Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
As the howls closed in around them, Butterfly flew up to get a look at what was coming. Eight large wolf-like creatures garbed in hunting clothes and equipped with spears across their backs were charging in fast. Realizing they might be intelligent, the party attempted several tactics to trick or reason with the pack, but were unsuccessful. Butterfly identified one of the beasts as larger than the others and therefore the likely pack leader. Acting quickly, she stunned it before it could reach them, causing the monster to crash to the ground. The party hypothesized that defeating the pack leader might spell victory, but that plan was unfortunately forgotten quickly in the chaos of the assault.
Fargrim confidently charged out to meet two of the oncoming wolf-monsters and Frank prepared a trap for three more, trapping two of them successfully in a wall of vines. The beasts revealed that they were dangerous foes, however, and the pack leader quickly recovered from his stunned state. Leaping off the back of another wolf, it launched itself 25 feet into the air, snatched Butterfly in its jaws and proceeded to use her for a game of tug-of-war with yet another wolf. Grizzly came to her rescue, though, and powerfully hacked into the pack leader to give her the opportunity to escape.
By this time, the party had learned that the Were-Gnoll-Wolves brought an additional threat. Their bite infected their victims with a powerful curse, slowly turning them into werecreatures frenzied to the point of attacking the closest target, which sometimes was an ally. The party managed to fight the effects just long enough to execute their original plan. After some mighty blows from Grizzly Winterhill‘s axe, the party finally dropped the pack leader and the rest of the Were-Gnoll-Wolves moved off into the night. Grizzly’s spirit bear then freed them of the curse by striking the spirit of the wolf from them.
The party relocated their camp once more and spent the night trying to sleep through the sounds of monsters feasting on the two piles of corpses they’d left behind. The next morning they awoke to a red sky. They discovered it was being caused by smoke rising from the long dormant volcano they had to pass in order to reach their destination. They made haste, only stopping briefly to clean up (more or less) in one of the towns they passed through. They even purchased seven horses with the agreement to free the horses after they helped them reach their destination. But would they travel fast enough?
While only halfway around the volcano, a massive tremor shook the ground and the top of the volcano erupted in a massive cloud of hot ash and rock. Butterfly used her power over the winds to protect them from the deadly and overwhelming power of the pyroclastic flow, but searing hot chunks of rock rained down around them and the horses panicked. Between the treacherous terrain, obscuring ash cloud and deadly debris, four of the horses were killed and several of the party members seriously injured, including Frank’s Fanny Jr.
On the remaining three horses, the party finally made it to the edge of the Great Rift, but only two could see the edge in time. The third horse with Sy’Vah-esh on its back galloped right over the ledge. Instead of plummeting to their deaths, however, Sy’Vah-esh drew upon her powers and teleported them safely back onto the ledge. Unfortunately, lava had also reached the ledge. Acting quickly, Frank healed Fanny Jr. and sent a powerful blast of cold air at the lava using Grizzly as an unmovable pillar to brace himself against. The lava rapidly cooled and provided a barrier against more flowing magma, which was diverted around them.
With ash falling like snow around them and lava flowing on either side, the party turned towards the Great Rift once more and pondered how to safely get themselves and the horses to the other side… 100 feet away.