The High Road

Ludo had watched the scene unfold in front of him. “Well that was quicker than even I anticipated”. He finished his meal, gulped some water down from his canteen and settled down for the first watch. He was tired, but for the first time in it seemed like ages he felt safe. He was confident the gnolls would not return, and they could all get some time to prepare for the next stage of their journey.

He mulled over what he had seen. The weapons that had struck the Golems had been absorbed, which was something he had never seen or heard of before. He was glad that they they didn’t have to fight them. He wondered if they could get them to come with us. He would mention it to Miklos in the morning. A dwarf, an elf, four humans and two golems defeating the “Sons of Night” – a smile creapt across his youthful face.

When the moon was at its highest, he nudged Feldard to take over the watch, and then gratefully fell into a deep slumber.

Feldard woke, alert, at Ludo’s nudge and rose to take his turn at watch. It was a quiet night and now that there were no sounds of drums pursuing them Feldard felt quite at ease within the mountain pass.

The dwarf was grateful the night passed without incident. He kept watch until the moon had long dropped behind the mountains, and the sun’s glow was in the eastern sky. He knew the elf would be upset that Feldard had not woken him for his watch but even the dwarf could see that Hasan needed all the rest he could get. So instead he would Stephen when dawn was on the verge. “It’s morning. You people won’t eat what I cook so you’d best make breakfast.”

Stephan stirred grumpily from a deep sleep banished by the dwarf’s unceremonious nudge this his boot. Despite the rude awakening, it had been a good sleep.

“‘You people’?” Stephan eyed Feldard. “And what could you even cook up here?” He looked around at the dusty, pebbly roof of the bridge tower. “There’s no wood for a fire. We’ll have to descend if we want something other than the iron rations and jerky.” At the words, his stomach groaned loudly. He fished out a few good mouthfuls of rations.

Hasan woke. The crisp air delight the elf, but the sun looked down wanly over the high mountain walls. The elf’s nose wrinkled a bit, as he contemplated their path deeper into the highlands. “Well, at least these hills are still forested,” he told his companions. The elf rose and cringed. His side was still very sore. “Thank you, Maruc,” the elf exclaimed gratefully, as the healer washed the now-bound wound from yesterday’s spear. “It still pains me, very badly. Do you have more willow bark? That tea calmed the pain greatly.”

Dark rings haunted Maruc’s eye. he slumped gratefully back as he prepared further healing for the party. He knew it would take at least another day for the friends to be fit enough to face the mountains and its secrets.

He slept fitfully though this cycle of healing and meditations but eventually his friends were healed and the recalled his old list of blessings for the onward journey.

Miklos enjoyed the enforced rest after the breathless run up the mountain. He spent his time studying the tome of the Sons of Night to determine any clues for the secrets of the mountain. He came back once again to the central passage, The Dread Prophecy.

The Breach of the Lost Temple.
The Awakening of the Grand Darker.
The Ascension of the Shadow Lord.
The Disappearance of the Elvenstar.
The Return of the Blackstick.
The Dread Night Attained.

As the mage studied the Book of Night, the others prepared to depart. It was morning and the party was once again at full strength. Above the waterfall, the Hutaakan’s ancient path climbed steeply, cutting into the mountain.

They left the bridge and ascended the narrow mountain pass. Rising above them was a sheer rock wall, and on the other side, a drop of hundreds of feet to the Foamfire River below.

The road was in a poor state of repair, overgrown in places, but clearly visible snaking out ahead of them. Occasional streams crossed the road. Some spanned by small bridges while others have eroded channels across the road’s surface. In places, sections of the road had fallen away, leaving rough rocky areas to be crossed above a drop of hundreds of feet.

After nearly a full day’s travel, they came to a high, 20-foot-wide, arching bridge which spanned a 200-foot-wide gorge. Although it had a parapet running along either side, the bridge was crumbling in places.

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7 Comments

Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

7 responses to “The High Road

  1. 5pm, Gromdain, the 13th of Flaurmont, 1001AC
    Clear, dry, warm and windy.

    Maruc: 10xp
    Miklos: 10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+5xp
    Stephan: 10xp+10xp+10xp
    Ludo: 10xp+10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 27,980/48000
    Miklos: 27,875/40000
    Feldard: 28,365/34000
    Hasan: 27,380/32000
    Stephan: 27,490/32000
    Ludo: 27,125/40,000

  2. Ludo

    Ludo looked over the edge of the cliffs. It was indeed a long way down. Over the sound of the wind which was swirling around them he yelled “we still have a few hours of daylight; lets get across this bridge and go on for a few more miles before camping for the night. Keep away from the edge where the bridge is weakest, stay in the middle”. He carefully started walking across the bridge.

  3. Hasan

    “This bridge is ancient, even to me,” Hasan said. “It looks frail. We must proceed with caution. Let’s cross one at a time. Walk light, Ludo!” The elf turned to watch the thief’s progress. “Walk ahead, each of you. I will wait and watch. I can, I think, arrest one person’s fall with my magic.”

    (The elf will wait, ready to “levitate” any comrade who falls if the bridge crumbles.)

  4. Feldard (Dwf)

    Feldard studied the crumbling stonework of the bridge warily before setting foot to it and nodded in agreement at the warnings of his friends. “Hold up there Ludo! Not that I doubt your abilities Hasan, but I’d feel better if we had rope in hand. Between us all, we may have enough to span the distance.”

    With the ropes all tied together, Feldard handed one end to Ludo asthe rogue was the first to set out onto the bridge. Feldard held onto the other end, watching and waiting should the bridge fail.

    (assuming all goes well for those in before him…)
    When it came to his turn, Feldard was more than a little hesitant. His fingers were tight on the rope as he walked hand over hand across the bridge. The only way he could manage was that he remained in the center of the bridge and could not see down on either side of him. He kept his gaze firmly on Ludo waiting on the opposite side of the bridge. Unfortunately, because of that fact he failed to notice a weak spot in the stonework. His heavy tread crumbled the weak stone beneath him opening a hole in the bridge beneath his feet. Feldard stumbled, yanking on the rope and threw himself nearer to the side in his alarm.

  5. dtwilder

    “No!”, Stephan muttered in alarm seeing bits of the bridge fall beneath Feldard. He breathed a temporary sigh of relief when he saw the dwarf keep a good grip on the rope and make it to the other side.

    When the woodsman’s turn came, he held tightly to the rope and tried to step as lightly as possible. The blustery day and strong winds on the bridge added to the anxiety. Near the center, approaching the hole formed when Feldard crossed, he paused to steel his nerves. He purposefully avoided looking down the hole as he crossed but some additional crumbling made him look out of instinct.

    It was dizzying scene of stone and water and…..sheer height. He quickly looked up to the sky. Wispy clouds hastened northeast. They looked like the tails of a hundred horses. This thought helped. Stephan kept his eyes up for the most part and continued across the bridge.

  6. For Maruc

    Maruc walked forward onto the stony bridge. He tried not to look down, left, right or anywhere but at the walkway straight ahead. It wasn’t easy. The cleric clutched the rope and whispered a soft prayer the trees it was tied to would hold if the time came. The cleric knew Halav’s blessing lay deep on all the Duke’s own Traladaran land, but the thought flickered through his brain, “Ilsundral’s way with trees is deep. Would that we are favored.” Maruc wasn’t sure if that such a fleeting thought was disloyalty or prudence. But the next step demanded his atttention, and so he took it carefully. And the next and the next, as the cleric made his way across the span–never once looking down, left or right; safegly contained within his god-strewn reverie.

  7. For Miklos

    Miklos helped his companions’ careful preparations as well as he could. The touch skin of the local pine roughed his hands as they drew the knots close. He felt sure the rope was strong enough.

    By Hasan’s side, the young mage watched Maruc make his way deliberately across the abyss. Miklos looked at Hasan and opened his spellbook, “I will not walk this way, Hasan. It was clever to think that ‘levantum nostrum’ would support our friends. But surely you know its limits and have studied the “volanum nostrum” incantation we found in Golthar’s spellbook. It worked well, did it not? I will try it now.”

    The elf watched as the mage summoned magical energies that Hasan could see and sense but could not yet control himself. Miklos expertly guided the energies–which looked as fibers of fire threading through the air to the two mages, but would be unseen by any magically insensitive–into a tapestry as complex as the talisman they carried through the watchtower. The elf then watched Miklos step onto the invisible tapestry and rise into the air. The mage moved slowly above the roadway and then, gingerly, out above the chasm below. Nothing changed. “You have grown, my friend,” Hasan called out. Miklos grinned and sped away alongside the great bridge.

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