Tales of The Brunch Club 049 “Diesa’s Folly”

Fantasy Illustration of Dwarf Exploring dangerous cave

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Welcome to Episode 49 of the Rescued by Dragons fantasy fiction podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club:

My name is Brian Messmer and I am not only your storyteller but the dungeon master behind the homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign this adventure is based on. Please join me as I tell the tale of how my players, and the dice, ruined and improved my perfectly laid plans.

But first, a quick recap…

In episode 48, the Brunch Club happened upon an abandoned tower which was now occupied by two giant lizards which they feared. They thought about sending SAM in to investigate but Drusilla had another idea. Fredward’s monster manual said weasels were immune to the basilisk’s gaze. She reached into her bag of tricks hoping to withdraw a weasel, but got a badger instead. They figured a badger might be close enough. Elora shifted her consciousness into the creature and inspected the tower for herself. Her consciousness sprang back to her body almost immediately as the badger was turned to stone upon entering the tower. The party decided it was not worth the risk and walked further on until they found a new campsite. During the night they were attacked by two frost trolls. They killed them both, though SAM took heavy damage and shut down. All of them, except for Diessa, were relieved to learn healing spells healed SAM. Elora led them further into the mountains. Their path turned into a very steep slope coated with loose scree. They used their rope and petons to cross the slope safely. Once across, they saw four boulders rise from the ground and emit an eerie, but seemingly harmless, humming noise.

And now…

Episode 49: “Diesa’s Folly”

The Brunch Club took their climbing gear off. They rested for a few minutes and listened to the gentle hum of the floating rocks behind them. Elora double checked her map and they continued on their journey. The snow was deeper now but they continued to make steady progress throughout the day. A snow-packed trail of hoof prints crossing their path was the only sign of other living creatures on the mountains besides them.

As night drew near and they scouted for places to camp, Elora noticed a cave in the distance. They trudged through the snow to its entrance. The opening of the cave was roughly the size of a large carriage and the entrance sloped downward toward the back. Even with their night vision, they could not see how far the cave went in but an awful stench emanated from within. Drusila withdrew a ball of fur from her bag of tricks. When she tossed it to the ground, it transformed into a weasel. Drusilla also conjured dancing lights in the shape of a weasel. Elora transferred her consciousness into the weasel and crept carefully into the cave with SAM following behind her quietly. The light from the glowing magic weasel revealed that the cave bent around to the left about thirty feet in from the entrance.

Elora and SAM continued around the bend. They walked even more cautiously as the passage began to slope downward and the ground grew frostier and more slippery. After a few more feet they saw the passage open up into a large cavern. Elora heard a soft , repetitive rumbling noise. They turned around and went back to the mouth of the cave to report what they saw to the rest of the party.

They decided to go back in and explore the cave as a group, with Diesa scouting well ahead. The sneaky dwarf lit her hooded lantern and adjusted the opening to a narrow beam she pointed in front of her. As she worked her way down the sloping passage and into the cavern, her light picked up the brown hue of frozen and dried blood on the walls. She opened the aperture to reveal more of the underground space around her. She scanned the area and noticed a gleaming, pristine greatsword resting atop a pile of worthless looking armor and organic refuse. Near the pile, Diesa noticed the source of the low rumbling noise. Barely noticeable because of its icy blueish-white fur, a creature lay sleeping. It’s fur moved up and down in time with its long breaths. She couldn’t tell what kind of creature it was, but it looked very large. Even larger than SAM. She eyed the gleaming sword greedily, but decided going back for the rest of the group was the safer move.

She turned to go back up the passage way. Her lantern grazed the rocky and icy wall, knocking an icicle off. She caught it before it crashed to the ground. It broke in half in her grasp. The top half tumbled downward and shattered against the icy floor. The furry creature’s breathing halted for a moment, but then resumed its steady snoring.

Diesa’s feeling of relief was short-lived. At the other side of the cavern, a pile of snow shifted and fell away as a very large creature with the same icy blue fur stood up to a full eighteen feet tall. It fixed her with an intense stare from piercing blue eyes. She gasped in pain as a cold, stabbing feeling permeated her chest. Her feeling of relief was replaced by terror as she found her muscles unresponsive to the commands her brain gave her. She could not run. She could not lift her axe. She could not even open her mouth to scream. She did manage to let out a strained wail through her unopened jaw as the wendigo trudged toward her with open claws.

Drusilla, Elora, Jory, Salys and SAM waited anxiously in the cavern for word from Diesa. As the minutes passed by they looked at each other with increasingly worried expressions. After a few minutes they heard a faint cry, a low snarl, and heavy footsteps echo up the passage.

“I think the scouting mission’s over,” Jory said.

“Maybe we should just leave,” SAM suggested in a monotone voice, not concerned about Diesa’s fate.

“Get in there and save her!” Elora shouted at SAM.

Heeding her command SAM trudged down the passage. He entered the cavern, just in time for his headlamp to illuminate the wendigo slashing several large gashes across Diesa’s chest and sides. He heard her scream through her paralzyed jaw and fall unconscious. Her blood spread quickly across the frozen ground.

“DANGER!” SAM shouted.

Jory raced into the passageway and dove on his belly to slide into the cavern. As he slid and tumbled past SAM toward the fallen Diesa, he shouted at the wendigo, “Hey! Pick on someone your own size!”

The wendigo looked down toward the defiant halfling. He did not see Pip fly into the cavern and land on Diesa’s shoulder. Salys, through Pip, cast a spare the dying spell that stabilized her. The dwarf remained unconscious, but her blood was no longer spreading out around her.

Elora ran into the cave as fast as she could without slipping, withdrew her phoenix arrow, muttered an ensnaring spell and shot at the wendigo. The arrow caught the beast in the shoulder. Vines, looking strangely out of place on the icy floor, rose up and wrapped around the creature’s legs. The wendigo effortlessly broke the vines.

“Get away from them you fucker!” Drusilla screamed as she slid into the icy passageway using her shield as a sled. When her shield came to a stop, she spoke an incantation, made a gesture with her arms, and conjured a cloud of ravens that swirled around the wendigo. The swarming birds raked and bit the beast with their claws and beaks.

SAM moved up to Elora. “Danger!” he shouted again. He raised two of his four arms. His metal fists flew off the ends of his arms, shot through the cloud of ravens, and pummeled the wendigo.

The wendigo, growled and trudged toward Drusilla. He fixed her with his freezing graze, paralyzing her as well. He bared his razor sharp claws and ripped through her armor and flesh with a swipe of each hand. As the cleric fell into unconsciousness, she toppled sideways off her shield. Her blood spread in a pool around her as the spectral ravens disappeared.

Jory closed the distance between him and the wendigo. He leapt up and punched it several times, hoping to hit and disable the nerves in the creature’s back and abdomen. He did not incapacitate the beast as he hoped he would, but he was able to do further damage. He snuck between its legs and scrambled out of reach before the beast could take a swing at him with its deadly claws.

Salys muttered a spell and a chromatic orb shot from her hands. An orange sphere of fire slammed into the wendigo. It screamed as the flames engulfed it. The smell of burning fur and flesh filled the cavern. On his master’s command, Pip flew across the cave and landed on Drusilla’s shredded body. Salys stabilized the cleric with another spare the dying spell through Pip as Elora damaged the wendigo with two more well placed arrows.

SAM jumped up. Skis expanded from his metal feet. He slid toward the fallen cleric, reuniting his arms with his fired fists on the way. He came to a stop between Drusilla and the Wendigo. His fists fired out. One of his fists shot through the chest of the beast, and exploded out its back. The wendigo’s heart was clutched in its hand. The huge beast toppled over.

The smaller sleeping wendigo woke up. It blinked in confusion at the battle happening in front of him. When it saw its parent’s body fall to the ground with blood oozing out of a hole in its chest, it howled with rage. Though it was a young wendigo, it was still taller than SAM when it stood up. It ran toward SAM. SAM punched him twice. Jory ran up besides SAM and hit the wendigo with a flurry of several blows. His punches had more effect on the younger wendigo than they did on the adult one. He was able to connect with one of the creature’s ki points, disrupting its energy flow and stunning it.

Salys finished it off with a fireball.

The Brunch Club surveyed the aftermath of the battle. SAM healed Drusilla, bringing her back to consciousness. He looked at the unconscious but breathing Diesa.

“She’s dead. We should just leave,” he said in a cold metallic voice.

“SAM!” Drusilla shouted. “Don’t be mean!” The cleric knelt beside Diesa, touched her shoulder, and brought the dwarf back to consciousness.

The group caught their breath before clearing an area to make camp for the night. Elora spent most of the night skinning the younger wendigo, resting only for her four hours of restful meditation.

The pristine greatsword was too heavy for any of them to wield, so they gave it SAM.

The rest of the night passed quietly in the cave. Elora stuffed the wendigo pelt into the bag of holding and they continued on their journey.

As they progressed toward the northwestern peak where they hoped to find the touchpoint to the Feywild the snow got deeper. Later in the day the snow was too deep for Salys and Jory to keep up with the others. SAM offered to carry them.

“It reminds me of when Vorjohn used to carry me,” Salys said as SAM conveyed them through the snow.

Later in the day they saw another trail of hoof marks cross their path. This time they saw in the distance a herd of gray-brown shaggy creatures that looked like some sort of oxen and boar hybrid with long, thick hair. They sniffed the air as the group crossed their path, but paid them no other mind.

As they moved on from the herd, Elora looked to the distant peaks. She noticed a large bird. Even from the great distance, she could tell it was a roc – a very large bird Fredward had warned them was in this area. She pointed it out to the others.

“Keep an eye out for those,” Elora told them. “They could sweep down and carry any of us away.”

Salys and Jory instinctively held on to SAM a little tighter.

As their eyes were fixed to the sky, they noticed wisps of smoke rising into the air in front of them. They slowed down and walked very carefully. They kept low and used mounds of snow to conceal themselves. When they approached within two hundred feet of the smoke, they saw its source. Directly on their path, four humanoid creatures crouched around a fire. They wore furs, had distinct tattoos decorating the exposed skin of their arms, and were as large as the younger wendigo they had just slain.

“They look like Hill Giants,” Elora whispered.

“Except for the two heads,” said Drusilla.

“Except for that,” agreed Elora.

“What now?” Diesa asked, gripping her axe tightly.

Elora looked around her. She scanned the treelines and terrain. She pointed to a very steep hill that ended in a level plateau.

“If we can climb up there, we may be able to find a new path around them.”

“I can climb that,” SAM said.

The four-armed mechanical man easily ascended the steep hill. He threw down a rope and pulled them up one by one.

They all stood on the snow covered plateau. They listened for any signs that the two-headed giants may have seen them. They heard nothing. In fact their surroundings seemed eerily silent around them. They scanned the sky, looking for the roc. To their relief, they saw it emerge from behind one of the distant peaks.

Movement on the side of a cliff nearer to them caught Elora’s attention. She was able to make out a shape clinging to a cliff face about one hundred and fifty feet in the distance. It was a large, twelve-legged lizard. Elora didn’t move. She recognized this beast from the book Fredward had given them. It was a bahir. A creature that could breathe lightning and was originally bred to hunt and kill dragons. It blinked at her.

The silence around them was shattered by the bahir’s terrifying roar. It leapt out from the cliff face and landed in front of them.

“DANGER!” SAM shouted.

Our tale will continue in Episode 50

Episode 49 was written by Dominic White, Bethany Powers, and myself, Brian Messmer.

The audio reording of our DnD game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

The recording of our Dungeons and Dragons game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!

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Thank you for listening, and please join me next week to see what my players’ choices, and the roll of the dice, have in store.