Episode Fourty-Seven: The Chornicles of Klarn: Slugging it out with Worms (6/8/06)
[Featuring Jack, Lu Fang, Hal, Seren-Arty]
Chronicles of Klarn
(In the words of Jack)
We crested the rise of the caldera soon after we finished our dinner. We felt a sense of urgency though it was not founded on anything other than intuition. The interior of the caldera was a smooth black glass-like substance, basalt most likely. It was a curved slope like the inside of a bowl or the outside of a sphere. In the center, where the gate presumably was, we could see a rock maze that led to a mass of opaque, opaleascent fog. The fog looked like it was about the height of a man and was a good 30 or 40 feet in diameter. The maze doubled the radius of the area that we were to explore.
Simberious spoke first, "Shall I cast any spells upon us before we descend, " and he added wryly, "and before we all split up so as to prevent the efficient use of our whole party blessings?"
"A wise decision, friend Simberious," replied Hal, "what do you think is best?"
"I have another haste that I could cast upon you," offered Sapphire.
"We still have some time before the resistance to electricity runs out," reminded Lu Fang, "perhaps resistance to acid or sonic."
"Or fire," added Cicily, "as not all of us are immune to fire."
"Perhaps a benediction for us all," suggested Simberious.
We finally settled on the benediction and then we discussed a plan of action. Deciding on spreading out and entering the caldera relatively simultaneously with the flyers carrying the non-flyers as the glass looked slick. Grizom was to follow me, but on foot to see just how difficult the descent on foot would be.
"…and the giants will follow behind to take care of the gate once we’ve revealed it." I was saying.
"No." interruped Kagro stoically.
"Huh, what do you mean, ‘no,’" I asked.
"No, we will not enter the caldera," he expanded rather unhelpfully. I knew he was saying no they wouldn’t enter, duh!
"I got that, why not?"
"It is not what we are here for."
"Not what you’re here for. Oh, bother, not this again"
"We are here to restore the fane. This is not our concern."
"Um, excuse me but I thought the Lords also said that you were to destroy the gates?"
"No, of course not," I echoed somewhat sarcastically. "Well why then of course why don’t you stay up here on the ridge of the caldera where you won’t get into any combat, where it is saf….I mean why don’t you take up a position of tactical importance here in case any dragons show up so that you can have the higher ground. We wouldn’t want you distracted by trying to help us or anything."
Kagro growled, stung by my slight to his bravery but replied, "Yes, that is what we will do."
"Toby, I assume that you will be joining the giants in the position of tactical wisdom?"
He nodded without saying anything sneering in my direction.
I shook my head and lept off the edge and began to soar into the caldera. As I did a being materialized from a bank of fog that appeared behind and above the main cloud mass. The being was a skeletal humandion riding a gaunt horse. Whether he was undead or merely abnormally thin we couldn’t tell from this distance. In his hands he held a scale.
I heard his voice in my head, "A copper for a shaft of wheat, a copper for three shafts of barley, harm not the oil and spill not the water. Come, child of destined death." I repeated this to my comrades…well not the ‘come’ part of the first part of the message. I then altered my flight to head for the creature. The others began to fly down into the caldera as well.
As we did the creature flew around the caldera as if to avoid me, even after issuing his challenge. I diverted my course to enter the maze instead, intent to see what attack might come from ignoring the walls of the maze. Seeing no adverse effect, I continued until I reached the bank of fog.
Cicily took the first shot. She released her blast of arcane acid. As it hit the creature squarely, but seemed to have no effect, simultaneously the creature pointed from the fog mass to Cicily. A ball of acid errupted from the fog and enveloped Cicily. She screamed in pain as the acid ate away at her skin. Simberious altered his course to see to her. As this was going on the creature disolved from its position in the air and reappeared within the mist. It had replaced its scales with a bow notched with multiple arrows. Being the closest, I was the sole target of the missile attack. The arrows struck with definite force. As it did this, Cicily cried out, "It is not right. There is something wrong with the creature. It is not there."
"Ah, ha," exlaimed Seren’Arty as he activated his true seeing. "She is right. It is but an illusion friends. There is nothing but the mists and whatever they may conceal."
Concerned that we need to stop whatever was in the mist quickly before it assaulted another of my friends, I dove into the mist. I felt an arcane tingle as I did so and noticed a few of my spells unravelling. Was it an anti-magic field or a dispelling screen, I couldn’t tell immediately and waited to see what happened. As I flew into the mist I discovered that it didn’t go any deeper than he ground and below was an area free from mist. Though it was dark and both cold and warmly moist. I called out this fact to my comrades just as I was cut off from them.
Hal and Lu Fang had been approaching to attack the arrow wielding creature, that was now revealed to be an illusion. Hal also entered the mist as Lu Fang hovered above. As they did the ground around and beneath them suddenly erupted in a mass of tentacles, fangs, and bulbous head. A giant worm-like thing poked its head from beneath the mist. I came with, my legs dangling from its mouth the rest of me firmly gripped in its jaws.
The creature had hundreds of small to large tentacles that writhed with a life of their own. Masses of them struck out at Lu Fang, Hal, and Hal’s horse. Having revealed itself however, the creature now was targeted by the rest of the party. Sapphire let loose with one of her missiles of force which rocked the creature. Lu Fang struck at it and as Hal was swinging, one of the creature’s tentacles struck him and froze him in place, paralyzed. The tentacles struck at Lu Fang also and it looked as if he would become paralyzed too, but his dragon heritage allowed him to shack off the effect.
Suddenly from out of a tunnel that led to the area where we had fought the blue dragon emerged Mondragon. He quickly breathed on the gargantuan creature reducing its size slightly but apparently serverly weakening it.At that point I was swollowed whole. Apparently Sapphire struck it again with her missiles of destruction as did the others contribute to its battering. The creature lashed out at Mondragon sending his battered body flying through the air to land in a shattered heap. Lu Fang went to check on him and Seren’Arty lossed a bolt of desctruction on the creature that sent its body into quivers. Where my hair not drenched in vile bile it would have stood on end as it was I only felt a pleasant tingle.
As I gripped Frimberand tightly, I was able to twist my arm in a way to cause him to pierce the flesh of the creature. As I did so, it was like a ballon popping. I burst from from the creature’s innards propelled by its death throughs.
We paused to catch our breath only to notice yet more creatures descending from the sky. These however were creatures who would assist us, not hinder. It was daylar with a host of other angels. They saw to our wounds. The worst of which was probably the mass of grubs that had been eating their way brainwards that they extracted from Hal and his horse. We were about to discuss a plan and the possibility of resting for the night when they pointed out that one of our party had left.
Looking around we noticed that Tobias had disappeared during the fight. I called out to Ominous to see if he had noticed anything only to discover that he was gone too. The giants looked around in a concerned panic. Vercinabex in particular looked worried as he cried out, "He’s gone to get my treasure, Nooooo" And with that he flew into the air up to the Fane. The other giants looked at each other and downing potions of flying they followed suit.
"I guess we aren’t waiting," I said. The angels blessed us and sent us on our way assisting those of us who needed assistance flying to the Fane. As they did so they expained that they were unable to enter the Fane, but could only pray that the gods protected us as we took the last step on this journey.
Fiendish Elder Worm
- 12 diamonds (5000 gp each)