As the last dwarf fell you breathe a huge sigh of relief. It is over. The liche, the dwarves, the lazuri. It is all over. Perhaps now there would be a chance to rest. It seems like you have been fighting forever.
You cast the vile net off of the dragon and fling it into the chasm. Sickened and horrified at the thought that such a thing could be made. If someone wants it now, they would have to seek it out in the thicket. Within days it will disappear under a thick tangle of vines and brambles and be hidden beneath a blanket of verdant green. Let them search as they may, no one will ever find it. The Yatahay walk among the fallen to make sure that any who know of this place do not live to tell their tale.
Ormayaru stirs slowly as he shakes off the effects of the partially complete Enthrall ritual. He eyes stare dimly at you but you see no recognition there. Only feral, animal hunger. His great lips curl back in a snarl that reveals his fangs.
“Ormayaru ! It is Prospero and Arghmon, children of earth and fire! Don’t you remember?” cries Prospero
A flicker of recognition flashes in his eyes and he raises his head above the party. “Children of the elements. Why is that familiar to me?” Suddenly he moans a long sad note and lays his head on the ground. “Nooooooo! It is gone. Thousands of years of memories, all gone. I cannot remember what I was before I came to the Thicket. Those foul creatures have stripped it from me!” With a angry bellow he breathes out a gust of acidic gas and lays waste to a huge swath of the thicket and the corpses of the dwarves. Before you can stop him, he runs off in the direction of the journeyman catacombs.
At that moment, Brenna-orm steps from the thicket into the clearing with two of his braves towing the Gardener in a litter. “Let the dragon be my brothers. I heard his words and he will need time to deal with the grave sin these dwarves have committed against him. Wait until he seeks you out. In the mean time we have work to do!”
The Yatahay help you get the second truck rolling and you slowly lever it over the lip of the chasm to join it’s infernal companion. You also dump the large pieces of the air copter into the chasm. The whole time your minds keep turning back to the dragon. You worry about his recovery and feel helpless about his plight.
The yatahay break out simple food and eat without interest as Brenna nurses the Gardener to his feet. The Gardener approaches and Lasheur jumps to his feet and bows deeply. Simon rises behind him and also bows.
“It is good to see you up and about my lord. How may I serve you?”
“It is I who must serve you Lasheur. You and Simon fought bravely for me, the dragon and the Thicket itself. Such bravery will not go unrewarded. I noticed you stacking the dwarven gear. A fine bounty no doubt, but such pillaging is beneath you and Simon. We will gift that gear to the Yatahay. It will sustain them through many a hard winter. I had the Yatahay descend back into the catacombs and rescue what gear they could from my bodyguards. You and Simon are welcome to whatever you can use. The rest I will return to their families. Additionally, Lasheur I require the use of you bow, there a few improvements I would sing into it.”
The Yatahay lay the gear bundles at your feet and you suddenly feel a touch of shame. “Do not feel ashamed. I assure you those elves would want their gear to be used by warriors such as yourselves.” You rummage through the gear and find:
- 40 “Troll Killer” Arrows ( +1 Damage, AP 2 )
- Superb Leather Armor ( 2 sets )
- Superb Chain Coif/Hood ( 2 )
- A Pair of copper bracers that will increase the Armor in your arms by 1. They are covered with odd runes related to the cult of Bandar ( Arax T’ha matrices for “Roll with Punch” and “Prescient Defense” )
You gather up your kingly gifts and thank the Gardener profusely. You notice that the Yatahay have also received some better arrows and a few elf bows blessed by the Gardener to allow them to work for the Yatahay. The Gardener smiles as he watches them dance around like children with new toys. He pulls Lasheur aside.
“It’s not much, but I sang what traits into the bow as I could in my weakened state. Take it with my thanks. He hands you the bow and it looks as though it has been remade by master craftsmen.
- The Gardener sings Strength, Range and Precision into your Elf Bow making it Superb quality: Range 20/40/80, +1 Shooting, +1 Damage
You and Simon glance at each other and smile. Simon calls to Lasheur, “The next time Lord Igmar rears his ugly, scaly head, he is in for one nasty surprise!”
“Aye friend Simon, a few troll killers to the brain-pan should should convince him that his fixation on me is truly unhealthy!”
You laugh a moment and then notice that the wizards are missing. Brenna notices your worried looks, “He called for them my brothers. You have nothing to fear. They are with the dragon now – or what’s left of him.”
Prospero and Arghmon heard the summons in their mind and made their way to the dragon’s hideaway. You found him resting with his head on his massive taloned claws.
“I remember you Prospero. I remember you Arghmon. I also remember that I was a teacher long, long ago. I have a few things to teach you quickly before they fade from my memory. That accursed net continues to rob me of my memories though its effects are tapering off. It will not rob me of everything that I once was. Stand before me and stare into my eyes.”
You approach him and peer into the vastness of those wise and fearless eyes and feel his mind invade your own. At first it is too much, even in his weakened state he could crush your will with a stray thought. No wonder the Journeymen achieved the heights of wonder if they had teachers like this. Ormayaru’s heavy thoughts retreat to the boundaries and you feel yourself able to breath again.
“Yes, good. I know these minds, not like those from so long ago that I barely remember, mere shadows, but the paths are familiar. I will make a few adjustments…”
You think to protest but your concerns are brushed aside as you would swat a gnat. You are not in control here. You are casual observer with no part to play but to watch.
“Ha, this is not sorcery as I once taught it, this is all wrong. No bother, I can fix this…” You feel as if your mind is being read like a scroll and large parts of what you know are being scratched out and re-written by the hand of a master poet…
“Your connection to the mana flow is too weak, you must always be running out of power. Let’s open up that conduit. Yes this will be much better…” You feel you mind being pried open like someone levering their thumbs into the core of an orange to open up its flower…
You awake to find yourselves sprawled on the floor of the cavern. Sometime during the process you must have fainted.
“I could have done more but you probably would have gone insane.”
- You both gain the Improved Wizard Edge and the Power Surge Edge.
You have both done me a great service and while I am but a mere shadow of myself, you need only call and I will come as long as you are within the Thicket. Go now, return to your friends, I have much to contemplate.”
You leave the dragon and rejoin the party as it is packing up to leave. Brenna and the Yatahay will take the Gardener to Woodfort so that he may rejoin the elves. Brenna points down the path of destruction that the dwarves cared through the thicket.
“You way lies down this path to the city of Summerford. Tell their leaders what you learned here. We encountered many camps of evil things gathering in the thicket as I am told you did also. Though we destroyed or scattered the bulk of these, I fear that there may be more about. With both the dragon and the Gardener weakened, the thicket will have to tend to itself. Without its vibrant brambles to impede them, I’m afraid our enemies will be free to move against us. They are greatly weakened, but so are we. Stay vigilant my brothers.”
You clasp forearms in the Yatahay way and they dissolve into the thicket. You trudge along the dwarven trail for a few miles and come to what must have been their base camp. The Yatahay slaughtered, scalped and stripped any that were here and you pass through leaving the corpses for the carrion birds and the camp for the thicket. At the edge of the camp you spy a cleverly hidden stack of crates. There is a note pinned to the top of the boxes with a Yatahay arrow. It says simply, “For my brothers – 2 Feather.”
The three crates contain 6 dwarven grenades each. One box is marked with a cloud, one with a lightning bolt, and one with a skull. Simon hefts one of the grenades and smiles, “You gotta love those Yatahay…”