Hello everyone, welcome. Today I am sharing the last part in my current D&D 5e Arc. In the last session, Rhyll’Zt was forced to endure a couple of trust/team building exercises with Nyssa Timbers, and the very last thing that happened was our Mine Cart plunging into darkness. What you have to ask yourself is, with death imminent, what happens next? And I suppose it all boils down to reason for playing and trusting that the Dungeon Master doesn’t see themselves as your opponent. Let us see if that trust was rewarded.
Rhyll’Zt Zau’Und – Drow Ranger played by Me.
Vuldin – Dwarven cleric played by Pete.
Cassiea Ea – Tiefling Sorceress played by Simon.
Torrin – Dragonborn Barbarian played by Alexander.
Nissa Timbers – Gnome Rogue played by Sarah.
Clatter – Kenko Rogue played by Amalie. .
The next thing I knew was pain all over, and the taste of dirt in my mouth. The insufferable laughter was replaced by a voice.
“Yes, you 4 were quite impressive. Much better than I expected. Well done. You might prove to be a challenge after all. Much more than these two.”
I felt something tugging at my hood. Hauled up, I could barely focus on the other party members who seemed to be no worse for wear. I was struggling to focus and dried blood was sealing part of my eye.
“Well, best be off. I am sure you have important things to do. Perhaps we’ll meet in Kharad Kal.”
I heard that interminable munching once again and I felt the pain leave my body to be replaced with only dull aches. I was able to stand and it appeared I was unharmed and definitely not dead.
“My friends, we were worried about you!”
Though this could be hell, depending on how you look at things. Nyssa dusted herself off. “Nyssa, um, I’m sorry. I think I got us killed.”
“Don’t do it again, we’ll be ok.”
And that was that. Our enforced detour over we continued on the road to Ursadae. The others spoke of their challenges, which sounded like they were more like puzzles than insane deathtraps. I stayed quiet. This was new to me. I don’t really think I ever relied on anyone before or had anyone rely on me further than the letter of a contract. It is humbling to think the first time that happened we died as a result, and despite that the Gnome seemed to be handling it without recriminations. She was handling it better than I was.
We arrived in Kharad Kal, the gate guards waving us into the walled port city. Vuldin accosted one of the guards to determine the best way to get to the Dwarven Stronghold, Kharad Kal, and was told that there were frequent caravans on the north road. We hurried to the caravanserai and were able to sign on with one leaving in the morning.
“I have an errand to run here,” I told the group. “I shouldn’t be long.”
“You must not go out by yourself!” exclaimed Vuldin. “It could be dangerous.”
“I am on more familiar footing here than in random death labyrinths. I will be fine. I only need to find someone and relay a message.”
“Nevertheless, I shall accompany you!”
There was no getting rid of him, and for reasons beyond comprehension, Nyssa decided to tag along on my solo errand too. I suppose I could have lost them in the city, I am certainly faster than both and better suited to that, but I suppose that would just mean he’d be watching me constantly. The dwarf needs to mind his business. We agreed to meet back at the Caravanserai later, as the others decided to do a bit of shopping.
We found the Doctor’s residence after speaking to a guard and a beggar and found it locked up. There was a light on upstairs.
“We should knock,” said Vuldin. He started knocking. There was no reply within a few minutes.
“Continue knocking, I am going to check round the back to see if I can find a way in.”
I slipped round the back, pulling the leg of an insect from my pouch and muttered a few words. I felt energy pulsing into my legs. When I found his garden I could see a window on the second floor, the same floor as the light. I jumped up to the window, balancing on the frame and picking the lock silently allowing me entry. I crept along the upstairs corridor towards a room where there was grunting coming from. I heard thumping and was disappointed to find Vuldin had already managed to outwit his way past the front door (It was probably Nyssa that did that…)
I opened the door to find the Doctor in the middle of surgery on what looked like a ranger scout. Looking exhausted, the Doctor glanced up at us, “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
“What’s going on here. Who is this?” I decided guild business could wait. My contract didn’t include random deaths and to be honest I didn’t really have the stomach for more death this day.
“He’s a scout from the Garrison that was patrolling the north road. He was the only survivor from his patrol. They were ambushed.”
“Vuldin, can you stabilise him and help the good doctor?”
Forgetting his customary nonsense, Vuldin hurried to the Doctor’s side and placed a hand on the wounded scout. The hand glowed slightly and I could see a wound, formerly gushing blood, was starting to close.
Sweat pouring from his brow, the doctor shook is head. “That isn’t enough. He’s been poisoned. He needs antidote but if I leave him, he’ll die of wounds before I can get back.”
“What kind of poison?” I asked, “And do you have the antidote.”
“Poison used by your people,” he said. “There are ingredients in the shop, but…”
“Tell Vuldin what you need and he can fetch and mix it up. I’ll help tend the wounds.”
Vuldin looked suspicious, but was sent running when I yelled, “Move it, Dwarf, the patient’s life is hanging by a thread.”
The doctor thanked me. I took a clean towel and some warm water and helped the doctor keep wounds clean whilst he tried stitching.
“Thank you, Drow, your help is appreciated.”
“I’m not here by accident, Doctor. I’m here to collect a debt. I’ll help you with your patient but if I don’t leave here with reassurances, the next person that comes looking will probably just kill you.”
He looked at me. The man was exhausted, probably from fighting to save this man’s life for however long. “You’re with them?”
“Yes. And you’ll be pleased to know, we’ve diversified into the medical business to help folks back in Strig. But you paid for…insurance…with us and your bill has come due. Save this man, and agree to settle your debt.”
“I don’t want your group as an enemy…but this took priority.”
“I understand. That is why I am not threatening, not breaking things, I just want your debt cleared so the guild can leave you alone.”
“When I’m done, I’ll settle. I swear.”
I actually believed him. Vuldin returned with the antidote which the Doctor administered. The patient’s breathing became stronger and the doctor’s frame slumped. He fell into a cot in the corner and was asleep within moments.
“I am done here. Useful to know about an ambush on the north road. We might want some extra antidote.”
Vuldin looked like he was going to complain. “I didn’t say steal it. Leave him money.”
We returned to the Caravanserai to relay the news about the north road. I tried to slip away to connect with the guild, but the Dwarf stopped me again.
“Where are you going, and why so secretive?”
“I have one final piece of business to attend to.”
“Then I shall-”
“No, you shall not! It is personal and private. Heed my wishes this time.”
I stormed away and began threading my way through the city. He was still following me, but that didn’t matter, as I had a lead on him. My contact was a Halfling in a tavern on the docks. I found the place and made my way through a room full of thieves and muggers, all of whom were eyeing me with curiosity.
The halfling was sipping wine from a glass. I fetched another pair of wine glasses and approached him, offering him one. He indicated I should sit.
The Halfling smiled. “I heard you were coming by. One of your marks in city I believe?”
“Indeed. Found him, in his home. Attending to urgent medical business. He is on the verge of exhaustion, in no fit state to run. He’ll be along to settle his debt shortly. When he does, do me a favour, go easy on him. He just treated one of Ursadae’s finest. And let Skip know I’ll be expecting payment.”
“Done and done. Do you know you were followed by…”
“…by a ridiculous dwarf? Yes I know.”
“He is peeking through the window like a delinquent boy the first time he learns to get over the wall in the girls’ baths.”
“Subtlety is not his thing.”
I heard shouting. And then I heard metal clanking. No, please no…Outside I found Vuldin brawling with a guard. The guard’s companion watched with no small amount of disdain. I sidled up to him.
“I don’t suppose there is any way to stop this and make this go away?”
“Tell your friend to stop and apologise for picking a fight with the duly appointed law officers, and maybe we can settle something.”
“Vuldin! What the blazes are you doing?”
“I was accosted by this man! I am defending myself!”
“Vuldin you were spying on a tavern, and the guards obviously have a job to do.” I was actually starting to enjoy this turn of events.
“Crime was happening! Suspicious things!”
“I’m sorry officer,” I said with my best insincere face, “Ever since he was dropped on his head repeatedly as a child and then as an adult, he has been paranoid. I was just in the tavern he refers to and I will confirm no criminal activities were taking place. I suspect if you were to venture inside and ask the patrons they would obligingly corroborate this.”
The Guard grunted.
“They probably just want to go about their perfectly legitimate business without interruptions and appreciate the discretion of the guards.”
The guard looked at me quizzically. I glanced back at the tavern. More than a few inhabitants were peering out and looking at the Guard’s faces. “My friend and I will be leaving town tomorrow. Perhaps if your associate would see fit to overlook the dwarf’s foolish behaviour, we could be out of your hair by then.”
I had gold in my palm and offered to shake. The guard smiled and accepted the gesture. “Come on, we’re done here.”
Vuldin probably would have won against one guard, probably not the other watchmen who were approaching. Apparently they had sent word before engaging. Smarter than your average guards. Vuldin looked undaunted. I walked up to him and punched him in the gut, which turned out to be more painful to me than him as his gut was quite muscular.
“What was that for you ungrateful Drow?”
“I told you not to follow me. Not only could you not respect my wishes, you get into a fight with the constabulary.”
“I was here to protect you. I was afraid crime was going to happen.”
“Based on what? Your finely honed senses? No, Vuldin, you followed me because you don’t trust me because I am a Drow. No other reason. That makes you the same sort of scum I have had to deal with my entire life. I don’t expect much from you, but I expected better than that. And for your information, the only crime that happened here was the bribing of a law officer to keep you out of jail. You’re welcome. Now get lost!”
I stormed off again, this time down the docks furious with him, more angry than I had expected. I didn’t quite understand why I was so angry. Why did it matter to me that the idiot dwarf was just like everyone else? The rest of the group had also arrived, having heard about a dwarf brawling on the docks and rightly assuming Vuldin was being an idiot again. For reasons that escape my comprehension they decided to use the tavern as our Inn for the night and booked rooms. We set watches, and I took first one. I visited the halfling during the watch and handed over some more coins. “No one messes with the group upstairs.”
The halfling nodded. “Skip said you had a strange sense of loyalty. I’d have cut the dwarf’s throat by now.”
I glanced at the stairs and shrugged. “The night is young.”
And here endeth Level 2 of Rhyll’Zt’s adventures with Vuldin and Co. I hope you have enjoyed and will keep an eye out for future installments. And in answer to the question at the start. Yes, my trust was rewarded.