The Kingdom of Kerr – To Stop Hextor’s Embodiment (part 3)
The group searched the dead for what it could before discussing next steps; during this discussion the half orc, Jolin, that had been stalking them approached quietly and unseen in the late evening darkness. Traben’s keen ears picked up that someone or something approached and a quick flip of his wrist brought his bow back up into it’s deadly arch as Minthan released his steel sword from it’s sheath.
Calling out to their unseen potential foe, the party ask for Jolin to reveal himself. The large half orc held his hands in front of himself and came closer into what little light there was. Jolin introduced himself as a warrior in search of proving his might, and making a name for himself in the world. Minthan not desiring a fight nor long winded exchange of words and realizing that a uninjured sword arm would be necessary now as they were so beaten simply agreed to have him join their ranks, Argus also agreed but no one knew why. La’Saemus didn’t say anything, it could have been for his lack of love for Jolin’s Orc brethren or that he truly did not care. Traben was the only one the voiced a simple halfhearted objection stating that they were too accepting of everything, especially their companion choices and that one day it would come back to haunt them.
The newly formed group ventured just a few hundred feet away from the battle site to find a beautiful outcropping of trees. The earth about them, not frozen nor tundra, the area warmer then the rest and the sky above them half cleared. Setting up their tents very mindful of their surroundings and the trees they camped among, the tired party set but two watches and rested. Upon the first watch while Traben and Minthan ensured that none would be awoken by sharp steel protruding from their bodies, the two experienced something strange. A soothing calm overtook them and put them into a dream like state, though to them they still seemed awake. They were beckoned towards the grove of trees by a beautiful elf like creature. Traben more affected then Minthan listened intently to her and was about to agree to serve her when tree words passed his lips, the Raven Queen, that caused the creature to curl back and change in appearance.
The beautiful elf like woman’s appearance faded away and was replaced by that of a feral animal. Sharp fangs, hardened skin, claw like nails appeared and grew freely before him. Shocked but not cognoscente enough of what was happening Traben paused long enough for her to lash out at him cutting into his face and leaving a magical mark. The mark did not hurt as he thought it would, nor leave a true visible scar, but as he came to his scenes and Minthan saw the exchange they made their way from the place before awakening from the dream, Minthan stoically and Traben with a blood curling scream “FEMALE VAMPIRES!!!!”.
Wesley and the others awoke from a dead sleep looking around for the sound that woke them and to see that it was safe before all but Jolin closed their eyes and wend back to bed. Jolin, though new to the party, watched over his new friends and thought of the new adventures he was about to have. What seemed like hours later was actually moments, but Jolin had succumbed to the same effect Minthan and Traben did; though his experience was that of bliss. He met the same female dryad and her lovely friends and agreed to have his new friends join him in protecting the glen of trees from the rampaging orcs and goblins of the areas.
Awakening moments later Jolin tried to convince the others in vein that they should stay here forever and have him Champion the trees. Though of some interest to La’Saemus as he was a druid and it peeked a interest in some fashion, Argus stopped Jolin realizing what creatures they were. The group bound Jolin in ropes, threw him over a horse and traveled north towards the hill they meant to inquire about days earlier. Resting only but a few minutes from the hill, they untied Jolin after he came back to his scenes, or so they thought as he truly did want to Champion the trees. Making camp for a few days to rest and recover from their wounds, Traben scouted the area to ensure that they would not be happened upon by some creature or group. Though upon the second day, the winds changed and the sounds of beating drums and a minor army could be heard approaching from the south.
Traben pointed out the sounds to the others though some had already heard them. He also pointed out that he saw what appeared to be a single person guarding the hill though they passed through the world as if they were not fully there. The group decided that they were meant to go into the hill and that they could not stop an army by themselves so a single combatant, even if it walked between the dimensions, was better then a hundred plus that didn’t.
Approaching the hill they realized that though Traben had seen but one, it actually was four that guarded the opening to the large mouth that lead into the hill. A quick fight broke out where their new companion Jolin proved his worth. Cutting down two of the tieflings with vicious strikes from his blade and looking for a third before Minthan brought it down with a lance as Wesley trapped it in a circle of protection Jolin calmed himself and tried to figure out how to get up to the top of the stone face to get into the hill.
As he did this Traben jumped up atop of the mouth and the group pillaged their dead foes. Quickly Traben was grabbed by multiple men that hung from ropes under the lips of the mouth and tried to pull him in. Calling for aide, Argus put down the pouch of the dead tiefling and sprinted back to the mouth and with a single hand hold pulled himself up.
After a few moments of struggling Traben was pulled in and fell almost 80’ down onto giant 4’ spikes that were erected from the center of the floor, surely to kill a lesser man. As the spikes pierced his body and the pain pulsed through his veins replacing the blood that now covered the floor, he looked up to see Argus falling also. Making his way to his feet, he assessed his surroundings; four spinning blades, a giant balcony he missed but Argus landed upon, while on his way down, giant spikes covered in his blood and bodies of the less fortunate littering the ground about him. He was trapped though the prison held no walls.
Calling to Argus to send down a rope to help him to the balcony Argus did not hear him as the assailants that threw him down here had made their way down themselves and were upon him. Atop of their companions, the group especially Jolin, tried to get onto the Mouth to lower himself to help his fallen friends to no avail.
Argus though valiant in his defense began to loose out to his assailants until Traben pulled foth some of the last arrows he had and plucked off the last two men that tried to kill Argus. The drums sounding clearer to those outside, the razor sharp blades spinning about one of their companions and no way to lower their mounts into the mouth of the hill, La’Saemus dismissed his companion Tillos and the party regrouped upon the balcony wondering which door to go through as trying to dodge the blades would prove challenging for most within their number.