Session/Game: Axeburg 3e #13 Date:1/19/03
Episode 13: "How Bloody Was My Valley"
The foul spawn of the porcupine god were thrown down and the heroes from Shefland gained possession of the mystical divining rod that could point them straight to the Valley of Swirling Winds...OF DEATH!
After five days of overland travel, the Shefs entered the foothills of the mountains that enclosed the Valley of Swirling Winds...OF DEATH! There the encountered a dark army of monstrous humanoids blocking their path. When an attempt to parley was answered with a volley of arrows, the Shefs fell back on the time-honored tactic of "Get'em" and drove a wedge of steel into the enemy host.
The Shefs met little resistance in the first wave of battle as Hildrun's explosions of fire decimated their ranks before the battle was even joined. Chief Grimbold's sword flashed about to leave charred corpses piled around him like cordwood, while the skald protected his back and sung out the Axeburg battle hymn.
We're from Axeburg
Bormund circled the battlefield on his horse to picking off stragglers, while cleric of Bor, Yrsa and Gudwig handled those who got past the front lines. When the fog of battle parted for a moment, nearly 30 enemy warriors had been stomped into the earth by Shef boots.
A second charge drove the Axeburg wedge deep into the heart of the enemy ranks where a tougher battle ensued. The Shefs drove deep into the enemy formation, only to bog down when a pair of enemy officers on horseback and their standard bearers charged into the fray. Two of these fiends on horseback managed to slay poor Bormund before he even got a change to fight back and the other pair began inflicting heavy wounds on the chief and those around him. The battle was indeed looking grim for the Shef heroes until Chief Grimbold threw down his sword, took up his mighty axe, and with one blow, struck the head from an officer's horse. Hildrun followed his chief's heroics with an explosion of fire detonated on his very person, and the tide of battle was turned. Greatness inspired greatness and the normally cautious Gudwig and amazingly bold Yrsa combined to down one of the other mounted humanoids. Moments later, the battle was over and another 30 enemy lay dead.
With nearly half its warriors slain by the chief and his champions alone, the dark army was defeated. The remaining foul humanoids fled the field, leaving a good amount of booty (5000 sm) and enough dead to turn the river red with blood-a signal to the Axburg ships that victory had been achieved. After a night of critically needed rest, the champions of Axeburg continued up into the mountains shouting the Axeburg hymn and beheld for the first time the Valley of Swirling Winds...OF DEATH!
The path on which the Shefs now stood ran down the side of the mountain valley to a flimsy rope bridge that spanned the valley's water-filled floor to gatehouse at the base of a column of rock that rose over 200 feet skyward from the water's surface. Atop the column: an opaque dome of violently swirling winds.
Suspicion that the bridge was meant to be a deathtrap, lead to an attempt by Hildrun to bypass the bridge and gatehouse using his "magic feet". Halfway across the lake, however, Hildrun got hit by a fireball for his trouble, cast from the gatehouse by the mage that had flown over the city of Axeburg and whom Othere the Butcher had sworn to kill. Hildrun retreated and a new plan was hatched to lure the tower's defenders out of their gatehouse using a fake spite pole so that Gudwig could sneak in and kill the mage and/or open the portcullis. When the spite pole was complete, Gudwig carried it across the bridge by under the cloak of invisibility and planted it at the outer portcullis of the tower. When a group of soldiers exited the tower to knock down the pole, Gudwig followed them back into the tower and up into the room where the mage and his soldiers waited for the Axeburg champions to cross. Frozen by indecision, it looked as though Gudwig would be discovered before he could act, but at the last second he threw caution to the wind and brought his axes down on the unsuspecting mage killing him instantly. Gudwig then opened a shuttered window and tumbled to safety before the stunned soldiers could act.
Seeing Gudwig exit the tower, his work apparently done, Chief Grimbold and his champions stormed across the bridge to the tower and threw up the first portcullis with ease. Beyond this first gate was a second portcullis and a ceiling equipped with murderholes, but the Shefs paid these dangers little mind. Hildrun simply summoned up a cover of magical mist to provide some cover against the defender's arrows as they dealt with the second portcullis. When the second gate finally yielded to them, the Shefs charged up to the second floor of the tower and butchered the remaining defenders. The mage's broken body yielded a magical broach, 4 potions and a scroll of dispelling magic.
The tower taken, the Shefs wound their way up the column to the dome of swirling wind. Here the Shefs hesitated, for the wall of wind before them carried shards of ice that tore flesh thrust into it. Divinations to Har yielded nothing for he knew that the answer to the wind wall was well within their capabilities. Much time was then lost to discussion until Huldrun recalled a rune spell that allowed one to question the dead. Using this rune spell, Huldrun forced the mage in the tower to help his group pass through the wall. Beyond the wall, sat a domed building decorated with four minarets and a set of giant bronze-plated doors. The howl of swirling winds surrounded them...