Memories are funny things. The thing we remember most might be as banal as someone’s weird ugly hat, a colorful west or the sizzle of acid weapons hitting wet fish people skin. Or the flower that grew next to the altar pumping cold rays over the top of the landing overlooking the rushing water below.
I joined a group of gnarly adventurers set on relinquishing the snowfall from the island so they could move onto bigger and better things. One of them, a fairly burly well fed dwarf cleric with a messy beard and ale smelling breath lead the way as I took the rear out of habit. Between us was this gangly human ranger with deep seated eyes and an odd smile that looked like he had been eating mushrooms or something. Which is fully possible because the strings of word he put together was grammatically all over the place and it was near impossible for him to finish any kind of point. Close to the dwarf was a happy looking Halfling mage fighting the high top cap from falling off, twirling and dropping his wand that went off a couple of times burning big holes in what could only be described as large ferns.
Almost right out the gate there was a massive drop to the left leading down to the sound and sea and we could see the boat that was frozen by the dock. There was this person standing at the point by the cliff waiving and the dwarf went up to him and struck a conversation. The ranger checked out a butterfly, I kept myself close enough to the wizard although he was fumbling with his wand again dropping it over the edge of the cliff with a mumbling ‘oh dear’.
‘Well’ said the dwarf giving the wizard a stern look. ‘We need to get down there’ he pointed ‘and the human said the best thing to do is to jump’.
‘Jump?’ I said. ‘Looks a little high doesn’t it?’ The idea of jumping of high cliffs only sounded good if it was about 5 feet high and this was surely a lot more. I looked over and caught a glimpse of a large drain pouring water down the Cliffside and another grate or drain further down by the water with a fish person on top of it.
‘I don’t know’ I said taking a safe step away from the edge. The ranger had of course wandered off a little and looked confused as if he didn’t know how he had gotten there and who we were. He was about to ask just that when the dwarf pushed the wizard over the edge and the Halfling let out a shriek that echoed across the sound as he fell into the water below with a splash.
‘Looks to me that we’re going to have to save him’ the dwarf said and jumped after.
Shortly thereafter the ranger, now realizing that people were going, took a solid step over the cliff just to notice that we weren’t going down a slope or something – it was freefall and he was going down with a trailing ‘wwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaat’ *splash*
Three seconds isn’t that long of a time. It probably seems so if you have a minotaur barreling down towards you and you have 2 seconds to get out of the way, but it’s uncanny how long it seems when you’re deciding if it’s insane to jump over a cliff or if the dwarf would clobber me if I took the long way down.
There are a couple of really exotic Drow bad words that I learned from friends and family back home. My dad, bless his soul often had a favorite one which was incidentally for me alone. While I don’t want to teach you it now, it was something I muttered to myself with the dwarf in mind when I jumped as well.
The surface came at me very quickly. I noticed the dwarf heaving himself up the drain, hacking the fish person into two pieces and then turning to do the same with a few more trying to help their friend out. The ranger was swimming around the platform, back peddling and spitting water like a fountain out through his mouth and the Halfling dog paddled to get his wand floating away from the water coming down high above.
‘So nice of you to join us’ said the dwarf with an evil rotten teeth smile. While the idea of punching a few of them out came across my mind, I said something low and not very nice and kicked the water out of my leg as best I could.
And so we climbed down the drain.
The dwarf excelled in two things. There was an unearthly stink about him that was only made worse by water – much like a dog running around in a rain and then coming inside slobbering all over you. He was also quite good at expiring anyone dumb enough attacking him.
While the ranger might have be experimenting with psychedelic mushrooms, he came into his ace as a crack shot when need be. One moment he was commenting, or something, about the climb down and the algae stained tunnel walls and the next he centered three quick shots in the head of a fish person with almost aerie calm and precision.
The wizard was a mixed experience. He accurately deep froze one fish person coming out of a broken storm drain but he also managed to zing the dwarfs behind as he first thought his wand had run out of power, only to shake it until one more shot out. The dwarf roared but the wizard didn’t seem to know what had transpired and continued to shake it before putting it away with a shrug.
We went down a ladder as we had rung something twice so the ice cracked and fell. I remember taking a cold swim under the water just to emerge up another drain via a rusty rickety ladder. We regrouped and moved up one portion – killing three more fish people and then looting a chest nearby that fetched me a pair of snazzy looking boots that also seemed to help against the cold.
That’s when the spider jumped on the Halfling and shot a web that glued the angry dwarf to the tunnel wall and slapped the ranger unconscious with a sweep with one of its front legs.
I didn’t know ice spiders had eyes. It’s seems downright crazy but then again most people, beings and creatures have eyes. Unless they find some other way of ‘seeing’. But as I hacked one icy leg from its body I also stabbed down hitting what had to be its eyes, because it reared backwards chattering, ramming the opposite tunnel wall that made the whole place rumble and as the dwarf managed to free himself, I and stinky assailed the spider before it could turn and get up and hacked away into its icy body until it stopped moving.
Having sensed the trap that the dwarf was about to walk into, I cautioned him and found the device boxes and disabled them and with a timed gangly and fairly aerobic jump the ranger flew over the sprays of cold rays and managed to reverse them to freeze the monster on the other side instead.
That’s where I found the flower.
The wizard told me its name, which in human tongue probably make sense, but to me the blood red flower with yellow middle and it’s glistening cold stem fascinated me since it grew in such a inhospitable place and I took great care not to destroy it as I placed it in a small hard container.