Once he is sure the dragon is dead and not just dying, Emil channels positive energy to give everyone within thirty feet of him healing, hoping to bring Selde back to consciousness and stop the bleeding of everyone else. Although he is covered in dragon blood and probably some of Caspan's and Selde's, Emil is uninjured, though his heart feels torn asunder.
Positive Energy Channel: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 4, 5, 4) = 19
Bring any what's still 'live to me!" he bellows and he scans the field of battle for Abby. "Maybe we can save some!
He rushes to Abby's side and sends out more positive energy. He places a trembling hand on her neck, trying to feel a pulse, praying for a miracle.
Pila limps to his side and licks Abby's face while leaning into Emil for support.
Positive Energy Channel: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 5, 5) = 19
Caspan sags in relief as the dragon dies, then grunts as he looks around.
"Are they all fricking dead?" he asks angrily, kicking the dead dragon several more times. "I said we should leave 'em back in the caves! Sometimes it's safest to just stay where you are, not go looking for trouble! How many times do I have to say that?!"
He punctuates each outburst with another brutal kick, though seems to let the anger drain away as Emil closes the worst of his wounds. He looks around to see if any of the refugees stand back up.
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It was a warm, sunny day in Phaendar. The market festival was in a few days time and the town was bustling in anticipation. Nur snorted in frustration as he maneuvered around another stand stand in the usually empty streets.
"I know bud, all these people. But you won't be complaining once the pies are ready will you?" Selde said with chuckle as the patted the Elk's neck. Nur's saddle packs were near to bursting with berries and other gatherings for Mia's famous pie. On top of the furs from the most recent hunting trip.
The trip had been a long, lonely one. Selde hated being away from her family for so long, but with the money made from the market festival, Selde wouldn't have to leave for some time. Not to mention there were several townsfolk who would skin Selde alive if she didn't bring Mia the ingredients for her pies.
"Finally back huh? Thought you might have gotten lost?" Selde's grandfather called to her from his seat on tavern porch. He and several other of the old hunters were drinking and playing cards. From the number of empty mugs on the table, it seemed they had been at it for awhile.
"Not lost, just working. Some of us have to provide for our families." Selde said with a smirk and a wave.
"Hrmph, done plenty of that in my day. But I appreciate your efforts!" Talathel with a raise of his mug.
"And Mia would apricate you taking a bath before dinner." Selde replied as she spurred Nur to continue. Despite several more social stops, Selde soon found herself home. Irgal and Izora were playing adventurers in the yard.
"With this mighty spell, I shall finally vanquish you!" Izora yelled while wildly flinging her arms about and making spell sounds.
"Your wicked spell will not be enough to pierce my shield, have at you...or me...HAVE AT!"
Selde smiled as she watched the children play. Irgal had red hair with pink eyes, and Izora had dark hair with green eyes. Both had Mia's crooked nose. Starring at them was like looking at her love and a mirror all at once. Selde loved spying on the little moments like this, wishing they would last forever. However, nothing lasts forever.
"MOMS HOME!" the children shouted in unison as they finally noticed Selde.
Leaping down from Nur, Selde swept the charging children up in her arms. "Hello my little goblins!" Selde said while smothering the pair in kisses. Were you good for your mother?"
"Yup, I helped make some dough!" Irgal responded. "And I chased away some spiders!" Izora said, not to be outdone.
"My brave little helpers! Well since you were so good, I guess I can give you your gifts." With a smile Selde pulled two small saplings from her pack. Fresh from the darkness of the pack, the two plants glowed with bioluminescence but soon began to fade in the light of the sun.
"WHOA!" the children exclaimed in unison.
"I found these deep in the woods. They glow in the dark and help keep monsters away. If you plant them outside your window, they'll keep you safe."
"Did mom bring you back something nice?" Mia asked as she came from her workshop, wiping arcane reagents from her hands with a rag.
"Yeah, she brought us magic plants that will keep us safe."
"Oh wow, that is a good gift. You better go plant them quick then...And wash up after, dinner will be ready soon!" Mia called after the kids as they ran away with their gifts. "Now then, did you have anything for me?" Mia asked with a smirk before the lovers wrapped themselves in each other.
"I did, but it will have to wait until later." Selde said after finally coming up for air. "Oh, and the pie ingredients, obviously."
"Oh I can't wait. And good, people have been bothering me about those pies all week. I tell you it's almost not wor..." Mia was suddenly cut off by the sounds of the childrens' screams.
"MOMS!" They screeched as hobgoblins dragged them away.
Without hesitation, Selde drew her bow and knocked an arrow, but when she tried to draw it back, she froze. All she could do was stand there and watch as her children were dragged away. As a horde descended on the small town, cutting into it like an axe into wood. Selde tried and tried to pull her arrow back. Struggled with all her might, but still just stood there frozen.
"Selde what are you doing, save them, you have to SAVE THEM!" Mia kept shouting over and over. But no matter what Selde did, no matter how hard she struggled, she still just stood there. This continued for what seemed an eternity until the ground shoot with enough force to knock Selde off her feet. Looking up, a monstrous shadow of a dragon stood over Mia. It moved it's head back and forth, examining the women, taking its time before it brought its massive jaws down. In one bite Mia was gone, swallowed whole by the shadow.
And still, Selde could only lie there, unmoving. It was torture, nothing short. Watching the nightmares unfold without being able to do anything. Fear and anger and guild and pain and sickness flooded Selde. She wanted to stop it, save her family, tear off her skin, kill her enemies, put a knife in her blade, anything just ANYTHING! But she couldn't do anything, not even scream. No matter how hard she struggled, how much it felt like she was tearing herself apart, she couldn't do anything.
"AAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Selde screamed at the top of her lungs as Emil's healing energy washed over her. "NO! MIA!" Ignoring the burning pain from her injuries, Selde bolted upright and ran to Mia's body. Collapsing to the ground and taking Mia's body in her arms, Selde let out a wail of pure sorrow as tears flowed from her amber eye.
”No no no no no,” Wren whimpered when the dragon finally stopped moving. She remembered the spot where she saw what was left of Jet, so she made haste to her side. ”Youre my best friend, Jet. The one I could always talk to....the one who watched out for me,” she cried softly. If she saw any indication of movement, she’d use her last heal of the day, but she didn’t see any at first glance.
At seeing the lack of movement, Wren rises to her feet, finds a empty plot of grass not scarred from either blood or acid, and takes a seat. She rummages through her pack and pulls out her flute. She began playing it for the first time in a long time. It was probably dumb but it made sense to her right then.
Perform Flute 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Relief washes over Thael as the dragon is slain, but it's quickly replaced with an empty nothingness, a numbness like the void of empty space.
This is not an area arcane magic will help. Magic could protect them and keep them alive, but now this is only for the divine.
He makes for Selde, hoping for something he might say to help her, but knows there is nothing he can do. He leaves her to her grieving.
Instead, he moves to the periphery, looking for any that are still breathing or moving, then drags the toward the center and Emil's healing magic.
The odds of winning this game are becoming increasingly narrow.
A few bodies stir when Emil's divine magic fills the air around the battlefield, but many do not. Jillian, Cireo and Kining all groan and slowly take their feet, but there is no movement from Aubrin, Herge, Taidel and a half-dozen other rangers you rescued whose names you never even got to know.
Though wobbly and still gravely injured, Kining snatches up her axe and shouts at the top of her lungs "OY! YER CANNOT KEEP ME DOWN! HA! WHA ARS YER, EH DRAGON!? CCOMEEE ONN!!!!" she spins in a circle until she sees the beast crumpled on the ground. She promptly runs headlong into it and continues hacking away at its falling body, calling out names of her fallen comrades in some form of vengeance.
As Selde scoops up Mia's body, it lays limp in her arms, unmoving without any signs of life left. Acid has burned away the lower left side of the skin on her face, leaving Selde a horrible reminder of who was responsible for her untimely end.
Thael moves bodies, trying to discern the wounded from the dead and comes across the acid-burnt body of Austyn Stuart. A fleeting memories washes over him
When Thael walks away, he bumps into Austyn Stuart. Austyn is another pupil of magic, still learning in his ways and frequently asking Thael for assistance or feedback. Not quite seeing Thael's face he says "Oh. Hey Thael, I've been meaning to ask you about something. When I'm trying to do this summoning spell and it never never quite works as planned. I can only try once a day, and I was hoping next time you could maybe watch and listen and tell me what I'm messing up? I'm really confounded!"
"Oh--hello, Austyn. I did not realize you were practicing summoning spells. I would be happy to help you--just--not now. Perhaps when we make camp tonight, we can go over it," the wizard says, not much in the mood to talk at the moment.
The wizard is left to wonder "What if..." as he verifies the young adept's days at magic are now at an end.
Wren's music fills the air, unable to cover the sobs and screams of the wounded and grieving that lay among them.
Returning to Aubrin's side, Emil confirms once more that she's passed on to another place and that her time on this plane has come to an end.
40d100 ⇒ (69, 32, 33, 22, 25, 19, 84, 77, 84, 77, 36, 1, 45, 47, 73, 13, 6, 32, 34, 51, 64, 29, 75, 31, 41, 62, 87, 4, 25, 88, 50, 33, 51, 72, 77, 95, 68, 49, 62, 24) = 1947
Will: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Emil's grief overcomes his best effort to hold his emotions in check and display the leadership he knows is needed. He kneels by Abby, carefully adjusts her body until she appears to be sleeping, closes her eyelids, and lays her cloak over her. Then he buries his face in his hands and weeps for a full minute, before he musters the resolve to move away to offer aid to the wounded and consolation to the grief-stricken.
He assembles all who are wounded into a group so he can deliver more positive energy to heal what he can of the injuries that still remain. He uses mundane healing, such as bandaging wounds and administering some homemade antacid concoctions made from baking soda and soap as a salve for those injured by acid.
Once the living have been cared for, he seeks out Selde and gives her a fatherly hug. He does the same for Wren, Jillian, and any others who seem to need it. Finally, he begins the grim task of preparing the dead for burial.
If anyone is in need of bedrest to recover, he can offer bandages of rapid recovery, magic that simulates bedrest for the person wrapped in the soothing fabric that look and feel like the feathers of a dove.
Once the dead have been buried and a meal prepared, he suggests all return to the fort to begin to take possession of it. "There'll likely be the dragon's treasure hoard, which may have useful magic. There is also one buildin' we did not clear out, so we'll need ta be on guard."
Addressing the survivors, he says "We've won a great victory an' suffered a tremendous defeat. The enemy has lost his grip on this area but will surely return in time. We who survive can best honor the sacrifices of those we have lost by perseverin' an' providin' aid an' shelter ta other refugees who may still reach us. We must keep up our courage an' our determination ta struggle on. Once we have recovered we can discuss what ta do next. But today, we grieve, we pick ourselves up, an' we soldier on. Erastil is with us. Let us pray to him and to any other gods and goddesses we hold dear to guide us."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
He brushes tears from his eyes with bloodstained hands and seeks out Caspan, Selde, Thael, and Wren to discuss strategy.
If he hears Caspan say anything more about the wisdom of moving the community instead of leaving them in the cave, he pulls him aside and says, "I too thought it wiser ta have these people remain in hidin' while we did this dangerous work. But the decision was made an' it can only rub salt in our wounds to remind those who were in favor of it. Please keep your thoughts on the matter to yourself. Bein' kind's more important than bein' right."
As Kining stands up and begins beating on the dragon's corpse, Caspan steps back, chest heaving as he gasps for his breath back. He looks around, at everything covered with blood, and his vision starts going dark.
The cell was so dark, only fitfully burning torches providing the barest of light. He remembered clutching his side, his ribs almost certainly broken, the vicious cut still pumping blood. If it hadn't hit bone -- had gone between the ribs -- he'd be dead, he had no doubt.
The four other men in the cell weren't so lucky, thanks to him. He sneered at three of the figures, kicking one for good measure. They'd been sent to kill, but his cellmate had stood up to them. It had saved him, the attackers' surprise at this second defender giving him time to get on his feet. And when the lead attacker's knife stuck in the second man's side, he'd brought his fists to bear. He looked down at them, the knuckles split and bloody from where he'd broken heads. "It wasn't your fault," he remembers his cellmate whispering. "You didn't know what would happen, you didn't know they would come."
Caspan shakes his head, vision clearing for a moment before turning red.
"Damn it!" he yells. "I said, we should've left them all back in the caves! They're damn useless, following us around like puppies, when they couldn't help themselves! Now look at then, they're almost all dead! They'd have been better off as the hobgoblins' indented servants than as dragon whores derves! And now we want to leave them in a fort the hobs already captured once?! That makes no sense. We should rest, take that damn dragon's hoard, and then get the Abyss out of here!"
He puts his clenched fists on his hips, glaring at anyone else who dares to defy him.
Wren sighs and speaks softly. ”They have to stay with us now. Do you realize, Caspan, how many of their kind we have killed? And now we’ve killed their dragon? They are going to kill any of us on sight. That goes for us just as well as the rest of the villagers. They knew the risks they, and all of us were taking.,” Wren says as she tears up.
”And my heart feels like it’s breaking apart right now, but we’ve gone too far to just give up. We are where we are, and there’s no changing it, whether we want to or not. And we have to keep moving. When they see we’ve taken out this fort, they are going to send even more troops for us,” Wren gets out between sobs.
Once Thael has done all he can for the fallen, his gaze fixes again on Selde.
Normally stoic, the heart wrenching scene of his half-sister's agony brings tears streaming into his black beard.
Whatever pain he felt at the loss of the villagers, and Mia in particular, was eclipsed by the pain he knew Selde would feel for the rest of her life.
Not knowing how she would respond to him, he kneels down next to her and puts his arms around her in embrace.
"There are no words--" he mutters.
"Yeah, we can't stay here after all this," Caspan agrees angrily. "Loos like our ex-odor keeps going on. Might as well stay the night in the fort to rest up, and see what that damn dragon had, but then we have to get back out of here."
Selde leaned into her brothers embrace. "What do I do Thael? What do I do? I'm alone again."
Jillian's eyes pop open after the healing washes over her. She leaps to her feet as if ready to fight once more, but as she looks for the threat she takes in the devastation the dragon has wrought and sees the vile creature has been brought to its end. She falls to her knees as tears swell in her eyes at the loss their community has endured this day, but takes a deep breath as she pushes back the tears thinking to herself "Thank Erastil I stayed behind, it could have been much worse..."
Once people have mourned for a bit she goes to work helping Emil prepare the dead. Each of those that have died in defense of their little community she leans in close and whispers to them "Thank you for your sacrifice, may you rest in peace." She takes a moment longer as they deal with Herge who came to their defense even though the giant wasn't really one of them.
As conversation turns to the here and now and the groups future she chimes in "It is horrible what has happened here, but like Wren said everyone knew the risks and had we left them behind it is just as likely they would have all been caught and most likely killed by the hobgoblins. At least here, so many have still survived. For the short term, let's make sure the fort is secure. Get everyone inside, tend to the dead, and figure out our next steps."
Selde leaned into her brothers embrace. "What do I do Thael? What do I do? I'm alone again."
Thael isn't sure what to say in response, but does his best to comfort his sister.
"She will--always be with you," he says. "Or what you remember her by. She loved you for who you were," he adds.
After another minute or so, he looks her in the eye. "There will be time for mourning," he says. "But this cannot slow you down now. You must avenge her. You must deliver justice to those that perpetrated this and have driven us from our homes. You must become an instrument of destruction."
Gathering your survivors and wounded, you make your way around to the southern bridge leading back into the fort to recover and finish searching the tower.
The hobgoblins that surprised you outside the tower had antiplague (2), troll oil, lamellar armor, mwk scimitar, mwk sling, amulet of natural armor +2, beast-bond brand, druid’s vestment, gardening shears, holly, mistletoe, spell component pouch, potions of cure
moderate wounds, antitoxin (2), daggers (5), ring of protection +1, etched copper-and-iron bracers (worth 125 gp)
On the floor where you stopped exploring the tower last, you find a polymorphic pouch, a block of incense of meditation, a stylized dragon figurine (variant bronze griffon figurine of wondrous power. It has the abilities and statistics of the original, but instead appears as a horse-sized dragon. It has already expended all of the figurine’s charges for the week and it requires 5 days to recharge)
In a war room you discover a map table that depicts Nirmathas and northern Molthune, with labels tidily written in Goblin. A red “X” marks the town of Phaendar, and thick, red lines branch out from it across the Nesmian Plains and north up the Marideth River. A dotted line encircles the Nesmian Plains down past the dwarven Sky Citadel of Kraggodan, east through Molthune, and into the Fangwood.
You note that the newest annotation leads north along the river to the refining town of Longshadow, one of Nirmathas’s manufacturing strongholds.
Moving to the top of the tower, you find Ibzairiak’s hoard is scattered at the bottom of his shallow pool. It consists of 232 cp, 2,114 sp, 2,128 gp, a +1 shock bastard sword, a +1 light crossbow, a belt of incredible dexterity +2, a potion of hide from animals, two potions of fly, a wand of fireball (16 charges), a wand of summon monster II (22 charges), a massive black pearl (worth 650 gp), a golden manticore statue (worth 110 gp), a set of six silver dice (worth 75 gp), a gold holy symbol of Abadar (worth 100 gp), a silver scepter etched with eagles (worth 125 gp), a set of silver wind chimes embossed with writhing serpents (worth 60 gp), and a bent lance (broken and worthless).
Ibzairik had an amulet of mighty fists.
Going to have to look these things up after I get Emil's profile updated. Looks like a lot of interesting items. People should also think about items they might want that Emil could make using Craft Magic Arms and Armor, assuming we may have some down time to do some crafting.
"Well, at least we got something out of this," Caspan says as they make their way to the fort and count the loot.
An amulet of mighty fists, you say? I'm listening... I assume I'll grab that, which means my aegis of recovery is up for grabs. I'd take the ring of protection too if no one else wants it.
He scratches his head at the map.
"Looks like they're heading to Longshadow. Maybe we go there and bloody their noses for what they did," he growls.
Emil has a ring of protection +1. He has no use of the amulet of mighty fists.
What type of lamillar armor is it? The armor lists all have a material after the name, such as leather, horn, iron, etc.
Emil can cast Barkskin which gives him +3 natural armor, so he doesn't need that. Pila already has substantial natural armor, so Emil/Pila make no claim to that.
The beast-bond brand is of use to Emil and to Selde. Emil so far has not used the share spell ability much with Pila, but the item expands on the share spell ability, so he might use it. Selde should look at the item to see if she wants it.
The polymorphic pouch seems to be a bag of holding but of particular use to a PC who shape changes into an animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin, as it does not merge with the wearer's body and remains accessible. Not of use to Emil, but I believe Jillian shape changes. She may find it helpful.
The incense is for divine spellcasters and can create effects similar to a maximize metamagic feat for spells prepared. It takes 8 hours to use, so not effective when in the field, but might be useful while crafting. Emil, Selde, and Jillian can all use it. I don't know if all three could medicate with the incense burning and all get the benefit. Item description does not address this.
I'd say the bronze dragon/griffon should go to Wren, since she could give the command word to bring it to bear during combat while the front line fighters are busy making attacks. She could also ride it.
From the dragon hoard, Emil could use the wand of summon II, but I think most of the spell casters can, so Emil makes no claim on that unless no one else does.
I'm going to try to get my character profile updated to next level by Monday, but I've got higher priorities with work at the moment.
Thael can't help but feel deflated by all that has happened. Though they had succeeded in gaining the fort, it had come at much too high a cost.
"Longshadow definitely looks like a lead we should pursue, but we should rest and regather our force first."
The wizard strokes his beard. "What should we do with this fort? I'm confident there are some things we could do to render it less useful to the enemy, though it would take time to do."
”I think I just want to get out of here as soon as possible. What are we going to do for everyone? Are we going to bury them or just set a big funeral pyre? We can’t just leave them here. After we decide and take care of the bodies, I’m ready to move on. I just don’t think I can stay in this place,”. Wren whispers, looking around at the remains of all the townsfolk.
"We should bury th' bodies near where they died. Let Erastil transform their bodies ta become part o' the woods. I will lead th' ceremonies an' consecrate the ground. It will be good fer people ta have somethin' ta do an' ta finish grieving. Then we can decide on what comes next."
Once the burial is taken care of, Emil suggests scouting as we can to see if there is any evidence that the Ironfang is still interested in taking the Fangwood. Without the dragon, the fort should be a much safer place than roaming the wilderness.
Caspan grunts. "They're dead, so don't really care what happens to them, but question is what's least traumaturgic for everyone who survived? I don't think burying 'em right next to the dragon that killed them all is going to help, but maybe we should ask 'em. Kining probably has an opinion, even if no one can understand it."