Chapter One Hundred Fifteen

November 9, 2013


20th of Autumnharvestmonth


            The wild elf tells us a bit about the history of this place, and explains that the large wall will not allow flying creatures to pass over top of it in the direction of the town, though they can pass through on the way out.  She seems somewhat distrustful of Korvinean, but is quite pleasant to the rest of us.  We tell her about killing and burning the cuoatl and the map that appeared in the smoke from its body.  She seems intrigued, and tells us that the last time she ventured to the other side of the big wall, there were lots of nasty things there, like high elf druids.  She tells a story of these druids coming once to take all of the wild elf babies and boiled them one at a time in molten metal to make a sacrifice to the rain gods.  Then, the grey elves came and wiped out the high elven druids, taking all of their young and raising them as their own, “because they weren’t pieces of elven shit.”  As far as she knows only two druids remain, both high elves, one male and one female.

            She tells us that the weather is much warmer on the other side of the wall, and that the trees there are different.  There also exists a species of plant that will eat us, along with several types of monsters that will eat us.  About 10 miles on the other side is a set of ruins, with another set of ruins 10 miles farther on from there.  This second set, she says, sits on a lagoon. 

            We stay the night with the orcs, who hold a feast in our honor.  Loud sounds issue from beyond the all, a sort of screeching and wailing that we don’t recognize.

            The following morning, we are awoken as the orcs begin to move around.  We realize as we’re getting up that most of them are just going to bed.  We seem to have interrupted their sleeping time the night before; they are generally nocturnal creatures.  One of the orcs tells us that there is a large lizard on the other side of the wall who talks, and that it tells lies.  Ulric simplifies things by simply stating that if we find it, we will kill it.

            The orcs take us up the wall along a rickety staircase whose sturdiness we doubt, but it holds until we reach the top.  There we find a platform about six by five feet wide hanging from a crane.  Arany, in hawk form, flies down, and Briggette simply jumps over, letting her belt of Feather Fall carry her down.  Ulric and Korvinean go down first, while Boian, Finn, Brianna, Silas and I wait for the second turn.  The process of letting the lift down and drawing it back up seems to take forever.

            The weather is indeed warmer here, but the trees look like trees with bigger leaves.  There is no grass here, but a lot of undergrowth beneath the trees.  We spot a few brightly colored birds flying around, and one of them slams into Arany as he sits on Briggette’s shoulder.  Arany falls off, and the bird tears away.  Arany turns into a dog just as we see two or three other birds starting to head this way, but when the “hawk” disappears, they disperse.

            There is a trail ahead of us, old and not well used, that appears made of corduroy.  We follow this path into the forest.  Korvinean stops us about 200 yards in, and tells us, “This place looks like pristine nature, but there is nothing natural about this place.  This is magic—I feel separated from nature here.”  We keep going, and after about a mile, Arany decides to assume his natural dragon form. 

            We come to a large stone section of road that is very well paved.  It’s about 40 by 40 feet, and the stones are expertly placed together.  As Ulric steps forward in this area, he sees a flash of light, and he instinctively steps back.  Right in the center, there appears a big glowing circle with seven shapes within it: a cross, a triangle, a square, a pentagon, a hexagon, a septagon and an octagon.  Silas chants and declares it magical, a combination of abjuration and evocation.  I try to search it, and realize that the circle around it is a wall of some sort protecting the inner area from entry.  We decide to keep moving around and beyond it.

            About 200 yards further down the road, we see a small ugly man standing in the road.  “Hello,” Ulric says.

            “Who are you?” the creature asks.

            “Count Ulric.”

            “Uuuulll-ric,” the imp says, “sounds important.”

            “I am reasonably important where I come from.  Who are you?”

            “I am the person who’s supposed to be here.  You’re not supposed to be here. Why are you here?  Who sent you?”

            “You’ll want to talk to my wife,” Ulric nods in Briggette’s direction.

            The creature walks up to Briggette, who is mounted on Arany’s back, “I assume you’re the wife.  Who sent you?”

            “I sent me,” Briggette replies.

            “How self-important.  What did you send you to do?”

            “We came to look for things,” Briggette answers in the same haughty tone.  He tells us that we have set off the alarm, and it is his honored and holy duty to protect the sacred relics.  He says that if we go into the temple, no quarter will be given.  We agree and ride on as he mutters to himself and walks away.

            Another hundred and fifty yards down the road, we come to a river with a drawbridge that is up on the other side.  Arany and Briggette fly over to let it down, but don’t see any mechanism.  They come back and get me, and I find a flat panel on a stand with a faint outline of a handprint with only four fingers.  I attempt to use it, and I’m able to get my own hand aligned.  There is a flash of light, and the bridge drops, allowing the rest of our group to join us on this side of the river.

            About halfway across, Boian pauses and listens, then yells, “Run!”  Ulric, Brianna, and Korvinean make it across, but Boian, Silas and Finn are caught on the bridge when giant tentacles come out and try to grapple them.  Korvinean makes mincemeat of the one that grabbed Finn, and I fire at the one attacking Boian.  Ulric comes back out onto the bridge to attack one of them, and Finn chops another in half.  Brianna hits one, and where she hits it, gold scales appear on the tentacle, and the beast starts to move away.  Korvinean and I take parting shots at it, and with his last arrow, the water turns black and fish begin to pop up dead.  Arany offers to swim after it, but we decide to keep moving.

            Another 400 or so yards down the way, we see an extraordinarily large lizard with horns sticking straight forward from its skull.  It is peering out at us from the woods up ahead.  We hear a gruff voice that doesn’t appear to be coming from the lizard as his mouth is not moving.  It speaks in current common, “You are surrounded.  Put down your weapons and surrender!”

            “No,” Ulric says and keeps walking.

            “This is your last chance!”

            Ulric sounds supremely bored, “Just go ahead and attack; I don’t have time for this.”

            Suddenly, a minotaur bursts forth from the underbrush riding on a triceratops.  Another minotaur riding a second triceratops comes out from the other side.  Ulric charges the one who spoke while Korvinean and I both fire at him.  The other charges in and gores Arany while several others swing at him.  Silas chants, and suddenly, the triceratops becomes a fluffy white bunny.  The minotaur falls off of it, and lands prone in front of Finn, Korvinean, and Brianna.  Brianna punches the beast, and Finn slices it in two.  The other, seeing what we’ve done so easily to his companion, decides to continue his “charge” all the way into the woods, and continues running away from us.