Boros is Dead

Adventure Log by Arpunia Add comments

The Band of Blades has been tracking the progress and location of Boros Ninefingers and his goblinoid troops for the better part of the last year.  This spring, as the snow thawed, we left Westhaven to seek him out one last time.

Krix Skandale, the gunsmith, argued against the quest, claiming “we are not ready to face Boros.”  As it turned out, Boros was not the only threat we would face.

Our band left through Annabella’s western gates on horseback.  Even though we did not have the kegs of gunpowder that we brought last time, we have never been better equipped.  Krix carried mithril pistols and rifles.  Drom and Ox were dressed in gray adamantine armor.  Everyone carried grenades and pistols that we salvaged from the strange keep on the borderlands.  Yelaff, the hippogriff, served as my mount.

Yelaff and ArpiniaI have always been around horses; I learned to ride and care for them as a young child, learned to fight with them in the king’s cavalry, and learned to run with them as a fugitive with my late husband, Traunk.  I thought that there was nothing more graceful and powerful than running across the open plains on horseback but I never dreamed that I would fly.  Yelaff is a magnificent beast that wears bright mithril chainmail and screeches a terrifying, bloodthirsty shrill as we charge down on our prey from the skies.  She is like the sister I never had.

It was this sisterly companionship that I needed the most on this trip.  Usually the band leaves the gates on a high note.  The promises of discovering new riches, unlocking ancient secrets, or taming a wild landscape have always put us in a great mood.  Maybe it was the weight of our companions’ deaths last year, the stillness of dark winter months, or Skandale’s warnings.  Maybe it was the ten trained crows that followed Bazantoth like a carcass.  Whater the reason, we left the gates in a somber mood.  I was afraid to look into the eyes of my companions for I knew, we all knew, that this could be our last adventure together.  We were marching against an army.

Chimera-changaWe covered familiar ground toward the area on the map we called Boros’ Territory.  Along the way we found that someone had taken residence in Aiden Hill.  Not expecting to find Boros there, and not wanting a third battle in the skull rock, we avoided it.  We did not encounter any resistance on our way to the edge of the northwestern forest until I spotted a chimaera laying down to ambush the party.  Yelaff cried out, and we descended on a beast that was not prepared for our sudden reaction to his presence.  His body was not prepared to withstand the sudden impact of a large lance.  The beast fell after one strike.

The last time I fought one of these beasts was my first time with the Band of Blades.  I almost died in the fight.  This time, the one-shot kill served as a reminder of how far we have all come on our journey these last few months.  Some of us dared to think that maybe an army was not such a daunting foe after all.

We followed the chimaera’s tracks back to its lair and used his cave as our campsite for the night.  On the first watch, our slumber was interrupted by an attack from a band of bugbears and goblins.  Signore started grunting and screaming his battle cry.  This woke up the dwarves, who ran to the mouth of the cave.  Worgs and their bugbear riders charged in from the darkness and struck at our fighters.  Baz moved up to the mouth of the cave, commanded his birds to scatter and foretold catastrophe in the Goblin tongue… but one of his birds dropped a poop right on his shoulder.  I think I heard the goblins laugh.  Addy danced through the battlefield, slicing at the monsters form behind. Signore used his ferocious roar to scatter most of the rabble as the dwarven fighters cut through the reaming worgs, bugbears and ogres.  We kept one bugbear alive and questioned him.  He was the leader of that band and was no friend to Boros.  He told us exactly where to find the nine-fingered man.

We set out the next morning in a good mood.  Addy was her chipper self and even seemed to make the melancholy Bazantoth smile at times.  The two of them served as our scouts, searching for dangers ahead of our cavalry.  They caught up to us with reports of a large force of goblinoids surrounding a defensible stone tower.  Baz complained about being hit with some blue fire from a magic caster on the top of the tower.  To all of us, it sounded like we had found the army we were seeking.

The tower was located between a snow-capped mountain ridge and a dense forest. We decided to strike at the encampment from the forest in the hopes that the trees would grant us some cover from the catapult fire and the blue-fire magician.  We backtracked and ran our horses along the tree line.  We traveled for an hour or an hour and a half before heading into the forest.

The trees were thick and we had to move slowly.  At times we got off our horses and walked through the overgrown bramble.  Yelaff had to walk on the ground.  She was not too happy with me for that but we could not risk being spotted by the tower’s scouts.

In one particularly thick area of the forest, Addy squeaked and ran her little pony through our group yelling, “Dragon.  Dragon!  Big dragon! ScatterScatterScatter! Dragon! Scatter!”

“Dragons?” Skandale asked, “We are not ready to face dragons!”

Behind her came the unmistakable sound of a large creature running through forest.  Leaves crunched and branches snapped as a wave of magic made the forest ripple and disappear.

A large green dragon leapt into the heart of the party and belched a huge cloud of yellow-green gas on us.  It went right past our armor and scoured our flesh.  Drom’s horse screamed and fell to the ground, bringing the rider down with it.  It was terrifying but everyone help their ground.

Ox shouted out that dragons of this kind are prideful and stupid, then we let our weapons prove that point.  By jumping into the middle of the party, the dragon opened itself up for instant attacks from all of us.  Drom got up and scored a vicious hit, Ox landed a blow, Addy moved to flank the beast, Signore charged into its flank, and Yelaff and I charged down on it from the air.

The dragon spread its wings and flew up to pursue me; unleashing another could of gas right on Yelaff’s tail.  My winged sister coughed and slumped. I did not think that she could take another hit.  I tried to hold the dragon off as the rest of the party pulled out their ranged weapons and shot into the green scales.  He shrugged off the hits, stared directly at me and said in broken common, “Chath’s forest takes no visitors.” His lungs filled with air as he took another deep breath.

The dragon was too close to charge so I dropped the lance, pulled out a magical long sword and stuck it right through the soft flesh on the roof of his mouth.  I moved to avoid the blast of gas but he fell to the forest floor.

This fight was over quickly and we all realized two things:

1.       Holy shit we just killed a motherfucking dragon!

2.       We have to find his treasure horde.

Skandale added two more to the list:

3.       Boros’ minions certainly heard our gunfire.

4.       We are still not ready to face Boros

We did not have time to harvest the dragon scales, but we thought that the forest would provide us with enough cover to follow the tracks.  Just in case we were being followed, Addy and Baz doubled back on their mounts and scouted along the edge of the forest.

Drom, Signore, Ox, Skandale, Alex, and I headed deeper into the forest.

Dragons are proud creatures in their natural habitats and this one made no effort to hide its tracks.  The party was able to find signs of previous battles between the dragon and goblins form Ninefingers’ crew.

“Great,” one the dwarves said, “That is more we don’t have to kill.”

The tracks eventually ended at the base of a large tree near the southern edge of the forest.  We stopped and searched it for a while until we picked up the sound of troops moving in the distance.  Skandale snuck up to take shots at them while the rest of the band moved to catch the monsters from behind.  I stayed back and looked for runners that might retreat and alert the tower’s defenders.  If we did this right, we could strike a blow against Boros and weaken his force before we assaulted the tower.

Skandale’s shots started the fight.  The goblins ran and took cover behind tree trunks and boulders.  An ogre and a bugbear moved onto a low rise to bark out orders to their rabble.  Three bugbears took up positions in the middle of the battlefield and started banging on their war drums.  The primal rhythms were accompanied by yips and yelps from the goblin tribe.  Our riders emerged from the forest on the right and slammed into the back of the force.  Two Ogres engaged Signore, Alex and Ox in battle as Drom charged toward the leaders.  Skandale kept shooting at the Ogres on the left flank until he was spotted and forced to retreat back to his horse.  He and I were about 150 yards from fighting at the forest’s edge.  I held steady, watching the battlefield and timing my first move for the most opportune moment.

Despite having three of our fighters on them, the two ogres on the right were just not going down.  That meant that Drom was all alone against the leaders.  No goblins were running back to the tower.  I felt like something was wrong but then I heard the sounds of movement from the forest behind us.  There was some monster… no, there was some force of monsters behind us!  Yelaff and I flew out to help Drom.  We had to end this fight before whatever was behind us grabbed control of the battlefield.

I dropped a Barrier Peak Sleep Grenade on leader’s position but saw the canister fall right through the air instead of hitting him.  Several goblins fell to the sleep gas but the bugbear commander was certainly not real.  “Demons!” I heard Signore yelling in my head.  Drom hacked at the bugbear and he too found it to be an illusion.  We quickly turned our attention to the now obvious bugbear caster hiding to the side of the hill.  His defenses were slow and he quickly fell to our attacks.  When that happened the illusions of four bugbears faded from our view.

Ox’s magical… err… masterwork halberd brought the remaining ogres to the ground.  Signore and Alex hacked the brutes until they put up no more resistance.  The party spread out to clean up the remnants of the forces.

Skandale emerged from the forest and told us that Boros was leading a charge of his goblioid army at us from the forest.  Off to the west we saw a large contingent of well armored and armed ogres running up toward us with a hill giant.  The real fight was just upon us.

Worgs and riders, goblins and ogres hurdled over the underbrush and took up defensive positions in the trees.  Our band mounted up and directed their horses behind the cover of a large boulder in the grass. Small poisoned arrows flew at them and bounced off of the stone.  Then a dark blue streak of fire blasted right in front of Signore.  Boros brought his mage.

Our whole strategy for survival devolved into hiding behind a rock as overwhelming forces marched down upon us.  Boros’ musket fired and chipped the stone next to Skandale.

He yelled, “Hey Skandale!  I’ll let you surrender.  What do you say?”

Skandale only pursed his lips and wrung his hands around his guns.

“Hey Skandale,” Boros yelled. “What’s wrong?  You scared?  Just surrender.”

Skandale poked his head up and responded in his best dialect, that of a rifle.  A beam of energy shot through the air at Boros’ position deep in the forest.  Ox answered as well with a bolt of energy.  Their shots set forest trees on fire.

Boros and MageThe troops were moving through the forest to flank around the boulder.  Maybe they thought we really were too scared to fight.  Maybe they placed too much value on their reverse ambush.  Maybe they were just really stupid; their maneuvering cleared a path right through the middle of their forces.  Ox, saw the opening and ran his horse right through the goblins.  A few monsters on the sides swung their weapons at him but Ox was able to guide his mount to avoid taking too much damage.  The rest of our crew trampled through the brush down the same path.  In an instant our blades were at Boros’ throat.

Signore howled in a rage that sent most of the small goblins and a few worgs fleeing into the forest and away from the battle.  The remaining forces circled around behind our crew.  One of them cut down Ox’s horse.  It is not a battle with the Band of Blades until Ox’s horse dies.

I flew down and took out one of the Worgs.  Alex brought his bastard sword across the outstretched arms of the Fey spellcaster.  Warded against physical attacks, she ignored the strike and bowed her head to begin casting a new spell.  She must have seen the blood on the ground because she looked up and tried to find the source.  Then she looked down again and found bits of flesh mixing with the blood: bits of her flesh.  The pain must have been agonizing but she just looked at Alex with a continence of bewilderment and fell to the ground.

Boros recognized Ox as the true threat of the party attacked him directly.  Boros planted the bayonet of his musket into the ground and used it as leverage to jump into Ox’s chest and land a devastating strike to his solar plexus.  The band struck at Boros but found that their strikes could not penetrate his staunch defenses.  Boros then grabbed his gun and used the spear tip to disarm the dwarves.

The worgs and riders separated Alex and Signore from the main combat.  Boros commanded his troops to take down our horses.  The horses and riders were surrounded and ripped to shreds.

Now, I have seen terror on the face of hardened soldiers that are forced to stand down a mounted charge.  Their fear is so primal that they lose all bodily control.  Some feint, some flee, some just stand and soil themselves.  To Boros’ credit, he did none of these things as Yelaff and I screamed a battle cry and dropped down at him from the tree canopy.  Boros saw the bloodied point of my lance and sidestepped out of reach as we flew past him.  But I was holding the lance back and thrust it forward into where my enemy had dodged.  Lance met metal, my shoulder rocked back in its socket and the man groaned.  At the end of my pass, I turned my head back and saw a look of shock in his face as he ran away from the dwarves and took cover behind some trees near the edge of the forest.  Back where his hill giant and ogre troops were arriving.

Skandale and Drom ran around the bugbears to pursue the retreating Boros.  Krix took rifle shots while Drom pulled out his secondary double axe and tried to cut off the retreat through the trees.  Boros made it up to the crest of a low hill as the group of Ogres arrived to protect him.  Skandale slung Ol’ Betsy off his shoulder, dropped to one knee, and let fly a blast of hot lead that pierced through Boros’ abdomen. The ogres ran to his aid and quickly tried to pour healing potions down his throat but Skandale and I dropped two Barrier Peak Grenades on the group, leaving their ears ringing and their leader dead.

Boros Ninefingers died with a musket ball in his lung.

Even with their leader dead, the Bugbear commanders pressed the fight against us.  Ox was cornered by two commanders who pounded and pounded on his adamantine armor.  The blow took their toll on the sturdy who stayed alive only by emptying all of the healing points from his belt.  Elios would have been proud.  It was not until after the battle that we all saw the vicious gash that a morningstar had torn though the underside of his right arm.  He bit through his dwarven pride and admitted that the wound made his hand useless for the fight.

Alex stood alone against one bugbear commander, each gauging the other’s defenses with carefully timed attacks.   Neither fighter could break the other’s defenses until their weapons collided with a loud crack.  Alex dropped his bastard swords and the bugbear stumbled under weakened legs.

Yelaff and I crossed the battlefield and dove at the commander, who threatened Alex.  He mistimed his jump to avoid my blow as his bowels emptied on the battle field…all over Alex’s swords.  The dopey hill giant followed my flight across the trees and ran right into Alex.  Seeing an easier target that was both on the ground and disarmed, he moved to engage in a melee fight.

Signore was the only member of our band who was still on horseback; he used that speed to flank the bugbears and cut down their ranks.  Eventually, one of the worgs struck and tripped his horse, knocking the berserker to the ground.  Signore ignored the fall and the worg as he charged into the flank of the hill giant.  He smashed his great sword into the giant’s flesh and drew its attention away from the stunned Alex.  The giant pounded at Signore but the berserker avoided each blow with the deftness of a trained Harrier.  Then the berserker’s great sword missed the giant terribly and smashed into a rock on the ground.  The sword, supposedly forged of masterwork quality, splintered into a hundred pieces.  But this did not deter the walking weapons closet as he drew another great sword from his back and chopped through the hill giant.  Alex recovered his senses and his weapons and together these two fighters brought the giant down.

Drom single handedly took on five ogres and their commander.  They foolishly surrounded him as he swung the leading blade of his axe through the air and their muscle.  Drom tried to join Ox but could not break the engagement with the last ogre form the group.  The two parried blows as Skandale tried to retreat from the battle, but he was pursued by an ogre who chased him under some low pine branches and smashed him with a spiked shield.  After one particularly wicked blow, Skandale choked down a potion of invisibility.  Luckily the blood in his mouth did not dilute the solution too much, and he disappeared into the forest.

We could not bring down the last commander who fled into the forest.

Ox lost the use of his right hand, Signore’s greatsword was shattered, all but one of our horses died, the forest floor is littered with empty vials, and we are covered in the blood of our enemies…but we won the day.

Boros Ninefingers used gunpowder and terror to amass an army of goblinoids and giants.  Under his rule, the threats of this untamed land grew in power beyond what any single tribe could have hoped to ever achieve.  Remnants of his forces still remain but they can be brought down.  We need more adventurers like the Band of Blades to take these plains and press this chaotic scourge further from Annabella’s gates.

Just added the Dragon tag!  Also, we need a new player tag for Addy.

Tonight's Cast:
Krix Skandale, Human Archer - Russ
Signore, Human Berserker - Keith
Prince Alexander, Human Weapon Master - Mike
Arpunia, Human Executioner / Woman-at-Arms - Eric
Drom Fragula III, Dwarven Weapon Master / Berserker - Jeff
Bazantoth Yalleck III a.k.a. Larry, Human Thief / Man-at-Arms - Scotland
Adelaide, Halfling Harrier - Heather
DM - Paul
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