PrP: Old Wounds

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The group has been assembled by the guild of explorers to investigate disturbing rumors of sudden, violent raider attacks on small settlements near the northern border of Alexandria. The journey isn't too long by airship- an airship which mercifully does not crash. The group are instructed that the captain of the local militia has more information for them, and will be waiting for their arrival. The captain of the militia turns out to also be a local inkeeper- he's a balding, middle-aged man, slightly overweight, but clearly weathered and hardened by a lifetime far from civilization.

"I'm glad you're here." He speaks to the group as they disembark. "These fuckers have been razing whole farmsteads to the ground, they don't even steal anything. Just kill all the livestock, the farmers, their wives, their children. Hell, evenf amily pets. Mutilate 'em al and leave them strewn about."

"Language, please. There are...Well, nevermind. Speak freely." Owen replies, his chiding tone diminishing quickly after looking amongst his companions. "But it sounds dreadful. Are there any survivors that require my care, perhaps?" His stole and robes have been replaced with a simple blue tabard worn over a gleaming chain shirt, with a blue rose embroidered on the front and back.

Drakha listens to what the captain is saying, glancing over to the others gathered, some of them he has worked with before others not. Then he asks from the captain, "Has anyone actually seen these raiders, or do you have any idea otherwise what they are? That doesn't sound like normal bandits." the massive red lizardman inquires.

"I don't suppose you know why?" Craft wonders, smoothing his apron. He looks much the same as always, but he's gained an amulet. His metallic voice is even, the slightest curious lilt to it.

"... the hell?" are Garth's first words as the innkeeper explains the community's problem. He looks... Aghast, and disturbed. He takes a moment to recover, glances at Owen. "Sorry." For the cursing, light as it was. He heaves a big sigh, massive (and bare) arms coming to cross over his chest, turning to address the militia captain again. "Any further information ya got would be good, but other than that, just point us in the direction. I reckon we need a... chat... with these folks." His eyes are dangerously narrowed.

"Survivors?" The man scoffs, "In one stead, all that was left of Tanner's baby girl was dripping from the ceiling of the barn." The militia captain snarls bitterly, and shakes his head. "The scouts found horse tracks, but dared not follow them."

Jinks scampers down the gangplank with a surprised look on his face, having missed the initial introductions. He's cinching his belt closed and blinking. "This isn't Alexandria. What are you people doing here? Where is here?" He blinks and smooths at his goatee, trailing off when he hears about slaughter. "Ew..."

Craft is silent, simply turning his head to look at each speaker as they say their piece.

Owen's jaw drops at the mayor's reply, and the priest uses his hand to shut and cover his mouth as he takes that mental image on. "Gods in heaven. Have the remains been laid to rest and given their proper rites? Spiritual salvation aside, I might be able to determine the methods these fools and beasts used to butcher your people."

Garth glances Jinks' way. "Welcome to the show. We got a big problem on our hands. Could maybe use your song." he tells the gnome, voice grim as he listens to the tales of terror. He puts a hand on Owen's shoulder, as if to steel the priest. "Hoofprints. You'll need to show us where... after the rites, if any." he speaks. A nod is made to indicate Owen, there.

Drakha hmmms as he listens. "Horses? Or something with hooves at least. Let us go to the site of the most recent attack then, and perhaps we can find something to get us started." he suggests, holding a fairly ceremonial looking spear in hand.

"Aye, the rites have been performed. And I can tell you myself how they butchered 'em- Axes, Swords... some were trampeld by horses. I reckon they're raiders from up north... odd they didn't take anything, but perhaps they're simply getting a kick out of it. I'll send a couple of my men to take you to the last place they attacked. I warn you though, we're still not done... cleaning up."

"Oh, hello, Garth! And Craft. And a lizard and some other tallman." Jinks smiles, patting at his pockets in search of... something. As if on cue, the scarce second assistant ship's engineer appears at the ship's railing and throws a chaotic bundle of the bard's things overboard. His bow bounces, his quiver explodes in a shower of arrows, and so on. "Ah, let me assemble my things!" He trots off to do so.

The group soon set off, and they're escorted to one of the farmsteads, a couple of miles outside of the main settlement. The place is... a bloodbath. Bits of cattle are still strewn about. The town's only cleric, looking like he hasn't slept in about a week, is here, praying for the dead. Townsfolk vairously mourn and help to dig graves. They are soon directed towards the tracks- very easy to follow, given the ground is yielding farmland and the horses that left them are heavy.

Owen greets the cleric and exchanges a few words with him, condolences and an offer to take over once the task at hand is complete. He moves on to inspect and bless the bodies of the not-yet-buried, looking for suspicious wounds or clues as to how they were killed and butchered.

Drakha looks around the ground for the tracks, seeming to be fairly unaffected by the signs of the blood and gore still present, he is a carnivore after all so he is quite used to that. Focusing mostly on the tracks instead and where they are leading. "There must be something else to this than the obvious... raiders attack for spoils, goods and prisoners to sell to slavery... this is something else." he comments to the others.

Garth stares at the image. -Stares-. "Place looks like a battlefield." he whispers. He should know. He's seen some. "... Worse than most battlefields, actually." While Owen goes about his clerical business, the man picks up a shovel, aiding one of the gravediggers - putting his strength to use for what small amount of time they stick around before the group inevitably moves on to follow the raiders.

Jinks steps about gingerly, avoiding the patches of gorey offal as best he can. "This is horrible. I wore my good boots and we're outside. And look at that; I can't even tell if it used to be a horse, a bull, or some excessively indulgent tallman." He sniffs and takes a few more steps away from the bloody mess, going to idle nearish the tracks. He managed to collect his bow and arrows and little sword and pouches and all his gnormal kit. It just took a little bit of time. "I'd wager cultists, Garth? Five gold? You can have savages. What do you say?"

Craft's generated enough gore over the years to not be particularly shocked when he finds evidence of someone else doing the same, though he probably wouldn't show it even if he did. "Are all the bodies accounted for?" he wonders, getting a basic idea of which direction the hooves lead, then going back to the others.

The corpses seem to have been killed as the militiaman said- some by axes, others by being trampled by horses. One of the bodies inside seems to have been clawed apart, another bludgeoned to death. It's all around a gruesome scene.

Owen returns from his work paler than he left with the smell of brandy lingering on his breath. "A mix of axes, clubs, hooves, and claws did this. I have no knowledge of the savage species that could do such a thing. Let us find out and put an end to this."

"I say we get movin'." Garth says to Jinks. Apparently, he's not feeling like bets today. Or, well, not against Jinks! He hands the shovel back, excusing himself, and then moves to follow the tracks with the others. "Claws. Huh." he echoes Owen's words, eyes narrowing once again.

<OOC> Garthos is ready. Will take 10 Survival for 18 if needed.

The tracks lead the group further north, and carry on for a few miles into the steppes at the foot of the mountain range marking the northeastern border of Alexandria. The horse tracks lead through gradually more sparse vegitation, till the group come upon a region where even the soil seems dead, withered and dry. There is a deep chill in the air. In the dead soil, the horse tracks are no longer clear enough for Garthos to follow- the dry, crumbly earth holding no imprint for long. Night is falling.

Craft looks around, and fishes in his pockets, pulling out a magicite disk circled by a ring of artifice. He holds it near the ground and, with the press of a button, checks for magic.

GAME: Craft casts Detect Magic.

"You know what would be nice right now? My adventuring coat. I miss it (stupid Ragdar)." Jinks mutters a little, working almost twice as hard to keep up with the tallmen. His acute gnomish vision doesn't mind the twilight so much, so he hasn't bothered with a Light incantation yet. He does loose the recurve bow from its harness and carries it almost like a walking stick. "Craft. I always wonder; why haven't you constructs taken over the world yet? Not needing to sleep gives you another half of the day to do things."

Drakha stays mostly silent along the way as he is trying to think of what would fit all of those marks letting the more skilled people do the tracking. "I can't think of anything that could do all of those marks... so it must be a mix of different kinds creatures. Maybe something as simple as a group of mounted men with trained beasts, but I don't think it is that... softskins don't work like that." he finally shares with the others. The darkness of the coming night does not hinder his vision at all.

Garthos crouches down, peering at the now much fainter tracks. "Earth's hard here. Barely keeps the prints at all. Can't really be sure which way they went from here." he says to the rest, apologetic. "One of ya gonna provide some light, or shall I?" he asks of them, glancing at them all over a shoulder. "Need one on me, at least, since I figure I won't be stayin' near ya fingerwagglin' types." he adds, pulling himself to a stand.

Owen prays for a blessing of illumination, and the silver rosary wrapped around his wrist begings to give off a bright blue glow." He nods to Garthos and produces a wooden rosary worn as a necklace underneath his chain shirt and tunic, and after a short prayer it begins to give off light as well. "Wear it well and be careful with it. It was the first given to me when I came to the faith."

GAME: Craft rolls knowledge/arcana: (18)+8: 26 GAME: Owen casts Light.

"I will be staying near the front of the conflict," Craft remarks as he examines the disk, slowly moving it about the field slowly. "It's death magic. Faint, but pervasive. Old, but recently disturbed." He rises to his feet, pocketing the disk, and pulling out his artificed torch, holding it in his shield hand, triggering it on with a thumb. His magicite eyes scan their surroundings. "Perhaps by our raiders."

"Oh, right." Jinks says, scampering over to Garth. He sings a brief little lymric (best not repeated, lest Owen blush) and gives the large warrior an obscure, multi-part gnomish handshake. The hand (glove, gauntlet, whatever) begins to give off a warm hearthglow. He snaps his fingers and points at Craft. "Cultists! Zing-bang. I think that's five gold you owe me, Garth."

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Anyone with low light vision can make a perception check." GAME: Jinks rolls Perception: (1)+8: 9

You paged Drakha with 'In the distance, you see the ground begin to shift. Something is coming up from beneath, though at this distance you can't quite tell what.'

"I ain't never bet against ya. And if I did, I'd figure the dead had risen, rather than there bein' a cult." says Garth to Jinks. His spiked gauntlet is now all glowy. "But thanks for the light in any case." he adds, a little more brightly. "We pushin' on? I'm gonna have trouble followin' the tracks, but I can tell north easy enough and make sure we don't get lost. I think." He thinks.

Drakha listens to the various bits of information said by the others. "Undead? That might fit all the tracks... though I have never heard of undead using horses..." he ponders out loud, letting the words drift away mid sentence then as something in the distance catches his eyes, narrowing them slightly. "Something is coming out of the earth... over there." he says with lowered voice then, pointing the direction with the tip of his spear.

"Cults make undead. Don't you know anything?" Jinks winks at Garthos.

"Seen a skeleton snake. Could be a skeleton horse, too." Garth ponders this a moment. "How the hell you'd tie a saddle on it, though, I've no idea." he adds. Mysteries abound!

"Perhaps Craft can track via the traces of magic? I unfortunately did not pray for any spells to guide our path, save for this simple Orison." He mutters a few prayers and brushes his rosary over Garthos, giving him some minor aid in finding more tracks. A glance over to Jinks and the priest remarks, "As sure as I am you dislike moral guidance, perhaps we can save the cavalier gambling until after we wipe out this blight?"

And as if on cue, the earthe xplodes out around the visage Drakha saw, and the forms become clear- Skeletal silhouettes, riders atop long dead horses. The horses begin galloping towards the group, though they remain a ways off.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "The raiders emerge ~150' away. Raiders 3 and 2 are first off the mark, moving 50' towards the group." <OOC> Craft says, "Move to get between the raiders and the rest of the group, total defense is a standard, right?" <OOC> Chiddle says, "That puts you at ~80' from them, and it is indeed. Pose away." <OOC> Drakha says, "I will cast mage armor, making sure I have either Craft or Garthos between me and the skellies so I can't be charged." GAME: Drakha casts Magic Missile.

Craft looks up at Drakha's warning, and is moving towards the spot indicated even before the undead emerge. He keeps moving, getting between the riders and his companions, and assumes a battle stance, shield up and at the ready, weapon raised to deflect any incoming blows. The way the golem moves, his metal plating almost overlaps, most of the (albeit few) places with less than ideal protection sealing up. Magicite eyes glow fiercely.

Drakha moves to stand behind the cover of the golems shield while he draws his free hand, the one not holding his spear, over his chest while muttering out a few words in draconic, causing his scales to emit a red glow for a moment, until it fades again, leaving his already naturally strong armor further enhanced.

<OOC> Owen says, "I will move 30ft toward the raiders, ready an action to blast a Channel Energy when 2 of riders are within 30ft of me."

Owen moves forward toward the dim silohuette of the skeletal riders in the distance, holding his rosary at the ready to send a surge of holy power at the undead should they draw near.

"Gambling makes -everything- better, my good tallman." Jinks says, even as the dead give up their graves and charge. He pads a few steps closer, across the hard, rocky ground and clears his throeat before he begins to sing. "I dropped into the luxury of the Lords. Fighting dragon and cross swords / with the people against the hordes / who came to conquer." The words have a magic to them, clear notes echoing across the mountainface and filling his allies with a strength and courage stoked deep within.

Garth shakes his head at Jinks, but does seem to stand a little taller when the gnome begins his song. He draws the sword from his back, stepping protectively in front of the less armored members of the party... well, save Owen, what with him being all the way in front there! "Priest! What are ya--" He's cut off by the thundering of hooves. Oh snap.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9+2: (5)+9+2: 16 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (1)+9: 10 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (3)+5: 8 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (10)+5: 15

The first of the raiders picks up pace, and charges towards the glowing cleric up in front. It's empty throat lets out a rattling war cry as it charges, and it hefts a vicious horseman's pick high above his head as he approaches. He swings it down towards Owen's chest, but but the point only glances Owen's shoulder, deflected by his chainmail. The horse, meanwhile, rears back, swinging out bony hooves towards the cleric. As impressive a display as it may be, the hooves do not connect.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Raider 2 follows suit and charges. Triggers Owen's readied action." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (5)+9: 14 GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (10): 10 <OOC> Owen says, "DC 13 will for half." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+4: (12)+4: 16 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+4: (18)+4: 22 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+2: (16)+2: 18 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+2: (5)+2: 7 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9+2: (20)+9+2: 31 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9+2: (13)+9+2: 24 GAME: Chiddle rolls 4d6+20: (13)+20: 33 GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for 33 points. -9 remaining.

The horses bay and falter as the wave of energy goes out, and the pulse of light burns away at them, cracking bone and turning the remanants of their dessicated manes to dust. But it doesn't stop them, or their riders. The second rider succeeds where the first failed, and brings his pick in a wide arc that slams right into Owen's chest, smashing through armor, flesh, ribs and organs alike. The horseman tears it free with a sickening splorch.

<OOC> Craft says, "Charge the one who just punched a hole through Owen's everything. Disarm. I do have improved disarm" GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (8)+9: 17 GAME: Craft rolls cmb+4: (16)+7+4: 27

Craft's eyes flash as Owen's struck down, and he charges in, deflecting one horseman's attack with his shield en route, hooks the head with the head of the victorious rider's pick and, with a quick motion, bring it out of the skeletal hand and knocking it to the ground. Let's see you reach it now, Mr. 'I have a horse.'

<OOC> Drakha says, "Ok will do that then and hit the two with burning hands, which should hit both the riders and mounts" <OOC> Chiddle says, "Yup. Alrighty, go for it. This puts you at 10' (or closer if you wish) from one of them." GAME: Drakha casts Burning Hands. GAME: Drakha rolls 3d4+3: (6)+3: 9 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+3: (7)+3: 10 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+4: (12)+4: 16 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+4: (9)+4: 13 <OOC> Chiddle says, "One horse is disabled." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (8)+9: 17 <OOC> Chiddle says, "Skeleton successfully isn't crushed by his crumbling horse."

Drakha narrows his eyes as the cleric marches ahead of the defensive formation to meet the charging dead head on, with predictable results. Then said defensive formation charges forward to engage them, drawing their attention for the moment, which he uses to his advantage to move to a position where he can catch both of the undead riders, along with their mounts in a cone of fire that he breathes on them, apparently even bone does burn if you try hard enough, as one of the horses has its bones crumble under the intense heat, while the rest simply get blackened by it.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Raider 1 is up. He will move in (Not charge) and attack Drakha." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (14)+9: 23 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d8+5: (4)+5: 9 GAME: Chiddle damaged Drakha for 9 points. 16 remaining.

The most cautious of the raiders, this one with an axe and shield, finally moves up with the cleric down, taking on the next biggest perceived threat- the fire-spewing dragon-kin. It swings the axe towards him, slicing through the scales on his back.

GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (3)+5: 8

"In the morning, here it comes / I taste the warning and I am so amazed..." Jinks holds his bow as he continues to sing, watching battle join with a surprisingly trained eye. He smirks at something and ducks low, running forward and sliding to kneel near the prostrate cleric. "Lucky for you," is muttered quietly between verses and he lowers a healing hand. The bleeding stops but the wicked wound doesn't close completely. The priest is still unconscious.

<OOC> Garthos says, "I walk up to the raider onna horse looming over Owen and attempt a Cleave, primary on raider secondary on horse." <OOC> Garthos says, "With PA and all that lovely shit, whenever I don't say I'm NOT PA-ing, I'm Paing." GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2: (18)+5+5+1+1+1+2: 33 <OOC> Garthos says, "Threat." <OOC> Garthos says, "Confirm:" GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2: (14)+5+5+1+1+1+2: 29 <OOC> Garthos says, "I think I crit him. Horse attack:" GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2-2: (8)+5+5+1+1+1+2+-2: 21 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+2d4+19+19: (6)+(4)+19+19: 48 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+19: (4)+19: 23

"RAAAAAAAAAAUGHHHHHHH!" Garth goes barreling in, hopping over Owen's prone, bleeding body and bringing his massive sword down on the skeleton and its mount. The weapon may not be blunt, but he brings it through the thing's skull and clean out the other side... and through the ribcage, and the pelvic bone... and then the horse, too. There's a huge explosion of bone splinters, stray bits going everywhere as both rider and mount collapse into a useless heap of lifeless mortal remains.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+8: (5)+8: 13 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+8: (2)+8: 10

Disarmed and Dismounted, with one of the other skeletal riders utterly anihilated, the raider who managed to take out the cleric in a single blow lunges for Craft. It's bony fingers scrape and screech against metal plating, but fail to do more than offend the ears.

GAME: Craft rolls weapon1: (9)+8: 17

Craft stands there, impassively, as the skeleton scrabbles ineffectively at his metal hide. He brings up the hammer for a blow and, distracted by the skeleton and rider next to him cracking like a metal ship thrown, with force, through a ice flow, the hammer just barely misses. If the skeleton can feel at all, he just might feel the wind of it.

<OOC> Drakha says, "Well I will take a 5 foot step back and cast shield." GAME: Drakha casts Shield.

Drakha hisses out as the third rider manages to somehow hit through his thick scales with hard enough force to cause damage, which he takes it as needing to further augment his defenses, taking a step back as he holds his hand front of him palm forward and makes a circular motion while speaking in draconic, causing a shimmering field of force to come into being around him, after which he focuses more fully on his opponent, now he is ready to face him.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (1)+9: 10 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (6)+5: 11 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (3)+5: 8 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (1)+5: 6

The uninjured Skeletal rider attempts to finish off the sorcerer, his horse flailing its hooves, gnashing its teeth, while he swings back and forth with his axe. But not a single attack lands, through luck, fate, or the simple fact that Drakha really doesn't want to get turned into so much bloody pulp.

<OOC> Jinks says, "Alright. Healing again, continuing to sing as a freebie" GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (2)+5: 7 GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for -7 points. -2 remaining. GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for -8 points. 6 remaining.

"I'm here today, seeing things so clear this way / On my horse and on my way," Jinks continues to crouch next to Owen and lays hands once more. This time the healing magic is enough to rouse the cleric and start knitting his flesh.

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2: (17)+5+5+1+1+1+2: 32 GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2-2: (12)+5+5+1+1+1+2+-2: 25 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (18)+9: 27 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+19: (6)+19: 25 <OOC> Chiddle says, "Both live, horse undamaged, Rider badly damaged."

"Ya okay?" Garth asks Owen as Jinks' healing chant washes over him and awakens the priest. "Good. Don't get in any more trouble, a'right? I'll be over there." Over there being where the remaining rider is menacing Drakha. The man steps up to the Sith'makar, nodding to him, and brings his sword around. It slices bone of the rider, skittering a bit, but as he brings it down to continue the swing into the horse, the rider jerks it with his knees, causing the blade to pass harmlessly between a pair of ribs. "... Dammit." goes Garth.

GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (5): 5 GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for -5 points. 11 remaining. GAME: Chiddle damaged Drakha for -5 points. 21 remaining.

"Thanks gnome. You aren't all that bad for somebody that makes out with the undead." Owen replies to Jinks after coughing up a nice pint of blood left in his lungs from that massive puncture. Pulling himself up to sit, he wards off any easy hits the skeleton warrior might have with his staff while raising his rosary once more, the blue light growing stronger in a flash to heal himself and the Sith rather than burn away at the undead.

GAME: Craft rolls weapon1: (6)+8: 14

With Owen back up, Craft resumes his attempts to damage the skeleton. The heavy hammer would certainly do some damage to it if it could connect, but the lighting situation currently being somewhat iffy, and the light sources wobbling with each movement of Owen and Craft's arms, the swing goes wide.

GAME: Drakha casts Burning Hands. GAME: Drakha rolls 3d4+3: (10)+3: 13 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+3: (1)+3: 4 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+4: (18)+4: 22

Drakha nods slightly in satisfaction as with the augmented defenses the skeletal adversary and its equally skeletal mount fail to do anything noteworthy against him, stepping back another step as he takes a deep breath, exhaling it as a gout of flames that engulfs both of his enemies, causing the bones of the rider to crack and shatter in the heat, crumbling down on top of its horse which still stands, though weakened.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (7)+5: 12 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (3)+5: 8 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (12)+5: 17

The horse bucks and rears as ats rider is dissintegrated, but the horse feels no fear, or selve preservation. It attempts to bring its hooves down on the sorcerer, and gnashes its teeth at the air.

GAME: Jinks rolls 1d20+10: (2)+10: 12

Jinks gives Owen one of those 'you have me confused with someone else' looks as he continues to sing. He lets his bow fall to the ground and unloops a length of silk from around his arm. He places a small stone in it and begins it spinning overhead before it goes flying wildly. That was a warm up! "I'm flying over Coyote's cathedral / sunlight pouring through the break of day."

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: (2)+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: 19

Garthos sidesteps behind the horse, pulling back a bit from the stench of death and decay about it. He takes a swing at it, but the blow goes wide as the undead animal rears up, cleaving the earth rather than the unholy creature and sending up a spray of dust.

<OOC> Owen says, "I will cast a CLW on the defensive and attempt to fry the skeletal warrior." GAME: Owen rolls 1d20+11: (2)+11: 13 <OOC> Owen says, "Fukkit it, I'll stand up while I'm at it." <OOC> Owen says, "I'll eat the AoO." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+8: (15)+8: 23 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d6+5: (6)+5: 11

As the cleric rises to his feet again, the skeleton instantly shifts its attention to owen. Bny figners lash out, and plunge into the existing round, tearing at delicate flesh within, and causing blood to gush fourth again.

Owen pulls himself to his feet, muttering a prayer of healing. Unfortunately, taking a pick right through the arm breaks one's concentration and the priest fails to do anything besides bleed profusely and stand up.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+8: (16)+8: 24 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+8: (7)+8: 15 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d6+5: (5)+5: 10 GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for 10 points. -10 remaining.

The skeleton then proceeds to duck away from the metal monstocity, knowing full well that steel is harder than bone, and instead it reaches out its claw-like hands, tearing deeper into Owen's wound, apparently trying to prize apart the ribs and get at the heart.

GAME: Craft rolls weapon1+2: (3)+8+2: 13

Craft makes another attempt, but is having a helluva time actually making contact with the hammer, maybe all that shiny goodness from Owen is distracting it too much. Oh well, at least it's not going to run fully away from him any time soon.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (8)+7: 15 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (2)+7: 9

Drakha looks at the equine skeleton flailing at him, then looks at his spear, then at the skeleton once again, shaking his head and discarding the spear, pointy sticks are not meant for breaking bones, instead he lifts his hands up, his claws growing to strong rending talons, which he then attempts to tear it apart with, but fails to get a good grip from the skeleton to do that.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+6: (18)+5: 23 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (8)+5: 13 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (9)+5: 14 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d6+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Chiddle damaged Garthos for 7 points. 43 remaining.

The horse changes its focus as the sorcerer provides too robust an opponent, and turns on Garthos. It flails it hooves, one of them managing to catch him in the chest with enough forcce to crack a rib, but most of its flailing failing to connect.

<OOC> Jinks says, "So, this may come as a surprise to you, but I'll heal Owen. Continue to sing as a Free Action. D:" GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (3)+5: 8 GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for -8 points. -2 remaining.

"Stumbled through the door and into the chamber / There's a lady setting flowers on a table covered in lace..." The little gnome just glares at the skeletal bastard as Owen falls down again. -Glares-. He bends and wraggles his fingers again, contorting at the weave until the priest's bleeding stops.

GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (14)+5: 19 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d6+5: (4)+5: 9 GAME: Chiddle damaged Garthos for 9 points. 34 remaining. GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: (11)+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: 28 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+19: (7)+19: 26

"Freakin'... HOLD ON, I'M COMING!" Garth calls to the other camp fighting the lone rider as he sees Owen collapse in a bloodied heap again, disengaging from the horse and taking a savage bite in the process from the undead animal. Skirting around, he blindsides the more humanoid skeleton, barelling into it with his blade and tearing it asunder.

GAME: Craft rolls weapon1+6: (19)+8+6: 33 GAME: Craft rolls 1d8+3: (3)+3: 6

Craft, with his target sliced straight through by Garth, moves to the horse. This time, he connects, taking out quite a share of ribs along the way, but the horse still holds together enough to remain standing.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (16)+7: 23 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (15)+7: 22 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d4+4: (2)+4: 6 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d4+4: (3)+4: 7

Drakha nods to the golem when he moves to distract the horse, which gives him perfect opportunity to latch his claws to its spine and tear to both directions, with a roar! Causing the bones to break and the entire skeleton to collapse into a heap of non-animate bones.

"Fuck's sake." mutters Garth, glancing around for remaining threats by the light of his glowing gauntlet. Finding none, he sheathes his weapon, the glow of the runes upon the blade dimming. "He gonna be alright?" he asks Jinks. He means Owen, of course, who is still on the ground and in a whole lot of blood, even if he is breathing steadily.

Owen gurgles and coughs. Whoop, there comes that missing link in his chain shirt!

Jinks shrugs, nudging Owen with his foot. "I don't know. He accused me of something rather horrible. I may just throw him into the ground with the rest of these things." He mutters the last part darkly. Crossing his arms. He's stopped singing, obviously. After the briefest pause, he turns to Owen and winks, smiling. He hums another few bars and wipes some of the blood away from Owen's wounds.

GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (8)+5: 13

"Looks about like you did," Craft remarks as he strolls over, watching as Jinks fixes him up.

Drakha looks around, seeing the rest the undead warriors have been vanquished already, he retracts his claws, his hands returning to normal as he then leans down to pick up his spear again, walking over to the rest and observing the healing process taking place.

"Nnngh....heard that gnome. And if you have offense, take it up with the scribes. They put it on all the journals. Thank you, though." Owen mutters after another sputter and cough. He picks out the deformed and gore clotted chunk of chain link that got pushed into his lung along with several inches of heavy pick blade and stares at it. "Well....that's disturbing to think about. everyone else alright? Are they all destroyed?"

"FOOLS!" A voice booms seemingly from all around. Skeletal hands, hundreds of them, punch up through the earth, and skeletons, unarmed and unarmored unlike the first three that the group fought, pull themselves out from the ground, surrounding the group in a hundred yard radius, though staying back. Finally, an enormous skeletal creature, with beat up old chainmail and a horned helm missing one horn pulls itself from the ground. "We are infinite! Kill a thousand, and ten thousand more rise in our place!" The creature booms. It's once mighty beard still clings to its lifeless jaw. One of its eye sockets glows with a pale green light, the other empty. "Your remains will only serve to swell our ranks!"

"Yes, you are a god, invincible and immortal, I've heard it before, and I think you'd find me rather difficult to turn into a skeleton," Craft remarks, his metallic voice booming, almost like a metal drum given speech. He steps, grabbing his hammer with one hand, gesturing the softer members of the group between him and Garth

Drakha blinks in surprise as that shout comes from somewhere... everywhere? Glancing around as he moves closer to the others once the skeletons start rising from all over the place. "This doesn't look good..." he comments to the others, his spear held in hand for the moment, ineffective as it might be against skeletons. Then his attention focuses on the apparent leader, the really big and mean looking one.

"Thul's shriveled mummycock this is ridiculous!" Jinks complains, shouting loud enough to make most people wince. It's quite amazing how loud the little gnome can be. "I hope you have more magics up your sleeve, you slandering tallman!" He smirks at Owen and offers a wink at Garth.

Garthos swings about, drawing his sword once again and holding it at the ready. "Oh come on. Infinite skeletons? AGAIN? Been there, done that." he says, waving it off. "Time to go back where ya came from, ugly. Ya and all your friends." Brave... or stupid? You decide.

Owen pulls himself to his feet, taking a step towards Craft and Garth, the professional meat shields. His stint was strictly amateur hour. His staff is gripped tightly in one hand and his rosary in the other. "As a matter of fact, I do." He replies to Garthos. "If I happen to fall permanently, I'll put in a good word for all of you."

<OOC> Chiddle says, "The skeleton will intimidate Owen, or try to." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+9: (5)+9: 14

The huge skeleton fixes its one glowing eye on the Cleric, then, and it bellows- "You should not have come, holy man. Your god will not save you here!" It tells him, as it hefts the huge greataxe over one shoulder ready to charge the group.

<OOC> Garthos says, "I will ready an action to 5-foot step into him and hit him with the sword once he charges/moves in. I'm assuming I'm the one in his chargepath/the likely target of such."

Garthos spins his blade, narrowing his eyes at the overgrown skeleton. "Come on then. Let's get this over with." he barks, steadying his stance. Ready. Waiting. The light of the spell upon his gauntlet dances oddly on the steel surface of his twohanded sword.

<OOC> Jinks says, "I'll move to be about 10' behind Garth and I'll get my Sing on."

Jinks turns a slow circle to look at the horde of shambling oncemen, muttering a quiet oath under his breath. He pats Owen in a 'don't get beat up so bad this time' manner and scampers off to stand a safe distance behind the burly tallman fighter. He sucks in a deep breath and begins to sing a wordless melody, winding and weaving through the air and filling it with magic.

GAME: Drakha casts Magic Missile. GAME: Drakha rolls 2d4+2: (8)+2: 10

Drakha looks around some more at all the various skeletons around them, then figures the big one to be the most immediate concern, moving in the line to stand right behind the big and burly gnome... oh wait. He also waves a hand towards the towering skeleton, sending two red beams from his fingertips to dart through the air and strike unerringly to the undeads frame, for modest effect. "Try not to stand at the front this time, preacher." he notes to Owen, also.

<OOC> Owen says, "I will 5ft step to be within 5ft of Garthos, with him between me and big-bad, dig out a scroll of magic stone, then throw down another channel to heal." GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (7): 7

"My flesh may be rended for the moment, but Heaven's Queen has claim to my soul, abomination." Owen replies, unmoved by the skeletal giant's threats. He steps to get closer to Garthos, while fishing a folded roll of parchment from his satchel, offering it to Jinks. "Make good use of it, if you can." He throws up his rosary wrapped hand in a fist and glances sidelong to Drakha, remarking "Duly noted. Try to look grateful when I beseech my Goddess to heal you." just before he calls upon divine energy to wash over the group and mend the wounds of those present.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Alrighty. Boss is back up, he'll take the bait and charge garth with PA. Roll your readied attack." GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2: (3)+5+5+1+1+1+2: 18 GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+16+2-2: (2)+13+2+-2: 16

The large skeleton eyes the obvious meat shield of the group, "We'll see how confident you are when the hero here falls!" He yells, and charges towards garthos, feet thundering in the dead earth. He brings the massive axe down towards Garthos, but falls wide, smashing into the ground with a spray of dirt.

<OOC> Jinks says, "I will continue to sing and rapid-shot the sling at the skelington." GAME: Jinks rolls 1d20+8: (17)+8: 25 GAME: Jinks rolls 1d20+8: (10)+8: 18 GAME: Jinks rolls 1d3+4: (2)+4: 6

Jinks continues to sing, filling the air with a bolstering melody while he searches his catalogue for something appropriate for the fight -- maybe this thing can die befoe he has to start adlibbing lyrics. He drops a polished bullet into the length of silk and sets it spinning, then looses overhead to chip at the bone monster. A second missile is loaded and loosed but only manages to dent the oversized armor.

GAME: Drakha casts Magic Missile. GAME: Drakha rolls 2d4+2: (5)+2: 7

Drakha points his fingers towards the looming skeleton again and sends another pair of glowing red beams to strike at it before he goes around the thing from far enough away to not get caught by the swinging axe, then stepping behind it, ready to move in to striking range.

<OOC> Owen says, "I'll cast Bull's Strength, 5ft step and deliver the Bull's Strength to Garthos." <OOC> Owen says, "Ah. Well, in that case I'll cast defensively." GAME: Owen casts Bull's Strength.

Owen tosses the scroll at Jink's feet for him to take or ignore at his leisure, caught up in the din of battle to put more effort into the matter. He calls upon a blessing of strength, his hand glowing a bright blue before he steps forward and touches the warrior in the square of the back, letting the blue glow spread from his hand to Garthos' body before fading.

GAME: Garthos rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: (4)+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: 21

Garthos brings his sword about again, empowered by the spell - but even though the creature's defenses are diminished from its charge, the blow does nothing but leave a tiny marking on its armor.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Theboss will 5' back and attack Garth with reach." <OOC> Garthos says, "Step up." GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+15-2: (17)+15+-2: 30 GAME: Chiddle rolls 3d6+13+6: (14)+13+6: 33

The skeleton lurches backwards from its failed attack, hefting the enormous axe back over its head as it steps back. Garthos closes the distance the creature makes, but the skeletal monster doesn't falter. It brings the axe down, hard, with a rattling bellow, and slams it deep into Gartho's shoulder, probably smashing his clavicle in the process. The creature then yanks it a couple of times to prize it free.

GAME: Jinks casts Glitterdust. GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (7)+5: 12

"All men condemned by men to die / Damn by blind bitch in hallowed halls." Jinks has thought of a song! The melody changes subtly, shifting to a minor key. He kicks the scroll up into his nimble hand just as he scoops powdered stuff from his pouch. He puffs into it and flits his fingers through it. The dust takes on a life of its own, vanishing in a blank to explode ina brilliant display over the hulking skeletal monster. It probably can't see after -that-.

GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (19)+7: 26 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (19)+7: 26 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d4+4: (4)+4: 8 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d4+4: (3)+4: 7

Drakha now moves in position to double team the big thing with the fighter that it is focusing on mauling, discarding his spear that still doesn't work well as bone breaker, and instead grows his claws to rending talons that he tears to the legs of the massive skeleton, sending splinters of bone flying around, it is weakened, but still remains standing.

<OOC> Owen says, "I'll cast Cure Moderate Wounds, step over to Garthos and hit him with it." GAME: Owen casts Summon Monster II. <OOC> Owen says, "Spontaneously converting." GAME: Owen rolls 2d8+3: (4)+3: 7 GAME: Chiddle damaged Garthos for -7 points. 15 remaining.

"Good job, you've turned the tide, Jinks! I take back all those things I said about you at the camp!" Owen says with a grin before calling upon a blessing of healing and moving forward to touch Garthos, partially mending hte grevious wound in his shoulder.

Note: Garthos unexpectedly disconnected here. <OOC> Owen says, "Well, Jinks or I can eye his sheet and proxy him in as far as having him hammer on stuff." GAME: Owen rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2+2+2+2: (17)+5+5+1+1+1+2+2+2+2: 38 GAME: Owen rolls 2D4+23: (8)+23: 31

So Garth stands there a second, still shaky on his feet despite the healing chant, and ponders - what would Owen have me do? He comes to the inevitable conclusion that Owen would tell him to HIT THE GODDAMN THING. So he does exactly that, slipping the blade past the skeleton's armor at freaking last and leaving some sliced-through bones behind.

<OOC> Chiddle says, "Well, since he can't get drakha and owen, he'll go for Owen and Garth instead." <OOC> Chiddle says, "With cleave." <OOC> Chiddle says, "And PA" GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+15-2-2: (8)+15+-2+-2: 19 <OOC> Chiddle says, "Rolling his miss chance, over 50 hits" GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d100: (34): 34 <OOC> Chiddle says, "He makes a new save to shake blindness" GAME: Chiddle rolls 1d20+5: (8)+5: 13

As the light flashes in his eyes, the skeleton lets out an enraged bellow, the green light flickering in one of his empty eye sockets flaring like a wild inferno. He swings the massive axe in a wide arc, too high to hit ether Garth of Owen. "YOU ONLY DELAY THE INEVITABLE, VERMIN!"

GAME: Jinks rolls 1d20+8: (1)+8: 9 GAME: Jinks rolls 1d20+8: (6)+8: 14

"Hear it, heed this call / Oh fucking eternal," Jinks is grinning as the lumbering undead thing reels, blinded. He expertly loads and fires two more sling bullets but the lazy ease he attempts sends both missiles flying harmlessly wide. Maybe people won't notice that he only missed because he was showing off.... eyeshift.

<OOC> Drakha says, "Will keep clawing at it" GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (8)+7: 15 GAME: Drakha rolls 1d20+7: (9)+7: 16

Drakha laughs as he watches the skeleton swing blindly without hitting even close to anyone, though that distracts him so much that he fails to get anything notable done himself either, which makes him to narrow his eyes and focus more on actually tearing it down.

<OOC> Owen says, "I'll 5ft step back, move action to draw a flask of holy water, then channel energy one more time." GAME: Owen rolls 2d6: (8): 8 <OOC> Owen says, "to heal." GAME: Chiddle damaged Garthos for -8 points. 23 remaining. GAME: Chiddle damaged Jinks for -8 points. 27 remaining. GAME: Chiddle damaged Drakha for -8 points. 25 remaining. GAME: Chiddle damaged Owen for -8 points. 24 remaining.

Owen stumbles backwards after narrowly averting getting the top of his head taken off by the wild swing of the axe. He falls square on his ass and crab-walks backward a few feet before he pulls himself to his feet again, taking out a flask of holy water from a belt pouch as he does so. His rosary is presented once more and he floods the area with healing energies, "By the grace of Heaven's Queen, BE HEALED!"

<OOC> Garthos says, "Predictably, I hit it." GAME: Owen rolls 1d20+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: (17)+5+5+1+1+1+2+2: 34 GAME: Garthos rolls 2d4+22: (5)+22: 27

"Good work, you. You're not bad for a sneaky little rat of a minstrel." Garth tosses back to Jinks with a friendly grin, even through he's covered in his own blood. Wobbling and flailing blindly, the creature is an easy target, in spite of all its armor. He brings the large sword around - in on one side, slicing like a hot knife through butter amist the bones - and out the other. The blow undoes the unholy creature, at long last.

The creature lets out an unholy scream, that chills the blood as Garthas cuts through it. Axe dropped, it crumbles to dust, and the creature clenches it's fists as the inferno at its core burns white hot. Finally it explodes, shattering into a million pieaces, and sending out a shockwave which knocks the whole party back good ten feed, and obliterates the skeletal minions alltogether. All that remains of the skeleton is that skull, beard still clinging to long dessicated flesh, and helmet.

"When you take up apprenticeships for dung-shoveling or goat husbandry do you get side-tutored in idle slander? You tallmen, as a rule, are amazingly adep-- OOF!" Jinks smirks back at Garth only to be blasted by the shockwave of disappating negative energy. He coughs, groans, and slowly rolls to his feet. "That was completely uncalled for!"

"Nngh. This is why I why I am an ardent advocate of cremation." Owen says, wiping the loose dirt and bone shards from his tabard as he pulls himself to his feet. "Is everyone alright? Numbers, Drakha, Sneaky Gnome?" With a grunt, he pulls himself to his feet once more, surveying the battle-damaged landscape.

"I am not sneaky!" Jinks exclaims. "Just because you freakishly oversized giantmen can't be bothered to -look down- once in awhile does not mean everyone of the gnomish or halfling persuasion are -sneaks-."

Jinks adds under his breath "(this does not extend to goblins and kobolds. Who are uniformly stinky, smell bad, and are inbred.)."

Garth takes the blast full on, flying back and sprawling on the blighted, dead soil. He lays there for a moment, just... lays there, panting, looking up at the sky above. "Well." he speaks after a moment. "That was... interestin'." He looks a little out of it. The partway knit wounds on him still bleed a little, but Althea's healing touch has done much to stave off demise, there. "I'll live." he replies to Owen as he slowly, very slowly, and with a grunt, gets to his feet, using his blade to support himself.

Drakha sees the creature start to crumble after Garth's blow, starting to relax, only to get thrown back a good distance a moment later when it unexpectedly explodes, landing on his back some twenty feet back. He snorts and shakes his head, blinking a few times before gathering himself back up, letting his claws to retract to be more normal looking again before dusting himself off. "Well, I hope that means the problem has been dealt with." he grunts as he makes his way over to where he dropped his spear earlier and picks it up, before looking over to the cleric and nods. "Yes I am fine, it seemed to have quite a fixation on Garth." he points out.

Jinks rolls to his feet and sets to dusting himself off. He pads over to Garthos and just looks at the wounded human for a long time, clucking his tongue. He finally laughs a bit and shakes his head, "As Luck would have it." And he casts another spell before punching Garth in the arm.

GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (1)+5: 6 GAME: Jinks casts Cure Light Wounds. GAME: Jinks rolls 1d8+5: (2)+5: 7]

Jinks finishes with whatever healing he has left to spare and then pads over the what's left of the giant skeleton. He pokes at the helmet and skull with his boot, trying to shift it around to see if there's anything particularly notable about it.

someone so short." he asides to him. His friendly, teasing tone is set aside in favor of a few rather more solemn words: "Thank you. For the healin' and for blindin' the thing. It coulda lopped my head off in one blow if it connected." A glance at Owen. "I reckon ya ain't gonna be able to consecrate this place alone. Outta get back to the village. Get some help for it. Tell them what we found."

"Hah, I mean no offense, Master Jinks. But it is well known your skill as a bard is only surpassed by your ability to produce a winning hand at cards on a large pot at camp." Owen replies to Jinks with a grin. He goes to inspect Garthos' wounds, pre-empted by Jinks healing touch. "Good work, but perhaps we should check him for shards before closing the wounds up. I dare not think of the ramifications of poor Numbers carrying a chunk of that unholy abomination in his shoulder for the rest of his days."

With their apparent leader defeated, no more undead rise to harass the adventurers. They are able to haul their wounded back to the village, where their injured are tended, before they head back o Alexandria on airship- to rest, and to collect the reward