Battling the winter-time scourges of colds, bugs and assorted illnesses, we all gathered back together this week to pick up from where we left off – sort of. I’d placed the bodak ambush a short distance from the tavern that the group had settled in, which allowed the mage a chance to run and get reinforcements while the thief talked with the mysterious figure who had seen them.
This turned out to be a young elven scholar called Muroni, working on behalf of a silver dragon called Vuulaytheus. She claimed that her sponsor believed the party to be directly referenced in the Draconic Prophecies as part of a major event shortly to take place. She asked to be allowed to accompany the group. While she was forbidden to directly intercede, and was after all mostly a non-combatant, she did have some small healing ability as a cleric of Aureon. The group decided to allow her to come along, and decided that the bodak must be long gone.
They decided that they needed to secure transport up-river, so began to make their way through the narrow streets towards the House Cannith Enclave, to see if they could prevail on them to provide a boat or at least a recommendation. This was the point that the Emerald Claw struck. A group of experienced soldiers, led by a powerful wizard, used rooftops and alley openings to ambush the adventurers.
A short but fierce battle then raged that took up the whole session. The Emerald Claw’s wizard deployed a spell that no one had encountered before to begin ripping at their lungs, but this was swiftly countered by Damon with a Dispel Magic scroll, while a fortuitously enchanted ring of counterspell was able to neutralise a fireball that looked likely to have cut short their adventure. The bard was able to use his wand of magic missiles to conduct a running battle with the crossbowmen on the roofs that would not have looked out of place in a modern gunfight, while Keil’s druid brought down lightning on Emerald Claw warriors, and made himself the most high profile target in the street.
Muroni soon proved her worth, running between the wounded to heal those she could, while Ruin assumed a wild form to transform into a dinosaur raptor that scared more than one of the soldiers with its leap attack. It was a close fought battle between two pretty equally matched groups – a diverse set of wildcard adventurers versus six 5th level fighters and a 6th level mage, in narrow alleyways with cover and height advantage to the Emerald Claw.
In the end, the adventurers won, taking one of the soldiers prisoner thanks to a lucky colour spray spell that stunned him long enough for the thief to subdue him. From their captive they learned that the soldiers and their bodak ally had been left specifically to trap them. The full force of Emerald Claw soldiers had arrived on an airship a day or so before them thanks to their misadventure with the dire shark and sahuagin handlers. Knowing that House Cannith would not rest following the theft from Lady Eladryn, a portion of the expedition had been left to delay any pursuit.
From their previous involvement with the schemas in the Mournlands it had seemed most likely that House Cannith would call on the adventurers again, so their descriptions had been circulated to all Emerald Claw operations in the area just in case. The rest of the expedition, led by a resurrected Garrow, had already headed upriver, with a force of fifty soldiers – pressing towards the hiding place of the last piece of the puzzle.
The adventurers left the soldier for the Watch to find, and slipped away into the alleys to head straight for the Enclave, knowing that time was now against them.