- Markshire PCs:
None oâ€™ us gave up tryinâ€™ to get out and little by little over the next few days, we kept slogginâ€™ away at one end oâ€™ the corridor, pushinâ€™huge stones aside and usinâ€™ our picks and shovels to scrape and burrow around the rocks what was too big for us to move.
Finally, weâ€™d cleared a path for ourselves and we was able to press on. We ainâ€™t found no more obstica . . . uh, the rest oâ€™ the corridor was clear and it ainâ€™t took too long for us to get to where the roots oâ€™ the Shaftinâ€™ tree was growin up outta the floor oâ€™ the cavern.
But we wasnâ€™t alone! Now I ainâ€™t got no idea how they managed it, but somehow Opinvu and Ebb had gotten there before us! Yup! Ebb again! And theyâ€™d brought a big cow along with â€˜em too!! Well straight off, the both oâ€™ them began tellinâ€™ us what a mistake weâ€™d be makinâ€™ by plantinâ€™ the seeds what Walis was carryinâ€™ into the ground anywhere near the shaftinâ€™ treeâ€™s roots!
Opinvu told us a lich had taken up resi . . . uh, a lich was livinâ€™ inside the tree and if we made the tree well again, weâ€™d be also be makinâ€™ the lich stronger! Oh geez! Ainâ€™t none oâ€™ us was wantinâ€™ to help a lich! What a dilemma we was facing! After all we done to finally locate the seeds and get this far! Weeks and weeks oâ€™ work wasted! Odinâ€™s apples! What the hel was we gonna do now?
Opinvu told us the Gripplis was gonna have to find a way to get along without their tree oâ€™ shaftinâ€™ beinâ€™ hale and hearty and that was that! Meanwhile, the cow theyâ€™d brought along with them kept edginâ€™ closer and closer to where we all was standinâ€™. And it had an evil look on its face too! Well . . . I mean, if a cow is capable of havinâ€™ an evil look on its face, you know?
Nobody was quite sure what to do next. Then Bel spoke up, but to no one in particular, wishinâ€™ Lady Kaldt was here â€˜cause for sure, sheâ€™d be able to help us make the right decision regarding what to do with Frankieâ€™s seeds. Well glory be! Lady Kaldt must oâ€™ heard Bel cause there was a puff oâ€™ smoke and there she was! Standinâ€™ right next to the tree!
She told us there wasnâ€™t much she could do in the way oâ€™ helpinâ€™ us. For some reason, that was beyond her power. But . . . what she could do was tell us that Opinvu was safe! Yup! He was safe! I ainâ€™t makinâ€™ this up!
We all got to thinkinâ€™ hard â€˜bout what Lady Kaldt had said. Here we was, with a mad cow creepinâ€™ up on the lot oâ€™ us and lookinâ€™ for sure like it wanted to take a bite out oâ€™ some onesâ€™ leg. And . . . at the same time weâ€™s standinâ€™ here havinâ€™ a chat with Ebb whoâ€™d tried to fool us once before in the Grippiliâ€™s camp. Remember that? And . . . Opieâ€™s standin’ there alongside him and the two oâ€™ themâ€™s lookinâ€™ like they is the best oâ€™ friends!
We could see things was fast cominâ€™ to a head and all oâ€™ us got a firm grip on our weapons, sensinâ€™ the pressure buildinâ€™ up between the two groups. At that point, with that kind oâ€™ tension, nobody was really very safe in that cavern, includinâ€™ Opie! But . . . Lady Kaldt had told us Opie was somewhere . . . safe!
In a flash we realized the thing standinâ€™ there in front oâ€™ us wasnâ€™t Opinvu but a charlatan! An imposter! And they knew we was on to â€˜em too, cause a second later their swords came out! Opie, Ebb and the damn cow set upon us, and oh geez, we was all fightinâ€™ for our lives!
Iâ€™ll tell ya, they picked the wrong bunch oâ€™ folks to be attackinâ€™. With Durok and Walis and Bel swinginâ€™ away, Sun-Ok lettinâ€™ loose with a hail oâ€™ arrows and me whackinâ€™ at â€˜em with me new falchion, they ainâ€™t had no prospect oâ€™ winninâ€™ that battle!
After weâ€™d finished with the lot oâ€™ â€˜em we checked the dead cow, lookinâ€™ on itâ€™s rump fer a brand or somethinâ€™ soâ€™s weâ€™d know what farmer theyâ€™d stole it from. We found one. It read, BOVINUS THE DESTROYER. PROPERTY OF THE SPIDER TEMPLE. Oh geez! The Spider Temple!
Then Walis pulled out the seeds heâ€™d been keepinâ€™ safe in his pack, scraped out a little hole alongside the shaftinâ€™ tree, and dropped â€˜em in. Soon as Walis was finished with the sewinâ€™ oâ€™ the seeds, Lady Kaldt came back and con . . . congra . . . . uh, she told us weâ€™d done a really good job oâ€™ things!
She said while we was battlinâ€™ away here in the cavern, the real Opinvu had made a trip to a crypt under Yar where the lich really was! Heâ€™d brought along a magic towel that was soakinâ€™ wet, what he kept flickinâ€™ at the lich! Ouch! Ouch! Eeee that stings!
Sometimes boys does that to girls when theyâ€™s all at a party or somethinâ€™, ya know? A boy done that to me once and I socked him right in the eye! He never done it again! It was a few weeks before we even talked to each other!
Anyways, Opie was distractinâ€™ the lich with his flickinâ€™ and he kept edginâ€™ closer and closer till finally he was able ta wrap the lich up tight in that soppinâ€™ wet magic towel! Then he stuck the lich in a dark corner at the very bottom oâ€™ that crypt and it ainâ€™t gonna be botherinâ€™ no one for a long time!
Lady Kaldt said that there had been a pact between the lich and Garrison, the Demi-Dragon, who sits atop the Temple in the Meadow. With Opinvu doinâ€™ away with the lich, the pact was now broken!
And with us finally fixinâ€™ the shaftinâ€™ tree and savinâ€™ the Grippili clan weâ€™d made the forest healthy again! Lady Kaldt told us between what Opie had done and what the rest oâ€™ us accomplished, weâ€™d weakened the Spider Temple and all the evil things what was livinâ€™ in it! Now the balance oâ€™ power in Markshire was finally shifted to the good and all weâ€™d have to worry about was the Titan! Yup! She said that to us!
Then she give us her blessinâ€™ and, poof, she was gone! We had to kill one more oâ€™ those cows before we finally managed to climb up and outta the cavern. It was sportinâ€™ the same brand as the other one. Before long we was standinâ€™ in the Grippili camp, right under the shaftinâ€™ tree, tellinâ€™ Frankie the frog all the good news.
I was in such high spirits I give him a little hug and a kiss and I ainâ€™t thought once about cookinâ€™ up a bunch oâ€™ Grippli legs in a big pot! But when I kissed him he ainâ€™t turned into a prince or nothinâ€™. I was kinda hopinâ€™ he would. Sometimes a storyâ€™ll end that way, you know? With a frog turninâ€™ into a prince!
Then, oh geez! The shaftinâ€™ tree started to shudder and shake and then huge boxes started droppinâ€™ down outta its branches! One hit Durok square on top oâ€™ his head and knocked him flat! Oh geez! The tree was raininâ€™ boxes!
Frankie laughed, and told us his tree was rewardinâ€™ us now for the wonderful job weâ€™d done and to look inside oâ€™ â€˜em! Well glory be! We found a fine set oâ€™ Armor for Voran! Heâ€™d had his old armor chewed right off his back by the rust monsters in the Forgotten Chamberâ€ deep under Arik. Armor for Durok too! A helm made special for me! Lined on the inside with soft cotton and the very finest silk what was spun by worms that lived inside Amal Slavers guts!
And unique gripili rings called Grippligeddons, with our names engraved on the inner band! And theyâ€™s able to heal ya a little at a time while youâ€™re wearinâ€™ it! Its like havinâ€™ a miniature Father Ryche wrapped tight â€˜round your finger instead oâ€™ havin’ to make a trip to that damn office o’ his, when your all bruised and bloody and your needin’ to be patched up a bit!
And robes, and staffs, and other nice things too! Odinâ€™s olives! There was somethinâ€™ fer everyone! Even those oâ€™ us who for whatever reason, ainâ€™t made the last few trips!
Word got around quick â€˜bout what weâ€™d done and when we finally made our way back to Foothold, all the folks we met greeted us with a big smile and a warm hand!
Anyways, weâ€™s done things together what Iâ€™ll never forget! And weâ€™ve been to a few places no oneâ€™s ever seen before! All I can say â€˜bout the whole thing, is Iâ€™d do it all again in an instant!
And there ainâ€™t another bunch oâ€™ folks I can think of who Iâ€™d rather be trudginâ€™ around with or fightinâ€™ and dyinâ€™ alongside of! And . . . and . . . we all lived happily ever after!
Well, at least we stayed happy for a few days, till we heard a rumor makinâ€™ its way around â€˜bout some crazy lady up by Stonemark whoâ€™s chokinâ€™ the life outta all the folks she happens to run into! Oh geez! Weâ€™ll have to see about that, wonâ€™t we?