The Astral Gale

Fighting the Snake Men

Quote of the session: “There are many different kinds of snakemen but they’re all fuckers.”

The battle in the unknown elven village in the land of Ambartzumian ended. Ariel went to tend to the surviving villagers while Andra used medicine to tend to Chernoff, the dying guard, saving his life. He then patched up everyone else who was wounded.

Wendeam attempted to track the fleeing snake sorceress, but to no avail. Her tracks simply ended.

van Rijn talked to Chernoff, the guard who survived the fight in the pile of bodies. Chernoff said that the snakemen hadn’t been seen. He didn’t think that Joliffe was trading with the snake men, but wasn’t sure.

The village was amazing in only the kind of way that elves who devoted themselves to gardening could manage. Andra wandered around in it, seeing many rare plants and herbs, far too many sadly destroyed by the snakemen and the ensuing combat.

Having been calmed by Ariel, the villagers told their tale. Their lives were very peaceful though they would trade occasionally. There were no cities, just some villages. No real violence had happened in their land for centuries but the snake men, long since thought gone, had recently reappeared in their abandoned temple in the mountains and attacked.

They indicated that when Wendeam returned they would try to help him with his Chaos infection. They also kept a sample of Elixir to study. Finally they knew of the legendary chronolily but didn’t know where one was found, as it only grew wild. van Rijn offered to garrison the town but this was not resolved.

The surviving elven villagers stayed there. In the event they were attacked they would retreat to the forest. Before the group left, the grateful villagers provided healing and some pots of a sovereign healing salve.

The snakemen went up the river with their captives. The snakemen appeared to have vandalized the village’s boats so flight was employed to speed travel. Eventually the remnants of an old road that paralleled the river were found, with signs of recent travel by large figures, captives, and massive carts.

The snakemen appeared to be camping further up in elevation but were too far away to be reached. The night sky in Ambartzumian was amazing. Andra studied them and was convinced that this land was not part of the planes from which he, Ariel, and van Rijn hailed from. It lacked many of the impurities and poisons that affected those lands as well as lacking an Etherial plane.

Phantom Steeds were used to speed passage. Eventually it became obvious the river was near a waterfall continuing up the elevation. The road peeled off to the side to go up the slope. A bit of scouting by an invisible Wendeam revealed that the snakemen were camped across a bridge on the other side of the river. The land continued to elevate, heading towards a cloud-covered peak in the distance.

The plan was for Wendeam to cross and summon a minor air elemental, with Zell following across the river to attack, while Andra, a miniaturized Ariel, and van Rijn using the massive speed of the phantom steeds to move up the slope to the bridge.

Unfortunately, all good plans sometimes go awry and Zell was spotted by a hidden snakeman archer, who shot her once, though the lightning-fast githzerai parried the second arrow. She disappeared and reappeared in cover across the bridge, near the captives. Andra moved up speedily and fireballed, slaying four of the histachi, and baking three of the large snakemen warriors, two of whom were confounded by the dust devil emerging among them. He also hit the large draft lizard that had been pulling the cart, which began bellowing and hissing angrily. van Rijn moved up and shot one of the other snakemen right in the head. The pistol ball spalled off its helmet, leaving a massive dent and addling it, though it recovered its wits. He then moved up to melee range.

The snakemen attempted to rally: The sorceress, hidden in the camp, turned herself invisible again and moved off to a better vantage. She and Zell started stalking each other, with Zell trying to hit her with an adamantine sphere and the sorceress attempting to magic missile, but to no avail against the gifhzerai’s magic resistance. The melee on the bridge between van Rijn and the snakeman got ugly, while Wendeam moved up and dispatched the remaining histachi, to interpose between the snakemen and the restrained captives. Andra used lightning on the snakeman fighting van Rijn. Wendeam released his spear and settled into a fight with the snakeman who stumbled out of the dust devil while one hapless snakeman attempted to finish the dust devil off.

The bridge settled down to a battle, with the snakeman archer proving to be incredibly adept at launching javelin-sized arrows, which it first tried to use to kill van Rijn’s steed and then at Andra, who was sorely pressed by it. van Rijn finished the snakeman he was in melee with and then Andra pressed forward into hard cover to avoid the arrows, though he took the time to use his Wand of Fire to ring the archer, hoping to bake it or at least block its arrows. van Rijn moved up and drank a healing potion to try to recover from the wounds inflicted by the snakeman warrior.

The archer moved through the Wall of Fire, though its magic resistance saved it from the real burn. Wendeam moved over to melee with it, sending his spear after the hapless snakeman still in the dust devil. The archer proved to be a stern melee combatant, with deadly coils and a poisonous bite. Wendeam was bitten by it, though he avoided the coils, and began to feel a burning sensation from the potent venom, which he used some of the ointment from the villagers to cure. van Rijn broke cover and shot at the archer, but missed. Ariel—-still small and riding on Andra’s shoulder—-summoned the Fractal Blade to attack the archer. Zell, meanwhile threw an adamantine sphere at the archer, successfully sneak attacking it, but then dropped down to protect the captives in the even there were additional threats lurking. At this point, the fight degenerated into a vicious melee, but the archer and the remaining snakeman warrior were put down.

The cart proved to be full of various looted items and corpses from the elven village, along with the magical bow of the archer and some magical leather armor found on the corpse of one of the Mercane guards in the wagon. The snakeman archer had the eightfold star of Chaos on its helmet.

The four elven villagers told their rescuers about the presence of a gargantuan gorilla up ahead. They hoped that he would be avoided, not killed, though they suspected he might be charmed by the snakemen. The villagers stayed with the group, who set up a counter-ambush overnight. They proved to be highly skilled healers. No snake men counterattacked, so the villagers, draft lizard in tow, went back to the lowlands, and the group moving to the highlands into the territory of the gargantuan gorilla.



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