Chapter 5 - Parte 1 - The Last Hurrah of Starfast Chaos-Destroyer
When last we left it the boys have triumphed against the forces of Iuz and emerged from the fetid sewers as true heroes of the city of Greyhawk.
Having vanquishing a combined army of foul zombies, murderous orcs and somewhat lukewarm Rennee folk, we now join the the party as they are serenaded by the high and mighty of that fine city, showered with gifts, gold, rugs, and as much heart felt female adulation as their loins could cope with...
HAH! (said in that 'Chronicler of Conan' kinda way). The scene shifts to a cramped dark hold of a slave ship. The vessel pitches along the swaying waters of the Nyr Dyr lake, the motion adding to the misery of the malnorished and battered occupants within it's bowels.
Hah! indeed. Battle had indeed been joined! But heart felt female adulation (ad-u-lation, not ejaculation you sick feckers!) was but a distant dream, muttered Caerendil miserably as he chewed on a particularly grisly and disgusting piece of fish gut.
After a nudge from Ulric, the bard spits out the few remaining unpalatable fish bones before wiping his mouth with the back of one unwashed hand. He takes a moment to compose himself before continuing with his storytelling...
'Zombies rising from the sewer water like foul weeds, twelve deep in places, hidden assassins emerging from the darkness to pepper us with lethal poisoned darts, berserk orcs assaulting us from the front, and behind them all the wicked Ambassador of Iuz and his dark acolyte summoning more blasphemes to throw against us...'
Korbin Shortshanks interrupts proceedings demanding his 'due'. The halflings being the only ones able to walk upright in the hold and with Ulric still weakened from lack of beer and dwarven bread have become the 'power' within this tiny slave community.
All the slaves present grumble but cough up a portion of their daily food to these two halfling ruffians who take all that is proffered to them, before swaggering back to their 'corner' whilst clutching their nutsacks...and then seating themselves to divy up their takings.
Anyway, following this interruption the bard continued in his retelling...
The Mage and Dirkwood fell quickly and unnoticed, succumbing to the poisonous barbs of that traitorous thief Tomas Jarek, long may his name be cursed. Assailed from all sides and with retreat no longer possible the party draw weapons together and stand back to back to meet the oncoming army of darkness.
Against the ravenous zombie horde stand the dour handed quartet of Ulric, Erlan, Korbin and Brother Kelly. Before the orcs and dark priests our hopes rest upon the martial prowess of the Warlord Starfast Chaos Destroyer, the Paladin Ser Nibble-Pibbly and the Man of Arcane Mystery Tekcos Tik. I, myself, join with these brave souls to provide what meagre arcane magics I can bring to bear to aid their combat.
The fighting is fierce on all sides but undeterred Starfast and Sir Quentin hack and slash their way through the orcish ranks to smite down the Ambassador's priestly acolyte. Much to his chagrin. The pair are however cut off from the rest of the party and soon surrounded by ferocious orcs lead by the now enraged Ambassador.
Teckcos Tik materialises besides the Priest of Iuz and moves to strike him. The Ambassador oozes spittle into a small, blackened bowl before hurling the foul phlegm at the approaching Psioncist. It strikes him full in the face and brave, brave Tekcos falls to the floor like a stone, clutching his face and writhing in agony.
Those party members facing the zombie horde fight like lions at bay and hold back the tide of evil for a time, until at the last Erlan is pummeled down, down into the rank waters by a horrendous zombie giant and the doughty dwarven shieldman rises no more.
Courage undimmed, Ulric plants his feet beside his fallen henchmen and fights the monster alone and mighty indeed is their meeting. Bone splintering blows are traded by both sides and Ulric is much beset. During a lull in the fighting he witnesses stoic Brother Kelly fall to a dart in the back of this neck shot out of the darkness. Damn that Jarek! With a bellow the dwarf strikes the Giant Zombie a brutal blow, eviscerating the beast from shoulder to hip, it sags down into the waters with a deathly groan as Ulric shifts to faces a new adversary.
(undead beastie howl sound effect kindly provided by Jonesy Scary Movie Acoustics and Auras)
Ulric looked back over his shoulder to watch the macabre mound of death give birth to a smaller gianty mass of rage filled zombie.
'You gotta be sh*tting me?'
On the barge, Ulric gives a chuckle, 'shitting me' 'sewers' like it Mr Bard, like it.
Meanwhile on the other wing of this desperate melee, the situation is no rosier. Tekcos Tik is fully unconscious, the poor man never recovering from the spittle malady inflicted upon his person. The paladin is down also, felled by some vile orcish treachery found on the blades of the brutal warriors. A fast acting, creeping, numbing poison (or simply 'Drow Poison' DMG page 51 right readers! 8-))
The Bard has also been blighted by the weakening poison but remains on his feet through sheer dogged willpower and perhaps some equally dogged 'b*llshitting the DM' die rolling.
Starfast Chaos-Destroyer has fought the Ambassador of Iuz to a standstill, almost to the point of death (probably both of their deaths). He witnesses the wounded priest limp out and through a opening in the sewer wall. It leads to some form of room, he unleashes his Golden Lion figurine to finish what has been started as he himself tries to battle through the remaining orcs in a valiant attempt to save the paladin.
The magical statuette hurtles towards the wounded Priest with it's fangs bared, the Ambassador of Iuz cowers in fear whilst making a keening sound. The Golden Lion is almost upon the Priest when a old man suddenly appear within the hole in the wall and blocks the creature's path. He waves one wizened hand at the magical Lion and it's returns back into it's statuette form. He gazes at the Priest of Iuz and then slowly back towards the warlord.
'I grow weary of this', he mutters absently before turning and vanishing.
Starfast breaks out of his reverie and decides that helping the paladin is beyond his current capabilities, he instead attempt to help Korbin Shortshanks negotiate the orc mob and regroup by the hole in the sewer wall. The small halfling had been mightily oppressed by the zombie horde and had decided to seek respite behind the one man bulwark known as Ulric Von Himmler.
Korbin pauses for breath and is then drawn by a shout from the Warlord. Starfast gestures to him and indicates the hole in the sewer wall. The halfling immediately sees the possibility of an escape route and quickly begins to tumble and roll his way towards the Warlord through the legs of the orcish throng.
Leaving Ulric alone, with the remains of the zombie mob. The battling dwarf is quickly surrounded and assailed from all sides by the undead. He cares not but stubbornly stands his ground while whirling and cleaving with his gore dripping battleaxe. One reckless strike sunders the head of the half-size Zombie Giant causing it to return to the sewer water in it's constituent body parts.
Across the battlesewer, Starfast and Korbin meet up and avail themselves on the wounded Ambassador of Iuz. The spindy figure has used the small respite offered by the appearance of the strange old man to good use and healed himself somewhat. Battle is now rejoined as Starfast attacks him from the front and Korbin angles his way to gain a flanking advantage and thus open up a can of hot xesy sneak damage on the Priest's ass.
Meanwhile (in slow mo and at great cost due to moving all the film crew down into a dark dirty sewer, damage to equipment, etc...but hey your worth it) an axe scything through festering bodies, bits of zombie flying in all directions, a teeth-gritted-against-the-pain face of Ulric as a chill born zombie explodes violently near him and sends a wave of biting cold across his person....
The Priest of Iuz falls to one knee, but Starfast and Korbin can't quite get in the killing blow as the remaining orcs rally around the wounded priest. Tryas they might the pair can't quite maneuver their way within weapon distance to strike the final blow. Step forward Monseigneur Bard, the half elven minstrel with his last act before the seeping drow poison renders him unconscious strikes the Priest of Iuz with the last vestiges of his arcane energy. The spent bodies of the Priest and the Bard strike the floor together...
Cearendil: 'in a cool slow mo kinda way?'
DM: No, ran outta budget, sorry
Caerendil : 8-(
DM: Premature indeed 8-)
The death of the Priest dis-orientates the remaining orcs and the ever alert warlord uses this advantage to quickly grab the reeling form of Korbin Shortshanks and then thunders up the staircase that is the only non-sewer exit from this room.
At the head of the stairs is a door, on the handle of which the warlord places one bloodied hand. He pauses to venture a quick glance over his shoulder. Starfast spies the orcs beginning to move in his direction, and past them, he witnesses the form of Ulric Von Himmler slumping to the floor as bodies of chill born zombies explode around him (in cool super expensive slow mo 8-)).
He returns his focus to the door as he turns the handle and push the dazed halfling into the room beyond. Korbin's vision slows clears to reveal a well lit and well gilded stateroom dressed with rich furnishings. As his eyes tire of the room's lustre, the room's occupants begin to demand his immediate attention. A pair of elegantly dressed women sit and recline on a chaise longue. One smokes a small reed pipe and wispy white smoke surrounds both women. To his right stands a robust table and at the table sit 4 robust men dressed in the fashion of the Rhenne...
*the sound of gases escaping from Korbin Shortshanks*
'That aint what went down fule!' cries Korbin from the Power Corner of the slave hold.
Caerendil ceases in his rich story telling, the bard is clearly annoyed with the interruption. He looks to the diminutive halfling and with words dripping with sarcasm asks
'and pray tell us what did occur little man?'
Don't front beatch!, yoose weren't even there!, they capped your sorry ass way before then, continues the irate halfling, his speech thick in the Thieves cant.
The Bard realises his mistake too late, indeed he was unconscious by that time and clearly would have no idea what occurred afterwards..perhaps the cute, little pipsqueak had a point afterall. The puzzled faces of the other hold occupants indicate they clearly hadn't understood the halfling's outburst at all.
To arrest their inquires, the bard quickly translates the halfling's cunning jive talk.
A prostrate Brother Kelly raises himself up on one elbow, 'so ask him what did happen, I'm sure we all want to know'. A chorus of nodding heads and general murmurs of assent.
The halfling immediately launches into his story, his version of the facts. The language is heavy in the thievish patois but the bard translates as best as he is able.
Backline wanted to skit! The dawg was giving off p*ssy fumes man, no fight left in him, but me, I was like bring it!, I got no cook outs to go to so if it be today!, let it be it today! I pulled out my strap and put my mack down!
The warlord wanted to run, the halfling could smell the fear on him but the blood lust was on young Korbin and if today was the day he would die then today was a good day to die! He drew his sword and challenged the Rhenne.
*muted cheers from the occupants of the slave hold*
Backline be a root man, collared him and skit! Rhenne Offensive Line up and body blocking the exits true, 'snickitidy snick' with the Rhenne playa haters, dropped the bomb on the bossman yo!
Starfast was paralysed with fear, the halfling in exasperation had to forcefully drag him across the room as the Rhenne occupants got to their feet and moved to block the exits. The halfling skewered a few of the them in a lesson in swordplay and then dropped the 'bomb?', erm something heavy and inflammable on the Rhenne Leader.
Bossman he be a playa, rolled with the bomb, came up gunnin, me I was like bring it, but Backline Niagra Falls yo, he be streaming and sheet. I figure Bossman week last friday, but my boy need his crib like now. Da room's cooking good so we bug out.
The Rhenne leader deftly dodged the conflagration and drew his weapons. Korbin wanted to cross blades with him but the warlord had started crying and was in no shape to continue. In frustration, Korbin decide he could kill the Rhenne Leader next week but had to get Starfast to the saftely of his 'cot'? 'birthplace?' oh 'bed' first. The room was burning quite well so the pair retreated to the next room.
New room same crew man! Gang banger greenies ballin us. Backline be a real weight now man. Rhenne bumper to bumper and Greenies in my lights. I had to skit clean and clear and route one was the shopfront.
The next room was no better. Numerous Orcs stood guard. Starfast was now almost a dead weight in the halflings arms and the effort to keep him on his feet was becoming unbearable to young Korbin.
'Useless sack of ...' mutters Ulric
... the halfling had one chance and that was to plunge out of a large window.
A-Teamed the shopfront yo and came up with my groove on. Backline be out too but he be hurtin. On the clock so no time for sightseeing, Loki be on my back today man cause there be more Greenies! In the Pound too! Lock down tight with prison walls!
Korbin crashed though the window and acrobatically leaped to his feet. Starfast made it out too but not as elegantly nor without damage. Korbin had to think quick as there was more orcs outside. He found himself in some kind of compound with large gates and high walls.
Backline down and blubbing again, It bring a tear but I can almost taste the fries man, Too boned to carry the fule so I shim that wall and out, clean and clear! Backline be back there pleading for his mama with the Greenies yo but mine be mine.
The warlord had totally collapsed now or was suffering from some mental breakdown? Korbin wanted to help the man but he so exhausted he knew he can't escape with him. So he quickly climbed one wall and ran for it and got away completely. The last he knew of Starfast was the warlord's voice pleading for his life with the orc guards.
As the bard falls silent so too do the rest of the occupants of the dark ship hold. A comely woman not of the party but part of the slave community seems particularly distraught with the plight of the warlord. A man she has probably never met before.
After a short span of time, the paladin sighs before uttering philosophically,
'well I guess the warlord died as he had lived, it's probably what he would have wanted!'
A murmur of agreement meets this statement, before people actually digest the paladin's words and then look back at him strangely.
Sir Quentin: 'What?'
The bard looks at Korbin chewing on his large mound of tithed fish guts.
'So if you'd escaped 'clean and clear', how'd you end up back here Master Shortshanks?'
Korbin almost chokes on his food. After a bit of chewing and swallowing, the small figure meets the Bard's steady gaze and with a mouth still partially full of stinking fish guts, utters
'Backline must have ratted me out man!
The Sense of an Ending
6 months ago