The gnome finishes placing all the metal pieces into a small box in the back of the cart labeled "Metal Scrap size 3-7" in common and wipes the sweat off of his brow. "Whew, well this is interesting." says the gnome as he pulls out a warn and faded hide map. Unfolding the well oiled skin onto the ground he takes a few steps around it and adjusts it direction to match north correctly.
"It SHOULD be around here, but I don't see it." He scans the upper forest horizon until he sees the huge rusted metal framework hulking over the trees. "Yes, well there it is. Why didn't you tell me it was right there?" The gnome makes a tsk tsk clicking sound with his tongue as he shakes his head disapprovingly at the small furry rodent who had taken up residence on the uppermost corner of the map. The weasel just returns his gaze until the small man says "Well, if there isn't anything else you don't want to tell me Itzie then I believe it is time to go. Get up there" The weasel skitters onto the cart and into a box labeled "Weasel: Itzienad Gralphendastie" located directly behind the small padded seat the gnome had first dismounted.
With a series of grunts and groans the Gnome refolded the skin and set out to climbing the very small metal handholds into the normal-sized cart. "Well then, we're off." with a snap of the reigns the horses began their slow plodding steps and the wheels began, once again, to squeek terribly.
With a distasteful glance down at the weasel the gnome quickly says "Why didn't you oil those things while we were stopped? I swear, I don't know why I even bother... Do it next time we stop though, I would hate for the wheel to break."
The gnome beings leading the cart toward the large metal monolith. ((and by happenstance toward the party and the cattle)) As he approaches he doesn't even bother to look at much around him... Seemingly too busy singing "OH IIII'mm a Cheese Monger at heart and I don't stray my seed, I'll take what I get if I find the need. I travelled to StrandHeim, and once along they way, met a fine little dairy lass, on a fine airy day...."
Posted on 2008-06-11 at 16:02:57.
Edited on 2008-06-11 at 16:07:03 by EvolutionJ
Ixion pulled the cowl of his cloak down over his face to protect his eyes from the sunlight reflecting off the rain-covered grass and continued to scan the trees for Manuhol. He knew that the monk should be coming up to the edge of the clearing somewhere near the corral, but where was he?
((Spot checks to find Manuhol))
This could prove to be a very lopsided fight if he's run off. Let's hope these kobolds don't communicate very well.
Ixion began making his way toward the waste dump closest to the edge of the ruins wishing, for the first time that he could remember, that he had a flask or two of alchemist's fire.
Manuhol swings wide and scouts the immediate area. He finds several more of the strange mound-holes ... There are five around the corral and three more in the foliage amidst the ruins. to be honest, Ixion saw them too, but Manuhol noticed the glint of blue coming from just inside them. Their sentries are posted within the tunnel entrances.
"Guide Me ... Oh My Master!"
Manuhol the Monk breathed the prayer as he studied the blue glints within the mounds ... trying to decide how to alert his comrades!
Slowly he makes himself visible to the line of sight of Ixion as he grips his QuarterStaff in his right hand and points to each of the mounds ... while gesturing with his left hand moving up and down between his knee and his hip ... then crouching and looking up while moving his left hand back and forth over his head ... before slowly moving back to conceal his presence once more ... as he silently whispers another prayer!
"Oh Great Seifu ... Grant That Ixion Has Sense Enough To Realize The Kobold Sentries Are Hiding Inside The Mounds!"
Manuhol plans to stay concealed to ambush the unsuspecting Kobolds once Ixion makes the move to attack the Kobolds. His guess is that Ixion will choose a plan of action, rather than just sit and wait very much longer!
T’puuli will step out of the bushes a bit ahead of the gnome and wait for him to reach her.
He sees a drow with very dirty hair, a slung quarterstaff on her back standing just off of the road watching him approach.
(She has learned that it is best to be still and non threatening when first meeting people. She is impatient to return to the mounds but discipline will hold her, otherwise this gnome will either get killed by running Kobolds or stampeded by a bunch of cows Also she saw her cloak in his wagon)
Torigad had finished draining out his beard or what was left of it the water dripped onto is shoes bouncing off into small droplets making the ground even more of a quagmire. As he walked quickly to reach Ixion a waving caught his eye in the distance it was that solitary monk what was he doing ducking and diving like that. Oh! The mounds his boots squelched in the muddy bog as he hastened to reach Ixion. He sniffed what was that smell? he looked down in front of him seeing a trap that radiated the horrid smeeling holes he decided to play safe now walking around it not daring to hurry. Finally! he reached Ixion "the monks saying something of the mounds can you decipher it." Torigad didnt wait for a reply he knew they were close now he could sense their presence so once again he lifted out the lightbringer javelin ready for any sudden moves to use his lightning battle reflexes.
Torigad was in the mood to kill he felt his blood warm it was boiling as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. He was baying for blood.
Ixion stared at Torigad, blinking several times to hold back his incredulity at how utterly oblivious the dwarf could be. Not only had he walked almost straight through the middle of the camp and given away the thin man's location, but he couldn't even tell that more than just human eyes were upon him.
"Yes," he replied at length, "I think he's suggesting that you lead the charge into the kobolds' lair. There's a perfectly good entrance candidate right there." Ixion motioned at the mound that Manuhol had indicated, the one that had the kobold waiting just inside.
If he can't develop a mind for cunning, then we'll need to determine whether or not he's good enough at pure brute force to be worth keeping around. Ixion smiled and held out a hand in an "after you" gesture, encouraging Torigad to descend upon the nearby mound.
((Bluff if need be))
During the entire exchange Ixion kept one eye on the Kobold refuse pile, and once Torigad starts to move off, he redoubles his focus on the tunnel opening. If the kobold emerges from its hiding place before Torigad reaches the mound, the thin man plans to place a bolt square between the scaly creatures eyes.
The gnome sees the drow step out from the trees and pulls the reigns to stop the cart. His eyes squint on who is before him. "Hmmm.. Dosst... dalharen ph'ssran... mzild dro ((In drow: Your childrend are worth more alive)). Wait, that can't be right." Obviously thinking terribly hard he pulls out a piece of charcoal and starts scratching something onto the woodwork. Looking back up at the Drow he says "Ol zhah yugho ulu thalra dos. Xun naut elgg uns'aa, Usstan tlun ssran mzild dro." ((Translated from drow: It is nice to meet you. Do not kill me, I am worth more alive.))
Not very visibly worried he shifts his weight and the jingling of the buckles and buttons can be heard for miles before he says "That should do it, I think. My father taught me that little tid bit. Course, he taught me it in gnomish which tends to not translate too well into common especially when he is speaking drow IN gnomish. Not his fault really, he pieced it together from a few meetings I think. Does it work well? Why are you here? Did you kill those kobolds? Are you going to drink my blood? Am I going to die?"
Upon hearing “"Hmmm.. Dosst... dalharen ph'ssran... mzild dro ((In drow: Your childrend are worth more alive)). T’puuli will smile and tense up ready to spring into action, then relaxes after hearing ”"Ol zhah yugho ulu thalra dos. Xun naut elgg uns'aa, Usstan tlun ssran mzild dro." ((Translated from drow: It is nice to meet you. Do not kill me, I am worth more alive.))” after that a flood of questions pours forth, “Yes the second time was better. We are following some cattle that was stolen from their owner. We mean to return them. The rest of the kobolds are still alive and if you do not want to get involved with the clean up, You might want to leave. For after we are done the cattle will come back down this trail for most of the way. No, I did not kill all of them, I do not drink blood, and as far as dying that is left up to you. My request to you is to please stop singing. It will make you a target; you are very close to the kobold nest." With that she will turn to leave
Posted on 2008-06-16 at 13:53:12.
Edited on 2008-06-16 at 14:42:12 by Oko
The gnome watches as the drow turns and walks away. Then he turns to the box next to him and says quietly "I TOLD you they didn't all drink blood... That was only one story! No, I think he left because you insulting him by not greeting him... Well, okay I suppose it Could be the fact that he has kobolds left to kill. Do you know koboldese?... Yes of course I know that... Yes, I'm gonna... Fine... I said Fine... If I'm going to help then You look after the cart... Good."
He hops down from the cart, quickly casts a spell upon himself ((Mage Armor)), grabs a rusty metal bar and waddles toward where the drow went into the woods trying to move as quietly as possible toward the party.
Torigad started to run in long strides until around 20 metres away at which point he loosed the javelin at random into the mound. He kept running keeping an eye out for other foulsmelling traps. After loosing the javelin he pulled out his dwarven axe and his large shield, at around 10 metres from the mound he suddenly realised what was he goin to do now............
((Tellanth has faded into the forest, lost for the time being. Melven, T'puuli is quite female.))
Torigad takes three or four steps towards the closest mound, the one to which Ixion gestured, and hurls the mighty javelin Lightbringer at the entrance of the hole. The javelin arcs across the clearing and enters into the dark hole cleanly. Something inside the hole screeches in surprise and a great scrabbling can be heard from within. Torigad lopes after the javelin, running straight into the clearing before the five mound entrances, pulling his shield off his back and drawing his axe. The other holes erupt with missile fire. Javelins. The sparkle of blue scales can be seen in the weak light that penetrates the entrance. The kobold sentries are focused on the black skinned dwarf.
Javelins arc from the entrances of the mounds and cross Torigad's path... three of them fall short or fly past, but one finds its mark. The javelin from the leftmost mound hits Torigad squarely in the hip, behind the edge of his shield. His jaw drops and his eyes widen at the sudden shock, but he does not slow down.
Ixion immediately makes good on his promise, raising his hand crossbow and firing into the source of Torigad's new injury. The tiny quarrel darts into the hole and hits the partially exposed sapphire kobold in the eye, and it falls to the ground and rolls out of the hole, deader than Kel the Unwary.
Snowlily is also on point, drawing back on her longbow to loose an arrow into the adjacent hole. Unfortunately for her, the rain has caused damage to her bowstring, and her draw causes it to snap, the arrow falling to the ground a few feet in front of her. The snow white fletching flutters in the rain, mocking her. She curses and whips out a new string, angrily crouching to avoid random missile fire while she restrings her beloved longbow.
Manuhol, who is among the rear three mounds, listens for a second as the kobolds within these entrances chatter frantically in a barking, growling bastardization of draconic. Deciding that they are planning to attack, he sticks a lethal quarterstaff tip through the side of the mound and taps one on the head in a focused chi attack. The blow scarcely had more than three inches of forward thrust, but the kobold's bright blue head springs a bright red leak and the filthy creature doubles up and quickly dies a most unconscious death.
The other two kobolds in the entrance attempt to skewer Manuhol with halfspears, one missing completely. The other almost hits the unarmored monk, but he knocks it aside at the last moment.
T'puuli and Melven enter the theatre of combat with little time to act, as the combat had already began.
Torigad enters the nearest mound, the same that he hurled Lightbringer into. The last thing the rest of the party sees of him is his axe raising up as he enters, shouting a challenge to the occupant. The horrible sound of bloody mutilation issues from the tunnel as Torigad brings the wrath to the blue skinned beasts within.
Three javelins fly out of the remaining holes in seemingly random directions. One of the nasty critters hurls a javelin at T'puuli, hitting her in the meat of her upper left arm and continuing through. She grits her teeth in pain.
Ixion reloads his crossbow, moving to take up a better position, accidently covering Snowlily's position to her benefit.
With almost practiced timing, Snowlily snaps the brand new string onto her bow and picks up the errant arrow. She rises and stands immediately behind Ixion, partially covered by his left shoulder. They raise their weapons in almost unison. Ixion ignores the smell of wild white daffodils Snowlily wears as best he can, although he doesn't know what kind they are he finds them pleasing nonetheless. No time for that now.
Manuhol steps forward into the kobold and kicks it in the face, killing it. In the same motion he falls backward and attempts to bash the one behind him with a double dragon talon maneuver, but comes up short as he misjudged the kobold's distance. The kobold stabs at Manuhol but only succeeds in hitting the ground between his arm and neck.
T'puuli enters one of the mounds and misses with her first backhand, and as the kobold turns back to stick its tongue out at her, she smashes its chin into its muzzle with a perfect knee attack, permanently fusing its jaws together and severing its tongue. Likely it will not need it again, however; it is also permanently dead.
Melven spots one of the last two sentries readying another javelin and chases after it. The dirty creature sees him coming and decides to flee into the warrens below, unfortunately, Melven is pretty quick for a gnome, and he manages to tackle it as it tries to escape. Dragging it out into the sun, it screams and covers its eyes.
Torigad steps out of the tunnel he entered, dragging a dead sentry into the clearing. He grips the javelin in his hand and makes to pull it out, but his strength fails him. Its just too painful to wrench it free on his own.
Ixion and Snowlily perforate the blinded kobold in unison, killing it. The white fletched arrow of Snowlily's waves in the sunlit rain.
Manuhol grabs the last sapphire kobold, dragging it out of its hole and raises it above his head for a moment, then brings it back down sideways on his knee with a loud cracking sound.
T'puuli steps back into the clearing, bleeding from her arm. She holds it to her side, seeming to attempt to hide it from the others. Not that it helps, her snow white hair has blood in it.
Melven, a little shaken from the precise missile fire so close to his face, stands up and wipes mud off of him.
The cows moo plaintively, almost oblivious to the brutal slayings around them.
((The field is yours. None of the sentries survived. This is night time to the kobolds, so it might be a couple of hours before they even realize their sentries are dead.))
Ixion drops into a temporary defensive crouch, crossbow leveled at the entrances to the kobold lair, until he is sure that no other scaled reinforcements are on the way to help their doomed companions. Several seconds pass and there seems to be no forthcoming reprisal from the underground complex, so the thin man systematically removes the bolt from his weapon, releases the tension from the crossbar, then replaces both ammunition and weapon in their respective sheaths.
((Sleight of Hand to hide the crossbow))
Once own equipment is in order Ixion turns his attention to his cohorts, taking quick account of injuries suffered and comparing this to the first fight to assess combat prowess. "Not too shabby. I think Tellanth realized he was over his head here. T'puuli, Torigad, speak up if you feel you're too injured to continue."
Then his eyes fell upon the newcomer. The gnome had just picked himself up from the mud and was currently cleaning some of the muck from his face. He couldn't stand the shortfolk and had to suppress a sneer, "Let me guess, you're here for the cattle too? Well you're not diminishing my part of any reward payment just because you showed up at the end and fell in the mud." Ixion maintained eye contact a moment longer as he drew his rapier, then curtly turned away, heading for the nearest of the entrances to the kobold lair. "Speaking of ends, I'd wager that there are a few more kobolds still waiting to meet theirs."
As he neared the opening to the rubbish heap, Ixion threw a smile back to the elf, "You up for some more sport, Snowlilly?", then he began picking his way through the filth and into the underground passages.
((Move Silent after the comment to Snowlilly, Hide once inside the mound))
The gnome stands quickly and regards Ixion as he tells Melven "how its gonna be". After Ixion had finished and walked away the short man bends down and picks up a small pebble as he begins talking. Soft enough so that it wouldn't draw much attention but loud enough so it was obvious he intended other to hear.
"A rich landowner once offered to give a newly arrived neighbor all the land he could walk around in one day. The condition was that he would have to be back at the spot from which he started by sundown. Early the next morning the neighbor set out, without eating any breakfast or greeting anyone. His plan was to cover six square miles." (Cast Mage Hand)
The gnomes clothing has begun to straighten themselves, the mud being magically cleaned away. He turns his attention toward the female drow he had followed into the battle. As he slowly steps toward T'puuli there is a clink from the metal on his right arm, then a pop from the button on his left. Each buckle and snap being invisibly undone one at a time and shined with a blurring speed. All during this his slow pace never faulters and his recitation of his story never breaks.
(Cast Cure Light on T'puuli with story)
"When the lad finished the intended six miles, the day was still young and so he decided to make it nine, then twelve, and finally fifteen. That meant he would have to walk sixty miles before sundown. By noon he had covered thirty miles. He realized he did not have time to stop for food or drink. As the time grew later and later his legs grew heavier and heavier."
The gnome turns from T'puuli after his spell is cast, leaving her to discern the effects of his healing speech. His body, gleaming once again, moves without the slightest hint of caution or concern towards where Ixion went as he continues his story.
((Cast light on my small pebble))
"About two hundred yards from the finish line, he saw the sun going toward the horizon. He had only a few minutes left. He gathered all his energies for that one last effort. He staggered across the line just in time. Then he reached for his heart and fell down in a heap - dead. All the land he got was a piece six feet by two for his grave."
The gnome points to the large rusting hulks. "I have come for items to be found inside those hulks and I believe the tunnels these mounds conceal lead into them. I do not want your cows, I am happy with my six miles."
He tosses the lighted pebble into the air and casually points at it with his finger causing his magical hand to grab hold of it. It hovers lightly in front of him as he walks into the dark mounds toward his goal.
Posted on 2008-06-20 at 13:44:01.
Edited on 2008-06-20 at 13:45:43 by EvolutionJ
T’puuli will notice her arm had quit hurting sometime during that odd story the gnome was telling. Looking at her arm, she will say “Magic user huh? Normally it would be best to take care of one nest at a time, but the tunnels are small. Why don’t you two magic users and Torigad take 1 tunnel. While myself and Manuhol take the other? That way we do not get in each others way. Ixion Po and Snowlily have already chosen their tunnel.