The Quest

(autumn to mid-winter)

the 24th day of September

One day, in the autumn of the year 600 AD, six adventurers suddenly found themselves appearing in the centre of a town which they had never before beheld. Unbeknownst to these adventurers, a powerful Wizard named Raistlin, had caused them to arrive simultaneously at this point in time and space. They were quite an unusual and mixed lot of travelers, who, as though they were awakening from a dream, suddenly found themselves all seated together at a table in an establishment known locally as the Fire Ice Inn.

Finding themselves unexpectedly brought together in this bizarre manner, they introduced themselves. There was Bogus, a very strange and unpredictable human Rogue. Seated beside him was Conan, a human Warrior of great repute. Then there was Christina, the Peerless, a human Cleric. She found herself sitting beside another human, Hocus Pocus, a Wizard from the South. However, to her left was her twin sister Jeanny, also a Wizard, but alas, not human; rather an elf. She was quite lovely to behold, tall, willowy and graceful as elves do tend to be. Jeanny found herself sitting beside Robin, the Peerless, a most unusual and roguish gnome. At that time, Robin appeared to be a man. Only later did they all learn that Robin was a shape-shifter who would mysteriously transform him or herself back and forth into a male or female form. It took them quite a while to get used to this strange characteristic, but alas, in times of peril one learns to adjust rather quickly. Though still, it remained quite disconcerting to say the least, and not at all explicable. However, Robin's fellow adventurers did grow accustomed to this unusual behaviour of his/hers; though to this day they have remained confused as to why the female form invariably appears more intelligent and is quick to undo the often bumbling attempts of the male form to act with any wisdom.

Anyway, at that point, a waiter arrived and served them some poorly cooked and extremely greasy food. The adventurers were totally unaware at that time, that this waiter had been paid 50 pieces of gold by Raistlin to do so. After one taste, all declined to partake of this meal, except Bogus, who consumed every morsel in sight. Conan noticed 5 men seated at the bar and decided to go speak to them, trying to gather some information that could explain what had happened. However, all of them were too heavily into their cups, and though he asked each politely if they knew why the adventurers found themselves there in this manner, they all told him to leave them alone; in fact two of them even acted in a most unruly way.

At this point Conan noticed another man sitting alone at a table and thought to gain some information from him. However, it soon became apparent that the man in question was clearly insane. He continually rolled his neck, causing his head to spin around and strange mutterings came from his mouth. Christina went over to see what was happening and immediately detected magic, which fortunately Hocus Pocus was able to identify as originating in the necklace with a blue stone which the man was wearing. Upon learning this, Bogus immediately grabbed the necklace. However, the second he touched it, it seemed to exert its magical influence, and unable to control himself, he found he was putting it around his own neck and going insane in the exact same manner as the man from whose neck he had taken it. Robin, at that time in his male form, instantly understood what had occurred and decided to help Bogus by removing it from his neck, using the tip of a dagger, so as not to touch it himself and risk insanity. Unfortunately, Robin hurt Bogus with the dagger in his bumbling fashion, though Bogus, not seriously harmed, soon fully recovered.

Suddenly, with no warning, Robin shape-shifted before the adventurers' eyes into a lovely lady. None of them understood what had happened. But the female Robin proceeded to gracefully put the necklace into her pocket, sliding it in carefully with the tip of the dagger so as to avoid touching it, and fortunately with no harm to anyone, herself included. She appeared quite skilled compared to her male form.

the 8th day of October

The group of adventurers decided to try their luck outside. However, no sooner had they departed the Fire Ice Inn, but did Raistlin magically appear, commanding them one and all "Go to Gorvana House" and then instantly disappearing into thin air. Not knowing where Gorvana House was, they wandered in the town. Robin climbed a wall, saw a large building, and thinking it might be the place they were seeking, they all proceeded in that direction. However, it turned out to be a training centre for Warriors, and feeling quite at home there, Conan registered in a contest, where he proceeded to win 100 gold pieces, very much impressing the female twin Mage sisters, Hocus Pocus and Jeanny, as well as Christina and Robin, the female form, so short of stature was she, of course, as are all gnomes.

At that point, the group noticed a park with a fountain across the centre of town and decided to seek a short and pleasant respite there. Alas, it was not to be. For Bogus, in his unpredictable and untrustworthy fashion, tried to steal some coins from Conan, who then threw him into the fountain. Robin, who was in his male form at that time, though as previously mentioned, extremely short of stature, gallantly attempted to protect the female Wizards and the Cleric from witnessing such treachery.

However, Hocus Pocus, kind-hearted creature that she is, could not bear to witness Bogus' suffering and with no warning, reached into the fountain and pulled Bogus out. Considering that he had just acted in such an unimpeccable manner as to try to steal from Conan, none of the others knew what to expect from such a strange fellow as Bogus. Again, he proved to be very unpredictable, and graciously thanked Hocus Pocus with an extravagant gift of 500 gold pieces. By this time, all the adventurers had developed a fair sense of trust amongst themselves, with the exception of Bogus. They began to suspect that he might have an evil alignment. But would a truly evil chap so generously thank Hocus Pocus? This inexplicable behaviour of Bogus' continued to remain a mystery for many days to come.

the 22nd day of October

When all of the commotion had ended, the adventurers sighted the Palace and proceeded in that direction. Bogus stealthily climbed the Southeast wall with a rope, but upon seeing armed crossbowmen, he quickly descended by jumping. Robin, then in his male form, attempted to converse politely with the guard, but was ordered to leave the Palace grounds immediately. However, instead, he hid in the shadows, completely disappearing from Jeanny and Christina's sight. They naturally assumed he had gone to relieve himself in private. And when he did reappear, it was mysteriously, in the female form. This undoubtedly caused much speculation amongst the others as to what kind of underwear Robin wore, but all were too discreet to ask him/her. Jeanny tried her best to find any secret doors, detectable only to elves, but there were none. Hocus Pocus waited patiently nearby, as did Conan.

Christina suddenly felt that she was not in the right place and left the group, heading in the direction of the town's sewer. The stench was overpowering, almost making her ill, but fortunately not before she had detected magic in the vicinity. Hocus Pocus immediately left the Palace grounds to help Christina. Venturing into the depths of the slums, she saw many names on the poor people's houses, until finally, at the end of a seedy-looking alley, she saw "Gorvana House" written on the very last tenement building.

the 29th day of October

Meanwhile, Bogus, who had again behaved abominably to an old lady in order to gain a mere 5 gold pieces, had been arrested and imprisoned by a guard from the Palace. However, upon pushing a button which opened a trap door, he discovered secret thief writing which revealed to him the whereabouts of a great treasure, containing much gold and jewels, as well as various magical items, including a Ring of Invisibility, which he immediately donned and thus escaped from the Palace prison.

Upon learning of the discovery of Gorvana House's location, Conan, without a second's hesitation bravely entered alone, and immediately descended to its subterranean depths. Christina fearlessly followed him in, as did the Wizards. Robin, in his male form, realizing at last that he could never hope to keep up with the others due to his diminutive height, stopped in at the general store to purchase a sturdy horse. This decision had apparently already been made by the female form, who had previously comparison shopped and was prepared to negotiate. However, the male form, knowing nothing of these matters, paid an absurdly high price. The female form, upon learning how much gold had changed hands from her own coffers, in her absence, was quite appalled. Be that as it may, no one, not even Raistlin, knows how the shape-shifters different forms manage to live within the same persona and resolve their obvious differences, but mystery seems to have encompassed this quest from the outset.

the 5th day of November

And so finally, all the adventurers, except that bizarre Bogus fellow, had arrived, together and intact, at Gorvana House, as so commanded by Raistlin. And where was Bogus? No mystery, there! Still invisible, and apparently still incorrigible in his ways, he had set a fire at the Inn, stolen a horse, and gone on to the general store where he purchased many ridiculous items including bathing services, fancy clothes, jewels and perfume, thus earning himself the nickname Gino, though he maintains that Bobbypin is his true nickname.

Down in the depths of Gorvana House, Conan descended further still through a hole he happened upon, where he discovered two doors: one was marked "For Rich People" and the second "For Death". Suspecting possible trickery, he battered down the second door which did open, and then was going back towards the first door to attempt to open it also and see what was there, when an arrow whizzed by him, the wall subsequently broke, water began flooding the entire area, and just as he felt the existence of a hole right behind him, three carrion crawlers emerged. Though he bravely fought, he fell unconscious. Christina came to his rescue and threw some oil on one of the carrion crawlers, igniting it with a torch. The remaining two fled. Later, they did reappear, but fully recovered, Conan slew one and Christina the other.

the 12th day of November

At that point, Christina detected magic behind a rock wall. Hocus Pocus, right behind her, identified it and then tried to bring down the wall with a magic missile. She was not immediately successful, but eventually, after a few tries and with Jeanny's assistance, the wall came crumbling down, allowing Hocus Pocus to read two scrolls that were in a portal, thus enabling her to read minds by touch and to know the alignments of all. She entered the portal which transported her elsewhere; no one knew where. But where she reappeared, she found herself right in front of a vampire dwarf who was just about to throw a fireball at her. Jeanny quickly followed her twin through the portal and arrived just as the vampire dwarf flung the fireball.

And so it was that in this dreadful place, the Wizard sisters died side by side, as they had always lived. The last thing Hocus Pocus did before she died, was to unselfishly reveal to the remaining adventurers that Bogus was of a Chaotic Neutral alignment. That explained many things which had seemed so mysterious regarding his erratic behaviour previously. This revelation about his alignment left them with mixed feelings, and quite understandably so. For on the one hand, it might be considered that such a man is hardly capable of understanding what he does. Yet it is he who chose his own alignment, and is he therefore not responsible? But on the other hand, would a sane man chose such an alignment? To this day, these questions remain in the Realm of the Unknown; mayhaps even in the Realm of the Unknowable.

The death of the Wizards was devastating to the other adventurers. But that was not to be the end of their difficulties. Conan awakened, but he was paralyzed and in the care of an old man, whose face he could not see, who appeared to be using him for a scientific experiment.

Robin, the male form, came and tried valiantly to help Conan out. But before any actual valour occurred, the gnome shape-shifted once again. Now in the female form, she tried to save him, half carrying him herself due to his greatly weakened condition. They also were met by the same vampire dwarf, whom Robin attempted to resist but failed, and so they both were taken to the dwarf's prison. She managed to open a door and despite her tiny size, carry Conan out.

the 19th day of November

Finally, all those who remained of the group found themselves assembled together beside a deep stench-filled cesspool. The lovely Mage sisters lie dead. Conan was alive, but weak and unconscious. Bogus, for only reasons he might comprehend, had joined the others in the depths of Gorvana House, and he too now lay unconscious due to his encounter with the vampire bat. Just before he fell, he offered Christina a fortune in gold to use the Cleric's Amulet of Life to restore him, but was refused, for she was engaged rather in contemplating the possibilities and consequences of trying to save the fallen Wizards.

Eventually, Robin, the female form and Christina decided that it would be in the best interests of all for the gnome to search Bogus' lifeless body for anything that might help to revive the others. But before they could do anything the vampire dwarf returned. Christina fought him off with all her power, but succumbed to his great strength, as did Robin after her.

And then suddenly and inexplicably, Bogus awakened. Immediately after, Robin also awakened, in the female form. Bogus returned to the passageway by which he had entered. Raistlin appeared and spoke to Robin, saying, "Things are not what they appear to be. Go where you do not wish to go." Without hesitation, she jumped into the murky swirling depths of the cesspool, only to discover that it had all been an illusion. The instant she jumped in, there was not even the slightest trace of any filth. But, unfortunately, 20 kobolds appeared and mercilessly, for no just reason and without any justifiable provocation attacked her, for kobolds do so detest all gnomes. As Robin died, all hope seemed to die with her.

the 26th day of November

Bogus went out through the portal and departed from Gorvana House. Mysteriously, Conan and Christina awakened and found themselves in full health, totally unharmed. Needless to say, they expected no help from Bogus. They stood there alone, down in the hellish pit that Gorvana House had become to them, looking upon the fallen bodies of Hocus Pocus, Jeanny and Robin, wondering how to bury their fallen comrades and how to find the courage to go on alone.

Little did they know that Bogus had gone to the Fire Ice Inn and offered to pay for the aid of any good men of honour to save his "friends". One armour-clad man came forth, offering his help for free, declaring it an honour to be allowed to help. And so, rallying his troops, the stranger came, and using Paladin magic, reanimated Hocus Pocus and Jeanny, in true knightly manner, commanding his troops to attend to the women first. Conan and Christina rejoiced greatly, seeing the Wizards and the gnome restored to life. Christina was visibly shocked, since she had previously come to the conclusion that Jeanny was beyond all hope, for as a Cleric she had learned that it was well nigh unto impossible to raise an elf from the dead. And so, with great joy, they wished to learn more about this great and honourable man and his mysteriously potent Paladin magic.

the 3rd day of December

Bogus, still at the Inn, beheld the ghost of the vampire dwarf. Raistlin, again appeared to the adventurers to send them onward. Unsuccessfully, Hocus Pocus tried to touch him, so as to read his mind and hopefully ascertain the nature of the quest he had sent them on, but he leapt beyond her reach in the flash of an eye. Robin, the female form, so recently saved from her doom was, like her companions weak with relief. They stumbled forward, and after several mishaps finally arrived where Raistlin had intended them to go.

the 10th day of December

From a hole a treasure beckoned to them, when suddenly Conan was attacked by what appeared to be giant teeth. After a fearsome stand-off in which some mysterious liquid permeated the air, Conan succumbed, no longer able to defend himself , when the giant teeth appeared to disappear from where they had come. Alas, it was not so. For without any warning the floor moved in a wave-like fashion and bit Christina. She quickly ran to join Hocus Pocus who managed to slow it down a bit with a magic missile.

At that point it became obvious that it was a Mimic, and that this entity was capable of disguising itself into any shape or form. Robin, the male form, courageously stood his ground and aimed his short bow. Unfortunately, the Mimic dodged Robin's arrow at lightning speed, only to bulge up under his feet and bite him relentlessly until he fell.

to be continued after Christmas vacation

the 14th day of January

There was a great commotion in which Christina attempted unsuccessfully to hold off the Mimic with her mace and the Mage sisters joined her. Together they continued to slow it down with their combined efforts, until finally it lay motionless, at last defeated by a particulary well-aimed magic missile from Hocus Pocus.

Meanwhile, where was Bogus? At the Fire Ice Inn, where he had gone and hired 22 mercenaries for his own personal gain.

No sooner had the commotion died down, when a wand suddenly appeared. Jeanny, who recognized it as the Wand of Lightning, swiftly picked it up. Hocus Pocus, eager to practice using her mind-reading skills, read Christina's mind, only to find it rather blank except for the image of a unicorn. Upon discovering this, she suggested that something be done to help Conan. Christina immediately abandoned her unicorn reverie and ministered to Conan, using all of her clerical powers, until he was restored to full health.

Now that all seemed fine, Hocus Pocus decided to investigate this new place to which Raistlin had sent them. Seeing a staircase, she decided to go upstairs, and discovered that it was the 2nd level of a tower. Without warning 2 Ogres came out to greet her. They were huge (12 feet tall), terribly ugly and extremely greedy. Knowing that they most especially love to eat elves and gnomes (but will make do with humans if necessary), she quickly warned Jeanny to remain downstairs, due to this new danger. Upon hearing Hocus Pocus' cries, the others quickly rushed up the stairs to see what was happening, leaving Jeanny to wait downstairs,of course, not wanting the Ogres to smell the presence of an elf. Even though he is a gnome, Robin bravely decided to accompany the others, so as to lessen their chances of stumbling into any hidden traps.

When they arrived upstairs, it was not a pretty sight that greeted them. Hocus Pocus was lying on the floor, not moving at all. Christina fearlessly unleased a Flame Blade, but it failed to defeat the Ogres. At that moment, all of the adventurers noticed 2 human females tied up with heavy ropes. Christina rushed forward, quickly cutting the ropes that bound them with a dagger. They fell forward lifelessly, so she slapped them sharply and they instantly awakened. They introduced themselves as Deborah, a Warrior and Goldmoon, a Cleric, and both were more than willing to join the other adventurers. However, there was no time to even find out where they had come from and how they came to be tied up in the tower. For Raistlin chose that moment to reveal to the adventurers that they were on the 2nd level of a Litch's tower. He briefly informed them that a Litch is a very powerful and evil Undead Wizard, and that this Litch was lurking higher up in the tower.

the 28th day of January

Looking around, everyone noticed a chest in the corner. Goldmoon immediately detected magic emanating from the chest. Robin, using his uncanny gnome ability to find traps, discovered cherry bombs held by ropes, which he immediately cut, thus permitting Goldmoon to detect further and extremely potent magic now emanating from what appeared to be an ordinary short sword. While Goldmoon was busy casting a cleric healing spell on Hocus Pocus, Robin picked up the sword, only to discover that it was the very Sword of Healing itself, which though not easy to use, would permit him to heal through merely speaking his wish aloud, even while using the sword for defense. Good luck was definitely with the adventurers, for within seconds more, Conan, always alert, found the Shield of Spell Reflection hidden in a corner. When the group decided it would be necessary to ascend the tower further, Conan offered the Shield of Spell Reflection to Deborah, realizing that she was more vulnerable and less experienced than he.

And so, all the adventurers, except Jeanny (and of course Bogus, whose whereabouts were currently unknown), continued upwards in the tower until they reached the 3rd level. They saw a vast chamber with many candles lit. Directly in front of them, on the floor was a large 5 sided star within a circle, which they instantly recognized as a symbol of darkness. To their right, they saw a door. To their left, on the wall, eyes were watching them. Conan didn't like the feeling of this room at all. He wanted to do something about those mysterious eyes immediately. However, they noticed beyond the circle, an altar on which a young girl lay, apparently dying. Slowly and carefully they advanced towards the altar, being careful to not go near the circle. Strongly sensing the presence of black magic, the Clerics and Mages continued forward, under the protection of Deborah and Conan. Suddenly, the eyes disappeared, and Conan said, "I knew we should have done something about those eyes while we could see them. Now, how will we know where they are?"