Tales of The Brunch Club 025 “Spa Day”

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Welcome to Episode 25 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly, home brew, Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is JP Black and in the DnD campaign this story is based upon, I play Drusilla Galanoodle, a Cleric of the Raven Queen.

Now I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with your closest comrades, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tales of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 24 The Brunch Club returned to Elnor to collect the bounty on the two Hill Giants. They then sold the hill giant penises they used as proof of their kills to a local alchemist. Drusilla was approached by a messenger inviting them to a fancy gala thrown by the Widow Tiroll to take place the next evening. They met a gnome jeweler named Nedna who told them the necklace they found in the woods was worth two thousand gold pieces. Salys made a date with Nedna’s grandson, Tuft, for later that night. With a few hours to kill before Salys’s date, the women decided it was time for a spa day and dragged Vorjhon along.

And now…

Episode 25, “Spa Day”

The Brunch club walked through the doors of Puddle Rocks Spa into a well appointed lobby. Tall, potted plants alternated with comfortable looking chairs along the walls. There were fountains on either side of an ornately carved wood counter with gold leaf decorating the handsome scroll work. Ethereal flute music seemed to be playing softly all around them.

“Wow! This place is fucking fancy,” said Diesa, still tipsy from the jug of wine she drank during lunch.

A tall, broad-shouldered woman smiled at them. “Hello,” she greeted. “My name is Miriam. Are you here for our services today?”

“Hell yeah! Spa me!” said Diesa enthusiastically.

“Ahem, yes,” said Drusilla, stepping in front of Diesa and walking to the counter. “We have a free afternoon and were wondering what services you have.”

“For all five of you?” Miriam asked, looking at Vorjhon with an expression of doubt on her face.

“Yes, all five of us,” Drusilla answered.

MIriam’s face brightened. “Well,” she began, “if you have the entire afternoon, you can partake of all of our services and still have time to relax in our exclusive enchanted rain room.”

“What are your services?” asked Elora.

“We have the best masseuses and masseurs in Elnor,” Miriam said with pride. “Our hair salon is excellent, and we were the first spa in the city to offer enchanted manicures.”

“That sounds excellent,” said Drusilla. “We’ll take all the services and the rain room.”

Miriam led them through an inner door into another room. While the fountains and ethereal music helped mask the busy street noise of Elnor on the other side of the lobby doors, the sounds of the city completely disappeared when Miriam shut the door of this new room behind them. The room was large, clean, and lined with cedar panelling. There were several cozy looking chairs with end tables arranged in conversational semi-circles throughout the room. The cedar walls had several doors which led to cozy, dressing rooms where they could change into robes and store their gear.

Vorjhon struggled to take off his armor in the small room. When he stepped out, the four women were already lounging in the chairs sipping mimosas. Salys and Diesa had the hems of their robes pulled up and tucked under their terry cloth belts so they wouldn’t drag on the floor. Elora’s and Drusilla’s robes fit them perfectly.

“Oh my,” Salys said when she saw Vorjhon.

Drusilla, Elora, and Diesa turned and laughed at the sight. His robe was stretched tight at the shoulders and wide open on his chest. The belt barely fit around his waist and was tied in a small square knot with the loose ends barely showing. A towel under the tight belt served as a loin cloth to hide his private parts.

“C’mon, Vorjhon,” Salys teased him. “You’ve been tossing around giant dicks all morning. Don’t tell me you’re shy now!”

“That was different,” said Vorjhon. “Those weren’t mine.”

“Maybe the size comparison’s making him feel self-conscious,” said Drusilla.

“Does your dick have scales?” Diessa asked, before downing the rest of her mimosa.

“Ew,” said Elroa. “That’s probably why you don’t see any half dragonborns anywhere.”

“Can we change the subject please,” urged Drusilla. “I’m trying to find my happy place.”

“Changing subject is fine with me,” said Vorjhon as he sat down carefully to keep himself covered. He quickly drank the mimosa that was waiting for him.

Miriam brought them another round of mimosa’s and asked them what kind of massages they wanted. “We offer relaxation, deep tissue, and detox,” she told them.

“Diesa will have the detox,” they all said in unison.

When the rest of the women picked their massages, Miriam asked Vorjhon, “and for you, sir?”

“I don’t mean to offend you,” he began cautiously, “but do you have anyone on your staff strong enough to give deep tissue massage through dragonborn scales.”

Miriam smiled.

Vorjhon thought her smile looked mischievous. It made him slightly nervous.

“Oh, I have just the masseur for you, don’t you worry.” She called out in a louder voice, “Barry! You’ve got a customer!”

The set of double doors at the far side of the room swung open. The hulking form of an eight foot tall, four-armed, gorilla-like creature filled the doorway as it stooped low to fit under the door jamb.

“Holy crap!” Elora laughed. “It’s a girallon. Vorjhon, you are so dead.”

“Barry, this is Vorjhon,” Miriam said, introducing the dragonborn. “He wants the ‘smash and fracture.”

“Wait. The what?” said a startled Vorjhon.

“Okay,” Barry replied. “Did he sign the waiver?”

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Miriam said nonchalantly.

“Waiver?” Vorjhon whimpered.

“C’mon, Cupcake,” The girallon said as he picked Vorjhon up and tossed him over his shoulder like a bag of potatoes. “Barry’s gonna take real good care of you.”

“Oh man,” said Salys. “He’s not coming back.”

Miriam paired the remaining Brunch Club members with their massage partners. “When you’re all done you can relax in the rain room until your hair appointments,” she told them.

Salys was the first one done with her massage. She felt relaxed and limber while she followed her masseur to the rain room. Salys paused in the doorway for a moment to let her brain fully comprehend the sight before her.

The door did not open to a room. It opened to what looked like an ancient elven forest. Trees dotted grassy meadows criss crossed with flowing streams and smaller shallow brooks. Clouds of steam floated through the air. The sound of rain was the only thing she could hear, even though it was not raining in the room.

There were a few people around that she could see. Most of them were laying in the grass, or gliding back and forth lazily on swinging benches that hung from the large tree branches. Salys noticed no one was talking to each other. Paper lanterns filled with what looked like fireflies floated slowly through the air, providing the only source of light. Despite the lack of bright light, it looked as though there were acres of forest to explore.

“Wow,” Salyls whispered.

“We hear that a lot,” the masseur said. “Feel free to explore. You’ll be notified by a sending spell when it’s time for your hair appointment.”

Salys stepped into the room. She turned to thank the masseur, but no sound left her lips.

“Once I close the door,” he told her, “the only sound you’ll hear is the rain.”

Salys nodded as he closed the door. She looked around at the forest, absorbing its tranquility. She wanted to explore but decided to sit by a small stream near the door and wait for her friends.

Elora was the next to arrive, followed by Drusila and Diesa. The rogue was walking much steadier now and her eyes seemed more focused. “When they say ‘detox’, they mean ‘detox,’” Salys heard her tell Drusilla before the door shut and muted their voice.

They laid on the grass with their feet in the water. They listened to the rain and let the stream wash over their feet. They lost all sense of time but started to feel like they had been waiting for Vorjhon for a very long time.

Elora stood up. She made a walking gesture with her first two fingers, telling the others she was going to explore the rain room. They nodded, but did not get up to join her.
They heard the door open and looked up to see Vorjhon and Barry. The giant girallon hugged the dragonborn tightly. It appeared to wipe tears from its eyes. “Thank you for everything Vorjhon. That really helped,” he said in an earnest voice.

Vorjhon reached up and patted him affectionately on the shoulder. “Have faith, my friend,” he told Barry with an optimistic tone, “I’m sure you will see her again soo. It was pleasure to meet you.”

Barry smiled, wiped another tear from his eye, then closed the door behind the dragonborn.

Salys, Drusilla and Diesa stared at him with astonished expressions on their faces. Salys mouthed the words, “What was that?”

Vorjhon waved his hand in the air to indicate it was nothing and joined them on the bank of the stream, placing his feet in the water.

They couldn’t tell how much time they sat there enjoying the steamy air and the sound of rain all around them. Eventually Vorjhon looked at his companions and mimed shooting a bow and arrow, asking where Elora was. They all shrugged and stood up to go find her. They walked in the direction they saw Elora go earlier. Diesa spotted her first. She was standing up, swaying back and forth, staring up at one of the glowing paper lanterns which hovered a few feet above her.

Elora mesmerized by light on moon dust

They approached her. Vorjhon tapped her on the shoulder and waved. She turned around slowly and smiled. Her pupils were so large there was only a sliver of iris visible around them. She turned back toward the hovering lantern and began swaying again. The others looked at each other with quizzical looks. They stared at the lantern trying to see what was so interesting about it. They saw nothing.

Each of them heard their own name spoken to them telepathically, followed by the words, “it is time for your hair appointment, please proceed to the salon.”

Elora did not seem to not to hear the message from the sending spell, or she was choosing to ignore it. Drusilla and Vorjhon took her by the arms and led her away. Whenever they passed beneath one of the glowing lanterns, Elora’s eyes followed it until it was well behind her.

When they finally exited the rain room and could be heard, Salys said, “What is wrong with her?”

“Elora,” Vorjhon said, “Are you okay?”

Elora looked at the dragonborn for a moment, smiled, then stared at one of the sconces on the hallway wall.
She walked toward it. “Lamp,” she said.

“Uh, yeah, lamp,” agreed Diesa.

“Laaaamp,” Elora said, slowly, almost reverently.

“All right lamp lady,” said Drusilla, taking her arm again. “Let’s go get your hair done.”

When they got to the salon, they sat Elora down in a chair. Her gaze floated back and forth between the lanterns and candles in the room.

Miriam was there to greet them.

“Do you know what’s wrong with our friend?” Salys asked Miriam.

“We found her like this in the rain forest,” said Drusilla.

“Oh dear,” Miriam, said. “It looks like she got a hold of some moondust.

“Moondust?” Vorjhon asked.

“It’s a drug made from the pollen collected off a specific kind of moth. It makes you feel very relaxed and attracted to bright lights.” Miriam told them. “It’s a popular party drug among Elnor’s younger citizens.” Seeing the look of concern on her customer’s faces, she added, “It’s perfectly harmless. It usually lasts six to eight hours.”

“Who gave you the drugs?” Diesa asked Elroa.

“Cute guy in the forest,” Elora replied dreamily, never taking her eyes off one of the lights in the room.

“Nothing we can do about it now,” Drusilla said. “Let’s get her in a chair.”

Miriam told them the enchanted hair styles and manicures would last for 48 hours and encouraged them to get as creative as they wanted.

Salys had her bright red hair pulled back tight, half way across her head. Then it fanned out long and wide behind her,like billowing flames.

Each of the sorceress’s thumbnails was painted with a miniature representation of her, made of little squares. The image moved and shot fire bolts from its hands, which sailed across each finger until exploding on her pinky nails.

Drusilla got hair extensions lengthening her hair to her waist. Her stylist enchanted it to have it continuously billow, as though being blown by a gentle breeze, even indoors. She got a raven head painted on each middle nail, with black wings which stretched out over her other nails and flapped up and down in perfect synchronization.

When the stylist asked Elora what she wanted for her hair and nails, she simply replied, “Lamp.” She gave her a fancy beehive hairdo with an enchanted glowing gem, set in the middle. Each fingernail was decorated with a lantern with a light that flickered, like real flames.

Since Vorjhon had no hair, his stylist used a paste, wool cloth, and cotton cloth to polish his scales until they shined brightly. A stylized image of the Dragon God, Bahamut, glided across his nails from one hand to the other.

Elora momentarily took her eyes off one of the lamps to look at Vorjhon’s gleaming scales. “Shiny,” she said.

Diessa got purple nails and an updo, held in place with a dagger.

After their hair and nails were done, Miriam told them they had an hour remaining on their appointment and could finish it in the rain room if they wanted.

“Hey Elora, wanna show me who gave you the moondust?” Diesa asked her as they headed to the rain room..

“Suure!” said Elora. She took off her robe and handed it to the dwarf.. “Let’s go,” she said, walking naked down the hallway.

The rest followed.

They walked around the rain room for about twenty minutes. Elora pointed to a very handsome man sitting cross legged atop of a grassy mound. His head was tilted back and his mouth was open slightly. He stared, unblinking, at a lantern hovering above him. Scattered around the hill were several other people sitting or lying down, staring upwards, also transfixed by the floating lanterns.

Drusilla smiled and winked at her companions as if to say, “Watch this.” She conjured four glowing orbs of light and made them circle above the moondust infected people. Their heads moved in circles, following the floating orbs.

Diesa made a motion with her hands, telling Drusilla to move the lights away from the hill. As Drusilla did this, the people all turned around to follow them with their eyes. When all of them were looking away, Diesa snuck up on the moondust dealer and slipped her hand into his robe pocket. He never noticed she was there.

Drusilla left three floating orbs above the group, and used the other to help coax Elora back toward the exit. Before they reached the door, Salys stopped and pointed to an area of the room that was thick with steam. Behind the cloud, they could just make out the form of some kind of creature. As they got closer, they could see it was sitting on top of a pedestal about fifteen feet off the ground. It was a winged, impish beast, about the size of a gnome. It was chained to the pedestal by one of its feet. It opened its mouth and exhaled a large cloud of steam over their heads. It exhaled another steam cloud at seemingly random intervals. The creature looked down at them. Even though it looked like a devilish goblin with long ears and a pointed hooked nose, they could see a sad expression on its face, and the look of hopelessness in its eyes. Drusilla felt bad for the pathetic creature, but knew she should find out more about it, before she decided if she should help it.

When they returned to the dressing rooms, they found their clothes had been washed and pressed. Their armor, shields and weapons were clean and polished.

“What was the creature chained up to the pedestal in the rain room?” Drusilla asked Miriam as she paid for their spa afternoon.

“That was a mephit,” Miriam told her. “Elementals with nasty dispositions. Fortunately, we’ve been able to retrain them and put them to good use.”

“The one we saw looked so sad,” the cleric said.

“Don’t let them fool you,” Miriam said with no trace of empathy. “They’ll burn your face off if given half a chance. But they are looked after, and we treat them well, as long as they behave.”

Drusilla was not satisfied with the answer, but decided not to ask about it any further.

The refreshed and relaxed group left the spa and headed for the Elfsong Tavern to get dinner before Salys’s date with Tuft.

Elora sat between Vorjhon and Drusilla. She held her hands up to her face. Her palms were faced outward so she could stare at the glowing lanterns on her fingernails. She held one hand in front of Vorjhon. “Look, lamps.” she told him.

“Yes, very nice, Elora,” Vorjhon humored her.

She held her hand in front of Drusilla’s face. “Look, lamp.”

Salys waved when she saw Tuft enter the tavern.
He smiled when he saw her, but his smile faded slightly when he noticed the rest of The Brunch Club was also there.

“Hi,” he said when he approached the table. “I didn’t know you were all going to be here.”

“Don’t worry,” Vorjhon said reassuringly. “We are just finishing our dinner. We won’t intrude.”

Salys stood up. “No need to rush. We’ll go find our own table. Good night guys, don’t wait up!” she said with a wink as she led Tuft away by the hand.

The Brunch Club watched as Salys and Tuft sat at a small table on the other side of the tavern, out of earshot from them.

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Drusila asked.

“None of our business,” said Vorjhon.

They watched Salys and Tuft stand up and head for the door.

“They haven’t even had a drink yet.” said Drusilla. “Where do you think they’re going?”

“Probably somewhere to fuuuuck,” said Diesa.

“I’m going to follow them,” Drusilla said as she stood up.

“Leave them alone,” said Vorjhon. “She’s a grown gnome. She can take care of herself.”

Drusilla had already left the table and was headed out the door.

“What do moths do in the dark?” said Elora, still staring at her fingernails.

Drusilla followed Salys, using all the tricks of stealth she had learned from watching Diesa. She kept her breathing slow and quiet. She only walked when they did, so the sound of their own footsteps would mask hers. She kept to the shadows, confident she would be hidden in the darkness, like a raven in the night.

“Why is your friend following us?” Tuft asked Salys.

“Ugh, I have no idea,” Salys said apologetically.

“She’s really loud,” he said.

Salys called Pip to her. He landed on her shoulder. “Go poop on Drusilla,” she commanded.
“Fuck yeah!” Pip said happily and flew off toward the cleric.

The snowy white pygmy owl was easily visible against the night sky and Drusilla was able to sidestep his payload.

“Hey! He almost got my clean armor!” Drusilla yelled at Salys.

“Go home, Drusilla! You don’t have to act like our mom every night,” Salys shouted back.

Drusila huffed, and trudged back to the tavern.

Salys and Tuft walked back to his jewelry store, in which he and his grandmother lived above. Tuft unlocked the door and let her in. “Would you like some tea?” he asked while relocking the door. When he turned around for her answer, she surprised him by wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him close for a long, slow kiss.

“Later,” she said. “Right now I want you to show me your bedroom.”

“Okay!” Tuft grinned happily.

“Just don’t mess up my hair,” said Salys as she followed Tuft up the stairs.

Our tale will continue next week in Episode 26

Episode 25 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 024 “Sassy Thunderbush”

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Welcome to Episode 24 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Anna Flemke and joined this campaign as Salys Garrick, a brave gnome sorceress who seeks the knowledge to tame her newfound wild magic.

I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with your closest comrades, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tales of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

The Brunch Club used forty pounds of beef jerky to lure the giant off its high ground, but the giant never took the bait. However a Chimera, three Gryphons, and eight flying lizards did. During the fight with the creatures, Salys’s wild magic surged twice, instantly aging her eight years each time. The next day they found the two hill giants below a ridge. They killed them, but one of the giant’s heads was obliterated in the battle. Because they could no longer use the head as proof they killed both giants, they decided to cut off the giants’ penises in hopes that would be enough to convince Captain Pernold to give them the bounty.

And now…

Episode 24 “Sassy Thunderbush”

The Brunch Club approached the gates of Elnor well after dark. The sentires asked them their business and what their names were. They told them they were working for the Selsuns and had rooms at the Rampant Wizard Inn, then each gave their names. When it was Salys’s turn she surprised her friends by telling the guards her name was ‘Sassy Thunderbush.’

“Sassy Thunderbush?” Drusilla asked when they were out of earshot of the town gates.

Salys shrugged, “Why should I give those guys my name? It’s none of their business,” the gnome said.

“Damn straight, girl.” agreed Diesa.

The next morning, after brunch, they went straight to the Selsuns’ headquarters to collect the bounty on the Hill Giants.

“I believe you owe us four-thousand gold,” Salys told Captain Pernold as they walked into his office.

The mercenary captain looked up from his desk and smiled at them. “I believe you owe me two hill giant heads first,” he replied.

Vorjhon reached his hand into the bag of colding and pictured the giant’s severed head in his mind. He felt it materialize in the bottom of the bag. He grabbed a handful of hair and lifted the head out, placing it in the center of the large table Pernold used as his desk.

Vorjhon pictured the teeth they salvaged from the obliterated head. He scooped them up and poured them onto the table.

The captain looked at the large molars and incisors and gave the group a questioning look. “What’s this?” He asked them.

“That one’s head got kinda squished,” Salys explained, pointing to the large teeth. “That’s what’s left.”

Captain Pernold stood up, pried open the giant’s mouth and frowned. “This one doesn’t have all his teeth,” he said, turning it around toward them, its mouth still open. “How do I know you didn’t take those teeth from this head?”

“Gods. We should have thought about that,” Drusilla said.

“Good thing we thought about those other things,” said Elora.

“What other things?” Pernold asked, his voice mixed with trepidation and curiosity.

Vorjhon placed the bag of colding on the captain’s table. “If you could, please,” he said, indicating the top of the bag.

Pernold reached across the table and held the bag open while Vorjhon reached in with both arms. The dragonborn’s large hands barely reached around the circumference of the hill giant’s penis. He withdrew it from the bag and placed it on the table. It stood upright, longer than a human arm.

Vorjhon reached back into the bag and withdrew the second penis. He placed it on its end next to the other one. It balanced upright for a moment before toppling over across the paperwork strewn about the table.

Pernold handed the bag back to Vorjhon and sat down in his chair. He stared at the grotesque, pale phalluses that were on his desk. He laughed a lengthy, loud, genuine laugh. “Okay,” he said after his laughter subsided. “That’s more than enough proof.”

The captain called one of his guards over and handed him a piece of paper. The guard left and returned with a cloth bag filled with coins. Pernold placed them on the table. Salys gleefully grabbed the bag. Pernold interrupted them when they turned to leave. “You can take those with you,” he said, gesturing at the giant phalli.

“What are we supposed to do with a couple hill giant dicks?” asked Diesa.

“Not my concern,” Pernold said.

Four thousand gold, and two giant penises richer, The Brunch Club left the Selsuns’ headquarters. They walked back to the Rampant Wizard so they could count the bounty and divide it up in private. Salys and Drusilla counted out 5 piles of 800 gold each.

Vorjhon took a few coins off the top of his pile and slid the remainder toward Diesa. “We haven’t many opportunity to help people lately,” Vorjhon told her. “I would like to help your family.”

Diesa scooped her pile into her bag without touching Vorjhon’s. “I don’t need your charity, Paladin,” she said coldly.

Vorjhon looked hurt, and stammered for a moment, taken aback by the rogue’s refusal. “It not charity for you. For your family.”

“Keep your coin,” Diesa said. “I’ll take care of my family my way.”

“I’ll take your share,” said Salys, cheerfully.

Vorjhon shrugged and sighed, resigned to the dwarf’s refusal, and took his remaining share off the table.

“What should we do with the dicks in the bag?” asked Elora as she pocketed her share of coin.

“We could sell them,” Drusilla offered.

“Who on Twell would buy those?” exclaimed Vorjhon, surprised at the suggestion.

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” said Salys.

“We could get them stuffed,” mused Elora. “Mount them as trophies in the lighthouse.”

They thought about that idea for a few minutes, but Salys insisted they at least try to sell them to a local alchemist. “I hear they’re used in some love potions, and… other stuff.”

“What other stuff?” Vorjhon asked.

“The weird stuff.” answered Salys.

They had only walked a few feet from the Rampant Wizard Inn, when a finely dressed courier ran up to them. He held up an envelope and bowed before the black-clad, silver-haired cleric. “Are you Drusilla Galanoodle of An’Allara?” he asked.

“That depends on who’s asking,” Drusilla answered.

“Lady Eloise Tiroll, ma’am,” he answered, gesturing for her to take the envelope.

Drusilla did. She opened it and read it out loud. “The widow Lady Eloise Tiroll cordially invites you and your guests to attend a gala tomorrow evening celebrating her reintroduction into society after the appropriate period of morning.”

“May I tell her you will be attending?” the courier asked, then waited expectantly for an answer.

“How does the Lady Tiroll even know who I am?” Drusilla inquired.
The courier smiled. “She knows a great many things.”

“I’m sorry,” Drusilla told him, “Please thank her for the invitation, but we did not travel with appropriate dress for such a formal occasion. Do congratulate her on our behalf though.”

“Ah yes,” replied the courier, “she assumed that might be the case. She says she realizes that adventurers such as yourselves travel light, and your armor will be acceptable. She also hopes you will share tales of your adventures with her guests.”

“A party in high places,” said Elora. “Sounds like it might be fun.”

“We might meet influential people who could help with access to library,” pointed out Vorjhon.

“They’ll have free food and booze,” said Salys.

Drusilla smiled at the courier. “Please tell Lady Tiroll that Drusilla Galanoodle and the The Brunch Club look forward to meeting her. She handed the courier a silver coin and said, “For your troubles, my good man.”

“Thank you,” he smiled as he backed away, bowed respectfully, then walked briskly down the street.

He held up an envelope and bowed before the black-clad, silver-haired cleric. “Are you Drusilla Galanoodle of An’Allara?” he asked.

They stood quietly while Drusilla reread the invitation.

“What good fortune!” Vorjhon said optimistically.

“It feels weird,” said Elora.

“It does,” agreed Drusilla Galanoodle of An’Allara. “I think we should try and find out about the Widow Tiroll before the party.”

“I agree,” said Salys. “But first, let’s go try and sell some giant peen!”

The Brunch Club left their inn in the Granite district and headed to the Quartz District where they hoped they could get a better price for the two items they wished to sell. They wandered around for a few minutes before finding an alchemist’s shop. They entered. It was a strange smelling place. Odors of all kinds wafted through the air. For brief moments they could pick out individual odors, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. Mostly the smell of the place was sour and musty.

A human woman with messy brown hair sat behind a long table. The surface of the table not covered in beakers and bottles and bowls, was covered in a fascinating variety of stains.

“Can I help you?” the woman asked. When she looked up at them, they noticed she had one blue eye and one green eye.

“We have a pair of, um… ingredients we’d like to sell,” said Salys, smiling at her.

Vorjhon held up the bag and also smiled.

The alchemist smiled back. “I don’t mean to be rude, but is it a rare ingredient? You have no idea how many people come in here trying to sell me a funny looking mushroom, or a cow’s eye claiming they got it from a basilisk.”

“A cow eye is too small for a basilisk,” said Elora in a clinical tone of voice.

The alchemist looked at her for a moment then back at Salys. “What have you got?” she asked, curiosity now evident in her voice.

“Hill giant dicks,” said the gnome, “two of them. In pristine condition!”

The alchemist laughed in much the same way Pernold did earlier. “I’m sorry,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes. “You guys almost had me there. I’d be mad at you for wasting my time, but that was the best laugh I’ve had in a month. You’d need a way bigger bag for one, let alone two.”

Vorjhon placed the bag on another, emptier table. “It bag of colding,” he told her in a slow, serious tone. “And I never lie.”

He reached in the bag and deposited both of the specimens on the table.

“They’ve been in the bag of colding since there were, um… harvested,” said Drusilla.
The alchemist’s dual-colored eyes widened with astonishment. She walked to the table and inspected the prizes closely.

“I’m sorry I doubted you,” she stammered. “I’ve never seen them in their raw state. Where did you get them?”

“From a couple hill giants.” said Diesa.

“Right, right, nevermind that,” the alchemist said. “I can give you three-hundred and fifty gold each for them.

Salys haggled briefly and talked her up to 400 gold each, plus a free magic item identification.

After the alchemist agreed to the terms, Salys handed her the second Scroll of Find Familiar they had bought from Elnor’s black market. “I need you to tell me if this is a fake.”

The alchemist inspected it closely. She stared at it, focusing her gaze on it for a few moments then handed it back to the gnome. “I’m sorry, it’s fake,” she said. “I hope you didn’t pay too much for it.”

Vorjhon shot Diesa a smug, self-satisfied look.

Diesa shrugged. “What? At least one of them worked.”

Upon leaving the alchemist’s shop, they decided to celebrate their profitable day with lunch and wine. They entered the first tavern they came across. While enjoying their food and libations, Drusilla mentioned they should bring a hostess gift with them to the gala to thank Lady Tiroll for inviting them.

“What for?” said Diesa, gulping wine directly from a jug while leaning back in her chair with her feet on the corner of the table. “She should thank us for showing up. Sounds like she wants us to be the entertainment.”

“It’s considered polite,” explained Drusilla.

“Fine, whatever,” Diesa relented as she took another big gulp of wine.

“We passed a jeweler’s on the way here,” said Elora. “We could look there.”

A sarcastic, “Yay! Let’s spend our hard earned gold on a rich bitch we don’t know,” echoed into the empty wine jug Diesa held above her mouth. She tilted back further in her chair to get every last drop of wine before toppling over backwards.

“A master of stealth and subterfuge,” Vorjhon muttered to the others.

Elora guided them to the jeweler’s shop. The sign above the door said, “I Don’t Karat All.”

“Heh. That’s funny,” said Salys.

They entered the shop. It was immaculate, especially compared to the alchemist’s shop. The tables, chairs, display cases, and counter at the back were all smaller and lower to the ground than the other shops they’d been in. Behind the counter sat an older looking gnome. She had straight black hair that hung over her ears, but was cut into bangs above her eyes. She wore large round glasses with thick rims.

“Can I help you?” she asked without looking up, distracted by her work.

“We’re looking for a hostess gift for a party tomorrow night,” Drusilla explained. “We don’t know her though, so I’m not sure what she’d like.”

“Everyone loves jewelry!” The woman said, finally looking at them.

“I was hoping for something a little more unusual,” the cleric explained.

“Wait a second!” Vorjhon interrupted. “We have necklace we found. We could give her that.”

“Whoa there, big guy,” said Salys. “Let’s find out how much it’s worth before we just give it away.”

Vorjhon agreed, retrieved the necklace from the bag, and handed it to the jeweler. The woman stood up and shouted through a doorway behind her. “Norman! Come out here!”

A younger looking gnome emerged through the door. He had a round face, kind eyes, and long orange hair that stood straight up from his head like wheat.

“Yes Grandma?” he said in a soft voice.

“Watch the store while I appraise something.” She disappeared into the back room.

Salys walked right up to him, “Hi Norman,” she said. “I like your hair.”

Norman hesitated, trying to think of something to say. He seemed distracted by Salys’s sudden compliment. “Um, thank you. I like your, um, eyes. They’re so green.”

“Thank you, Norman,” she smiled.

“My friends call me ‘Tuft,’” said Norman.

“Can I call you ‘Tuft’?” Salys asked.

“Sure.” Tuft replied.

“So that means we’re friends then, doesn’t it?” said Salys, holding out her hand.

Tuft took it shyly and returned her handshake.

“Salys wants to bone Tuuuuft,” sang Diesa from the doorjamb she was leaning up against to keep herself from swaying.

Tuft’s cheek’s turned crimson and he looked extremely uncomfortable.

“Norman,” Drusilla said in a kind voice. “I’m looking for a gift. Something unusual. Maybe something with a story behind it.”

Tuft suddenly looked less uncomfortable and walked to one of the display cases. “We have just the thing.” He handed her a dagger. It had a dark iron blade that was almost black. The pommel was made of hematite, and the handle looked to be made of obsidian. The beautiful, monochromatic dagger matched Drusilla’s armor perfectly. “It’s called ‘King’s Bane,’ he told her. “Supposedly an assassin calling himself the Mottled Shadow used it to kill a king of Drazan centuries ago.”

“Sounds perfect,” Drusilla said. “How much is it?”

“A thousand gold,” replied Norman.

“It no longer sounds perfect,” said Elora.

“What about jade statue of elven woman from lighthouse?” Vorjhon asked.

They all looked at him. He explained, “It perfect gift. It made of jade. It beautiful. And it sculpture of woman who died, became banshee, and haunted a lighthouse until we killed her.”

“That is a pretty good story,” Norman said.

“Thank you, Tuft,” said Vorjhon.

Norman’s grandmother returned and handed them the necklace. “I think you could get at least two-thousand gold if you found the right buyer,” she told them. “It would certainly be an extravagant hostess gift.”

“Jade statue it is!” exclaimed Diesa from the doorway.

“How much for the appraisal?” Vorjhon asked.

Before the woman could answer, Norman blurted out, “It’s on the house!”

His grandmother looked at him with an annoyed expression on her face. Then she noticed the way her grandson was looking at Salys. Her expression softened. “Yes,” she said “It’s on the house.”

“On the house!” Diesa shouted.

As they were leaving, Salys turned back to Norman. “Wanna grab a drink tonight?”

“Uh, sure, yeah!” Tuft said.

“Great!” said Salys. “Elfsong Tavern. Eight O’clock. Nice to meet you Norman’s Grandma!” she added.

“My name is Nedna,” the grandmother replied. “Come back any time.”

Salys waved.

When they exited the jewelry store Diesa suddenly burst out laughing. “‘I Don’t Karat All!’ Ha ha ha ha! I get it!”

Elora and Drusilla grabbed the drunk rogue by the arms and pulled her along between them. They hadn’t gone very far when Drusilla stopped suddenly and said, “Wait.”

“What’s up?” Elora asked.

Drusilla pointed at the sign above the door they stopped in front of. It read, ‘Puddle Rocks Spa.’

“We’ve got a few hours to kill,” said Drusilla. “And we do have to get cleaned up for tomorrow.”

All four women looked at each other and screamed excitedly at the same time, “Spa day!”

“Spa day?” asked Vorjhon as they pushed him through the door.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 25

Episode 24 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 023 “Three And A Half Heads”

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Welcome to Episode 23 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Bethany Powers and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

On their way to do battle with a pair of hill giants, The Brunch Club destroyed an innocent log after Vorjhon misheard Diesa. Inside it they found an expensive looking necklace with a star-shaped ruby pendant. As they progressed further, a grey giant hurled boulders at them to prevent them from getting closer. They retreated, then came up with a plan to lure him out with 40 pounds of smoked meat. They put their plan in action after dark. Unfortunately the first creature it attracted was a three-headed Chimera, which heard Vorjhon’s shield scrape the rock he was hiding behind..

And now…

Episode 23 “Three And A Half Heads”

The three-headed chimera stared at the boulder which barely concealed the hiding Vorjhon. Its red-scaled dragon head reared back, mouth aglow with imminent fire breath. Elora shot the dragon head in the neck, causing its lethal flame to shoot harmlessly above Vorjhon when it recoiled from the pain. Elora quickly shot a second arrow at the chimera and struck it once again in the dragon head’s neck.

All three heads turned in anger toward Elora, who ducked down behind her blind. While the beast searched for the source of the arrows, Salys peeked over her hiding spot just enough to fire a salvo of magic missiles. The missiles hit the chimera’s flank. Bright green blasts of magic energy exploded against it as all of the sorceresses’ attacks hit their target.

Before the light from her blasts faded, Salys dropped to her knees. She felt her skin tingle all over. The air pressure around her seemed to increase, making it harder to breathe. Green light circled around her. She had this feeling once before. It was in the bitch bog when she lost control of her magic power. That time the magical surge had saved Vorjhon after a basilisk turned him to stone. She had no idea what this surge of untamed magical energy would do. The hair stood up on the back of her neck. The hair on her head felt like it was standing as well. She realized it was growing…. fast. Her joints, bones, and muscles suddenly ached. The sensation reminded her of a distant, vague memory. A feeling of horror came over her when she remembered why the aches in her body felt so familiar. They were growing pains. Her hair grew past her eyes in a matter of seconds and she realized she was aging rapidly, with no way to stop it.

While Salys aged behind her blind, Drusilla prayed and fired a purple bolt of energy from her hands. It further wounded the chimera and caused it to glow with violet light. The Brunch Club had been in enough battles together that they recognized Drusilla’s Guiding Bolt, which briefly made the target easier to see. The purple light also glowed brighter on the more vulnerable parts of the creature. Elora used this information to her advantage and hit the brightest glowing spots with two phoenix arrow shots from her longbow. Vorjhon and Diessa charged the chimera. They attacked both sides of its rear flanks, staying out of reach of its three heads. The dragon head hung limp. It dragged on the ground as the chimera tried to move away from the paladin’s and rogue’s attacks.

A fantasy art illustration of a dragonborn paladin hiding from a chimera
The three-headed chimera stared at the boulder which barely concealed the hiding Vorjhon.

Elora stood up and took careful aim to deliver a final death strike, but she was thrown off balance when something hit her. A winged lizard, about the size and shape of a large chicken, struck her shoulder as it flew past. Another flying lizard swooped past her head. Then another, then another, then four more landed near the pile of jerky. They began fighting each other over the free meal. In their frenzy, they began striking Diessa and Vorjhon as well.

Diessa grabbed one of the lizards by the tail and swung it at the other lizards that were biting and clawing at her. She knocked one of them out of the sky. When it landed on the ground she used the lizard in her hand to beat it to death.

Drusilla conjured her cloud of spiritual ravens. It swirled around her in a fifteen foot wide cloud as she ran to Diessa. The multitude of spectral ravens which formed the cloud began ripping at the lizards and chimera with their tiny beaks and talons. They did not touch Vorjhon, Diessa, or Drusilla.

Behind her blind, Salys breathed a sigh of relief. Her hair stopped growing after about four feet. It was almost touching the ground when she stood up, but she was able to flip it behind her shoulders. She saw the strange flying lizards attacking Diesa and shot green lightning bolts from her fingertips. The lightning struck one lizard, arced to the lizard behind it, arched to the lizard behind that one, then arced to one more. All four lizards dropped dead, smoking on the snowy ground.

Vorjhon noticed the chimera was in agony. Blood seeped from several wounds on its body and both the dragon and goat heads were lifeless, dragging harmlessly in the snow. The paladin felt pity for the fearsome, majestic beast. He said a prayer. Eclipse glowed with divine silver light. He brought the two headed mace down upon the chimera’s lion head. When he struck it, Eclipse released an explosion of divine energy into the beast which put it out of its misery.

Before the chimera hit the ground, loud shrieks filled the air above them. Three gryphons dove at them from the sky. The eagle-headed, winged lions swooped in, then pulled up at the last second so they could rake their targets with sharp front talons. The two that dove at Diesa and Drusilla were driven back by the relentless, swarming attacks of Drusilla’s cloud of spiritual ravens. The third one struck Salys. Its sharp claws easily tore through her robes and ripped deep gouges in her back. The gnome’s long hair got tangled around the gryphon’s leg. It dragged her out of the blind as it charged toward the freshly killed chimera. The gryphon managed to get untangled from Salys by kicking her repeatedly with its rear lion’s legs.

Fantasy art illustration of a dwarf beating one flying lizard with another.
When it landed on the ground she used the lizard in her hand to beat it to death.

Drusilla ran to Salys’s prone, bloodied body. She was surprised to see the four foot long hair but concentrated on the prayer of healing. Salys thanked her and stood up. She raised her hands toward the gryphon that had bits of hair wrapped around its leg. The familiar surging feeling came over her as soon as the magic missiles left her hands.

“Not again,” she moaned.

“What?” Drusilla asked, as she noticed the green energy circling her gnome friend.

“Another magic surge,” Salys shouted. “Second one tonight.” The only thing more unlikely than having two magic surges so close together, was having the same effect twice in a row, which is what happened when Salys’s hair grew another four feet.

The flying lizards were all dead. Vorjhon kept the first gryphon focused on him while Diesa and Drusilla closed in on the second. Diesa chopped at it with her axe, while Drusilla thrust her sword into it. Her cloud of spiritual ravens helped kill it quickly. Elora fired two quick arrows at the beast engaged with Vorjhon, dispatching that one as well.
Salys used her dagger to cut the eight feet of hair down to a manageable two. The third and last remaining gryphon charged her. She swiped at it with her dagger. It backed off a little and circled around her, waiting for its friends to come to its aid. When it realized the other two gryphons were dead, it leapt off the ground with its powerful rear legs and flew away into the darkness.

They caught their breath as they watched it fly away.

“Well that was the worst plan ever,” said Elora. The Brunch Club agreed and retreated back to the site where they made camp earlier that day. They healed their wounds and went to sleep, hoping a good night’s rest would help them come up with a better plan in the morning.

Nothing disturbed them that night and they woke up to a cold, misty day. This was good news as it would make it harder for the hill giants to see them coming.

They sat around a small fire and ate breakfast.

“Your hair’s a mess,” Drusilla said to Salys.

“I know. The middle of a battle is not the best time to give yourself a haircut,” said Salys.

“Here, let me clean it up for you.” The cleric said, holding her hand out for Salys’s dagger.

While Drusilla tried to clean up Salys’s hasty haircut, Diesa asked, “Where’d all the hair come from?”

They explained to Diessa the unpredictable side effects of their sorceresses’ wild magic.

“It saved my life once,” said Vorjhon, happily.

“Judging by the length of my hair, I think I aged sixteen years last night,” Salys remarked as she picked up some of the long clippings that lay at her feet. Gnomes typically lived well past the age of three hundred and fifty, so this was not particularly devastating news to Salys. “Do I look wiser in my old age?” she asked with a grin and a humorous twinkle in her eyes.

“So what do we do about the giants?” Diessa asked between bites of her breakfast.

“I don’t think that was a hill giant,” said Salys.

“Why not?” Drusilla asked as she finished trimming the gnome’s fiery red hair.

“It seemed smart. Like it just wanted to be left alone,” answered Salys. “Remember the hill giant we fought outside Wheaton? It was kind of dumb, and aggressive.”

“Hill giants don’t have gray skin either,” said Elora.

“And there seemed to be only one, not two,” added Vorjhon.

Elora took out the map Pernold gave her and studied it. “According to this map,” the ranger said, “it gets a bit hillier to the north east. I say we give this giant a wide berth and head up that way.”

“So say we all,” agreed Drusilla, speaking accurately for the rest of The Brunch Club.

Before they packed up camp and headed to the northeast hills, Salys held Vorjhon’s shield up in front of her. WIth its tip touching the ground it was almost as tall as she was. The emblem of Bahamut that took up most of the front of the paladin’s shield was impeccably polished. Salys inspected Drusilla’s handy work in the reflection. “Not bad!” Said the gnome..

After an hour of marching in the morning mist the women’s hair was soaked and matted to their faces. Rivulets of water rolled down Vorjhon’s scales. The anticipation of battle kept them from feeling the cold. They reached the hills and walked carefully through the vales, keeping their eyes peeled on the hilltops. They began seeing trampled grass and bones covered in snow. When they came across a fresh animal carcass, they stopped. Through the mist, around a 100 feet away, they saw a large hill in front of a larger ridge with what looked like the opening of a cave. From their position they couldn’t see the top of the hill.

“Can Pip have a closer look at that ridge?” Elora asked Salys.

“No fucking way,” said Pip, though only Salys could hear him.

“He’d be happy to,” the sorceress told them.

Pip flew through the mist in the direction of the ridge.

“There’s two giants up there,” he told Sayls when he returned. “They smell terrible.”

Elora asked the owl to describe the ridge above the cave. Salys told her Pip’s observations.

“If we can sneak up ridge and get above them, that would give us advantage,” said Vorjhon.

The Brunch Club agreed.

Using Pip’s description, Elora led them to the edge of the ridge from the back. They got within eighty feet where they could peer down and see the two hill giants. They sat on a wide fallen tree trunk, ripping raw meat off bones with their teeth. The carcass of a large, legless bear lay in front of them.

“Well, no time like the present,” said Salys.

“Take the big one out first,” Vorjhon reminded them.

They all stood. Elora, Salys, and Diessa silently prepared to attack. Drusilla shifted her foot to get in her own attack stance and dislodged a small rock stuck in the ground. It skipped and rolled down the hill, hit the ridge, and landed at the giants’ feet. They looked up the ridge and saw the five figures staring down at them. Instead of ducking out of the line of fire, they stood up, making themselves nice, big, inviting targets.

“Wow, they are dumb, aren’t they?” Diessa said as she let her arrow fly from her shortbow at the larger of the giants.

Elora, Drusilla, and Salys unleashed their attacks as well. The giant staggered back, fell to one knee, and struggled to breathe. The slightly smaller of the two giants howled with rage, picked up the bear carcass with one hand and hurled it over the ridge. It struck Elora square in the chest, knocking her backwards onto the ground, landing on top of her.

Vorjhon ran over to their fallen ranger. Blood sprayed from her mouth as she coughed and tried to breathe. The paladin rolled the bear off of Elora. He bent over and touched her shoulder. His healing energy flowed into her.

The wounded giant tried to stand. Salys, Drusilla and Diessa fired again, all shots striking true. The giant dropped to his knees once more, then fell over onto his side as life left his body.

The remaining giant picked up the tree trunk and hurled it up toward the women that killed his friend. Vorjhon dove in front of it. The trunk hit his shield and drove his arm into his abdomen, knocking the wind out of him.

The sorceress, cleric, and rogue took their shots. They all hit the giant, but its rage helped it ignore the pain. It picked up a nearby rock with both hands and held it over its head, getting ready to hurl it.

Elora finally caught her breath. She got to one knee taking partial cover behind the bear. In rapid succession she fired one phoenix arrow into the middle of the giant’s forehead. The impact of the arrow created large holes in the front and back of the cranium as it entered and exited. Before Vorjhon could shout, “We need the head!” Elora’s second shot did even more damage to the giant’s skull. The giant stood motionless for a moment. Its eyes grew unfocused as its mouth hung slack. Drool poured off its lower lip. The boulder slipped from the giant’s hands, falling straight down. The large stone crushed the giant’s head like an egg, collapsing it all the way down to the neck.

Vorjhon gave Elora an annoyed look.”Sorreey,” said the ranger.

When they got down to the bodies, the paladin’s fear was confirmed. The head of the giant had been obliterated. They were able to salvage a few teeth and some scalp, but nothing that would definitively prove they killed both giants.

“What now?” asked Diesa.

“I guess we can at least collect the one head,” said Elora.

Vorjhon laughed.

“What’s so funny? Drusilla asked.

”Captain Pernold never said which head he wanted,” Vorjhon answered, “If you catch my meaning.”

Salys also laughed. “It’s a good thing they’re both male,” she observed.

They rolled the giants onto their backs. Salys used her dagger to cut away their loin cloths.

“Damn,” muttered Elora at the exposed giant penises. “Those are going to take more than a dagger.”

“Congratulations, Diessa,” said Vojhon, patting her jovially on her shoulder. “You’re the one with the axe.”

Diesa sighed. “Fine,” she said, and removed the intact head and two penises from the bodies. She placed them in the bag of colding.

The Brunch Club reached their previous night’s campsite before dark where they spent an uneventful night. In the morning they began the day long walk back to Elnor with their prize.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 24

Episode 22 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 022 “Warning Shots”

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Welcome to Episode 22 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

Diessa introduced the rest of The Brunch Club to the seedy underbelly of Elnor. They discovered the location of the city’s black market where they stocked up on health potions and scrolls of find familiar to resurrect Pip with. They embarked a second time to collect the bounty on the hill giants. During the night they were attacked by three owlbears, one of which tried to drag Salys away. Salys was able to escape and The Brunch Club were able to kill the owlbears with the help of an unknown ally assisting them with accurate crossbow shots from an unseen location.

And now…

Episode 22 “Warning Shots”

The sky was beginning to brighten with the approach of morning, but it was still dark. Drusilla cast four orbs of light around the camp. She made them circle outwards, illuminating the area around them, as well as the three dead owlbear carcasses.

Vorjhon took a deep breath so he could shout something to the unseen stranger or strangers who assisted them in their fight against the owlbears, but he dropped to a knee and winced in pain. He coughed blood into his mouth and spit it on the ground. The paladin had not fully healed himself after the battering he took from two of the owlbears. He murmured a prayer to himself, laid his hands on his chest and abdomen, and felt the pain in his chest and back disappear. He stood up again, inhaled successfully, and shouted in to the early morning air, “Thank you for assistance! Please, show yourself!”

There was no reply.

Drusilla guided her dancing lights past small hills, boulders, the edge of the woods, and anywhere else someone could hide. They saw no sign of anyone.

They dragged the owlbear corpses away from the camp, then rested for another hour while they waited for the sun to fully rise.

In the bright light of morning, they searched again for their mysterious benefactors, but without success.

Elora looked at Pernold’s map that marked the rough spot of the Hill Giants last known location and guided them toward it. Vorjhon and Diessa followed behind her while Salys and Drusilla followed behind them.

After noon Diessa stopped and pointed toward a log a few yards away.

“I saw something duck in there,” She said to Vorjhon. “It looked shiny.”

Elora, can you shoot that log, please.” Vorjhon asked.

Elora shrugged and said, “Sure, why?”

“To be safe,” Vorjhon answered.”

The ranger shot her phoenix arrow at the log. It pierced it easily going clean through the other side before magically reappearing in her quiver.

“What’s going on?” Salys asked.

“Diessa saw something in log,” said Vorjhon. “Can you fire magic missile on one side of log? Hopefully that will scare whatever is in there out the other side.”

Salys did as Vojhon asked, but nothing emerged.

Vorjhon walked up to the log and swung at it with Eclipse. The rotted log disintegrated into powder when he struck it. In the middle of the dusty pile lay a fist-sized velvet bag with a segment of gold chain hanging out from the loosely tied top.

“What in the gods name are you doing?” Diessa asked Vorjhon as they all walked over to him.

“You said you saw something shiny duck in log. Just wanted to be safe. Make sure there were not more snakes,” he explained.

Diessa sighed. “I said ‘stuck,’ not ‘duck’ you moron.”

The dwarf took the bag from him and emptied it into her hand. At the end of a long gold chain hung a large, exquisitely cut, star shaped ruby.

Salys whistled. “That’s not something you find every day.”

“What’s it doing out here,” Elora asked.

“It must have been stolen and hidden away,” Drusilla supposed. “I wouldn’t risk leaving a necklace like that in the woods if I owned one, even if I was trying to hide it from someone.”

“So, we should take it then,” Said Salys.

“Why don’t we ask Mr. Good And Lawful, over here,” Diessa said without any attempt to hide her sarchasm while gesturing at the paladin.

“There is nothing wrong with doing right thing,” said Vorjhon, without any attempt to hide his self righteousness. “I think Drusila is right. Jewelry must be stolen. We should take it and try to find its rightful owner.” The dragonborn held his hand out, palm up, in front of the dwarf.

“We’ll call that ‘Plan A’,” Diessa said as she dropped the necklace and bag in Vorjhon’s palm.

He placed it in the bag of colding.

Since they had stopped anyway, they decided to eat lunch, then continue on their way.

About three hours later Elora stopped and looked at the map again. They were still on relatively flat grassland, but they could see foothills and rocky mesas in the distance. “We’re getting close to its territory,” Elora said. “We should camp here tonight. No fire.”

They ate cold rations and discussed their strategy for taking down two hill giants.

“I recommend not getting hit when they throw boulder at you,” Vorjhon suggested, recalling their earlier encounter with a hill giant.

“If we can keep them at a distance, we should be okay,” said Drusilla.

“You’re the soldier Vorjhon,” Salys pointed out. “What do we do?”

The paladin thought for a moment, recalling the tactical training he received during his time with the Silver Flame. “Drusilla is right again,” he said. “Better to keep them at distance. When we are in range, the four of you should shoot everything you have at largest one. Hopefully you kill it quickly before second giant reaches us.”

“What if it reaches us before we kill the first one?” Diessa asked.

“Then I will engage it,” answered Vorjhon. “The four of you should run in different directions so it can’t take you all out with one blow.”

“What if it takes you out with one blow?” Drusilla asked.

“You four killing it before it can do that is, as Diessa says, ‘Plan A.’”

They agreed on the plan and decided getting to sleep early was a good idea.

Without a fire, the women who were not on watch huddled together for extra warmth. Silver dragonborns were not affected by the cold so he required no extra protection against the chilly night. He said his nightly prayers to the Silver Flame and to Bahumut before drifting off to sleep.

It snowed that night. It stopped by the time the Brunch Club woke up and the sky was sunny and clear and there wasn’t much of a breeze. This wasn’t great news for them as they knew it would be easier for the hill giants to see them approaching. Nevertheless they proceeded into the hills. Haste was not needed as they knew they were in the giants’ territory now. They walked slowly, scanning every hilltop, valley, rock outcropping, and grove they saw. They did not talk and were thankful the couple inches of fresh snow muffled their footsteps.

In the early afternoon they saw a small cluster of boulders. They hid behind it hoping to keep out of sight and ate lunch. Elora peered over the rocks, scanned the horizon, and when she was confident it was clear, led them back on their path.

It was a couple hours after lunch when the first boulder landed 100 feet in front of them. They stopped and crouched down to make themselves smaller targets. Three to four hundred feet to the north north west, on top of a tall rocky hill they saw a grey skinned giant. He held a boulder above his head, but did not throw it. He put the boulder down when The Brunch Club backed away.

They waited a few moments then moved forward once more. The giant picked the boulder up and threw it. This time it landed closer. They retreated a little ways. Elora raised her bow. The giant quickly stepped behind one of the large pile of boulders that rested atop the hill. They still couldn’t see the giant, but now they knew it could see them.

“What now?” asked Salys.

“I only saw one giant,” Diessa pointed out. “Where’s the other?”

“Good question,” said Elora.

“Why isn’t it throwing more rocks at us?” Drusilla wondered. “We’re out here in the open.”

I think it just wants us to stay away,” said Vorjhon.

“We could charge it,” considered Elora, out loud.

“It has high ground,” Vorjhon said. “And we have no cover.”

“We should set a trap for it,” Diessa suggested.

“What would we use as bait? One of us?” Salys asked.

Elora reached into her sack, “We still have all that jerky we bought for Harir.”

“That’s right!” Drusilla confirmed.

“How much do you have?” Vorjhon asked.

“A little less than forty pounds,” Elora said after adding up the jerky she and Drusilla had bought in Wheaton..

A look of disbelief appeared on Diessa’s face. “You’ve each been carrying twenty pounds of jerky this whole time?”

“It was for Harir,” Drusilla said sadly, thinking about their lost wolf pup.

“I guess it’s worth a try,” said Salys.

They walked back the way they came, hoping the giant would see them leave and think he frightened them off. As soon as they were out of sight, they made camp and rested while they waited for nightfall. At dusk, they walked back to where the boulders landed. They were still there and they hid behind them for cover. Diessa crouched and snuck forward about 30 feet, testing whether the giant could see her. Nothing happened. She slowly walked back to the boulders and told them it looked safe to set their trap.

Elora, Diessa, and Salys fanned out quietly and each constructed a blind made of grass and snow. The blinds and boulders formed a 40 foot wide circle. Elora placed all 40 pounds of jerky in the center of it.

Diessa, Elora, and Salys hid behind their snow blinds.

Vorjhon and Drusilla each hid behind a boulder because their heavy armor made it hard for them to move quietly.

They waited and hoped the smell of smoked meat would find its way up the hilltop and tempt the giants. They waited for a very long time. They waited for a long time after that. They saw the snow blow across the ground and the jerky move a bit. This gave them hope a breeze was picking up and that it would carry the scent up the hill.

Before any of them realized the breeze was only located around the jerky, a creature swooped in on large, bat-like leathery wings and landed in front of the bait. The creature was enormous. It was ten feet long and looked like a lion with dragon wings. On either side of the lion’s mane, two other heads were attached to its shoulders. On the right side was the neck and head of a red scaled dragon. On the other side was a great-horned goat.

It pranced around the jerky. The lion head leaned down to sniff it. The other two heads looked around, keeping an eye out for scavengers that might try to claim this prize.

Vorjhon’s lack of night vision meant he could not see what the creature was. He could only make out a monstrous dark shadow against the slightly less dark night sky.

When he turned to ask Drusilla what she saw, his shield scraped against the boulder.

All three heads stared toward him. The red scaled dragon’s eyes narrowed. An unmistakable glow of fire lit the inside of its open mouth.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 23

Episode 22 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 021 “Thieves’ Cant”

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Welcome to Episode 21 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

The Brunch Club entered Elnor and took lodgings in the Slate District. They hired a local furrier to make them cold-resistant cloaks out of their winter wolf pelts. Salys freaked out when she saw a beholder mounted on the wall of the Elfsong tavern and explained to her friends that a beholder is what attacked Root Run and made her a sorceress. They rescued an old man from a trio of muggers and returned him to his daughter. Captain Pernold, commander of the Selsuns, gave them a bounty on two hill giants. Their downpayment was a magical bag of colding. On their first night of camp, a demon disguised as the old man they rescued attacked Drusilla and tried to fly away with her before the rest of the group could kill it. After the fight they realized they forgot to stock up on essential supplies.

And now…

Episode 21 “Thieves’ Cant”

No one spoke as The Brunch Club finished breakfast and packed up their gear. They walked with purpose back to Elnor feeling a little embarrassed about forgetting to purchase health potions and a scroll of find familiar to resurrect Pip with.

“How much was that scroll, Vorjhon?” Salys asked.

Vorjhon told her. It was expensive. Healing potions were expensive. They were discussing the unfortunate cost of being freelance adventurers when Diessa interrupted them.

“Don’t worry about it guys. I can get that stuff for half the cost.”

They stared at her.

“Seriously?” Salys asked.

“Seriously,” assured Diessa.

It was early evening when they got back to Elnor. Diessa led them as they walked along the main street of the Slate District.

“So where is this discount magic merchant?” Drusilla asked.

“Not sure yet. Need to ask around first,” Diessa answered.

“Ask where?” Salys wondered.

“Here,” said Diessa. They stopped in front of a tavern named the Broken Pig. The front windows were painted black so no one could see inside from the street. The place seemed normal enough when they entered. It was a little rough and dirty but they’d been in rougher taverns.

“What are we doing here?” Elora asked Diessa.

“Getting dinner. I’m hungry.” Diessa said.

They walked to an empty table and sat down.

The tavern keeper approached and greeted them, “How ya doin cove and mots? You lookin for a chunk o’ gin or some fancy booze?”

“I do like fancy booze,” Drusilla said.

Diessa cut her off and answered the tavern keeper. “We’re looking for some bagged flash stuffing.”

“I’ve never heard of bagged flash stuffing, is it good?” Vorjhon asked.

Diessa shot him a narrow-eyed look telling him to be quiet.

The tavern keeper considered Diessa for a moment, then said, “We don’t have any here but my uncle has a piece.”

Diessa slid a small square of wrapped cloth across the table towards him. “Expense money for your uncle.”

The tavern keeper nodded and took it. “Would you like anything else this evening?” he asked.

“What about that fancy booze?” Drusilla asked.

Diessa sighed. “Meat, cheese, bread, and ale for the table.”

When the tavern keeper left, Salys leaned in toward Diessa. “What the hell was that?” She asked.

“I’ll tell you later,” Diessa said.

Their food arrived. The wrapped canvas square was on the corner of the cutting board next to the bread. Diessa unwrapped it, revealing a piece of paper. It read, “Shrew and Hare. Port District. Lavender Meade.”

They paid their bill, left a little extra expense money for the tavern keeper’s uncle and decided to get rooms at the Rampant Wizard Inn.

On their way to the steps that led up to the Granite district, they walked past the home they had returned the old man to the night before.

Scarlett’s silhouette was visible as she walked around her small home. Drusilla knocked on the door. Scarlett was surprised to see them, but invited them in.

“We were walking by and wanted to make sure your dad was okay,” Drusilla said.

Scarlet smiled. “That’s very thoughtful of you. He’s still up. Come say ‘hi’.”

She led them to another room where her father was sitting in a threadbare, but comfortable looking wing back chair.

“It’s nice to see you again,” said Drusilla.

The old man said nothing but gave her a kind smile.

“Was he here all last night?” Elora asked.

“Yes. Why?” asked Scarlett, curiously.

“We just want to make sure he doesn’t run into those bandits again,” Salys said.

Vorjhon stood next to the old man and said a prayer under his breath.

Scarlett looked at the paladin and asked him, “What are you doing?”

When Vorjhon was finished, he smiled at her and said, “I was saying prayer to Bahumut to watch over you and your father.”

“Oh. Thank you,” Scarlett said graciously.

She offered them some tea, but they declined and wished her a good night.

They were out of sight of the house when Vorjhon said, “It wasn’t him.”

“How can you be sure?” Drusilla asked.

“If I concentrate, I can sense good and evil. That’s what I was doing when I was praying. I sensed no evil in that house.”

“That demon must have read your mind and turned into something you thought was harmless,” Salys said to Drusilla.

They agreed with Salys’s explanation and continued to the Rampant Wizard Inn. They took rooms for the night then woke up early the next morning to go to the Port District and search for the Shrew and Hare.

The innkeeper at the Rampart Wizard gave them directions and suggested they hire a carriage since it was on the opposite side of the city.

The carriage dropped them off at a plaza paved with large granite stones.

When they got out of the carriage they looked past the immense open plaza to the horizon, but could see no sign of a port, or even the ocean.

“Is this right place?” Vorjhon asked the coachman.

“It is,” the driver assured them. He pointed toward the edge of the plaza. “Just walk all the way to the end and wait.”

They walked to the edge and looked over. Too far down to judge the distance, at the base of a ninety degree rock face, they saw the piers, docks, and harbors of the Port District.

Two small boxes began ascending the cliff toward them. The boxes grew larger as they got closer and reached the top so quickly, The Brunch Club had to jump back to avoid being decapitated. The house-sized elevators had walls on two sides but were completely open on the sides that faced the plaza and the sea. A glowing crystal larger than Vorjhon was affixed to the roof of each elevator with an iron and brass framework that resembled a ring’s stone setting.

The people who had rode the elevator up looked like sailors and dock workers. They ignored The Brunch Club as they exited the platforms and walked past them into the plaza. The five adventurers walked on to the elevator closest to them and waited.

“What now?” asked Vorjhon.

The rest of them shrugged. They waited. The crystal above them hummed and the box they were in began to descend while the empty one remained on the plaza. They looked out to the vast sea and the early morning light that skipped across the whitecaps. The speed with which the port seemed to be getting closer made them think the elevator was free falling, but inside the box they felt like they were standing on solid ground.

The platform reached the bottom in seconds, though they felt like they had barely moved.
The boardwalk they stepped onto was like the other districts of Elnor. It was large enough to have rows of buildings on either side with the street between them wide enough to allow carriages to pass each other with room to spare.

The row of buildings on the seaward side had wide gaps every five or six buildings that allowed for stairs leading down to the busy docks.

They wandered the boardwalk until they found the Shrew and Hare.

Even though it was early, it was open. No one else was inside except for a man behind the bar trying to wipe a sticky, dark brown stain off the bar.

He looked up when he saw them enter. “Morning. What can I get you? Ale? Wine?”

“Lavender Meade,” said Diessa.

The bartender stopped wiping and stared at them.

“Is your uncle here?” Diessa asked.

The bartender smiled and led them to the back of the bar and through a door that opened onto a descending rock stairwell cut into the cliffside.

“Tell the guy at the door you’re there to see Jack,” the bartender instructed as he closed the door behind them.

They were enveloped in darkness. The elves’ and gnome’s eyes adjusted quickly. The faint torchlight coming from the bottom of the stairs was enough to light their way. They guided Vorjhon down a few steps until they were close enough to the torch that he could see the stairs on his own.

A large man in leather armor with a loaded crossbow across his lap sat next to a sturdy looking wooden door.

“We’re here to see Jack,” Diessa told him.

He nodded and knocked seven times on the door. It opened.

They walked into a large room. Like the stairwell, it was carved into the cliff. Shelves lined the walls. They looked like the shelves in the Sun Spot. They were packed full with random bottles, bags, weapons, and some mundane looking items. The room also had a long oak bar with several tables. It looked like it was a magic emporium and tavern rolled into one.

They walked up to the bar. A man was leaning over a ledger and marking it with a quill. “Are you Jack?” Diessa asked.

Jack looked up and said that he was. “How can I help you?”

“We need some healing potions and two Scrolls of Find Familiar,” Diessa told him.

“And any of these items if you have them,” Drusilla said, sliding Saberhagen’s shopping list to him.

Jack looked at it. “I think we have everything but the bat guano.” He spent a few minutes rummaging around the shelves, placed all the items in front of them, then told them the price.

It was shockingly low. Less than half of what it would have cost them in Wheaton or even Boughmoor, let alone in the Granite and Crystal Districts of Elnor.

They gave the scrolls to Salys, distributed the potions between them, and placed Saberhagen’s items in the Bag of Colding.

“Anything else?” Jack asked them.

“Yeah,” Salys said. “Do you serve food down here?”

Jack laughed, said they did, and told them to pick any table.

They ate breakfast and were getting ready to leave when Diessa asked Jack, “Ever heard of someone calling themselves the ‘Serpent King?’”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Heard of him. Don’t know him. Word is he’s kind of a small deal that likes to talk big.”

“You know how to find him?” Diessa asked.

Jack shook his head. “Nope, but I’ll keep my ears open if you want.”

Diessa tossed a gold coin in his direction. “Thanks,” she said, “for expenses.”

He caught it, put it in his pocket, and went back to his ledger.

They went up the stairs, out of the Shrew and Hare, and into the street, where Vorjhon exclaimed happily, “Can you believe those prices? How come items there were so much cheaper? Why not everyone go there?”

Diessa looked at Vorjhon. Disbelief was plainly visible on her face. “Are you serious?” she asked the happy paladin.

“Um, Vorjhon,” Salys said slowly. “The stuff we just bought was probably not supplied by the most reputable sources.”

“Ah. Black market,” the paladin said, scowling and looking at Diessa with disapproval. “I should have known.”

Diessa shrugged. “Hey, sometimes stuff falls off the back of a wagon. It might not all be stolen.”

“How do we know it will all work?” Vorjhon asked in a skeptical tone.

“Being a penny weighter isn’t good for business,” Diessa answered him seriously. “But it’s a risk you take.”

“Penny weighter?” asked Elora.

“Thieves’ Cant for someone who replaces expensive items with cheap ones, waters down potions, forges scrolls, that kind of thing,” answered Diessa.

“Thieves’ Can’t?” Salys asked.

“It’s slang thieves use to talk business in public.” explained Diessa.

“That’s why we had no idea what you and the bartender were talking about at the Broken Pig.” said Drusilla.

“Yup,” Diessa nodded.

With supplies procured and breakfast eaten, they embarked once more to hunt down the Hill Giants in hopes of claiming the bounty.

They had left early enough that they reached the same campsite from two nights ago well before sunset. They made camp, ate dinner, and then watched expectantly as Salys read the Scroll of Find Familiar to resurrect Pip.

The tension of not knowing if the black market scroll would work faded when the writing burned away as Salys read the incantation. The charred paper fell to the ground in an owl-shaped pile, then scattered when Pip shook the ashes from his feathers.

He flew up to Salys’s eye level. She held her forearm in front of her face so Pip could perch on it.

She smiled at the owl. “Welcome back, Pip. I missed you,” she said, and kissed him on his feathered forehead.

Pip leaned in close until his beak almost touched the bridge of Salys’s nose.

For the other members of the group who could not hear Pip, this scene of a white pygmy owl touching his beak to the nose of his red headed, forest gnome master, was one of the most adorable things they had ever seen.

“He must be telling her how much he missed her,” Vorjhon said.

“Awww,” Elora and Drusilla said in unison.

“What… the… fuck… was… THAT???” Pip shouted at Salys.

The others could hear nothing and only saw the owl’s beak opening and closing quickly.

“Do you know what it feels like to be disintegrated into nothingness? Do you? Well it sucks!!”

“Sorry dude,” said Salys, “But that’s part of your job as a familiar. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. At least you can be resurrected.”

Pip shook his wings angrily. “Oh!. Yeah! You know what else fucking sucks?” he screamed. “Being reborn in a pile of ash! Do you know how long it’s going to take me to get all that soot out of my feathers? Ugh!”

“Look, I know you’re upset. Go fly around for a while till you cool down. Be back on my shoulder before sunset.” Salys held her arm up as Pip spread his wings and corkscrewed into the air, then flew off. “Try not to get killed this time!” She called after him.

Pip did not get killed. Before sunset he returned and The Brunch Club bedded down for the night.

The first five-ish hours of the evening passed without incident. It was still dark, but nearer to sunrise when Diessa relieved Salys and joined Elora for the final watch. They sat in silence, listening to the wind and the faint sounds of nature waking up. Elora saw a large, dark shape rise up from a small hill a few yards to their right. The silhouette had a round head, no neck, and rounded off shoulders. Diessa saw a similar shape to their left. Elora turned to her companions to wake them up and saw a third shape dragging Salys away toward the woods.

The creature abducting Salys was close enough for Elora to get a better look at. Its owl-like head and bear-shaped body made it easy to identify.

“Owlbears!” the ranger shouted, right before being knocked unconscious.

The two owlbears they had originally spotted closed the distance to the campsite quickly. Diessa managed to avoid the second one’s blow by diving out of the way. The charging beast rushed past her and swung its thick paw at Drusilla, who had just managed to get herself into a sitting position. The paw slammed into the head of the defenseless cleric, knocking her unconscious as well.

Salys was jostled awake by the feeling of her back bumping roughly against the ground as she was dragged away from their camp site. She held her hands up toward her kidnapper and quickly fired as many magic missiles as she could. They slammed into the back of its head and neck. The beast turned and raised its long, heavy, fur-coated arm. Before it could rake her with its deadly looking claws, a crossbow bolt landed deep in the shoulder of its raised arm. It howled as the limb dropped uselessly by its side.

At the campsite, Vorjhon shielded Drusilla as the owlbear tried to attack her unconscious body. He said a healing prayer which revived the cleric. “Help Elora,” he told her as he turned to face the owlbear. He said another prayer which made Eclipse, his two headed mace, glow with divine silver light allowing him to see his opponents better in the darkness.

The light attracted the attention of both owlbears and they converged upon him. He was able to block the first one’s attack with his shield, but the one behind him slammed painfully into his back. He stumbled forward into the other owlbear, but managed to push off with his shield and remain upright. He swung at the first owlbear, hitting it in the chest. He turned to swing at the head of the other one behind him, but missed by inches. Both owlbears attacked again, raking their sharp claws across his shield and back. The leather armor he wore while sleeping helped defend him a little, but as the claws dug through its gaps and weak spots, Vorjhon wished he was wearing his splint mail.

While their paladin was keeping the attention of the two owlbears, Drusilla rushed to Elora’s side and revived her with a prayer of healing. The cleric then called forth into existence a swirling cloud of spiritual ravens that surrounded her and Elora and anything else within a 15 foot radius.

Diessa took advantage of the distracted owlbear and swung her axe into its back. She buried the blade in its thick hide and drew blood. The beast did not seem to notice and kept its rage focused on Vorjhon.

A few feet from camp, the confused, hurt owlbear looked around to see where the crossbow bolt had come from. Another crossbow bolt landed in its chest. It dropped Salys’s legs, staggered back, and howled with pain, rage and frustration. Salys took advantage of its confusion and released another salvo of magic missiles into the beast. It staggered back again. It looked down at Salys and appeared to have trouble standing. Another crossbow bolt pierced its side and sunk in down to the fletching. It swayed side to side a little, lifted one leg as though it were going to take a step, then fell backwards, lifeless into the snow.

Salys scrambled back to her feet and ran back to their campsite. She saw two owlbears beating the shit out of Vorjhon. She saw Elora firing arrow after arrow into one of them, while Diessa chopped at the other with her axe. Drusilla had gotten close enough for her ravens to claw and peck relentlessly at the owlbears as well, yet they continued to concentrate their attacks on the beleaguered dragonborn.

Salys raised her arms and shouted, “Nobody fucks with my paladin!” Five magic missiles shot from her hands and slammed into the beast between her and Vorjhon. As the bolts of green energy left her hand, a crossbow bolt whooshed past her head and also hit the owlbear.

It screamed and fell to the side where it perished in the bloody snow.

Vorjhon, touched a wound on his shoulder. It healed instantly. He said a prayer and swung Eclipse at the remaining owlbear. Diessa swung her axe as well and their weapons hit the beast at the same time. When Eclipse hit its target, a bolt of silver, smiting, energy struck it as well. The beast dropped to all fours. It looked up at Vorjhon with something like surprise in its eyes. It tried to get up, but died instantly when another crossbow bolt penetrated its temple.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 22

Episode 21 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 020 “A Sight To Behold”

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Welcome to Episode 20 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 19, The Brunch Club discovered someone calling themselves “The Serpent King” had beaten them to Diessa’s treasure. There was a note left behind telling them opportunities for riches were available if they sought him out in Elnor. On the way back to the road, they had a small encounter with some snakes. The next day they traveled in fierce cold headwinds. When they inspected a small cave for possible shelter they were attacked by three winter wolves. One of them used icy breath to knock Diessa, Drusilla, and Salys unconscious. Vorjhon revived Drusilla who revived Diessa and Salys, and they killed the wolves together. In the morning Elora skinned them for their valuable pelts. In the evening, they finally reached the gates of Elnor.

And now…

Episode 20, “A Sight To Behold”

The Brunch Club entered Elnor at sunset. The smaller towns they had previously visited would have closed their gates by this time, but the gates of Elnor were wide open. The City of Magic did not fear the creatures hidden in the dark forest outside their walls. The five travellers stood in the Slate District, literally and figuratively the lowest level of Elnor. The districts higher up the hill the city was built around cast their shadows over the Slate District, causing the darkness of night to fall there first. The tallest of the grand buildings atop the city, including the unmistakable crystal spire of the library, still glowed with golden hour sunlight.

Whereas most businesses in the smaller towns and villages would close their doors with the setting sun, the tradesmen in the Slate District still had their doors open and lamps lit in their shops. When the last of the sun faded off of the tip of the Crystal Spire Library, the entire city magically relit. On each side of the road, twenty feet off the ground, and forty feet apart, orbs of light flickered into existence.The streets of Elnor were bathed in cool magical light as though invisible street lamps had suddenly been turned on.

Across the street from the entrance, directly below one of the magic, glowing street lights, Diessa noticed a sign that read, ‘Bright Night Inn.’ The entrance was sparsely furnished. The innkeeper behind the desk was too preoccupied with a book to notice them right away. There was no small talk or questions about where they were from as she led them to their rooms, which were small, slightly dingey, but serviceable.

The innkeeper did tell them most of the tradesmen were still open at that time, as well as the name of a furrier on the opposite side of the Granite District. Elnor was essentially a series of concentric circles stacked on top of each other around a tall hill. They took a long flight of stone stairs to the circular main street of the Granite District and followed the innkeeper’s directions. After a mile, the briney odors of the tanneries and the acrid smoke of coal and wood from the blacksmiths let them know they were approaching the trades district. They soon found Vesper’s workshop and entered.

The stench was unpleasant. Furs hung from the ceiling in layers on horizontal dowels. A middle aged dwarf appeared from behind one of the furs and greeted them.

“Good evenin’ to ya’ll,” he greeted them cheerfully, wiping his hands with a dirty cloth.

Drusilla asked, “Are you Vesper?”

“I am,” Vesper answered. “How can I help you tonight?”

Elora walked over to a long, wide, empty table. She unrolled the bundle of pelts displaying the stack of pristine white furs. “We were hoping to sell these,” the ranger told him.

Vesper looked astonished. He stared at Elora with wide eyes. “Are those..?”

“Winter wolves,” said the ranger, finishing his sentence. 

The furrier made sure his hand was clean before he moved it slowly, almost reverently across the fur. He lifted each pelt to inspect the one underneath. He frowned slightly at the blood stains and a small singed hole that he put his finger through. He stepped back and stared at the furs for a few moments before speaking. “As much as I’d love to, I can not buy these from you.”

Elora asked defensively, “Why not? What’s wrong with them?”

Vesper laughed. “Nothing! I can’t afford them! These pelts are worth more than every fur in this shop!”

Diessa’s and Salys’s eyes grew wider. “Why?” Salys asked first.

“Winter wolf fur has magical properties. It will protect you against the cold more than any number of normal furs you could wear at once. It will even help protect you against magical cold attacks, like your dragonborn friend has.”

Remembering how his friends were knocked unconscious by the winter wolf’s ice breath, Vorjhon asked, “Could you make four cloaks for us from these pelts?”

Vesper looked at Salys, Diessa, Elora, and Drusilla. He measured the pelts carefully. Finally he said, “I think I can get cloaks for a gnome, dwarf and two elves out of this. One of them might have spots of blood on it though.”

Diessa raised her hand quickly. “I’ll take that one.”

They agreed on a price, gave the furrier a down payment, and said they’d be back in a week to pick them up. 

“Anyone else hungry?” Salys asked as they stepped out of Vesper’s workshop. They were, and decided to enter the first tavern they saw on their walk back to the inn. 

The Elfsong Tavern’s ornate wooden door decorated with delicate carvings of ivy caught Elora’s eye. They stepped through it and into a crowded but eerily silent large room. People were eating and drinking but not speaking to each other. A haunting, ambient, acapella melody filled the open space. On one of the walls was a wide, stone chimney that went from floor to ceiling with a large fireplace at the bottom. 

Above the fireplace, mounted on a plaque that took up the entire width of the chimney, they saw the taxidermied corpse of a grotesque creature that four of them had never seen before. It looked like the very round head of a cyclops. There was no nose and the single eye and mouth were disproportionately large compared to a typical humanoid head. What looked like loose tendrils of skin hung from where the neck should be. Where the hair should have been, were ten snake-like appendages which jutted out in different directions. Each stalk had an eyeball at the end of it. The eyes were positioned so they were each looking at a different direction.

When Salys saw it she started shaking. Her sharp intake of breath was loud enough to draw the rest of The Brunch Club’s attention. “Salys? Are you okay?” Elora asked.

The gnome did not answer and ran quickly back through the door, outside.

When the four of them caught up to Salys she was standing in the middle of the road with her arms crossed, shivering.

They walked her to a bench under one of the floating orbs of light. She sat down. Drusilla and Elora sat on either side of her.

“Sorry guys,” Salys said after calming down. “That was a bit hard to see.”

Drusilla asked, “What was it?”

“I don’t know what it’s called,” the sorceress answered. “But one of those things is what attacked Root Run. It’s what gave me my powers in exchange for my father’s life and sparing the town.”

Diessa stared down at Salys. “You traded your father’s life for magic powers? That’s dope.”

“Someone in there might know what it is and more about it. It might give you some clues about your magic,” said Elora

“If you’re up for it,” added Vorjhon.

The gnome nodded and stood. She took a deep breath and told them, “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

They took four seats at the corner of the bar on the side of the tavern opposite the fireplace and its bizarre decoration. The haunting music was no longer audible and the sound of many simultaneous conversations could now be heard. They introduced themselves to the tavernkeeper working behind the bar. She was a tall, slender elf with a pixie haircut and light gray eyes.

She smiled at them and took their orders. Drusilla struck up a conversation with her. “Who was singing that beautiful song a few minutes ago?” She asked.

The bartender answered, “The story is that an elf died in this tavern centuries ago. Every once in a long while she sings a mournful song that’s so beautiful everyone in the tavern must stop talking and listen.”

Salys asked her, “What’s the creature mounted above the fireplace?”

“That’s called a beholder,” the grey-eyed elf answered. “It was a trophy some adventurers brought back about one hundred and fifty years ago, I’m told..”

“Do you know anything about them?” Vorjhon asked.

“Not personally,” she told them. “Just stories I’ve heard from customers passing through. Captain Pernold of the Selsuns might know more.” She told them the Selsuns were a well established mercenary group in Elnor that sometimes gave out contracts to freelance adventurers. 

Drusilla told her they took rooms at the Bright Night Inn, but asked if she had any other recommendations. The bartender suggested the Rampant Wizard Inn located nearby in the Granite District would be a definite upgrade in their lodgings.

They left the Elfsong Tavern and took the long stairway back down to the Slate District. Between two of the glowing streetlight orbs, where the light was dimmest, Diessa noticed something unusual down a shadowy alley. She walked quietly down the alleyway, staying close to the building. From the shadows she watched three men with swords wearing dark leather armor threaten what looked like an old man in threadbare clothing.

When she heard one of them say, “Just give us whatever copper or silver you have on you, and we might not hurt you,” she stepped out of the shadows.

“‘Sup, boys?” she said. 

They turned to look at her. The tallest and largest of them looked her up and down and muttered to his friends, “Fucking dwarves.” They laughed. He looked Diessa in the eye and told her, “Run along little girl, it’s past your bedtime.”

Diessa smiled, and raised her axe, “Make me.”

The mugger who spoke rushed at her with his sword in front of him. Diessa stepped into the shadow causing him to lose sight of her just for a moment. She emerged from the darkness right next to him and used the flat side of her axe to knock the sword from his hand. Her weapon continued up to his face and knocked him unconscious.

Diessa held the sharp axe over the neck of the prone ruffian, smiled at his partners in crime, and said, “You want to drop your swords now.”

They quickly decided they did.

Diessa then suggested, “You want to take your armor off too.”

They hesitated. They looked at each other, then looked down at their weapons, weighing their odds. 

They heard another female voice tell them, “I think you should do what she said, boys.”

Looking past the formidable dwarf, they saw an elven woman holding a longbow already knocked with an arrow. Her hand was steady, and her aim looked to be level with their heads.

Their hesitation abated and they quickly stripped off their leather armor.

“Your friend’s too,” Diessa said, stepping back from the unconscious body.

They stripped off their friend’s armor, lifted him up with an arm over each of their shoulders and carried him quickly out of the alley. When they saw the gnome, lunar elf, and dragonborn at the end of the alley, they ran as fast as they could.

Diessa and Elora approached the old man. They asked them his name but he only smiled at them. He nodded when they asked if he was okay, and again when they asked if he would like an escort home. They picked up the swords and armor the would-be-robbers left behind and followed the old man. He led them back down the alley, onto the main street, then back down another alley. This one was a bit wider than the one they met him in, and looked residential with small, modest homes lining each side. He stopped at one of the houses and smiled. Vorjhon knocked on the door.

A middle aged woman opened the door just wide enough to look through it and see who was there. She had black hair streaked with grey.  She involuntarily gasped when she saw the six foot four silver scaled dragonborn at her door.

“Forgive me, ma’am,” Vorjhon said in as friendly a voice as possible. “Does this gentleman live here?”

The woman was so startled by the appearance of a dragonborn she had failed to notice anything else. Her look of surprise turned into annoyance when she saw the old man. “Dad,” she scolded, “what are you doing out of bed?” 

The man simply smiled then walked happily through the door. 

The woman thanked them for getting her father home safely, introduced herself as Scarlett, and invited them in for tea. They thanked her, but declined the offer as it was getting late. 


They woke up early the next morning in hopes of beating other adventurers to any possible bounties the Selsuns might have that day. They found Captain Pernold, leader of the Selsuns, at their headquarters and training grounds in the Granite District.

They introduced themselves to the Captain and asked if there were any bounties available for freelance adventurers.

Pernold was a broad shouldered human. He had short gray hair but did not look older than 40. His face was serious, but welcoming. He sat at a large table covered with maps and other papers. He looked each member of The Brunch Club up and down, obviously judging their qualifications based on appearance. 

“We don’t hand out bounties to anyone who asks. How do I know you’re not just dilletants and wannabees? Tell me, what have you fought?”

They told him about the basilisk, the harpies, and the banshee. He stopped them when they told him about the hill giant and asked them to describe it to him. After they did, he shuffled through the papers on the table and handed one to Vorjhon. 

The paladin read it out loud. “Two Hill Giants. Day or two northwest of Elnor. Bounty is 4000g plus bag.”

“Bag?” Drusilla asked.

Pernold handed them a thick leather duffel bag. It was four feet deep and had a two foot diameter opening. “Have you heard of a bag of holding?” He asked.

Vorjhon shook his head.

Pernold explained, “It’s a magic bag. It holds five-hundred pounds and sixty-four cubic feet.”

“It’s bigger on inside!” Vorjhon exclaimed with wonder.

“More like the bag is a doorway to its own pocket dimension, but same idea,” Pernold clarified. “You retrieve things by putting your hand in the opening and picturing the item you want.”

“That’s a very generous bounty for two hill giants,” Elora said.

Pernold chuckled. “It would be, if that was a bag of holding. That’s a bag of colding. Same idea. It only holds 100 pounds though, but it does keep organic items from rotting while they’re in the bag. You’re going to use it to bring back the heads as proof you killed both giants.”

They agreed to the contract. Afterwards they sold the armor and swords they took from the bandits the previous evening, and restocked their rations before leaving Elnor to hunt down some Hill Giants.


 Despite being cold and windy, the day’s travel went smoothly. They followed the road for a while before heading northeast into the grassy plains that would eventually turn into the rolling hills their quarry called home.

They found a flat patch of land with not many rocks to make camp for the night. Elora took the first watch. Her four hours passed without any intrusion upon their camp.

Half way through Drusilla’s watch, the lunar elf heard light, shuffling footsteps. She put her hand on her sword and turned to wake the others. Her apprehension turned to pity when she saw Scarlett’s father come into view as he got closer. 

He walked toward her, a little hunched over, smiling with the same grin he had when they rescued him from the bandits the night before. 

“What are you doing here?” Drusilla asked. “Are you lost?”

The old man stopped and smiled at her some more.

“You didn’t follow us out here?” She said as she slid over on the log she was using as her bench. She patted the space next to her with her hand inviting him to sit next to her.

His smile broadened as he took the offered seat. 

“I don’t know what we’re going to do with you,” she told him. “I guess we’ll have to bring you back to Elnor. You don’t want to go where we’re headed.”

He stared at her.

“You must be hungry, would you like something to eat?” She offered.

His eyes grew wider and he nodded, still smiling. 

Drusilla turned to pull some of her rations from her pack. When she turned back, the old man was gone. In his place was a large, demonic looking creature with gigantic, bat-like wings. It caught her by surprise and its two large hands wrapped around her torso and carried her into the air.

She threw the food into its eyes and screamed to her companions for help.

They were all startled out of their sleep. Elora was the first to see their cleric in the giant talons of some kind of demonic beast. She grabbed her bow and shot at its head. She missed, but her second arrow struck it in the back as it tried to fly higher.

Diessa fired an arrow of her own, but missed because of the growing distance and darkness.

Drusilla kicked and twisted her body violently and managed to get herself out of the demon’s grip. 

As she plummeted she felt a brush of air blow against her face as a large blade swung past her head.

Drusilla hit the ground on her side and pain shot through her broken collarbone and ribs. She managed to get to her feet. She looked up and saw the form directly above her. An arrow pierced it in the abdomen then disappeared. Four green magic missiles slammed into it as well. The cleric spoke a prayer and a purple column of holy flame descended from the sky and struck the beast.

She heard heavy footsteps approaching through the darkness and turned to see Vorjhon running toward her. 

The wail of the dying demon returned her attention skyward. She saw an arrow slice through her attacker’s neck. It screamed again and arched its back as its arms, talons, and wings flexed outward to their full length. It evaporated in a puff of sulfuric ash. They watched as something bright and shiny pinwheeled to the ground. Vorjhon stepped to the side as a large, doubled edged, eight foot long glaive stuck in the ground where he was standing.

Before Vorjhon could ask if she needed assistance, Drusilla said a healing prayer to herself. Her collarbone straightened out and fused back together, along with the broken ribs on that same side.

Vorjhon picked up the glaive and they walked back to camp.

“What was that thing, and why didn’t you wake us sooner?” Elora asked Drusilla.

“I have no idea what it was,” she admitted. “It came into our camp disguised as Scarlett’s father. I thought he was lost or followed us out here.”

Salys pointed to the glaive Vorjhon held in his hand. “What’s that?” she asked. 

“Some kind of two headed spear,” Vorjhon answered.

“The demon dropped it when you guys killed him.” Drusilla said.

“You’re not going to carry that thing with you the whole way? It’s huge.” Diessa said.

“Let’s test that bag,” Elora suggested.

Vorjhon opened the top of the bag of colding and dropped the glaive into it. All eight feet of it disappeared into the four foot deep bag. He reached his hand back in the bag, pictured the glaive in his mind, and felt the shaft reappear in his hand. He withdrew it, showing it to them.

“Coooool,” said Salys.

Vorjhon put the glaive back in the bag, and closed it up. 

Dawn was still a couple hours off so they decided to finish resting for the night. They chatted briefly as they calmed down from the excitement of battle.

“Pernold’s map says we should be getting to the Hill Giants in the morning.” Elora said. “Salys, can Pip fly ahead of us to keep an eye out for anything?”

Salys didn’t answer. 

“Salys?” Elora prodded.

“Shit,” Salys finally said. “I forgot to get another scroll.”

They were silent as each one of them could not believe they forgot about getting a new Scroll of Find Familiar to resurrect Pip with.

“Should we go back?” Vorjhon asked.

“We have to go back,” Drusilla said. “We also forgot to stock up on healing potions.”

“I thought you guys were supposed to be good at this?” Diessa said, rolling her eyes, then rolling over, and going to sleep.

The rest of them took a little longer to fall asleep as they mentally wallowed in their absentmindedness. 


This tale will continue next week in Episode 21

Episode 20 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 019 “The Serpent King”

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Welcome to Episode 19 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 18, during Drusilla’s night watch,she heard a twig snap nearby. She saw a silver-eyed dwarf watching their camp from the bushes across the road. Drusilla invited her to sit with them. Her name was Diessa and she said she was seeking her fortune to help her family get out of poverty. She also had a difficult to read map to a hidden treasure and told them if they helped her find it, she’d split it with them. Elora was able to follow the map to an abandoned mine shaft. They lost control of the tricky, hand-cranked elevator platform and plunged the last 20 feet down the shaft. With only minor injuries they continued into the mine. Vorjhon and Diessa each set a trap off, but were able to avoid harm. They found the treasure chest at the back of a large cavern next to a small pool of black liquid. It was surrounded by weapons and empty armor. They stood at the entrance to the cavern and plotted their next move.

And now…

Episode 19, “The Serpent King”

The Brunch Club stared at the ownerless weapons and armor that lay between them and the treasure chest.

Salys suggested, “Let’s not end up like these guys.”

Drusilla said, “Can we assume that whatever killed these poor bastards came from that pool?”

They all nodded in agreement.

Diessa looked around the cavern. “I’ll sneak around the edge and get to it. You guys can cover me.”

“Wait,” said Vorjhon as Diessa took her first step. “You have bow. You can help cover. Chest may be boobytrapped. Why don’t I go, carry it back here, then you open it. If something goes wrong, we’ll be here to assist you.”

“Well aren’t you a noble one?” Diessa mocked.

“He’s right,” said Elora. “It makes the most sense.”

Diessa stepped back and took her bow off her shoulder, nocked and arrow on the string, and pointed it at the dark pool. Elora did the same. Drusilla said a prayer conjuring her mystical raven. It flew to the pool and hovered between it and the treasure box. Salys got ready to unleash as many magic missiles as she could the if liquid in the pool so much as rippled.

Vorjhon walked slowly around the cavern, staying close to the stone walls. Drusilla’s dancing lights guided his way. He walked as quietly as he could but occasionally his heavy boot would crush a small rock, or his shield would clank against mace. Their heightened alertness made even the slightest noise seem as though it echoed around the cavern.

Diessa whispered, “That oaf is going to get us killed.”

Salys came to the defense of their paladin. “That oaf will probably save your life at some point.”

“Both of you shut up,” urged Elora.

Vorjhon reached the strong box. He paused for a few seconds, staring into the pool. Its surface remained perfectly smooth and undisturbed. He lifted the strongbox easily. It felt lighter than he thought it should, but he’d never carried a box of treasure before, so he had no basis for comparison. Drusilla’s spiritual raven stayed between him and the pool as he carried the box back to them. They let Vorjhon pass and walk a few yards into the tunnel. They backed towards him, keeping their eyes and weapons trained on the dark water.

When they went around a bend in the tunnel and could no longer see the cavern, they relaxed a little. Vorjhon put the box down and stepped away. “All yours,” he said to Diessa.

Elora kept her bow ready and looked back toward the cavern, keeping watch. Drusilla kept an eye on the other end of the tunnel.

Diessa dropped to one knee, took a small roll of cloth out of one of her pockets, and laid it on the ground. She unrolled it exposing an array of delicate lock picking tools.

“You’re a thief.” Vorjhon said, the contempt obvious in his voice.

“I prefer the term, ‘rogue,’” she replied. She inserted one lock pick into the keyhole and jiggled it up and down, getting a feeling for the lock’s inner workings. She placed a second pick in the lock below the first pick and pulled them up and down in opposite directions. They all heard the loud click of the lid unlocking.

Diessa turned back at the paladin and smiled. “A damn good rogue at that.” She opened the lid and a single large dart shot from the opening and embedded itself in her shoulder. “Damnit!” she said through gritted teeth. She fell back into a sitting position. Her thoughts became cloudy and her stomach felt nauseous. Pain began to well up in her extremities. “This dart’s fresh,” she said weakly.

Vorjhon stepped forward, removed the dart and placed a hand over the wound. He said a prayer. When he finished Diessa felt her head clear and the pain and nausea subside.

“Told ya he’d save your life,” Salys said and smirked at Diessa. Diessa smirked back.

The rogue got back on one knee and slowly, more cautiously this time, opened the lid all the way. There was a small cloth bag and a folded piece of paper at the bottom and nothing else. Diessa read the note out loud.

“The Dark Serpent beat you to it. Find me in Elnor’s Slate District for more lucrative opportunities, if you’ve got the stuff. In the meantime, here is a little something for your trouble.”

Diessa emptied six gold pieces from the bag into her palm.

“Yay. We’re rich,” Elora deadpanned.

The dwarf inspected the interior of the box carefully hoping to find a hidden compartment. When she found nothing she stood up and kicked the box angrily.

“Do not despair,” Vorjhon said calmly, “We will keep our word. You are welcome to come to Elnor with us where there will likely be more opportunities to earn money for your family.”

Diessa said nothing and stomped angrily up the tunnel back toward the broken elevator.

As they followed after the rogue, Salys asked, “Do you think she’s still gonna split the treasure with us?”

Vorjhon and Diessa climbed easily out of the deep pit, then used the ropes to pull the others up. They took advantage of the couple hours of daylight still left in the day and marched across the snow mottled grasslands back toward the road to Elnor. The mine shaft was an hour behind them when Elora felt something brush against her feet. She jumped back and called out, “Snakes!”

They stopped and looked at the ground. Snakes pushing two feet long darted between the grass and under the patches of snow. They sprung up near them trying to take bites out of their feet and ankles. Salys was short enough that they were able to nip above her knees. One lunged at the gnome but Vorjhon slammed the edge of his shield down, decapitating it. He lifted Salys onto his shoulders before she could get bitten.

It was impossible to count how many there were and difficult to get a shot at one, even for Elora. From atop Vorjhon’s shoulders Salys fired a salvo of magic missiles in the direction of a writhing cluster of the snakes. Five of them perished immediately and the rest scattered in different directions, disappearing into the grass and snow.

They watched the ground all around them for a minute. The snakes did not return. Salys patted Vorjhon on the head. “I think it’s safe now.”

The dragon put her down gently and said, “Strange that we find note from Serpent King then get attacked by snakes.”

“Could be a coincidence too,” Elora said. “Snakes are common in this kind of terrain.” The ranger resumed leading them back to the road.

They followed her for another hour. When the sun touched the horizon they stopped and made camp for the night.

The next morning began the coldest day of winter so far. The cold was magnified by the biting wind that whipped into them from the direction they needed to go. Silver Scaled dragonborns are not affected by the cold as much as other races, so Vorjhon walked in front to help shield them from the wind. They followed behind each other closely, practically walking on each other’s heels.

Their progress was slow. They decided not to stop for lunch to make up for lost time and walking helped keep them warm.

By mid afternoon, the wind strengthened into a gale. Even though Elora was right behind Vorjhon, he still had to shout to be heard. “We should look for shelter!”

Elora shouted back to him, “Already looking!”

A half hour later she tapped him on the shoulder and pointed toward a distant rocky hill. “It looks like there’s a cave there!”

Vorjhon nodded and turned in that direction.

When they got closer, they could see that there was indeed a small cave among some rocks at the foot of a small hill. The entrance was only about 4 feet tall, but if there was enough room inside it would be a welcome shelter from the icy wind.

Salys summoned Pip. “Go check out the cave, make sure it’s safe.”

Pip huffed dramatically. “Fine. Whatever.” He lifted off the sorceress’s shoulder and swooped into the opening..

Seconds later Salys’s eyes widened. “Shit! He’s gone!”

Drusilla looked at her with concern. “Gone?”

Salys confirmed, “Yeah. I think something killed him.”

“He’s not really dead though?” Vorjhon asked. “Can’t you get him back with another scroll?”

“Yeah,” Salys said. “But right now I’m more worried about what’s in there.”

They stared into the dark hole in the rocks and saw 3 pairs of eyes reflecting back at them. The eyes got larger as they got closer. Elora and Diessa readied their bows and the others prepared to defend themselves.

A wolf with pure white fur and piercing blue eyes appeared at the entrance to the cave. It was large enough it had to crouch down to get out. Two other wolves waited behind the entrance.

“Fuck!” Elora shouted, “Winter wolves!”

Before she could fire her arrow, the wolf in front exhaled a cone of icy breath. It was similar to Vorjhon’s ice breath, but much more powerful. The freezing cold spray made the wind around them seem like a warm summer breeze by comparison. The sudden shock of cold knocked Drusilla, Salys, and Diessa unconscious. Elora was able to turn and brace for it. Cold permeated her body and she felt like she’d never be warm again, but she remained conscious. She fired her arrow at the closest wolf and hit it in the chest below the neck. It yelped in pain and blood stained it’s pristine white fur, but it was not dead.

Vorjhon’s natural cold resistance protected him from the icy blast. He quickly ran to Drusilla and revived her with his healing touch. He stood in front of her and blocked the second wolf with his shield while swinging Eclipse upwards into its ribs. He felt some crack upon impact.

Drusilla rolled over and grabbed Salys’s hand. She said a quick prayer of healing and the gnome sat up, shivering uncontrollably, but alert. From her sitting position she quickly fired off five magic missiles into the side of the winter wolf lunging at Elora.

Vorjhon used his shield to push his winter wolf into the path of the third to keep it from attacking his prone companions. Drusilla used the opportunity to scramble to her feet, run to Diessa, and heal her as well.

The first wolf ignored the pain caused by Salys’s attack and swiped at Elora. It’s powerful claw dug into her thigh. Her leather armor took most of the damage but the wolf’s claws still ripped three large gashes into her flesh. She almost welcomed the feeling of warm blood running down her freezing skin into her boot.

The ranger took two quick shots with her phoenix arrow. The first sailed past it, but the second hit the center of its head right above the muzzle and pierced its brain. The wolf’s lifeless body toppled over into the snow.

Diessa fired her short bow at the wolf engaged with Vorjhon. It yipped and turned to charge her. Before it could, Vorjhon once again swung his two headed mace into its rib cage. This blow collapsed the massive canine’s lungs and stopped its heart.

Drusilla, Salys, and Elora combined their attacks on the third wolf, which succumbed immediately.

Elora limped over to Vorjhon. The paladin fixed her injured leg with a healing prayer.

Drusilla sent her magical light into the cavern to make sure there were no more wolves inside. They saw it was empty and just big enough to fit the five of them. They built a fire just inside the entrance so it could not be blown out by the wind. They huddled close to it to get as warm as they could.

“We should skin those,” Elora said as she warmed her hands. “Winter wolf pelts are rare and worth a lot.”

“In the morning,” Drusilla answered. “They’re not going anywhere.”

The Brunch Club fell asleep with Elora and Drusilla taking their turns at watch. Vorjhon slept at the entrance to help block the wind from coming in.

The next morning was calm and bright. Even though it was still chilly the sun felt warm on their faces as they emerged from the wolf den. After a quick breakfast, they helped Elora skin the large winter wolves. Despite a few blood stains and spots of singed fur, they managed to come away with some large, high quality, snowy white pelts.

It wasn’t long before they were back on the relative safety of the road. They traveled quickly and in the very early evening they reached the gates of Elnor.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 20

Episode 19 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 018 “To Trust A Thief”

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Welcome to Episode 18 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 17, The Brunch Club woke up with hangovers that were cured by healing prayers from Vorjhon and Drusilla. During breakfast the women engaged in another rat killing contest in the basement of TJ’s while Vorjhon asked the tavern keepers for information about the area around Wheaton. They went to the Sun Spot where Saberhagen told them about navigating Elnor and gave them a shopping list. On their first day on the road they took a detour to check out some caves on the coast. They stumbled, literally, into a cave full of chanting cultists who pulled daggers on them but were no match for the Brunch Club. They continued their journey until coming across an inviting clearing and made camp for the night.

And now…

Episode 18, “To Trust A Thief”

Drusilla sat on her heels as she knelt on a cleared patch of ground. She held her torso upright and stared straight ahead into the forest across the road from their campsite. It had been snowing for an hour and there was a fresh layer of snow on top of the earlier accumulations. It was one of those early, pre dawn mornings where the snow on the ground and in the air seemed to absorb all sound. It was the quietest evening the lunar elf could remember in a long time and she enjoyed the stillness while her companions slept behind her.

If it wasn’t for the extreme quiet Drusilla might not have heard the small twig snap across the road. She narrowed her eyes and peered into the woods where the faint sound had come from. Nothing moved. She said a barely audible prayer to herself. Three glowing orbs of light appeared across the road. They hovered above some bushes on the edge of the road. Even with the bright light it took Drusilla a couple of minutes to locate the silver eyes staring back at her through the thicket. They looked at each other. The owner of the silver eyes stayed perfectly still, never breaking eye contact. The cleric sent two of the three orbs through the tangle of low branches, searching for other figures. When she was satisfied there was only one, she calmly called across the road. “It’s more comfortable over here than in the bushes.”

The figure stood up. The dwarf was not much taller than the bush she was hiding behind. When she crossed the road Drusilla got a better look at her. She was under five feet tall. She had the stocky build of a dwarf, but even with her dark, studded leather armor, she looked lean and muscular. The fair skin of her face was framed by medium length blue hair. A shortbow was slung over her back. One hand carried a travel bag down by her knees. Her other hand held the end of a battle axe that rested on her shoulder.

She tossed her bag next to Drusilla and scanned the sleeping figures behind her. “You gonna wake your friends?” she asked.

“They’ll be up soon enough,” Drusilla answered. “I’m enjoying the quiet.”

The dwarf sat on her pack.

“Drusilla,” the elf introduced herself.

“Diessa,” the dwarf said.

After a few minutes Drusilla asked, “How long were you out there?”

“All night,” Diessa answered.

With no tone of accusation in her voice, the cleric asked, “You planning to rob us?”

Diessa replied, “Yup. But you guys keep watch.”

They heard the grunts of stretching, waking bodies behind them as sunlight streamed over the horizon and filtered through the trees.

Drusilla stood up from her kneeling position. “I’ll introduce you. Don’t mention the stealing thing. Our paladin can be a bit annoying about that.”

“Whatever,” Diessa said as she stood.

Drusilla introduced Diessa to the others. She accepted their invitation to share breakfast.

Vorjhon asked “Are you heading to Enlor as well, Diessa?”

The dwarf answered curtly. “Eventually. What’s it to you?”

Vorjhon seemed to ignore Diessa’s standoffish reply. “You are welcome to travel with us if you want. Safety in numbers. Though it shouldn’t be problem this close to Elnor.”

Diessa didn’t answer.

Elora pointed at Diessa’s bow she had set next to her pack. “You any good with that?”

Diessa said, “I’m alright. How are you with the longbow?” She saw the others smile and laugh inwardly.

The red-headed gnome answered for their ranger, “Yeah, she’s alright.”

Diessa nodded and continued eating.

The Brunch Club noticed her staring at each of them as she ate. They knew she was sizing them up. They didn’t know why.

“I’ve come from south of Drazean” she told them. “I left my village a few weeks ago. I’ve been trying to ste… um, earn money to get my family out of poverty. I found a map that supposedly leads to a large ancient treasure. I have followed it this far, but I can’t seem to find the location. If you help me I’ll split it with you.”

Salys crossed her arms. “Five ways, or half for you?”

Diessa seemed surprised and insulted. “Five ways. Yeah. Who would demand half? That’s stupid.”

“Yeah, it is,” Salys agreed.

Elora held out her hand. “Can I see the map?”

Diessa hesitated, then reluctantly handed it to the ranger.

Elora examined it. She could see why it was difficult to follow. The map was crudely drawn and the scale of its landmarks was inconsistent. There was a small drawing of what looked to be a wooden table next to a tree. “What is this?” she asked, pointing to it.

Diessa shrugged.

Elora handed the map back to her. I think we can find it. It looks like it’s only a couple days walk from here.”

Drusilla said, “If this works out, maybe you can come back to Elnor with us and we can take on a few jobs together and get you some more money for your family.”

Diessa smiled for the first time. “That depends on how much treasure there is.”

The Brunch Club and their new friend broke camp and followed Elora northward into the forest.

Their progress was slow at first. The trees were close together and the underbrush was thick and clingy. After a few hours the trees began to spread out and the underbrush thinned. Through the trees, they saw a snow covered meadow in the distance. When they approached the edge of the clearing Elora stopped and held her hand up. They all stopped. Vorjhon, Salys and Drusilla knew that was also a signal to keep quiet, but Dieassa asked loudly, “What?”

The word barely left her lips when a large grey cat leapt at the dwarf. She turned in time to see the fierce, growling panther descend upon her with its long fangs bared. A blur passed over her shoulder. The cat’s growl stopped abruptly. It fell harmlessly in front of Diessa, its head resting on the toe of her boot. There was a smoking, burnt hole where its eye used to be. Blood soaked the ground from the other side of it’s head. Diessa turned to Elora who nodded at her before turning back toward the meadow.

“How did she get the arrow back in her quiver so fast?” Diessa asked, astounded.

Salys chuckled. “We told you. She’s alright.”

Elora took out her compass and asked to see the map again. “It looks like there’s a stream or spring a few hours to the north. We can camp there, then we should be at the marker sometime mid morning tomorrow.”

They followed their ranger until the sun was sitting on top of the bare hills in the distance. As predicted, they came upon a small stream where they made camp.

After they ate dinner and the sun set, they went to sleep while Elora kept first watch. Diessa, still suspicious of her new companions, tried to stay awake, but soon succumbed to sleep as well.

Near the end of Elora’s watch she heard what sounded like the crunch of a footstep on snow covered grass. She turned towards it and was immediately struck from behind. She yelled out as she hit the ground. A bukly, fur covered body was pressed against her. It reared up on its knees and raised a large claw above its head, ready to bring it down upon her.

In the moonlight, the beast looked like a cross between a goblin and a bear. Its claw dropped down toward her but never connected. The beast howled as Eclipse shattered its arm, causing the forearm to hang loosely from its elbow.

Elora rolled out of the way only to be hit by another creature. She winced in pain, but managed to get to her feet and dive for her longbow. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a third creature springing toward her, but it was halted by a bolt of purple energy slamming into it, courtesy of Drusilla.

Vorjhon said a prayer and Eclipse glowed with a holy silver light, allowing the dragonborn to see his enemies in the darkness.

“What are these things?” Vorjhon asked, as he raised his shield to ward off another attack.

“Believe it or not,” Elora answered as she shot her Phoenix arrow into one of them. “I think they’re bugbears!”

Drusilla couldn’t believe it. “Bugbears? I thought they were just stories to scare kids!”

Vorjhon swung his glowing mace at the Bugbear with the wounded arm. His prayer of smiting blasted it when Eclipse made contact. The beast crumpled to the ground. “True stories, apparently,” the paladin added.

An arrow zipped past Vorjhon’s head and pierced the heart of the second bugbear before reappearing in Elora’s quiver. She quickly drew it again and shot it at the remaining bugbear. It put a hole through its chest, but it was still standing and charging Drusilla. Vorjhon moved to the cleric’s side and brushed the sweeping claw aside with his shield. Drusilla called forth a column of purple flames that engulfed her goblinoid foe. It dropped to one knee, swayed from side to side for a second, then fell forward into the snow.

They made sure the bugbears were indeed dead, then collected themselves.

Drusilla looked at the corpses. They were between seven and eight feet tall. “I can’t believe we were attacked by bugbears.”

Elora nodded. “They’re supposed to be incredibly rare.”

Vorjhon put Eclipse back on his belt. “Lucky us.”

They were startled by a sudden rumbling noise, but relaxed when they realized it was just Salys snoring. Diessa was also still sound asleep.

“I wish I could sleep like that,” Drusilla said

Vorjhon replied humorlessly, “If you could, we’d be dead.”

Elora finished her watch while the rest of them went back to bed. Drusilla soon relieved her. The rest of the night passed quietly.

Diessa and Salys woke up and noticed the rest of their party was still asleep.

“Do they always sleep late?” Diessa asked the gnome.

“No,” Salys answered. She pointed at the bug bear corpses lying in the snow at the edge of their campsite. “But I’m guessing those had something to do with it.”

Drusilla, Vorjhon, and Elora woke up to the welcome smell of breakfast cooking.
Salys greeted them, “Looks like we missed quite the party last night.”

Drusilla replied, “Sorry. We didn’t have time to send out invitations.”

“We’ll make sure we scream louder for you two next time,” said Elora.

Despite their late start, they did in fact reach their destination mid morning. What looked like a poorly drawn table on the map, was in fact an elevator platform above a mine shaft. The platform was surrounded by a timber frame work. Ropes ran from the top of the frame to two pulleys that sat next to each other on the platform. Each pulley had two cranks, one on either side, making it look like it was designed for four people to raise and lower it.

They examined the contraption carefully. It looked sturdy and functional. All of them except Salys grasped a crank handle. They cranked downwards but the platform didn’t move. Salys found a rod locking the platform in place. She tried to pull it out but there was too much pressure on it for her to be able to release it. Vorjhon reached down and grabbed it with one arm, keeping the other on the crank. He pulled it out and the platform began plummeting. The side Vorjhon was on dipped down further than the other side, but he was able to level the platform when he got his second hand back on the crank. They slowly lowered the platform, but the weight of it started to strain on them.

“I can’t hold on much longer,” Drusilla warned. The crank slipped out of her hands and that corner dipped down jerkily. Salys ran over and together they were able to get hold of it again.

Diessa lost her grip for a moment causing the platform to jerk down on her corner. This caused Elora to lose her grip.

The awkward lurching of the platform became too eratic to control. Finally they all lost their hold on the cranks and plummeted twenty feet down the rest of the shaft. The platform splintered when they hit the bottom.

Salys was the only one moderately injured, but Vorjhon was able to heal her immediately.

Drusilla stared up the shaft. They were roughly sixty feet down, but the ropes were still attached to the framework at the top. It would be a long climb up, but at least they weren’t stranded down here.

There was only one passageway at the bottom of the shaft to choose from so they followed it. The cleric lit their way with three magic orbs of light dancing in front of them.

They had only gone a few steps when Salys said, “Wait guys. Why don’t I check it out with Pip?”

“Pip?” Diessa asked.

A small white pygmy owl with brown and gray markings hopped out of the hood of Salys’s purple robe.

Diessa’s normally gruff tone disappeared, “He’s soooo cute!”

“Fuck you, shorty,” Pip said, though only Salys could hear him.

“Enough of that,” Salys said sternly. “We’re gonna go check out this mine shaft for a bit.

Pip shook his adorable fluffy head. “You shitting me? I ain’t going down there.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Salys informed him before addressing the rest of the group. “Okay, so I’m going to transfer my awareness into Pip. I’ll be able to tell you what I see, but I won’t be able to hear you. You guys need to stick close to me and protect my body while I’m gone. If there’s trouble, just tap my shoulder. I’ll be able to feel it.”

“You guys are weird,” Diessa observed.

The bright green color of Salys’s eyes faded. Pip’s matching green eyes got brighter and he flew down the mine shaft.

“It’s pretty long,” Salys’s body said. After a pause she continued. “I haven’t reached the end yet.” Another pause. “It doesn’t look like anyone’s been down here in a long time. I’m going to come back.”

Pip flew back and landed on Salys’s shoulder. Vibrant color returned to the gnome’s eyes. “Woah. That was weird.”

“How do you think it felt for me?” Pip said in a petulant tone.

Vorjhon led the group down the corridor with Drusilla’s dancing lights illuminating their way. They traveled cautiously despite Salys’s scouting report that all looked clear. Vorjhon felt a stone sink under his feet and heard a ‘click’ above him. “Get down!” He shouted while he instinctually lifted his shield. A rusting axe blade covered in cobwebs swung down from the ceiling and struck the paladin’s raised shield instead of burying itself in his skull.

Diessa stepped ahead of Vorjhon. “Maybe I should go first and check for traps.”

“I can find traps,” said Vorjhon with a hint of wounded pride in his voice.

“You certainly found that first trap,” Salys joked.

Diessa moved down the cavern confidently. She turned and walked backwards for a brief moment to tell Vorjhon, “Traps are kind of my thing.” Her heel swept through a tripwire. Darts shot out from small holes in the cave wall and pierced her sides. They were small darts and did not do much damage. Diessa cursed. She pulled one out and sniffed it.

“Poison?” Elora asked.

“Yeah, I think so,” Diessa answered. She breathed steadily, waiting to feel what affect the poison would have on her.

Drusilla approached the dwarf. “Do you need healing?”

Diessa shook her head. “I think the poison’s old. It’s lost its potency.”

Vorjhon said to Salys. “Traps are her thing.”

Diessa smirked sarcastically, and continued down the tunnel, this time with more caution.

They approached a curtain of cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. Diessa swept at it with her axe, keeping as far back from it as she could. When her axe disturbed the webs, a four square foot section of floor dropped down several inches revealing 12 inch rusted, yet still sharp, spikes.

They easily leapt over the trap and continued on. The tunnel soon opened up into a large cavern. At the far end of the cavern was a small, plain, iron box with a keyhole in the middle of the side that faced them. They saw a black puddle next to the box. It looked more like molasses than water. Ownerless weapons and armor littered the ground between them and the small black pool.

“What now?” Salys asked.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 19

Episode 18 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 017 “The Cave On The Coast”

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Welcome to Episode 17 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 16, The Brunch Club took the dead gnoll they saved from being burned on the fire to Saberhagen’s sanctum. Drusilla used her ability to speak with the dead to try and find out why the gnolls attacked Wheaton. They learned a powerful druid named Rajat ordered the assault. The gnoll did not know why they were told to attack Wheaton, nor did he know what Rajat wanted with Vorjhon. They agreed Rajat was likely the same druid Saberhagen scried on the day before. They decided it would be safest for Wheaton if they left for Elnor sooner than later. In appreciation for saving them, the mayor told them the town will renovate the lighthouse for them while they are away. They celebrated their good fortune by morning drinking, afternoon drinking, and night drinking, at TJ’s tavern.

And now…

Episode 17, “The Cave On The Coast”

Elora felt the warm sun on her face and knew it was morning. The insides of her eyelids glowed orange and she refused to open them to the bright, unforgiving light. She contemplated rolling over and away from the sun but her head hurt too much. It was best if she didn’t move. If she was lucky, she thought, she’d just die right there. She thought she heard her name from some far off place. “Elora,” it said softly. “Elora, wake up.”

She tried to say, ‘Fuck off,’ to the voice, but her lips seemed too dry to move. Her tongue felt like it had been pickled then wrapped in cotton. Something grabbed her shoulder. Her instincts kicked in and she grabbed the arm. She quickly sat up and brought her other arm back, ready to strike. Through blurry eyes she saw Drusilla come into focus. Then she grabbed the sides of her head as the pain made her regret such a swift, sudden action. She collapsed back on the bed, still clutching her head, but now her stomach started to churn and saliva began flooding the back of her mouth. “Just leave me here to die in peace,” she implored as she fought against the impulse to retch.

Drusilla laughed, put her hand on her shoulder again, and whispered a prayer under her breath. Elora’s headache vanished. The queasiness in her stomach subsided. Her mouth still felt dry, but the water Drusilla handed her took care of that.

Elora thanked Drusilla for curing her hangover with a prayer of healing. “I’ll have to remember to make sure I always have a cleric around when I go drinking.”

“We have our uses,” Drusilla modestly understated.

They got dressed and were ready to head out when they heard a knock on their door. They opened it to Vorjhon. The paladin’s armor was spotlessly polished and his travel pack was at his feet. He was ready to go.

Drusilla asked, “Where’s Salys?”

Vorjhon chuckled. “She was… a little slow this morning. I gave her some healing though so she should be ready soon.”

“I guess Salys can’t hold her ale,” Elora said, winking surreptitiously at Drusilla.

Drusilla noticed Vorjhon was put together and ready to go. “You look like you’re weathering the morning just fine. Do dragonborns not get hungover?”.

Vorjhon replied truthfully, “I will admit, I am not one hundred percent. But I didn’t want to waste more energy in case we needed it on road.”

Salys greeted them in the hallway. “What’s up, Brunch Club? I’ll tell you, nothing like having a paladin around the morning after a bender.”

They left the White Claw Inn and headed to TJ’s. Stephen, the tavern keeper, looked tired and bleary eyed, but greeted them with a smile. “I’m surprised to see you four here so early,” she smiled. “You certainly kept me up late last night.”

Vorjhon said, “Our apologies.”

Stephen laughed. “Are you kidding me? I haven’t sold that much food and ale in one day, ever! I’m looking forward to you all becoming regulars!”

They ordered breakfast and discussed their plan for the day. They had learned it was normally a two day walk to Elnor, but with the weather getting cold and the road turning slick, it could take three. They had already reprovisioned and had 10 days of rations with them so they saw no need to stock up before they left. The only thing they had to do before leaving was say goodbye to Saberhagen and get the list of items he needed from Elnor.

A woman about Stephen’s age appeared behind the bar. She had a broom in one hand and an empty burlap sack in the other. “Those rats are too quick for me. I can’t catch any of them.”

Stephen glanced over at the table where his customers were eating breakfast. “Not so loud, Maisy. We have fancy guests here.”

The Brunch Club did their best to suppress some giggling.

“Them?” Maisy laughed. “They were here last night. Trust me, they ain’t fancy.”

Elora waved her fork at Drusilla. “She’s fancy.”

Drusilla did not argue. She was, in fact, fancy.

Salys spoke across the room to Maisy, “Did you say rats?”

Maisy confirmed she did. “Oh yeah. Lot’s of them down in the basement.”

Salys looked between Drusilla and Elora. “Whattaya say, Ladies? Rat party, round two?”

Drusilla was the first to stand up. She picked up her shield and sword. “Loser buys the others breakfast.”

Elora sighed and followed them.

Maisy and Stephen stepped aside when the three women went behind the bar and descended the stairs into the basement.

The tavern keepers stared at Vorjhon with questioning looks in their eyes. He merely shrugged, picked up his plate and mug, and joined them at the bar.

“We are new to this land. Do you see many adventurers coming through here looking for work?” the Dragonborn asked.

Before Maisy could answer they heard a muffled scream from the basement and the sound of boxes tipping over.

The dragonborn seemed to ignore it.

Maisy decided ignoring it might be for the best. “Usually they’re just passing through on the way to Elnor.”

They heard Salys yell from the basement, “Not me, the rat!”

Elora’s muffled voice shouted, “There’s one!”

Drusilla screamed something that sounded like, “Ow! Watch it!”

Stephen glanced down the stairwell then back at Vorjhon. He said, “Sometimes bounties will be posted for bandits and pirates who take shelter in the caves on the coast. Some adventurers do head north into the forest to fight some of the creatures that live up there. Some of the rarer creatures bring good money as pelts or trophies.”

Maisy added, “There are lots of rumors of strange creatures up to the north near Tor in the Aegis mountains.”

“Tor?” Vorjhon asked.

The sound of shattering glass and a chorus of curse words echoed up the basement steps.

Maisy described Tor as a, “Smooth cliff face with all sorts of fancy decorations. Legend says it was carved by dwarves centuries ago.”

Because of the sound of more falling boxes they couldn’t tell if it was Elora or Drusilla who yelled out, “One of them bit me!”

“Sorry,” Salys yelled. “That was me!”

Stephen paused, concerned, then continued answering Vorjhon’s question. “That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head. Your best bet for work around here is definitely Elnor.”

Drusilla was the first up the stairs. Her hair was disheveled and she had streaks of dirt across her face. She held up the burlap sack triumphantly. It wriggled and jerked back and forth erratically in her hand.

Elora and Salys followed her up the stairs with similar messy hair and grubby faces.

“I think we got them all,” Salys announced with pride.

Maisy took the sack from her and went outside.

Vorjhon asked, “Who won?”

They looked at each other and shrugged. Elora answered, “We forgot to count.”

Drusilla handed some gold coins to Stephen. “For the damage,” she said.

They bid their goodbyes to Stephen and Maisy and headed for the Sun Spot.

Saberhagen greeted them when they entered. “Ah, there you are.” He turned his dark feline head to his human familiar. “Jenkins, give them the list please.”

Jenkins wordlessly handed Drusilla a small scroll.

She unrolled it and read the items to herself silently. “Will these be easy to find?”

The wizard nodded. “Yes, yes. You should be able to find most of it in the Crystal District, though I’d look in the Slate and Granite Districts for more of the mundane items first, they’ll be cheaper there.”

Drusilla glanced at the list again. “And the bat guano?”

Saberhagen did not answer the question, but instead filled them in on some of the details of Elnor. “The city is on a large hill that has been leveled into tiers. The first tier is the Slate District. That’s the seedier district. Lot’s of rowdy taverns, slums, unguilded tradesmen, peddlers, that kind of thing. The next is the Granite District. That’s where most of the working class of the city work and live. You’ll find more reputable inns, tradesmen, and stores there. The next tier is the Quartz district. That’s where the military and government buildings are and where most of the bureaucrats live. The top tier is the Crystal District. That is the seat of magical power in Elnor. It’s where the wealthiest, most powerful citizens of Elnor live. It’s also where you’ll find The Council of the Five, and the mage college. The tallest building in the center is the Crystal Spire Library.”

When Saberhagen was done, Salys asked, “Will Vorjhon and Drusilla even be allowed in Elnor?”

The wizard nodded and explained, “It’s only illegal to use divine magic. Though when you get to the Quartz and Crystal Districts, you might receive a better reception if you don’t advertise your religious alignments.”

Elora asked, “Will they let them in the Library?”

“Ah,” Saberhagen said, as though he was remembering something. “That’s another thing. They don’t just let anyone in the library.”

“Why not?” asked Drusilla.

Saberhagen shrugged. “Knowledge is valuable. They hoard it for themselves like dragons hoard gold.”

“Is there way we can get in?” Vorjhon asked.

The cat smiled. “Of course. Just like everything else, you can buy your way in if you have enough money. Or you can try to gain favor with influential groups within Elnor that could sponsor you. Either way, don’t count on walking into the Crystal Spire Library on day one. It may take you a while.”

They thanked their new patron and began their journey to Elnor.

The early winter air was cool, but the sun was bright and felt good on their skin, and scales. There was a light coating of snow on the road. It wasn’t icy so they were able to maintain a steady pace. Vorjhon shared with them the conversation he had with Stephen and Maisy regarding interesting areas around Elnor.

The road gradually moved closer to the coast and by afternoon they could hear the distant sounds of the surf breaking against rocks. The road gently turned southward giving them a distant view of where the forest sloped toward the water and transformed into a rocky coastline. They could see dark spots that looked like holes in the rocks or crevasses between them.

Salys pointed to them. “Is that where the caves are supposed to be?”

“I think so,” Vorjhon answered.

After a few more minutes of walking Elora pointed out muddy boot prints heading down a path that seemed to go in the direction of the possible caves. “Should we check it out?” the ranger asked.

“Rooting out some bandits might be a way to get in Elnor’s good graces,” Drusilla supposed.

Vorjhon agreed, “It would be right thing to do.”

Salys pointed out, “They might have gold.”

Elora tracked the footprints down the path. The others followed.

The ranger was able to follow the prints easily until the path ended at the rocky shore. She could still pick out a trail of crushed lichen which led them to the first cave. The entrance was dark but toward the back they saw the faint glow of torch light.

Vorjhon went first with the others following a few feet behind him. The rear of the cave sloped downward and narrowed into a passageway only wide enough to let them continue single file. Torches rested in crude holes bored into the naturally formed rock walls every twenty feet or so. They had passed five torches when they first heard the low, repetitive chanting echo up the corridor. The cave’s downward slope got steeper and the floor got wetter the deeper they descended. Vorjhon and Drusilla moved carefully in front of Elora and Salys.

The dragonborn lost his footing on the slick rock, fell into a sitting position, and slid the remaining way down the chute of the cave. His armor clanked against the rocks and echoed up and down the hallway. The corridor eventually opened up into a larger cavern and the floor leveled out. Vorjhon’s slide stopped in the middle of thirteen figures wearing red robes with their hoods hiding their faces in shadows.

The paladin looked up at the draped figures, waved, and said, “Sorry! Wrong cave!” He quickly got to his feet, turned around, and began scrambling back up the way he came.

A female voice came from the figure with the most ornate robe. “Stop,” she commanded. Vorjhon felt the impulse to obey, but he shook the feeling off and continued into the tunnel. He made it a few feet before Drusilla, sliding uncontrollably on her stomach, ran into him and knocked them both back into the room.

The pair got to their feet but the robed figures closed in around them with daggers drawn. The woman who tried to command Vorjhon to stop began chanting something that sounded ominus. She stopped chanting when a flaming arrow pierced her throat and disappeared.

The arrow reappeared in Elora’s quiver, from which it was quickly reloaded onto the ranger’s bow and sent into the formerly chanting priestess’s heart.

Drusilla chanted her own quick prayer under her breath. When she finished, her and Vorjhon were surrounded by a swirling cloud of spiritual ravens. The small birds chewed and clawed their way through the dozen remaining figures.

Bright green light overpowered the orange glow of the torches when Salys’s magic missiles slammed into the robed priests closest to her.

Vorjhon and Drusilla bludgeoned and carved their way through their attackers in the center of the crowd. Elora and Salys pierced and blasted the ones on the outside.

The priests’ had no armor under their robes and their daggers had little effect on the cleric’s and paladin’s mail. Within moments the priests were all dead or incapacitated and the cave grew suddenly quiet.

With the immediate danger over they looked around the cavern. There were four passageways opposite from the one they had entered from. Vorjhon held his forefinger up to his lips to ask for silence. They all listened carefully but heard no sounds and saw no lights coming from the dark hallways.

When they were confident they were safe, Elora smiled at the dragonborn and lunar elf. “You two suck at being sneaky.”

Vorjhon shrugged and looked down at the carnage around him. One of the robed figures was still breathing and seemed semi-conscious. He pulled him up by the front of his robe into a sitting position. “Why did you attack us? What were you doing here?”

The man looked at the symbol of Bahamut on the paladin’s shield. “Infidel,” he said with contempt. He began chanting, “The arms of the deep. The many armed creature. The arms of the deep. The many armed creature…”

Drusilla slit his throat. When Vorjhon gave her a puzzled look she explained, “It sounded like he was summoning something. I didn’t want to risk it.”

Vorjhon nodded with approval. He walked to the body of the priestess. She was the only one wearing a necklace. A silver and lapis lazuli pendant in the shape of a stylized squid hung from her chain. The paladin took it and put it in his pack as he guessed out loud, “Information about this cult might be valuable in Elnor.”

The rest of them checked the bodies and found nothing more than the ineffectual daggers and a small amount of silver between the lot of them.

Salys observed, “Whatever they were doing down here, it wasn’t for the money.”

Drusilla looked at the doors in the cave behind them. “Should we check them out?”

Vorjhon shook his dragon-like head. “No. We have no idea how many more are in caves. We should report this to Elnor, then offer to lead them back here.”

The others agreed that was the most prudent choice. They made their way to the road going back the way they came. After putting a couple more miles behind them, they found a comfortable looking clearing near the side of the road where they made camp for the night.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 18

Episode 17 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 016 “Day Drinking”

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Welcome to Episode 16 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Before we begin the story I wanted to let you know this is a very short episode. Many D&D players have experienced a game session that gets sidetracked or goes off the rails completely. And that’s okay. It may not advance the story, make for good role playing, or get your characters any experience, but those nights where a bunch of friends just sit around a table, drinking, venting, or being silly, are sometimes the most fun you can have. You may not play much in those nights, but it was still D&D that brought you together for that moment. That’s really what I love most about Dungeons and Dragons: It facilitates moments of pure joy with good friends. We love doing this podcast, but we promised ourselves we wouldn’t let it take away from how much fun we have while playing. The occasional short episode like this one is the result of that promise. However, we don’t want to shortchange our listeners who have to wait a full week for each episode, so we’re posting this one early as a bonus episode. You’ll be getting a full length episode this coming Sunday, as promised.

And there’s one more very important thing I need to tell you… We all really appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to listen. Thank you so very much. It means a lot to us.

Now on to our story. My name is Dominic White, and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 15, Vorjhon barricaded the guard tower entrance while Drusilla, Elora, Salys, and Saberhagen killed the remaining gnolls from atop the ramparts. Saberhagen extinguished the burning buildings with a conjured sleet storm. Drusilla and Vorjhon healed as many guards as they could. Drusilla made sure they saved one gnoll corpse from burning so she could question it later. Druron and his son Kif presented Vorjhon with a magical mace called Eclipse as a thank you for saving the town. Two leaders of Elnor portaled into Wheaton to question Saberhagen about the use of divine magic during the gnoll attack. Salys used the scroll of find familiar and conjured a pygmy owl she named, Pip. The bloodwood scarecrows appeared once again, this time outside of one of the town gates. When Saberhagen cast a scrying spell on a bloodwood branch they saw an old elf in a forest transform into an elk and run away.

And now…

Episode 16, “Day Drinking”

The Brunch Club left the Inn before dawn so they could carry the gnoll corpse to the Sun Spot in the cover of darkness. Jenkins let them in and guided them upstairs to Saberhagen’s sanctum. The scrying bowl and floating cushion had been put away to make room. Vorjhon propped the gnoll up against the wall into a sitting position. Its head was slumped down with the bottom of its muzzle resting against its chest. Vorjhon said to them, “I am going to say prayer that will force it to tell truth. It affects wide area. If any of you have secrets, you may want to back eight feet away from gnoll.”

Everyone except for the cleric and paladin backed up to the opposite side of the room. Vorjhon finished his prayer and stepped to the side so Drusilla could start her ritual. “I’ll be the only one that can ask it questions,” she told them. “And we won’t have much time.” She held the emblem of the raven queen she wore around her neck as she quietly said a prayer.

The gnoll’s shoulders shifted against the wall as air seemed to unnaturally fill its dead lungs. His head jerked up and his black eyes fluttered open. He stared at the cleric.

Drusilla asked, “Who sent you to attack Wheaton?”

The gnoll’s shoulders sagged as his lungs pushed the air though his throat activating his larynx. His reply was drawn out and breathy. “Ouuur leeadeeer, Riiipsnaaarll.”

Drusilla asked her second question, “Why did Ripsnarl tell you to attack Wheaton?”

The gnoll’s chest expanded as air was mystically pumped into his lungs once more. On the forced exhale he answered, “Raaajaaat coommaanded iiit.”

Drusilla looked at Vorjhon to see if he recognized the name. He shrugged and shook his head. She looked back at the gnoll and asked her third question. “Who is Rajat?”

The gnoll answered, “Poowerful druuid from bloooodwood fooorreest.” This answer was quieter and the gnoll’s breathing was more labored. Drusilla knew they only had a couple of questions left.

Drusilla asked her fourth question quickly, “Is he going to attack again?”

“I… don’t… knooow.” the gnoll struggled to answer.

“What does he want with Vorjhon?” Drusilla asked, knowing this was most likely the last question.

The answer was so quiet Drusilla had to lean in close to its mouth to hear it. Her face winced as the stench of dead scavenger breath assaulted her nose.

“I… don’t … knooooo..” The gnoll’s head slumped forward once again.

They all watched the gnoll as if waiting for it to draw in breath again, but it remained motionless.

Salys broke the silence that had filled the room. “That didn’t tell us much. Except that the druid leaving the scarecrows is the same one commanding the gnolls. I mean, two druids with a hardon for Vorjhon would be quite the coincidence.”

Vorjhon replied, “I think immediate danger to town seems over.”

Elora added, “If this druid is really after you for some reason, maybe the safest thing for the town is to head to Elnor. I’m not sure a druid would be willing to attack us there.”

“They’d be better equipped to deal with it than Wheaton,” Drusilla guessed.

Vorjhon nodded. “Then we tie up loose ends here and head to Elnor as soon as possible.”

Salys gestured with her thumb at the gnoll slumped against the wall. “Speaking of loose ends.”

Saberhagen stretched, then said, “I have the perfect place for him.” A portal appeared next to the gnoll. “Vorjhon, if you don’t mind?”

The dragonborn heaved the body through the magical doorway which closed when the gnoll was out of sight.

Jenkins entered the room holding a pillow. Saberhagen leapt onto it. They followed him and Jenkins downstairs. Saberhagen said to them as they left, “See me before you leave town. I have a few things I’d like you to pick up for me in Elnor.”

It was still early morning when they left the Sun Spot, but decided to see if Mayor Gladstone was available. He was, and they were granted an audience. They asked the mayor if he could recommend anyone trustworthy and skilled enough to take care of the lighthouse for them and perhaps start on repair..

Mayor Gladstone smiled warmly at them. “Your timing couldn’t be better my friends. As you know, Wheaton has no funds to pay you for defending us against the gnoll attack…”

Vorjhon interrupted him. “That was not mercenary work. That was us defending new home.”

Salys elbowed the paladin in the hip, “Let the man finish, Vorjhon.”

The mayor continued. “I had a meeting with my Exchecquer and several of Wheaton’s business leaders yesterday. We all agreed that in appreciation for saving the town, we will waive your first year of taxes on the lighthouse, and the local merchants and tradesmen have agreed to chip in and renovate the lighthouse for you.”

They thanked the mayor enthusiastically and decided the rest of their day should be spent celebrating. TJ’s tavern was just opening when they arrived.. The Brunch Club ordered an early breakfast and drinks. After breakfast they ordered more drinks. Then lunch and drinks. Then drinks. Then dinner and drinks. It was nearly midnight when they stumbled out of TJ’s with full bellies, and assaulted livers. They fumbled their way up to their rooms and passed out, hoping to sleep off the alcohol before starting the final leg of their journey to Elnor in the morning.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 17

Episode 16 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 015 “The Familiar”

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Welcome to Episode 15 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In Episode 14, The Brunch Club took possession of the old lighthouse as part of their bounty for killing the banshee. They also agreed they would stick together as a team even after they reached the library and help each other with their individual quests. They spent a few days in Wheaton getting to know their new home. They visited Saberhagen who helped them identify items they found in the lighthouse. That evening all three gates of the town were overrun by gnolls. With most of the guards killed, injured or hiding, the Brunch Club was driven back to the guard tower. They saw Harir get slain by one of the gnolls. Vorjhon blocked the door while the rest of them, with the help of Saberhagen, tried to kill the gnolls from above.”

And now…

Episode 15, “The Familiar”

Vorjhon braced the guard tower door. Smoke from the fire the gnolls set outside was starting to find its way inside, but it wasn’t affecting his breathing yet. The door rattled and the cross timber shook as the gnolls tried to force their way in, but it held fast. Vorjhon was confident he could handle two or three gnolls on his own should they break through. He hoped his companions could take care of the rest before then.

Outside, burned, pierced, and smote bodies of gnolls piled up around the base of the guard tower, thanks to Saberhagen’s, Salys’s, Drusilla’s and Elora’s attacks from atop the tower. The leader of the small gnoll army that had invaded Wheaton howled with rage as his four giant hyenas were added to the piles of gnoll dead.

He screamed orders at the gnolls who were failing to reach the top of the guard tower with their spears. Following their leader’s orders, they began running to nearby buildings with torches to set them ablaze.

Elora picked off the gnoll arsonists before they could set more than a couple fires. Drusilla, Salys, and Saberhagen concentrated their spells on the gnoll commander. His howls of rage changed to yips of pain as divine energy, magic missiles, and fireballs slammed into him. His bodyguard threw spears at the top of the burning guard tower, but could not hit anything from that distance and angle.

Before the bodyguard could throw another spear, the leader’s head was turned into crispy hyena rinds when Drusilla’s divine bolt hit it first, and Saberhagen’s fire bolt hit it second. The bodyguard took a moment to look at the headless corpse of his dead commander at his feet. He turned and attempted to flee through the gate. His body hit the ground when all three women, and the magic cat, unleashed another volley of attacks against him.

The gnolls trying to get into the tower door realized they were the last gnolls standing and made a run for it. They suffered the same fate as the others and were added to the pile of corpses by the tower.

Drusila, Elora, and Salys ran down the stairs of the tower. Through the smoke, they saw Vorjhon still bracing the door.

“Open it,” said Drusilla. “We got them all.”

Vorjhon lifted the heavy timber out of its supports and set it aside. He pulled the door inward and saw the flames traveling up the charred door frame. When the fresh air rushed in he took a deep breath, then put out the flames with a blast of icy dragon breath.

The Brunch Club ran around the tower to assist with putting out the rest of the fires in the town. They were surprised to see all but one of the buildings were no longer burning. The blackened wood and surrounding ground of the extinguished structures were coated in a thin layer of ice. A cylinder of dark clouds appeared above the final burning building. The flames hissed and crackled as wet and icy sleet rained onto it. They looked up at the top of the guard tower where Saberhagen nodded to them and disappeared into a small portal.

Near the fountain in the center of the town square lay the body of Harir. Drusilla ran over to the wolf pup and cradled his furry head in her hands. He was beyond any help they could give him. She scooped him up in her arms and began walking toward the beach. “I want to bury him on our island,” she said. The rest followed.

The pale lunar elf sat in the bow of the boat with Harir lying limp on her lap. Vorjhon rowed them to the island. No one spoke. Moonlight reflected off the wet oar blades when they lifted out of the water.

On the rocky island, a pile of stones became Harir’s grave. Both Vorjhon and Drusilla said a prayer to their gods.

Back on shore, they went to the barracks to check on any injured soldiers. The battle had all but exhausted their divine healing energy, but they were able to stabilize the critically wounded and promised they would return the next day to help heal the rest.

On their way back to the inn, they noticed the unmistakable glow of fire by the north gate. When they got closer, they saw, and smelled, that it was a pyre. A pair of men struggled to toss the large gnolls onto the blaze.

Vorjhon recognized one of the men as Druron, the leather worker he bought his new leather sleeping armor from. The strong dragonborn assisted the men with throwing the corpses on the fire while Drusilla, Salys, and Elora helped drag the dead gnolls to them. When they dragged the corpse of the leader’s bodyguard over, Drusilla said, “Don’t burn this one. I have some questions for it.”

The others stopped what they were doing and stared at her.

“Excuse me?” asked Salys.

“The Raven Queen allows me to speak with the dead for a short amount of time. We may be able to learn why they attacked Wheaton.”

“Spooky,” said Salys. “Useful, but spooky.”

“We’ll set him aside,” aside Druron.

At the end of an exhausting night, after they burned the last of the bodies, they returned to the White Claw Inn where they were greeted by the innkeeper, Stephen, who was the first to formally thank them for saving the town. He pointed them to a table filled with meats, pies and fruit.

Seeing the food made them suddenly realize how hungry they were and they thanked Stephen enthusiastically.

The four of them ate, left a grateful tip for Stephen, went to their rooms, bathed, and slept.

A knock at their door woke Elora and Drusill the next morning. They opened it to Salys who told them Vorjhon wasn’t in his bed when she woke up. “Was there a scarecrow in his bed?” Drusilla asked as she and Elora got dressed.

“Nope,” answered Salys. “Just an empty bed.”

“You must sleep well for a Dragonborn to sneak out on you,” Elora smiled.

Salys shrugged, and the three headed downstairs into the Tavern.

Vorjhon was already at one of the tables eating breakfast. Three other plates and mugs were waiting for them.

Elora greeted him, “You’re up early.”

Vorjhon replied, “I had errand to run.” He placed a rolled up parchment on the center of the table. It was wrapped with an ornate ribbon.

Drusilla asked, “What is it?”

Vorjhon answered, “I bought it from Saberhagen this morning. It gift for all of us to celebrate our new lighthouse and indefinite partnership, but Salys is only one who can use it.”

Salys picked it up and inspected it. “What is it?”

Vorjhon answered excitedly, “It scroll of familiar.”

“Woah!” Salis replied. “Are you sure I can use this? I thought only wizards could have familiars.”

Vorjhon answered his gnome friend, “Saberhagen said you should be able to use it. You decide what animal you want, then read scroll. He said you can see through its eyes, and cast your spells through it even from far away.” He then added with a touch of melancholy in his voice, “If it dies, you can bring it back with new scroll.”

Salys thanked Vorjhon and put the scroll in her bag. “I need to think of the kind of familiar I want.”

They finished breakfast then returned to the guards’ barracks to check on the wounded. Several of the guards still needed Drusilla’s and Vorjhon’s healing prayers. The cleric and paladin exhausted their healing energy, but were able to get all of the wounded out of danger and healed many of them completely.

When they left the barracks, they saw Druron approaching them. A boy of 8 or 9 walked next to him carrying a wrapped bundle in both his arms. The leatherworker introduced the boy as his son, Kif. The boy looked at all of them with awe, but mostly stared at the large silver scaled dragonborn that stood before him. Druron took the bundle from his son’s arms and began unwrapping it. He addressed all of them. “I wish I could give you all something to thank you for saving our lives, but this is all I have.” He held a two headed mace out to them. One of the heads was coated with gold and had the blazing corona of the sun etched into it. The other head was coated with silver and was decorated with a lunar motif. “It’s called ‘Eclipse’, and it’s been in my family for years.” Druran handed the mace to Vorjhon, who gripped the handle with his non-shield hand and inspected it.

“It’s beautiful,” Vorjhon said with admiration. “It looks magical.”

“It is,” Druran affirmed. “During the day it does more damage to your enemies. At night, it aids you in hitting your target.”

Vorjhon frowned. “I don’t know if we are worthy of such a treasure.”

Salys coughed behind him.

Druran insisted. “Please. It’s a hero’s weapon and it belongs with champions like yourselves. In my house it collects dust. With you, it will do good in the world.”

The Brunch Club agreed Vorjhon should take the mace.

Vorjhon thanked Druron with great sincerity. He got down on one knee to make himself more level with the boy. “That mace would have passed to you some day, Kif. Thank you for being generous young man.” Vorjhon handed him his own warhammer. “Please take this in return. May it serve you well when you are older.”

Kif looked up at him with wide eyes, and thanked him.

Druran asked Kif to head home and he’d follow him shortly. When Kif left, they discussed what to do with the gnoll body they set aside for questioning. Drusilla said she spent all her energy healing the guards, but could perform the ritual in the morning. Druran agreed to keep the body safe one more day. He also suggested they find a secure, private space to perform the ritual. The town’s residents were still rattled from the previous day’s attack and the sight of a dead gnoll being interrogated might be a bit startling. They agreed and Druran bid them good day.

They agreed the benches by the fountain in the town square would be an ideal place for Salys to use the Scroll of Find Familiar, so they headed that way.

Before reaching the fountain, they saw three portals open up next to it. A female elf, male elf, and someone they could not identify in fully concealing armor stepped out of the portals.

The elf woman called out “Saberhagen!”

A smaller portal appeared before them and the black cat with white chest and paws stepped out. “Solania,” he greeted her with the barest amount of civility. He nodded at the male elf. “Illian,” he greeted even less cordially. “What drags you out of your crystal tower?”

“We detected a lot of magical activity here,” Solania said.

Illian added, “We guessed you were up to no good.”

“It wasn’t all me,” Saberhagen replied curtly. “The town was attacked by a gnoll warband. Thanks for your help with that by the way,” he added with more than a hint of sarcasm.

“We sensed divine magic,” Illian said. “You know that is illegal in Elnor.”

Saberhagen narrowed his eyes. “We’re not in Elnor, are we? And if you don’t care enough to help us when we’re under attack, you can’t get too upset when some divine magic users come to our aid instead.”

As if she knew who the wizard was talking about, Solania turned to look at The Brunch Club, who had halted their approach once they were in earshot. Her gaze rested on Vorjhon for an uncomfortably long moment. She turned back to the wizard and said, “Watch yourself Saberhagen. Tell your friends to be careful too.”

The three of them stepped back into their portals, which closed and disappeared behind them.

The Brunch Club approached the fountain. Drusilla asked Saberhagen, “Who were they?”

The cat licked the dirt off his paw. “The two elves were part of The Five, the council of wizards that rules over Elnor. The other one was one an ‘Instructor,’ the elite guard mostly responsible for keeping divine magic out of Elnor and keeping The Five in power.”

“They didn’t seem to like you,” Salys said.

Saberhagen laughed. “Most wizards are kind of bitter. They have to work very hard to achieve the powers that others, like yourselves, are gifted with. Solania’s okay. Illian can’t get over the fact that he spent years at mage college only to see a cat teach itself the same skills. Now if you’ll excuse me, they interrupted my nap.” A small portal appeared and then disappeared when he leapt through it.

With Saberhagen gone, Salys decided it was time to try out the Scroll of Find Familiar.

The gnome removed the ribbon and unrolled the parchment.

Elora asked, “What did you pick?”

“It’s a surprise,” Salys answered.

She read the scroll quietly while sitting on the edge of the fountain’s basin. The letters glowed and vanished as she read them. When she finished, the scroll disintegrated into ash. The dark flecks fell, but instead of hitting the ground they seemed to land on, and stick to, an invisible mold. When the last of the ash completed the three dimensional puzzle on the ground, it all fell away, revealing a white and gray pygmy owl with bright green eyes that matched his master’s.

Drusilla covered her mouth and said in a high pitched voice, “It’s soooo adorable!”

Elora agreed. “I can’t even handle that cuteness!”

Salys picked the owl up. It fit perfectly on her palm. She raised it to her eye level. “Hello. I’m going to name you Pip.”

The owl cocked its head. It stared at her. It looked past her at Vorjhon, Drusilla, and Elora then looked back at Salys. “That’s a fucking stupid name. I hate it,” the adorable owl replied with a deep, gruff, curt voice.

Salys was momentarily surprised, but wasn’t going to take this back talk. “Listen here,” she scolded. “You’re my familiar so you have to do what I say. Your name is ‘Pip’. Live with it. Now sit on my shoulder, and if you shit on me I will dispel you and bring you back as a worm, got it?”

Pip grunted but relented. He flew up and perched himself atop Salys’s shoulder.

“Oh my gods,” Drusilla practically squealed. “Look at him sit on your shoulder! This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

“I know!” Salys agreed. “But can you believe that sass he gave me?”

Elora answered, “No. All we could hear was you.”

Vorjhon extended his finger slowly to pat the owl on the head. “Hello Pip. Nice to meet you.”

Pip nipped at the paladin’s finger before he could touch him.

“Look!” Vorjhon beamed. “He’s protective of his master!”

They sat on the benches as they listened to the soothing sounds of the running water in the fountain. They were entertained by cute tricks Pip did at the bidding of his new master. Only Salys could hear the adorable owl’s complaints and curses.

When they began to get hungry they went to TJ’s tavern for lunch.

Drusilla told them about the ritual she would use to speak with the dead gnoll in the morning. “I’ll only have enough time for four or five questions, so we need to decide what to ask beforehand.”

“Can it lie to us?” Elora asked.

Drusilla confirmed it could.

“I can help with that,” Vorjhon told them. “I have ritual of my own that will force it to tell truth.”

Salys spoke while scratching Pip’s forehead. “That’s handy. Now we just have to find a safe place to do it.”

They agreed they should ask Saberhagen if he knew of such a place. While they were discussing which five questions they should ask the gnoll corpse, Kif ran into the tavern and up to their table.

He was sweating and winded and spoke while trying to catch his breath. “Mister Vorjhon. You have to come quick. Something weird’s at the north gate.”

The dragon born asked the excited boy, “What is it, Kif?”

“Scarecrows. Lots of them.”

The Brunch Club looked at each other briefly. They left payment for their lunch on the table and quickly headed for the north gate with Kif running ahead of them.

Just outside the north gate they saw a dozen scarecrows forming a semi circle on either side of the road. The guards at the gate said they saw no one put them there. They had turned their gaze from the forest for a moment, and when they looked back, the scarecrows were there.

They looked like the same scarecrows from Jameson’s farm in Wyhill and Vorjhon’s room in Boughmoor. Upon closer inspection, they discovered they were also made with bloodwood. Vorjhon snapped a bloodwood stick in half and put it in his pack. He then told the guards to burn them all.

As they walked to the Sun Spot, Salys said to Vorjhon, “Someone is messing with you hard. Who did you piss off?”

The dragonborn shrugged. “I have no idea. The head of my old monastery could want to punish me, but this is not Silver Flame’s method.”

They arrived at the sunspot. Saberhagen looked at Pip on Salys’s shoulder and remarked, “Ah, I see the Scroll of Familiar was successful. Interesting choice of animal though. I’d have picked something less… bird-like.”

“Fuck you, pussy!” Pip said angrily. Only Salys heard him.

“How can I help you today?” the wizard asked.

They told Saberhagen of their plans to question the gnoll corpse in the morning and asked if he knew of the safest, most private place to perform the ritual.

The cat hopped off the counter and started up the stairs. “Follow me.”

They followed him up the stairs until they came to the final floor. It was a single room with no furniture. The ceiling of the room was a peaked skylight roof. A beam of light shone in through the glass, directly on a plush, comfortable looking pillow. The cushion floated two or three inches off the floor and was covered in black and white cat hair. In the center of the room, sitting on the floor, was a large, shallow crystal bowl filled with water.

“This is my sanctum,” Saberhagen told them. “Not only is it private, it’s shielded against scrying as well.”

“Scrying?” Vorjhon asked.

Saberhagen pointed a paw to the bowl in the middle of the room. “Scrying let’s me see what someone else is up to.”

Salys walked up to the bowl and looked into it. “You can scry on anyone?”

“It depends. You need to know them, know what they look like, or have an object belonging to them. The more familiar you are with them, the better the chances the spell succeeds.”

Vorjhon held the bloodwood stick out to Saberhagen. “Can you scry on owner of this?”

They explained the stories behind the scarecrows and how they seemed to be following Vorjhon. The wizard agreed to try.

The Brunch Club crowded around the scrying bowl, trying to give Saberhagen as much space to work as possible. The cat placed the stick in the bowl, waved his paw over it, and muttered something quietly. It took almost ten minutes for the rippling water to calm to a smooth surface. The reflection of the ceiling in the water morphed into a woodland scene. They looked into a bloodwood forest as though they were looking through a window.

They saw an older wood elf walking leisurely through the trees. He stopped and looked around. He stared in their direction, as though he were looking at them through the same window. He turned quickly and ran. Within four strides the running elf had transformed into a galloping elk and disappeared into the forest.

The image faded away, replaced by the reflection of the roof once again. They looked up and noticed Saberhagen’s bed had floated across the floor following the movement of the sun spot.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 16

Episode 15 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of The Brunch Club 014 “Spear The Dying”

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Welcome to Episode 14 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 13, The Brunch Club arrived at the town of Wheaton and went to the Sun Spot, the magic items shop suggested to them by Bronald. They met the owner Saberhagen who was a self taught wizard as well as a cat. His familiar was a once dead human named Jenkins. They took Saberhagen to dinner in exchange for his origin story. Saberhagen offered to sponsor them in exchange for miscellaneous services, and gave Elora a magic arrow and quiver. The Brunch Club then met with the mayor about slaying a Banshee that had been haunting Wheaton’s lighthouse for years. They rowed out to the lighthouse at sunset hoping to sneak up on the Banshee but were attacked by three harpies. They struggled to kill them, but made it to the lighthouse safely where they defeated the Banshee. They climbed the tower and lit the beacon alerting the town to their success. After rowing back they were greeted by the entire town who had gathered on the beach to spontaneously celebrate a safer harbor.

And now…

Episode 14, “Spear The Dying”

The Brunch Club was weary and hungry when they reached the shore. The grateful townsfolk fed them and gave them wine and ale out of appreciation for freeing their harbor of the Banshee.

They drank and ate and mingled until they caught sight of Mayor Gladstone walking down the beach toward them.

He smiled as he congratulated them. “I didn’t think we’d ever be rid of that!” he beamed.

“How come it was haunted for so long?” Vorjhon asked.

The mayor shrugged and frowned. “Many brave adventurers tried, but failed. We asked Elnor for help, but since the Banshee mostly stayed in the tower they didn’t think it was a real threat. Of course they didn’t care that ships couldn’t see our lighthouse or how much it hurt our trade. Many merchants were scared off by tales of ‘Wheaton’s Haunted Harbor.” His bitterness was replaced by enthusiasm when he continued, “But that’s all over now! Ships will be come back, thanks to you!”

“I believe,” Salys smiled at him, “We have some negotiating to do.”

The mayor smiled back and agreed. “Yes, yes we do.”

“First off,” Salys began, “There were three harpies nesting in the beacon that we were never told about. They almost killed us before we even got to the lighthouse.”

Gladstone nodded gravely. “That was an unfortunate oversight on our part.” he agreed. “I’m glad to see you survived nonetheless.”

“Because of the added danger, I think we’re entitled to the original bounty price of 2000 gold.” proposed the gnome.

Gladstone shook his head sadly. “We had to spend a lot of money to build the new lighthouse. I simply don’t have that to give, but…” the mayor trailed off as he stared at the old beacon, once again glowing with flame in the middle of the harbor. He smiled as an idea occurred to him. “How about one thousand gold for the banshee, one hundred gold for each harpy, and the lighthouse, with its island?”

“Excuse us for moment,” Vorjhon interrupted. “We will discuss your offer.”

“Understandable,” the mayor replied. “Come find me with your answer.” He walked over to a nearby crowd of people who greeted him warmly.

“What, Vorjhon?” Scolded Salys. “I had him right where I wanted him. We’re going to have our own freaking lighthouse!”

“I agree it generous prize, but we never discuss what happens after library.”

“What do you mean, Vorjhon?” Drusilla asked.

The dragonborn gestured to his companions. “We all have common goal of reaching library. But what happens after that? Do we stay together? Do we go separate ways? Do we need lighthouse if we part ways in a week?”

“I don’t think any of us have thought that far ahead” Elora said. “but Vorjhon has a point. Who gets the lighthouse if we go our separate ways in a few days..

“Indeed” agreed the dragonborn. “For me, I seek knowledge of Bahamut, but knowing about Elnor’s stance on divinity, I do not think I’ll find answers at library. But I will go with Elora to find her memory. I will go with Saly to learn about wild magic. I will go with Drusila to help reclaim her homeland.”

They let Vorjhon’s words sink in.

Drusilla spoke first. “You’re a self righteous pain in the ass Vorjhon, but you’re also right. We’ll have an easier time finding what we’re each looking for together than searching alone.”

Elora agreed. “You’re the only friends I have in this world, so I’d like us to stick together.”

“Especially if it means we get our own freaking island!” offered Salys.

“So now Brunch Club become Brunch Family,” Vorjhon said happily.

“Don’t push it,” Drusilla warned.

“Yeah, too far,” chided Salys playfully punching him in the hip with her tiny fist.

Mayor Gladstone saw them approaching and excused himself from the group he was with.

He met them halfway. “Have you come to a decision?”

“Almost,” Salys said. “Your offer is fair, but that lighthouse and dock needs a lot of work. Not to mention we’ll have to buy a boat. And I’m assuming we’ll owe property taxes?”

The mayor couldn’t help but be charmed by the gnome’s negotiating skills. “Yes. I’ll have to confirm, but I believe taxes for the island and lighthouse are 70 gold a year. More if you put more structures on the island.

“Hmmm,” Salys thought. “How about you make it 200 gold per harpy and we have a deal.”

The mayor held out his hand low for the gnome to shake it. “Done!” He then turned to the crowd on the beach, raised his arms, and said in a loud, jovial voice, “It is my pleasure to be the first to welcome the latest residents of Wheaton to their new home!” The crowd cheered and toasted to their new neighbors.

The Brunch Club finally got back to their rooms well after midnight. They slept in, but still woke up in time for brunch. After brunch they went to Mayor Gladstone’s office to pick up their reward and finalize the particulars of owning a lighthouse.

While there they asked the mayor if there were any dangers lurking around Wheaton that needed to be dealt with – specifically of the bounty paying variety. The mayor told them there wasn’t a lot of trouble here being so close to Elnor. There were scattered tribes of gnolls in the woods to the north that would occasionally harass the gates, but the town guard was usually enough to deal with them. “Besides,” he laughed, looking at Salys. “Even if we had bounties to pay, I doubt we could afford The Brunch Club!”

The next few days in Wheaton passed pleasantly enough for the group. They quickly found a favorite lunch spot, TJ’s Tavern, where the owner fell in love with Harir and gave the wolf pup free bones and scraps. Vorjhon visited a local leather worker named Druron and bought a suit of leather armor soft enough to sleep in,that wouldn’t leave him completely defenseless at night. The group bought a small boat which Morton agreed to keep tied up at the pier for a nominal fee. They tried to deal with the logistics of having the lighthouse repaired, but since they knew no one in town, they didn’t know who they could trust to oversee the renovation project.

They were drinking some wine at TJ’s in the late afternoon when Drusilla suddenly said, “I need diamonds.”

“I’m not sure diamonds go with your current fashion choice,” Salys commented.

“Not to wear,” sighed the cleric. “For a spell. The Raven Queen sent it to me during a meditation.”

“What kind of spell?” Vorjhon asked, curious.

“The kind that will save one of you if you die and I can get to you quickly enough.”

“How many diamonds?” Salys asked.

“About 300 gold worth,” Drusilla said.

“Worth it,” agreed Elora as she finished her drink. “Let’s go shopping.”

“I guess we should start with Saberhagen,” suggested Salys.

Saberhagen was reading something on the counter when they entered the Sun Spot. A pen wrote in the book on its own.

“Ah, Brunch Club,” he greeted them in a neutral voice. “How can I help you today?”

“We didn’t see you at the party on the beach,” Salys said. “We thought you’d want to come down and congratulate us along with the rest of the town.”

Saberhagen answered in a completely ambivalent tone, “If I wasn’t sure you could handle a banshee and a couple harpies, I wouldn’t have given you the Phoenix arrow.”

“I guess you should take that as compliment,“ Vorjhon said to Salys.

“Again,” the cat said impatiently, “Anything I can do for you?”

Drusilla inquired about a 300 gold worth of diamonds as components for a spell. Saberhagen told Jenkins what to fetch.

“I thought clerics didn’t need spell components,” Salys asked.

“They do for the major ones,” the wizard answered. He looked at Drusila curiously, “Given that component, can I assume the Raven Queen has blessed you with the knowledge of Revivify?”

“I don’t know what it’s called,” Drusilla nodded, “but it sounds right.”

“Good,” said Saberhagen, looking uncharacteristically pleased. “That will help protect my investment.”

Jenkins returned with a small bag and emptied it on the counter. Small diamonds of various sizes spilled out of it. Saberhagen used his paw to separate out a smaller pile, and asked Jenkins to put those in another bag.

Drusilla took the bag from Jenkins and Vorjhon placed 300 gold on the counter.

Saberhagen counted it.

“You don’t trust us?” asked Vorjhon, with a little disappointment in his voice.

“I’m a cat,” the wizard replied as if that explained everything.

They were about to leave when Salys turned to Saberhagen and showed her the anchor ring on her hand. “I found this in the lighthouse. Can you tell me what it is?

“I recognize it,” the cat said. “It’s one of the less rare magic rings. It’s a ring of water breathing.”

“Cool!” said Salys.

That reminded Vorjhon of the statuette they also found in the lighthouse. “Is this magic? Is it something you could use?”

The cat eyed it curiously. He waved his paw over it, said some words in a language they didn’t understand, and pushed it back toward the dragonborn who caught it as it fell off the counter. “It’s not magic. It might have some value to a boutique or merchant. But not to me.”

They thanked him and walked out of the Sun Spot and into the early evening.

“Did he seem like he could care less that we were there?” Salys asked.

Vorjhon shrugged. “He is cat.”

They were only a few steps from the Sun Spot when they heard the sounds of shouting and one of the town’s warning bells behind them. When they turned around they saw the commotion was coming from the eastern entrance. Guards were yelling and struggling to close the gates against something trying to get in. One of the guards saw them and shouted, “Gnolls! Take shelter!!”

The Brunch Club ran to assist them. Before they could reach the guards, the gates were thrown open. Eight humanoid creatures rushed into the town. Almost all of them were taller than Vorjhon, but leaner. They had long arms and legs and hyena-like heads. They were covered in brown and gray mottled fur and wore leather armor on their shoulders. Most carried swords, but some wielded spears. A couple of the gnolls attacked the guards at the gate while the rest rushed into town. The Brunch Club prepared to intercept them.

Drusila commanded Harir to hide, then called forth a large raven to serve as a spiritual weapon. Elora drew her bow and took careful aim at the largest of the gnolls moving toward them. Vorjhon called for Salys to stand next to him, then said a prayer. His warhammer glowed with a divine light. The first gnoll dropped in the dirt before it reached them, killed by two arrows to the chest. Elora was pleased to see that the Phoenix arrow would reappear in her quiver as quickly as she could fire it. Drusilla and Salys ganged up on a second gnoll, burning it with a sacred flame and a volley of magic missiles. The spiritual raven attacked a third. The fourth, who had now reached them, stabbed at Salys with his spear, but Vorjhon knocked it out of the way with his shield. He crushed the gnoll’s skull with two swift blows of his hammer.

Elora stepped back as a gnoll charged her. She shot it twice, but this one did not go down as easily. It slashed at her, cutting through her armor and into her skin, but it was not a serious wound. Vorjhon heard the ranger’s painful grunt and pivoted. He swung at the gnoll. The beast wailed and collapsed as the dragonborn shattered its spine.

Salys noticed one of the gate’s guards was down. She arced some magic missiles over the group of gnolls in front of them, and eliminated the remaining gnoll at the entrance.

The three remaining gnolls were in a frenzy. They fought with surprising determination even though the majority of their group was already dead.

The sound of the bells at the north and west gates began ringing simultaneously. The cacophony of weapons striking shields, and cries of wounded men and gnolls alike echoed through town.

Elora glanced back to see both northern and western gates had been forced open. A dozen gnolls streamed into the town over the broken timbers of each gate. Some guards raced to join the fight, while others either fled or dragged the wounded to the barracks.

Feeling a sense of urgency, they killed the three remaining gnolls as quickly as they could and ran to aid the guards. Vorjhon and Drusila paused on the way to heal a pair of wounded guards who were willing to rejoin the battle.

“Elora! Salys!” Vorjhon called, and pointed at the top of the guard tower that stood a few yards in from the north entrance.

The ranger and sorcerer nodded and ran towards the entrance as the paladin and cleric covered them.

Drusilla conjured the protective raven cloud around her and Vorjhon. The gnolls charged.They ignored the claws and pecks of the birds swirling around them and attacked recklessly. Vorjhon was able to protect himself and Drusilla with his shield as he dished out hammer blow after hammer blow. The gnolls paused their attack for a moment as arrows and magic missiles rained down from above.

A wall of fire raced through one group of gnolls, immolating a few, and singing others. They looked up on the flat roof of a shop across the town square and saw Saberhagen. He sat on the corner of the building, conjuring fireballs and hurling them at the gnolls on the ground.

They could not see the guards in the fight any more. They guessed they were dead, incapacitated, or hiding. Even with the added wizard support, they were still vastly outnumbered. Their hopes were momentarily bolstered when they heard a battle horn at the north gate. Perhaps Elnor had sent help.

Their hopes turned to dread when they saw a large gnoll standing atop the rubble of the collapsed doors. He was taller than the rest of the gnolls. He wore plate armor instead of leather on his shoulders, and had a layer of chainmail under that. At his right side, blowing the horn with one hand, was another large gnoll, though slightly smaller than the first. He wielded a large spear in his free hand, and a few more smaller spears were attached to his back. Surrounding them were four giant hyenas. Their heads were lowered, but their tiny black eyes focused on the dragonborn and lunar elf.

The large gnoll turned and gave a quick nod to his bodyguard. That gnoll held his spear over his head, gave out a high pitched scream, and charged them. The hyenas bared their teeth and followed.

“Tower,” Vorjhon said. They moved backwards toward the guard tower door. Elora, Salys and Saberhagen gave them covering fire.

A sudden, high pitched yelp, caught Elora’s and Drusilla’s ears. They looked to where it came from and saw Harir lying motionless in the dirt. A spear stuck out from his bloodstained side. A gnoll walked up to him, pulled out the spear, and drove it in again.

“Noooo!” Elora and Drusila screamed. The gnoll never saw the arrows that pierced him from above and the bolt of divine energy that slammed into him from the side. It collapsed next to its last ever victim.

Drusilla stood motionless with shock and grief. Vorjhon placed a hand on her shoulder and guided her into the tower. He slammed the door behind them and barricaded it with a wooden timber

“Go!” he said and gestured to the stairs. “I will try to hold them.”

Drusila ran up the stairs as fast as she could. She arrived at the top just in time to see Saberhagen step out of a small portal onto the roof in front of her.

She ran to the wooden railing to start raining her own destruction down upon the gnolls when she noticed they were setting the base of the guard tower on fire.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 15

Episode 14 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 013 “An Eventful Day In Wheaton”

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Welcome to Episode 13 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly home brew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 12, The Brunch Club along with Chad and Thad split the bounty on the wolf-like beast that had been sighted near Boughmoor. Ulrich, the town’s druid, identified it as a Barghest, a kind of shape shifting weregoblin. Vorjhon returned to his room that night to find a scarecrow similar to the ones goblins were using to plague his friend, farmer Jamieson, before they killed him. It was made of sticks that Elora told them could only be found in the bloodwood forest. They said goodbye to their new friends in Boughmoor and set off on the road to continue their journey. They saved a merchant named Bronald and his Kenku friend, from an angry Hill Giant. Then they frightened off some teenage wannabe bandits before arriving at the gates of Wheaton. The guards pointed them to White Claw Inn and the wizard Saberhagen’s magic emporium called, ‘The Sun Spot’.

And now…

Episode 13, “An Eventful Day In Wheaton”

The White Claw was a standard three story Inn with a tavern downstairs, rooms for let on the second floor, and the owners’ living quarters occupying the top floor. They decided after the scarecrow incident at the Laughing Pine Lodge, that it would be best to pair up from now on. They rented one room for Elora and Drusilla, and the other for Vorjhon and Salys.

With a couple hours of afternoon left, and their curiosity piqued, they uncharacteristically skipped the tavern and went directly to the Sun Spot.

The door opened and a bell sounded, even though Elora noticed there was no bell above the door. The ceiling was lower than most other shops they’d been in, but Vorjhon was still able to stand up with a couple inches to spare. Floor-to-ceiling shelving occupied most of the wall space in the room. The few books they held were scattered among a wide variety of many items. They included weapons, tools, and clothing that was either folded, or hanging from hooks nailed to the edges of the shelves. There were incense burners next to bundled sticks and herbs. Jars full of different colored powders and liquids were the most common items along with small leather and cloth bags. Random knick knacks, such as scraps of fur, stones, tallow, feathers, bits of string, and pieces of pork rind, looked as though they had been absentmindedly placed on the shelves and forgotten about.

There were a couple of low, soft cushioned chairs with blankets bunched up on them below two windows and a counter at the opposite end of the room from the door.

Harir directed a low growl at a sleeping black cat with white paws that was curled up on a small pillow at one end of the counter. Drusilla hushed him and the wolf pup quieted when Elora gave him a piece of jerky. Behind the counter, stood a man in formal clothing. He only stared at them. He did not move, or blink. There was no expression on his face, as though he was in a trance.

“Um, excuse me?” Salys said. “Are you Saberhagen?”

The man did not move or seem to acknowledge her presence.

“Uh, yeah,” continued Salys, “Bronald said we should come see you. He said you had nice stuff here?”

The man ignored her. Salys asked in a worried tone, “Are you okay?”

Elora leaned over the counter to get a closer look. “He’s breathing,” she told them.

“Maybe spell go wrong?” Vorjhon suggested. “Maybe uses wild magic like Salys?”

“I can assure you, dragonborn, there is nothing wild about my magic,” the cat said as it stretched its front legs and back legs before sitting regally in the center of his pillow.

“Oh my Gods, that’s adorable!” squeaked Drusilla.

“He must be great wizard!” Vorjhon said, delighted. “He has talking cat!”

The cat rolled its eyes, and sighed audibly. “Jenkins,” he commanded.

Jenkins clapped his hands twice.

“Close the store. I have the feeling these ones are going to take up the rest of my afternoon.”

The man walked to the front of the store, hung a ‘closed sign’ in the door’s window, shut the curtains behind it, then walked back to his previous spot.

“Jenkins,” Saberhagen said again and walked to the center of the counter.

Jenkins clapped twice, then moved the pillow next to the cat.

The cat sat on the pillow. “I am the wizard Saberhagen.” He bowed his head as a greeting. “Jenkins is my familiar. Welcome to my shop. How can I help you?”

“Incredible!” Vorjhon exclaimed. “Were you wizard who was turned into cat?”

“No,” replied Saberhagen. “I have always been a cat.”

“Have you always been a wizard?” Salys asked.

“No. Cat first. Wizard later.”

“Can I pet you?” Drusilla asked, excitedly.

“No,” replied Saberhagen once again. Before anyone could ask another question, he quickly asked. “How may I help you? Are you here to buy, or sell?”

“Hopefully both!” said Salys, “What do you have?”

The cat chuckled. “Look around, gnome. I have lots of things. See if anything catches your eyes.”

They browsed the shelves, picking up random items such as clothing, and small weapons, but whenever they asked Saberhagen how much they cost, the price was not affordable.

Elora’s keen eye quickly caught sight of a quiver with one arrow inside it. It was made with two kinds of leather: A dark brown leather base, and red leather that was sewed on top of it in a decorative flame pattern. The three feathers of the single arrow were yellow, orange, and red.

“Does this come with more arrows?” the ranger asked Saberhagen.

“You have a good eye, wood elf,” commented the feline. “That is a phoenix arrow and quiver. No matter how far you shoot the arrow, or what it hits, it will always reappear in the quiver. So one arrow is all it needs.” Before Elora could ask how much it was, he added, “And no, you can’t afford it.”

Elora took a last, longing look at it before placing it back on the shelf with a mournful sigh.

“What are bottles and trinkets for?” Vorjhon asked as he picked up a small glass vial filled with what appeared to be dirt.

“Not all of us are blessed with the ability to channel magic from within, Paladin.” Saberhagen looked down at Salys, and added quietly, “Or cursed.” He waved his paw around indicating the items on the shelves and continued. “Most of the small items here are components that those of us who gained our magic through study need in order to craft our spells.”

Drusila approached the counter. “I’m afraid you won’t make a sale out of us today, Saberhagen. But maybe you might be interested in something we have?” The cleric motioned for Elora to join her.

The ranger approached, already retrieving the cloth-wrapped orb in her hand. She placed it on the counter next to the pillow. Saberhagen bent down to sniff the object that was larger than his own head. He recoiled at the stench a little, but raised a curious eye whisker.

“A basilisk eye,” Drusilla answered the unspoken question.

Saberhagen sat up straight and cocked his head at her. “Reeally? That would be most unusual. I hope you don’t mind if I confirm that? It wouldn’t be the first time someone tried to sell me a basilisk eye thinking I wouldn’t risk unwrapping it.”

“Be our guest,” Drusilla said.

“Jenkins,” Saberhagen called. Jenkins clapped twice. “Bring this upstairs please.” The cat leapt from the counter and ran up stairs. “This will take 10 minutes,” he called behind him. “And I’ll know if you steal anything!” Jenkins followed his master up the steps.

Ten minutes later Saberhagen returned down stairs. Jenkins followed behind him with a small cloth sack. The wizard cat leapt back on the counter and resumed his seat on the pillow.

“I’m impressed.” he said. “Sadly it’s not in pristine condition so I can’t give you full price. Will 200 gold do?”

Jenkins handed the sack to Drusila who in turn handed it to Vorjhon. The paladin could be self righteous and annoying, but he was the obvious trustworthy choice to hold on to their gold before they had a chance to divide it out.

They thanked Saberhagen. Vorjhon asked, “I wonder if there is something we may actually be able to afford from you. In exchange for dinner on us, would you tell us story of how cat becomes great wizard?”

Saberhagen agreed, but only if they threw in the story about how the four of them managed to get hold of a basilisk eye and survive.

The Brunch Club left Harir in the care of the White Claw’s innkeeper and joined their guests at the Red Fin Fishery. Their round table overlooked Wheaton Harbor and through the window they could see two lighthouses. The shorter one looked neglected. There was no paint left on the stone tower. The beacon’s windows were shattered and the inside seemed to be filled with the nests of large birds. The dock to the lighthouse’s uninviting rocky island was no more than rotted pilings sticking up from the water.

A few hundred yards past it, further into the sea was a taller lighthouse. Its freshly whitewashed stone tower looked bright and clean through the gaps in its surrounding scaffold. The beacon seemed to shine even though it wasn’t lit yet. The dock to its green, landscaped island seemed sturdy and welcoming.

Salys asked, “which one do you think is haunted?”

Jenkins was the only one who didn’t smile. He sat as still as the expression on his face while Saberhagen sat on his lap. He only moved to cut his master’s food and feed it to him when the meal arrived.

Over dinner the group told the feline wizard the tale of their encounter with the Basilisk. When pressed to continue they shared other details of their trip through the bog, their successes and failures in Boughmoor, and their quest to reach the Crystal Spire Library in Elnor.

When the meal was complete and the dishes had been cleared away, Saberhagen told them his story.

“I was once an ordinary house cat,” he began. “I lived with a wealthy widow and her servant. The servant was the one who fed me and showed me affection and I grew quite fond of him. When I was about three the servant became ill and died. The woman and new servant neglected me so I left. I wandered in the woods for several months, barely surviving. I was eventually found and taken in by a druid who lived alone in the forest. He must have been lonely because he performed a ritual to give me intelligence and awareness. I was happy for a while, and became a voracious reader. But eventually I wanted to learn more and I left the hut and forest, and like you, headed for the Crystal Spire Library.”

Saberhagen paused and took a few laps from a saucer of milk that had been placed in front of him.

“The Library is not an easy place to get into, even for an intelligent cat, so instead I went looking for books at the mage college. When I read the first book of arcana I was hooked. I knew that if I wanted to make it in this world as a cat, I’d have to become a wizard. I read every spell book, history book, and wizard diary I could get my paws on. I’d lie in the corners of classrooms pretending to sleep but secretly listening in on the lessons. The students and wizards dismissed me as a stray or someone’s familiar. I found an unused basement room which became my home. I stole the component materials from wherever I could and practiced there day and night between naps. Eventually I became ready to find a familiar of my own.”

“I called out to the spirit of my dead friend, Jekins, and he eventually came to me. He looked healthy and alive as I’d ever seen him, but sadly, his soul was not there. This saddened me, but I decided not to abandon him. Having a human familiar also became very handy as I quickly learned no one wanted to do business with a talking cat. Using illusions, I would make Jenkins speak for me and passed him off as the wizard. I had stolen enough silver pieces to put Jenkins in a cheap inn. For a while I would steal money and components from the college and the various shops in Elnor. I was careful not to steal a lot at once in hopes that my thefts would go unnoticed. Eventually though, the wizards and shop owners caught on and started to investigate. I decided it was time to get out of Elnor, so Jenkins and I came here. Using the money and components I stole, and Jenkins as my front man, I established the Sun Spot. Eventually I was able to grow it to where it is now and was comfortable enough revealing my true form.”

“It took a while, but the townspeople eventually accepted me into the community for who I am.”

“That is an incredible story!” Drusilla sounded impressed. “It makes me want to pet you even more!”

“Please don’t,” Saberhagen requested. The wizard thanked them for dinner, said it was well past his nap time, and told Jenkins it was time to go. As Jenkins stood , his master leapt up and sat on his shoulder. Before leaving them, he invited them back to the Sun Spot in the morning. “I have a proposition I would like to discuss with you.”

The Brunch Club agreed and thanked him for sharing his story.

The next morning, they decided to introduce themselves to Wheaton’s mayor, and inquired about the 2000 gold bounty on the Banshee in the old lighthouse. Mayor Gladstone appeared to be a likable, competent, and efficient bureaucrat, who welcomed them into his office. He was an older, sturdy man with brown hair, a full mustache and round glasses. “There is still a bounty out on the Banshee,” he informed them, “but with the new lighthouse almost finished, I regret to tell you it is no longer 2000 gold.”

“What is it now?” Salys asked.

“We haven’t determined that yet, I’m afraid,” the mayor apologized. “It is currently negotiable after the banshee is killed.”

Salys squinted her eyes at the mayor. “Can you guarantee a minimum, so we know we’re not risking our lives for a few copper?”

Mayor Gladstone gave a friendly, disarming laugh, pulled out what appeared to be a ledger and looked at a couple pages. “I think I can guarantee you at least 1000 gold upon success. If this is something you’ll be doing soon, I can make it a priority to meet with my Exchequer and determine the final bounty.”

“We will have to approach by boat,” Vorjhon pointed out. “Better done in cover of darkness.”

“Let’s do it tonight,” Drusilla said.

The others agreed with the plan.

Mayor Gladstone seemed pleased. “There’s a pier in the middle of the harbor beach.” He told them. You’ll find Morton there. Tell him I sent you and you need a boat.”

They thanked the mayor who wished them good luck and hoped for their safe return.

Saberhagen was curled up on one of the plush window seats when they arrived at the Sun Spot. He sat up when the magic bell alerted him to their arrival.

He wished them a good morning, and foregoing any small talk or pleasantries, began telling them his proposal.

“I have done well for myself here,” he began, puffing his chest out with pride, “but there’s only so much business I can do in a small town like Wheaton. Especially being so close to Elnor, who has a near monopoly on the trade of magical items in this region. That’s why I have agents like Bronald who find buyers for my goods in other towns. What I’d like to offer you is a sort of patronage agreement. I will provide you with magic items and other support, if you will act as my spokespeople and procurers. There’s no reason to spread the word of the Sun Spot in Elnor, but when you leave there and go into more remote regions, I will want you to tell people about my shop. Sometimes I will ask you to procure certain components for me, and in your travels, look for rare magic items to add to my inventory. I will compensate you, of course.“

Before The Brunch Club could accept or refuse his proposal, he added, “As a downpayment for your services, I will give you this.” Jenkins had walked over unnoticed and startled Elora as he held up the Phoenix arrow and quiver.

“Oh!” was all Elora could muster to say as she took the quiver and held it in her hands reverently. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You say, ‘ignis’,” replied Saberhagen.

“What?” Elora looked confused.

“Not only will the Phoenix arrow always return to the quiver. But when you draw back your bow, and say ‘ignis’ the arrow will ignite and burn your target as well as pierce it. The flame will go out after 30 feet, but still, a nice little feature.“

Elora thanked the wizard as she replaced her old quiver.

Vorjhon told Saberhagen, “I don’t see how we can refuse such generous offer. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” the cat said, then turned to the cleric. “Drusilla, you may scratch behind my ears.”

Drusilla was delighted and smiled with joy. She bent down to scratch Saberhagen’s head.

He purred, and pushed his head into her fingers for a few seconds before abruptly pulling away. “That’s enough.”

They arrived at the pier just before sunset. They found Morton. He was not happy to be ordered by the mayor to give a group of strangers one of his boats. He cheered up when Vorjhon handed him some silver pieces for his trouble. Morton gave them a large skiff that fit the four of them comfortably with space for Harir at the bow.

They pushed the skiff off the beach into the harbor. Vorjhon sat on the center seat and began rowing them the half mile toward the haunted lighthouse. The sun had fully set by the time they were within a couple hundred yards of the island. The lighthouse was little more than a silhouette illuminated only by the stars and a half moon.

Vorjhon, who had his back to the lighthouse while he rowed, asked the others quietly, “Any sign of banshee yet?”

“No,” Drusilla answered. “All I see is some birds circling the beacon.”

“Those are some large birds,” Elora commented.

“And they’re coming right for us,” Salys pointed out.

A frightening, unnatural screech filled their ears as the three large birds dove at them from the top of the lighthouse.

When they got close enough to see better Elora shouted, “Shit! Harpies!” She stood up, loaded her single arrow into her longbow and fired at one of the creatures. The unsteadiness of the boat when she stood caused her to miss her target, but true to Saberhagen’s word, the arrow was back in the quiver when she reached for it.

With the harpies upon them now, they could see the beasts in horrifying detail. They resembled the bog hag they had seen, but with white skin, sporadically covered with feathers, as though they were perpetually molting. They had large wings protruding out of their backs. They had disproportionately long talons for feet and hands.

The one that flew over the boat first gave another shriek. This was different than the one that announced their presence. This was high pitched and sustained. All four of them clutched their heads in pain, trying to fight off a numbing sensation in their minds. Elora and Drusilla were able to shake it off. They opened their eyes just in time to watch Vorjhon and Salys stand up, step calmly off the boat, and sink into liquid darkness.

The other two harpies then strafed the boat, raking the cleric and ranger with their claws. Then all three harpies banked upwards into the air preparing to dive bomb them again.

“Which one charmed Salys and Vorjhon?” Elora asked.

“The left one I think,” Drusilla answered.

They both targeted that one. Drusilla prayed to the Raven Queen for a sacred flame to engulf the harpy and the goddess obliged her. Elora took aim and whispered, “ignis.” The tip of the Phoenix arrow glowed then burst into flame. When the harpy was within 30 feet, she fired.

The harpy was already screaming and smoking from Drusila’s attack. It wailed even louder when Elora’s flaming arrow hit true. Flames ignited its feathers. It lost altitude and splashed into the harbor.

Their sense of hope faded when the harpy emerged from the water and joined its sisters. They didn’t swoop and attack this time either. They hovered above the boat, flapping their wings hard, clawing at them with both taloned feet and hands. Harir valiantly tried to nip at them but could not reach.

They were too close for Elora to shoot now. She pulled out her sword and began hacking away at them, but could not get a good strike past the talons raking at them.

Drusilla spoke a prayer Elora had not heard before. A cloud of ravens suddenly appeared around them filling a fifteen foot radius. “What the hell?” Elora asked, alarmed.

“Don’t worry,” assured the cleric. “They won’t harm us.”

The ravens swirled around the harpies, taking many small chunks out of their flesh with beaks and claws.

The harpies flew away from the cloud of angry birds giving Elora a clear shot. The ranger hit the already wounded harpy in the center of its chest. It plunged into the water and this time, did not resurface.

The two remaining harpies attempted to attack the boat again, but screamed in agony as the swirling mass of birds resumed picking away at their feathers and skin.
They heard the sound of splashing water next to the boat, and saw Salys break the surface.

“Quickly,” she gasped, “Throw the rope over. Vorjhon’s armor is dragging him down.”

Drusila threw the bow rope over while Elora pulled Salys back into the boat. Salys looked at the swarm of ravens and gave a questioning look at Elora who simply shrugged. The diminutive sorceress then hurled a fire bolt at one of the harpies. It struck it but did not kill it. The harpies came in for another attack. They tried to ignore the attacks of the birds, but could only manage one superficial wound on Elora’s arm.

Once again they fled the raven cloud. Salys and Elora finished one of them off with some magic missiles and a well placed arrow. It splashed into the ocean as the remaining harpy dove towards them in anger. It was again ripped to shreds in Drusila’s protective bird shield. The cleric hit it with a bolt of purple energy that made it sear and glow. Elora finally killed it with an arrow through the neck.

The last harpy fell into the water at the same time Vorjhon’s gauntleted hand grasped the boat’s gunnel and pulled his head out of the water.

He held on for a few moments while he coughed the sea out of his lungs. They carefully pulled him into the boat over the stern to make sure his weight didn’t capsize them.

“So much for element of surprise,” the paladin joked as he regained his seat and finished rowing them to the island.

They found a smooth, sloping rock they could pull the boat to, tied it up on another rock, and told Harir to wait with the skiff.

When they got up to the level ground the lighthouse sat on, Drusilla stopped them.

“I’m spent,” she told them. “I need to rest.”

“How long do you need?” asked Vorjhon.

“Four hours of meditation will do the trick,” answered the lunar elf.

Elora suggested Drusilla rest while the rest of them keep watch. With any luck the Banshee would stay in the safety of its tower rather than come outside to attack.

Luck was not with The Brunch Club tonight however. Barely an hour into Drusila’s meditation, a ghostly, wailing form descended from the top of the tower. It was almost translucent, and the color of moonlight. Its ragged strips of clothing, which was the same color as its flesh, floated out from it rather than lay against its body. When it got closer it thrust its face at them, opened its grotesque mouth, and shouted a frightful scream.

They all felt terror well up inside them, but pushed passed it and focused on their task.

Vorjhon charged the banshee. His booming voice shouted a prayer to Bahamut as he swung his warhammer at her. When it connected, the usual divine energy that accompanied his prayer seemed twice as bright, and lasted twice as long. The banshee screamed in obvious agony.

It screamed again and twisted with pain as the flaming Phoenix arrow struck it, ignited it, then reappeared in the ranger’s quiver. The banshee had no respite as Elora’s attack was quickly followed by four of Salys’s magic missiles slamming into its side. Ghostly chunks of flesh appeared to explode from its body before fading to nothing.

The banshee swung at Vorjhon with a desperate attack, but the paladin brushed her hand aside with his shield. He said another prayer and hit her with his warhammer again. The divine energy he called forth to smite his foe engulfed her ghostly form. Her deafening final wails echoed across the harbor before dissipating into silence. What was left of the banshee lay motionless at the paladin’s feet for only a few seconds before it too faded into nothingness.

“Well that was easier than I imagined,” Elora said.

“They should have made the bounty for the Harpies,” Salys observed.

“We should check lighthouse,” Vorjhon suggested, “to make sure all clear.”

The lighthouse steps were in disrepair, but still intact enough for them to walk carefully to the beacon.

They inspected each floor as they went. They found nothing of value except for a ring with an anchor on it. This fit Salys so they gave it to her. They also took a curious statuette of an elven woman.

When they got to the beacon they noticed the harpy nests had mostly been built along the windows. The reflector for the light was intact and the platform that would normally have held logs for a fire was bare. Vorjhon put one foot on the platform, raised his warhammer above his head in front of the reflector and said a prayer. His hammer glowed with a divine white light that filled the beacon and reflected into the harbor.

“What are you doing?” Salys asked.

“I am signaling to town that Banshee dead.” The paladin said, heroically.

“You look like an idiot,” offered Drusilla.

Elora pointed at the harpy nests all around them. “We could just build a fire with these.”

Vorjhon looked mildly embarrassed as the light from his warhammer faded. “Um, yes. Good thinking, Elora.”

They rowed back to the pier. The unexpected fire in the beacon of the once abandoned lighthouse attracted a curious crowd to the beach. Rumors began circulating, courtesy of Morton, of the brave heroes and their wolf pup who rowed out to take on the Banshee. More of Wheaton’s citizens came down to see what was going on. Some brought blankets. Some brought food. Many brought bottles of wine and ale.

When the brunch club finally beached their skiff, they stepped into a full blown town celebration. They were greeted with a chorus of “huzzah’s,” applause, and handshakes.

Each of them also felt somehow different. The sorceress felt as though the wild magic inside her had become more powerful. Elora felt more confident, faster, and deadlier. The paladin and cleric felt closer to their gods, as though they had earned the right to ask for more divine power in the fight against evil.

Harir felt a little hungry.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 14

Episode 13 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 012 “From Boughmoor To Wheaton”

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Welcome to Episode 12 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A weekly fantasy adventure based on a home brewed Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 11, The Brunch Club, much to Vorjhon’s disapproval, voted against chasing the young hag back into the bog. Instead they left early the next morning to hunt the wolf-like monster which had been seen to the north of Boughmoor. Elora set a snare trap that wound up capturing Chad, who, along with his brother, Thad, had followed their trail. They were all attacked by a giant werebeast and three large wolves under its command. They party fought off the wolves and killed the beast. They dragged the body back to Boughmoor for identification. On the way they found an orphaned wolf pup named Harir who Drusila and Elora adopted. They were attacked by a group of goblins led by a magic wielding nilbog who confused Chad and Thad, and charmed Drusila and Vorjhon. Fortunately Salys killed the nilbog and they arrived, at the gates of Boughmoor just before nightfall.

And now…

Episode 12, “Form Boughmoor To Wheaton”

It wasn’t fully dark yet, but the northern gates to Boughmoor were already closed, shutting out the nocturnal beasts.

“Hey, let us in, we killed your werewolf!” Chad cried as he banged loudly on the door with the pommel of his great sword.

Drusilla and Elora looked at eachother and rolled their eyes behind him.

A panel in the gate at human eye level slid open. A young man’s face was behind it. “Who are you?” he asked Chad and Thad bruskly.

“We’re the heroes who killed the beast in the woods,” Chad said triumphantly.

“More like the idiots who helped us kill the beast in the woods,” Salys corrected.

Vorjhon approached the peep hole, politely motioned for Chad to step aside, and introduced themselves as hunters in Raif Brenton’s employ. “It would be best if you allow us inside so our ripe friend here doesn’t attract hungry beasts to your gate,” Vorjhon gestured toward the corpse of the werebeast attached to the ropes looped over Chad’s and Thad’s shoulders.

Being the only dragonborn in town, Vorjohn was immediately recognized by the yguard who opened the gates for them. They dragged their prize directly to the Raif’s doorstep.

Harir left Druslia’s and Elora’s sides to explore this new location and sample all the odors it had to offer. They coaxed him back to them with a handful of jerky from their rations.

The braziers on either side of Raif Brenton’s door were already aflame. They back lit the two guards flanking Raif Brenton’s steps. They stood in relaxed poses, leaning against the plinths on either side of the first stair. When they saw the group of two elves, one gnome, one dragonborn, one wolf, and two large humans dragging an eight foot corpse behind them, they assumed more authoritative postures.

“Good evening,” Vorjhon greeted them before Chad could. “I know it’s late, but we have urgent business with Raif Brenton. He may be expecting us.”

The older guard nodded at Vorjhon with recognition and glanced at the corpse on the ground. “It doesn’t look like a social call,” he said with a smile. He made a ‘go’ gesture with his head toward the younger guard and ordered, “Inform the Raif he has visitors.” He turned back to study the dead beast from his post. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “What is it?”

Vorjhon chuckled, “We were hoping you could tell us. We are new to these lands.”

“Really? I never would have guessed.” smiled the guard in return.

The door opened. The younger guard came out first and resumed his post. Raif Brenton followed, still fastening his cloak about his shoulders to ward off the chilly night air.

“I didn’t expect to see the six of you working together,” he started to greet them before catching sight of their cargo. “Good gods! What is that thing?”

“That seems to be the question of the day,” Drusila answered.

Brenton got closer for a better look. Drusila cast a single glowing orb to shed light on the beast. Upon seeing its grotesque face with deadly looking fangs fully illuminated, Brenton gasped and stepped instinctually backwards.

“Tell me about the hunt,” he asked after collecting himself.

Chad began to speak, but Brenton held up his hand to quiet him. “I would like to hear it from the ranger, if you don’t mind.”

Elora told Brenton about how they tracked it to a clearing and laid a trap for it when Chad and Thad caught up to them.

“Did the trap work?” Brenton asked.

Everyone but Chad tried to suppress a smile. “A deer set it off,” Elora said.

Thad playfully punched his brother in the arm. Chad brushed it away with an annoyed look on his face.

Raif Brenton seemed to notice the unspoken, private joke among them, but did not press the matter, and let Elora finish her account without interruption.

“Tell him about goblins,” Vorjhon reminded her.

“Goblins?” Brenton asked with surprise.

“Yeah,” Elora said. “We were attacked by 7 of them. We killed them all, but there’s no telling how many more you might have in those woods out there.”

“One of them was a mage of some kind,” Drusilla warned.

“That is disturbing,” Brenton said. “I hope it was an isolated incident, but I will double the guards on watch for a while just in case.”

“So what about our half of the bounty?” Chad said before Brenton had time to pause after his last thought.

“Um, excuse me?” Salys interjected loudly. “What do you mean, ‘your half?’”

“Duh,” Chad answered. “Your group gets one half, we get the other half.”

“In case you can’t count that high,” Salys replied, “There are six of us. That means it gets split six ways.”

“Nuh unh!” Chad countered. “We would have killed it without you guys getting in the way.”

“Look,” Salys reasoned. “You had your chance to do it on your own. We had to wait because of other commitments. You guys could have tracked it on your own and done this two days ago. But you snoozed, so now you lose.”

“But!” Chad exclaimed, frustrated. “You had a ranger with you, we had to wait for you guys to go first so we could find it.”

Thad threw up his arms in disgust and rolled his eyes at his brother.

“Sooooo,” Salys said smiling at him with a single eyebrow arched, “you admit that we did most of the work then?”

“No!” Chad stammered. “Well, yes, I mean…”

“It should be,” Vorjhon interjected, “Raif Brenton’s decision. Can we all agree that we will accept graciously how he says bounty will be split?”

Everyone nodded their heads, except for Harir, who cautiously sniffed the corpse’s feet.

Brenton took a deep breath, and let it out slowly, converting his thoughts into words. “Since Chad or Thad didn’t dispute Elora’s account of the hunt, and admitted they were waiting for them to go first so they could follow them, I have decided the bounty shall be split among you in 6 equal shares.

“That’s bogus,” muttered Chad under his breath.

“I trust you will all get along, while I fetch your coin?” Brenton asked, eyeing Chad before walking back into his home and headquarters.

While they waited they made small talk with the older guard. His name was Tahard, and he thanked them for helping stop the nightmares that had been plaguing the town.

“I don’t know if we stopped them for good,” Drusilla warned. “They may return.”

“I’m just grateful for a few nights of peaceful sleep,” Tahard replied. “At least if they do come back, we know what’s causing them and what to hunt down.”

Raif Brenton returned after a few minutes and handed them each a palm sized bag of gold. He gestured at the body of the beast, “This thing can’t be left out here overnight. If you could do me a favor and take it to Ulrich’s, I’d appreciate it.”

“We are happy to,” said Vorjhon agreeably.

Chad and Thad dropped the ropes they were still holding. “We didn’t get paid enough to keep dragging this thing,” Chad said as they started walking away.

“Thanks for the whiskey, dragonman!” Thad shouted over his shoulder, smiling as he waved.

Brenton watched them walk away. When they were out of ear shot he turned back toward The Brunch Club and thanked them. “I wish I could give you more. I appreciate how many times you’ve risked your lives for us in the short time you’ve been here.”

They told the Raif they were continuing their journey to Elnor in the morning, and would hopefully return someday soon with answers regarding Juni.

Brenton shook all their hands and bade them a good night. Vorjhon picked up one of the ropes attached to the beast. Drusila and Elora picked up the other. Together they dragged the dead thing to Ulrich’s house.

When they deposited the beast’s corpse in front of the Druid’s shop, the lights were still on. They could see his silhouette at a work table through the window. Drusila knocked gently on the door.

They heard chair legs slide across wood, and footsteps approach the door. When it opened, Ulrich stook there, not at all surprised to see them.

“Word travels fast in a small town,” he smiled. “I was wondering when you’d get here.” He looked down at the creature stretched out on the ground. “It’s best we get this out of the street. Let’s bring it around back.” He helped them drag it around his shop. The backyard was surrounded by a fence that was a smaller version of the fence that surrounded the town. It was made of seven foot tall vertical slats with no space between them. The tops were chiseled into sharp points. Ulrich unlatched the gate and they dragged the werebeast into the yard.

“It’s cold enough that he’ll keep for a while, and the fence will keep the scavengers out,” Ulrich explained.

“Do you know what it is?” Elora asked, out of professional curiosity.

Ulrich knelt next to it. He held his hand out with the palm up, from which a bright flame appeared.

He used the light to inspect the beast for a few minutes.

“I think I might,” he said. “Let’s go inside where it’s warm.” He closed his palm, extinguishing the flame.

They watched as he scanned a row of books on one of the shelves in his shop. He picked one out and began leafing through it. “Ah ha!” he said with an affectation of triumph and placed the book on a table so they could all see it. The illustration on the page Ulrich pointed at was a crude, wood block illustration, but wholly recognizable as the lifeless creature in the druid’s back yard.

“It is a barghest,” Ulrich said. “I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s a shapeshifter. It’s natural shape is what you see out there, but it can take the form of a wolf or goblin.

“So is werewolf, but non-wolf part is goblin?” asked Vorjhon.

“Yes and no,” Ulrich said, “but close enough.”.

“I wonder if it has to do with the goblins and nilbog that attacked us?” Drusilla pondered.

“Goblins?” Ulrich asked with surprise.

They told the Druid the same tale they had told Brenton earlier about their encounter with the goblins in the forest. They also told them they would be leaving for Elnor early in the morning and this would most likely be good bye until they returned.

Ulrich wished them well, said his goodbyes and thank yous and assured them he would discuss the goblin’s presence with the Raif and keep an eye on Anne and Cooper.

By the time they returned to their rooms at the Laughing Pine Lodge, it had been another extremely long day and they could all feel the exhaustion starting to creep into their sore muscles and aching joints.

They said goodnight to each other, made a plan to meet downstairs for breakfast in the morning, then went to their respective rooms.

When Vojhon entered his room, he noticed a large, humanoid shape in his bed. He withdrew his warhammer and called softly “who’s there?”.

The shape did not move. Vorjhon could not hear breathing. He whispered an oath to Bahamut that caused his warhammer to glow and fill the room with a bright divine light.

Lying on top of the blanket was a scarecrow. It was the same manner of scarecrow that had been left outside his friend Jamieson’s farm the night before he was killed near Wyhill. He knew he should be concerned, even alarmed, but he was too tired. He stripped off his armor, pulled the scarecrow off his bed, and tossed it across the small room. He got down on one knee and said his nightly prayers to the Silver Flame and Bahamut. The paladin then rolled onto the thin, but oh so comfortable mattress and willingly succumbed to sleep.

Salys was the last one up that morning and found her companions already in the dining room. Neither Anne nor Cooper were there, but there was a tray of breakfast foods, and pitchers of juice on the bar.

“Self service, this morning?” said Salys. She got herself a muffin and a glass of juice then sat on the bench between Vorjhon and Drusilla.

“I imagine they are not feeling social right now,” said Vorjhon.

“They’re grieving,” Drusilla offered. “I don’t blame them for not wanting to see us. We’re reminders.”

They all nodded with agreement.

Drusila gave a piece of meat to Harir who sat expectantly at her side, with wide, begging eyes. The young wolf gobbled it down happily before turning to Elora on the other side of her. Elora glanced down and gave the wolf another piece of meat.

Vorjhon startled them when he suddenly remembered the stick in his pack. He handed it to Elora. “Do you know what kind of tree this is?” he asked the ranger.

“Yeah. Bloodwood,” she answered.

“It does not grow around here?” Vorjhon questioned further.

“No. It only grows in the Bloodwood forest. Hence the name,” Elora replied through bites of an apple.

“Um… why do you have a bloodwood stick?” Salys asked.

“It was part of scarecrow in my bed last night,” the dragonborn answered nonchalantly. He continued to eat, not noticing the others had stopped and were staring at him.

He looked up at their expectant, shocked faces. He told them the story of finding a scarecrow in his bed. “I think nothing of it at time,” he added. “But this is same stick scarecrows at Jamieson’s farm made with. Seems strange they should be made from sticks not from here.”

“That seems strange?” Salys asked incredulously. “Not the fact that someone put a very specific and personal scarecrow in your bed last night?”

Vorjhon shrugged. “I suppose. But I was too tired to care. I think we should not let it distract us. We should continue to Elnor.”

“He’s right,” Drusilla agreed. “It seems like it was personally directed at Vorjhon, and probably not a threat to anyone in town. We should start sharing rooms from now on though, to be safe.”

They finished their breakfast, left a note and a generous amount of gold for Anne and Cooper, and left the inn.

“We need to stop at the dry goods merchant first,” Elora said.

“Good idea, we should stock up on rations,” agreed Vorjhon.”

They bought enough rations to last through the journey to Wheaton, the next town on the way to Elnor.

Drusilla and Elora each bought as many pounds of jerky they had room for. Harir looked pleased.

The road from Boughmoor to Wheaton had its own dangers, but it was much less dangerous than the trail through the bitch bog. It felt good to travel on a genuine road again. They took long, easy strides and did not miss having to force their legs out of deep squelching muck at every step. The Brunch Club enjoyed three uninterrupted days and nights of comparatively easy travel.

During the late afternoon of the fourth day, they came across their first unusual sight on the road. In the distance they saw the silhouette of a huge humanoid figure push a horse drawn carriage over and begin beating on its side with its fists.

“Shit,” said Elora, “Hill giant. Whoever’s in there is going to die.”

Even though they were still 500 feet away, Elora let an arrow fly. It ascended in a graceful arc before burying itself deep in the giant’s shoulder. It let out a scream and began charging them. Vorjhon ran a few feet ahead and got ready to intercept the giant in case the rest of the party couldn’t bring it down before it closed the gap.

When the hill giant got within 120 feet of them, it stopped. It grabbed a large boulder and threw it at Vorjhon with surprising speed and accuracy. The paladin decided to stay where he was should the boulder miss him and hit someone else. He screamed in agony as he felt his shield arm shatter and several ribs snap at the impact. The boulder drove him into the ground. His insides were now made of pain, and his head was dizzy, but he did not lose consciousness. He saw the giant pick up another rock and then get hit by an arrow and several green magic missiles. It threw the boulder but Vorjhon could not see where it went.

The hill giant ran forward and closed the gap between them with a few long strides. Vorjhon spit up blood as he struggled to get to his feet. Before the hill giant could finish the dragonborn off, it was struck once again with an arrow, more magic missiles, and a large bolt of purple energy. The hill giant’s pupils rolled up into its eye sockets. It swayed from side to side, then collapsed backwards. It’s final breath left its body as it slammed upon the road.

The three women immediately came to Vorjhon’s aid. The paladin had dropped to one knee. He dropped his warhammer and placed his good hand on his broken arm and mended most of the breaks with his healing touch. It still hurt to remove his shield and his insides still felt like they were not where they were supposed to be.

Drusila cast a healing prayer upon him. Vorjhon gave her an appreciative nod, then cast a healing prayer of his own upon himself, and then another. He stood up. He was not fully healed, but he did not have the energy for another prayer of healing. The cleric was about to cast another, but he interrupted. “Save it.” He gestured toward the overturned carriage. “They may need it.”

They started to run toward the overturned but slowed down when they saw two figures climbing out of the door, then jumping down to the ground, seemingly unhurt.

“Is anyone else in there?” asked Salys.

A middle aged human man in fine clothing befitting a successful merchant told them no one was in the carriage, and they were fine. He introduced himself as Bronald, “And this is my friend, My Name Is Crow.”

Next to him stood a creature in terracotta brown robes and a fine, wide brimmed, floppy hat. He appeared to be covered in feathers and had a long black beak. He looked like a five foot tall bird, except that he had the body of a man, and no wings. His hands and shoeless feet looked like talons befitting a bird of prey. “My Name Is Crow!” greeted the creature enthusiastically.

Vorjhon began to wave, but a twinge of pain in his chest stopped him. “Nice to meet you, Bronald, Crow,” he greeted.

“My name is crow!” the bird-like creature said again.

“His name,” explained Bronald, “is ‘My Name Is Crow.”

“My Name Is Crow!” the birdman squawked again.

“Don’t pay too much attention to my friend’s peculiarities though,” Bronald smiled. “He is a Kenku and Kenkus talk in mimicry and repetition. It takes some getting used to. Oh! But where are my manners! Thank you for saving us! Thank you so much!” He shook all of their hands with appreciation.

Vorjhon winced when he shook his, but tried not to show too much pain.

“Oh dear, or dear,” Bronald sighed softly to himself after handshakes and thank yous were completed. Looking at his overturned cart he mused, “I’m not going to get to Trademeet like this.”

“Perhaps we can right it?” Vorjhon offered. The dragonborn was painfully sore, but still had his strength. With the combined effort of all six of them, they were able to push the cart back onto its four wheels. Bronald’s two horses were well trained and soon returned to the road from their hiding spots in the forest when their master whistled to them..

The Brunch Club invited Bronald and My Name Is Crow to camp with them for the night. They agreed and retrieved some food and bedrolls out of their carriage along with what appeared to be a long wooden staff wrapped in cloth.

“Are you going to Wheaton for the banshee bounty?” Bronald asked while they ate.

“Bounty?” Salsy asked brightly..

“Oh! You don’t know about that? I just assumed you were those adventuring types, given that you willingly took on a Hill Giant,” Bronald laughed.

“We’re actually just trying to get to Elnor and the Crystal Spire Library,” Drusilla explained.

“I want to hear more about this bounty!” Salys said with enthusiasm.

Bronald obliged her. “A banshee moved into the lighthouse in Wheaton Harbor several years ago. They’ve been offering a bounty on it but no one has been able to get close enough to the island to kill it. In fact it’s been so long, they decided to just build another lighthouse.

“Interesting,” mused Salys. “Do you know what the bounty is?”

“Two thousand gold, last I heard,” Bronald answered.

“Very interesting,” remarked Salys.

“Very interesting!” repeated the kenku.

“What about you?” Vorjhon asked. “What is in Trademeet for you?”

The merchant smiled and patted on the cloth-wrapped staff that lay on the ground next to him. “This does.” He glanced around at them as though trying to decide on something. “I suppose if you were dishonest bandits, you’d have waited for the giant to kill us,” he said, apparently making his decision.

He picked up the staff and slowly unwrapped it. They all agreed it was the most beautiful staff they had ever seen. It looked like it was made from countless braided small vines and then wrapped round with even smaller vines to hold it together. Wrapped around that were even more delicate vines. They formed a stunning filigree which rivaled anything they’d ever seen on even the finest decorative armor. The polished wood finish somehow glowed as though it were made of gold.

“I love just looking at it,” Bronald said softly before he began re-wrapping it in the cloth. “It’s supposed to be a special staff for druids that makes them extra powerful.”

“Did you get that in Elnor?” Drusila asked.

“Believe it or not,” the merchant answered, “I bought it from a wizard who owns a shop in Wheaton. I’m on my way to Trademeet to sell it to someone else, for a hefty mark up, of course!”

“I wonder what we can buy from this wizard?” pondered Salys.

Bronald chuckled. “Even if you do get that banshee bounty all to yourself, that would get you about a fifth of what this staff’s worth. Saberhagen mostly deals in rare magic items. Or as I call them, very expensive toys.”

Salys looked disappointed, but Bronald encouraged them to go to the wizard’s shop regardless. “It’s called the Sun Spot, and if nothing else, you have to meet Saberhagen. I guarantee that you’ve never met a wizard like him. And I think he’ll like you four.”

Bronald then reached into his pack and pulled out two small rings and handed them to Salys. “I don’t carry much gold on me when I travel, but I feel like I should give you something to thank you for saving me. These aren’t much, but they’re fun. They once belonged to a gnome bard, so I think they’ll fit you.”

The ring that fit her index finger had a violin etched into the band. The other ring fit her thumb and was decorated with an etching of a violin bow.

“Rub them together,” said Bronald with a smile of expectation.

Salys did, and they were all delighted to hear beautiful violin music begin to fill the air around them. The tempo of the music matched the speed at which Salys rubbed her fingers together.

“I love it!” gushed Salys. “Thank you!”

Salys entertained them some more and the small talk drifted off. They finally fell asleep around the dying fire. In the morning they parted ways with Bronald and My Name Is Crow. They continued to Tradmeet, and the Brunch Club continued to Wheaton.

On their seventh and last day on the road, Vorjhon finally felt back to his old, pre-boulder self. It was not even mid afternoon when they saw the taller buildings of Wheaton in the distance. They were stopped by three figures who leapt out of the woods with their swords drawn.

They were rather lanky boys who looked to be pushing 16 years of age at the most. The slightly taller, broader of the three waved his sword and demanded, “Give us your gold and nobody get’s hurt.”

“Boys,” Vorjhon said with quiet sternness, “It would be wise of you to go home.”

“We’re not boys!” one of them whined. “We’re highwaymen!”

“Yeah,” shouted the third. “Now give us your gold.”

“Highwaymen that attack groups bigger than they are?” asked Drusilla.

“And in broad daylight?” added Salys.

“Not to mention within sight of a guard tower,” Elora pointed out.

“Go home,” urged Drusilla. “Before we let our dragonborn have you.”

The boys stood their defitantly, but doubt was in their eyes.

Vorjhon stepped forward, raised his shield and warhammer, took a deep breath, then with a mighty dragon like roar, exhaled a cone of ice breath over their heads.

They dropped their swords and fled into the woods in three different directions.

Vorjhon picked up their swords and they approached the western gates of Wheaton.

Even from the gate they could see this was a larger town than Boughmoor. The gate was taller and better manned. There were more shops, taverns, and homes, as well as more people walking back and forth between them.

The open gates were manned by a pair of guards who asked their business without much hassle. Vorjhon informed them of the three teenage bandits and handed over their discarded swords.

One of the guards looked unhappy and said, “Yeah, I know who you’re talking about. I’ll let their parents know.”

“We will be looking for an inn, can you recommend one?” Dusilla asked.

“The White Claw Inn,” he advised. “It has a good reputation and it’s pretty quiet.”

“Perfect,” Vorjhon thanked them.

“Can you tell us where a store called the ‘Sun Spot’ is?” asked Salys.

The guards looked at each other in suspicious silence before one of them pointed past the main square.

Past the square, they saw a tower partially obscured by some smaller buildings in front of it.

It wasn’t a tower in the traditional sense. It wasn’t stone, or round, or symmetrical, or looked capable enough of standing on its own. It was more like a series of one story buildings of different sizes and architectural styles haphazardly stacked on top of one another. Sticking out from the highest floor was a long pole with a giant brass disc fixed to the end of it. It made the whole structure look dangerously off balance and anyone not used to seeing it every day would swear the whole thing was about to topple over any minute. The brass disk was finely polished and positioned in such a way that it directed a beam of sunlight directly into the glass skylight that served as the roof of the crooked tower.

“Ah,” Salys said. “I guess we could have figured that out on our own. Thank you.”

The guards nodded and wished them a pleasant stay in Wheaton.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 13

Episode 12 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 011 “To Bog, Or Not To Bog”

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Welcome to Episode 11 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A weekly fantasy adventure based on a homebrewed Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 10, after accidentally freeing a nightmare from its prison, The Brunch Club raced back to Baughmoor, deciding not to sleep so they could get to Juni’s birthday party in time, and hopefully prevent the bog hag from taking her. They were attacked by a pair of cave bears and managed to fight them off. They made it back to town by morning where they told the druid Ulrich of their run in with the nightmare. They went to warn Cooper of the danger facing his daughter only to discover the party had already started. The brunch club attended the party and kept a close eye on Juni. Well after sunset, when they thought the danger had passed, Juni transformed into a hag herself as the original bog hag burst through the window. The Brunch club, along with the help of adventurers Chad and Thad, managed to kill the bog hag, but this did not cure Juni who turned invisible and escaped through the dark forest toward the bog.

And now Episode 11, “To Bog Or Not To Bog”

Elora and Salys picked up the broken glass off the Laughing Pine Lodge’s dining room floor. Vorjhon and Drusilla boarded up a jagged hole where a window had once been. When they finished cleaning as best they could, poured themselves some drinks, left a gold piece on the bar, and waited for the inn’s owner to join them.

They sat in silence, too tired to speak. The faint sounds of crickets, frogs, and other animals surrounding this wilderness town was the only noise in the room until they heard footsteps descending the stairs.

Cooper entered, looking tired and grave. He sat with them. Vorjhon slid a whiskey across the table. Cooper took it and emptied the glass in three big gulps.

“Is Anne sleeping?” Vorjhon, asked.

“Yes,” Cooper replied. “For now.”

“How are you holding up?” Asked Salys.

“To tell you the truth, I’m feeling angry at myself. I should have listened to you, but I really thought the danger had passed. I thought I had my old Juni back. I’m an idiot.” Cooper held out his glass. Vorjhon refilled it.

“There was nothing you could have done,” Elora stated.

“I am sorry we could not save her,” Vorjhon said softly.

Cooper smiled a sad smile. “I don’t think she was there to save. I think my Juni was killed months ago in the bog. I don’t know what that was living under my roof.” His eyes became glassy with tears and he emptied his glass again.

Vorjhon extended the whiskey bottle toward Cooper but he waved him off. “I should go be with Anne.” He stood up and looked around the room. “Thank you for picking up.” He looked at the black stain in the middle of the floor. “Where’s the witch?”

“Her body’s outside,” Drusilla told him. “We’ll burn it tonight.”

Cooper nodded. He walked toward the door and turned before heading upstairs. “You all saved Anne’s and my life tonight. Others too. Feel free to stay as long as you want, no charge. Though why anyone would want to stay in this Godsforsaken town is beyond me.”

In a clearing outside town they burned the bog hag’s body on a pyre of stacked logs. Raif Brenton, Ulrich the druid, and The Brunch Club were the only ones present. The light from the bright flames danced on their bodies.

“I’m sad to see my idea of killing the hag first didn’t work,” Ulrich said.

“It was a longshot worth taking,” assured Elora.

Ulrich nodded.

They watched in silence, as though mesmerised by the flames.

Vorjhon startled them all by saying, “We should go into the bog and find Juni.”

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Drusila demanded, spinning on her heels to face him. “We barely survived the bog as it is, and we never left the road.”

“We could try capture her. Bring her to Elnor. Maybe someone there cure her,” Vorjhon insisted.
“You heard what Cooper said,” Elora offered. “He wasn’t even sure if that was his own daughter. Juni probably died the second she went missing.”

“Dru’s right,” Salys said. “That would be insane. We’d be on her turf, and she can turn invisible! How do we fight that?”

Vorjhon took a deep breath and exhaled with visible exasperation. “What about next little girl? What happens when Juni hag decides it time to make own witch child?”

“That’s a good question,” interjected Ulrich. He asked Brenton, “Has this happened before?”

Brenton crossed his arms and tilted his head as he tried to remember. His eyes widened as a look of recollection appeared on his face. “Yes. It has has. Thirteen years ago, when my father was Raif. I remember it now because I was the same age as the girl who disappeared. We were twelve.”

“Was it the same as Juni?” Asked Elora. “Was she found after a week?”

“Did she brutally murder her parents on her birthday?” Salys asked.

They all looked at her in silence. “What?” She shrugged. “Someone had to ask it. It’s important.”

Ulrich nodded his head and asked the Raif to continue. “What else do you remember?”

Brenton concentrated, “I haven’t thought of it in years, But I do remember something strange. The girl did go missing for a week, but then came back. She was supposed to have a thirteenth birthday party, but I vaguely remember my father telling me it was cancelled because her family moved north to Trademeet. I was young and didn’t question it. Families moved away from Boughmoor all the time.”

“That settles it,” Drusila said. “We have 13 years to come back and kill the Hag.”

“It settles nothing!” Vorjhon countered. “There is still evil witch living near vulnerable town. I refuse to give up on Juni. There must be cure.”

“Your resolve is admirable,” Ulrick said to Vorjhon. “But you won’t find a cure for her here.”

“Look Vorjhon,” Drusila said, tempering her impatience with the headstrong paladin. “We are going to Elnor. We will look for a cure for Juni in the Crystal Spire Library. If there is a cure. We’ll find it there.”

Vorjhon relented, knowing he was outvoted and pursuing the hag on his own would be a fool’s errand. “Promise that after we get to library, we come back and either cure hag, or kill it,”.
“I promise,” Drusilla said, putting an end to the debate.

“Your willingness to help us is appreciated,” Brenton told Vorjhon. “You can still help us if you wish. The direwolf bounty still hasn’t been claimed.”

“Chad and Thad haven’t killed it yet?” Elora asked.

Ulrich chuckled. “Not yet. They seem to be more concerned with drinking than hunting.”

The group fell back into silence as they watched the cremated remains of the bog hag collapse into the crumbling embers of the burned logs.

The Brunch Club agreed they would set out first thing in the morning to hunt the wolf beast and said goodnight to the Raif and Druid.

They walked quietly to their rooms. In the hallway they heard the laughter and joking of two male voices with unmistakable accents. A smile crossed Vorjhon’s dragon like face and he told his companions to wait where they were as he disappeared downstairs. He reappeared with two bottles of the strongest whiskey he could find in the Laughing Pine Lodge’s bar, paid for with tip, he assured them. He knocked on the door.

Chad opened the door and Vorjhon greeted him with a cheerful “Hello!” He handed them the bottles, and said, “We never had a chance to thank you for your help with Bog Hag. We bring you present as thank you for surely saving our lives!”

“Woah! Any time dragon man!” Chad said as he snatched the bottles from Vorjhon’s hands. “Let us know anytime things get too hairy for you all!” Chad tossed one of the bottles to Thad, said good night, and closed the door.

“What?” Drusilla started to protest, but Vorjhon held up a finger for her to be quiet as he listened with his ear to the door. He heard the popping of corks, the clinking of bottles, then a pair of repeated glugs of whiskey pouring down open gullets. He nodded in satisfaction.

“What was that?” Drusila asked when they got back to their rooms.

“‘Saving our lives?’” Salys chided him. “What kind of crap is that? Chad almost killed you!”

Vorjhon answered, “Our friends will stay up drinking whiskey all night. We are going to bed now. We will be up early to hunt wolf. They will be drunk and asleep.” He smiled at them, bid them good night, and entered his room. As soon as the door closed behind him the exhaustion from being up for 2 days straight overwhelmed him. He barely had the energy to strip off his armor before he collapsed onto his bed and fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It was bright and unseasonably warm when they left Boughmoor the next morning and headed north into the hills. They knew where the wolf creature sightings had been most frequent and decided to start searching for tracks there first.

They walked all morning, spotting a variety of animal prints in the light coating of snow that covered the forest floor. The animals’ tracks were what they expected to see in the forest and nothing stood out to them as unusual or monstrous. In the early afternoon some unusual tracks caught Elora’s eye. She pointed out the paw prints of several large wolves that seemed to be circling and walking along side a set of larger prints, that were wolf-like, but not a wolf’s. “It looks like it walks on two legs,” observed the ranger.

The tracks led to a clearing where they seemed to go several different directions. “They come through here a lot,” Elora told them, then suggested, “We should set a trap.”

The wood elf spent a few minutes studying the clearing and the tracks before deciding on a suitable place to place a rope snare trap.

Elora and Salys climbed into trees for cover. Vorjhon and Drusilla, whose armor gave them a disadvantage when trying to climb, chose hiding places behind large rocks instead.

They stayed still and silent while they watched and waited. They could tell by the length of the afternoon shadows that they had been waiting for almost two hours when they heard the first rustling of the underbrush in the distance. The sound of at least four feet approached them, getting louder quickly. The feet stomped heavily in the snow.

They became relaxed, yet annoyed, when two, leather clad fighters walked into the clearing. The Brunch Club did not reveal themselves, hoping they would remain unnoticed while Chad and Thad walked through the clearing.

“I think we should go that way,” Thad said, pointing north past the tree Elora was in.

“I don’t know, what about this way?” Chad asked taking a couple steps to the east. “Whoa, What the hell!!” He screamed as Elora’s snare caught his ankles, bound them together, and hoisted him up in the air until his head was seven feet off the ground.

“Gods damnit!!” Elora shouted, sitting on the tree branch she had been sitting on.

“Way to go, Chad,” Salys mocked as she jumped down from her branch.

Elroa and Vorjhon appeared from their hiding spots.

“Way to blow our cover,” Drusilla said humorlessly.

“Hey man, not our fault,” Thad answered. “You made it real easy to follow you. You should learn to cover your tracks.”

They watched with amusement as Chad swung upside down. He reached behind him for his greatsword but it had fallen out of its scabbard.

“Why don’t you let poor Chad down, Elora?” Vorjhon laughed.

Elora drew back her bow and split the rope cleanly with a razor sharp arrow.

Chad made a noise similar to a dropping sack of potatoes when he hit the ground.

“Hey, easy!” scolded Thad as he rushed over to help Chad to his feet.

“Your friend should learn to watch where he steps,” Vorjhon replied, kidding the embarrassed warrior.

“He’s not my friend,” grumbled Thad. “He’s my brother.” Thad lifted Chad to his feet who seemed fine.

Vorjhon retrieved Elora’s arrow from the dirt and tossed it up to her.

“So what now?” Drusilla asked.

“What do you mean?” asked Chad?

“You guys made so much noise,” Elora pointed out, “no creatures are going to come back here for hours.”

Vorjhon suggested, “We can hunt together, or go in different directions hoping one of us gets lucky.”

As luck would have it though, they did not have to split up to find their quarry. Three large wolves leapt into the clearing. One of them knocked Salys to the ground on its way to attack Thad.

The other two wolves lunged at Chad and Drusilla.

They all moved to defend themselves and barely had time to notice a fourth, large, wolflike form leaping on two legs into the clearing behind the wolves. Even hunched over, it stood almost 8 feet tall. It had pointed ears and a flat nose. It resembled a werewolf, but if the non-wolf half of the beast was something other than human.

It jumped toward Vorjhon, landing in front of him and swiping at the dragonborn with its long sharp claws. The paladin brushed aside the attack with his shield then backed up a few paces and stood in a defensive stance with his warhammer at the ready. Before he could make his own counterattack, the beast screamed as two arrows shot into its back from above. It whirled around and looked up at Elora who was nocking another arrow on her longbow. The beast vanished before the ranger could get in another shot.

“Fuck!” Elora screamed. “What it is it with things disappearing around here? Is it invisible, or is it gone?” She shouted down at Vorjhon.

“I don’t know!” The dragonborn answered back. “Can you see any footprints?”

The ranger scanned the forest floor below her but could see no signs of movement from an invisible creature. “He must be gone! Something that big would leave a trail!”

Vorjhon and Elora turned their attention to the three wolves in time to see Salys fire bolts of magic energy at the wolf attacking Drusilla. The magic missiles slammed into the wolf’s side. It turned away from Drusilla, to look at Salys but did not see Vorjhon and could not evade the heavy warhammer blow that crushed its head into the dirt.

Elora shot the arrow that had been meant for the werebeast into the wolf menacing Chad. It had its jaw clamped onto one of Chad’s arms preventing him from hitting it with his giant sword. When the arrow sunk into its side it released its grip, and Chad was able to get a good swing at it, killing it.

Thad was pinned on the ground as he wrestled with the final surviving wolf. Before the rest of the group could lend assistance, he got one foot underneath the wild canine and pushed it away from him. He and the wolf got to their feet at the same time and the wolf lunged at Thad who swung his great axe with both arms. The wolf’s body hit the ground well before its head, which Thad’s axe had sent sailing into the air several feet away.

“That was killer, Bro!” said Chad, enthusiastically complimenting his brother.

“Quiet,” Drusila ordered, holding up her palm at him. “That other thing could still be here.”

They formed a tight circle with their backs facing inward so they could look into the surrounding woods in all directions, weapons at the ready.

“Do you see anything?” Salys shouted up to Elora, who still stood on the branch.

The wood elf looked around them from above. She saw no signs of any movement in the underbrush around them. She circled the clearing with her eyes again and was about to tell them she couldn’t see anything, when she heard the snap of a branch. She looked toward the sound and saw leaves bend back as if being moved by an invisible hand.

“It’s in the trees!” Elora shouted. She shot an arrow toward the bent leaves and a howl alerted the others to the beast’s location.

They turned toward the noise in time to see the creature’s form materialize in mid air as it leapt toward them, fangs bared and claws extended.

Vorjhon said a quick prayer as he swung his warhammer. He struck the wolf-like form before it landed. When the hammer made contact divine light crackled from the sky and shot into the monster’s body, causing it to howl with even more pain.

Chan swung at it but missed, nearly hitting Vorjhon with his sword.

“Are you hunting dragonborns?” Vorjhon asked with annoyance in his voice.

“Sorry, bout that dude,” Chad apologized.

Thad swung his axe at the were-like creature, hoping to replicate the decapitating blow that had felled the last wolf. The beast crouched away though and Thad’s axe ripped a chunk of flesh out of its shoulder. It wounded him badly, but it was not a killing blow.

The killing blows came in the form of arrows from Elora’s quiver, one in the head, and one in the heart, to be sure.

The beast landed with a thud in the snow and leaves. Elora leapt down from the tree and strode toward it.

“Do you know what it is?” Salys asked the monster hunting ranger.

“I have no idea,” Elora admitted, prodding at it with the toe of her boot. “It’s definitely not a direwolf. But it’s also not quite a werewolf.”

“Maybe Ulrich will know,” suggested Drusilla.

“We should bring whole thing back for identification,” Vorjhon said as he pulled rope from his pack and began tying it around the beast, looping the two ends so they could fit around broad shoulders.

He tossed one rope to Chad. “We drag first, Thad take turns relieving us.”

“Why me?” Chad asked as he put the loop over his shoulder.
“So I can be sure you won’t accidentally hit me with your sword.” Vorjhon answered as he put the other loop over his own shoulder.

They began dragging the large corpse back to Boughmoor. It was well over 8ft long now that it was stretched out on the ground, and progress was slow. They were not too far from the clearing when Elora noticed a grouping of rocks and perhaps a small cave in the distance. “Over there,” she pointed.

“What?” asked Salys.

“Could be a wolf den,” Elora informed them. We don’t want to be ambushed by more wolves.”

“Elora and I will check it out,” Drusila said. “The rest of you stay with tall dark and stinky over here”

“Are you talking about the corpse, or Chad?” asked Salys.

Elora and Drusilla got closer to the possible wolf den. They could see no large wolves around and approached the opening of the small cave slowly. Peering into the cave, they could only see darkness surrounding the reflection of two small dots of light. Elora drew her bow. Drusilla held out her hand and whispered, “stop.” The cleric conjured a single orb of light that floated in front of her. She telepathically moved it into the darkness slowly. It illuminated a small, shivering wolf pup trying to back as far as it could into the furthest nook of the small den. It looked identical to the three wolves that had attacked them earlier, only much smaller.

“I think we just killed its family,” Elora guessed.

Drusila got close to the entrance, muttered a quiet prayer, and then spoke out loud, “Hi little guy. Don’t be scared. We won’t hurt you. Do you have a name”

The wolf squeaked and barked softly, which is what Elora heard. Drusilla however heard a soft frightened voice in her head answer, “I’m called Harir. Have you seen my family?”

Drusilla answered the young pup in a soothing tone. “Yes, we have, Harir. But they won’t be coming back. You should come with us.”

Harir tried to back further against the wall. He put his head down. “No. I think I should wait.”

Drusila muttered another prayer under her breath, and reached her hand out toward the pup. He stopped shivering and walked to Drusilla.

“That’s a good boy, Harir,” the cleric encouraged. Drusilla handed Elora a piece of jerky from her pack. The cleric fed it to the wolf pup who ate it up greedily. “Come, Harir. You’ll be safe with us.”
The cleric and ranger rejoined their friends with Harir following behind them.

“You made a friend!” Thad greeted them when they rejoined them. He bent down and scratched Harir behind the ears. “Hi little dude!”

Thad replaced Vorjhon at one of the ropes that towed the werebeast corpse and they continued on their way.

The late afternoon sun cast long shadows on the forest floor. No one spoke. Drusilla and Elora were in front with Harir walking obediently between them. Vorjhon and Sayls walked behind Thad and Chad and the body they pulled.. The only sounds the group heard during their march was Chad and Thad’s heavy foot falls and the noise of leaves, branches, rocks, and snow being scraped over and pushed aside by the corpse they were dragging.

Harir stopped suddenly, whimpered, and looked into the woods to the side of Drusilla. They all instinctively stopped and listened, looking into the same spot that caught Harir’s attention.

From behind them, a half dozen goblins leapt at them from behind small piles of snow and leaves. They were small in stature, clothed in mismatched leather armor, and carrying mostly handmade swords and daggers. They closed the distance between their cover and the group rapidly taking advantage of their turned backs. Chad and Thad were encumbered by the ropes looped around their shoulders and had trouble drawing their weapons. Vorjhon’s and Drusilla’s heavy armor protected them from the initial damage of the makeshift weapons. Elora and Salys could not turn and evade in time and were both injured, but not badly enough they couldn’t fight back.

The group turned to defend themselves against their attackers. They beat the smaller, lesser armed and armored goblins back quickly, but did not see the seventh goblin emerge from the spot Harir had originally alerted them to. This goblin was dressed differently than the others. It wore a bright green but dirty tunic cinched at the waist with frayed rope. An oversized feathered cap sat on his head, tilted back so it wouldn’t block his eyes. He carried a large gnarled root decorated with torn strips of cloth as a staff. He pointed the staff at Chad and Thad and said something in the goblin language. He jumped and hooted with satisfaction as both Chad and Thad lowered their weapons and stared at each other.

Vorjhon and Drusilla heard the strange voice and wild hoot behind them. They turned to see Chad and Thad holding their weapons by their side in limp arms and relaxed hands that barely held on to the hilts. Their jaws were slack and their eyes looked glassy.

“What are you idiots doing?” Drusila shouted at them.”

“What?” Thad asked, looking around as if trying to figure out where he was.

“What’s going on?” Chad asked with grogginess in his voice. “I feel weird.”

Drusilla and Vorjhon did not see the oddly dressed goblin until he pointed his staff at them, said something else in his strange language, and then waited to see what happened.

“Look at that little fellow!” Vorjhon said with delight.

“He’s adorable!” agreed Drusila. “I love him! We should make sure he doesn’t get hurt!”

They ran to the funny goblins side and got ready to protect him.

“What the fuck is going on?” Elora said when she noticed two of her companions looking around with confused looks on their face, and two others playing bodyguard to a new goblin she hadn’t seen before.

Fortunately four of the initial six goblins had been killed and Elora made it five with a well placed arrow in the eye.

Salys saw the goblin who seemed to have control over Drusilla and Vorjhon and recongized it as a nibog, a magic wielding goblin. She fired four magic missiles at it, all hitting their target at full power, blowing it apart.

The paladin and cleric shook off the effects of the spell used against them, as did Chad and Thad. The four of them looked at the remaining goblin with anger and frustration. The surviving golin’s eyes widened with terror. He turned to flee but Thad’s axe swung down on his head, cleaving him half.

“What in the nine hells just happened?”

“You were charmed by a nilbog,” answered Salys. “Basically a magic goblin.” Sayls gestured over her shoulder at Chad and Thad. “Those two were confused.”

“How could you tell the difference?” smirked Elora.

They did an inventory of their wounds and determined they were superficial at worst. Sunset approached but they were fairly close to town so they decided to keep going. They reached Bouhgmoor just before nightfall.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 12

Episode 11 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by Brian Messmer.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends. We’d appreciate it.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Ambiance and effects used with permission by Michael Ghelfi.

Tales of the Brunch Club 010 “Mean Thirteen”

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Welcome to Episode 10 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A weekly fantasy adventure based on a homebrewed Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 9, The Brunch Club was summoned to Raif Brenton’s home where he and the Druid, Ulrich, asked for their help. There were a couple problems threatening the town of Boughmoor. First and foremost was a mysterious cave to the south which might be the source of incessant nightmares plaguing the town’s exhausted citizens. Second was multiple sightings of a large creature to the north which had been described as either a werewolf, direwolf, or something in between. They met two fellow adventurers, Chad and Thad, who hoped to claim the wolf bounty for their own. The owners of the inn where they were staying, Anne and Cooper, invited them to their daughter’s 13th birthday party. Later, Cooper confided to Vorjhon that he suspected something happened to Juni when she disappeared for a week several months ago, and was worried about her. The group proceeded to the cave. They discovered the source of the bad dreams, and freed it. It turned out to be an evil creature that resembled a large horse with firey hooves, tail, and mane. It escaped, vanishing in a puff of smoke before they could kill it.

And now, Episode 10: “Mean Thirteen”

The Brunch Club stared into the woods. They could see no sign, nor find any trail of the creature they had accidentally allowed to escape.

They stood in silence, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

“Technically,” began Salys, “We did what Ulrich asked us to. We removed the source of the dreams from the cave. If that thing moves on, the town is saved.”

“There’s no way to track it,” Vorjhon observed. “The best thing to do is report back to Ulrich and tell him what happened.”

“It’s getting dark. We should make camp,” Drusilla stated.

“We can’t, there’s no time,” Elora replied. “We need to get back, or we’ll miss Juni’s party.”

Drusilla disagreed. “It’s dangerous to travel at night. It’s not worth risking our lives over a birthday party.”

Elora insisted they risk it. “I’ve been thinking about what Cooper told Vorjhon. I’m pretty sure we need to get back.” She took a torch out of her backpack, lit it, and handed it to the dragonborn who was the only one of them without the ability to see in the dark. “Stay close. I’ll explain it to you on the way,” the ranger said as she strode into the forest, guiding them back to Boughmoor.

Elora might have lost all memory of who she was and where she had come from, but she could still remember things related to surviving in the wild and hunting the creatures that lived within. As she guided her friends through the darkening forest, she told them what worried her about Cooper’s tale.

She never fought a hag or witch before, that she could remember. But somehow she knew that they reproduced by kidnapping children before they turned thirteen. They would take the child to their den, perform a ritual, then return the child to their parents. Upon the child’s thirteentth birthday, it would transform into a hag. Once the transformation started, the first hag would arrive to claim its offspring and together they would kill the parents, and anyone else present. Afterward, the hag would take the child hag home and raise it as her own.

“That unnatural,” Vorjhon answered in a grave voice. “Is there way to save Juni?”

Elora said she either didn’t know, or couldn’t remember, but maybe Ulrich would be able to assist them.

They continued their steady pace through the forest for several hours until they arrived at a clearing. There was a fallen log and a few large rocks scattered around that made it an ideal place to rest. The group decided to sit and eat some rations to keep their energy up. The three women sat on the fallen log and Vorjhon sat on a rock directly across from them. He stuck his torch in the ground. He opened his pack to get his rations and was startled to see Elora jump up suddenly. He saw her point toward him and open her mouth as if to shout something. Her words were drowned out by the sound and pain of something large slamming into him from behind and driving him into the ground.

The torch next to Vorjhon went out as it toppled over into the dirt alongside the dragonborn. Before the light went dark, he could see a large claw at the end of a brown furry leg swiping at his head. He jerked his head to the side avoiding the blow. Unfortunately, in the darkness, he could not evade the strong jaw and sharp teeth of the creature as it clamped onto his shoulder and pierced the weak spots in his armor.

“Light please,” Vorjhon asked politely as he could with pain rippling through his arm.

Drusilla conjured three floating orbs of light and sent them into the center of the clearing. They saw a large brown bear, about the same size as Vorjhon, with its mouth locked on the paladin’s shoulder, attempting to shake him back and forth.

Another bear leapt into the well lit clearing from the darkness of the woods. It charged after the three women, now standing close together. Elora hit it in its upper front leg with a quickly drawn and fired arrow. Drusilla muttered a prayer and the sacred flame blessed upon her by the Raven Queen, materialized above the bear and engulfed it. The bear stumbled forward. It snarled with pain-fueled rage, but was unsteady on it’s hurt leg and missed when it went to bite Elora. The furious bear then took a swipe at Drusilla and missed her as well.

Salys, seeing her friends were handling the one bear, jumped behind the log for some cover. She crouched down so she could still see over the log and sent three missiles of bright green magic energy at the bear attacking Vorjhon. The impact of the missiles made the bear release his vice-like grip on the dragonborn’s shoulder as it looked up to see where the attack had come from.

Using this opportunity, Vorjhon rolled out from underneath the bear, stood up, and brought his heavy warhammer down upon its head. It was not a killing blow, but the bear did stagger a little. It shook its head as if trying to clear it’s mind of the effects of the wound against its skull. It lunged at Vorjhon again with its powerful jaw, but he was able to push away the half dazed animal’s attack with his shield. A weak swipe of the bear’s claw slid harmlessly off his armor.

Seeing the bear wasn’t paying attention to her, Salys stood up from behind the log and conjured a bolt of fire that engulfed the bear, killing it.

The bear near Drusilla and Elora lunged at Drusilla who managed to block the attack with her shield, and then stab it deep under its outstretched front leg with her sword.

Elora put the badly wounded beast out of its misery with an arrow through the heart.

The group converged in the middle of the clearing, peering around them into the woods, waiting for more bears to attack, but none came. After a few moments of waiting Vorjhon used his healing touch to repair his wounded shoulder before they wordlessly gathered their gear and continued their walk toward Boughmoor.

They arrived in the mid morning. They were exhausted but knew they had no time to sleep. They first went directly to Ulrich’s shop because they wanted to find out if the druid would know of a way to save Juni from the Bog Hag’s terrible plans. The town was already awake with residents milling about in streets focused on their daily business. This didn’t keep the townsfolk from noticing the well armored trio of three women and a large silver dragonborn walking with purpose through the square.

Ulrich’s shop was open, and they entered. The druid was alone behind a counter, slightly bent forward. He had a kind smile on his face and looked to be talking to a small, sickly looking plant in a plain clay pot. As Ulrich spoke to it, its stalk straightened a little, and its brown, drooping leaves became green and plump.

When he looked up from the plant to the group that stood before him, his expression changed from kindness to concern. “I didn’t expect you back until tonight at the earliest,” he said with some disappointment in his voice. “Did you find the cave?”

“We did,” said Elora, curtly, bristling at the implication that they had lost their way. “But we needed to get back. We think Juni’s in danger.”

The disappointment in Ulrich’s voice turned to hope when he asked, “So you did find the cave! Was the glowing orb there? Did you free it? Are we done with the dreams?”

They told Ulrich about freeing the beating heart in the cave, and described the beast that it transformed into upon being released.

Vorjhon apologized for allowing it to escape. “That was tactical error on my part. It was first creature I saw that could vanish into thin air.”

Ulrich clasped his hands together with index fingers pointed up. He rested the tips of his index fingers on his lips and thought for a moment.

“You are not to blame. You could not have known. What you encountered is called a Nightmare. Quite frankly I’m surprised you all saw one and lived to tell me about it. They have a frightful reputation.”

“Do you think it may have taken off and will leave Boughmoor alone?” asked Salys.

“Possibly,” answered Ulrich, “Especially if it thinks the person or entity that trapped it in that cave is still around. I have no idea who in Boughmoor would be capable of such a thing though. Either way, we shall hope for the best. It’s all we can do for now. You were saying something about Juni?”

Elora told Ulrich the tales she heard of witches and hags stealing children and turning them into their offspring. Vorjhon mentioned his conversation with Cooper and the innkeeper’s concern for his own daughter. Drusilla asked if there was anything the druid could do to help her.

Ulrich put his lips to his forefingers once again. He spent a few seconds in thought before replying. “On one hand I could write this off as backwoods superstition. On the other hand we have a Nightmare to the south, a possible Werewolf to the north, and a Bog Hag to the west. Boughmoor seems truly surrounded by evil magic these days. I should be surprised by nothing.”

“But if it is true, is there anything you can do for Juni?” asked Drusilla with urgency in her voice. “Is there anything we can do?”

Ulrich sighed. “I know I don’t have the means to cure her. But maybe, and this is just a guess, a long shot really, but if you kill the original hag before the child’s transformation is complete, perhaps Juni will revert back to being the little girl she was. But I honestly don’t know. It’s out of the scope of a small town Druid. This is a different kind of magic.” He looked down at the group’s sorceress. “What do you think, Salys?”

“I don’t have a clue,” the gnome replied with a shrug. “I don’t know how the fuck my own magic works.”

“Anything worth try,” Vorjhon answered solemnly.

“We need to warn Cooper,” said Elora. “And try and stop the party.”

“That doesn’t seem like something Anne will allow,” Drusilla said. “She may dress like a beautiful tropical fish, but she seems stubborn as a mule when it comes to pretending everything is fine with her daughter.”

None of them knew what a beautiful tropical fish was, but then again, none of them were from the far away coastal lands Drusilla once called home.

The Brunch Club asked Ulrich to tell Raif Brenton about their encounter with the Nightmare then headed to the Laughing Pine Lodge.

They were tired from lack of sleep and a day and night of marching through the woods, but knew they had to push through the exhaustion. They hoped to share their concerns with Cooper and Anne, then at least get a few hours of sleep before the party started. Cooper was gathering firewood outside the Laughing Pine Lodge. He looked up at them and they were surprised to see a broad grin on his face. This was the happiest they had seen him look since they arrived in Boughmoor.

“Friends!” he exclaimed as they approached. “Wonderful news! Juni seems to be back to her old self!”

“That is wonderful news!” said Vorjhon as he began loading up his own arms with firewood to lend Cooper a hand. “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Cooper, answered. “This morning she woke up laughing and singing and said she couldn’t wait for her party! I have to admit, I woke up in a good mood too. It was the first time I’ve slept through the night in ages. Whatever you did to stop the dreams must have worked. The whole town’s in a good mood. In fact we started the party early!”

“What?” Elora asked, surprised.

The group then became aware of a pair of loud voices speaking over a chorus of hoots and laughter.

Cooper continued, “Yup. These two strangers, adventurers by the looks of them, like yourselves, came in to rent rooms. They sat down and ordered breakfast and drinks. Juni came down and they started telling her stories of all of the beasts they killed and battles they fought in. Soon other people came in and started listening to the stories and ordering drinks and food. Juni was having such a good time we decided to start the party early”

“We don’t think the danger is over yet, especially to Juni,” Drusila warned.

“Nonsense!” Cooper said blissfully. “The nightmares have stopped. All she needed this whole time was a good night’s sleep, like the rest of us!”

Vorjhon sighed heavily as Cooper continued to stack logs onto the pile of firewood cradled in his arms. “We hope you are right. But just in case something happens, we need you to get everyone to safety.”

“Especially you and your wife,” added Elora gravely.

“You guys are worrying too much,” Cooper laughed while tossing the rest of them a few pieces of firewood. “You’re all heros. Now come in and enjoy the party.”

Before The Brunch Club could say any more, Cooper walked back into the lodge shouting at the group, “The heroes of Boughmoor are here!”

They followed him in and placed the logs on either side of the burning hearth at one end of the room.

The laughing crowd of people in the room quieted down a little as four more adventurers, of varying sizes, entered the room carrying logs for the fire. The two adventurers who were entertaining the dining room with tales of their heroic deeds were Chad and Thad, the same two men they had met on Raif Brenton’s doorstep the day before. “Woah hey! It’s the dragon born and his women!” Chad said.

Drusilla walked up to him, jabbed her porcelain white finger into his chest and said in a voice dripping with dark menace, “Call us ‘his women’ again, and the next tale your friend tells, will be the one of your death.”

The crowd burst out in laughter, the loudest laugh coming from Thad. “I wouldn’t mess with her bro! She’s scary!”

“Woah, it’s cool, spooky lady,” Chad said, holding up his hands to indicate he meant no offense.

The crowd laughed again.

Vorjhon felt a tug at his tabard and looked down. Juni stood at his side with a smile on her face.

“Will you tell us a story?” she asked him in a voice full of hopeful expectation.

He hesitated and looked around the room before getting on one knee to talk with Juni at eye level. “I am not good at telling stories,” he told her, but before the disappointment could show he said cheerfully, “but I know someone who is! Salys! She very good story teller!!”

They both looked at the red-headed gnome in purple robes, smiling widely. Salys smiled sweetly at Juni, then not so sweetly at Vorjhon. Before Salys could get too mad though, Vorjhon continued. He spoke slowly as he walked around the room, as if he was looking for inspiration. He borrowed a green cloak from a party guest who didn’t seem to mind loaning it to the towering dragonborn. “Salys will tell you the exciting tale…” he threw the cloak over his shoulders, and walked over to a table with some bowls on it along with a large pot of soup. “… of the time fearless Cleric of Raven Queen used nothing but ladle…” he picked the ladle up off the table and tossed it to Drusilla. “…to defend our camp from vicious…” he bent forward, flipped the hood over his head and held two small bowls on either side of his head as though they were bulging eyes. He finished his sentence with a dramatic foreboding in his voice, “bullywuuug.”

Crouching as low as he could while keeping the bowls pressed to the sides of his head, he comically attacked Drusilla, who mimed an exaggerated version of the fight that took place one of their nights in the bog.

Salys, happy she didn’t have to make up a story on the spot, stood on a stool and narrated the battle, forcing her friends to act out some ridiculous pantomimes.

Finally she ended the tale, “And then Drusillas struck the bullywug on the head, and when he fell down, she hit him again, and again, and again…”

“That’s not how I remember it!” shouted Vojhon, covering his head with his arms as Drusilla whacked him repeatedly with the ladle.”

“Quiet bullywug! It’s not your story!” laughed Salys, and continued, “And again, and again, and again, and again, until…” she paused, everyone stopped laughing and looked at her. “Until the bullywug lay slain, covered in cranberry sauce!”

Vorjhon dramatically rolled over and played dead. Drusila stood triumphantly over him, placing her boot on his chest, and bowed to Juni.

The birthday girl shrieked with delight and the crowd cheered and laughed.

“That was epic!” Chad shouted.

Vorjhon returned the cloak, bowl and ladle to their places and The Brunch Club began to mingle with the party guests, all the while keeping a close eye on Juni.

They became more watchful as the early Winter sunset approached then passed.

“When is this supposed to happen?” Salys asked Elora as the four of them chatted in a corner, taking turns watching Juni.

“I don’t know. I’d have thought at sunset. Maybe midnight? I can’t recall any more details other than what I told you,” Elora answered with frustration at the edges of her voice.

“Maybe it happens the minute Juni turns thirteen,” Salys suggested.

Vorjhon excused himself and walked over to the bar where Anne and Cooper were still pouring drinks and preparing food for the remaining party guests.

“I am curious,” he asked the couple. “What time of day was Juni born?”

“In the morning,” Anne replied. “A little before noon, if I remember.”

“Excellent,” said Vorjhon. “That is good news.”

“Why?” asked Anne.

Vorjhon noticed a look in Cooper’s eyes that he inferred mean ‘don’t mention anything about a bog hag.’ “Um, silly dragonborn superstition. Morning baby is good omen.”

Cooper smiled and nodded, satisfied with Vorjhon’s quick thinking.

“Juni was born in morning, before noon,” he told his friends when he returned to them.

“Maybe Cooper was right,” Salys said. “Maybe we did save the day.”

“Cheers to us,” said Drusila, raising her class. They touched glasses, but before the rims reached their lips a bone-chilling, cackling laughter seemed to rush through all the windows and fill the room.

“Finally!” said Juni. Her voice was loud and impatient. “She’s here.”

“Who’s here, honey?” Asked, Anne with a worried brow.

Juni’s expression turned into an exaggerated, menacing smile as she stared at Anne. “My real mother.” Her voice sounded older with every word. “And we’re going to kill you all.”

In the time it took for her to bend her knees and then lunge at the confused Anne, Juni had transformed from a small 13 year old girl to an ugly, decrepit looking hag nearly six feet tall. Her hair fell out leaving nothing behind but random gray whisps on her scalp. Her soft hands became elongated bony fingers with nails like talons.

Fortunately Vorjhon had used the precious seconds to cross the room, circle behind Juni, and grasp her hag form in a powerful bear hug, pinning her arms to her side. She squirmed violently trying to escape, but the paladin held tight. “Cooper!” he commanded, “Get Anne and the others out of here. Now!”

Vorjhon’s intimidating voice seemed to snap Cooper out of his shock. He shouted at everyone to leave, pushing them out the door. He had to pick up and carry Anne, who had fallen to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably.

Thad ran toward Vorjhon with a great battle axe lifted over his shoulder, ready to strike.

“No! Wait!” Drusilla shouted at him. “If we kill the first hag, Juni might turn back to normal.”

“What first hag?” asked Thad.

One of the windows in the room burst inwards. The window jamb and surrounding wall shattered into splinters as the bog hag careened through it, looking for its corrupted offspring.

“That hag,” Drusilla said, stating the obvious.

“Are you sure that’ll work?” Thad asked.

“No,” Drusila answered honestly.

Thad gave an accepting shrug of his shoulders. He charged at the creature who had landed in the middle of the floor, standing over 6’ tall in the center of scattered glass and wood shards.

“Hurry!” Vorjhon shouted. “This one stronger than she looks.” Juni’s hag form struggled against Vorjhon’s grapple. She was indeed stronger than she looked. It took all of the paladin’s effort to keep the writhing, skinny witch restrained.

Thad swung at the original bog hag and connected, but his axe merely grazed its arm.

Chad lunged at it from behind with a two handed sword. He missed. The hag spun around and used it’s claws to slash across Chad’s stomach, that sent him stumbling away in pain, arm over the wound, trying to keep his insides from falling out.

Drusila saw this and held her own attack. Instead she ran over to Chad and restored him with divine healing magic.

“Thank you, spooky lady,” he said trying to smile through the pain.

Elora and Salys moved to the opposite corner of the room to get as far away from the hag as possible. Elora nocked an arrow, but her eyes were having trouble focusing and her bow arm shook. They had no sleep since yesterday morning, this was their 3rd fight in 36 hours, The exhaustion was beginning to take its toll. She steadied her arm, blinked her eyes until they focused, and let her arrow fly at the creature. She cursed as the arrow missed the creature’s head, but at least it drove deep into the hag’s chest, causing a fair amount of damage, Elora hoped.
Salys fired a barrage of magic missiles at the hag, all of them hitting their target. It screamed in pain as each attack impacted against its withered body.

Drusilla summoned a spiritual raven to fight by her side and sent it at the hag. While the raven with the glowing purple aura pecked and swiped at it, Drusila stabbed the swamp witch in the side with her sword.

The hag howled in obvious pain. It appeared to wobble slightly on its spindly legs.

Thad saw this as his chance. He strode toward the wailing monstrosity and swung his axe upward. The blade tore through the hag’s abdomen. The axe’s momentum carried it clean through the chest, splitting the rib cage in half right up the sternum.

The hag collapsed to the floor with a shocked gasp, then lay motionless and silent in a puddle of its own gore.

They gathered around the body, staring at it, waiting to make sure no evil magic would make her come back to life.

“Um, guys,” Vorjhon interrupted them. “I don’t think it worked.” The dragonborn still held the struggling Juni Hag in his arms. She had not reverted back to her human form. Instead she let out an agonizing, furious scream at the site of her dead mother. She was fueled with desperate fear and anger now and began struggling to break free even harder. “I don’t think I can hold her much longer,” Vorjhon warned.

“What now?” Thad asked.

Before anyone could answer, Juni hag vanished.

“Where’d she go?” shouted Chad.

“Shit! Not again,” Salys cried.

“She’s still here!” Said Vorjhon. “I still have her.”

“They can turn invisible?” Salys asked Elora.

Elora merely shrugged, nocked another arrow, and took aim. She held her shot though, not wanting to hit Vorjhon accidentally.

“The hell with this little bitch,” said Chad. He ran toward Vorjhon and swung his great sword at the empty space above the paladin’s arms.

Juni must have seen him coming and ducked because the side of Chad’s blade sailed unabated into Vorjhon’s chest.

He cried out in pain, and Juni broke free from his grasp.

Elora fired her arrow in the direction of where she thought she heard footsteps but all she hit was the wall behind the bar.

Salys ran behind the bar and found a sack of flour. She tossed it over the bar and shouted, “Drusila!”

The lunar elf caught the bag, sliced it open, and spun around, spraying flour in all directions.

None of it seemed to land on the invisible Juni, but they could now see footprints running toward the busted out window.

Salys fired magic missles at the direction of the prints as they appeared in the flour. Green bolts of energy flattened upon impact and Juni’s screams filled the room, but after a short pause, the footprints kept moving.

“Do it again!” shouted Elora.

“I can’t,” Salys answered. “I’m tapped out.”

Elora shot an arrow a few feet above the rapidly moving foot falls but it hit nothing.

Vorjhon, Drusilla and Thad raced to the hole in the wall, but the footprints reached the base of it before they did, and it suddenly all was quiet.

Vorjhon said a quick prayer and reached out with his divine sense to detect if any evil creatures were within thirty feet of them.

“She is gone.” he sighed, sounding defeated as he clutched his hand to his chest.

“Can you heal?” Drusilla asked.

“No. I am too tired. But it not fatal wound. You?”

“Yeah, I think I have a little left.” The cleric muttered a prayer and Vorjhon’s wound closed, but did not fully heal.

“Sorry,” she said. “That’s all I have.”

“Thank you. Do not worry. I will heal in morning.”

The Brunch Club, along with Chad and Thad went outside to see if they could find any sign of Juni, but it was night now and she was invisible. Even if they could pick up her trail, she’d reach the safety of the bog before they could catch up to her.

Vorjhon stared into the forest and growled, “Second time in two nights evil vanished in thin air.”

“Yeah,” Salys agreed. “That sucks.”

Vorjhon sighed again and his face became melancholy. “We must tell Anne and Cooper.”

“That will also suck,” said Salys.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 11

Episode 10 was written by Dominic White.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends. We’d appreciate it.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 009 “Nightmares”

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Welcome to Episode 9 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A weekly fantasy adventure based on a homebrewed Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 8, The Brunch Club fought off giant spiders, zombie thralls, their Wight leader, and a giant crocodile as they pressed further east through the Lich Bog. Drusila retrieved a sterling silver sun pendant from one of the zombie corpses. They reached the end of the bog and arrived in the town of Boughmoor. Salys grew seriously ill with Eye Rot, which was cured with the assistance of Ulrich, the local druid. The party got rooms at the Laughing Pine Lodge. At the bar, Elora secured herself a date with a local hunter named Scott. Drusila learned the sun pendant might belong to the missing husband of woman named Maria. When Drusilla returned the pendant to her, Maria lashed out in anger at the news. Drusila returned to the inn where she shared a moment with Vorjhon as they both watched over a sleeping Salys.

And now…

Episode 9: Nightmares

The next morning The Brunch Club woke up to a curt knocking on each of their doors. A town guard announced the Raif of Baughmoor requested their presence as soon as possible.

Vorjhon started to refuse the invitation as one of their party was very ill, but Salys announced she was feeling much better. Ulrich’s treatment had worked wonders overnight, and while she didn’t feel like she was fully cured, she felt strong enough to accept the Raif’s invitation.

The guard directed the sleepy group to a house in the center of town. It was built in a matching style and made of the same rough pine as the rest of Boughmoor’s homes, but was taller and wider, giving it the appearance of authority.

The group was led into a sparse but large office that looked more like a rustic dining room than a seat of local power. Sparse decorations did little to soften the rough feel of the room. A man sat at the head of a large wooden table near a crackling fire. His eyes were cast down, looking at the various parchments spread out on the table. A large stuffed buck head above the mantle loomed over him. The slim man beneath it looked up when Vorjhon’s clanking armor announced their presence.

Dark circles rested under his eyes framed by deep crows feet. His weariness gave him the look of a much older man, though he couldn’t have been much over 30. He returned his quill to its holder and stood before approaching the group.

“I am Raif Brenton,” he greeted them, offering them his hand. The dragonborn immediately strode forward to meet Brenton with a firm, proper handshake. “Please sit with me while we wait for Ulrich. He should be here at any moment.”

The group sat around the table and waited for Ulrich to arive. The fireplace struggled to heat the large room. Raif Brenton made small talk with them as they waited for the druid.

“I have an office, but it doesn’t stay very warm this time of year. I prefer to do my work here.”

The group nodded politely, failing to hide their confusion at being summoned to the Raif’s home.

“I was hoping to wait until Ulrich was here, but I suppose you want to know why I requested your presence. Ulrich and I, he’s something of an advisor to me, wanted the assistance of some capable people to help us with a couple of problems near here that our small town guard may not be able to handle. Ulrich mentioned to me you all had just come through the bog and I figured if you could do that, you’re probably the best option we’ll have any time soon.”

There was a slight lull in the conversation before the sounds of the front door opening and boots approaching drifted through to the dining room. The druid’s orange hair was a tangled mess atop his head and the bags under his eyes were even more prominent than the first time the party had seen him only a couple a day before. He nodded to everyone before speaking.

“Pardon the delay, but let us begin now,” the druid greeted them, pulling out a chair and taking a seat at the table. “There are two maters Brenton and myself were hoping to discuss, let’s start with yours, Brenton.” The raif nodded before picking up the conversation.

The Raif began, “There’s been reports of a creature north of here in the woods. It’s been described as wolf-life, but bigger, more muscular and intelligent. Scott Smith, one of our local woodsmen, was the latest to report a sighting. His description fits that of a direwolf. The town has recently put out a bounty on the creature. The first party to bring me proof of the creature’s demise will be rewarded handsomely. It’s pretty straight forward. Track it, slay it, bring back proof, get paid. I’m afraid Ulrich’s concern is a bit less straightforward than mine.”

Before speaking, the druid rose and shut the large dining room door. As he returned to his seat he took a deep breath and spoke.

“You are free to turn down this request, but we could use your help with another matter as well.” He paused, letting the words hang in the air. “I’m sure you’ve noticed that people around here seem a bit… tired. Sluggish, quick to anger, on edge. At first we thought it was just hard work and long winter nights sapping our energy, but then the disturbing dreams started. None of us told each other about the dreams at first, but when we started to speak of them many of us realized we were all having the same, unnerving dream. Deep in the woods a tree grows atop a cave. There’s something calling to us in that cave. In the dream, we are drawn in by a voice, a strained voice, full of fear and desperation. In the dream there is a wicked looking mass of corrupted tree roots, wrapped around something pulsing with energy like a heartbeat. None of us recognize what it is, but we all agree it is the source of the voice. It pleads with us to set it free. The dream oozes with malice, but we sense good energy in that cave as well. I’d go investigate myself but I am so exhausted. I don’t know if my powers will be enough.“

Ulrich paused for a moment. His deep breath emphasising his weariness.

“I’ve spoken with the wildlife and they’ve told me this cave exists, and its location. Its an eight hour walk to the south on the way to the coast.”

“I fear the town will eventually be driven mad unless the dreams cease. It’s been so long since any of us have slept through the night. Please, will you consider helping us?” The druid looked upon the group with hope in his tired eyes.

Drusilla began to speak, “This could be a powerful magic that may be beyond our…” but Vorjhon’s optimistic voice cut her off.

“Of course we help! With both tasks! We not ignore people in danger.And we not refuse druid who saved our Salys from terrible Eye Rot. ”

Drusila rolled her eyes as Vorjhon shook Ulrich and Brenton’s hands. While the paladin was reassuring the two officials that the group would get to the bottom of things, Salys interjected. “We’ll get paid for the dream thing too, right?” she asked in a tone that implied the answer better be yes.

Drusilla and Elora agreed they would help the town with the wolf and the mysterious cave, but first they needed to get brunch.

As they descended the steps of Brenton’s home and headquarters, they were greeted by a pair of muscular men ascending the stairs toward them. They wore leather armor with fur pelts draping their shoulders.

“Hey there!” One greeted them. “Are you here for the wolf bounty too?”

“Don’t waste your time guys, we’re gonna collect that bounty first.” said the other, confidently.

“Greetings!” said Vorjhon, extending his hand and introducing himself and the party. “Wolf is on our to do list, but if you kill it first, well done!”

“Whoh! We haven’t met many dragonborns! I’m Chad,” he said shaking Vorjhon’s hand tightly as if trying to show off his strength. Vorjhon did not engage in the contest of machismo, but returned the hand shake with polite firmness.

“I’m Thad,” said the other, shaking Vorjhon’s hand next, but without the show of strength Chad had displayed.

“It’s a pleasure to meet fellow adventurers!” Vorjhon smiled. The exchanged a couple more pleasantries before The Brunch Club went on their way and Chad and Thad disappeared into the Raif’s home.

“They seem nice,” Vorjhon said cheerfully.

“I hate them,” Drusila stated.

“Same,” agreed Elora.

“Dicks,” offered Salys.

While they were eating brunch at the Cold Boulder Tavern, Drusilla suggested they do some investigating around town and ask some of the other locals about their dreams. Maybe the townspeople could recall more details that might help them. Elora commented that it would be good to get some more information about the supposed dire wolf while they were at it.

They decided there was no time like the present and should start questioning their fellow brunch patrons sitting around them. Salys was the logical choice to do the asking. Her messy, flaming red curls, smattering of freckles, 3 and a half foot tall frame, and natural charisma made her the most disarming of the group.

There were only a few other patrons in the tavern at this time. Salys pointed out a man sitting by himself. “How about I start with him?”

Elora recognized him as a bar patron she beat in a darts tournament their frist night in town. She remembered his name was Phil because she beat him in the first round and dubbed him “First Round Phil.” Salys tried to get some information from him, but he seemed as thick as a slab and was stubbornly uncooperative. Phil was adamant that he hadn’t seen the dire wolf or dreamed of an ominous cave.

Salys moved on to another diner. She was a large, rather rough-looking woman whose body seemed to be fighting against the seams of her old clothes. When Salys introduced herself the woman merely grunted. She was as cooperative as Phil had been. The only information Salys could get out of her was her name, Helga.

Salys attempted to chat with the rest of the patrons, but no one was helpful. She returned to the table with a dejected look on her face. “Sorry guys. I guess they don’t like gnomes around here.”

“Nonsense,” Vorjhon said between bites of brunch. “They are exhausted and irritable. Is only explanation for not talking to cheerful Salys. Do not take personal.”

Elora sat up suddenly in her seat, eyes locked on the doorway. She stood up from the table and said she’d be right back as she strided away. Salys and the rest of the party watched her walk over to the man who had just entered the tavern and sat a table by the crackling fire.

Vorjhon, Salys, and Drusila kept quiet so they could eavesdrop on Elora’s conversation. They recognized the man as Scott. The one Elora had met the night before at the bar. They pieced together that he must be the ‘Scott Smith’ Brenton said had seen the dire wolf. Elora asked him about the dire wolf and about the strange dreams happening around town. He told her he was sorry but hadn’t had the dream she mentioned, but he did see the wolf she was talking about.

He had trouble describing it to her as it was so odd- unlike anything he’d seen before. Its ears were longer than a normal wolf’s and slightly pointed. It had long fangs and evil eyes. It walked like a hunched over man but he didn’t think it was a werewolf. It still moved on all fours and seemed more bestial, even though it did have humanoid aspects to it. He was also sure it wasn’t a dire wolf. He’d seen one before. This was a sort of mixture of the two. “Sorry I know that wasn’t very helpful.” he finished, and gave Elora an apologetic shrug.

“Don’t worry about it.” Elora assured him, “this is more than we knew a few minutes ago. It’s helpful.” She paused and bit her lip before continuing. “So, when we get back from hunting, do you want to get together for round two?. The other night was a lot of fu…”

“Let’s talk about that later! Scott said, abruptly cutting her off. He gestured at the older man sitting across from him at the table. Elora hadn’t even noticed him when she sat down, but now saw the salt and pepper hair and deep wrinkles in his skin, and the same rugged jaw as Scott. He had an amused smile and knowing look in his eyes. “Elora,” Scott continued, “this is my dad. Pops, this is my, uh, new friend, Elora.”

Elora’s face flushed red as Salys’ hair.

“Ah. Hi, um, Scott’s Dad. I- I should probably be going now before I make this any worse. Bye Scott. We’ll talk later.”

Scott smiled but looked more embarrassed than happy. “Sorry” he said.”See ya ‘round.”

Elora walked as quickly as she could back to her table. The few steps across the tavern felt like an eternity. She flushed an even deeper red as she heard Scott’s dad speak.

“Hot damn, Scott, that one’s a beauty!” he said with no effort to keep his voice down.

Elora got back to the table and found her friends feigning interest in anything but her. Drusilla’s and Salys’ cheek muscles strained as they struggled against breaking into wide grins.

“We can go now,” Elora announced, without bothering to sit down.

The group decided to visit some more of Boughmoor’s shops and taverns and see if anyone else would talk to them about the strange dreams. Everyone they spoke with, despite looking like they hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in days, refused to admit they were having the nightmares.

“It’s like they don’t want us to help them,” Salys observed.

“It natural to be wary of strangers,“ Vorjhon said. “Especially when exhausted as these people are.”

“You’re like what, 23? Stop acting like you’re so wise,” Salys teased him as she tried to give him a playful shove.

Vorjhon chuckled.

Boughmoor was a small town, so it did not take them long to complete their interrogations. They decided to return to the tavern, get an early dinner, and retire to their rooms to discuss their plan for the next day.

During dinner in the tiny dining room of the Laughing Pine Lodge, they made small talk with Anne and Cooper, the Lodge’s owners. Anne’s hair was the color of fresh straw. She wore a white dress and bright pink and blue earrings. She seemed to personify a summer breeze despite the early Winter settling in around them. Cooper was dressed in more simple, utilitarian garb, befitting his responsibilities of handling the chores around the Inn.

“I’m glad we were here when you came back! Anne said. “This weekend is our daughter Juni’s thirteenth birthday. We’re throwing a special party for her. Cooper and I were hoping you could be there as a surprise for her!”

Cooper explained, “Juni loves adventure tales and we were hoping, if it’s not too much trouble, that you might share some stories of your adventures with her.”

“It would make Juni so happy!” Anne beamed.

Salys immediately took them up on the offer. “We would LOVE that! We have some ‘adventuring’ to do tomorrow, but we should be back for it!”

They all agreed they would be there for Juni’s party, finished their dinner and went up to Drusilla’s room to discuss their plans for the next day.

It was decided they would head south and deal with the mysterious cave first, as that seemed to be the bigger threat to the town at the moment.

A knock at Drusilla’s door interrupted them. Drusilla opened it to see a tearful, but apologetic looking Maria standing at the threshold.

“I’m sorry for accusing you of murdering my husband,” she said softly. “I don’t know why I did that.”

Drusilla invited her in and they all made room for her. She sat on the edge of the bed next to Salys. Drusilla sat on the other side of her.

“I was just so angry,” Maria continued. “Not at you though. At Nathan. I always told him not to go too far into the bog, but he kept saying that’s where the good hides were.” She paused. She took a deep breath. She burst into tears and fell against Drusilla who embraced her.

“I lost someone close to me recently,” Salys said,. “It’s not a long term solution, but wine was helpful at the beginning.”

Maria nodded her head.

Elora poured her a glass and Maria drank it down quickly. Elora refilled her glass and suggested she sip this one.

“Thank you,” Maria said, taking a big sip. “This town is cursed,” she muttered, almost to herself.

“What do you mean?” Drusilla asked.

“It’s cursed. The dreams. The wolf…”

“You’ve had the dreams too?” Salys asked.

“Yes, everyone has. They just don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s the bog hag. I know she’s doing it. She probably killed my Nathan too.”

A sharp look from Drusilla told everyone not to mention how Nathan really died.

“Bog hag?” Vorjhon inquired.

“Yes. A witch who lives in the bog. No one’s ever seen her, but there have been stories. I bet she’s the one who took Juni too. She did something to her. I know it.” She muttered some more things they could not hear under her breath then tried to take another sip from her now empty glass.

Drusilla looked up at Vorjhon.

“I find more wine,” he said, obeying Drusila’s unspoken command.

Vorjhon found Cooper cleaning up the small bar adjacent to the inn’s dining room and asked if he had any bottles of wine he could buy.

Cooper did, and handed them to the dragonborn, who paid for them and tipped well.

Vorjhon asked Cooper in a soft voice, “Forgive me for asking, but we heard Juni was missing for a week. Will you tell me what happened?”

Cooper leaned toward Vorjhon and replied quietly. “I wanted to say something to you all earlier, but Anne doesn’t want to talk about it. Juni likes to play on the edge of the bog and catch frogs. We always told her to stay on the road and never go into the bog, and she’s always been a good, obedient child, so we never really worried about her. One night when she didn’t come home we got worried. A bunch of townfolk helped us search the woods, but we never found her. We were starting to give up hope, but then one morning a week later, we found her asleep in her bed.”

“That’s wonderful. I’m glad story have happy ending.”

“That’s what I thought too,” Cooper said, still keeping his voice down. “And that’s what Anne still wants to believe.”

“But you don’t?” Vorjhon prodded.

“Like I said, she was always a good kid. Funny, smart, social, talkative, like her mother. But when she came back she was different. She talks very little now. She never smiles. She still does her chores, but when she doesn’t have anything to do she sits in her bedroom and stares out her window into the woods toward the bog. I have to be honest with you Vorjhon. She scares me a little.”

“Again, forgive me for asking, but do you think this has something to do with Hag in bog?”

Cooper sighed heavily. “I’m not a superstitious man, Vorjhon. I don’t believe in fairy tales of witches no one’s ever seen, but I have to admit it’s been nagging at me. I don’t know, maybe it’s the bad dreams making me crazy, but I’m worried about her birthday party. It would make me more comfortable if you and your friends were there.”

Vorjhon placed one of his large, silver hands on Cooper’s broad shoulder. “We leave tomorrow to try and stop dreams. We will do our best to return for Juni’s birthday, and I will pray to Bahamut and Silver Flame that Juni will be safe.”

Cooper thanked him. Vorjhon returned to the room where he found Maria asleep on Drusilla’s bed. He quietly told the others about his conversation with Cooper and they agreed they should get as early a start as possible to give themselves a better chance of getting back for Juni’s party on time.

They left a note and some gold for Maria. Salys invited Drusilla to share her room as they all went to rest up for the long walk into the Southern woods in the morning.

Setting off before sunrise, the ranger Elora, aided by Ulrich’s directions, guided her friends through the woods toward the cave. It was a bright sunny day and cool enough that they could keep a brisk pace without getting too warm. They stopped once for a quick lunch and as they approached their eighth hour into their march, they spotted a lone tree sitting atop the cave, silhouetted by the low Winter sun behind it.

They cautiously approached the tree.

“Wait for moment,” Vorjhon said holding out his hands as they stood at the cave’s entrance. He muttered a few words under his breath and the symbol of Bahamut on his shield glowed faintly.

“What are you doing?” Salys asked.

“He’s trying to detect if there is good or evil in the cave,” Drusila explained. It’s an ability some paladins and clerics are blessed with.”

“Anything?” asked Elora.

“No,” Vorjhon answered. “Either nothing there, or something too far away for me to sense. I will go first if Drusila will make light to guide me in darkness.”

Drusila muttered her own prayer and three floating orbs of light illuminated the cave. They ventured in.

They were about a hundred feet into the cave when they saw a small, faintly glowing red dot in the distance. They approached it carefully. When they got closer, they saw the tangled, corrupted mass of roots twisted around a large, glowing, beating heart. It was more teardrop shaped than a human heart, and much larger as well.

It made no sound as it beat. After a few moments they could each hear a rhythmic pulsing sound growing in their minds. It got louder and louder, drowning out any of their own thoughts. “Heeeelp meeee,” a soft voice whispered over the relentless heartbeat.

“What should we do?” Salys asked, trying to concentrate over the sudden pounding in her head.

“We set it free,” Vorjhon said.

“What if it’s evil?” Drusilla asked. She began reciting her own prayer of detecting good and evil, and evil was strongly in their presence. “It’s bad. We should kill it,” she said without hesitation.

“But Ulrich said he could sense good in the dream,” Salys remembered. “What if the branches are evil and they are trapping the good inside?”

“I agree with Drusilla,” Elora said as she raised her bow and notched an arrow.

“Wait.” Vorjhon held up his hand in front of Elora. “If Salys right, we kill innocent creature.”

“I aaaam gooooood” the voice said again in their heads, softer, and sounding more desperate, as though it was getting weaker, even though the pulse in their head grew louder. Their minds then heard the word “Unicooooorn,” with the last syllable elongated and trailing off into silence.

“Oh, it’s lying,” Elora said, raising her bow once again.

“I have idea,” offered Vorjhon. “You three stand behind me blocking exit. I will free it. If it good, we have done right thing. If it evil, you kill it before it escapes.”

They agreed with this plan and got into position. Elora took careful aim. Salys held her hands forward. Her eyes and hands glowed a phosphorescent green, ready to unleash a barrage of magic missiles if needed. Drusilla took a well balanced fighting stance with her shield and sword. She muttered a prayer but left the final word on her tongue, ready to unleash a sacred flame upon a possibly evil foe.

Once Vorjhon saw they were ready he approached the glowing heart and began hacking at the branches around it. They crumbled easily under his strong swings and heavy war hammer. The tangle was so thick it still took him a few minutes to clear the branches away sufficiently.

He stepped back, also getting in a defensive stance.

The remnants of the branches fell away from the heart as it floated in mid air. They waited. The heart pulsed in time with the throbbing in their heads. After a few moments the throbbing turned to laughter. The heart began to grow and change shape. The sound of laughter faded from their minds as it began to fill their ears and echo all around them, bouncing off the cave walls. The heart morphed into a black horse at least 20 hands high. Its mane, tail, and hooves were bathed in red, orange and white fire. “Thank you, fools,” it laughed, then disappeared in a puff of smoke before any of the party could attack it.

After a moment of stunned silence they heard the same laughter behind them at the mouth of the cave. It faded quickly in the distance.

They ran back as fast as they could, but when they reached the mouth of the cave, not even Elora could find the creature’s trail. They stood quietly, trying to assess what just happened.

Vorjhon broke their silence when he observed, “That can’t be good.”

Our tale will continue next week in Episode 10.

Episode 9 was written by Brian Messmer and Dominic White.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends. We’d appreciate it.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 008 “Boughmoor”

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Welcome to Episode 8 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: A weekly serialized recap of a homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Brian Messmer and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 7 The Brunch Club faced off against the basilisk that blocked their path. Vorjhon heroically tried to hold the creature’s attention while his companions dispatched it, but he failed to avert his eyes and was turned to stone by the lizard’s gaze. Salys experienced her first wild magic surge and the vibrant green energies swirled around her violently before cascading into the stone dragonborn and undoing his petrification. After making camp, The Brunch Club continued on their path through the bog, though the boardwalk they had been using as a guide had rotted away to nothingness. The group was resting in a makeshift blind where Drussilla had decided to make some fresh cranberry sauce to spice up their rations. A curious frog humanoid known as a Bullywug smelled the cooking sauce and investigated before seeing the defenseless group and attacked. Drussilla dispatched the creature with a critical blow to the creature’s head with her sauce ladle. The group then finished their rest and proceeded eastward, dealing successfully with smaller threats along the way.

And now…

Episode 8: “Boughmoor”

The Brunch Club made camp for the night and sat together on the only meager scrap of dry land they could find in the cold marshland. They glanced at each other. Vorjhon’s face was slack from exhaustion, Elora was covered in mud and filth from being parlyzed and falling into the mud. She shuddered as she remembered the feeling of being helpless, but conscious, underwater with hungry centipedes crawling over her face and nibbling her skin. Salys questioned how to control the volatile nature of her wild magic while Drussilla prayed to the Raven Queen to guide her friends through what remained of their perilous journey through the Blue Litch Bog.

There wasn’t much conversation that night as the dangerous bog had taken its toll on the group’s morale. Each member quietly hoped that their destination would not be too much further through the bog.

After a restless night the group prepared to set off the next morning, but every one of them dreaded another day of trudging through knee high (or chest high for Salys) frigid muck and muddy water. Elora kept a keen eye to track the best path through the swamp, trying to spend as much time on more or less solid ground as possible, though the thick, black mud and stench seemed to be fused to them now

Around midday Elora threw her hand up and called the group to a stop. She pointed out a tangle of plants ahead of them that seemed to take up all the clumps of solid ground.

“These look like Dew Fronds. We should stick to the water. Don’t get close to them, especially you, Salys.”

Once Elora had pointed them out, the rest of the group quickly identified the broad, red-tinged leaves as the plants the bartender in Wyhill had warned them about. She had told them the carnivorous flora had sharp, tiny barbs on their leaves that drew blood from unsuspecting travelers. The blood made them grow at an alarming rate in a deadly cycle. No one argued with the ranger’s decision as they plodded through the cold water.

After hours spent avoiding the dew fronds and getting back on course, the group finally seemed to catch a break. The ranger’s eyes spotted what started as stray wooden posts before turning into chunks of rotted bridge work. The rest of the group never doubted Elora’s skill as a ranger, but they could scarcely believe that she had successfully guided them right to the other side of the boardwalk. They hoped it would stay intact from here to the edge of the bog and lead them to relative safety.

As the Dew Fronds seemed to be thinning, both Elora and Drussilla picked up on the increasing presence of wisps of what seemed like spider silk left on the bog’s plants and grasses. Both of them knew that it meant bad news and told the rest of the group to stay alert. The exhausted dragonborn grunted in acknowledgement, and the gnome on his shoulders nodded.

The gossamer like white strands grew thicker as they progressed along the boardwalk. They considered going back into the swamp to try and avoid them but a quick reconnaissance showed them it wouldn’t be worth it. The webbing extended well into the swamp on both sides of them. If danger did indeed lurk within the webs, they decided they would rather face it on the solid footing of the boardwalk. They stayed alert and moved forward.

“Shit.” muttered Elora. “We’ve got company guys.”

She knocked an arrow and raised her bow as the rest of the group readied themselves. From the dense webbing ahead of them four giant spiders emerged. Their mandibles made a foreboding clicking sound as they nimbly crawled onto the rotted planks toward the group. The wood strained under the large arachnids’ bulk. Two of them shot thick webbing towards Salys and Drussilla, but the women were able to sidestep the attack as the silky strands shot past them into the bog.

Elora loosed her arrow into one of the spiders as two others approached Vorjhon. The arrow found its mark. The arachnid shrieked in pain. The two remaining spiders quickly closed in and lunged at them with their jaws. One of them pierced the dragonborn’s armor, sinking its fangs deep into his forearm. The silver scaled paladin grunted in pain as a wave of nausea shot through him. He could feel the spider’s venom being injected into his system. He tried to focus his mind and push through the pain.

Salys muttered a familiar incantation under her breath. Her eyes glowed green as four darts erupted from her hands and impacted the spider Elora had already wounded. The spider’s exoskeleton shattered as every missile connected with its central mass, sending it to the grave. Salys could feel the wild magic start to swirl as she calmed her mind and wrestled internally for control over her powers. While the sorceress was dispatching one of the spiders, Drusilla called a sacred light from the heavens in the name of the Raven Queen and scorched one of the spiders attacking Vorjhon, badly burning it.

Vorjhon tried to resist the spider venom coursing through his blood while he swung his warhammer at any of the three spiders that now attacked him. He felt one of the large arachnid’s bodies crunch under a few of his hammer blows. Elora’s arrows continued to find their marks but none were killing blows. Salys saw their paladin attempting to fend off a barrage of fangs and poison. She muttered an incantation again, this time letting the wild magic surge through her. With one hand she sent out her green missiles of arcane energy, with the other she conjured a cannonball-sized ball of fire and launched it at the spiders, obliterating one and injuring another.

Elora dispatched one of the remaining spiders with her hail of arrows as a coordinated assault from Drusilla and Vorjhon finished the last arachnid off. Vorjhon had taken most of the damage, but he was able to patch himself up with a prayer of healing touch.

Before they set off again, Elora quickly carved out the few remaining intact venom sacks from the dead spiders. Perhaps they’d be useful later. The party trudged on through the spider infested territory. The boardwalk sped progress up immensely and they were all thankful when they left the web entangled area of the bog behind them.

When the webs were no longer visible, they assessed their situation. They were weary. Salys, Drusilla and Vorjhon were spent from magic use and fighting and did not have the energy for many more spells that day. They decided to make camp and get some much needed rest. Vorjhon was fine with this plan as he still wasn’t back up to his full strength after being turned to stone by the basilisk.

* * *

Drusilla was the only one awake, sitting on a moss covered rock just off the boardwalk, trying to keep warm in the early winter night. Suddenly her pointed ears twitched as she heard shuffling in the stagnant water around their makeshift camp. She tightened her grip on her longsword and strained to reach her senses into the murky night. She heard the shuffling once more and then the scent hit her. The stench of death was unmistakably in the air once again. She saw two light blue glowing eyes in the darkness. The eyes of a Wight.

With a wave of her hand, Drusila called four dimly glowing orbs of silver light into being, gently floating around her. In the eerie light she saw the cold and calculating Wight. It looked like a human, gaunt from malnourishment with hair thin from death. What was left of its thin skin was pulled tight, outlining every bone in its body in ghastly relief. The creature held a cruel looking longsword with both hands and its eyes glowed in its sunken sockets. The Wight met Drusila’s gaze and stared her down. She knew these creatures didn’t normally set out on their own. She stood from her rock and raised her longsword and shield.

“Everyone get up and be prepared to fight!” her voice rang out into the night as the others scrambled to grab their weapons. The Wight bared its rotted teeth and glared at the cleric. It screeched an unintelligible command into the cold air. The wet slurp of feet dragging through mud was suddenly audible from all sides of their makeshift boardwalk camp. “It brought some friends, too.”

The group readied themselves, waiting for a trigger before diving into an attack. Vorjhon was exceedingly aware of how vulnerable he was without his armor and chose not rush into the fray. He really wanted that leather armor to sleep in, now more than ever. Drusila and the Wight continued their standoff. The light from the dim orbs danced off of the steel studs on the Wight’s black leather armor. The creatures’ boney fingers curled around the hilt of the jagged longsword. Suddenly its grip tightened and it whipped the blade upwards at the cleric with surprising speed.

Drusilla clenched her raven medallion in her fist as she calmly recited a prayer. Just as the Wight’s blade was about to strike, the final words left her lips “… force these creatures back to your ebon realm!” She thrust her medallion out in front of her and a shockwave pulsed out from her in all directions. A low thrum of energy rippled out and mixed with the call of ravens in the distance. As the energy reached the Wight, it recoiled, shrieking in pain and revulsion at the cleric. A wry smile flickered across her face as her ears picked up the sounds of five or more other zombies fleeing in terror deeper into the swamp.

The Wight raised it’s sword with hot rage burning in its cold eyes, but before it could strike, an arrow dug into its shoulder and a small ball of fire launched towards it. The creature dodged the firebolt and seemed to barely notice the arrow as it launched a series of attacks against Drusilla. The wry smile quickly fled her face and turned into a look of concentration as she focused on blocking its attacks. She grunted in pain as she felt the jagged blade snag the flesh behind her knee on the final attack.

Vorjhon readied his warhammer just as he heard sloshing behind him. He was barely able to leap out of the way as a stray zombie clumsily lunged at him. This one had apparently resisted Drusila’s death-repelling prayer. He countered, bringing his warhammer down on its skull and busied himself dispatching the stray undead, hoping his party could handle the more serious threat. He could hear the trio of adventurers fighting off the Wight while he landed blow after blow on the zombie before it fell into the murky water and finally stayed down. He turned to see the others illuminated by the dim light of Drusila’s floating orbs, as she and the Wight traded blows. Salys and Elora were peppering in ranged attacks when the openings presented themselves.

After weathering countless blows, the Wight eventually slipped it’s blade just under the bottom of Drusila’s shield. She gasped as the Wight’s longsword sunk into her chest. Pain ripped through her. The lifeless flesh of the Wight’s face stretched tight as its dead mouth twisted into a smile. Elora sunk two more arrows into it, but the creature seemed to barely notice.

“Get off her!” cried Salys, as the wild green energies swirled around her. She sent missile after missile into its chest. The magic energy erupted on contact, but the foul magic that had reanimated it kept it together as it drew the blade from Drusila’s abdomen. Blood dripped, glistening in the dim lights. The orbs that had been floating calmly began to falter and flicker. The Wight pushed Drusila to the ground and turned its attention to the gnome.

Elora loosed another arrow at its throat, but with inhuman speed, it parried the arrow with its bloodied blade. Salys felt her blood run cold as she readied another bolt of fire. She thrust her arm out and caught the creature in the shoulder. The dark leather armor bubbled and melted like human flesh. Then, a silver blur struck the Wight from the side. Vorjhon roared as he planted himself, armorless, between Salys and the Wight. With both hands he raised his warhammer above his head and shouted to his god. “Bahamut, smite this filth!”

A flash of silver light cut through the dark night, illuminating the bog for miles. A bolt of holy energy erupted from the sky, striking Vorjhon’s warhammer like lightning to a rod. The metal head of his hammer now sparked with silver energy as the paladin roared once more. His gaze shifted from Drusila to the Wight. With his back to Salys, the paladin recklessly charged the Wight, raising his hammer with both hands above his head once more. He leapt at the creature, but as he did, the already bloodied longsword lashed out cutting two deep gashes into his scaled thigh. But the dragonborn’s bulky form was already in motion and his roar grew louder. Pain and determination fueled him. His eyes locked with the two glowing sockets of the Wight’s as his holy imbued hammer connected. When hammer met skull, Vorjhon unleashed Bahamut’s wrath. The silvery energy exploded on contact with the unholy, once again illuminating the swamp with silvery light. The Wight’s skull caved under the paladin’s blow cracking like an old egg. Vorjhon felt the crunch and roared with satisfaction. The skeletal grip loosened on the jagged longsword as the now headless body crumbled to the ground. “Praised be, Bahamut,” Vorjhon whispered.

The paladin was breathing heavily, still not quite recovered from his exhaustion. He turned back to his friends and saw Elora and Salys huddled over Drusila. Vorjohn limped over, his leg wounds were deeper than he first thought in the heat of battle. Once again he cursed being caught without his armor. The gashes on his thigh wouldn’t have happened had he been clad in steel. Elora looked up at him, exasperated.

“You’re a paladin, can’t you heal her?!”

“I’m afraid I’ve already called upon Bahamut’s light as much as I can today.”

“Hang on!” Salys cut in, “I bought potions in Sturgeon! They’re in here somewhere!” She frantically dug through her bags before finding the vial she was looking for. The gnome uncorked a glass vial of thick, crimson fluid and tipped it up to Drusila’s lips. Her breathing was ragged, but she wasn’t gone yet. Salys held her still as the magic liquid flowed down Drusila’s throat and began closing her wounds. Her eyes flew open as her hands struggled to find her raven medallion. She pushed the empty potion bottle away from her face as she once again spoke to the raven queen. She put her hand on the gruesome wound on her stomach and as the prayer left her lips, an eerie light glowed around her hand, further closing the gash. Drusila pulled herself into a sitting position before spying what was left of the Wight.

“I’m going to loot the shit out of him.” she said, pushing herself to her feet. She found a few coins in a rotted purse on its belt. She clearly was not satisfied with her find, and went to go see if maybe the zombie Vorjhon wrestled with had anything better to offer.

To her surprise, it did. There was a medallion around its neck resting in the muck with its former owner. It was a simple sun made of sterling. It seemed like something odd for a stray zombie to be wandering around with, but she rejoined the group and told them about her find before tucking it away. She also healed Vorjhon’s wounds so he’d stop complaining so loudly and they could all try to at least get some sleep that night.

As the cold winter sun illuminated the mist hanging low in the swamp, the Brunch Club wiped the sleep from their eyes . Drusila and Salys reminisced on the days that seemed so long ago when they weren’t fighting biting cold, giant bugs, poisonous everything and tiptoeing along a creaky, rotted board walk. Still, another day meant another day (hopefully) closer to the end of The Bitch Bog.

They continued east. The group kept a keen eye out to try to avoid the dangers of the bog that they’d become all too familiar with. The hours churned on. The early winter sun had finally burned off the mist that clung to the murk of the bog around midday. They walked along the boardwalk with only a few mishaps of Vorjhons bulk causing a board to give up and break underneath him. Eventually Elora could see the dark smudge of a forest on the eastern horizon. This news immediately boosted the group’s morale. The end was in sight. Their pace quickened as they traveled with renewed vigor onwards through the bog.

Almost as quickly as their spirits lifted, they plummeted as Elora called an immediate halt. She pointed just off the boardwalk on the southern edge, towards what looked to be just another soggy lump of land in the bog murk. Almost on cue the soggy lump rose in the water and the four foot head of a giant crocodile rose out of the swamp, before returning to its place below the water’s surface.

The group retreated back the way they came to come up with ideas. The creature was huge and its position alongside the boardwalk meant it could lash out and snatch an unsuspecting, or even a suspecting passerby off the boardwalk and into the bog. Vorjhon suggested the idea of just taking a wider berth around the creature, through the swamp and off the boardwalk, but that idea was quickly shot down.

“But it just creature. We leave it alone, it leave us alone. No sense killing innocent creature.” Vorjhon argued.

“Godsdamnit Vorjhon! The only reason it hasn’t tried to kill us is because we saw it before getting near it.” Drusila snapped. “It’s a predator and it’s hunting. I say we try to take it out from afar. Then we can turn it into boots, and if you don’t like it, I’ll make a matching pair out of you.”

Not feeling like being turned into boots, Vorjhon held his tongue. While he didn’t totally agree, the cleric wasn’t completely wrong. Plus, the idea of trudging through the bog into who knows what other dangers didn’t exactly appeal to him. He was just starting to feel back to full strength again, the last thing he wanted was to run into another basilisk.

“Fine. We do your way,” he conceded.

Drusila had Vorjhon crouch in front of the group and prepare his shield. He couldn’t help but notice that even though it wasn’t his plan, he was still the one that stood between the imminent danger and the rest of the group. Elora, Salys, and Drusila stood behind the silver paladin. Drusila and Salys readied their magics as Elora knocked an arrow. The wood elf calmed herself and drew back on her bowstring, bringing the feather fletching to the corner of her mouth. She took aim at the unsuspecting giant crocodile. At this distance she had to aim up almost thirty degrees to get the range she needed. It was still strange to her how she couldn’t think about it, she just had to trust her instincts. She couldn’t remember training, but she knew her muscle memory would guide the arrow home.

She released the arrow, the fletching nicked her cheek as it sailed towards it’s target. Elora was already drawing and knocking another arrow. A small smile of satisfaction crept across her face as the first arrow hit home. She saw the massive beast whip around trying to find what would be stupid enough to hunt the hunter. She loosed her second arrow.

The huge crocodile’s ancient eyes locked onto the group. It dipped under the surface and began to swim the 600 feet or so towards them, trying to cover the distance as quickly as it could. The only thing it cared about now was crushing the thing that was hurting it in it’s immense jaws. Another arrow pierced it’s scaled back and two more splashed into the water near it as it swam towards The Brunch Club.

Elora’s keen eyes tracked her prey as it raced towards them. As soon as it was within range, Drusila and Salys unleashed their own spells. Salys launched her magic missiles as Drusila unleashed her bolt of silvery energy, striking out and blowing off a chunk of the huge crocodile. The silver energy seemed to infest the creature, causing its weak points to pulse and glow, highlighting them. Elora adjusted her aim and sunk an arrow into one of the glowing weak spots, slowing the bulky crocodile down slightly. It had closed over half the distance towards the party. Vorjhon tightened his grip on his shield and hammer. The crocodile approached one of the broken sections of boardwalk, launching itself onto the rotted wood. Boards creaked and snapped under its massive weight. Vorjhon took a few paces towards it as his friends continued to buffet it from afar, puncturing it’s scales and tearing chunks of crocodile meat from its body. It had rage burning in it’s eyes as it lunged at Vorjhon. The paladin closed his eyes and braced for impact, tensing his whole body. He felt something contact his shield, and peaked through a single open eye. He saw massive teeth frame the top and bottom of his kiteshield powered by jaws the size of his arm, but he stared into lifeless eyes.

The coordinated assault tore through the creatures’ rage fueled body, snuffing the Giant Crocodile out of existence just as it had reached him. He was thankful the powerful creature was handled so swiftly before it could harm him or his friends.

Drusila immediately requested Elora skin the creature, for boots, obviously. The ranger agreed. They had probably just dispatched what was most likely the biggest threat for a mile or two and they could see the edge of the bog. They could probably take some time to get a trophy from their kill without too much worry. At least, Elora hoped that was the case. Elora went to skinning the crocodile hide, requisitioning Drusila’s help since it was her idea.

The dirty deed was almost completed and they had a huge crocodile hide more or less intact. Hours had passed, but the group had decided if they could fetch a pretty penny for it in the next town it’d be well worth their time. Then the hairs on the back of the non-scaled necks pricked up and a cold tingle ran down all their spines. That voice from the first night in the bog, the one that haunted them on the swirling mists, was laughing at them. A low haunting laugh carried to them on the light breeze. Elora looked south in the direction it was coming from. She held a blood covered hand up to her brow to block the light of the late afternoon sun. Her heart skipped a beat. Far to the south she spotted huge black wings unfurling as the unmistakable sight of a dragon was silhouetted against the sky.

“We have to go now. Take what hide we can and let’s get the hell out of this swamp.” Elora said as she hastily began finishing the job. The group quickly agreed, they certainly did not want to have this bog journey end with them being a snack for a black dragon. At least now they were pretty sure who the voice they heard during their first night in the bog belonged to.

The party hastily fled the bog, not wanting to push their luck further than they already had. They reached the edge of the woods, but none of them let out a sigh of relief just yet. In the dense woods Elora felt back at home and was able to guide them along the remnants of a path. The sun was low in the sky when they finally saw the rough wood wall that surrounded the town of Boughmoor. A groggy guard nearly jumped out of his armor, seeing the party of gnome, dragonborn and elves, covered in muck and gore, approach from the bog. He quickly directed them to the Laughing Pine Lodge where they found cheap rooms and a place to lay their things. The moment they had a roof over their head again, the group nearly wept with joy. They made it through The Blue Litch Bog more or less intact.

But before they could rest there were a few things left to be taken care of. They had a fresh hide and venom sacs to trade, their lives to celebrate, and ale to drink. Asking around town the group found out the location of the local druid, Ulrich, and they were able to strike a bargain with him for the hide, netting them 20 gold and a basic healing potion. During the transaction Ulrich seemed to eye Salys with concern and asked her if she was feeling alright. She said she was a bit tired but waved off any more concern.

The party headed to the Cold Boulder Tavern to celebrate with many rounds of drinks. The locals were running a game of darts and Elora, spotting a handsome man in the competition, decided to join in. Obviously, being a natural deadeye, she swept the competition, cooly beating out Scott, the handsome man. The group celebrated holding onto their lives in their own ways, mostly with drink, but for Elora, she celebrated with Scott. Or at least she tried. He smoothly pointed out she was still covered in bog and that he’d be delighted to get to know her better, but only if she’d bathe first. Her cheeks flushed red, barely visible through the bog refuse still on her face. Pride somewhat intact, the party made their way back to their rooms after calling it an early night at the tavern.

After baths and beds the group woke up refreshed the next morning, except for Salys. The gnome made her way to the paladin’s room, complaining about not feeling great. She had aches and pains and her eyes felt crusty. The moment she saw the look on Vorjhon’s face, she knew something wasn’t quite right. His face immediately contorted into a look of revulsion and concern. He tried to politely inform his friend that she seemed to be bleeding from the eyes.

Skipping brunch, the whole group rushed Salys to Ulrich to see if he could help her. The druid quickly diagnosed it as eye rot, something people can contract from over exposure to stagnant water. He sent Vorjhon and Elora into the woods to fetch him eyebright mushrooms, the last ingredient he needed to make a potion that should help Salys fight the Eye Rot off. Elora recognized the fungus Ulrich described and was able to quickly harvest some and return to the druid’s hut in under an hour. Drusilla stayed with Salys and tried some of her healing magics. She didn’t quite have the power to cure her friend of this disease, but she wanted to at least try to help. She couldn’t in good conscience just sit around and do nothing. Salys was feverish and a little delirious by the time Elora made it back, but was able to consume the thick potion UIrich had concocted for her.

The druid instructed her to rest and for the party to keep an eye on her to make sure she was improving. The gnome quickly succumbed to her weariness and fell asleep on the cot in the Druids cozy cottage. While Salys was sleeping, Drusila and Vorjhon discussed goings on in Boughmoor while Elora went to prepare herself for her date with Scott. Ulrich informed Drusila and Vorjhon that Maria, the wife of a trapper in town, had been distraught for nearly a week since her husband disappeared after hunting near the edge of the bog. He usually wore a sun pendant that Maria had given him and that it could be used to identify him. Drusila’s face turned into a frown as she pulled a similar pendant from her pocket, the pendant they had found on a zombie two nights ago. She let out a heavy sigh before asking for directions to Maria’s house.

* * *

Drusila waited patiently after knocking on the door. A part of her hoped Maria wasn’t home and she could just say she tried to do a good deed instead. Her heart fell as the door creaked open slightly. She could see a woman about her own height, but with tangled brown hair standing before her. The woman’s face was creased with worry lines. Drusila held her hand out with the pendant and apologized, handing the necklace over to Maria. She informed the distraught woman that her group had found her husband’s corpse while trekking through the bog. She decided to leave out the servitude to a Wight in his undeath to ease the pain for Maria. Still, something seemed like it finally snapped within Maria as she heard the Cleric’s story. Her face turned to horror and then rage as she accused Drusila of murdering her husband. The cleric back pedaled a few steps, taken aback by Maria’s accusations. Thankfully, in her rage Maria slammed the door in Drusila’s face. The elf could still hear wailing sobs of the woman whose worst fears had just come true. There wasn’t much more Drusilla could do for the poor woman. Try as she might, she could not heal grief.

Drusila took her time walking back to the Laughing Pine Lodge, slowly walking through the small, sleepy, forest-town, peering up at the stars through the tree cover. She went to her room and checked to see who else was there. As she walked by Saly’s room she saw her small friend sleeping, swaddled up in blankets with the large dragonborn watching over her. Elora was still out with Scott for the night. At least one of The Brunch Club was having a nice first night back in civilization, she thought. Drusila locked eyes with Vorjhon. They held a long, wordless look at each other. Both of them wore solemn expressions. Vorjhon gave her the slightest of nods before turning his gaze back to the softly snoring Salys. Drusila made her way to her own room and snuffed out her bedside candle, plunging the mostly bare room into darkness. She sat cross legged on her bed, and said a familiar prayer to The Raven Queen, hoping the raven queen would hear her.

This story will continue next week in Episode 9.

Episode 8 was written by Brian Messmer with help from Dominic White.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends. We’d appreciate it.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 007 “Bogged Down”

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Welcome to Episode 7 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 6 The Brunch Club was set upon by a Basilisk who immediately turned Vorjhon to stone. Fortunately the rest of them were able to kill the basilisk. As they debated what to do with Vorjhon, Salys’s spells released a magic surge, an unpredictably occurring side effect of her magic powers. Anything can happen during a magic surge and in a fortunate turn of events, Salys’s very first occurrence of it restored Vorjhon to his dragonborn self, curing him of the effects of the basilisk’s gaze. They made camp as Drusilla harvested cranberries. While the rest of the party was sleeping, a lone bullywug entered their camp and Drusilla killed it with a ladle full of hot cranberry sauce. The next morning they reached the end of the boardwalk, and any kind of a walkable path. They spent the day trudging through the bog. They were attacked by giant centipedes that paralyzed Elora. Fortunately the rest of The Brunch Club was able to kill them off. Vorjhon healed Elora’s paralyzed state with a lesser restoration spell. They then began to make camp for the night.

And now…

Episode 7: “Bogged Down”

The Brunch Club made camp for the night with Drusilla taking the first four hour watch and looking over her companions. Vorjhon slept next to his armor. Salys slept in the shadow of a scale mail hauberk that seemed comically big compared to her. She was so powerful for such a small thing. If not for her and her wild magic, they’d have had to leave Vorjhon behind where he succumbed to the Basilisk’s gaze, serving as his own tombstone. Elora had also nearly died, paralyzed and nearly drowned, but saved by Vorjhon. Drussila couldn’t keep the morbid thoughts from creeping into her head. Who would be next to come so close to death? Was it her turn? Was it Salys’s? She sighed. She knew the Raven Queen would come for them all sooner or later, it didn’t do one much good to dwell on when it might happen. She was eventually relieved of her watch by Elora who took the remaining four hours. Being elves who only needed four hours of deep meditation at night in lieu of sleep, they had fallen into this routine of splitting the watch between the two of them while their companions slept through the night.

The evening passed without incident and after a quick breakfast they waited for Vorjhon as he put his armor on gingerly. Being turned to stone and then back to his scaled flesh again had done a number on his body. The dragonborn’s every joint ached and his eyelids threatened to close under the weight of exhaustion. Even so, he stoically joined his comrades to continue their soggy march Westward toward the far edge of the unrelenting bog.

Elora continued to guide them on their way with her compass and map. The bog was still too deep for Salys to walk through, but despite his exhaustion Vorjhon still agreed to carry her. Perched atop his shoulders, Salys kept an eye out for any creatures that might want to do them harm. On that day they encountered nothing to impede their march and traveled a good distance for an exhausted party trudging through tangled marsh grass and mucky water.

As the sun began to set, Salys noticed a dry patch of land in the distance where they decided to make camp for the evening.

Once again Drusilla took the first watch. At the end of an uneventful four hours, Elora relieved her.

About an hour into her watch Elora scanned the area around them. She thought she saw a shape some distance away. She peered into the darkness trying to find it. With surprising speed, the large shape descended into their camp from above before Elora had time to warn the others. It was a terrifying looking creature. It looked like a lion but with a face that was more human than cat. Its wings were large and leathery, like an overgrown bat’s. The tip of it’s disproportionately long tail ended in a club of what looked like two dozen razor sharp spikes. As it landed, it went for the sleeping dragonborn, biting at him with his disturbing half lion, half human mouth. Vorjhon was able to grab his shield in time to block the biting attack and fended off another claw attack, but he could not defend himself against the wide swinging club of spikes that circled around his shield and raked painfully across his back.

Elora quickly notched an arrow and shot it in the beast’s shoulder. Vorjhon groped next to him for his warhammer, found its handle, and swung it at his attacker as it recoiled from Elora’s arrow strike. Vorjhon flailed wildly though, barely being able to see the beast in the darkness. Salys and Drusilla were woken up by the sudden commotion, but could do nothing before the beast attacked again. Vorjhon was ready for the beast’s tail attack and deflected it with his shield, but could not turn himself around fast enough to avoid a deep bite to his shoulder, and a claw attack raking across his chest. Even with his shield, he felt vulnerable without his heavy armor.

Drusilla cast three orbs of light that illuminated the beast. Salys shot as many magic missiles as she could into it. Elora, seeing their foe in full light for the first time, identified it as a manticore as she sunk another arrow into its flesh. Now able to see his target, Vorjhon swung his warhammer and spoke a prayer. When the hammer connected with a satisfying thud, a bolt of divine silver energy crackled down from the sky and smote the beast, but it still clung desperately to life.

The manticore, sensing the odds were no longer with him, turned and flew off into the night, but could not get out of range in time to save itself from Elora’s arrows and another barrage of Salys’s magic missiles.

Vorjhon cast a couple healing prayers on himself. As he inspected his torn and bloodied shirt, he decided at his next opportunity, he was going to buy himself a suit of studded leather armor to wear at night while they were on the road. It would be soft enough to sleep in, but not leave him so defenseless while he slept.

With dawn still a few hours away, and the group not fully rested, they went back to sleep while Elora finished the watch.

Because of the manticore attack, The Brunch Club slept a little longer and left a little later than they normally would, but still managed to move at a decent pace. They were slowed down around midday when a writhing mass of snakes attacked them, but the snakes were a mere nuisance and put down swiftly.

With the snakes dispatched they continued on their way. As the afternoon progressed they noticed the bog was getting shallower and the dry patches of land were beginning to become more prevalent around them. Their spirits were boosted by this as they hoped it meant they were finally reaching the other side of the Lich Bog.

Salys, still perched on Vorjhon’s shoulders, spotted another small hillock in the middle of some dry land. They reached it and set up camp. After dinner Vorjhon began taking off her armor when Drusilla said, “Wait. I hear something.”

They all got very quiet, listening for noises in the darkness. They could hear a shuffling in reeds, like something being dragged, or a creature limping. They heard soft moans as well. The moans were devoid of expression. They weren’t mournful or anguished. It sounded like someone didn’t know how to breathe without making noise.

Drusilla conjured her three orbs of light which she sent circling around the small hill they camped on. As the lights danced around them, the gaunt, pale, gray-green faces of zombies emerged from the darkness.

Vorjhon and Drusilla quickly smiled at each other. Being a paladin and a cleric, killing undead was not only their specialty, it was their pleasure. Vorjhon turned around to make sure nothing was sneaking up on them from behind and saw another creature. This one was taller than the zombies. It did not shuffle or moan. It had no features at all as its entire form was black. It didn’t look like a creature wearing black armor. It looked like a creature of pure darkness. Vorjhon knew it was a shadow fiend, and he was just as happy to kill it as he was killing zombies.

Drusilla said a prayer. The raven emblem on her chest glowed. When she finished the prayer, a faint purple light emanated all around them. Every zombie began to flee, frightened by the divine energy of the Raven Queen channeled through Drusilla.

Much to Vorjhon’s delight, the shadow was unaffected. As his companions began picking off the zombies one by one as they fled, he and the shadow charged each other. The holy paladin and shadow fiend traded blows. Vorjhon was able to deflect many of the shadow’s attacks with his shield. The holy smiting energy he channeled through his warhammer with every landing blow made his attacks more effective against his unholy foe and put the fight squarely in the Paladin’s favor.

In less than a minute the shadow had been struck down, dissipating into the night. All of the zombies lay in pierced and scorched heaps of harmless skin and bone.

The Brunch Club finished making camp, and with Elora and Drusilla watching over them diligently, they slept through the night undisturbed.

This story will continue next week in Episode 8.

Episode 7 was written by Dominic White with help from Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 006 “Side Effects”

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Welcome to Episode 6 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 5 The Brunch Club gathered themselves after being taunted by the mysterious voice in the mist from the end of episode 4. They decided to share the secrets of their past with each other to prevent the voice from sowing the seeds of distrust among them. As they continued on their journey, they defeated a small scouting party of frog-like men known as bullywugs, but were stopped dead in their tracks as they came face-to-face with a dreaded Basilisk.

And now, Episode 6: “Side Effects”

Vorjhon, the large, heavily armored dragonborn, tried to stay perfectly still. The creaking board his back foot rested on had already alerted the Basilisk to their presence, but he was afraid another sudden move might cause the great lizard to turn its petrifying gaze upon him and his new friends.

Heeding Elora’s warning, they all looked away from the creature when it turned its eyes toward them. This left them at a severe disadvantage when the beast began its charge. Vorjhon, hearing the reptile’s heavy feet squelch in the muddy path ran forward to intercept it, hoping to buy his friends time to ready their powerful ranged attacks.

Vorjhon peeked above his shield to make sure his warhammer blow would ring true upon the basilisks head. His scaled feet thudded on the old boardwalk, but in his selflessness he’d forgotten Elora’s warning to not look the creature in the eyes. As he sized up his mark to swing his hefty hammer, his dragon eyes locked with the stoney gaze of the basilisk.

The rest of the party watched in horror as Vorjhon charged the creature. They looked on helplessly as he raised his warhammer above his head, and was subsequently turned to stone before their eyes. He was frozen in mid attack, lunging forward, Warhammer aloft, arm in mid-swing. The basilisk turned Vorjhon into a lifeless statue of a warrior in combat that even the most experienced sculptor would be challenged to create.

Elora was the first to realize that the stone dragonborn was blocking them from the basilisk’s view. She raised her long bow and sunk an arrow deep into its ribcage. Salys raised her hands and sent a barrage of swirling green magic missiles across it’s flank where they slammed into the giant lizard, exploding the scales off it’s hide. Drusilla called down a sacred blast of flame that did further damage to the creature.

The basilisk, screeching in pain, scrambled around the petrified Vorjhon and caught Elora’s gaze. She turned her head away as quickly as she could, but could feel her hands and arms going numb. The feeling spread across her shoulders, but she held her eyes tight, and concentrated on fighting through the effects of the basilisk’s gaze. When the pins and needles feeling began to return to her arms and hands she realized she had shaken off the petrifying gaze in the nick of time.

With mobility in her extremities restored, Elora took aim with her longbow once again and sunk another arrow deep into the lizard’s side. Salys and Elora repeated their spells and the combined attacks of the three women were enough to slay the basilisk.

Elora and Drusilla walked up to the stone statue of Vorjhon where Elora wondered if there was a way to cure him, and Drusilla thought about the possibility of selling him as a statue to a town square or park, if they could move him. “He didn’t even have the decency to die in a way I could make him into a pair of boots,” Drusilla lamented with her gallows humor.

“Uh, guys,” Salys interrupted them. “I think you need to run.”

They looked and saw Salys on her knees, clutching her hands around her shoulders. Green light seemed to be pouring out of her eyes and swirling around her. Her red hair whipped around her as though she was on the edge of a hurricane.

“What’s going on?” Elora shouted, not sure if Salys could hear her through the turbulent magical field she was surrounded by.

“It’s a magic surge” Salys said, “A side effect from not being able to tame my powers. I was warned about it but this is the first time – I don’t know what’s going to happen. You need to hide – now!”

Elora and Drusila took cover behind the statue of Vorjhon just as the green sphere of energy circling Salys exploded out so violently it shook the stone dragonborn and showered him in cascading green light.

As the green light of wild magic began to fade, so did the gray color of hard stone, slowly revealing the silver scales, silver armor, and black shield of a living, but unconscious Vorjhon.

Drusilla and Elora scampered out of the way as he collapsed forward. Drusilla touched him gently on the shoulder, bringing him back to consciousness. Vorjhon blinked at them. He sat up confused trying to figure out how one second he was charging a basilisk, and the next second he was on his back with the companions staring at him with the same basilisk right next to him, very much deceased.

With Vorjhon exhausted from his ordeal, they decided to make camp for the night. Elora got to work building an elaborate blind to hopefully shield them from the eyes of any wandering nocturnal predators.

Drusilla noticed that this portion of the bog grew cranberries. While the others set up camp, she harvested the berries to make a cranberry sauce to compliment their otherwise bland rations.

Later that evening, everyone slept except Drusila, who spent her watch reducing the cranberries over a low fire, adding a little honey to tame the bitterness. As she stirred the sauce slowly with a ladle, she heard a rustling outside the blind. She looked up from her pot to notice a lone half frog / half human poke its head through the blind. After a brief moment of startled staring at each other, the bullywug lunged at Drusilla. Drusilla, kicked the pot of molten cranberries at the creature, causing it to wail in pain, then swung her ladle hard at her attacker’s head.

The commotion ended as quickly as it began. The rest of The Brunch Club woke up just in time to see Drusilla standing over the battered corpse of a bullywug. She held the dented ladle in her hand. It dripped with a disturbing mixture of blood and cranberry sauce.

They dumped the bullywug body into the marsh and all kept watch until they were satisfied that their attacker was alone. The rest of the evening passed by quietly.

The next morning they continued their journey without the aid of the boardwalk, which had now completely succumbed to the rot of the wet bog. Not only had the boardwalk disappeared, so did any semblance of a path. They were travelling through a swamp now, sometimes sinking up to their knees in the mud. It was impassable for Salys and she was forced to ride on Vorjhon’s shoulders. Without a path of any kind to follow, they relied on Elora to guide them with the aid of the map and compass she had bought in Wyhill.

They travelled slowly for several hours. Even though sunset was still a couple hours away they decided it was best to start scouting for a dry patch of land to make camp as suitable sites would be harder to find in the twilight.

As they searched through the swamp for dryer land, Drusilla motioned for them to stop. “Do you hear that?” She asked.

They stood silently and listened. Soon they all heard a noise getting closer. It was a combination of skittering and clacking. It was too late when they finally saw the source of the noise: a twisting, writhing group of six or eight large, snake-sized centipedes rushing upon them through the cover of the swamp reeds and tall grass. One of them immediately bit Elora. She felt something poisonous creep through her veins and tried to shrug it off like she did the basilisk’s gaze, but was not successful this time. The poison had parylized her. She fell to the side and started sinking into the swamp.

With one hand Vorjhon struck one of the large bugs, crushing its head with clacking mandibles under the weight of his warhammer. With the other hand he grabbed Elora’s collar and yanked her head out of the swamp water.

Salys hopped down from Vorjhon’s shoulders to get a better stance, and fired a barrage of her signature magic missiles at the centipedes, killing a couple, and wounding a couple more.

Drusilla stabbed one with her shortsword, wounding it before it could get to her.

The centipedes swarmed on Vorjhon but could not bite through his splint mail armor. He was forced to drop Elora back into the swamp as he swiped at the bugs and struck at the ones near him.

The party quickly killed the rest of the centipedes, but it didn’t feel quick to them as they knew with every passing second the paralized Elora was under water she was getting closer to drowning. Vorjhon pulled her out of the water and held her up. She wasn’t breathing. He placed his hand upon her and cast his healing touch spell. Breath returned to her lungs. However she was still paralzyed. Not knowing what else to do, Vorjhon cast a restoration spell he had never used before. It wasn’t very powerful, but he hoped it would cure her of her paralysis.

“What the fuck,” Elora said, reacting as though she had just been bit by one of the centipedes.

They all breathed a sigh of relief and agreed finding a relatively safe place to camp for the night would be better done sooner than later.

From atop Vorjhon’s shoulders Salys scouted for dry land, helping Elora guide them to a suitable resting place for the night. They found a patch of swamp where the mud seemed to get shallower and followed it for a bit until it let them to a small but dry hillock where they could bed down with a clear view of anything approaching from any side.

They made camp and went to sleep, with Drusilla taking the first watch as the darkness of the Bitch Bog once again surrounded them.

This story will continue next week in Episode 7.

Episode 6 was written by Dominic White with help from Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 005 “The Bitch Bog”

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Welcome to Episode 5 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

The Brunch Club made good use of their time in the Sturgeon jail to get some rest and heal from the injuries they suffered in the potion bandits’ ambush. Grath showed up and secured their release. On the way back to Wyhill they battled a vicious Hyena, and caught up to the bandit that had escaped the town guard. Back in Wyhil they got paid. Grath learned Elora was at “full health”. And on their first evening in the Bitch Bog, they were greeted with an ominous, taunting voice swirling around them in a dark mist.

And now, Episode 5: “The Bitch Bog”

As the deep, chilling voice faded from the night, The Brunch Club eyed each other nervously. Elora moved first and got to work rekindling the fire that had been extinguished by the mist.

“It sounds like we’ve got some things to discuss.” she said, matter of factly once the fire was burning again. “Let’s appease this creepy ass voice and talk some shit out.”

Salys’s voice cracked a little as she spoke up. “I just want to start by saying my dad was not a good man. I know that you really aren’t supposed to trade your dad away for magic, but it seemed like the lesser of two evils at the time. There was this horrible creature with dozens of eyes and hundreds of teeth tormenting Root Run! We all thought we were doomed until that thing came to me in my dad’s house and offered a deal. I’d give him my dad and in return the creature would give me crazy magical power and leave Root Run alone. After all the things my dad put me through growing up I agreed to the creatures terms with less hesitation than I’d like to admit, but it was three birds with one stone.”

Salys tore her gaze away from the fire and hazarded a glance at her compatriots’ faces. Vorjhon’s scaly brow was furrowed, but Drusilla spoke up and assured Salys that no one was judging her.
After a few tense moments Vorjhon broke the silence. “You all know my story. I shared with you when we met first. I think voice shooting in dark, trying to make us suspicious of each other. I do not think words about me true, so I don’t think words about all you ture either. But, I would still like to hear stories.”

Elorra admitted she didn’t have much to share because the voice was right, she didn’t know who she was. She couldn’t remember anything before meeting Salys on the road out of the Sable Forest towards Sturgeon. She decided these people might be the best chance she had so far to figure out how to get her memories back.

A long near-silence fell over the group with only the soft crackle of the sputtering fire in the group’s ears. Drusilla suggested it was time for bed. As she began to sort out her bed roll and find a dry-ish patch of ground in the bog, Vorjhon questioned why the group had yet to hear her story. “There must be more to Raven Queen cleric than gloomy wardrobe and silver hair.”

Drusilla glared at him. “Has anyone ever told you you’d make a beautiful pair of boots?”

The lunar elf’s tone wasn’t serious, but there was an edge to her words that made Vorjhon think she wasn’t entirely kidding. After her annoyance subsided, Drusilla begrudgingly shared a few personal details about how she ended up in the northern frontier lands of Elnon.

She shared with them how her home, the city An’Allara, was once a shining beacon in a lush swamp, but was now literally and figuratively a ghost town. The swamp that was once teaming with life dried up and the populace found themselves riddled with a number of diseases. Over the years the population slowly dwindled until she was the last survivor. The world had already renamed her homeland “The Swamp of Sorrows” but she hadn’t given up on learning what caused the blight, and hopefully finding a way to restore her home. She took a prophecy a sage had given her in her final days and was searching for answers within it. She hoped the vast knowledge within the walls of the Crystal Spire Library in the city of Elnor would shed some light and help guide her.

The party asked Drusilla to share the prophecy with them, but Drusilla was hesitant.

Elora pointed out that if there ever was a good time to put some faith in people, it’d be here and now, trapped in a swamp, surrounded by swirling mists and omnipresent voices that seem to know more about them than they did.

Drusilla relented and pulled a rolled up piece of parchment from one of her bags and undid its black silk ribbon. Her voice was shaky as she spoke.

When black meets silver in a world of white
On paths Untraveled, to shed new light
Seed of sable but cousin of crimson
False life seeks death and by lust is driven
The weak now strong with untapped power
Though power ‘twas gained in the darkest hour
Unexpected, untested, untravelled, unfolds
Horrors of haunting, origins untold
By end, will be cleansed and anew will begin
Power without and strength within.

Drusilla rolled up the scroll, and put it back in her bag. The mist swirled and the cold air in the bog gnawed at their bones, just as the creeping voice gnawed at their minds. Salys mentioned that Drusilla’s reading caused goose bumps to ripple across her skin and scooted herself a little closer to the fire to try to warm up, and to fend off the dark. Once the group finally settled in to try and rest for the night, Elora mentioned how she’d feel a lot safer if they’d huddled together for the night.

“Like a snuggle circle?” asked Salys.

“I guess so. A swamp snuggle circle.” the silly name helped to comfort the wood elf.

Later in the night Elora left the snuggle circle to begin her watch. A little while in she spotted a huge water snake slithering through the muck towards them, but was able to dispatch it quickly and quietly with an arrow through its head. The rest of the night passed without incident and morning soon came upon them.

The chilly air of night was replaced by the chilly air of morning as winter was beginning to set in in these northern lands. The group navigated through the swamp, utilizing what was left of the old boardwalk folks used to use to travel before it became too dangerous to maintain.

Just past mid-day they encountered a small party of strange looking creatures. They were the size of small statured men, but with rounded backs and elongated heads with muddy green skin making them look like some kind of frog men. This small group looked like a scouting party and they hoped they would pass them by without mind, but the frog men proved to be very territorial and it soon became clear they wouldn’t be allowed to pass without a fight.

Salys blasted a few with her signature green magic missiles as one of the frogmen engaged Vorjhon. Drusilla launched a silvery bolt of guiding energy toward the one that had engaged Vorjhon and loudly cursed as the bolt sailed wide over the creature’s head. Vorjhon used the momentary distraction to dispatch his enemy with his warhammer while Elora skewered the rest with a few more well placed arrows.

Click Image To Enlarge
Bullywugs in the Bitch Bog
Artwork by Dominic White

After a short rest, and keeping an eye out for more of the creatures, which Elora identified as Bullywugs, they continued on.

They continued following the boardwalk but noticed it was deteriorating more quickly the further into the bog they went, succumbing to the rot and neglect. Late into the afternoon, Elora signaled urgently for everyone to stop. She seemed alarmed as she pointed ahead towards a somewhat large gray-blue lizard sunning itself on the rotted planks of the boardwalk directly in their path. Elora quietly informed the group that that lizard was, in fact, a Basilisk. A creature that had been many a careless adventurer’s downfall. With just its gaze, the basilisk could turn any one of them to stone. The rest of the party members quickly agreed that it was best to avoid the basilisk by trudging through the swamp around it. The group slowly backed away from the creature. When Vorjhon put his full combined weight of a dragonborn wearing splint mail on one of the rotting boards, it creaked loudly. The blood in their veins ran cold as they saw the peacefully sleeping lizard open its eyes, raise its head, and stare directly towards them.

This story will continue next week in Episode 6.

Episode 5 was written by Brian Messmer with help from Dominic White.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 004 “Full Health”

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Welcome to Episode 4 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

The Brunch Club found a home for the late Farmer Jameson’s cow, researched their options to travel to Elnor by boat, then decided the road was their best bet. They helped put out a fire at one of Master Buckthorne’s warehouses and were hired to break up a potion smuggling ring between Wyhill and Sturgeon. They discovered a tunnel outside Wyhill’s city walls that led them to one of the thieves. In Sturgeon, they went to question the bartender at the Black Lamb and try to possibly get into the basement where they had killed some rats a few days before, but were denied. Sticking with the tunnel idea, they found another underground entrance behind the Black Lamb on the outside of Sturgeon’s city walls. They followed the tunnel down, set an ambush for the smugglers, but were unsuccessful in luring them into the tunnel. They narrowly escaped being blown up, and decided to lay low out of town until night fell when they would try to break into the Black Lamb. However they were attacked by a large number of the smugglers as they were headed to the town gate and a bloody battle commenced. To their fortune, the town guard arrived just in time to make it a fair fight. To their misfortune, they were arrested along side the last surviving smuggler.

And now, Episode 4: “Full Health”

Sturgeon’s jail was not the most comfortable of accommodations, but it was safe. Drusila, Elora, Salys and Vorjhon took advantage of their few days in the dimly lit cell to rest and heal from their encounter with the Smugglers.

On the morning of their 4th day in Sturgeon, Captain Grath woke them up with a cheerful greeting, “It’s a good thing we didn’t ask you to be discreet!”

One of the town guards unlocked their cell, returned their weapons, and led them out of the jail. Grath told them that after their arrest, the town guard sent a messenger to Wyhil to confirm the Brunch Club’s story. Master Buckthorne sent Grath to Sturgeon to interrogate the lone survivor and search the Black Lamb’s basement for any sign of the potions, which they did find, as well as the tunnel. After confirmation of the evidence they had found, it was easy enough to secure their release.

They asked Captain Grath if they could have brunch before they left for Wyhill, but he insisted they were in a hurry. The Brunch Club stopped at Nich Lobach’s to pick up Vorjhon’s new Splint Mail and retrieve Duke from Mindy. Then they unstabled their horses and began their journey.

In the late morning they stopped for lunch. As they ate and talked, Drusilla heard rustling in the trees above them and from somewhere in the forest to the side of the road. They put down their food, stood up, and drew their weapons, ready for action. Elora noticed blood hawks in the trees around them. Suddenly a giant hyena lunged at them from the underbrush of the forest. Salys attacked with her firebolt, but missed. Elora, Drusila, and Vorjhon, perhaps rusty from their 3 nights in prison, each found it difficult to harm the hyena through its matted fur and thick hide. Fortunately Captain Grath’s sword thrusts struck true as he cut the beast down. The blood hawks swiftly fled through the canopy, perhaps to return later to lunch on the Hyena’s corpse.

They finished their lunch then continued their journey. A little further down the road Elora spotted something far in the distance. She rode ahead to scout, then stopped. She withdrew an arrow from her quiver, took careful aim. As the others caught up to her they noticed she was aiming at a lone figure in the road ahead of them.. Before any of them could stop her, she released the arrow and her target collapsed into a motionless lump in the road.

They drove their horses to the prone figure and dismounted. Grath was surprised and angry, asking Elora why she just murdered a man in cold blood before she even knew if he was a threat or helpless.

Vorjhon rolled the man over and they all recognized him as the smuggler that had run away from the fight in town. The paladin placed his large sliver hand on the man’s chest and brought him back from the brink of death with his healing touch..

The imposing dragonborn then pressed down on the man’s chest hard, causing him to gasp. He put his dragon like face inches from the smuggler’s and said with menace and icy breath chilling the man’s skin, “I have brought you back from death. I can send you back just as easily. Why don’t you tell our friend who you are and what you have been doing with potions you stole?”

The intimidated smuggler admitted to Captain Grath who he was and that he was a part of the potion smuggling operation. They tied him up and put them across Grath’s horse and completed their journey.

When they got to Wyhill they went with Captain Grath to return the horses. Much to Salys’ dismay they returned Duke as well. Grath told them he had to deliver the prisoner to the authorities, and had some business to attend to on his ship, but would meet them later that evening at The Golden Dwarf Tavern to give them their reward and to join them in celebrating a job well done..

When Grath met up with them at the Golden Dwarf, he gave them the promised additional 1,000 gold and Master Buckthorne’s sincere appreciation. They ordered a round of drinks and began celebrating the demise of the smuggling ring. They also discussed whether they should cut through the Blue Lich Bog to shave a week off their journey to Elnor. Grath and Elora chatted over their ales while Vorjhon, Salys, and Drusilla went to the bar for another round of drinks. They asked the bartender about how dangerous it was to travel through the Bog. She told them that people do it, but mostly larger, heavily guarded caravans and that kind of thing. It’s not too bad along the edges. Herbalists, alchemists, and hunters will go into the bog during daylight to forage for herbs and hunt, but going further in got dangerous. There were the Dew Fronds, man eating plants that grew larger as they feasted on human blood. There were also sightings of a witch. The locals in Baughmoor, on the other side of the bog called her the Bog Hag. There were also rumors that a black Dragon made its den in the bog, but no one the barkeep knew had actually seen a dragon of any color. Dragon or not, the Blue LIch Bog had earned its nickname.

Whether it was the drink that boosted their courage, or the flush feeling of success that came from breaking up their first criminal gang, that night, the group made the fateful decision to travel through the Bitch Bog.

While Salys, Drusila and Vorjhon were at the bar, Elora and Captain Grath left the tavern together in favor of the privacy of his ship. In the Captain’s Cabin below the quarter deck, they sat at a small table as he poured a Elora a drink and asked how she was doing. Not knowing what else to say, she blurted out, “Oh, I’m at full health.” Seeing the amused look on his face, and feeling awkward, she glanced around the room and saw the small tub in the corner. She then said boldly, “I could use a bath.”

“That can be arranged,” Captain Grath replied.
The next morning on her way from the harbor to their rooms at the tavern, Elora stopped at a dry goods store and purchased a compass and a map through the bog. She reconvened with her friends and was grateful they were too hungover to from ask how her night was. They stocked up on health potions from Angelica Artz and brunch at the Golden Dwarf and began their long walk to Elnor through the foreboding bog.

Their first day in the Lich Bog was uneventful. The boardwalk that led through it was in good condition and they made good time. When night approached they spent some time searching for some solid ground on which to make camp without straying too far from the boardwalk. Having not seen anything mysterious or threatening all day, they decided to light a fire and huddled closely around it to help keep the chill away. They ate and made small talk for a bit but soon drifted into silence listening only to the crackling of the fire.

When the sun was fully set, and the sky fully black, the air seemed to get indescribably quiet. A cool mist appeared and swirled around them. Even though it wasn’t a strong breeze, the fire died and they were engulfed by darkness..

A deep, ominous voice seemed to swirl around them as though it carried on the mist. It taunted them one by one…

Sorcerer, you traded him away like a child trading marbles for sweets. Just like that, you gave him up, no second thought to it. You let them parade you around as a hero, when you’re nothing of the sort. You were weak before, you are weak now. You will always be weak.

Paladin, you hold yourself up so you can look down on everyone else. You say you’re helping those less fortunate, but is it really for them, or is it for you? We both know there’s no such thing as charity, you only help others to reconcile with your personal failures. Pathetic. You should know you can’t run from the past. Unworthy. Forever.

Cleric, you poor little girl, thousands of miles from home, and for what? To find the answer to a senile man’s nonsense spewed onto a scrap of paper in his final moments? What are you hoping to find? Some long lost truth? Some forgotten power? Hah. It’s a distraction. Nothing more. Your home is gone. Your friends, gone. Family, neighbors, lover, all gone. And soon you will be too.

Ranger, who are you? Do you even know? Or should I say, who were you? Look at you, a pretender, a fake. Do your so called friends know they’re just filler for you? How do you know you’re not just like one of the monsters you hunt? When you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.

This story will continue next week in Episode 5.

Episode 4 was written by Dominic White with help from Brian Messmer, who was also the voice of the taunting mist.

Thank you for listening, and please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what happens next!

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 003 “The Potion Thieves”

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Welcome to Episode 3 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, huddled around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 2, after killing the bandits and skinning the giant crocodile, the Brunch Club camped for the night with their new friend Vorjhon, a silver scaled Dragonborn Paladin, who then told them his story. He had left his religious military company to go help a farmer named Jameson who was being harassed by goblins. When he returned to his captain, he was kicked out and told he would be branded a heretic for failing to obey the commands of those who spoke for the Silver Flame. He told Drusila, Elora and Salys that he was on his way back to the farmer’s and invited them to join him in case the goblins came back with assurances Jameson would surely pay them for any help. The goblins did indeed come back and the brunch club and their new ally were successful in killing them. Believing the threat over they arrived in Wyhill to learn about the best way to travel to Elnor. They decided to stay in town and research their options so Vorjhon insisted they go back to check on Farmer Jameson the next day, just to be sure they really did get all the goblins. When they arrived, they found his body crucified like a scarecrow in one of his fields. They agreed they should report the murder to Wyhill’s Captain of the guard, but not before helping themselves to some of Jameson’s gold. They collected Jameson’s cow, Bessie, and brought her back to town with them hoping to find her a good home.

And now…

Chapter 3: “The Potion Thieves”

Drusila the lunar elf, Elora the wood elf, Salys the forest gnome, Vorjhon the dragonborn, and Bessie the cow, walked into Wyhill. They asked the guard stationed at the city gates who the captain of the town guard was and where they might find them. The guard, thinking that this odd group should very well be brought to his superior’s attention, told them exactly where to find Captain Boyan. Not wanting to bring a cow to the Captain of the Town Guard, they first went to the tavern. There they asked the innkeeper if she could use a milk cow or knew of a local farmer that could take Bessie.

The innkeeper said she might be able to use Bessie and if she couldn’t she would find a farm that could. Drusilla said goodbye to Bessie and assured her that she was safe now. They then sought out Master Buckthonre to ask how much it would cost to have one of his merchant ships take them to Elnor. He did not trade in Elnor, so his ships did not go there. He also commented, “It’s strange that a Paladin and Cleric would want to go to Elnor. It’s run by powerful Wizards who have outlawed the use of Divine Magic.”

Upon hearing this news, Vorjhon and Drusilla decided they would still continue to accompany their companions to the Crystal Spire library. Their next stop was the harbor to meet the fisherman, Long John, and see if his boat was really as questionable as the innkeeper implied.

The Sea Hag, “Named after my late wife,” Long John told them, was a very old fishing vessel. It looked like its hull was made more out of patches than the original planking and it bobbed unsteadily, even in the calm water of the harbor.

When asked how long the journey to Elnor would take via Sea Hag, Long John replied, “‘Bout a week, as long as I don’t have to run her aground for repairs since there’s no harbors between here and there. Then it could take two or three.”

Later that night, the brunch club agreed the Sea Hag did not seem like it could make the journey without being delayed for repairs. They decided they would go spend another day in Wyhill to have brunch, get provisions, and decide if they would cut through the bog or not.

Before dawn the next morning, they were awakened by a ringing bell and the frantic shouts of people in the distance. Looking outside they saw one of Master Buckthorne’s warehouses on fire. They rushed to assist. While Elora, Salys, and Drusilla joined the bucket brigade, Vorjhon raced to the largest part of the fire. He got as close as the heat would allow him to and inhaled deeply. He exhaled a cone of cold, icy breath at the base of the fire, extinguishing most of it.

Once they finished dousing the remaining flames, Master Buckthorne thanked them and offered them a job. One of the items he traded in were magical potions. Specifically, potions of intelligence made from a rare blue moss that grew deep in the nearby bog. When consumed, these potions would turn even the most simple man into a temporary genius, for nice sum of gold, that is.

Many of these potions were being stolen from his warehouse and neither he nor the town guard could find the culprits. He offered them a reward to find out who was behind the thefts. After going back to bed and sleeping until brunch time, they went to talk to the local potion master Angelica Artz, who made many of the potions sold by Master Buckthorne.

She told them that the potions would most likely not be going to Elnor, as they had a thriving potion business there already. The most likely place the potions would be going to would be Sturgeon. The thieves would have to have another way of getting the potions out of the Wyhill as the town guard knew about the thefts and had been keeping an eye out for them at the town gates, The group decided that they must be using a tunnel. They walked around the outside of the town walls looking for anything suspicious.

Elora eventually noticed some brush that didn’t look natural. They investigated it and discovered a trap door underneath. They opened it, climbed down a ladder and into a dark narrow tunnel. They followed it, their way lit by three dancing orbs of lights Drusila had conjured around them. A little further in, the tunnel got slightly wider before ending. They found a ladder leading up to another trap door and some crates of potions on the floor. Vorjhon volunteered to go up the ladder first.

He carefully opened the trap door, looked around, but saw no one in the room. He threw the door open so he could scramble up quickly and get in a defensive position, but quickly discovered he was alone in the pantry of a small house. The rest of the party climbed the ladder and quickly searched the house. No one was home. As nonchalantly as they could, they exited the house one at a time hoping they wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. They took note of the house’s location and went to find Master Buckthorne. Master Buckthorne listened to their discovery and asked them to lead one of his most trusted ship captains to the house in question.

Captain Grath joined them and recognized the house as belonging to a local troublemaker named Donnie. They showed Grath the tunnel, and they recovered some of the stolen potions. Master Buckthorne thanked them and paid them 1,000 gold for recovering the potions and identifying one of the thieves.Captain Grath suggested the group might also be useful to track down and put an end to the smuggling operation in Sturgeon. Buckthorne agreed, and promised them another 1,000 gold if they were successful. He loaned them 3 horses, and a rideable Great Dane named Duke, for Salys the gnome. He also gave them each a potion of health, just in case they needed it.

They left Wyhill early the next morning, making good time to Sturgeon since they had horses, and Duke. After arriving and stabling the horses, they went to see the blacksmith, Nich Lobach, who they had befriended upon their first arrival in Sturgeon. Vorjhon, wishing to upgrade his armor, ordered a suit of Splint Mail from Nich. Nich accepted the commission, and the downpayment, and told the Dragonborn it would be ready in 3 days. They asked Mindy if she could watch Duke, and she agreed.

They then set off for the Black Lamb tavern where they remembered the surly bartender had acted suspicious about the items in the basement below the bar. They also remembered the crates in the basement were the same size crates they found under Donnie’s house. Despite Salys’s best efforts to charm the bartender, offering to inspect the basement just in case the rats had come back, he would not let them in. He rudely dismissed them, telling them the bar was not open, and they should leave. Not having any actual proof the potions were down there, they decided to go.

Since the smugglers were using a tunnel to get out of Wyhill, it made sense they were using one to get into Sturgeon. They decided to follow that lead instead. Elora guided them outside the city walls to a spot that she estimated would be close to the Black Lamb on the other side. They searched for a tunnel entrance and eventually found one a few hundred yards from the town hidden by camouflage. It wasn’t a trap door, but a natural, sloping hole in the ground that had been widened with shovels and pickaxes. Not wishing to announce their presence to anyone Drusila did not cast her dancing lights this time. The elves and gnome relied on their night vision to see in the tunnel and they guided Vorjhon through the darkness.

A few hundred yards in, when they felt they should be getting close to the end, they heard the faint ringing of a bell. They realized they set off a trip wire and decided to run as fast as they could out of the tunnel to avoid detection. They exited the tunnel and took shelter behind some bushes about 60’ from the entrance. They waited for a few tense minutes, hands on their weapons, ready to spring into action to defend themselves if needed. As they were beginning to relax they saw the camouflage around the tunnel entrance move ever so slightly, then go still. It moved a bit more, before going still again.

A tough looking man exited the tunnel, and quickly glanced around. He shrugged, and disappeared from view back into the dark hole in the earth. The group stayed put for a few more minutes to make sure the coast was clear, then gathered to make a plan. They would go back into the tunnel, avoid the trip wire now that they knew where it was, and then when they got to the end, would set off the warning bell on purpose, and ambush the smugglers when they came into the tunnel to investigate.

Once at the end of the tunnel, they realized the trip wire was roughly 120’ behind them. Elora tried to set it off from their position with a well aimed arrow, but could not hit it from that distance in the darkness so she volunteered to go set it off by hand and run back as fast as she could. They found a small door at the end of the tunnel only big enough to crawl through. They positioned themselves around it and Elora pulled the wire The bell on the other side of the door. They heard cursing, the heavy stomp of several feet coming down stairs, then the door swung open.

A different man poked his head and shoulders through it and looked to either side. Catching sight of a large silver dragon born waiting for him, he let out a startled gasp and tried to scramble back through the door. Vorjhon grabbed him by the shoulders before he escaped. They pushed and pulled back and forth for a few moments before the smuggler was able to slip out of Vorjhon’s grip and scurry back into the safety of the basement, slamming the door behind him. Because they had no idea how many smugglers were behind the door, and it didn’t look like Vorjhon would fit through it anyway, they decided to exit the tunnel once again and return to their hiding spot near the entrance.

As they approached the entrance of the tunnel, they heard a loud explosive blast from behind them. The earthen walls shook around them and dirt fell from the ceiling in dust and clumps. They ran faster for fear of the tunnel collapsing around them. When they reached the safety of their hiding place, they realized leaving that room proved to be a wise choice.

As they caught their breath and kept watch on the entrance, they saw a man emerge from behind the camoflauge. It wasn’t the same man who had evaded Vorjhon’s grasp, or the first man who had come out of the tunnel. He stood tall, and scanned the area around him. When his gaze fell upon the bushes they hid behind he smiled wickedly. He pulled a piece of flint out of his pocket and used it to light the grenade he was holding in his hand. He reached back and moved his hand forward to lob the explosive at them. As his arm arced forward, the grenade slipped from his grasp and landed a mere two feet in front of him. His eyes widened in horror and he scrambled back into the cave before the device went off.

The smugglers now knew someone was on to them and that one of them was a large silver dragonborn who definitely stood out in a crowd. They decided their only plan right now would be to stay out of sight for the rest of the day and then try to break into the Black Lamb later that night. Vorjhon covered himself in a blanket like a makeshift cloak, which seemed to work better than expected as no one gave them a second look when they walked back into town.

They went to Nich’s and asked if they could lay low in the back of his shop for the evening. He refused, not wanting to get involved. They retrieved Duke from Mindy and headed for the town gate furthest from the smuggler’s tunnel. They would camp in the woods away from the town for a few hours, then attempt to gain access to the tavern’s basement after dark.

As they turned the corner onto the main street towards the gate, they were spotted by a group of eight armed men, three of whom the group recognized as the smugglers, and one of them as the Black Lamb’s bartender. Despite it still being daylight, and in the middle of town, the smugglers opened fire on them with crossbows.

A lucky bolt from the thugs caught Salys in the neck as she crumpled to the ground. Elora was also badly bloodied but managed to drink one of Buckthorne’s health potions to stabilize herself. Vorjhon healed Salys with his divine powers. The gnome sorceress quickly scambled to her feet and blew apart one of the bandits with a barrage of magic missiles. The rest of bandits drew their swords and charged at them. One of the bandits and the bartender flanked Vorjhon and ran him through with their swords. Drusila was able to heal him with a quick prayer to the raven queen before the bandits could finish him off.

Click Image To Enlarge
“One of the bandits and the bartender flanked Vorjhon and ran him through with their swords.”
Artwork by Bethany Powers

They were able to kill a couple more of the bandits, but were still outnumbered and running out of health potions. The town guard arrived and ordered everyone to put their weapons down but the bandits ignored the order and struck down Salys once more. She collapsed and began bleeding out on the street.

One smuggler fled and Ellora was able to shoot him in the leg, but not slow him down enough before he escaped outside the city walls. The guardsmen opened fire and with the help of Drusila and Elora, killed a couple more smugglers. Vorjhon, now one-on-one with the bartender struck him with his warhammer. A divine white light fell from the sky, smiting the bartender where he stood. The lone surviving smuggler finally dropped his weapon. Elora, Drusila, and Vorjhon laid their weapons on the ground. As Vorjhon crouched down, he used the last of his healing energy to stabilize Salys and bring her back from the brink of death.

Our tale will continue next time in Episode 4

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!

Tales of the Brunch Club 002 “The Paladin’s Story”

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Welcome to Episode 2 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast. The ongoing tale of  a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played in Portland, Maine. 

My name is Dominic White and I invite to grab a hot cup of tea, a glass of mead, or the beverage of your choice, and picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, drink in hand, huddled around a table with other patrons, waiting to hear the next chapter in the adventures of..The Brunch Club.

But before we begin, here’s what happened in last week’s episode…

In the previous chapter, Salys, a forest gnome sorceress met Elora, a wood elf ranger on the way to Sturgeon. In the bar they met Drusilla, a lunar elf cleric. They learned that they were all headed to the Crystal Spire Library in the city of Elnor for answers to different questions in their lives and decided to travel together for safety on the long journey. The weather was too bad to travel so they stayed in town. They went to another tavern, the Black Lamb, where they struck a deal with a surly bartender. In exchange for clearing out a rat problem in the basement, he’d give them free drinks for the afternoon, during which, Drusilla introduced them to the concept of brunch. 

The next day they set forth to Wyhill, but as evening approached they were attacked by bandits. They fought them to a standstill until a hungry, giant crocodile looking for an easy meal charged at them from the river next to the road. The bandit’s leader fled. A silver scaled dragonborn leapt from the woods and attacked the crocodile distracting it from Drusila, Salys and Elora. They quickly finished off the rest of the bandits and the crocodile right before it made a meal of their new ally.

And now, Chapter 2: “The Paladin’s Story”

Elora kicked the last bandit corpse into the river. She, Drusila and Salys considered sharing the loot with the dragonborn, but then decided against it. After all, he hadn’t actually killed any bandits. They agreed he could keep whatever loot the crocodile had on it and split the bandits’ coin evenly between the three of them.

Salys suggested they at least go over and check on him and thank him for his help.  As they approached, the dragonborn rose to his feet. He stood a full 7” higher than Elora, who was the tallest of the brunch club by far at five-foot-nine.

He gave them a cheerful “Hello,” as he slung his shield across his back and put the warhammer on his belt. His words were thick with a guttural accent, not common these parts.

He introduced himself as Vorjhon. He had been a little ahead of them, also on his way to Wyhill, when he heard the scuffle break out and decided to investigate. Not wanting to jump in without knowing which side he should aide, he crouched in the woods and watched. Just as he made the decision to help the three of them, the crocodile came out of the river, thinking him an easy snack. He thanked Elora for saving him, and handed her arrow back to her after yanking it from the beast’s head.

Noticing Salys had a wounded shoulder, he offered to heal it for her. She agreed, and he placed one of his large, silver scaled hands on her wound, causing it to heal instantly. 

Guessing Elora was a ranger, he asked if she could help him skin the giant crocodile on the off chance they could sell the hide when they reached Wyhill. If they did sell it, he said it was only fair that all four of them split the sale price.

The sun had almost fully set by the time they finished skinning the enormous crocodile so they decided to make camp some distance upwind from the fresh kill as to avoid any nocturnal scavengers. As they sat around the fire eating dinner, Vorjhon told them his story.

He was born into a religious family in Drazean, the kingdom across the river to the west. His parents were zealots of the Silver Flame, so at the age of 8 he was sent to an abbey where children of the faithful were raised and trained to serve the Silver Flame in whatever way the High Priest deemed fit. As he grew older it was quickly evident by his size and strength that he would make a good warrior. He was placed into martial training and became a Paladin of the Silver Flame. He traveled with a company of paladins and clerics to hunt down all manner of evil creatures – demons, fiends, undead, and other unholy monsters. 

Vorjhon followed his orders as he was trained to do, but couldn’t help notice as they were marching into battle with hellish creatures, they were passing by regular people who also needed help. When he asked his captain why they couldn’t help these people, he said it wasn’t his job and was reminded that questioning the orders of the High Priest was like questioning the Silver Flame itself and could be considered heresy.

On a recent day, not too long ago, they were just outside Wyhill when they passed by a series of wheat fields. An old farmer approached them and begged them for their help. He was being tormented by goblins who were stealing his crops, killing his chickens, and for some strange reason abusing his cow. The farmer insisted he could pay them well, but his pleas failed to arouse any compassion the cold captain might have. That night, Vorjhon snuck away from his company to offer his own assistance to the farmer.

Upon arriving he surprised a few goblins creeping up on the farmer’s door, and they fled into the woods when they saw him.

He and the farmer kept watch for the rest of the evening in case the goblins came back. During their watch Vorjhon learned the farmer’s name was Jameson, and he had been an adventurer in his younger days and had eventually earned enough money to retire and buy this farm. Vorjhon told him of his internal struggle between his duty to the Silver Flame and the desire he felt to help those in need. Farmer Jameson retrieved for Vorjhon a souvenir from his own adventuring days – a  holy symbol of the benevolent dragon god, Bahamut. He suggested Vorjhon pray to Bahamut and try and learn more about his ways, as Bahamut very much supported the helping of those in need that could not help themselves.

Vorjhon stayed with the farmer for a couple more nights, sleeping during the day, and guarding against the goblins at night. When the goblins did not return, he decided he should rejoin his company. Jameson thanked him and invited him to come back for a visit any time.

When Vorjhon caught up with his company, he was immediately kicked out for failing to follow orders and was told that word of his insubordination had been sent to the high priest and that he would surely be branded a heretic.
With nowhere else to go, he decided to return to farmer Jameson’s, which is where he was on his way to when he ran into his three new companions, some bandits, and a crocodile. He suggested they join him, and if the farmer was still having goblin trouble, he would most likely pay all of them for their help. The rest of the party agreed and they set forth to farmer Jamieson’s house the next morning.

When they arrived at the farm, Jameson looked tired and frightened, though his expression quickly turned to one of relief once he saw the familiar silver scaled paladin at his door.. When asked what was wrong, he told them that goblins tormented him all night. They moved scarecrows in front of his windows. Made howling noises, and whipped and tortured his dairy cow, Bessie.

They went to check on her. Her hide was bleeding with welts and tears. Drusilla cast a spell that allowed her to talk to animals. She asked Bessie if she was okay. In a surprisingly gruff voice Bessie responded.

“If I see another one of those big eared bastards, farmer Jameson won’t hear the end of it!.”

Drusilla cast a healing spell on Bessie to patch up her cuts before asking what happened.

“Ugly short men with big ears attacked me. Whipped me with barbed wire and yelled at me and yelled at the house, like they were trying to scare us off.”

Drusilla asked how many ugly short men with big ears there were.

“I don’t know. I can’t count. More than the group of you though. Not many more, but more.”

Ellora helped make some blinds out of hay and grass around the front of the house where they then lay in wait. The group hid their presence as best they could in hopes of ambushing the goblins if they returned that evening. They took turns keeping watch. Well after dark, Elora noticed shapes approaching the farmstead. When the goblins got close enough to see in the dark, the three women with their elven and gnomish night vision, unleashed their spells and arrows. Some of the goblins returned fire with their own arrows, and others charged at them. Unfortunately dragonborn don’t have night vision and Vorjhon was attacked by the largest of the goblins. Fighting blind, he could not land any effective blows but managed to stay alive by deflecting most of his enemy’s attacks with his shield.

Elora saw Vorjhon engaged with what appeared to be the most ferocious goblin and attempted to shoot it, but her fingers slipped off the bowstring and the arrow buried itself in the back of Vorjhon’s shoulder.

Drusilla summoned three floating orbs of light to illuminate the area, and sent one out toward Vorjhon. She saw Elora’s arrow strike Vorjhon in the back and that his armor was stained with blood. She cast a healing spell hoping that would keep the paladin in the fight.

Now able to see, and bolstered by the Raven Queens healing, Vorjhon turned the tables on the goblin boss, eventually feeling the goblin’s skull crumple beneath a blow from his warhammer, all while Salys, Drusila, and Elora finished off the rest.

Vorjhon thanked Drusilla for healing him after one of the goblins shot him in the back. Elora and Drusila glanced at each other, but neither told Vorjhon where the arrow really came from.

They looted the goblin corpses for some gold, but found nothing else useful, or any clues as to why they had been harassing farmer Jameson instead of just killing him.

The next morning, after a long rest, Jameson thanked them with all his heart, especially Vojhon and gave them each several gold pieces for their service.

Feeling pretty good about themselves for doing a good deed, and getting paid for it, they headed toward Wyhill and found a tavern where they could rent some rooms. While at the tavern they talked to the innkeeper while she was tending bar. Tipping her generously, they asked about how one could travel from Wyhill to Elnor.

“Three weeks by road,” she answered.  “You could cut a week off that by going straight through the Blue Litch Bog, instead of around it, but I wouldn’t recommend that. Lots of dangerous creatures live there, and they say a witch called the Bog Hag lives in it somewhere to the east. Sure some caravans do take that road to save time, but they’re heavily armed. They don’t call it the Bitch Bog for nothing.”

“Your other option would be by boat. Master Buckthorne has some merchant ships, but it would cost you a pretty copper since he doesn’t trade in Elnor. There’s also a local fisherman named Long John who will take people to Elnor, but truthfully he’s a little eccentric and his boats aren’t what you’d call seaworthy.”

The group decided they should at least try to talk to Master Buckthorne and Long John in the morning about possibly hiring their ships to get to Elnor before turning in for the night.

The next morning after breakfast Vorjhon insisted that they go back to Farmer Jameson’s just to check in on him and make sure they really did get rid of all the goblins. When they got there, the front door was wide open. There was a small pile of gold counted out in stacks on the table, but no sign of Jameson. They searched the house but didn’t find him. They walked around to the back to check on Bessie. She was there and seemingly uninjured. Drusilla spoke to her but she didn’t know where the farmer was. They walked back around the house and scanned the surrounding fields for any signs of the farmer. Vorjhon noticed a scarecrow that wasn’t there the day before in the far end of one of the fields. They approached it cautiously. As they got closer, Drusilla was the first to notice the blood dripping from this “scarecrow”. Vorjhon cautiously investigated before letting out a pained sight. This was the body of Farmer Jameson, crucified and tied up like one of his own scarecrows.  Vorjhon silently cut him down and began to dig a grave, his face locked in a scowl. The others helped solemnly. Once buried, Vorjhon knelt next to the fresh grave and said a prayer for his dead friend.

They went back to the house to look for clues but could find none. Vorjhon suggested they should report his murder to the Captain of the Guard at Wyhill. They others agreed, but also insisted that they should keep the gold for themselves. Vorjhon reluctantly agreed, knowing farmer Jameson had no family, and that they could possibly use the gold to help others. He did insist they take Bessie back to town and try and find her a good home rather than leave her to starve or be left to the mercy of the goblins.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 3.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!