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Welcome to Episode 51 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 50, the Brunch club defeated the Bahir that attacked them. Despite the din of battle, they were able to hide from the curious ettins. They continued their way on a new path picked out by Elora. The path took them across a narrow ledge on a cliff face with large nests resting above them. They were attacked by humanoid bird creatures with the heads of stags as they crossed. The battle went poorly until SAM climbed the cliff face to the nests and threatened the winged creatures with the destruction of their eggs. With their focus on SAM, the creatures became easy targets for Elora, Salys, and Drusilla who blasted them out of the air. They finished traversing the narrow ledge safely. On the other side, SAM handed Jory two large eggs.
Episode 51: “Saved by the Bell”
Jory took the two large eggs from SAM and placed them in the snow. He and the others gathered the scant burnable wood they could scavenge from their campsite. It was mostly twigs, dried grasses, and some narrow dead trees easily hacked down by Diesa.
Jory began making the cooking fire while the others made camp around him. As Elora finished unrolling her bedroll she noticed an orange speck of color creeping up behind the halfling. The small orange wedge-shaped object seemed to float closer in an odd, up and down, bobbing motion. When it got closer Elora noticed it was a goose, its pristine white feathers blending perfectly with the snow. It began rolling one of the eggs away from Jory. Elora was sure it was the mysterious and infuriating goose that had been plaguing them for weeks.
“Hey!” Elora shouted. “That’s our dinner!”
Everyone turned toward Elora, then turned to the direction she was pointing in and shouting at.
“Come back here with that egg, you fucker!” Drusilla shouted.
SAM took a step toward the goose. “Warning!” He said in his loud mechanical voice. “Influx of magical energy level 10!”
“SAM!” Elora shouted. “Catch the goose!”
SAM bent over and lumbered toward the goose. His four arms were stretched down and outward. As he got just close enough to grab the goose in his metal hands, it stepped nimbly out of his grasp. SAM stepped forward again. The goose evaded him easily. The dance between trodding robot and graceful fowl continued for some time, and while SAM was not successful in catching it, he did provide much-needed amusement to his new companions.
As The Brunch Club’s laughter subsided, SAM stopped and watched the goose waddle off into the distance. “Mission failed,” he said as he trudged back to others, who were sitting on their bedrolls eating freshly cooked eggs.
“SAM, what does ‘magical energy level ten’ mean?” Jory asked between bites of his dinner.
“It means the creature had a magic level of ten,” SAM answered.
“Um, okay, that was helpful,” said Jory, before asking, “What level is Drusilla?”
“Level three,” SAM replied.
“Oh! What level am I?” Salys asked with an eager smile on her face.
“Level three,” SAM replied again.
“Oh,” Salys said, the eagerness gone from her voice.
“It’s weird that he’s followed us everywhere,” observed Elora.
“I feel like he’s enjoying messing with us,” Drusilla said with annoyance.
The group finished their dinner and huddled together around the fire as the bitter cold of night descended upon them. Drusilla conjured three woodland creatures from her bag of tricks for them to snuggle with for extra warmth.
Elora stared up at the sunlit peak and picked out the most passable trail. Their progress up the snow and ice-covered peak was slow, but steady for that day, and they made camp again on the unforgiving slope of the mountain.
The next day felt very much like the previous days. There were no trees to give them a sense of moving forward. Only a white peak in the distance that grew imperceptibly closer with each day.
The journey’s monotony was broken by a loud shriek that echoed between the mountains. The group looked in the direction it came from. To their horror, they saw the form of the great flying roc silhouetted against the sun. Relief replaced terror as they saw the roc fly in the opposite direction toward a far off peak. The echo of its cry faded away.
The sound of the roc was replaced by a faint crackling noise, then a low rumble that grew steadily louder. Elora looked at the mountain slope above them.
“Avalanche!” she shouted.
The group frantically looked for cover as the unstoppable wall of snow rolled toward them.
Elora saw a strip of rock cutting across the white snow roughly thirty feet up the slope. It looked like it might be an outcropping. It might not be, but it was their only possibility of cover.
“Get to the ledge!” shouted the ranger, and dashed toward the rocks. The others followed, using their arms to help propel them through the snow.
Jory, SAM, Elora, Copper, and Drusilla made it under the shallow stone outcropping. Salys realized she wasn’t going to make it in time. She made a quick gesture with her hands. A one-dimensional sphere as tall as her appeared in front of her. She stepped through it. The sphere disappeared then instantly reappeared under the outcropping. She stepped out and pressed herself as far under the ledge as she could.
Diesa only made it halfway to her companions. She threw one end of a rope toward the ledge. Jory was able to snatch it out of the air, then grab on to SAM as the crush of snow turned their world white, then dark.
Under the ledge, Jory felt Diessa’s rope go slack, then tighten again. He held onto it as hard as he could, hoping Diesa wouldn’t be carried more than its fifty-foot length. The rope went taut, and though he held on, it yanked him away from the sturdy SAM.
Elora was also swept out from the safety of the ledge by the cascading snow. SAM reached for her but could not grasp his new master. Elora tumbled into darkness.
Jory was able to keep himself near the top of the cresting wave, effectively treading snow to keep himself from being dragged under.
The rush of snow that fell over the ledge filled the space under the outcropping. SAM and Drusilla managed to keep themselves from being swept away, but the snow pulled Salys and Copper away from safety.
Seconds later, the cacophony of the avalanche turned into an eerie silence.
“Can you dig us out, SAM?” Drusilla asked.
SAM’s four strong arms quickly cleared an escape tunnel. Atop the field of freshly churned snow and debris, they searched for their friends.
About 50 feet down the mountain, they saw Copper dig herself out of a shallow covering of snow and began sniffing around her. Near Copper they saw Jory dig himself out, still clutching one end of the line. “I have Diesa’s rope!” he shouted and began pulling it.
Elora’s eyes blinked open. She only saw darkness. She found it difficult to breathe. The snow was packed tightly around her, making any movement impossible. Even if she could dig herself out, she had no idea which direction was up. She took as deep a breath as possible and screamed for help as loud as she could.
On the surface, both Jory and Copper heard a faint cry. Copper moved quickly in the direction it came from. Jory shouted up the hill, “I heard a noise over here!” He pointed in the direction Copper was moving and continued to pull on the rope. There was tension on it, but Jory didn’t know if it was still attached to Diesa, or if the resistance was from tightly packed snow.
Drusilla placed her shield down and slid awkwardly down the slope to where Jory and Copper were. She made a gesture, said a quick prayer, and was able to communicate with Copper. “Where’s Elora?” she asked the wolf. “Can you pick up her scent?”
“Yes,” Copper replied. “She’s near here. I heard her too.”
“Start digging, Copper,” Drusilla said. The wolf began digging furiously.
Diesa tried to get her bearings once the tumbling was over. She was packed in tightly by the snow all around her. She could tell by the pressure in her head that she was upside down. She managed to work her arm into her bag which was still slung across her shoulder. She rummaged around for anything useful and gripped a long-forgotten bell. She punched out enough space around her to ring it furiously. Even with it so close to her, it sounded muffled in the snow. She hoped her companions were able to hear it.
Jory’s heart sank when the end of the rope popped out of the snow. There was no dwarf attached to it. Through his silent despair, he heard what sounded like the sound of a bell. It rang over and over again. He dashed to with renewed hope. When he got to the spot where the bell was loudest, he dropped to his knees and began digging.
Salys, also buried and packed in the snow, worked her head back to see if she could feel Pip still nestled in the hood of her robe. She didn’t feel him there. She reached out her familiar with her mind. “Pip. Where are you?
“I’m flying around watching these idiots dig in the snow,” he replied gruffly. “For some reason the Cleric is sledding.”
“Can you see me? Can you tell where I am?”
“You’re under the snow, genius,” Pip replied sarcastically.
“Useless little flying fuck,” Salys said as she realized her familiar wasn’t going to be able to help her. She screamed as loud as she could.
Jory leaned back to catch his breath. As he bent over to resume digging he heard the gnome’s cries for help.
“Salys is over there,” Jory shouted to Drusilla, pointing in the direction of Salys.
Drusilla sledded toward the spot until she could hear the cries too. She stopped at the loudest point and began digging. She moved large chunks of snow aside with her shield. Pip landed next to her and began scratching at the snow too.
Salys took another deep breath to scream for help once more. Before she could cry out, light burst in through the snow. She saw a white-haired elf and a small owl staring down at her.
Diesa was now thoroughly annoyed at the snow. With newfound strength fueled by annoyance, she had managed to turn herself around and was forcing her way upwards, punching at the snow.
Jory dug down as quickly as he could. His fast, strong, dextrous hands threw snow behind him. He leaned forward toward the bottom of the hole in hopes of hearing any signs of Diesa. A leather-gloved fist shot up from the bottom of the hole and punched him in the face. He was overjoyed.
With Salys and Diesa safely extracted, the rest of them converged on the spot where SAM and Copper were digging for Elora. She had been under the snow for quite a while and The Brunch Club was getting worried about how long she had been buried and hoped they could get to her before she suffocated.
Elora tried to dig herself out, but her oxygen-starved limbs had no strength. She tried to scream again but could not get enough air. She barely heard the sounds of scraping above her. Nothingness began to fill her mind when she was snapped back into consciousness by the feeling of being yanked up by her quiver and the cool air filling her grateful lungs.
SAM pulled her to him and hugged her with his four arms. Copper rubbed her head on her feet.
Jory prepared as hearty and restorative a lunch as he could while The Brunch Club rested and took stock of their inventory. Some minor items had been lost while they were in the avalanche’s clutches. The biggest loss though was Elora’s compass.
After an hour’s rest, they continued their journey up the peak.
A few hours later, Drusilla noticed what looked like a partially obscured entrance to a cave off in the distance. She pointed it out to her companions.
Elora looked at her map and read some of Schittman’s notes. She turned to her companions and said, “Guys, I think that’s it. That’s where the touchpoint is.”
When they got closer, they thought they saw movement in front of the cave. They decided to proceed slowly. They approached, crouched down low, hoping to avoid being seen. When the mouth of the cave was clearly in sight, they noticed the objects partially obscuring the entrance were a giant with blue skin, a horned helmet, and a large axe. On each side of the giant were two gray-skinned ogres. They weren’t as large as the giant, but still large compared with even SAM. The three towering creatures stared into the darkness of the cave, as though considering something.
The giant grabbed one of the ogres by the neck and threw it into the cave. It reluctantly walked forward into the darkness, out of sight.
The Brunch Club watched patiently from their safe distance as the two remaining creatures stared into the cave, waiting for their companion.
The ogre did not emerge right away. Nor did he appear after an hour, or after an hour and a half. Two hours after he went in, his head flew out of the cave, as though it had been ejected. It was pierced with many arrows and covered in a thick layer of ice and frost.
The remaining ogre screamed out and tried to flee. The giant grabbed it by the neck. It calmed down in deference to the larger, stronger creature. They talked in low murmurs The Brunch Club could not understand because they were too far away and did not speak giant. The creatures turned away from the cave and began walking down the mountain. When they got near The Brunch Club’s hiding spot, the giant looked down at the snow
“Shit,” Elora muttered. “He sees our footprints.”
They stayed still, hoping they would continue on their way. Instead, the giant picked up a nearby boulder and turned toward them.
Before he could throw it, Salys stepped out from cover and fired a barrage of magic missiles and a firebolt at him. The spell attacks crashed against the broad chest of the giant, causing him intense pain and rage. He threw the boulder in anger at Salys. It crushed against her, causing her ribs to make sickening cracking sounds. She collapsed, out of breath at SAM’s feet.
Jory scrambled toward the giant, trying to get within range of his throwing darts. Diesa loaded her crossbow and took aim. The crossbow bolt sunk into the giant’s patchwork armor but seemed to have no effect.
Elora withdrew her longbow and shot at the giant with her phoenix arrow. In her haste, she didn’t load the arrow perfectly. It sailed toward Jory, who turned just in time. He caught the arrow, continued spinning around, and threw it at the giant. Unfortunately, the beast was too far away.
The ogre threw a javelin at the distracted Jory. It hit him and took a chunk of flesh out of his upper arm.
The giant lumbered toward the prone Salys and slashed at her with his great axe. The blade gouged the side of her crushed ribcage. The gnome slipped into unconsciousness from the damage. SAM knelt down next to Salys. A compartment in his chest opened up, revealing a medical kit. With two arms he expertly bandaged and revived her. She sat up dazed and sore, but grateful to be alive. With his other two arms, SAM drew the great sword Diesa had found in the wendigo cave a few days ago. The sword burst into flames. He swung at the giant that loomed above him and Salys. The giant screamed as the hot blade cut and cauterized his abdomen.
Drusilla ran between the two large creatures. She made a gesture with her arms, spoke a prayer into the air, and summoned a cloud of spiritual ravens that circled around her, engulfing the creatures and ripping into them with their sharp beaks and claws.
Jory ran up to the ogre. He punched it with a flurry of blows, stunning it before backing away quickly.
Diesa fired her crossbow at the stunned ogre. The arrow sunk into the creature’s hide. He growled in pain but showed no signs of giving up the fight.
Elora aimed at the giant again, this time more carefully. Two perfect phoenix arrow shots sailed through the cloud of ravens, burying in the creature’s brain, sending it crashing to the ground.
Salys, now conscious and standing with SAM’s help, fired a round of magic missiles into the ogre. It looked down at her with a surprised expression, as its insides spilled out through the hole Salys blasted into its stomach.
SAM healed the injured party members while Diesa and Drusilla rummaged through the armor of their attackers. They found fourteen gold and a vial of strange blue powder, which SAM analyzed as crushed sapphire.
They decided they should rest before exploring the cave, so they made camp near the entrance.
In the morning, they cautiously entered the cave, stepping past the head of the Ogre. The air inside the mouth of the cave was warmer compared to the mountain air. It smelled different as well.
“Smell that?” Salys said. “It smells like a forest.”
“Yeah. It does!” Elora agreed.
“It smells like a swamp to me,” Drusilla observed.
“I smell fields of barley,” Jory said, inhaling the pleasant odor.
“What are you guys talking about?” asked Diesa. “It smells like a cave.”
They entered past the opening. It turned right, into a dark passage. Jory hesitated. He dreaded the thought of meeting an Arch Fey. He worried even more about becoming trapped in the Fey Wild. “Are we sure we want to do this?” he said. He noticed that the party was nearly out of sight. He raced to catch up with them.
Elora called out in Elvish, “We’re Fey, coming in peace to seek council with the Arch Fey!”
After the echoes died down, the reply came in a soft, smooth voice that only Elora could hear. “I hope you’re better company than the last creature who visited.”
“We are. May we come in?” Elora asked in Elvish.
“Why yes,” the voice said to Elora. “The more the merrier.”
“Sweet,” said Elora, not sweetly at all. “Let’s keep going.”
Drusilla conjured dancing lights to illuminate their way and the group moved forward.
They proceeded down the passage. After a short walk, they heard what sounded like water. When they moved closer, they could hear chirping. The darkness began turning into light. A few moments later, the passageway opened up into an enormous, vast cavern. It was filled with waterfalls, streams, and a forest of lush pine trees. It was bathed in a golden sunlight that had no apparent source.
Deer, rabbits, and other wildlife skittered around them. The group stood in silence. They basked in the presence of living things thriving around them. It was a presence they missed more than they realized during their march through the comparatively lifeless mountains.
Two cardinals landed in a branch above them. Drusilla cast her Speak With Animals.
“Hi!” the birds said.
“Hi!” Drusilla replied. “What is this place?”
“It’s home,” one of the cardinals answered.
“Who’s in charge?”
“Gulu,” the other applied.
“They are the guardian.”
“What form do they take?”
“Beautiful elf of ice and snow.”
“Where are they?”
“Follow the path.”
Before Drusilla could ask another question, one of the birds said, “You are boring. Goodbye.” The cardinals flew off.
The group followed the path. It led down a hill, over a small bridge, into a lush natural garden. In the middle stood a tall elf with pale blue skin. A subtle aura of cold blue light swirled around the elf. Behind it, hovered a shimmering oval disk, perpendicular to the ground. It was nearly transparent, save the smoke-like tendrils of air that seemed to bend the light around them.
They approached the elf closer. When they were almost to her, SAM began humming. The crystals on his chest lit up in random patterns. In his loud, warning voice, he yelled, “Conflux of conjuration energy! Stage Seven!” He ran quickly toward the swirling oval. When he got within five feet of it, he shouted, “Error!”
He backed away and went to Elora. He handed her the magic greatsword, then turned and walked back to the oval. The elf stepped aside and SAM stepped into the oval and disappeared.
“Wait! SAM!” Elora called out.
“Where did he go?” Drusilla anxiously asked Gulu.
Gulu calmly replied, “To the FeyWild, of course.”
“Will he be safe?” Elora asked.
The elf shrugged. “The Feywild is not safe. But it’s not dangerous either.” She then asked, “What can I do for you?”
Elora told Gulu about their reason for coming here, and about how they weren’t sure if Rajat’s intentions were good or bad. They guessed bad.
“Oh, I’ll be happy to deal with this Rajat, but I’ll need something in exchange,” Gulu said, smiling with anticipation.
“What do you want?” asked Elora.
“Oh, something amusing. Something different. Something unpredictable. An agent of chaos.”
The Brunch Club cast knowing glances at each other.
“An agent of chaos, you say?” said Drusilla.
“We happen to know someone like that,” Jory said.
Salys whispered, “Honk.”
Our tale will continue in Episode 52
Episode 51 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:
- Bethany Powers, who plays Diessa
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
- With Billy Chase as SAM
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!
If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends and rating and reviewing us on your favorite podcast platform. We’d really appreciate it.
More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support and follow us can be found at RescuedByDragons.com.
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.