BK
01
CH
10
SC
04

The Mouth of the Sleeper
Battle on the Hill

…continues from Book #01, Chapter #10, Scene #03

Synopsis

1st Day of Tarsakh in the Year of the Sudden Journey
The heroes break through the Coilwood and past awaiting troops at a frozen creek in search of a place called the Mouth of the Sleeper. Ascending a steep hill they are confronted at the summit.

For a chapter summary please see Chapter #10 Summary.

Cast List

Khalin Grundokri

7th Level Male Dwarven Marshal (Warlord)

Kireth Majere

7th Level Male Half-Elven Arcanist (Wizard)

Tradden Aversward

7th Level Male Human Weaponmaster (Fighter)

Zero Uhlit

7th Level Male Human Scoundrel (Rogue)

Beltak Ancaron

Scribe of Pelor (NPC)

Scene Length

This scene starts on Thursday 18th July 2013 and is expected to be completed by the end of Wednesday 2nd October 2013.

Players are expected to be able to post at least once a day.

JUL
18

Combat
Initiative Block

I

Round #11

Combat Encounter Completed


Creatures in Play:

[23] Beltak HP: -5/47 47,34,29,24,36,31,43,31,26,38,17,12,24,3,15,-5 Uncoscious

[De] Tradden HP: 18/63 63,52,44,39,34,59,63,57,51,45,33,28,40,25,20,32,18

[13] Kireth HP: 48/48 44,30,20,33,38,31,48,36,31,48,43,38,48,43,38,48

[07] Khalin HP: 27/56 56,44,34,47,41,35,29,26,20,15,27,41,27,39,53,48,56,42,37,32,44,28,23,35,27 Immobilized (Save Ends)


Removed from Play:

[25] Shadowblade #01 Dmg: 72 0,16,20,28,49,72

[22] Shadowblade #02 Dmg: 76 0,8,24,39,54,65,76

[20] Murder of Crows Dmg: 62 0,6,14,16,24,33,39,44,49,53,59,62

[20] Orcs

Orc #01 Dmg: 15 0,15

Orc #02 Dmg: 10 0,10

Orc #03 Dmg: 15 0,15

Orc #04 Dmg: 11 0,11

[17] Heretic #01 Dmg: 62 0,16,22,29,36,24,28,36,40,44,29,36,43,49,34,41,48,60,62

[11] Orcs

Orc #05 Dmg: 11 0,11

Orc #06 Dmg: 11 0,11

Orc #07 Dmg: 10 0,10

Orc #08 Dmg: 11 0,11

[10] Zero HP: 30/55 55,42,37,27,22,15,9,22,47,41,35,40,38,33,30

[10] Heretic #02 Dmg: 66 0,4,11,15,24,39,44,59,66

[07] Orcs

Orc #09 Dmg: 25 0,25

Orc #10 Dmg: 14 0,14

Orc #11 Dmg: 6 0,6

Orc #12 Dmg: 6 0,6

[07] Heretic #03 Dmg: 63 0,15,23,30,34,39,43,49,56,63

JUL
18

Combat
Battlemap

BM
Battlemap: Battle on the Hill
JUL
18

Combat
Features of the Area

AF

Illumination: Daylight.

Trees: The squares containing trees can provide superior cover and are considered difficult terrain.

Slope: The steep slope surrounding the mound in the centre of the map rises twenty feet and is considered difficult terrain unless a successful DC15 Athletics Check is made at the start of the movement.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden was the first to move — he knew speed was of the essence in battle, as was gaining the initiative and getting a good position as soon as possible.

Hmm, it sure was a long way around to go the flat route. No matter!

[Athletics Check: 1d20+12: 29] - success!

[Move: N, N, N, N, N, N]

With three long bounds Tradden cleared the difficult terrain and found himself at the top of the slope.

[Perception Check: 1d20+5: 24] - success!

What a difference it made to what he could see…

The hint of other players in this battle was confirmed — Tradden could see another figure behind a broken statue not far to his northwest, similar looking to the one they had seen behind the statue that was to his northeast. They looked like large humanoids certainly — probably orcs he guessed. He wouldn’t mind being on the right side of the long curved blades they were holding, but was less enthusiastic about being on the wrong side of them. The bush to the far northwest rustled in a suspicious kind of way, almost confirming that someone, or something was in it.

His most striking observation however was what dominated the landscape. Before it had been just a smooth looking grey blob, but now Tradden was level with it he could see it for what it was — a giant face with a gaping mouth! The face looked almost human — a pointed, devil-like beard and an odd curved moustache. The crazy, flame-esque hairdo formed a point, heading north. But it was the mouth that was what drew the eye — open, gaping… black.

Tradden, always thinking, murmured to himself. ‘The “Mouth of the Sleeper’…?’

Realising that standing around hypothesising was going to get himself killed or, worse, a barbed comment from Kireth, the fighter trotted forward and then charged at the middle figure, hoping to catch it off guard!

[Charge]

[Charge: N, N, N, N, N, NW]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #02: 1d20+12+1: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 8] and [Marked]

There was a repeated and speedy clash of swords as the two figures met but eventually the human’s blades were quickest and he took first blood, slicing a chunk out of the orc’s shoulder.

Combat
Shadowblade #01

From behind the eastern statue the humanoid figure stepped out, rushing across the top of the hill towards Tradden, a blade flashing in the rising sun.

[Move: SW, SW, SW, W]

It was an orc, even Khalin could see that from the bottom of the hill. Not a hulking brute this time, but something more lithe and quick. It scampered behind Tradden’s back before anyone could shout an alarm and cut across the young fighter with its curved blade.

[Melee Basic Attack - Scimitar]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+2: 17 vs Tradden’s AC (21)] - misses!

Despite its advantage Tradden managed to notice the blade at the last moment, sidestepping quickly as it whistled past his ear.

The young fighter was surrounded now, all alone at the top of the hill.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak could see Tradden, or at least the top half of him, and could also see the top half of two orcs cutting at him with their blades. The young fighter was holding them off admirably, but Beltak knew it would only be a matter of time before they gained the advantage.

With an uncharacteristic yell the scribe took off, scrambling up the slope.

[Athletics Check: 1d20+3: 17] - success!

[Move: N, N, N, N ,N, N]

With a shower of soil the scribe was up to the top. He took in a moment to survey the scene, confusion passing his face for a moment, before deciding on his action.

The orcs were flanking Tradden, but Beltak thought he could play them at their own game. He continued his charge across the hill, mace raised and shield before him.

[Bull Rush]

[Charge: NE, NE, NE, NE, N]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #01’s Fortitude: 1d20+6+1+2: 22] - hits!

[Push: N]

[Beltak shifts N into vacated square]

Beltak led with his shield, rather than the mace, catching the orc by surprise. The scribe knocked the thing back and followed through to protect Tradden’s back.

Combat
Shadowblade #02

The orc growled as Beltak pushed away its ally. It stared at Tradden and the fighter’s whirling blades trying to gauge his weakness. Around one of its eyes were three red welts as though it had been cut or marked in the past, its red-lined eye studying the fighter intensely.

With a quick shift of stance it dropped and tryied to cut Tradden’s feet out from under him.

[Melee Basic Attack - Scimitar]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 19 vs Tradden’s AC (21)] - misses!

With the threat from behind him removed Tradden could start to move his own feet just as well as this orc’s and leapt high above the blade with a flourish.

Combat
Battle on the Hill

As steel met steel near the statues the clashes rang out across the top of the hill. Faint guttural shouts could be heard, echoing from somewhere, before a multitude of sharp rings of metal on rock sounded out.

The clash of steel also seemed to wake the numerous black birds sat silently and motionless in the gnarled trees surrounding the hill. With a cacophony of cries they swarmed into the air, coalescing as if a dark cloud, menacing in the air.

Combat
Heretic

The bush to the west rustled freely and not from any wind. From within another orc stood, a baleful crossbow in its hand loaded with a flaming bolt. It took a moment for it to aim and then it let fire.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11-2-2: 21 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 11 fire damage] and [Ongoing 5 fire damage (Save Ends)]

Despite the long range and the base of the broken statue providing some cover, the bolt sang across the hill and into Tradden’s side. A curious green fire started to wrap itself around the young fighter’s cloak. Curious until it started to burn.

Combat
Kireth Majere

‘Zero!’ called the mage suddenly. ‘I’m not entirely sure why but you might want to duck,’ he nodded sharply towards the swirling pattern of birds above that were starting to look less pretty and more menacing. To call it an “attack formation” might be a stretch but…

The clash of steel and curses of battle brought his attention elsewhere. Up the slope the battle was beginning in earnest. The mage looked from his feet to the tricky incline and back again. ‘Ah, the nine hells with it!’

[Athletics Check: 1d20+3: 23] - critical success!

[Move: NW, NW, N, N, NW, N]

Ascending the hill with ease that surprise even the dour mage, he took stock of the situation. The ugly with the crossbow needed removing from play quickly before he disrupted the fighters.

[Spectral Ram]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic’s Fortitude: 1d20+9: 18] - success!

[Damage: 2d10+5: 16] and [Push: NW, NW, NW] and [Knocked Prone]

‘Get off my mountain,’ sneered the mage as the creature flew backwards and tumbled down the slope.

Combat
Battle on the Hill

The shouts and clang of steel on stone multiplied and both Kireth and Tradden spotted steel hooks the size of pumpkins lodge on the edge of the “mouth” of the stone. Ropes from the backs of them led down into the darkness. Ropes which were taut and faintly moving as if someone were climbing them.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero heard the sounds of battle and his wizardly comrade’s cry of alert. He looked up at the birds warily. Ordinarily, he’d love to have stayed at a distance, but the hill put the kybosh on that. Damn, he hated running, and especially uphill.

[Athletics Check: 1d20+4: 18] - success!

[Fleeting Ghost]

[Move: NW, N, N, N, N, NW]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 29] - success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies and gains Combat Advantage]

In a spray of limbs and falling soil Zero scrambled up the slope, edging towards the bush that he hoped he could find some modicum of cover within.

His cheeks puffed and rosy red, the rogue tried to calm his nerves, bringing up his crossbow and aiming into the melee near Tradden.

[Gloaming Cut]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #02: 1d20+9+2: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+1+2: 7] plus [2d8: 9 sneak damage]

[Shift: NW]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 27] - success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies and gains Combat Advantage]

The bolt cut across the orc’s arm, but the thing was so intent on Tradden it hardly seemed to notice. Zero took the opportunity to creep forwards into the bush and duck down, hopefully out of sight.

Combat
Heretic #02

Almost at the same time Zero’s bolt left his crossbow another orc appeared atop the stone face. It leapt up from the eye socket, where it had been hiding and levelled its crossbow at Tradden in the centre of the melee. It paused for a moment, gathering its aim and then let fly.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 21 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 8 fire damage]

The bolt zipped across the hill and struck Tradden on his swordarm, numbing it for a moment, but thankfully not piercing the skin through his Eladrin chain.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin hurried up alongside his comrades, cursing his shorter legs. Tradden was already in amongst the enemy, who were converging on him with zeal.

[Khalin Athletics Check: 1d20+11: 15] - success!

[Move: NE, NE, N, N, NW]

As he drew up alongside Zero he quickly surveyed the scene and pointed toward the melee. ‘Zero, take aim for the right-hand enemy and fire when ready.’

[Direct the Strike]

[Zero has a Basic Attack vs Shadowblade #01]

Without hesitation, Zero did as he was ordered.

[Zero: Ranged Basic Attack - Hand Crossbow]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #01: 1d20+9+2: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+4: 9] plus [2d8: 7 sneak damage]

Zero switched targets effortlessly, catching the orc that Beltak had tried to bowl over in its shoulder, the bolt sticking out from its armour.

Combat
Heretic #03

From behind the large twisted tree towards the north of the hill another orc appeared, crossbow in hand. Its cover was blown but the toothy grin upon its face suggested it did not mind. It aimed quickly and a bolt trailing flame skimmed across the hill towards Tradden.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 14 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - misses!

The bolt smashed into the white stone of the broken statue beside Tradden, almost startling the young fighter.

Combat
Battle on the Hill

With continued strikes more hooks joined the others, perhaps a dozen or so in total. The first set appeared quite taut and out of the corner of his overworked eye, Tradden could see a hand or two grab hold of the lips of the mouth and orc-like bodies start to pull themselves up.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

The green fire from the crossbow bolt that had lodged itself within Tradden’s cloak began to spread, flickering up onto the young fighter’s sword arm, burning and itching the skin.

[Heretic #01: Ongoing Fire Damage]

[Tradden takes 5 ongoing fire damage]

Tradden tried his best to ignore it, concentrating on the gruesome orc before him. ‘Just keep at it, Aversward!’ he muttered as he glided around in a circle, his sword flicking out before him.

[Cleave]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #02: 1d20+12: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 15] and [Bloodied]

[Shadowblade #01 takes 4 splash damage]

He sliced across the orc before him, drawing a gush of blood from its chest, before continuing his sweep and lodging a solid blow against the other orc’s arm.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20+1: 6] - failure!

The satisfaction of solid contact was diminished as the fire started to spread further up his arm, despite the quick movements that he hoped would extinguish its flame.

Combat
Shadowblade #01

As quickly as Tradden swung the orc slipped away, reeling with the blow to its arm to soften its impact and attempting to blindside Beltak.

[Shift: SE]

It span with its wicked-edged blade at the scribe, aiming for a high cut at Beltak’s head.

[Melee Basic Attack - Scimitar]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 12 vs Beltak’s AC (19)] - critical miss!

But the scimitar caught in the low branches of the gnarled tree and Beltak was spared. The orc glared at the scribe, its strangely cut eye transfixed upon him with a hateful stare.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Faced with what appeared to be a quick and powerful opponent, Beltak knew he would be no match if he stood toe-to-toe. He drew back swiftly, moving to the base of the broken statue.

[Shift: W]

Noticing the green flames spreading up Tradden’s cloak the scribe pulled out his holy symbol and began the incantations to summon the power of Pelor. He held it out in front of him, between his own eyes and those of the glaring orc.

[Sacred Flame]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #01’s Reflex: 1d20+8: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+5: 8]

[Tradden can make a saving throw]

A beam of glorious light sprang out from the symbol, burning the orc before him and bathing Tradden with a soft light.

[Tradden: Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20+1: 3] - failure!

The flames began to die out, but as quickly as the light from Beltak’s symbol had come it went out and the green baleful fire began to lick the corners of the young fighter’s cloak once more.

Combat
Shadowblade #02

The orc in front of Tradden began to duck and dodge, swinging its scimitar expertly in its hands. As it tried to move Tradden was ready and cut off several of its attempts to back out of his reach. With a growl it seemed to be resolved to be rooted to the spot and thrust its blade out in a feint before slicing it backwards across Tradden’s face.

[Melee Basic Attack - Scimitar]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 20 vs Tradden’s AC (21)] - misses!

With a graceful ease Tradden leant back and let the blade pass only an inch or so from his face before resuming his stance, almost a chuckle upon his lips.

Combat
Orcs

Hands appeared at the top of some of the ropes and grappling hooks at the top of the “mouth” and from within the darkness a number of orcs began to slowly pull themselves up and onto the stone of the face on the hill.

They were taller than the other orcs already set on the battlefield, thicker of arm and wider of neck, but just as ugly. They looked out across the hill and ordered on by the orc crouched in the eye socket, turned towards Tradden.

The first pushed past another, almost knocking it back into the void of the “mouth” in its obvious delight in readying itself for the kill.

[Orc #01 - Move: SW, S, S, S]

The one pushed out of the way followed the first, bursting past it and coming right up to the young fighter, its breath hot, stale and loathsome against Tradden’s face.

[Orc #02 - Move: S, S, S, S]

One of the orcs at the bottom of the “mouth” headed towards Tradden at the command of the heretic.

[Orc #03 - Move: S, S, S]

The last skirted a little to the side, down the face’s stone chin, more towards the shadowblade than Tradden’s side.

[Orc #04 - Move: S, S, S, S]

All the orcs drew short handaxes as they charged and howled as though they were some sort of pack of wolves.

Combat
Murder of Crows

With screeches that began to echo around the hill the birds began to flock together, forming a whirling circle over the bush to the northwest that had recently been ‘vacated’ by one of the orcs under Kireth’s spell.

Whirling as one they began to swoop and dart towards Kireth, Zero, and Khalin.

[Fly: S, S, SE, SE, S, S, SE, SE]

The birds continued to caw and screech into the air as they moved, never still, and difficult to hit a single one of the creatures in flight. Black as night they blocked out anything behind them as though they were a wall of feathers.

Combat
Heretic #01

At the bottom of the slope the orc that had tumbled down groaned and picked itself up.

[Move: Stand]

It began to scramble up the steep sides of the hill in a shower of mud and rocks.

[Athletics Check: 1d20+5: 14] - failure!

[Hillside is classed as Difficult Terrain]

However, the thing slipped a couple of times, falling flat on its face more than once as it scraped its way back towards the shelter of the bush.

[Move: SE, SE, SE]

From there it drew its crossbow once more and readied another flickering bolt.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Self preservation always ranked pretty high on Kireth’s ‘to do’ list but over the last few months he had learnt that often the best way to protect himself was to assist his companions first. Tradden could hardly take a crossbow bolt meant for Kireth if he had already been slaughtered. No, the fighter would not die until he had done something useful first.

Kireth aimed his staff at the foe directly in front of Tradden and let fly.

[Force Orb]

[Primary Attack vs Orc #02’s Reflex: 1d20+9: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 2d8+5: 10] and [Dead]

[Secondary Burst 1 centred on Orc #02] with [Damage: 1d10+5: 15]

[Secondary Attack vs Orc #01’s Reflex: 1d20+9: 13] - hits!

[Damage: 15] and [Dead]

[Secondary Attack vs Orc #03’s Reflex: 1d20+9: 13] - hits!

[Damage: 15] and [Dead]

[Secondary Attack vs Shadowblade #02’s Reflex: 1d20+9: 18] - hits!

[Damage: 15]

Energy crackled around Tradden as the mage’s bolt slammed into the brutush orc in front of him. There was a moment of bright light and confusion, followed by the foul smell of charred flesh. Three of the orcs fell as they charged, the energy of Kireth’s spell consuming them in a display of arcing energy.

Combat
Orcs

More orcs poured out of the blackness of the mouth, pulling themselves up and onto the hillside on their ropes. They appeared to be taking directions from the orc furthest away, behind the gnarled tree, concentrating on swarming over the fighters.

They moved swiftly for their size, readying axes as they moved.

[Orc #05 - Move: S, SW, SW]

[Orc #06 - Move: SW, SW, SW, SW]

[Orc #07 - Move: S, S, S, S]

[Orc #08 - Move: SE, S, S, S]

A pair of them clamboured over the smoking corpses of their comrades without any thought or concern, lurching into Tradden’s view with howls and cheers of combat. The others kept off to the east, arcing around in a wide circle.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

‘Damn it!’ Zero cursed. Crows, orcs, wizards… He took a look at the stone face and the hooks latched around the mouth. More filthy creatures would be popping out at any moment.

With a sigh of resignation, he bolted from cover, taking a shot at one of them as he went.

[Sly Flourish]

[Primary Attack vs Orc #07: 1d20+9: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+6: 10] and [Dead]

The bolt caught the orc in the gut as it ran and it toppled over into the dirt. Zero kept running.

[Move: N, N, N, N, NW, NW]

Running in an arc to keep away from the black birds Zero skirted the broken statue, crushing some of the white stone under his feet as he ran.

Combat
Heretic #02

The orc crouched in the eye socket of the face had reloaded its crossbow and rose up to take another shot at Tradden. However, out of the corner of its eye it noticed the dark clothed figure of Zero pass by the white stone of the statue and the orc licked its lips.

[Balefire Curse]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 19 vs Zero’s Will (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+8: 13] plus [Ongoing 10 psychic damage]

The bolt struck Zero on his right shoulder, spreading a green flame up to his neck that caused the rogue to cry out in alarm. The flame seemed to grow too quickly, burning where there was no fuel, growing in shape and size until it sprouted wings that beat against the rogue’s face in a wave of heat.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin frowned slightly, concern that the group may have bitten off more than it can chew this time gnawing at his concentration. The dwarf quickly dismissed the doubts and hurried into the melee full pelt.

[Move: NW, N, N, N]

As he ran past the crows he uttered a prayer to Moradin and the craghammer began to feel heavy in his hands.

[Vanguard Craghammer]

As he charged back towards the fray he swung his hammer at the nearest opponent…

[Charge]

[Charge: NE, NE]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #01: 1d20+10+1: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10r2+7: 14] plus [1d8: 7 charge damage] and [Bloodied]

[Allies gain +1 to attack and +3 to damage rolls against all enemies until the start of Khalin’s next turn]

The heavy hammer slammed into the orc, almost sending it sprawling, instead slamming it into the gnarled tree at its back.

[Action Point]

Late to the fray he may have been, but the warlord wasted no time following up his initial strike with a second swing, raising his shield to protect his comrades as he did so.

[Shielded Assault]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #01: 1d20+10: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10r2+7: 23] and [Dead]

[+2 AC to self and adjacent allies until end of next turn]

As the hammer struck the orc it crushed it against the tree, snapping off a branch in a great crack and sending the orc sprawling to the floor where it did not get up.

Combat
Heretic #03

At the far side of the battlefield, beyond the stone face, the orc behind the tree casually slipped out from its hiding place with its crossbow before it. It moved swifty and surely towards the melee, looking for an opening to shoot.

[Move: SW, S, S, S, S, S]

With the main combatants to choose from it chose the one that had just struck down one of its comrades, pulverising it against a tree. Better to pick off the strong ones quickly. It whispered a curse and let fly with its green-flamed bolt.

[Balefire Curse]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 17 vs Khalin’s Will (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+8: 12] plus [Ongoing 10 psychic damage]

The orc’s aim was true, the bolt whistling across the hill leaving a green trail. It skimmed past the warlord’s outraised shield and struck him on the arm. His

Combat
Orcs

More of the brutish orcs appeared at the rim of the mouth, spewing out like vomit and scrambling up and onto the lips of the white stone. They drew handaxes as they reached the top and listened to barking orders from the crossbow-wielding orcs that seemed to be controlling the battlefield.

[Orc #09 - Move: SW, S, S, S]

[Orc #10 - Move: SW, SW, SW, SW]

[Orc #11 - Move: W, SW, SW, SW]

[Orc #12 - Move: SE, SE, S, S]

They split east and west, coming around in two steady arcs to cut off the fighters now engaged in the central melee.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Green flames continued to lap around Tradden’s cloak and arm, a harsh pain growing every moment.

[Heretic #01: Ongoing Fire Damage]

[Tradden takes 5 ongoing fire damage]

Surrounded. This was, in Tradden’s experience, nothing new. In fact, he felt relatively comfortable with it these days, especially when someone had his back, as Beltak and Khalin did now.

Time for some theatrics.

The orcs around the tall human saw his footwork fail him and watched him fall against the statue, face first, one arm curled above his head supporting him, his swords useless and his vulnerable back exposed. It was too good an opportunity to miss. They surged forwards.

Too late they saw the wicked grin shine out of the semi-dark of the shadow cast under the fighter’s arm. Pushing back against the rock the human sprung back out again.

[Shift: E]

As he moved and the orcs closed in, his long, icy sword carved out a diagonal line of frosty death.

[Come And Get It!]

[Close Burst 3] with [Damage: 1d8+3: 11]

[Burst Attack vs Shadowblade #02’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 30] - hits!

[Pull: SE] and [Damage: 11] and [Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #06’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 11] and [Dead]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #05’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 28] - hits!

[Damage: 11] and [Dead]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #04’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 18] - hits!

[Damage: 11] and [Dead]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #08’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 29] - hits!

[Pull: SW, SW] and [Damage: 11] and [Dead]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #09’s Will: 1d20+12+1: 24] - hits!

[Cannot Pull] and [Marked]

It was a feint and riposte to be proud of — four of the nearest orcs were killed outright and the larger one had a new, slimmer look. One lucky orc has been simply too slow to react properly but was now howling with rage.

‘One of those guys owed you money, eh?’ taunted Tradden. ‘No worries, my friend, you can go chase that debt personally soon!’

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20+1: 4] - failure!

His work done for now, Tradden remembered about the flames still lapping around him, but try as he might he couldn’t flap them out and they threatened to engulf him if not checked!

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Amazed at Tradden’s feint and lunge, Beltak backed off, hoping to finish the bleeding orc before it and help the young fighter at the same time.

[Shift: S]

Uttering another soft prayer the scribe held out his holy symbol and the light of Pelor pulsed outwards once more, covering the orc in an intense glow and surrounding Tradden with a halo.

[Sacred Flame]

[Primary Attack vs Shadowblade #02’s Reflex: 1d20+8+1: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+5+3: 11] and [Dead]

[Tradden can make a saving throw]

The orc slumped against the broken statue, life finally snuffed out from its eyes.

Tradden, however, felt a surge of warmth and energy.

[Tradden: Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20+1: 10] - success!

The flames on Tradden’s cloak spluttered out, much to the young fighter’s relief. Beltak, however, continued his prayers, calling on Pelor to strengthen Tradden’s arm with the glory of His light.

[Healing Word]

[Tradden spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+15+4: 25 hit points]

The light washed over Tradden and the pain from the burns from the green flame subsided into a dull ache.

Combat
Murder of Crows

As Zero headed northwards towards the face in the hill, whistling softly to himself at Tradden’s swordplay, the crows cried out, swirling together and altered their course.

They were swift, moving together in an endless swarm of beak and claw. Within moments they caught up with and enveloped the rogue.

[Move: NE, N, N]

They flocked around his head, scratching with their claws, biting with their beaks, catching in his cloak and hood and sleeves. They were all over him and began to peck at his eyes.

[Murderous Darkness]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9: 27 vs Zero’s AC (19)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 5] and [Blinded]

Zero’s eyes stung as he flapped his own arms in attempt to ward off the birds. They pulled at his hair and kept their beaks and claws tearing at his vision. He couldn’t see any more, and the world went dark, his ears assaulted with the sound of the crows’ call.

Combat
Heretic #01

The orc settled in the bush to the northwest had finally found its composure after its tumble down the hill.

It plotted its revenge carefully, slipping slowly forwards through the bush, hoping to keep some form of cover and yet get a better sight on its target.

[Move: SE, S]

It spent a moment levelling its crossbow at Kireth’s head, its finger cocked over the trigger. It then hissed, as if with some regret, and lowered its sights a little and off to the side, its aim centred upon Kireth’s left arm.

It squeezed the trigger as it uttered a sharp curse.

[Balefire Curse]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 20 vs Kireth’s Will (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+8: 14] plus [Ongoing 10 psychic damage]

Kireth felt a sharp pain in his forearm and looked down. His arm was alight with a searing green flame, the flickering edges rampant upon his robes. It began to spread quickly and he feared it would engulf him within moments.

Combat
Kireth Majere

The flames on Kireth’s sleeve began to intensify, leaping up and dancing across his chest. He found it hard to breathe and panic set in.

[Heretic #01: Ongoing Psychic Damage]

[Kireth takes 10 ongoing psychic damage] and [Bloodied]

The pain was excruciating, more than he could bear. Instinctive he flailed it around and patted the flame frantically with his other arm.

The pain fuelled his anger. Where were his so called comrades? Why were they not aiding him? He had seen the dwarf, the so called compassionate leader, aid his fellows in prior encounters and yet in this and their previous battle he had not helped Kireth, even though in the last few moments Kireth knew he had opportunity to do so. And Beltak, so busy trying to ingratiate himself with the fighters, useless imbecile.

‘Beltak!’ he screamed, ‘assist me!’

Kireth had no time to wait and see if the cleric could be bothered to tear himself away from his new best friends, the crossbow-wielding foe was no doubt reloading his weapon already. Through the pain Kireth called upon his powers of the mind to aid him.

[Nightmare Eruption]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01’s Will: 1d20+9+1: 11] - critical miss!

Through the pain and confusion of the orc’s flames, however, the power would not spring to his lips and the spell faded as quickly as it came.

Indignatly he strode forwards to the fighters, anger in his eyes.

[Move: N, NW, NW, NW, NW, N]

As he walked he tried to calm his mind and push away the orc’s power over him.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Psychic Damage: 1d20: 10] - success!

The flames died to a flicker and then to nothing and the pain, but not the anger, subsided.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero was surrounded by a cacophony of noise, a pain in his eyes where the birds were pecking, and the sharp taste of pain on his right shoulder and neck where the green flames spread and licked their rasping tongues against him.

[Heretic #02: Ongoing Psychic Damage]

[Zero takes 10 ongoing psychic damage] and [Bloodied]

The pecking and clutching with claws at Zero’s face continued despite the flame.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Zero takes 5 damage]

There were no words from within the black swirl of birds, no cries, and no shouts. But inside the tumult of beak and claw Zero began to panic. He couldn’t see and began to fitfully thrash, hoping to wallop the vicious crows with the end of his crossbow and at least lessen the terrible assault, and at the same time trying to bat out the green flames.

Yet, in spite of his dire predicament, the plucky rogue still fought to make it toward the mouth, stumbling in what he hoped was the right direction.

[Perception Check: 1d20+11-10: 16] - success!

Even through the cacophony of birds he could hear the clash of battle, and headed towards that whilst flailing around with his crossbow.

[Move: NW, …] - interrupted!

As he moved the birds rose and swelled darting back at him, tearing at his clothes and hair.

[Murder of Crows: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+9+2: 25 vs Zero’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 7]

Zero kept on going, though, breaking out of the churning mass and staggering blindly towards the mouth.

[Move: …, NW, NW, NW, …] - interrupted!

However, orcs had closed in since Zero had last seen the battlefield clearly and as he staggered past one it gleefully swung its axe at the rogue’s back.

[Orc #09: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+12+2-2: 23 vs Zero’s AC (19)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

The rogue reeled with the blow and staggered onwards, feeling his footing reach the stone face.

[Move: …, NW]

It was only at the last moment, as his front foot felt just air, that he stopped, teetering on the edge of abyss, unable to see, and now very afraid of the position he had put himself in.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Psychic Damage: 1d20+1: 11] - success!

A moment’s calm passed over him on that brink, his mind clearing and the flames subsiding. He tried to steady his nerves and will his eyes to see.

Combat
Heretic #02

Seeing the rogue stagger to the brink of the mouth the orc in the hollow of the face’s eye jumped up and began scampering off to the west over the bridge of the nose.

[Move: SW, W, W, W, W, W]

It planted its feet firmly in the ground and then raised its crossbow, taking a shot at the tall fighter stood atop the fallen orcs.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 17 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - misses!

The bolt flew wide, however, Tradden easily weaving to one side as it whistled past harmlessly.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

The rush of adrenaline from Khalin’s charge started to seep away as the green flame from the orc’s bolt began to spread and burn at the warlord’s skin.

[Heretic #03: Ongoing Psychic Damage]

[Khalin takes 10 ongoing psychic damage]

Khalin glanced at the cloud of crows that had tormented Zero. Would a swinging craghammer have much effect he mused?

[Nature Check: 1d20+3: 23] - critical success!

The carrion squawked and flapped in contempt, and the dwarf figured it would be difficult to land a clean blow.

Kireth was looking unusually flustered but looked like he’d go another round for now. He might still need mothering but Zero was in a bad way. The battle could turn on the next few moments.

The warlord’s voice rang out in clear tones above the melee: ‘Rise, comrades! The Krakens may fall, but it shall not be on this day!’

[Stand Tough]

[Khalin gains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Kireth gains 10+3: 13 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

[Tradden gains 10+3: 13 hit points]

[Zero gains 10+3: 13 hit points]

‘Zero, mind the hole, lad!’ the dwarf yelled as he saw the rogue teetering near the abyss. ‘Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them!’ he added, hoping the rogue might also make light of his current predicament. ‘Just don’t go any further forward!’

[Inspiring Word]

[Zero spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+13: 25 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Zero receives +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

[Zero is no longer Bloodied]

With that he turned to Beltak: ‘Look after Kireth, I’m going after those orcs.’

Leaving the nearest for Tradden, Khalin charged at another…

[Charge]

[Charge: NW, NW, NW]

[Primary Attack vs Orc #10: 1d20+10+1: 19] - misses!

The dwarf cursed as his opponent deflected the blow. He would have to be content with trying to keep the trio of greenskins occupied while Zero recovered.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Psychic Damage: 1d20: 11] - success!

Still, his effort and resolve had dispatched the eldritch flames that had licked at his hammer arm. All was not yet lost!

Combat
Heretic #03

The lithe orc from the north continued to scamper south, heading for the erect statue.

[Move: SW, S, S, S, S, S]

It drew a crossbow bolt as it ran, slotting it into place. As it reached the statue it turned quickly, whispering over the bolt and firing in Zero’s direction.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+2: 15 vs Zero’s Reflex (20)] - misses!

The confusion of Khalin’s cries and charge interrupted the orc’s concentration, however, and the bolt was wayward.

Combat
Orcs

The two orcs closest to Khalin snarled at the dwarf, swinging their axes eagerly to taste some flesh.

[Orc #09: Melee Basic Attack - Axe]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12-2: 28 vs Khalin’s AC (22+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

[Orc #10: Melee Basic Attack - Axe]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 25 vs Khalin’s AC (22+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

Both axes crashed past Khalin’s shield, pushing the dwarf backwards for a dizzying moment.

The other pair of orcs, separated by the white face, nodded at each other and charged at Zero.

[Orc #11: Charge - Axe]

[Charge: E, E, E]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+2+1: 25 vs Zero’s AC (19+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

[Orc #12: Charge - Axe]

[Charge: NW, W]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+2+1: 23 vs Zero’s AC (19+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

Zero felt the find go out of him and a sharp pain down his arm as the orcs buffeted into him. He just managed to get some semblance of protection as he heard them clatter across the white stone.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Things were getting critical. Especially for Zero it seemed. Tradden couldn’t have that — not only was the rogue his friend but he also cooked a mean breakfast and he would be damned if he was going to have toast prepared by Kireth. It would probably taste greeny-purple.

[Move: NE, N, N]

Surging forward he yelled a warning to his fellow human: ‘Duck!’

[Cleave]

[Primary Attack vs Orc #12: 1d20+12: 17] - misses!

In retrospect the warning was a bit daft as not only did it warn Zero it also gave the move away to the two orcs who shimmied down in unison with the rogue, the icy blade cutting through the air above them harmlessly.

[Action Point]

[Tradden uses Khalin’s Bravura Presence]

Tradden could only hope that it was enough to put them off a little as he was already on the move towards the nearest crossbow wielding orc who had also been taking pot shots at Zero.

[Charge - Frost Longsword]

[Charge: SE, …] - interrupted!

As the young fighter turned to charge off to the east the two orcs returned blows of their own.

[Orc #11: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+12: 31 vs Tradden’s AC (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

[Orc #12: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+12: 26 vs Tradden’s AC (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

Both axes cut across Tradden’s back, but did not deter the young fighter.

[Charge - Frost Longsword]

[Charge: …, E, E, E, E]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03: 1d20+12+1: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 15] and [Marked]

Tradden slammed into the orc hiding behind the statue, but as he prepared to swing once more, buoyed by Khalin’s roar of approval, the orc stared back with large black eyes and disappeared.

[Heretic #03: Balefire Escape]

[Teleport: S, S, SW, SW, SW]

It reappeared in a flash of green flame further to Tradden’s south.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak took a long look at Kireth. The mage looked to have recovered some of his strength and had the familiar fire in his eyes. For now, at least, the mage would live to pour his own sense of power across the battlefield. Beltak had to make plans of his own.

Zero was in a precarious position, so the scribe moved forwards, calling to Kireth to follow him.

[Move: NE, N, N]

The scribe began to chant as he moved, pulling forth his symbol. As he stopped short of the orcs a burst of light exploded outwards in a circle, covering the orcs and Zero and washing back over Kireth and the screaming crows.

[Beacon of Hope]

[Close Burst 3]

[Close Attack vs Orc #12’s Will: 1d20+8: 21] - hits!

[Weakened until end of next turn]

[Close Attack vs Orc #11’s Will: 1d20+8: 28] - critical hit!

[Weakened until end of next turn]

[Close Attack vs Orc #09’s Will: 1d20+8: 20] - hits!

[Weakened until end of next turn]

[Close Attack vs Murder of Crows’ Will: 1d20+8-2: 24] - hits!

[Weakened until end of next turn]

[Kireth regains 5 hit points]

[Zero regains 5 hit points]

[Healing powers for Beltak provide additional 5 hit points healing]

The orcs looked visibly drained by the light, but Kireth and Zero felt a renewed energy.

Beltak looked back over his shoulder at the mage and then back towards Zero, seeming to make a decision.

[Action Point]

[Beltak uses Khalin’s Bravura Presence]

[Beltak can take extra attack, if hits can move]

With his holy symbol still stretched out before him, Beltak mouthed another prayer and a burst of light broke out towards Zero.

[Light of Arvandor]

[Burst 1 centred on Zero] with [Damage: 1d8+5: 6]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #11’s Will: 1d20+8: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 6] and [Dead]

[Burst Attack vs Orc #12’s Will: 1d20+8: 20] - hits!

[Damage: 6] and [Dead]

[Zero gains +2 AC until end of Beltak’s next turn]

The strands of light cut straight through the orcs and they fell backwards, almost tumbling into the abyss. Zero could feel them fall and a wave of relief passed over him.

Beltak backed off, moving back towards Kireth to protect the mage.

[Move: S, SW]

Content with his position, Beltak thrust out his shield in the direction of the crows.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The crows wheeled and turned, cawing and screeching, searching with their black, beady eyes for their target. The flocked to the north, moving around the broken statue and heading towards the white stone face.

[Fly: N, N, NE, …] - interrupted!

The birds ignored Khalin, but the dwarf could not ignore them. They swarmed over his head, pecking, biting and clawing as they went. The dwarf swung out with his hammer almost by reflex, hoping to beat them away.

[Khalin: Opportunity Attack - Craghammer]

[Opportunity Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+10: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10r2+7: 13]

[Damage reduced to 6 due to resistance]

The warlord squished a couple of birds, but most escaped in a flurry of feathers, the flock kept moving.

[Fly: …, NE, NE, E]

The birds settled over Zero just as the rogue’s sight began to clear

Zero could see himself staring into a dark abyss, perhaps fifty or more feet to the bottom where the rogue could swear he saw the glints of sharp spikes. His enlightened view was disturbed as the brids swarmed all around him once more and resumed their incessant chattering and volleys of sharp pecks at his eyes.

[Murderous Darkness]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9: 24 vs Zero’s AC (19+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 5] and [Blinded]

[Damage reduced to 2 due to Weakened]

Try as he might he could not protect his face enough to stop the birds getting through and the swift glimpse of light disappeared once again.

Combat
Heretic #01

The orc in the bush sprinted out from its cover, skirting the edge of the rise to get around the south of Kireth and Beltak.

[Move: SE, SE, E, SE, SE, SE]

Its crossbow levelled at the scribe, and it let fly with another green-streaked flame.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 25 vs Beltak’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 13 fire damage] and [Ongoing 5 fire damage (Save Ends)]

The bolt struck Beltak in the thigh and the now-familiar green flame began to spread rapidly up his legs.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Was the battle going their way? It was hard to tell but it sure didn’t feel like it.

The cursed bolt slammed into Beltak’s leg and the priest let out a scream. Kireth considered fending for himself, it is what Khalin would do and seemed to be serving the dwarf well. No, despite instincts to the contrary he had a strange compulsion to help the priest.

The enemy was moving from cover to cover causing mayhem with that damn crossbow. ‘Let us see if I cannot slow you down some.’

[Shadow Claws]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01’s Fortitude: 1d20+5: 16] - misses!

[If Heretic #01 moves during next turn it will take 2+4: 6 cold damage]

Wisps of shadow stretched up from the ground beneath the orc’s feet, but were thin and pale against the orc’s legs. Kireth scowled as the shadows refused to respond to his call and did not clutch and tear at the thing’s legs.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

The birds continued to peck and scratch with their claws at Zero’s face, pushing the rogue ever so slowly towards the gaping void before him.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Zero takes 5 damage]

This wasn’t quite the heroic endeavour Zero had envisaged. Assaulted by crows and with no more orcs coming up to cut the ropes on, Zero abandoned his plan and felt out one of the ropes.

[Perception Check: 1d20+11-10: 12] - success!

He batted several of his black tormentors away as he searched for one of the hooks, finding a rope still attached with his hands. Blinded, and still unsure, he swiftly hopped over the lip of the gaping maw and, praying this would end the vicious pecking, slid down into the abyss.

[Move: N, …] - interrupted!

As he threw himself into the void the birds swarmed, calling out with high pitched screeches, and tore at his skin and face with renewed vigour.

[Murder of Crows: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+9+2: 31 vs Zero’s Reflex (20)] - critical hit!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 7]

[Damage reduced to 3 due to Weakened]

They tore at his hair and his eyes, drawing a thin line of blood down the rogue’s cheek as he continued his descent.

[Acrobatics Check: 1d20+6: 19] - success!

[Move: …, D, D, …]

Hoping that he’d find some foothold before the rope ran out and that the crows didn’t follow the rogue slowly shimmied down into the depths.

[Zero is Removed from Play]

The rogue disappeared into the darkness and the rope went slack.

Combat
Heretic #02

The orc in to the north slid quickly across the ground and mounted the white face, straddling the nose with its legs.

[Move: E, E, E, E, E]

It licked its lips as it raised its crossbow, picking out the mage in the centre of the melee. The mage, for all its bluster, was weakening, and the orc took advantage.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 19 vs Kireth’s Reflex (18)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 7 fire damage] and [Ongoing 5 fire damage (Save Ends)]

This bolt struck Kireth in the shoulder, just as he had completed his spell against the other orc. The mage let out an angry grunt and his face reddened as the pain leapt up from the green fire.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

‘Zero! No!’ yelled Khalin as the blinded rogue inexplicably descended into the “mouth”, but it was too late. Whether Zero had been compelled by some orc magic or was simply seeking refuge from the crows was not apparent, but there was little the warlord and his friends could do for him for now. Whispering a prayer that Moradin might guide his descent, Khalin turned back to the battle.

Khalin was relieved to see Beltak had stayed back near Kireth, with Zero’s foray forwards it had become difficult to protect both of his comrades effectively, but the scribe had stepped into the breach admirably once more. ‘We’ll make a warrior out of you yet,’ the dwarf muttered as he scanned for his next opponent.

He needn’t look far, a pair of orcs were still hissing at him nearby. He swung at the weaker of the duo…

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Orc #09: 1d20+10: 30] - critical hit!

[Damage: 1d10r2+7: 17] plus [2d8: 7 critical damage] plus [1d6: 1 flame bracer fire damage] and [Dead]

Aecris struck sweetly, the creature’s skull fractured with a satisfying crack and it slumped to the floor. Khalin grinned with satisfaction through the red mist of battle and turned to taunt its ally.

‘Kireth!’ he called, ‘these greenies go down easy, their master must be an amateur! Show them what a real mage is capable of!’

[Inspiring Word]

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+12: 20 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Kireth receives +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

The warlord sneered almost derisively at the remaining orc minion, and instead turned towards the menacing cloud of crows massed at the mouth nearby. His orders rang out in a clear voice across the melee:

‘Beltak! Show this one your wrath,’ he called to the scribe, indicating the orc with his hammer as he turned away. ‘Tradden! The archer to the south! Kireth, you’ve got the archer to your west!"

With that he hurried towards the crows lest they follow Zero into the depths below.

[Move: E, …] - interrupted!

As the dwarf moved off the orc swung its axe at his retreating back.

[Orc #10: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+12: 24 vs Khalin’s AC (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 6]

The axe stung, but it did not stop Khalin moving away.

[Move: …, E]

The dwarf ended up facing the flurry of birds as they whirled around the edge of the mouth, already biting and pecking at him.

Combat
Heretic #03

The orc with the crossbow, seemingly appearing from nowhere, continued to move, stepping lightly towards the southern end of the hill.

[Move: SW, SW, SW, SW]

It kept its crossbow levelled at the mage as it ran, taking the shot as it finally came to a standstill.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11-2: 25 vs Kireth’s Reflex (18)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 12 fire damage]

Another flaming bolt struck the mage, spreading the green flames further and further up towards his face.

Combat
Orcs

The remaining orc snarled at the retreating dwarf, enraged by the warlord’s taunts, charging at him with its axe held high.

[Charge]

[Charge: E, SE]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+1: 32 vs Khalin’s AC (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 6] and [Bloodied]

The bulk of the orc crushed Khalin back a little, knocking the wind out of him.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

‘Z?’ enquired Tradden as he saw the rogue either fall or jump down the mouth. He didn’t have time to do much else, however, as the direction from Khalin had him charging off towards the nearest orc.

[Move: W, SW, S, S, SW, S]

He put out his swords as he moved and charged.

[Charge]

[Charge: SW, SW, SW]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03: 1d20+12+1: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 8] and [Marked]

Tradden was sure he had nicked the orc but once again it stared at him with perfect black orbs of eyes and then blinked out of existence. Suddenly the warrior was fighting thin air.

[Heretic #03: Balefire Escape]

[Teleport: NE, NE, NE, NE, NE]

Where had the fiend gone? The question was answered seconds later as the fighter heard the distinctive sound of a crossbow being drawn, somewhere behind him…

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak saw the orc Khalin had pointed out charge into the dwarf, but was distracted a moment by the green flame that was rapidly spreading over his body.

[Heretic #01: Ongoing Fire Damage]

[Beltak takes 5 ongoing fire damage]

Patting out the flames the best he could he thought about how best to help the warlord. Seeming to come to a decision he strode forwards, holy symbol outstretched.

[Move: N, N]

As he neared the orc a flash of light spread out in a circle around him, scattering both the crows and ruffling the orc’s leathers.

[Solar Enemy]

[Close Burst 2 centered on Beltak]

[Murder of Crows gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

[Orc #10 gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

The orc laughed as the light appeared to have no effect, but Beltak did not seem to be finished. He continued his chants and a crackling web of energy stretched out ten feet in all directions around him, sparking and glowing.

[Consecreated Ground]

[Close Burst 1 centered on Beltak]

[Enemies starting their turn in burst take 1d6+3 radiant damage]

[Allies starting their turn in burst regain 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

With his feet set and a long stare at the orc in front, he turned briefly to the green flames.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20+1: 13] - success!

After a few moments the flames died down and Beltak looked back at the orc, awiting its fate.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The crows wheeled and circled above the blackness of the mouth, screeching at their lost prey below. Scattered by Beltak’s wind they soon reformed and began to seek out a new target.

[Fly: SW, …] - interrupted!

They swarmed over Khalin, allowing the warlord to swipe at them with his hammer.

[Khalin: Opportunity Attack - Craghammer]

[Opportunity Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+10: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d10r2+7: 17]

[Damage reduced to 8 due to resistance]

Khalin swung hard, but the birds simply dodged out of his way. He caught a couple of the wing, felling them, but the swarm kept on moving.

[Fly: …, S] - interrupted!

The birds consumed Khalin, those outside of the swarm could not see the dwarf, and within moments they had Beltak within their heart as well. The scribe managed a last swing at the birds before he too descended into darkness.

[Beltak: Opportunity Attack - Mace]

[Opportunity Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+6: 25] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+1: 4]

[Damage reduced to 2 due to resistance]

Beltak managed to splatter one of the black birds but there were far too many.

With high-pitched calls the birds began to cyclone around Khalin’s head, biting, pecking, and scratching wherever they could find purchase.

[Murderous Darkness]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9: 25 vs Khalin’s AC (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 6] and [Blinded]

The world went black for the dwarf as pain and tears fled to his eyes.

Combat
Heretic #01

The heretic started to back off from Kireth, wary of the shadows that softly clutched its legs.

[Move: NW, …] - interrupted!

As it moved backwards the shadows grasped tightly, chilling the orc’s legs with an unnatural power.

[Shadow Claws]

[Heretic #01 takes 2+4: 6 cold damage]

It gingerly continued to creep backwards whilst raising its crossbow.

[Move: …, NW, W]

Free from the shackles of Kireth’s spell it pointed the crossbow at the mage in retaliation and let fly.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 17 vs Kireth’s Reflex (18)] - misses!

This time, however, the bolt sailed wide and it was Kireth’s turn to smile.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Flames continued to spread around Kireth, their green tinge reflected in the mage’s white face.

[Heretic #03: Ongoing Fire Damage]

[Kireth takes 5 ongoing fire damage]

Kireth had once seen a human festival where a bull had been baited in a circled arena and struck by men with short javelins. He had considered it barbaric at the time but only now did he feel true empathy for the bull. How many more of these bolts would he have to pluck from his torso? How many more could he take?

And now, when he needed them at full strength, his powers seemed to be failing him. The summoned shadows were testament to that. ‘If you will not aid me,’ he whispered to the unseen one, ‘then I shall do it without you.’ The staff leveled at the crossbow wielding menace and responded ever obediently to the mage’s wishes.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7]

The force bolt smashed against the orc’s chest, the pale energy reflected starkly in the creature’s widening black eyes.

Kireth steeled himself against the fire, wrapping his robes tighter around him and patting out the flames.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Fire Damage: 1d20: 10] - success!

The flames died down and Kireth could concentrate once more.

Combat
Heretic #02

The uninjured orc, straddled across the nose of the white stone face couldn’t see most of the battle  — the crows blocked most of its view of the other combatants.

It skipped down off the nose, heading across to the west to get a better line of sight.

[Move: W, W, W, W, W, W]

It grunted as it still couldn’s see much, the crows still flocking around in a dark cloud, and then the broken statue giving the mage some cover. It moved again.

[Move: SW, SW, SW, SW, SW, SW]

It scampered towards the bush, trying to get some cover of its own, hoping that it would get a clean shot at the next opportunity.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

The crows attacked the warlord’s face with ferocity, ignoring his helm and shield, ducking within his defences easily as the blinded dwarf was helpless to their attacks.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Khalin takes 5 damage]

Khalin couldn’t see, but he felt the radiant warmth of one of Beltak’s prayers cling to his legs and bestow him the energy he needed to help fight in the darkness.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

Khalin shrugged his arms and neck down into his armor to try gain some extra protection against the pecking of the birds.

[Dwarven Scale Armour]

[Khalin regains 14 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

The metal armor indeed provided some cover. Khalin scrunched his eyes shut and yelled, but he couldn’t see his comrades to direct their strike. No matter, the warlord swung blindly at the mass of birds once more, hoping Moradin might be his eyes and guide the craghammer true.

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+10-5: 14] - misses!

The swing drew feathers from the birds as they darted to avoid the weapon, but the strike did not make contact with anything other than air, almost toppling the dwarf over.

Combat
Heretic #03

The orc that had been struck by Tradden and had flickered out of sight before returning to the southeast quickly moved further away from the fighter, rounding the statue.

[Move: NE, NE, N, N, N, N]

It took stock of the situation and then aimed its crossbow at Kireth, the mage likely to be the most powerful of the opponents.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11-2: 13 vs Kireth’s Reflex (18)] - misses!

Again the bolt whizzed past Kireth’s shoulder, drawing a confident smile from the mage.

Combat
Orcs

The last of the brutish orcs started forwards towards Beltak, but the web of glittering strands held it firm. They crackled up around its thighs, burning and searing its flesh.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Orc #10 takes 1d6+3: 9 radiant damage] plus [5 vulnerable radiant damage] and [Dead]

Its legs gave way and the orc fell to the ground, covered in the sparking and searing web of light.

As the creature fell, distant shouts echoing around the mouth drifted upwards — barked orders, perhaps, a fluttering of Common directing something to get up the ropes.

Menacingly, the grappling hooks that could be seen began to twitch, as though something else was climbing up.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

So, four vs three-and-some-birds. The odds would not have been so bad but for the tell-tale twitching of the ropes and the angry sounding voices coming from the black hole.

[Perception Check: 1d20+5: 16] - success!

Strange — the voices did not speak typical orc. It seemed more like common, albeit any accent was lost at this distance and with the cawing of the nearby flock currently pecking at Khalin and Beltak. There was a definite cry of “Go on, then, get up there!”. Ultimately, pondered Tradden, he couldn’t do anything about an enemy that hadn’t arrived yet but he could do something about the ones that were already here. These crossbow wielding orcs were proving problematic — running around taking a nick out of each in turn wasn’t going to work.

‘Focus on one of these crossbowmen at a time!’ yelled Tradden, striding towards the nearest and most wounded looking. The orc was frantically trying to re-load its weapon, looking up at the advancing human through its black eyes and then down to his bow rapidly. Each time it looked up the human was nearer.

[Move: NW, NW, NW, NW, NW, W]

The orc’s time ran out — the human’s long blade was arcing towards its head.

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01: 1d20+12: 17] - misses!

[Marked]

[Heretic #01: Balefire Escape]

[Teleport: SE, SE, SE, SE, SE]

Once again, the orc disappeared, its head suddenly sticking out of bush further down the slope. In doing so the orc neatly avoided what would otherwise have been a spectacular shepherding move which no doubt would have had it dodging in the entirely wrong direction. As it was the human’s attack simply looked like an over-complicated figure of eight in the air.

‘Hmm,’ mused Tradden. ‘These fellas can’t be doing this all day — hit this one!’

The orc in the bush looked up. Tradden could have sworn he heard it say, ‘Uh, oh…’

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak was blinded within the crows’ embrace. They beaks and claws scratched at his head and face as he tried to fend them off.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Beltak takes 5 damage]

The scribe took heart at the glowing strands of divine energy below him, however, basking in the glow of the light of Pelor.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Beltak regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

It refreshed him somewhat, giving him the strength to continue his prayers and sustain the crackling web below him.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone remains centered at AA20]

Although he could not see for the mass of birds and that attempting to stand still and pray for all his might would only give the birds further opportunity to strike and peck at him, he understood it was the only way Pelor’s gifts could assist him. He began a familair prayer…

[Lance of Faith]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows’s Reflex: 1d20+8-5: …] - interrupted!

As he stood the crows took their chance, whirling around his arms and unprotected face, darting in and striking quickly with sharp beaks and razor claws.

[Murder of Crows: Opportunity Attack]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+9+2: 20 vs Beltak’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 5] and [Blinded]

Thin traces of blood speckled from the corners of Beltak’s eyes, but it did not deter the priest. He continued his prayes and a searing light arrowed from his holy symbol through the mass of black feathers.

[Lance of Faith]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows’s Reflex: 1d20+8-5: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 11] plus [5 radiant vulnerability damage]

[Damage reduced to 8 due to resistance]

It did not catch all of the birds, merely those in the line of the radiant light at the time, but Beltak could tell through the calls and cries of the birds that he had hurt them. He softly prayed to Pelor once more to aid him.

[Symbol of Divinity]

[Beltak gains ine additional use of Channel Divinity this encounter]

His symbol began to glow a soft yellow before returning to its normal state. Beltak managed to get his shield and arm around his head to try to prevent the birds from further mischief.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The crows circled around the scribe and the dwarf with carefree abandon. They struck where they could, blinding and wearing those within their cloud down slowly. However, the crackling web of searing light on the ground around Beltak began to reach up with golden tendrils, snapping at the birds like lightning.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Murder of Crows takes 1d6+3: 9 radiant damage] and [Bloodied]

A crow fell, then another, and then there was a scattering of feathers as the whirling cloud of beak and claw dissipated in an instant — the remaining birds taking flight to all corners of the hill, circling high above the trees to gather their strength once more.

[Scattering of Feathers]

[Murder of Crows is Removed from Play]

It brought sharp relief to those below. The cacophony of screeching and incessant cawing stopped and the hill became silent. An echoing thud of something far down in the abyss below was almost the only noise.

Combat
Heretic #01

From within the bush to the south the heretic looked on with cold black eyes. It seemed unpeturbed the birds had left and continued to level its crossbow at the mage.

[Ranged Basic Attack - Balefire Crossbow]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11-2: 14 vs Kireth’s Reflex (18)] - misses!

Again the bolt flew wide, as though the mage had cast some form of protection around himself. The heretic showed no signs of displeasure or emotion, simply loading another bolt and making itself ready for the next opportunity.

Combat
Kireth Majere

‘I’ll give him a “one” for persistence,’ thought the mage as he narrowly avoided yet another bolt. The half-elf would certainly return the compliment in kind but first, considering how fine a line they were treading, he felt a defensive measure was in order.

Keeping one eye on his foe, Kireth scampered towards the safety of the group.

[Move: N, N, N]

Now alongside his comrades and much less exposed he wheeled around and considered the options. A sure hit with the expected outcome or a gamble with a chance to inflict more damage upon his enemy? Now was not yet the time to gamble he he decided.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7] and [Bloodied]

The bolt shattered against the orc’s head knocking it back and down into the bush.

It disappeared for a moment, but when its head rose back above the leaves even Kireth gasped. Most of its face had been obliterated, far more than Kireth had though possible with the simple force missile he had conjured. Where white bony skull should be there was only black — a sickeningly familiar glistening black, the black of its orb like eyes that had stared impassively at them throughout the battle.

The remaining orcs also began to fall, writhing upon the floor where they had stood, black pulsing flesh bursting out of their skin until they were strong enough to stand once more.

It had only taken moments from when Kireth’s bolt had struck the orc, but now all three stood facing them, in a triangle around them, hands free of the crossbows they once held, and beginning to close in slowly and surely.

Combat
Heretic #02

The black humanoid mass, formerly of orc build, moved silently but quickly, much quicker than it had done as the flesh and blood orc before. It covered the ground directly towards Khalin at speed, almost seeming to brush through the bush and the white stone of the face without noticing it was there.

[Move: E, E, E, E, E, E]

The crackling web of energy seem to hold no fear for the thing and it launched itself at the dwarf with outstretched arms, the inky blackness seeming to cover the dwarf.

[Charge - Touch of Insanity]

[Charge: E, E, E]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+1-2: 28 vs Khalin’s Fortitude (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 14] and [Bloodied]

The claws of the creature cut at the dwarf’s face, rivulets of blood streaming from Khalin’s eyes and clouding his vision. For a moment the warlord turned, looking like he was about to strike out blindly at Kireth or Beltak, but seemed to recover and hold his line.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

As quickly as the blood streamed down from Khalin’s eyes the crackling web of energy by his feet grew warm and comforting, stemming his injuries and giving him the strength to fight back.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

Khalin had barely sighed with relief at the respite from the crows than a disturbingly familiar looking monstrosity was assailing him. Shrugging the creature away and ignoring the new wave of pain it had wrought, the warlord whirled on the black mass, using his momentum to give power to the strike…

[Warlord’s Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+10: 11] - critical miss!

The swing was rushed and hopelessly wide of the mark, however, the dwarf barely keeping his feet as he almost tumbled over. The warlord unleashed a mighty roar of anger and frustration as he fought to regain his balance and composure.

[Dwarven Resilience]

[Khalin spends a Healing Surge and regains 14 hit points]

[Khalin gains +2 to all defences until start of next turn]

His feet finally set again beneath him, the dwarf regarded the vile abomination with a snarl, and braced for its next attack.

Combat
Heretic #03

From the east, by the erect statue, the last of the writhing black creatures cast away its orc skin and covered the ground to the melee with unnearthly speed.

[Move: W, W, SW, W, W, W, SW]

As it approached it brought with it a cold air, chill in the morning sunlight. It was if a blanket of grey had been stretched over those near the face, a sense of desolation and despair.

It struck swiftly and without seeming to move — what passed for a limb reaching out and passing through Kireth’s chest, clutching at the half-elf’s heart with an icy hand.

[Draining Touch]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 18 vs Kireth’s Fortitude (16)] - hits!

[Ongoing 5 necrotic damage (Save Ends)] and [Slowed until start of next turn]

The mage hissed out a cold breath, clouding in the air, as the thing withdrew for a moment. The stillness it brought to the air only disturbed by the echoing clashes of steel on steel from the mouth.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden felt on the fringe of things. This was not acceptable to the young fighter.

Making a decision to turn his back to the orc (was it an orc — perhaps not!?) stood on the edge of the rise, Tradden moved into the fray, hopeful if being able to take some of the attention away from Khalin, Beltak and Kireth.

[Move: E, NE, NE, NE]

Attacking the nearest orc the fighter once again attempted to slyly tempt it into moving position out of its flanking maneouvre of Khalin…

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+12: 14] - misses!

[Marked]

…but once again his ploy was thwarted — it was as if the thing knew what was going to happen… before it happened!

Tradden’s jaw was solidly down and open.

‘Shut your mouth and protect me!’ snarled Kireth.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak basked in the glow of the light beneath his feet, letting the light of Pelor playfully crackle around his calves.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Beltak regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

The scribe knew that with the group gathered about him he needed to ensure that Pelor’s grace stayed with them and continued his prayers with renewed gusto.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone remains centered at AA20]

The black birds were gone, although he could see remnants of them gathering against the stark sky, but they had been replaced by a more dangerous and repulsive foe. The abominations that had used to be orcs needed to be destroyed — they were an insult to the world.

Finishing his prayer he gripped his mace tightly and swung at the nearest black body with all of his might.

[Healing Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03: 1d20+6: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 2d8+1: 7] and [Bloodied] and [Marked]

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 12+4+5: 21 hit points]

Beltak urged Kireth to strike quickly at the creatures as he struck himself, the mace glowing with energy as it knocked the thing to the side.

The scribe then moved backwards slightly, out of the creatures’ reach and began his next set of prayers.

[Shift: S]

The scribe looked up into the air and saw the crows coalescing once more.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The black cloud of birds began to swoop and circle the face on the hill, circling round and round in a growing frenzy until they seemed to form a solid mass of writhing black feathers.

[Murder of Crows reappears at AE20]

As one the birds swooped forwards, heading for the tightly-knitted group.

[Move: N, N, …] - interrupted!

Beltak was wise to their advance, calling out to the others that the crows were back. As they passed close to his scalp, he thrashed out with his mace.

[Beltak: Opportunity Attack - Mace]

[Opportunity Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+16: 16] - misses!

Swift as they were the birds easily dodged the scribe’s clumsy attack and continued their flight, enveloping Beltak in their dark embrace.

[Move: …, N, N, …] - interrupted!

This time the birds came too close to Tradden and the young fighter slashed out with his sword.

[Tradden: Opportunity Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Opportunity Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+12+2: 33] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 13] and [Marked]

[Damage reduced to 6 due to resistance]

[Murder of Crows movement stopped]

There was a flutter of black feathers and a series of shrill squawks. The crows stopped moving northwards and swarmed around Tradden’s head, biting and clawing at his face.

[Murderous Darkness]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9: 23 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 1d4+3: 6] and [Blinded]

With fury they scratched and pecked at the young fighter and suddenly Tradden could not see.

Combat
Heretic #01

The black creature that had exposed itself first quickly burst from the bush, the armour and skin that had once denoted it as an orc slipping off as it darted across the ground. What appeared to be black tendrils swung loosely from its head with a life of their own, growing in size and strength as it approached the group.

[Move: NE, NE, N, N, N, N]

It passed by the side of Beltak, the scribe unaware of its entry into the fray, and its tendrils reached out to grab the scribe around his head.

[Blood Drain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8: 21 vs Beltak’s Fortitude (15)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10+6: 12] and [Beltak loses a Healing Surge]

[Heretic #01 regains 12 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

Beltak’s face turned ashen as the tendrils flexed and pulsed and the creature appeared to bulge and grow.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Kireth’s core was cold from the abomination’s chill touch. Pains wracked his chest and tore at his lungs.

[Heretic #03: Draining Touch]

[Kireth takes 5 necrotic damage]

And even the mage was not safe from the claws and beaks of the the crows, the birds at the edge of the swarm flying past Kireth’s face and clawing at him.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Kireth takes 5 damage]

But the crackling web of radiance that Beltak had laid seemed to counter the effects, renewing Kireth with a spark of energy.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Kireth regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

Kireth felt like he knew what they should do but was frustrated to be as lost as any right now. They were making little headway against these foes but were taking a beating in return. Despite what yarn the dwarf might try and spin, Kireth knew there was no glory in death… just death. So he was always able to see that being able to “fight again another day” was not something one should over look lightly.

That said, their avenues of escape were not too apparent right now and, besides, they couldn’t leave the dwarf in this state… could they?

The hark of a crow brought the mage back from that last happy thought. ‘Hmm,’ he considered, looking at the murder. ‘I wonder?’

[Nightmare Eruption]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows’ Will: 1d20+9: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 10]

[Damage reduced to 5 due to resistance]

[Heretic #01 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

[Heretic #02 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

[Heretic #03 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

At a word and a look from Kireth the crows exploded in a frenzy, feathers scattering everywhere. The dark abominations at the edge of the cloud of black froze for a moment, a hateful hiss of wind passing their lips as they drew breath for what seemed the first time.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Necrotic Damage: 1d20-2: 0] - failure!

Despite the success of his spell, Kireth could not shake the icy feeling in his chest, though his legs at least felt a little bit sturdier beneath him.

Combat
Heretic #02

The abomination near Tradden appeared to be dazed for a moment and Beltak’s sparkling web of light crashed against its legs, or approximation of legs, sizzling and spitting around them.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #02 takes 1d6+3: 7 radiant damage]

Lost for a moment within Kireth’s spell the black humanoid seemed to recover quickly, turning to face the young fighter and thrust out a limb to catch Tradden on his face.

[Touch of Insanity]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+2: 29 vs Tradden’s Fortitude (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 12]

Tradden’s blades faltered and he half spun to his right before gathering his wits and gritting his teeth against the pain.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Even outside the swirling mass of black Khalin was not immune to their scratches, screeches and strikes.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Khalin takes 5 damage]

Beltak’s influence could still be felt by the dwarf on the ground regardless of the darkness that consumed the scribe somewhere within the swirling mass of birds.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

Those infernal crows were back, Khalin noted with disdain as he faced off against two of the slimy black monstrosities. On the plus side the warlord was pleased the four remaining friends had finally adopted a strong defensive formation, back to back and able to benefit from Beltak’s ministrations.

To his right Kireth looked noticeably fitter, though still wore a face like thunder. The dwarf nodded to the mage, drawing an initial scowl but nevertheless a look of understanding as he swung hard at one of the monsters, purposefully letting the momentum open his body for an inviting counter…

[Provoke Overextension]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03: 1d20+10: 16] - misses!

The creature made no real move to avoid any attack, Khalin’s cleverness betraying him as the strike went wide.

Combat
Heretic #03

The creature had seen Khalin’s feint clearly and had no need to dodge far, but it did remain within the grasp of Beltak’s radiant web, the crackling strands bright against the unnearthly blackness of its body.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #03 takes 1d6+3: 5 radiant damage]

Attempting to shake off the strands it pushed its arm out at Khalin, trying to bury itself within the dwarf’s chest.

[Draining Touch]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11-2: 28 vs Khalin’s Fortitude (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 14] and [Ongoing 5 necrotic damage (Save Ends)] and [Slowed until start of next turn]

The whole of Khalin’s chest began to ache with a cold pain, the breath taken out of him by the creature’s touch. Breathing became difficult, and his legs froze underneath him.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Blinded and disoriented, Tradden had no way to defend himself from the multiple bites and pecks from the birds that rained down upon him.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Tradden takes 5 damage] and [Bloodied]

Thin streams of blood trickled down his face, but the sharp pain was soon relieved by the warm aura of Beltak’s carpet of light.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Tradden regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

In the past Tradden had panicked when blinded in combat. Now it was something he almost expected at any given time — dirty tricks were all part of the game. If one stayed calm and thought about it (and Tradden was always thinking) then one could still be effective…

[Dual Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+12-5: 25] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+3: 10] and [Marked]

[Damage reduced to 5 due to resistance]

[Perception Check: 1d20+5: 23] - success!

[Secondary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+11-5: 7] - critical miss!

[Marked]

Trying to hit the crows made sense — they were all around and so his blindness was less of an issue. A large scythe of his longsword caught a number — he heard the distinctive ‘thwack’ multiple times as feathers and tiny, hollow bones were plucked from flight and the dull thumps of the corpses hitting the floor.

A sly backwards thrust of his shortsword brought no satisfying contact but he was sure he had the orc, erm… thing’s attention.

Feet firmly planted on the ground he readied himself — listening, almost trying to sense where the next attack would come from…

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Within the cloud of birds Beltak was sightless. He could feel the crows tearing around him at speed, their claws grasping at his hair and face. He thought he could hear the swing of Tradden’s blades and the fall of a bird or two, but they still began to mass around his head.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Beltak takes 5 damage]

Despite the birds’ incessant nicks and scrapes, however, the web of Pelorian light upon the hill was strong and Beltak basked in its warm glow.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Beltak regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

The scribe knew that he had to keep his concentration on the light, though, ensuring that it remained potent and bright, allowing the group to survive this encounter.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone remains centered at AA20]

Confident the light would remain Beltak turned his attention to getting rid of the birds. Within the swirling cloud he had no chance of hitting the things with his mace, he was simply too slow with the weapon. His only option was to use the radiance of Pelor. However, he would need to clear his sight for this and decided to move, hoping to get between Kireth and the black creature to his side.

[Shift: SE]

[Perception Check: 1d20+7: 9] - failure!

[Perception failure means North rotates 1d8: 7 squares due to disorientation of blindness]

[Beltak actually moves E but is blocked by Heretic #01]

Beltak staggered in what he thought was the right direction, but bumped up against something solid, something lithe, and all too close. He stopped moving straightaway with a flash of fear.

In the end he had to resort to a swipe at the birds with his mace, despite his initial concerns.

[Invigorating Assault]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+6-5: 14] - misses!

The swing was sluggish and the birds easily avoided its path.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The crows wheeled around and around, dodging and weaving their way past steel and iron. They were not quick enough, however, to evade the crackling light that sent tendrils up to meet their wings.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Murder of Crows takes 1d6+3: 8 radiant damage]

[Damage reduced to 4 due to resistance]

Tradden had seemed to capture most of the birds’ attention, his waving swords the largest threat they could sense, and they swooped down to peck and scrape at his face.

[Murderous Darkness]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9+2: 13 vs Tradden’s Reflex (20)] - misses!

But this time the youth was ready, covering his head protectively with his weapons, and casting the birds aside.

Combat
Heretic #01

The black creature below Kireth continued to change, its tendrils growing fatter and longer, almost stretching down to its belly now. Gleaming strands of radiant light leapt up from the floor to meet them, burning and scorching them where they swung.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #01 takes 1d6+3: 8 radiant damage] and [Bloodied]

It stretched out its burning tendrils and wrapped them almost lazily around the blinded scribe’s head once more.

[Deadly Mane]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+2: 27 vs Beltak’s AC (19)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10+6: 21] and [Bloodied] and [Immobilized]

The scribe uttered a mouthless scream as the tendrils leeched out his energy. He felt drained, his legs devoid of any life and he was rooted to the spot. The tendrils pulsed as if drawing the energy from the scribe and into the black loathsome form that held him so strongly.

[Blood Drain]

[Heretic #01’s Blood Drain power recharges]

At last the creature released its grip and turned to face Kireth.

Combat
Kireth Majere

The icy feeling in Kireth’s chest was beginning to weigh him down, slowing his actions and his thoughts.

[Heretic #03: Draining Touch]

[Kireth takes 5 necrotic damage]

They stopped him from avoiding the birds the swooped and turned around Tradden, their claws outstretched as they skitted past his head.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Kireth takes 5 damage]

Even the healing warmth of Beltak’s powers seemed lacklustre agains the cold.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Kireth regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

The cold Kireth suffered was more than physical, it weighed heavy on his heart. It felt like… despair. This was their doom, he knew it.

Then a voice filtered through the gloom — “Not yet.” The mage shook his head, tried to clear his thoughts. The cold had not yet left him but he recognised it for what it was and no petty trickster would beat him this way.

The same voice now assured him that the birds were the correct choice. “Press on,” they whispered. The mage nodded. If nothing else were to be had, he had to free up Tradden’s blades.

[Nightmare Eruption]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows’ Will: 1d20+9: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+5: 12]

[Damage reduced to 6 due to resistance]

[Heretic #01 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

[Heretic #02 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

[Heretic #03 takes 4 psychic splash damage]

Feathers dropped slowly from the sky like a blackened snowstorm as they birds trilled and squawked with fear at Kireth’s call. The black shapes also trembled back as though some unseen abomination, more ghastly than their own form, had reared up before them.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Necrotic Damage: 1d20-2: 15] - success!

The chills passed as Kireth managed to breathe for the first time in what seemed an age.

Combat
Heretic #02

Even as the black creature near Tradden steadied itself from Kireth’s magics it was clasped within Beltak’s radiant embrace, crackling light cascading around its lower limbs.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #02 takes 1d6+3: 9 radiant damage]

The thing appeared to ignore the light, despite the smell of burning flesh, striking out at the young fighter in front of it, whispering fleeting promises at Tradden’s ear.

[Touch of Insanity]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11+2: 23 vs Tradden’s Fortitude (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 15] and [Bloodied]

Within the swirling birds Tradden froze with the touch, his arms locked and tight, and overhead thrust pushed up and ready to fall upon the dwarf. Birds sheared around the blade until Tradden managed to lower it with a groan and cry of pain.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin’s chest began to tighten as his lungs failed to pull in any air. The chill touch of the black form held its grip.

[Heretic #03: Draining Touch]

[Khalin takes 5 necrotic damage]

Languid and slow, Khalin made an easy target for the birds at the periphery of the swarm to brush past him with beak and claw exposed.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Khalin takes 5 damage]

Beltak’s web of light battled slowly against the cold that crept up Khalin’s legs, giving the dwarf some respite from the pain.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

Khalin was sorely tempted to swing wildly at the birds once more — they looked the worse for wear — but he couldn’t ignore the bigger threat: the monsters harassing the group from both sides. One mighty blow might finally turn the tide and lift his comrades.

Whirling on the nearest one he swung Aecris round once more, the ornate head of the mighty craghammer a blur as it swept towards his foe…

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03: 1d20+10: 20] - misses!

The blow was a mighty one, but the creature seemed to shrug it off with little difficulty. Tradden and Beltak heard, nay felt, the rush of air from the blow though, and their spirits lifted.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Damage: 1d20-2: 7] - failure!

The disconnected swing did nothing the alleviate Khalin’s chill within his chest.

Combat
Heretic #03

The black creature turned from Kireth towards Khalin, disregarding the slivers of light that leapt up around its legs, crackling and burning with radiant light.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #03 takes 1d6+3: 6 radiant damage]

The dwarf was already suffering from the creature’s chill touch and it wasted no time in plunging its insubstantial arms into the warlord’s body once more.

[Draining Touch]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 20 vs Khalin’s Fortitude (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 16] and [Immobilized (Save Ends)]

This time the chills went straight through Khalin’s body, rooting him to the spot.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

The thick morass of flittering crows was seriously starting to thin — small glimpses of light and those around him could now be had, a;lthough they still managed to scratch and cut as his face.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Tradden takes 5 damage]

However, even now their numbers thinned as the battle took toll, particularly the divine efforts of Beltak, who was a beacon in the dark.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Tradden regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

Timing was everything. Tradden crouched as low as he could whilst still trying to fend off claws and orcs and gave his fellow human some encouragement.

[Delay]

[Tradden delays until after Murder of Crows next turn]

‘Keep at it, Beltak — you have these birdies on the run… er, fly!’

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak couldn’t move, rooted to the spot by the cold of the heretic’s tendril touch. The blackness enveloped him as the remainder of the birds swirled around, tearing at his face.

[Murder of Crows: Claws and Beaks]

[Beltak takes 5 damage]

He settled for a moment, drinking in the warmth of the web of light beneath him…

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Beltak regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

…before uttering the soft prayer that helped keep the carpet of radiance glowing.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone remains centered at AA20]

Without being able to move and unable to see within the cloud of feathers the scribe’s options were slim. He drew back his mace and swung with all his might.

[Invigorating Assault]

[Primary Attack vs Murder of Crows: 1d20+6-5: 10] - misses!

The swing was slow and the birds easily dodged around it as they swept past.

Combat
Murder of Crows

The remaining crows squawked and cried as the circled round, closing in on the group. Their numbers had been thinned and many a feather or small black corpse lay on the ground, but they kept on coming.

But so did Beltak’s light, stretching upwards and snatching at the birds as they passed.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Murder of Crows takes 1d6+3: 7 radiant damage]

[Damage reduced to 3 due to resistance] and [Dead]

A large sliver of light sprang up and struck the birds, leaving a scattering of black feathers. This time they did not wheel and swarm, but fled to the air and to the trees around, leaving nothing but their echoing cries.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

‘Nice…’ commented Tradden as the blinding avian flock dispersed. Beltak would be crowing about that one for days.

Right, time to make their slim numerical advantage tell.

With trademark deft footwork Tradden sprang into place behind one of the orcs beseiging Khalin. Two could play the flanking game.

[Pass Forward]

[Move: NW]

More fancy footwork was to come, the fighter’s feet a blurred flurry as he also slashed in an apparent wild frenzy at the creature’s chest.

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+12+2: 34] - critical hit!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 15] plus [1d6: 5 cold critical damage] and [Marked] and [Bloodied]

[Tradden: Shift: NE]

[Heretic #02: Slides: W]

Tradden’s swings were, however, all part of an elaborate plot. Not only was the creature fooled into stepping out of position, thus giving some respite to the beleaguered warlord, Tradden’s blows were carefully placed, a quick one-two having carved a frost glistened “T” in its blackened chest.

‘Like it?’ he asked Khalin, over his shoulder, and clearly pleased with himself. ‘It’s my new thing.’

Combat
Heretic #01

The black creature near Kireth and Beltak barely seemed to notice the cloud of crows lifting and scattering to the trees. Its tendrils twitching as the light from Beltak’s spell continued to leap up and burn away at them.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #01 takes 1d6+3: 4 radiant damage]

This time, however, the creature slid soundlessly away from the mage, circling the scribe before it struck.

[Shift: S]

Free from the crackling web and with Beltak immobilised, it stretched out its tendrils once more, wrapping them around the scribe’s head.

[Blood Drain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8: 18 vs Beltak’s Fortitude (15)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10+6: 21] and [Beltak loses a Healing Surge] and [Bloodied]

[Heretic #01 regains 15 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

The tendrils pulsed and grew as the energy seemed to drain out of the scribe — the lesions cuts and burns upon the black slimy skin began to close and heal.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Light continued to play around Kireth’s feet even though the mage appeared to be hale and healthy.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Kireth regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

The crows dispersed, Kireth turned his attention back to the land based foes. ‘Three of them,’ he mused, ‘ok, to the nine hells with it, let’s finish this.’

He threw his hands down to his sides, palms outstretched, and allowed the rage to flow.

[Wizard’s Fury]

[Kireth may cast Magic Missile as a Minor Action once per turn until end of the encounter]

He then turned and faced the foe immediately next to him. ‘Goodbye.’

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7]

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #03] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7] and [Dead]

The two bolts slammed into the black creature one after another with increasing violence, pushing the abomination back and then to the floor, where it remained, still and unmoving.

[Action Point]

[Kireth uses Khalin’s Bravura Presence]

[Kireth can take extra attack, if hits can attack again]

Content that the creature was destroyed Kireth turned around towards the one with the tendrils, the one leeching on Beltak’s life energy. ‘Have some more,’ he snarled and another bolt shot forth.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7] and [Bloodied]

The bolt caught the creature full in the head, bursting against its tendrils that recoiled against the blow.

‘Again!’ called Kireth.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7]

The creature staggered as the next bolt struck it in the shoulder, but it did not drop.

Combat
Heretic #02

The black thing near Tradden barely seemed to register that its colleague had fallen and now it was outside the influence of Beltak’s magics it could steel itself against Tradden’s incoming tide of blades.

It briefly looked across at Beltak — it could taste the energy leaking out of the scribe and so much wanted to taste it. But the blades of the young fighter before it held it firm. It had to relieve itself of the warrior before it could satiate its thirst.

[Touch of Insanity]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 29 vs Tradden’s Fortitude (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d4+9: 14] and [Bloodied]

It struck out with its arm and caught Tradden on his elbow, numbing his arm for a moment with a sharp pain.

[Blood Drain]

[Heretic #01’s Blood Drain power recharges]

The other creature seemed to delight in Tradden’s pain, its tendrils pulsed and quivered.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Despite Beltak’s obvious plight the scribe’s carpet of light held firm. Khalin could not move, the chill of the heretic’s touch strong despite its death, so he stayed still and let the gentle warmth of Pelor’s radiance play about his legs as the chill continued to creep within his chest.

[Heretic #03: Draining Touch]

[Khalin takes 5 necrotic damage]

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

The dwarf gritted his teeth, the frustration at being kept from continuing the battle while Beltak and Tradden might be one blow from death almost boiling over. Falling back on his martial training he resisted struggling, conserving his energy for now, and hissed at Tradden: ‘Keep going, lad! Beltak’s in a tight spot!’

[Direct the Strike]

[Tradden has a Basic Attack vs Heretic #02]

Spurred on by his comrade, Tradden slashed at the monster once more…

[Tradden: Melee Basic Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+12: 14] - misses!

The young fighter’s slash went wide as the black creature easily sidestepped the blade.

Khalin took a deep breath, trying to steel himself against the chills.

[Saving Throw vs Ongoing Damage: 1d20: 10] - success!

[Saving Throw vs Immobilization: 1d20: 6] - failure!

He warmed somewhat, but his legs still remained stubbornly motionless.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak was panting heavily, his mind whirling from the touch of the tendrilled monstrousity before him. The carpet of light beneath him, however, steadied his nerves.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Beltak regains 1+2+4+5: 12 hit points]

He concentrated on the fact that he needed to keep the aura of light going, it was defintely helping to swing the battle.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone remains centered at AA20]

The scribe needed to get some space between himself and the creature in order to use some of his powers. The mace was useful, but he was already exhausted and was finding it difficult to swing.

[Shift: N]

He moved back next to Kireth and Khalin and held out his symbol against the black creature, uttering a prayer as he slowly retreated.

[Sacred Flame]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01’s Reflex: 1d20+8: 14] - misses!

The light spluttered and faltered against the growing blackness of the creature and Beltak began to draw deep ragged breaths.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

The odds had improved again. Just as well because Beltak was almost single handedly keeping the group on their feet.

In the back of his mind Tradden was wary that Zero had disappeared, and not in a good way, but he forced himself to focus on the very real danger still in front of him. The orc, or whatever it was, nearest to him had proven itself to be open to a little bit of deception, but would it fall for the same trick twice?

Tradden barrel rolled under a wild swing from the creature…

[Pass Forward]

[Move: S, S]

…and then stood, seemingly having messed up his maneuver given he now stood with his back exposed. The creature struck!

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02: 1d20+12: 25] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 15] and [Marked]

[Tradden: Shift: SE]

[Heretic #02: Slides: SE]

Tradden knew it was coming, however, and stepped forwards at the very last moment. The orc, expecting to be striking puny human flesh, almost fell forward when suddenly its heavy blow had nothing to stop it.

Combat
Heretic #01

As Tradden approached, albeit with his back exposed, the heretic’s tendrils began to pulse and quiver. Flickers of light spread up from Beltak’s web, charring and searing the black flesh.

[Beltak: Consecreated Ground]

[Heretic #01 takes 1d6+3: 6 radiant damage]

There were no signs of intelligence behind the black orbs of eyes, no flicker of light or spark of a mind working, but the creature quickly stepped backwards, out of the radiant grid and beyond its influence.

[Shift: E]

It seemed like an odd move to the group, away from any of them, but their confusion was short lived. The tendrils stretched out, almost as far as the ones on the black creature from the orc infested shack along the Old East Road, grabbing Beltak by the throat and head. They pulsed as if drinking.

[Blood Drain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+8: 21 vs Beltak’s Fortitude (15)] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10+6: 20] and [Beltak loses a Healing Surge] and [Dying]

[Heretic #01 regains 15 hit points]

Beltak’s eyes rolled up into his head and the carpet of light blinked out of existence. The scribe fell like a rag doll to the ground.

Khalin howled, his legs too numb and cold to move towards the scribe, impotent against the creature’s fell strike.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Kireth had no way to know if the scribe was already dead or just immobilised. Either way he could not yet be attended to.

Trusting that Tradden would stay engaged with the foe nearest, Kireth concentrated on Beltak’s attacker.

The empowered mage could still feel the energy from the extra power he had summoned and would use it to the best effect he could. With every sinew straining he threw the magic bolts with all he could muster.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7]

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7]

The bolts thudded into the creature’s black mass, sending tendrils flaring around in the air. It managed to keep standing, though, defiant against the mage’s magic.

Combat
Heretic #02

The abomination nearest Tradden looked a sorry state. Although it still stood, the young fighter’s blades had sliced slivers of black, slimy flesh from its flank and arms. There was no blood, or at least none that Tradden could fathom, but it seemed sluggish, awkward and slow.

It lumbered forwards unsteadily and swiped again at Tradden with long arms.

[Touch of Insanity]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+11: 24 vs Tradden’s Fortitude (22)] - hits!

[Tradden makes attack against a target of choice for Heretic #02]

The blow caught the young fighter around the side of the head, dazing him for a moment. As his vision slowly cleared a moment of madness overcame Tradden, weighing his blade carefully, he flung it straight at the unsuspecting dwarf.

[Tradden: Ranged Basic Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+9: 22 vs Khalin’s AC (22)] - success!

[Damage: 1d4+4: 8] and [Bloodied]

The sword catapulted end over end over the prostrate body of Beltak and stuck itself squarely in the joint of Khalin’s arm and shoulder mail. A thin trickle of blood spurted weakly onto the dark dwarven armour.

[Blood Drain]

[Heretic #01’s Blood Drain power recharges]

Kireth wouldn’s swear it, be he was sure the creature with the tendrils laughed as the blade struck.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin gasped in pain and surprise at the blade protruding from his shoulder. Though he hadn’t seen the throw there was no mistaking the weapon as Tradden’s. There was little point berating the lad, no doubt the foul creature he faced had somehow twisted the boy into some madness of attacking his own. All the more reason to end this battle quickly, but once more the dwarf was unable to move his legs.

The warlord considered hacking at the beast next to him — one more strike might finish it — but sharp pain lanced through his arm as he tried to raise it. Grimacing, he instinctively yelled to the mage: ‘Kireth!’

[Direct the Strike]

[Kireth has a Basic Attack vs Heretic #02]

That was all the half-elf needed and he raised his arms to fire another ball of eldritch force at the ailing abomination once more…

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #02] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+4+1: 7] and [Dead]

The force knocked the creature over and down onto the ground in a tangled heap of black where it lay still.

[Saving Throw vs Immobilization: 1d20: 1] - critical failure!

Even with the elation of another of the foul creatures finally succumbing to their advances the dwarf could not shake off the cold and chill within his bones.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak lay still upon the ground, his breaths coming in short, sharp, ragged bursts.

[Saving Throw vs Death: 1d20+1: 12] - success!

For now, at least, the scribe’s chest continued to rise and fall.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden took a sheepish step back, carefully avoiding the outstretched arm of the prostrate Beltak.

[Move: NW]

Khalin was trying to reach back to remove the sword sticking out of him, but his arm couldn’t quite reach. Tradden relieved him of both that particular problem and the sword itself.

‘Err… thanks,’ he mumbled. ‘Sorry about that.’

And with that, using a large part of the stonework as a boost, Tradden flung himself through the air at the remaining creature.

[Charge]

[Charge: SE, E]

[Primary Attack vs Heretic #01: 1d20+12+1: 22] - hits!

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

[Frost Longsword]

[Heretic #01 takes an extra 1d8: 2 cold damage] and [Dead]

The savage slice from the human cleaved the thing in two diagonally, the halves peeling back and falling neatly, their cleanly cut edges glistening with ice.

The two pieces had not hit the floor however before Tradden had bounded over to Beltak. Thrusting his two swords into the earth by the pale-looking cleric Tradden knelt down, hardly able to see due to the blood running into his eyes from a cut in his own head, to see if Pelor had taken his servant into the next life earlier than had been expected.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Kireth breathed hard, once, his hands twitching with the ache left by the absence of the power of the missiles he had cast. He turned and looked down at Beltak lying ungainly in the dirt, the scribe’s lips blue with cold.

The mage appeared to have an air of resignation about him, whispering softly to himself as he studied the scribe. ‘Kill the enemy, figure out their plans, save the scribe…’ he muttered.

[Stabilise the Dying]

[Heal Check: 1d20+3: 9] - failure!

Beltak was only just about breathing and his skin was turning a deathly pale. Whatever strange magics had bore him down was fascinating — not necromancy, not just cold or force, there was something else. It intrigued him more than the scribe’s plight.

‘He needs a healer,’ he finally stated, ‘not a mage.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin still found it hard to move, his legs ached with the chill that the abomination had left and every time he breathed he was greeted with a sharp pain. Slowly and ungainly he knelt down next to the scribe, trying his best to ignore Kireth studying the poor boy with a critical eye. The mage wasn’t helping and Khalin did his best to brush him out of the way as he began to tend to the scribe.

[Stabilise the Dying]

[Heal Check: 1d20+3: 22] - success!

[Beltak is no longer Dying and is now Unconscious]

He did the best he could, wrapping him in his blanket and rubbing his chest to try to bring him warmth. After a while the scribe’s chest began to rise and fall in a steady rhythm and Khalin was relieved that the boy would live.

‘We need to get him warm and get him time to rest,’ he barked at the others.

Combat
Completed

CO

[Combat Encounter Completed]

Combat
Short Rest

XP

Healing Surges

Healing Surges are applied.

[Khalin spends 2 healing surges (3 left) to get to 55/56 hit points]

[Kireth spends 0 healing surges (0 left) to get to 48/48 hit points]

[Tradden spends 3 healing surges (2 left) to get to 63/63 hit points]

[Beltak spends 0 healing surges (0 left) to get to -5/47 hit points]

Encounter Powers

All encounter powers are recharged.

Milestones

Milestones reached.

1 Action Point Awarded.

Experience

Experience awarded.

[Khalin gains 659 xp to reach 11,542 xp]

[Kireth gains 661 xp to reach 11,527 xp]

[Tradden gains 658 xp to reach 11,552 xp]

Levelling

No one is ready to progress.

Combat
Completed

End

[…continued in Book #01, Chapter #10, Scene #05…]