I am working on the turn.
I am on page three right now. There is just a lot going on that needs to be described.
I was afraid that this message was going to tell us that this game too has been canceled.
The excitement is almost palpable. Every one is talking a mile a minute. A few of the party members start scurrying around, looking for things to pack. Harp's voice brings them to attention. "We are not going to attempt to make ascent today. To much of the day has passed. What I would like from all of you is options for how we can get up there. If we have to climb I see it taking us several days. I was hoping that Allistair might have a better idea or two." The next several hours, through dinner in fact, is spent putting together ideas Allistair and Mund and Harp spend much time together discussing what powers each can bring to bear on the problem.
Before the party turns in for the night Harp informs the party members of what plans have been made. There is much discussion about being made larger, smaller and flying all over the place. Mund seems very put out. He stomps around camp, muttering to himself. Harp approaches the barbarian. "Mund, I understand your misgivings. When I first joined the Order, it took me quite a while to get comfortable with the notion of relying on powers I could not touch directly. It has been a slow process for me to accept the powers my lord has granted me access to, through his grace. I can imagine that relying on just your brothers knowledge and skills would be an even more difficult task. I cannot force you to partake in this. I am sure that you are competent enough to scale the wall yourself, though it may take a very long time.
I am concerned what your actions may communicate to the members of the rest of the party. If they see that Allistair's own brother will not trust his magic, what trust should they put in him. Come, swallow your pride, and trust in his training. If I have learned anything these past few years, it is that there is a time for muscles and fighting, and there is a time for magic. If, by his skills, he can get us all up to the top of this cliff in under 1/2 hour, the I think we should give it a chance. If he fails, I will give you permission to beat him cross sides his head a few times. Just think of the songs you will be able to write about your bravery in trusting magic."
Mund's reply is fast and harsh. Mund pokes Harp in the chest. "Hey. I might not have studied in a fancy temple like you, but that doesn't mean I don't know when I'm being mocked. You think you're better than me, you dirty orc uchdorf*? You do it again and I'll kick your ass, but this time I won't do it friendly-like." *bastard
Harp is stunned by the response. He had meant it as a bit of a joke. ""Mund, I apologize if my comments seemed mocking. They were not meant so. I was merely trying to add some humor in a tense situation. If you prefer to climb up, please do so. This is not an issue worth fighting over. I will take your leave to allow you to prepare for your climb tomorrow." Mund's response is a gruff grunt and the two part, the air thick with tension between them.
Later that night, after the others had spent hours discussing the ascent, Mund approaches his brother. He mutters a bit, sort of stumbling around, looking for the right thing to say. His brother had obviously changed much in the 10 or so years since they had parted. He was no longer the little kid that Mund had teased. ""Um, let's say that Harp carries everybody but Salix and I up the cliff, and while I'm climbing, I slip. Would any of your, uh, magic, be able to help me?" Allistair looks a bit shocked at Mund's comments but thinks better of making fun of him. He is fairly sure he knows what the question has cost his brother.
He thinks for a minute before he answers. "Mund, there are several spells out in the world that could help you with your climb, but I have never had need to learn them. Once I learned the fly spell we will be using the others seemed redundant. I am sorry." "Mund furrows his brow at this word but decides his brother is not mocking him. "Oh well," Mund replies, " could you at least keep track of my gear and make sure it does not get hurt. I will not be able to take any of it on my climb." Allistair nods that he will and the two part.
The night goes quickly, at least to a few. Allistair does a fairly good job of keeping up appearances. "The whole party will be depending on me and my magic. What if it fails?" But he pushes that thought out of his head, just as his teachers had shown him. Knowing he could do these things was the first step in doing them. Mund spends some time looking at the cliff wall he plans on climbing tomorrow, trying to see the best route and how he will handle the moisture. It is bad enough that the climb is almost straight up, but the stone looks to be very slippery as well.
The next morning is overcast and dreary and wet. All of the party except Mund start dividing gear into smaller packages of about 20-25 lbs. Allistair, Ragnar, Kal and Harp all spend an hour in prayer or study. Surin spends his time using a section of rope to make a harness that can be dropped over top of Harp and that the others can use to keep their position on the 1/2 orc. Mund gets out his climbing gear and heads over to the cliff to get a start.
When the hour is up the party forms up. To everyones surprise Mund is there with them. He scowls at the party, just waiting for someone to make a comment. He does not see Harp make a gesture behind him, signaling the rest of the party to silence. The spell casters and the clerics make a few practice runs, working on their timing, knowing that this will be very important.
When they are comfortable with how things should go, Harp motions for Mund to join him. The two walk off a bit. "Mund, if your wish is for me to carry you, I can do that However, since it is my impression that you want to have as little magic done on you as possible, I would suggest that I take you and the other gear on the second trip. From what I can tell, your brother's spell should last long enough for me to make two trips. In fact you could speed things up by having the gear already on you when I come back down? How does that sound?" Mund grunts again and walks off to the side again.
The party stands in a circle, looking at each other. Harp dismisses the thought that crosses his mind "I am going to get us all killed doing this" and says "Let do it." Each caster and cleric does his job in order. Harp grows in size as other party members shrink to the size of Surin. Salix shimmers into the shape of a large owl just as Ragnar blesses him with the strength of a bull. Harp's muscles also seem to bulge as he finishes his blessing. Harp starts picking up gear and people and placing them in harness. Salix takes wing and grabs Surin under the arms with his talons and squeaks with the effort to get the halfling off the ground.
In just a few seconds the casting is done and the people are loaded. Harp has never felt this powerful before. The other party members feel like they are made of paper as he picks them up and places them into the harness. When every one and everything planned for the first trip is in its proper place, Harp makes a mental image of him moving upwards. He is a bit astonished to see that he does move upward. He glances at the cliff and adjusts his position so that he his right next to the cliff. In only a minute Harp is at the top and unloading the harness, getting ready to make the next trip. He sees Surin there, so he knows that Salix's part of the plan seems to be going well.
Harp goes down faster then he went up. When he gets there he motions to Mund to get into the harness and to get the rest of the gear. Mund throws the stuff around his neck and climbs into the harness. Harp gives out a "Hang on" and off they were. An owls passes them again, with another bag of gear in it's talons. It is another minutes before Harp comes to rest and not too soon. With in seconds of his landing he starts to feel the magic leaving his body. Salix arrives at that point, making Harp start to take in the situation.
It looks like all the essential gear has made it up. Salix is also supposed to talk with horses that they had to leave alone but he will not promise me anything. Salix drops what should be the last of the gear and shimmers back into his normal self. Harp turns to Salix, "OK, where is this door we are supposed again.
Salix nods north. It is in the copse of trees on th left about a mile from town. You never know.
OODM: OK I want a marching coders.
OOC: Mark, what "town" are you referring to?
Mund offers to go at the head in order to keep an ear out anything odd.
Subject The lead
Kal suggests that him and Harp take the lead.
"Mund, I think you should take rear guard. We're going to need someone who's familiar with magic up front, but we don't want to put someone with no melee combat ability there, no offense Allistar. I also think either Harp or Ragnar should take the lead with me. We should be prepared for the Arcane, the Divine, and the Physical."
Suprisingly to the rest of the party, Kal's offer seems to be just that: counsel for Harp. Everyone is surprised to see Kal defering to Harp so readily.
Subject The lead
Harp sets down, a sigh of relief quietly escaping his lips. He was familiar with magic, but still, he was a human (well, 1/2 human), not a bird. It was good to get his feet on solid land again. Even sailing did not feel as unatural as flying.
However, Harp's mind goes back to when he had been the size of a troll, and as strong. He mentiones to Allistair "You know, in a fight against a large creature like that Land Shark we encountered, a combination of your enlarge spell and my lords grace in increase my strength would be a formidable combination. I felt as if I could have carried everybody, reduced or not. I felt as if I could have cleaved a giant in half. We should keep that in mind in the future.
Harp asks Ran to oversee the unpacking and redistributing of the groups items. While this is going on, he will call Allistair, Mund and Ragnar over to discuss their next actions.
They discuss things for a few minutes, with Mund suggestings he lead the way. Harp considers for a few seconds, and then responds "Mund, you have successfully lead us to our goal, and for that we all, and the Order, thank you. However, our task has now changed slightly. We must now be on the look out for both magic and pyhsical obstacles; and the magic may be both divine and arcane. I am going to suggest the following order of march. Kal will lead, since he is both a proven fighter and has the ability to work with arcane magic. Ragnar and I will flank Kal on either side, so we can assist with any divine magic. Mund, I would like you and Ran to flank Allistair in the rank behind us. I would like Salix and Surin to cover the rear - they are more likely than most of us to notice anything from our rear and they will hep surround Allistair.
Lets take our places and move onto where the portal is."
As they get ready to leave, Harp will motion to Allistair "I am concerned about our trying to enter the portal this day. You have spend many of your spells on getting us up that damn cliff. Are your prepared to meet what is on the other side, or do you need a night to prepare a different variety of spells? I know that I would, if I had my druthers, spend a night contemplating what grace to ask of the Battle Lord."