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Bria's Shrine 3: Race of Races

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Bria's Shrine 3: Race of Races

Post by Cyker »

Bria's Shrine 3: Race of Races

Chapter 1 - The Message

It was another typical day in Nordock. Kazarn Wolfwood had just arrived to retrieve his cousin, who had recently been spiked, gassed, set on fire, and electrocuted in one of the more 'interesting' dungeons.

He stepped out of the Brosna temple portal, and began to head for the Wildwanderer's last known whereabouts.

He had taken no more than 3 steps away from the temple when a young soldier ran up to him.

"Hey, you! Orc!"

"Yus? Yooz talkin' to me?"

"Are you Kazarn Wolfwood?"


"The Duke requests the presence of you and any companions. He has a proposal regarding certain artifacts of which you have knowledge of. Alas I have been unable to find any of the Silent Hand who were on the original expedition, nor any of the original leaders of said expedition, so I guess you will have to do..."

"Huuuh?" asked Wolfwood, unable to follow the guard's monologue. The guard rolled his eyes,

"For the love of..! Look, get friends, go see duke!"

"Ohh! Why you no say dat in first place??"

The guard sighed and walked off back to the barracks, muttering under his breath and shaking his head.

Half an hour later, Wolfwood & his hastily formed party had gathered together, and together they travelled to Brosna to meet the duke.

The group was mighty indeed - the mighty paladin Angelina, the deadly blade mistress Ania, the slightly un-hinged druid Mortalus, the expert tracker Elrand, the cunning rog*bop* err..'locksmith' Leatherus and the great mage (or was he a sorcerer? Damned magic users... - ed) Serin.

"What is this all about anyway?" asked Elrand as the group walked towards the Brosna Hall of citizens

"Dunno." replied Wolfwood

"That's just... great." Elrand replied with a resigned sigh.

"Wait. You called us here for no reason??" said Angelina, spinning round suddenly to face Wolfwood

"Nose... Guard say 'Get friends, go see duke', so me doin' dat."

"But why?? What for??"

Wolfwood shrugged, "Me dunno."

Angelina rolled her eyes with a resigned sigh and turned back towards the Hall of Citizens.

As they entered, one of the clerks stood up and came to greet them,

"Good day. The Duke is expecting you, but he is currently in a meeting. Please wait here until you are called for."

"Of course." replied Angelina with a curt bow

A half-hour passed, mostly filled by Wolfwood writing amusing but unlikely anecdotes on the bulletin board. They would probably have caused much offence if anyone, including Wolfwood, could actually read them.

Elrand, Mortalus and Leatherus were discussing something, while Angelina and Serin sat by the fountain, waiting patiently. Eventually, the clerk returned.

"The Duke will see you now." he said, gesturing to the stairs leading to the Duke's chamber. Rising to her feet, Angelina checked her gear and lead the others up the stairs to where the Duke was waiting for them.

"Thank you all for meeting me." he said, showing them into his chamber, "Please take a seat."

"What seems to be the problem Lord?" asked Serin as he sat down

"I summoned you all here because I am in need of help. We recently came across a special stone that was delivered by the Silent Hand."

"A 'stone'?" asked Serin, his brow furrowing with mild confusion

"Ah, from the elemental altar methinks." said Leatherus nodding, half to himself

"Aye, this is what we suspect. Our scholars here could not interpret the inscriptions on the stone, so I sent it to the Elven Clerics north of Tobaro. However, the caravan that was holding the stone has not been heard from for many days."

"Ah, and you fear foul play is involved?" said Angelina

"Yes. I wish you to trace the path of the caravan, and see if you can find any trace of what has befallen it."

"From where did they take leave?" asked Serin

"The caravan headed West through the gates towards Sholo."

"Ah, through Trommel woods, then?" said Mortalus, nodding

"Aye, you are correct. They were to then proceed north towards Tobaro."

"So it could be anywhere on that route..." said Mortalus thoughtfully

"Would it have been on the main roads? Or did it take a more... more discreet path?" asked Mortalus

"As far as I know, they took the main roads."

Leatherus rose from his seat and sauntered non-chalently up to the Duke's desk. He peered down at the map. The Duke used his finger to trace the path for him. Leatherus peered at the map intently.

"Ahh, so this is the way they *HURK*!!" Leatherus looked to his left, his hand was being held firmly on the table by Elrand's, worryingly near the Duke's money purse.

"Oh dear, your twitching finger affliction seems to have flared up again my friend!" he said, throwing Leatherus an amused but warning grin.

"Mmm. Yes," said the Duke, slightly miffed, "Perhaps my surgeons could help you 'remove' this affliction?"

Leatherus paled slightly, and managed to produce a weak grin, "Ah, no trouble good Duke, 'tis but a trifling condition, hardly worthy bothering your elite medical staff about!"

"Are you sure? It would be no trouble." said the Duke, slightly amused, as Leatherus hurriedly made his way back to his chair, accompanied by Elrand.

"Anyway, as I was saying, I need you to locate the caravan. The caravan was due to pass Trommel Wood one day ago, but has not been seen since it departed. Time is of the essence, I have information that other parties wish to recover the stone too."

Angelina rose to her feet, "We are naturally at your service m'lord." she said with a bow, "We will depart at once."

"You have my leave. Move swiftly, and good luck."

"Thank you m'lord." replied Angelina "Come on everyone."

As the party descended the stairs, they began discussing their up-coming journey, accompanied by the sound of Wolfwood munching on something.

"So... The caravan must be somewhere between here and Trommel..." said Mortalus throughfully

"Methinks I've seen this caravan already." said Elrand

"Aye? Where?" asked Angelina

"It was far westwards, I think near Sholo."

"Say, is there not an entrance to the Underdark between here and Trommel?" asked Serin suddenly

There was a loud sound, like a very rough file being drawn over wood. The party half-turned to see Wolfwood choking on one of his Meat Surprises. Ania slapped him on the back, causing the offending morsel to fly across the foyer. It hit the bulletin board in the upper right corner, with a soft splat.

"Drowz!? You not fink dat wot he mean by 'Uver innerested parties' duz yooz?!"

"Well, it is certainly a possibility..." said Angelina slowly

"Yeah, the drow were after the shrine before, mayhaps they heard about the discovery of the stones and are after them again?" suggested Leatherus

"Then we must be extra cautious." said Angelina flatly,

"Let us not waste time my friends. We should head out now, be wary and stick close together." said Ania as they exited the Hall of Citizens

"Aye..." said Mortalus, gazing past the western gate to the fields and forests beyond.

Chapter 2 - The Drow

After gathering supplies for the journey, the party set off through the west Brosna gate.

"We must be vigilant my friends, if the drow are involved. They have adapted to the surface remarkably well. Sunlight no longer burns them as it once did, and they have developed magic to protect their equipment from the sun." said Elrand as they passed the suburbs of Brosna

"Yes." said Angelina, "Leatherus, Elrand, you take point. Stay hidden. Your keen eyes will hopefully spot any dangers in advance. Ania, you take flank. Wolfwood, Serin, you're with me."

At that, the companions set off east towards the Trommel Woods. Their journey was mostly unhindered except for the odd giant attack, which was cut down to size very quickly by Elrand and Leatherus, often before the main body of the group even knew of it.

After the first day, they reached the edge of the Sholo plains. The sun had almost set, leaving only the last of it's reddish hue visible. The party decided not to press on through the night, and made camp.

"How much further do you think we have to go?" asked Serin, feeding his familiar

"Not very far, if the caravan is the same one I saw earlier this ten-day." said Elrand, stretching out on his bedroll.

"Okay, who wants to take first watch?" asked Angelina, stifling a yawn

"I will, " said Serin, "I'm not very tired at the moment. I will cast some detection spells to give us early warning."

"Very well then." replied Angelina, and settled down to sleep.

"Wake me up for the second watch." said Elrand as he unpacked his bedroll. The others proceeded to set their camp up, and soon all but Serin were resting peacefully.

Wolfwood dozed off quickly. He had lots of practice. He began to dream - half-formed images swirling in his mind's eye. A sound like a hammer striking a frying pan began to inpinge on his dreams, growing louder... His eyes opened wearily and he slowly sat up. As the fog of sleep cleared he noticed the loud clanging of an alarm spell was reverberating around the plain! He slowly donned his helmet,

"Wuz goin' on?" he slurred groggily

"DROW!!!! DRO..*ARGH*!!" screamed Serin. Wolfwood's head whipped round to the right, just in time to see Serin's head leave his body! His darkvision picked up every grisly detail as the drow's shortswords swung up, connected with Serin's chin and sheared cleanly through his head, sending a gout of blood streaming into the air.

"Well crap." muttered Wolfwood, struggling to unsheathe his scimitar. The drow turned towards him, her eyes glowing red in the dark. She ran towards Wolfwood,

"LLOTH PLYNN DOS!" she screamed, her swords raised to strike at the unprepared half-orc!

Her battle cry turned into a shriek of surprise - Elrand had been lying on the ground between her and Wolfwood, blending seamlessly with the ground. As the drow ran past him, he grabbed her foot causing her to tumble to Wolfwood's feet!

Wolfwood delivered a vicious kick, flipping the drow back over, but as he was about to swing his scimitar at her he was suddenly met with a volley of darts pinging off his armour!

The drow rolled to her feet, swords still in hand, but her swing at Wolfwood's back was met by Elrand's own swords, "Dos Kuuv Resist Ussa?? Whol Lil Orbb Valsharess!!" she screamed, kicking him over and diving at his prone form with both swords extended.

Ania and Angelina were up and already engaged - They could barely see their enemy in the low light, but knew it was another drow. They attacked together, but even alone this drow was most formidable, parrying their swords almost effortlessly.

Every strike they made was turned away by the drow's rapier or blocked by her shield, the drow mocked their feeble attempts to hit her, "You foolish rivvel! You cannot hope to stand against Lloth's will! You will rue the day you faced Raven Kel'tahk'Z'ress!" she cackled as she deflected another double-strike from Ania and Angelina.

Leatherus by this time had also woken up, to find Elrand on the ground, and Wolfwood trying to defend himself from a barrage of arrows and darts from an unknown assailant.

Quietly, he slipped away, masking his body heat and sneaked in a round-about fashion towards the source of the projectiles.

Elrand managed to bring his twin blades, forming a defensive V over his prone form just in time to deflect both the drow's blades up and away from him. He planted a foot on her abdomen as she sailed into him and kicking out, sending the drow flying past him.

As the drow flew past, he flipped to his feet. The drow turned her dive into a roll, bringing her back to her feet. They both faced each other.

"Nice try drow, but you won't get me so easily!" he said through gritted teeth - he was hurting, but refused to show any weakness

"Belbau phor nin lueth usstan orn er'griff elgg dos!" she screamed in reply as she charged him again.

Elrand spun to the right, deflecting the blow with his off-hand and twirling round to deliver a horizontal curving strike at the drow as she passed. His blade instead found her other sword, striking a clear resounding tone.

"Ha wael! You will have to do better than that!" she cried triumphantly, and moved to attack him again.

Wolfwood was not having a good time, it was all he could do to block the stream of missiles flying at every part of his body. His shield by now was peppered with a variety of different arrows. Several had got through, but had lodged in his formidable armour without hurting him seriously.

"Wen me finds out woo doin' dat me gonna smash yooz face!!" he yelled angrily from behind his shield.

Leatherus meanwhile, had gotten to the base of a tree - He looked up to see another drow, delicately balanced on a branch, smiling with glee as she fired missile after missile at Wolfwood.

With a mischievous smile, he notched an arrow, "Careful wench! You might fall!" he yelled and let loose the arrow.

The drow looked down, her expression rapidly shifting from startled surprise to horror as she saw the arrow head straight for her heart! Desperately, she twisted aside, the arrow tearing a rent in her armour, but otherwise doing no damage. With a snarl, she dived down from the tree head first - two glowing short-swords suddenly appearing in her hands and aimed right at Leatherus' head!

Leatherus was no slouch - as she began her dive, he had already somersaulted backwards, whilst notching another arrow. The drow tucked herself in at the last moment, transforming the dive into a roll which neatly brought her to her feat.

"Good trick." commented Leatherus

"Stay there and I'll show you another one." she said in a sultry voice

At almost the same time, Leatherus let loose his arrow as she charged. The drow went into a defensive spin, using her main dagger to deflect the arrow while bringing her off-hand round in a wide arc aimed at Leatherus' neck!

As soon as he let loose the arrow, Leatherus spun to his right, slinging his bow over his shoulder and drawing his sword in one smooth motion. He barely deflected the dagger aimed at his neck, but managed a flurry of counter attacks which stalled the drow's vicious advance.

"Not bad for a darthirii, perhaps if you surrender now I will make your death quick and painless... perhaps enjoyable." she said, licking her lips sensually with an evil smile.

"Sorry luv, I'm not into that kinda stuff." said Leatherus with a disinterested shrug

"Oh well. Nevermind, I shall be content flaying the skin from your bones while you beg me to kill you." she said returning a casual shrug

"Sorry again luv, I think I'll be too busy washing me hair and sword, awash as it will soon be with yer blood."

"Fool! Let us see who's blood shall be spilled this night!" she cried, loosing her patience.

With a curse, she ran at Leatherus again, and they clashed once more.

Wolfwood cautiously looked out from behind his shield, "Bluddy hell..." he said as he looked at the front of it. It looked like several mutant porcupines and hedgehogs had been skinned and glued to the front of his shield.

Elrand was not faring terribly well - he had a hard time hitting the extremely nimble drow he was facing, whereas her speed allowed her to get in a multitude of light cuts, and these were starting to take their toll on Elrand. He felt exhausted, and was bleeding from several deeper cuts all over his body.

"Who.. are you?" he asked weakly during a lull in the duel

"You would like to know your doom 'eh?" she said with wry amusement, "Ha! I will grant you your last request wael! I am Qee'Elghinn Mlezziir, and you are but a meaningless naubol!"

With that, she rushed Elrand again, both swords down low and barely inchs apart. Elrand was almost too weak to defend himself, barely able to bring his swords down in a defensive cross. He threw a dazed look at the drow as she smashed aside his parry, disarming him and sending his swords tumbling away. Elrand fell to his knees.

The drow threw him a wide smile of triumph, and slowly lifted a sword to end his life, enjoying every second.

She brought down her sword, Elrand steeled himself for the inevitable...


"INBAU TIR USSA DOS WAELE CRETOK!!" screamed Qee as Wolfwood shield rushed her. Her swords got tangled up in the mass of darts and arrows on his shield as she was bowled to the ground by the extremely overweight half-orc.

Leaving the stunned and disarmed drow, Wolfwood ran to Elrand. With a touch, a blue beam of life-giving energy descended from the heavens. Elrand felt revived - the bleeding staunched as his wounds knitted shut, his fatigue vanished.

"Right Drow, now it's *your* turn!" he yelled. Wolfwood and Elrand both sprinted towards the drow as she rose back to her feet, Elrand gathering up his twin-blades in a smooth motion as he passed them.

The drow had retrieved her swords also, "Then come wael, and let us see who's 'turn' it really is!"

Wolfwood lead the charge, his orcish fury and extremely sturdy shield leading the way.

The drow feinted at him, but spun round in the opposite direction and slapped him across the back with the flat of her sword. Wolfwood stumbled, but kept his balance and skidded to a halt on the grass a short distance away.

Elrand was right behind him, and quickly followed up with a flurry of jabs at the Drow's vulnerable back as she swung her swords back to bear on him. As she did so however, Wolfwood's scimitar came whirling back, but still the drow's agility enabled her to parry both attacks at the same time!

"Ha! Your pitiful skills are no match for mine!" she cried with glee

The two of them continued their attack, but somehow she was able to fend off both attacks with almost casual ease! She stood arrogantly between Wolfwood and Elrand, trying to watch them both as they circled her.


Elrand flashed some ranger hand signals at Wolfwood. Wolfwood nodded back.

They both charged.

Qee was ready, she deflected Elrand's swords harmlessly upward, and was about to swing at Wolfwood when Elrand suddenly let go of his swords and tackled the drow!

"ORI'GATO ALU D'USSA DOS FILTHY KIVVIL!" she shrieked as Elrand grappled her and forced her to the ground.

"Say hullo to Bob for meez when yooz meet him!" roared Wolfwood, as he placed his hands on her and chanted a powerful curse. A brilliant beam of crimson light shot up from the ground towards the heavens, encompassing Qee's form as Elrand pinned her down.

"NOO!" screamed Qee, "IT CANNOT BE!! LLOTH DORMAGYN DOSST DALH..!" but before she could finish, her life was torn from her body by the powerful spell, and she fell to the ground, lifeless as the swords she wielded.

"Phew, thank you my friend." said Elrand shakily, "I thought I was done for."

Before Wolfwood could answer, there was a loud angry shout to their right,

"Damnit you drow bitch! That was my best shirt!"

"Leatherus!" exclaimed Elrand. He gathered his swords once again and the two of them ran towards Leatherus' voice.

"Damnit you drow bitch! That was my best shirt!"

"Now now my poor darthirii, when I am done with you, you won't need a shirt!" she laughed gleefully. Both of them were suffering from a multitude of minor cuts and bruises, but Leatherus was suffering more - as quick as he was, he was having a hard time parrying the lightning-fast attacks from the drow's twin swords, "Give up foolish darthirii, and Hal'Drin Kel'tahk'Z'ress will show you that jiv'elgg lueth jiv'undus phuul jivvin!"

"*sigh*I already told you luv, you're just not my type. It's not that I don't like you, in fact I hate you, but you gotta get over the fact that you can't have such a handsome man as I!"

Hal'drin spat on the ground, "I'd sooner have a kitrye-cretok!" she said angrily

"That could be arranged." replied Leatherus with a sly smile

Hal'Drin looked at him with a raised eye-brow for a second, then her eyes widened and she whirled round, but was almost too late! Elrand's silent footsteps had gotten him right up to her, and his swords were already jabbing at her side and back! She recovered with astonishing speed and managed to fend off a renewed attack by both Leatherus and Elrand, but in her intense concentration on their blades, she did not expect a third attacker!

With an enraged roar, Wolfwood grabbed her from behind, one gauntlet wrapped round her neck. She swung her daggers backwards in desperation, but they didn't even scratch the dragon scales on Wolfwood's armour as he slammed her head-first into a tree with a wet crunch.

"There's your half-orc my dear." said Leatherus to the bloodied corpse. He turned to Wolfwood and Elrand, "Thank you my friends! I'm afraid my good looks had driven that one a mite obsessive. She wouldn't take no for an answer!" he turned back to look at the corpse, "Y'know, it's such a waste... " he said shaking his head, "Why are all the pretty ones insane power-hungry murderers?"

"See? Me told yoo me wud smash yooz face!" Wolfwood said to the corpse triumphantly.

"Come on you two, Ania and Angi are still in trouble!" said Elrand, turning and running off towards the sound of steel clashing. With one last glance at the drow corpse, Leatherus and Wolfwood ran after Elrand.

Indeed, Ania and Angelina were not doing well - the drow was effortlessly dodging and parrying their swings, and the 2 warrior maidens were becoming fatigued from swinging their massive swords at her.

"Hehehe!" laughed the drow with glee, "You poor oolos are no match for the might of Lloth!"

"You will not prevail!" retorted Angelina breathlessly, "We will strike you down with our last breaths!"

"Well, you are half right anyway!" she replied with a laugh, "Enough games, I cannot waste time playing with mere children!" and with that, Raven began her own counter-assault.

Angelina and Ania managed to dodge and parry the blows at first, but the unearthly speed of the drow's attacks overwhelmed them, and they had to break off, suffering from a score of slashes and cuts. In the lull, Raven suddenly leapt forwards, skewering Ania on the end of her rapier! Ania's expression changed from one of grim determination to horror, and she fell to the ground, grasping her chest in pain,

"Haha! See how you yibin kivvin fall before the might and glory of Lloth!!"

Angelina rushed to Ania's side, using her healing powers to repair the near-fatal wound, but as she transferred the life giving energy, Raven gave her a vicious kick which sent her sprawling to the ground.

"You cannot defeat us you worthless insects! L'elamshin d'lil Ilythiiri zhah ulu har'luth jal!"

Raven gave Angelina another vicious kick, sending her tumbling over again.

"Poor stupid fools, " she said, shaking her head mockingly "how could you even contemplate besting your betters? How could you atone for such a crime? Oh, I know! Yes! Lloth will be pleased!" she continued, brandishing a sacrificial dagger

Angelina tried to raise her sword to defend herself, but the drow was too fast and slashed her cheek with the dagger. Angelina immediately felt her limbs go slack, she collapsed back on the ground, helpless, horror welling in her as Raven approached with the writhing dagger aimed lazily at her heart.

"Yes... Lloth will be pleased by your contribution indeed!" she cackled as she raised the dagger.

"Tut tut silly drow, have a heart!" said Leatherus with a cocky grin as he let fly an arrow at the drow's eye.

Raven was caught by surprise, but her reflexes were up to the task and she twirled out of the way, not even receiving a scratch. "Ooh, are you volunteering?" she hissed wickedly, shifting her attention from Angelina and moving towards Leatherus

She suddenly heard a gulp behind her and whirled round to see Ania quaff a healing potion. Wiping the azure fluid from her lips, Ania rose to her feet, cold fury blazing in her eyes, her massive scythe now un-slung from her back and in her hands.

"You messed up my hair. I'm going to kill you." she said coldly

"Aha! A challenge!" chuckled Raven gleefully

Ania charged the drow, her scythe blazing with energy as the blade weaved in a complex pattern, somehow parrying every single one of Raven's jabs and thrusts. Suddenly Raven gasped and broke off.

"Agh! You got me!" she exclaimed in surprise. There was a deep gash across her side, blood was oozing freely from it, staining her armour, "Perhaps I underestimated you after all."

At this point, Elrand and Wolfwood arrived, Wolfwood was panting heavily,

"Yooz *puff* stop dat nowz before me *pant* mashes yooz faces dumbfick drowz!" he roared breathlessly

"Aye, we have you outnumbered and outmatched drow. Stand down or we will kill you where you stand." confirmed Elrand

"Aha! More sacrifices! Lloth shall be pleased!" replied Raven with a clap. Suddenly her expression changed, "Alas I regret we cannot play with you any longer. We have wasted enough time already." she said with mock sorrow, "Maleficent, kill these nothings for me."

"With pleasure jabbress."

The whole party whirled round to see another drow standing behind them, holding a dark orb. Wolfwood, suddenly stuck with a strong sense of impending doom, used the time honoured Kazarn tactic: Run the hell away!

Leatherus and Elrand drew their bows in a flash, arrows aimed straight at Maleficent's heart.

"Freeze drow, or you will be feeding the worms afore dawn!" ordered Elrand

Maleficent laughed, "Oh, come now! Lets see what you are made of little kivvin!"

"Say good night." said Leatherus, and they both sent their arrows lancing through the air, bowstrings singing of death.

Maleficent cocked an eye at them and swept her hand over the orb - immediately the world began to slow.... stop.

Maleficent looked at the arrows with wry amusement, hanging as they were in mid air. She stepped round them and plucked them both out of the air, then looking towards the frozen forms of Elrand and Leatherus. She grinned evilly and sauntered over to them.

"Oh dear, I think there's something in your eye!" she said, and stabbed the arrows in each of their eyes until naught but the flights were left protruding.

She then walked upto Ania, blew her a kiss, and casually impaled her through the heart on the end of her wicked longsword before doing the same to Angelina. With a satisfied smile, she stood in front of Raven and waited.

Time, noticing that it had stopped, slowly restarted itself.

"I have obeyed jabbress." said Maleficent, bowing to Raven.

"Excellent!" exclaimed Raven, surveying the carnage and clapping, "Let us revive the others, and continue the search!"

"What about the kitrye cretok jabbress?"

"Ignore it. It is stupid and cowardly, not worth wasting our time on. Come, let us go."

"A'dos quarth." replied Maleficent with a slight bow.

Chapter 3 - The Dangers of Dwarven Ale

"Me hatez drowz." Wolfwood mumbled to himself. He had felt the passing of his friends while in his new hiding place, "Stoopid cave... Stoopid drowz..." he continued to mutter while unpacking his gear.

A few moments passed, as Wolfwood began one of his most powerful rituals.

"Waa? What happened??" cried Angelina, springing to her feet, then wincing slightly

"No move, yooz jus been beaten to-a pulp." said Wolfwood

"Indeed, lucky you were around Wolfwood." said Leatherus, rubbing his eyes, "I have a piercing headache..."

"As do I..." said Elrand, wincing as he touched his hand to his head

"Well I have a real bad pain in my neck..." complained Serin.

"Can yooz lot stand inna groop for a sec?" asked Wolfwood. The others complied.

Wolfwood stood a short distance away, and cast another spell. A soft blue glow permeated the companions, their aches and pains dissolving, and their remaining injuries knitting back into unbroken flesh.

"Alright, I think it's time for some pay back." said Leatherus grimly

"Yus." agreed Wolfwood

"Let us move quickly, I sense they have not left the area, and are performing some dark ritual." said Angelina urgently

The party members exited the cave swiftly, being as stealthy as they could. They quickly laid eyes on the drow, no more than 200 metres from the cave entrance.

"I see them." said Leatherus, "But what are they doing?"

Wolfwood's darkvision kicked in, "Deyz tryin' ta get bak da uver drowz we killed!"

"We must stop them, now!" Angelina hissed

"Here." said Leatherus passing some arrows to Elrand

"What are they?"

"Something special I made up - accidentally used dwarven ale instead of acid essence one time." Leatherus replied with a wink, "Angi, Ania, try and get a little bit closer in case this doesn't work, but stay behind cover. Wolfwood, Serin, Mortalus, get ready to throw every spell you have at them."

"Aye." the others replied in unison

"Ready Elrand?"



They both let sent half a dozen arrows soaring into the air. The arrows landed in a clump around the two drow.

Raven and Maleficent whirled round.

"YOU! I do not know how you return so quickly, but this time we will make you suffer for interrupting us!!" Raven exclaimed angrily

"Yoo hoo! Stoopid drowz!" waved Wolfwood, his wicked grin revealing a mouth full of sharp broken teeth, "Iz yoo feeling a bit cold?"

He slammed his fist into his palm with a roar.

Immediately all hell broke loose - Multiple beams of light slammed down from the heavens, and a disembodied hammer began slamming all around where the drow were standing. The drow were stunned by this maelstrom of magical power, even their natural resistance to magic could not overcome the sheer volume of magic assaulting them. Then Serin launched a fireball.

There was a blinding flash - the whole party was blown back several metres, even as far away as they were, as the 12 arrows and their deadly payload detonated.

Dwarven ale is a powerful substance, and when accidentally used to imbue a magical arrow it becomes even more dangerous. The simultaneous explosion of the 12 arrows shattered the drow into charred fleshy chunks - their magical resistance no help whatsoever against the exploding ale arrows!

Leatherus rose to his feet unsteadily, and slapped the side of his head a few times to clear the cobwebs.

"Wow, that brew really had some kick."

"Yus." replied Wolfwood, as he sat up, groggily watching the soil and debris that was thrown into the air as it fell back to earth.

Chapter 4 - The Caravan

Wearily, the companions gathered up stray equipment, and after some hasty apologies to some dumb-struck gnomes, they departed from the Sholo plains and continued eastwards.

They soon came to the dreaded Sholo Pass, home of raiders, giants, ogres, and all manner of undesirables.

Elrand and Leatherus, on point, spied the wreckage as they peered over the top of the pass' hill.

"I see the remains of the caravan, but there are many half-orcs and some others hiding in the trees on either side." said Elrand quietly as they returned to report their findings to the rest of the party.

"Aye, this is so obviously a trap." agreed Leatherus.

"Well let's turn the tables." said Angelina with a wry grin.

A few minutes later, Wolfwood ran up the hill, shouted a few choice orc insults, then ran back down the hill. The hidden half-orcs, surprised and enraged, immediately broke cover and ran after him.

"Wait you fools!" cried one of the humans, perhaps their leader, "It's a tri..*URK*!"

He found himself at a loss for words, likely due to the arrow lodged in his throat.

The half-orcs, never known for quickness of thought, halted and looked at him in confusion, torn between going back to their rapidly expiring leader, or chasing the rapidly disappearing Wolfwood. Their indecision cost them dearly,


A massive elemental storm suddenly descended on the massed half-orcs - Ice, fire, lightning and meteors rained down from the sky. The orcs that were not sliced to ribbons by the razor sharp shards of ice, were either roasted, electrocuted or crushed by the white hot meteorites.

Those that managed to survive *that* found themselves confronted with 2 angry blade-wielding women screaming battle cries. Faced with this, the decimated remains of the half-orc charge turned tail and fled back towards the other bandits, with Angelina and Ania in hot pursuit.

Some of the hidden bandits tried to cast spells to try and turn the tide of battle back in their favour, but as soon as they uttered a syllable they were peppered with arrows - Elrand and Leatherus' keen ears listening for the slightest sound under the litany of battle cries.

The human and halfling contingent of the ambush rallied together, and begun a counter-charge when they were suddenly faced with 2 innocent looking badgers.

The leader of the charge kicked one out of the way, but found it latched to his leg.


Angelina and Ania, having finished off their quarry, turned round to see what the screaming was all about. They saw a red mist, which eventually cleared to reveal the druid Mortalus and Bob, one of the Kazarn family 'pets'.

Mortalus was laughing hysterically. So was Bob.

"Hahaha! Did you see the look on their faces when he kicked you and found you had torn his leg off?? HAHAAA!!!"

Wolfwood, having returned, looked at them suspiciously,

"Me saw dat. Me hopes yooz two ain't da wunz wot been making Wildy and Huk'chun all paranoyd..."

"*cough*Who, us? Nonono." said Mortalus with an innocent cough, barely suppressing a manic giggle

"Yeeeh. Well make sure it stay dat way." said Wolfwood, "Now goz home Bob. I hopez dey no notice yooz gone..."

In a display of amateur pyrotechnics, the half-balor vanished back to the ether.

"What in the nine hells was that?!" asked Elrand as he approached Wolfwood and Mortalus

"Wot? Oh him. Datz Bob. Heez ow-ah butler fing. Me uzed ta play wiv him when we wuz ickle."

"Okaaay...." said Elrand, sidling away surreptitiously

"Did any of you find a trace of the stone?" asked Angelina

"Sorry, all I saw were debris. I'd say this happened a few days ago, so anything valuable would be long gone." replied Elrand

"Hmm, but where would they have taken it..." wondered Serin out loud

"I recognise these markings," said Leatherus, holding up a scrap of armour "It belongs to a group that operates from the Great Northern Forest."

"Are ye sure?" asked Elrand

"Aye, positive."

"Then we shall head there." said Angelina, "Lets move."
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:58 pm

Re: Bria's Shrine 3: Race of Races

Post by Cyker »

Chapter 5 - Trommel

The group continued on it's way west, and soon came within sight of the great oaks that signalled the edge of the forest. Mortalus sighed with relief.

"It has been a while since I have been able enjoy the splendour of the forests..." he said, placing a palm against one of the huge trees and closing his eyes.

"Aye, the forest tells much." commented Elrand, his experienced eyes scanning the ground, "A war band passed through here no more than a few days ago. I believe we have our quarry's trail!"

With Elrand's guidance, the group left the main trails through Trommel, and moved through the heart of the forest, tracing the path of the bandits who had passed before them.

"Wait!" hissed Mortalus suddenly. He placed his hands on a nearby tree, and put his ear against it, "Yes, I thought so." he muttered

Elrand cocked his head to one side, then his eyes widened slightly.

"You hear it too." said Mortalus. Elrand nodded.

"The drow are here. The forest expresses it's disgust..."

The party unconsciously split into 2 groups, trying to ascertain where the drow were - Elrand soon spotted some almost invisible tracks. They followed them up towards the northern exit of the Trommel forest.

He flashed some ranger hand-sign towards Mortalus and Wolfwood, who were in the other group.

"Eee says da drowz iz waitin' ova dere, deyz havin' sum sorta running ar-goo-ment." said Wolfwood softly to the others.

The group approached under the cover of a hastily cast Silence spell, the drow were totally oblivious to their presence.

Through the circle of silence, they heard some loud cursing in drow, but they could not make out what was being said.

"Blind them, and we charge." whispered Angelina to her group. Wolfwood relayed the message to Elrand, displaying surprising dexterity in his use of the ranger hand-signs.

Then he rose to he broke cover and began to cast.

An intense beam of light burst forth from the heavens, crashing down right in the middle of the drow party. Their eyes, already struggling to cope with the ambient light, were burned by the powerful white beams, rendering them completely blind!

With a shout, the warriors charged the blinded drow, Angelina leading the charge with a deafening battle cry!

Unable to see, the drow fell completely into disarray. Angelina, Ania and Elrand fell upon a tall imposing drow, wearing armour that was as black as the darkest night. Their swords delivered a devastating flurry of blows, which quickly had the drow on the defensive, but without sight she was cut down quickly.

With a cheer of triumph, the three of them turned towards the rest of the drow party.

Elrand started in surprise, "It's the ones we killed in the plains! How have they returned so quickly?!"

"Kill now, ask questions later." said Ania as she and Angelina charged them

As they charged, Serin brought down a hail of razor sharp ice shards on the drow group, and then the two groups met with a crash, as steel was parried and battle cries exchanged.

Leatherus spied one of the drow running away, her hands clawing madly at her eyes. With a practiced eye, he raised his bow and sent a stream of arrows whistling towards her. The drow collapsed to the ground, several feathered shafts sticking out of her back, and Leatherus, with a grin, disappeared into the shadows to seek other targets.

Unbeknownst to the group, one of the drow had taken to the shadows, and was sneaking circumspectly towards Serin. As she approached, she suddenly felt a lancing pain in her side!

She cried out as the sword was wrenched free, and turned towards Leatherus, staring at him through a curtain of pain. With a burst of rage, her swords were up, darting this way and that around in a lightning display of swordsmanship, but Leatherus was a quick study, and after their last battle he had a few tricks up his sleeve too.

The other two drow, which Elrand recognised as the two he and Leatherus had blown up earlier, were fighting a loosing battle against the others. With Mortalus and Wolfwood healing any damage the surfacers received while pressing their attack on the drow, the battle was quickly swinging in their favour.

Seeing an opportunity, Wolfwood shield-rushed Raven. With a drow curse she was bowled to the ground - Maleficent tried to aid her, but was cut off by Ania and her cruel scythe. With her body pinned down by the massive half-orc, Raven had no chance to escape as the crimson beam of life-draining energy burst forth from the hells themselves and carried it off to the heavens. She fell limp and lifeless to the ground.

"And diz time stay ded yoo stoopid drow!" muttered Wolfwood as he and Elrand moved to engage the remaining drow.

Maleficent was fighting as she had never done before, adrenaline fuelling her drow muscles to their peak, but outnumbered 3 to one she knew she had no chance. But Lloth was smiling on her this day, and she found herself able to fight back, even delivering counter-blows! Elation surged in her, her concentration focussed fully on her three attackers, as she parried and dodged. She opened her mouth to shout thanks to her Goddess, when with a sickening *thunk* an arrow pierced the back of her neck and emerged through her throat. Desperately she clutched at the arrow shaft as the blood filled her throat, but as her guard dropped, the others cut her down.

Wearily and silently, the tired party regrouped and resumed tracking the trail of the bandits, leaving the corpses as they lay. The trail they were following had been completely destroyed during the chaos of battle, but Elrand extrapolated the path from his previous finds and soon picked up the trail again.

The trail curved ever northwards, heading towards the bridge spanning the gorge between Trommel and Tobaro. The party arrived in a small clearing, the rotting corpses of several panthers and other cats were littered randomly around the clearing.

"Looks like our quarry aren't cat lovers." observed Leatherus

"They were in a hurry too, didn't even stop to retrieve their fallen and their equipment." commented Elrand, picking up a blood-encrusted sword from a corpse under one of the dead cats.

"Then we should make haste also, I do not like how this feels." said Angelina, gazing past the edge of the clearing towards the bridge.

"Agreed." said Elrand.

The party continued across the bridge without incident, and soon they had arrived at the entrance to the Trommel Mines.

"Which way now?" asked Angelina

"Some of them split off and went into the mines, but there are other tracks leading out of it that were made later. The bulk of the force continued towards Tobaro."

"Then we continue towards Tobaro, and the forest." she replied.

"*Yawn* I should like to rest soon." said Serin, "'tis been a long journey, and I am feeling a bit ragged. I suspect my decapitation did not help." he said wryly.

"Nay, we will press on to Tobaro, then we can rest. It is not safe to make camp here." said Angelina

"That's fine, as long as is not too far. I fear I will fall asleep on my feet if it is much further!" Serin replied brushing some leaves out of his hair.

"Do not worry, the archway marking the Tobaro outskirts is very close. We shall arrive before nightfall." said Elrand as he started off again.

The party continued along the serpentine path that lead to the Tobaro archway. They encountered a small group of gypsies on the way, but Elrand waved them down, and no hostilities broke out; both groups wisely deciding that a confrontation would be wasteful and unnecessary.

On they travelled. By now, the sun was beginning to set, it's rich golden light casting long shadows in the trees. The travellers continued their journey, arriving at a sparkling waterfall. A few of the party members stopped to refill their canteens and waterskins from the crystal clear water, but they did not stop for long.

With a few hours of sunlight left, they arrived at the high-walled valley that marked the entrance to the archway... and the entrance to Tobaro.

No longer fearing any danger so close to the town, the companions broke formation, Leatherus and Wolfwood racing each other to the tavern. The others followed at a more leisurely pace, Ania and Angelina chatting about the days events while Elrand and Mortalus compared notes on their observations. Serin was too tired, and wearily made his way to join Leatherus and Wolfwood in the tavern.

"Welcome to the Drowned Rat." said the barkeep distractedly, too engrossed in reading a tatty old book to pay any real attention to the slightly unusual band. They rented out rooms from him, and prepared to spend the night there.

"Hello barkeep! Two tankards of your finest ale please!" said Leatherus

"Yus, and wun for me too!" said Wolfwood

"But... I just ordered one for you...!" said Leatherus, mild confusion etched on his face.

"HOLD!" yelled Angelina as she descended the stairs, no longer wearing her heavy armour, "We are here to rest, not to get drunk. We need you both alert and ready tomorrow, not spilling your guts in the local gutter!"

"Awww..." Wolfwood and Leatherus lamented at the same time. With a final longing glance at the barrel of ale, they both left to find their rooms, while the others ordered their evening meals.

Chapter 6 - The Great Northern Forest

Wolfwood awoke to a loud hammering on his door, "Get up lazy bones!" hollered Angelina as she paced up and down the corridor, hammering on everyone's door, "Wake up! We have a long day ahead of us!" she yelled cheerfully.

The others awoke slowly, Wolfwood and Leatherus complaining at their disturbed sleep.

"I were 'avin such a good dream too..." said Leatherus, shaking his head sadly.

"Oh? What about?" asked Ania, stifling a yawn as she adjusted her armour.

"Now *that* be none of yer business." replied Leatherus with a wink and a grin. Ania chuckled, shaking her head, and descended to the tavern's main floor, where Angelina, Elrand and Serin were waiting for them.

Suddenly there was a loud crash from above!

"HEEELLP!!!" screamed Leatherus, his cry muffled by the thick oaken planks. The whole party immediately rushed up the stairs and into Leatherus' room, where they found Wolfwood sitting on top of him.

"Look yooz stoopid elf, gimme back dat bag nowz!"

"Can't... breath...!"

"Give him a bit of breathing space." said Angelina from the doorway as she relaxed her guard, trying to suppress a grin. Wolfwood got off of Leatherus, and turned to stand over him menacingly. Leatherus got up and dusted himself off.

"Twitchy finger syndrome flaring up again my friend?" asked Elrand with amusement.

"Bah! I have this deliberating disorder, and you all mock me! Oh woe unto the poor locksmith!" Leatherus lamented with mock sorrow, "Ah, but here's your bag my friend, " he continued, tossing a small pouch to Wolfwood, "Nay worry, I have taken nothing. I was just wondering what is was."

Wolfwood caught the bag with surprising deftness, and re-attached it to his belt, "It my see-cret rez-ipyz!" he said, waggling his substantial eyebrows melodramatically.

"Okay okay," interrupted Angelina, still grinning, "we best be off, lest we all get subjected to a taste test!"

With that, the party exited the tavern, and headed through it towards the northern exit. Just as they reached the gate, they bumped into another party of adventurers.

"Maria? Phantom? Grug? What are you doing here?" asked Angelina quizzically

"Angelina! Thank Tymora we ran into you!" exclaimed Maria, "We were travelling through Sholo when we spied a drow warparty emerge! We tried to follow them, but we lost them in the pass. We are searching for them now!"

"Aye, we ran into them in Trommel." said Elrand.

"Then they are defeated?" said Maria with relief

"Aye, but we have defeated them once before that and they returned. They must be after the same thing as we are. We should move quickly." said Elrand with some concern

"What is going on? Can we do anything to help?" asked Maria

"Yes." said Angelina after some thought, "It seems those drow are related to the task we are currently undertaking. I think it would be a good idea if we combine our forces."

"Why, what are you doing?"

"The Duke asked us to locate a caravan which had gone missing several days ago. We found it and are currently searching out it's cargo. We believe bandits took it to a hideout in the Great Northern Forest."

"Wot cargo?" asked Grug

"A stone. An Elemental Stone. One of the 4 from Bria's shrine."

"Ahh, I have heard of this. We will gladly aid you in your task." said Maria with a bow

The two parties merged and headed north out of Tobaro. They passed the Elven temple, and continued into the area known as Giant Mountain.

"Be careful everyone, " said Elrand, "This place is full of dangers, but if we stick to the main trail we should be okay, as my fellow rangers usually keep it clear."

"Aye, and we must move quickly. I have a nagging feeling that we should cross the mountain with all haste." said Angelina.

The party set off once more, moving swiftly through the mountain valley and following the twisting path round the mountain's base as it curled northwards. By the middle of the second day, the party reached the base of a hill. As they climbed to the top, the ground eventually fell away to reveal a spectacular sight: The Great Northern Forest, spreading out as far as the eye could see.

"Wow." said Leatherus, for once at a loss for words

"Aye, 'tis a magnificent sight." agreed Elrand

"We can do the sightseeing later, we have a job to do." said Angelina, as she began descending the hill towards the edge of the forest.

The others followed suit, and they were soon past the forest edge. Without the sun shining through, the forest took on a more oppressive atmosphere, the trees which looked so beautiful from the hill now looked malignant and evil, their twisted knotted branches casting strange shifting shadows everywhere.

The Great Northern Forest is a vast place. Only the most experienced rangers have explored it's depths and returned. However, it's vastness, combined with it's remoteness, have made the forest an ideal hideout for fringe groups such as the bandits the party were now tracking.

Mortalus and Elrand now lead the party north through the forest, following the clear trail left by the bandit's raiding party. They soon arrived at a rickety bridge, and after a quick check to make sure it was sturdy, the party began to cross.

"STOP!!" exclaimed Leatherus & Elrand at the same time as they were halfway across.

Wolfwood paused in mid-step.

"Wuh? Wot eez it?"

"Don't Move." said Elrand, the capital letters almost audible, as he and Leatherus moved carefully towards him.

"Aye, or you might get a nasty shock!" said Leatherus as he bent down to examine the trap.

"Mmm, looks like a gnomish job, a ZapMaster 9000, one of the better ones, " he said with approval. He took a closer look, a frown forming on his face, "Luckily for us it appears to have been set by a 1-arm blind monkey with 2 fingers.", he continued, shaking his head in disgust, "What a waste of a good trap... Oh well, I'll have this done before you can say 'Argh I'm being electrocuted!'" he said, turning to grin at the others.

They did not grin back.

Leatherus retrieved a few tools secreted about his person, and began to work on the trap, all the time muttering things like, "What kind of an idiot would put that there?" and "My grandmother could lay a trap better than this!". After a minutes work, he stood up holding several fine wires, a pressure plate, and a bottle of sizzling blue liquid, all of which he stowed in his pack.

"All done!"

The party crossed the rest of the bridge without incident, and continued northwards. About 20 minutes later, they came to a poorly disguised gate of sorts.

"This looks to be the bandit hideout." said Elrand, "Prepare yourselves. If that raiding party was anything to go by they will be formidable opponents."

"Yes." agreed Angelina, "We should strike hard and fast - try to take out any magic users first."

With that, the party moved through the gate. They quickly spied the perimeter guards, and charged them while Serin threw a Silence spell over the area. The battle was short, brutal, and completely silent.

Angelina, Grug and Ania charged in first, their battle cries being completely inaudible as they crossed into the circle of silence. Their swords made no noise as they slashed clean through the first bandits, and not a death cry was heard as the surprised bandits were quickly slaughtered. The battle was over in less than a minute, the last bandit falling before the first one had begun to cool.

"Good work." said Angelina, sheathing her blade as spell wore off, "Let us continue."

The party used similar tactics on the inner guard post, with Wolfwood and Mortalus blinding and stunning the bandit mages and clerics while Leatherus and Elrand ripped them apart with bow-fire.

As the party made their way into the main encampment, the sky began to darken.

"I think that is it, the rest appear to have retired for the evening." said Elrand, slightly suspicious.

"Perhaps..." said Angelina

"Well, the party we were tracking went into this building here." said Elrand, indicating the largest structure in the camp, "Probably their HQ."

"Well, let's give them a nice surprise." said Leatherus with an evil grin

*knock knock*

"Yuz? Wot?" came a guttural voice from behind the door.

With a loud crash, Angelina kicked in the door, sending the orc behind it flying while the rest of the party poured into the building.

"Candygram!" yelled Leatherus as he fired an arrow right into the throat of a nearby dwarven cleric.

The room was filled with half-orcs, with a few humans and dwarves round the edges. Angelina and Ania moved to attack the groups on the right while Grug and Maria took the left.

Wolfwood, Mortalus and Phantom began unloading spells on everyone, boosting their party and crippling the enemy, while Serin began unleashing his formidable magic, literally freezing two of the bandits in their tracks.

Elrand and Leatherus stood either side of the door way, rapidly firing arrows into targets presenting themselves.

"Get the mages!" yelled Angelina as her massive sword cut another half-orc in half.

Leatherus and Elrand immediately switched targets, firing on the magic users skulking in the corners of the room, their arrows joined by a volley of magic missiles from Serin.

As they fought, Wolfwood noticed another group of half-orcs descending the stairs. He began to bellow a warning, but he noticed a change in the air, once which he had encountered often.

Everyone seemed to slow down, move jerkily. Their movements seeming to loop and repeat. Wolfwood tried to move but, although his legs were moving, *he* was not. A half-orc, which he had sworn was on the opposite side of the room, suddenly appeared in front of him. It lifted it's axe and swung at him several times. At first he felt nothing, but then he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his neck, then blackness...

Chapter 7 - The Half-Orc

Wolfwood awoke suddenly, and sat bolt-upright. In front of him was an ugly grey stone gargoyle.

"Well crap." he said. Looking to his left, he saw the rest of his party, gathered around a wooden signpost.

"Oh well, datz it for da day den..." said Wolfwood resignedly

"No, wait, Leatherus isn't here!" said Serin excitedly, "He must still be alive!"

The party waited for a few minutes.

"Do you think he's trying to rescue us or loot our corpses?" said Mortalus suddenly,

The party waited a few more minutes.

"I really liked that robe." said Serin sadly.

On that last word, Wolfwood suddenly felt himself being gently pulled in all directions, accompanied by a rather uncomfortable brain-fizzling sensation. He found himself standing in the middle of some undergrowth, with Leatherus.

"Hurry up and get everyone else you big lug! This place is crawling with bandits now!" hissed Leatherus urgently

Wolfwood ran through an abridged version of his most powerful spell, and after a few more minutes the party was back together, hiding in the now very squashed and crowded undergrowth.

"Okay, here's the plan..." began Angelina

"RAAR!!!" yelled Grug, and charged back into the centre of the camp

Angelina sighed, and charged in after him followed by everyone else.

The bandits were not expecting to be attacked from behind, and the magic users skulking at the back were quickly cut down, leaving the front line fighting half-orcs, but instead of fighting back they ran back into the main building!!

"HOLD!" yelled Angelina as the party moved to follow the orcs into the building, "I'm tired of chasing people everywhere, let's make them come to us!"

Inside the bandit HQ, a series of loud knocks were heard on the door. The half-orcs backed away, eagerly awaiting the party to burst through the door.

There was a loud crash, and several spherical containers suddenly flew in the side window. One of the orcs bent down to have a closer look, and was reaching to grab it when the bomb detonated, knocking him back onto his axe-wielding bretheren! The blast wasn't very damaging, but in a panic, the surviving bandits ran towards the front door, and the lead orc started to wrench it open.

The door made a soft click as it opened a fraction of a millimetre, then suddenly exploded inwards! The blast threw the lead orc back onto his companions, shredding him on the array of swords, axes and spears behind him. Splinters from the disintegrating door lanced into the orcs remaining near the door, shredding their leather armour and even denting the more heavily armoured orcs.

Outside, Leatherus smiled with professional pride as he and the rest of the party readied their bows, "See, *that's* how you set a trap!"

There was loud *WHOOSH* as Serin sent a fireball through the ex-door, and a muffled *WUMP* as it detonated among the survivors of the door trap. One limb-deficient orc flew out the door, smashing back-first into a tree.

The remaining bandits, several of them on fire, again rushed out into the open and were immediately cut down by a volley of arrows.

Wolfwood's heavy crossbow make a loud *THUNK* as another huge bolt impaled two bandits against the side of the building, while the draw strings on the various longbows sung out in chorus, promising doom on the feathers of eagles.

"Next phase!" ordered Angelina as the tide of bandits flowing out of the building slackened. She shouldered her bow and drew her greatsword. Ania, Grug and Maria followed suit, and the 4 of them ran towards the sorry-looking door frame, two on either side. The remainder of the party covered their approach, until the 4 were right next to the former-door.

With a shout, the 4 warriors charged in. The bandits who had been hiding behind the remains of the door frame were readied, but not ready enough - their parries smashed aside as they were cut to ribbons.

Elrand led the rest of the party back into the building, and gasped as he saw the inside. The walls were all blackened, and there were charred bodies everywhere. A few small fires remained, but miraculously the structure was still intact.

"Diz remind me of dat time we hadz a barbecue." commented Wolfwood as Ania finished off the last of the bandits

Leatherus grimaced, "Remind me never to go to any of your barbecues."

"It's not over yet, some of them have holed up on the upper floor." said Ania impatiently

"Aye, and I sense a faint source of energy coming from the floor above. The stone we seek perhaps?" said Serin

"Then up we go. Be wary of another ambush. Wolfwood, Serin, Mortalus take out any mages. Phantom, Leatherus, Elrand, take out any ranged attackers. Grug, Maria, Ania and I will take point." said Angelina

The party cautiously ascended the stairs, noting with some relief that no ambush was apparent. They front-liners had taken 4 steps when suddenly the doors on either side of them burst open, disgorging a few bandits each.

They were no match for the battle hardened companions.

Ania immediately swung her sword in a diagonal arc, disembowelling the orc nearest to her, then she charged in the room to behead the dwarven cleric before she could complete her spell.

Angelina parried a jab aimed at her abdomen, as Elrand shot her attacker cleanly through the skull. He and Leatherus continued to fire arrows into the small room, hitting a bow-wielding halfling several times and spearing a magic-wielding human through the heart.

"Look out!" yelled Serin in warning. The door at the end of the corridor had opened, and out stepped a lone Half-Orc Bandit. He watched them for a few seconds, looking at them with malevolent eyes.

"Leave." he growled

"We have come for the stone you stole, return it and we shall spare you!" ordered Angelina

In reply, the half-orc unstrapped a huge 2-handed axe and, with a cruel grin, gestured at them to attack him. Behind him, several more halflings, humans, orcs and dwarves appeared, some preparing spells and others notching arrows.

Ania and Angelina charged first, but the half-orc was surprisingly well trained, he twisted aside to dodge Ania's blow and parried Angelina's swing on the haft of his axe. In the cramped quarters, the companions were unable to bring more weapons to bear on the formidable half-orc, and not even Leatherus and Elrand dared risk hitting Ania or Angelina with their arrows.

The bandits behind the lead half-orc rushed forwards, forcing Ania and Angelina backwards, while the archers and mages opened up on the rest of the party.

Wolfwood's shield was up in a flash, catching several bolts and arrows on it's already crowded surface. They backed down the corridor, towards the stairs, while Ania and Angelina parried vicious attacks from the half-orc.

"This won't do!" said Serin, and with a flick of his wrist he launched a fireball right into the middle of the melee.

"What are you doing?!?" screamed Angelina as she and Ania dived to one side.

The fireball knocked everyone flat and blew out the flimsy walls of the adjoining rooms, leaving nothing but the supporting pillars. Miraculously, everyone suffered only minor burns, even the bandits, but with the floor now open, they were free to spread out in an offensive formation.
However, so were the companions!

Elrand and Leatherus were on their feet first, pulling multiple arrows out of their quivers and letting them fly at the prone bandits. The angle made it harder, and many of their arrows glanced off the bandit armour, but many of them hit home, killing half a dozen bandits before everyone rose back to their feet.

The bandits quickly regrouped and charged, leading with spears and followed by axes. Wolfwood met a spear on his shield, turning it aside when it wedged in among the multitude of arrows, while whacking his attacker over the head his scimitar.

Elrand deflected a spear aside with his off-hand weapon while stabbing the charging orc in the face, while Leatherus and Mortalus provided support fire.

Grug, Angelina, Ania and Maria charged the attackers on their side, their massive weapons sending limbs flying in all directions as they smashed through the front-most attackers, but their advance was quickly stalled as the mages began unleashing spells at them!

"Get the mages!" yelled Angelina as a volley of flaming arrows were deflected off her armour.

Wolfwood backed away, his shield protecting him from the sporadic arrow fire, and he moved to help Phantom cover Mortalus and Serin. Serin began dispelling the protections of the enemy mages, and then began unleashing his own arsenal of spells, sending acid and flaming arrows to disrupt their casting. Mortalus began spells of his own, strengthening and protecting the fighters as they hacked and slashed their way into the bandits.

"There's too many of them!" cried Serin as his latest spell fizzled, countered by one of the mages.

"Too can play at dat game." rumbled Wolfwood, nodding at Phantom. Together, they began counterspelling the enemy mages, and the amount of magic flying across the room began to slacken markedly. A few arrows began zipping past the 2 clerics, some of them glancing off Wolfwood's armour and helm,

"Lef! Get dem bluddy archerz!" yelled Wolfwood

"Leath get this, Leath get that..." retorted Leatherus as he switched targets and began firing on the archers skulking behind the bandit fighters.

The 4 warriors of the party were making mincemeat of the orcs - they were better armed and better trained. Angelina spied the leader half-orc. Signalling to Ania with a glance, she began to cut a path towards him.

The half-orc saw them coming, and with a toothy grin sent his minions aside, clearing the way. Angelina lead the charge, her greatsword swung in a great arc. The half-orc met the charge easily, deflecting the swing harmlessly aside, and punched Angelina in the face in return. Ania was right behind her, and was about to land a devastating blow when her legs were kicked out from under her by the orc.

The orc roared with triumph as Ania slipped over, bringing the massive axe down where Ania was lying - she barely managed to roll out of the way as the axe smashed into the stout timbers, splintering them into tinder.

For a split second Elrand and Leatherus had a clear path to the half-orc, and reflexively let loose 2 deadly shafts aimed at the half-orc's eyes, but with amazing speed he swiped them both out of the air!

"Ye God's he's fast!" exclaimed Elrand in shock

The half-orc grunted, and charged towards the off-balance Angelina as Ania struggled to her feet. He managed a blinding flurry of attacks with his cruel axe, forcing Angelina on the defensive.

"Get back!! Get out of the way!" she shouted at the rest of the observing party as she barely parried a sudden volley of jabs and swipes from the axe.

"It must be the stone! He must have tapped into it's power somehow!" cried Serin

The party retreated, but the half-orc had made a critical error.

The first the half-orc knew of Ania's silent approach was when her sword sheared off the side of his helmet. In an instant, he spun round with a counter-attack that quickly had Ania on the defensive again, but the party had retreated to a wider section of the corridor, and with the half-orc's henchmen rapidly depleting, the others were able to join the fray!

As fast and tough as he was, the half-orc was unable to counter attacks from so many directions, and with a final roar of defiance he finally fell, his corpse bristling with arrow shafts and deep gashes.

After pausing to get their breath back, the party quickly searched the upper levels of the bandit's HQ for the stone.

"I've found it! It's here!" said Leatherus, lifting it from a small altar behind where the half-orc had emerged from.

"Quickly my friends! The other bandits have returned!" warned Elrand urgently

After passing the stone to Angelina, the party scrambled down the stairs. Some of the bandits had indeed returned, but they were too busy staring at the wreckage of their HQ to notice the adventurers slip out.

They had gotten half-way to the perimeter, when they heard a loud bellow - alarm was raised! Elrand spun round and sent an arrow through the neck of the bellowing orc, and continued his sprint towards the bridge.

Leatherus was there first, and immediately began digging the remains of the bridge-trap out of his haversack.

"Quick! Move!" he yelled while uncoiling a length of wire. He finished setting it as the first of the bandits came into view. With a shout, they charged at him, but Leatherus was already half-way across the bridge when they hit the trap!

There was a loud crack of thunder as the lightning essence discharged through the unfortunate orc who touched the trip wire. Azure spikes of white-hot plasma arced through most of the bandits behind them, leaving half a dozen dead twitching corpses at the end of the bridge.

The companions continued to run until they had left the forest far behind, and had reached the top of the hill marking their re-entry into Giant Mountain.

Wolfwood collapsed spread-eagled on the ground, puffing and panting.

"Are you okay?" asked Phantom, breathing hard, "You look like you're about to have a heart attack!"

"Me hatez diz running stuff!" wheezed Wolfwood back.

"Shall we make camp here?" asked Serin breathlessly, "I'm exhausted!"

"We should press on, " replied Angelina, barely breathing hard, "this is not a safe place to rest. Tobaro is not too far away."

With resigned groans from Serin, Wolfwood and Leatherus, they continued down the hill and along he growled

the curving road back to Tobaro.

The journey back to Tobaro was uneventful, but the sun had long since set by the time they reached the gates, and it was with great relief they retired for the night.

Chapter 8 - The Traps

*BANG BANG BANG!* "Rise and shine!"

"Go awayz! Mez sleeping!" muttered Wolfwood sleepily

*BANG BANG BANG* "Come on Wolfwood! The sun's already up!"

Wolfwood peered outside. He could just about see the top of the sun. If he squinted.

"Yoo call dat sun upz?! Bugger offz!" he yelled back angrily, and made a determined effort to go back to sleep.

Outside, Angelina started humming a bright happy little tune. This was too much for Wolfwood.

"Alright! Alright! Meez getting upz!" he said in a huff. Angelina heard several loud clangs, a few curses, and then Wolfwood emerged, yawning loudly.

"Think of it this way, once we get back you can sleep all you want!" said Angelina with an encouraging smile

"Yeah, dat good point!" said Wolfwood, brightening up.

As usual, the rest of the party had already gathered at the bottom of the tavern. After purchasing supplies for the journey ahead, they waved goodbye to the owner of the Drowned Rat (Who was still engrossed in his book) and left through the south gate, heading back towards Trommel and then on to Brosna.

As they were about to cross the archway, a black and white-striped blur suddenly shot out of the undergrowth to their left and stopped a short distance in front of them.

It was a badger.

"HISSSSS!" it hissed.

"Oooh! Lookatda cuute badger!" said Wolfwood with glee

"B...b...b....BADGER?!?!??!" screamed Leatherus in terror, turning to run for his life "AAAAAAAaaaaaa! *WAP*"

"Ooopz, Lef run intoa tree..." observed Wolfwood as he moved towards the badger.

The badger continued to sit there, giving them an uninterested look. As Wolfwood got within petting distance of the badger, it suddenly started choking.

"Oooh, badger coffin' up a furball?" said Wolfwood he said backing away (Furball generally being a euphemism for cat vomit)

After hacking and coughing a bit, a slightly damp scroll hocked out of the badger's mouth and landed wetly at Wolfwood's feet. The badger then turned around and headed back into the undergrowth. Just before it disappeared again, it turned round and gave them an amused look. It would have been more amusing were it not for the glowing red eyes.

Slightly unnerved, Wolfwood picked up the soggy note. After some intense concentration (No one else wanted to touch the note), Wolfwood began to read the note. Slowly.

"It sayz ere... 'Stop givvin uz a bad namez, coz we iz cute harmless aminalz. If yooz refuzez to comply we will bite yooz legz off and yooz will be tor-chared for all eeternitty.'. It'z signedz robin." said Wolfwood, his brow furrowing, "Which iz funny coz me fought robinz woz a lot smaller and flyed."

"Ahem. I vote we continue with our journey and never speak of this ever again." said Serin. He was met with a chorus of hastily proclaimed "Aye!"'s, and they left it at that.

The party begun the lengthy trek back through the forest.

"That's funny, I would have thought those Gypsies would have been around here somewhere, " said Elrand with a frown as they passed the waterfall, "but the track from the group we ran into is still here, and there are no newer ones..."

"We don't have time to track the migration habits of gypsies Elrand, let us make haste and return to Brosna!" said Angelina urgently.

"I have a bad feeling about this." said Maria

"As do I, which is why I wish to return to Brosna as soon as possible." said Angelina.

The party continued southwards, Ania now on point while the others formed a defensive ring around Angelina.

Suddenly there was a loud scream from the front - Ania!

The party rushed towards the direction of her voice, and were greeted by a grizzly sight.

A net covered with razor-sharp blazes and spikes had been hidden in the ground, and Ania had unknowingly triggered the mechanism as she entered the clearing! The net had sprung up around her, tangling her up amongst the blades and barbs, and she was unconscious and bleeding heavily from thousands of cuts, her life-blood flowing freely onto the ground.

Wolfwood and Phantom leapt to her aid immediately, but Leatherus grabbed them,

"Wait, there's more of them!" he exclaimed, and immediately set about clearing a path towards Ania. He disarmed the trap quickly, allowing Wolfwood and Phantom to reach Ania. Wolfwood and Leatherus began to cut her free while Phantom channelled his life-giving powers into her in a desperate attempt to save her. She groaned as her life-force was reinforced, but several of the barbs had embedded themselves in her arms and legs, making the task difficult.

Elrand joined the task of freeing Ania, his hunting knives being more use than Wolfwood's scimitar, while Leatherus went to work de-trapping the area around them.

"Damnit, these are drow traps!" he whispered through gritted teeth as he attempted to remove a trip-wire without allowing it to slacken, "Very well set too. It's gonna take me days to do this!"

"Wot, fer wun trap?" asked Wolfwood incredulously

"No, for the 10-score or more over there." said Leatherus gesturing southwards towards the gorge. Elrand gasped.

"Me don't see nufin'." said Wolfwood, his eyebrows furrowed again.

"That's why I'm doing this and not you!" said Leatherus, his concentration still focused on the multi-layered trap.

"We've almost cut her free. Finish that trap and we'll think of something for the rest." said Elrand, using his hunting knife to delicately remove the last barb from Ania's leg.

"Right, lets get her over here." said Phantom softly. They gently carried Ania away from the trap-laden clearing and laid her unconscious form on some bedrolls. There, Phantom, Wolfwood and Mortalus began using their skills to repair the horrible wounds covering her.

"Well, I guess we'd better camp here for the night." said Angelina, throwing a concerned look at Ania. The others nodded, and began preparing the area for a makeshift camp.

Phantom, Wolfwood and Mortalus stayed up for most of the night, using their skills to eradicate the virulent poisons that had entered Ania's blood stream. Their healing spells were able to repair most of the damage done to her body, and the rest would heal over time. Quietly leaving her to rest, they finally settled down for what remained of the night.

Mortalus stayed awake however. He felt strangely alert, and decided to keep watch over the camp until day break.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully. Angelina stretched, and with a yawn rose to her feet, rubbing the sleep out of here eyes. She looked at her companions, and was surprised to see that Leatherus and Elrand were missing. Whirling round, she scanned the area for them, fearing the worst.

"They got up early. Went to have a look at the traps." said Mortalus drowsily

"Thank you. We shall wait for Ania to recover before we go, so rest easy Mortalus."

Angelina quietly walked towards Elrand and Leatherus, finding them hunched over a spot on the ground. She arrived as they were discussing the traps.

"Aye, very cunning..." agreed Elrand

"Good morning. What is it?" she asked quietly, so she wouldn't startle them

"We wanted to have a look at these traps. They're 2 different sets - one is drow, the other is not known to me." said Leatherus, "Both types have been set by an expert, but there are many more of the other sort than the drow."

"We have another enemy setting traps for us?" asked Angelina, her features hardening

"Not necessarily, I would say it more likely the drow merely got these traps from someone else." replied Leatherus, "Either way, it will take me a long time to disarm all of these, even with Elrand helping me."

"Perhaps there is a better way." said Phantom from behind them.

Leatherus jumped, managing to catch himself before triggering a trap.

"Don't *DO* that!!" hissed Leatherus angrily, "I coulda been killed!", He looked at the direction the spike trap was facing, "Or worse!"

"Oh, sorry." said Phantom half-heartedly, "Anyway, as I was saying, I think I have an idea. These traps are all triggered by tripwires and pressure plates yes?"

"Aye, but we aren't even sure if we've found them all yet." said Elrand glumly.

"Ahh, I may be able to help with that!" said Maria. She extended her hands forward and began an incantation. Suddenly, the ground in front of them was filled with a red glow, which began coalescing around specific points.

"By the Gods!" exclaimed Elrand, "There must be over a hundred traps!!"

"We're gonna be here for months!" lamented Leatherus.

"I haven't the time for this." said Serin as he stepped forwards, his finger pointing towards the nearest edge of the trap-laden gauntlet. The others instinctively ran and dived out of the way as Serin let loose a fireball. The concussive shockwave set off a chain reaction and, like a giant domino set, the traps all went off in a beautifully patterned sequence. Some sending spiked razor nets - like the one that had ensnared Ania - flying into the air, while others detonated explosions or sent arcs of electricity jumping to other nearby traps.

The party watched the colourful and noisy display for a few minutes, before it finally died down.

"Wow. You could set up benches and charge people to see something like that!" said Leatherus. He paused, "Say, not a bad idea..." he said quietly to himself.

"That was pretty." said a voice from behind them


Chapter 9 - The Race

They continued south towards Trommel forest. Ania had fully recovered thanks to Phantom and Wolfwood's healing, and had insisted on taking point, but now she was accompanied by the sharp eyes of Elrand and Leatherus. The traps had detonated all the way upto the bridge and beyond - a razor net had been tossed across the gorge and had set off another devastating chain reaction, leaving a lasting impression on the local wildlife, not to mention the forest and the ground!

With extra vigilance, the party emerged into the main part of the Trommel forest, and began curving east towards Brosna, when Leatherus called a halt.

"Another trap. A drow one." he said, stooping down to examine the trigger mechanism. He was about to start disarming it when there was a cry.

"Whol l'ib'ahalii d'lil orbb valsharess!"

The party was taken by surprise - divided and unprepared as a party of drow de-cloaked around them!

"An ambush!" cried Angelina

"We must not let them get the stone!" yelled Elrand as the drow charged towards them.

Wolfwood began casting spells, but suddenly found a 6ft length of blazing adamantite erupting through his chest cavity. The drow yanked the sword back out, and Wolfwood fell to his knees, watching his own blood drain out over his armour.

He watched, dazed, as the drow - clad in matt black armour charged into battle with the rest of his party, her sword leading the way.

The battle was not going well, already several of the party had been taken out of action. Wolfwood couldn't see - as his blood drained away his vision began to fade, until only his darkvision worked, and even that began to fade too.

As he began to loose consciousness, he heard Elrand shouting,

"This battle is lost! Get back to Brosna, now! We will delay them as best we can!"

"No! You will be killed!" Angelina yelled back as she parried a sword cut

"Don't argue! Go! Don't let us die in vain!"

Angelina and Ania broke off, leaving Grug and Maria to cover them as they began sprinting eastwards. Two of the drow tried to break off to follow them, but Elrand and Mortalus intercepted them. Mortalus fought bravely, but he was no match for the drow and was quickly cut down. Elrand might have been able to take on one of the drow, but not both - he was forced on the defensive, and managed to hold them at bay for a while before a sword slipped through and impaled him in the chest.

Maria and Grug fought viciously, pressing their opponents back, when suddenly one of the drow threw a broken head on the floor. There was a rumble in the ground, and a huge automaton formed under the expanding head! With a metallic roar it join the fray.

Leatherus had quickly slipped into the shadows as the battle begun, and had moved to a good vantage point. He was about to loose some arrows, when he heard a whisper behind him and froze,

"Why hello my dear darthirii! Fancy meeting you here! Be careful, or you might FALL!" said Hal'drin, shouting the last word as she plunged her swords into Leatherus' back and kicked him away.

"Damnit! That" he said as he toppled from the branch.

Serin backed away as the drow pressed Maria and Grug. His spells were ineffectual against their natural resistance but he kept casting anyway, grimacing in frustration as the spells fizzled on contact. The shriek of metal yanked his attention to the massive summoned automaton. It was moving towards him! Frozen in terror, Serin was unable to move, staring with morbid fascination as the huge machine drew within striking distance.

Just as the fists were about to strike him, a great flame erupted from the ground, fading to leave Bob. Immediately the half-balor tackled the automaton, fending off blows from it's hammer-like fists while pummelling the automaton in the face. The automaton roared as Bob's flaming blade tore great rents in its metal body, but continued to fight back, ignoring the massive damage the half-balor was inflicting on it.

Serin scooted out of the way, leaving the two titans to battle it out. He spied Phantom, engaged with Maleficent and another new drow and, seeing Phantom being forced back by the drow, began summoning help of his own.

Ania turned as she and Angelina sprinted across the Sholo plains

"We should not have left them!" cried Ania, as the echos of steel on steel and their former companion's cries reached them

"To what avail? The stone is more important than us! They knew this, and..." she was interrupted as an arrow flew past her, "Damn, some of them got through!"

Ania skidded to a halt, "Go on, I will hold them here." she said, her voice betraying her lust for vengeance

Angelina paused for a second.


"I will remember this." said Angelina tersely, giving Ania a salute before she sprinted off again.

"Come on then!" yelled Ania, unfurling her deadly scythe

"Get out of the way rivvil, or shall we..!" before she could complete her sentence, Ania swung her scythe round, severing the drow's arm. The drow fell to the ground in agony as Ania stepped up to deliver the final blow, but as her scythe descended the other drow stepped in, effortlessly turning the wide blade aside and forcing her back.

Ania noted the elaborate matt black armour of this new drow, "Who are you?" she asked

"I am Dir'Axilenne Zantlar Kel'tahk'Z'ress." she said twirling her sword easily, "I fear your delaying tactics have succeeded," she continued with a sigh, "I guess I shall have to settle for hearing you beg me for death."

"We shall see." replied Ania evenly. With a shout, they both clashed.

In the forest, the battle was almost lost - Serin had summoned a great elemental to aid his friends, but against the drow, experienced as they were fighting elementals, it was quickly reduced to rock-dust. Phantom had fallen defending Serin, and now only he and Grug were left. Grug managed to hold off the five drow bearing down on him, fighting like a demon, but then Hal'Drin joined the battle.

She darted in and made several subtle but precise slashes at Grug, and at first Grug didn't notice anything amiss. As the battle continued, he suddenly he felt weaker and weaker - he began to tire, and as his rigid defence began to crumble.

Serin rushed to Grug's aid, creating a stone shield over his skin and magically enhancing his strength, but in doing so he left himself open to attack from the drow! Without a second thought they mercilessly took advantage of his vulnerability. Serin's features shifted from concentration to horror, the spell dying on his lips as he crumpled to a heap on the ground, blood pouring out of a terrible chest wound. With a mixture of resignation and despair, Grug gave a mighty roar and pressed his attack into the drow - in his mad rage he managed to get a vicious blow in the drow he was facing, but in the end, like the others, he was hacked into the dust...

The drow stood to attention as they spied Dir'Axilenne slowly walked back to them.

"Jabbress, we have eliminated all opposition for the glory of Lloth!" said Raven, smiling triumphantly and giving a low bow

"Yes, but you have FAILED to retrieve the stone!" retorted Dir'Axilenne angrily, "I should have you all flayed alive for your incompetence!"

"I...but..we...we will retrieve it!" stuttered Raven, taken aback by Dir'Axilenne's outburst

"Be silent wael!" roared Dir'Axilenne, "Or do you wish to live out the rest of your days as a drider?!"

"N..No jabbress." replied Raven meekly

"Bah! We have spent too much time here already!" said Dir'Axilenne, fuming, "We must return before the paladin returns with reinforcements. But do not think I will forget your failure." she continued, glaring coldly at Raven.

With that, Dir'Axilenne swept round and lead the drow back to the Underdark.

Chapter 10 - The Last Word

Angelina sprinted through the West Brosna gate and burst into the Hall of Citizens, where she collapsed, shaking with fatigue from her marathon sprint.

Hearing the commotion, the Duke came down the stairs, breaking into a run as he saw the paladin lying on the floor.

"Quickly! Get my clerics!" he ordered as the guards and servants converged on the fallen paladin

"My lord..." said Angelina weakly, "I have the stone, but the others...the drow..." her voice fading as she blacked out, finally succumbing to her fatigue.

The duke stepped back as his clerics began attending to Angelina's wounds. He looked at man standing next to him, the Captain of the Guard.

"Captain, gather your men. Go to Trommel immediately, bring back any wounded and make sure the area is cleared of any drow."

"At once my lord." replied the Captain with a curt bow. With a nod to his lieutenant, he left the great hall, striding swiftly to gather his men.

The duke turned back to Angelina as the clerics gently placed her on a stretcher, preparing to take her to the apothecary halls.

"Rest easy noble paladin," replied the Duke softly, "we will save your friends..."



Cast and Credits:

The Pumped-up Protagonists:
Mortalus - As himself
Ania - As herself
Angelina - As herself
Elrand - As himself
Leatherus - As himself
Wolfwood - As himself
Serin - As himself

The Heldup Heros:
Grug Gencale - As himself
Maria Steel - As herself
Phantom De'Wolfsbane - As himself

The Vitesse Villains:
Maleficent - As herself
Qee - As herself
Hal'drin - As herself
Raven - As herself

The Delayed Destroyers:
Dir - As herself
Rarang - As herself
(If you think I'm going to type your entire names, forget it! :P)

Special guest stars:
Bob'ao-lou'kun'fi'jemardeus (aka Bob the Infernal Butler)
The Badger of ROBIN
"Half-Orc Bandit"

Special thanks to:
Maul, and everyone who posted common<->drow translation nfo!
DM Asmodeus
Guldor Doomhammer
Everyone in the story
Anyone who managed to read this far down without falling asleep!

This is a work of fiction, and any similarities to anyone real or fictitious is purely down to the result of playing computer games too much. :)

This story is only based on what happened - While it roughly follows what happened I've added bits, left out bits, moved bits about, and just plain made bits up to make it easier for me to write.
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