It was the 11th of the Sviftmonth, with autumn creeping across Karameikos, and transforming the whole of the dymrak into a tapestry of yellows, orange, browns and ochres. Struck by queer impulses, and not yet ready to venture south in search of the missing Rancher, they instead set out to hunt for the Hive of Giant Bees they had come across months earlier.
For their quest they loaded their animals with jars and pots of ceramic. They tarried not, but set out, driven by strange impulses. Away from the beaten path, they descended from the Black Peaks, slowly making their way across the hilly terrain. On the way, Shing had devised a new method of protecting their camp from attack.
As their journeys progressed, he had enchanted several rocks with a spell of continual light. These he would keep in a backpack by day. By night the Lame Ones would scatter these in a rough circle around the camp, making it seem much larger then it was, and keeping away careful stragglers. This method was quite effective, though on occasion Firebeetles would come from their burrows, to investigate the glowing rocks, thinking they were a potential mate.
It was a three days trek across the hilly terrain, and such was their speed and their number, that they passed largely unmolested by the solitary mountain lions, or pairs of wolves that they encountered. Only Stirges from the fetid swamps would still attack when they travelled in such numbers, and these easily dealt with. On the 13th of the Ambyrmont they came across a band of Quarrelling gnolls, 3 in number, and listened to them argue over a female before ambushing them. A sleep spell struck them and they perished unknowingly.
When at last they found the Hive, nested in a cavern in the rock of the Black Peaks, their mood turned grim at the sight of several animals, hideously bloated and blackened, found slain within a stone’s throw of the place. Merkull refused to enter anywhere near the hive until he was given their only concoction against poisons. Niffa cast the Sleeping spell at the Killer Bees within the forward cavern, and snuck forward to investigate, wearing elven boots, the rest regarding the cavern uneasily from concealment. As she dispatched one in its sleep, an acrid stench arose from its corpse, and from deeper within, a deafening buzzing emerged. Quickly she ran back, as more of the things emerged from the cave, to investigate the death of their comrade. As it began to awaken its sleeping comrades, the Lame Ones attacked, and dispatched it with arrows and swordplay. A few close calls, but none were injured.
Deeper they ventured, into the cavern, its walls slick with wax and stinking sweetly of insects and decay. The winding passageway emerged in a large central cavern, where the Queen of these infernal insects had made her larder. Outnumbered by the Bees and her deadly Queen, the Lame Ones faced a veritable swarm, and only a remaining Sleep spell by the Golden Shing dispatched all of them before they could bring their deadly venom against soft flesh. They butchered them and obtained a jar full of honey for their trouble.
On their way back, four Gnolls of the Death’s Head tried to ambush them to avenge the death of their kin, but they dealt with them in the usual fashion, and all but left them to sleep off, if it had not been for Niffa, who hated Gnolls above all else.
With paltry reward, but refreshed from the journey, the Lame Ones returned to Threshold, preparing once more to venture out. It was the 17th of the Ambyrmont, and long was yet their road. But they had gained strength in the meantime, and were prepared to face greater dangers.
20 Killer Bees (4 1 HD)
1 Killer Bee Queen
The Book of the Living.
[B] Niffa (Elf 3, 19 hp)
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 5, 25 hp)
[E] Shing the Golden (MU 4, 12 hp)
[F] Hummingbird Twiceborn (Mys 4, 11 hp)
[G] Edmin Os Traytor (Clr 3, 12 hp)
[NPC] Sarah (Thf 4, 16 hp).
[NPC] Merkull (Ftr 4, 25 hp)
The Book of the Dead:
[A] Ilyanka Pjottrsdöttr (Clr 1) – Beheaded by Giant Chameleon
[B] Liliath the Elf-maiden (Elf 1) – Skull-split by the horrid Bugbear
[C] Cold-Souled Fenrig (Thf 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[D] Balan the Lame (Dwr 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 4, 24 hp) – Throat ripped out by a Cave Bear
[B] Earendil (Elf 1) – Struck down by vile Orc Sorcery
[G] Azalesh Slyly (Clr 1) – Shanked by common robbers
[NPC] The Wardog Biter (Dog) – Cut down by the Orc Menace
[NPC] Aziz the Impetuous (Ftr 1) – Struck down by an impostor’s hand
[NPC] Hyacinth the Fair (Ftr 1) – Felled by an Arrow
[NPC] Kellhus (Mys 1) – Drained by Stirges
The Rolls of Honour:
[A] Egil Soft-pate (Ftr 1, 18 Str) – Long may he Reave!
[C] Sir Ioric (Ftr 3, 17 hp) – Retired in glory, long live the Duke!
[NPC] Erren (Thf 3, 10 hp) – She wanders the roads, looking for who knows what.