Party is called by Anansi to look into some “bandits” that have waylaid shipments of food coming from the dwarves of Augdoom that had to pass through the Quivering Forest.
Hornvoid recalled stories telling that the QF was the sight of a great battle in the last war, where the elves turned on the other races and sold them out to the DL.
Nash (Peter’s elf) verified the betrayal story, adding that the elven lord Malphas supposedly perpetrated the action that led to the slaughter of thousands.
They round up Arithon and decide to disguise themselves as a small caravan, baiting the bandits to attack them. To that end, they recruit Zolonsho, a halfling, a cart, and a team of earth ponies to pull it.
They pass through the no-man’s land outside the enclave.
As they approach the forest, Zolonsho explains how the tend to move, creating and obliterating paths willy-nilly, and that its best to just “trust the trees” (and also to not piss the trees off).
They see lots of ravens on their way into the forest, as well as several recently-dead orcs impaled by trees.
Shortly inside the woods, they get their wish. Arrows come flying at them. Nash lights up a tree, revealing elves which immediately turn into ravens and attempt to fly away. Hornvoid knocks them out of the sky with a wind gust. Arithon stabs one and pins it to the ground. The others escape. Nash heals up the captured elf and makes friends with him by rocking some Truespeech (noticing the ravens speaking it back to him, faint girly laughter from the tree,s and glowing green eyes in the folliage while doing so). The elf tries to hug Arithon, but gets rebuffed.
The elf leads them to “the temple” where they can presumably get some answers.
Halfway there, they stop and hide as a procession of Astirax-Mastodons, Legates, and Ibixians pass, hauling several tons of silver ore.
They reach the “temple”, an old well-head. Another elf gives them a rope-ladder to get down and tries to kiss Arithon, and gets rebuffed.
Their guide tells them that the elves did in fact killed the dwarves and steal the shipments—after all, dwarves can see in the dark, so they must be servants of the DL.
Their elf guide leads them down into the dried-out aquifer, where they find a thriving elven village. He leads them to a side-passage heading downward where he indicates they will meet Malphas. At the end, about a mile down, they find a ceramic plug blocking the passage, carved with ravens with a pole protruding from the center.
Ravens come pouring out of the seal—Malphas. Malphas tells the party things…
- The elves did not actively betray the other races, they just turned coward and ran.
- The younger elves tend to take the more common interpretation and consider Malphas to be a traitor and pariah (but still use him as a source of information).
- Malphas claims to be the only “great being” to not side with the DL (choosing to hide in this refuge instead).
- That which trusts completely must never itself be trusted.
- The DLs minions are building a giant pyramidal uber-mirror on a resevoir directly above their heads. Presumably as a means of finding and turning Malphas.
- The trees are not allies of the elves, but leave them alone thanks to the herald.
- Malphas and “the herald” (Laraje) are not on speaking terms…mostly because he was a coward and left her at the altar.
- Malphas is “as old as the first bird to fly over the earth”.
The party decides to go look at the Pyramid. Malphas gives them a ring and tells them that, if they meet the herald, they should tell her that “Hedgreg sends his undying love.” (awwwwww)
The party heads topside. On the way their guide gives them some traditional green, pointy-shoed elf-garb, and they meet up with Alpha, who was following them and got himself captured by the elves.
They head out and go off to check out the pyramid. They find a huge smelting operation on the shores of the lake, creating silver sheet-plating to go over the huge pyramid which is floating on the lake’s surface. Seeing several hundred orcs and ibixians, they hide.
Alpha decides to cast a spell…and gets the attention of the 12+ Astirax-possessed mastodons that are standing nearby.
They run some more. Arithon acts preturnaturally fast, hears a golf-clap from the woods, and spots a narrow path opening up beside him, with a pair of attractive elven ankles running away. They follow. Mastodons follow. They escape…
And fall panting into a briery clearing. They find a broken arrow on the ground and Alpha tries to summon Laraje. She appears, refuses the ring from Malphas, and explains that Malphas is a coward through and through and that the best way to destroy the pyramid would be to break his seal, flood the temple under the well, and let all the elves drown. She also intimates that Malphas showed an unnatural level of trust in telling the party the name Hedgreg, which she implies might be his truename.
Arithon convinces the party that the best course of action might be to warn Malphas and the elves, convince them to redeem themselves by joining the fight against the DL, then bust the seal and bring the pyramid crashing down…
Ulfen heads into the woods and tracks the party…the whole way…through the woods, to the well, to the orc smelters, then running to their hideout. At the well he pings Laraje’s interest and manages to not become a pin cussion.
He finds the party and they make plans to piss of the orcs and get them to chase him to the elf clearing…
Ulfen fires a well-placed shot at the pegasus legate leading the smelting operation, just as Nash speaks a word to arrest her motion. The pegasus falls from the sky…into the middle of the consulting group of legates. Ulfen then shouts several insults at them and waves his magic bow at the Astiraxes…causing the whole horde, 15 Astirax-possessed Mastodons, 60 Goat-men, 15 legates, a whole mess of orcs, and the pegasus to go screaming after him. He runs…and runs…easily outpacing the orcs, goatmen, and human legates thanks to his boosted endurance (thanks to some gnaw-roots and tasty tube-worms)…easily outpacing the mastodons thanks to the trees…and quickly being overtaking by the enraged pegasus. He uses his magic bow to take out one and then the other of her wings while still running at full speed, firing blindly behind him. Grounded and slowed, the pegasus nails him with a ray of enfeeblement. He then activates his armor of haste and burns out of there, staying just in sight of the pursuers to egg them on.
He tears into the clearing with the well to find Laraje waiting for him, smiling, and the hordes of darkness right on his heels. As Ulfen collapses from exhaustion, the air fills with raining elven arrows and diving crows and the pursuing hordes, their leader already near-death herself from Ulfen’s poisoned arrows, die en masse before the onslaught.
Meanwhile Nash and Arithon charge toward the lake from another direction. After the hordes chased after Ulfen, only 15 chain-gangs of ponies (10 each) and their orc minders (10 each) were left. Yeah, only 150 orcs. Arithon downed to orcs with his crossbow as he charged in, adding to the existing confusion, and shouting at the ponies to run (even slapping some on the back-side). Nash hooked one of the pony-gang’s chains to one of the smelters and had them pull the giant vat of molten metal off its berth, creating a river of liquid silver behind the fleeing ponies…and leaving him stranded, standing on a pile of ore in the middle of the molten lake, the sand of the lakeshore quickly vitrifying around him. The orcs ran or were burned. Just barely leaping across the molten river, Nash used his word-magic to make the other smelter friction-less, easily shoving it over onto the remaining orcs.
Meanwhile the ponies fled into the woods, hauling the vat behind them and setting the trees ablaze. Arithon ran along with them and succeeded in slicing through the chain holding the ponies to the flaming death machine, allowing them to run to freedom. Circling around the line of flaming trees, Arithon grabbed Nash and dimension doored to the Pyramid.
They ran inside the pyramid and found a depression in the center which teleported them to a small room with a silver platform.
They killed some shadowy guards and then used the platform to teleport…a lot…back and forth…finding several rooms with stores of food, weapons, and magic items.
Finally navigating back to the room with the silver platform, they headed out through the door to find a temple with a black obelisk protruding from the peak of the pyramid, and tapestries depicting each of the ancient gods in their debased state, except Malphas. They raided the pegasus high-legate’s private chambers, stole her bedding and smashed her mirrors.
Then they headed downstairs. Got trapped in a maze of teleporters for a bit. Met an old elf who healed them and claimed to have been stuck in the pyramid for 90,000 meals (however long that is). Grabbing the old elf, they backtracked to the top and escaped through the hole in the roof in the temple. They rappeled down the side of the pyramid, used some new-found acquitic armor to swim down under the lake (only to see that there was another pyramid inverted beneath it), and proceeded to knock holes in the giant, floating, double pyramid, sinking the whole structure.
HUZZAH! Everyone leveled.
To be continued…
- Elven Cloaks (+5 Stealth) for everyone
- Elven Boots (+5 Acrobatics) for everyone
- Elven Tunics (Endure Elements) for everyone
- Quiver w/ 60 Elven arrows
- Poison Stone (10 doses bloodroot poison)
- Hedreg’s Promise (Ring, +2 on Cha-based checks vs. opposite gender and charm person 1/day…you suspect it may have other unknown properties)
- Hastsezini’s Shield +4 (wielder cannot be Flanked)
- Bracers of Defenselessness (Cursed! wearer has AC of 10, no other bonuses or modifiers apply)
- Cursed Scroll of Cowardice (Nash must make a Will save, normal DC, every time he encounters an enemy or flee in panic)
- Aquatic Half-Plate Armor (gains +1 enhancement bonus when underwater, and grants freedom of movement when underwater)
- Merty’s Miraculous Mistmaker (when the stopper of this vial is removed, it creates a 30-ft. radius cloud as an obscuring mist spell, for 3d6 rounds. To recharge, simply refill with water)
- Odin’s Dagger +3 (+5 vs. Dragons, 3x damage vs. Red Dragons, and immunity to Fire)
- Oil of Controlling (acts as a charm person spell when applied to a victim. may be thrown in combat)
- Bracers of the Mermen (grants ability to breathe water and a swim speed of 60 feet)
- Wand of Ochalor’s Eye (Has 91 charges – using 1 charge creates a 30-ft. cone of fear, 6HD or less do not get a save, others get a Will save DC 18, those that fail are paralyzed as long as they can see the wand, once they cannot see the wand they run screaming for 5 rounds)
- Anyone previously affected by the wand is compelled to attempt to Sunder it when they next encounter the wand (regardless of who wields it).
- Black silk bed linens (silky smooth, but non-magical
- 1200vp worth of military rations
- 2 Crafted Vardatches
- Wargird’s Barding (+1 breastplate made for a pony, can be slept in without fatigue, grants +2 on Endurance checks…you suspect it may have additional unknwon properties)
- +2 Frost Horseshoes
- 15 suits of Full Plate Armor, Halbers, Elephant Goads, and Curved Sacrificial Daggers (from legates)
- LOTS of vardatches and greataxes (from orcs and ibixians)