Monday, September 12, 2016

A Round of Surprises - Princes of the Apocaverse - Session Four

The Chapters and Cast of the Ballad

A good morning’s sleep was had by the crew;
Following the previous night’s antics;
Upon waking they took no time to stew;
Not willing to wait too many clock ticks.

Talindra’s past as a farmer proved helpful;
As she encouraged the mules to pull;
Their wagon trudged along not half full;
With the intent of some bandits to lull.

Alongside, the guild man shadowed their trail;
Watching with bow to set an ambush;
Within three hours their prey did not fail;
With greed for gold they were all flush.

One sat atop a rock;
Silhouetted by the setting sun;
Convinced their spot was a lock;
To opening the fun.

Just visible through the trees;
A cage with occupant large was seen;
A bear with fur and fleas;
Looked out with hunger keen.

Out of the wagon Fennle dashed;
To cut the bandits off from the cage;
Only to find the lock was trashed;
And bars not fit to hold a bear’s rage.

The aasimar and tiefling each sought cover;
Behind the same great boulder;
Eyes on the enemy who figuratively hover;
Bard and cleric stood shoulder to shoulder.

Lohn took a circuitous route under the leaves;
Into a position from which he could reach;
Each of the four bandits weapons out of sheaves;
Waiting to strike the first who the peace did breach.

The paladin calmly pulled the mules to the side;
And calmly assured them all would be fine;
Then lifted her shield and sword to end the ride;
And stepped off the wagon to seek the line.

The bandits moved quickly after this maneuvering;
An crossbow quarrel striking the paladin;
A mere scratch that fell far short of skewering;
He only attracted the half-elf’s ire with his sin.

Another bandit sought to slay the swift monk;
But their sword arm could only flail;
As the mad monk did deduce him a punk;
The attack was a quite obvious fail.

The bear looked up to see what was happening;
And another crossbow bolt struck a shield;
The bandits had the suspicion sinking;
That they had chosen the wrong field.

The band did act in almost one swift motion;
The monk’s barrage took one enemy down;
While Talindra’s charge repaid a fool’s notion;
And the guild man’s arrow struck a clown.

Marle’s voice raised a battle’s cheer;
As the last bandit made his position clear;
Elivia’s blood-hungry wand gave him fear;
And brought defeat that much more near.

Starved and angry the bear did surge;
But the jury-rigged lock still held;
And Fennle set ready to feed its urge;
With the bandit she had just felled.

The last bandit fell, slipping unconscious;
With an arrow through a shoulder pinned;
His cries of pain were suddenly shush;
Against this fate he was unable to fend.

The hick paladin rushed back to the cart;
To find some food fit for a rumbling beast;
Calming the starved beast with a gift to start;
And backing away as it enjoyed this small feast.

The bear’s cage was opened from a distance;
And the creature fled into the wilds green;
As the bandits were tied to prevent resistance;
Should they awake to find life still keen.

Threats of sacrifice came from Two-Seventy-One;
And the bat-winged bard’s trollish tongue;
As the bandits were interrogated in the fading sun;
They suddenly feared to lose at least a lung.

A weak attempt to suggest they had allies who would fight;
Was made by the bandit who was newly single-handed;
Having lost his right to the paladin’s holy smite;
But no one was fooled by this ploy desperation funded.

The bandits revealed they had sought to make their fortune;
Outside of oppressive Yartaran guild restrictions;
Which caused Lohn to suggest some unionized misfortune;
Until reminded that Red Larch was paying for these evictions.

An investigation of the camp’s tiny hoard;
Convinced the party these bandits were fools;
As little they had to escape being bored;
Some coins and junk and incompetence in spools.

On the road home in growing night;
Something dropped out of the sky above;
Two emaciated figures struck up a new fight;
Striking the surprised guild man a firm blow.

Fennle Pthalien leaped out in a flurry of blows;
As Elivia struck Lohn’s foe a guiding spark;
Marle gave the locksmith some cheering flows;
And sent a bolt into one of these human larks.

One of the foes unleashed an arcane scream;
Striking monk and paladin hard;
Marle saw and recognized the arcane stream;
But time to warn friends had not the bard.

In the howling were lost two of the bounties captured;
As their ears burst within their skulls;
While the locksmith sought to avoid a new rupture;
From a cascade which his agility dulls.

His time come around at last;
Lohn eyed the one that Mystra had marked;
Who had struck him once hard and fast;
And into this fanatic his sword embarked.

A rain of martial and mystical strikes;
Removed one maniac from the fray;
On the second a spell of laughter alights;
Making him into merely Lohn’s prey.

Complaints of lost pay over their bounties’ deaths;
Accompanied the actions of securing a maniac;
As the cleric takes time to investigate their enchanted cloths;
And finds the enchantment of a sloppy hack.

A faint taste of malevolence hides behind;
The construction of gear meant to take to the sky;
The surviving fanatic promises the Howling Hatred to find;
But is then quickly struck by Lohn’s reaction spry.

Elivia tries to place the shouted name;
But only Two-Seventy-One of Yartar has heard;
Rumors of a group which has yet to gain fame.
A simple bandit group he had assumed from word.

Taking their captives and heads back to town;
The butcher’s husband found his jail growing full;
With three Bringers, two bandits and a glider fallen down;
He contemplated building some new hull.

Of greater interest the party did note;
That the Black Earth Bringers of Woe;
Held hatred for the howler beyond a mere mote;
They ranted and named them a foe.

In the cultists slavering ant;
The band drew names of curious sort;
Naming cults in a long rant;
And spoke of plans they did thwart.

The Bringer of Woe spoke of a dark name;
A prophet of Black Earth whom he obeyed;
A figure of power great would maim;
Any foe which before him was laid.

Of their friends, the Eternal Flame, he knew little;
And the Crushing Wave was but a nuisance;
The Howling Hatred he knew only hatred brittle;
But he promised Marlos Unryale would lay sentence.

With this new revelation in their thoughts;
The band retired to their places for a night’s rest;
Recovering from wounds and eating food in pots;
Leaving the next dawn they thought would be best.

The tomb of a forgotten noble was easily found;
And scouting the region quickly revealed;
A goblin and half-ogre ready to bound;
The swift monk rushed to the field.

The half-ogre’s axe slashed down;
And despite a skilled and agile defense;
Fennle’s skin was parted with a frown;
As the goblin knocked free of sense.

Marle strode up with a blade ward;
To stand beside the monk against her foe;
Then the cleric to heal stepped forward;
And the paladin moved to flank like so.

With the ogre, Fennle had another exchange;
Coming out again opened up by his blade;
Then the Priest of Mystra struck out at range;
From her hail of missiles the ogre’s doom was made.

The bleeding Mougra was treated and roused;
Lohn’s arrow removed from his shoulder;
He indicated that place the dead were housed;
And admitted he expected them into it to blunder.

Investigating within, the far-traveling demonic scholar;
Found the style had been that of six centuries past;
In a time when the population had been much smaller;
Such tombs dotted across the region not-so vast.

As Marle discussed the historical find;
Lohn searched for signs of danger;
A rusted door made wary his mind;
And a sense of avoiding it did linger.

Elivia opted to make the first gamble;
She touched the corroded portal;
Out a translucent warrior did amble;
And demand a retreat of all who were mortal.

Some appeasement from Mystra’s agent;
Convinced the ghost to relax his threat;
And they spoke of ancient times now spent;
The Knights of the Silver Horn and his master’s set.

Of aid the ghost could give but little;
Stuck as it was within the old tomb;
But in peace the band left this committal;
That bandits at the ghost’s hands would find doom.

Two more rumors the band had yet to trace;
Of Tricklerock Cave’s villains and treasures;
And a skull nailed to a tree at some place;
And plans to face these were given some measures.

The Chapters and Cast of the Ballad

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