Hello Everyone, welcome. We are getting quite close to the end of the current Rhyll’zt Arc, this one could well be the penultimate post…In the last game we were confronted by the main villain, and so without further preamble let us find out what he had to say.
Rhyll’Zt Zau’Und – Drow Ranger played by Me.
Vuldin – Dwarven cleric played by Pete.
Cassiea Ea – Tiefling Sorceress played by Simon.
Torrin – Dragonborn Barbarian played by Alexander.
Nissa Timbers – Gnome Rogue played by Sarah.
Clatter – Kenko Rogue played by Amalie. .
The human before us continued munching on his apple. “Every now and then a group comes together to try and stop me. The last group, they were quite a good team. They worked together. They lost, of course, but defeating them didn’t feel like an utter waste of my time.”
We looked at each other not quite sure how to take that. He continued his villainous monologue. “I suspect I could probably just leave you to it and as a group, you’d probably destroy yourselves. Lets face it, a sullen drow, an antisocial tiefling, a moron dwarf, an idiot gnome, a simple dragonborn and don’t get me started on the kenku. Seriously, defeating you is going to be no fun at all.”
He finished his apple and then produced another one. “Perhaps we can raise the stakes for you just a little bit. Yes. Let us see if you can learn to work together.”
He clicked his fingers and he was gone. So was the horse, cart, road and wilderness. I found myself strapped to what I soon learned was an oversized bell. My arms were bound and pulled in opposite directions around the outside of the bell, my legs dangling beneath me. Below my legs was a pit with steaming, bubbling liquid at the bottom. And the bell was swinging. Every time it met the apex of its swing on my side, the striker hit behind me, jarring me.
“Hello?” I yelled.
“Hello?” came the reply from Nyssa.
“Where are you?”
“Attached to the side of a bell. You?”
“Same. What can you see?”
“Uh, I can see a pool of stuff and I don’t think it is for drinking. There is a ledge beneath me a bit, to a tunnel. Oh, the liquid level is rising.”
I hadn’t noticed that. “I can’t reach my weapons. I might be able to slip the knots…”
“My knife is in my hand. I can try cutting my hand free…”
A few grunts later. “Just about got it…”
I felt the rope attached to one of my hands become slightly less taught. “Wait! I think we are tied to one another. Cut that rope and I’ll fall and could pull you down.”
“Oh, bugger. Didn’t realise. What should we do?”
The striker thumped the bell behind me knocking me a bit. One way or the other I was going to be tumbling soon enough.
“Grab the rope you were cutting just now. How far away is that ledge?”
“We’re about twenty feet up and ten away. Why?”
“I think you are supposed to cut the cord at the right time, at the bell’s highest point on my side and I use its momentum to swing for the ledge and pull you in with me.”
“That sounds stupidly risky…”
“Sure, ok. Lets just wait and see if something else happens then…”
“Oh don’t be like that,” she chastised. “I don’t have a better idea. Ok. Tell me when to cut.”
She was right, this was an incredibly stupid idea but it was the only one I had. I waited until we were near the apex and then, “Now!”
The rope went and I pushed myself off the bell into a swing. I could see the ledge approaching rapidly, the rope guiding me towarrd it and the bell swinging us closer, my other arm still tied to Nyssa, whom I could see now.
I landed on the platform and ran into the tunnel attached to it yelling, “Jump now!”
Nyssa obliged and sprang as the bell was at its closest and highest point above the platform. As she was still tied to me, I was able to pull her onto the ledge before she landed in the bubbling liquid.
“Let’s not do that ever again,” she panted. I could only nod. She set about cutting us free with her knife. Then she peered over the ledge. “The liquid is still rising.”
“Then we run.”
So we ran deep into the tunnel until we found what appeared to be a minecart. There was a covered over section with crawl space, conveniently big enough for a gnome and a seat just large enough to accommodate me. Nyssa jumped in and inspected the crawl space.
“There are two pedals here.”
“Probably faster and slower. Its another damn test.”
“We have have a choice?”
She had a point. “No. I guess you figure out what they do and I shout?”
“Yeah, I can’t see anything in here. Besides the pedals.”
I took my position. “Ok, try them.”
Nothing happened. Then we lurched forward. “Right, got them figured.”
I could hear liquid sloshing down the tunnel behind us. “Go faster.”
The speed of the cart increased. The rails wound through a fairly narrow tunnel system and I had to duck any number of times to avoid decapitation by stray rocks. I saw a sign up ahead with what I deduced was a picture of a falling rock. “More speed. More speed!”
Nyssa obliged and the cart picked up speed again, just in time for us to be jolted around as a boulder landed behind us partially blocking the passage. Liquid streamed past more slowly but it still got through.
There was another sign that looked like crudely drawn spears, three of them from the left. “Faster!”
In hindsight, I think we were meant to slow down there, and the spears shot out just as we passed. My maneuverability was sorely hampered by my sitting position and I was only able to dodge two, by lunging back. The third grazed my forehead allowing blood to fill my eyes. Our speed forced me through the extended spears breaking them even as they retracted. That hurt a lot. And I was really struggling to see what was happening up ahead. Something was dangling from the ceiling and I could see blackness. I ducked to avoid the obstacle and called, “More speed!”
The cart launched from the rails over what I had presumed was a gorge with tracks on the other side. All I could see was blackness ahead, and a ladder into the ceiling behind…I could hear the crunching of fruit and laughter in my ears as we plummeted.