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…