Three young members of the Blood are summoned to the court of the bandit queen.
One is Benjammin of House Rudolph, grandson of Marciso & Miesa, son of Lialda and Carter Darkseeker. Benjammin has been trained in fighting and educated in the school of magic.
Another is Tirilithon of House Rudolph, grandson of Daniel and Tamarie, son of Amelia and Mahaer. Tiril is trained as a ranger.
The third is Lewen of House Theren, grandson of Cote and Ariel Chalicene, son of Cathran and Sir Kevorin. Lewen is trained in fighting and has been tutored by the priests of Bahamut.
Scarlet Jax greets the boys and assigns Reda, Ben’s aunt, to escort the three into the hills to root out orcs. They need to gain experience so they can start earning their way. With Reda leading them they shouldn’t have any problems.
Reda marched the three trainees through the wooded hills. She explained that the woods and surrounding areas were enchanted by the magic users and clerics of Jaxson making the settlements location quite difficult for outsiders to find. Also, Blazil patrolled the skies and informed the leaders of Jaxson of any suspicious observations. They traveled for the better part of a day and would camp that night. In the morning, they would climb a small mountain that had a clearing at the top with a bunker. A message would be left for them there giving the layout of the land.
Near the end of the day, as the group were considering a good spot to settle for a rest, they ran into an orc scouting party. Suddenly, the three young men were facing their first battle. The orcs charged. Reda was surprised and had no time to direct the group into a formation before two orcs were engaged. The battle was quick. The monsters were hideous with black shiny eyes, sharpened yellow teeth and a foul smell. The three boys held the orcs off. They received some cuts and bruises and took down a few of the beasts but Reda did the better part of the slaying.
After, Reda expressed her concern that the orcs had been so close to Jaxson. She had expected to reach the lookout mountain without running into any of the creatures. Aware that they had run into a scouting party, Reda suggested they travel during the night and hopefully would reach the mountaintop before running into more orcs who would have an advantage in the darkness.
They made it to a bluff on the mountain side about halfway to the top. Dawn was an hour away and the four were tired. They rested for half an hour and then heard movement through the forest below. A heavy, guttural voice was shouting curses in a language they did not understand. Reda and the boys armed themselves and retreated up the mountain. They made a defensive stand near the top as the first orcs arrived. They took a couple down with arrows and then engaged in melee. Reda killed and the boys fought bravely.
Again, Reda and the younglings retreated. This time they reached the bunker. It was a shallow round hole perhaps twelve feet diameter with mounds of rock and dried mud creating a crude crenelated wall around it. In the center a rusted metal pole extended from a stone dais. The pole rose nearly five feet and had a rusty metal basin at its peak. A parchment was pinned under a head sized stone in the basin. Reda took it out, unrolled it and read.
“Large warbands sighted, return promptly ".
More orcs appeared and a huge, curse-spitting ogre drove them ahead of him. Arrows flew from the bunker but soon the orcs were upon them. The ogre pointed his pole arm at the bunker a shouted commands to the frenzied orcs.
“Take one alive and kill the rest!” Reda translated.
They hacked and slashed at the beasts and many soon lay dead in and around the bunker. The ogre arrived and attacked with his vicious weapon. Reda and the three trainees were wounded and Benjammin found himself facing the ogre. After a few rounds off combat the ogre was hit with a hard strike and vanished before Ben’s eyes. Few of the orcs remained and Ben joined the fight against them. Reda chopped down another orc adding it to her impressive tally of kills. Suddenly, the ogre appeared flying down from above preparing a spell aimed at the bunker. A cone of cold shot down from the ogre’s out-stretched hand and the boys dove away from it. The cold blast engulfed Reda and she fell as the ogre landed in the bunker. Ben, Tiril and Lewen made desperate strikes catching the ogre by surprise. He had been expecting them to retreat or surrender after their leader had fallen but they showed great bravery and their attacks killed the terrible monster. Lewen rushed to Reda. She was cold and dying. Quickly Lewen prayed to Bahamut and healed Reda. She lay unconscious but would live.
The dawn had come and a winged blinding light descended on the mountain top. A dragon with swirling silver and gray scales landed near the bunker and hiss/growled words in a strange language. The three boys looked at it with awe. There was a connection between these half-elfs and this magnificent creature. They could never harm her and knew she could never harm them. They looked upon Myztic, daughter of Caustrex.
“Reda is injured.” Myztic hissed, gesturing to their fallen leader.
“I have healed her,” Lewen replied humbly, “She is out of immediate danger but needs more healing than I can give.”
“I will take her home.” stated the dragon, “you take the path on the northern side. There are runes only the blood can see that marks the path. It is safe for now. Go!” With that she lifted Reda in her front claws and her powerful wings lifted her into the air and she became a blinding light again as she flew away.
Lewen Tiril and Ben found a rune on a tree at the northern side of the mountain and after a few paces past another rune appeared on a tree and another after that and so on. The three men limped home. They were boys no longer.