After a quick headcount, we discovered that there were only three caravan members left. They were all in terrible condition, but Ruby Rose managed to heal them a bit.
We quickly decided that we had to get out of there. The smell of death was so strong, we knew that it was only a matter of time before we were swarmed with wildlife. Unfortunately, there were only two horses left, which meant we could only take one caravan with us. We began loading cart with food.
As this was happening, I happened to glance North, and I saw one of the most unwelcome sights: two flashes of lightning, seemingly identical to the ones produced by the murderous beast that had attached us, far off in the distance.
Immediately, I raised my concerns to the others, who had begun to round up what they could of the fallen (there wasn’t enough time for a proper burial, so it was decided that the best thing to do would be to say a prayer for the lost and set their bodies alight).
Houn, who has some knowledge of the area, suggested that it may have been nothing more than dry lightning- something not uncommon to the area. With that mind, we began heading back to Assur and hoped for the best.
As we progressed, we noticed some caravans in distance.
Houn and Nardo went to investigate, and brought back a man who seemed completely delirious.
They said that the caravans were in rough shape- overturned, but the contents were more or less intact, so it clearly wasn’t a raid. They also said that bodies littered the camp, some had their skulls bashed in, others had burns. Burns similar to the damage from the beasts.
While our group attempted to figure out whether or not to continue to Assur, a figure rose from the sand.
The man, a ranger named “Steve”, was a member of the caravan. He witnessed the attack, and informed us that the assailants were a group of Gnolls and Bugbear, as well as a pair of the same creature that attacked us- monsters called Halruaan Behir.
Steve told us that he overheard the Bugbear say that they were ordered to hold their position just outside of Assur, and to kill anyone travelling along the trade route.
Around that time, the man Houn and Nardo rescued from the campsite began to regain his senses.
He calls himself Oriseus, and he claimed to be on the same journey we were, but to have been on his way back from Lastarr, and that those there were just as clueless about the trade route problems as we were.
He also told us that going South would be just as dangerous, if not more.
He spun a tale of demons and dragons- the prior, seemingly invincible to all weapons, killing his team easily; the latter allegedly sent him flying across the desert with a single hit. Apparently, he had been wandering North ever since.
Thus, we were faced with a difficult choice: head North and face near-certain death; or South, with the same odds.
On one hand, Assur WAS closer, and we knew what lie ahead. But on the other, there was no saying for sure if said terrible beasties would still be there if we went South AND we would have had Steve with us.
… Well, after what seemed like hours of Ruby and Nardo arguing, we ended up deciding to pull off the trail for the rest of the night for some sleep, and then head back to Assur.
Steve wanted no part of this, and went South. I hope we get the pleasure of seeing him again, he was very informative.
Anyway, after a long rest, and a longer day of travelling, we eventually abandoned the wagon (but not the horses, of course- that would be terrible!) and continued on foot, off the beaten path, and into the city by an alternate route.
We went to the temple immediately to report our findings.
Oriseus got his promised money, and even gave us some of it!
After that… well… I probably shouldn’t say, lest this journal fall into the wrong hands.
All that matters is that we are off on a new quest soon- we’re headed to the mountains! Nardo should be happy about that, he comes from that kind of terrain, right? I know I’m looking forward to it!
Anyway, I must rest. We are all going shopping after a quick nap (or not so quick) in preparation of our journey.