Week Eight – The Death of Beck

That our heroes have danced with death for so long while avoiding its embrace made them seem charmed. But the charm was an illusion of course, and on this fateful day of 39 Narlos, one of The Marshall’s most beloved would fall to the predations of the black elves, the underworld’s most feared soldiers.

It seems a bad omen that the God of Armies would suffer such a loss when the forces of shadow sweep Western Orandell, but bad omen or good, those who wish to live in and leave to their offspring a world of peace and prosperity must continue the fight, as failure means death and enslavement. There is no rest for such as they.

Grimnar leads the fellows back to the barrel room, then north into a long hall, full of small tables and chairs, along with scattered ash buckets. No doubt this room was filled with smoke many a day before the evil times fell. One can imagine the faint smell on the air of rich tobacco and good conversation.

Cautious, Zef detects magic and Ban detects for evil before they descend into the room. Both are present. Zef methodically enchants the weapons of his fellows, before casting haste as Domi throws his light coin into the room. Before the coin even hits the ground, a ball of darkness springs up and sails toward the stair as words in a strange language ring out. Damit runs out in the darkness, but is blinded by it. Something else is not and he is attacked and wounded. Grimnar can see just fine however and he spies the female, black elf fighter charging his mate. The Dwarf charges the black elf and hits her hard.

Suddenly a fireball goes off at the stair. Seles and Ban take the brunt of it, but with the Sphinx’s fire protection, it is not overly bad. Another black she-elf, this one wielding kukris, moves in on Grim and stabs him. Beck joins the fray, as does Ban.

Zef moves up and casts blur on Grimnar. A black she-elf bowman, who was hiding behind a fallen table, stands and backs up to fire from safety. Damit punishes the fighter with his long sword while Seles brings Thane’s blessings. The fighter attempts to shatter Grimnar’s great sword and Beck’s rapier, but the enchantment thwarts her. Grim fights back and hit her once. A bright, flashing light explodes in the midst of the heroes and Beck, Damit, Grim and Zef are suddenly blind.

With the Paladin of Narl blinded, the black elf rogue steps in and sneak attacks him, killing him. Seles pronounces his death and the party is shocked. They didn’t see this coming. Zef, blinded, uses his kinship with the wind to lift himself above the fray, and almost shares Beck’s fate as the black elf ranger sinks a full set of arrows into the hapless wizard. Zef falls unconscious and drifts gently to the ground.

Things seem desperate, but Damit hits the fighter and she falls. Seles channels Thane’s healing magic and all are restored, at least somewhat. Grimnar attacks the rogue and puts her down, hard. Another fireball explodes among the heroes, but even Zef survives it after Seles’ healing. Ban smites the archer.

The ranger repositions but Ban keeps up and hits her for her trouble. She fires a series of arrows into Seles and suddently the cleric is out of the fight. Damit comes around and flanks the ranger and hits her. Ban, with Damit flanking, smites the ranger savagely several times and the dark she-elf falls to the ground, slain.

A cloud of stinking fog springs up. While the fighters push through it, Zef drags Seles from the fog and stabilizes his wounds.

The warriors find a black-elf wizardess at the end of the room, in a side hall next to a door. As they advance and Damit worries her with his swords, she opens the door and steps inside, behind the door. Inside is a small room with a skeletal snake that has a human skull for a head attempts to mesmerize Damit, but fails. Ban rushes in, ignoring the snake and takes down the wizard.

They attempt to retreat, but the snake follows. It doesn’t last long under the assault, however, and soon its many vertebrae are scattered on the floor.

Hurt and grieving, the fellows gather their dead and whatever loot they can find on the black elves and retreat to the Sphinx. There they find Egor and team along with dozens upon dozens of Dwarves come from Gammeldine to reclaim the mines. They are overjoyed to see the Chosen and saddened by Beck’s demise. Grimnar allows that the party will need to replace their dead, and Egor goes off to collect some likely Dwarves who’d be willing to venture along with them. He returns with two hearty Dwarves and a human. The human introduces himself as Waller and is immediately recognized by the party as one of the Chosen. Waller is immediately accepted into the party and seems pleased to be there.

Beck’s body is respectfully carried back to one of the wagons out in the main hall. Everyone settles in and exchanges news. When the Dwarves learn about the armory, they are immediately heartened. Egor begins making plans to transport the weapons back to Gammeldine.

In the morning, the party leads Egor and his crew chiefs to the armory, where Waller equips himself and the Dwarves being sorting themselves out to haul the weapons back to the wagons.

The fellows set off for the smoking room, and spend the next while cleaning out bone snakes from the remaining three caretaker’s rooms. There is a tense moment when one of the snakes mesmerizes all of the fighters, but Zef casts protection from evil on Grimnar, allowing him to shrug it off and kill the monstrosity.

On the opposite side of the hall is an open double-door at the bottom of a wide stair. Inside is a chapel with a statue of Guydan in the form of a dwarf, though the head is off the statue and its face is destroyed. No sooner do Ban, Damit and Grimnar get inside than the door slams. While Zef casts strength on Waller, Damit tries to break the door from the inside and fails. Grimnar tries as well, and the hinges shatter.

Seles casts endurance on Damit while Zef protects himself from evil. Damit becomes motionless while Seles casts invisibility purge. Grimnar is hit with an enfeeblement ray from above in the darkness. Ban throws a light coin up and sees a dwarf, hovering near the ceiling. Zef casts fly on the hobbit.

Another ray enfeebles Damit. Ban flys up as another ray enfeebles Waller. Realizing he can’t see diddly, the hobbit flies back down, grabs a light coin, then returns. Grimnar isn’t moving. Waller takes Damit’s bow. Another ray enfeebles Ban. Ban trains his smite on the Dwarf. Zef casts levitate on Seles. Seles rises and prays to Thane. Grim shakes it off and pulls out his gun. The Dwarf disappears and then appears on the ground and hits Damit with a mighty blow. Ban comes down to help.

That is all for week eight. The battle will resume in week nine.

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