The Runescar Part 2

From the Journal of Aphose…

1st Entry: A pulsing, breathing mist – alive in its own right – or at least imbued with the appearance of life. It served as our guide forward until parting to reveal the allies of my new companions. They were tied to a large dark obelisk covered in arcane runes, unconscious and unaware. One was missing though, apparently a dragonmarked sorcerer of wind – that did not stop us from fulfilling our duty though. We were able to pull ourselves back before alerting a swarm of kobolds infesting the room. I took a moment to sneak up closer for a better look. Like a silent wind I crept forward and listened to the rantings of their apparent leader. Something about a runescar was muttered, but what drew my attention was the obvious references made to the return of their dragon queen. Fang, Elrick and I quickly articulated our battle plan, using surprise and confusion to our advantage. Elrick dashed in and grabbed their attention with a blast of fire – setting two wooden bridges aflame, hampering the arrival of reinforcements. Fang went up the middle and began ransacking his way through the kobold horde. Meanwhile, I ran for the leader, shocking both him and my allies with the speed and strength of my prowess. In the heat of battle their simply was no time or margin for deception amongst friends, so I unleashed everything I had, sending the one called ‘ashface’ flying off into the distance and ending his life with a second strike. Fang was handling himself with little trouble, but the mage had found himself face to face with a dark figure of a kobold who’s agile movements and swift blades marked him as a far more challenging enemy than any others left remaining alive in the room. Though I was beset by two more minions, I danced my way around them and charged across one of the smoldering bridges to send Elrick’s opponent careening over the edge and into the chasm below. In the breath of just a few seconds, the room was clear and our allies rescued. It was interesting to watch the wild eyed greed that ensued though, as this band of adventurers realized they were standing atop an undefended dragon’s treasure – they picked it clean in less than a blink of an eye, loading up their pockets and purses to the brim. Fang and I were measuring our options for departure, when a wave of darkness swept across the sky, blocking our view up through the enormous hole above. There was no time to react – the party scattered. I yelled at the mage to outline me in the glow of his magical light and ordered them all to run… A rash and foolish plan had formed in my mind in those few seconds, and I ordered them to run yet again – stating that I would find the last of their number and return to them when I could. The human Fane looked uncertain for a moment – I can understand his hesitance to leave a stranger behind, to face a dragon alone, but I shattered his illusion by shifting into the form of Ashface… I could see a momentary spark of horror in his eyes, and then he and his companions began their escape. As for myself, I put on my best draconic smile and settled into what would either be the greatest performance of my life, or the last.

2nd Entry: She played along for a while I think. Though at the time I believed my deception had been complete. As she settled upon the ground and cast her glance about, she erupted in a terrible roar of anger – seeing her prized possessions looted, her chance at redemption shattered, and her minions lost… all but me that is. In a fit of rage, she reached out one gigantic talon and struck me so hard that it nearly threw me over a ledge. I cried out in absolute agony, shaking the very foundation of the cave with the pain in my voice. It took quite some doing, but I was able to plead for my life, begging for her forgiveness – I guess the outcome was the best I could have hoped for… I was dismissed from my charge as the tribal leader and condemned to imprisonment until she could decide what to do with me next – all while in the guise of Ashface. I doubt I would have survived in those few moments were it not for my ability to wear a new face and persona so easily. I would have been the sole focus of her angst – and easy prey to one such as her. The last I saw or heard, she was marshalling her guardians and assembling a force to deal with the invaders. Great riding bats flooded into the room from hidden alcoves above, and were quickly mounted by well-apportioned riders – rising out into the night through the hole above. Several squads of soldiers were also assembled… with a roar of such power as to be almost unimaginable, she ordered them one and all to spare nothing in the destruction of her enemies. For some reason I think perhaps I am the lucky one after all. I fear that Fang, Elrick, and the rest are in terrible danger now… and there is nothing I can do to help them. I have my own problems though. When she did finally turn her attention to me once more, it was the most unfortunate of circumstances. Glaring at me, and studying me closely, she pierced my disguise with ease…. And then something very strange happened. This powerful beast showed fear – true terror at the look of me. I have no idea why, or what prompted such a reaction, but it was quickly replaced by a sly smile. At her command I was taken into the very depths of the tribal compound and thrown into a cage hanging by a thin thread over a chasm below. Next to me, just a few feet away, was the elven sorcerer the others had described to me. At least one of my problems had solved itself, but there were so many more that needed pondering… and action.

3rd Entry: Kal and I have been on the move for three days now… Between the two of us we were able to win our freedom, but at a terrible cost. We are near death and being pursued by still more members of the Greenfang tribe. There has been no time to rest, no time to recover, no time to think. We simply run – and run – and run. Kal and I have developed a special bond – he knows more of me than anyone but Grolanad at this point I think. Something about this elf loosened my tongue and my life’s story dripped free from my lips. Perhaps it was for fear that this would indeed by my last adventure – and my vengeance against my former master would go unfulfilled unless someone, anyone, knew the truth. He shared much of himself with me as well – and I as I said, a bond formed – a bond of brotherhood that arises between two warriors when they are all that is left standing against an army bent on their destruction. We made our way clear of the mountains, and I believe we have successfully eluded our pursuers. Now we must focus on tracing the path of our friends and returning to them with all haste. There is something they need to know about the power of the dragon – I just hope that we are in time.



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