Our Cast of Players:
- Achmed (Dave): Human Thief, level 7.
- Albrecht (Rick): Human Priest, level 6.
- Kaji (Ian): Human Wizard, level 6.
- Pioden (Craig): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/4/5.
- Randall (Alan): Halfling Bard, level 6.
- William (Max): Human Warrior, level 6.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 4,998
With the ambush seemingly defeated, you quickly check the bodies of the slain. Like the dwarf, all of them bear a tattoo of a three fingered claw, as does your tied up captive, to whom Randall renders an almighty kick, causing the fellow to groan. Albrecht makes a gesture of annoyance at Randall, motioning him to back off, and kneels down beside your prisoner before asking him why he is here and why he and his fellows have attacked you. His eyes flick around all of you and, deciding there is little point in resistance, he licks his dry lips and begins to speak.
He tells you that he is in the employ of Captain Welis, who remains in camp on a nearby hill with the majority of his men. They are all dedicated servants of the Cult of Pyraxus, a long deceased and ancient red dragon whose return from the gates of oblivion they seek to realise, and have done for many centuries. William is reminded of the frescoes you saw in the temple beneath the Urkallan Hills, frescoes that depicted a bald human male in blue
robes calling bolts of lightning down upon a castle, binding a scorpion daemon into a pentagram, blotting out the sun with a monstrous, black hand in the sky, and sundering the temple of some unknown god with a blast of scarlet energy. A fearsome dragon appeared behind the wizard in each fresco, roaring with fury and triumph.
They had three objectives in coming to Garland’s Fork. Firstly, and most importantly, to escort a priest called Ruebald here, where he will conduct a sacred and blasphemous ceremony and attempt recover an artifact that they believe may assist them in bringing Pyraxus back to life. Secondly, to rendez-vous with a caravan from the Great Swamp carrying powerful weapons for use by the cult’s army being assembled by Master Darsov at Hellfrost Mountain, a mountain sacred to the memory of Pyraxus and his followers. This caravan has failed to appear for some reason, and treachery by the Witch Queen is suspected. Thirdly, to ambush a group of known troublemakers who are reported to be heading for Garland’s Fork, and who have been plaguing the cult’s activities for some time. He assumes this to be yourselves.
Not content with this straightforward telling of his tale, Randall attempts to charm the man by playing a particularly alluring tune on his flute. Clearly remembering the kicking he received from Randall, the man proves resistant but remains unhostile, perhaps not surprising given his current situation. Kaji has better luck, managing to charm the man with the use of a spell. He unties the man and the pair converse on friendly terms, Kaji asking about Ruebald in particular, who the man pronounces as quite mad but with his heart in the right place. The right place, that is, if you are a crazed cultist seeking to subsume the known world under the rule of an ancient and evil red dragon summoned from beyond the grave.
Kaji questions the man about the camp he referred to earlier. He is quite happy to point you to its location, atop a hill located some way off the trail through the woods. However, on being asked if he will help you enter the camp undetected, he is not yet ready for that. He is well disposed towards Kaji, but realises that to do so would mean certain death.
Extensive discussion, some might say argument, breaks out over the best plan to attack the camp of Captain Wellis and the rest of the cultists.
To be continued…