Having dealt with the Spector we made our way back to Mormesk. A brief and uneventful conversation ensued where he laid out the paths we could take to the area where the Black Spider had set up a camp.
We decided upon a route and set off once again.
After working our way through a (for me at least) rather small tunnel we found ourselves standing on the ledge of a natural cavern. The sounds of labor echoed as 3 rather unsavory bugbears, who were being supervised by a Drow we had not seen before in our trails.
Having both the advantage of surprise and the high ground it was decided I would engage the Bugbears while the others focused on the Drow, being he was the only wildcard. I slide down the wall with a surprising level of stealth and waited for the others to unleash their magics.
All went mostly according to plan. I grabbed the attention of the bugbears, Dregan incapacitated one of them, Wren entangled the other in a mass of webbing, and Feron blasted bolts of liquid fire across the room towards the Drow overseer.
The 2 bugbears quickly broke free of the webbing and split off; one towards myself and one towards the rest of the party. I was caught unawares and the bugbear struck me with an impressive cut, tearing through my mail shirt and into my flesh. I was now locked in combat with both of the beasts. The other bugbear began to ascend the cave wall to attack the party above. The drow also sprang into action, rushing down the cave wall and moving to attack me as well.
I’m not sure how to describe the sequence of events that lead to our victory. With the casters assistance the enemies on my level where dispatched. The bugbear that was attempting to act the party on the cliff inspired an unexpected chain of events.
Having the obvious advantage of high ground the Dregan, Feron and Wren had no desire to allow the beast to engage them in hand to hand combat. First as the bugbear began to climb our rope Dregan and Feron simple cut the rope and let the beast fall to the ground. This enraged him and in a feat of pure athletics the monster leapt the distance and landed directly behind the group.
I am fond of my party. These past few months I have grown to think of them as family…as such I feel it is fair for me to say that I believed that none of my friends on that cliff ledge are equipped or of the ability to handle a creature as relevant as a bugbear in hand to hand combat. On this assumption I was grossly incorrect.
Dregan Battlebrand is not on to perform tales that focus on his own exploits, the battle that ensued between him and the bugbear is such a tail where he should make an exception. As the beast landed Dregan roared in challenge causing the beast to charge him with a howl. Using some grappling skills that I did not know he had Dregan performed what might be called a Judo throw. Using the bugbears momentum and weight Dregan tossed the beast over the cliff. In this same motion, Dregan latched onto the beast and followed him to the floor, adding his weight to the impact. As he struck the floor the beast screeched in agony. The bugbear sprang to his feet, spinning on Dregan. Cool as the north wind Dregan twisted his legs around the legs of the bugbear and brought the beast to the ground again and again the beast roared in anger. Dregan pushed off with his hands and landed in a upright position, moving like flowing water my dwarf friend spun on one foot and smashed his elbow into the chest of the beast… stopping its heart instantly. We all stood in silence and awe for more moments than any of us would likely admit.
With the bugbears and their drow overseer handled we went about inspecting the cave area. Dregan followed a collapsed tunnel and found the remains of a fallen dwarven warrior. There he collected what appears to be an ancient crown and a pair of gauntlets that bestow the wear with greatly increased strength. After the quick inspection we moved on to our showdown with the Black Spider.
We found the Black Spider leisurely inspecting the remnants of a dwarven temple. With him a pair of bugbears growled and sneered as we entered the room. I found the Black Spider to be unnervingly pleasant in the conversation that followed. We offered him the chance to surrender, which amused him greatly and as a villain will do, he offered us the chance to join him, which of course we refused. The exchange over the final battle began.
Wren and Feron let loose, the heat and cold from their spells flashing off my armor as projectiles raced across the room. Dregan captured the mind of one of bugbears, setting it against its companion. The Black Spider also sprang into action, with a clap he summoned his name sake, 4 giant spiders descended all around us. We were outnumbered and surrounded.
Immediately the spiders sprayed us all with webbing, but none of so much as Feron. He was cover so that I could not even see him from just 30 feet away. I suspect the wounds he inflicted on the black spider moments earlier had caught the attention of the beasts, but such is only assumption. The battle hung on a razors edge for what seemed an eternity. The Black Spider began a hit and run strategy, bouncing in and out of an invisible state, wren sent all she had in magics towards out enemies, Dregan fought with pride and valor despite significant wounds, and Feron again and again found himself entangled by the webs of the giant spiders.
The numbers and strength of our enemies began to turn the tide of battle against us. I could feel the wound from the bugbear earlier tearing open with every move. Dregan was down to his last moments of consciousness when he moved to heal me, I stopped him and told him to take care of himself first. Our enemies seeing his ability to restore strength quickly turned their attention to him and took him down. I was able to take down one or two more before I found myself also laying helpless and bleeding out on the ground, same with Feron who had resorted to asking Wren to burn off the webs with him. I lay on my back and watched one of the finest duels of wizardry I have seen or heard of.
Outnumbered and running low on magic reserves Wren Strifelaughter stepped betwixt the bodies of her injured comrades and faced evil all alone.
Utilizing the staff of Iarno “Glasstaff” Albrek and her sheer will Wren deflected and counter attacked the Black Spider. Bolts of Fire and Ice along with darts of liquid energy streaked across the room, bouncing off of shields and deflected by enchanted armors. Each spell cast was met with an opposing incantation. I know not how long this battle lasted. I drifted out of conciseness during, but when I awoke the room was silent and the Black Spider had fallen. I looked to my friend Wren, who weeks ago seemed so small, now appeared as a master of magics, a worthy member of the Lords Alliance.