Dungeon Crawl Classics
Hero part 3
The two small children are pulling on the tunic of the old man. The old man smiles slightly and yells, Alright! Sit down and shut it and I will finish the story.
As the ground crumbled around them, Gormak, Skleebs, Wicky and Mason stood atop the ziggurat surrounded by darkness except for the fire at the center, where the giant had come from. As Gormak scrambled to recover weapons from the fallen, Mason noticed that the giant’s gauntlets, still clutching a massive flail, had become detached from the rest of the creature. Most would have left them alone ,but not Mason. He put his hand inside the gauntlet and found it trapped within. He called for help, and Gormak tried to help him up so they could look for a way out of the darkness. Mason found himself struggling to lift the massive gauntlet, eventually placing his other hand in the other gauntlet. He seemed to find balance and slowly stood. His calm nature replaced with a wild look. As Gormak told him to run, Mason pushed him away and told him to leave him. Despite his protest, Gormak helped his friend down the ziggurat as the ground quaked around them. At the base of the tower, they found the others in a boat, different from the last. As they scrambled aboard they heard a thunderous noise from where they came from.
As the boat slowly moved away from the island, they saw a massive wave overtake the zigurrat. As they braced for impact, it was the witch who calmly stood up in the boat. She spoke in tongues and the air around her began to sparkle like the stars. Beyond the boat a massive shield appeared, made of pure magic! As she channeled whatever power she had, the life drained from her. The witch went from waifishly thin to pale, sickly, and haggard. The massive wave crashed into the shield, seeming to space the craft as they were propelled forward at great speed.
After several days, without food or water, they found themselves on the shore. Starvation led to fighting, which led to the halfling running off without the rest of them. Gormak chased after her, but could not catch her in the darkness. Up the stairs they went, past the carved stone faces, and then they saw light. Gormak began to run at the sight of daylight. Outside, the halfling was making snow angels waiting for everyone.
As the rest of the group caught up, Gormak scouted ahead looking down the mountain pass. As the priest crossed the threshold the cave entrance vanished to solid rock. As they all looked around terrible howls could be heard around them. Down the path, and up above them ghost wolves stood growling at them. Gormak readied to spear one but it ran through his spear as he thrust forward as it rushed past. The halfling crawled under Gormak’s robes as the creatures attacked. It became clear that the wolves only attacked those without the black velvet robes. The wolves attacked with unnatural speed and strength and spirited away all without robes leaving only seven survivors.
The survivors began to make their way down the pass, which eventually gave way to a frozen lake and forest beyond. As they crossed the threshold the dawn light shone on the survivors and all of the robes burst into flames. Several of the men, gave their clothes to women who stood naked before them and they set off again with very little hope of survival.
Gormak’s hands were numb and his feet had begun to turn blue when they saw a camp fire before them in the forest. Sitting on a massive steed was a massive man with a massive battleaxe…
The old man looks down at the sleeping children and smiles. Another time I guess.