It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search.)
The moon was high in the sky – not that they could see it. Danaeryzard and Alaria, now Level 2 and official members of the Expeditionary Guard, were on overnight security detail at the Castle Drachen stables… in the pouring rain. Their charge seemed pointless and boring, so they played dice games to pass the time.
“I heard something,” Alaria suddenly whispered.
Dany only heard the rain falling, but trusted Alaria’s instincts when it came to these things. They ventured outside towards the back of the stable, with Alaria creeping ahead to investigate. She stopped short and was surprised to be face to face with two cloaked spies. Through the rain she could see their drawn swords glimmering in the passing moonlight.
In her recent battle experience, Danaeryzard had learned that staying further away from the enemy was safer when it came to performing her magic. But these spies were unfamiliar to her. Who were they, and why were they on the offensive? Dany cast a True Strike cantrip to see if she could learn anything about these foes, but all she was able to determine was that they were not protected by any magic.
Before they could set themselves up for an attack, one of the spies charged at Alaria. She was slashed on the arm! This didn’t stop her from jabbing at the second spy as he attempted to slip past and gain a better vantage point, taking out his crossbow and aiming directly at Dany. Feeling confident, Danaeryzard lifted her crystal orb and channeled her Fire Bolt cantrip through it to send a mote of flames at the second spy. However, the damage was minimal – she has yet to manifest a truly powerful flame with her sorcerer abilities. Or was the rain weakening her power? The second spy smirked at Dany, patting down the remaining flames on his cloak. She noticed him looking over her shoulder, past her, at something behind her. Whirling around, Dany saw two more spies silently approaching from the south and west! They were now surrounded by four spies. Who were they? Why were they attacking?
One by one, the third and fourth spies shot their crossbow at Dany. She was in the middle of the road, a sitting duck… there was no chance to escape. The arrows pierced through her and she fell to the ground, blacking out once again.
Alaria, now in a bit of a panic after seeing her partner get skewered, darted away from the oncoming attackers. The rain was falling heavier now. From the east, the third spy was moving toward her… but then something happens. He comically stepped on a rake and it hit him directly in the face. The spy fell down instantly, howling in pain. The other three spies began to laugh at their comrade. A hood falls back from one of the spy’s cloaks and an Expeditionary Guard uniform could be seen, although obscured, underneath.
“Can’t take a joke??” one of the spies asked Alaria, laughing.
“You’ve practically killed my partner! Who are you anyway?” She spat back at them.
The remaining spies pull back their hoods and reveal that they all are part of the Expeditionary Guard. This was apparently their idea of a practical joke, some ‘friendly’ hazing. Alaria was furious and insisted that they revive Dany at once. The veteran guards obliged and apologized; perhaps they went a little too far with their antics. Alaria and Danaeryzard tried to laugh it off, but Dany did notice Alaria stealing a pocket watch out of one of the veteran’s cloaks as they were leaving. Apparently hazing was a normal thing in the Expeditionary Guard. All they could do was hope that this was the only time they would be antagonized by their fellow guards. Alaria began to wonder if they should defect and find Ezra, maybe join up with the Midnight Ring instead…
Back in the barracks not long after, the duo is visited by the beautiful yet strangely intimidating Esmeralda, a high ranking officer in the EG. She invites them to come and speak with her about something important. They followed her to the mess hall of the barracks, and Kolari was there waiting for them. A new mission was at hand!
Intel had reached the castle regarding the Sun Wizard. The Castle Drachen spies had learned that the protective crystals that the Sun Wizard had used in the Desert Cave battle came from Lake Constant, located at Water’s Edge. They were tasked with journeying to Water’s Edge and speaking to an informant named She’i. Kolari explained that She’i is a very protective and secretive type, and they would need to use a particular passphrase to get any information. When She’i asks, “What was the weather like yesterday?” they were to respond, “It was cloudy, until it wasn’t.”
The mission: Learn about the crystals. Find the Sun Wizard and defeat him. Simple right?
Luckily, Quartermaster Thamdid showed up just then, offering special new items for Dany and Alaria: a Circlet of Blasting and a Wind Fan, respectively. But he warns them that these magical items have a traceable aura. Powerful enemies such as the Sun Wizard will be able to detect such things, and he implored them to use these items with care. The more magical items they gather, the stronger this aura will be, and it could put them in danger. The two nodded and carefully placed their new magical items, along with some more food rations, into their packs and prepared for the three day journey to Water’s Edge.
Alaria was given the map and proved to not be very good at reading it – the partners lost their way at the start, and had few hours of delay getting started. But the following days were sunny and there was a sense of progress in the air. They breakfasted in the Forest Wilderness under the trees. As they packed up their belongings and prepared to get back on the road, they heard a sniffing sound. Dany and Alaria exchanged confused glances, and silently readied themselves to investigate.
Before they even took a step, a strange canine appeared out of nowhere a few yards directly in front of them! It took a step, sniffed a bush, and disappeared. Danaeryzard opened her mouth, about to ask what was that – when it appeared again, in a different location, a few yards further away. Alaria could sense that this animal did not pose a direct threat, and they decided to follow it. They approached it quietly, and as they got closer Dany could clearly see this canine, which had a sloping, pointed head and mean eyes. She instantly remembered that she had seen this species before, back in the markets of her Draconian village. It was a Blink Dog. But was it alone?
Alaria and Dany quietly pursued the Blink Dog deeper into the Forest Wilderness. That was when they saw who was luring them in. Two hairy, doglike Gnolls were snarling and hoisting up crossbows in the duo’s direction.
Danaeryzard felt a burning anger rise within her. She should have said something when she remembered about the Blink Dog. While not violent, those were mean dogs and usually had evil masters. If Dany had mentioned this, maybe they wouldn’t have walked right into this trap… she felt angry and stepped forward, breathing in and feeling the air heat and steam within her body. Danaeryzard leaned back and harshly exhaled a fiery blast of Dragon Breath at the Gnolls. They screamed in pain and surprise. One of them was badly burnt.
Alaria expertly shot a bolt at the burned Gnoll with her crossbow, and he began to stagger. The other Gnoll was stunned by this onslaught and missed his attack. The Gnolls realized that their little plan had backfired – they were clearly overpowered by Danaeryzard and Alaria!
Seeing an opening, Danaeryzard conjured up a Magic Missile spell. Three bolts of magical energy burst from her crystal orb and hit the gnarly Gnolls. The burned Gnoll dropped to the ground and Alaria finished him off with an arrow. In final pursuit, Dany used what was starting to become her favorite cantrip – Fire Bolt – and hurled flames at the remaining Gnoll. After another pro crossbow shot from Alaria, the fleeing Gnoll fell face down and did not rise again.
The duo proceeded on, though not before Alaria did her signature move – steal anything of worth that the corpses were carrying. Danaeryzard simply laughed. The little Tiefling thief was consistent, that was certain!
The next day, Dany and Alaria finally stepped out from the woods and into a rocky clearing. Up ahead they could see a coastal fishing village. They climbed over the rocks, towards the huts and beach houses. It was time to get some information! They needed to find She’i. Alaria checked her map and saw that Kolari had marked She’i’s location. It was right on the coast, just north of a huge structure that looked important. Boats were docked up along side this large building on the coast, and fishing rods leaned along the exterior walls.
However, She’i had a much more humble home. It looked more like a workshop than a residence. Partially built boats lay on the sand outside. They saw fire coming from the chimney and exchanged nods. She’i must be home. Alaria and Dany cautiously approached the house and knocked on the door. A voice from inside called out and asked who was there.
“Expeditionary Guard. We were sent here on official castle business,” Alaria replied, sounding official. There was a sound of shuffling inside, and the voice moved audibly closer to the door.
“Keep your voice down! ……What was the the weather like yesterday?”
Danaeryzard replied instantly, “It was cloudy, until it wasn’t.”
There was a pause. Dany looked nervously at Alaria. Maybe she said it wrong? A moment later, the door swung open and She’i stood before them, ushering them inside. The house is filled with dusty tools and half finished projects. In the dim light from the hearth they can see that She’i is very beautiful, and seemed to be staring at Alaria with interest. She’i apologized for the secrecy; she does not want to be known in the village as an informant. Looking thoughtfully at Dany and Alaria, she admitted that she was expecting the castle to send human guards. Dany felt a twinge of hurt and thought, Why did people have to be so abrasive towards Dragonborn and Tiefling races? They bleed and feel pain just like everyone else. What did it matter if they were human or not?
She’i began to explain what she knew: that the crystals that had been used by the Sun Wizard were harvested locally from Lake Constant. She’i knew of some fishermen who would meet with outsiders late at night; she had seen them on the beach. These crystals were extremely valuable because they could harness magical energy.
Dany and Alaria pressed She’i for more information. She revealed that the head of the Fishing Guild was the one who was selling the crystals to the outsiders. Presumably one of them was the Sun Wizard, or one of his minions. The head of the guild was named Cletus, and he was usually found at the guild during the day. She’i pointed out the window to the large building that the duo had passed on their way to her home. Of course! The large building was the Fishing Guild.
They thanked She’i for the information and Alaria did some awkward flirting as they left. Dany rolled her eyes but secretly she was jealous. Nobody ever flirted with her… was it the scales, or the smoky breath? She could only wonder.
Alaria and Dany walked together towards the Fishing Guild, ready to confront Cletus.
Thanks for reading the latest chapter of the Danaeryzard and Alaria saga! I hope you enjoy these these blog entries, because DnD is super fun to play and super fun to recap and share with all of you! I’ve been trying to record a screen capture of our sessions (we play on Google Hangouts and Roll20) but I keep having technical issues. But if I can get it to work some day, is that something that you guys would want to watch?? Let me know in the comments! 😛