Session #20 (part II)
Martin’s body was still already falling backward from the force of the gargoyle landing one when it struck him twice with its stony clawed hands and slammed him once with the protrusion on its head.
It roared, and Jana stepped forward and spoke an arcane word and a ray of green light struck the beast. It bellowed again, and turned to Ratchis and Kazrack who came at standing over Martin’s crumpled form.
Ratchis swung his mighty hammer at the living statue, but the thing was unusually quick and Ratchis over-extended himself, twisting his ankle. Kazrack on the other hand slammed his heavy flail head right onto the thing’s face, a shot that would crushed a man’s skull. It had no effect at all.
The gargoyle grunted, and clipped the dwarf across the top of the head with a stony hand. Jana spoke some words again and flicked her wrist at the thing and it reeled, putting its hands to its face.
“It’s blind!” Jana called. “Finish it!”
The voice of Ratchis’ and Kazrack’s voices calling to their respective gods to grant their weapons a divine spark of magic could be head, as Jeremy squeezed past them, coming in close and behind the gargoyle.
The thing sensed the dual-wielding Neeragardian and it swung around to bring all its attacks to bear on him, but Jeremy was too nimble for the gargoyle to strike through his blindness.
Again, Jana spoke a word while she cast her fingers open towards the gargoyle. It stumbled as if dazed, giving Ratchis a chance to slam it with all his might with his temporarily enchanted hammer. Kazrack smiled and took his opening at well, his flail shining as it chipped off a piece of the stone guardian.
The creature was now reeling and swinging wildly. Jeremy drove his long sword between the thing’s legs and pushed with the hilt of his short sword, knocking it over. It struggled to get up, swinging at Kazrack and missing. Jana ran forward and pulled Martin from the fracas.
Ratchis lifted the warhammer in both hands over his head and brought it down on the gargoyle with a resounding crack. It wobbled and fell, and immediately tried to get back up again, even as cracks appeared near its joints and down its back.
“Natan-ahb has judged you and found you wanting!” (44) The dwarf gave it the finishing blow and it crumbled into hundreds of little pieces.
Ratchis ran down to Martin’s body on the lower stair where Jana was doing her best to stop his bleeding. The huge man knelt beside the Watch-Mage and laid a calloused hand on his fragile form.
“Nephthys, hear my prayer and heal this brave man who fights in your name as surely as I do,” Ratchis intoned, and in a second Martin the Green was coughing and coming back to consciousness.
He sat up slowly.
“Can you?” Ratchis asked.
“Can you move on?” Ratchis offered him a hand.
“Oh…yes,” Martin replied, being pulled up to his feet, shakily. “I just feel exhausted.”
Jeremy and Kazrack were keeping watch with their crossbows drawn, but the elves on the lookouts still did not seem to notice them.
Ratchis placed a hand on his belt of chain links and said aloud, "Nephthys grant me your strength!" and he felt his body surging with the might of a bull.
Ratchis and Kazrack examined the doubled doors, and pushing they found they were barred. They both began to push with all their might, and when a slight crack appeared between the doors, Ratchis slipped in his short sword in hopes of knocking out the bolt.
There was a bright flash, and a sizzling sound accompanied by the smell of singed hair and flesh, as both the dwarf and the half-orc cried out and flinched backward. Kazrack beard was smoking.
“I think it was trapped,” said Jeremy.
Ratchis roared and with a single might kick the doors flew open. He stopped took a deep breath, laid a hand on Kazrack’s shoulder and whispered, “Nephthys, please guard this dwarf so that he may see the glorious light of freedom always.”
Kazrack felt the warmth of the divine healing energies enter him, and he and Ratchis stepped through the doors, with Jeremy right behind them.
They stepped through a narrow entry hall to a broader perpendicular hallway that seemed to run the full length of the fort’s front wall. The floors and walls were lacquered wood, and torchlight, and huge hearths in the southernmost wall of the rooms at the end were the only sources of illumination.
On either side of the long hall elves emerged from doors at the top of wooden steps that seemed like they likely went up to the lookouts.
“Go away,” the elf on the left called. “You are not welcome here.”
And even as the first elf spoke the second one joined him saying the exact same thing, but only slightly behind him. They spoke in flat even tones.
“We are taking no guests. No visitors are welcome,” they nocked arrows in their short bows.
Ratchis called Martin forward, and stepped toward the elf on the left.
“Take no step forward,” an elf called to the half-orc, walking down the steps towards him.
“We do not want to hurt you,” said the elf on the other side to Kazrack.
“What is going on?” Jeremy asked stepping through the entry hall. Jana took up the rear, and Janx decided to join them, appearing and disappearing among their ranks.
“Wait, we come in peace,” Martin called back to the elf he faced, trying hard to sound reassuring.
“Do not come closer. Return the way you came,” the elf said,
“We are looking for one of your kind, her name is Tirhas,” Kazrack said to the elf on his side.
“I think they are ensorcelled,” Ratchis said stepping forward.
“Ratchis! No!” Martin cried, and the elf in front of him let loose an arrow that cut a half inch of flesh from Ratchis’ left side.
“Stop! We don’t want to fight!” Martin cried, putting his hands up. “Ratchis, stop!”
Kazrack charged toward the elf he faced, “If possible fight to subdue!” He sidestepped an arrow sent his way.
Ratchis charged as well, folding his arms in front of his face and chest, warhammer in hand. He was almost upon the elf, when he heard it say “sagitta magicus”. He felt the searing pain of something striking him, but he slammed his whole body into the elf. The elf, flew backward falling on his rear end.
A third elf appeared at the top of the stairs and fired an arrow down at Martin who yelped and leaped backward out of harm’s way.
Jana came around the corner to the right (past a metal ladder that seemed to go up into a crawl space above the entry hall) and flicked her wrist, blinding the elf Kazrack was approaching, and the dwarf slapped the elf’s long sword out of his hand with his halberd.
The elves were tall and comely, with an even balance of soft and angled features, giving them a beautiful and haunting androgyny. However, they did not move with the speed and grace that the party has witnessed in Tirhas when they traveled with her briefly. These elves seemed distracted, or one might even say sleepy.
Jeremy came around the corner to back up Ratchis, while the blind elf back away cautiously from Kazrack moving toward a dark hallway that led further into the fort.
As Kazrack wondered if he should stop him, he felt the bite of an arrow as still another elf appeared, dressed in muted blue and green, wielding a bow, at the top of the stairs.
The elf Ratchis has tackled, stood up and moving with some modicum of grace reached for pouch on his belt drew out a handful of sand as he spoke the word, “Dor-“. He failed, for he was trying to hard to not let Ratchis have an opening – but had the opposite effect. Ratchis dropped his hammer on the ground and slammed his two huge fists into the elf’s face. Blood exploded from the delicate being’s nose, and one eyes was swollen shut as blood oozed out thickly from beneath it. The elf collapsed bleeding to the floor. (45)
Jana prepared to cast her spell again, but the elf on the steps that had shot Kazrack dropped his bow and spoke the words “sagitta magicus”. He pointed at the young witch and an arrow of light struck her dead on. She let out a cry, and her spell was interrupted.
Kazrack kicked at the blind elf’s sword to make sure it was not picked up again.
Ratchis knelt at the side of the elf he had just struck and lay his hand on him.
“Nephthys, do not let this poor victim die from the treachery of a villainous sorcerer who charms them unwillingly.”
The elf at the top of the stairs fired another arrow at the half-orc, but it went far to wide, and Ratchis did not even try to move.
End of Session #20
is the Father of the Dwarves, first among all the dwarven gods.
(45) DM'S NOTE:
Somehow, Ratchis' player managed to roll TWO "Triple Total Damage" crits with his fists, meaning that all the extra damage became REAL damage, after subdual surpassed the elf's current hit points. Having Bull's Strength
cast on himself didn't help either.