Across The Known World

11/16/08 - Omens & Portents…OR…There Will Be Blood…

As mid-morning finally broke Sequilum marveled at Drakon-Kor’s ability to lead the group not only back to the scene of the attack but all the way to Rivenroar Keep. Cicero was eager to see his new companions, hopefully in one piece. Bernadette thought she heard something just on the edge of the wood, some type of groaning, but Sequilum tugging her to the entrance of the dilapidated Keep broke her concentration. It took her mere moments to find the clues that Steev had left behind. She laughed inside at the thought that the large human thought himself stealthy. As the group made there way down into the lower levels they quickly happened upon what appeared to have been a bloody battle between unknown assailants and an unfortunate group of Red Hand soldiers. Sequilum recognized the cuts in the wall that Steev had left behind and within an hour the party was reunited. Phalen introduced himself, the tale of the Gnolls in the woods was told, and in turn Vanarr relayed the sad tale of Ulver’s madness. As the group debated about whether to go back and check on him, the Brindol Alchemist informed the group he was pretty sure he could show them where another prisoner, an elfin priestess was being held. At the behest of Phalen and Drakon-Kor the group decided to press on.

Ulver could smell it. He’d changed back, but he could smell it on him, the blood, his curse. As he finally, wearily reached for the key that Steev had left him and began freeing himself a boom echoed like distant thunder. As the air became heavy Ulver went flat to the ground in an attempt to hide. The wind drastically changed and a new smell overwhelmed him, the smell of lightening and exotic spice. He could hear heavy footfalls approaching being led by some type of four-legged animal. Ulver swallowed hard, readied a spell, and prepared to defend himself…

As the party headed back to the entrance point it was decided to go to the left this time. Another stairwell led them down; as they traversed the hallway they could see a poorly lit room in front of them. As they approached the room a hail of arrows erupted out of the dim light striking Drakon-Kor and Cicero who were leading from the front. Seeing two Goblins firing from an opposite hallway Cicero rushed through the room to an opposite corner in an attempt to gain cover and assess the situation. Slipping in behind him was a rush of five heavily armed Hobgoblin soldiers mauling into the group with one splintering off to pin Cicero in a corner. Once the party regrouped themselves Vanarr battled her way to the front to stand side by side with Drakon-Kor in a desperate attempt to fight their way out of the strategic bottle neck they found themselves in. Finally, Vanarr’s steel smote one of the soldiers while in the background Phalen’s spells pelted the goblin snipers, Bernadette’s shuriken and Sequilum’s arrows began to find homes in the body of their enemies. Cicero cut down his assailant with his halberd, and Drakon-Kor finished one of the soldiers with a devastating blow to the chest. Seeing they were being sufficiently routed the lead soldier struck Drakon-Kor and bounded across the room striking Cicero from behind while he was pelted with arrows in the front. Seeing an opportunity Bernadette took a small sprint across the room before stealth fully sliding the remainder of the way and brilliantly flipping a table to use as cover from the crossbow bolts that were being shot rapidly into the room. Phalen continued to launch spells across the breadth of the room into the adjacent corridor in attempt to fell the shooters. Sequilum charged ahead firing a quick shot into the back of the lead soldier felling him and then ducking next to Bernadette. Cicero eyed up the still firing Goblins with the might of Kord flowing through his veins, he bound ahead only to realize that the Goblins stood on the other side of a pit! Stopping his momentum at the last moment he instead let belch a breath of lightening, as is the gift from his Dragon ancestors that flew just wide of the now terrified Goblin attackers. Drakon-Kor, Vanarr, Steev, and Phalen all moved up just in time to see Sequilum and Bernadette finally kill the two Goblins. Drakon-Kor and Phalen checked the room lighting the torches on the wall, while Cicero and Vanarr tended each other’s wounds. Sequilum checked the room for ruins while going back to bring the Alchemist.

Bernadette informed Steev that she had lost some of her shurikens in the Goblins thick skulls who had fallen into the pit. As Drakon-Kor, Vanarr, & Phalen discussed whether to go forward over the pits or to go left Steev dropped a torch into the pit. He could see the bottom about twenty feet down. Remembering how Bernadette had went back and grabbed his axe from the burning Antler & Thistle he attached a rope and began lowering himself into the pit. Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, Steev noticed the torch was beginning to burn down, so he quickly lit another to illuminate his surroundings. As the acrid smell of smoke filled the air, Steev immediately felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up, as he was not alone.

Bernadette idly sat by the rope waiting for Steev to get her shurikens while Phalen continued to ask the group to consider his plan to go through the doors rather than try and traverse the pits. Sequlium returned with the Alchemist.

“It’s about freakin’ TIME!” A cracking voice of a female rang out through the chamber Steev stood in. Bernadette also heard the voice and immediately jumped to her feet. Steev whirled around scanning the room. The room’s floor was overgrown with fungus of varying sizes and shapes and across the room into another smaller room Steev could see an old crone in a glowing magic sphere, the only problem would be the two huge Rage Drakes that were now stalking him from across the room.

Steev took a deep breath and charged the one on the left attempting to avoid the larger mushroom clusters as he identified them as Doomspores. He struck true causing the massive red Drake to rear back in a roar and miss with its slavering maw in an attempted bite. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the other form bolting directly for him at break neck speed, rushing right through one of the mushroom clusters and the subsequent poison spore cloud. The second Drake leapt through the air mouth a gap and back claws leading in an attempt to eviscerate Steev.

Although he was able to dodge the majority of the weight of the beast it’s claws found their mark deep in his flesh. Steev howled in pain and barked to his allies above to come to his aid. Bernadette quickly lowered herself down, trying to visually acclimate herself to the new surrounding while listening to Steev relay the information. The entire time avoided the razor sharp talons and snapping teeth of both Rage Drakes now trying to pin him into a corner.

Vanarr could hear the shout and could see Bernadette follow Steev but had little idea of what she actually was facing as she attempted to slide down the rope with one hand, her fall was spectacular. With the commotion going on across the room the rest of the party began to grasp the severity of what was going on directly below them.

The second Drake turned quickly to glare at the two new targets trying to gather themselves. It charged through the Doomspores and leapt with claws gleaming in the torchlight. Vanarr was able to gather herself enough to take the brunt of the blow in Bernadette’s place. Above Cicero, Drakon-Kor, Phalen, & Sequilum raced to the pit and began making their way down. Sequilum quickly finding putting herself in the corner to fire away with her longbow at will as the remainder of the party surrounded the second Rage Drake. Steev finally dispatched the Drake in front of him with brutal efficiency. Finally, with a guttural roar the second beast fell beneath the combined might of the party.

As the group examined the room they eventually made their way to the crone in the magic sphere. Phalen made numerous unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the magic much to his and the old woman’s dismay. After observing her comrades struggle Sequilum noticed something vaguely familiar about the spell and quickly disarmed it with a wave of her sword and pinch of salt. The old woman was less than grateful.

After a short rest and Phalen prodded the group to continue back up to the main floor and pursue the door to the left he had lobbied so much for prior to Steev’s finding the old woman & the two Rage Drakes. The old crone informed the group that she knew that the Guard who had been captured was dead, but that she thought his son might still be alive somewhere in the compound. Eventually the group acquiesced and they trudged on. Through the doors they found a hallway that turned back north that led to an open room with a long energy field on it’s far end. As the group cautiously approached Phalen noticed a large undulated mass creeping across the smooth stone floor.

Thinking he had the “drop” on an unsuspecting enemy Phalen launched his ever-reliable magic missile across the divide between. The mass shuddered and a piece fell to the floor. The group looked on in horror as the small new mass sprouted larger and began to move on it’s own. The group made its way in attacking the slow moving masses finding that on three separate occasions their attacks only served to cause new smaller jellies to sprout from the larger mass. A give and take battle was rudely interrupted by two opportunistic Specters who harried the group and slowed their methodical, brutal battle. Once the dust cleared the party found itself victorious yet exhausted choosing to rest before continuing deeper into the ever more dangerous catacombs beneath Rivenroar Keep.



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