Arachnophobia! (Part 2)

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There's a map before you, offered forth initially by Dax who happens to have possession of it. It is mostly a map of Alexandria and of some of its outlying areas. It's not the best map you've ever seen, but by no means the worst ever drawn. The only thing really notable about it is the fact that there is a X marked over one of the caves. Which is why you're out here. In the wilderness. Looking for a cave that seems as of yet... to only exist on a map.

To be fair, the mountainous wilderness is pretty much where Rak spends most of his time anyway. He enjoys it, the mountains are his home. So searching for a cave here is not too much of a stretch for him.

Having the map, Dax has been working her way with it, trying to find the correct direction. She doesn't need to read to understand this map. She's just finding the proper direction by the sun and stars. Something she's done regularly out on the sea, "Right, so we got this 'ere map an' there goin' ta be treasure I figure. Tha' why it marked." She notes and points at the X and then holds it out to anyone else who's interested in double checking the map, "We gettin' closer fer sure." She nods her head a few times, definitively.

Iskandar looks at the map and then peers about, doing his best to pick out various landmarks. "I must get better at reading maps," he admits. "Seems like a very useful skill when it comes to exploring and adventuring. And how many legends and tales involve a hero following a map...?"

Erakirak studies the map and the terrain carefully, trying to work out an optimal path.

GAME: Erakirak rolls survival+2+2: (6)+8+2+2: 18

Dax hrms at that, and nods to Isk, "A few ta be fair. At least." She mentions and keeps walking, with the map out, sort of squinting at it. Simple symbols, drawn terrain, key points on the map. These things she can follow. If there's any 'writing' detailing where to go she's definitely not following that portion. "Man bird." She calls out to Rak, "Ya got yer eyes on any caves around 'ere?" If he's -not- flying, Dax is going to give the oh-so-not-sublte eyes up into the air, and a hand making a horrible impression of a wing flapping, as she states, "Ya kno' flyin' around an' takin' a look?" Shaking her head she's just looking back at the map and sharing it with the other two.

GAME: Dax rolls survival: (16)+7: 23
GAME: Iskandar rolls survival: (18)+5: 23

Between the three of you, you have no problems finding the cave. It's easily enough marked on the map, and the opening though well hidden seems obvious to you. So now you stand before the cave which considering the coolness you can feel just inside of it and the darkness that looms within; is quite a large cave.

GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+16: (9)+16: 25

Erakirak lights a torch and gets ready to enter the cave.

Iskandar slips the string of his greatbow over his head and settles the weapon across his back. He lights a torch of his own and then holds it high. "And now we are spelunking. This is turning out to be a classic adventure!"

Dax pulls out her Ioun Torch and taps it twice to let it start up. It sheds the light of a torch, but is way cooler as it starts to zip around her and sheds light ahead. "We are -not- doin' tha'!" Dax states with a wide eyed look to Iskander, "We are 'ere ta go down inta this cave an' get treasure." She starts walking in the lead then and just unhooks her claws to be at the ready, and hands off the map to someone else. "Fer fuck sake... at a time like this..." Clearly she has no clue what 'spelunking' means…

GAME: Dax rolls perception: (8)+0: 8
GAME: Iskandar rolls perception: (11)+8: 19
GAME: Erakirak rolls perception+2: (4)+12+2: 18
GAME: Erakirak rolls cmb: (19)+7: 26
GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (1)+10: 11 (EPIC FAIL)

It is a beautiful cave glimmering in the torchlight. It is full of stalactites and stalagmites which you have to pick your way through as you make your way through the darkness. As you do you notice some barrels - some broken - which lay over in the corner like a bootlegger's trove. You head in that direction a little when suddenly one of the stalactites drops from the ceiling and envelopes Erakirak!

GAME: Iskandar rolls cmb: (7)+9: 16
GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (18)+10: 28

Iskandar rushes over to the Egalrin. He tosses his torch to one side as he closes in, so that he can use both hands to grab at the 'stalactite'. He twists and tugs and even tries to dig his fingertips in like claws but nothing he does can make it release Erakirak.

GAME: Dax rolls weapon1: (4)+10: 14
GAME: Dax rolls weapon2: (2)+10: 12

Isk has the whole 'grabbing' thing going on and Dax is rushing up. This Ioun Torch was one of her better purchases, since she doesn't have to 'toss it on the ground' she grins to herself about that. Though it kind of distracts her as she's watching her glowy light zip about and yet still swings at the stalactite, wooshing once, and almost chopping at Rak's head, and she grimaces a little, "Sorry!" She shouts, incase Rak can't hear so well, "I won't miss next time!" Is she saying she won't miss Rak next time? Or the rock thing?

The creature latches onto Erakirak's shoulder (its mouth seems to be on the inside with Rak), and whips about with something that seems to be a tentacle that helped keep it attached to the ceiling. It hits nothing with it's tail, but it doesn't seem to like being pulled about. Or slashed at.

GAME: Erakirak rolls cmb: (4)+7: 11 GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (16)+10: 26

Erakirak is swallowed before he even knows there's a threat, and his torch drops to the cave floor as he struggles, ineffectually, to escape the stalactite and, more effectively, to avoid being decapitated by Rak's sword.

GAME: Iskandar rolls weapon4-2: (2)+10+-2: 10
GAME: Dax rolls weapon1+2: (16)+9+2: 27
GAME: Dax rolls weapon2+2: (8)+9+2: 19
GAME: Dax rolls damage1: aliased to 1D6+5: (2)+5: 7
GAME: Dax rolls damage2: aliased to 1D6+5: (3)+5: 8

Iskandar releases his grip on the it is, and then balls up the hand that's wearing his heavy leather glove in a fist. He takes a quick punch but it goes wide. "I-I don't want to hurt Erakirak!" he stammers. But his reddening face shows that even he doesn't think it's a good excuse.

That didn't work before, this time though, this one ill stick! And sure enough, Dax stabs in with one set of claws. And then she slashes with the ones from her left arm. She's growling when she sees there's some teeth and such on the monster. She's confused when Rak screams out, and looks over to Isk, and then back to the thing, "It got 'im we kill'it or 'im I ain't sure? Fer fucks sake."

GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+8: (12)+8: 20
GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+3: (5)+3: 8
GAME: Razen rolls 1d6+5: (4)+5: 9
GAME: Erakirak rolls cmb: (5)+7: 12
GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (20)+10: 30

Erakirak keeps struggling. He is equally ineffectual at escaping, but this time he is also ineffectual at avoiding being struck by Dax's claws.

GAME: Iskandar rolls cmb: (6)+9: 15

Erakirak says, "MMMfwrlWFRlmfffflllff!"

Iskandar returns to trying to pry the thing off. "We have to get it off of him!" he urges. "Otherwise we'll have to pull our punches!"

GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (10)+10: 20

Dax runs up to help Isk pull off this crazy monster thing from Rak, "It really tough this thing strong!" She complains, and is gripping with all her might, and trying to pull it up at the same time as the others as well, but it's just not... moving, it needs a little extra... oomph.

The tall warrior known as Darius was told of a little problem inside of a cave that was outside of Alexandria. The pay was adequate, and so, he took a fast horse to get here and hearing voices, draws his greatsword and steps inside to see... a stalactite attacking 3 people?? He blinks and raises a scarred eyebrow a moment before he says, "I take it that you need some assistance?" Without waiting for an answer he rushes to attempt to help Dax pull the monster off of Erakirak.

With a great heave together you manage - at last - to pull the thing off of poor Erakirak. There's a nearly audible sound when it happens and then the creature hovers there in mid air with its tentacles writhing. You can almost feel it's hungry gaze…

GAME: Iskandar rolls weapon4-2: (18)+10+-2: 26
GAME: Iskandar rolls 1d4+4+3+4: (3)+4+3+4: 14
GAME: Dax rolls weapon1+2: (16)+9+2: 27
GAME: Dax rolls weapon2+2: (3)+9+2: 14

Iskandar stares at the floating monster for a moment. Then he clenches a fist again. "Now! Finish it before it tries again!" He swings a huge haymaker that connects solidly.

GAME: Dax rolls damage1: aliased to 1D6+5: (5)+5: 10
GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+10: (10)+10: 20

Stays where she was, right in the face... well more to the side of the face, and more frontal tentacle action, of the stalactite and she swings with a claw, digging in. This time, thankfully, there's no Rak inside of it, and she slashes with her other claws but misses the stupid thing. "Grrr, this stupid thing!" She growls as she shakes her head, "Why is it always somethin' weird? No orcs, or mermaids, giant squids... jus' crazy angry rocks!"

GAME: Iskandar rolls cmb: (3)+9: 12
GAME: Razen rolls 1d6+5: (4)+5: 9

Randomly the thing floats about, making a low moaning noise as it does so, then sudden and quick as a snake it grabs Iskandar and envelops him in a few seconds just as it had Erakirak!

GAME: Darius rolls BAB+Weapon Focus: (5)+2+0: 7

Darius tries to take a swing at the creature, but due to the chaotic nature of the fight, completely misses and ends up out of the way.

GAME: Erakirak rolls knowledge/dungeoneering: (10)+4: 14
GAME: Erakirak rolls 1d20+7: (5)+7: 12
GAME: Erakirak rolls 1d20+7: (18)+7: 25
GAME: Erakirak rolls 4+1d8: 4+(2): 6

Erakirak does NOT want to think about what he might be covered in right now. He pulls his bow off his back and fires two arrows at the creature, one of which bounces ineffectually off of its rocklike hide, the other of which strikes it, and maybe Isk as well.

GAME: Dax rolls weapon1: (7)+9: 16
GAME: Dax rolls weapon2: (4)+9: 13

Iskandar feels the monster settling in and trying to squeeze the life out of him. Luckily, Iskandar is full of life! He wobbles a bit on his feet but otherwise doesn't seem too bothered. But then something pokes him. Is that -- is that an ARROWHEAD? Poking through the monster and digging into his own shoulder? If he could see the rest of the party Iskandar would scowl, but instead he lights up. "That's it, hit it! Don't worry about me!" He tries to shift and twist so that his arms are held across his own chest. This leaves his bracers over his unprotected neck and his hands over his shoulders. The rest of his body is armored enough - he hopes - to resist any blows that land on the monster.

Isk is being attack, and grappled, and getting tentacles in places that probably should not be discussed. Meanwhile, Rak shoots a bow, and that's Dax's cue to keep attacking this thing. Then moving forward Dax slashslashes with both claws, doing a quick flurry of attacks, and then she realizes... she's still pointed a little too much in the direction of Rak. "Riiiight, it moved." She turns and faces the rock creature then and grins with a chuckle, "Sorry, I 'ope it ain't eatin' ya?" She grimaces then, and it's probably a bad time to be joking.

GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+8: (8)+8: 16 GAME: Razen rolls 1d20+3: (11)+3: 14

The creature tries to eat Iskandar but finds only armor to eat which is not nearly as tasty. It also tries to strike out at those hitting it, but is unable to keep up with her.

GAME: Darius rolls weapon1: (16)+8: 24
GAME: Darius rolls damage1: aliased to 2D6+6: (7)+6: 13
GAME: Erakirak rolls 1d20+7: (1)+7: 8 (EPIC FAIL)
GAME: Erakirak rolls 1d20+7: (15)+7: 22

This time, Darius takes his time to study the creature and it's movements, before raising his greatsword and slashing down hard. His sword blade bites into the creature's carapace and ichor pours out of the wound.

GAME: Erakirak rolls 4+1d8: 4+(6): 10

Erakirak continues firing, with the almost-mechanical manner of a trained archer. Two more arrows, one of which bounces ineffectually off of its rocklike hide, the other of which strikes it, and maybe Isk as well.


The thing falls to the ground and all that left is silence... And then Erakirak's caw... Echoed by a similar sound from the back of the cave…

Erakirak perks up, startled. "Did you all hear that?" He moves cautiously in the direction of the cawing sound.

Iskandar gasps for air, staring down at the carcass. When he detects the sound from the back of the cave he turns slowly in that direction. Taking a deep breath - which also puffs his chest out, heroically - he says, "I think we know how to deal with it now...I'll go first, and do my best to distract it."

Dax looks over at Rak who caws in triumph and she gives him a really weird look. Her eyes are open, but she's halfway between grimacing and her mouth quirks off to the side. "Ya are such a man bird." She comments and shakes her head at the feathered one before turning to the giantborn, "Ya alright or we needin' ta wait a lil' fer ya ta cry it out?" Then turning her head, she watches as Rak stats to move further in. And she shrugs as Isk wants to lead, eyeing over at Darius and his greatsword, she smiles, "Ya did well, nice sword." And she follows in behind the others.

He wipes the ichor off of his sword before sheathing it and says simply in a low bass rumble, "Thank you..." before he follows them as well.

As you move to the back of the cave you'll notice that it is not in fact another of these stalactites, it is a griffon covered in sparkling black water and looking quite miserable for it. It also has numerous bites on its body that look remarkably like those on Erakirak. It's a beautiful creature nonetheless cawing sadly at them.

Erakirak's eyes widen, and he moves to the animal's side without significant regard for his own safety, whistling at it in Auran, trying to get it out of the water.

Dax stops in her tracks and holds up her claws, "Tha' be a sky witch's familiar. I ain't gettin' one step closer ta tha' thing." She holds up, and looks around. Her eyes blinking some, as she watches Rak just rush forward and she stays back still, rocking back and forth from foot to foot, though not moving any closer.

Iskandar had been walking tensely, expecting another stalactite to leap on him at any moment. When he sees the actual source of the sound, he relaxes a bit, coming closer. "Easy," he says to the griffon. Then he turns his head slightly to talk to the rest of the party without quite taking his gaze off of the creature. "It can understand me, right?"

Darius for his part simply looks at the griffon, neither hesitant, nor alarmed, he only watches it before he says quietly, "Who here can heal wounds? I unfortunately cannot, it seems the creature could use some help if it is to fly once again."

As Erakirak coos and calms the creature you will notice some skeletal remains off to the side. Human remains. They lie next to the barrels both broken and unbroken. One of them has a torn and bloodied letter mixed with its remains.

Dax will just stay back, letting other people talk to the crazy dangerous winged creature, and she looks over to Darius. She shows those dire wolf claws she calls weapons, that are more fitting on an Ork and she says, "I cannot 'eal. Jus' kill." She offers and stays back, she's not getting any closer to the sky witch's pet.

Iskandar moves over to stand over the remains. After a moment he reaches down and carefully picks up a letter, holding it up, then turning it so that more of Dax's light hits the surface before trying to read it.

The huge human warrior simply nods to Dax and says then, "Then I suggest we don't approach the creature, it may attack us on sight, even though we mean it no harm." He studies the remains and amends, "And perhaps we might be better off to just kill it before it harms anyone else."

Only a little remains legible of the letter. Blood and tears have ruined much of it. A few scattered words here and there. At the bottom however is still readable it says: "You do this in the name of my mistress." And is signed 'Lord Morgan'. There's a wax stamp seal at the bottom showing a family crest of a manticore with a big 'M' on it. Nothing like the Z shape which marks the barrels, circles caught in the tines.

GAME: Iskandar rolls knowledge/local: (15)+4: 19

Stands there and looks to Darius as the other two are up at the Griffon doing stuff. And she shakes her head, "If'n we kill it, ta sky witch will certainly come an' get us fer it." She offers in response, shaking her head and then looks to Isk who's reading a letter. "Wha' ya got there? Somethin' important? Fer ta treasure?" Pulling up the map she has, she she pulls it out momentarily and then tucks it away.

Iskandar's lips move as he reads over the note. He looks up with a frown when Darius suggest killing the griffon. "It's helpless!" he protests. "And these are considered 'good' monsters. I'm sure of it. You see them flying through the skies of Alexandria all the time!" He glances down at the letter again. "Morgan, Morgan...I know there was a scandal around that name. What was it..." he snaps his fingers suddenly. "Ah, yes...the man was accused (by an adventurer) of murdering his wife, and importing barrels of deadly magical slime that attacks people." He turns slowly to look at the barrel, then takes a step back away from it.

Dax tilting her head, and still nowhere near close to the griffon or Rak, who is presumably trying to free the animal. Dax just looks at Isk and then the barrel, and then back to Isk, and then the barrel, "Ya... sayin' tha'...." She pauses and looks over the barrel, "Tha' has tha' fellas wife in it?!" She questions, and her eyes get wide, as she shakes her head, "Tha' jus' be wrong in so many ways. Ya could put ale in there, or ... well, mostly ale."

Darius shrugs a heavily mailed shoulder and says, "If we cannot heal it, it will continue to suffer until it dies, is that "Good" of us to leave it there like that? Unless you believe it will be able to come with us back to civilization where it could be healed assuming it would come?" It's more of a rhetorical question as Iskandar's reveal makes his eyebrow raise higher but he refrains from commentating, having no knowledge of the situation to speak intelligently on it.

After several long moments Erakirak levels a heavy stare at those that suggested killing the griffon and leads it out of the cave silently. The creature looks injured and wet, but otherwise alright. The puddle of water it leaves behind is sparkling and black. Sparkling far more than the torchlight can account for.

Iskandar nods somberly. Or at least he starts to. "IN the barrel?" he repeats incredulously, staring at Dax. "I didn't mean ... that is to say, I don't recall..." then he turns to look at the note. "Come to think of it, she -might- be buried there..." Rubbing his chin thoughtfully he nods to Darius. "True, it needs help. But I'm sure we can get others. We're not that far from the city..."

Dax gives the griffon and Rak a wide berth, before sighing out and running her fingers through her hair. "I 'ope tha' man bird ain't a sky witch." She shakes her head and starts approaching where Isk is inside the cave. "Well, looks like I work 'ere is done. Tho' tha' slime tha' it leavin' behind may very well 'ave somethin' worth somethin' in it." She nods to Isk as he comes to the same realization as her, "Look, it sparkles like it got silver in it."

"The slime attacks people," Iskandar reminds her gently.

Darius lifts a heavily mailed shoulder in another shrug and says, "As you wish..."

Dax shrugs a bit, "Alright, well, then we ought ta go trap a bear, an' bring it back 'ere see if it'll get attacked by the slime." And she turns her back on Isk and the others and starts heading out of the cave. Presumably to find a bear…