Liria and Melzam have put me on notice that I must further my training by helping out the community in various ways. They’ve made mention of a few issues and crises that are afflicting Fallcrest and turned me towards that path. The names I’ve been given to seek out are all familiar to me. Its amazing, I’ve known some of these people all my life and hadn’t known of their personal training or selected disciplines.
Anyway, I ran into Leehland at the town square. There, fate must have intervened; soon we were joined by Hurm, Voltoor and Namib. Our conversations drifted towards the problems plaguing Fallcrest and what we could do about them. As luck would have it, the annual fruit picking season is upon us. Hurm mentioned his monastary’s responsibillity with the harvest and that they are looking for individuals to help guard the pickers. Sign me up, I’m there. This fits well with the direction that Liria and Melzam have pointed me.
Seems that the motivation is quite the same for everyone. We decided to join Hurm on his little adventure. Little did we know that a week of fruit picking could be so action packed.
We boarded the fishing vessels and began our journey south to the swamp/orchard. The fruit trees looked to have a fair amount of fruit on them. When we began to pick, Leehlandand Namib noticed some had been damaged severly, intentionally even, to the point that they would not make it through the next growing season. The other pickers in the second boat approached and through our short discussion it was appearant that many of the trees had the same level of damage. I suggested we send a boat home with the fruit we’ve picked with instructions to bring back supplies to repair the trees that could be saved. The lead picker in our group agreed. We continued on picking keeping a watchfull eye to the swamp.
Within a short amount of time Lehland noticed a group of bullywugs picking from trees approximately 30’ away. We slowly made our way over to them, picking fruit as we went so as to not raise suspicion. Namib made some attempt to initiate a parley with them, but they’d have none of that. None of us could understand what they were saying and I believe that the situation was the same for them. At this point Hurm thought it best to walk on water and warn the other boat of the situation. Funny guy that Hurm, he really could be an asset once things break out. That is when things got out of hand. These creatures finished they’re picking activities and began to deliberately damage the trees they had just picked from. Well, we’d have none of that. Leehland and I moved our boat closer to the bullywugs. Once within range, the fight was on! Leehland and Namib let loose with their magic which surprised the heck out of the green vermin. Surprised me too! I don’t have that kind of range.
I finally got the boat within range of what was left of the nearest group of enemies and jumped into the fray. Poor Hurm was unconscious rather quickly, the green vermin had a particular hate on for him. For my part I was effective at providing protection for my fallen comrade. I held the enemy at bay long enough for Voltoor to administer a poltice and get Hurm stabilized. The fight progressed and the enemy were falling, but they continued to try and hack at Hurm even though it was obvious he was not a threat, being either dead or unconscious. Creator! I hate dishonorable conduct among my foes.
Using much of my training, I kept the close range fight at a draw. I have alot to learn… The real damage was being done at range. Leehland, Namib and Voltoor were firing off magical attacks that sent the enemy reeling. Insect clouds, unexpected outgrowths of plant matter hampered the frogs allowing us to move closer and take the close range fight right into their midst. Hurm was knocked down again! He sure is fragile. Voltoor, Namib and I took over the close range fight and with my protection and skilled movement through the battle we eliminated several more close threats. We worked well together and combined many of our efforts to knock down enemies. Voltoor I know exploded one slime ball with a well executed arrow.
Our strategy payed off, by flanking and isolating pockets of bullywug scum we were able to limit their numerical advantage. Five or ten minutes is all this took to accomplish! We still have many hours of sunlight left today. The pickers want to move to another designated picking area, but we’re concerned about where the last couple of bullywugs fled to. We’ll be discussing our strategy over lunch. Its time to take a short rest while the sun is at its zenith and regain some strength and refocus the mind. I hope the little frog men come back, I’d like to introduce them to my blade. This armour we found fits me well. I can’t wait to test it in the heat of battle.
We finished our day of picking with no further run ins with the bullywug threat. It was nice to have some food and drink before settling on our watch schedule and turning in for the night. Raven Queen watch over us this night. These bullywugs give me shivvers they are such an abomination.
Leehland woke me up and at first I thought it was my turn for watch. I then noticed a few of the others stirring as well. Leehland notifies me we have company; they’re following a disturbance in the water. Namib and Hurm surmise it to be a bullywug scout. We venture off after the bubbling sound with the second boat to our backs. Watchfull, spine tingling moments go by and the sound dissipates. I have the sinking feeling we’re about to be ambushed.
Suddenly without warning, our boat is over turned. We all go into the drink. Even Hurm has no grace here. I remember getting up with Voltoor and Leehland behind me to my right and left and two bullies right in front of me and one between Voltoor and I. They waste little time in striking at me, I’m stricken. Wow, I feel for Hurm these bastards play for keeps. I strike back as best as I can, but I’m still sluggish from my slumber. I make sure to mark the green freak behind me and keep focusing my blade on the ones in front of me.
Leehland is hit behind me and its time to metee out some retribution…. Damn!! I can’t fight my way out of a paper bag tonight. This slug deflects my blows like I’m a pure amateur. I’ve got to make a move and keep the enemy occupied so Leehland and Voltoor can stay at range. I’ll move diagonally to my right and use my lightning lure power to pull those two others to me as well. Last thing I see is that bully’s sprear tearing into me, everything went black at that point.
I woke up in a 3×3 cage made of some kind of sturdy tree limbs and sinew. There are two others in this dark room in cages as well. I try to speak, but the paint is excruciating. I drift in and out like this for what seems like an eternity. The young girl is gone when I next wake up and the older lady is weeping quietly. She says we’re next. Next for what, the headache returns and I have to sleep some more.
I’m jarred awake, dragged from my cage by my hair and thrown to the water covered floor. There are two of them now, they carry a bucket of muck. The larger of the two grapples onto me (god he stinks). I resist, but the other clubbed me over the head with the bucket and it all goes black again. They’ll pay for this insult.
I’m layed out on a table and a bunch of these beasties are in this new room, the two other women lay on either me. I can’t tell if they’re alive or not. They’re covered in dried mud and I notice I am too. On of the particularly strong ones sees me moving. He comes over and strikes me hard. The leader gurgles something at him and he hits me again and out I go again. Creator this is making me sick!
I wake up, Voltoor stands over me and there are the sounds of a pitched battle going on. I move quickly and charge into battle. The bullywugs layed me out with my weapons on still on me… dolts. Enough of this, vengeance belongs to the Raven Queen. I slash and cut and dance, but they seem to deflect most if not all of my attacks. I make some impression though, the king has turned into a slaad and has his eyes set on me. I strike him twice with the Raven Queen’s fury in my blade, he’s bloodied, but just won’t go down. He bats away my sword and strikes me hard and again I fall in the heat of battle.
Melzam and Liria please forgive me for I am unable to defeat these foes that are the bane of the orchard. I have failed thus far and will redouble my efforts to make up for this embarassment.
Raven Queen guide me, I’ve been allowing my hatred of these slimy dung piles to draw me towards evil thoughts. We sit here in the throne room of the bullywug king and discuss options of escape. I want to head for the nursary and finish the job, something very aberrant in nature. The party has decided for me thank gods; we shall leave the way we came. We are wasting time though organising marching orders and figuring out who needs to be protected due to their weakened state. We finally get our ducks in a row and head down the short narrow hallway where at the end the noises have stopped.
Voltoor gives us a quick report evaluation of what we’re dealing with at the end of the tunnel. Leehland starts speaking their gibberish to them. Both Namib and I toss the heads we’re carrying of the king and the slaad born of him into the hallway ahead. There is some comotion in the hallway ahead and what sounds like a body makes splash. A muscular bullywug then emerges to block our way. It sputters something and doesn’t look very interested in letting us pass. Gods I just want to kill it. I charge ahead, brushing Voltoor as he takes aim and knock his shot astray. Dear Queen I’m screwing up again. Settle down Pet: I take my spot just in front of the beast and start swinging. I cut him several times, but he and his cohorts get some good licks in on me as well. The bullywug in front of me drops with a crossbow bolt in his throat. I don’t know who shot it, but yell back encouragement anyway. Namib screams some primal war cry and barrels past me only to burst into a cloud of bugs, gods that creeps me out everytime he does it. That does the job for a bunch of the frogs they scatter leaving only 5 to fight us.
We move into the hallway and take the fight to the enemy and I’m hit again knocking me down. I wake up and find myself still within reach of the battle but, things have tilted our way even more. Olmayne fights like a man posessed and drops another scum bag before he is knocked down. Voltoor is the hero here pulling our lifeless bodies from the Raven Queens grasp everytime there is an opening in the fighting. By the end of it there stands only on bullywug and he looks rough. He turns tail as Leehland shouts catcalls after him. We drag ourselves from the lair and find some carved stone tablets in the mud. Namib and I pick them up and we leave. It’ll take a good day to recover from such a long ordeal. That should give the party some time to examine the tablets we found.
It turns out those tablets were pretty special indeed. They belong to Hurm’s monastary and he quickly set off to return them. Their return should be a cause for celebration upon his arrival. We’ve spent the last few days of fruit picking trying hard to fill our baskets and recover from our big fight with the bullywugs. Some of us were pretty worn out. Today though we’ll finish one last section of orchard, then set off for home. We’ve been lucky to have calm peaceful picking conditions with very nice weather to boot. Looks like were in for some poor weather today though. Pretty misty in this section of the swamp where we’ve set up camp. Hopefully it burns off.
We’ve made our way to the Northern portion of the orchard that wasn’t picked yet and boy is it foggy here. Fog banks are obscuring quite a bit of the terrain. Voltoor and Namib hear something in the swamp and it doesn’t take long to reaveal itself. A black dragon raises itself out of the water and demands our cargo of fruit. We try to reason with it but, he’s pretty petulant. We tell it to go get bent and the fight is on. He’s a pretty tough customer, Namib makes some poor decisions and ends up getting himself knocked down again. Olmayne is once again front and center and trying hard to keep himself between the dragon and our party’s softer components. Leehland unleashes his angel and that really evens things out. My sword along with some long range sniping from Voltoor and Olmayne, has the dragon turning tail and running away in short order. We finish picking take a short rest to search and find a beautiful kopesh. I claim it and immediately begin to familiarize myself with its weight and balance. Looks like a pretty vicious piece of equipment.
The boat is making slow progress back up stream towards Fallcrest. The weather has cleared and we see some predatory fish feasting on a school of smaller fish just up river from us. It turns out they lose interest in their current prey and come closer to our boat. Their breaching of the water’s surface turns into outright flight and they’re bent on attacking us. Olmayne is hit right away. I’m attacked and so is anyone on the starboard side of the boat. We immediately take up arms and defend the boat. The fight is probably one of the easiest we’ve seen so far. There is a leader fish among them and his hide is marked with many sigils. In his attempt to flee our might, I strike him down and grapple his carcasse back onto the boat. I’m intrigued by the sigils on this things body and upon examination I discover they’re runes devoted to Demogorgon. This is not natural, this is an abomination. Melzam and Liria as well as the monastary need to be informed of this. Demogorgon having a foothold on our plane is quite a shock in itself but, for him to have control enough to bring Ixitxachitl into our plane is catastrophic. We can’t get home soon enough. I transcribe the sigils onto papyrus and kick the carcasse overboard. Raven Queen help us set our world right.