They Paved Paradise (And Put Up A Monsterous Monlithic Sacrifice To Their Demonic Gods)

Huge, Medium, and Large (The First Wilderness Fane)

Huge stepped out of the tent and stretched his bulky arms. Well that was boring, he thought to himself. But we know more about these magical thingys now, I guess, so that’s good.

He cracked his neck and gazed around the campsite – and then did a double-take.

“Uhh, where is everyone?” he asked his companions.

They looked past Huge’s bulk to the campsite. Once filled with gypsy men and women, now there were just a few scattered around the campfire. Huge scratched his head and sniffed at the air. “I don’t like it. Feels wrong.”

From the rear of the party came a sharp cry. They whirled around to see Grul clutching at a wound in his side, a member of the Vistani standing next to him with a bloody blade. In seconds, the party had drawn levelled their weapons at the attacker.

“Boy, did you ever make a mistake,” growled Grul through gritted teeth.

Huge grabbed the man by his lapel and lifted him clean off the ground. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted more Vistani coming out from behind tents and caravans, their bows aimed at the adventurers.

“No surprises for guessing what that signal Madam Eva made earlier was,” observed Haradrim.

Huge nodded, and tossed the squirming man into the ground. “You lot’ve got one chance to back off,” he shouted. ” ‘fore I tear you into bloody chunks.”

The assembled Vistani merely grinned maliciously and drew back their bowstrings, loosing a volley at the adventurers.

“That tears it!” Huge hefted his axe and charged at the group of sword-weilding gypsies next to them. With a mighty roar, he leapt among them, his axe swinging in a vicious arc. From just behind him he heard the sound of battle being joined as Malakai and Vampensh blasted their opponents with magical forces. Huge paid them no heed, instead focusing his strength into his attacks. The two men before him were torn asunder, the axe cleaving through their lightly armoured flesh, rending it bloody from their bones. The barbarian smiled grimly at the sight of the blood bubbling from their lifeless lips.

“Look,” cried Uther as he pointed to a large bulk that emerged from the main tent and made for the edge of camp. “Eva has cast some spell, and she’s making a run for it!”

Huge’s head snapped up and he spied Eva’s bulk hustling away from them. From behind him, he heard the sound of Vampensh casting a spell and felt a magical lightness flow through him, making him feel like he could run forever. He glanced behind him.

“Go,” said the mage as he pocketed the used scroll. “Catch her, we’ll cover you.”

The barbarian didn’t need to be told twice. With the transmutation flowing through his limbs, Huge gripped his weapon and chased down the fleeing diviner. The ground sped past his under his feet and he barreled into Eva with a grunt. The two grappled fiercely, Eva writhing underneath Huge’s iron grip.

“Get off me, you filthy half-caste!” The seer’s visage seemed to be in flux as the glamour that disguised her strained under Huge’s proximity. Her wrinkled and haggard face bowed and writhed, and hideous new features came into being with her every twist and turn. With a cry, Eva thrust back against Huge’s attack, summoning some supernatural strength and pinning him with her enormous bulk. A low moan floated in from the middle distance, and Huge began to feel the ground shake underneath him.

Eva grinned evilly and leaned in close, her horrible breath making Huge gasp for air. “You hear that,” she asked through blackened teeth. “That’s the sound of your doom, little orcling.” She cackled madly, digging her filthy claws into Huge’s wrists.

Huge twisted his head towards the approaching rumbling sound. The trees that bordered on the encampment quivered with the sound of enormous footfalls. In the distance, Huge picked out the sound of whole swathes of forest being knocked aside. In the light of the afternoon sun, he fancied he could see the silhouette of a huge head thrusting up from the treeline.

“What in the hells..?” With a desperate punch, Huge knocked Eva off him and dropped his knee across her chest. The woman gasped and writhed underneath his bulk, bile bubbling from her cracked lips. The barbarian simply grunted and brought his palm down into Eva’s jaw, knocking her senseless and popping a large pustule that had formed on her jawline. Taking advantage of Eva’s temporarily stunned state, he reached down and wrenched one of the many magical-looking amulets from around her neck.

All around him Huge could hear the familiar cacaphony of combat. In the corner of his vision he saw Grul flinging fire at the remaining archers while Malakai stood some ten feet in the air, blasting gypsies with magic of his own.

“Kill my men all you want, you fleshy fool,” hissed Eva through a mouthful of blood. “Oorogh will be here soon, and he’ll grind you into a bloody paste!”

As if on cue, a hill giant burst through the treeline, roaring mightily at the sight of his mistress being attacked. Flanking him were a pair of club-wielding ogres who scurried around the giant’s feet, searching to targets. Huge grimaced and shouted to his companions. “Quick, cover me!”

As he wrestled with his opponent, Huge heard the sound of Grul casting a spell, and shortly after became aware of a thick mist that closed around him.

“Very clever,” hissed Eva. “But it won’t stop my giant from breaking your friends – aaarhg!”

She turned and saw Malakai standing next to her, just finishing the spell he was casting. Eva grimaced and seemed to slow for a second before screeching her defiance and shaking the spell off. “Pitiful zealot! I’ll finish you off next!”

Through the fog the three combatants could see the flash of magic being thrown about and the sound of metal on metal. One sound suddenly rose above the rest, and they heard the mage cry out in agony followed by the giant’s roar. A look of concern passed across Huge’s face, and Eva noticed it.

“Aww, sounds like your fragile little mageling got crushed under a giant club.” She grinned maliciously. “What a pity.”

There was a sound of rushing magic and a deep boom. A low moan echoed over the hills and through the fog Huge could see a large shape rushing into the shape of a giant. The giant grunted as it fell under the weight of this new aggressor. Huge grinned toothily at Eva. “And it sounds like your giant has a rough new playmate.”

Eva screeched in rage and attacked Huge with renewed fervor. Hands flailing and grasping, the pair faced off whilst around them the air crackled and flashed with magical energy. Huge’s muscles bulged as he blocked Eva’s vicious swipes, bringing his strength to bear against her own unnatural energy. Between attempts to pin Huge and defending herself against magical attacks from the cleric behind her, Eva obviously had her hands full. Huge glared into her eyes, which shined with fury.

Yet the fight took its toll. Slowly but surely Huge managed to get the enormous diviner onto the ground. And although she still resisted him, her attacks were losing their strength.

She knows it’s over, thought Huge. With every minion that falls, the fight goes out of her a little more. As if on cue, a bloody groan and heavy thump signalled the demise of the last of the giant’s entourage. With one last exertion, Huge dropped Eva to the ground and drove his fist into her face.

She groaned and her body went limp. Huge sat up and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. He wiped a trail of sweat off his forehead and twisted around. Although the dense fog still flowed around him, he could still clearly hear the sounds of his companions making short work of their remaining opponents.

He climbed to his feet, shouldering his axe and peering through the mists. Malakai slid up next to him. “Are you alright?”

Huge nodded, brushing dirt and Eva’s bodily fluids from his skin. “Fine. But are they?” He indicated through the fog, where the giant still wrestled with the dinosaur Grul had summoned. As he looked on, though, the giant was enveloped in crackling black negative energy and seconds later Uther charged at the weakened giant and drove his blade into it. The giant cried out in pain and slumped heavily to the ground.

Makalai shrugged. “Does that answer your question?”

With Eva dealt with, her remaining henchmen were easily dispatched. Huge stood over Eva with the rest of the party while they discussed what to do with her.

“Well it’s obvious, isn’t it? If she’s one of the hags that guards the wilderness fanes, then we need to kill her,” sai Vampenshi. “All the better to sap some of Strahd’s dark powers from him.”

The rest of the party murmured their assent, yet no-one moved. With Madam Eva trussed up and unconscious at their feet many of them – Uther and Malakai especially – were reluctant to strip her of her life in cold blood.

“Alright,” said Huge. “Let’s have a look at this fane thing and figure out our next move from there.”


Loot
Weapons Armour Items
+2 Composite shortbow m/w Chain shirt Amulet of health
m/w Scimitar m/w Buckler Ioun Stone
.. .. Potion of cure serious wounds (x2)
.. .. Potion of cure light wounds
.. .. Potion of mage armour
.. .. Potion of remove curse
.. .. Potion of sanctuary
.. .. Potion of shield of faith +3 (x2)
.. .. Elixer of hiding (x2)
.. .. Elixer of sneaking (x2)
.. .. Wand of Hold Person (5 charges)

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