Game Date: 26 March 2011
After spending a few hours identifying items, the party remembered that they were in a hurry to prevent the end of reality, and set off through the forest.
Trespassing on the lands of the King
After a short distance, the party noticed that it crossed a line strung through the trees and decorated with painted skulls of mice and other vermin. Realizing this is not something you see everyday, the party spent a couple minutes looking around, and then pushed on.
Before long they were confronted by a sprite, telling them that they had trespassed into the hunting lands of Lord Aelash Naiianruil, and fey demanded that the party make an offering to appease his lord. Glorfidel, mistaking the fey courtier for a penniless street urchin, decided to dazzle him with a cut glass trinket, offending the little fellow. After a brief discussion the sprite departed with a suitable piece of jewelry and told the party they should expect his lord to meet with them later to discuss their trespass.
In late afternoon, a redcap confronted the party telling them that Lord Naiianruil was close, and that they should prepare a feast and plan some entertainment. Despite the party’s encouragement, Battousin declined to dance or juggle, much to the dismay of the redcap. Before long, two fey knights riding unicorns entered the small clearing where the party made camp. They were followed by several satyrs and a group of sprites. The redcap transformed into an elegantly dressed elf, and introduced himself as Lord Aelash Naiinruil. After hearing that the New 13th Legion was interested in saving the world from evil and destruction, he proposed that as payment for their trespass on his lands, they assist him in an effort to rid his lands of a significant evil. Soon the party had agreed to hunt down a pair of green dragons that had recently be settled near the Lord’s lands as payment for their trespass, as long as the Fey Lord could provide quick passage to their destination. Agreed, Naiinruil’s scouts took the party to the edge of the forest and pointed out the lair of the dragons.
An agreement is made and mysteriously sabotaged (or how Wartus lost his will)
After an initial foray by Balthazar the Wonder-Scout, the party discovered one dragon sleeping at the end of a passage. In a shockingly quick display of planning, the party sent Wartus ahead to sneak up on the dragon while the others crept up slowly. Really, you all decided that amazingly quickly – usually this situation would require hours of debate and vacillation before anyone did anything. Perhaps, I thought, the party is coming together – they realize each others skills and talents, and they are going to use them to their advantage – HUZZAH! Of course, things never go as planned….
Things started out with another surprise. Rather than waiting for the group to charge the sleeping juvenile, Wartus leapt on the creature’s back and put his sword to its neck and demanded that it surrender to him. A quick intimidate check found that Wartus and indeed cowed the youngling, a situation which he quickly mistook for friendship. The rest of the party entered and found Wartus proudly astride his new pet. After a brief discussion, the dragon was asked to call for its mother, which it was more than ready to do.
The mother was not long in coming, and soon the party was in discussions with the beast. The dragon was willing to leave the area if given a suitable location, sufficient time, and a means to transport its hoard. The party was willing to offer a location, but was not too fond of the creature’s proposed timeline. Nor was Wartus willing to part with a Bag of Holding which the dragon desired for carrying its gold. Taking a cue from Glory regarding how to underestimate those you just meet, Wartus assumed the dragon was a simpleton, and suggested that it leave to inspect it’s new cave while the party stayed behind in the caves which contained the creatures precious hoard. This suggestion was not well received and it seemed that things would not resolve well. However, cooler heads prevailed (much to Neo’s disappointment!) and a deal was struck. All Wartus needed to do was empty out his Bag of Holding. Grumbling about getting reamed over this deal, Wartus began emptying his bag, and in the process laid two arrows on the ground.
To the surprise of all, while the group was working on the transfer of goods, one of the arrows flew from the ground straight at the great lizard. The party sprung to action – mostly striking and subduing Wartus, who was doubtless the cause of this problem. Angered and confused, the dragon held its breath (literally) assuming the party was handling this troublemaker who was riding her son. However, when the second arrow flew towards the dragon, it patience was at an end. Sensing an attack was on the way, Batousin charged the dragon and the battle was engaged. It was a short, but bloody affair full of toxic chlorine breath, ferocious bites (both by and of the dragon), and when it was over, the two regal beasts had been felled by the treacherous party, and Wartus, the main malefactor, found himself dominated by Brother Peter. Wartus’s care-free days of monster-trolling are now apparently at an end….
With Wartus’s strange and dangerous behavior becoming too apparent, Oshi opened a letter he had given her a while back. In it, Wartus confessed that he had been hearing voices and was at times compelled to do what they asked him. It was soon decided that Wartus was possessed and that early the next day, the appropriate rites would be initiated to free him from his infernal companion.
The Silent Bear Plan
Following the defeat of the dragons, Lord Naiinruil made good on his bargain and transported the party quickly up river in his royal ships, powered by sea elves, mermen, and rows of oarsmen. The party was able to sleep beneath the watchful eyes of their new found friends, and awoke beneath the hills where Glory knew Arcturis to be waiting. Another round of daily Pestering of the Almighty Heironeous was initiated, leaving the party befuddled as it found out that Wartus was not possessed – a result which consigned Wartus to a future of continued domination as no one was willing to trust his erratic behavior.
Again, the mighty Bathazar was pressed into service to scout the area. Through his eyes, Vainbrand surveyed the land as well as the cave system behind it. At the very bottom of the passages, the bat spied a young and naked woman, covered in filth and battered. Bailey was found at last!
Any illusions I harbored about the party developing into a lean, mean decision making machine were slowly and painfully shattered as the debated the merits of a multitude of schemes to assault the plateau above them where their evil opponent waited. Most of the discussion revolved around getting a stone with Silence cast upon it located at the mouth of the cave. The settled approach was to send Batousin, in bear form up to the the cave mouth with the stone in him mouth. Showing their lack of concern for their new companion, the party advised him that if he got into trouble, he should just roar and they would come running. Yeah, go roar while you are in the sphere of silence, good luck with that…. Of course, why should he be in trouble? The scouting report showed just two large beetles acting as lookouts on the plain above. How bad could that be?
So up rambled the bear. Up to the edge of the plateau, past the threatening large beetle. The second smaller beetle was coming over to investigate, but that was to be expected. Of course, what wasn’t really expected was the large demon fly creature in the center of the plateau (Vainbrand, defiantly: “I said that was there!”), and the large stone giant at the door of the cave (Vainbrand, sheepishly: “Oh yeah, I guess I saw that too…”).
However, let it not be said that Batousin swerved from his assigned task! To the mouth of the cave he ran, dropped the stone, dodged the blow from the giant, ran to the far side of the area, turning to plan an assault on the beetle, and let out a massive roar to signal the others that battle was joined.
Battle of the Plateau
It was about this time that the rest of the party began finding other things to busy themselves with, much to the dismay of the lonely bear on the top of the cliff. Even Glorfindel, the glorious leader of the New 13th Legion, when asked what to do on his action, rather than quickly answer “Charge as fast as I can to aid my comrade!” began muttering about spells and other plans. I would like to say that courage soon won out, but I think it was more likely that the party decided it had at least a minimal level of shame, and couldn’t just abandon the bear to his fate.
A fate which was looking worse by the moment, as suddenly three more beetles surfaced from underground and began approaching as well. (Batousin: “What?!! You knew he had things like this and didn’t say anything?!!”) The battle was soon joined in earnest. Batousin, after running headlong into the large beetle twice without having it budge an inch, began dealing damage. Oshi charged the Demon Fly in mid-air, stunning it with her mighty fists. Wartus dutifully plugged arrows into whatever creature he was commanded to. Vainbrand poured divine fire from the sky while Glory and David charged into hand to claw melee. And poor little stubby legged Braedon huffed and puffed his way up the hill in his newly acquired Dragonscale Plate Mail which reduced his movement even further.
Soon the creatures were beginning to fall. The Chasme (demon fly) opted to teleport away rather than stay in a losing battle. Peter commanded Wartus to do what he can to help the party save Bailey, hoping to free him up to use his abilities. On his next move, Wartus flew past the giant stone zombie (taking a horrible blow in passing) and straight into the dark and a towards a waiting Centi-demon. It looked like things may work out okay, when suddenly David stumbled back, clutched his head and screamed, “Bailey – no! It’s starting! Oh god, it’s starting. You have to get inside!!!” With that, a scorching ray from Braedon incinerated the zombie guardian, and opened the entrance to the caverns. Phase one of the battle was complete, the plateau was attained without significant damage. Now would begin the descent….