The Hammer of the Great Chariot Maker
Part 1: Zeph meets his doom
The party surveyed the treasure they had liberated from the Green Dragon.
"We'll never be able to carry all that" said Brun, "best bury the silver and come back for it."
All agreed and they set off for Tanaroa.
As the sun rose above the jungle tree line on the second day of their journey back to the ship the party began to stir. One by one they awoke and prepared themselves for the coming day. The mood was cheerful and optimistic. Everyone was pleased that they had recovered the crown and were eager to return to Tanaroa. Once again they could take to the skies with none of this traipsing around in the jungle. They enjoyed a hearty breakfast and were about to set off when they became aware of something emerging from the undergrowth. They all looked around to see a half-naked human figure standing defiantly in front of them. Wary looks were exchanged and hands hovered over sword hilts until the captain broke the silence.
"Who are you?” he asked. "What do you want here?”
The human said something incomprehensible; at least it was such to the Drow. The cleric, Brun, stepped forward.
"He says he is a barbarian from the border marches of The Empire.” This brought quizzical looks from the Drow.
"You know I am from The Empire lands, I speak his tongue.”
After more conversation between the two humans, Brun turned to the Drow to explain.
"His name is Ax and he was pressed into service in the imperial navy, a situation not to his liking. He jumped ship when they landed here to take on water and provisions. He is willing to follow us, for the time being. He is strong and would like to join our merry band.”
"Does anyone have any objections, an extra sword is always welcome?” said Gul. "Good, then welcome aboard, Ax.”
The barbarian grunted and walked swiftly forward.
"This should be interesting”, said Gorlab and the others smiled in agreement.
The party, together with their new companion, set off. They travelled uneventfully for a few more days until they were ambushed by a group of cannibals. It was an easy business for the seasoned fighters to overcome this minor obstacle to their progress and the tribesmen were soon lying in heaps around the jungle path. The party became the proud owners of several blow pipes and Berun, ever watchful for a free magic item, grabbed a ring from the cannibal leader. The significance of this will become apparent later in the narrative. They reached Tanaroa without further incident but as they were approaching the wall they were confronted by three elephants. They were not surprised to see Zeph lurking behind these beasts and they prepared to take their revenge on the hated servant of Lolth.
"We must act as one, I will fly at the Drider and the rest of you attack the elephants” said Berun.
To their dismay the demon made an appearance and quick as a flash Ax was racing down the path to attack it. All hell broke loose as Berun sped towards the Drider. He took the creature by surprise and it was unable to let loose any spells. The rest of the warriors disposed of the elephants and soon all their opponents were destroyed. Relieved, they began to relax. Then they saw Berun running towards them.
"He doesn’t look very calm does he?” said Gul.
As he got closer they noticed a certain wild look in Berun’s eyes. The fact that he was swinging his two swords around was not lost on them either. Without breaking step Berun started attacking anyone he could get close to. First Gul and then Ax were felled. Other members of the group managed to keep them alive and it was with difficulty that Berun was subdued. Even after Brun had trussed him like a deer ready for the feast he continued to kick and bite. It gradually dawned on the party that the ring was the cause of Berun’s frenzy and they quickly took it off him and threw it into the depths of the bag of holding.
At last they reached their destination and were met by Zaen who had been coming to aid them but had been too far away.
They entered Tanaroa and looked forward to rest and recuperation. They set about deciding their next move.
"Vhaeraun has sent me a vision" said Gul "and I know where we can forge the gorgonite into a sword."
The others were immediately interested.
Gul continued; " I had a dream and it showed two volcanoes. We must find these volcanoes. The northern most one is our destination for there we will find those who can make our sword."
Berun spoke: "That is a good quest to make, but first I urge that we go to see a wizard I know of and get fireball spells. Since the loss of Kalan we are in sore need of this spell."
"We will attend to that in good time" said Gul dismissively and headed for the ship. His comrades followed, leaving Berun frustrated and angry.