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The Long Night of the Toad

[Friday, June 30, 2000]

Griflet's Report: "Sometimes there is nowhere to run."

GRIFF THE GALLANT - Toad (20th), Witches' Moon, Year of the Gorgon

The moonlight gleams eerily over the ivy-strangled tower of Zecy. All about you you can hear quiet movements and rustlings, the occasional short bird call which you identify as an archaic form of House Protector Battle Language. So there are Wild Elves about. Must not linger - you dash off into the undergrowth; Kellin, Aborius and Windwood not far behind.

Into the woods; no more moonlight. Dodging and weaving through thicket and bush, you make your way back towards the beach where you left Griff and your boat. You keep changing course to avoid stealthy Wild Elf scouts and war parties. You think you've confused your pursuers, but unfortunately you also confuse yourself a bit. You emerge from the wood atop high rocky cliffs, the dark waters of the Snarlwash below. You must have misjudged the path back to the beach.

"That way." says Arborius, pointing to your left. After a brief rest, you continue.

When you get back to the beach, you see a dim red glow where none should be and you are immediately suspicious. So is Kellin. "Griff would never light a fire," he whispers, then stops. "Oh..no!" He starts to run toward the beach, but you hiss at him to be still. Instead, you get up and move stealthily down.

There, near the embers of the burnt longboat is the body of Griff the Gallant, impaled by an Elven spear.

Kellin and Arborius run down, followed by Windwood. Kellin sinks to his knees in the sand and cradles his friend's head in his hands.

It's quiet - too quiet. You sense danger near.

Kellin looks up at you, his face pale in the moonlight. "He was my friend. I won't leave him here for these savages. Where we go, he goes. Help me, Arborius."

Arborius bends down and lifts Griff's dead body over his shoulder. "Let's get out of here." he says.

THE HOWLING HUNTERS - Toad (20th), Witches' Moon, Year of the Gorgon

You know that this will slow you down, that the Wild Elves may already be preparing an ambush, but there's not much you can do here. You turn to lead the way back to the tower. Before you can leave the beach however, you hear a faint rustling in the undergrowth, and your keen eyes spot the sillhouette of an elven spear. "Ambush!" you hiss, as the spears volley from the bushes.

You are too exposed to escape, so you charge into the bushes to give close fight; you sense there aren't too many here yet. Immediately, battle is joined with five tatooed elves with spears, howling and gibbering at you. After a quick duel, you stab one with your rapier and darkness covers his eyes. But his companion gives you a smashing cut on the head with his cruelly barbed-spear. You are dazed. You stagger back. Blood is covering

your


face











There is pain.

Someone says. "He's coming around, I think."
Another voice: "Make sure he's quiet. They're still around." You open your blood-encrusted eyes, with effort. It is dark. Your head aches. Your whole body feels weak. Kellin says, "Griflet! We thought we might have lost you. One of them gave you a nasty head wound before we could drive them off. But I'm damned if I'm going to lose two friends on this cursed expedition!"

"Where...are we?" you manage in a croaking voice.
"Still on Zecy, in the woods not far from the beach. We're hiding under a bush. Arborius has hidden our tracks, he's on watch outside. Windwood is fine too, a few scratches, nothing as serious as your wound. I've done what I can to clean it. The wild elves have set up a serious hullaballo. They've been howling constantly to each other, though right now they're quiet."
"We'd better get a move on then. Back to the tower," you say.
"Are you sure that's wise?" asks Kellin.

RETURN TO THE TOWER - Toad (20th), Witches' Moon, Year of the Gorgon

You get to your feet, wincing with pain, and listen. The wind is blowing strongly now, and the trees roar and rustle together with the sound of the ocean. You know that with stealth and luck you can get back to the tower. So you gather your companions together and cautiously begin on your way.

You stop frequently, hiding in the bushes, avoiding patrols of wild elves. You don't think they'll expect you to return to the tower. so you continue cautiously. Eventually after several hours of this stopping and starting, you come to the moss-covered ruins of Zecy. Cloud has covered the moon, so the four of you, with Arborius still carrying Griff's body, make a dash across the cobbled ruins to the collapsed cellar entry to the tower.

This time you are lucky - no watchers see you. For the second time in this long, long night, you enter Celedril's tomb. Through the long hazy corridor beyond the false wall and into the chamber surrounded by the seas of Nehwon you go, until you arrive once more in the vaulted chamber of the three windows. There Celedril still sits, transfixed to his throne by your arrow in his throat. But his eyes are closed and he looks almost peaceful.

A groggy Leonore is here as well. "Griflet, what happened? Where am I? Where did you all go?"

"Leonore!" you rasp, "It is fortune and damnation that we have returned here. Twas for Griff that we left you but unfortunately we were too late and now wounded and waylaid we are once again here to find your good soul. I'm sorry we had left friend."

"Now let us rest our wounds for we have time, though I fear it is soon that our ship will abadon us and we will have to find other roads to journey home. And I also fear of what news and its effect on the elven factions that ship will bring without us aboard, but fate has decreed these things and even the powers of Law must bend before the the mighty decrees of Fate else it is broken."

While you rest, you watch through the tall windows the gradually lightening skies of Zeçy, Tovilyis and Imric's Hold.

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