Journal Entry: War of the Lance
Entry Date: 1/5/2002
Day 15 - November 24, 351AC
It has been three days since the dragon was destroyed and the party has made there way from the dead city of Xak Tsaroth. Standing on the Sageway, gazing west from the Forsaken Mountains, an ominous sign rises before them, smoke, climbing from beyond the horizon, from the vallenwood forests of home.
For once, all were in agreement. Though it was late and food was short, they would push on for home. They traveled until darkness claimed the path and camped for an uneasy night, afraid of what the dawn would bring.
Day 16 - November 25, 351AC
They marched on through the day. Signs of the dragonarmy's passage crossed the plains, grass trampled by the passage of thousands and ruts dug by wagons. More ominous were the long scars of burned grass and gutted buildings. Tanis, examining the tracks, found many of them to be of a different sort, still draconian, but of a different shape than those encountered before.
As afternoon began to head into evening, they came to Que-Kiri. They had hoped to get supplies here, but all hope of that faded as the smashed and burned town came into view. Not a building was left standing. Bodies lay blackened and burned in the streets. Raistlin, believing himself beyond such concerns, was sickened and so taken aback by the unexpected carnage that he was unable to even speak for a moment.
A moan drew their attention, and they leapt to find its source, discovering an old man dieing in the wreckage. Caramon and Riverwind moved to lift the timbers which trapped the man. As Caramon leaned near, the old man clutched his tunic, dragging him near and ranted. He told how the dragons came, burning and destroying. How the warriors fought, but died. Some fled, but they were cut down by the smaller demons. He survived because he hid, but his mind was gone and he died in Caramon's arms.
They had little time to contemplate his words. Draconians emerged from the smoke, charging to attack the heroes. These were of a different sort, more orange than the others. They licked their swords which dripped with some foul fluid. Sturm shouted "Just how many types of these things are there?" Tanis warned "Careful when you kill them, we don't know what will happen!"
Six kapak draconians charged the heroes. Riverwind, Flint, Caramon and Sturm formed a line to block the street. Tas ran out of sight, hoping to flank the creatures. Tanis fired his bow, Goldmoon raised her voice in a battle hymn. Raistlin stepped forword, fire burning in his eyes. He chanted words of magic and a bolt of lightning leapt from his finger tips into the draconian ranks.
Few could believe the power the young mage had gained, as he coughed and pulled back. The results though were startling as well. One draconian took the full brunt of the attack, by kept coming. Another managed to avoid most of the blast. Yet a third was unaffected, the magic passing over him harmlessly.
The battle was joined, the kapak and Innfellow lines colliding in the middle of the street. Riverwind was wounded, not seriously, but the kapak poison flowed into him, freezing his muscles. Flint stepped in to block the hole in the line, but he too was hit and frozen.
Caramon got the first kill, hacking at one with his sword. As it dropped, Caramon immediately drew back. The creature dissolved into a pool of steaming acid.
Tasslehoff took aim at a draconian of his own, hitting it with a tirade of insults. The creature was infuriated. It broke away from Sturm and charged between Sturm and Caramon. They cut it down.
Raistlin's spells lashed the creatures while Sturm killed two with the Brightblade. One creature got past the warriors, attacking the mage, but it too was cut down. Caramon cut down the last of the draconians and the battlefield became quiet.
Tasslehoff was very interested in Riverwind's cloak which could make him invisible. He asked the paralyzed Plainsman if he minded Tas taking it. Riverwind did not object, so Tas took about scaling the 6'7" giant to get the cloak. Tanis stopped the attempt, disregarding Tas' objections that Riverwind didn't mind.
Raistlin searched the town, seeking survivors while Goldmoon healed those who needed it. Tanis debated what to do next. He thought of heading for Qualinesti. The elves might be able to defend against these armies. Surely Solace could not. Flint objected to this. Solace was his home and he was going there to help, and die if need be. The others all agreed and it was settled. As Solace was only a few hours away, they would march into the night.
Raistlin found only one survivor, a puppy. It was huddled next to the body of a boy, probably the pup's master. Raistlin fed the dog and took it as his own, naming it Spot. They buried the boy and the old man before setting out on the road again. With the fall of night, the rain began to fall.
It was a dreary and wet party which came through the pass to see the enslaved village of Solace. The trees were gone, chopped down and burned. The town was a shambles with most of the buildings destroyed. Draconian troops patrolled the streets, drinking and bullying.
Tas was sent in first, wearing Riverwind's cloak. He discovered the Inn was still standing, albeit somewhat damaged and now on the ground. He found the patrols disorganized and random. He returned to report.
It was decided to go to the Inn, traveling in pairs to avoid drawing attention to their large group. Caramon and Raistlin went first, pretending to be mercenaries in the dragonarmies. As they passed a patrol, one of the draconians deliberately bumped Raistlin, telling "human scum" to watch where he was going. The two let the draconian pass.
They entered the nearly abandoned inn. Three old men sat sullenly at a table to the side. Near the door, a cloaked figure watched the room, accepting a drink from Tika. Tika saw them and her face lit up. She welcomed them to the inn as strangers, offering to show them to a table. As she got them in, she began asking questions, "Where are the others? What happened?" She left to get them drinks and food.
Soon, Goldmoon and Riverwind arrived. They move to sit with the twins. Tika soon returned and Tanis and Tas, pretending to be the half-elf's son, arrived. They sat apart, but nearby. Finally, Sturm and Flint came in, joining Tanis.
Tika served them and sat with them, asking about their adventure and explaining how she wanted to leave the town, maybe going with the party. The conversation was cut short by the arrival of five kapaks demanding service.
The elf had noticed the party. He was surprised to recognize Flint and Tanis amongst them. At the same time, the party was eyeing the cloaked figure with suspicion. He rose and moved toward the party, but as he passed the draconians, one of them tripped him. He was revealed, Giulthanas, elven prince of Qualinesti. The draconians surrounded him, kicking him and calling him names. The party watched, frozen, as Tika lifted her heavy skillet and brought crashing down on a draconian head "No More!!"
The battle was joined. The Innfellows leapt into the fray, drawing swords. Riverwind ran to the doors, shouting to Tika to close them. Goldmoon called on Mishakal and silenced the room with a spell. Caramon, Tanis, and Sturm engaged the creatures in melee while Raistlin, standing outside the circle of silence, unleashed his lightning again.
Outside, a crack of thunder and a blazing light from the windows drew the attention of Fewmaster Toede and his troops to the Inn. He ordered the building surrounded.
Tanis leapt upon a table, swinging his sword as Tas jumped up as well, flaying about with his Hoopak. Flint, unable to maneuver through the crowded room, hurled his axe the length of the bar, striking an opponent.
Soon, all the draconians were dead, and thoughts of escape being considered. Gilthanas went to Flint and grasped the old dwarf's hand. Flin t was shocked to recognize the elf and tried to get Tanis' attention. Unfortunately, the silence was still up and communication was difficult.
The door, shut and barred by Tika was kicked in and a fat hobgoblin stood in the doorway flanked by eight draconians. He ordered the party to lay down their weapons and surrender, but his words were lost to silence.
Raistlin and Tanis both were prepared to attack, but Riverwind and Gilthanas noticed that the building was surrounded by torches and Toede backed by dozens of draconians beyond the doorway. They urged cooperation. Some thought was made of defending the door, but the torches dissuaded that idea as the Inn would simply be burned around them.
Finally the spell faded and Toede could talk. He demanded an immediate surrender and ordered the party to lay down their weapons. Raistlin and Tanis hesitated, but Toede threatened to kill Tika if they did not comply. Finally the heroes tossed their weapons into a pile. Raistlin cast a spell and a bright light flashed from the weapons. He warned that if anything was stolen, the thief would be cursed with a terrible flesh eating disease. Toede snarled and began ordering the party out of the inn one at a time. In turn, their possessions were taken. Toede ordered the kender searched "from his toenails to the tip of his tassle." As Raistlin was taken out, he swore to Toede that he would see to it the hobgoblin died a horrible death. Toede sneered at the mage, telling him that it was Verminaard who would be dispensing suffering and death in the slave mines of Pax Tharkas.
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