"Rat-chasers. We were reduced to rat-chasers...
Quite literally it seemed, at first. The swarm of rats from the hidden room now dispersed, we stumbled upon suspiciously empty quarters with a couple of exits. While assessing the situation, we realized the remaining rats, the human-sized ones, had retreated within a side room, hidden behind a heavy curtain. "Of course the cowards are hiding!" I thought... Or were they?
Your presence must have clearly been felt and promptly, an ominous, powerful chant reached us from behind the veil. Assuming our sneaky enemies were not foolish enough to trap themselves in a dead-end, Leon vanished in the darkness, looking for another way into our foes' lair through the second passage. During this stand-off, the oddest of occurrences happened. The leader of our opposition addressed our warlock directly - and by name ! Bewildered, we could only listen as one of the Beggar King's very own lieutenant claimed to be Vialya's long lost mother. Before any of us could reach her, the thiefling calmly entered her "mother's" lair. Tension rose rapidly as we strained our ears to catch the exchange from our hidden positions. Vialya seemed quite eager to believe the enemy warlock and convinced by her arguments but, Gods bless her, she was still trying to lure her minions into our ambush.
Bold, but foolish. Her bluff didn't take and we had to react quickly before being overwhelmed by our opponents. Tasarus bravely led the charge, hoping to blast our way through the line of bandits and eunuchs bodyguards. His attempt backfired as he was grabbed into the room and beaten to a pulp before we could come to his help. The Platinium Dragon must have been with us because this first error was our only misstep, as the rest of our ragtag band of adventurers all came together from different angles. Leon from the back door he miraculously found, Vialya from behind her "mother" and Jenn, Rex and I charging from the front. The battle was swift, glorious and it looked like for the first time, our little party really came together.
Vialya pled for the devil warlock to be spared - not a second too late, as Leon's poisoned blades were ready to finish the job they had so eagerly started - and she got the chance to reunite with her estranged mother while we secured the area. I took the discovery of a dragon egg and and still living dragon eye as a very good omen, until the Thiefling mother mentioned the Beggar King's defenses : an army of beggars, diabolical agents of the Iron Circle and above all, the undead.
My rage surfaced instantly at this simple mention and the following encounter passed like a blur. The information proved correct has we got flooded by scythes-wielding beggars in the following courtyard. Not a lot more dangerous than the rats, and not smelling a lot better; they were promptly fried by our invoker, which let me free of chasing these minions' master, a black crossbowman hiding behind a nearby window. I admit that my initial fury and my contempt at his cowardliness made me cocky; my old master would have been ashamed by my foolishness... Trying to rush up a ladder to reach our mysterious hooded marksman position was only rewarded by a bolt straight to the head. Blood obscured my vision, and I could only try to remain conscious while my companions came to my rescue.
We had apparently just found to biggest rat of all. The scoundrel vanished as the party approached and even used what appeared to be a child as a decoy. A child ! I swear he will feel my blade's edge before long. The decoy, a bad rendition of a sleeping Beggar King using rags and a retinue of mannequins, made us approach the marksman mezzanine very carefully. We quickly discovered two things : our quarry had fled via a floor trap in a corner of the room and, while climbing down in the darkness, we realized that the whole set-up was meant for us to attack the decoy and fall with it directly into a cage in the depths below.
We reached a cliff above an underground lake and opening on a large dark cave. We needed to get out of that precarious position, fast. We barely spared a glance as we passed a series of cages holding miserable looking captives. The black assassin chose this moment to reappear, trailed by a group of disgusting hobgoblins in Iron Circle livery. Leading the file we formed on the cliff I managed to take the blunt of their attacks including another bold from this thrice-cursed, allowing my companions to get safely into position. As I went down, the bravery of these adventurers surprised me again. Facing impossible odds, the sniper having just unleashed a savage great ape against us, they kept their ground and reply in kind with blades, magic and grit.
As soon as the tide of the combat turned against him, my little black rat scurried way into the darkness again. Silence fell again and the harsh reality struck at us : as heroic as we have been, we've all been reaching in our last reserve for this fight and the lair of the Beggar King is far from cleared..."
2 Dog Brothers: 200
2 Eunuch Bodyguards: 200
Mother Zeb'oltha: 175
Roleplay - Vyalia's mother issues etc: 175
10 Beggar Minions: 310
Encounters with Hand X-Bow Guy: 175
Pit Trap: 125
Enter Dungeon Level - 125
3 Iron Circle Hobgoblins (2 dead, 1 retreated): 250
Great Desert Ape: 150
Total: 1885/6 = 314 XP each
+50 (bag bonus) + 31 (account)=1085 XP.
LEVEL 2 REACHED
2250 XP for Level 3.
Taking keys from the dead hobgoblins, you can open the slave pens. The captives are (4/8 incinerated by dragonborn breath s4):
A) Two miserable human beggars, covered in weeping sores. They call themselves Cratz and Stern.
Cratz: "Release us, I beg you! We can take you to the Beggar Kings' treasure vault!" Stern killed S4.
B) Crox, an aged dwarf tinker who narrowly avoided being crushed by a falling Leon Varju. RIP s4.
C) The Baroness Lady Constance (age 38, auburn hair, good looking) and her two young ladies-in-waiting, dressed in tattered finery. They beg to be rescued. Leon Varju knows that Constance is the wife of Duke Vaon Ozim; since Constance's disappearance a week ago he has already installed his mistress Felia Reltas in his mansion. Jenn Morgan vaguely recognises Constance from the grand balls and soirees of her own childhood; Constance is the Lady of Gaunt, a wealthy rural barony on the coast south of Morgansfort, Jenn's father Lord Morgan's own lands. Constance's husband Duke Vaon's own Duchy, Ozim, is south beyond the mountains and long-lost to the Gnolls since the Fall of Nerath.
D) Lorilass, an ancient sage, sickly to the point of death, and Neveril, his lovely young half-elf female apprentice. Neveril beseeches aid for her master, who is now too ill to move. Both RIP s4.
|Baroness Constance of Gaunt|
|Crox the Dwarf Tinker|