Lords of Whitecliff
The Battle of Whitecliff
We traveled to the overturned wagon and found a bunch of goblins surrounding it, raiding it. For a few coins we managed to get some info about a group of raiders who were attacking anybody trying to bring trade in to whitecliff, effectively putting a stranglehold on the city.
Yeah, thats not so okay with us since we live there and our familes our there and all that fun stuff.
Fortes and Garrick go ahead to scout out the forest while we hang back a little ways so we dont disturb anything they may sneak across. Turns out that wasn’t really necessary as the two come sprinting back at us screaming something about a talking ball of darkness. Spectacular.
The beast crashlands right in the middle of the clearing we’re standing in and tackles Garrick almost immediately. Finally being out in the open I can push my new talents to their full ability. I let my new power course through me, feel the pressure and electric tingling over my skin as it begins to change color and morph. I am become Dragon, destroyer of towns.
I launch myself at the creature, trapping it beneath my powerful new limbs, digging my claws into its flesh, roaring, demanding its death as I squeeze the air from its lungs and snap at its exposed neck. Still it does not release Garrick, its grip is too secure. If only the gnome would find a way to escape I could kill the damned thing in a moments notice, but with him trapped as he is, I am forced to endure the beasts attacks against me, hoping that it will run out of air before I run out of blood.
Garrick finally gives up struggling and instead aligns himself to make a powerful jab into the bests exposed belly. This is push over the edge it needed, its last gasps leave its lungs as it succumbs to the pain.
I am battered, blood and weary, and I see the bodies of at least a score of men charging the hill to our location. The fight is far from over, and gods only know what else lies in wait.
The raiders surrounded us, archers flanking our side and fighters charging our front. They even had a mage and a healer lending support. I was stuck in my dragon form, its hide stronger by far than the clothing of my normal form, but I had no access to my spells, I could not lend aid that way, I returned to my claws and teeth to lay what waste I was able.
The archers pelting arrows and bolts did little to my scales, especially after Hogren and Surefine lended their divine magics to our aide, inspiring great courage with their valor. I place our survival that day to their aide, and mine doubly so to Hogren for healing some of my wounds in the heat of battle, despite coming under heavy attack in doing so.
The enemy mage dropped a sphere of silence right on top of us, rendering any tactics or help useless, but in the battle fury it mattered little, the chaos of the fight was enough to push us on.
One by one they began to fall to our attacks, Fortes jumping in and out of their lines to deliver cutting blows at opportune moments, and Hogren stood like a wall of metal, impervious to any attack that swung his way. To my own credit I felled a number and took great joy when I was able to turn my attention to the pesky archers.
The moment was short lived though, as like with the beast, as soon as we had defeated them, a new threat arose. A giant with a Basilisk on a leash. I had only ever read about them before, but there was no mistaking the creature, its eyes alone would have given it away, thank the gods I had the forethought to burrow beneath the earth before it first showed up or I would have been directly in the path of its gaze and would be a statue before I even knew there was danger.
It was a mercy that the Ogre took as long as it did to reach us, as without his friends, it was a matter of merely Hogren, who he decided to chase, run around in a circle while the rest of us pelted him with arrows, spells and whatever else we had available. I was even able to return to my elven form to unleash the full might of my spells on both of the foul creatures.
The giant of a creature was no halfwit though, I used its great leash to lash out a Hogren, tripping him, but thinking tactically, Hogren rolled the fall, and made sure to land face down, leaving him defenseless to the Ogre, but protected from the Basilisk’s gaze. WIth our combined might we were able to kill the Basilisk and drive the Ogre to flee, in to the waiting blades of Jack McVeryrudeperson (still need to get his full name) who separated the ogre from his organs and his head from his body.
Jack was there, he said, to help in clearing out the raiders, but also to pass on a message. Brom Lighthammer, long sick, had finally fallen. The despair on the brothers’ faces was plain to all.
We took the time to investigate the campsite of the raiders and heal up, I turned myself into the form of the same flying creature of shadows that we had felled earlier to scout out the immediate area, in case there were more patrols or camps of raiders near-by and marked them on a map upon my return.
We now hurry back to Whitecliff, both the deliver news of the raiders, and to attend to the news we received from Jack about Brom Lighthammer. There is little time for delay.
And, once we return, I will seek out the council. There are some things I need to discuss with them that need to be addressed.
Journal entry number this one:
We trudged back through the harsh blizzard snow to the road, the thoughts of the tower still laying heavily on my mind.
I wrestle with my concious over what to do. Part of me wishes to let it go, hope that it was a mistake and that it wont happen again, but I know its not. Another part of me says that I must take some action, something must be done so those children may not go unanswered for. Lately though a new voice has begun to pipe up with a new idea, to simply enact the vengeance myself. A horrid idea, absolutely, but one that I’ll admit, does have some nice imagination to it.
I didnt get long to think however as halfway back to Whitecliff we heard the rapid beating of hooves through the sheet of white around us. Hassan, being the most equipped to escape should there be trouble, elected to stay on the road and greet the approachers while the rest of us moved off into the forest to wait and see, and ambush if need be.
Thankfully, an ambush was not necessary, it was a Lighthammer, one of Hogrin’s brothers and a complement of Paladins alongside of him. They were on their way to meet with us with dire news. Not only had Brom passed, but an enemy of Whitecliff (one we are still not sure to which faction they belong) has decided that this moment of weakness was enough of an opportunity to stage a full scale attack.
We quickly reformed and joined with the Paladins and flew with great haste (thanks in part to a hand spell that Hogrin seemed to have had this whole time but didnt care about using on the rest of us until he needed our help… jerk) back to Whitecliff. Its not long on the road before we begin to see the first signs of the battle. Bodies of orcs, goblins, men and ogres litter the road and the ditches, and pieces of dozens more, unidentifiable in the blizzard make the ice that much more slick with the gore. Some of us ride on, stone face to the horror we see before us, nothing can compare to what we’ve recently been through, while some of the others, notably the newly initiated paladins, grow uncomfortable and green to the wanton barbarism they’ve waded through twice now. The air grows heavy with the scent of fresh blood and fire, we must be drawing close now.
Journal Entry: Continued
The sounds of fighting and clashing of steel grows quickly as we press on closer. Through the snow we catch glimpses of men and orcs in pitched battle around us, we even trample on through a few fights, trying to aim away from the Whitecliff colors a best we can on the packed snow and ice.
All at once the sounds rush in louder than before, all around us, and we know we’ve entered the edge of the real fight, no longer rushing through the outskirts and petty skirmishes. Before us stands a solid wall of enemies, both Orc and Man, all staring directly at us. The Paladins form ranks behind us and hold off any would be attackers from flanking us, but that still leaves two score that are steadily advancing on us.
We flare out, to try and catch as many as we can, slowly picking them off here or there as we can. I fire off a few missiles and we clear out a small gap in the middle of their group. Seeing the opening, we push on and funnel through them, the Paladins closing in behind us and fending off the attacks as we push on to another wall of enemies.
Again we flare out as before, and I go wide to the right, having caught more than a few barbed arrows from the last group, I want as little of that as possible again. We ready our weapons as we rush in to the fray, but a scream from behind us gives me pause. One of the Paladins was struck a harmful blow, nothing to keep him from fighting, but enough that I still fear he may never recover fully from. This pulls me from my reverie and lights a fire in us all. We’re not just wading through another mob of baddies to take our time with, there were very real people depending on us, ones that were protecting our backs and were needed to keep the city safe, keep the innocents safe, keep the children safe.
I will not let more children die
This is the mantra that pushes me on. The words form as soon as I see it, a long line of their army stretched out before me. At once the world goes bright as a solid beam of every color flares from my open palm and burns through the core of half of the attackers. Force itself punches a hole through, acid sears the edges, ice sets the wound, fire turns it to ash and lighting ignites the newly opened nerves as each one falls limp from pain, slipping to death sooner than they deserve.
I dont bother to wait for the rest of the group as I push onward to the next group blocking our path. The rest of the group is just as fed up as I am at this point and two explosions of fire rip through the enemy ranks and scatter them to the forests as burnt offerings to the god of slaughter, so uncaring are our efforts. Our only aim is to make it home, to protect whats left of our world.
In the distance we feel a steady “whump… clunk… swiff… whump…” and can only begin to worry, but even that we are forced to set aside as we are again set upon by twenty odd soldiers holding up our advance. We would have happily dealt with them as swiftly and mercilessly as the others were it not for the giants in our path. This forced us to slow, as we had to set a fireball, several dismemberment and lighting rods to various orifices in meticulous manner before we could pass on. An extra fifteen seconds to our record was added, and we moved on through the hole in their defenses, the Paladins still ever on our back, fending off any who would dare nip at our heels.
Still the earth shakes at its steady rhythm and as we crest the rise we see why. A siege engine of massive size sits atop a flat hill, firing boulders of incredibly size at the ramparts and walls of they city. The trebuchet is massive, large enough for six men to stand abreast comfortable, and there are nearly that many riding atop it now, with two giants to pull and operate the machine.
Seeing as this will be a somewhat more difficult task to deal with, and with the Paladins occupied holding off the stragglers left behind from our frenzied spearhead push, we pull out what remaining power we have to topple the weapon of war.
Fortes immediately dashed towards the giants and faces them head on, ignited by his hatred for their kind, while Hogrin doubles around to the other side and hunkers down in his armor to take on the ground forces. Hassan, Surefine and the youngest Lighthammer fire spells off left and right to try and pick off any troublesome enemies and I… I decide to let it all loose and turn myself into a Hydra. Eight heads is eight times the pain I can inflict.
Wriggling, snapping and tearing into the giants, men and orcs alike I help out where I can, and even pull one or two archers from atop the trebuchet as we slowly drop their numbers and land critical strikes at key parts of the siege engine until only one last piece remained to be broken.
The main gear to the drawback lever fit snugly atop the bow of the machine. Garrick saw the opportunity and scrambled up the side of the trebuchet… and slipped off.
So he jumped back up and on and… fell to the ground as his hand grabbed ice.
One more time Garrick jumps! And one more time falls flat on his ass.
Finally on his fourth attempt he makes it on to the wood frame without falling, only to have to square off against the four remaining enemy archers. Hogrin then swoops in to save the day with a brilliant blessing as he rockets into the air and falls gracefully on to the opposite side of the engine from Garrick… Just in time for Garrick to slip past the archers and cut the restraining cord on the gears, sending them flying and bringing the entire siege engine toppling down right on top of Hogrin.
I swear I heard a soft “Seriously? Oh gods dammit!” as he just grabbed the frame of the machine and fell with it, rolling as he hit the ground and pushing himself up from under a pile of massive wooden frames.
A few of the enemy remained, but they were swiftly dealt with.
As we labored to catch our collective breath, we again felt the tremors in the earth, the shaking and bellowing. Confusion rang out as we were all pretty sure we destroyed the trebuchet right in front of us. As the long, sickly appendage slammed into the earth in front of us and lifted forth the shambling body of some cyclopean monstrosity, there played a silent dread far louder and more pressing than the demoralizing roar of the creature before us.
To be continued…
Unfurling from from the snow blanketed west through to the clouded east rose a writing mass of tangled vines, as thick as a sentry tower and impossibly long. It slammed down before us, both ends disappearing in to the distance. I wouldnt have believed such a thing were possible if I had not seen it for myself. How would it have even been able to get anywhere near Alynwick without anyone noticing?! Something far greater than a band of war hungry raiders was occurring. Sprouting from the large tentacled vines were several smaller (but still by far larger than they had any respect to be) vines that began to curl around and lash out at us.
Two surrounded my friends and they spaced themselves out to take on each, five or six against one, staying as best they could out of range of the other while I was so graciously given the honor of fighting the last by myself with no help or backup…
I remained as a hydra, my many rows of sharp teeth helping to tear into each corded vine and tear it apart further and further. I had nearly severed the foul thing from its host mother when my “allies” behind me felled one of theirs. And while they rejoiced and cheered at their success I watched in horror as almost as instantly as their vine shriveled, mine began to regrow and heal all of the work I had done. So again I set to work, one on one agaisnt my fine, tearing chunks of plant and fiber out of the wriggling mass.
I watched my vine shake and sputter, it slowed as its muscled fibers began to lose their temper, the strength escaping form its many open wounds. All at once I hear the shout of victory from behind me again and I watch as, again, all the work I had set upon undone and having the terrible vine rise from the brink of death to a renewed and fully healed vigor.
Go team, thanks for the help there guys.
Finally after they let me work in piece I was able to tear the damned tentacle from its root and kill the thing. I began to wonder why none of them bothered to help me when I turned around and saw them fighting a small group of little tentacle vine masses that flopped around and slapped at their legs. I didnt know a hydra could laugh, but evidently it sounds like a cross between a wolf growling and bear roaring but with a hiccup here or there for air and when if it sees its friends being swatted by little tentacle monsters it will continue to do so for approximately two and a half minutes.
Once the tenta-babies were dealt with we regrouped to try and cleave a way through the massive vine, but before we could launch any attacks the ground began to shake again, but with a heavy rhythm that seemed to grow as if growing closer. All at once the vine soared into the air and began to come crashing down on top of us to crush us flat beneath it. We shielded or heads and dived out of the way but the death blow never came. We turned and saw Merryl. He had used his staff to stop the blow and was holding the vine in place. This was made several times more impressive by the fact that he was now well over a hundred feet tall while doing so. He yelled at us to hurry, that he wouldnt be able to keep the vine busy forever.
Almost as if on cue, the vine curled around him and dragged him off into the white haze from whence it came. His last shout to us rang out through the blizzard “Fly you fools!” he implored. We wasted little time grieving, he had given us the time we needed to reach the city, to cry and lash ourselves at his sacrifice would be idiotic, who would do that when they have a narrow window to fulfill their goal and honor their friends sacrifice? Whoever did that would be a right idiot.
Anyway we arrived at the gates to a sight most disturbing. Piles of undead ringed the large gates to the town and the remaining zombies were merely crawling and walking on top of their hacked apart brethren. Wave after wave crashed against three monstrous beasts standing vigil against the gate.
A large tiger along side a smaller but no less fierce one and in company of the swift strike of an impressive snake. The three were holding their own but had obviously been at it for a while as their wounds plainly showed. The largest tiger had one entire limb shriveled into a lifeless black husk, but still it attacked with every ounce of energy it could muster. Perhaps they would have held out until the end of the battle were it not for one figure moving through the crowd of undead, bolstering them here and there with and launching the occasional strike against the beasts.
I returned to my (aesthetically superior) elven form and send a quick message to the largest tiger, letting it know that we were friends of the town here to help, and hoping they were the same. WIth a battle cry we ran forward to cleave a path to through the undead and immediately crashed into an invisible wall, well except for Hogrin and Hassan who kept walking like nothing happened. I swear I heard Hassan snickering about something but he was too far away to make out what. The others eventually passed through but I was left banging on the wall and lashing out with spells in desperation from my invisible prison.
With a few well placed magical artillery strikes and the others slicing their way through the crowd, they managed to make it to the beasts and to engage the un-undead guy. With a well planned spell, the beasts were buffed up to massive sizes and started laying some real hurt on the remaining zombies, that lasted for all of ten seconds before the BBEG decided to turn the center pile of dead-undead into a writhing mass of black tentacles (seriously? More tentacles? SERIOUSLY?!) which trapped everyone in the center as he tried to escape. Luckily some managed to get out of the trap and keep the pressure on him while the others did their best to worm their way out.
Hassan was put to great help here as he was able to blink in, grab someone and then apparate out, freeing them of their inevitable tentacle filled demise.
Once everyone was freed from his trap, Mr. BBEG realized he was not on the winning side of this engagement and flew up into the air. Try as I might to escape (even turning myself into a flying ball of darkness) my efforts amounted to about the same as a fly trapped in a jar, banging their heads agains the side of the glass indefinitely. He flew off into the distance as I finally was able to slip past the wall. I slunked down defeated until I saw a number of other, actual FBOD’s go soaring through the air in the same path. I stared at them, wondering how I could follow them in my current form without arising too much suspicion. Hassan must have been on the same train of thought as he tossed me the stone of darkness that he had taken from Kelly.
My disguise was set, I looked exactly like the other FBOD’s, I lifted off into the sky and silently set myself into their formation as I followed them to wherever their meeting grounds would be and into the waiting jaws of whatever evil awaited me there.