Vita est ludus
The thin line between fantasy and reality...













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 1 - Onto the Web

Marpenoth 28, 1372 DR (5:00 PM) Szith Morcane: The Web

Tebryn walks up next to Veracity and looks down. He frowns and points. "Look. There's a drow climbing down the webbing. He must have heard that sentry that called the alarm!"

Igor peers down. "I don't see him, because it's dark, but I bet if I get closer I can spot him. We should stop him, before he comes back with reinforcements." He draws his sword and fades into invisibility.

"Yeah, good thinking!" agrees Hazen, doing exactly the same thing as Igor.

Veracity peers off to the right. "Better watch out for that!" she calls, pointing at a gargantuan spider, at least 20 feet across. The spider sits quietly on the webbing not far below the rim of the ledge.

As the party watches from above, a large group of other drow climb out of a hole in the cliff face and onto the web. As they start to move laterally to the left, they look up and see the invaders. They scowl and curse, but continue scuttling to the side. One of them also looks down the webbing and intently follows the path of the invisible fliers.

"Wherever they are going, they must be stopped," says Yol. "I will give them a peek at what inevitably awaits them." She mutters and waves a small piece of bone at them in a peculiar pattern. As the bone crumbles to dust, seven of the drow gasp and, looking wildly in all directions, hastily try to return to the hole from which they'd come. Yol smiles.

Three of the drow look up disdainfully at Yol and continue along the web. The one who had been tracking the flight of Igor speaks an arcane chant and gestures at him. Igor appears, his invisibility having been dispelled. "Huh," says Igor, looking at himself and back up at the mage. "OK. You're my target now!" He smiles and flies up to the mage. With a single mighty slash of his great sword, he fells the offending spellcaster.

"Wow!" says Brianna. "Go, Igor!"

Meanwhile, Hazen had succeeded in flying down to the descending drow. Striking from invisibility, he slays him with a quick series of stabs. "What a wimp!" he says, chuckling to himself.

Kress draws his battle axe. "Time to stop those guys!" he says, as he takes off. He flies into a difficult to see section of webbing. "Whoa!" he says, weaving back and forth through it, only his magical great coat preventing him from being entangled.

Tebryn scowls. "Now you're spoiling my fun," he calls to Igor, before chanting a short phrase and manipulating a small group of silver pins in his hand. A powerful bolt of lightning shoots from his hand and strikes the most central of the remaining drow, before arcing out in smaller bolts to strike each of the remaining drow. Two of the drow fall off, screaming, but hang, entangled, in webs not far below. "I was going to get them all!"

Igor looks at the small group of singed drow and back at Tebryn. "Don't blame ME. I wasn't the one who made the others run away."

Tebryn chuckles. "Good point." He raises his eyebrows at Yol, who simply gazes smugly back at him.

"Let's just finish them off," says Veracity. She makes some arcane gestures and five missiles of force fly from her fingers and strike one of the singed drow, slaying him instantly.

"That's right," says Igor. He flies up to the other singed drow and strikes him once with his sword.

"Let's get those two," calls Hazen. He flies up directly into a wad of webbing. "What?" He kicks vigorously, but only entangles himself further, bobbing up and down like an apple on a string. "Uh oh!"

The huge spider quivers and rotates to face Hazen. It starts to scuttle down across the web towards him.

"That looks dangerous," comments Tebryn, as he quickly conjures a blue cone at the spider. Frost forms on the spider's hairy body. Tebryn's eyes narrow. "I could swear that it absorbed some of that. That's no ordinary spider - if a twenty foot diameter spider could ever be called 'ordinary'."

"Perhaps this will be more effective," comments Yol. She mutters a short phrase and hurls a small pellet towards the spider. A huge ball of fire explodes, engulfing both Hazen and the spider. Not only is the spider completely unscathed, but, contrary to expectations, the webs surrounding Hazen do not burn through. "Then again, maybe not."

"Yowch!" cries Hazen as he struggles again, trying to escape. Again, he fails miserably.

"Wasn't that a little reckless, Yol?" comments Veracity. She waves her hand at the spider and five more missiles of force arc out and strike at it, but fizzle uselessly without harming it. "Hey!"

Brianna smiles. "Good try, Veracity. Focused, directed, not reckless."

Igor flies up to the spider, his great sword ready. As he approaches, the huge creature bites him. Igor shudders, but shakes off the immediate effects of the powerful venom. He strikes the monster with a powerful slash of his sword.

Kress flies up and also strikes the spider. Igor takes the opportunity to strike it another powerful blow. The spider tries to bite him again, but can't quite grab him with its jaws.

"Directed is good, Yol," says Tebryn. He waves his hand and speaks an arcane phrase, and five missiles of force streak from his fingers into the spider, killing it.

Yol clears her throat. "Hazen doesn't mind a little fire. Ask him yourself." Igor flies up and lands next to her. "I still have a lot of poison in my system. Can you treat me, please?"

Yol examines his poisoned wound. She does her best, but doesn't seem to be too effective. A short time later, Igor shudders again, but successfully resists the lingering effects of the poison. "Well. I think you are clear now, at least," says Yol.

"Can someone treat some of my wounds?" asks Igor.

"Gladly," says Brianna. She sings a more elaborate song of healing than she'd previously sung, and cures almost all of Igor's damage. Igor smiles at her. "Thank you!"

Hazen and Kress fly up, each carrying the bodies of one of the fallen drow. "Lets get the others," says Hazen. "Right," says Igor, and the three fliers quickly retrieve all of the fallen foes.

"Now, let's search these. I'd detect magic on them ..." says Hazen.

"...except you didn't learn that spell today," finishes Veracity. She smiles at Hazen and shakes her head.

"I'll do it this time," says Tebryn. "We should look at the bodies of those who had been defending this ledge, too. Drag all the bodies over there," he says, pointing to a spot away from the edge of the chasm.

Veracity laughs. "You guys do that. I'll stand watch over here and will shoot any drow that recovers his courage and tries to go for more help." She draws her long bow and goes and sits by the edge of the chasm, looking down intently.

"Good thinking, Veracity," says Brianna. She draws her own short bow and joins her companion.

While Veracity and Brianna sit at the edge of the chasm with bows aimed at the hole in the cliff face, the rest of the party loads all the masterwork quality items from the dead drow into Tebryn's portable hole. These sentries had been armed with glaives and short swords and were wearing mithril breastplates. The officer had an exotic weapon: a two-bladed sword.

"This looks hard to use," comments Kress. "It's probably as effective as fighting with a long sword in each hand, but is much heavier. Plus, you need special training to use this. Still, it does have a certain style to it. I would have been interested in seeing her use it. We didn't give her a chance." He and Igor chuckle.

"The officer's slippers and cloak are magical," says Tebryn. "As well as these six flasks, although those twelve flasks are not magical. Plus, she had this key." He holds it up for all to see. "I'll hold onto it." He pockets it.

Yol inspects the non-magical flasks and tastes the contents. "These seem to be more drow poison. We should all use this," she says.

"Sounds risky," says Hazen.

Yol smiles. "It's a little tricky to safely apply it to your weapon, and you don't want to nick yourself while you're fighting. But the benefits outweigh the risks."

"I don't like it," says Kress.

"I'll put it on your weapon for you, and tomorrow I'll pray for spells to delay the effects of poison," offers Yol.

Kress shakes his head. "Thanks, but I prefer clean steel."

"Let's move on," says Igor. "I'm itching to follow those drow into that hole."

As everybody moves back to the edge of the chasm, Veracity looks up at them. "No activity. They're staying inside. How about if you fliers go down first? The rest of us can climb down this strand of web and along that horizontal one that the enemies had been walking along." She takes a pair of slippers out of her back pack and removes her boots. "These should make the climb safer," she comments as she puts them on.

"I'm jealous," says Brianna. "I could certainly use a set of those!"

Veracity smiles at her. "We may find more. They're not uncommon."

Igor, Hazen, and Kress fly down to the hole, weapons drawn. It's about twenty five feet across and has a flat floor. As it goes back into the cliff, it narrows to a ten foot wide passage. The fliers land just within the entrance and wait for the others. Veracity, Tebryn, Brianna, and Yol have no problem climbing down the large ladder of webbing that descends from the lip of the ledge above and thence onto the lateral strand that goes to the hole. Soon, all are standing within the cave.

"Line up!" says Veracity, and the party forms into its usual marching formation, with Igor and Veracity in the front, followed by Brianna and the invisible Hazen, then by Tebryn, with Yol and Kress taking up the rear. The party marches up to and into the passage, which only goes about ten feet before opening up into a large room. Veracity and Igor see many drow within the room. They stop, and the group behind them also stops.

Yol whispers and wiggles her fingers and a non-corporeal hand appears at her side. Hazen and Kress draw their weapons. Brianna looks over Veracity's shoulder into the room ahead. "Looks like a large group of opponents. This could take a while. Let me inspire us all with a song of valorous deeds..." She starts to sing.

Veracity laughs. She draws her swords and calls into the room "Surrender now, or you ALL will die." Within the room, many sentries unsling their weapons. "You're not surrendering, eh? Don't say I didn't warn you! Assuming you're still in a position to say anything..."

"Lots of foes, eh?" muses Tebryn. He mutters and gestures, and large chunks of ice rain within the room, pummeling most of the occupants. "That should tenderize them a bit!"

Igor turns invisible. The sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath comes from where he had been standing.

A quth-maren steps up to the door and spits a globule of acidic blood at Veracity. It strikes her and burns her slightly. "Eww," complains Veracity, wrinkling her nose.

Yol mutters again and her ghostly hand turns blue. It floats up and swipes at the quth-maren, hitting easily, but to no apparent effect.

All feel a slight breeze as the invisible Hazen flies past them. He lands at the far end of the room behind one of the farthest sentries.

Kress moves up past the quth-maren. The quth-maren takes the opportunity to swipe at him as he moves past, but misses. Kress stops and sees another drow officer standing in the corner. "You're mine," he says to her, brandishing his battle axe.

"Didn't want to kill the undead, Kress?" comments Veracity. She moves up to engage it and lands a solid blow on it with the Sword of Kas.

Within the room, many of the sentries move up and chop at Kress with their pole-arms, only to back up out range, whether they had hit him or not. Two or three of them land powerful blows on Kress. "Ow! Ow! Ow!" says Kress, as he is repeatedly struck from behind. He begins to question the wisdom of coming into the room and turning his back on so many opponents.

Tebryn laughs. "You may be in over your head, Kress. No problem. I'll save you." He mutters and tosses a small pellet into the room. A large blast of fire balloons within, catching all of the drow and the quth-maren - but also enveloping Kress and the invisible Hazen. "Ouch!" exclaims Kress, as he takes severe burns. Hazen dances to the side, completely evading the fire. Eleven of the twelve sentries fall over, dead.

The officer, although scorched, was still standing. She strikes three times at Kress with her two-bladed sword, right, left, right. One blow lands solidly on Kress's shoulder. "Ouch!" exclaims Kress.

"Now you're spoiling my fun, Tebryn," comments Igor's voice. He tumbles into the room and strikes the officer, becoming visible.

The quth-maren tries to hit Veracity, but misses her twice.

Yol stares in disbelief into the room. "You burned up my spectral hand, Tebryn!" She pulls herself together and lifts her holy symbol. She attempts to rebuke the quth-maren: "Creature of undeath, forsake your old allegiance and bow before me." The quth-maren gazes unblinkingly at her for a moment before turning its attention back towards Veracity. Yol frowns. "I could feel Hel's power coursing through me. This kind of undead must be quite strong to have resisted me!"

At the far end of the room, the last sentry falls over with a gurgle. Hazen appears from invisibility, pulling his short sword from the sentry's back. "Easy as toast, after that fireball, Tebryn!" calls Hazen.

Kress strikes the officer twice with his battle axe, but she still stands.

Veracity strikes the quth-maren three times with her two swords. She deals it a lot of damage, but it, too, remains standing.

Tebryn moves up to the doorway, rubbing his hands together. "Man, I'm good!" Kress looks at him. "I'm smoking, Tebryn." Tebryn smirks at him. "You saying you need a light? I saved your rear, Kress. Nobody is attacking you from behind any more." Kress grunts.

Igor strikes the officer with an exceptionally powerful blow, dropping her. He follows the swing straight through into the quth-maren, felling it as well. Veracity gawks. "Nice trick, Igor!" Igor smiles. "Thanks!"

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
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