After pocketing the best bits of loot from the mansion (stealing is subjective) the team hatched a plan: Phil and Oben would ‘survey the grounds’ whilst Lylah and her trusted cohort Grimes would take the prisoners back to town. After selecting the best two dairy cows to tie the men to, they set off into the forest of bees, en route to Grate. [DANGER WILL ROBINSON- PARTY SPLIT!!]
Oben began to search the study for books on how to look after the wild kitten he had taken hostage (even the Lord of beasts needs a helping hand) when he heard a sudden, sinister creaking of wood from far in the distance; far beyond the habitat of the mansion. Rushing upstairs, he firstly discovered Phileo somehow humping the body of the dead Baron (kinky) and then looking beyond, towards the horizon, he spied the looming oncoming form of an out of control sky vessel- seemingly on a collision course with the building!
Phileo ditched the Baron like a pirate hooker before catching Oben’s glare- the two heroes grabbed the corpse and started to heave it out towards the courtyard as fast their loot-laden legs could carry them. Moments after exiting they turn to see the gargantuan flying machine banking to narrowly avoid any collision, hurtling past the with a deep, bellowing roar which shuddered the very ground as it passed. Moments later they saw it ditch into the forest with an impressive explosion, but not before the rear of the boat-shaped craft appeared to unattach and fall in to the trees at a dangerous velocity, but safe from the radius of the greater impact.
Lylah and Grimes witnessed the crash from a much more intimate vantage point- being in the forest must have concealed the approaching craft from their senses, but they certainly witnessed the low-flying skyboat as it lurched by above them and the resultant explosion, whose heat was fierce enough to be felt at their great distance.
Lylah’s good natured spirit sprang into action- she had seen the rear fall to the canopy ahead and she managed to quickly convince Grimes to assist her- the cows followed in wonder.
The crash site was a mess- shattered wood from both the trees and the vessel itself had splintered everywhere, with a number of passengers impaled on branches and timber. Many more lay dead from impact wounds and fire. The broken carcass of the once proud craft lay at the far end.
A quick recce of the site managed to find three injured survivors; an elf, a dwarf and a man with tanned skin. As Lylah’s healing hands helped them to stir Phil and Oben appeared through the tree line eager to
find all the loot help the survivors.
Grimes grabbed the situation by the scruff of the neck- they needed to search the fractured hull for further survivors. Oben offered to secure the clearing and protect the prisoners/injured, whilst the remainder of the team climbed aboard the wreckage.
They climbed into the crash site, boarding via the cargo level in the waiting cross-section. Besides torn fabrics and spilled spices and exotic produce, Phileo the loot hoover quickly found another reinforced chest; quite sturdy with barely a scratch on its surface. A very hardy lock barred entry. Knowing he would return, he pressed on upstairs into the habitat level- searching the bedrooms yielded little besides more dead, but in a sealed door to the rear they made an unsettling discovery; a large iron cage lay open next to a guard, whose death was determined to be not entirely due to the crash.
Grimes climbed up to the viewing level where most, if not all, of the fittings and furnishings had been broken and lost in the descent.
Dialogue was sparked with the shaken survivors: they introduced themselves as Ralph- a dwarf en route to Maleurn, Connel- a man from the deserts and Mr Darkhound, an elf on his way home to Ornal, who chose to address the group only in Elven. Much debate was had- Grimes and Phil were sure that they might know Elven, but could not be entirely certain (there’s every chance they’ll be fluent next week) and Mr Darkhound made sure to endear himself to the party by refusing to help out and criticising the majority of all conduct.
Phileo remembered that loot was laying unclaimed; after Grimes demonstrated why his physical prowess has won him great renown by forcing the reinforced chest open with a crowbar, much celebrating was had. An electic selection of all weather clothes was matched by what could be described as a ‘disguise kit’; a myriad of chemical vials (one of which was identified as Desert Bloom by Connell), some sort of ichor, another elegant dagger with an accompanying ring wrapped in velvet, a coin purse and a scrawled note, sealed with some golden thread. Everything was briskly absorbed into the party and itemised, with the note being passed on to Oben to read.
As the scholarly Paladin unravelled the scroll and began to examine it, a treacherous piece of trickery occured; an amber-brown glow eminated from the parchment, enveloping the hero. In moments he was covered by the magic, and entirely unable to move. Grimes gave him a good slapping to try and break the enchantment, but for all intents and purposes Oben was in some sort of suspended animation!
The day was drawing to a close, so camp was set: Oben was designated as on watch for the whole evening with the rest of the team assisting for a duration. The prisoners were tied up to a tree on one side of the clearing, with the cows teathered for sleeping and grazing on the opposite flank- watch began.
During Grimes’ extended watch (selfless bugger) the evening peace was interrupted by a lit torch being hurled by an unseen adversary into Phileo’s tent, setting it alight. Panic ensued, and everyone moved to the ditched hull for protection. Nothing appeared to stir (Phil had luckily put the fire out on his tent prior to fleeing) and Grimes had the confidence to move out back to the camp fire to investigate. Reaching the area where the cows had been secured, he managed to spy the silhouette of a hulking, beast of a man; easily over 10 foot tall, with a muscular barrel body and powerful features he loomed out of the darkness and into full view, showing a covering of mud and moss on his skin which covered the majority of his distinctively tribal tattoos. Grimes, ever the peaceful citizen, tried to quickly parlay with the behemoth, but was rudely interrupted as a wayward arrows from Phileo’s bow glided past the enemy harmlessly.
Battle thus ensued! In anger the opponent slammed his fist down into the spine of one of the cows, making the animal buckle and crumple inwards. Agile dodging from Grimes kept his injuries to a minimum, and everything he took he gave back in spades: slashing and thrusting with his blade, he managed to deliver some brutal blows, but much to his horror the burly target in front of him somehow had a body which managed to heal its own wounds, closing them almost as fast as they were opened! With a spark of genius he tried to poison the man, throwing the entire container of Desert Bloom over him. Sadly, although he looked groggy for a moment, he shook off the effects of the chemical and battled on.
When all seemed lost, a hero rose in heat of battle: emerging from the protection of the vessel came a warrior whose battle smarts were ready to be put to the test: Oben, somehow free from his affliction, charged across the battle field to engage the terror.
Great wounds were inflicted on both sides, but with the help of Lylah’s magical touch they managed to force the creature into retreat. No such honor was afforded, and the battling duo hunted the enemy down and ensured he was put to the sword. A frenzy of rage overcame Grimes, and he continued to pound and tear at the flesh of the man, creating an eerie mist of crimson which floated through the night air.
As the team approached to tell our hero Grimes that the battle was over, he looked at them, revealing a face which was not quite as they remembered; with slight angular features, peculiar patches of hair and piercing yellow eyes! Speeechless, the team looked at one another: what in the name of the Pantheon was happening?