Keep on the Borderlands

5. Into Dragontooth

10/20/10: I handed out the "calling on your god" charts, not realizing they'd almost immediately get use....

RPGA Sanctioning #:    10-10-2499714

Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Hirbe - Eladrin Mage
Merric - Halfling Thief
Rolf - Dragonborn Barbarian
Varian - Eladrin Mage

The heroes had learned that Ronnik was in a place called Dragontooth Hill. Ronnik allegedly was tied to a cult that was trying to resurrect Tiamat. The heroes had agreed to set out for the hill after a night's rest.

But they had things to do the night before. Merric headed to the temple of Zev and met with the high priestess Chendera. He wanted to become a full member of the church. She took him to a ritual room and rafted a magic circle. With it, she summoned Merric's imp - a tiny grey-skinned demon woman called Gloomhandler. 

He met back up with the heroes outside the inn. They spotted an individual in a nearby alley. He was wearing grey robes and a black mask.

Gloomhandler said to Merric, "Oh! These must be your underlings. I am Gloomhandler. Bow before Merric, servant of Zev!". The heroes just looked at her. She was disgusted. "Pathetic. They're so pathetic. They're so shrimpy."

Varian was displeased. "Bow before this", he said, possibly motioning to his groin area. 

She was appalled. "How very inappropriate. Perhaps you don't know this, but Merric lurks in shadow. He'll cut your spine out before you even know he's there! I think we should discuss the treasure distribution. I'm thinking Merric should get 51%, and you an split the scraps. "

Hirbe said, "I think you might find yourself sliced in an alleyway if you don't stop talking."

"How dare you? How dare you?!" she said, and nervously flew onto Merric's shoulder.

"Anybody ever tried fried imp?", Varian asked. 

"That's so offensive on so many levels," she moaned. "Merric will strike you down in the night!". Varian argued with her for a few minutes. Merric told her to be quiet. She obeyed.

The mysterious robed man remained in the alley. He coughed softly. He held out a scroll to the heroes. Varian tried to get him to say something, but the man remained silent. Varian then scooped up some mud and flung a mud ball at the man. The ball whizzed by his head. Varian felt the need to punish the man for refusing to talk.The man backed away.

Hirbe slapped Varian in the face and grabbed the scroll. He unfurled it. It was an invitation to the guildhouse of Saruun for dinner. The heroes accepted. The man led the heroes through the keep toward the guildhouse. 

Nanako, the tiny samurai woman, climbed onto Rolf's shoulder. She glared at the imp, gripping her sword. 

They came to the guildhouse, which was a few stories high. A ten foot tall golden minotaur statue circled the building. It held a massive axe. As the heroes approached, it stopped by the door.  Varian tried to convince Merric to try to take a chunk of gold from the bronze warder's heel. Merric wisely declined. 

The heroes entered the mansion. Inside was another grey-robed assistant, and a mage wearing a sky-blue robe and a silver mask. He welcomed the heroes, and said his name was Citirian. He explained that the mages of Saruun was a guild of spellcasters who shared an interest in magic items.

The heroes ate dinner with Citirian. It was a lavish feast. Citirian tried to purchase the magi staff that Varian had found, but the mage declined.

Citirian then asked them to do some work for him. Across the street from the guildhouse was the stables. Citirian said he had spotted a small demon, slightly larger than Nanako. He asked the heroes to capture it.

Rolf noticed Nanako shivering. She quietly explained to Rolf and Hirbe that aside from her own race of diminutive samurai, there was also a strain of her race known as akaname - tiny demons who warred with her clan. She said that her clan would sooner or later go to war with the akaname, perhaps in the floorboards of one of the buildings in the keep.

She further explained that akaname were a type of spirit. Legend had it that they licked untidy bathrooms (this is a real-life japanese mythical creature). The heroes laughed. Varian wanted one as a pet. Citirian wanted one captured alive so he could study it.

"There's licking involved. Let's do it," Varian said. 

In exchange, Citirian offered to sell the heroes potions and ritual scrolls at a 25% discount.

The heroes headed out into the rain to check out the stables. There were two horses inside the lean-to-like structure, and two workers tending to them. The stables were unusually clean. The workers were gathering hay with pitchforks. One of the workers was young and slow. The other was old and had very poor eyesight.

Varian cast light over the old man's head. He shrieked and fell into a horse. It reflexively kicked, just missing him. The slow guy shook a pitchfork at Varian and called him a "faceloaf".

Varian walked up and said "Hello, my slow friend. I'm looking for a small imp that likes dirty bathrooms."

The slow guy didn't trust him. He called Varian a "cheeselicker". The heroes talked with the workers, and decided to check around back. 

Back there, Hirbe heard a strange sound from the other side of the wall. He peered under the wooden wall. He saw a little demon imp gleefully chowing own on fresh horse poo.  Nanako drew her sword and asked Rolf to place her on the ground. She pointed her sword at the imp. It was twice her size.

Nanako charged and stabbed the imp. Her blade didn't seem to faze it. The imp turned and snarled at her. She began to tremble.Varian used a rag and grabbed a piece of horse crap. He tried to entice the imp to come close. The imp drooled and ran toward the poo. Varian grabbed him by the head and stuffed him in a bag.

Rolf picked Nanako back up and put her on his shoulder. The imp slashed through the bag with its' claw and then teleported to the ground. Eldeth knelt down and flicked it with her finger, trying to knock the imp out. She flicked it in the face, causing it to stagger backwards.

Varian warned the heroes not to kill it. Merri ordered Gloomhandler to help. "Just knock it out and make me happy." She said she'd try. He said "I like to show my underlings some gratitude one in a while." She flew down to the imp. The imp liked how she looked.

She was disgusted. "You're so filthy." She'd clearly never been in a fight before. She awkwardly slapped the imp hard, right in the face. The imp fell to the ground, stunned. Hirbe cast a magic missile at it, knocking it out.

Varian wondered what he'd have to do to make the akaname his sidekick. Varian didn't want to bring it to Citirian. Nanako said they would cut off its' head. Varian threatened her, and Hirbe threatened him.

The heroes headed over to the guildhouse. They tied it up and blindfolded it. They explained to Citirian that they wanted to keep it. Citirian said that the deal was to hand it over.  He re-iterated that he wished to study it. Merric handed it over.

Citirian took it and asked if it had any powers. They told him about the teleportation.

Varian really wanted the imp as his "poo-smelling sidekick". Varian held out his symbol of Zev, and called on the god of night for aid. "Zev, I need a sidekick!". 

Citirian was standing there admiring the akaname. The room suddenly went dark. Lightning struck just outside the keep. A swirling vortex appeared in the floor. Zev, the god of nigh, rose up from the vortex. He was a lich. He had bony shards growing from his shoulders, and he was holding the wand of orcus (he was one of the heroes who killed Orcus in the Revenge of the Giants campaign). 

Zev asked, "Who has called me?!"

Varian said, "That would be me."

"What do you want?"

"I want one of those poo-eating demons for a sidekick."

Zev stared at him for a moment."So be it. Do you want the one these fools just took? Or do you want a different one?"

Hirbe urged Varian to make sure Citirian got a live akaname so that the deal was intact. Varian reluctantly agreed.

Zev said, "Very well, they will get a live one. And you will get what you want. You should always get what you want." Suddenly, an assistant let out a scream in the other room.  The akaname the heroes had captured appeared in Zev's hand. He gave it to Varian. Varian held it by the scruff of its' neck.

Zev leaned forward and glared at the akaname, his eye sockets full of the night sky. Zev gave the akaname a command: "You will not leave him!".

Zev turned to Citirian. "I know your secrets!". Citirian trembled. "You will give them potions for 75% off." Citirian screamed.

Gloomhandler bowed and said "Oh mighty Zev, I am not worthy to be in your presence!"

Zev said "You're probably not." He looked at Varian. "Do not call on me again for quite a while, or I will punish you." The vortex swirled and Zev lowered into it, and then was gone.

Citirian backed away and fell to the ground. Some of the heroes decided to go to the church of Clarissa to cleanse their souls after what they saw.  Varian crept into Sal's room and dangled the akaname over her face. She screamed, and Varian noticed her eye color change from green to blue to grey to red, and then back to normal. She said "That smells horrible. What is that?"

"He's my sidekick. His name is Francis". The akaname groaned. Varian wanted some more hugging. Sal wanted to cuddle. Varian told the akaname to go hang out in the inn's bathroom. Varian stuck the samurai helmet on the akaname's head.

In the temple of Clarissa, Hirbe was accepted and given a holy symbol.

The other heroes went to The Stumbling Giant and got hammered. Eldeth wanted to forget ever seeing Zev.

The next day, the heroes headed to Dragontooth Hill. There was a cave above a 20 foot cliff. A waterfall was pouring out of it. The heroes climbed a rope up and into the cave. It was lit by glowing crystals. The heroes ast some light spells and made their way further in.

A stream wound its' way through the ave, and ropes hung from the ceiling. The heroes spotted some oozes and a female kobold ooze talker, who cackled and ordered her oozes o destroy the heroes. 

Rolf grabbed a rope and swung across the stream. The dragonborn landed on a rock and slashed at an ooze. Merri swung across and faced off with the ooze talker, who was standing behind a patch of mushrooms. Eldeth swung across and joined the halfling. She charged an ooze and began to battle it. Varian swung across and cast an arcing lightning spell

An ooze lashed out at Rolf and bloodied the barbarian with a mighty blow. The three oozes began to pummel and burn the heroes with their acid as the kobold cackled.

Hirbe swung from one rope to another, and landed lose to the kobold. He cast a phantasmal assault, hitting her with an illusion of a sun. He cast it again, bloodying the ooze talker. Merric followed up and slit her throat, killing the kobold. Gloomhandler proudly announced that Merric had killed the leader.

Varian ast beguiling strands, bloodying an ooze. The oozes fought back, bloodying Rolf and Varian and Eldeth.  Rolf smashed an ooze, bloodying it. Merric ran through the mushrooms, causing an acidic loud to burn his skin. He grabbed a rope and swung over to help Rolf, and destroyed one with a series of slashes. Another ooze closed in and dropped Rolf, who fell, dying. Merri destroyed the ooze. Only one remained.

Varian was hurt badly, and stepped back to patch up a nasty burn. Eldeth was all alone by the mushrooms fighting an ooze. She bloodied it. Hirbe took aim and destroyed it with a spell. He knelt down and patched up Rolf, bringing the barbarian bak to conciousness.