On July 14th, Year 4, following a report of Gnomish post-siege assessments that surmised that witchcraft was used to stop the river during and after the siege (presumably to cross it), Randall’s encounter with Ar-a-mach forces on Cria Flats during the siege takes on more significance. He and Bart decide to go see what they were after.
- Randal (HuS): Level 3 Human Druid
- Bart (TrS): Level 2 Halfling Musician
Not knowing where they will have to go from Rathad Oidiche (three days away), they pack 10 days of food each and set out. They spend Monday night in the Hall of Mirrors outer prison, but do not encounter the wardens. On Tuesday, they cut through the woods to the gnome path, nearly reaching the refining facility before making a camp without watch for the night, which works out fine.
On Wednesday, they continue and soon reach the Great Road. When Randall peeks out to make sure the road is clear, he sees a pair of massive bipeds (far larger than the ogre he encountered in the past) coming up the road toward them. Leaving Oliver with Bart, Randall goes out and attempts to greet the giants. They rush him eagerly and he becomes a falcon and escapes despite one of the giants hurling a brick of the road at him. They lay low and let the giants pass by before crossing an continuing on to Rathad Oidhche. Where Bart takes a room, and Randall sleeps outside.
In the morning, Thursday the 17th, amid a thunderstorm they set out up the mountain without tipping the gnomes off to what they are investigating (at Bart’s insistence). The storm ends as they reach the ridge overlooking the fog-filled basin around 10 in the morning. They descend slowly into the fog, barely able to see a couple feet in front of them to guide their way through the sun starved foliage of the basin.
Randall, always attentive, notices something clear interrupting the fog and steps around it, Bart following him. It attacks and they soon find themselves combating a Gelatinous Cube. Though Randall attempts to flee after pulling Bart out of it, Bart stays to fight with daggers. As Randall’s creeping vine is devoured, Randall engages with a dagger as well until he is hit again and withdraws to use his bow. Eventually Bart, who has been one blow from death ever since he was originally enveloped, takes another hit and goes down.
Randall attempts to get the cube’s attention, but it swallows Bart up and Randall knows he cannot save him. He commands Oliver to flee and is about to run himself, but instead becomes an orangutan, pulling Bart from the cube and fleeing through the fog to the edge of the basin again. He makes it blessedly unopposed and there buries Bart under a tree, eschewing the use of his tree command for digging the hole.
With that task finished, Randall returns to Rathad Oidhche, selling Bart’s more generic equipment and staying the night at the inn. In the morning, he learns from the barkeep that the basin is called Cria’s Basin. Like the rest of the mountain, it is named after one of Luath Draoidh’s Cuirm-Cogaidh (Warlock-Knight), Cria a Deas. It is said that after the end of kings and Luath’s death, she returned to the mountain and hid something there. The basin was forever changed and there are rumors of dangerous creatures that come down out of it from time to time. No one dares go there.
With no interest in returning to the basin alone, Randall begins his journey South. His travel is uneventful and he spends Saturday night in the Hall of Mirrors. Early Sunday morning, he awakes with an uncanny sense that an Earthquake is coming. With Oliver trailing behind, he flies in falcon form to Citadel where he is able to warn Matthias in time to secure the temple scaffolding and prevent an accident.
At first, HuS was sure the gelatinous cube was a Rainbow Gel. They’re lucky it wasn’t but it probably would have changed little. If anything, HuS might have insisted on fleeing if it had been. On the other hand, TrS was paying little enough attention I think it was a surprise to him how much damage he had taken. He also may not have believed death was on the table.