Week 5, Search for a Cure
We were having dinner with Mother Myrtle, pumping her for information about this world, particularly about mages. We eventually get the following list [and if the chronicler got it wrong, we can refer to a handout the GM gave to one of the other players]:
It occurs to us that Wu can't keep up Cantrel's healings while we are in Gorlach's domain. Yet another reason not to linger. Mother Myrtle warns us that, aside from geography, we will know we are in Gorlach's domain if we encounter scavengers that act oddly. The odder, the more certainly we are in range. The next morning, Tom makes Cantrel a rough pair of nunchuks, using sticks and cord. And then we're off to miss the wizard.
At noon, Cantrel beings looking sickly. Wu gives him his first preventative healing. It takes two tries.
By evening, we reach a saddle pass and see the three mountains across an intervening valley. We are entering Gorlach's territory. Gorlach's castle is on the far side of the three mountains from here, beyond the one on the left. Accordingly, we head for the rightmost one.
In the gloaming, David spots a figure lurking in the distance. Approaching cautiously, he discovers it's a statue of an eight-foot man, very broad, staring at the ground. There is no pedestal. It must have been here a long time; it's starting to sink into the soil and is overgrown with vines. Might it be someone petrified? A little further on, we find two more statues of similar style and size. Cantrel has seen the statues in the valley of the Stone People and says that this workmanship is cruder unless it's weathering) and the race does not appear to be the same.
Further still, we encounter different statues, three VERY broad figures, almost like unmen, with huge hands, who would stand fifteen feet tall if erect. As it happens, they are sitting, kneeling, and such, all facing out of Gorlach's territory. Maybe they're guardian images.
Cantrel is ailing again, but Wu can't heal him magically here, and mundane doctoring does not apply to this problem. Just about then, David spots a hyena. (Given their human-like cry and our ignorance of hyenas, we rather suspect they are werewolves. Only Daewen and Christopher are in a position to set us straight.) It vanishes, after one of its maniacal calls. But a little later we sight the white hyena standing on a tree stump, with three common brown hyenas gathered around it. They're all staring at us. Then they charge.
Most of the party heads up trees like panicked squirrels. Whitey's presence has us spooked, since we last saw him (or one like him) with Gorlach. But we can't very well stay up in the trees until some unmen come along to fish us out. Daewen comes swinging down on a branch, like a diminutive Sheena of the Jungle, and pops one of the hyenas alongside the head. And KOs it. This does our morale a world of good.
Pfusand, who can climb superbly but hadn't deigned to, swings her club and Wu, who climbs like a thermometer in January, lays about with karate. From the trees, Tom starts firing his crossbow. Meanwhile, David is being worried by a diminutive but determined hyena and two more beasts have shown up. Daewen and Wu knock out a hyena apiece, leaving two browns and the white. One brown attacks Pfusand and gets shot at by Lorelei's crossbow. Tom realizes that the people still on the ground aren't armored, while he is. He jumps down on top of Pfusand's hyena. The white one now enters the fray, charging Tom and missing. Tom's landing platform turns and starts chewing. Cantrel descends and whacks at it with his makeshift nunchuks. Pfusand joins him and beats Tom's hyena into insensibility.
This leaves the little one (still working on David) and whitey, who has been making the rounds but getting parried wherever he goes. Whitey misses his attack on Pfusand, then joins the pup in chewing on David. Daewen attacks the pup, Cantrel knocks out the white, and Pfusand finishes off the pup with a last hearty pounding.
David is in pretty sad shape. Daewen patches him up hastily and we scram, reflecting uncomfortably that we have just pounded one of Gorlach's familiars. Oh well, he was mad at us anyway.
Working our way through the twilit forest, we come to the cliffs at the base of the middle mountain. David points out two or three big birds circling in the dim sky and locates a bronze feather. This must be the place. We start up the cliffs, the good climbers helping the bad ones. Only Cantrel, Pfusand, Daewen, and Alag are any good. Cantrel has to catch Wu three separate times.
Eventually, we reach a ledge twenty feet below an eagle's nest. Pfusand scrambles up, peeks over the edge, and gets squawked at by an eaglet. She lets it attack her left arm while she rummages in the nest for likely-looking feathers with the other arm. (Remember, the spell will be more efficacious if we get the feathers without violence.) She's getting along okay until one of the parents shows up. Daewen then buzzes up the cliff to help. With great daring, she snatches some feathers from the breast of the attacking parent. Then the OTHER parent arrives. Cantrel climbs up to help just as the other two decide they have enough feathers and leave. Soon, we are all gathered on the ledge, being attacked by irate eagles. We have eleven feathers, of which eight look likely to be breast feathers. Pfusand stuffs them in one cheek and we start lowering people down the cliff. Daewen gets severely mauled halfway down, starts to fall, but catches herself. Christopher falls the last few feet and collects some good bruises. When we are all down, the parent eagles give up and leave.
It is now night in the country of the necromancy. Several of us are hurt or ailing (Daewen's rabbit skin bikini is in tatters), but we're getting out of here as fast as we can, never mind the darkness and wounds.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.