Sir Horatio's Habitation for Wayward Planars & Primes

Chapter Four: Crunch

Attendance: Davin, Palandar, La_Chimenea, Anomalousresult, Firefly, Kat

PCs: Commander Krevash, The Elven Archer, Sir Maxwell HoneypotKaterina Walewska, Nonimus Fodero, Savina, Krisarah Von Leewenhook
NPCs: Dr. Vanier
New Monsters: n/a
XP: 372
Items: Dr. Vanier's Alchemical Compounds (A-K)

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Chapter Four, Part One
Slackjaws!

Another morning at Sir Horatio's, another venture into a portal into places unknown.  They group rose this morning, assembling a team for the day's venture: Katerina, Honeypot, Nonimus, Savina, Archer, Krevash and Krisarah (who would be taking her first trip with the group) set out to the Great Bazaar at first light; they had recieved notice that their commisioned door had been completed, and they were eager to take a look.

When they arrived, they saw the door in question, already set in a display frame, and wrapped in a canvas to protect the more intricate details of the door.  Still in the midst of setting up shop, the doorsmith was nowhere in near the door in question.  Not having the 200 jink they needed to pay up for the remainder for it, they quickly decided they'd try to take a closer look at it, and see if it would serve their purposes.  If not, they'd make a quick exit before payment was collected.

To this ends, Nonimus snuck forward into the tent, and tried to pry the canvas back carefully; however, Nonimus is more used to prying away dangerous scythes and venomous spikes, instead of canvas dressing.  With a much-too-loud tearing sound, the clerk was summoned over.

Before he could even speak, the party began babbling at him… oh we were just here to check up on the door we got your message we just want to make sure it suits our needs we're just going to take a quick peek inside there's a point of pride to this after all and… they didn't give him much time to protest.  Tearing back the canvas, Savina stepped forward to the door with the two-headed coin (the key to the portal, which they waylayed the dopey Mobo the Simple for) – with a slight hum and a whirl, a portal appeared in the doorway between the frame.

"We're just going to see what's on the other side," Nonimus stated,  "we want to make sure that this door doesn't lead anywhere we can't deal with."  And with that, the party filed inside the doorway, finding themselves, as they so often do, in another place entirely.

This time, they arrived in a weathered house.  The portal behind them stood deliberately in the corner, a metal frame churning and chugging like some clockwork device, a pair of tubes pulling some kind of fluid into the framework itself from a pair of bottles at the base.  The doorframe-device sputtered as Honeypot stepped through, the last of the contents of the bottles being burned up in the process.  The portal shimmered to a stop behind him, despite having the key.

Nonimus and Savina took a closer look at the bottles in question: Dr. Vanier's Liq'd Fyre, the labels read.  Nonimus took one to his nose to try to determine the contents, which he immediately regretted, his nostrils burning and eyes watering from the fumes.  Savina snatched the bottle away from him and read the warnings that were on the label aloud to him, in about as much of a condesending tone as she could muster.  Honeypot hushed them both before an arguement could start up, however.  He was peering out a nearby window of the room.  There were figures loitering in the graveyard just outside the building.

The group looked around the room, now noticing the door had been boarded up from the inside.  Savina walked over to the window to get a better view, and saw the forms numbering in the hundreds.  Honeypot whispered that they were zombies.  Savina dropped to the floor, before any of their milky eyes could catch sight of her.  Trapped in a house surrounded by the undead.  The party fell silent.

Katerina broke the silence, asking a much needed question: "Why can't we ever go anywhere nice?"

 

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Savina's Story - Zombies

So another day began where I was stuck with the always slightly shifting crew of incompetents to pursue Duke and hopefully find our portal keys. The Little Guy, who, I must admit, can hurl a sling and cause some real damage when necessary, and the large fuzzy one talked and figured out where we should head to next. I decided to stay quiet since they're all too dumb to understand my genius level anyway.

We went off in the direction of the bazar, having received a notice that our door had been completed. With no hesitation, we made a straight line to the small tent of doors, and of course, the Little Guy made a racket trying to open it and attracted the shop keep. Luckily, we calmed him down enough to open the door and expose the portal. I held onto the key for this particular journey, since I'm sure most of the rest would misplace it, so I rushed in first and the remainder of the crew followed suit.

The portal spit us out into a decrepit house where the windows were blown in by the wear of weather and elements and even the bottles fueling the portal door fizzled out as the last person came through. The Little Guy read the label, after sniffing it and burning his nose, and figured out that the bottle was a type of liquid fire. Before we had too much time to dedicate to this odd concoction, we noticed that zombies were milling about, actually, about a hundred of them, right outside.

We decided, and I voiced my opinion now that possible death was involved, that we should explore a bit more of the house to see if we could learn anymore about our current situation. The search only revealed that we had to leave the house and head towards town, which meant tackling the zombies. Surprisingly, the elf actually did something helpful and hopped on the roof to distract the zombies while we made a run towards town.

Of course, because nothing can ever go smoothly with this group thanks to most of them running around like chickens with their heads cut off, we got trapped between two towers and gates alongside screaming ghouls and a hoard of zombies. I used my javelin to spear a ghoul across the way that was giving Fuzzy a lot of trouble, and thanks to my leaping ability, made it across without any issue. The Little Girl, and the Dragon Guy, didn't have it as easy as they scrambled across narrowly avoiding the full strength of the zombie mass.

Now the mass was pushing towards us and Big Fuzzy couldn't make it up on his own so I tied my rope around him and helped hoist him up. I don't know how they'd survive without me. Since I was there, we all lived through this experience, but we were soon at a bridge which hovered over yet another swarm of the undead. Little Guy made it across fine, but then the elf, who should know he weighs more, tried to dash across and fell right through a weak plank. He managed to pull himself up, but took some damage, hopefully that teaches him a lesson.

I went next, being careful on each plank, and when I noticed that a large majority were too weak for my weight, I simply levitated over them and landed safely on the other side. I must admit, I giggled a bit as the rest of the clumsy crew tried to make it over with their wobbling, hopping, and jumping. Again, I had to save Fuzzy by throwing him my rope and aiding him in his jump. He deals a lot of damage, but I'm convinced he has a weird death wish.

Once again, by some miracle, we all made it through. Members of the party searched the town while the rest of us held guard against the zombies. I enjoyed tearing through their flesh with my spear, except for their horrible stench. I realized my weapons would need a serious cleaning after this adventure.

After an hour of searching, we push ahead and come to a building that has the same name which was written on the bottle. Fuzzy and I take the front and open the door to reveal a huge warehouse with lettered crates, zombie dogs, and an emaciated man dressed head-to-toe in leather. The dogs rushed for us, and I have to give the little beasts credit, they fought viciously. Before I could really react, one latched on to my leg, using its teeth to spread infection, and dragged me to the floor. The rest of the party wasn't fairing well either with leather man throwing explosive globs of his body around and the elf and the dragon-guy dealing with one of those screaming ghouls. Being the extreme fighter that I am, I fought the rotting infection, stood up, and pummeled into the remaining beasts. With a little help from Fuzzy, Angry Girl, Little Guy, and the new Little Girl, we killed all the creatures within the house and Elf and Dragon-Guy destroyed the screaming ghoul.

Once regrouped, we decided that the EDGE label on the bottle must refer to the contents of the crates labeled with the same letters. I, acting quickly as usual, grabbed two empty blue bottles and urged them to pour in the mixture. Little Guy hopped on the task and once completed the bottles began to singe my hands. I dealt with the pain, of course, and gently placed the bottles on the portal door we found in the warehouse. Little Guy connected the tubes and once again we pushed forward into the portal, all of us anxious to be away from this forsaken place, even if we did end up in a desert.

Once we got our bearings in the desert, and realized we weren't far from Sir Horatio's, we noticed a post with a note reading "Stop Following Me." I can't wait until we find that Duke. I'm going to break his legs, so he can't run, and then it will only get worse from there for him.

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Chronicles of the Amber Wolf

On an unrelated note, Mike's (player of Sir Maxwell Honeypot) Star Wars: Saga Edition game starts tomorrow – I was kinda bored today, so, I made two profile pics for two of the PCs, Zy and Dr. Ven Tor.  Try to figure out which is which.

 

Check out Mike's game, Chronicles of the Amber Wolf, here.

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Miniature Progress

I'm having the minis for Sir Horatio's heroes painted and modded by Candi of Painted Knights – I wanted to use this update to show the progress thus far.  I sort of dumped 8 minis on her at once, so, the progress will likely take a bit longer, as they're not anything alike (colorwise or anything-else-wise).  Without further ado:

Commander Krevash:

The Elven Archer:

Sir Maxwell Honeypot:
 

Katerina Walewska:

Lydia, House Maricomorian:

Nonimus Fodero:
 

Drugin Rexhammer:

Savina:

Leahcim the Pious:
No mini yet.

Clease "The Cow" Tormot:
 

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Chapter Three: Crunch

Attendance: frodolives86Anomalousresult, Palandar, Stranger, Davin, istabosz

PCs: Commander Krevash, Lydia, House Maricomorian, Nonimus Fodero, Sir Maxwell Honeypot, The Elven Archer, Durgin Rexhammer
NPCs: n/a
New Monsters:
Kruthik Queen (modified Young White Dragon, all cold damage converted to poison)
XP: 525
Items: Content Not Found: 7827_, Content Not Found: 7828_, Content Not Found: 7829, Content Not Found: 7831

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Chapter Three, Part Three
Of Ruined Portals and Furious Queens

The house had come to a dead stop, the doors flinging open, and depositing all who were in the hallway into an underground cavern of trash.  The rest of the party exited as well, lighting their way with sunrods and magic, to see they had found themselves in what may have once been a courtyard but was now, apparently, only a filthy tomb.  In the distance, they saw the ruined remains of an archway.  Hoping that this was the portal they were looking for in the Heap, they quickly approached it.

The archway sat ruined, next to a half-buried guardhouse – apparently decades of being in amongst the trashpit had done its damage, and most of the blocks of the stone archway were either missing or disintegrated.  A quick once over by Lydia confirmed that this would have been the portal keyed to the length of chain they brought with them… if only it was still intact.

Looking for a short rest, they broke the door down leading to the former guardhouse, only to find what was, apparently, the final resting place of an unfortunate champion of Kord.  His mummified remains revealed that he had been trapped within this house for almost as long as the Heap existed.  And while his flesh was taut with the preservation of ages, his arms and armor bore no wounds of time, save for the dust that collected.  Quietly thanking the fallen paladin, they began to take his belongings, so that they could better defend themselves.

Krevash donned the knight's black iron armor, though not used to the weight of scale armor (despite having scales himself), he felt he would grow comfortable with it.  The Elven Archer took the paladin's boots, which seemed to serve a purpose of making him more lithe and agile in combat.  The holy symbol was taken by Durgin, who would ask for Bahamut's blessings to allow him to channel what was once a conduit for Kord's power into his own.  Lastly, Sir Honeypot held the knight's greatsword, which flickered with electricity, lifting it up with an oversized hand; it would serve as a one-handed sword for the teddy-bear knight.

While the party collected themselves, The Elven Archer ventured back into the crumpled house to salvage some of the poison from the horrific little kruthiks, hoping that he could use it for his own purposes on his arrows.  His knowledge of natural beasts (which is what they were, despite their horrific seeming) served him well, as he was able to envenom a number of his arrows with the same sickening poison that had afflicted Drugin. 

Their rest didn't last long, unfortunately – a great rumbling alerted the party to something approaching.  Nonimus hoped it was the next house out of the Heap.  And while it was practically the size of a house, it wasn't exactly what he was looking forward to seeing.

Emerging from one side of the cavern, burrowing through the trash, a huge, winged kruthik burst forward towards the party (who were just now emerging from the guardhouse to investigate).  While no one was an expert on kruthik linguistics, they all interpreted the howls and hisses coming from the oversized beast as anger.  The torrent of poison that spewed forth from its gibbering maw and onto the party only confirmed this.

Krevash took the worst of it, the poison burning at his skin, while the rest of the party escaped relatively unscathed.  Sir Honeypot took to charging the angry queen right away, with all but Nonimus and the Elven Archer following (they felt they would be of better use from a distance).  Still exhausted from the battle with the smaller kruthik within the house, they gave everything they could at the hulking thing.  Drugin was having a great deal more luck, smiting the beast with Bahamut's holy fire, while Krevash and Honeypot jumped immediately into the fray with it.  Even Lydia shadow-lept forward for a better shot, however, when the snapping jaws of the creature snapped through her insubstantial form, she thought better of it, and decided to hurl her magic from a range.

After being harried by the invading creatures, the queen bellowed an awful and terrifying sound, freezing most of the party in fear.  Even Sir Honeypot, brave as he might be, succambed to the roar.  During this one weak moment, the queen ripped into him with her awful claws and poison maw, sending Honeypot into unconciousness.

Krevash and Drugin would have none of that, however.  After shaking off the fear, Drugin called upon Bahamut to heal Honeypot's wounds, and after waking, Krevash commanded Honeypot to shake it off.  Still a bit shaken, but concious again and emboldened by his party, he rose again and took up his newly found sword to the thing.  All the while, Lydia, Nonimus and The Archer pelted beast with everything they could muster. 

The wounds it inflicted on Honeypot would be the last serious blows this beast would deal.  While it was able to spew out another torrent of poison at Honeypot, he was able to shield himself from it, and force the thing back towards the wall it first breached.  From behind cover, The Archer took advantage of the beast's staggering, and feathered the thing from across the court.  Being too much for the queen to take, she collapsed, crushing what little remained of the stone archway, ensuring the party would not find a means to use it.  Unphased by this, the party tended immediately to their wounds, and then to giving the creature a final coup de grace.

The queen had left a tunnel out of the heap; it seemed the party was finally free of their tomb of refuse.  Still, The Archer felt that the prizes the knight of Kord had left behind weren't enough… so with the help of the party, he took the head of the huge kruthik queen, intent on displaying it back at Sir Horatio's.

Marching as triumphantly as they could out of the Heap and into the Hive, the Cagers seeing the head of the beast murmured to themselves, and a few even mustered up some applause and praise to the party.  The kruthiks would smell the stench of their dead queen and find another place to set up shop, making future scavenging expeditions for the poor Hivers a great deal safer.  Looking to wash the film of filth they collected off of themselves, and to press on in their search for Reuel, the party returned to Sir Horatio's, and rested. 

 

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Chapter Three, Part Two
Bugs

Staggering around the house, the party was unable to stay together – Sir Honeypot was quickly thrown down a hallway by the lurching house, while Krevash and Lydia only stayed in placed due to an intervening wall.  This wouldn't last for long, as the house kept rocking from one direction to another, as the kruthik (as they would later discover they were called) skittered forward.  
Screeching and chittering, the pack of bugs lunged towards Drugin, who was left in the middle of the house.  Before they could reach him, Lydia summoned forth a spout of flame, igniting all but the biggest of the kruthik swarm.  A few scurried away from the flames, through a far exit, while the biggest of the bunch continued undetered to their dwarven lunch.  
Drugin wasn't prepared to become a meal, however, and brought his maul to bear, keeping the creature's claws at bay – Krevash did his best to back him, as Nonimus and the one called The Elven Archer each ran to find a better avenue of defense, Nonimus from any shadows he could find, and The Elven Archer from behind significant cover, where he could pepper the kruthik.
Meanwhile Sir Honeypot found himself at the end of a hallway with the few kruthik hatchlings that escaped Lydia's torrent of fire unscathed.  The little headhumpers lept towards Honeypot's considerable frame, only to be met in mid-air by his remarkably oversized sword.  He hacked away at the critters as the rest of the party strugged towards their teddy-bear defender, luring the larger kruthik towards him.
Backpeddling down the hallway, with the bugs hot on their heels, they managed to form something slightly resembling a line, Nonimus, Lydia and The Elven Archer peppering them from a distance.  Krevash, Drugin and Honeypot gave the bugs a personal treatment, with their warpick, maul and longsword respectively.  
After finally putting the final blows to the creatures, the party breathed a sigh of relief; however, Krevash wasn't so sure everything was over yet.  He noted a weak spot in the ceiling above where they were standing, and ordered a retreat to a nearby room.  The Elven Archer stood fast on his far end of the hallway, readying for more to fall from the ceiling.  However, with a sudden lurching, he stumbled into a southern room, where he was witness to another part of the ceiling falling through.
The Elven Archer found himself alone in a room with nearly a dozen more kruthik.  He wildly filled the horde with a hail of arrows, but, still recovering from the sudden shift, his aim was less than true.  Before he could make flight, however, he saw the young Lydia dart out into the doorway across from him (and behind the kruthik), and summon up a huge gout of flame.  When the smoke cleared, only a pair of the beasts still stood to give the Archer chase.
And give chase they did; not smart enough to see who really started the flames, they were set to make the elf their next meal.  Darting after him, as he made his escape to a room across the hallway, they were on him, pinning him in a corner before he could make any further moves.
Thankfully, the rest of the party was nearby, in an adjoining room.  Sir Honeypot charged to the doorway, challanging one of the critters and trying to shove it out of the way to clear an exit for the trapped elf, but, the four-legged bug didn't budge.  Drugin made haste (as much haste as a dwarf can make) to join Sir Honeypot, expecting wounds would soon need to be tended to; which they were, as the house lurched, sending an unsecured dinner table, corner-first, into his side, knocking the wind out of him temporarily.
With one of the bugs distracted, the Archer risked the mandibles of the kruthick as he strung a pair of arrows, and sunk them into it.  This gambit worked, and the kruthik collapsed dead in front of him.  One swift kick to the side and a few moments later, the elf found his way to a better venue for finishing off the last of the critters.
Krevash, who had been struggling to clamber up the slanted house, found himself at the doorway where the last bug was standing.  He hurled his warpick at the bug, but, what would have been a fantastic throw nearly turned into unfortunate incident, as it slammed into the doorframe in front of Sir Honeypot.  With an annoyed glance at Krevash, Honeypot smashed the last remaining bug open and began looking for the next wave.
He didn't have to wait long – the first weak spot that Krevash noticed in the hallway before suddenly burst like an overripe boil, spilling out a torrent of filth and chittering and hissing horrors, even more, and even bigger, than had fallen through before.  A pair of the young lunged forward towards the still-recovering Drugin.  Before any more could scurry forward, however, a pale mist filled the hallway, icy cold and freezing most of the poorly insulated bugs to death in a moment.  Another extermination, courtesy of Lydia's magics.  The few hatchlings that survived the fog were quickly and violently thawed by Lydia's follow-up blast of flame.
The larger, spined kruthik launched a hail of poisonous spikes out from the fog towards the party who now stood in the hallway again – thankfully, Drugin provided more than enough cover for the rest of the party, who took the full brunt of the poison-filled projectiles.  Wracked with poison and staggering with pain, Drugin called for a little morale support from Krevash who had just recovered his errant pick. 
Krevash waded into combat, shouting a few words of encouragement to the dwarven pincushion, and led the attack against another kruthik, helping Honeypot, who was trapped in a room with a pair of the vicious little things.  Buring his warpick into the thing and kicking aside sliding furniture, Krevash spun through the room like a storm.
Meanwhile, The Elven Archer was helping to return the favor, pincushioning the large kruthik with spikes of his own, while Drugin flailed at the thing with his maul.  Between the hail of arrows, the pummeling magic missles from Lydia, and Drugin's bludgeon, the creature quickly crumpled.  The group in the other room weren't having as much luck with their particular clot of bugs.
A hail of poisoned spikes launched out from the largest of the kruthik, but Honeypot managed to bring his sheild to bear on time.  Nonimus was taking advantage of Krevash's movements through the room, and hitting the creatures where it hurt, when they looked away for but a moment.  Soon, the rest of the party joined them in the adjoining room, and threw everything they had at the few remaining creatures.  Finally, after one last explosion of violence, the creatures lay dead, the thick ichor that coated the floor a testiment to that.
Of course, as these things go, the party didn't have much time to relish the victory.  The house finally violently halted to a stop, sending everyone careening through the room, as much of the house fell down around them… 

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Chapter Three, Part One
Clikclikclikclikhissclik

Another day had come and gone, and the residents of the Ljubisav Wing felt they were closing on in Reuel, or at the very least, narrowing down the options that he has to make his escape.  Today, the party decided, they would venture (against their better judgement) into the Heap – the catch-all trash collection that sat within the Hive itself.  Savina, Leahcim and Clease decided to stay in that day, for their own reasons.  The rest ventured out into Sigil.

They took a long path, making it a point to stop at the Lady's District to try to get some information out of some Mercykillers in regards to gaining access to the prison.  While there was suggestions made, by the Mercykillers, that, if they wanted to get in, there was a very simple way, they declined that route, opting, instead to strike a deal.   If they brought the Mercykillers a criminal that needed to be dragged into the prison itself, perhaps they could get a tour out of the deal.  They noted this, and continued on their way to the Heap.

Making their way to one of the many entrances to the Heap, they found themselves set upon by unruly scavengers – however, heavily armed and in a sour mood, the party quickly got them to back down so they could make their ways deeper into the mire.  They moved towards the tunnels that the scavengers had dug, hoping to find something of interest deeper inside, and down they went, delving into the sludge that is the Heap.  Not a moment after they reached a hundred feet down the tunnel, they became aware that the scavengers, spiteful little things, started to covered up the exit with trash, effectively trapping them within the landfill.

The collective shrug that came from the group was astounding.  They could take up their displeasure in the scavenger's actions later, they felt, after they escaped the Heap, and besides, they felt, burying people alive has got to be a crime, so all the better to bring to the Mercykillers.

Down, down they went, further into the heap, until the junk-tunnel eventually openned up into a clearing ending in a pair of double doors: a buried house.  Much of the Heap had been thrown on top of one of the Hive's worst sections of residences, by the Lady's Dabus'… without any prior knowledge of the townsfolk.  Sadly, houses like this, buried under countless amounts of refuse, are all that remains of this part of the neighborhood.  With little other avenues to explore, the party entered into the forsaken abode.

There was little of interest to be found within.  Trash, compressed against all the windows didn't provide much of a view.  Rotted tables, chairs, a few cots, empty crates and barrels.  The group, obviously, took great interest in these things at first, hoping to find some hidden treasure within… but, all that remained was dust and slime.  

Nearing the back of the house, the party paused when they felt a slight shift, under their feet.  Then another, much larger shift, knocking most of the party to the ground.  The house had fallen off of whatever remained of its rotten foundation, and had begun to slide further into the Heap.  The crushing weight of debris and filth slammed the front doors shut as it slid.  The sounds of cliks and hisses could be heard all around the building now, and the house began to tilt back and forth from all directions.  The sound of claws against wood grew louder and louder, as it was apparent that something within the Heap wanted in.

Finally, a part of the roof gave, and sloughing into the room was a torrent of trash and chitinous creatures, envenomed maws yawning and lunging towards the stunned party. 

 

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Chapter Two, Part Four
Terror! On Rural Rt. No. 5

The following day, the party found themselves venturing to the Lazz School of Vivid Unpleasentness, where making the viewer suffer as much as possible seems to be the goal of this particular brand of 'art'.  They stood in front of the school, where, in a courtyard, a large, horned fellow was ceremoniously whipping three completely nude men, all laying on the ground, trying their best to lay perfectly still.  No words of anger were shared between the whipee and the whipped.  It all seemed very scripted.

The group approached the horned figure, hoping to gain access to the school.  The thing scoffed at them, as they tried to explain that they wanted to become students at the Lazz School, lying badly about their desire to learn 'anti-art' and so on.  Eventually, Lydia stepped forward, handing the horned figure the Multicorder she had discovered a few days back, and displayed the horrors that unfolded when being chased by a multitude of scrubots.  Amused by this, the devil kept the Mutlicorder and granted them access.

Stepping inside the school, the party almost instantly regretted it.  Acts of unnatural and unnecessary horror  were being committed in every class room; the party jumped room to room, hoping for a sign of a portal.

They found one in a classroom that was essentially a giant wading pool, filled with blood of some variety, a number of students standing within the pool, arms slashed so that blood drained from them and into the pool.  Shuddering, the party plodded through the pool to a small door on the other side, and crawled though, as soon as the portal shimmered for them with their portal key.

The party found themselves in a rural area, covered in blood, not far from the lights of a nearby village.  They had stepped out of a lone outhouse, far out from much of anything else, and assuming that would be their way back, made a mark of it, and went scouting for a nearby stream (no need to ride into town looking like they did, the party thought).

After a quick clean-up, the group headed towards the lights of the town down at the base of the hill.  As they approached, they saw most of the lights were torchlights – all held by townsfolk, mostly surrounding one builing.  The group approached, and began to ask the locals what was going on.

It was quickly apparent that some kind of hostage situation was occuring; the mayor approached the party on the hopes that they were some kind of travelling adventures (which was certainly true, but, unlikely in a way that the mayor could comprehend).  He said that a man calling himself 'The Duke' was inside, threatening to kill the children inside the schoolhouse, if he was not given his demands: 6000 gold pieces, and escort to the edge of the land's borders.  There was no such money in this nameless little town on an unnamed rural route.  The mayor feared that there the man would grow frustrated soon and begin his awful promise.

The group began to plot; not completely out of altruism, though they were certainly appalled by the situation.  Reuel was oftentimes refferred to as 'Duke', and they thought maybe they had their man at last.  Someone so desperate to steal portal keys could certainly go so far as this.  

A plan of sorts was formed.  Nonimus would scout around the back with some of the sneakier of the group, while Sir Honeypot would attempt negotiations at the front door.  Nonimus, Savina, Clease and Lydia prowled to the back, while Sir Honeypot, Leahcim and Katerina approached the front. 

A few quick raps on the door by Honeypot, and the door half-openned, a goblin-looking fellow standing behind it, crossbow in hand, pointing it toward the huge figure now in the doorway.  The goblin asked if they were ready to meet their demands; Honeypot suggested now would be a good time to talk.  Around back, Nonimus was creeping forward towards a back hatch, leading towards the schools basement.   However, he was uncharacteristically unsneaky this time around, and was spotted by a patrolling goblin around the back – the window the goblin was at lifted, and a number of shots were fired from his crossbow.

All the shots missed, and Nonimus vanished into the shadows.  Alarmed, the goblin quickly closed the window, and was heard to yell 'Boss!  BOSS!' as he walked away.  The prowling group began to sweat.

Out front, things were going a little better.  Honeypot was able to relate to a number of the goblins, and a great number of them crowded around the door, listening to the plan Honeypot had – simply walk out now, and they'll escort them to a portal out of the area (which was a bit of an understatement).  The goblins were actually pretty keen on this plan, as it was 'The Duke' that bullied them into this idiotic avenue in the first place.

The goblin around back never returned.  He was up front, blathering with the other negotiating goblins; Nonimus and Lydia worked the back window, and popped it; a great number of children were inside the room the window led to, and they began escorting the terrified little things out the back and quietly away from the building.  Once clear, Savina and Lydia hopped inside, while Nonimus and Clease snuck around to another side, in an attempt to find more.

Through most of the windows, they were lucky, they got in, got out with the kids, and moved on.  Most of the goblins were distracted with talking with Honeypot, hoping to come up with something solid that got the kids and them out together.  However, at the last window Nonimus was going to slide open, his head popped into sight at the wrong moment, and he saw, finally who 'The Duke' was.

A massive bull-man stood in the room, staring at the sneak at his window.  Nonimus managed to sneak out an 'uh oh' before the bull's hand slammed through the glass, grabbing Nonimus by the neck, and pulling him in.

This, of course, got the attention of the goblins, as they slammed the door, and moved to see what was happening with their 'boss'.  Much to their surprise, they saw another bull-man crashing through the window (and parts of the wall) to engage their own boss.  Clease had no patience for this sneaking around anymore, and thought fighting a fellow minotaur would be up to his usual standards.

A few of the goblins jumped into the fray with 'The Duke' (though they were yelling at him, calling him 'Ferd'), peppering Clease with arrows as he prepared to clash axes.  'The Duke' needed a free hand for his greataxe, however; so he casually hurled Nonimus through another window, sending him tumbling into the front lawn.  Honeypot kicked in the front door, shield fixed, but sword stowed, and began giving the goblins a big, ugly eye.

A number of the goblins took this as a hint that they should be on their way, and bolted towards the back.  However, Savina and Lydia assumed things had gone for the worst.  As they headed down towards the room they were waiting in, Lyida launched a column of flame into the midst of the goblins, sending a pair of them tumbling, flaming, to the ground.

Clease landed a pair of heavy blows into The Duke, bloodying him, but the goblin sharpshooters' aim was far better than Clease had anticipated.  Injured, he crashed quickly back out the window, as Honeypot stomped into the room.  His ugly eye had worked – the goblins re-aimed, this time at their boss.  This was an opportunity to make themselves look like they were victimized by the bull, instead of making victims of the children.  They fired into him, as Nonimus stepped forward, pommelled the bull, and watched him fall into unconciousness.

Honeypot quickly advised Savina and Lydia of the situation, so as to not do any more harm to the goblins, and had them begin escorting them back to the portal as quickly as possible.  Honeypot stepped out the front, alerting the townsfolk to how the situation had been handled, and no children had been hurt.  The 'sneaky' half of the party faded away into the nearby woods, as Honeypot, Katerina and Leahcim spoke with the grateful townspeople.  Leahcim brought up the subject of reward.

The townsfolk had only a few things to offer, and they opted towards giving them a pair of potions they had stolen away – Katerina stripped the armor off of the unconcious Duke, and made off with that, thinking she could fit it better to her circumstances.  Honeypot insisted they had to be on their way, and the group made a hasty departure to meet the others at the portal.

The goblins were just as thankful.  Identifying themselves as a tribe of goblins calling themselves (for whatever reason) 'The Pigs', they said they'd make it up to the group somehow.  A few murmurings of doubt were whispered between the party, but, they thought better of refusing outright.  When Honeypot and the others arrived at the portal, they made their way back in, and back to Sigil, and the Lazz School.

Of course, 'The Pigs' weren't readied to be walking into what they assumed was their ultimate punishment, a room full of blood and suffering.  With heavy sighs, the party dragged the screaming goblins through the room (with an onlooking audience, applauding), out of the school, and back to Sir Horatio's, where they would be more than welcome once they shut up.

 

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