10 Spring, 2979
As the total eclipse finally crested the Astral Mountains, the group of adventurers stood at the north gate of Masshiro ready to set out for the next mission. Standing over the rest, Hedge the Cushani and Vaar the Dragonborn looked out over the trail heading to the northwest with grim determination. At their side stood the masked half elf Jarret and the eladrin Feloryn.
“How long do you think this time Hedge?” asked Jarret as he adjusted the straps of his backpack.
“Barring goblins…couple days,” he replied and looked to Vaar. “You can handle goblins right?” He gave a jab at the dragonborn’s side and earned an icy stare in return. He kept to himself the reservations he had of this particular mission. Something about it didn’t sit right with him. There was deception at work but he didn’t know where to start working on figuring it all out. It would just have to wait.
“I wish Miro was coming,” he muttered to himself before sticking a chicken leg in his mouth and began walking.
11 Spring, 2979
“Damn bugs,” Feloryn mumbled as he slapped his hand on the back of his neck. “Why, of all places, do we have to cross a swamp?”
“Because the Sun hates you,” Jarret said in his usual deadpan voice. Vaar tilted her head to the side in a puzzled fashion at the comment.
“Joke,” he added in the exact same tone.
A rustling of the bushes broke the conversation as the group went silent and went for their weapons. A few short seconds of movement later resulted in the large form of Hedge walking towards the group with a lizard in each hand, “What?” he asked as he made his way into the campsite.
“Thought you were something else,” Vaar said with a smirk.
“I thought Cushani were supposed to be quiet?” Feloryn asked as he put away his wand next to his backpack.
“I thought Eladrin were supposed to be spicy,” Hedge retorted, wetting his lips in a hungry fashion.
Feloryn gave a shiver and sat down.
The group cooked up the pair of lizards over a small fire and spoke a little about their plans what to do once they reached the temple of the Moon. None of them were sure what they would see once they got their but knowing the tendency of the Lunite’s paranoia, there would be stiff defenses. Considering how their adventures had gone thus far, it would probably turn into a disaster.
With their eating finished, they continued their trek through the swamps at a brisk pace. The trees and brush extended their shadow across the land from the little light given off by the eclipse. A slight fog hugged along the ground, not much more than ankle high but moved and swirled around the group as they moved along.
Jarret kept his eyes fixed along the scenery, on the look out for anything that may decide to have the group as a snack. After several hours of traveling, he spotted movement up ahead which he thought was something relatively small darting around the pushes. He quickly brought up his hand and muttered, “Something’s up ahead.”
The rest of the group came to a stop and slipped their weapons free of their bindings. Hedge raised his head up a bit and sniffed at the air, “It stinks…” he said as he crinkled his nose.
“Of course it stinks, we’re in a swamp,” replied Vaar.
“Quiet down, both of you,” Feloryn snapped as he moved forward up to Jarret’s side. “What did you see?”
Jarret motioned up ahead about 100 yards to a large cropping of bushes. “Over there, a couple of shadows darting around the bushes, no much larger than a halfling I would say.”
Feloryn nodded and looked back to the dragonborn and the cushani who were still bantering back and forth in debate about who could smell better. He sighed and took a step towards them and then was suddenly jerked to the side as Jarret shoved the eladrin down to the ground and gave a loud grunt as he fell to the ground along with him.
Feloryn quickly rolled upright and looked to Jarret to protest the shove. As he looked upon the masked half elf, his eyes went wide with horror. A five foot shaft of dark wood was sticking out of Jarret’s chest and blood covered his entire upper body. His body writhed in pain from the weapon as he mumbled unintelligible words.
“Shit. Hedge!” he cried out and quickly called upon the realm of Avengard to wrap his body in a veil of shadow before moving off towards the bushes. A shadow rose from the mist at his feet and wrapped around his body like a set of clothing, blurring his movements and making it difficult to see him. As he drew closer, he could start to make out the attackers among the bushes. Lizardmen, several of them.
He glanced back to see Hedge coming to Jarret’s side and Vaar drawing her dual swords as she broke into a run towards the lizardmen. Feloryn whispered a prayer to the Sun and then began to draw upon the magic of Avengard once more. With a slash of his hand he invoked a hex upon the closest lizardman and then cut his hand down in another slashing motion as he drew his wand with his other hand. From the tip of the wand pulsed a violet light before it erupted in a beam of light that scorched the chest of the lizardman, dropping it to the ground. The hex trapped the energy released by the fallen lizardman and redirected the energy to a few feet away from the other attack and in flanking position with the charging dragonborn. The redirected energy ripped a hole in the wall in the primal planes which Feloryn used to teleport himself closer.
Hedge dropped to a knee beside Jarret, looking at the spear in his chest, “Is that all?” he jeered and took hold of the spear and yanked it free from the half-elf’s body. “It’s only a flesh wound pansy. Get up,” he said, his words carrying a bit of will and desire to push Jarret along. The warlock struggled to his knees with his hand holding his chest, “Fucking cats…” he muttered. Hedge only grinned, drew his dusk blade and then charged after Vaar.
The second lizardman took note of the charging heroes and realized his mistake in drawing their wrath. These were not prey as they though, but predators. The lizardman turned to retreat but saw that the eladrin had somehow gotten behind him. He then whirled around back to face the charging dragonborn and was barely able to bring his spear up in time to block the fury of sword strikes. He began to backpeddle at an agle to clear some room behind him but the dragonborn continued to press upon him, using its weapons to keep him from getting away. His eyes then grew wide as the cushani came up with a night colored blade and joined the fray. Outnumbered, the lizardman tried to turn and run but a sword bit into his calf causing him to lose his balance and he tumbled to the ground. He rolled around to his back only to see a pouncing Cushani flying through the air and landing on his chest. The lizardman tried to scream but only managed a squeak as the cushani ripped his throat out.
The group gathered together around Jarret, who still was kneeling on the ground where he had been wounded. “Didn’t I tell you to get up?” demanded Hedge as he looked over the half elf.
“Feels…like I’m on fire…” he stammered and looked up to the ground through his mask, “I…” he didn’t manage to finish as he collapsed to the ground.
The group crowed around the warlock and tried to determine what was wrong. They rolled him onto his back and inspected the spear wound were Hedge found a pale green ooze along the entry point. He brought his head down and sniffed at it and then leaned back, crinkling his nose, “Bloodweed poison,” he finally said.
The rest of the group looked at one another with confused faces. Vaar tiled her head to the side, “Will he be ok?”
Hedge looked down to the masked warlock and said with a growl, “He is going to die.”