28th Day of Sarailah
Chester took the brunt of the damage from the second Hook Horror that left him severely wounded. The hybsil quickly retreated behind the rest of the group and drank a potion of healing as Erland moved to the front.
Coarvyne charged through the group and rolled passed Erland and his Hook Horror adversary and managed to reach the back of the cave unscathed and let loose his arrows at the deafened Hook Horror. The Hook Horror, relying primarily on its hearing, still managed to see the halfling with its limited vision and advanced on him.
Coarvyne managed to duck out of the Hook Horror’s attacks but realized he had just placed himself alone in the corner with the beast with no backup. Coarvyne took a couple of swipes at the beast with his long bladed staff before he darted back out of the corner and passed Erland and the rest of the group to his original position.
Meanwhile I unleashed a couple of deafening Shatter spells between both of the Hook Horrors causing thunderous damage to them both. Surprisingly to me at least Chester followed with the same spell I had just cast, and Fenella threw her flaming balls of fire.
Erland managed to remain unscathed by the Hook Horror’s claws and carved out a few chunks from the beast with his greatsword. Reeling from its wounds the creature retreated to the back of the cave and climbed up the wall. The deafened Hook Horror advanced to take its place but still Erland managed to avoid damage.
I cast Scorching Ray sending three flaming orbs of fire at Erland’s foe. Chester copied me once again with the same spell and finished off Erland’s Hook Horror with a single orb, and then moved closer to unleash two more at the wounded Hook Horror clinging from the ceiling near the back of the cave. The creature hit the ground with a dying shreek.
We uncovered another tunnel in the back of the cave that had been hidden by several boulders packed with dirt. We decided however to continue on to Mt Kaloch to better prepare. We had diverted from our journey expecting to face imps, but had not anticipated meeting up with a green dragon whom could be lurking anywhere in these tunnels.
It was noon when we returned to the surface. We left Chester camped out in the forest just outside the cave and promised to return soon after we finished our business in Kalock. By early evening we were greeted by the massive gates of the mountain stronghold of the dwarves.
The gates were open but we were questioned about our business by guards in the customs area. We stated our business and our intentions to meet up with Boss Kragdor but were told that Kragdor had been suspended and no longer held any official title. We were directed to see his superior, the Commandant, instead if we wished to conduct any business, and then we were given directions to the guard station.
We spoke to the Commandant and he confirmed that Kragdor had been suspended, but that we were still due our reward as soon as Kragdor could confirm our identity. Following a few tips and hunches we left in search of the old dwarf.
Massive tunnels carved into the mountain formed the streets of Kalock, and upon the walls of the tunnel were carved various store-fronts. We managed to find Boss Kragdor, now called Barrel Kragdor, at the Rats Respite. Once it had been finely carved but now it was full of cracks along its face and it had clearly seen better days. Inside we found Kragdor nursing a mug of cheap ale.
We asked about his suspension and it turned out that when Kragdor gave his report about us freeing the insane prisoner we found in the cells at the old buried outpost his superiors were not very pleased. Still they provided Kragdor no information on who this prisoner was or why he was considered so important.
We returned to the guard station with Kragdor so he could confirm our identity and collected our reward of 10 topaz gems, each valued at 500 gold each.
As Coarvyne promised to meet up with Kragdor later for a drink, I asked for directions for a place to buy books for my research. We were directed across the street to a general goods store where I found some interesting books among the trash novels. One was about the history of Kalock, another was a local survival guide, and yet another more valuable to me was a bestiary of sorts detailing many of the various creatures and monsters that existed around Kalock.
We checked out another oddity shop called the Rabbit’s Hat. While Coarvyne seemed to only be interested in bows, I asked the shop keeper about potions that would offer protection from poison. The weapons Coarvyne was interested in could only be found on the second tier or above in Kalock, which was restricted to guests unless one had a pass that could only be given by invitation.
Again I asked about the potions, trying to shift the shop keeper’s attention away from Coarvyne and his relentless questions about how he could affix both poison and fire to his arrows. I was nearly ready to leave to return on my own without Coarvyne when the shop keep finally got around to giving me a quote on the potions. 200 gold! A hefty sum indeed but well worth it if it could prevent one from being instantly slain by a poison breathing dragon, or the poisonous stingers of its imp minions.
I looked to Coarvyne who took it upon himself to hold on to our reward funds. “We should get at least one potion for each of us if we expect to survive a fight with a dragon.”
200 gold however was too shocking of a price for Coarvyne who was not willing to spend the gold. After a brief but frustrating discussion I finally managed to convince him of our need for these potions as a matter of survival. He finally relented but was still too stubborn to fork over the gold and instead opted to harvest the ingredients and spend several days crafting them ourselves. We finally managed to settle on a compromise where Fenella and him would gather the supplies and trade them for the potions to save us the time.
With that finally settled I took my leave of them, after trading and purchasing more spell scrolls, and set off to find a decent inn. I settled upon the Rocks Nest that the guardsmen recommended and put myself and my horse up for the night in some comfort. I then spent most of the remaining evening reading over my new treasure trove of books. I took out the bestiary and opened its pages to see what I could find and soon found that it was well worth the investment.
There was even a section on dragons that had been known to exist in the area. The younger species of green, white and blue dragons were not entirely unheard of. Rarely though were dragons allowed to age to maturity as rivalry was very fierce, and the older dragons would hunt them down and slay them. Only the males would allow the females of their species to live.
Even the young dragons could spew a poisonous gas up to 30 feet that was deadly enough to fell even the strongest knights. Their natural armor made them very difficult to kill.
There was even mention of Hybsils that migrated to Kalock during the time of the dwarves. They were small fey creatures that lived in small tribes that preferred to isolate themselves to avoid threats as they were often hunted for the magical properties of their antlers.
Also I was interested to learn that while they often fought with short bows, short swords and daggers, that many were also able to perform arcane and druid magic. Their fey origin and close relation to sprites also gave them the ability to see invisibility at will, and they were completely immune to poison.
If what the book said was the truth, then Chester could prove to be quite an ally against the imps and the green dragon indeed!
I could find nothing on Imps unfortunately so I began to ask around as to where I could go for some research on the creatures and was directed to the Church of DiMont, the god of strength. I found someone there willing to answer all my questions about the creatures and eagerly took notes that I would later add to my own monster guide.
Imps were quite the tricksters capable of changing their form to that of a rat, raven, or even a spider, and they could turn themselves invisible at will until they attacked. They were immune to fire and poison and resistant to most spells and non-magical weapons. Their sting could also deliver deadly poison damage.
Meanwhile as I finally settled into my room for a comfortable nights rest, Fenella, Coarvyne and Farland were camped by the river outside of the city when a small band of Kobolds attacked their camp. Between Coarvyne’s arrows and Fenella’s Moonbeam spell, however, they did not last long.
1st Day of Sextober
We met back up in the morning and finally made the arrangements to acquire 6 potions of poison protection and then headed off to meet up with Chester.
Coarvyne immediately began to question Chester’s usefulness against a dragon and demanded that he prove himself first in combat. Coarvyne then started looking for wolf signs insisting that Chester slay a wolf on his own to prove his worthiness. I thought for sure the ranger had gone mad!
First, had not Chester already proven himself against the Hook Horrors? His spells were every bit as powerful as my own, perhaps even more so. Should my worthiness then also not be up for question?
And second, should not a ranger – and a beast-master at that – have a special connection to the natural world and all of its creatures? It is one thing to slay a wolf out of necessity if one was under threat but to seek out a wolf that has threatened no one and slay it just to make a point seemed at odds to what I knew of rangers.
I had also heard that he tracked down and slew a bear just to test out his new weapon, and then sold the meat and skin for profit. Killing for mere sport or for profit bespoke of a greed common to humans who saw the natural world as something to exploit rather than as something to protect and nurture.
I looked upon Coarvyne in shock, not sure what to think of this stranger in front of me. While I had turned away from my homeland in pursuit of power and knowledge, I still held a deep respect for nature and its creatures and would not wish to see them needlessly harmed.
Fortunately Coarvyne could find no trace of any wolves so for the moment my mind was at ease.