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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:
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
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!