Hollow's Last Hope

Weakened from the Stirge, Zandu, sat down on the bed. He let his mind replay over the day. It was getting to be late; he felt it in his bones. Or perhaps that was just fatigue. He tried to caculate how long they had been down here. It was just mid-day when they had entered the monastery. There were the kobolds, the grick, dire rats, the Ooze, shocker lizards, and then these stirges. His stomach rumbled reminding him that it had been a while since he last ate. Not since morning. He placed his hand to the wound on his shoulder where the stirge had drank. It was not bleeding, he had seen to that immediately after killing the beast. But it still ached. His head swam for a minute as if to confirm his need for food. Even in his weakened state he was thinking about the stirge. As he had done for every creature encountered he was cataloguing the characteristics and methods with which it presented itself. He hoped to better understand the creatures and how to fight them when need be. He swore not to let another stirge sink its proboscis into him again.

Just as Zandu was about to pull out and snack on a bit of trail ration he heard a cry from down the hall they had not yet explored. It sounded like a child. The others heard it too. Kieyanna was in the hall in an instant with Dhohar right behind her. Zandu jumped up leaving his backpack on the floor and chased the others down the long hallway. It was smooth-cut stone like the rest of this level. It was not the high quality and ornately decorated walls typical in most Dwarven holds, but a spartan, function-only representation of their endeavors. The square angles left nothing to the imagination and was a testament to how far the followers of Droskar had fallen.

It sounded like a girl. Kieyanna was sure of it. She distinctly heard her shout, “Run Savram!” Her mind raced with images of Kimi and before she knew it Dhohar was beside her and the two were at the end of the hallway and looking into a room 60 feet wide and 30 feet across. There were 6 Kobold warriors visible and little Kimi Eavewalker, the leader of the Falcon’s Knights band of child adventurers, was in the middle. She was standing bravely beside Edgrin, a sweaty, moon-faced little halfling whose heart is as big as his stomach. His once debonair, brocaded, green-velvet doublet and silk leggings are torn and covered in grime, and his lute still hung on a strap at his side although he splintered it on a kobold’s skull in defense of the kids. Light shone from his lute casting shadows all around him. Kimi is a black-haired young half-elf girl with fierce green eyes wearing a leather hunting vest, slacks, and high hard boots, looking like a miniaturized adventurer. Mikra was crouched under a table in the disheveled room where benches to the three tables were overturned. This appears to be a dining hall.

Edgrin GalesongDhohar and Kieyanna, first to enter the room, immediately sprung into action! Dhohar launched his mighty spear at the closest kobold warrior and it went right through his chest and knocked him to the floor. He lay dying in agony the the torsion of the spear put on his gaping wound. He continued his run and hefted his mighty battleaxe. The new Glintaxe he had taken from the gelatinous cube that nearly claimed his life only half an hour ago. The axe took the kobolds head off in one clean strike. With a bloody mess the kobold toppled to the floor without a word. Light danced around the room as Dhohar’s fury drove his actions and the floating ioun stone shone brightly over his head. Kieyanna saw the kobolds with renewed hatred. Not only were they slavers of their own kind, but they were keeping the children! She drew her bow in the hallway and gave a purpose to her arrow as it flew straight and found a chink in a third kobold’s armor. It sank deep into his shoulder causing him to drop his weapon and stagger backwards. At that moment Rumble, Dhohar’s animal companion, rushed into the room and knocked over a fourth kobold who had been attacking Edgrin and sunk his teeth into his side. The warrior was knocked down under the force of the bear. At that moment the last two kobolds turned and fled the room. One who had been only a few feet from Dhohar when he removed the head of his fellow warrior simply ran for the hallway. He didn’t heed the danger that Dhohar posed. His mind was focused only on retreating to the safety of more kobolds. Dhohar took the chance to slice into him and bury the axe in his chest. The kobold fell under the pressure of the mighty blow. Zandu ran into the room and lashed out with his bladed scarf at the third one that Kieyanna had shot. He was still standing over Kimi. Zandu thrust the scarf with its hundreds of blades out and around the torso of the kobold. It ensnared him and with a mighty yank Zandu ripped the creature off his feet and spun him to the floor. The blades ripped his armor and flesh to pieces and the lacerations bled profusely. His life left him quickly. Kieyanna saw to the stoic Kimi and helped her stand up. Dhohar took off running after the retreating Kobold. He rounded a corner and out of sight where he passed the smaller creature and attacked from the side after getting into position. Dhohar could see the fear in its eyes. The mighty greataxe clove into his shoulder separating the arm and sinking into the chest. The kobold died immediately.

Blood was everywhere. It soaked into the armor of the kobolds. It ran from their bodies and drained onto the floor in tiny rivers. It was in Dhohar’s hair and face. Rumble’s facial fur was matted black. Zandu had splatters of blood across his vest, mixing with his own blood. Only Kieyanna had escaped the bloodbath and she looked stunning in her shining mithral full plate. The ancient armor once worn by Durinar Glintaxe was as stunning as the day it was forged. It did not hang perfectly she had retrofitted the padding and straps from an old suit of splintmail to replace ones eaten by the acid of the gelatinous cube. But it looked stunning. In the the hands of a good armor-smith that suit would become new.

Dhohar came back into the room and declared it finished with a nod of his head to Zandu and Kieyanna. He was shaking off the edge he felt from the furry of the attack. Exhaustion overtook and and he sat on top of a table. Zandu started to talk to the smartly dressed halfling named Edgrin while Kieyanna gathered the two children to get their story and find out the locations of the other three. Edgrin explains he is a bard extraordinaire, and a member of the Gray Eagles, an adventuring troupe based in Falcon’s HollowFalcon’s Hollow who ventured into the vale a week ago seeking treasure. The Gray Eagles were swarmed by a large hunting party of kobolds. Most of Edgrin’s companions were killed, but he and a half-elf wizard named Tyran Moonsliver were captured alive and dragged back as captives destined either for eating or sacrifice. Originally dejected by the death of his friends, Edgrin consigned himself to his fate, but when the children were hurled into the holding pen with him Edgrin grew determined to help them escape. The bard and Tyran overwhelmed their guards with more than a little help from the courageous Kimi Eavewalker. As they sprinted for freedom, Tyran and Hollin were felled by paralytic-poison-coated spears, but the other children and Edgrin made it to the upper level. They took a wrong turn after ascending a rickety bucket lift, where Edgrin watched helplessly as a huge demon dwarf covered in chains there dragged little Jurin Kreed into the darkness. The escapees reversed direction but the kobolds, fast on their heels, caught up to them here in the Mess Hall.

KimiKimi filled Kieyanna in on the details also. The five of them had escaped with Edgrin and Tyran. But as the group was fleeing the warrens below Tyran and Hollin were caught in a web of magic and unable to reach the lift up. It was a wonderous mechanical device that carried people straight up without having to climb. She didn’t remember the journey to the cage because her mind was foggy. She would have remembered the lift otherwise. The lift was tricky. At first they tried to put all five of them into the lift and it didn’t move. But they discovered it worked with only 3 at a time. So Kimi stayed on the ground with Edgrin and the others went above. Once the lift returned they got in and went up. At the top things got even more complicated. they were being followed closely by those kobolds who had attacked. So they ran and dodged down a rough hewen section of passage hoping to hide. But a demon came out of the smoke and wrapped a chain around Jurin and carried him away into the darkness. The other three, Kimi, Savram, and Mikra along with Edgrin headed along the hall and were trapped here in the hall. Kimi and Edgrin stood against the kobalds to afford Savram the time to escape north. He was running away when the attack fell and the heroes saved the day. Kimi thanks Kieyanna profusely, setting aside her own bravado to acknowledge that she, and most importantly, Mikra would not have made it through without their help.

She was adament that she would help find the rest of the children and carry them back to town.

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