Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spider Farm (2 of 2)

By the time Wolfgang returned to Hommelet (having parted company with Chrono somewhere along the way), things had gone bad at the spider farm. He learned from Vulpio and Gerrilynn that shadow goblins,

allies to the drow, and devotees of Lloth the spider goddess, had overrun the farm. According to the birds who made regular reports to the elves living under the moathouse, the shadow goblins had made their attack about a week after Wolfgang and Chrono left the farm. It was quickly resolved that Wolfgang, Vulpio and Gerrilynn should return to the spider farm and rescue the farmer and his family and laborers.

Wolfgang knew the best paths. Although his non-druid companions were some liability in trekking through the wilderness, they made good time, taking only a few extra days to complete the journey. Gerrilynn prayed for guidance and determined that because their enemies loved the shadows, they should attack in daylight. No other tactical decisions were made.

They reached the farm, and as they were crossing the yard, were pelted by arrows from the laborer’s dormitory. The party took refuge in Ulayah’s personal abode. It had clearly been ransacked. Gerilynn and Caitlynn, left the house and went to the stables. Gerrilynn was able to communicate with the frightened horses but did not learn any useful information. Inside Ulayah’s house, Wolfgang and Vulpio were threatened by a giant spider that dropped down the chimney and emerged from the fireplace. Wolfbang’s animal companions took no notice of the spider and by this strange fact, he deduced that the spider was an illusion. He further concluded that the noises on the tin roof were not more spiders, but spider goblins. He and Vulpio exited the house by a window. Sure enough, there were several spider goblins on the roof, and Vulpio, after taking cover behind a tree, picking them off with his arrows.. The goblins jumped down from the roof and proved to be no match for the party in hand-to-hand combat—and even worse at hand-to-bear-paw combat.

Gerrilynn and Caitlynn rejoined the party and they charged the dormitory together. They broke down the door and the goblins fled. Rather than pursue the enemy however, the party members were stopped in their tracks by the pitiful sight before them—the farm’s laborer’s, a dozen or so men, had been held captive in their dormitory. Shackled, bruised, famished, miserable, and delirious. They gratefully accepted freedom, food, and comfort, until one of them recognized Wolfbang. “Hey, he’s that one, the one who told all those stories to the boss!” Those who had sufficient strength were eager to fight him, convinced that he was the leader of the spider goblins.

Gerrilynn was sympathetic and acknowledged that Wolfbang might be annoying, but made it clear that she would defend him if necessary. Gerrilyn’s patience and loyalty were further tested as Wolfbang seemed willing to accept the challenge of anyone who wanted to take him on, but finally agreeing to go back outside. Vulpio asked the laborers if Ulayah was still alive. They didn’t know, but said the leaders of the goblins had taken one of the other buildings as their headquarters. Sure enough, Ulayah was there, shackled, but unguarded. He was also unfriendly toward Wolfbang. While not belligerent, he seemed to assume that there was a connection between the strange young man and the goblins who attacked his farm a week later. But none of that really mattered since his daughter had been taken from him the night before. It had been clear to him that the goblins were going to feed her to the spiders. But she had not been the first sacrifice and if the spiders weren’t hungry, they might have saved her for when the new spiders hatched. She might still be alive. Wolfbang and Vulpio volunteered to go into the spider trench and rescue her. Ulayah ordered the angry laborers to open the gate to the spider’s home. “This is my only chance!” He reasoned ot loud that if Wolfbang was risking his life to rescue Heri, then he likely was not the mastermind behind the Shadow Goblin invasion.

The trench was lined with thick, sticky webs. Vulpio led the way, slashing the webs with his sword. Bruno the bear, with his great strength, also helped clear a path. Neverthless, the way forward was narrow and twisting. Even smaller tunnels led off from the main trench. Following directions from Ulayah, who stood on the lattice above them, they made their way to the mother spider’s chamber. Dog-sized spiders emerged from the webbing and attacked from all sides. Wolfbang used his magic to calm the first ones, but more kept coming. The party shielded themselves and forced their way into the mother’s spider’s chamber. Here, there was more space, and the spiders could be fought with swords and spears. Bruno had been severely wounded. While WOlfbang attended to his animal companion, Vulpio advanced on the mother. Because of her enormous size, more than twice that of any of the others, she was nearly immobile. Vulpio stood far from her long, dripping fangs and shot her with arrows, then jumped in with his sword to finish her off.

A smaller chamber behind the spider mother was filled with egg sacs. Hanging from the top of the chamber was a large, quivering bundle, wrapped in silk. Vulpio cut down and unwrapped Heri. She was so disoriented that she couldn’t speak. Vulpio and Wolfbang helped her make her way out of the trench and she was re-united with her father. Some of Ulayah’s laborer’s continued to grumble, but over the next few days, it became clear that the boss had no ear for their suspicion or resentment. Ulayah rewarded the party with gifts, including several hundred feet of lightweight spider-silk rope. Besides being incredibly strong and lightweight, it was also just sticky enough to assist in maintaining a tight grip on it. After a few days, the party was ready to take their leave. Ulayah, with a meaningful and unsubtle nod at Heri told Wolfbang that he was welcome to return any time, “You might find you could have a good life here!”

No comments:

Post a Comment