In the morning Varric is missing and all his gear is gone.
Ein and Trist are able to find his tracks that appear to be leading back the way they came from Frontier.
Ein pipes up, “Guess it was too much for im’, oh wells. Hope he makes it back ok.”
Camp is packed up, gear is stowed, and the group heads north, up the ettin’s trail, towards the orc’s location.
The travel is quiet and progresses with relative ease save for a brief, tense moment when a white dragon was spotted overhead. Appearing to not notice or care about the party, it’s passing was quick and uneventful.
A few hours in, Trist finds 4 sets of goblin tracks heading north.
Just before midday, the goblin tracks split from the ettin tracks.
The goblins continue north turning westerly.
The ettin’s tracks come from the east, perhaps from a small mountain pass, heading south towards the grove.
Trist recommends checking out the ettin’s tracks then we can scout out the orcs. If the track don’t lead to a lair by nightfall we can backtrack in the morning and scout the Orc camp. While tracking Trist points out things to forage for Bel and others that might listen.
Maltron agrees with Trist, “Let’s follow the ettins’ tracks. I’m interested in what is in their lair. There could be an item that may aid us in our quest.”
He says out of range for Max to hear, “I hope those goblins do not go to warn the orcs. Thirty or more orcs will be tough enough to defeat without forewarning.”
Max sharpens his weapons while he waits for orders. He wonders why a sword called Giant Slayer is so small.
Kistol shrugs, “Might as well check it out. We should be careful, though. They might have some brothers and sisters wandering around out here.” Kistol is ready to go.
Trist remind everyone, " Fonkonpeek is our main target so if possible we bypass the orcs (grumble grumble grumble) Trist isn’t happy about that. If Ein will watch Jack for me, Kistol and I can scout ahead along these tracks". We will check in every 20-30 min or so.
Bel’Ybryaa agrees with Maltron; though she feels regretful for any poor souls who might have been robbed (and eaten) along the way, she is curious what items might have been yielded in this wretched process that may indeed further the group’s own cause. She is therefore curious if an actual “ettins lair” lies ahead, what may lie wirthin it, and is there a “Mama Bear” in the roost to be afraid of.
She mentions this concern to the ranger and druid, within earshot of the rest of the party.
As the party walks Francis takes a drink from his rum skin. Saying under his breath repeatedly, “Ettin, eaten, aatin. Oootin. Ohten. Ettin. Eh, eh, ten.” all the while grinning, and chuckling.
Kistol happily runs along with Trist to scout. He moves carefully staying alert for movement off the trail and keeps an eye out for any trip wires that might be strung. “I wonder if there are any double headed forks in the lair.”
The group, deciding to follow the Ettin’s tracks, head through a somewhat narrow mountain pass for roughly 500 yards eventually ending in open terrain. The tracks continue south and Trist and Klembsy scout some distance ahead.
The pair return reporting the tracks lead to a grassy valley where they, concealing themselves upon noticing, spotted a large cave set into mountainside. They were able to get close enough to see and smell bones and some rotting flesh, definitely humanoid.
The party continue on but and as they approach the valley around early afternoon, movement from cover to cover, or behind brush is implemented so as to prevent any possible creatures inside the cave from spotting the oncoming group. Finally the party makes it to a vantage point where upon they have a good view of the entrance to the cave.
Bel mentions to Kistol “Utilizing your scouting talents, and perhaps if he is so inclined, another invisibility spell of Maltron’s, we can gather enough information to plan our next move”.
Trist whispers to everyone, "I believe Bel’s suggestions to be spot on. She warns Kistol that his stomach may give him away though. The stench from here is almost too much. She suggest breathing through his mouth but have it covered with a cloth of sorts. Lets form three rows Francis, Max 6 ft apart in front only to engage if something besides Kistol comes out that is dangerous. Behind them 10 Ft and offset left and/or right is Trist, Ein. Maltron and Bel and Klembsy are 5 ft behind Trist and Ein with Klembsy centered between Max and Francis and Bel and Mal 5 ft to the left or right. If you want to fan out more we can. If you prefer a different location we can adjust things if you want.
“Let’s establish a watch on the entrance and the rest prepare for camp or battle or both. I think Kistol would be ideal to watch the cave mouth”, says Klembsy. “No fire today, though”, he continues.
Kistol smiles, “You read my mind, Bel!” He puts on his face covering as Trist suggests and, once invisible, I love being invisible, he thinks, he moves up to the west side of the cave entrance, staying just north of it as he travels (basically not directly in front of the cave entrance). Once to the cave, he pokes his head around the corner first then slides in and moves along the northwest wall to get a better look inside. He stays alert for traps as he moves.
Maltron gladly casts invisibility on Kistol. He will rememorize it as Kistol scouts ahead.
“Whatver loot is in there, it’s going to need a thorough cleansing. That place reeks.”
Kistol invisibly moves up to the cave mouth. A fairly large opening, 20 ish feet tall and 20 ish feet wide. Various chunks of gore, viscera, and blood splatter decorate the surrounding rocks of the entrance. Off to one side, Kistol peers in. As his infravision adjusts to the darkness, he scans the interior. A large cave with a high ceiling, several bones and some recently deceased goblin bodies litter the floor. In the rear, sticks and brush are piled into a large nest of sorts. There appears to be no current living residents.
Max grimly readies. He straps a cestus on his left forearm. Once that’s done, he holds Giant Slayer ready in his left hand.
As Kistol surveys the cave, two shadows pass overhead above the party. Two bird-like creatures descend to perch atop nearby rocks. Roughly 5-6’ tall each, they appear to be the combination of a giant eagle’s body topped with the head of a great stag. Their bodies have dark green plumage and yellow talons while the stag head is blue-black with pale orange eyes and glossy obsidian antlers. Both eye the party through the brush and trees. The larger of the two, cocks it head and brays. It’s call sounds like the melding of an elk and a crow’s caw.
Francis tries to make eye contact with the larger animal, smiles, makes a quiet gentle shushing noise, and slowly raises his hand in a friendly non threateningly manner with his palm up, in an attempt to show it that he is it’s friend, and means no harm.
In response to Francis, the creature ‘caws’ again at the navigator’s shushing. It opens it’s wings a bit, flapping slightly and appears to ‘puff up’ as it’s plumage rouses.
Bel is befuddled by these strange creatures, and frightened as well. She wonders if Francis isnt drawing unwarranted attention upon the group as she surveys her exact position for the nearest cover she can find. As well, she keeps one eye on Ein for any cues. She also musters enough courage to keep Wardaway at the front of her mind, in case there is any swooping action coming toward herself or anyone in her immediate vicinity.
“Perhaps Klembsy or Trist could communicate with these beasts, and it doesnt have to get ugly…”
Maltron unsheathes Jes asking her if she knows what those strange creatures are. He will describe them in detail.
Jes listens to Mal’s description and replies. "Hmmmmm…Not sure. From what I understand they sound possibly infernal but if they’re not breathing fire, spewing smoke, or actually on fire, I think it’s good reason to assume they’re not. Most demiplane abyssmal types usually have smoke, flame, or sulphur associated in some way or another. Let’s try something. Repeat these words to the creatures, “Snaagootsm, mgooga baenbema en ootgatgooetm.” She says to Maltron, “That’s abyssal for ’greetings, state your intentions or purposes.”
Upon hearing the young mage’s words both creatures look puzzled. Turning to each other the larger crows to the smaller who replies then stands and takes flight, disappearing over the trees.
Trist will try to use her ranger skills to befriend the creatures. Non threatening pose as she approaches slowly. She says to the creature ‘easy now easy does it’ as she approaches. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
Trist won’t stare at the creature but occasionally glances up to check for reactions.
Trist tells everyone, "Do not approach the cave. These two may have decided to use the cave for a home themselves. I’m going to try and see if I can befriend them. No threatening moves and stay close to cover in case this doesn’t work.
Trist thinks that this probably won’t work but it doesn’t hurt to try.
The large creature continues to eyeball the party, occasionally ruffling it’s feathers or nipping under a wing, it does not take it’s gaze off of them.
Bel, under her cloak, very slowly reaches behind her waist and puts one hand on each of her wands. She is poised to either point a wand and issue a command word, cast a deflective spell (wardaway), or seek cover.
Klembsy takes cover under a tree, not too close to the cave entrance and waits to see what happens.
Maltron sits to memorize Detect Evil. He will sit under a tree, hoping I will provide cover.
The creature focuses on Trist as she slowly moves in, hands raised in a non-threatening gesture. When she is about 10’ away the creature crows and opens it’s wings. Flapping, it flies at the ranger who turns to spin and dive towards a nearby tree. Unfortunately the beast catches her in it’s talons by the left shoulder and the left forearm. It begins to lift a dangling Trist up into the air.
Francis shouts and screams at the Creature. He draws his Flametounge Cutlass and commands it to blaze with fire and flame. While waving it around he tries to get the animals attention, and taunt it in his direction. He yells at Maltron’s dagger, “Tell me something to say that will piss that thing off and get it to come after me!”
“Oi Vey” Bel thinks to herself upon viewing her friend being bird-jacked.
She is scared to death for Trist and briefly considers using the Wand of Wonder, but being that it may do more harm than good, she reconsiders. She also considers a spell or the Wand of Magic Missiles , but fears such action may frighten the beast enough to just fly away with the ranger Trist in tow. Bel will wait a moment to see what the more experienced party members do (which is everyone else, basically).
As the monster continues to lift Trist higher into the air, upon seeing Francis waving and shouting in the open with his flaming blade, it begins to crow. A long, deep, drone that echoes over the hills.
Francis sighs, commanding the sword to stop flaming, he brings it down to his side. He looks around at the party and with an exhale says, “I feel like we’re either going to have to run, or we’re going to have company.” Sheathing the Cutlass, pulling the rum skin from his pack, and before taking a drink he questions, “Defensive positions for a possible incoming, or time to get?”
Ein steps from cover to fire his bow at the creature carrying off Trist who is now about 10’ off the ground. His arrow strikes it in the chest but bounces off. Dipping slightly, the beast lets loose a quick shriek and re-continues it’s ascent.
“Shit! SHIT! SHIT!” barks Ein
Maltron shouts, “Make for the cave after we rescue Trist. I think it is calling others.”
Trist tries to tell if the creatures means her harm, if not she tells the party to hold off. If it means her harm them she tells all to fire at will she has boots of feather fall. She draws her weapon and stabs it leg to release her as a last resort hoping to show the creature she means them no harm. She asks Freya for her blessing and guidance.
Klembsy, not wanting to leave his trusted companion and friend to the ‘hands’ of that beast, gets out of cover, stands in an open area and uses his potion of levitation to rise up in the air and watch the bird’s path. If the bird approaches he makes an effort to grab on the beast and lead it to the ground.
When he sees the creature grab Trist, Kistol runs back to the party.
Trist draws her short sword and hacks up at the creature’s legs with her free hand. To no avail, she can’t seem to make any wounds or cause any damage.
Kistol, running down from the cave entrance, leaps on to the back of the beast, spinning it forward as it flaps it’s wings wildly to regain control and stay in the air.
Klembsy moves into the open and swigs his potion of levitation. He begins to float upward.
Max rushes up, keeping pace underneath with the now squawking monster who seems to have steadied itself from the impact of Kistol’s leap but appears unable to gain any altitude.
Shouting to the ranger, he tosses a rope.
Trist, dropping her short sword, catches the unraveling bundle.
Kistol draws his dagger, becomes visible, and plunges it into the back of flying beast.
It shrieks and rolls, flapping and flailing. Kistol is able to hold on but Trist, swinging like a rag doll, loses her grip on the rope and it falls into a nearby tree.
Klembsy, level with the creature, is about 20’ish high in the air. The ‘bird’ is frantically trying to shake off Kistol and in it’s attempt is drifting eastwardly, away from Klembsy.
Kistol stabs again and the ‘bird’ dips in the air under the blow and shrieks again.
It’s wails of pain are answered.
Looking up, four similar creatures can be seen diving in from above, screeching their awful crow.
One breaks off towards a floating Klembsy, two head for Max and Francis in the open, on the ground, and one towards Kistol, Trist and the other thrashing ‘bird’.
After this stab wound, as the bird rolls again, Kistol loses his grip and falls into a tree below. (-5 HP) Rolling through the snapping branches, he’s able to catch himself before hitting the ground.
Francis Stands at the ready, draws dual cutlasses and commands his sword to flame. The impending skirmish, a gleam in his eye, Francis chuckles. He stands sure footed and calm waiting for the bird to meet his Cutlass’s steel. (if the bird attacks him) Should the winged beast come at Max, he’ll attack the beast with a furry of blows. Through his peripheral vision, he’ll try and keep tabs on the mages and non-combat types, and put himself between the beast and them, if the need arises.
“Ow. Okay, little birdie. Let’s try that again.” Ask quick as he can, Kistol drops down and runs back at the bird carrying Trist. He pulls out his 30’ length of rope as he runs and if he can makes a simple lasso/loop.
Max draws Giant Slayer and readies for the oncoming charge. If any ropes are flung near him, he will grab them. Otherwise, he makes ready to fight off the new creatures with Francis.
Putting the pieces to the puzzle together. Trist hollers out. "My weapons had no effect on these creatures. You have to use magic weapons to hurt them.
Trist tries with all her might to free herself from the clutches of this beast. ‘So help me Freya I will be free of this beast.’
Bel’Ybryaa casts Shield.
Klembsy tries to think quickly. "*Trist* is still on the ‘bird’ and Kistol has fallen to the ground (well, the tree branches but it is essentially the same). What the heck am I doing up here? Little will I be able to do without horizontal movement. He changes the levitation from upwards to steady and shouts: “Head for the cave entrance! They will not be able to catch you there. Bel, check if Kistol is ok!”.
If he sees that the flying beast heading for him will catch him before he touches the ground, he draws his scimitar and holds it like a spear against the charging beast.
Maltron will cast Sleep on the two incoming birds closest together if they are at least 20 feet from his comrades.
Bel stands poised to attempt the Wand of Wonder aimed (if a judgement of a reasonable distance is made successfully) at the antlered bird carrying Trist away (…if no other action is at all effective at obtaining her release) because a small chance of success is better than her friend being dragged away and fed to this abyssal-like creature’s young brood.
As Trist is carried away, west and further out of range (Currently 50’ish high, 70ish yards away), Ein holds back Bel from chasing after. “Stay close to the trees and stay away from the open!” He shouts to her drawing the mace Klembsy gave to him.
The Peryton carrying the ranger away begins to squawk laboriously. It appears to be having difficultly maintaining. It’s wings slow and it’s head dips.
Francis braces for the charging creature. As it dives in roaring an awful squealing howl, it lowers it’s antlers intending to impale the navigator. Time slows for Francis. Both weapons drawn, one lit aflame, his focus hones in as he steadies his breath. Moments before the horror crashes into him he crosses his swords and ducks down. As it swoops over him, he slashes up, uncrossing his blades simultaneously across the abdomen of the monster. His non-flaming blade inflicts no damage, the flaming cutlass slices open it’s belly. The momentum of it’s attack carries the beast careening into a nearby tree, crashing in a combined cracking of bones and wood. The pulpy contents of the very dead brute’s slashed gut have exploded out onto the surrounding forest floor, it’s neck also appears to have broken upon impact.
Max turns just in time to face his attacker. It plummets in, attempting to snatch at the big man with it’s talons. Max steps back avoiding the claws then lunges forward swinging down as the creature arcs back up into the air. A screech in pain and loose puff of green feathers indicates he connected with his hit but wasn’t significant enough as the peryton glides back up above the trees.
Kistol drops down out of the tree and pursues the peryton carrying Trist. Inbetween dodging and darting through and around trees and brush, he pulls another rope bundle from his gear. Once he’s is out in the open and able to attempt another jump to the ‘bird’, he curses as it is out of range for a leap.
Maltron sees Franscis down his attacker and watches Max wing his. He moves out into the open to attempt to catch a ‘castable’ view or opening on any of the winged stags.
Bel casts shield. The air around and in front of her shimmers in a large translucent blue ‘lens’ then fades invisible.
Klembsy ‘lowers’ himself and drawing his scimitar, turns to brace against the charging fiend. It screams in talons first crashing into the druid. His sword holds true but fails to pierce the breast of the beast. The blunt impact send pain jolting through his wrist and as the pair tumble, rolling together, his sword flies from his grip. The two roll to a stop with a slightly dazed Klembsy on his back and the peryton on top of him. It leans in, screaming and spewing froth inches from his face. It leaps up and clamps it’s talons onto his shoulders. Furiously flapping it’s wings it begins lifting him into the air.
Noticing that Trist’s peryton probably won’t get too far, Kistol turns to aid Klembsy. “Hold on, Klem!”
Bel heeds Ein’s advice for the most part; is she anywhere near Klembsy’s airlifting she will attempt to Wardaway the peryton.
Klembsy casts Produce Flame. With his flaming hand, he tries to grab the nearest wing or the nearest piece of the peryton in order to burn its feathers and make it feel pain so that it delays flying up.
Francis makes after the beast trying to make away with Klembsy, he’ll sheath his offhand weapon and try to get a shot at the bird, or if that isn’t possible, he’ll try to grab the bird, or if that’s not possible grab on to Klembsy, and climb on top of the animal, or just hold on a weigh the flight down.
Francis thinks to himself that these ‘antlers’ could make for an interesting trophy in the captains cabin of the “Fury’s Eclipse”. Maybe even an impressive helm!
Running back to aid Klembsy, the fourth peryton passes Kistol overhead.
If flies up along side it’s companion carrying Trist and the two exchange squawks. The ‘fresh’ creature swoops in and snatches the ranger by her right ankle and calf while the other releases it’s grip on her arm. Her world swings as she is now being carried by one leg, upside down. Her new captor squawks again to it’s now very obviously deteriorating and wounded companion who manages a ‘slurred’ squawk reply. The pair continue on in the same direction, Trist’s creature swiftly rising higher as it continues while the other struggles to attempt to keep up.
Trist will try and keep her wits about her and save her arrows at least the right ones should the fall out or works to try and pull out a magical arrow. Regardless she will struggle to free herself.
Klembsy’s ‘abductor’ continues to lift him up. The furious-ness of it’s beating wings steadily increasing as it and the druid are now some 30ish feet off the ground.
Bel casts wardaway on the winged stag lifting Klembsy.
The small ball of white light manifests and fires toward the creature. Unfolding, the large sheet of gossamer energy blasts into the peryton.
Feathers fly and it shrieks, falling 15’ before catching itself, flapping to regain altitude.
It manages to keep a hold of the druid.
Klembsy casts produce flame. A few quick words, the druid opens his palm revealing a flame. Reeling back as best he can under the grip of beast, he tosses the flame.
The creature howls as the flame bursts on the underside of it’s wing and breast.
It drops Klembsy who falls into the forest floor with a thud, scattering leaves. (-4 HP)
The peryton screeching and screaming, it continues up and away, leaving a smoky trail behind it.
Francis and Ein rush in, lifting Klemb to his feet.
As the duo does so the remaining, unwounded peryton swoops from behind.
The trio scatter, diving and ducking to the ground just in time to avoid the snatching claws of the sweeping brute overhead.
Maltron moves to cast sleep as the winged stag attempts to continue it’s arc on and up above the trees.
He gestures and shouts ‘sleep.’
The peryton disappears above the trees, a few moments of silence pass, then the creature crashes through the canopy. Snapping branches in it’s fall, it splashes to the ground in a heap.
Trist is no longer visible.
Bel panics at Trist’s abduction and disappearance. She will flail her arms uncharacteristically and tug at her hair “WE CAN’T LET HER BE EATEN WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THAT THING SOMEHOW!”
She really feels she didn’t know what she was getting into signing on to this expedition; shes freaked out.
Francis jumps up and quickly runs to the sleeping bird, and ties it up as best he can with the rope in his pack. He ties its, wings, and feet to itself as well as to the nearest tree. After its secure he checks to see if it’s alive.
Francis calls to Maltron, “We have a prisoner, I let’s see if Jess can get some information out of this thing, we need to get to Trist sooner rather than later.” He then suggests we smack it awake, and begin getting answers.
Maltron asks Jes to communicate with the peryton if it is able.
“We have to find that creature and Trist quickly. But I want to search that cave before we head out. There may be something there to aid us. Look high up, these creatures will most likely roost up high.”
Maltron signals for Max to follow him into the cave. “Kistol, we need your skills in there as well.”
Once in the cave, if no treasure is readily visible, Maltron will ask Jes to locate object gold pieces, specifying not any that the party carries already.
Max follows Maltron into the cave, scanning the skies warily for another aerial attack
Klembsy is inconsolable. He stands on the ground with a new flame on his palm. He cannot believe that he left his most trusted companion be carried away and did not follow through. He curses his selfishness and mumbles meaningless phrases. As a desperate solution in his immense grief, he asks Francis to tie him on the unconscious peryton. “I must follow Trist. I cannot leave her that way. Tie me up and then wake this beast and let it carry me into his nest with the others. I must follow her. I cannot leave Trist in the teeth of these bastards. Come on. We don’t have time to lose”.
Hearing Klembsy’s emotionally overwrought idea of tying himself to the peryton jars Bel back to a more stable state of mind: “We must maintain control of our senses if we are to retrieve our stolen comrade” (stated more for her own sanity than anyone else’s).
" Klembsy listen – you have given me an idea! I know a spell ( Living Link ) that perhaps can be cast upon the peryton; this enchanting will, for a time, allow me to see what the fiend itself sees without its knowledge. Perhaps, if this casting is successful, we can revive (heal with Draught?) and release the beast under false pretenses and I can track the direction it flies in visually, without you risking your own safety. Chances are their nest may be close, unless they had some symbiotic relationship or agreement with the Ettins and there was a distinct reason for their presence at the cave."
Bel worries about the time factor here; she needs a few minutes to memorize the spell and doesnt know if they have that to spare; she shares this concern.
Max, Kistol, and Maltron move in to investigate the cave while Ein, Klembsy, Bel, and Francis secure the peryton. It’s out cold but it’s breathing is somewhat labored. It appears to have taken some considerable damage in the fall.
Ein pipes up. “Your spell’s not a bad idea but what’s the range of something like that? If this thing moves beyond your connection we’re going to lose our best lead to find Trist. Although letting Klemb ride this bitch back to the nest might not be too shabby of a plan but we’d have to arm him with a magical weapon for sure. There’s no telling how many of them may be back at the nest or if Trist is in any shape to assist fighting them off once he gets there. I did see it they went northwest but it looked like once these ugly turkeys get going they can cover a pretty good amount of ground, I doubt we’ll be able to keep up. With my special abilities I could probably track her scent given I get within a mile or so of her or them but I won’t leave Bel. Northwest is they took her and it’s direction we want to go and Trist’s a Frontier ranger but regardless of all that, we’ll never catch up to her before nightfall. I just hope she remembers to use her signal, we’ll be able to her it for miles out here. Then again, so will everybody else.”
The large cave appears to be empty save for goblin body parts and bodies, some light weapons (few broken spears, couple short swords/hand axes), few older skeletons and bones in the rear of the cave and what appears to be a large nest of branches and brush. Within the nest are some scraps and tufts of feathers and some dried pellets of animal dung.
Max volunteers to get carried off by the peryton. He has Giant Slayer. Trist always looked out of Max, so he’d definitely like to see her safe. He asks Maltron, “Maybe I could go instead of Klembsy. Those birds aren’t so tough once you stick them good.”
Francis nods to Max, “Now that’s the smartest thing I’ve heard anyone say the last few minutes. Good work.” Looking at everyone else, “Klembsy isn’t going anywhere. I know you want to get Trist, we all do, and we will get her back. But you’re not going anywhere alone. No sense in it at all. If only we had some sort of mounts.”
Francis takes out his rum skin, and indulges in a long pull, then offers it up to anyone who is interested, he looks contemplative and mater of fact about the situation. “We should use everything and anything we have, and do it soon. We need to get Jes to see what she can figure from this bird, and by the looks of it, it may be in no condition to fly home anyway. I say it looks like this, we interrogate, we may get information that would make for a better decision. If it can fly, let it go with Lady Bel’Ybryaa using her magics. I really don’t see this thing carrying anyone in it’s condition, but if that is possible, it’s myself, Max or Kistol that goes.” Softening up a bit and looking at Klembsy, “We’ll get her back, we don’t leave people alone, not anymore.”
Maltron will investigate the bones and the nest with the wand of detect magic. He will ask Jes to locate object, gold pieces (not already on the party).
He will speak to the others, “It is possible that this cave is the perytons’ home. A nest with feathers and dung. Perhaps if we leave, they will come back.”
He looks for evidence that the cave was used by the ettins.
Bel replies to the group.
@ Ein: “The spell’s range isnt a factor, however time indeed may be as it only lasts for a given period and may only give us a general direction if it expires too soon, which we already have I believe.”
@ Malton : “Sir Mage, t’would seem upon our companion’s abduction that your concern lies primarily with any gold or magical items that may be strewn upon the floor of that vulgar dung heap of a cave. Mayhap you would care to refocus your talents temporarily; your sharp mind may prove extemely useful in Trist’s current predicament.”
@ Francis : “I do know a conjuration to summon mounts for the party, but again this spell will take time to memorize..however it may save us time after all. Are you volunteering to let yourself be abducted and we can follow you on horseback? I’m sure the peryton wont drop you; they seemed quite confident with carrying their meals.”
Klembsy thinks a second time as the others try to calm him down. “Yes, it is not time for futile sentimentalities but for clear thoughts”, he addresses to himself. Turning to Bel, Ein and Francis he thanks them for their advice and joins the discussion. “Perhaps we can combine Max’s offer as well as Ein’s abilities to ‘follow’ her somehow. We must make haste though. So what will it be?”.
Jes is unable to find any gold in the cave.
Maltron is unable to find any evidence (beside perhaps a battle) that the cave was used by ettins. He is also unable to find any magic.
The peryton awakes securely restrained and lashed to a tree. Dazed, it looks around and immediately goes wide-eyed in panic and fear, it begins to squawk and howl it’s terrible call.
Jes attempts to speak to it via prompting Maltron but the creature appears not to understand her language. “Looks like my guess that the thing isn’t abyssal and therefore doesn’t speak abyssal is correct.”
Bel continues. “Then I vote we let the gallant, dashing rescuer Frantisek Incurvati be carried away by the peryton. We can follow on summoned mounts, and if I can ride behind someone I can also be ready to cast Living Link on Francis if they begin to get out of sight…however, how will we be sure the peryton will carry him, especially if he’s anchored to its legs? it might go wild and just flail about, smashing him into trees and such…”
Ein pipes up. “What kind of mounts can you summon? Anything land-based is not going to be able to keep up, specially if this guy crosses over the ranges. We can’t expect it’s flightpath to stick to the valleys and hills were we’ve been traversing so far.”
Bel replies. “A fine point Ein; Yes, we can not, indeed, ride through trees and dense brush. Hopefully Trist is able to use her signal so we can locate her before she is eaten.”
“Bel, I see you are quick to question my character, but slow to understand my actions. We came here initially in hopes of finding magical items to aid us in our quest, did we not? The threat is gone from this cave and a quick look for such items does not delay us any more than the required time to plan and memorize your spell. The reason I wanted Jes to look for gold is because it is an item commonly found in hidden caches. And the item Jes looks for must be very specific, so rather than conjuring up visions of the thousands of magical items I know of, I chose an item that might likely be found with a helpful magic item. While I was wasting your time, I managed to notice that this cave is most likely the lair or one of the lairs Of the perytons. Shall we continue this discussion?”
Francis replies to Lady Bel’Ybryaa, “yes.”
While taking a strong pull he thinks, “I wonder what Kistol sees in that cave. Could be a good place to be right now, and not out here with all this sky above us.”
Maltron sits to memorize invisibility.
“Perhaps if we hide, they may come back. At least lets hide while we plan our actions.”
Bel waits for Maltron to finish his tirade before she states: “I know we are all concerned for the safety of our friend above all else, correct? I wanted to point out that by reacting as you did (to search for items in lieu of offering advice that might save her life) you might be giving a false impression to the others: that treasure is worth more to you than the very life of your friend. I dont believe this repesents you accurately, or how you feel, Maltron E’altur.”
Maltron says, “You obviously do not understand me or the words I am speaking.”
With that he finds a hiding spot to memorize invisibility.
“Alright then Sir Grumpy Mage!”
To herself: “What is it with males…my father would get sour like that when we would miscast cantrips as little girls…why are they so illogical…”
Bel leaves Maltron alone to study.
Ein ignores the bickering. “Bel, with your talents wouldn’t we be able to better control this thing if it were dead? I don’t want to see Max bucked off 200 feet off the ground.”
Bel replies to the ranger. “Well Ein firstly we would need to make sure any damage done to its wings is repaired, then we would have to slaughter it in a way as not to damage it’s physical shell… poison perhaps. This doesn’t stand too well with me ethically, but being that it was part of the pack that abducted Trist, its understandably fair. The two problems we have are these: Once deceased, the mindless undead retain only the smallest flicker of their memories and serve really just as mobile physical shells, and as well, my power isn’t yet developed enough nor do I possess knowledge of a spell which can revive such a magical beast.”
Francis thinks to himself, personally I fail to see how the broken down bird is going to be able to carry either Max or Francis. I think we link the animal via Bel’s spell and let it go. But if we’re strapping anyone I say it’s Francis. He can hold his own 1 on 1, slightly less than Max, and also has a wand of Fire that can scare, fend off lots of things all at once. I’m not fired up about the strapping plan either way, just doesn’t sit well with me that One person goes off on their own. Doesn’t seem smart. I think we follow it to the best of our abilities as a group.
“The beast will be able to, without a doubt, carry his full capacity if we were to heal him first, though we might find it a curious sight to watch one try to lift Max off of the ground, mountain of musculature that he is.”
“Also, while I do have Living Link in memory, I’m afraid it will only last a short time [2 rounds] so we need to make a good timing judgment as to when to release it for the most visually indicative geographical feedback. Also, I will need to be clear on what lies in which direction so I can accurately judge its flightpath; Trist would have been perfect to that end, but perhaps Klembsy or Ein can enlighten me.”
Bel is impressed with Frantisek’s derring-do.
“Happy sky-sailing you mad pirate, and don’t forget about your signal! Perhaps casting Invisibility on Francis would yield him safer passage?”
Max defers to the judgment of the party and doesn’t assert himself to be sent over Frantisek.
Klembsy casts heal on the bound creature. It straightens a bit, blinking and looking slightly bewildered at the action. Ein, Kistol, and Max move in and hold down the beast while Francis lashes a makeshift ‘harness’ onto it, securing himself into place on it’s back. He won’t be able to ‘ride’ the peryton, but he will be strapped to it as it flies. With a final parting look and a ‘good luck’, Maltron casts invisibility on the navigator. Ein, Kistol, Klembsy, and Max ready to cut the ropes restraining the brute simultaneously, all awaiting Bel’s command. Bel casts living link.
The necromancer closes her eyes and darkness recedes as the wide eyed, darting vision of the peryton fades up within her mind. Somewhat dis-orienting, she ‘sees’ herself standing in front of the creature. “Cut it loose!” Bel shouts.
Cut ropes fly as the peryton leaps into the air, furiously flapping up above the trees and away from the party. It speeds up and up, the ground below swiftly receding under Francis’ dangling, invisible feet.
Bel focuses, from the creature’s field of vision it appears to be heading towards the setting sun, west..north.. west, up, up, up.. then gone. The spell ends and her ‘sight’ fades to black.
Relaying all she can from the quick experience, Ein and Klembsy confirm direction of the fleeing winged stag.
Ein pipes up. “Well, I guess we make camp then pursue at first light? Hopefully Francis can get to Trist and buy her some time until we show up. Unless anyone else has a better suggestion?”
Looking up, he smirks. “Good luck you crazy pirate bastard.”
“I guess we have no choice now but to wait for the first morning light”, says Klembsy. “I’ll gather some wood for our campfire. I think though that the cave Maltron explored does not have to do with the perytons. It doesn’t look a nice home for airborne eagle-like creatures”.
Klembsy will fully heal himself and restore his spells with praying as per relevant list (character sheet). He’ll keep watch as usual.
As the peryton climbs in altitude, Francis grips tighter his ‘harness’ to the beast. The wind rushes past, roaring in his ears and tears stream from his eyes. Suddenly the world spins and the creature rolls in the air, apparently trying to loose the navigator from it’s back. It dives and jerks, flopping and tossing Francis but is unable to detach him. Resolving, if only momentarily, it finally ceases it’s attempts to dislodge the pirate and continues on.
Some time passes. As the pair continue on northwest, the peryton appears to notice something in the distance ahead and sounds it’s crow. Francis squints to make out two dark specks on the horizon some ways beyond. Both appear to be flapping wings and one is carrying something…a figure!
The peryton’s crow is returned by the specks and Francis can feel his ‘mount’ increase it’s speed. As they near in the specks enlarge to reveal the two peryton, one of them clutching an upside down Trist, the other looking very strained in maintaining flight. The beasts greet each other in their awful screams just as Francis notices something launch from trees below.
Reunions are cut short as what appears to be rock shot and stones catapult from somewhere off the ground crashing into the two peryton’s ahead of Francis. His ‘mount’ stops short flapping it’s wings and halting in mid air. It screeches watching as it’s two companions, having been struck down by the attack, fall out of the sky. Tumbling through the air, Trist appears to be ‘floating’ slowly downward instead of plummeting. She appears to be limp and unmoving.
Francis’ peryton notices the open target and, screaming in anger, dives for the lazily descending body of Trist.
Maltron is pessimistic about finding Trist and now Fancis, but holds out hope. Maybe Francis can light a smoky fire once he lands so we can find him. “I should have suggested that,” he thinks.
If the party doesn’t move out immediately, he memorized invisibility and sleep.
Assessing his options, Francis pulls the animal to either side of where it’s diving, trying to pull it off course from hitting Trist. If he can control him, or at least pull him off course, he’ll make this work so the bird doesn’t connect with Trist, then he’ll leave it at that. Even if the peryton makes multiple attempts. If that doesn’t work, then he’ll draw his Flametounge Cutlass and lightly jab it into the flash of the flying beast trying to get it to stop attacking, and shout threats at it, in the hopes it understands. As a last resort, should none of this bring about the desired result, Francis will plant his Cutlass into the back of the beast right in the neck or spine and hope for the best. He’ll take special attention to hold his weapon tightly, with two hands. If at any point he feels that releasing his ‘harness’ to be in a better interest than staying on a dead or falling bird, he’ll do that, but also only as a last resort.
As the ‘bird’ dives Francis strains against the harness, trying to pull it off course.
Unfortunately, because of the way he is strapped to the peryton, he doesn’t have much leverage.
Realizing this, he looses an arm from the ropes and begins to go for his cutlass.
That’s when he notices the second catapult shot of rock and stone flying at him and his ‘mount’ from offside originating somewhere from the ground below.
The creature doesn’t seem to notice and continues course. Francis braces for impact, leaning to one side of the peryton, putting it’s body between him and the attack.
Most of the scatter shot connects, slamming into them and sending the pair spiraling out of the sky. Despite the beast taking most of the brunt of the attack, Francis’ world goes dark.
“Unless we desperately need rest, I say we pursue now with those party members such as Ein and Kistol who have racial vision advantage in the lead. Lives may depend on our timely arrival; we can’t leave it to fate to keep them safe until first light!.”
Bel inquires if anyone knows spells to perhaps lend other party members vision advantages at night; if the party chooses to not pursue immediately, she will protest but acquiesce if she is outnumbered.
Bel also will squeeze in rememorizing/adjusting spells as per her char. sheet.
In changing his focus from Trist to Klembsy, Kistol blames himself for letting her be taken. His low confidence in his decision making has kept him silent this whole time. With Bel’s suggestion of immediate pursuit, he feels he can be useful and jumps at the chance.
“Um, I agree with Bel. No telling how far they’ll get or what’ll happen to our people once they get there. It’s my fault Trist got taken. I could have helped her, but I made a bad decision. I’m ready to go now.”
It’s dizzying, the height Trist is at now. The blood pounds in her head, roars in her ears. Realizing she needs to get loose from the beast, she attempts to retrieve one of her magic arrows, if she can stab it maybe it’ll drop her and she can use her ring to get down safely (pray to Freya it works). She slowly fumbles for an arrow, she needs to be careful. One hasty move and she’ll drop the entire contents of the quiver to the forest below where they’d be impossible to find.
The sun is beginning to set on the horizon, on the ground the view would be a spectacular sight but things are beginning to blur and become very disorienting. Whenever she closes her eyes, the ranger can only see red. She finally feels out one of her magic arrows from a special marking on the nock. She withdraws it careful not to tip out any of the others. She grasps it firmly, readying herself for a quick sit up then stab the peryton. She takes a breath but then pauses as something comes into view out of the corner of her eye. Turning, it looks to be some sort of dark mass flying very fast toward her and the creature. ‘Another winged stag? Something else? I’ve got to make my move before it hits us!’
She lunges up, stabbing the peryton under the wing with the arrow. It shrieks. It’s grip releases, that’s when the impact hits her and everything goes black.
She awakes to the smell and sound of a campfire. The pops and cracks echo across a silent forest. It is now night and there is no one in sight. Next to the fire, she’s laying on and draped over her are various elk pelts. Her head pounds and she can’t see out of her left eye. Touching her face, the left side feels swollen. She struggles to sit up, wincing as she feels broken ribs. Panic and anxiety wash over her as she feels her left arm, it’s broken as well but strangely it’s been set and is now in a sling."
Trist tries to focus and calls out softly,“Hello, is there anyone there? Either Freya has taken me or maybe I am dreaming.”
She lays back down with a grunt of pain and tells Freya,“If I’m dead please take me so I may join you”. She thinks to herself ‘I shouldn’t feel pain if I am dead. Why am I here she says softly?;
“Ha hahaha aha” Trist hears a booming, low, baratone voice chuckle.
“Yer naught deahd, lil’ lass. Althoo you’ll prolly feehlin’ clahse too eet.” (My best interpretation of scotchish-irish-celtic accent.) :)
Turning towards the direction of the speaker, a large man steps from the shadows of the woods carrying firewood under one arm and the dead peryton dangling by the antler in the other. As he approaches she realizes, this man is not just big, he’s huge. Most likely 10 1/2, close to 11 feet tall and has to be at least 800+ lbs. His hair and beard are long, scraggly, and a deep crimson red. He wears a large wool kilt and hide/leather boots and jerkin. He carries a dagger (short sword) and huge club/shillelagh at his side. Over his shoulder is a large satchel and on his belt are several pouches.
Setting down the carcass and wood, he picks up a large carved wooden bowl filled with cool stream water and gives it to Trist, as well as a small piece of soft tanned hide cloth from his pouch. “Here ya goo, yah kin kleen yerselvf oop a bit with thas.”
He then hands her a wineskin (after taking a pull himself), “Ehn thas whil halp with the paihn.”
He moves back to the carcass, stringing it up on a nearby tree and withdrawing his dagger, he begins to clean and dress it. “Yer ah Frahnteer rahnger aren’t ye? I kin tell by yer sihgnahl ehn yer tat. Aye ahm Wileeag thee Undaunted but ye kin cahl me Wil.”
Trist takes the wine skin and water to clean herself up with. She takes a long pull on off the wineskin before handing it back to Wil.
Trist tells Wil,“Thank you for saving my life,” as she winces a bit from cleaning up a bit. “Are my friends ok? Where is everyone else? I don’t understand. I don’t know your race. I was fighting that creature you have there and this shadow approached just as I freed myself. Thats all I remember. My friends were on the ground below and behind me a bit I think. Did you see them? How can I repay you for saving my life? Coin, or some of my equipment perhaps? You haven’t tied me up so I don’t think you want to harm me. Can you help me get back to my friends?”
She checks to see what gear she has left to offer Wil.
The Giant replies. “Whoa whoa there lass, doughna hurt yhersalvf rahtallain offa like tha. I dunna no where yer friends are. I managed ta knock you anna thas here bugger outtah tha skeye. When ah deed, he dropped like-a stoone, but yoo jes came flooting dahwn like-a feahther. Before’n that, I didna never see yoo or yer freends before’n. Dunno what eye ahm? Ain’t ya never seen er eard of a Firbolg? Imma giantkin lass. I dunna whant no pahyments girl. Yera Frahnteersmen rahnger, thems foulk ees ghood peaple, so I doo what ah kin ta halp. Course, Ah never seen em’ thas far noorth. You’ll haveta reast for awhile fore nao. Once yer bhettar wee’ll go’n look fer yer freends. Do ye have ah name? What are ye dooing out hare n’ how’n didya find yhersalvf in this nastees claws?”
All of the gear Trist was carrying on her person is with her, it’s nearby in a pile.
Trist says, “My name is Trist Silverhawk kind sir. I thank you for saving my life and helping me out.”
“We are on a mission for the council of the Guardians to capture Kargan Fonkenpeek. We were told he was out in this area. While out here we ran into a couple Ettins and once we killed them we decided to track their footprints to their lair. While scouting out the place the we saw 2 of the Perytons and I tried to befriend them not knowing they wouldn’t understand me I guess. Next thing I know one had me by the wrist and a few more come flying in. It took me a bit to realize my normal weapons didn’t hurt the one carrying me. I was getting higher and higher and my friend were fighting the other ones. I grabbed one of my magical arrows and stabbed it in the leg to release me and then I see a shadowy flying thing coming at me and POW out like a light. Next thing I know I am here with you. Hurt and dazed a bit.”
She grabs the wine skin and chugs as much as she can to try and help with the pain.
She tells “sir Wil my wine skin is over there but it probably isn’t as good as yours but I think I’m going to need it. I think I need to get out there and find my friends. If it wasn’t dark I would request we do so.”
“Noice ta meet cha, Treest. Seeving yer life is tha leest I kin doo considerang aye was tha oone who shot yoo outta tha skye. Enoof flying nastees in thees mountains prompted me ta build up all sohrts’a weepons set oop round thees pahrts. Aye goot catapults n’ ballistas stashed all roond thas valley. Doya knoo witch dyerection yer were brought’n fram? Er where’n witch dyerection yer’n freends may be? Kin ya tehll me more’n bought thas Kahrgan fellow?”
Trist replies. “Kargan Fonkenpeek runs with an bandit war party in the badlands. He is associated with Tain Fendown. We believe we can track down Tain through Fonkenpeek. We also believe they are somehow involved in the slave trade plaguing the coastal ports.”
Trist thinks for a bit. She tells Sir Wil, “It was hard to tell my direction but I will try and remember if I can. She thinks back to her orientation to the sun if it was visible or the direction the cave was facing just before she was taken away. She will relay that info to Sir Wil. I am not familiar with your race but I am glad to meet you. She takes another big swig off the wine skin and it’s starting to help a bit. Tomorrow I can whistle for my friend and we can head in the best direction I can remember”.
Trist will only trust Sir Wil so far and she isn’t sure about him just yet. While he has helped her he also risked her life by shooting at the P\peryton with her clutched still and she could have just as easily been killed.
She says, “I’m still a bit groggy and I don’t remember real good at the moment. The wine seems to be helping me a bit too.”
She giggles and smiles. “I hope your going to cook that and that it tastes good.” She says with a hiccup.
Wil finishes cleaning and dressing the beast. He sets up the ‘bird’ to roast on a makeshift spit over the campfire. Once ready, Trist and the giant eat their fill and soon after sleep takes the ranger.
She wakes in the morning to a smoldering campfire and Wil is no where in sight. She’s in pain and sore, but the swelling on her face has gone down enough to that now she can see.
Trist prays to Freya for strength and courage for the day. It will be slow going trying to find her friends.
She speaks normally and ask, "Wil are your around? She tries to get up slowly and look around her without moving too much.
She grabs a drink of fresh water and a bit of rations for her belly just to get going.
She looks around for Wil and or signs that he might be coming back. She remembers that he said once shes better they would go looking for her friends so she thinks he should be around or coming back soon. If no one seems to be around she blows her whistle 3 times. Hopefully this will let her friends know where she is if they can even hear it and it should let Wil know she is up at least. If anything else comes Freya help me cause I’m in bad shape.
If Bel and Kistol are the only ones who think it prudent and necessary to travel out, Bel will suggest that maybe they get a head start and leave now while the others take down time until first light.
(She believes that Klembsy would probably choose to go immediately, and will try to convince Ein, Maltron and Max of the necessity of doing so as well.)
If the party takes a straight/direct path towards the direction the perytons flew in, they will have to cross two mountain ranges.
We can do this instead if it’s more realistic; navigating mountain ranges might present big problems to lower constitution party members:
Being that they are taking the road, Bel once again volunteers the Mount spell.
Maltron states, “A fine plan Bel, climbing those mountains would most likely be the death of us. No telling what creatures lie in those rocky slopes. We’ll make quicker time on the trail with your mounts or even walking. I agree that we strike out tonight, at least we should get as far as our energy takes us.”
Maltron unsheathes Jes asking, “I know you can locate objects, but can you locate them when they are very far away. Try to locate Francis’s fiery cutlass. Is it too far away? His life may depend on us finding him and Trist.”
Maltron please copy the Mount spell into your book; I’m not sure we can pass conjured mounts unto other party members [DM decision?]. At least we can definitely conjure at least two if we both conjure, and we can share them.
Also, to ALL (and esp Klembsy) I am worried about the fate of Bobo and Jac, the mules; we enlisted them, is it right to leave them to die? can we leave them with food or water; what is the plan? set them loose? Mules in the forest = food.
Kistol thinks about the options briefly, “I agree with going by road. It’ll be faster probably safer. [ Bel, you are a brave woman to volunteer to go out at night with just me. Thanks.] I’m thinking it probably isn’t a good idea to split the party up anymore than it already is. We’ve already been hit by nasties twice. As much as I want to help Trist and even Francis, it won’t do much good if we’re dead or exhausted. Either we all go now, or we rest and leave at first light. I vote now.”
A whistle sounds and Francis awakes.
The navigator comes around belly down in the branches of a tree some 15ish feet high off the ground.
Looking back he can see a clear trail his fall cut through the forest canopy above.
He is absolutely in pain. He head hurts, his face hurts, his body hurts, his legs hurt.
Shifting slightly he feels his right shoulder, it’s not broken, but it’s definitely dislocated.
Compiling what inventory he can, without moving much, he is able to ascertain he is still in possesion of his weapons, his clothes, his coins. The only gear that appears to have been lost in the crash is his satchel, which is now exploded beneath him on the forest floor.
Squinting and focusing in, Francis sees three orcs sorting through the scattered contents of his fallen possessions.
With the whistle, the trio stands. They bark something in orcish and it is replied by several responses from the north, east, and west.
From what he can determine, it appears to be an orc scouting party at least 9, maybe 12 strong.
Luckily, he realizes he is still invisible.
Trist dazed and alone realizes she has to help herself and grabs both of her healing potions. She drinks one and then the other if needed, so she isnt helpless. If she can get her bow arm functioning she will feel better. She lost her short sword while in mid air and hopes someone grabbed it for her.
She pushes back the tears of self Pity and thinks I can do this on my own I’m a frontier ranger and I can survive. I will survive, Freya willing. She gathers her things and slowly and quietly sets off in the directions of her friends. She checks for Wil’s tracks first in case he left a trail for her to follow. Hoping the lead to her friends too.
“I’m sorry. I thought that it was getting late and it would be difficult to locate Trist”, says Klembsy. “If you all feel we can pursue in the dark”, he adds with decisiveness, “I will not be an obstacle. Mielikki knows how I want to find her alive and …quickly”.
Francis trys to focus through the pain of his injuries, and attempts to focus on the orcs, and tries to see any defining characteristics from them, and watch them quietly from the tree. He’ll make note of anything he can that could seem of possible use in the future, what they look like, are wearing, who seems to be incharge, what direction they came from and what direction they leave. He’s disgruntled about the contents of his sachel, but that can be delt with later.
Francis things to himself, “I need a fucking drink.”
Bel sees Maltron conferring with Jes and thinks: “Brilliant!”
@ Kistol in Elven, Elvish, Elfish (OOC: wish we had an elf around to ask <grin>!)
[“My own bravery was a surprise to me as well; maybe all the psychological adversity I’ve endured makes it difficult for me to see people who would accept my company lost to terrible circumstances!”]
@ ALL: “Let us find our comrades, and Mystra keep them safe until we do! One might ascertain that a risk-taker such as Sir Francis would yield Tyche’s favor – let us hope it is indeed the case!”
Max gets ready to march. Cestus armed on his left hand, Giant Slayer in his right.
Jes isn’t able to locate Francis’ sword. “Probably too far away, I just can’t see it.”
Bel memorizes mount then allows Maltron, after learning/memorizing mount , to copy it into his spellbook.
While the wizards study, Max, Ein, Klembsy, and Kistol prep to depart and rest.
Once ready, the two Mages each cast mount.
From the dusky shadows of the setting sun, two light horses appear. 1 approaches Bel while the other approaches Maltron.
Ein, using some rope, creates a makeshift ‘lead’ for each.
Because the two mages are not skilled in riding and the horses have no tack and saddle, Ein leads Bel’s horse and Max leads Maltron’s while Klembsy leads his mule and Kistol leads Trist’s.
Movement is good with the aid of the mounts, it’s definitely quicker than having the mages on foot.
A few hours pass and Bel detects her spell is about to expire and dismounts. Shortly after her horse fades from existence.
She mounts up with Maltron and the pair continue on for another hour until the other spell expires and the second mount fades.
The party then continues on foot.