Suulin, Vridich, Urgral, Dremnin, and I had rescued Hanna from the slave mines where we had all met. We had all acted like parents to her, none more than Dremnin, who had cared for her on a daily basis. Vridich had taken her on as an apprentice and taught her the ways of the nethermancer. I had saved her life when she had gotten caught up in an underground river and taught her to laugh again. Urgral had taught her about horrors and how to protect herself from them. Suulin had taught her how to be a woman and a confident person. If someone had wanted to frazzle and unnerve The Unchained this was the way to do it. Now they were going to see the full anger and retribution The Unchained could bring to bear.
Dremnin lead the party at a fast pace through the jungle. We took no care to hide our movements. We needed to make up ground. We burst in to a clearing to find small village. Tiny huts were built up in the trees. The lowest ones were about 7 feet off of the ground. The huts were only about 4 feet tall and any of The Unchained would have had trouble getting in to them.
Dremnin was looking at the ground and pointed out that there were small humanoid tracks and large insect tracks going in all directions. It was impossible to be sure exactly what happened but it looked like the bugs had attacked the village and the villagers ran in all directions. We also found a cocoon lined with what looked like skin. The only thing that we could tell about the village for sure was that Hanna was not here.
We moved on running down a path that that was very heavily used. There were fewer trees but plenty of underbrush. Dremnin suddenly yelled “AMBUSH!” Vridich’s flying worm squealed and flew strait up out of a large bush that most of the party had gotten past. I leaped in to the brush but still could not see the enemy. I knew I was very close to it so I enacted the new power in my hammer. I slammed the hammer to the ground. BOOM! The bushes swayed away from me with the force of a great push of air. Any normal enemy would have been rocked to the ground, wrecking his chances at an ambush, but this was no normal enemy. I was shocked by its appearance when it attacked me, it looked like large cat with several insect like legs sprouting from its back.
The large boom did nothing to the insect cat and it rose up and started slashing at me with the front pincher like legs. I dodged and danced my way out of the attacks. I saw Vridich’s slam a magic spear in to its side and the cat roared in pain. Dagmar, Dremnin and Urgral all came in and attacked the cat on its left side.
Without meaning to we drove the cat out of the bushes to its right, leaving Suulin and Vridich in its path. The insect-a-cat lunged at Vridich swinging its front insect claws at him. Vridich was not ready for this and the cat landed several heavy blows that drove him to the ground. He looked very bad and was not moving. Suulin shouted at the cat as she started throwing steel bolos from her new ring. We all chased the insect-a-cat out in to the open and rained blows down on to it and quickly we dispatched it.
Thinking we would get a moments piece to check on Vridich there was a second louder roar coming from north of us. I moved to the sound so that I could block the next insect-a-cat attack. I was confident that I could handle a second attack. Then I was not so sure.
It was the queen insect-a-cat, she was three times the size of the first one. She roared as she charged to me across the open field. Just as she made it to me Dagmar charged past and slammed in to the queen with a shield charge stopping her in her tracks. The group fell in around her trapping her. Urgral and Dremin were behind her attacking her flank while Dagmar and I were pressing the attacking from the front. Suulin was attacking with throwing weapons while keeping an eye on the knocked out Vridich. With the need to get back to Vridich The Unchained wasted no time. The blows fell hard and fast and the queen has taken down.
When we got back to Vridich we found that his wounds were worse than we thought. Vridich was dead! Dagmar and I dumped out his pack looking for the same thing. We found the last chance salve. I started opening it while Dagmar pulled off Vridich’s robe. We started to apply the salve. I had never seen Vridich with his shirt off before. I was surprised to see that he had magic writing tattooed all over him. We covered his body with the white smelly salve. We stopped, looked, and waited a moment. Then he started breathing, and so did the rest of The Unchained.
We were smiling and looking at each other thinking that the worst was over after killing the queen. Again we were wrong. We were getting ready to give Vridich a healing potion when the chittering started. It sounded like 50 large insects were coming at us from the south. The only good thing was we needed to go north.
We scooped up Vridich and started running north. There was chittering now on the left and right of the path. We ran past a large tree on the left. When Suulin screamed out we turned around and saw a huge praying mantis attacking her. She was pinned to the ground with the front leg of the mantis stabbed through her shoulder out her back and in to the dirt. Urgral ran at the mantis and slammed his two handed axe in to its left side. It leaned heavily to its right side but it did not fall. It released Suulin and went after Urgral. Claws scrapped on his thick plate doing no damage to the enraged dwarf.
The group came to a stop and went to the aid of Suulin. I poured the healing potion into Vridich’s open mouth. His eyes popped open and he screamed. He was still trying to fend off the insect-a-cat that had attacked him. I got him to see me and I stood him up and said, “On your feet friend, we need you.”
The group had chopped the Mantis to bits but the delay cost us dearly. The chittering sounds were very close on all sides. We started moving north as quickly as we could. Urgral and Dagmar moved off to the right to block a pair of incoming attackers I could not see. Things were looking bad. The insect chittering was very close now and coming from all sides. Dagmar was screaming to run north to a cave that he could see.
Vrinich moved forward a ways and then cast a spell. He shouted to stay in the gray circle around him. I moved up to his left side and blocked two by slamming the hammer to the ground. BOOM! This time the magic of the hammer knocked both enemies to the ground. This was the first time I got a good look at the attackers. They were Mutant monsters. It seemed like the villagers that we found missing had been transformed. They had a humanoid like torso and head with arms and legs like an insect. Their moths had been twisted as well with a pair of pincers at the sides of their mouth.
The swarm came from the south, more of the mutants. There must have been twenty of them. They ran right past Vridich and I, we were in the back of the group. I parried the few attacks that the monsters took at me. Vridich dodged the first attack but not being a combat fighter he made the mistake of dodging in to the second attack. He took a hard shot to the chest and was knocked to the ground. The mutant raised his insect like arms and yelled in triumph.
I could see that Dagmar was going to try and fight his way back to Vridich. He would try but there where to many, he would never make it. In making the valiant charge he would lead the rest of the group back deeper in to the fray. In the end they would all be killed.
“RUN!” I shouted with all the commanding sound I could muster, “Run for the cave! I will get Vridich! RUN!” I tried to fake out the mutants by running at the cave for a few steps, and then I pulled my trick. I used Gliding Stride to run up in to the air and over the tops of the enemy and back to Vridich too land on the ground standing over his body. I was relieved to see that he was breathing. I was going to try and knock down all of the enemies around me but at the last second I was afraid that it would hurt Vridich so I pulled the blow and failed to affect any of the enemies. I was glad when I saw the rest of the group run for the cave, but I have to admit it was short lived. The mutants swarmed around me
I raised my hammer and went in to my defensive dance steps. At this point I had a brief paused moment of clarity. The first part of my plan had worked. I made it to Vridich and I would be a distraction for my group to make their escape. Now I just need to survive and over whelming attack by freaky mutant bug people and then I could get us the hell out here. Sometimes my plans are stupid.
I was still inside the circle of vridich’s spell I hoped the edge he gave me would be enough. The blows came most of the bugs could not figure out my dance and missed but the two in front of me were not fooled. I had to work the hammer back and forth to block all of their blows. A quick check over my shoulder and I could not see any of the group. But I could see light quarts were reflecting off a rock wall.
At the first pause in the mutant’s attacks I grabbed Vridich with my left hand and great leaped up in to a tree that was not too far away. I missed the first two branches as we fell but finally got us stopped on a large branch about 10 feet in the air. The Mutants came running and tried to climb the tree. Before they could get up the tree I ran through the air well out of the reach of the short mutants. I ran in to the cave entrance still over the top of the swarming mutants. I could see the The Unchained way back in the cave they were inside a pair of stone doors. They had managed to get in to the doors and were holding them open for me. I could see Dagmar was stabbing a mutant in front of the opening with his troll sword. I shouted so Dagmar knew that I was coming. He leaned back giving me room and ran right in. I put down Vridich and went to help close the doors Dagmar, Dremnin, and Urgral were pushing on. Suulin cast a spell and scared the Mutants away from the doors. The doors slammed shut before I could get back to the doors. The three of them at the door locked the heavy metal bar in to place. Dagmar went right to work creating a stone wall to block the door.
I gave Vridich a healing potion that was in his bag he woke up but he was still in a bad way. Vridich’s worm flew down near him. Vridich held out his hand and then made a crushing motion. The worm screamed and flew away. Vridich looked better but not much. I helped him to his feet again. There was mention that we need to rest. Vridich, who was the worst off of us all, said “Hanna does not have time for us to rest.”