The fireplace crackled with the holy light of T.I.M.’s sacred flame. He was reading from his master’s journal, softly to himself. From the doorway I had to strain to listen, unsure if I should be intruding on this private moment.
When he reached the final page, his voice grew strained, and the words tumbled out with all the pent-up confusion T.I.M. had carried around for so long.
“To my brother, should you ever read this, I’ve been trying for weeks to get you to remember. To see some recognition or sign of the man you were. The memories seem gone but you are still there. Your voice is still the same one I grew up with. You still love to play in the dirt and mud just like you did when you were a child, though I fear that has developed into an unhealthy obsession with leaches.
“I’m waiting to tell you everything. I’m afraid to find that you are truly gone. If you are reading this, you at least know enough to know the truth: your name is Tymerious Ingstat Marbrand, second son of the Marbrand family. Now just the two of us. Or is it just me now? I still can’t tell.
“You were a devoted cleric to Lathander until I pulled you away to the adventurer’s life. We were successful for a time, until we found that damndable tower, those terrible experiments. People being turned to stone. The brains of men being shoved into machines. And the worst of them, souls themselves being transferred to statues of wood and stone.
“And then, the dragon.
“It’ll be my eternal shame that I ran when you fell, but I did, only to see you subjected to that terrible experiment. I couldn’t get you out alone, so I hired the Zhentarim to steal you from that place. Since then I’ve been trying to bring back your memories.”
We had a number of tasks and leads before us, and thankfully a very handy teleportation network. The Harpers (and Bryseis) wanted us to immediately go after the escaped Weevil, who now plotted his revenge against us. We opted to take a small detour down to Waterdeep to follow up on Klauth’s clues regarding T.I.M.’s past.
Klauth had revealed that all the answers T.I.M. sought lie in his master’s journal. He need only to read it by the fireplace back in his home cabin in Ardeep Forest, near Nightstone.
We reached level 9, teleported down to Waterdeep and hitched a cheap ride back to Nightstone, stopping briefly to check in on Morak and the people of Nightstone, who had been busy rebuilding the destroyed town.
We journeyed into Ardeep Forest, where T.I.M.’s memories came flooding back in sporadic bursts. He told us to follow the Dessarin River, so we did.
Halfred soon sensed some monstrosities around us, so we proceeded with caution. T.I.M. was heedless, at times overjoyed at recognizing familiar sights when we drew close to his cabin. We turned south, crossing the river, and saw a mess of spider webs to the southwest. T.I.M. pointed us to the southeast, but Korinn couldn’t leave massive spider webs just hanging around, using Mage Hand to begin detangling them from the trees.
On cue a trio of Ettercaps descended down from the trees above us. These grotesque humanoid spiders proved little match for us, and was a fun way to show off the mirror/cloning powers of my new Phantom pike.
We slew two of them quickly, but the third began chittering in alarm, and was answered by a disturbingly loud chittering. I expected a horde of spiders to come after us next.
Instead it was one big, and I mean really god damn big, sword spider.
The 15-ft spider was shaped more like a Daddy Long-Legs (that’s the common Southern US term, I had to literally just look up the actual name for these things, which is apparently Cellar Spider). Picture that giant spider monster from Kong: Skull Island!
It didn’t hit terribly hard but it could hit four times in a round with different legs, skewering several of us each turn, including Bryseis’ summoned saber-tooth tiger from her Bag of Tricks.
We busted out a few powerful spells, and found it had a ridiculous +7 to DEX saves. Korinn’s lighting spells (Shocking Grasp and Chromatic Orb) proved especially effective with crazy high damage rolls. The beast finally went down, with about half of us suffering from minor injuries.
Korinn heard a voice from deep into the web-infested area, and we followed to investigate. A dryad stepped out from a web-covered tree and thanked us for killing those creatures.
Kazin hesitated, wondering whey the spiders weren’t considered “of the forest.” Ettercaps are monsters, not beasts, and that sword spider was an unnatural creation they had nurtured. Alright then! The dryad confirmed that the cabin lay to the east, and warned us that several figures who looked like T.I.M. had come looking there, and hadn’t left the area.
We went to the cabin, literally chasing after T.I.M. The body of his master still lie on the ground outside the cabin where he had left him, before his awareness and faculties had fully awakened. The cabin was just as he had left. He used Sacred Flame to light the fireplace, and began reading from the journal.
The journal was written by the man he once thought was his creator and god, Enebrin Marbrand. The man whose corpse lay unceremoniously outside the cabin. It teased out details of the man trying to get T.I.M. to remember his past life.
The final page gave the answer. T.I.M. are the initials of Tymerious Ingstat Marbrand (no idea if I’m spelling that correctly), brother of Enebrin. The two were adventurers, but stumbled upon the blue dragon’s factory for creating her warforged army. Tymerious fell, and was subjected to the brutal process of forcing his soul into a golem.
Marbrand paid the Zhentarim to recover the newly forged golem, and secluded themselves in Ardeep Forest, where he tried to get his changed brother to remember who he once was.
This was one of my favorite moments in our entire campaign. A really neat moment for T.I.M. to discover the truth of his past, and it all fits entirely within our campaign.
The journal entry also revealed two magical items that T.I.M. once owned, a sword and shield. The sword was recovered, buried in a cave nearby, but the shield remained in the factory, which I presume we’ll be kicking down the doors of later on.
At the same time as this revelation, that golem group the dryad warned us about approached the cabin from the south. Halfred called out a warning as we turned to watch a robed warforged and a giant golem approach us, and they weren’t exactly asking for directions. Next time!