Within seconds of re-entering the spider infested ruins almost a dozen more spiders have rushed to the entrance. Bart can’t help but realize his imminent peril as he finds himself in the uncomfortable point position.
Mistress Bianca casts earthen wave and apologizes to Bart during the incantation.
Mistress Bianca watches as her spell shakes the dust from the tunnel ceiling and the ground ripples.
A massive boom sends shockwaves out in all directions. The webs bow and bend and return to shape quickly though the ripples are slower to disperse across the surface of the water. One single spider drops hard to the pavement in front of Bart.
Bart feels the force from behind as he is assaulted by both friends and foes. He tries to gather his wits as he stumbles to the water and dives in.
Darren collects himself and helps RIkard pull the boat out into the water.
The extra help makes all the difference. The skiff slides out into the water, ready to use.
Radiant Spider: One of the spiders quickly moves forward and spews fire into the water above Bart.
The water boils but the flames don’t damage Bart.
Rikard Castleberry seeing the skiff ready to take off, moves toward the side to help his friends get going onto it.
Rikard Castleberry attacks the spider in front of Bianca!
With panache Rikard wields the Chal’Far Fal D’orn as if born to it. His first slice dislodges the spider with a mortal skewering. The follow up cuts it in half as it falls. Impressive, carry on!
Rikard Castleberry: Guys! Time to go!
Radiant Spider#2: One of the spiders seems called to Rikard’s voice and scurries over across the ceiling.
Rikard is covered in flames that Bianca and Bart most definitely feel. Somehow Rikard manages to avoid the worst effects with a quick timed dip in the water.
Radiant Spider#3: Another spider rushes towards the sound! As Rikard pops up from the water another spider arrives in time to light him up like a rising sun.
The flames are concentrated upon Rikard’s left shoulder, as the flames die the sweet smell of cooked meat is in the air.
Radiant Spider#4: Another spider rushes Bart’s position and lets go.
However, the flames do not reach him.
Radiant Spider#5: Another spider arrives on the ground on the left side of the cave.
Radiant Spider#6: And yet another spider rushes towards the flames and noise where Rikard stands wobbling.
These flames spout out but never fully materialize into a beam.
The spider that hit the ground flips and flicks about but doesn’t regain its stance…yet.
Mistress Bianca: Darren, Grab Rikard and get in the damn boat!
Hundreds of eyes snap towards where Bianca stands.
Mistress Bianca casts Fist of the Staff and pastes another spider against a wall.
Radiant Spider#8: The spider next to the where the other spider was a moment ago turns and spits at Mistress Bianca.
The flames hiss short of the intended target.
Bart sees his companion in trouble and that momentarily snaps him from his blind fury. He swims to Rikard to carry him deeper and farther into the water heading for the boat.
Darren guides the boat alongside Bianca. He leans over and tries to pull her up into it.
Darren: My apologies Mistress.
Mistress Bianca doesn’t resist Darren.
The boat slowly begins to pick up momentum after Rikard is hauled over the side and Bart jumps in. Darren poles with deep and strong effort to reach Bianca and offers her a helping hand up.
Radiant Spider: Flames from a spider hit the skiff at the water line. Smoke now obscures over half the skiff!
As you continue to pole like your lives depend on it. The spider at the edge of your vision gathers its legs under it and disappears into the webbed depths.
Radiant Spider: The freshest spider to the foray makes its way to the front and beads in on the man poling the vessel.
Flames spew forth in a prodigious volume. A volley shoots out at distance and Bianca’s cloak goes up in flames!
All of the spiders are darting and spewing flames in a most agitated state. The next flame jet hits the stern and you can all see your skiff is on fire now! Yet even more flames shoot forth as you reach 6 squares out. Darren you are once again hit by long range flames but are just barely singed. Now you are too far removed to be hit. However your skiff is on fire!
Darren pats out flames upon his chest and shoulders. He leans over the boats edge and pushes water toward the inflamed boat planks.
As you pole away you see the spiders mill about the entrance of the cave. Some move out onto the nearby land but none come onto the water. The flames licking the planks of the boat are put out with Darren’s quick thinking. The skiff floats on its own, aimlessly for a moment while you take stock.
Darren breaths heavily as he leans back onto the boat.
Mistress Bianca goes through her pack and pulls out a potion of V’gar and forces it down his gullet.
The V’gar has immediate effect as Rikard gasps, looks about and passes out. He is stable but unconscious.
Bart: Rikard looks to be out of danger. How are we going to kill these beasts?
Mistress Bianca looks at the hole in the cloak that she has cherished for so long.
Mistress Bianca sees the crossbow mounted to the skiff through the hole.
Mistress Bianca: Use that thing Darren!
Darren coughs and sits up.
Darren: And fire at what!?
Mistress Bianca: We are out of their range but that can fore halfway across the swamp I’d wager.
Darren: Ill need the boat steadied!
Darren stands up and arms the crossbow.
Mistress Bianca uses a pole to keep the boat from moving much
Bart: We should clear the webs as well.
Darren tries to see a target.
Bart looks to the sky, “We should have time to finish this.”
Darren: Well we wont be able to if we stir them up further.
There are many targets to choose from as they are still agitated and moving about the entrance.
Bart: If I may use the remainder of your cloak to bandage Rikard
Darren levels the crossbow and gets a bead on one.
Darren: Just say the word and one is toast.
Mistress Bianca: Here, I won’t need it anymore.
Bart cuts the cloak into strips and using some paste to help with the burns starts tending to Rikard.
Darren lets loose with the mounted crossbow. One spider is hit and disappears into the darkness of the cave, its fate only to be guessed at.
Darren squints and grins evilly, knowing he hit right on the mark.
Quickly Darren loads another bolt, takes aim and fires! Another spider is banished into the darkness. Now the other spiders scurry around, some disappear without your forcible aid.
Darren loads another bolt and wrenches the crossbow into readiness but decides to hold fire.
Darren: If we give them a moment to settle down, I can get us a sample.
Bart’s efforts pay off, with a groan of pain Rikard is made to feel better as bandages are applied to his upper left arm.
Darren poles the boat around for another pass, at distance.
All the spiders are out of sight now.
Darren surveys the now, quiet scene.
Darren: If you guys can stay quiet and get ready to pole away from shore, I can get us a sample of webs.
Mistress Bianca: You go in there and they will kill you.
Darren tries to smile back at her.
Mistress Bianca: Look at us! We are in shambles!
Rikard Castleberry mumbles something slightly incoherent as he wakes up rather angry.
Bart: We need to destroy this hive. Darren they will consume you if you enter.
Darren: I need not enter, all I need is a moment for them to settle, then I’ll get what we need from the webs fringe.
Bart: They are like a bee’s hive. It will be hours before they calm down.
Mistress Bianca: Well. Can I have your house when you die?
Darren: This is your expedition Mistress, I will not act us less you request it of me.
Mistress Bianca: I would prefer to not let anyone of us get killed. We are not in a hurry. Lets take this slow and smart.
Rikard Castleberry: I am uninterested in getting knocked out again today.
Darren: Then, perhaps we can fall back and take a day but if we were followed, someone will get the jump on us or spot us.
Bart: A poison smoke should work.
Darren: Bart, we were not tasked with eradicating these vermin.
Mistress Bianca: If they want to take on the spiders it is they who will die.
Darren: There is no benefit from doing that.
Bart: The swamp demands it!
Darren: There is no profit at all in it.
Mistress Bianca: I agree. There is no profit but I feel the threat of these things if they are unnatural and this deadly. It is the right thing to do.
Bart: It is profit upon your soul to help the swamp. You will need the spirits good graces.
Rikard Castleberry: I don’t have any issues with mass killing these things. Imagine if they invaded, but, we would need more than what we have.
Darren: Well what we bloody need, are buckets!
Mistress Bianca: My cloak saved my ass.
Rikard Castleberry: Are you feeling ill?
Darren: No Rikard, buckets filled with water.
Bart: Water has little effect upon them.
Darren: Don’t be so sure, they did not follow us into the water magical or not.
Mistress Bianca: Water was splashed on em and it did nothing.
Bart: They can not swim but becoming wet did not hurt them.
Mistress Bianca: However. Like I said, My soaked cloak saved my ass. Maybe we can use some of the swamp muck to our advantage.
Darren: None of that will be necessary; I can get the samples using those two jars there. I mean, i think i can get them and get out without incident.
Rikard Castleberry: If you think you can, then go for it. I will be ready to pole away.
Mistress Bianca: You would bet your life on it?
Darren: Well, I have never tested myself before, I am very curious if I can do it.
Every once in a while a spider appears at the entrance for a few seconds and then leaves as fast as it arrived.
Darren: And I absolutely hate, leaving a job unfinished.
Mistress Bianca: There were 10 that last time. Who knows how many more. It only takes one to spit on you and you drop.
Mistress Bianca: See? They even have a patrol!
Darren: Well, I can see they are watching for us, if we rest tonight and come back tomorrow morning perhaps.
Bart: They are intelligent. Do not consider them mere beasts.
Mistress Bianca: No, Bart you mentioned something about smoke?
Bart: We should be able to set something up if the winds favor us.
Darren: Well if we can ground the boat nearby and rest.
Mistress Bianca: Ok, do you think we can make some moss shields or something that won’t catch fire that we can hide behind?
Bart: I had tried that. The flames were too intense for them to last for long. We would need something sturdier.
Rikard Castleberry: Well, it’s unlikely that at this moment we can go back in and live. We would need the element of surprise again.
Mistress Bianca: Well it will help buy us a few attacks but yes, something sturdier.
Bart: If we flip the boat and move it close to the entrance….
Mistress Bianca: The boat will get burned.
Darren: Listen, you didn’t bring me along for just my good looks, at first light, I can get the samples and get out if there is not a sentry.
Bart: To put out the flames we right the boat then upturn it again.
Bart: We do not doubt your abilities Darren. If you say you can then I believe you. Now if you could sneak in a barrel of oil.
Mistress Bianca: Don’t worry Darren, You will get your chance, but wouldn’t you feel better if we had a plan to back you up when things go badly?
Rikard Castleberry: I think we should move away for a bit, a day or 2 or more, then they will be complacent again, and we can catch them off their guard.
Darren: Days?...out here? (whispers) without proper…facilities?
Mistress Bianca: Gah, yer such a girl.
Bart: What facilities would you need?
Darren: Well, a decent privy for starters…
Bart: We can find you a proper bush to use.
Mistress Bianca: I will not be caught up in that line of conversation.
Mistress Bianca: You wante
d on the team. Well deal with it.
Darren sits down in a huff. Bart scans the shoreline for a safe place to camp.
Bart: We can camp there.
Mistress Bianca: Now, in my book, there was a chapter about Naris filling flasks with alcohol and stuffing a piece of cloth in the end and igniting it. Then when thrown, they explode. You think yer oil trick would work like that?
Bart points to the distant shore.
Bart: Aye. I was thinking of swamp gas in a bladder but that is hard to collect.
Rikard Castleberry: Uh, that sounds tricky.
Bart: Roll a barrel of oil down the passageway that has been unstopped.
Rikard Castleberry: That sounds like it might get rid of the webs as well.
Rikard Castleberry: But I’m all for it, all we need is a barrel of oil
. Darren: Well I hope we can get some samples first.
Mistress Bianca: What prey on spiders?
Your discussions continue as the sun sets beneath the tree line of the shore where you encountered the spiders.
Rikard Castleberry: Yeah. I take offense to things that try to kill me.
Mistress Bianca: Maybe we can recruit some things that naturally don’t like spiders.
Bart: I know of little that would take on these creatures.
Bart: Shall we cross to that camp ground?
Rikard Castleberry: Yes, it’s getting late.
Mistress Bianca: Yeah, bet Aetius is glad he isn’t here. That is, if he knew of em.
Rikard Castleberry: Indeed.
Rikard Castleberry starts to pole the skiff towards the spotted camp spot.
As the soft light of a fading day ends, your skiff is pulled up onto a good shore.
Bart: Mistress Bianca, Do you think they can sense their brother that you have?
Bart starts to make camp.
Mistress Bianca: I do not think so. I have an idea though.
Bart: That is good.
Bart: We could throw in some poisoned meat.
Mistress Bianca: Are any animals resistant to fire?
Mistress Bianca: Like a turtle?
Bart: These spiders themselves seem to be. Some plants, swamp Dragons.
Mistress Bianca: Can you change into a swamp dragon like you did the spider?
Rikard Castleberry: So what we need to do, is convince the swamp dragons to attack the spiders? Or, we could just sleep tonight and see if we can sneak webs out tomorrow.
Bart: I do not know. It would probably be beyond my ability as swamp dragons are more then just animals.
Darren listens as he takes out a rag and tries to clean himself up.
Mistress Bianca: Ok well we can worry about it in the morning.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh Darren, don’t bother cleaning yourself now, you’re just going to get dirty while you sleep.
Darren ignores him as he rubs furiously on a small, grass stain.
It is now full dark.
Bart: Get some sleep. I’ll take first watch.
Mistress Bianca: I am going to sleep. I am beat.
Rikard Castleberry finds a spot, puts his back back under his head, and passes out.
Bart heads into the woods to set some snares for breakfast.
Darren grabs his bag, finds a tidy spot and lays out his blanket.
The snares are set. Soon the soft sounds of sleep surround you Bart.
Bart props himself against a tree and spends half the night watching and planning the creatures demise.
Hours pass. Suddenly you hear the SNAP! One of your snares break the silence of the night.
Bart sneaks towards his snare to see what has tripped it.
You arrive at your sprung snare. You see boots in the mud as you arrive to the snare, jump back, and run away from the waters edge.
Bart studies the prints for a second then starts to follow them.
It is clear that this boot was made in the village of Kith’takharos. It is similar to the workmanship you’ve seen upon your own boots. Almus sells them to anyone willing to pay and most of the men of Kith’takharos that would leave town for their work wear them.
Bart changes his mind and returns to the camp to awake Darren.
Darrin you are awoken by Bart.
Bart whispers “We have company. It appears to be one man. He went that way. Good Night.”
Darren: Eggs and toast…
Darren falls back asleep.
Bart: Oh and be careful of my snares.
Darren stirs and sits up.
Darren yawns and stands up.
Bart: We have company. Single man from the city. He went that way in the dark.
Rikard Castleberry: God damnit, I’m so tired of waking up this way.
Bart: Go back to sleep. I was very quiet and this is all a dream.
Rikard Castleberry: Oh? Good stuff.
Rikard Castleberry rolls over.
Rikard Castleberry snores again.
Darren finds a nice, hidden spot near the camp and hides there.
Bart: Darren, you wanted to test your skills. I can track but my stealth skills are only passing. You will have to hurry before he gets to far.
Darren: I can’t track I’m not a tracker…and who is he?
Darren looks around still just waking up.
Bart: Size 9 shoe guy.
Darren: What does it matter? I didn’t expect us to be alone for very long anyhow, as to the way everyone was talking of this mission. If they pose no threat, let them go?
Bart: Your watch, your call.
Bart finds a nook by a tree to get some sleep.
Darren stands watch and considers what to do.
Hours before dawn the swamp mists begin to form, rising from the ground.