Arandur heard the frantic cry to retreat and at once made his way to the tunnel they had come from, his lithe elf legs propelling him swiftly forwards. His emerald cat-like eyes narrowed as he took stock of the many enemies that stood before them. They were clearly outnumbered and the ranger knew it would be folly to attempt a battle at this point. Retreat was wise. He paused, keen elf ears alert as he awaited any commands from his fellow comrads.
Ulthok stared as the new enemy was revealed. Ogres manning massive bows that had taken down their Sorceress and Mind Flayers who magic must have disarmed Sirene's defenses. Worse was that one of the Illithids was gigantic , this seems clearly the leader of this ambush. The Halfling could also see a unique amulet hanging from its neck, the design the same as the one on the attacker back at the fortress before they left on this journey. There no time to ponder this revaluation, the party was too far away for an effective melee attack. The mind blasts from Illithids would likely drop them before them before they would score enough hits to drive them off. The sane words of Ironclaw to run may be their saving choice. He was about to address the party when Cor called out,""Tis time ta fall back. There are too many of them and a good half of them are fellow dwarves under control of those vile creatures. We would be killing our own while they laugh and wait to finish us off. Quickly back the way we came. We need reinforcements if we are to survive."
Ulthok then addressed the group, "Back away, gather up Sirene and head up the tunnel. Archers prepare to return fire, target the large Mind Flayer if you can, but when I shout NOW all cover your close and cover your eyes." Reaching out his thoughts to Peri," Quickly fly back up the tunnel and scout for any trouble."
When all were ready and moving back Ulthok drew out his Wand of Illumination, the Mind Flayer hated the bright sunlight so a Sunburst from the wand may blind them and the Ogres long enough to make good their escape. With smooth grace he lifted the wand, calculating the range to just in front of the Illithids and Ogres, then shouting out "NOW" closing and covering his own eyes he released the power of the wand.
( Sunburst: When this effect is called forth, the wand delivers a sudden flash of brilliant, greenish-white light, with blazing golden rays. The range of this sunburst is 120 yards maximum, and its duration is 1/10 of a second. Its area of effect is a globe of 40-foot diameter. Any undead within this globe suffer 6d6 points of damage, with no saving throw. Creatures within or facing the burst must roll successful saving throws vs. wands or be blinded for one round and be unable to do anything during that period. (Of course, the creatures in question must have sight organs sensitive to the visible light spectrum). The function requires three charges. The wand can be recharged.)
Turning toward the tunnel the once again will spirit into his ring and vanished as he made his way to help the others reach the tunnel.
Posted on 2020-04-10 at 13:58:19.
Edited on 2020-04-10 at 14:10:39 by Odyson
There was pain. A shocking confusion. Disbelief. And more pain.
Then there was blood.
Frag felt all this in the back of his mind as he watched in horror. Siréne fell. The dragonette did not hesitate. Invisible, he sped to the fallen faery's side. He was no healer, but he could offer some small bit of aid. In a whisper he spoke the words of a simple spell and laid the blessing on Siréne's fall form. It was a boon, little more than a prayer. Yet in that moment, Frag found himself praying to an ancient Goddess. Let her now take care of her own.
Mind Flayers! Lothor hated things like that. Stealing someones will - essentially stealing their soul. It was the greatest evil that anything could do. To not be able to make your own choices. To be worse than a slave. A non-human. Choice is what made people different from beasts. We chose our path. Chose right and wrong. But creatures like mind flayers destroyed that beauty. They took away freedom more surely than an arrow through the eye. At least then no choices would be made in your name.
They were one of the greatest evils . . . and they were strong.
He heard Cor calling for a retreat, and that call echoed by Ulthok. Much in Lothor wanted to continue the fight. There was so little to be gained by running. Yet this fight must be won. And nothing said it actually had to be fought right here and right now. So they would run.
He aimed his big bow further this time - he would ignore the closer Derro for the moment and aim for the greater evil. He could reach it with the gifted bow. The first arrow would target the giant flayer and the second the one to its right. He would get off both shots if he could, but he would also be sure to close his eyes and cover them as best he could when the cry came. His helm, his cloak, his hand - whatever could block the light. If Ulthok warned, it was best to listen.
After the bright flash his path was clear. He was the warrior. He would start to fall back, but assume a position near the rear. If anything followed it would be his job to stop it. Or run like the dickens if everything fell.
For the party this fight had so far gone from good to bad to worse as the choice to fight or flee was before them. With the loss of Sirene for the moment it was clear to the party that standing and attempting to hold the room was pointless.
The first to act this time was Valene. Seeing Sirene was down, but not dead, the Cleric/Thief at once rushed to her side and with in minutes a Cure Critical Wounds spell was delivered from the Halfling to the elf. With spell delivered and crossbow at hand she awaited help to move the better healed, but still unconscious, Elf Enchantress. Cor’s deep and commanding Dwarf voice was easily heard over the still raging sounds of dying Derro soldiers.
“Tis time to fall back. There are too many of them and a good half of them are fellow Dwarves under control of those vile creature’s”
Cor’s deep and commanding Dwarf voice was easily heard over the still raging sounds of dying Derro soldiers.
“We would be killing our own while they laugh and wait to finish us off. Quickly back the way we came, we need reinforcements if we are to survive.
As he called out this new command to fall back he took one last swing at the mind held Dwarf before him, determined to free him from the Mind Flayer control but his effort was in vane, as Ironclaw swinging back almost caught the Knight Cleric mid section with his axe. A last longing look of sadness and Cor was headed for the door out of this room.
For Rayden and Arandur, both clearly heard Cor’s order to retreat, as Arandur seemed to pause, Rayden quickly grabbed his hand pulling him behind her towards the way the group had entered. With Valene having already healed Sirene, though the Elvin Enchantress remained unconscious, the Elvin Ranger/Cleric stayed close to give any aid as needed as the party retreated.
Ulthok, hearing Cor’’s order to retreat found himself in complete agreement with the Dwarf Knight Cleric.
"Back away, gather up Sirene and head up the tunnel. Archers prepare to return fire, target the large Mind Flayer if you can, but when I shout NOW all cover your close and cover your eyes."
Drawing out his Wand of Illumination, the Halfling Thief/Mage readied to cast the spell of sunburst from it As Lothor fired two perfectly aimed arrows, the Halfling cried NOW! The sudden burst of light causing anguished screams from to rip out from the throats of the two lesser Mind Flayers, the four ogre’s to throw up their arms to hide the sudden light and the giant to gaze hateful at the party before he himself turned away throwing up his cloak to escape it.
With Sirene cloaked in a spell of Protection from Evil thanks to Frag, and Cor, Rayden and Valene almost completely carrying the Elf Enchantress between them the party made it out of the room and back into the hallway joined by the last remaining Dwarf.
“Quickly this way I know another way to the forge, we must reach it and gain the Forge-Master's help in destroying that sword. My name is Alrik Stonethunder, trust me I am a member of the King’s guard and I can get you there safely”
Without waiting for a reply the Dwarf warrior guard moves quickly down a new hallway………..
(DM OOC: OK a sorta short post to get the game rolling again sorry for the long wait but being stuck at home takes its toll. Ok once everyone again posts at that time I’ll start on a new post of my own.
Ok you now have 2 choices…. Follow Schnozzle’s dwarf to the forge or retreat to the surface and face possibly having to journey to Cirath Ungole. Once again a journey there would be with very little help.
Nimu, Sirene will awaken rather quickly so feel free to post as a groggy Elf Enchantress.
Schnozzle, I’ve added you to the game thread and once we finalize your character sheet I’ll then add it to the character thread.
Ok Game On once again lets hope we don’t get hacked)
With the plan to retreat set in motion, Cor tried to free his current enemy from the grip of the mind-flayer but his effort was in vain, In fact it was nearly a tragic mistake as he narrowly avoided a return attack. As the party gathered a lone dwarf said he knew a way to the forge and could guide them. It seemed the fellow was in a bit of a hurry as he did not wait for any discussion.
"Following him makes as much sense as any other idea. If it is true he knows a secret way it would be a great boon. If the lad is nae telling the truth then we will can adjust again. Keep a sharp eye out and dunna bunch up too much. Lets see if the lad can deliver on his promise."
Cor headed off down teh tunnel after his fellow dwarf. He hoped this time they would have better luck.
Valene kept her crossbow armed and followed the dwarves along their path, keeping her attention on anything she might see of value that she could take with her to sell at a later time. Her eyes seeking out valuable metals or relics that she could recognize easily. Their escape plan seemed to work as she maintained awareness surrounding her comrades. Looking for traps or changes in her comrades to see if the mind flayers had managed to get a hold on any of them. She searched inside herself to try to sense any difference in her thoughts or actions.
The thief/cleric tried to keep near the rear so she could continue to search for enemies who may have started to follow them, darting down the new tunnels trying to keep alert to new danger. "Hopefully the Forge is safe and we can barricade it so we can rest and divise a plan." her words flowed easily as she drew a map in her mind of the paths that they took, the halls they avoided, and trying to remember anything of importance that they may have seen on their journey. Cor had been the first to dart after the dwarf that claimed to know their way. The dwarf was new and she could understand that Cor would follow his brethren anywhere, but she herself had to keep a sound head on her shoulders. She would do her best to not be swayed easily, focusing on keeping her thoughts to herself the best she could, analyzing what they passed along the corridors, always keeping track of what lay behind them as well as above and below. Traps would be very common, but she hoped her comrades despite their haste would catch them before it reached her level near the rear of the queue.
Valene kept going back to the previous room in her head, trying to remember the layout, in case they would need to return to the room, and recalling the enemies. Trying to find out if there was a vantage point they would be able to procur to diminish the numbers of their enemies, while still staying protected from the mind flayers.
Arandur cast a sharp eye back to their numerous enemies and tensed as he saw they were outnumbered and with imposing allies on the Derro's side, it was time for a strategic retreat. They had to ensure their fallen comrade would safely get to a shelter away from their foes.
As the elf ranger/cleric approached the tunnel from which they had entered the vast cavern, he noticed an unfamiliar dwarf standing in the tunnel's entrance. Arandur's cat-like eyes narrowed somewhat as he eyed the dwarf suspiciously. With so many dwarves sided against them, Arandur knew that it would be wise to have a healthy amount of cynicism instead of just blindly putting his faith and trust in any dwarf-even one who claims to be their ally. No. He will not trust him. He would first hear the decision of his fellow travellers and if they chose to trust the dwarf, then he would go along with their choice. But he would remain forever wary until the dwarf proved beyond doubt that he did wish to aid them and not their enemies.
From the way the dwarf kept shifting from foot to foot and his anxious glances behind him into the mouth of the gloomy tunnel, it was obvious the dwarf wished to be off without delay. The rough voice of the dwarf reached the elf's sharp ears. He claimed to know a safe passage they could use and wished the party to accompany him.
A safe passage...Arandur thought. This could indeed be a boon in this dangerous time. Or a trap. Surely my fellow companions are not fools to follow this dwarf blindly. We know nothing of him and our experience with dwarvenkind has not been favourable as of late. The elf shook his head slightly and, taking a firmer grip on Dragon Wing, his trusty bow, made his way to the dwarf. As he got closer, he saw that Cor was in the midst of a rather hurried discussion with him.
'Ho there,' the elf greeted, raising his slender hand and trying to appear pleasant. If this dwarf really was a friend, then it would not do to offend or anger him by outwardly displaying his distrust and suspicion. He had to tread lightly. This newcomer, for all they knew, could be an ambassador to a great king and it would be folly indeed to displease a monarch. 'Sorry to interrupt,' the elf smiled apologetically. 'Cor, may I have a word?' He asked his dwarven friend in a lower voice. Without waiting for a response, he pulled him aside. Arandur inwardly winced at his display of rudeness, but given their current predicament both his patience and his etiquette were wearing thin. 'Are you seriously considering just following this unknown dwarf?' He asked bluntly. 'I understand you wish to trust your kinsmen, but you must exercise caution. I'm not eluding to you being a fool,' he added hastily, not wishing to offend his companion, 'but we know nothing of him. He appears as if from thin air just when we are in grave peril and offers us a way to escape our overwhelmingly numerous enemies. So either the gods are smiling down on us and granting us a boon when we need it most, or the crafty creature could be leading us straight to our demise. I will go with you if that is what you wish. You have, after all, been on the road far longer than I. It wasn't that long ago I still roamed the leafy halls of my people. So your wisdom on these matters may exceed mine. I just wish to hear you say that you have thoroughly considered things and examined every possible outcome. Please reassure me you are not being overly hasty.' He gave the dwarf a hard look, awaiting his response.
The sunblast had done its work. Two of the horrid mindflayers had nothing left for eyes. Much inside Lothor demanded that he turn around and take advantage of the situation. They were vulnerable. Now was the time to strike!
But the big one remained. And Silene was still down. And Cor was leading the group the other direction. Now was not the time to strike. It just felt like it. But at least two of those horrible creatures had been injured. And his arrows had found their mark as well. It allowed him at least a grunt of satisfaction as he turned and ran.
But he ran with one eye behind them. Others were in front, he would have to trust them to guide their flgiht. But Lothor's job was to make sure that nothing creeped up behind them. He kept his anger at the Mind Flayers foremost, hoping it would help him resist their evil should they approach.
When they stopped he briefly heard a dwarf at the front speak of heading for the forge. The forge was still the goal in Lothor's mind. Still the best option. They were here. It was close. And the other option was in the heart of the enemies lair. The forge! But he didn't even try to add to the conversation. Cor and Ulthok would guide this movement. His job was to guide the rear. He sought for a position that would allow him to watch the passage behind them. He searched for other entrances from which the enemy might emerge. If possible he claimed partial coverage and stood ready to fire down the passage behind them.
He also looked for anyone else in the halls. Perhaps a dwarf would be able to tell them if there was an alternate route that the enemy could use to attack them. Knowing the Ilithids were here meant they couldn't trust anyone, but they also needed information. He wouldn't leave his position, but if he saw someone he would try to send another group member to enquire about alternate routes. Routes the enemy might use.
Cor answered Arandur, "Aye lad, I dunna trust him completely but he might know a way to the forge. At worst we are heading away from those mind flayers. Odin works in strange ways at times. Keep yer eyes open and yer blade ready but we follow that dwarf for now,"
Siréne found herself bathed in a haunting, fading light that filtered through the forest canapy to form filligree patterns that shifted as a light breeze shuffled the leaves above. The very air was thick with intoxicating magic humming with joyful mystery that echoed the sublimity of the anciet forest. Against all impossibilties, the witch had someone found herself in Faery.
There had been a battle, rage and magic had poured through her to deal death to her enemies. The drums of war had been all, and then, it was gone. Fury became serenity, blood became water, and cacophony became silence. Carved stone walls faded into an endless labyrinth of oak, aspen, ash, and elm. A part of her sang with joy at this homecoming. Yet, much as her soul rejoiced the stand beneath the eternal twilight sky, Siréne knew not how she came to be in Faery or if it would ever let her go.
"Part of you will always remain in Faery," spoke a voice too beautiful to have come from a mortal throat.
It was a voice Siréne knew well. For ages untold, she had heard that voice speak with a tenderness and utter cruelties, it was a voice that commanded, a voice that sang. It was a voice she hoped her own would never become. With knowledge and dread, she slowly turned to face her grandmother, Mnemosyne. Save for a few slight differences in color, the two were mirror images of one another. That Siréne bore the face of her grandmother and not her mother had always concerned her. What threads of fate had the ancient witch spun to make it so?
As if thoughts had been spoken aloud, Mnemosyne smiled knowingly. There was no joy in her expression, only recognition.
Stepping forward the faery spoke again, "How many lifetimes have you walked among the mortals, child of my child? Has it been enough? Will you let us fade into the twilight or will you carry on?" A mournful glance flashed in Mnemosyne's eyes for but a moment before it was replaced with iron resignation. "The time is not yet here. Now wake up!"
Siréne gasped, amindst pain and confusion she felt hands guiding her forward and bearing her weight. Her eyes flashed open to reveal once again the world of stone and blood, and war. There was a moment of regret, and depth of loss that went beyond any mortal understanding of sorrow. Faery had been lost once again. She allowed herself to greive for another moment before pulling herself to her feet. Slowly the haze of pain was clearing, she would be ready again.
Turning to Rayden and Valene, Siréne spoke, "Thank you my sisters, once again my life is in your hands. I must follow where you lead. Let us leave this place."
As the normal lighting of the cavern returned Ulthok checked his enemies before he turned to follow the others. The brilliant flash had actually worked better than he had hoped. Two of the Mind Flayers were now ruined and the Ogers seemed dazed. Even though the giant Mind flayer had resisted most of the flash it clear it was quite unpleased. Had the party not been so far away across the cavern and Sirene out of action this could have been what turned the battle to their advantage.
Then within the relative safety of the tunnel Ulthok joined the party as the moved away cavern. He noticed the alertness Valene showed, while helping Sirene she still checked if items of value lay about. Just another thing to remind him how amazing she was to him. If they ever survived these harsh times…..ah that is for another day.
Catching up he hear the remaining Dwarv from their guide party, ““Quickly this way I know another way to the forge, we must reach it and gain the Forge-Master's help in destroying that sword. My name is Alrik Stonethunder, trust me I am a member of the King’s guard and I can get you there safely.” He turned and headed down a side tunnel.
“Well without his help we might never find the surface..so may as well follow”, he thought to himself. Then as if to echo his own thoughts he heard Cor, "Following him makes as much sense as any other idea. If it is true he knows a secret way it would be a great boon. If the lad is nae telling the truth then we will can adjust again. Keep a sharp eye out and dunna bunch up too much. Lets see if the lad can deliver on his promise."
Reaching out his thoughts, “Peri, stay alert and follow the Dwarv.”
Rayden jerked forward hearing the new voice. Follow them? What else could she lose? She did not have her trusted companion with her. She usually trusted Brutus' judgement if someone was good.. or not. So she trusted herself and turned without a backwards glance to the rest of her party remaining, following instead those of her party that had gone after the new dwarf. Hoping that she made the right call.
With the party out of the room and quickly away a last glimpse by Lothor revealed of the three Mind Flayers, the minor two had but bleeding craters where once there had been eyes. The huge one though not as impacted by the spell as the minor Flayers yet could not keep his gaze up, dropping floor ward it as the party retreated.
With the last of the guard dwarves offering a new path to the forge the party reluctantly agreed, and soon all were weaving a path downward and deeper into the dwarf fortress forge. Throughout the race to reach the forge first, the party were not fool enough to think the huge Illithid would not be headed there himself, if it was the sword he was truly after, they came upon a flurry of confused Derro who attacked in piecemeal order and were easily over come by the skill of the parties fighters.
In what seemed like hours and days the party finally came upon a door of solid silver and steel.
“The heart of the mountain, the forge, lies behind those doors, hurry we must get to the cauldron that lies a bit deeper, find the Forge Master and with his help destroy that hellious sword.”
Turning towards the door to open it, Alrik found it already open. As he made to open it wider for the party to pass all could suddenly hear the sounds of muted battle coming from within, perhaps a few hundred feet away. It seemed following the dwarf Stonethunder had allowed the party to come upon a battle, with time to ready themselves, instead of having one thrust upon them in surprise….
( DM OCC: Not a long post but one to get you where you needed to be to attempt to destroy the sword here. Ok you have a few moments of time to ready yourselves so post in the Q/A what healing, spells, and things you do, or cast, upon yourselves to make a run to the cauldron. Also give me a list, Mages and Cleric’s, of what spells you cast during the last battle, what potions or such were used, and any other one time use items so I can adjust your character sheets.
Ok next post once again when a majority of the players have posted. Also to Silent and mayhap Dragon-soul, a Happy Mother’s day to you both)