At Andrew’s (Andrew, Gerry, Daz, Herb & Alex)
Written by Gerry
Emilia contemplated climbing the tree to go through her belongings, but being 25’ or 30’ up, well, that wasn’t going to happen. Casi continued to circle overhead, mentally reaching out to Cel for an update. Cel mentioned that Durathror seemed to have a bead on the mask, within 1000’ to the North-East from their current location.
Regrouping, they moved along the trail in single file, the webs becoming closer and more cloying as the went along. Ed moved to the front, cutting a path ahead, Emilia, Jaku, Durathror following with Cel covering the back of the group around 50’ or 60’ back and wary of pursuers.
The trees thickened, and even though it was still in the afternoon, the forest became perceivably darker, the trail narrowing to 2 or 3 feet wide, with wisps and mats of web covering the trees and ground around them. Jaku threw a light spell on his armour.
After a short while, the path widened to around 5 feet, and then further to about 10’ wide in a narrow clearing ahead. The webs were thicker around them, with several thick corded strands twanging to either side where they crossed the track and Ed chopped through them.
Durathror, continuing to concentrate on the mask, definitely felt the mask nearer, seeing the grain in the mask in the image in his mind. Continuing ahead, halfway through the clearing, Ed stepped over 3 thick strands, then fell through the webbing beyond the strands, twisting and grabbing a ledge of the hole beneath him, still obscured by the webs. A horde of small spiders swarmed up and over him, biting him viciously. From ahead to the left, a squirt of web hit Emilia, pinning her. Looking back, Emilia could see a shape moving inside the forest line to their left.
A further glob of web dropped from above. Emilia avoided that, capturing Jaku, Ed and Clank. While the group struggled, Cel remained hidden beyond the entrance to the clearing, waiting for the larger targets that he expected to inevitably appear.
Ed climbed out of the pit, moving back onto solid ground, pulling his crossbow out. Casting a magic missile, Durathror attached the spider moving through the treeline that he could see.
The swarm of spiders rushed forward, working into the webbing surround Jaku, but not succeeding at inflicting any significant pain. A further glob of webbing shot over Cel’s shoulder, missing the group gathered in the middle of the clearing.
A boom of thunder rang through the clearing as Jaku cast a thunderwave. Durathror and Emilia were thrown back, while Ed managed to brace himself. Ed’s sword and shield were flung away along with bits of forest and other loose items by the concussive wave of energy thrown out by the magic.
A large spider rushed out from Emilia’s left. Cel, waiting for just this moment, loosed an arrow, killing the spider instantly. Having broken his cover and, twisting around, he fired again at the spider behind him, killing that one as well. He withdrew into the clearing, again attempting to lose himself in the shadows.
Ed made efforts to free Jaku, failing. Redoubling his efforts, he tore Jaku free. A large wolf spider broke out of the tree line towards Durathror. BIting at Durathror, it instead only managed to puncture his cloak. DUrathror disengaged and moved out of its grasp.
A thin strand of web floated down past Cel’s eyesight, and then suddenly drew taut around his neck, cutting into him. He began being dragged back into the treeline. Further sounds of large creatures could be heard moving closer, from the right-hand side of the clearing. ONe of them sounded very large…
Jaku spoke, the power of his words knitting together some of Emilia’s wounds, then ran towards Cel. Witnessing the humanoid-shaped creature, purple, tall with a vaguely human face, Jaku succumbed to a momentary fear and ran back across the clearing.
Emilia, still held fast, threw her sword at the spider that had lunged at Durathror, striking it, but not killing it. Ed, ired his crossbow at the same spider, killing it. Cel twisted free from the garotte around his neck, crossing to the other side of the clearing.
At that moment, Casi dove falcon-like into the clearing, calling out – in Common – “I’m coming to save you boys” – flaring his wings and detonating a power blast of noise and fury centred on Jaku – Jaku having just mentally instructed Casi to target a thunderwave on his position. Durathror was immediately knocked unconscious, his body flung into and caught by Ed.
The wave rolled out across the immediate error, and into the forest. The larger, presumably, spider ran away from the fracca and returning to the depths of the woods. The creature that had garotted Cel came out into the clearing, shooting a web at Cel, undoubtedly thicker and stronger than that of the other spiders they’d encountered to date. A spider attacked Cel from behind, biting him – Cel resisted the poison being injected into him.
The swarm of small spiders, reduced in size from the damage of the thunder wave, attacked Emilia. Jaku spoke healing words again to Emilia, then ran to Durathror, pouring a healing potion between his lips and returning him to consciousness. Bravery restored, Jaku them rushed up to the purple spider-like humanoid, interposing himself between the creature and the rest of the party.
Cel fired at it, wounding it, while Ed turned and hammered the spider behind Cel, killing it with one mighty strike. Casi, hovering and navigating above the battlefield but under the forest canopy, threw ice over the humanoid monstrosity. Durathror, still in Ed’s arms, threw three scorching rays of fire at the monstrosity, incinerating it. As it fell, the webbing nearby caught fire, rapidly catching and in turn eating through into the general mass of webbing in the nearby trees.
Cel recognised the creature as an Ettercap, a bane of Elves and fey creatures, and known as a spider shepherd.
Emilia, Ed and Cel worked on cutting away the webbing on the floor of the clearing (on the half of the clearing that they’d fought on). Cutting away at one side, they rolled back half of it, clearing a way to the other end of the clearing. Working forward, they cleared a way past the edge of the web-covered pit (which didn’t appear to be regularly shaped) and gathered at the other end, deciding their next move…
- Ed Brightaxe, male dwarf former soldier
- North Nordenwelt Wilds
- Zargath’s Fall
- East-west trail
- Zargath’s Fall