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The Weaker Sex

Theona’s Journal

Eleasis 6, 1373 DR, near giants’ fortress

Well, the good news is, Areon and I are still alive. Unfortunately, Beowulf is not.

We made a fireless camp far enough away from the fortress that we could watch it with little chance of it watching back. Beowulf, as normal, insisted on doing a “fly by” of the giants’ stronghold and turned into a bat, fluttering off into the twilight. I took watch while my companions rested. No, I take that back; Glitch found out I had a few flasks of ale and decided to keep me company— there is something wrong with that little fellow. A few minutes after everyone else had settled in, I saw non-bat movement swooping towards the camp. Beowulf was lucky that I had seen him in bird-form before, and have excellent night vision, else he’d have had a bolt through him— I was already waking our friends for the imminent arrival of something non-bat. As it was, he had been run through by a javelin, which only proved that the fortress was occupied. He assured us he’d led his attackers in the opposite direction before returning to camp, so we didn’t have to relocate.

Morning arrived with no further excitement, and it looked like the day would be unexciting as well. Areon decided to go “foraging” so I quickly agreed to go with him. Turns out he really wanted to go foraging. So there we were, foraging, when we both heard a sort of flapping sound, and looking up, saw something large and white coming right for us. Areon ducked down and hid quickly. I hid under him.

After a few moments, I pulled out my flask, realizing I needed a drink badly, which is odd, as I usually only feel like that in uncomfortable social situations. Then I realized it was Areon that needed the drink, and handed the flask to him— he must be acquiring some of my habits, as I am pretty sure he doesn’t drink! Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be sober from here on out unless there is something worth drinking in that fortress.

We eventually foraged a bit more and returned to our human friends and troll companion Gral. Luckily, they hadn’t seen anything large fly overhead.

We tried to rest until dusk, as we planned to all try visiting the fortress as a group. What a horrible mistake! I swear none of our companions have ever been able to be consistently quiet; they may as well just yell, “We’re here!” when we “sneak” anywhere. I’ll have to remember to repack their bags so things don’t rattle, and maybe Areon or I can show them how to walk without making a clomping sound. Even Tyan’s rat familiar sounds like he’s banging on something half the time. But for now, at least one orange-skinned humanoid knew we were coming, though it ducked out of sight before we got close enough to stop it.

So, we clattered over to the fortress and saw that there was a way in just about 15’ up one crumbling side. Areon quickly pulled himself up, and I followed; soon everyone was up the wall, except Gral, who wisely waited on the ground. Just as I was telling everyone to stand back so I could check for traps, I discovered that I was already standing on one. I managed to trigger it as Areon jumped out of the way, and fell a few feet into the pit that appeared below me. I’d have been quite all right had there not been so many sharp spikes at the bottom— I landed so that my right leg was skewered by two of them. To make matters worse, instead of a rope being thrown to me, two vials of fiery liquid (and not the kind I could drink either) were tossed in and I was rather badly burned. Thankfully a rope was dropped down next. Beowulf assisted me in climbing up while I simultaneously dowsed the fire spreading through my clothes, and then provided me enough healing to get me standing again. I saw that the two hobgoblins that threw the fire on me were being dispatched by the others and shot one with my crossbow.

Then, somewhere further into the fortress, a horn was sounded and more hobgoblins arrived. Tyan had cast some sort of spell on Areon that had turned him giant-sized, and he was making quick work of the monsters. Unfortunately, the larger size meant more creatures were able to encircle and attack him. As even more hobgoblins and ogres appeared, Areon started to look overwhelmed.

I quickly disabled the pit trap and got it closed, and just in time, as Areon had to back over the area as the hall filled up. One of the ogres was a bit different than the others; the difference became more apparent when it cast a spell that froze the entire group. Not froze as in frozen in place, but as in very, very cold! Areon fell down and I was sure he was dead. I figured if he died I’d die anyway, so I used the wand that provides curing on him— it was enough to get him conscious again. I turned to see that Beowulf looked bad, dead even; Deitricha said he was beyond her help. The rest of us would not have survived another spell from that ogre mage, but luckily, it had been just as damaged and fled the area. But, we had to leave too, as a hill giant had stomped into view.

We grabbed Beowulf’s remains and hauled ourselves out— thankfully Shadow was still following the last command the druid gave, to “protect” Tyan, though I’m not sure how the wolf will react when it realizes Beowulf won’t be giving it further instructions.

I feel terrible that this poor human has passed— they are just so frail! At least, the males are—could be why Deitricha prefers males from other races.

Posted by Kristin on May 25, 2005, 18:29 | Theona’s Journal