The coils of the World Serpent
Days 7 8 9 and 10 - The Caves of Chaos 1
(This Diary is written in Elven)
Well, it seems that life in this bustling metropolis of humanity never stops. It is a wonder they manage to cling on to life out here on the frontier, with so many things trying to kill them on such a regular basis. Gnolls, Dogs, Harpies, it never ends. We’ve been here about a tenday and so far we haven’t really had a quiet night. Though I suppose, resting in the Gnoll cave, tending to the sick would be considered a quiet night by comparison to most we’ve had so far.
After we arrive back at the city, we talk to our contact at the guild about selling our spoils and splitting the proceeds. We also ask if he knows anything about the egg. He says that he doesn’t but he knows someone who might; a merchant in the keep, who is heading out to another location tomorrow. Vilo goes off to talk to the merchant. I would have thought I would have been a better choice, but I am not going to complain about getting a little more rest. These long days in the wilds are playing merry havoc with my old bones.
About half an hour later, Vilo returns to the Inn, with the merchant in tow, and we take him to see our egg. It’s definitely not a Harpy egg, he says. It looks like an Aarakocra, which is apparently a semi-intelligent birdman. Sounds a lot like the Harpies to me, but he seems to be an authority on it, so I let him talk. The merchant offers to buy the egg from us, but the knight takes umbrage at the concept of buying the young of an intelligent species. After a brief negotiation, the situation is reversed and the knight offers the merchant twenty platinum pieces to feed and care for the creature until he can get it back to a tribe of Aarakocra. Personally I think that was a little high, but it’s not my place to interfere with another merchants negotiations.
After a brief rest to recover from our adventure, we decide to finally get around to clearing out the Caves of Chaos. The knight again decides to question the morality of assaulting a cavern system with no real “cause”. To me it’s fairly clear. They aren’t called the “Caves of fluffy bunnies who didn’t do anything to anyone”. It’s the Caves of Chaos for a reason. My guess is that nothing that calls them home would be good for this keep, and by clearing them out, we’d be stopping future problems for our hosts.
We buy last minute provisions, such as a couple of torches and a lantern or two, for those amongst us not blessed with Elven vision, and start out to the caves. It takes a good few days, but eventually we arrive at the riverside, opposite the box canyon where the caves are located. Deciding to rest, and continue when we are rested and prepared, I call my travelling home into being, and we all settle in for the night. I spend most of the night keeping an eye on the caves across the river. I notice a little coming and going, mansized, probably orcish, and organised. This is going to take quite a bit of work; I think we’re going to need to plan this properly. I catnap a little just before dawn, and then start preparing my weapons, and spells for the day. My companions sleep a little longer but eventually we are ready.
Vilo heads out to scout the terrain which turns out to be a series of small caves in the sides of a box canyon. We join him there and pick the first of the caves, Vilo and I slinking in as usual. A pit trap in the floor drops away, and we climb back out of what is a barely waist height. A little more sneaking and we encounter a small group of what look like dog-headed creatures, Kobolds by the looks of them, in a side room to the passage. Ignoring them for now, we sneak past and take a look along the corridors. Light ahead, and the sound of dozens more of these creatures. We can’t do this by ourselves, but this time, let’s not draw them out to us. Sneaking back past the small group of what I assume are guards, we head back to the others.
Following our lead, the others head into the cave, a moment passes when we arrive at the guards, but with the warriors in our group it doesn’t take long to finish off the guards and head into the cave proper. Taking a moment to collect my thoughts, I stay back, cast Improved Spider Climb and scuttle over the heads of everyone towards the middle of the cave. The cave that holds easily sixty of these little blighters. Positioning myself above them I start throwing my spells down at their heads, limning obvious leaders in Faerie Fire so the knight can take them out, and generally causing chaos. When I run low on spells, I use my last but one, a Change Self, to appear as a demonic Kobold and start shouting at them in their own voice. It distracts them enough for my allies to finish the job.
It’s then I notice the knight has a couple of arrows sticking out of his back. The poor man has been stood in front of the entrance, and some of them have circled behind, and shot him. Thankfully I have one spell left. Darkness. I cast it over the doorway after tossing thin rope to the Avariel who grabs the other end and makes a tripline with me. It works a treat and we finish the last of them off, regrouping and making plans to continue. We search their caves thoroughly and discover a couple of items of interest, but I’ll come back to those, later.
Resting we start planning the next cave – If we use this one as a home base, we can use my home to block the entrance and have a relatively secure home base to complete cleaning out the caves with.