On Monday, September 23rd new arrivals in the Vale find some prior arrivals pouring over intelligence gathered by Taren during the week.
- Aronis (WaB): a farmer and rancher who discovered latent magical powers while defending his cattle from wolves. (Level 1 Human Magic-user with Natural Empathy and Riding). He finds beret inside one of the wolves that can produce small animals.
- Drax (RiS): a hunter and woodsman from a small town. (Level 1 Human Druid with Perception and a wolf form. He finds a ring in a tree that seems to emit a pulse of force around him.
The kobold garrison has become more active, launching failed attacks on Citadel, Confluence, the quarry, and Castle Wraecliff, all foiled by warnings from Taren and the swift response of the militia and adventures without so much as a skirmish. The party preparing a counter attack includes
- Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 3 Human Fighter
- Simon (JeA): Level 2 Human Druid
- Jonathan (JaA): Level 1 Human Musician
They have a dozen members of the militia, hunters, who are willing to support them with archery and other work, but would not join a frontal assault. Lonir and Frank also sought out the Nekolyns during the week, getting the help of two of them as translators and advisers in their efforts to deal with the outpost.
They set out after a late breakfast and push on to the outpost hill, meeting with Taren in time for a cold dinner at his blinded camp Northwest of the hill. They are looking for a way to ambush a small group of them, hoping to take prisoners they can use to relay misinformation to the enemy. They know they have been sending out large hunting parties for food, trying to keep safe from attack through numbers.
Though they have had a hunt recently, the party hopes to lure them out by driving a herd of deer near the garrison. On the morning if the 24th, Drax discovers evidence of a herd and in wolf form with his young wolf companion runs out beyond the herd. They attack together, aiming to scare the deer toward the hill. Herding them skillfully, they manage to steer the deer toward and past their ambush position Southeast of the hill.
The militiamen position themselves among the trees atop a hill South of the deer path. Aronis waits beyond that hill, ready to use magic to scare them away from a southern escape. Verdis and Simon are opposite the hill across the intended kill zone to squeeze them against the archers. Drax and his wolf will attempt to slow a retreat the way they came.
The kobolds come in a force of 18 and spot Aronis before he can signal to ambush. He always one with a spell before wounding himself with a hapless sword swing. Withering archer fire together with Simon and Verdis engaging quickly destroys the force, saving Aronis. Simon and Verdis wrestle the last to the ground, binding him and returning to Taren and the Nekolyns in the blind. There Verdis heals the wounded.
They want to lure more forces out of the outpost and to that end the Nekolyns suggest that they could interrogate the prisoner, particularly as to what sections of their caves might be vulnerable to attack from siege weapons, while the militia and party build mock catapults within view and dig pits in front of them. The prisoner escapes as intended and they all take position with watches, expecting an attack during the night.
Before those not in the first watch have even bedded down, a Nekolyn watching the outpost gate raises a cry of “dragon!” They prepare quickly for the dragon to arrive, but it is hard to see with its partial transparency in the darkness. It catches them all by surprise, buffeting the militia with powerful winds and knocking most of them to the ground. Arrows pelt it, passing through its body, and it tears one catapult apart before diving into the ground.
Simon senses that they have some 30 seconds or so until it returns and they position themselves around the remaining catapult. When it emerges, destroying the false catapult, Verdis bathes it in fire from his mask and Aronis hits it with a clumsy swift fireball. Another volley of arrows brings it down in the burning wreckage of the catapult.
With no sign of the rest of the garrison, they collect the dragon head and set of toward the outpost. With a mighty volley of arrows from the militia and others they drop the guards at the door. The garrison is alerted as the party charges in, taking arrows from the darkness. They find the door barred and as they burn, kick, and cut through it, Simon and Drax attempt to shoot down the archers on either side with limited success.
There is a brief pause while Jonathan plays his panpipes of dance compulsion, disabling the archer above, but also disabling many of their own (those of their own who are not disabled cannot use their hands as they are covering their ears). He stops and Verdis breaches. Aronis and Jonathan follow him through and they find themselves facing off against three well-equipped swordsmen supported by several archers.
They attempt to fight (Jonathan brandishing the dragon’s head), but Aronis is badly wounded and Jonathan goes down. Aronis and Simon drag Jonathan back toward the trees while Drax covers their retreat. Verdis enters a blade dance that wounds one of the swordsmen but is wounded badly by attacks and incoming arrows without the protection of his shield. He too withdraws, taking one more arrow on the way to the trees.
Verdis again heals everyone, including Jonathan, and though exhausted they consider one last assault. Jonathan is too drained to go again, but the others charge dodging arrows and covering Aronis who puts a fireball through the open door with his remaining power. He takes a couple arrows and cowers on a covered position as the remaining swordsmen inside sally forth, engaging Verdis. The fight is grinding, but they finally triumph with a single kobold escaping.
They search the facility, paying the militia, Taren, and the Nekolyns with silver and copper found among the bunks. The militia also pick through the weaponry, taking the best back to Citadel to arm future militias. The party for their part keep the gold and few uncut gems found.
Verdis and Jonathan level up.