>>> Chapter 16 <<<
>>> Prelude <<<
I don't want to say Brugo (the Fighter) returned a bit sore after his time at the brothel, but I will.
But I won't. Totally a fade to black moment.
Which is good. Yeah.
Anyway, so the next couple of days involves some new gear shopping & research.
With the coin we'd received from recent skirmishes, hoo-boy, did we drop some gold. the Bloodrager & Raptor both got Magic Fang +5 cast on them, the Fighter got a shiny new (elementally enchanted) sword, and I (the Rogue) picked up a bunch of miscellaneous items to boost all my Thief-stuff (I think my average Stealth rolls are about 60 now?). Yeah. It was good times.
In the meantime, the Cleric decides to go do some research on the dragon book we found. Totally a waste of time, says I, but turns out it turned up something important.
No, there wasn't a bet. And no, no one has to wear a tu-to or shave their head or something.
Something so important, I should commit seppuku for having forgotten it. No seriously. Prepare your *facepalm* cause here it comes.
Remember that scroll we got from the elf in the woods? Technically, the scroll Brugo got? The one that supposedly was a Message/Sending spell of sorts? No? Yeah, well, neither did we. Kicker? "Use the scroll when you know what's going on regarding dragons & humans." That's more or less what Brugo was advised & what was passed to us.
I can't even.
Soooooooooooooo... Now your asking how did we remember that, if we'd forgotten about it? It wasn't randomly "we should use the thing, since we have a good idea of what's going on." Nope. It was, "I think I'll cast Divination and ask 'What is important in our quest?'"
Answer? "Brugo. "
Apparently that got the old wheels grinding & out Cleric went "oh snap, the scroll!"
Well, at least we "remembered," right?
Side note, this isn't a JRPG. Things going on in the world in the "background" happen whether we're aware of them or not. Keep that in mind as I go on...
So, that said, the Cleric & Fighter haul ass back to us practically at breakneck speed going "WE FIGURED IT OUT!!!"
After a brief explanation, and many eyerolls, facepalms & OMGs on our behalf, we rolled out.
We fully expected the scroll to reach out to something weird. And while our suspicion was "dragon," we had nothing that said for sure that'd be the case.
Totally the case.
So, we Wind Walk our asses out to a clearing far beyond the city walls, cause maybe dragon. And Brugo uses the scroll, telling said "weird elf" what's going on & where we're at.
About two hours later, a massive serpentine dragon descends upon us. Two things. It's gold. And it's invisible (I've got permanent See Invisibility, so I'm the only one who sees it).
It shapeshifts into a "weird elf," and reveals itself to us. And we start vomiting forth information. Obviously.
We tell him we're pretty sure the humans are after dragon treasure, possibly for ascension rights (I.e., the Regent wants the crown). And that we've seen arms being prepared that would be meant for fighting massive creatures (barbed ballista bolts of wounding, soaked in sovereign glue). Not to mention massive volumes of protection from fire (the red dragon allegidely to the south is the only remaining fire breather in the world). We also mention there are rumors of human fleets headed south (south being the lands of the dwarves). And so on & so forth.
Eventually the dragon casts some form of a scry spell & satellite-views the lands of the south.
They're totally aflame with the engines of war. Human armies clashing or already done clashing with dwarves armies. Cities burning or burnt. Dead dwarves. You get the idea.
And the dragon fine tunes the spell to view the alleged dragon cave. Just in time to see a group of riders loading some cargo into a cart, including a very notable chest, and heading out.
Are you kidding me right now!?
Late to the party. Yeah. Remember that thing I said about world events?
So we discuss what we should do. The dragon asks us to look into the matter & speak to the red dragon on his behalf (he gave us a marker indicating that we're dragon-kind friends, cause he can't enter another dragon's territory without permission without risking a dragon fight). And put a stop to whatever is going on. Dragon wars are no good & only end in massacres.
Sounds legit to me.
After debating how to get there (it's weeks, if not months by horseback & boat), Brugo straight up asks the dragon if it can teleport us there.
Yeah................ not that that's a BAD idea (it's not), but I'm not so sure I want to be in debt to a dragon. Just saying. And I don't know how the dragon will interpret that request.
And the dragon didn't, that I could see. However, he totally did cast Greater Teleport on us.
Did not see that coming. I mean, seriously, that's super-convenient. But I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Absolutely riding that train. Choo-Choo motherfucker.
So, we book it to the nearest city, and discover that it's basically a ghost town. No dwarves to be seen, but no signs of war either. Hmmm...
We find the nearest inn & book a room. And get the stinkeye from the dwarven bartender the whole time (no surprise there).
After some words with said bartender, we find that the humans may have bribed the dwarven king (of this city) for passage. But they're totally at war with the other two kings & their nations. The local dwarves have all taken to the wall & are prepared for a human siege.
Great. Guess that means we're not walking out of town...
We end up referencing the map & making some assumptions as to how quickly we think those riders are traveling from the dragon cave.
Turns out, we're pretty good guessers. We Wind Walk our way north & run into them about a day out from the city (that's nearly quadruple their normal movement rate). Good thing we decided to head out immediately or we'd have missed them.
Although we outnumber their 4 (our 6), we have zero information on the riders. So... we decided to ambush them as best we can.
I set up some tripwires for the horses & hide in plain sight along the road. The Druid cast Liveoak on a nearby tree. The Fighter hid amongst nearby rocks & was chief among the party in convincing the Druid to UN-Polymorph the Hydra(toad). And the Bloodrager & Raptor hid a LONG way back, but well within their ridiculous charge range.
TL;DR - We destroyed them.
(Side note, ambushes are super-good.)
I'm happy to say the tripwires I set actually worked (hurrah!). One of the horses pulling the wagon tripped & threw its rider. The other started dragging the horse & the (now) flipped cart.
Both Raptor & Bloodrager pounced & respectively tore apart a horse each. The Fighter waded in & started chopping wood. I absolutely attacked the dude thrown by his horse [turns out he had Fortification armor (sad face)] .
Meanwhile, the Druid issued commands to her treant, who immediately joined the fray & the Cleric started dropping the buff hammer.
The one who'd been thrown by his horse, a two-weapon fighter, totally double 1'd his initial attack roll string. So, he lost grip on his weapon, tossing it & lost his balance, losing his entire attack string. Happy birthday to not-me...
Another one of them dropped a Blade Barrier cage atop the Fighter & Cleric (but the Druid almost immediately dispelled it).
One merc died almost instantly to the Bloodrager & crew, practically being little more than an accidental roadbump.
And the last one turned out to be a monk, who started using trip & other maneuvers to try to limit the Bloodrager as a threat (it partially worked).
Between the Fighter & the Rogue, the soellcaster among them went down after a string of sneak attacks & power attacks.
Their fighter apparently had numerous blades stowed, so he just drew another one & laid into the Bloodrager, hard. So hard, on fact, he was actually able to knock her unconscious (didn't last long though, all hail the Heal spell).
Our Fighter used Call Out on their fighter & proceeded to kill him in relatively short order.
I tossed a few throwing daggers (for non-lethal damage) at the monk, in an attempt to have at least one of them survive for questions. Three daggers thrown. Wind stance negated two of them, and the last one hit for 10. Apparently knocking him out, right on the nose, er, forehead. You know what I mean.
Much to SOME peoples' dismay, Hydratoad did not re-hydra-fy. The Druid recollected her buddy instead. And told the tree to make tree friends (Awaken Tree) during its remaining 11.9 days of autonomous life.
We quickly bound the monk & opened the (trapped) wagon. Inside...
Was the red dragon's "legendary treasure weapon," the Mace of Terror (which was an item we thought the human Regent might be using to usurp power). According to legend, the mace has been used to talk down others in the face of war. It gives its weirder some sort of dominant authority during "confrontations."
Oh, and two freshly pulled elder dragon fangs.
Next time, on The Chronicles of "Of Course Brugo Did," THE FINAL* BATTLE!!!