102 - THE GUARDPOST OF ATHOSIN

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102 - THE GUARDPOST OF ATHOSIN

Post  Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:42 am

There are three outbuildings; a grain store, a barracks and a utility hall for meetings, relaxation and food prepration. They are located at the base of a small hill and behind them at the top (perhaps only 15' elevation) stands the small tower. There are no signs of activity as Tiralas and Aidan approach.

“This is troubling,” Tiralas remarks. “We should be warmly greeted. Yet we stand here unacknowledged. Something is wrong.”

[PERCEPTION 29 ]

Aidan thinks he glimpsed some movement behind the far side of the utility hall and he points to it.

Tiralas pulls out an eyeglass and inspects the area from where they are standing. “There is nothing,” he says. “We can either move closer or go. What do you suggest?”

... Aidan pulls out his glasses of True Seeing. He looks at the buildings from their vantage point and still sees nothing. Tiralas has his longbow at the ready as they both advance towards the outbuildings together.

[PERCEPTION 24 ]

There is evidence here of snake trails on the open ground that leads to the buildings. Perhaps as many as ten snakes, of various sizes, have slithered across the sand here. One may have been very large.

Aidan points it out to him.

He halts with caution and inspect the trails. “Be wary – a large snake trail like that could mean that a yuan-ti abomination is nearby. It would be the leader of this group and it would also be very powerful. These creatures can camouflage themselves extremely well. They may already have surrounded us, if they are still here.” Tiralis states matter-of-factly. “This open ground is not a good position to be in, let us get near some cover. Follow me.”

Tiralas runs towards the nearest outbuilding, the grain store, and he reaches it by vaulting over the low wooden fence that forms a perimeter to the guard post location. He crouches and edges around, again holding his bow at the ready as he peers around and looks towards the larger utility hall.

Aidan joins Tiralas. “Good, now I want you to run over there and I will cover you.” Tiralas is pointing to the nearby utility hall. “Crouch by the door and then I will join you, while you cover me.” he says.

[PERCEPTION 32]

There are no signs of movement inside. Tiralas shoulders his bow and draws his longsword. He utters a word in elven and Aidan sees the blade frosts over. Then Tiralas says “Let's go!” and he enters through the doorway.

Aidan readies his longsword.

Both men find themselves inside a dining hall. Cooked food, smashed plates and utensils lie scattered across the floor. A dead elven warrior lies face down on the ground just inside, near a window, and he has bled profusely from what seems to be a slashing blow from a bladed weapon. Several of the large wooden tables have been overturned and arranged in a semi-circle near the far corner of the room as a barricade around the kitchenette area. Behind them are six more warriors, some pierced by thick wooden arrows that bear green and red fletching while four of them were also the victims of close quarter combat.

Another warrior is found dead inside the kitchenette. He has been struck down so violently that his back is broken and a large gash extends from his shoulder down and across into his chest.

Tiralas is angry. “My brothers were eating and preparing themselves for the day ahead when they were attacked. This was a cowardly action that the enemy has taken against them.”

The low archway from the dining hall leads into the relaxation room which is furnished with large padded, hide-covered chairs. Several have been pierced by arrows and others have been slashed open during combat. The bodies of two more warriors are located here. One is slumped forward in his chair, with an arrow protruding through the back of it. The other appears to have fallen fighting against at least two attackers and there is black viscous blood visible on the floorboards. That blood trail leads outside.

“My brothers died fighting; that is a blessing,” Tiralas says. “He appears to have struck at least one of the enemy before he fell. That gives me hope that they can be defeated for one has bled quite severely. Look, its blood trail leads outside, towards the barracks.”

[PERCEPTION 25]

There is the sound of skittering stones on wood outside. The stones and gravel have fallen on the wooden steps that ascend to the watch tower.

Tiralas crouches near the wide window in the resting room and peeks up at the tower on the hill. “There are two people up there. They are not elves but could be human. I did not wish to draw attention to our position, so can not be sure.”

Aidan hears the human-like creatures speak to one another in a hissing tongue.

“Then they are yuan-ti purebloods,” Tiralas whispers to him. “They appear to be human, but are not. They the weakest of their kind. I am sure they will not be alone. Remain out of their line of sight. If we are fortunate then we may be able to take them by surprise.”

Aidan takes some cover behind a high backed padded chair. Tiralas conceals himself nearby behind the sofa. They both hear slow, deliberate footsteps coming down the stairs. Then there is movement near the side entrance of the relaxation room. They speak again in their hissing tongue and there is a glimpse of shadow and more movement before their footsteps move away across the sand towards the barracks.

Tiralas signals his intention to attack. He has his bow at the ready and he stands to take aim through the side window at the first enemy that he sees. He strikes one of the yuan-ti in the back left shoulder with an arrow (2 hp). It hisses in pain and turns around, cursing and you can see it is dressed in studded leather armour and is apparently unarmed. It looks very human, even though it is only 30' away. But there is a slight green discolouration in the skin.

Aidan aims at the other one, hitting it in the back with an arrow (3hp). It has also turned and begins chanting in its strange tongue.

Tiralas drops his bow and switches to his long sword, again commanding it to frost over. Aidan retains his bow and intends to cover from inside, as Tiralis prepares to charge.

The first pureblood sees Tiralas charging and raises its arms and speaks a command while it then motions at the ground beside his feet as he is running. A writhing mass of snakes erupts out of the ground but Tiralas avoids them as the tiny vipers scatter.

The second pureblood also utters something vile in its tongue and within seconds the sand from the ground around it whips into a frenzy and then coalesces into a scimtar of swirling sand that it now holds.

Tiralas charges and strikes the first pureblood (critical, 16hp plus 8frost) and it pauses in shock.

Aidan fires his bow at the second and hits with arrow (4hp).

Aidan fires again and hits again (5hp)

Tiralas strikes with the blade again (critical, 10hp plus 12 frost) and brings the creature down and it lies unmoving.

The second pureblood with the sand scimitar attacks Tiralas and its blow is ineffective.

Aidan fires another arrow, taking care not to hit his friend, and misses.

Tiralas sidesteps and swings at the second pureblood but slips on some loose sand but retains his footing.

The creature again misses as it swings at Tiralis.

Hissing, the pureblood reveals its fangs and swings the magical scimitar again. It strikes, doing a vicious cut (8hp) as the swirling sand bites into his arm.

Tiralas retaliates but misses. Aidan fires another arrow and also misses.

Then Aidan fires again, hitting the creature in the chest (6hp) and Tiralas slashes its leg (3hp plus 6hp frost) and it falls over but tries to stand again.

Aidan hits with another arrow, again striking its chest and it slumps forward, gurgles and dies.

Tiralas quickly rejoins Aidan inside the relaxation room and Aidan is looking back out a window up the hill at the tower. He is expecting trouble. There is nothing.

[PERCEPTION 28]

Aidan is convinced that there is movement on the top of the tower. The angle is too extreme to make out any clear details. He informs Tiralas who nods.

“Then we know there are more of them. Probably too many for us to handle easily. We were lucky and our bravery shone through in the battle with these ones. It would be unwise for us to assault the high ground so I suggest we make a tactical withdrawal. If we return to our horses and then ride hard we can get back and warn the others.”

Aidan agrees that they should leave.

“Let us go quietly and try to remain unseen. I will cover you and then follow. Today is not a good day to die – if I fall should we come under further attack, then promise me you will make all haste to get word back to Lorian and our brothers. They will understand your survival and will not begrudge that. Do you understand what I am saying?”

Aidan nods.

“Those creatures are pure evil. They will use magic and poison against us. Then they will seek to surround or overrun us. That is why we must leave ...”

He motions for Aidan to go first. He runs between the buildings, reaches the fence and vaults over it. Tiralas follows. From high above there is a commotion heard coming from the top of the tower. Two more of the purebloods can be seen and they fire arrows from the extreme end of their range.

Aidan sees an arrow strikes the ground 20 meters behind Tiralas and he knows he is being targeted. As he catches up with Aidan he suddenly staggers forward but keeps his footing and then slows. “I'm hit,” he says. “Keep going.” An arrow is sticking out of his lower back. (3hp, poison 3CON)

Aidan grabs him and helps him keep running until they reach the horses. Aidan removes the arrow and administers a cure light wounds spell. The wound closes and Tiralis is very impressed. “You are a healer too? That is quite a gift,” he tells Aidan. “I am cold, it is the poison they use.” Aidan casts delay poison, which will remain effective for 2 hours. He makes Tiralas comfortable in the saddle and they ride together into the ravine.

They near the original encounter area but bypass it by riding quickly past it.

Aidan casts delay poison two more times and return to the encampment where several warriors escort him immediately to see Lorian, who furrows his brow with great concern when he sees that Tiralis is unwell.

“What news do you bring, what has happened to Tiralas, my son?”
“He has been poisoned, I have done my best to delay it but ...”
Lorian imediately summons healers who take Tiralis to their tent.
“Tell me, what poisoned him?”
Aidan shows Lorian the locations on a copy of a map of the ravine and explain the enemies that were encountered and details the apparent numbers that may be there.


“You have done well to bring this news to me. See to it that you are rested. Your knowledge has been very helpful. We will attend to this menace and reclaim the guardpost of Athosin from the snake fiends.”

Lorian leads 50 warriors into the ravine. Two riders return nine hours later with news of victory. The remainder of the war clan break the camp down and move out to rejoin their leader. Aidan is with them and, after four hours of hard riding, the war clan is complete again and gathers in the open ground beside the guardpost of Athosin.

The bodies of the enemy have been staked out in the sun – the abomination, two half bloods and four pure bloods. “Let this be a warning to any others that come to our land. These creatures are not welcome. The spirits have spoken, brothers!”

Lorian becomes more somber and Aidan can see that a small wooden structure has been erected, a low platform, on which the bodies of the fallen elven warriors. As dusk arrives, and the sky darkens, there is a ceremony of songs and celebration held under the stars and the fallen are remembered for their great deeds in battle. The bodies are burnt and the war clan celebrates their return to the ancestors.

Lorian, while there is a sense of sadness about him, also looks immensely proud as the warriors' bodies burns. He summons Aidan to stand beside him as he looks into the flickering flames. “This is as it should be, this is our way. Pride and courage. We die in battle and fall bravely. We are all safe because of Tiralas' and your own actions. You have used your strength and completed the task that was asked of you. Tiralis says he was honoured to have engaged in battle alongside you. He tells me you fought well and are very skilled with the bow. Take this ...” Lorian passes Aidan a colourful blue/red string bracelet that has a carved wooden charm of a falcon attached to it by strands of sand-blond hair. “This was made by one of my ancestors and now it is yours. Woven into it is some of his hair. You have earnt this memory of him. It will bring you luck.”

Aidan thanks him.

“We will camp here for the night and when we depart in the morning I will leave twenty warriors at this location. Then we will ride hard through the day and will be in Kasserine tomorrow night. I suggest you rest, eat a good meal to keep your strength up and then join one of the watch.”

Aidan does so. He is 2am to dawn shift. It is uneventful. Camp is broken down the following day and as Aidan finishes helping take down the main marquee he is joined by Tiralis. “Thank you for helping me yesterday, I have told our brothers that your healing skills saved me. Without your knowledge the ppoison could not have been delayed and I would have certainly passed away. Suffice it to say that your actions have earnt you some new respect in their eyes. That is a good thing. Tell me, what other spells can you cast? I am curious for you seem to produce a few surprises.”

“I can cast a few wizard spells, not many, and most of my other spells are bardic like deciphering text and that sort of thing. Loremaster type spells.”

“And what of fighting magic? Can you produce a fireball, for example?”

“No, nothing offensive.”

“I see, a pity that is. Could have been quite useful. Still, nothing wrong with the skills you have. Tell me, was yesterday your first real encounter with vicious enemies in the sands?”

Aidan recalls his brief encounters with a kobold mage in the Zanarkand museum, his evasion of something following him in Zanarkand's sewers, and his altercation with a bounty hunter in the undercity tunnels of Gideon City.

Tiralas laughs and says “Then given your relative inexperience with combat I am even more impressed because you did handle yourself rather well under the urgency of the situation. Perhaps next time you'll join me in close quarter combat, not that there is anything wrong with being a marksman from a distance, of course.”

The war clan prepares to ride out and the call to arms is sounded. Aidan is wearing his Robe of Retaliation (it bears Xanthar's symbol)

Lorian leads the way across vast tracts of barren grassy plains that give way to vast arid areas of sandy wasteland. After seven hours the war clan reaches the outer edges of Kasserine.
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