It has been several days of excruciating heat. We received word from inside the wall via arrow message that an attempt has been made on the kings life, and that there will be no going back into the city. But all of this falls away as Illy's white hawk, Verel, swoops into view. My heart catches, simultaneously elated to see him and the messenger tube undoubtedly containing a message from my beloved elf, but also terror that it could be news most dire from her…or about her.
Holding my hand out, he perches, rubbing me affectionately before sweeping over to Takeo, they being fast friends of a fowly nature. My hands shaking, I unroll the tube, and quickly read her missive.
I hope you and Takeo are both well. I don’t know if you’ve heard out beyond the wall but there was an attempt on Aelharran’s life, and the “High King” does not fair well. This would normally not be a matter with which we would concern ourselves, I know, But I believe there is a chance that the person behind this attempt was once very dear to me, and if this is the case… perhaps he may have information that could prove vital to your investigation. I am leaving the circle to investigate, and will write you with any news I may discover.
I try to process the information, but the details that jump at me are ILLY'S IN DANGER and WITH LOVE. Gods of Nature, I miss her. Deep in thought, Tayla leads us to go and find Arlo's group and let them know what happened, but I'm deep in thought, obsessing over what Illy might be up to. Looking up several hours later, I hear the beat of wings and I dive off of Takeo as an emerald green dragon swoops upon us, showering us all with acid. I look over at the Takeo's Butler, and I see his face melt off his bones. Cursing, I yell at Takeo to take care of the dragon, I'll keep everyone alive and I hope against hope that the butler is not yet dead, his fate sealed, as it were, as good help is very hard to <s>intimidate</s> train. Rushing over, I see that he is yet breathing, and I pull power from the ground around us to soothe his wounds before rushing over to heal the others. Moving from person to person, I keep the party on their feet as Trombor and Takeo finish off the evil dragon. Nodding to me, Trombor asks if I can handle this as I have the others, and I nod, plucking the best scales as carefully as I can, and chopping it for meat. Takeo wanders seeking for seeds or anything interesting, and he returns, agitated. I follow him, and we find a lair, clearly smelling of acid and beast. Clearly the den the one we faught came from, if I'm a druid. Acid is one of Nature's most painful and potent substances, and since we've decided to clear the den on the morrow, I'll be preparing us to not succumb to it's foul corrosive essence.
In the morning, we creep into the den, warily scanning for any signs of more dragons, or, heaven forbid, some hulking monstrosity of a parent dragon, but I've little fear for that, as the greens are not exactly maternal. Perhaps some brothers…
Coming upon a few smaller ones, yes, we probably killed their older brother. Trombor rushes forward, and I let loose a yodel, and we make relatively short work of them, and I return to the surface to ensure we aren't surprised. To my great and utter surprise, jaws close around me and my feeble attempts at stopping it seem to only amuse it. "Yes. Cliche of all cliches, the little bard is going to get eaten," I think. Its throat constricts, and my body slides down it as I kick and claw to no avail. I plop into its stomach, wet with digestive juice, and it begins crushing me, but I feel no burning. I'm suddenly very glad that I thought to prepare those protections this morning, else I'd be burned beyond even Illy's recognition. Taking a short breath, I concentrate and summon one of Lord Tubatron's special instrument weapons to my hand, a sword violin, and I begin to stab and slash my way out of the stomach. Bursting out, the beast lies dead, Trombor pulling his axe out of it's face and Takeo poking it to make sure he's dead. Shaking off the acid, I stumble over, pulling more healing energy from nature for myself and the others. We find a body that clearly is Arlo's sister, and I say a prayer to Tubatron for her.
We rest the remainder of the day, and thankfully it is uneventful. In the morning, a light rain sprang up, giving us relief from the heat, but it became torrential quickly, another sign that nature is displeased with the situation. Sitting atop Takeo, I return to thinking about Illy, but this time pleasant memories to ward off the chill of the rain, sitting with her watching the sun rise, playing find the seeds with Takeo, our kiss…
Suddenly, a gibbering mass of flesh and mouths and eyes, and horror, drops from the trees atop Trombor. Mid rears his horse, charging it and stabbing it, it's mouths shrieking horror and distraction, but Trombor cleaved it in half from below it, bellowing in rage and disgust at its weakness, and we continue on. We seem to be catching up to Arlo, and hopefully we will find him soon. I lay down after my watch with Arlyre, ready to rest and recover from the long, wet march.
Too soon, a whistle brings me back to wakefullness, and I shake Takeo awake. A huge water elemental has attacked our camp, but strangely there is no body of water that could support such a creature nearby. Yodeling my companions to action, I warily skirt the monster to see if I can see what's agitating it, but rays of fire from Aspen and Trombor's axe actually make short work of it. Nature is rebelling, rising, even, and to what end I know not, but I have my suspicions that the obsidian wall and the necromancy used to create and maintain it are at least partially to blame….