A Mage from Poisonwood II Pt.2: Duel at Blackgut’s Lair

With myself and Vorox reduced to rabbits Tweena the dungeoneer leapt into action. She snatched me up somersaulted through the Otkid savages and leapt into the dragonsaurus’ saddle. The creature bolted from the battle leaving our assailants in the mud soon enough we arrived at our destination the smoking ruins of the town of Blackwood. As Tweena guided the Greyshadow, the dragonsaurus, into town the town druid, Ebol Blackleaf stepped into our path turning us back and taking us to his dwelling, an ancient hollowed tree where he restored me and Vorox.

As he told it the half-giant marshal was dead, his skull posted on a spear under Blackgut’s flag (bearing a black skull on a red field) in what used to be the center of town. The Broken Branch tavern had been burned to the ground. During the siege the town had sent out messengers but none had gotten through the battle lines. Blackgut had captured a number of able-bodied men for slaves and currently demands a “tax” from all who would occupy the Black Wood. He put us for the night, I doesed myself with some Yellow Lotus, for a sleep aid.

We ate a vegetarian breakfast served by the druid and the other pair went into the ruins of the town to find use the blacksmith’s forge to repair their damaged armor. I tried to scry on Blackgut again but something was blocking my magic. After they returned in the late afternoon Blackleaf pointed out the hidden path to the troll’s lair. After about an hour we were cresting the ravine and neared the bridge above his lair (see A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.2) when a group of black-bellied Otkids leapt from the bushes and charged us.

We recognized the savages as those that had defeated us just a day before. The big guy with the wolfteeth club met Vorox and Greyshadow in battle and I managed to paralyze all of the Otkid warriors along with the big guy. Vorox spotted the Otkid shaman flying off on a pair of feathered wings. I and Vorox slaughtered the goat-men and looted the corpses. I stowed 3 high quality titanium troll-make kriss-daggers in my robes. We easily made it to the bottom of the ravine to the banks of the creek where more Otkid tribesmen exploded from the bush and attacked.

I narrowly teleported in time to dodge a blow from one of the savage’s clubs while Vorox engaged the rest all the while the face on his troll-make shield was demanding that he “slay all of these creatures.” I ended the battle by paralyzing them all. I stowed away 4 more troll-make daggers while Vorox chopped necks with his axe. We made our way slowly towards the lair along the opposite bank of the creek and soon were able to hear the dinging of hammers at a forge. When we broke the bush we saw that across the short wood bridge around the lair doors was an unfinished stone wall being tended to be whipped slaves.

There a few trolls, most of the wild animalistic variety, and a single large troll with a ratling, which appeared to be partially converted into a troll-wife, attached to his collar by a chain. We worked our way to the wood ford and saw the gates to the lair open revealing Blackgut and the black-bellied Otkid shaman. Vorox suddenly charge on his dragonsaur across the creek over the bridge while shouting a personal challenge to Blackgut. His troll-shield had obviously gotten the better of him.

Under the influence of the shield he waited as Blackgut readied his gear as he had laughingly agreed to the challenge. A slave was given the troll-shield to hold during the duel. Vorox came to with the giant troll in front of him wearing his giant horned helmet, scale mail, and wielding a giant heavy flail, a glowing emerald necklace around his slimy neck. The troll-shield was on the sidelines laughing. Still in the bush I cast Portable Hole and readied to teleport. Tweena readied her shortbow.

The duel began when the Blackgut swung at Vorox, I immediately teleported next to the troll-shield bearing slave and swooped the portable hole over it dismissing the spell as soon as the shield was in banishing forever from our world. Tween shot the shaman on the far side of the battlefield causing him lose concentration preventing his casting whatever spell he had ready for us. Vorox hit the troll but did little damage, I shot my trusty acid bolt at the monster admixing some of the Dragonscale plant scales to up the damage. One of the beastial trolls charged me with a double-claw leap attack from atop the wood pile next to the dueling ground. I narrowly avoided that attack teleporting away next to one of the incomplete walls around the double door to the lair. The shaman, with Tweena’s arrow still in him, turned and tried to transmute me into a rabbit as I had appeared just 15 ft. behind him but I was able to resist his primitive spell this time. Vorox parried a hissing blow from Blackgut’s flail with his axe and missed the troll on his counter-attack. I cast Shadow Ribbons catching the shaman. I pulled one of the titanium troll daggers that I had taken from one of his tribesmen and approached. The trolls were charging at Tweena and a slave had joined the fight with a rock-hammer. Blackgut and Vorox were equally matched parrying each other’s powerful swings. Greyshadow bit Blackgut hurting him slightly through his heavy armor.

I got up next to the entangled shaman my dagger thirsting for his throat when a large black arrow shot at me which I avoided but the archer was too well-hidden for me to spot. The shaman struggled and stabbed him in the neck but my blow failed to be coup de grâce I had hoped.

To Be Continued…

A Mage from Poisonwood II Pt.1: Of Rabbits & Dragonsaurs

3 months had passed since our climatic battle with the Red Daggers thieves’ guild. The bounty on Blackgut the troll’s head was increased to 1,000 gp since during the Red Dagger battle he had destroyed the Gris-Mill and has since been raiding the town and farms in Blackwood. The town under orders from Lord Black-Eagle is building a watch-tower by the bridge to prevent the like of the past raid happening again. The Shadow Hands thieves’ guild, our sometimes allies, has since recovered and are growing in number again. The word on the street is that the remainder of the Red Daggers has joined forces with Blackgut and may be looking for revenge.

The staccato of the constant fall rains on the roof of the longhouse just helped to aggravate my hackles at the fact that not all of the Red-Daggers were dead. Tweena and Shieldmaster were away to see the Lord of Rockhollow (Black Eagle) the other two, Nema and Dolis, had left Rockhollow a few days after the raid destination unknown. I had just completed my spell research and finished recording them in my compendium. In the meantime till the others could return I scryed on Blackgut using a silver goblet I had lying around and could see in its waters carrying out the typically cruel and brutal pastimes of a troll, beating a ratling slave over a broken bottle of troll marriage salve, a partially rubbed young female hostage and working in his workshop where he pulled a lever near the door which, I assumed after hearing the triggers clack and click, armed a gauntlet of traps. Feeling a bit mischievous I cast Block of Stone above his head injuring him somewhat when it fell onto his helmeted head. He grasped a glowing necklace and my vision instantly ended. After that I began to straighten up my cellar laboratory and finding a plank of old wood walked up out of the basement.

The plank was an old mortarboard bearing an axe crossing a shield, a left over from a former tenant a fighters’ guild and was setting in on the gallery-porch when I saw that Tweena and Shieldmaster were just returning. They told me that the Lord had attached 50 gp per Red-Dagger head on top of the reward for Blackgut and they wanted to take off immediately to start hunting retracing our steps back to the troll’s lair (see A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.2). SO it was left to me to purchase supplies for winter before the town of Rockhollow shut up for winter, the freemen were already leaving in droves back to their homes. I managed to scrounge up 2 hogshead of ale, two 50lb. sacks of grain, two 50lbs. sacks of nuts, one 50lb. sack of stone fruit, 100 lbs. of firewood, 24 pieces of wood ware, 1 barrel of whiskey, one 50lb. sack of salt, 2 barrels of lamp oil, 2 carboys of Southland honey, 6 oil lamps, 100 lbs. of salted & smoked meat, a large iron pot and an iron skillet. After we planned to leave the next morning so we went to the tavern and on the way a faunic bard approached use promoting a fight between the reigning champion of Rockhollow Thistle Battlethorn and his man, Baenox Bloodaxe a half-faun Hill-lander. Shieldmaster tried to get the word on a possible match against the victor from the bard but decided to place a bet instead.

At the Lucky Traveller tavern I did some business with Keenor the fat merchant (see A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.1) contact slinging some lotus powder for 2,000 gp. Foolishly I bought rounds for the whole place afterwards dosing each drink with a dose of red lotus. The next day around high noon I found myself in a somewhat disagreeable state as I stomped along following the fresh and sober Tweena along with the equally mush-brained Vorox Shieldmaster, he was a few gems lighter after being led out the tavern the previous night by an itinerant prostitute though the lug was mounted on his dragonsuarus, Greyshadow. We left behind our longhouse under the care of my four hirelings, farmers’ sons, I was sure to pay them above the minimum wage but in flicks only, no precious metals for those mooks. The long walk was uneventful and by sundown my companions pitched camp. I left my sigil on a tree and teleported back to the longhouse to get a goodnights rest in my own bed.

At first light I teleported back to find the camp in shambles with the smoldering remains scattered abouts. I fanned the stench of burnt troll from my nose. My companions fortunately were none the worse for the wear. We continued eastwards into the woods (which were typical of that of the Westlands) dark, thick and as fall was upon us, very muddy and cold. Greyshadow stopped and twitched. A big faun stepped from the bush onto the road and into our path.

He was had a wolfskin mantle over his shoulders and wielding a wolfteeth club. His belly was painted black. We heard gibbering all around us the rapid, harsh tongue of the Otkid savages. Soon we were surrounded by 6 of the savages wielding clubs and spears draped in dirty animal skins all had their bellies painted black. The big guy charged Vorox Shieldmaster and Greyshadow. I cast Mass Paralyze and got 4 of ‘em while Vorox and the big Otkid exchanged blows badly wounding each other. Another Otkid, their shaman, stepped out from the bush and the next thing I knew was that I was a rabbit and Vorox, a rabbit in the saddle still atop his dragonsaurus warmount.


To Be Continued…