Only You can Prevent Forest Fires

19 Aug 2018 05:00
by: Lance for Tablets of Cold Death

As the dust settled from the ambush, Ironbeard awoke with a screaming hangover only to realize that his mule had fallen down to the beach below. Nary a thought for his own safety, he prepared to leap down to retrieve it when he heard the sound of a throat clearing behind him. "What, Orax?" he grunted. "You may want to use this", Orax replied as he handed him a length of rope. "Oh, um, uh, thanks."

So Ironbeard made his way down the exceptionally dangerous fifteen foot sheer cliff to the beach and mounted his trusty mule, Mule. Looking up and down the beach, he saw no easy way to get the donkey up to the next cliff level so he sent his bat familiar, Bat, to look for a way up. After some time, Bat returned and informed him that there was a ramp up about three miles back the way they had come.

Grumbling the entire time with sweat dripping down his face, Ironbeard and Mule made their way toward the ramp only to be ambushed again by the Burning Blade. Being alone, he was easily overtaken and captured by the nefarious group and he, Mule, and all of his possessions were carted off to their camp. Bat was killed by a crossbow bolt before he could leave to find the group. The fact that Bat disappeared instead of falling made the mercenaries sad as they were looking forward to some delicious bat wings.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the party was resting from the rigorous battle and licking their wounds. Though as the sun began to set, it dawned on Orax that Ironbeard had been gone for far too long. The group deliberated as to whether they should go to find him or just push forward toward Neverwinter. It was decided that they should return after they convinced Phenic that she would never be able to get the mimic if they lost Ironbeard.

Blood was pooled near the edge of the cliff and Skalen was sure it wasn't there when they passed earlier. Using his inhuman investigation skills, Skalen determined that there was definitely a battle here and that someone had lost a lot of blood, however; he couldn't figure out where they went. Suddenly, his hair stood on end as he heard from the wooded area to the east, "Hello, please listen before you attack me." Before him stood Kaplan with a sly grin on his face. "You can charge me and I can disappear or you can listen to what I have to say and find your friend Ironbeard" Kaplan explained.

Obviously, they couldn't do anything but listen to what he had to say so they did. "I now where Ironbeard is being held captive and I can tell you. In fact, I do not even require anything in return. He is being held in a cave about four miles northeast of here where the Burning Blade has made a regular camp." Clearly, after all that he had heard about him, Orax was very distrustful of Kaplan so he pressed him for exact details, eventually coming to the conclusion that Kaplan was telling the truth but unsure of his motives. As Orax turned to discuss their next move with Skalen, Kaplan was suddenly gone. "Well shit," Orax said.

"I can scope out the camp to see how many there are and gather other information before we decide how to proceed," Skalen offered. All agreed that this was the best option so they set out for the camp.

Realizing that there were twenty or so mercenaries at the camp, a frontal assault was deemed entirely too risky. Instead, they would sleep for the rest of the night and watch the camp for when they would be transporting Ironbeard and ambush the caravan instead.

In the morning, Skalen watched as four members of the Burning Blade hitched up a horse to the cart with Ironbeard in a cage preparing to head north. An ambush was set up at a fork in the road. Skalen hid in plain sight at the fork to act as look out and let the others know when to spring their trap. Phenic called on her animal friends of the forest to aid the group with two axe beaks, two elk, and four boar answering her call. Orax sat in the woods, prepared to call down lightning on the captors. A great ambush was had with Ironbeard only being incapacitated once.

After the battle, Orax searched the bodies of the men and found a key for the cage. Inserting it into the lock, he realized it fit too loosely and was likely only half of the key. Ironbeard then proceeded to beat on the cage with all of the axes that Orax could gather from the fallen mercenaries to no avail. The cage was magic and there was no way to get out, even Misty Step failed. When asked if he could cast magic by Orax, Ironbeard stuck a hand out of the cage and fired off a bolt of flames at a tree, igniting it. After a few moments, the flames grew larger and larger. Ironbear then proceeded to fire an ice dagger at the tree, quelling the top portion but leaving the bottom still ablaze. Orax, with a sigh, blew out the rest with a gust of wind.

Skalen returned to the camp to see what might have changed since it was determined that the other half of the key was likely there. Noticing that there were now only ten left at the camp, Skalen returned to the group to plan their raid.

To gather information on the five that had left, Phenic turned herself into a giant eagle and canvased the forest around the camp to no avail. Figuring their best bet was to hit the camp while the numbers were low, an attack plan was hatched. Phenic would call on her fey friends to aid in the battle, Orax would strike with lightning and provide support from inside the trees, and Ironbeard and Skalen would take the cart and horse toward the enemy so that Ironbeard would be in striking distance.

The horse neighed loudly as his ass was smacked, charging toward the camp only to veer left when a lightning bolt struck one of the camp guards overturning the cart and the horse. As the battle raged, Ironbeard noticed one of the enemies drop something into the campfire. While four of the enemies escaped, the assault was successful with Orax finding the other half of the key in the fire.

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