22 Eleasias 1373
Note to self: given a choice between a room full of evil thugs, and an angry demon, go for the former. They trip. Demons don’t.
After Ashton’s misadventures at the Wildlands Rest, we decided to press on the town of Deadsnows on the northern flanks of the Nether Mountains. From a spellcaster’s unsent communications found earlier we had learned that, somewhere near there, an evil agent named Mayzine was building a temple to Sher.
Our complex plan emerged after much discussion within our group, but was essentially this: We would bait a trap with a body of a dead Shadowvar, and a portion of the note to Mayzine that we had captured earlier. When her agents came to investigate, we would ambush or trail them, until they led us to what we wanted to know.
It seemed to go smoothly enough. In the guise of “Roger Rodkin,” I reported the body to Captain Mannock of the Deadsnows guard. A few days later, the proprietor of a dubious ale shack in the Snowtown slum (an evil looking half orc named Vandar) came to investigate the location that we had baited, together with his thugs. We followed them back to the beer hall, and, fearing that we had spotted, mounted a quick but covert assault upon the establishment. I must admit it took me some time to convince my companions of the covert part, and the need to neither draw attention nor annoy the local constabulary. Clearly wanted local felons Ash and Hedge have had rather fewer brushes with the law than I.
Once inside, Tip’s magicks soon uncovered a secret passage, leading beneath the shack and ultimately to a dark and bloody temple. There, in the crowded chamber deep below the shantytown above, we were assulted by Vandar and half dozen of his spies and henchmen.
And what a glorious brawl it was! Hedge and I quickly and invisibly took our positions. Shen charged in, and as he did I tripped no fewer than four of the scoundrels with few quick flicks of Uncle Reggie’s beloved stone. The monk tumbled across the room to assault Vandar’s bodyguards, while Hedge quickly held his blade to the half-orcs neck. More thugs fell to my skipping. Quicker than you could recount the tale of Quacky Befuddle and the Highly Trained Ducks of Barleybridge, we had captured our target and slain his henchmen.
We soon realized that Vandar was indeed an evil cleric–but of Cyric, not of Sher. Whether this portends an evil alliance between the Dark Sun and the Lady of Loss, I cannot tell. However, vanquishing the evil cultists was clearly to our gain. Equally satisfactory was the quiet way we did this. “Roger” had a few words with Captain Mannock to direct his guards to the scene, but aside from this stalwart officer no one really knows of our involvement. Mannock himself has offered to put in a good word with his liege, Lady Icespear, a commitment that may yet prove most useful.
Thereafter, we took the bound and gagged Vandar to the nearby dwarven Hospice of of Morthammor. The clerics of Marthammor Duin had been seeking information on the recent murder of a dwarven prospector, Bromgart Ironheart, and we suspected a connection. It seems that Bromgart had been exploring an ancient dwarven mine, which in turn was likely the same mine mentioned in the captured note to Mayzine. We vowed to investigate further. I hope that we gained some favour among these honest and hard-working dwarves–one day soon we may credit friends more than gold as political and religious intrigues unfold.
(I didn’t mention it, but I knew a Shorgar Ironheart once.. he’s probably still wondering where his purse went).
After a night of very good rest, we set off for the mine. There, a greasy winch soon linked Vandar to this place. We descended down the main shaft, with Trip setting off a fire trap en route. This in turn alerted some of those beneath, and we were assaulted in turn by undead, an acolyte, and dark monks.
Ash held back the ghouls, Tip entangled the monks, and Shen made short work of both. The acolyte might have escape to tell of our presence had Hedge not felled him with shots from his crossbow. (Hedge shot me too, but I like to think that it was an accident. He’s a good fellow.. just a bit over-eager with the trigger.)
And then It came. It was most definitely an It, and not an it: a horrific, scaled, vulture-like demon. I had the fortunate good sense to bide my grandmothers oft-repeated advice: “if what’s a-coming sounds big and angry, then be small and hid.. leave it to the tall folk to be brave, for they make piss-poor ale anyways.” Of course, I had no desire to sacrifice my friends and companions, whatever their poor beer-brewing abilities.. but I was equally happy to be crouched, quiet and invisible, against a rough stone wall when the demon beset us.
A “Vrock” is what Tip later called the thing. That makes sense, because for a while there I thought were were all truly vrocked.
It was quite the fight. Shen pounded it mercilessly with his fists and feet, in perfect harmony with Hedge’s crossbow and Ash’s much needed healing spells. Tip did the best he could with magicks. In this fight, hiding and throwing rocks could do little given the foul creature’s resistance to my blows, although I did manage to shear from it a half dozen of its mirrored disguises. Finally, when it seemed much weakened by Shen’s martial arts, I aimed one careful shot at its foul head and dropped the beast to the ground. I claim no credit for this, however: mine was merely the smallest but final blow.
And so we press on. If more of Mayzine’s minions await us–and I’m sure they do–I very much hope they’re two-legged, not too big, and standing very, very close to each other. Then I can show them what a skiprock can do.