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Chapter 5 - Mad Gnomes and Wild Elves...

Turn 7 continued Feeling the unexpected psionic presence, Dainn grasps his head in pain.

As the creature departs, the presence lessens and eventually disappears. Visibly relaxing, Dainn looks at the doorway on the other side of the room. Orcs!

Before he is able to react, one of the orcs runs back through the door.

Half yelling to the others, "Great! We've been found out. You take care of the others, and I'll try to stop the one that got away. We cannot afford to have any others know of our presence." Taking a few steps back for protection against the crossbow bolts, Dainn starts concentrating his power against the fleeing orc...

[OOC: I think that most everyone can guess what Narlak means, and it isn't good!]

[Cygar]

Seeing the orcs on the far side I quickly retreat to the doorway and say "Malikor, can you please put that light out NOW."

[Damien and Cyvara]

Cyvara charges like a thing possessed up the stairs. As she sees the ghoul room is still empty, she whispers a silent thanks. She pulls out her dagger and casts an enchantment on it - suddenly, the weapons's pommel emits a bright yellow light.

She moves back out into the corridor, passed the opened door.

Damien follows Cyvara's heat trail, until he sees a flare of light ahead of him, and shifts back to the regular spectrum of vision. The lions pad along silently beside him. In a few seconds he sees Cyvara ahead of him holding a glowing dagger. Damien stops the lions with a silent motion from his hand, then scratches Arbra behind her ear, she rumbles a low growl.

Suddenly, there is a low rumble behind Cyvara. Frightened, she turns around to see Damien and two lions standing there, the male lion rumbling ominously.

"Kabbak's staff!", she exclaims. "Where did the lions come from?"

Damien comforts the lion, and speaks quietly to Cy: "These are a gift from my father, Kala and Arbra, they are my guardians, and companions, in my travels. Come, we must be quick if we travel back to the plastered room."

Once Cyvara recovers from the initial shock of seeing the lions for the first time, she nods to Damien. In Elvish, she says, "Yes, I remember you saying now that you could summon them. I have just never seen one before, other than in drawings."

"You speak Elven very well Cyvara, where did you learn the elvish tongue, that is a story I would like to hear someday. Yes, the lions can be quite fearsome, that is an advantage, they are always alert, and if an enemy is startled by their appearance, it is often the last thing that enemy does"

Cyvara replies, "No story, really. My Master taught me the tongue of the Elves because many scripts of magic are written in it. He taught me what is currently spoken and what Elves spoke and wrote long ago. He said that if I was to study magic I would need to know Elvish naturally and fluently. Sorry for my rashness back there. I just wanted to leave. Cygar was starting to wear on my patience."

"Well, I admit I was not paying him too much attention, I was thinking about what was in that pit. perhaps he was still shocked over his near death at the hands of the ghouls."

Damien walks along with Cyvara, Kala in the lead, Damien and Cyvara next with Arbra following along behind them. The four of you walk for another ten minutes or so, the light from Cyvara's dagger illuminating the way.

Damien breaks the silence, "You held your own very well against them, your magic is very powerful."

Cyvara blushes a little and averts her gaze. "No, I'm just an apprentice. I still have a lot to learn..."

Damien: "I know very little of magic, but my father knew a lot, and if you already know powerful magics as an apprentice, I wonder what you will be able to do as a full wizard? Anything you desire, I imagine."

The mage seems very noisy compared to the gray elf and the lions. You pass the trapped entrance to the temple, and eventually reach the plastered room.

The room is burnt and partially destroyed, much like others throughout the temple. The floor is crowded with debris and movement is difficult. Sagging and collapsed as it is, the ceiling appears to be sound. The opposite wall is different from the others. It shows signs of recent construction and upkeep as it is patched in several places. On the whole, this wall appears to be stoutly built.

Damien takes a dagger from his left boot sheath, and chips at the plaster, after a moment, he reaches the charred wall beyond, and turns to Cyvara "Looks like the others were right, there is nothing here." He eventually chips away the covering new plaster and reaches the burnt and blackened wall behind ... he pauses before continuing through ....

Cyvara stands clear, mostly watching the lions. His search reveals nothing and she sighs, "well, I guess it was worth checking out. At least we know now that it was nothing. It never hurts to be thorough."

Damien looks around the room, and then moves to Cyvara's side, Damien makes a soft whistle, and the lions pad over silently to stand beside Damien and Cyvara.

Damien reaches out and takes one of Cyvara's warm delicate hands in his and holds it out to Kala "Cyvara I'd like you to meet Kala" Damien points to the male lion with the large golden mane and holds her hand out towards him. Kala sniffs at her hand, and then licks her fingertips. "Now he knows you to be a friend, Kala this is Cyvara, a friend, to be guarded and defended"

Next he holds Cyvara's hand out to the female lion "Arbra, this is Cyvara, a friend, to be guarded and defended, Cyvara this is Arbra, they are a mated pair of lions. I have taught them several things, they will defend someone if I ask them to, they can track and guard as well" Arbra sniffs at Cyvara, and then quickly butts Cyvara with her head knocking Cyvara back into Damien. Damien's arms go around Cyvara as they tumble backwards, and Arbra lays her considerable weight across them both and licks Damien on the face, purring loudly.

Damien realizes that his hands and arms are wrapped around Cyvara and tries to disentangle himself. "Um.. sorry, sometimes she acts a little strange around strangers".

As Damien nears and starts introducing her to his lion companions, her body trembles in nervous reaction as much to the closeness of Damien's body as to the presence of the lions. A bit relieved when Damien releases her, she directs her attention to the lions. "Hello, Kala." Slowly making sure that it is safe, she reaches out and touches Kala's mane, stroking the large, male lion on the neck. "They are beautiful. How did you get to have them as ... allies?"

The elf replies "One day several years ago when my father thought that I was old enough, he sent me to the old elven sage Yarfel."

Cyvara's eyes roll up in thought at the name "Yarfel", but soon she shrugs and listens on...

"Yarfel quested me to find and make my bow, he gave me the ivory, and I traveled for many years, carving upon it as Silvanus directed me with visions and dreams. When I returned home and completed the bow, My father and mother felt it was time for me to move on, and learn from the world. My father is a powerful wizard and had several of these carvings, and offered me one. I chose Kala, and my father gave me Arbra because they are mated. Ever since then, they have been my faithful companions, they are magical, and smart as well, I have taught them many things, as they have taught me the value of trust among friends"

Damien stands up and brushes the dirt from his cloak, and offers Cyvara a hand up. Damien looks into her eyes, "We must have trust in one another, with that we can prevail against any enemy" Damien takes a wineskin from his backpack and opens it. "Will you drink with me, a toast to our newfound friendship, and a hope that it continues on for many years to come?"

Cyvara takes his hand somewhat reluctantly, nervously. And she likewise brushes off her fine, dark robes. "I would be honored to toast to our friendship," she says almost as if reciting it. She goes on to recite a stanza from a poem:

"Friends old, Friends new.
Friends nearly forgotten with years.
The ties that bind us to our friends are
the ties the hold hope and happiness in our hearts.
May you have many kind and noble friends,
and may their memory inspire you while they are away,
and may you soon be re-united in brotherhood."

Damien: "Beautifully said Cyvara, I am not so imaginative with words". Damien offers the wineskin to Cyvara, and once she has drunk, Damien will drink from it as well. Cyvara: "Oh, that was not creativity, just something I read a while ago. My Master always said I had a good memory."

She pauses and then softly says, "I sure hope that he is alright." Her words break the mood.

Damien says "We should get back to the others".

At the suggestion to head back to the group, Cyvara nods and holds her dagger aloft, like a candlestick, to light the way. Damien sends Kala ahead to scout, and he knocks an arrow to his bow, and walks beside Cyvara, with Arbra guarding their rear. Damien and Cyvara make their way back to where the others are.

Turn 8

As the orcs fire their crossbows, Cygar retreats to the doorway and yells out "Malikor, put that light out NOW!" Next to the half-elf, Kilroy is tying a rope to something.

The orcs’ crossbow bolts strike - Lianya is hit in the arm but manages to shrug off the wound while Tyrmar is hit by a bolt, which embeds itself deeply in his chest.

Malikor shuts his fist around the coin and the room goes dark, lit only by Tyrmar’s sword.

In the semi-darkness, you hear Kilroy gasp in pain as he is struck by a bolt. The remaining orc botches his shot, and the bolt flies down into the pit.

Dainn concentrates a moment - reaching out with the powers of his mind.

Khoron thrusts out his gauntleted hand pointing in the direction of the fleeing orc. He stares at the orc for a moment and mutters some words in dwarven as he slowly closes his fist. You see that the fleeing orc freezes in position like a statue.

Lianya curses softly at the wound in her arm as she brings forth her bow. With a prayer to Celestian, she nocks two arrows and fires them, one after the other in quick succession. One arrow strikes - slaying one of the creatures. The other misses ...

Kilroy has tied the other end of the rope to his waist. Circe is crouched next to the gnome, chanting in the arcane language of magic. Then, with a roar, an orange burning globe of fire appears ten yards away - about three-quarters of the way across the pit. With his right hand, Circe gestures and the globe begins rolling towards the orcs, trailing blue flames.

Suddenly, Kilroy draws his rapier and lightly runs across the left hand side of the room across the crumbling, burnt section of floor clinging to the wall!

As his feet touch the ledge, the section underneath crumbles down into the pit but the gnome manages to keep moving and reaches the other side just as the last part of the ledge crumbles away! "I DID IT!" he screams, just as one of the orcs swings a battle-axe towards him. The gnome dives underneath it.

["He did it?!", the DM yells - not believing the dice!]

Seeing Kilroy’s success in the semi-darkness, Cygar begins to move rapidly across the right side.

But, Malikor, seeing that Kilroy is outnumbered and -not- seeing Cygar, straps his staff on his back and goes at a dead run across the right side!

The ledge is sound and solid. However, as Malikor reaches Cygar’s position, their combined weight causes a loose beam underneath to shift. The wall next to them collapses inwards, knocking Cygar off the ledge and down the long fall into the pit ...

Malikor loses his balance and tries to leap out towards the other side of the room; however, it’s too far and he falls down into the pit as well ...

By now, Circe’s burning globe has crashed into the orcs, causing two of them to catch fire - one falls burning to its death in the pit, the other dies.

From where the orc remains frozen on the stairs, a gargled cry of pain emerges - Dainn has made contact with the creature, and is inflicting some sort of attack on it.

The remaining orc snarls at Kilroy and attempts to flatten him with its battle-axe. The axe slices into the gnome ... Kilroy jumps back and begins to yell at the creature, enraging it with taunts of cowardice. The orc runs forward, and Kilroy skewers it. It collapses dead.

Circe directs the globe of fire into the stairwell. With the orcs vanquished, the groaning of your comrades can be heard from the pit ...

[Damage:
Circe: scratched (barely)
Cygar: critical (at bottom of pit)
Cyvara: uninjured
Dainn: scratched
Damien: injured (just)
Lianya: scratched
Kilroy: hurt
Khoron: uninjured
Malikor: critical (at bottom of pit)
Tyrmar: hurt (barely)

[Kilroy]

Realising his position, well beyond that of his companions (in fact, across the other side of a room with only a single way back) Kilroy braces himself against the pain.

Kilroy seems to still have at least one of Keoghtom's ointment's in his possession.

(OOC please correct me if I'm wrong - Geoff)

He applies the urgent to his bolt wound and to the axe cut. Feeling better he begins to look out the door. He is keeping an eye out for any unwelcome visitors.

Sheathing both of his swords, Tyrmar plunges the room into darkness. The elf then pulls the bow from his shoulder and with a fluid motion fits and arrow to the string. Tyrmar allows his vision to slip into infravision, allowing him to see the creature below as he begins to fire a deadly rain of arrows.

Realizing that the fight is over, Dainn gets out another torch and lights it. Not seeing Cygar and Malikor, sends Dainn's mind racing - the sound of the wall falling. They must be down in the cellar. Looking to the others there on this side of the room, "I believe that Cygar and Malikor may need some help - and quickly! Does anyone have any rope they can use to climb down there? I do have some but, I think that I might need it for another purpose. Khoron, why don't you coordinate efforts to help those in the cellar, and I'll try to go over to the other side of the room. We need to check on that last orc to make sure that it didn't get away. We cannot afford to let our presence here be known."

Looking at where the wall collapsed, Dainn thinks the floor would be sturdiest there. Then, seeing the rope that Kilroy had tied off earlier, he calls out to the bard, "Kilroy, I'm going to try crossing so you and I can check on that last orc. If you would secure your end of the rope, I'll cross over."

Thinking that Kilroy might be in need of some healing, Dainn asks Circe, "Do you think that I could have one of the ointments? Kilroy might need one."

Lianya moves closer to the pit edge as Dainn begins to move across the room. "We are in big trouble, folks -- don't forget the creature that is hovering in the corner of the cellar below us. Our friends are probably not in good shape after that fall. It is essential we get down to them immediately. Whatever killed all the ghouls, probably has the power to take out two injured people."

"Dainn, it's well and good to scout the last orc and you can do that but I need to get down to the cellar fast . . . I doubt I can kill the giant bug by myself but at least I may be able to distract it while some others get down to assist me. I need some rope."

[Dainn]

Sighing, Dainn says to Lianya, "I know your concerns about the creature that we saw earlier. I believe that it is gone now though. Since it left, I haven't felt its presence. At the moment, I'm more worried about that last orc. This was most likely a patrol, and if that orc can get back to its leader, we will have more to worry about than just a big bug. I don't even want to know if the orcs are working with the slavers - just think if they started executing them because of us. Anyway, keeping the link up with the orc drains me mentally, but I want to be sure that it remains incapacitated.

"Anyway, I believe that Khoron should be the one to coordinate the 'rescue mission' for those in the cellar. He is our resident healer after all. If the creature returns, just yell out, and I'll attack it mentally. I don't have to be right next to it for psionics to work."

Khoron puts down his pack and pulls out a piton and his rope. "If you hurry you should be able to tie up that orc before my spell wears off. Before he got away I managed to paralyze him with the power of Moradin. So toss Kilroy some rope and tie the foul beast up."

The dwarven priest begins to search the walls and floor for a slight crack. He quickly finds what he is looking for and slams the piton into the crack with his warhammer. He reaches down with a gauntleted hand and tries to wiggle the piton. "There that should hold," he exclaims as he ties his rope to the piton. "I might need one of those ointments also, my healing powers have been depleted already today and I don't think I can do much more." (If one is given to him he takes it, otherwise he just continues on without it.) He leaves his pack and anything that might way him down up here and he tucks his warhammer in his belt before he grabs the rope and starts to lower himself down.

OOC: Khoron is a dwarven priest of Moradin and his healing abilities are limited to his cure lights. He doesn't have the healing proficiency. I think he is the only healer in the group, other than Lainya's laying on hands, from my understanding. Hope that clears some stuff up for you. I know it can be rather confusing at first.

Lianya nods to Dainn as Moradin begins his process of attaching the rope and lowering himself down. "Okay, its obviously best that no orcs report back so you two already over there can probably handle that. Khoron, I have some healing capabilities as well, plus I am not certain that its altogether safe in the cellar ... I will follow you down."

Lianya steadies the rope as Moradin descends and then joins him down below. She will scan the cellar as best she can see to check for immediate danger and will then proceed to the nearest injured party member.

Kilroy secures the end of the rope tied to his waist to the doorframe. He moves painfully over to the door and looks out. While there he searches the dead orc corpses.

For a moment, Malikor lies dazed and bleeding on the cellar floor, dimly aware that Cygar is there as well. Then memory of the strange insect-like creature that killed the ghouls comes flooding into his mind, filling the elf warrior with a sense of urgency. Using his staff for support, Malikor struggles to rise, determined not be an easy snack...

Circe seeing Kilroy heading towards the door moves his flaming sphere off to the side against the stone wall. He then at the request of the others hands an ointment to Dainn and Koron. He then moves to the edge of the pit, and yells down. "Malikor use the coin so we can see down there. So if the creature is there or if it comes back the archers up here can lend a hand." Circe starts glancing from the bottom of the pit to the door, just in case his sphere is needed before it extingushes itself."

Getting the ointment from Circe, Dainn places it in his backpack. "Just remember to call out if that creature comes back. I can mentally attack it from a distance." Making sure that the rope is secure on both sides, Dainn starts carefully moving across the ledge holding onto the rope at all times in case something should happen.

Reaching the other side, Dainn takes the ointment out of his backpack and gives is to Kilroy. "I hope this helps. We had better check on that orc." Gesturing at the dead orcs, "They are not going anywhere. We'll see what items they have when we get back. Let us see if we get a live one." Drawing his scimitar, he cautiously moves through the doorway, and starts looking for the orc. Should Dainn and Kilroy find it still immobilized and alive, Dainn will get out his rope, tie it up, and drag it back to where the others are."

About 25 minutes after they left Damien and Cyvara return to the room with the boards across the pit.

Damien walks forward cautiously with his bow drawn and an arrow nocked, the lions are at his side.

"What has happened here" Damien peers over the ledge down into the pit.

[Cygar] After the fall into the pit I lay on my back looking up at the space from which I had just come and watching this burning sphere move across the ceiling. A sense of calm wash over me as I think to myself that this must be the end, I now go to meet up with my mother and father. Then suddenly a stabbing pain breaks into my mind. As turn I see Malikor struggling to get up and his movement has jarred the pile of rubble on which I lay. Realizing that I must not be dead yet, I reach ever so slowly into my belt and withdraw the small jar of ointment I took earlier. Removing the top I take some of the ointment onto my fingers and spread it over the bleeding gash in my arm and on my forehead. I only hope this stuff works a well as Kilroy said it would. That done I try to rise to my feet, testing every movement before committing myself to putting weight on that part of my body. Once up I will move towards Malikor to see if he needs any help. The ointment seems to work as I begin to feel my strength return ever so slowly. Should Malikor be badly injured I will apply some of the ointment to the worst of his wounds. [OOC: I will use two applications of the ointment, one on each of us]

Looking around the room we are in I will remember the creature that we saw down here before and begin to look around for a quick way to escape from this pit.

Damien sees Cygar and Malikor in the pit and presumably Khoron and Lianya as well. He stands at the edge of the pit with bow ready and calls down, as quietly as he can but still loud enough to be heard "Do you need any more help down there, where is the creature, or creatures that were down there, what happened here?"

Chapter 6

Chapter 4