Heroes of Istal

Meeting the Red Baron

Eventually, we, the Untouchables, managed to get back together again, meeting each other en route to, or at the warehouse where we had just been fighting. Most of us were frustrated at the escape of the last Dark One, but we decided to make the best out of it and started to see if the bodies of those we did manage to slay still carried something of use to us.
In the end, a pair of enchanted boots was all we managed to pilfer, so we decided to go back to the carts.
That was when we realized that Geziah had abandoned the carts. He was rather quick to explain to us that we had stayed away for longer then he’d had liked, so he stored the cart, together with the crates, at a local stable, where it would be taken care of properly.
The fight, and the subsequent chase, had taken quite some wind out of us, so when we reached the guilty stable and made sure the cargo was still safely with our cart, we made sure to take a rest before we’d carry on to finish our assignment.

After a couple of hours, during which we made a point to chase anyone who claimed to be ‘sent by Baron Crimson’ out of town, we went for the mansion with our carts again. The same servant answered the bell, this time smiling pleasantly as she told us that Baron Crimson would be happy to meet us and letting us through the gate.
We left the cart and cargo in the capable hands of the Baron’s men as they took care of them while we were led to meet the man in person. The halls of the mansion were filled with expensive-looking paintings and red carpets and tapestries all around. It was pretty imposing, but it didn’t really mean much until we met the Baron.
He was waiting in an obvious relaxing room, with a big fireplace and several chairs looking at said fireplace. The Baron was standing at a table, looking down at something with a glass gracefully held in his hand. When we were announced, though, he looked up and smiled friendly at us.
The Baron was a long, stately man, wearing more royal red clothing that could almost make him blend in with the estate. He certainly brought honour to the name ‘Crimson’, but not in the bad way I had been more or less expecting.
As we explained why we were there, he showed some friendly interest in the state of Sannich, but it didn’t seem more then the question everyone just has to ask, out of politeness. We were given our reward, after which I was already making myself up to turn around and leave, but Jimmy just had to mention the Dark Ones and the fazing Marauders in the warehouse. I expected the good Baron to freak, maybe get angry at us, but he seemed honestly distressed at our misadventures and the things that had happened. We didn’t get any more compensation out of it, but… Well, it was good to know that the man was an actual good guy.
As we were getting ready to leave in earnest, Jimmy asked one more question: what were we transporting? We had made extra sure that Jackie had absolutely no chance to open the crates to peek, so we were all very curious, and not without reason. It turned out to be parts that were to be put together into some kind of machine that would utilize the crystal to do, well, _some_thing.
Jimmy, Geziah and I exchanged awkward looks behind Crimson’s back. We had heard that said crystal was in the missing crate from the destroyed caravan we had met, almost two weeks ago, mere days ago in the Merchant’s Guild. I was still a little weary of the Baron, still ready for him to fly into a rage and turn into a Dragon, or anything, so we wisely decided to keep our mouths shut.
We offered to ‘escort’ the parts with the Baron to the friend that would put them all together, for it was getting too late to start the trip back to Sannich that day, anyway. The Baron accepted our offer, and told us about the powers of the crystal on the road, making us only more uncomfortable on the road.
It turned out that we were talking about a ball of crystallized air, which could be magically harnessed to do anything that needed air to happen. The parts were supposed to be made into a flying machine, and the Baron was very excited for everything to be put together.
Of course, Geziah and Jackie didn’t miss the chance to promote us as ‘the Untouchables’ as well. Word of mouth, they’d probably have shrugged if I had asked them about this relentless campaigning of them.

When we reached the shed where the friend of the Baron would put the parts together, we carried everything inside to meet a Human wearing a long, white coat, somehow making him look… Studious. He looked like a nice guy, who might be just a little eccentric. He had to show us a pipe, which appeared to be made of metal and just as strong, but much lighter.
After faking a little interest, Jimmy broke open the crates, so the man could start using it, but he immediately noticed the critical part that was missing. I cringed lightly as the Baron asked us where the crystal was, clearly determined that we had stolen it.
Because Jackie, who was already openly eyeing several of the machines in the shed, clearly looking if there was anything worth stealing, was with us, I couldn’t blame him.
It took us all our powers of diplomacy to make the Baron see that we hadn’t stolen it, our most powerful argument being ‘why would we have travelled with you if we had?’, which was quite the good one. Eventually, we managed to convince him that we didn’t know where it was, that we had only delivered everything that we had gotten for the job.
But, as a show of good faith, we offered to keep an eye out for the crystal… If we could be compensated for returning it. The Baron told us that the crystal came from Orture, a name that made Jackie cringe slightly, and would have travelled through several places to Altea. We already knew where it was most likely stolen, so after agreeing to the reward of 250 gold pieces, we casually dropped that the crystal might be stolen after all.
Sometimes, I think I’m wavering in my good faith with this party. Every nerve in my body was screaming that ‘we know it is stolen, you idiot! Can’t you see it!?’, but I kept silent anyway.
Crimson found it hard to believe, though, for the crystal was so immensely powerful, so very potent that the power was hard to harness, even by the strongest Wizards. Only the best of the best could do it, including one called ‘Dundee’, who lived in Farla and had designed the machine blueprints.
While Jimmy was trying to make some joke about crocodiles I didn’t really get, Geziah claimed that Crimson should accompany us to Farla, then, to get everything set right there. Both Crimson and I protested against that, mostly because both of us didn’t want to haul the noble through the mountains between Altea and Farla, and because the man was needed in Altea.

Only after we had left the shed, with all our new information and a clear new goal, we noticed that someone had apparently slipped away during the talking.
I don’t know how the creature manages to do it, but Skyph had once again disappeared, leaving us looking around for our Missing Touch. Of course, there was no trace to speak of, leaving all of us thoroughly confused and slightly annoyed at this fact.
We decided that it was probably another temporary thing and figured the Shardmind would reappear sooner or later, so we shrugged and went back to The Tripping Camel, where we arranged a four-person room for the night which we, remembering the last time we spent a night in an inn, fortified heavily.
Luckily, it turned out to be an unneeded effort.

The next day, we set out to the market to lighten our pockets a little. We sold the paintings and valuables that were of absolutely no use to us, and bought materials that would be of use for our rituals. We also managed to trade the enchanted boots we had found for a Magical Leather Armor for Jackie, who was still walking around in the same old clothes as she had been doing all this time. It was about time for that, I guess.
When we were done, the conversation came back to the staff I was still carrying over my back. It had been our intention to hand it to Skyph a couple of days ago by now, but we had never really gotten around to that. It had benefited us a couple of times now, but we still hadn’t find any clear use for it, so I grabbed the thing from my back again.
Jimmy nodded at me, clearly interested in seeing what would happen this time. Geziah had the same look, and Jackie just looked slightly bored.
So I swung the staff around, made some movements with it, and pointed it at Jackie.
Before the Halfling could react insulted, a portal opened above my head and an Owlbear came crashing down on top of me. As the creature roared, my fellow Untouchables grabbed their weapons, and the civilians ran for it, I barely managed to crawl out from under it.
We had clearly underestimated the Owlbear as we started to fight it, for we were taking hits left and right while we were trying our very best to take it out as soon as we could. Jimmy actually almost went down, and Geziah and Jackie had to do everything in their power to weaken the best.
In the end, when I saw that the creature was heavily weakened but preparing itself to deal a Haymaker to Jimmy, I saw the need to try and take it out. And take it out I did, I could feel the creature shake the ground as it crashed down, dead, even though I was thoroughly stunned by Avandra.
Somewhere, I could hear a civilian say “That’s Nick Basel! He’s seven feet tall!”

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Deadly lies

Er-hem, where was I?

After valiantly slaying the final Berserker and recovering from the following stun bestowed upon me as a punishment by the same powers that grant me my healing strength, I noticed that Jackie and Geziah had already started looting the bodies while Jimmy was already processing them. I couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t that surprised by this sudden turn of events, but rather thought that it was ‘the usual’ to happen.
If you told me I would consider this ‘normal’ a year ago, I would’ve laughed at you.
After checking up on my friends and making sure they were in peak condition once again, we took a look at the items the two active looters had managed to pilfer from the bodies. Jackie had already claimed the Ivory Horn, muttering something about it already coming from her backpack, anyway. Another Potion of Healing went for the one needing it most and, to my big surprise, we had also found a magical suit of fine mail, which I got, if just to improve my own survivability. It fit like a glove, though getting out of my old chain mail and into the new fine mail proved to be a task worth ten more minutes.
When everyone was fine and dandy, we decided to follow the bandit’s trail back to their camp. Well, we lost Jackie pretty soon, but it was the thought that counted.
In the camp we found quite the hoard of wealth. Quite some gold, but the more interesting things were a Unicorn Horn, several paintings and, of course, the magical die the bandits had mentioned.

When we returned to the clearing, we found the merchants packed and ready to leave, and Jackie undoubtedly pilfered some of our belongings in our absence, for they were ‘all neatly packed’ for us, ready to go.
The following two days were like I like them the most: calm, with steady travel and no unexpected interruptions.
At the end of those two days, we finally reached Altea, where we would deliver our cargo to Baron Crimson.
But as the city came within view, a man with a knife jumped from behind a rock, starting a sentence that sounded a lot like ‘Okay, hand over your…’, before trailing into silence as he looked at Jimmy and Geziah, sitting with raised eyebrows on the front of the cart and looking straight at him. He immediately dropped his knife and tried to scurry away, but Jimmy stopped him and ‘persuaded’ him to join us to Altea.
The man was fairly harmless, and panicking slightly as he was sitting on our cart, so we tried to get him a little more comfortable by striking up a conversation. I thought it was rather sadistic to keep him with us all the time, but Geziah liked to claim that we had ‘acquired our own minion’ in a cheerful tone and, when he realized we weren’t going to kill him, the man seemed to relax a little.
Eventually, we managed to get his name out of him. He was Gregg, hailing from Altea, so we promised him we’d bring him back to the city and that we’d make sure he’d get there safely.
Yes, we asked him about Nimrod, like we started to do with most of the people we met. No, he didn’t know anything. Yes, Jackie started asking inappropriate questions. Yes, Geziah silenced her.

In Altea, we split paths with Gregg and the merchants that had been travelling patiently with us. Jimmy advised Gregg that he might what to go to Biontola, where the guard could use a ‘brave hand’. I threw a look at the Paladin, but I couldn’t discover any malevolence in the words. Apparently, he believed the guard was perfectly fine now we had taken care of the bandits there, but I had my doubts.
But I didn’t let that get in the way of our travel to the estate of Baron Crimson. On our way, we managed to get some public opinions thanks to Jackie doing some walking and talking around… How she managed not to kill or rob anyone is still a mystery to me… And we found out that, despite his clearly threatening name, Crimson is actually quite the benevolent baron who is in no way evil. At least, that’s what the people told us, their opinions were quite positive.
Eventually, we managed to reach the estate and were met with a closed gate. Jimmy gave the bell at the gate a quick jerk and waited until a friendly servant came around. She told us that Baron Crimson wasn’t in at that moment, and told us that she was in no position to accept the goods and give us our reward. I made my conclusion a moment before she told it to us: we’d have to wait a couple of hours for Crimson to return.

So, as is inevitable with someone like Bootstraps leading your party, we went to an inn to arrange a place to sleep… And drinks. I’ve never seen that man without a tankard when not in combat.
When we were trying to relax a little and kill the time with a fine ale in an inn called ‘The Tripping Camel’, we were approached by a Halfling-sized figure, who asked us if we were the party waiting for the Baron to return. He explained to us that he was authorized to accept the goods and arrange payment, so we looked at each other, shrugged, and followed the Halfling as he led us to a warehouse in a different part of the city.
Geziah stayed with the cart and the goods as we followed the Halfling inside, where we saw more of his friends. It was only in the new light that we recognised that the Halflings weren’t Halflings…
They were Dark Ones.
The stealing, lying cousins of the Halflings.
I looked at Jimmy, who nodded at me with the grim realization still on his face.
I looked at Skyph, who also appeared to have realized our mistake.
I looked at Jackie, who still appeared painfully oblivious.
Jimmy loudly cleared his throat, causing the Dark Ones to look around at him, almost in unison.
“You’re not Halflings, are you?” he asked ‘tactfully’. The Dark Ones, who clearly realized they were in trouble, threw one look at each other before they charged us.
I knew I should have looked around better in the room we were occupying at that moment. I hadn’t seen that there were several balconies, one of which was occupied by another Dark One, but it didn’t get to stop Jackie from jumping forward herself, screaming something like ‘You’re no Halflings!’, which was exactly what Jimmy had just said. She threw her magical dagger, which missed spectacularly, and had it immediately reappear in her hand.
Skyph, Jimmy and I started a slightly more coordinated attack, but it didn’t take long for the Dark Ones to work out that I wasn’t the fighter I was trying to make myself out to me and tried to separate me from the rest.
I was mostly saved by the sudden appearance of several creatures fazing into the real world all around us. I didn’t have any direct knowledge on the creatures, but upon hearing Skyph’s annoyed sounds, I knew that it did have an idea about what they were. At that moment, I couldn’t care less, the creatures attacked everything that moved and didn’t seem to have any particular hostility to any of us.
Jackie made good use of the added confusion to jump forward and kill one of the Dark Ones, which caused her to be immediately swallowed into an unexpected darkness as it got released.
As was Geziah, who had jumped down from another balcony and immediately got taken into this darkness.
Skyph went all out with his magic again, sending bolt after explosion after shiny stuff into everything that tried to get through us, to him. Jimmy went heavily over that, throwing all his strength behind his hammer as the battle raged on.
The new creatures, which I later learned were called ‘Dimensional Marauders’, didn’t seem to have any preference to what they attacked. If it seemed edible, or weakened, they went after it. This meant that one of the Dark Ones that was a particularly heavy victim of our attacks and was bleeding heavily suddenly got gnawed on by a Marauder.
After the darkness lifted and Jackie and Geziah were visible again, Jackie’s dagger suddenly shot out, appearing and disappearing, aiming for eyes and noses of the people in a small area, but it didn’t do much more then leave cuts. Skyph suddenly attacked the same area, leaving another Dark One dead and a big darkness where we once could see.
All the while, though, the Dark Ones that were still left had singled me out and were hitting me through my defences left and right, leaving me bleeding as well. It didn’t take long for the Marauders to realize this, and I could see them storm me, attacking me until I blacked out from the pain and blood loss.

When I woke up, I noticed that Jimmy was already turning away from me again to deal with the Marauders, which were still around us. I got up as fast as I could, raising my Morning Star and letting it come down heavily on the head of the nearest Marauder I could reach. The fight was already nearing its end when the two bleeding Marauders fled the scene, leaving the last one behind with a sheepish look on its face before fazing out as well, leaving us with just the Dark Ones we had started with.
Well, the last remaining two. The little jerk who had been pelting us with spells from the balcony was still doing that much, but the one left behind on our floor suddenly found himself surrounded by us and realized that it would be better to surrender and live to lie another day.
His friend didn’t agree with him. As soon as the tiny man fell to his knees, begging for his life, his friend threw a bolt of magic at him, instantly roasting him.
I looked up, only to see the last Dark One flee the scene. We Untouchables looked at each other, nodded almost in unison, and went into full pursuit of the man, through a door and up a ladder that lead us to the roof.
I’m not a running and jumping kind of man. My chain mail isn’t made to do that kind of things. I wasn’t made to pursue a Halfling over the roofs. While my allies went far ahead of me, I grabbed the staff off of my back and gave it a swing, suddenly opening up a portal in front of me and dumping me in a different part of the city all together. I could still see my friends and the Dark One running, so I went into full pursuit…
But I could see my friends fail one by one. First Jackie took a wrong turn, unable to hear my shouts. Then Skyph missed a jump, tumbling down to the streets. Jimmy lost his wind and had to stop, unable to keep up. Eventually, I felt how a stone underneath my foot gave in to my weight, causing me to fall towards the streets as well.
Thankfully, I landed in a bale of hay, breaking my fall. The tender standing next to it cussed me out as I tried to find a way to get back to the group, but in the end I had to admit defeat.

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Tower Aftermath

Once again, I have to stress: I was unconscious when Jimmy did… Whatever he did with his armour. I don’t know what happened between me going unconscious and me regaining said consciousness, I was blacked out, but I just know I need to kick a certain Halfling in the near future…

Anyway, after I woke up thanks to Jimmy, and we all recovered, we went out for our usual task.
It wasn’t part of our assignment, but it was a freaking Mage Tower. We just HAD to loot the darned building, to see if we could find anything of use.
The first thing we met was a glowing staff, which was quite clearly protected by a ward. Geziah just assaulted the runes forming the ward, eventually erasing enough runes to remove the ward and allowing him to grab the staff.
He studied the staff for a couple of seconds, before giving it to me with the words ‘It’s Arcana, do your thing’.
I didn’t really enjoy this kind of treatment, but looking at the staff, even I couldn’t get a good reading. I figured that giving the staff to Skyph would give us an immediate reading, for the guy is amazing with Arcana, but he was still with the carts and wasn’t of much use to us.
Strangely enough, I couldn’t get an exact reading of the functions of the weapon, either. It seemed… Irregular is the word, I think. I just couldn’t exactly pin it down.
So, I just said ‘Only one way to find out’, swung the staff and aimed it at Jackie. The woman was offended, until she noticed that nothing happened to her. I did feel empowered, actually. I felt like I could squeeze out at least one amazing feat, but I wasn’t going to do anything during the searching.
We found more loot, of course. Two ritual books: Hand of Fate and Dark Light, which didn’t last long before they ended up in my hands, as well, and some Alchemical Reagents and Sanctified Incense to go with it.
Finally, we met with a whip, though I can’t recall who put that one under his belt…
Anyway, by then, I was bursting to do something, and I could feel the energy run to my legs during the walk back from the tower to the village, causing me to break into a run and get far ahead of the party and meet up with Skyph back at the carts.
Not that it actually really mattered, for our little adventure at the Tower and the subsequent resting had taken too long to have any real daylight left, so we stayed for another day in the little village and barn.
Though the people were grateful for our help and invited us to join them for the Celebration Day festivities that day, we knew we had to travel on, for we otherwise would never deliver the cargo to Baron Crimson. And it was still a Baron called ‘Crimson’… Honestly, no need to make the guy wait that much longer.

As the day progressed and we travelled on, we entered a forest that we couldn’t circumvent. Thankfully, this forest didn’t appear to be as haunted as the past one, but we were still very on our toes and we stayed as much with the road as we could, travelling as fast as we could.
But it wasn’t fast enough. Night quickly crept up on us, leaving us with the choice of travelling on through the night, or finding a suitable place to sleep.
Thankfully, the road was a well-travelled one, which eventually brought us to a big clearing that was obviously used before as a resting place. The grass was flattened and the last remnants of what once were fireplaces were dotted around the clearing. We decided it was an excellent moment to take a rest, with the ever-watchful eyes of Skyph and Geziah watching over us as we slept.
The next morning, we were roughly woken up by a half-elf and several of its friends as they accused us of robbing them.
As Jimmy was talking with the small group – I noticed they had sneakily surrounded us – I was hastily getting dressed. Apparently, someone had stolen a horn from the group, and they wanted someone to be punished for it.
Over the ringing of my chain mail I could hear Geziah’s rough Eladrin voice and Skyph’s crystalline tones ensure the bandits – I was about ready to call them that – that Jackie had been asleep the whole evening, but of course they couldn’t convince the accusing party. Jackie eventually – reluctantly – let them search her backpack, from which they managed to produce an ivory horn.
At that point, I was about ready to believe the bandits, though. I wasn’t, and still am not, going to put a little opportunistic robbery above the thieving Halfling, no matter how useful she may be to the party.
But Jimmy was quick to start making excuses, telling the bandits that they didn’t have complete control over the woman and that she was an absolute disaster to keep in check, sometimes. It was true.
Don’t look at me like that.
He tried to buy them off, but the bandits asked outrageous prices and compensations. Geziah was looking around, though, still convinced he hadn’t seen Jackie do anything else then sleep – which says a little more then I’d like – and eventually found little Halfling footsteps. He dragged Jackie and a couple of the bandits over to compare the footsteps, concluding they couldn’t have been from our Halfling.
That made a strong point against the bandits, but they still demanded an explanation for the horn in Jackie’s backpack.
Eventually, I came up with the most diplomatic solution this situation allowed us. We spread our belongings out on our cart, allowing the bandits to look – not touch – and letting them see if they found anything else that belonged to them.
It seemed like the best solution, because I know at least some of us suspected the bandits from foul play, and it seemed like it would prove us innocent.
At least, until they found Geziah’s magical die. When Geziah displayed the ability to only roll three’s, the bandits were convinced that we were the thieves, because they had found one in the place of their stolen belongings as well.
It tripped them off. I hastily grabbed my Morning Star as a battle commenced all around me.

Without so much as a warning, Jackie shot out of the cart, jumping towards a nearby wizard that had ventured too close to us then was smart, and immediately sinking her dagger into the man’s chest. In a wild frenzy, the woman jerked the knife out and immediately plunged it in again, draining the last life out of the magician.
A Longtooth Shifter, who was standing nearby, immediately jumped and attacked her in retaliation, after which Geziah and Jimmy flew towards the Half-elf that had thrown the first accusation, convinced that he was the leader. It didn’t take them long to kill him, Geziah eventually throwing the lifeless body into the air and letting it shatter its bones as it crashed back down.
A berserker, upon seeing his former leader dead, proclaimed ‘I’m the leader now!’, after which he tried to climb on top of our cart. I tried to smack him one with my Morning Star and actually managed to hit, though he didn’t seem to be all too fazed by it. He went straight for Skyph, but miraculously managed to miss the Shardmind.
Skyph had been throwing spell after spell into the fray, sometimes causing enemies to cry out in pain or causing Jimmy to shout in frustration as he was hit again by the enthusiastic man. It was quite the thing to watch, if you weren’t busy preventing your friends from dieing.
And, it should be said, doing that should in no way get in the way of your own survival. While my attention was with my friends, two Dragonborn bandits managed to get the jump on me, both of them searing me with their fiery breaths and quickly sending me on a run to get out of the danger zone.
Both Geziah and Jimmy valiantly started to avenge my pain by starting to attack one of the Dragonborns, leaving it both with gashes from the axe and broken bones from the mace as their ferocious assault didn’t stop before the beastly man went down.
In the meanwhile, Skyph was doing a lot of fancy stuff, letting explosions descend on a group of weak enemies as they were trying get the drop on us. They appeared to cringe, tried to defend themselves before they completely disappeared into the explosions.
After the spectacle had ended, most of them were still standing, looking confusedly around, some trying to determine if they had somehow turned into ghosts, mostly by trying to walk through each other. Eventually, the small group revealed only one of them had fallen…
It was rather pathetic, earning the Shardmind a foul look from me as the survivors now had a clean path straight to me.
Somehow, I managed to survive their assaults, after which I carefully moved away from the attackers and letting one explode with my Lance of Faith. I cringed, but I didn’t feel the stunning wrath of my faith, which would usually leave me shocked if I hurt anyone who was in a critical state…
Somewhere, I knew I could abuse this knowledge, but I decided against it as Skyph was now helpless and needed some serious healing. Though Jackie managed to take out the second Dragonborn before it could take too much out of Skyph, I knew the Shardmind was glad when I reached it and relieved its wounds with my prayers.
Under the constant assault, the Longtooth went into a frenzy. I hadn’t seen it happen before, but it amazed me when I could see the dog-like features take the overtone, making the Shifter look even more beastly then it had already done.
Immediately, it turned its eyes on me and attacked me. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to evade its furious slashes, with those attacks that did hit me being deflected by my chain mail, which continued until Jimmy stepped in with one of the Raven Queen’s holy attacks, utterly destroying the enraged Shifter.
At this point, only one of the weaker minions and the Berserker were still standing. The Berserker attacked Jimmy, but the heavily plated man proved to be quite the match to its attacks, standing through the assault without so much as a scratch. Skyph, Jacky and I started to attack the minion, trying to take the creature out quickly so we could focus on the Berserker, but the little bastard managed to evade our each and every blow. Even when I charged it in frustration, it side-stepped me graciously.
That is, until Jackie appeared behind it. I looked at the minion, seeing it realize what was going to happen. I could see the look in its eyes, the look that went ‘Oh fu-’ before the Eladrin’s Greataxe brought an end to its sorry life.
At this point, only the Berserker was still standing, and it didn’t seem to be in any mood to actually give up. He was still hammering away at Jimmy, blood gushing out of his many wounds, until I brought him down to his final rest.

… I did feel the stunning wrath that time…

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Unwanted Visitors Final Part: Part Five

The mage’s tower looked like an ordinary watchtower, with the only exception that it had sparkling lights and the shivering screams of which seemed like a dozen demons. Apart from that, it had a solid wooden door, a couple of stones that formed the circling outer wall of the building and a distant window in the upper room. No way to get there though, even with Geziah’s teleportation skills. The only available option was to open the door. And that is what the adventurers did.

Inside, they weren’t surprised to discover that the whole place was crawling with all sort of beasts from hell. Walking creatures on legs, but also less identifiable examples of total horror and agonizing pain. On top of the stairs, that was, of course, behind the loads of enemies, stood the wizard that was responsible for this all. Or at least, so the Untouchables imagined. He wasn’t shocked to see the adventurers barge into the tower with no reasonable explanation. Instead, he only spook a few simple words:
“Why are you here?” Jimmy looked at the many demons that were slowly flanking them. It was safe to say he didn’t want to fight them. Therefore he answered:
“Just looking around. We heard there were some complains about demons in the neighborhood. You might happen to know something more about that?”
“They are mine! Muhahahahaha!” yelled the wizard, in delight of his own capabilities. Jimmy nodded.
“Interesting. That sounds like an exceptional display of talent. How long did it take you?”
“Only two weeks!”
“Only two weeks? Wow, that is remarkable indeed. But, I have to ask, is it really necessary to torture the nearby villagers with them? Isn’t that more of the thing an ordinary warlord would do? You clearly present a power that greatly exceeds the trivial influence of a person of that measure, am I right?”
“You surely are! Muhahahaha!”
“So why you don’t just leave those villagers alone and show those bandit lords what you are made of? Prove to them that YOU ARE the greatest of them all. I can say without hesitation that they will be looking at least as much in awe at your presence as a humble man like me would do. You have the power. Now use it to wipe these pathetic mongrels from the face of the earth! Don’t waste your talents on simple farmers.“ For a moment, the wizard seemed to think about the suggestion Jimmy made, but finally the result was the same. He shook his head.
“You are clearly a wise man to say these things about my powers. But my demons need to feed! Muhahaha. You can better just go now, because I will never leave those farmers alo…”

Before the wizard could finish his sentence, a scream could be heard within the small group of adventures, but it wasn’t the sound of sudden pain. It was the war cry of a little female Halfling, that crawled between Jimmy’s feet and rushed towards the first group of demons she saw. An unstoppable force was unleashed. A dagger stinging in an endless barrage, cutting eyes, leaving bleeding wounds and almost killing an enemy, without it to even respond to the attack. The wizard blinked his eyes, in an attempt to stop the Halfling with his pure will, but the attack continued nonetheless.
“As you see, we prefer to kill you then,” Jimmy replied one more time and then rushed into the battle himself. He roared and the words he spook got the attention of nearly every demon in the room and made them sink into a rage they never had known before, a rage that required the instant death of the paladin. But it was also a hurtful rage. One that made them suffer if they didn’t satisfy the need to attack the Paladin. The demons turned around and started walking towards Jimmy. One by one, they attacked, but in an amazing show of persistence, the paladin remained on his feet, which after he got healed by Nick.

With every enemy drawn into the blind rage, Jackie knew precisely what to do. She jumped behind the demon that was sticking in Jimmy’s flank, tapped on its back, stepped back as the demon furiously turned back towards her, stuck out her tongue and provoked the beast furthermore with a teasing wink. The demon screamed at her, forgot the painful urge to hit Jimmy and tried to reach out for the little Halfling that dared to harass him. It then gasped for air when the magic of Bootstrap’s roar penetrated his body and missed Jackie, who was already busy taunting other enemies in the some way, so the magic of Jimmy could damage the other enemies… in the same way.
“You know that magic is meant to protect the innocent right, by hurting those who decide to attack them nonetheless?” Jimmy said when Jackie kind of danced her way across the demons till she reached the other end of the mob.
“I am very innocent,” Jackie verified and stabbed the final demon she reached through his chest, turning the dagger slowly to release a bitter squeal from the creature, “I didn’t attack them. I was just a little girl dancing, poking them in a game of tag.” She drew her dagger back, only to stab it again and finish the demon off.
“That they take advantage of the situation by trying to kill me, that is just evil. It is only right your magic punishes them.” Jimmy shook his head when the Halfling continued her nasty work.

Meanwhile, the wizard looked at the happening with a disastrous look. They were just mocking him. Attacking his minions as if he wasn’t the strongest of them all. Almost enjoying the battle. They were just teasing him!
“Fear my might puny mortals!” he shouted and summoned his energy to fire another ball of magic. It was a successful blow, but not lethal. He swore that the next one wouldn’t be that merciful.
“Hey,” a voice said behind him. The wizard froze. With one eye, he looked behind him. He didn’t like what he saw.
“What… why… how are you here?” Geziah grinned:
“I teleported!” and then threw him off of the stairs. In one final effort, the wizard grasped at the edge, focusing all of his last resources to at least kill this eladrin. This eladrin that would ensure the death of one of the greatest man that would have ever wandered this earth. His eyes burned with hatred. But then he let go, using his two hands to instantly respond by bursting a massive amount of energy at his enemy, that threw him off of his feet. The wizard was dead, but Geziah was heavily wounded.

The adventurers downstairs weren’t doing any better. When they discovered that the dying demons actually released a poisonous gas cloud when they struck the ground, the former joy of the ease in which the battle was fought, disappeared, making the only clever remarks said a periodical coughing. Even little Jackie thought twice before she engaged another demon, that were seemingly coming from all directions all the time.
“I have to get back,” Jackie mumbled when she barely dodges another blow. She was bleeding in her chest and had troubles breathing, so Jimmy nodded and send her towards the other side of the room, where Geziah walked down of the stairs. One demon followed her. Seeing the wounded eladrin however, Jackie quickly knew the demon would very much likely go after Geziah first to finish him off. And with no one to flank with, it wasn’t hard to imagine that Jackie would have no chance at all to perform one of her famous sneak attacks… and with no sneak attacks, she wasn’t much stronger than an ordinary Halfling farmer with a stick to defend himself.
“Get behind me Geziah. You are in no shape to fight.” Geziah frowned when he heard the little female suggesting to defend him, the eladrin that is at least two times as big as she is. Still, he didn’t show any emotion when he considered that twist of fate, nor did he when the Halfling suddenly stopped moving, looking sincerely bewildered at the blade that was sticking in her chest. She too then gasped for air like all of her victims before her had done, when the blade was removed from her body, in a fountain of blood. She felt to her knees. And then she felt down on her face. In one last thought, she hoped Nick would see her, using one of his heals, but as she looked, she only saw the same thing happening to her healer. They were finished.

It was dark. Jackie didn’t know how much time went by before she could breathe again and open her eyes after falling into a dazzling sleep. She was unconscious, but now she woke up, with the same pain in her belly and chest before, but with enough energy to realize what was going on. People were fighting next to her, but the sounds were nearing an ending. One of the two groups had defeated the other. But Jackie didn’t wait to find out which of the two it was. She felt a sharp pain when she reached for her back pack, but quickly found what she was looking for inside it: a piece of bread, that would let her use her inner reserves to remain conscious. She then opened her eyes, only to close it again. Yes, they did win, but what was going on now was even more disturbing then the excruciating pain of a pierced belly and chest. She glanced again, but it was clearly what was going on. No doubt about that. And still, despite the horror, she had expected it. The way Nick was looking at Jimmy, peeking at Jimmy when the paladin removed his armor, suggested something like this was destined to happen sometimes. But still. The look of Bootstraps touching the healer, who was just lying down, was a detail Jackie would have rather missed. Banishing the thoughts out of her head, she placed her hand on the floor and lifted herself off of the ground. Then she said:
“When you are done satisfying your little priest with your “Lay on Hands”, can you then give me some bandage so I can patch myself up?”

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Unwanted Visitors Part Four

Jimmy’s guess the travel would only take a few days showed a confidence that wasn’t particularly accurate, as the travelers soon discovered that the route to the mountains required a walk through a giant forest, where a metaphorical howling penetrated the air. Entering would be the equivalent of simply asking to be killed. The adventures turned their head towards each other. Without exchanging any words, they decided to leave this passage alone and take the extra days of travelling for granted. The merchants, for some reason following them with their own cart, turned white when they looked at the entrance of the forest, after which they quickly followed.

The forest wasn’t the only danger in these lands however. One day later, on the sunny grass of a valley, that was in sight of a nearby village, it was Geziah who ordered his horses to stop. The merchants did the same, although they didn’t exactly knew why, a slice of information they were soon to find out.
“What are these things?” Jackie mumbled when she saw the beasts coming. One by one, the demons appeared on the edge of the hill. As black shadows before the light of the sun. They were winged. They were flying. And they were rapidly approaching.
“Does it matter?” Geziah answered. Nick shook his head and readied his weapon.
“No, it doesn’t. These monsters are demons, enemies of Avandra. They will suffer the might of her wrath!” Jackie raised her eyebrow as if to say: “dude… what the fuck?”, but armed herself anyway.
“Jimmy,” she screamed then, warning the guy that joined the merchants before, to provide them with some sort of protection. “Baddies, whatever o’clock. They are in that direction.” Jimmy nodded and stepped out of the cart. It was only then when the demons attacked.

And it was then they felt. Weak as they were, they had chosen to flee rather than to stick to the fight and die. It was an embarrassing sight. When Jackie was patched up after the short attack, they returned the favor of all the scratching and punches they dealt to her, by bashing through that armor as if the goddess herself guided the adventurers. A dagger was thrown after them in attempt to finish them off, but the cowards got away nonetheless. Frustrated, Jackie screamed an endless rage.
“Ow, shut up Jackie. Go get your dagger so we can leave this place and find a place to rest.”
“Like that village in the distance?” Jackie complained, “Sounds like a goddamn good idea. I have enough of this place anyway.”
“So…”
“So what?”
“Go get that dagger!”
“What the hell are you talking about idiot? I never threw a dagger this whole day. Want to make an exception for you though…” Jimmy hesitated, neglecting an harmless eladrin walk by towards the field.
“So who the hell is it from?”
“Who the hell is what from?”
“The dagger Jackie!”
“Jimmy listen… I will make this very simple: I… NEVER… THREW… A… DAGGER!” Geziah meanwhile whistled a few tones when he reached for the dagger in the grass and cleaned it on his shirt. Jackie frowned. Then she slowly turned her head.
“Geziah?”
“I threw a dagger,” grinned Geziah, then frowned as well: “And it missed. Not a very good magic dagger.”
“GEZIAH?!”
“I guess it is better to just throw it away.” In a blink of an eye Jackie reached Geziah and drew her dagger against him. The eladrin teleported as response on top of her, and kept the little Halfling under his toes, with a playful look on his face.
“Fuck you Geziah! I never should have trusted you. Scum of the earth. All of you. Now let me go, you bastard” Normally Geziah never showed much emotion, but his face deliberately took an doubtful attitude, after which he decided to release his foot from the Halfling face and grab her into the air. Her tiny fists were in a barrage, but she couldn’t hit one single blow with it.
“Leave her alone Geziah and give her the dagger. Seriously, why were you keeping the dagger in the first place?”
“Because it is funny?” Geziah answered, but his face returned to his former unemotional self. He clearly wasn’t pleased with Jimmy’s reaction. He sighed and released the Halfling. Then he gave her the magic dagger. Jackie’s eye sparkled when she saw the blade.
“It is a Wounding Dagger,” she spoke proudly and hugged the weapon as if it was her own child, “It can rip through an enemy’s veins without suffering any penalty from any physical boundaries. It is the one I always wanted!”
“Are you not going to try to slid Geziah’s throat?” Jimmy asked amazed. He had his weapon already drawn to stop anything like that from happening. He knew how Jackie reacted to this kind of things.
“Oh, yeah. Yeah, later… Nick, look at how the edges are formed. If anyone tries to get this baby out once I stabbed him with it, he will cut his own skin only further rather than freeing himself from it.” Nick turned pale.
“That’s sick Jackie.”
“Yeah, it is,” Jackie smiled.

It was late in the afternoon when the Untouchables approached a small village close to the spot they were ambushed… and with small, I, as narrator, mean reeeeaaaalllly small. Looking around they discovered there wasn’t even a single tavern. And when they tried to complain about that to the major, they also found out there wasn’t a city hall, nor a tourist information office to help the adventurers find that out. Actually, the only thing they could find were a couple of farms, with some barns attached to it. Not worth mentioning, but it was better than nothing. They guessed. And it was a questionable guess. Jimmy knocked on the door of the first farm he saw.
“Hello,” he said when the door was opened. The farmer on the other side glanced at him for a moment.
“What is ‘t?” Jackie rose her eyebrow, but she held her mouth shut. Seeing as the rest of the crew didn’t respond to this… shabby accent, it had to be something that was normal… for an idiot farmer who is living days travel from the nearest place to get beer.
“We are here to find a place to stay,” Jimmy answered. The farmer quickly looked at both ends of the road and then invited them in, almost hurrying them to get inside.
“ ‘t isn’t safe. Demons. Foul demons from the grave! ‘t isn’t save. You shouldn’t be here.”
“You mean those ridiculous flying bugs that fled from our presence? We kinda killed them already.” The farmer looked at Jackie intensively.
“Then ‘t isn’t too late. Please help us. Mage’s tower. Couple of miles away. Something is very wrong there. Help us. Please!” Now it was Jimmy who looked questionable at his host.
“Euhm, I am truly sorry. But we are only searching for a place to sleep. I saw you had an empty shed. We would appreciate if we could use it to spend the night there.” The farmer nodded quickly.
“Fine, fine. You can have ‘t. But please, consider helping us. Mage’s tower. The demons. They terrorize us!”
“Yeah, we’ll consider it.” Jimmy answered, but as he turned around, everyone could see it was a lie. There was no way he would forfeit another day by helping these people. Or at least not now. Especially now wasn’t the best timing. For now, he required a good rest and a fresh pint of beer. Beer, from their own beer kegs. With no chance of refilling it in this god forsaken place.

“I say we should help these poor villagers,” Jackie said suddenly. They were spending their time outside on the cart, watchful for any more attackers. The rest looked shocked at the little Halfling.
“You want to help the villagers?” Nick asked skeptical. Jackie instantly replied with:
“Don’t you want to help them? I thought you were like: defend the innocent, stay good and stuff.”
“Yeah,” Nick confirmed, “But you aren’t. What is your goal?”
“My goal? Can’t I just be doing this because I am a good and noble person?”
“No, you can’t.”
“Ah, you got me,” Jackie sighed, “It is just… I want to repent for my sins you know. I have done a lot of horrible things…”
“You are a lot of horrible things.”
“… and now the time has come that I have to start thinking about the future. I can’t be a criminal my whole life. Even I long for a moment where I can just live with my family in peace. Have a few kids of my own. Learn them all there is to know about life. And the last thing I want to tell them, is that her mother never took the chance to right her wrongs. You can understand that right?”
“I guess so…”
“So I say we help these poor villagers and head our way to the tower! And we will vanquish the evils inside it forever!”
“You want the loot right?” Jimmy suddenly asked. It wasn’t really a question though. Jackie knew that, but in a optimistic mood, she tried one last time to bluff her way into the tower:
“There will be loot indeed Jimmy, but that doesn’t even closely cover the unimaginable wealth we will gather from our good deeds towards these poor villagers. Being good always pays off. In heart. And in the soul. And that… my friend, is all that matters!”
“No, you are saying that because of the loot,” Jimmy grinned, but then shook his head, “Still, we are not going to the tower. We already have a job to do.”
“Why?” Nick protested, “Although Jackie makes a mockery of everything I believe in, I see no harm in spending one more day in the sake of saving these villagers.”
“It is dangerous Nick,” Jimmy shouted, “We can die over there. You and that little idiot beside you may not understand it, but I do. Do you think the next battle will be that easy as the one before? Of course not!”
“Well, that is a shame you think that way,” Jackie laughed, but the foul look in her eyes showed that see didn’t miss the part where she was described as a “little idiot”, “But I am with Nick on this one. So you can suck on that. Two versus one. We win!”
“I’m with Jimmy,” Geziah responded. It was quite for a moment. Then Jimmy smiled.
“Gee, it is two versus two I guess. Seeing the fact that I am the leader, I think it is safe to say that I have the decisive vote. We are NOT going to the tower.”
“Well, that is a pity, because Nick and me are staying here then. And then you have no healer. Try to cross the mountains then idiot.”
“I never said…” Nick muttered, but Jackie immediately banished the sound of that and suggested an alternative.
“You know what, we flip a coin. If it is head, we are going to the tower. If it is tail, we skip the tower and its inevitable large loot pile… and the villagers will surely die then.”
“Just flip the coin,” Jimmy ordered. Jackie grabbed a coin out of her pocket and flipped it in the air. For a moment it spanned a couple of times in the air, before landing in a safe place between the four adventurers. It was clearly head.
“Fine, we go to the tower,” Jimmy gave in. Jackie smiled. Then she put the weighted coin back into her pocket. Somewhere in there, it fell head as well. The chance of it showing another outcome was close to zero.

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Unwanted Visitors Part Three

The assassins died. Even the one that tried to get away got slammed on the head by Geziah. A quick search revealed nothing interesting however. The bodies turned into Doppelgangers, each of them wearing a necklace with a crow attached to it, but no one of the group could figure out what it could possibly mean. In the end, they just had to settle with the Potion of Mimicry they found. Only Geziah kept one thing to himself, an item Jackie looked closely at, with an honest doubt asking:
“You know that if that is a Magic Dagger, I would want it very much right?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“And you know that if you won’t give it to me, I would be very pissed off?”
“I know.”
“Okay then…” She looked at Geziah sharply, but his face revealed no expression at all. Finally she shrugged her shoulders and walked to the floor downstairs.

Jimmy knocked on the door, where after the innkeeper opened it reluctantly.
“You know what time it is?” Jimmy nodded. Both of the men didn’t look very happy at the other.
“Yeah,” replied Jimmy, “I know exactly what time it is. It is sleeping time. But you know why we aren’t sleeping? Because we just nearly got murdered, that is why. So tell me, good man, why the hell were we woken up by a bunch of assassins who tried to separate our heads from our body?” The innkeeper was immediately awake. Shocked by the information, he could only whisper:
“You were attacked?”
“Isn’t that what we just said?” mumbled Jackie silently. Geziah slapped Jackie one time on the face to shut her up.
“Yes, good sir, we were attacked. And now your accommodations are filled with the remains of those who attacked us. Now, tell me, how are you going to solve it?”
“I… Uhm… I think I am going to call the guards. Yes, we should call the guards immediately.”
“That is it?” complained Jackie fiercely, “You are going to call the guards? What about some sort of compensation? We got attacked for crying out loud! I am bleeding!”
“Ow, little baby,” Nick smiled and spoke a single Healing Word, “Any better?”
“That is not the point! We killed the men that could easily have taken out that guy if they felt like it. He better give us some sort payment! We kind of saved his life!”
“Jackie, the murderers were after us, not after him,” Jimmy replied.
“Again that is not the point! I want money! I want a magic dagger! And I want it NOW!” A face palm was all she got as reaction.

Shortly after, the guards showed up, alerted by Jimmy who brought them here. After clearing the inn of any guests that might ruin the evidence, they searched the place, but couldn’t find anything more than the adventurers already did. Finally one of them turned towards the Untouchables for any clue he might have missed.
“Did you find anything?” The guard spoke worried, as he knew Doppelgangers aren’t exactly the kind you want to have as your enemies. In theory, everyone could be a Doppelganger. His partner, the inn keeper, even the king itself. It was disturbing. With no specific reason for not giving him the item, Jimmy showed the necklace with the symbol of the crow attached to it. Jackie was the first one to break the silence afterwards.
“It would be terrible if anyone finds out they were Doppelgangers right?”
“You wouldn’t believe how much. The last time something like that happened… it was like a Witch Hunt.”
“So you would give a lot for keeping that information a secret?”
“No Jackie, that is not going to happen,”Nick immediately replied.
“No, no. Hear me out. What if you just give us the hundred gold pieces you promised us earlier and we’ll never talk about this again?” The guard looked intensely at the Halfling. His previous fear was completely disappeared.
“I have a better suggestion: you’ll never talk about this again and I will consider not throwing you in jail for blackmailing. Before you make any decision, you have to know that our current prisoners particularly favor Halflings, especially female Halflings. Get what I mean?”
“Blasted,” Jackie answered.

They rested the night and travelled the short distance towards the merchants guild the next morning. It wasn’t that crowded. The fuss Nimrod caused seemed to have stabilized and work was done around here as usual. Even the receptionist was standing behind the counter like we have remembered from before. And she remembered us as well. Especially Geziah. She narrowed her eyes down when he walked towards her.
“Sir, I am standing here. Let me tell you that. Right here. No need to bang the bell okay?” Geziah didn’t answer. As he walked closer he saw that her smile, that wasn’t honest to begin with, completely disappeared.
“Okay sir, just quit it, I am not in the mood today.”
“In the mood,” giggled Jackie, “Get it, she isn’t “in the mood”. ” Nick turned his head down, looked at the Halfling, shook his head, and continued watching the embarrassing performance of Geziah. The man was still moving closer towards the counter, looked the woman in the eyes and smiled.
DINGDINGDING
“Oh for crying out loud! Guards! Kick that man outside please. Yes, in the horse droppings would be great. Thank you.” Geziah waved at the woman with a smile as he was carried outside. He didn’t make a sound when he was thrown away. Jackie shook her little head and moved towards the woman as well. She shrugged as if to say: “Guys, what are you going to do about them?”, at which the woman smiled forgiving.
“Well, what can I do for you miss?” Jackie barely could raise her head above the counter, but she looked the woman smiling in the eyes nonetheless.
“Miss?” Rapidly, Jackie pressed the bell a couple of times, releasing another DINGDINGDING sound and then flew her way out of the guild, thrown by the same guards Geziah met. The Eladrin stood ready outside to give her a steady high five.

It only took a couple of hours before Nick and Jimmy joined the rest of the group who were waiting at the cart.
“Any information about Nimrod?” Geziah quickly asked. Jimmy shook his head.
“Unfortunately not. They instructed us to bring the crates towards Baron Crimson himself. But they couldn’t give us anymore information we already know.”
“That sucks. So, what are we going to do? Keep the crates, or throw them some sort of well?” Even without the feminine voice of an Halfling, any member of the Untouchables undoubtedly knew it had to be Jackie saying this. Jimmy sighed, a common sign he used in her presence, but kept his answer to a simple:
“The reward is a solid one hundred gold pieces.” Jackie’s attention was immediately drawn.
“That’s better. So, where is that Baron Crimson? Is he somewhere in this part of the town?”
“No, he is in Altea. According to the guild, only a few days travel from here.”
“Yeah, a few days, ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS, jackass,” Jackie replied, “Did you consider that while discussing the price?” Jimmy sighed. Again.
“No Jackie, I did not. Maybe you could have mentioned it, if you weren’t that stupid to get yourself kicked out of the merchant’s guild? You know, for like the fifth time?”
“Is it seriously the fifth time already?” It was a rhetorical question, one Geziah answered by shrugging his shoulders. It didn’t really matter. All what mattered were the orders Jimmy gave:
“Let’s go people. Those crates aren’t going to be delivered by themselves.”

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Unwanted Visitors Part Two

And so our great heroes returned to the city. Geziah in front. Nick on the back. Jimmy drinking from the beer keg they still kept in their cart. Jackie imprisoned in the beer keg they still kept in their cart. Sometimes, the travelling adventurers were just very very cruel towards the little Halfling. Probably still upset from the one time they caught her stealing from the Untouchable loot pile. Nick looked around, ignoring the banging inside the keg, asked again where Skyph was, peeked at Jimmy to check if he still had his armor on and cuddled Touchy Feely who landed on his shoulders.
“Next stop: The Five Boars!” Jimmy shouted drunk. “Step on it Geziah. I long for some fine ale.”
“Finer then the three kegs you already emptied?”
“Finer then the three kegs I have already emptied indeed! First drink is on me!”

The Five Boars was a mediocre tavern in Sannich. There was a better place to be, but there were also worse and seeing the fact that the beer was okay, the Untouchables never thought of trying out the more decent places. Needless to say, it was that place where our adventurers rested… and it was that place where their enemies expected them. They were watching them from the darkness of the shadows. Eyes following. Knifes drawn. Four pair of fists twitching. When they looked closely, they saw how Geziah drank his ale… Dwarven ale… a strong alcoholic brew that can corrupt the intestines entirely. Yes, he could be an easy target. They knew that. And as the adventures continued their way towards the bed room, they held on to that thought. What a mistake to make.

Silently, the footsteps sounded across the second floor. One human opened the left door. An elf opened the right. Both of them stopped for a moment, seeing either a bed on the other side of the door, or a puppet, which was actually just a chair with some equipment attached to it. The elf looked around towards the human, nodded, and continued his way, only to be stopped again by a sharp feeling in his foot. Jimmy left glass on the floor. Sharp pieces of glass. Just in time the elf blocked his mouth with his own hand, stopping his screaming and shivered across his body, as if he wanted to shake the stinging pain off of him. It actually worked. The human, on the other end of the corridor, raised his feet, turned it to the other side of the bed, and crossed the distance with only one step, an action that should have been impossible, but then again, it was Jackie who thought of the plan… and her steps are not that big. Still, something curious was going on. And no one knew of it.

Except for Geziah.

Geziah didn’t sleep. Geziah never sleeps. And therefore: he can never be caught off guard. The palms of his hand were already heading their ways towards his weapon. Even though he didn’t knew what was going on with his allies, he knew what was going to happen with the assassin that was about to open his room. He would see an avenger in the face. And that would be the last thing he ever saw.
“GLUP!” screamed Jackie suddenly, but her mouth was covered and her head caught in the grip of the assassin’s hand. She saw a knife closing in on her neck, but kicked the attacker on his knees before he could finish his move. Instead, he missed and left a hole in Jackie’s shoulder that was about to bleed as hell.
“AMBUSH!” yelled Jimmy immediately when he sensed the danger and forced the attacker away from him, but even he managed to hit the adventurer with an almost fetal wound.
“Not for long…” Geziah grinned and waited for the door to open, before he greeted his “visitor” with an attack that forced his enemy back into the corridor. Nick, who was sleeping in the bed behind him, jumped up, ran over the beds and assisted his team member with a Lance of Faith.
“Fuck this shit,” Jackie cursed and she too jumped out of bed. Within the blink of an eye, she drew her little dagger, swore again because it wasn’t magical, then slid the kneecaps of her attacker with it and kicked him two meters away from her. Giving him the finger, she charged away into the room where Jimmy just shouted “AMBUSH”, ignoring the other two in the hallway.
“Hey, Dickface, I’m here!” The assassin turned around when he heard the little girl scream and barely dodged the knife that could have been deadly. Jimmy, taking advantage of the situation, stood up, and flanked the attacker from behind, managing to hit the enemy, but the enemy walked away afterwards and continued the fight on Jimmy.
“You’re wounded,” Jimmy said, after blocking one of the series of attacks the assassin performed.
“Yeah, sucks to be me,” Jackie replied and looked behind her shoulders towards the two enemies that were closing in on her. One of them was slowed due to her hit, but managed to climb over the beds anyway.
“If you keep him off of me, I can heal you,” Jimmy suggested. Jackie felt at the wound in her shoulders, seeing a vague red trail on her hand afterwards. Still, she shook her head.
“Na, I don’t like you touching me. Especially when you are only wearing your undies. It is a bit akward… you know.” She finished her conversation by engaging the two enemies, cutting out the eye of the one that was already slowed. I guess it wasn’t his lucky day. In the distance, Geziah was still keeping his attacker at bay, slowly winning the battle as the assassin felt to the superior fighting skills and Nick’s disempowering abilities.
“Holding on?” screamed Jackie while she prepared herself for the attacks of her enemy. One of them reached out to her, a second wound as result.
“I am doing…. AAARGH.” Jackie quickly looked around.
“Ah shit…” she said when she saw the body of Jimmy bleeding on the ground, “Nick, you damn asshole, where are you?!” Geziah bashed his enemy to the ground, leaving a changeling corpse on the ground… a changeling?… and then ran into the room to give Jackie cover. Nick, behind him, ignored Jackie’s swearing and instead called his powers as servant of Avandra to heal Nick and weakening the two that were engaging Jackie. Now the one that got his knees slid, his eye cut out, also got weakened, leaving no more than a rather pathetic pile of meat. While others gathered around her to deal with the assassins, Jackie looked at this helpless man, hopping on one leg, and smiled.
“Dude,” she said, deliberately stabbing right of him, so he was forced to step away to the left.
“You must be really feeling fucked up,” she continued and stabbed again. It missed, because her enemy stepped back, like her third attack missed, because the enemy stepped back.
“But believe me…” Jackie smiled again. And again with that devilish smile. The assassin stepped back only to discover he was now cornered… with a window behind him.
“You will feel worse. A lot worse.” She kicked him on his wounded knee, punched him into the stomach, leaving him with no balance. Falling. Through out of the window.

It was then when she saw the mysterious guy, standing on the other side of the street, observing the whole thing.

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Unwanted visitors Part One

Jackie observed her healer with a foul look, when he concluded his statement with a rather pathetic:
“You could at least have said anything to me!” Jimmy shook his head.
“And risk you screaming out that it is unethical and immoral? Something which you do LIKE NOW? We had to do it and if you don’t understand that, then we are going to have some serious issues when all of this is done. ”
“And if you leave me like that again,” Jackie spoke, “Then I will cut your throat and feet you to Touchy Feely.”
“And if you do that,” Jimmy replied, “Correction: if you try to do that, then I will stop you and kick you out of the party myself. We are not going to kill any teammembers. Understood?”
“But he betrayed us!”
“UNDERSTOOD JACKIE?!”
“Well all right then…” Jackie sighed. Then, when Jimmy walked out of side, she whispered a final threat in Nick’s ear. A threat he neglected, as he pointed out that she better be a little nicer to him… if she wanted to be ever healed in combat again. She answered with a long silence.

“What’s behind that door?” asked an interested Geziah. All of Untouchable’s members glanced at the door for a moment, in the middle of the corridor, just behind the location the two guard dogs guarded… before they were killed of course.
“Why don’t you try out the door to know for sure?” suggested Jimmy impatiently. Geziah shrugged his shoulder.
“Good thinking.” And then, when he touched the door knob with his fingers… nothing happened. Well, no traps were unleashed. No magic barrier was protecting the door. It wasn’t even locked. Without hesitation the door opened and revealed a small room with a giant crossbow on the roof. Of course, the bow was locked on our position. One arrow aimed at us.
“Maybe the thing activates when I step inside?”
“Good thinking,” Jackie smiled and pushed the Eladrin forward. As Geziah felt into the room, Jackie continued to study the crossbow. It only took a short moment before she said: “Hmm… I guess you’re wrong. A pity.”
“Bitch,” Geziah simply replied, but he clearly was more interested in what was inside the crossbow: a single arrow, in the open, just waiting for him to release it from the pathetic construction the bow was supposed to be. It was almost waving towards the Eladrin, begging to be rescued.
“Release me,” it whispered. Geziah listened, although the rest looked at him skeptical, knowing they should just move… like further. Dirk, the eccentric blacksmith was waiting for them. Well… at least he couldn’t wait to kick the adventurers out of the cave , I don’t know if he liked the Untouchables that much after they wounded poor Nelson. “Release me… and I will serve you well.”
“I am going to grab the arrow!” Geziah decided and teleported on top of the thing and took the arrow out. All of them shivered when he did that, except for Jackie, who was looking forward to see him get pierced of the trap by some sort of mechanic. Unfortunately, Geziah soon cheered and danced when he was one arrow richer and waited patiently until a second one magically appeared, which he also took.
“Each of those arrows are worth like 1 bronze coin!” Geziah shouted, “ONE BRONZE COIN EACH! If we keep on collecting these arrows, WE WILL BE RICH, by the time we celebrate our 200th birthday!” Jimmy sighed. With him, one of the Gods (the great god of Ni Els) in the distant skies ended this performance with one quick decision. The crossbow shot one piercing blow, throwing Geziah off of his feet and forcing him to release a quite awful yawn when he grabbed his vital parts and the arrow that was sticking into it.
“Nick. Arrow. Hurts. Like. Hell.”
“Ah well, it is not like you have anything of value there anyway,” sneered Jackie. Nick shook his head and removed the arrow with his Healing Word. Jimmy then ordered the group to stop with this nonsense and enter the room where they found Dirk, the eccentric blacksmith and the many homunculi he worked on. He wasn’t happy.

“So you barge into my workshop, to question me about something I DON’T want to have anything do with, after you killed my very own assistant?” Dirk asked us.
“Well, technically, we didn’t kill him,” Jimmy replied modestly.
“Get out!”
“Wait. Wait a minute,” Jackie protested, “We came all this way, slaughtering many metallic uglies. We ain’t going to leave now just because you “don’t want have anything to do with it” Dirk looked at Jackie for a moment, his head slowly turning red, then purple, then into some kind of mad idiot scientist color no one has ever heard off, before he went into an complete rage.
“GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT! I DON’T TAKE MONEY FROM YOU IDIOTIC MERCHANTS ANYMORE! ”
“I think we started off on the wrong foot,” Jimmy replied again, after he mumbled something with the words: “Jackie” and “shut up”.
“DO YOU THINK SO?”
“Yes. We are only here to collect some of the crates you made for the merchant guild. They already paid for it. “
“Oke… And why… oh why… didn’t you said so in the first place?” Although his tone sounded slightly gentler, he still looked at us with an hatred that could be best described as “bad”.
“We asked, you didn’t let us in.”
“No you asked for an appointment. You didn’t say you were here to collect the goods. You didn’t said you were here to release me from these damn things instead of forcing me to make more of this junk.” Jimmy looked at the rest. They shrugged their shoulders.
“Ah yes. That’s right.”
“So… do you have an explanation for the fact that you rather kill my guards and ruin my privacy instead of… well. just saying that you simply came to collect those bloody crates?”
“Well… my Intelligence isn’t that high… the “smart guy” is mostly distracted in ways we cannot imagine. Skyph is his name. Know him? Tall guy. Made of rocks.”
“Get out,” spoke the Dwarf calmly. “And take your damn crates with you.”
“Oke, thank you good sir,” Jimmy replied. As the dwarf walked out of the room to find the battered parts of Nelson, Jimmy reached his head to see what Jackie was doing. And then shook his head.
“Jackie, leave the hammer of that poor guy alone will you?”
“But its shiny!”

Jackie too was a sad panda that day, when they drove their way back to Sannich, without a shiny hammer.

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Party Strife

Ahem, let us continue, shall we?

Having beaten the ever-loving crap out of the Orcs and their Cockatrice, we decided there was absolutely no reason to stay where we were. The mist was starting to clear out a little, so we made as much haste to move on as we safely could, until we could see a dark cloud of smoke rise over a nearby hill.
Ever the adventurers we were, we sent Jackie out to check it out. She was gone for quite some time, causing me to worry a little, until she returned to tell us about the small Orc camp that was located just beyond the hill, and the apparently magical dagger that was just lying around.
I hadn’t forgotten the stunt she’d pulled with the Knife in Your Back, so I shot her a foul look and urged the party not to get too excited just yet. To attack a full camp, we’d need to use a better strategy then our usual ‘charge in and kill stuff’. Though I know that Fortune Favours the Bold, I have also held the opinion that there’s a fine line between ‘bold’ and ‘suicidal’.
We had quite the strategy meeting before actually going out to perform any kind of plan. Eventually, we sent Geziah out on a horse with the Scroll of Pyrotechnics we had acquired from the wizard back in Sannich and the orders to create some fireworks quite the distance from the camp and us.
It took him almost half an hour, but eventually, we could hear the light and explosions in the distance. I checked it out, to see that he was actually flashing the symbol of Corellon in the sky. The show-off.
But, I have to admit that it had its effect. Jackie reported that the Orcs were storming off towards the fireworks, so we waited thirty seconds before we stormed the now empty camp. I didn’t like it, but I tolerated the brief looting that took place before we started torching the camp. We had just set the last hut alight, when a terrible roar reached my ears.
The Orcs had returned early, and had caught us right in the act.
The first feeling I had was shame, let me tell you that.
Orcs are fierce chargers and would most probably catch up to us before we would lose them, so we decided to stand our ground and fight them as they reached us.
When she had gathered quite the group of Orcs around her, Jackie released a blinding flash, sending three of the Orcs grabbing for their eyes as they went to the ground.
Killing those three minions didn’t completely get rid of the threat, though, as more and more Orcs started pouring into the camp, eventually even accompanied by a Shaman. Jackie started taking quite the pounding and almost got knocked unconscious if it wasn’t for her Brooch of Shielding and my magic.
While we were steadily slaying our way through the Orc attackers, the Shaman cast some kind of spell that knocked both me and Jimmy down. Though I was quick to stand up and start casting again, an Orc charged right past Jackie to stop me from doing so.
For one reason or another, Orcs have the tendency to, once they are next to me, stay next to me and keep attacking me. While trying to dodge the jerk, I heard a horse galloping in and suddenly saw a mass of brown horse suddenly join Jimmy in his battle with the Orcs.
I only needed to hear him say ‘Did you miss me?’ to know that Geziah had returned. He started swinging with his Greataxe from the back of the horse, actually managing to take some of the Orcs out before the Shaman started to become too much of a problem and forced him to actually fly off his horse to attack him.
With Geziah keeping the Shaman busy, Jimmy and Jackie had the full opportunity to take the other Orcs out before we surrounded and killed him, too.
After the battle, Geziah went to retrieve the horse and Jimmy handed a belt, which he had apparently looted from the Shaman’s hut, to the Eladrin as we walked back to the cart to take a rest for the day. Though it had only been two battles, those Orcs had taken a lot out of poor little Jackie and we feared for the life if we kept pushing on.

When I woke up, I could see Geziah in his meditative state, with Touchy-Feely on his lap. I had almost forgotten about the drake, but, well, it doesn’t do much more then follow us around, anyway. I really wonder if we’ll ever see the day the drake will join us in combat.
As everyone got ready for the travel, me performing my usual prayer for a safe travel, Jimmy and Geziah doing… Well, whatever was required for their gods, really, and Jackie undoubtedly looking for something to snatch, I couldn’t help but feel a shiver run down my spine, like something uncomfortable was standing ready to happen, and was just waiting for us to get into the right position. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, so I kept quiet for the trip on towards the mountain. With two Orc parties down our belt, we felt pretty sure we could take whatever would be thrown at us, anyway.
The travel was, once again, long. The bad thing about mountains is that they’re so large that, by the time you see them, you’ll still have quite the way to go before you actually reach them.
We had all the time to look at the lumbering mountain as we got closer over time, eventually making out a cave system that looked important. Dirk was a dwarf, so it wasn’t too far-fetched to think he would do his job underground, but we couldn’t possibly form a real plan of action until we knew what we were up against, so the trip was long and silent.
Eventually, when we reached the mountain, we knew what would form the problem. A short search into the tunnels told us that it was a maze inside, a complex labyrinth of hallways and forks in the road that would assure us we’d be hopelessly lost by the time we would want to try and get back.
It seemed a lot safer to take the rickety road upwards, to see if we could find anything up there. It didn’t matter that we had to leave the cart behind eventually, forced to go on on foot, it still beat getting lost in those tunnels with limited Sunrods to provide us with light.
As we moved up, we eventually reached an end to the path with just a platform high above us, way too far up to reach. Geziah climbed up with the climber’s kit we had found and a rope, so he could drop down the rope for us to get up easier.
Not that it helped. Jackie, Jimmy and I all failed going up, but Jimmy managed to get up quite fast on his second try. I knew Geziah had stopped watching, and not too long after he had gone, a platform started lowering for Jackie and I to jump on to.
I have to admit, my track records for jumping and climbing aren’t that fantastic. I’m no acrobat, I’m a healer, but after Jackie made the jump, I followed suit and actually landed safely on the platform. Geziah got it to go back up, and we were finally all up on the platform and were presented with yet another cave to enter.
Jackie went up ahead again, with Jimmy and I at the entrance. Geziah went after Jackie, but after a loud ‘Ouch!’, both Jimmy and I pulled up our shoulders and followed suit to meet the duo not that far into the cave itself.
From what I could see, there was a kind of Drake with four huge horns on a chain, snarling at Jackie and Geziah. I couldn’t see much further into the cave, but I could make out an… Unnatural kind of speech coming towards us, inquiring us about our reasons to be there.
We calmly explained that we were there to meet up with Dirk, but the voice – a Warforged, it turned out – told us we would have to wait until the next day. We arranged that we could actually stay in the sheltered cave, only later thinking about the horses we were leaving out in the cold, instead of navigating the mountains back down again. I’m pretty sure someone would have fallen down if we had to get back up a second time.
Eventually, while we were getting comfortable in the cave, setting up a modest camp, the Warforged actually took the horned Drake on a leash and calmly walked into the tunnel complex while leaving the two automaton dogs behind in a deactivated state.
This didn’t stop Geziah and Jackie from walking by a couple of times, testing the automatons out, until I stopped them and actually told them there wasn’t anything powering them at that time. We would just have to spend the night there and wait for the next day to come.

That morning, I had the shiver running down my spine again. When we woke up, the Warforged went back into the room that would presumably hold Dirk, only to return with the message that Dirk ‘didn’t take any more commissions’ and we could ‘return in a month’.
Yeah, none of us really bought that, but when the Warforged took the Drake out for a walk again, Jimmy got the bright idea of asking it if we could walk along, get to know the tunnel system and everything. The Warforged agreed and gave us a short, but very silent tour that only had one real stop, the exit, before we went back again.
Before I knew what happened, Jackie had jumped the Warforged with her dagger out and the two dogs suddenly teleported in. Geziah attacked one of those dogs, after which I made my hasty retreat, not sure of what had suddenly possessed my comrades to do this. There wasn’t any reason for this, but it appeared that the other three had already discussed this plan ahead of time!
Suddenly, as I was looking on from a short distance, Jackie got knocked prone by the Drake, after which the Warforged attacked her and knocked her unconscious. No matter how angry I was, I couldn’t just stand and watch how my friends died, so I stepped in and rejuvenated her with a well-placed Healing Word, shouting that they had better not kill anyone this time. This didn’t stop the battle from forcing her down again, but at least I could say I tried and did it again.
The battle took a long time, with me, reluctantly, trying to keep my comrades in peek condition. When the Warforged finally went unconscious, the dogs went with him and the party quickly disposed of the Drake.
I can tell you, I didn’t get happy looks while the others were tying the Warforged and the Drake up. Eventually, when they were done, Jimmy walked up to me, and we started to bicker about the reason and ethical behaviour in general as we walked back towards the door.
I wasn’t a happy panda.

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Orcish Encounters

Once again, my friends, the group thinks it is my turn to continue the tale. If this means I’m a good storyteller, or simply that my comrades are too lazy to tell, I don’t know.
Let me rectify one thing that Geziah said, though: I did not peek! I would never look voluntarily at Jimmy when he’s in… Like… LIKE THAT.

Ahem. Sorry for that.

Where Geziah left us, we were still in the crypts of Avandra, having taken a long rest under her watch as we prepared ourselves to travel back to Sannich.
After a good – and safe – night’s rest, we made ourselves up to travel back to Sannich, with the materials needed to stem the wizard happy. If we managed to get through to him.
I have to say, I tried. I really tried, but the man is so absent-minded that everything I said was lost on him. Eventually, probably bored with all the talking, Geziah found a note of the wizard’s son, which told us to grab a hundred gold’s worth of ritual scrolls, at our own picking.
I’m never the one to complain when there’s rituals to be chosen.
Eventually, after taking our picks, I turned around to my fellow travellers. I just know that my face turned sour when I noticed someone had gone again.
Indeed, Skyph had gone missing. Jackie and Jimmy both didn’t know where the guy had gone, but Geziah said something about him ‘really needing to do something’. That Shardmind really works on my nerves when he pulls something like that, because he’ll probably land on me next time he portals in.
Well, anyway, as we were walking outside, trying to decide what to do next – we were kind of out of leads – we, in the end, decided to look for Hul’Thar and Joshua, so we could at least boast about our accomplishments the day before.
We found them in an inn, which kind of surprised me. Weren’t they supposed to guard the town? Well, anyway, Jimmy and Geziah joined Hul’Thar in drinking alcohol, while telling the story about the crypt was left with me and Jackie. Which means it was left with me.
I recall seeing a plethora of emotions running over the face of the paladin as our tale advanced, ending with him sighing, wishing he could have been there to aid him. We once again assured him that he was working for the greater good back here, tactically keeping the treasures out of the story.
What? Don’t look at me like that, we need that money to survive. And I was already bringing four worshipers of other gods into the crypt at the time, a fifth would have just been too much.
In the end, Jackie found it necessary to put Joshua in his place a little. The man had claimed to have beaten a Blazing Rider by himself, which we thought was rather hard. One way or another, the little woman managed to convince the paladin we had beaten five blazing riders in the crypt.
Yeah, while I could see the paladin believing that, I was turning rather cynical at that point and didn’t really see why he would believe the woman. Maybe it was because of my company, or just because I’ve seen quite a lot, but her story just sounded rather fake.
But, as I said, the paladin believed her and seemed quite impressed. We carefully tried to guide the conversation away from the crypt, as we discussed what we were going to do next. We had to confess that we didn’t have much of a plan left by now, but Joshua said he had heard some unsettling rumours coming from the north.
As he was standing up, Joshua addressed Hul’Thar as ‘my good friend’, which just earned him a raised eyebrow and an expression that seemed to disagree. I had some trouble trying not to laugh at the paladin, who probably didn’t know any better. I was feeling sorry for him, somewhere.
When Joshua was gone, Hul’Thar didn’t seem to be all too thrilled to be left with us. That said, we weren’t too welcoming to him at the time, so he, too, told us he would be leaving. He claimed to be heading for the capital, but for one reason or another, Jimmy found it to be necessary to mention the slaying of the young Black Dragon we had done mere days earlier.
As some panicked sweat ran down my spine, I wasn’t able to find any change in Hul’Thar’s behaviour. The black Dragonborn remained calm, and actually complimented us on the difficult achievement, once again reminding us of the tough battle Black Dragons can put up.
With Hul’Thar gone as well, we eventually really didn’t have a clue of where to go next. In desperation, I pulled the letter we had pilfered from the bandit leader out of the Bag of Holding, and figured that the list of carts was actually from the Merchant’s Guild. Together, we decided that we could at least go to the Guild to see if we could find out what the cargo for Baron Crimson actually was.
Before we could actually get to ask that question, though, we found the Guild building to be packed with people all talking and worriedly walking around until the noise was reduced to something of a buzz. Most of the people standing around in the hallway weren’t able to form a coherent story, so we went for the counter where a woman was looking surprisingly bored considering the situation. Perhaps she was used to stress in the guild, or perhaps she was just in an automatic mode that turned on when she wasn’t being bothered, it didn’t really matter that much…
Because when Geziah reached the counter, he leaned over it, looking the woman in the eye with a grin on his face and just started hammering the bell. She threw him a very foul look, after which she immediately turned to me and Jimmy, apparently looking like more sensible people.
A short questioning got us the information that something had been stolen from the Merchant’s Guild. We were understandably shocked, for the guild is known for its heavily protected vaults and ultimate customer security. Now, however, the exact amount of three hundred thirty-three gold was pilfered from the guild vault.
Upon hearing this, Geziah immediately jumped in, demanding confirmation about this number. The woman didn’t really look like she had forgiven him for his action before, but she reluctantly confirmed that, indeed, three hundred thirty-three gold was gone. As if he had heard enough, Geziah pulled us apart and told us a very… How do you say it… Typical story.
He told us about the reason he became a travelling Avenger. How he had been a servant at a temple to Corellon, back at his home in the Feywild. He told us how a thief named Nimrod had stolen an important artefact from that temple and had left, as an only clue, a magical six-sided die that only rolled three’s. He demonstrated the die before us, rolling three threes in a row. It was enough to convince me he was speaking the truth.
Jackie told us that she knew why Geziah hadn’t caught Nimrod yet, telling him that ‘to find a thief, you need to think like a thief. That makes me perfect!’
… Yeah, not the smartest thing to say in an office of the Merchant’s Guild that had just been robbed. A guard overheard her and caught on, grabbing her by the neck and kicking her out.
With his knowledge as a weapon, Geziah stepped to the woman behind the counter again, telling her that he could carry important information on catching the thief. After reciting a shortened version of the story, the woman agreed to let us talk with the Head of this Guild establishment, Tomath.
Tomath let us quite quickly into his office, sitting behind a desk with two empty chairs in front of it. Geziah took a seat, and I told Jimmy to sit down as well. Jimmy told me to sit down.
We both kept standing while Geziah once again told his story to Tomath, rolling his die to demonstrate the truth of his story. If it hadn’t been enough, he’d have the word of a Cleric of Avandra and a Paladin of the Raven Queen to back him up, but I was glad that it did turn out to be enough for the Head.
In fact, he told us that a similar die had been left in the vault of the Guild as well. He showed us how he, also, could only roll threes. It was rather uncanny, but for Geziah it appeared to convince him only more that it was Nimrod pulling strings.
Tomath told us, however, that there wasn’t much we could directly do for the guild at that time, but that he could actually use a good party of adventurers to help him out on a different job. Of course, we agreed we could at least hear his offer out.
It turned out that the guild had already sent out a party of adventurers to pick up three crates of weapons from Dirk, an eccentric Dwarven blacksmith who lived in the mountains north of Sannich. They hadn’t returned since, however, and Tomath feared for the return of the weapons, so he offered us 340 gold to get the crates ourselves. We agreed, because hey, easy money.
After shaking hands with the man, I remembered why we originally came to the guild and fished the letter of the bandits out of the Bag of Holding again, showing it to Tomath to see if he had any clue what the caravan was carrying. He started stressing out, though, because apparently, those papers were highly classified and weren’t supposed to be out in the open. Some hasty accusations were made, but we clarified we had only found them. What we didn’t like, was that Tomath wanted the letter, to keep the information a secret.
Now, I couldn’t care less about the caravan information, but it was a bit of a bummer that we lost the original letter to the bandits. It was a clue, and I should have thought to at least copy it before showing such obviously sensitive information to the one that is responsible for keeping that information as secret as possible. We actually got threatened with Tomath calling the guards and having us arrested, which led to some friction from us having just accepted a job from the man, but in the end we decided to keep good relations good and just handed over the papers.
But we didn’t leave before hearing what the freight for Baron Crimson actually was, because that was what we were coming for. Apparently, it was a dark blue, slightly see-through magical crystal about the size of a small boulder.
Yeah, I could see how someone wouldn’t want to lose a crystal that size. We promised to look out for the crystal before heading out to buy a ceramic hand for our Unseen Servant ritual and heading out to collect our freight from Dirk.

I have to say that the cart we had pilfered from the dragon’s cave was quite the solution to a lot of walking. With Geziah behind the reins, the road was long and boring, but at least safe. We travelled towards the mountains Dirk was supposed to be in, having to go through a misty valley that made Jimmy slightly nervous and made it impossible for us to look further then a couple of feet.
That’s why I was nearly scared shitless when a form resembling a human suddenly appeared in the mist. Jimmy immediately jumped off of the cart and attacked the form, knocking it over.
It turned out to be a statue of a human, standing in a scared pose and looking way more realistic then most artists can manage with a normal hammer and chisel.
I figured we had just found the previous collection party.
We all figured it would be better to send a scout ahead of the cart into the mist. We also figured that Jackie, being a natural thief with her small frame and the least likely to be caught sneaking around, was the optimal choice to go ahead. And so she went, disappearing into the mist, but it didn’t take long before we heard some kind of grunting and Jackie started screaming something about Orcs.
An Orc rampaged out of the mists, heading straight for me but missing with its reckless swing. Another one charged at Geziah, swinging and quickly wounding the Eladrin.
I don’t know how it happened, but the battle quickly turned against us as the Orc that had attacked me kept trying, forcing me to keep one eye on him while also trying to keep an eye on the battle as it unfolded. We started with an advantage as Jimmy and Geziah managed to take down the Orc that appeared to have the leading position, but the others seemed to work perfectly fine without a coordinating element.
Well, we are talking about Orcs here, there’s preciously little to be said about coordinating elements without a Shaman around. It didn’t mean anything to their heavy damage output, though.
What I hadn’t expected, though, was for some kind of chicken to join the fray pretty quickly in. Whenever it attacked someone, being it Jackie, Geziah or Jimmy, the target started to have trouble walking, moving, and I couldn’t do anything about it until they shook the problems off for themselves. Geziah went after the chicken – which Jimmy identified as a Cockatrice – but it did a lot of damage that I had to take care of.
However, we wouldn’t have been the Untouchables if we didn’t take care of the little Orc problem. Eventually, when there were only two Orcs left, Jimmy managed to persuade one to drop his weapons. Geziah immediately reacted by smashing the creature unconscious before it could make a run for it, after which the Paladin tried the same trick on the last Orc left.
And again.
And again.
Even Jackie tried, but it was a very perseverant Orc, until Geziah just killed it, almost out of pity.
After recovering from the battle, we started questioning the Orc we had captured. Luckily, Jackie spoke Giant and managed to translate for us… Whenever she wasn’t trying to slit the beast’s throat. As I was holding the Halfling back, we learned that the Orcs were just raiding people entering their territory to please their god, and that he didn’t have any interest in returning to his warband – they’d only kill him anyhow.
Eventually, we realized that the Orc didn’t have any intention of staying alive. I still kept Jackie back while Geziah made sure the creature died a quick death, after which Jimmy took care of the body.

That wasn’t our only encounter with Orcs for the day, but do allow me to wet my whistle a little before continuing this story. I’ve got a lot more to tell, and we’re going to get to some sinister parts, here…

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