April 24, 2012

Cut the Root

This week the group included Thogmash, Tim, and Arrowroot, and their henchmen Thena, Ool, and Dargar. Last week the group found itself captured by the Bogmaster, with Thogsmash cast in an enchanted sleep with the frond of a terrible plant monster attached to his face and the rest of the group trapped in the wizard's dungeons and threatened by his plant-controlled servants. It was hard fight won at great cost.

Even asleep Thogsmash could feel the frond covering his face reach into his thoughts. He shuddered at the touch of the alien mind, and with a woke from the enchanted sleep with a jerk. The Bogmaster was carrying him, but only lightly. Struggling away he drew steel and attacked his former master!

"What treachery is this?" the Bogmaster roared, his eyes alight with rage. "This is how you repay me? Thogsmash, today you die!" With a guttural shout a gout of flame poured from his mouth, blistering the younger wizard with hellish heat. Falling back in the face of the conflagration Thogsmash prepared his own spell. It would cost him dearly to cast it.  He notched his ears eleven times with his twisted claws, a sacrifice for power. He could not muster the elements like the master could, but he was wily. With a flourish he conjured ropes from thin air and bound the Bogmaster tightly like living snakes.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party struggled against the wizard's servants. Each slack-jawed man they cut down was replaced by another identical figure, head tightly wrapped by a leaf that burrowed into the flesh. They didn't even attempt to defend themselves, only grabbing the warriors and dragging them out to the monstrous plant in the center of the chamber. The foes piled up at their feet, but the numbers kept coming. Pushing through as best they could everyone tried to regroup with Thogsmash but it was like moving through tar.

The Bogmaster struggled with his bonds. Magic crackled around his body and the ropes stretched and warped around his form but he was unable to free himself. Roaring magical syllables, spectral light flared into coruscating sheets around him, causing the ropes to fray and explode. He spat a curse at Thogsmash, but the magical spell fizzled before it could fully shape, giving him another chance to attack with his blade. The wizard was bleeding where Thogsmash had struck true, but it had only enraged the mystic further.

"Blast and bite you!" The Bogmaster yelled, "You dogs don't deserve to serve me. Kill them all!" The distracting but ineffectual servants turned deadly, hands that had only grabbed and pressed  swung around and groped for eyes. Ool was killed outright, crushed and rendered by unfeeling hands. Tim was knocked unconscious when the blank-eyed figures torn his weapons from his grasp and a punch nearly dislocated his jaw. Arrowroot swung his halberd in a mighty arc, driving back his foes, and leapt toward the Bogmaster and Thogsmash, handaxe at the ready.

Suddenly the chamber echoed with a peal of thunder. Thogsmash watched in stunned horror as a lightning crackled from his old master's eyes, then clove a smoking arc into his body. Thogsmash was slain.

It was Arrowroot who struck the last blow before the wizard could prepare another spell, his axe clove the Bogmaster's head in twain! Sparks and light exploded from the wound as a keening whine filled the room. It seemed to come from both the wizard and the enormous plant, rising higher and higher to a painful pitch, then stopping just as suddenly as the Bogmaster's body collapsed into ash and slag. The servants froze, struck catatonic by the loss of their master. Tim freed them, tearing loose the mind-controlling parasitic plants that enslaved them. Many died from the shock of removal. He offered the survivors a choice, to return to their lives beyond the Orget Forest or to stay here at the tower and serve him as the new Bogmaster.

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