Rudi's Notes 05-05-17
10th of Seranith, Year 2
After defeating the turtle Old Crackjaw, the party sets off into the hills east of the river. As one of the first warm days, the party sweated their way over the dusty hills, trudging through the brush and exploring the cliffs surrounding them.
Rudi picked at his chainmail, whining bitterly about the heat and distracting all but Glod and Hydrastis who checked behind the party periodically.
“I think something’s been following us all day,” the dwarf finally says.
“All day, and you’re just telling us?” Cassius says from the confines of his helmet.
“Just wanted to be fucking sure,” He grumbled. Rudi asked Beatrix to fly back and take a look while they plod further ahead. As the sun sets, they try and set up a trap, splitting the party. Hydrastis and Faderean go to a nearby cave to attack from range while Rudi protects them if they’re discovered. The others set up around a campfire, and try to draw their stalkers out.
When Beatrix returns, she tells him she found a pack of large wolves following them,, and points Rudi towards them. Since they weren’t taking the bait, Faderean leads the way in the direction Beatrix pointed them..
With the camp at their backs, wolves the size of bears jump out from behind the rocks surrounding Faderean and he bolts, screaming that he found them as he does. Rudi and Hydrastis ready their weapons, while the others peer the darkness behind them, unsure of what’s happening.
“Leave us now, or you will die.” Hydrastis threatens, using magic to speak the primal language of wolves.
“Then come out and speak to us,” one of them says from the shadows.
Just as they find safety in numbers, Faderean immediately splits off again, moving towards the rocky formation ahead. As he gains the safety of one of the larger ones, he craned his neck around the corner just to see the head of a massive white wolf peering back at him. The creature released a howl that pierced the night air, mist rising as the air became frosty, before a cone of ice assailed the rogue. He dove for the succor of the rocky formation, the rocks surface now coated with rime. The other wolves were waiting, however, and leapt at him from cover and sink their teeth through his leathers into the soft flesh within.
They realized then that this was no wolf. This was the Northern Howls. These were the wargs they had been looking for.
The arrow Sear took from Hydrastis flared into life, and he hastily passed it back to Hydrastis. The elf nocked it and shot at one of the smaller beasts mauling Faderean. It sank deep into the side of the wolf, acting as a beacon. Mandarb, spurred on by Cassius, charges towards it, with the cavalier skewering it on his lance before it’s lost under the hooves of the war horse.
Faderean pulls himself free and tries to tumble away, only to be confronted once more by the frozen breath from the Northern Howls. He felt his joints seize as the cold seeped deep into his bones, before everything faded to black.
The rest of the Viridian Guard attempts to push forward, the majority uncertain about Faderean and *Cassius*’ fate, all except Rudi who had been steadily pushing forward. The cavalier jumped from his saddle, drawing his sword, while Mandarb stamps his hooves and screamed into the darkness. The wargs gnash their teeth at Cassius uselessly, scraping off his bright steel armor.
Rudi scrambled over the corpse of one of the smaller wargs, stretching out with a hand and a spear of flame hurtling towards the wolf. Glod had rushed up behind Rudi, muttering a quick prayer to Torag, sending his healing energies towards Faderean. He slowly thaws, and his eyes flutter open to an open, starry sky.
From out of the ground near Faderean, a giant ant scrambled to the surface, the complex gestures of *Hydrastis*’ summoning spell knocking her quiver loose. Still, her giant ant snaps at the wargs with it’s mandible, lunging with a stinger, drawing the warg’s attention as Cassius swings his sword in powerful arcs. The Northern Howls, feeling the sting of the cold iron weapon, sank his fangs into Faderean one more time, attempting to drag him into the surrounding darkness. This gives Cassius the opportunity to bring the sword down on the white warg’s neck, the large head slipping from it’s shoulders covering Faderean in a gout of chilled blood, but releasing Faderean who had once more slipped into unconsciousness..
The smaller warg takes the cue from it’s larger brethren, and tries to grab hold of Faderean. Before he can, Rudi throws his arm into its jaws, the fangs clamping onto the buckler he had found so long ago in the mite warren before dragging the halfling with Faderean across the dusty rocks. He drops his trident, scrambling for a hand hold to stop the warg, feeling his arm jerked and wrenched along the way as he attempts to summon all his strength to free the pair of them.
Sear finally caught sight of his cousin’s limp body, now being dragged away. He feels himself slip into the fiery, all-consuming rage he’s fallen into in the past, struggling to formulate a plan, to summon power to him, unsure of how to free him in this situation, as he had in the past.. He remembers them as a pair as young men, the first of many, as Faderean fell from the edge of the well. He remembered flailing, reaching, doing everything to grab hold of his cousin as he slipped further and further into darkness. He stretched out his a hand uselessly, as he had in the past, a useless, instinctive move borne of despair as he called his name.
A crimson hand split the air to the side of the warg, deep red veins spidering up it’s forearm. A set of clawed fingers curled around Faderean’s neck and in a panic Rudi pulled himself free. He sputtered as he pushed his face up out of the dirt, watching as the unconscious man’s flesh was seared by the hand, wrenching him free from the warg.
The beast attempted to flee, leaving it’s quarry in an attempt to reach safety. Cassius had mounted Mandarb once more, and charged past the stunned halfling, leaping the crumpled form of Faderean, and ran down the warg.
The party pulled themselves together, checking their wounds, before officially making camp for the rest of the night.
11th of Seranith, Year 2
When Rudi woke in the morning, he found a parcel outside of his tent. Inside were finely tooled leather boots, leaves and vines etched into their supple surface, with a pair of clean socks stuffed inside. He recognized them, and brought them to find the rogue inside the small camp. He finds him at the campfire, cooking up some breakfast for the company.
“Hu-wha- saving wha-? I surely have no idea what you’re talking about. No, I just thought you needed some sturdy boots.”
“I don’t even wear shoes.”
“Which is precisely why I thought you needed some boots.”
“Listen, Faderean.” Rudi sighed, looking up at the short human. “We’ve all been traveling together for over a year now. Faced down monsters, killed madmen. I’ve almost died a fair few times myself. But whatever our differences, we’ve saved each other. We watch each other’s backs, and are all the stronger for it. I don’t need any boots, you can use them more than me, which would be helping me more than if I wore them.”
“But they’ll make you more spry,” Faderean said, feeling at his neck absently.
“Which is why you’ll need them.”
“Well at least take this wand, Master Tumblefar. I believe you’ll have better success with it than I would anyways.”
Rudi sighed, accepted it and helped the rogue finish making their meal, forgetting the other conversation he wanted to have with Faderean about the infernal. Afterwards, the Viridian Guard set out to explore the rest of the region before continuing east.
12th of Seranith
As the Viridian Guard continued to explore, they stumbled onto a tunnel hewn into a stone hill, mounded high above. They recognize it as a barrow , though not who or what people it belonged to. Tiny claw marks scratch the stone on either side of the entry that Hydrastis deftly points out belong to bats.
Cassius took a thunderstone from his pack and tossed through the opening, the reverberations carrying deep into the earth, accompanied by the screeching and flapping of leathery wings.
It opened up into a 30 ft octagonal chamber, old, flaking paint depicting men and women hunting, farming, and other life in their ancient community. More prevalent, however, was the stench of ammonia, and mounds of guano and tiny bones that writhed with insects, intersecting the path to a cobwebbed tunnel.
“Yes, sir Cassius?” He responded, peering from the entrance of the barrow.
“Could you come ahead and search for traps?” He asks, his voice as stony as the earth around him.
“Oh, right away,” Faderean responded, and shuffling to the head of the line. He takes a second, looking to either side quickly, almost too quickly.. “Oh definitely, loads of traps. I do not believe I can disarm them, either.”
“Well, you tried. There’s no helping it then,” Cassius says.
“Hold on, sir Cassius. Faderean, are there really traps?” Sear asked, and Faderean reluctantly revealed his deception. They pushed forward carefully, spreading through the room, when the air was filled with the screech of the thousands of tiny mammals wakening from their slumber as the party clambers through their bedroom.
They drop from the air, swirling in a widening gyre, swarming around the members of the party, enveloping them, as tiny claws and fangs left bloody streaker wherever their skin was exposed.
“Quickly! We must gain the other tunnel!” Cassius yelled from the safety of his visor, steel shod feet clanging against the floor. The party slipped in the guano, crunching the cockroaches and skeletal remains under their feet, swatting at the bats futilely. Faderean looses his crossbow to no effect, skewering one bat out of the hundreds swirling through the air.
Cassius found himself standing on the edge of a circular chamber with an entrance in each of the cardinal directions. Between them were monstrous faces carved directly into the stone walls, forming statues. He stopped each person as they tried to enter the room, warning them of the insidious design, and potential for traps before moving around the carved entrance to the left. There he found another dusty, 20×20 chamber with more paintings on the stones with more depictions of hunting and fighting, interspersing the biers filled with dessicated corpses.Rudi, however, missed the warning as his little legs had him lagging behind. Focused too intently on the bats, he didn’t hear the shouted warning and dashed into the center of the room. With a faintly audible click, black mist seeped from the mouths of the statues, clinging to walls, creeping across the ground and filling the chamber.
The majority were able to hold their breath in time, all except Sear. As the gas dissipated, their limbs were leaden, their legs shaky. Sear, however, slumped to the floor in exhaustion. With nothing for it, Faderean spent some time studying the gas dispersal mechanisms and disarming the trap. Finding that one of the stone faces had a draft in the base, he set up a small fire, and encouraged the others to pitch their tents for optimal protection from the bats and get some rest in the shadows of the sneering faces.