Defending the Dales

Ponderings

Apparently orks do have a use for tables, who would have believed it. Of course, their use was to use them as barriers and obstruct our passage. I have been beginning to get a sense for what this group of adventurers is lacking and that is self confidence. I’ve seen them at their best, in battle with the Drow and they are certainly capable but some coordination and advance strategy is needed, I think.

We need to counter the inability of fighting in the dark if we are to continue to but up against Drow and Necromancers. I’ll have to design a few select fire arrows for Beleg to have at the ready so that I can target the light from a distance. A surprise fireball behind a makeshift barrier should surprise our foes severely. Also, for as much effort as we put into raising our Dwarven companion, he certainly seems like he is dead set on putting himself back into the earth. While that might be fine, I and a good few others put a fair amount of funds into seeing him risen and I’ll be damned if he will allow himself to die and then be raised as a servant of the Necromancer we are failing to sneak up on. It may be wiser to keep him on a more defensive line since this group’s abilities tend to be oriented more towards support than it is a physically offensive one… this option needs more consideration, I think.

Our party is surprisingly on the weaker side. We’ve only one front line fighter and though capable, does not present our foes with a line of offense to say the least. We should maybe put our efforts into making our feral and very vicious Halfling quicker and possibly give her the ability to turn invisible so that she can get behind some of our foes and flank them between her and the dwarf but as long as the combat arena is in an open area, I don’t see this as being achievable. Another option would be to keep my Enlarge Person spell to cast on Sloane so that she could fill in and help Bjarngrim keep the vermin off of me while I control the battlefield.

Our talents seem to be better suited to ranged combat but if the terrain or arena doesn’t present us with this option then we will certainly have to concentrate more on speed and guile to keep our opponents of guard. Ghost Sounds could be used to confuse and throw off enemy spell casters if they happen to believe that they are being flanked by more adventurers or soldiers. Yet another tactic we should try and see what the success could be.

When we next have an opportunity I’ll suggest that we hire a few cohorts to assist our dwarf on the front lines. Of course the party will probably lean on my input since they are probably not familiar to the interviewing of employees. One or two strong jaws might just be what gets us moving.

View
Into the Escape Tunnels
Secretly trying to infiltrate the Necromancer's Tower

The sound of the whistling arrow rose up over forest and hill, mingling with the early morning birdsong. The adventurers crouched for many intense moments waiting for the Orcs to stream from gates and capture them. But no alert seemed to have been raised. With the crawling sensation of the Orc presence itching between their shoulder-blades the companions began to search for the entrance to the tower’s escape tunnel. Finally after an hour of high strung creeping and poking, Beleg discovered the entrance hidden in a small crack and overgrown with weeds and brambles. They crept into the caverns and Beleg lit his Bulls-Eye lantern, careful to keep its light as minimal as possible to prevent discovery. Beleg, being the most adept at avoiding discovery spent a next few hours creeping painfully slowly ahead in the dark. The cavern was un-hewn and rough, and often barely passable in places. It meandered in about, with no real sidepassages except the occasional short crack in the walls.

After a half mile or so of creeping in the dark, he came upon a dead body, wearing the rotted remains of a suit of mail. The body was devoid of flesh, but the bones were resting upon their back with the skull looking up towards the ceiling. The dead man’s sword and effects were gone. At this point, Beleg decided to return back and collect his companions. The return and coming again with the rest of the companions was faster this time as Beleg did not have to concentrate on being slow and could cast his lantern light farther. Once they were clustered around the dead man, Beleg shuttered his lantern again and pressed forward, leading by a short length from of the companions, he crept through the darkness.

Another high strung time passed in almost total darkness, when finally Beleg discovered a hole in the path before him. The hole was dressed in stone and opened well beyond the light provided by his lantern. As his companions slowly coalesced behind him, Beleg opened his lantern’s light to extend into the room as far as it would go, but still the far walls remained in darkness. Sticking his head into the room, Beleg discovered that the center of the room, previously hidden by the angle of the incline, arced up to the center, from which hung a large chandelier of what seemed to be twisted black metal. He lowered himself into the room by use of a rope, but when he placed a foot on the floor, the chandelier suddenly burst alight with flames, casting the room in a warm orange glow. The party began to climb down the twenty or so feet to the floor, but Alyia and Woda fell and lightly injured themselves.

After getting up, they investigated the chamber more thoroughly. They discovered on each of the four walls was a door and a passageway leading off into the darkness. Or so they assumed. Two of the doors had rotted off of their hinges and they could see the dark corridor beyond, but the other two doors had twisted over time and jammed into their door frames. In the corners of the room were some busted up old rotted benches, and to one side of the room, a raised dinner-table sized pedestal of stone rose several feet from the floor. Beleg studied the stone pedestal, but could find no signs of residue that might imply its function.

Moving to the nearest blocked doorway, Bjarngrim tore the jammed door from its hinges with his massive arms and looked into the corridor beyond. The walls were dressed stone, an no sign of any recent use could be made out by Beleg. The ranger stepped forward over the ruined door, when the chandelier flame burst brighter, and the corridor filled with a sheet of flame, almost singing him terribly. The group moved over to the other stuck door and repeated the same process. Once again, when someone tried to pass over the threshhold, the flames above burned birght and the doorway filled with flames. They went to one of the doorways with broken doors and made to step over the threshhold, and once again the brightness and the doorway filled with fire.

Beleg had the idea then to place the broken door in the passageway to block the flames and then step through into the corridor. Testing it quickly, the solution worked, and Beleg quickly passed over the threshold, but the flames began to eat through the door panel and the last of the party to pass got themselves slightly singed.

The passage beyond continued for a short way, then turned, went on, turned again, went on , and finally after a long hallway, they came to the base of a set of stairs making its way upwards into darkness. They went up, then encountered a turning of the stair, and then up again, another turn to the right, up and turn, up and turn. They began to notice bunch of stains upon the stair, and when Beleg investigated, determined that they were due to some large poisonous insect. Shortly after this revelation, Bjarngrim, who had taken the fore, was assaulted by a small swarm of poisonous insects. Between Bjarngrim’s incredible axe-work and Beleg’s amazing bowmanship, they quickly slew the swarm and continued up the stair. They noticed that the walls and step were getting a bit more moist, and moss was starting to become evident on the stone. When they reached the top of the stair, they came upon a small room containing only a small mossy well almost full to the rim with water. But Beleg determined that this room had in fact seen recent use and the group readied themselves for imminent attack. They were not to be disappointed, as Beleg heard a chamber full of Hobgoblins just down a short side passage.

The party crept up to the edge of the hall before they might be seen. Unfortunately, they did not manage to not be heard, and the Hobgoblins turned over their tables and hunkered behind them. Beleg sent in a few arrows, but since the Hobgoblins had almost complete coverage, it was not going to be a final situation. Bjarngrim charged up the hall to engage the Hobs, but a couple of the Hobgoblins met him at the doorway and stopped him from fully entering. A very intense melee began, with Bjarngrim holding the hallway, while Beleg and Alyia sent a storm of arrows into the melee, doing horrible damages even while managing to not shoot Bjarngrim. Bjarngrim was smashing Hobgoblins with his huge axe, and River summoned a flaming Thoqqua in the midst of the Hobgoblins behind the table to keep them busy and unable to try and over-whelm Bjarngrim. Woda came out into the fray to help Bjarngrim who was even with his ferocious fighting raging taking a number of small cuts that eventually would have brought him down. Finally, even the leader of the Hobgoblins had to throw himself into the fray, but even the great monster could not defy them. As Woda lay some final healing prayers on Bjarngrim, the fighting stilled as the last of the enemies were slain.

View
Investigating the Tower of the Necromancer

With the newly raised Bjarngrim in tow, the party returned to the Town of Shadowdale to spend some time looking for clues to how to assault the Necromancer at the Castle Krag. Elminster had directed them to the Shadowdale archives within the lord’s manse, and after some days of research with the help the archivist, they found a map of the land surrounding the tower and several references to people escaping from the tower’s keep over the long centuries, indicating a secret passage from the keep to the surrounding countryside. With the aid of Bjarngrim‘s dwarven knowledge of tunnels and stone kenning, they picked out half a dozen places on the hills behind the tower that would be hidden from the tower’s sight and the most likely of places for escape tunnels. Bertram Rauthingild used his considerable skills at forgery to make an exact copy of the map for them to use in the field.

They set out the next morn and traveled through the bitter cold winds of midwinter, passing through the occasional hamlet on the trade road, noting the heightened alertedness of the villages thanks to the warnings they had themselves brought on their way to find Elminster. They spent the night in a village about half way to the tower and then in the morning, climbed into the foothills and the accompanying forest in hopes of using the forest and hills to avoid the view of the tower. Using the considerable skills of Beleg and Sloane to hide their passage, they crept slowly around to put themselves within easy travel distance of the tower so that the party’s scouts could use the cover of night to attempt to perform some reconnaissance of the tower to achieve some idea of it’s current state and strengths. unfortunately, before the scouts parted form the company after posting camp, Beleg informed the others that they were in fact being stalked by what he had no doubt of being a Wyvern. As many of the group had little knowledge of Wyvern’s, Beleg was asked what they should know about the Wyvern and how dangerous it was. Beleg did not know, but Alyia quickly chimed in with a vast amount of information she gleaned from song an tale. The wyvern were less intelligent brethren to dragons, but lacking the finesse for speech and magic use. The wyvern did sport a very vicious poison through a terrible spine in the tip of its tail. After Alyia’s informative performance of wyvern tales, the party decided that it would be dangerous for them to break up into smaller groups as it might only be the threat of their numbers that had kept the creature at bay. Also revealed was the wyvern’s great lust for horseflesh. The party had to keep their horses close or fear having them taken by the beast.

With their reconnaissance plans spoiled by the presence of the wyvern, the party began to plot possible ways of dealing with the creature. Bertram suggested they stake out one of the horses to sate the beast’s appetite and reduce its chances of harassing the party. Others posed the idea of disposing of beast in battle, but Bertram pointed out that if the battle required the use of magic, then there was little chance that the tower would miss the flash and noise of battle and magic. Finally, they decided to to forgo the original plan to scout the tower with a smaller party and decided to spend the night together and pray the wyvern kept away. In the morning they found that to continue up to the areas where Bjarngrim had identified as possible tunnel sites, they would not be able to do so with the horses in tow, especially as Beleg had noted the fact that orcs regularly patrolled these hills from the tower. After som suggestions on reducing their visibility from the tower by camouflaging their bright clothign with grey winter blankets, the party followed Beleg and Sloane up into the hills as quietly and unobtrusively as possible.

After a few hours of creeping travel, they managed to climb high enough that they could see the base of the tower where the keep lay. The discovered that the curtain wall had been partially repaired and the orcs had built a pallisade upon the top of the stoneworks complete with great wooden watch-towers. The orc forces were camped both within and outside of the palisade.

They spent the majority of the day wandering around each of the western tunnel sites, but unfortunately they did not discover the tunnel’s mouth. Finally, they decided to pass over the ridge to seek out escape tunnels on the east side of the ridge. The moved to the first such locations, when dusk began to fall and the party withdrew some ways away to make camp for the night. The night was bitter cold with icy wind, but Beleg’s great skill as an outdoorsman found them a place away from the wind and the vision of the tower.

In the morning, they returned to the place so they could continue their search, but by some luck, Bertram noticed an odd shape in the trees above the search site. After quietly alerting the others, they determined that an orc scout was sitting up in the branches watching the area in front of them with a horn close to hand. The magicians quickly stunned and killed the orc with magical silence and arrows, but Bertram then pointed out what seemed like up to three more orcs hanging about in the trees, waiting for someone to arrive so they could blow their horns and alert the tower. The party hunkered down an quietly came up with a plan to try and disable the orcs before any of them could blow their horns. While Alyia used a bardic cantrip to stun one of the orcs for a short time, Bertram would engulf another with mist and pray that the orc would not notice the strangeness in the post-dawn hour. Meanwhile, Woda would summon a small air elemental ally and have it prevent the last orc from blowing it’s horn by restricting the passage of air through the instrument. Any orcs that noticed their presence would be quickly put down by the arrows of Beleg, Alyia and Sloane.

The plan almost blew up at the very beginning, as Alyia and Bjarngrim snuck closer so that her stun spell could reach the target in the trees. They did not manage to sneak unnoticed by their first target, But the party recovered quickly and their brutal missile assault dropped the orc from the tree before the creature could make a sound. As the air elemental would not last, Bertram followed up his obscuring mist by surprising the last orc with a glitterburst, coating the orc in a spray of glitter that coated it from head to toe. Unfortunately, the orc managed to not be too stunned by the strange cloud of colors and managed to get the horn to his lips, only to learn that his horn would not work. The orc then launched an arrow at the last orc, the still unaware one in the mist, getting that orcs attention as Beleg, Alyia and Sloane brought the colorful orc down with their bows. The final scout finally noticing something was awry, released a clarion call from his horn before sliding to the ground in hopes of running towards the orc compound. But he was surprised on his way down the mist-bound trunk by a determinedly acsending Bjarngrim. They wrestled each other from the tree and landed on the mossy roots where the orc was quickly over-whelmed by foes. Anxiously, the party turned their attention to the orc compound, to see if they had been undone by the final orcs call.

View
Pickup Synopsys

When last we left our heroes, they had spoken to the great wizard Elminster. After an exciting bout of trying to get the wizard’s attention, the party finally just tried to enter the premises, which subjected them to the tower’s wizardly defenses. As the party fell into a spell that kept their consciousness’ trapped in a series of very believable life experiences, Alyia, the Bard managed to keep her head and was able to confront the wizard’s servant when he came to deal with the bodies. After some excellent conversational cajoling, she finally convinces the servant to introduce her to Elminster himself. They had a lovely conversation while the others were slowly coming out of the spell they were under and finally the party was able to ask Elminster to resurrect their deceased companion, Bjorn. After the resurrection, Elminster expressed to them that he had some inkling of their quest and confirmed that the tower on the hill where they had encountered signs of Ork raiders was indeed under the influence of a very skilled Necromancer. The tower was guarded around its base by a wall inhabited several hundred Orks. Elminster told them that they would find some other possibilities for assaulting the tower in the historical archives of Shadowdale the capital of the Shadowdale.

View
A comrade falls

The abomination before him screamed and dropped, and Beleg looked up from his bow. There was no joy, of course- the terrible thud of the fallen stone had seen to that- but he could hear great sighs of relief from those around him. Glancing from face to face he noted there the weariness mixed with satisfaction, and something else: grief. All were not here, he realized, and glancing about he saw the fallen form of his friend, Bjarngrim.
Rushing to his side he saw the ruined face, bloody and beaten; the bone laid bare in several places, the eyes unseeing rimmed in blood. He blanched but did not weep, not yet. Though heavy indeed was his heart he knew not all was lost- Bjarngrim need not be gone forever. The means to heal him would be difficult and arduous to obtain, but not, Beleg decided firmly, impossible.
Resolved, he looked about for a riderless horse. Finding one not far away he calmed the nervous animal with words in his father’s tongue and led it back to his fallen comrade. A young soldier in Lord Ilmeth’s army helped him lift the heavy, terrible mess that had been his friend onto the back of the horse. He threw his blanket over it and tied it firmly.

With $5,000 worth of diamonds Beleg could find a cleric, one who could restore the fled soul of Bjarngrim back to this lonely corpse and make it whole and hale again. But what chance did he have, really? Many men had lost their friends today, and many would be seeking both diamonds and clerics. The nearest town, two days away, held neither.
But he had to try.
Farther afield there were other towns, larger towns like the great cities of Sembia. Surely he could find what he sought there, especially if he left now before other men came to the same conclusion. He had perhaps a week, 10 days until this course was lost to him, but Beleg Adanethel could range very far in seven days.
His hope was renewed- Beleg was a man who felt better with a firm plan. Others, especially human folk, thought of him as a rootless drifter. But Beleg always knew where he was going and what he planned to do when he got there.

Now to the matter of the $5,000 (perhaps more, he thought, who knew what this war would do to the diamond economy?). Scanning the field, he located Bertram and decided to talk to the well-heeled wizard. He was from Sembia, after all. Perhaps he could help.
It was worth a shot, and Beleg lived for a good shot.

View
Why won't you die!

As the battle raged on, the army noticed that the ranks of enemy combatant seemed to be thinning. Finally the enemy did not seem endless as before.
Lord Ilmeth‘s cavalry were chomping at the bit to get the chance to ride death upon the horde. They chided the foot soldiers for taking too long to remove the barrier. A command to widen the hole by dragging away sections of the palisade resulted in a surge of Dalemen risking life and limb to make room for the charge of horsemen. But the palisade was cleared enough for the horsemen to ride in.
Forward they charged, as the Drow and their allies struggle to get out of the way of the charging horsemen. Drow and Troll and Ogre alike were smashed by the horses hooves, knocked down by the horse’s shoulders and driven screaming before the cavalry. It looked like the cavalry could really bring the battle around.
Then the first line of horses approached a shadowy figure at the edge of the firelight. Without warning the front horses screamed and panicked, even though the war-horses had trained not to be frightened by any mortal thing. But the charge was in full forward motion, and the panicked horses and their riders were crashed into from the horsemen behind, and a huge number of the calvary and mount tumbled to the ground, being kicked and stomped by their horses. All but a few of the horses fled away from the battle, leaving broken and dazed riders behind them on the ground moaning and groaning. The drow and trolls and ogres fell upon them, but even though the foot soldier rushed to their aid, a terrible toll was paid in cavalry lives.
Bertram Rauthingild quickly found himself without any remaining spells for fighting with and only had some things to help himself escape remaining in his available repertoire. He instead turned to trying to give guidance and to the army in whatever way he could conceive. Upon his suggestion, some men lit some bottles of oil and threw them toward the palisade in hopes that they would provide light as the current sources were becoming extinguished or running out of fuel. River drew down lightning and threw it at some of the trolls that currently harried Bjarngrim and Xunanein. Beleg and Alyia aided the line wherever possible, dropping arrow after arrow into the enemy line.
The battle continued, and it looked as though the men of the dales would overcome their opponents, but then the dark shadow floated forward though some eerie lights Bertram had places on the field. It approached the surging mass of dalemen trying to break though the line and let out a terrible moan. The dalemen screamed and placed their hands over their ears. Their bodies froze in fear and their strength and resilience was sapped from their limbs. Some resisted, but the terrible sound crippled many of the dalemen near the shade. Acting on advice from Alyia, Beleg used his magic bow to send an arrow at the shade and the vile thing screamed in pain. It approached the two bowmen and altered its form in a terrible flare of screaming and ghastly shapeshifting, all who were within a large circle of the shade felt their souls torn and their limbs weakened and their bellies heaved up any food they had eaten earlier. Many men fell to their knees at misery and fear the creature expelled. Beleg felt the terror wash over him and weaken him greatly, but gritted his teeth against the pain and fear and lined his bow for another shot.

View
A Letter to the Primarch, Olivertes Rauthingild

Sire, as requested I am taking a moment to give you an account as to the deeds and actions of your son. Master Bertram continues to impress upon those in Lord Ilmeth’s army his great aptitude of presenting his true nature to those around him without any concern that most here are probably unfamiliar with the Rauthingild name or legacy. As you are aware, this unique… talent… typically has the effect of rebuffing those around him, however, it seems he has managed to place himself close to Lord Ilmeth with whom he counsels with almost daily.

Indeed, Master Bertram has surprised me on a number of occasions as to his perseverance to life in the rough, as he phrases it. I had assumed that after a couple of nights on the road that the young master would have a change of heart but he seems quite invigorated lately with the anticipation of the looming battle.

I hesitate to write this, but as you instructed me to give you examples of how he comported himself I shall do so. One evening the young master verbally harangued one of the camp laborers for the rough handling of the master’s baggage from his pack mule, embarrassing the poor man in front of his peers and making him the subject of many jokes. I was worried what might have come out of it as those lads can be somewhat coarse and I was trying to mentally tally everything we had brought because I knew things would end up missing.

However, later that evening, Master Bertram tracked down this same man and accosted him at his own camp. Raising his voice so that all around could hear, Master Bertram proclaimed that, “those who serve House Rauthingild, even in the slightest of ways, shall not be permitted to eat camp rations!” And so, that evening Master Bertram had dinner with a Mister Pip who enjoyed the mater’s dinner of roast capon with mushroom and garlic sauce. Of course, the young master made a point to sit up wind from the poor fellow and kept a perfumed neckerchief close by, but he certainly came across as a gracious host. I’m not sure if this Mister Pip was more uncomfortable in drinking the spiced wine from the master’s own horn or by sitting on your great uncles decorated camp chairs but an impression was made.

So, as you see, the young master seems relatively oblivious to the social conventions in which he was raised under. While this may ease things while he is on the road, I dread to imagine who he might invite to court should he ever return to Sembia and ever consider attending.

Lastly, as we are on the verge of battle here at the Standing Stones, Master Bertram seems at ease. He seems very confident in the looming battle with the Drow and I can only fear for his safety. He’s directed me to the medical tents, informing me that my skill in being firmly planted on the ground can only benefit the wounded by keeping the injured contained so the doctors may administer their talents.

Indubitably, your servant,

Sedgewick von Sanq

The Rauthingild family are not truly royalty though they tend to act as such. The head of the family has taken the title of Primarch for several generations now. This title is typically passed down thru the male line though there is evidence of the titular head of the family being female and even married into. Holding ‘court’ is what the family refers to as formal dinners which are meant to impress visitors, ambassadors and trade capitalists of the family’s power and influence. On a side note, Bertram has never willingly attended ‘court’. He finds such guests to which he refers to as,“fluffed up peacocks” a bore and both his family and himself are quite comfortable with his absence.
View
Battle of the Stone Part I

As the scouting party withdrew back to the army’s lurking place, they became aware of an urgent discussion happening between Lord Ilmeth and his highest advisors. As they approached, they picked up on that fact that communication had happened through some magical device informing them that the elven party across on the other side of the valley was ready to attack he Drow, and they had an elite force ready to fall upon the drow clerics and wizards perpetrating what ever foul rite being performed on the Standing Stone. But to ensure the squad would not have to waste it energies on the drow’s horde, they needed Lord Ilmeth’s army and the rest of the Elven forces to engage the evil army and keep its attention on them.

The army marched to the edge of the dark plain and slowly stepped forward from the protection of the forest. The plain was only meagerly lit by the smallest sliver of moon, and none of the enmy were in sight. The men of the army could barely see a few feet from their own faces and the elves only slightly farther. They had to abide by the warnings of the handful of dwarves among them and pulled short when they were informed that a host of terrible beings lurked behind wooden barriers just a few lengths ahead. Some of the lesser mages touched light spells to arrows and they were shot out over the horde’s head, causing the night creatures there to shy from the light. Unfortunately, many of the denizens of the dark places have the ability to throw darkness at will, and the light of the arrows was quickly snuffed out by a flood of mystical darkness. But even though it wrecked the army’s night-vision, the moment of light allowed the mages to see the barriers arrayed before them, and they let fly a volley of fire that struck the wood and lit it on fire. Emboldened by the light, the army rushed forward to engage.

Beleg began to let arrows fly at the enemy, picking out drow magi to try and destroy the mystical support of the defenders. River summoned a Thoqqua, a great fire-worm that charged the barrier and began burning its way through the barriers. Bertram Rauthingild cast a huge ball of fire over the wall and burned many of the enemy with its flame, and weakened still more sections of the barrier. Bjarngrim roared his battlecry and smashed into the weakened barrier, smashing through it to lay into the enemy beyond. Ranger and Druid flung spells of entalgement, causing roots and plants to reach from the ground and entangle the drow and their allies.

But the drow forces were not to be outdone so easily. Quickly they dispelled the magical entanglements and magic light burned across the plain and tore into the Lord Ilmeth’s army. A wave of despair fell upon them, toxic clouds fell among the human men and made them kneel and retch. Darkness and fog sprung up intermittently before the wall, obscuring the drow from the view of the human and elven archers and magi. and the men were only given the strength to carry on by the courageous songs of the bard Alyia. Their clerics summoned giant spiders to slow the attack of the men, and their ogres and trolls were out-fitted with long staves and axes to sweep the men from the barrier with deadly effect. Great spider-riding drow through lightning into the army, slaying many and wounding more.

Across the field, lights and darkness flared and bolts of fire , electricity, and arcane light flew as the elven forces joined in the battle. Elven bards sang their battle song to give heart over the spine-chilling chants of the clerics of Lolth.

As one of the ogres smashed his ax down on the thoqqua, almost splitting it in twain, Bertram dropped glitterdust and fireball upon the enemy, blinding and burning with magic. Bjarngrim hewed into the nearest of the Ogres, but a voice in his head told him to flee, and he did so without hesitation. It was only by the quick intervention of River that the spell on him was destroyed, and Bjarngrim tried to regain the front of the battle. As he drew up close the the barrier again, he saw shades of mist and darkness in the form of men step forward into view.

View
The Road to War

As the army merges and mobilizes to aid the Elves in their efforts to stop the sinister plan of the Drow, they are harassed by spider-riding Drow knights in the forest, men being brought down by poison arrows from the darkness. The harassment continued until night fell and the army hastily erected camp spread across several hill-tops. In the night, the army was woken every few hours by various creatures, Dire Badgers, Giant Spiders, and others that were driven into the camp to stir the army from its sleep and prevent Lord Ilmeth‘s wizards from getting the rest they needed to replenish their magic. During the day as they traveled, the army stumbled into shallow pit traps filled with poison spikes that whittled away from the army’s strength and slowed their step to a pace that allowed to them to test the ground before them. Lord Ilmeth commanded that the army travel in a thinner column to reduce its foot-print in hopes to encounter fewer of the traps and reduce the area that his rangers needed to check for danger. Roving bands of archers escorted the army’s perimeter to try and thwart the harassment of the Drow archers.

On the second day, a thick fog filled the forest, obscuring everything a few meters away. One of Ilmeth’s attendant wizards, a young Sembian named Bertram Rauthingild, determined that the fog was not magical in nature and probably not a trick of their enemy’s, and though it heightened the the risk of people getting separated and lost from the army, it also made it difficult for the drow to keep up their attacks.

After marching throughout the morning, Beleg was contacted by one of the elven rangers, Milohel they were trying to aid and informed that they were needed by this evening on the field of battle. The ranger informed them of a alternative route through the forest that the drow had not had time to seed with traps and would bring them quicker to their destination. After getting directions from the elf, Beleg informed the lord of this opportunity, and Ilmeth asked him to lead the army upon this path.

Following the directions of the elven rangers, Beleg brought them to the new route, a small valley with a stream at its middle that wended its way down through the hills north of their previous path. The fog lift, allowing them to make even better time and soon the army was making much better time to its destination. But a they came close to the end of the valley, the ranger returned and notified Beleg that two small groups of drow had gotten a handful of Ogres to haul logs and stones to the tops of the ridges and had positioned themselves to hurl the huge objects down upon the army as it passed by.

Beleg and his companions volunteered to try and disable the traps or at least the drow and ogres to prevent this. They were assisted magically by the help of the Sembian, Bertram. They travelled in two groups, a stealthier first group made of the elven ranger, the ranger Beleg, the bard Alyia, and the druidess River. Following them at a distance where their poor stealth would not spoil the ambush came the wizard, Bjarngrim the Berzerker, and Xunanein hand of Elistraee.

When they had gotten close enough to view their targets, closer than they would have liked as the trees impaired the vision of anyone even a score of meters apart. But their hopes for surpise were dashed as they discovered their enemies set and waiting for them. Three huge ogre’s rushed at them through the trees while a handful of drow waited behind shields. Coolly, Beleg fired arrows into the right ogre and commanded her wolf to attack it. Beleg’s attacks were so masterful that the ogre was all but slain by that first attack. The middle ogre engaged Milohel, but River summons a Thoqqua, a large fire worm behind it and it was quickly flanked and distracted from its target. The thoqqua slammed at the ogre’s back with its burning head and terribly bashed and bruised the ogre’s flesh. The first ogre smashed at Beleg’s wolf-friend, terribly wounding it as the second turned and brought his large club down upon the thoqqua with a terrible blow. The last smash down on Milohel’s shoulder causing the elf great pain. Beleg loosed two more arrows and finished off the first ogre as Bjarngrim and Xunenein rushed to help them. But Xunen’s clumsiness and the un-even ground caused Xunen to fall to the ground. Bertram spoke some arcane words and missiles of energy flashed across the distance between the mage and the last ogre, causing furrows of burned flesh across its chest. The second ogre smashed at the thoqqua again, but as he destroyed the elemental, Beleg and Bjarngrim destroyed him with axe and arrow. The last ogre was struck by lightning called by River, and fled..placing enough trees between himself and his enemies that they could not continue to strike him.

Advancing, the discovered that the drow had also fled the field, abandoning their trap to the party. After a few heals for the elf ranger and Beleg’s wolf-friend, the party went back up the hill a ways and then crossed down through the small valley and up onto the other ridge where they
tried to sneak up on the other drow ambush. But the drow had already abandoned this plan and all that was found was a pile of rocks.

As they scrambled back down to the creek-bed, Ilmeth’s army marched down to meet them. As night fell, they following the guidance of Milohel, and crossed several more ridges to the east until they came close to the Standing Stone. The rangers crept up to the tree-line where they could see the cleared area around the Stone, but the night and the dark prevented them from seeing anything of the drow’s presence. In the distance, they could just make out the surface of the Standing Stone, it white surface gleaming in the weak moonlight. Occasionally something or some things passed between them and the stone causing it to momentarily wink out of view. Returning to Lord Ilmeth, they deliberated on what to do. Ilmeth and his magicians argued that the army and the wizards needed to get rest before they could engage the enemy, but Milohel insisted that the drow would do something this very night, because of the alignment of the planets. At the very least, they needed to coordinate their attack with the elven army, but the elves were on the other side of the field from them and two miles of night-darkened and drow-infested forest stood between them.

The party began to plan their next move.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.