Rise of the Runelords

Session 13: Revenge of the Lamia

Chapter Three: The Hook Mountain Massacre

 
Korvosa, Church of Abadar, God of Commerce.

Stepping through the gates, a gracefully dressed man passes by all the entire line of people waiting to make deposits or wanting to take out loans. His body jingles heavely with several pouches of coins. A cutpurse from the Cerulean Society ponders this approaching mark, yet one look at the mans face, stays his filching hand. For this man is not a man to be triffled with. True, it wasn't Blackjack, but it was one who was almost (some say even more) dangerous with a blade than he.

The man continued his stride, sending a quick glance left an right. He knew no one would dare attack him. Still, stranger things had happened. Perhaps his old and only surviving friend had been charmed into taking him out. Desna only knew that his chances in such an encounter were slim. He didn't think his own political views had sparked any such retribution as of yet though. Nor did he think it would. After all, Korvosa had been kind to him. since he hung up his blade from those silly adventurers.

Silly. Were they such? Now a days…

"Vencarlo! Vencarlo Orisini, welcome my friend to the church of Abadar."

Turning, with only a hint of startlment, the Master of the prestigieous Orisini Academy Fighting School turned and greeted the speaker.

"Ah, Archbanker Tuttle, I am very pleased to see greet you. I bring with me quite the coin load to enter into your vaults. This terms enrollment was quite a success."

"Excellent, excellent. Please follow me. If you don't mind me asking, are you alright? You seem a little distracted today?"

"Oh its nothing Archbanker. I was just remenicing on my past glory days as an sword-for-hire. So many good times, such camaraderie. And the wealth! Those were some very good times."

"Oh, so they were my friend? Yet here you are training the Sable Company and the Hellknights from what I have heard. You make an old man wonder why someone lusting for such action is now striking at straw dummies."

"Its a long story Archbanker, and one which I'd rather not speak of."

"You know Sir Orisini, here in the church of Abadar, we service everyone in town not just with spells and sermons. We are here to help ease peoples minds from whatever troubles them. You say you long for your adventuring days. I say you forget the hardships that those days brought you. As it so happens, I have a sermon that will remind you of such. You have undoubtebly heard of the Swords in the Wind? They were once here in these very halls with a very powerful request. In their time here, I had the chance to speak to one of their number: a halfling named Libra"

"Libra! You met him in person?"

"Indeed my friend, indeed. I obviously did not know then what I know of him now. But i digress. He told me of his, at the time, recent adventure. And I will now tell it to you, so that it will help you be at ease with the decisions you have made. I will read it to you as he wrote it down for me. You will have to excuse some of the wording as he comes from one of the southern towns." 

"Very well Archbanker, I open my ears to your wisdom. Read to me this story of his. If anything, it might give me greater insight into this infamous rogue."

"Then let me begin. Th dam ta the north ad obviously given way. The wa'er was risin…

…fast an me aliies an oi were forced ta scale th cliff ta keep outa th rushin current. Our destination was clear. We ad ta get ta Turttleback as fast as we could ta warn em. Bu at th rate we ware shinyin th cliff face, we knew we wern't gonna get there in toime. Pieces of ogres began flowin past us, an twas obvious tha th ogars ad broken th dam. What coulda ripped ta pieces was anyones guess, till tha "guess" floated right by us. Twas a monstrous beast like a floatin tree, only th soize of a wizard tower. An it was going fast tawards our destination. Vala an meself put our twos and trees tagethar an we realoized tha th beast was th Mother of Oblivion. A monster who ad been trapped in th Storval Deep an kept back by th dam. Considerin wha it ad done ta th ogars, the tought of wha it would do ta th people of Turttleback was quite frightful. 

We quickened our pace, passin th night on our feet. We knew it would be to late for th town, but we swore vengeance for th fallen. All oi could remember was tha anything teleportationy near th beast would result in something along th lines of havin ones insides vacuumed out trough ones arse. As we neared town, Tirion an th spellless Vala cried tha they needed a couple winks ta get their energy going. Knowing wha tha meant, oi took me leave u th two lovers an scouted th town out meself, saying oid come back if der skills were needed.

Twas indeed to late ta save th town. Only th middle portion remained partially in tact. The Oblivion beasty ad done its work, leaving many dead, an much destruction in its wake. Oi spoke ta mayor Mailu who said it ad fled ta Clay Bottom Lake. Oi gave me report on Fort Ranick, bout it bein retaken and suggested tha th people ead off ta it, while sendin word ta th people from Magnimar ta bring lots a food fer them.

By tha time me friends ad finished wha they needed doin, an oi told em wha th mayor ad said. Oi also suggested tha we check out Hook Mountain, given twas th birthplace a th ogre hords. Mailu countermanded me suggestion owever, sayin th dam should be our first stop. Given th valley was not completely flooded meant that th dam was mostly still in tact, Ow long was a differing story though. Given twas close ta th fort, Vala summoned a new power a hers ta teleport us tree there, while Jakar stayed bahind ta lead Mailu's people on foot.

From Ranick, me, Vala an Tirion marched trough mud, arriving finally at Skull Crossin Dam. From afar we saw a uge ole in its upper half. The gushin water was intermingled wit th sounds a ogre picks pickin away. Makin haste, we ran up th 200 foot stair case, inta its confines. Pikes were planted wit giant warning, something tha oi could read now what wit all th giant speak oid eard lately. Soon th air was filled wit th smell a rottin mutton. After th smell, came th on profittin from th odor as a two-eaded giant, or ettin as Tirion identified as, blocked our path. E said e would smash us fer th Skulltakers. Doin what e always does, Tirion charged in, usin somethin e called a Disrupting Blow. Didna do much damage, bu it seemed ta adle th brutes thinkin abilities. Gave me th chance ta move up inta position fer a stab ta its knee. After it gave me a glancin club hit, Tirion and meself cut it down ta nothin.

We finally came onta th dam, an there we spied five exausted ogres swingin picks. Tirion did is Disruptin thingy on one. Its friend wailed on th warblade, but in der exausted state, only one made contact. Soon oi was inta th mix. LIke Tirion, oi too ad a new tactic. Usin me small stature, oi ducked under a pick an climbed aboard an ogre. Wit is eart right by me blade, oi stabbed inta it twice, bringin th beast down. Tirion meanwhile was it twice by picks, bu retaliated an downed one of em. After another flurry of picks an pricks, the last tree fell ta our blades. Vala used a ealin spell from afar ta eal our wounds an we continiaed on.

A domed structure upon th dam was th only other access ta th other side, so in we went. Oi used me knock wand upon th door ta gain acceess ta it. Dis first room was covered in seaweed, ogre parts, and weapons. From th vines sprouted several trolls. Seein dees foes, Vala cast er protective bubble. Didna seem ta affect em dough. Th first one jumped upon me, bu oi was prepared fer it, ducked underneath th blow, while stabin it ard in th shnards. As oi emerged dough, another troll got a glancin claw cross me back. Tirion seemed ta fair better, blockin claws an maws an Disruptin one of em. Meself, oi used quick ands ta climb pon th troll oi ad just castrated, an drove me blade trough is brain, sendin im down. Tirion meanwhile downed is troll, an th remainin two were easy prey ta our blades.

After a couple empty rooms we came ta a room wit a set a double doors and a warnin of sorts tha said "Below Dwells Wet Papa Grazool." Moit as well ave had an arrow sayin "Boss Here." We found a door tha led ta th other side a th dam, bu no other pickin ogres were seen. Found a lo of dead ogres though, likely from tha sea Oblivion Mother. After scoutin out th rooms, we foun nothin ta write in a journal bout. Tha left only Papa da deal with.

After findin no traps, oi led me fellow Swords trough th doors, an down a long stairway. We came ta a room wit a pool a water in th center. Two side doors led off, while at th far end, a column of uman skulls blocked another doorway. Fearin Grazool was hidin in th water, oi let Tirion investigate. Good thing oi did, as a two-pronged spear lashed out of th water an impaled th big man. Vala ealed im up, but Grazool lashed out again. Th water troll was a lot more skilled than th ones we ad faced above. Tirion didna let th beast get away wit that last it. E jumped inta th water an Distruped it. Hopin fer an easy kill, oi jumped in as well an impaled it. Wasn't nearly enough, as th troll shook itself outa its stupor. Tirion gave it a nasty slash, bu seemed ta lose is balance in th water an began sinkin. Still injured from before, seemed Tirion was a drowned gonner. Seein er lover in dire straights, Vala dove inta th depths of death an ealed is wounds.

Seemed th tug of th current was indeed strong as its pull snagged me under. Since oi couldn't keep meself afloat, oi magic missiled th regeneratin green skin. Didn't a do nothin ta distract it, as was me hope, as Grazool's entire attention was still focused on Tirion. An me thinks Tirion got a we bit too much lovin from the creature as it dropped its spear an decided ta rend th warblade inta junks a floatin flesh. Tha was enough pain, an the brave warrior decoided ta kick is eals tagether an teleport out, leavin me lonesome self ta drown facin Grazool. Sure enough, as me small legs couldna bring me back up, Grazool grabbed me arms an pulled wit all its might. It felt like a bath in a pond a paranhas. Vala saw me plight, an dimension doored us both out. 

On th edge of th pool we saw th troll swim down a passage in th water. Figurin it was going ta another pool, we followed its direction, which brought us ta a room wit skulls on th walls an another pool. Figuring th other way would ave somethin similar, oi scouted it out an found a room wit a miniature version of th dam, as well as a pool wit stairs going inta it. Tirion meanwhile at jumped inta th water ta face Grazool again, only ta ave th troll swim away fer safety back ta th first room. Tired of th game, Tirion decoided ta ignore th troll an start clearin way th column of skulls blockin th door. No sooner did e start then Grazool jumped up from th water an impaled im right trough th back. E then swam away ta one of th other rooms.

We picked one, an guessed right as th troll was just swimmin on th edge of th skull carvin room. A Distrupter from Tirion sent its brains ta addlin, nearly choppin its claw off wit th strike. After a retaliatory spear it, Tirion decided ta jump inta th water ta try an block off its escape ta th other rooms. While Grazool followed Tirion, tha gave me th chance ta jump in an stab it trough its thick skull from behind. Wit th troll dead, we were free ta go trough th skull-pillar door.

As we entered, we were quite startled ta see somethin we ad never seen. We saw two cages with magic-like circles glowin in each. In one was a pile of ash. In th other was a red demon of th pits. E was pretty roughed up an spoke ta Vala, askin fer us ta free it. Oi didna think tha was a good idea, thinkin tha perhaps e was like a power source an th ole reason th dam was still in tact. As is always th case, me friends voted me down. They'll never admit it but, twas th biggest mistake they would ever make as me intincts were spot on as we would find out later. The fiend said is name was Avaxial, an tha e ad been imprisoned ere by a mage named Karsuge, creater of th dam. Vala an Tirion decided ta kill beast.

Wit no other things ta do, it seemed th dam was secure. We went ta Fort Ranick ta check on th people there. We asked Mayor Mailin ta send word bout all tha ad happened so tha Magimar would send some builders ta repair the dam. Tha was when th air was rocketed by a big explosion from that said place. We all knew wha tha meant, the dam ad given way. We would later find out that th imprisoned demon ad indeed been keepin such disaster from appenin. Within moments, water came poorin down th mountain side, floodin four or more feet all round th land. Obviously there was no way fer us ta knowingly prevent such a disaster. It also gave us another beaf ta pick with th Lamia.

We decided ta continia wit our origianl plan an ead ta Hook Mountain, bringin Jakar with us fer support. As we neared th snowey valley, we noticed black smoke coming from a cave an we sensed we were again nearin our mortal enemy. Two ogre guards were our only impediment, bu they were a long way away. Seein us coming, they took out a couple long bows an fired away. Tirion prepared ta take th hits, bu surprisingly no arrows found their mark on im. Vala owever was shocked ta see said fletchings sproutin from her body. Seems Lucrecia ad lerned from our last encounter and ad left orders ta kill th ealer insteada th rogue.

Not wantin any more arrows in er, Vala fought trough th pain and dimension doored us right next to th guards. Imediately, Tirion tried ta Distrupt one, bu fer some reason th ogre resisted th magical effect. Jakar sent a couple arrows inta th same brute. Th other ogre sent an arrow inta Vala's back. Th ogre in front of Tirion, rather than strike at th warblade, stuck wit is orders an went round ta swing is pick mightly upon Vala. Critically wounded, th dragonborn fell back, to wounded ta bring er ealin magic ta bear. Tirion hit is foe again, while oi snuck round its blind spot an killed it cold wit a disembowlin dagger slice. Th day seemed won, except that th other ogre with th bow was still standin. It obviously knew its days were numbered, so decided ta do its job ta th end. E raised is bow and sent two arrows inta Vala, droppin er in th snow.

Didn't seem like they were lethal arrows, bu oi ran ta er fallen form with me wand. Twas when oi got there tha er critical state was made plain an clear. She ad but seconds ta live, so oi whipped out me curin wand ta send a wave of relief inta her hurts. But then th unthinkable appened; th wand jammed! No magic came flooding forth from its tip. Oi screamed ta Jakar ta get is bandage kit over ta stop th blood. A few seconds later, e arrived, and began puttin preassure on th wounds. Bu they were simpy to deep. 

An then her chest stopped movin, and Vala was dead.

Oi screamed ta Tirion tha she was dead. He screamed in anger, saying e was nothin without her, as he rounded on th one who had killed is lover. Th ogre took out its own pick an prepared fer its final fight. Thinkin fast, oi remember a scroll oi ad found in our previous quest. Takin it out, the title read "Animate Dead." Oi what a relief. In me hands oi had th power ta bring Vala back from th dead! Twas quite complicated as oi ad never even eard of th spell. Sure enough though, as oi spoke th last silible, Vala arose from th ground. Oi called ta Tirion, saying oi had brought er back ta loife! Tha seemed ta inspire im as he charged an killed th remainin ogre in one strike.

Yes Vala was back wit us, in all er shamblin, arrow-riddled, moanin brilliance. Twas tha last revelation that made me realize that th spell oi ad just cast ad been mislabeled. Should have been called "Animate Undead," for tha was what Vala ad become: a mindless zombie. Only good consolation was that we didna have ta carry er cumbersome corpse with us ta th nearest non-flooded town. Before we left, oi wrote in blood in th snow "The healer is dead. You win Lucrecia."

After weeks a raft ridin we finally came ta tha nearest town – the City of Korvosa

After some asking, we came ta th temple of Abadar where there we met wit Archbanker Tuttle. E offered ta bring back Vala fer twice th normal amount. Given we ad no choice, we accepted.

Soon Vala was back again, though a little weakened. After spendin some toime in th city, oi began wonderin if Korvosa might be a good place ta settle down, given we were a failure as an adventurin party. Tirion an Vala saw otherwise. They wanted ta return ta th cave we ad left behind. Oi decided ta umor em an go with em.

More weeks went by, but we finally arroived, only ta see tha there was no foes ta face. The simple cave ad a giant statue wit th blasted seven-pointed star pon it. On th wall though was a simple message: " Thanks Libra." Lucrecia ad indead won th war between us. All we could do was hang our eads in sorrow an go our seperate ways.

An so me journey shall take me back ta Sandpoint ta check on me Voices of Reason guild. Our first major mission oi have fer em. Seems th Mayor of Magnimar decided not ta pay me fer ridden Ranick of the raffle that ad taken up residence. Twas toime ta make the scale of justice equal. An as always, tha scale would likely be drenched in blood.

"Quite the facinating read Tuttle. It is also amazing to hear of Libra and his actions. Almost reminds me of my own past when I was younger"

"Indeed Vencarlo, indeed. Yet, I did not give you the manuscript to analyze his actions. I gave it to you for your own conscience. Was such wisdom adopted by you?"

"Yes Archbanker. After reading this, it reminded me of the hardships and death an adventurer enjures. I have been so caught up in all the glories my group had. Yet we faced so much blood too. As it was, our party ended with a disagreement over treasure which ended the lives of all but two of us. Tell me, do you have other such documents as this?"

"You would be surprised just how much the Sword in the Wind's exploits have propocated in town. If you are interested, you should seek them out. Who knows what other insights you might garner. His majesty himself had quite the facination for the group if rumors are to be believed "

"Thank you Archbanker for your words. You've given me much to think about. So rare it is these days to hear of people trying to do good for the world. And after hearing this tale, that might actually be for the better."

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