Another morning in the Fire Node. Not too bad a haul, though it didn’t start out great.
We found two bows, which we assume is from the party of girls we mentioned earlier. Though both bows radiate a faint aura of magic, one of them is pretty flimsy and covered with the scorched remains of feathers…might have looked impressive on the wall of some Greyhawk bar before it got burned. The other one has blades stuck all over it – like, coming off the front of the handle, and not even useful blades, either! Even the ends by the bow-string narrow to blades…I’m not sure how you’re supposed to draw the bow to tension!
After that, we found a row of braziers, one of which had a stash in the bottom – some money, jewelry, and a magic dagger. We had to kill some fire elementals to earn it, but Tressarian had himself under control today, so we and Ezekiel took care of them.
Oh, Ezekiel also found a shiny black stone, smooth as glass, that fits nicely in the palm of his hand. Tres says it’s not magic (nor Evil, thankfully) so he’s putting it with his pretty shell for now.
We finally rescued somebody else! And this time, it’s somebody who actually deserved rescuing.
We were inching our way through the twisty corridors (it took longer because all the doors here are badly sized or something, and take a group effort to get open). At the end of one long room, we forced open a door and discovered a little man hiding behind it! He was gripping a lantern and a big ball of cloth, and his armor looked like he’d cobbled together the pieces from three or four different sets of armor.
After Ezekiel finally convinced him that we didn’t want to hurt him (and Tressarian assured us he wasn’t Evil, or magical…though there was that one time Tres missed a periapt), he gathered up his bedroll and things and joined us in the fortress (for a snack, of course).
He says his name is Jair, and his story is that he was a weaver in Nulb…only business wasn’t too good, so he joined a bandit group…except he didn’t really want to be a bandit, so they weren’t happy with him, and turned him over to the Temple. The Temple held him for a while, then sacrificed him to the Nodes with great ceremony.
He eventually found the lantern, and rolled strips of cloth and string into a ball he could light and throw at enemies – a “fireball.” That and weaving the bits of armor together seem to be the grand sum of his skills, so he’s really lucky he survived this long.
(He says he saw Darlee at a distance a few times, but she made him uncomfortable. How are we the only clueless ones around here?!)
We drew the circle to call Lydia, and Ezekiel asked him a little more about the nodes. Jair didn’t know much, but he did say the fire-giants might have some slaves…which means confronting them all over again.
(Note to self: start warning prisoners about Lydia’s face appearing out of nowhere.)
When Lydia gave the go-ahead, Raven and Heiron escorted Jair through (and Lydia says she checked his thoughts in the magic mirror to make sure he wasn’t going to cause trouble. Tressarian says I should have trusted his first scan, and his second scan, but Tressarian isn’t responsible for letting a demon through the portal).
Anyway, maybe Jair will find better luck in Homlette. Gotta say it seems like a much nicer town.
Well, the day got much more exciting. At the end of a corridor in the “north” of the node, we came upon the second red dragon – breathing heavily with its eyes closed.
Elmo pointed his hands for some of us to flank it, and Ezekiel waved his arms around a bit.
I don’t know who made the noise, but suddenly the dragon raised its head and opened its mouth, and we all attacked. Heiron got his arrow in first off – then the dragon was roaring and clawing, and Elmo got a pretty bad wound from its teeth.
That didn’t stop him, though, and while Tressarian and I were catching the dragon’s attention by stabbing its thigh, he spun his axe and caught it hard in the neck! Raven finished it off with a dagger-stab…and we could all revel in our fifth dead dragon. Our advantage was that there were lots of us…but still, that’s more like what a dragon fight should be like.
I set to skinning it, while Ezekiel sawed off the horns and collected vials and vials of dragon blood (Lydia handed him some more). Mikael took a claw as a memento, Elmo made some more steaks – Ezekiel even pulled some teeth! It feels kinda macabre, harvesting its body like that – since after all, dragons are talking creatures. Tres says that’s a funny thing to say coming from the guy sitting on a mountain of dragon-skin.
While the rest of us were busy, Mikael uncovered the hoard – underneath the dragon’s body. He dumped it into the portable hole, and showed Ezekiel a scroll full of spells that Ez seems to think are very exciting.
And now comes the second excitement of the afternoon. While Ezekiel was stowing the new scroll in his pack, he pulled out one he’d found earlier (he says it was in the golem room in the Temple, which is some time ago).
I guess he unrolled it or something (I wasn’t watching him – I was up to my elbow in dragon hide) and suddenly dark, skeletal figure stood in front of us. Not like an actual skeleton – but his head looked like a skull (with a horn) and his body was all bone-thin, and clothed in black leather (I assume that wasn’t his actual skin?).
Ezekiel yelped, “Mine!” and started trying to hit it with his mace. “Trying.”
Mikael caught it with his rope of entanglement, so the rest of us were less worried about just watching. Then a second one, just like the first, appeared – but Raven caught that one in his rope before it could do anything, so we kept watching.
I don’t know how long it took. I know I got the hide free of one back leg and moved halfway down the other leg while Ezekiel kept trying to hit it. He finally pulled out his magic oil and polished up his mace while Heiron kind of rolled his eyes and shot the second one through the throat.
It seemed to die – and then a third one appeared. But Raven’s rope was free, so he tangled that one…and we were back where we started.
Raven palm-smacked one so hard it wagged its little skull-jaw and staggered in the rope. Ezekiel yelled, “Save one for me!” and – actually hit it. The purple lightening wrapped up his mace, and Ezekiel laughed.
The last standing monster disappeared in a…well, cloud of darkness. Yeah I was watching by that point (got a nick on my thumb for it, too). The cloud floated up toward the ceiling – but Mikael and Raven hauled on the rope (which was still wrapped around the enemy), and got down into Ezekiel’s range.
He was limbered up by now (or something) and smacked the sucker good – with a zap of purple lightening that made the runes all over the mace-head light up.
Well, that was the end of the weird creatures…Ezekiel says they were demons of some kind. In fact, he’s been hopping around and chuckling like a little boy ever since — he cast a light spell on the ceiling and cheered, “I’m a real cleric!” all over the place.
At least it sounds like we don’t have to save him demons anymore, which is nice. Somebody should really take him into the back yard and drill some swinging techniques.
Find the previous entry here.
Read the next entry here.