The battle over the gaping chasm raged on. One surviving gargoyle hovered over the stone bridge locked in close combat with Kareep while the three destroyed gargoyles rocky remains littered the ground below them. Templeton snuck forward from around the corner and loosed a deadly bolt from Sky Piercer that took a huge chunk of stone off the chest of the gargoyle.The creature’s defenses slipped as it writhed in pain allowing Kareep to slide his enchanted javelin through its guard into the hole created by Templeton and straight through the other side. The Gargoyle froze for a moment and then burst apart into tiny pieces of rubble that clattered down into the pit below. Kareep then flew up to stand back in the tunnel behind Puck.
Meanwhile Puck was all that stood between Nartham Burrowshark and the rest of the party. Not wanting to give up the advantage of the tunnel behind him, Puck gritted his teeth, cast blur, and held the line. The hobgoblins moved up into position and all 4 of them fired arrows from their short bows at Puck but were fooled by the flickering image of the gnome and all missed their target. Quintus used his ring of jumping to leap 50 feet across the gaping chasm and land next to Kareep in the tunnel. Quintus cast an empowered bolt spell at Nartham Burrowshark but the earth cultist cast a shield spell and blocked it.
The Bulette suddenly leaped up into the air and over Puck to land on top of Kareep and Quintus in a whirling maelstrom of teeth and claws. The creature’s razor sharp teeth hurt them badly. Puck spun around and cast thurderwave trying to unseat Nartham Burrowshark from his mount. They both took damage but neither were moved at all by the spell and Nartham stood tall in the saddle.
Kareep responded by thrusting his enchanted javelin twice into the rocky hide of the Bulette. Quintus cast a spiritual weapon on Nartham Burrowshark and followed up with a big swing of his greatsword. Templeton moved up and fired but somehow missed the huge target of the Bulette. Templeton used his elven cloak to slink back into the shadows and hide. The huge creature again reared up and leaped up into the air to come crashing down on Kareep and Quintus causing more massive amounts of damage and knocking Quintus prone. Nartham thrust his long spear into Quintus.
Puck then unleashed a huge fireball. The flames of which engulfed both the bulette and Nartham Burrowshark. Puck then boldly moved to close on the hobgoblins. The 4 hobgoblins were surprised by the little gnome striding boldly to close with them. But they drew their longswords and obliged by encircling the little gnome. The flanking maneuver gave them advantage but the disadvantage from the blur canceled it out to a normal attack. Two of the swords would have hit if not for Puck casting a shield spell in response.
Kareep used his turn to heal himself with a cure wounds spell and held his ground. Quintus stood up and missed with his spiritual weapon but hit Nartham Burrowshark twice with his greatsword. The Bulette leaped up and smashed down onto Kareep and Quintus again. Nartham nailed Quintus with his long spear. But suddenly from out of the shadows, Templeton let loose a critical sneak attack from his heavy crossbow Sky Piercer. The bolt tore threw the throat of Nartham Burrowshark. Blood gushed out of the gaping holes in his neck as his body limply slid off his mount to crumple to the ground. In response to the demise of his master, the bulette went berserk and thrashed all about with his razor sharp teeth cutting Kareep to ribbons. The mighty bird man collapsed in a pool of blood and Quintus could barely stand after the onslaught.
Puck unleashed another ball of fire. This one engulfed all 4 hobgoblins and the Bulette. The bulette was lit up and burned extensively and the hobgoblins all perished falling away into ash. Quintus healed both himself and Kareep with a healing word of magic and attacked the bulette with his greatsword but could not penetrate the thick hide of the creature. The huge creature loomed up over Quintus and Kareep but another thwock sound was heard as another bolt flew out of the shadows to find its mark in the brain pan of the bulette. Templeton turned it off like light as it collapsed and went still.
The door next to Puck suddenly opened but he saw no one there. Badly injured, the little gnome moved back to the side of his friends. Kareep bathed himself in healing magic. Quintus moved up next to Puck and cast healing magic on the little gnome. Templeton moved up and concerned over the door opening, he cast a see invisibility spell. Suddenly the giant forms of five enlarged invisible duergar appeared before him. Templeton called out a warning, but before any of his friends could react, the duergar fanned out and attacked with their giant hammers. Everyone but Templeton who saw them coming were pounded badly but the attacks caused the invisibility to fade allowing everyone to see the giant dwarves looming over them.
Puck quickly responded with his usual reaction – fireball! The ball of fire ripped through the duergar getting them all but was expertly sculpted around the party members to keep them safe from the flames. Quintus disengaged and moved back using his spritual weapon to kill one of the dwarves. Kareep also disengaged and moved back. Templeton pulled out his hand crossbow to shoot one of the duergar point blank. The bolt sunk into his eye socket. The dwarf dropped like a ton of bricks. After quickly reloading the hand crossbow with his free hand, Templeton fired a second time catching another deep dwarf in the heart. That duergar also died clawing at the bolt in his heart as he slowly sank to the ground. Templeton then moved back around the corner and out of site easily moving through the difficult terrain strewn with bodies while wearing his ring of free action.
Puck used a poison spray spell to very little effect as the deep dwarves were quite resistant to poison. The two remaining duergar attacked Puck but could not hit him as his blur spell continued to protect him. Kareep hurled one acid javelin and missed but his second acid javelin was a critical hit. The acid burned the back of the skulll away from the duergar and its brain slid free from its body as it collapsed to the ground. The last duergar standing looked around at his dead friends and thought about getting out of there before a familiar thwok came from the shadows and a heavy crossbow bolt caught it in the shoulder and spun it around like a rag doll as it expired and dropped to the ground.
Everyone breathed deeply and listened to the thumping of their hearts in their chests, but the battlefield had finally grown silent. The battle was won but at great cost. Puck’s magic was nearly all used and everyone was severely hurt except for Templeton who had managed to escape being injured at all. Templeton searched the bodies and found 90 GP in loose coinage. The Master Party Treasure List was updated. The party holed up in the Duergar’s quarters. Templeton rigged the door with a bell trap to alert the party to anyone trying to get into the room.
Twenty minutes into the hour long rest, the bell went off. Everyone readied an attack. An earth cult guard decked out in armor made of stone peaked around the corner. Templeton and Quintus unleashed attacks but both missed. Kareep’s javelin found its mark, however. Eight earth cult guards charged forward to attack. Puck lets loose another fireball. All but 1 of them failed their save and became bloodied as the fire burned their flesh. Templeton nailed the remaining guard who was not bloodied from hiding using a sneak attack to make him bloodied as well.
Then suddenly Yarsha Stonemelder came around the corner and and cast an erupting earth spell. The very rock of the floor exploded pounding into everyone in the party and even some of her own guards. Everyone was hurt badly except for Templeton who managed to avoid all the damage due to his quick evasion. Yarsha moved back down the hall and out of view. Kareep moved up and hurled his javelin of lightning to tear through the guards. The guards attacked Puck and Kareep with Kareep again taking the brunt of the damage. Puck unleashed a vitriolic sphere of acid such that it poured down the hallway where Yarsha Stonemelder was hiding and ripped through the guards covering them all in acid and sculpting it around the party so that they avoided any damage. The screams were terrible as the acid ate away at the flesh of the cultists leaving only three of the eight guards alive.
Yarsha Stonemelder again came around the corner and unleashed another erupting earth spell. Again everyone but Templeton was severely hurt and Kareep went down bleeding to death. The three remaining cult guards attacked Quintus and Puck. Puck responded with a poison spray killing one of the guards. Quintus healed Kareep to bring him back up. The whole time Templeton had been waiting in the shadows. He had his shot readied and lined up for the corner expecting Yarsha Stonemelder to come around to attack again. And indeed she did. The cult leader rounded the corner and was met with a heavy crossbow bolt that sunk deep into her chest. The critical sneak attack bloodied her but she still managed to get her erupting earth spell off. The magic tore through the party causing both Kareep and Puck to go down. Templeton again managed to avoid all damage due to his evasion but Quintus was teetering on the edge with only a few HP left. Satisfied Yarsha Stonemelder, pulled the bolt out of her chest, grimaced, and then laughed as she moved out of view down the hall leaving a trail of blood.
Templeton burst into view firing his hand crossbow twice in rapid succession. The first bolt buried deep into the crease in the guards armor. He coughed blood and began to stagger. The second bolt flew right through the eye hole in the helmet of the last guard spinning him around. Templeton sprinted past the two guards before they hit the floor to die and ran out into the room looking for Yarsha Stonemelder. His path was all difficult terrain due to all the bodies and loose stone from the erupting earth spells littering the floor but Templeton was able to move quickly through it thanks to his Ring of Free Action. Templeton found Yarsha soon enough as she caught him full in the chest with a shatter spell. Templeton was hurt for the first time in this long epic battle. But again he somehow made his save only losing the extra hit points afforded to him by the grace of Tempus and the aid spell of Quintus.
The bloodied Yarsha Stonemelder had nowhere left to run. She just watched Templeton as he raised Sky Piercer and let loose a critical hit that pierced her heart. As she slowly sunk to her knees the last thing she saw was Templeton walking casually toward her perfectly mimicking her previous laughter but in a mocking tone. Templeton mad a quick search of the bodies to find 95 GP in odd coinage amongst the earth cult guards and Yarsha. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.
Again the field was quiet, but for how long?