Session 1

(Originally played on Oct 10, 2008)

Heartday, Clearbark 11th, Year 108 of the New Age.

Cyrussilar Ari'luth, City-Lord of Mysthaven, sat at his desk in his office, giving a quick read of the report on the two individuals. He glanced up to the elf woman sitting before him.“Only two new graduates this year, Ariella?”

Ariella Sarenn, headmistress of the Silverlance Survival Academy, shrugged.”These two were the only ones this year so far who have proven themselves worthy, my lord.”

Cyrus gave her a slight smile. “Aren't you ever going to call me 'Cyrus' when we're alone like this?”

“I am sure I will someday, my lord,” she replied nonchalantly.

Cyrus shook his head in bemusement. “Let's get back to these two. What do you think of them?”

Ariella nodded. “The halfling, Naze, is skilled in stealth and subterfuge, as well as arcane magic, mostly illusions and enchantments. He is very good at both skill sets, quite smart, and quite agile.

“The gnome is Gideon. He is train in the disciplined art of unarmed combat. While not as exceptional as Naze is in their respective skills, Gideon is above average, but I've come to believe that Phaenya does not smile upon him.”

Cyrus raised a silver eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

Ariella shrugged her slender shoulders. “All his attacks are perfect, except that very often, something gets in the way that throws him off, like a pebble being the wrong place that makes him fall over when delivering kick.”

The elven lord looked at the headmistress of his academy a bit incredulously. “Will he be able to survive out in the real world?”

“I believe so. While he may be unlucky in offense, defensively, he is almost untouchable. At the very least, he'll provide an excellent distraction for others.”

Cyrus shook his head and chuckled. “Well, we'll see how well they do with real danger. Send them to the caves.”

In the city of Mysthaven, there is a school for hopeful young men and woman of all backgrounds to learn the basics needed to survive in the dangerous world of Celesia. This school is the Silverlance Survival Academy, founded by a former adventurer over a hundred years ago. Since its founding, some of its graduates have gone on to great things, gaining riches and have ballads written after them.

Today, two more would-be adventurers are ready to graduate the Academy. They stand silently in the main lobby of the Academy; before them is the Academy's headmistress, an elf woman named Ariella Sarenn. She takes a good look at the two candidates.

Naze the Beguiler, a male halfling with quick fingers, a quicker wit, and a natural talent with magic.

Gideon, a male gnome who has uncommonly taken up the ascetic lifestyle of a fighting monk.

She nods to them both and smiles. “Congratulations,” she said, “on coming this far. You have both learn much during your time here, and we hope that you will soon put your skills to good use. But before so, there is one final exam you must pass.

“Below our beloved city lies the ruins of Old Mysthaven, which sunk beneath the earth in a cataclysmic battle with evil thousands of years ago. Down there, works of art from our past remain, perfectly preserved. You are both to go down into the ruins and search them for such objects of art. You must find one for the each of you, and you will know the object qualifies if it is intact and with a Mysthaven artisan mark like so.” She lifts a picture of the mark for both of them to see.

“The caves and ruins were once filled with demons and monsters, but have long since been cleared out. However, some monsters may have found their way in, and we've witnessed incursions by goblin or kobold patrols in the past. This test does carry the risk of death, but if you've chosen this path, you will encounter such risk constantly.

“However, we wish for our students to survive as much as possible. There is no time limit for this exam, so feel free to come back to the Academy for rest and healing. The Academy staff will see to it that you are full healed of your wounds. Now then, do you have any questions?”

Naze and Gideon shook their heads. They were then escorted to another part of the compound and stood before a large and heavy double-door. There were four guards assigned to this room, and they opened the doors to allow the adventurers through. Lighting a torch, Gideon and Naze descended into the caves.

Naze heard it. Or rather, them. He looked up to the source of the sound, and he saw two monstrous spiders, dark green and hair and big as a dog, dangling from the ceiling of the cave, sliding down to the ground by a string of web.

The two spiders lunged at the the gnome and halfling, but both were nimble enough to evade the spiders' mandibles. Taking a step back, Naze cast a spell, and a flurry of colors engulfed both spiders. Hit with full force, both spiders fell to the ground, alive but knocked out.

Naze and Gideon gave each other an inquiring look, then proceeded to finish off the unconscious spiders with ease.

“Well, that was easier than expected,” Gideon remarked.

“Oh yeah, I like this spell,” Naze replied, flexing his fingers.

The two then took the passage to the south, and stopped before the opening of another cave. Luckily for them, because, at the edge of their torches' light, was another monstrous spider, this one as big as a horse! Standing between a column of rock and the edge of a pool of water, the spider snarled at them, and started to skitter over them. Gideon and Naze took the opportunity to shoot at with with a sling and hand crossbow respectively, but both did very little damage.

Gideon moved up close to the spider as it reached. The gnome monk delivered punches and kicks at the huge spider while nimbly avoiding its bites, but his attacks were mostly bouncing off its chitinous skin. Naze, a bit back, continued firing his hand crossbow.

Things went bad when the spider took advantage of an opening in Gideon's defenses. The monster arachnid bit squarely in the gnome's chest. Gideon cried out, and fell over, blacking out from the pain.

Shit! Naze realized. The quickly cast color spray at the spider. While it did not go down as its smaller kin, the magical colors left him stun. Knowing that he would not be able to take on the spider alone, and with Gideon bleeding out on the ground, the halfling grabbed the gnome and dragged him back to the entrance at full pace. Just as he was about to reach the entrance, he heard skittering behind him. The large spider had shaken off the spells effect and was coming for them.

Naze lunged for the entrance with the unconscious gnome and reached the doors before the spider could reach them.

“Close the doors!” ordered one of the elf guards. The doors slammed shut just as the spider came into view.

“Why don't you guys take care of that thing?” Naze questioned, huffing and puffing.

The guard smirked. “This is your test, not ours. Don't get too upset, we'll get the healers to take care of you guys for tonight.”

Next morning, both adventurers were ready to continue their test. First things first, though, and one humongous spider was at the top of the list. Cautiously, they descended back into the tunnels, and they saw it as they re-entered the first cave, hanging from the ceiling and trying to get the drop on them.

“This time, you're going down!” snarled Naze. Both he and Gideon pelted the spider with sling bullets and crossbow bolts. The spider dropped to the ground and skittered towards them, still bloody and bruised from the day before.

“Ha, looks like no one patched you up!” smirked Naze. He stepped back as Gideon started launching punches and kicks at the monster. Naze reloaded and continued firing his hand crossbow. They finished off the spider in short order.

“Doesn't look like there are any more spiders,” Gideon observed.

“Good, because I think there are some interesting things in that pile of bones over there,” Naze pointed at the back end of the cave.

“Ew,” Gideon remarked as the halfling rummaged through the dried goblin bones. Looking around, the gnome monk notice a metallic glint from his torch in the pool of water. He approached the pool and peered into it.

“Hey, I found a crowbar!” Naze exclaimed. “And more rope!”

“Bring it over here!”

Naze walked up next to Gideon with his new items, and the gnome pointed towards the water.

“Is that a chest in there?” he asked.

Naze peered into the pool as well, then grinned. “It sure is! Let's get it out!”

They decided that Gideon, who was barely carrying anything, unlike Naze. They tied both the new rope they found and the one they already had around a stalagmite and tied the other end of one of the ropes around Gideon's waist. The gnome swam into the pool, holding the other rope to tie to the chest.

Swimming was no problem, but tying the rope to the chest's handle proved more difficult by being both underwater and with very illumination. It took Gideon several tries before the rope was properly secured; in fact, he even managed to entangle his own hands!

When he finally succeeded, Gideon came out and they pulled the chest onto dry land. Naze picked the lock easily, and they recovered fifty silver pieces from it.

Moving on, they were at the entrance of the adjacent cave when Naze suddenly fell through the ground. Fortunately, the halfling was nimble enough to avoid being hurt as he landed in the pit. Looking up to Gideon, he cursed. “I should have found that pit trap,” he muttered.

Gideon, meanwhile, had another problem to deal with. While he was looking down into the small pit, he heard the twang of crossbows from the end of the next cave. He only had a brief moment to see several goblins hiding behind a mound of dirt before one of three crossbow bolts bit him in the shoulder.

“Aargh!! Naze, we've got company!” Gideon cried out. He retaliated with shots from his sling.

“Be there in a sec!” Naze skillfully climbed out of the pit. He then cast a spell, and an exact image of himself appeared. “Okay, back to the other room!”

The gnome and halfling ducked back into the other room while the goblins peppered the silent image with bolts. Most were actually missing, but one knew he had hit the mark clearly, so why didn't the halfling go down?

“It's wrong!” he exclaimed. He dashed out of the cover and ran to where the image was. “It's not r—urhk!”

“Nice shot,” Naze whispered. Gideon had shot the perfect shot. He had waited from his and Naze's hiding spot as the goblin came into range. His sling bullet hit the goblin directly in the head with enough force to kill him in one blow.

Seeing their comrade killed made the other goblins hesitate. They continued shooting at the illusion, not realizing its nature. Finally, the goblin sergeant got fed up with the lack of progress. “He's not moving and all alone! Go get them!”

The two goblin crossbowers moved up to the illusion's position cautiously, with the sergeant behind them. The continued shooting at the illusion until they came up close and pulled out their morningstars. They still did not comprehend that the halfling before them was not real!

Of course, they were distracted by being pelted with sling bullets from Gideon at the back of the cave. While they swung their morningstars at the illusion in vain, the two goblin minions fell to Gideon's well-aimed shots.

The goblin sergeant, seeing his two underlings go down, decided that now was the time to leave.

“Hey, he's getting away!” Naze cried out. The halfling dropped the illusion and he and Gideon chased after the last goblin.

The goblin sergeant headed to the tunnel to the north, but then saw that a pit was in his way, with the exception of a tight ledge along the east wall. Cursing, he turned to head south, but then saw Naze and Gideon running after him. Seeing no choice, he launched himself at Naze.

The fight between did not conclude immediately. While Naze could dodge the goblin's attacks, his own attacks were doing very little damage when they landed. Only Gideon's intervention by shooting his sling bullets at the goblin.

After a few bad hits, the goblin had enough and charged at Gideon. With several well placed hits, the gnome went down, unconscious. He then exchanged blows with Naze. Both were getting bloodier and bloodier by the second. Naze was worried that if he did not finish this fight soon, Gideon will bleed to death.

The goblin sensed this. He considered his own wounds, then decided to chance it. He broke away from the fight, and ran off to the cave to the south. Naze wanted to go after him, but he stayed behind to stabilize Gideon. Before he dragged the gnome back to the surface, he inspected the remaining dead goblins. He found some coin, but the real prize was in a pack the goblin sergeant left behind. Inside was an exquisitely crafted brass urn, with a Mysthaven artisan mark underneath it.

Naze grinned. One down, one to go.

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