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, check out the entire saga in order by reading the chapters organized on the D&D tab of this site!)
“We have to decide what to do. Time is running out.”
Danaeryzard and Alaria were discussing their next move, back in their room at the Barracks. They had just endured a grueling training session. Dany had been targeted with attacks so intensely that she blacked out. Why did Esmeralda force them into such a difficult, outnumbered situation? Was this part of their punishment? They couldn’t be sure, but both Dany and Alaria felt that they could no longer trust the Expeditionary Guard. There was also the matter of the note that Uncle Biro had sent Alaria… they were to meet him on the first of the coming month. However, Esmeralda had forbidden the partners from leaving the castle as part of their punishment.
They resolved that it was time to abandon the Expeditionary Guard.
After packing up their belongings, they planned to wait until dark and scale the eastern wall. Alaria had often been stationed there, back when they were in good standing with the castle. She knew where the guards were watching and when they changed their shifts, so she was able to guide Dany and herself out of the castle into the dark of night without issue. They were now in the Drachen City outskirts, without much of a plan.
“We need to head to Eklatar, that’s where Uncle Biro is supposedly staying. Let’s find a stable with some horses… this will be a long journey,” Alaria whispered. She whistled a strange tune and suddenly her hawk Ragnar cawed from the distance. After a moment, he swooped down to Alaria, landing to perch on her shoulder.
They wandered the deserted streets until they found a path leading away from the city, towards a farm house and a barn. From a distance they could see that the barn had a simple padlock on the doors, but there was also a small guard house with a night guard waiting inside. They would have to distract the guard somehow before Alaria could get close enough to pick the lock.
Alaria whispered to Ragnar, and stroked his feathers before he suddenly jumped off her shoulder. Ragnar flew to the side of the barn near the guard house, and began to cause a commotion by knocking over buckets and bails of hay. He cawed and flapped his wings wildly. Dany and Alaria watched as the guard got up from his post to check on the noise.
With the guard distracted, the duo ran to the locked barn door. Dany stood watch as Alaria used her lock-picking skills to easily open the padlock. They were relieved to see several horses sleeping in stables along the wall. Without a moment to waste, Dany and Alaria each grabbed the reigns of the two horses closest to the door. The horses were friendly and cooperative, but they could hear the guard coming back around to the front of the barn.
Alaria’s horse had a saddle resting nearby, but Dany had no time to search for one for her horse. They mounted their new horses just as the guard appeared in the doorway.
“Oi! What do you two think you’re doing??” The guard had his hand on his hilt and tried to block their exit, but Dany and Alaria were already on their horses and in position to leave. Exchanging nervous glances, they nodded at each other to just go for it. The guard took a swipe at Alaria with his sword as they pushed him out of the way, but he missed and the partners were officially on their way to Eklatar!
Or so they thought. It was after midnight and very dark in the fields, and they ended up getting lost. They couldn’t find their bearings so they decided to make camp for the night instead.
“I don’t know about you, but I feel good about this. I feel stronger since that training session, even though I blacked out… I feel like I’m ready to try some new spells that I had studied,” Dany said as she laid down on the ground, resting her head on a rock.
“I know what you mean,” Alaria replied as she too tried to get comfortable. “I feel stronger. And I might try to perform a spell or two myself! This Tiefling knows a few magic tricks!” They laughed as they looked up at the stars.
“I think we made the right decision by leaving the castle.”
The next morning, they woke up to see the sun rising well into the morning sky. In the daylight they would have a much easier time finding the right direction. There was a foothill half a mile away, so they walked their horses up the hill and used the higher vantage point to see Castle Drachen off in the distance. Based on where the castle was located, they were able to determine which direction to take to get to Eklatar. While up on the hill, they ate their morning rations and gave apples to their horses. Dany named her horse Naris, and Alaria named hers Thoul.
They rode west all day, trying to make up for the time they wasted wandering around in the darkness the night before. The fields, which during the day had been fairly busy with traveling merchants and nobles in carriages, were now becoming deserted as the sun began to set. The angle of the sun was starting to blind their eyes when Ragnar suddenly turned his head and cawed strangely before flying off into the trees. Dany and Alaria looked over their shoulders and saw a shadow approaching quickly from behind. They were being pursued! Was it the castle guards trying to bring them back?
No – it was something worse! Horseback attackers wearing the crest of the Sun Wizard were closing in on Dany and Alaria. There was a Sun Wizard soldier in full armor brandishing a large sword, and two Sun Wizard archers readying their giant longbows in the duo’s direction. It was a horseback ambush!
The armored Sun Wizard soldier was closest to Dany and she felt a spark of inspiration. Clutching onto her crystal orb, she rode up next to the soldier and channeled an electric power with the Shocking Grasp cantrip. Dany reached out her electrified claw and tapped the metal armor of the Sun Wizard soldier and watched as he began to shudder and spasm from the paralyzing attack; his armor was weak to electricity. But he was strong and lucky because he did not fall off his horse.
An archer aimed her longbow at Alaria, and she could hear the woosh of the arrow as it just missed her head. Alaria turned and aimed her crossbow in retaliation, but she also missed her shot. They had never trained for a horseback battle before, and Alaria realized how much more difficult it was to hit a target in this situation!
The Sun Wizard soldier, trying to recover from the electric attack, made a swipe at Dany with his sword but he missed as well. However, the second archer taking aim at Dany’s back did not miss. In fact, she hit Dany with two arrows in one attack and the Dragonborn howled out in pain. Dany was seeing red as she turned and shot a Firebolt cantrip in a bolt of flame that charred both the archer and her horse for a moment, but they were still in pursuit.
The un-burnt archer took a second shot at Alaria and landed two arrows into her arm. These double longbow attacks were causing some serious damage! Dany was in dismay that these archers were able to shoot two bolts at a time, and while she was distracted, the Sun Wizard soldier was able to do a sword attack. Wanting to self-preserve, Dany cast a Shield spell and created an invisible force-field and the soldier’s sword merely bounced off and caused no damage. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the burned archer from shooting Dany twice again. Dany responded with another Firebolt. How much longer could they endure this?
The archer targeting Alaria missed her shot and Alaria landed her retaliation shot with her crossbow. The arrows continued to fly with a few more misses and the electrocuted soldier missed his swipe at Dany. He attempted to move away from Dany so she used the open opportunity to stab him with a dagger. More of the archers’ flying arrows were deterred by the Shield spell but Dany was starting to worry what would happen if they couldn’t defeat these Sun Wizard minions. She was going to have to do something more drastic.
Dany remembered that she knew a spell that never misses, and has multiple bolts of attack – Magic Missile! Targeting the weakened and burnt archer, as well as the soldier, Dany used her orb to create three bolts of power that rained down on the attackers, and they both slumped over on their horses, which then dropped out of the pursuit.
They were down to one last archer on horseback. She targeted Dany but missed her shot. Alaria was able to hit the archer with her crossbow, but Dany missed when she tried to do the Shocking Grasp cantrip. The archer and Alaria exchanged arrows once again and everyone was starting to show signs of pain and low health. In an effort to end the battle quickly, Dany cast another Magic Missile, with all three bolts aimed at the remaining archer. Finally, the battle was over and Dany and Alaria had barely held on. The sun was almost set and they decided they should make camp and rest for the night. They needed to regain their strength.
In the morning, Alaria was awoken first by the sound of Ragnar cawing and pecking at her. She gasped when she saw a figure sitting at their campsite, stirring the remains of the fire. Alaria shook Dany awake and they sat up with their hands ready to grasp their weapons resting next to them.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?” Dany and Alaria demanded.
The figure slowly turned to face them. He was wearing a mask that sent a shiver down Dany’s spine: it was the mask of the Red Dragon cult. Dany was only vaguely familiar with the Red Dragon, since her own clan were descendants of the Gold Dragon, but all of the Dragon religions made her feel uncomfortable. She knew what went on in these Dragon Monasteries, and what kind of atrocities might occur in the name of “religious rites” at their temples.
However, this monk seemed pretty harmless. He was silent and did not draw his weapon. Instead, he merely gestured that he was warming his hands over the fire.
“Do you need anything from us?” Alaria asked with hesitation.
For a second, it seemed that the monk was shuddering or shivering. But then it was clear that he was holding back giggles, because suddenly he burst out in a fit of laughter. The monk removed his mask to reveal that he was actually Hendricks in disguise!
“Well well well look who I found here in the forest!” Hendricks continued to laugh.
“I liked you better when you were silent,” Alaria snapped back at him.
“I thought the two of you were under house arrest…” Hendricks said, but his thought trailed off. “No matter. I need a favor from you both.”
“A favor? Why should we trust you? How do I know you won’t send a message back to the Princess at the castle, give them our whereabouts and send me right back to the Dungeons?” Dany barked at Hendricks.
“Relax, relax. I’m not going to contact the castle. I need your help to access an artifact in an ancient temple. I’ll even give you some magical items as payment!” Hendricks showed the duo a Pearl of Power and an Immovable Rod that he had in a satchel. These were rare items, by no doubt, but Dany and Alaria were still reluctant to help Hendricks. After how he had treated Dany when she was imprisoned, she was feeling very hostile.
“Listen, I get it. Why should you trust me? But the truth is, I can’t do this alone. I need you two. That’s why I won’t contact the castle. That’s why I’m offering these magical items to you as payment. The Red Dragon Monastery is not very far from here, it’s about 30 miles to the west,” Hendricks said, trying to be as charming as he could.
“It is along the way to Eklatar,” Alaria whispered to Dany. “We might as well help him and get these rare items.” Dany sighed and nodded. What choice did they have? If they refused, what would stop Hendricks from telling the Princess that he saw them?
“Well, we’re heading that way anyway,” Alaria said to Hendricks. “We will proceed together and we can decide when we reach the temple.”
They readied their horses and continued onward to the Red Dragon Monastery. But Dany could not shake the feeling that something bad might happen there.
And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂