BK
01
CH
08
SC
04

The Forest Ruins
And Into The Waiting Jaws

…continues from Book #01, Chapter #08, Scene #03

Synopsis
The 21st Day of Ches in the Year of the Sudden Journey
The heroes have made a long and tiring journey back from the ruined keep bringing with them natives of the land. As they stop at the Gorge Wall Gate, however, wolves seeking revenge close in on them, drawn by the scent of blood.

Scene Length
This scene starts on Thursday 9th February 2012 and is expected to be completed by the end of Friday 24th February 2012.
Players are expected to be able to post at least once a day.
FEB
16

Combat
Initiative Block

I
Round #05
Combat Encounter Completed

03) [22] Rhasgar - 1d20+3+2: 22 - HP: 28/59 (Bloodied) (Slowed)
04) [19] Aukan - 1d20+3+2: 19 - HP: 46/69
Sp) [11] Zero - 1d20+6+2: 11 - HP: 50/50
Sp) [De] Kireth - 1d20+3+2: 25 - HP: 38/44 (Total Defence)
06) [16] Rangrim - 1d20+6+2: 16 - HP: 35/53
Sp) [16] Khalin - 1d20+6: 16 - HP: 20/51 (Bloodied) (Readied Action)
Sp) [De] Tradden - 1d20+6+2: 28 - HP: 21/57 (Bloodied) (Total Defence)
09) [08] Miri - 1d20+4+2: 8 - HP: 34/45

Removed from Play:
Sp) [18] Shadow Wolf - 1d20+5: 18 - Dmg: 10+14+9+17=50 (Bloodied)
03) [12] Wolf Packmates - 1d20+4: 12
Wolf Packmate #01 - Dmg: 15=15
Wolf Packmate #02 - Dmg: 4=4
Wolf Packmate #03 - Dmg: 19=19 (Marked by Tradden)
Wolf Packmate #04 - Dmg: 10=10
Sp) [09] Vicious Dire Wolf - 1d20+5: 9 - Dmg: 25+12+14+27+14=92 (Bloodied) (Marked by Tradden) (Prone)
MAY
17

Combat
Battlemap

BM
Battlemap
MAY
17

Combat
Features of the Area

AF

All squares that contain a small triangle in the bottom right hand corner are marked as difficult terrain and cost two squares worth of movement to enter.

Illumination: Darkness, with light provided by torchlight. Visibility shown on map.

Trees: Trees are difficult terrain and cost two squares worth of movement to enter. Trees provide partial cover and partial concealment.

FEB
09

Combat
Tradden Aversward

01

The warning given, Tradden waited, poised to act after Kireth and Zero had, hopefully, brought magic-y and bolt-y death down upon the wolves.

[Delay]

[Until after Zero’s turn]

FEB
10

Combat
Kireth Majere

02

Broken windows, door and, in some parts, walls. This was not to be the haven they had hoped for. The last battle and, not forgetting, the portal had worn heavy on the mage. The colour from his face was not the only thing he was drained of.

He prepared himself as best he could, brandishing his staff into a defensive position.

Moving ever so slightly closer to Zero, protecting the thief’s back. ‘Do your thing, my friend,’ he said quietly to his comrade.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

He then waited for the attack to begin.

[Total Defence]

[Kireth gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
10

Combat
Rhasgar

03

Rhasgar heard the shout from Tradden and looked over his shoulder to the southern entrance. He couldn’t see the wolves from where he was but could see Tradden and Rangrim preparing themselves. With the state of his ankle he had no hope of getting across there.

‘Aukan,’ he commanded, ‘get over there and protect that southern flank. I’ll do my best to hold this entranceway.’

As the goliath nodded, Rhasgar set himself, leaning slightly against the wall for balance. If any wolves came through this entrance, he would be ready with scimitar and shield.

[Readied Action]

[Rhasgar readies to attack if enemy moves adjacent]

FEB
10

Combat
Aukan

04

The giant obeyed Rhasgar’s orders and lumbered across to stand beside Tradden.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

Smiling at the young fighter, the goliath grasped his huge maul in both hands and prepared for any onslaught.

[Readied Action]

[Aukan readies to attack if enemy moves adjacent]

FEB
10

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

05

Khalin heard the others moving into position behind him. He gripped the hilt of his hammer tighter as he raised it in a defensive posture, bracing himself ready for any attack from the west.

[Total Defence]

[Khalin gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
10

Combat
Rangrim Ironnose

06

As Aukan moved into position Rangrim fell into a defensive posture, ready to strike out with his twin hammers should any of the wolves approach too close.

[Readied Action]

[Rangrim readies to attack if enemy moves adjacent]

FEB
10

Combat
Wolf Packmates

07

The wolves quickly sped towards the group at the southern entrance of the gate ruins. Their lithe bodies covered the ground quickly, their jaws dripping saliva and snapping with anticipation.

Just before they reached the rubble strewn around the entrance and the waiting swords and hammers of the group they broke into two ranks, veering off to the left and right, their animal instincts leading them to flank the group.

[Wolf Packmate #01 Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Wolf Packmate #02 Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Wolf Packmate #03 Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Wolf Packmate #04 Move: ?, ?, ?]

FEB
11

Combat
Zero Uhlit

08

Zero kept the old crossbow at the ready, glancing anxiously from gap to gap, preparing to shoot at anything snarly and furry.

[Readied Action]

[Zero readies to attack if enemy moves into line-of-sight]

FEB
11

Combat
Tradden Aversward

09

‘Wow, this is tense.’ murmured Tradden to himself. Everyone seemed to be readying themselves, crouching slightly or standing in this way or that. The sound of tired muscle and sinew being pulled taught was audible.

The fighter was ready for the wolves in front of him to throw themselves at his position and he adopted his own defensive stance, waiting for the chance to strike out at claw or jaw. Then, without warning, the pack suddenly split, both halves shooting off either side. Tradden remembered how the wolves had adopted similar tactics at the abandoned shack, with nearly terminal results for them.

‘Oh no you don’t!’ he snarled, leaping forward across the rubble in front of him and into the nearby treeline.

[Move: S, S, SE]

Going was tough but he got there just in time to cleave wildly at the nearest couple.

[Cleave]

[Primary Attack vs Wolf Packmate #04: 1d20+12: 17] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 10] and [Dead]

[Wolf Packmate #02 takes 4 splash damage] and [Dead]

With a flick of his blade Tradden lopped the legs off one of the wolves and sliced through into the midriff of the other. With a howl, both wolves fell to the ground.

Out of the corner of his eye he spied another wolf, this one black and sleek, scampering around the corner of the wall towards the eastern entrance.

Tradden shouted a warning back so that Rhasgar and the others knew the attacks were starting at the east and west.

FEB
11

Combat
Miri

10

Miri could not see any of the wolves, but she did see Tradden launch himself out of the southern chamber. She bit her lip, preparing herself, looking this way and that for the sign of wolf.

[Total Defence]

[Miri gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
12

Combat
Kireth Majere

11

Tradden had obviously seen an opportunity. That or impatience had gotten the better of him again. Either way, it was not an action Kireth would be following, knowing that holding this strong defensive position was clearly the best tactic against the faster, more agile, wolves.

No, right here next to Zero would do just fine.

[Total Defence]

[Kireth gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
12

Combat
Rhasgar

12

‘Hold the line, hold the line!’ shouted Rhasgar. ‘Don’t let them separate us.’

The dragonborn held his position, crouching against the crumbling walls and protecting his ankle.

[Total Defence]

[Rhasgar gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
12

Combat
Aukan

13

‘Right you are, Rhasgar’ replied Aukan.

The goliath moved forwards a little, blocking the entrance of the southern walls with his imposing frame.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

"Get back ’ere," he called to Tradden.

[Total Defence]

[Aukan gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
12

Combat
Shadow Wolf

14

Concealed against the night by its black pelt the shadow wolf had run ahead of its packmates weaving through the trees unseen. Tradden had put out the call but it was too late and it skipped around the corner of the crumbling building and launched itself towards the waiting dragonborn.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

The wolf was not the only one to be quick, however, as Zero whirled at the sound of the claws on the stonework and the snarls of the wolf and pulled the trigger on his crossbow.

[Zero Readied Action: Sly Flourish - Hand Crossbow]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+9: 16] - misses!

[Zero moves prior to Shadow Wolf in Initiative Order]

Zero’s bolt bounced harmlessly off the crumbling wall, however, and the wolf leapt up at Rhasgar, jaws wide open, aiming for his throat.

[Melee Basic Attack - Bite]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8+2: 22 vs Rhasgar’s AC (23+2)] - misses!

Rhasgar was ready, however, and even though the wolf slipped out of the shadow almost unseen, the dragonborn was quick to raise his shield and fend out the dripping jaws.

FEB
12

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

15

Khalin could hear the commotion behind him, but dare not abandon his post to help lest the wolves take advantage of the unguarded entrance he would leave and more break the cordon.

[Readied Action]

[Khalin readies to attack if enemy moves adjacent]

FEB
12

Combat
Rangrim Ironnose

16

Rangrim looked at Aukan and out into the scrub and woodland in the darkness. Tradden’s shout reached his ears and then he heard the twang of a crossbow string and the strike of claw and tooth on Rhasgar’s metal shield.

‘Hold here, Aukan,’ he cried, and spun quickly. Rhasgar, although injured, looked to be capable of holding his own. The rogue shook his head and headed over to the western gap to aid Khalin.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

FEB
12

Combat
Wolf Packmates

17

Two of the wolves rounded the corner of the dilapidated walls, growling as they ran.

[Wolf Packmate #01 Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Wolf Packmate #03 Move: ?, ?, ?]

Rangrim had only just got there in time, but Khalin was already swinging at the first one as it moved in for the kill.

[Khalin Readied Action: Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Wolf Packmate #01: 1d20+10: 14] - misses!

[Khalin moves prior to Wolf Packmates in Initiative Order]

Khalin’s swing was wild in his haste, though, and both wolves jumped at their victims.

[Wolf Packmate #01: Melee Basic Attack - Bite]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+6: 25 vs Khalin’s AC (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 3]

[Wolf Packmate #03: Melee Basic Attack - Bite]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+6: 20 vs Rangrim’s AC (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 3]

The wolves both locked their jaws on the dwarves, their sharp teeth ripping through their armour and into their flesh.

FEB
13

Combat
Tradden Aversward

18

The darker, bigger wolf was already gone. The sounds of battle coming from the direction of the eastern entrance told Tradden it had, predictably, looped round to attack Rhasgar’s position. Tradden hoped the dragonborn was as tough as he seemed, although the young fighter rather suspected he was.

Not stopping to take in other sights, Tradden was already striding back over the rubble towards the western entrance by the time Aukan had finished saying ‘’ere’, the goliath somewhat lost for words as the young human swept back past as if the rough, rubble-strewn terrain was not there.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

Not stopping Tradden charged into the melee at the western entrance, intent on providing some respite for Khalin at least.

[Charge]

[Charge: ?, ?, ?]

[Primary Attack vs Wolf Packmate #03: 1d20+12+1-2: 12] - critical miss!

[Marked]

The blow at the end of the charge was well aimed and would have split the wolf’s skull in half had the treacherous rubble underneath not caused Tradden to lose his balance at a critical moment. The blade flashed wide, but he wolf was now at least wary of his presence.

FEB
13

Combat
Vicious Dire Wolf

19

There was a flash of a sleek body passing the eastern entrance in the firelight and a scampering of feet. Whatever it may have been was slightly larger than the other wolves, and Rhasgar let out a sharp alert.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

Within moments the animal was visible again, this time in the northern section of the crumbling structure, pacing slowly towards Miri, exposed in the stonework, its huge jaw open and salivating, a low menacing growl accompanying it vivid yellow eyes.

FEB
13

Combat
Miri

20

Miri whirled on the spot to face the creature from the north, pulling a small orb from one of her pouches. She caressed its surface and then flung her arms out towards the wolf with a great shout.

The air seemed to ripple and bend in the torchlight between the woman and the wolf, and the creature’s fur ruffled.

[Force Punch]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+10: 13] - misses!

However, the effect Miri was looking for never materialised, and the wolf slowly started to close in for the kill.

FEB
14

Combat
Kireth Majere

21

It would have been tempting to break position and lend assistance to one of the ’front liners’ had Kireth not seen the ploy before. These wolves were blessed with an intelligence above the normal feral creatures means and were experts of stealth to boot.

The others were much better equipped to stand hold and repel at the edges of their rest place. He would remain and guard Zero’s back from any cunning creature able to slip through.

[Total Defence]

[Kireth gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
14

Combat
Rhasgar

22

Rhasgar looked a formidable sight in his armour and wielding the large shield and curved scimitar. Even without the luxury of movement, restricted by his broken ankle, the dragonborn swept his blade to and fro with vigour.

[Shielding Smite]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+12: 19] - interrupted!

One large slash aimed for the wolf’s neck, but at the last second the wolf seemed to melt away into shadow and back, snapping at the dragonborn’s ankle as it retreated!

[Shadow Wolf: Fade to Night]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8+2: 14 vs Rhasgar’s AC (23)] - misses!

[Shift: NE]

Although the strike might have cut the wolf in two, it simply cut through fresh air as the wolf slipped away towards the darkness, its own feral bite just missing the dragonborn’s tender ankle. Rhasgar growled deep in his throat, but held his ground.

FEB
14

Combat
Aukan

23

‘I’m coming, Miri!’ thundered the goliath, turning quickly belying his huge frame and starting to sprint northwards. Rubble crunched and splintered under his huge legs as he gathered speed and charged towards the largest wolf to the north.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

There was a look of surprise on Zero’s face as the goliath sped past — the southern entrance was now unguarded, but the goliath seemed intent on helping his friend.

With a roar Aukan hefted his maul, bursting past Rhasgar, and clattered into the wolf.

[Charge]

[Charge: ?, ?, ?]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+11+1: 28] - hits!

[Damage: 2d6+8: 15] plus [2d6: 10 extra charge damage]

The blow was almost like a thunderclap, the huge maul clipping the wolf before smashing onto the stonework at its feet. There was a yelp, followed by a rasping growl, but the wolf still stood.

FEB
14

Combat
Zero Uhlit

24

The huge frame of the goliath speeding past Zero unnerved the young rogue, bringing out a further sweat on his already troubled brow. With aching limbs from the laden journey he raised his crossbow once more, ducking and shifting to get any advantage he could over the wolf attacking the strange dragon-man.

[Fleeting Ghost]

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 15] - critical failure!

The rubble underneath his foot and the confusion of the night-time battle dulled his senses, however, and the rogue could not get into the position he wanted to. Still, he let fire at the wolf.

[Sly Flourish]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+9: 20] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+6: 10]

At last the rogue struck — the bolt whistling across the ruins and ripping into the fur of the dark wolf’s foreleg. The wolf wasn’t dodging that!

FEB
14

Combat
Shadow Wolf

25

Limping slightly on its foreleg, the shadow wolf turned and fled off to the north, leaving an irate Rhasgar behind it unable to follow.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

FEB
14

Combat
Rangrim Ironnose

26

Undeterred by the wolves before him, Rangrim used the thrust and parries of the comrades beside him to unsettle the pair, before lunging in with a strike of his own.

[Clever Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Wolf Packmate #03: 1d20+11+2: 17] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10+7+2: 11] plus [2d8+3: 8 sneak damage] and [Dead]

The dwarf’s hammer cracked the skull of the wolf in one easy stroke and it fell to the ground almost instantly.

FEB
15

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

27

Khalin set himself once more, ready to form what he hoped would be an impenetrable barrier with Rangrim and Tradden at the western doorway.

He swung at the wolf before him…

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Wolf Packmate #01: 1d20+10: 24] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10+7: 15] and [Dead]

Another crack from another dwarven hammer. The wolf yelped once and then was silent.

‘Hold fast!’ he called to the party, hoping to raise their spirits.

[Stand Tough]

[Kireth regains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Tradden regains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Aukan regains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Miri regains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Rangrim regains 10+3: 13 hit points]

FEB
15

Combat
Tradden Aversward

28

The nearest wolves dead, Tradden turned to take stock, biting his lip a little whilst he deliberated. The southern entrance was now undefended (at least when HE ran off he did it knowing someone else would be there!) — not good. However, everyone else seemed to be catching their breath and he had the feeling if he stayed he might miss a chance to make a crucial contribution the other side of the wall to his north. Decision made he moved off.

‘Rangrim — cover the southern entrance!’

He moved as quickly as he could, picking his way through the rubble. For the briefest of moments he did consider going through the gap in the wall, which would necessitate a very close encounter, and squeeze past Miri. Probably a confident comment such as ‘Hot stuff, coming through…’ would totally, totally impress her, no doubt. The look on his own face must have betrayed him however as she narrowed her eyes in a ‘just you try it’ fashion as he came close.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

Clearing his throat with embarrassment, before whistling a nervous tune more a moment he instead rounded the corner the long way round and charged into the fray ahead of him that way instead.

[Charge]

[Charge: ?, ?, ?]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+12+1: 32] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 12] and [Marked]

Narcissus was finding her target more than not at the moment and he sunk a satisfying chop into the creature’s rump. He wasn’t finished there though, lashing out at the other wolf.

[Action Point]

[Cleave]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+12-2+3: 20] - interrupted!

[Marked]

The swiftness of the wolf took the young fighter by surprise, as it snapped back viciously.

[Shadow Wolf: Fade to Night]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8-2+2: 28 vs Tradden’s AC (20)] - critical hit!

[Damage: 1d8+2: 10] plus [1d6: 1 critical damage] and [Blinded (Save Ends)]

[Shift: NW]

The wolf tore a long cut in Tradden’s thigh. As quickly as its jaws clamped onto the young fighter, it withdrew once more. The pain was excruciating, and for a moment Tradden’s vision blurred — he couldn’t see a thing!

FEB
16

Combat
Vicious Dire Wolf

29

As quickly as Tradden had moved, the wolves were quicker. No sooner had the dark wolf locked its jaws around the young fighter’s thigh and leapt back then the large grey snapped forwards, intent on tasting blood.

[Melee Basic Attack: Bite]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+2: 26 vs Tradden’s AC (20)] - interrupted!

For a second the air shimmered and the wolf snapped down on where Tradden should have been

[Bracers of Escape]

[Tradden Teleports: NW, NW]

A moment later and the young fighter re-appeared with a shout of ‘A-ha!’ The wolf simply snarled.

FEB
16

Combat
Miri

30

There was a gasp from Miri as Tradden disappeared and the young woman scowled at the wolves. Thrusting her orb in front of her once more, she concentrated for a moment and then with a shout she unleashed another rippling effect of force.

[Force Punch (Augment 2)]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+10: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5+3: 14] and [Pushed: ?] and [Prone] and [Bloodied]

For a moment the wolf was attacking Tradden, ready to clamp its jaws around the young fighter’s neck. The next thing it knew was that it was tumbling backwards, end over end, its prey long-gone, and yet no-one had touched it.

FEB
16

Combat
Kireth Majere

31

It seemed the fight was going well. From his central position Kireth was fairly well placed to see most directions and the number of wolves was diminishing fast. The south appeared to be clear but appearances could well be deceiving where these masters of stealth were concerned.

‘What do you think?’ he asked of Zero quietly.

[Delay]

[Until after Zero’s turn]

The rogue looked around with a twinkle in his eye. ‘Well, I’m going to go and shoot some wolf,’ he stated, his jovial manner slowly returning after the fatigue of the journey. It seemed obvious to the mage that Zero was intent on getting himself to a warm bath and a good meal as quickly as possible.

FEB
16

Combat
Rhasgar

32

The dragonborn cursed his leg and hobbled northwards to help his comrades, sticking close to the walls for balance and assistance.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

"Leave some for me!" he roared.

FEB
16

Combat
Aukan

33

Aukan kept pressing the large grey wolf, using its prone position to his advantage.

‘Stay down!’ he bellowed and brough his maul down on its unprotected flank.

[Earthgrasp Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+11+2: 33] - critical hit!

[Damage: 2d6+8: 20] plus [2d10: 7 critical damage]

There was a crunch of bone as the wolf’s ribs splintered. It was still breathing, somehow, but it didn’t look to be going anywhere fast soon.

FEB
16

Combat
Zero Uhlit

34

Zero was a little undecided on his action. He contemplated going through the gap in the wall where Miri stood, but thought better of it at the last moment. There would be plenty of time back in The Bronze Lion to make an acquaintance. For now it seemed better to impress by action.

He quickly moved around the eastern edge of the crumbling wall to view the wolves. One was down on the floor with the huge goliath stood over it. The other was whirling and snapping at Tradden’s legs. Zero crouched and tried to gain a bit of advantage from the melee.

[Fleeting Ghost]

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 17] - success!

[Zero is hidden from Shadow Wolf and gains Combat Advantage]

The rogue felt confident that he could now take a bead on the wolf and place his shot just right. The wolf’s legs would be a good start.

[Unbalancing Shot]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+9+2: 16] - misses!

‘Damn!’ the rogue hissed, as the bolt flashed harmlessly past the wolf and out into the open beyond. He took a quick glance at Miri, but fortunately she was concentrating on those in front of her.

FEB
16

Combat
Kireth Majere

35

As Zero headed around the corner, Kireth followed him carefully. When the rogue stopped to fire his crossbow, Kireth readied himself for any attack.

[Total Defence]

[Kireth gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

FEB
16

Combat
Shadow Wolf

36

The dark wolf recovered quickly from its initial confusion when Tradden had disappeared before its eyes. It adjusted with grace, spinning to its left and snapping at the young fighter’s heels.

[Melee Basic Attack - Bite]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8+2: 11 vs Tradden’s AC (20)] - critical miss!

Tradden stepped aside with ease, his confidence growing in the battle despite his fatigue.

FEB
16

Combat
Rangrim Ironnose

37

Rangrim was poised to charge to the north, to join the battle, but Tradden’s words made some sense. He didn’t want to leave his post, like others may do, and cautiously stalked towards the southern entrance, guarding it from any would-be attacker.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

FEB
18

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

38

Once more, Khalin itched to join the battle to the north, but with Rangrim departing to watch to the south, to do so would leave the western entrance unguarded.

He gritted his teeth and hoped his comrades to the north had things in hand.

[Readied Action]

[Khalin readies to attack if enemy moves adjacent]

FEB
18

Combat
Tradden Aversward

39

Tradden knew that he had dodged a nasty attack by using the bracers, but he was still in trouble — blinded to the point where he could hardly see was not conducive to his nimble style of fighting.

For a second he considered backing off, but where would that get him? Better to at least make a nuisance of himself in the hope that Aukan, Rhasgar, Miri and anyone else who was not otherwise engaged might be able to take advantage. With that he sidestepped a little in what he hoped was the right direction to better cut off any retreat — the last thing they wanted was these wolves going to get some more mates.

[Pass Forward]

[Move: NW]

Hitting these lithe wolves was going to be problematic right now — just working out where they were was a challenge. Of the two one was more hurt than the other it seemed — that would be the one to focus on. If he could find it…

[Perception Check: 1d20+5-10: 3] - failure!

It had moved from where he thought it was but where it was now was anyone’s guess. The other one, the shadowy one, was just in front of him — he could hear it, smell it — sense it. However, he was ultra wary about what had happened the last time he had tried attacking it. Perhaps a even a few days ago he would have assaulted it without thinking, but recent events had made him slightly more … cautious was not the right word, but something like that.

It occurred to him that both the wolves were now flanked in-between him, Aukan and the advancing Rhasgar so the clever thing would be to just stay there and hope to be the anvil to the hammers that were the goliath and the dragonborn. He planted his two leather-booted feet firmly on the ground and leant back in a martial pose, one blade on high, the other in front of him in a blocking pose.

[Total Defence]

[Tradden gains +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of next turn]

Whether this impressed Rhasgar, Aukan or the onlooking Miri remained to be seen…

[Saving Throw vs Blindness: 1d20+1: 17] - success!

As if on cue, at that point the world suddenly swam back into view.

FEB
18

Combat
Vicious Dire Wolf

40

The large grey wolf whined through rasping breaths. The golaith stood astride it, preventing the wolf from getting up.

[Aukan: Earthgrasp Strike]

[Earthstrength - Vicious Dire Wolf cannot stand up until start of next turn]

The wolf could do nothing but whimper.

FEB
18

Combat
Miri

41

Miri stepped forwards a little to get a better view of the wolves. With orb in hand she concentrated and reached out her arm towards the dark wolf, closing her eyes. With a jerk she pulled back her arm into a fist, and the dark wolf yelped.

[Mind Thrust]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf’s Will: 1d20+10: 14] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10+6: 14] and [Bloodied]

There were no pyrotechnics or physical manifestations of Miri’s power, but the wolf recoiled and snapped at its own fur.

FEB
18

Combat
Rhasgar

42

The dragonborn stalked forwards, a little unsteady on his ankle, but kept his caution.

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

This wolf was a tricky customer. Ignoring the large grey, he concentrated on the dark one, swinging his scimitar in an arc at its neck.

[Enfeebling Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+11+2: 19] - interrupted!

[Shadow Wolf: Fade to Night]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8-2+2: 12 vs Rhasgar’s AC (23)] - misses!

[Shift: NW]

The dragonborn smiled as the wolf snapped back at him and dodged backwards — right into the waiting blades of Tradden!

[Tradden: Melee Basic Attack - Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+12: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 9]

Tradden’s blade bit deep into the wolf’s fur, opening another bloody wound.

FEB
18

Combat
Aukan

43

Aukan stayed astride the large grey wolf and brought his giant maul down on its side without mercy.

[Melee Basic Attack - Avalanche Maul]

[Primary Attack vs Vicious Dire Wolf: 1d20+11+2: 31] - hits!

[Damage: 2d6+8: 14] and [Dead]

There was a final splintering of bone and the wolf was still.

FEB
20

Combat
Zero Uhlit

44

Zero popped a shot out from behind Aukan’s shoulder at the savage shadow wolf.

[Fleeting Ghost]

[Move: ?, ?, ?]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 23] - success!

[Zero is hidden from Shadow Wolf and gains Combat Advantage]

With the right angle behind the goliath, the bolt would be a surprise to the thing.

[Sly Flourish]

[Primary Attack vs Shadow Wolf: 1d20+9+2: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+6: 11] plus [2d8: 6 sneak damage] and [Dead]

The bolt whistled over Aukan’s outstretched arm and plunged into the belly of the wolf. With a short whine it keeled over at Tradden’s feet and the chaos of battle subsided.

FEB
20

Combat
Status

45
[…Combat Encounter Completed…]
FEB
20

Combat
Short Rest

46

Healing Surges
Healing Surges are applied.
[Khalin spends 0 healing surges (0 left) to get to 20/51 hit points]
[Kireth spends 0 healing surges (0 left) to get to 38/44 hit points]
[Tradden spends 0 healing surges (0 left) to get to 21/57 hit points]
[Zero spends 0 healing surges (1 left) to get to 50/50 hit points]

Encounter Powers
All encounter powers are recharged.

Milestones
No Milestones achieved.

Experience
Experience awarded.
[Khalin gains 108 xp to reach 7,842 xp]
[Kireth gains 109 xp to reach 7,806 xp]
[Tradden gains 107 xp to reach 7,862 xp]
[Zero gains 109 xp to reach 7,822 xp]

Levelling
No characters ready to level up.

FEB
20

Storyline
The Gorge Wall Gate

47

Rhasgar whirled about as the last wolf died, cautiously eyeing the battlefield. When no wolves jumped out he sheathed his sword and placed his shield against the wall.

‘Good shooting,’ he nodded at Zero. Turning to Tradden the dragonborn nodded again. ‘Nice blade work, boy,’ he smiled. ‘Though it looks perhaps a shield might aid you better in close combat. Nevertheless, brave work.’

‘We should get moving,’ Khalin stated, appearing from around the corner with Rangrim. ‘We must get back to Blackengorge as quickly as we can. Night draws on, and with it more beasts may find their way to us.’

There was a frown from Kireth who was examining the creatures with studious interest. ‘These are the same wolves that attacked us in the cabin,’ he stated. ‘No coincidence, I’m sure.’

‘Let’s just get going,’ urged Zero, anxious to get out of the dark and cold. ‘We can be back there in a couple of hours at most.’

‘Well at least our ’packages’ are unharmed,’ smirked Tradden pulling at the arms of the half-orc and hoisting him up onto his shoulders. ‘C’mon, Khalin’s right, we need to get moving, I’ve had enough of this.’

With sighs of acceptance, everyone moved towards the centre of the crumbling ruins and picked up their burdens and slowly headed into the night along the Old Road to the west.

FEB
21

Storyline
The Old Road

48

The chill of the night air sapped energy from the group’s aching limbs as they made slow progress along the Old Road. It was hard going, but the thought of being so close to a rest was heartening and the pace picked up, even with Rhasgar’s broken leg.

The dragonborn was marching admirably, accompanied by his makeshift crutch, but the pain was obviously increasing, his scaly face growing paler and paler in the moonlight that peeked out from behind billowing clouds. To his credit, he kept moving, not wanting to be the straggler of the group.

After an hour or so with only the moonlight for company the group stopped for a short rest. Tradden’s mood had lifted somewhat and he was back to more of his usual eager self, going around the group making sure everyone was alright and whether there was anything he could do to help. He even offered to carry Miri’s burden, Sorrow, for her as well as his own charge, but Miri refused. It did, however, bring a chuckle out of her when the young fighter proposed how he’d carry them both, which was music to Tradden’s ears.

Khalin had been quite silent on the march from the gate, not quite himself. Scenarios, plans, and sagas of old were playing through his mind and how he was now resolved to find out the truth of the battle at the Gorge Wall whatever the outcome. He had been doubting his own abilities and even his own character, but a fierce determination had cast these doubts aside. He was his own man, regardless of the past and he knew his own strengths and flaws. If the Grundokri name was not currently welcome in these lands, then he would make it so by his own deeds.

As for Zero and Kireth the pair had mostly been quiet. Zero continued to curse and swear under his breath along the journey, but not loud enough to cause any major nuisance. Kireth had been completely silent, lost within the folds and hood of his robes, without barely a breath or a noise, his face covered by a shadow that none dared disturb.

‘An hour, perhaps, at most,’ Khalin suggested, stretching his limbs and back. ‘You can see the outline of the hill of the mausoleum.’

The dwarf pointed across to the west and sure enough silhouetted against the moonlit sky was the crest of a hill, somewhat ragged at one side where the chambers below had crumbled and brought the earth down upon them mere days ago.

Rhasgar nodded in acceptance. ‘Then let us continue, there is no sense in delay.’

With that, the group marched onwards.

FEB
21

Storyline
The Old Road

49

For another hour they trudged through the night growing wearier and colder until they passed the hillock with the mausoleum and rounded the corner to where they had fought kobolds and goblins. Some of the bodies still lay there, their bodies in various states of decay as the local beasts and animals had started to pick the flesh from their bones. Some of the bodies appeared to have been dragged off, no doubt to be consumed in some hollow or cave nearby. The group did not linger.

It was not much longer before the group came into sight of the pallisade walls and spied the eastern gate. A chorus of elation passed through the travellers and the pace picked up once more.

As they came into earshot of the walls the group could hear orders being shouted out from behind the wood and stonework and the shades of guards mounting the defences. Khalin’s keen eyes spotted bows being made ready, with arrows notched, waiting for the order to fire.

Pace slowed, almost to a stop, before a strong, clear voice, probably Valino’s, echoed out into the night.

‘Halt! Who goes there?’ it commanded.

FEB
21

Storyline
Blackengorge

50

‘Valino, it’s us by Correllon!’ shouted Tradden, stepping to the front and holding out his encumbered arm palm up towards the top of the walls. ‘And we have injured with us. We need some help out here — send someone to get the clerics. Best wake the Council as well. Oh, and fetch Rindall!’

He turned to the group and spoke in slightly (probably not enough) hushed tones. ‘Sorry, he is a bit of a… he… he is a bit of a stickler for his job!’

FEB
21

Storyline
Blackengorge

51

There was a moment’s pause from the pallisade walls, some brief conversations just out of earshot, and movement. A creak of wood then echoed out and the doors to the eastern gate began to open. Torchlight sprang up from within the gate and a number of armour-clad guards rushed out.

The familiar faces of Jason Henrikson and Grundar Stonesthrow led a group of five or six guards over the dry moat, heading towards the party with caution. They appeared to be a little confused as they approached by the sheer number of people in the heroes’ group.

Henrikson stopped within thirty feet or so. ‘Prisoners?’ he enquired.

Khalin guffawed at the statement. ‘No, not prisoners. They are natives of this land. They are friends. We have found Gilmorril, too. Where is Rindall?’

Henrikson seemed to relax and resumed his approach at Khalin’s words. ‘We thought he was with you? Is he not?’

The other guards followed Henrikson, but there was a sharp intake of breath when they saw Rhasgar and the sound of steel weapons being drawn sliced through the night air.

‘Hold, hold!’ shouted Khalin. ‘He is one of us! A dragonborn. A valiant warrior. Put your bloody weapons away and help us get these people in, we need to get them to the clerics.’

There were a few dubious looks on the guards’ faces, but then Grundar stepped forward. ‘Good to see you back!’ exulted the short dwarven guard, approaching Khalin and taking the unconscious old dwarf from the warlord’s shoulders. ‘Let’s get ’em inside, eh?’

A sense of relief seemed to wash over everyone and the guards moved to help carry the invalids into the town. They seemed nervous around the strange dragonborn and the huge goliath, but helped nonetheless, carrying the unconscious bodies and relieving the burdens from the group. The heroes then walked, and limped, into town through the gate. Rhasgar, watched carefully by all that he passed, nodded with appreciation at the defences and construction of the pallisade walls and watch towers. ‘Stout walls, Khalin, and ably defended judging by your guard,’ he uttered. ‘A point of light in a dark corner of our world.’

Runners scurried ahead of the group, some heading to the temple, others to raise the Town Council. The guards, with the bodies over their shoulders, moved quickly towards the temple, the group following. By the time they got there the acolytes had already risen and were preparing makeshift cots inside the stone building. With reverence the bodies were laid out in the chamber, the shroud-wrapped body of the halfling Ulmo placed down behind the altar. Salves and liquids were found and the acolytes brushed away the sleep from their eyes and began to care for their charges.

‘His Radiant Servant will be with them promptly,’ one of the female acolytes said to the group, probably Dania, Zero thought. ‘They are all badly wounded, but I am sure the Light of Pelor will shine its glory on them and heal their wounds.’

This seemed to draw a snort from Rangrim, but he didn’t speak.

‘There is nothing else we can do right now, these people need rest and the help of Pelor,’ the acolyte continued. ‘Perhaps you should go and see to your own needs and we will send word as soon as there is change in any of their condition. As for you,’ she looked at Rhasgar, ‘perhaps you should also rest here so we can see to your leg?’

There was some hesitation, particularly from Miri, but all agreed that they needed rest themselves, and Rhasgar should stay to be attended to. Tired and aching, they headed out of the temple and across to The Bronze Lion.

FEB
22

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

52

The four heroes led Miri, Rangrim and Aukan slowly over to The Bronze Lion, Zero bustling out in front. Torchlights and candles were starting to spring up in the houses surrounding the central courtyard as word was spreading of the group’s return and what they had brought with them. The rumours were of a dragon-man and a giant and a triumphant heroic return.

The truth was, as Zero grabbed the handle of the door to the inn, that the heroes had returned battered and bloody, exhausted and spent and were barely capable of raising their limbs, let alone their spirits. They had travelled further in these lands than anyone from The Islands, perhaps bar Gilmorril, and found riches in enchanted arms and armour and the greatest prize of all — knowledge that there were others like themselves on this continent, others that shared the same history. Not only had they defeated two plots to open portals to another place and perhaps bring destruction down on Blackengorge, but they had rescued Gilmorril, and learnt much about the area. As warriors, leaders, and adventurers they had grown in stature, in confidence, and in strength — their experiences had taught them so much.

However, they had found more questions than answers, perhaps, and this whirl of knowledge weighed heavy on their shoulders as Zero turned the handle of the door.

FEB
24

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

53

The group almost fell into the chairs that Skillet had been hastily arranging. Many of the barstools were upended on the tables, but the little halfling, scurrying around in nightshirt, had been quick to arrange a table near the fire for them to sit at. Bowls of sweet meats, breads and fruits were already laid upon the table, although not to Skillet’s usually high arrangment standards, and mugs of frothy warm ale were being brought out by Juliet.

The roaring fire was a welcome sight and all sank into the chairs with relief, quickly reaching for the foodstuffs and a quaff of ale. The chill from the night air soon left their bodies, but the aches and pains did not.

It was only moments before the door to the inn burst open and Barghest, the leader of the Town Guard, walked in, with Valino behind him.

Barghest was a comical sight for tired eyes — it was obvious he had been hurriedly woken and perhaps even more hurriedly dressed and looked flustered. Valino, on the other hand, was imaculately presented in his armour and studied the group with an intense stare.

‘Gentlemen, and lady,’ Barghest began, nodding at Miri at one end of the table, ‘welcome back, welcome back. Your return gladdens all our hearts. And with visitors, too!’

The large man paused for a while, as if unsure of what to say.

‘May I suggest that you bathe and rest for the night? Your story can wait until the morrow, even though we have much to discuss it seems.’

From behind Valino came a bustle of people, perhaps all come to see the dragon-man, or the giant, but the guard quickly ushered them away, back to their homes, and shut the door behind them.

‘We will leave you in peace for the night, you need the rest. But me must talk tomorrow.’

The burly guard certainly seemed lost for words without the company of Tymander or Tremak and after a brief period of embarrassing silence, he offered his farewell and headed out of the door.

FEB
22

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

54

‘There’s some water that’s been heated and some tubs in the back room,’ Skillet offered from behind the bar. ‘Juliet’s making up the other rooms, so there’s plenty of places to sleep.’

The halfling examined Aukan carefully, no element of surprise in his face, just studious intent.

‘You can sleep in the common room around the back, though,’ was all he said. ‘Don’t think we have any beds for someone of your size.’

Aukan grinned sheepishly and helped himself to some more bread as Skillet brought down some mugs from the bar top and began to clean them with a linen rag.

‘Oh, but where are our manners?’ questioned Tradden suddenly, raising his mug at Miri, Rangrim, and Aukan. ‘Welcome to Blackengorge!’

FEB
24

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

55

Valino looked at the group from the doorway, a mixture of jealousy and pride on his face. He was just about to turn and leave himself to follow Barghest when Khalin piped up.

‘Valino, please join us,’ the warlord offered, gesturing towards an empty chair with his mug.

There was a moment’s hesitation and the guard nearly stepped towards the table before he seemed to catch himself and stiffen.

‘No, I cannot. I am on duty tonight. My thanks the same,’ he replied with as blank an expression as he could muster. ‘I will take my leave.’

‘Wait!’ called Khalin before the guard could pull open the door. ‘What of Rindall? Has he not returned? Henrikson didn’t think so.’

Valino frowned and looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘No, he has not returned. When did you part?’

Khalin counted the days in his head the best he could. The last few days had been spent mainly underground so the passage of time was difficult to tell and he was only just coming to terms with the effort and hardship the adventure had weighed upon him.

‘Four days, perhaps, maybe not quite as long,’ the dwarf replied.

The frown deepened on Valino’s face, thoughts of what might have happened to the stout dwarf running through his mind.

‘We will send out a small scouting party on the morning, close to the town mind, we cannot spare them to go further. We shall see if we can find any sign of him. I shall go organise that at once, so I bid you farewell.’

The sergeant seemed almost relieved to be leaving and turned on his heels smartly, opening the door into the night. He turned quickly once, before he left, nodding at Khalin. ‘Good work,’ was all he said, then turned and followed Barghest into the night.

FEB
24

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

56

It was only moments after Valino had shut the door that Zero rose from the table.

Although the ale and breads and meats were tempting, the rogue was more concerned with his current condition. Parts of his body that he never knew he had were aching. He was covered in cuts and bruises, and although he was not as scored and battered as some of the others — particularly Tradden — the trudge back to the town through the night and cold with a heavy woman across his shoulders had not been easy.

He longed to slip into a hot bath and get out of the filthy, bloody garments he currently wore. There was no chance that his keen mind would be able to work whilst he felt like this. He was too tired and distressed to make sense of what horrors they had just been through.

With a polite, but hasty, farewell he headed towards the back rooms and the luxury of the baths.

There, he pulled the armour from his shoulders, shuddering at the thought of how calmly he had stripped the hobgoblin torturer of the armour and strapped it around himself. How a month ago, nay, two tenday ago, he would never have even contemplated such an action. With a quick check on the door he cast aside the filthy garments and slipped into the bath, a slightly disappointed look crossing his face as the water did not quite meet his expectations of ’very hot’.

As he slipped down into the water the world went calm. He held his breath as his head slid under and thoughts of cascading blood, and skeletons, and ghosts, and viscous claws stretching out their whispered embraces from somewhere that did not belong, melted away.

The moment did not last long. The water and soap oozed into his pores and the cuts and abrasions from knife, claw, and fang. He plunged upwards gasping for air and to scream.

Out in the bar area the group heard the shout from the back rooms, followed by a dozen curses. It rose a grand cheer and half a dozen mugs clacked together in the centre of the table in honour.

FEB
24

Storyline
The Bronze Lion Inn

57

It wasn’t long before the others followed Zero’s lead, heading for baths and then to their rooms. One of the baths was brought out and ushered into a separate room for Miri to bathe in private. It wasn’t a surprise to most of the heroes that Zero was eventually the last one out, despite his early entrance. His keenness for Skillet to keep on topping up his bath with water, calling for each bucket-load to be hotter and hotter, brought much hilarity to the group.

Kireth bathed to one side, quickly and efficiently, and headed up to his rooms as quickly as he could. Aukan had not been able to fit in one of the baths and had simply rubbed himself down with a wet rag, then lumbering into the common rooms to sleep. Rangrim and Khalin spent more time preening their beards than the rest of their bodies, but at least were clean. The sores of the brand upon the dwarven rogue’s chest stood out violently against his pale skin, much more so than Aukan’s, and the dwarf vowed to visit the temple in the morning to find something to ease the pain.

Tradden had perhaps fared worst of the heroes. Maybe not through any particular single blow or cut, but he had put himself in the middle of the battle time after time, and the sheer number of cuts and bruises across his body made him grimace through his teeth in the warm soapy water.

He had made a number of comments about better protection that had resulted in a direct strike of a bar of soap on Khalin’s head when the dwarf had mentioned something about a shield for the third time, but the dwarf’s sentiments had started him thinking how better to protect himself in the future.

In time, though, they had all had enough of the baths and exhaustion was now their main concern. Most had taken the stairs up to their rooms and the last pair, Tradden and Khalin, were about to do the same when a runner from the temple entered the inn.

The news was good. Two of the patients had regained consciousness under the acolyte’s supervision — the strange devil-horned woman Sorrow, and the slightly older male. Rhasgar’s ankle was well on the way to mend. All would still need care and attention, but at least perhaps more answers could be found.

Khalin enquired after Gilmorril, but the runner said the elf was still unconscious. The dwarf thanked the messenger, and then the pair made their way wearily up the stairs to their rooms.

‘Tremak says the Council will see you in the late afternoon, to give you some rest,’ offered Skillet, still in his nightshirt, as the pair wound their way up the creaking stairway.

‘Hmpf,’ replied the warlord. ‘That’s good of him,’ and continued up to the blessed relief of sleep.

FEB
24

Mechanics
End of Scene

58
[…continued in Book #01, Chapter #09, Scene #01…]