The Story so Far… 2014-08-27

Alain Vistaros strolls eastward toward the town of Greenest.  Well… not really strolling toward, or away, from anything, except perhaps his own inner demons, and Ephidra, his trusty, if cantankerous, longsword.  In the dim light of dusk, he notices someone cresting the hill ahead of him as lights and shadows flicker off the evening clouds.  Suddenly, the lone figure breaks into a run and disappears behind the ridge.

* * *

As he crests the hill, Rhelus was astonished at the sight before him.  The town of Greenest, he assumed, was under attack.  Shadowy figures, short and tall, accompanied by large, bulky shapes, were burning the town while a great dragon flew circles above, occasionally lighting the sky with lightning strikes from its mouth.  Breaking into a run, Rhelus felt the wild abandon of his youthful nature taking over. 

* * *

Jogging to the top of the hill, wondering where the stranger had run off to, Alain was terrified by what he saw, dragons and orcs and hydras and worse all came to his mind.  He turned to run away.  Once she understood the situation though, Ephidra insisted that they go and help.  It took some coaxing, but she was used to overcoming Alain’s will now.  Soon enough, he started to reluctantly walk toward the stranger, who, he realized, had stopped and was looking straight at him.  “Probably wonders who I’m talking to,” Alain said, as much to nobody as to the blood-thirsty sword tied to his hip.

* * *

Rhelus waited for the stranger to approach, casually spinning a small ball of invisible energy from hand to hand.  “You thinking what I’m thinking stranger,” said Rhelus.

“Probably not,” sighed the stranger in a resigned tone.

“Go with him,” urged Ephidra.

“I don’t want to,” said the stranger.

“What was that?” asked Rhelus, not certain of what he heard.

“Nothing,” sighed the stranger, sounding even more miserable than the first time. 

“Well then, let’s hurry if we’re to get a piece of this action.  I’m Rhelus.  Do you know how to use that sword you carry?”  Not waiting for a response, he urged the stranger on, “Let’s go put it to good use then.  Greenest needs a couple of heroes like us tonight.”  Then he turned on his heel, and started off at a jog this time, not wanting to get as winded as he had after sprinting down the hill.

“I’m Alain,” Alain meekly called after Rhelus, as Ephidra shouted at him, “Catch up you coward!  There’s blood to spill.”  To his undying shame, for he knew the truth of her words, he tucked tail and ran after Rhelus toward, not away from, Greenest.

* * *

A half hour later, the evening sky painted dark red’s and deep purples on the horizon as Greenest fell into shadow, the two young half-elves saw movement in the bushes ahead.  To their astonishment, three small, dog-faced kobolds leapt out of the bushes, brandishing spears and arguing amongst themselves, accompanied by a rather large dragon-like lizard — known in these parts as a drake.

The drake hissed angrily as one of the kobolds poked it with its spear. “I’m in charge of the drake,” the kobold yelled at his compatriot. “You’re in charge of the prisoners.”

“Am not, I’m in charge of the drake, he’s in charge of the prisoners,” the second kobold said, gesturing at the third.

“All right then, I’m in charge of the prisoners,” said the third, seeming excited at this opportunity. Turning his attention to Rhelus and Alain, the kobold demanded, “Surrender, prisoners, or die!”

Rhelus selected a suitable cantrip and let fly. An icy blast of white frost jetted out toward the noisy Kobolds, striking their erstwhile leader and freezing him solid.

The other two kobolds, yelled in unison, “Oh, it’s on…” and charged the pair as Alain reluctantly drew his sword, a dark smile slowly distorting his face. The drake rushed him as he let fly a blood-curdling battle cry. The drake’s sharp teeth drew first blood, and then Alain hacked at it with that sword of his, slicing off its left front leg.   Rhelus threw an acid blast at both Kobolds, scoring on one, who fell to the ground clawing at his eyes and nose before expiring.

The remaining kobold struck back at Rhelus, nearly killing him with a well-aimed strike. Rhelus froze him on the spot, then turned his attention to the drake. Alain had managed to avoid most of the drake’s bites, and together the adventurers finished it off.

* * *

Alain and Rhelus marched into Greenest on the West Road. As they approached a cross street, some people ran into the square. The father, carrying his youngest, and dragging the older two children, paused as his wife stopped, yelling to him, “Keep going, I’ll catch up!” Waving a longsword at the kobolds filling the square, she cried, “Get back you little monsters! Get back!”

Ephidra just about came unglued in Alain’s head, “Help her! Slay them all!”

Rhelus tossed an acid blast, while Alain charged in, sword swinging. One of the kobolds gave the mama a nasty poke with its spear. Swinging her sword to maximum effect, she managed to nearly chop the little bugger’s head off. Alain was surrounded as Rhelus threw more and more acid into the mix, interspersed with freezing rays of frost that usually stopped the kobolds dead in their tracks. To his dismay, Rhelus saw Alain drop to the ground. The remaining kobolds now focused on him, and, unable to dispatch them all at once, Rhelus feared that all hope was lost, when he saw a street wretch, bent backed and twisted, wildly swinging its staff and condemning the kobolds in the name of Bahamut, striking some and staggering others. Not wildly, Rhelus realized, as most of the kobolds turned to face the new threat, but with purpose, the strange little man was carving a path through the kobolds to the downed body of Alain, where he laid a hand upon it, and breathed life, and fight, back into it. Alain, jumped up, noted the stranger and swung his sword at the nearest kobold, killing it.

As the last kobold died, Rhelus sagged to his knees. Near Death’s door himself, bleeding from myriad pokes and pricks. The stranger went to the woman next and bound her wound. She was able to walk, but the fight was gone out of her. She limped across the street to the shadows where her family waited. Now the stranger came to Rhelus, pouring something from a small vial down his throat. Rhelus felt the warm honey-sweet liquid course through him, watched as his cuts and gashes healed before his very eyes. His head cleared and the fog lifted from his eyes as he got his first look at the ugly little man before him. “I’m Suleman, we must go. Can you stand? Follow me. We have to get to the Keep.” Rhelus felt surprisingly well and stood without hesitation, joining the little man, Alain, and the family, in the shadows.

They managed to sneak from shadow to shadow, following the little man and staying together. Twice they avoided the marauders, doubling back and around. Both times they gathered in more people. Once they had to fight when three kobolds came upon them. When a small mob of six ruffians blocked the path to the keep, the adventurers, in hurried voices, called to the ruffians, “This way, this way, there is much treasure to be had and the kobolds are trying to carry it all away.” The cultists did not notice the townspeople hiding in the shadows and followed the direction so given, leaving the final sprint to the main gate of the keep open.

Sprint they did, helping the townsfolk and the family through the big iron gate before it came crashing down behind them and the heavy oak doors were flung shut and barred. “That’s it sir,” called someone on the gate, “we cannot open it again as there are attackers all around now.”

With barely time to catch their breath, let alone find their bearings, the little man gestured twice, once to a man-at-arms who quickly lead the townsfolk away, and once to the two half-elves, indicating they were to stay here.

Here endeth the session.

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