When Alvra, Jharrath, Phaedra and Lilith report to the City Gate of Erelhei-Cinlu the next day, several groups from different Houses are already assembled there. A cleric of Lolth walks towards them, big mace and adamantine shield in place. She introduces herself as Narcella, Priestess of House Despana, and group leader of the patrol team.
Their newest mission is to clear all caves plus less used paths in the north-west of the main cave. Regular patrols manage to supervise a lot, but still new creatures infest the area. The Xaniqos offspring has to travel four or five miles in that direction to get rid of the intruders or report back for help.
The group splits up into several smaller teams and the drow take off, in search of unusual inhabitants. Most footprints are already old and it isn’t until later that they encounter fresher tracks, small reptilian kind. Phaedra, who is scouting ahead, signals to the others that she is pretty sure they are dealing with kobolds. Alvra signals back that these creatures are driven by hatred for everything but dragon and reptilian related species. They are sneaky and love making traps, then try to overwhelm their victim.
In a long passageway the drow suddenly hear voices, and it seems like whoever is talking, is trying to hush the others. Phaedra climbs up the wall and takes a peek around the corner. She sees three kobolds, their eyes gleaming with evil and full of hatred. One is fiddling with a device – a trap – and the other two have slings. The scout relays the information to her brothers and sister. The cleric orders Jharrath to summon an elemental and send it forth to trigger the trap. The wizard complies and sends an earth elemental towards the kobolds. Together with Phaedra, it attacks one of the kobolds and they even manage to kill it! The other two reptiles run away.
Carefully Phaedra checks the trap: a thin wire covered with moss, leading to a nasty spike in the wall. Her attempt to disarm it succeeds and impatiently Lilith steps forward to go after the kobolds. But the ground beneath her feet disappears and she falls into a pit. Fortunately she lands on an upright spike… Cursing the cleric pulls herself loose and looks around. Another cleric is with her in the pit, but this one is half decayed. There is a symbol on her clothes, but Lilith doesn’t recognize it as one of the leading houses. The deceased has a whipdagger in her hand and a diadem on her skull. With a quick prayer to Lolth, she slowly takes the tiara from the corpses’ head and examines it carefully. At the front of the diadem there are two spiders holding a gem. Trusting in the Spider Queen, she slowly puts the spider tiara on her own head and immediately feels blessed by her deity. The whip dagger seems like a good weapon, so she decides to take it with her too. Her brother Alvra quickly offers his hand to help her climb out of the pit.
The four continue and – after the tumble of her elder sister – Phaedra checks their surroundings with extra care. At a bend of the tunnel, she again takes her position high on the wall to find out what is waiting for them. The path widens into an open space and there, in the middle, three kobolds are waiting. But in front of them stands a growling dire weasel!
The scout moves further into the tunnel and shoots her crossbow at the animal, while Jharrath summons another earth elemental. His brother charges the dire beast and the cleric casts dancing lights on the kobolds and weasel. Again the trap-making kobold tries to take off, while acid splashes all over the weasel: wizard in action! The beast fondly attaches itself to Alvra, who fortunately manages to push it away. The earth elemental finishes the weasel off; all enemies present are dead. Lilith decides they follow the tunnel to which the trap-maker was attempting to flee.
Further ahead another snare – this time attached to a stalactite – is dismantled by Phaedra. Around the corner the tunnel opens into a larger cave, and the silent scout spots two reptiles on a ledge on the right, and four more kobolds plus another dire weasel in the middle. One of them is wearing a head piece. The drow signals this information to her siblings, who carefully move ahead.
Prepare the defences!
Apparently they have been heard, so Alvra steps forward and hurls a javelin at the leader of the kobolds. A sling bullet hits the drow in return, but does little damage. Then Jharrath unleashes a hail of stones onto the kobold group. As a reaction, someone from the ledge on the left throws a tanglefoot bag into the corridor. The goo glues both fighter and cleric to the floor. Lilith succeeds in fighting her way to freedom, but Alvra stays stuck. With huge eyes he watches an orb of fire rolling his way, curtsey of the kobold sorcerer.
Phaedra casts darkness in the cave, and suddenly nobody moves, except Alvra, who is still trying to escape his hot position. Then pebbles and cross-bolts fly back and forth, with little to no visible results. The scout moves up on the wall and tries to land on the ledge on the right. By now the whole cave is quiet. Finally the fighter breaks loose and heads into the dark, trusting his instincts to show the way. He even manages to hit the dire weasel fighting blind. The wizard stands ready to jump into action and Lilith heads towards the stairs on the left side, to climb onto the other ledge.
Then the younger sister feels something slithering up her leg and gets bitten in her arm. She suddenly feels very weak, but lashes out wildly upon hearing something, or someone, move. A dead kobold topples off the ledge. Meanwhile Lilith swings her flail blindly, and then hits something solid. Seems kobold flesh is not made to resist ferocious attacks. In the centre of the cave, Alvra kills the dire weasel.
Phaedra returns to Jharrath and dispels the darkness. Back in the cave, the drow fighter finally spots the kobold leader, a little snake flanking him. He strides over and attacks, but there is a kind of a magical barrier protecting the kobold: what seemed to be a certain hit, turns into a miss. Alvra’s vision is blurred by a counter-attack spell and he also gets bitten by the snake. Fortunately the bite has no further effects, except maddening the already enraged fighter, and with a mighty swing he kills the sorcerer and his snake. A second kobold on the right ledge attacks the cleric with his sling, who in turn releases a sleeping spell, alas to no avail. A newly summoned earth elemental finishes the last kobold off. They have cleared out the kobold infestation! Just to make sure, the drow check out the other tunnel at the junction, but is is empty.
Alvra collects the still usable javelins and finds a special one with a black shaft: a precise javelin. Searching the clothes and bag of the sorcerer, Jharrath comes up with a beautiful half-spear, a light crossbow of the same good quality – which Phaedra takes, together with a pouch with fifty gold pieces – a potion of magic weapon, of blur and a healing potion, a scroll of invisibility and also fifty gold pieces, as well as a very well made axe. He gives the weapon-potion to his brother and then picks up the axe. Fortunately his reflexes are good, because a split second after he releases the weapon, spikes flash out, retreating again with the same speed. Alvra looks at his brother and carefully picks up the masterwork axe. A weapon like that is made for a fighter, not a wizard. Lilith, searching the cave, has found a shiny magical ring.
The Xaniqos warriors walk back to Erelhei-Cinlu, where priestess Narcella is waiting for them. More groups are returning, some of which have had encounters with undead. The four report to the priestess and then go home. To healing and rest. The armoury is happy to receive the whipdagger and other weapons, and hundred gold pieces find their way to the treasury. The ring turns out to be a ring of protection, which the cleric gives to her sister. They all have performed well today.
Just another day getting to work with M. Driessen! 🙂
Nice pix, BTW.
Haha thanks Mike. Seems it was just one of those days 😉