Campaign Logs

The Sunset Vale Saga

By Brian Flood

Chapter 67 - Council of War

Militia Headquarters

Corm Orp, The Sunset Vale

Late Afternoon, 15th Day of Marpenoth; Year of the Tankard (1370 DR)

A cool autumn breeze blows stalks of dead grass across the main road of the town as the Company of the Iron Work makes its way to the militia headquarters. Those who have not yet seen the building find that it is a simple stone building set at the town's only trail intersection.

Half a dozen unbarded medium warhorses are lashed to the simple hitching post in front of the structure. Nearly a score more are gathered in the northern portion of the caravan camping grounds, watched over by at least a dozen men dressed in chain mail shirts with strips of green cloth tied around to their right biceps and left thighs. Each has a long sword riding on his or her hip. A young man armed and clad in the same manner stands outside the closed door that marks the building's main entrance.

The man draws himself up as the group approaches. His face grows stern as he scans the faces of the newcomers. Finally, he focuses on Cyzicus. "Please identify yourself," the man says simply.

Resisting the urge to surge forward and introduce the group, Alani decides it would again be best to let the True Sword speak for the party. Already she has caused too much fuss this evening. The last night's scouting trip, not to mention the last ten days or so, have really tested the girl's patience. To be hunted for something she did or knew about was one thing. But to be hunted for nothing is another.

'Now I know how the shadow cat feels,' Alani says to herself, remembering the hunt that caused her banishment.

Lucas stands behind Cyzicus and awaits the militiaman's reply before speaking to introduce himself. Standing next to the black-robed mage, Kjira also remains silent while Cy introduces himself to the stranger.

Cyzicus salutes and says, "Cyzicus, Truesword of Avoreen and citizen of Corm Orp. Yourself? I have lived here most of my life and thought I knew those who served, yet we do not know each other."

"I am Rider Avery," the young man replies. "I came here just a few moons ago to seek a life in the militia. My father is a wood cutter in the Reaching Woods."

"You are expected," the rider continues, not allowing any chance for a reply. "Lord Hultel waits inside with his officers." With that, he steps away from the door.

Lucas nods to the young rider as he follows Cyzicus and the rest of the Iron Wolf Company into the militia house.

Smiling to the guard, Alani enters the building behind Cy and follows the halfling to the room the adventurers met with the Lord the first time. Bowing to the gathered assembly, the young scout steps back as Cy speaks to Hultel.

The adventurers step through the doorway and enter the small room beyond. The room is about five paces by seven paces with a large table in its center. Around the table stand Lord Hultel, Honored Mother Alliya, and five human men and women. Hultel is dressed in a suit of platemail; the armor is emblazoned on its chest plate with a heraldic 'H' centered on a field of green the same shade as the arm and leg bands worn by the militia. The other humans are dressed in a similar fashion to the guard that stood outside. The copy of the scouts' map lies on the table, pinned down by a dagger in each corner.

The group in the room looks up as the adventurers enter. Hultel nods solemnly and says, "I am glad you chose to join us. Your map and your report have been most enlightening. Allow me to introduce those present. You already know Honored Mother Alliya; these others are lieutenant Tamara, my second in command; sergeants Sheela and Paulus, patrol leaders for the two patrols we have available; and corporals Rossum and Mason, assistant patrol leaders. Some of you are unknown to us, please do us the courtesy of introducing yourselves before we continue," the lord-mayor orders in a tone obviously accustomed to giving orders.

Dolak's gaze drifts up from a brief evaluation of the four daggers pinning the map to the table. "Lord-Mayor, I am Dolak, the smith," the dwarf announces, adding a slightly formal head nod.

The elven scout steps forward bowing slightly to the gathered people. "Alani of Everseka at your service," she says by way of introducing herself. She then steps back to stand behind her comrades.

Cyzicus, being well known to the Lord (having once served under him semi-officially), allows the others to introduce themselves.

Then he says, "Lord Hultel it has since come to our attention that the blockade is indeed in both directions. You may already be aware of this as the merchant has made his way to the inn. But I would rather be redundant than not have you completely informed."

Hultel nods in reply. "Indeed, we know of this. And it would seem, after reviewing our options, that we may have no recourse but to go and bargain with the brigands. From your scouting reports, there are some two dozen or so of them, to include a mage or a priest, as you well predict. We are still missing our third patrol; we can only muster two ten-man patrols to sally forth."

The lord-mayor glances at his subordinates, "My militia officers and riders are brave, but they are militia. We do not stand a chance against an equal number of trained and ready Zhentarim soldiers. I would feel comfortable only with two to one odds or better - and we have not found a way to come to that force ratio."

Hultel takes a heavy sigh before continuing, "And so, I must tell you that it would appear a parley with the roadblock is our only option at this point. But, we also have no knowledge of the skills and backgrounds that your group brings to us. You told us only that you volunteered your services; we were unsure of how to integrate you, if at all in any plan of action."

"Have you any suggestions for an alternate course?" the lord-mayor asks the gathered group of adventurers.

"I was as a scout in Evereska," Alani says proudly. "I also possess some skills in the Art," the scout adds, pausing to let her eyes scan each person sitting at the table.

"And I agree that going up against the blockade isn't the wisest move," she goes on. "But I also agree that talking to them won't do any good either."

Moving closer so that she can see the map, Alani says, "More than likely, they will just tell you to mind your own business. They are probably counting on you not wanting to risk fighting with them." She pauses, focusing her dark almond shaped eyes on the lord-mayor.

"No," she concludes, "it will have to come to a fight. I personally think we ought to try to infiltrate the camp. It is the only way we are going to know for sure what the Zhentarim are up to." The girl pauses to allow the council or any of her comrades to speak their minds.

Hultel listens to Alani and then replies, "Well said, Alani of Evereska. But I fail to see how infiltrating the camp will advance our predicament. Even if we know their intentions, what good does it do to the caravans that travel the road. It does not rid us of the brigands; it serves only to allow them to continue their blockade. I do not think the merchants will stand for much more of this. And this town cannot survive if the caravans stop using the Sunset Vale as a route. What we need is a way to rid us of their presence, be it by force or monetary compensation, or otherwise."

Alani nods her head, understanding the lord's plight. "Then perhaps the caravans who are held over would volunteer some guards to bolster your ranks," the young woman suggests as her usual impish smile returns to her face. "I mean, they have a stake in this also; it is a long way to go back and find another route, especially with winter fast approaching. I believe if we all work together, we may be able to rout the brigands."

Looking back over her shoulder, the scout looks to her traveling companions. Turning back towards the leader of the small town, Alani continues, "I can't speak for all of us, but I will do what I can to help."

Hultel shakes his head. "It is the responsibility of militias and armies to maintain the roads. The guards are hired on for protection of the caravan only. They are mainly mercenaries - they have no loyalty to anything other than their contract. Anything outside of their contract requires extra pay. Such a task as a direct assault would command a tenday's pay for every day of such an action. The merchants would rather pay the toll tax than pay a lord's ransom to a mercenary."

"No," the man says firmly, "it is our responsibility to open the road. I appreciate your offer of help, but unless any of you can offer any way to alter the odds against a direct attack by my militia, I am prepared to go forward and use the town's coffers to bribe the Zhentarim. Mother Alliya has graciously offered the gathered donations of her church, as well. Hopefully, such a sum will convince the Zhentarim to turn their attentions elsewhere."

"Foolishness," Kjira spoke up finally. "Once you offer them money, you'll never be rid of them. They may go for awhile, sure, but they know if they ever come back what your price is. You'd do better to spend the money on these mercenary guards you have such distaste for and eradicate these Zhents for good. Show them you won't tolerate their machinations on your stretch of the trail."

Cy listens as the conversation flys back and forth. Then a look of shock comes to his face at Kjira's suggestion. 'We actually agreed on something,' he thinks to himself.

Hultel raises his eyebrows at Kjira. "An interesting suggestion, Lady… Kjira, was it? It may work. On the other hand, it would also cause a mass breech of contract between the mercenaries and the merchants. Assuming both groups would agree, and that we would achieve victory, I am not sure that I want several groups of unemployed mercenaries and unguarded merchants in town, either."

Cyzicus speaks up. "Then perhaps you could send word for a mercenary company not under contract," he suggests. "I agree with Kjira; you do not get rid of a hyena by showing weakness."

Hultel nods at the halfling's suggestion. "Excellent idea. I suppose we could send for a company that is based to the south. We will not be able to bring in a company from the north for any coordination because of the roadblock. Let us see, if we dispatched a detachment of quick riders, as well as extra remounts to aid their time, we could probably get someone to Berdusk or Iriaebor within two days or so. It would probably take them at least two days to come to terms with the mercenaries and for the company to gather its forces for a move. Then, the mercenaries would ride north; moving slower than our riders due to equipment and supply trains. I think we could probably have a company here about a tenday or so after we dispatched a rider…."

The lord considers this option as he looks down frowning at the map on the table. "That is ten more days at least before we can even consider any action against the brigands. Ten more days of merchants' wares growing old in their wagons. And ten more days for any merchants who have paid the toll and moved north - or south - to spread the tale of the roadblock hereabouts. And while we wait for their arrival, we would be without some of our riders and even more of our horses."

He shakes his head. "No, I do not think we can wait that long. I thank you for your suggestions. And I applaud your efforts in getting us the information on the encampment. I had thought that you would come with an idea on how to use your group's skills to give us an advantage, but I appreciate your aid in thinking through our options instead."

Hultel sighs heavily. "It would appear we have no time efficient ways to confront the brigands. Gathering a force of mercenaries from the caravan guards would require lengthy contract disputes and would surely require some time to train together rather than go into battle as several uncoordinated and unpracticed forces. Hiring an outside mercenary force will take nearly as long and would deprive us of some our already reduced militia riders. While I would rather settle this with steel, as you suggested, I have not heard any suggestions on how to increase our riders' chances against an equally numbered mounted force."

"Why not send riders to Helm's Hold?" suggests Alani, suddenly speaking up as she now truly believes that force is the only answer. "We benefited from their aid a days ride south of the city. And they seemed eager to end Zhentarim activity in the area.

"I am sure they would help," insists the elf. "After all, isn't Helm the god of protection? Plus, we can help. Kjira and Lucas are workers of the Arts, as am I. As for the priest, if there be one, we have Cy. And perhaps the church," she adds, looking to Honored Mother Alliya, then back to the lord-mayor, "could send a priest or two. But to give in to the intimidation of the Black Network will be worse for your people."

The scout takes a deep breathe and lets it slowly out before continuing, "I am sorry for my rudeness M'lord. I understand not the role of a leader, but I understand that if you fall to intimidation, the weight of it makes it awfully hard to rise again," the scout finishes, her eyes locked onto those of Lord Hultel.

Nodding at Alani's last suggestion, Lucas steps forward a bit to address Lord Hultel. "M'Lord Hultel, I am Lucas of Silverymoon, a mage of growing repute. After hearing these reports, I also see that you are correct in assessing that you do not have the brute force necessary to confront the Zhent blockade, but I have a suggestion."

Kjira coughs noticeably in the middle of Lucas' introduction and can be seen whispering something to Alani. The only words anyone can make out were 'famous' and 'amber.' She proceeds to listen to the rest of the arguments and plans silently, waiting until everyone is done.

Stiffling a giggle at Kjira's remark, Alani steps back. She does not really having much to add to the conversation and is satisfied just to listen.

Pausing a bit so that all eyes are on him before speaking, Lucas starts a slow pace towards the map as he continues. "If we were to have any additional aid, from perhaps Helm's Hold or some of the more willing caravan leaders who want the Zhent ilk out of here, then perhaps we may get a slight numerical advantage. But even if it is not feasible, I still present this option…"

Lucas pauses again and looks about to see that all eyes are on him as he looks over the map. "Where numbers might not succeed, then perhaps surprise will give you an advantage we need to overcome the Zhents! I propose the Iron Wolf Company and perhaps a few soldiers to bloster our caravan, minus our patron of course, approach the blockade under the ruse of being a normal caravan seeking passage. A second caravan, with the remainer of the guard force, should follow us, allowing enough time so that we can successfully pay for our passage. Upon seeing us start passage, the second caravan should approach the blockaide.

"Timing will be critical! We should approach the blockade when they are normally busy with other duties - like mealtime. Once on the far side of the blockaide, the first caravan should initiate the surprise attack and thereby signal the second caravan just arriving at the blockade to attack as well. This surprise should allow us a keen edge where just superior numbers wouldn't help much. I and the other members of the Iron Wolf will try to concentrate on locating and neutralizing the 'priest' of the Zhents as well as the Zhents close to us."

Letting the proposal sink in a bit, Lucas steps back to listen to any suggestions from his fellow members of the Iron Wolf Comapny or Lord Hultel.

Hultel nods as he considers the black-robed mage's proposal. "It just may work. But once we start the attack on the six or so guards at the actual blockade point, how long will it take the others to come and reinforce our foe? Attacking at mealtime is also good plan, I believe, except for the fact that it almost guarantees that all of the enemy will be awake and at least somewhat alert. The ruse of caravan guards is a good one, as well. My concern with it, however, is that it puts our entire force within view of the brigands. If they call forth reinforcements to deal with two caravans, or in anticipation of just such a ruse, we will be back to a fight of their better trained riders against our own."

"But I like this plan, Mage Lucas," the lord-mayor replies. "Especially since it could almost be done with the forces available to us. Perhaps we can adjust it to more fully encompass the entire brigand force in some manner, thus preventing any chance of a concerted defensive formation or counterattack on their part."

"And as for the suggestion of sending riders to Hluthvar," he says, glancing from Lucas to Alani, "the towns of the Vale maintain barely sufficient forces to protect their own citizens and perform protective patrols in their immediate area. I am unsure whether they would be willing to send a force outside of their own protective sphere, thus leaving them open to any incursions by the Zhentarim against their own lands."

"Then we split our forces," Alani suggests, "and attack at night. Half their force will be asleep; and if it is anything like I have heard, the higher ranks get the privilage of day watch."

A wry smile crosses the elf's lips. "Besides, who attacks at night besides bandits and brigands? Surely not the goodly folk of the land." She pauses, hoping that the lord-mayor did not take her last comment as an insult.

"The militia knows the land better than our foes," Alani continues, "they could strike from anywhere at anytime. I know it sounds like the tactics of those who prey on the caravans that travel these roads," she admits, shrugging her shoulders, "but I say fight fire with fire."

"Perhaps we should compromise," Kjira says after some consideration. "I think the day is too bold and the night is too expected. What about an hour or so after the dinner hour, when they are fat and lazy with food and unexpecting trouble of any sort?"

"I'm thinkin' Lucas' plan has merit and will work," opines Dolak. "I dinna think they will believe we are a true caravan if we approach by night, though. Durin' the evenin' meal 'tis a good time as any."

"T'would be somewhat more convenient if a pack o' wolves were t' harrass the stabled Zhent mounts about the time we arrived," Dolak adds turning toward Darius.

The druid nods at Dolak in reply. He is obviously open his proposed role in the dwarf's plan.

Turning back to Lord Hutel, Dolak continues, "We kin use m' forge kit as the center o' the first caravan. I'd like t' get as close to the blockade as I can. I dinna like t' have t' chase down those I am to clash axes with. I've one issue, though. I dinna think that we should be leavin' Master Tomar without guard if he's not t' come with us."

Corax steps forward. "I am much better suited to an infiltration than an assault," the rogue tells the dwarf. "Since it is the way of steel that we are to follow, perhaps I can stay with Tomar."

Cyzicus looks glum as he says, "Apparently this community is much closer to the edge than I thought. If this patrol causes this much trouble, I cannot leave my Da' to their mercies. Even if we succeed at this plan, they will likely send retaliation."

He turns to rest of the Iron Wolf Company and says, "I am afraid that after I help get you past the blockade, I will have to leave your company. I did not realize the patrol numbered so few. I would not be a Truesword to leave my home so undefended."

Hultel shrugs his shoulders. "That is your choice, Truesword. We have the same number of militia now - save our one missing patrol - as we did when you chose to experience the world. If you choose to stay, you are surely welcome."

Alani's eyes open wide at the halfling's words, not believing what she is hearing. Wanting to protest the halfling's decision, the scout bites her lip, knowing this is neither the time nor the place for it.

'Oh, but we will talk, Cyzicus of Arvoreen, that you have my word on,' the scout promises herself, hellsbent on talking the priest out of his decision.

Cy nods and says, "We will see what transpires, perhaps Avoreen will call me home as he did my uncle, and there will be no decision to make. In any case, let us finalize our plans and implement them."

"I concur," Hultel states in a solemn tone. "Normally, I would consider calling for aid from Hill's Edge or the Harpers in Berdusk, I have done in the past. However, I believe this blockade can be ended quickly if we strike with the odds in our favor. The halflings of the town have aided us in the past with their daggers and slings, but this task before us is not a direct attack on the town or our land, as with those other times. In this case, it is the militia's duty to clear the road to ensure the last of the caravan traffic before the snows of winter are upon us."

Returning his attention to the group as a whole, Hultel continues. "Now then, I like the idea of using a mock caravan as a distraction for the half-dozen or so brigands that actually man the checkpoint. And attacking a meal - either the evening dinner or while breaking their morning fast - also has the advantage of occupying some of the other troops."

"As I see it," he says, "there are three enemy forces to consider. First, there are brigands at the roadblock; second, the mounted patrol; and third, those of the enemy force that are in camp sleeping, eating, or not otherwise actively employed. The plan, I feel, must maximize our efforts against the enemy. I do not think a battle of complete destruction will be necessary. If we can wound, capture, or kill somewhere between a third to a half of their force, while preserving our own numbers, we will attain a significant tactical advantage. Unless these are fanatics, such a blow to their force will probably force their commander to withdraw to the safety of Darkhold."

"What say you?" he asks of the adventurers. "How can your abilities aid us? You have mentioned that you can call upon wolves to panic the riderless horses. What we need now is to develop a plan that uses our two squads of riders and your own group to strike a surprise blow against the Zhentarim. You know your own abilities - I do not. I need your help to further develop this mock-caravan idea."

Lucas nods to Lord Hultel and addresses him. "M'Lord, I am a mage of Silverymoon and have arcane forces at my command. I shall use these along with Kjira's arcane might in countering any Zhent priest or wizard," says the black-robed mage as he gestures towards his fellow spellcaster. "We also have at our disposal magicks which can render small groups of soldiers temporarily out of action."

"As for tactics, I like Darius' idea of the wolf attack. Maybe an attack on on the enemies' horses with the wolves - perhaps an hour or so before our mock 'caravan' - could draw off the Zhent cavalry in pursuit and even further even our odds," adds Lucas.

"If we can get me inside the camp before the attack, and if we attack at mealtime, I can cast a spell that should all in the tent to sleep," Alani interjects, again jumping into the conversation. "I have the magic needed to assume the appearance of a Zhent."

Hultel's eyes go from Lucas to Darius to Alani. "Alright," he says. "If your friend there," he begins, gesturing toward Corax, "stays in town with your employer, the young lad and his wolf create the wolf distraction, and the young lady here somehow sneaks into the camp, that leaves Mistress Kjira and Masters Dolak, Lucas and Cyzicus to provide the mock caravan."

The lord-mayor frowns and then adds, "I can send one of the patrols with the mock caravan, acting as 'guards'. That would leave the remaining ten-squad and myself to act as the main effort and charge the foe. The question is, how do we coordinate all of these groups? How will Alani know when to cast her spell? And how will I know when - or where - to close in with my second group of riders?"

Lucas replies to Hultel. "I shall leave my familiar with your caravan, M'Lord. When it lights from your caravan, heading towards the Zhents, then you need to attack with all haste. As for when Alani should attack, she can watch for my signal when we intiate the surprise attack. I also can alter my appearance should I need be to look like a fat merchant," adds Lucas with a grin.

"Attack whom?" asks Hultel. "The roadblock, the patrol, or the camp itself?"

"I would say the camp itself," opines Alani matter-of-factly. "We could catch it in cross fire if half the force came in from here," she says, pointing to where the hills are indicated.

"If the wolves could hit the patrol somewhere around here," she continues, pointing in the the northeastern area of their route, "and with the rest of the force at the roadblock, it should give us some sort of tactical advantage. I am planning to be in the camp when the attack takes place. And, if the gods are with us, I will hopefully be near one of the command tents." The scout pauses for comments.

Darius speaks first. "I was under the understanding that Soft Fang and I were to create a distraction with the horses and perhaps run them off with the patrol in pursuit of them and us. Now you want the two of us to attack six mounted men?"

Hultel frowns and nods at the druid's comments. Then he adds his own. "So the second half of my riders will attack the camp directly. I should remind you that there will be no 'crossfire' - or a pincer movement of any type - if the half that is with the mock caravan is still engaged with the roadblock force."

Lucas addresses the concerns of Darius and Lord Hultel, saying, "The intent is not for you to attack the patrol, Darius, but to draw it off after you attack the horses. That will leave the camp without the mounted patrol when we attack with our surprise."

"There is no 'pincer' movement," the mage then tells the lord-mayor, "only a swift and decisive assault on the main camp. Like you said, if we crush one part, then the others will probably either run off or surrender," says the black-robed mage.

Hultel takes a breath and then summarizes what he understands to be the plan. "So then, when the mock caravan - consisting of one squad of riders and four of your own group's members - attacks the roadblock, I and the second squad of riders will charge the encampment. That should give the mock caravan a two to one advantage over the roadblock force. The riders that charge the camp will be numerically even to those in the camp, but our mounts will give us an advantage, there. And finally, the roving patrol - and hopefully the unbridled horses - will have been distracted away from the area by young Darius and his wolf companion."

The lord-mayor is silent for a few moments as he gazes at the map. His eyes flicker from one portion to another as he considers how the proposed plan will play out. Finally, he nods and looks up at the gathered militia members and adventures.

"I think it will work," he announces. "Two last issues, have I. First, will it not seem odd if a second caravan, within visual range of the first, is almost identical in its composition - to include ten to twelve mounted guards? And second, do you propose that we attack tonight? There is still an hour or two before sunset; I could have my forces briefed and ready to ride within the hour. The issue will be the time it will take for the wolves and Alani to reach the camp dismounted, as well as how long it will take the mock caravan - which will travel slowly since it contains a wagon or a cart or both - to reach the roadblock."

"To answer your first question, M'lord," begins Alani, now that someone has noticed the same flaw, "which is a question I have asked my self, I think only one 'mock caravan' is needed. The group you lead should come in from the hills to the east. If Darius and Soft Fang succeed, a two front attack should give us an advantage."

"As for your second question," the scout continues, "if Darius and I left now, we would be within sight of the roadblock. But truth be told M'lord, I was hoping you might have a spare horse to ride." The girl pauses to allow the Lord think on her proposal.

"You can take mine," Corax says to Alani. "That will save the lord-mayor's horses for his own men."

"That would be most grateful of you," Hultel says to Corax.

Then the lord-mayor frowns. He glances at the other members of the group. "I may see another flaw. Why would a caravan be moving away from town so close to sunset? If I were manning the roadblock, I would be curious as to why a small group would risk the dangers of camping along the road if there were a town so close by. Would it not be better to do this early in the morning? A sunrise departure for a caravan would not be unusual. What say any of you? Are there any among you with experience as a caravan drover?"

"I've been workin' trade caravans as a smith fer many a year now," answers Dolak. "Most times it would be unusual fer a caravan t' be leavin' a town so late in the day.

"The road block isna close, though," Dolak admits, "bein' a few hours a way. If we arrived there just as they're cookin' their dinner, it may not be too late for them t' be o'erly suspicious o' us. A few caravans dinna stop in towns because they canna afford the lost time."

The dwarf concludes by saying, "I'd recommend either we leave a little earlier to hit them as they are cookin' or we leave durin' the wee hours o' the mornin' to hit them as the sun is comin' o'er the horizon."

Hultel nods grimly. "The roadblock is five miles north of here. A mule-drawn cart travels about twelve miles per day. So, it will take the mock caravan about four hours to reach the roadblock."

The lord-mayor does the math in his head and then anounces, "We will meet here three hours after midnight. That should allow the mock caravan - which shall be the smith, his cart, the two mages, Cyzicus and one ten-squad of my riders - to reach the roadblock about an hour or so after sunrise. If we are lucky, those in the camp will be just sitting down to breakfast."

"The second ten-squad and I will leave at the same time and ride the near the hills to come at the camp from the east. We will take the owl with us; when it flies off toward the road, we will know that it is time to attack."

He directs his attention to Darius. "You and your wolf should harass the horses just as dawn breaks. If you can draw off the wandering patrol for an hour or so, they should be out of supporting distance of the main encampment."

Lastly, he looks to Alani. "I am not sure what to tell you. You have said you have some plan of infiltrating the camp, but you have not given specifics. If you plan to disguise yourself, as you have implied, I will remind you that my most of my men have not seen you. Anyone not dressed as a militia rider is in danger of being attacked."

"I plan on leaving an hour before the Caravan leaves," explains Alani. "I too will come will come from the hills to the east. By the time the wolves attack, I hope to be past the patrol's perimeter," she says, placing a finger on the map roughly half the distance from the command tents and the patrol perimeter.

"While the chaos of the wolves grips the camp, I will use the distraction to infiltrate the camp itself." The scout pauses as she looks from the map to Hultel.

"You wouldn't happen to have a captured Zhent uniform would you? My spell will last a short time. But a uniform just may give me the advantage I need to ensure success," Alani predicts, her impish grin seems to makes its way to the elven lass's face.

Hultel shakes his head. "Nay, we do not have any captured Zhent uniforms. Does your plan hinge on it?"

"Nay, M'lord," replies Alani, "it simply would have helped. With the rising sun to my back, I should be able to gain entry easy enough."

"Very well," states Hultel. Looking to the rest of the group, he asks, "Any other last minute issues?"

Hearing none, the Lord-Mayor dismisses the adventurers. Taking their leave, the group returns to the inn to rest and ready themselves for their upcoming assault.

The content of The Sunset Vale Saga are the property and copyright of Brian Flood, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.

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