Title: Wolves in the Mountain
Date: Mid Trilan, 1332 Avard
Synopsis: Corrin overhears that Chert Stonehand is in league with Amreth the Gaunt, and leads the team to battle dwarven werewolves in the labrynthine corridors of Mount Lavanor.
Morning of the 16th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Mount Lavanor was abuzz with rumors and speculation. A god had visited the mountain, and everyone had felt it. The footsteps of Galgiran had glowed, and the anvil of the Soul Forger had grown so hot that the tuft of the god's beard within the anvil became visible. Every dwarf in the Rakanus Clan was trying to squeeze into the Hall of Galgiran, where Father Bryan Stonegrudge addressed the dwarves.
Without naming the traitor, Father Bryan had informed the dwarves that the Rakanus Clan was doomed. Father Bryan continued to stare at the traitor, and soon the whole hall knew that Chert Stonehand was an enemy to all. Disbelief and a lack of understanding, coupled with the awe of a visiting god and the stubborness of dwarves, made for only the lowest of murmurs from within the hall.
Corrin stole Chert's purse without even thinking, and the heft it was a bit much. Chert's beard had many braids, decorated with ambers and dark stones – save for one silver bead that he often fingered. It was the only shiny in Chert's face, other than a glint in his eyes. Given that they were searching for the beard hairs of the clan chiefs of Rakanus, that lone bit of shiny kept drawing Corrin's attention.
Chert proclaimed that, yes, he was guilty. He also said to the assembled crowd that Father Bryan had asked the wrong questions of Galgiran; that if the right questions were asked, then anyone could be seen as the doom of the clan. Chert said that he would swear under any prayers, any spells, that he had acted in the best interests of the dwarves.
Father Bryan told the dwarven guardians to take Chert to a secure room.
Corrin alone seemed to realize that the two dwarves who took Chert into custody his cronies. She slipped into the crowd of warriors trailing Chert, following invisibly.
Aeron, leading Arkhan and Greff – neither of whom spoke dwarven – moved through the crowd towards Father Bryan. When they finally made it to the ArchBishop's side, Father Bryan was glad to see them. Without the ME team returning the bloodstone, then Father Bryan would have never known of Chert's treason. If the team needed anything, then Father Bryan was willing to offer it.
Aeron requested use of the Eye of Galgiran to return them to Teras, where they could join the Baron-and-the-Bishop in hunting down Amreth the Gaunt and his werewolves. Father Bryan agreed, motioning for one of his underlings. The ArchBishop of Rakore was more than happy to aid the team in liberating Teras, and instructed the underling to help the team prepare their mounts and depart.
The warriors escorting Chert brought him to a set of double doors, which they quickly pulled shut in front of everyone. No one else in the crowd thought much of it, there being only two ways into that particular hallway – the other known only to a select few.
Corrin slipped off to the side, within a few yards of the door, watching the crowd's mood. She made use of a split-second when no one was watching, and activated the arcane powers of the armor she had acquired in Chasadan. The artificer Roswyn made breaching armor only for select customers, and Corrin was one of only a handful to ever receive the powerful item. The power of the soft leather jerkin teleported Corrin through nearly ten feet of solid stone at an angle to the doors – and put her just inside the hallway, behind the locked doors.
The figures of Chert and his escorts could be seen running away from her as she held her breath, hiding in a shadow.
Corrin trailed the three at a distance, and watched them slip through a hidden doorway into another hallway. The door sealed behind them and was invisible along the wall, the work of the master masons of the Rakanus Clan. She slipped through without thinking about it, keeping to the shadows, tailing the three.
She was close enough to smell them, and hear them, without being seen. Chert told one of them to hurry to Teras and tell Amreth to find the components as soon as possible – time was of the essence. The escort turned off, and when he did, he almost saw Corrin. His eyes reflected the minimal light just like a wild animal's did at night. The escort sniffed around a bit, looking into the shadows, but not seeing anyone. Then he hurried along at his task.
Corrin continued to follow Chert and the second escort, until they went through another hidden passage. The little halfling, the size of a five year old girl, took a moment to become familiar with the hidden doors and how they worked. It took nearly ten minutes for her to explore the door and its hidden lever locks, but when she was done, she knew exactly what she was looking for.
The door opened – onto a pack of collared wolves. Corrin tossed in a bit of her rations, and managed to jet around the beasts, making use of her slight size and scent neutralizers to remain invisible to the wolves guarding the door.
Corrin continued down the hall to where it split into many corridors, the smell of wet dog being particularly strong from one direction. She wondered if dwarves could become werewolves. Amreth the Gaunt was the top dog of the werewolves in Teras, and the smell of wet dog was strong.
She turned back, not wanting to face a pack of weredwarves by herself.
Aeron, Greff, and Arkhan cleaned out their monastic cells. As usual, there was nothing to indicate Corrin had ever been there, and so the three figured that she might have gone on ahead. Even among the short dwarves, Corrin was a wisp of a thing that was too short to be seen in a crowd.
Demon hung from the ceiling in the 'little' nest he had created, awaiting the return of his rider.
Just as the three began to worry, a courrier appeared from Father Bryan – he wanted to see the three of them, because Corrin had something important to tell them.
Back in the Hall of Galgiran, Corrin quickly filled the rest of her team in on the situation. Father Bryan appointed dwarven guardians to go with them to apprehend Chert, and wanted at least fifty warriors to help. Greff, Arkhan, and Aeron began to realize the seriousness of the situation, especially if there was a link between Chert and Amreth.
Corrin led them through the secret halls with a force of a dozen dwarves. The wolves inside the one secret hall fell to Greff's flurry of blows inside of a single heartbeat.
Further down, where Corrin had turned back and the hallway split into a myriad of corridors, they heard the baying of wolves.
A large pack of wolves, numbering over a score, rushed in out of two of the corridors. Behind them came half a dozen dwarves in full plate with large axes – who transformed into half-wolves, their snouts lengthening and their ears going dog-like. The area turned into a melee, with the escort dwarves moving up to assist the team.
Corrin took one of the half dozen purple potions and hurled it into the thickest knot of wolf-dwarves. They and several wolves instantly fell asleep.
Arkhan moved up to assist Greff, who rushed forward into the maelstrom of snapping teeth. There was a faint hint of tobacco as the dragonborn breathed fire over the pack of wolves, killing many of them instantly.
The guardians sent with them moved up to help the team – and then three of their number transformed into half-wolves, turning on the team and the other dwarves. Some of the guardians had been Chert's dwarves!
Aeron called upon Yatindar's might, erecting a wall of blades to help secure one side of the battle. Arkhan stood beside Aeron, using the God of Memory's powerful calls to draw the wolf-dwarves to him. Arkhan turtled up within his armor and his shield, using the silver inherent in his earth-wrought hammer to buy him breathing space against axes and muzzles. Behind this shield, Aeron continued to whisper prayers to Yatindar, lending the power of a god to his teammates and the guardian dwarves aiding them.
Corrin sniped at the wolf-dwarves with her one-handed crossbow, or snuck her shortsword into kinks in armor, becoming hidden right behind enemies and allies alike as her small size and the shadows served to hide her.
Greff moved off to one corner of the area, helping two guardians keep a wolf-dwarf at bay, hammering at him with his fists. The silver rings Corrin had given the githzerai brawler worked wonders against the wolf-dwarf there, and the two guardians helped to keep the thrust of the battle off of Greff.
The battle was grizzly, with Arkhan eventually drawing the ire and attention of all the wolf-dwarves with his incantations of Xynos' power. Several of the guardians went down as they were in the way of the wolf-dwarves, but they converged on Arkhan with a vengeance. It was all the dragonborn could do to fend them off. They became so frenzied by Xynos' incitement that some of them attacked through the wall of blades Aeron kept in place through his prayers to Yatindar. Axes and teeth flashed, and Arkhan was bleeding from a myriad of wounds despite his armor.
With the wolf-dwarves attention on Arkhan, Greff and Corrin and the guardians focused on killing the wolf-dwarves from behind. Long moments went by as they hacked and hacked at the ferocious wolf-dwarves in plate armor, until the last one went down.
Aeron dismissed Yatindar's wall of blades, as Arkhan staggered back, catching his breath. His armor and shield were scratched and dented from the attacks, but he was alive, thanks to Xynos and Yatindar.
Morning of the 16th of Trilan, 1332 Avard.
Dinner was cheeseburger soup, and it was delicious. Thanks for making it, Sommer!
The tactical aspects of the battle were wonderful. I found it funny when I used up Greff's daily on a pack of second level minion wolves, but the wolves served their purpose. The wolf-dwarves were tough, and likely would have killed anyone else but Arkhan. It took Dave and Ross working together to shape the battle and keep Arkhan standing. Greff and Corrin worked wonders, dealing out a LOT of hurt to the wolf-dwarves in turn and in tandem. Y'all did a great job, and handled the few dwarven guardians turning on you quite well.
All characters have 36,500XP, and are 12th-level.
I concur. With Dave able to shape the battlefield to our advantage, me absorbing a ridiculous amount of damage, and Bill and Sommer dealing a ridiculous amount of damage and being able to move around the fight, we were able to tidy up that tough battle without many serious worries. Too bad the little dwarfies were a little flimsy.
Flimsy. Flimsy?! (growl) Sommer's been giggling at me growling ever since you posted this. Hmrph. Flimsy. If it's a Total Party Kill next time we kill, it's your fault. Flimsy.
I meant our ally dwarfs. The dwarfwolves were NOT flimsy at all.