Into the late evening, our heroes dragged their sodden selves along the beach, away from the death-filled waves, as close as they could towards the jungle infested rest of the island. It wasn’t a long trip, as the beach was not very large in terms of water to trees and they had just enough space to set up camp and not be back in the water. That horrible water… Caramel stared at it, still feeling the tug it had on her as she struggled to reach air. Even more traumatized than her, Harry had actually nearly died trying to swim out of the depths of the ship.
Deciding to set up camp and rest after the ordeal, they reached deep into the bag of holding to remove the supplies only to find everything covered in ash. Concerned, Velius took a closer look to find that it was crushed rock; grit. It smelt like burnt wood. He relayed this to the group and caused a curious Harry to come over to investigate. He was able to determine that it was the stuff in between motor, with larger chunks that was granite.
“Crim, what did you put in the bag that broke?” Velius asked the ninja, accusing annoyance in his voice.
Crim held his hands up in protest, claiming that he did nothing.
Leaving it be, the group set up camp on the short, steep surface of the beach. It would not be the best sleep tonight, but it was sleep and not eternal rest in watery depths. Harry worked on the camp itself, along with the two crewman who had survived from the boat, as his badger went off to attempt to fish. Caramel was looking at the plants in wonder, having never seen such growth before in her sheltered life, and so incidentally watched as Crim went to enter the dense tropical wood to gather firewood. One step in and, “Eaaaaaaayiiieeeeoooohoooohooohaaaaaah!”
Crim jumped back, looked up and exclaimed, “Fucking monkeys!” Up in the trees were a horde of tiny orangutang type monkeys who had no qualms about being loud and obnoxious.
As Crim stepped back to the camp, away from the trees, Velius turned to the group and questioned them. “Did you hear that?”
Shaking his head he let it go. “Never mind.”
Getting over his initial shock, Crim finally managed to go back to the wood to actually gather the firewood that he had intended to take before his surprise. Creak, crack, thump. It wasn’t hard to gather wood when the rainforest was so thick, but unfortunately it was a good bit of noise. A large colorful flock of birds bustled from the tops of trees into the sky, and fly inward. It was a beautiful sight for the rest of the group. Caramel pointed excitedly at them, dazzled by the many variety of colors. To her further excitement, as she pointed, one flew back towards them, swooped near her, then landed on the cook’s (one of the two surviving crew) shoulder.
Finally it was time to be able to sleep. Sindri had passed out upon reaching the shore, so someone made sure that he was comfortable inside and resting well. Crim volunteered the first watch, who would be accompanied by an Eremes who did not seem to want to sleep yet. Just as she was curling up in her spot in the tent, Caramel noticed the two start to talk. It would seem Crim wanted to take this opportunity to get to know the Inquisitor. She should do that sometime too, she decided, since he had saved her ass a number of times, specifically twice, and she owed him a lot for that. She drifted off with this thought.
Unknown to her, who was hopefully not fighting off nightmares of water, Crim and Eremes noticed after a time that the monkeys shrieking would start up and roust more to join in the call, much like neighborhood dogs setting up an alert. When it seemed most of the island was engulfed in the cry, one or two strange roars would cause them to shut up, the only time these roars were heard. They heard rustling in the trees, but saw nothing, and did not take the chance to look.
For second watch, Velius sprung out, already on alert, with a groggy Caramel behind him. She had decided she would do her part since the last time she greedily took sleep over staying awake on a watch, they had been attacked by vampires who were after her. She still felt bad about that.
Not long into the watch, Velius and Caramel heard a roar that was close to camp. Not having been awake for the first watch and not having been told, they didn’t know that there had been roaring prior to this, whether it was similar or not. Caramel knew right away, however, that it had no resemblance to dragon roars that she had heard previously in her encounters. Actually, it was nothing she had ever heard before. She told Velius, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. The roar, being close, was still fairly inland and deemed not to bother them tonight.
The bushes began to shake near them, startling them, and they happened to catch movement. Caramel, having Darkvision, caught a glimpse of white teeth and eyes before it was gone in the blink of an eye. “Oh lord!”
Velius looked at her. “What?”
“Well, I just saw white teeth and eyes!”
“White teeth and eyes… Sharp teeth?”
“Um,” her memory failed her, “No? I don’t think so. Should we wake the group? What do you think?”
“Well, it hasn’t bothered any of us yet, I think we are alright for now. Let them sleep.”
The sun peaked over the horizon; a brilliant glow of light to light up the waking world. A soft mist drifted out of the jungle towards the water; long lost lovers greeting each other in the small moments of the day set aside only for them above the large sound of the waves crashing inland.
Deciding to be rested enough to explore, most of the group set out to do so. Velius took up lead, being the most suited to hack the brush to make a clear path, followed by a beaming and curious Caramel, then a sighing Eremes, a cautious Desira, a well rested Harry, and Crim who took time to glance at the monkeys as if they were out to get him. They made their way north, leaving trails of screaming from the prime-apes.
Midway through the day, the monkeys started up but it was not from the pushed travel of the adventurers. Two roars rumbled through the jungle, and it could be determined that what the noise belonged to may meet up on their path in the direction they hacked. For some reason, perhaps high on life after surviving, they kept to their slow steady pace of northward.
Half an hour later, they stumbled upon a trench of pushed aside and trampled jungle about ten feet wide, full of tracks. Intrigued, Harry took a closer look and noticed two different sets of tracks. One was four legs, and deep to indicate that it was heavy. The second pair told of a two legged creature. This had Harry excited and thirsting to find out more so he expressed his determination to follow these tracks. Splitting up was not on the minds of the group, so they all ended up following the tracks despite the eery silence from the monkeys.
They traveled for an hour before they heard a sickening wet sound and a shifting of giant weight. Drip, drip, splash… around the corner there was a massive amount of blood, a scaly gray tail, two big haunches, two tiny arms, a huge head and very large teeth, all leaning over the corpse of a triceratops-looking body.
Velius immediately ducked behind Caramel. As it was, the group ducked into the brush, unseen by the T-Rex. They looked at each other, a loss of words at first.
“Do we attack it?” Someone asked.
“It’s just eating it’s meal, not bothering us, at all,” Caramel pointed out.
“If you go man, I’ll back you up,” Eremes told a very excited Crim.
With that, while the rest were still pondering, Crim went invisible and charged in, leaving some gaping at him in horror. He jumped into the air and lunged courageously at the creature who was still unaware of the group’s presence, striking into it.
“Alright, let’s do this,” Harry exclaimed, the very large beast in sight.
Velius immediately moved away from the group, stuck to the growth, and skirted the large clearing that the dinosaur occupied. Unfortunately this meant he was out of range as a panicking Desira started to pray. Caramel, sticking next to Eremes to help him, touched his shoulder gently with a small shine that applied a feline grace then focused on the monster as it sat up and roared twice. It was definitely the roar they all heard last night.
Velius stealthed and moved closer, giving the rest hope that he may not actually leave them in this stupidity, as Eremes threw a judgment up and a Bane onto the massive target. Moving closer to be in range, and unfortunately into the open, he shot. The monster threw its head up and thrashed violently as a bolt went THUNK right into its targeted eye. It reverberated sideways from the hit, proving to a content Eremes that he hit it for a good bit.
The T-Rex, infuriated and blinded in one destroyed eye, turned and charged towards the smaller being who hurt it so much. In one horrifyingly quick sweeping movement, the inquisitor was picked up in the massive jaws and swallowed.
Caramel froze and stared. Her eyes must be deceiving her. One moment he was right there, doing his thing of making the bad things go away, and next he was gone, a half-blinded dinosaur in his place.
Crim took another swing at it, and Harry ran in to smash at giant haunches, an enraged badger clawing wildly. Fearing more possible incidents, Desira ran in and shielded Harry.
Why did they decide to challenge this beast? It was clearly too advanced for them. How many would die tonight? How many were already dead? Now was not the time to stand there useless though. Now is the time to try and save what was left. Still in the bushes, and not caring how loud she was being, Caramel pushed her feelings aside and began to wail on her air guitar, strong vibrating notes sounding through the clearing, filling the party with courage.
Velius, erring the side of caution, moved back out of the T-Rex’s view. It was preoccupied with other things currently anyway. It turned to Crim, CHOMP, and Crim fell to the ground bleeding and unconscious.
Harry continued to throw his hammer against it and his badger became a bit of an ankle biter. In sight, but not much of a threat in the eye of the T-Rex, Desira bravely moved closer into the chaos and channeled to stop Crim’s bleeding and render him conscious. Not wanting to stand back and just perform and watch, Caramel ran to the small cluster of her friends and, knowing that after Crim the next person to have pissed off the dinosaur was Harry, touched his shoulder. He suddenly became very fuzzy to see.
Since the creature was facing Crim and had its back to a still hidden Velius, he quickly snuck up behind it and attacked in a critical manner. Despite that, it was still very much pissed with Harry, deeming Crim no longer a threat, and attempted to snap it’s jaws around the blurry dwarf. With one eye, however, and the target constantly fuzzy, it missed.
Barely conscious, Crim uncorked a mysterious bottle. A very pretty ball of light shot out, happy to be free, and swirled around the group and T-Rex. The fairy regenerated a very much needing group, but luckily did absolutely nothing for the monster. Crim cast shadow-clones and made to get up. The dwarf swung more, but unfortunately missed a couple times, his badger making dinosaur feet into a scratching post.
It was common knowledge that now that Crim had gotten back up he could be deemed the greatest threat again. Who liked being pegged in the back when trying to eat? It could be sure to piss off the most patient of beings. The shadow-clones made it hard for those trying to keep the group alive to target Crim to help him, so Desira held her hand out and cried, “Touch my hand if you want to get lucky!” Despite being slightly taken aback, Crim slapped her hand. Following the same strategy, Caramel threw her hand out as well and declared, “Touch my hand if you want fuzzies!” There was a pause before her hand was touched.
Nope, it was still very pissed off at Harry. Not seeming to care about the ninja, or the many ninjas now, blurry or not, the T-Rex again went to snag a tasty dwarf as its next entree, but again couldn’t quite get its jaws around the blurry dwarf.
Crim popped invisibility and attacked. With one last giant roar, the T-Rex fell to its side, kicked a bit and then laid still.
It was over. No one else was missing… No… one… else… Caramel stared at the corpse, then snapping out of her state, threw herself at it and started hacking at the belly with her dagger. She didn’t care what happened, but she was getting Eremes out of there. Pushing Caramel aside, Velius used his much larger weapon to hack into the belly and allow them access to the contents.
It was no use. Collapsing, Caramel let herself deal with her emotions this time, barely noticing as people begrudgingly figured out what to do with the inquisitor’s stuff. Velius went over to the grieving Caramel and pushed an object into her hand. Looking down at it she saw he had given her Eremes’ Inquistor’s Seal. Letting her tears fall, she looked to him and thanked him softly then held it to her cheek. This would be a constant reminder of his sacrifice.
The rest of the day was spent in a small memorial. They had asked if he had told her much about himself so that they could deem burial rites, but he had hardly spoken to her. Most of the communication had been mere actions. Desira studied his Holy Heavy Crossbow and deemed the God he was patron to, and so burial was done accordingly. Caramel said a few things. She told of the encounter of the bandits who wished to do her harm where he introduced himself with the bursting skull, and his valiant fight with the great wrym where he almost met death twice. There was the fight of the adult dragon who tried to escape in the ruins where their poor monk companion had met his end, and how he pulled her drowning body from under the water. Then as Desira threw what Caramel could only see as embers into the air, Caramel sang softly one last song for their Inquisitor friend.
As night fell,Velius noticed something in the green, turned to Caramel, and said “Your teeth and eyes are back.”
Still grief stricken, Caramel stated that she didn’t care. She noticed a buckler on the ground that had to have been Eremes that wasn’t divided up yet, so she lifted it up and took it as her own. She also took the cross bolt from the creature’s eye socket and pocketed it. Crim and Desira had been cutting away at the T-Rex’s hide to take heavy leather with them, and she took a bit of that as well. Harry, having heard Desira sigh out that she wished she could take only a piece of a tooth, shattered one for her.
They began to make their way back to camp. The others deserved to know what had happened, and surely should scold them for being so stupid. Not that it had been most of the group’s choice to go in. Harry took up front, having Darkvision, followed by Desira, Crim, Velius and then Caramel. One in front to see the way ahead, and one in back to cover their backs as it quickly became dark. Too bad Caramel was really not feeling in the mood to pay attention.
Velius, sensing something up, spun around and to his shock, saw that Caramel was gone. “Uh guys, hold up. We’re missing the bard.”
The rest turned around. Harry started to track Caramel, Crim followed, and Velius stuck close to Desira who decided to follow as well. The badger, following the scent, walked to a spot then just stopped and sat down. Looking up, they saw swinging vines that Crim decided to attack. No one really knew why, and no one really asked.
Looking back amongst them, Harry and Desira noticed that Velius was suddenly missing as well. A freaked out Crim immediately drew forth his flaming sword and a bottle of oil. Not wanting the possibility of injury, Desira cast daylight on the ground so that Crim could put his fire away. Still they were unable to see what had happened to their missing companions. So they decided to head back to camp, Crim also taking the precaution to stealth.
Not long later, Crim tripped over a large, soft, object on the ground and managed to steady himself just before he fell into Harry. This caused him to freak out a little as Harry found that Crim had tripped over Desira’s suddenly unconscious body. Crim hefted the said body into his arms, possibly hoping to help get her back to camp, and Harry noticed the dart sticking out of her neck. Going invisible, and thus making Desira invisible as well, Crim made a desperate attempt to keep going towards the beach. Harry, irked, yelled out, “Come on, I’ll take you all on!”
Eery whispering in an unknown language made its way into Crim’s ears, really not helping his nerves. To make things even better, Harry fell to the ground unconscious not long after he had yelled out. Crim tripped over his body, causing the dropping of poor Desira, and heard a small shout. Forgetting all else, including the unconscious cleric, Crim booked it to camp only to find it empty with track marks in the sand. Three large grooves in the sand that looked a lot like there had been dragged bodies.
Alone, unable to see very well, and knowing that there is something hot on his trail but not knowing what, he half buried himself into the sand and decided to wait till morning before heading back to save his friends. The added help of the sun, along with the time to plan would aid him in this task.
Would he save them though? Will he end up in the same fate? Or will another T-Rex, infuriated at finding its mate slaughtered and butchered, find him and pay back the favor?