Brianna wakes up early, lying next to her friend. She contemplates the peacefully sleeping Veracity and reaches out to gently cup one of her breasts in her hand. At the gentle caress, Veracity slowly opens her eyes.
"You didn't let me get much sleep, honey" says Veracity, smiling. She raises her arms over her head and stretches.
"You're an elf. You don't need much sleep," says Brianna. She gently tweaks Veracity's nipple, eliciting a gasp from the drow. Brianna grins and continues her manipulation. She looks slyly at her lover's face through lowered lashes. "In fact, it looks to me like you're wide awake. If you ..." Her words are cut off as Veracity's mouth covers hers. With a contented sigh, she abandons herself to pleasure.
Much later, the two ladies emerge from their room and find that the others have arisen as well. Veracity, Tebryn, and Yol quietly coordinate their spells for the day and immerse themselves in their respective spellbooks.
Brianna wanders over and seats herself next to Igor, Hazen, and Kress.
"I'm famished!" says Igor. "I thought my new ring of sustenance would solve that."
"I have one too, Igor," says Brianna. "It takes you a week to get used to it. But even now, before you're attuned, you shouldn't need as much sleep."
Igor looks at her appraisingly. "You have one too, eh? So that means that, you and I could, um, 'stay up' late, together, eh?"
Kress rolls his eyes. "Oh, come on. A magical ring like that is not intended to help you 'have fun'. It's for letting you take extra watches, and such."
Brianna looks at him, wide-eyed, and smirks. "I'm a party girl. I have found it very useful, indeed, for 'having fun'. I can hang out in a tavern, socializing until the wee hours, hit the sack, and be up at dawn, bright eyed and ready to go. What's the problem with that?"
The wizards complete their study and Yol comes over and scowls at the idlers. "Time for the heroes feast." She conjures, and a magnificent table surrounded by nine chairs appears in the basement. On the table are sumptuous serving dishes and tableware, filled with savory foods and a delicious nectar-like beverage.
"Yeah!" says Hazen. "The breakfast of champions! Tuck in!" He tucks in.
An hour later, everybody is sated, and the furniture and remains of the feast all disappear.
"All right!" says Veracity, standing. "We're ready! Lets cast all our 'prep' spells and take off."
Within a few minutes, everybody is buffed. Veracity has veiled everybody as fire giants. Yol's disguise is special, as usual - her fire giant has a broken nose. Additionally, Veracity has stoneskin from her godstone, she and Tebryn both can see invisible, and everybody is flying and invisible.
"Not all of us can easily go invisible, should we lose it, through fighting," says Tebryn. "Let's avoid the roads this time, since if we get in a fight, we can't restore our disguise."
"Right," says Veracity. She takes off and the group follows.
A few hundred feet away from the coliseum, Veracity stops in a hidden courtyard. "Remember. We're just going to go in, slay Kurgoth, and dimension door out. Let's all meet here!" The spellcasters nod their agreement, and the party continues its flight.
Within five minutes, they arrive at the coliseum, undetected. Silence reigns within.
"No combat this time," says Veracity. "Let's check out Kurgoth's quarters." She flies to the right and hovers outside the windows that open onto the corridor outside Kurgoth's rooms, accompanied by her party. The corridor is empty.
"Right," says Veracity. Everybody enters through the windows and lands.
Tebryn approaches the door and listens intently. "I hear grunts," he whispers. "He's in there!"
Igor and Kress approach. Igor easily picks the lock and opens the door.
Two exceptionally burly ogres stand guard next to the other door, pointing longspears at the open door. They look back and forth confusedly when the door opens with no visible opener.
Igor, Hazen, and Kress all position themselves near one or more ogre, while Veracity and Yol cast sadism and prayer, respectively.
When Kress takes the first strike, the battle is on! His invisibility falls, as does Igor's, when the rogue joins in the fun.
Hazen and Veracity move in, ready to chop ogres.
The raging ogres drop their longspears as soon as the valiant humans become visible, and draw their greatclubs. One of them lands a blow on Igor's arm, but, in a matter of seconds, both ogres are down, falling before the swords and axes of humans and duergar.
Yol, Brianna, and Tebryn move into the room.
"Good job, guys!" says Tebryn. He closes the door behind himself.
Brianna starts a preemptive song and Yol heals Igor's wounds, as the fighters set up around the next door.
Crash! goes the door behind Tebryn. The fiendish elephant, seen the day before in the arena, has squeezed into the corridor and now completely blocks the doorway. It glares balefully into the room, but is unable to do anything, as everybody hastily moves away from the door.
Meanwhile, Hazen unlocks the door to Kurgoth's inner chamber, and Kress pushes it open. In the far corner stands Kurgoth. Between him and the door, four fiendish dire tigers stand menacingly.
Kurgoth bellows in anger and casts an unholy blight upon the anteroom. A cloud of small black motes temporarily covers all within, before blinking out, leaving only Hazen, Kress, and Igor very slightly damaged, much to Kurgoth's dismay
Brianna's song finally inspires her whole party, who seem to stand taller and attack with greater resolve as a result. She backs into the corner, continuing to sing, clutching her Cli lyre firmly in her hands.
A clamoring throng of ogres and fire giants stands outside in the corridor behind the elephant. "Tusk! move!" they call. Tusk looks at the party, says "Fooey on you!" and moves over. An ogre pushes into the room and strikes Igor with his greatclub.
Igor, standing at the door of Kurgoth's inner room, ignores this distraction. He cuts down one of the tigers and steps into Kurgoth's room.
Kress steps up to attack the ogre. He strikes it valiantly four times, but it remains standing.
Tebryn, taking in the various groups of opponents, steps to the door of Kurgoth's room. He casts a horrid wilting spell, killing not only all the remaining tigers, but also the ogre in the doorway, as well as afflicting an ogre in the hall and Kurgoth himself. "In, guys - the way is clear!" he says.
Kurgoth retaliates by casting his own horrid wilting spell against Igor, Kress, and Tebryn.
Veracity quickly moves to the door and casts her mass suggestion spell on the two ogres she can see in corridor. "Attack your comrades because they are betraying you," she suggests. The two ogres look at each other in confusion and square off against each other. "Yes!" she gloats. "No more interference from the grunts in the hallway!"
Igor and Hazen hit Kurgoth repeatedly, as Kress moves into the room.
Tebryn utters a power word and blinds Kurgoth.
Veracity steps into Kurgoth's room and summons forth her whip of pain. She lashes her blinded foe with it.
Kurgoth fumbles at a concealed catch and a secret door pops open! As he attempts to step through, Hazen, Igor, Kress, and Veracity all take the opportunity to strike at him and he falls over, dead as a stone.
Meanwhile, the ogres in the hallway had polished each other off and a fire giant pushes his way into the doorway of the first room. Igor quickly moves up to defend the door and smites him with a mighty slash from his greatsword.
As Hazen quickly searches Kurgoth, picking up only his huge greatsword, Kress inexplicably decides to go out the secret door Kurgoth had opened. "Oops! Elephant is here!" he calls, as he stares up into its huge face.
"Ready to go, Igor?" asks Brianna. When he nods, she plucks out a short melody on her Cli lyre, grabs his arm, and the two of them disappear.
"Kress, you are a dolt," says Tebryn. He runs over to door, grabs Kress's arm, utters a magical word, and the two of them vanish.
"Let's go, Hazen," says Veracity. She grabs his arm, speaks a word of magic, and they both disappear.
The fire giant steps into the anteroom and smashes his greatsword right through one of Yol's mirror images. Yol scowls, conjures, and vanishes.
All of the heroes reappear at their designated meeting place.
"Well done!" says Veracity.
|Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.