Game of Chickens

The Curse

“Your life shall be filled with uncontrollable chaos. Never shall you remain welcome or find solace again. You will sorrow for all your days.”

Then the casting began…

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Bye A Nose

Kiss Kleenexes goodbye forever.

We pick up mid-idiocy.

While in Tomas’ extra dimensional mansion, Chicken’s curse caused his nose to rip itself from his face, rocket across the room, and batter itself against the wall. This has left a large hole in Chicken’s face, fully exposing his nasal cavity. This, combined with a condition of constant drooling, and saliva that is always ice cold and freezing solid in his beard, caused Chickens to weep in despair. Empathizing with Chicken’s continuously worsening situation, Tomas offered to assist Chickens in suicide to escape his misery. Finding an inner resolve fed by a desire for revenge, Chickens refused. Turqeel, who is having an issue with his laundry at the moment, has experimented with his bathwater. Night has passed in the mansion, and people have started to wake. Turqeel has tried to heal Chicken’s nose, only to be repaid by having a resurgence of the curse focused directly into his head. The ramifications of this remain a mystery.

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Home Is Where The Crater Is

Where Chickens’ outie childhood home has mysteriously become an innie.

After waking up, the party debates about what direction to head. When Ketanja’s death is referred to, Podmidor stomps off. Finally, deciding to go to Chicken’s village in Gnomehome long enough to stock up, the party gathers up a still blissfully sleeping Russellbob, and leaves the mansion. Once outside, they find that the smoking wasteland has now turned into a muddy wasteland. Upon fastening on to Tomas like so many leeches, the party teleports to Chicken’s childhood home, only to find a large, burnt crater where his house once stood. Pieces of twisted metal lie scattered all over the landscape. Chickens is stunned, and tries hard to put together what happened. Podmidor leaves to get supplies, while the rest of the party waits in the crater. Tomas passes the time trying to help Chickens gain an understanding of magic, while Turqeel looks on.

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A Pecking Order Established

Hey! Random poultry can be food AND protection!

While waiting for Podmidor to return, Turqeel wanders off, searching through the odd metal debris. While trying to figure out the magic he had just learned, Turqeel tries to cast a simple light spell, and instead finds himself surrounded by chickens. Turqeel, embracing opportunism, starts killing them for food. The party is found by tinker gnomes of the village who are shocked to see Chickens, and his condition. Shaghorn, the wisest cleric of Tinkerhaven asked the party to remove the threat off a rabid bear south of the village. Turqeel and Froderick get into a confrontation over party leadership, and Pod joins in. The remaining chickens come to Turqeel’s defense, and attack Froderick and Pod mercilessly. In the ensuing melee, magic is miscast, chickens are exploded, a blizzard of feathers covers everything, and Turqeel is flung bodily into the crater, where he fractured ribs and punctured his lungs. He remains in a state somewhere between life and death. Seriously, though. It was a LOT of feathers.

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A Bird's Eye View

Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth WHEEEEEEEEE!!!

Turqeel is just brought back from the brink of death, but is too weak to go with the party to the south end of the village to go bear hunting. The group was sent south of village to try to resolve the issue of a rabid bear that is killing gnomes, and were promised by Shaghorn to be resupplied as a reward. Russellbob also stays behind, as does Cues, who is out of spells. Chicken’s drooling and ice saliva curses were removed.

Froderick had his patience tested riding through the village in a pushmobile, which is a horseless wagon with three levers in the front. Two or more gnomes will push the wagon backwards about twenty feet until the clicking noises stop. They then climb into the wagon, and release a lever. The wagon then trundles forward about 30 feet and comes to a halt. The gnomes then climb out and repeat this process. Sometimes, as foot traffic is passing by, other gnomes will cheerfully stop to assist pushing the wagon backward. Froderick’s stomach was then tested by traveling the rest of the way to the south end via gnomeflinger, which is essentially a huge adjustable catapult. After careful calculations involving weight and wind direction are taken into account, travelers are launched to a landing net suspended about 10 feet above the ground. It’s best not to think about those that miss the net.

After everyone arrives safely at the South Landing net, the party works towards the very southern end of the village. They notice that it is a ghost town. There is no foot traffic. They spy a house in the woods with no signs of life, but the front door is open. Tomas catches up to the group as they plan how to best approach the house.

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The Bear Something Something Something

An unexpected trap is sprung.

Froderick, Podmidor, Tomas and Chickens check out the house with the open door. As they cross the front yard, a mangy, obviously diseased bear bursts from the home. During the fight, Chickens is completely covered in a shower of its blood. The blood soaks his clothes and hair, and pours into his exposed septum.

Immediately upon the rabid bear’s dispatch, the real trap closes, as kobolds attack first with spears from the trees, then drop down for hand to hand combat. In the battle, Chickens is at the bears corpse, surrounded by kobolds. In all of his first level badassery, he grabs a spear from over his shoulder from a kobold behind him, and rams it forward DIRECTLY INTO THE FACE of a kobold in front of him. Said kobold discovers that though Chickens can live with a hole in his face, he himself cannot. The kobolds are pushed back, but Podmidor is seriously wounded.

Froderick is furious with Tomas for freezing up during the battle. Russellbob awakens, and convinces Cues to go find Froderick. They take an excruciatingly long trip across the village via pushmobile, and Froderick meets them as he comes back north on a conjured steed, gently cradling a shrunken Podmidor. He is delighted to see that Russelbob is awake, and the party is reunited. Chickens remains behind until his curse goes off again, and then launches himself across the village by gnomeflinger.

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Heads or Asses?

Where Chickens horribly mangles his mother’s wish for him to get his ass to church.

Chickens tries to make his way back to Shaghorn’s Temple of Reorx. He falls flat while trying to sneak across the street, and is seen by four other gnomes. They are stunned to see him, missing a nose, covered in blood, and supposed to be run out of town. He is instantly surrounded, and flooded with questions and accusations. Shaghorn hears the commotion, and extricates Chickens from the barrage. The party realizes that they haven’t eaten all day, and how hungry they are. One of the gnomes is sent to Graden’s Tavern for food. They party discusses the battle, and comes to realize that a major problem with kobolds may be afoot. Shaghorn offers the party 100gp to eradicate the kobolds. Just as platters of roast goat, cheese, steins of ale and vegetables are delivered, Chickens suddenly begins braying very loudly, like a donkey. When he stops, and comes back to himself, he sees everyone just stopped dead, staring at him. Chickens has no recollection of this, and is wondering why everyone is staring at him so strangely. A couple of moments later, a donkey walks into the temple through the open door. It is soon joined by another. Another tries to come through the door, but gets stuck, as it’s pulling a wagon. The gnome in the wagon is furiously trying to regain control of his transport. The donkeys all just stand and stare at Chickens, as if waiting. It is Cues that realizes that Chickens has summoned them. When Chickens tells them to leave, they leave the temple after gifting it’s floor. They stand in the street, again staring towards chickens. At this point there are five altogether. He tells them to “Get out of here”, and they all wander off different directions. The gnome in the wagon is still trying in vain to regain control. Tomas creates another magnificent mansion, and the party enters, sans Podmidor and Turqeel, to bathe and rest. Froderick and Tomas get into a major disagreement whether to move on to find Mandretch or to try to help Tinkerhaven with it’s kobold problem. During the planning and argument, Chickens’ curse flairs again, and the top of Froderick’s head from the cheeks up becomes invisible. What is seen is a horizontal cross section of his head. Froderick is stunned and extremely angry, as he appears to be a person functioning with just the lower third of his head intact.

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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

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After some brief arguing and weighing of options, the group decides to go ahead and investigate the unexpected kobold threat. Froderick searches for Shaghorn to try to have the curse of only having half a visible head removed, but Shaghorn has used all of his spells for the day. Froderick retires to a bedroom in the mansion, only to discover that sleep can be very elusive when your eyelids don’t block out visual stimuli. He finally resorts to wrapping a sheet tightly around his eyes, and is able to gain some form of rest.

Chickens relaxes in a nice bath, scrubbing himself free of rabies infested bear’s blood. As he’s finally getting out and drying off, his curse manifests itself. Against his will, he becomes his own target. The magic floods over him in an emotional black wave, sinking him to his knees. He is filled with foreboding as he finds sudden clarity in the fact that there is an apocalypse coming to this world. An end to life as all races, both good and evil, know it. Chickens is given the understanding that bringing about this apocalypse is his destiny. It’s the very reason for his birth. Trying to force back the weight of the responsibility forced upon him and trying to exhaust himself to bring about the release of sleep, he practices wielding Headsplasher with a vengeance. Through all of this, the ghostly butler stands impassively, features shifting away from his face just as the mind tries to grasp them.

The magic curse bursts forth again before sleep can claim him. This time, Chickens is able to control the target. Looking quickly about the room, Chicken focuses the outburst of raw magic upon the room’s mirror. With a puff of smoke that leaves a faint taste of oil upon the air, suddenly there are four monodrone Modrons standing in the room. Whirring and clicking, They inspect the room, Chickens, and each other before attacking the mirror mercilessly. Once the mirror is shattered, and seemingly destroyed, they focus their malice upon the shards scattered about the floor. One modron, spotting a tiny piece of mirror on another modron, begins attacking the tiny piece of mirror. Each strike inflicts damage on the other modron. Within moments the room is in complete chaos. The only point of calm in the room is the translucent butler, who stands calmly watching the mess be created that he will soon have to clean. Russellbob faintly hears the ruckus, and follows the sound to Chickens room. When he opens the door he is stunned at the scene before him. Chickens exits the room without drawing the modrons’ attention. He asks the butler to retrieve his belongings, and moves to another room. One last glance back in shows the little round creatures still determined to send every last reflective piece of glass to oblivion.

Russellbob returns to his room, and Chickens manages to locate another without disturbing anyone else. After lying down, Chickens is able to attain a fitful sleep.

Finally gaining sleep, Chickens finds himself standing in the burning plain near Midway Lake. The first figure he sees is Ketanja. Her skin is shriveled, nearly unrecognizable. It’s hard to see life ever inhabiting her body. Chickens sees Vancras, whose twisted and crushed body hobbles towards him. He also sees many Calenthian soldiers, some on fire, and all bearing terrible burns. Every corpse has an arms raised, with a finger pointing accusingly at Chickens as they silently shamble in his direction. Chickens awakens in the morning covered in sweat.

Froderick is anxious to get moving the next morning, and the group exits the magnificent mansion amid the tearful goodbyes of the translucent, ghostly butlers. One in particular weeps upon another’s shoulder, tears falling from eyes that shift and slide off of it’s face. Russellbob waves a cheerful goodbye, which only brings further tearful waving from their semi-opaque host.

Tomas identifies the creatures that were in Chickens’ room as Modrons, and is fascinated that Chickens summoned them. He wishes he could have seen them, and informs Chickens that he could have controlled them.

They find Shaghorn giving the morning services and blessings to some gnomes that will be working on particularly dangerous inventions that day. After sending them off, Shaghorn sees to the party’s wounds, and brings everyone back to full health. Turqeel’s broken ribs and punctured lung are repaired, as are Podmidor’s stab wounds, and Froderick’s chest wounds that he received from Chickens’ curse harming him a couple of days prior. Shaghorn is delighted to hear that they will undertake the quest to find out why the kobolds have suddenly become so…well….bold. He makes good on his offer to equip the party for dispatching the rabid bear by asking them for a list of what supplies they need.

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Careful With That Axe, Eugene

Death to the left of me, living to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Seeing a huge tower of smoke in the distance from a couple of days before, Rorek the dwarf has decided to follow it to its source. He arrives in Tinkerhaven and asks for directions to the nearest tavern from a gnome who is trying in vain to pound a copper fitting onto an odd looking handle that is on a helmet being worn by a very unappreciative horse. The directions are confusing, and Rorek winds up in front of a temple of Reorx. To the side of the temple are two gnomes working on a wagon with three levers up by the driver’s seat. They are trying to install some type of T-bar into the back of it.

Meanwhile, inside the temple, the group has been resupplied by Shaghorn, as promised. Russelbob has not gotten a backpack, as one his size was still being made, and there was an issue with the leather stitching machine. The group gradually filters outside to head off to shoo away the kobolds, and get on with their lives. Outside, they see Rorek trying in vain to get directions to the tavern from the gnomes who are “tryingtotakethepushoutofthepushmobile.” Giving up on directions to the tavern, Rorek negotiates a price to join the party on their excursion.

As negotiations are underway, one of the gnomes begins turning the T-bar in the back of the push mobile. When he is done, he gives a thumbs up to his companion, who is waiting on the drivers seat. When the “go” lever is released, the “pushlesspushmobile” makes a thunderous BANG, fires the T-bar high into the air, and rockets out of control off into the trees. The gnome driving it is launched headfirst into the forest, and Shaghorn and the T-bar winding gnome rush to assist him. The T-bar is never heard from again.

After a brief disagreement, the group decides to approach the southern end of the village on foot. On the way, Chickens’s curse erupts, and the blade of Froderick’s sickle is lined with a cold, blue fire. When they arrive at the southern landing net, they see that it has been cut down, and laid out on the ground. Horrified by what could have happened, Chickens concentrates frantically on getting the net fixed before some other gnome decides to travel this way. The blue flames on Froderick’s sickle have extinguished. As the group is trying to figure out how to get the ropes reattached, they fail to hear the sounds of stealthy movements in the trees behind them.

With a war cry that sounds like an excited puppy mating with an angry German dictator, a near dozen kobolds materialize from the treeline, and launch a barrage of spears at the party. Rorek, Chickens and Podmidor (who experiences firsthand deja-vu) take injuries from the volley. The party scatters as the kobolds rush to close quarters. With a blast that leaves the party disoriented and near deafened, Tomas casts a sizzling lightning bolt. Four of the kobolds are blasted back into the trees where the electrical bolt causes further damage, destroying several trees and a hapless nest of squirrels. While Rorek sets to receive the charge, Turqeel hides behind the gnomeflinger, and Russelbob hides behind a pole that is supposed to hold the net, blending in an amazing display of camouflage. Four of the kobolds turn tail and run back into the scorched trees, while three, incited by an ancient ancestral rage at seeing Chickens, continue their headlong attack. One kobold sinks a spiked club into Rorek’s shield, who responds by removing his attacker’s arms with a swipe of his battleaxe. The other two continue on to rush Chickens.

Chickens, who has collapsed to his knees from the spear wound in his side, struggles to raise Headsplasher to defend himself. Time seems to falter as the rusty, notched blade of the kobold’s hand axe comes down in an arc, as if in slow motion. Froderick launches himself towards the attackers, but is too far away. The axe crunches into the center of Chickens’ chest, lodging itself in his breast bone. Chickens’ eyes widen in shock and surprise. Headsplasher slips from suddenly numb fingers. Time catches up again as an instant later, the second kobold skewers Chickens’ neck. Chicken collapses to the ground, axe still in his chest.

Cues screams “NOOO!!!”, in rage and denial and steps forward, fanning his fingers outwards, casting. A brilliant fan of colors streams from his fingers, flowing over the kobolds. They promptly slump to the ground, unconscious. Froderick jumps in, and with his sickle decapitates one sleeping kobold, and then turns and buries the blade in the head of the other. Chickens is lying on his back, axe in his chest. He is gasping for air when Rorek limps over, looks down for a second and dismissively says, “I’ve had worse.”

Chickens lies on the ground, blood burbling up with every breath…but somehow death is just out of reach. Chickens shudders, his body trying to die. Something is impeding the final release into death, and is keeping him just hanging on its ragged edge. Chickens reaches up, weakly trying to remove the axe. The grinding feel of steel on bone is enough for him to finally fall into the depths of unconsciousness. Cues vomits as chickens eyes slip shut, and limp fingers fall from the axe handle.

Froderick yells for Tomas to cast phantom steed. A dark, misty, silent horse is created, and Froderick mounts up. Instead of jostling Chickens to pass him up to Froderick, Tomas casts levitate. Chickens rises up into the air, to the height of Froderick. Froderick grabs Chickens’ hand, and guides the horse back towards Shaghorn, towing a gently floating semi-dead gnome alongside. Through all of this, Russellbob maintains his position hiding against the net support post, and Rorek takes the opportunity to loot the kobold’s bodies.

Cues is disgusted with Rorek’s timing, and Rorek is disgusted with is haul, finding only a handful of copper pieces between the three bodies. He scatters these across the ground. Turqeel asks if the group wants to head on, or turn back as Cues looks at the scene in disbelief. Podmidor sits quietly, nursing his wounds. Even Rorek is of the opinion that perhaps a healing would be a good thing.

In the distance through the woods, the party becomes aware of the yapping of more angry German canines, and brace themselves for another encounter. Five kobolds burst from the edge of the woods stopping short to throw spears. Rorek steps up and throws a hand axe as if he doesn’t want it anymore. Seriously, it passes high over their heads and off into the woods behind them. They actually completely stop what they are doing to watch it fly by overhead, and glance at each other for a second. Tomas steps up and begins casting, while the kobolds, regaining their focus, let spears fly. One kobold had much better aim then Rorek, scoring a hit on the the dwarf with a spear. Pod is also hit in the lower leg. He screams in pain and frustration. As the spears rain down, Turqeel also starts casting. The tree branches next to the kobolds grow down and start looping around them, as the grass and weeds beneath their feet sprout up around their legs. Simultaneously, a ridiculously thick layer of webs from Tomas’ spell covers everything in the area, immobilizing both the kobolds and the growing fauna. The web covers a large area around the kobolds, up into the trees, and several paces into the woods. They are totally debilitated.

With a determined look, Pod says, “I got this”, and begins to cast. When he is finished muttering nonsense, a SIX FOOT DIAMETER BALL OF HOT-ASS FIRE appears in front of him. It towers over him, flames crackling hungrily. Still maintaining his steely glare, Pod mentally pushes it slowly towards the webbing. The net immediately is set ablaze where the sphere rolls over it. Kobold bodies, spears, natural debris and insects are also consumed as it rolls closer to the trapped aggressors. The web covered lumps start to move frantically, and screams of terror begin before the fire ever gets to them. When the flames touch the webbing, the area is engulfed instantly. The screams of terror turn into eerily dog-like shrieks of torment. After a moment, the tormented cries die down. But not the flames, oh, no. The flames continue to burn through the trees.

Turqeel takes up Headsplasher and walks to the edge of the burnt area, looking for survivors. All that is left are blackened, charred skeletons. Rorek walks closer, looking into the flames in the trees for a moment before deciding that he’s probably not going get that hand axe back. The hand axe sits, imbedded into a lightning-scarred tree, silently awaiting it’s fiery fate.

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Falling Gnomes and Rising Smoke

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.

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