Ancient Keep; H1
Giles' spectral sword disappeared and reappeared floating at his side the moment the quickling left his line of sight.
Frodrick didn't need prompting to get after the fey. They had him on the ropes now. He ignored the wound bleeding out (-2dmg Bleed Frodrick) and rode back out through the breech. The blurred form of the quickling was sprawled over one of the many boulders that had once been a part of the wall proper.
Before the quickling could stagger back to his feet, Frodrick rode right up to him, dwarf and warhorse towering over the fey.
Rather than give chase, Kyrie focused her effort into a different avenue. She drew on the light within her, channeling her faith into a visible aura of light.
Giles crawled over the rubble. On foot he couldn't keep up with either Frodrick or the quickling, but he didn't need to. As soon as he caught sight of the grey blur, he mentally directed the phantasmal ink-pen blade. It disappeared in a blink, and reappeared directly over the quickling, thrusting downward. Rigg rolled, out of the way, but the blade still nicked his fey hide (-3dmg Rigg).
Miguel stumbled out after, drawing his wand. He was chasing Frodrick chasing Rigg, trying to get to the hardy old dwarf before he bled dry.
Zeran laughed out loud as he slid his new rapier out of its sheath. “Not so cheeky when you get hit, now are ya?” He stepped out through the breech, completing the trifecta surrounding the quickling. “Can dish it out but can't take it. You are worse then a kobold, at least they could take a hit.”
He thrust at the downed fey. Rigg desperately rolled back. It seemed for a second like Zeran had struck, but it was merely the byproduct of the blurring effect that surrounded the quickling's every movement.
Rigg glared at Zeran. “I hope my lady destroys you.” Without warning, from lying flat on the ground, Rigg levitated off the ground and took off straight upward. Jargon nipped and the other three sliced, thrust, and chopped at him as he took flight. Of the three, only Frodrick managed to strike home (-4dmg Rigg Badly Wounded) but he could not check Rigg's ascent.
Within a moment Rigg was flying as high as the outer towers of the keep, in among the branches of the trees.
(In other news, I'll let you know if you can still see/hit the quickling as soon as relevant. I'm pretty sure the tree cover around that height wasn't so great that he can return stealth, but he definitely has some form of cover.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-06-01 at 22:06:56.
Edited on 2015-06-02 at 19:00:40 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Time to pick up the pieces... no seriously, Zeran's got like a dozen bullets out there
Ancient Keep; H1
Frodrick had nothing to throw at the quickling, so he waited at ground level, ready to guard against a surprise attack in case the murderous fey wasn't quite finished with them yet. The trickle of blood from his side conspired to turn the muddy ice armour red, a steady but not immediately life-threatening flow (-2dmg Bleed Frodrick).
While the rest remained ground-bound when Rigg ascended, one blade had no such attachment to gravity. Giles' ink sword rose followed the quickling, trailing just a few feet behind him. It continued its attack, relentless so long as its target remained in sight. Though it was getting hard to see the quickling among the tree tops, his high pitched grunt of pain was enough to know he'd been hit (-5dmg *crit* Rigg).
Miguel, finally caught up with Frodrick, pointed the wand at him and spoke the command word that would stop his bleeding and restore some vitality to his body (+9hp Frodrick 55/58 Bleed End) (Wand 21c).
At the same time, Zeran pointed his own 'wand' straight up into the tree. He pulled the trigger half-heartedly, hoping but not really expecting to hit anything vital. A shower of woodchips came down around him as the quickling ascended onto a branch and vanished away hoping between the trees.
Giles sword vanished as soon as the quickling went out of sight, reappearing next to him, awaiting a new target.
Frodrick 55/58 – Ice Armour, B, F
Jargon 42/42 – Mount, B, F
Giles 42/42 – B, F, Spiritual Weapon (3/5), 18 arrows, 20 bolts
Kyrie 55/55 – -1LoH, Bastion of Good, Power of Faith (2/10)
Miguel 41/41 – B, F, Ability Damage -1Con, 18 arrows
Zeran 22/37 – B, F, Ability Damage -2Con (-5maxhp, -1Fort), 24 bullets
Ancient Keep; H1
Zeran quickly scanned the courtyard around the gate, where the majority of the fighting had gone down yesterday. He managed to retrieve three balls that weren't too mashed by the impact with the wood or terrain as to be useless to him. Waste not, want not.
Kyrie returned to where she left her sickle, while the others came in. Once everyone was set again (+6hp Zeran 28/37) (20charges), Zeran rounded on the nearest tower. The southeast tower was guarded by a rough-cut wooden door that was obviously newer than anything else in the keep.
Zeran shoved it open, pistol out in case he found anything ugly. The dark interior of the tower was unoccupied. Despite the lack of a roof, a thick mess of vines and leaves blocked out most of the daylight, leaving the humans to adjust their eyes. Like the other tower, the upper floors had fallen away, but here the debris had been cleared away and replaced with an almost cozy assortment of crude miniature furniture.
The party glanced around the small tower. It took a second, but the cozy atmosphere was marred by the discovery of a collection of scalps nailed to the walls like some kind of macabre decoration. Between the small wooden furniture and the decor, it seemed obvious who this room belonged to.
“This must have been where Rigg lived,” Zeran said.
“You don't say?” said Giles. “Here I was thinking it was a kidnapped princess.”
Glancing around the room, Frodrick spotted something higher up the tower shaft. “Oi, hush ye, what's that?” He pointed to a small alcove some 20' off the ground. It was dark and shadowed as much as anything else in the tower, but with his cave sight he could see the edge of something round.
“I'll get it.” Offered Miguel. He sheathed his sword and easily scaled the wall to the alcove. At the top he removed a weighty clay urn, evidently filled with something worth at least a few pounds. He tossed it down to the others and returned to the ground without incident.
Climb Take 10 = 16
On the ground they removed the lid from the urn to find it was filled with at least two-hundred coins, gold and silver, as well as a colourful assortment of glittering gems. Rigg's treasure trove was clearly worth its weight. They stowed it to take back to the wagon and count later.
Inspired by treasure and the dangers that might guard it, Zeran led the crew to the last wall tower. Besides the central spire, this tower was clearly the most intact. High above it retained most of its roof, while the vine-covered mossy wooden door looked like it might have even been the original (any carving on it having long since faded away, albeit).
The tower itself was thick with vines, even moreso than any other. Near the top, someone had thought to add their own homey touches, stringing a neat collection of sun-bleached skulls through the vines. Above the door some of the vines were fruiting with ripe blackberries.
Miguel's hand suddenly shot out to block Zeran's progress. “Wait, no, bad,” he said. He pointed to the collection of vines just above the door (distinct from the ones draping down in front of it). “I knew I recognised those leaf shapes somewhere. There's an assassin vine above the door, there. It's mindless, but it'll attack any living thing that gets too close.”
Zeran took a single pointed step back. “What do we do with it?”
“It's a type of mindless plant monster. They get their fertilizer by ambushing prey and strangling it to death. They don't move very fast, but they are utterly single-minded in their hunt if they spot you, but otherwise remain completely still wherever they are.”
“I got an idea.” Zeran picked up a small stick that had snapped off one of the trees. “Let's see if we can make it move. Tell me what I'm aiming for.”
Miguel pointed out to Zeran where the thicker vine trunk stood out among the vaguely hand-shaped leaves. Zeran took aim and pitched the stick at the plant monster. It struck dead on and bounced off harmlessly. The vine didn't react with so much as a twitch.
“Huh,” said Zeran.
There was a chuckle from the wooded courtyard that came from none of the party. For a moment it seemed like Rigg had made a comeback, but this voice was far too deep to have come from that pipsqueak.
“While you may have done me a service in driving off that moronic idiot, nevertheless my lady would not be pleased if I let his death go unrepaid. Attack, my pet.”
Without warning every bush, shrub, and blade of grass around the party suddenly sprang to life, growing to wrap around their legs. Of the party only Giles didn't react fast enough to escape the grasping vegetation (Entangled).
A great mass of vine dropped from the wall, landing in a writhing heap. It surged forward, undulating across the terrain with a slow and ungainly crawl. Now that it was off the wall, Zeran could more clearly see what tendrils were and weren't a part of the assassin vine. The main body of the plant was a 20' long thick woody vine, covered with offshoots that sprouted dozens of broad hand-shaped leaves, with ripe blackberries hanging between.
He had just enough time to observe all this before the faceless monster lashed out and struck him full in the chest (-24dmg *crit* Zeran 4/37). His vision blurred and he gasped for the air that had just been forced out of his lungs. Before he knew what was happening, the vine's tendrils wrapped around his torso and yanked back, dragging him toward the main body (Grappled).
(As a reminder of what the Entangled condition does, you are rooted to the spot, and take a -2 penalty to all attack rolls, and a -4 penalty on Dexterity. Those attempting to cast a spell must succeed on a concentration check. Breaking free takes a move action and a Str check or Escape Artist)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-06-03 at 03:47:27.
Edited on 2015-06-03 at 17:45:30 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Frodrick is going to give that new feat one hell of a workout I suspect.
Ancient Keep; H1
Miguel reached out for Zeran as he got dragged away. Instead of trying to fight back against the vine's tightly wound strength, he went in with a spell on his lips. The tightness in Zeran's chest went away, leaving him sucking in his breath (+9hp Zeran 15/37).
The moment he had air in his lungs again Zeran called out not a scream or cry for help. “How disappointing,” he said. “Here I thought I was going to die screwing your lady!” He wriggled and twisted, trying to work himself free of the vine's grasp.
Giles himself also fought to free himself from the tangles of another vine insinuating itself around his leg. He tugged and yanked, and finally broke free. The remainder of the plant immediately dropped away as soon as it was severed. Without that little distraction, he raised his sword, chanting a spell. A burning rune appeared on his sword and it burst into flames.
Kyrie jumped to Zeran's aid with the shovel in her hands. She hacked at the vines with the blade of her shovel just the same as she would with any weed she found in her garden (-6dmg Vine Barely Injured).
Frodrick looked from Zeran to Miguel “I'm going in. Ye'll be a'right?” he asked. Miguel nodded, and the dwarf dropped out of his saddle in a quick motion. Without pause he charged past Miguel and Giles, tossing his axe down so he would have a hand free to take a hold of the gunslinger's arm.
“Drop that fool” the mysterious voice called. “Kill the one carrying the fire sword first!”
Without hesitation the assassin vine simply released Zeran, directly contradicting everything Miguel expected of the mindless monster. It reached right over Frodrick's head and went straight for Giles without even acknowledging the dwarf.
The dwarf snorted and let go of Zeran. “Not that easy!” he bellowed and threw himself in front of Giles, taking the brunt of the blow (-11dmg Frodrick). The assassin vine seemed just as happy to wrap one as the other (Grappled -8dmg Frodrick 36/58 ), cinching around Frodrick's neck.
Even as the vines wrapped around his body, the dense bushes and tall grasses wrapped around his legs (Entangled). The others managed to avoid being wrapped up and pinned down.
There was a sigh from somewhere too close to Giles to be comfortable. He glanced around, but didn't see the source of the voice until too late. A tall, slender man built like an elf but with skin resembling tree bark leapt out from cover with long, wicked sharp claws.
Giles threw his arm up to shield his face, taking a slash across his arm (-10dmg Giles). At once he felt his arm burn and begin to numb, but it passed (Poison Resisted).
Unlike the quickling, this new creature did not immediately flee back into the undergrowth. Miguel glanced back at the newcomer. “Grimstalker!” He shouted “Fey assassin! Venomous claws!” That was just about everything he knew condensed into manageable packages.
Ancient Keep; H1
Miguel raised his voice above the rustling of the bushes and vines, filling the air with his own magical hum. His song radiated through his allies, giving them the strength to fight harder.
Giles spun on the fey Miguel had called a 'grimstalker'. He realized that it probably saw that he was carrying the cold iron sword, and had come to kill him first. “You know,” he said to the others, “the reward for that figurine had better be worth all this mess.” He swung his sword at the fey, calling down divine judgement to fill guide his blade and smite his enemies.
The grimstalker saw the blade coming and threw himself back with elven grace, but he wasn't fast enough.Giles sliced open a wound across his branch-like arm, interested to note that despite his appearance, the fey did still indeed bleed red (-9dmg, -5fire Teorlian, Barely Injured). The fey hissed at the touch of the cold iron.
Zeran regained his footing after being released from the vine's grip. It was too busy with Frodrick now to pay much attention to him. He lifted his pistol to hardly a foot away from the broad, hand-like leaves, and pulled the trigger, blowing out a section of woody splinters (-6dmg Vine).
Beside him Kyrie drew on her power once again. She began radiating a light to boost her allies morale in tandem with Miguel's music, together turning the team into a focused killing machine.
Frodrick wrestled with the vines wrapping around his neck and now his feet. Rather than pit his strength against that of the vines, he clawed the ground next to him for the haft of his axe. As soon as his hands closed on the wooden handle, he swung it up furiously into the wooden tendril holding him (-5dmg Vine Injured, Bloodied). He couldn't get the right leverage, but his arm was strengthened by the power radiating from his comrades.
Meanwhile his mare was not doing nothing in his absense. He left her to keep an eye on Giles and Miguel from behind and that's what she did. She spun away from the grimstalker and kicked with her hind legs. The fey hardly seemed to feel the force of the hoof against his fairy-tough hide (-1dmg Teorlian).
“Forget the dwarf!” the grimstalker shouted at the mindless vine. “Move there, keep this one distracted.”
As commanded, the assassin vine released Frodrick, leaving him to the plants wrapping around his legs. It twisted, winding across the thrashing grasses over to Kyrie, where it's great reach would put it directly behind Giles. The vine's ponderous movements gave Kyrie an opening, which she took, hacking at the overgrown weed (-7dmg Vine Badly Wounded). It wasn't made to take this kind of punishment, and its body was beginning to show the damage, bleeding sap out of several wounds.
Nevertheless, it paid Kyrie no heed while the plants around her legs started to find hold in her moment of distraction. Instead its attack hurtled past her at Giles' back. The soldier realized what was happening. When the vine behind him like this, he couldn't defend against both of them easily. The grimstalker relied on ambush tactics, but when those weren't available, a little distraction like this would do just as well to force him to open his guard.
With fierce growl, Frodrick tackled the thick vine before it ever got to Giles again, smashing it with his shield even as it slammed into him (-11dmg Frodrick 25/5. With his feet still rooted to where he stood, Frodrick didn't have any footing to fight back when the vine started to wrap around him and crush the life out of him again (-9dmg Frodrick 16/5.
Then, just as suddenly as it struck, the assassin vine simply dropped him like an unwanted toy. That was bad news for Giles.
With the vine hovering over his back like that, Giles could only do so much to avoid the grimstalker's fast and viscious strikes. It ripped at him with both claws, the first thrusting like a dagger at his spare ribs. He tried to dodge, and his armour blocked part of the blow, but it still stung (-12dmg Giles 20/42, Poison Resisted). The second claw came for his head. If he had been any slower, he might have lost an eye. Instead white hot pain flashed through his cheek (-13dmg Giles 7/42). Between the repeated exposure his body was starting to succumb to the numbing effects of the poison on the grimstalker's claws (-1Dex (no effect) Poisoned).
Ancient Keep; H1
Giles was having the stuffing torn out of him by the deadly accurate attacks of the fey assassin. Miguel pointed his wand at Giles and hoped it would be enough to stitch some of the holes back together long enough to put the stuffing back in (+5hp Giles 12/42) (19 charges).
The self-procclaimed soldier knew he couldn't hold off both sides at once—but there was nowhere to turn without tripping or being held down (-1Dex Giles -1pen to AC, ranged attk, reflex, init). Instead he fought back as hard as he could. The grimstalker wanted him because he was holding the sword that could burn through his magic flesh. Figuratively and literally, given the fire transmutation.
Giles pressed the attack, thrusting his sword at the centre of mass. Despite his resemblance in common with a tree, the grimstalker was fast. The fey twisted with superhuman flexibility, still not fast enough to avoid a burning gash across his torso (-13dmg, -2fire Teorlian Injured).
The grimstalker snarled, hatred plain in his eyes. Red blood flowed over his bark-like skin, telling the true extent of his injuries (Bloodied). Giles managed a smug look, despite his clear disadvantage.
Behind Giles, fighting on the other front, Zeran was deciding to throw caution to the wind. He pointed his pistol at the assassin vine from close combat. In the half second while he lined up the shot, the vine lashed down at him with lethal force. Its attack was sluggish, and as poorly as Zeran was doing, it was next to no effort to sidestep and adjust his aim. He lined up the muzzle of his pistol flush with the wood of the serpentine vine.
“Bang.” The shot blew a clean hole through the vine (-11dmg Vine Dying), sending fibrous chips out the other side. The assassin vine, bleeding sap from the several injuries, shuddered, then went limp.
Kyrie weeds still wrapped around her leg, didn't pause when the assassin plant went down. She knew that just because you'd plucked a weed didn't mean you'd actually killed it yet. She set the blade of her shovel against the bullet hole, took a moment to steady her balance and draw up her strength, then stomped on the shovel, severing the vine clean in two (-28dmg *coup de grace* Vine DEAD).
As the vine's lifefluids drained out onto the grass, the large circle of thrashing plants suddenly fell away, returning to inanimacy the moment the magic passed. Frodrick took advantage of his newfound mobility to step up beside Giles. “If you want to get to 'im, ye'll have to go through me!” He bellowed at the grimstalker, warding off the assassin with a warning swing of his axe.
The grimstalker fixed his glare on Frodrick. “I'll gladly see both of you dead soon eno—” Jargon kicked him square across the jaw. The fey reacted as if he actually had been made out of living wood and not flesh, but the blow clearly did some damage (-4dmg Teorlian).
The fey chose not to finish his parting words, turning tail to escape getting surrounded by more foes than he could handle. He didn't have the incredible speed of his smaller cohort, but his long strides carried him readily to the base of the central spire. Without breaking stride his long claws came up and gripped onto the ancient stone and vines, and he started scaling the outside of the tower.
The fey was clearly a natural climber, scaling the relatively smooth stone with little difficulty at an impressive speed. Then suddenly, at close to 30' off the ground, he seemed to vanish into the side of the tower. There were no visible windows, but his body clearly and suddenly slipped into the white stone.
Assassin Vine: DEAD
Teorlian: Injured, Bloodied, Gone?
(I won't call an end to this battle (thus ending Giles' Judgement) immediately, but for all intents and purposes, I assume this fight is over until the next one begins, unless someone should do something amazing to prove me wrong.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-06-10 at 19:47:38.
Edited on 2015-06-10 at 19:48:48 by Sibelius Eos Owm
No matter the situation, seeing 9000 year old dead elves dancing is not normal.
Ancient Keep; H1
As soon as the grimstalker disappeared into the tower, Miguel focused his efforts on making sure everyone was as patched up as possible before the next battle. He pointed his wand at Giles, pouring charges into him while Kyrie worked to treat the poison (Poison Resisted) in his body (Poison Resisted/End).
Nothing jumped out at them over the next few minutes while Miguel treated the party's cuts and bruises. Soon the party was back in almost top fighting order (+25hp Giles 37/42) (+16hp Zeran 31/37) (+41hp Frodrick 57/58.) (CLW 5 charges remaining). Finally, he tucked his wand back away and cast a spell on Giles to reinforce his strength (+Heroism).
As soon as they were ready to move in, the party took their positions, With Kyrie and Miguel in front and Frodrick guiding Jargon in the back. They knew the central tower must be the home of the lady of the keep, and Zeran didn't want to run head-first into another unpleasant surprise.
The ground-level of the tower held the grand hall—a spacious room with a high, vaulted ceiling. Despite a layer of earth and undergrowth, the smooth, multicoloured stone tile floor was clearer in here than anywhere else in the keep. The walls were decorated with faded scenes of forest life, depicting elves hunting, feasting, dancing, and a bewildering array of other idyllic pursuits.
The west wall of the tower featured a graceful stone staircase curving along the inside up to the ceiling and second floor above. Besides the elves along the walls and the creepers along the floor, the grand hall was empty.
There wasn't time to look around, though. The moment Frodrick and Jargon entered into the room, the large circular immediately began filling with a thick violet mist, pouring in from all sides. There was no time to cover their mouths, by the time the party realized what was happening they were already beginning to feel the effects of the noxious gas.
The violet mist dispersed almost as quickly as it had appeared, but the effects lingered. Kyrie, Frodrick, and Giles' vision blurred and their surroundings warped before their eyes. After just a moment the effects of the mist passed for them with a mild sense of vertigo.
Miguel, Zeran, and even Jargon Hooves suffered from a stronger reaction (Poisoned). Not only did the poisonous mist set their world spinning, it filled their minds with vivid hallucinations of dark, moonless nights. The figures dancing in the stone frescoes on the walls came to life, the forest scenes filled with twisted, hateful looking trees, and the rivers ran red with blood (-3Wis Miguel, -1Wis Zeran, -2Wis Jargon), (Miguel/Jargon -1will).
(Remember that Wisdom damage also affects wisdom-based skills, but other than that I'm pretty sure it's mostly only Will saves. Luckily, Giles and Frodrick both saved, so they don't risk any penalty to their Wisdom-based spellcasting.)
(Anyway, Kyrie has time to drop her stuff and try to treat one of the victims before the poison goes further, with or without use of a charge from her healer`s kit (which is down by 2 as I recall))
Frodrick - Ice
Posted on 2015-06-16 at 02:04:34.
Edited on 2015-06-16 at 02:06:01 by Sibelius Eos Owm
It's always awkward showing up bringing a sword to a word fight...
Ancient Keep; H1
Zeran shook his head, then waved his hand in front of his face. “Well, that was interesting.” The unsettling visions left him very little worse off for wear. Frodrick carefully stroked Jargon's mane, offering soft reassurances. Their bodies quickly fought off the hallucinogenic poison, leaving them a little shaken, but not too stirred (Poison End).
Miguel was another story. In a moment he began hyperventilating (-1Wis Miguel). Kyrie tried to encourage him to take deeper breaths to help clear his head while drawing supplies from her medkit. His eyes remained unfocused, occasionally glancing at her or the others in the room, but clearly not seeing them rather than vague apparition in their shape (-2Wis).
Finally after a couple moments and a subjective eternity for Miguel, the visions passed and he was able to see the room for what it was, and not the hellscape that had been laid over it. Zeran was snapping his fingers in front of him. “You all right there?”
Miguel blinked a couple of times. His vision still blurred a bit at the edges, but his body finished absorbing the poison. “Yeah, I think I'll be okay,” he said. “Probably gonna need to take a few days off after this, I bet.”
Rather than dwell on the aftereffects of the violet mist, Miguel took position next to Kyrie again and led the way up the elegant stone stairs. They ascended from the hallucinary hellscape to a sight almost as strange. A riot of flowers, plants, and bushes sprouted from the thick loam that carpeted the circular floor, and vines crept in through the shattered remains of wide, panoramic windows, invisible from the outside. The effect was remarkably like walking in a fantastic glade elevated high above the forest floor.
The wooden interior walls had long since rotted away, leaving a wide-open space for the garden. In the centre of the floor stood a ancient-looking exquisitely crafted waterclock, positioned directly under the skylight, while the far side of the room appeared to be some form of open-plan bedchamber, and also held the room's only visible occupants.
Tucked against the far wall, there was a bed covered with a snow-white bearskin coverlet, as well as a finely carved wooden wardrobe and a bedside table made of rosewood. Beside these stood two elven women—one carved from alabaster, a life-sized statue of a dancing nude, and next to her another with skin just as pale, standing beside a harp as if having just gotten up from playing.
This latter, with solid emerald green eyes and golden hair, dressed in a flowing white gown, tied at the waist with a blood-red scarf, directed her attention at the bedraggled crew that had just entered her chamber. She took two steps forward, swaying delicately as she walked. The movement accentuated the beauty in the curves of her body.
“Greetings, travellers. May I inquire what business brings your fine company to my humble garden?”
(There is no heads nor tails of the grimstalker anywhere in here. This oversized 'room' has almost the exact same dimensions as the hall below it, but I'll be posting its own map, anyway.)
Map of the Upper Floor ~here~
(On the left side; it looks so much smaller than it actually is, but when you consider that the room is 30' in diameter, that puts it at significantly larger than my bedroom.
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
I'm actually kind of disappointed my dice produced such a heteronormative result
Ancient Keep; H1
Kyrie answered first. “Well, we're exploring the area, and this guy over here,” she indicated Giles, “wanted to see if there were any Elven places around, and we got pointed to here, so here we are. The other two that we met so far weren't very nice though.”
The elven woman smiled pleasantly, amused. "Yes, I'm afraid my associates are ever so zealous when it comes to defending me. I confess, I wondered whether we might have company in our part of the forest when I espied from yon window the black mark of a human infestation.” Without ever stopping her swaying movements, she raised a hand casually toward the eastern window—approximately the direction of the area set ablaze by the party a few days earlier. Her face did not waver from its mild, pleasant expression.
Kyrie either did not notice or did not care about the elven Lady's insult. “Yeah, there was a dangerous tree over that way that we ran into. Very aggressive—and I guess hungry? Anyway, in the commotion fire was used and, well, we tried to put out what we could, but embers reached the tree tops and we didn't have buckets of water that we could climb up the trees with to put them out. Also probably would take too long. Hopefully it'll rain soon.”
The lady of the keep stepped forward lightly as Kyrie rambled, still swaying with graceful, rhythmic motions that invited the eyes to linger. “How typical of humans. And dwaves.” She directed this latter comment with a glance to Frodrick. “Burn down the forest to remove a single tree. I suppose I should expect nothing less from such ugly, disgusting creatures—” The lady of the keep paused by the waterclock, halfway across the room. Her gaze was fixated on Kyrie, focused on the streak of green in her hair.
Her eyes narrowed. “You. You are one of the marked.” The woman's casual tone turned suddenly bitter as she spoke the word, as if it tasted aweful in her mouth. “I would that my People express less enthusiasm for debasing themselves with the creation of such abomination.”
“Mark?” Kyrie blinked. “Oh, you mean my birthlock” Unconsciously she reached up and twirled the streak of green hair. “I've always had that. Mah'i and Mah'r always thought it was just something like a birthmark, just with hair. Come to think of it, I haven't ever seen anyone else with green hair... oh except that tree guy that attacked us just now...”
She turned to Miguel suddenly. “What'd you call him again? Grim-something?” She poked the bard while continuing to explain, “Guy seemed to be friends with that weed. Hard to understand why but, not my place to judge.”
It was then that Kyrie began to realize that every one of her allies, all of the Greenbelt Charter party—including the horse—were staring vacantly at the hypnotizing gyrations of the dancing elf lady, completely agawk (Party Dazed)
“I'm afraid your friends are indisposed—since you alone resisted me, I suppose I'll just have to let them watch while I kill you.” The Dancing Lady raised her hand toward Kyrie and suddenly the lush garden became a writhing mass of grasping vines.
Kyrie pulled free quickly. The dazed watchers resisted the clinging bushes and plants absently, unable to tear their eyes away from the 'elf'. Frodrick, one of Jargon's legs, and Giles were all ensnared, while Miguel and Zeran remained free.
(I swear, had it been almost anybody but Kyrie this battle would have started like 3 rounds ago. Instead I got to put in all the fancy dialogue I wanted to try squeezing into this interaction before the fight even started.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Ancient Keep; H1
The Dancing Lady took a step back from the party, beckoning Kyrie to come and get her. Kyrie did not need to be told twice. She brought up her defensive aura and became once more a bastion against evil, targetting the woman before her.
Kyrie tore through the writhing garden to get to the lady of the keep, stepping right into her gambit. The lady lashed out to grab Kyrie, but the farmgirl ducked back. The Dancing Lady's smile faded at once, her face twisting into something hateful and vindictive.
Kyrie threw down her shovel just as the Dancing Lady struck out at her again, this time with inch-long pointed nails. Kyrie caught her attack by the wrist, holding the alabaster flesh in a gauntletted deathgrip (Dancing Lady Grappled).
“Well, this has become awkward.” said the Dancing Lady lightly. Despite being caught up in Kyrie's grip, the elven lady continued dancing, adjusting her steps as if she were merely taking on a partner. “Teorlian, do be a dear and take care of that wretched sword for me?”
Without warning the grimstalker appeared next to Giles, bursting out of the writhing garden like a rapidly growing tree. He struck, wrenching the cold iron long sword from Giles' grip with one clawed hand, casting it into the garden behind him. The sword disposed of he raked across Giles' chest with the other claw (-15dmg Giles 22/42 Poison Resisted).
The soldier suddenly shook free of his reverie, becoming alert to what was going on around him. He saw the grimstalker, looking much the same as when they last saw him retreat, and the flash of metal from his sword laying in the flowers behind him. The others were still trapped by the effect, and his legs were entangled by the garden. Even as he glanced, Zeran lost the struggle to avoid the plants.
(Technically there is nothing in the book stating you can reroll against the daze effect, but also there is basically nothing that says the daze effect ever ends except if she stops dancing, so the ability is a potential instant TPK as written. Besides, it would make this fight awefully boring if we just had to watch Kyrie try to fend off against both foes by herself.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-06-22 at 15:06:30.
Edited on 2015-06-23 at 17:27:07 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Ancient Keep; H1
The Dancing Lady turned her attention back to the farmgrl holding her arms captive. “As for you, you unfortunate creature, let me show you how we dance in the Fae.” With a sudden surge of great strength, the tall lady broke Kyrie's grip and reversed it, taking hold of Kyrie (Grappled). Flowers and vines took a grip on Kyrie's legs as the lady of the keep took the lead.
Kyrie fought back, but the Lady's grip was too tight. She was being overwhelmed. She set her jaw, prepared to do whatever it took to keep the lady focused on her, giving Giles time to deal with his own problems.
Feet rooted, Giles struggled to dodge the grimstalker's venomous claws. He threw up his arms to defend himself, blocking one claw with a painful blow to his forearm (-5dmg) and letting his armour take the brunt of the other blow (-3dmg Giles 14/42).
As soon as he had a moment to think, he wrenched his feet out from the garden's grasp. With one less thing to worry about, he concentrated his efforts on casting a spell without letting the grimstalker take another shot. As soon as he finished the incantation, the calligraphy pen sword he had summoned earlier reappeared between him and Teorlian.
Though Giles was yet unarmed, the spirit blade struck for him while he sorted himself out. The blade forced the grimstalker back on the defensive, slashing at him and creating a shallow gouge in his wood-like skin (-6dmg Teorlian). Meanwhile Giles channeled his will to make his body become tougher, more resilient to harm. This was almost certainly going to hurt, but he wasn't going down without a fight.
“This is definitely too damn much work for any bloody statue,” he growled.
(Kyrie has gone from being the controlling grappler of the pair to the one being grappled. Giles is losing hp fast, but since he's no longer flat-footed, the grimstalker can only do basic claw damage, minus the sneak attacks, until he finds a way to get back into hiding.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
A little something to make this actually a challenge
Ancient Keep; H1
The Dancing Lady pulled Kyrie closer to her body, her rhythmic swaying turning more intense, almost sensual. As she pressed herself up against the cold metal of Kyrie's armour, she pinned Kyrie's arms down with inexorable strength (Pinned). She bent her head down next to Kyrie's ear. “You're not normally my type, either, but for this I'll make an exception.”
Before Kyrie had time to wonder at the meaning, the elf-lookalike's teeth became sharp, and she bit down into her neck (-5dmg Kyrie). Kyrie fought the urge to cry out in horrified pain and give the lady the satisfaction. The lady of the keep drank deep of the supply of life-giving blood flowing from her neck (Blood Drain -3Str, -2Con Kyrie 45/50).
Kyrie gathered her reserves of will and cracked the side of her skull against the Lady's. The inhuman fey was only staggered for a second, but the farmgirl redoubled her efforts. She jerked back sharply, almost tumbling over, finally freeing one arm. With that free arm she poured her strength into a crushing grip on the fey's other arm, eventually forcing her to let go by pure mechanical force applied to the wrist muscles than by overpowering her (Grapple Reversed... Again).
Teorlian paid no attention to his lady's struggle, confident that she would hold her own against a mere mortal girl. His eyes were focused on Giles and filled with hate for the one who had brought the touch of anathema. “You will immediately cease your feeble struggling if you want your death to be merciful.” He lashed out with his claws. Giles dodged the first by ducking behind his sword, but took the second grazing a gap in his shoulder armour (-4 redux -2dmg Giles 12/42). His body fought against the poison, but the doses were adding up and beginning to overpower him (Poisoned, -1Dex)
“I think not.” Giles said, drawing his other sword. It wasn't made of cold iron, but it would have to do. “In fact, I think it's time one of you blasted fairies died finally.” He mentally imbued his sword with the power to smite down any fey creature that came under its blade (Bane [Fey]).
He struck at the same time his spirit blade thrust. The ghostly force blade forced Teorlian to dodge left as it sliced through his woody bicep (-5dmg Teorlian Badly Wounded) as Giles swung his blade from the right. His sword bit into the grimstalker's belly, an almost lethal blow on a normal human, but still damnably injuring to the fey (-13dmg Teorlian). For the first time, the fey assassin seemed to realize his mortality.
In the back the horrifying sight of the Dancing Lady sinking her teeth into Kyrie's neck was just enough to shake Frodrick free of the mental hold she had over him. Whatever he had previously been distracted by, the effect was broken and he saw only another vicious monster that needed to be put down. He had to be careful, though. This was no mere sprite to have had such a powerful effect over him. True to Tiressia's warning, the lady of the castle was clearly a dark fey of great malevolence and power.
(Surprise! Who doesn't love a little good ol' fashioned Blood Drain? That said, fortunes look to be rapidly changing around here. Honestly, though, it's kind of annoying that the Dancing Lady is so reliant on that Captivating Dance save-or-suck mechanic, but she does have at least a few other tricks for when that one crashes to the ground)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
This one is starting to go south for the Dancing Lady fast.
Ancient Keep; H1
Half the party, including the horse, were still mesmerized by the Dancing Lady's supernatural motions. Frodrick's first line of action was clear. He stuck his axe haft-up into the ground and grabbed Zeran by the brigandine. Rather than let nature take its course, he dragged the pirate down to meet his eyes.
As Zeran's eye contact was broken, his mind started to clear up. He swallowed the drool that was threatening to dribble over his lip.
Frodrick waited until he saw the clouds fade from Zeran's expression. “That's enough gawking. Get Miguel, we've got another blasted fairy to kill.”
In the middle of the room, the Dancing Lady was slipping from Kyrie's grip once more without any particular show of effort (Grapple Reversed... again). She took a hold of Kyrie's forearms and glanced at the back lines with a scowl. “Teorlian, do stop wasting time playing with your food. Hold this wretch down so I can get on to the more succulent meats.”
The grimstalker, breathing heavily at this point and covered in his own red blood turned to his mistress, incredulous. It took only a second for him to assess his situation. “I'll not forget what you've done to me here.” He told Giles.
He turned abruptly away from Giles, retreating, but not toward the wrestling pair. “Help yourself, you miserable trull,” he spat as he clambered through thrashing flower to one of the wide, broken windows.
Without further comment the grimstalker crawled out the window the same as he had come in.
The Dancing Lady's expression progressed from shock to confusion to shrieking outrage in the span of a second. Kyrie tried to pull free, but the distraction made the Dancing Lady's grip even tighter, if anything.
With a thought, Giles' ink sword blinked across the room to Kyrie's side. It struck immediately and without mercy, forcing her to twist to avoid its thrust (-6dmg Dancing Lady Barely Injured). Meanwhile Giles made himself concentrate on casting a spell to heal up some of his wounds even as the poison inside his body threatened to seize up all his muscles (-1Dex) (+9hp Giles 21/42).
Dancing Lady: Barely Injured, Grappling, Dancing, Bastion Target, Entangle
Teorlian: Out of Sight, Badly Wounded, Bloodied
(Oh yeah, Frodrick picks up his axe after he puts it down with the remaining move action he had left. Giles' sword is still out of his reach until he breaks the entangle and moves to get it. Remaining dazed party members are Jargon and Miguel (the latter of which who may be able to tell us just what the lady actually is, assuming not an elf at this point.)
(EDIT: Oh yeah, Giles' spirit sword wavers or something when it hits the dancing lady, as if the magic holding it together was briefly disrupted but not broken. Also I forgot to mention that Miguel and Giles have once again been entangled. Well Miguel for the first time.
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Ancient Keep; H1
Frodrick hacked at the flowers around his legs, but they held strong to his legs. He snorted, then turned to Jargon. She had only barely made it to the top step when the Dancing Lady captivated them, but her forelegs were already wrapped up in creeping vines. “C'mon girl, we seen better before, aye?” He reached up with his shield and blocked her line of sight.
Meanwhile Zeran set his sights on the Dancing Lady, but this time with less vacant staring. The flora crawling up his body made lining up his aim annoying, especially as not to hit Kyrie, but no matter how he pulled, they refused to let him budge.
The Dancing Lady's expression turned cold and furious after recovering from her vassal's betrayal. “Very well, I shall just have to kill you all myself.” Through all this her body never ceased its hypnotic motions.
“Screw it,” Zeran said. He pointed and pulled the trigger. There wasn't much of an opening, but his aim was good. The shot burned past the Dancing Lady's arm, causing her to jerk right. The bullet ricocheted off her body, proving her body was no less supernaturally resistant than any of the others, but left an angry red mark (-5dmg Dancing Lady).
Kyrie and the Dancing Lady held position, the farmgirl hoping to distract the malicious supernatural being until her allies could group up. To this effect, the grunted through her teeth. “Going to take more than that to kill me quickly.”
The Lady's composure into a frustrated snarl. Keeping her voice cold as ice, she said “You know, I always did prefer to eat my dessert first.” She shoved Kyrie away from her and strode across the thrashing garden to Miguel. She glanced at Zeran as she walked, “Your friend has gone a little mad. Do be a darling and take outside for a spot of fresh air, will you?”
Zeran's eyes glazed over for a second, then refocused. He was still trapped by the vines and flowers, but his attention was singularly focused on Kyrie (Compulsion) as she scooped up her shovel and followed after the Lady.
Giles' sword also followed the Dancing Lady, chasing after her across the battlefield while he wrenched his feet free of the garden. As if expecting the attack, the Lady sidestepped the spell blade even as she descended on the helpless Miguel.
Giles mentally reassigned the divine power reinforcing his body into this sword, calling on the power of destruction. Rather than dive for his cold iron sword, he decided to cut straight to the heart of the matter (Poison Resisted 1/2).
The Lady saw that her back was practically to the wall between Kyrie and Giles. “Well, damn. Would that I had picked you to be removed from my chambers.”
Ancient Keep; H1
Frodrick roared and gave it all his effort. The plants clung to his body with supernatural force, but he finally tore free. Without a second thought he leapt into Jargon's saddle, where his feet were high off the ground. “A'right, 'bout time we started kicking some tails 'round here.” (+Challenge)
Zeran himself finally managed to twist out of the grasp of the flowers. His mind was filled with singular purpose—he had to get Kyrie outside. He crossed straight to her side, placing a hand on her shoulder.
The Dancing Lady cast a sideways glance at Miguel, still dazed. She returned her attention to Giles. “I'll simply have to be rid of you myself.” Giles looked for a weapon, but saw none. Instead he almost didn't see her lunge forward and lash out with her bare hand. Her nails had become blood red points, each better than an inch long.
Giles narrowly ducked the first, that might have torn out his neck with all the vicious instinct of a hunting wolf (-8dmg *crit* Giles). He put up his sword to defend himself, but the poison in his body was making his movements stiff and awkard. She caught his sword arm, digging into his flesh with the points, then dove in with a feral fanged grin, biting into his sword arm (-4dmg, -4dmg Giles 6/42).
The soldier came to realize the superhuman strength that Kyrie had been contending with as he pulled back. If not for Kyrie's protective shield, he might not have gotten off so easy. The blood-drinker hadn't gotten quite the grip on him that she had on Kyrie earlier, so she never even made an attempt to drain his body, but another few blows and he would be in less position to put up a struggle than Miguel.
While Kyrie channeled her faith to become a beacon of hope and light (Power of Faith), Giles doing a little channeling himself. He let the spiritual weapon he had conjured push the lady back as she anticipated its swing in perfect time. He chanted a spell to close some of his wounds and give him a little more energy to keep the fight going (+12hp Giles 18/42)
“You know, normally I like to get to know a girl before we get to the kinky stuff. Call me old fashioned.” Giles quipped.
At the top of the stair, Jargon shook off the last vestiges of mind control. Once she had, her purpose was clear. She reared back, pulling her forelegs free of the grasses and stems binding them, and climbed the last step into the room proper. Frodrick rode up behind his allies, ready to block any of the Dancing Lady's strikes against them.
The lady laughed deeply. “Trust me, mortal, you will come to know me in the most carnal sense before my hunger is sated.”
The spectral sword winked out of existence, the energy put into its construction finally depleted.
Dancing Lady: Barely Injured, Dancing, Bastion Target, Entangle
Teorlian: Out of Sight, Badly Wounded, Bloodied
(Oops, is it just me or is she still a modest threat even when denied the opportunity to use her special mechanic? (but really, her damage is nothing to write home about... it's all about that graps, yo). Also by the way, Giles has resisted the poison again, ending the damage.)
Frodrick: Ice Armour,
Posted on 2015-07-03 at 03:34:51.
Edited on 2015-07-22 at 15:39:15 by Sibelius Eos Owm