With the sudden appearance of the ‘I constantly need to vomit’ syndrome in some of our teammates (seriously, where does it all come from?), Thomila and myself set out to scout the surrounding woods and locate the redcap lairs. The protection Helm offers us must surely be enough to protect us in these dangerous woods.
At first though, Thomila made sure to cure most of my ill-gotten weakness when we fought with those strange wyverns. Feeling strengthened, I took the lead and we made quick progress. No signs of the Redcaps however; those nasty little buggers know how to hide. We did however notice a large rock, and a recent stone-slide revealed a small entrance. Within seconds however, we were pacing backwards, as heavy breathing was coming from within. A large brown bear charged out to meet us, only to be swiftly injured by both of us. Hearing the noise from withing, we could easily prepare. The bear fled back inside, forcing us to give chase. The fight did not last long, heavily injured he only survived another few seconds. Helm had surely blessed us well today. Thinking ourselves safe, we crouched within the lair, looking for possible loot. This left us completely unprepared as a second bear rolled in; had a mate! Once again however, our swords made quick work of our adversary; my newly dubbed Oathkeeper showing his worth once more.
Looking around, we finally found the scattered remains of a human male, nearly unidentifiable. A ragged note was stuck to what we presumed to be his torso.
“… Lieve moeder. Het leven is hier fantastisch! Ik heb zoveel nieuwe vrienden gemaakt. Ik ben nu op weg naar Springcross… "
Unfortunate fellow, he would never reach his destination. Collecting the pieces we could find, Thomila decided to cast Speak with Dead later, to hear more of his demise. Placing them fairly hidden, next to a tree.
Nothing like some morning exercise to wake you up! We set out again, on this beautiful day. A short while later, I came to the conclusion that his was not going to amount to much. We were walking without direction or goal. In our previous encounter, the Redcaps had hidden their lair with magic, illusory magic. If we were to do this, we needed something more. Thomila, being able to cast Detect Magic, would follow me closely, noting whenever she encountered magic. Which we did, but surprisingly, not the one we expected. An entrance to the Redcap lair was quickly found. We did not want to enter with just two of us however, so we went out to search for more. Remember those strange groups of large mushrooms? Magic. What kind? Illusory. Surprised, we decided to check these out. The stone I tossed at them went right through, but was stopped against hardened wood: a chest was revealed. The mushrooms are fake, hiding what seems to be a treasure chest.
Closer inspection revealed little, and we decided to open it. Bad move, as we were standing next to each other, and a poisonous gas was released. My memory gets a little blurry there, but I was shaken awake by Thomila seconds later. She revealed the poison to be similar to the Deep Slumber that old hag cast a while ago (who, apparently, is back at her ‘shrine’ in the woods; we decided not to enage). The chest was filled with gold and copper pieces, lining the top. Touching them however, was not a good idea, as a new magic effect was send through me. Resisting this (thank you, Helm) proved worthwhile, as nothing happened. We found a bunch of interesting stuff.
A way to the south, we found a similar chest, in a similar field of ‘shrooms’. Thomila, being confident in her mental strength, decided she should be the one to open. I took some distance as she did so. This one however, did not release some form of gas or magic. No, it decided to eat Thomila. Within seconds she was being grappled by what can only be described as a freak of nature: a chest with hands. Filthy thing. Within seconds we were fully engaged in combat, Thomila attempting to strike while getting eaten, and myself striking from the rear. The damn chest was pretty sturdy, but eventually ‘it’ did succumb. Not used to being lunch for inanimate objects, Thomila was slightly shaken by all of it. It left no treasure either..
Not overly hurt, we decided to continue our ways. Going west, past the bearcave, we found another chest (in the shrooms). This one was not living however, nor was it containing treasure. Inside it was a rope. A bloody rope. Entangled and stuffed inside, for some reason we decided to get it loose. This took over an hour, an hour! Two idiots, tugging a rope in broad daylight. The gods must have died with laughter, I know one of them did. At the last stretch we found a tiny note: ‘you have just toggled the alarm, idiots’.
Yes, that happened. Yes we are idiots.
A bit embarrassed I must tell you that only 20 feet away, we found another entrance to the Redcap lair. Out of which we now heard noises coming. Two of the nasty buggers shot out, and had little trouble locating us hiding in the bushes.
The next two minutes were intense. We managed to survive the initial attack, and dealt some severe blows. The nasty creatures have a habit of healing damage however, and they are freakishly fast. Running away, charging us from all sides, they eventually took me dangerously low. Attack is the best defense as I always say, but whilst I managed to plunge Oathkeeper into one of them, he retaliated with his scythe, and everything turned black.
I woke up the next morning, horridly injured but alive. Thomila was helping me up, looking both scared and incredibly happy with at my survival. So, what had happened? I noticed Thomila wearing little but her armor (there are worse ways of waking up I guess), getting a small clue. Thomila filled in the details. The damage she had attained yesterday finally got to her at the end of the combat, enraging her still cursed blood. Turning into a lycantrophe after I fell, she managed to kill one of the redcaps, and chasing the other. The fact that she chased this last one saved my life, as she didn’t go after my defenseless body. My restored constitution allowed me to stabilize in time, and in the morning she set out to look for me, finding me in the exact same spot as I went down.
A new day has dawned. And although yesterday proved to be a hazardous adventure, I have no doubt Helm has graced us again with our protection. We are still alive, are we not?