Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 10, Part 1: "Carnage of the Pastel Cliff"

Buzz Brazelhatch - Australian Womanizer and Fighting-Man
Corporal "Radar" O'Reiley - Earth Man Rocketship Soldier
Dickie Dee - Bone Man Intoxicant Addict and Sorcerer
Kal-Mor the White Jackal - Hyperborean Bigot and Assassin
Kalervo - Cactoid Fighter
Monster Monagin - Earth Man Sailor and Bully
Rodan the Scrounger - Zermish Man Scavenger and Fighting-Man
Thragg the Skyman - Zermish Man Ornithopter Passenger and Fighting-Man
Xarnagan Vrokk - Haasht Man Fighting-Sage

Hobab - Lhoyg (piebald) Mountain Man and Guide
Vrroomish - Tikalg Man Dandy and Adventurer
Two Nguamodons - Pack Lizards

Part II Here.

It is night in a range of sleek iridescent mountains with a river of dense white mist running through them. To the west the skies are afire with throbbing ribbons of nauseating green and violet light and in the sky are two moons, one a large cratered silvery disc and the other a smaller greyish-golden hazy mass.

There is a rude camp one one of the less severe slopes of one mountain's flank, a short distance above the massive river of cold white fog. Two stand watch over the handful of men and the two snorting, twitching pack lizards, one a green-skinned wastelander with a ruthless, practical air and the other a teenage earthling with wire-rimmed glasses and a silver prosthetic nose who appears apprehensive and jittery. Rodan the Scrounger and Corporal 'Radar" O'Reily, the latter formerly of the Scout Rocket Alpha.

First the blazing Fire Demon lights ups the eastern mountains and the sleeping men stir, aside for two, Kal-Mor the White Jackal and the Australian Buzz Brazelhatch, the latter of which has a pillow clenched over his head.

While the others rouse the nguamodons, brew tea, eat a meager meal of trail fare, examine their weaponry and harness, the two continue to slumber until all three suns are above the peaks of the eastern mountains.

Hobab the piebald, hairless grizzled mountain guide's head is swathed in an a turban of rude, bloody bandages which provokes snickering from a certain Australian when he awakens.

There is a brief heated debate, as one or two madmen propose exploring the Vaults of Eternity while in it's vicinity, but the saner members of the party bring up the pitiable state of the party's supply of provender as well as the barren nature of the terrain and the unappetizing nature of it's inhabitants. At that point Kalervo the Cactoid and Rodan the Scrounger regret leaving behind the bodies of the feathered and scaled hawkoids that attacked the party yesterday instead of harvesting their meat.

The party determines to continue their journey for Jakay and harass Hobab regarding maintaining a due southeast heading across the Forbidden Mist Valley below as they set forth. It takes two days to descend into the valley and ascend the mountains across it's far shore, the party takes their heading from the suns and stars and determine that they are located directly north of their destination, Jakay, and there is much fellowship and good cheer.

The next morning Vrroomish the downy, gray Tikalg dandy brews some strong, spicy tea and fortifies it with dollops of brandy in celebration of their successful crossing. Glad to be on their way out of the horrid mountains the party sets forth southwards up and down and across the winding ridges and ledges and canyons and passes and valleys of the mountains and as they come around a curve on a ledge at the end of their days journey they see the Forbidden Mist Valley lying below and before them.

The is much cursing and abuse hurled at Hobab as the angry companions make camp on a wide ledge. Hobab angrily pleads ignorance of the trails of this region of the mountains and argues that someone else should than lead the way tomorrow. Buzz happily takes the offer and the next day the party backtracks a short distance before heading southwards up and down narrow trails through steep gullies and over piles of boulders and as Buzz crests a ridge at the end of the days journey, the rest of the party trailing behind, he sees the Forbidden Mist Valley lying before and below him.

As his foot comes down on the crest, it dislodges a small coppery-purple rock which begins bounding down the slope below him, which is composed of multi-hued pastel toned pale, soft stone like chalk. The shiny pebble continues to bound and skip down onto a ledge in the steeply sloping chalk cliffside. In the setting triple sunslight Buzz believes he sees several tunnels or caves in the cliffside ledge and calls up Xarnagan Vrokk, the fighting-sage, whom, with his keen eye for geographic features, determines that they look unnatural.

The party decides to forgo berating Buzz in lieu of descending to the tunnels and making a brief inspection regarding their suitability as a cozy, secure campsite. When they are a short distance from the ledge Kal-Mor glances up at the ridge they descended from, a habitual assassin's trait, and sees two vague pink, blobby forms, indistinct due to their distance and the poor light of the dying rays of the setting suns, but hushed cries of "Vat-Men!" pass through the party as they crouch under the sparse cover of the pastel chalk slope and rush for the trail descending down to the ledge below.

The two nguamodons are secured after they descend to the ledge and the party makes a secure formation before heading forward to examine the tunnels carved into the pale pink, sea-foam green, baby blue, lilac, and other tones of the chalk cliffside. Xarnagan Vrokk notices fluffy white matter on ground, white feathers dusted with the pastel dust of the cliff, before the five or six tunnels disgorge a small horde of a dozen or so bipedal, albino, bird-men with horrid talons for hands and colored in clashing war-paint of pastel colored chalk.

Hobab is quickly torn asunder by the bird-man claws as they shriek and caw cries that sound like chantings of "Doom!" and assail all flanks of the party. Weapons lash forth and adventurers are repeatedly wounded by cruel talons as a fierce battle rages. Dickie Dee the transparent-fleshed Bone Man Sorcerer crouches in the center of the mass of battling defenders as he chants an incantation before one flank of the avianoid attackers falls asleep. The party makes short work of the remaining bird-things while Vrroomish and Buzz slaughter their unconscious brethren, and soon they are bandaging wounds and discussing further plans.

They return to their pack lizards in order to refresh themselves and look up the trail to see two forgotten blobby pink forms, most definitely brothers of the Vat-Man beneath the Serpent Man ruins, a short distance away.

The two nguamosdons are abandoned as the party scrambles down the ledge in a confused rush. The pack lizards briefly distract the two blubbery, infant-like vat-men, one of which bears a corroded ancient sword, the other a fancy glimmering bronze axe. However the reptiles manage to rush away bearing slight injuries and the vat-men continue to advance.

Kal-Mor the White Jackal ducks into one of the tunnels, presses against the wall and begins to quietly slink into it's depths. Others grab the halter's of the nguamodons and make for a descending trail at the far end of the ledge. The remainder attempt to form a battle line, but Monster Monagin is separated and engaged by one as the chaos of melee erupts, many of the combatants staggering and faint from the bloody wounds inflicted by the bird-men.

Kalervo the Cactoid swings Gan-ron's silver needle sword as he takes the shimmering bronze battle axe to his face and falls, spasming and drumming his stumpy heels as sap oozes out of his shattered wooden cranium.

The party rains steel, missiles and laserfire upon the two vat-men, but their wounds continue to close up as they press their idiotic, bumbling assault and the one with the sword breaks off the tip off it in Monster Monagin's shoulder as he retreats only to be gutted by the axebearer, which has just staved in the face of the teenaged Radar O' Reiley.

Horrid cawings of "Doom! Doom!" erupt from the tunnels along with the high pitched shrieking of Kal-Mor, who sounds like he is being torn apart. This infernal cacophony only lasts briefly, but serves as suitable accompaniment to the sight of Buzz Brazelhatch, his hair aflame from a stray laser blast, fumbling with blood-slicked hands for a magic sword lying amidst the carnage, being soundly decapitated by the gleaming axe of a vat-man.

Vrroomish, who had been staying back and firing swarms of needler darts at the synthetic monstrosities, draws his slender, basket-hilted sword and strikes a defensive posture as he shouts for the remainder of the party to flee.

As the survivors rush down the chalk trail into the cold white fog of the Forbidden Mist Valley, some look back and see Vrroomish gallantly battle before he is run through. The Tikalg Man writhes on the blade before the other vat-man smashes his head into a wet mess with one mighty blow before the damp, moldy white fog begins to obscure the survivors' vision.

The party, exhausted and, for the most part, sorely wounded, makes camp after fleeing for a prudent period. As they make preparations for the night the silence of the thick, cold mist is broken by echoing cries from above, the sounds of idiotic, infantile bellowing and cries of "Doom! Doom!" The bellowing quickly become agonized moans before both sounds cease.

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