Slaughter in the Evening

Hope Dies

Far, Sypheros 20th, 997 C.Y.

After a long and relentless journey your paths have brought you to your destination. Exhausted, your feet and back aching, you wander the small refugee camp. Muddy roads lead you past small hovels and tents with many families sharing food and quiet conversation over cooking fires. The eye you with caution and whisper to each other. They appear beaten and thin but they speak hopefully of New Cyre. You leave in the morning. There is no rest for the weary.

Four Days Later
Zol, Sypheros 24th, 997 C.Y.

The camp had been filled with the gentle sounds of evening. Children ran between the tents playing tag, women laughed while stirring pots of food and men talked fondly of times past. The journey from the settlement on Lake Crye had been uneventful. Kraken Bay was only a days journey away.

You were just settling in to your evening meal, the sun setting on the horizon when the warforged attacked from the brush. Women, children, men; young and old fell before them. They showed no remorse and no mercy.

The next few minutes were laden with terror as the innocent scattered before the onslaught. You helped lead the refugees up a ragged hill that did its best to steal the air from you lungs until they burned with every breath. At the top, you had earlier seen an abandoned watch tower built into a cliff face and it was there you hoped to find reprieve.

The warforged nipped at your heels claiming more victims with terrible blows. Overhead, another warforged circled the sky astride a huge, mechanical, winged beast, surveying the damage from on high.

Minutes later you find yourselves barricading the double doors to the tower with your bodies. Dust shakes from its planks with every blow your enemies levy against it. Ten minutes ago you were strangers. A Half-Elven Sorcerer, a battle scarred Warforged and a Human son of House Orien, all smugglers now stand shoulder to shoulder with a Goliath Monk and a Shifter Swordmage of the same monestary. You are now joined by a new stranger, a Human Inovoker carrying all the trapping of a devotee of the Blood of Vol. Exchanging cautious glances you realize that your enemy is determined to finish what they have started and you are in this together. Behind you, The wounded and scared huddle together. Children cry, a woman attempts to stifle a hearwretching sob, fear is every where. Half the refugees you started this journey with remain.

Suddenly the pounding stops. A mechanical voice shouts out, “Give us the old man and the rest of you shall live. He is in possession of something that was rightfully ours. If not, we will butcher you all. We’ll start with the women and the children and make you watch.”

You grasp the mantle of leadership and begin to order the remaining refugees down a perilous flight of stairs. Meanwhile some of you find debris to further barricade the door to buy time. This tower has been abandoned for some time and it is fraught with hazards and you find tracks indicating that something else has made it their home but keep this to yourselves. All is going well until a small group of refugees moves across weak section of wood floor sending them to the floor below. Hanceg, the Warforged Dicarius and Gerrard glance at each other nervously as they realize Easton Bois was amoung them. But there is no time as the door gives way. As a group you decide to hold the doorway. The warforged funnel into you to be repulsed every time. Behind them more warforged await.

You decsend the steps into a dark, damp, room. The warforged attempt to follow. A few gather overhead by the hole and watch you intently. You can faintly make out the outlines of a passage, once hidden, that leads into the cliff face. Your light reflects off what at first appears to be a large pool. You then notice a crack in the wall against the rock face and water steadily seeping in. A few islands of mud and debris dot the water covered floor. Just as your eyes adjust to the dim light a dire bear charges from the tunnel and hungry rats seem to crawl out from every crevice. More refugees fall, their deaths a shrieking horror that echos off the walls. From above, decrepit warforged soldiers break through the floor and drop down to join the fray. It is a hectic fight but you move the refugees into a passageway that leads through the cliff.

After a long climb you emerge at the top of a precarious cliff, the tower below you to your right. A small thin plateau stretches out before you. Ahead, the full moon reveals a path leading down the far side of the cliff.

The refugees are noticably relieved as it seems your pusuers have abandoned their attempts to keep up.

The relief quickly turns to gasps of horror as you hear the clanking of mechanical wings and the shadow of a dragon-like creature passing overhead.

Swooping to the ground in front of you is a large, forged, beast of prey. The metal of its hide gleams in the moonlight. It’s eyes glow a menacing red. Riding on the beast back is a warforged with a large spear and a sword at his waste.

“This ends here,” he says.

His name is Slag and he and his forged, flying drake leaps into and out of battle creating mayhem. Three Iron Cobras slink through the grass, darting from opponent to opponent. One of them corners an elven woman and her child. Just as it rears its head to strike you are all engulfed in black storm of arcane energy. Purple fingers of power swirl around your legs and it feels as if your very life may be sucked out of you. And in an instant it disappears. Analla and her child remain standing. The Cobra is a blackened husk. Slag is soon unseated from his mount and falls in battle.

The rest of the journey is less hopeful but you eventually arrive in New Crye and deliver your charges. A young man who assisted you in your escape, Alton Atwater, gives you each a small dragonshard pendant. He says to look within the shard when it glows to find work. His father, Burris, is always in need of sellswords.



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