MASSACRE AT THE WATCHTOWER
After pausing to bereave the gruesome demise of Porkins (but not Hands), Vatex, Dziga, and Emeris assault the Vrama watchtower.
Dziga shadow jumps through the wall and, using power from the slightest shadow to remain undetected, opens the barred iron doors. With blades and shadow magic, the deadly trio decimate the various drow soldiers on the first two levels, pet spiders the size of medium dogs, and two elite female slavers whose attacks cut into special pressure points and reduce their strength. On the third level, in the shrine of Gorgoth-lol, they face Quirilash, the formidable priestess of the Spider Queen, and her entourage of four Sorcerer Driders.
The shrine is filled with arcs of lightning and blasts of unholy purple fire as Quirilash and her allies attack, but the Rosegate Company charges forward and slaughters them mercilessly. They proceed to loot the Watchtower, then reunite with their small army in the cavern below.
Human casualties: Porkins, Hands
Editor’s note: A hundred years later, dark elves throughout the region still make reference to the infamous “massacre at the Watchtower.” Stories of its extreme brutality have been exaggerated only slightly over time.
THE POISONED WATER
On day 9, a human merc named Cletus drinks from a pool of poisoned water and gets sick. He asks for Dziga to use his restoration wand to restore his constitution, but Dziga refuses.
While the army is taking a break for lunch, a group of drow travellers are spotted, a male and female. The female is unbelievably arrogant despite being confronted with a far greater force, and the Rosegate Company decides to make them fight against Cletus for the amusement of everyone else.
The male drow, named Savinian, reveals that he is actually a spy from House Yurganth, and the female, Vissan, is from House Vrama. Savinian claims he can find out about a secret entrance to Ul-Drakkan, so they decide to keep him alive.
So only Vissan will fight Cletus. It is decided that if Cletus wins, Dziga will use the restoration wand. What follows is swift, brutal mortal combat. Vissan, with only basic training, makes a weak attack that Cletus knocks aside. On the backswing, he hacks Vissan through the chest and kills her. “CLETUS! CLETUS! CLETUS!” chants the observing group of soldiers.
Then Dziga attempts to use the restoration wand but fails, so he can’t activate it again for 24 hours. Cletus is pissed. Everyone laughs at Cletus because he’s a loser and he’s probably going to get killed tomorrow when they attack Ul-Drakkan.
Savinian has been in contact with a Vrama loremaster named Ganthau, who claims he wishes to defect to House Yurganth. Ganthau scries them, and is pleased that Ul-Drakkan is going to be attacked by this surface army. He uses a whispering wind spell to send them the location of the secret entrance: a teleportation circle in the stables. It can only transport 8 people per day, and is usually used for Vrama VIPs to get to their mounts quickly if they must travel.
Savinian will team up with the Rosegate Expeditionary Force, quite pleased to be in the company of such powerful allies. He says hes never been to Ul-Drakkan, but he has a map.
The march continues.
TACTICAL INFILTRATION ACTION
On Day 10, the REF comes to Ul-Drakkan’s main gate. The army hangs back in the tunnel, while Dziga stealthily infiltrates the structure. It is protected by nine elite bugbears, but only two of them are actually on watch. The other seven of them are playing dice & card games and smoking drugs.
There is a fire giant in spiked armor sleeping in a huge chair. His snoring is unbelievably loud. Around his finger is a cord that is also tied around the ankle of one of the bugbears on the wall.
Dziga climbs up behind the fire giant and makes a coup de grace with Asura on the helpless foe. The giant dies in merely two seconds, its snoring coming to an end as it chokes on blood. The bugbears scramble into action, but many of them don’t have their weapons or dont have their armor buckled up properly.
Vatex and Emeris run up the sixty foot ramp into the main gate building, joining Dziga. Vatex starts hacking down bugbears. Dziga shoots down the bugbears on the wall. Emeris unleashes a blast of Killing Shadows that splatters a cluster of scrambling guards. The main gate has been secured in a matter of 30 seconds, and it appears no one yet knows.
Jaren sets up one of the knocked over tables and lays out Savinian’s map. Time to make a plan.
> The 26 elven warriors, led by Zaetra Stallinash, will move straight towards the fortress, and attempt to secure the area around the three towers.
> Meanwhile, the 22 human mercenaries, led by Jaren Thor, will stealthily as possible move through the fungus forests and raid the slave pens. They are to release all the prisoners and look for people from the Temple of Calethon. When this is complete, they will join the elves at the towers and begin to assault the central tower.
> While this occuring, Dziga, Vatex, Emeris, and Savinian will move to the stables and use the teleport circle to enter the fortress and attack from within. They will attempt to strike down high-level drow and find the elven artifacts.
> Then everyone meets in the middle, and keeps destroying and killing stuff until everyone is dead or until they are forced out.
INTO THE GRINDER
Jaren Thor leads his men through the fungus, staying low and moving in small groups. At one point, a group encounters a group of drow fungus farmers, so they hack them up quickly and quietly to keep their position secret.
When they reach the dark cave leading to the Slave Pens, Jaren commands 16 men to stay behind and watch the entrance. The other six go with Jaren into the cave.
They find a huge locked set of iron doors that cannot be bypassed without making a lot of noise. They turn back, unsure how to proceed, when they see a group of drow exiting a secret door. The humans cut them down and enter the secret door. They enter a guards’ common area and defeat the small group of drow inside.
Then they stumble into the Slave Pens’ barracks, full of elite drow. Jaren commands them to retreat, and rejoin with the others. There are two ultra elite males, two ultra elite females, four elite females, and two regular male soldiers. The elite drow pursue, shooting down a few victims with their poisoned crossbows.
When the elite drow come out of the cave, the 16 troops hiding in the fungus open fire with their bows, covering Jaren’s squad as they join up. The elite drow continue their pursuit, despite being outnumbered and showered with arrows. They charge up the hill into the fungus.
These vicious elite drow ruthlessly and skillfully hack down man after man who stands against them. Their fighting ability is far superior to the troops, who struggle to cut through the fine armor of the drow. Jaren singles out a ultra elite female for a duel, and he can’t even score a hit, while she cuts him half a dozen time.
The humans are losing three men for each drow they defeat. The two elite males skilfully riposte and strike, each time slaying a human. Blood splatters all over the place. Sometimes humans manage to flank a deft drow and cut him or her down, which rouses a ululating cry.
Jaren drops to his knees as the ultra elite female hits him again. She moves in for the final strike, but at the last moment, he brings up the haft of his huge axe to parry, then quickly strikes back. CRITICAL HIT!!! The ultra elite recoils as blood explodes from his chest. The ultra elite drow and the veteran human then lunge at each other, the drow sword sinking into Jaren’s guts -- but at the same time, the drow’s head goes flying off.
Jaren is nearly dead. He should just lay down and stop fighting. But he shakes off the urge to lay down and die, and jumps back into the battle!
With Jaren able to join with the others, the tide is titled in favor of the forces of men.
But alas, losses were profound. In the end, the bodies of SEVENTEEN men lay broken and dead at their feet. Jaren drinks a few potions, but he is still seriously injured.
Human Casualty Report: Pretty much everyone.
“We should just retreat! It’s game over man! They’re all dead! Game over!” says Martin.
“Shut the fuck up, faggot,” says Black Dog.
“Yeah, fuck this. I say we get the fuck out of here,” says T-Bone.
“Yeah, I got two kids...” says Alex. “My chance of survival seems to be lower than 0.03%.”
"Even the captain is fucked up! We don't stand a chance!" Martin wails.
Jaren glares at them. “What are you, a bunch of PUSSIES?!”
They stare at him speechlessly.
Jaren continues. “It’s just us, because we are the most bad-ass motherfuckers. So are we gonna pussy out and run?”
“Or are we gonna be even MORE bad-ass, and go break out all the slaves and fuck up some more drow?”
“All right!” Jaren holds up his axe, and his remaining team charges back into the cave leading to the Slave Pens.
Meanwhile, the Zaetra and the elves have begun their assault, and the Rosegate Company and Savinian are making their way through the stables to find the secret teleportation circle...
APPENDIX: UPDATED ROSTER
Zaetra - bard, elf leader
Jeren - fighter, human leader
Hazarkan - elf jester
- Bloodheart (wood elf) +2 Str
- McVries (wounded)
- Alex (wounded)
- Black Dog (wounded)
- T-Bone (wounded)