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













The City of the Spider Queen - Day 7 - Kraken and Dire Bears

Uktar 4, 1372 DR (5:30 PM) Deep Wastes: Lake of Shadows

Veracity turns to Brianna. "I'll be back soon. You stay with Tebryn and Yol." Brianna nods, and turns to go back to the two drow, who had stopped to examine something.

Veracity activates her wand and casts a fly spell upon herself. She stows it and extracts another wand. "Now," she says, floating up. "After those giants!" She, Igor, and Kress all fly out over the lake. Hazen turns invisible and follows the three warriors. "Remember, watch out for that kraken!" he calls.

The giants were not far ahead. One giant was poling frantically while his two companions looked back. As the watchers see Igor approaching, revealed by the light shed by his glow gem, they start, and call to the poler, who stops and looks back.

The male stone giant elder hurls three rocks at Igor, but all splash into the water. Igor and Kress fly up to the raft, swords drawn, preparing to swoop down. The poler, an exceptionally husky stone giant, throws two rocks at Igor, both of which miss. Veracity flies up a bit closer to the raft, but stops about eighty feet away. She activates her wand and a bolt of lightning shoots forth, blasting two of the giants. "That was just a warning," she calls, in Undercommon. "I'm willing to talk, but, back in the cave, you attacked us first. Put down your rocks and negotiate, or I will destroy you all!" The giants grunt, and peer into the darkness. Veracity is not carrying a light and is beyond the range of their darkvision, so they can't quite make out who is talking to them. The female elder shrugs. "Kill the dark elves!" she says, and throws three rocks at Igor, a human, hitting him once. "Hey!" says Igor.

The male elder throws three more boulders at Igor, hitting him once. Igor flies down, sword drawn. "Attack?" he calls back, pausing. "Yes!" shouts Veracity. "Kill them all!" Igor strikes the elder with his great sword. Kress flies down to the opposite of the elder from Igor. As he approaches, the female elder steps to the side and swings her fist at him, missing. Kress strikes the male elder with his long sword, distracting the giant enough to allow Igor to land a massive blow. Veracity laughs and shoots another bolt of lightning through the same giants she'd blasted before. The female elder draws her great club and smashes Igor with it.

The male elder draws his great club and misses Igor. Igor retaliates by striking him a massive blow. Seeing that the giant is injured almost to death, he flies a little bit to the left so that he is within range of both the elder and the massive poler. He strikes the elder again, who falls over, dead, in the direction of Kress, who weaves to the side as the giant crashes to the raft. Igor cleaves through, striking the poler, and follows through with a wild slash. Kress strikes the massive giant. Just as before, this distracts the giant enough to lower his guard against Igor, which is almost always a mistake. Indeed, Igor slashes him and Kress follows up with another slash of his own. Kress's opponent smashes him with his club. Veracity flies up and hovers, twenty feet away, twenty feet above the water. "You fools!" she taunts, in Undercommon. "You could have negotiated, and yet you chose death. A painful death, I trust." Suddenly, from invisibility, Hazen appears, wildly stabbing at the back of Kress's opponent. He misses twice, but his third stab is well aimed and severely injures the stone giant. The female elder glares at Veracity. "Drow!" She spits, and smashes Kress with her club.

The water around the raft churns. Beneath the surface, a dark shadow approaches. Nobody notices but Hazen, who pales.

Igor shifts a bit to the left. He slashes three times at the largest stone giant, striking all three times. It falls back and to the left and crashes to the raft. Kress hits the female elder twice. Veracity taunts the giant again. "You are all that remains of your clan. Soon you too will die. Know that it was your decision that destroyed your tribe." The elder glares at her and clubs Kress twice. Kress goes white. "Uh, help me!" he calls. Hazen panics. "Kraken!" he yells. He turns invisible as he flies away.

A gigantic squid surfaces at the side of the raft next to Igor and glares at the scene with eyes the size of wagon wheels. It lashes a hundred-foot long tentacle at the retreating Hazen, missing. The other huge tentacle lashes at the stone giant elder, damaging and grabbing her. It pulls the giant towards the edge of the raft. The kraken lashes six ten-foot long arms at Igor. Four of them miss, but two hit. One grabs hold of him and pulls him close to the edge of the raft, where he drops his greatsword. "Uh-oh," says Igor.

Igor strains and attempts to break free of the tentacle, but the arm is too strong. In desperation, he starts jerking and twisting his body hard and manages to wriggle out. The stone giant struggles to break the grasp but doesn't manage it. Veracity flies down and lands next to Igor. As she approaches, the kraken swipes her with one of its arms, but the blow bounces off her stony skin and fails to damage her. Veracity grabs Igor. "Come with me," she says. "But..." starts Igor. He sighs and nods. Veracity utters a word and disappears with the rogue, appearing instantly at the entrance to the chuul's lair, just as the invisible Hazen arrives. "How did you get here already?" says Hazen's voice. "We're quick," says Veracity, smirking. Back at the raft, the kraken pulls the stone giant off the raft and eats it.

"I have to get my sword," says Igor.

"If you fly back, you'll alert the kraken with your light," says Veracity.

"No I won't," says Igor. He extracts a potion from his pouch and quaffs it. He covers his glow gem and winks at Veracity in the dark. "Darkvision."

"Be careful," says Veracity. "Thanks ... and again for the rescue", he responds. Igor then activates his invisibility ring and flies away, passing the approaching Kress, who had circled wide to avoid the kraken's long tentacles.

Veracity flies up through the hole, followed by Hazen. "Brianna?" she calls. She flies up to a scene of carnage. "What happened here?" she cries, going pale.


As the four warriors flew in pursuit of the giants, Brianna turned back and approached Tebryn and Yol, who were examining a sort of rock garden in the elders' chamber. "Look at that," says Tebryn. "There's a chamber, next to that disturbed rock. I think ..."

"Uh, Tebryn," says Brianna. She points to two huge bears, ten feet or more tall at the shoulder, lumbering towards the party. She draws her rapier and starts to sing an inspiring song of courage, although her own heart is sinking within her. One of the dire bears swipes at her, missing, but grabs her with its other huge forepaw, pulling her in to a hold. It bites at her but, miraculously, misses. Yol conjures, unaware that a foe was bearing down on her, and a shadowy hand appears in front of her. Tebryn raises his eyebrows. "Let's end this right now," he comments, and a thin green ray shoots from his hand, striking Brianna's bear in its shoulder. The bear shudders but seems only slightly injured. "Pity," says Tebryn. "That should have turned you into dust." The second dire bear growls and lashes out at Yol, grabbing her. "What?!" gasps Yol.

Brianna is held by the bear's hug. Her voice wavers, but she continues to sing as she drops her rapier and extracts her corrosive dagger. She stabs her opponent. The bear claws her and bites her, causing painful wounds with each attack. Yol struggles and extracts one of her poisoned darts, which she plunges into the side of the bear which holds her. It convulses and seems quite ill, but continues to hold her. "I must end this now," says Tebryn. He extracts a small cocoon from his spell component pouch and mutters, pointing at Brianna's bear. "Be a mouse!" he says. The bear growls at Brianna, just like a mouse doesn't. "Damn!" says Tebryn. Yol's bear claws and bites her. "Help me, Tebryn!" she calls. Tebryn looks back and forth at his two grappled companions. He grows pale.

Brianna continues to sing, weakly, and stabs her attacker twice, severely damaging it with each blow. The bear growls and claws her yet again, but she avoids its other claw and its snapping teeth. Yol drops her dart and pulls out her dagger. She smites the bear and injects it with drow poison, which it shrugs off. Tebryn draws a deep breath. "Right," he says. He incants and waves his hand and the air shimmers briefly around the two bears and his companions. Yol's bear stands confused and its paws hang limply, releasing its victim.

Brianna stabs her bear twice more. The bear claws her severely, but yet again, she avoids its other two attacks. "Help!" cries Brianna. Yol wriggles out of her bear's grasp and floats up in the air. She conjures and her spectral hand floats over to Brianna and touches her, curing some of her wounds. Tebryn conjures and steps up to touch Brianna's bear. It seems to lose some of its vitality. Tebryn, on the other hand, seems to positively glow with excess vitality. The other bear still stands confused.

Brianna stabs her opponent twice, almost, but not quite, killing it. It retaliates by clawing her twice, almost, but not quite, killing her. "Help!" she calls. Yol incants and places another spell onto her spectral hand. The hand flies down to touch the bear, which falls over, dead. Tebryn nods and turns his attention to the other bear. He waves a small glass cone and utters an arcane phrase, causing a cone-shaped area of air to glow blue. Frost forms on the bear's fur. The bear stands still, confused.

Brianna sits up. She sings a short tune and touches herself, curing some of her wounds. Yol conjures and sends her spectral hand to deliver another spell to the confused dire bear and then quickly withdraws the hand. The bear shrivels a tiny amount and Yol glows a correspondingly tiny amount. She scowls. "That's as wimpy a vampiric touch as I am capable of," she complains. Tebryn conjures and yet another cone of cold freezes the monster, slaying it.

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Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com> Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
R'lyeh wgah-nagl fhtagn.
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