By Brian Flood
Chapter 48 - Aftermath
Along the Dusk Road
Between Asbravn and Hluthvar, The Sunset Vale
Mid-Afternoon, 4th Day of Marpenoth; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)
Cyzicus moves to Dolak, figuring that Dolak is the most severely wounded party member that won't try to injure the halfling while he is trying to perform his healing.
As Cy approaches, Dolak collapses into a modified sitting position on the ground, the weight of his wounds pulling him down. "Lucas, would ya give 'er the once over fer toys and baubles and such. I'm too tired right about now. Would that she had a keg o' some fine dark lager!"
The red-robed mage nods to the dwarf's request. "I shall see if she has any stout, though I doubt it good Chak."
As Lucas returns his darts to his sheath, Cy casts his last divine spell of healing on the dwarf. The silvery aura of Arvoreen's power spreads out over the wounded dwarf. When it dissipates, the dwarf's wounds are lessened but are still quite severe.
Darius stands when he hears Soft Fang's whimper, and moves slowly over to his friend. Kneeling at the wolf's side, Darius growls, <The blessings of Sylvanus be on you>, and calls forth the power of his deity to heal his companion.
Soft Fang whimpers softly in thanks as some of his wounds close. Others still remain, however, and the wolf rises painfully to its feet to follow his master.
Upon reaching the mage's body Lucas carefully removes all items and clothing from the body so as not to miss anything that might be of value or a clue to her employer. In the process, he discovers several items to include the mage's robes and boots; a belt that holds two large belt pouches, two small belt pouches, a sheathed dagger, and half a dozen darts; a silver runed necklace from around her neck; and a moderately full backpack.
Meanwhile, Darius leads Soft Fang back to the wagon to see the condition of the others. Seeing that no one is about to bleed to death, Darius bandages the wounded and tries to use some of the herbs on the more severe cuts.
After finishing his search of the body, Lucas gathers up all the items found - clothing included - and takes them over to the wagon for all to look at. Reaching the wagon, Lucas carefully places the items found in the back of the wagon then finishes up with treating his own wounds.
After all return to the wagon, Darius turns to Dolak and Lucas. "Well war leaders, is there anything left for us to do about this ambush?"
Dolak responds, "We're in a sad shape about now. I'm thinkin' we'll be needin t' find a campsite soon and rest o'er a day or so. Not many in any condition t' continue on.
"I'd be interested t' know what's what in the camp site you found. And Lucas, did ya find anything useful on the black-hearted mage?
"Speakin' o' the mage," the dwarf continues, "she thinks she killed Tomar. Could be useful in the future. She also said somewhat about Cyric, so she might be a follower. I'm thinkin' this was not a normal bandit hoorah, but a black-hearted attempt on Tomar. Could be some folks dinna like him."
"Aye," agrees Cyzicus, "he seemed to be the focus of her attack. And I agree we need to rest."
"Speaking of our employer," Kjira begins, "one of us blessed with the ability to heal may wish to pay him some attention."
She motions to the unconscious form lying nearby. "After all, he does pay our wages and may not take kindly to being nearly killed in the first place we should do our best to get him revived quickly. Perhaps he won't fire us for gross incompetence..."
Cy replies, "I have used all of Arvoreen's blessings for this day."
After listening to the others' discussion, Darius says, "Before we continue on, we should look at the campsite that Alani and I found over to the west. There may be something there that will help us. Then we should move on 'till we find a suitable campsite and not wait for dark."
Addressing Kjira, Lucas says, "I know a little of the attack the lady conjurer used on Tomar. See that his wound is washed with clean, cool water to make sure all the acid is washed free. It will help his wound heal, as well."
Turning to address the others, the conjurer continues. "As for the suggestion that we need to set up camp and rest, I say let's pull the wagon down past the camp to the west about a half mile and set up camp as soon as possible so that we may treat our wounds and rest. We can study the dead human and horse in the morning if need be - or later today after we set up camp. I shall study and identify all that we found once we set up camp."
"Kjira, I may need your assistance with some of the mage's belongings," Lucas continues. "Does anyone have any objections to moving down a half mile and setting up camp?"
Darius nods towards Lucas, "Good plan. I agree that we should move on from here and come back later today to look at the campsite."
"I may be of help with the foul witch's belongings tomorrow, but I fear I must rest before I can do anything else," Kjira replies to Lucas.
After finishing her discussion with her fellow mage, Kjira walks over to her mule and, with a little effort, removes one of the water casks from the beast's back and carries it over to Tomar's side. She then returns to the animal and pulls out some cloth from her pack and goes to kneel at the book trader's side, taking the pack with her.
Lifting the cask carefully, she uses the flowing water to rinse the merchant's wounds thoroughly. Afterwards, she dampens the cloth and uses it to dab out any remaining debris before pulling out a roll of bandaging and some wound packing. She sprinkles the packing in gently before wrapping the wounds to keep them clean until one of the party's healers can devote some time to their employer.
"Kjira I have done for him all I can today," Cyzicus says in informing the mage. Then he tries to find Charger and check his condition.
At the halfling's brief whistle, the pony begins to trot back down the road from where it was. As he watches his pony approach, Cyzicus notices a glint from along the road to the north - as if sunlight were reflecting off of metal.
Wondering why everyone has not answered his last question concerning moving the wagons north and setting up camp, Lucas looks around to see what Alani and Cy are doing. "Alani, why do you keep looking off to the northwest where you scouted earlier? Did you see or find something of interest there?"
Turning to look north and see what Cy is doing as well, the conjurer notices the halfling stopped a short distance away, appearing to be waiting on his mount's return. Once the mount nears the halfling though, it appears that Cy is still looking northward.
"There was a vulture flying in that area," Alani answers, "and just before the attack, it gave a cry. - a very un-vulture-like cry. I don't think it was a warning well, at least I hope not. I thought it might have been involved in the attack, so I cast a missile spell at it. It flew off in that direction. I think I should go and scout the area quickly "
Lucas yells forward to Cyzicus, "Do you see anything up there, Cy? We are talking about moving everything north along the road to set up camp."
"Aye, someone or something is approaching from the north. Possibly a patrol, it appears to be light glinting off metal."
Lucas frowns at the aspect of more hostile encounters with the party in such dire straits after the recent lady conjurer ambush. Turning his attention northward up the road in the direction that Cy indicated, Lucas scans looking for any sign of movement. Further pausing a few seconds to concentrate, the red-robed mage appears to enter a meditative state.
After looking in Cy's direction and concentrating a minute, Lucas turns to the others and says, "There appears to be some sort of armored giant striding down the road towards our position here. Behind the giant about three hundred yards there also appears to be two mounted armored warriors. I say we need to ready ourselves in case they mean us harm." Lucas takes a position to the right of Tomar's wagon, facing north.
"If they mean us harm we might as well slit our own throats now," Kjira replies somewhat sarcastically as Lucas announces the impending arrival of an armored giant. She looks around at the ragged condition of the party and its many injured.
"Perhaps we should send a scout ahead to greet them and find out their intentions. If they're hostile, it may give us enough time to gather the wounded and move out - and hopefully the scout would be agile enough to beat a hasty retreat."
Dolak looks from Lucas to Kjira, and then ties off the last cord holding the cover on the cart. Picking up his axe, he says, "I'll be takin' the giant, if needs so. Who'll pick up the other two?"
The other adventurers have not yet begun to respond when a loud, baritone voice booms out over the plains.
"Is everything all right, travelers?" the deep voice inquires.
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