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More from the elf group. This features the first meeting between Chade and our little band of elven heroes. It was all done in a single session fron Friday April 24th through Saturday April 25th.

Ragnus - Thorne; Chade - RoninofDreams; All other characters - Underdog.

Session Start: Fri Apr 24 22:25:43 2009

<=Scene=> Back with the elf group, Celeron and his band of Elves lead Eltiana and her friends to the site of the previous nights battle as requested.

<=Scene=> When they arrive, they find something rather interesting... dead goblins.

<Celeron> I don't understand how this is possible...

<Celeron> I would have sworn to Ullr that these were lizard men last night.

* Ragnus looks around to examine the goblin bodies, looking for any significances in their attire or appearance.

<Eltiana> And yet, as I said you would, you find goblins.

<Celeron> What in the name of Ullr is going on Eltiana?

<=Scene=> Ragnus finishes searching the bodies, but finds nothing but a few silver and copper pieces.

<Eltiana> Someone is trying to get us to start a war with the lizard men I expect.

<Celeron> How in the world do you come to that conclusion?

<Ragnus> Where is the nearest known or suspected lizard man encampment?

<Elena> Uhh Ragnus, they rule the entire swamp south of here... it's about 100 miles wide and 200 miles across.

<Elena> It's rather hard not to find them if you try.

<Eltiana> It's very obvious, Celeron.

<Ragnus> Who could benefit from such a war?

<Eltiana> Uh, the goblins and their friends obviously.

<Ragnus> And is it not also possible these.. illusions were just a distraction?

<Eltiana> We kill each other off. When we are weak, they move in and finish us both off. It’s called Solace’s stratagem.

<Eltiana> As for the illusions, how would they be a distraction? When people are burning your land to the ground, you don't really care WHO they are do you?

<Eltiana> You're going to fight them either way.

<Eltiana> The only reason I can see for the deception is that they would want us to counter attack against the lizard men, which would start a war.

<Eltiana> Can any of you think of another reason?

<Elena> No.

<Celeron> I have to confess that I can not.

<Celeron> So, lets say for a moment that you are correct... these goblins are from... where? Rutan?

<Eltiana> Likely so. I don’t see where else they would be from.

<Celeron> OK, now for the more important questions.

<Celeron> First, how in the world could they all have been disguised this convincingly?

<Celeron> Magic on that scale must...

<Elena> Take enormous power. It would.

<Eltiana> I'm no magician, but yeah, I'd say it would. Then again, we already knew that someone helping them had enormous magical power.

<Eltiana> Otherwise, our home wouldn’t be a smoking crater.

* Elena blanches at that.

<Eltiana> Sorry, Elena.

<Celeron> Well then, here's the most important question of all. How do we fight against them? How on Arland do we fight against someone with that kind of power?

<Eltiana> Directly... we can't.

<Eltiana> There's only a handful of us, and an army of them probably.

<Ragnus> Like any prey, we have to find out what exactly we are looking for. and figure out how to defeat it from there. But where would we start?

<Ragnus> Forgive me for being so brash, aunt. But more will die trying to go directly through an army. Do you have an idea?

<Eltiana> For now, I have no idea than to get in and follow them, see where they are going next. Perhaps we can get more help along the way.

<Eltiana> It's not a very good plan but...

<Eltiana> Hold a minute. Celeron... move slowly and quietly back down the hill to you men... Something is moving up ahead.

<Celeron> Where, I don't see anything.

<Eltiana> Because you have not my eyes! Do as I say. Get the men ready to lay ambush, but do not attack unless I say so, is that clear.

<Celeron> You are my superior... I will do as you say.

<Eltiana> Elena, Ragnus, get down.

<Elena> What do you think you see, lady Tia?

<Eltiana> You might find this hard to believe but... lizard men, about a dozen, headed this way.

* Ragnus does as his aunt commands

<Eltiana> Celeron would probably have attacked them out of hand... even after everything I just showed him.

<Eltiana> I'm not so sure these are lizard men, but if they are lizard men, they are probably not our enemy.

<Ragnus> I do hope you are right, but it would seem you are most likely right, let us just hope they too have not been attacked by these illusions

<Eltiana> There may not be much of this forest left, but this remnant we are in is still our ally. We'll wait till they are in range, then I'll entangle spell them. Hopefully one of them speaks enough elven we can communicate...

<=Scene=> Meanwhile, Chade has been out on patrol with his group for several hours now.

<=Scene=> his party of a dozen have circled almost halfway around the forest, and have decided to investigate one last valley before heading back...

<=Scene=> Eltiana casts Entangle. Seven of the lizard men are stuck fast, but the other five are only slowed.

* Eltiana Shouts you're surrounded by archers. Drop your weapons. We mean you no harm, we want to talk to you.

* Chade hisses in sudden frustration at his cohort of lizard men being caught in a trap, but it is cut short as he listens to Eltiana's demands. Narrowing his eyes, he sticks the broad head of his carried spear into the ground. "Elves..." he says slowly, his tone between bemusement, cursing, and caution.

<Lizardman> Do we do as they say Chade?

* Chade twitches his tail in aggravation. "There is little we could do, were they to choose to make us pincushions, given this...morass of their own design that we find ourselves in. Drop what you carry." He adds in solemn thought, 'After all, it is not like they can disarm my brethren as easily as I...'

* Eltiana ,upon seeing the lizard men lower their weapons, turns to Celeron and says "Move the men out where they can be seen, and keep me covered, though I don't expect it will be needed.

* Eltiana then approaches the lizard men

<Eltiana> (Sylvan Elf) One of you must speak our language? Who can I talk to?

* Chade eyes Eltiana for a time, debating whether or not silence would better suit...and yet he finds it nigh impossible not to answer her in her own tongue. "(SE) You are speaking to him already."

* Eltiana releases the lizard men from the spell.

<Eltiana> (SE) Celeron, come here and listen to this.

* Celeron approaches Eltiana.

<Eltiana> (SE) My name is Eltiana, priestess of Ullr and diplomat of Greenguard. What may I call you?

* Chade turns towards his cohort. "(LM) Stand at ease and leave your weapons where they are for now." Turning back to Eltiana, he adds softly, "(SE) I am thankful on my brethren's behalf that such measures were dismissed with so rapidly. I am Ish'kar'na, priest of Matzu. By your tongue and the tongues of man, I am better known as Chade, Speaker of the Tribes, though I am not alone in that position."

<Eltiana> (SE) Chade... No, it... was your father named Varesh?

<Chade> "(SE) Or as known among the Tribes, Sho'rak'na. Yes, he was my sire."

<Eltiana> (SE) I knew your father then. We negotiated over who had the rights to an area of hills after your people put a village near them several years back. You were just a little one then... how odd that we should meet in such a fashion.

<Eltiana> (SE) And now you're all grown up, and a priest no less. I'm sorry for the rude greeting.

* Chade studies Eltiana and re-evaluates the situation with a sign of bemusement. "(SE) If you claim that is so, than I will not argue it. I have memories of many travels with my sire, but of you specifically..." He gestures with his hands open and spread wide. "I fear youth obscures much, in that manner."

<Chade> "(SE) As for the 'greeting', you seek to protect your own, do you not? That is understandable, as it appears what has happened before has happened here, and not by elven hands wrought."

<Celeron> (Pixie) It's great that you two have met before, but this changes nothing. These must be the ones that attacked us last night and substituted the goblins, else what are they doing here?

<Eltiana> (SE) It's quite rude to speak a language that is not known to all parties, Celeron. As for why they are here.... (turning to Chade) well, bluntly, what ARE you doing here Chade?

* Chade gestures with the merest hint of exasperation. "(SE) What was wrought before has been wrought here, by the same band this cohort had sought to put a stop...hands that to us were elven at the time. Do you not find that curious?"

<Celeron> (SE) I don't understand what you're trying to say. Are you saying that this is not the first time a place has been destroyed like this?

* Chade nods gravely. "(SE) An entire village of sires, dams, and youth. Those of the Tribes. Gone so thoroughly that the swamp can hardly reclaim naught but ash."

<Eltiana> (SE) They appeared to you as elves?

<Eltiana> (SE) Do you not now see the truth in what I was saying earlier now Celeron? Someone IS trying to start a war between the lizard men and us, and likely the humans as well, for what remains of us would hardly be enough to wage a war.

<Chade> "(SE) At that time, they appeared as your own flesh and blood. Since then...they have changed, or at least in their appearances. I would not speak falsehood or conjecture, yet I saw it with my own eyes. Elves becoming goblins." He shakes his head at the madness of that statement, but it is told in utter honesty.

* Elena is trying to explain to Ragnus what's being said up ahead.

<Eltiana> (SE) You followed them all the way here? What did you hope to achieve? If they had been us, as you thought, surely you don't have enough soldiers with you to wage a war?

<Chade> "(SE) I lead no war band, that is not becoming for a Priest of Matzu, nor should ever be their position when choice is allowed them. No, we sought information. The reasons why this was done, and by whom in full truth."

<Celeron> (Pixie) Perhaps... but it still don't trust them.

<Eltiana> (SE) Then be glad you are not in command, Celeron. We Sylvan Elves are a notoriously untrusting lot, and while usually, not without reason, I can guarantee you, I knew his father. He is not an illusion, or an agent of Rutan or anyone else. He is just who he says he is.

* Celeron grumbles

<Eltiana> (SE) OK, well, now that we're all here, the question becomes... what do we do now?

* Ragnus quietly to Elena "So these lizard men followed them here from the south? I wonder in which direction their armies left? So surely not the way they came, or they would have doubled back on them... no.. which direction is the quickest and probably most elusive way back into goblin territory?"

<Elena> The only way back is back the way they came.

* Chade crouches low on his haunches in a position of obvious relaxation, if only minorly of that. "(SE) Your enemy, and mine, is yet at your gates. On your grounds and in what was once a forest home. You tell me, what do you do now?"

<Eltiana> (SE) I have not yet seen either their army or the thing that caused this, except in a vision. I assume that there are hundreds of goblins?

<Elena> (To Ragnus) Either they mean to fight their way back down the path they came, which seems unlikely... or they don't mean to go back home at all, unless there is something we don't know.

<Chade> "(SE) Many times more than my cohort could face...alone."

<Eltiana> (SE) And you see half of all our survivors... at least the ones we know about. Even combined, we would have no chance.

<Eltiana> (SE) There are a handful more of my kind that will be arriving here in a couple of more days, but still, not enough.

* Chade holds up a finger to pause her thoughts. "(SE) You yet see only half of my cohort. What mettle do you elves possess? What fire is held within your steel?"

<Eltiana> (SE) Before we met you, the plan I had was basically, the same plan you had. Follow, get information, and, possibly, get some help from the human settlement down the path.

<Eltiana> (SE) If they aren't going to turn around and go home, there's only two places left they can go.

<Eltiana> (SE) Going down the long path from the northern base of the mountains seems almost completely out of the question, as there is no cover once out of the mountains. They must be headed for the settlements down below.

<Chade> "(SE) You would do well to send a runner to warn the humans, no matter what other choices you make."

<Eltiana> (SE) They'll likely attack them disguised as your kind, making sure to leave just enough survivors who see them as lizard men to convince the king that you have started a war.

<Chade> "(SE) Perhaps. Or perhaps as your own kind, so as to be crushed between the jaws of two forces had their plan been truly successful."

<Eltiana> (SE) Perhaps, but, they know there are only a few of our kind in the area... it's a possibility I suppose.

<Eltiana> (SE) For now, it's getting late. I suggest that we both go back to our camps tonight and gather all our forces, then meet back here before dawn. The enemy is unlikely to move before then, and would be unlikely to be able to hide from us at any rate, as there's really only one place they can go.

* Chade shares a few hand signals, with the accompanied twitch of his tail, to his cohort. "(SE) I find this as fair as any other idea of merit. I shall likely keep a pair of eyes upon our foe, regardless. Rest well, Priestess Eltiana, and may Matzu protect you this eve."

<Eltiana> (SE) Ullr be with you and protect you and yours till we meet on the morrow.

* Eltiana bows to Chade.

* Chade tilts his head in equivalent of the gesture before turning to his cohort and grabbing his spear. "(LM) Back to camp for the eve, and pray that Raikenin has found enough water for us all to be comfortable through the night. Tomorrow, we rise again, ready for battle if the tides force us to those rocky shores."

<=Scene=> The lizard men all retrieve their weapons and make ready to depart.

<LizardMan> You'll explain what just happened when we get back to camp, yes? Most of us have not ears for elven tongues.

* Chade bears his teeth in a grin. "Nor do I speak their words with honeyed sweetness, but passably enough. I will explain all with the entire cohort together, so as only to need to speak it once. Then we shall discuss it, as is the way of these things."

<Eltiana> Lets go back to the meeting area now Celeron.

<Elena> Are you sure you're doing the right thing trusting them, Lady Tia.

<Eltiana> Yes, child, I am sure. A priest of Matzu would not lie to me.

<Ragnus> What do you believe we shall do next Eltiana?

<Eltiana> We'll see in the morning, Ragnus. Once we're all together, we'll get a head count of our forces and theirs.

<Eltiana> Unless I miss my guess, or something unexpected happens, I expect that we'll still not have enough troops to have a chance against them.

<Ragnus> Hmm I worry about what would possess such power as to disguise a whole army with magicks, and how we could stand against such an enemy.

<Ragnus> Pray it may even be best they do not know we are aware of their trickery. If they knew then they may just change their objective from subterfuge to all out annihilation.

<Eltiana> I don't have an answer to that Ragnus. What may very well happen is, we die trying, but, until we're sure we've given ourselves the best possible chance to win... we're going to learn everything we can.

<Elena> One thing you're all forgetting or don't seem to know about magic...

<Eltiana> Eh?

<Elena> Unlike priests, who's miracles renew themselves every day by the blessing of their god, magicians magic doesn't work that way.

<Elena> Great sorcerers can use an unimaginable amount of magic in one day, but then, they only recover their power slowly, over many days.

<Ragnus> Hmmm So assuming it is but one wizard, we may be able to catch them weakened?

<Elena> Yes.

<Elena> Even if it is more than one, it probably would take an enormous amount of power to make an illusion for all those goblins, let alone what kind of power it must take to... (sobs) to destroy our home.

<Elena> Those lizards must have been following them for days, and they were illusioned up the whole time?

<Elena> I'm betting that their magic users are probably very low on power right now.

<Eltiana> Well, that's all well and good except for one thing.

<Ragnus> the goblin army..

<Eltiana> Aye, as of now, we couldn't beat just the goblins.

<Ragnus> They don't need magic to overcome us in sheer numbers, not to mention the siege machines...

* Ragnus shudders at the thought of the balls of fire raining down from above on the now charred remains of a once lively village

<Eltiana> Fortunately, Elena's information does provide a ray of hope, however.

<Ragnus> But perhaps, we would stand a better chance tomorrows evening hours to get close to the camp, avoid detection and see what we can see. numbers, if they are still under camouflage. And what exactly they may be preparing to do.

<Eltiana> It means that they likely won't be going anywhere for a few days.

<Eltiana> Their casters will need to recharge their magic before they can move on to their next site of destruction.

<Elena> Tilverton?

<Eltiana> Yes, almost for certain. They'll attack it guised as lizard men, which will provoke a war between Mithrim and the lizard men.

<Eltiana> Not that I'd care so much, you know my general feeling towards humans, but...

<Elena> Against an enemy like this, we're all going to need to work together.

<Eltiana> Yes Elena, yes.

<Eltiana> For now, lets just head back to camp and plot our next move.

* Ragnus tries to imagine the scope of this news... against so powerful an army, with the ability to disguise itself as whatever it wishes..

<=Scene=> End Chapter Thirteen.
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