Episode Twenty: The Chronicles of Klarn: Storming The Rafters, Looking For
What We Rafter
Lorel, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]
Chronicles of Klarn
(In the words of Arty)
While the creatures climbed back to their hidden home in the rafters above,
we manage to finally collect ourselves in a semblance of organization.
“The very smell of those creatures doth encourage incontinence! What
manner of villainous dismal-dreaming pestilence be they?”
Smity scrunches his forehead in thought until his bushy brows become one
in deep thought and then announces, “They are thoul by my making. Aye,
the ill-legitimate step-children poorly conceived of trolls and ghouls, with
more than a smattering of hobgoblin to hold ’em together.”
Meanwhile, Halfred gathers us together to count our number and puts armored
knee to ground thanking Heironeous for the strength to battle, the opportunity
to again smite evil in his name, and he prays for renewed strength for the
battles that lie before us.
“Heironeous, these foul creatures have taken our comrade, Caretaker,
and we would carry this battle to them and ask for the strength and wisdom
forth this battle to victory in your name – Valiant Heironeous! Share your
strength with us if our cause be true that we might endure, in your name and
With that, wounds mend and strength is indeed renewed and to what purpose
“I have called upon the power of Heironeous to heal us, it is time
for us to stage a sneak attack that we might yet rescue Caretaker.”
There is little resistance to the idea – Pandora refuses claiming that
the Caretaker is a liar and a cheat, not nearly the eunuch he would have us
believe. Sapphire for her own part offers to cast an Invisibility Sphere spell
from one of Bart’s scrolls on Stalwart, Hal’s war-horse. She explains that
the spell is large enough to conceal a small group. This idea bears fruitful
discussion as we calculate that Hal, Freya, Cicily, Lorel, Silent Pete, Synkey,
Glauron and myself might all able to fit within the spell’s effect. The enchantment
that gave both Synkey and I wings was still working and Smity told us that
he could enable Stalwart to walk on air just as he himself had done while battling
Our bold plan works and we are able to get some of our war party undetected
up to the rafters. The others remain below talking loudly to, hopefully,
keep the creatures in the rafters distracted and thinking that we haven’t left.
The structure of the wayhouse was built of sturdy wood; the roof supported
by a crisscross of thick rafters. We land on the rafter centered most over
the table where the thoul leader had appeared. We find the thoul lair at the
point where this beam met the top of the North wall.
Our ranged attackers dismount from Stalwart as Hal and Freya, both still on
the horse, charge through the air; Stalwart’s hooves silently finding
purchase in the air. They move to attack the thoul where we find them guarding
a cell that contains both Caretaker and a woman. There are, by our best estimate,
over a hundred of the evil thoul up here, though probably only half appear
to be combatants, the rest being women and children.
Closer to them now, we can see that Smity appears to be more right than wrong,
the thoul look to be a cross between hobgoblins and trolls (favoring their
hobgoblin side luckily). Most of them are a little taller than Hal by about
half a foot, with burly ungainly builds. Thick ropey hair which seems to writhe
with a life of its own covers their greenish skin, feral eyes, while flat chins
are almost hidden by their long, pointed noses.
Still invisible, Hal, Freya, and Stalwart finish their charge toward
the cell and as they charge, the rest of us appear, breaking the veil of invisibility,
and we open fire. With surprise on our side our attack is richly rewarded as
the thoul caught in the revelry of their recent hunt are completely unprepared.
Lorel moves forward to get the creatures within easy range of his deadly arrows.
Silent Pete is just in front of him screening Lorel from hand-to-hand combat.
Using his prized guisarme Pete slices into the quickly recovering thoul as
they approach with mean and deadly accuracy. Ribbons of gore and brackish
blood trail the singing blade when thoul move to attack them. Lorel’s arrows
quickly pierce two of the creatures that immediately fall off the rafter, tumbling
400 feet to the ground below!
Still behind Lorel, Glauron (the drow) and Synkey (the halfling) fire their
weapons, a hand-held crossbow and some type of sling, at the creatures that
are so numerous–enough to keep all of us busy. And finally, Cicily unleashes
a blast of eldritch energy from her outstretched sword, disintegrating one
creature in a flash,
leaving only his ashes to float to the ground. I stand with Cicily, and I activate
another wand, this one, my eternal wand of defenestration. A cloudy ball
of howling winds appears in the midst of the thoul further buffeting them about,
ready to defenestrate them.
On cue, Freya leaps off the horse, positioning herself in a corner near the
opening to the jail cell as Stalwart knocks one of the creatures off the edge
and Hal’s sword bites deep into the shoulder of another.
With horror we watch as thoul, only just felled, open their eyes and stand
up, their wounds slowly closing as we watch. Their resemblance to trolls is
more than just in looks. Lorel focuses, putting another shot directly through
the head of one of the rising thoul, sending the creature back to oblivion.
Now realizing the true nature of our peril we know that we will need to take
extra effort to put these creatures down hard and to move fast if we hope to
The battle rages all about, the thoul show increasing confidence and organization
as they begin to adjust to the surprise fostered by our attack. Pete quickly
lays into them, again surprising them this time with his speed and skill with
the guisarme and the reach it provides. Enlightenment comes too late as a thoul
short the neck that carried it, after Pete strikes the creature. The thoul
stares blankly forward never acknowledging the thin dark bloodline that spreads
across its neck in anticipation of the head’s coming roll and tumble;
a heinous melon that explodes as it strikes the ground below.
Below, Pandora winces at the horrid mess as she scrapes frantically to remove
the splashed green brain matter from her legs. Charley laughs but her stare
cuts him off short. While Smity scoffs, “Dear, I believe that will leave
a stain.” Which sparks renewed laugher but such is the nature of gallows
humor as the companions can only wonder what is happening overhead.
The thoul quickly move in and attempt to surround Freya and Hal, but they
find it too challenging to land a solid blow on either one given the pairs’
skill and armament.
Synkey, Glauron, Cicily and I continue to direct our ranged attacks at the
creatures approaching Lorel and Pete. The thoul too take out their bows and
begin to assault us with a hail of arrows. At first their efforts are directed
primarily at Lorel and Pete, but soon all of us – Hal and Freya included are
under attack as well. The creatures seem unconcerned at their losses and try
as we might we find it difficult to even fully contain the fallen knowing full
well they will rise again.
I am convinced that we are slowly wittling them down, but their sheer numbers
are forcing Lorel and Pete to start a slow controlled retreat to our defensive
line. It was unnerving the first time we saw one of them reach over and pick
up its severed arm and reattach it to his body.
Worse, suddenly at the center of the lair, two doorways spring open revealing
additional foes. From one doorway comes the leader we had parlayed with earlier.
Mounted on his huge beast he positions himself for a charge and orders his
underlings out of his way. Looking first at Hal and then at Silent Pete, he
charges the monk. His lance and Pete’s guisarme meet, but Pete steps to the
side of the charging attacker. The mounted enemy’s lance is deflected by a
field of force that suddenly surrounds Pete; he continues his swipe into one
of the underlings firing upon him as well.
Lorel fixes his aim on to the new enemy, the thoul chief Algol. Algol’s armor
deflects some of the first bolt but a few of Lorel’s bolts of power find
their mark and stagger the villain.
Meanwhile, from another doorway comes a foul looking creature. An orc dressed
in the fur of beasts and with a skullcap made from the skull and antlers of
some poor beast mounted on his head. His hair is also braided in the thoul
fashion though with bits of bone woven into the cords and he carries with him
of authority and power. His eyes glint with a gleeful intelligence beyond the
norm for an orc. He glances towards Lorel and speaks words of infernal power
as he strides towards Freya. Magical energy suffuses Lorel and his vision begins
to cloud. His blurred vision causes one of his arrows to go wide missing his
target. Making a quick prayer to his own god, Lorel focuses on fighting the
magical energies and his vision clears. Dissatisfied, the orc witch doctor
calls out a threat while raising his hand high so all can see. “You shall
surely Die by my hand!” His fetid breath reminds Freya of the smell
of rotting bodies on a field of battle. The palm of his thick hand begins to
pulse and glow with foul energies as he moves purposely forward towards Freya.
He reaches toward Freya grasping as she hurls her body to the side narrowly
dodging the attack.
Hal sees Freya’s danger and urges his mount to climb the air above his enemies
and beginning a charge to her aid. I am motivated by a new sense of urgency
as I notice that the mass of fallen and quick bodies is causing Lorel and Silent
Pete to be unable to effectively coordinate their attacks on the primary threats;
on a bead that I have. I’ll have to trust to luck as I take some shortcuts
in the casting; normally it takes a long time and much concentration to prepare
an item in this way, but we don’t have that time. It appears that the gods,
or otherwise, are smiling on us though as my luck holds and I feel some of
my life energy flow into the bead I have infused with magic. It glows with
spark as I speak a command word. I almost misspeak the word, but it works and
the bead streaks from my hand and explodes in a ball of fire next to the mounted
The blast only singes Algol and his mount, but more importantly the explosion
knocks several of the underlings through the air within the midst of the flames
while still others become smoldering lumps of charred flesh. My companions
look at me in surprise as I stagger from the energy required to pull off the
feat; I allow a grim grin to ease their concern.
Following the fireball, Lorel and Silent Pete are able to focus their combined
assault on the mounted Chieftain who quickly succumbs to their duel efforts.
Freya thinks fast, grabbing hold of the witch doctor’s powerful wrist
with both hands and struggles with him to prevent him from touching her with
his curse-charged hand. The orc, however, has incredible strength and while
she is able to hold him at first ultimately he overcomes her effort by shear
force of muscle. She feels something akin to the sudden rush of years – a
yearning to surrender, an horrid tightening and drying of her skin–unable
to prevent him from touching her with the foul energies as he rasps, “Now
She screams as she feels her life energies drain away. A skeletal vision fills
her sight, as her body chills and she feels her heart stop. After what seems
like an eternity, she draws in a deep breath. She almost looses her grip, but
just then another blast of eldritch energy comes from Cicily distracting the
witch doctor so that Freya is able to maintain and even tighten her grip on
Volkag of Gruumsh. Realizing
that she could not survive a second necromantic assault, she attempts to prevent
him from speaking. She is again astounded at his mystic and physical strength
as he rallies to keep from being pinned completely. Hal arrives and he and
his horse begin to batter the grappled death shaman. Realizing that he may
not survive much longer, the creature whispers a magical word hoping to return
to his sanctum but the jostling from Freya’s fighting breaks Volkag’s
concentration causing the spell to fail. While the second assault from Hal
and his mount has the witch doctor swooning, blood now to pours from his
accumulated wounds. Freya shifts her grapple from trying to prevent Volkag
from speaking to simply trying to put elbow to neck but her adrenaline rush
too high and she instead she hears a satisfying crack as the foul priest falls
to the ground, dead at her
As we watch, his skin becomes taut and begins to desiccate and flake. Within
moments his body crumbles inward turning to dust that is in turn taken up by
a sudden gust of a foul wind; blown away just as quickly as he had first appeared.
I see Freya shivering as if her grave had been made and then disturbed.
Their leaders slain, the rest of the thoul retreat fast into the distant rafters.
I hear a couple of the creatures that are arguing with each other. The first
one is missing his hand, “Oy, Thurg, I need some help; give me a hand.”
They both chuckles in hideous rasping fashion as Thurg replies, “Dort,
I’d love to help you, but during the battle was disarmed.” A pained expression
crosses his face as he kicks aside the bodies of his fallen companions apparently
looking for his missing arms.
They both look at me wide-eyed as I approach, “Creatures,
I am RT. What is your designation?”
They look at each other in confusion. “Dort, what is a designation?”
Dort replies, “Well, Thurg, I think it is some sort of political entity
that one belongs to. You know like an ‘alien nation’ or ‘feudal republic’.”
Thurg looks at Arty proudly, “We, thoul, are members of the Free Peoples.”
Arty shakes his head, “No, no,
I meant what are you called.”
Dort gets a funny look on his face, “Well…that depends on who is doing
the calling, don’t you think. Thurg here calls me Dort and I call him Thurg,
but Thurg’s wife calls him ‘skegelecht’ and she calls me ‘drupled’ which as
you know is not polite language in the presence of ladies. My futuremate, Kelig,
calls me ‘dorcis’ don’t you know.” At which point he smiles a knowing
“I suppose that will do. If I
am to understand your people then what would you be called?”
“WE ARE FREE PEOPLES – you lump of stone and iron, is Becubard
now working in stone rather than flesh?”
“Ah, I think I understand. And
out of curiosity, do you all regenerate, even from apparent death?”
“Yes, but let me tell you Arty, it still hurts.”
“Well, then I advise you not
to get in our way as we release our friend and I shall call you the Free
People of Thoul.”
“You’ll get no complaints from us.” The two Thoul went back to looking
for their missing body parts. With the creatures defeated for the time being,
we free our captured comrade, Caretaker, and collect the obviously valuable
items left behind after the destruction of Volkag’s body. Not all our
fallen foes are as amicable as Dort and Thurg, so occasionally we need strike
some of them back into unconsciousness while we search the lair to recover
Caretaker’s stolen treasure. I take note that the creatures that I blasted
with the fireball do not seem to be regenerating and relay this information
to my comrades who take out a couple of torches to threaten the cowed thoul
with permanent death.
In the cell with Caretaker is Talon,
the woman last known to be traveling with Jack.