Cedarsmoke

Spelunking for Apples

Having secured the silver bridle of Lillywyn, the party follows the trail that leads to the grove where they can find a golden apple. They come across a canyon that has become cave-like from the thick webbing stretching across its top and venture inside.

The heroes find a sharp drop to the lower part of the canyon within. Whatever the path that might have led safely down was, whether a side-passage now hidden behind walls of webbing, an elaborate tree-root staircase, or perhaps that fantastic staple of the Feywild, teleportation, is lost to the ravages of time.

Prepared for just such a situation, Adris secures his rope around a strong rock and his sister summons a floating lantern to guide them. The party begins the 50-foot climb to the bottom. No sooner do they begin their descent than a trio of spiders sets upon them.

MORE of them?” Tanule mutters, “Damn these phase spiders!”

“These aren’t phase spiders,” remarks Adrie as she catches sight of the creatures’ markings in the light of her conjured lantern, “They’re called, um… cuddle-fuzz spiders.”

Avaris and Tanule nod in slow understanding and Sabellia rolls her eyes. These spiders advancing menacingly are wanting to do anything but cuddle.

Tanule ably fights the creatures off as they leap up at the party, but Avaris and Adris are not so lucky and suffer deep bites from the ambushing creatures, though they manage to keep their grip on the rope. Sabellia clings desperately on, not able-bodied at such exertion, much less fighting while doing so, and Adrie takes position at the top of the cliff, readying an arrow for a clean shot.

The spiders leap nimbly up the wall, passing the three climbers near the bottom to try and make their way toward the poorer climbers near the top who are more likely to suffer lethal injuries from a fall. Tanule spears one of the spiders to keep it close, but it struggles and leaps away from him despite the blow.

Adrie aims at one of the advancing spiders and catches sight of something moving below. She flicks her wrist and her lantern obeys, shining light upon the canyon floor. Two blue-furred orc-like creatures are lumbering forward. They each raise handaxes and throw them at the climbers, but Adrie lets loose her arrow and thwarts the aim of one.

The second’s handaxe flies through the air and sinks into the wall with a dull thud. At first, the heroes think the orc has missed, but then the severed climbing rope comes whipping down around them. They grab hurriedly onto whatever footholds and handholds they can find!

With the spiders focusing on the foes above, Adris slides down the remainder of the wall and fights the orcs in close combat, preventing them from knocking the party loose from the wall with stray thrown axes.

Avaris feebly engages one of the spiders still within his reach, fencing it with quick jabs from his rapier. He forces it away from him, but nearly loses his balance himself. It leaps at Sabellia instead, while the other two leap up to the top of the cliff to attack Adrie.

An infuriated roar escapes Tanule as the spiders split up. He decides that his strength best suits him to go after the two that have made their way up the cliff and thunders after them. Undeterred, the last spider leaps upon Sabellia with such force that it knocks her away from the cliff.

The warlock falls to the ground with a shriek and the sound of bones cracking thuds out over her pained cries. Adris is quick to bless her with his healing magic, but as the orcs and spiders surround them, he raises his spear high in the air then stabs it into the ground. Holy light explodes all around them; the spider is consumed by the radiant blast and both orcs are knocked to their backs, strangely silent.

Not to be outdone, Tanule bounds up over the cliff and spears one of the spiders flanking Adrie. He tosses its limp body over the side and it hits the canyon floor with a satisfying crunchy splat. Adrie bounds back to give herself room and lets a silvery arrow fly at the remaining spider, slaying it as well.

Avaris bounds down the cliff and drives his rapier into the back of one of the orcs just as it moves to stand. The reason for its jerky movements are found moments later when the rogue slices the creature open and dozens of tiny spiders scurry out from their hiding place within its fleshy remains.

Disturbed but undaunted, Tanule slides down the cliff with his dragonborn claws sparking like lightning and helps the party finish the remaining orc-spider-marionette creature off.

After a brief rest, the heroes advance out of the canyon into the apple grove.

They find another two of the spider-infested creatures, a large spider the size of the phase spider mother, and an enormous blue ogre who have made the grove their home. The spider and ogre are much quicker than the party and move into defensive positions to prepare their attacks.

Avaris splits off to the side to engage the spider, but his shuriken is deflected by the creature’s deceptively armored carapace. Tanule charges the ogre and the two orcs, telling the party that he will keep them at bay while they deal with the spider.

With Tanule too far away, Sabellia whispers a fel offer in Adris’ ear and the elf accepts. Shadow and smoke envelop him and a twisted perversion of his previous form appears where he once stood. He charges the spider and drives his now-fiery spear into the side of its head.

As soon as the spear touches it, the spider pops out of existence and reappears on the far side of Adris, aside his sister and Sabellia! It sprays a poisonous blast of something in their faces, and sickly fey magic clings to Adrie while the warlock summons the will to stave off its effects.

The Ogre brings his enormous greatsword down to crash against Tanule’s head, but the dragonborn is quick to parry with his spear. One orc slips away, but the other finds itself locked in combat with the fighter.

The orc that slips away manages to charge Avaris, but the rogue easily sidesteps the clumsy spider-puppeteered creature. Adris slips in behind it and deals it a grievous blow with his darkly-empowered weapon. The spider takes advantage of the party’s focus and slips into position to spray Adris and Avaris with its fey poison.

While the rest of the monsters are locked in combat with the heroes, the Ogre slips away from Tanule and charges Adrie. It murmurs tauntingly about picking her up and using her frail body as a shield, and the darkness surrounding her brother deepens with rage.

He swats the orc-puppet aside and leaps between the ogre and his sister. The flaming runes adorning his body ignite brightly and he drives his spear into the enormous creature’s chest. He snaps the weapon away with a loud crack, taking bits of bone with it and leaving some of the spearhead behind. Hellish fire and bits of flesh smolder as they fall away from the ogre’s wound and it staggers back.

His sister calmly drives an arrow into the wound and the enormous creature falls. The rest of the monsters are dispatched without fanfare and the heroes collect their golden apple and make their way out of the Feywild without incident; none of the denizens see fit to disturb them on their travels home.

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DracheM

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