As the battle raged on, Barrick began to stir. The chrysalis surrounding the dwarf was tough, but “Ha!” thought Barrick, “I am tougher!” Barrick flexed his mighty thews to try and shatter his cocoon, and …
nothing happened, nothing except of course for the pain one feels when sinking slowly into lava encased in a cocoon.
Erik was getting tired of Pyro’s constant resurrection, but what could he do? Again Erik’s arrows flew true, but again Pyro would not die. Pyro lept back at Erik, also wondering just what it takes to kill this creature? But this time Erik was the quicker and Pyro missed, two sets of fangs chopping into thin air.
Z’alden called again upon the Great Dragon to heal Barrick, but that was distraction enough. Cinder spat lava at Z’alden, hitting him fully upon the back. Z’alden’s eyes watered, only for a brief span of time, but that too was enough, Golemaag took advantage and hit the cleric again, this time stunning him outright!
The sorceress, seeing Pyro’s frustration at missing Erik, again, quickly fired two balls on energy, one light, and one dark. Unfortunately both bolts missed, slamming into the floor beneath the hound. Fortunately the spall from the explosions of the errant attacks hit the dog’s underbelly. With a yelp, the beast fell, again.
The ever resourceful Z’alden quickly saved himself from the stun and created a warding zone. But no sooner than he had finished with this task, the good cleric found himself immobilized as another spat of lava, this time from Cinder, wracked his body.
Rift pointed her Darkstar staff at Cinder and surrounded him in a sphere of mirrors, awaiting the moment when she could turn his powers back on himself in this arcane trap. Tira glances over her shoulder at this, one eyebrow raised; she did not think Rift was powerful enough to be able to cast this spell twice on the same being, were there other secret abilities Rift was keeping from her friends? No matter, the sphere worked, and again Cinder appear to die.
Barrick, watching all this helplessly from his prison, struggled one more time to break free. Barrick flexed his mighty thews to try and shatter his cocoon, and …
success! Barrick leaped from the lava and gave his blood a few seconds to flow hotly through his veins whilst surveying the situation.
Golemaag, enraged at the loss of his hounds, first brought his pets back to life, then stomped toward Tira and smashed her down hard, Tira barely staggered away, blood dripping from her wounds. She feebly tried to fight back, but to no avail.
Erik tried to avenge his friend, shooting twin arrows at the Titan, but also, to no avail.
The Great Dragon again appeared at Z’alden’s behest, healing Tira and lashing Golemaag with divine chains at the same time. Sensing that their master was hindered and hurt, the hounds doubled the ferocity of their attacks. As one the two dogs lunged forward biting and spitting. Pyro’s teeth sunk into Erik at the same time that Cinder lava spit set Tira on fire.
Seeing that Golemaag was visibly hurt, the brave adventurers decided to shift their focus from the dogs to the Titan, hoping that if the master was killed the beasts would at least flee the battle.
Barrick started running in closer to the giant, ignoring the heat surging off the Titan’s body. Golemaag tried to bring a huge fist down on the dwarf, but Rift blasted the giant from behind as the fist slammed down on to empty rock. Barrick’s close attack hit and hit hard. Golemaag was dazed; but being a Titan, dazing was but an inconvenience. Golemaag struck back strong, taunting the stocky fighter as the attack hit and stunned Barrick.
A storm of chaos from the sorceress’s still burning hand wrapped around the giants head. Golemaag turned rapidly, not sure where to attack next. Seeing that Tira was fighting even though her clothes and skin were still smoldering, Z’alden unleashed his Sacred Flame, again healing the girl. Tira’s mind reeled, she had not been hit and healed this many times in one battle in quite some time.
The hounds attacks came on, just as vicious as the previous ones. Erik was bitten hard by Pyro. Cinder charged Rift. The wizard watched as the dog charged closer. At the last moment she decided not to get hit and a magic shield appeared, knocking the beast to one side. Smiling, Rift then fired off a powerful disintegrate spell. The beam hit the Titan square in the chest. Time seemed to slow as the party watched cracks appear throughout the body of the giant. Light shown out as the cracks widened. Then, with a loud snap, Golemaag burst apart. The five heroes turned their heads to block the shrapnel. When they looked back, not only was Golemaag dead, but the two dogs were sprawled prone, their life light dimming quickly like the last embers of a dying fire.
Wasting no time, the party secured the room. Rift cast an Arcane Lock to keep out any stray passerbyers whilst Tira searched the titanic rubble, bringing up the large red gem she sought. After a much needed rest, the group found that not only did they feel rested, but a little more powerful as well.
Rift showed the rest of the pack some letters she had found on the table whilst her companions slept. A rough translation revealed that the three factions, Golemaag, Fandril and Baleroc were at odds with each other. The primary issue was that the Firelord Ragnaros, along with Golemaag and Baleroc wanted to work with demons, whilst Fandril, Chief Druid of the Flames, was adamantly opposed to any contact with those foul beings. The adventurers looked at each other, this information could be useful.
Further searching found between 1 and 2 million pieces of gold inside a stone dais. This was way more than then group could carry, even including all the magical space inside their bags, sacks, and backpacks. With a little discussion, the party devised a way to get most of the gold. Rift opened an Arcane gate between their current location and the teleportation portal back at their home castle. Dumping and shoveling as fast as they could, they created a huge mound of gold back at home. It might be enough to prevent them from using the portal in the future, but gold is gold.
Now that everyone was fully rested, had new powers and feats to test out, and had absolutely no space left to carry so much as one more piece of umberhulk jerky, the party set out to find the next guardian, and the next needed gem.
Turning to their other right, they noticed that the fire around the gate, visible from pretty much anywhere around, was darker. It might be that Ragnaros shares his power with the guardians, and if so, this could be good, or bad.
It was not hard to find Baleroc, he stood massive and still, as still as a being made of flame can be. Baleroc was standing in front of the even more massive arched gateway leading to Ragnaros and his palace. In his hands was a great sword, and in the pommel of the sword was the gem for which they searched. Everything else looked normal, except that there were no railings on the sides of the wide path toward the gate. Beyond the path was a long long drop into elemental chaos. As much as Tira loved chaos, she had no desire to explore that, especially against her will. She closed her eyes and conjured a ghostly dragon that would support her if needed. A few more seconds of concentration and all her companions had their own dragon support vehicle.
They moved forward, toward Baleroc.
“HOLD” came the command from the fiery guardian.
They moved forward.
Barrick, the giant rider, and never one to be intimidated by those taller than himself, strode forward again. Baleroc lifted his sword. Baleroc lowered his sword and the ground began to glow, all but a narrow strip along the edges, where a misstep could send someone plunging into the chaotic abyss. Erik and Rift quietly sidled to the non-glowing strip whilst the others pondered what that could mean. Suddenly all the glowing bricks erupted into huge pillars of flame. Barrick, Z’alden, and Tira were burned and blinded by the hot blast. Without waiting to see if they survived the flames, Baleroc immediately fired off 5 bolts from his fingertips, one directed toward each of the heroes.
The sorceress wanted to try a new spell; being blind might normally have been a hindrance, but in this case, the sounds coming from the giant were enough to aim her energies. Suddenly, instead of resisting fire, as a being made of fire should do, Baleroc found that he was vulnerable to fiery attacks, along with the radiant damage the cleric is so fond of. Flying up into the air the giant continued his attack on the group.
Always looking after his friends first, Z’alden’s next action was to cure the blindness, then with a lethal combination of Abjure Undead and Turn Undead, Bahamut’s servent dealt a truly massive amount of damage in less than six seconds.
Rift waved her staff and casts a sphere of mirrors. Tira was about to say, “Wait a sec, three times in one battle!?” before she realized that this battle against a fiery giant was not the same battle as before. Sometimes the memories of the battles would bleed together in Tira’s low wisdom mind. And with that mental distraction her next lightning blast flew way wide.
Back and forth the battle raged. Erik flew to a small floating island and took cover behind a large brazier. Tira moved too close to the giant and was knocked unconscious. Z’alden kept healing. Barrick, being Barrick, stayed front and center, beating the Titan over and over again. But it was Rift that turned the tide. Time stopped for all except the wizard. Quickly she used the Black Hole of Doom on her staff to disintegrate Baleroc’s sword at the hilt, causing the gem to fall to the ground.
Tira quickly grabbed the gem, rolled directly underneath Baleroc and created a dense layer of floating ice crystals between herself and the flaming giant. Holding the new gem, a strange memory entered her mind. Somehow she knew what had been done before and what needed to be done now. She fused the two gems into one and, channeling that other memory, sent a powerful beam of cold and thunder right into the fiery creature.
Now the battle was really on. Erik fired his trusty twin strike, hitting both times. Barrick whacked with his axe. Rift casts rays with deadly accuracy. Z’alden slapped on Bahamut’s chains causing Baleroc to fall through the frozen shards, cutting him deeply. Tira crawled away and hit twice. Erik stowed his bow, drew his swords, lept across the chaotic chasm and hit with all his power. That was more than enough, the mighty Baleroc crumbled and fell leaving behind a loud cheer from the brave adventurers.
With barely a pause to breathe, their thoughts turned to the next battle…
Campaign of the Month: March 2009
Denizens of the Nentir Vale
Two down, one to go
The heroes collect gold and gems
Tira holds the newly created gem in her hands and closes her eyes. She tries to use the power of the gem to search for the third, the missing sibling of the two she now possesses.
Does she sense anything as to the location of the other gem, and Fandril?