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Finally Getting a Chance to Show My Skills!: Session 9
Surviving the Rapids: As the rapids pulled us all down the river, I had a flashback to the time when my dad ‘taught’ me how to swim. He threw me off our boat in the middle of a lake and told me to get back to shore. The lake wasn’t too big, just about 700-800 meters to shore. I flailed about hopelessly until I figured out how to keep afloat. Then it was just a long, grueling crawl back to shore. Of course, my dad wasn’t one to do things like that without a reward, so once I got back, he said the boat was mine. He was an unorthodox teacher to say the least, but I learned a lot from him. Now though, I wasn’t in a calm lake. Still, I mustered up all I had and managed to stay afloat. I was tiring out quickly though. I thought of the others. Tirondel had, no doubt, learned to swim on one of his supposedly great adventures. In fact, I could hear him yelling cheesy lines, so I was sure he was doing fine. Ivan, on the other hand, would be weighed down by all his guns and ammo, and I doubt he knew how to swim. Snowy would probably be panicking. I would be amazed if he had managed to stay afloat up til now. Just as I was running out of strength and ready to just stop moving and let the current take me, the river turned and we were pushed out of the river and onto the shore. I stayed down for a bit, catching my breath. Then I stood up and assessed the situation. Of course, Tirondel was fine. Thomdril and Anssi looked fine too. Snowy had his eyes open, but wasn’t moving. Still, he seemed fine, just shocked. Ivan and Tam were unconscious. We decided to wait for them to wake up before we pressed onwards, and Anssi was still hurt from the fall from earlier, so we decided to give them all time to recover. We rested for the day, waiting for Ivan and Tam to wake up (Ivan was angry because a lot of his gunpowder was ruined by the water) and for Anssi to heal up. When Ivan woke up, I offered him some healing. He was either too tired or too trusting to care, so he said yes. I used my amazing healing techniques that I had picked up, like everything, from my dad, and he seemed to perk up a bit. He told me that it hurt even more, but I assured him that if he just lay down a while (it could take a couple days at most) he would heal up. Then Tirondel told us that as we were in the river, he had seen monsters along the sides, commanded by humanoids in a floating wheelless wagon. We slept and then we set off.
Getting Going Again: We went through the woods on our way to Gromshold (which was between us and King’s Port) and we camped out. Tirondel got us some food, though we were still running low on rations, and I made a makeshift portable camoflaging wall out of leaves and sticks. We got a good night’s sleep with no incident, and woke to find everyone healed and ready to go. We walked for a long time, with Tirondel running ahead for no apparent reason, until we saw Gromshold start to come into view. Tirondel came running back and told us that he had seen nobody in Gromshold, and that he had seen a strange black chitoney substance on a guard tower close to the side of Gromshold that we were heading towards. Not wanting to waste time or seeing a need to figure out what was going on, I started walking towards it. It sounded like we would finally get to fight something, and I couldn’t wait. The others followed me, Snowy igniting his mace with, I assumed, some kind of holy magic and Tirondel, as usual, deciding to be as unhelpful as possible, started dropping back sneakily. He said something and I yelled at him to speak up or come up with us. He did neither, so I put him out of my mind and continued forward.
Fighting Things!: When we got close to the tower, I saw a few creatures at the top of the guard tower, looking out at us. I was just able to register that they didn’t look very human right before one of them jumped off the tower and landed right in front of me. I immediately slashed at it. It was a clean hit, but it didn’t seem to do much damage. Then it swiped at me but I easily brushed it off. In my peripheral vision, I saw another one of the creatures jump over me and land near the others (except for Tirondel), who all teamed up on it. I slashed at mine once more and this time, I got through its tough hide and it went down. I turned around to see a third one that had challenged Thomdril be easily dispatched by his huge axe (not as big as mine though) and Tirondel, true to form, stole the kill on the one that the others had teamed up on. It looked like there were no others, so we decided to relax for a bit, though Tirondel immediately went off to check out the town.
Bad Food: Ivan suggested to me that we try cooking the meat of the creatures that Tirondel identified as scourge, which sounded great. We cooked it up and tried it. It was worse than most things I had had before, and I tried to keep it down to no avail. I threw it up and Ivan, while being able to keep it down, looked like he regretted his decision to eat it. I convinced Snowy to try it too, and Thomdril joined in because everyone else (except for Tam) was. When Tirondel got back, I asked him to try some too. He did and while he was able to keep it down, he also admitted that it was one of the worst things he had eaten in his life, though he said it was better than drake meat at least. We all went off to do our own things, and I took some of the meat and tried to smoke it in the guard tower (under the guise of ‘investigating it’, because Tirondel wanted us to do some work). Unfortunately, it tasted just as bad. Maybe we could poison our enemies by making them eat it! We all met up again at the drawbridge, ready to continue our journey to King’s Port.
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Epic × 2!
New Friends and New Enemies: Session 8
Interrogation?: Having secured our easy victory over the bandits, killing most of them but apprehending two, I decided that since we had captured them and killed all their friends, we should become their new friends! Or at least I should, since the rest of the party didn’t seem all that… socially adequate. Sure enough, their first idea was to interrogate the bandits. I said that I would help by interrogating one, and Tirondel took the other one. Anssi and Thomdril went off to try to find some game. The first bandit said his name was Blue or Bluebell or something, so I decided to call him Bluey.
Nickname Talk: I’ve found that it’s easier to keep up a consistent nickname scheme, which is another reason I dislike Tirondel. What should I nickname him, ‘Tirondey’? Or maybe ‘Tiyey’ (pronounced ‘Tee-yee’). It just doesn’t work as well as ‘Anssey’ (no pronunciation changes needed there) or ‘Thomdrey’ or ‘Ivey’ or ‘Tammy’ or my favorite one, ‘Snowy’. Or because ‘Thomdrey’ doesn’t really roll off the tongue, I could use ‘Shorty’ instead! Perfect!
Back to Interrogation: I talked to Bluey for a while, because it seemed like Tirondel was taking a long time grilling the other guy. I successfully sold him the cool rock that I had found worked well as a whetstone. I was sad to see it go, but at least I had finally sold something. Then I decided that we were good enough friends by now that I could trust him with one insecurity of mine. I asked him what the other bandit had said to me, explaining that I have slight hearing problems, but that I try to play it off like I don’t. He explained that the bandit had told me to drop my weapons, though in retrospect, knowing that really wouldn’t have changed any of my actions. It was a good fight, and that was something I’d been needing for a while. By that time, it seemed like the others were catching on that I might not be getting much information out of the guy (useful information, at least) so I asked him where they had come from. He told me that they had been part of a platoon led by some guy named Breckdon. Then Tirondel told me to switch who we were talking to, I guess hoping that this guy had kept information a secret from his companion? I dunno. Anyway, the other guy, whose name was Norman or something, didn’t really tell me anything of importance. Then we had to decide what to do with them. Tirondel said to keep them with us on our way to King’s Port, which I seconded, but Thom and Snowy wanted to let them go, which seemed like the best idea considering that Ivan would probably want to kill and eat them once he got back. We untied the ropes binding them and they ran off quickly.
Monster in the Night: Right as they left, Ivan and Anssi got back. They had found some food for the night. We searched for a campsite and found an okay spot, though kind of out in the open. As we cooked the animals and made idle conversation, Thom broke the normalcy by pulling a reddish stone out of his bag. I could tell even having never seen it before that it practically radiated power. I saw everyone else’s eyes being drawn to it too as in one fluid motion, he took it in his hand and forced it into his chest. He took his hand away and I could see it moving deeper into his chest, glowing ever more brightly as it did. Then Thom began to scream. Not knowing what was happening to him, I ran away to where I felt safe, and waited as we all watched him scream and writhe in agony. As soon as it had started, though, it was over, and I moved slowly closer as Snowy moved to him and looked at it. He told us that it was safe and we came over and looked at Thom’s chest, where there was a small bump where the stone had burrowed in and a slight glow to that area but no other indications of what had just happened. We took some time to speculate over what had happened and they explained the story of the blood stones to me, but then it was time for all of us to get to sleep, which we did after deciding watches. Before it was time for mine, though, I was woken up by a shout from Snowy. He was pointing into the woods where, a ways away, there was a dark, looming shape that looked like a creature of some kind, but bigger even than the bear from about a week ago, and whose silhouette was only visible because of the light that came from behind him, which as it faded out, I realized was a torch that Snowy had flung at him. I got to my feet and looked around for something to throw at it, but before I could find anything, the torch had gone out and the creature was no longer visible. We talked over what to do about it, and eventually decided to leave it be. When it came my turn to keep watch, I went around our campsite, looking for sticks. When I found them, I stuck them in the ground, making a sort of barrier between us and the monster. I figured that if they didn’t hurt him, they’d at least alert us of his presence. The rest of the night passed with no incident and we woke up ready to continue our journey to King’s Port. Then Ivan kicked a few of my sticks in obvious disappointment that he hadn’t been smart enough to come up with such a brilliant plan as I had, but I’ll leave it there for the biased comments.
Almost a Fight: We kept walking, and eventually came across a river. There was a broken down bridge in the middle, and a dwarf with a white horse was presumably dead in the wreckage. I tied a rope to a rock to make a makeshift grappling hook or something and threw it across, but I couldn’t catch it on anything. I told the others that one of them had to cross it first and then I could throw it to them and we could all get across on it. As soon as I turned around, though, Thomdril, Ivan, and Tirondel were climbing down to loot the body. Ivan found a warhammer and something else that I couldn’t quite make out while Tirondel took two shiny rings from the poor dead dwarf’s fingers. The three of them climbed up the other side, talking, as Blueberry (Anssi’s wolf, we haven’t been able to figure out a name for it yet, but I like this one the best of the ones we’ve considered) ran downstream and crossed some rocks to make it to the other side. I threw the rope to Thomdril and began climbing across as I saw Tirondel take the thing from Ivan’s hand and try to shove it into his chest, though he was blocked by many layers of clothes. I could now see that it was another blood stone. Then he goaded Ivan, telling him that if he didn’t believe in Solace, he should put the blood stone in his chest and see for himself. Before I could stop him, he reached his hand under his multitude of shirts and coats and stuck it into his stomach. Just as he was assuring us that nothing was going to happen, a shocked expression appeared on his face and he doubled over in pain. Finally, I was across, but it was too late. Anssi began to cross the rope too. He went slowly, hand over hand, but about halfway across, his hand slipped and he fell. He landed in the water safely, though, and began climbing up to us. I looked back over at Snowy, who for some reason, was stuck in place, staring horrified at the water. I looked at the others questioningly, and Tirondel, cursing, told me that Snowy had in irrational fear of water. Suddenly, a huge shape loomed up behind Snowy. The others yelled at him to cross already, but I wasn’t running away from a fight. I passed Anssi as I climbed down and ran through the river. Snowy had no other options but to cross the river now, the creature all but on him. He stared again at the water fearfully, walked forward… and just kind of walked over the edge and fell in? I’m not sure. Then I heard Tirondel and Thom shout that there were monsters on their side too. Unfortunately, I was stuck between enemies, unable to fight either one! As the others prepared for battle, I heard a rushing noise, and a huge wave of water came down the river, washing Anssi, Snowy, and I with it. Trying to keep my head above the surface of the water, I saw Tam pull Ivan in and Tirondel jump in with Blueberry. Thom was wavering, but as I went under, I saw him sheathe his axe and jump in after us. I clutched my axe and backpack tightly, careful not to lose them in the rapids.
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Epic!
Joining the Needy Party: Session 6
I, Belegor, was taught the basic of how to read and write and form complete sentences on paper as a child. My father didn’t think it particularly important, but necessary at times. Now that I had joined a party of adventurers, I see the need to write down stories about our adventures. Of course, I’ll be focusing more on my heroic deeds, and because I have no interest in writing down all the little details, I’ll focus on what I see as the highlights (or lowlights) of the adventure.
Joining the Party: When I first found the party, I had been hunting an ogre that I had heard lived up in this mountain. While I originally didn’t want to give up on this quest, it had been a long couple of days and there was a good chance that the ogre was already dead or had recently moved. The party members said that they hadn’t seen any ogre, and that I should probably give it up. I agreed, mostly because I was bored, and they said that I could join them, as a member of their party had just left them. I argued with the party annoyance, who said that his name was Tirondel, about which way was the right way to go to make it to Aragron. Finally, I tired of arguing with him and left the decision in his hands. He’s, I suppose convincing in that way, in that he seems like he can bore anyone into submission. We went on the path, and eventually decided that it was getting late and we might as well set up camp.
Setting up Camp: I tried to find one on my own, but they found a better place. We decided on watches, and two of the others (the guy with the dog, Anssi, and the murderous madman, Ivan, who seemed like a pretty cool guy) killed a doe for our dinner. It was a good meal, and once we were done, we got to sleep. I had taken an early watch, and I spent it trying to find a good rock to serve as a whetstone to sharpen my axe on. I found what seemed like a good one, and after using it on my blade, it seemed to me that it was even sharper than before. Impressed, I put it in my bag for later. I woke up to Tirondel trying to hide Ivan’s bullets. I argued with him over which way to go again, but still, there seems to be no way to make him admit that he’s wrong. During our argument, a big creature ran out of the woods and charged at Tirondel, who unhelpfully shouted “Bear!”
Wrestling the Bear: The others shot it and sliced at it, but I had another idea. I ran at it and gave it a giant bear hug (pun intended). I successfully restrained him, but keeping him down was another story. If you can believe it, bears are very strong. He knocked me off and I went tumbling away. Ivan tried to intimidate it by cutting his own cheek. It didn’t seem like the best tactic, but the bear was convinced. I prepared to grapple it again, but an arrow from Anssi took it down. I declawed it, thinking that if I couldn’t make a cool weapon out of them, I could at least make a cool bear tooth necklace. Annoyed that I hadn’t been able to deal any damage, or even successfully grapple it, I asked Tirondel where we could find another one. He irritatedly told me to go yell as loudly as I could to attract a bear or other wild creature to come and kill me, but to do it far away from him. I walked over to a spot a ways away from them and yelled, but no bears or other wild creatures came. I walked back to the others, who had finished butchering the bear. I volunteered to carry some meat.
Finding the Dead Horses: We continued on, and eventually made it to where the party had left their horses a while ago. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a single horse still living. They had either run away or been buried in a rockslide. I went to one of the ones that had been mostly buried in the rocks and cleared away a few rocks. Then I cut off its leg. I found a stick nearby and used my flint and steel to light the end on fire. Then we continued walking, me with my lit stick underneath my horse leg, hoping to cook it. After a while, I took a few nibbles. It tasted pretty good! I ate the part of the leg that had been cooked well, and then I extinguished the flaming stick and put the half burnt stick in my backpack.
The Burnt Cottage: After some more walking, we began to find some cottages on the side of the road. They were all burnt though, almost completely destroyed by fire. I couldn’t sense anything in any of them, but after walking by many of them, I heard some rustling from somewhere near one of them. Tirondel noticed it too, and warned everyone. He began to sneak around while I went to the other side and began to set a trap. I tied a rope to a tree nearby the burnt cottage and began slowly creeping around it. My plan was that if someone or something was behind the cottage, I could make a loop around them and my rope would tie them up. However, as I crept around, I became more and more sure that there was nobody directly behind the cottage. Maybe they were in the woods. At that moment, I heard Ivan yell “Tree mouse!”
Tree Mouse and Girl: Looking around frantically for the tree mouse that Ivan was warning us about, I suddenly saw Tirondel appear, seemingly out of nowhere. He had his sights set on a tree house that I hadn’t noticed before then, and he held up his hands. I heard Anssi (always the logical one) yell “Wait, Tirondel! There might be a person in there!” right as Tirondel let out a blast of flame right at the tree house. Sure enough, a small girl sprinted out of the burning tree house and into the woods. I looked angrily at Tirondel, and we all ran into the woods after her. After a while, we decided that Anssi should try to talk to her, so we went back towards the cottage. I looked for the tree mouse, but found nothing. Then we decided that it was safe for us to come back, so we went back into the woods and found the girl. She wasn’t talking, but she seemed willing to come with us, so the five of us walked out of the woods.
Summary: I got a cool rock, a half burnt stick, some bear claws, and a little girl. I also got to try out some horse and bear meat and I hugged a bear. My thoughts on my new party: There’s Tirondel, who you should never try to argue with because it’s pointless. Anssi, who is the smartest of the bunch and has a pretty cool dog. And Ivan, who’s kind of a madman, but is also very strong. I will continue to travel with this party, because if nothing else, they sure aren’t boring.
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Epic!
It’s a Miracle We Aren’t All Dead (Session 5)
Finally, we seemed to be safe. I tried to heal Snowy, but he assured me that he had it taken care of and sure enough, after mumbling a few words his wounds almost completely disappeared. I was very relieved, though my feeling of peace at last was cut short.
“Come on guys, we have to hurry”, came the always irritating voice of Tirondel.
Still, I wasn’t willing to waste time telling him off for yelling at a man who had been, just ten minutes ago, almost dead. We continued on, with me still leading the way. There was a glimmer of light a long ways down this tunnel. Eventually, we found the source. The tunnel opened up into a large cave. The ground sloped down, looking like there used to be a pond or something here. It was completely dry now, though, and there was a fire going to our right. Near it was a horse that had several bites taken out of it and looked disgusting. There were no other signs of life, but we proceeded with caution, knowing the chances of it being uninhabited were very low. Tirondel went towards the horse, Snowy stayed back with Anssi, and I led Thomdril to the other end, which as we moved on and my torch lit up the darkness, we saw had many different tunnel openings. One went straight forward in front of us and when I strained to listen for sounds, I heard a low growling coming from down it. I relayed this information to the others and decided to scout ahead. I put out the torch and slowly walked forward, taking care not to make any sound. Just then, I heard a loud crack from behind me. Turning around quickly, I saw Snowy, who it looked like had just trodden on a stick, making the loud crack. I put my finger to my mouth and continued to creep forward. I made it to the opening of another tunnel leading to the left from the tunnel that had led forward, the one that I had heard the growling from, and I peered around the corner. There were wolves, trapped in a wooden cage. They were pushing against each other and the sides of the cage, growling all the while. Breathing a sigh of relief, I looked farther down the tunnel. What I saw frightened me down to my bones. I saw a few orcs who appeared to be guards and past them was what looked like an entire civilization of orcs, with several dozen at least. Realizing that going down there was certain death, I went back to tell the others about this. Tirondel, realizing that nothing good would come of observing the horse I suppose, had come back to us and we all grouped up and talked it over. Anssi and I had the obvious plan of looking down the other tunnels for a different way out. There was no way that even Tirondel would argue this, I figured. But no. Tirondel said that what we should do was try to sneak down the tunnel, past the orcs. He convinced Snowy to his side, and though Thomdril seemed to agree with both of our plans, when we pushed him to choose one or the other he chose Tirondel’s plan. By this point I was just done with all of their idiocy. Even so, I couldn’t leave them. They (except for maybe Tirondel) were my companions, my brothers in arms. And so, we went on our suicide mission, with Thomdril leading. We managed to sneak past the guards and saw a side path that led to an opening to outside the mountain. However, this path went around a large open area. In the area were all the orcs. If just one saw us, we would be dead. In the very middle of the orcs was what looked like a giant spike going into the ground. As many questions as this raised, I couldn’t dwell on them. We had to get out. We continued sneaking along. We got about halfway before an orc saw us. He shouted, “Hey!” and pointed at us. We found ourselves facing all of the orcs. Certainly a nerve wracking situation if there ever was one, but somehow Thomdril got his wits and began talking to them. Before long, though, it became obvious that he wasn’t the greatest negotiator, so Tirondel began feeding him words. The orcs seemed to be swayed by his words. They looked at what looked like the orc chief for orders. The chief deliberated, and finally had his verdict. We would leave immediately, and if we were ever seen in the mountain again, we would be killed. Happy with this, we got out as fast as we could. I knew that I would never live this down. Tirondel would brag about this forever. Thinking this, I sighed and we began trudging down the mountain.
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Escaping the Dungeon (Session 4)
Well, I suppose I had better start writing up my account of what has gone on in these dungeons so you don’t have to trust that crafty noble Tirondel’s stories. I haven’t bothered to read them, but I don’t doubt they include many an undeserved put down to me or one of our other teammates. Despite what he says, that guy isn’t always the brain and powerhouse of the team. I’ll try to give a more accurate description of the events of our kind of heroic quest.
We had finally made it. The Sa Karan Blood Stone was imbedded in the far wall. I was about to run towards it when I came to my senses and looked around. There were three dead bodies: a female Sun Priest, a half orc, and a handsome young gentleman in shining armor. Near them were the bodies of two monstrosities. They had three shell like legs, I guess, that all converged on a circular center, which had a gaping mouth facing the ground. There was no chance, though, that they were still alive. It looked like these three, presumably the Scarlet Riders, had put up quite a fight.
As I investigated the man’s body, I discovered that sadly, he did appear to have passed away. As I was looking for signs that might show who he was, I heard a yell from behind me. I turned around to see Tirondel, holding his hands out, the remnants of a burst of fire quickly fading from behind a monster that seemed to be the same as the ones lying dead on the floor. It was spinning like a top, with the leg like things rotating like a motor above the head, which was violently spinning on the ground. I pulled out my sword, just as the monster’s rotating legs struck Snowy across the chest. They left a bad mark. Looking around, I noticed that there was a large hole in the ceiling. It appeared that the monster had gotten the drop on us.
Tirondel shot a burst of fire at it again, but it seemed to have no effect. It lashed out at Thomdril, but Snowy muttered an incantation that seemed to make its attack miss. Tirondel shouted at us not to attack it. Did he mean to show mercy to it? For some reason, Thomdril listened and stayed his blade. I, however, ignored his order and attempted to strike at it with my shortsword. I hit it, but the shell protecting the creature’s insides stopped it from going deep enough to do any damage.
The creature again turned towards Snowy, but Tirondel yelled another incantation and coils of earth came out of the ground and wrapped around the creature’s legs, stopping it in its tracks. Thomdril now struck at it, realizing that there had been no need to pause in the first place, and his great axe broke through the shell, doing the first damage to it of the whole fight. I took this chance and swung at it alongside Snowy, but again, our strikes just bounced off of the shell.
Tirondel scoffed at us, though it seemed completely unreasonable considering he had done no more than us, and while hanging back safely too. He then shot a third blast of fire at the creature, and this one hit, scorching it through completely. While he had just stayed back until the end and stolen the kill, I had to begrudgingly admit that it was a quite masterful display of fire magic, though I would never admit that to his face.
The fight finally over, Thomdril went and pried the blood stone out of the wall, and we went back to looking at the bodies. We found numerous magical items, which we had Snowy identify. The handsome man I was observing turned out to have a quite strong magical longsword, a magical amulet, and a signet ring proving him to be a member of the house of Galstaff. He almost surely was Trabyan, and he was dead.
Whispering a prayer to him, I took the longsword and promised to do good with it, in his honor. The amulet I gave to Tirondel, a reminder to him of my kindness and generosity. I also figured that if we were accused of killing Trabyan and his companions and looting their bodies, I could blame him, but I convinced myself that that wasn’t the main reason. We allowed Thomdril to keep the blood stone and the maul that he had picked up from the dead half-orc. I left the signet ring on Trabyan’s body and prepared to begin the long trek back, now with Trabyan’s body in tow.
Before we could start moving, though, we heard a loud rumbling sound and a large crack appeared in the ceiling. Rocks started raining down. Tirondel yelled, “Earthquake!”, which I though seemed rather pointless, as this could hardly be mistaken for anything else. As we ran, jumping from rock to rock, I unfortunately had to leave Trabyan’s body in the room so that it wouldn’t encumber me in my escape.
We jumped over the pit trap from earlier, but rocks were falling down the tunnel. It seemed we wouldn’t be able to escape this way. Tirondel yelled that we had to get back to the spider tunnel. We jumped back over the pit trap and fled back down the tunnel. We each looked for notches in the rock for us to hide in, each found one that looked like it would work, and hid in them.
We stayed there for a while, waiting for the rumbling to stop. None of us were willing to get out even once it did, for fear that some rocks might not have settled down quite yet. Eventually though, we worked up the nerve to get out, and we walked back up the slope. We looked up the tunnel, but there was no way we would be able to make our way up it. The rubble completely filled it, so that clearing it would be a lengthy task, one which we did not have anywhere near enough rations to keep us going long enough to complete anyway.
We climbed up the hallway and were able to make it back to the room where we had left the bodies, only to find that the back half of the room along with the wall that the blood stone had been embedded in had collapsed, and far below, there was a stream. I found Trabyan’s body again, which was no easy task, as the floor and the bodies were almost completely covered in rubble, and I took the signet ring from his finger and put it in my pocket. I felt bad about having to do this, but we couldn’t carry his body back in this shape. It would be a hard enough journey without extra weight. At least with this ring, we could prove that we’d found him.
Tirondel suggested that we climb down to the stream. We tied a rope between myself and Thomdril, who was the only one of us with any experience climbing, and I cast a spell on myself to boost my own climbing abilities. After all, one misstep here could mean our doom. We climbed down slowly, section of the cliff by section, with Thomdril and I alternating between the top of the climb and the bottom, and eventually made it down to the stream.
We got in a line with me in front and started to follow the stream, hoping it would lead us to an exit, but the space we had slowly lessened, until all of us but Thomdril were reduced to crawling. The space was slowly closing in, but we had to push on. If we turned back now, there was no guarantee that we would find another way out.
For some reason, this trek was really tiring me out. Every movement was a struggle, but I pushed onward. As time went by, we regretted not bringing more food and water. We hadn’t yet been reduced to attempting to drink the water from the stream, but we were close. The only liquid any of us had brought was Snowy’s liquor, which he didn’t have much of. He shared a drink with Thomdril.
Finally, the space closed. A wall of large boulders blocked our path, and the stream just went through small cracks in them. Still, we had to keep moving onward. We formed an assembly line to clear out the rocks, and after a full hour, finished. I was incredibly fatigued by this point, and the only thing keeping me going was my loyalty to my friends.
Now, though, the water was getting deeper and faster. While this was a good sign that meant that the stream at least didn’t end very soon, Thomdril’s height that had aided him earlier now meant that he was practically swimming so that he wouldn’t go below the surface of the water. If this turned into rapids, it would be almost as bad as the stream ending, as was our concern before. The only good news was that by some kind of miracle, I was feeling almost fully rejuvenated. Then came a bend in the river. I scouted around it, and found that the river came to a waterfall.
As I looked over the edge, I saw that it went down about 10 feet. The drop would be no problem, but the worst part came after that. There was a whirlpool at the bottom, and the river led from there to the side. Luckily, there was an opening to a tunnel across the whirlpool. It was the first dry ground I’d seen in what felt like days. To get to it, though, we would have to cross the whirlpool, and if we failed, we’d be pulled down the stream to the right, and most likely would not survive.
I waded back to the others and relayed this information. They came up and we all took a moment to decide what to do. Finally, I came up with a plan. I tied the rope around my waist and handed the other end to Tirondel. Then I cast a spell on all of us to boost all of our climbing abilities. Our plan was this: I would climb across the wet rocky walls to the other side. Then I and one of the others would hold onto the rope so that the others could climb across it.
I started climbing across the sheer rocky walls. They were slippery, but I was eventually able to make it. I held up the rope, which was just long enough to go across the entire whirlpool. On the other side, Thomdril kept hold of it. Snowy decided to go first, but instead of climbing hand by hand, he began to walk across it like a tightrope.
I watched as he made it halfway across, and then looked down. I saw him go pale, and then cursed myself for forgetting. Snowy had an irrational fear of water. He lost his balance, then wobbled back and forth, trying to stay on. His attempts were futile, though, and he fell from the rope. True, it wasn’t going the way we had planned it, but he could still swim to my side safely. At least, that was the hope. Then we saw the cave gnashers.
They must have crept up sneakily, waiting to attack whoever fell in. There were eight of them, and Snowy landed right in the middle of them. Three of them climbed up the rocks on either side of the waterfall and bit at Thomdril and Tirondel, but they all missed. One bit at me and it hit me, but did no significant damage. At the moment, at least, I was more worried about Snowy, who was attacked by the remaining four and sank under the water.
My instinctive pull to help kicked in, and I jumped in after Snowy, taking a hit from the cave gnasher that had hit me earlier in the process. I cast a healing spell on Snowy, and could only pray that it had helped. I took a defensive stance, putting my body and my sword in the way, blocking the cave gnashers from being able to deal any more damage to Snowy.
They attacked again, but didn’t do much. I saw one get knocked off the above ledge and fall down, getting impaled on its comrade’s spear. I cut one’s head off and Snowy, moving again, swung at one but missed. One hit me, but I shrugged it off. No matter what, I would protect my friends.
Then I saw three icy bolts fly from the above ledge, presumably from Tirondel, and freeze through three of the remaining five cave gnashers. As the other two, realizing that they were outmatched, turned to run, I cut down the one on my level, as Tirondel took down the one above.
We had won. The cave gnashers had been defeated, Snowy had been saved, and the other two were able to get over to our side with no incident. Finally, we were back on dry land (or dry stone) and could see a glimmer of hope. We would get out of there and live to see another day.
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Epic × 3!