Desperate Times

Dwarven grumbling

Dwarves don’t like surprises, especially when those surprises are large and hostile. Dwarves don’t like games, especially if they have no idea about the rules. But nobody asks dwarves about what do they like.

That day Karragh did like nothing at all. Shortly after the party went underground first enemies appeared. Kobolds were already familiar foes, but there were also new beasts – ugly bugs. They were not too dangerous, but they tried to steal the golden horns, which Delynx had found earlier in a cell near the torture chamber. Dwarves don’t like when someone tries to steal their common gold.

Then there was the dragon, this oversized disgusting reptile that obviously wanted them dead. From that tough fight dwarf got several really useful lessons about ways of diverting the enemy’s attention. The only bad thing was that at the end the dragon managed to escape. It just broke the ceiling and flied away, and the adventurers left to enjoy the blue clear sky through the hole.

They enjoyed it not for too long. A little boy appeared, and with his help they managed to get to the surface… just to get grabbed by king’s guards and accused in voiding the sanctity of the (surprise!) Forbidden Garden.

While the whole party was rotting away in a prison cell, strange people came to visit them. The archmage wanted them not to tell the Emperor about elven magic and buildings they’ve seen, and the Lady-related ambassador was just curious to see them and ask some stupid questions. The dwarf was feeling in the middle of a weird and creepy game, and its rules were as clear and transparent as a piece of coal.

But at the end of the day everything looked to be worked out for the best. They were free again, and even more than that, they officially joined the service of the Emperor. Karragh was pleased and comfortable with this fact.

Only the archmage’s look didn’t promise any good for them. But screw the archmage, they’re the Emperor’s servants now!

Kill the dragon!

During a quick counsel in the shack in the morning it was decided that the only way for the party to proceed is to return back to the dungeons to kill a dragon. Well, a hatchling. But a dragon, anyway.

The place amused Delynx more and more. They found a two-storied underground prison. A brief look around showed that all the cells on the first floor were searched already many times, probably by passing-by kobolds. But stairs to the second floor were ruined, so there was a chance that something is still left there. Githzerai climbed and examined the cells. It took much longer than she thought, but at the end she found two gold minotaur horns, a reward worth the time. Minra lectured them about a history of those horns.

The next room was round, with columns on sides and two bugs sitting on them. It was full of kobolds as well, though kobolds were a more common encounter in these caves than those strange bugs. At first the party was busy with kobolds, and didn’t pay much attention to bugs. However, the bugs quickly reminded about themselves, as they started flying around, biting everyone. And then… one of those bugs flew to Delynx, and instead of biting, it grabbed a horn, and started to flee. “No, you are not taking that horn with you!” promised Delynx to the bug, while she tried to reach and grab him, simultaneously balancing on columns of the room. The bug was quick and small so it almost reached a hole when Delynx had a chance to hit it, forcing it to drop a horn to the ground. The bug escaped in the hole, but horns were saved!

A battle with a dragon was fierce, especially since they were already wearied by a battle with dragonspawn in previous rooms.

But the real surprise waited them after the battle. While trying to escape, the dragon flew to the roof and broke it. A water dropped down from a pond above, and they saw a boy looking down at them. A boy helped them to come out to the ground, where they found themselves in the Forbidden Garden, right in the middle of the Emperor’s Palace.

A royal palace means royal intrigues. While they waited in a cell (arrested for breaking into a garden, what a nonsence!), an archmage and an ambassador from West approached them, each with their own interests. Archmage Sian wanted them to conceal the knowledge about the shack where they slept from the Emperor and the Pious One. He didn’t tell why he wants it (obviously), but offered a sort of a reward for this (and their freedom, of course). Apparently Minra and Karragh were very devoted to the Emperor, so they were against it at once. Delynx didn’t care so much about the devotion to the Emperor, but she was able to see that if they will do what Archmage bids them, they will find themselves playing some dangerous game, the rules of which were unknown to them. A monk was wise enough to understand that the risk is probably not worth taking.

Goals of an ambassador tiefling Dame Sarah were unclear, since she played a simple curiosity quite convincingly. But certainly she had her own goals as well.

It seems, they made the right choice telling everything to the Emperor. They regained their freedom (ha-ha, Sian!), and suddenly found themselves in Imperial employment. It’s not like they had any choice, though. Apparently, being a servant of the Emperor was the only possibility to pardon their presence in the Forbidden Garden.

A dragon from a dream
By Minra

From the Diary of Minra:

Coming back from the secret Elven place we followed the way showed in a dream….


This place looks like used thousands years ago, by the old Minotaur society. Door to a prison cells chamber had a hook trap installed. It’s good that Delynx knows how to deal with those mechanisms. 
…so many prison cells… in one of them Delynx found one pair of the golden horns. They used to be worn by worshipers of The Dark at the time of great Minotaur Empire. Interesting, if The Dark was the main religion of the Minotaur Empire, why were the worshipers imprisoned here? Or it was just a pile of treasure left by some creature?
On the other side are a rotten door. I can hear whispers through, and flapping of the leather wings… Can’t understand though. Delynx reproduced it for me, she got it quite nicely. There are 4-5 of them, have no idea we are here…


Bashing through the door we managed to surprise them. Kobolds and two kind of flying lizard creatures…biting and stealing our treasure! It’s another prison cell room. Delynx quickly dealt with the two of them, I wasn’t so lucky in this fight. Also Inotan looks like he would rather stay in bed than fight.


The stairways lead us down to another room, it used to be a place of worshiping. Dark energy flowes around here and altar shows signs of lots of sacrifices. Four dragonspawn and a kobold staying against us. Amazed by this place, my arms are missing more than hitting the enemies. Delynx however is doing great, showing them what they deserve. This fight was long…
Better to clean the place from this dark energy, at least a little bit.


Behind the altar were the door…leading to a Dragon!
FILCRUM, a red dragon hatchling, servant of Daros. Or maybe a child of his? How close are our enemies to us and we don’t even notice?
Delynx hit him first, and quite hard. Inotan joined with the power of his stars hitting the dragon heavily. Trying to get close to him, I got hit by his tail! How dangerous he is, it hurt quite a lot! But I managed, blinded him and got my strength to support others in slaying this monster. And again Delynx had her day. Slaying the kobolds and fighting the dragon. Her and Korragh. I tried to keep them alive by healing what I could. Inotan was more careful, kept the distance while constantly hitting the dragon. Not like me. Such a big creature and I can’t hit! But it got me, to my knees….others got him to flee…. Trying hard to get away by melting the ceiling, got itself out under the protection of The wall…and got desintegrated….


KAI, a little boy, how peaceful. Found help and we climbed up.
Forbidden gardens of the Emperror of The Light! We’re in trouble. Nobody can enter this place! And this boy, he’s an Emperror’s son! The Elite guard found us quickly. BOHAI, the head of the guard listened our story. After we gave up our weapons, he took us to the cell to wait for the Emperors decision without any further trouble.


Waiting wasn’t that uneventful as I thought it would be, after what we went through. The archmage SIAN himself came to hear our story. Interesting. He doesn’t get quite along with The Light, even though he is a strong defender of the city of Anar. What does he want from us? He will save us out of death sentence if we won’t tell the Emperor the truth about the Elven catacombs. What is he planning? We can’t do that! The Emperor must know all the truth! The evil is nearer than we think! 
Another visitor showed up later. The ambassador of the West, the Dame SAIRA STRONG, allied with the LADY. Just wanted to talk, curious about us “the dragonslayers”. She says she just wants to support trading between the two countries. Nothing else. I don’t know, there is something suspitious about both of them…


The Emperor himself, in front of us! What an honour! THE PIOUS ONE, the head of The Light, is here too. It’s good to see him again. Telling our whole story, he will know what we’re talking about, he is an ancient eladrin, he knows..
Thanks to him, we managed to avoid the death. Instead, we entered the service of The Emperor of The Light. That is a great honour for me, and for others too!
SIAN wasn’t happy though, we will regret it apparently. I am sure our ways will cross sooner or later…
But for now…even though we feel much stronger and skilled (we leveled)…let’s rest in the barracks…

Under Anar
By Minra

From the Diary of Minra:

…Kasumi, a brave soldier, she was hurt so I helped her to heal her wounds. She gave me the shield! The Blasting Shield of Makel, and I am proud to use it.


After falling into the hole in the ground, we decided to follow the tunnel. We fought our way through. Mostly Inotan, Delynx and Karragh were dealing great hits to the enemies all around. One creature tried to escape but we followed it… Into the right tunnel! 


Impressive place, like a forest, but underground. Two statues and ponds in the centre. Doesn’t seem harming but I don’t think they would welcome us here. Delynx went in first, carefully searching for traps around. Inotan was not so patient, he went straight to one of the statues and tried to touch it….they suddenly became alive! It was a hard fight, two elven protectors with two water elementals…Inotan got even unconscious, but I managed to bring him back. Luckily, he had enough strength to deal heavily damaging hits and overwhelm the statues. It was a hard fight, but after we felt stronger and more skilled for future battles (we leveled).


In the following tunnel, a guard was sitting in front of the fire, turned back on us. Delynx went sneaking forward to silence it and….It’s a trap! “GRAPPIC!” I heard and all the ceiling suddenly started falling on Delynx. She was quick enough to avoid being hit by those rocks, but it was difficult to get through to fight the Kobolts. 


Another ancient elvish sanctuary….but burned heavily. And again a trap! Delynx fell down the deep hole in the middle of the room, but managed to get out pretty quickly. I am always amazed by flexibility of that monk. Our enemies wanted us to join them, how foolish… We fought hard and won again. No one escaped.


Suddenly a secret door on a side opened….an elven maze. We decided to go in and search through. I did’t feel it’s a good idea, but the rest looked happy and relaxed…I feel more and more tired, we’re climbing up the stairs somewhere…a big ancient tree over the city of Anar! But it’s not there! It must be the elven magic! There is a room, full of food…and place to rest….
….weird dream….a dragon is born….all of us had the same one, showing us the way to the dragon.
…and something happened. All of us got something new! My Blessing sat permanently on me, Delynx got the Iron body, Steel strike Ki focus, the banding teaching her new techniques, Karragh got strong Mhurd’s Tomb armor and Inotan, when he woke up, he was covered by Sehanine’s face tattoo of two moons! The two moons of which prophecy is telling perhaps?!

By Delynx

After dull tunnels the light ahead was definitely something strange, possibly magic. Delynx sneaked ahead and saw a room in a shape of almost a perfect circle. Two gorgeous statues stood in the middle, with pools of water near each of them. On the floor there was a path out of fallen leaves. Kobolds seems to use this path only. There was definitely something here, they had to be ve-e-ery careful.
Githerai was the best among the team in searching for traps, so she started to search around with each her move. And then… “Ah, screw this, I’m tired of waiting! What can be wrong here?” said Inotan, and rushed inside, to the statues.
“No!” – screamed Delynx, but it was too late. The statues came to life and turned to Inotan. Pools of water suddenly started to grow into some humanoid shape. “I’ll kill this elf!” she thought, but there was no need, because in just a couple of statues’ blows he was already dead. Or unconcious at least. The team charged inside, someone (was it Minra or Karragh?) helped to revive Inotan, while others, including Delynx, concentrated on killing the magic creatures. The group survived, but it was a tough battle.

So after a couple of hours while they were inside yet another dull corridor, they saw a room ahead. There was a small bonfire in the middle. Near the fire a figure in the hood sat, facing fire and turned back to them.
“This time we will not make such a folly! I’ll sneak ahead and try to kill him from behind. Stay here!” – said Delynx to others.
She did it, sneaked right behind him, prepared her spear and… rocks started falling down! Ouch! It’s a trap! But this time it was her folly, not Inotan’s! She searched around so many times, but somehow she never searched when she was near the figure, so she didn’t notice it was a moulage! Enemies charged from the other end of the corridor while her friends were too far behind. As if it wasn’t enough, a kobold threw something at her, and she became glued to the floor, she couldn’t move while rocks felt directly at her… Arrgghh.
Well, after several moments, when she was already badly hurt, rocks stopped falling, and friends were already near, so the group managed to win the fight anyway. Delynx was even lucky enough not to drop her sunrode (even though somewhere in the middle of the fight she fell inside a trap with a living water), so she could charge kobolds who tried to run away.

A couple more hours, some stairs to the outside, and they found a nice shack, where they decided to sleep. She dreamed of a dragon being born, and it wasn’t a very pleasant dream. But in the morning she found a new ki-focus, that made her stronger.
Everyone shared the same dream. They should kill this dragon egg or hatchling. So, back to the caves!

Deep into the...ground, through the forrest and finaly up up to the sky!
By Inotan

So we were trapped in some kind of corridor, enemies coming from every direction. We were moving forward, trying to avoid traps (with a horrible result). Finaly, after few encounters, quite tired of the darkness, we got into the strange room, surrounded by trees, with a strange doors on one side and two, beutiful statue’s in the middle. They were so amazing that I couldnt stay behind and I had to touch them…. IT WAS A TRAP. I got hit by both of them and nearly died. Thank’s to my friends we were able to fight them back. Unfortunatly the mysterious door were to hard for us to force. We had to follow the dark corridor where we encountered even more enemies. They were trying to open the door but they also couldn’t… We have killed everyone and at the end we have found a same room (no statu’s this time!) as before but it was burned down and there were bad guys there. Very very tired of the darkness and many encounters our minds weren’t working as they should but we made it and we have won and just when the last enemy died, the door has opened.

When we have stepped inside, or should I say outside?, we were amazed about the totaly different world there, mysterious, ancient, just amazing. I don’t remember much, i was so tired. I remember that we have found this strange tower Editor: It was Tree and we had to climb very high before we have noticed a view on the city. Strange enough. The most mysterious thing was, that when in the city, you could not see the tower [Tree], but from the tower[Tree] you could look at the city… very strange.

Anyway, we have found bed and food and the first thing I did was eat and just when I have finished I went to bed. The others where talking and I think they wanted somebody to stay awake but I don’t remember much.

I was dreaming about strange underground corridors and rooms and… a dragon! We all had the same dream! And when I got up… my skin was covered in a strange tatoo. And this tatoo gave me new energy. There were two moons on it… and it was not a normal tatoo…. it was moving… amazing place… I will never forget this tower, and this food. But it was time to go further and to look for this dragon!

War for dummies
By Karragh

“I’ll never, ever team up with creatures who have not even a basic knowledge about tactics and strategy!”, Karragh mumbled hundredth time on this crazy day.

It started as a usual operation. He came to defend the city from ugly hordes of Kursk’s henchmen and found himself in a team with female minotaur and githerai, and a half-elf who doesn’t know a thing about military honor and valor.

Their first task was to defend a courtyard with two trebushets. The object looked pretty easy, so it was until after several hours of fight the wall broke, and an orc on a huge beast tried to kill’em all. But before that Karragh realised that his new brother and sisters in arms did only what they want, particularly Innotan permanently flied to the first line and took too much damage.

Also there was a problem with workers on trebushets – they tried to flee. Of course, it’s silly to anticipate any bravery from people without military training, so the team had to… hm, convince workers to stay.

Thanks to minotaur Minra and githerai Delynx, defenders managed to escape from bronosaurus and eventually killed him, but then they were trapped in a tent by their friends, just because a doctor thought they have been infected by a “zombi virus”! On the other side, it was great occasion to take a nap – Karragh felt that the next day promised to be tough.

And of course dwarf’s presentiment was right…

Four babysitters.
By Delynx

“This battle could be interesting. It can be very fascinating to see what can happen to such a marvelous city if hordes of kobolds and orcs conquer it. Ghm… Not that I would like this to happen, of course, taking into account my chances of survival in this case. Oh… What’s this everyone shouts? Something for the light?”, the thoughts of the githzerai were interrupted by a shout of everyone around while some cleric prayed for their success in a battle. She suddenly felt herself a bit stronger. “Nice.”

“Defending trebuchets? Sure, as good as done.” – she replied to Chester, the commander of a trebuchet team, thinking “So nice being a nanny for some workers, while other soldiers do all the hard and dirty tasks on a battlefield”.

Delynx sat on a floor cross-legged and started to meditate. She also looked around, to examine her partners in this task. Some tough-looking middle-aged dwarf, she recalled that his name is Karragh, clearly with a military background. An arrogant sorcerer, elf or half-elf, she sometimes had troubles distinguishing them, who looked like he is already willing to run away. And… “A minotaur? Ghm… On whose side I’m fighting, again? Yes, yes, I’m defending Anar, not attacking it! So this minotaur must be of those rare minotaurs who try to control their bloodlust. That’s praiseful.” being a monk, who tries to always control both her body and her mind, she greatly respected seeing this in others.

Babysitting the trebuchet team turned out to be not so boring after all. Lots of enemies made it to their position. A first surprise was Inotan, the sorcerer. Turned out he was the most helpful person in the first couple of battles, and was able to dispatch lots of weak enemies. Herself, she started a battle with a stupidly failed attempt to hide behind the crates.

The battle lasted for a long time. She moved around the battlefield, striking enemies. Karragh looked the most dangerous among the party, as many enemies tried to attack him, instead of others. Inotan, while being always behind, was sending blasts of acid on enemies. And minotaur Minra had some strange powers that always made Delynx feel stronger and more protected in her vicinity.

Enemies definitely used some dark magic against them, as their spears were covered in a dark cloud.

Near the evening, when they were almost sure that they succeeded, the wall broke and an orc on a brontosaurus charged on them, with a whole army behind. They had to retreat in the inner city. While they ran Delynx got an idea. She remembered that a kobold shaman whom they killed earlier, had some tunneling device that Inotan owned now. “Give the device to me!” – he did it, and Delynx jumped, pushed off the wall, and landed on a brontosaurus back. She planted device between a scales of a beast. “Ehm… Ehm… Minra, what should I say now?” shouted Delynx back to the minotaur. Minra shouted back the words, and finally Delynx managed to activate the device and quickly jumped back to the ground. The beast and an orc on his back were gone for good.

When she heard that defenders quarantine them, Delynx immediately thought that she is not going to wait here until they’re ready to let them out. But it was almost night, and the group far-sightedly decided to rest before doing anything else. On her watch some man without a leg died, presumably with a risk of turning into a zombie. Delynx cold-bloodedly landed another blow in a heart of a dead man. “Well… Doesn’t look like it helped, but at least it didn’t hurt either.”

The morning came, and with it another wave of enemies from an underground hole. Well, at least that solves an issue of escaping the quarantine tent, so…


The begining
By Inotan

I was woken up by a noise of marching troops. The city of Anar was being prepared for defense. “Should I run away?” – this thought came to my mind for a second. Yesterady I went to one of the officers and have joined the defence…so point of no return has been made.

So I went to the same officer and asked him – what should I do today? He told me to follow him and soon I met 3 strange characters I was asked to join. Strange group, was my first thought, but maybe my chances are better with than without them, they looked kind of strong.

We had a mission to defend our artillery… First I had an idea that I don’t fit into the group. I wanted to fight and to use everything we could (also weapons of killed allies) but they dis not wanted me to search their bodies. Kind of strange. Anyway, the good thing was, that nobody asked me questions, and that’s better this way. And after a while we were doing things together and helping each other.

We were fightig and we did our best, we killed a lot. Unfortunatly the army of light wasn’t strong enought and we had to retreat. As they say, better luck next time. And we didn’t have to wait long for the next time…

Being kept in a tent for quarantine we were trying to get some rest. And suddenly we were falling! That was a long way down but we made it alive… alive to the next fight!

Defending Anar
By Minra

From the Diary of Minra:

“Let this blessing make you strong to fight against the hordes and save those who seek the protection of the light wall in Anar”. It feels warm, I feel stronger and have more courage to fight those creatures.

The chief officer sent me, Minra, young Minotaur runepriest which serves The Light, and 3 other adventurer looking volunteers to defend trebuchets, just behind the first line. They look weird. Karragh, the dwarf. Looks strong and wise. You don’t see dwarves here anymore. Delynx. Githzerai monk from the other plane, thin and tall. Last one, half-elf sorcerer Inotan. His power lies in stars. No wonder he seems to feel himself superior, he was even late for the speech.

4 soldiers with their captain serve the trebuchets. Scout halfling stands on the wall and reports the battle in front. The light wall just shrinked. I can feel the dark coming everywhere. The battle started. Front line is dealing with hordes of enemies, but holds. While we are discussing best approach to defense, halfling shouts: “They got through! Goblins got through!” we immediately get into our positions expecting to surprise them. Delynx though despite her flexibility didn’t manage to hide behind the crates we put into way before and goblins were happily approaching. It is very difficult to fight in the streets of the city. Thanks to Innotan, who sent his stars on ghoblins, we managed to keep them at the distance. Delynx prooved her skills in battle when she was running around the streets, jumping on and off the rooftops and killing the enemies. Me and Karragh did’nt have much luck in this fight. We were more of an obstacle on the battlefield than proper fighters. It’s just the first battle anyway, who knows how long we will have to hold.

Just after last goblin found his death and front line established and held again, a shout came from behind: “They came from the warehouse!” a soldier, heavily injured, shouted her last words. What should we do now? Go there? Stay here? While deciding, Inotan tried to search the soldiers body. “Stop it right now! How dare you search bodies of our allies?” Delynx shouted at him. “Do it again and you’ll get badly hurt! I’m watching you!”.

The front line was holding so we quickly decided to look into the warehouse. There was a huge hole on the ground with kobolds fighting out. We quickly approached them when I heard the leader priest shouting: “For Daros!”. They are fighters of that evil dragon!

This time Karragh surprised me. He was ‘flying’ through the hole to get close to one of the kobolds. Amazing how old looking short dwarf can surprise :)

We didn’t manage to kill them all. One fled back to the tunnel and the priest activated some kind of tunneling machine and fled crying through newly made tunnel. I just heard “Githzrak!” and he was gone.
Inotan quickly searched bodies ans took one of those tunneling machines when we heard shouts from trebuchets and sounds of battle.


We just made it close to the entrance when goblins came into trebuchet area. It didn’t seem to be a difficult battle, their numbers were far less than last time. It was a bad luck on our side though.


It counted into fear of the trebuchet crew too. Halfling wanted to flee and almost attacked the officer. Though nice Inotans diplomatic and my faith approach broke his attempts and quick action of Delynx made him to stay and continue to defend the Anar.  When we just managed to get everyone to stay, orcs brake through from the house on the other side! Very hardworking difficult battle although Delynx, even when blinded, managed to keep the foes hurt and occupied.  Poor halfling, after a little while he got killed by the orcs.


At the same time the signal to retreat came from the city. Masses of soldiers were running through the city streets. We were lucky I was studying our minotaur history throughout my life and I knew how to get away through old city labyrinths.

Also a huge dinosaur charged through the wall. We couldn’t fight it ourselves and it was blocking our escape route. Luckily Inotan thought of using the tunneling device. He threw it to Delynx who jumped up the dinosaur. I shouted her the activation words and she let it run into the dinosaur, killing it.


We were running back to the city war camp. On our way we found the barricade of people refusing to go from their homes. First they did not want to let us through, but diplomatic skills on Inotan did a good work. Unfortunately, they listened to him entirely and didn’t listen The Light telling them to go with us. Instead they stayed back to fight and found a bad future for their lives.


In camp we were safe. We were left to rest in a tent which after a while turned into guarded prison. An important mage of the city came and told us we were injured by dark weapons and therefore he can’t let us walk around. There were two other soldiers and their officer with us. Kasumi, leader, had a strange shield close to her. It had a carving of a minotaur! “Where did you get it?” I asked. I think I must be quite scary looking when she told me the story shaking with fear. The shield belonged to a great fighter of the minotaur empire, Markel, who  was famous for his loud bellowing voice and brutal war cries.


Whole night went uneventfull. Although Delynx seemed to see those two badly injured spldiers turning into zombies and just in case she finished them up. Just as we all were getting up floor started shaking and we fell into the hole as big as whole tent. Delynx and Inotan managed to end up at the bottom unhurt, but me and Korragh were not so lucky. Our heavy clumsy bodies ended up in our faces. Kobolds again! We managed to get them all. Delynx was running around and damaging them everywhere, Inotan sent a lot of magic into the battle, Korragh was hitting hard and I was trying to hit, heal and protect my co-fighters.
Done. Our first day of battle. The Light stays with us. It seems that we’ll stick together for now. It’s good to have somebody to cover your back…


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