I do apologize, mother, for the nearly illegible penmanship of the first part of this letter; it was written on horseback while quite tired. The latter half returns to the letters you did well to teach me, and if I had but more time I would have rewritten the former half, but matters are, as always, pressing.
Before the horseback riding, of course, we were in a fungus-filled cave, having just fought some fungus-filled apparitions. Beyond that antechamber, we found long passage, which continued a while until it intersected with a stream of sludge, slithering down from Ioun-knows-where and beneath a rickety looking bridge, beyond which the cave opened out to a wider chamber, in which stood four figures. In front were a mass of ooze and eyes that looked and smelled dangerous, and a demon that looked ready to cause all kinds of trouble. The smallest figure was chained to a spidery-looking altar in the back: the kidnapped eladrin girl appeared to be about 12, which brought back some memories for me, let me assure you. Beside her stood a drow woman, aiming cool eyes and cruel smile in our direction.
I asked for the girl, the drow gave some threats, and I assured her that we would be happy to leave her be, but when her eyes darted to her henchmen we all knew what was what. Lady Ronstien led the charge, and was soon enough joined by the two big lugs, and soon after that by the rest of us. Kynun stood athwart the passage and held everyone together, dispatching the little bits of sludge that slithered out of the river. Lady Ronstien barely moved after the initial charge, though: she had put herself out front and established the line, and in return the full fury of these beasts focused on her. A particular problem was the drow, who sat behind the main line and rained hideous things upon us from afar. So as soon as the ooze fell, I split the world apart and allowed our lot to jump across the room, surrounding the wench and pummeling her quite well before the other baddies could catch up. As we did our pummeling, though, the drow exterior chipped away and her true form was revealed: a spawn of Juiblex, which fit with our fungal surroundings, but would make this story less powerful as a symbol of the drow threat to Astrazalian. When D’cafnaet’d sliced the not-drow down and the demon began aiming at the captive girl, though, we shifted tactics and pushed him away from his quarry, again offering to let him leave, but in the end he took the pain and the failure of banishment from our plane.
Jezebel, as the girl is called, rode back to Astrazalian with me, and her father’s embrace stung me as I watched. There are always more urgent matters, but Father is never far from my mind.
Our presently more urgent matter was that of the two more votes we yet needed to move Astrazalian to aid the war effort. Lady Vell was met, and her fishing expeditions for glory or favors was noted before we left. Lady Tam also granted us an audience, but demanded proof–dismissing Gaould’s kidnapped daughter as an attack only on his drow-hating house and not an assault on the city proper. We– and here I mean, mostly, D’cafnaet’d– considered beating some sense into a few of the other councilors, but cooler heads prevailed and we decided to keep that tactic as our backup should we be unable to find some proof for Ladies Tam and Vell; we have decided to search this city’s underbelly to find the inevitable signs of foul play.
And no sooner than we’d decided upon this course than we ran into an old friend of ours from Overlook, one well traveled on this course, the spymaster Sartian. Last time we met him he was willing to loosen a few rules to get what he needed, but seemed always to be aiming at the right targets. We shall see if his presence here in a a city not his own will keep his intent as pure.
And if it proves less, we might have found our first agent of the drow.