5a. Yoshin turned and headed out of the rats' nest. "Where are you going?" asked Krizzen. "To get some rest," replied the elf, "we're a bit of a mess again."
7a. After an uneventful night in "the safe room", the party considered their exploration of the tomb complex and turned their attention to the one room they hadn't visited. A side room off the main burial chamber, the archway was just the other side of the desecrated Font. The evil symbols on it were still quiet as they passed, and the gore it had been filled with was largely dried out after several days untended. Beyond, the last room opened into a square chamber.
8a. Probably once another side tomb, it had been cleared out - scrape marks on the floor still bore witness to the removal of coffins - and used by the Fae Mhor as a bivouac. A dozen bedrolls were laid out on the floor, with bags and packs nearby. Most immediately eye-catching, however, was a great line of scrawled Fae Mhor characters across the far wall, written in dried blood, probably taken from the Font. Krizzen glanced at Caitlin, who lifted an eyebrow. "It says, You will regret this," she reported. Evidently the priestess was not about to shrug off her defeat at their hands.
The bags contained various personal effects, and the companions investigated the rations with interest as their own were running quite low. Wrapped in strange leaves, they found some odd plant material and some distinctly strange dried meat. These turned out to be spider meat and dried fungus, and all three looked at them dubiously. The bedrolls were unusual as well; made of woven spider-silk, they were lighter and warmer than their own, and Krizzen - son of a fence - figured they'd sell well to the right collector. He and Caitlin took one each, but Yoshin refused to touch anything made by the Fae Mhor.
4. As Caitlin had been asking continually whether the others thought the rain might have stopped, the party decided to go and check, and headed up the stairs to the upper level. All was quiet as they reached the room where the hobgoblin corpses still lay on the flags, and Caitlin looked up at the gaping hole in the ceiling through which they'd entered. "It's stopped!" she said in delight. Krizzen laid a massive hand on her shoulder, urgently gesturing for silence. He'd noticed a flicker of firelight coming from the main entrance hall.
Caitlin stepped quietly to the beginning of the corridor and listened. A moment later, and she was following the conversation, suddenly fluent in Orcish. Deep, brutish voices were arguing roughly about something; after a few minutes she realized it was over how to cook horse... Her eyes widened. Simon, her beloved mount, and the horses of the other two were stabled in the room now occupied by something between two and a half-dozen orcs!
Yoshin unpacked a rope. "Here's a thought," he said quietly. "Krizzen and I sneak down to just this side of the room, and I'll pop you into a Rope Trick. Then I can 'discover' the orcs, scream to get their attention, 'panic' and run back this way. Hopefully they'll follow you. Caitlin can be lurking behind the doorway here, to give them a nasty surprise, and then you can drop out of the ceiling and attack them from the back." After some development, this plan was adopted, and after some preparatory spellcasting, Krizzen and Yoshin tiptoed carefully down the long corridor towards where the orcs were.
Ten feet back from the shattered doors, Yoshin turned his back to muffle the sounds of his casting and cast his Rope Trick, managing not to be audible over the thumps, bumps, clatters and arguing of six orcs in a confined space. After a heart-stopping moment when he nearly fell out again, he was safely tucked away and Yoshin prepared to act his part.
2. Dashing into the entrance, he 'pulled up' in mock horror at the sight of the orcish occupants, glancing left and right in feigned terror. The odds made that terror easier easier to fake. A large bonfire made of doors and the coffin from one of the side lobbies burned in the centre of the room, with a large orc tending a crude iron spit over it. Three more were gathered off to his left, busily removing the tack from their horses which he was relieved to see were still alive so far. A fifth stood watching as a sixth - better armoured and equipped than the others and probably their leader - rummaged roughly through some saddlebags. His saddlebags, he couldn't help noticing. Tucked through the leader's belt was a long piece of thin chain, at the other end of which was a wretched, wizened female goblin, dressed in rags.
4. Yelling in half-real panic, Yoshin took off down the corridor the way he had come. He'd already cast Expeditious Retreat on himself, and once out of sight he shut up and allowed his speed to increase to his new maximum. In seconds he was back with Caitlin, nodding at her to be ready and retreating to the far side of the room, remaining visible so as to lure the orcs in. Shouts and yells, and thudding boots, told him that at least some of the orcs had taken the bait.
Bawling its' head off, the first orc - the one who'd been tending the fire - charged flat-out through the doorway and into the room. His attention was fixed on Yoshin and he never even noticed Caitlin lurking behind the door. As he rushed past, she stepped coolly out and lunged with her rapier, catching him completely unprepared. The slender blade sank deep, then withdrew scattering spots of blood. The orc coughed, dropped his weapon, and stumbled sideways away from her to crash to the floor.
Two more were hard on his heels, and Yoshin sized them up before selecting one and sending the flaring bolts of a Magic Missile tearing into him. The orc dropped without a sound, his skull a shattered ruin, and his companion hurdled the corpse and carried on.
2. Back at the other end of the passage, Krizzen dropped from the Rope Trick and spun to confront the orcs who hadn't taken the bait. There were three, the same three who'd been looting the saddlebags; a grunt armed with a bow, the leader and the slave. Krizzen had a bad feeling about the goblin, and chose her for his first strike, slashing a wound in her arm as she stepped hurriedly back. Then the leader roared, raising his crudely-forged sword, and attacked. Krizzen's fears were proved out as the goblin lifted a skinny arm and cast a Magic Missile of her own, the energy bolts burning three holes into Krizzen's flesh.
4. Yoshin continued to pelt the oncoming orcs with Magic Missiles as Caitlin fought them in the doorway. Aware of her presence now, they were more wary and she was forced to dance and weave to keep their massive weapons from smashing her to pulp.
2. The goblin tried a different spell, and for a moment Krizzen was seized by an unaccountable desire to lie down and sleep. He shook his head and the impulse went away, but it put him off his stride and he and the orc leader exchanged a flurry of ineffectual blows. The goblin sorceress tried it again, and again Krizzen proved resistant to the spell, cutting a gash into the orc leader's chest.
4. Caitlin ducked sideways, saw an opening and stabbed, stepping smartly sideways as the dying orc toppled past her. Looking around, she realized that the last of the orcs they'd lured down the passage had changed his mind and had dashed back to attack Krizzen froim behind. Yoshin had cast a Flaming Sphere and sent it to harry him. Caitlin pulled up Thengorn's crossbow from her belt, levelled it, and put a bolt into the orc from behind. Almost at the same moment, Yoshin nailed it with another Magic Missile and it stumbled to its' knees before dropping to the floor.
2. Krizzen hunched his shoulders as yet another Magic Missile smacked into him; he couldn't take much more of that! The room was suddenly brightly lit as Yoshin threw a Daylight spell into the combat, but all that did was to give Krizzen a much better view of the archer orc, lurking by the exit doors, drawing a bead on him. He flinched as the archer loosed, but the orc leader stepped sideways at the wrong moment and took the arrow in his back. He really wasn't having a good day.
4. Caitlin had stayed at her ambush post, scratching the ears of Yoshin's familiar Ratbag, but a yell of "get the staff ready!" from Krizzen alerted her to the fact that the fight wasn't, in fact, over. Grabbing her sword up, she ran down the corridor to resume the fight.
2. As Krizzen continued to battle the leader of the orcs, Yoshin split Magic Missiles between him and the sorceress. His worries about the state of his friend were confirmed when a return Magic Missile from the goblin dropped the lizardman. His wounds looked mortal, but Yoshin didn't have the time. He tried a Sleep spell, but both the orc and the goblin were too tough to be affected. Caitlin, arriving late to the party, put another crossbow bolt into the orc leader and started spanning the weapon for another shot.
The goblin, trying another tack, cast a Color Spray, which filled the corridor with bewildering flashes of bright colour. Yoshin and Caitlin were unaffected, but the orc leader blinked and came to a halt, his weapon dangling loosely. Caitlin ducked under an arrow from the archer at the doors, levelled the crossbow and shot the orc leader dead as he bumbled. Yoshin lifted his quarterstaff and attacked the goblin, who defended himself with his own smaller staff and then broke for the outside doors.
With something of a feeling of deja vu, Yoshin dumped a healing potion down Krizzen's throat, reviving the big lizardman from the edge of death. Taking in the situation at a glance, Krizzen siezed the Blitzspear, lurched to his feet, and hurled it at the fleeing shaman. The shattering levinbolt tore through the small form, leaving a huge charred hole in its' body; as it fell, it seemed to swell, and when it came to rest, the battered remains of a female orc lay there, no chain in evidence.
Seeing the battle lost, the canny archer orc turned and ducked through the doors to the outside. Caitlin's last bolt clipped his shoulder, but he ran on. Cursing, Yoshin ran to the door and cast another Flaming Sphere after him. Fleeing headlong, the orc didn't see it coming and the ball of fire rolled right over him, killing him instantly.
The party sat around their campfire, watching the sun rise over the mountains as their breakfast cooked. They'd remained camped up at the tomb of Hightower for over a week as their wounds healed and the effects of the poison worked their way out of Krizzen's system.
During the days, Krizzen had pondered deeply on the symbolism of the god of his people, and had taken up the faith of the Scales of Steel. Yoshin had developed his magic and had several new spells to try out, and Caitlin's unquenchable mischief was bubbling over waiting for someone to work upon. Their equipment and garments were battered and stained, and all agreed it was time to return to civilization for some R&R, supplies and new beginnings. Yoshin had a map, and after some thought, the three mounted up and headed south-east, towards Minensal.
Session Date: 7th Sept 2013