The body of Marthellas lay in a pool of blood, the stream cascading slowly down the steps leading away from his shattered desk. No one paid it mind, as they turned their attention to the more pressing matter – eight hundred Elves.
“We need to find food and shelter for everyone. Scour the town and see what you can find. There’s got to be enough to help them survive this winter.” Eon was desperate enough to even add a small ‘please’ to the request, though no one heard.
They regrouped an hour later, having acquired supplies for roughly five hundred of the Elves. Tonare and Lei thought this should be enough, but Eon insisted that everyone be accommodated for, which led to slightly more tension than they could handled at the moment. Eon admitted that he had sent scouting parties to look food in the woods, preferring big game so they could use the fur and meat to compensate where supplies were lacking. That’s when Seija raised a curious point.
“They aren’t hunting elk, are they?”
Eon responded with his normal roll of the eyes. “Who cares what they’re hunting? They’re getting whatever they can – oh.” It then dawned on him that in the woods lived a great White Dragon, and he had just sent innocent Elves into the fray. “We need to go rescue them!” To this, Tonare and Lei shook their heads in utter defeat, both thinking that this young, brash Elf will never learn.
They headed into the woods almost immediately and found the first two of the four Elves roaming about, having nothing but herbs, nuts, and a few scarce berries. They sent the two Elves back into Halsey and headed out in search of the other two. They came across them deeper in the woods, tracking bears. Anxious to get the Elves out of harm’s way, Eon sent them back to Halsey and promised to finish their hunt. One Elf refused, wanting to be a hero to his clansmen and took off. The other complied.
As the group tracked the bears, they came across the body of the Elf who had run off, mauled and torn to shreds. Eon cursed and vowed to never let another Elf die as he took off into the brush. Almost immediately he returned and scampered up a tree, three massive bears in pursuit. Tonare and Lei sat by, letting the hot-headed Elf suffer a bit for his arrogance, and he did not help his cause by cursing at either of them. Eventually, Seija convinced them to work together and they soon made short work of the bears.
With three fresh carcasses ready to take back to Halsey, Eon suddenly found himself lacking in help. Tonare and Lei, still angered by his treatment of them, refused to help. Lei actually refused to carry – she was more than happy to start eating the raw bear meat. Vol was able to drag one carcass, and Seija tried desperately to drag another, while Eon drug the third. Lei, taking pity on Seija’s desperation, finally relented and helped carry the bear carcass back to Halsey.
On the way back, Tonare had an interesting curiosity enter his head. “Why were the bears out in the wild at this time of the year? Shouldn’t they have been hibernating?” Everyone agreed, except for Eon who could have cared less what a bear did or did not do, and they vowed to explore the nearby caves to discover a reason for the unnatural order of things.
After making a quick stop at Halsey to drop off the carcasses, the group returned to the woods, and found the bear’s caves. Inside they were set upon by a Drowder and a Goblin Shaman, an advance scouting party for the incoming invasion. Desperate to squelch the flow of information and the weakness of the city in general, the group encaged, resolving to kill everyone to save the city.
The Shaman was the most troubling of the two, his nature magic nullifying the elemental prowess of Tonare to such a degree that the Warden was rendered nearly useless. Only through the timely healing of Seija was Tonare even able to survive the confrontation. The Drowder was easily overcome, unable to match the onslaught of Eon and Lei.
Their foes vanquished, the group searched the cave. They found a tunnel that descended into the heart of the earth, and determined that this must be how the invasion forces are advancing. Or, at the very least, how the Mindflayers were able to infiltrate the city with such ease. Knowing they need to put a stop to the threat immediately, the group ventures down.