• The Tower
We all met up outside some random, stupid, old-ass tower to look for some random, stupid old-ass man named Zim. I guess he wasn’t that old – I’m just venting, so bear with me. Apparently Zim stole Blackened Beacon goods or crates or something. He was a shipmaster, so he certainly had the means to do it. Hell, I would too if I weren’t on the run. Sounds lucrative.
Anyway, back to the story. I don’t remember many details of That Damned Tower (renamed as such by me), but I do remember a giant spider giving me and my newfound friends trouble. Except for Samsir. He SPEARED that fucker right through! Unfortunately, soon after our journey began Samsir just up and disappeared. Still haven’t heard back. Again, getting off-track; after the giant spider we explored the rest of That Damned Tower, which was filled with giant frogs and freaking Troglodytes – weird lizard-people.
At this point we were at the top of That Damned Tower! Since we wanted to get the drop on whatever was up top there, Fitzroy blew some magical goat’s horn of his, and fog started rolling out of it! It wasn’t the quietest thing, but that fog of his was thick! Once it rolled up the top floor, I scouted up. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see, hear, or smell anything, so Fitzroy and Steven popped out in front to catch any potential enemy off-guard. I popped out behind them and, lo and behold, a. Giant. Fucking. Albino. Crocodile. With huge, magically-enhanced teeth! Before I got my bearings, a Troglodyte Beastmaster with a flaming sword leapt out of the fog and nearly cut me down! I hamstrung the fucker in retaliation, and got a good slice across his belly while Fitzroy and Steven bravely fought the croc (I think I saw Stephen get bashed into a wall by its tail). Stephen bashed the croc in the head, and Fitzroy dealt the killing blow. I seemed to have some trouble finishing Beastmaster off, so Fitzroy finished him off too. Whatever gets the job done.
We found Zim imprisoned at the top of That Damned Tower right by the albino croc and Beastmaster. I shudder to think what they would’ve done to him if we hadn’t gotten there. After some questioning, Zim told us why he had taken those shipping containers; he said they were full of children! This Pharook guy is serious business. In light of all that, I, being the honest and loyal Halfling that I am, said we should keep our word to Pharook and bring him in alive. Steven REALLY didn’t like that. Him and his damned morals from that damned church of Jeezus…or whatever they call themselves. He offered to fake Zim’s death, and to placate the Pharook with some of the treasure we found. Since it looked like Fitzroy agreed with Steven, and since I saw how those guys beat down that crocodile, I relented. He gave us his Blackened Beacon – a black bull’s-eye lantern – to signify to Pharook that it was really him. We also had to disguise him and ensure he had a place to go. Fitzroy had some contacts in other towns up north, and I helped his disguise with a big slice across his right cheek. He didn’t like that too much, hehe. Oh well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
• The Blackened Beacon
After That Damned Tower, Fitzroy led me and Steven all the way to Tirth to go meet Pharook and see the Blackened Beacon headquarters and be initiated into the guild. After a short jaunt through the city, which I somehow don’t remember that well (damned mages), we ended up in the guild hall. Fitzroy led us through some magical doorways and traps that even I had trouble perceiving.
The three of us ended up in a long hallway with bare walls and a bunch of lanterns at the end. Before Steven or I realized, Fitzroy had vanished, and we heard a deep, ghastly voice shout “As the beacon blackens, secrecy prevails!” A strong gust blew the torches on the walls out, and the lanterns at the end of the hallway lit up, revealing a skeleton champion rampaging toward us with a longsword in one hand and a shield in the other!
On first reaction, Steven braced himself for the coming warrior, and I smartly hid behind him, knowing he could take the blow much better, and I could pop out and attack if necessary. After our first defensive move, another skeleton popped out of the ceiling at the far end of the hall! “What the hell?!” I thought, as I squirmed around the first skeleton champion to meet the other, and to get closer to the end of the hallway. Turns out Steven did the same thing, as he was right behind me when a THIRD skeleton champion slid out of the ceiling at the end of the hallway. A lot of the fight became a blur after that, but I swear we ended up with half a dozen or so skeleton champions at the end of the hallway, plus the first one that was still behind us. Somewhere in the fight, Steven got the bright idea to use an invisibility wand on me, so I could sneak past the skeletons. It worked for a few of them, but – and I don’t know how this happened – one of the skeletons saw/heard/smelled/felt me, and nearly gutted me! Before I went under I heard Steven yell an incantation and saw the lanterns begin to fog over.
I must’ve passed out after that, because when I came to, the skeletons were gone, the torches were aflame, and Steven was huddled over me mending my wounds. Thank Jeezus for him! Apparently we passed the Blackened Beacon’s test! When Fitzroy came back into the hallway he congratulated us and ushered us into an even more hidden area of the complex. While we were there, we met a half-elf! I almost didn’t believe it! She said her name was Mina, and she seemed to be Pharook’s right-hand man – er, woman. After a little flirting between her and Steven, she said Pharook was ready to meet us, and showed the three of us a bare room with a mirror on one wall and not much else. After she left and we waited a minute or so, a man’s silhouette appeared in the mirror. He introduced himself as Pharook and heard our story about Zim being eaten by a giant albino crocodile. Personally, I wouldn’t believe it, but I guess even the Jeezus-man is a good liar. Pharook seemed pleased, then disappeared as quickly as he appeared.
Now we were officially part of the Blackened Beacon, or at least Pharook trusted us enough to send us off to his new pet project – Farwood.