TEPCO: Battle Cherry Popped

I swear, the spider was THIS big!

The TEPCO adventurers have been together for a month — combing the maps, twiddling their thumbs, and preparing for the great journey to the source of the mysterious fog. The laundry list goes something like this:

Andraste Pfile is an eladrin rogue who’s done a bit of research for Trinity in the past. She’s got a bit of a chip on her shoulder on account of her noble blood. It doesn’t make her the most well-liked among us, but the crazy elf from the other side of the portal seems to like her well enough.

Petter Pfile is Andraste’s brother — an eladrin warlock. If narcissism were currency, let’s just say we would never go hungry with Petter in our group. If he hears Andraste’s got a chip on HER shoulder, you bet he’ll make sure his is just a little bigger. The two of them are close, though. Don’t let the one-up fest fool you. And whatever you do, don’t mention their long lost half sister, Eroithiel Von Trapp. Total rape baby. Like their crest suggests…they hate that bitch.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m the bard. Just call me Arrow. Like the thing I shoot from my crossbow. (Even though that’s technically a “bolt”.) I carry a lute. I hear I’m good company, especially with a pint or two in my blood. Hansel and I have a bit of history, but it’s really NOT important. We’re just fine leaving it lie. As for long lost half siblings…what’s that got to do with me?

But as long as we’re on Hansel (Andgrettle)…he’s a druid dwarf. He’s got supreme knowledge of naturey things and a love for hugging trees. And no scruples. Great word, scruples. He and Baltasar Hj├Ârdinsson come from the same place. Kicked out for consorting with humans after their tribe of shorties decided to outlaw it.

Balty is a cleric, our own hunk of moral fiber. Minus the whole breaking the dwarf law thing, but I hear morals and laws don’t always go hand in hand.

We’ve got two portal-children, too. Fascinating creatures.

Tali Summersand, the little rogue, will snatch anything shiny. Or dull. So long as it vaguely interests her, it will probably end up in her sticky little hands. She’s something called a “halfling” — half-sized, even smaller than our dwarfs. I’ll give her this: she’s sneaky hot. If ever my songs fail to melt a crowd of drunken manfolk, she might be just the ticket. She doesn’t have much to say about her own past, but she cheers Chases the Storm on when he tells his tall tales.

You heard me right. Chases the Storm. Chase, I call him, for short. He looks a bit like a proper eladrin but calls himself an elf. He claims he used to fly clockwork golems through the sky as part of a circus show. Who knows. The bigger mystery to ME is why Andraste, noble sniff that she is, took a liking to him. Either way, he’s part of the party and what’s a bard who doesn’t appreciate a wild imagination?

So, where was I? We’ve been around each other for a bit. Long enough to get past the awkward looks and questions…for the most part. There was a lot of shopping to do (and some returning), but now we’re on the road.

Our first stop brought us to a town called Kilcardine on the outskirts of Cloud Forest. We were just supposed to pass through, heading for the fog. The whole town was run down, really just no good to look at. The houses were falling apart and the pastures were almost empty. How the town survives is beyond me. The one place that did have a bit of promise to it was the Drunken Bard (and not just due to my affinity for the name). Unlike the other places, it looked well kept and strongly built. Even the men about the place had a stronger look to them, unlike the waifs wandering the streets.

Tali led the chatter with the barkeep, big guy called Silvano. He offered bread but didn’t have much information for us. Not that we really asked a whole lot by way of the fog. Mostly we just inquired about the state of the place and heard stories about man-eating spiders. Crazy stuff. I’m not sure why anyone stuck around the place.

Worried for our horses — and maybe because I caught sight of the big dragonborn taking care of them, and maybe because dragons have always fascinated me — I ventured out to have a chat with the stable guy, Grisha. Talk about stonewalled. I couldn’t even get him to recommend a travelling drink. Water! Says the guy who works for a pub. Petter came along, but even his complete snobbishness did nothing for us. We moved on.

The unofficial leader of the place, an old man called Aston (probably in his mid to early 50’s — remember, humans age really, really fast), had a stick up his butt about us being there. He never said it in so many words, but you could just tell. I guess maybe he DID say it in so many words when I mentioned that we might like to take care of their spider issue. “The last half-eladrin I trusted got five of my men killed,” he said. As though I hadn’t just offered to vanquish his trouble. Not the most diplomatic fellow. We stuck around anyhow and he gave us directions (no payment, mind you, but directions) to the heart of the problem. Being the kind-hearted adventurers we are, we went.

On the way out of town, I saw a haggard looking woman with a little girl. I wouldn’t mind going back and getting her alone. Something about the men we talked to led me to believe there was something they weren’t saying.

But about those spiders. They travel in groups. Crazy reflexes. Probably a 16 on a 1-20 scale, which is pretty astounding. It didn’t make them easy to hit…but at least they lacked strategy. I watched one swarm walk through fire twice. Not the brightest enemy. The battle took longer than any of us expected, but it was probably good practice. We’ll have to work on group-fighting as we go. I don’t want to be lost in the mist wondering if I’m going to pop up on the wrong side of a sword.

Until next time…

- Arrow



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