Chapter 05: Bypassing Security

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Session Number: 106
Date: Sunday 31 July 2011
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr9 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog10 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal10 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9/Drd1 (Ash) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz10 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Harley continues to circle near the cavern ceiling, in pitch darkness.

"While you are ferrying one of our number to the other side," Troll says to Rowaine, "I will keep the others safe high up aboard the Disc."

"Good plan," Rowaine whispers.

"Another thing," Troll adds. "When I am the only one left, I will try to sneak through while invisible. It will save the Disc."

"Bad plan," Rowaine replies. "You are worth more than a Disc."

Troll talks Rowaine into at least attempting the feat. Rowaine directs Harley to find a quiet spot to land. The stone flyer arcs in a two hundred foot wide circle, thirty feet above the cavern floor, checking that the area is uninhabited. Half way around, Tomen sees a large, furry, axe-wielding biped directly under Harley's flight path. It stands motionless, facing the end of the cavern where the elves guard the exit. As Harley passes overhead, it looks up.

"We have an incursion!" the figure says in gruff elven, still facing the elves. "Someone is breaking the agreement! They are in the air… I smell more than one." The message is relayed around the cavern by similar sounding voices.

"Climb, Harley!" Rowaine commands, and Harley obeys, spiralling upwards towards the ceiling. A flickering light appears at the end of the cavern that the party entered, closely followed by two more around the cavern's circumference. The lights illuminate their bearers: more large, furry humanoids.

"Dramarion!" a rough voice yells from the inky dark depths below.

"Yes?" an elven voice echoes from a greater distance.

"Withdraw your people!"

"I have no one in there," the elven voice answers.

"The consequences will be grave if you lie…"

"I have no one in there! If you sense anyone in there, they are Elathon's."

"Very well."

Another voice, possibly elven, joins the conversation. "Aradne!" They are not mine either!"

Feren remembers some of the history of this garrison, from an old, dry field trip he was forced to attend. The Kanafel garrison has over time forged relationships with others in the area that it can call upon in times of need. One such ally is a clan of werebears.

Fifteen missiles arc up nearly vertically from the cavern end guarded by the elves. They hit the ceiling in a row and explode into glowing dust that slowly disperses and settles. The first volley is followed shortly thereafter by a second, at a slightly lower angle. The line of missiles hit the ceiling farther out.

"Harley, land anywhere it is safe!" Rowaine urges. Harley brings her wings in close and plummets groundward. Her wings break their fall.

"Troll, off!" Rowaine says. "Tomen, on! I will take you through then return for the others. Troll, I will meet you at the cavern's highest point - unless it is not safe. In that case…"

Rowaine's sentence is cut off by the sound of a third volley of exploding missiles. The fallout from the first salvo has yet to reach the cavern floor. At this rate, the entire cavern and the party will be covered in glowing dust in scant minutes.

"Rope Trick!" Rowaine whispers. "Troll, will that keep you safe?"

"I think so," Troll replies. He directs the party near the right-hand edge of the cavern, roughly half way between their entrance and the elven barricade. Troll climbs off Harley and casts his spell. Eight feet above his Disc, a silvery, translucent rope appears, seemingly unsupported. Its end tumbles onto the Disc. Feren and Arrian climb up while Tomen joins Rowaine on Harley. They climb through an invisible portal at the top of the rope and disappear. Troll crosses over to the Disc, climbs aboard and levitates through the same opening.

Satisfied that her companions are as safe as they can be, Rowaine spurs Harley into the air. "Take us into the rock, love," Rowaine says. "Before it is covered in this dust!" Rowaine whispers further instruction to her mount, then Harley sinks into the floor. Less than a minute later the ground beneath the interdimensional portal is covered in an unbroken layer of glowing dust.

Rowaine, Harley and Tomen emerge into a small, empty space, cold and dark. It smells of death and rotting meat.

"We are in a small, roughly circular cavern, some thirty feet across," Tomen advises. "There has been a battle here, some time ago judging by the smell. I think we are alone. Unless you count the dead."

Will the dead rise and Totally Own?

Rowaine chances uncovering her sunrod. The cavern floor is littered with a score of elven casualties wearing Kanafel livery. There are three exits: one heads up towards the other side of the barrier, the other two on the opposite wall lead downwards.

Tomen searches for tracks in and around the two downward exits. One is much more heavily used than the other. The last movements seems to have been three or four days ago, down both passages. Tomen then turns his attention to the bodies.

"They seem to have been fighting each other," Tomen says to Rowaine.

"When?"

Tomen sniffs a body. "Three, maybe four days ago. It's hard to tell, but the sides seem relatively evenly split."

"How far are we from the wooden wall, Harley?" Rowaine asks her mount. Harley thinks.

"Two hundred feet? Three hundred?"

"Is there anything up the passageway between us and the wall?

"Yes," Harley says. Some two-feet. They are staying near the wall."

"Tomen, there are others up that passageway, near the barrier. Harley says they are staying put. I need to get the others… Are you going to be alright on your own?"

"Fine," Tomen says, declining Rowaine's proffered sunrod. "Go."

Rowaine stows her sunrod and sinks back into the stone with Harley. The stone flyer negotiates her way back to the large cavern and drops through the ceiling. Rowaine feels wind on her face and sees the entire floor covered with glittering luminescence. She sees no further volleys of missiles, and cannot make out any settling dust.

"Return to where we left the others," Rowaine whispers to Harley. "But stay high, as high as you can."

Harley descends, following the contour of the cavern ceiling towards the invisible Rope Trick.

"There are many large two-foots in here," Harley says quietly. "But they are not moving. There are none where the pack is hiding."

The dust illuminates the cavern wall ten to fifteen feet above the floor - higher than Rowaine remembers seeing the Rope Trick. Harley indicates that they have arrived. Rowaine keeps Harley a good twenty five feet above the floor, hopefully low enough to contact her allies but high enough to avoid being lit. "Hey!" she says in a loud whisper. "I'm back! How am I going to get you out? Can you get somebody on the Disc?"

Inside, Feren hears Rowaine's voice and alerts the others. Troll gathers everyone on his Disc, then casts Invisibility Sphere. He lowers the Disc through the invisible portal, back into realspace, then directs it above the Rope Trick.

"Am I in the right place?" Rowaine says, both she and her mount unable to see the others. "Show me a sign! I'll get my sunrod." Rowaine thinks, pulls out an undergarment and quickly wraps it around her lit sunrod. She holds her just-glowing light aloft. "Too bright!" Harley warns, but it is too late.

"I saw a big flying thing over there, by the edge of the cave!" a gruff voice says, not a long way off.

"Take us up," Rowaine says to Harley, angry at herself for making such a novice mistake. "And to the opposite side." A little louder, "I'm going to the opposite side."

"It's going to the opposite side!" the gruff voice repeats. "It was talking to something else!" Rowaine chides herself again. Never underestimate the senses of a dweller of the Underdark. With a touch to Harley's flank, the paladin turns her mount towards the distant elves.

A furry creature runs into view, slows and stops under the Rope Trick. It looks up, sniffing. Troll directs his Disc upwards, towards the highest point in the cave.

"Something invisible!" the creature below bellows.

Rowaine remembers their arranged rendezvous point and changes direction again, towards the cavern's ceiling. She directs Harley to circle. After one complete loop, she chances her voice.

"Hey… Are you here?" Nothing. Rowaine hesitantly pulls out her covered sunrod.

"Cover it!" Troll says, rising from below. "Do you know how far off that thing can be seen?" Troll's fears bear out; a series of glowing arrows arc upwards from the elves' end. Rowaine puts the light away as Troll pulls out a wand and takes a bead on the wooden barrier. An Acid Arrow shoots out and strikes it. The elves scatter and take refuge behind the barrier. Harley spots the now-visible party members. "I see them!" she says, winging her way over. The missiles complete their flight and blossom into glittering dust, behind and to the right of the party.

"Let's move away from here!" Rowaine says. "You go first, towards the elves. I will follow, as slow as Harley is able, coming behind and below you. One of you jump onto Harley; I will catch you! Once I have delivered him, I will return!"

The party try the desperate plan, Feren first. The jump is not as hard as it sounds, although the distant glow of the rock below reminds all of the price of failure. Rowaine ferries Feren to the cavern. Tomen is fine; he has busied himself by quietly searching the bodies.

Arrian safely makes the trip and Rowaine returns for Troll. He Dimension Jaunts onto Harley's saddle. His Disc trails them right up to the ceiling wall, then winks out of existence as it is unable to follow them into the stone. Rowaine returns to the small cavern, reuniting her party on the other side of the barrier. She cautions everyone to be quiet - there are creatures further up the path.

Tomen reports finding weapons and armour of mixed quality - nothing better than he already possesses. Five of the bodies look like they were wearing armour and had weapons, but now do not. There are no documents on the bodies.

Troll suggests that Harley and Rowaine scout ahead. Rowaine directs Harley not to travel too far. Together they Earth Glide into the stone. Three minutes later, they return.

Both passageways leading down from the small cave branch into multiple passageways, none of which seem to join up to the other parent. Troll suggests a more extensive journey, saying that if the group who remain strikes trouble, he will Teleport all to the surface, near the garrison.

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