The town of Lullin breaks out in riots because of the party’s discoveries, and the group follows a new lead.
Cast of Characters
Wood Elf Barbarian – Red
Kenku Cleric (Death) – new DM candidate
Andelle (Ann for short)
Wood Elf Druid – new player convinced to try D&D by her wargamer sister and brother-in-law
Dragonborn Fighter/Bard – older teen girl
Tabaxi Druid – lady with a baby
Lizardfolk Monk – guy married to Mistress Mau’s player
Sweeping to the side and leaning in, Del swatted Tyrone across the thigh before leaping back, throwing one arm out wide and sucking in her gut to avoid the returning swipe. The leather tied across the sharp edges of both their rapiers ground together mercilessly as Del parried the next blow. As she sidestepped to push in again, Tyrone suddenly yelped, his tail sweeping up as he spun about after a shadow moving around him. It came in towards Del, but as furred paws reached to pull down her leather belt, Del grabbed the arms and spun the shadow away. As Mau twirled, a yowl of displeasure escaping her, Tyrone froze, his eyes trained out on something in the town and his finger pointing toward it.
“It is a parade!” Del exclaimed, taking off at a run.
“It’s not a parade!” Tyrone protested, grabbing onto Del’s cloak to stop her but quickly being swept up, his feet trailing in the dirt as the Elf kept running. “Please, let’s not go barreling in!”
“I do not know what kind of parades you have!” Del laughed as she pulled Tyrone up onto his feet mid-stride. The torches, wandering through the town toward the outskirts, slowly grew larger as Del dragged Tyrone toward them, and their orange light cast strange dancing shadows across the little wooden huts. Once Del could see the large crowd amongst which the torches were scattered, those shadows morphed from marching bodies to ropes, at the end of which bodies limply swung.
Del skidded to a stop, eyes locked on the faces of the men that had been helping the bishop load the crates. “What happened?” she whispered in horror, backing up a few steps and bumping into Tyrone.
“They were trafficking children!” A voice shouted back at her. “They knew what they were doing! And… and the dockhands! They must have known too!”
“Get the dockhands!” Another voice took up the chant, the mob turning from turning he swaying corpses and trudging back into town.
“We need to warn them!” Tyrone exclaimed, grabbing Del’s wrist and tanking off at a sprint to head off the mob. With the peasant’s slow trudging, it was not a problem for them to outrun the mob, and as they neared the docks, they were greeted by a line of guards with pikes braced.
“They’re coming for the dockhands!” Tyrone shouted, the rest of the group suddenly appearing from within the alleys and skidding to a stop. “The mob is coming for the dockhands!”
“We are aware,” one of the guards growled. “That’s hey we’re here.”
“We can help you,” Tyrone offered.
“We don’t need or want your help,” the guard snarled. “We know your reputation. You’re what caused all of this. It’s best you just go back to your tavern and stay there.”
“This is the perfect time!” Mau hissed, beckoning for them all to join her in one of the nearby alleys. “The mob is the perfect distraction for us to go find Kells!”
“We do not even know if it is him still,” Del retorted. “We still have no proof… but I guess you are just going to go find him if I come with or not.”
“At least if we come with, we can make sure no one gets attacked or killed for no reason,” Tyrone added with a shrug.
“Help me! Please, help me!” a peasant woman shrieked, suddenly running out of one of the nearby alleys. “It took my baby! It took my baby!”
“Where? What was it?” Tyrone exclaimed on response.
“This way! It ran off this way!” she shrieked, beckoning for them to follow before sprinting off back into the alleys. Through the little houses she wound, deeper into the tangle of hunts and shacks, each becoming more ramshackle than the last as she ran on until the mud sucked at their boots and the smell became overwhelming. She skidded to a stop, pivoting on her heel to unleash a torrent of ice shards back down the alley.
Shards of ice slashed through Del’s hardy canvas clothing and tore chunks out of her skin. She shielded her eyes with her arm, blood splattering back onto her face, but once she lowered it, the woman was no longer there, replaced with the blue giant with stringy black hair and piercing white eyes.
A shining glaive swung down on Del, carving a slice of flesh from her shoulder. She swung back, but her steel glanced harmlessly off glaive, a loud clang ringing out like a bell. Behind her, Mort whispered an incantation, and a floating, glowing scythe appeared behind the Oni to slice at its back. At the same time, Tyrone made a complex motion, and with a word the alley burst into purple flames that danced around them harmlessly. The Oni was bathed in the light, but the flames flickered away from him, refusing to touch its skin even as he bore down on Del again.
As the glaive screeched across her tiny blade, the force nearly tearing it from her hand, another pain snatched at her. Darts of bright blue light buried into her side, cauterizing the hole they dug and knocking the wind from her lungs. She staggered, barely able to knock the glaive away in time as another streak of blue lit the night, but this time, they were not bound for her.
Mau slumped with a quiet sigh behind her, but seemingly as soon as she hit the ground, she was back up again, a wreath of light around Mort’s hand shocking her back to consciousness before Ann tossed a potion to her. In the same motion, she made a gesture that conjured down a beam of clearest moonlight, even though the sky was fully clouded. It bathed the Oni in light, his skin crackling as Tyrone cast more purple flames into the alley.
This time, they clung to the Oni’s skin as well as the detritus around them, and out of the corner of her eyes, Del saw the flames dance around the feet of two black figures, one standing atop the rooves to either side of the alley. Fanning out from behind Del, Mau scaled one wall as Mort, casting his large black cloak aside with a triumphant caw to reveal full scalemail, practically leapt up atop the other.
Del sidestepped another swing of the Oni’s blade, and she would have lost her footing had it not been for Tyrone behind her. Feeling the dragonborn’s shield press into her back and push her up, she had just enough momentum to parry another blow. Taking advantage of his distraction, the scythe swung again, but its haft bounced harmlessly off the Oni’s shoulder as he took a step back.
Before Del could take a step forward, though, Mort came tumbling back down into the alley, shining silver shards of his armor falling around them like sparkling glass. Startled and taking a step back herself, Del caught a glimpse of Mau struggling with the other black shadow before the cat-lady leapt away, disappearing over the side of the roof away into another alley.
Momentarily distracted, Del only noticed the Oni swing when it was too late to block, but the blow was not meant for her. Instead, it took a chunk out of Tyrone’s shield and knocked him to the ground, so his limp body almost collided with Ann as her magic-wreathed hands brought Mort back to consciousness. The purple flames disappeared as Tyrone sunk into the mud, throwing the alley into darkness once more.
Taking a running jump as Ann then turned her healing hands to Tyrone, Hazudra took Mau’s place on the roof. He swung, raking the shadow with his claws and teeth before both of them threw those same blue darts into him. As he crumpled, the Oni lunged forward but fell harmlessly against Del, his glaive clattering to the ground and his body flopping into the mud. Thankfully, Tyrone leapt up in their place, quickly clambering up onto the roof to drag Hazudra back down.
The shadow sent blue darts after him, almost sending him sprawling into the mud as his healing magic revived the lizardfolk, but as Del stepped between him and the shadow to shield him, more darts sprung out of the darkness and buried themselves into the gouge they had made before. Del clutched her side in reaponse, the amount of pain radiating from the wound making her fear her insides would fall out. She stumbled to the side of the alley, and one of the shadows leapt into the space, its face finally visible.
Nasty red eyes glared out of the putrid purple skin, and crooked teeth grinned maniacally. The stench of the alley was overriden by the searing smell of rotten meat, and the creature raked into Tyrone’s back with its black claws. Glittering peices of armor flew again, sending sparkling shards into the darkness. The dragonborn stumbled under the pressure and reached a hand out to Del. She stretched to reach it, but as her fingers clasped around his, more pain slammed into her.
The alley around Del faded to black as the ground came up to meet her. The warm mud wrapped around her, almost welcoming, but the air was still cold, its clamy claws digging in until another warmth pressed into her back. It pulled her up, and soon she was engulfed in the smell of the forest. The feel of soft fur was all around her, and a gentle rocking ferried her off.
Del felt she was flying, wrapped in a fur blanket in the underdecks of her adoptive sisters’ merchant vessel. Soon, she would awake in familiar places on the way home from her explorations. This was all a bad dream or an awful memory coming back to haunt her, but either way it was something she would easily be able to forget.
This campaign is drawing to a close since my husband intends to relinquish his time as Dungeon Master to me. He feels the open-ended campaigns he likes to run are not the best match for the current party, so although the “Sky Pirates” did not end up flying through the skies much or doing a lot of pirating, they will all shortly be exposed to my more meticulously constructed campaigns. Because of this, my articles are going to be a lot more geared toward summary, so I can focus more free time on putting together campaign.