This week’s DnD adventure we follow Lothrick, Aradellus (Liam), Tiberius (Jesse), Seavarh (Soren) and Alex Leonardus (Henry) as they tail a caravan north from Anitus to Botilo cairn. Atala the brownie insisted to them that there were captured elves in the caravan…
The scrappy young drow, Irre, had worked hard to appease Lolth’s priests below Galentaspar: the proper prayers, the proper offerings. Being an orphaned at a young age when his parents were killed from an orc attack at the entrance of a surface tunnel, he looked to his uncle Zenophius as a moral guide. Zenophius was strict and orderly and always made the proper sacrifices to the priests of Lolth. It was not entirely appropriate for Zeno to recommend Irre to corporal Venoth as a young recruit, but Irre was eager and trained hard.
Irre showed a knack for battle tactics. He could recite movements appropriate for cavern engagements with orcs, how they were different than goblins, and knew how to organize a platoon against a troll attack. His first promotion was shortly after he turned in a fellow trainee planning on murdering the instructor. Dryzt, the captain inspector, handed Irre his venomed dagger during the report, saying, “Irre, you’re faithful of Lolth, that is clear. Say I dropped this dagger under my chair and you needed to return it to me down the hall. You’ll pass by the accused who’s in the room next door.”
And so Irre was promoted to corporal and was sent out on surface patrol. The sun burned him even with the standard issue everdark cloak. Like most drow saddled with patrolling the orcs around Galentaspar, he wrapped black cloth around his face and hands and watched his fingers get calloused and flake in the harsh light and hot winds of the desert plains east of the Sing’Jar mountains. He followed in the steps of a rude drow lieutenant that forced him into orc brawls and into tents of barbarian humans that stunk of trees. The first time he was wounded by a scimitar he begged to be taken below into the tunnels—and was denied. Irre despaired under a dark wool blanket under a cot on the cool ground in a drow pavilion for days to heal. He dwelled on how he was betrayed and dismissed –he was so angry he refused food. Tired of the experience and wretched, he fell into a fevered daze of not quite sleep.
“Corporal Vant!” commanded a familiar voice. Dryzt! He raised his head and the back of his head struck the center beam of the cot. “Ach, by Lolth—he stirs!” Dryzt laughed. Opening his eyes, Irre was amazed that it appeared evening—but it was still so warm out. Too warm. Irre threw off the sheet and rolled out from under the cot to find a breeze. It was still so dark, but so hot! Dryzt spoke, “Corporal, your uncle is here. I will leave you alone with the shadow spell he set for you.”
A new voice, one of family, “Young Irre Vant. You had not idea surface patrol was so arduous. It is not a punishment intended for you alone. I endured it. Dryzt endured it. It is how we test the mettle of the faithful of Lolth in this hot hellpit of broken giant dung and dwarven scrap metal. Do you know that Dryzt actually went AWOL to find the caves during his first corporal’s assignment?” A chuckle. “He’s a fair sight tougher now than he was—but comparing you at your young ages, you’ve already put up with more than he did.”
The ideas washing over Irre were lightening him, inspiring him with some hope that there was future in his path. The dark was beautiful. “Why is it dark as the tunnel here?”
“It is my staff of Enduring Darkness. I earned this as a general last year. They opened a portal from the Abyss to deliver it to me directly. I am quite proud of it. And I can see your skin healing in its shade. You should sit up. Sit up and accept a promotion, sergeant!”
With the reassurance from Zenophius, Sergeant Irre Vant resumed his patrols and had regular visits back in the tunnels below Galentaspar. He kept the half orcs from blatently stealing and the orcs away from the trading caravans between Anitus and Botilo. The sun was hot, the air was dry, and traders supplicated to him for trading permits as he sat on his black horse below his drow umbrella of daydark.
And the joy of the dead call! He heard stories of the sky darkening and the rattle of the bones in the camps: the signs that an elven force was approaching. He lead his troops north from Anitus and found the dead risen from the dirt and drove his forces into the elves, driving them back!
Most of the elves escaped, but a few casualties survived. He and his troops hauled them back to Anitus. Fray Underhoff, the madman of Anitus, would not pay for these as slaves. They were worth too much to sell to Trader Sam…worth way to much as mere food. Take them north to Bolito for sale there! And north they went. But new traders arrived after that battle, and a few of them decided to tag along behind the small caravan.
The second day of the travel north, a huge bolt of fire erupted in front of his oxen! Attack! Swords clashing from the last wagon. A robed figure was casting a spell from atop the old wall alongside the wagon trail. “Stay with the prisoners!” Irre called to the driver of the prison wagon. Irre and his crew jumped off the lead wagon and charged at the pair of attackers. The oxen were scared, best to not be on the wagon at all.
Fighting ensued quickly! Screams from the end of caravan. One of his half-orcs jabbed his spear into a robed figure attacking this wagon—and in a few blows, an attacker was down and the enemy was retreating over the wall. Hot in pursuit, they climbed the short and crumbling stone wall and were attacked! Every time the half orcs hit these elven attackers, they drew blood. This battle would be over soon.
One of them was right in Irre’s sigthts—he fired his crossbow. And again. Why was his missing? More screams. Bad sign—the battle was getting quieter. His men were boisterous and loud when fighting—quiet meant they were losing orcs!
And so they did. These pale devil elves kept charging in for close quarters battle and Irre kept missing with his crossbow. A cloud of daggers appeared around the half orc to his left. This was not magic he knew how to fight! He finally got a bolt into one of the fighters in front of him and then a bright spray of light overwhelmed him. “Lolth, save me!” Irre cried.
…and thus Tiberious, Seavahr, Aredellus and Lotheric defeated a party of ten orcs, half orcs and a very proud drow sergeant.