Chapter Twenty-Eight

November 26, 2011


          As we ride, we come to the hamlet where our new charge, Lumineta is from.  Much of the area is damaged or destroyed, the buildings broken and abandoned.

When we enter the center of the village, Ulric declares, “I am Ulric von Zurwald!  Show yourselves!”  Nothing happens.

Briggette questions Lumineta about where the men were.  She points to where she saw them last.  We spread out and investigate some of the buildings.  I am attacked by three large ochre-colored beasts who stand at least seven feet tall.  One of the archers who had been accompanying me in checking out this cottage steps up to aid in my defense, as does Briggette who wheels and charges toward one of the bugbears.

“To the right, Sir!” we hear from the front of the group as two ogres step out from behind another building and two arrows bury themselves in one of the ogre’s chests.  The beasts close with Ulric and Gustav, and a second small skirmish ensues.

Making quick work of the bugbear, Briggete continues around the corner and runs right into another ogre.  She jabs at him with her lance and rips his jaw clean off.

All told, we divide and conquer at least a dozen bugbears and ogres before converging on a hill giant at the back of the fray.  Eventually, we take him down as well, and we begin to search for survivors.  However, we find no living people anywhere in town.

Korvinean identifies several sets of tracks leading away from the village.  There appear to be a few ogres leading roughly 40 humans.  We follow the tracks for as long as we can, then stop to make camp for the night.  We continue to follow the tracks, camp and heal for several days until one morning, when Korvinean leaves camp early to scout, he comes back to inform us that there’s a poorly constructed stockade built ahead of us.  This is quite unusual behavior for bugbears and ogres.

Korvinean and I go through the woods to get close to the stockade.  When the trees thin out, we dismount and continue on foot.  We get next to the barricaded area and I peer through some of the holes in the construction.  There appear to be three main huts in the center surrounded by some other sleeping quarters.  A few bugbears and ogres are meandering in the area.  There is no visible sign of the villagers.

We overhear half of a conversation where a giant and a bugbear are arguing about whether or how many of the human prisoners the bugbears can eat.  I don’t understand the giant’s words, but his tone is sinister.

Suddenly, a loud wrenching sound breaks the quiet and a part of the barricade lifts.  A ten-foot tall creature—who looks more like a regular human man than a giant—steps out and heads off into the woods.  I follow him for about 400 yards until we cross over a ridge, and he kneels down.  His legs and neck start to stretch and distort, and he stretches out his arms as leather wings unfold and grow.  A tail begins to form and bright crimson red scales grow to replace his skin. 

Before my eyes, a twenty-foot long dragon with a thirty-foot wingspan has appeared!

I am terrified and somehow manage to keep from screaming.  I try to get myself as small as possible.  He begins to look around and sniff the air.  Fearing he has smelled me, I do the first thing to come to mind and pretend to be asleep.  I hear him breathing in deeply and crack an eye to peek just in time to see him breath fire in an arc in front of me.  The brush and grass are all on fire.  He steps forward into the flame and repeats his sniff and search routine.  I continue to hide and “sleep” as he begins to walk in my direction.  As he gets close, I can smell that he reeks of brimstone.  His front claw lands roughly two feet from my face and he crouches down low.  He stops to listen, and I hold my breath.  He springs up into the air, and his wings catch.  He flies straight up into the air, makes a sweeping turn and lays a line of fire across the field where he was.  I am nearly surrounded by fire, but he seems satisfied that he has incinerated whatever troubled him and flies off into the mountains.  I get up and run back to where Korvinean is still observing the camp.

As I get back and am trying to tell Korvinean what I’ve seen, we are spotted by one of the bugbear guards. 

“I think it’s time to run,” Korvinean grins at me.  He tells me to go on and turns to fire on the beasts.  I run into the woods, hop on Obsidian as quickly as possible, and gallop at full speed back to our camp.  I immediately seek out Ulric and Briggette and tell them what I’ve seen.

Ulric decides that there is no time to waste if people are about to be eaten.  We return to the encampment, and I climb over the palisade.  I open the gate and jam the mechanism so that our group has free access to the area.  Ulric takes the opportunity to announce himself and charge the ogre in the center of camp.  We make such quick work of the leaders that the bugbears break and run off in various directions into the woods.


We search the area and find thirty-seven peasants and two men in armor.  We decide to camp here for the night and prepare for an even bigger fight when we go out to seek the dragon