Previously in “Champions of Erelia,” we were preparing to enter into our first combat. Flaffem had noticed the approaching of the bugbear’s jowls. This was the day Flaffem had been waiting for – in his own words, his “chance to prove himself to another rapist.” Drawing his weapon, he boldly proclaimed, “I have to rape that bugbear behind us!”
Alerted to the bugbear’s presence, the startled party leaped into action. Combat took place – in a blur, two more bugbears appeared, Flick threw acid onto one, and Haradriel (still surprised and completely harmless) was near-mortally wounded when a stray javelin stabbed her through the abdomen. The first bugbear was hit by the spell “Grease” (thrown by an elven wizard formerly known as Rudra). This served to heighten Flaffem’s excitement all the more. In short, all the party members acted quite bravely (with the exception of Haradriel who spent the combat gravely wounded and cowering behind Beleg the goat).
Flaffem drew First Blood, and collected a lock of hair as a trophy from his kill. Much was looted from corpses. Elder Tom removed the javelin from Haradriel’s body. As it happened, a watchtower was quite close to the combat site. This was determined to be worth exploring, and an eager Flaffem took his quarry inside and bolted the door behind him. Flick scaled the tower and on the second floor, found a chest filled with silver, as well as an interesting hour-glass. So enthralled was she with this treasure that she failed to notice the three human guards’ corpses littering the room – two of which were horribly maimed. The wizard’s raven, Jacques, alerted Flick to this grim sight. It was determined that the bugbears must have taken over the watchtower for their own nefarious purposes.
Meanwhile, downstairs, Flaffem heard the scream of Flick finding the corpses. He immediately lost his. . . nerve, and gave up on raping the bugbear, brutally killing it instead. Flaffem dismembered the body, and claimed more grisly trophies.
Outside, Haradriel (having regained her faculties) and Kiki explored the area surrounding the tower, and in the wreckage of an old wagon found four flasks of “alchemist fire.”
Once everything was looted, the party continued on its way. The next day, they arrived safely at the winery town, Winery Hamlet #28. The party is greeted as old friends and given rooms for the evening. With her friendly charm, Haradriel succeeded in getting free wine casks for the party. She also received healing and some special herbs from the local alchemist.
In the morning, Flaffem confronts Haradriel with something that may have been intended as a proposition. Haradriel misinterpreted this and some awkwardness was avoided. Meanwhile, Kiki met a young dwarf at the tavern while “gathering information.” The dwarf was called Lindel, and he turned out to be a most interesting fellow. After some witty repartee, they became friends – and indeed, soon everyone was good friends with Lindel. Lindel was interested in arts and crafts, which were determined to be useful skills and endeared him to everyone. When Haradriel learned that Lindel was a druid, she became very interested in his ability to speak with animals, hoping he could communicate with Beleg. Lindel was somewhat confused about Haradriel’s gender, but was an easygoing enough fellow and was happy to be befriended. So, he joined the party.
The next evening, after setting off on the last leg of their journey, our heroes were camping when the thundering of hooves was suddenly heard in the distance. This was enough to wake everyone. A band of four knights rode into camp – two men who could be twins, a burly barrel-chested chap, and a handsome young knight dressed all in white. This last knight turned out to be Sir Moren, whom Haradriel recognized with her “Bardic Knowledge.” Sir Moren was revealed to be a minor noble, hailing from Idras – and in Haradriel’s words, “one handsome babe.”
Sir Moren explained to the party that he and his men were on a very particular quest, investigating the reports of unprecedented attacks in the area. According to Sir Moren, these attacks were particularly unusual because the area was known to be generally calm. He hinted that he had a theory about what was behind these attacks, but remained mysterious about it. During their conversation, Sir Moren and Haradriel were continually and rudely interrupted by Flaffem’s shouts of protest. Haradriel did manage to tell him about their previous encounter with bugbears. Sir Moren seemed interested in this. Before he and his men rode off to investigate this incident, Haradriel gifted her extra bottle of wine to him, and asked him not to forget her. Gazing deep into her eyes, Sir Moren nodded intently.
While this was going on, Lindel used his “Speak With Animals” spell to talk with Sir Moren’s horse. The horse told him some interesting things, such as his liking for specific kinds of food, how he missed female horses, and how they had been ridden in one direction for some days but then turned and went in a different direction. Lindel was deeply interested in this, and seemed to feel quite content with this conversation.
The next night, quite late, the party was asleep but for Flaffem and Lindel who were on watch. With their superior night-vision, the half-orc and the dwarf easily spotted the dark figures encroaching in on the campground. Flaffem alerted the others to the danger by screaming, “They’re coming to rape us!” – and advanced with his shield raised.
Combat ensued. During this, Lindel summoned a wolf to help fight against the bad guys. The wizard made Flaffem giant, and he proceeded to crush all those enemies who crossed his path. Lindel enchanted even the grass around them to entangle the foul beasts into submission. Haradriel began to sing, a song of courageous deeds and inspiring bravery, but alas – she was struck through by yet another stray javelin. Her heart broke a little inside.
After much brave fighting, a horn sounded in the distance. The enemies dispersed immediately, except for the mighty leader who was viciously killed by the strong, huge Flaffem. Flaffem was able to loot a valuable-looking chain-shirt from this.
In the morning, after Elder Tom had once again successfully removed a javelin from Haradriel, the party arrived at their ultimate destination, Redstone Abbey. They were greeted by Captain Jacobson, Guardian of the Relic, who made everyone feel a comforting sense of peace and security. Further, he magically healed the party, deeply impressing Haradriel while arousing the ire of jealous Flaffem.
Captain Jacobson led the party through the gates of the Abbey. Everyone awaited eagerly to see what would be in store for them at this mystical place. . . .
TO BE CONTINUED!