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Ranger Report: Paragor'n Shift

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Ranger Report: Paragor'n Shift

Post by Cyker »

Ranger Report: Paragor'n Shift

Kazarn Reylar strode into the The Cutter's Vineyard, and immediately felt out of place. Avoiding the looks of the other patrons, mostly Sensates, he sidled in, scanning the room. Quickly spotting his mark, he made his way over to the bar proper.

"'ere Mumpy, ain't this place a bit top-shelf fer t' likes o us?" Reylar hissed softly as he sat down, throwing another quick look around.

"Aye, but t' bub's the best and so's t' view!" Mumpy MacShane replied with a wink as he downed the last of his drink.

Reylar rolled his eyes, "Well it be time t' go. I 'ope this pikin' enterprise o' yerz will pay off!"

"'course it will cutter!" Mumpy replied cheerfully, "None o' these berks 'ave tried bub from Nordock before. This'll be a great jinkscore!"

Mumpy slapped a few copper commons on the counter, which were quickly scooped by the smiling aasimar barkeep, and strode out of the tavern, followed closely by Reylar.

"Y' wanna take my Gate or yers?" he asked.

"Mine... it takes me days t' get t' stench o' that weird talisman o' yers off me 'and!" Mumpy groused.

Reylar gave an indifferent shrug, and with that the two of them headed into the crowded bowels of Sigil.


"Damnit Mumpy, this ain't t' Benzor Flats!" Reylar bellowed, holding tightly on the drain-pipe he'd managed to catch. He gingerly moved to the left a few feet, before letting go, turning the drop into a roll as he hit a less bumpy part of the pavement. Mumpy was lying in a groaning heap further away, on a heavily cobbled part of the pavement.

"'s not my fault cutter! They musta moved it!" he moaned, clutching his head as he got up.

"I 'ope y' dint break those bottles..." Reylar warned.

Mumpy came instantly alert, hands flying from the bump on his head to the bag he was holding. He sighed with relief, "They're okay!"

"Right, lets get movin' before sommat else 'appens!"


The two of them wound their way through the confusing back-streets of Benzor, quickly emerging near the Market Quarter. With a nod to the scribe, they made a bee-line for the East gate, heading for the Wandering Badger.

They'd gotten barely half way there when they stopped with surprise.

"What in t' hells...?!" Reylar exclaimed.

On the small bridge that connected the Benzor side of the Flats to the River Valley side, sat a tall boxy structure that glowed with an internal flame. Scattered randomly about it were numerous small fires.

"Now I've got the Willies!" mumbled Mumpy with a shudder, "Who or what Bleedin power done that?"

"HEYAAA!" squealed a high-pitched voice behind them. Mumpy whirled round, hand leaping to his massive greatsword. Reylar screamed, lost his footing and fell in the stream.

He shot to his feet, rivulets of mud and water dripping down his armour as he looked that their new visitor.

"Damnit! Who are yez?! Dun' sneak up on a cutter like tha'!"

"'allo Biter!" Mumpy snickered, relaxing the grip on his sword.

"I'm Knotten! Who are-AAAAH, fire!!!" the little halfling cried, ignoring the two of them as her attention took in the surroundings, "Get water... and stuff!"

She ran round in a small circle for a few seconds, paused, ran to the stream, then back to the fire wearing a confused expression, then back to the stream again.

"Uhm... so... how do I do this?" she asked slowly, looking to the bewildered men, "Ya don't have a bucket or somethin'?"

"Well..." Reylar said slowly, still slightly taken aback by the halfling's antics, "We could use Mumpy's 'elmet..." he suggested slowly.

"That's a good idea... and stuff!" Knotten bubbled enthusiastically, hopping up and down.

"What 'elmet?!" Mumpy shot back, turning to Reylar and gesturing at his bald pate.

"Hurry, hurry!" squealed the halfling.

"Yeah yeah! Alright!", shaking his head, Mumpy gently removed the bottles of wonderful and varied alcoholic substances from the bag he was holding and hastily used it to scoop up some water.

He rushed to the large flaming structure that was sitting on the middle of the bridge, and was about to throw the watery contents of the bag over it when there was a scream!

"HEEEEEELP!" Knotten ran past at a high sprint from the group of drow that emerged from the Hunting Woods, "HEEEEEEELP, YUCKYS!" she continued to scream as two of them split off after her while the remainder headed for Reylar and Mumpy.


"What in t' Nine...?!" Reylar began, turning towards Knotten's scream.

"DROW ATTACK!" yelled Mumpy, dropping the sack of water and fumbling for his sword. He got it unsheathed just in time to parry a drow blade, and used the momentum of his draw to knock the smaller blade aside, cutting the drow in two sizzling halves, as the acid from his sword ate through the drow armour armour.

Reylar unslung his bow, notched and loosed an arrow at one of the drow chasing Knotten. The drow cursed in a foreign tongue as the arrow knifed into his midriff. With a snarl, he abandoned his pursuit of the halfling, clutching his gut.

Meanwhile, Knotten had run round the back of the Wandering Badger, the drow yelling battle cries at her as he chased. As he rounded the fourth corner, still running flat-out to keep up with Knotten, he felt a sudden pain in his chest and came to a dead stop. Looking down, he found himself skewered on Reylar's sword.

Reylar poked his head from the other side of the corner, "'evenin' berk!" he grinned.

"El kivvil!!" Reylar snapped his head back round to his left. To his horror the drow he'd wounded earlier was making a diving leap at him, sword extended for the kill!

As the blade was about to impale him, a shape blurred into the side of the drow in mid-dive, knocking it into the West-wall of the Wandering badger before hacking it to pieces in a frenzy of acid dripping blades! The blurred shape resolved itself into a grinning and slightly-embarrassed-looking Knotten.


"Li'l help!" Mumpy shouted, facing off against 5 more drow. While he parried and countered the blades flying at him, he noted one of the ones at the back casting a spell behind, "Soddin' spellslingers!"

The drow mage grinned evilly as she was about to complete her incantation and roast Mumpy alive, but she was rudely interrupted when an arrow struck one of her raised hands, pinning it to a tree! Before she had a chance to cry out a warning, a blurred shape barrelled into her in a frenzy of shortswords!


Reylar slung his bow as he ran towards Mumpy, drawing his sword and shield at the same time. As he ran however, he noticed another man had already joined Mumpy in battling the foes. Together, Mumpy and the newcomer made short work of the group of drow, and had already managed to cut down most of them by the time Reylar got to them.


As the battle came to a close, the three of them quickly looked around, checking for any more enemies while they caught their breath. They were about to sheath their weapons when a deathly figure clutching a scythe strode softly out from the shadows!

It turned it's macabre visage toward them, eyes glowing malevolently as it spoke, "You all shall serve Paragor!" it rasped at them, raising it's hands as if to cast a spell.

"Aye? Serve 'im this!" yelled Reylar, raising his sword and charging the figure. Just before he got within reach, the figure completed it's incantation and promptly faded out!

With a cry of surprise and confusion at the sudden departure of his foe, Reylar surged past where the vile creature had been standing, before slipping on the grass, loosing his balance and crashing into a tree trunk amid a shower of leaves.

"Damnit..." he snapped, rubbing his shoulder.

"Where did he go... and stuff?!" Knotten cried, whirling around.

"That Bloody thing! What was it?" Mumpy added, nursing a few cuts on his side.

"Hrm... there's tha' name again... Paragor!" Reylar muttered to himself as he got back up gingerly.

"Parawho?" Knotten inquired, fixing Reylar with an inquisitive stare.

"Paragor! A right Rorty Bugger..." Mumpy tried explaining.

"What are ya talkin' about mista?!" Knotten yelled back with exasperated confusion.

"Been behind a lot o' murders recently." continued Mumpy.

"Murders?!" shrieked Knotten. She shot between the two of them, hugging Mumpy's armoured leg, "Protect me, mistas!"

The newcomer stirred, and finally spoke, after observing his new comrades with some bewilderment, "Euhm ... could someone tell me what's going on?" Myril asked slowly.

Knotten skipped over to him, "Well, first there was some stuff, then I ran, then they attacked, then..." Knotten gushed out her rushed recap of the previous events.

"Hey, ya not listening!" she complained eventually, noticing the glazed look Myril had affected.

"Y' know as much as we do cutter." Reylar interjected smoothly. He gestured at the bridge, "We saw t' flaming wreck o'er there, went t' check it out... then next thing we know there be drow after us!"


As they talked, Knotten wandered off on her own, but now came screaming back to the group at high speed, "YUCKYS!"

Reylar looked south, "More! Undead this time?!"

"Aww no!" Mumpy moaned, drawing his greatsword again.

A group of skeletons were the first to reach them. Reylar sidestepped the first one and brought his sword round in a wide arc at neck-level. The sword passed through the Skeleton's neck-bone with barely the slightest tug, sending the skull flying off to one side while the body collapsed in a pile of assorted bones. Mumpy stepped up, taking an even wider swing. The first skeleton he hit exploded in a shower of bone from the force of the impact, and the sword carried on, cleaving the remaining three in half.

"'s a pikin' undead invasion!" muttered Reylar.

Knotten danced about behind them, free from the battle, "Them don't like me! I' swee-aaaaaaah!" she yelped as the second wave arrived - Shadows and Zombies!

With a nod and a grin to each other, Reylar and Mumpy charged in, hacking away with their blades. As he dispatched his second zombie, Reylar went cold as he spied the next wave - A Mummy and a Ghoul Lord!

"Musties!" Mumpy shouted in warning.

"AIIE! A MUMMY!" confirmed Knotten, running around in a sword-waving panic.

"Oi! Halflin Biter! Stay close!" Mumpy ordered.

The hairs on the back of Reylar's neck prickled as a wave of fear passed over him, but surprisingly he managed to hold his nerve long enough to dispatch the last of his opponents. Mumpy and Myril didn't even flinch as they advanced on the new group and swiftly cut them down.

Knotten cheered and hopped about, bursting into song, "We are sweet and you are meat, and we are all together!"

Myril glanced to his left, spying a woman dressed in dark clothes, carrying a longbow, "Tiana?"

"Is everyone okay? Are there any more?" the newcomer enquired, giving the group a once-over.

"The undead made an appearance miss!" Mumpy declared.

"Check t' corpses, see if they got any clues..." Reylar said, hacking open a nearby zombie to see if it had anything useful.

Knotten wrinkled her nose distastefully, "I'm not touch... AAAAH!"

"Drow attack?" Tiana exclaimed, notching an arrow.

"Protect me, mista!" Knotten yelped, grabbing Mumpy's arm with a vice-like grip.

"Wuh?" Reylar asked, confused. He stood up from the corpse he was examining and spotted an opponent. With a shout he ran at it, when a sphere of pure darkness suddenly dropped around him!

"What in t'....AAA!"


All the others could see was the sphere of black, but they heard the impact of Reylar running into another tree, the subsequent thud as he bounced into the ground, and the colourful cursing that followed, quite clearly.

"Damn whoever put tha' tree there! Bah, I cannay see anythin'!!" he moaned from his prone position.

"Tree? What tree? Where are you, mista?" Knotten squeaked, hopping about until Reylar stumbled out of the sphere, clutching the latest bump on his head, "Oh, there you are!"

"Is anyone hurt?" Tiana inquired. When no one, apart from Reylar, answered, she gave a nod. "Alright, who saw what?" she asked, looking round expectantly.

"Yes, could you perhaps tell me what's going on?" Myril added.

"Well first I was getting water, then I saw yuckys, then they ran after me, then I screamed, then mistas ran after yuckys, then I screamed again... then, then...", Knotten paused to gulp down some air to continue her tirade,

Mumpy rolled his eyes, "Stitch it fer a second there, Biter... with yer yucks an mucks." he put a hand on Knotten's shoulder, so she stopped and looked at him expectantly.

"Well," began Mumpy slowly, "We seen all the fires... skegged em good, then we were attacked outta no Bleedin wheres by drow," he thumbed over his shoulder at the bridge.

"Aye, then all them deaders started appearin' out from t' tree line!" Reylar added with a grimace.

"Aye," confirmed Mumpy, "An' then we seen a... a big skull headed bloke with a big scythe!"

"Yeah, a big yucky!" Knotten shrilled in confirmation, "And he was really yucky!"

"Aye, I saw that one too." Reylar added, "Some powerful undead it were... gave us t' laugh right in front o' out eyes!"

"Now what was that supposed to be?" Tiana asked with renewed interest.

"This anything to do with this... Paragor?" added Mumpy, raising an eyebrow.

"Mayhaps cutter, I ain't well-lanned fer this dark, but I 'eard tha' scythe-wielder say sommat about Paragor..." Reylar replied with a shrug.

"Is Paragor a meany?" piped up Knotten.

"Yeah! So they reckon..." Mumpy replied.

"Yuck.... I don't like meanys." Knotten said with a sniff.

Tiana looked at Myril, noticing the distant expression on his features, "Myril, you okay?"

Myril turned to look at her slowly, "Confused." he said with a nonchalant shrug.

Tiana nodded, "I think we're all confused. Do you have any idea what that thing on the bridge is? It looks magical."

"I bet yer it's a physical manifestation o' the Power what raised it up!" Mumpy said sagely.

"No, idea but for now we won't have to care ... it's daylight so many undeads won't come on the surface...". Myril gave another shrug.

"Soooooo," Knotten pipped in as the conversation lulled, "Are any of you heroes?" she asked eagerly, pulling out a small quill and a curled parchment.


Knotten looked at them one by one, "No heros?" she asked, an edge of disappointment seeping into her voice.

"I'm a general in the Vanguard, that's close enough." Tiana said with a touch of disdain.

"Vanguard?" Knotten asked with a raised eyebrow, "Never heard about... AAAAAAAH!"

The five of them scattered as a hail of flaming rocks suddenly descended from the sky, smashing trees and rocks as they took cover.

"Take cover!"
"Watch out!!"

In the centre of the maelstrom, a tiny point sparked in mid-air, flaring to life as a rapidly expanding sphere. Light poured from it as it grew, and it began to change shape until it resolved into a large rippling portal.

The hail of meteors stopped as suddenly as it began, and as it did so a slightly bemused figure moved into the clearing in a sort of fast limp-waddle.

"ALL HAIL PARAGOR!" he cried, standing next to the portal.

"WHAT!?" Reylar yelled incredulously.


"Stitch yer bone-box y' soddin' half-head parrot!" Mumpy shouted back.

"ALL HAIL PARA-" the man was interrupted when a dwarf... no, a duergar, materialised beside him.

She cried out, holding her hands over her eyes, "Yer gods, eet boorns!", she cried out before running off.

The bemused man's features affected an even more confused look, but he cleared his throat regardless,


The man cut his tirade short, finding it difficult to shout with an arm clamped round his wind-pipe.

"Well met berk!" Reylar said cheerfully, "Now, be a good skag an' gi' us t' dark, or me an' Mumpy'll give y' a good scrubbin', aye?"

"Err... what?" the man managed to gasp, looking even more confused.

Reylar sighed emphatically, "Tell us what y' know or we beat t' crap outta ya." he tried.

"Paragor is my leader, I must obey him!" the man wheezed.

"Why ya listen to a meany?" Knotten asked the man suspiciously, bounding over to him and giving him a poke in the ribs.

"Answer t' lass or I start breakin' sticks!" Reylar added menacingly.

"'Breaking Sticks?'" Knotten echoed, giving Reylar a dubious look, "That doesn't sound very intimidating..."

Mumpy smirked, "'Sticks' be Cager cant fer 'Bones' lass."

"Breakin' bones? Yucky..." Knotten said, wrinkling her nose.

"Ahh, well, he's just one to follow... he caught my eye..." the struggling man explained lamely.

"Well, 'ow 'bout y' stop followin' t' addle-coved berk an' we'll nay pen y' in t' dead book, aye?" Reylar suggested with an amicable grin.

"Don' t anger him! He is a GOD!" the man retorted.

"Were tha' a threat cutter?" Reylar asked pleasantly, tightening his grip ever so slightly.

"I can not help it, he has taken me in his cult, and now I cannot go! He has had my mind tracked to his! I can't help it!" the man cried desperately.


As they interrogated the man, Knotten skipped over to the portal. She peered into it, cupping her hands, "Helloooooo?"

She listened for a reply, but when none came she turned and moved to rejoin the others, "It's a nice, shiny portal at least..." she said to herself.

"Shiney indeed." a flat, toneless voice said from behind her.

Knotten spun round. Behind her stood a tall thin figure, the stench of death exuded from it's very being.

"AAAAAAAAAH!" Knotten scrambled back towards the others at break-neck speed, ducking behind Mumpy. "MEANY!" she yelled at the figure from behind his armoured legs.

"Paragor!". The restrained man elbowed Reylar in the gut and broke free, running towards the apparition.

"Ut oh..." Reylar muttered.

The man skidded to a halt a few feet from the malevolent figure, dropping to his knees and bowing over and over.


"Draw steel! Be ready!" Reylar shouted, his sword leaping from it's sheath.

"Someone call a Bleedin Serenite!" Mumpy added, drawing his own sword.


"And you kin' pike off too, y' clueless addle-coved yark!" Reylar yelled at the bowing man.

"Your steel cannot hurt me, mortal." the avatar said with a leer.


Knotten stepped forwards, "What ya want, meany?!" she challenged the avatar, giving it her 'Mean' look.

Mumpy hastilly pulled her back.

"Aww... unfair!" she complained petulantly.

The avatar chuckled, a low and unsettling sound.


Reylar suddenly felt a great weight descend on him, forcing him to his knees. Gritting his teeth, he glanced at the others. The force acting on him was also having affecting the others.

The avatar gazed at them approvingly, "As it should be." it said with a condescending grin.

"Ya a meany and yucky! Doublemeany!" Knotten yelped at the figure, struggling against the weight.

With a great effort, Reylar slowly managed to stand back up, "Try tha' again and I'll-damnit!" before Reylar could finish his threat, the figure vanished in front of his very eyes!

The others too, found the force pushing them down fading.

The confused man stood up, now completely befuddled, "W... what happened?? He controlled me!! I... I must escape!" and before anyone could stop him he ran into the woods.

"This ain't good! Powers poppin up..." Mumpy groused, "Dun get this kinda thing in Sigil..."

"Ha! Who're y' kiddin'?" Reylar retorted.

"What are we going to do... and stuff? Mistas?" Knotten asked petulantly, hopping up and down.

"Where's Tiana?" Myril suddenly snapped.

They looked round - Indeed she had gone.

"Great! So who's in charge 'ere now?! An' where's them namby pamby Serenites ter protect us?" Mumpy demanded.

"We best stay t'gether fer now, 'least 'til we got some leads on this..." Reylar said with a tired sigh, rubbing the dull ache in his shoulder.

The group silently contemplated their next course of action.

"Sooooo, does this mean that I should sing?!" Knotten asked brightly when no one said anything for a few minutes.

"Yeah go on! Anything ter lift the spirit, aye lass?" Mumpy shrugged with a grin.

"YEAH!" Knotten cried enthusiastically. She cleared her throat.

"We were standing in the flats, when the fire broke out. Then yuckys came and went for meeeeee, so I ran and I ran to the end of the road, where Grando wanted me to be!
"Then a big yucky meany God came out and we are all a bit scared.... and stuff, but then he ran away like a scared... uhm... chicken! Cause we are sweeter than him, and sweetness beats evil!"

As she sang, Reylar edged warily over to the portal to examine it more closely, "If Wildy were 'ere e'd be able t' read t' portal." he muttered to himself. He turned to Mumpy, "Mumpy.... y' reckon y' know where this goes? Y' be a planeswalkin' cutter too, aye?"

Mumpy gingerly moved towards the portal, "There's a Bleedin stink to it... might be Abyssal, I dunno. Can't go in it this way..."

Reylar poked it, and the portal pulsed, but resisted his finger.

He stood up as Knotten finished her song. The halfling turned and beamed at the rest of the group.

"Good song lass!" Mumpy grinned.

"AAAAAAAAAAH!" Knotted screamed suddenly, hopping up and down and pointing at Mumpy.

"Err..." Reylar turned to look at why Knotten was pointing at Mumpy. His eyes widened and he yanked Mumpy aside just in time to avoid the massive bone-blade descending on his head!

"Undead... that's...!!" Mumpy gushed, fumbling for his sword as a hoard of undead creatures poured from the portal, "GET EM!"

"What t' hell's going on 'ere?!" yelled another voice from the other side of the bridge, quickly followed by an angry looking dwarf. He smashed a skeleton over the head and joined in the melee with a roaring battlecry.

"I'll tell y' after, if we surv-oh no!" Reylar froze in terror as he spied a giant floating automaton wielding a 12 foot sword - It was heading straight for him!

In a panic, he turned tail and ran for it.

"Come back here, ya meany!" protested Knotten, swinging her shortsword at the animation as it passed her.

Reylar disappeared round a corner of the Wandering Badger inn, the spectre in hot pursuit, but as it rounded the same corner, Reylar shield-rushed it from the opposite direction, knocking it to the ground!

" HA! Y' were nay expectin' THAT!" he cried triumphantly, before shattering the rune-encrusted sphere that powered the machine with a stomp from his heavy boots.



Hearing Mumpy's cry, Knotten and Reylar ran back to the clearing, where the dwarf, Thoril Stonebeard, Mumpy and Myril were heavily engaged. They had cleared the undead, but were now faced with golems of all types and even some minogons!

Thoril was fending off blows from several golems, managing to smash down a bone golem when a minogon stepped up behind him!


Thoril spun round, but the minogon's axe was already descending on him!

Knotten shot past, pushing Thoril aside while bravely holding her sword up to block the axe.

The minogon took no notice, changing it's downward slash into a sideways one, but Knotten was up to the task, and moved her sword in a vertical block!

"AIIEEE!!" Knotten cried out as the force of the blow sent her and her sword flying! She crashed into Thoril and the two of them landed in an unconsious heap.

The minogon turned ponderously, taking a step towards Knotten and Thoril to finish them off.


The minogon slowly turned back, its gaze settling on an embarrassed-looking Reylar, who was looking at the new bend in his sword.

"Aww crap..."

The minogon hefted its axe to swat the annoying human, but was momentarily distracted when it was hit in the face by the bent sword.


Having thrown his only weapon, Reylar fell back on his Kazarn Battle Training... run away!

The minogon grunted with annoyance and stomped off after him, it's heavy feet making the ground tremble with each footstep.

As Reylar ran, he spotted an opportunity. As he passed another battling minogon, he quickly paused to thump it ineffectually in the small of the back before resuming his flight.

The minogon grunted with surprise and turned reflexively.

"Thanks cutter!" Mumpy yelled and decapitated the distracted minogon, "Now these are better odds!" he grinned, sizing up his two remaining opponents.


Meanwhile, Reylar, still being chased by the other, now enraged minogon, dodged behind a tree.

"Haha!" he taunted the minogon. The minogon moved to go round the tree, but Reylar moved sideways, keeping it between him and the minogon while he taunted it.

The minogon changed tact and responded by hacking the tree down!

Reylar immediately ran forwards and heaved on the tree with all his strength as the minogon advanced on him.

With a loud crash full of twigs and leaves, the mortally wounded tree slammed into the minogon, knocking it over and pinning it unconscious!

In a smooth movement, Reylar swung up and over the fallen trunk, giving the minogon a good kick in the head with his heavy boots as he passed before heading towards the Wandering Badger, pulling a small charred lump out of his haversack.


Mumpy had been quite hard pressed, but with only two opponents left the odds were a lot better. He spied Reylar running off towards a small copse of trees, but kept his mind on his own problems.

One of the minogons made a feint at him, but he dodged backwards, keeping his sword at optimal range. As expected, the other one attacked for real, and was rewarded with a new orifice in it's belly.

"Aye, y' want some o' this too, berk?" Mumpy challenged the remaining minogon.

There was a muffled *wump*, followed by another loud Clang; Mumpy noted the small rock bouncing off the back of the minogon's head. This minogon wasn't as stupid as it's fellow, and shuffled to the side in an effort to see it's new attacker while keeping an eye on Mumpy.

It was nonetheless surprised when a large, well-used bench with a curiously charred corner arced out of the air and hit it squarely in the face.


"Where'n the Lady's shadow did ya get that cutter??" Mumpy exclaimed, eyeing Reylar suspiciously as he dispatched the stunned minogon.

"Dun ask," Reylar replied, flecks of soot speckled one side of his face, "I jus' 'ope Richard an' Daelanna dun find out!".

The two of them began looking for survivors. They quickly spied Myril, who was standing nonchalantly, his sword-tip resting in the chest cavity of an Iron Golem.

Some more searching quickly located Knotten and Thoril.

"Oh there you are!" Knotten exclaimed brightly, "Everything went blue for a second...". She touched her head gingerly, "Oooouuuuch!" she hissed, "My head...and stuff..."

Myril sauntered over and applied his healing skills where needed, while Mumpy and Thoril helped with their collection of bandages and salves.

As everyone was patched up, two more figures wandered in to the area. They peered curiously at the portal, which was still pulsing away gently.

"Oi! You lot! Don't go near that Bloody hole!" Mumpy called over to them.

"Why where deez monsters here?" asked one of them, one Clan Fetteel. He didn't wait long for an answer however, but walked off to look for Grando.

"Sommat 'avin' a party?" the remaining figure asked with a touch of sarcasm.

"Aye, y' could say that cutter," Reylar muttered. He looked up, "Oh, 's you Kedwyrr!"

"Oi! Get over 'ere! Get away from that 'ole!" Mumpy waved frantically.

Kedwyrr threw one last glance at the portal, snorted then ambled over to the recovering group, "Wots te 'oopla?"

"It's a portal... dimensional... right rorty Buggers comin' outta it." Mumpy explained.

"Some Power called Paragor be throwin' 'is weight about... we bin attacked by drow, undead and now some golem-types!"

Kedwyrr replied with a wolfish grin, and began sharpening his axe.

"There are many yuckys in the world, but I've never seen yuckys like thiiiiis. Now we have to be brave and strong and stuff... if not we will be dead and I don't know what!" Knotten sang with wild abandon.

Kedwyrr glared at her.

After a few moments, Reylar gave Mumpy a sidelong glance, "Y' reckon we should risk goin' in t' portal t' see where it goes?"

"Maybe... I'm a sucker fer a portal, but we gonna need more Bod's!"

Kedwyrr stamped his foot with a snort, "Ye stinkin' pansys. Wot're ye waitin' for?"

"Woah! Easy there, Biter!" Mumpy replied hastily.

"Well... fer one thing I dunno how t' trigger t' portal..." Reylar began

"Uhm... and it might be yuckys and meanys in that portal!" Knotten pointed out.

"Aye! Anything an' his Grandma could be in that portal!" Mumpy added quickly.

"His Grandma too??" Knotten asked, her eyes boggling with surprise as she turned to Mumpy.

"'ere, where did the others go?" Mumpy asked suddenly.

"You mean the grandma?" Knotten asked, confused.

"They Bleedin abandoned us?" Mumpy continued, finding the four of them alone. He looked down, feeling a tug on his leg.

"What grandma??" Knotten demanded.

"What? Oh, 's jus' a figure o' speech...!" Mumpy explained defensively.

"Well we gotta stop whatever be doin' this 'afore it gets worse!" Reylar said firmly. He pulled out a small bag, which reeked of a rather curious smell. Pulling out a handful of small charred objects, he carved the Sign of Three into four of them and laid them in a circle of sorts around the portal.

"Right, that'll hold it fer a bit." he said smugly as the four objects began to glow softly.

Kedwyrr gave him a dubious look, "Sae ye stinkin' froo. . . .ye goin' in er goin' cook sommat onit?"

Suddenly, one of the talismans hopped into the air, shuddered and then exploded in a shower of ash! One by one, the others did the same...

Reylar looked on in shock, "It... it destroyed the Meat Surprises!!"

"I reckon we should head nearer the pub!" suggested Mumpy, surreptitiously taking a step back.

"...aye ..." Reylar agreed shakily.

"So that we're...defendin' it..." Mumpy added innocently.

Kedwyrr shook his head in disgust, but followed them.

"I wonder if we disturbed sommat when we found tha' cavern down them mines yesterd'y, Kedwyrr..." Reylar pondered as they retreated back to the Wandering Badger, picking up the wayward bench on the way back.

Kedwyrr shrugged with disinterest, "Most loikey. Shook te spawn o' te 'ells oot o' theer sleep."

Reylar sighed, "Tha' still leaves us with what t' do 'bout it..."

"I dunno! We ain't heroes, Rey!" Mumpy pointed out, "Let them Bloody guards an Shield do summat - 'least they get paid t' do it!"

"Theer moight be gold init... killin a god be gud fer te pockits." Kedwyrr said softly.

Reylar stopped and gave him an incredulous look, "Even Mumpy ain't that desperate fer jink!"

"Yeah! I-hey!"

"But," Reylar continued smoothly, "Y' got a good point there cutter... shall we go an' give Tucker what we know?"

"Aye! Top-shelf idea! Let's go!" and with that the four of them headed back to Benzor, giving the bridge a wide berth...


Appendix 1: Voila!'s Dictionary of Planar Cant
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