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August 11, 2004

Seeing Red

Theona's Journal

Flamerule 26, 1373, East of the Moonwood near Quaervarr

Well, no wonder they didn’t hear us— they’d already detoured far around us, so that by the time Areon and I had carefully picked our way through the wooded area beside the trail, the barbarians were seen from the caravan, heading north behind us— in the other direction.

We walked back to the caravan and soon were ready to call it a day. We made camp beside the road, and asked Beowulf to shift into a bird so he could fly back to see if the barbarians were following us. Sure enough, they were camped (without a fire) a quarter mile behind us.

It was a rather tense night, but our camp was never attacked, so Beowulf flew back again in the morning, only to find the barbarians were keeping their distance, but most definitely following us south. Deciding we needed to have someone follow them as they followed us, Areon hid in the brush beside the trail to wait for them to pass, while the rest of us set out as if all was normal.

A short while later, a rather large hawk with a piece of parchment tied to its leg appeared and attempted, rather ungracefully, to hover in front of me. I untied the note and the hawk, no longer needing to play the messenger, flew off without a sound.

I quickly read the note: Areon was following the barbarians and noticed a symbol they all wore, which he drew in the note for me to identify. He said he’d catch up to us by nightfall. I recognized the symbol of the Grey Wolf tribe— a group of Uthgardt afflicted with lycanthropy! I didn’t like the thought of him out there alone when twilight fell, but I also knew he’d already made up his mind. Thankfully, Beowulf was willing to fly back a note of warning about the nature of the barbarians, and he even took 20 silver-tipped arrows for Areon on the off chance he came into contact with the lycanthropes. Beowulf reappeared at my side soon afterwards, with the message that Areon would return at dusk, which he did.

Again, the night passed uneventfully. Beowulf headed out again to take in an aerial view of our proximity to the Grey Wolf tribesmen— they were still about the same distance behind us. Had we not been protecting a caravan, we may have gone back to introduce ourselves, as it was obvious to our druid that they were as aware of us as we were of them, but we didn’t risk the attempt.

Assuming barbarians were the worst of our trouble, it was quite unnerving to see the outline of a large red dragon swoop overhead, then turn around and land in our camp. The beast bellowed that he was “Marxithial the Mighty” and that we had encroached upon his land, which was, apparently, a large stretch of the only road between Beorunna’s Well and Silverymoon. He actually started to riffle through one of the wagons, looking for “tribute”— in the end, he decided 2000 gold pieces would do, and though I would have rather fought him, Lukan the caravan master handed him a ring, which the dragon decided was a fair offering. I had suggested that the barbarians following us were probably worth more than the ring, and Rosorc bellowed that information back to the dragon before it flew off. We hoped the barbarians would be able to make quick work of the dragon, but we were nervous to stay put, so we gathered up our gear and headed onward towards Silverymoon.

We were making pretty good time (at this rate, we’d get to Silverymoon in time for the Midsummer festivities) as the sun came up. Soon though, the form of Marxithial appeared above us, but this time, instead of landing, he breathed fire on our last wagon, and then swung around to hit the second wagon of the caravan. His sides were covered in gashes and wounds; he’d obviously taken interest in the barbarians and met his match. The enraged dragon was aiming for the third wagon now, when he noticed that Rosorc was near it and spat fire at him instead. We let the caravan continue on as fast as it could go while my friends and I peppered the dragon with bolts and arrows. At one point Marxithial decided to attack Areon; I am told I said a few unladylike things to get the dragon’s attention away from him. It was an arrow from Beowulf’s bow that finally drove the creature off, though I’m sure I at least hurt that red menace’s feelings.

In all we lost four horses, four men and two wagons.

Posted by Kristin at 21:24 | Theona’s Journal