[23:25] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Anyway, soon the tunnel ends in a large iron gate that has been constructed to block the passage, though it would easily be large enough to accomodate the wagons if opened.
[23:25] <Dark_T_Zeratul> A pair of heavily armored humans flank it. It is impossible to tell their gender, but both are quite large.
[23:26] * Gurrard[WzRg] sneaks back into the wagon once he sees it isn't a raid party.
[23:26] * Leardon is busy reading his book, turning page after page. "And this calls for...that's an ingredient? I would not have considered that."
[23:27] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The caravan stops in front of the gate, and the driver converses a bit with the guards in an unfamiliar language.
[23:27] * Gurrard[WzRg] glances at the page Leardon's talking about.
[23:27] <Tol_Sigurn[Rng]> "I wonder what humans are doing down here."
[23:28] * Shin ends his prayers and looks up, but chooses not to say anything. He hasn't said much since they entered the Underdark. He's been a little subdued lately.
[23:28] * Leardon looks over at Gurrard, and adjusts the book to let him see. "This drink...requires the essence of a dying fey. This sounds rather..strange. Are there evil fey in the world, though?"
[23:28] <Leardon> "It would seem odd to extract something from them as they die."
[23:28] [Zigil[Ftr]] "Down here isn't far from the surface. Feels like we're pretty close to topside."
[23:30] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Hmmm..."
[23:30] * Gurrard[WzRg] shrugs
[23:30] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "I would assume there could be evil fey. Never met one, though. Praise the Gods."
[23:31] <Leardon> "Here, look at this." Turning a page back, he points to two creatures, one looks pretty, the other kinda fkn scary, showing a wizard extract something from them in a bottle. "Krastinov suggests drinking this distillation will help focus your magical channeling processes with greater potential, but must be wary for side effects."
[23:31] <Leardon> "I was hoping to make some, but the ingredients...well, to say the least, kinda surprise me."
[23:32] <Leardon> "AND Some of these ingredients sound nothing like what I normally have."
[23:32] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Surprised by something in magic? The horror!"
[23:33] <Leardon> "No, surprised they need to kill it and drain from it as it dies."
[23:34] * Leardon sighs. "Father Frostbone would think I am silly to panick over something dying, even at this point in my life."
[23:34] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Well, they probably wouldn't let you extract it while they're alive."
[23:35] <Leardon> "Well I'll just have to research it more."
[23:35] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Soon you find yourselves moving again.
[23:36] * Leardon looks up at the others, who always seem to not talk whenever he talks about the crazy little things in his craft. "What do any of you think?"
[23:36] <Dark_T_Zeratul> You pass through the massive iron gates, which are quickly shut behind you, and travel a short ways more down the tunnel before emerging into a large cavern that reminds you of nothing more than a military encampment.
[23:37] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Men and women, many fully armed, walk around between the small wood and stone buildings. Fires burning all over the cavern provide a great deal of light.
[23:38] <Tol_Sigurn[Rng]> [hurray!]
[23:38] * Leardon starts making a quick visual check for holy symbols!
[23:38] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Those that are not armored are bundled up in heavy woolen cloaks; it's cold down here, yes, but something suggests that these people are used to a much warmer climate than you've come from.
[23:39] <Dark_T_Zeratul> There's a small variety of holy symbols, but by far the most common is that of Kord.
[23:39] * Leardon see Pelor?
[23:40] <Dark_T_Zeratul> One or two.
[23:40] <Shin> (Do I see St. Cuthbert?)
[23:40] * Leardon suddenly puts his satchel into Gurrard's hands "Hold this."
[23:40] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Just one.
[23:40] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Many of them either aren't wearing holy symbols or don't have them visible.
[23:41] * Leardon starts quickly removing his robe, stuffing the robe into it neatly and calmly this time, so it looks normal and he just looks like some crafter.
[23:41] * Gurrard[WzRg] hides it under his cloak.
[23:41] * Leardon then takes his satchel/pack back. "Many thanks Gurrard."
[23:41] <Dark_T_Zeratul> A few of the people in the cavern are gnomes or dwarves, but most are very large humans.
[23:41] * Gurrard[WzRg] hands it back quickly.
[23:41] * Leardon meant his big backpack thingy, where he hides stuff.
[23:43] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The caravan moves to a fenced in area off to the side surrounded by guards. There are a few more similar areas nearby.
[23:44] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Once you stop, one of the gnomes comes around to your wagon.
[23:44] * Leardon greets them warmly!
[23:45] <Dark_T_Zeratul> "Don't worry, this is normal. They just need to check to make sure we're not any sort of a threat. Lots of bad things can come out of the Underdark, you know."
[23:45] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Ah, okay."
[23:45] * Gurrard[WzRg] hopes his daggers are hidden as well as he thinks they are.
[23:45] <Dark_T_Zeratul> A tall man in robes walks over, seemingly in a trance.
[23:48] * Leardon watches him..but can't help to still ponder on that red section of the ALchemical works.
[23:49] <Dark_T_Zeratul> He slowly encircles the entire caravan. When he gets back to the back, where you are, he blinks, then nods to one of the guards and walks away.
[23:51] * Leardon sighs a bit in relief, mind now whizzing with thoughts
[23:51] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] wonders what that was about.
[23:51] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The guard sheathes his sword, then removes his helmet. "You are clear. You will remain here overnight, as is standard procedure. In the morning you may continue on to the surface. Food can be got in that building, there." He points.
[23:51] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] hops out and stretches his legs before heading off for chow.
[23:52] <Dark_T_Zeratul> "We will now be doing a cursory search of your wagons. Feel free to wander around, stretch, and eat while we do. It will take about two hours."
[23:52] * Leardon follows Tol, backpack strapped along his back as he hums.
[23:54] * Gurrard[WzRg] makes sure everything is stuffed in his sack before he gets out to stretch.
[23:54] <Gurrard[WzRg]> Where exactly are we?
[23:54] <Dark_T_Zeratul> As you walk around the encampment, you see many wooden posts topped with crystals scattered around.
[23:54] * Leardon looks at them...and ponders!
[23:55] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The crystals are in a few different colors.
[23:56] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Hmmm..."
[23:56] * Gurrard[WzRg] walks up to the crystals and inspects them carefully.
[23:57] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The svirfneblin quickly scatter themselves throughout the camp, several going to get food, some chatting with the gnomes or dwarves amongst them, others just plopping themselves down by one of the fires and talking.
[23:57] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The crystals seem to be secured by a small iron clasp.
[23:58] * Leardon just grabs food, and stays quiet, reading his book
[23:58] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The food is actually not bad.
[23:58] <Dark_T_Zeratul> At the very least, it's hot.
[23:58] <Dark_T_Zeratul> And it's rather more meat than you've had in quite some time.
[23:58] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] talks to other humans in the mess hall
[00:01] * Gurrard[WzRg] finishes inspecting the crystals and begins walking around the camp, observing.
[00:01] <Dark_T_Zeratul> They're soldiers in the army of Pharis, and they've been assigned to protect the exit out of the Underdark.
[00:01] * Shin moves over to get a bite to eat. But doesn't say anything.
[00:03] * Leardon just keeps his eyes on the book.
[00:11] * Gurrard[WzRg] then eats and passes the time.
[00:12] <Dark_T_Zeratul> At the other end of the camp from where you came, there's another set of iron doors. Presumably these lead up to the surface.
[00:13] <Dark_T_Zeratul> After a few hours of wandering around camp, the doors open and you hear an anguished scream issue from them.
[00:14] * Leardon looks over, grabbing his axe
[00:14] * Gurrard[WzRg] is already checking it out.
[00:14] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Two guards march through, dragging a third man between them. There is a look of pure terror on his face and he's continuously screaming, "No! No, let me go, let me go! I'm sorry! I'll pay whatever you ask! I'll submit myself to slavery! Anything! Oh, please, let me go!"
[00:14] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The guards continue dragging him towards the tunnel you entered from.
[00:15] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] calls out "What has he done?"
[00:15] <Dark_T_Zeratul> "Murder."
[00:15] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Mutters one of the guards.
[00:15] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Oh. Eh."
[00:15] * Gurrard[WzRg] shrugs
[00:15] <Dark_T_Zeratul> "He has been sentenced to banishment to the Underdark," says the other.
[00:16] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The man's screams continue to echo from the tunnel. Then there is a dull and distant CLANG of metal, and the screams are sharply cut off.
[00:16] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The guards reemerge soon after and silently leave the way they came.
[00:16] * Leardon watches...then pales, going back to hiding under his book, not daring looking up
[00:16] * Shin walks over to them, "...A fitting punishment. If he was guilty, of course."
[00:17] <Dark_T_Zeratul> "The judge decreed it to be so."
[00:18] <Shin> "If the judges decree be true then may St. Cuthbert bring torment suffering upon his soul in this word and the next."
[00:18] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The guard nods silently as he exits through the gates, which are closed behind him.
[00:19] <Leardon> "....That is a cold suggestion, Shin. One would normally wish them peace and perhaps to repent."
[00:19] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] rolls his eyes at Shin's pronouncement.
[00:19] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "They'll have plenty of time to repent in the Underdark."
[00:19] <Leardon> "He will. And we should feel sorry for him."
[00:19] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Besides, there's plenty of cracks they can sneak back onto the surface from... if he's smart enough to find them."
[00:20] * Leardon takes a bite of meat. "I have seen people killed in the name of justice for less. To me, the concept of "justice" blurs with "Zealotry" in some cases."
[00:22] * Shin raises his eyebrows ambivalently, "The guilty must suffer. But, you are correct. The pursuit of justice can lead one into guilt."
[00:22] * Leardon chew chew swallow page turn. "I have yet to see those paladins feel guilt."
[00:24] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Paladins?"
[00:24] * Gurrard[WzRg] shudders
[00:24] <Shin> "Do not judge them. Their gods do that for you."
[00:25] [Zigil[Ftr]] "...Find that just about everyone should be judged. Glad no one's around what feels up to the task."
[00:25] <Leardon> "I'll put this bluntly so that you may understand, shin." He lowers his voice, staring with nearly a scowl. "-Fuck- their gods. Mine doesn't try to send people to kill me."
[00:25] * Leardon goes back to his book, hiding back under it's words
[00:26] <Shin> "It's okay to be afraid, Leardon. I most certainly have been afraid of some of the things we have done."
[00:26] * Leardon doesn't respond to Shin, glaring at the book.
[00:30] * Shin looks around, "What I would give for a mug of milk right now. Oh well."
[00:31] <Dark_T_Zeratul> A nearby guard grunts and jerks his thumb in the direction of the mess.
[00:32] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] is carousing with off-duty soldiers
[00:32] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The female ones do not seem particularly interested in your usual brand of carousing.
[00:32] * Gurrard[WzRg] returns to the mess hall.
[00:36] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] inquires about the region above. Nearby cities, caravan trails, that sort of thing.
[00:36] <Dark_T_Zeratul> He really can't.
[00:38] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Directly above is the city of Kerthis, one of the larger market cities of the Pharis Imperium. They are all too happy to tell you how great and wonderful it is.
[00:39] <Dark_T_Zeratul> They rattle off several other cities of Pharis.
[00:40] <Tol_Sigurn[Rng]> [can we fast forward a bit then?]
[00:42] <Dark_T_Zeratul> After several more hours, the caravan driver finds you and tells you it's time to go.
[00:42] * Gurrard[WzRg] gladly hops in, ready to return to civilization at last.
[00:42] * Leardon climbs in, holding his pack, still reading
[00:42] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The guards open the gates for you, and the wagons all head through a tunnel with a noticeable incline.
[00:43] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Eventually, you come at last to another gate. The driver hands some papers to the guards. They inspect them, and then open it.
[00:44] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Bright sunlight pours in, nearly blinding you; it's been quite some time since you've seen the sun.
[00:44] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The other thing you notice is that it's very hot and dry. [
[00:45] * Gurrard[WzRg] squints, hard.
[00:45] <Gurrard[WzRg]> "Of all the times not to bring my warm weather outfit..."
[00:46] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] looks around at the terrain.
[00:46] <Dark_T_Zeratul> You can also hear the noise and bustle of a busy city, and after a few minutes, when your eyes adjust to the light, the caravan emerges from a small cleft in the rock leading down to the gates.
[00:46] * Leardon puts his hat on, hissing at the sunlight
[00:47] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Outside, tall buildings made of a tan-colored stone rise above a vast number of market stalls and wagons.
[00:47] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Your own caravan moves over to an open area near the edge and stops.
[00:48] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Most of the svirfneblin are bundled up and wearing sungoggles.
[00:53] * Leardon is grumbling, not enjoying the heat
[00:53] * Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr} is doing better then leardon but still is feeling like being in an oven being baked
[00:54] * Gurrard[WzRg] wipes the sweat off his brow.
[00:54] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The svirfneblin, noticing this, immediately direct you to where you can purchase the appropriate protective clothing.
[00:54] * Leardon nods, thanking them
[00:55] <Leardon> "Oh by the Lady what I would not give for another shift in our Lover's Eternal Bond Storage.."
[00:55] <Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr}> "Ok as far as i'm concerned I don't want to know..."
[00:56] * Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr} buys one and properly put it on hoping that it helps in this heat
[00:56] * Leardon looks over, frowning. "Our departed followers are frozen, Justin. We make sure they are preserved in their last moments. It is how we honor them. An immortal smile."
[00:56] * Gurrard[WzRg] buys two.
[00:56] <Tol_Sigurn[Rng]> [it won't make you less hot, but it will keep you from dehydrating. Or so I'm told.]
[00:56] <Dark_T_Zeratul> It weighs 3lbs.
[00:57] * Zigil[Ftr] gets an outfit as well.
[00:57] <Leardon> "The rooms were surrounded by a winterish like spell. Made it feel like you walked into a hollowed out glacier."
[00:57] <Dark_T_Zeratul> It'll protect you while walking around the market, anyway. It's clearly insufficient for trekking out across the desert sands, though.
[00:57] * Gurrard[WzRg] puts the other one in his pack, then transfers it to his "sack" once we have a room.
[00:57] * Leardon takes it, none the less
[00:57] <Dark_T_Zeratul> All around you, merchants hawk exotic goods.
[00:58] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Several profess to be selling rare and valuable magical artifacts from far-off lands.
[00:58] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] tries a lizard on a stick.
[00:58] * Shin seems to be handling this weather change just fine but he follows them anyway and buys a headdress for men that is supposed to help keep the sun off your head and neck.
[00:58] <Dark_T_Zeratul> It tastes a lot like chicken, actually.
[00:58] <Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr}> "Let's put it sometimes you creap me out Leardon and the heat did or is getting to me"
[00:59] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] hands one to Justin "Try this!"
[00:59] * Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr} does at tol insitance
[01:00] <Justin-Oakenleaf[Clr}> "Wow tastes like good cooked chicken!"
[01:00] * Gurrard[WzRg] browses the shops.
[01:00] * Shin tries to find a food merchant. Hopefully one who deals with milk and sweet tasting cheeses.
[01:00] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Most of the "rare and valuable magical artifacts" are clearly worthless. Fancy-looking, but worthless.
[01:00] <Dark_T_Zeratul> To one who has experience at that sort of thing, of course.
[01:00] * Leardon just gets meat as well, eating it ravenously.
[01:01] <Dark_T_Zeratul> You find a merchant selling goat's milk.
[01:01] <Dark_T_Zeratul> And cheese made from it.
[01:01] * Gurrard[WzRg] thinks, of course the real good stuff wouldn't be out in the open. Too much business.
[01:02] * Tol_Sigurn[Rng] stocks up on some more Ironwood sap and Quicksprout seeds. He's unimpressed with paying the price for items the vendor considers exotic in the desert.
[01:02] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Lots of strange-looking yet quite flavorful nots and fruits are for sale at cheap prices. Most of the familiar-looking food is hideously expensive.
[01:02] * Leardon looks for an Apothecary.
[01:03] * Gurrard[WzRg] stocks up on these strange foods.
[01:03] <Dark_T_Zeratul> You eventually find one, Leardon.
[01:04] * Leardon sighs, figuring he would not find one at all, and sees about supplies, books on new items, and if they require any aid in certain work.
[01:05] * Shin buys a pitcher of milk and a large hunk of the cheese and walks back to the others, "Do any of you want any? We haven't been eating as well as we should."
[01:05] <Dark_T_Zeratul> He's trying very hard to sell you useless and common things at outrageous prices, but he has a few useful things as well.
[01:09] <Dark_T_Zeratul> Overall, it's different, but not that much different than other markets you've been to.
[01:09] * Gurrard[WzRg] looks around for a guide.
[01:10] <Dark_T_Zeratul> The best you can find is someone who offers to sneak you into the magistrate's palace and guide you to his favored mistress, all for a price that seems far, FAR too good to be true.