More from the pen of Klangor, as the party seeks to honor the request of their hosts, and hunt for a tool to help them kill a dragon…
The lad seems to be a bit moonstruck of late, must be the so called “wine” that they serve here, all fancy like (who ever heard of leaving good liquor out in the open after uncorking it? That’s almost torture that is), not a spot on an honest Kharic-Dun mead. So it falls to me to record the truth properly for posterity.
So we had our audience with the Princess. Have to admit, that glass house she lived in impressed me. Completely impractical, of course, and something my ancestors could have done in their sleep (if we had a mountain of diamond lying around. Y’see my point about impractical?), but impressive at the very least.
And apparently all we have to do to gain their help is slay a dragon. Beast of dread flame, teeth like shortswords, mean streak longer n’ a country mile, it’ll be like a stroll down a soft-stone silver lord damned country lane.
Well, the party had a good plan I had to admit. Find a Dragon killing arrow and kill the dragon with it, nice and simple. They started by performing the rituals to make the Obsidian Mirror reveal our target, an arrow of dragon slaying, then we got on our giant meat eating raptors (anyone else but me feel uncomfortable about that?) and flew there.
Of course by now the astute reader knows that there was going to be some fighting in the offing, there always is. Our scrying stone had pinpointed the location of the arrow we were looking for deep in the bowels of some accursed temple in the wastes, guarded by a small contingent of scraggly looking men (but more about them later, its never so simple) two giant pretty-boys (ogres, by the description), a demon (well this was going to be fun), a man made of fire (will the silliness of this world never cease) and a gent with a squid for a head (that’s going to be the easiest one, I thought. What’s a squid headed man going to do to me?)
Well, we landed a safe distance away (All the Tryshallan had gone missing I noticed, off to another one of their orgies, no doubt, the sybarites) and we crept to the part of the temple guarded by the scraggly men. The plan was, we’d toss a stinking cloud spell in there and smoke them out, killing the ones that didn’t choke on the floor.
Ah, just the way my ancestors would have done things, warms my stoneborn clinker it does.
Well, it worked, sort of, but instead of men rushing out of the poison, it was rat-faced monsters, biting and clawing and squeaking-like. Well, men or mice, we put paid to them, waited for the gas to thin, and gave their friends choking on the floor a quick send off.
Then (and this was the first time but not the last this raid threatened to go puffball-shaped) we split the party, to tackle the two ogres down two different corridors. We co-ordinated it so that we would open the doors to the corridors simultaneously, but the bloody things turned out to be locked tighter than Uncle Rigmar’s liquor cabinet.
After a bit of the customary kicking and cursing, the doors came crashing down. I hear tell that group lucky buggers (i.e. not us) saw their quarry down the hallway, and gutted him before he could do the herky jerkey. Not so for us, we saw nothing down our corridor, but heard clearly enough the ominous chanting.
Thinking quick, Lysander pulled shut the door we had just kicked open, and saved all our lives as a cone of biting frost blew the door off its hinges and barely managed not to kill any of us. As it was, half my frozen beard cracked off and fell to the floor. I was mad.
Then, with a shit eating grin plastered across his stupid face, the ogre appeared, plain as day, standing right in front of us (who ever heard of these lummoxes flinging spells? This world doesn’t play by the rules, it doesn’t).
Two ticks later, his grin lay plastered against the floor. My beard had been avenged.
The blighter had a nice axe that Annika told me was named Deathsinger. Truth be told, I felt that the axe was slightly dangerous, and not in the usual hacky/slashy manner, but what can I say, I’m an axe dun. Trading Ophidius away (didn’t like the way that snake stared at me anyway), I hefted Deathsinger and we made towards the centre of the temple, where a demon awaited us.
Once again, we split the party so we could pincer the bugger (that worked out so well the last time didn’t it?), and as we rushed in a wall of flame sprung up between us, and what I am told was a ferocious demon.
The lad wiggled his fingers and called on Talia and the fire vanished, just in time for us to see a ram-horned bat-winged creature being run through by Rageclaw, Long Tom and Cronyon. While this was happening, it was also simultaneously smacked in the chest by three flaming missiles hurled by Hannah while Thorcigar ran blubbing away from it (I know the thing was ugly, but worth having a cry over?). The so-called demon disintegrated into a bubbling black slime and left ABSOLUTELY NO TREASURE BEHIND (thats just rude, I tell you).
As we were searching the room, a voice came from the antechamber at the rear. It pleaded to be released from its cruel bondage and pledged to aid us in our quest if we helped it. Yeah, I’ve heard this one before.
Still, in the interest of preserving the moral high ground of “You tricked us, we’re going to smash your face in.”, our group opened the door and saw, bound within a magic circle, a man made out of fire, wearing baggy pants and a towel around his head. He told us that we could release him by scuffing out part of the circle, and Long Tom negotiated a deal whereby we would free him and he would kill squid-head for us.
Hannah motioned for Thorwell to scuff out the circle, and as he stepped into the room, we could hear a low chuckling as the man in the circle disappeared, and a fist the size of a Valasian ham came swinging out of the shadows, just missing Thorwells head and hitting him square in the midsection. Well, moral high ground held, we went in swinging, and soon the lying blighter’s fiery guts filled the floor, and he fell forward with a satisfying splat. From the discussions that followed, I gathered that this one was an Efreeti, a race of flaming, prevaricating schmucks apparently.
Well, it was time to finally pay Squid-Head a visit, however before that, Hannah had Thorcigar try one of the potions we hadn’t identified. Thorcigar took a large swig, then turned black and blue in the face and started choking. It was a potion of poison, apparently. Thorcigar barely survived. Hannah looked slightly disappointed at that, but I noticed Kanros and Bruna looking relieved that they didn’t work for Hannah.
Our squid headed quarry was hidden in a concealed room. This wasn’t even going to be hard, I told myself. I must admit the Silver Lord has a sense of humour sometimes.
As we pulled the lever that opened the door, we saw before us a fat merchant, squid-head nowhere in sight. Well, if it lives in a temple dedicated to corrupted god-kings like a duck…
Here’s where things got painful. Suddenly, it felt like every hangover I’ve ever had came at me altogether at once. I dropped to my knees in agony, and curled into a foetal position (Silver Lord forgive me, but all the hangovers, at once? It would have felled much better dun than me).
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Long Tom race in, oblivious to the pain, and stab the fat merchant in the gut. The outlines of our mercantile quarry shifted, and where the head should be, I saw four tentacles lash out and attach themselves tightly to Long Tom’s face. Long Tom screamed as little biting drills in the tentacles started boring into his flesh.
Hannah pushed Thorcigar forward, urging him to jump in the way of the Squid Head and his dinner, and Thorcigar, trusting and loyal as always, leapt into the fray, pulling Long Tom bodily away from the beast (those scars on Long Tom’s face still have yet to heal). By this point, every fighter had piled onto our foe, and with a yell of rage, Long Tom spitted him on his twin swords.
Well, turns out our journey had ample rewards, we found the arrow (fletched in supple dragon spawn scale), I had ol’Deathsinger and there was a pile of treasure taller than I was in several chests in the back, and no one died so I suppose that’s what’s important. I assured poor Kanros (fella had lost a couple of fingers on his left hand) that the lad would fix him right up once we were back to sweet Ahlyen.
We learnt, once we had returned to the Valnorn village, that Squid Head was a high muckety muck of the Inexorable Kings. A general of their armies known as a N’ulthrac. Well, that would have been bloody helpful to know before we left. (I’m starting to really dislike the Valanorn’s “mysterious ways”)
Now we just had a dragon to kill…
By the Silver One,