Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Great Ball of Lightning, Part I

Roywyn has been in seclusion at an undisclosed, secret location in order to make a greater wondrous magic item, gloves of dexterity. Some of her companions believed she was given haven in one of Gallipolas’s hidden groves where he has been known to craft items too. After nearly three weeks, thousands of gold pieces and some of her precious life-energy, the bard is able to create the special gloves. Upon ending her seclusion she receives news that the Bocklesdin Brothers have been commissioned by High Priest Hlinthi Crystalfist and Priestess Nilmith to build a temple in dedication to Garl Glittergold. She rushes to her old friend’s side in order to help his congregation in anyway she can.

Hlinthi speaks with Roywyn about crafting magical boots so that he may be quicker on the battlefield in order to better get to the wounded. “Curse me short kicking stumps!” After discussing this they decide to wait until they can get more resources together and garner more power in order to help fashion the greatest of all boots, those of speed.

The Sky Captain Quint flies into Threshold on his gnome-made flying ship. After a bit of fanfare and fireworks he lands his ship near the bazaar. With entourage in tow, he heads to the Verse looking for Trizoon in order to discuss some bizarre meteorological phenomenon he witnessed over the Giant’s Plain. “Where is my exuberant friend Trizoon this night?” Although he can’t find the bard, he sees two gnomes, Hlinthi and Roywyn, sharing a meal with pints of beer, singing and laughing all the while. Quint smiles and waves to them as he approaches, eventually sweeping into a low bow before joining them, “Well met to you friends!” After exchanging pleasantries and a few beers more, he shares his story about his latest travels with them.

“I have sailed from one end of Faerun to the other and I’ve never seen anything like the great ball of lightning that hovers over the Giant’s plain,” Quint tells them. Furthermore, he explains that this has been a reoccurring phenomenon and he needs some help investigating the remote region. “Great balls of lighting appearing in my skies pose a threat to my ship, my crew and my ladies this cannot stand,” Quint continues. He offers to fund an exploration of the skeletal ruins that he found in the area of the lightning as it is an expedition that only heroes can undertake. The gnomes explain to Quint that Trizoon is conducting a night-long ceremony with Priestess Nilmith in order to consecrate the new temple. Quint does however, manage to capture their interest and convince the heroes to explore the phenomenon. He insists upon a daybreak departure, but this strikes the gnomes as a bit strange as Quint is rarely up early considering his nightly exploits.

Quint also secures the services of the dwarf barbarian Trebbor Smallcanyon to serve as the party’s scout. In addition he enlists both Wicasa and Rog to round out the talents of the party. They plan to rendezvous with some of Trebbor’s kinfolk in the tunnels of the Giant’s Run Mountains on the western border. There they’ll set up camp in order to view the nightly phenomenon over the Giant’s Plain from the superior vantage point. Soon after midnight a giant ball of blue lightning appears, nearing 100 feet in diameter, and hovered hundreds of feet above the plain and several miles to the southwest of their camp. The ball flickers like a giant firefly and rains hundreds of small bolts of energy toward the ground. Although this goes on for only a half hour before the ball winks out of sight, the companions are able to pinpoint its rough position and take off in the Sky Ship at daybreak with Roywyn, Trebbor and Hlinthi. However they go without Rog and Wicasa as they were sent to approach the ruins from a secret tunnel system from below. They will rendezvous with their companions at the ruins.

Quint drops within fifty yards of the ruins which they pinpointed as the ball’s rough location. Once the heroes are ready Quint flies his ship back to their camp to await the heroes’ signals when evacuation is needed. Quint had given the heroes a set of Murty’s Magical Markers which were special magical lights that he used for landing his ship at night or inclement weather.

Hlinthi casts clerical protective spells protection from evil to add to their muscle, Trebbor and blesses the party with the favor of Garl Glittergold. Hlinthi then activates his ring of invisibility while Trebbor and Roywyn down invisibility potions and sneak into the Skeletal Ruins. “Its not dwarf construction so it’s no wonder why the ruins became skeletal,” Trebbor proclaims. The gnomes agree that the inferior construction was likely human-made. “The ruins aren’t even a century old and already crumbled? Hlinthi grumbled.

But one thing they all feel is that the ruins’ eyes looking for them even though they were invisible. On both the sides of the ruins along the remnants of the east and west outer walls, they see two red-skinned, hairless humanoid creatures skulking about standing approximately seven feet tall, but it would be taller if it stood erect. They move silently and swiftly, making their way towards the location where the part now held on the east wall. The combination of short legs, long arms, and stooped posture causes its hands to drag on the ground. One creature runs at them but does not leap from the wall halting just above their position.

It is then that they get a good look at the creature. It has massive shoulders and an enormous chest, which tapers down to a narrow waist and hips. Its head is triangular and its neck attaches near the top of its head, causing its leering, toothy face and pointed chin to hang below its shoulders. With eyes ablaze it lets loose a booming shout which resembles a loud, rasping cough. The shout becomes a sonic blast that makes the party’s very bones shake causing deep pain in their bodies.

But this attack did not ruin their invisibility or other spells. Roywyn is quick to act leveling her staff of frost at the creature looming above them and lets loose a cone of cold freezing the creature, blistering its face and red skin. Hlinthi casts his first healing spells to mend their wounds as Trebbor spies the second creature closing fast from the other side of the ruins. Trebbor readies her dwarven urgosh to take it out, but it too unleashes a painful sonic shout. This time the heroes resist its stunning affect. It continues to run blindly to their position where Trebbor, springing from her invisibility, makes short work of the monster.

The creature on the wall continues its attacks trading shouts for Roywyn’s staff of frost. Hlinthi administers healing throughout the melee. Roywyn breaks into a battle song that galvanizes Trebbor a she chops and dices. Soon Roywyn provides the party with a haste spell and in no time at all the second creatures is killed before it can flee.

Just then the heroes feel the ground tremor as a cloud of sand shoots into the air announcing the giant stone doors that fly open from the ground near a dried up fountain. The tremors continue as something rumbles out. The creature is humanoid in basic shape, standing nine feet tall and weighing a ton. Its hands appear oversized for its body and are tipped with claws. Its head is similar to a small-eared elephant’s head, having a mouth filled with tiny teeth, small rheumy red eyes, and a long, coiling trunk tipped with a long, thin spike. With eyes filled with malice it turns toward the companions. “It doesn’t look like a giant, but I’m gonna chop it down anyways!” Trebbor yells as she charges the new foe.

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