The fighting began in earnest following Blood Fang's arrival. Blood fang hung back for a bit while the shaman cast a spell of some kind, while all but one of the swordsman, one wielding a long sword, the rest a short sword and shield, rushed in to the camp. Two swordsman charged at me in wolf form, and the rest charged at Grunbar and Allen, who were standing closest to them and somewhat near each other. The archers began to strafe around the camp, and their opening shots did little. Following the spellcasting, Blood Fang rushed at Drobro for whatever reason, and the shaman started to move around the camp. After a short bout of combat all around the camp and the archers continuing to spread out for a better position, an swordsman hit me hard enough to wound me and knock Fits and me out of wolf form (I should look into that "Concentrate thing" at some point, maybe). However, at this time, a massive blow hit Blood Fang from nowhere as he engaged Drobro, and while the blow didn't seem to hurt him, he was startled by it, and his attention was shifted to Grunbar, who had just felled another orc swordsman. An orc archer also hit Blood Fang with an arrow, although that didn't even scratch the chieftain, earning only an angry glare. These archers really were highly ineffective; they literally hurt their own parties more than their enemies, even counting the band back in the cave.
Upon observing Grunbar, Blood Fang clearly recognized him, said what sounded like a corrupted form of his name (I later realized it was exactly that, the orc 's native language way of saying his name). He charged away from Drobro (who had been injured but was still standing, and made a useless attack at the retreating chief) and went straight at Grunbar. As he charged he said "Foe Smasher?," which was the name of Grunbar's mighty hammer (as we found out later), and then "Destroyer!" while shaking his own mace, declaring its name (the named mace and hammer apparently have quite some history and possibly a rivalry behind them). Drobro picked off one more archer, Alan felled the long sword wielder, and the shaman, in the woods just out of sight, gave out a weak but pained yell as she died from her head caving in from an invisible flail (Yolo clarified this after the battle). Her death was noted by Blood Fang, who called out "Sister!" in response. the fighting was still fairly evenly matched, but would swing in our favor after Yolo tried and failed to injure Blood Fang again while invisible.
After the commotion and Yolo, being too low on power, dropping his invisibility, Shin moved up to me and healed my wound, while Fits struck at the head of the orc in front of me, hitting him right near the eyes, not really hurting him but stunning him for a moment. Another swordsman almost immediately gave me another wound though, while Shin moved to aid Grunbar. Allen felled two more swordsman, but lost his armor and swordfire, while Blood Fang and Grunbar bashed at each other while causing no further harm on either end. Then commotion came out from a tent on the far side of camp from most of us...
...and out came a human in excellent armor, wielding a two-handed great sword, shaking off ropes that had bound him. His first act upon gaining his composure was to lunge forward and cut down an archer so badly that the other archer next to him tried to flee, only for the great sword to cut him down as well (similar to Grunbar earlier). At this point, Drobro dropped the second to last archer, shin slightly healed grunbar, and Bloodfang charged around a tent to attack me while the only swordsman left fighting me ran to swing at Allen. Sensing an opportunity, I willed myself out of a shaken state and charged at Blood Fang suicidally, my dagger predictably doing nothing. I then took back the injury I had transferred to Fits, and he attacked as well; he struck true at the chieftan's head, and while his eyed were not harmed by the attack, a massive gash was put in his head and slightly on his neck, dazing him badly. As it turned out, this also seemed to use up his luck, as when all orcs but one archer, the swordsman that ran from me, and Blood fang himself were down, a still slightly injured but steel-nerved Grunbar charged after Blood Fang and swung his hammer at the orc's head; the strike connected perfectly, partly caved the chief's head in, crumpled his brain, and tore the head off the connecting neck and hurled it into the fire. Grunbar gave a shout of triumph as the now very thoroughly dead Blood Fang fell.
Curiously, as that marvelous attack happened, there was a loud rumbling sound in the distance and a horn call along with it. After this, the human with the great sword struck down the final archer, and I charged the last swordsman and failed to even inconvenience him while attacking with all my might. Fits then tore out his eyes and part of his brain, killing him instantly and ending the melee.
After the battle, I said a prayer to He Who Watches Over The Wild Places, Shin did her healing, Drobro prayed in thanks to his patron sun god (a beam of light shone right on him in the morning sky through the clouds; his thanks were probably accepted), the great sword wielder introduced himself, and Grunbar picked up "Destroyer" and most of Blood Fang's gear, after drinking what seemed to be a healing draught to recover his last injury from battle. Grunbar said in reflection "It has been so long since I heard the cry for freedom," and when questioned, he responded "Your beard is not mighty enough to hear the tale" to allen, who had asked what he meant. Grunbar parted, noting he might come back for the metal with a cart, and giving the last comment while looking at "Destroyer" of "I told you I'd kill you again."
Allen with his mystic sight had identified a few magic items (Destroyer and the shaman's staff and cloak, not that surprisingly), while otherwise the one find of note was a bag in one tent burind under the floor tarp. this bag contained an appreciable amount of gold and gems (about 200 gold worth by Yolo's guess), and a letter. There was also a ring with no magic but which had an inscription noting a name I had heard in Hollowbrook, so I took that for safekeeping. After confirming that nothing in the bag or letter would curse us, explode, or anything else, we opened it, and were stunned. The letter implicated that Tyrian, the elder back in Hollowbrook, had been making a deal with a one "Queen Eldeza" in exchange for something. Remembering the three brother's heads in the caves had mentioned that name from over 100 years ago, the best guess we could come up with was that it was a bribe for safety of the village, and that Queen Eldeza was actually probably the necromancer from before. She also may have revived Blood Fang from a prior end, and used the orcs as agents in some way (which also explains how they were in the caves with the undead without being attacked). We explained the situation to the newcomer, then went to recheck the caves for anything we might have missed in the area we had yet to see.
Druid's Log, Entry 106
Unfortunately, we could do no such thing as investigate the caves. The back entrance had lost the magic illusion hiding the cave, and thus evidence of a landslide and cave-in blocking that path even more than before was clear even before trying to enter. After camping for an uneventful night, we went and checked the tree entrance, but there was another cave-in, this time just past the green moss room with the "chandelier" but before the three brothers in their pools. all we could find from searching the rocks were some markings that the cave-in was deliberate (pick marks, etc), and a single short inscription; "I am Free - D"
We went back to Hollowbrook after this, arriving in the afternoon, with much to investigate, much to ponder, and much to decide.
Last edited by Hatless_Nuance on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:43 am; edited 1 time in total
Our return to Hollowbrook was greeted by a slight murmur among the townsfolk, followed by a gathering of those not too preoccupied by lunch and work to see what the commotion was about. After stating that we had eliminated the orc menace and that we had fought alongside Grunbar (Yolo brandished Bloodfang's head and the not-really-innately-magical shaman staff as proof) there was a murmur of disquiet, as apparently, in spite of over a day passing, Grunbar had yet to reappear at the town. Somewhat unsure of what to make of this, our group split up, with Alan going off to the temple of Thalos, god of Justice, Drobro and Yolo going back t the tavern/inn where we had started this journey, and Shin, the new artifact hunter, and myself went to look around Grunbar's dwelling for hints about his non-presence. As I found out later, Alan had some sort of conversation about his striking a friend with the priest, an old, slightly lame man named Praxis, while Drobro struck up some sort of rapport with the innkeeper and his wife about local foods, recipes, and old stories about the town while finding out little of consequence. He eventually wound up celebrating with the other halflings in town over their trademark mutton pies; Yolo was simply dragged along for the venture, finding out nothing else of note that Drobro did not also hear.
As for the three who went to the smithy, we checked around the building and found little, and while the swordsman started walking away and Shin was thinking, I walked around back of the place, and found little. Then a voice called out "You won't find anything, youngster," and the side of the building itself (not a door, the actual wall) opened up in front of me, with Grunbar standing there smirking; I probably would have taken offense to that, but then dwarves do live longer then I ever would, and he was certainly a well-traveled, experienced, middle-aged sort of character. After uietly getting the other two back over there, we followed Grunbar inside, to a simple small bedroom attached to his workshop, where everything was stained with soot. Then he took us underground, to a cavern hidden by illusions like the one in the grove. The following conversation covered the fact that he didn't want his presence known to the town yet, that he needed the mace "Destroyer" taken to the priest Praxis, and that my pack mule was dead due to following a butterfly into a spike pit trap, with all equipment lost (there were also some insults thrown in for good measure; clearly Grunbar's opinion was mediocre at best regarding us).
Naturally, I proceeded to partly prove his doubts about my intelligence correct as I wrapped the mace in my new cloak from the dead orc shaman, walk outside, find the rest of our party, and cause a minor panic as it seemed to the townsfolk I was carrying a bloodied child in a tattered robe. Shape-shifting and flying to the church hadn't occurred to me before then, even though it really should have. After panicking slightly, apologizing to the townsfolk, and setting the mace down partially to take the weight off, I shifted into a songbird and flew to the church. Alan later mentioned that he covered for me by explaining that I had been carrying his mace for cleaning and treating. After everyone got to the church (aside from the halflings, who went off to that mutton pie place), Praxis would then appear, take the mace and the robe covering it (I decided the armor was not worth the bloodied image and connection to the dead shaman, especially if I walked in public again around here), and told us that the mace was "One of three, the last one to be collected," implying quite a story behind it even past what we had heard. After giving a mace to Alan to fit his cover story with the townsfolk, and saying where I could find Ellsie and Jetna to return my rings, and some time had passed, a page came to get us (another got the halflings at the same time), and told us to follow him to the hall to meet with the town elders, which we did, and I noted it had gotten close to sunset by now.
Upon meeting with the town elders, Tyrian asked us what had happened, and we told what we could without spoiling the secrets Grunbar wanted us to keep (the rest of the party knew this by now). When I showed him the ring and the bag of treasure, Tyrian panicked a bit and asked to get them. I gave him the bag, but dropped the letter, and Yolo grabbed it up before Tyrian could. After noting that we wanted to read the letter aloud, and that it could be done after either the elders meeting or during it, Tyrian resigned himself to the fact that keeping this a secret was not going to happen, and told us a story. The tale involved Hollowbrook's founding, it's founder Darius Hollowbrook, his marriage and affair, an attempted murder, a turn to necromancy, two dark necromancer sorcerers (one being a woman involved in the affair), and the blackmail of the town. After telling this, Tyrian, made mention that we would be paid for our efforts, but that we would be needed for one more task; going to Howlers Moor, the site of the attempted murder and the likely place the bodies used against us in the caverns beneath the grove came from, and putting an end to whatever evil presence remained.
We would be free to rest and eat for a night, paid for our efforts already done, and then set out for the moor on the morrow.
Last edited by Hatless_Nuance on Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
A last burst of activity occurred after Tyrian explained the town's story involving Darius, Eldeza, and the council. Grunbar, finally revealing himself, walked into the room and presented a bag to Tyrian, saying something to the effect of "It is done," before swiftly walking out again. He shot me a glare on the way out; he'd probably heard about my earlier commotion/screw-up. The bag smelled fragrant; a smell of catnip, or something similar, apparently, which prompted our felid healer to look before anyone could stop her. The bag contained a severed orc head, almost perfectly matching the head that Yolo was carrying, except that this "Blood Fang head" was not covered in marks from being partially burned in a fire, and the eye marking was on the opposite side. In fact, when Yolo brought out that head and placed it by the other one, the heads seemed to be mirror images (sans the fire damage). This combined with our explanations of what Grunbar had done in our earlier battle, and that Yolo had collected his head from the campfire, accomplished nothing but casting slight doubt on our stories (hard to blame them; two heads of the dread Chief Blood Fang? we had no answers) and possibly Grunbar's story, whatever it specifically was (as we were the outsiders here, though, we were likely in worse standing). While Tyrian and the others did believe that we had slain the orc war band on account of Yolo's bag of ears (which he tahnkfully left with them to dispose of), and thus they did pay us our 400 gold each there, there was clearly some suspicion among them now regarding us.
Before we left, I handed back the ring that had belonged to one of Tyrian's ancestors, and the ring that was the burial mark for Ellsie's husband, with him saying he would handle the matter. After he thanked us and told me where to find Jetna, a note was made of the past harsh winter, and Tyrian began a story of his experiences of that winter and about how some of the young ones around here didn't appreciate their fortune to live in this more prosperous time. We respectfully left while he was still speaking, and at least one other elder had his head in his hands in resignation. Tyrian is apparently quite the tale spinner.
As we still had some time before everything closed for the night, Yolo and Drobro went back to the Mutton Shank tavern, while the rest of us went to the miller's home so that I may return Jetna's ring (Shin and the sell sword had nothing to do at this point, and Alan still had time before his 10:00 PM meeting with Praxis). The miller was joyous upon my returning the ring, and was even more happy upon my mention of the scourging of the orc warriors; the short bout of bloodthirsty nature from the man was slightly unsettling, but understandable, and he got over it. Before leaving though, I looked around and saw inside his millhouse a magnificent artifact. The mill wheel itself was a flawlessly carved and engraved multi-stone masterwork, humming with a slight magic aura (as Alan confirmed) and covered with Dwarven runes identical to the ones on the horn in the cavern under the grove. The miller was happy to explain that it was an old heredity device, of known Dwarven make but unknown exact origin, and had been in the hands of his ancestors, the past millers, since the founding of the town. Curiously, and of interest to Alan, Dlogrin had actually been sighted here, having come back before our party had. He had asked to watch the millstones run and grind down a small bag of wheat flour, then paid for the flour, thanked the miller, and walked off in the direction of the mountain homes of the nearest widely-known dwarf society. Unsure of what to make of this, we went back to the inn and laid low for the night, the half flok coming back from the Mutton Shank eventually, and Alan went to his appointment, but was turned away at the door by a paige, who said that Praxis apologized, but would be unable to hold the meeting this night. After this we slept well with our stomachs full, preparing to head out in the morning.
Druid's Log, Entry 107
After waking, we saw that the weather looked stormy, so we went to one stop at Ellsie's wares to get rain cloaks and any other supplies. We spent a little money for this, and Ellsie flirted with Alan. He didn't seem all that comfortable with it, perhaps due to her being somewhat older, but he was personable enough, and we left for the moor after this with little incident.
After arriving at the moor following a short walk (about half an hour), we immediately felt that the area had a different presence than normal. The air felt heavy, depressing, dead; given the moor was covered entirely in Hollowbrook's cemetery, this was probably inevitable. we spent about two hours searching for anything, such as named stones that may be meaningful (Darius the founder's wife, unmarked graves, names the elders had mentioned), but came up with little. Alan tried using his mystic sight, but came up with nothing and got sidetracked by a tree. none of the graves seemed special in any way, except for one; in the very center of the moor, with all other graves in concentric rings around it (going from more to less wealthy buried people as you moved out from the graveyard center) was the massive capstone/marker and tomb for Darius Hollowbrook, the little town's founder. After turning up nothing else, the great grave was examined, and what we came up with was a notice that one of the letters, the "R" in Darius, was tilted in a manner unlike the others in his name, which were raised letters that seemed carved from the stone, but were really, apparently affixed to it. Alan turned that "R," and it shifted back into place easily but with a solid sound. After testing, it was determined that all of the letters would shift like this, and we tried to think of the likely password that might make something happen. I eventually realized that mechanical engineering would come into play here and thought of the word "buhlwark" in the name (an archaic spelling, but applicable), and then the phrase "A buhlwork soil door." A door in the ground would likely be opened if the password was entered. While this seemed a bit of a stretch to the others when I explained it to them, Alan tried entering this by turning the letters in the right order (or at least an order that spelled that phrase, with the "R" we had found pre-turned turned last, and that was exactly what happened.
After the words were entered, the letters were heard locking into place, and a platform about six feet square began to sink into the ground, with little sound being made indicating fine workmanship in the mechanics (probably more Dwarven tech; the mystery deepens more yet). Once it sank the whole way, a door was revealed that would open into the tomb beneath the great grave marker, with the words "Keep out or die" inscribed on the door. suspecting a trap, we began arguing over how to open the door, and I wound up trying to make a ladder in the side of the hole for easy escape by moving the earth. all this succeeded in was blasting a vaguely circular hole in the wall, about six inches deep and a foot in diameter (the ground is very dense and possible cursed; moving it in any meaningful way will likely be anywhere from impractical to impossible). Eventually, Yolo mentioned that he can pick locks and do simple tasks from a distance, and this was exactly what he did, opening the door while nobody as in the hole or near the door. Upon the door's opening, we were greeted by an unnerving sight; Darius's tomb was bare but for a stone coffin in the center, but this coffin was broken in half and visibly empty. there were also two hallways leading to the left and right out of the tomb from where we were looking, and from the left, a booming, pounding noise could actually be heard once we quieted down. What this meant we could not yet know for certain, but we were about to find out something fairly soon, it seemed.
After the door was opened, and our immediate area was examined and determined to be free from traps, the party moved into the pit and began to discuss what to do from here. This discussion was almost immediately disrupted, however, by the reappearance of Dlogrin, who Alan especially greeted heartily. What followed was a discussion of what we had heard and encountered, with Dlogrin explaining that he had gone through the caves again, including the areas we had not seen, and fought and killed another undead cave troll on his own. This also led to his giving us two insights of especially great note; he had caused the cave-ins, to prevent the dwarven mines and treasures from being further interfered with, and that the supposed instance that the miller in town had given about his showing up to see the mill run was false. It had apparently been another dwarf, neither Dlogrin or Grunbar. This discussion also brought forth a mention from the half-folk about Drobro encountering, or at least hearing, a ghostly voice in the caves that knew of Yolo, or at least felt that his name was worth mentioning. Further discussion yielded nothing of note, and it was determined that Drobro and Shin would stand a short watch, then follow us, as we were still uncertain of further outside interference. Our group reinvigorated, and introductions made all around for the new guy, we advanced into the tunnels beyond the crypt, toward the outer ring of the graveyard.
We first traced the thumping/clacking sound to its source, through a dark tunnel that lent even those with night vision little ability to see much ahead of us, although Alan carried a lit torch. We quickly found the source; four skeletons, carrying pickaxes, digging under graves to have the bodies fall down, almost certainly for recovery and use in dark magic. Alan, however, noted that once they noticed us, they seemed to hesitate, and used some of his power to make his sword glow with flame and order the skeletons to obey him. It almost seemed to work, but then one charged at us to attack, and the other three followed suit. Dlogrin's response was to jump into the middle of them, and with the tunnel forcing the skeletons very close together, he swung his axe and shattered them all in one stroke. The air was dead after this swift but loud exchange, and after finding nothing else, we moved on.
We further advanced down another tunnel (the skeletons had been in a dead end), and shortly came upon a tunnel that had a massive pile of dead bodies filling the center, piled to reach both walls, and another group of skeletons guarding the area. This one, though, was led by a person cloaked much like the necromancer back in the caves under the grove. The others charged into battle, Alan lighting his sword and Dlogrin's ax, I mystically enforcing my concentration, and Yolo burrowing into the ground. The fighting was swift, and the skeletons wound up causing us little trouble, although Alan did say some of his power had been drained when the enemy magic user cast a spell on him, though no other effect occurred. The only real note otherwise was Yolo making a massive attack on that magic user, which caved in her chest and broke her wand (which must have been another wand of draining), and his noting that there was a sort of magic barrier that prevented him from going further in the tunnel while inside the walls. This meshed with what I had felt earlier, what Alan had seen with his mystic sight when he used it in the tunnel, and what Dlogrin had also noted; these tunnels were not really structurally sound, and were dug in dirt, yet held well even against great strength and magic manipulation. These tunnels were being maintained by mild, but omnipresent magic that kept the whole tunnel system open and usable, and made some forms of magic far more difficult or impossible. We would have to tread lightly going forward then.
Following this, a movement in the corpse pile startled me, until Fits saw the movement and dove into the pile, thus revealing that it was a mouse he proceeded to eat. He did, however, start choking after chomping down too much so quickly (hawks can't exactly chew food well), and proceeded to cough up a small gold coin. This peaked my curiosity, and the artifact hunter's as well, and we proceeded to search the pile of bodies for more loot (rationalizing that the bodies couldn't exactly get more defiled and that any goods that weren't personally labeled would be free game by this point) and we found quite a bit of small pieces of jewelry and small trinkets. Alan said he would use his magic sight on the stuff we had found, but he felt too low on power to risk it when we were likely to be in conflict soon enough. We moved on after this, with Yolo glowering that he had not participated in the search that had yielded such a fine sampling of goods.
After a short bout of walking, we saw a wolf. One that appeared to be hurt and dying (naturally, our healer had been one that stayed back for the time). Upon it's giving its seeming last breath, or at least passing out, four more skeletons came out and began to whip the beast. This pointless cruelty angered me greatly, and the artifact hunter as well, and we charged the band with the others following. Unfortunately, after this, the wolf got back up, and revealed itself as an undead dire wolf. This had apparently been a sort of trap, though to what end we could not guess immediately (did they know there was a druid that would react to pointless animal cruelty?), and we commenced melee.
As we charged into conflict, Shin and Drobro Arrived to give aid, and this small band of skeletons seemed unlikely to give us trouble. The artifact hunter deflected a blow and struck at one, Yolo turned invisible and harassed several foes, Drobro drew back to prepare a shot, while Shin and myself struck at the undead dire wolf, which was likely to be the most dangerous thing. Drobro took a shot at the dire wolf, but it ignored it, as well as my own and fit's strikes. Shin, however, struck down the wolf harshly, but was then set upon by three foes herself. Two more skeletons we hadn't seen coming joined the fray, and one ran at Drobro, although it did little more than annoy him. Unfortunately, three skeletons set upon Shin, and she was dealt a minor blow, followed by a blow that almost killed her. She survived, barely, but her ring of healing and her own power were taxed in the endeavor.
Following this, Yolo made quick work of two warriors, the artifact hunter did likewise to a third, and shin recovered enough to break one herself. I tried to strike down the last one, but even with a feeling of greater power and fate behind, my weak hands only shook him slightly; Fits proceeded to rip that one's head off, throw it aside, berate me for my uselessness, and dive at another mouse in the cavern. Even just accounting for the last five days, Fits has killed more humanoid enemies than I have. He is a hawk. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed.
Following this, and some ultimately futile attempts to heal Shin a little more, we moved on in the cavern, and eventually came upon a very large cavern . It was filled with spiders and webbing, and we had much debate over how to proceed. We also found out that Drobro was afraid of spiders; a bad time to find out, to be sure. Hopefully he can still pull his weight in this area if needed. At any rate, I used my power to speak to the spiders, and asked them if anyone man-sized had been through here, and if so, from where. with this prompting, I instructed the artifact hunter to start cutting through the webs and move forward. "Follow the spiders," I said. What fortuitous words.
We moved first into a gap in the webs, then into a much larger gap. This took around fifteen minutes in total, as the webs were thick, and care was taken by me to not suddenly light the webbing with the torch. Such an act would likely prompt an inferno which would likely just kill all of us. We moved into this larger area, Drobro shoving past us to get out from the confined webs, when suddenly I felt another mystic presence.
I heard one last phrase from the spiders, about "Feeding Time," and an order to attack from an outside voice. At that moment, my link to the spiders was extinguished. I was a fool. I had not considered the possibility of another beast commander, and this had gotten us cornered, just as the giant spiders descended. Shin healed herself slightly more, Drobro held firm but barely seemed to be holding in panic, the artifact hunter held firm and tried to scare the spiders with his sword, and I braced. The intimidation factor gained by the great sword seemed to have some effect, if only minor, but we were certainly not getting out of this without a fight. I hoped that a fear of cats might be leveraged against these foes, as Shin needed the help with her wound still there, and I could only hope to use that measure to fight. We would see, then, if we could stand here against them.
Almost immediately after the order to attack, the spiders, both large and small, seemed hesitant to do much immediately, so we prepared ourselves with our weapons, and I with my concentration. This was quickly made largely moot by their throwing of webbing, however. Drobro, Shin, and Langston were caught, although Yolo remained free with his quick dodging. I saved myself by somewhat by dodging, somewhat by deflecting some webbing with the torch in my hand. This almost made the torch sputter out, but fortunately it did not for the halflings and humans in the party. Alan lit himself with his flaming armor, and I prepared my primary spell while Fits flew off my shoulders and above the chaos in the low air of the open cavern. Langston and Shin tore themselves free, though Langston had his mouth still covered, but Drobro was paralyzed even more so by his fear and the webbing, and did nothing. A second volley of webbing recaught Langston, but missed Shin and Yolo, and only partially caught Alan before slowly burning off of him. I got lucky and dodged again.
A small swarm of spiders had made its way to Drobro, and had covered him along with the webbing. This simply paralyzed him even more with fear, although his situation was about to get worse. I, however, pulled off my shape change after calling Fits to the ground so he wouldn't fall and kill himself in this new form: a lion, which I also assumed as my form. Fits promptly went from nervous, to confused, to power high, and lunged at and tore in half the giant spider that was unfortunate enough to be closest to him when he landed. Langston freed himself with gusto, and Shin managed to stun another giant spider. One retreated to the higher webbing and temporarily out of sight, while the last tried and failed to attack Yolo. The swarm on Drobro, however, took this moment to bite him en mass; their venom was likely weak individually, but in this number there was likely enough to outright stop his limbs and skin; fortunately, not the sort of venom that would stop his heart and lungs as well, and kill him via suffocation. After this, Langston struck down another giant spider, and I used my more controlled paws and claws to tear the webbing and swat the spiders from Drobro, as well as check to be sure he wasn't dead or doomed in some way. Alan moved against the spider near the others, but did little more than annoy it.
Then, the spider that had gone into the higher areas descended and bit at Langston. The bite seemed to do little damage, barely nicking his skin through the armor, but the blow dropped him to the ground shuddering in pain. Shin, seeing that I was attending to Drobro, ran to Langston's side and used her quick powers of healing on him. This saved his life, as the poison these great spiders carry is far more deadly and quick acting to the unfortunate or weak that get bitten. Fits tore this spider in half immediately after, while the last was brought down by Yolo wit slight aid from Alan.
After the combat was done, a massive movement was felt and seen overhead, as we sensed the movement of a sizable body of stone. During this (and before, as Alan pointed out and most of us had missed at the time), some person-sized chunks of rock had fallen from the ceiling, although they had not affected the combat or, fortunately, landed on anyone. We pondered this while we moved to the right side of the cavern (relative to where we had entered) for a break so we could heal, rest, (especially Drobro, who came out no physically worse for wear, although still quite shaken), and search the cavern for anything of note. in our time searching, cutting through much webbing, we found 3 daggers, 2 axes, a shortsword, a steel helm, and a quiver of 10 arrows. Alan used his sight on the items, and determined one dagger, the helm, and the arrows were of a magical nature, although he didn't think he had the power or time to check their exact nature for now. We pondered what to do with these items, the things we had seen, and what I had heard from the spiders, in order to perhaps make a less-reckless next move.
Following our rest and our attempts at searching the cavern of webs, we rested for a moment, but our rest was cut short before anything much could be gained in terms of stamina or power. Alan responded to some sort of feeling he had, and I flet the same in a moment of dread I could not explain at the time. Then the webs parted, and the massive spider came down from the ceiling into the now much-more-open cavern. Alan mentioned that it hissed a sort of angry retort about us killing its children (unfortunately, a fair point by now), and that it could not be reasoned with, only fought. In spite of his earlier fears, Fits regained his resolve and charged at the mother spider, with Langston, Shin, and Yolo following into combat. Alan hung back to get over his odd feelings, and I hung back until I could change form.
The others and the spider mother traded blows to little effect, and although there were some nicks and short stuns, this spider seemed to have weaker venom than the others (or we were luckier this time around), though its combat ability was impressive for the 4-on-1 circumstances. I tried to shape change to make Fits more capable of damaging the spider, but inexplicably, my magic failed; I couldn't feel any arcane power, and I felt that I could do nothing. I wasn't sure my familiar trapping abilities would work in those circumstances. Then things worsened, as suddenly, the spider bit through Langston's chest armor, and brought him down, bleeding out, his right arm crippled. With everyone distracted or stunned, and Fits making only mildly annoying hits on the spider, it jumped into the webbing and came down behind me and Alan.
Alan managed to light his sword, and struck the spider, setting it alight slightly, although causing seemingly no damage. Shin stopped Langston's bleeding and ensured he would live, if crippled, for the time being. Yolo got out of his shaken state, and I was almost panicking over my likely doomed state facing such a monster in melee with no abilities and only a knife.
Fits then proceeded to show me once again what a warrior he was. Seeing the spider again, he flew in and dived at its eyes, almost taking them out, but even in missing those gashing the spider quite badly and leaving it stunned, open to further attacks. I proceeded to try and follow up on Fit's example, and failed to even mark the skin of the injured spider, even attacking with all of my (admittedly minimal) might. Alan and yolo then struck and injured the spider further, with Shin delivering the killing blow. We were safe, surprisingly intact, Fits had fought and won at well above his weight class yet again, and I had personally contributed nothing. Fortunately, though, the great spider's death made my spirit and arcane connection return, and I felt that my power would serve me again if needed.
In the aftermath, Shin and me tried to heal Langston further, but our mundane attempts failed. Shin used her power to fully heal Langston, but his right arm, his good hand, was still crippled, and Shin was out of energy to make even the smallest of healing attempts for some time (several hours, minimum). She could potentially fix his arm, but that would take hours, a lot of power, and a place of safety, none of which we had at this time. We decided we needed to leave and get rest and-or aid outside and in town, also due to the fact that we were down to about half an hour of light on our last torch (and at most only three of us can see well without such light). We decided to at least leave the caves for a while, and moved to do so the way we had come in.
Unfortunately, we came across another band of likely foes, seemingly more skeletons, and though we tried to be stealthy, we would likely be fighting our way out yet again.
Following our hearing of a noise in the cavern that seemed like another band of foes, we made our haste to leave the cavern. We ran as quickly but as quietly as we could, and got out in less than ten minutes, and just as we got to the exit, our final torch burned out. The weather was overcast, though still gave the presence of being daylight, and the area was dead silent. This was strange, as even the wind and most ambient of animal sounds were gone, which seemed nothing like when we had entered the cavern several hours before. Not wanting to lead a band of foes back to town, we set up an ambush, or as best as we could hope to make one, with even Langston giving aid and hiding so well we missed where he was for a moment.
Several minutes passed, and nothing happened. Not wanting to risk a party rushing us as we tried to leave, I asked Fits to check down the tunnel, thinking that I could rush in and retrieve him if anything attacked him, and held my concentration to see as Fits did. He reluctantly flew in, with Alan decrying my doing this, and shortly saw that a section of wall around the bend we had gone collapse and then reform itself. while seeing nothing. Upon deciding that this was enough, I called Fits back, and just then he was attacked, instantly incapacitated, and started being dragged away. Langston's warning of what seemed like an "undead cave spider" came to mean anything to me too late.
In utter fury, I asked Shin for aid and changed into a lion, charging in to retrieve Fits. As I dove in, Langston was attacked by a dire wolf, although he and Alan made short work of it. When I tried to charge, walls of earth had blocked both possible paths from the tunnel entrance, and one was moving slowly forward in the tunnel. Furious at this attempt to cut me off from Fits, I charged the wall, thinking that this could be an illusion or that I would break through.
I was promptly stopped, caught by three limbs with stone, clubbed, and hurled forty feet into another wall. I only fell out of lion form when I got back up, and only felt Fits being hurt more wherever he was.
Infuriatingly, a measure to block the tunnels had come about just in time to cut off my familiar, and for whatever reason he was being left alive. I was still injured even after Shin patched my up, and with the tunnels blocked, we had no choice but to go back to Hollowbrook. Before the range cut out for my abilities, however, Fits woke up, and I got one glimpse of his being in a cage, somewhere dark, afraid, and a glimpse of something green flew by the cage. My sense sharing then cut out due to range and my own wounds hampering my concentration.
We limped back to hollowbrook with little to show for our venture, but much to think on.
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