Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Sun-Washed Temple

Marpenoth 19, 1367 DR - Year of the Shield
           
            No one had spoken much the night before. Combat had made them fast friends, but the morose idea of lizard men assaulting settlements had left them all mute. All except for Haeming, who had not been much for talk to begin with.
           
            They knew they had another ten hours of rough travel ahead of them. Watching the tall grass along the sides of the roads, while avoiding the common road dangers that risked horse, wagon and man alike; ruts and rocks in the road that could cost a man his ankle, a horse its leg, or a wagon its wheel. 
           
            Before the raid the Captain had been relaxed. This portion of the road had been patrolled by the massive city-state of Waterdeep to the north. But with lizard men on the prowl all it would take is one of the opportunistic creatures to realize how easy it would be to stall a wagon and leave the whole caravan vulnerable to attack. The Captain continued to puff on his pipe. A nervous habit that left his teeth a blue shade similar to the smoke that billowed out from the blue stained bowl of the pipe. .

            He  appreciated the professionalism all his guards were now showing, even the new ones. But he did miss the more carefree atmosphere just prior to the attack.

            "Young men grow old too quick on the road," he mumbled to himself. The rest of the day showed little change other than the constant and paranoid drive south.  Forced only to stop when the light had faded to near black, and men and horses began to stumble from exhaustion. Even on the nights when Selune was at her fullest danger looked in the shadows and darkness. Trip wires, bandit snipers, and untold creatures from the nearby Lizard Marsh prowled the road.
           
            Begrudgingly the Captain forced everyone to make camp, breaking it the moment a soft pink and orange mist hit the horizon.

Marpenoth 20, 3167 DR - Year of the Shield
           
            They arrived in Daggerford early in the morning. The sun just beginning to peak and bring warmth to the Sword Coast. The bite in the air, brought on by fast approaching winter, would leave until once again the sun set. The pennants and flags, featuring a sharp dagger on a blue field, snapped sharply on their towers in the cool fall breeze.

            The Captain cursed out orders. Though he needn't have bothered as his most experienced  hands knew where to set up the wagons, and who to talk to at the caravan gate.

            Justian had lived in this area his entire twenty years of life. He was from a small hamlet on the River Shining that had changed its name so often that they stopped giving it a name, and instead just called it Home. His mouth gaped as he jumped down from his place in the wagon.  He had been told that Daggerford was small as cities go. But he had never seen such a large place that was not an ancient ruin.
           
            "Close your mouth son, lest you wish a fly make it home." The Captain laughed as he pat Justian on the back. It was a hoarse and smoke tortured sound. "Not sure how you got so off track, you must have been half way to Waterdeep. But you earned your keep on the road, from the moment we picked you up. You're free to go. My men said the Caravan Gate is open."   

            Justian watched as the Captain entered the gate. He followed suit, unsure of where he needed to go. The city was a maze to him.  Sights sounds and smells assaulted his every sense as he made his way through the gate. The gate itself consisted of a stone bridge over a pit. Flanked on either side by stone towers. The wall to the city itself was a palisade of wood mounted on top of a mound of earth. It was much better defended than Home had been. From the corner of his eye he could see the stark blonde hair of Coryn, as the cleric took  a moment to take in the sights of the city. 

            They had not talked to each other since Coryn's revelation by the fire. The sights of Daggerford were now overshadowed by thoughts of lizard men violently killing men, women, and children. Justian tried to will those thoughts away, but it was of no use. He could hold his tongue no more.

             "How did such beasts come by a 'household' idol?" The  concern that weighed deep in Justian's thoughts carried in his voice. "Perhaps a noble's villa in the hunting grounds was ransacked? We should inform the town guard."
           
            "Indeed," Coryn said as he nodded in agreement, "I can only assume fell deeds resulted in this idol being in the possession of those lizard men."

            "Priest," Justain started to scratch his chin in thought, "do you think a temple to Lathander would be able to ascertain the household who worshiped it?"

            "I believe that would be a fair place to start,"  Coryn admitted, unsure of where else to go.

            "Then let us continue a search for this temple, that is, if the other two who rightfully own part of this statue agree." Justian said as  he adjusted his bag of personal items that was strapped to his back, "What say you, lads?

            "Do as you wish." Haeming's soft voice brought the young skald to Justian's attention. The Northman had walked up on them, unobserved. The thought of being taking by surprise by the skald made Justian feel cold, as if a ghost had passed through him. Justian shook off the feeling. The skald was dour, but had proven himself an ally.

            Justian looked back at the skald, his legs already moving, only to find the large frame of the Captain in his way. Justian began to apologize for almost running into the merchant and caravan leader.
           
            "Sir, Captain. I am-"

            "Hold up lad, lads, your forgot your fee," the Captain explained, "you all performed great as guards." The Captain pulled out a small purse made of linked loops. It jingled with coins and its own chain links.

            Coin by coin the Captain counted. Each silver coin stamped with the mark of Cormyr.
           
            "Thank you kindly, sir." Coryn said as he quickly stashed his seven coins in his purse before tucking it back under his armor.
           
            "Well now," Justian commented, "Cormyrean Falcons. Isn't that a sight."
           
            "I do get around." The Captain laughed once more with his smoke tortured laugh.

            The Captain continued his payout, as he counted out to Haeming, the young skald continuing with his stoic silence, and waived over Remenissions. The paladin was examining the palisade closely,  thoughts of martial exercise and defensible positions always on his mind.  

             "Everything alright lad?" The Captain prodded as he counted out each coin of silver.
           
            "A wooden palisade." Remenissions said as he pointed to town's main defensive wall.  "I would have thought a town of this size would use stone. It seems unwise."
           
            "You'd have to talk to talk to the people in charge." The Captain smiled, "I just trade here."
           
            "Captain, there wouldn't by chance people a temple of Torm in this town would there?" The paladin's voice waivered slightly as he asked.  
           
            The look in Remenissions eyes surprised the Captain. He could see hope, and fear mingled together.
           
            "Not unless they built one since I was last here," the Captain answered, unsure of whether Remenissions was relieved or pained at the news. Shaking his head the Captain secured his coin purse and began to make his way toward the merchant district. He glanced over at Justian. He could see the troubled grimace on the young warrior's face. A sure indication to the concern in the young warriors heart.
           
            "Lads," the Captain shouted, "if you want to report the troubles seek out Sherlen Spearslayer, she commands the militia. Reports directly to Duke Daggeford she does."
           
            Haeming raised a brow slightly, "...she?"
           
            "My thanks, Captain." Justian saluted, "when swords part!"
           
            The Captain nodded and continued on his way, lost in thoughts of coins owed and coins earned.
           
            "Perhaps we should find a local," Justian said as he turned to his new found friends, "someone who knows the layout of this town. If there isn't a temple, we should go directly to Spearslayer."

            "Shall we do just that fellows?" Coryn agreed, as he looked around, "she may also be able to aid us in discovering more about the lizard men's unrest and possibly the source of this idol."

            "It could be," Justian offered, "that there aren't many nobles that the idol might belong to, and the militia commander would certainly know then."

            "I'm up for it." Remenissions replied.

            Haeming dropped his pack next to a wall of the closest building and sits on it leaning against the wall


            "You, madam!" Justian shouted as he pointed at the nearest local. She was a young woman, brown hair down to her shoulders. Her home spun tunic, haphazardly dyed green, reached down to her calves. A belt cinched it at her waist. "My friend, would there happen to be a temple to Lathander here in town?"

            The young woman gave a small shriek, as Justian shouted at her.

            "Oh! Sorry my lady," Justian quickly apologized, "I was, out of turn."

            "Yes," She stammered, "there is. Up by the castle. Big round building... you can't miss it."

            "Why thank you, good Lady." Justian began as the young woman backed up, mouth agape.  She looked to have found her feet, running off as fast as she could. Justian shouted after her, "again, my apologies!"

            "I wonder what was troubling her," Remenissions said as he scratched his chin. A week's worth of stubble slowly coalescing into a patchy beard. "I would have liked to ask her about a local temple to Torm."

            "There be no temples to Torm this far west of Hillsfar" Coryn offered, "to my knowledge. Well, shall we head to the town's temple, or the militia's captain?"

            "The temple," Justian voted, "it is just morning and so we have much time."

            Remenissions agreed.  Haeming only offered a non-committal nod before picking up his bag again.

            "If we are all in agreement," the young warrior said, "then I say let us go to the temple."

            "Well," Coryn said, "let us make our way there. Shall we lads?"
           
            Daggerford was not large, as far as town's go. Approximately forty permanent, and a dozen or so semi-permanent structures crammed behind a wooden palisade. But to Justian it was huge. Justian looked on at the signs of buildings on the way to temple, discovering what shops and inns made Daggerford their home. Every other building he would sound out the name of, trying to memorize what business was located where.  

            Coryn couldn't help but smile at Justian, the young warrior was staring intensely at the people and town of Daggerford.  To Coryn the town seemed artificially jammed together,  like a small town trying to be a big metropolis.
           
            The town itself seemed to be in some sort of transition. Some buildings were made of wood, while others were entirely stone. The castle, which had been easy enough to locate as it had been constructed on the highest point in the walled town,  was slate grey. Sharp and new looking flags hung and occasionally waved in the wind from the towers of the castle. The castle itself looked new, and a bit out of place compared to the earthen mound and wooden wall that protected the rest of Daggerford.
       
     The temple sat upon the same hill as the castle, that alone would have made it easy enough to find. But its round structure made it stick out like a sharpened dowel pointed toward the sky. Made of stone, the temple had also been washed in some sort of yellowish and near translucent paint, giving it the illusion of glowing in the early morning sun.

            As the group approached the temple they could see that the doors were closed. Next to the doors an older man stood. He would look at the doors, look at the sun, then sneer. An almost continuous loop of staring and sneering.

            Coryn waived for the man's attention, only to see the loop of sneering continue. All three stopped, and stared at the sight. Unsure of the surly and sneering human.

            The man was wearing a dark green cloak and a brown tunic. His hair was shoulder-length, straight, and black. His  muscularly built body and dual swords (one short and one long) that hung from his belt led the three to believe this man was a warrior. The long bow strapped  across his back only helped to confirm their thoughts.

            He leaned against the wall of the temple, near the large, yellow dyed, wooden doors. His arms crossed and his eyes looping from door to the sun. Every other loop he would  mumbled to himself in quiet frustration.


            "Well met, friend." Justian once again was the first to break the silence, "are you a priest of this temple? We wish to know something of the god worshiped here."

            "I look like a priest to you?" The man laughed. It was a sour laugh almost like he was mocking Justian. "This is a temple to the Morninglord, Lathander."

            "My apologies." Justian said with a shrug of his shoulders, "I have no idea what a priest of Lathander would look like."

            "Well you'll find plenty of them inside," replied. "Was looking to have a conversation with one myself. In private, of course."

            "Oh, of course. Until swords part." Justian saluted the surly looking man.
           
            As their brief conversation concluded, the doors to the temple burst open. The morning service apparently concluded.
           

            Justian, Coryn, Haeming, and Remenissions watched as the congregation left the temple. The building had seemed so small from the outside, but sheer number of parishioners inside revealed the truth of its massive interior. After a few minutes, minutes that passed like hours, the crowd began to thin. As the last parishioner exited a loud voice echoed from within the temple.         

      The voice was crackled and dry with age.  "Enter the Temple of the Morninglord. I have been expecting you all."


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Idol of Lathander

Marpenoth 18, 1367 DR - Year of the Shield


            Remenissions continued to circle his enemy and nearly slipped on the mess left by the scarred lizard man.  Remenissions looked down at has boots, seeing the odd mixture of blood, sand, and stool.
           
             "Did you have to make it naeth itself, Justian?" He shouted to the blue eyed warrior. Remenissions' scaly opponent took the opening left by the distracted paladin, using its club and swinging for Remenissions' head. The paladin ducked low, bringing his hammer up toward the crocodilian mouth of the lizard man. The lizard man jumped back. Blue feathers falling from his baldric and club as he dodged the paladin's heavy hammer.
           
            "War is... hmm." Justian struggled to offer his own bit of observed wisdom as he pulled his blade free.
           
            "Gruesome?" Remenissions suggested as he stole another moment from his own battle to comment. Some of the stool pooled and stained Justian's boots.
           
            "See this is why a good armor cleaning kit is essential." Justian said with a groan as the smell made him wrinkle his nose.

           
            The large lizard man beat once more onto Haeming's shield, pressing all of its weight onto the lanky skald. Haeming braced himself, using his shoulder to keep the shield in place; he swung at the lizard man's exposed legs and feet. The lizard man shouted in surprise, jumping up and away from the skald and his blade and snapping his teeth at the skald's clever tactic.
           
            Softly, Haeming began to sing, "...death rides on black wings..."
           
            Despite his whisper, the Captain could hear the skald, and so did the remaining lizard men. Or at least the Captain assumed they did, as each lizard man near the Captain stole an uneasy glance at their dead companion.
           
            The Captain could hear the sounds of battle die off behind him. He looked back. His heart steeled for the worse and his crossbow in hand. He felt his heart ease as he saw not all his men dead, but the lizard men breaking battle. He turned to help those nearest to him, and sighed in relief once again. The three remaining the lizard men had started to withdraw. Slowly, each lizard man backed away, continually looking at the scarred and dead lizard man near Justian.
           
            "Well done men!" The blue eyed warrior shouted as sweat poured down his face, "we have scared them off!"
           
             “So you have some wisdom after all," Coryn observed as he stepped back, "be gone with ye.”
           
            Haeming stared the lizard in the eye, seemingly ready to follow.
           
            "That one'll have a short life." The Captain muttered.
           
            The fight was all but over, except for the paladin. With a vicious snarl he ran to his withdrawing opponent.
           
            The lizard man threw up its hands in defense as Remenissions bore down on it with his massive hammer. But its meager defense was of no use against Remenissions and his primal rage. Its head become a pulpy mess as it fell to the ground.

            “Hmmm... squishy...” Remenissions grunted at his fallen opponent. The dead lizard man still had revenge as, like its partner, it too voided its bowels, “damnit...”

            Coryn grimaced at the sight and smell.         

            Another lizard man dead, and the withdrawal reversed into another attack. Revenge clearly in their hisses and angry war-cries.
           
            Justian parried the angry blows of the short and fat  lizard man, forcing them aside. Once again he mastered his warrior's stride and finally spotted 'it'. A small gap between blows, leaving him room to strike. Justian swung his sword, cutting through bone and vein and sinew. Justian sliced the lizard man’s head cleanly off. The head wobbled on the ground, an expression of surprise on its face. Gore and blood spilled from gaping hole at the end of its neck, staining the grass near Justian’s feet.

            "May it be a quick death."  Coryn whispered as he began a quicker prayer, one for the souls of the departed and another for guidance for Remenissions's next blow.

            The lizard man sensed death was near as he changed his attack into a mad and chaotic backward scramble.

            Justian jumped over the headless lizard man, intending to help Remenissions as a soft light began to emanate from Coryn. The power of Torm's blessing flowing through the cleric.


            The lizard man cringed and waited for death, as the weight of the paladin's own hammer caused him to slip slightly and the blood and filth covered road. The lizard man took its opening and jumped at the unbalanced paladin's legs. Remy nearly falling to the left swung his hammer to the right. Missing the lizard man but regaining his balance.
           
            Remenissions and the lizard danced a ballet of death. Remenissions would swing his oversized war hammer and the lizard man would still manage to dodge and weave away from the paladin's blows. Justian circled the two.
           
            Back and forth, swing and miss. Finally the fatal error. Fatal for the lizard man. The lizard once again stepped back and away from the heavy blow of the paladin’s hammer until it slipped on its own blood. The scaly monster fell to its knees as Remy’s hammer landed square on the back of its head, snapping its neck and killing the lizard man.

            "Well done, lads!” Justian congratulated Remenissions, waking over and slapping the paladin on the back, “we've defeated the vile creatures!"

            "Who wants to look through the mush for anything of value?" Remenissions asked as he poked at the body with the end of his hammer,
           
            "How fares everyone? any injuries?" Coryn asked as the pure white light faded from his body. The group as a whole responded in the negative. As tiring as the combat was, none had received so much as a scratch.
           
            "Ah, I'm glad ye are well," the cleric said as he swiped his head through his thick blonde hair. "I wonder what has stirred their ire?"
           
            "Perhaps we will gain a clue of why they attacked from examining their bodies." Justian offered as he began to search through the bodies.
           
             "You know you will never get that smell out right?" The Captain asked with a smile. As he jumped down from the drovers bench, occasionally kicking a body. "You boys done over here? Gotta schedule to keep."

            "Likely just bandits." Remenissions grunted.

            "Let me check the guards and passengers," Coryn asked as he started to walk down the long line of wagons, "then we can be off."

            "Well, this is proof of their bandit hood." Justian said as he finished going over the remains of the lizard men. "Some of this loot must have come from an unlucky traveler."
            Justian dropped platinum coins, a small gold statue of Lathander, and numerous blue feathers onto the back of the closest wagon.  All items gathered from the bodies of the lizard men. 

            "Likely." Remenissions agreed, "I doubt any lizard men would actually worship Lathander."
           
            "Aye they did seem to be battle worn." Coryn said as he returned from his brief check of the caravan, "I pray the other troop fared as well as we."

            Haeming looked briefly at the items before walking to the nearest wagon in silence.

            "Aye, I hope as well, too, good priest." Justian began to gather up the items, "I wonder if these blue feather's have significance?"

            "None of ours seem the worse for wear?" The Captain asked of Coryn. Coryn nodded. The Captain pulled out a clay pipe and a bag of black and red dried herbs. He stuffed them in the pipe before using his flint and steel to carefully light an ember in the in the pipe.
           
            "Though," The Captain continued, "I imagine most seemed to be scared witless. We'd all heard it. Just hoped it wasn't true. Lizard men have been restless lately. It's making me and others nervous."
           
            The Captain picked up his pipe, the ember he lit burning a bright orange even in the early morning sun.  He inhaled deeply, before slowly blowing out a thick blue smoke. He continued to puff for several moments.  As Coryn, Haeming, and Remenissions secured the wagon they were responsible for. Checking it over for damage.
           
            "That is very troubling to hear." Coryn said as he checked on his shield. He had left it strapped to the side of the wagon during the battle. He had had little choice; the attack had come so quickly.

            "We all set." The Captain said, not so much asking but stating. "The rest of you lads done fiddling with them corpses?"
            The Captain was growing frustrated. They were delaying too long near dead bodies. There are worse things than lizard men who are drawn to dead bodies.
           
            "One moment," Justian asked as he went over the lizard men items one more time, "we have here four platinum pieces, and a gold statue. Coryn, what do you make of the image of this statue?"
           
            "I'll take a look," Coryn said as he held out his hand. Justian passed it to him without a second thought.

            "Men," Justian climbed into the back of the wagon, "as warriors in good faith, I say we each take a platinum piece, and then sell the idol in town and split what we make. What say you?

            "Aye sounds fair to me." Coryn responded absent mindedly as he looked over the idol.

            "That is, if this idol doesn't have some significance." Justian continued, "What do you make of it, Priest?"

            "I will need some time," Coryn explained as he scratched his chin.

            "I agree," Remenissions said as he tightened the laces on his boots, "I think we should take it to a temple of Lathander first though."

            "All right," Justian said as he reached down and placed platinum into Remenissions hand, "let us go there together. Perhaps we can find a temple of... Lathander did you say? Perhaps we can find this temple in Daggerford."

            Remenissions grunted in acknowledgement.
           
            Justian handed the last platinum piece over to Haeming. The skald had yet to get into the wagon; instead he seemed transfixed by the corpses. The spoils divided, Justian signaled his readiness.

            "...kuolemaan me jok'ikinen kuljemme..." Haeming muttered as he eyed the four bodies of the lizard men, absent mindedly slipping his platinum into his pocket.  

            The Captain recognized the tongue, though he did not understand it. Young Haeming was a Northman from the Moonshaes. Or at least spoke one of their native tongues.

            Remenissions prepared himself to walk beside the cart for the rest of the journey south. He placed his war hammer back in its leather thong, and strapped his shield to his back. His shield in place, the young paladin gently maneuvered his hammer to hang over the shield. Held in place by a leather thong that circled round his shoulder. Everything in place, Remenissions nodded at the captain, "I am ready when you are, Captain"
             
            Shaking his head at the paladin, no longer staring at battle-death so near, Haeming climbed onto the wagon.

            The Captain puffed on his clay pipe, blue smoke gathered around his head like his own personal cloud. He waited for Haeming to make himself situated before giving the signal. The caravan began its southward trek to Daggerford once more.

            The rest of the day went without incident. Though Coryn spent most of his time at first studying the idol, than in a morose silence. When finally the sun began to set, the chill in the air began to worsen and camp was made did Coryn finally speak.
           
            The four sat around a campfire, their shift at watch not until much later, but the fear of ambush keeping them from sleep. Dry wood snapped in the fire pit, embers would fly up, only to cool and fall to the ground, or back into the fire pit. 
           
            Justian stared at the cleric. Desperately wanting answers. His own personal honor and new found respect for the cleric prevented him from pushing for them.
           
            "I will tell you want I know, you may be able to guess the rest. As I have."  Coryn spoke, his voice hoarse and barely above a whisper, had "we already known it is a statue of Lathander, but from what I can tell this is an expensive house  idol. Usually found amongst a noble families house altar."
           

            "This could bode badly." Justian stated, his eyes cast down in concern.  


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Death Toward Victory

Marpenoth 18, 1367 DR - Year of the Shield

            The Captain shook his head at the elf's hasty departure. And indeed it had been in haste as  the current battle and those previously fought were at last taking their toll on the monstrous humanoids. Lizard men started to slip, falling to the ground. They would manage to rise faster than the men could respond, but to the Captain it looked promising.

            The Captain, hoping to aid the battered looking skald, fired a another quarrel at Haeming's opponent. The bolt missed both lizard men and young man, but nearly hit Haeming in the back of the head.
           
            "I'd better help someone else, either Tymora stands with me, or has turned on me." The Captain muttered to himself hoping no one noticed his almost accidental murder of the tall and lanky skald.  The Captain grabbed another quarrel from behind his bench, cranking the taunt line back  so he could reload his weapon.
           
            Haeming was handling himself well. Though he had yet to actually hit the lizard man. Every thrust of his blade was met with a counter blow from the lizard man's club. Every blow from the large lizard man was met by Haeming's shield.

            The Captain scanned the combat, hoping to help someone without having to leave the relative safety of his driver's bench.

            The over-sized Remenissions continued to swing his large and now ponderously slow warhammer, his lizard man opponent jumping out of the way so delicately the casual observer would have thought it was a dancer.

            Remenissions' massive size dissuaded the Captain from helping the paladin. He had come so close to killing the skald, and Remy was now taller, and wider than your above average human.

            The Captain  continued his search, careful that no new opponent would catch him unaware. Finally he spied Justian, and he smiled. The blue eyed warrior was finally getting a true warriors stride. Back and forth Justian went with his steps and his blade. Poste, and riposte. The lizard man would try and feint low only to have Justian's blade swing toward its throat. The lizard man would fend off the blade just in time to see Justian's knee coming for its gut, forcing the lizard man to jump back. The last jump had been too much for the lizard man, as it jumped back onto its own tail.

            The lizard man shouted in an agony at the sudden shock of self injury. The pain and humiliation continued as it lost its balance, while a dark bruise managed to show through its scaly hide. 

            This had been the opening Justian needed. He swung his blade in a long arc, slicing the lizard man across its stomach. It let loose another howl. A desperate plea, or a cry of torment none could tell. Justian pulled his blade back only far enough to reverse it and thrust the blade home.


            The blade struck true as Justian impaled the lizard man, stabbing through its body into the soft and muddy ground. It squirmed slightly before letting out one last breath and voiding its bowels.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Wizards Come and Go

Marpenoth 18, 1367 DR - Year of the Shield
           
                        The quarrel from the crossbow went wild. It missed both Haeming and the lizard man, flying close enough to Haeming for him to feel its feathers if his head had bobbed left instead of right.  

            Haeming gripped his shield tight, dropped to the road and tumbled to his left, giving himself some room to maneuver. The large lizard man stopped swinging, a surprised look on its face as the skald seemed to vanish. The large reptilian monster searched for a moment before realizing that his prey had  only moved to the side. But the moment was all the skald had needed. Haeming readied his broad sword, and charged forward.  Locking weapons with the lizard man.

            Coryn's opponent, the pudgy lizard man,  continued to laugh and snort. Though only the gods new why at this point.  It swung its club at the cleric's feet, but the cleric parried with his footman's mace. His footman's mace was a two and a half foot long piece of wood, reinforced with steel. A the end was a hunk of steel that had been forged into a studded star. This combination of wood and steel made this weapon heavy, so heavy in fact that Coryn knew he wouldn't be able to pull the weapon up in time. The lizard man's low attack had been a feint. The cleric dropped low, the lizard man's club narrowly missing his head.

            Justian breathed heavily, but not as heavily as the scarred lizard man. The lizard man once more lunged at the young warrior. Only to slip and  fall flat on its face. A billow cloud of dust rising up to blind Justian. The warrior's blue eyes now veined red as he struggled to see his opponent, the dust causing his eyes to water. Still he stabbed at where he obviously thought the lizard man to be. And he was proven true as he made contact.  He made his blow and backed off, taking a moment to risk wiping the grit and water from his eyes.
           
            Justian frowned as his vision cleared and he realized he had only given the scarred lizard man another future scar.
           
            Remenissions, the now enlarged Paladin of Torm, and his opponent continued to circle each other. His slightly larger size had made him slightly more imposing, but it had also given the lizard man, this one with blue feathers tied to its club, reason to be hesitant.  The lizard man was the first to break their stalemate, lashing out with its club, only to have the club knocked back by Remenissions' now even massive war hammer. The lizard man jumped back as the paladin attempted to follow through and connect his hammer with the lizard man's body.  They began to circle once again.

            Ennor Domandio looked around at the chaos, he had not planned on combat and so had few spells at hand that would help/. The Captain could see doubt and fear in the elf's eyes. The lizard men were hardly beaten. And the guards, while holding their own, were definitely not winning this fight.  Would the elf flee, he wondered? He did not wonder long.


            "Kushat,"  the elf shouted and he was gone in an instant.  The Captain heard a slight pop as air rushed into fill the space where the elf had once been.   


Friday, May 9, 2014

Lizard Men Chaos


           

Marpenoth 18, 3167 DR - Year of the Shield


            The scarred lizard man snarled as he missed with his club, bright red blood trickled down from its arms and legs.

            Ennor Domandio completed his intricate hand movements and sprinkled powdered iron upon Remensissions. As the powder fell the elf wizard shouted, "Gedeng!"
           
            The Paladin's body shimmered as he grew, gaining weight and height almost equal to that of the seven foot tall lizard men.

            One of the lizard men, shorter and fatter than his compatriots snorted a laugh. Coryn chanted a small prayer as he hefted his steel footman's mace at the snorting lizard man. But again the lizard man's size belied his agility as the lizard man stepped forward. The mace cleric's heavy steel mace hitting nothing but air. Sweat from exertion and dust form the road caked his brow.  The Captain was unsure how much longer any of them could keep up the pace. He grabbed his cross bow from behind his bench. The light crossbow, smooth with age and use, gave him small comfort as he looked back at his rear wagons.

            Passengers and guards alike fought in pitched battle for survival. Blood wetted the road, while combat kicked dirt and dust into the air. The Captain turned as he heard Haeming, the skald from Moonshae, grunt. Expecting to see the young bard dead on the ground the caravan driver was surprised to see Hameing take blow after blow on his shield. Each strike delivered by a the tallest of the closest lizard men. The round wooden shield had slight splintering. But Haeming weathered the blows with no fear, or at lease none that the Captain could see.


            The scarred lizard man snarled and snapped as Justian pressed his attack, offering his own silent prayer to Torm. The prayer must have gun unheeded as the lizard man managed to use its club and bat down every attempted blow Justian could make.  
           
            The Captain watched at the trading blows and parries of the scarred lizard man and Justian. He raised his crossbow in the vain hope of firing a bolt and stopping at least one lizard man. But the melee was too intense as the duo shifted and stepped, lunged and parried.           

            Whenever  the Captain would line up a shot Justian would suddenly appear in the way.

            "Tymora's Tits!" The Captain cursed, "I need an opening."

            A speck of red on grey scale caught the Captain's eye. He noticed with much better clarity the wounds the lizard men all seemed to have. Wounds from an earlier battle. The Longer the defenders resisted, the  wider these poorly healed and recently received wounds opened. He could even hear a collective wheeze coming from the attackers.   

            The Captain turned his crossbow back toward the skald. Haeming's knees were beginning to buckle as his foe, a desperate gleam in his reptilian eyes,  tried to get through Hameing's shield by breaking through it with a club. Small splinters flew into the air.


            The Captain let loose the bolt from his crossbow, praying to Tymora, Waukeen, and whichever other gods that would listen, praying that he would not hit Haeming.