Shards of an Empire

A New Beginning

Note As in my previous adventure logs, this is a story written from the perspective of an outside observer, detailing your exploits and adventures.

Turoth, the 24th day of Chahur, in the 10th year of the rule of Oduth VI and Umista III.

It was a sunny clear afternoon as the three companions headed south along the rough market road. The three formed an unlikely group of companions: Fjior, the proud but young dragonborn, seeking a name and a place in the wider world for himself and his clan; Astra, the savvy eladrin agent, seeking the freedom she lacked in the enchanted cities of the fey court; and the human Lady Alexandretta Radwanska, known to her friends as Dretta, a minor scion of a noble house in Belach, seeking experience and fame in the wilds. On their way to the new frontier in Kurtan, they chanced upon an unexpected adventure.

Along the edge of the road, off to the east lay a stone circle. Ancient monoliths stood in a circle around a crude altar stone; their timelessness in contrast to the rise and fall of civilizations old and new. This day, though, they played host to a much less permanent group. As the companions walked by on the path, shouts and war-cries emerged from the stone circle, as three small creatures hurled javelins at the party. Short-statured and covered in a scaly skin, they were recognizable as Kobolds. Often shifty bandits or sneaking raiders of isolated farms and undefended caravans, picking a fight with three well-armed adventurers was unusual for such a small group.

The initial volley of javelins resulted in some glancing hits and more clean misses as the party rushed in to bring the fight to the raiders. Fjior swung at a kobold sheltering behind the central altar stone, but the agile creature twisted away from the punishing blow. Astra faired better, her swing connecting with the kobold harassing her, dealing it a mortal blow. Her companions cheered, knowing the kobolds were doomed now that they couldn’t rely on distance and thrown javelins.

Suddenly, new cries could be heard above them. A new kobold rose out of hiding from atop the stones farthest from the road, blowing a dented horn, and prodding forward a drake that had been concealed as well. The drake let out a loud hissing roar, and dived off its perch. It swooped over Fjior’s head, snapping at him as it passed. It came to rest atop the stones across the circle, still hissing at the party.

Rumbles coming from the road behind them made the party look back and see a strange, man-sized beetle dig itself out of the dirt and gravel at the edge of the road. Waves of heat rose off its back, and some dried grass near where it emerged had begun to smolder. It opened wide its mandibles, hissing a strident call, and licks of flame dripped out of its mouth.

Seeking to control the new threats, Fjior swung a mighty blow at the kobold before him, cleaving its head clear of its body. Releasing a bellow, he turned and ran towards one of the pillars beneath the drake. With a surge of strength, the dragonborn grabbed the top of the stone and pulled himself up, crying out a challenge to the drake in the name of his god, Bahamut.

Dretta swung at the last kobold on the ground, but the wiry creature dodged her blow, scampering back out of range. Another javelin, this time from the kobold atop the stones, struck her. Though her armor kept her from being pierced, the weight of the impact rocked her back, obviously causing her some pain. Seeing its chance, the kobold facing Dretta turned and ran away, having seen the companions cut down two of his fellow ambushers, and having no desire to continue the fight.

Sheathing her sword, Astra pulled out her loaded crossbow and sent a bolt flying into the fiery beetle as it shook itself free of the last of its concealing burrow. It punched through the insect’s carapace, causing it to hiss in pain. As the heat from its body caused the fletching to burst into flame, the beast charged forward, opening its mouth wide. The flame leaking out of its mouth thickened and a gout of flame blasted over Dretta and Astra, licking at the stones supporting the fight between Fjior and the drake. As the short-lived flames died out, both Astra and Dretta looked singed but still ready to continue the fight.

Distracted by the flames engulfing his companions, Fjior was struck by the drake as it launched itself at him; it snapped at the dragonborn with its maw as it flew across to another stone. The dragonborn roared in outrage, taking a lumbering leap across to follow the drake. However, distance was greater than it looked, and the dragonborn failed to fully clear the gap, only barely making it to the next stone, but sprawling flat before the drake.

Astra reloaded her crossbow and put another bolt down the no-longer flaming mouth of the giant beetle, but before she could back further away, it lunged forward and wrenched at her arm with its mandibles. Though she managed to tear lose, the crushing bite obviously pained her.

Calling out inspiring words, Dretta infused the dragonborn with strength, rallying Fjior to defend himself. The drake lunged at the prone paladin, but he managed to roll aside and avoid the strike. Continuing his roll, he rushed to his feet, shoving the drake back to give himself space. Letting out a shattering roar, he drew upon his ancient draconic heritage and spewed forth a cloud from his mouth, arcing with electricity. It engulfed the drake before him, as well as the final kobold that had been directing the creature. The drake released a pain-filled hiss, but the kobold was no match for the energy. Convulsing from the shock, it fell from the stones and was dead before it hit the ground.

The fight up above seeming well in hand, Dretta turned to her attention to Astra. Again, she called forth reinvigorating energy, strengthening the eladrin and letting her shake off the worst of her injuries. Dropping her crossbow, Astra snatched up her sword and struck the beetle, cracking its carapace further. The bug staggered back from the blow, but flames again began to drip from between its mandibles.

Back above, with a hiss of triumph the drake’s head darted forward at Fjior. It bit the holy symbol hanging around his neck, snapping the chain and tearing it away. It shuffled backwards, its wings unfurling as it looked to escape with its new treasure.

Fjior’s cry of outrage echoed among the stones, but his companions had other worries. The beetle opened wide its mouth again, and the licks of fire began to thicken as it prepared to release another firestorm. Astra desperately lunged towards the beetle, hoping to silence it before it could finish, but her sword glanced off the thick shell, leaving it undeterred. As the flames rolled forth, Astra continued her lunge, turning it into a dodge as she dropped out of the path of the fire.

Unfortunately, Dretta was not as quick and was again caught in the blast of fire. Still weakened from the glancing javelin strikes and the first blast of fiery breath, the final wave was too much for her; she collapsed to the ground, small fires burning in the grass around her.

Above her, Fjior and the drake exchanged inconclusive blows, as he looked to finish the beast off and it sought a safe path to escape with the stolen medallion. Astra recovered from her desperate dodge, twisting back towards the beetle and striking her sword deep into its body. It collapsed with a burbling hiss, and its eyes began to haze over.

Seeing its options disappear, the drake desperately hurled itself from the stones, heading east towards the hills. Fjior took a parting swing at the drake, but the buffet of wind off its wings rocked him and ruined his aim. The dragonborn let out a cry of rage after the drake, but it continued to fly as fast as it could to the east.

As Astra scooped up her crossbow, loading another bolt into it, she called out for Fjior to tend to Dretta. Steadying her aim, she took a parting shot at the wounded drake, but the distance proved too great; the bolt fell short of the target and the thief flew on.

Dropping to the ground, Fjior placed his hands above Dretta, calling on his god to heal his companion. A surge of energy flowed through him into Dretta as she awoke with a shuddering breath. Still too weak to rush off, the companions bound their wounds and searched the remaining bodies for any treasures or clues.

The drake flew off to the east, disappearing behind a range of hills several miles away.

On the bodies of the kobolds, the companions found three remaining javelins; each kobold was also armored in crude, smelly hide armor and carried a wicker shield, light but effective. The kobold felled by Fjior’s lightning storm had a purse with 30 silver pieces inside it.

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