Thoughts from the mind of Alton Haildance:
Arrived at Drek’Thar via the air elementals. That’s a fun ride! Reminds me of facing into a strong wind hanging off the top of the mast. Only much better. I understand why Smut spent so much time in Swirls-a-lot. I also liked Harnann’s inspiring speech as we flew. We will totally prevail!
The Orcs start charging in right away. Kala Legazi is out for blood and not listening to any reason. Either out for blood or leading everyone into a trap. I suppose it could be both.
Stonetooth is out of the mountain. Black shadows over everything in there and it doesn’t want to get corrupted.
Hey look, green firebolts from Imps in the sniper slits. So, it’s a trap. Demea’s making quick work of them. He can sure handle a bow. Tim, Smut & others are making a few hits into the slits also.
The door won’t open for the Orcs. Ask Stonetooth to open it. It’s not opening for it either. Stonetooth is getting upset. I suggest to Stonetooth to just make an opening by the arrow slits. Ok, digging fingers into the rock above the door and just ripping it out is another way of getting it open. Hope nobody got caught underneath where the door was thrown.
It looks like Stonetooth stepped on a bunch of Imps that were piled on top of one of the small elementals. The elemental is free. Blackness ripples over Stonetooth and it swings a fist in the direction of us and the orcs. A moment passes as Stonetooth reasserts control over itself and then it departs the mountain.
Demea heads over to open the door to the left to let the orcs into the guardroom on that side. Serla’s ahead of me and gets the door open on the right for more orcs to clear them out.
It appears Smut had a dustdevil in front of one of the outside arrow slits and is moving it to one of the slits on the inside and tossing a… a… goat? through one of the other slits.
The bridge is gone. Harnann mumbles about the Harnann maneuver. I seek out the Kalas to see if they think air elementals can ferry us across without risking contamination issues. Demea’s calling a warning about the stone dwarf statues on the other side shooting at us. He tries to take cover behind the arch but they still manage to hit him. They must be skilled like he is.
Ugh, the darkness is rippling across the statues too. Demea’s taking shots back at them. Kalas are saying they don’t want to damage the legacy of the place.
Wee, we’re up on the air elementals again and floating across the chasm. Smut’s goat takes a hit and the elemental drops the dead weight. Smut dips suddenly until he too drops the goat. Good thing there’s enough noise that I won’t hear it hit. Oops, Demea dropped his bow! I see Harnann take a breath and start to turn toward Smut, but an elemental is already bringing the bow back up. Good. I didn’t want to give my bow to Demea and it wouldn’t be his preference.
The elementals have us across the chasm and past the statues. One of them is pretty beat up from the attacks on it, but they’re all still moving.
Kala Lagazi heads across the mountain carving and down the stairs with most of the orcs following. The fantastic 4, Kala Shani, and Brug hang back to talk to the StoneHill Dragon Guard. Serla mentions the artifact AX and Shani says to stop talking and just get it. She wants the fantastic 4 to guard the upstairs and clear out any demons up here so those below don’t get trapped between two forces. Good idea and should help keep the kids from the more risky battle downstairs. Kala Shani also wants the SHDG to stay and keep the kids alive. Good sentiment and sense for wanting to protect family, but totally insane proposition. Harnann’s been having the visions and been fighting this evil for so long at the direction of the gods and she wants the to do the big battle without her? That makes no sense. Us cleaning out the demons up here and then going down to find all the orcs dead instead of going with them and working together is no plan. Harnann and Serla are certainly needed below.
I tell Harnann and Serla to go, Demea too, and volunteer to watch the kids with Smut and Slurry. I ask if Tim will stay too, but don’t really know where he’s more needed. Fortunately he stays. Kala Shani isn’t happy with the choices, but goes down the stairs with Brug, Harnann, and Demea.
Serla goes racing off toward the barracks and rest of us follow (ok, Smut keeps nosing around the Axe marked door).
I hear Serla make a viscous cut, “how could those feeble wings possibly hold you in the air?” I can make out a Vrock through the door. Tim brushes me with a Firebolt. Not sure what he’s up to. Should be attacking the Vrock demon, not trying to tickle me with fire.
Dorn and Penda rush into the room and attack the Vrock, scoring some hits, but the thing has resistance against their normal weapons. Slurry manages to land a bolt from the hallway.
Serla’s across the room and knocks the AX from a dretch’s hands, picks it up and heads back toward us. The dretch making pathetic swipes at her as she leaves it.
I move into the corner of the room to get a clear shot past the orcs at the Vrock. My shiny bow’s magic makes my attack more effective than the others’ weapons and I hit one of the sweet spots in the demon’s defense. Listen to it howl! I certainly got its attention! That should help keep the kids safer if it focuses on me.
See, good thing I still had my bow. I tell Serla, “Go! We got this.”
Vanchu come in and Tarak gets a hit it to chip away at it some more.
The Vrock screeches and shakes spores scatteringly across the room and toward me. Ha, no problem for me; this Vrock’s pathetic and going down!
Uh, oh, the kids and Serla are hacking. Maybe not so good.
Tim lands a firebolt from the hallway onto the Vrock. See, there he’s got the right idea now. He usually get there.
Dorn & Penda chip away at the demon. These kids are pretty good. Too bad they’re only half effective with those weapons.
I hear Slurry’s crossbow go off but don’t see a bolt fly in. Not sure why Tim’s screaming.
Serla give a word of encouragement to the orcs and heads out. I follow up with another arrow and the foul fowl demon goes down!
The dretch finally shambles across the room enough to land a minor bite on an orc, but is quickly cut down.
Smut points out new shadows carved behind the four armed demon at the end of the mural and I note a symbol of some assassin’s guild that had some issues. Don’t really remember any more of the story. Slurry finds the paper with some unintelligible writing and sketches of what was being carved into the stone by the Vrock’s claws. Smut was sketching the symbols and we give him the paper, which he tucks into his sketchbook.
Back out in the central chamber, I head to set a warning for the chamber in case something comes out while we’re checking out one of the other areas and a magma mephit squeezes out of an air vent from the kitchen. Smut throws a Ray of Frost wild, but arrows from Dorn and Penda solidly hit before Slurry the Finisher obliterates it. I use the hand to summon the unseen servant. I hand it a bell to give warning with and some instructions. Smut is throwing more Rays of Frost at the already obliterated mephit. I don’t think they’re the type to come back from the dead, but whatever keeps Smut happy.
We then head off to the kitchens to figure out where that mephit came from.
We hear the stone plates being dashed to the floor as we approach. The kitchen is a mess. There’s also a trio each of magma and steam mephits. I ignore them and focus on the nasty fire demon that’s messing with the runes on the table portal. The demon stands and projects its voice into our heads that the $%*&! demon lord Orcus is coming and those who volunteer to serve him will be rewarded. He seems to be looking at Smut, which could be because it senses the crystal, or that he was in front. Smut has the same idea as me and throws a Ray of Frost at it before closing to attack with his claws.
I follow with an inspired arrow that seems to have trouble getting there as an aura emanating from the demon is disturbing attacks from afar. Still, my arrow land for a nice little chunk out of the demon.
A few mephits circle in and pester Smut. Smut’s shield seems to be glowing a bit. That demon must really be radiating a lot of heat.
Tim moves out and casts a spell that wreathes his body in flames. Looks spiffy and a great imitation of the demon, but I don’t think fire’s going to be very effective against these foes.
Dorn land a hit with a crossbow.
A magma mephit claws Tim for a bit, but it looks like he got damaged by that fire around Tim more that he gave. That mephit doesn’t look so good; seems that spell is a good choice.
The demon’s apparently scared of Smut and Vamoosed over to the doorway. Uh-oh, that radiant aura is causing pain among the orcs, Tim, & Slurry.
Penda and Tarak chip away at the demon with their battle axes. Looks like this thing also resists normal weapons. Slurry back up out of the aura and gets a solid hit with his crossbow, but it’s not very effective.
A steam mephit blows steam on me but I readily evade it. These things are just pests, that fire demon is the real issue. Looks like Tim took a minor scaling from the mephit’s breath.
BOOM! Smut’s throwing thunderwaves at the mephits around him.
I shoot at the fire demon, but the aura fouls up the shot.
Vanchu calls some of that healing water to herself and backs away from the searing aura.
A magma mephit breathes fire onto the remaining orcs and they get a little singed.
Smut’s shield continues to glow hot. Maybe it’s the mephits and not the fire demon.
Tim launches a barrage of magic missiles. Two take out the mephit next to him that had clawed Tim, one hits the mephit that had breathed on the orcs, and one hits the fire demon. Should have focused on the fire demon. That aura’s killing us.
Dorn lands some chips.
Argh! The demon flared its aura, searing us. I manage to resist some of it, as do Tim and Dorn, but Tarak and Penda got hit especially hard.
Penda fails to hit. Tarak is down. Not doing well at keeping the kids alive. Not sure I’ll make it out of this.
Slurry hit but I’m not sure it did anything.
BOOM! Smut’s throwing more thunderwaves at the mephits. Maybe he should ignore them and help with the demon… oh, awsome, he’s sent four magic missiles into the demon also!
I get in that demon’s aura again and I don’t think I’ll be standing. I take another inspired shot at the demon, but its aura throws off the shot again. Wish I had a magic rapier so I could get the advantage of flanking and not the disadvantage of shooting through this guy’s aura. Not that I want to stand next to this thing.
Vanchu splashes some of that healing water onto Tarak.
Smut’s shield’s glowing hot again, but he keeps holding onto it so it must not bother him much.
Dorn gets a nice hit in. He seems to know where the good spots are to hit like me.
Demon throw a couple of scorching blasts out. One hits me but I manage to dodge some of it and it’s fire (not radiant) so I’m still standing. The other hits Tim and he goes down.
Tarak gets some hits. Nice that Vanchu was able to get him back up, because that demon goes down. Wish I had some significant healing on me.
Mephits keep pestering Smut.
BOOM! Well, there’s a couple less to bother Smut, but it looks like a new one crawled out from under the table.
I go bandage up Penda (who was down) and Vanchu follow up with some healing water onto Vanchu and then Tim.
Smut throws his glowing shield away. Did it finally start to bother him?
The mephits are cleared out.
I throw up an illusion that the opening from the fire plane under the table is filled with ice.
Tim and Smut work up a patch with some melted gold to seal off the hole in the warding.
I could use a short rest but I think we need to go on. Maybe Serla will have some she can spare if we make it downstairs. Need to check out the dining room first though to make sure nothing is lurking there.