The corn was quite delicious, and Brendalla was sure to take her fill. Luckily for the others, her stomach was much smaller, else she might have gone ahead and devoured it all by her self. She looked down at Maximillion and laughed. He had devoured the whole bone and was licking up his slober, which still likely possessed the taste of meat. She scratched him behind the ears, and he looked up at his halfling partner and smiled. A toothier grin she had never seen.
The woman at the bar seemed as though she were sent to try and convince them further of the cause in which they were being elected to deal with. It seemed as though she had been in a far amount of conflict, which was perhaps due to their location. It seemed unwise to announce yourself so brazenly to a feral part of the world such as this. If the town did not stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of these woods, then perhaps they would not be under seiged by bandits, goblins, or worse. Though she often found elves to be far too hawty, at least they knew how to be one with their surroundings. They had been in constant conflict with the orc hordes, and yet their cities rarely fell under seige. Built ahigh, they could easily pick apart their foes with arrows, from a safer distance.
Still, the halfling druid reproached herself on these thoughts. They were a different breed to be sure, but if they did not wish to live in harmony with their surroundings, who was she to judge them. Not all of her halfling brethren were the same... in fact, many were scoundrels of the worst kind.
"As far as I understand it miss. We have already agreed to help you with your cause. It is less important why we should go, then where. If you will direct us, we will be happy to get on our way, after appropriate provisions for the journey have been set. Now, where were these ruins..?"
As she listened to the response of the woman at the bar, she reflected on this new knowledge. Ruins were often inhabited by tribes of wild races, such as orcs and lizardfolk. It was yet another misgiving for these humans to be so near a sight as this. Perhaps the people that had originally built these ruins still lived near by. What if this village was tresspassing, and their bad luck was due to a breach of territorial law?
After listening to the woman describe the location of the ruins in more detail, Brendalla hops off of her chair and onto the saddless back of her husky companion, looking at the remaining members of her travelling band. "Shall we?"
And with that small question, she steers Max towards the door, searching out Karlana. "A hero is upon a page of parchment, or in the whisperings of a camp fire. What we are in truth is often much less than what will be in legend. However, should we find these children, we will be to them, if not their elders, a path upon the cliff. They stand upon the edge. Here and now, we may be their rope. We can guide them down, and yet what the world will fail to remember, is that they were the ones who had to climb."
" A hero, is someone who willingly helps others, no matter what kind of menial task or death defying act it may be. Someone who thinks and cares for others. And by that, you are all heros just for considering to help us. But I am glad you decided to go. Dont think of us as lazy or beggars, we would get them ourselves. And like I said, most of us wanted to wait. But it just to happens you are all here, and in that fact alone, a lot of the townsfolk are overjoyed, and anxious to see what you say. They might of over done it with a lavious dinner, but can you blame them? Children and loved ones lost, and the only ones who could save them need to decide. They are just trying to show they are good people, and I hope they did a good job of it."
She coughed slightly, and took a breather; realizing she ran on.
" But dont mind me, you all already agreed. Now, I'll finish my drink, and leave you all to your meal. And as to local lore, the story is that an ancient and powerful wizard dabbled to long in the arcane arts, and catastrophe struck. His tower is now only a pile of rubble, long forgotten for many years."
With that the old adventurer turned around, and took another swig of her drink, and started a conversation with the bartender. Obviously she was trying to leave the talking at that, and hope she had done good.
A few minutes later, the companions spoke a few words, and finished their meals; some left early in minor disgust, and others accepted happily. But it was unanimous that they would go after the children, and help this forlorne village.
Rao, Mourn, and Aramil exited afterwards, their stomachs full of a hearty meal. They spotted Brendalla riding Max outside, and with a quick scan could find Karlana sitting on a rock that sat next to the tavern, looking at the sky as the sun sank ever further into mountains of the spine of the world. Venethia approached from the manor house that was to their left, down the stoney road.
" If you accept or not, please, stay a night. Free lodging. Your presence here lifts our spirits alone, and if theres anything we can do to help, we can."
Venethia leads them on back the main road they came down and entered another building. This one was painted a dull green, with a wood burning of a dragon laying its back with its eyes closed, was arched in almost a half moon shape, with a lazy smile was on its face on the door. In common underneath it read "The sleepy Wyrm".
They entered the building, and inside was one long skinny room, with a small desk and a man sitting behind it. Four rooms flanked the fronts of him, and a staircase headed off to the mans right. Venethia spoke up and mentioned the five rooms she reserved. She was handed five keys, and handed them out to all five of the party.
" If you do not want to sleep in here tonight, just give Andiel your key. I bid you goodbye for now, and hope you have a good nights rest."
She quickly walked out of the inn into a now darkened Drungelle, wandering off to attend to some former business. Quickly the party decided on where they were going to sleep, either they would accept their free rooms and go to sleep, or find a place outside. But whatever the choice, the night was uneventful, and the next morning the five found themselves awake, and together outside of The Sleepy Wyrm. Soon Venethia approached them once again. On her back though was a long thin object, covered in a cloth.
" I hope you had a wonderful nights rest. I had Jenna tell me that you all said yes. Well all I can do now is tell you that we think they are held up in the ruins north north-west of here. But Jenna said that already. I hope you all the best of luck, and if you keep walking past the well over there..." She points to the well at the end of the main street." You will meet the High forest in about half an hours time. Then you walk north northwest and you should come up on the ruins. There might be some paths up there, but I'm not sure."
She went to turn around but whipped back to her front and took the object off of her back.
" Oh and Jenna wanted me to give you this." She unraveled it, and a shortspear fell out into her hand. When handed over, the wielder could sense some sort of magical properties, but of what kind is not known. " Please, take this and the best of luck to you."
Venethia dissappeared into the inn, the door swinging shut behind her. The fivesome stood their infront of the building, birds chirping and the sun coming out of the east, the day ready to be seized.
Slowly the rest of her new party would join her at the rock where she watched the sun sink beyond the horizon. When night had fallen the old woman had told them they would receive free lodgings that night. Nodding the woman followed the party to the inn and into a room all her own. She would not sleep more than an hour, for thoughts ran through her mind.
A sleepless night it may have been, but she was sure nobody would notice that she had not slept. It would surprise her if anyone brought up that she looked sleep deprived. Calmly she listened to the old lady once again remembering every word she had said to them since their arrival the other night she nodded slightly.
When the old woman presented the weapon she stepped back for she was enjoying the weapons she carried with her, another would simply be a hindrance to her proficiency with her weapons of choice. Patiently she waited until the woman had left and she spoke only a few words. "If we leave now, and remain at a steady pace, we'll arrive before nightfall at the ruins." she fell silent and began to walk in the direction they had been advised to take.
The morning was a blessing. At sunrise she stole her way out of the inn, where alternatively at midnight she had snuck Maximillion in against the wishes of the innkeepers. The servant at the counter in front sneered as she rode down the steps upon her trusty husky companion. All Brendalla had to offer her was a warm smile. Outside, she found herself a grove of closely knit trees, where she prayed to the sun, the wind, and the earth, as Maximillion stood watch, and ensured that no intruders interfered with her most holy of moments. She tangled her fingers into the grass, and felt the prickly fingers upon the blades edge grab hold of her skin. She contemplated the natural glory that she may require to unleash, to maintain the balance, and to prevent the spread of evil.
After meditating alone for well over an hour, she springs out of her hidden grove, and joins the party outside of the inn. She had missed the beginning of the conversation, and only caught the last, "Oh and Jenna wanted me to give you this. Please, take this and the best of luck to you."
She needn't ask where they were going, as Karlana takes the lead and begins moving out. Having no real need of the spear, she refuses. It isn't the right size for her anyhow. It wasn't often that very many things offered up by humans came to her with a convenience. She preferred her lance anyhow. So long as her and Max were moving as one, she could cause extensive damage to her foes. To date, she hadn't discovered a force that could seperate them. Their bond was complete.
Maximillions head perked up, his knowing eyes gazing into her own; a sloppy grin consenting to her radiating feelings of love for him. Their empathic bond was euphoria to her. She shared his dreams, and ever since had no need of her own, which were dull in comparison. The dog understood true happiness. He lacked the misgiving intellect inherent in her. There was only the loving hand of his master, or the game of fetch on a warm summer's day. The only downside to this bond was her occasional disgust at his obsessive craving for meat. She had tried to teach him how to eat as a vegan, but though he appreciated her attention, his eyebrow merely perked at the food she had offered him. Eventually he would simply sneak off into the forest and hunt for rabbits.
Mourn Eveningstar awoke with a crick in his back and moaned his discontent. Next to him Aramil turned, a smile splayed across her face as the morning sun shone in throuh the boards of the window.
Aramil had been sharing a bed with Mourn for years, though there was certainly no romantic bond between the two of them. The sharing of a bed or sleeping quarter had come as a necessity in their early years of traveling. Aramil rose and dressed, while Mourn idly turned away and flipped through is spellbook. Aramil prayed, while Mourn reflected on the days spell selection, and soon both were ready to head downstairs and start off on their adventure.
Their keeper was presented with a pair of keys, for they had felt the need to keep up appearances, and in return he presented them with a spear. Mourn looked it over and shrugged, while Aramil graciously accepted it, because after all it was the right thing to do. She prepared to set out, slinging the spear in a diagonal across her back through the loops of her pack, and her voice was already alight in song and whistle as the warmth of day passed over her as she exited the tavern doubling as an inn.
Mourn, still a little groggy, wiped the sleep devils from his eyes and followed suit, and with a yawn spoke his first words of the day.
"North -Northwest through the High Forest. As soon as our last arrives, let us be off."
And so it was that the adventuring group would head out of the town, and into the woods. The morning would seem to be the perfect setting for a stroll through the woods; The sun shining embracing everyone with its warm rays, the birds diddling about through the clear blue skies of the town chirping back and forth above the rooftops.
They stepped out of the village and into the small stretch of rolling hills between them and the forest, following a well beaten foot path. The walk would easily only take a mere ten minutes or so, giving everyone a good morning stretch before they hit the woods.
It grew cooler as they approached the tall wood, the trees trapping all of the morning fog and dew within their leafy branches. The five of them approached the edge of the wood with some slight caution, as the stories of the village folk being kidnapped still ran through their minds. But in they went, walking in the direction they were told. They followed a very old woodsmen trail, obvious by the large tree stumps dotting the edge of the path. Everything in the forest seemed normal with squirrels and birds and rabbits all about. But that serenity was disrupted with the finding of tracks. Mourn and Aramil, standing side by side both looked upon the semi fresh boot prints upon the soft ground. Upon further exploring it seemed that common shoes were mixed in with the heavy boot tracks. Mourn looked up, and through the brush could see that the tracks lead north west still, in the direction the villagers said. But soon they become to obscure to follow. Raolno wandered up the path a bit, and stepped on something. He bent down to pick up a well made but broken arrow, already snapped before he got to it. He looked back, and seen he was a ways away from the group, but in the direction the tracks lead.
The quietness of the woods was disturbed however, as a not so quiet band rose out of a thick batch of shrubs, and dove into a small clearing. Five figures wearing hooded half cloaks, three in studded leather armour and two in chainmail, come out and rise from a kneeling position from their hiding places in the shrubs. Four have readied shortbows. The fifth has a strange clawlike weapon attached to his left wrist that extends past his hand.
The group of four elves and a halfling stood at one side of the clearing in the woods, and this ambush at the other, a fight looked inevitable as one of the short bow wielding men fired a shot at Rao. But he stumbled on his way out of the bushes, and lands on the ground in an awkward position. A tiny shriek broke the vocal silence as he rolled over off of his hand, which was at a painful angle in the ground.
With this break it gave Aramil a moment to think. She glanced at the claw like bracer that was worn by the man behind the four others, and then it clicked in her head. The Cult of the Dragon. A shiver suddenly came over her as she realized that they were dealing with much more than just bandits wanting a bounty. It all became to serious to her, knowing that if they fail now, being ransomed would not be their fate.
( Ok, rolled a fumble for the first attack of the campaign. I wonder if that reflects what will happen through out? Oh, and good luck everyone!)
Posted on 2008-05-01 at 23:53:51.
Edited on 2008-05-02 at 00:32:24 by Jozan1
The movement through the forest was peaceful enough, that is until the cracking sound of already broken arrow underfot alerted not only Rao that others had traversed here before, but alerted also those lying in wait that their next victims had arrived.
As one of the bandits stumbled and fell, Mourn couldn’t help but smirk. That smirk however was stolen from his face as Aramil noticed the strange claw like weapon worn by one of the enemy. "Cult of the Dragon" he hissed As she drew her bow, Mourn was already working a small piece of bat guano between his fingers.
“Be gone from my path servants of Tiamat.” Mourn said as he loosed a small bead of red and orange from his fingers. (Casting fireball)
Aramil followed with an arrow of her own, aimed for the claw member, deciding that it was likely a caster, hoping to disrupt any attempt at a spell being returned at their fledgling party.
Posted on 2008-05-02 at 00:37:37.
Edited on 2008-05-02 at 00:38:47 by Kaelyn
After their march towards the ruins was interrupted by interlopers of the forest's harmony, Brendalla goes to work immediately, after the intentions of this host are known.
Raising the petrified branch of an old pine tree, one that had come from her native home, just outside her village in Liuren, she focused the divine energies of the blessed mother into it, as though it were a wand. Words wrung through the air like wind through the reeds; words that were gibberish to all but the druids of the trees. Her skin began to crystalize, as she gently twisted her wrist about in the shape of infinity. She then touched the wand like branch upon the ear of her trusted companion Maximillion, which made his ear twitch. His skin, unseen, changed alongside her own. Her skin grew thick, and cracked as though chapped, it browned, and her hair turned green as summer grass. So too did the fur of Max, which was quite a sight to behold.
The halfling did not live so long is this world, in the balance, to tilt the scales with rapidity, and thinking without judgement. Nay, she would stay her course, await the coming tide. If the aggression of her colleagues were anything in regards to the statement of this roaming band, war was an inevitability. No need to be consumed by it's flames thought. Better to poke at the cinders, let the fire rage itself into death. Smouldering into the dirt, surrounded by well placed stones, it could do no harm to the trees.
Loosing her lance from the saddlebag of the green furred husky, she readied it for combat. Preparing to charge in and deliver the unforgiving wrath of a forty day storm. Let them drown in their own blood, if that blood ran black with the taint of evil insinuation.
Karlana glanced about her surroundings as the five sprung from across the clearing. Quickly she reached for her composite longbow and knotched an arrow releasing it as soon as she had a clear shot of one of the middle archers. She didn't think, she didn't have time to think. They each had to choose one enemy and kill it as soon as they could for a chance to survive.
The wood elf didn't even consider what the rest of the party would do, her first instinct is to take out the ranged shooters. After releasing the first arrow she knotched a second waiting for another clear shot.
The attackers made the first move, with one of the chain mail wearing hooded figures firing a bow into Rao. The arrow sail passed into the woods, cutting through the foliage rather than Rao himself.
Another one of the assailants rose up and fired, this time aiming at the charging halfling and her dog. This shot hit dead on, but glanced off of the armour on Brendella, flying wildly off to the side.
Finally the attackers did not have the jump on them anymore, and Karlana pulled out her bow, and fired two shots into the one who shot at Brendella. The two arrows penetrating straight through his studded leather armour, burrowing deep within his chest. His face twisted in pain and he clutched his chest, and blood trickled from the two arrow holes.(-11)
Brendalla spotted the wounded archer who had shot at her, and she charged. Just before she hit though, two arrows sank into him, and he turned just slightly enough to let the lance bury deep into his ribs, the momentum driving the lance deeper than it probably should of. The man fell over onto the ground, dead. He spasmed quickly and coughed up blood, then fell limp on Brandallas lance. (-8 )
It was Rao who went next, seeing the blood shed was eager for a fight. He charged the chain mail wearing attacker on their left, swinging his falchion at him with deadly accuracy. Two large gashed appeared as the curved blade naturally sliced its way through the chain mail and then the mans chest. Blood gushed forward as he fell flat on his face without even a movement. He was instantly killed.(-18 )
With the sudden shift in odds, one of the last two remaining attackers fired his bow at Rao, who had just cut down his ally in mere seconds. The arrow sank into Rao's shoulder, firmly lodging itself in place. (-4)
Next it was Mourns turn, who decided to release a fiery mayhem upon the assailants. The fireball landed behind the attackers, englulfing the spell caster, and the chain mail wearing attacker. Both of them didn't see the small bead sail past them, and the fire enveloped them both. They ran screamed and ran around while they burned, but quickly fell to the ground and succumbed to their fate. both burned alive.(-21 each)But so did the forest around them. A few bushes and the grass around the two bodies burned slowly, but didn't spread as the misty dew from the morning kept everything with a wet protective layer.
Aramil took aim at the last living hooded figure, his studded leather a large target to shoot at. The arrow hit dead on, but stuck in slightly, and then pulled out.
The last hooded figure looked around at his dead companions, and released a quick shot at Mourn, the arrow catching the caster in the side of his upper arm, grazing him just enough to cause a flair of pain and the trickle of blood.(-1) He dropped his short bow and turned to run, but was shot in the back by Aramil and Karlana. Two arrows quickly stuck into his back, and he fell to the ground. Some movement could still be seen through the twitching bushes, but not much.(-17)
Posted on 2008-05-09 at 00:29:57.
Edited on 2008-05-09 at 00:31:31 by Jozan1
As swiftly as the ambush had begun, it had ended. Karlana darted towards the bodies and checking to ensure they were dead. Gathering up her arrows slowly she checked the dead bodies for anything they may be carrying. Karlana listened to the sounds of her surroundings, sniffing into the gentle breeze that passed through the clearing. Her eyes shot towards those among them who were wounded and she asked if they needed healing.
Mourn scoffed as the last of the bandits succumbed to the gathered companions superior skill and might.He looked towards the thin slice of his silken sleeve and the line of red which lay underneath and shrugged, shuffling forward towards those who had fallen.
Aramil meanwhile paced the surrounding treeline, checking for any other threats.
As Mourn approached the fallen, bending low over the claw bracer wielding one he sighed. "If the Cult of the Dragon is involved, then those children are at more risk than at the hands of mere bandits.
Mourn goes to search the caster first, then others for anything that may be useful.
Her father had trained her well. He had always been a bit of a gruff man. Never too interested in anything except for the martial domain. Soldiery had brought him wealth and security within the community.
Brendalla had often suspected that he was somewhat disappointed that his daughter had not picked up on his militant stand. Too much of a daisy picker for his taste she reckoned. He loved her nonetheless, and she had learned from him with much enthusiasm. When it came to military life, however, her exuberance ended at the front steps of her home sweet home. Many of her commander's had found her insubordinate, or simply ridiculous. Her passion for nature, and the call of the woods had always been scoffed at. The only weapon she had found to be much use to her was the lance. She had always been an innately determined rider, even before she had rescued Maximillion from his grizzly fate. The young druid had devoted so much of her time to the weapon that she had neglected her study of other's that were similarily required to be an effective member of the militia. However... her father had some pull.
When she charged into the interloper, lance braced, elbow cocked, she was remided of the rhinocerous that had given her his skin. She had admired the animal for it's ability to gore another much to the same effect of the cavalier's lance. This was how she aspired to be known, as the cow with a long sharp horn. Perhaps that seemed a bit lengthy, or even crude, but the damage she inflicted with a single blow of her lance certainly would make it seem as though she were a herald of the times. They may also have feared her due to the cracked skin of bark, and hair of grass... though her little size made it more likely that the scariest aspect of her was the command she had over her husky friend.
The battle was short lived, and Brendalla was somewhat disappointed. She had wasted the precious time and energy of nature itself, asking for protection, and for nothing. She scanned the trees as Maximillion's nose worked away at this track and that. Pehaps he would find something interesting with his sensitive nose. Maybe a clue to the whereabouts of the children, if it was indeed these cult members that had stolen them away from their village homes...
The battle did not last long, for the ambush was poor and the fighters of same quality skill. The group felled all that stood against them, and even the ones who broke and ran. These kidnappers shant live if they could only pick on children.
The party made their way over to the dead, crossing the clearing they fought in. They searched the bodies, seeing if any clues or valuables could be salvaged, for the dead need no such things.
Karlana had stood and made sure that the battle was over, and checked her surroundings. Yes it was, and no more cultists were around them. She quickly asked if anyone needed healing, and to her relief no one did. No injuires to heal was better than having to heal any at all. She walked over to the one she had shot, and started to see what valuables he had on him. She rifled through his pockets and pack, and found seventy gold through out his belongings, along with eighty silver pieces. On his side sheathed away was a shortsword. Its hilt was made of ornate silver, and when unsheathed its blade was an unnaturally shiny steel. When Karlana held it it felt light, and easy to use. With a smile she tucked it away for safe keepings. Also was the suit of armour with two large arrow holes deep within it, and two vials of potion. One was a deep swirling blue, the other a greyish liquid that had wisps of silver within it. laying to his side is the shortbow with which he fired, and a spilled out quiver of about a dozen arrows or so.
Aramil patrolled around the battle ground, seeing if any more were hiding, ready to fight. Instead she found the path the cultists had took, leading straight from the direction the party the was headed. Surely these attackers had made the way much more easier.
Mourn walked up to the charred remains of what once was the supposed spellcaster. He bent down to look for anything good, and almost fell on back in surprise as he noticed the charred corpse of a small snake stared back at him. This he could only assume was the mans familiar.
Looking closer once again though, he noticed that the hooded half cloak he wore was burnt all the way through, but the studded leather underneath strangely was unscathed. The crossbow and bolts on his side were black and smouldering, and the book that once was tied to his side lay a few feet from him, the pages still flaking off into the air, burning as they go. The strange claw bracer he wore was only slightly damaged. It fit on his forearm like a metallic armband with three long blade reaching out past the back of his hand. The first inch or so of the three blades were all warped and bent slightly, and the rest of it hot to the touch, but other than that it was in tact. Inside of what once was a leather pouch were about fifty gold pieces, but most of them were super heated and melted toghether. Only about four of them were salvagable. rolling over the corpse though revealed a slim white wand, its shaft made of white polished bone, and in its tip sat a clear quartz gem. This wand was only slightly blackened by the fire, and with a simple rubbing it could be polished back to a sparkling white.
He walked to the other dead, and searched thier bodies too. All together he found a long sword of similiar make of the one Karlana found, and a total one hundred and sixty gold. He also found three sky blue potions, and another greyish vial. Of course the various bows and arrows layed strewn about the place also.
Brandalla trotted along with Max, trying to find anything that would help. They both moved in the direction of Aramil, further solidifying the fact that this is indeed where the men had come from. She patted him on the head, rewarding him for being such a useful companion once again.
So the group gathered together to move onward towards these ruins, past this forest and even further into this ever growing danger.
Soon enough, past when the trees were at its thickest, they cleared into an open area. This small clearing is only remarkable because of the many stones scattered across the ground. Up ahead the stones are more frequent, eventually resulting in a few areas entirely covered in stone, with only a few sparse plants growing among them. Some of the plants near these stony areas have been trampled down.
The group sat at the edge of the clearing, over looking the stoney outcroppings infront of them. They sat for a moment as Mourn identified the six potions with ease. The three light blue ones seemed to be of light healing, while the darker blue was of a moderate healing ability. The two greyish potions allowed you to see in the dark without the aid of any light.
( If you guys want, you could rest here at the edge, and then make your way further in later)