Campaign of the Month: January 2009

Pursuit of Destiny

Day Two

Nights in the Estwild are nearly as oppressive as nights in the Underdark. The thick canopy all but block the stars, and more than a few creatures could be heard circling the small radius of our campfire.

As the sun began to lighten the sky on the morning of our second day, a thick fog rolled in bringing with it the scent of winter. A dryad crouched at the edge of the clearing, he introduced himself to us as Vale, and he informed us that we were granted his aid. When we asked by who, he motioned to the forest and said that our actions against the Draconians had not gone unnoticed. All of us looked to Marrek, who seemed to feel we could trust him, so Vale joined us as we made our way to the Dead Bog.

After a few hours of walking, each hour harder than the last as we got closer to the Bog, we came to a clearing. In the middle a large Black Tree was surrounded by brier bushes. The tree was clearly different than the rest of those in the Estwild. The limbs of this Black Tree grew into grasping cages, and upon inspection the cages held Draconians. The sight of them trapped so more than amused Gnasc, and his taunting chuckle earned him a dagger thrown from one of the cages. The throw was weak, and Gnasc caught the knife laughing all the harder.

By this time the Bog was up to our waists, and movement was as exhausting as any fight we have been in. After some time we came across the remains of a wagon train, though the wagons looked to be in fine repair they were sunk deep in the mud. There was no sign of any living creature near the wagons, the oxen who pulled them or the drivers. Upon inspection we found one of the wagons had some life sized statues of Draconians and Bullywugs, and a chest that was radiating arcane energy. Proceeding with caution Gnasc inspected the lock as the rest of us inspected the statues, many of these creatures had looks of fear or surprise on their faces. Gnasc concluded that he cold not open the lock, and as Marrek fished through his pockets for his skeleton key, Vale tried to pick up the chest.

The moment he touched it, Vale’s hand turned to stone, and as the rest of us watched in horror the stone spread across his hole body. As we all stared blankly in surprise, the still air was cut by the cackle of an old woman outside the wagon.

The small woman outside did not look alarmed as we hopped out of the wagon, the bog pulling us back in to our waists. Though she was a short woman she towered over us in the Bog, for she did not sink and an aura of power emanated from her. She offered to help us if we in turned helped her. Seeing no other choice we agreed to help her and with a dismissive wave of her hand we rose out of the Bog and Vale stumbled from the wagon no longer stone.

Following the woman we soon arrived at a small clearing with an even smaller hut. She pointed to the south and told us that there was a Bullywug warren she needed us to eradicated. Seeing no other choice we headed south and found the warren. While crude fighters, the Bullywugs knew how to use their surroundings to their advantage. They had a cleverly hidden trap just inside the door, but it was nothing we couldn’t jump once Marrek found it for us.

The first room of this warren held a few surprised Bullywugs that we quickly ended. As we followed the tunnel around and discovered three Bullywugs shaking staffs around a mud pit. The surface of the mud pit was roiling. Acting quickly Vale and I crash into two of the three casters knocking them away from the pool, and Marrek used the magic of his javelin to teleport the third from the pool. Though we made quick work of the Bullywugs we did not act fast enough. A Slaag emerged from the mud pit and hit Marrek, implanting a slaag embryo in the Warlord. Though together we were able to subdue the Slaag, it took all of Marrek’s strength to force the embryo out before it fully attached to his skull.

The last room of the warren had a few Bullywugs gathered around a Bullywug Mud Lord who had just finished opening a portal to the elemental plane. As mud began to pour into the room, Rook filled it with fire killing all but the Mud Lord. With Severus’s heightened sensitivity to the arcane powers of the world I could feel a being of great power trying to tear the portal even wider so that it could force it’s way through. Speaking directly to his mind I struck a deal with the Mud Lord I promised him I would not kill him if he closed the portal. He agreed and as he finished the final incantation, in time to close the portal on a giant mud arm that had protruded from the portal, Gnasc punched out, crushing the skull of the Mud Lord. With it’s dying breath, through shattered teeth the Mud Lord laid a curse on me.

An uneasy feeling rode with me as we returned to the small hut, and the woman met us again a sly smile across her face. She agreed to lift the curse if we gathered firewood for her. Exhausted and again out of options, we agreed. When all the wood had been gathered, she offered her clearing as a place to rest that night.

That night, as the darkness settled in, a band of Myconids formed an organized attack on the clearing. While it took some time for us to deal with these bipedal-mushroom-men, it was never clear if their target was us as an exposed camp, or perhaps the woman in the hut. To us it did not matter, they were just one more of the many threats the Estwild has and would throw at us.

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Day Two
148

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