Valeska Gale's Journal

Following a cue from Findel, Valeska has also decided to record her trials and tribulations in their shared D&D campaign. Valeska Gale is a bard turned cleric (though still certainly a bard) of some moderate power, who choses to explore and learn (with some occasional looting) rather than join some stuffy church.

Sunday, June 08, 2008



Is this thing still on?

My writing skills are getting rather rusty at best. I really need to fill you guys in on what we've been adventuring against.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wha! Who! Huh?!

Hey there's my quill, it went missing for a couple years. Who'd have thought I would have found it there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Pfft...blank post, won't go away, how annoying.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Why I agree to some things I'll never know, guess I'm a pushover. Somehow I've become far more involved in this situation than I ever wanted. The only thing I can think of is divine intervention, and why Denita wants me involved is beyond me; maybe she owes a favor to the god of luck. In any case, on with my chronicle.

The day started with a fine breakfast, and we offered Sylgen and Nitly a half a share each in our adventuring band. Adventuring band, that sounds so silly, we really need to find a name for ourselves. They rather greedily accepted, which only proves to me their desperation. I have high hopes for Nitly (though I do wonder if his mother didn't drop him one too many times), but that Silgen fellah still has me worried. To quote my old guardian on his comments about some of the more "rowdy" people we met, "he just ain't right." We also made contact again with Mahntar and Fatoxhxj and offered them their usual price. They agreed rather readily, and seemed to like the idea that after this fiasco was finished, we'd head back to the keep to clean it out and set up shop.

After my morning efforts, I went back to the gambling house and was able to make contact with Willart, the Detective from the local constabulary, I must say that he must have been happy with the information I gave him prior about the potter, seeing how he was quite willing to set up a meeting with me (though I must say he is quite skilled at burring meanings, I wonder if any of the others could understand us if given the opportunity to listen in. But I digress, back to the situation at hand.

I spent the rest of my day (of which there was very little) wandering the town trying to get a handle on the temple offerings in town. Curiously the place is like a maze, and the temple districts seem to be scattered all over town (with a smattering of about a half dozen in close proximity here and there). I was able to find a few temples which I believe will be appropriate if we need to raise Tamil, though I hope somebody has the coin, I certainly don't have any to spend on his behalf.

That evening we planned on meeting Willart for dinner, and I had the first (and albeit, the most appropriate by far) opportunity to use my fantastic silverware. Sylgen in all his belching glory was virtually unable to, and actually kept his cool during a rather carefully planned meeting. It was fantastic! I should also mention for my own reminder that Judas came to me with "an opportunity he thought I might be very interested in," but he also indicated that he'd pass on more details later. I'll have to think about this one.

Willart didn't pass on tons of quality information, but he did give us what we needed, a foundation of what was happening, rather than stumbling blindly as we have. Seems as if Hubin left town about four days ago with his hired sorcerer and his band of cronies. His travel direction was in the direction of Strea'Tarl, and he's expected to head to another property in Shen-tine. My guess at this point is that he is more or less out of the picture for the time being, and we should treat him as such. Willart is certain that Hubin wouldn't hand off Tamil to his underdark contacts, but instead would chose to trade or sell him to a friend or acquaintance that didn't have a vested interest in his life (seeing how Tamil knew too much). That of course is how the Orcs and Hobgoblins wearing black armor with red trim fit in. Seems as if they're named the Bama's Peak Mercenaries (named for an individual named Bama Peak, not a mountain from my understanding) and they are under the employ of somebody else (of whom Hubin may have connections). This band rarely enters town, but even more curiously, is a highly trained mercenary band that focuses on training rather than brute strength (which I gather works rather well for them). Intensely loyal and disciplined, from my understanding they would eat us alive if we're not careful. Signs point that these people are the ones holding, and torturing until dead, Tamil.

Unfortunately there was a price for this information (though I must say it's the most interesting price to date). There's a game in town called Fox and Hounds, which in essence pits a Fox (usually a convicted criminal) against three trained Hounds (usually bounty hunters and the like that do it for the prestige). The fox is given three days to merely survive, and the rest of the town takes bets on every situation imaginable. Sounds like our job (within the next two weeks or so) will be to keep the Hounds out of the game (through whatever means necessary).

The next morning I had a brainstorm, and approached the group with a series of Auguries available to ask questions about Tamil. Though my first augury was poorly worded (hey, what do you expect, I don't perform them every day), we found out the most critical piece of information so far, Tamil is being held at an old Dwarven Redoubt somewhere Northwest of here. The next thing we discovered was that if a rescue attempt was tried in the next ten minutes, there was a chance of success (and a chance of failure). Findella, Yanni, and Sylgen all decided to teleport in and do a split-second invisible rescue of Tamil. I wasn't there, but I hear it was a miserable failure, the room now acting as a trap. Though I think I should point out that the wording of my question is that Tamil has not been moved far from the original room, as I only gave them ten minutes to save him in my Augury.

With that idea a failure, we spend the rest of the day waiting for Judas, who agreed to go on an information gathering mission to find out the layout of the Redoubt. Yanni discovered that Tamil was moved, and continued to scribe teleport scrolls for those emergency situations (and considering one was already wasted today). I have no idea what the rest of the group decided to do, but I did a little research into construction companies to help rebuild the keep, and I asked Mahntar to find out a little about local mercenary bands that were trustworthy, and might make a good militia force.

That evening Judas brought us the unfortunate news, the Dwarven stronghold was exactly that, a stronghold, and by the looks of his drawings, quite the place. Build into a valley wall, the stronghold is closed by two mighty doors. There is an open courtyard that is flanked on three sides by the cliff faces, and one on a large stone wall (of Dwarven manufacture of course) containing a huge gate. This area was manned by a half dozen of the mercenaries, and Judas had no knowledge of the inner workings of the keep. It was at that point that I could feel the hearts of Yanni and Findella sink. Fortunately they realized exactly what they needed to see, that a full frontal assault on a defended position such as this would be suicide. Our options suddenly became much less viable.

A full frontal assault is now ruled out. A stealth entrance is still an option, but very difficult and extremely risky. Even then we'd need to find a way to teleport in the others, and I'm not sure Nitly has the vested interest to try that plan. Tracking an orc through the keep and surprising him is another option, but also dangerous considering Yanni is the one doing the scrying and he'd need to go. There was one other option, and I'm glad that Mahntar finally brought it up in conversation (I'm surprised it went over as well as it did).


Ahhh what a beautiful word, and one that I myself am always willing to try (and would have, but I didn't know enough at the time to consider it a real option). Of course when you look at our motley band, our negotiation options are a tad limited, and yours truly becomes the obvious choice for the job. So I swallowed my pride and agreed to do it. I figure that I've done things like it before, and with Yanni there in case of emergencies, we should be able to escape unharmed if needed (which satisfies my desire NOT to die for Tamil). I just need to find the right angle, and brush up on my hostage negotiation with mercenary bands, though I think I have an idea that I hope works.

Well back to figuring out HOW to initiate a meaningful dialogue with a mercenary band made of humanoids, and save Tamil unharmed, or maybe a little harmed, but who am I to complain?

Friday, October 17, 2003

Well…the last day has been far from quiet.

I met up with that Nitly fellah on the way back to my room after my performance. I was doing a little spotting to see where some things are. I think he may have been hit one too many times with the stupid stick. He told me that some middle-aged bald haired lanky guy gave him a passing comment of, “good luck getting Tamil from Hubin,” or something very similar. After describing him in detail to me (I had never heard of the guy), I decided that maybe we needed to do a little digging, and he did have a signet ring, and we may be able to discern his identity. What Nitly (that nitwit) seemed to forget was that he was holding a freakin’ skull shaped mask! After all our conversations about the “Skull Guy” getting Tamil, you’d have thought he’d have put two-and-two together.

Maybe it goes to tell you a thing or two about the Zhind street folk.

The next morning I decided to spend some time down at Sa-Ra-Ke, the local gambling house. Now this place is where the action is at. The people, the environment, the ambiance, it’s like a little piece of the Elysium right in Zhind. After some reasonably good luck at the wheel of numbers, I was able to get into a conversation with somebody who offered me some advice about Hubin. He would up being a local Inspector for the town, with some additional “ties” to other organizations.

He shared with me some interesting information about how Hubin operates, and his real “place” in town. Hubin tends to deal in rare drow artifacts (and is understandably “important” to the functioning of Zhind because of this) as well as one of a handful of slave traders. Seems as if there are at least 6 innocents gone missing because of his suspected actions. He didn’t mention any “non-innocents,” but I’d guess that there are plenty of them as well. Most interestingly, he gave me the name of a guard down at the West Slums Gate, and told me that he might have some more information. Something about asking about live animals. Key though to the conversation is that the Inspector didn’t think Hubin would a) risk leaving Tamil in his heavily guarded manor house, and b) that Tamil knew too much about him, and he wouldn’t risk sending him into the underdark, instead insisting on keeping tabs on him.

Later that day I met for dinner with Findella, Yanni, Nitly, and Silgen. Yanni seems back to his old self, wild eyed and a bit crazed. Findella wants to get Tamil out of his prison, to the point of suggesting an insane teleporting assault. Nitly still seems a bit air-headed, but I think it might be a ruse, though he finally told us that he was the member of a local protection racket. Seems as if they were wiped out today by a group of orcs and hobgoblins wearing black armor with red trim. As for that Silgen fellah, I think we need to keep any eye on him. I don’t want him out and about anymore; he’s a danger to all of us with his actions, as it seems that he can’t do anything but pick fights, which really will cause problems if we’re not careful.

After dinner Findella and I went and talked to Fox and Mantahr about Tamil’s old pack, and Fatoxja helping us get to the West Gate. They agreed to help, and asked about future “employment.” I think we’ll definitely take them up on the offer once we decide where we’re heading. Interestingly, Mantahr kept good care of Tamil’s pack (with rotting leg still in tact), and Fatoxja has enlisted the services of four local stone masons to help finish cleaning up the old Lich’s keep.

The next morning our trip to the gate was uneventful. My contact there told us that yesterday evening a group of Orcs and Hobgoblins wearing black armor with red piping. Seems they were transporting a crate with wild animals inside. Of course this is likely not true (as we were so informed), but the knocks on the crates didn’t seem to indicate a human presence. He said that they arrived just a few days ago.

So now we’re at an impasse. It seems as if Tamil’s not in town, but likely somewhere outside its walls, but not in the underdark (as Yanni’s finding the Urn Man indicated that the scrying was substantially more difficult in the underdark). Findella’s interested in rescuing Tamil with a blind teleport. Sometimes I wonder if she’s not more insane than Yanni. If she does that, I am not going with, I’ve done my bit to help save Tamil, and that does not include teleporting blind into a strange location. Well I guess I need a little while to digest my information, we’ll see what happens though. Until next time.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Well, Zhind’s not quite what I expected. All these Hobgoblins, Orcs, and other less…common…creatures seem to be a little more commonplace than anywhere I’ve been before.

Well now that I’m back I’ve been informed that Findel is hellsbent on getting Tamil. Yanni has done a little digging, and found out he’s being tortured by some Drow woman in a dark basement (or dungeon). Of course I’ve been asked to help. Really it's too bad for Tamil. Unfortunately, as much as I think he needs to learn from his mistakes, and atone for his actions I’ve agreed to help out my friends on a purely logistical basis.

Too bad we didn’t find much out. We have these two new additions to our ever growing group, this little weasel name Snidly, or Nitly, or some such, and a big brooding hulk named Silten or Silgen or the like. Now that I’ve had a few days with them, I’ve decided they’re an interesting couple. Nitly seems to be quiet and more reserved, but Silgen needs to calm down some, he has some serious anger management problems.

In any case, I was able to do a little carousing with the local bar folk, and set up a show in an effort to pull in more information. To bad that half-orc nitwit decided to start a bar fight during my set. I may have to have a conversation with him on that one, as I’m not even sure why I saved his lousy ass from getting beaten.

I did pull out the names of two local upper-class taverns and a gaming establishment from the crowds. Word is that Hubin tends to hang out in those areas, and the individuals who might be able to help me can be found there as well. We’ll see how the next couple of days go for information though.

Monday, September 22, 2003

So it’s time to tell you what really happened on my trip “home,” and to give you the beef on where not go for your romantic getaway.

While out and about in the city I happened to need some coinage, and dug around in my purse for some Varre. I found a note from Fatoxhxj, scribbled in his sprawling handwriting. It said (more or less) that if I were told that he was “off visiting friends” that I should assume that he was captured, and that if I wanted to “learn the truth about my homeland” that I should seek it out beneath the city streets. Of course, I wasn’t sure exactly what to think, but considering Fatoxhxj put his life on the line to bring me back to life, I would put mine on the line to find him.

After excusing myself from my cousin, I went exploring through the city’s multitude of parks to find some kind of sewer or utility tunnel entrance. My persistence paid off about an hour later when I found a lid leading to what looked like a service tunnel (fortunately it didn’t smell like sewer, I hate sewers). From here out I’m going to cut it short, details probably won’t interest you in the long run, and you’ll have to trust me when I say that the details aren’t important…what goes on in this wretched city is.

After walking a short while I came to a descending spiral staircase and a large side passage opening into a room. The room’s was easily fifty yards long, and about as many wide. Stacked, not standing, stacked, from floor to it’s fifteen foot ceilings was a sight that would have made anybody’s skin crawl (and if you’re reading this and not freaked out, we have to have a talk). Undead, skeletons, zombies and such were stacked from floor to ceiling. They looked at me with their cold eyes, fully aware that I was looking at them, but not responding in any aggressive manner. Suddenly it all began to make sense.

I explored in a little deeper and came across a truly macabre sight. Three stories deep of dead, nearly dead, or slightly dead creatures from all walks of the world. The fourth floor contained bizarre research rooms, complete with documentation involving the mutilation of living creatures in order to enhance their abilities. I took several documents for my own work, intent that someday I will do something to save these poor souls. I was also able to obtain the, albeit through more nefarious means, help of one of the guards in locating Fatoxhxj, he was on the fifth basement floor with the rest of the ‘live subjects.’

Well to cut it short (as I said I would), Fatoxhxj was on the bottom floor, along with what looked like a Drow with a huge tongue, and a modified ogre. There was also a truly beastly guard watching over the cells. Unfortunately for me, no matter how quiet I tried to be, he could smell me. Thinking quickly, I swapped out his uniform and armor to Fatoxhxj using a little bardic juju, and Fatoxhxj started working on unlocking his cell. This creature (I hesitate to call him a man), started attacking me, his maw transforming into that of a tiger, forgoing the use of his scimitar to instead bite at me. Fortunately, through the grace of Denita, we were able to beat him, and escape from this foul dungeon.

Fatoxhxj informed me to meet him at a beach, while he ran from town, and I ran back to get the remainder of my gear. I fabricated some cock-and-bull story of going out for a long walk, and left my Aunt, and her manor house for what I figure at this point is forever. Leaving town I saw some strange things that night (humans that appeared to be beasts of burden), and I wisely kept off the roads and steadily moved towards the beach. There I found Fatoxhxj’s gear, and a wonderfully designed campsite that didn’t look anything like Fat’s work. Would I be surprised though when I see him running towards down the beach with a few dozen of these creatures behind him, fighting the entire way. I yelled out to him, and he told me to get his portable moat ready. When he hit camp, we put it up, and Fatoxhxj started writing in the sand, while I tried to keep the enemy at bay.

Well, fortunately for us, Fatoxhxj had anticipated exactly this turn of events, and set up a message system to Yanni. After a grueling hour of assault, Yanni and Findel appeared miraculously in the area, and the fireballs and darkness went flying at these creatures. Yanni teleported us back to what I’ll now refer to as the “real world,” a sight I’ve never been so happy to see.

Fatoxhxj told me a little about what really was happening in my old home city. The undead were used to clean after hours; to keep the city in its full glory. He himself was slated to become one of these mutilations, and escaped at a young age (perhaps this explains a thing or two). Bringing me back there was true to his form, both compassionate and completely insane. For me, if I had let Fatoxhxj rot in that cell one more night I apparently would have been crowned Duchess, and had jewels and riches rained upon me. Small trade-off I say, the life of the person that saved me was worth losing the respect of people I now have no respect for myself.

Well not reunited with my friends, we’ll have to see what lies in store. Yanni has told me that Leena, and Co. have left for Ravenloft to save Savuud and Rudy. For both their sakes I hope they’re successful, but considering it’s Ravenloft, I’m not holding my breath, the stories I’ve heard would curdle your blood. Then there’s Tamil. Yanni’s been watching and says that he’s being tortured by a Drow priestess (why is it that people assume that all Drow are priestesses?) while being subsequently healed for another bout of torture. Findel’s intent on saving him, but I honestly have to wonder, if this isn’t some kind of Karma (you know, what goes around comes around). Of course I’ll have to think long and hard on this one. The group also seems to have brought on new help through an acquaintance named Kurt. Hells if I can remember their names, but one has to be the biggest half-orc I’ve ever seen. The other’s a little weasely elf fellow. Considering my latest bout with Elves, he’ll have to understand if I give him wide berth. We’ll have to see though, I think everybody’s planning on saving Tamil, and I’m still not sure…would he save me if the tides were turned?

Well, off to see a little Zind, I hear the place is very exciting, though I’ll bet the food will stink compared to what I’m used to.