As the Chapterhouse of the Order of the Tree loomed its way into view, it suddenly struck me that I’d never before set foot in a southern military structure. Whilst the cities and fortresses back home were of a more wooden nature, this one instead featured a large amount of bricks and mortar. It was an imposing sight to say the least.
Passing beneath its battlements, I made sure to greet every guard we met. I didn’t want them seeing us as “Northern Savages” but it seems my pleasantries didn’t help much. There was lots of muttered oaths, and the trainees we passed stopped their drills, and were instant rewarded with harsh language from their task-master. I guess military training is the same no matter which side of the country you call home. The commander of the escort stopped us, and asked if we held Ill intent. He offered us the choice of confinement to lodgings, or a shared cell. It wasn’t much of a choice to be fair, and soft beds after weeks on the road are always welcome.
Father Oarath and the troop captain headed off to speak to the chapterhouse commander, leaving us with a dubious looking pair of guards on the door.
We settled in for the day, deciding to wait on the commander showing up. There was little to no chance that they’d bring Dovin to us, but I took the chance to mention it every time I spoke to a human.
By nightfall we’d still not seen the commander, so we decided to post a watch of our own.
Midway through the night, Arn awoke us. He’d heard a noise outside, and needed someone to investigate. Glancing outside, both guards were lying in a pool of blood. Not the best indicator to our captors of our trustworthiness if both our guards are dead. One of the guards lay in bite sized chunks, the other still had a pulse, but was fading fast. I took care of that with a quick healing spell, and we got him to his feet. He was pretty unfocused, so I tried to get him to raise the alarm. It took a few attempts, and we escorted him to do so. Sir Clerenbold (for that was his name) still wasn’t sure what he was doing, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted a the shadowy shape made so familiar from our last big fight. It disappeared into a doorway, and we gave chase, dragging the poor guard with us.
Castles are very maze-like, and this one had a huge number of stairs!
Emerging onto the battlements, we came across more murdered guards. Following the trail of slaughter brought us down more stairs, and back into the main courtyard. With the alarm rang, more knights were charging into the courtyard, and spotting us, they yelled and charged. Almost simultaneously, I spotted the dragon on the battlements again. I needed help, and Thistle, whilst not able to be with us, had always hinted that if I asked, she might listen. Giving a quick plea, I pointed at the dragon, yelling “Look, its up there!”
Several things happened at once. Everyone within 30 feet of me simultaneously vanished. The energy from this caused the dragon to glow a bright radiant white!
The guards all turned to look.
The Dragon buggered off.
Well, I guess when you ask for help from a god, you don’t always get what you expect.
We were still invisible. I’m not sure how, or why, but the Dragon left, so it’s a minor win!
There was a lot of back and forth between the guards and us once the spell finally wore off and we reappeared. Eventually we returned to our room, to allow them to check out the losses.
We escorted Sir Clerenbold to the medic, and slept for the night.
The next day, we got to meet Commander Berenorf. He had some choice things to say, but we managed to persuade him (mainly by our actions) that we weren’t spies. He was most curious about the armour Drax was wearing (we’d looted it from an ancient corpse, it was the same (but older) armour as most of the order wore. He requested it back, and Drax firmly refused, saying he needed it for the coming fights, but that he’d return it when the war was won.
The Commander also mentioned that the Order of the Tree was responsible for the wellbeing of every druid in the land. Tia’Vari thanked him for caring. He then informed her that this meant every druid in the land was conscripted into his order. Her training would begin after breakfast. She was to report to Arms Master Sparrow.
Well. That’s a bit crap.
Tia wasn’t overly impressed with this either. But, whilst we were in their home, we had to follow their rules. We’d see about changing that later. For now, she had to practise fighting with club and shield.
It was certainly proving to be a strange day.