What Bers and Vorwulf found behind the door was a narrow passage with an iron door at the other end which was barred on the other side and thus was probably impossible to get through. Along both walls were faded murals probably hundreds of years old lit by the flickering flame-light of black iron braziers. Among the images, representations of ancient Hirok-Nor and the surrounding territories, was a familiar one, a conical mountain surrounded by a moat with a brown dragon above the peak its wings outstretched (see Pt. 32).
Vorwulf: “Aww, let’s get outta here!”
Bers attempted to break down the iron door but was unsuccessful and realized that she was never going to be able to break it down. They activated their Rings of Invisibility and opened the door carefully just before 4 dragon-slayers and a couple of latter-generation trolls found the regenerating remains of the 3-headed troll. Vorwulf and Bers both tossed vials of alchemist’s fire at the regenerating corpse as a “distraction” and ran down a random passage. They ran around dodging running guards both human and troll getting chased down twice by trolls which were able to sniff them out. They were alerted more than once that their trail was being followed by the loud snorts and sniffing sounds made by the trolls at their heels. They found the passage up to the battlements was blocked by about 6 trolls they turned back around hoping to find a passage into the hall and from there into the courtyard. They were successful when they followed a pair of humans heading back out as the trolls and “evil” dragon-slayers were turning their attentions to the courtyard. Of course once they found themselves in the open they were detected by latter generation trolls and the dragonsauri that one of the dragon-slayers in black dragon-hide armor they had seen earlier at the gate was leading. They immediately were descended upon but as most of the slayers in the courtyard were human and faun they were easily able to avoid sword and spear blows until the slayers got the idea to look for disembodied footprints.
They ran around in circles for a while and then successfully prowled into one of the apartment-like chambers along the walkways lining the outer circumference of the courtyard. The bed-like slab that came out from the wall served to hide Vorwulf below it and Bers ducked under a table. The room was strewn with dirty furs and half empty mugs of cheap ale. In fact a few of the warriors that had been drinking to kill the boredom of waiting were still in there. The adventurers were hoping that the smell of the snoring drunks would mask them from the trolls and dragonsauri. It did as a troll wandered up and stuck its gruesome mug through the unglazed window. After it loudly sniffed the air it mumbled something about “killing ya all in yer sleep”. Bers and Vorwulf let out a collective sigh of relief and were readying to make their escape while waiting for a break in the patrols that were circling the courtyard. After a few hours they realized the dawn was just about to break as the sky began to change color from black night to the pastels of early morning. That was when one of the drunks was awakened by Vorwulf clumsily stumbling on an empty bottle. The man immediately began to yell thinking they were robbing the room but was quickly silenced by Vorwulf’s knife and as the other of the three drunks jumped up Bers chopped him back down and Vorwulf shot the third before he could rise. Two trolls burst in and in the confusion of blindly flailing claws they ran between the large creatures’ legs and into the courtyard using her Cape of Bat-Flight Bers grabbed Vorwulf and they flew up into the air as a troll caught their scent on the breeze and pointed them out and arrows whizzed by them.
They fell to the ground from 10 ft in the air as the sun broke the horizon outside of the walls and they continued to run to the wagon at the bottom of the rise without missing a beat. When they got to the wagon they found it intact and their donkeys were grazing idly. However the shaman and Buck were nowhere to be seen.
Vorwulf: “Too bad they’re on their own, let’s go!”
They got into the wagon and spurred the donkeys heading to the northeast into Lachmor. They continued on through the day knowing they were being pursued only the chaos inside of the ruins gave them the lead. Vorwulf thought to lose their pursuers in Strogo Swamp and they continued until dark only resting for a few hours before continuing on. By morning they were at the far end of Lachmor lake and camped their without a fire and hidden under an outcropping of rock. Here they met a stranger dressed in black robes and a pointed black beard. He seemed to try to grill them with his mouth frozen in a constant amused sneer. Ultimately he left seemingly disappearing into thin air. They ran for two more days finding themselves in the midst of Strogo Swamp and forced to camp at night they had the previous night seen several campfires in the distance behind them. They had dodged a patrol which nearly had the dumb luck of running into them but were fortunate enough to be hidden by high reeds and barely ducked the enemy slayers. Again the stranger in black showed up and this time began to ask them if they were dragon-slayers. Vorwulf lied and told him no but several are pursuing them who are seeking a shadow dragon out here in the swamp. The stranger responded with “interesting” and left the camp seemingly melding into the darkness. It wasn’t long after that they were sighted by a group of the enemy and were forced to flee. Not long after as their pursuers began to converge into a larger group a large black dragon flew over and smashing into their midst form above. Using the distraction the adventurers made their escape wagon and all.
They double-timed it south to the West Road and arrived in Chago after a total of 7 days on the run. They immediately went to the Blackwing guild house and relayed what they knew. A day or so later Grom the shaman showed up tired but perfectly clueless about the other dragon-slayers. He had pursued a Yompgnarl into the woods after sighting it as he desired its blossom. He had stumbled into one while traveling from Hirok-Nor to Chago (should’ve been in Pt. 32 but really came to naught so I didn’t include it there) making a successful Monster Lore skill check on the creature he found he desired the red-fringed orange blossom that grew between its headless shoulders. Vorwulf however was unable to pick up on its trail.
Cris (after Vorwulf made a successful Monster Lore check): “Man! You see the Challenge Rating on that thing!”
Gil (Grom’s player): “Man you guys could take ‘em, c’mon now!”
The Challenge Rating was 14 by the way meaning it’s a fairly tough creature. Grom had lost track of Buck (Buck’s player left the game after only two sessions) and didn’t know where he had lost him.
To Be Continued…