AiS #030: An Ending

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The fight raged on. The party clustered about the vampire dryad’s fallen tree, trying to lure her into the reach of their weapons. She in turn, used her charms on Johann, convincing the stout dwarf she was his friend. When Grogor starting hurling silver coins at the creature, Johann surprised his friends by leaping onto the surprised half-orc. When he did so, the vampire moved closer calling out to her new friend to bring the half-orc closer so she could finally feed.

As the vampire circled around the party to get closer to Grogor and Johann, the heroes shifted their defences. She darted in to try and grab Grogor, but a barrage of attacks—some effective—forced her back. Now she was obviously badly injured, the heroes sensed victory was at hand. Warg—particularly—couldn’t help himself and charged at the “foul bitch” only to become entangled in the vegetation that yet writhed around the party’s feet. Orithur, carrying the attack forward lunged at the vampire and in return she punched him in the chest. A black, ashen colour came over the redoubtable dwarf—death was upon him, but somehow he kept standing. Backing off he called to his friends for assistance.

Finally, she sought to flee—changing once again into gaseous form. Although Thangrimm’s hurled magical dagger badly injured her the vampire’s preternatural toughness enabled her to endure this desperate attack. At this moment, Johan regained his proper senses and outlook. Desperately, Veronwe hurled his bow at the ranger—Johan having dropped his some time ago. The undead-hating ranger took aim and fired.

The arrow hit the gaseous vampire, and as the party watched the gaseous form exploded into many tiny black motes of dust. There was much rejoicing, until Johann remembered they had merely forced her back into her coffin—the fallen oak as many of the heroes had theorised. The heroes quickly discussed their next options. Although no one (except Orithur) was badly hurt they party were completely out of spells. Even worse than that it transpired they did not have time to destroy the fallen oak. Johann warned his fellows their foe would be wholly reformed in but a few minutes and so the heroes beat a hasty retreat to the village.

In the village, the party made their way to the Crooked House to speak with Armas and to tell him what they had found. He gave Orithur a funny look when he gazed upon the ashen-faced dwarf and refused to invite him inside. His fears were allayed when the dwarf entered the house without being invited. Thus, the party gathered in Armas’ study to discuss matters and to investigate the thing Orithur had drawn forth from the well. Cleaning it off, they discovered a stone was a large chunk of lapis lazuli—the Night Stone as Armas named it. It had a curved outer rim, but the rest of the stone was jagged—as if it had once belonged to a larger whole. Strange, unreadable runes crawled about the stone’s outer edge. It certainly seemed the stone was part of a larger piece, and the party theorised the other pieces might be found in the location marked on the gem studded wall map they had defaced under Greystone’s forlorn ruins.

It was late, and the party were exhausted. They returned to the Stooped Man to rest for the night.

The next morning, when Orithur deemed the sun was high enough in the sky, the party again climbed the hills to the north of the village and set about systematically hacking the vampire dryad’s home to pieces. Hour’s later, they had finished and the vampire was seemingly no more. Returning in triumph to the village, they again rested for the experience of exploring the ruin on the hill had sorely tested them. Much to his companion’s relief, Orithur’s iron constitution managed to overcome death’s taint and by the next morning the dwarf was back to himself.