Greg Mann as Morik Martok
Vincent Pecoraro as Elosian Sylvres
Miguel Correa as Laurence Van Drake
Christine Scott as Aelanah Beastfriend
Danielle Callan as Rynee Windsong
Andrew Kilduff as Jaden Vale
Marc Greco as Mardak Fletcher
The morning came soon after the last of their eyes closed on the night before. Rest was scarce, and the journey was to be fraught with peril. Laurence rallied the Order team in earnest, their three Goblin prisoners in tow. The first six hours of the journey went without incident, but then, two of the Goblins managed to wiggle free of their ropes and break for the distant trees. Thinking swiftly, Aelanah and Lawrence intercepted them, one with an arrow through the back of its neck, the other with a flung shield against the back of its skull. Neither escaping Goblin made it to safety, a harsh lesson for little Kizzik, who was the last of their prisoners now. Laurence reclaimed his shield, still bearing agrisly reminder of its recent victim, and reminded Kizzik Kelket the price of betraying the Order.
Before long, a pair of heavily armored men approached the party, both bearing the traditional blue and gold tabard of the Order of Draconius. The senior of the two men approached Laurence, introducing himself as Sir Goddefroy Gawaen of the Yonsal Road Patrol, and further introducing his stalwart second-in-command, Mardak. The name Mardak was an Idrahli pronunciation of Martok, so Crossel asked him whether the name was an aumage to Sir Drogyn and the legendary Martok family. Mardak shook his head, saying that the name was passed through three generations in his family before he was honored with it. Roena seemed to take an immediate fancy to him, raising a few eyebrows and rolling a few eyes among the Order group. Morik remarked beneath his breath that her recovery from her disappointment with Kelain took more time than he thought it would. Knowing Roena, she would probably have made two more boyfriends by now had they been within city limits. Jaden caught a bit of his hushed monologue and chuckled with a grin.
Seeing that this team, though motley, truly did serve the Order of Draconius, Sir Gawaen whistled to the north- and south-corridors of trees lining the Yonsal Road, and four more of his patrol emerged to greet them. Lawrence and Crossel were impressed, remarking that his men were trained very well. Gawaen nodded proudly, but Laurence broke the mood by plainly telling the knight of their quest, and their need for any information or aid that could be rendered. Laurence informed Gawaen that they were beset by a Goblin ambush party at the Kabuhm-Braony Crossroads, that they captured and interrogated the ambush leader, Kizzik Kelket, and the details may indicated the involvement of the Ebon League in the recent Kobold and Goblin attacks. Further, they were on a mission to find, retrieve, and deliver a Dr. Aquila from Yonsalyre, and these Goblins were paid handsomely to prevent anyone from the Order making it to Yonsalyre by high-noon in two days.
Gawaen revealed that his group had also been attacked by a small Goblin force, but thought it a random, freak encounter. If these Goblins were so organized, then it could only spell even more trouble for Drogynia and the surrounding areas. At the mention of Dr. Aquila, his face took on a look not unlike that which indicates the milk one just sipped had gone sour. Morik inquired if there was anything they should know about the doctor. Gawaen replied that if it was Dr. Garth Aquila they were determined to find, he thought the Goblins better company. Gawaen was determined to continue his patrol, but he decided to send his best man, Mardak, along with the party for the time being. Mardak knew the Yonsal Road better than anyone in his patrol with the possible exception of Sir Gawaen himself, so he was confident the young knight would be an asset on their journey east. He ordered Mardak to get this group to Yonsalyre, then double-time it back along the patrol route to rendezvous with them on their return patrol. Mardak nodded an affirmative, and with that, the two Order groups parted company.
Less than two hours after their fateful meeting with Sir Gawaen, the party was ambushed yet again, this time by gun-toting Goblins firing at them from the dark recesses of the trees north and south of the Yonsal Road. However, the party was not the only target these Goblins seemed to be after, as a number of their shots flew eastward, and upward, to strike at the wings and tail of a coppery-skinned Drake! Atop the Drake was a half-orc brandishing a halberd and donning an impressive suit of plate mail. As his Drake mount began to careen out of control and crash, the party had to dive out of the way else become ground into the coarse dirt of the Yonsal Road.
Jaden’s reflexes failed him, and Mardak had to tackle the Invoker to save him from being trampled by the crashing Drake. As the beast thrashed about in pain and the rider tried desperately to calm it down, the Goblins began to emerge from the woods, closing in for the kill. Laurence called for a counter attack, and Crossel launched himself at one of the Goblins without a second’s hesitation. Rynee took her Lutar in hand, tightening the A-string tightly, then plucked out a coarse series of lightning-fast notes, channeling the sounds emanating from her guitar, then focusing them with her innate magical powers and thrusting them toward a distant Goblin foe. As Jaden finally made it to his feet, he slid near to Rynee and began to send out a few long-distance attacks of his own. Roena was pelted with gunfire from the south, quickly brought to within inches of her death. Morik dove to her side to protect his cousin.
In the confusion, Kizzik took the opportunity to attempt his escape, rushing north toward the tree line and begging one of the other Goblins to aid him in escaping. Laurence gave chase while Crossel and Aelanah tackled a Goblin spellcaster among those attacking from the south of the road. The Drake Rider, a Half-Orc Warlord named Kohvar H’val, finally soothed his beast enough to retake the reins. Doubt still lingered among the Order as to this Drake Rider’s intentions, but they were relieved when he rode his Drake up to the Goblins blocking the eastward road from whence he had flown, had the Drake rear back its head and unleash a nasty aerosol spray of acid toward the Goblins, following that attack up with a vicious overhead thrust from his gleaming silvery halberd. Aelanah and Crossel were effective in maneuvering two of the Goblins on the south to grant one another an advantage in combat, quickly dispatching these foes before moving onto the next, Even Aelanah’s cougar, Azrielle, got in a few good swipes.
Laurence caught up with Kizzik and subdued him, passing him back to the approaching Mardak, who battered the Goblin unconscious as he stepped over his collapsing form. Together, Mardak, Laurence, and Morik finished the rest of the Goblin ambush party. Despite her severe injuries, Roena decided to focus her healing abilities upon the Drake. Morik said she should take care of herself first, but she insisted, saying that this Drake helped them and needed them to help it back.
The Half-orc introduced himself as Kohvar H’val, saying that he was on the way to Drogynia because he heard about the recent Kobold Uprising and wanted to try and lend a hand. Lawrence and Crossel agreed that it was a noble effort. Kohvar was ambushed by Goblins and warned the group that the road ahead of them was replete with further such danger. As he remounted his trusty steed, Stormcaller, Kohvar wished them all luck and asked the Gods to bless their every footstep. He then looked Aelanah in the eyes and flashed her the Current hand-gesture so deftly and surreptitiously that it escaped everyone’s notice but hers. She returned his gesture with equal precision and stealth as he took to the air and continued westward.
The party assessed the dead Goblins and recollected in the road once more, further spoils from their new victory now weighting down their coffers. After a few moments of rest and a zealous effort to dress their wounds, the Order was on the move once more, ever trepid of their footfalls, prepared for whatever further ambushes may lie ahead.
As the party approached a fork in the road, they noticed the approach of a trio of horse-riding men in long duster jackets and frontier hats, black bandanas around their faces, gleaming handguns strapped to their waists. Mardak took a solid look at them as the two groups both approached the north-south fork separating the continuing Yonsal Road and the Prair Trail that led all the way north to Eastport. It took Mardak less than an eyeblink to determine the identities of these men. They were Eastport Regulators, agents of frontier justice, which to Mardak’s estimation was a mockery of the term justice. Crossel, Laurence, and Mardak approached the riders and the lead Regulator gave a casual nod to Mardak.
He asked the “constable” what he was doing with this random assortment of city-kin. He spat a vulgar wad of chaw near Crossel’s feet, raising the Dragonborn’s ire even further than it already was. The Regulators were uninterested in an exchange of information, unlike the Order patrol led by Sir Gawaen. Rynee stepped forward, using her bardic charms, and got the lead Regulator to reveal that a caravan had been attacked by Goblins a few miles down the road heading to Yonsalyre, near a sharp turn marked by a bent Walnut tree. She thanked them for their help and the Regulators turned on the road leading north and rode on their way.
As the group approached the sharp turn, they saw signs of the caravan ambush the Eastport Regulators mentioned. At the northern edge of the sharp turn were a set of even tracks resembling those that would be caused by the wheels of a caravan or covered wagon. About thirty feet off the road they could see the edge of one of these types of wheels, somehow dislodged from the caravan. There was obvious signs of a struggle, dried blood on the streets and in the tall grasses leading to the exposed wagon wheel. Shreds of fabric and remnants of torn clothing clung to the low branches of the smaller bushes lining the northern edge of the road.
Elosian quickly spotted a few Goblins hiding in the bushes alongside the road. He turned to his allies in a huddle and they began to hatch a plan to turn the tables on these Goblins and ambush them for a change. At that point, someone noticed that Snuh was in the huddle with them:
“ALRIGHT LADS! LET’S GET THE DROP ON THESE UNSUSPECTING GOBLINS AND TAKE THEM DOWN BEFORE THEY KNOW WE’RE HERE! AAAHHHH!!!!”
Snuh dashed toward one of the Goblins, all of whom were suddenly aware of the party’s presence for some odd reason, and as Snuh’s axe was about to meet Goblin flesh, he winked out of existence. Laurence swore: “Gods damn it, Snuh… ATTACK!”
Their prisoner, Kizzik, attempted to escape once more, and this time Crossel caught him in his grasp, twisted his head nearly off his body, and flung him like a weapon toward the mortified Goblin ambushers. This time, the Goblins offered very little resistance, and the Order took victory having taken only very minor damage in the process.
Mardak crossed to the northern edge of the road, paying very close attention to the rough tracks of a set of caravan wheels crushing the tall grasses heading north. As Laurence and Morik came to stand beside him, they could all make out a column of smoke rising from a cave in the distant north, where the tracks of the Goblins they had just fought seemed to be leading.
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Chapter O-1: The Order in… On the Road to Yonsalyre
Chapter O-2: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-3: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-4: The Order in… Before It’s Too Late, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-5: The Order in… Legacy of Glory, Part 1 of 2
Chapter O-6: The Order in… Legacy of Glory, Part 2 of 2
Chapter O-7: The Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-8: The Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-9: Order in… Trials of Glory, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-10: The Order & The Current in… To Slay the Darkness
Chapter O-11: The Order & The Current in… To Save the Light
Chapter O-12: The Order in… Prophecies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 1 of 3
Chapter O-13: The Order in… Prophesies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 2 of 3
Chapter O-14: The Order in… Prophecies, Epiphanies, and Tragedies, Part 3 of 3
Chapter O-15: The Order in… The Horns of Agony
Chapter O-16: The Order in… Sailing Through the Maelstrom
Chapter O-17: The Order in… Shi Di Ma Under Siege
Chapter O-18: The Order in… “Against All Threats Great And Small…”
Chapter O-19: The Order in… “…We’ll Overcome And Never Fall.”
Chapter O-20: The Order in Hell