Speaker to Elves

( DM's note: The title is a play on the joke from Larry Niven's Ringworld book. One of the Kzinti diplomats to Earth was named "Speaker to Animals")

Summary
After defeating the necromancer (Hunting Necromancers), the party loots his camp and returns to the monastery for healing and Giric trains. They return to town and pick up Hiro, who has been competing in painting and poetry contests. They have several unidentified magic items, so they travel to Port Natal to find a mage to identify the items. After a false start choosing a bad inn, they come to the Dented Shield inn. While not crowded, most of the patrons are squeezed into one side, avoiding a man in the formal garb of a priest of Lims-Kragma, goddess of death. Its Adolphus, he was waiting for them to arrive. He wishes to rehire them for the next part of his quest into the mystery of the old elven necromancer tombs. He has been named emissary by the High Priestess of Lims-Kragma and given official status by the Duke of Krondor. The downside of all this official status is that he has to travel in uniform, instead of discreet travel clothes. While it has been an issue in some ways, as the locals' reaction proves, he admits it has cut down on people's attempts to price gouge him or give him trouble.
Adolphus is travelling to examine another tomb, this one near Stone Mountain in Yabon. After examining that tomb, he is to travel to the elven court in Elvandar and meet the queen. The church fears whoever is opening the old tombs and wants them stopped, Adolphus is going to question the elves about the truth behind the tombs.
The party lays over in Port Natal, does some resupply and training. then they travel north again, retracing their route. The journey takes them to the second tomb, but they find it surrounded by a force of goblins, moredhel and ogres. They fight the guards with the help of some bears the druid Summons. After the battle, they examine the tomb and see it has been opened already. They pull open the door and a large demon left behind as a booby trap attacks them. It beats them with its claws and the party fights. Hiro is unable to wound it with his non-magic sword and tries to grapple with it. The demon throws Hiro into Greywind. The demon is mortally wounded and uses Magic Jar to do a body switch with the samurai. The switch is successful, but Hiro resists, and the switch is reversed just in time for the demon to be destroyed.
The party heals up, searhes the tomb quickly, then moves away to make camp. Since this tomb has already been opened, there's no reason to delay; and Adolphus leads the party to Elvandar. They stop at a town on the shore of the Lake of the Sky, then proceed to the boundary of the elven forest. Thye meet a border patrol who gives them a travel pass and they journey to the elven capital. Once they arrive, they are passed upwards through levels of bureacracy until they get an audience with the queen. Adolphus asks for a smallo, private audience, but the audience includes a number of advisors. Since they ignored his request to make the meeting as private as possible, he decides to be brutally frank and brings out the iron tree crown from the first opened tomb. No one knows what it means except for the queen's oldest wizard advisor, the Spellweaver Tathar, who has a fit and begins throwing accusations at Adolphus. The queen's consort intervenes and suggests a recess for consultations. The party is sent to wait in a sitting room while the elves hash out their differences. Adolphus knocks back a glass of wine and mutters about hating diplomatic missions. Later the party is summoned to another audience, just the queen, her consort, Tathar and an elven general, Orboron. Adolphus explains about the two opened tombs and where the crown came from, he also has the broken sword hilt from the first tomb. The queen insists that Tathar explain his view. He says it is secret that has been passed down from senior spellweaver to the next, the darkest secret they know. Elves were created as servants for a race which no longer lives on this plane. When they were gone, the elves were on their own. Some struck out to live a simpler life, they became wild elves. Others stayed together to study magic for enlightenment, they became the high elves. But others studied magic for dark purposes and their descendants are the moredhel. There was a high elven wizard who took the dark arts further then anyone else into necromancy. He and his lieutenants used dark powers and rallied some of the moredhel and goblinoid tribes as allies. They were eventually defeated, but the eledhel were concerned about his threats to return from the dead. The elves do not pay homage to Lims-Kragma and they did not want the spirits of the evil mages to go to their afterlife, so the eledhel turned to necromancy themselves. The souls or spirits of the dark wizard and his followers were bound to their bodies before they were executed and the bodies buried in magical prison-tombs wherever they were killed. The leader and his last two lieutenants were buried together in a fortress tomb north of the Great Northern Mountains, that forest is now called the Blackveil.
The queen is sickened by this story, and the general is shocked. The consort seems enlightened. They recess again to consider matters, again the party is taken to their waiting room and Adolphus mutters something about "Skip the glass this time." After dinner, they are again summoned, the queen has decided to support their mission. Tathar has an old map showing the location of the tomb and old moredhel cities that may be in ruin, but should be avoided. Orboron will provide guides to the edge of the mountains and supplies, and a former scout who is now a Spellweaver, Sawdell, will give them maps of the pass over the mountain.
The party leaves and travels north through the elven forest to the foothills of the mountains and leave their guides behind. They travel through the pass and make camp for their first night in the mountains. On first watch they are attacked by strange creatures; giant spiders with scorpion tails and thick armor. The monsters are defeated, but it is a bad omen.

Quotes and Smart Remarks
Talking about Hiro sending money home to have his family commission a magic katana
Mike "Samurai aren't jedi, we don't make our own"

Looking for an inn, the samurai chooses poorly
Michael "That's a brothel…"

Discussing how high elves view wood elves, the term suggested was "Kentucky Elf"

Lee "PETN: People for the Ethical Treatment of Necromancers"

Trying to figure out what animals have 8 hit dice for the druid to Summon
Jim "Hippos have 8 HD. And they're amphibious"
Kevin "Its an amphibious assault vehicle. 'Oh no, they're gettinq away in boats!' "No problem' "

Michael's druid is using a Summoned bear to try to intimidate a captured dark elf into talking
Lee "In Russia, bear interrogates you"

Mike "Is he afraid of poetry?"
Kevin "He's afraid of yours"

The bard circles the mezzodaemon to attack it
Konrad "I'm going to poke it from behind"
General laughter…

The samurai is trying to wrestle the mezzodaemon, but it picks him up and throws Hiro at Greywind
Mike "Do I count as a Quality weapon, due to my superior armor?"
Matt "You count as a sack of shit"

Making jokes about the druid being in bear form again
Jim, in Yogi Bear voice "Hey Booboo, the ranger is on furlough, lets go!"

Kevin "Killing demons is sticky work"
Lee "Especially when you cut them open to look for gems inside"

Mike "I can't turn into a squirrel <to spy on the queen> because I won't be able to pay attention: There's a nut! There's another nut!"

Kevin "I'm always interested in Potions of Healing because people around me are always dying"

The bard splashes the ranger with some elven cologne to help him blend in and listen to gossip in an elven bar:
Lee "I smell like sunshine"
And after not learning anything
Lee "I let myself be defiled for nothing"