Dawn of the Unflankables

Chapter 8: Idiots Abound

Having hung out with the law and won, our heroes roam freely around Stonehelm. They realize that someone needs to post bail for Azaghal. They draw straws, Ryndir drawing the shortest. With that, he sets off glumly to the precinct. Mere minutes later, Azaghal shows up, sans Ryndir and with no knowledge of any bail.

While waiting for Ryndir to return, they are approached by the nervous guard from the interrogation room with the missing brother. He is more insistent this time about getting the heroes to find his brother. The heroes learn that his brother Bernard isn’t the most financially stable individual. He enjoys gambling and often resorts to shady jobs to earn gold. He left two weeks earlier to pick up a parcel and deliver it to the town of Ravenswood, a three day ride from Stonehelm. Unsure how to pay the heroes for their help, the guard takes them to Bernard’s house to check his safe. Bernard’s abode is filthy, extremely dusty with papers and other useless trash lying about. The guard, who introduces himself as Pykall, finds the poorly hidden combination to Bernard’s safe and removes the contents: 500gp and two silver rings. Pykall offers everything in the safe to them as payment for their assistance. The heroes look over a few of the loose papers and discover a letter stamped with an insignia featuring a candle. The letter instructs Bernard to pick up a parcel and deliver it to Ravenswood to a man named Barnabus. The letter stresses the parcel’s importance and ends, without signature.

Before taking his leave, Pykall hands Pineroot a small blood red stone. He explains that he drew some blood, which Magic Johnson used to create the stone. To activate it, you must speak the name of the person you seek. It will lead you in the direction of this person, but it will only work if they are a member of the bloodline used to create the stone. Pykall heads back to the precinct, with a message for Ryndir to meet his companions at Ravenswood. The heroes decide to visit Magic Johnson before they leave. Darksex decides to leave his flask of memory loss potion so that Magic can enchant it to never run out. After a brief chat about soul-binding, Pineroot activates the bloodstone. Blood begins to drip from the stone, between Pineroot’s fingers, and onto the ground. Magic Johnson suggests that the stone be placed on a flat surface as it will work better, so Darksex buys a large bowl.

The drops of blood that leak from the stone form a line that extends to the edge of the bowl, indicating the direction of the missing Bernard. A guard at the front gate confirms that Ravenswood lies in the same direction. When questioned about the bowl of blood, Pineroot mumbles something about it being wine and the heroes head to the wagon. Hours pass as the adventurers follow the direction of the bloodbowl. As afternoon changes to evening, Pineroot spots a group of fallen trees among the woods. After stopping the wagon, our heroes discover that there is a path of broken trees that leads further into the forest. A look at the bloodbowl confirms that Bernard lies in the direction of the broken trees. Smugs and Gale keep watch at the wagon, while the rest of the party head into the woods to investigate further.

The path of destruction continues, and the heroes notice that the ground is dotted with large footprints. Azaghal recognizes the footprints as ogre tracks. They warily continue through the woods eventually reaching the mouth of a cave. The heroes quickly move to the side of the cave where they see a great deal of blood. Lying among the rocks at the cave entrance is none other than Bernard, mortally wounded. Ulfgar wastes no time and heals Bernard’s wounds, saving his life. When the heroes try to take Bernard back to the wagon, he stops them, saying that the ogre attacked him and stole his parcel – a gem to be used as evidence. After some questioning, the heroes determine that Bernard is an idiot and that they need to find the missing gem. They take Bernard back to the wagon, where they lock him in one of the cages. Ulfgar hatches a plan to lure the ogre out of the cave and drop a heavy boulder on it from the top of the cave. One by one, the heroes climb to the top of the cave, the exception being Darksex who is lifted via rope by the others. Together they move a couple large boulders to the edge, above the entrance.

Darksex summons his shadow butler and sends him in to find the ogre…to no avail. Rope around his waist, Darksex is lowered to the ground where he hurls silverware into the cave to try and lure the ogre out. But nothing happens. Azaghal and Pineroot move into the cave to see if they can spot the horrible creature, discovering that the tunnel extends deep into the cave. The adventurers decide to explore the cave in order to find the ogre. A short ways into the tunnel, they hear an approaching squeaking.

Out from a crevice in the wall, a spinning device shoots forward on a track. As it leaves the crevice, a group of broken, rusty swords fan out from the top of the device and spin wildly. The heroes watch as the device reaches the other end of the passage, the blades fold back up, and it disappears through another crevice. The party moves into the cave before the trap makes its way back around and they reach a fork in the tunnel. They follow the footprints to the left, turn another corner, and find a massive boulder embedded in the ground. A huge hole in the wall makes the heroes suspect it was another trap.

Up ahead, the heroes spot another passage to the right, and several broken spears on the ground straight ahead. Azaghal’s obsession with sharp objects gets the better of him and he dashes ahead to grab one of the spears. The rest of the group catches up and through a massive hole in the wall, they see a hulking shape. The ogre’s back is turned, fists flying on what seems like just the wall. Using the element of surprise, the heroes charge in. Ulfgar sinks an arrow into the ogre’s back, while Pineroot slashes at it’s legs and Azaghal lashes out with blade and fist. The ogre spins around, enraged, and aims a fist at Pineroot. Taking advantage of the vast size difference, Pineroot easily dodges and counters with a quick castration. Darksex, ever the showman, finishes off the great creature with an eldritch blast. Searching through the ogre’s ruined manbits, Pineroot finds Bernard’s parcel – a pouch containing a red gem.

The heroes don’t have time to relish their victory, however, as they hear voices approaching from the passage they had passed. Rounding the corner are three goblins, one a great deal larger than the others. However, the goblin scouts are unprepared for what they encounter. Pineroot casts an illusion of a great, angry head, while Darksex magically increases the volume of his voice and shouts, “None shall pass! Or all shall perish!”. This is enough to convince the smaller goblins to turn tail and run back down the passage they came from. Cries of pain and surprise follow their departure as they set off one of their own traps. The large goblin is too terrified to move. His nightmare intensifies as Ulfgar swaggers out from the mouth of the illusory face and delivers a blow with his hammer. Pineroot attempts to hurtle over Ulfgar, but only manages to stub his crotch on the back of Ulgar’s head. The goblin has no time to register this, however, as Azaghal quickly beheads him. With the parcel in hand and their bloodlust satiated, our heroes leave the goblin cave to return to the wagon.

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snakeskinjones

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