Imrith, the owner of the merchant wagon is a worried man. He’s also an ungrateful one. I saved his life. Now he avoids me, muttering to himself. I was warned by Silas not everyone understands the ways of sorcery. Most fear it he told me. Well, they should do. I can’t explain the surges of energy that I manipulate. They get stronger every time I exercise my powers. I killed that Gnoll with Lightning. That was an achievement I wouldn’t have thought possible a few weeks ago. I crave knowledge, I’m a fast learner. Surely I’m going in the right direction?
Talking of direction Imrith is approaching with the Halfling. We’re headed off now to this castle. I still think this is a ridiculous idea and we’d be better just leaving the wounded and some cheap goods of Imrith’s behind. The Gnolls will be happy with that! I’d never seen a Gnoll before. They’re as awful as I was led to believe. Doglike creatures that can walk on two legs. With fur. Mangy, stinking fur at that. They can use tools and by the looks of it can make crude weapons and armour. I’d heard they were accomplished raiders, today must have been a bad day for them.
The Halfing is talking to me. Wait, what? Speak up creature! And take off that ridiculous armour you insist on wearing! What? Imrith wants me and no shoes (that’s the funny little human) to hang back and keep an eye out for our dog friends. I could say no just to annoy Imrith but I wouldn’t mind flinging a couple of bolts of something at them. Righto missy Halfling I’ll do what you say. Off you trot back to master.
C’mon no shoes, lets hang back and see what happens. I watch the caravan and assorted figures head off in front. The Dragonborn is a hulking beast, it’s walking and easily keeping up. The rest are all mounted. I can spot the bird creature up in the sky scouting ahead. We wait awhile. The funny little human calls himself Kiirin. He’s not from these parts. Are any of us? He was captured by the Gnolls and rescued by Boreff (the other human) and the Dragonborn. It was them who reported a large Gnoll warband encamped in the area. They had a captain of some description, it might have been a half ogre or just something BIG.
Okay, Not a sign. Lets go. I’d climbed to a dusty dry ridge and had another look to see if I could spot anything. Kiirin and I trot off on the horses. It’s easy to follow the wagon’s wide trail on this dusty road. The road has dipped and turned and made it’s way past countless outcrops and through deep sided cuttings ripe for ambush. Thus far, nothing. I couldn’t really see the castle that clearly when I looked but it seemed to rise out of the barren surroundings we’re currently in. From what I could tell this dusty arid landscape we trudge through turns into a belt of green. Beyond that, our destination overlooks the land. The light is starting to go, maybe a few more hours of daylight left. We plodded on.
As I looked back down the road, I saw movement. Kiirin thought so as well. We’d better hurry I said to my companion. As we quickened the pace I glanced up at the hills which were on either side of the road. Sure enough, a doglike face tried to disappear into the gloom. Gotcha! They were onto us. “Ride!” I shouted to no shoes. A couple of whooshes and whistles passed behind and in front of us. I turned in my saddle and a small bolt of fire leapt from my hand and went speeding back down the road. It impacted harmlessly onto the hillside, a brief flame illuminating the ground.
Up ahead we could see the wagon and people of the caravan. Some had turned as we rode full speed towards them. Beyond the wagon and even though light had almost gone, I could see the road which wound up to the castle. The castle stood all dark in the distance. The wagon picked up speed and headed the last few hundred metres towards our destination. We followed behind the caravan which had stopped. People were dismounting. Up ahead, the castle stood silent. No answer, no lights, apart from one. High up at the top of one of the towers, a luminous red glow shining out.
They had reached a stone bridge which led across a deep ravine. Directly across from the bridge, stood the castle. Two massive wooden gates were the only way in. They were shut and despite the calls and pleas from Imrith and friends, there was no answer. I knew this was a bad idea! Nobody’s home and now we’re stuck on the edge of a cliff. As if they knew we were trapped the Gnolls chose that exact moment to let loose a hail of arrows. They whizzed past harmlessy, a couple stuck into the side of the wagon. I took cover and scanned the treeline from which we had come through earlier. Behind me the others ran around, trying to find shelter from the hidden archers.
Even in the dark, my eyes are good. Thanks to my half blood heritage, some things I can see better than others. I think it thought it was being sneaky. As the Gnoll crept forwards I waited till it was in range. I rolled from out of cover, sending a bolt of fire streaking towards the sneaker. It squealed in fright as my unearthly fire shot passed and exploded into the trees. I swear the others cheered me on as I smoothly stood up and faced the hidden foes.
“Flee you wretched dogs! I will unleash the chaos planes upon you! I, Ishana Storm, mark you with death! You will burn in agony! You will suffer and I will relish your every moment of pain! Begone from here! More fire cantrips screamed into the trees. My companions and the guards peppered the trees with arrows, hoping to get a lucky shot. A howl of pain from the trees confirmed that someone had indeed struck lucky.
I crouched back down. Everyone was tense. Any moment now we expected a roar and a charge of Gnolls. Nothing. My eyes strained to see into the trees but I couldn’t see or hear anything. Perhaps they finally realised that it wasn’t just a powerful sorceress they faced. We had a battle Halfling AND a Dragonborn. 3ft of walking metal and seven foot of hulking scales was maybe too much for them so they must have retreated for now.
So, dear Journal. We kept a watch in case the Gnolls come back. And the castle? Nothing. It’s still completely dark and the gates are shut despite the shouts and commotion. I look up and see the tower towards the back of the castle. The red glow is still visible through the window. A chill passed through me as I looked at it. What is it? Why is it the only light visible?
The Birdcreature has flown up the side of the castle to the first tower and it looks like Boreff is going to try and climb up the wall. Others are trying to force the gates with no luck. Sooner or later we will get in here and I want to be the first to find out what is making that red glow…
That’s it till next week folks. I hope you enjoyed this, please share, like and tell me what you think in the comments section. Feedback is always appreciated!
Stu our DM can be found here at his facebook page!
Credits to the following: Ki’rin – The Human Monk
Sheva- The Halfling Cleric
Boreff-The Human Rogue
Kayan-The Dragonborn Paladin
Kena-The Aaracokra Rogue
And to Stu for keeping it deadly and on our toes!
Thanks to D&D5E for an awesome game.