Raiders of Oakhurst - A memoir of Erais Gunterson

Colmarr

First Post
Skamos turned the blade over and over in the firelight. Occasionally he passed a hand over the weapon and muttered under his breath. Finally, he slipped the dagger back into its sheath. He stared into the flames for a long moment before he realized I was watching him. He smiled then, and nodded. He silently mouthed “It’s magic”, and then turned back to the fire.

We rose at first light and scoured the area until we found the dog-men’s tracks. We followed them eastwards for hours, until eventually we crested a hill and caught sight of Cragg Keep. The ruin was largely intact, a classic keep-and-wall structure atop an imposing hill. The keep itself was small by the standard of the regent’s fortress in Kronos Keep, but it seemed larger than it was; its size magnified by the barrenness of the surrounding countryside. The windows of the keep were crumbling and the shutters hung loose. More than a few had fallen away altogether. The flagpoles about the gate were bare. Were it not for the halfling and dog-man tracks leading up towards the keep’s imposing portcullis, I would have thought it abandoned.

While we huddled behind a nearby rise and debated how to approach the keep, something flashed in my peripheral vision and I glanced to my right just in time to see a hare bound across a narrow animal trail. I took a step closer to peer into the bushes that the rabbit had disappeared into. The creature was long gone by the time I moved close enough, but fate or luck caused my eye to come to rest on something far more interesting. In the middle of the trail was a dog-man footprint, faded with age but still clearly visible, facing off to the southeast and seemingly following the animal trail around the base of the hill.

I revealed my find to the others, and we gladly delayed thoughts of approaching the keep’s front entrance. We followed the new tracks around the hill until they disappeared into a bush. Corrin motioned for the rest of us to stand back, and then he stepped into the foliage. We heard him rustling about, moving further away from us, and then abruptly he returned.
“There’s a narrow tunnel back there”, he said. “It leads back towards the keep. You three will need to crawl to get through.”

“What’s a secret tunnel doing buried at the base of the hill?” I wondered aloud. “Is it safe for us to use?”

Skamos peered into the bushes. “It’s not unusual for these types of fortifications to have secret entrances and exits. That’s how Abraxus Farstrider held Eastwall Keep against the Red Skull horde in 1432 YCC. The human and dragonborn defenders used the tunnel -”

“Yes, I know that”, I interrupted him. “What I meant was, do the dog-men know about this entrance, or are we going to find them waiting for us at the far end?”

Skamos shrugged, but Corrin spoke up.

“Judging by the cobwebs in there, the tunnel hasn’t been used for some time. If they know about it, they certainly haven’t done anything to maintain it. Or block it.”

We discussed our options for a few minutes. No one really liked the idea of venturing into a cramped dark tunnel with enemies potentially waiting in ambush at the far end. But ultimately we all agreed that approaching the keep via the main path and trying to enter through the portcullis or over the walls was an even less attractive proposition. Corrin offered to go first, but Skamos argued against it and suggested that he should take the halfling’s place.

I stared at him in open-mouthed shock. The tiefling was one of the least physical people I had ever met. He was arrogant and sometimes bad-tempered, but he had always relied on his arcane abilities to justify and excuse his temperament. I had never seen him undertake physical work, and I doubted that he had ever done a day of manual labour in his life. He was protected only by robes, and carried only a dagger for protection. And he was volunteering to go first?

He noticed my surprise and grinned, his teeth a striking match with the curving horns jutting from his brow. “Oh, believe me; I am aware of the danger of being the first into the tunnel. It’s not a risk I take lightly, but I am the only logical choice. Although I might not have your or Corrin’s impressive armour, my night vision is far superior to either of yours. And I am far stealthier than any of you. A legacy of growing up in the slums, I suppose. If our goal in using this tunnel is to achieve some measure of surprise, I think it is I that should go first.”

Tira laughed, and then gestured towards the entrance to the tunnel. “Be our guest!” she said. I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t fault Skamos’ reasoning.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Colmarr

First Post
The tunnel burrowed into the hill for almost a hundred feet before it came to an abrupt end at a stone block. Ahead of me I could hear Skamos whispering to Corrin, and then the paladin turned back to me. His features were illuminated by the phosphorescent glow from the sunrod tucked into his belt.

“It’s a door”, he whispered. Skamos hears whimpering on the other side. We’re going to open it. Be ready.”

I passed the message back to Tira, who nodded once. She was smiling, and again I could only wonder at her limitless confidence.

As Skamos pushed open the stone block, sounds of muffled panic filled the tunnel. Skamos and then Corrin rushed into the newly revealed room, and I heard them urgently shushing whoever it was making the sounds. I hurried forward and moved out of the tunnel, grateful to finally be able to stand up.

The small room at the end of the tunnel was barely large enough to accommodate us. Dank stone walls rose almost fifteen feet above us, ending in a wooden roof fitted with a hinged trapdoor. There was no latch or handle on our side. The wood was old and ill-fitted, and I could see light above.

I turned towards Skamos, and found him placating a small group of halflings. Their clothing was soiled and torn, and their faces were black and brown with soot and dried blood. One child’s face was so swollen that his eyes were completely closed. He huddled against the side of a middle-aged halfling woman, who clutched at him protectively while never taking her eyes from my tiefling companion. The boards above us shook slightly as someone or some thing moved noisily across them. A gravelly voice shouted down at us in a language I didn’t understand, but thankfully the trapdoor remained shut.

Corrin rushed to Skamos’ side, and the presence of another halfling seemed to make the difference. The women and children quickly fell silent, although they continued to cast fearful glances towards the trapdoor above. Whatever it was in the room above us seemed satisfied, and harrumphed loudly before moving away; its booted steps causing fine dust to trickle down onto us.
 

Colmarr

First Post
The older halfling woman jumped to her feet and wordlessly began to chivvy the children to stand. The other adult captive stood more slowly, gently guiding the bruised child to his feet. The matriarch began to herd the children into the tunnel. The first blanched visibly when presented with the low dark ceiling and enclosed space, but she pushed insistently at the youngster’s back until he gathered his courage and set off up the tunnel at a run. The others followed faster after that and we soon had all of the prisoners outside at the base of the hill.

We led them back toward Waymoot for fifteen minutes, before leaving them in a sunny clearing. Sofia, the elder of the two women, assured us that she could lead the others back to Oakhurst from there. Skamos handed her his dagger before we parted ways, and she gripped it with a white-knuckled intensity that made me pity any brigand or animal that attempted to cross her before they reached Oakhurst.

She grabbed Corrin’s hand as we turned to head back towards the keep.

“Do not go back there. There is nothing more you can do!”

The paladin patted her hand and flashed his disarming smile. “We can handle ourselves, Sofia. We must go back; to look for other captives.”

Sofia’s voice turned flinty then. “There are none. They are all dead. Do not add your bodies to the tally of these beasts.”

Corrin placed his hands on Sofia’s shoulders and looked the grey-haired halfling in the eyes. “We have faced the dog-men before and bested them. We will avenge your kinsmen.”

Sophia barked out a laugh. “I do not doubt you could best the kobolds. I killed one myself when they came for Waymoot. They overwhelmed us through numbers alone. But there are others at the keep. Vicious orange-skinned monsters. They were the ones that burned down the town hall and butchered most of us who escaped the blaze. They’re more organized than the kobolds and infinitely more skilled. Do not underestimate them.”

Skamos raised a hand subconsciously and touched one of his horns. “Hobgoblins,” he said.

Corrin nodded, but maintained his placating pose. “We must go back. This assault must not go unpunished, and these invaders must be taught to fear our lands. We must.”

Sofia sighed. “Men,” she muttered. Tira placed her hands on her hips and struck a pose of mock outrage, and Sofia smiled for the first time since we met her. “Sorry dear. Very well, go if you must.” She reached out and patted Corrin’s cheek. “Be safe”, she said, and then she turned and led the other halflings towards Oakhurst.
 

Colmarr

First Post
We watched the ragged band of survivors until they were out of sight, and then hurried back to Cragg Keep. Fortunately, the dog-men that Sofia had called kobolds and the hobgoblins didn’t seem to have noticed that their prisoners had escaped, and we snuck back through the tunnel without incident.

Standing in the dank pit beneath the keep, we held a whispered conversation as we decided how to proceed. The pit was too deep to reach the trapdoor individually but the only other option seemed to be to try to assault the keep via the main gate. Eventually, I hoisted Skamos on my shoulders and he slowly lifted the trapdoor until he could see into the room above. Then I lowered him again.

“There are four kobolds up there”, he reported. “They seem to be bored.”

Corrin gave a vicious grin. “The let’s wake them up, shall we?”

I boosted Skamos again, but this time instead of easing the trapdoor open, he threw it up with both hands. It banged loudly against the wall, but Skamos had already seized the lip of the opening and heaved himself up into the room above. I saw him gesture at something out of sight, and there was a flash and roar of fire.

Corrin had retreated to the far side of the pit, and now ran at me. I formed my hands into a step for him and when I felt his weight in my palms I hoisted him upwards with all my strength. The trapdoor was six feet above us and Corrin was only four feet tall. His outstretched fingers brushed the underside of the floor above us, but not high enough for him to grab a hold. With what seemed like agonizing slowness he fell back to the floor across the room from me, and I realised that Skamos was alone with 4 kobolds above.

“Oi! Pay attention!” Tira shouted, and I turned to see her standing nearby with one lithe foot held out to me. I formed my hands together and she half-leapt onto them. I lifted with strength drawn of panic and she easily grasped the edge of the trapdoor and swung up to aid Skamos.

Corrin and I looked at each other as another fire burst went off above. The halfling was gathering himself to try again when suddenly rope dropped down into the pit. We looked up to see Tira staring down at us. The rope was wrapped around her hands, and she jiggled it invitingly.

“Men!” she said.

Corrin was up the rope in a moment, and I followed shortly after. The room above was roughly twice the size of the pit. An open doorway divided one wall, and a rotting staircase leaded to another room above us. Otherwise the room was empty but for the kobolds. Skamos had managed to kill two of them while we made our way out of the pit, and Corrin quickly managed to push the other two back and give Skamos and Tira room to breathe. Their spells proved decisive, and the other two kobolds were soon sprawled on the rotted floor.

Then we heard bellowing from above us. Even as booted feet moved towards the steps leading down into the room, Corrin was moving to the base of stairs and then upward. Tira followed swiftly, and I did my best to keep up.

When I reached the foot of the stairs Tira started to move upward, only to come to a stop as a hobgoblin appeared above us. The creature was massive, fully six feet tall and weighing at least two hundred pounds. Its clothing was poorly kept but for a scarred but solid suit of leather armour adorned with metal rings, teeth and other talismans. Even as it moved into view, it was roaring incomprehensibly and saliva sprayed from between its two prominent fangs. It swung a dark-metal greataxe in a heavy overarm sweep, and Corrin barely managed to catch the deadly on the edge of his shield. The force of the blow drove the paladin down a step.

The berserker pressed its attack even as Tira and I leant Corrin our magical aid. Our spells scored great wounds on the hobgoblin’s chest and face even as Corrin stabbed out at it from behind his shield. But still the beast pushed the halfling back. It kicked out at Corrin’s shield and I watched in horror as the paladin tilted off balance, leaving himself unguarded.

Almost without pause, the berserker reversed its angle of attack and the greataxe came rushing at Corrin’s head from the side. Somehow Corrin managed to duck out of the direct line of the swing, but the greataxe connected solidly with the pauldron of his plate armour and the force of the blow lifted the halfling bodily and threw him against the stone wall. Corrin’s head struck with a sickening thud and he fell limply to the ground, sliding a few steps down towards us before he came to rest.

The beserker jumped over his prone form before it had even come to rest, and I watched in horror as the hobgoblin rushed towards Tira, its greataxe behind its head as it prepared for another massive swing. Simultaneously, I heard the crack of sling stones striking nearby and saw more kobolds gathering outside the room. One of the stones struck Skamos, who swore loudly. Another hobgoblin appeared at the top of the stair, aiming a crossbow down at us.

I remember thinking we were all going to die.

And then somehow Tira’s dagger was in her hand, extended out towards the descending berserker. The seemingly impotent blade passed through the chestguard of the hobgoblin’s armour and buried itself up to the hilt in the beast’s flesh. The hobgoblin’s body slammed into Tira, but the half-elf somehow stood her ground, face-to-face with the frothing-mouthed creature. Then its eyes glazed and the greataxe fell from its lifeless hands. Tira pushed the corpse backward with a grunt, and then turned her attention to the crossbow-wielder above.

[sblock=Author's Note]That's actually how it happened in game. Corrin was felled in one hit by a crit from the beserker that did 20+ damage, and the beserker then moved to attack Tira, only to be felled by a dagger attack that rolled high damage combined with Warlock's Curse.

When Corrin fell, I did seriously think we were looking at a TPK, and there was much rejoicing as the beserker died. I think I'll remember that moment for quite some time.
:) [/sblock]
 

Colmarr

First Post
At the same time, Skamos flung his arms out towards the kobolds massing in the doorway. A pillar of fire engulfed them and their angry yapping turned to stomach-churning screams. When the fire disappeared, their charred corpses toppled to the ground.

With his reinforcements dead, the remaining hobgoblin fell quickly, and I rushed to Corrin’s side. I manhandled his armoured body down the stairs until he was laying flat on the wooden floor and then, kneeling down beside him, I grasped my holy symbol tightly in both hands. I closed my eyes and reached out with my soul, feeling for the divine signature of Amaunator. When I found it, it flowed into and around me, filling my senses with impressions; the scent of roses, the brilliance of sunset on Kronos Bay, the feel of silk. Amaunator’s power surged through me, and I willed it to flow towards Corrin. Through closed eyelids, I saw it rush towards him and swathe his head in a current of light. I opened my eyes in time to see the ugly purple bruise on the side of Corrin’s face fade and then vanish. The paladin’s eyes flickered open and he looked up at me and smiled.

“Well, that was a close one, wasn’t it?” he laughed, and jumped to his feet.

I stared at him for a moment, questions forming on my lips. Was he well? Did he know that he had almost died? How could he be so flippant? My eyes caught on the symbol of Tymora around his neck and I remembered his devotion to the Goddess of Luck. And it answered all of my questions for him. Corrin’s luck had been tested, and it had prevailed.

The halfling patted me gratefully on the arm as I rose to my feet.

“Thanks, Erais. I’m glad you were here”. And then he turned and climbed the stairs.

At the top was a small room cluttered with detritus left by the hobgoblins. Tables and chairs were scattered haphazardly around the chamber, and a tattered rug lay askew in the middle of the room. Despite the seeming chaos, it was the table standing upright against one wall that captured my attention. A bruised and battered halfling was pinned to it with daggers; one through each hand. He sagged in semi-consciousness, his weight threatening to pull the weapons clean through his flesh. Other daggers were embedded in the wood around him. Clearly the hobgoblins had used the poor halfling for sport, and a dagger in his left shoulder proved that they had hit at least once.

We carefully removed the daggers and sat him down with his back to the wall, then I channeled Amaunator’s blessing and did my best to heal his wounds. Although the curative magic healed his more grievous injuries, ugly welts on his arms and back and a nasty bruise on his chest remained. He looked around at us with wide eyes and his mouth worked open and closed without making a sound. I could not think what to say to him, and even Corrin’s attempts at communication went unrewarded. Eventually we decided that Tira and Skamos should explore the remainder of the keep, and Corrin and I stayed with the halfling.

I removed my pack and pulled my healer’s kit from it. I opened the wooden box and selected essence of Heartdragon and Morningrose. I rubbed the salves liberally on the halfling’s wounds and bound them with sanctified dressings. He watched me mutely the entire time, his legs pulled up under him as though he might flee at any moment. When I was finished, I packed away the healer’s kit and returned it to my pack. Then I glanced at Corrin and stood up.

“Thank you for saving me”, the halfling whispered.
 

Colmarr

First Post
I smiled, first at Corrin and then at the injured halfling; pleased that we had been able to break through his terror. Then I stepped out of the way so that Corrin could talk to the prisoner. The two halflings conversed in muted whispers, but I overheard enough to learn that other than the captive and the prisoners we had rescued from the pit, the entire population of Waymoot had been wiped out. Kobolds and hobgoblins had come and gone from the keep in the previous few days, so obviously there were more of them hidden somewhere nearby.

When Tira and Skamos returned to join us, they reported that the rest of the keep was empty of friend and foe. Tira held up a small piece of stone. It looked as though it had once been part of a jar or a vase. Skamos was carrying a small clay pot with a stoppered lid.

“It’s obsidian,” Tira said, holding up the fragment she carried. “Same as the dagger and arrowhead we recovered from the farm. There’s a lot of it throughout the keep, but not enough for this place to have been the source of the stone. I’d guess it’s somewhere nearby though”.

She tossed the fragment to me and I plucked it out of the air. The stone was smooth and curved, and had obviously been part of a well-made container. The edge where it had been broken was serrated and sharp. Tira was right. It was the same dark grey colour as the items we had taken from the kobolds at Ubler’s farm. I struggled to remember what Picard had told us about the likely obsidian sources in the area.

Tira beat me to it. “If we’re looking for a source of obsidian, the closest one to is Stone Table mountain. Or at least, that’s what the eladrin said”.

Skamos nodded. “So,” he said, “I imagine we are heading there next?” He was focused on the clay pot in his hands more than the conversation.

The rescued halfling whimpered, and I turned to him hurriedly.

“We will take you back to Oakhurst first. We will make sure you’re safe.”

He sank back down against the wall, either satisfied by my promise or too tired and numb to take further action on his own behalf.

“Besides,” Colmarr said. “We don’t have the supplies for a trip to Stone Table. We need to go back to town anyway”.

I made the injured halfling a fortifying cup of Bitterleaf to give him strength, and then we set out for Waymoot. Despite his wounds, the prisoner showed remarkably tenacity and barely slowed us down at all. Despite my and Colmarr’s best efforts, we could not elicit his name. I could tell from the grim set of his jaw that he was keen to be as far from Cragg Keep as he could possibly be, and I did not think he would stop before he reached Kronos Keep.

When we reached Waymoot, however, he turned off the main street and led us into the ruins of a two-storey building. Its roof timbers had collapsed inside the walls, but after shoveling some dirt and mortar out of the way, a wooden trapdoor was clearly visible in the floor. The injured halfling pointed to it with a visibly shaking hand.

“That’s where we kept our food stores. You’re welcome to them. They won’t do us any good now.”

His voice cracked towards the end, and I could tell he was close to tears. Corrin moved to comfort him, but the halfling moved away. His face became a grim mask again.

“Thank you all for saving me. I am going to Oakhurst now. You don’t need to help me any more. Stone Table is there.”

He pointed to the north, and turning to follow his finger, I could barely make out what he was pointing at. Nevertheless, once he had drawn my attention to it, it was unmistakably the mountain for which we were headed. Unlike the lesser peaks to the east and west of it, Stone Table Mountain rose high into the sky. Its peak was missing, sliced off horizontally as though by some giant weapon.
 

Colmarr

First Post
Our ascent into the mountains was surprisingly uneventful, if arduous. The journey north from Kronos Keep to Oakhurst, although long, had been relatively flat and had not prepared me for the sustained physical exertion of climbing into the foothills. My blistered feet, still not comfortable in my new boots, ached constantly and the pain was a subtle urging in my mind to turn back. I pushed such thoughts aside. We had uncovered the monsters’ lair, and I was certain that we could cleanse it and restore peace to Oakhurst.

We reached the base of Stone Table mountain in mid-morning, and looking up at it took my breath away. Snow crowned the mesa at its top, and I uttered a prayer to Amaunator that we would not have to climb all the way up there. Skamos must have heard my whispered imprecation, for he turned to me and confidently pointed out that reptilian creatures like kobolds were unlikely to lair in such cold conditions. He gestured to a cluster of cave entrances barely a hundred feet above us and predicted that we would find the entrance to their domain amongst those caves.

He was, as usual, right. Fortunately, the slope at the base of the mountain was not so steep as to force us to climb. It rose sharply enough that it was necessary to keep one hand free for balance, but we were otherwise able to make our way up to the caves without much difficulty. Although I kept an eye trained on the cave entrances at all times, I saw no signs of habitation or sentries. It was only when we reached the largest of the cave entrances and ventured inside that I knew we were in the right place.

The cave smelled fetid, akin to wet dog’s fur, and even my limited knowledge of the natural world was sufficient for me to know that the air in the cave was unusually humid. Tira stepped into the breach and sniffed the air dramatically. Then she smiled at each us. “Here we are,” she said, and then she drew her wand and made her way inside. Corrin hustled after her, the light from his hastily lit torch causing the fragments of obsidian in the cave walls to sparkle like rubies. Skamos and I hurried to keep up.

At the bottom of the passageway was a small cavern dominated by a flowing stream and a firepit, around which huddled two kobolds. A grand brass gong hung on a wooden frame near the entrance, but it appeared unattended. Corrin and I nodded wordlessly to each other and charged into the room. As we crossed the threshold, I caught sight of another kobold standing in the corner near the gong and Corrin moved quickly to attack it; interposing himself between the creature and the alarm. I followed behind him, taking up position in front of the gong to ensure that the other kobolds could not reach it while Corrin was distracted.

As it turned out, my precautions were unnecessary. Skamos brought a pillar of fire down from the roof that engulfed the fire pit and the two shocked kobolds standing next to it. They died without a sound. The third kobold yanked on a rope hanging from the ceiling, and caltrops clattered to the floor in the cavern, glittering menacingly in the light of the fire. The kobold then yipped loudly and darted around Corrin, heading for the entrance to another cavern. I marshaled Amaunator’s essence and flung a lance of faith at it, and the glowing spear took the beast in the back. The kobold lifted momentarily from its feet before crashing awkwardly back to the ground. It did not move again.

Unfortunately, its excited yipping seemed to have drawn attention to our incursion. Answering yips echoed from caves to the east and west, and within seconds five more kobolds moved into the cavern. I rushed to block one entrance whilst Corrin stood face to face with the three enemies on his side. Despite the disadvantageous terrain, we quickly took a lethal toll on the creatures, and the last two turned to flee. Corrin finished his last opponent with a throwing hammer before it could escape, but a sling-wielding kobold managed to dodge around a corner and disappear into the darkness.

I could hear the creature yipping loudly as it fled, and I sprinted after it. Behind me, I heard hurried footfalls as Tira and Skamos gave chase. “Wait! Wait!” I heard Corrin yell, but I was not willing to let the kobold escape to warn its fellows. “Keep up!” I yelled back to him.
 



Colmarr

First Post
As I rounded a corner in the passageway, I skidded to a halt before a narrow opening in the wall to my left. The fleeing kobold was nowhere in sight. Its yipping echoed from the uneven stone and I couldn’t locate the beast via sound alone. I stepped up to the opening and peered in, careful to keep as much of my body behind the stone as possible.

Inside, more than 20 kobolds huddled in a small cavern littered with furs and food scraps. The adults were smaller than the ones we had encountered so far, and I assumed that they were the females of the tribe. Kobold children, if that is what they are called, huddled around their legs, yipping piteously. A mass of fear-filled eyes stared back at me.

Skamos and Tira slowed to a halt when they saw me standing in the passageway, but Corrin flew past me. He ignored the room into which I was looking and took off along the other branch of the cave. “This way!” he called. Tira moved to follow him, just in time to see the floor swing open beneath his feet. The paladin gave a startled yell, and then disappeared from view. The trapdoor swung shut above him.

I turned in alarm and, the female and young kobolds instantly forgotten, ran to Corrin’s aid. Tira, however, did not even slow. She leapt across the trapdoor and disappeared around the next corner in pursuit of the fleeing kobold.

As Skamos and I pried open the trapdoor and dropped a rope down for Corrin to climb out, Tira staggered back into view. Blood trickled from her hairline down into her mouth, and a shimmering globe of force took her in the chest as I watched, lifting her from her feet and slamming her into the cave wall. She staggered towards us and collapsed upright against the uneven rock. “Ambush,” she whispered.

A moment later, a kobold carrying a spear bounded around the corner. I watched the wretched creature spring towards us, and knew that Skamos and I were in no position to intervene. Our hands were full of rope, bearing the weight of our plate-armoured paladin. Fortunately, Tira was by no means out of the fight. She gestured with a blood-slicked hand at the onrushing beast, and a blast of eldritch magic caught the kobold in the shoulder. The spear went clattering off into the wall, and the creature howled in agony as the warlock’s hex stripped away skin and bone. It fell writhing to the ground, and did not get up.

Urging Corrin to hurry, I reached out to Tira with my magic, sending the power of Amaunator to mend her broken flesh. The blood stopped trickling from her scalp, and she rose from her slump against the wall. She smiled at me momentarily as kobold yipping sounded in the room beyond.

“Get him out of there,” she said simply. “I’ll keep them occupied”. And then she ducked around the corner again, firing bolts of dark energy as she went. I started to call out to her, to warn her against going back, but at that moment Corrin put all his weight on the rope and it was all I could do not to be pulled into the pit with him.

The paladin clambered up the rope with a nimbleness that belied the enormous weight of his armour, and without a word, he dashed around the corner after Tira. I heard his battlecry of “Tymora be with me!” echo through the passageway.

Skamos and I glanced at each other. The pit trap was situated in the middle of a three-way intersection in the cave complex. We had come up one corridor and Corrin and Tira had disappeared down another. The third went off a short distance in the opposite direction, but then curved around and looked as though it joined the same cavern. We dropped the now-defunct rope and charged down that passageway, emerging into the cavern where our companions were locked in battle.

Tira stood resolutely near the entrance, firing bolts of energy at the opposing kobolds, while Corrin had forged ahead and engaged a shield-bearing warrior. Tira’s wounds were bleeding again and I knew she could not take much more. As I came into view, a robe-wearing kobold gestured at her and uttered a phrase in their yipping speech. Another globe of force, like the one I had seen moments earlier, flew from its outstretched claw and narrowly missed Tira’s head. It slammed harmlessly into the cave wall, but visible waves of energy radiated from the impact point. The kobold priest growled in agitation, and its bone necklace clattered with its movements.

Tira responded in kind, blasting the priest with black energies, and then she ducked out of sight around the corner to avoid the kobold’s return fire.

A second shield-warrior moved toward Skamos and me but the tiefling was faster. He pointed with his wand at the robed priest and shouted arcane words. I expected to see a bolt of force or pillar of flame, but nothing seemed to happen. Then I saw the shield-warrior slow, as though its legs were not responding to its desires. The creature glared at us, but behind the malice in its eyes was a bone-deep weariness. It turned to engage Corrin half-heartedly. The wyrmpriest sagged slightly as though weighed down by its adornments, but then it shook its dog-like head and straightened up.

The wyrmpriest threw both arms in the air and screeched, and waves of force radiated out from it. The two shield-warriors attacking Corrin seemed to take heart and their darting blades stabbed out again and again at the halfling. Fortunately, the paladin’s armour held firm, and the kobolds’ stone weapons for the most part clattered harmlessly against his plate and shield. The priest gesticulated at Skamos and me, and one of the shield-warriors disengaged from Corrin and moved towards us.

But it was too slow. The priest was vulnerable for just a moment when its two bodyguards were distracted by their attacks against Corrin, and Skamos and I made good use of that time. My lance of faith took the kobold in the stomach and it doubled over in pain even as motes of light danced in the air around it. Skamos seized on that illumination and with a wave of his hand sent a crimson globe of force across the cavern. The orb crashed against the top of the wyrmpriest’s skull, which shattered under the impact. The beast slumped lifelessly to the ground, even as a shard of crimson force stabbed out and took one of the shield-warriors in the back.
 
Last edited:

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top