Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 12: Visions And Violence

Following the horrific events at the Tanivas medical center, our heroes get a bite to eat. They decide the best course of action is to take their disembodied hand to Razmus for further information and disposal. They plan to leave the next morning, but before turning in, Othfir stops at D'Arvin's shop to pick up his experimental javelin. D'Arvin calls it the backfire javelin which is capable of launching its tip upon impact. Geandur also makes a stop at the local blacksmith to pick up a mysterious parcel. 

The next morning, the heroes gather at their wagon and hitch up their faithful steeds, Clip-Clop and Really Quiet. However, they notice a strange bundle in the back of the cart. Geandur begins prodding the bundle and discovers that it is a young man. Geandur picks him up and shakes him while the others ask why he's hiding in their wagon. The fellow's name is Quinn and, moments before, had pickpocketed someone and hid in the wagon for safety. The heroes don't trust him, but they agree to smuggle him out of the city when Arradon has a sense of familiarity about him. 

The heroes hide Quinn under some stanky orc blankets and armor, and they leave the city without further incident. When Seraphina finally lets Quinn come out from the wagon, the thief smells just as bad as the blankets. They all arrive at The Eye Of The Sphinx as the sun is beginning to set. Spoon stops gardening to give them a wave and goes to fetch Razmus himself. The wizard greets the heroes and they explain they've got more contaminated body parts to destroy. While Quinn stands nervously to the side, they also ask if he can determine how the disease started. In a happy coincidence, a friend of Razmus is currently visiting and may have the means to shed some light on the situation. 

The heroes meet Tathelle, an older human woman, dark of skin and light of hair, and all have a dinner of rabbit stew. Tathelle has them all gather outside and sit in a circle and begins to conduct a druidic seance centered on the decomposing hand. The heroes' minds are transported to a place above the earth where they gaze upon a mountain range. A blur of motion and the viewpoint is now on a path on one of the mountains. A hooded figure walks ahead of them and another shift in viewpoint reveals the face of a tiefling woman with a familiar symbol carved into her forehead. The vision zooms out again, revealing that the tiefling is on her way to Palefort, a dwarven mountain city built into the rock itself. 

 As the vision dissipates, Geandur silently fumes at having seen the face of his true enemy. Othfir knows of Palefort, home of Vlad Quartzblood of the council and that there is an underground transport system the dwarves use to connect their cities. This would make the quickest route to Palefort a seemingly out-of-the-way trip through Lodegrove.

Tathelle tells the heroes of plagueomancy, a primarily dark form of magical study that was most certainly used in creating the degenerative disease the heroes witnessed. She also mentions that a mutual cohort of both her and Razmus is a studier of plagueomancy. The elf goes by the name Carro and is somewhat of a nomad, constantly moving to spread his healing. With this knowledge, the heroes head to sleep, planning to journey to Lodegrove in the morning. 

After a myconid-prepared breakfast, the heroes set off towards Lodegrove. Around midday, Morningstar and Quinn hear the sounds of combat up ahead. Ignoring Quinn's protests, the heroes speed up and soon find the source of the noise. Four men and a wagon are surrounded by a pack of seven ravenous gnolls. Arradon pulls the wagon off the road, out of sight, and the good samaritans dash into the fray. 

Geandur shrugs off his thick wool jacket and runs headlong into the back of a gnoll with his sword. The creature scrabbles at the blade protruding from its chest, while Arradon looses two arrows into the backs of two more of the monsters. Morningstar ensnares a fourth gnoll with a net arrow, and Othfir and Seraphina run to combat the savages head on. While Othfir swings at a particularly swift gnoll, Seraphina takes a look inside the wagon for any more people. She sees a pile of beautiful swords and a sack of sparking gemstones. She finds this odd, but one of the wagonmen moves to nervously block her view as he fires his crossbow into a nearby gnoll. 

Arradon and Quinn pepper the gnolls with arrows while Geandur unleashes his lion totem rage.  He slices down, disemboweling the skewered gnoll before him. A quick movement and his sword finds purchase through the mouth of another of the beasts. The barbarian cleaves upward, splitting the gnoll's head in two and rushes to his next quarry. While the ensnared gnoll rips his way out of the net, Geandur engages his next victim in a storm of whirling steel. The gnoll effectively sliced into cubes, the barbarian finishes his massacre by impaling one of the unfortunate creatures to the ground and following up with a final stomp to its skull. The heroes win the day, finishing the battle as one of the wagonmen stabs an arrow-filled gnoll, and Othfir blasts the lower jaw from the remaining beast with a toxic blow from his hammer.

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