Session 3: May 2, 2008 – We left the party in the Cliffport jailhouse where they had taken and imprisoned the two individuals they had nearly killed in the woods outside of the entry to Korrin Berrytoes’ cave. Captain Gank-Tzi seemed to be getting suspicious of the party’s explanation of their encounter with the two captives, but he mostly held his tongue. For now.
After Melinko’s failed attempt to charm the imprisoned man, Captain Gank-Tzi informed them that he was going to have to consult the local judge about the legal propriety of imprisoning the captives on the signed word of Euha and the supporting story of the party. He asked the party not to leave the area anytime soon. Then he assigned night watch duty to one of his deputies and left.
The party headed back to the Cliffport Tavern as darkness began to fall. There they ate a hearty dinner (Tyrrvanus and Krush dined on blood sausage and milk) and retired to their room (for another 5 gold pieces) for the night. All except Melinko that is, who decided to return to the jail for some private conversations with the captives. Taking a plate of tavern food with him, he headed out the door.
As Melinko was heading for the jailhouse, a commotion in the street caught his attention. A middle-aged woman was calling for help to save her young son. In her arms she cradled the limp form of a boy of about twelve. Melinko quickly went over to see what was up. As he neared the two, he saw that the boy was covered in bright red welts over most of his body, and he seemed to be unconscious and near death. Calling upon his divine powers, he infused the boy with healing power, and the boy returned to consciousness.
Melinko asked the boy what happened. “I don’t know,” the lad replied, “I was playing out in the woods and suddenly I saw all these bright things flying around. I followed one of them and suddenly there was a swarm of them and they started hurting me. I don’t remember anything else until just now.”
Melinko told the mother to let the boy rest but that he should be fine the next day, and continued on his way to the jail. Once there he asked the night deputy if he could speak to the prisoners. “Well, that’s for the Captain to decide.” replied the deputy. Melinko offered the deputy the plate of food from the tavern, but the deputy demurred. Frustrated, Melinko placed the food on the desk and quickly attempted a charm spell on the deputy. The charm succeeded and Melinko was soon talking with the prisoners and offering them the food. After a short discussion, Melinko headed back to the tavern, where he and the party slept the rest of the night.
The next morning the party rose and Melinko told them that he had visited the jail the night before, and that he felt that the prisoners may not be there once the Captain and the Judge had their conversation. He mentioned the episode with the boy, saying that he had healed a boy who had been playing in the woods and who seemed to have been burned. As this conversation was going on, Captain Gank-Tzi came in for his breakfast. He pointedly ignored the party as he sat and ordered his food.
Tyrrvanus expressed a desire to leave soon, and return to the path to the cave to continue their mission. Euha was concerned that might vioalte Gank-Tzi’s order to remain close to the town. After a short debate on the issue, Euha approached the Captain and asked him directly if they could continue the mission, especially since the Captain had originally asked them to check into the cave for him. “Sure, that’s fine.” the Gank-Tzi replied, chewing a piece of thick bacon. He eyed Euha for a minute as if deciding to say more, and then sighed, “I released the prisoners before I came here for breakfast. The Judge told me I did not have cause to hold them, it’s just your word against theirs. So they are free now.”
This news was met with a mixture of alarm and resignation by the party. Tyrrvanus again suggested that they head back to the cave, and the party agreed. Soon they were hiking out of town. An hour or so later, they returned to the spot of their battle the day before. The bloody stick which had precipitated their fight with the two no-longer captives was still on the ground. They stopped and waited for a moment, half expecting to be challenged by the invisible pixie-girl again, but there was no noise but the wind.
Continuing on their way, they soon came within sight of an area of oak trees and rocky outcroppings. If Gank-Tzi’s directions were accurate, they must be near the cave, they thought. Krush suddenly caught a movement from the corner of his eye, and watched as a bright speck of light buzzed by about twenty feet from the party. The speck was as small as a man’s thumb, but it was as bright as if a speck of the sun had fallen to earth. Krush pointed this surprising discovery out to the rest of the group, but nobody knew what to make of it.
They continued on, and soon realized that there were a number of such bright sparks of light zipping about, making a faint buzzing sound as they flew by. Orophin noticed that on the top of a nearby rock outcropping, a bright object radiated light so bright it was visible even in the bright sunlight. He also noticed that there was an increasing number of the flying specks the closer to the bright object they were. Orophin decided to scout ahead, and crept forward, keeping an eye on the bright object.
Suddenly Orophin felt a sharp sting on his neck and jumped back as he saw a bright buzzing speck zip away from him. It made a bee-line directly for the bright object on the rocks. Holding his hand to his burning neck, Orophin realized that as the speck reached the bright object, an angry hum seemed to rise up, and something like a shining whirlwind rose up from the object. He quickly retreated to join the rest of the group as the whirlwind raced directly towards the party.
As the whirlwind got nearer the party realized it was a swarm of hundreds or thousands of bright specks. About ten feet from the party, the swarm suddenly split into three separate swarms, and one engulfed Tyrrvanus, one engulfed Orophin and one engulfed Melinko. In an instant all three were buried in a swirling, buzzing swarm of white hot, thumb sized creatures, which vaguely resembled hornets, but looked like nothing any of them had ever seen before.
As each of the engulfed party members tried to react, the deadly heat of the swarm burned them badly, all but Orophin who managed to take minimal damage due to his highly developed reflexes. Tyrrvanus took a careful step back, managing to separate from the swarm, and immediately turned invisible. Orophin took a step also, and swung his sword through the swarm where he knocked a few of the specks out of the air. They left burning holes in the ground where they fell.
Melinko took a step back as well and seeing the futility of Orophin’s blow, instead cast a quick heal spell on himself recovering from some of the damage. Krush decided to fight fire with fire and began lighting a torch. Euha stepped forward and used his healing powers to come to Tyrrvanus’ aid. Again the deadly swarms advanced, again engulfing Melinko and Orophin. The third swarm passed by the invisible Tyrrvanus and instead engulfed Krush. Krush was the only one who took damage from their attacks.
Orophin again carefully stepped out of the swarm and pulled forth his waterskin from which he aimed a squirt of water at the swarm attacking him, and to his delight, a large number of specks were extinguished or scattered into the air, but the larger portion remained. “Water!” he shouted to the party. “Water kills them!” Soon the party was all emptying their waterskins on the advancing swarms. But the swarms continued to deal devastating damage to their victims. Euha, tough and rugged dwarf that he is, realized that his habit of carrying four waterskins around was finally going to work to his advantage. “I’ve got four waterskins!” he shouted to the group.
As this battle-turning discovery was made, Tyrrvanus decided his invisibility had fooled the swarm and decided to check out the “hive” from which they had erupted. He quickly moved to the area seeing that the hive was a smooth golden oval-shaped thing about the size of his abdomen and chest combined. A buzzing sound could be heard from the fist-sized hole that seemed to serve as a doorway into the interior of the thing. Bright specks flew in and around it.
Behind him the battle raged on. Melinko attempted a spell, but it had no effect. The water seemed to still be the best approach, although the party was quickly running out of water. Still they managed to kill or disperse two of the three swarms while taking minimal damage themselves, and things were starting to look up for the party.
Krush, who had run out of water, decided to head over to the hive himself. As he did so, the remaining swarm suddenly rushed back to the hive where Tyrrvanus was still pondering if he should pour water into the hole, trusting that his invisibility would protect him from the swarm. His trust proved to be in error as the swarm suddenly turned on him, doing significant damage. At the same time Krush arrived at the hive and hacked at it with his axe, but it was a poorly aimed blow and merely glanced off its hard surface.
The rest of the party moved forward, with Melinko applying critical heals to ailing party members from his cure light wounds wand. Krush raised his mighty axe again and this time dealt the hive a solid blow.
As the blow landed, Krush realized that his axe suddenly seemed to lose some of its precise balance. The blow had rent a gaping hole in the hive though, and from the hole a rich, thick golden liquid dripped, glowing like fire, but not radiating any significant heat. Tyrrvanus was certain that the liquid contained some magical property, but at that moment he was busy trying to fend off the attacking swarm. Unfortunately for the group, the blow also brought forth a new swarm of buzzing sparks and soon the party was in the middle of another desperate fight against their fiery adversaries.
Tyrrvanus attempted to move away, and tossed his water bottle to Krush, but Krush was unable to catch it and it fell to his feet. He managed to get off a “color spray” spell which did seem to stop the swarm at least temporarily. Orophin rushed in and picked up the dropped water bottle while Euha tossed another bottle to Krush. This time Krush managed to knock the bottle twenty feet away. Still, due to the color spray spell, for a few precious rounds the party was able to regroup and gather the remaining water bottles (four discarded waterskins already littered the battlefield). But the swarms soon overcame the color spray and redoubled their attacks.
Tyrrvanus went down. Orophin rushed over and dragged his limp form from the swarm, almost certainly saving his life. Melinko’s ray of frost narrowly missed one swarm, as Euha’s last spray from his water bottle dispersed one of the last two swarms. Krush went down. Melinko was kept busy running from party member to party member with his precious healing wand. Then, with two party members down, his wand running low, and the party nearly out of water, Melinko uttered a foul and evil phrase which reverberated through the area stunning the swarm and sending Euha running in terror from the area. With the swarm seemingly stunned for a time, the party regrouped again. Orophin used his healing skills on Tyrrvanus and then dragged him away from the hive while Melinko worked on Krush. Soon the remaining swarm’s buzzing grew louder and more insistant. Melinko hit them with a color spray, and the buzzing receded again. Krush, now healed enough to walk, took Tyrrvanus and slung him over his shoulder as the party beat a retreat from the hive and the still-stunned swarm. As they moved farther away, the swarm moved back to the hive. It was hard to be certain but the party felt that they saw activities at the hive that looked like the blow from Krush’s axe was being repaired. At this point, with the party in full retreat and a still-unconscious Tyrrvanus unceremoniously draped across Krush’s shoulder, the session ended for the night.