Friday, January 30, 2015

PBeM: Chapter 3.5: The Squatters in Onyx: Part 3

GM

Hrud leads the way through the portal with weapons drawn, expecting an ambush, but keeping his eyes mostly on the ground. Despite the hardness of the stone floor, he can easily make out a few muddy footprints, mostly kobold, but a few larger reptilian clawmarks and some bootprints, all old and all heading, more or less, from the curtained passage ahead to the door behind him. He also spots a few dried bloodstains on the floor near the center of the room, beneath where the ropes are hanging.

Even through the dimension door, Donovan and Winona's psionically heightened hearing picks up the sounds of numerous kobolds coming from above Hrud.

Donovan/Winona/Ryesha

Donovan grabs his largest crossbow off his back and rushes through the portal, scanning the ceiling for possible murder-holes. «Frantiska,» he calls back in elvish, «please inform our barbarous friend that there are numerous kobolds above him and he should expect unpleasant things to start falling on his head soon.»

Winona, apparently noticing the same thing but not understanding what Donovan is saying, turns to Lyra and the others. "Kobolds in the ceiling," she says plainly.

Ryesha lets out a plaintive squeak, then tugs on Winona's sleeve and whispers, "Up those ropes maybe?"

Frantiska

Frantiska steps through the dimension door behind Donovan, "Hrud, anjing wajah di langit-langit." She turns her bow upwards and gestures with her eyes towards the three holes from which the ropes are descending and a visible gap in a large boulder that appears to have been laid across a larger hole. «Lyra, Donovan,» she says switching to elvish, «I can see their heat signatures through the holes, can we get a light up there?»

GM

As it becomes obvious, from the upward staring and crossbow-pointing, to the kobolds observing you from above that their concealment has been blown, they respond with a barrage of arrows from the half-dozen murder-holes concealed in the spongy lung-tissue of the ceiling. Dozens of small arrows rain down around Donovan, Frantiska, and Hrud. Three find gaps in Frantiska's armor, but none manage to hit Hrud or Donovan.

Hrud

Not having anything that could reach the kobolds above, Hrud takes a risk and ducks though the curtain looking for cover.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

I can't possibly hit them through those tiny holes, Donovan thinks, knowing that he's far from a crack shot with the bulky crossbows. But! he thinks smiling. He releases his grip on the crossbow, allowing it to dangle from his shoulder, grabs the sheaf of scrolls from its case, and rifles through them until he finds the right one. This should do the trick! He points a finger at the large stone to which Frantiska is pointing, mutters a few incomprehensible syllables, then, says loudly, "UP!"

Winona, suspecting that Hrud must have seen some more accessible targets, pulls the larger flail off her back and rushes through the dimension door, across the room, and through the curtain after him.

Ryesha, tries to ignore the voice whispering in the back of her head about glory and the images of her gleefully slashing at kobolds with her knives. She shakes her head, but looks down and notices that she already has a pair of blades in her hands. She shuts her eyes tight, thinking no, kobolds are mean, we shouldn't get that close. When she opens her eyes, however, she is standing right beside them...

Lyra

Lyra concentrates on keeping the doorway open, wincing at the hail of arrows.  "If we can prop up the tapestry or some of those furs, they won't know who's standing where for the next volly."

Frantiska

Frantiska winces as the first arrow strikes her in the thigh, exposing her to the second which catches her in the side, just below the ribs. She stumbles to the ground and tries to crawl back to the cover of Lyra's dimension door, but the third shot strikes her in the back, right through her heart. She lays still, blood pooling on the floor around her.


Yamtwit

Yamtwit watches the hail of arrows and curses. He hitches his backpack up over his head, runs the few feet through the portal to where Frantiska is laying, and drags her bleeding body out of the kill zone on the off chance that she can be repaired.

Once safely through the dimension door, Yamtwit works furiously--breaking off and removing the small, barbed arrow heads, and wadding bundles of gauze and shoving them into the holes to staunch the bleeding. I can apply proper bandages later, he thinks. Once the wounds are at least cursorily plugged, he rolls her onto her back and checks her breathing and pulse, only to find that the shot through her back pierced her heart. [In proper Hollywood fashion] He beats furiously on her chest for a while, pumping in a futile attempt to restart the damaged organ.

GM

Teldicia pushes herself away from the wall against which she has been leaning heavily, takes a deep breath, and sprints into the room, leaping strait up to grab the lip of the hole made by Donovan's levitation spell, twelve feet above, then hauls herself up into the passage with the startled kobolds.

Beyond the curtain, Hrud and Winona find an empty den. Two dozen piles of sleeping furs are scattered on the ground and a burned-out cookfire sits in the center of the room. The walls and ceiling are the same pock-marked, petrified lung-tissue as the room before, with a similar guarantee of murder-holes linked to the passage above. A few bats clinging to the ceiling, seemingly oblivious to the commotion from the other room, are startled by the light of Hrud's hammer and begin flying about, swarming out the exit at the far end of the room.

Hrud

Hrud continues moving through the room, peaking into the next - ready to dash into it should any arrows come down from above.

GM

Hrud runs to the far exit, swatting the occasional bat away from his face, and looks out into a long corridor running to the left and right. The passage is rounded, with smooth walls, apparently an extension of the esophagus through which you had been traveling earlier, and slopes downward to the left and sharply upward to the right.

Hrud

Hoping that the passage to the right will lead him to the shifty dog-faces above, Hrud presses forward, eager to dish out some pain.

GM

The kobolds are startled by the rise of the rock and the sudden appearance of Teldicia and Ryesha in their midst. There are a dozen in all, huddled two a piece around six murder-holes, four leading into the first room, and two more over the room into which Hrud and Winona have run. Each has a bow in hand and buckets, filled with their short, barbed arrows sit beside each hole. They let out a series of alarmed, high-pitched, barking noises and then resume firing--three groups firing into the rooms below at Donovan, Hrud, and Winona, and the others turning to the more immediate threats.

Arrows rain down around those in the room below, one striking a grazing hit against Donovan. Ryesha snags one arrow out of the air, but takes a second in the wrist. Teldicia, just cresting the hole, takes two arrows directly in the chest. She slips from her perch and slams back down to the floor right by Donovan's feet with a sickening thud.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit on seeing Teldicia fall bolts up cursing in his native tongue, "Youn lòt pèdiSe mwen menm woutpa gen okenn. Hay mèrdik!" He runs back through the portal, yelling to Lyra, "You just keep the door open missy!", and quickly lays hands on Teldicia, praying fervently to his goddess.

Lyra

Lyra pulls a board out of the stack and throws it though the doorway towards Donovan.  "Get that up there and fall back!"

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Donovan, now that he has a clear shot, reaches into his pouch and pulls out a handful of sand, throwing it in the direction of the hole in the ceiling and pronouncing the words to yet another sleep spell.

Winona pulls a brazier from her pack and holds it up as a makeshift shield, calling over her shoulder to the others, "Nothing in here but more snipers, but it sounds like the far passage is clear. Run for it!"

Ryesha's face goes white when she realizes she is stuck up the hole, alone, and outnumbered twelve-to-one. She tosses the knives she is holding at the faces of the nearest kobolds, then runs towards the far room and dives headfirst through one of the holes, "Sister! Catch!" she yells as she falls.

Winona drops her flail and sticks out her arms to catch the falling Ryesha.

GM

Ryesha's knives both strike home, one plunges into a kobold's neck, sending it reeling backwards, clutching at its throat and drowning in its own blood. The second takes a kobold in the eye, blinding the thing and causing it to drop its bow. She tumbles through the hole into Winona's arms just as Donovan's spell goes off, causing eight of the remaining kobolds to slump to the ground, suddenly too drowsy to stand up. The two remaining kobolds, farthest from the spell's origin, continue firing down at Ryesha and Winona, striking both of them as Rye lands.

Hrud rushes up the passage to the right, running uphill for a dozen yards before he is stopped by a deep pit. The light from his hammer illuminates a number of giant weasels at the bottom of the pit, quiet and peaceful in death.

Teldicia groans, open her eyes, and grabs the wooden plank that Lyra threw from where it had fallen next to her and tosses it up into the hole above.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Winona puts down Rye, yanks the arrow out of her thigh, and grabs her flail from the floor. "Run!" she says, and does just that, heading for the far exit.

Donovan, slips an arm under Teldicia's armpit, pulling her the rest of the way upright and runs after Winona and Rye. «Lyra, we're going this way! Blow it when we're clear...»

Yamtwit

Yamtwit runs after Donovan and Teldicia, staying close on their heals, eager to ensure that at least one patient survives this skirmish. As he peels out into the hallway, Yamtwit yells, "Hruď, ngendi sira lunga?"

Hrud

"Punika cara metu. Kudu pindhah mudhun." Hrud says, as he comes stalking back down the corridor, frustration on his face. "Apa asu-pasuryan isih urip? Bisa aku tekan wong-wong mau?"

GM

As you all run out of the room, you hear the high-pitched yapping voices of the two kobolds shouting something, along with some muffled, equally high-pitched grunts, as of someone being kicked awake.

Frantiska

As everyone's attention is focused on the other room, Frantiska's heart suddenly resumes beating. She coughs, flecks of blood spraying from her mouth, and raises an arm weakly. She manages to whisper «Lyrathwen...» and briefly clutches the hem of Lyra's dress before her arm falls limp again.

Lyra

Lyra sinks to her knees next to Frantiska, hands shaking as she pulls wax stoppered sheep's bladders from her backpack.

She remembers Frantiska lying in the road, leg twisted unnaturally, blood everywhere.  No, Donovan's memory, she reminded herself.  But more importantly, his memory of the goblin handing Rant a flask, the buttery smell as Donovan turned around, and the healed, whole flesh when he turned back.

When it sounds like the awake kobolds have run over to their friends, Lyra speaks the command word for that board, then returns to fussing over Frantiska, letting the gateway close.

GM

There is a muffled BOOM from the small charge detonating. The kobold's chattering speech trails off into screams, then silenced, leaving only the sound of small bits of stone and debris clattering onto the floor.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Donovan runs out of the room and, seeing Hrud coming from the opposite direction, down to the left. "This way!" he says, then stops in his tracks. "I don't suppose anyone has a way of getting in touch with Lyra to tell her which way we went?"

Winona and Ryesha both shake their heads. "Sounds like the bomb blew," Winona adds, "We should go back and clean up the mess."

"Hmmm," Donovan's brow furrows. "It's clear that they know we are here. With this many murder-holes, they probably have some living quarters or something in the upper half of the body, closer to the spine." He points down the esophagus, "We know that way should lead to the stomach..."

"Okay," he finally says, "let's go clean up any kobos that may be left and then see if there are any passages off of that upper chamber." Donovan unslings his crossbow again and turns back into the room. "Rye, can you get up in there again and lower one of those ropes for the rest of us?"

"Maybe..." Ryesha's nose and forehead wrinkle adorably in concentration. She vanishes.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit explains the plan to Hrud, "Terwelu cah wadon sethitik wis arep uncalan tali mudhun supaya kita bisa njaluk bantuan kanggo asu pasuryan." He then turns to Teldicia, "You look sick lady. No more jumping in front of things with arrows, okay?" He draws a club and carefully skuttles into the room, taking pains to keep Teldicia behind him.

GM

Ryesha appears back in the upper chamber of the dragon's lung, surrounded by kobolds, or rather, surrounded by the limbs, body parts, and blood splatters of exploded kobolds. A wide, smooth-walled passage, just large enough for her to stand upright, exits at the far end of the chamber, then splits to run parallel with the esophagus below. A ladder in the intersection leads up into the spinal column.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Below, everyone hears a high-pitched shriek, followed by an "Ewwwwwwwwwww!" Ryesha walks over and looks down the hole, cautious of the still-levitating rock. "They're dead..." she says with a mixture of disgust and relief. "There are two more passages up here, but they're my size, so maybe a bit small for the rest of you." She examines the three ropes, noticing that they are apparently meant for hauling the rock up, and have a good bit of slack. She runs the slack out through the already-provided holes, down to where a kobold could reach them from the ground, then ties off the ends to keep the rock from falling when Donovan's spell inevitably wears off.

Donovan goes over to the door which was recently blocked by Lyra's dimension door, opens it and yells down the stairs. "Lyra, we're all clear up here." He then turns back to the others, "So...Esophagus, Trachea, or Spine? I'd prefer not to be crawling, but it makes sense that they would put the important stuff in the passages where they would have a greater advantage. But, given that everything is carved from organs, the stomach is probably the biggest room, which might give us the advantage if we can lure them into a mass confrontation there..."

Winona just shrugs, "Whatever dearie..."

Frantiska

A minute after the butter has done its work, Frantiska groans and opens her eyes again. She sits up slowly and notices a trickle of blood still issuing from the arrow-wounds. She presses her hands over the injuries, a blue glow surrounding them, and looks up at Lyra. «Thank you Lyrathwen. Remind me not to walk into obvious traps in the future...» She stands up slowly, replacing her bow on her shoulder and pulling out her shield and shortsword.

Lyra

Lyra stands and smooths her skirt.  «I ... had intended to take you back to the village to recover from your injuries under the care of the healer there once you were stable.  But if you would prefer to continue, the area above should be safe now.»

Yamtwit/Frantiska

Yamtwit looks up at the hole, sighs, then starts climbing. "Donovan, the trachea stops here, right? If we're in the lungs?" He pulls himself up into the messy higher chamber then calls down through the hole. "We know the spine was linked to the murder-holes over those pits. If you're heading for the stomach, it probably makes sense for a couple of us to go this way, run parallel, and make sure you don't get shot at from above again..." A scowl crosses his face, "Of course, we're not really the best ones for dealing with that. Can we get a couple of Lyra's bomb-boards?"

Meanwhile down below, Frantiska stretches a bit and takes a test swing of her sword. «I'm fine, Lyra, and, much as I may dislike many of them, I could not live with myself if I abandoned our companions when they were in danger.» She looks around. «Do you have sufficient strength for us to rejoin the others, or will we have to backtrack and find another route up?»

Lyra

Lyra nods, reopening the portal into the room in the same location it was previously.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Donovan looks up at the goblin, trying to suppress his instinctual thought to never split the party. "Alright Sir Cheeseater. Just don't stick your necks out more than necessary. Remember that in those close confines we won't be able to get to you in a hurry if you get into trouble." Seeing the Dimension Door open, he turns and looks through it at Frantiska. "FRAN! I thought you were dead...again..."

Winona looks up at Ryesha, "Stay out of trouble Bunny. We'll meet you in the guts. Don't be afraid to scamper if you need to."

Ryesha looks down and shrugs. "You always said I needed more field practice..." she whispers, barely audible to anyone save Yamtwit. "Come on Mr. Yamtwit, I guess we're going this way." She pulls her knives out of the pair of kobolds she killed, kicks a stray leg out of the way, and heads for the passage.

"Oh!" Donovan says, "Lyra, do you have some boards that our little friends could take with them?"

Lyra

Lyra steps into the portal, and allows it to close after she and Frantiska are both through.  "If we use more, we won't be able to fully collapse the hill, but being able to deal with the kobolds should take precedence."  She holds up one of the boards.  "Glowing arcane symbol on one side, triggering words written on the other.  Please make sure to note it before throwing it, and as I mentioned earlier, several places are not structurally sound, so please take care where you are detonating it."

Yamtwit

"Just a sec Bunny-girl! Be right behind you." Yamtwit reaches down and grabs the board. "Thanks!" He stops and thinks for a moment, "Can I get two?"

Lyra

Lyra passes a second board up to Yamtwit.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit grabs the board, says another enthusiastic "Thanks!" and runs after Ryesha. "So, Bunny-girl, are we doing this the team-sneaky way?" He tucks the two enchanted boards in his pack and grabs one of his clubs.

Hrud

Hrud begins making his way down into the lower regions of the lair, straining his ears for any sign of a kobold response to the explosion that occurred.

GM

Hrud turns into the left-hand passage, which continued to slope steadily downward. Hearing the skuttling of numerous feet and the high-pitched barking voices of kobolds up ahead.

After about ten yards, the smooth, rounded walls begin to widen steadily for another ten feet, before ballooning out in all directions, opening into the vast gallery of the dragon's stomach. The ground slopes even more sharply here, but steps have been carved into the side of the stomach wall, leading down to the "floor" below, where a deep pool of acrid-smelling water has collected. At the far end of the pool, another set of stairs leads up towards a similar opening, presumably to the dragon's bowels. About half-way up the stomach wall to Hrud's left is another, smaller opening, covered by a tight-fitting, hinged door, apparently made from a large, ceramic pot lid. A pair of ropes attached to the lid-door string back through holes drilled in the wall just above it.

A wood and metal walkway with flimsy-looking, rope railing has been constructed around the circumference of the upper portion of the stomach, about twenty feet over Hrud's head. Numerous side passages lead off from this walkway, carved into the walls. Hrud can easily hear kobolds moving about up above, but none are visible from this angle.

The stairs lead directly down into the pool, and back out of it on the far side. The walkway looks like it might support Hrud's weight, if he was careful, but it also looks like if he grabbed on and shook it hard he could bring the majority of the thing down.

Frantiska

Frantiska hurries through the room and into the passage behind Hrud. She looks around the stomach, somewhat impressed by the kobolds' ingenuity in renovating the dragon corpse. Seeing the walkway and hearing the kobolds, she carefully holds her shield over her head, before examining anything else more closely. She points at the ceramic-capped hole on the left-hand wall and taps Hrud's shoulder. "Hrud, saya pikir itu adalah 'Fundamentum'. Itu yang akan membuat napas asam naga," she says, trying to explain dragon anatomy in her imperfect Erakic.

Donovan/Winona/Rye

Ryesha turns on Yamtwit, her eyes blazing and her nose scrunched up in a way that is simultaneously frightening and adorable, "DO. NOT. CALL. ME. BUNNY-GIRL!" Her momentary outrage turns to a sullen whimper, "It's bad enough that Sister Winona calls me that. She's my superior, so I can't stop her. But as for you and the rest of them, my name is Ryesha. Sister Ryesha if you want to be formal, or even Rye is fine, but don't call me Bunny." She spins on her heel and turns down the left-hand passage, her eyes giving off the faint, tell-tale glow of infravision, but somehow more pink than red. "Let's just see where this goes before everyone gets too far ahead..."

Below, the others fall into step behind Hrud and Frantiska. Donovan walks slowly, crossbow in one hand the his other arm around Teldicia for support, under her armpits and tantalizingly close to her breasts. Come on Don, focus, a kobold shooting gallery is no place to be thinking about the ladies... he tries really hard to keep his unwholesome thoughts to himself, hoping that telepathy was not one of the gifts that Teldicia got from the virus.

Winona clanks up behind Hrud and Frantiska in her armor and looks down at the pool of water. "There is no way I'm going in something that smells that bad," she says, adjusting her glasses. "Can we get up to that catwalk? It'll probably intersect with where Bunny and Yammy will come out..."

Lyra

Lyra follows, brow furrowed in consternation as she looks around.  "Ah.  Does anyone else find that ceramic aperture covering alarming?"

Frantiska

Frantiska turns to Lyra, "I think that leads to the dragon's fundamentum...the source of it's breath attack. I suspect that the odd choice of doors and the smell of that water means that the kobolds may have found some way of harvesting its secretions. Going up seems the best course of action..." Frantiska takes out her bow and a wood-biting arrow, stringing a strong, but lightweight thread through the eye of the arrow. "Does anyone have rope?" she asks. "Hrud, tali?"

Hrud

Hrud shrugs off the loop of rope off his shoulder he'd been carrying prior to walking through Lyra's magic door into the kobold ambush and hands it to the elf.

Frantiska

Frantiska ties one end of the rope to the string, loops the string back so that she has about 30 feet of slack on either side of the loop, and fires the arrow into the catwalk above. She then pulls on one end of the string, hauling the heavier rope up and through the eyelet of the arrow, ties the two ends of the rope together to form a dangling loop, then pulls the loop until the large knot is tight against the eyelet to keep the rope from shifting. "Apakah anda ingin pergi dulu?"

Hrud

Hrud climbs the rope, trying to move as smoothly and evenly as he is able, afraid that his weight might bring the walkway down.

Once on the walkway, he moves to the edge of the room, wanting to be off the rickety structure sooner rather than later.

GM

Hrud hauls himself up onto the walkway and finds himself face-to-face with a trio of spear-wielding kobolds standing in one of the many side-passages. The nearest kobold yells the time-honored signal, "Bree Yark!" and dozens of the tiny creatures come rushing out onto the walkway from the other holes bristling with bows and spears. The three spear-wielding kobolds rush Hrud as he stands on the edge...

Hrud

Despite the odds, Hrud finds himself elated at the opportunity to smash more skulls - the dog-faces repeated ambushes serving only to annoy the barbarian. Drawing his broadsword, he rushes to meet them.

Donovan/Winona

Seeing the swarm of kobolds coming pouring out of the many upper passages, Donovan rifles through his collection of scrolls, and, aiming for the largest pack of them he can see, casts ice knife.

Winona suddenly feels deep regret over her religion's prohibition on the use of projectile weapons. She briefly considers grabbing the rope and trying to pull down the catwalk, then remembers her inability to discuss tactics with Hrud, Suddenly she has a mental image of Ryesha squaring off against five kobolds. "Bunny's in trouble," she says. "I can't do much here...I'm going to check on the little ones..." She turns and runs back to the last chamber and begins climbing up the ropes. Fighting while crawling has got to be better than getting shot at by things I can't reach, right? she thinks.

________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile in the upper passage...


GM

Rye and Yamtwit turn the corner into the passage and immediately run up against a small pack of kobolds who have been standing there quietly. So quiet, in fact, that the two smallest party members realize they can hear no sounds at all, neither the talking of their companions below, nor even their own footsteps and breath. Five kobolds stand glaring at them in the silence. The first four carry spears and are arrayed for battle--two kneeling abreast in the narrow corridor, with two more behind them, creating a miniature version of a pike hedge. The fifth, behind them, is rather terrifying for a kobold--old and withered, with scores of bone piercings in his ears and eyebrow ridges, his arms are painted blood-red up to the elbows and a big red 'X' is painted on his bare chest.

The four guard-kobolds hold their ground while the fifth stands very still, locking eyes with Yamtwit and staring at him intently.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit opens his mouth to yell for reinforcements, but no sounds comes. "Mèrdik grenpe kobo trankil," he mutters soundlessly to himself, somehow unable to look away from the creepy old kobold with the red hands. He walks slowly backwards towards the corner, keeping up a steady string of curses, and maintaining eye contact with the creepy kobold. As soon as he can hear himself again, he quickly incants the words of a shillelagh spell.

Ryesha

Rye screams at the sight of the kobolds, then freaks out even more when she cannot hear herself scream. She whips the two knives she is holding at the nearest kobold guards. She really wants to run, but images flash through her mind of her standing triumphantly atop a pile of dead kobolds and Sister Winona praising her and calling her by her proper name and not some lame pejorative. She knows the thoughts are not her own, but decides she doesn't really care. She takes a half step back to have more room to throw and draws another pair of knives.

GM

Rye's blades strike home on the kneeling kobolds, one burrying itself in the chest of the kobold on the right, who collapses to the ground bleeding profusely, the other hitting the left-hand one in the causing it to drop its spear. The two kobolds behind them leap over their wounded friends and charge at Ryesha, spears lowered. Rye easily sidesteps one spear, but, in the narrow passage, has no way of avoiding the second, the point of which ends up buried deep in her side.

Behind them, the old kobold crosses his arms over his chest, along the lines of the red 'X' tattoo and continues to stare intently at Yamtwit.

Yamtwit

As the old kobold continues to stare at Yamtwit, the goblin suddenly feels very dizzy and unsteady on his feet. His hands begin to shake, his joints ache, and his body feels as if it is responding a good bit slower than his thoughts.

Yamtwit stumbles backwards from the intense gaze, tripping over his own feet, and tumbling the shillelagh out of his hands. Growling he clumsily hauls himself to his feet and charges the kobolds assaulting Rye, swinging for the benches with the magical club, but the blow goes whistling harmlessly over the kobolds' heads.

Winona/Rye

Winona hauls herself, heavy armor and all, slowly up the rope and into the passage above. Her face wrinkles in distaste at the splattered kobold parts and she strains to hear where Bunny is--disconcerted that her psionically enhanced hearing cannot pinpoint them. I need to practice that more, she thinks. Grunting she crawls on hands and knees towards the only obvious exit, her helmet scraping on the low ceiling. I'm not going to be able to swing a damned thing in these tunnels, she thinks, but at least I can be around to heal Bunny if she needs it. She rounds the corner and stares in amazement at the silent play of combat being enacted ahead.

Ryesha, flinches away from Yamtwit's wild swing, a little unsteady on her feet herself from bloodloss. Seeing the kobolds ducking, her hands, seemingly of their own volition, driven by Kisakhavar's bloodlust, interpose themselves directly in line with the kobold's necks, causing the kobolds to impale themselves, the short blades burrying themselves up to the hilts in their dog-like chins. Winona's eyes widen at the sight of timid 'little sister's' brutal tactics.

GM

The old kobold with the tattoos grins maniacally when he sees Winona and waves a hand. Winona, Ryesha, and Yamtwit's ears are suddenly assaulted by the screams of the wounded and dying kobolds, as sound returns to the space. The old kobold chants a few words in his own harsh language and stretches both hands skyward, "Yangın ve ağrı ve bıçak ve ölüm, elimi gel! Kötü küçük yarı-kız üzerine tıp ve o cehennemde çürümeye olabilir!" A long blade-like tendril of flame appears in his left hand, and the right jabs a finger at Ryesha, causing a sudden feeling of disorientation to come over her.

The last kobold guard standing, or, more specifically, kneeling, yanks the knife out of his arm, then picks his spear up with his good hand and hurls it towards Yamtwit. The throw is wobbly and weak, but still sufficient to hit the staggering, unbalanced goblin. He pulls a club from his crude belt and backs slowly away, still keeping himself between you and the old kobold.

Winona/Rye

Ryesha's shudders as the fell magic grips her along with the crushing knowledge that she cannot possibly harm the scary old kobold sorcerer. Hearing the scrape of metal on stone behind, she turns to see Winona crawling around the corner. "Sister! Help!" Her hand reaches involuntarily to her bandoleer for another brace of knives. No, that's not going to work! she thinks, more to her cloak than herself, and instead yanks a flask of sleep gas out of her pouch and throws it at the kobolds.

Winona's thoughts on watching the fight are more along the lines of, why can't it be hell hounds or Tanar'ri or something else easy to deal with? She crawls forward and does what she can to at least keep her smaller companions alive while they fight the witch doctor, placing a mail-clad hand reassuringly on Rye's back and casting cure light wounds.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit glares angrily at the old kobold, sure that his sudden clumsiness must be his doing. He hefts the shillelagh in both hands over his head and charges, knowing that in his current state caution is basically pointless.

________________________________________________________________

Downstairs...


Frantiska

Frantiska almost grins at the sudden appearance of exposed targets at good range. She shoves her shield back towards Lyra with her foot as she drops to a kneeling position, "Lyra, do you mind being my shield-bearer?" Her elven-made bow comes up, four arrows on the string at once, and sends all four streaking towards the kobolds on the far end of the walkway.

Lyra

Lyra checks for murder holes overhead that will need to be avoided as she scoops up the shield, as much hiding under it as wielding it.  "The tunnel will give us some cover from the walkway overhead, and I don't see any murder holes in the tunnel itself."

GM

Despite their "ambush", the kobolds are surprisingly slow to react. Donovan's ice knife slams into the chest of one kobold with exceptional force, leaving a large gaping wound, then explodes, freezing another three in their tracks. Nearby, four more go down with arrows protruding from their chests or between their eyes. Hrud easily brushes aside the flimsy spear-thrusts of the kobolds charging at him with his hammer, then takes off two of their heads with one swipe of his green-bladed sword. Teldicia, apparently having not needed Donovan's support as she led him to believe gives him a wink as she leaps into the air, grabs the edge of the walkway, and swings her legs over, kicking the third kobold menacing Hrud solidly in the chest and sending it sprawling back into the passage from whence it came.

Three more spear-wielding kobolds, apparently undeterred by the death of their companions, charge along the catwalk towards the big barbarian. Two lunge for his middle, but Hrud easily backsteps, only to have the third shove the spear between his feet, sending Hrud toppling from the walkway. He hits the sloped floor of the stomach below then slides down the side into the acrid smelling, but harmless, pool of water at the bottom.

The other kobolds still on the walkway begin firing at Lyra, Donovan, and Fran below, but most of the small, barbed arrows clatter harmlessly off of the large shield that Lyra holds over them.

Hrud

Angry (and a bit disoriented) at being removed from the fray, Hrud splashes to his feet and grabs one of the small spears dropped by the kobolds. In a huff, he flings it towards the walkway, very nearly hitting Teldicia due to his wrecklessness.

Donovan

Donovan grins stupidly at the wink from Teldicia, stares slack-jawed at her panties disappearing over the lip of the walkway, then, not taking his eyes off her, casually tosses a handful of rose petals in the direction of the kobolds shooting gallery and mutters a few words.

Lyra

Lyra continues to use the shield to protect Donovan, Frantiska, and herself from arrow fire.

Frantiska

Frantiska's catches Donovan's upturned face and lewd grin out of the corner of her eye. Someone has to do something about that lecher, she thinks. She dips the limb of her bow behind his knee and sweeps his legs out from under him, toppling him into the pool with Hrud. She quickly swings her bow up and knocks an arrow, but the tripping maneuver leaves her balance off and sends the shot flying wide.

GM

Donovan manages to get his spell off before he is dumped in the drink. All of the remaining kobolds on the walkway, as well as Teldicia, suddenly slump and fall where they stand.

Donovan

Donovan rises of out the pool, spitting and spluttering with soaked pantaloons and water dripping from his hair. He spares only a brief glance back at Frantiska, sure that the beautiful elf woman must have been saving him from some terrible attack, and tears his broadsword and stiletto from their sheaths.clumsily, ready to defend himself against whatever horrors must be lurking in the pool. He looks around the gallery, noting that none of the kobolds are moving, then lowers his weapons a little. "Did we get them all?" He walks up a few steps, shaking water off of his soft boots. "Judging by their reaction, I'm guessing the living quarters, and probably any treasure are up there..." he gestures towards the catwalk with his stiletto, then sheaths it.

Hrud

Hrud moves back over to the rope and returns to the walkway, dispatching the remaining kobolds - and giving the dead ones an extra poke for good measure. He nudges the snoring green-haired elf with his toe as he passes her.

________________________________________________________________

Upstairs...


GM

As Yamtwit charges by to get at the old kobold, the kobold guard smacks him in the back of the head with a side-handed swing of his club. Yamtwit stumbles forward, but still manages to land a solid blow on the old witchdoctor, knocking the ancient kobold backwards onto his rear. There is a sudden cracking and hissing noise as Ryesha's flask of sleeping gas breaks on the ground near their feet, then sublimates into the air. The kobold cough and splutter a bit, but seem fine. Yamtwit, however, feels suddenly very lightheaded. He yawns widely and faints, unconscious to the ground.

The two kobolds let out exultant cries, loud enough to be heard echoing through the upper tunnels to the stomach gallery below. The injured kobold makes a small jump into the air, bringing his club down on Yamtwit with the force of his body weight behind it. The witchdoctor then stabs down into Yamtwit's back with his flaming sword, searing a hole right through the poor goblin.

Yamtwit

Yamtwit snores peacefully, oblivious to the beating he's taking. He snorts a little when the flaming blade pierces him, but then just rolls over, still breathing contentedly, hugging and cuddling his shillelagh like a plush doll.


________________________________________________________________

Downstairs...


Lyra

Lyra looks around wildly at the kobold cries echoing around the chamber.  "That doesn't sound good.  Can anyone tell where it's coming from?"

GM

Teldicia emits a very unladylike grunt as Hrud kicks her, then slowly opens her eyes. She jerks instinctively when she notices how close to the edge of the walkway she is lying, causing the whole thing to sway slightly, then rolls closer to the wall before standing up. "I guess we won?" she says looking around.

Frantiska

Frantiska returns her bow, shield, and sword to their proper stowage and hauls herself arm over arm up the rope to the catwalk. She 'tsks' with distaste on seeing Hrud riffling through the kobolds belongings then looks around at the seven or so passages leading off the walkway. She points at three that run generally back towards the head-end of the dragon. "One of these..." she says, "but they are all too short to walk upright in..."

Hrud

Having left his nic(er) shortbow outside with his pony, Hrud decides to take a shortbow and as many arrows and small spears as he can carry. The barbarian reasoning - albeit begrudgingly - that he'd better recover from his fall before charging into battle again. If he can't kill the dog-faces up close, at least he'll be ready to get at them from a distance.

Donovan

Donovan sheathes his blades and stares at the passages Frantiska indicated, watching the reverberations of the kobold voices, like spikey balls of red sound bouncing off the walls. Finally he points at the left-most of the three passages. "The one on the left!" he says, running up the stairs to the rope and hauling his soaked paunch up to the catwalk.

________________________________________________________________

Upstairs...


Ryesha

Ryesha's eyes go wide when she realizes her mistake. She reaches down and grabs one of the kobold spears then charges, holding it not point first, but crossways across her body at arms length so as to take up the whole width of the corridor.

GM

The kobolds seem caught quite off guard by Ryesha's unusual tactics. They look up from pummeling Yamtwit just in time to get closelined by the spear shaft. The old kobold raises his hands to try to fend off the attack, releasing his grip on the blade-like flame and causing it to sputter out and vanish. Rye's momentum carries her and the kobolds a good two yards past Yamtwit's body before the three of them go down in a tangle of limbs, spears, and clubs.

Winona

Winona crawls behind Rye as fast as she can, grabs Yamtwit's ankles and drags him a few more feet away from the fracas before she starts trying to patch up the worst of his injuries.


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Downstairs...


GM

With the weight of three people already moving around on it, along with the weight of the unconcious kobolds, Donovan's shaking on the rope as he climbs up proves too much for the flimsy walkway. There is a shudder through the whole thing, followed by a harsh creaking noise as the bolts driven into the stone walls start to bend and pull free...

Hrud

Hrud dashes & dives for the nearest side, not wanting to take yet another spill of the walkway.

Lyra

Lyra ducks back into the tunnel, clear of the soon to be falling walkway.

Frantiska

Frantiska grabs Teldicia's arm and leaps into the passage Donovan had indicated.

Donovan

Donovan, being in the worse possible position, mutters a brief "Oh shit!" and lets go of the rope, tucking into a ball and throwing his arms over his head. Instinctively, his virus-addled brain begins using soften on the section of walkway directly over him.

To be continued...