The party, with myself wounded and barely walking and Langston having no use of his good hand, made our trek back to the village with no event. I had received a vision of Fits waking up (through my sense link), in a cage, underground, which was disconcerting but also reassuring; Fits was alive, and I had taken his wounds, so he was unharmed. He might be killed at any time, yes, but if he is alive, he might be rescued. I then immediately lost the connection (there is a maximum range, unfortunately), though I had seen a green streak in the air from Fit's point of view; possibly a cave dwelling animal, or something worse. Seeing as something had gone through the trouble of caging Fits instead of eating him, and we were clearly dealing with some very strong magic in the area and/or our current foes, I had no way of being assured of anything.
We entered the town of Hollowbrook around lunchtime, but the place seemed deserted. No movement or people present. Puzzled, we decided to make our way as a group first to Praxis the priest and healer, then the town elders, to report our findings. When we passed by the town hall, we heard a notable racket inside, indicating a large gathering, and we were stopped out of curiosity and concern. After spending several minutes arguing over what to do first uselessly, Alan got fed up with the rest of us and simply knocked on the door. The noise in the hall quieted, and someone shortly came to the door to answer us.
When the door was answered, it was by a man we did not recognize, but we were recognized by the collective of people in the building; when the door was opened wide enough and we were invited in, we noted that the hall probably contained the whole village, meeting here for some reason. That reason was quickly made apparent when we were called to from the center of the hall, by a tall, thin person wearing worn but ornate arm and carrying a strange spear. He introduced himself as "Roganart Fel," and was given a further introduction as an elven noble from a semi-local elf village that had come about to rid the town of its troubles (in other words, what we were already trying to do). His nobility and presence had convinced the town that he deserved a banquet in honor of his coming, which we had just walked in on. As we had not completely accomplished our goal, and had to admit as such due to our battered state, we all got an immediate sample of the elf's arrogant nature, and he and Alan Firestorm got off on a bad footing, seeming both having heard of the other and snarking or insulting the other by implication with almost everything they said. However, between this and the introductions, we spelled out that, although we were not done, we would still stay around to finish the task,I produced the bag of treasures that had come from the pile of bodies in the tunnels. I could not keep the treasures in good conscience, as the town had mentioned their taxes for the grave space, as well as the fact that the treasure came from already desecrated corpses, and the nature and sheer volume (about 1000 gold pieces worth) of the treasures produced showed the town as a who how serious these grave wreckers were. Yolo gave me a funny look over this, but that wasn't surprising.
Having sorted out this matter with the elders at the banquet, Praxis came forward to offer to heal Langston and me. We left with him while the others got on ate banquet, getting ingratiated with Roganart Fel who would, for better or worse, be joining us when we went out the next day. Arrogant though he seems, he must have skill for him to think he could make a difference here, or at least I hope so, as otherwise I, and most likely Alan, would be putting up with an insufferable noble while everyone else would get to see him as dead weight. Praxis showed his skills with healing by healing me handily, quickly, and completely, then sending me back to the banquet, though he noted that I seemed down due to my familiar being gone (it being my fault for this didn't help), and I appreciated his sympathy. He then prepared to heal Langston's arm, and succeeded in doing so, a true sign of his skill, in about four hours. Langston mentioned to me later that he had had a long talk with Praxis while being healed, although he refused to comment much further than something about a "future task." At any rate, after I got back to the banquet, I tried staying out of Sir Fel's way, as he would not likely be kind to a half-elf such as me, and we eventually wound up going over to the Mutton Shank tavern once the banquet dispersed and we had all rested a little.
As a means to boost the spirits of all the townsfolk that had arrived at the tavern by sundown, the owners set up a pie-eating contest, and a betting pool for the same. The contestants wound up being me, Yolo, Alan, Langston (fresh off his healing and talk with Praxis), two men whose names I missed that were in their mid to late 20's, a seventeen year old large, hungry seeming farmhand named Brutus, and a man called Old Bob that seemed even more frail then everyone else in the tavern (possibly excluding me, but that's the usual case). The others in our party stood aside, casually had a meal, and placed bets, with Sir Fel placing several, even a few coins on Old Bob (I myself placed two gold on myself and one on Bob, out of sympathy and laughs for the long odds; Old Bob was 100/1, I was 50/1, Yolo was 5/1, Brutus was the favorite at 3/1, and the others were between 15/1 and 6/1). To virtually nobody's surprise, I came dead last, most of the others did about the same, and Brutus did very well, eating five pies in about twelve minutes. To everybody's surprise, however, Old Bob won out, eating six-and-a-half pies in the same time, and winning quite a bit of money from the first prize and his bet on himself, and gaining me and Sir Fel quite a bit of money. Yolo was frustrated by this, as the winnings basically cancelled out the money he had won off of Sir Fel in a gambling match that happened before we came to the Mutton Shank, not to mention he lost a little money on the bets he made. Bob proceeded to treat the tavern to several rounds of drinks and spent most of his winnings on more food and said drinks, showing off quite a massive appetite for such a small man. I gave him a tip of five gold out of respect for this. He would eventually collapse from the partying, and had to be carried to his bed in the inn by others. The others in the party kept Yolo from stealing from him in this state, and we later went off to bed ourselves, knowing what we had waiting for us in the morning.
Druid's Log, Entry 108
Waking up the next morning, generally refreshed (perhaps not overindulging in the eating contest was a good idea for me, in hindsight, although I cannot claim it was on purpose, and Alan, Yolo, and Langston seemed to have no problems despite having eaten much more), we went to the general wares shop and stocked up on torches and lantern fluid for our now two lanterns (one held by Alan a one by Sir Fel). After stocking up, Ellsie wished us luck, and we set out. When we reached the moor again, we found the letters on the great grave marker reset, and the pit sealed. We guessed that whoever or whatever was down in the tunnels was waiting r us to use the same entrance; unfortunately, we had to press on, as we had no alternatives at the time. We set about working the letters in mechanism, until Langston felt that one was stuck in a manner unlike last time. Not wanting to break the mechanism of our current only way in (if the ground is magic, or just too thin and above a cavern, digging might end badly), I used my elemental manipulation on the capstone (knowing from Alan before it had no magic protection like the earth) to open the side enough to make the ropes and switches inside visible and reachable. after moving one rope and re-closing the side with another elemental manipulation, the rest of the letters were turned, and the same pit to the same door to the same crypt opened. We went in.
We went down a tunnel we hadn't before, not wanting to go back into the spider webs too soon, and shortly ran into a rap. Sir Fel, in the lead at the time, fell down a pit trap, and we stopped in our tracks. Hearing a shout from below and a stab of the spear, we surmised that he had recovered quickly and faced something, but then I got another vision of Fits. Thinking that the trap might have something to do with this, I jumped onto the pit trap myself (...not a well though out action, in hindsight), and fell in. Following being dazed by the lading, but not hurt, I noted that Sir Fel was unharmed, and that he had killed a snake I recognized as very poisonous. I saw a moving bag in the corner of the pit, but this just contained a rat that was likely meant to be snake food, which I released. An animal pit trap; how barbarous, and easily thwarted, as Sir Fel had shown. It was clear we were dealing with someone with little respect for animals, and once we got out of and over this pit, we would press on. The maker or makers of this tunnel network seemed to be going down a list of things I hate on a personal level (unnecessary animal cruelty, trapping, creating undead, and keeping my familiar alive as a pet/toy in a cage), and with my new knowledge of Fits being nearby, I was reinvigorated to strike at them.
Last edited by Hatless_Nuance on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
Having collected my bearings in the bottom of the pit, and assured myself that there were no other immediately threatening things in it with us since the snake was dead, I called up to the others to ask if they had noted the pit trap, and if they could open it from their end. What followed was more bickering and insults as Alan and Sir Fel had yet another verbal pissing match over who was really leading the party and so on, but we did eventually conclude that the pit was held by springs and weight-triggered releases, that the earth and stone around the moorings and the trap parts was too tough and magically reinforced for my elemental manipulation to affect, and that we would likely need to trigger the trap again and use some rope to get out, which could be a tricky maneuver. This planning was promptly interrupted by the untimely arrival of five skeletons from the passage that went to the right of the path we had come down, carrying picks (I wasn't up above to see this, but was told afterwards and saw/heard some shortly-mentioned effects of it anyway).
With a show of forgetting, never knowing of, or not caring about the pit trap lying at the juncture of passages, four of the skeletons charged into the trap and triggered it. Three fell into the pit with Sir Fel and myself, which we narrowly avoided being crushed by, while the fourth got caught in the trapdoor and stuck. Langston jumped over the pit and struck down the fifth skeleton that had stayed out of the trap, while Yolo crushed the skull of the one stuck in the doors, taking out that threat in short order and leaving an easier way to work with the trap, as the ribcage of that one remained wedged and kept the pit open (the pickax it dropped almost hit me in the head, though). In the pit, Sir Fel struck down one skeleton handily, while the other two got up; my strikes managed to do little more than annoy them, and I was slashed in the chest. Though I was hurt, I got behind Sir Fel, and we did manage to take down those two quickly after that (when I say we, I do in fact mean mostly Sir Fel; I'm not that full of myself to think otherwise). Having cleared up that confusion and menace, we managed to get out of the pit by having Yolo hold the trapdoor open with his body weight while holding onto the side of the pit, Alan, Langston, and Shin holding the long rope Alan carried as it was lowered into the pit (with the other end tied around Yolo for added security), Sir Fel climbing out first (much to Alan's protest, of course; I doubt those two would get along well even after some time), and finally me being tied to the rope and hauled out by the others, after which Yolo also climbed out (I was in no shape to climb, and I am not very strong in the best of times, I admit).
After we took some time to patch me up and get our bearings, we got over the pit by jumping, and went to explore the area to the right that the skeletons had come from. We found very little, as it seemed to just be another dead end (ha ha) where the skeletons had been mining for corpses, but Alan insisted we check harder, and he found a single coin. Nobody else found anything, and we promptly moved on, with Alan expressing frustration that such an area had nothing in it, and that an unmarked, seemingly valueless old coin was all we found (he mumbled something about "getting several raises on a notice check"). Sir Fel then said that if he didn't want it, he would take the coin from Alan, and after we crossed the pit again (going left this time relative to our path of origin), he did so. Then the coin stuck to his hand, and neither moved nor slid, and any further attempts to remove it or even shift it on is palm failed to do anything. I looked at the coin, and all I could tell was that it was old, inscrutable, and probably magic (the last seemed obvious, but then I don't have arcane sight like Alan). Before we could decide to stop and analyze this coin or keep moving, we noted that there was movement ahead, and got quiet.
We went around a bend to the right, and came upon another open area, with six skeletons wielding pickaxes and digging at the walls, while another sorcerer (or at least a similarly cloaked figure) oversaw them. as we hadn't been seen yet, apparently, we made ready for battle; I changed into a lion with Concentrate active, Shin drew her claws, Yolo burrowed, and the others drew their weapons. I tried sneaking into the area, but I was noticed, and the sorceress (as she proved to be) cast dispel at me, and I lost my lion form; the others took this as the cue to charge, while Sir Fel threw his javelin at the sorceress, and managed to wound her. The skeletons then rushed at us, some of them stooping briefly to grab swords or axes once buried with the dead to wield, and they struck at the others. Shin reached my side as one that held no weapon clawed at me, Langston and Alan each struck at one and brought them down, and Sir Fel threw his lance again, only grazing the sorceress this time. Yolo popped out of the ground and struck at the sorceress, shaking her, then tried to grapple her. Sir Fel ignored this, and tried to strike at her again. In the commotion, I was suddenly taken by a glimpse of Fits, and paused in place defensively, trying to figure out where I was sensing him; I got struck upside the head by a skeleton with a pickax for my trouble, and if we weren't a party with a good healer, I may have had to worry about a concussion. At any rate, Shin proceeded to get the skeletons off of me, and take them out, then yell at Sir Fel that he should hold his strikes; Yolo was trying to incapacitate the sorceress non-lethally, and if she was taken alive, we could question her. Alan and Langston fought through the rest of the skeletons except for one that tried to strike at Yolo before being flailed down. Yolo then tried to grapple the sorceress, partly succeeded, but then she broke free. He managed to grapple her after Langston tried to beat her with the flat of his greatsword, while Sir Fel stated something to the effect of "She is a sorceress, and taking her alive would just mean more trouble," and the sorceress replied "How dare you. Alan will kill you all if I will it." Alan questioned this statement, and Yolo grappled her again, but Sir Fel took that statement as a cue to strike her down. he threw his javelin once more, managing to not hit Yolo, and killed her outright. As Yolo dropped her body as it convulsed and died, and Shin yelled at Sir Fel, Alan got angered by this defiance of the others in the party to make ready to strike at Sir Fel... then he just lost consciousness and simply fell over.
With the skeletons taken care of, Shin healed my head wound, I got into proper contact with Fits and tried to pinpoint his location, Langston and Sir Fel searched the sorceress's body, Yolo tried to shake Alan conscious, and after about thirty seconds, Alan woke up. He then asked what had happened, as he apparently didn't remember anything that had just happened; he remembered preparing to rush into this room, but everything else after that had vanished from his mind, including his anger at Sir Fel (possibly for the best, that, but still troubling). We found a ring on the sorceress (who troubled Alan when he looked closely at her, because she looked exactly like the ones we had fought before in the other caverns), and decided to search the bodies in the area. Other than rusted swords and axes, and old and rotted clothes, we did find one yet unopened casket that looked rather fancy in comparison to any others we had yet seen. Upon opening it, we found a body, armored in badly rusting armor, styled in a manner that was reminiscent of over one hundred years ago (as noted by Langston), and that the shield that was buried with this man, this knight, seemed to be untouched by any kind of rust or decay. The shield was confirmed to be magic by Alan, along with the ring off the sorceress, and the shield had a griffin symbol on it, marking it as an old item from Lorens Keep, a knight stronghold not too far from here. Puzzled why such an old knight would be buried so far from his keep, and with such a nice shield, we discussed what to do about this, then resolved that we would take the shield and use it to help us against the threats in these caverns, but that we would plan to return it to its keep of origin after we were able to get there. Resolving this, we moved further into the caves.
We first took a right at the next junction we found, and confirmed that that path simply led back to the fourth and final path that came from the pit trap that had troubled us only about twenty minutes ago. found no other offshoots to that path, then went the unexplored way. I felt that I had somewhat figured out Fits's location, though the path that got us closest only led us to another dead end. This was especially frustrating, as I felt that it was only a wall of earth between me and Fits, but Yolo could not burrow through that wall, none of us could break it down, and we could do nothing, so we moved on, much to my displeasure. We then came to another junction of paths, and before we could choose which path to take, Langston said he heard something from the right-hand path, something like a cry for help. Being the most heroic soul among our party, Langston rushed that way after drawing his sword, and right as he started moving, a wall slammed the tunnel behind us shut (which Yolo only barely managed to dodge). Being cut off from going back, we followed Langston towards the room, but didn't get very far before we saw the occupants of this new dead end; undead dire wolves, six of them, and a mauled body of a small person behind them. We drew our weapons and prepared for battle.
Before anybody else did anything, Alan decided that now would be the time to try out something new with his fire power; an explosive burst of flame. He used it, but all he accomplished was to make a flash, annoy most of the wolves, but stun one and set it aflame. This was a bad thing, as the blast and the burning wolf made smoke an immediate concern, and the still burning wolf would just make it worse. We could only stand two wide in this hallway, and Langston got to the wolves first, striking down one quickly. However, the four others not burning then rushed at me, Yolo, and two at Langston. Langston was brought down by the double team and actually started to bleed out, while Yolo and I were shaken. Alan moved and cut down one wolf, while Sir Fel stood behind us and took down another with his spear. Yolo moved to block another one, while I moved to Langston and quickly tied cloth over his wounds and stopped his bleeding to keep him from dying (a capture and two near-deaths in three days;Langston is not having a good week). The smoke was getting thicker, and I was nearly taken down by a wolf, but I only took a relatively light blow, and Yolo took that wolf out, while Alan felled the next-to-last one. I then rushed over at the still-stunned, burning wolf, cut it down with my dagger, and began stomping out the fire while covering my mouth with my cloak. Threats averted, we moved out of the area briefly to let the smoke settle and clear, while collectively mocking Alan for using such fire techniques in so enclosed an area. Langston was heavily wounded, having suffered a serious guts injury, but was brought back to consciousness once carried out of the smoke, and assured he would not die here (yet anyway). After the smoke cleared enough, we went in and searched.
The body that the wolves had torn up before we came, and whose dying breath/cry Langston had heard, was that of a little girl, and a ring was found on her finger. It read "To Laura, from your loving father," and we recognized the family name as that of Jetna, and her father the miller back in Hollowbrook. He had another daughter, who had apparently been dragged out here, and killed so brutally; what would we tell him and his family when we got back to Hollowbrook? Seeing there was nothing else we could do, Alan took the ring to return to the girl's family, and when we searched the room completely, we found a small bag, containing four gold piece (which Yolo promptly pocketed) and a vial of glowing blue liquid. Deciding to take some time to rest and investigate our magic items, we moved out into the hallway, which was still sealed at one end, and took our rest to heal and investigate.
Over about the span of two hours, we had Alan investigate the four unknown magic items we held: the sorceress's ring, the griffin shield, the blue vial, and the coin still stuck to Sir Fel's hand. The vial was a fortuitous stroke of luck; it was a potion of greater healing, and Langston promptly drank it, which healed the grievous wound in his guts, and my own wounds, along with his lesser injuries, were patched or healed by Shin, myself, and Yolo working together. While this was done, Alan was investigating the other items, and determined that the ring was a ring of protection, which granted a weak extra bit of armor to the wearer. I took that ring, as I clearly needed the most help for protection with my weak body, although Langston had had the worst luck with near-death so far among us. The Shield turned out to be a finely crated magic shield that gave a great boost to the ability to parry blows or block ranged attacks (equaling or exceeding the abilities of massive legionnaire shields while only being a medium shield), and the griffin emblem alone possessed another power, though Alan could not determine its nature. The coin on Sir Fel's hand, however, defied any attempt to define or decipher anything about it. Having rested, healed, and regained a bit of our arcane power and mundane stamina, and allocated or used our magic items accordingly, we moved on the only way we could in the tunnels; forward.
We came to another bend in the tunnels, this one having two parallel ones leading off of it, heading east (I knew our direction and heading even underground, and we had just been going south). We got into an argument about which path to take, and Alan and Sir Fel were at each others throats again in no time. Sir Fel noted that we should go on the more northern path, as it was more likely to get us to a problem area, and get us closer to Fits, while Alan and Langston wanted to search the outer areas to be sure we didn't miss anything important or dangerous to be aware of before advancing. Sir Fel refused to walk with the others as they went o the southern path, and I tried to appeal to his ego to get him to go with them so we would stick together. Failing at that, I then went to catch up to the others, and then things started going wrong/weird in a hurry.
First Alan said he was hearing a voice. He started talking o himself then, and mumbled something about "no" or "noh" or "know," I wasn't sure which. Then Alan's talk got more questioning and nervous, and he commented something about "know the betrayer" before the earth rose up and struck at Shin by forming spikes; she soaked the blow, but she used up a healing charge on her ring, and we were now clued in to the fact thathe earth itself was able and willing to attack us. Then we got to an opening that we had to shimmy and squeeze through. First went Alan, then Langston, then Shin, then me. Yolo went back towards Sir Fel, even knowing that he had no light source, as Langston and Alan had mentioned seeing another light on the other side of this opening, and this made him nervous. We also heard an impact of sorts occur from where Sir Fel was (he later mentioned stone arrows or bolts, and the ground rising up to attack him like it did to Shin). When we got to the other side of the opening, Alan began asking loudly who this "betrayer was, and between this and the labyrinth we were in coming alive and attacking us (or at least that was what it seemed like), I was starting to panic. Thinking of one possibility, I shouted out "Trinistad, is that you!?" thinking that Alan might be possessed the spirit of that sorcerer lord that died long ago. At the far end of the cavern on the other side of the opening, a light was flickering on and off. I ran forwards, but Alan got paranoid of something I didn't think of, and pushed himself and Shin to the ground; and then the first wave of fire hit us.
It was a searing blaze, massive and bright, that came from before us. It reached past us and, by word of Sir Fel, reached all the way around to the junction of the paths. Yolo and Sir Fel were only slightly singed, while Langston was burned, I was scalded but still able to stand, and Alan and Shin suffered little, having gotten onto the ground before this could happen. I lost my connection to Fits again as this happened, just to compound the misfortune. However, after the flame and the light at the other end of the cavern subsided, I advanced, as did the others, although they stayed low. Shin used her power to heal Alan, and her ring of healing had exhausted the last of its power saving her from fire damage. I advanced and tried to climb over a ridge of rock in the middle of the cavern. Before I got all the way over, I saw the light flare up, and I took a knee on top of the ridge while the others dove behind it. another wave of fire passed over us, doing less damage as we had been prepared, but still painful. Shin was able to reach me after this and partially heal me, then I advanced. I got to the other end of the cavern, and found a large black curtain, which I threw aside. I was promptly paralyzed with fear; I stood face to face with a Red Dragon. I was only able to say as much to the others. At this point, Sir Fel had come into this area as well (attracted by the fire and commotion, while Yolo had backed out to safety). Langston then charged forward and was paralyzed briefly as well by fear at the sight of the dragon's head, but once Shin got up, she was able to note that the head was actually positioned wrong and seemed off; in other words, it was a fake. Invigorated by this, Langston charged behind the fake dragon head and, thanks to some quick thinking, was able to determine that it was Dwarven made, it had controls with Dwarven language labels, and one was an on/off switch, which he threw. At this point Alan and Sir Fel caught up to us, and we came around to examine the fake fire-breathing dragon head, and the area around it.
We found that the dragon head was indeed a Dwarven construct, and was making fire by drawing gas from a pipe beneath it and using some sparks and magic to start and enhance it. also the voice in Alan's head stopped when it was deactivated, and a magic-aura-sight once-over revealed why; the dragon head was enchanted with a spell called "Mimmit's Mind Meld," which was the Speak Language spell crossed with a mental projection spell meant to work only for certain people (probably sorcerers/sorceresses here). Langston found a name that was engraved in the construct that linked it to a clan of dwarves that lived in mountains to the north; it was a clan Grunbar had mentioned. We were unsure what to make of that, but with nothing else we could do to or about the head, we healed our burns and wounds and searched the area.
We came across three large bags (as in, too big and heavy for us to ever hope to move, large) filled with a massive amount of gold and jewels. We estimated the value would likely be around 10,000 gold pieces between the three sacks. I insisted we search them for magic items, so we could use them if needed or able, or at least keep them from our foes in these tunnels. While the others were reluctant, eventually I was able to dump out the bags and have Alan use his magic sight on the treasure; he found nothing, and then I spent some time scooping the treasure back into the bags (alone, as the others insisted) before we resolved to leave the gold there and come back for it later. The fake dragon head was the security measure for the gold, it seemed. Walking back the way we came, we refound Yolo, chided him for missing out on the gold, and moved down the other passage we had yet to explore.
We moved on through empty, non-branching halls, until we came to the cavern of webs which we had faced the giant spider the day before. Seeing nothing new there, we then went down the only other path yet unexplored, and were in for a shock. We saw a battalion, over 100 strong, of skeletons, armed and standing ready. Shin panicked and ran back upon seeing the small army, though the rest of us only barely stood our ground and kept quiet. After realizing we had no chance of fighting them all, we went back the way we came to search for more areas, or at least find Fits. We found that the path that had shut behind us was open again, although we found nothing new from untunnelable walls and same now-empty paths. However, when we came back around another area, we had the tunnels before and behind us close, and Sir Fel, in the front of the party, was attacked out of nowhere by what revealed itself to be an earth elemental. The elemental then sank back into the ground, and we saw that a new passage was open before us. We walked down that passage, and then we came upon a massive room.
The room had great iron blazers casting light from contained sizable fires without clogging the air with smoke. Large, black tapestries hung from the cavern ceiling. A throne of bones was in the far side center of the room, rising above the rest of it, and at throne was flanked by four armed skeleton guards with swords and shields. Fits was visible, held in an iron cage off to one side of the room (and my link to him was back to full strength; huzzah). Upon the throne, a woman sat, with palest skin and dark countenance. a small green demon-like creature perched on her arm. She looked at us with contempt, and gave a grandiose statement. "I am Eldeza, Lich Queen." We were in the presence of the core source of our troubles now, and things would certainly get worse from here on out.
Last edited by Hatless_Nuance on Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:09 pm; edited 3 times in total
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