We took the supplies and escorted the Dwarves from Overlook to Stonefang in high spirits. If we only knew what awaited us in the depths of the mountain, surely we would not have entered. But alas, we cannot glimpse the future, and now “we” is simply “I”.
Our voyage was uneventful until Stonefang. We found the front and inner gates unattended, but could find no evidence to a struggle. We proceeded onwards sensing that something was wrong, but were unable to put our fingers on it. As we progressed, a foul spell came over everyone; The dwarves quarrelled and we were at each other’s throats. When we arrived at the keep, Thane would not let us in, and taunted us. Tor was the one who found the burned out Smithy, with the tunnel leading into the depths of the mountain. We followed him in and quickly overcame two battles that toyed with our minds, perplexing us with foes who did not die and with invisible abominations. Finally our descent was complete, and the source of the unease revealed. A brilliant shard of crystal seemed to be the cause. Tor, always hasty, was quick to charge in and attack the Umbra Hulk and Squid-Spider monster. By the time Salopard got to his side, Tor was horribly wounded and dazed, and in the end, Salopard’s effort was not enough. My two companions fought bravely as I peppered the Umbra Hulk with arrows, but all for not. They fell and only I remained. And still I could not fell the foul beasts.
Grievously injured, with no means to heal, and with the abominable monsters both in my path, I had a horrific decision to make: To fight to the end and to accept sure death or to flee and to return for my dying companions. My shame is my flight, but I am alive to tell the tale. This will be a burden I bear for as long as I live.
My own escape was very much in doubt, as I was harried all the way up to the keep, and only just managed to evade the pursuing Umber Hulk, finishing him with a lucky shot that left me totally spent. I found my way back to the Dwarves, who offered no assistance as I tried to rally and plead with them for aid. I was able to catch my breath between my glances at the Smithy, expecting the horrible monster to emerge at any moment to finish us all. Finally, with my cuts bandaged, I steadied myself for what had to be done next. Alone, I returned to the cave and snuck back into the depth of the mountain where I surprised the foul Spider, unleashing everything I had into its godforsaken hide…yet still it did not fall. I had hurt it though, and it scrabbled away through a small tunnel to its freedom. With no appetite to continue the fight, I destroyed the crystal in the center of the room and instantly felt the oppression that had plagued us all recede. I gathered my companions and hauled them to Caligula who let out a woefull moan at the smell of the fallen halfling. Reluctantly she let me sling them over her back and we set off to the keep. I could not give up. If Tor was able to be resurrected once, perhaps they could both be brought back to the living if I found a healer with haste.
I rue the day Joral stayed in Overlook to work with Bolious, and I’m angered by Tor’s recklessness, which led us into this mess. But most of all, I am shamed by being alive while my companions lie dead, their fate in the hands of a Dwarven high-priest. He offers no promises that I will see them alive again, so I wait and I pray to Melora to look over my friends and return them swiftly to my side.
Joral, Etoella and Bolios are due to arrive in a few weeks, and I am not sure what we shall do. This might be the end of the entouRAGE. All our plans, and the first companions…friends…that I have had since my chidhood are potentially gone. Etoella has lost her appetite for battle and it might be that only Joral and I remain, the black cloaks forevermore a symbol of what we have lost. Perhaps Bolios can return us to Yaun, if the head can fly with my heart so heavy.
Note: Hey, I hope you all know that the decision to retreat was not one made lightly. But given the situation where you were both down to 1 final death save strike each, Therren being down to one hit would kill him, the two guys remaining hitting every attack in the encounter consistently, with both monsters blocking my path to you, no means to heal you, and one the Spider monster only having been hit once in the battle, it was a call I had to make. It sucks and I feel bad about it, but I stayed until the last possible moment and Therren, by personaltiy would have retreated, even without the evil influence playing upon our minds. On a personal note, I also know if I stayed, it was the end of Therren, and I’m not ready to finish playing him yet. And there was no doubt about whether I’d have died. I came down fully charged w/ action point and unloaded 7d12 + 5d6 + 55HP damage on the last guy in 3 rounds aterwards and didn’t kill him. That meant for people to live in the original battle, staying alive for about 10 rounds while 1 shot would have killed me. If I wasn’t so invested in the character, I’d certainly be dead too, but I felt if I could get away I could come back, finish the fight, and bring you guys back in a manner that would let you continue to play these characters if you wanted to. Anyhow, just want you to know I didn’t want to retreat, but in the 2 years we’ve played, we’ve never had a situation where we came to be in a position of certain defeat. We’ve had close calls, but there was always a chance of victory before this encounter, which was a perfect storm of a very difficult encounter, minuses from defences from the previous encounter, bad luck, and our own ineptitude (missing two dailies in round 1, not focus firing, Tor getting so far ahead of Sally/destroyed so early).