Tak, the inspector of Eggs.

In the grand scheme of ‘plans that totally shouldn’t work but did’ I came up with a few doozies today.

 

After we decided to take a short nap to boost our available powers, we headed on up to the floating tower. Half way up, we were set upon by flying kobolds. To be honest, I never thought I’d get the chance to say “Flying Kobolds” so today was off to a flying (hah) start.

Flying beasties prove to be somewhat of a problem for our close combat orientated group, and it took a little longer than normal to dispatch these buggers.

After that, it was a simple case of reapplying the polymorph spell to drax to turn him into an eagle, and getting him to ferry us up to the floating platform.

Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn. I’ve heard its not the thing to do in polite company, but what came next was genius. I spotted a group of three Kobolds eating their breakfast on the next level of the tower, and I strode in, pretending to belong.

“Good afternoon gentlefolk” I began. “I’m the Egg inspector, here to check everything is in order. I’m to make sure correct procedure is being followed.”

With creatures of normal intelligence I’d be wearing a coat of arrows already, but the Kobolds stopped what they were doing, and took a moment to consider this. One of the Kobolds even took this chance to present me with his breakfast, which oddly included an egg. Where he got it, I’ll never know.

“it says here on the list that I should expect to find a non-winged one here, by the name of ‘Dirt’. Where is he?” This may have been pushing my luck, trying to send them away.

One of them spat into the void below the room. “Him stupidhead, and not supposed to be up here!”

It answered, and I got the impression I was stretching this a little far.

“Ok, I’ll call in my team for advice, you wait there!”

I beckoned to Tia, Eagle Drax and Maeb. They hurried to join me. Tia whispered garbage to me, and I replied to the Kobolds. “Ok, you’re fine for now, we need to head on up to check the eggs above. With that, we all hurried up the stairs away from them, waiting on any sign of pursuit. None came.

On the floor above, we came across a number of items that totally didn’t require ransacking the room. Tia found a spellbook. Maeb found floating rocks strung together with rope, and Drax found inner peace in being a giant eagle.

I got bored of waiting for them, and carried on up the stairs. As I crested the stairwell the most beautiful site greeted me. A giant dragon (possibly) skull, upon a crudely crafted wooden body.

Where a crudely crafted statue sits, generally there lays a large amount of stupid followers. My ‘stupid plan’ sense was tingling, and beckoning to Tia’vari I begged her to make me invisible. Some may say begged was too strong a word, but I was literally on my knees giggling at this point.

Tia’vari, not one for ignoring the signs, cast the spell, and turned invisible herself also.

I stepped forwards, and raised the fake skull up. I placed it firmly upon my head, and turned to face the crowd of Kobolds in the midst of a worship. I took a deep breath, and in my best Draconic I started my speech.

“Minions. Stop thy worship. Our tower is under attack from non-believers. I need you to hurry down to ground level and protect us!”

I’m going to stop you here, and explain exactly what I thought would happen.

There were about 20 Kobolds worshipping at this altar, including one in fancy robes. Behind him, a large air elemental hovered in place.

What I expected to happen was approximately half of them would get confused, giving us 5-10 seconds to attack them without taking a shedload of arrows in the face.

What I didn’t expect to happen was that every single Kobold in the place took wing, and flew outside to protect the tower, leaving only the air elemental between us and the mystic egg.

Sometimes the genius of my plans shocks even me!

A few swipes from my colleagues, and the air elemental dissipated. Yay!

With it going, its control over the tower faded, and as a result it started to list.

Balls.

We ran, as fast as our legs would carry up, down to the lowest level. The plan here was to jump ship, landing back on the lower part of the tower.

It was a good plan, with one minor flaw. The lower part of the tower was a good half a mile away now and increasing.

Well. Balls. Maybe that elemental was good for something after all.

Troll Poop is not a bludgeoning weapon.

Ok. It wasn’t one Troll. It was two. In close quarters two Trolls can be devastating.

Fortunately, Maeb, Arn and Drax used the setup of the tower to their advantage, funnelling the Trolls through a choke point. Tia woke and moved in to join the fray. The pair of us stood at the back throwing fire and lightning about, and the two attacking trolls fell to our collective might!

Ready to congratulate everyone, I turned to spot two more Trolls sneaking up on us from behind. The first got off a good hit on me before I blasted him (I shouldn’t assume really, this could have been a her) and the following troll with a lightning bolt. I sidestepped keeping it in the doorway, and Arn came to join us.

A series of spells, strikes and bites, and both trolls shuffled off to deadsville.

With four trolls already ambushing us, it was time to try the quiet approach. Arn snuck off to investigate, and found another troll, this time sleeping. My Great Uncle Dakit was a bard of some reknown, and had great wisdom he’d impart at times like this. Perhaps my favorite was “Don’t wake the bloody Troll you numbnut.”

We followed that wisdom, and backed away to investigate another area.

From behind a pile of rubble Drax spotted a pair of eyes watching us. Dashing forward to check, he spotted the retreating form of a Kobold.

Someone discovered a staircase whilst I was trying to call to the Kobold to come back. A little investigation proved it was not exactly the safest in the realms, and Maeb spent a minute trying to fix it up and make it safe for us. It still required a little Parkour, but once up, we used a rope to help the larger members of the party join us.

On the next floor up, we spotted the Kobold once more as it bolted into a room. We gave chase, and Tia’Vari rushed in behind it. Unfortunately, the Kobold hadn’t waited for her. Instead, a large studded trunk swung down from the ceiling, smashing into her, knocking her sideways.

Great, traps. Time to be a little more careful.

No sign of a Kobold in this room though, which was odd, because we’d clearly seen him enter it. I stepped out into the corridor, to check one of the other paths, to hear a shout from the room behind. A secret door had been found, but our Goliaths were a little too large to fit in, which meant it was down to Tia and me. Down the second corridor I spotted the Kobold again as he bolted into another room. Drax came to join me at the intersection, and I nipped back to check the secret door with Tia.

We followed the path that the Kobold had taken, careful for any further traps. Exiting via the same door we’d seen it exit, We spotted Arn stepping into a room ahead of us. He leapt to one side with cat-like dexterity, narrowly avoiding a bucket of troll poo which hit the floor with… well, I’d like to say a thud, but I think the troll may have needed to see a medic.

A shout from the corridor sent Arn and echo running through. Drax had spotted the Kobold again, but it had escaped once more. Arn and Echo came barrelling out, ending up face to face with it. It evaded Arn, but Echo took a swipe knocking it down. Fortunately, he hadn’t killed it though, just knocked it out. Arn picked it up in one hand, and pinned the unconscious creature against the wall with one hand. His hand glowed with a natural light, and the Kobold woke up squirming.

I stepped up, seizing the chance to practice my Draconic.

“Hello little one, you may not know this, but you’re in the presence of some mighty Heroes. This here is the Hero Tia’Vari, and her quest is to recover an item of hers that’s located here. I’m sure you’d love to help her wouldn’t you? She’s looking for an egg.”

His eyes went wide, and he started to stammer.

“Now, I think we can talk calmly, can’t we. My friend Arn here is going to let you down, and you’ll talk with us won’t you? We can keep the kitty under control, but if you try to run he’ll hunt you down and eat you.”

The Kobold freaked out, but nodded sharply.

“Arn, put him down, he’s not going to run.”

And then, in Draconic. “Where is the egg little one?

His eyes strayed upwards, I’d guess towards the tower. “He has it! Grand Highest Priest Lokkit the 17th. He said that Dirt couldn’t touch it. Dirt wasn’t allowed. No Wings for Dirt.”

“Your name is Dirt?” I asked, and he nodded. “Dirt, if you can help us get the egg, I’m sure we’ll allow you to touch it before we leave! For now, you just need to stay quiet, and out of our way.”

He seemed happier, but still nervous. Glancing down the corridor I could see why. Echo had hunkered down, and his tail we twitching a little. I pointed it out to Arn, and asked that Echo stand down.

“We’re letting Dirt go for now, he’s our friend now!” Arn didn’t look convinced, but Echo moved over next to him, and Dirt cautiously backed down the corridor to the corner, then bolted out of sight.

In the room we’d caught Dirt in front of, we found another staircase up. This one in slightly better condition. Before we headed up, I just needed a breather. I sat for half an hour, whilst Tia searched the remaining rooms, being careful to avoid any other traps. In doing so, she also uncovered Dirt’s bolthole, but decided to not bother him any further.

On returning, we gather our stuff, ready to head upwards towards the floating tower.

 

Never send a Kobold as a welcoming party.

As we reached camp, we were greeted by the site of Arn ruffling Echo’s ears. Tia’vari still slept, but the Goliath Ranger was back on his feet. We filled him in on the recent developments and discussed tactics as to how we could get the Princess to safety without being arrested ourselves. Eventually we persuaded Dovin that we could send her to the Chapterhouse without having to go ourselves. This way avoiding incarceration. After a little debate he agreed, and Rarity (Maeb’s mount) agreed to carry her through. We left a note, and included a dose of the poison we’d found.
Dovin ran a bell which summoned forth a portal within a tree, and Rarity rode through.

Dovin stepped up to the tree, and placed the bell at its roots. Turning, he warned us “They can track this. We should leave before the come to investigate. This was enough warning, and I polymorphed Drax back into a triceraDrax. He lumbered off into the night carrying Tia and Maeb. I mounted my faithful steed Bunny, and gave chase.

Just short of an hour later, and we set up camp. I’d say for the night, but it was almost morning. The multiple polymorphs spells had put a massive drain on me, and I swiftly fell into a dreamless sleep.

I guess my exhaustion showed, because I wasn’t woken for a watch that night, and I awoke to the smell of cooking oats the next morning. Dovin had prepared Porridge for breakfast, an dgulping it down we set about planning for the next steps.

Tia still hadn’t woken, but we decided to head for the mountains anyway. If she didn’t wake beforehand, perhaps we could activate the gem buried in her hand anyway. I wasn’t sure how this would work, but we could give it a try.

Dovin estimated it’d take about 4 days of travel, so we packed up and headed out.

Four days was pretty accurate. Within 2 days the trees had thinned enough to show the mountain. By the third day, we could see the outline of a small tower upon the mountain. On the fourth day, we started our ascent.

The path wove its way up the foot of the mountain, and in almost no time, it became treacherous. Sheer drops to either side of us as we climbed higher.

As the path switched back on itself, we heard a deep grunt, and a large troll-like creature stepped around a boulder in the path. I tried to shake it with a thunderwave, and when it stood resolute, Drax stepped in and punched it from the path. It sailed out over the drop-off, its arms flailing almost comically.

From above us, a series of rocks rained down. Arn took a hit, and the rest of us took cover. Maeb spread her wings, and leapt up into the air for a better view. She counted three enemies out to us. I asked Arn if he was ready, and before he could reply teleported him up to the ledge above us. He gave me a familiar scowl before the troll that waited above laid into me with a flurry of attacks.

It was all I could do to stay standing. The creature resisted the majority of my attacks, but fortunately I wasn’t alone. Arn peppered the creature with attack after attack. His new weapon glowing blacker with each successful hit. The creature stood up to the first barrage of attacks, but fell to the second. Behind me Maeb unleashed divine wrath on a second troll, and as both trolls fell, a small winged beast fired crossbow bolt after bolt at me. Growing tired at this, I snatched a bolt from the air and commanded it to stop attacking.

Strangely it ignored me. Normally that worked!

Drax however, was prepared for this, and weaved his radiant magic, locking the small winged creature in place. Arn stepped in, and restrained it, whilst Echo playfully batted at is as it fell into Arns grasp.

Normally at this point, we chat with the enemy, they see the error of their ways, and we all laugh about the misunderstanding.

This creature called me a bad name, so we killed it.

 

Ahead of us stood an odd tower. Its doors lay upon the snow in front of it, and it climbed up from the mountain like a rotten tooth. Half way up, the walls crumbled to nothing. Yet further up still, the top of the tower hung suspended, with nothing holding it in place.

Maeb took to the skies to carry out some Recon, and did her best to resemble a porcupine as a wave of crossbow bolts filled the air.

We decided that an airborn assault might not be the cleverest. So we used the front door. Its always served us well.

I was midway through a cunning plan that involved the severed head of the Kobold and my invisible friend Phillip when another Troll leapt from the dark to attack us.

Bloody Trolls ruining my plans.

Pocket-Clerics and Dinosaurs.

Slowly the local wildlife decided we were not a threat, and the night-time sounds of nature returned to the area. We mounted up, and Dovin lead the way towards the summer residence. As he lead, we asked questions about the side, and likely guard complement of the property.

It became quickly obvious that he not only didn’t know, but hadn’t actually been to this property before.

A stealthy approach then. Scout out the property, form a plan, carry it out. Easy.

Arn was to sneak in with Echo. Whilst I’d been diving in treasure yesterday, Arn had spent the evening with a couple of the Druids from the infirmary. They had carried out some kind of healing ritual, and he was no longer blind. Whilst it seemed to be causing some minor issues with double vision, Arn seemed happier than I’d ever seen him. I don’t recall ever seeing him smile, but he was even cracking jokes.

He cast something briefly, and the ‘stealthy’ sounds of us cracking through the dry leaves on the forest floor deadened. Grinning he turned to scout ahead. He was to report back on the residence, and with that information we could plan our infiltration properly.

Arn took one step, stiffened, and collapsed to the floor. Behind me, I heard the sound of someone else dropping. Looking back, Tia also sprawled upon the floor. Drax checked them over, and confirmed that whilst everything seemed normal, they were unconscious. Dovin tried a healing spell, but nothing took hold.

Echo had been nudging at Arn with his head, and instead stepped onto Arn’s chest, and sat down.

We needed to carry out the mission, and two unconscious party members didn’t change that, so I turned to the snow leopard and asked “Echo, we need to rescue the princess, can you guard them both while we do?” Echo, being a giant cat, didn’t answer. I assumed that meant yes, and we headed off into the darkness.

There is an art to sneaking up on an unsuspecting target. I’m not so bad at it myself, and I’ve been witness to some absolute masters. One thing they ultimately avoid doing, to a man, is to make sure they aren’t surrounded by three party members wearing platemail.

It was obvious after about three steps that the sneaky approach wasn’t going to work. We needed a different way to scout the area, and with limited resource available, Maeb offered to scout. But I’d need to turn her into something a little less obvious. After some brainstorming, we decided a small owl would do the job, and I polymorphed her into one. She took off silently, and returned a few minutes later.

The house was guarded by 8-10 soldiers, with two large dwarven figures standing guard inside.

8-10 soldiers were manageable. Dovin wanted no bloodshed if possible, so we needed to either sneak in or talk our way in. We’d already worked out what happened when sneaking, so talking it was.

No matter how good I am at talking, it’d be very difficult to explain why an 8 foot Goliath was with us, so Drax temporarily needed to be smaller. Another polymorph spell, and mouse-Drax rested in my pocket.

I slipped the ring on that let me alter my form, and picked an armoured form similar to that of the guards I could see near the property. Maeb cast something similar, and took on human form. Dovin stood staring at us before remembering the mission, and the three of us made a beeline for the main entrance.

We bantered as I imagine soldiers must as we approached, and the guards called a warning as we got close.

“We’ve a message for the Captain, direct from the Councillor!”

I was pushing it assuming that the Captain answered directly to the Councillor, but if they were up to something nefarious with the Princess I can’t imagine the entirety of the army being involved.

“What’s your business?” They called back.

“Look, I think you’ll understand that I can’t just tell you the message. What with it being orders directly from the Councillor concerning the young lady.”

The two guards discussed this quietly between themselves, and Dovin shuffled nervously behind me. I wasn’t nervous though, I had the confidence of a Bard with a mini-cleric in his pocket.

One of the guards turned back towards the house, and called to someone out of sight. “Evans, could you inform the Captain that theres a messenger at the gate for him?”!

We stood waiting for a response for a few minutes, and after the first minute I decided to put on my ‘impatient’ face. Being pissed off always helps sell deception.

With little fanfare the absent guard returned with another, though this man stood slightly straighter, with slightly better quality armour. It struck me then that none wore what I’d describe as uniform or colours.

It was a little late to worry about whether we were dealing with Mercenaries or not, as the Captain stepped up in front of us. “I’m told you have a message for me?”

I glanced to either side at his soldiers, then back at him “I’m not sure that you want to hear this out here? I’m sure you know the nature of this message?” then I paused, leaving that in the air. He stood staring at me for a good 30 seconds, then sighed.

“Fine, you, messenger, follow me. The other two must stay out here.” And he turned on his heel and walked back inside. I quickly followed, trying to formulate a plan with us separated, worst case scenario I pop Drax back to his full size, and we subdue the captain.

He lead us through the building, into a small well furnished study, he took a seat and I sat opposite.

“Report!”

This would be where my brain was racing fastest. Just how much rubbish could I think up on the fly…

“I trust you paid attention to who was stood at the back with me out there? You’ll have spotted the armour, and designs upon it?”

He nodded.

“The Order have approached Anis about the Princess. They’re concerned that she’s hidden away, and want evidence that she’s alive. They’ve sent him to double check. I’m your prior warning. You need to make her look well, so he can see her, and report back.”

“Make her look well? Her health continues to deteriorate.”

“Well, perhaps one of your medics can… I don’t know… Use makeup or something?”

It was at this point that something changed in his eyes. I’d obviously said the wrong thing.

“Who did you say sent you again?”

I reached into my pocket and took mini-Drax out. Things were about to get wiggly.

Weaving my fingers through the familiar arcane patterns subtly, I answered.
“My commander, on the orders of Councillor Anis, asked me to deliver this message.” Then finalising the spell… “I need you to bring my colleagues here, and take us all to the Princess, and I need there to be no fuss.”

With longer to plan, I guess my suggestion could have been more complex, but I knew what was about to happen.

My concentration on the spell caused the spell I’d cast on Drax to fail, and with a soft Bamf sound, he returned to his normal self. The Captain had a moment of panic cross his face, and then the nature of my spell settled in. He nodded, and called in a guard.

Balls.

The guard stepped into the doorway, and freaked. He was halfway through drawing his sword when the Captain spoke. “No, no, put that away, we don’t want any fuss.”

“but… but… “

“No fuss Soldier, that’s the order. Please go and fetch this mans comrades, and bring them to us. No fuss please.”

The guard resheathed his sword, and took off to fetch Maeb and Dovin.

A few minutes later they joined us. I prompted the Captain to take us to the Princess, and he led us to another small room. Guarded by two more soldiers. Both of which also freaked at the sight of Drax.

The Captain once against had them stand down. “No Fuss Gentlemen, they’re here to see the Princess.”

He showed us inside, and Dovin ran to the Princesses side. He spent a good minute examining her and trying to wake her. Drax and Maeb stepped up to assist. As they pulled back the cover to examine her, it became obvious what the issue was. Blackened diseased roots encircled her arms, curling around her hands and intertwining themselves with the bed.

On the nightstand next to the bed sat a small beaker filled with bubbling viscous liquid. Drax picked it up and sniffed it, recoiling at its acrid smell.

I took the potion and cast identify on it. Images of five figures carrying out a ritual to produce it filled my head. It carried the blight in its genes, and was more than just a potion or disease. Someone had been feeding it to the Princess. I poured fire from my hands into it, destroying it utterly.

I turned to face the Captain, who was obviously struggling with the commands he’d been issued with.

“There, you’ve seen her. Now you must leave.”

Time was running out, and we needed to get out of here without a fuss.

“Dovin, I think the only person that can save her from this blight is the Forest Warden. We should take her to him!” I struggled not to wink, or use air quotes, and hoped that he’d understand my deception.

“But you said he was dead?”

God, humans are so stupid sometimes.

“No, I said the old one was dead. The new one can help!”

“But you said I…”

I was winking at him by now, and needed to shut him up fast.

“Dovin. We really need to take her to the Forest Warden.”

He stood blankly staring at me. So I stepped past, and started to untangle to roots from the bed. I got one hand free before the Captain stepped up to stop me.

“I need you to stop that. I can’t have any fuss here!”

From outside came a voice, “Captain? Is everything ok?”

“Yes, everythings fine in here, we don’t want any fuss!”

Both Maeb and Dovin stepped up to untangle the roots around the other hand.

The Captain became agitated and turned to the door to call the guards.

Go time.

I cast a spell to hold him in place, and Drax stepped outside to address the guards. Both of which jumped at seeing him. Behind me, Dovin and Maeb started smashing the bed frame to free the Princess.

In the hallway, both guards drew their weapons, and Drax tried to freeze them both to the spot. He succeed for one, and the other stepped towards him. Maeb slipped out behind him, and spectral roots flowed from the ground, surrounding and restraining the guard. Dovin grabbed the princess, and we fled for the door.

As we hit the main hall, it seemed more sensible to use the side exit, rather than the main, more well guarded, entrance. Glancing over as we ran for the door, I spotted a beautiful set of armour. Maeb spotted it at the same time. “Grab that Maeb! I’ve a feeling it’ll be useful!” Maeb took another look at it, back at me, and carried on running.

As we cleared the doorway I saw Drax had taken over carry duty from Dovin. I held out my arms, took the Princess from him, and Polymorphed him into a Triceratops. God I love dinosaurs. Perfect for every occasion.

Mounting our new steed, I reached down to pull Dovin up. He blanched, and instead turned into a small own, and flew on ahead. TriceraDrax took off at a lumber, trumpeting as he did. The Guards ahead of us screamed, and threw themselves into cover. 5 minutes later, we were lumbering through the forest with no sounds of pursuit.

We reached our campsite with no incident, and after lowering the princess back to Dovin I dismounted and dropped the spell on Drax. Arn and Tia still slept, guarded by a slightly twitchy Echo.

Now we just need to work out what to do with the Princess whilst we go get Dovin Ordained.

 

 

 

Just dragon around my Treasure!

So for anyone wondering “How do Dragons carry around their cash? Do they have wallets made out of Orc-skin?” I can finally answer that question!

A swift search of the rapidly decaying corpse of Dead Dad revealed a large chain necklace around his neck. I tried, and failed, to loop it over the skull, but couldn’t quite manage it. Prior to lopping off the head (and upsetting his daughter) I asked Maeb to help. She pointed out that it’d probably be easier to undo the clasp, and once again I felt like an idiot.

Removing the clasp, the chain immediately shrunk so that I was holding a necklace I could easily loop around my neck. Not being so daft as to immediately put on a magic item without checking it first, I cast ‘Identify’ on it, to ensure it wasn’t cursed.

No Curse!

Ace!

Dangling from the chain was a small pouch, and inside the pouch was a piece of material blacker than almost anything I’d seen before. Another quick spell, and we knew we had a portable hole in our hands. I’d never seen one before, so we stretched it out in front of us, and concentrated to activate it.

The cloth stretched to a six foot diameter, and rippled slightly. The darkness of the material shifted, and suddenly we were no longer looking at material, but at a pit in front of us. As the light shifted to illuminate it, we realised we weren’t actually looking at a pit, but at a pile of gold. A very big pile of gold. A very very big pile of gold. In amongst the gold, items poked out. Teapots, jewel encrusted candlesticks, some weird gold egg thing. We really needed to sort through this and see what we were dealing with.

I jumped down into the pit, and started throwing gold out onto the courtyard. Someone threw a bucket down, and I started to use this instead. We turn up a few magic items in the clearance, but we weren’t making much of a dent. We’d probably cleared about a foot and a half depth of gold, and this this was about six foot deep. Sticking up from the pile was a staff, and Tia’Vari seemed enraptured by it. Trying to pull it out wasn’t working.  It was time to think outside the hole.

I jumped out of the hole, and picked it up. Leaving the spoils already turfed out, we retreated back to our room. Picking the biggest wall, I waited whilst everyone retreated to the floor above, and then slapped the hole against the wall and turned and ran.

This wasn’t a good plan.

The pit immediately paid attention to gravity, and the hundreds of thousands of gold coins, items, and other jagged heavy things attacked me with the force of… well, hundreds of thousands of heavy things being affected by gravity.

It hurt, and I was carried swiftly towards the opposite wall.

Spending a few minutes digging myself out, I could hear the others sniggering. They tried to mask it, but there was definite laughter.

Tia stepped down onto the settled pile of gold and claimed the staff. We then set about filtering through the gold for other bits.

After claiming all of the magic items, and sweeping the gold back into the pit (This required a relocation of the pit to the floor) We remembered that the whole reason we’d been in the courtyard was to speak with Dovin.

 

A few minutes later, Dovin sat talking with us in our room. We persuaded him that being the Forest Warden was the best path to protecting the realm, but first we had to agree to rescue the Princess with him. It was, hopefully, an easy task. Nowhere near the calamity of fighting an undead dragon. Heck, I’d probably not need to turn into a dinosaur for it!

 

We agreed that we’d have to sneak out at midnight, and Dovin had a way to get us to the Summer residence that the Princess was being kept at.

At midnight, we grabbed our horses, and Dovin brought an older druid out into the courtyard. He reached out towards the massive Oak in the centre of the courtyard, and a small hole in the centre quickly widened to a five foot wide portal. Dovin hurried us inside, and as we stepped out of the other side of the trunk, we were no longer inside the chapterhouse of the order. We now stood in a densely wooded area, which quickly hushed on our arrival.

I could get used to this method of travel.

A little bird told me…

Today we got to meet the future Forest Warden. You’d think that would classify as the defining point of the day.

We’d spent the day watching Tia’Vari train. The amusement factor had waned, and now the only enjoyment I was getting, was from playing tunes for the students in the library whilst they read.
During the evening meal, a large bell started to sound. None of the Knights seemed fazed by this, and the only one to rise and leave was the commander. We followed him to see what was causing the commotion, and he stopped outside and started casting at the large tree in the centre of the courtyard.

The Tree started to open up, and it burped up an armoured figure. To be honest, I had no idea that trees could eat people. This changes everything.

Dovin Treeguard strode forth, ranting that “Anis is running the whole show now. He’s relegated the Princess to her Summer residence, and is refusing to grant anyone access. He claims she’s ‘too ill’. He’s bought out the council. They all answer to him!”

The Commander interupted him at this point, telling him instead to meet him in his office. They both headed out, and this was too juicy a story to miss out on, so I shifted form to that of a starling, and flew around the castle to the commanders window, where I perched and listened to him rant further on the subject. The Commander told him that he had no one to spare, and couldn’t mount an offensive against the capital, based purely on a feeling. He’d think about it, and they could talk about it in the morning.

I quickly flapped back to the group, and filled them in on what I’d heard. Moments later Dovin exited into the courtyard.

I quickly introduced myself, and the rest of the group (bar the trainee Tia’Vari, who was on cleanup duty in the great hall) and launched into our tale once more. Dovin seemed sceptical, but once we mentioned his ancestors name, he started to pay attention. Going for broke, I told him about the staff of seasons, and passed it to him. He unwrapped it, and held it aloft. A massive bolt of lightning, together with a thunderclap filled the courtyard. I may have miscalculated there, but Dovin seemed unhurt. We quickly wrapped it again, and I slung it across my back. Tia’Vari came pounding into the courtyard, looking to see if we were under attack. Spotting the staff being slung over my back, she grabbed for it. She was still intent on owning it for herself, oblivious to the danger it posed to her and everyone close.

We argued about this some more, when the others pointed to the sky. Looks like this arguement was saved by ‘Dead Dad’. He was returning, and at speed, bellowing about unleashed power. I’ll be honest, I tuned out at this stage, because the last thing we needed was Dovin getting eaten by the Dragon. I grabbed him, and teleported away, depositing him in the Commanders office. “Stay here!” I ordered, thinking to keep him safe, he argued it briefly, but I gave him a look, knowing he’d obey and stay. I teleported back to the fight, where everyone seemed engaged with the dragon.

Seconds later, Dovin appeared behind me, weapon drawn. Balls.

I threw him the staff, telling him to use it, as it’d help! Hopefully this would keep him out of the fight a little longer. Back in the courtyard, Drax had cast his mightiest spell yet. The Dragon stood rigid, whilst everyone laid into it with everything they had. Echo stood at my side, keeping watch over the battlefield.

The Dragon snapped out of his immobilised state, and unleashed a breath attack across the courtyard, taking out a number of guards, and wounding some of my friends. It tore left and right, snapping and clawing at anyone in range. With each blow it received, it returned the force tenfold. However, cracks began to appear it its scales, and tendrils of dark mist oozed from each wound it suffered. It made one final attempt to destroy everyone around it, dropping me into unconciousness, before we slew the beast.

After a little healing from my friends. we stood looking over the battlefield, we lost many of the humans that stood alongside us, and almost lost our record of our trials so far! However, in front of us lay the decayin corpse of ‘Dead Dad’. Hopefully he’ll stay dead, but we’ll have to see what happens there.

The Wizard likes flowers!

As the Chapterhouse of the Order of the Tree loomed its way into view, it suddenly struck me that I’d never before set foot in a southern military structure. Whilst the cities and fortresses back home were of a more wooden nature, this one instead featured a large amount of bricks and mortar. It was an imposing sight to say the least.

Passing beneath its battlements, I made sure to greet every guard we met. I didn’t want them seeing us as “Northern Savages” but it seems my pleasantries didn’t help much. There was lots of muttered oaths, and the trainees we passed stopped their drills, and were instant rewarded with harsh language from their task-master. I guess military training is the same no matter which side of the country you call home. The commander of the escort stopped us, and asked if we held Ill intent. He offered us the choice of confinement to lodgings, or a shared cell. It wasn’t much of a choice to be fair, and soft beds after weeks on the road are always welcome.

Father Oarath and the troop captain headed off to speak to the chapterhouse commander, leaving us with a dubious looking pair of guards on the door.

We settled in for the day, deciding to wait on the commander showing up. There was little to no chance that they’d bring Dovin to us, but I took the chance to mention it every time I spoke to a human.

By nightfall we’d still not seen the commander, so we decided to post a watch of our own.

Midway through the night, Arn awoke us. He’d heard a noise outside, and needed someone to investigate. Glancing outside, both guards were lying in a pool of blood. Not the best indicator to our captors of our trustworthiness if both our guards are dead. One of the guards lay in bite sized chunks, the other still had a pulse, but was fading fast. I took care of that with a quick healing spell, and we got him to his feet. He was pretty unfocused, so I tried to get him to raise the alarm. It took a few attempts, and we escorted him to do so. Sir Clerenbold (for that was his name) still wasn’t sure what he was doing, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted a the shadowy shape made so familiar from our last big fight. It disappeared into a doorway, and we gave chase, dragging the poor guard with us.

Castles are very maze-like, and this one had a huge number of stairs!

Emerging onto the battlements, we came across more murdered guards. Following the trail of slaughter brought us down more stairs, and back into the main courtyard. With the alarm rang, more knights were charging into the courtyard, and spotting us, they yelled and charged. Almost simultaneously, I spotted the dragon on the battlements again. I needed help, and Thistle, whilst not able to be with us, had always hinted that if I asked, she might listen. Giving a quick plea, I pointed at the dragon, yelling “Look, its up there!”

Several things happened at once. Everyone within 30 feet of me simultaneously vanished. The energy from this caused the dragon to glow a bright radiant white!

The guards all turned to look.

The Dragon buggered off.

Well, I guess when you ask for help from a god, you don’t always get what you expect.

We were still invisible. I’m not sure how, or why, but the Dragon left, so it’s a minor win!

There was a lot of back and forth between the guards and us once the spell finally wore off and we reappeared. Eventually we returned to our room, to allow them to check out the losses.

We escorted Sir Clerenbold to the medic, and slept for the night.

The next day, we got to meet Commander Berenorf. He had some choice things to say, but we managed to persuade him (mainly by our actions) that we weren’t spies. He was most curious about the armour Drax was wearing (we’d looted it from an ancient corpse, it was the same (but older) armour as most of the order wore. He requested it back, and Drax firmly refused, saying he needed it for the coming fights, but that he’d return it when the war was won.

The Commander also mentioned that the Order of the Tree was responsible for the wellbeing of every druid in the land. Tia’Vari thanked him for caring. He then informed her that this meant every druid in the land was conscripted into his order. Her training would begin after breakfast. She was to report to Arms Master Sparrow.

Well. That’s a bit crap.

Tia wasn’t overly impressed with this either. But, whilst we were in their home, we had to follow their rules. We’d see about changing that later. For now, she had to practise fighting with club and shield.

It was certainly proving to be a strange day.

Dino-Rangers Roar!

And so, into the Village we went. Full of good intent on saving humans and their ilk from the corrupted for of Tia’Vari’s dead dad. (That phrase never feels right in my mouth).

As we closed in, Villagers could be seen going about their day to day tasks, almost automation-like. We tried to speak with a number of them, which sent them walking, zombie-like, into their homes. Thinking that this was perhaps some mass charm spell, I whipped out my drums to see if I could aid them. Tia’Vari grabbed at a villager to shake them from their malaise, and looked shocked as she did so.

As if linked, all eyes in the village turned to face me! My drums were having an effect! Though the red tinge to the eyes, and the hateful gaze was a new one! As one, the villagers started to lurch towards me, tools and bread-baskets hanging by their side. My companions stepped to block one of the villagers, and she lashed out at them. Two viscous attacks, and then… She puked a purple coloured translucent worm. It flew from her mouth, its maw seeking to latch on to Arn. Arn instead sliced it from the air, and the battle was on.

The villagers attacked in waves, pouring forth with a vigour and fury that was far beyond that which they held in life. Wound after wound was inflicted upon them, and they just kept coming. I threw a lightning bolt, leaving three of them charred, but still standing. It had the unfortunate effect of setting fire to the thatch on two houses.

From behind the villagers, a dark mass of shadows appeared. The occasional claw, tail or wing protruding, and as it closed, we could make out the shape of a dragon. Somewhat smaller than I’d expected, perhaps the size of a large Elk. It started to taunt Tia’Vari, and confirmed my earlier suspicion that this was, in fact, Tia’s dead dad. I sharn’t tell her that I was unsure beforehand. Let her believe I always knew this to be that case!

He told her to return that which was rightfully his. His soul gem. Whilst I’m sure it used to be his, I’m not convinced he was really due its return. He’d died after all!

Grum leapt into the air, spreading her wings. She flew directly at the shadowy beast, and the rest of us fought on against the undead villagers. Echo took an almighty blow, knocking him to the ground. Fortunately, father Oarath was on hand to get him back into the fray. I took a similar blow, and he helped me up also.

Between us all, we managed to dispatch the closer undead, and everyone started attacking Tia’s Dad. Tia unleashed a massive beam of energy, which tethered her to him, pumping wave after wave of damage at him. There was a crack of energy, and where before the small dragon had been, now an ancient being stood towering over us all. Using the term gargantuan would be an understatement. It beat its wings once, twice, and it was airborne.

In a moment of panic, I didn’t know what to do. It was getting away, and that was bad, but at the same time, it wasn’t going to kill us. I ran forward, grabbing Arn’s arm, and pulling him through a dimension door onto the back of the dragon. I guess I didn’t pick my moment well, because it beat its wings again, and Arn tumbled from its back. It was all I could do to cast featherfall on him, saving him from getting hurt.

Daddy dearest then unleashed a breath of cold icy air, laying waste to everyone in his path (well, except Tia’Vari, who was suspectly free of ice crystals!). Laying around her though was the remains of a troop of knights that had apparently arrived mid fight, and just charged to attack. Now they were a bit dead.

So that’s how I ended up riding the reanimated evil form of Tia’Vari’s dad. Being carried off into the sunset, to me eventual demise.

Well, that would have happened, except I am Tak, and I do stupid things all the time. I cast Polymorph, and turned myself into a giant Lizard. The biggest I could think of, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

My plan was sound. Be a big lizard; wrestle Daddy dearest to the ground. Bite him a few times, and hope everyone else can get here. In actuality, I turned into a big lizard, flailed around with my tiny lizard arms, fell off the dragon and hit the floor. The beast flew off, and then I was left looking magnificent on the ground. (Have you ever tried to stand up without using your tiny tiny arms?)

Tia’Vari revived Oarath, who set to word reviving the knights. Eventually, they managed to get all bar two back from deaths door, and I decided that being a giant lizard was poor taste. I popped back to my normal beautiful self, and strode forward to talk with the captain, one Sir Elmkin, leader of this small band. I explained the situation leading up to the attack, and Oarath backed me up on it. I also asked if we could speak to Dovin Treeguard, which caught him off track. Eventually, I must have persuaded him that we were heroes, because they formed up around us, to provide us with a guard of honour, to lead us back to their chapterhouse.

All in all, not a bad days work!

Something stalks us. Spookah!

For someone remarkably intelligent, Tia’Vari has an appalling memory… I’d always thought Dragons had long memories, like Elephants. Apparently not.
We spent an hour or so travelling from the ruins of the dwarven priests burnt out Church. Tia’Vari had appeared in front of us just after the fight had finished, and I spent the travel time explaining the occurrences of the day to the priest, Tia and Grum. We made camp and I collapsed into a sleep deprived coma. Normally it’d be blackness, and an absence of dreams after a day like that one, but dreams came quickly. We were once again on an island, and in front of us stood an adult version of Thistle. She’d taken my comments to heart, and decided to be more forthcoming. For this we were all grateful. We talked about my time as an elven skyboat, and she confirmed that this was, in fact, how she spent most of her time. She wasn’t a sky elf though. In coming days, she’d have to devote more time to not getting hit by fireballs, so as such wouldn’t be around as much.

The creatures shooting at her were dead. Possibly zombie sky elves? She wasn’t too clear on that.

However, our mission remained. We were to find the forest warden, power him up, and off we go.

We woke up, completely unaided. No one slapped anyone awake…

Over the next day, I sang to the dwarven priest, explaining out travels so far. His religion seemed to have changed to match Thistles new form. Though he had no recollection of this happening. More odd happenings. He was quite forthcoming about the Forest Warden’s heir. Apparently it was a famous family, known for protecting the king of the land. He gave us the name too.
Armed with this, it should be a piece of cake.

Over the next couple of nights, it became obvious that something was stalking us.

On the first night, Tia’Vari’s hand started to glow. A little questioning, and she remembered that her father’s soul gem had embedded itself there, she believed it was pointing her towards the mountain she seeked, but it seemed odd that this only occurred when we detected something evil in the region. She’d completely forgotten that this gem existed. I’m pretty sure I’d remember my dead Dad implanting part of his soul in me… Maybe that’s just me.

Arn and Drax scouted the area, finding tracks of a clawed beast. The tracks ended after a while, and we decided to sleep again. Tia’Vari remembered that she could ask questions of her dead father via the power of the soul gem. She spent the next couple of nights asking about him, and the creature stalking us. She’s convinced its not him, but I’m not so sure.

A few nights on, he appeared again, though this time we managed to track him to a nearby village. I voted we leave them, and use the distraction to get as far away as possible. I remember the fight with Tokable and Grellan. They supposedly killed this beast before… I’m not sure we’re going to be able to hurt it.
However, here we stand, looking over the sleeping village, all the while it stalks ever closer.

Tak’s Adventures – Angry Tak.

Episode something-or-other

Tak gets angry.

 

It’s not often I lose my temper. All in all, I’m a pretty laid back Tiefling. I’ve seen comrades pull the arms off halflings, rip deep gnomes limb from limb, and generally litter in a no-littering area. But I don’t do that sort of thing, I wouldn’t say Boo to a goose (unless it gave a really bad performance).

Today though, I got a little mad.

We’d just save the dwarven priest from the human idiots who thought it a good idea to torch his church. We pretty much taught them the meaning of “whoops my bad” and left them charred and regretting their life choices. Poor old Father whats-his-face was somewhat the worse for wear, and Drax did some of his holy mumbo-jumbo, and cleared his head for him.

All good so far, and at this point Thistle the wonder-girl shows up. First words out of her mouth where to ask why I’d torched HER church. Pretty sure it was Father Oraths church, not hers. I may have gotten a little angry and uttered a few words. Father Orath asked “what in the name of the child was going on”, so I gently informed him of the cheerful deeds of Thistle. I may have only used the words “manipulative cow” once or twice and “scheming riddler” a few more. Next thing I knew, she turned on me, pointed her finger and I was somewhere else.

It was a bit dark, and I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. To be fair though, I also couldn’t see them either. After a moment, my sight adjusted, and I could see thousands of points of light, some brighter than others. Almost looked like the night sky, only… all around me rather than above me.

On second glance, the stars were moving, or maybe I was. Focusing a little more, It seemed maybe it was me moving. Falling even. It seemed like the perfect time to start screaming.

I screamed for a bit.

After a short while, it became apparent that while I was falling, I wasn’t actually going to hit anything in the near future. I stopped screaming.

Something whooshed past my head and exploded. I’m not in the habit of hanging around when that happened, so I glanced back. A giant metal arrow seemed to be throwing molten balls of rock at me. Not overly friendly if you ask me, so I tried casting a spell to stop it.

Nothing happened.

Oh, yeah, now wiggly fingers, and words only happened in my head.

I wracked my brains, and remembered a few spells that needed neither. Oddly though, this manifested as a sort of superheated beam of light.

When in Rome

(I’m not sure where Rome is, I heard a human say it once)

A few more orbs whizzed past my head, and I started to get angry. Stupid little girl, sending me whizzing off into the sky, only to have elven boats (I’d nailed this now, it was obviously a boat of elven wizards) throw fireballs at me. Pointy eared bastards.

I decided enough was enough, and started trying to get closer to the boat. I was going to show these elves a thing or two.

One of the fireballs grazed me. Didn’t hurt so bad after all. I don’t even know why I was avoiding them. I renewed my efforts to get to the boat. Boy were they going to be surprised.

Suddenly, in front of my appeared a ghostly Thistle. I shot her accidentally. The shot went straight through, so I made sure to accidentally shoot her again.

She didn’t look pleased, and asked If I wanted to talk. I politely told her my opinion on this, and she frantically informed me that every time these fireballs hit me, something bad was happening to my friends. This would be why it didn’t hurt me so much I guess.

Nobody hurts my friends. They’re the only ones I have.

I politely asked Thistle to send me back to my friends, which she immediately did. Arn, Drax, Echo and someone new stood around a giant slime beast. All looking somewhat splattered and hurt.

Balling up the rage I sent forth a scream of rage. I’ve been practising this, and can now successfully channel my voice into a thunderous attack.

Slimeface didn’t seem happy about this, so I did it again and he exploded.

My friends got an unexpected mudbath, which to be fair would possibly help their complexion. Turning on my heel, I spotted a shambling mound of vegetation trying to sneak up on me. Full on tiptoes and everything!

It landed two lucky blows on me, but seemed pissed when I stepped back. Echo looked puzzled to see me, but roared with joy shortly after. (Could have been the polymorph spell. I’ve never turned him into a wyvern before)

After that, the fight was won. I’d go into details, but none of it was about me, so obviously not as interesting. Echo seemed happy to curl up afterwards and explore the scalier form. Now all I need to do is hash out with Thistle why she sent me to deal with elves on a boat.