posted Feb 26, 2021, 2:21 PM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak   [ updated Feb 26, 2021, 9:05 PM ]

Propyltina 19th, Year Two of the Reign of High King Ran

Colborn and Ingimarr set about to skin the lions providing the group with two lion pelts. After a brief rest to collect their wits, they continue for the rest of the day. They set up camp and rest without interruption but for a single distant roar that echoes in the towering mountains.
Fennimore: That sounds scary.
Perri Elastime: Sounds pretty big.
Rael Octavius: It is hard to tell where it is coming from except that it is up in the mountains somewhere.
Perri Elastime: Luckily, we are going up there later. Maybe it will be gone by then.
Ingimarr: It is pretty common to hear roars like that this close to the steep slopes.
Fennimore: Do you ever see what is making the roars?
Ingimarr: I have not.
Colborn: Neither have I.
Rael Octavius: Sounds draconic to me.
Perri Elastime: I think we have a different mission to complete first.
Fennimore: Yes, let's focus on retrieving the orb.
Fennimore: I'd rather not tangle with a dragon if I don't have to.
Perri Elastime: We can dance with the dragon later.
The group travels half the day, occasionally hearing distant roars. After taking a break, they continue along the path. It is not long before they see what appears to be a sparkling white wing flash above a hill that they are approaching.
Perri Elastime: Did you see that?
Fennimore: The white wing?
Perri Elastime: Yeah, it sparkles.
Rael Octavius: That definitely looked draconic.
Fennimore: Well, do we want to talk to the dragon or run and hide?
Fennimore: I'm all for hiding.
Perri Elastime: I'm all for investigating.
Ingimarr: We should see if we can avoid it, but that will require knowing where it is.
Perri Elastime: Well, which way to the orb?
Colborn: We should be able to use this hill to get high enough to tell.
Perri Elastime: Okay, we head up, but stealthily.
Ingimarr: There is a trail that leads east on the other side of this hill. We may be able to use the ridges to sneak by.
Perri Elastime: I thought we wanted to go up to get the lay of the land.
Colborn: We can try to stay north of the hill and hope the dragon does not fly over and spot us.
Ingimarr: I will leave it up to you if you want to go up and take a look or try and avoid it.
Fennimore: Try not to get eaten, and stick close to the cliff walls.
Fennimore: Probably a good idea to space ourselves out a bit too.
Ingimarr stumbles on a rock and falls to the ground.
Colborn is not any quieter than Ingimarr but stays on his feet.
Fennimore goes to help Inginmarr back to his feet.
Ingimarr stands up and looks embarrassed.
Fennimore: Shh, step where I step.
As the group rounds the bend going up the hill, they make quite a bit of noise slipping on the scree and the snow.
Perri Elastime -> Fennimore: Have you seen any more wings?
Fennimore -> Perri Elastime: No, have you?
There is a distant low growl from the southeast.
Fennimore -> Perri Elastime: But there is a growl.
Fennimore looks for cover.
Perri Elastime looks for shadows along the cliff face.
Ingimarr crouches down behind the rise.
Ingimarr: There is a dragon upon the rise across the valley southeast of the hill.
Fennimore looks for the dragon.
Perri Elastime looks to the southeast.
The growl rises.
Ingimarr backs away from rise.
Ingimarr: I think if we head back down the hill to that slope to the north, we will be able to avoid the dragon.
Ingimarr points down the hill straight north.
Perri Elastime looks north.
Perri Elastime looks like a cliff to me.
Fennimore: That looks mighty steep down there.
Ingimarr approaches a narrow crevasse.
Perri Elastime: Hard to be quiet, slipping and sliding.
Ingimarr: We can slip through here and get down below the hill.
Ingimarr slides into the cravasse.
Fennimore -> Perri Elastime: I hope he isn't leading us into an ambush.
Perri Elastime -> Fennimore: Me too.
Ingimarr picks his way carefully down the rocky slope.
Perri Elastime follows as carefully as she can.
Fennimore tries not to stub his furry toes on the sharp rocks.
Perri Elastime watches for signs of the dragon, too.
You hear the hard beating of wings.
Fennimore (whispering): Uh, oh.
Ingimarr crouches behind a slab of stone and quickly glances over it.
Ingimarr: I do not see it anymore. It is not on the ridge.
Fennimore -> Rael Octavius: If you and Colburn get ahead of me, I'll cover our rear.
Colborn: We should get on the trail and go. The high ridge there should cover our movement.
Rael Octavius -> Fennimore: It seems like that is what Colborn is doing. I will move ahead.
Perri Elastime: Let's skirt around the hill.
Fennimore (whispering to Colburn): Go ahead. I'll cover our escape.
Ingimarr dashes across the trail to the shadow of the ridge.
Colborn: Let us go.
Fennimore: I'm right behind you.
Colborn stops and looks before dashing across.
Fennimore looks for the dragon.
There is an enormous roar and the hard beating of wings.
Fennimore motions to the others to keep going.
Fennimore sees the dragon rise into the air facing south.
Fennimore: There he is above the hill to the south.
Ingimarr: Stay close to the cliff.
After a stressful few minutes, the dragon seems to have flown behind the hill somewhere, and you are on the trail heading east.
Fennimore: Whew.
Fennimore: That was close.
Rael Octavius: Too close.
Perri Elastime: He sounded enormous. We would have hardly been second breakfast.
Rael Octavius: I hear white dragons are more bestial than other chromatic dragons. Negotiating was probably not an option.
Fennimore: Now you tell us.
Rael Octavius: I figured talking was probably not a good idea while we were that close.
Perri Elastime: Let's keep going.
Rael Octavius nods.
Fennimore: We have an orb to find.
Ingimarr leads the way.
The group travels the rest of the day, spooked by the dragon's distant roars they narrowly avoided.
Perri Elastime looks for a good sheltered space to camp.
Ingimarr: This is the slope that Hjotr came up when he fled. Somewhere down there is the orb.
Fennimore looks down the slope.
Ingimarr: There is a deep overhang nearby that we camped at last time. It has a good view of the area and is easy to defend.
Perri Elastime: Sounds perfect.
Ingimarr leads the group to this overhang, which has a circle of stones in its center, a firepit. It has low walls across the opening and is dry.
Perri Elastime: Fennimore, are you cooking tonight?
Rael Octavius: This should be good for a rest.
Fennimore: I'd love to cook.
Perri Elastime: All I have is rations.
Colborn: We could do some hunting.
Fennimore: I'll get the fire going and a pot boiling.
Fennimore: You'll get a proper halfling meal with some fresh meat.
Perri Elastime: I will collect some firewood.
Ingimarr: You can set up camp while we do so. There is wood around on top of the overhang that can be used for a fire.
Fennimore looks for wild herbs to season a stew.
Fennimore finds several familiar herbs while gathering firewood.
Perri Elastime collects firewood.
Fennimore: Now to get the fire going and wait for our hunters.
Perri Elastime sets up bedrolls.
Rael Octavius lights the fire with his magic once there is enough wood gathered.
Fennimore feeds the fire just enough to keep it from smoldering.
After an hour, the warriors return with a six-point buck.
Fennimore: Nice.
Perri Elastime gets extra wood in case it gets cold. It was snowing earlier.
Colborn: This should be tender. It is fairly young.
Fennimore: Let's get it skinned and butchered.
Colborn dresses and skins the deer.
Rael Octavius sits up on the wall ringing the overhang and looks out onto the plains.
Fennimore takes a front shoulder and carves out strips of meat to cube, then tosses them in the pot with the herbs to boil.
Rael Octavius: That looks like an interesting pattern of growth down there on the plains.
Rael Octavius points just west of due north.
Fennimore: We'll let that simmer for a bit.
Perri Elastime goes up by Rael to see what he is talking about.
Fennimore is too immersed in his cooking to worry about growth patterns.
Perri Elastime looks out over the plains.
Out on the plains, not far from where to foothills begin to rise looks to be an area with younger growth than the surrounding area.
Rael Octavius: It seems circular. That is odd.
Perri Elastime: Hmm. Something definitely to investigate.
Fennimore takes the dried fruit from a ration to thicken the sauce.
Ingimarr takes a look over Rael's shoulder.
Ingimarr: That is interesting. I had not looked down there the last time I was here. It was also dark.
Fennimore: As the stew simmers, Colburn and Fenn break down the carcass's remainder into strips and slabs for smoking and roasting.
Perri Elastime: We should move the leavings away from the camp.
Colborn: I will take care of it when we are all done.
Fennimore: We should get enough out of this to last the five of us at least a few days, especially if we can find some taters or carrots to stretch it.
Fennimore: Too bad we're out here. We could use the entrails to make sausage. Then there wouldn't be much left but the bones.
Ingimarr: If we are going down to investigate that area, we should find turnips down there.
Perri Elastime: Smells good, Fenn.
Fennimore: Oh, turnips will be great.
Fennimore tastes the stew and sprinkles in a little salt.
Colborn: The bones do not usually go to waste, but I do not have all the tools to take advantage of them right now.
Fennimore keeps stoking the fire low to dry the stips of venison into jerky.
Perri Elastime: I'll take the first watch.
When the meat in the stew is nice and tender, Fennimore declares it ready.
Fennimore: Come and get it.
Rael Octavius: I am famished. This traveling in the wilderness builds an appetite.
Fennimore: We'll have you eating like Perri in no time.
Perri Elastime: Doing just about anything builds an appetite for me.
Rael Octavius: I have to stoke my fires somehow.
Perri Elastime gets a serving or two of stew.
Fennimore: Ingimarr and Colburn, you earned your dinner; don't be shy.
Colborn and Ingimarr dig in.
Fennimore serves himself after the others have gotten theirs.
Perri Elastime: I may be small, but my appetite is mighty.
Fennimore: If you like it, come back to "The City" with us, and I'll introduce you to Ma. She's a better cook than I am.
Ingimarr: It is a very long way from here, and there is a mighty river between here and there. Well, it used to be a mighty river anyway.
Perri Elastime: Did you make enough for breakfast?
Fennimore: The jerky and roasts will be ready by morning.
Perri Elastime: Bummer.
Perri Elastime crumbles hardtack from a ration to make sure she gets every drop.
Fennimore: Bummer?
Perri Elastime: I like stew from overnight. You hardly have to chew.
Fennimore: Well, eat your fill tonight, and we'll see what's left for the morning. Stew doesn't travel well, and I didn't want it to go to waste.
Fennimore: I'd rather it went to my waist.
Perri Elastime: I would not let it go to waste.
Rael Octavius laughs.
Perri Elastime has another bowl of stew.
The stew eventually disappears, and everyone settles down for a rest, taking watches in turn.
Fennimore (to Ingimarr and Colburn): You know, if your tribesmen could protect them from the wild beasts, I am sure there are a few halfling families who would homestead some of this empty land for farms, ranches, and taverns. Then, you could eat like this every day.
On her watch, Perri watches for predators.
Ingimarr: This is a wide land out here. Farming is not something we do, and the drought would make that very difficult in any case.
Fennimore nods.
Fennimore: Hopefully, we can solve the drought.
Ingimarr: Hopefully. Do you think this orb you seek might help?
Perri Elastime: I don't know, but something is causing new growth down there.

Propyltina 20th, Year Two of the Reign of High King Ran

The group rests without interruption, the sun still blazing in the sky.
Rael Octavius: Shall we keep the camp set up here and head down to that mysterious woods?
Perri Elastime: Sounds good to me.
Colborn: Do we want to leave anyone here to watch the camp, or should we all head down?
Fennimore: Well, that looks like quite a hike, but if we're carrying less, it might make it easier to get there.
Perri Elastime: We should be able to make it there and back.
Fennimore: You know the area better than us, Colburn. Any nasty beasts about that will disturb the campsite? Giants maybe?
Colborn: There is always a possibility, and that dragon could still be out there.
Ingimarr: Maybe we should stay together.
Perri Elastime: That is what I was going to say.
Fennimore: I like sticking together too.
Rael Octavius: Very well. Let us get what we need for the day and go.
Fennimore: Do what you can to obscure the campsite, make sure the fire is out cold, and we'll get ready to go.
Ingimarr nods and gets to work on the campsite.
Colborn packs for Ingimarr and himself.
Perri Elastime: I'm ready.
Rael Octavius stashes the extra pack behind some rocks in the back of the overhang.
Rael Octavius: I am ready.
Perri Elastime: Fenn, do you have your legs stretched out?
Fennimore: I'm as ready as I'm gonna be.
Fennimore shoulders his pack.
Fennimore: I just hope nothing disturbs the food cache.
The warriors finish up with the camp and join the group.
Perri Elastime: Better take some jerky to eat on the way.
Fennimore: Maybe a couple of apples too.
Perri Elastime: Perri grabs some snacks.
Perri Elastime: Let's go.
Fennimore looks wistfully at the campsite, hoping it isn't the last they see of it and follows his friends down onto the plains.
The group trudges down out of the hills onto the plains and approaches the odd little forest that has sprung up.
Perri Elastime looks for evidence of fey creatures.
Colborn: This is really very odd. It seems to be the only place thriving around here.
Ingimarr: There are no animals, though.
Perri Elastime: Maybe the dragon waters it.
Rael Octavius: Sheds its ice?
Fennimore: I hope that's what she meant.
Perri Elastime chuckles.
Colborn: Let us see what is in the middle of these woods.
Perri Elastime heads into the woods.
The group enters the woods and makes their way a couple of hundred feet into them when it looks like it opens into a barren area at the center.
Ingimarr: It looks like there is a crater in the middle of the woods.
Perri Elastime: A big ball of ice that melted?
Ingimarr: Do you hear that?
Perri Elastime: Nope.
Colborn: Sounds like a frustrated digger.
Fennimore (whispers): What did you hear.
Perri Elastime: What do you mean by a digger?
Ingimarr: Someone is in the crater.
Perri Elastime listens
Fennimore: Let me sneak up to the edge and look in.
Perri Elastime nods.
Now that the warriors have pointed it out, the others hear the sounds of a cursing voice punctuated by strikes on something.
Perri Elastime Perri sneaks to the left, remaining in the trees as Rael and the warriors move to the edge of the clearing. Fennimore sneaks up to the edge of the crater and peers in.
Fennimore sees a faint, ghostly figure in the center of the crater jabbing a longsword two-handed into the ground at its feet.
Rael Octavius: See anything?
Fennimore realizes that the ghost has not noticed him.
Fennimore sneaks back to Rael.
Fennimore (whispering): It looks like a ghost in the crater stabbing the ground with a longsword.
Rael Octavius: A ghost?
Fennimore (whispering): It doesn't seem to know we're here...yet.
Rael Octavius: This is good.
Fennimore (whispering): How do you fight a ghost?
Rael Octavius: The way you fight most monsters, though prayers help a lot.
Rael Octavius: I can give you and Perri a bond to help out.
Rael Octavius: Let us back into the woods a bit and prepare to deal with this ghost.
Fennimore motions to Ingimarr and Colburn to retreat. They back into the safety of the forest.
Rael Octavius (praying): May you find support in each other's presence.
Perri Elastime produces a shadowy blade out of nothingness.
Fennimore remembers that the walls of the crater are initially steep but curve in quickly.
Fennimore (whispering): What's the plan. The walls start steep but level off quickly.
Perri Elastime moves up to the edge of the crater defensively while beginning a bladesong.
The ghost vanishes from Perri's sight.
Rael Octavius moves up towards the edge of the crater and looks down into it.
Rael Octavius (whispering): Where did it go?
Perri Elastime (whispering): It winked out.
Rael Octavius readies to turn it if it appears nearby.
Fennimore through the treeline and remains hidden.
The warriors move up and go into defensive postures.
Perri Elastime leaps into the crater and moves to its center. She looks at the area the ghost was stabbing at and not surprisingly sees no marks on the ground there.
The ghost reappears a few feet from Rael.
Rael Octavius backs away from the elven ghost and launches a guiding bolt at it. The attack misses.
Fennimore moves to the edge of the crater to be closer to Perri, takes a shot at the ghost with his bow, and then leaps into the crater, as well.
Perri Elastime: Nice leap.
Ingimarr moves up to the ghost and slashes his battleaxe through the apparition with little effect.
Colborn moves to flank the ghost and also swings his battleaxe through it, similarly having little effect.
Perri Elastime: Where is it?
Fennimore: Thanks. It came back up there.
Fennimore points in the direction of the ghost.
Perri Elastime runs back towards the crater's edge, trying to scale it, but cannot make the jump. She decides to crouch there and hide there instead, producing multiple magical copies of herself for extra defense.
The ghost, flanked by the warriors, turns and tries to possess Colborn. The warrior resists.
Rael Octavius aims another radiant bolt at the ghost. This time it finds its mark and illuminates the ghost.
Fennimore: Perri, give me a boost up the wall.
Fennimore dashes up out of the crater leaping off of Perri's back, and charges the ghost. He thrusts his magical rapier into the spectral elf, and it dissipates into ethereal wisps.
Fennimore: Gotcha!
Fennimore: Let's see what it was digging for.
Perri Elastime returns to the middle of the crater and digs around, finding a crystal sphere with mithral filigree leaves.
Fennimore: Try to detect magic.
Rael Octavius: I think you found the orb.
Rael Octavius: Did that little thing make this huge crater?
Perri Elastime: This isn't how I imagined a dragon orb to look.
Rael Octavius: Not a dragon orb.
Rael Octavius: An elven orb.
Fennimore: Can the orb heal the drought?
Rael Octavius: I have no idea, but it may help us stay alive while figuring it out.
Perri Elastime: I don't know, but it does seem to have helped with the growth around here.
Fennimore: That would be nice.
Rael Octavius: It may be its former wielder's influence.
Perri Elastime: Maybe it could pull up a spring.
Rael Octavius: Let us take it back to the camp, and you can determine what it is capable of.
Fennimore: I wonder if Hjotr ran from that ghost or if there is something even worse around here?
Perri Elastime can tell this is powerfully magical without finishing casting the spell.
Fennimore ties a rope around the boulder and throws the loose end into the crater to help Perri out.
Perri Elastime: This orb is very powerfully magical.
Perri Elastime climbs out with the aid of the rope.
Ingimarr: He was definitely frightened. He also seemed much older too.
Perri Elastime: Let's head back to camp.
Fennimore: Let's get back to camp. This place gives me the creeps.
Fennimore repacks his rope.
Rael Octavius: Yes. It is spooky.
Perri Elastime eats some jerky and an apple.
The group spends the rest of the day climbing back up into the hills and pondering the wonders of the orb. Before long, Perri is dumbfounded by its powers. It is, in fact, The Orb of Good, one of the artifacts from the battle that caused the last cataclysm.