-From the Ranger Logs of Rak’Lryss Tanokk
As Jossifer and myself raced to locate Thunk, our leader was already in some sort of trouble, having effectively kidnapped a lesser crimeboss.
Before we could arrive, nearly a dozen of Sassrik’s men emerged from the shadows on the rooftops to aim their bows at Thunk.
Meanwhile, the merchant himself began chanting from his position slung over Thunk’s shoulder. By the time our fearless leader realised what was happening, a wall of fire, conjured by Sassrik’s evil magic, sprung up several yards in front of the ogre and his passenger.
Things got even more interesting and dangerous as the thugs on the rooftops took aim at Thunk.
Several things then happened at once.
First, some sort of monster crawled out of the flames.
At the same time, one of the thugs fell silently from the rooftop, an arrow in his throat.
And Thunk, quickly realizing that he had a foul minion of the Flame in his grasp, began to carry Sassrik towards the fire.
In the resulting chaos, another thug fell to his death, pierced through the heart by an arrow. Thunk forced the now screaming wizard into the flames, burning the man with the very fires he’d conjured to kill the ogre.
By the time we arrived, Thunk was engaged in a melee with some sort of Demon nearly as large as himself, the goliaths trading blows in the middle of the street.
Meanwhile, the thugs began to realize that not only had Jossifer and myself arrived, but someone on the rooftops was shooting at their men.
With definite enemies in sight, enemies who were obviously servants of the Flame, I saw an opportunity to refocus my disciplines. Though the mental training I recieved as an Adprt Initiate allow me to keep my bloodlust in check, there are times when I can unleash that rage at owrthy targets, using my own weakness as a tool against enemies of the Light.
With a quiet snarl, I cleared my mind and let the rage overtake me.
Leaping onto a crate, I was able to pull one of the assassins from the roof with my Kayakor, but I was forced off the roof myself, falling prone next to the battle between Thunk and the demon.
Jossifer fared much better. When a pair of assassins fired at him, missing both times, he pulled one of the arros from a nearby post and launched it back at the firer, killing the man. The Korindian then lept from barrel to post to rooftop, barreling into the second archer and driving both of them off the back of the building. The resulting two story fall killed the second archer as Jossifer rolled so that the thug’s body took the bulk of the collision with the street below.
It became apparent that we had an ally on the rooftop when a feline figure fired an arrow at the demon, hitting the beast in the same spot Thunk had just wounded.
The battle was soon ended when Thunk forced the demon backwards down the street. I was able to hook the monster’s leg with my Kayakor, allowing the ogre to grapple the demon and drive him head-first into and then through the wall of a nearby building.
As I pulled myself to my feet, I saw Thunk drag the struggling monster from the debris before driving the demon’s head into the cobblestones of the street, shattering the beast’s skull once and for all.
In the aftermath, the remaining three thugs fled.
With no enemies in sight, I was able to increase my calm and lock the bloodrage away, saving it for another day. Pleasantly, my rampage had caused no damage to innocents or allies. It appears that Master Moga’s training was working.
After a few cautious words and exchanges, the Brinchie archer who had been helping us climbed down to explain that she’d seen the assassins and once the demon was summoned, she decided to help those of us who were trying to stop it.
Of course, Thunk immediately recruited her into the Gray Rangers. The Brinchie, an archer named Mestah, accepted his offer.
I have a feeling this is not the first time Thunk has found new recruits.
So, with the remains of the demon and Sessrik, we returned to Deblaze to explain what had happened. All of us, especially Thunk, were relieved that we did not have to harm or frighten an innocent man, as Sessrik’s Flame magic proved that he was perhaps even more evil than Ogo.
After informing the Captain of our misadventure and introducing him to Mestah, we discussed the ramifications of what had just happened. Running into a minion of the Flame while investigating the disappearance of Lock and Hale seemed to be too much of a coincidence.
Again, it was recommended by the Captain that we do what we could to infiltrate Ogo’s gang without actually removing the Crimelord. After all, he was a known threat and he did keep most of the violence betweent he gangs focused on each other instead of the more innocent locals.
So, while the Captain disposed of the bodies, Jossifer, Mestah, and myself went to report a very edited version of our story to Ogo.
Not surprisingly, our new trainee had no difficulty blending in at the Drained Lizard and we were quickly whisked into Ogo’s lair.
At first, the Crimelord did not believe our story, claiming that we were simply claiming to have killed his rival in an attempt to defraud the obese man. Though he was amused to hear that the rumors of Sessrik’s “forbidden” dabblings might be true. However, Jossifer surprised the crimelord (and me) by producing Sessrik’s charred head, which my companion had been carrying with him since leaving the Grey Rangers’ enclave.
With this new proof in hand, Ogo’s attitude changed dramtically. There was laughter and boasting and we were invited to mingle with the other thugs and criminals. While I observed the strange goings-on, Mestah and Jossifer apparently gathered quite a bit of information. Our new Brinchie friend even managed to get Ogo talking about the situation in Lanthor.
Soon Ogo decided to give us another assignment. He would let us know. Soon. We had gained more of his confidence and now we might finally get more of a lead on the missing Rangers.
With this new connection, Jossifer and I retuned to the Branded Fish to inform Thunk of the new developments and catch some well-needed rest.
The next morning, we found Mestah outside our rooms with a message. Apparently, she intercepted a thug from Ogo, delivering our next assignment.
We were to escort a delivery to Ogo’s contacts in the deep woods a few miles outside of town. Mestah informed us of additional information about Ogo.
Apparently, the Red Store has been moving in on the crime scene in Lanthor. They were the ones who paid Ogo to send assassins to kill the Grey Rangers. Ogo was working for them not because of the profit involved, but because they had already caused some serious damage and threats. There were rumors that they killed him wife and kidnapped his daughter.
Mestah thought that if we could somehow find and rescue Ogo’s daughter, we might be able to sway the criminal towards greater support of the Grey Rangers.
However, there might be more to this, so we decided to split the group. Jossifer and I would escort the wagon, while Mestah and Thunk headed off ahead to scout the supposed delivery area.
So, while they set out, Jossifer and I talked with the three wagon drovers as we escorted them to the delivery spot. It turns out we were transporting several large crates and a few long boxes.
While we were traveling, Thunk and Mestah spied on the smuggler’s cave, seeing several robed guards. Apparently, after several combined ruses, the pair managed to lure the guards towards a nearby river, where Thunk engaged the guards in combat and Mestah brought them down with her arrows from the safety of the woods.
By the time we arrived, our scouts had retreated into hiding, though they left the bodies of the guards out by the path.
Jossifer and I found the bodies. We knew it was Thunk and Mestah, because the corpses had been propped up to look like they were sitting, playing poker, with leaves for cards…
Upon further examination, we could see that the guards were wearing Prelacy armor. Heavy armor. This had suddenly become more interesting and dangerous.
At first, we had to explain to the other members of Ogo’s gang that something bad had happened, and that there might be some sort of betrayal. It took a bit to convince the drovers that we needed to finish the delivery, and so we managed to get close to the cave so that we could call out a few more guards from inside.
After some more discussion, two drovers and I decided to wait outside while Jossifer and the leader of Ogo’s carters went into the cave to see how many more enemies we might have to face. The drovers thought it might be as many as a few dozen.
It wasn’t a great plan, but, as he covered his pointed ears with a bandanna, Jossifer explained, “I didn’t ask you if this was gonna work. I said this is what we are doing.”
He is only a Ranger in Training, but I admired his bravery and decided to go along with his plan.
After all, I did not have a better one.
Thunk and Mestah remained hidden in the woods to the side of the trail, apparently unseen by the drovers.
After a few minutes, more guards came out. Apparently, Jossifer had found an inner chamber and had convinced the Prelacy guards there that he was not only human, but was also one of Ogo’s men. He must have also convinced them that something strange was going on, because they came out wary.
When they came out, the guards turned out to be more of the heavily armed Prelacy soldiers. At first, the drovers were talking to their contacts, trying to figure out what happened and why there were dead bodies by the road. I removed my hood, silently enhancing my own protection with the disciplines Master Moga had taught me.
My reptilian appearance betrayed the misguided hatred of the Prelacy soldiers and they immediately dre their weapons and made moves to strike down not only myself, but the two drovers who were speaking with me.
As I surged forward to protect the men who came with us, I again allowed the rage of my ancestors to fuel my actions, struggling to direct my anger against the Prelacy warriors.
“It is an ambush!” I yelled to Ogo’s men, “Get out of there! the Prelacy is trying to kill us all!”
I need not have worried about protecting the drovers. Before the nearest thug from Camon could strike, he grabbed his throat and fell to the ground, his neck pierced by an arrow.
Even in my rage, I recognised the work of my ally Mestah. The drovers would be safe and I could push my concern aside. As my Kayakor cut through the next Prelacy puppet, Thunk charged from the cover of the trees, catching another with a crushing blow
The last assassin fell to a blow from my tail and another arrow from Mestah, and in seconds, our battle was over. As I again regained control of my rage, I struggled to explain to the drovers that Mestah and Thunk were with us, additional protection to protect the delivery.
Again, this was the truth, though I was leaving a few details out of my explanation.
Luckily, the drovers recognised Mestah from the day before, and with a bit of quick talking, we were able to convince them that the Prelacy men were our enemy and that all of us were in danger.
The drovers agreed, and they decided that it was best to simply leave the cargo delivery and head back to the city, abandoning Jossifer and their own leader to the villains of Camon. As they were always paid back in town and never recieved direct rewrds from the Prelacy contacts, this seemed to them to be the best option.
The pair began to quickly unload our cart, explaining that this had never happened, though they seemed grateful that we were there to protect them.
Thunk was anxious to further explore the tunnels and he was already making preprations to head into the cave as the stack of boxes grew next to the cart.
Then, as the drovers unloaded the last two boxes, I heard a noise. As they set the first container on the ground, a long box nearly the size of a coffin, we heard a grunt and groan from within. I moved closer to the box, listening again as the others unloaded the final crate. I heard coughing from within the nearest box and another grunt from the final crate.
While I looked to Mestah, a shadow fell over the camp as a winged figure dropped from the sky.
(End of Week 2)