Still shaking the desert sands from their well-traveled boots and brimming with dough but nowhere to spend it, our tankless confederation of paragon-level heroes emerged from the ruins of chasm central (See, previous adventure: “Kobolds & Kiddos”), some carrying a stash of meat golem jerky. Following the twinkling lights of campfires in the distance, the party forged forward. The eyes and ears (and resident surgeon) of the party, Osokah, perceptificated activity in the vicinity of a large boulder and notified his comrades. Oran the Impetuous took it upon himself to investigate, whilst the party hung back. Scaling the boulder and peaking over the top, Oran spied a figure clad in black (at this point there was much meta kibitz, however, Orin heard none). Still spying from his vantage point, Oran observed an apparent changing of the guard, another black-clad figure appeared, discussed something in a clandestine manner with the first and replaced his watch. At this point, Oran cast down a ninja bomb of darkness, leapt from the boulder and scored a palpable hit. It would be his last against his black-clad foe. Obviously trained by ninjas, Oran’s victim took the offensive and pinned his assailant to the ground. Some negotiations transpired resulting in the dispelling of the cloud of darkness. Oran whipped out his trusty fire-giant-forged shuriken and zinged it at his target who deftly deflected it with his sword–much to Oran’s amazement.
At which point, Osokah and Marduk, impatient with Oran’s delay mustered up the rest of the gang to see what the hell was going on. As the party arrived, so did a squadron of black-clad ninja dudes on horseback. Marduk and Osokah made some mad bluff rolls and convinced them that Oran was their escaped prisoner. The dudes in black took the gang back to “Mother” (who Osokah was convinced was a great wyrm blue at this point-producer of the lightning-flinging blue turd, Spark). To keep up appearances, Oran was bound and slung over Hebert (at least he was not akin to a Salmon this time). Although the party questioned the dudes in black about the obvious epic conflict that was evidenced by the ever-present sounds of battle and body strewn romper room, the dudes remained mum.
Finally the party arrived at a fresh, carnage-littered battleground, and what was ostensibly a M*A*S*H unit. Though Gordon and Osokah offered their services in order to ingratiate themselves to their badass escorts, their efforts were unavailing. The only response they received was this: “They should be dying, but they’re not.” Entering the M*A*S*H unit and bracing themselves for “big blue,” the party observed a diminutive humanoid female figure stooped over a table. She, the dudes informed, was “Mother.”
(Oh, so M*A*S*H must stand for “Maude and some helpers”).
Catching up with Maude:
Mother–a.k.a. Maude–and our hero collective had not seen each other for some 128 years (only 1 year-hero time). On the night the party disappeared, things got really weird with 2 or 3 impinging realities. Apparently, a band of adventurers (maybe alternate-reality party??) had defeated a mad wizard, which event stopped the merging of the worlds. There were periods when death did not work. Inexplicably, people wouldn’t die-until the wizard’s defeat. Sentinel City, which is some 100 miles NorthWest, was rebuilt some 70 years ago and everything returned to some degree of normalcy. Then the death interruption began again-intermittently. (When death works properly, resurrection sometimes does not). At this point, a vast barbarian horde emerged from the desert and began sacking one city at a time, most recently, the looting of Rock City. Maude explained that she was the nanny to Duke Layron’s son, and that she had escaped to the field hospital. She said that, before the sack of Rock, all of the children were sent into the the old city in the chasm for protection. Maude had tried to convince the blue dragon, Azure, to help. Azure is quite “mercenary” and can be bought–for alot. Her territory used to be the Western half of the desert, but now Azure is nomadic. Maude’s soldiers used to be the Duke’s personal guard, high-level warriors that are loyal to the Duke’s son, Stephen. Stephen is the precocious and helpful kiddo that led the party to Spark’s chamber previously. The party and Spark parted on less-than-amicable terms. So basically, Stephen is the heir apparent to the dukedom.
The Quest: Find Maude’s sister, Elaina, and find out why folks can’t die
Elaina resides on an island in the bay south of the field hospital. Elaina was described as blond human female. Though she would appear to be only 30 years old, she was actually closer to 1,000. To prove our credentials, Osokah asked Maude for something that Elaina would recognize. Maude produced a compass ring (the ring points to Elaina). Maude cautioned that when the party arrived at the island, they should be kind to her “little storks.” But before getting there, the party would have to weather the storm, a massive permanent hurricane surrounding the island in the bay.
Into the Eye of the Storm
One of Maude’s super troopers (“Hunter” from Troop B) escorted the party around the sack of Rock to a dock where the party “borrowed” a vessel after much discussion over whether Gordon should summon his nifty magic steeds. Opting for the boat, the party began to depart as a hail of flaming barbarian arrows spewed from the dock. >> fast forward through the hurricane >> grounded on the beach (major damage incurred by all). Still in the midst of the torrential downpour and titanic winds, the beach was reduced to zero visibility. Clawing their way inland, the party instantaneously emerged into absolute calm, the eye of the storm. Following the compass ring, which pointed further inland, our heroes plodded through the foliage and came upon a clearing.
The Hut on Chicken’s Feet
(to be continued)