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Episode 1: Arrival at Greenest

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
With Linan and Cole to assist, Halfdan was able to maneuver the warforged out of the open and into the cluster of overgrowth that was encroaching on the edge of town. Shadowed by trees and the nearby building, and with plenty of bushes and shrubs, it was fairly well concealed.

"Alright, let's check on the others," Linan said as she wiped the sweat from her brow.

__

Inside the house they would find the elderly couple already seeing to Cuth's injury. His pant leg had been cut open so they could bind the deep gash in his calf - no doubt inflicted by one of the kobold's blades. He looked pale from the ordeal and blood-loss, but coherent and alert. A middle aged woman was currently off to the side soothing the children while their father was being seen to. Another man sat nearby, but he seemed to be staring off into the distance.

"Will you be able to walk?" Linan asked as she quickly joined Cuth to see to the work the older couple had done. "One of the kobold's escaped, we can't stay here." Concern was etched into her eyes, but she didn't appear to let it distract her from the situation at hand.

The woman with the children looked up in alarm at Linan's words. "We can't leave," she said. "Those things out there... You know Caleb's blind."

Off to the side the man sitting in the chair let out a chortled snort, "Don't go talking about me like I'm not here. If we need to go, we need to go," he replied. "Better than sitting here waiting for them to come back and find us here."
 

Dashmiel

Bearly In Charge
Administrator
Nexus GM
Halfdan thanked Linan and Cole for their help as they settled their burden down. He followed Linan and the others into the house. He took in the exchange quickly, assessing the situation. He didn't like that there could be two people who would need even more extra care as they sought the keep. He supposed that the blindness of the one named Caleb didn't necessarily imply a problem. Halfdan had known his share of blind monks in the monastery. One of them was even a Master of his own martial style. Still, the range between a blind Taldashain monk and a blind peasant encompassed a wide gulf. Alas, that couldn't be helped. Unlike Cuth's predicament.

Halfdan moved up to the man being tended to, gently moving the elderly couple aside. "I think we might have ten minutes to gather our belongings and have a brief planning session," he said to Linan as he set his halberd against the wall. Halfdan moved closer to Cuth, removing a gauntlet as he did so. "That should be plenty of time for Cuth to be in running shape, I reckon. I'll help speed things along."

Halfdan's brow furrowed briefly in concentration as he placed a bare hand a few inches in the air above Cuth's wounds. A sudden flash of light burst forth from his palm. It wasn't a blinding white-gold sunburst however. It was instead a sullen grey that seemed to thrum as bolts of crimson-black shot through within.

Within a second, Halfdan felt the still unfamiliar feeling of...something beginning to leave him. It was as if he had reached into a wine skin in his mind filled with drops of life and began to tip them onto the wound. As he watched first one, then two drops fall the wound knitted itself considerably. It still had the raw look of torn skin, but it was no longer an open wound bleeding the man's lifeblood out. "It would be a sight more comfortable for you if I had thought to gather healing herbs while foraging for spices for the caravan's stew pot," he said to Cuth calmly as the light dissipated. Halfdan couldn't say he felt the sense of beatific wonder some of the other Paladins he'd talked to mentioned followed the lay on hands. He did however, felt a bit more at peace. Like he was living up to something.

Halfdan grabbed the bandages and began to re-bind Cuth's wound as he questioned Linan; "So who are you? And what's waiting at the keep you mentioned earlier?"
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
Cuth's strained face relaxed as Halfdan did his work. "My thanks," he said as Halfdan began re-binding the wound.

"My name is Linan," the woman from outside answered. "When the dragon arrived, Governor Nighthill evacuated the townspeople to the keep. But then mercenaries and kobolds started attacking stragglers. We got separated when Cuth was injured," she explained. "The Governor, the guard, and most of the townspeople will be at the keep."
 

Script

Adorable Homewrecker
Benefactor
"Neat trick," Theo remarked from peering over Halfdan's shoulder. Good to know I'm not the only one who can do a little patching up if things get dicey.

Once the paladin had stepped back from the wounded man, Theo paced over to lean against the wall, listening to the exchange between them. At Linan's explanation, he nodded. "Personally I'd feel a lot better planning how to deal with a dragon and a hodgepodge of raiders from behind the safety of some big stone walls, than out here with a bit of straw between me and a fiery death from above."

"Lightnin', actually."

"Huh?" Theo glanced over at Cole, who seemed to have spoken before thinking, and now looked a little embarrassed to have corrected him.

"Oh, uh... it's a blue dragon, y'see, so it breathes lightnin' instead of fire," he mumbled. "But that's probably not all that important for... what y' said."

Theo snorted. "Alright, a lightningy death from above. My point stands. I'm on board with the keep plan. Better to risk the trip than wait for the bastards to come to you here."

Cole nodded earnestly. "I'm sure with these guys' help we can keep everyone safe!"
 

Dashmiel

Bearly In Charge
Administrator
Nexus GM
Halfdan waved away Theo's compliment as he took in Linan's words. If everyone had gathered in the keep, his contact was most likely in there. "I concede the point Theo here," Halfdan said. "A lightingy death most definitely does not appeal." Halfdan took a moment to consider before continuing. "To the keep then," he said resolutely. "Are we all set to go? No priceless heirlooms that need fetching?" Halfdan asked to the room at large.
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
It wasn't long after that the group was on their way, this time headed pointedly south. Though hurried, their earlier conversation as they prepared to set out had brought to light the presence of a stream that would bring them up along the southwest side of the keep and not far from the main gates. Their new route would take them through a few busier areas of town, but skirt the town square had they taken a more direct route.

Keeping to the shadows, and moving off road as needed to remain unseen, the group was able to traverse the town with an ease that came with having a few of the locals in tow to point out directions or opportune hiding spots that Halfdan and Theo may otherwise have not known existed. This, coupled with the confidence gained from having an armed warrior as escort, kept the group moving swiftly and with purpose.

The streambed they would find to be shallow with a slow moving current, but in the dark their movement would be hindered by the risk of slipping upon rocks, or tripping over debris that could not be easily seen in the moonlight. Fortunately the banks of the streambed where well overgrown with reeds and cattails that provided ample cover for the group to take their time in reaching their destination.

"We're almost there," Linan said quietly before gesturing up ahead. "The embankment there will get us the closest to the keep entrance. But between there and the keep it's open ground. Probably about a hundred yards of no cover."
 
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Script

Adorable Homewrecker
Benefactor
"Won't do us much good if they're keeping bows trained on the gates," Theo murmured in reply. "But if we're lucky, your guards will've been able to keep that ground clear by shooting from the walls. One world where we waltz in without a worry, another where we walk straight into a killing zone. Not a fan of that kind of uncertainty myself."

Cole frowned. "We're this close now, we ain't got much choice, have we?"

Theo hummed thoughtfully. "Maybe not. Front door isn't always the only way into a fort. How 'bout this - you all lie low here for a few minutes while I slip ahead and take a peek at the entrance. If the coast is clear, we're fine and dandy. If not, I'll search around for any other ways we might get in. Sound good?"

"Sounds awful risky for you, don't it?" Cole remarked. "If you get caught on your own, you're a goner for sure. Shouldn't someone go with you?"

"Only if you want me to get caught," Theo flashed a grin. "No offense, clanky, but I'll be safer alone. Can't get me if they can't spot me, after all."
 

Dashmiel

Bearly In Charge
Administrator
Nexus GM
Halfdan listened thoughtfully to Theo's analysis, nodding along. "He's right," Halfdan said to Cole. "If it was just us fighters I might have chanced the frontal approach. But we've got civilians with us." Halfdan paused to survey the group arrayed around him. Far too many to protect efficiently, and they couldn't be left unattended lest a random looting band spotted them. "I've seen him move for a few weeks now. He's our best choice," Halfdan said as he turned to Theo.

"I'll give you ten minutes," Halfdan said solemnly. "If you haven't returned or signaled I'll have to double back with the group and find a safe place indoors to leave them. Then and only then will I come find you and hope to find you alive to assist. We've made it this far and you ran out of that caravan with some reluctance if I recall, so I owe you that much."
 

Script

Adorable Homewrecker
Benefactor
"Aw shucks, rearguard, I didn't know you cared," Theo replied with a teasing wink. "I'll be back in no time, don't you worry. Don't get dropped on by a dragon while I'm gone!"

With a final wave of his hand, Theo didn't wait for any more discussion before starting forwards toward the bank of the river Linan had indicated previously. As he drew closer, he ducked down, staying in the cover of the reeds and murmuring a short prayer to whoever might be listening that he didn't get spotted.

Once he'd ascended to the edge of the bank, he scanned for any dangers that lay between them and the keep.
 
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