After assigning our workers to extricate the worm corpse and repair the brewery, we headed back home to the island stronghold to return to business as usual. Our next task was to investigate the mithral mines up the river to the West. We would have to travel some 180 miles and determined to make the trek on horse rather than by barge, because it would be faster. So we gathered up supplies, readied a wagon, and six horses, and departed. Stefan rode out front, scouting a couple hundred feet ahead. He was followed by Raynard, then came the ecumenical healing wagon which I drove, and which carried Hrolf and our supplies. Behind us rode Blake, singing jolly travel tunes, and finally Kalli brought up the rear. Our first day’s journey was pleasant and sunny.
But partway through the afternoon, Stefan called a halt. He shouted back that he had noticed something glinting in the reeds by the water, and that a learn-ed man should come forth to investigate. As one such man, I stepped down from the wagon and walked out to meet Stefan near the shore. I bent down and peered at some kind of crystal scepter; surely an ominous thing to be just randomly laying in the reeds. Sure enough, something moved rapidly, whipping through the reeds – clutching troll claws burst out at me! I jerked my head back just in time, stumbled backwards, and fell, as two of the stinking beasts vaulted out, trampling over my prone form and fixing their eyes on Stefan. “SCRAAAAAAGS!” I yelled.
River Troll Ambush: Epic Fail
The two trolls charged up the shore at the mithril-clad warrior, but Blake detonated a fireball right on top of them, giving them pause and igniting some of the reeds around me. Raynard raised his bow and loosed an arrow that struck one of the trolls as it scrambled, smoldering, up the shore. Seconds later, several more scrags emerged from farther downriver, near Kalli at the end of our convoy. She charged her horse at the nearest one approaching, violently knocking it back into the river. Meanwhile, Stefan had lifted his axe and brought it down hard, cleaving into the first troll to reach him. The other troll was coming up fast on its heels, and Stefan bellowed a challenge to it even as some kind of acid arrow flew from Blake into it’s chest, causing it to shriek and smoke as it fell to the ground and rolled back and forth.
I could see Kalli then dismounting farther down the shore, and she began one of her improbable spinning assault routines, tearing through a couple more scrags like a whirlwind of razorblades and leaving behind a fine green mist. Hrolf could be seen hurling a flaming hand-axe. When it missed and landed amongst the reeds, he turned around and tromped off in the other direction. Where are you going, dwarf?!?
I used my faith to summon a watery psuedopod, which splashed out to wrap around the nearest troll and drag it backwards toward the river… but it splashed through and leapt on Raynard, clawing bloody scratches in his face. Then Stefan came charging up, chopping its head off. It’s body collapsed on top of Raynard and twitched. I climbed to my feet, grabbed the scepter, and climbed back up to the road as Raynard extricated himself from the troll body, and the others gathered up the pieces and burned them. I actually felt sorry for the poor bastards. For all their low cunning, they had foolishly messed with the wrong travelers, and been massacred for their troubles. We continued on our way.
Shortly thereafter, we came to a signpost on the road, indicating that we were nearing the village of Riverton. Blake suddenly exclaimed, “Hark!” and cupped his hand to his ear, listening. Then we all heard it, a kind of gutteral screech from afar. We turned to look across the river, and there was a massive 40’ long behemoth of a killer land-whale! It’s black and white skin shone in the sun, and it gazed balefully at us for a moment before thrusting itself into the water.
The Unfortunate Behemoth
We could see the sinister black dorsal fin cutting across the river, making a beeline straight for us. Blake ignited the reeds along the shore again, putting a curtain of flames between it and us. But seemingly heedless of the flames, the enormous form launched itself out of the water, galloping furiously on its four stumpy legs straight at Stefan! It opened it’s 6’ wide maw, picking up the half-elf and even scooping up the dirt beneath him like a shovel, but he twisted aside and rolled back before it could snap it’s jaw shut around him.
In shock from this thunderous and sudden assault, my comrades now all began to dismount and ready their weapons. I calmly stepped down from the wagon, placing all thoughts of violence aside. Time seemed to slow down for me as I approached the marvelous beast. I placed my hand to my forehead, thumb and pinky outstretched, and began to generate a low-pitched whinging sound in the back of my throat as I prayed. I peered into the behemoth’s soul, and we had a real moment there.
Imagine this water buffalo is a giant killer whale with legs
Ronan be praised, He truly watches over His travelers. The massive creature, which could’ve bitten any of us in half without thinking of it, instead simply became entirely passive and lay down at my feet. ‘This would make a great parable for my flock back at the megachurch!’ I thought, but just then Kalli came striding up behind me and shoved a spear into the creature’s eye, hammering it with the heel of her hand until it sunk all the way in through the brain. The poor beast didn’t even resist, just accepted its fate, shuddered, and died. We should all die so gracefully. We mounted back up, and rode on.
Much Ado About “Nothing”
Not much further on, we approached some kind of black sphere, a few feet in diameter, half sunk in the road. But it was slowly rising, and soon floated up out of the road, leaving a hole behind. It leveled off a few feet up in the air, and floated slowly towards Stefan, who was in the front line with Raynard. While advancing unsettlingly steadily, it moved slowly, so Stefan and Raynard trotted their horses around it. As soon as they passed it though, it veered around and began following directly behind Stefan. He began to dodge this way and that, but the thing seemed to track him, always moving slowly but inexorably in his direction! Raynard, noticing this, bolted away, but still the sphere moved slowly. I prayed that if some foul magic were causing this phenomenon, that it be dispelled, yet nothing happened. Blake cast magic missile, attacking the darkness, but it just swallowed the streaking bolts of energy up and continued on its implacable way, unaffected. It was like some kind of preternatural force of negation, a kind of sphere that annihilated all matter and energy that it touched… and it wanted Stefan! Oh dear.
We new began to wonder why the thing was following our mithril-clad warrior. We realized that the hostile creatures we had previously encountered had also seemed intent on getting to Stefan. Was he attracting them in some way? Was he cursed to arouse the ire of monsters? This had never happened before… and he had just gotten that fancy new suit of armor… was the armor cursed? We debated that theory and decided that, to be safe, Hrolf and I would endeavor to pray hard for Stefan that evening, when we had time to concentrate, and hopefully we could exorcize whatever curse might have befallen him.
at some point we come to the outskirts of Riverton and are greeted by a golden dragon lady polymorphed as a human, made a bargain with her, she removed Stefan’s armor and took it. We came in to town, got in a scuffle with some hatchetmen at the local bar, headed out on a side quest to protect the local farms from some rampaging frost giants, came back, and headed up to the mithril mine itself! WILL HAVE TO FILL IN DETAILS LATER