The trip back would lead us through the town of High Horn. We were a few hours from reaching High Horn when we noticed a wagon that had been attacked. All the guards were dead. The attackers were pillaging the wreckage.
Xanth and tarl charged through the trees and attacked. I could sit a horse well enough, but i was not going to try to jump it through the trees. Kita and I took a few o follow the road around the stand of trees.
I lost sight of Tarl and realized Xanth was not going to wait for any talks. By the time i had unseated my mount, Xanth had sent a volley of arrows. I used my gifts to throw fire around a little while trying to get to the horses. The horses were still tethered to the burning wagons. I reached the reigns Kita was freeing the horses by shooting the reigns with arrows. She freed two by the time i crossed the distance to the horses.
I gave a quick look around for Tarl. I saw an enemy bring down a war club striking him. I was in a bit of a decision, Tarl could handle himself but the last horse needed to be cut free. Xanth made my decision easy. A quick sprint and a flick of his knife and Xanth were walking the animal away from danger.
I used my ability to super heat the enemy’s war club. I could tell it burnt him as he discarded it. Tarl took the opening and dove through the man’s legs cutting into the area of his manhood. The mad dropped to his knees and begged for his life.
I turned quickly to find Kita had pinned one enemy of in the brush. She called to me, “this one might not make it.” I sent a heal his way and we bound our two captives.
Bye the look to the scene, the wagon guards were taken by surprise. This is the tactic we have been seeing everywhere. The guards were shown no quarter and were left to die as these others searched through the wreckage. I was disgusted.
I gave the two captives a few threats and walked off to let the others question them. They were tied to a line off the back of the wagon. After loading as much of the supplies onto the horses as possible we headed to High Horn.
A few minutes into the trip one man had slipped his bonds. I tried a command word, “Halt!” to no avail. Tarl gave chase. I called out knowing he would not hear me, “You should have stopped. Tarl will do much worse when he catches you then that command.”
True to my word, Tarl had set him on fire again. The man limped back in obvious pain. The other man began saying things like, “don’t say anything.” and “we will die before we talk.” I knew what was coming well before it happened. Before i could walk away Xanth had removed a finger from the man’s hand. The scream was long and i felt it dig into me. I made my way to a hill top to better secure the area. Even at a distance i could hear the man cry out in pain again.
The moments were long as i waited for the pain inflicted talks to cease. I walked back and the man begged me to heal him. I reminded him that i had already warned him not to run off and i would heal him if he gave his word this time that he would not try to escape. He gave his word and i used the weakest healing ability i had. I just could not get the memories of the wagon guards out of my head yet.
The pain inspired talks had reviled that these men were hired by similar dark elves to the captive we had had with in this Ten-Day. They were to distort the wagon and get paid at a local tavern. Tarl and i disguised ourselves and went in there place. We were given a sack of gold and told to kill all the loose ends. We agreed and left.
Xanth and Kita turned in the captives and got paid for the goods. We were headed to meet them when we noticed a couple fellows leaving the inn and table of the dark elves we had just been sitting at. Tarl followed and i met up with Xanth and Kita. I told them all i knew and Kita and i went provide Tarl assistance if he needed it.
It was a long time before Kita and I spotted first the two leave the rundown inn, then Tarl leave the same inn. Xanth came with horses and the rest of us mounted and sprinted away.
Tarl had used invisibility to eavesdrop on the conversation of the two he had followed. They spoke of an invasion. Xanth got the same impression from the stables. Our ride home to Woodmere was at a pushed pace.
We passed the area were Kita had befriended a squirrel. I guess the thing recognized her and dropped out of a tree into her lap. They became fast friends. Kita chirped away in the creature’s language like they were long lost friends.
Woodmere was a warm sight. We all agreed to put our affairs in order and meet back up. I began my normal routine. I went past the tavern and offered the travelers any assistance I could provide. They all had the same request, “It would be nice to get a room for the night.”
The tavern was now that full. I asked the owner about the rooms not being rented. He said they were all rented, but they were empty as well. There was something wrong. I found Kita and Tarl at the tavern and told them I needed to get Xanth. We all needed to figure this out. I made my way to Kitas home. Xanth had mentioned talking to her parents.
I had just missed him and found him on the return to the tavern. It was clear after we all sat down that our little town was in trouble. We canned an emergency meeting of the artisan’s guild. We gathered at Kitas parents.
I could tell the place was being watched. I made a few patrols in the open. Making sure that anyone with mal-intent would have a chance to see my friends and I were on to them.
It was clear that someone was trying to buy this town. Every one of them had taken money for a halt to their services. We could tell they had been approached individually. Some of them had even taken the offered wealth and left town.
We told them of our findings in High horn and gave them all the information we had received on our travels. Our point was well made and those gathered here agreed to begin services as normal. We also agreed to try to strengthen the guard forces as soon as possible.
I told all that were gathered that this building had been being watched. Whoever was behind this would know we gathered. All that were gathered agreed that we would stick together.