Chapter Two: The Bullywug Gambit
Part Two: The Distraction
1th of Readying, CY 612
Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt awoke to find things much the way they had left them the night before. They were safe on the north side of the Godsmow River with a good day’s climb facing them. Above, they could make out what seemed to be some wayside huts and a few gnolls. Circling far above were what appeared to be hawks of some sort.
Onwards and upwards, the trails rose gradually for now. They were able to get the jump on some gnolls at the first hut, and found a second completely empty. AT the third hut, however, things were noticeably different. While the hut was in good shape, whoever might have been there was not. There were signs of battle with broken weapons and armor, and dried blood all over. But nary a body to be found. And, for the curious, there were these strands of webbing covering the cliff face, the sheer cliff face which rose up from where they stood. Making matters even more curious, there was no more trail—the only way was down off the plateau or somehow straight up the cliff!.
With some care and trepidation they moved the webbing to find a rather large boulder with what seems a flat top. Once Kevrey was up on the boulder, he found some hand and foot holds going up the sheer wall. Since they had gained some climbing kits, he began a slow and careful ascent, fixing pitons at strategic intervals. Soon the four off them had climbed over 100’, but they had reached some narrow ledges with some stairs carved in them, which wound round the mountains.
It was while they were making their way along these winding and steep stairs that they spotted what appeared to be a gnoll in the blinding sun above them. As he retreated and warned them not to advance, Aely made her way up. Finding a cave opening, she ventured in, only to be swarmed by thousands of tiny spiders. Meanwhile the ‘gnoll’ appeared above the others who were still on the precarious steps. Only this was no gnoll, it was an ettercarp who quickly engulfed Kevrey in webbing. Aely was forced to retreat luring the swarm out where it could now swarm all over Kaywen as well. Hmmmm, strategy be dammed, at this point Aely just ran for it, leaving poor Kaywen to fend for himself. Fortunately, he happened, just happened, [by what stroke of luck did he just happen????,] to have a candle of insect repellant, [6-12 by brand name,] which he eventually got burning, and held the swarm at bay. Meanwhile Styvesandt riddled the ettercarp with arrows as Kevrey got himself out of the web and up on the boulders and into hand to hand. Finally they defeated this sticky foe and the swarm made a hasty retreat. Kaywen ventured into the cave but found, ahem, ‘nothing.’
As they day was reaching its end, the four of them reached the top of their climb. Below they could see a plateau with appeared to contain the ruins of a village and some gnolls. Beyond that on a wider plateau they could see the bison herd. Far below they saw the massive gnoll army just waiting. There was a narrow bit of rock which seemed to cross to the first plateau but it was below them and to get to it they would be exposed to the gnolls and to an horrific fall should anything go wrong. Just above them, however, was an odd hive shaped clay structure. Climbing up to its top, yes, Aely set off a spear trap and got stuck in the thigh for her troubles. They found it has a thatched entry hole. Inside they found the bell chamber. Kaywen realized that this must have been an ancient shamanic prayer chamber. Using ropes they lowered, well in the case of Aely who just plummeted, themselves to the floor below. In the darkness Aely was attacked by a vargouille, more poison—whoopee!!!, but eventually the others came to her rescue.
Undaunted, Aely decided she should go first down to the larger room below. With the help of a light spell on her long sword she felt this time would be better for sure . . .. until her magical light was somehow countered. She found herself under assault by some hyenas and someone else. The others made the descent and all found themselves locked in a fierce battle with what turned out to be a flind- a flind cleric to be exact. He exacted much in the way of pain and suffering upon them, felling both Kevrey and Styvesandt before falling before them. A search of the place turned up a laboratory with ingredients for making poisons and a passage way through rock to the first plateau.
Battered and bowed, they decided to rest here for the night while hatching a plan for the next day.
12th of Readying, CY 612
The Four decided on stealth. Kevrey and Styvesandt went through the crawl space and on to the ruined village. There they methodically isolated and killed each of the five gnolls that guarded the area. From there they all made their way down to the plateau where the bison herd rested and gazed. “Nothing burns much faster than that kind of brush,” noted Styvesandt. And he was right. As the fire spread the herd panicked and fled. Other gnolls from below tried to round them up, while some came in pursuit of the culprits. Kaywen delayed their chase with some well placed web spells, and they left no climbing stuff behind making it difficult for the gnolls to get up through the chapel.
14th of Readying, CY 612
Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt had returned to Fort Chance and were pleased to find that the Lord’s troops were in the process of arriving! The gnolls were soon dispatched to places unknown and Fort Chance was saved. The Four had bought sufficient time. As a result each received the promised 1,000 pieces of gold as well as official Tokens of Noble Approval which carried Lord Bransten’s seal. These would com ein handy when dealing with nobles within the region of his influence.
15th of Readying, CY 612
Aely, Kaywen, Kevrey and Styvesandt had made their way back to Fort Fendawor. They had time to purchase some supplies and to make inquiries about Kraken’s Cove, where they hoped to find Vanthus Vanderboren.
They learned that Kraken’s Cove was within the larger inlet of Blood Bay and that they cove was the center of much smuggling activity. One old salt warned them, “Any fool can find Blood Bay, can’t much miss it if yee sticks to the south coast. But, Kraken’s Cove? Well, yer a danged fool if yee jest sails right in. Best ta put in a few miles north of it, and comes along the cliffs and make yer ways down from there. Not likely ta be spotted that way. Buts’," he added with a laugh, “beware of the savage monkeys.” He did not elaborate on that part as he was pocketing the coins Styvesandt had given him.
As they were getting set with their skiff to leave the next day they noticed a number of people getting organized and heading for Sasserine. Seems the Wormfall Festival, commemorating the one year anniversary of the defeat of Kyuss, was starting soon. . . . .