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May 25 12 3:18 PM
The sudden darting of the lizard
was not expected, and both drowlings were slightly unprepared. But both being
strapped in kept them from flying out. After nearly an hour of awkwardness
within the saddle, they began to move with the flow. They found the lizards
were a rather smooth ride. Folks in streets cleared out of the way, both due to
station as well as it was clear these were beginner riders. A patrol by the
first bridge did a quick check over the three, the captain letting them pass.
They made their way along Ryrrl's lower bank and headed for the main
bridge twords Eastmyr. The rothe of the fields were noisy and glowing
lights lit the farming fields like the city during festivals. Lizards turned to
the right, a more empty part of Eastmyr. Out in the open fields, they
practiced riding all around, running, jumping, sharp turns, and even chasing
each other. The next day, after lunch, Pasyl led them into scaling the cavern
walls. That was a new and exciting experience! Hanging from a lizard's back,
only the saddle's features holding one in as they ran across the ceiling,
avoiding stalagtites and crumbling loose stone; sticky and soft three toed feet
keeping hold of the stone that was now below their feet, the pads of the feet
creating no sounds. Pasyl warned and cautioned them about an enemy coming and
slashing the saddles to drop someone to certain doom. So the following month,
she lead them into defensive and offensive routines while on lizard-back, even
practicing with their weapons. This was the hardest part, gravity pulling down
on the heavy metal, forcing the drowlings to build up their strength and
understand the severity of possible situtations. After the first time dropping
a sword, Zarae had major incentive to used leather bindings around her wrist and
the sword to keep her hold of it. Nilrae, wisely, used his lighter sias during
The lizard plodded along a stretch
of the ceiling, then rounded the corner of a stalactite, then darted to the
left with legs squeezing around the lizard, more pressure on the left side.
Nilrae had been able to get the lizard to obey without using the reigns and
using his legs. His sai connected with a sword and pushed it away from him. The
lizard then darted a hard right, Nilrae drawing from his innate magical
abilities and threw his left hand out. A small orb of green acid flew from his
fingertips to hit the commander. Her defenses up, it did no damage. Knowing
full well the other lizard rider was close, her longsword came up above her
head to block a strike from Zarae. Pasyl twisted, the lizard turned
three-quarters, the longsword moving in for the saddle again, Zarae parrying
while Nilrae flanked the open side. About to release another spell, Pasyl
called for a halt, stopping both in their tracks. She pulled left, the lizard
hopping over a ledge in the ceiling as meeting another lizard who suddenly
appeared in sight. The other rider was dressed in adamantine chain and olive
green piwafwi. On the fabric covering his chest was a picture of a crude rothe
shaped figure in profile view, gold colored. No one could mistake the 18th,
"What do you think that is
about?" Zarae asked riding up beside Nilrae and sheathing her sword.
"The Kre'jil Itami festival?
Its next month. Maybe something sinister?" Nilrae suggested, "few
would suspect anything if you planned to do something."
"Maybe. High probability
actually. This year's High Holy day is during that week also…" she replied
with a slight exaggerated shudder. There was no telling what they might make
her do. "But why meet here, so secretly?"
Nilrae signed to his twin to sneak
over that way. Of course Zarae was already thinking that, her lizard mount
slinking that way silently.
The Tirin soldier departed before
anything could be heard, leaving a knowing smirk on Pasyl's face to the
disappointed drowling. She rounded up the twins to head back to the Kilanatlar
The traning session finished with
an hour in the gym. At supper, the twins alone again, they sat at the table
overlooking her map from their tunnel excursion and discussing her next one.
Nilrae didn't ask how she managed to get it back, nor did Zarae offer.
"If we get few of the
goblins," she began laying out her plan.
"how about half goblins, half
kobolds? Less suspicious and less likely to be missed."
She seam to think about it, then
nodded, "We'll use the boat again. But, This time we'll bring the
"how you intend to... whose do
you intend to steal should I ask?"
"Zeb's of course. You have to
sarcastically, "you got workers, and tools obviously planned out. What day
do you even intend on doing this. This will take a few days at least!"
"yes I thought of that, for
the most part," motioning Nilrae closer, "I overheard that Rhylaun
has business in Skullport again. Leaving some days for us."
"Ah, but last few times, with
some of those so-called easy days didn't turn out," the boy replied.
"Planning for the festival and
High Holy day will keep most busy. 'Drowlings are never involved in
there,'" quoting her sister from long ago when the girl had some interest
in the religious aspects of life.
"And if they want you
involved?" he hesitated to ask.
"Maybe Lloth will see this as
something furthering her agenda and grant me this," less hope now tainting
her voice. Her eyes even glanced over to a beljuril spider statue.
"How about some back up ideas
if things go sour."
"Its not like they keep track
of the slaves per-say…but yes."
Just as she had said, the
weapon-master called the twins before him to explain he's departure for the
next week, Neeryrd joining him this time. No specific assignments were given,
almost as if he knew what the sixteen year olds were up to something, and was
not denying them a chance; 'not saying no' kinda deal. He did warn them that
they had better use this time wisely. And underhandedly, without coming out and
saying it, spoke to watch their backs for siblings. Nilrae wondered just what
the weapon-master truly knew.
So the twins spent the rest of the
day in the gym, and that evening planning their excursion in all the minute
details. The slaves were going to scout out, clear away rubble, carry supplies,
and even a few working on carving a structure for them. One of the dwarves
would be used for that. Nilrae had been trying to study some of the house
defense glyphs and runes, hoping to set up some to further claim the place as
theirs. Meanwhile, Zarae was gathering the tools needed, food and water,
securing a lizard and watercraft, and working to keep all this a secret. Most
of which came at a bit of a personal cost. But if it all worked out, it would
be worth it.
The day before, all the items that
could be were stuffed into extra-dimensional bags and hidden. Zarae worked hard
to time everything just right so the fewest of the house soldier or workers were
in the knowing, and few would accidentally find out. Even Ladayiir had been
bought off, steeply, to keep quiet. She more grateful for the time away from
the brats than anything.
Late into the sleeping hours, the
twins, dressed in their travel gear and fully equipped, especially weapons,
were in the slave quarters rounding up the chosen ones: 3 kobolds, 3 goblins, 1
dwarf, 1 halfling, and 1 older bugbear. Slave collars were triple checked, and
even scanned for dweomers by any who might try to sabotage their trip.
Satisfied things were good, and all going well, the slaves were out on the
dock. One of the larger fishing boats, but small enough to fit into the cavern
entrance and still hold them all 11.
Zarae handed over the decanter
stolen from Zebeycyrl's washroom, "I'll take the lizard."
"I am the better rider.
Besides you will have better control over them," he signed, not
wanting the slaves to hear the temporary debate.
She might would have agreed, if he
hadn't said he was the better rider. That made her determined to prove herself
now, and show up her brother. She waved him off, a clear 'I'm the female', and
headed twords the lizard being walked over by a low class soldier. Nilrae
rolled his eyes, but got the slaves into the watercraft and was heading down
into the tunnel. Zarae, saddled and strapped in, kicked her lizard into motion
and was climbing along the ceiling of the tunnel. Remembering the small drop
and when to steer for the bank, the watercraft was pulled ashore and was tied
off. Nine slaves, obediently obeying heading into the tunnel following the
lizard rider, Nilrae taking up the back.
The familiar bluish light of the
cave plants and radiation glowed in the right tunnel as they approached the
fork. Sounds of the trickling water reached their keen ears. None of her marks
from those years ago remained, not surprisingly. Nilrae threw protective
magical over himself as they neared the end of that tunnel. Zarae pulled on the
reigns to slow the lizard down, and a hand up to halt their workers. She
dismounted, handing the reigns to a goblin to hold. The lizard looked back,
almost hungrily, as if to warn the wretched creature.
A quick message, via the silent
hand code, she would check it out first. Her hood went over her head and she
moved in complete stealth. About 10 minutes later she reappeared.
"I think the chocker is
gone. But the cursed drider I believe is still here. And not alone. I think
more of them have settled in," she signed, but remained set in her
"what you thinking?"
he asked back in the hand sign also, watching her face then.
"the bugbear is for
threats," a pause, "but we can use the kobolds as fodder.
Maybe we put the driders on our grounds…"
"set up a trap. Bait them
to come and pick them off one at a time?"
"yeah, this tunnel too,"
she glanced around taking mental measures and hoping they wouldn't fit well.
Then she noticed a familiar glyph, a mushroom with 4 swords. Both knew some of
the priestesses of House Vharzyym were drider transformation specialists. But
how had they come to find the twin's cave? The girl's eyes flashed twords a
She would take this back!
"your lucky their glyph
didn't attack us," Nilrae signed as he looked over it to study, a
simple spell spoken to help him 'read' it; the rune appeared to ripple, "and
I think I know why."
Zarae walked over beside, after
ordering the slaves to sit tight.
"it's a magic reflection
spell. It diverts all spells and attacks back on thosenot of their house,"
he signed bluntly.
Zarae threw her hands up in
frustration, "we bring them out here, take as many out as we can,"
she whispered determined.
"them?" he asked
with his hands.
"take the dwarf and
halfling back for sure. Used the goblins as bait. Kobolds if necessary. Bugbear
can fight, but hopefully we'll pull him out before he's dead."
Nilrae wasn't so sure, his face
showing the doubt of following his sister's idea. but he wasn't happy about
their cave having been taken over either. And even though Kilanatlar was allied
with House Vharzyym, they wouldn't know the twins were behind this…hopefully.
They'd have to make sure nothing pointed to them would be or could be found.
Like slave collars of the dead...
"I am going to scout the
cave, grab a few things. Send in the first two goblins after a count to 64.
Make sure their noisy too."
"no spells," he
warned and reminded her.
Still thinking this foolish, he
however followed her lead. Zarae vanished again into the cavern cloaked in her
shielding piwafwi. After the 64 count, Nilrae pointed to the first two and
instructed them just what to do. To give them incentive, he pulled out a crude
club from the extra dimensional bag.
The goblins took them and headed
into the cave. Zarae appeared back in the tunnel with the others. The bugbear
was ordered to his feet, club was given to him, both twins holding their breath
that things wouldn't turn worse.
As predicted a barely audible
clanking of spider legs drawing close was heard. Zarae drew one sword and
levitated up, just inside the cavern and above the tunnel entrance; Nilrae drew
his katana climbed up on the lizard and vanished from both sights, his piwafwi
cloaking him as well. The goblin had turned to run, not expecting the half
spider half drow. He made it to the entrance but purple magical missiles struck
true and the goblin fell over dead. Of course the glyph took effect and the
drider took the same damage to his torso. A few more driders prepared to
ambush. The last two goblins sent in, along with the kobolds.
The drider intending to snatch the
goblin, didn't see the drowlings. But he sensed them, his pace slowed. Not in
time. A click was heard just as the quarrel struck the aberration in
the neck. The Haszak poison taking effect. He backed up and levitating
away, his mind suddenly struck feeble. Another drider rushed forth twords the
shooter as 3 others spread out to flank.
Zarae aimed the repeating
hand-crossbow, this time a quarrel coated in Rathrae Dos, struck
another closing in on her. The last three bolts she knew where coated in the
famous sleeping poison. Nilrae kicked the lizard into motion, his katana
suddenly appearing and swinging to strike the nearest. The drider turned, a leg
coming up to block. It cut into the exoskeleton, nearly severing the leg. It
shrieked in outrage, coming onto the lizard rider with fury. The drowling
blocked a clumsy blow, but took a magical bolt of energy straight on. He
grunted it off, coming in again with the blade in an uppercut.
The Rathrae Dos took
effect within a minute basically paralyzing the drider. With a sardonic grin,
she levitated down to the fallen beast.
"This is for taking my
cave," her sword piercing the throat viciously, "and this is for your
wretched state," yanking it to the side forcefully and brutally to cut out
anything in the bath of the blade. Her boot kicked him away from her sword,
just in time to get her crossbow up again and shoot another ambusher. It
managed a swing of an ax, before the poison took effect. Zarae tumbled into a
roll under the blade, but into the path of another waiting drider. Her sword
blocked, barely, the spear-tip drawing a thin line along her neck. A goblin ran
for it, his makeshift club up and bouncing off its shell of a body. The drider
turned to the nusience, enough for Zarae to roll out and drive a sword tip into
Their fodder was laying dead on the
cavern floor as more driders joined, and Nilrae knew they were severely
outnumbered. He pulled the lizard to run back for the tunnel.
"now!" Nilrae called to
the bugbear who charged in ready to fight as ordered. He lasted slightly longer
than the others but too subcomed to his wounds. "Lets go now!" just
as an enemy quarrel hit him in the shoulder. His chain shirt and spidersilk
stopped the worst of the damage, and he felt no poison burning through his
veins. But the pain was almost unbareable and hot liquid was running down from
the puntures. Another two quarrels struck before he got into the tunnel far
enough away. The halfling and dwarf ordered twords to the boat.
Zarae was surrounded as she rolled
away from the sword. Looking around for a way out, she turned and sprinted
twords the stalagmite. Running up it, she flipped over the drider and landed
outside their circle. She nearly stumbled as crossbow bolts slammed into her
back, but got far enough down the tunnel. And she was correct, they had trouble
fitting into the tunnel, most not even trying. A smaller one, bloated torso
showing her as female, entered behind. Zarae half spun, firing the last two
bolts of that cartridge, first missing, second only leaving a scratch. The
drider keep coming, the poison, if it was working taking a rather long time.
The fork that lead to another tunnel came up, and Zarae swung herself into it,
allowing the drider to pass right past her. It sensed it, slowing her pursuit
and turning around. Sword flashed to hit uncovered arm.
"Send the halfling back!"
she called to Nilrae, then did another rolling tumble as the drider swung its
No glyphs were here, and the drider
took advantage, lopping orbs of acid at the drowling. One orb caught her on the
leg, throwing her off the flip she was in the midst of and causing her to land
hard. Instinctively, a globe of darkness fell around her just as the drider
found herself covered in red faerie fire. Of course it knew that, she hda been
a drow once. So it waited for the one in the darkness to come out.
A halfling then sprinted under its
thorax momentarily distracting the drider and allowing Nilrae on the lizard to
release his own magical bolts of purple energy. Scrambling to her feet, the
girl hurried rolling under the drider and coming out the other side. Hand
reached up to grab Nilrae's extended and swing up onto the lizard.
The dwarf was gone! Nilrae was
quick to notice. Not even scraps of his body. Zarae wondered if he fell in and
went over the waterfall into the abyss. Sliding off the lizard, after sitting
uncomfortably, she looked around the water's edge for signs of heat shadows
from his steps. Barely but one pointed twords boulders. She signed to her
brother what she thought then silently followed. The dwarf had gone that way,
but was circling around, not seeing the girl moving behind him. In fact, he was
heading twords Nilrae in a sudden charge. The boy turned, just as the club was
raised to hit home. Then the dwarf stopped, his face a look of shock, then
slumped forward. Falling to the ground, Nilrae saw the dagger in the slave's
back. Zarae saw the bewildered look in her brother.
how had the dwarf been able to
The girl jumped down from her spot,
retrieved her blade, then flipped the dying slave over, "so which one gave
you a key?" she demanded, the blade at his throat, "because that is
the only way you could have gotten out," throwing the slave collar at his
"Why attack now?" he
Gurgling and spitting of blood was
all that came out.
"Myrurra?" she demanded
again, "nod an answer and I'll make your death more…merciful."
He barely was able to nod a yes
still choking on his own blood filling his lungs. Then he raised a hand up.
He nodded again.
A shake of no.
Confused, but not caring now,
"thank you," sheathing the dagger and stepping over him. "throw
him into the river," she demanded to her brother, crimson eyes showing the
simmering rage. The stupid cow could never come up with such an well thought
out plan and actually execute it herself. Nilrae looked down, then began
rolling the dwarf to the water's edge, the slave collar into his bag, "if
this is merciful, I'd hate to think what unmerciful would have been with our
"letting the driders eat
"True…I'll give you
Both hear it from above. Secret
passage! The driders were closing in again.
"Time to go!"
Myrurra threw the book across the
room. She had been so close. She thought for sure that brat, and the boy as
collateral damage, would have been drider food. The adopted priestess had knew
the cave had belonged to House Vharzyym now. She even had allowed Zarae to find
the map. And should they even survive, the slaves should have been able to ruin
their return, relaese the boat and cut the saddle. Stupid dwarf had to go and
sait his own revenge. And worse, the boy had defended the brat just before she
was a goner.
This was it. No more playing nice she
decided. She would get her hands bloody herself.
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