When it rains gnomes, try not to splash in the puddles.
Froderick arrives at Reorx’s temple pulling behind a gently floating Chickens. Shaghorn opens the door and looks at Chickens, and then glances at the position of the sun in the sky. He then looks back to Chickens, and then back to the position of the sun in the sky and says, ”Really…? Are you sure you’ve done this before?” Froderick’s face flushes all the way up to his pate as he pushes his way in with a moaning Chickens, and takes him back to the sickroom and lays him down on a cot.
Meanwhile, back at the gnomeflinger, the woods behind the it are starting to burn merrily due to Pod setting fire to the webbing that was entrapping the kobolds. Tomas watches the fire move from the webbing to the trees, and mutters, “Not again…” Rorek also is taking notice that something is amiss in the treeline, while Russellbob takes measure of Podmidor’s wounds. The mages all come to the realization that while they can set a fire like nobody’s business, they lack the means to extinguish their handiwork. As smoke bellows up from the trees, alarm bells begin to clang back in the village proper. Rorek makes the observation, “Fellow that hired us is going to be happy…..”
Back in Shaghorn’s temple of Reorx, Shaghorn is studying the rusty handaxe lodged in Chickens’ breastbone. Chickens’ pallor has become clammy and white and the blood that at first poured generously from the wound has now become a dull trickle. Shaghorn looks on in wonder as Chickens’ heart stops beating altogether, then a moment later starts back up for a few beats as Chickens draws a ragged breath. When he grabs the handle of the axe and attempts to pull it out, it grinds on Chickens’ breastbone causing him to hoarsely cry out in agony. “I have no idea what’s keeping him alive”, Shaghorn exclaims in wonder. “He has almost no blood left.” With a mighty yank, Shaghorn rips the hand axe free of Chickens’ chest. Chickens jolts upwards, screaming a mighty roar of anguish, eyes fixed on Shaghorn. He then drops back to the blankets and his heart stops…only to raggedly begin to beat a mere moment later.
Back at the site of the fire, our heroes are gravely taking in the quickly worsening situation. As they debate on how to best fight the spreading fire they also wonder if the smoke is going to draw more kobolds, or drive them away. It is at this point that the first of the fire brigade is spotted, high in the air and coming in fast. A gnome with a bucket in each hand comes arcing in rapidly to the landing net…which is lying on the ground. The gnome sees this, and yells in terror and starts flailing his arms in the air, buckets flying wide. As Rorek lines himself up to get a better view of the landing site, Podmidor hollars “Hold on fella, I got ya!” and begins to cast. The gnome slows to the speed of a drifting feather, the terrified look on his face turns to disbelief, then confusion, then finally relief. He drifts slowly to the ground, trying to ignore the soiling of his britches.
As Rorek grumbles at fate’s apparent lack of humor, the newly arrived gnome informs the party that other gnomes are coming and have to be stopped. After deciphering the blur of speech, Cues, Podmidor, Rorek and the gnome all run to the net and grab a corner. Tomas says, “I’m going to go for help” and pulls a silver helm out of his bag. Etched into the metal is what appears to be a world map. Tomas says a very quiet word, and vanishes. The next gnome comes sailing in, eyes wide and buckets falling aside as he sees what is below him. Turqeel yells “BRAAACCCEEEE!!!” and everyone pulls hard on their corner of the net as the hapless tinker comes plowing in. The net, already damaged by Podmidor’s Flaming Sphere rips further, and the net is yanked from the hands of the Gnome of the Wet Pants. The incoming gnome slams hard to the ground and cries out in pain as his arm bends out sideways at a most unnatural angle. A SNAP is heard, loud enough to shrink every sac in the party.
Turqeel rushes about to find a pair of suitable sticks that are not already on fire to make a splint, and is only half successful. Podmidor verifies with the Gnome of the Wet Pants that more gnomes are going to be coming in, and the flow must be stopped. Shaking off his agony, the Gnome of the Broken Arm rushes over provide whatever assistance he can to the Gnome of the Wet Pants with his corner of the net. Another gnome comes soaring in, and while the party is able to pull the net taught enough to avoid fatality, the net tears yet further in the burned area, and the gnome slams the ground, knocking the air from him. Podmidor is nearly brained by a flying bucket.
In Reorx’s temple, Shaghorn is mixing herbs to create a potion to keep Chickens asleep. Froderick is watching earnestly when suddenly Tomas appears standing barely an inch in front of Froderick’s face. Froderick jumps back startled, his sickle appearing in his hand nearly too fast for the eye to follow. Ignoring Froderick’s surprise, Tomas gives the news of the gnomeflinger and the downed net. The three of them nearly get stuck in the door trying to rush out to stops the fire brigade gnomes from using the gnomeflinger to reach the blaze.
Podmidor gets the bright idea to cast bind on the net to reattach it to the support posts. However, not having a spellbook to freshen the runes in his mind, the magical weave escapes his control and goes wild. Podmidor’s casting The entire party stops and stares as Podmidor starts screaming his spell in agony, and his head starts slowly twisting around on the top of his neck. Even then, Podmidor is unable to end his casting. When the spell is finished, Podmidor slumps to the ground, with his head facing completely backwards. He is able to turn his head from side to side, but unable to turn it to face forward again.
While the party stares at Pod, the Gnome of the Broken Arm yells, “INCOMING!!” Everyone grabs their corner of the net and pulls tight, except Pod, who is too disoriented to act. The Gnome Who Was Winded scrambles to get to Pod’s corner in time, but is too late. The gnome slams into the net, which is held on three corners. He is screaming in terror as he comes down, and there is a very deep THUD, and he goes silent. Blood begins to pour from his nose and ears.
As the other gnomes crowd around their fallen companion, trying in vain to wake him up, the party watches for more gnome bombs. The sky becomes quiet. Turqeel uses his 2 torches and some rope from his bag to make a successful splint for the Gnome of the Broken Arm.
Froderick and Tomas ride in on Phantom Steeds. They have given word to the fire brigade at the gnomeflinger towards the village center. The brigade arrives a few moments behind them, on foot. In a surprisingly short amount of time, suggesting that this is something that the tinkers may have to do more often than other races, they have a fire brigade set up and are passing buckets of water. However, some are taken about by Podmidor’s condition, and take a few moments longer to form up.
As the buckets are being passed down the line, Podmidor tries to get used to having his hands facing downwards when he has them in “front” of him now. He fumes, believing Chickens to be at the root of the issue. Turqeel, Cues, Froderick, and Tomas all get into the line and help passing buckets. Rorek picks up Headsplasher, and begins to closely inspect it, until Turqeel notices and comes over to ask for it back. Rorek joins in digging a trench to try to stop the fire.
The next hours become an exhausting blur of smoke, soot, shovels, water buckets and blistered hands. Some are passing water buckets, some are digging trenches, and all are sweating and wearing themselves down with the mixture of raw physical exertion and breathing smoky air.
Suddenly, Tomas puts his shovel down, and goes to the woods and casts in front of the fire. He then moves about 30 feet into the woods and casts again. At first, no one knows what he is doing until the flames reach stop advancing. It’s as if a line has been drawn that the flames can’t cross. Finally, another spell is cast that brings forth a wall of wind that pushes the flames back.
The fire, denied fresh fuel, begins to die down. The turbulence behind the fire ends
A ragged cheer goes up from the exhausted gnomes. However, the buckets continue until it is evident that the flames will no longer spread. The woods in this area are burned to the ground, leaving a huge smoking, sooty area that is all too familiar to those that survived the Calenthian prairie fire. Froderick is standing bent over, hands on knees, breathing heavily
Shaghorn walks up to Froderick, and says something quietly. Froderick shakes his head. Shaghorn’s face darkens slightly, and he turns and starts walking back towards Pod and Russellbob. Podmidor asks Shaghorn, " Don’t suppose ya ever seen something like this before, eh?" Shaghorn says tiredly, which slows his speech down, “Oh, I’ve seen fires. Chickens’ home was a ball of fire just days ago. But I’ve never seen anything like your group. It’s a wonder any of you are alive at all. I can’t help you with that (he points to Pod’s head) today”
At this point, the party takes stock of their injuries, and realizes that they need a new plan going forward. It appears that their strategy of just walking up and merrily taking a head on approach is not working for them. At this point they discuss Russellbob’s potential to sneak in and get a look around. They decide to go back to Reorx’s temple, where Tomas will once again cast Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion. The faceless butler’s are discussed, as well as Cues’ desire for a new spellbook. Turqeel suggests that he’d like to get one at some point himself. Spellbook, not a faceless butler. Tomas and Frod flank Pod as the group makes their way north through the village to the Temple of Reorx. At first, Pod’s pace is excruciatingly slow, as the wrong foot moves when he wants, and his first initial reaction with his arms are to move them forwards in a normal way, not backwards. The group notices that the looks they are getting from the Gnomes of the village aren’t as friendly as they were at first. Children appear to not even be allowed outside.