The caravan topped the hill and Greenest came into view. Heavy smoke and scattered fires gathered the attention of the drovers and guards, lending an excuse to halt the winding line of carts and wagons. A knot of people at the front of the caravan grew as guards and leaders advanced up the line and tried to make sense of the tableaux laid out in the distance below them. Capering humanoid figures could be seen running to and fro, some with torches and others appearing to be trying to elude pursuers or hide amongst the heavy foliage next to the river. Mute horror was the only response as out of a cloud of smoke a figure of legend flew into view. Electricity crackled from its maw as it ripped what hopefully was only a cow into pieces. Beorth’an, through gritted teeth, mutters “blue dragon, a cursed blue dragon.” Darkness was quickly deepening as Goodman Huhl broke the silence and started to direct the caravan into the trees on either side of the road. Speaking quickly to the assembled guards while yelling down the line of vehicles, Huhl instructed the six new guards to: “Get down there and find out how we can come in without getting fried. Help if ya can, but send word when ye know.”
Agreeing a stealthy approach was the best approach, the temporary caravan guards worked their way along the road leading down into Greenest. Using the low stonewalls and tall hedges that obscured their path, the party was somewhat surprised upon meeting another group coming the other way. A limping man and three children scurried across the road and passed behind some bushes. A moment later a man hefting a cudgel and a women armed with a broken spear and shield come into view. Further down the road six humanoids wearing dark robes began to spread out. Their leader, dressed in a chain shirt, shouted something that caused the cudgel armed man to dash forth and strike at him. Blows rained down in quick succession from the cultists, quickly killing the unknown townsman and affording the women a moment more to back further away while looking over her shoulder towards the space between houses her family ran. In short moments the group of nascent adventurers were embroiled in combat. The women ran after her family as soon as her enemy was engaged, closely followed by a lone cultist. Arrows were loosed and edged weapons drenched in gore before the rest of the vile cultists were put down. Barakus the tiefling, spyed the robed figure chasing the women, and followed in quick pursuit. The tiefling rogue arrived in the nick of time, putting end to the evil that almost transpired with the help of the ranger Erevan and Shadow the bard.
Grateful though the family was for the almost divine intervention (praise Chauntea) that had rescued them, they pushed their saviors to move to the keep as soon as they could. Bundling up Linan (the women rescued) the family headed across the stream towards the keep. While the mage Cloyer was finding nothing of real interest on the bodies of the cultists, Shadow tended to Beroth’an’s grievous leg wound. The armored leader of the cultists had driven his spear into the femur of the paladin’s leg. While magic healed most of the damage, Beorth’an would be slowed until more time could be given for healing.
The party decided to split up. With Beorth’an, Erevan and Barakus heading to the keep to get aid for the paladin’s wound. Meanwhile Shadow would go back to the caravan and warn them to stay put until further notice. Cloyer would wait for her at the crossroads to return. The group heading to the keep were seen by a mixed group of kobolds and cultists, but were able to put them down quickly before any further alarm was given. At the base of the hill, Erevan decided to wait for Shadow and Cloyer while Barakus and Beorth’an continued to the keep.
Arriving at the keep, Beorth’an and Barakus found the guards ushering small groups of townsfolk into the keep while preparing to shut the gates. Beorth’an asked the guard to keep the gates open until the rest of the adventurers could get to the keep and while he was refused the sergeant directed towards the governor of Greenest. Governor Nighthill gives the two a quick briefing on the tactical situation in Greenest: “The raiders have isolated the keep from the town with encircling groups of guards, but they haven’t organized an attack. I don’t believe the raiders intend to attack the keep; they seem interested only in loot. The real danger is to the town and to those people who didn’t make it into the keep before it was cut off.” Nighthill orders the gate to be held open, at Beorth’an’s insistence, unless an assault is forming to take it.
Running through the dark, Shadow quickly covered the distance to the caravan and advised Goodman Huhl of the situation. Garnering Huhl’s good wished and agreement to her advice, Shadow ran back and soon joined up with Cloyer at the crossroads on the edge of town. Making their way across the stream, Shadow tripped and loudly fell just as they spotted Erevan at the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately, Erevan was not the only thing noticed at the time. A mixed group of kobolds and cultists spotted Shadow’s fumble in the dark and took off after them. Picking up Erevan as they ran up the hill, the group was peppered with sling stones before they outdistance the pursuit. In quick order they joined the others in the keep and as lightning crashed in the distance from the lazily circling dragon, the gates and portcullis were closed.
Governor Nighthill introduced the party to the Castellan of the keep. Escobert, a shield dwarf with knotted, tangled, bright red hair. Producing a key he showed the party a narrow tunnel that runs from the cellar beneath the keep to the bank of the stream. The tunnel was wide enough to pass through in single file and was sealed at the stream end by a locked iron grate camouflaged as a sewer grate.
Deciding that a stealthy entry into the town would facilitate the rescue mission, the adventurers passed down the tunnel. Upon exiting the tunnel, Barakus tripped on the grate lip and made a splashing exit right into the view of a large group of cultists and kobolds. In the set-to that followed minor injuries were received by the party, but death was given in swift measure to the raiders, with none being able to break free and spread alarm.
While hunkering down to avoid the blue dragon that slowly circled overhead, the party spotted the sanctuary under assault. Realizing that townspeople would have sought shelter there, the adventurers set out to rescue them. The path they chose took them amongst buildings that shielded their passage somewhat. Cloyer’s attempt to be stealthy failed in that endeavor as he caused a wheelbarrow to slide along a wall and crash into the ground. But it did succeed in finding a family that heard the noise. Thinking they were found by the cultists they instead soon found themselves being ushered to the keep by Barakus.
Arriving at the wall that surrounded the sanctuary the party spied three groups of cultists. A group at the front had just finished putting together a makeshift log ram to no doubt break the front door in. Another group consisting of cultists, a few man sized drakes and a large number of kobolds were parading around the grounds waiting for the sanctuary egg to be cracked for their enjoyment. Around the back of the sanctuary a glow could be seen from a large fire that had been started. Shadows capered to and fro, but actual numbers or who the shadows might be could not be seen from the front. A quick ambuscade and distraction tactic were decided upon and as the large slow moving band of cultists moved around the building the adventurers struck. Arrows from the dark quickly took down the leader of the cultists, a white haired man with a strange black mask. Death rained from the dark and swiftly put end to the rest of the kobolds and cultists at the ram. Not taking time to revel in the success of their tactics, Cloyer ran to the black clad leader and picked up his strange looking scimitar like weapon. Entreaties from Cloyer, echoed in louder fashion by Shadow soon brought those inside to open the doors.
The newly formed group of adventurer’s had its numbers increased by a shield dwarf, Hans Ironstorm. Who, understanding the import of Shadow and Cloyer’s words, quickly helped usher the townspeople led by Eadyan Falconmoon out the door and around the low stone wall. The cleric of Chauntea had to be quieted in his profuse thanks to the adventurers, but the townspeople knew what was at stake and they quickly followed their instructions from the party.
The mingled group, led by Barakus, made its way from the low sanctuary wall towards the dense thickets that lined parts of the stream. Erevan took last position in line and was first to notice the cultists that came out of the rock walls entrance. They were leading two drakes who appeared to be sniffing the air. Erevan turned and swiftly moved forward to alert the other party members. Quickly Erevan put forth that they could not both escape through the grate and keep the existence of the grate secret from the approaching cultists, the only thing to do was to stand and fight.
The battlefield chosen by happenstance in the darkest hour of Greenest’s night was an open field. Bordered on the north by intermittent houses and buildings and on the south by deep thicket bordering the stream that bisected Greenest east to west. As Barakus took the party to the disguised sewer grating a hundred feet down the stream bank, the rest of the adventurer’s prepared themselves. Beorth’an and Hans stood straight in the middle of the field, defiant in their armor and righteous in their cause. Erevan and Shadow skirted the deep thicket beside the stream and began loosing arrows as the motley group of evil approached. Cloyer took up a position at the rear that ensured he could see the townspeople escaping and the rest of the party engaging the enemy. One drake was killed before the cultists and other drake reached Hans and Beorth’an. The other lizard bit deep into Hans’s chainmail, as soon as it closed, causing a deep tearing wound.
As that last drake was put down along with his cultist master, the kobolds scampered into range so their slings could be effective. They let loose a tirade of common/kobold insults and barbed comments that had little effect on the party. Unfortunately their sling stones were very much more effective, and in a flurry of rocks both Beorth’an and Hans were brought low. Seeing this, Cloyer started down the stream bank towards the grating where Barakus was just returning. The wizard’s quick words turned both back towards safety. Meanwhile Erevan backed into the thicket after killing the last cultist with a well-placed shot. Shadow attempted a minor illusion to scare the remaining kobolds, but seeing this come to naught, Shadow melded into the thicket as well. The kobolds, suddenly with no targets, began arguing at each other while milling about. As they started to riffle through the two fallen warriors packs and belongings Erevan killed one from his hiding place. Beorth’an awoke from his fight with death to the sight of a kobold leaning over him going through his pockets. The larcenous kobold fell over him dead with an arrow in its neck. The kobolds went wild at this point and charged the thickets where they were sure Erevan was hidden. Soon Shadow was firing from the thicket further down the stream as well as Barakus, who having returned from the safety of the tunnel mouth, added his arrows as well. While Barakus, Erevan and Shadow dropped more kobolds; Beorth’an rolled over and attended to Han’s unmoving body. Shallow breath rewarded Beorth’an as Hans would not too soon be walking the halls of Moradin.
As the kobolds fled, the adventurers gathered up their wounded and made their way to the keep. Expecting solace it is learned that Governor Nighthill has more to ask…