SORCERY! – The Shamutanti Hills: Episode 2

Current stats:

  • Skill: 8
  • Stamina: 18
  • Luck: 10

 

Items

  • Sword
  • Gold Pieces: 18
  • Provisions: 4
  • Spell book page 102

 

Recap

Our adventurer has started on their journey, met a local near Cantopani who wanted an extortionate fee for directions and whom we told where they could shove it, bought some provisions from the Cantopani inn, and helped an old man down from a tree who sung a strange little ditty and gave our adventurer a page from an old spell book. Now our noble hero has decided to investigate a strange buzzing emanating from a nearby tree…

 

As I made my way closer to the tree, the buzzing became increasingly louder. Looking up I see it: a good-sized beehive wedged firmly in place between a branch and the trunk. As with most beehives, it was surrounded by a small number of bees. Nothing was making me stick around, yet I was compelled to see what the bees were up to. I look for a good foothold and climb the tree.

***

Oh dammit! Well what did I expect? Sensing a threat to the hive the bees surround my head. I can’t fend them off because I have to use my hands to cling onto the tree for dear life. The bees begin to crawl over my face and neck….

(Roll 1 die. If the result is 1-4, subtract that many Stamina points. A 5 or 6 and you avoid getting stung.)

img_20180721_1702211689620653629698984.jpg

Stamina: 18 ⇒ 15

“Aaarghhh!! Stupid bees!! I only wanted to be friends!!”

As I flapped around the bees plunged their stingers into my cheek, chin, and the back of my ear. I couldn’t help myself: in my pain and confusion I took my hands off the tree to swat the miserable critters away. Of course, I plummeted back to the ground with a hard thump, but not before my flailing limbs made contact with the hive and brought it down with me. As we hit the ground I roared with pain, though the hive had to content itself with cracking open with a audible squelch. The bees took off.

Well at least it wasn’t a complete disaster. Brushing myself off, I helped myself to not only the honey but also the wax from the hive.

Item gained: Beeswax
Provisions: 4 ⇒ 5

Eager to put this incident behind me, I start pondering about which path to take from the original fork, either towards the valley or the hills. I elect to take the one that leads into the hills.

***

The path is relatively smooth at first, but begins to get steeper. As I enter a wood the sunlight takes on a strange quality and begins to play tricks with my mind. Now and then I catch quick glimpses of wild animals and shrouded figures in the corners of my eyes, only to be mere shadows or twigs seen from odd angles. I reach a clearing that would be suitable to stop and take some provisions.

***

I decide to keep the honey for later as I remember hearing something about how it never seems to rot. Bees must be magical creatures I guess. So instead I dine on some of the fine *cough* goat’s cheese I bought from the inn in Cantopani. It tasted like what I imagine the innkeeper’s feet would taste like, but I guess it’s better than starving.

Provisions: 5 ⇒ 4
Stamina: 15 ⇒ 17

As I get up to leave, I turn to pick up my pack. As I lift it, I drop it instantly…there’s something moving inside! As the bag writhes and shifts from side to side, I cautiously open the top of the pack. A green squirrel-like creature erupts into view and scampers like a shot into the woods. I examine my pack, hoping that the little sod hasn’t got into my cheese and honey….but soon my fears are realized. The damn thing has eaten all of my remaining provisions.

Shit.

Provisions: 4 ⇒ 0

I carry on through the wood and up the hillside until the sun begins to set and it becomes difficult to see. As a full moon rises however the way becomes slightly clearer once more. I could stop and make a camp for the night, but I would like to get out of this freaky wood full of thieving critters. The moonlight is strong enough to see by. I march through the night.

***

Having walked all day, fatigue begins to set in and I can feel my energy draining.

Stamina: 17 ⇒ 15

I can also hear wild animals moving all around me. Stalking, hunting, watching. Whether I encounter one or not will be a matter of pure luck…

(Roll 1 dieOn a roll of 1-2, you encounter a Giant Bat. On a 3, a Wolfhound. On a 4, a Werewolf. 5-6, no encounter.

img_20180721_1815005469778984850761408.jpg

Fortunately, it appears as though Libra has smiled upon me. I made it though the night unchallenged and unconfronted.

***

Morning breaks and the air begins to warm up again. My legs are screaming; I’m still climbing so I must be several hundred feet high by now. I reach the brow of another hill….and instantly stop in my tracks. My blood turns to ice water, and my muscles contract involuntarily. To my left there’s a clearing with several poles implanted in the ground.

Poles with heads stuck on them.

Some of the heads look decayed and rotted, though some are unmistakably fresh. There are human heads, goblin heads, as well as heads belonging to creatures I could only conceive of in my most fevered nightmares. As I inch closer to them more ghastly details present themselves, and I found myself repressing another shudder of disgust.

Every head’s eyes and mouth were sewn shut.

A large red X painted on a nearby tree makes for an unequivocal message: “Go no further.” However, further ahead the path forks into two paths heading left and right, and it’s not clear which one I’m being warned not to take! I think hard. When I reached the brow of this hill, the clearing was to my left. Maybe the warning was to prevent me from going further left. I choose the right-hand path.

***

I climb the hillside for several more hours until I’m not too far from the top. As I pause for a moment to catch my breath, I begin to hear the faint bustle of activity. Grunts, clanking metal and tramping feet from up ahead. Following the path into what might be some unpleasantness does not appeal to me, so I decide to leave the path and continue through the woods. A little further and I hide behind a tree as survey a clearing slightly further ahead. The clearing is full of goblins, in front of an open cave. I watch as they trudge in and out of the cave mouth with large bowls of glistening rocks and dull metallic nuggets; clearly they’re mining the cave. I could slip around the cave to a path that leads down the far side of the hill…but I need to know what these goblins are up to. It has nothing to do with the possibility of getting my hands on some sweet gemstones. No way. The mages in Analand taught me better than that. You know, probably.

I enter the cave.

***

I slip round the edge of the clearing, and picking my moment, gracefully enter the shadows inside the mouth of the cave and head into the earth. I follow the passage cautiously, turning right at a junction and following the passage round to the right until it ends at wooden doorway. I’ve come all this way, I might as well try the door.

***

The door is locked. I could charge the door, but I’ve been itching for the opportunity to use some magic. I’ve never attempted a spell that wasn’t overseen by the mages in Analand, so I’m also a little nervous. I attempt what I’m pretty sure is an Unlocking Spell.

***

Stamina: 15 ⇒ 13

The entire door shudders slightly. I try the handle again….and this time it turns slowly and with a creak as I enter the room. It’s evidently a storeroom of some kind; quite large, with piles of black rocks lying in the corner of the room. Some rocks in a nearby bucket glisten slightly in the light of a candle. In the centre of the room lies a huge machine, some kind of press or mechanical crusher. But honestly, my eyes were not drawn for a great amount of time to the machine itself, but more to the monstrous being who was operating it. As I watch, it drops vast pieces of rock into the top of the machine then uses a hand-crank to crunch it all up. In trying to get a better look at this titanic creature, my feet inadvertently kicked a small rock fragment towards the machine, which pinged forward and created an echo inside the confined space. The creature stopped cranking, and locked eyes with me.

Oh sweet Libra. It’s an ogre.

I could run from the room. That’s an option. But hey, these rocks could set me up with the good life if I make it back to Analand in one piece. I turn to face the ogre…

 

To be continued!

 

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