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Welcome to Episode 42 of the Rescued by Dragons fantasy fiction podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club:
My name is Brian Messmer and I am not only your storyteller but the dungeon master behind the homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign this adventure is based on. Please join me as I tell the tale of how my players, and the dice, ruined and improved my perfectly laid plans.
But first, a quick recap…
After seeing the army of gnolls determined to “burn it to the ground”, the brunch club began discussing how to best defend the city of Wheaton. Saberhagan sent a message to Solania and Kalavar, unsure of whether it would arrive on time or be responded to.
Looking for inspiration, Salys headed to the library, where she got the runaround from the librarians. One rambled about the logistics of incantations, and Salys continued onward to find Devon, who agreed to send her message of warning to the council and mage college.
Back in Wheaton, the party convinced the Mayor to plan to evacuate the citizens of Wheaton, and to encourage able-bodied men to help prepare the town. With some persuasion, the mayor agreed to let the brunch club attempt to commandeer cannons from the pirates with the help of captain T’hard.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the pirates did not concede to the idea of their cannons being taken for the good of Wheaton. Ilia, mincing no words told Tahard to fuck off.
A battle ensued, with Jory trying and failing to jump onto the pirate ship, and nearly drowning. The pirates tried to flee, and in a split-second decision Salys decided to teleport to the ship with Jory in tow, who willingly agreed to be transported.
Portaling onto the pirate ship, they saw Drusilla’s spiritual weapons pluck Ilia’s eyes from her sockets she crumpled to the deck of the ship, dead. The battle between Salys, Jory, and the pirates quickly accelerated.
Back ashore, the remaining members of the Brunch Club convinced Tahard to commandeer a nearby ship, and sailed after the Rod’s Curse.
Chapter 42 “Jory the Willing”
Jory and Salys stood back to back on the deck of the Rod’s Curse, each panting with exhaustion. Wind howled around them, spraying the cold ocean mist into their eyes. The sails of the Rod’s Curse slowly burned, the smoke swirling into the wind
Salys was badly hurt. Blood coated her leathers, and one hand gripped the wound at her side, caused by the cannon blast she had intercepted. She stood defiant, her narrowed eyes locked on the three pirates that stood before her, readying themselves to attack.
Not a moment later, they sprung into action. The closest of the pirates lunged at Says, jabbing at her with his glave. A second burst forward, using both hands to swing his sword at Salys’ head.. Salys ducked, the glave colliding with the mast behind her and sending a barrage of splinters exploding into the air.
Salys’ eyes glowed green as she glared at the pirate standing in front of her. He yanked his glave from its lodging in the mast. Salys screamed as a cascade green wall of magic energy shot from her fingertips, a magic missile slamming into the pirate’s chest. He recoiled, barely able to regain his balance.
From the stolen ship below, the remaining party members could hear the calamity, but were unable to see what was happening aboard the pirate’s ship. Drusilla gasped as she saw a glow of green emanating from the deck, surely generated by Salys. A man’s scream permeated through the howling wind.
“Elora!” Drusilla shouted, turning back toward her companions. “You look like you could use a shot!”
Drusilla reached into her pack, quickly tossing a potion to Elora. For a moment, she stared at the potion, confused. It was clearly not a healing potion, and the liquid inside was divided into layers of brown, silver, and grey that flowed together. After a moment of examination, she realized she was holding a climbing potion.
Quickly, she uncorked the potion and threw back the gritty liquid, grimacing as she swallowed.
“Could have used a chaser,” she said, winking at Drusilla. The elf then sprung into action, scrambling up the mast of the ship with ease. Elora sat herself on top of the mast, balancing as she calmly pulled out her bow. From her new vantage point, she could spot two pirates circling Salys, exchanging blows.
She took a calm, steadying breath, aiming at one of the pirates, and releasing.
On deck, Salys braced herself. The pirate she had just shot with her magic missile had survived the blow. She gulped, unsure of how much more fighting she would be able to withstand. The gnome was bloodied, weak, and quickly exhausting her magical abilities. She braced herself for the counter attack.
The enraged pirate wiped a fistful of blood from his mouth, taking a step toward Saly and drawing his dagger, “I’m going to kill you, ye nasty little -”
These were the pirate’s last words. With an unexpected thud, an arrow lodged itself deep into his skull, rendering him unable to finish what was likely to be a most distasteful insult Salys scrambled backwards, turning to see where the arrow had come from.
“What the…” she whispered. Over 150 feet away, she could make out Elora’s shape, perched atop the mast of a ship. In neighborly fashion, Elora waved to Slays before reaching for a second arrow. From Salys’ point of view, it looked as though Elora was aiming right for her when she released her shot.
Salys stood ridgid, cautious not to move. Moments later, she heard a man’s pained gasp emanate from behind her, and the sound of a man’s lifeless body crashing onto the deck of the ship.
Feet away, Jory began running toward the pirate nearest him, using the mast to pinwheel himself toward the haggard man. Jory used his wayward momentum to haphazardly slap the pirate flat across his cheek, saliva spraying from the pirate’s mouth on impact. He grunted in surprise.
The pirate looked at Jory, his brow furrowed in confusion as if to say, “did you really just bitch slap me in a pirate fight?” Jory took advantage of the pirate’s shock, driving his foot into the pirate’s locked knee. The pirate fell to the deck in agony, temporarily stunned.
“That’s for the time you said my pancakes sucked!” Jory shouted, spitting on the pirate.
The fight aboard the Rod’s Curse wore on, Salys continued casting magic spells against her attackers while Jory levied callous punches against his once captors. Although their efforts failed to kill the pirates, they did serve a critical purpose – distracting them from the deadly onslaught of arrows that picked them off, one-by-one.
Moments later, Salys and Jory stood surrounded by dead pirates. Jory ran to the hatches, quickly securing them in case other pirates lingered below deck.
The stolen ship with Tahard and the remaining members of the brunch club soon caught up to the Rod’s Curse. Climbing aboard the pirate shi, the group quickly spotted Salys and Jory. The pair was covered in blood, and it was unclear whether it belonged to their comrades or foes.
Drusilla, Diesa, and Elora ran across the deck of the ship toward their companions, who cheered at Elora as she approached.
“Incredible shooting!” Jory shouted, kicking one of the dead pirate bodies in the side for effect. He took a swig from his Boda Bag and grinned.
Elora smiled as she approached them, “All it took was a little bit of liquid courage!”
Tahard and his crew began searching the ship for the remaining pirates, eventually declaring that they had found no remaining pirates aboard the Rod’s Curse.
Jory turned to the group, whispering, “We should check below deck. Knowing this ship, there’s bound to be plenty we can loot.” A step ahead of him, Diesa pulled a handful of blood-covered coppers from one of the pirate’s pockets.
Drusilla stood up from over Ilya’s lifeless body. “Ah, there it is,” Drusille exclaimed, holding up a sending stone. The party set to examining the other pirate’s wears.
Minutes later, Elora looked up to notice Jory gazing out to sea, his lips curled into a grin and his eyes glistening.
“Jory, are you alright?” She asked, standing slowly.
Jory sniffled, wiping his nose. “I’m… free.” He said, beaming. The halfling took a swig from his Bota Bag, and tossed it to Elora. Her reactions swift, she caught it and cheered for Jory.
“You guys really did it. You got rid of the pirates,” he continued in disbelief.
“Well, it was circumstantial…” Diesa started as Drusilla nudged her in the ribs. Elora handed the Bota Bag to Salys, who raised it ceremoniously.
“To Jory!” She shouted. “The Willing!”
“To Jory the Willing!” The party echoed, saluting their liberated companion.
It wasn’t long before a sense of urgency set in. The party made haste searching the ship, scanning for whatever gold, potions, and munition they could find aboard the Rod’s Curse.
In the Captain’s Den, Elora and Drusilla swept through Captain Santiago and Iliya’s belongings. The bed was unkempt, several furs strewn across it. Drusilla grabbed one of them, only to set it down with a grimace on her face – they reeked of musk and ale.
Empty bottles were strewn throughout their chambers, and papers were scattered atop Captain Santiago’s desk, but none seemed to glean knowledge of the treasure of Bonlodier. Elora knelt down to peer underneath the bed, spotting a large wooden chest with a lock on it wedged underneath.
With a grunt, Elora dragged the chest out from under the bed. It was an old, ornate chest with brass hinges, stained green from time and salt air. Elora examined the lock.
“Drusilla, could you get Diesa, please?” she asked of her comrade.
Minutes later, the dwarven rogue followed Drusilla into the room. “I was beginning to think we weren’t going to find anything interesting on this damn ship,” Diesa said, shooing Drusilla and Elora away from the wooden chest. Diesa took the lock into her hands.
“Hmm,” she whispered to herself. She ran her fingers slowly around the chest, appreciating its construction. The dwarf smirked as she felt the extra mechanisms built into the back hinges of the chest.
“Nice touch,” she whispered under her breath. Diesa drew an oiled pouch from her pack, unfurling a set of thieves’ tools. She eyed the various picks, making a pointed selection.
Sliding the pick into the lock, she knelt close to the chest, her ear beside the lock as she listened for clicks and felt for moments of tension. In a matter of moments, there was a resounding click as the lock popped open.
Cautiously, Diesa reached around the side of the chest, pressing down on the mechanism she had identified in the back. She lifted the lid, first noting that the chest was indeed wired to shoot a crossbow bolt at any unsuspecting thief.
With caution, she extracted the bolt, examining it closely. It appeared to be dipped in a poisonous liquid, and she excitedly placed it inside her quiver. .
Drusilla and Elora watched over Diesa as she pulled the contents of the chest out one-by-one, examining each with greedy excitement. She uncovered 15 precious gemstones, a potion of Greater Healing, a flask of mysterious oily liquid, as well as a quiver of lethal-looking crossbow bolts.
Tahard knocked on the door, taking the women off-guard. “Excuse me, but if you’re done looting this ship, we should get going. I would encourage you to turn over any ill-begotten possessions.”
The group exchanged awkward glances, and to their surprise, Diesa cleared her throat. “I-I did find something, actually.” She stepped toward Tahard, reaching into her pocket and withdrawing a fine letter opener. She extended it to him, and he took it cautiously.
He looked from the letter opener to Diesa, who eyed him innocently. “The… mayor had a very similar one in his office.” He shook his head, exasperated. “Damn pirates.”
Once back in town, the group quickly offloaded the cannons and weapons from the ship, instructing Tahard’s crew as to where to position the cannons around the town. The guardsman quickly recruited six able-bodied townsfolk, gathering them around one of the cannons.
Tahard stood beside Jory, crossing his arms. “Alright, listen up! Jory here is going to teach you all to shoot a cannon. He may look like just a tiny drunk halfling, but he’s earned his grit on the battlefield. Give him your respect.”
Jory took a swig from his Boda Bag, facing his pupils. He cleared his throat, and an awkward silence permeated the frigid morning air. Diesa gave Jory a nod of encouragement, mouthing “be tough!”.
“This…. Is a cannon.” Jory stammered, gesturing at the cannon. “The key to a cannon, you see, is to use it in such a way that you don’t die.” Jory was slurring, but the townspeople nodded at his instruction, attentive. Diesa rolled her eyes.
After several hours of explaining, gesturing, and poorly fielding clarifying questions, the townspeople seemed to eventually have a… loose grasp of the concept.
The remaining party members stood with Tahard in the town square, discussing their plans with the guard. They agreed to use Drusilla’s unique plant growth skills to create difficult terrain around the East and West entrances to the village. Quickly, she set to creating an overgrowth of dune grass to either side of the village, sure to slow anyone trying to pass through.
She turned around, surprised to see a group of villagers standing behind her, looking dismayed.They carried packs over their shoulders, about to head that direction from town.
“Oh, um, you might want to go around that way,” she shrugged, laughing nervously.
“Thanks a lot,” one of them muttered, shaking their head at the overgrowth now blocking their path to Elnor.
Wheaton bustled with activity for the remainder of the day. Women, children, and the elderly could be seen evacuating the town, while those who stayed behind took command from Tahard and the Brunch Club. Some villagers were stubborn, observing that they had survived the last gnoll attack, and had no intentions of fleeing a second.
The day was spent planning, scouting, and arguing over options for battle, debating each detail of their plan exhaustively. By nightfall, there was no choice but to eat, rest, and prepare for battle against the gnolls and their Flind leader.
The group headed for the Redfin Fishery, and were relieved to find the restaurant still operating for the evening. “We’ve got a fresh goose,” the owner notified them, and the group agreed it would make a fine, potentially last, meal.
They ate somberly, each member of the group lost in thought. Suddenly, Drusilla stopped chewing. From the corner of her eye, she spotted a flash of white passing by the window of the Redfin Fishery.
“My God, I think it’s the goose.” She pushed her plate back, suddenly self-conscious of their meal choice.
Scrambling, Drusilla stood up from her chair and made her way out of the restaurant, determined to chase down the chaotic bird.
“Goose!” She called after it, racing into the street.
Back in the restaurant, Salys stood. “I’ll get Saberhagan,” She said, darting from the building.
Out on the street, Drusilla reached the goose, exclaiming after it. “Please, stop!”
The goose stopped, looking back at Drusilla and lifting his beak into the air. He honked several times, loudly, as if to laugh at the elf.
“What are you playing at?” She asked, exasperated.
Across town, Salys reached Saberhagan’s, sweating and out of breath. She burst into the sunspot.
“Saberhagan!” She yelled. “The goose… it’s going to sound weird, but it’s here. We just saw him. Just now. Can you… can you help us? You have to see this!”
Saberhagan was only briefly startled by Salys’ abrupt entry, as he was mid-licking his paw. He looked at Salys, “Well, I am very curious about this goose. Let’s go.”
Outside of the Redfin Fishery, Drusilla continued her attempts to level with the Goose. She sighed in relief as Saberhagan approached. The feline sat for a moment, evaluating the goose.
“This is… odd. This goose is definitely magical, but.. I can’t get a level on it.”
“Do you think he’s a threat?” Salys asked, eyeing the goose.
“I think it’s just… a very odd, magical goose. It doesn’t seem to be harmful.” He stood, slowly approaching the goose, which stood with its head tilted, eyeing Saberhagen.
“Erm, hello there Goose. My name is Saberhagan. I am a wizard, an awakened cat. I don’t know if we have some bonding there,” his tail twitched. “I would appreciate it if you could, erm, cease harassing my friends. They are also quite powerful.”
The goose looked at him, silent for a few moments. “HONK.” It responded. Saberhagan sighed.
Jory slipped a hand into his pack, withdrawing a chunk of stale bread and setting it in front of the goose.
“So uh goose… if you want to have some fun, you should join us tomorrow. There’s going to be a lot of gnolls here, and you could really mess with them. They might try to hit you and kill you and they won’t be able to and you will have a great time.”
The goose wiggled its hind feathers, tilting his head to the other side. Reaching into his pack, Jory retrieved a new spatula, handing it to the goose. He took it in his beak, holding it momentarily before thrashing his long neck and tossing the spatula into the distance.
The goose approached each of the party members, eyeing them one-by-one. He released a dismissive honk and, without further adieu, continued on his way.
Unsettled, the group returned to the Redfin FIshery to finish their dinner, passing uneventfully until Diesa went to wipe her hands, noticing a fine handkerchief in her pocket. The handkerchief had golden thread sewn around it, and an unrecognizable name sewn into it.
“Do you guys… recognize this?” She asked, looking at the group. Elora exclaimed.
“My handkerchief!” She reached for it, snatching it from Diesa’s hands.
“I swear… I didn’t take it. I mean… I like it, but I didn’t even know you owned this thing.”
Elora shrugged. “It isn’t worth anything, I wouldn’t peg you as one to take something without value… But, I think there may be some fuckery afoot.”.
In the distance, they heard a honk.
As the sun rose the next morning, so did the brunch club. Jory and Diesa made haste to meet the village blacksmith, who had stayed up through the night to make grapeshot to help protect the city. They graciously collected grapeshot to arm the cannons.
From there, they went to the Sun Spot, hoping the new day would give them a fresh opportunity to scry on the Fang. Saberhagan made an attempt, but failed to see anything of value.
He sighed, reporting his fruitless scry to the Brunch Club.
“I guess we just assume the worst,” Salys said, setting out to man their posts.
Outside, a light snow was falling, and a strong wind blew through the village.
“Great,” Diesa muttered, scowling into the wind. Jory and Diesa stationed themselves at the cannons, while the others positioned themselves on the rooftops.
Hours passed with no sign of the gnolls. It was bitter cold, and they shivered as each scanned the horizon, keeping watch for the approaching gnolls. By midday, there was no sign of the gnolls. The wind began to die down.
Minutes felt like hours, and it was eerily quiet. Eventually, the sun dipped beneath the horizon and night fell.
“So… do we set up watches?” Diesa asked, confused. The party and the town guard began taking turns sleeping and keeping watch for the gnolls.
The watches passed, but the night was uneventful aside from the bitter chill. Poking a small fire, Salys turned to Elora. “What if this was just a red herring? Maybe… it wasn’t Wheaton they were going to burn to the ground.”
Elora considered this for a moment, shrugging. “I don’t know.”
“Pip, can you go scout?” The owl huffed and took off. About twenty minutes passed before he returned, a mouse in his beak scrambling. He tossed his head back and swallowed it whole.
“Didn’t see anything. Found a mouse though.” He reported.
The next watch passed uneventfully, and soon day had broken once more. There was a permeable silence, and it was clear the townsfolk were becoming more and more unsettled.
Confused, Salys set to visit the Sun Spot, where she found Saberhagan curled atop his favorite bench.
“Quite a rigorous battle we’re having, isn’t it?” He purred. Salys looked at her feet, sheepish.
“Yeah well, I guess it’s a good thing, right?” She responded. “Do you think… you might be able to try scrying on the Flind again?”
Their companion nodded, and set to his newest attempt at scrying on the flind.. Minutes passed before his tail twitched and his ears perked.
“I see the Flind! They… they’re still marching.”
Salys looked at him, quizzical. “Still? They should have easily made it here by now. Do you… do you see anything around them? Or, what direction they’re headed in?”
“I… think they’re heading west.”
“Oh, my God.” Salys exclaimed, “thank you!” she yelled as she sprinted out of the Sun Spot, rushing back to town to meet with her companions.
Breathless, Salys relayed the news that the gnolls were not approaching Wheaton.
“But, what would he want West of here? He’s an elvish Druid that seems to want something to do with Elora… how does this advance his motives?” Asked Drusilla. Elora pulled out a map, unfurling it in front of the group.
With Tahard, they gathered around the map, speaking animatedly about his potential plans.
“It could be a distraction? What if they know we can scry?” Drusilla asked, and the group considered this momentarily.
“What if,” Jory started, “this has absolutely nothing to do with us?”
“What?” the rest of the group asked, incredulous.
“That’s preposterous.” Drusilla responded, and the group continued to debate ways in which the situation must, in fact, have to do with them.
“Guys – there’s something out there.” Tahard pointed out to the distracted group. They turned, looking out to the field.
In the distance, an elk stood, motionless and staring at the town. His form began to morph, changing from its woodland form into the tall figure of a man.
“Elora!” He shouted, his voice projecting magically.
“Uh. What?” Elora asked, slowly stepping away from the group and toward the field. Her companions scattered, taking guarded positions to protect their friend. Jory and Diesa ran to the cannons, and Drusilla and Salys climbed to the rooftops for a better vantage point.
Rajat’s booming voice continued, “You’ve been to the other plane, and you hide in this town while the entire Western coast of Elnon will burn. Why are you keeping these secrets?”
“I… what?’ Elora yelled, shocked.
“You’ve been to the Silven plane, and you returned. I felt you come back months ago.”
“I have no memory!” Elora shouted, but Rajat couldn’t hear her.
“You have been willfully ignoring me, I’ve sent messengers and you have been burning and destroying them! Just tell me how to get back.” Rajat scanned the area, evaluating each member of the Brunch Club.
“The gnolls are set on a course, but they can be stopped. All I request is your knowledge. Get me back to the home plane. Find me, or stop the gnolls.
“If you want our help, just ask for it!” Jory shouted.
“Trademeet burns in two weeks!” He shouted, pacing.
Elora hesitated, and then began walking toward Rajat.
Our tale will continue in Episode 43
Episode 42 was written by Dominic White, Bethany Powers, and myself, Brian Messmer.
The audio recording of our DnD game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!
Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:
- Bethany Powers, who plays Diessa
- 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
The recording of our Dungeons and Dragons game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!
If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends and rating and reviewing us on your favorite podcast platform. We’d really appreciate it.
More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support and follow us can be found at RescuedByDragons.com.
Thank you for listening, and please join me next week to see what my players’ choices, and the roll of the dice, have in store.