A Perilous Journey

Episode 56

Homecoming

Ethia, Rick and Barnas tunble out of the tree arriving at Treetips. They meet up with Matilda who fills Ethia in on where the rest of her party have gone. With his quickfire speech, Barnas explains that the wizards were being used to fuel magical rituals to bring Devils into this plain from the Nine Hells. He’d rather avoid any further excitement. Ethia tells him of a safe place, that there’s a new town being built on the site of Thundertree near Neverwinter. After some consideration, Rick asks to continue adventuring with Ethia and after taking an hour to rest and with lend of a materials pouch from Matilda to Ethia they both are transported by Matilda directly to Root.

Ethia finds herself standing on a mountain, her mountain. She’s near the top entrance, which has been altered from a small opening to a human sized passage. She remembers a tunnel from her mentor’s room which led up to a cave of bats and out to here. This way should take her down there.

Memories of Tel, her teacher come to the front of her mind. She recalls his simple, practical lessons. His love of the forest and the animals. His old wooden staff which she later learned could become a huge snake. Being constantly surprised by his abilities, like that time when they were both cornered by a ferocious panther which didn’t respond to her attempts to calm it. Suddenly, eight wolves appeared in their corner and the creature backed down. Ethia spent considerable time getting him to teach her how to do that.

Ethia also recalls the main entrance down the mountain, in a cliff side below an overhang. A cave runs back into a tunnel, a bear lived in a side tunnel which discouraged visitors, but she never bothered Ethia. After that was the chasm, a rope bridge over an underground river. There was a cave behind that with a common area and kitchen. Ethia’s room, Tel’s room and a larder all had doors in here.

Back just before the common room entrance, a hidden doorway led upwards to a solid ornate wall. A tiny hole led through it (only a druid would fit). Ethia never went beyond this, never to the artefact room, but Tel informed her that she should stay small, fly and not touch any surfaces until she reached the guardian. He said she’d be able to answer its questions, no problem.

Tel stayed to defend the land. To buy Ethia time to come back with help. Matilda hasn’t seen or heard from him.

Ethia wonders what happened to him.

Meanwhile two Intellect Devourers and a Quagoth Thrall are making trouble for the rest of the party. Tarn and Nennah feel the mental claws of the brain-dog creatures but they’re both dispatched in short order along with the Quaggoth by concentrated fire and steel from the party. In the last stages of the fight, tiny Mud Mephits emerge from the wall to protect the party as Ethia finally catches up. Joe explains that they’re here to rescue her…

After a brief reunion and some quick introductions (with Tarn having a flash of memory that he might have seen this well dressed newcomer previously) the party head quickly further into what Ethia tells them is a cave of bats.

They hear some growls which turn into weird hooting calls as they approach a larger room, eventually they come into a cave with a single pillar in the middle and a hole in the ground containing a staircase down. The sides and back contain a raised stone walkway leading to a door at the back of the cave. Tiny bat skeletons litter the floor and much of the stonework and the rear door is unfamiliar to Ethia. At each rear corner stands a huge Stegosaurus, they both look confused and are fast becoming hostile.

Joe’s awakeed mind lets him touch the mind of one of the Stegosauruses and it’s confused about how many legs it has, it’s also clearly under some sort of influence, Joe puches harder and manages to briefly gain insight into the alien mind of an Illithid before he’s pushed out altogether. It seems the residents of the mountain know that the party is here.

As the party advance, Mud mephits assailing the dinosaurs, Nennah manages to blind one Stegosaurus whilst Therren badly frightens another. As they continue forward with Ethia leading the was she takes a solid hit from the frightened Stegosaurus as the other flails madly at the mephits. Joe drops a seige arrow at his feet causing an explosion and then Eric quickly dispatches the blinded Stegosarus at which point it turns into an undamaged Quaggoth!

The door at the far end opens and in walks a elderly man with a staff. He looks older, unkempt and not really all there but Ethia recognised this as Tel. He throws down the staff and it turns into a Giant Constrictor Snake. Then he shifts form into a Water Elemental and throws up a wall of stone cutting the party in two. As the wall rises the other Stegosaurus now turns back into a Quaggoth as well.

Battle begins in earnest with occasional shots being taken at the Quaggoths but most of the firepower concentrated on the druid. As water splashes down from his injuries the wall of stone fails letting the party come back together again.

When Tel tries to call down a Firestorm that would injure the entire party, Therren steps up and counterspells it out of existence before channelling a huge fireball right back at the Water Elemental!

Ethia goes Earth elemental and after help from Eric in throwing of the giant snake takes various injuries and looses her Mephits.

The ring of the ram makes a hole in the elemental.

Nennah’s guiding bolt slams into the stone inches from Tel’s shifting form.

Joe tries a necromancy spell but unused to such magic is unable to make it work this time.

Eric meanwhile is slicing and dicing at the constrictor snake, eventually killing it, the staff appears briefly before crumbling to dust.

Tel is barely holding together when he calls upon the bones of the earth, filling the room with six pillars and trapping Joe and Rick against the ceiling.

To be continued…

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