I decided to leave south twin lake. Being lawful, and needing coin, I offered my services to the church. The priest quickly offered Mindartis, Pallando, Tree Hugger, and me a job escorting and protecting missionaries down to the encampment of Lolth. The missionaries want to travel first to Lolth, spread the holy word there, then proceed on to the city of Ioun from there, to Moradin, Vecna, Raquen, Pelor, Zehir, and finally to Avandra. From there we will travel back to South Twin Lake. We agreed to protect and travel with them for a price of 20 Gold each to start, and an additional 5 Gold per day per protector.
Our journey began at a brisk, sunrise nearing Winter of year 523. Our first days travel to Lolth Encampment passed uneventfully until reaching Lolth at sundown. At that time, as we approached the outskirts of the camp with the missionaries, Pallando and I noticed something odd. We saw a number of white web like structures within the camp. In the twilight, Pallando could not tell what they were, but I realized quickly that they were hundreds of spider webs, of all shapes and sizes covering the camp. Before approaching the camp further, we consulted brothers Andre and Aron about the matter. They both looked on in horror saying quietly, “This is the work of the devil”.
After they composed themselves, they proposed searching the camp for survivors, who might be willing to convert back to Polytheism after being rescued and seeing the light. Seeing as they are clerics we thought it safe enough to explore the edges of the camp to get an idea of what had happened here, and look for survivors. I approached the edge of the nest of webs and realized that the webs were actually growing constantly, as if enchanted, and expanding outward slowly. Seeing no creatures, I took my Vorpal Blade and sliced through a small chunk of jutting webs. They fell effortlessly, and as I touched the webs with my hands. They shot away, from me by about 5 feet. Seeing this, Pallando began to walk through the webs, and they parted like an enchanted sea in his path.
It was at this time that Pallando realized a similar set of events had occurred at the camp of Zehir involving snakes. He proposed that Lolth may be a goddess of Spiders. He walked forward quickly toward the largest tent in the camp but quickly disappeared into the darkness of night. As I called out his name, he responded at a distance and told me that he had been grabbed by an unknown something and dragged into a tent. He advised me to move forward with caution, so I opted to light a torch before moving toward the sound of his voice, lest the same creature or force try to apprehend me.
As I prepared my torch, having set down my sword for the time being, my flint and torch were knocked from my hand with such swiftness I barely knew what had happened before I was myself drug into a separate tent and hushed by a quiet voice. “The goddess wishes not to be disturbed! Swear you will be quiet and we will unhand you.” I swore, and regained my poise, leaving the tent to retrieve my things, I discovered Pallando and Tree Hugger also outside. Hugger had already retrieved the Vorpal Blade and gave it to me again as I approached him.
Not phased by the recent encounter Pallando continued his route to the largest tent. I simply assumed he had a similar encounter in his tent. We entered the central tent of the camp and looked on at a beautiful woman, laying, topless, on a silken pillow. Lolth addressed us, “You have disturbed me, what is the meaning of this?” Pallando greeted her kindly, having met her before, and she exchanged pleasantries with him, while also quickly having her children bind all three of us in mere seconds. It was at this time that the her spider children drug away myself and Tree Hugger, away leaving only Pallando in her presence. I attempted to free myself with the Vorpal Blade still in my hands under the webbing , but only managed to gash my side with the enchanted blade, cutting myself deeply.
Some time passed, but eventually, Tree Hugger and I were launched from the tent landing hard where Mindartis and the missionaries still stood. It wasn’t until morning that we got the news that Pallando had become the Emissary of Lolth. Having recovered magically from most of our injuries, we all headed off to the next stop, the city of Ioun. Ioun is a town of scholars and readers, they walk the streets with their heads buried in books.
In the middle of the city stands a large tower. Here the missionaries set up and started preaching the teachings of the gods to the towns people. It was then that we were approached by a group of guardians, looking us up and down. Pallando introduced himself and Mindartis as Emissaries, and we were allowed to enter the tower. From within the tower looked to be hundreds if not thousands of times bigger.
We approached a grand spiral staircase, and upon reaching the top, we found Ioun, studying a powerful light source. Upon greeting her, she shushed all of us, and directed us back down out of her study. I proceeded on, as told, but the others stayed for a moment.
As I looked back up the stairs, I simply saw Pallando shrink before my eyes. Not seeing him shrink down next to him, Mindartis called out, “Pallando, where have you gone?” But quickly looking down, he saw the 2.4 foot tall Pallando standing at his feet. At this point, Ioun turned from her study, angrily, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” she shouted at the short Pallando. Sarcastically he answered in a high pitched voice,“Well first of all, I’d like to grow back to normal size.” Annoyed, she responded, “You know as well as I, the spell will ware off soon enough. Now, what do you want?” Pallando again piped up, “Look your people sent us to you saying that you’d like to speak with us.” Taken by surprise, she conceded, “I am looking for a champion of sorts, yes, but none of you nearly fit the requirements.”
Knowing that Pallando had just earned rank as an Emissary of Lolth, I desired the same status, and as I had been on good footing with Ioun when I had first met her as she arrived in this land, I spoke up from the stairs where I had been waiting, “I beg to differ madam, you are looking for a champion of mental prowess. Ask me any question and I will answer. This will prove my quality.” She stood quietly for a few moments, then devised a test. pulling three wooden cups from her sleeve, and a platinum from her opposite sleeve, she hid the platinum under the rightmost cup then said, “If you can tell me where the platinum is after these cups have been shuffled, you will have proven your worth Dave.” I stared vigilantly as the test began, and she moved the cups to and fro across the table. Strangely, weather by the strong magical forces in the room or by the exhaustion I was still under from walking up the grand stairs for 30 minutes, I fell drowsy as the test went on and lost exact track of the cup containing the platinum.
Still determined to pass the test, I decided that I knew that the platinum was not under the middle cup, and made this announcement, upon lifting the cup, I was proven correct, as nothing was under the cup. This left only the left and right cups to choose from. Pallando, having not been befallen by the same spell of drowsiness that had befallen me as the cups were sorted, had easily kept track of the one covering the platinum. Seeing me delay in solving the riddle, he walked to the table and declared,“It’s obviously under the right cup!” and proceeded to lift his choice. Sure enough, the platinum was revealed. Unfortunately, despite my objections to his interference, and pleading that I simply wished to build suspense, Ioun uncaringly looked at me and said, “My point is proven. You can go now.”
Ashamed at my failure at solving such a simple puzzle, I walked to the stair case, prepared to wait outside. As I reached the first step, the stairs immediately transformed into a grand stone slide, I caught my footing and was able to slide down on my back, but was still injured upon reaching the bottom at high speed. Just as I began to fall, I heard Ioun say clearly to my companions ,“Well, we will just call it a revenge move.” and laugh as I fell away from hearing distance. Having no idea why she would want to exact revenge on me, and being further embarrassed to have been tossed from her quarters by a trapped staircase, I decided that I had had enough of the present quest. I gathered the Vorpal Sword, kept by the Guardians while I had been visiting the great library, and made my way directly back to South Twin Lake to gather my thoughts and rest. I left the rest of my party to continue on their adventure with the missionaries.