The Story So Far… 2014-09-10

The Keep at Greenest was in crisis.  Men-at-arms hurried to and from the walls.  Injured and broken bodies lay strewn about the courtyard.  As the Townsfolk were escorted away toward the safety of the keep.  Despite the urging of the cleric to stay put, he followed them to have his own wounds tended to.  He was later seen on the Western wall, frost rays shooting from his hands into the tumult below.

Meanwhile, a red-headed dwarf, strides across the square toward Alain when shouts and the sounds of fighting break out at the Eastern sally port.  “Quickly, you there, to arms!” he yells toward Alain, gesturing to the sally port.  Ephidra echoed the sentiment, urging the young fighter on with her bloodlust.

Vokul turned toward the sound of the fighting near the sally port.  He saw a man, 4 kobolds and a drake entering the keep through the now shattered heavy wooden doors of the sally port.  Another young half-elf came charging up, swinging wildly at the nearest kobolds.  Slaying one, he challenged the man in robes.  Realizing the danger they all faced if the sally port was not repaired, Vokul laid to as well.  The two fighters made short work of the kobolds, though Vokul was gravely injured by the drake’s ferocious bite.  Suleman blessed the young half-elf and healed the worst of the wounds.  Alain, after striking a mighty blow to the man in robes, dragged him to the ground, where he interrogated him while men-at-arms and a wizard or two went about repairing the damaged gate.

Upon learning that the man was a member of the Cult of the Dragon, and that the raiders are collecting loot for the great hoard that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons, Alain turned him over to Escobert, the dwarf, who sent him on to Governor Nighthill for further interrogation.

As the prisoner was being dragged away, a loud cry of alarm rose from atop the Northern wall, “The Dragon is attacking!”  Moments later, lightning forked across the wall, striking several of the defenders dead where they stood.

Vokul was already heading up the steps to join the defenders, their arrows barely able to scratch the great dragon’s scales, when Ephidra once again spurred Alain to action.  Suleman followed.  Once again the dragon breathed lightning, slaying yet more of the defenders on the wall.  Vokul hurled one of his three axes at the beast, only to watch the blade go skittering across the dragon’s scales.  Alain proved equally unsuccessful at piercing the dragon’s defenses.  Suleman, running low on spells, resorted to his Sacred Flame cantrip and managed to anger the dragon, then injure it a little.  Vokul and Alain meanwhile, had turned to an old ballista mounted on the corner tower of the keep.  Their first shot went wide, so wide that the dragon didn’t even notice the attempt.  But their second shot was true.  And with it, the dragon decided he’d had enough and flew away.

Returning to the square, they once again found Escobert, this time accompanied by Governor Nighthill.   Their concern was palpable.  Nighthill said, “We need you to go out into the city to…,” but he was interrupted as two different messengers came running up.  Both started talking at the same time.  One was saying, “They’re burning the mill.”  While the other said, “There’s people trapped in the chapel.”

Nighthill turned to Escobert and the two fighters, “I need you to send a couple of my soldiers with these two fighters to make sure the mill doesn’t burn.”  Glancing at the sally port he continued, “send them out the old tunnel.  They should be able to sneak past most of this fighting and get to the mill in short order.”

Escobert, turned, obviously expecting the fighters to follow — which they did, trailed by Suleman.  Escobert called to a couple of the guards, getting them to come along too.  A few minutes later they stood in front of a basement chamber, stocked floor to ceiling with boxes, crates and barrels.  Escobert indicated the southern wall of the room, “the old tunnel is behind those barrels, here’s the key.  Hurry, you need to save the mill as the city depends on it and the grain stored below it.”

* * *

After digging through the barrels, the adventurers traversed the tunnel, fighting off a swarm of rats as they neared its exit.  Taking shelter in the tunnel mouth while a roving band of kobolds moved past, the party followed the creek to the mill where they observed for a few minutes.  It seemed that the whole “burning the mill” was a sham as the kobolds and cultists doing the burning were actually burning straw and leaves around the mill, not the mill itself.  Realizing it was a sham, the party decided to drive off the arsons.  A short battle ensued as the party made short work of the handful of cultists as the kobolds ran off.  Then, amazingly, the adventurers barged into the mill, right into a trap.  Spears rained down from the rafters as cultists and guards waylaid the unsuspecting crew.  Thankfully, most of the spears missed, and those that hit, did little damage.  Suleman’s talents were, nevertheless, put to good use as the battle raged.  Outnumbered and overpowered, the band of adventurers managed to win the day.  Using the same route and tunnel to uneventfully return to the keep, fighters hoped they would be able to rest and put this day behind them.

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