The Silk Road

The Battle for the Kakutsk

Day 67 to 71

Back to Pride Rock directly! Arriving early day 71.

The kreen clutch are salvagable. She is worn and torn, but its an apparently hearty race for next morning she insists she is ready to move! Astounding! She goes back to the kreen to the NE, to stop them from being so crazy.

Duncan "Can you wipe out the gnolls with us?"

She will try, if she can get there in time. She has a lot of distance to cover. Grumpet sends an animal messenger to the cave, for the king come w/in an hours ride of the Rock, and there awaid word from us.

On the trail, we run into groups of travellers over and over. First, a warband a couple hundred strong from a herd of yakmen heading in same direction. Since last time one of us talked to them, the King of the Yakmen by the lake east is assuming that since we are backing the old king, he has sworn off the war to exterminate the wemics; their warbands are assembling at the north river to war the gnolls are already starting to cross in groups larger and larger.

"Now it is up to you to do your part and bring the king of the wemics back."

Further on, we encounter the other local races on the move!. All able bodied centaurs are moving to the hills north of pride rock. They swore an alliance with the yakmen because of us, to wipe out the wemics. They are the west flank. The tiger wemics have assembled their warriors, are moving for Pride Rock. Regardless of what happens with our plan, they see the writing on the wall with the Bharag Grok, they must be stoppped together. A string of the nomad cavalry next, Brothers of the Wolf. Wolf, Hawk, Deer, Cat, Snake. Snake Brotherhood were not really nomadic, the humans who lived in the serpent forest. Allied with YT or became YT. They have been reduced to nothing after our YT attack. They will disperse and be no more. The Cat are already at Pride Rock, only ones truly wemic friends in every way. Wolves and Hyena's don't like one another, so we march vs Bharag Grok, marching for river north to give them hell as they try to cross. The Deer brothers are not good warriors, but great messengers and communicators and hit and run tactics, fastest of all nomads. The Hawk are great scouts, scout assassins of a sort. Quick, stealthy killers. Not good at mass combat. All working in their own ways. They all hope to meet us again soon.

By the time we reach the river east of the Rock, the 8 clans of rakasta are going to PR too. They are the only ones thus far that have met with tragedy already. All here are all there is of them. They are here en mass. Up the river north was where they all met up. The ravager adn his elites and witch stormed upon their 2 tribes "We fought best we could and could have won, but the ravager and his heroes were too much once they entered the fray. We got to our village to find another group had attacked their already and were not just killed but were being feasted upon. The rakasta total 62 warriors in all now, and we're looking for payback."

Duncan sends a hard bitten squad of them to pick up the Queen wemic and cub and meet us at PR.

We approach PR and see it is bustling. The Cats are here to see the fireworks. Rumor has spread the old king is still alive, because of our good deeds. Delegations of all others are here to see the anticipated action. We approach the Rock, saying nothing but greetings to anyone of what is about to happen to anyone, and join the caravan already here.

Lots of whispers as we pass by, wondering if this is going to happen, where is the king? Queen? Etc.

The king is sent another animal messenger, to enter town immediately.

The brothers welcome us back.

Duncan to them "We need to talk in private."

Duncan tells him his YT allies have been crushed by the thri kreen. Then convinces him that we have the queen and cub in tow, but the king is going to get here first with protectors. Further, no one here will accept their legitimacy again unless its, primitive style, claws, primitive weapons. But, we have an ace in the hole for him. His scintillating robed sorcerer will be here to help again. In reality, Arisaan will be in the robe at the fight but will disappear as the fight begins. That and political tokens seals the dea.

Grumpet, Bligh, Arisaan, and others are informing the delegations to back us up on the claim.

They then arrive after we leave to do just that.

We let word get around, and all prepare for the duel and wait for the arrival of the real King.

Duncan talks to Malenko about donning the robe himself, and hitting the lead brother with a couple minor hindering spells at strategic moments, suruptisiously. He is not really in to breaking the wemic customs since he likes them so much, but really hates the idea of the brothers winning. He's torn. Duncan convinces him for the brothers aren't getting out of here alive. If they win, Duncan's men are killing them anyway. No tribe here will risk protestation with the Bharag Grok threat.

The 2 brothers proceed to whoop one another up, feline pumping up. The crowd below splits as Hrok and the King make their way. Hrok has let the king know his Queen and cub are safe and on the way.

The brothers say nothing nor taunt the old king. Lots of insults at Hrok however, that all of  his family will be put down for his attempted usurpation.

First, an intimidation phase, paw slapping etc. Then circling and feeling each other out. This lasts a couple minutes or so.

Hrok and the weaker brother initiate first, then the other 2 engage. Soon enough, Hrok and foe are in a full on grapple on the ground, rolling and raking and biting at one another ferociously. The king and elder brother then charge one another head on, slamming into one another and right to the scrapping like they've hated one another all their lives with barely any defense on either side.

The old king gets in a couple flurry of hits. Twice the older brother looks to be getting in a powerful lick when he suddenly weakens just slightly or slips for a moment (Malenko) causing him to miss by a hair.

All are with bated breath surrounding the combat.

Though Hrok is larger and older, the younger brother has more skill from his adventuring. It 

The battle turns on a critical fumble by the elder brother just after getting in a good body shot and overpowering him to the ground. He goes for a overhand cleave but trips over the kings flailing lets falling face first to the ground. Dazed for a moment, the King leaps at the opportunity and tears him open viciously then grabs him by the mane. One massive strike with his axe kills the elder brother!!

In our peripherals, we can see Malenko moving about, giving the edge to our men!

Soon as the elder bro is dead, the younger of the 2 is panic stricken.

Duncan to his men "Do not let him out of here. He is in this to the death."

He then gets cautious, now down 1 to 2. Only making the most opportune attacks. He gets to Hrok's flank and is about to get in a good shot when the King leaps into position behind him and grapples him to the ground. The king pins the usurper's arms to the ground powerfully. Hrok begins chopping him like an inanimate log. The brothers adrenaline gets on arm free and stabs the King with his stone dagger in the rubs deeply but he's a goner. That was his last gasp of power. His weapons drop just after, he goes mostly limp as the king releases and backs off. The bro gets up stumbling blood pouring out of him. Hrok pounces ruthlessly and a rapid attack of his lion claws finishes the troublemaker.

Hrok is moderately damaged. Grumpet races to the king and starts making with the druid skills.

The cheers rise "The Kings are back!" as Hrok must be co king now.

A handful of the yakmen with a centaur and couple nomads hurry into the camp. The gnolls are on the move en mass and on their way here. All their sorties have merged into one on this side but for random stragglers. Our allied centaurs, yakmen and nomads took a whooping and had to pull back. "The ravager and his champions are unstoppable." The allied forces are as well but can't attack again until we are all together. "The Bharag Grok horde is uncountable. The yipping and wailing they make struck terror into all before them."

Mulligan "That doesn't sound very natural."

We start mobilizing immediately. We warn them of our undead horde, informing them they are more animated than undead "Like if a wizard made a chair walk around."

Our priest arrives with the undead. All our forces are mustered.

The usurper equipment is gathered and divided to Hrok and the King. The wemic nation is at war.

We see on the horizon a running skirmish. The humans harrassing the enemy to stop them from overtaking the exhausted yakmen. From the SE the last of the minotaurs and Yaks are almost here.

The thousand of gnolls indeed emit an unnerving yip, like a terrible laughing. It seems almost the entire army is doing so. In their center are ravager, witch, champions. Their laughter is making that of the masses more potent.

Riding in front of the horde are our cavalry, harassing the gnolls as well, having met and joined up with the other forces. Once their arrows are gone, they make for us. When our wemics make their move, the yakmen make their massive charge. The brothers of the Cat ride in small groups as horse archers with the wemics. The wolf charge; Hawks circle mounted, pinpointing flinds and obvious leaders. Hrok and the King each take a different group. Tor goes for the center left, Cat on the right. The skeletons are moments away from engaging. The ravager and champs are in the heart of combat. Every group who pulls into fight them is destroyed. Hyenadon riding cav (dire hyena's). Hrok is soon lost in the horde. Tor cleaves his way through, every hit a kill. Tor reaches the ravager before we can get there. But the shaman is casting upon him at the same time, opening up what wounds he had left from the previous fight. The ravager lops off Tor's head!! He picks it up and rides through he battle showing his head!

As we are trying to get to teh leadership in the center, Hrok comes into view holding a handful of gnoll scalps and lobs them into the crowd. The ravager turns toward him as he is fighting toward us.

Our skeletons enter the fray in support of where groups of our men are engaged to take attacks away from our men. A dull but loud humming begins all around the battle, from an unseen source. It is unsettling to those who hear it, though Duncan is pretty sure he knows what it is and gets a wry smile on his lips.

The skeletons are sent in to fortify our group, and we use them as animated shields essentially.

After a quick foray by skirmishers does no harm, a force charges at us. Grumpet summons a 5' rampart under our line with a 5' deep ditch in front of it. We cut the force down with relative ease but for a squad of hyenadon riding gnolls who hit Bhodan's men on our right and its a tough fight. Behind them coming toward us and arriving soon, comes the witch, priest, ravager with bodyguard, a bunch of flinds.

Clouds have beenrolling in, and by now the sky is completely blackened like a terrible storm is imminent. The rakasta on our left are being overrun by the gnolls with mounds of our skeletons destroyed among them, forming groups back to back to defend themselves. To our right, the wemics are holding their own. Beyond them, the yakmen and some humans have surged and are rushing over the gnolls there.

From the weakened rakast left comes a force of enemy, 20 of the rageborn gnolls. Its lucky that the heavily drilled Hobgoblins are there with Archileus at the very end to turn the line with precision to meet them!

Duncan "Master of Heat and Flame! Burn the scum!" as the centaurs fire over our men and into them. Kyros reads an incantation from a tome, and 8 of the hobgoblins are plus 1 hit/dam for 2 rounds.

A torrential downpoor begins, very fast the field is muddy.

Bhodan's men hold the line, much backed up by skeleton shields. The gnoll leader was knocked out fairly quick. Arisaan made a beeline there and beheaded him.

A vortex forms in the clouds above us as the battle continues. One of the rageborn is struck by a random bolt of lightning. The rageborn wrap up our right flank at the centaurs who moved up when our line shifted. The endmost is cut to ribbons by 4 rageborn. Grumpet entangles them from the other flank, then Masther of HnF conjures a 2handed flameblade and cuts one, which then vanishes in a quick flash.

With the right flank secure, suddenly Hrok and the 2 catnip loving wemics leap over the ditch and charge toward the ravager and his group who are coming across the field at us. The Minotaur, not to be undone, follows.

Bhodan "Duncan, what do we do?"

Duncan "Move up with them and provide skirmish fire to keep the fools from getting swarmed. Do Not Melee Engage!"

The other centaur goes down!

The massive rageborn leader has lingered behind the line, now comes forward with an almost impossible charge in the muck. 2 of his men step aside and he reaches Archileus and a hoblite. He gets by them, then overruns the hoblites behind, reaching Malenko and crits him in the head!

Duncan orders all but Archileus side to go round our ditch and move up to assist Hrok et al. It is only under the vortex that got saturated, upon us specifically.

The rageborn leader takes Malenko down but loses his falchion in the process! Malenko is knocked 15' away.

The shield one of the first gnoll Lt's has, that fought the hoblites and died, was carrying the dead wemic king's shield!

As Duncan and our forced move across the field, we can see more of the battle. We are doing surprisingly well compared to how this whole thing started but victory is at best 50/50 right now.

As we engage the wemic force, another large pack of gnolls appears to the right heading for us at a run, but the Imperial Cav charges into them and cuts them off. The gnolls are large enough in number that they are able to form a circle around cav.

The humming and buzzing, we can now here, is much louder.

The gnoll hit by the Malenko and vanished reappears almost right where he vanished, only sent temp into a time vortex.

Then, a horde of thri kreen, the source of the humming, appears!  They slam into all fronts of gnolls!! The tide begins to turn.

At the Ravager and his men, Duncan et al catch up as fast as we can to Hrok et al. The rakasta hit the flinds first with Bhodan's men. We then hit dead center, cutting our way to the leadership directly with Hrok himself.

The ravager is flanked by the Boodha and the Chosen One priest. Duncan appears from the crowd first, with Hrok, engaging the ravager. Mulligan soon joins them as Toro hits the Chosen one and Bligh the Boodha. Grumpet then appears from the ground as an earth elemental! He grapples the ravager's legs while half in the ground, disrupting his defense and attacks!! He keeps this on for most of the fight, making a huge difference. 

Archileus and the hobgoblins fight a desparate action vs the barbarian gnolls who are the most ferocious opponents they have ever battled en masse. Several of the hobgoblins go down by the end, but all survive thanks to timely heal checks and a lucky stabilization at neg 10 by one of the hoblites. Kyros and Father B assist, healing Pollux enough to bring him back to conciousness, before Father B follows Duncan up to the Ravager battle. There, he harrasses the Chosen One best he can and assists our efforts. The tide turns when Arisaan makes her move, cutting down the massive boss rageborn with 2 disembowling sneak attacks.

The battle is a great challenge for both sides, its an awesome contest. Hitting is inconsistent at first, Toro is especially challenged by the Chosen One, and the enemy casters suffer several timely spellcasting failures. Hrok is taken down by a Ravager mighty crit but then Mulligan especially kicks into gear, hitting multiple times for a few rounds in a row and lays the Ravager low. Father B has brought Hrok back up by then, and he and Duncan turn to help Bligh as Toro takes the Chosen One down immediately after.

Mulligan the Scum drops trow, straddles the downed Ravager's head while holding his maw open, and starts taking a dump in the Ravager's mouth.

Duncan and Bligh slay the Chosen One while this is going on. Out of their 3 bodies come dark clouds that form together above us and a voice warns us this is not over, it will return to destroy us. It then becomes a vortex which buffets us terribly as we try to scatter from its wrath, Mulligan pants around knees. This drops the alread wounded Hrok again but he survives.

The battle is being won around us. Its thanks to the Kreen arrival, though neither side could have beaten the gnoll horde alone. As the gnolls flee, the kreen follow to cut down all they can in the route. Our army ceases and gathers. The rakasta are a people no more, none remain but those who fought with us. They will follow us east in hopes of finding more of their kind from their ancestral homeland of lore.

Kyros over casted from his arcane book and we find him passed out amongst the downed hobgoblins. Duncan and Toro are our worst off.

During the battle proper, our caravan at the base of pride rock had to circle and defend against an attack themselves, Nnesk and Maeth helping there. It was only a small raiding group thankfully, and was dealt with.

Nothing but rest and casualty accounting the remainder of the day. The Kreen return in groups and mass nearby.

The skeletons are completely destroyed.

Over next few days:

Day 72

Recovery for our wounded. Dealing with casualties.

The Imperial ambassador and Duncan meet with all local rulers.

Hrok is now the single Wemic Chief.

The kreen queen asks us to travel east to their home valley to deal with the problems there. Duncan agrees to go and investigate the situation; but this must include a deal to assist/protect all future trade east and west, to and from the Empire, through their territory if required.

One thing we wish he will do is completely reduce the forest ruin to flat rubble; burn anything that burns; empty the pool and tear it up stone by stone.

On day 73, Duncan sends new supply wagons, built during the caravans stay in the cave west of here, south to properly loot anything else remaining at the Shrine, Malakaz cave, and Nautiloid, with proper local guides who know the way, as well as mounted guard.

The catnip twins, as we call them, are joining our expedition! They really like Toronaga.

Duncan and the ambassador spend plenty of time with the rulers of each faction.

The Rift
The Kreen say the rift is hundreds of miles north to south. The north river we were plannin gon following cuts sharply north about halfway there, to a sea they feel northward. The south branch goes to the valley. Before it reaches it, it branches twice. First, one branch cuts south. Then later the river forks, both flowing into the rift.
The bottom of the rift is probably a mile below. There is even a mist/cloud cover w/in. Definitely water down there then. But it rarely rains. Insects’ paradise. Lots of forest.
The primary inhabitants of the rift:
The aranea, the top predators and dominate society. Build in large web communities in the forest trees; they are all over, though clusters of communites and fall under a few king like rulers. To north, the formians, Colony based, huge hive cites, before, but as mentioned something drove them to unite like under one hive mind. Becoming a local empire. Slowly killing off the aranea then kreen, driving the latter off as we know. Kreen were more the nomad like groups wandering the regions.
An earthquake destroyed the old caves it ran through the southern fork used to run into the rift via, so now it is a steep rushing river down the side. That is the route they used to get out. If the formians do so, they’ll be out to conquer only.
2 races are “built like you, soft fleshy races”: one is elves, but savage, barely capable of language or independant thought, the queen says. The other is musclebound, fur covered. Range from shorter than us by a foot or so to taller by a foot or so. No eyeballs. Lots of hair, always dirty. “They taste terrible, we don’t recommend eating them”. Stone age tech, primitive. TK 421 says that, “but for the completely eyeless part they sound like grimlocks. The degenerate servitor race to the ilithid”.
Something that sounds like an offshoot of hobgoblin she says migrated there a thousand years ago. Most organized of the 3 non insectoid races; southern most region of the valley; fought war vs aranea they lost, forcing them to their present homeland; build fortifications, like organization and structure, warlike but don’t breed fast enouth compared to the insects. On constant defensive, since everything else wants to eat them.
Plus many monsters: ankhegs, ettercaps, giang insects, carrion crawlers, etc.
Sturges and giant sturges; lizardfolk of varying sorts and reptiles; plant monsters; owlbears and other chimeric creatures; In at least one of the lakes resides violent fish people.
Primary thing is to stop the formian march.
The kreen are more than happy to be part of any trade east and west. Trade now bypasses the entire place. No one wants any part of the place.
Ruins “from the gods” abound all over place as well. This is intriguing.
Kreen know nothing of what is on the east lands of the valley.
Duncan asks what exits there are from the rift to the eastern lands. Cave complexes certainly exit, animals from above have wandered in. They must be fairly direct, for animals to get to the bottom. At least the onces they have come out of.
This entire thing is not natural, its a total f up from the Masters’ Wars. Its navigable on foot to get down now, since the kreen came up that way.

This changes our entire route now to the south fork. We and the loot wagons we are sending south will meet at the yakman capitol before moving out. The loot wagons still leave today.

3 days to Makakaz caves. 1 day there. Another day to the shrine. 1 day spent there. The Master of Heat and Flame takes up residence at the shrine.
Then to nautiloid, only staying rest of day. Then on to yakman king’s city. Mulligan and the scouts make their way directly to yakman king’s city at the lake, parting from the loot wagons at the river fork. They day the wagons leave the nautiloid, the scouts are almost at the yak king capitol.
The main caravan will wait a couple days then move to the previous yakman city.

Day 81: scouts arrive at yak king capitol.

Day 88: Caravan arrives at Yak capitol.
On the way, one of Bhodan’s men and one of the cav seem to Duncan to look a bit peekish. They insist they don’t feel bad. Our hearler types can not account for it at first until we stop. They seem fine. Duncan orders them kept separate from everyone else, and pay attention to their mounts’ health; they are perfeclty fine. Consulting the locals, they have no clue. Checking everyone else shows them to be the only 2 effected. Kyros, Callimachus and the priests get together with the affected for a major discussion and check up.
We stay here 3 days. The scouts, cartographers, and survivalists start moving out Day 90. Day before is a day of Luminous Clouds, glowing making night like day. Mulligan goes south, the other 2 scouts north. They meet at the other end Day 92. Duncan and Callimachus begin interviews and studying the logs to try to discern the problem with the 2 ‘sick’.

Day 92: caravan leaves for the rift. Only thing setting the 2 ‘sick’ apart is that they were critically wounded at the final battle. Both in the same area where the ravager was engaging. Poison? Too long of an incubation. It’s a disease or infection. Wounds look fine, so we think disease.
We send riders out to bring Grumpet back asap today. After our knowledge added to his own observation: they are definitely ill, the would was the entry point. One big difference tween teh 2 men though. The nomad is not just looking pale, his skin is clammy to the touch almost like the top layers are losing tone and coloring. Yet skin underneath. Almost like a molting that is not coming off. The greek is not displaying the same issue, instead several but small coin sized bruises. Like they are suffering 2 separate diseases. We keep Grumpet here to watch over them. The 2 insist that apart from the cosmetic issues, they feel fine.

On day 93, the clouds appear as gears in the sky, often inerlocking and turning as if part of some mechanism. Grumpet working with Callimachus and priest and Kyros keep watching the progression. By tonight, the nomad is feeling sickly. He doubles over at one point holding his gut. Expels bloody vomit after lunch. We get him onto a wagon to carry on. He’s being closely tended to. He can’t keep down even water; feverish. He feels very soft to the touch. His circulatory is becoming visible. The skin is losing its fleshy color to more of a brownish to purple.
Duncan calls TK 421 “Is this man becoming an ilithid? And if so how do we stop it?”
He says definitely some sort of ceramorphosis. A sight rarely seen, the mind flayers do not like letting their secrets out. He has seen the effects of it though, being a ranking guardsman. They have varying ways to reproduce, or he may be becoming a servitor. He is sure it’s ilithid related. We send for the cav rider, who inisisted all along on doing his duty. Turns out he’s gone. Not on patrol. His patrol partner is missing too. They were scouting south of caravan.
Duncan takes Nnesk, Grumpet, Bligh, and TK to find them with 6 cavalry. We come upon his partner lying in the dirt a bit farther than they should have gone, over a hillock. KO’d. His horse is dead, blunt force trama to the head. The man is catatonic. 2 cav take him back to camp immediately. Grumpet tracks something big and heavy leaving the spot, but not a horses hooves. We follow it SE to a small waterhole, right into it. Stream leading in and out. There is a disturbing of the water. TK says he’s become or becoming a big cephalopod of some kind. It’s likely to try to ambush us. We decide to lure it out now and destroy it. Likely, he says, the cav is a human no more.
Where is the horse? And his gear (Which does him no good under water)? Whatever we were tracking was large like horse sized not man sized, and no horse tracks leading here.
Grumpet wildshapes into a wild dog coming for a drink to lure it out. We hide in a nearby thicket to attack when it comes for him. He notices the fish are lurking away from where he is drinking soon enough. So, he knows its coming when he’s coming. He notices movement under the surface and is able to back off when it bursts forth. Looks like a horse, but 4 powerful tentacles rather than hooved legs. The front 2 curve back, the rear to curve forward. The tail is also a long suckered tentacle. Broad and gellatious trunk. 2 bulbous eyes atop the head, and half dozen tentacles for a mouth! No rider anywhere in sight.

Back at the camp meanwhile, the nomad Jindrich begins to violently spew blood and other liquids from his mouth. Blood comes from eyes and ears. He starts to curse profusely, then in other languages he shouldn’t know.
Callimachus “Quick, drill a hole into his head!” as he retreats, running for a small ket of oil. HIs eyes pop out of his head. His skull splits open, mouth breaks open unnaturally wide as an ilithid is ripping forth from him!! As his own mind is perishing at the same time!!
Sgt. O’ Keefe “Burn it!! Now, before its fully formed!”
Toro stands there with Nepos, Duncan’s 3 henchmen, and Arisaas in lingering on the perimeter waiting for trouble.
We attack, Toro leading the assault.
Nepos withdraws, calling for Kalestios as the thing mind blasts us, stunning Andronicus and Toronaga. After 2 massive hits from Arisaan, Davius cuts it down.

From the pens with the cattle and mounts et al is a cacaphony of animal wailing. They are spooked to hell. We need to stop a stampede before it happens!! Something is happening there with them!! Bhodan rushes out with his other 4 riders; along with the 2 wemics, and Archileus plus 2 hoblites. They run into the same thing Duncan et al hits at the pond. Jindrich’s horse. It is finishing pulling the brain out of one of the Riders’ step ponies. All the animal handler types are rushing in to stop the stampede. We let loose a volley of missiles upon it. Archileus and his 2 in the front ready to recieve its attack as the others missle over their heads.
It sends a blast similar to the mindblast rather than attacking! The 2 hoblites fail: one charges wildly at the enemy as Archileus yells “Hold the line!” as the other babbles incoherently. One of Bhodan’s men fails, babbling as well. One of the wemics as well, turning and fleeing away at full speed. So Archileus and the other wemic follow him in. It attacks Archileus with its head tentacles, on its hind legs, while the arm tentacles each hit the hoblite and wemic, respectively. Only 1 tentacle hits Archileus. 2 hits from Bhodan and men bring it down. The handlers kept the animals at bay, partially thanks to the quick end to the fight. After a while, we gather the confused 2 back safely.

Grumpet leads it out of the water to the scrub at the edge and we spring our trap, the cav out of sight for now, cutting it up badly, Bligh and TK finishing it off with a bloody crits.
TK confirms its a half ilithid ceramorph creation. They are usually not very intelligent, this one likely of animal intel. Only certain animals can go through such a thing, he knows not why some can and some can’t.
Grupmet wild shapes to check the water, the others spread out to look, to look for the rider. Picking up the trail of an Ilithid heading forward ahead of the caravan. We ride it down quick enough, its actually sprinting. Looks taller and more slender than the normal ilithid we fought before.
No surprise here, it sees us coming.
Just before we get w/in bow range, in mid stride it vanishes into thin air. We get up to the spot and investigate. Duncan thinks that looked like a plane shift. Grumpet after hearing this agrees. The ground at teh point he left, the blades of grass are tine barbed tentacles! We burn this small patch up, and 20’ in every direction. We sense the ‘grass’ screaming in pain faintly. The dirt is even pourous and spongy, like an alien soil.
Other than being taller and more slender, Duncan thinks it had 6 tentacles when it looked back rather than 4. The extra 2 were about ankle length.
TK says an Ilithirid, after hearing that. Ilithid equivalent of a super hero. Very tough and scary. If we wouldn’t have chased it down with such a large force and made it escape, it would have killed any of the forward crew it camp upon.

Everyone back at camp now.
We burn the remains of all 3 together on one pyre.
Forward we go.

Day 94

Uneventful

Day 95

an Imperion sky; on the wind we almost hear the tales of heroic deeds in the air.

96 thru 99

Uneventful, oddly no sign of intelligent habitation at all.
On 99, a psychic calm. Warm, almost no wind; animals we see are totally calm as do we. Very relaxed at all times. We ride by a couple Oroks who barely look at us even.

The yakmen said a nomad group lives south of the river mainly, much liek the others. Mulligan’s finds this very suspicous. Sends word back to tell Duncan he should investigate.

Day 100

Word gets to Duncan from a scout riding back fast. Unfortunately, prismatic rain makes scouting afar too unpredictable. Callimachus thinks as we get closer to teh rift, these magical occurances will likely get more common.

Day 101

Warm, windy, thunderstorms and hale. We hunker down for a bit. The cav are only out a couple hours before they have to make their way back for safety. The hale gets bad. A couple wagons take damage, as do a few animals.
We have to repair. We make less progress today. Cav patrols leave later in the day when its all over. to scout.

Day 102

It got very very cold overnight. Still cold in the morning. Wind is strong, up to 51 mph halting our progress for short times. Worst of the windstorm lasts for couple hours.
The winds bring voices again, this time sounding more ominous as if from the dead.

At end of the day, the cav returns. They found 3 sights where there were people. All dead. No wound on any of them, only black boils, including livestock. The effect was limited to the population centers. Wildlife seemed untouched.

The scouts have split at a fork ahead, Mulligan continues east, the other 2 scouts take a SE fork. They find these mounds at the south fork too, lining its bank.
The survivalists start preparing a short term rest camp for our arrival at this fork.

Duncan sends the cav south again to see if this issue is all along the south of this river.

Day 103

Word reaches from a cav messenger forward of evidence south seen by the scouts and attached riders about a few shrines, mounds of bones. Seem to be running in a line parallell to the river about 30 miles south.
The cav confirm another bone shrine by the end of the day; and several more of the family groups, same circumstance.

The SE fork scouts see people moving far in the distance SW of their position. They turn back to meet us at the fork.
Mulligan does the same.

Day 104

Uneventful, but for cav finding more of he same to the south.

Day 105

All are at the rest camp. Probable first order of business, check out the people seen to the south by the SE scouts.

By now, our caravan is in shambles.

XP for entire battle other than ravager's group:<s> 52800</s>

Rageborn leader's falchion: mst (plus 1 crit threat range) man size

Lt Fort lt shield, steel

Books: when using book with a heal check = plus 2 to treat; healing herbs = 150 uses, each gives plus 2; 

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metzger79 ruleslawyermark

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