Resistance is Futile
After returning to the cavern with the Talon, Ursay is more than a little suprised! After reassuring her that your capture of the Talon was without witnesses she seems very pleased. “This may buy us some time. Perhaps their leadership will be content to wait for a response from their emperor. They may be expecting some kind of reinforcement. Hopefully it will be to late by the time they realize their message has been intercepted. What is your plan from here child?”
Well, my thinking was to look down at the valley from on high to get a feel for where I might do some good. The opportunity to grab the Talon just sort of happened, so I took it. I’d still like to survey things so I can formulate a plan. Is there somewhere I can get a look at the valley as a whole from above without exposing myself? Should we take the Talon out and get a look that way?
The Talon is small and fast. Ursay seems to have plenty of knowledge about the sky ships and she believes that this ship would be able to outrun most in the invading fleet. Of course, that’s contingent on having a fully trained crew aboard. “I believe there are a few things we need to do. For now, this cavern will make a reasonable hiding place for the people of the Valley. If we can gather survivors here we can create a base to operate from. As we grow in numbers, we can send out parties to explore the mountains for more caves from which to operate raiding parties. I believe the cloud layer will work in our favor here…though…it might take some real convincing to get past the superstitions we have worked so carefully to instill. We will have two other problems to solve in order to create a sustained resistance. First we’ll need to feed everyone. I think we will be able to gather livestock and keep them in the caverns. Raiding parties can be sent out into the valley to gather other food and supplies. I believe we can stockpile plenty in the caves. Sterran and I have already built up a large supply of materials over our years here and there are stores in a few locations around the valley. Secondly, we will need to arm and train these farmers. I will handle the training, but weapons will be more of a challenge.”
“There is a possibility of finding enough equipmnet to arm the people here…it’s a bit of a gamble, but if we find what we are looking for, we will have plenty of weapons.” She pauses for a moment, collecting her thoughts…“700 years ago the world was already a shatterd place. The ruin of our world occurred long before and the old kingdoms were completely lost. The peoples that survived began to carve out new lives. The old relationships between the various races were changed forever. For a time, my people emerged to attempt bring peace to those who remained. They met with much success. Uniting those humans, dwarves and elves who remained and attempting to build a new world out of the smashed remains of the old. Then the dragon men arrived. They came in their flying cities. Without explanation or attempt at diplomacy they began to systematicly destroy the elves. There seemed to be a single minded determination to wipe us from the face of the world. The Dwarves retreated underground, the humans were gathered up as slaves. Those of us who survived, fled. If any of the elves survive they are in hiding and using what power they have to remain hidden. I was separated from my people and would not have survived had it not been for Sterran….The tales of our adventures and escapes are many, perhaps I will tell them all to you some day, but part of the tale of Gen, I will tell you now.”
“In our travels we discovered this valley at the edge of the world. It must have been here that the original devastation struck, as you can see beyond the eastern mountains. The world has been broken apart. The valley is far from the central areas controlled by the Emperor and his forces. We found some people already here beginning to establish themselves. Sterran and I had already begun free many slaves and gathered many hundreds but it became difficult to find food and shelter. The valley was an ideal spot. Sterran and I managed to wrest control of one of their flying fortresses. We used it as a moving refugee camp, but it was becoming more difficult to avoid the dragon armies. We flew to the valley where we left the people. Sterran then crashed the flying mountain into the pass at the southern end of the valley sealing it from the outside. Sterran was already a powerful mage. He created a ritual to generate the cloud layer and a powerful illusion to disguise the valley from any on the outside. We have spent the last 700 years, systematically manipulating the people here to forget their history and to fear the clouds. We had to hide them and prevent them from trying to flee the valley. This created the safe haven we needed, not only to protect these people, but to find a safe place to eventually bring you into the world.”
“The flying fortress contained an armory. There are weapons, armor and even armament for the skyships buried in the mountain. There are many rooms and passages surviving under the rock. It is possible that we could find the armory. There are entrances in the mountains to the south. I have ventured into some of them over the years but never far enough. I don’t know what else might be found there but creatures from the outside may have crept in. And there are always the dead…still I believe you should go.”
So…to do list:
Take talon survey the valley and find rufugees and bring them back to the Cavern.
Seek out hidden supply depots in the mountains and scout locations for additional bases to operate from.
Explore the ruined fortress buried in the southern pass to seek the armories.
Not necessarily in that order.
Seems to me that taking the ship out and finding refugees should be first. With some volunteers, we can more easily coordinate an effort to scout around. That will give everyone a chance to get settled while we find some supplies. Once we have people in place, equipping them makes more sense.
How do we get people from the ground in to the Talon? Does it have rope ladders or something to allow people to get on/off?
The ship can hover close to the ground. Ladders can be lowered over the side…there is also a hatchway off the back of the ship with a gangplank for easily loading and off loading. Some of the larger vessels have hoists and hatches in the bottom for lifting heavy loads on board.
Well, I guess we’ll take a rest, then make plans for finding some refugees to rescue!
Ok…Rest Rest Rest…
Thinking that night time might be better for moving about unseen, you wait until dark to take the talon out. With Gronk at the engineering station, and much happier now that he is free to move about the ship, you get underway without difficulty. The Guradian has been practicing working in the rigging and, between the two of you, you’ve learned a few tricks to keep the ship moving. Ursay was helpful in that department as well. You take the ship up and over the eastern range and down into the cloud bank. There are no ships visible above the clouds tonight. After dropping down just below the clouds you begin a steady patrol of the valley. You can see the lights of the flying city still holding above the northern pastures. There seems to be alot of activity below. Lots of firelight…looks like it could be an encampment for ground troops. You are reminded of some of the old tales of ancient battles you’ve read about in the old Burlap’s books.
As the ship drifts along silently you find your half elven eyes can see quite well in the dim light. Curious about your own adopted family you first head to the family farm. It doesn’t take long to cover the 10 or so miles to the old homestead. You arrive to see the place is apparently deserted. No sign of movement. You can see a few sheep in a far pasture and what appear to be bodies on the ground in a few places. The ship is moving westward across the valley. This end of the valley was always more sparsely populated which may explain the concentration of the enemies to the north. The lake and the heaviest forest land are all in the north. The south is more open country, better suited for grazing and farming. Suddenly you hear shouts from below! Looking down, you can see a group of about 20 figures running towards the west. Chasing them down are a group of 6 armed Dragon soldiers. They are herding the villagers towards another band of soldiers around a pair of wagons. The waiting Dragonborn are staninding in a line across the track where the villagers are fleeing. You have a birdseye view of the whole situation and you can see that there is little hope that the panicking people can escape. There is about a half mile to go before they reach their captors.
Any way we can scoop them up? If not, is there a way to get down there to cut off the dragonborn chasers?
The area is not heavily forested. Trees are sparse but there are a few to maneuver around. If you could pull in the side masts quickly you could drop the ship low and drop open the rear hatch. The ship doesn’t stop on a dime so you’ll have to figure out how to stop it in the right place. Of course, you then have to convince the fleeing villagers that the ship is not a threat to them, get them on board and get the ship airborn as quick as possible. You have plenty of room to get to the ground between the waiting captors and the fleeing villagers. You’ll probably be able to get them onto the ship before the waiting dragon soldiers can reach you…you think you might have to run some interference with the Dragonborn who are running up behind though. The soldiers are right on the heels of the humans.
Here’s what I’m envisioning – bring the ship down in front of where they’re running. Break into song – something they’ll recognize from my performances around the vale. Inspire them to want to run into the ship, and hopefully they’ll recognize who I am.
If we happen to get a couple straggler dragonborn on the ship, we’ll deal with them after.