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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.
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:
- 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!