Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 9
|Isembard||Halfling level 1||Tall halfling dressed in worn tweed jacket. Always chewing on something, his jaw accentuated by thick chestnut coloured mutton chops.|
|Pusgic||Fighter level 1||A hero of a long forgotten battle, now Isembard's bodyguard.|
|Jimmy Three Fingers||Thief level 2||Small, unimposing elf-wannabe. So bad at playing lute that he lost two fingers whilst doing so.|
|Cigam||Magic-user level 1||Wears a bright red hat as tall as himself.|
Jimmy's and Isembard's reports linked at the end of the post.
Flowerbloom 1st, Airday
Isembard, an aspiring cook and intrepid adventurer, gathered a party to seek his long lost cousin in third-knee, Bobil Tightpants. His cousin was a well known chef; his cooking so legendary that he was apparently hosted by kings and demons alike. But he went missing twenty-seven years ago, never to be heard of again.
But Isembard was about to change that. He managed to track down what seemed to be last Bobil's note, describing a particularly large tree in a marshy area beneath Lagh Anon. “Mushrooms as tall as me, and tasty as elvish tears! To die for!” the note read.
And here he was, only wetlands standing between him and the tree that matched his cousin's description. He assembled a party others would envy him on: Pusgic, a tough-as-nails-all-dressed-in-black bodyguard to whom he owed money; Cigam Resu, a master of arcane arts so confident that he marched the earth with a hat everyone could spot miles away; and Jimmy, a man of such strong convictions he had no issues pickpocketing his own fellow adventurers.
After careful deliberation (and attempted communication with a pack of giant weasels), the brave team decided to seek out a log they could float on through the marsh. It was Pusgic's keen eye that found one, and soon the whole party was neck deep in murky waters. Lush green vegetation intermingled with sulphurous bubbles made the whole swamp seem like one big, breathing, organism.
Caution was name of the game on the island as well. Despite the tree clearly in their view, the adventurers decided to take it slow; prowling and observing. It didn't take them long to notice numerous pathways criss-crossing the island. They looked as someone dragged something round through the mud, without any sense or logic. The island was indeed peppered with thick, phallic mushrooms as tall as Isembard.
Unmolested, they approached the massive tree at snails pace. The tree was so thick that a group of twelve would have to hold hands to reach around its base. Isembard was convinced that this is the spot—but where was the entrance? If there was one at all?
It was Jimmy's brilliant idea of gently tapping the bark at different spots that helped them find a hollow point. It was no door, but a rather large part of especially heavy bark that seemed broken off from the rest of the tree. Despite its condition, it was so heavy that it required brains instead of brawn. The party threw grappling hook on top, and then pulled down with all their might. The bark finally came down after several attempts, revealing a dark, black hole.
Torchlight only revealed a sharp descent, nearly vertical. So our brave gang made an improvised anchor, tied some rope, and begun their descent. There were no stairs; only roots and soil. Walking was tricky and difficult, so easy to trip. After some twenty minutes of descent, Cigam stepped on a bloody piece of cloth with a symbol of fish on it. “Fish worshipping cult underneath the tree?” one of them wondered aloud. Downward they pressed. They ran out of rope—twice—before finally exiting into a round chamber.
It seemed to be a cavernous chamber some 40 by 40 feet. The air was stale, with nutty and smoky aroma in the air. It was so dark one couldn't see their own hand in front of their eyes. The floor was mostly roots and soil; the walls primarily roots. The party had enough light to see there are three paths: north, east, and west.
Eastern passageway slopped further down and had a whiff of something rotten. Northern led into another chamber dominated by a large pile of weapons and armour. In fact, there was enough of it to fully equip ten or more men. Alas, closer inspection revealed that most of it is broken or ripped to shreds. All were covered in blood.
Undeterred, the party went west. Jimmy sneaked in front, at the edge of light, Isembard straight behind; Pusgic and Cigam watched the back. This corridor led them to what seemed to be a large wooden bench and three metal hooks affixed to the rooty wall. There was a moth-eaten coat hanging from one of the hooks. It was large enough to fit two men. The passageway twisted north, terminating in thick, gray drapes. Careful listening revealed a female voice—singing? Crying? Whatever it was, it didn't sound particularly happy.
After some careful poking of the drapes, Jimmy crawled underneath it. He prowled through darkness carefully, attempting to follow the wall. “Is this another one of your games?” a female voice asked him. Isembard, whom had followed him in the darkness, did not understand a word of what has been said.
Jimmy, incapable (or unwilling?) to pass an opportunity to hit on whatever might be behind such a sweet voice, immediately responded; painting a vivid, if unrealistic, picture of this brave band of heroes on a mission to find the halflings long lost cousin.
“Come closer, so I can see you...” was enough to have him prowling the other way. He lit a small candle, which provided just enough illumination to see few steps ahead. A distressed marble figure of beautiful dame was followed by a stone dais on which a gorgeous lady sat. Long blonde hair accentuated her captivating amethyst-pink eyes, almost hiding any signs of stress from her situation. Her exquisite but weathered clothing only confirmed what Jimmy suspected:
“I've been captured here by the black demon for years; forced to entertain him! He fancies himself some sort of an art aficionado, but is nothing but a mere brute! He tricked me to wear these cursed shiny red shoes—if I take even one step of the dais I will suffer fate worse than death.”
“Oh dame—sexy lady—worry not—Jimmy Boy is now here—first I'll save you—then I'll marry you!”
By now the whole party was in the room, their torchlight revealing it was a dinning hall of sorts. A large table dominated the center, with a single large chair of black wood facing the dais. Walls were littered with what seemed to be paintings of various figures and vistas. Most of them were in poor state. A makeshift fireplace stood at the opposite side from whence the party came.
“The black devil hid the key in his chambers. Quick go there before he comes! I implore you to find a sleek red box encrusted with red rubies, for it holds a solution for my predicament!”
She motioned towards a disk-shaped stone just behind the chair “That where his chamber is. Please, waste no more time!
“Don't you worry baby girl!” Jimmy uttered. Another set of drapes rustled, those right next to the fireplace, revealing two halfling-sized yellowish blobs. Each had six legs, supporting a veiny egg-shaped torso. Two worm like protrusions, one extending from each side, seemed to function as arms. Nothing resembling eyes could be seen from the front, in fact there was just a snout-like appendix hanging from the creatures' highest point.
Our brave band acted in unison by fleeing as fast as they could. “Forget mapping, forget the dame, just get out of here!”
“You cowards, they are more afraid of you then you are of them!” the lady screamed after her husband-to-be. One of the blobs disappeared behind the drapes it came from, while the other ran to the other side of the room and forced himself into some hole. Sad farting noises was all that could be heard.
Isembard, Jimmy, Cigam, and Pusgic were out much faster then they were in. They didn't even care to stop and attempt to cover the entrance they came through—straight to the shore they went. Blinded by terror, they failed to notice a wobbling mushroom. The latter responded by unleashing a chilling shrill.
They boarded their driftwood without delay, with Pusgic sitting on top as sentry, while the other three submerged and started to paddle furiously. Alas, shrieks were so disturbing our brave party failed to notice their impending doom in the shape of a bear-sized crocodile. Red hat was all that was left of Cigam.
The rest made it across, wet and heavy-hearted. With a sigh, they went back to their camp...
Player Session Reports
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