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March 4, 2003

In the Hall of the Mountain King

Drusilia's Journal

Starday, Flocktime 3, 592 CY, continued

Well, today was terrible. Obviously, the halflings’ brains were scrambled in the ride down the river somehow, because they had both been suicidally stupid since then, and in fact, this brain damage resulted in Trap’s untimely demise.

Just after I completed my previous journal entry this morning, Trap and Korin wandered over to the waterfall we didn’t go over last night. They spotted a hill giant and six hobgoblins below the next set of falls, pulling the remains of our barrels (and The Mule) out of their nets. Not that the halflings were telling the rest of us this, mind you! If Korin hadn’t decided he needed to ride down in a barrel to greet them, we may not have found out about them at all. As it was, he came back to camp to clamber back into one of our barrels, while Trap just wandered back and forth between the falls and the camp, itching to cause trouble. Paranoid now, I walked over and saw (and reported to Ghelt and Fafnir) the party below us. I used a spell to comprehend languages so I could figure out if these were the “traders” the kobolds had mentioned to us. (Incidentally, I also read what the kobolds had scrawled on Fafnir’s barrel, now that I could read it: NOT FRAGILE.) I ducked down due to an untimely halfling exclamation and the sounds of pounding somewhere behind me, but Trap didn’t duck, so when the party below heard the noise and saw Trap, they started drawing weapons. By the time I could get back to the camp a few feet away, Korin was sealed in a barrel about to go over the falls (thanks to Trap, who pushed the barrel to the water), and the enemy was climbing a short path up to our camp.

Fafnir must have used nearly every spell in his arsenal to fight off the hill giant. I am pleased to say that we were able to defeat it and all but one of the hobgoblins, who ran off scared when it saw the giant fall to us. Trap, not fully understanding how the Short Sword of Pelor worked, was chagrined to find that it heals non-undead that it’s used to attack. He and Ghelt fought the same hobgoblin for a bit, he healing it with a stab from his sacred sword, and Ghelt dealing it a blow with her Mithril axe. Eventually the axe won out and it too fell. Trap, wanting to test the healing power of his sword, stabbed himself before I could stop him, and Ghelt, thinking the sword was now cursed (and this is truly odd, but I think the halflings have clouded her judgment somewhat), grabbed the sword from Trap and threw it into the lake!

Trap jumped in (fully armored) after it, and I, after removing my armor and tying myself to a rope held by Fafnir, dove in after both him and the sword. There was a lot of current to deal with and I had to cast a light on my own hand to see in the turbulent water. I was just about to call it a loss when I saw something shiny below me. It was the sword! I swam to it and grabbed it just as Fafnir started to pull me up. When I emerged, I was thankful to hear that Ghelt had pulled the waterlogged Trap from the lake before he could go over the falls, and had then gone to get the other halfling out of his leaking barrel before he too nearly drowned.

Once Trap regained consciousness, I told him and Ghelt as much as I could about how the sword was imbued with positive energy— great for fighting undead (which was what the sword was intended for, after all), but not too effective for living enemies. I’m not sure I convinced Ghelt, but if she takes time to detect evil on the sword, she’ll be more comfortable with it. Korin, who often mimics what Ghelt does, will most likely try to dispose of it again though. I tried to distract him by having him look for “loot” on the hill giant. He found some gems and potions, and was happily wandering around our camp with boar tusks in his mouth moments later.

Trap and Korin headed down to see what was in the barrels below the second falls while Ghelt, Fafnir and I finished cleaning up our camp to head out. We then went down and found them wearing each other’s armor, “wigs” they pulled out of some barrels and were chewing on some sort of meat they found. The wigs were quite definitely scalps, so I shudder to guess what they were eating. I didn’t get to mention this though, as we were soon attacked by another hill giant with hobgoblins in tow. Ghelt had us climb as quickly as we could across the rope net while she cut it free from the enemies’ side of the river. Fafnir tried to slow them down by casting an illusion of a bank of clouds between them and us, but they didn’t stay fooled long. We got across the river (which turned out to only be 4’ deep— no problem for a giant!) and were heading to the tree line (and escape), when Trap and Korin decided they wanted to switch back to their normal armor. Not having time, obviously, I grabbed them both by the necks of their attire and headed as quickly as I could up towards the trees. Suddenly, my load was much lighter as they both squirmed free of their gear. I think Ghelt got them motivated to move somehow and we were soon tearing through the trees, all... three.. of us. Where were the halflings?

We turned back just in time to see Korin and Trap duck out from behind a tree. Korin was swatted down by the hill giant, while poor Trap was completely squished by it.

Now, I consider myself a practical elf, but I realized that this was going to be a choice between saving myself or saving Korin, so I started back, knowing that running onward with Ghelt and Fafnir (also paused but ready for a decision either way) would be smarter. Suddenly, Pelor be praised, a huge rock came hurdling out of the trees to the west of us, smacking the hill giant. And then another, and another. The hill giant, looking peeved and maybe a bit frightened, departed quickly. I was able to get to the nearly-dead Korin in just the nick of time, healing him. There was nothing I could do for Trap, save collect his undamaged gear while Ghelt, even more practical then I, attended to the body.

Our saviors turned out to be a pair of stone giants, who said simply, “It’s not safe in these parts.” Ghelt seemed genuinely relieved to see this particular type of giants after our run-in with those of the “hill” variety, and they offered to take us back to their mountain home for healing and recuperating. They are even giving Trap a proper burial— I’m sure he would be amazed to know he was interred in these halls with people five times his stature. Korin must need more healing too— he seems to think he’s Trap now— perhaps he is still wearing some of his gear.

Posted by Kristin at 13:15 | Drusilia’s Journal