Chapter Twenty Two –"Its' Getting Hoth in here..."

Standing on the far platform staring at the open door, we get ourselves ready to all move across again as a party. I am half carried by McFlurry, but as I land down onto the ledge itself, despite making a near perfect leap, I still trigger the trap and get flung out and upwards before landing into the boiling water. This does not trouble me as I am currently in Harrsaf form thankfully, but the razor toothed fishes still begin to feed on my bits quite enthusiastically.

The creatures on the island reappear once more, but Idjit is ready and begins shooting at them even as they are finding their footing. One of the more quick reacting creatures shoots some form of electricity bolt at Idjit, putting him off slightly, but he merely shifts targets and begins to shoot the would be Emperor Palpatine instead.

I climb out of the dangerous waters and up onto the ledge to hit one of the creatures and Trixie joins in with Magic Missiles, the ethereal bolts catching it in the neck and upper body. Stumpy and McFlurry have killed off two, so naturally it’s me that gets blasted with lightning by the remaining creature. I have barely finished screaming in pain before it’s cut down with more weapons and spells, so I drift off mid sentence and quickly continue the task at hand, getting to the other side of the room. Using the cloak once more, I leap onto the wall and make my way back to the ledge. I cross the threshold, hold my breath, step onto the floor and……nothing happens.

I find a featureless room with a dressed armour mannequin, and a sack of gold in a drawer of an otherwise empty desk. Donning the armour with trepidation, nothing happens apart from it's being jolly nice and comfy, so I leave it where it is, lovingly draped about my personage. Returning to the others, it does not take us long to come to the decision to leave the volcano and soon we are on our way home for some rest and recuperation and also so that Stumpy and Chunk can train in their respective classes.
The journey home is uneventful, and after a beer at the inn, a brief chat with Lady Shontessa and a bath, we retire to our rooms.

Trixie and I are delegated to check over the party loot with the practiced eye of a master adventurer to see what we have to sell, and also checking over the magic items. Trixie examines the Feather Token, which as she triggers it, turns into a whip. Using me as target, simultaneously testing my new armour, Trixie begins the whipping. She proves to be a very good dominatrix indeed, as the whip lands on me with a loud crack, stinging my buttocks and then entangling me as the whip enlarges and expertly wraps round me, dropping me to the floor.

Even changing to a small animal does not get me free, as the bonds simply constrict or enlarge depending on my form at that time and so I endure Trixie laughing at my predicament for the best part of an hour.

As the effect wears off, during which time Trixie has been whipping the paintings off the wall and cups on the dresser, the excellent whipping Feather suddenly disappears. I would like to add ‘much to our dismay’ at this point, but it’s more of a stunned silence for a seconds or two before we both start laughing until we are crying. It’s made worse as we start to reenact my plight and once we have finished, we decide that the first rule of Whip Club is that we don't talk about Whip Club.

The next week is spent buying and selling stuff that myself and Trixie have not broken or used in our testing methods during the last few weeks of adventuring, while McFlurry continues his dancing and Martial displays down at the market area, earning more cash towards his meager funds.

With the training over, and our adventuring stocks replenished, we head back to the volcano once more to search for any remaining undiscovered goodies, spending all day on our hands and knees to find nothing at all. I go back into one of the funny areas and get touched by Air Spirits trying to molest me but again I find nothing of use.

Then, just before bedtime we find a door. Too tired to think about opening it now, we sleep, and get ourselves all ready to explore it properly in the morning.

Morning arrives, and the secret door is opened and Trixie and I lead the way down a rough winding corridor that weirdly has smooth walls on one side and rough on the other. The corridor ends with a metal door and once opened, leads to another corridor which is also featureless. The corridor does have some tracks within the dirt and dust but nothing we, well our tracker can identify.

Another door is found, and suddenly Trixie, potentially alerting anything that may be wandering in or vicinity to our presence, yells out to me, “Stand back boy!” before kneeling in front of the door and getting her lock picks out. We watch patiently, like when someone tells you that they have taught a chimp sign language, and wait for an outcome. There is a click, click, but this seems to be Trixie’s teeth grinding as a ‘ping!’ and then a very unlady-like swear word follows. She stands, dusts herself off and folds up her tool roll before pointing at Chunk and saying “You! Thing!, Smash this door!”

I have already felt the door by this point, and it was very cold to the touch, so as Chunk starts throwing angry shapes, I move away, as my current form in the shape of a Harsaaf does not like the potentially very cold environment very much.

Most intellectually for the Barbarian, he tries the door handle first and finds that it opens, while the rest of us stare at Trixie, who falters for a brief and almost unperceivable moment before grinning, bowing, saying “Tadaaaaaa!” while showing her bent lockpick and showing us her Thieves Guild badge, which looks very homemade to me.

As we peer in to the corridor, there are no icebergs or other cold ill winds, so I step back into my scouting roll. I cross the threshold of the door and promptly drop straight down a pit. The drop is very long, and I have all the time in the world to see the spikes rush towards me and then pierce me through my head.

Trixie a few steps behind had already started to fly down towards me in an effort to catch me before the spikes did there pointy work and she gets roughly half way down and within a hands breath of catching one of my flailing legs when her fly spell fails and she drops at a heightened speed before joining me on the spikes below.

The silence is broken by Chunk calling out, to see how we fare, but the copious amounts of blood and limbs at odd angles, not counting the spike protruding from my face tell its own story. With the brains of the party gone, the arms and legs flap about a bit, wondering what to do next. It only takes them about ten minutes to begin their ‘cunning plan’, and ropes are tied together and using some Krypton Factor type tactics, they begin their ‘rescue the beautiful corpses’ plan. Chunk goes down the rope, and hand over hand makes his way down until he gets to roughly the same point in which Trixie flew past. A spark of energy flares up all around the inside of the pit, the rope is neatly cut at the point of the flared line of runes, and Chunk can only stare at the end of the rope before he also plummets to his death, his huge body punctured multiple times by spikes.

Stumpy, Idjit and McFlurry wisely decide that the dead can stay where they are for the time being, and so leap over the pit, or in the case of Stumpy, they fly him across. With no idea of what to try next, they decide to explore more of the area and then have a sleep on it, pondering various methods as they walk along the corridors….while checking with a long stick for more pits obviously.

They wander featureless corridors that have no doors or alternative paths for about 10 minutes, before coming across a wooden door, closed from the other side.  Subtlety never a strong point, and without Trixie’s deft lock picking skills, Stumpy and McFlurry just get Idjit to run at the door until either he works out that they are just using him for a door smashing trap finding decoy, or the door breaks in, whichever comes first.

Thankfully for them, the later happens, and Idjit crashes through to land on the floor of a freezing cold room. Idjit picks himself up, breathing cold visible breaths and looks about to see movement coming from the frost covered walls. As he watches, what looks to be a large man shaped block of ice steps forward, loud cracks of ice noisily echoing around the room as the creature pulls forward. He pauses long enough to glance around the room, and nearly earns himself a icy punch to the back of the head as he sees that ice men have sprung from each of the four corners of the room. Slipping as he gets up, he dodges another punch before escaping back out into the corridor, nearly crashing into Stumpy who was peering into the room.

After a quick conference about what to do next, both Stumpy and McFlurry run into attack one, while Idjit ‘British Bulldogs’ his way through the legs of two of the Ice men to the opening opposite the main door.

I awake to find myself naked, lying in a very metal cage along with an equally naked Trixe and Chunk. Waking them, we spend a little while examining the large cage and cannot find even a door within the very sturdy looking bars. Turning into a Snake, I quickly slither through the bars and return to Humanoid form on the other side. The room we are in is empty bar a large bucket, which is overflowing with all of our equipment, so I start to pass what I can through the bars and then dress myself.

I then start to have a wander around these corridors, some of which are starting to get really cold, looking for a way to release the others. A room I find has a large desk, but nothing obvious in the lever department to be able to free them, and as the bars had no door, my excellent deductive reasoning leads me to believe that it’s not a key I am looking for so I ignore the desk for the moment and move on. 

I can hear some crashing from another doorway, but as I am not dressed properly and alone, I slope off in the other direction moving back to the others to see if they have had any luck in freeing themselves. With nothing found in their limited exploration, Chunk gives me the sword to talk to outside of the area, and Bez comments that he has seen this area before as it was his wife’s main working space, but does not recall how to free anyone. I quickly search the room once more, and find nothing but the papers on the desk, and so stuff them all into my pack for later.

On my way back I pass the door that had noise on the other side and can hear the familiar cheering of a Dwarven Cleric. I pull open a door which appears to have been frozen shut to see Idjit dodge past two wild swings and skid to a halt next two me, as Stumpy and McFlurry attack the first Ice Elemental.

The attack is a feint of sorts, as McFlurry swings, misses and then continues his run, emulating Idjit’s, but he is lifted from the floor with a powerful punch by not one but both of the Elementals.

Stumpy times his run but is then breathed on by one of the Elementals and punched by another, and I cast a Geyser spell which is ignored by the monsters while Idjit is shooting arrows, but one after the other thump in with no effect.

Chunk has now resorted to smashing the bars with his sword now as all else has failed, while Stumpy has retreated slightly to the safety of the corridor, hitting the first of the advancing creatures. I put a Flaming Sphere down, but the Snowmen lumber onwards, and it barely makes any difference to the ice that covers the floor and walls, let alone the Elementals themselves. McFlurry moves in and out of combat, a punch here, a kick there, and as my spells seem a bit useless, I point Idjit towards Chunk and he starts whacking the bars from this side in an effort to free the Barbarian.

We still have not taken down one Snowman of the four, and with Stumpy and Idjit on one side of the room and me and Idjit and the locked up Barbarian and his ‘ho on the other. Two of the Snowmen have moved into the corridor where it is less cold, and although we are getting a few attacks in, they still breathing Cold frost air on to us. Stumpy, his beard and bushy eyebrows more or less frozen solid is still whacking little chips off the beasts, but it’s like taking ice-tongs to a mountainside, a long and painful process.

Chunk is still smashing the bars down, but little by little they are breaking. The rest of us are having a bad time as it seems the cold breath attacks that hurt us, heal any of the Elementals that are caught in their path, and not helped by McFlurry, slipping on some ice and then tripping himself to lie down in front of an Elementals big icy foot.

We have to keep attacking the same creature to stop them regenerating each other. I step up, and get a little hit in and am repaid fivefold as I am attacked by two monsters and quickly have to disappear into the wall with a Meld into Stone, just as Trixie, who has had enough of being confined and Dimension Doors out of the cell, acid Fireballs the spot where I was. Stumpy puts a Shield Other on McFlurry, and Idjit, who has finally broken through the bars, moves back into combat. Stumpy casts Doom, which fails on the constructs, while I am still stuck in the wall, slowly healing myself with low level spells.

Chunk now free, steps out of the broken barred cage and immediately Rages before beefing himself up through the magical properties of his sword, while Trixie’s Magic Missile wink out against the Elementals before they get close. Chunk steps forward, dodges a punch and nearly cuts a frozen arm off with his first swing, and combined with McFlurry’s sustained hits and a almost perfect punch, kick, elbow combination, the first of the Ice Elementals drops to the floor in pieces. Even when Chunk drops his weapon during combat this doesn’t stop his stride, as he ducks down to recover his weapon, dodges a punch from one, takes a cold breath in the face from the other and then smashes the next one dead.

Stumpy takes up his role of Chain Healing Chunk, and he is now being hit harder in return. Idjit and Chunk are breathed on, not once but twice, and Chunk is power attacking with all his strength as he smashes through them. Another dies to the might of the sword, Stumpy heals him, I leave my wall and heal Idjit, and the Ranger also takes a potion as well to try and get himself back up to full.

Stumpy puts an Endure Elements on the fallen Chunk, who swung, connected then collapsed through exhaustion. Mcflurry has tumbled to the back of the restrictive combat and is still whacking away, hitting more or less consistently, wearing the last of the Elementals down. I heal Idjit again with the wand, and he immediately runs back into combat, drawing the attacks of the Elemental as Stumpy stabilizes Chunk, but wisely leaves him unconscious to make sure his frenzy does not get the rest of the party.
The Snowman turns to attack McFlurry who has been striking it over and over, but as the attacks continue, the creature blasts Idjit who nearly drops to the floor, but a few more attacks from the monk then a last desperate strike from Idjit finishes it off.


Played: 09/10/10
Draft Started: 13/02/12
1st Draft Finished: 30/03/12
Posted: 5th April 2012