The cast of heroes
Arken (Half-Elf Cleric) – leader of the partyBardan (Human Fighter) – the muscle
Knil (Elf Ranger) – the tracker
Korum Proudfoot (Halfling Thief) – the scout
Rioja Hyrule (Human Mage) – the wizard
Kima (Black Domestic Cat) – his familiar
Encounter with the Beast (Day 189, evening)
The party had settled into their ambush positions, and the sheep were put into their position as bait. Rioja made a final circuit of the defensive positions casting Strength on Arken, Barden and Korum – the members of the party who would be getting up close and personal with the entity known as The Beast. Rioja had been studying the old wizard’s books from his library and had come across a few old scrolls, much damaged, that gave them a few clues as to the two dragons’ backgrounds and traits.
Night had fallen and the moon had risen, bathing the glade in its wan light. The sheep started to bleat and shift nervously in Rioja’s direction; which was as planned. Across the meadow, the trees started to rustle and a huge misshapen bipedal being stamped its way into the clearing. It was a dark shape within an aura of darkness that seemed to follow and surround it.
Rioja knew that the Beast feared magic users, so he would have to be brave to face it down, giving enough time for his fellow adventurers to engage it in mortal combat. He cast a few minor cantrips to attract its attention and then, as it turned towards him and began to approach he hit it full on with a Fireball. This magical blast caught it in its great maw, massive pointed teeth shone against the glow from the blast. The Beast shook its head, let out a great roar and advanced on Rioja. That was the signal for the three combat ready adventurers to rush in.
Rioja cast a Polymorph Self and grew to double his height, whilst fractionally after he cast a set of Magic Missiles. Knil hit the Beast with two of his arsenal of magical arrows, which seemed to pass through the Beast, albeit damage to its aura was seen. Arken Blessed himself for extra combat resilience whilst Bardan and Korun rushed the Beast from the side and rear respectively.
Although not surprised into inaction, the Beast none-the-less was slowed enough by the party’s actions that they were able to reel off another series of attacks. More Magic Missiles and magical arrows hit the shadowy being just before Bardan and Korum were able to strike. Bardan had hurt it the most, so the Beast swung its dark talons and dealt him a mighty blow. Again, more magical blasts and arrows found their target and although Korum struck the Beast with all his enhanced Strength from behind causing enough damage to fell an elephant, the Beast merely shrugged it off and clobbered Korum to within an inch of his life. In fear of hitting his injured friend, Bardan dropped his axe.
Arken finally managed to enter the fray to deal extra damage with his magical mace whilst Bardan went to retrieve his weapon. Korum favoured his injured left side, and as a result missed his opportunity to attack. More magical missiles found their target, but Knil was becoming increasingly worried about firing into the melee in case he hit one of his compatriots. The Beast now realised his main enemy was the mage, who had been blasting him unerringly for minutes with many bolts of power. Ignoring the injured Halfling and the ineffectual warriors it lunged in the direction of Rioja.
The Beast managed to avoid being hit by the rest of the party and dealt its wrath upon the wizard. Rioja seemed to shrug off the wound, but a squeal of pain was heard from Kima, his black cat familiar. A final Magic Missile from Rioja’s arsenal slowed the Beast enough for Korum to gather his wits enough to strike at a vulnerable point. Dealing a blow that would have felled a Titan, Korum felt his whole arm numb with shock as he struck the Beast’s vital spot. The darkness felll in upon itself and then exploded in a massive blast of magical power, bowling over all those in the glade including the terrified sheep that were some distance away. The townsfolk of Kakariko later told of the thunderous blast upon the party’s return to town.
Arken was the first to his feet, so he examined the blast area. Thinking about the binding spell which kept Aphyros bound within the orb, he scooped up some of the earth that contained the diminishing magical essence of the Beast for later use. He then prayed to his goddess for guidance on what they should do next. She informed him that his duties were completed when the party released the good dragon from the orb, but was impressed with his devotion to the cause when he mentioned that he and the party would carry on and help with the quest to bring about the downfall of Nephyros, the evil dragon. Din managed to ask one favour and that was to know if the Beast was truly gone. Cryptically his deity mentioned to look to its footprints for the answer. From this he concluded that the party had truly defeated the Beast.
After the commune with his deity, Arken healed those who were worst afflicted in the battle. The party then returned the sheep to the farmer in return for their 20 gold piece deposit, and headed back to the main town of
where they boasted
of their victory in return for much free food and ale. Kakariko
Return to the
(Day 192-236) Village
The party spent a couple of days celebrating their victory and recovering from the rest of their wounds before heading back to their base in the south. They travelled by night whilst Rioja rested, and rested by day whilst Rioja studied with his familiar standing watch. Even though they wished to attract the attention of the Darkness, it never returned during their entire journey. They must have hurt Nephyros if he wouldn’t retaliate so soon; perhaps the scrolls were right that when any of his three aspects are defeated, it would take some time for him to re-gather his strength.
Upon their return, they noticed that all of the building work had been completed to their satisfaction and Tim, the steward, was running the settlement in a very efficient manner; they had started to actually make a little money selling their goods (wood, animal skins and furs, some early crops and merchants’ fees for renting their stalls and shops in the guildhall and market place), enough to pay off 1000gp of Arken’s debt. The militia had been trained in the efficient use of the ballistae and had formed a tight unit of men-at-arms. They still had some training to do, and new recruits were coming in each day to swell their ranks.
Barden and Knil went looking for more magical items to boost their arsenal. Barden had seen how effective Korum’s Girdle of Giant Strength was, so managed to pick one up himself, albeit of not the same fine quality as Korum’s. Knil also managed to acquire more magical arrows, of a better quality than his previous ones, but had a run in with the merchant selling them. He was over charging the party on the goods he was selling and Rioja had found him out. He promised to behave better in future on threat of the party going to the mayor.
Meanwhile, Korum visited the local Thieves’ Guild to introduce himself and passed their entry lock test with flying colours. He mentioned what he was aiming to achieve with his new tavern set up in Gerudos, and they promised to send him a few informants to aid in expanding their communications network. He should expect to see one or two mendicants, a stable boy, and a couple of working girls arrive over the next few days. The Guild would exchange information and favours with Korum’s set up in return for a small monthly fee and a reciprocal exchange of knowledge.
Rioja left the merchant’s establishment to track down the local wizard. He was welcomed in warmly and after exchanging pleasantries, the two mages set their heads together to work out their next moves. Rioja had previously asked Arken if it was alright to part with their hard won knowledge of the Nephyros versus Aphyros situation, and he agreed he could do so if he trusted the mage. Their aim was to replicate the entrapment spell used on Aphyros when he entered the orb, only with the target this time being Nephyros, the evil dragon. Whilst the two conjurers worked on the ritual, they had a little time to develop further a small ancible device that could be used to contact each other over distance. They would not be able to actually communicate over the devices (two small marbles, one would glow in opposition if a cantrip was cast upon the other), but it would alert the other that they needed to communicate. Some other spell could be used for that communication.
A New Quest (Day 242)
The two wizards were good to their word and, after much research within the tomes they had both acquired over their years of study and adventuring, they were able to work out the next move. The Hawk (the liche that had poisoned Din’s chalice) had to be faced again on its home ground, because within that valley was a circle of power that was needed to defeat that aspect of Nephyros. Korum had also been thinking on the nature of the diamond and its box; it seemed that the area of its effect closely resembled what would be expected of just such a circle of power.
The next phase of their quest settled, the party prepared to travel back to the swamp to face down the Hawk; the second aspect on Nephyros.