The Eilythry World
Week 8, Interrogating an Eilythry
After the conquering heroes dragged themselves and Lady Ilaura out of the forest, the party members led the gentry back to the tent and gave them to Dr. Wu to patch up. After that, Tom staged a conversation between Wu and birds, with Wu's connivance. This was to help associate us with the Forces of Goodness in the baron's mind.
We may, instead, have associated ourselves with the Forces of Magic and stirred unwanted memories. The baron became suspicious of Cantrel, even though the latter was disguised. But he said nothing and they all left. Cantrel resolved to make himself scarce in the future.
The gentry took the Eilythry captive with them. They wanted to question it, but they promised Wu that they would let him examine it afterwards.
Wu and Cantrel made their separate ways back to the pantope (outhouse) to finish up some undone healing. But Wu met Tecker on the way. Tecker congratulated the party on its latest accomplishment and gently fished for information. Wu gently parried. He made a convention round trip to the outhouse and, on the way back, met Dame Janith by moonlight. Tecker was also there, eavesdropping, and, though he didn't know it or wish it, perfectly obvious to both Wu and Janith. Janith did the same sort of polite info-fishing and was likewise parried. Then the two of them bade Tecker a good night and left him blushing in the gloaming.
A bit later, Cantrel bumped into Agrast near the outhouse. (An uninformed observer would have the deepest suspicions about the local water, from all this traffic.) Another spell of fishing. Agrast made complimentary allusions to our method of transport. Oops. Cantrel looked studiously blank.
Cantrel parked himself in a tree for the remainder of the night. Near morning, he saw Tecker get attacked by an Eilythry, but beat it off.
Next morning, Sir Actis and Dame Janith brought the reward -- a sack of gold and a sample of the baron's breakfast table. We invited them to join us in eating it and pumped them for the baron's plans for dealing with the Eilythry threat. (Janith took the opportunity to needle Actis a bit about his comparatively poor showing on the field and in the forest.)
The baron planned to evacuate the fair, then raise an army (which would take a couple of weeks) and march on the woods. We sent representatives to the public war council and gave the reward gold back to aid the war effort. (We did, however, exchange some of their gold coins for ours, so now we have some convincingly used-looking money.)
Later that day, and again the next day, Tom and Dr. Wu interviewed the captive Eilythry. It hadn't told the baron anything. Wu is a good negotiator, though, and got a few words out of it: it didn't expect to live; it perhaps expected its species to die out soon; it seemed somewhat moved by an appeal to honor, but said "It is too late for honor"; it seemed motivated by revenge.
On the second trip, we took a remote sensor pack from the autodoc, to get readings on the critter. We also planned to take a (painless) tissue sample. Well, the readings went OK, but when Wu leaned down to take the tissue sample, we learned that Eilythry legs are more like hands than you might expect. It did a back-flip while tied up, and wound up with an ultra-scalpel grasped in its bound hands.
Wu decided this was the time to try a ray-gun we found aboard the pantope a few episodes back. He fired at the Eilythry, but it anticipated him and lunged aside. There was a *BOOM* and a hole in the wall ... and a dead Eilythry on the floor. We told the guards that the Eilythry made the explosion as part of its dying attack. We also warned them about the prehensile feet. Then we staggered to the outhouse, then to the pantope, and gave the dratted data and samples to the autodoc. It made up some improved DDT for Eilythry.
Later that day, we helped escort the fair-goers out of the forest. We stopped at the village and, when dusk fell, broke out our flying carpet. As we took off, however, David got an Eilythry spear in the shortribs. So the enemy knows we are airborne.
We opened a new door on the camp ground bulletin board, so as to have a second bolt-hole, and let a week go by. On the 5th day, we ran a weapons test. Aphron and Lorelei went out on the carpet and bombed an Eilythry with our experimental nerve gas. It dived clumsily into the bushes. Aphron flew off the rug with his belt, made a sloppy landing, and got mugged. He beat the Eilythry off and got back to the rug and thence to the pantope, where the autodoc opined that the new nerve-gas is transient in its effects. It wears off.
At the end of the week, Aphron went to the baron's castle and interviewed Actis. He learned that the baron would march in another week. He met Tecker at an inn. Tecker told him that a guard identified Aphron as one of the mysterious figures involved in the bizarre arrest and escape about a month ago. (Aphron was disguised as an angel at the time, but he has a very distinctive, squat build.)
We let another week pass and moved the second door to the woods near the Eilythry ring. We deployed birds and are waiting for the baron's troops to show up. We will not then join then, being under suspicion, but will let them divert the Eilythry as we attack their stronghold. It's not a great tactic, but it's the best we could devise.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.