After about a day’s travel we arrived at our destination. We approached it in the mists because the good captain told us that one could only reach the manor on a misty morning. The manor was impressive in size and in remarkable condition considering that it was supposed to have been empty for over 400 years. We went up to the main entrance, but the doors were magically protected, as Flasheart discovered, much to his right hand’s dismay. Flasheart then suggested that we try to go in through the eastern entrance. He said that he heard of another group of adventurers who went in through the west and only one lived to regret it. We did not really trust his advice, but as the captain was going that way whether we wanted him to or not, I thought it prudent to follow him and keep him under observation. The eastern foyer was dusty and moldy though still stately and impressive. In fact, the mold and moisture was probably coming from some strange form of resin on the far wall, possibly secreted by some large insect. The substance coated the doors and much of the western wall. So, the doors were stuck, but Flasheart was “kind enough” to show his strength by kicking in the door. What better way to announce our arrival, right? I would have liked to have found a more subtle way through the resin, but if Flasheart had not kicked in the door I am sure Luc would have taken up task. Patience is lost on him at the moment, and if I say ANYTHING that may cause a delay or give a hint of caution, he glares at me as if I had just said, “Hang Miria!!”…but I digress. We entered a resin-coated corridor lined with doors. No one had to ask to check the doors as Flasheart kicked in each one in turn. In a couple of rooms were rows of leathery, ovular objects…from which hatched these strange creatures when we got close. Then, large insect-like humanoids (of a type I have never seen) descended from the shadows to attack. Their blood was acid, and within their slathering jaws lay a secondary maw hat would lash out at you if the creature could get you in its clutches. The beasts scrambled up the walls and onto the ceiling and attacked us from above. They tried to pincer us the corridor, but after several rounds of hard fighting we managed to kill the creatures (or rather cause them to explode), and destroy the remaining eggs before they could hatch and cause us more grief. Once we had a quiet moment, I tried to sense what magical effects were cast upon this place, and the sheer amount of energy present astounded me. There were so many enchantments that making any sense of them would require much more time that a wizard of my meager talents could manage. The one thing that I could discern was a strange time displacement effect. I could not say to what extent, but time operated differently within the manor. We found evidence of this when captain kicked in another door and instead of insects and eggs, we found a rather shocked Tiefling woman…getting dressed. She introduced herself as Camille D’Umberbille. She spoke in an odd tongue that we managed to parse out and through a short conversation we discovered that she was unaware of the fall of her house and that it had happened over 400 years prior. Hmmm…what effect is this time displacement having on us? Perhaps if we are not here for very long we may escape it unscathed…though it would be very interesting to study its properties…I wonder if…**scratch marks**…no, bad idea. Anyway, we left her to her business and went into the next room and found an even stranger sight: a drydar whose upper half was not Drow but Tiefling. She introduced herself as Charlotte and, just like Camille, was oblivious to the fall of her house and did not think that the fact that she was half spider was odd at all. In fact, she was nonchalantly weaving a garment for a soiree with her own spider silk. However, that bit of strangeness was only a taste of what was to come.
We crossed the hall and entered a ballroom filled with dancers who were trapped in eerie, crystalline prisons. We could have smashed through the substance, but we would have killed those within it. So, we let them be. This room was almost spotless (showing no signs of age or disuse) with a raised platform on one side where instruments lay, ornate suits of armour in the corners, and the look of party frozen in time. Our good fighter captain promptly stuffed two gilded flutes into his pants while we were investigating. One side of the room was lined with doors, and as we decided to check them, Flasheart went to the far left door and kicked it in, which contained a sleeping hydra!! He arose groggily and its four heads (one of which had a goatee) questioned the battle ready fighter in front of him. All of its heads were named William, and while two heads seemed to be quite talkative, the other two looked quite ravenous. Flasheart and Emthri took point and talked to William…for far longer than was prudent. Luc and I were getting rather uneasy and despite our protestations they kept on talking, and before we could them out of the room the hungry heads took control of the body and attacked. We unleashed our attacks upon it, though not before one William said, “Wait, I cannot have a meal without music,” and he pulled a cord that prompted the crystalline dancers to resume their strides as the music began to come from the instruments on the platform. We let loose our attacks upon the hydra, but, in true hydra fashion, when we lopped off one head two more came in its place (each named William, of course). Then, to make matters worse, two suits of armour came to life and joined the fray. Emtrhi, Flasheart, and Kaela (acting a bit out of character as she charged into the room) took on the hydra in the cramped room while Luc and I were handling things in the ballroom (with great difficulty as the dancers kept pushing us around the room). Luc tried smashing the instruments in an attempt to stop the music and thus the dancers, but to no avail (since two flutes were missing). I tried to hold off the metallic assailants, but they still harried my companions, and they managed to cut off Flasheart off from the hydra’s room as he backed off to ready a charge. Thus, Emthri and my sister were trapped with William!! I had to fight back panic and focus on ridding us of those damnable suits of armour. Luc and I destroyed one, and I managed to use my wand’s magic to push the other out of the way, giving the captain the chance to charge the beast. However, in the meantime Emthri was torn apart, probably dead, and Kaela was in dire straits. Things were looking bleak for a moment. Emtrhi was down, there were six William heads lashing at Kaela and one suit of armopur that was still causing trouble. I summoned my grasping hands, Flasheart continued his onslaught with Luc’s help while Kaela harried William from afar with her daggers, and, eventually, we felled the hydra and metallic ally. We won though we lost Emthri and almost lost Luc and Kaela as well. These “victories” are not what the stories make them out to be.
In the aftermath, we found a treasure trove in the hydra’s nest, which we looted, of course. We found some platinum and gold pieces, but the greatest treasure we found was a silver box containing a wondrous amount of residium. Sadly, it was insufficient to resurrect Emthri, but by disenchanting his ring I had more than enough to begin the ritual (which I found during at the library during my research). I needed time to bring back our fallen comrade, but it was not hard to convince everyone to rest as Luc was exhausted and Kaela was not faring much better. So, we put the door back in its frame, braced it with the hydra’s body, and went to sleep. My friends rested while I began the resurrection, but as I was performing the ritual I felt a strange magic in the room. I looked over to see that the door was repaired and that William was ALIVE and asleep on his nest as if nothing had happened. I could not stop the ritual, but could only hope that I finished before he awakened. Flasheart was also missing, which was not helping my nerves. Upon completion Emthri came around and we woke up the others, and then got out of that chamber as quickly and as silently as we could. Sadly, just as started to look for the captain, we heard noises from William’s room. He had woken up and immediately noticed that his treasure was gone. We had only moments to duck into a nearby study before William came crashing into the ballroom. Once in the study we found the captain who had been looting a secret library he found. I was so angry at him…not just because he abandoned us, but also because he found the library before me. In any case, we hid in that study until we thought it safe. The captain decided it was a good idea to jump through a black window…from which Kaela had to rescue him later. We did not hear a sound, so Kaela, being the stealthiest of us, left first but ran into William who had been hiding in the corner. However, the hydra had no memory of fighting or even meeting us, so Kaela managed to bluff her way out of trouble by suggesting that the two Tiefling women had his treasure. He ran off, so we went in the opposite direction through a hole he had created and found ourselves in an immense arboretum.
There was some magic in this room that I had never felt before. Three disparate section of the feywild seemed to existing side by side. An astounding effect, but I did not have time investigate it. Flasheart, apparently, had explored bits of this area while I was busy and the others were sleeping and told us to follow him. Sometimes I wonder if he was intentionally trying to make himself seem untrustworthy. He seemed to enjoy heaping suspicion on himself. H led us to a clearing where we came upon seven goblins mourning over a beautiful female on a raised, vine-covered platform. As we approached, the goblins assumed a defensive posture and kept shouting, “You will not take our princess!! You cannot take her!” Despite our protestations to the contrary, we could not convince them that we had no intention of taking the woman anywhere. She was not dead, as it turned out, but merely under an enchanted sleep placed upon her by a wicked witch (such a cliché story that when I heard it I felt as though I were on my mother’s knee again). We asked of the witch, but the goblins were not very helpful. Then the captain, in a stroke of “brilliance” put away his spear, walked over the woman, and then kissed her on the lips. She opened her eyes, and the vines beneath her came to life, and after they had lifted the woman (who turned out to be a lamia) to her feet, coalesced into a creature itself. They attacked us and we were joined in yet another battle. The goblins seemed just as distraught as we when the lamia arose. They said, “Oh no!!! Now we have to find the witch again!” before they attacked Flasheart. The vine creature summoned smaller versions of itself like some fell druid, and then some strange, one-eyed, pink polka-dotted creature came out of the trees and with a maddening, gibbering mouth he proceeded to turn us against each other. Mercifully, most of us were either out of range or could resist it voice (unlike our encounter with the shadow hulk); however, Flasheart was not so fortunate. His mind was overcome, which caused him to attack Emthri. Emthri, who had been acting rather odd aft6er his resurrection, did not realize that Flasheart was dominated and retaliated without thinking. Thus, one of the most idiotic exchanges I have ever seen ensued. While Kaela, Luc, and myself were trying to subdue the plethora of enemies around us, those two thick skulls decided it was wiser to trade blows with each other!! I had to deal with the one-eyed monstrosity while Luc and Kaela dispensed with the goblins and miniature vine creatures. After killing the one-eyed creature I could see to helping my sister who was, essentially, fighting the vine thing alone since Luc had his hands full with the lamia. Eventually, the captain and Emthri stopped fighting each other long enough to help us put down the vines and their dark mistress. The fight was difficult as the lamia’s powers were formidable and the vine kept summoning more minions, but we prevailed in the end…though my sister was looking a little worse for wear. We rested for a minute…though I was tempted to blast both Emthri and the captain with whatever magic I had left for helping us (especially my sister) when we needed them. Thankfully, I was spared the temptation as Flasheart proclaimed Emthri a foul traitor and stormed off after declaring that he would finish his explorations solo.