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Ouch! Fire Hot!

Deitricha’s Journal

Cautiously, the caravan moved ahead. Beowulf gave me his wand to hold again, and told Shadow to stay with Areon. The elves scouted off ahead of us to watch for trouble. Before Beowulf transformed into a bird for the day, he caught sight of a troop of barbarians heading through the woods. They passed us by! Unsure of what that meant, we set out. The rest of the day was quiet, leaving us wondering; did the barbarians decide to avoid us, or did they go for reinforcements?

We got something of an answer as we circled the wagons and made camp that evening. Beowulf circled the area as an owl, and returned to tell us that the barbarians were watching us from about a quarter mile off in the grass. This got everyone talking! Beowulf himself wanted to either go talk to them or attack them, while I leaned toward setting extra watches and expecting trouble. The caravan leader decided we should avoid contact, set watches, and hope for the best. Perhaps all travelers in this area get an ‘escort’.

The night passed quietly, thank Tymora! I did so during morning prayers! While the rest of the caravan preprared to set out, we helped Areon hide himself; he wanted to see if he could learn more about our followers. Rosorc was especially grumpy; apparently, the trip so far was boring for one who wanted to test his new armor and weapons. I guess the flowers aren’t helping his mood, but it’s gotten to be a habit. I bet he’d be disappointed if they weren’t there when he woke up!

My musings were interrupted by the sight of a wild hawk flying up to Theona with a message attached to its leg. She read it and got very worried! Apparently, Areon was now following our followers, but he got close enough to see that they’re from the Grey Wolf tribe, and that means trouble. That tribe is infested with lycanthropy, and Midsummer moon not far off! Beowulf flew off with a quiver of silver arrows for Areon, after giving me a handful of silver sling bullets.

It was a long day. Areon made it safely into camp by nightfall, and this turned into the routine for the next couple of days; we traveled, they followed, we all kept a wary eye on each other. They figured out that Beowulf-the-bird was part of the party pretty quickly, but still didn’t disturb him or us. By the eighth day out, I was starting to hope that we’d be OK if we didn’t provoke trouble. Instead, trouble of a different kind came to provoke us.

Out of nowhere, a red dragon swooped in on our party as we made camp! He was small enough to land inside the ring of wagons - barely. Panic quickly ensued; animals and humans were in chaos! I found myself plastered up against the outside of one of the wagons, knowing that the dragon would see me if I made a dash for safety. The dragon looked around complacently, announced that we had encroached upon his lands, then demanded tribute! I looked for the caravan master, only to see him hiding under a wagon...

Rosorc, on the other hand, bravely walked up to the dragon to parley! His bravery inspired others; the panic slowly subsided Rosorc and the dragon began to talk instead of trash the place. And I thought the dwarf was just itching for an excuse to fight! The dragon, knowing his own strength, casually checked out the contents of the traders’ wagons while asking for either two thousand gold pieces, or magical items. We certainly didn’t have the gold, but the caravan master came up with a ring that satisfied the dragon’s greed.

Apparently thinking to solve our other problem, Rosorc and Theona told the dragon about our barbarian trackers, who would also be “trespassing” on his lands. The dragon looked off, smiled, and flew away. We packed the camp back up and headed out, determined to put as much distance between us and the dragon as possible! It was a long night, but no one complained.

The next morning, however, showed us the sight of the dragon in the distance and closing in on us fast. As one, the caravan armed itself; we knew that if the first tribute hadn’t been enough, this beast would harry us all the way back to Silverymoon. The dragon, instead of landing, swooped over the last wagon and breathed fire, leaving behind a charred hulk as the rest of the drivers whipped their teams into a run! This was when I realized that the dragon was covered with burns and cuts - apparently, the barbarians put up a strong resistance. Dragons aren’t stupid; this one was going to make us pay for getting him hurt.

Our arrows were bouncing off the dragon’s hide even as it came around for a second run, strafing Rosorc as he crouched behind his shield, shouting insults. A few arrows hit their mark as it passed, and then both Beowulf and I ran to the dwarf to heal him. He shooed us away, however, as our armor wasn’t going to withstand dragonfire like his could. Areon hit it with a well-placed shot and earned the next strafe; I broke my new bowstring and decided to heal Areon instead. Rosorc’s warning came back to haunt me, as the dragon engulfed us both in flame!

As the dragon circled around for his next run, I healed myself, then cast Fly. Although it was fast in the air, I was hoping to be able to dart around it and hit it with my staff of shocking, perhaps knocking it out of the sky if I caught it just right. Of course, having a target at eye-level meant the dragon was heading right for me! At least it kept him from seeing the giant owl the Beowulf called up, until it grappled with him! Arrows kept finding their mark even as the dragon and owl fought, and I got close enough to hit it, myself. I don’t know if it was Beowulf’s last well-placed arrow shot, or the electrical shock I landed on the dragon’s rear end, but the beast suddenly flew off, and did not come back for another attack.

I quickly flew to a higher altitude, watching the dragon until he was lost to sight, and never saw him turn. I also looked for the barbarian lycanthropes, but saw no sign of them, either. Praying that our troubles were over for the moment, I then descended to help the party. I could see two wagons were gone; destroyed by dragonfire, and their guards with them. Sadly, I buried the bodies and prayed over them. Then, we turned our faces toward Silverymoon. This has been a long and difficult journey; I want to be home for a while!

I wonder what Rosorc will think of the city?

Posted by Kate on August 15, 2004, 08:04 | Deitricha’s Journal