David Galloway cornered me the other day and pointed out that it had been several weeks since he received word of our party’s forays north of the wall. He was starting to grow suspicious as we would venture out and return bloodied. Being the slightest one there, I’d wager that I presented an easy target for his entreaty. Normally, I’d shrug off such a request and go to the bar to listen to the drunken ramblings of people with more coin than sense, but Mr. Galloway is putting me up in nicer accommodations, so fulfilling his request seems like the prudent choice. My ability to recall events from over a fortnight ago isn’t the best, so consider this an abridged version of what was a journey fraught with peril, and having exactly the right number of handsome halflings.
- Bing Bong
When Oz and I visited the Blackfoots, they were attacked by a strange orb of light they referred to as “The Swamp Star.” It had been terrorizing their village for some time, and they beseeched us to eliminate the threat (with a promise of a feast the likes of which we had never seen).
This adventure, the party set out for the black swamp – the source of the attacks. We made good time, but soon became bogged down by the muddy ground and low-slung mist that surrounded the swamp. It was because of this visibility impediment that we inadvertently stumbled upon two giant reptiles that were guarding something. After we refused to turn back, they came for us. Despite the hostile terrain, we slayed both of them and pushed on.
We soon came upon a clearing. What immediately drew our attention were two large pyramid-like structures several hundred yards in. The nearest had a glowing orb being tended to by a lizard person with flowing robes, while the other had two dimmer orbs being guarded by two lizards. Additionally, there appeared to be a lizard pen in the center.
Realizing that the glowing globes were most likely the cause of the “swamp star” phenomenon, we decided that we needed to intervene with our particular brand of diplomacy. There was only one thing keeping us from our target – a rapidly flowing stream spanned by a dangerous-looking bridge. For a being as nimble as I, this presented no issue. However, the party was not entirely comprised of halflings, so we had to mitigate things by running rope across the bridge for others to grasp in the event of catastrophe. We were almost successful, but Bing Bong stumbled and took a dip. Oz dove in to save him, and, using the ropes, we pulled them to shore. They were waterlogged, but none the worse for wear.
Once dried off, we needed to figure out how to take down the inhabitants of both pyramids. They were stepped structures (research later identified them as being “ziggurats”), so there was a way forward that allowed us to avoid detection by the creature we now suspected as being a lizard priest at the peak.
We slowly ascended the closer of the two buildings, formulating a plan for taking down its inhabitant: Ducky – the bard with the fancy shoes – would sprint to the top of the ziggurat with a looped rope, which he would throw around the priest. The rest of the party (save for Jory who was hanging on the ledge as back-up) would then yank on the rope to pull the priest out of sight of the other ziggurat, driving him to the ground.
It worked exactly as planned, except the priest didn’t succumb to injury. Instead, he morphed into a giant hydra, with more heads than Jory had common sense. I say that because the monk immediately leaped from the top of the pyramid and onto the back of the creature. Our party battled the hydra, and, despite Jory being knocked senseless and requiring aid, we managed to defeat the hellacious creature.
This time we all scaled to the top and investigated the orb. It appeared to be made out of a crystal that ceased glowing when it was removed from the pedestal. By this point, our presence was noted, so we pocketed the stone and quickly retreated into the woods, attempting to circle around the clearing and avoid the lizard pen in the center.
At this point, Oz’s eagle, Horus, proved his value as he pinpointed the enemy on our tail. Realizing that we were moving faster than them, we pressed forward to the base of the other ziggurat. We realized that we had been spotted by the warriors atop this pyramid, so, without fanfare, we ascended the steps and met our enemy head-on.
This battle, too, passed without significant damage to the party. Maybe we’re cut out for this adventuring thing after all? The orbs here weren’t glowing, leading us to believe that they were inert until placed atop the other ziggurat’s pedestal. We grabbed the two and scoured the area for anything pocketable. Sure enough, we hit paydirt – a secret entrance on the top of the first pyramid opened down into what appeared to be the priest’s living quarters. We liberated the chamber of its valuables as payment for our troubles, and then hurried back to Aiwan. After seeing that horrific hydra up close, we all needed a stiff drink.