Hurrying along the pass, as they turn a corner, Ssinkhar spies the silhouette of a lone figure standing in the road. As he Points and gesticulates to his friends the figure darts behind a large boulder. The cat girls Nyx and Styx immediately spring into action and bound into the shadows of the mountainside and stalk their new prey.
The Madman on the Mountain
As they pounce upon the boulder they briefly see a wild eyed human male dressed in shabby furs crouching behind it. Startled by the sudden appearance of the two Phylus the man suddenly shrieks and disappears with a pop.
The rest of the party are immediately aware that someone is behind them, turning they briefly see the same shabby man clutching at an amulet with both hands. With a pop he disappears, reappearing some 100 ft further along the pass. Tarigoz boldy walks forward to engage the man in conversation but when he gets close to the fellow he once again vanishes to only reappear a second later in between the Knight and the rest of the party. The two cat girls get ready to pounce and the man blinks out of existence reappearing next to Ssinkar. With alacrity the Cleric strikes the man on the head with his staff and stuns him.
When he comes to, he gives a madness filled rambling speech about white winged demons descending from black clouds. He struggles to his feet and as prances too and fro on the narrow pass, mimicking the demons in flight, swooping down on their targets with claws .
"All dead, they're all dead now" he cries before launching himself over the edge of the cliff.
The heroes continue along the pass until they find a shallow cave, little more than a depression in which they can see out the approaching night.
Pairs of Watches are set and on the third, Laurel notices that they are being watched by a pair of eyes. Eventually the form of a mountain lion looms out of the night unaware that Laurel's natural night vision, the half elf knocks an arrow and shoots the cat in the side. It whelps and runs off.
A Mountain Lion
In the morning, the snow which had fallen through the night had banked in drifts along the pass. The hungry heroes trudged on. Nyx caught a whiff of blood on the air and it was not long before they saw a solitary familiar arrow poking out of the snow. Scraping the snow away they discovered the corpse of the mountain lion Laurel had shot the night before. They butchered the animal and continued further down the pass until they found enough vegetation in order to build a small fire to cook the meat.
Stomach's filled as best they could they set off down pass into the valley until they came to a fork in the road. A rudimentary sign points East towards the town of Melmond. They briefly contemplatea visit to the outpost town to gather supplies but Jan reminds them of the urgency of their mission.
The path to the left took them further into the mountains until they came to a steep sided gully between two towering cliff faces.
As they traversed the gully suddenly the wind picked up unnaturally and in front of them a spinning whirlwind appeared from nowhere and rushed towards them. Tcoh'eh, who was guiding the party from the front, leaps to the left pressing himself flat against the rocks. All but Jan followed suit and the sell sword was picked up by the tornado and flung violently up the gully to land in a crumbled heap of broken bones.
Just as they recovered another even larger whirlwind came barrelling down the gully and Tcoh'eh flung himself to the right side of the gully and grabbed onto the cliff. The heroes followed suit but Styx and Wulf were tossed by the hurricane force winds and bashed against the unforgiving walls of the gully. As Ssinkar healed Jan and Wulf, Nyx administered her potion of healing to Styx.
From the maelstrom descended at least a dozen or more Aarakocara, two of whom swooped down to pick up a protesting Tcoh'eh whilst the others hovered brandishing long ropes and sharp spears.
A few seconds later they began their attack swooping low over the rag tag band of adventurers. A shrill shriek pierced the winds and one by one the heroes were lassoed and carried off into the clouds.
The Temple of Tikka Ti-Jarra
The heroes were deposited in what looked like a natural amphitheatre. A bowl like cluster of rocky outcroppings which served as terraces for the many Aarakocara who looked on with an equal mix of apprehension and hope.
They were then led into a large egg shaped lattice structure from which lights sparkled and danced and presented to the Shaman of the nest, Kirrikaraka. The Shaman told them that his species were being systematically hunted down and their nests destroyed by a cloud giant with the assistance of some white winged creatures. He explained that they were poor by land dweller standards but they offered what little they had, presenting some jewels and a few potions.
At that moment the bell suspended in the roof of the nest begins to ring and Aarakocara warriors shrieked
"The cloud giant approaches"
Rushing outside they immediately spotted that the skies were dominated by boiling black clouds. Suddenly several groups of winged creatures began to descend towards the amphitheatre and attack the Aarakocara who perched on the ledges. As the group neared the centre of the amphitheatre they were suddenly surrounded by one of these flights of winged creatures which resembled white baboons with great wings.
Flying Ape miniature from Footsore Miniatures
Great White Flying Apes
Laurel lets fly an arrow, grazing one of the white whinged apes. Sinkar casts a hold person prayer on another. Tarigoz strikes one with his sword dealing serious damage at the same time Laurel switched to her scimitars dealing two light wounds to a second.
Jan, who had singled out one of the leaders, used his flaming sword to good effect. With a mighty swing Wulf eviscerated his opponent and it crashed to the floor in a pool of blood and entrails.
Laurel struck twice again at her enemy killing it. Plucky Nyx, managed a lucky strike on what was clearly some sort of commander knocking him prone. Jan continued to hack away with his flaming sword and was soon joined by Wulf. Ssinkar swung his staff at a third flying ape, knocking him unconscious. Wulf's foe retaliated and drew the barbarian's blood.
Tarigoz finished off his protagonist whilst Laurel chose another target and struck twice more. Jan continued to press hiss attack, his flaming sword biting down on fur and feathers. Ssinkar's prayer wore off and he returned to finish off the creature.
To prevent the unconscious creature from escaping Tarigoz chopped off its wings. Laurel struck her foe twice again killing it. as Wulf attacked his foe parried and with a crash of metal, Wulf's blade shattered. Ssinkar pressed his attack onto the lead creature. Sensing that the fight was lost the creatures fled. Jan struck his fleeing enemy in the back killing it. Nyx managed to graze the fleeing commander with her nunchucks as it peeled away.
Jan does not look at all like Jet-Li with his flying flaming sword
In his mind the sword Maragbhur said " after him son, Paar, Paar" the sell sword echoed the word and with a whoosh the sword pulled him off the ground into the air. Unaccustomed to flight Jan gripped the sword for his life and a brief dogfight ensued.
The commander of the flying apes prevailed, striking Jan to the ground.
|<-- Prev Episode||Next Episode -->|