Amazon Quintet of Justice XIIb: "In the Eyestalks of the
Beholder! Deathtrap Beneath Rati!"
In a flashback, we see what Natalya and Marika were doing while the
other Amazons were being annoyed by
Using Marika's sketchy mercenary contacts, the two learn that some
group has been taking action against anyone who speaks out in favor of
the beautiful and magnificent heroines. Following this trail, they find
people hiring for a job that seems related, and apply. The recruiter
claims that he represents the local Benevolent Association of Completely
Legitimate Businessmen, who want to drive the Amazons out because they
disrupt the orderly flow of business. Marika, under magical questioning,
is not able to swear that she will take the story of this operation to
her grave, and has to bow out, but chaotic-aligned and mighty-souled
Natalya lies like a rug.
The job is to loot and burn certain buildings, which are not named but
are described in enough detail for Natalya to recognize them as magic
shops, including the one she has commissioned to make a magic ring for
her. She surreptitiously warns the shopkeepers, so that when the mobsters
arrive to wreak their havoc, nothing of real value is present and no
people are exposed to danger.
The morning after the magic-shop raids, the Amazons attempt to regroup.
Fresa is busy studying applied biology with Stephan, but the other five
(Amaryllis, Alyra, Gabrielle, Marika, and Natalya) meet and compare notes.
Gabrielle is overjoyed to learn that her bow has not been burned up.
The organized crime contact Natalya and Marika met the previous day
is protected from scrying, but one of the shopkeepers left out a
distinctive ring to be stolen, and with the assistance of the temple of
Pelor, Our Heroines are able to narrow down the ring's location to a
specific block. Additional magic shows them an odd conical room deep
underground, occupied by five armored people and an urchin Natalya
talked to earlier while investigating.
The Amazons attack! They appear airborne, near the tip of the cone,
well out of reach of the villains on the ground. However, the villains
immediately teleport away, and Alyra hears something breathing above
her! Alyra swoops down to do in the one villain who failed to escape,
while Marika stabs at the thing lurking overhead.
Amaryllis seals off the tip of the cone with a wall of force, which
turns out to be exactly the right thing to do, as the beholder hovering
there has to turn aside its magic-dampening central eye in order to destroy
the wall of force with one of its many eyestalks. Natalya sinks a massively
enchanted arrow into the beholder's loathsome body, but not before it
enchants Amaryllis into thinking it's her friend. Fortunately, that one
mighty shot (combined with the wounds previously inflicted by Marika) is
enough to slay the monster, so Amaryllis is just upset, not actively
opposing her comrades.
During the battle, a fire giant peers out of a hidden extra-dimensional
space, sees the beholder's noisome corpse drifting to the floor, and
disappears again, but not before someone notices him. Investigation
reveals a total of four such hiding places, which are inviolable but of
limited duration. The Amazons have only to wait until the fire giants
decide to make a break for it.
Flung rocks and huge swords are no match for the Quintet, and soon
three of the giants are dispatched and the fourth taken prisoner. He
knows little, having been recently hired with the promise of much gold
(his village has the custom of bride-prices, so young males are easily
swayed by the promise of treasure), but does reveal that the beholder
trap did work on another group of adventurers a few days before. Has
Connor met a dire fate at the hands of the Necrotheologians?!
Natalya and Amaryllis explain the error of his ways to the giant. When
they are certain that he will not only not rejoin the Necrotheologians, but
will let them know if more recruiters come sniffing around. They return the
giant's sword, the swords of his fallen companions, and even his ring of
cold resistance, and take him home. (Safe in their pocket dimension, he
does not witness the trouble Amaryllis has getting to the right mountain
range.) The fire giants, not being an overly sentimental people, don't hold
the deaths of their warriors against the Amazons, and are sufficiently
impressed by the return of the swords to the families of the fallen that
they insist on feasting Amaryllis and Natalya. The pair return much
later that night, suffering slightly from the extremely large size of
In the meantime, Gabrielle and Alyra (Marika having been put in charge
of the urchin) have knocked down the stone walls behind the doors leading
out of the trap room and found living quarters protected by magic that
wards against good people. Alyra pierces the wards and brings out all
the documents she can find.
The internal communications of the Necrotheologians gloat about the
instability of Tigris, worry about when King Penn will betray them,
complain about the loss of vital military resources which will have to be
replaced, and recommend against allowing the lost prince of the drow to
show up and throw his nation into chaos, as the drow armies are an
important part of the plan to destroy the world.
The next day, the Amazons ask the temple of Pelor to locate the ring
again. The first time, they find it in a similar conical room under a
different part of the city, but the occupants immediately realize they
are being spied upon and scarper. Undeterred, the Amazons try again,
this time having Amaryllis scry on one of the other people they
encountered the previous day. This works, and Our Heroines immediately
assault the villains' lair, spells blazing!
Silence spells and a ward like that in the previous lair cramp the
Amazon's style a little, but the silence also prevents the villains from
teleporting away and they have to fall back into the living quarters.
Marika makes it through the wards and engages them in hand-to-hand combat
while Natalya shoots through the doorway. Together they kill two of the
foe, and then Amaryllis makes it through the wards and is able to
incapacitate the remaining two long enough for them to meet their just
The Amazons are triumphant! Now Natalya will be able to construct an
even better urchinarium.
Travel: We tried to go home at a sensible hour, but the
battery was dead. Jump-starting from another car didn't work, so Ayse and
Ken had to get a tow truck to apply massive amounts of electricity. That
worked, and the whole thing was not too traumatic (I say, it not being my
car), but it was not like leaving when we hoped to.
Cats: They are just
fine, of course.
Writing: FAILURE. Got home after 23:00.