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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.
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:
- 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!