Chapter Twenty Eight –"Toad you not to go down there..."

The room goes quiet and we move into position guarding the exits when suddenly an electric Fireball explodes amongst us, catching everyone. Idjit spots the little Dwarf with wings, but the diminutive demi-human is quick, and drops another electrical blast within our midst. Idjit took most of the brunt of the first explosion, while Stumpy takes the majority of the second blast, meaning both are seriously weakened and both are nearly killed outright from the culmination of blasts.

Stumpy grabs Idjit and flies upwards and away from the winged Dwarf, while Trixie grabs and drinks a potion from her pack and I change to a Kuo-toa and call out to Stumpy for Trixie to be taken next. As we prepare for the Dwarf’s next attack, another electric blast rocks the area. Stumpy and Idjit are out on the outskirts of the blast but still caught, and Idjit is swatted to one side and more or less spun upside down as he smashes into a wall before slowly picking himself back up once more. To help camouflage everyone from more pinpoint attacks I drop an obscuring Mist spell and guide Trixie away from the area we were in, hopefully out of any area where another blast may land.

Idjit continues to quaff potions in the swirling fog, while Stumpy casts Spell Resistance on himself and comes back to the edge of the tunnel to peer into the mist. He soon finds myself and Trixie and grabs Trixie to prepare to leave the area. I head to the bottom of the ledge, ready to merge into stone should the evil Dwarf cast a spell. The fog seems to have worked though, as the minutes pass and no further explosions are heard, so Stumpy flies us all up to the top ledge within the room. A few quick heals from our Dwarven Cleric and we move on, intent to retreat back to safety as quick as possible.  

Just as we move towards the corridors that mark the exit of this area, spell casting is heard and the Winged Dwarf appears again, but this time he appears not only covered in a green sparkling flecks, but shifts in and out under the familiar effects of a Blur Spell. There is no time to wonder what else he may be protected by however, as an Acid Arrow shoots at me, but thankfully my protection absorbs most of it. Idjit charges, but misses and is zapped with another Acid Arrow in return, quickly followed by another. Stumpy moves and casts silence but this fails, while Trixie moves up and casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, which causes the Dwarf to collapse in fits of laughter.

I shape change to a Dark Stalker, moving to flank the fallen dwarf, but the Acid Arrow kicks in again to hurt me and Idjit, causing a lot more pain now than it did by being hit by it.  

Idjit strikes the fallen foe hard, but the discharge of the surrounding green speckled aura blasts the Ranger from his feet, with electric pulses lancing into him, making that wet hacking noise you hear in a butchers. He drops at an odd angle to the floor, strings of a puppet cut, and it becomes painfully aware that he will not be getting up once more. With the party surrounding the Dwarf, he is beset on by all sides - Stumpy charges in and smashes it, Trixie fires off a Scorcher and I helpfully just miss. One of Stumpy’s little clubs hits it for minimal damage, Trixie’s Dispel Magic lands removing some spells including the  blurring, which enables me to hit it, but before we can get the last few hits in we need to kill it, the Dwarf weakly stands up and Dimension Doors away....

We grab the corpse of Idjit and leave, heading back to the fast moving streams where the toads once lived. Resting and sleeping is the normal way to pass the hours required before we can do much more, so that happens and on the morning of the new day, Idjit is raised, and we heal his broken body. Chunk and I go swimming, but Chunk is wearing some very small and very tight trunks, which I would normally not care a jot about, but for some reason cause me to be very prudish so I leave him to it.

We head back to the cave where we fought the Troglodyte King** and all is dark and quiet and the place left untouched by scavengers as the bodies of the Toads are where we left them. We strip them of anything worthwhile and move on. While on point, I spot a fissure which looks big enough for someone to crawl through, and so Chunk flies up and crawls into it to find that it's a slippery slope heading downwards. Chunk is flying, so it looks ok for anyone else that can fly, but he thinks others may have trouble due to the steepness and from first glance, he says it looks like a bloody long drop should you slip. Checking further he finds small rough stairs have been cut into the side of the large hole, but the general consensus is to be able to fly should you wish to navigate downwards.

Once Chunk has finished his scouting, he returns and I lead once more, heading into more unexplored corridors. We pass a room that is empty of creatures, but is full of rubbish and excrement. Trixie, Idjit and Chunk check it out, but it’s Idjit first to slip in the night soil, and I wash him down with a Create Water spell cast over his head.

We continue to explore the huge caverns and a stream crosses our path more than once as the caves become more like those found under a waterfall than the normal dry ones that we are accustomed to. We can hear rumbling in the distance, which does sound more like a large frog than anything environmental. As we move deeper in, suddenly two groups of three large toads appear from out behind stalagmites and from out of the water. I charge in and whack one, Chunk doing the same but targeting the other side, frenzying and smashing into the first of the creatures.

Idjit follows me, and whacks a nearby creature and Chunk calls out that he can see Troglodytes backing up the toads on his side. Stumpy moves up to get a better view of the battle, trying to be close enough to both melee should he be needed. I am bit and then grappled, and the one at the back leaps over and attacks Trixie. Chunk is also grappled, and then pounced on, but he still stands, albeit bleeding heavily. He ripostes and kills the first toad and then cleaves into the second one, and then cuts the third one down in as many heartbeats.

Idjit kills the one grappling me, then the one in front of him, and Stumpy crashes into the last one on our side. We then hear a woman’s voice calling for help, unfortunately for her, somewhere close to the rampaging Chunk.....

Trixie Magic Missiles the toad in front of her, and I change back to a Harssaf and run towards the screaming woman, finding a pit that contains a woman and child. Chunk has killed two more Troglodytes, and only one more remains after Idjit killed the last on our side.

Chunk tries to come out of his rage and fails, and Trixie is ready to dominate. I leap into the pit to try and help free the woman, but she is too frightened to get out, not surprising, as Chunk is making more noise than she is, screaming in anger and rage as he attacks the last Troglodyte, and I currently look like a red devil beast.

Idjit helpfully runs off and hides round a corner, where he finds a crack in the side of the cavern that seems to reveal sunlight. Stumpy is close to Chunk, and I drop my scary mask of Harssaf and become myself once more, and try and speak to the woman to persuade her to climb aboard and fly out with me. Chunk fails to break free of his rage again, and with no choice, Trixie hits him with a Dominate Person spell, telling him to stand still and do no actions.

Chunk is now Trixie’s man, and with the angry noises and the Red Devil gone, the woman calms enough to explain who she is and where she comes from. It turns out that the woman and her husband were farmers, and the farm was raided. She does not know what happened to her husband, but has not seen him in days and fears the worst – but we have found remains that can only be her husband and previous raid victims

Stumpy teleports himself and me to Cilimar along with the woman and child, and we leave the rest of the party to head back to the Troglodytes.

No sooner have we gone when there is a splash of water and bursting out from the depths, a 13' tall lizard appears, flanked by three toads. Trixie is immediately grappled by the beast, and Chunk smashes into it. Idjit activates his boots and now hasted, attacks, but after a single strike is quickly grappled. Chunk is gripped by indecision, as both of his co-combatants are grappled and he looks like he is ready to grapple the beast himself, or pick it up and fly off with it, so wastes precious seconds.

Trixie Dimension Doors out of the grapple and out of combat but within spell range, and Chunk in the course of the last few minutes has been bitten, licked, grappled, clawed and trod on and is looking in a really bad way. He tries to help Idjit and smashes his weapon into the creature, weakening it but not killing it. In his weakened and exhausted state, he flies off, taking a last hit as he does so which nearly causes him to drop into the water. Luckily Idjit breaks free of his attacker on his last try, and is fresh on Chunks heels as they both race out of the watery caverns.

Trixie drops a Confusion spell and two of the toads attack each other while the other merely stands still and watches. The larger of the creatures is not affected however and charges the small Sorceress, gathering her up in her arms, Chunk sticks to the 'flee' plan, and Idjit is not far behind and Trixie once again Dimension Doors away to safety.

All three soon are back at the Troglodytes, and the leader is not best pleased that they arrived back without completing the plan, and that they are bringing trouble back to his doorstep. After a short chastisement of our skills, a few quick whistles and hand gestures and the whole camp begins to quickly pack up – barrels and boxes already loaded into hand carts – it seems the leader was not leaving anything to chance. Trixie begins to carve a message into the wall in Dwarven to indicate that they are in the secret room upstairs, and by the time she has finished, the tribe has completely packed up and begun to leave back through the tunnels rather than get caught in any trouble.

We drop off the farmer’s wife at the Inn, where Lady Shontessa fusses over her. We are told she will be well looked after, but both myself and Stumpy also press 200gp between us in her hand. I let her know that I will take her husbands remains to the temple of Tyr, and off we go.

Once there, after asking them to handle the funeral for the dead farmer, I ask about religious ceremonies, and whether "Show your true faith" means anything.

I have already read about ceremonies that require a long sword, a single glove and gauze covering the eyes, and so buy these items, but the priest simply looks at me when I request a Holy Symbol of their order. 

We are asked to wait, and then are seen by the highest of the order, were she asks if we are the adventurers in the Castle Whiterock, and asks about my recent questions.

I tell her nearly everything, and describe the broken temple that once was of Tyr, and now has been turned into a barracks. She tells us that there is another temple, larger and grander and deeper within the castle, and that should we find it, we may find final remains of the order's leader, and possibly, a Holy Sword, which should we return, will be handsomely rewarded to the tune of 40,000gp.

Despite not getting a Holy Symbol of Tyr from the first priest, the Lady gives me one, as we are required to use it to open this secret door into the old temple.

Myself and Stumpy return to the inn, sleep in proper beds and enjoy a bath and fine wine before he casts the spell to teleport us back to the others in Castle Whiterock.

We return to the Troglodytes area to find no-one about, and devoid of life but after searching around, discover a crude drawing telling us they have gone upstairs.

We reach them with no interruptions on the way, then myself and Stumpy try and work out the process for the book. After listening to the instructions, we go through the process, but he is caught in the trap twice, and looking very burnt and frazzled, we head back to the room to rest.

 

** Troglodyte King  - I still don’t know what this is actually called yet.

 

Played: 13th September 2011
Draft started: 21st September 2013
Draft Finished: 28th October 2013
Published: 4th December 2013

Words at start: 1600
Words at end: 2325

 

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