Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jericho Steel Chapter 3

Excerpt 3

Pressing on, my affection for this dwarven lady grows. The road to Olgrave is long and treacherous. My rowing bloodlust is sated many times over against a variety of strange creatures. A brief rest in the village of Caraheb and once agai we are off. The days journey brings us upon a truly awe inspiring sight. Huge metal warriors frozen on the field of battle. Later I would learn that this place is known as the Frozen Battlefield of the Metal Gods. Admiration and wonder were cut short as we were confronted by a small army of driders demanding outrageous tribute for passage. I gladly would have fought them all my companions, however, decided to flee and find other passage. Not wanting to fall too far behind, I followed.
On our detour, we were quickly set upon by a band of hobgoblin slavers. They were no match for our hearty band and victory was swiftly claimed. On the road, we found the wreckage of a familiar wagon. It seems Cog the Dwarf from Ongas met a tragic fate here. It does not take long to discover what did him in. From the shadows, a margoyle attacks. Having never seen one in person, my bravado nearly failed. The battle was long and difficult, a true fight for our lives. Weary from both travel and battle, we arrived at the Fortress of Sorrows, the keep which would allow us passage to Olgrave. The men of the garrison here were familiar with my reputation and after our defeat of the margoyle, they were happy to let my companions and I in and share food and drink as we traded stories.
Once in Olgrave, our party grew smaller. The crazy druid Zee left us to study at the temple of Fidoe and my dwarven love reunited with her caravan. As we explored, we were accosted by a group of orphans begging us to look into the disappearances of some of their friends. Due to the soft hearts of some of my friends, we accepted and soon found ourselves in the sewers near where the children went missing. After facing weasels, bats, fire beetles and lurkers, we found ourselves at the mouth of a great pit which is clearly the one used by the followers of Abaddon for sacrifices. Fearing the worst, we press ever deeper.
Our path is blocked by cultists who appear to have no faces but they are the least of our worries. Upon death, strange eight legged creatures burst from the corpses of the cultists. They are quite unsettling in appearance. Once past the foul creatures, we got our first glimpse of the pit proper which is filled with tentacles, eyes, and claws. There was a raised drawbridge but we could find no mechanism to lower it. Searching for alternate passage, we happened upon an old priest who said he knew the secret to the bridge. Disguising ourselves as cultists, we are able to make our way across only to encounter another puzzle. A floor maze takes up an entire chamber and must be properly navigated to avoid a horrible fate. On the other side, we are met with the terrifying sight of a giant devil toad. The old priest fell in battle with this hideous beast and I nearly joined him. Once again I heard the songs of my ancestors for a brief moment but was able to move on. Beyond the toad, more cultists and strange eight legged creatures awaited.
We made our way into the depths and found a group of frail slaves operating some sort of infernal machine. After freeing them, we found ourselves in what was some sort of underground temple to the demon Polybdybus. Due to an encounter with a strange potion I was shown the 666 planes of the Abyss and fear that a connection with this particular demon will follow me always.
Exhausted and battle weary, we faced a constant stream of cultists. Each one stronger and with greater power. It would seem the townsfolk were not kidding when they said the pit was never ending.
Eventually reaching the bottom level of the pit, we found a vile, ancient ritual in progress. Interrupting the ritual and whatever spell was being cast caused massive tentacles to rise and writhe from the pit. The blindly lashing tentacles proved to be a great aid in the ensuing battle helping to vanquish the cultists. All was not well though. As the cult leader died, the tentacled beast which appeared as large as the city above died with him. The monsters death throes brought down the walls of the underground chamber and before it was still, half of the city had fallen into the great pit.
Rejoined by Zee, we followed the refugees from the city and, with Jubals treasure map as a guide, set out for the town of Nornrik.

Jericho Steel Chapter 2

Excerpt 2

After a fairly uneventful journey where we learned a bit about each other, my companions and I happened upon the village of Hirot and a young woman staked out as bait for someone or something called "The Hound". Deciding it was best not to interfere, we trekked on into the village for some much needed food and sleep. Mistaking us for hunters come to kill the hound, the locals gave us a history lesson. We learned of the founding of the village, of the great Ulfhoenar, and of the lottery that chose the hound's victims. It seemed that only the poor were ever chosen. This injustice needed to be stopped so we vowed to seek and destroy the hound the very next day.
In the local chapel, Zee(the Druid) saw a sacred hammer that she just had to procure. A night raid was planned. Nothing went according to that plan. As we were about to give in and call it a night, the fool Druid grabbed the hammer and ran. Naturally this set off alarms and called out the night watch leading to a scuffle. We were separated during our escape with only a couple of us making it outside the village gate.
Once reunited, we headed off in search of the hound and a weapon that might kill it. In the tomb of the Ulfhoenar, we found not only the weapon but the dead King himself. Dispatching the Ulfhoenar was no easy feat. I nearly paid another visit to that great hall of fallen warriors. It was also in this tomb that I would meet what would become my best friend, the noble sword Flame Tongue who fights by my side to this very day.
Taking little time to recover, we set out for the lair of the hound. The beast was no typical dog or wolf. It possessed some sort of magic that allowed it to transform into a dark mist and vanish at will. This combined with it's vicious teeth and claws made it a formidable opponent. Once again I was nearly introduced to the maker prematurely. The great hound fought us hard but finally fell and we returned to Hirot as conquering heroes.
After a few days of rest and recovery, with full purses as well, we once again took to the road. I left Hirot in the company of a lovely Dwarven lass.