Skin of the Teeth

Somewhere in Northern Tarlanor, 17th March 1626


7a. Yoshin stared at Caitlin for a long, incredulous moment. "We're dying out there!" he grated. Caitlin looked past him. "Where's Thengorn?" she asked.

20/20, instant kill, poor Thengorn never had a chance!

3. Thengorn was running up the passage connecting the gong room and the bear bones room as fast as his short legs could carry him, the healing staff clutched in one fist. His heavy armour made such a racket that he never heard the bugbear as it overtook him. One overhand blow with a heavy mace was enough to crush the dwarf's head level with his shoulders, and he sprawled bonelessly to the floor as the bugbear loped onwards.

6. Despairing of any help from Caitlin, Yoshin strung his longbow and took position halfway down the steps leading to the bear room. The sound of hot pursuit was getting louder, and he knew that he and his companions were most likely going to die. Gritting his teeth at the futility of it all, the elvish cynic prepared to pepper the first foeman to emerge from the corridor.

7a. Caitlin rummaged in her bag. I'm sure I had another healing potion in here, she thought, and then she rememberd - Thengorn had taken custody of it. In the dark, beset by foes, probably without many allies, religion suddenly seemed a great idea. Caitlin dropped to her knees and hurled beseechments in all directions, running rapidly through every deity she could think of. That done, she picked up her shield, shrugged her arm into its straps and came to her feet. As she ran to join Yoshin, it occurred to her that she felt less painful, and she realized that some of her wounds had been healed. A god had smiled on her... the only slight problem was that she had no idea which god exactly! Whichever it was, she owed them a favour now and sooner or later it would be called in.

6. Yoshin's eyes narrowed as the first of the monsters through the opposite entry - the bugbear - appeared, Fae Mhor and spidershells right behind it. Carefully aiming, he loosed and watched as the arrow smacked into the wall near to the bugbear. He cursed - and a second arrow flew past towards their foes. Caitlin had returned to the fray!

A crossbow bolt zinged past Yoshin as both he and Caitlin sank arrows into the bugbear, spoiling it's aim as it struck out at Caitlin. Both drew rapiers, and Caitlin drove hers deep into the bugbear before being hit by a Fear spell cast by one of the Fae Mhor acolytes behind it. Horror spread like ice through her mind and she fled helplessly. Alone once more, Yoshin hunched his shoulders in grim despair as hand crossbow bolts began to fly past. Shooting into a fight like that was a sure sign of contempt for ones allies as well as ones foes - so like the dark elves - and a few seconds later the inevitable happened and a bolt struck the bugbear in the back of the leg. It blinked in surprise for a moment and then toppled down the stairs, to be immediately replaced by a snarling Fae Mhor acolyte priestess.

Fae Mhor

Between light and dark elves there was no quarter, no pity, no hesitation. Yoshin and the acolyte fought in grim silence, neither giving an inch despite wounds on both sides. Behind the dark elf, two more of her kin and three undead spiders waited, ready to carry on the fight if the first one fell. Choosing the stairs to defend had been a piece of genius on Yoshin's part; if he'd fought in the open he'd have been surrounded and slain in moments - but even one at a time they were going to wear him down eventually.

A moment later, a javelin flew past him downwards and tore a slash across the acolyte's face. Caitlin's courage had returned with the ending of the spell, and she'd returned to the fight once more. For a while, the pair had the upper hand, with Yoshin's swordplay backed by Caitlin's thrown javelins, but it couldn't last. The exhausted elf slipped and missed a parry, and the acolyte's mace crashed into his chest. Bubbling blood, he went down.

DM Note: Maddie bravely accepts an attack of opportunity here to save Lizzies character from a mortally wound. There's hope for them yet!

Cursing, Caitlin dropped her javelins and ripped her sword from its sheath. Charging down the steps, she levelled a mighty blow at the acolyte, slashing her throat open in a shower of blood. The body pitched backwards into the crowd behind, impeding them, and Caitlin dropped to one knee over Yoshin. The elf's heart had stopped, and Caitlin delivered a heavy punch to his chest, lurching the organ to life again. Yoshin coughed and groaned, and Caitlin guessed he would probably be stable for half an hour or so. Tearing her longsword from the scabbard on her back, she was just in time to deflect an incoming bite from a hollow mandible as the first spidershell reached her and attacked.

3. Krizzen blinked and stretched his neck with a wince,  then his eyes flew open as memory kicked in. He'd expected to wake up in some kind of afterlife, but it seemed that his foes had forgone the option of killing him in his sleep (sort of "kip-de-grace"). In fact, to add insult to injury,  they appeared to have all let him and gone off somewhere else -  his only company was a dead bugbear and a dead Fae Mhor warrior. Stretching his stiff limbs, he stood and gathered Soothslayer from the floor,  glancing ruefully at the gong as he did so. His head tilted,  listening; the sounds of combat were dimly audible from somewhere. Hefting his axe,  he left the room and headed out towards the Bear Bones room.

He hadn't gone far when he discovered Thengorn's corpse,  a sad heap of armour and cloak in the middle of the passage, his round leather and iron helmet against one wall where it had rolled away a little distance. The lizardman bent to check,  but life was long gone. Krizzen bowed his head for a moment; he'd liked the dwarf,  despite their different backgrounds. Then he turned to practical matters. The ash staff from the priest's tomb was still gripped in the dwarf's left hand. Gently,  Krizzen freed it and invoked the magic, taking the time to completely heal himself - a decision that would prove wise indeed.

6. Then he moved more cautiously towards the Bear Bones room,  and peered in. Twenty feet away,  with her back to him, was a Fae Mhor acolyte, holding a hand crossbow and trying to get a bead across the room on Caitlin where she still stood astride the downed Yoshin, holding the stairs against fearful odds. He loped across the distance as quietly as possible but the dark elves are masters of stealth; the acolyte heard some slight sound and spun,  spinning her mace up with her other hand to glance off Krizzen's armour and spoil his strike.

When it counted... natural 20 with the Blitzspear!

The pair exchanged blows for a few moments, then Krizzen redoubled his strokes and cut down the priestess with a terrible slash from Soothslayer. Shifting the axe into his left hand,  he pulled free the Blitzspear and hurled it across the room. In the now - familiar transformation, the slim spear changed into a bolt of lightning and tore across the room to strike the Fae Mhor that was fighting Caitlin squarely in the back, blasting out a huge area of her chest and killing her instantly.


Wiping her eyes clear of the gore with which she'd just been showered, Caitlin picked up the acolyte's fallen mace and attacked the next spidershell with it, for the first time using a weapon suited to the task to attack the undead monster. As she did so, Krizzen piled into the last one from the far side of the rapidly shrinking fight, and within seconds the last foe was down. Panting, exhausted and running with blood and sweat, Krizzen and Caitlin stared at each other across the heap of bodies, eyes wide with the realisation of how close to death they had been. It was a frozen moment of perfect understanding and empathy. Then Krizzen turned away and it was gone.

While Caitlin made sure all their foes were dead, Krizzen used the staff again to draw Yoshin back from the brink, topping him off with a potion of lesser restoration to remove the lingering effect of the spider poison. Then he healed his own and Caitlin's wounds,  and the three together looted the bodies. Finally, they took Thengorn up and bore him reverently to the Good Room.

7a. Setting up camp in the high priest's tomb, the adventurers laid their friend to rest with all the honour they could. Cleaned up as much as possible, with his shield at his side and the weapons of his foes at his feet,  the dwarf's last resting place was prepared. Whatever lingering consecration to Shushkrah remained, it stood a good chance of keeping evil things from his grave. The friends agreed that creatures of good intent who found him would be welcome to benefit from his remaining equipment. Caitlin said some prayers over him, aware that her outbreak of cowardice was somewhat responsible for his death, as was Yoshin's curiosity.

Krizzen took his holy symbol, with the stated intention of trying to return it to his home temple, while Caitlin moved to pick up the crossbow." Why should you have that? " asked Krizzen sternly. Caitlin looked down,  then up again."I ran away,"  she said,  "but I came back, helped you. I killed spiders." Krizzen nodded and conceded the point.

That done, a watch was set, and the party turned in for some desperately needed sleep.

Session Date: 29th June 2013