Posted on April 1, 2011
The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XIV
Well, that was another slippery encounter. And by slippery I mean that not that many opponents are out of their way yet. It was, at least, a straight up fight. Well, as straight as it is going to get against Fey.
On such short notice the Fey Conclave wasn’t able to scrape together much in the way of support. They prepared some potions of Neutralize Poison, some potions of Cure Moderate Wounds and a packed lunch and handed one each to Arradin, Lonny, Kerplak, Albedon, Torgor and Dagfinn when they were ready to depart. Dagfinn finally had enough time to rest and refresh his spell-casting gland… however it is bards do that.
Malgorion warned them that they should neither fall asleep in the Fellnight Realm nor eat any food they find in there. Aripha after consulting with her advisors reiterated that the Faengard must be rebuilt and then activated with Rhoswen’s staff from the highest tower of her castle. That should seal the Fellnight away once more. Then they should leave as quickly as they can.
As the rest of the Fey Conclave began moving out to engage Rhoswen’s Spriggan army, the Unicorns assembled to transport the adventurers to the portal the the Fellnight, a fairy mound to the Northeast. In a matter of minutes the party was in behind the Spriggan lines and racing across the grasslands towards the portal to the Fellnight. The unicorns left them there and returned to the rest of the force.
To the west, lines of smoke from numerous Spriggan campfires showed the position of the enemy. They moved away from those, following the trampling made by the Spriggans. Eventually their aerial scout, Percy, returned to Albedon to inform him that he had spied the fairy mound, ringed with large white mushrooms at the edge of the forest. They advanced cautiously, Kerplak leading the way. As he stepped over the ring of mushrooms and began to ascend the tiny hill the second world faded from view and he was entirely within the shadow realm of the Fellnight. He colleagues watched him fade from view and stepped forward together.
They found themselves in a dim and unsettling world. In most respects it was exactly the same forest’s edge that they had just left, but the only light was the dim light of the stars overhead and the trees loomed nearer, casting a deeper darkness. Lonny and Albedon were deeply unsettled by the atmosphere of the place, sensing it to be fundamentally unwelcoming and oppressive.
The trail that the army of Spriggans was clear here, with all the Spriggans having marched over this small mound. Using the flaming skulls they’ve been carting around since their expedition into the massive stone head of Thistletop near Sandpoint, the two humans were able to make out the track and see their surroundings a little, but everyone’s vision suffered in this particular dark. Torgor in particular was screwed, since death at long range is kind of his preferred milieu.
They followed the trail until they noticed the faint sound of a stirring animal, moving under the straps and reins of riding leathers. Concealing the skulls, they advanced to the edge of a clearing. There they found a picket of three Spriggans atop worgs. Having heard the party approach, they waited until Kerplak appeared and then spurred their mounts on, the worgs slavering and leaping towards the newcomers. A Spriggan dagger found Kerplak, but Lonny and Arradin stepped forward and started reining blows on the worgs and riders. Lonny was bitten and dragged to the ground by a worg he had partially crippled, but he jumped to his feet and put his pick through the beast. Arradin unleashed an assault of telling blows but seemed intent on hurting herself throughout the combat. Nevertheless, before too long the party had dispatched the last worg, Arradin and Lonny running it down.
They found themselves standing not too far from a low wall, constructed from the same type of bricks that they had dragged out of Dead Man’s Drop’s secret obligatory waterfall cave. A break in the wall, a mere 5 feet wide, was the gap through which the entire Spriggan army had traipsed. As the dwarven cleric and elven fighter peered into the gloom, Lonny noticed the sound of two arrows whipping by him. The party began seeking cover, but could not pin point the source of the arrows. Another pair of little arrows struck Lonny and with some quick amateur forensic science determined that they were being shot at from that hill, over there. The arrows kept coming. One struck Dagfinn, barely knicking him, but charming him. Another caught Torgor who laid down and promptly fell asleep.
Arradin tried to snatch the bag of wardstones from the starry-eyed Dagfinn, who defensively clutched at them. Lonny was able to Command the bard to drop the bag of rocks, then picked them up and set to mending the gap in the wall. Meanwhile a swarm of bees had appeared from behind the eastern hill and swarmed over Arradin and Lonny and the plants around the gap in the wall had come alive, grasping at the ankles of those around the break. Albedon created a small area of protection against Evil, but the protection wasn’t enough to shake Dagfinn loose of the charm. Kerplak flanked around and climbed the wall, making his way to the steep peak of the eastern hill.
Dagfinn woke up the sleeping ranger before they both joined their friends on the other side of the wall as everyone made they way towards the hill… everyone except Albedon who was dangerously isolated. Kerplak reached the summit of the steep little hill to come face to face with an oversized bee. It wasn’t just oversized, it was man-sized and it immediately began chomping into Kerplak. Hindered by the terrain, Arradin ran to Kerplak’s aid, but the bee proved to be kind of a badass and was holding his own against the bipeds.
As Lonny and Dagfinn assembled to start healing people (and inadvertently the giant bee,.. no calm down Kerplak, not Giant, just giant) a new opponent appeared. Because that’s what they needed. Walking across the sky, 50ft in the air, came Tenzekil, accompanied by another swarm of bees. The bleached gnome looked even more worn than he had at Vale Temros’ wedding. “You never should have come,” Tenzekil called out. “Even if you repair the ward, you still have to reactivate it. And only Rhoswen holds that kind of power. She will never give it up, and she’s too strong to oppose. I know the strength of her magic, and even I cannot resist it. So come! Let us finish this at last!” Lonny and Albedon noticed that the gnome appeared resigned to his fate and Lonny suspected his resolve was ebbing as his voice held none of the sadism or vehemence that it had at the wedding.
The momentary interruption to combat was brief as the swarms closed in on their victims and the giant bee continued to press Kerplak. Lonny tried to use Command on Tenzekil, but the gnome wasn’t as easy a nut to crack as Dagfinn had been. Lonny and Albedon had both hit the bee swarm with fire spells, dropping hundreds of charred bees to the ground. But the reduced swarm persisted, choking Albedon and stinging him over and over as he tried to escape. He fell, far from his comrades, the agony of so many stings overcoming him.
So Albedon is down, unconscious and failing fast, Culkin’ed. Lonny is engaged with a new swarm of bees. Arradin and Kerplak are dancing around the steep pinnacle trying to get to grips/out of grips with the giant bee. Torgor is on the side of the hill trying to see anything to shoot at it. Dagfinn, unable to take action that would hurt any of his friends, which at this time is everyone on the board, summoned an Unseen Servant to do his Can’t-we-all-just-get-along?-bidding. And that’s where we left them.