The Travelers of Terra

Chapter 7

A Call to Arms

Upon their return, the group finds that Gridan was recently under siege. Smoke still trailed high in the sky, and the burnt and broken remains of orcs, knolls, goblins, and other undead carcasses lay strewn about the fields outside the city walls. Siege weapons left unmanned and broken down appeared to have done some damage to the main gate to Gridan. Engineers and bricklayers were already working furiously to make repairs.

Eldin informs you that a few days ago a large group of foul creatures came barreling out of Midan Vale to the east. “They were pretty ragtag, not much coordination or strategy. They threw themselves wildly at Gridan’s front gate. We suffered minor damage, but were about to put down their lackluster assault rather easily. Patrols also reported seeing groups of evil creatures moving about the country side, too large to take on themselves.” He angled his head inquisitively and asked, “What did you discover in the north? You are thinking of going back to this Earth of yours?” For a moment he seemed to be staring. “I’m sorry, it’s just with the way you look, your appearance at the beginning of these disturbances, and how much help you all have been, I feel like you belong here. But of course, you must get back to your home. But until them, I hope you can come to see this place as a home away from home.”

After receiving Eldin’s briefing, they go to see the Lavendis brothers, and check on Dr. Cain’s condition. Dr. Cain is excited to show you his newfound knack. Pointing lithely at a tin mug on the table, he slides it across the room into the hands of one of the brothers, who catches it clumsily. He can now move things slightly with his mind. He seems vibrantly well.

During a discussion about the Mithril bracelet and new information about Kelmar’s golden bangle, they are abruptly interrupted by messenger from Mayor Eldin. Gasping to catch her breath, the messenger utters, “Emergency, come right away. Patrol just in…gasp…a large force out of the south…gasp…heading towards…Old Gridan…gulping air…much larger than the first.” She then shoves a crumpled note into Yolanda’s hand. It reads: Old Gridan is not the most well run of cities, we will need your immediate assistance defending the gates. The site of the Worldgate is in Old Gridan, you might want to head that way to make sure it keeps standing.

They arrive harried in Old Gridan, passing by people fleeing to the West. The place is in an uproar, chaos and disorder everywhere. Guards are being harassed by citizens, who look confused, terrified, and uncertain of how to respond. Prefect Delvinious Cadmore seems to be in charge. His fancily braided hair, stylish trimmed beard, golden circlet, royal blue robes, and jewelry indicate his high rank and position. He quickly accepts their aid but says they do not have enough trained troops to put up proper defense. He alludes to political infighting being the primary cause of the militia being disbanded and rebanded several times. “We need more troops, Gridan sent some, but kept most for its own defense.” Shacking his fist in the air, “Dammit Eldin! If these walls fall yours will follow soon after!”

Keothi proposed to ask Mowandahi tribe to aid them. Cadmore scoffs, “They will never come. Things have been…. Unpleasant for some time. They are resentful of our ever expanding city. They want all the world to live in filth and squalor like them do. If you want to waste your time, you are free to go. However, our need is immediate and great.” Offering that he may be able to use his political influence as a Goliath Thaneborn to sway the Mowandahi, Keothi suggests that an away team travel east to negotiate with the tribal chief, while Yolanda, Arjahn, Quolema and Asura stay behind to bolster their defenses. Cadmore agrees, and Keothi turns to him and addresses a band of nearby soldiers, “Have faith and fight with all your might! Your greatest advantage is that you fight to protect your people, your families. Let that knowledge temper your steel and strike fear into your enemies. Remember that those with fear in their hearts fall quickly!”

On their way to the Mowandahi tribal land, they are stopped by heavily armed shifter hunters. “What is your business?” After some brief introductions, “We recognize the Goliath tribe of the Dundran. We will grant you an audience, but not so armed. These are dangerous times.” Keothi was able to convince the hunters to allow them to peacebind their weapons in lieu of surrendering them. They are brought before Amris Mowandahi, Chieftain of Tribe. The main village is built into the land and trees, harmoniously blending in with the ardent scenery. Beautiful homes of polished wood with weaving leaves and vines for embellishments. The exteriors of these finely sung homes are lined with diverse and wild-yet-placed foliage. The chief sits on an ornate thrown in the middle of the great village circle, with an elaborately carved and ancient stone fire pit in center. In a powerful monotone voice, he exclaims, “I am disinclined to lend aid to the heathens of Old Gridan. They have shown no regard for anything beyond their own greed and dominance of the world around them.”

Stepping forward, Keothi genuflects and introduces himself. He then attempts to appeal to the chief’s more open-minded sensibilities, and implies that if Gridan is over taken, his people will be in great danger. The chief replies, “I do not give my blessing for free. Nor will I spill the blood of my people for naught. There is a growing shadow in the world, that much I have felt. Of evils that I seem to have at my doorstep, I will choose the lesser if it shows it has the strength to defend itself. As a sign of good faith, if you as emissaries of Old Gridan help us in our territory, we will lend them aid as well.” He calls the group into his private hut and explains about a trouble in the forest that their hunters could not deal with themselves. He sends the group on a mission with his son, Tobogo, as a guide, and Tobogo’s companion, Trello. Scouts report that a powerful beast has been savagely murdering forest travelers and animals alike.

En route through the forest, strange noises, loud shouting, crunching leaves and sticks, and gnashing metal can be heard. They hear, “The instruction said to meet at the south end of Clover Bay. I think south is down.” “Shut up you fool and keep moving. South is up, any maggot knows that! If we don’t get there soon we’ll miss all the fun.” It is a small band of hobgoblin raiders: a hobgoblin warcaster riding a worg, three soldiers, and two archers.

The forge onward and come to a ravine. This ravine must be a a popular hunting ground. Animals frequent the river and there is an old hunters’ trap near the river. A piercing howl cuts through the air, but something is different about this particular howl. It is definitely a wolf, but it has a strange quality. The group is ambushed by a pack of ravenous canines, charging down the hill from the east and west.

While hunting for what was described to be a great beast, along a path they find a wounded man, who introduces himself as Jamnis Crane. He is crying for help, and covered in fresh blood, deep scratches and cuts. His clothes are ripped and he is very disheveled. “I was traveling to Old Gridan from Craymoon City when I heard shouting and fighting coming from the path ahead. I was afraid and in the middle of unfamiliar wilderness and so I decided to try to travel as quietly as I could. Then, I heard the death screams of two different creatures, and it suddenly went quiet. I froze and listened. That’s when I heard a piercing roar from close behind me and I bolted as fast as I could. I ran, hearing the approaching thud of some hulking beast behind me but I wasn’t fast enough. I remember being pounced on and shoved to the ground. I turned over and fought back as hard as I could, but I can’t remember anything after that except that the beast just ran off. Then you all approached. I beg you, please don’t leave me. I’ll go wherever you go, please don’t leave me alone.”

After proceeding through the woods for many more hours, it became dark, and the group decided to camp for the night. On the way, they find two fresh shifter hunter corpses that Tobogo recognizes: one male (Tureeni) and one female (Shikani). They were savagely ripped apart. Tobogo remembers that they left over a week ago to hunt for the terror.

Interestingly, Jamnis doesn’t seem tired. In fact, as the evening grows later, he seems to be more invigorated the later it gets. His wounds don’t seem to bother him at all either. They make camp for the night in a small grotto. Dassarius takes the first watch.

Late that night, Dassarius’ trance is disturbed by Jamnis, who begins to behave very peculiarly. He advances on Dassarius, taking an aggressive stance, and talking about how much he admires the moon. Thoroughly concerned, Dassarius turns to wake his allies just as Jamnis lets out a bestial growl and grabs Dassarius. Instinctively, Dassarius steps through a thin slit in the fabric of this dimension and into the Feywild, instantly re-entering in a safe location, outside of Jamnis’ clutches. He then wakes his allies while Jamnis contorts and shifts into the shape of a werewolf. Fur sprouts where skin once was and fangs protrude from his now canine maw. Springing into action, the group wakes up and hurriedly readies for battle. Keothi summons his armor with a command word and rushes to the werewolf with Aukan and Tobogo at his side, to put themselves between the wolf and Dassarius and Trello. Teamwork was key in this battle, as the werewolf was ferocious and quick on his feat.

After defeating the werewolf, the group is finally able to rest for the night. The next morning, they head back to Ramkani Village, the home of the Mowandahi. Shortly after their return, a sparrow messenger flutters to Dassarius’ shoulder, and delivers an urgent message from Arjahn. “Old Gridan is about to come under siege. Hurry back, and with reinforcements. Their numbers are larger than we expected.” Without any time for honorifics and celebration, the group bids their farewell to Amris, chief of the Mowandahi. Amris, in his wisdom, pledges to help defend Terra against this terrible threat. He agrees to send an advanced cohort of warriors, with the rest of his troops to follow after funereal rites are completed for Tureeni and Shikani.

The group, followed by a contingent of shifter soldiers, make haste to Old Gridan.

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