Game of Chickens


Dude’s gone!

The Wizard's House
Proctology Acupuncture

Aww, c’mon, Cynd!! Those are arrows, not thermometers!!



We begin with the group setting camp up. Watches are set, and everyone beds down.

An hour into the 2nd watch (Cynd’s), the impossible happens:

All at once, with no transition, the entire party is awake, and standing upright. Everything outside the immediate camp spins in a blur, as if whipped about by monstrous winds. Not a hair on anyone’s head stirs. The fire is frozen in place. Looking above, the clouds and moon spin about in the opposite direction. The owl, crickets and treefrogs all blur into one impossibly layered feminine voice. It has a reverb to it and sound as if it comes from near, far, and everywhere in between all at once. A word is formed. Long, drawn out, both awe inspiring and terrible. The weight of it flattens all reality, and the pressure from the impossible to fathom lips and tongue squeeze all perception into a singular point:


No one recalls standing up, let alone waking. The party stands awestruck.

The spinning stops and the trees grow impossibly tall as the sky draws away. The moon rises in the west and sets in the east, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. The party members appear more and more insignificant to each other as the impossibility around them presses down on their very beings. the moon rises in the south and sets in the north, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. All becomes dark, cold…the fire glows, but sheds no heat or ambiant light. the moon rises in the east and sets in the south, trekking impossibly fast across the sky. A voice compiled from the buzzing of flies, the gasp of fear, shrieks of pain and pleading of terror all thunder into one breath taking word, as deep and soulless as the abyss itself.


Jarlath throws himself flat on the ground. He doesn’t feel real…the scene before him could be another planet, or a speck of dust. All party member appear to be the same size, from Russellbob all the way up to Froderick.

The voices overlap each other and the sinking and spinning begin to overlay each other. Each person is no longer sure whose eyes they are looking from, and which are their own. Their thoughts all intermingle, but are too miniscule to separate from the cacophonous, soul squeezing experience around them as both feminine and masculine voice mingle, separate and combine with each other. The feminine voice swells with determination, even as the masculine voice hemorrages hatred and rot.


Everything stops all at once. The morning is quiet. Though a mild chill pervades the air, a chickadee’s song breaks the silence, along with a symphony of crickets, buzzing mosquitos, the occasional treefrog and the ragged gasping of the group. Everyone stands in place, coated in sweat. The sky is growing orange in the east, and thin clouds move tranquilly across the sky.

Everyone is standing, up and awake. Everyone feels refreshed, rested.

Except Turqeel. He looks pale, as if he has just gotten over a fever. He shakingly bends down and gropes for his bedroll, pulling it up around his nekkidness.

Smoke, and blue bunnycatfrog, lie relaxed as if just waking up. Smoke yawns mightily, tongue curling. Everyone looks at each other in amazement, doubt and a little fear.

Chickens grows more than a little angry at the experience, but then anger turns to relief as the curse only goes off once the entire day, and then to no effect.

Cynd meets a bear, and they sniff butts.

The next day Chickens finds that he has the magical surge coiled in his mind, as if waiting to be released. Even though the travel is slow and painstaking, Chickens travels with a lighter heart until sundown, when relief turns back to despair. As the sun drops below the horizon, the curse unleashes at Froderick. A magical ball of ice and snow is hurled at Froderick, pounding into his chest. Froderick is knocked back, winded and bruised. When he lifts his tunic, he finds a circle of frozen flesh where the snowball struck. The grass on his chest is frozen and covered with frost.

Hands And Feet

The struggle continues.

We start with Chickens and company still slogging on to find out about the three clues he was given from Shaghorn. As the troupe toddles along at a pace that would frustrate turtles, the following happens to further hinder their progress:

Chickens, eyes wide in disbelief, has drops Headsplasher and is looking at his hand in horror as the skin on it starts to smoke, blacken and crackle. He drops to his knees, shrieking in agony as his hand blackens as if being burned by an invisible flame. He curls into a ball around it, with it tucked back into his stomach. His screams sound horrible, particularly so since they sound as if they come from his nose. Cues stands looking in disbelief. Froderick runs over and starts pouring the waterskin on Chickens. Chickens screams, “My hand!!! Pour it on my hand!!!” but he won’t uncurl from it to get it directly under the water. Turqeel looks thoughtful for a second, then throws his bedroll over chickens. This leaves him standing nekkid, looking like a young and nearly virile Montgomery Burns. Chickens whimpers underneath the bedroll, but has stopped screaming.
Cynd asks, “Whats wrong with his hand?”
Chickens pokes his head out from underneath the bedroll. Tears streak trails of dirt down the side of his face
Russellbob: “I think the curse hit him.”
Chickens moans “It burnt…like it was on fire. it was the curse. I loosed it on myself, instead of hurting any of you. I..I was kind of hoping it would kill me for good.” He is still groaning and holding to his hand.
Russellbob tries to reassure him, “We’ll beat this curse soon, Chickens.”
“Or die trying,” Cynd mutters.
With a look filled with plaintive hope, Chickens looks to Russellbob. “You really think so? Because I don’t.”
The group exchanges glances at this proclamation.

Chickens pushes the bedroll aside to show Cynd his hand. The hand he pulls forth looks blackened. The skin is cracked, with red fissures running across it. As soon as it is out into the open, Chickens begins to shriek in agony, an ear-piercing pitiful wail that goes directly to the soul. The hand begins to smoke and blister anew
Cynd advises, “May want to have Jarlath look at that, Chickens.”
Jarlath is frowning at it…“I have no healing spells!!! My rest was interrupted. They were never replenished!”
Chickens yanks his hand back beneath the bedroll, weeping anew.
Cynd asks, “Do we have anything to wrap it in? It seems to react to sunlight.”
With his other hand, Chickens reaches for the waterskin from Froderick, and takes it under the bedroll with him. He moves around under the bedroll, and when he reemerges, he is topless, and has his tunic wrapped around his hand. The party winces at the new visual assault. Ignoring this, Chickens is still groaning from the pain and cursing Mandretch under his breath.
“Jarlath” he asks, voice shaking, “Can you please cast Remove Curse on this? Shaghorn was able to remove individual curses.”
Jarlath shakes his head, “I can’t cast that spell yet…I’m not strong enough.”
Chickens nods stoically…soaks the shirt with more water, hands the skin to Froderick, who drinks mightily from it. Grabbing Headsplasher with his other hand, Chickens stands and begins plodding along again, weeping quietly
Turqeel wraps his bedroll back around himself, and follows behind the rest of the group.

The party continues on through the afternoon until Chickens stops warily. When he goes to continue on, he stops again as his feet look to be weighed down. His boots have taken a misty, airy appearance. you can see the silhouette of his feet through them. However, when he goes to move his feet, it takes a surprising amount of effort to lift them. Though his boots appear to be made of mostly air or mist, when Chickens tries to walk, it appears as if it takes much more effort than usual.

After a little while, he is trudging along even slower than Turqeel, who is picking his way on wrapped feet.
Then he stops, and again drops Headsplasher to the dirt.
He looks to the group with a look of resigned disbelief. “I can’t walk…my feet are too heavy.”
With that, he sits down. With his left hand, he pulls his boots off. As he drops them to the ground, they raise a surprising amount of dust. His ugly little gnome feet have knobby toes with nails in need of a trim. He tries to tuck Headsplasher in the crook of his right arm, and carry his boots together with is left, but they are too heavy and he decides just to leave them.
Russellbob asks, “Need some help there Chickens?” as if he will be the one to assist in carrying the boots.
Cynd walks over and grabs Chickens’ boots for him. They are extremely heavy, as if they are made purely of lead.

At this point, there are two barefoot party members trying to traverse the rugged terrain. The pace of the party becomes slower and slower. Finally, near evening time, they reach a rather flattened plateau, and decide to make camp. No noticeable surges happen during mealtime, and the group beds down. Chickens is unable to sleep due to the agony in his hand. As he tries to gain what rest he can, another surge subjects Froderick to the effects of the Wraithform spell, which he reacts to in an expected unpleasant fashion. The spell lasts nearly an hour, then ends, to Froderick’s immense relief. The rest of the night passes without incident.

The Downward Spiral Continues

Can anyone cast summon therapist? Anyone?

Froderick, Cynd, and Chickens lie on the ground in a neat little row of varying states of mostly unconsciousness. It is nearing dawn. Froderick weakly uses the second, and last, healing potion that they got from Shaghorn prior to leaving Tinkerhaven. Jarlath has no new spells for the day, and is unable to assist in healing. Turqeel, nude except for his bedroll that tries to keep wrapped around him, casts Cure Light Wounds on Cynd. The party has an ethical debate about whether or not to cast healing on Chickens, as he can’t loose random magic when he’s unconscious. They decide that leaving him wounded is wrong, and Turqeel also casts a healing upon Chickens. However, Turqeel pointedly casts no healing to help Froderick. Smoke continues to hold the blue rabbit hostage to her mothering instinct. The rabbit occasionally frog-croaks in protest, but finally just accepts it. Chickens morosely moves over towards the fire, and waits for the rest of the group to be ready. At one point, he seems to be ready to speak on something, but then changes his mind with a minor shake of his head.

Though still greatly wounded, the party sets off again. Turqeel, barefoot, slows the pace of the party down greatly. Chicken plods forward like a zombie, looking neither right nor left, nor speaking to anyone. His shoulders are slumped as if he carries the weight of the world atop them. The party watches Chickens with concern and Turqeel with increasing impatience. After nearly an hour on the rough, stony path, Turqeel is picking his way slower than ever, and his feet are bleeding. Froderick pushes the idea of abandoning Turqeel, causing Russellbob to speak up and proclaim that they don’t leave people behind. Finally, Cues borrows a dagger and cuts strips of cloth from the hem of his robe to wrap Turqeel’s feet in.

Travel is a little quicker, and if there are any magical curses, they don’t make themselves evident.

Just before midday, the party is walking in an area where the road is wide and vegetation is sparse. Yellow grass blows in the wind on the rocky hills. Ahead of the party, the land opens before them. They can see the rocky, rolling landscape still sloping in the mountainous terrain. They also see the large winged lizard-like form flying high in the sky on the horizon.

Froderick flinches when he sees it, and stops short. His eyes are clenched shut. He rubs his temples with shaking fingers…breathing slowly.
Russellbob asks, “What is it?”
Froderick says quietly, with a too-steady voice. “We need to take cover. If that’s dragon, we can’t let it see us.”
Cynd: “I don’t think it’s a dragon…”
Chickens is looking at it intensely, muttering, “Curse…curse…come on…”
Froderick, not looking up, says, “Oh ya? Why?”
Cynd, peering at it through elven eyes, says, “Look at its body…can’t see two sets of arms and legs plus wings. I only see wings and legs.”
The rest of the party gathers, murmuring “oh..ya..huh…” like tourists at a zoo.
Cynd says, “Well, no sense worrying, let’s keep walking…if it gets closer we will figure out what to do.”

Froderick is standing stock still, eyes clenched shut. A bead of sweat runs down the side of his face. It’s the first anyone has seen since the grass hair curse started.
Attempting cheer, Russellbob says, "Come on, horsey! Giddy-up!” This has no effect.
Becoming concerned, Cynd says: “Uhh, Frod…”
Smoke has put the rabbit down, and is trying to clean it and keep it from running off at the same time.
Jarlath is eyeing Froderick closely. Then he asks Froderick, “You’ve seen a dragon before, haven’t you?”
Froderick flinches at the word “dragon”. Ghost white under the green grass, Froderick slowly shakes his head, and whispers…“No…It never…No…”
The flying noun is heading perpendicular to the road south, off to the west, growing smaller
Froderick leans over suddenly (nearly dislodging Russellbob, who shouts “HEY!” in surprise) and dry heaves on the side of the dirt road.
Turqeel, at that moment mentions, “Oh yes…we haven’t eaten yet today. Since we’re already stopped why don’t we break for lunch?”
Cues looks at him in revulsion. The party discusses the best course of action, and given Froderick’s condition, decides the best idea is to stop and allow him to rest. Chickens takes no part in this discussion. Froderick shakingly takes a very long drink, but refuses food. The rest of the group eats.

Beetlemania Part Duex

A recap.

A healing potion doesn’t work on Cynd.

A blue rabbit that sounds like a frog and smells like a cat is summoned, and promptly adopted by Smoke.

Froderick and Turqeel are snippy with each other.

A camp is made.

Turqeel’s robes turn to stone.

Rorek undresses Turqeel.

Turqeel is nekkid. And apparently a little cold.

Rorek still has that “all too fresh” feeling, and his mom is not around to ask for advice.

Froderick and Turqeel are snippy with each other.

Night falls.

Smoke obtains translucent armor for a while.

Two and a half watches pass quietly.

Two more giant beetles emerge.

A misunderstanding takes place.

Spellcasters’ sleep is interrupted.

Another battle ensues.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Froderick is seriously hurt.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Rorek rescues Froderick.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

A beetle is crippled, and left to live a beggar’s life.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Froderick, Cynd, and Chickens occupy the infirmary section of the camp.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

Chickens dies from his wounds.

Chickens is alive. Chickens suffers.

And so forth, like a macabre tennis match.


In D&D, bug steps on you!!

Ok, we are going to go back a few seconds in game time and start from the perspective of those outside the bug tunnel, which will henceforth be referred to as the death-hole. Russellbob has closed his locket o’ light, and moved back outside of the death-hole to join the rest of the members of the party that are being excluded because they don’t have infravision.

All is quiet for a few moments.

Then suddenly, with panic in his voice, the party hears Chicken’s voice frantically come up the death-hole, “Get us some light!!” Then they hear Rorek roaring in defiance. Assuming that Rorek is not yelling in opposition to Chickens’ request for light, Russellbob, Froderick, Jarlath and Cues charge down into the death-hole. Well…Russellbob charges, while the others have to crouch more due to the low ceiling. They look more like they are speed sneaking. Russellbob opens his locket o’ light, and light sears from it down the death-hole, burning away the darkness.

Down in the death-hole, Chickens and Rorek are again momentarily disoriented as the light from Russellbob’s locket blazes down the tunnel. Tearful eyes shift from infravision to seeing in the normal spectrum.

Russellbob and his trio of speed skulkers round the curve of the tunnel to see Cynd lying on the tunnel floor in a mixture of his own blood and some viscous yellow ick. Backing away from the trio is the source of the viscous yellow ick. It is the absolute largest beetle any of the party has ever laid eyes upon. Judging by how neatly it fills the death-hole, it seems likely that this is the creator of the death-hole. Rorek is past its mandibles, close to its body, hacking away with his axe. Chickens is doing a very successful job of not hitting the creature’s giant mandibles with every swing of Headsplasher.

Russellbob decides that the most prudent course for him is to stay as far away as he can while providing light to the rest of the party.

Chickens has to swing Headsplasher horizontally due to the low death-hole ceiling. He steps under the creature’s right mandible, grabs it with his left hand, and swings Headsplasher (one handed!) with all of his might toward the front of the creature. Headsplasher, slippery from all the multicolored bodily fluids covering its handle, slides from Chickens grasp, presumably to go find someone that can actually hit something with it. The warhammer flies to Rorek’s left, and slams into the earthen wall, showering Rorek with a blast of soil. The handle snaps around and bounces off of Rorek’s shoulder. Rorek gets a face full of dirt and an apologetic shrug from Chickens.

Chickens crouches disarmed beneath the fierce pinchers, but the beetle seems oblivious to it’s opportunity to snip Chickens in twain. It continues backing away from the fight, while yellow ick oozes from it’s…face…area at every movement.

Froderick rushes forward and grabs Cynd by the legs, hauling him backwards hurriedly to Cues and Jarlath.

Rorek hollers at the giant insect, “Ach, no one hits the elf less it be me!!” He then takes a mighty swing. It’s a swing that demonstrates why the elf was still alive if the dwarf had been hitting him. That is too say it’s not damaging in the slightest to the beetle, more so to Rorek’s pride.

The beetle, dripping yellow goo, keeps retreating backwards. After leaving Cynd to Cues and Jarlath, Froderick rushes back to the fray with his dagger. However, with Chickens standing weaponless to the left, Rorek to the right and the mandibles in the middle, PLUS being in such a stooped over position, Froderick is forced to reconsider. He elects instead to yell for everyone to get out of the death-hole, and starts retreating himself.

Chickens rushes over to retrieve Headsplasher. Jarlath yells at Russellbob to get the light over to where he is crouching over Cynd. Cynd’s chest is crushed and sliced open. Blood oozes thickly from the wound. His eyes are rolled up, he is breathing in only occasional burbly gasps, and his ears are pointy. The latter is a good sign at least. He’s an elf.

Rorek is torn. He hears Froderick’s call to get out, but the enemy is RIGHT THERE….Reluctantly pulling back, Rorek gives a halfhearted swing of his axe the beetle’s way as he turns to flee up the death-hole. The beetle continues it’s backwards retreat, leaving a trail of vital beetle glop in its ponderous wake.

Jarlath shakes his head in doubt, but decides to try casting anyway. He became a cleric to save lives, dammit! As the magic of the healing spell seeps into Cynds wounds, the blood ceases to ooze forth. Cynd begins drawing ragged breaths, but is still in the medieval equivalent of critical condition.

Jarlath and Cues take Cynd’s feet, while Chickens and Froderick take his arms and curse/scoot their way out of the death-hole. I’m tired of typing “death-hole”. The group makes their way out to the light of day. Cynd is gasping harshly for every breath, but that doesn’t stop Smoke from pouncing on him. With pathetic mewls, Smoke bats at Cynd’s head.

Gasping for breath, Froderick looks at Cynd, then to Chickens.
“Can we avoid these little side investigations now?”
Froderick is covered with sweat, and again reaches for Chicken’s endless waterskin and drinks an impossible amount of water. An impossible amount coming out of a waterskin that size, and an impossible amount going into a being Froderick’s size. A multdirectional impossible amount.

Now the group debates on whether to set camp to wait for Cynd to be able to travel, or to try to lug him AND all of his crap. They never get the chance to make a decision.

The ground shudders.

After about 20 seconds, The ground shudder again, a little more this time.

Turqeel and Cues are looking around, eyes wide. Smoke’s hackles raise, and a low growl emanates from her throat.
Rorek suggests, “I dun like that feelin of that, we should do wut we’re to do fast.”

Too late.

The ground to the right of the first tunnel bulges up, then splits as another pair of mandibles pierce the soil. The ground then splits apart as another beetle breaks through. Sensing the movement nearest to it, it attacks…Russellbob. A large hulking insect trying to crush a diminutive humanoid, striking a blow for crunchy underfoot pests everywhere. Large, nasty beetle pinchers close with Russellbob between them. But the little brownie is far too quick. He leaps up into the air as the pinchers slam shut beneath him with an audible snap. Russellbob lands directly upon them with one foot on each pincher, and then leaps off to the side and retreats to a safe distance away.

Another pitched battle ensues as the party desperately fights to stay in one piece and on the right side of the dirt. A total of four more of these giant insects pour forth to defend their nest. Froderick takes two serious wounds, but is saved by the immaculate, well groomed dwarf. Smoke crouches protectively over Cynd, facing his feet. Don’t raise your head up too fast, Cynd! Chickens fights his little nose off….oh, wait. Well, he really tries hard, and no matter what, he just can’t seem to cause these creatures any real damage. At one point, he breaks down in tears and implores Headsplasher, “What have I done? Why??” Headsplasher doesn’t answer. Jarlath casts healing upon Froderick, who tries to reenter the battle. However, by this point, three of the creatures are dead, and one is fleeing back down to its subterranian home.

As the party gathers itself back together, Chickens crouches down next to Cynd, shoulders slumped as if bearing the very weight of the world. As tears trickle down his face, he whispers, “My fault…this is all my fault.” Apparently gnome keep thier manliness in their noses. When Turqeel follows him to try to ingratiate himself to Chickens, Chickens runs him off, crying out, “I don’t care anymore, just back off and leave me be!!” Rorek realizes that everyone is covered with sweat and gore except him, which sets him off to grumbling.


The Infravision Blues

The light may be at the end of the tunnel, but what’s this in the middle?

We begin the evening with our heroes gathered around the mutilated deer carcass and watching the sky with an air of accusation, as if suspicious that one of the clouds drifting serenely by is responsible for the mess before them.
Cues is uncomfortably looking at the sky.
Rorek is uncomfortably looking at his hands.
Turqeel is comfortably looking at the carcass.
The party agrees that whatever did this, they don’t want to be around when it comes back. Warily watching the sky, they continue south.

They move on, Froderick drinking an insane amount too often to be healthy. The grass growing in place of his hair appears to be a bit longer, and quivers in the breeze. As their trek continues, Chickens has two magical surges, one as they are walking, and one when they stop for lunch. To Chickens vast relief, there is no noticeable effect from the magic. Russellbob regales the party by counting the clouds and telling them what he thinks particular clouds look like and waxing philosophical on states of matter and the ever changing nature of the universe. Froderick listens absently to his friend, while Cues grits his teeth at the constant chatter. Chickens and Turqeel hang back and lets the party get ahead. Turqeel focuses more on talking to Chickens than any possible dangers in the terrain around them.

Cynd, realizing the danger of being too close to Chickens, decides to range ahead. To the east of the trail is a ridge, and Smoke lies atop a rock, looking out over the view, and relaxing in the sun. The road goes over a rise, and beyond is a wide forested valley.

Rorek and Jarlath walk ahead of the group, and Cynd shadows him further back in the trees. The trees get much thicker the further into the valley they walk, to the point where they are walking more in shade than in sunlight. As Cynd moves through the forest watching for threats, Smoke lies in wait on a low limb and gives a swat to his head as he passes under.

As Cynd is moving through the forest, enjoying the woods and all nature has to offer, he sees a large hole angling down into the ground at the base of a tree. The hole burrows into the earth at a steep angle and is about four feet from bottom to top and closer to seven feet wide from side to side. From what light shines down inside, Cynd can see some roots of the tree jutting down from the dirt ceiling.

Eyeing it for second, Cynd collects Rorek and Jarlath, who then waits for the rest of the group. Chickens and a slightly frustrated looking Turqeel arrive last. Chickens has another surge, but other than briefly tasting rotten meat, there seems to be no other effect. Smoke comes up casually alongside Cynd, and he gets the gist of the scent of insects from her as she sniffs cautiously at the tunnel opening.
Impatiently, Rorek asks, “WELL?! What’re ye thinkin’ then?”
Cynd glances at him in slight irritation, answering, “It looks to me like a nest…”
“Of what?” chirps Russellbob.
Cynd shakes his head, mystified.
“How big?” Jarlath asks, eyeing the size of the tunnel opening, but is unanswered.
“Anyone interested in going in?” Russellbob asks quietly.
Cynd watches Smoke, who is to beside him, sniffing at the tunnel mouth ears back, tail slowly going side to side.

Cynd suggests that he Russellbob inspect the tunnel, as they can move more quietly than the others. He and Cynd, followed closely by Smoke, slowly start down the mouth of the tunnel. Cynd has to crouch over to get in. Silence be damned, Chickens decides to follow along behind, and Rorek follows him. The shaded light from outside doesn’t extend very far down the tunnel. As the light fades, Russellbob, who doesn’t have the ability to see in darkness, opens his locket containing his stone of Continual Light. This immediately blinds the eyes of everyone in the tunnel. The burst of near sunlight blasts down the tunnel, illuminating edges of stones, plant roots, and occasional earthworms in the walls and ceiling of the tunnel. An elf shaped shadow extends down its center.

Cynd snaps at Russellbob to close the locket before they draw too much attention to themselves. When Russellbob closes the locket, sudden press of darkness leaves afterimages on everyone’s eyes. Unequipped with infravision, Russellbob heads back out of the tunnel to it’s surface. Smoke turns and pushes by Chickens and Rorek to move back outside. Cynd, Chickens, and Rorek wait a few moments for their vision to clear, and slowly advance down the tunnel. The tunnel becomes more level, and turns towards the right as the last ribbons of light from the surface fade out, and all becomes black. Eyes shift over to infravision, and the tunnel appears to their vision to be a uniform light blue color. The blue shades are slightly brighter or more subtle in various areas and faint black outlines can be seen to show occasional stones. After the curve of the tunnel, it straightens out. Cynd glances back at Chickens, immediately regretting it, as Chickens’ nasal chasm looks even worse with infravision somehow.

Cynd draws his dagger, and moves further into the blueness, followed closely by Chickens and Rorek. Just up ahead in the a movement catches Cynd’s eye, stopping him short. Studying for a second, he sees a mass filling the tunnel. Cynd motions for everyone to stop and be silent. The temperature of what appears to be some creature in front of him is so near to the temperature of the background that it is difficult to make out. Cynd focuses on the animal before him, and tries to reach out to telepathically connect to it.

Cynd is able to establish a link with the creature, and is puzzled to find only the most rudimentary of animal intelligence….that is somehow linked to a greater intelligence just outside of his ability to grasp. From this beast, which Cynd is still unable to define with his eyes, he senses a hunger and a defensive, animalistic sense of guarding. Cynd determines that this is an insectoid creature of some kind. He can start to make out the thin black lines edging the antennae as it feels around for what it senses in front of it, but Cynd, Chickens and Rorek are still back out of reach.

Cynd determinedly mentally reaches out, and tries to calm it and show him that he means no harm. The perspective that comes back is completely alien to anything Cynd has ever perceived before. It is cold, flat and emotionless. It is the embodiment that anything unlike itself is no more than food, and it is incapable of considering that there is any other possibility. It’s a sense of menace, but a menace totally devoid of evil intent. It is completely unfeeling. The nest must be fed.

Cynd whispers to the others, “There’s…something there. Some creature. It knows we’re here-” He breaks off as thin black lines that outline the creature separate from the surrounding background. Cynd reflects momentarily that perhaps telling Russellbob to quell the light wasn’t the best thought.

As the beast starts to move forward, Cynd has time to realize that it is much larger than he thought. The closer it gets, the more the small party can make out of it. It moves faster, sure that something is before it. He can hear the CLACK, CLACK of huge mandibles slamming together, but the blurriness of the moving shades of blue is disorienting. It fills the tunnel, putting Cynd at a cramped disadvantage, as he has to remain stooped over.

Chickens rushes in to Cynd’s left, as Cynd draws his short sword and rushes forward scuttling forward on his fists and toes directly ACROSS the mandibles, aiming towards the creature’s head. the creature lifts the mandibles up in response, giving enough room for Chickens to duck under and swing Headsplasher upwards at them in an attack. The attack glances past the bony extensions, and slams into the tunnel ceiling bringing a shower of dirt down onto him.

Cynd scoots across the rising projections, short sword leading the way. But he overreaches, and as the sword connects it scrapes a line directly up across the top of the hard carapace of the creature instead of piercing through. Cynd is overstretched, and completely unbalanced. As he slips down, he tries to twist But with a clap forceful enough to feel, he is crushed between the long pinchers, partially upside down. His dagger drops to the dirt. Chickens can see the heat from his hand fading from the hilt before it covered by the bright red/orange of the patter of falling blood. The short sword slides down the front of the thing, against Cynd’s limp body, then to the ground as well.

There is a mighty shout, and in charges Rorek. He plows forward along the right side of the closed mandibles trapping Cynd. He swings his axe in sideways over Cynd, toward the head of the large insect. With a wet crack, his axe slams home. Rorek roars in satisfaction. The creature starts clumsily reversing with its prize, heading back down the tunnel. From basically right atop it, Bellowing in rage and battle lust, Rorek continues his assault. With an audible CRUNCH, Rorek’s axe opens a gush of light blue gore that cascades over Cynd.
The second swing is less dwarfly than the first, and it’s armored shell turns the blade.

The large beast drops Cynd, and backs faster down the tunnel. Looking to disable it’s primary weapon, Chickens focuses on trying to shatter it’s mandibles with Headsplasher. As the creature reacts to the axe blow from Rorek, it opens its pinchers wide in agony. Headsplasher passes directly between them as they open. Cynd falls to land face down upon his sword in a swirls of orange and blue fluids.

Outside the tunnel, back in daylight, the waiting group hears the battle roars of Rorek travel up towards them…


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