Rudi's Notes 07-30-17
12th of Erastus, Year 2
After the fight with the carnivorous tree Tendriculos, Rudi tried to check in on Cassius.
“Hey Cass. Do you mind if I call you that? Figure we’re close enough now… anyways, just seeing how you’re holding up after today
“My skin will heal naturally or with the Divine help of some of our friends. I thank you for the concern but fret not.” He paused before continuing. “Also please do not refer to me as ‘Cass’. It brings up memories I would rather let lie. Cassius, please.”
Sear checks on the remaining few rattle caps, stowed carefully in the wagon. On the way to his tent he paused by Rudi and Cassius. “Memories can’t lie, Sir Cassius. People lie. But in your case, I wonder if you are well enough to sit on your murder-stallion for the journey ahead?
“Now, now. No need to refer to Mandarb as a ‘murder stallion.’ He is a fine and noble mount. Yes, he may have grown fond of using his teeth in an offensive manner, but it is one based on martial skill, not needless violence or hunger.”
“I have the utmost respect for your noble Manslaughter, just keep his head pointed away from me. Horses eyes unsettle me, and your mount’s give off an extra aura of bloodlust. I prefer horses like my own Filbert; with only two good teeth, one lazy eye, and the unique ability to get lost while standing still in the dark.”
While his friends joked and jest around him, Cassius lowered the visor on his helm. There, out of sight, he ground his teeth from the lingering pain of the acid that still sizzled against his flesh in certain areas, the skin red and raw. Knowing how much they depended on him, he felt unable to show his weakness. “Rudi, did Hydrastis say Cassius was well enough to ride? Our Noble Knight is deflecting my questions…”
“He’d probably be a better rider than either of us with no hands and no legs, really. Especially with that saddle he uses. Probably still reliving the trauma of being called Cass. And being eaten… Well, hey, Cass…ius… I just wanted to let you know that I’m here. Because I wish I could say almost getting eaten gets easier the more times it happens, but it kind of doesn’t. Turns out the first time is just as bad as the second and third, and I’m assuming the fourth too. But hey, at least you’re bigger so less things will think you’re a snack." Rudi said, then turned to walk away before stopping. “Oh, you can also talk to me about bad names people called you, that happened too. Surprising, right? Anyways, glad I could help.”
13th of Erastus, Year 2
A loud crack filled the air, and a shimmering rent opened in the space next to the party. Moths and Beetles pour into the sky and two ragged figures staggered out of seemingly nowhere.
The taller man has sticks sticking from of his matted beard and hair, and he lurched toward Sear just as his short companion was violently sick next to a low shrub.
“That might have been a mistake…" The man croaked, leaning heavily against Sear.
He promptly tipped over and struck the ground. Faderean is unconscious before his head thumped sickeningly on a large root.
It was already 70° F out by the time they left the camp, the two hungover men lying weakly in the back of the wagon.
“By the way, Sear. Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut gave me this for you,” Faderean held up an ivory case with a set of double doors etched onto the front. “They said it should bring you to their next party, or at least out of any trouble you’re in.” On closer inspection, Sear saw that the scroll could bring him anywhere within the green belt.
They traveled past the dark waters of Candlemere lake, the haunting lights still beckoning to the party as they walked past, until they reached the lizardfolk town. Sear waved, and one of the lizardfolk looking over the wall dove from the palisade, cutting into the water smoothly to get a closer look. He makes a half wave, then turns. He realized they weren’t following before returning.
“You are welcome, man-king” the guard Draza called, a survivor from their last visit inside the wall.
“Yes, but we need a way across . . . Did you just call me a monkey?”
Dismayed at their inability to swim, Draza drags a barge to the shore and ferries them to the island. A small caiman sat outside the main hut, being trained as a replacement for the ones killed in the coup against the previous king Vesskit.
“Welcome back to our home,” Yizzik said in draconic, stepping from the main hut. “You may sleep anywhere that is not a hut, just stay away from my new pet. He has not been trained yet.”
They talk some more business, and offer to trade them meat and other food because of the fish they have been trading, and ask for information about the tower on Candlemere lake. He tells them that elves go to it, and they make arrangement for lizardfolk scouts to investigate and return with more information. In the end Yizzik had his people prepare an impromptu feast for them, live eels were brought out, and devoured raw. Glod joins them, Sear pretends to, but the others decline to partake in the custom of biting off the head of the eel and sucking out the insides. Rudi shared from his flask with Yizzik and the others, until things wound down and they retired for the evening.
That night, Sear had dreams full of fairies and fae, large creatures tearing up trees, wrecking cities. Quicklings darted across the ground when a familiar face appeared. The scene faded to alligators and caimans swimming around in murky waters.
14th of Erastus, Year 2
When Sear awoke that morning, Yizzik’s pet was alarmingly close to his face. Tired and muddy, they have the lizardfolk ferry them and their wagons across the opposite side of the river, and they explore the rest of the region.
15th of Erastus, Year 2
The ground beneath the Viridian Guard became more and more sodden, the ground softer, each step relinquished by the ground with a squelch. Stagnant water pooled beneath their feet, and mosquitos buzzed in their ears. Leeches had to be pulled regularly from bodies submerged in the water, and more than once they had to stop to pull the wagon free. As the day drew to a close, Hydrastis spotted higher ground for them to make a miserable camp, and they set up a watch order for the night.
On the 3rd and final watch of the night, just as the sun kissed the horizon, Glod noticed vines as they snaked across the ground just before they slapped against his armor. Staggering back more from shock, he casts shield of faith on himself, and raises the alarm.
The others wake at the call, joining the fray as they’re able. Hydrastis woke with a spell on her lips, the words of her incantation flowing in elvish. With a flash, Sear is enshrouded with mage armor, the surface of his skin shimmering faintly. Rudi jumps to his feet, trident in his hand, Thlayli by his side growling.
Faderean’s eyes merely fluttered open and he stretched gingerly.
The tree and Glod traded blows, the dwarf hefting the hammer high over his head with a mighty roar to Torag, his beard flowing behind him, as chunks are sent flying through the air, slopping onto the ground. Covered in muck and humus from the duel, he lets his hammer sing it’s praises to his God.
Cassius maneuvered himself around the creature, seeing the cleric tying him up and the advantage of trying to flank with him. The tendrils squelched as they writhed through the air to strike at the cavalier.
Behind the shambling mound, another tree creaked to life, branches slamming against it before Hydrastis leapt towards it and shifted into a digmaul, the cherished creature of her home. A large, tawny colored cat, she swung a long tail with a spiked club at the end, ripping and tearing with tooth and claw.
The shambling mound kicked the fire nearby, it’s tendrils slapping Glod and wrapping around him before hefting him into the air, with Cassius similarly entangled. The two are suspended in the air, the others trying to help free them. The ensnared pair hack from the air, while arrows thud into it’s formless body, and the two spellcasters cast scorching ray spells that smolder but never burn. Hydrastis and her tree tear into it from close range, and eventually it started to flee with the prey it had managed to capture. Before it disappeared into the forest, Cassius pulled himself free and grabbed hold of Glod before playing tug of war with the creature.
Rudi ran and leapt on top of Thlayli, spurring the wolf forward. He snarled, while Rudi gave a battle cry from his back. Trident in the air, Thlayli leapt, just as the wriggling Glod was yanked free by Cassius. The shambling mound grabbed Rudi right from the back of Thlayli, ruining his attack, and the wolf bites and starts pulling at it’s leg, arcing it’s back and jerking it’s legs uselessly as his rider is squeezed.
Happy enough with it’s new hostage, the shambling mound attempted to retreat again with the others giving chase. Cassius ran forward, whistling for Mandarb, with the large cat form of Hydrastis bounding after them. Faderean shot, and Sear launched a fireball that engulfed the shambling mound and Rudi both.
Rudi grabbed a handful of the mound while he tried to bury the trident into the forest creature. The mound tried to pull him away, while Rudi tried to pull himself closer, driving the trident deeper into the mound. With a shudder, the mound fell to the ground, splashing into the puddles underfoot.
Hydrastis studied the creature in the early dawn light, recognizing it as a shambling mound, and was comforted with the fact it was a solitary creature. She collected the sap for a local, and they set about looting. They found a scroll case with the incantation for cure moderate wounds, a stick with eagles carved into it for Summon Monster I and a magical set of full plate.
After spending a day exploring the region, the party decided to head to the next. The day dawned brighter and warmer than the previous, with clouds high in the sky. There would have been the chance of staying dry, except for the swamp they trudged through. Rudi asked Cassius to borrow his shaving kit when he was done with it that morning, and finished the job that Sear started with a pair of fireballs. The wounds he’d sustained had been cured, but *Glod*’s magic couldn’t restore his hair.
They entered a thick, wooded marsh near Candlemere lake and the Tuskwater, a mountain covered in brambles and brush, as if a storm blew through decades ago. The bushy facade was covered with boltholes in the deadfall, and the Viridian Guard steeled themselves for whatever the land decided to throw at them that day…