"Regroup!" shouted the tengu leaders, and their flock retreated to the fort above, taking potshots from cover until the party hid their light source, buying them a few minutes to find and heal Talon and plan their assault.
The tengu tried tossing down a rock with a light spell as a flare, but Hef ate it before they could use it to get a bead on anyone. It meant that they knew the party was still in the area and planning to attack, though, so once they'd passed out the fly spells and decided who would carry who, the tengu were expecting them.
The plan was pretty simple -- fly in, land, kill everyone. Preferably with fireballs. Samuel's specialty was fireballs, and he led off with an empowered, enhanced, persistent fireball right in the middle of the camp, where the two remaining leaders were making plans with the kobold. None of them died outright, but a follow-up sleep spell by Lilia put the kobold to bed, and the two boss tengu turned invisible and scattered to heal themselves, giving the party a few rounds fighting against just the underlings.
The underlings had been coached to go after the mages first this time, and especially to ignore the cat who was summoned by one of the mages and would disappear if he died. Sam and Lily both had defensive spells up making them hard targets, though, and they were able to endure the barrage without falling, especially once Hef pulled most of the littlest ones off to swarm around him and try to kill him instead. Calvin was in more trouble, but used a wall of fire to surround himself in an opaque barrier, which made it hard for them to hit him with arrows and painful to try to hit him in melee.
They did almost get Hef, though -- thanks to Sam. Sam knew Hef was resistant to fire, but one of his fireballs -- when the kobold got woken up by a minion and drank a potion to grow to massive size with claws and fangs, which drew Hef's attention as a worthy foe, and pulled in several enemies who were still trying to kill Hef into a wonderful 'fireball formation' -- was a BIT more powerful than that. It did take out the kobold at least. And the kobold's tent. One of the leaders had been hiding in the tent while healing himself, and ran out shrieking, somehow glitterdusted, and on fire, and was quickly dispatched.
Then the tent exploded, finishing off the last of the low-level minions and taking Hef down to approximately one hit point.
The last boss, harried by Hobbes into not being too useful in the whole fight, called the retreat and summoned his few remaining mid-level minions to join him so that he could plane shift them all away. Three out of four made it, and Talon didn't manage to take him out before they vanished. The fourth was held by Lily's spell, and she followed it up by putting him in manacles and charming him. Because Charm Person makes for the best interrogation.
He told them that his tribe (and others) had been brought to this 'doomed world' through a portal at the far end of the pass by an alliance of kobolds from the two worlds. He wasn't sure what their overall goal was, but the tengu's part was to prevent anyone from making it through the pass, which they had been led to believe was kobold property. He agreed to come back with them to Silver Sails 'willingly' to meet with their military.
Because while the pass wasn't clear, the party wasn't sure whether or not they wanted to push on immediately.
On the way back to Silver Sails, it was mostly smooth sailing -- there was no sign of further ghoul incursions, and the only encounter was a mysterious ancient-looking stone bridge over a slight depression in the plains, that definately hadn't been there the last time they'd come that way. Two or three days ago.
They were NOT surprised by the trolls who popped out from under it, demanding chickens as the price of passage. They were a little surprised when, during the battle that ensued after Hef's inevitable charge, the trolls claimed that the *party* were bandits and that they had a license to operate the bridge. After using acid-balls to make sure the trolls were all dead-dead and not just resting, the party investigated their claim of legitimacy and found it to be true -- they did have paperwork allowing them to charge a toll for the use of a bridge. It was still a scam since the river the bridge was supposedly over didn't exist, but the scammer was someone back in Silver Sails issuing fraudulent paperwork.
Still, trolls. Their conscience wasn't hurting much.
In Silver Sails they turned in their prisoner to the military, who promised to keep him comfortable. And charmed. A flying scout with some inherent magical powers would be useful to the empire! The military confirmed that the pass was effectively closed to all traffic -- nothing had been getting through. They believed the party when they said that the kobolds were behind it, which was a breach of the treaty, but without proof all they could do about it would be to start a war and if they wanted *that* they could have done it anyway.
On the other hand, if someone were to go in and close that portal, it would cut the kobolds off from their supply of deniable raiders, and maybe get them to give up their designs on the pass for a while.
Oh, and Sam was curious about the tengu's comment about their world being 'doomed to fall into darkness'. He tried asking the mages, and would have been arrested and 'disappeared' except that as an official adventurer, he was above that sort of law. So the guards were embarassed and swore him to secrecy about what he knew, which wasn't much except that their overreaction meant there was *something* to that rumor.
last session | next session