Desolation

Ep 4.1

Dragon Rider!

I wish my father could see me now… How proud he would be! While no real dragon roars beneath me, I can say in truth that a beast as proud and powerful as any dragon known to legend serves as my steed in combat against our death-worsphipping foe; forged by my skill and my mastery of the Weave.

As my dragon’s huge wings crack the air and propel us forward at the speed of thought the steps which brought me here to this time and place, for this moment all seem to stand out so clearly…

With darkness soon to come upon us we searched the caravan but discovered little of its attackers. Ramolis was somewhat concerned about tracking them to their lair, but I guess his grief over our benefactor’s losses distracted him from the enormous trail of disturbed sand and stones heading away from the site and toward the coast. Unable to search any further, and nearly dead on our feet, we made camp.

Taking due precautions, Ramolis invoked the power of his deity and claimed our campsite was safe from the depredations of the walking dead used by our new foe. For my part, I crafted a watchman to look over us and alert me should anything approach from any angle. My companions were duly impressed by this feat. Sadly, it was not what I had envisioned. I guess my concentration wavered at the last instant. Meaning to summon a protective dragon-wing dome which would rouse me should something try to force its way in on our campsite, I instead found myself with a small globe of a very alert nature glowing over the campsite which roused me… constantly. Despite this small failing, I got enough rest and we were not killed in our sleep by the stealthy coyotes which hoped to feast on our tired flesh.

I killed one and drove the others off. We will feed on it instead.

As always, I found myself amazed at the simplicity and beauty of the magic of the Dwarves. How powerful are words that they may restore that which has been damaged? With a simple etching and a concentration of borrowed force, I watched in awe as Thorbin reconstituted useable wood to make a cooking fire… but that is another tale.

Just before sunrise we all got up after some strange and compelling dreams, broke our fast, broke camp, and then searched the remains of the caravan by dawn’s light. Our dwarf companion was most upset by what he discovered he’d lost. I on the other hand, carrying all I own on the ugly horse granted my by employer Pal’tan have lost nothing. There is nothing left for me to lose but my sword, and the dragon-rider brooch left to me by my grandfather.

Despite the evidence of our eyes, I am still finding it hard to imagine a young, blonde man could be responsible for this perverted scheme to build an army of the dead. Of course, if one were to attempt such a thing unnoticed, what better place than the one place where no one wants to go, and few – once here – can leave?

Setting off with a few grumbles from the dwarf, some comments about reinforcements from Ramolis, and the beginnings of a plan in my heart, we followed the massive trail blazed by the dead and headed for the coast.
Coming across their camp from higher ground, we surveyed it as best we could, and not being satisfied with what we could see with our own eyes, I created a mystic agent to spy out the lay of things.
Just off shore lay a small sailing vessel, bereft of crew. Trooping off down the beach was our blonde quarry, and 5 others. In the camp were three tents, a handful of animated skeletons, 5 living guards, and a metal cage with about a dozen mongrels trapped within – each bearing a black mark of some kind on their foreheads.
We knew a fight was upon us. Finding the odds a little long for my companions, a priest and a craftsman – particularly as the guards were armed with crossbows, I used my skills as a sorcerer to Weave mystical armour for each of us. I fear I may not have shielded Thorbin to the best of my ability, but in my experience his people often brag about how sturdy they are. Let him prove it.

As we began our approach, Ramolis returned to his nearly incessant praying followed by his absolutely incessant look of smugness, informing us that we would be invisible to the undead. This gave Thorbin an idea, and taking two of our bedrolls, he enchanted them on the spot to cloak what was ever inside them from view.

As the two of them made their way toward the camp on foot, I decided to fly in and set to work on the cage.

As they were shielded from view, I cannot describe the look of bewilderment on Ramolis’ face when they triggered the mystic alarms at the edge of the camp, but I can imagine it, and I did hear him distinctly say, “But… it’s a skull!?” as I descended to the top of the cage bearing the desperately abused prisoners.

Worried by the lack of any sign of an undead army, but certain one must be lurking around here somewhere, I set about examining the cage to see how best to free them. With the alarm screaming away, the guards forestalled that plan and both human and undead guards rushed to defend the camp.

Surprise lost, dropping the blankets, Ramolis dealt with the siren then he and Thorbin began to stalk two of the guards on the far side of the camp, while I unleashed the raw force of the Weave in an arcing spray of dragon’s breath claiming three of their lives. With the skeletons closing in, and being less sure how to deal with them, I erected a shield of woven dragon wings in a dome about the cage to keep us safe.

The two remaining guards fired on but could not penetrate my dragon-wing dome. Thorbin, somehow unseen by a defending skeleton, launched a strong attack but failed to down it. It responded with a flailing attack which did not seem to harm him. For his part, Ramolis began to issue orders to the skeletons and two of them began to obey him! Turning on their human masters, the skeletons turn to run the remaining guards off.

Feeling the press of time, I summon forth the force of the Weave once more to blow the lock off the door, but the stalwart steel resists me for a time, requiring two of my practiced blasts to drop free. Dropping the dome of wings, I set the mongrels free.

In the background, Ramolis has his captive undead circle back after chasing the guards away and destroy the other skeletons. I vowed to remember to ask him about how that was possible.

Worried about the purpose of the ship, concerned about the absence of the undead army, and unwilling to let the villain get away, I chose to attempt something I have never been willing to attempt before…. and that is how I came to be cloaked in joy and power, riding on the back of a dragon, straight into the teeth of battle as my ancestors of legend once did.

Arcing out over the water, I directed my winged steed to rip the sail from the mast and bring it with us to drop over the Necromancer and his allies. Without the means to see us, their foul magics might be less potent. Preparing myself to sense and thwart all access to the mystical energies of the Weave, I gave up the rewards of glory for dueling with fire and spell in favor of surviving. A man does not face down a Necromancer lightly.

It was at this moment, almost within my great steed’s striking range that I discovered a most horrifying truth! As my skills lent me the power to dispel his attempts to harm us, I perceived most clearly that not only was he a foul death mage, but a sorcerer as well!

Someone so powerful could not be suffered to live!

Dropping from the sky like a pouncing beast of prey, my charge and I poured our hearts and souls into killing him as fast as possible. As I wrestled with defeating his every spell, the dragon beneath me bound him in the sail and began to smash at him with its mighty forepaws…. and that is where we are now.

I do not know if I will survive, but if I do not, those I freed will tell the tale of this day, and who bravely stood against evil to save them.

I am at peace….

….but I know I am going to burn his ass to the ground.

Comments

Runeslinger

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.