The Dragon's Call

You will Ascend

“I bear ill will to both my father and mother! They will pay for abandoning me.“ Stephen looked around the chamber as beads of sweat rolled down his back. The chamber was dark; lit only by the faint red light of embers burning in sconces hanging haphazardly on the walls. There were other creatures in the room too but it was difficult to make them out as more than just vague shadows. It was anonymity that protected all who would meet here.

“And what would you have of me?” rumbled a voice from above. The audience chamber was hewn from stone and the ceiling angled upwards from the sides into an passage that rose higher out of sight. The voice reverberated from the ceiling of the audience chamber. From somewhere beyond the entrance behind Stephen came a long shrill screech catching all of the chamber’s occupants off guard and putting them off ease. “You would have my favor and the power that comes with it?”

“Yeessss,” Stephen replied.

“You know the oath that is expected of you.” Everyone in the chamber knew the oath. “Swear the oath then demonstrate your worthiness. I will then grant my favor.”

Stephen took a breath to control his excitement. It had been a long struggle to get here and earn the chance at this favor. “You will ascend into heaven. Your thrown will be above the Stars of God. You will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. You will ascend above the heights of the clouds. You will be like the most High.”

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Uncertain Beginnings

I found myself being rescued by an half-elf from what seemed to be certain death, named Malachi the Healer. I had no memory of how I arrived there. Their was also an elf by the name of Coal that was in the same situation I had fallen prey to.

After Coal and I had been pulled clear by the cleric from the sinking mud, we all found ourselves robbed of a majority of our belongings. So we decided to band together for our survival.

As if by divine intervention from our healer goddess we came across a wild boar scourging for food not far from our current position. The possessions we still had consisted of Coals longbow, two of my throwing axes, and magic from our spell caster.

As the battle for survival began, we found ourselves in what seemed to be a losing conflict with the wild beast, but the creature finally met its demise at our combined efforts and Malachi control over fire granted to him by his faith. After the battle had concluded, I skinned the mighty boar and started preparing our well deserved meal.

After our supper, we settled in for much needed rest. Sometime during our attempt at slumber, we where accosted by a small band of goblins. I despise these foul creatures. We all agreed that a swift retreat was in our best interests, especially since the goblins had the high ground.

In the mist of the confusion I stumbled upon a well concealed pathway and lead our weary group down the trail. The trail ended at a hut.

At that point, I silently approached the small encampment, with the elf attempting the same task, and failing miserably. It was then I noticed that the fire pit outside the dwelling had been used shortly before our arrival.

After the site had been searched, Malachi started a fire. We discovered that all our belongs where inside the leather and hide structure minus our coin, and with what seemed to be other people’s property as well. I then did a quick survey for foot traffic and discovered that the elf’s tracks where all around the tiny clearing. That made me very suspicious of the elf. We regrouped inside the hut for protection.

At that point we where about to rest again when Coal exited the hut for guard duty, and almost instantaneously found himself being pelted by goblin arrows. The bastards had found us. There was a short clash of melee combat, then Coal suddenly entered the hut and apprised us of the situation. The goblins tried to goad us out by using racial insults. We quickly formulated a plan to cut our way free thorough the back wall of the hut.

Coal and I silently dashed from the now burning hut to the tree line. When we reached the tree line we set up to aid Malachi’s escape.

It was then when I started to gain a great respect for our half-elf healer, because he suddenly bolted from the burning building in the opposite direction of our location in an attempted to lure our pursuers into the open so Coal and myself could end the existence of our attackers.

Because of Malachi’s selfless act, Coal and I expert skill with a longbow we where able to put down the filthy creatures.

After looting the corps in an attempt to regain our lost currency, and with the hut burnt to the ground we got our bearings and realize we where a few miles from my home city of Darkwell. We decided to make our way toward the safety of the city walls.

It had been years since I had been home. Upon reaching the city we found ourselves in a local watering hole called The Sparkling Rooster. Once inside we ordered food an drink and began to recount our unfortunate adventure to try and recall the events that lead us to our current destination. In the back of my mind I couldn’t get over the fact that the goblins seemed to have more training than any goblins I have encountered. Their skill with bows was very remarkable with there accuracy.

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Praise Sarenrae

I woke in a mud hole with two others. After freeing myself from the mud hole I was able to save the other two that were stuck with me. Praise Sarenrae. We discovered we were stripped of our belongings and quite hungry. Soon we were confronted by a wild boar that we bravely dispatched to settle the rumble in our stomachs. The two with me were a human and an elf. Not much time past before we were jump from our comfort by some goblins. We retreated into the forest and found a path that lead to a small hut. The hut was empty but a fire was not far from spent in the fire pit. We discovered that the elves footprints were all around even though he had no memory of having been there before. We searched the hut and were surprised to find our missing belongings and a few unknown possessions. As the elf walked out of the hut he was hit with a barrage of arrows. After retreating into the hut the human and the elf cut their way out the back of the hut. I ran out the front to draw the fire of the goblins and my new travel companions quickly released the goblins from their souls. We traveled back to town and went to the sparlking rooster. A local tavern and small inn.

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Back at the watering hole.

Drake and myself with Drake’s faithful animal companion Burpy the bear found ourselves making camp outside the city walls. Our tasks where the same, find out where the goblin incursion was coming from. We decided to do our own investigations to cover more territory.

I also hunted game along the way to feed my fellow companions and Gregory Godric, owner of a house of spirits called The Sparking Rooster with food for his patrons. We also meet at the Rooster frequently to discuss our fellowships activities.

As I put forth my efforts toward a cure to this plague of goblins destroying the lands around Darkwell. I seem to hit a wall, even with my years of training with my friends and allies within the Elven realms, I cannot see an end to the goblin menace. There is just to damn many.

A few weeks have past and I find myself at our favorite watering hole for a gathering of my fellow adventurers in The Sparking Rooster. I am fully bathed and have cleaned my attire to possible catch the eye of the young and beautiful Cloe.

As all my associates assemble, minus the bear, to tell of the news they have collected over the last few weeks and share in food and drink. I notice a new patron among us. A Paladin of some sort, I am not familiar with his god. I am not sure for certain, but under the mighty armor the individual adorned it appeared to be a Half Orc. A Half Orc Paladin has to be very rare.

I found myself sitting next to our resident Wizard, an odd fellow, who seems to know the inner working of the art of magic. At this time I start to enjoy my meal and a mug of ale, when the Wizard starts acting strange, talking to himself and what not. Then the Wizard turned to me and asked for me to accompany him outside. I agreed.

As I stepped through the doorway it magically was dark, dark as a night without a moon in the middle of a forest. All I could do was smell a horrible stench. I drew a weapon as the stench grew closer. I attempted several time to swing into the darkness and failed. I did finally make contact with a creature; doing little damage.

The Wizard and I defeated our foe, mostly the Wizard killed our combatant. After the short battle I turned to reenter the Rooster to inform the group of what just happened. I found it also filled with an eerie darkness. After the darkness cleared I found that my comrades had also been in a battle.

At this time I glimpsed the Paladin scurrying out a broken window after one of thier attackers. I sprinted around the building to engage our enemy in ranged combat. The Paladin ended his foe’s life very quickly and efficiently.

As the final blow was stuck to our retreating attackers, the party searched the dead for any kind of clue on who they where. It was at this time our Wizard stepped forward and explained who the foul smelling creatures where; Dark Creepers and their leader a Dark Stalker.
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A Job Not Done

There was a girl in the Sparkling Rooster that night. The Dark Stalker leading the group that attacked took her after a well planned ambush on our magical fellows.

The next morning we came for breakfast and see our old Dwarven friend, Blaven, has come to join us for some adventure. Who knows where he has been but he looks none the worse for wear and I certainly don’t know what Dwarves do when they are left to their own devices. While we are catching up I found out that the young maiden, Chloe, is crying about the “beautiful woman” that was taken in the attack at the Rooster last night. Of course our Ranger brings her flowers to try and curry favor with her while she is crying. Worried for the young woman who was taken from her work; it’s nice to see kids playing at adult games. He is also “wooing” Gregory by trying to “fix” his commode. I inform Gregory that our group will look into the young ladies disappearance.

So the Ranger takes off to talk to the guards at the gate and the Wizard, Dwarf and I head to talk to the Dwarves in the Dwarven district. Maybe they have heard something about what’s going on outside of the gate. Of course the town’s guard saw nothing. The Dwarf area on the other hand turned out to be another story. We were lucky to make it out of the district without having to kill anyone. Apparently our little Dwarf is from the Slatebeard Clan and they have some beef with the Redglave Clan. Most of the Dwarves in the Dwarven district are from the Redglave Clan.

So finding nothing the Ranger and the Dwarf search the area north of the Rooster trying to find tracks while the Mage and I check the houses. Some little kid tries to mess with me but the Ranger finds a trail. Just as we were going to follow the wall around the outside of town Carden’s Cavalry gallop through the gate having been just ambushed by Orcs outside of town. The bodies of four cavalryman were draped over their mounts. The guards close the gate for an hour at the order of the Cavalry’s Captain. We used the time to prep and head out when the gates open about four hours from sunset.

Two miles north of town we find where the cavalry were ambushed. The little Orc fools think they can catch us off guard. Right!! Blaven and I see them right off and like the filthy things they are we wipe them out except one. We kept him around so I can “ask” him a few questions. After I get him talking I stick the stinky pig and leave him to bleed out.

The Orc gave us where they were going, numbers of troops, “seven handfuls”, and that they had prisoners that they were selling to another party. Letting the Ranger track the Dark Creeper that we saw running from the ambush he leads us to a temple. Suspecting that he is leading us to another ambush I persuade the group to move up the hill to scout out the area first. From our new vantage point we see their leader Snog, a big Orc, giving commands and telling them to stay awake all night to guard the farmers they had captured.

After circling the place I see a weakness in the position of the guards. We wait until just before dawn and go in. Two of the three door guards fell asleep. I start by silently taking the guard who is dedicated to his duty; then a sleeper. But I wait. The Dwarf wants to get in on it and wakes his target. Luckily I was close enough to finish him without waking anyone. Following my lead we go in silently and methodically through the temple. With help from the Wizard no traps slow us down. We take out a few sleepers here and there finding loot along the way. We find a Duergar. Apparently the Orcs intend to trade their captives to the Duergar. After clearing the main floor we go to the top where we find Snog. We rush the room catching them off guard. We take out all but one in the room instantly, except a hiding guy who makes a run at the Dwarf. Big mistake; we make him pay for it.

Now we move to the bottom floor and we come across the Dark Stalker trying to purchase passage for his group and his soon to be bride; the woman from the Rooster. The Wizard over hears the negotiations going bad so we let it play out. When the fighting starts we jump into action making it a three way fight. I square off on the leader of the Creepers; the same one who attacked us that night at the Rooster. Simply over matched they fall. With people still outside to rescue our job is still not done.

—William Petrock

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Seems we've BEARly scratched the surface.
Grab that greased up gnome!

It was early morning and the streets of Darkwell were deserted. Of course the streets seemed to be deserted much of the time these days. No one wants to walk the streets when the threat is on the inside of the city walls as well as without. I ponder the absence of any other Druids in the area as I walk alongside the conniving Cleric, Malachi the Healer. I became acutely aware of being watched from the shadows ahead, the street wasn’t so deserted after all.

With a barked order my faithful companion, Burpy charged who or whatever was attempting to hide. The sight of a ferocious bear charging straight at you tends to inspire beings to turn and flee, but to the newly revealed Gnome I had to give credit. She was either too brave or too stupid to run. Malachi had quickly followed my bear to question the Gnome’s intentions. It was while he attempted to grapple with the Gnome that I spotted three creatures advancing on us from a rooftop across the street.

It was as the creatures got within striking distance of Malachi when chaos erupted. The creatures sought the Cleric’s demise with almost reckless abandon in regards to their own health. This was what led to me only having to fight two of the creatures who had nearly blindsided me before the Gnome gave a shout of warning. I wheeled about using my scythe to parry as many attacks as I could but one inevitably got through my defense and scored along the seam of my armor. The pain gave me pause and my focus shifted to Malachi who had been dealt a grievous wound to his leg. That was all I saw before Burpy’s shaggy hide blocked my view of the ensuing melee.

I was holding my own against these lizard like humanoids but the furtive glances I kept stealing towards my companions told me their fight wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.images.jpg I felt the unmistakable drawing of magical energy being cast and I could see the Gnome had just doused two of the lizard men with what looked like grease causing one of them to immediately fall down. My adulation was short lived however, when Malachi gave a short yell as he was overpowered by one the the lizard men. I knew I had to act fast so I reached inside and let my own magic out trying to give what aid I could to Malachi.

Having stopped the Cleric’s untimely return to his god, I returned my attention to the two lizard men keeping me from my friend. I showed them what a determined Druid with a scythe at hand and one pissed off bear can do. With a mighty roar Burpy fell one lizard man as I cut down the two I was fighting. The Gnome meanwhile, was furiously trying to keep the rest occupied as they stooped over Malachi’s bloodied form. It looked as though they were trying to dip their claws into his blood.

In the time it took me to fell my attackers, the others had started to walk off, satisfied by some strange ritual it seemed. I wasn’t done with them yet. bloody-hand-holding-sickle-sickle-bloody-bloody-scythe-bloody-theme-halloween-theme-white-background-isolated-psycho-thug-49240886.jpg After cutting down two more of the beasts it was over as suddenly as it had started. Malachi was thankfully still with us; us now including the mystery Gnome Meriyda it seemed. Before any of us could ask anything else a member of City Watch came upon us, conveniently after we had dealt with the lizard men, and begged us to go to the scene of a terrible event. People are hurt? Evil Temple? Yeah the rest of the group was likely there or had been recently. Probably a good place to look at least. And I figured that we could bury Meryida there if she turned out to be less than trustworthy.

After a short time for Malachi to put his cripple posterior back into working order we followed Watchmen Fife to the temple. It doesn’t sit well with me how well Meryida has fallen in with us, but even so, she seems to be genuine in her intentions. Perhaps this is just the way Gnomes are? Anyway I digress, when we reach the temple Meryida proved her worth in dealing with the local lord.

I could tell by looking at the former captives of this dark temple that they were very sick and likely near death. I knew of no plants that could aid these poor peasants locally or elsewhere for that matter. It was up to our cunning Cleric. With practiced ease he healed them of their most pressing wounds and seemingly in the same motion was trying to outfox the local lord into giving us a donation for the hard work we had done in the name of his god. Amusing though the ploy was, it worked fairly well. We were given some coin and Malachi was likely going to be given this dark temple to use for worship of his own god. Even better, we met up with another of our group Tyzyn who told us of how he and others from our little fellowship had worked over the inhabitants and paid a good iron price for this accursed place.

I’m willing to work with this band of misfits and con artists if it means I can start a new Grove and bring a Druidic influence to this land once again. Maybe in the years to come with the help of fellow Druids I could bring balance to the hordes of goblins here. Or kill them all, whichever’s easier.

We had learned that this building had not been fully explored before our arrival and so we set upon the place to reveal it’s tricks and secrets. We searched also for breaches into our new refuge in need of barricading. It had grown apparent that we would not get the stricken villagers back to the safety of Darkwell before nightfall. It is during this frantic search that I discovered a room warded with magic, I called for the others as things were likely to get dangerous.

All it took was me opening the door to the crypt to trigger the magical trap. With a flash of light a score of skeletons rose from the various tombs in the crypt brandishing weapons. Knowing the skeletons outnumbered us three to one, myself and Tyzin stood shoulder to shoulder in the doorway acting as a human wall clad in leather and steel. Meryida cast that grease spell in the threshold of the door, which gave Tyzin and myself the time to leisurely hack them to pieces.

At least that was the plan. Skeletons are not easy to dispatch with a blade. While my armor was deflecting their own rusting blades my own blade was barely making headway. I needed another plan. I realized that Burpy had the necessary bulk to smash the skeletons into bone meal and knew my best bet was to allow the bear to take my place. Instead of a hulking bruiser of an opponent the skeletons were greeted by the psychotic visage of Malachi as he had taken my place and began trying to shoot holy flames at the undead horde. I say he tried because his first salvo set himself ablaze. His second attempt ended with his eyes bleeding. It was not a good day for the Cleric. After taking a beating Malachi had decided enough and the killing funnel was set up. Content Not Found: null, Burpy, and myself began to land killing blow after killing blow until finally there was nothing left to oppose us.

Tired and bloodied we secured ourselves inside as best we could and got some rest. The following morning Meryida and Tyzyn decided to go to town and for the life of me I can’t remember what the Cleric was doing. It’s safe to assume he was trying to get somebody to cough up some gold for a good cause however. (OK my character doesn’t know this but for the record, Tyzyn and Meryida get the banners found in the temple appraised, they’re not bad. The two of them then go to meet with the Steward who they deal some critical tete-a-tete with and secure us the right to the temple and a way station for guards to come and protect the place for us. Ah, I remember Malachi was hiring laborers for his new temple and securing provisions.) I spent the day scouting the area around the temple, looking for any herbs that Meryida could use.

Upon my companions return I was interested to see that Malachi had bought supplies and labor to begin working on the temple. It struck me at the time as being a bit premature but I wasn’t going to say anything, I wanted to see where this road was going to lead us. The rest of the day was spent picking through the dusty remains in the temple and keeping inventory. In the blink of an eye it was dark out and time to turn in once again. As there hasn’t been enough time to shore up the defenses of the temple, we had decided to turn in on the second floor by the murder holes.

It turned out to be the correct decision because in the middle of the night we were attacked. It was more of those damned lizard men we had fought in Darkwell! Employing the same tactics as before Tyzyn and myself used the doorways to force our bewildered opponents to face us one at a time. Now what happened next is rather fuzzy in my minds eye as I was busy cutting down a screaming lizard man. But I swear I saw Meryida covered in grease dip, dodge, dive, duck, and dodge her way between the legs of three of those lizards and they had the most priceless looks on their faces. At least until we struck them down.

We decided to fight our way up to where they had come in as it was likely the first floor was surrounded. We were certainly expecting a fight but what was found instead was far more menacing. A raider style longboat was seemingly floating outside of the the rooftop breach in the temple. The first problem, was that we were at least 30 feet off the ground. The second problem was that a large imposing figure was waiting for us aboard that ship. And we have no idea what it wants.

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A (kind of) new clan
What have I gotten into?

It was dark in the bushes lining the dirt road where I hid, listening to the wooden wheels grind over loose pebbles on its approach. I had been searching for firewood for my camp in the early morning hours, pondering the argument that had resulted in my separation from my clan. But “clan” isn’t exactly the right word… more of a rough band of half-breed rejects. I never liked their aptitude to attack innocent passersby, as I spent many years learning the art of fighting with words first and weapons last, but I digress. I heard the voices coming from the cart and decided to follow, from a safe distance. The dark shape on the top of the hill appeared to be made of stone. As the sky began to lighten as dawn crept closer, a dark shadow was cast over the small hills and forest surrounding the crumbling building that one could assume was a temple, albeit an ancient one. A spectral ship filled my vision while it pulled away from the upper ramparts and flew through the sky with gathering speed. As you would imagine, I had many questions at once, but there was no time to contemplate.

There. I could smell them before I saw them. Orcs, flanking the approaching cart, and goblins creeping up on my position from the trees behind us. But that wasn’t all – I detected a crash from the ruins followed by a loud groan. After a moment of silence wherein all nearby seemed to freeze, a boisterous voice called out: “To the temple!!”

The din that followed was… rather graceless, though I am guilty of the same clumsiness as my unwitting allies. Arrows flew between the goblins and a tall, armored elf while a loud crash emanated from the same area as the last, though it sounded much bigger. This was confirmed when the cry of a bear echoed off the stone walls. Just what sort of group had I stumbled upon? I reviewed my surroundings and bolted for the steps of the temple. It sounded like another poor sod had fallen back there again, but with a rather beefy impact this time around.

I gained some distance on the clumsy orcs and the elf managed to sink a feathered shaft into one of them. One of the others lunged at me but I managed to drive him off. I reached the temple steps and paused to catch my breath, twas no small distance I had covered. I should have seen the arrow pointing my way but I failed to react and paid a biting price. Thankfully this strange clan of warriors was quick to aid me; I am lucky they saw my advance into the fray and attempts to render physical assistance, of a sort. To be truthful, my blood had been simmering since my fractious departure this last fortnight – and I have been itching to spill an enemy’s slimy entrails. I closed my fists tight and reached to crush the nearest orc’s face in, but misjudged his height in the still dark morning air. Though I also think the arrow in my shoulder could’ve affected my aim.

What happens next, I swear on the morning sun, really is true. It really was a bear I had heard earlier. It stood from behind one of the crumbling walls, drawing all eyes. Then an orc stomped on a rat and it poofed and disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke. You can’t make this stuff up. I spotted a dark shape hiding behind a nearby tree while the elf from before stepped forward from the gloom and took aim at the orc who had missed his swipe at me a moment earlier (I’ve never seen an elf miss so often, but I know better than to tell the man that to his face. My experience with his kind has been tenuous at times.) A sense of fear radiated from the cloaked figure in the field. Then a foul odor hit me while a green mist expanded from the hands of the man accompanying the bear. The cover was appreciated, and I was glad for my orc blood as I heard my allies coughing and gagging and protesting. The cloud-caster is called Drake.

Arrows flew through the fog anyway but missed their targets. A man with a lizard face drifted into my vision and I introduced his scaly lips to my fist. It made a satisfying crunch. As he pulled away, slightly stunned, an arrow sunk into one of his eyes and his skull split open violently. This was the kind of gore I was seeking! I could feel more than hear the bear move nearby as its paws struck the ground. I struck out again to stagger the nearest orc. Action flew around me but the mist obscured my vision. I heard a couple of bodies fall to the dirt around me. Again I swung out and the connection with the orc’s temple was solid and then suddenly very mushy. He crumpled instantly. I glanced around and spotted a clearing of the fog and stepped into the clear air, spotting another foul orc. He hissed and spit through his clenched teeth up at me before I punched the smile off of his face. The bear roared in pain in the distance as more arrows flew. I drew my axe as I watched a goblin scurry towards me but he was too quick for me. The end of the battle was in sight but I did take a slash from his pitiful sword before I split his skull in two with a powerful downward swing. The remaining foes fled like the cowards they are into the dark of the trees.

We quickly looted the stinking corpses as the fog dissipated. A tired air settled over the group as mutual understanding among fighters kicked in. We stored what loot we didn’t pocket just inside the temple doors. I assumed it was their camp, naturally. We all settled down to rest through the rest of the morning as the sun rose and warmed the sky. Our quiet was disturbed by a visitor, impeccably dressed, and strangely travelling alone. He was amiable enough and forthcoming with information. His father had sent him from town to assist us in our mission. I wondered to myself what this could be, but I kept my head down and decided to listen first. We worked through the afternoon. The cleric graciously healed all of us. My curiosity got the better of me and I wandered down the stairs in the temple to find a well. I could hear water at the bottom but it was a goodly distance down. I was prompted to invite the group for exploration when I noticed the passage far below. Myself and the Drow called Durdyn entered and began down the dark corridor, because we can see in such low light. As the party gathered, a rumble from below shook the floor and knocking a few of us over. Durdyn slipped around the corner ahead…

In my bloodlust I may have grown a bit foggy on the details. I remember shouting encouraging words of surrender at a bunch of Drow and losing myself to the ensuing battle. We took captives, a Drow and a Draugar. We attempted to make friends and even made some headway but we made sure that we had wrung every last bit of information from them before we decided to hand them over to the city guard. They had told us a bit of interesting news, there is a slaver ring operating within the Dwarf fortress city nearby. What we do next is up to my new friends.

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Death is only the beginning.

6th of Norigon

Another attack on our new found temple by what seemed to be bloated corpses has caused us to rethink if our hold on this accursed place is tenable. We have yet to see any of the city watch that we were promised to hold the temple in our absence. As such, we decided as a group to abandon the evil site and let the world reclaim it, first we had to do something about the villagers we had rescued. Those still left in our care were the ones too infirm to make it back to Darkwell unassisted. Therefore it was decided that I should head to Darkwell and procure some transport.

The journey into Darkwell went without any sort of excitement, which was not to be the case for the trip back. After spending a generous amount of gold on a couple of wagons and the beasts to pull them I set off back for the temple. I should have hired some mercenaries too as I was waylayed by goblins who swiftly dispatched most of the ponies. I barely managed to escape by melting into the forest. It took a little time but I eventually made my way back to the temple sans transport, but thankfully the party was reunited. As the forests were simply crawling with goblins and with the temple set to be abandoned by the group we escorted the survivors back on the one wagon I had managed to keep safe.

The villagers rescued, we were left at a crossroads. We weren’t going back but where were we going? As a group we decided to seek out the Orcs who seemed to be working for the lizardmen who had been a constant thorn in our sides. Our foray into the backwoods around Darkwell had us sighting an ominous plume of smoke in the distance. Of course we had to investigate, if there was a forest fire the people of Darkwell would need to be warned.

The smoke turned out to be from a fire. Specifically a fire that was engulfing a small hamlet. This wasn’t the work of bandits, a fast reconnoiter of the area revealed a group of hobgoblins and their pet ape were responsible for the inferno. The group came up with a wonderfully complicated plan to try and rescue any survivors. It worked, sort of, we managed to kill all of the hostile forces after a misstep with our cleric. He did some fine work with his fireball, even managing to burn some more of the hamlet. With the hobgoblins dispatched we searched for survivors and found but one. A woman by the name of Bonny.

We couldn’t very well let this act of murder go unanswered. Without delay we set off after the ones who were responsible. Their tracks led to a path that ran up a butte. There were a lot of tracks. Even more intriguing though, was at the summit laid ruins of Druidic origin. Being niether encumbered or slowed by any natural obstacles I made my way stealthily around the entire butte, looking for any other path up to the top. I informed the party that the path was the only way when I emerged from the thorn vines some time later.

It turns out that fighting our way up wasn’t the main problem. We set up a fake campsite at the base of the butte and laid an ambush. It worked so far as getting the attention of those at the top of the butte. The plan rended itself to pieces before we ever had a chance to ambush anybody, we were caught and the fight was on. We were beset upon by orcs and the lizardmen who were keen on having us disarm and meet their boss. We decided that didn’t sound like an acceptable proposal and drew arms. The lizard that seemed to be in charge of the other greenskins was not happy with our choice and was all to happy to start calling down wrathful magic on us. Having barley survived his first magical blast I knew that he had to be removed from the equation and quickly. Summoning my ever faithful friend Burpy, we both set off to distract the lizardman if nothing else.

The group was eventually victorious despite Cole being downed in the melee. Burpy. I watched as my only companion I had as a child was struck down by that scaly bastard and I was filled with a rage that could only be quenched with the blood of his killer. I never got the chance as he laid a clawed hand on me and flash fried me where I stood.

I knew I was dead, it’s difficult to explain but I felt my consciousness floating in the ether between realms. I was in a void so vast that I could feel my sanity unraveling as I contemplated the vast nothingness I found myself in. I can’t say how long I was like that before the voice. Without ears I could of course hear nothing, but a voice drown out my rapidly degrading mind and called for my attention. The voice spoke not in a language as much as it was in images, I saw the ruins at the top of the butte only it wasn’t in ruins. There were druids there! As I realized this the images changed and showed me other places of Druid influence throughout the region as they are and as they were. The images began blurring as they rapidly shifted from one scene of natural devastation to the next.

As the images continued I came to understand that I was being shown these things by Gaia herself. She was suffering and I was the only Druid left to hear her pleas for help. I awoke with a jolt of pain as my entire body spasmed. I was alive, brought back by the magic still hidden in the ruins, though not without some discomfort. Every muscle in my body seemed to be on fire and unwilling to work. That was fine, I knew I would work the soreness out of them by visiting wrath upon those who were defiling Gaia.

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