the mist. At first we could only make out basic details
through the ever-present fog. They were eight in number and, judging by
their heights, mostly humans but with at least one elf and a hobbit. They
had their weapons drawn but then so did we. It was two of the weapons
that first gave their identity away I think, one was blazing with a blue
flame the other with a rosy-pink flame. They could only be The Mage’s
Blade and The Lover’s Blade. The figures moving purposefully towards
us…were us. Yet that realisation was nothing compared to what greeted
us as they came walking, ready for battle out of the mists. I saw Amber,
Primrose, Colatto, Josh, Brother Baldric, Faergil Baynar and myself, as
we would look if we had crawled out of our own graves. The eight ruined,
decaying apparitions before us were undead!
The words of Colatto -
Normally I let Thorn speak his version of the truth on events
that have since passed, but sometimes, the truth as others see it needs
to be aired as well. I hope that you can understand that this is only
my viewpoint, which is just as valid as Thorns, and just as valid as yours.
My first disagreement with Thorn, is regarding the tree climbing. Yes
I objected to sleeping in a tree, pointing out to all and sundry that
it is nigh on impossible to rest on a branch that is less than a quarter
the width of some-ones back. However, it wasn’t until much later
in the journey that the disagreement took place, not at the time of the
My attempt at climbing the tree (and the subsequent attack) was a desire
to see above the fog, which was providing good ground cover for anything
sneaking in on our position. Thorn fails to mention that.
I am grateful to Amber for giving me a boot though; something Thorn and
myself now have in common (both being given the boot by Amber, one literally,
The attack by the ‘Shambling Mounds’ was as horrific as it
was unexpected. To see your friends consumed by a bush, would in other
circumstances be vaguely amusing and a source of merriment for some time,
but when your fighting for your life it’s a different matter.
To see Primrose snatched from our midst was heart wrenching. She is perhaps
one of the truest people in the company, and one whose opinion is valued
highest in my regard (bet you didn’t know that did you? Basil is
a fool when it comes to that Lady.)
Even without Primrose’s opinion, when it was discovered that Feyondra
was missing, I was bitterly disappointed with the reactions of the group.
To so casually dismiss someone after a token effort leaves a bitter taste
in my mouth. To discover that people couldn’t spare a half hour
for a travelling companion, someone who was prepared to go into the unknown
with you is a real wake up call. Callous and cruel in fact, the assumption
being that they’d abandon anyone who they thought ‘wasn’t
worth the effort’. I came out of my self-imposed retirement as a
wizard (did Thorn not tell you I’d retired? thought not….)
to cast what magics I could to help locate her, to no avail.
To listen to people you consider friends argue against trying to save
someone is quite galling, though the longer I think about it, the less
I am surprised by it. These are the same people that are supposedly against
slavery, yet when I came to rule in Nimpeth, they counselled against doing
anything about the slavery situation there.
In my mind, that’s either double standards, or cowardice of conviction.
And I know which one I believe it to be.
Even the ones praised by Thorn ‘for having the sense to stay silent’;
don’t they have the courage to speak up? To speak their mind? Cowards.
But I shan’t dwell on it, I now know what action to take should
a similar situation occur and that is enough for me.
Till next time.
Colatto McLean Carrifer
I used the following references:
Volos Guide to the Dalelands - Info on the Darkwatch
Cormanthyr - Background information on Semberholme
Eliminster Ecologies - Flora and Fauna of Cormanthor.
The journey into the woods was easy, and I had no intention of slowing
things down with an exploration of Semberholme.
Thorn cast Commune with Nature, which gave an idea of what was within
6 miles of him.
The Darkwatch itself has an entry in the Guide to the Dalelands,
but I expanded on it. It is a thoroughly nasty place (though if you look
close enough you might find Yoda there) - though it isn't really swampy,
The trees were 'Hangman Trees' - big ones, and thoroughly nasty too.
The encounter with the Shambling Mounds was also bad for the company -
those things are dangerous! Loadso HPs, decent AC, 2-16 per hit, and a
danger of suffication. And of course reduced damage from weapons. Ouch!
The argument with about Feyondra was a bit grim - and, playing Primrose
as an NPC, I'm no doubt to blame for it. But, that's Primrose for you.
She's loyal, emotional, and a bit nervous (with a strong heart) of course.
The Darkwatch freaked her big time. Though not mentioned by Nick, she
was definitely much closer to Bazil, sharing his infinite bravery no doubt.
As you can see from Colatto's (Roy's) additional write-up, the argument
was a contentious one...
Nick made the right descision NOT speaking to the Treant...
Lastly the game had a particulary funny moment right at the end.
As the visages of the 'other' company came out of the mist, Baldrick (Darrell)
realising that they were also the Company of the Silver Coin, said 'Don't
attack them' or words to that effect. Followed by his reasoning, summed
up in one word - "Timetravel!" numerous Bill and Ted, Delorian
and Flux Capacitor japes ensued....
Return to Journey...