The Adventures of Annalax: Volume XX
We came across a larger town, without much in the ways of shops (bloody backwoods Imperio). On the other hand, they were more than willing to take part in an archery competition against Elknel… which Annalax obligingly rigged in favour of his fellow Drow (a few illusions of birds can work wonders at distracting people). Elknel would have won the competition even if it had been fair, but where is the fun in that?
Alas, it turned out there was also a child missing in the forest. More specifically, quite a number of people had been disappearing recently. Cue, search party. To avoid the problem of anti-Drow racism, Annalax disguised himself as a Cleric of the Eternal Flame. He had enormous fun going to town on over-the-top mockery of a religion he despises, complete with pseudo-monastic chanting and allusions to people burning in the afterlife. It was so much fun, he’s decided to do this more often.
One of the town guardsmen – accompanying us on the search – was a tad strange. An old man’s voice in a young man’s body… he claimed to have been a comparative newcomer to this part of the country, but he was clearly off. Sure enough, once we were deep in the forest, he tried to cast Paralyse on another guard. For this, dear reader, was the Thieving Cat. A strange feline monster that paralyses and eats people whole, using their limbs to create a human disguise. No prizes for guessing what had happened to the child.
Annalax got off a Faerie Fire against him, and soon the creature was truly on the run. We caught the Thieving Cat (and would have killed him), but he made the party an offer. His life, in exchange for him guiding us to a town where three dangerous Hags held the countryside in thrall. After all, we wanted to free the countryside from these evil Fae creatures, did we not?
(Well, no. Annalax was not overly concerned with the Fae. He was more interested in just getting to Shakiah. But since the rest of the party wanted to eliminate these Hags, so be it).
So, accompanied by our prisoner, we headed on. Soon we came to a clearing. A tragic accident, or so it seemed. A traveller caught under a fallen tree, and his companions helpless to free him.
It was all an illusion, of course. We were dealing with three demons.
Quite nasty demons, actually… at least in terms of their spell effects. One of them got off a Confuse spell, and both Annalax and the Dreamland Cat Sorcerer failed their saving throw (Annalax does not have great Wisdom). Worse, in the chaos, the Thieving Cat was able to escape, and the rest of the party were soon subject to a Fear spell. Oh, and our poor Goliath Barbarian was knocked unconscious by the beefiest of the demons.
After several rounds, Annalax (Darkness) and the Dreamland Cat (Healing Word) were able to help, and the tide began to turn. Annalax took out one of the demons with his crossbow, which made a pleasant change from a series of fights where he’s been weakened via magic, saving throw issues, or alcohol. And then finally, the last of the demons (reduced to 1 HP) decided to suicide itself, rather than be killed. So the demons were now dealt with Yay.
Session forty-two. We picked up a new companion in the form of a Tiefling Bard named Manya. She paints, and is surprisingly quiet for a Bard, though Annalax had a decent chat with her. Then we arrived at a town of Nightmares.
Well, strictly not a town of Nightmares… they merely lived in the surrounding forest. The actual inhabitants of the town were people… who couldn’t ever leave. Think of the town as a holding pen, presided over by non-human abominations, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. Of course, unless the party wants to fight a few dozen Nightmares at once, we are similarly stuck. Oh joy.
Annalax donned his Eternal Flame Cleric disguise, and made the acquaintance of the local Priest (who, by the way, is surprisingly young). Next stop for our Drow was the Church of the Eternal Flame. More specifically, Annalax wanted to pray to Lolth in ironic fashion, making a point of disrespecting and blaspheming the Eternal Flame while he did it. He rolled a 19 (+2), and received the message to “watch and wait.” Better than nothing, Annalax supposed, as he took time out to graffiti a spider image on the underside of the pews.
Our Goliath Barbarian really does not like the Eternal Flame either, but he is less cautious than Annalax. Rather than hack up the local Priest, he went off to hack up a tree, until he collapsed from exhaustion. As one does.
Stealthily probing the edge of the forest turned up nothing, save for a particularly watchful crow. It was all turning into quite the nasty poser for the party. Tempting though it would be to Shape Water on the river and (slowly) escape via a flying chunk of ice, that would leave us as sitting ducks for the Nightmares.
And then it turned out that the Nightmares wanted a sacrifice. Not merely a trinket or tooth, but an entire young woman. Oh dear…
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