Joined: 20 Jan 2006
|Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:42 pm Post subject: Queen of Winter - episode 5
|Aodhan, Mimi, Alan and Chaedis peered around the corner of the cavern. The chamber was lit by a raging fire in one corner and two pits in which molten lava flowed. In the violent red glow of flames and lava the adventurers could make out several fey creatures cowering and bickering as an angry Fomorian stabbed repeatedly at a prone dwarf with a red hot great-sword.
Mimi and Chaedis snuck into the chamber to draw themselves closer to their foes before striking. Once these two were ready, Aodhan and Alan charged into the fray. The battle was quick and merciless. It is true that a couple of the fey managed to react in time and that the Fomorian managed to get in a couple of lusty blows before he fell, but only Mimi felt much sting from their blades before their bodies littered the floor.
Once the battle was over the adventurers approached the fallen dwarf. He was unconscious, but alive. The tender care of the heroes eventually bought him to. The dwarf was weak and suffered badly from his wounds, but he was able to tell the adventurers what had happened at Bordrin’s Watch.
The dwarf, Kalad, was a paladin of Bahumat stationed at the fortress. He said that the fey had attacked at night, and in magical silence, from a hole in the captain’s office. Most of the soldiers had been killed in their sleep. Kalad laughed darkly when he recounted that his own life was spared when a hammer blow meant to kill him in his bed had bounced off his thick skull and simply knocked him out. The dwarf said that when he came to he saw the fey retreating into the darkness below. He followed them and overheard them talking about going back to the Feywild through a portal in the caverns. He followed them as far as a great underground lake, where they climbed aboard boats and sailed into the darkness. While he was at the edge of the lake Kalad was seen by one group of fey, who returned to the shore and chased him back towards the fortress. Kalad called upon the power of Bahumat and collapsed the roof of the cavern onto these creatures, but some survived. These captured him and used torture to try to make him reverse the spell and reopen the cavern. The longer Kalad held out against this torture, the more panicked the fey became. Eventually some retreated to the fortress to find food and another way home, while the others remained and bickered about what to do next.
Chaedis and Aodhan told the dwarf what they knew of the Queen of Winter’s intentions. Kalad suggested that if the portal to the Feywild could be destroyed, then this could disrupt the Queen’s plans. The adventurers were aware that the Company of Wolves had been tasked with securing the caverns, and discussed whether they should leave this task to their rivals and simply return to Caer Callidyr to report their findings. Ultimately however, they decided that they should try to destroy the portal themselves.
On hearing this Kalad started to pray and appealed to Bahumat to reverse his spell. The raging fire died and the rubble that filled one end of the chamber rolled aside to reveal a long vent heading back in the direction of the city.
The adventurers assisted Kalad to his feet and helped him down this vent. They followed it for some distance until they reached the edge of the lake Kalad had described. At the edge of this lake was a single unwieldy boat with no visible means of propulsion. Kalad said that the fey had moved their boats with song, but he did not know the words.
After some minutes discussion the adventurers climbed aboard the boat and began to paddle it with their hands and Alan’s shield. It moved awkwardly and slowly into the waters.
After a short distance the cavern narrowed and a series of rocks broke the surface of the water. In the light of Aodhan’s sunrod they could see violent currents and whirlpools ahead. Chaedis was suspicious that the whirlpools were magical in nature, while Mimi spotted piles of rocks which appeared to have been stacked deliberately.
The adventurers edged the boat forward slowly. It quickly became caught in currents and the hull ground into a partially submerged rock. Mimi decided to clamber onto the rock to help guide the boat through a thin opening. At the same time, Aodhan decided to inspect the strange piles of stones. As the minotaur clambered up the rock a fey creature appeared some distance away. This creature had a blue tint to its skin and webbed fingers and toes. It also carried a trident attached to a flaxen rope, and it flung this weapon at the minotaur. The trident struck and imbedded itself into the minotaur’s armour. With a swift yank of the rope the fey creature then pulled Aodhan off his feet and into the water. A second creature appeared and a second trident flew.
Mimi and Chaedis (who had unstrung his bow) clambered and swum their way to engage the first fey creature, while Aodhan tried to swim free of some violent currents. The minotaur half-swum and was half-swept closer to his foe, but before he could clamber ashore the mysterious pile of stones began to collapse and rocks rained down upon him, battering and stunning him.
Aodhan and Chaedis were eventually able to engage the first fey creature, but the second had moved to a rock in the middle of the cavern and began to hurl its trident at them from this sanctuary. A blow from this location could have meant either adventurer being pulled into a whirlpool. Mimi though wore magical armour which allowed her to transform into water. She dived into the currents and transformed herself, splashing unseen up the side of the rock and to a position behind the second creature. She then transformed back and struck it down from behind. The other fey did not last much longer against the combined blades of Aodhan and Chaedis.
Although the living enemies had been defeated, the adventurers still had to work out how to get the boat through the currents and whirlpools of the cavern. Mimi discovered that the whirlpools were magical and created by hexes fixed to the cavern floor. By diving into the centre of each vortex and obscuring the hex with a stone she was able to shut them down. The rogue took a battering from the swirling waters, but she was eventually able to clear a path for the boat. Aodhan then used the ropes from the fey tridents to pull the boat through the trickier currents.
Eventually the boat and its crew found themselves in open water. The adventurers paddled their way slowly through the gloom. After some distance the flickering of lights could be seen in the distance. They paddled the boat towards these lights and began to make out the shapes of boats and creatures on a distant shore. The adventurers doused their own light source and paddled onwards. Mimi wrapped Alan’s shield with strips taken from her clothing to keep it from rattling against the side of the boat.
Slowly, slowly the boat drew closer to the shore and the adventurers readied themselves for an assault. The fey did not notice them until the boat ground its way onto the rocky shore. They responded swiftly however, and Chaedis was cut down as he prepared to leap onto the stony beach. The archer’s unconscious body toppled into the water.
Mimi, Alan and Aodhan all charged onto the rocks. Mimi headed right to deal with some archers firing from a towering rock, while Alan and Aodhan headed left to deal with creatures spilling from a cavern. Amongst these creatures was a fey witch and another Fomorian. The witch spat and cursed at the adventurers – blinding Aodhan briefly and spraying Alan with her caustic spittle.
While Mimi, Alan and Aodhan fought the creatures, Kalad recovered Chaedis’ body from the water and bound his wounds – saving the archer’s life. The dwarf was almost called into action a second time as Mimi was badly wounded in her fight against the archers and was forced to retreat. Seeking cover in the darkness the rogue did not abandon the fight however, and snuck around the edge of the cavern to spring at the fey witch from the shadows. She wounded the evil creature badly and it fled as Alan and Aodhan finished off the Fomorian and the archers. Mimi caught the foul witch as it tried to wade across a pond and struck her down. An oily and filthy stain spread across the water around the fey witch’s corpse.
Once all the creatures were dead Mimi inspected the chambers. She found a small pile of goods looted from Bordin’s Watch, including some gold and a magical banner. She also found what appeared to be a portal to the Feywild…
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.