Monday, August 27, 2012

Into The Deep

From the Journal of Olo Big Toe of the Fallohide Clan

     As much as he wants to be the center of attention for this journal entry, Big Nate will have to take a side step. 
     Short of the packing process and placing some of his dried droppings on top of the packs in a pot to help start the fires later without the help of the mage, there is little to note of the morning's preparations. Fighters sharpening weapons, the ranger gently but firmly honing the pile points of her armor-piercing arrows and testing her bowstrings, the mage standing over in an alcove, murmuring to himself the words of his spell in preparation. The druid has found an interesting cave cricket and is trying to figure out how to talk to it while nibbling on an interesting mushroom she found.
     I had almost finished packing all the breakfast dishes when Grimgar the dwarf slapped his axe in his hand three times and said, "All right. I'm going." He turned and pulled the sack off the stone struck with the Fairie Light giving an artificial white glow that flashed off the walls and ceilings of the cavern, and he headed into the deep, searching for the chalk marks left by Dayne, the mage, where we had passed before.
     Thrud slid his broadsword under his belt and taking two last oat biscuits from me in his large hand, said in Trade Language, "We will go," and strode off after the dwarf, munching noisily. I guess he will never be full. It takes a lot of food apparently to fill that bulk.
     Rissa slid her light stone out of its pouch and tied it around her head, high up on her forehead to light her path, the lanyard gathering her hair and giving it an almost supernatural glow, and followed Thrud, with Big Nate clopping after her. I leaped to place the last pot on his back and struggled along afterward, adjusting my belt and tugging my jerkin, trying to get myself organized in the half-darkness. I was clumping along on my new leg when I felt someone grab me by the scruff and hoist me onto the back of Big Nate.
     "Here," said Dayne. "This should be easier," as I settled in among the pots and pans of the load on the mule's back. "Plus you can keep up with us." He brushed his hands together, sweeping off a few oat crumbs he had picked up from my clothes (I am a messy cooker) and he trotted after the others, a book ever present in his right hand and his walking stick clutched in his left. The markings on the stick tended to show that the stick was used for more than walking. I think that if it had not been fashioned of stout oak, it would not have last as long as it had.
     Turning to look behind us, on the edge of the light back against the rock wall, Eltarra watched in the darkness, ever alert, always watching, always on guard, for anything creeping out of the dark, She clutched her bow to her chest, an arrow knocked, two arrows held at the ready in her bow hand with her little and third finger. She was very skilled in combat archery and I was glad she was guarding our back. I would have to make her a special cake for dinner when we stopped.
      Through the caverns we wound, following the chalk marks that Dayne had placed as we pursued the vampiric swarm that had assailed us when the group had entered these catacombs. It was shortly after they had met me that our group had been jumped by these foul creatures and after defeating two of them, the other two had flittered off into the darkness. The mage, Dayne, had been able to track their location and we had pursued them but alas, they were gone from that spot. We did, however, find some dwarven fighters. Unfortunately, Grimgar charged into them and he together with Thrud slayed three before we were able to find out that they were not necessarily enemies, although maybe not friends. After a great deal of dwarven yelling and screaming and Thrud and Dayne keeping the two sides separated, the two remaining dwarves left with a final "Kicd aeui omd sra kira aeui ruda em um.", the dwarves left in search of their other friends. They were apparently here in search of other things and had been left by their friends to lick their wounds and rest while their friends went ahead. I hope we will be able to greet them before Grimgar tears into them.

     He stalked forward, his axe in his right hand, his oaken shield in his left with the glowing stone suspended from his belt, the cloth woolen bag pulled back so it could radiate onto the floors and walls ahead. Grimgar paused for a moment until he heard the sound of Thrud as the barbarian closed behind him and watched forward as Thrud glanced right then left and grunted at him to continue. 
     Ahead, the corpse of a large cave spider the size of a small ox lay sprawled on the floor near a large pillar that supported the roof. The spider bore axe marks upon its legs and upper body and a green ichor cover the floor, tracks throughout dotting the floor. The dwarf remembered the contest against the giant arachnid and he also saw where the hobbit had sawn off a foreleg and stashed it away to figure out a recipe later. I think that spider over the fire in a pot with salted were-cat sauteed with dates and jack fruits and a side of bell peppers stuffed with squash and apricots might be tasty. Grimgar glanced toward the corpse and lifted his stone on its lanyard and surveyed the tracks for a moment.
     "Nope," he said. "Nothing new. Let's go." and he forged ahead, giving Thrud a push on the thigh and motioning to the others to follow. Dayne slipped off to the side as always, lurking in the shadows and I chucked my hips against the load of pots and pans, encouraging Big Nate.
     Grimgar turned slightly and hissed at me for quiet when all the pans clanked against the pots and some of the bronze ladles banged against the copper vessels. Then Eltarra, grinning as always, gave Big Nate a little goose with the end of her bow and he jumped forward with a start, a snort from his nose almost depositing a big gobbet of mule-snoot onto Rissa's boot, who jumped deftly aside. She reached out and patted his muzzle in forgiveness and he followed after her. I could see Grimgar's boots flashing sparks in the distance near the edge of light.

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