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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 2 — Yellow Musk Spores
"No time to explain! Cover your mouths!"

   Sofi heard Belvin's warning, so as she rushed to the northwest, she did so with her left hand over her mouth. She sprinted along the overgrown gravel path toward the limping dinosaur that Kytharrah had just struck. Jumping into the air, she kicked high with her left foot. The raptor's head snapped back with a loud crack. As it wobbled and fell to the ground, she punched it on the side of its face with her right fist for good measure.

   "Stay away once you have taken one out!" Belvin called again in warning.

   She nodded, her hand still covering her mouth and nose.

   Hakam and Solisar followed behind her, squeezing between the fallen tree over the path where it had split apart. The cleric called out a quick prayer and touched the phylactery upon his forehead, and a shimmering field of magic appeared around him. Solisar continued past him and could now see the hill beyond. It had a simple house built upon it, surrounded by a fence.

   Belvin continued to shout out warnings and updates. "Another two are coming from the north!"

   Solisar saw one of the two animals. It leapt the fence around the house on the hill and came running down. He waved his wand and saw the beast struck by an invisible force, but it kept on running on its bird-like legs. Kytharrah ran back through the air, swinging from behind the creature to sever its feathered tail. A moment later, Sofi knocked it to the ground with a roundhouse kick to the right side of its head. It raised its head one and hissed, but she dropped to her knees and punched it. It did not raise its head again.

   Szordrin seemed to feel fine after sneezing earlier. As he floated above the deinonychus that was striving and failing to jump up and pull him from the air, he removed a flask of oleum from his potion belt and began to prepare the fuse.

   Kamil cleared the trees and bushes that were blocking the view, and Belvin could now see the house on the hill as well. Leokas followed behind them, vaulting over the fallen tree, landing, and nocking an arrow for whatever might burst from the bushes into view. At the tail end came Hakam, at last seeing the hill that all the others could see. He also spotted the second dinosaur about which Belvin had warned, and a beam of searing light blasted from his palm through all the branches and leaves and struck the animal some 50 yards away.

   Belvin targeted the same dinosaur and called down holy fire from the sky to burn it to ashes in a matter of seconds.

   Szordrin also dropped fire of a kind, though not with as satisfactory a result. His flask of black, oily liquid broke upon the back of the jumping deinonychus and ignited with a flash, searing off the few feathers remaining on the zombie-like creature. The creature's skin, however, did not ignite, and with another attempt, it leapt up yet again. This time, it made it higher into the air. Its jaws clamped down on Szordrin's right leg, and its teeth punctured the soft leather of his boot. The weight of the ten-foot-long dinosaur drew Szordrin out of the air toward the ground. As they fell, the creature slashed about wildly with its claws and the razor-sharp toe claw on its lower talons as its jaws still held fast. The mage's mithral shirt deflected its claws, and its talons missed, as Szordrin thrashed about. He kicked it in the head and freed himself. The magic from his flying spell carried him back higher into the air, and the dinosaur fell prone to the ground. As the dinosaur tried to get back to its feet, it was knocked back down by the force of two magic missiles from Solisar striking it in the legs. It raised its head one last time, just high enough for Leokas to pierce it with an arrow.

   "We need to burn all the bodies!" said Belvin, as the last dinosaur fell. "They were not undead; they were infected by yellow musk spores. We have to burn anything with spores."

   As if on cue, suddenly a number of thick vines whipped up from the jungle floor and snapped violently at Solisar. His magical force shield darted back and forth to defend him, but several blows got through, nearly knocking him senseless.

   Kytharrah's eyes followed the vines back toward a large, bush-like plant. It had large leaves and beautiful yellow flowers with purple specks. He stepped forward on air and began hacking at the base of the green tendrils, where they seemed to emerge from the plant.

   Sofi positioned herself just outside the reach of the nearest tendrils. "What do I do?" she bemoaned. "I do not know how to kick a plant!"

   "Keep away from it!" warned Belvin again.

   "Watch me destroy it," said Szordrin, as he reached into his spell component pouch, but Hakam was a moment faster and called down fire while clutching his holy symbol. The yellow-flowered plant burst into sudden flame. Its leaves and flowers sizzled and shriveled as they burned up over the next several seconds, and the writhing vines grew still.

   Belvin did not seem confident that the plant was dead. He yelled at it in Druidic, ordering it not to move.

   "Did it not die?" asked Szordrin, as he pointed at the burning ball that he had summoned and directed it toward the corpse of the deinonychus that had bitten him. At least he could burn up one of the corpses.

   "I would continue to keep your mouths covered, if I were you," replied Belvin, as Solisar emptied the contents of a healing potion into his mouth and felt his bruised body refresh. Leokas nocked an arrow and glanced around nervously.

   Kytharrah looked down at the ground. Where he had severed the vines, he noticed tiny shoots budding out of the plant flesh of the tendrils at the point where he had hacked them apart. He had never seen a plant growing so fast. He swung at them again. Then he began slashing at the bush itself, sending shriveled leaves and flowers everywhere. He then bent low and gored the thick, woody trunk of the plant.

   "Keep your distance, Kytharrah!" said Belvin.

   "How do you kill it?" asked Solisar.

   "We need to scorch it," said Belvin. "All of it, so that nothing remains at all. Even the smallest root can begin to grow back."

   "How can a plant grow so quickly?" asked Sofi.

   Hakam came up to Solisar and laid his hands on him. All of the pain left the sun elf's body. "Cannot one of you nature folk start a bonfire?" the cleric then asked.

   "It will be difficult to start a natural fire with all of this moisture," said Belvin. "We are in a rain forest after all, but I do have one idea." The wild elf closed his eyes and began chanting softly and raised his arms to the sky.

   "I am out of fire magic," said Hakam. "I am sure that Leokas would accept the challenge. Leokas?"

   The wood elf was no longer standing nearby, having followed the path up the hill to a large gate.

   "I have a few more fire spells at my disposal," said Szordrin, and he pointed at the remains of the plant, as tiny shoots began poking out of the stump and opening into little leaves. Out of all of the root fragments scattered about from Kytharrah's hacking, little buds were emerging. A flash of fire exploded outward, engulfing the plant just shy of where the others were standing. All of the little growths were annihilated by the blast, but within about ten seconds, once the steam from the explosion had dissipated, they spotted here a fresh growth and there another. Soon, tiny plants were sprouting from the scorched plant material all around them.

   Solisar thought it best to get away from the vines — hacked up though they were — that could have pummeled him to unconsciousness, and followed up the hill toward Leokas.

   "We need you to start a fire," Solisar said to the wood elf. "We no longer have fire spells. What do you see?"

   Leokas vaulted over the fence with his hands. He was looking toward an enormous pillar of dark-green crystal, embedded in the soil and supported by a ring of stones. It had clearly been erected here; it was not a natural rock growth. It was four-feet thick and ten-feet tall. "I may be wrong, but I suspect that we have found another Omlar gem!"

   "It is the center of the illusory field," said Hakam.

   Kytharrah snorted loudly, trying to get the others to pay attention again to the plant that was growing more and more shoots and tiny tendrils with every second.

   "Where did that cloud come from?" asked Sofi. A small dark storm cloud was now hovering some ten yards above them. Belvin yelled out something, and a flash of lightning struck down from the cloud. Some of the little plants drooped over and were stilled... but only for several moments. New ones sprung up immediately after.

   Kytharrah, frustrated, went at it at the tree again, this time striking the remains of the central stump, until it was in several fragments. He cut into the ground with his axe, digging up every shallow root that he could find and churning up the soil.

   "Stop chopping them up!" said Hakam. "You are going to make it worse."

   The minotaur obeyed and stopped.

   Szordrin followed with a final blaze of fire, but he failed to engulf all of the growing plantlets now scattered all about.

   "What is an Omlar gem?" asked Sofi, as Leokas passed her on his way to the decimated yet still living plant.

   "I shall explain later," said Leokas. "For now, it looks like someone needs to make a proper campfire."

~~~~

Leokas gave everyone orders to search for the driest wood that they could. They began kicking all the chopped up plant parts into a central pile, and Leokas surrounded it with small stones. Then he began arranging sticks around it. Sofi seemed impressed with how much care he put into building the fire, having never seen the ranger at work before. It was a long process, but during the time needed to build the fire, Belvin continued to call down bolts of lightning on the largest plantlets every minute or so, preventing any from growing too large.

   Only when Leokas was satisfied with the bonfire's construction did he use his flint to ignite the wood. It only took a single spark.

   Belvin approached Szordrin and neutralized any potential poison with a prayer to Thard Harr.

   "I felt no ill effects," said Szordrin.

   "I heard you sneeze. Did you smell a musky odor? If so, than its spores may have gotten into your system."

   "It can take days for one to become infected by diseases," said Leokas. "I imagine it is the same for a natural spore taking over one's brain."

   "Is it a disease, or a curse?" asked Hakam.

   "I do not fully know how it works," said Belvin, "but if it were a curse, I suspect that your divine magic would have done more harm to the zombies. All I know is that the spores take over the infected creature and cause it to care for nothing but protecting the parent plant."

   Once the fire was ablaze, they ensured that every last scrap from the plant was thrown in. Kytharrah used his axe like a shovel to toss in dirt that might contain the smallest bits. They also recovered the mushy, yellowed bodies of the six deinonychuses that had not already been burned by other means. Their open wounds revealed plant matter and what looked like vines growing within what should have been reptilian flesh. From the heads of a few of them, small plants had already burst from the skulls, each with tiny tendrils that were slithering around looking for a surface to which to cling. These were all tossed onto the fire.

   Curious, Szordrin held one final root fragment with a growing shoot and pierced it with his dagger of venom. The little shoot still wiggled like a worm. Frustrated, the tiefling wizard cast it into the fire.
Session: 115th Game Session - Monday, Jul 20 2020 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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