Visions of Aquelae: The Redstone Band

Shy a Wagon

And so the band of wanderers tackles their first foe

Write-ups from the first adventure:

GM’s Write-up “In the chill of the evening our heroes were gathered at the Redstone Inn, where lamplight gleamed off of tankard and brass and a stoneworked bar polished to the luster of midwinter ice. Some gathered for business, some for leisure, and a few were trying to earn a living. A gust of cold air announced a latecomer, a burly man with a beard only a hedgehog could love – the Lord Fritzfram. He downed his usual and had begun his second drink of the evening before his voice rang across the commons, calling for folk willing to hunt down an orc and a couple of pale, smelly humans who had hijacked a wagon of supplies from the south. After a bit of conference, our heroes stepped forth into the chill night. Their breath smoked in the deepening night, and forward went the band from Redstone. It was not long before they found where the deed was done – two guards lay dead on the roadside. They tracked the wagon back from the road, and found it being unloaded by a set of foul undead – skeletons and zombies, directed by an orc. In the ensuing fight, the orc was gravely wounded and carried back into the hill where they were storing the crates of supplies. The band followed into the darkness of the hill, and breaching the door, found ranks of the dead at the ready to fall upon them. It was only by the faith and wit of the priestess among the band, Malaika, that they were not overcome then and there. The band now stands in a room, with the light fading from where the lantern spilled, and the only sounds their labored breathing and the faint sound of coin from the corner…”

Malaika “I sigh, and slump against the wall. We will have to continue soon, but I desperately need a second to rest. I peer over at Greenbeard, pleased that he is looking better. Healing is not normally something I have trouble with, but trying a serious healing after a fight like the one we just had is not something I have previously been required to do. At least I was able to help in the fight. Yes, I have been trained, but sparring and turning in a controlled environment is little like the real thing. And the real thing almost conquered me. I shudder just slightly, remembering. Not only was I not that great a help outside the hill, but once in the hill I almost got myself – and then Will (praise heaven for his courage!) – killed by rushing in unprepared. Honestly, I ought to know better. But I am just not a patient person. When something needs to be done I would much rather do it than stand around listening to people talk about how to do it. Well it did work out in the end. I smile. Being surrounded by eight undead tends to goof up a person’s concentration, but when one hit me the pain focused me like a knife. I had prayed beforehand for divine guidance, so I lifted my holy symbol of Corellon Larethian and cried out the sacred words in the name of my god. Not only did all the undead turn away against the far wall, but one exploded! The victory of that moment, though the fight was yet far from over, will live with me a long time.

Laucian is no longer singing. Something clinks, and I look over to see Nina kneeling by the trunk in the far corner of the room…”

Laucian Naïlo ” It was a terrible, horrific, demoralizing, degrading, tragical, awful, painful night. And then Lord Frizzfram entered the tavern. I never thought I would be so thankful to see that pompous fool walk into the room. Anything to save me from the embarrassment my performance tonight has been. Fairly straightforward, a wagon had been ransacked by an orc and “some stinky, pale humans”. All humans stink to my nose, so this was not something I was concerned with…at the time. Lord Frizzfram asked for volunteers, and I was more than willing to leave the tavern, as long as I did not leave him with the impression that I would jump anytime he asked. Oh how I need to put as much distance as possible between me and the simpletons of this outpost before I am contained for the entire winter. We started North to the designated place. And what a troupe. There is the dwarf Greenbeard who is leading us with his tracking skills. A highly energized halfling prances about. I have seen her dance in the village square, and while I must admit she is lithe and graceful, I hope she has more than the obvious skills if she is to be of any help taking on an orc. The fairly generic human seems pleased to be going to fight something, anything, with his great sword in his hands. The cleric, whom I have seen about town, rounds out this odd assortment of a group. Although I have met other half-elves in my travels, I’ve not had an opportunity to speak to any of them in any sort of depth. I do hope there is time later to ask her more about being raised by elves, as opposed to the humans I have been surrounded with from birth. The place where the wagon was attacked was very well-marked, what with the wolf having his supper of Dover and the wheel tracks leading off the road. We followed said tracks to a hill, where a chill entered my heart from the moment I heard the sibilant tones of the language of necromancers. I could tell this night was not going to be good. Four zombies, four skeletons, and an orc later, we circled around to the back of the hill where we found an opening into the hill, and the wagon and crates we were supposed to retrieve. We moved on into the hill and yet another fight. Did I mention that I hate zombies? And skeletons? Really, anything that has to do with the black arts of necromancy. I contributed to the fight inside the hill the only way I knew I could: by singing. We survived, and decided to rest for a few hours outside in the night air before continuing on further into the darkness. The halfling, Nina, collected quite a bit of treasure from a chest in the corner that we will split when we’re back in town. She seems to be handy at opening locks, so she might turn out to be more useful than I originally thought. I made sure to check the labels on the crates in the wagon to see if there might be anything of use to us before going to sleep. I situated my bedroll so that the wagon was between me and the cave entrance. Others in the group were not as clever. We were ambushed by Kobolds in the middle of the night and the human (I believe his name was William) would have died had Malaika, the cleric, not acted right away. She healed his wounds, and then we prepared to head back into the hill. I found the secret door that led us into the cavern of the Orc. Not the one that we already killed, though he was there as a zombie. No, there was another, even bigger, even smellier, orc there, surrounded by his many minions. We all chose our opponents, and the fighting began. I killed the Orc!!! I shot him with my crossbow. Though others were also attacking him, it was my shot that brought him down. I had thought that by bringing down the orc, his zombies would fall. I was wrong. One of them came after us. Malaika and Nina cornered the undead terror, but then it seemed to attack with lightening. Malaika was caught in his charge. I couldn’t let another half-elf suffer in such a terrible fashion (not to mention she’s our only healer, so it wouldn’t do any of us much good if she died). I pushed her out of the way to safety and, with my head reeling from my recent success, I attacked the zombie. Next thing I knew I was on the floor, in lots of pain, with Malaika standing over me. We had defeated all of the monsters, Greenbeard had freed Robert the Dover (who we didn’t even think would be alive), someone had cut off the orc’s head as proof for Lord Pompous Fool, and the halfling seemed very interested in a pile of debris in the corner. I mentioned that the altar should be destroyed before we left, and once I got assurances from Will and Greenbeard that it would happen, I staggered out of the cavern. I stopped by some of the open crates in the next room. I needed to get a quick idea of what my cut would be from all of this added reward. I filled up my pack with as much as I could carry of my share of the treasure. You really can’t trust people to give you you’re fair share unless you take it for yourself. I will worry about the rest of the goods later. For now, I just want to get completely healed.”

Nina

Exhausted, I curl into my little bed and pull the covers up over my head, sighing softly at the simple comfort of it. I am more tired than I have ever been before, and yet I find it hard to sleep, as the events of the past two days tumble through my mind. The memories surface, jumbled and out of order, and far more terrifying now than they were are the time. Did I really kill an Orc with my crossbow? A crossbow I bought and practiced with for sport. I never thought I’d actually use it to shoot at at something alive, much less kill a sentient being. Why did I volunteer in the first place? I recall, dimly, that it had been the call of silver pieces that had caught my attention. Mama always said my greed would lead to trouble. But, then, Mama never expected that I’d have to fend for myself so early. In those lean years, it was my greed that lead me to the small acts of thievery that allowed me to eat, and keep Mama’s house…

That line of thought leads to memories that are best forgotten, so I stop it, trying to focus on relaxing my muscles so I can sleep…

… a man, beaten and bound, meant for a fate worse than death…

… zombies …

… skeletons …

… a lizard that bristled with electricity …

Did I really bring that home?

I peek out, and sure enough there he sits, in an interesting cage of metal and wood, tiny arcs of lightning buzzing around him in his agitation. What possessed me to capture this strange creature? Mayhap, I just need a physical reminder that all of this actually happened. Something I could show my friends to prove that, if nothing else, I had actually left home – albeit for only a few hours – and that I’d had an honest-to-goodness adventure. I will probably look back at this day for the rest of my life as the most exciting day of my life…

I’m beginning to drift off, now, the memories and dreams mixing until I can’t tell them apart. My muscles relax and my breathing slows and deepens. I am still aware of my new pet, and the crackling sounds he is making in agitation, but dimly. Soon, even that awareness will fade as sleep claims me…

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