The Kobolds have been defeated. Caelynn began to write in her journal. The Halfling seemed excited about killing her first Kobold. Abal was badly hurt and was hesitant to pick on his Alchemy set to brew some potions to heal himself but there wasn’t enough time for that. The woman hurried back to her sons and hugged them as well, covered in tears.
Woman: My sons. I’m so happy that you are safe.
Abal proceeded to loot every single corpse of the fallen Kobold scum despite his current health state and the Halfling drew an unknown symbol on the wall, using the vile blood of the Kobolds. I am sure now that the Halfling must have some sort of mental disorder.
Caelynn asked the woman if she knew something about Aramil. The woman was surprised, the situation was not proper for such trivial matters without even caring about her wellbeing. But by the look on her face, she didn’t seem to know anything about him.
I stepped forward, keeping my hood to cover my face.
Rhogar: What is happening here human? From where did so many Kobolds appear?
Woman: It’s a raid! They came… And they’re so many. There are also people with hoods, one of them is huge with a greatsword on his hands. And the dragon! Oh, the dragon… Our houses, our town…
She started to enter in a little hysteria since she did not know where to take her family. Now knowing that there were other invaders in the town, Holg decided once more that the true strategy was to confront them head on and started to walk forward. That stupid Half-Orc, he will get himself and even us killed if Mardred wasn’t willing to control him. He was so focused on getting into more battles that he had forgotten that he was leashed to the Paladin. She pulled the cord and despite her small size, she was strong enough to make him step back.
Mardred: Come back Holg. We’re not done yet. From here on now, you’ll do what I tell you. Do you understand me?
Holg nodded, somewhat understanding that his behavior was wrong. He even liked it a bit, to be willingly dominated by such a small yet powerful being such as Mardred.
Holg: I- I understand.
Abal once more showed his need for attention from the females. He went near most of them and said:
Abal: Good job girls, I’m very pleased with your performance.
The girls laughed and looked away from his wounded figure. The Halfling then shouted to the man hugging the children, saying that he was the shame of the family for letting his wife stand against the Kobolds. He continued to cry as well as the children, but once the kids looked up to the Halfling they smiled for a little bit. The Halfling then went near the woman and extended her arm to shake her hand, which she did right after.
The group discussed with haste on what they should ask the woman and what direction they should take after. After a moment, we’ve come up with what to do but before we go deeper into the town, I went near the woman and asked her some questions.
Rhogar: The way you fight is worthy of praise human. Allow me to know your name, please.
The woman sensed that I’ve shown her enough education from my part, calming her down a little from her previous panicked state. She then presented herself.
Woman: I’m Lina Swift, thank you for helping me in protecting my family. My house is just around the corner. I thought the noises were just a problem at the center of the town but once the Kobolds came to my house I had to leave it with my family. They seemed to be seeking money and objects of value.
Rhogar: I understand. We were traveling in a caravan when we saw what was happening here from a considerable distance. Is there any kind of leader or king in this town?
Lina: Ye-Yes. We don’t have a king but we have the governor. Governor NightHill, he is responsible for the town, of its taxes and commands the guard as well. He lives in the keep of Greenest.
On a side conversation, Melian turned to Abal.
Melian: How much will you pay me for saving your life?
Abal: Abal pays with his body of course.
Melian: Careful there, I don’t want you to die over me.
I’ve continued to question Lina in order to attain valuable information about the raid on Greenest.
Rhogar: Is there anything valuable in the keep or even mystical that could have lured the dragon to attack the keep?
Lina: This is a town like many others. If there’s anything out of the ordinary, I don’t know. There are treasures and possessions from some nobles in the keep but I don’t know if there’s anything in particular that could urge Kobolds or hooded humans to raid the town in search of anything. Please, we can’t stay here, we’re not safe. Please take us to the keep, there we will be safe.
Rhogar: Are you sure? The dragon is attacking the keep’s tower.
Lina: Yes I’m sure! The keep’s grounds are safe and I saw people going there earlier. Please, I just want to keep my family safe.
Rhogar: Why don’t you leave town? We didn’t see anyone from where we’ve come from.
Lina: What if some of them see us? It’s an open field, they will surely catch us. Please help me take my family to the keep.
Mardred: It is okay Lina. We will escort you to the keep.
Mardred then wished for her deity to heal Abal, a small flash of light came upon the male Half-Elf healing him almost completely on his wound. He then gave 20 gold pieces to Mardred for the help she gave him.
Abal then requested for someone to fix his crossbow, the Halfling went to him and fixed it. As a reward, Abal gave her gold in a purse, gold that the Hafling then wanted to give to Lina but she politely denied.
Lina: I’m sorry I can’t accept it. You saved our lives I can’t take your money.
Before leaving, Abal healed Zhiris who had sustained damage earlier but she restrained herself from complaining. Everyone went to pick the arrows, daggers, and javelins that were thrown before. At the last moment, I ignited every Kobold corpse that we slew. I don’t want to deal with these same Kobolds in the future. We devised our formation as we moved ahead in order to better protect Lina and her family.
Despite the continuous cries and screams, the sounds of metal clashing against one another we chose to head to the keep. The group was already big enough and would draw unwanted attention due to its numbers, although I was reluctant to that action. The thought of innocents being murdered would always haunt me. Mardred commanded Holg to carry the two children since their parents did not have enough strength to carry them.
Melian went on ahead above the houses’ roofs. By doing so she could alert us if anyone or anything was approaching us. But before she could even alert us, two commoners saw our group moving behind the houses and ran towards us as if they were being chased by death itself. Our numbers were high and despite our stealth approach, we couldn’t pass by unnoticed. They came to us screaming for help.
Commoners: Help! Please, they’re after us!
The commoners came to us and joined Lina and her family. Five other Kobolds appeared and two of them had two creatures leashed to them. Those creatures were green scaled and walked on four limbs. They were ambush drakes. Like the name suggests those creatures are apt for ambushes, it was fortunate to us that we saw them coming. There was a moment of hesitation after. We did not know what to do and they seemed to be in the same position as we.
The Drow had the brilliant idea of trying to reason with scum that Kobolds are.
Melian: Why are you attacking this town?
The Kobolds laughed and prepared to attack.
Zhiris promptly prepared her trident and shouted.
Zhiris: To battle!
She approached the closest Kobold and stroke him swiftly, piercing the fiend’s chest. The blow was so precise and with the exact force, it punctured through him, leaving him dead in an instant. Melian did not waste any time and picked an arrow from her quiver, with her enhanced sight, she let go of the bow’s string, delivering an arrow to the closest ambush drake’s spine. It withstood the hit without giving any sign of weakness.
Mardred then positioned herself to be in range of the closest Kobald and threw a javelin to him. Whatever her conviction was, I wish she had it all the time. The javelin pierced the Kobold with such an impact that it forced him back and into the ambush drake’s maw that it forced the Kobold inside the drake’s own throat. The javelin pierced all the way through the drake, leaving it from its tail, still with some remains of both the Kobold and the ambush drake, covered in green blood.
The Halfling picked up on her bow and released an arrow. Before doing so she shouted.
Halfling: Kawaiiiiiii Power!
Killing the last Kobold of the first group. It didn’t seem to have enough force but it nailed the Kobold to the next house by his neck. Looks can be deceiving after all.
Two Kobolds and one ambush drake remained, they were within the same distance that our group was from the first.
Mardred then released her leash and ordered Holg.
Mardred: Go. Do what you do best.
Holg ran up to the remaining ambush drake despite the considerable distance in between them. With a mighty swing from his ax, Holg separated one of the beast’s front legs. The beast then roared in pain as it prepared to attack back.
Caelynn then prepared an arrow to shoot from her bow. The arrow flew right to the Kobold on the left of the ambush drake, killing him instantly. Seeing that all of their members had been killed, the remaining Kobold and ambush drake attempted to escape. Holg attacked the ambush drake once more ripping it from its other limbs. Abal picked in one of his knives and tried to throw it to the escaping Kobold, but somehow it slipped through his fingers, hitting one of the barrels behind Abal. I approached to get in range of the fleeing Kobold and attempted to cast a firebolt over to him but the magic wasn’t flowing through me. I was mad. I did not understand why my magic would fail me at such a crucial time after so much practice.
As the last act, Zhiris answered the call to prevent the fleeing Kobold from alarming anyone else. She threw her trident and it hit the Kobold’s back, probably slicing his heart inside of the fiend’s rib cage. He fell on its knees, already without life.
Melian then picked another arrow and threw it over to the immobilized ambush drake right in the head, ending its suffering.
The battle was over, everyone picked up their belongings. Several arrows, one dagger, a trident and a javelin. Now two more adults were coming with us, turning this group much bigger for a stealth approach. Melian and the Halfling looted some of the Kobold corpses. As we were about to move I burned the corpses of the fallen once more. This time it intrigued more people than only Abal but only him referred to me in draconic.
Abal: Why do you burn the bodies? Why do they bother you?
I answered in the same language that he asked, leaving the ones who don’t speak draconic in doubt about what we were speaking.
Rhogar: There are evils that may touch these bodies. I’m not leaving fresh forms for the use of necromancers.
They didn’t seem surprised but they understood the logic of my actions.
We moved towards the keep, the sounds of metal clashing and screams continued in the other parts of town. I wanted to help, but we couldn’t risk the lives of the people that were already under our protection.
Melian continued above the roofs, now at the center part of the town. We had to get to the other point in order to avoid the natural hill around the keep. She then saw several hooded humanoids, wearing purple tunics, very organized. They were equipped with daggers and swords. A cult most probably. She passed the information to us, and we carefully slipped away from them from behind the houses in between us and them. Melian then saw a group of them chasing us when we were running up to the keep. Our shouts urged for the keep’s guards to open the gates before the mysterious humanoids caught us.
Lina Swift: Peter please open the gates, it’s me Lina!
The gates opened. We were entering there, but Holg was about to be caught, he was carrying the two children, and I would certainly be caught next to him. The steps of the supposed cult were mostly silent nor did they speak anything about what they wanted. But their weapons were already unsheathed. I was mad. Mad about my magic not working when I needed it most. I turned around and uncovered my head. Abal was fast to notice what I was about to do and he cast upon me a spell that would empower my attack.
With a roar that could match the roar of the blue dragon above the clouds, I unleashed a fiery breath of devastation, turning most of the cult’s group that was after us ablaze. Only two of them barely survived, they were guards. The six acolytes that were accompanying them had met their death in one of the most ardent ways. Caelynn was fast to suggest that we should bring the guards in for questioning. I moved forward and grabbed one of the guard’s ankles and made my way into the keep. Caelynn came with me and attached some cord to the other surviving guard’s leg and brought him in as well.
We entered the keep and the gates closed once we were all inside.
Lina: Oh thank the Gods. We’re safe.
Commoners: Thank you so much for bringing us to safety.
The guards were impressed by our arrival, and even more astonished by the destruction we’ve brought upon our pursuers.
Lina saw governor Nighthill and signaled him to come over to us.
Lina: Governor Nighthill, these are the heroes that saved us. They fought off the Kobolds and their beasts to defend us and even from the hooded cult. They’re good people. What a fortune to have them come around in such a bad situation.
Nighthill: Oh finally. Good news indeed. You don’t even imagine what a nightmare this day has been. Thank you, brave heroes. Where did you come from?
Rhogar: We came from a caravan on its way to Greenest. When we saw the smoke and the lightning, the caravan stopped but we came here anyway, hoping that we would be of help and to pursue our own goals as well.
Nighthill: I have not seen people so tough in a long while in this greedy world, you clearly are a rare sight.
Rhogar: Tell me I’m interested. Is the library still intact after the attacks?
Nighthill: Are you well? We’re being attacked by a dragon and raiders and you want to read books?
Rhogar: You misunderstand my reasons governor. The books I seek may give me an answer to what is happening here on Greenest. Enlighten me then Governor, do you know the motive of this attack?
Nighthill: I have a slight idea yes. Some time ago, a messenger came from a cult. He represented the Cult of the Dragon. He gave no names, he demanded that all the riches of the city should be piled at the exit of the main road of Greenest until the next moon, otherwise his cult would raze Greenest to the ground. He then withdrew a dagger from his robe, I thought he was going to kill me but instead he pointed it at him and stabbed himself in the stomach. It was totally unexpected. He was wearing exactly what the other people wore, the ones who were chasing you. I believe they are the main faction, the Kobolds and mercenaries are just aligned with the dragon cult to profit from the pillage.
Caelynn stepped forward and asked.
Caelynn: Governor, have you ever heard of Aramil? I have information that he had passed by this town before.
Nighthill: Aramil the great wizard? Yes, yes. He passed by somewhere around when the Dragon Cult emissary came here as well. He said we should obey what the Cult of the Dragon requested but it was extremely difficult for me to convince so many nobles to throw away their riches because of a simple threat.
Caelynn: I see. Do you recall how long has it been since he passed by?
Nighthill: Oh, it was way before this whole thing began. Three to four weeks ago.
Caelynn: By any chance, he didn’t tell you where he was going?
Nighthill: No, but he was extremely interested in the Cult of the Dragon.
The Governor saw the almost dead guards among us. He hadn’t noticed them before.
Mardred: We’ve brought these guards who were along with the acolytes that Rhogar toasted before.
Nighthill: Perfect, we have a torture chamber, but judging by their health they won’t survive against any torture method.
The group debated if they should heal the guards’ wounds only to hurt them again. A supposition that sickened me. The Governor interjected however and spoke a few more words.
Nighthill: Heroes, I don’t have any money nor great equipment to award you for your heroic deeds. For that, you will have to talk with Castellan Escobar the Red of Greenest. He usually wanders up and down in the keep. He is our armorer and also the keep’s warden. He has the keys to everything in this keep, if you want something from here, you’ll have to talk with him. We have healers here as well to tend to your wounds, you should rest a little, the dangers you have surpassed have taken a great toll on you.
Mardred couldn’t contain her curiosity and asked before he left us.
Mardred: Governor, before you go. Do you know any personal document of Dharva Scatterheart?
Nighthill: Yes in the library we have plenty of documents about our illustrious founder but at this moment—
Mardred: I just wanted to know its location…
Nighthill: Castellan will tell you where it is. I’ll leave so you can tend to your wounds. Search for Castellan inside the keep when you’re ready.
The group thanked the Governor’s hospitality as he left to attend other matters. As the group went on ahead they saw several guards at their posts, barricades strategically positioned in case if the gate falls. The guards took the prisoners with them, guarantying us that they would not harm them until we were ready to question them. We took the Governor’s suggestion and rested for a little so that we could regain our strength.
To be continued…