Monday, May 22, 2017

Stone Cold Slayer - Princes of the Apocaverse - Session Eighteen

The Chapters and Cast of the Ballad

Leaving behind Feathergale Spire;
In the hands of aarakocra scouts;
As their bodies began to tire;
They arrived in Red Larch here-abouts

Ahead of the caravan by six hours or ten;
They laid their heads down for a rest;
Recovering their arcane power back again;
And easing what injuries needed dressed.

Though Marle and Aengus seemed still energetic;
With the assassin helping the bard in her training;
With a mock duel hyper and frenetic;
Until their skills were equally straining.

Commanded by the Zhentarim Haeler Thommadur;
The caravan came into town six wagons strong;
With the clacking and familiar thunder;
Of drovers and oxen milling within a throng.

Ghileeda, the Swinging Sword's barmaid;
Alerted Elivia and the others as was requested;
And the priestess rose up to address the brigade;
Hearing from him how they have so far fared.

Piracy on the river is present but reduced;
And only some limited bandits are on the path;
Showing that some fruit had been harvested;
From the efforts directed by the band's wrath.

However in speaking to the Zhent commander;
The Crown began to whisper in Elivia's ears;
In the voice of the man standing before her;
And unveiling the efforts of her Zhentish peers.

The cargo within the caravan was shared;
Some of the Alliance and some of the Zhents;
But the Zhents had put things much less valued;
Hoping a hooked bait might turn up new scents.

Meanwhile, Talindra and Fennle went to the stable;
And found their horses were ill treated and unfed;
By a glowering stablemaster with one eye able;
Who snarled at their presence and the troubles bred.

Fennle asked whether he was upset;
At the fate of Red Larch's band of Believers;
And detected a smug lack of regret;
That revealed Old Man Thelder's true employers.

A brief attempt to stave off discovery;
Ended with an attempt to bolt away;
He did not get even half a step out of the livery;
Before landing face down in the hay.

Taken to Harburk, pragmatic Jalessa's consort;
The spy was made to reveal his efforts;
And in an ill-thought braggart's retort;
He revealed a new name to these heroic experts.

The name of Yan C Bin now graced their ears;
A name that Marle had once heard in old tales;
But of specifics she could not pull past the years;
Only that it was a name from beyond prime veils.

Elivia reported to speak to Maegla Tarnlar, the clothier;
The message of the Zhentish ploy to be taken hence;
The tailor was aghast at the lack of disclosure;
But the aasimar noted it made some kind of sense.

The caravan was ready to move as evening approached;
And traveled six hours until all was dark;
Upon the Sumber Hills they had not yet encroached;
And stopped as torches stood out stark.

In the course of the night, Lohn's new eyes served use;
As the locksmith of two-seven-one saw bandits stream;
Seeking the darkness of a new moon to abuse;
Until an arrow struck sending Wilhem into a scream.

All were then awakened to the fight;
And Marle swung the musical Shandrilar's Song;
The adamantine blade singing in the night;
To inspire the monk and priest with spirit strong.

The bandits tried to stick to their plan;
Seeking to light arrows on fire;
But fumbled with their shafts in the span;
And failed to set alight a pyre.

The paladin called down a column of fey light;
Striking three of the bandits low in a moment;
Soon followed by the burning fury of a monk bright;
Seared another three like a solar vent.

The locksmith and assassin sowed chaos in the ranks;
With arrows from bizarre directions;
And the confusion of an actor's clever vocal pranks;
Drawing shots out into empty sections.

Elivia called upon a weapon of holy Mystra;
And summoned, crackling with eldritch energy grand;
The form of a goddess's wrath most raw;
Such that in her power she now had a big hand.

The bandit captain surged forward to engage Fennle;
As the angelic cleric swatted his men;
But none of his attacks seemed to find a tunnel;
Her defenses proven certainly not thin.

Archers tried to strike the monk and priest;
But armor and swift hands kept the darts at bay;
And with the bandits' forces and plans well-creased;
Time came round again for another lay.

Marle applied her blades to take down another pair;
And the moon-fire swept negligently across the field;
As the paladin demanded surrender with voice and glare;
And Aengus behind the captain came with a dagger to wield.

The battle swept now to an end most succinct;
As Lohn stepped off to hunt those fleeing;
And captives were secured and hands were linked;
Though the Zhents complained of prisoner taking.

Much of the rest of the trip went with little issue;
Talindra took the time to address the surviving prisoners;
Seeking to convince them to be with banditry through;
Promising to make the authorities in Triboar into listeners.

But at the bridge over the the Black Maw Bog narrows;
Six statues had always stood on either side of the reach;
Though now it seemed a new statue had joined these heroes;
A new work not yet touched by weather's screech.

Marle and Lohn stopped forward to investigate this new feature;
The duergar barely noticed an odd detail in her hair;
Thick but not braided and end as a serpentine creature;
Then the stone sheered off as she revealed her glare.

The locksmith felt her limbs stiffening and growing numb;
As Marle recalled the works of one Harryhausen;
Turning aside her eyes to avoid being turned stone dumb;
Their blades failed to strike into the assassin.

Aengus dropped under the bridge;
To come behind the medusa's back;
While preparing her weapons' edge;
With a venom quite black.

Backing away the medusa grabbed a stashed bow;
But her arrows struck off Elivia's mithril shell;
Marle gave warning about the curse of stone glow;
But the Zhents ignored it stepping into granite hell.

Keeping her eyes low, Talindra charged forward;
Shoving the medusa into the swampy mire;
Her face now under the muddy water awkward;
Giving others the chance to open fire.

Fennle slipped a dart into the medusa's skin;
Coated in the venom of the rakshasha's agents;
And above Lohn felt flesh again become thin;
As the medusa was not strong and ancient.

Elivia once again summoned Mystra's hand;
To strike at the the assassin down in the mud;
But the clutter of her allies in the band;
Meant it failed to draw any blood.

Aengus attempted to rake a grappling hook;
Across the medusa's horrid face;
But the missile flew wide into the brook;
And in the assassin left no trace.

Marle slipped down to join the fight;
And wielded Shandrilar's Song;
With thrumming might and light;
To send heat into an arrow's metal tongue.

Screaming out with heated pain;
The medusa's form suddenly seemed to still;
And they found they now did strain;
To hold a statue under the liquid fill.

As the medusa stepped off the base;
Of a statue up above by the bridge;
In among the guards in dangerous place;
Many turned to stone upon the ledge.

The medusa applied her blades and snakes;
To two more of the Zhentarim guards;
And Elivia watched as their life poison takes;
And the medusa pushed closer forwards.

Talindra followed as quickly as she could;
Shield before her eyes and swinging blade;
But the assassin dodged as well she should;
And by the Rosethorn she was not slayed.

Fennle charged up taking a dangerous gamble;
And found herself turning frozen solid;
As the burden of torment through her rambled;
The flesh and body a thick stone statue horrid.

Fennles name shouted on her lips;
Elivia summoned a new spiritual hand;
Striking the medusa with divine grips;
And unleashing of magic missiles grand.

The medusa teetered and bled freely;
As two more Zhents turned to stone;
But one clipped her head with mace steely;
Dazing her to the deep bone.

Then Aengus's bolt struck true from afar;
And she fell to the ground with a last gasp;
Speaking a final word that was only "father;"
Before even her serpents lost life's grasp.

Quickly Elivia called out for the others to move;
Take the medusa's blood and it apply it with speed;
As a weak abomination such as she may prove;
Might carry her own cure as her life did bleed.

And so the caravan and Fennle were no longer lifeless;
The monk unleashing a hail of fire;
The moment she was freed from her stasis;
Giving the medusa an impromptu pyre.

Elivia recognized in the woman's clothes;
The crest of Urnrayle whom she had previously studied;
The Cormyrean noble who engaged in depravity's throes;
And vanished into history before times muddied.

She bore a magical dagger of venom black;
And a pair of powerful boots of stony disguise;
The source of her trick step to statue back;
Both of which were granted as Aengus's prize.

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