Chapter Fourteen –"Where is a Petrologist when you need one?"

The scene shifts to see a poor excuse of a beach that would never win any red flag awards, with no ice cream vans, tatty stalls selling windmills or plastic castles, and not even a single saucy postcard in sight. All that you can see are four very naked and very dejected looking souls huddled around a crocodile that appears to be wearing armour.

The dejected party wait in silence as the sounds of hurried movement and manual labour continues throughout the night from behind the boulder that has been moved into position to block us in. With nothing to do except settle down to sleep, we do so, and wake after an uneventful night before we heal ourselves to full health.

Over the next few days, I formulate a cunning plan which basically involves waiting until they think we have gone. There is more to it than that obviously, and drawing stick figures and rude words in the sand I finally get the message across to the others.  After nine days of silence on the beach we climb over our many sandcastles and I move to the door and use the Stone Shape spell to smear the rock out of the way, then Soften Stone and Earth upon the rocks that have been placed behind to block off the corridor. ****

We start to hack our way through the clay and loose stones but after around 30 minutes of frantic digging there is suddenly a loud ringing noise as Trixie’s Stone of Alarm is set off. We quickly make the final push and burst out of the tunnel to find four Orc’s waiting for us, weapons raised. A melee quickly ensues as we set about them, Chunk armed with my spiked club while I burn the back ranks with flaming Spheres.

One of the four, seeing that their number is quickly dwindling, attempts to run off to get his mistress but with a quick flick of the wrist he is burning brightly and then struck with great force to the head, so another runs off instead. My Flaming Sphere is also getting Chunk as we try and move as quickly as possible through the ranks, but he is a big lad and can take it. Then it is all quiet once more as the Orc’s all lie dead apart from the one that ran off. I send my Flaming Sphere down a corridor as a potential trap or warning while we run off down another branch, not stopping until we are all the way out into daylight again.

As we leave the castle grounds we can see Orc’s on the shoreline off to the right which looks like a raiding party. With little time before they are upon us, I become a War Pony and get Trixie on my back and we ride away into the sunset, with the rest of the party (except for Stumpy who is on Chunk’s shoulders) running behind us.

Five of the Orc’s give chase, and they are soon gaining, but thankfully one, then two, then three, all start to walk as they cannot keep up with our pace. Things do become hectic as I start to tire and then others are walking, and when we check back the Orc's are running after us once more. Another half hour of this and we are at a Mexican stand off as both parties are all too tired to run anymore. So to get things going, I turn back into a human once more and slingshot the closest Orc before dropping the sling for Trixe to use. Chunk has three on him while the others run round him to attack all the small folk at the back.

They are Barbarians of some kind as they Rage and scream at us, and poor old Chunk takes a beating as they all tear into him. He is held up as ever by Stumpy's shield, while Stumpy himself Critically Inflicts an Orc dead with his touch. I become a Fleshraker Dinosaur and start getting all Jurassic on their arse, killing one, while Trixie bravely tries to not get herself killed as she stands alone in her underwear.

I charge the one attacking Trixie, but still it stands and Chunk has killed another. Thankfully Trixie’s sling does the last damage it needed to on the claw raked and bitten Orc before her, and soon we are back on our way to town.

We can’t quite make it all the way back so camp for the night, and thankfully nothing troubles us. We are stopped at the gate as usual, but we are recognised, which is very handy indeed as I am the only one with proper clothes on, and it’s likely we would have been sent to the poor quarter. We get inside the gate and quickly head to the inn to get washed and changed and something for dinner other than trail rations and berries.

On our way towards the inn we had heard a few people talk about a Volcano that had become active, and once back at the bar drinking some ale, more and more people are talking of it, and we listen for a while before the drink kicks in. Lady Shontessa has a present for me after dinner, it seems that the Druid Elder has been by and dropped off my prayer bead and periapt, for which I am very grateful and had not sulked about for months and months at all.

We spend fifteen days in the town as Chunk and Idjit train, and I take on a new form, that of the Dark Stalker. The others help guard members of the party as we move around the town and supplies and new clothes are also bought.

The time comes for us to move on, and with the party refreshed and eager to retrieve their items back; we spend the next two days getting back to the castle. Due to my exceptional eyesight I see movement on the ramparts from miles out but they ignore my warnings proclaiming them to be and I quote McFlurry - "..the foolish musings of a pantomime horse". It's not until we get closer that my musings are discovered as truths and as darkness falls even the most near sighted of the party can not fail to spot a white haired lady who is slightly blue tinged. When I tell them that she now sports a red eye and a distinctive purple Trixie looking cloak, no one mocks me, which is as it should be.

With my little eye, I see an island that was there one moment and not the next – it just disappeared, which is worrying as it means there is some kind of huge Nessie beast within the waters depths. To help the now worried looking party, I cast Swim Speed on us all to get across the lake, and so like baby Penguins trying not to be eaten by a lurking Leopard Seal Walrus, we skim across the top as quick as possible. No David Attenborough moments thankfully occur, so all the little Penguin cubs move down to the dungeon itself.

We soon find an area of darkness and decide to lead the party through it rather than potentially waste spells on the whole party to be able to see, so with me as a Dark Stalker and Chunk blessed with Blindsight, we lead them through the area. The water barricade holds us up once more but we survive this great danger and are soon moving back on ourselves to try and catch the Orc’s from the rear.

This obviously does not happen and we find nothing on the barricade nor anything in the area, and so approach the Orc lady’s domain where we find yet another area of darkness. Scouting again, Chunk and I find that this has many overlapping areas of darkness and so we return to get Stumpy to cast Daylight for the group and move in.

Suddenly light bursts out as we emerge from the magical darkness, and moving back within its black blanket, I give instructions to Trixie to tell her that lots of Orc’s are up ahead. She drops a Greater Sleep on them, taking out the four that I could see, and we ready ourselves. We do not have much time to wait as a command is shouted out to wake the sleeping lads, so we rush from the darkness. Chunk runs in first to see a huge room is seen with the base of a tower poking through the walls as though it has sunk on its foundations, and with more Orc’s running in, the fight is on!

 

**** There were arguments about how the mass of rocks and how if they were turned into mud, the volumetric size and weight of them would crush down and reveal a space at the top to be able to crawl through. This was not helped by Chris saying “imagine if the rocks were balls of ice cream….”

 

Played 25th Oct 2009

 

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