Thread: Lost: Savage Tide style.
Monday, 19th November, 2007, 08:31 PM #11
The small hill turned out to be a lip to a massive crater easily miles across. Yens and Rowyn had lain down on the ridge to survey the area. Over three hundred yards away they could see a herd of huge reptiles grazing on grasses and tree sized ferns. Far to the south they could see jagged mountaintops.
“Those lizards shake the ground when they walk. Like thunder. Thundarlizards. That’s a good name.” said Yens to himself.
“They are actually called diplodocus.” Came Urol’s voice from behind him.
“Get down you fool, or they will see us and attack!” urged Yens with a motion.
“Oh don’t be silly.” Urol continued his lecture, “They are herbivorous and not the least bit aggressive. Still, I would not approach them unless you have a death wish; they are prone to stampede and weigh easily over thirty tons each.”
“Like giant cattle.” Added Rowyn.
Yens scowled at her for joining their conversation.
“The analogy is apt, but I would consider them more similar to the wild herds of elephants in Q’barra. They forage over large tracts of land and unlike most reptiles they are homeotherms.”
“Warm blooded.” Said Rowyn.
“Right-O, Rowyn. I am impressed. You know your zoology well. Where did you study? Let us descend and tell the others. Did you know that they have twenty stomachs? I once had opportunity to study the spines of a young fossil found in…”
Yens watched as Rowyn and Urol returned to the milling group of colonists and adventurers. She is ingratiating herself with him to win him over. Who will be next? Klem? Tavey? He frowned; he might need to take preemptive measures to stop her.
They group headed east, keeping just north of the rim of the crater. After their ascent to the rim earlier, Urol had revised his guess at their location. They were on the northeast part of the island, not the extreme north, as he had originally thought. While this was good news: they were closer to Farshore, it also meant that they would soon forge through unfamiliar territory. He suggested one of two tacts: east toward the sea and then south along the coastline or directly south over the crater and through the mountains. Each path had its own difficulties, but the group agreed that the coastal path was wiser since they might be able to find Farshore even if Urol became incapacitated. Only Avner dissented, suggesting that the direct path would take them there much more quickly, albeit with more possibilities for getting lost.
Urol had also suggested that Kira avoid use of her avian form. “Many of the scavengers on this island such as the Tyranosaurus key off of the presence of soaring and circling buzzards and you might attract undue attention.”
“That T-rex we fought was a hunter, NOT a scavenger.” Injected Yens.
“Not entirely correct my good man.” Corrected Urol. “They will kill active prey, but just as often will steal meat from those who found it first. You see they have these large nasal bulbs, consistent with their use of olfactory…”
They continued on with Urol blathering on about various topics while Yens and Kira gratefully took turns scouting ahead.
After a time, they became aware of horrible sounds coming from just past the crater wall.
“Oh we must save it, it’s just a baby.” Cried Urol as the watched the grizzly seen a minute later.
Yens rolled his eyes. From his vantage at the crest he counted no fewer than six terrorbirds harassing a “small” thunder lizard. It thrashed about with its whip-like tail while trying to flee the birds. The terrorbirds, on the other hand, seemed to be herding the beast directly toward them. Presumably the slope of the crater’s interior wall would offer some advantage in taking down the larger creature.
Bounding down the slope, Yens charged into the scrum.
“Watch out for the tail!” Yelled Urol.
As if on cue, the tail of the diplodocus bowled over two birds and swept toward Yens. He ducked and the tail just missed him, but he was still nearly flattened by the air displaced in its wake. Better not get hit by that thing.
Stabbing with his rapier, he wounded one of the remaining four terror birds. The two that had been knocked prone were lagging behind, but would not catch up unless the melee halted. Curiously, two of the remaining birds then broke off to attack each other. The fourth bird kept pace with the dinosaur but refrained from attacking, instead letting out a cacophony of squawks and squeals. Unbeknownst to Yens, Tsuan had evened the odds thanks to a confusion spell.
The tail passed through again, but missed both Yens and the two remaining birds. A quick stab killed the bird he was fighting and sprint took him ahead of the diplodocus and out of range of the tail. Caustic acid covered one of the lagging birds while Kira was suddenly on top of its companion, a panther wrestling a turkey. The last bird finally stopped to consider the meaning of existence and eventually died at Yens and Amilla’s hands. The winner of the terrorbird-on-terrorbird duel, suddenly found itself surrounded by enemies as its prey lumbered off. It too was quickly dispatched.
Camping with the crater at their backs, the group feasted again for another night on roast terrorbird.
After most of another day's travel they were within site of the ocean. Urol suggested they head south, using the coastal jungle for cover.
Near evening, they came upon the ruins of a tribal village identified as Olman. The jungle had absorbed this village and the ruins appeared to be infested with all size and variety of spider, bold enough to refrain from fleeing at the humanoid’s approach. Yens was about to skewer one with his rapier when Kira stopped him. Kira had spotted a shack or hut made from webbing material. Approaching with greetings in Sylvan, Kira was able to coax a wizened areanea from the hovel. After a brief discussion, Kira informed the party that there was another terror bird nest just after the next ravine and that the spiders of the area would leave them alone if they refrained from killing. Lithira, the areanea, also suggested negotiating with the terrorbird flockleader since the flock was very large.
Using speak with animals, Kira was able talk the group past a terror bird nest and was even given a magical cloak since the terrorbird leader was so grateful that they “not kill.”
The group then ascended into the foothills that lined the eastern coast. After the going became too treacherous, they decided to explore a potential pass that went right under one of the mountains. With torches at hand and roped together they entered a dark cave.
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The cave turned out to be a rough-hewn tunnel of ancient construction. Here and there, Urol pointed out what looked to be primitive carvings, although to Yens’ eyes they could have just as easily been the claw-marks and scratchings of the bears or dinosaurs that must surely call this hole a home.
It was much colder in this tunnel than in the surrounding jungle above, but thankfully it was dry. Just before they had found the hole, a downpour had soaked their gear, which made the chill of the cave more noticeable. As they proceeded, Yens was reminded of a nagging smell, a foul odor from up ahead. It was something that he had encountered before, but he couldn’t quite pinpoint its manner or origin. He didn’t bother to bring it up with the rest of the troop, as their noses were much too insensitive to register the odor.
“Rowyn, why don’t you scout ahead? Cyrus will keep the torchlight at the rear of the line. Keep to edge of the shadows… where Kira and I can see you.” Ordered Yens with a facetious smile, “We don’t want you wandering off accidentally.”
Rowyn scowled back at Yens, but moved forward anyway. Her progress was much stealthier than Yens had anticipated: while Kira’s keen eyes and ears could easily track her, Yens actually had difficulty. Descending further into the mountain, further from the diminishing circle of daylight at their backs, Yens lost himself in his thoughts.
The scent is stronger and very familiar. It reminds me of somewhere I’ve been before…
Parrot Island… and death…
It was just after Levinia had learned of Vanthus’s robbery of the family vaults. At that time, they had no idea just how low and depraved the Vanderboren’s scion had fallen and simply wanted to return him to his sister for rehabilitation and reconciliation.
Fen was still alive, the company was still operating around Sasserine, and Tsuan Tse had just joined their group. The group’s reputation had grown considerably after they “recovered” the Blue Nixie from a swindler and animal smuggler named Solar Varc. Tsuan had already been on the Vanderboren’s payroll as an engineer, thus the enthusiastic water mage had jumped at the opportunity to be transferred to an adventuring group alongside these seasoned fortune hunters.
They had chartered a boat to investigate the mysterious Parrot Island where they believed Levinia’s brother and his associates might be found. A former contact of Vanthus’, Shelfton, was leading them to Vanthus’ headquarters.
Landing on Parrot Island in the precise spot indicated by Shefton, they followed the grimy smuggler into the forested isle along an overgrown path. They descended through a secret trap door in the forest floor on ropes. Just as Shefton, the last in the line, was to descend, he was stabbed and his body thrown in after. As Yens looked up with a severed rope in his hand, he saw and heard Vanthus Vanderboren taunt down to them:
“You lot are gullible fools! You allied yourself with my insipid sister and now you’ll be trapped here… forever. Ha, ha, ha, ha.” As Vanthus slammed the stone trapdoor shut he called in with a laugh “Oh, I almost forgot! Say hello to Pancus’ ghost for me. Ha, ha, ha.”
Darkness. Then torchlight. Then suddenly they were struggling through the catacombs under Parrot Island as a horde of zombies chased after them. These turned out to be no “ordinary” zombies as they were lightning quick, and could easily surround the heroes. With no priest at hand to exercise the restless spirits, the group was nearly worn down by the relentless task of hacking to pieces each animated body as it surged toward them and yet on they fought, finding the hidden reserves of strength they needed to escape and explore the tunnels. The entire time, Yens was reminded of the lyric from that old sailor’s shanty about the walking dead, Oh that smell, Oh that smell, the smell of death around yee…
Finally they broke away from the hordes of zombies to find an underground river and the body of a very much dead Pancus. His bloated body reeking with The Smell, they covered their faces to search it and found a note. The note was written in the colorful sailor’s cant so familiar to Yens that he felt he new this dead pirate as if he was a long lost friend. Translating for the rest of the party, Yens elaborated the dead raconteur’s tale: It told of Vanthus’ treachery and how he left his “mates” here to die. Obviously a scheme for power, Vanthus had betrayed them to rise through the ranks of the “Lotuses,” a group that Yens would soon learn was a Sasserine thieves guild. It ended with curse upon Vanthus’ soul, a sentiment now shared by Yens and his companions.
Having now learned of the tragic vileness of Levinia’s brother and his plots, they vowed to scrub out the stain that was Vanthus at the first opportunity. They also found a treasure cache near Pancus’ corpse, containing many chests of coins and a powerful gem that could summon an earth elemental. Swimming the river, Tsuan and Fen exited out into the lagoon, to free the heroes from their prison.
“It’s a throne room.” Commented Urol.
Urol Forol’s comment broke Yens’ daydream, dragging him to the present. The tired adventures had just emerged from the long tunnel into a great hall beneath the mountain. A throne at the far end of the room held a long decayed skeleton wearing a golden necklace that glinted in their torchlight. The shaft of a longspear protruded from its rib cage, its noticeable lack of rot and decay suggested something unusual about this weapon. A short-walled pool of water just inside the entrance to the room was revealed to be a deep well by a quick inspection.
The group made a quick search of the corpse to verify that it was not a trap and that it in fact was not some kind of undead creature. Kira discovered that this spear was far superior to his own and was even slightly magical, and thus he took it as his possession. Yens took the necklace; although it was not magical it seemed shiny, exotic, interesting, and, most importantly, valuable.
The group rested in this throne room and while most broke out rations and eased their loads, Yens washed out his braids in the cold pool of water near the entrance to the room. As he dunked his head beneath the surface, he noticed an odd glint near the bottom. Reeling his head back out of the water violently, he readied for the attack but none came. After a moment he then called to Tsuan. After they probed the bottom with the butt of Kira’s old spear, Tsuan dove in and quickly recovered a small red-stone tipped rod. They could not find an immediate use for the rod so Yens pocketed it.
A set of steps, hidden in a shadowy alcove near the back of the room, exited the room, and thus Yens and his companions proceeded downward. After a time, the steps emerged onto a vast cavern spanned by two stone bridges. As Yens and Rowyn eased forward on separate bridges, two giant centipedes, each twenty feet long or more, dropped down among the party. Yens and Cyrus were bitten by the enormous insects and looked on in frustration as their joints and muscles locked up, rendering them immobile. Klem, the warforged smith, proved himself to be a mighty combatant, since he seemed immune to the centipede’s toxin, and proceeded to smash the two bugs into pools of ichor with his warhammer and assistance from Amella, Rowyn, and Kira.
After a time, the centepede’s venom wore off. By then, Rowyn had scouted ahead and found two sets of doors terminating each bridge. Beyond was a large cavern area partitioned into alcoves by walls just bigger than a man. As Yens and his companions wove through this winding maze of alcoves they observed a number of corpses tucked into a few of the recesses. Inspecting one, Yens found a necklace similar to that worn by the skeleton on the throne. They felt unease at looting the ossuary and so continued onward until they reached a dead end.
Retracing their steps, Rowyn was able to find a secret door. As she touched it, the sound of caked dust and fused bone cracking could be heard throughout the catacomb. Before Yens could react, a mummy rounded the corner. And for the second time in as many hours, Yens was forced to watch from a body stiffened by paralysis, this time caused by the gut wrenching fear created by their horrid visage. The three mummies lunged at him. One swung wide and crushed the stone an inch from Yens’ head, another grazed him spinning him on the rigid ball of his foot. The slam of the third impacted him full on, knocking both the breath out of his lungs and nearly knocking him from his feet.
A line of steam scoured the two of the mummies as cloud of hot vapor, steam and dust began to coalesce near the third mummy. Only Kira and Tsuan seemed to have had the will to remain mobile in the face of the mummies gaze of dispair. Two of the mummies turned to move toward the druid and mage, but they were two far away and so they pummeled Klem and Rowyn instead. The third nearly passed Yens by, but unfortunately for him decided to continue to attack him, nearly crushing him to the floor.
A creature of stone, magma, and fire appeared behind one mummy and slammed it with a crunch, while just as suddenly a ball of fire erupted at the feet of same mummy, igniting it when it made contact with surface of the spongy flaming orb. This mummy was already nearly destroyed by Kira’s spells.
Yens felt his limbs loosen and he stabbed at the mummy next to him nicking it feebly. Out of the corner of his eye saw the cone of steam and raw heat before it would have struck him and ducked behind his mummy. The undead took the force of the blast full on and was instantly destroyed as was the one damaged by Kira’s orb and Thoqqua.
Tsuan called out, “Sorry, if I gave you a bit of a scare, but I knew you’d evade once you could move again.”
The third mummy still clung to unlife, but now Rowyn and Klem were upon it and it too was soon destroyed.
The group paused for but a moment to gather their breath. As they did so, Kira sent his Thoqua on ahead into the chamber beyond the secret door. Luckily for the heroes, none of them had decided to go first as a viscous spear trap impaled and destroyed the summoned elemental.
The trapped room held a large stone sarcophagus with double doors at the far end. After a thorough search, it was opened to find a blue-stone rod, a silver dagger, golden medallion, and shiny pink pearl. The double doors lead to chamber beyond with massive heavy stone doors and ports for the rods.
“They are storm doors.” Added Yens. “Look here and here. Reinforced. A titan would have to strike twice to bash these in.”
“Nay,” contradicted Rowyn, “they are ice cold. I think they hold back the tide.”
After passing his hand through the collected condensation, Yens reluctantly agreed, “Tomorrow morn should coincide with low tide. We should rest here but open them when we wake.”
And so they rested, uncertain as to what was really beyond the doors.
Last edited by Arabesu; Wednesday, 13th February, 2008 at 06:34 AM.
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