Just as dusk fell Benduin Farcryer and his caravan crested the last hill to see the town of Greenest just a few short miles away. But instead of the pleasant, welcoming town you expected, you see columns of black smoke rising from burning buildings, running figures that are little more than dots at this distance, and a dark, winged shape wheeling low over the keep that rises above the center of the town. Greenest is being attacked by a dragon!
Benduin turned to the five guards who’d proven to be the most capable on this long trip and tasked them with helping the townsfolk in any way they could. He made clear he would pay them their hazard bonus (50 gp each) for undertaking the task. He wasn’t worried about keeping his caravan safe until morning given the circumstances. He recommended they seek out his contact at the keep as soon as they are able, Castellan Escobert the Red.
There was so much noise with all the screaming, yipping and yelling, and so many figures running around with raiders chasing townsfolk that it was easy to approach the town. Fires were scattered throughout the town providing both light and shifting shadows. It became quickly apparent the raiders were a mix of kobolds, mercenary bandits & robed humanoids that were more focused on looting the rich town than they were on killing its inhabitants. Still most of the townsfolk were easy prey quickly dispatched and many died very quickly in those early minutes.
It wasn’t long after the party entered the edge of town trying to move stealthily that they turned a corner and literally bumped into a trio of kobolds with an ambush drake. Luckily Callahorn spoke their broken draconic dialect passingly well and was able to understand their commands to “go loot over that way.” The party tried to continue heading in their chosen direction but when the kobolds ordered them away again the party simply dispatched them and dragged the bodies into a nearby home. They received some injuries but nothing that kept them from pressing on.
After another minute or so of traveling in the shadows they came upon an injured man fleeing out of an alleyway. He was limping heavily while holding a very young child and herding two slightly older ones towards the direction of the keep and hopeful safety. A woman bearing a round shield and a broken spear appeared on their heels and turned desperately to face a band of eight kobolds that quickly poured out of the alleyway. The party intervened immediately with Katya proudly displaying Torm’s gauntleted hand on her shield and Crosby casting his magic to drop over half their number into magical slumber. They made quick work of the few remaining standing but not before one was able to slip away into the night. The family praised the gods and thanked the characters, introducing themselves as Linan & Cuth. They begged the party to help escort them to the Keep and the relative safety it provided.
The larger group had a harder time staying hidden as they tried to pass several groups of raiders including more robed foes, kobolds & drakes and they had a couple more battles and picked up about a dozen more townsfolk before making it to the keep. During one battle they heard a robed raider mention the name “Frulam Mondath”, one of the likely leaders of the raid.
As they tended their injuries with a short rest the gates of the keep were drawn closed and more raiders seemed to encircle it. The blue dragon continued to circle the town blasting his lightning breath down at seemingly random intervals every minute or two igniting fires here and there. Before long Governor Tarbaw Nighthill sought them out and introduced himself, thanking them for aiding many of the townsfolk. At his side were Castellan Escobert the Red and before long Ilestra Springriver as well. They discussed and argued what the best way to defend the town was and what there options were.
Escobert mentioned the old tunnel could be used to likely get a small group in & out of the keep but not to evacuate everyone. Tarbaw agreed the keep was the safest place for the night and strongly believed the raiding force would be gone by morning as their kobold allies would be more a liability in the light of day. He felt their best course of action was trying to capture a low-ranking commander and bringing him back to the keep for interrogation to gain some information. The party and town leaders were able to see the likely raid leader safely outside the keep’s arrow range surrounded by a large number of tough raiders. It was about this time that Tarbaw came to a decision and hired the party to help defend the town at a rate of 150 gp each. He also ordered Ilestra to provide them with some of her healing potions. He actually ordered all of them but she refused and he didn’t push her after she turned over three of them.
Talk then turned to the old tunnel and how best to utilize it, but before any decision was made the huge blue dragon swooped in and attacked the defenders of the keep! It made a few passes staying about 25-30’ away but that was more than close enough to devastate the defenders with its lightning breath. Their returning arrow fire did nothing to deter it. The party was able to mount a much more effective defense with Callahorn’s Eldritch Blast, Crosby’s Magic Missile and Katya’s Sacred Flame. Yumiondis helped tend to the fallen defenders injured by the dragon’s attacks. Though they were able to injure it with their magic they were all surprised when it suddenly veered away with a deafening growl and flew off into the night. A quick glance down at Frulam Mondath showed her shaking her head in what appeared to be frustration before she turned away from the keep and disappeared behind some buildings.
To be continued….