AGE OF WORMS: PART FOUR

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Return to Diamond Lake

The playing characters finally get their pay off!

They attempt to contact Elaydren at Lazre’s House in Diamond Lake. Here they encounter Lazare and Smenk. Lazare is busy making himself look important, and trying to ignore Smenk. Smenk is busy trying to take his mind off his current problems with the Ebon Triad, and stuffing his face with food.

2`Lazare explains that Elaydren had to return to Sharn to see to some business, however she’s left a message for them. They leave the gaming den and go back to the Able Coaching Inn. Here, they discover they need to go to the Sivis Message Station. So, they do.

Unknown to the playing characters, a villain has been to the Sivis message station while they were at Lazare’s house. Filge, a necromancer, took advantage of the foul weather to make an attack on the Sivis Message Station right under the noses of the citizens of Diamond Lake. Using spells to make their passage unseen by most of the residents, Filge headed out.

Before Rugaz and Rhiannath arrived at the message station, the black-clad Filge and his hoard of Spawn of Kyuss assaulted the gnome woman, and kidnapped the gnome translator. They also stole a package from the depot, and departed. The Spawn of Kyuss, nearly unkillable zombies, are special in that they have some intelllect and are able to move silently, among other things. That combined with Filge’s spells, theĀ  the group was able to move through the streets undetected.

One street away, the half-orc and half-elf arrived at the message station. Finding the door knocked off its hinges, they entered. They found the assaulted gnome woman laying there, distraught and confused. Meanwhile, the villains straggled and loped further away. Luckily the rain and lightning had most of the citizens of Diamond Lake inside, and most of the working class were busy at the mines. Few saw Filge and his zombies moving through town.
And when Rugaz and Rhiannath departed the station, they did not think to track the assailants through the muddy streets. They instead departed right away to the Able Coaching Inn, and met with their comrades. They didn’t realize that moments away Filge and his zombies were creeping towards the center square.

Unluckily, four of Diamond Lake’s militia were on their way to the Able Coaching Inn to drop off a message for a ranger named Keevan. They had heard that Keevan had been staying at the Inn, and planned to drop off the message as a kindness. But they had stopped at the local drinking hole to wait out the storm. A few ales later, they set off and stumbled across Filge. At first they weren’t sure what they were seeing. It looked like a black fog moving slowly through the street. But curiosity got the best of them, and they investigated.
Combat ensued. The militia soldiers tried their best to drop the zombies. Their shots did nothing to stop the creatures. Frantic and scared, they did what any sane person would do …. they ran. Running through town they made for the center square. They could make a last stand there. And maybe the ranger from the east would help them. Maybe he would summon help. They could only hope.

And while the playing characters were upstairs, runners arrived at the Able Coaching Inn. They ducked inside, telling everyone to make for the docks. The halflings stopped dancing, and the copper miner stopped eating. Lucky for him, the badger trapper was out in the hills hunting. So the people in the main hall of the Inn fled, and the runner looked to the last halfling of the seven, saying “Is there anybody upstairs?”

The halfing shook his head, and said “Nobody worth saving!” and ducked out the door. The young man looked at the stairs, and the upper rooms. The he looked outside, and thought of the zombies. He was no hero! He needed to get out of here! He turned, and ran for the docks too.

The playing characters were so busy celebrating their newly found wealth, all of this went unnoticed. Until the gunshots and the screams outside. They looked out and saw four militia soldiers making a dash for the Inn. Indeed, they were making a last stand. One would stop and fire, and then the others would run. And the loping zombies loped onward after their prey, hungry for flesh and marrow.

Filge, the Necromancer, knew better. He took his stolen wares and turned off into the hills, heading for the observatory again. Let the Spawn do their work. It would cover his retreat.

And the playing characters were trapped. They might have been convinced that the zombies were coming for them. Maybe they thought it was connected to the appearance of the vampire the other night at the docks. Who knows? Either way, the playing characters knew that there was a horde of zombies outside, and they were trapped in the Inn.
Despite the wind, rain, and thunder the playing characters made a stand. Some went below to secure the doors and windows, while others made for the balcony to rain down death on the undead. Their tactics were sound, and smart. Stay out of reach, and kill from afar. But the zombies were too much.

Zombies are hard to kill. Usually arrows and bullets don’t do too much unless you managed to destroy the zombie’s brain. Even then, it’s difficult to do with a piercing weapon like an arrow. But some zombies will drop if you cut off their heads. It severs the nervous system and they fall like ragdolls. Others, well, you have to hack them up and burn them. Or douse them with holy water. But these weren’t just zombies. They were Spawn of Kyuss! John of Hilldale had heard a little about the unkillable zombies in the Cairn Hills. He knew they were resistant to damage and had healing abilities to cure their own wounds. He also knew that you could identify them by the green worms infesting their undead flesh. And these zombies were crawling with worms.

Worms a lot like the ones that they had been forced to consume several days ago.

Luckily, Rugaz had bought some alchemist weapons, and was putting a hurt on the Spawn with combinations of fire, electricity, acid, and ice. Meanwhile, Tzin Ho Lee jumped from rooftop to rooftop, making for Sheriff Cubbin’s office to summon help.

Speaking of help, Allustan arrived as every wizard seems to do, at precisely the right time. As the tide of battle was turning, and the playing characters would have to either defend the Inn or make a run for it, Allustan appeared. He wielded a staff that shed gleaming white light from the tip. Courageously, Allustan warded off the Spawn with the light, and ordered the playing characters into the Inn. They retreated, somewhat unwillingly. Then, Allustan cast a spell that surrounded the Inn with a prismatic multicolored wall of energy. Nothing could get in or out. Allustan managed to hold off the Spawn until Tzin Ho Lee arrived with Cubbin and some of the deputies.

Cubbin and his men were worthless. They stood with mouths agape, gawking at Allustan. Amazingly, Allustan stood between the wall of energy and the Spawn, warding the creatures off.

Tzin Ho Lee thought he heard Allustan say, “Back, foul Spawn! Return to your master! Kyuss holds no power here!”
And then it happened. Moments passed, and suddenly the Spawn seemed disinterested. They turned suddenly, and with atonishing speed, they loped off into the hills towards the observatory.

Allustan looked as atonished as the others. He breathed a sigh of relief, and wiped his brow. And then, he dropped the spell from the Inn. Before Tzin Ho Lee or Cubbin could say anything, Allustan was gone as if he had never been there.

Wizards…. (huff)

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