Day 23 – Giants and dragons and air elementals…o my!
Seriously you’d think we’d get an uneventful night’s sleep in the middle of bloody Hommlet wouldn’t you! But still I’m rudely awakened by a giant hand trying to throttle me. A giant undead detached hand covered in bizarre runes similar to the ones on Fillian. So I hacked at the thing with my axe and disgusting pus squirted out all over me making me empty the contents of my stomach. The thing used the opportunity to wrap itself around my throat and try to squeeze the life out of me. It might have succeeded had it not been for the joint efforts of my comrades cutting it to pieces.
Suddenly the thing released me and each finger split off and changed into another, if somewhat smaller, hand. All of us were awake at this point, except Sameson who could sleep through a volcanic eruption, and had to battle it out with the bizarre hands. Together we dispatched them all and the hand reverted back to being just one over-grown severed hand, but this time dormant with a dirty thumb sticking up. Fillian conveniently changed back about now (though I think the sneaky elf had really changed back half way through the fight and took bloody amusement in watching us battle it out with his severed hand!). And Fillian thought the hand might be the very one he lost to the trap in the fire temple long ago, albeit altered by powerful necromantic magic.
Now Burne returned to check on us about then and the two of them made some sort of bloody magical pact because they went off and when Fillian returned he had the bloody hand attached to him with the thumb sticking up. I must say it looks utterly ridiculous! Now we told Rufus and Burne everything we knew about the temple and decided to head on back there in search of the gems that would complete The Orb of Golden Death. We took a few days to stock up on supplies and then once more ventured to the secret entrance under the abandoned cottage that leads to the Temple.
Fillian said he wanted to investigate the magic mirror in the chamber which was once occupied by the evil mage Falrinth. Here we found Wonillion, the gnome, looking like he hadn’t eaten for days. And this was because he bloody hadn’t. The mirror had been activated by Wonillon and was in fact a portal to the elemental nodes which the gnome was concentrating on keeping open. Taki, the warrior, had gone through it, looking for Mai, and this love sick gnome had been waiting for Taki to return ever since.
Trying not to throw up from the trite sentimentality of the situation we asked the gnome to let us go through the mirror to the fire node. Wonillion agreed and we went all stepped through the device, but the bloody gnome didn’t control it properly and we ended up dumped on a mountain, being blasted by freezing winds, in the air node. I will throttle that little bastard next time I see him.
I quickly cast some protection from the elements on my comrades and we decided to make the best of a bad situation and search for the air gem whilst here. We had no bloody idea where to begin but opted to head down the mountain and explore from down there. We sent Joe ahead to scout and prayed that our earlier dream about our encounter with a cloud giant didn’t come true. But we were bloody disappointed because we rounded a bend to see Joe suspended upside down by one of the huge monsters.
Thankfully the giant took it upon itself to throw Joe at us rather than crush the life out him there and then. Quickly we prepared our defences against the cloud giant, not wishing to repeat what happened in our vision. Sameson has finally learnt a new trick because he conjured up a whirlwind like air elemental and sent it spinning off to the attack the giant to buy us time. Naturally, we pushed Ugly to the front waving that silly Frostreaver sword he keeps talking to, and buffed him up something rotten with the power of Joramy and Obad-Hai. Joe started blasting it with that new lightning wand toy of his and old elf-one hand had a go at doing something arcane to it, but his spells kept falling. By the hammer the giant was tough. Once it had swotted away the air elemental it was all we could do to keep Ugg alive against it.
I called on the wrath of Joramy and dropped a Wall of Fire on the bastard and watched him burn. Men are bloody annoying enough when they are normal sized! Ugg got some prime hits on it but the giant had another ability in its arsenal: it flew up into the air and out of the fire like it had a bloody wings. Unfortunately for it Ugg could do the same, and Frostreaver levitated him right up after it. From the ground we watched the bizarre airborn battle transpire. Ugg’s brains must be in another part of his anatomy though because we couldn’t bloody heal him from down here and if he’d lost he’d have plummeted and become an orc-sized stain on the mountainside. He didn’t lose though and it was the giant that smashed back down, shaking the mountain to its very foundations.
And so we bagged our first giant! They’ll be no bloody stopping my companions’ egos now! It’ll be bloody dragons next, then flaming demons then Joramy knows what… you mark my words. So after some typical backslapping and what not we pressed on through the winds down to the bottom of the mountain. In the distance we could make out what looked like some caves in rock formations across the icy tundra that must mark out the sides of the Air Node. I’m a little uncomfortable with knowing that I’m basically inside a bloody box, but we pressed on to the caverns hoping to find the gem there.
We’d gotten about halfway when we saw a human sized figure approaching us, seemingly unaffected by the cold winds. It wasn’t until he was close that we recognized the distorted figure that was once Lord Chess. Now however he was something different. Perhaps in punishment because of his failure to stop our righteous cleansing of the fire temple, Lord Chess had been killed and transformed until some kind of mega frost zombie creature intent now on sucking the warmth from our bodies. He had that symbol of Iuz slapped on him too, just to block any attempts to turn him. The bloody fool of an elf was about to lob a fireball at him before I convinced him of the folly of throwing fire at a creature which feeds off warmth! Instead, having the luxury of space down here on the tundra floor, we surrounded Chess and began gleefully hacking away at him. However, just being close to him was enough to feel the warmth being sucked out of us and so we had to make short work of him! Finally we shattered this monstrosity and so ended Lord Chess of the fire temple! That’ll teach him to worship bloody elemental fire eyes instead of the mighty Joramy; a true goddess of fire!
We trekked onward to take cover from the blistering winds within the closest cave at the base of the rocky sides of Node. But the bloody winds roared through the caves themselves and so offered us no shelter. This particular cave was empty as well. It must have been where Lord Chess had been lairing. So we left and started to climb a path up the side of the rock face to another cave. Only we hadn’t got more than ten paces when a bloody whirlwind formed in front of us and a huge air elemental manifested; this time it wasn’t under the control of Sameson. The thing spoke, and I’m not really sure how because I couldn’t make out a bloody mouth on it, with a voice like rustling leaves.’ What do you want here?’ it asked us.
So we tried to tell it all manner of lies about wanting to free all the poor unfortunate creatures trapped here, but it wasn’t really buying it so we tried asking it about the gem. It didn’t know anything, or at least it pretended not to, and told us that the dragons or the giants must have it. See what did I bloody tell you! Dragons and giants!!! I swear I saw Sameson and Ugg’s little eyes light up at the mere mention of them. The air elemental wanted us to go and fight the giants for it and so, not wanting to waste our strength on the elemental, we agreed. The thing asked us to step into it and we all did and were whisked off to the other side of the node where all the giants lived. When the elemental left we took note of where the cave where the giants lived was and promptly walked off in the opposite direction. Well I ain’t bloody stupid! One giant we can handle but a whole blasted family of the bastards I think not.
So we looked around a few more cave complexes but found nothing of interest. Then just as we were climbing up to another cave on the upper level another air elemental appeared. This one was even bloody bigger than the last one and it roared at us to prostrate ourselves before it. We did because yet again we didn’t want to fight the tornado like being. It started hurling all sorts of abusive sexist taunts at me in an effort to piss me off, and it might have actually been offensive had it in fact had a sex in the first place, but I fail to see how a sexless tornado could actually really be misogynistic. After a while it got bored and told us it would leave us alone if we went and killed the dragons for it at yet another side of the node. We agreed and it whisked us up and set us outside the cave where the dragons lived. Once more we waited till it left and went in the opposite direction.
We found another cave and had a poke around inside. In a side cavern we ran into two little shrieking imp things that Fillian recongnised as air mephitis. They started harping on about going to tell the giants and dragons we were here, so we squashed both of them before they had a chance despite their attempts to protect themselves with Blur spells. Stupid little buggers. Down another cavernous passageway we found an odd glowing triangle symbol craved into the floor. It didn’t take a bloody wizard to realise that standing on would activate something. Now, as a joke I dared Sameson to stand on it. How was I to know the acorn worshipping dolt would actually go and bloody do it.
Bam, he vanished. Now we all had no choice but to do the same and end up Joramy knows where. So I stepped forward and the world seemed to move and almost made me hurl up all over my chainmail skirts. I saw Sameson ahead and so stepped forward again to find myself in a bizarre chamber full of glowing runes carved into the floor. Four to be precise. One for each of the elemental nodes! We were in some kind of bloody teleportation chamber. I managed to stop Sameson from being a bloody fool and stepping on another rune and when the others arrived we decided to explore this area.
We saw a passage leading out and sent Joe off to investigate. He returned in one piece and told us that ahead was a huge chamber covered in moss and fungus. Great, I thought. We’re in Vutogmy’s bloody bedroom! So we marched right on in there and saw a gigantic throne right in the middle of the chamber. Then the idea popped into my head that the throne is actually a device activated with the Orb of Golden Death and could be used to raise us back up to the top level of the temple. Also another idea of something nasty that the skull can actually do popped into my head but I ignored that. Something so insidious as to only be used at a time of dire need!
Now I told the men to all get on the throne but, what do you bloody know, Sameson had wondered off again. I swear that man has a death wish. He’d gone off to investigate an anti-chamber. We found him in the smaller room gleefully using his powers to command fungus like plants to attack other. Simple things please simple minds! Just when he’d made them all pop each other some more plant creatures popped up out the floor and let out a cacophonous shrieking noise, alerting everything in the area of our presence. This seemed like a good cue to leave so we all piled on the throne and I got the old skully of dire evil death out and made us ascend all the way up to the upper temple.
Now we were getting tired and needed to rest and rethink our strategies so we returned to where the gnome and his magic mirror were. It was only because he looked so pitiful, still whimpering over more muscles than brains Taki, that I managed to restrain myself from throttling him for dumping us in the wrong node. So we gave him summit to eat and settled down for a good night’s rest. Pfft, we should be so bloody lucky!!!