The Not-So-Misfit Heroes
The Misfit Heroes Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends
Three of the stalwart heroes had been called back to meet with King Gelzar and his closest advisors. It seems that one of the teams they had sent to explore a brave new world had gone missing, not responding to two attempts to port them back. A second team had gone forth to look for them, but it had been decided that they lacked some of the muscle and arcane skills that might be needed for success. Fangor the king’s cleric placed a geas upon the heroes so they could not reveal dangerous truths about their mission to those who would do ill. Madame Spanzolt explained the workings of the portals and recall stones, and, once all were agreed to the mission, removed the glamer hiding the heroes true faces. Revealed were:
Wing, the halfling wizard and his crow familiar, Sky.
Crowe, the human ranger and his dog, Isabella.
Lena, the dwarven barbarian and her friend, Dwarven Waraxe.
Provisions and standard equipment were made available to the party, as well as heavy winter clothing since it was known to be cold in the location they would arrive. Crowe and Wing divided the recall stones between them. Descriptions and drawings of the previous parties were given, so that they could know them, as well as the sign/countersign of “The ducks and geese are gathering for migration./Yes, they will be flying south soon.” All standing ready, Madame Spanzolt used her thaumaturgical might to blast open the portal to the other world. With hardly a glance back, the three walked into the unknown.
Cold. They were right about that one. As the glow of the dimensional gate faded, they could see they were in a cave, snow drifting in the mouth. There were obvious signs of recent habitation, and outside several sets of tracks could be seen. Hoofprints, footprints, and even sleigh tracks were evident. Crowe determined the most recent set to be footprints heading off to the left from the cave, westward as best he could reckon on this world. Striking off in this direction, after about a half-mile the path split, turning northwest and southwest with fresh tracks on both. Sky reported to Wing that he could see a band of armored humans on the southwest path, retreating with wounded from frost giants.
Preparing to make a stand at the crossroads, they waited for the humans to come into sight. As they came through a pinch point in the path, the apparent commander of the group ordered his men onward, then turned to face the giants. The lead giant was noticeably larger than normal, the result of a spell according to Wing. The commander fended off a blow from the giant, and Lena, seeing her opportunity, rushed forward to support him. Crowe waved the retreating men toward safety, while Wing launched a scorching fireball into the overgrown humanoids. Seeing the odds turning against them, the giants quickly beat feet out of there. The humans’ leader thanked the companions for their timely intervention and introduced himself as Commander Dorian, vassal of Duke Fenius.
Asking if he had seen any other recent travellers in the area, Dorian told them of the odd lot that was Felina, Fergus, Kosj, and Rufous. Crowe admitted that they were dimensional travellers like them, and had been sent to find and help them. Dorian recounted their adventures on this world, Sterrich by name. They had rescued a young girl in a village decimated by unknown assailants, fended off an attack in her uncle’s village by the derrow apparently responsible for the previous carnage, and even negotiated an uneasy truce with the frost giants who had been forced out of their stronghold by the evil forces launching the local attacks. They had since gone off, up the northwest path, to determine what could be done to return the giants’ keep to them, and Dorian hadn’t seen them since. Turning back toward Fenius’ keep, Dorian had been attacked by the giants who apparently didn’t plan to keep the peace. Crowe healed the downed men to get them back on their feet, and Dorian decided to accompany the travellers to the giants’ keep, since returning home currently seemed a fool’s errand.
Approaching the keep, hiding behind a large boulder on the path, Crowe’s keen ears detected the faint sounds of combat emanating from somewhere in the keep. Moving ahead, the portcullis in the first gate appeared to be jammed open, and the courtyard was clear. A second portcullis was likewise disabled, and just beyond it, one of a set of wooden doors had been hacked open with powerful blows. The sounds of combat came from the darkness beyond. The courtyard seemingly safe, Crowe sent Belle back to bring Dorian and his contingent forward, and then the three headed in to darkness, weapons drawn.
The sounds of fighting cease, and “Kosj. Kosj? What happened to Kosj?” is heard, followed by silence. Crowe called out to Felina, Kosj, Fergus, and Rufous, and gave the sign. A voice from around a corner growled back the countersign, and out stepped Fergus and Felina. Kosj did no stepping, stone as she was from battling the large spider-creature now laying dead on the floor. A quick exchange of pleasantries was made, and the decision to retreat and regroup. Leaving the keep, Crowe found a suitable nearby cave for the large group.
Felina and Fergus were not pleased to hear of the giants’ treachery against Dorian. Fergus did his best to heal up Dorian’s men. Plans were made to return to the keep before nighfall and permanently disable one or both of the portcullises to facilitate and easier entrance for tomorrow’s assault. Returning to the large boulder, they can see a giant and some derro working to free the portcullis, as well as wraiths floating about as sentries. Wing uses his magics to turn Lena and Felina invisible so they can sneak up in preparation for the attack. Even invisible, Lena is still loud and one of the wraith notices something is amiss. Waiting no longer, Felina attacks one of the derro, but her sneak attack finds no purchase, while Wing flings a fireball in the midst of the undead repair crew. Lena begins her attacks on the giant with her holy silver warhammer. Crowe ran up to help her, dodging an attack from the giant, followed by Fergus and his holy warhammer. Felina slays her derrow, and the giant turns his attentions to Lena. The wraith chills Fergus’ soul with its touch, but he promptly destroys it utterly with his mighty hammer. Crowe lays a barrage of blows on the giant with his fighting sticks, and Wing scorches it with burning magic. Felina continues slaying the derrow from her shroud of invisibility. Another drumbeat of blows from Crowe and the undead giant crumpled to the ground.
Unfortunately, this caught the attention of more wraiths, who turned their unclean touch upon Crowe. They prove no match for the combined weapons of Lena, Fergus, and Crowe, however. Another undead giant, from the workcrew on the second portcullis, charges in, trying to push the party back out the first gate. Felina attempts to tumble under him but ends up where she started. The giant receives a fusillade of attacks from everyone before attempting to push his way out again, this time knocking Lena down. Another round of attacks and the giant goes limp, stuck in the gateway. Mustering their strength, the party pulls the body free. No more enemies in sight, Wing comes forward and uses his spell to blast a hole through the middle of the second portcullis. With the group low on spells, and weary of battle, they retire to the cave, hoping that the way will remain open to ease the coming day’s attack. Watches are set, and the night passes mostly uneventfully with the exception of some wargs sniffing around the entrance for a while.
In the morning, breakfasts and spells are prepared, the time has come to evict the evil forces from their mountain redoubt…