Day 21 - Banipal gets bored - SPLITTER!!!!!!!!
Damir and Rumbles leave early in the morning to go a-wandering. I stay on guard at the intersection of the path - still playing 'Bait' - and I think Yuna's still sleeping. I watched them leave together and head up the trail, away from where we camped. They don't have to go too far before they stumble onto (well almost) a body.
Across the path lay the remains of a humanoid, leading from it is a trail of lots and lots of blood... Cautiously Damir tries to rope it without getting too close - good thing 'cause it explodes.
Bits of body go flying through the air and splat against the trees and our two heroes. Glad I didn't go with them. Damir searches those bits of the body he can still find - YUK! and no treasure... or maybe it's blown into pieces too small to find!!! They scoop up what's left of the corpse and bring it back for Norton (I'm glad they didn't bring back anything for me!)
They drag the corpse up to the hut and get Norton to do a Speak with Dead on what's left...
"What were you doing when you died?"
"Running for my life!"
"Who killed you?"
"I don't know, it was an ambush."
"What Inn are you from?"
"The Inn of the Far Shore."
"Who's the Bartender at the Inn of the Far Shore?"
"What was your mission for Bertrand?"
"Lord Randal Moore has people going missing...."
"What's your name?"
Damir stuffs Korvins body and that of the Dragon-kin and the dead Drow into his bag of holding and sets out for the Inn of the Far Shore with Banipal to consult with Bertrand but as they cross back over the "barrier" Damir feels something like an electric shock come from his bag of holding - he stops and checks and finds Korvins body has vanished, but the others haven't. We empty them from the sack and leave the bodies over the "good" side of the trail.
Banipal is getting bored (we know this because he keeps telling us) so he decided to back-trace the blood trail - he follows it for about an hour until he comes out of the forest and can see rolling pasture lands which he recognises as Lord Randal Moores territory. He continues....
The rest of us have decided to stay the night in Yunas hut... well "they" have... I'll probably be on watch again. To pass the time, I make a little line of stones to give Norton an outline in which he draws a sigil which will "infect the first person to cross it with Invisibility Purge and all invisible thingies within 45' will become visible... Sounds good to me.
Banipal meanwhile has arrived at Lord Randal Moores estate. The gates are closed and guarded but Banipal, being extrordinarilly cheery greets the Guards and introduces himself..... strangely they get into a discussion on Castles and their strategic geographic placement in the history of the long-standing conflict between England and Wales (Wherever they are.) He tells them that he's heard they're having problems and he's here to help...
They look speculatively amused but let him through and escort him to Lord Randal Moore's Arms Man. Banipal... finally being entertained... seems to be showing an hitherto unseen politeness and he restates his story happily..."I heard you were having problems in the area so I've come to help!..."
The Arms Man looks around to see if perhaps a party of fighters were somehow hidden behind this ragged-looking and somewhat smelly monk...
"How many people did you bring?" he asks suspiciously
"One." says Banipal....."Why, do you think you need more?"
The Arms Man offers Banipal a "probationary" period patrolling in the BAD area, this seems to be the area from where the most people have vanished. They give him directions east from the village, head off the main road and take the trail up to last farm which is empty at present - we knew the man who owned that farm - in fact, we saved his life!!!
"Past that," the Arms Man continues "there's an old graveyard area - it's round there that people have been vanishing."
So off Banipal goes. He travels the path, takes the appropriate turnings and comes to the first farm which seems to have tenants, though they've barricaded themselves in.
The next two farms are barricaded and seem empty but they look as though they have been closed up in good order... the last farm is empty but the barn-doors are scorched and open. Banipal looks round - there are many signs that whoever lived there left in a hurry or under duress - there's some loose livestock and looking through the unshuttered windows he can see overturned furniture inside but no sign of life... he knocks and with unprecedented politeness, yells HELLO.....
Getting no response he enters and finds splotches of blood - like something bleeding has been dragged across the room. Taking a 'once-around-the-outside of the building he finds the entrance to the cellar - it's accessed from outside (like a storm cellar) and fairly well stocked with dried vegetables, herbs, jugs on a shelf and sacks of grain and potatoes and other root vegetables - the cellar runs under the house and he locates a small ladder that leads him back into the farm.
He shutters the windows; barricades the door; and settles in a mediative position.
While we're camping for the night a group come down the trail from the Inn of the Far Shore with news that Korvin returned in a flash of light to the Inn...alive too, but with no memory of what had happened and Bertrand sent them to tell us....
Now that's interesting as well as familiar. I fill them in on what we've been doing, the ambush, the attacks, finding Korvins corpse, etc and give them the bodies of the dead baddies to take back in case Bertrand can find out more - we notice they've decayed a lot... a lot more than they should have.
I go back to my hide and Damir takes the other watch. Yuna's still sleeping and Rumbles is reading (?) again.
The day goes on and on and on - luckily Assassins have the patience of Saints. It's late - about 10pm when I spot a couple of somethings coming down the evil trail. One is slim and humanoid and one muscled and humanoid and big...I wake the party.
As I get back there's a flash as Norton's invisibility purge goes off (On Ya Norty!!) revealing two more figures...a Drow and a Dire-Wolf which appear closer to us, having crossed the "boundary" between the trails.
The others arrive just behind me. The female drow up front seems to be able to see Rumbles and went for him with a sword... I don't think I've seen anyone smaller than a Frost Giant hit Rumbles that soundly. He retaliates and the Drow goes down, he swings and cleaves the Dire-Wolf, he hurts it but it's not down. It steps out of its wolf shape and becomes a large dark humanoid with glowing eyes and lots of teeth...
It bites Rumbles - that's a bad sign. The other hulking great fucker appears over the "border" and I fling a few darts at it, unfortunately I miss but I get back to Yunas hut and tell her about the nasty four-armed, many toothed Demons, one of which is right behind me...
Damir and Norton take a swipe at it as it passes but both miss. It catches up with me in no time and takes a nasty snap... too slow Sucker!! I dance out of its way.
Damir takes another swipe at the Demon still on the path and misses. The 'other' drow has a go at Rumbles and misses which I guess is fortunate.
Yuna chucks her patented handy-dandy chain lightning at the massed enemies still on the trail.
I summon Ermendahla and we go ethereal... at least that stops this damn thing from hitting me - next thing I know bloody thing's vanished - That REALLY annoys me!!
Meanwhile Damir's doing a sterling task of beating the shit out of the demon that ruffed up Rumbles. It seems these things are undead...
It's a pity we only just realised that or we could have used Norton to Command them or Rebuke them or something much earlier. He tries now anyway and succeeds, the remaining creature cowers, whilst it grovels at Nortons feet Rumbles lops its head off.
No time to breathe... the alarm on Yuna's hut goes off - Erm and I swoop towards it just in time to see the hut vanish.
Standing in it's place is Yuna facing off the Demon... Not good. It smashes into Yuna.... I'm sure she can't afford those sort of hit points! I dive and drop a few poison darts on it - Bugger! missed again. The rest of the party converge on where the hut once stood.
Rumbles takes a swing at it and it vanishes.... SHIT....there goes another one!!! Erm and I come back to the prime-material and land next to Yuna's prone form... she's dead.
Damn - who's going to make the tea now???
I take her back to the trail to the Inn of the Far Shore and put her body back on the "good" side of the trail - she vanishes. We know she'll live, but what will be left of her memory????
Norton and I stay - on the Far Shore side and keep a watch out for what's left of the night - it stays quite..... which is sort of nice for a change. Damir and Rumbles head back to the Inn. I keep watch while Norton meditates and casts the sigil that 'infects' the first person to cross it with Invisibility Purge. We spend the evening watching...
Damir and Rumbles arrive back at the Inn - Yuna is there... in the bath of course... They drink for a bit... Yuna's still not back so they head to bed.
The night passes for Banipal without any cause for alarm.
Back to The Inn of the Far Shore.