Chapter 05: Courage & Despair

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Session Number: 94
Date: Sunday 17 April 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9 (Ash) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The sound of thumping footfalls and splitting wood stops briefly as Troll sees his Acid Arrow strike home. The short silence is broken by a terrifying roar and the creature lumbers toward the party, closing fast!

"Let's keep our distance!" Rowaine yells, taking a bead on the creature with her short bow but not yet releasing. She senses Troll preparing to jump off in the direction of his Greater Disc. "To me, Feren!" she yells, seeing him sitting on a Disc tethered to Troll. Feren shoots a single arrow at the creature which flies three quarters of the one hundred yard distance before lodging in a tree branch. He then moves to Harley's side. Tomen's longbow arrow also falls afoul of the intervening foliage. He backs up forty feet. Arrian casts Recitation. Troll's previous Acid Arrow continues to burn the creature as he slides out of Harley's saddle and climbs onto his Greater Disc. It climbs twenty feet at his bidding. Rowaine releases her arrow but the missile flies awry. After Feren scrambles up behind her, she backs up Harley thirty feet.

The creature roars again as it closes the gap uncannily quickly, splintering trees along its path. Now something like 65 yards away, it resolves into a bipedal metal figure, close to twenty feet tall, holding something in its right hand that the party cannot quite make out.

"What are you doing?" Feren asks Rowaine.

"Trying to keep some distance," Rowaine replies. "Unsuccessfully!"

Feren shoots two arrows at the creature. Both miss. Tomen's single arrow hits it solidly in its armoured chest but the missile splinters ineffectually and drops to the forest floor. He continues to give ground. Arrian casts Spiritual Weapon and directs it at the creature but it is tantalisingly out of reach. Troll's Acid Arrow burns its last and becomes inert. He directs his Disc up and towards the creature. The ground is now thirty feet beneath him. Another Acid Arrow blasts from his outstretched wand, splattering into the creature's shoulder. Rowaine fires another arrow that misses and Harley backs up another thirty feet.

The creature runs straight for the group, closing the distance between it and Troll's Disc to a mere forty yards. It appears to be wearing burnished black full plate armour with huge, curved metallic spikes bursting from its shoulder plates. The armour is cunningly crafted so that it covers the creature almost entirely. The largest breach is its visor. Two malevolent, bright red eyes burn within. The item in its right hand is a huge spiked mace, only a little shorter than itself. It carries the fearsome weapon with frightening ease. Troll and Arrian look upon their fate and their courage falters. Arrian finds strength within and without; Troll collapses to the Disc's surface and grasps its sides, paralysed with fear.

So that explains why the villagers didn't run away.

Feren's next two arrows cause the creature as much concern as a fly causes an elephant. Tomen calls upon the power of the woods and it answers. Roots, branches and vines writhe in a huge circle before him, in which the huge creature stands. Branches wrap arounds its thick legs and abdomen, holding it fast. Arrian's Spiritual Weapon batters uselessly at the creature's massive armour. He casts Magic Circle against Evil, centred upon himself. Troll's newest Acid Arrow eats away at the creature's armour. Rowaine flies Harley closer, gaining altitude. Her mount batters her way through leaves and small branches. Rowaine's next arrow ricochets off the creature.

The armoured giant rips its legs free of the flora that would restrain it and continues lumbering towards Troll and Arrian. Its proximity sparks a flicker of panic within Harley and Feren but they shrug it off. Perhaps it is the indomitable paladin at their side. Feren shoots two more arrows that leave no impression. Tomen bends his bow to near breaking point and looses an arrow that punctures the creature's breastplate. The missile should have buried itself to the fletching, yet scarely more than the head penetrates. His second arrow bounces off. Arrian's spiritual weapon again misses. He follows it up with Searing Light which does little more than stain the creature's frontal armour. Troll pulls himself together and stands up with menace in his eye. He points a finger and a red bead streaks unerringly towards the creature, blossoming into a Fireball. Most creatures would have withered and burned in the conflagration; this creature is not even blackened. No, in fact quite the opposite: its acid burns are now nowhere near as bad as they were. Troll moves his Disc directly upwards and rethinks his next move. Rowaine urges Harley forwards, gaining height. She streaks past Troll's right shoulder and looses an arrow. Tink, it merely bounces off its armoured hulk.

The creature again wrestles free of the trees and vines that whip arounds its legs and thumps towards Troll's Disc. It stretches out its left arm towards the stone wolf and its riders. All feel icy fear writhe in their bellies. All fight it off, except for Harley. Rowaine feels her mount's muscles tense unnaturally; her outstretched wings no longer beat the air and they start to descend. Feren shoots two arrows from the gliding stone flyer. Both miss their mark. Tomen rushes towards the creature, bow ready, but his courage flags the closer he gets. He drops to the ground behind a tree trunk, unable to proceed. Arrian's Spiritual Weapon chops ineffectually. He then casts Holy Smite but the spell fails as it is cast. Troll considers distracting the creature with an illusion, but cannot see how his prepared spells might benefit them under these circumstances. "Oi!" he shouts from his perch. "Tin can! Hey, ugly!" He levitates a further twenty feet and sends another Acid Arrow in the creature's direction. This bolt falls short. "I'll get you next time!" Troll yells.

The creature's hand tracks the descending stone flyer. "Fight me, paladin!" it says in a loud voice.

"It talks!" Rowaine says, trying to comfort her mount. Harley glides quickly to the ground and cowers. Immediately, vines and roots encircle her limbs and hold her fast. Rowaine stows her bow and readies her waraxe and shield, shaking off the fronds that threaten to entangle her. "Slip away, Feren," she says quietly. She then moves away from her mount, banging axe against shield.


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