March on Bezyl, Araknai Queen

Post Reply
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:08 pm

March on Bezyl, Araknai Queen

#1 Post by Phocion » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:23 pm

Clinging Frost, Day 14 Year 813

Fellow Officers,

Army intelligence has uncovered an immediate threat to the security and prosperity of the Empire.

Our guards stationed on the Imperial Bridge connecting the eastern and western trade routes began noticing thick spider webs in the clothing of bandits while reclaiming stolen goods from their corpses. A bandit was taken alive and convinced to explain the source of these webs. The bandit confessed that they have a hidden camp in a cave behind the raging river waterfall, beneath the southern side of the bridge.

Ordinarily our guards would be sufficient to expel the bandits from their cave. However, when questioned about the spider webs, the bandit became frightened as if pondering death itself. The bandit mentioned giant spiders deep in the cave that have begun emerging more and more frequently to feed.

I commissioned a member of the Sinshade Family, Kovate, to travel with me to the caves, believing that the issue would be only a few spiders that have grown fat on the blood of tender bandits. At first we found only a camp of bandits (quickly dispatched) and some “giant” spiders. As we continued to travel deeper into the caves than the bandits were brave to explore, we found spiders larger than village huts. Two such spiders caught us off guard. After a vicious battle for our lives, we were able to slay them and escape the cave. These spiders showed a dark intelligence and will for murder unlike any creature I have encountered in the wilds of our realm.

Our warlocks conducted research and performed magical rituals to uncover that these mammoth spiders are a species older than the founding of Rhojidan. They are known to the elves as araknai. Their queen, Bezyl, is awaking and hungers for blood. While she and her brood live, our trade route will not be safe. The Empire will be shamed by being unable to protect its roads and we will be unable to tax the merchants that rely on the road.

Major Zado has ordered me to gather a group of officers to slay Bezyl before she fully awakes. We shall meet before the end of winter, based on the availability of officers. It is likely we will not all survive the march, but we will complete the mission. Our warlocks assure me that any soldiers who perish honorably will find their soul in the Otherword rather than the Underworld – Rho blesses the strong and wishes they continue his work in creation.

Do not shy from glorious battle. Fulfill your duty as an officer.

Shield held high,



If you would like to join, please message me here or in game (mail please) available times over the next 2-3 weeks and I will try to pick a time that works for most people.

I have no idea how strong Bezyl is. I think ideal level range is 35-50, but anyone under level 60 is welcome. If you are Sinshade Family, want to join, and it fits your character’s motivations to do so, please let me know and I will work you in. It makes sense to me for a member of another Rhojidan guild interested in darkness / evil creatures to join in. Be sure to bank before coming.

Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:08 pm

Re: March on Bezyl, Araknai Queen

#2 Post by Phocion » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:13 am

Event Time: Friday, November 22, 2019 at 7:00 PM EST (-5:00 UTC)

Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:08 pm

Re: March on Bezyl, Araknai Queen

#3 Post by Phocion » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:35 am

Soldiers! See below report. While you read, do not forget the rise in crime in Rhojidan on this date while our forces were on the March. We've received intelligence that the head of the Sinshade family told his people to stay home and profit while we risked our lives.

Day 18 of the Turning Wheel in the Year 814.

In the Sungrass Inn

This area of the hut serves as a place where tavern-goers may dine. There are just two long tables made of bamboo and a few small stools. The dirt in the air as people shuffle through makes it unappealing to some.

Present for the Army of Rhojidan: Terk, Cirran and Phocion
Present for the Wild Enclave: Eryn, Ulias, Wolvisher and Sabin
Present for the University of Arcana: Wren and Corin
Present for the Sinshade Family: Galdren
Also Present: Melbere

Phocion clears his throat. “Thank you all for being here. As you have all heard, the Araknai Queen, Bezyl, threatens all of our safety. Her young are the size of buildings, and they are slowly emerging from the deeps under the trade route bridge.”

Wren says, “I'm guessing negotiations have failed, then. Or have they been attempted?”

Corin say to Wren, “Does the Army ever negotiate?” Wren shrugs.

Phocion replies, “No. Her cavern is full of the eggs of her young, fed on the bones of humanoids. Our Warlocks sent their newest recruit, Aidyn, to check on Bezyl. He reported that she is beyond mammoth.”

Ulias sits cross-legged on the floor and listens attentively.

Wolvisher leans on the back-room wall and keeps an ear leaned towards the conversation, slowly stroking his wolf head.

Phocion continues, The Army of Rhojidan has been ordered to slay her and her young for the safety of the Empire and all. Follow me if you would help us secure the realm.”

Terk stands from his chair and says, “My war hammer fights on your side,”

Cirran nods and approaches Phocion’s side. “As an Army scout, I have been ordered to observe and assist. I will follow whatever action Phocion, my senior, does.”
Melbere says, “Need a Tale-Spinner, leader? I may not be a fighter, but I can keep the tale preserved correctly.”

Phocion replies, “Melbere, there is no shame in spreading the glory of the Army's marches.”

Melbere hobbles over to Eryn, using a shield as a makeshift cane. Eryn nods toward Melbere.

Eryn considers for a moment, before stating, “The balance must be maintained.”

Ulias agrees with Eryn. “If the balance is to be maintained, then sometimes we must attack instead of just defending. I will lend my fist.” Eryn nods toward Ulias.

Sabin says, “Well. sounds like fun. I am in.”

Galdren says “Eh, I don't really have anything better to do right now. So we’re just aborting her spawn and herself when we get there, right?”

Ulias looks distant for a moment, considering.

Wren says, “Seems like a waste to leave it there. May we keep some of the eggs, for study, if nothing else?” Corin nods toward Wren.

Phocion says, “Who is ‘we’”?

Corin answers, “The University would appreciate a sample.”

Phocion pauses for a moment, skeptical. “If the Army finds out you elves have been raising an army of Araknai, we will burn Kalmyr down.”

Eryn raises a quizzical eyebrow at Phocion. “Quite the statement.”

Corin says “Kalmyr will be safe - the elves would never act in such a way.”

Wren says, “Lovely ultimatum. Your terms will be relayed to the University, sir, most precisely.”

Terk quickly inserts, “Shouldn’t we try to get in conservations with Kalmyr first? I mean, attacking is a great step which can’t be taken back.”

Sabin ponders the situation and excitedly asks, “Is there a chance for me to keep one as a pet then?”

Phocion says, “If you can keep one in line, feel free. Be careful though, they love to drink our blood.”

Galdren grumbles to himself, “Alright then, sounds simple enough to do. Though I better not get this armor webbed up again.”

Wren says, “So do vampires, but people keep them around in great numbers.”

Corin laughs quietly at Wren’s comment before telling Sabin, “I am sure the Enclave would love to see you tame one.”

Phocion, his youthful impatience on display, asks “Any other questions?”

Terk says, “Not yet.”

Ulias closes his eyes for a moment, as if concentrating.

Wren says, “Several. None urgent. You are committed to this bloody business, so I will make sure as many survive as I can.”

Phocion exclaims, “Then have another drink to keep you warm in the caves. We ride soon.”

Sabin chuckles merrily.

Eryn says to Melbere, “About to become more interesting methinks.” Melbere chuckles merrily. Eryn continues, “We will maintain the balance.”

Melbere replies to Eryn, “Wouldn’t be a story otherwise!”

Cirran begins to fidget nervously. “Survival should be good.”

Wolvisher adjusts and slips some herbs into the pouches of his wolf harness, and slips some herbs into the pouches on the harness before pulling out a piece of beef jerky,
ripping off a junk, and giving the rest to his wolf.

The party finished it preparation before leaving the Sungrass Inn and traveling southward on Hessa’s cobblestone path. As they left the village, humans and half-elves stopped to marvel at the unexplained group. Phocion led the group to the foot of the waterfall beneath the bridge connecting western and eastern Alarra.

Raging River Beneath a Huge Waterfall

The party stages in the raging whitewater rapids of the wide river beneath the huge waterfall cascading down from high above you. The water splashes and sloshes as the river dances over brown and grey rocks, many covered with bright green moss. There are high rocky cliffs towering above to the east and west. There appears to be a small opening in the rockface behind the waterfall here.

Phocion says, “Don’t worry, the way through the waterfall is open. This is how Kovate and I entered months earlier.”

In a Cavern Behind the Waterfall

The party stand at the beginning of a large, dark cavern to the north. The surrounding earth is dark brown in color, with dark grey stones visible in some places. Most of the surfaces are slick and wet, with patches of bright green moss all around. The rushing waterfall and the roaring rapids can be heard through openings in the rockface to the south. The party continued north, into the dark cave.

In the Hidden Caverns

All around the party, water drips through many openings in the rocky ceiling above, varying from a few drops to a steady stream of sparkling clear water. The cavern appears to become wider further north from here, while the constant sounds of rushing water can be heard coming from the south.

The party continued north, quickly dispatching a handful of bandits and giant spiders.

In the Greater Caverns

Young and fresh, green plant life grows along the western side of the huge caverns. Water flows heavily from above in many places, with light occasionally shining through some of the same openings and piercing the darkness of the great caverns. The soil and dirt making up the western wall appears different from the rest found nearby.

Phocion says, “The scouts informed me that there is a way deeper into the caves here.”

Melbere looks at the western wall and begins chanting. After a few moments, an opening in the western wall becomes apparent to the party.

Before a Door in the Hidden Caverns

The party crowds into a very small tunnel off of the main caverns nearby to the east. The ceiling is somewhat lower but the walls are much more narrow. All around is dark brown soil, with tiny green weeds, vines and roots growing and sprawling in some places. A wooden door has been installed into the western wall of soil and earth.

Phocion picks the lock on the door and opens it.

In a Hidden Tunnel

The party continues into a very cramped, narrow tunnel made of dark brown soil and earth. It runs just briefly toward a door to the east and into a larger cavern to the west. There are small spots of blood scattered across the rough cavern floor in some places.

As they travel deeper into the cave, greater numbers of giant spiders rush from the cave to attack the party. Eryn pushes splits the spiders into manageable numbers with her magical ice walls while the rest of the party kill the spiders by the dozen. Terk swings his magnificent winter warhammer, crushing as many as three spiders at a time. Cirran plunges his dagger into the eyes of the spiders. Wren and Corin

Phocion yells, “I have never seen so many of these giant spiders in the caves. Bezyl must be prepared for us.”

Before a Thick Web

At the end of the small burrow, the party is completely surrounded by thick, sticky webbing. There is a closed web to the south. Wren forces the web away with a spell.
In a Huge Pit

The party continues into a massive, round pit that is completely filled with thick, sticky webs. The floor is made up of the same webbing, which appears to block an exit below. Phocion cuts a hole for the party to descend, using the thick webbing as handholds until reaching the bottom of the pit.

At the Bottom of the Pit

At the bottom of the huge, round pit are thick, sticky cobwebs and what appear to be the torn remnants of large egg sacs. Before the eggs can be examined, a group of Araknai Guardians charge from the dark. Staying close together, the party begins fighting through the Araknai. At the Sungrass Inn, each had their own motive for entering the cave. Now they were bound as one by the need to survive and move forward.

Phocion looks at one of the Guardians. The monster resembles a spider in some ways but is much larger and more menacing. The elongated, oval-shaped body has a shiny, armored shell which is entirely black in color, with countless brown and red furs extending outward. It has several legs which are skeletal in appearance but look nonetheless strong and swift as the vicious creature skitters about. Large talons are attached to each of the legs. Two huge, twitching fangs are dripping in some gooey black substance.

After some time there is a lull in the fighting. Exhausted, Sabin says, “Wow. So many spiders. How many eggs has she laid?!”

Phocion says, “These are the Araknai. Let us clear them all from these caves. Look at all these open egg sacs. There must be an army of spiders in these caves. Wren, grab whatever egg you want.””

Terk asks, “For how many years have they lived here?”

Wren replies, “Lesser spiders have always been common here.”

Terk says, “It’s disgusting.”

Eryn says, “Infested. The balance is twisted.”

Wren says to Eryn, “Your idea of balance seems to involve fewer spiders and a great deal more fire.”

Eryn says to Wren, “All things in moderation.”

With that, the party continued forward through the cave until they reached an area with an unhatched Araknai egg.

Phocion says, “Wren, would this egg do?”

Without further prompting, the human Wren approaches the unhatched, hut sized egg. He waves his hands, mumbles under his breathe, and the egg disappears without fanfare. Phocion privately hopes that he will not regret this decision.

On and on the party presses, hundreds of Araknai dying as fast as they appear from the caverns. Out of the corner of his eye, Phocion notices Wren take a second unhatched egg. Corin eyes Wren curiously, then also takes an egg sample.

As the caverns wind deeper and deeper, round and round, it becomes nearly impossible to tell if the party is making any actual progress toward the Queen. Spider limbs and guts coat the cave walls. Wren says to Phocion, “Any sign of the Queen, yet?”

Phocion says, “Who can say in this place. Let me know if you notice anything.”

Fueled with bloodlust, Phocion continues to press the party toward wherever he sees the greatest number of Araknai, never forgetting his order to make them extinct. After hours of arduous battle, an opening covered by an undamaged web appears.

In the Huge, Web-Filled Tunnel

Shadows dominate most of the huge tunnel as it continues to stretch north from here. Clawing and skittering noises can be heard throughout the surrounding earth. There is a closed web to the north.

Phocion cheers! “A new web!”

Melbere says, “Spirits up, everyone! Let's get home before dinner.”

Sabin jokes “Yeah, we can cook up a few of those spider egg you University people collected!”

Wren says, “No.”

Corin notes this location in his parchment before tucking it away and dusting off his robes. “The samples are for study, not for eating.”

Phocion says, “We must be getting close. It is freezing down here.”

They roam from massive burrow to massive burrow, each circular tunnel the clear creation of some giant, insect-like creature. Claw marks in rings around the tunnels are visible beneath the thick, sticky webbing. Countless white and yellow egg sacs fill the burrows. The smell of death permeates the air…

In a Huge Cluster of Burrows

An incredibly massive cave junction filled with thick, sticky webbing. The rocky cavern ceiling high above is mostly covered with webs, as are the walls and jagged rocks jutting out from them. There are countless egg sacs all around, mostly white and yellow in color. Many are covered in some strange black slime. Giant burrows have been dug into the cavern walls all around.

Prescient, Eryn stops and watches the darkness.

Bezyl, Araknai Queen skitters in.

The spider-like monster is at least ten to twenty times larger than the others nearby. It skitters about on several skeletal legs, appearing to stand up on its hind limbs to show aggression or dominance toward the other Araknai. It has a similar armored body which is much longer and more defined, with thick red and brown hairs. The creature has a remarkably strange head, nearly humanoid but with a thousand black eyes all over the top. It has a "mouth" of some kind, which is basically rows of long, thin razor-ship teeth, dripping in the same black substance found coating the creature's talons.

Eryn chants strange words and gestures magically with her hand. A wall of pure ice forms between Bezyl and Eryn’s companions. One of Eryn’s yetis is caught on the wrong side of the wall. Stupidly, the yeti advances on Bezyl, who crushes the yeti beneath one of her front legs.

Phocion cheers loudly and slams his hammer against his shield, responding in kind to the loud echo caused by Bezyl’s approach. Bezyl spits black bile at the wall, the acidic substance making short work of the defensive partition. Corin tries to get a rough sketch of the creature before he is forced to tuck his parchment away and dive out of the way of some webs.

Bezyl unleashes a massive, sticky web that covers Sabin, Cirran, Melbere, Wolvisher, Corin, and Ulias. Wren summons a massive dragon of spectral energy which flies toward Bezyl, distracting her long enough for the other half of the party to free their allies.

Phocion, Terk, Cirran, Ulias, Galdren and Sabin charge, each picking one of Bezyl’s many limbs to try and bring her low.

Corin unleashes balls of flame from his hands. Wolverisher and Merbere hurls magical whips. Eryn alternates between launching fiery novas at the monstrosity and bringing healing waters down on her allies to heal them from the unavoidable black bile flying off Bezyl. Wren gestures magically, casting unseen forces toward Bezyl.

After several minutes of fighting, the Queen lets out a crackling sound of frustration and disappears in an instant. Where once the monstrosity stood, there was nothing but thick air.

Phocion gasps in astonishment. “Where did she go?”

Sabin echoes the sentiment, “Wa?”

Eryn says, “We didn't kill her. She disappeared.”

Melbere stomps his foot in anger.

Wren says “Quick, ain't she?”

Ulias says, “Did she get away.”

Phocion says, “Eryn, you are the most knowledge about the wilds of this world. Do you have any idea where the beast went?”

Eryn sniffs the air. “No.”

Corin begins sketching once more.

Wolvisher sends his wolf to search.

Ulias glances around quickly.

Phocion says, “Let’s find her! If we keep killing her young, she will be forced to return and avenge them.”

From burrow to burrow, the parties smashes the unhatched eggs of Bezyl’s young while searching for her escape route. After the extinction march ran its course through a score of eggs, a seemingly completely healed Bezyl, Queen of the Araknai, made her return.

Terk exclaims, “She is mine!”

With no time to question how such a giant creature could escape so suddenly or how it could return, as quickly as it left, without any signs of being wounded, the party threw all of its might and magic at the dark being.

With one final eruption of flame from Eryn’s hand, the Queen fell, slain.

Some of the party cheered. Some laughed. Some stood silently for several moments. No one seemed to know what exactly to do at first.

Remembering Wren’s odd request and not knowing how to mark the significance of the victory, Phocion asks, “Wren, did you get the sample you need.”

Wren makes a face. “Burning spider queen? Ew. I think I’ll leave the…remains…of the Queen where they are. The smell is positively noxious.”

Galdren says, “Ugh, and I thought I smell bad.”

Phocion nods and says, “Let us return to the Sungrass Inn and regroup.”

Eryn and Sabin nod.

Terk says, “Yes sir.”

Eryn tells the group, “I will come last.” Phocion looks at Eryn suspiciously. Eryn adds, “To make sure everyone is well.”

One by one, the group recalls out of the cave.

In the Sungrass Inn

This area of the hut serves as a place where tavern-goers may dine. There are just two long tables made of bamboo and a few small stools. The dirt in the air as people shuffle through makes it unappealing to some.

Heroes Here: Corin, Terk, Sabin, Cirran, Melbere, Ulias, Wolvisher, Wren, Eryn, Galdren and Phocion

As Phocion enters, a scowl on his face, he hears Wren say “It is everyone, I imagine. We'll have to rinse in the stream before even the bathhouse will take us.”

Wolvisher looks at Turk, shakes his head and frowns.

Ulias whispers something to Eryn. Eryn whispers back to Ulias. Ulias nods, looking relieved.

Galdren says 'Lightweight. If that creeps you out from sleep, don't venture too far north then.”

Corin says to Galdren, “I have yet to explore beyond the Northern Sea. I am sure I will in due time.”

Wolvisher whispers something in his wolf’s ear and stands back up while his wolf walks behind Terk and sniffs his rear. Terk says, “This is…disgusting!”

Melbere says to Wolvisher, “You’ll clean the fur, right, youngster? I doubt our innkeeper will appreciate the lattice.” Melbere gives Wolvisher a warm smile.

Phocion interrupts the excited company. “She was even more massive, powerful and cunning than the Army expected. What intelligence is behind her existence?”

Wren says to you, “Araknai have been around for some time, haven't they? She simply survived long enough to make a nuisance of herself. Doesn’t have to be anything more complicated than that.”

Ulias says “Didn't Phocion say they were becoming more aggressive?”

Phocion shakes his head at Wren. We first looked into her existence a couple months ago. She grew ten fold during that short time. That is beyond mere age.

Wren says to Phocion, “Troubling.”

Eryn says, “He speaks the truth. I have met her before. She was…different this time.”

Phocion says, “How was she different, Eryn?”

Eryn says, “A decidedly larger amount of fluid in her abdomen is my abiding memory.”

Wren says, “You think her the subject of some experiment, then?”

Ulias says, “Or something worse... A lot of animals seem abnormally aggressive to me.”

Sabin says, “Do you think someone is deliberately making them more aggressive and powerful? Someone…or something…”

Terk says, “But who?”

Ulias wrinkles his nose.

Eryn says, “Larger definitely.”

Wren says, “Normally I’d attribute a sudden, powerful spike of might to necromancy. It’s good for that sort of thing. But she didn’t employ the art, nor did she stink of
the dead.”

Terk says, “Did it smell magically or alchemistic?”

Wren says, “If anything, her abundance of children is evidence to the contrary.”

Phocion says, “Could some sort of mage be behind this though? Altering her size and productivity?

Galdren jokes, “Sounds like she was having lots of fun down there for a good while.”

Wren says to Phocion, “A mad naturalist? It's possible. Demonic arts I can't rule out, but that has ever been the specialty of your own Underworld.”

Wolvisher shifts to other foot while leaning on wall, and his snow wolf sits to his side with its ears and amber eyes observing the group.

Eryn says, “We all know the darkness is moving. Rho wakens. The recent snow wolf madness incidents are evidence of this.” Eryn adds, “If wakening is what a god can
do. Mortal words are so crude.”

Phocion gasps in astonishment. “I will not stand for your impiety, Eryn.”

Wren says to Eryn, “I too have found traces of Rho's worshippers accelerating their activity.”

Wolvisher stands straight up and exclaims, “I can add context to this. Me pack has been aggressive toward others more so then normal.”

Phocion says, “You dare imply that Rho threatened the Empire made in His image?”

Eryn smiles slightly. “Image or not, the balance affects us all.”

Wren says to Phocion, “Poor fathers hate their children, good fathers test them.”

Eryn says, “Impunity is not your birthright any more than it is anyone’s.”

Wren says to Phocion, “Piety is no guarantee of a god’s good graces.”

Wolvisher frowns and huffs. "Is there something we can do to prevent the madness? Or what do we must seek next?"

Wren says, “Well! If there is any hint in her eggs, the University will find it, and share the knowledge as best we can.”

Phocion says, looking at each of the University and Enclave representatives, “Well then. I can’t deny that you all fought bravely along with us soldiers. But I won’t stand for your ‘novel’ beliefs.”

Eryn raises a quizzical eyebrow at Phocion.

Terk says, “Maybe we should investigate other places of spiders?”

Wren says to Terk, “Now there's a good idea.”

Phocion agrees with Terk.

Terk continues, “Maybe we will find some…similarities.”

Phocion, still visibly upset, states, “I am going to return to my superiors with the news. We will be sure to update you all if we find any more threats against the realm.” Phocion salutes Terk and Cirran and leaves.

Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:54 am

Re: March on Bezyl, Araknai Queen

#4 Post by Wren » Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:25 am

Afterward One


Wren says to Corin, 'Time to deliver these eggs, I think.'

Corin responds, 'Indeed'

With the flourish of a scroll, Corin disappears into a quickly vanishing cloud of mist.

Wren says to everyone remaining, 'Thank you all. Good work, today,' then he too reads his Scroll of Return and disappears.


In the University High Chambers, Fourth Floor

You are in the fourth floor lobby, among the higher chambers of the
university. There are a couple of tall doors here and corridors leading off in
various directions. Plush purple and cyan rugs are running along the wood
floors down each hallway. Portraits hang on the walls depicting the greatest
mages and scholars throughout the history of the realms. A wooden staircase
continues into the chambers above and below.

Wren says to Corin, 'Well, that was ... something. I would have liked to talk to her, but I doubt it was ever a negotiable possibility.'

Corin responds, 'Yeah, there was no time for anything but violence. A real shame, honestly.'

'Something to keep in mind. If we want to open a diplomatic channel to whatever it is, we have to beat the Army to it.'

'Indeed. I have never trusted the Army much either. Today is a good example of violence being the only solution they seem to bring to the table.'

'Don't underestimate them,' Wren warns, 'they scouted the threat a week in advance, remember, and gathered a force that didn't risk their rank and file. They're both patient and cunning. Dismiss them as brutes at your peril.'

'You are probably right on that account,' Corin says with a deep sigh. 'I'm not sure waht we should do next. I'll write a letter to the High Sage and seek his guidance. '

Wren says, 'I'll start the investigation of the eggs, and inform the mystics that we need to begin divination for other threats.'

Corin nods, then gently hands over his sample to Wren.

Wren continues, 'If we can get a head start on the next disaster--if there is a next disaster--we can gather our own information on our own time. Catch up with you in a bit, Corin!'

Corin says, 'Indeed. Travel safe.'

Wren flies gingerly down the stairs.

Post Reply