This ought to be interesting. It’ll be dawn soon, and there’s supposed to be a dwarven army to fight.
There’s not one, anymore.
Miaako developed a following; eight or nine kobolds seemed inclined to stick with him. The rest didn’t seem inclined to disperse, and set about looting their former masters. Fine with me. We also found a ledger of which dwarf owned which kobolds, and how much they’d be due if said kobold died. We might need to visit some particularly burny recompense on them.
We left the dwarf camp in ashes. Evidently, they hadn’t been as diligent on their fire proofing as they should have been.
The commanders- of the army and each division- were up when we got back. This will be awkward. I don’t think they were entirely pleased. The head of the arcana division pointed out that we’d taken all of the glory- if by accident. They politely asked that the next time we met an army, we shouldn’t utterly destroy it before they have a chance to meet them in battle. I don’t think they were too pleased by my response that it just sort of happened.
Well, it did.
The kobolds mobbed the quartermaster, and I don’t envy him the task of sorting them out. About eight stuck to both Reeshka and Miaako. So they have groupies, that’s a thing that happened.
That taken care of, we decided to get some sleep. Slaughtering an army in the dead of night is tiring work. I slept like a rock, but Miaako didn’t look like he got much sleep. In the morning, Miaako went to sell the equipment we picked up. It worked out to 90 gold and 1 silver each. Not bad. I need to spend the day identifying things; our gear has exhibited new properties, and I’d like to know about them before we go out again. The commander wants us to find out what’s been happening to the scouts, probably because he wants to know, and to keep us from murdering any more conquests before they can actually make them in equal measure.
My staff took two castings of Identify; the blue end had developed a frost enchantment and the red end had a flaming enchantment. Reeshka’s staff is now apparently a flaming darkwood staff. Miaako’s dagger had turned into a mythril shortsword of frost. There were some runes engraved on the blade, but I couldn’t read them. Miaako said they were very old, from the language of the northlands. Ceor’s lance turned out to be a shock darkwood lance; I honestly don’t know what to made of his sword. I’ve never seen this enchantment, but it seems to hit harder because of it.
The bow turned out to be a native outsider bane longbow. That’s designed to kill tieflings. And aasimar too, but in practice, I doubt anyone would be hunting them. We got this from those Order of the Pure assholes, so I don’t know why I’m surprised. On the one hand I sort of want to destroy it because fuck that, on the other, it might come in handy. Might even do something unpleasant to that fucking asshole and his fucking hellhound. After debate, I gave it to Ceor. I will at least know that I’m safe from it while it’s in his hands.
Someone brought lunch at some point, though I didn’t notice until long after it had gotten cold. Probably one of the twins. Either way, the identification work took most of the day, and I slept well.
The next morning, the kobolds had set up a breakfast table by the time we got up. That was… nice…
I picked up the ledger from the arcana division, and went to talk to our commander, who was a little tricky to find. Turned up in our camp, the smartass. I told him about the weird corpses of the ballista crew, and he told me that the kobolds had found a cave system that wasn’t on our map. Once we got everything ready, we headed out.
When we got there, there was a corpse of a young green dragon in the entrance. Fabulous.
Reeshka said that whatever killed it did so a month ago, and there wasn’t anything worth salvaging. It certainly smelled far stronger than anything that had been dead for a month… or for just one thing. We couldn’t tell what, not after all this time, but it was violent.
Of course, it was a dragon. That’s expected.
The cave seemed to be completely natural about to where the dragon was, but beyond that showed signs of being ripped open. We proceeded a little further to find a small group of undead standing there. Because of course there were. They didn’t seem inclined to attack, but I don’t know if it’s a good idea to let them stay there where they can come up behind us later.
Miaako went a little further, and discovered what happened to the missing scouts. They’ll never get the decay out; that’s the problem with ghouls. Miaako expressed interest in leaving to go report our findings, but I reminded him that they’d just send us back. So I set them on fire, and was promptly shot with an arrow. Miaako made himself useful by stabbing another undead that was out of my line of sight. Ceor, on the other hand, almost fell when he stumbled on a rock. It unfortunately made him a nice target for claws and a point blank arrow. And unfortunately, the angle was so bad I couldn’t land a ray. Reeshka at least did a little better; undead don’t like bursts of positive energy.
Ceor then managed to cut the ghoul he was playing with in half, and fortunately got his shield up before a skeleton could do something unpleasant. Miaako fared less well. I was tired of missing, so I just fed the remaining skeleton a force missile. There was another alcove that had been infested; Miaako had actually managed to take out two of three. Then he and Ceor completely humiliated themselves by failing to connect with the remaining skeleton, leaving Reeshka to deal with it. She slapped it with positive energy. After some more ineffectual flailing, I just shot it in the face with a Disrupt Undead. Upon examination, some of the corpses had our colors, some had the dwarves’, and one seemed like a random traveler.
Miaako found a pit that seemed to be a natural crevice, though the rocks around us seemed to be gouged. We explored some more, and lo and behold, Cindersong was in one of the rear chambers. That fucking gnome.
It’s time to take care of that.
He blasted the wall behind Miaako with fire, and one of his skeletal minions ran into a while another dropped its bow. Seemed like an excellent time to set that fucking deviant on fire.
So I did.
Then Ceor charged in and smashed one of the skeletons in the face. True, he took an arrow to the shoulder in response, but it was impressive. Cindersong shot me in the head with a firebolt and started cursing in Infernal. I have no idea what he was saying, but I’m sure it was impolite. He managed to put himself out, just in time for me to shove a Magic Missile down his throat. Ceor cut down a skeleton, and got further into the room. Apparently, Cindersong had the bargain undead minions.
Miaako slammed into the room, bounced off the wall and landed on the stage, not giving the slightest of fucks that he got stuck on the way, and stabbed Cindersong pretty effectively.
Then Cindersong’s sword caught on fire and he shoved it directly into Miaako.
I swear to Hecate he will fucking DIE today.
Not Miaako. He already did that once, and I gather it wasn’t pleasant.
Ceor, meanwhile, was chopping the skeletons into small pieces, and Reeshka took care of the extra-crispy. Miaako put the fucking gnome down, finally. I think he took being stabbed personally, because he stabbed Cindersong in the heart, cut his head off as he was falling, and then dropped him in an untidy heap.
As soon as he fell, Cindersong’s sword melted into an unpleasant puddle of goo. Probably for the best, really.
With him down, we just had to clean up the skeletons. Should be easy enough.
Well, not entirely easy. But we can handle it. Miaako’s getting pretty good at popping their skulls off. Entertaining, really.
The dais Cindersong had been occupied was covered in bloodstains; presumably this was where he was sacrificing his victims and raising them on undead. He’d painted Infernal script in the blood. I wonder if his blood will cover it up. The place where his sword was had already dried into this nasty black scab; I’ve heard of something like this. Swordsmen who study the arcane sometimes get… chosen by entities, and are given a strange weapon of some sort or another. Most just look like dark weapons, some look like they’re grown. I expect this was the later. It was called ‘Blade-bound Magus’. He had a pouch of 30 tarnished silver. Nothing much else of interest, though we’ll take his head.
Naturally, there were some more undead lurking around. While it wasn’t a cakewalk, it was far from insurmountable. There were some rather comedic moments, due to the general topography of the caves; for much of the combat, we missed them, and they missed us. Frankly embarrassing.
There was a shallow pool of acid near the back of the cave, which I suppose only makes sense, given the green dragon that was apparently lairing here before Cindersong got here. I’m still a little concerned about the way the caves seemed to be gouged out. I suppose this answers what killed the ballista crew at the dwarf encampment; ghouls have claws.
And now Cindersong is out of the picture. One less loose end to worry about. We’ll take his head back, I’m sure someone would be interested in his death.