By Carey Sauerbrun
"Just who do you think you are!"
It took Deagan a second to realize that Corina was yelling at him. He was already examining the first hobgoblin that Weber had felled. The fellow, from his size and the quality of his gear, had obviously been the leader of the patrol. He was checking the corpse's belt for anything interesting when the mage grabbed his shoulder.
The half-elf looked up into Corina's furious scowl. "You fool! Are you trying to get yourself killed? You might know how to swing that sword, but you're more valuable to us as a scout. Next time, keep back long enough for Justin and I to soften up the foe!" Deagan could see the woman was furious.
The mage, finished with Deagan, spun on Weber, who was leaning against a nearby tree while Justin examined the quarrel still protruding from his thigh. "And you! Whatever possessed you to attack a whole patrol by yourself! You're worse than he is," she hissed, flicking her fingers in Deagan's direction.
"But there be only a few-"
Corina threw up her arms and groaned. "They're hopeless," she said, looking over at Rilladell. The elf was standing by the hobgoblin she had turned to stone, thoughtfully tapping her wand against her chin. She flashed a small grin in Corina's direction, causing the mage to groan again and stomp off in a huff.
While Justin worked on Weber's thigh and Corina sulked, Deagan continued to search the bodies. He found nothing but what one would expect to find; a few coppers, some rations, and assorted serviceable weapons. What he did not find was a reason that the patrol had tried to ambush them.
As he finished, Justin and Weber, whose leg was now healed, joined him. "Feeling better?" he asked.
"Bah, twer but a scratch. I barely felt it." The dwarf's teeth flashed as he grinned. "Nice little fight though, gets the blood flowing."
"Your axe is very interesting. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it."
Weber's grin widened. "Me axe is called Endroth'lic. Means 'Rage of fire.' Me da's da forged it. It were his crowning achievement." The dwarf twirled the axe by its haft. "There be nothing like it."
As the dwarf finished, Mystra's priest reached for Deagan's chest. Stepping back warily, Deagan asked, "What are you doing?"
"I saw you take that bolt in the chest. Don't try to deny that it hurts." The priest stepped forward again. This time, Deagan didn't resist, and soon his dragon hide armor lay next to him as Justin poked and prodded at his chest. Finally, the priest finished.
"Well, You'll have a nice bruise for a few days, but there's no major damage." The young man quirked an eyebrow and grinned. "I'm surprised you didn't see them. I could see them shifting about all the way back at the buildings."
Deagan flushed slightly. "Well, it's not like I was expecting an attack. Web and I were looking at the tracks." Justin nodded knowingly.
"Watcha doin' lass?" The rogue turned to see that Web had joined Rilladell at the statue. He gathered his gear and, with Justin beside him, wandered over. Corina continued to sulk at the stream.
The elf-maid, her wand now back at her belt, was busily flipping through the pages of a small book. "I have a spell in here…" she said thoughtfully. "Ah, here it is. 'Flesh to stone.' Now, where is the other one…" She flipped a few more pages. "Perfect. 'Stone to flesh.'" She looked up at the others, beaming. "I'll have to study the spell, but in a few hours I should be able to cast it. Then we can ask our friend here just what he and his mates were doing." Her face hardened. "And then we can teach the rest of them to never try it again."
Deagan and Weber exchanged grins. The dwarf was always eager for a fight, and the half-elf, though willing to leave the village before, had had a change of heart when that crossbow bolt had slammed into him. Justin just nodded, accepting the course of action.
"So now we're going to attack the whole tribe?" Corina had arrived just in time to catch the elf's last comment. She was not happy. She crossed her arms, more angry with herself than the others. She should have known the elf would want to avenge the fallen villagers, especially after hearing her history. From the eager looks on the faces of Deagan and the dwarf, she knew they were all for it too. Justin, his eyes serious, solemnly nodded. "Very well. But don't forget, we have a commision from my father to fulfill." Corina tried to block the memory of Deagan being knocked flat, but it continued to play across her mind. She refused to admit how terrified she had been at the thought of his death.
"And no deadline in which to do it." Rilladell added. "This should not delay us more than a day or two." She started back toward the still-smoking village. "I must study. When I am ready, I will let you know."
The others trailed after, leaving Corina alone with her thoughts.
View information on Endroth'lic, Weber's magical battle axe.
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