The Circlestone Injustice, Episode 3: Hey, that guy looks a lot like Kevin Bacon!
17 Elient, at the camp of Yysaril Shiningdawn Fairway Goldenhair...
As the female followers of Izzy prepare the tent for the arrival of the congregation, Maena and J'Wi both notice that the approaching crowd of farmers and other agricultural workers, seem to be rising and falling as they cross the prairie. They seem to be crossing shallow ditches which run East-West across the otherwise flat grassland.
At the same time, Jonathan, who has noticed that Izzy is carrying several rolled up scrolls of parchment or vellum, becomes aware of the faintest of vibrations, one might even say tremors, under his feet. Before he can say anything to anyone else the world seems to explode in a violent eruption of soil, sod and stones. The party are horrified as they watch, some 200 feet away, huge and monstrous aberrations burst from the ground surrounding the greater part of the crowd. Giant creatures, part praying mantis, part centipede, part cockroach surge from the newly ripped wounds in the ground and thrust massive pincers out too grab the hapless country-folk almost before they have a chance to scream. For a lingering moment, the whole scene is a surreal one, dumbfounded peasants stare wide-eyed and slack-jawed as huge bugs grab their neighbors and start to drag them back towards the wholes from which they sprang; then the screaming starts.
It takes Maena another instant to realise that while she has been watching the nightmare unfolding some distance in front of her, one of the awful beasts has actually burst from the underground immediately next to her! Remy has noticed another just behind him, and the rest of the group. It is time to tool up and get all Valentine McKee on these not-so-mini-beasts!
The group made short work of the immediate threat posed by the two monsters nearest to them, Remy managing to rip one in half with brute strength, and J'Wi stepping up impressively to wield some potent sorcery and deal some devastating damage via a magical missile. Inspired by Remy's aggression, Anahita finds herself elbow deep in the internal organs of one of the unholy crawlers, having spotted and exploited a weakness in its armoured carapace, and while she doesn't manage to split it asunder, she uses her understanding of creature-anatomy to deal a deadly wound to it.
Before their chitin carcasses have even hit the ground Maena is sprinting towards the panicking field-hands, farmers and shepherds, desperate to try and drive the creatures away and save those poor individuals who have been grappled in the terrible pincers. The rest of the group are not far behind her.
Try as they might they just can't cover the distance quickly enough and even as they sprint forwards the subterranean nightmares drag their victims, two of whom are still kicking and screaming, into the dark depths from which they sprang. In desperation, Maena calls on her faith and channels divine energies to cast a sleeping magick upon one of the insect atrocities. She has no way of knowing whether she was successful or not until she reaches the whole and peers into its dark depths. There she sees the unconscious farmer still held tightly by the creature's razor-like pincers, rather like the man, the beast seems to be unconscious.
Remy arrives and using his immense strength again he lifts the monster up and out of the whole, causing it to release its captor and start spitting acid in an attempt to escape from the Torlte's grasp. Meanwhile, Jonathan, with some magical aid from Maena, uses his rope to help the now conscious agronomist up and out of the hole. Remy drops the beast and it scuttles back into the darkness of its tunnel network.
Deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, and persuaded by expert testimony from the two rangers, Jonathan and Anahita, the party decide to retire to the prayer-tent and come up with a plan for dealing with these sub-terrestrial horrors.
They arrive back in the tent to find the survivors of the attack, some 25 to 20 homesteaders, being ministered to by a trance-like Izzy and the women. Remy attempts to ask them if they know anything about the chitinous critters. His direct inquiries are met with indirect misdirection by Uoosorts, who persuades him to join her outside the tent where they can better discuss matters without the danger of distracting Izzy from his litany. J'Wi offers to help Remy separate himself from the human woman, but Remy signals to her that she need not get involved at this point.
At this point, Izzy comes out of his apparent meditation and begins encouraging the small, but still, significant crowd to join him and the women in a dance of ecstasy, to celebrate their survival when others were not so fortunate did not survive. In seconds the whole tent is jumping. Literally. Even Remy finds himself joining in with the crowd.
Maena, J'Wi and Anahita all realise that this might just be the most dangerous thing anyone could do at this point. They are all convinced that the vibrations caused by the jumping could quite easily bring the burrowing beasts directly to the area of the tent.
For Maena this is too much and she casts a truth spell over everyone inside the tent and cries out, an accusatory finger directed straight Izzy, "Yysaril Shiningdawn Fairway Goldenhair, I accuse you of deliberately putting the lives of these good folk at risk!"
Izzy turns to her and, with a look of deep unhappiness, replies, "You dare accuse me? You. Dare. Accuse. Me!"
And that's where we leave our heroes and heroines.