By the next morning, Aerndin and Arcadian had led the rest of the party to the fortified room the ogre-slayers Slegna and Darnell rest in, along with Norl and Gaffgarion. Even after regrouping, they decide to split up and make their way to where they presume Bargle resides.
Among the wizard’s traps are giant floor pits, living statues, and a room with one way doors, complicated by a living ooze. The party decided slaying it was beyond their abilities, and opted sprint past anytime they needed to move through the room.
In one hallway lined with statues, some of them came alive, swinging wildly at the party members. Arcadian and Aerndin, at opposite ends off the hall, unleashed barrages of arrows. Norl unleashed amagic missle here and there, being sure to avoid notice by the statues, and Gaffgarion called a swarm of bats. …Only to have them swarm past the animated objects, and towards living prey, namely Arcadian & Slegna. His mistake brought only a sinister chuckle from the gnome.
And beyond that room, and another, and another, they found Bargle, standing near his throne in a room richly decorated with marble and gold.
“Who dares disturb the mighty Bargle?!” the wizard cries, “You will die for your insolence!” He begins mumbling incantations.
JessaKat darts around the room to flank the wizard, and Arcadian looses two arrows.
With a thud-thud the arrows strike Bargle in the chest and head, and he spins around, hitting the ground dead.
JessaKat moves over and inspects the body. “It’s a doppleganger…” she shakes her head.
This would happen to the party at least two more times, being attacked by fake Bargles, and finding fake throne and treasure rooms. Ironically, in one of the fake throne rooms, the party noticed an entire wall panel was fake.
The heavy stone door swings open to reveal a chamber more opulent than the last. On the far side of the room across a placid pool of water towers a marble throne covered in various jewels and gems. Sitting on the throne is Bargle the Infamous. “I see you have finally pierced through all my ruses. The reward for your cleverness should be death.”
Arcadian fired a couple arrows missing the distant wizard, while Darnell readied Kohane, and JessaKAt and Slegna charged. Once they passed by the pool, Bargle unleashed a wall of flame, through the doorway, seperating the party. Arcadian continued to fire obstructed arrows and Darnell jumped through the flames, landing on the other side. He was able to see the water in the pool rise up in front of him and slam into SLegna & JessaKat.
Darnell slashed at the water elemental, his weapon barely affecting it, and JessaKat stabbed at it all the same. Acadian adjusted his fire towards the elemental, and Slegna continued his onslaught, slashing at the wizard. A swift strike clipped the wizard, drawing blood.
Bargle reached out, and with a touch, SLegna is dominated by his Hold Person spell. Unable to move, he watched as Bargle turned toward his throne, press some of the various gems, and it slid aside as easily as if it were weightless. He disappeared into the tunnel behind it, and the throne slid shut.
After disposing of the elemental, the party began inspecting the throne. Baffled by it’s use, it took them almost ten minutes to trigger the mechanism allowing access to the secret tunnel.
" Two options…" Slegna offered. “Chase him down… or count our losses. As long as we took, he’s long gone. But he’s bleeding.” The dwarf laughs.
JessaKat chimes in “I don’t think I should go first, I’m still feeling a little weak.” Despite Bargle having a considerable head start, JessaKat, Slegna, and Arcadian decided to risk the tunnel. Darnell opted to stay behind, and gather the other party members to search Bargles quarters.
They travelled, and just kept travelling down the tunnel, as it ran for a couple miles. there was no sign of Bargle, but eventually the tunnel broke into a ledge in a magnificent cavern, with an underground pond. Some climbable vines ran from the ledge to the edge of the pond, and they decided to climb down, Slegna scaling the underground terrain with special ease. They didn’t notice the eyes wating below the surface of the water. . .
One they were flat footed on the edge of the pond, Slegna began to search for tracks, and he found some. “Fuck, dragon tracks.”
And a huge green dragon burst forth, spraying water all over, including the trio. It landed, heaving heavily, and began to speak.
“WHO DARES INVAED MY QUARTERS” it demands.
JessaKat dives into the shadows and Arcadian notches an arrow while Slegna speaks up.
“We mean ye no harm dragon. We seek a vile wizard who came this way.”
“‘MEAN ME NO HARM’?” the dragon bellows. “I WOULD CONSIDER FOILING MY PLOTS HARMFUL.”
“What is yer plot dragon? We do not seek a fight.”
"DO I LOOK SO SIMPLE AS TO REVEAL SUCH THINGS? tHOUGH IT OBVIOUSLY INVOLVED THE WIZARD YOU JUST EXILED. THE SCIONS YOU SEEK ARE NOT HERE, NOR DID THE WIZARD HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEIR DISAPPEARANCE.
“That was not within our knowledge” Slegna replies, lowering his axe to appear less aggressive.
“BARGLE HIMSELF WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU… HAD HE BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE.”
Worried, Slegna starts giving the other members the “fucking do something” look. Arcadian readies another arrow, drawing a very angry scowl from the dwarf. Not wanting to risk a miscommunication, the dwarf tells the elf “lower yar fucking bow, ye dumbass”
Sensing their fear, the dragon makes an offer. “PERHAPS YOU COULD BE HIS REPLACEMENT…”. Knowing they cannot refuse, the draon continues. “…SIMPLY RETURN TO MELVAUNT, CLAIM YOUR REWARD, AND THEN COMPLETE YOUR MAIN TASK, RESCUING THE SCIONS. IN FACT, I WILL EVEN POINT YOU IN THEIR DIRECTION. THE HEIRS YOU SEEK HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED BY AN ORCISH ARMY… THOUGH NONE WOULD BELIEVE THAT SUCH A GROUP HAS MASSED.”
Arcadian stirs visibly at the mention of orcs, a grimace overtaking his face.
“YOU CAN FIND THEM, STILL ALIVE… FOR NOW… IN THE WILDS OF THAR. PRISONERS, IN THE FORTRESS OF XUL-JARAK. THAT NAME SHOULD STING ELVEN EARS,” seeing Arcadian’s reaction brings a grin to the dragons face. "ORC ARMIES LED BY GREAT WARRIORS, ELF SLAYERS LIKE THRULL & UGRUSH, EMMISARIES FROM GREAT LEADERS LIE MANY-ARROWS, GATHER AT XUL-JARAK TO BRING THE MIGHT OF THEIR ARMIES UPON THE CIVILIZED LANDS.
Arcadian snarls “They can try-”.
SLegna interrupts the elf. “Thak ye fer wisdom… I apologize we have nothing te offer ye.”
“MUAHAHA THE LESSER FOLK HAVE LITTLE THEY CAN OFFER. CONSIDER YOURSELVES INDEBTED, FOR SPARING YOUR LIVES.FULFILL YOUR DESTINY, SAVE THE SCIONS. YOU WOULD BE SERVING ME WELL TO DO SO.”