Legion of Dorks: Dungeons and Dorks S2E4
First posted on legionofdorks.com. If you’d rather watch the video for all of the out-of-character fun, it has been shared at the above link.
Paused in the middle of Cromm’s Hold as the sun sets, the party stares at the fresh scale, uncertain what it means.
Winston asks, “Kizmyth? Can you tell where your badgers got that scale?”
With a look of utter bewilderment, Kizmyth shakes her head. “Yep.” She picks up the squirming woodland creatures with more confidence than she feels and boops them both on the nose.
The badgers apparently don’t like being booped on the nose, because they each bite one of Kizmyth’s fingers and dive into the bag.
Kizmyth adjusts the bag on her hip, dabbing the blood on a piece of cloth. “They came from that way,” she says, as she points in the direction of the barracks and the munitions building.
Winston rubs his beard, still a bit unstable on his feet from all the drink. “I’m interested in checking out where the badgers came from. If they can pull a fresh scale from a lizardman, then they’re in the city.”
Max squints into the fading light. “We need to be careful with this one. Where there is one lizard, generally there are many lizards.”
“Oh I’m very aware,” Winston agrees. “Lizardmen run in packs and run across the water like this.” The serious paladin flails his arms about and sloshes what wine was left in the bottle all over himself and the ground.
Ianeak laughs and leads the party back to the barracks before Winston finds more to drink.
In front of the munitions building, the captain of the guards paces with his hands behind his back.
“Oy, Captain,” Kizmyth shouts out.
He stops midstride and glares at the interruption to his inner musings.
Winston calls, “Hail, friend.”
The captain’s face lightens at recognizing the old paladin.
Then Kizmyth speaks up again. “Two badgers were here earlier. Could you point me in the direction that they scurried off to?”
The captain’s hand grips the hilt of his sword, and his face flushes red. “So you not only brought a tiefling into my town, but badgers?”
Errias wisely stays quiet, almost like he’s not even there.
Kizmyth slides her bag behind her. “They’re money badgers. They don’t care?”
Her flirtatious smile is completely lost on the stern captain. “That’s the first time I’ve heard of a money badger, but badgers is just plain trouble.”
Kizmyth is not quick to catch the hint. “But did you see them?”
He sighs. “I did not see any badgers.”
Winston steps in to cool the captain down. “I can’t help but notice you look agitated. I have a keen sense that there’s lizardmen around here somewhere.”
The captain cuts him off. “Yes, in the swamp. That’s where the fly eaters live.”
Adrenaline pumps through Winston, focusing his mind so he can get to the truth. “Look. The badgers came back with some evidence that…”
Impatient, Kizmyth jumps into the conversation again. “You’ve been infiltrated.”
Winston steps in front of her as the captain’s breathing increases and the hand on the scabbard of his sword whitens with the sheer pressure of squeezing it. “Yes, you may have been infiltrated.”
The captain motions to the pointed timber walls surrounding the town. “Them are mighty tall walls to be climbing.”
Winston scoffs at the protection of a few pieces of wood. “Lizardmen climb walls. I’ve seen them climb the tallest of towers.”
The captain squares his shoulders. How dare this stranger challenge the security of his facility. “I’ve seen them try to climb the walls and we shot them down.”
“Listen, guard to guard.” Winston takes a step forward, forming a more intimate conversation between him and the old guard. “I know what it’s like. You’re on duty and you step away for a minute to have a taste of something special. We’ve all done it. I know what it’s like. I’m worried that a lizardman actually…”
The captain cuts him off. “Are you admitting to dereliction of duty?”
Winston realizes he’s gone too far. “Never. I would never admit to that. Here. Have a swig of this fine wine. Let’s chat.”
While Winston is distracting the captain, Max sizes up his surroundings. He quietly disengages from the party to check out the side of the munitions building. There’s a space just big enough between the building and the fence for a halfling.
With a look around to make sure no one sees him, Max slips behind the building. There are no windows and nothing of interest that he can see on the munitions building. When he reaches the barracks, Max notices soil splashed on the fencing from a hole dug under the barracks’s stone wall. He crouches and discovers badger hair caught on shards of stone. The little beasties were definitely there, but what’s inside the barracks Max can’t see from here.
Max squeezes out of the gap behind the buildings and rejoins the party before anyone had noticed he was gone.
Ianeak does his own observing, but sees nothing out of the ordinary. He does see that he stubbed his toe somewhere and has no idea when that happened.
The captain has obviously had enough of the party. “I have duties to attend to.”
Winston doesn’t quite get the hint. “I’m not convinced there aren’t lizardmen in here.”
Oddly enough, Kizmyth becomes the voice of reason. “Winston, maybe we should leave this man to his work.”
Winston allows her to guide him away even as he mumbles under his breath, “Well, I’m still bothered by this lizardman.”
Max adds his encouragement to lay off the captain. “Let’s let him go.”
Winston yells over his shoulder, “Let’s worry about who’s derelict of their duties tomorrow, Captain.”
The captain sighs deeply as he restarts his pacing. “Good day, sir.”
As the sun falls below the spiked wall, shadows engulf the corners of the small hold. Mosquitoes come out by the droves and buzz around everyone’s ear. The residents head toward buildings, ready to leave the bugs to their feast.
As the party heads to the tavern, ignoring the looks of disgust tossed at Errias, Max tells everyone else what he saw behind the barracks. Kizmyth checks out the sleeping badges and notices a few bare patches in their fur.
Kizmyth tries to find any reason for the blood to be fresh. The scale could just be a trophy. Winston decides to infiltrate the barracks. With his experience as a guardsman himself, he knows how to talk to them.
Kizmyth perks up. “I know! Winston, we’ll put you in a dress and shove some melons in a bustier and you can sneak in as a woman of the evening.”
The rest of the party stares at her.
Winston attempts to be diplomatic as he swats a mosquito from his cheek. “Stealthy, maybe. Beautiful, I am not. That disguise won’t fool anyone.”
Kizmyth is attached to this idea. “Come on, Ianeak, back me up.”
Ianeak pulls his cloak over his head. “You’re on your own for this one.”
Winston says. “Look. Let me talk my way in.”
Max agrees. “I think you’ll be better served as a distraction than the stealthy creature I know you can be.”
Moving again toward the tavern, Winston tries to explain what he envisioned to begin with. “It’s customary to offer a bed to a visiting guardsman from another town. If I go in alone, they are almost guaranteed to let me in.”
Max says, “And we’ll sneak around back and see if there’s another way in.”
In the tavern, the bartender bristles at Errias. Max rents a room and locks Errias in for his own safety. Errias protests, but weakly. He’s pretty tired anyway.
Montal, the bartender, seems satisfied with that solution. He sells Winston a case of whiskey to take to the barracks as a peace offering. Ianeak decides to see what he can find with his low light vision behind the barracks. Max and Kizmyth hang out at the bar, waiting impatiently.
As Ianeak makes his way between the two buildings, he’s happy his half-elf heritage keeps him slim enough to slip between the fence and the brick. Though completely dark to humans, Ianeak’s elven half allows him to see well enough to make out the walls. However, he misses the hole that the badgers dug. His foot with the stubbed tow drops into the fresh dirt and he tumbles face first on the ground and hits the ground, busting his nose. He curses at his dark lord as he pinches his nose to stop the course of blood flowing down his face.
With his head tilted up, Ianeak notices a bit of the roof propped open, whether to let heat out or fresh air in, he couldn’t know. He pulls Tod out of his pocket and indicates the opening with his mind. The rat runs around his shoulders with pent of energy, then pounces on the stone wall. His tiny paws easily climb up the exterior and dive into the opening.
Meanwhile, Winston makes it to the front of the barracks and recognizes Eli as one of the guards that stopped them earlier at the gate. “I was wondering if you had a bed for the night for an old soldier with gifts?”
Eli nervously glances around Winston. “You’re the one with that tiefling, right?”
Winston waves off the boy’s fear. “Now don’t you worry about that tiefling. I owe him a life debt. Now how about we share this whiskey and swap war stories?”
“Whiskey?” Eli’s face lights up and he welcomes Winston into the barracks.
A huge man steps in front of Winston and growls.
“Move aside, fella. I have whiskey to dole out.”
The extremely large man from his height to the width of his arms looks down at the old guard. “You said Winston?” His deep voice practically rattles the windows.
“Yep.” Winston sticks his chest out and stands up as straight as he can.
Winston is grateful he brought an entire case of liquor. “How many bottles of whiskey do you drink a day?”
Ray chuckles in a way that could be interpreted as menacing until he smiles with a mouth large enough to swallow a young badger whole. “Mmmm, whiskey.” Ray thrusts his metal mug forward and points at the empty bottom.
Winston knows he’s in now. “Can I set this down first? I need two hands to serve you.”
Ray moves aside and motions to a row of beds with footlockers at their feet. He picks up the entire case with two fingers and sets it down on a bunk.
Winston gives Ray the first serving.
Ray raises his mug. “Winston friend.”
The rest of the off-duty guards gather around to get their own share of the booty.
Behind the barracks, Tod scrambles back to Ianeak. Their close connection allows Ianeak to see images that Tod shares: a large-thick tail, a necklace of brightly colored feathers, metal bars, and jagged, pointed teeth.
Ianeak travels back to the tavern and tells Max and Kizmyth what he saw. Now convinced there must be a lizardman captive in the barracks, the three discuss what to do.
Before anything’s decided, the town falls into chaos. People in the street scream. Metal hits metal.
Max grabs his bow and looks out the window.
Kizmyth takes another drink. “Maybe we should just wait here?”
Ianeak secures Tod in his inner pocket. “Whatever is attacking might have money.”
Kizmyth nods. “And they might die if we just sit here and wait.”
Ianeak blinks at her. “Or they will overrun us and we’ll be stuck inside.”
A load banging in the tavern distracts Max. He goes upstairs and let’s Errias out of his room.
Errias’s soft voice reflects the concern in his eyes. “There are people in danger. We must act.”
Errias, Ianeak, Max, and the reluctant Kizmyth rush to the street to see what’s happening.
The guards surrounding Winston stumble to put on their armor in their drunken stupor. Ray puts a helmet on Winston almost driving the paladin to his knees with the force. They all attempt to valiantly join the fray, though some simply stop over the threshold and lose their dinner.
Shocked sober, Winston meets up with the rest of the party in the street where they see the side gate of Cromm’s Hold shaking back and forth violently.
Max finds cover with his crossbow ready. The party all pulls their arms and prepares for battle, but something smells wrong. The lizardmen are chanting on the other side of the gate.
As the lizardmen break through the gate, Kizmyth yells, “I think they want the captured lizardman!” She takes out the scale and holds it up to the attacking horde. The badgers jump out of the bag, carrying that feather, and run toward the gate. Despite Kizmyth’s protestations, the little badgers hand the feather to the lead lizardman, then take off to the woods.
Ianeak manages to get a mental message to one of the lead lizardmen. “Why are you here?”
The lizardman gurgles a loud, growling reply. In Ianeak’s head, he hears, “You have shaman.”
“Their shaman is somewhere in town,” Ianeak explains to his party.
The guards, however, don’t hesitate to attack. As the guards and lizardmen fight, Max and Ianeak rush to the barracks to see if they can find another way to end this attack.
In the back of the barracks in a barred cell, a lizardman dressed in a large feather necklace and nothing else, sits calmly on the ground with his eyes closed.
Max picks the lock as Ianeak tells him, with the same warlock trick, that they don’t mean to harm the prisoner.
The shaman opens one eye. “I speak your language.”
As the three head back to the gates, they can smell the blood of the freshly dead. The shaman whispers and waves his arms in the air. The fighters on both sides drop their arms and relax into a peaceful demeanor. The party members feel a peaceful calm wash over them. The lizardmen attack force drop to their knees before their shaman.
The guards freak out and run as far from the shaman as they can get. Their captain has not made an appearance.
The shaman takes the scale from Kizmyth. “Thank you for following the sign.” He whistles through the gate and the badgers scurry around the legs of the recent warriors.
The shaman bows and says, “Take care of them and they will take care of you.”
As he leaves, the shaman places a hand on each fallen lizardman and calls out some sort of blessing in Draconic.
The party exchanges bewildered glances and fears what happens next.