Session 44: Forgiveness & Revenge

A pleasant morning is shattered when bandits attack.
With the immediate threat eliminated, the group debated whether they should seek shelter in the caves until daylight or rush Opal back to the Keep through the darkness.

They considered whether they would face greater risks on the road at night, or in the caves — whether in the undead lair or the goblin cave — and their limited ability to survive any major threat as injured as they were, and with only limited spells remaining and barely any healing.

Valeria, Lawrence and Philip thought the caves were probably more dangerous than anything they would encounter on the road, even at night. Valeria suggested they rest on the road. Brother Martin wanted to get Opal back to the keep as soon as possible, but was open to taking a short rest first. Prynhawn thought the wilderness at night would be more dangerous, and that the caves provided a more defensible area, especially considering they would be carrying Opal's body. Yanliz didn't care since they would be in the dark either way, which was fine with him. Based on the flip of a coin to determine Tymora's guidance, Vernim thought they should head back to the keep after a short rest, while Aseneth wanted to stay in the caves, possibly even exploring the rest of the undead lair.

"I've seen goblins where I'm from," Philip mentioned, "but I never saw undead like this! They were talking! What's the deal? Does anybody know about this?"

"I used to live in the city of splendors," Vernim explained, "and there, they talked in hushed rumors about powerful undead creatures. Undead wizards that could talk. I don't know much about them."

"From what I've read," Valeria added, "and this could totally be just a myth, undead like that are bewitched."

"The talking skeleton and zombie were clearly undead," Brother Martin explained. "I've never heard of skeletons or zombies that can speak, but there's definitely undead that can speak."

"That's good to know," Philip said. "And another thing: why were those things on the hooks? That's what I don't understand."

"Maybe they were in the process of being turned into zombies," Prynhawn suggested. "That could be why the meat was cured."

"Didn't we hear about a powerful necromancer?" Vernim asked. "I don't trust necromancers. Not one bit."

"Why not?" Aseneth asked.

"Some are good," Vernim replied, "but they create vile abominations, such as skeletons. They must be destroyed in the name of Tymora."

"You know necromancers are just healers with bad timing," Aseneth quipped.

"Interesting that you would think so," Vernim hinted.

"Well, she's kind of right," Valeria agreed.

"But healers don't control their patients," Prynhawn refuted.

"That's also true," Valeria acknowledged.

"I don't understand all the hatred towards necromancers," Aseneth replied. "Can't someone just raise a family in peace? Seriously, necromancers are just wizards who specialize in necromantic spare the dying."

"I know," Vernim conceded. "A lot of the spells I use are necromantic in nature. But, there's a difference between necromantic wizards and necromantic clerics. Additionally, necromancers get a bad wrap."

"That's right," Aseneth agreed. "People are just jealous of them, because they're really good at making friends."

"Some of them are really bad." Vernim added. "Aseneth, are you interested in the art of necromancy?"

"Absolutely!" she admitted.

"I see," Vernim pondered. "Are you interested in perhaps using skeletons and other undead to your advantage?"

"Let's see," Aseneth considered. "If we were facing overwhelming enemies, and I could use skeletons to help us, why wouldn't I? Would you not?"

"I personally wouldn't, but—" Vernim began.

"But you would want to tell them that you wanted to have a fair fight first!" Aseneth accused.

"I would just... I would... I just... Undead are.." Vernim stammered.

"Not too long ago, you were ready to have a toast with the undead!" Aseneth continued.

"I wasn't actually going to have a toast with the undead," Vernim clarified. "I did say that they were abominations."

"You did want us to tell them—" Valeria began.

"You thought we shouldn't attack them unless we somehow declared that it was a fair fight," Aseneth argued.

"They were clearly capable of understanding us," Vernim defended. "We at least—"

"As a lot of undead might be," Aseneth pressed.

"They were also clearly capable of destroying us," Valeria added. "In fact, if it hadn't been for Philip's quick thinking, we would all be dead."

"That's very nice of you, Valeria." Philip thanked. "I still have a few more questions, and I hope we can work this out."

"I'm not—" Vernim started.

"My point is that there are bigger dangers to worry about than whether or not somebody is interested in using the tools at their disposal. I think what's much more dangerous are the decisions people try to make when they encounter danger that might threaten the lives of their friends. I'd rather use skeletons to save the lives of my friends, than make friends with my enemies, because of some preconception of what a fair fight should be."

"Well," Philip offered, "everybody has their values..."

"I just think there's other things you could use." Vernim reasoned.

"What does that mean?" Aseneth challenged. "There's other things that you could use?"

"You could summon monsters or something," Vernim suggested.

"Maybe you can summon monsters," Aseneth retorted, "but what's the difference between summoning monsters and summoning undead, if they're at your control, and you're using them to help your friends? What's the difference? There's a lot of arbitrary guidelines that you seem to live by. Would we flip a coin before we decide whether we were going to raise the undead?"

"No! No!" Vernim insisted. "We would not."

"Do you flip a coin to decide whether you're going to flip a coin?" Aseneth chided.

"I don't—" Vernim started.

"I'm coming down on you, because you're giving me a hard time for being a necromancer," Aseneth shouted, "and you almost got us all killed."

"Well," Philip offered, "we're all trying our best here."

"Aseneth, you can do whatever you want." Vernim appeased, "I'm not going to stop you, ever. I'm merely just—"

"But you're insinuating that there's something wrong with my interests," Aseneth claimed, "and that there's other ways I should go, and I think you should look towards yourself!"

"If that's what you think, then—" Vernim began.

"That is what I think," Aseneth confirmed.

"It definitely does raise ...concern," Valeria added, "that you wanted us to tell them that we were going to attack, which probably was one of the reasons that they got the first attack."

"Philip also did run at them," Vernim offered.

"I—" Philip started.

"And if Philip hadn't run at them," Valeria argued, "if we had just decided to make friends with the evil skeletons and zombies... "

"I was never suggesting that," Vernim clarified.

"Then what else were we going to do?" Valeria questioned. "What were you suggesting we do? If Philip was not to run at them, then what were we supposed to do? Were we just going to wait there until they forget about us?"

"What I envisioned," stuttered Vernim, "and it's merely a vision. It was something I wanted to try, which didn't really end up being the case. It's just something — although maybe it was a weak moment, they are undead — and although this is a personal viewpoint and doesn't reflect what we should do, they are undead and they should be surprised. In my personal viewpoint, say, in the case of the goblins, ultimately I attacked them, but I feel like if something has preconditioned us to work with them, or if something doesn't attack us, then I don't like the idea of attacking them. And as far as what Tymora says—"

"I don't mean to disrespect the gods," Valeria interjected, "but Tymora almost got us killed!"

"I can see how sometimes it's tough to make these decisions," Lawrence offered, "and we turn to outside sources to try and resolve these ambiguities, but luckily this was not one of those situations. Undead are evil. They need to be destroyed, because they are an insult to both the living and the dead, and I hope that's clear. And to you, Aseneth, do you not understand that this is the nature of things. We might have some back and forth about goblins, and I understand how that could be complicated, but undead, undead are simple. They're evil, right?"

"Aseneth, while I respect your opinions on things," Brother Martin added, "I have to agree. Undead are an abomination. They should not be tolerated, or parlayed with."

"Look," Aseneth explained, "the question that was posed to me was 'would I raise skeletons?' and my answer was, if I could raise skeletons to help my friends, I would certainly do that."

"Well, are you a necromancer?" Lawrence asked.

"I am a necromancer," Aseneth admitted. "Which means I specialize in necromantic magic."

"And not all necromantic spells raise undead," Valeria defended. "Spare the dying is a necromantic spell."

"I have recognized," Vernim conceded, "that — I have never seen a skeleton speak — and I made a bad judgment call and I said that it would be better for us to parley with it, and that was a clear mistake, and that is something that I will not repeat. However, I think it is always valuable to see what the goddess has to say."

"And I think," Valeria responded, "again, not to disrespect the gods, even if Tymora did not lead us astray, then you interpreted her wrong."

"You know," Brother Martin added, "we're all fallible here. Everybody can make mistakes."

"And I clearly made a mistake," Vernim acknowledged as others nodded and agreed.

"Right," Brother Martin continued. "And Vernim is acknowledging that he made a mistake, and if anybody is deserving of a second chance, I think we can all agree that Vernim is deserving of a second chance."

"I agree with that," Prynhawn weighed in.

"Definitely we all make mistakes," Philip offered. "I know I have. And hopefully we can grow from them."

"We all learn from our mistakes," Brother Martin concurred.

"I'm glad my mistake was not fatal," Vernim noted, "but I will definitely do what I can to atone for it."

"The important part is to not make the same mistake again," Prynhawn expounded.

"Just to clarify," Valeria pointed out, "the mistake was fatal. Opal is dead."

"But I'm going to do everything that I can to bring her back," Vernim stated. "It's not as if she's gone forever."

"I know," Valeria admitted, "just as much as nobody is really gone forever."

"I hope we can find someone someone with powerful enough necromantic magic," Aseneth explicated, "to bring her back."

"To bring her back to life," Lawrence added.

"That's part of what necromancy does," Aseneth concluded. As the group turned their attention to other matters, she quietly sang, "Necromance if you want to, we can bring your friends to life, but if you're friends aren't dead, and if they're not dead, then they're no friends of mine."

They ultimately decided on a short rest in the undead lair.

When they were done resting, they searched the chamber.

In the room, they found six goblets and four candelabra.

Vernim gave Valeria the Skeltar's gold choker with only a single black stone pendant remaining, which they had used to cast fireballs. Valeria lent Aseneth her wand of eldritch blast.

The Skeltar also wore a scarab made of smooth polished lapis lazuli, an ornate pair of bracelets made out of gold linked polished flat oval stones of a milky green, and a long thin silver chain from which hung a stone medallion about two inches across bearing the image of a skull before a seven-fold gate on one side and a beautiful woman on a stone throne on the other.

The Zombire's robes were burnt to a crisp. In one scorched pocket they found a parchment that appeared to have been made of fine silk, but it too had been destroyed by the flames.

Valeria and Vernim searched the coffins.

In one, Valeria found five fancy dresses of varying colors, similar to the one the Skeltar wore.

“What do you call the unfair advantage undead have in a necropolis?," Aseneth whispered to Valeria. "Wight Privilege!”

In the other, Vernim found thirty neat bags of exactly ten gold coins each, and a pouch with fifteen gems, including four tiger eyes, two white chalcedony, four amethyst, three black pearls, a star sapphire, and a yellow diamond.

While Vernim was searching the coffin, he found what appeared to be a hidden trap door in the floor, just large enough for a person to enter.

They decided to leave without opening the door.

As they approached the stairs in the corridor, with Yanliz in the lead, they spotted two skeletons, dressed as servants, standing stationary at the intersection.

Philip rushed forward and swung his staff, knocking a skeleton's rib cage apart. He followed up with a spinning back kick that split its spine in two.

Vernim smashed the other with his warhammer. Dubricus and Lawrence finished it with fire bolts.

They continued down the stairs and found the intersection before the exit blocked by six large skeleton guards.

Valeria cast faerie fire, surrounding two of them in a violet glow. Philip charged forward, avoiding a slash from the first skeleton guard, but was slashed by the sword of the glowing skeleton guard next to it. Philip thrust his staff through the glowing skeleton's chest. Kicking the crumpled bones of his staff, he rolled back to the group. Dubricus hit the other lead skeleton with a fire bolt, and Aseneth finished it with an eldritch blast. The other glowing skeleton advanced and slashed its sword into Philip. Vernim swung his warhammer vigorously, and it flew from his hand, slamming into a skeleton farther back. Lawrence missed with a fire bolt. A new skeleton advanced, but swung over the halfling's head. Yanliz shattered the skull of the last glowing skeleton with an arrow. Two other skeletons advanced on Yanliz, one slashing its sword into the ranger.

Valeria cast sleep on the skeletons, but it had no effect. Brother Martin smashed one of the skeletons with his mace, and Philip finished it with a whack from his staff. The monk then back kicked another that Dubricus promptly missed with a fire bolt, but Vernim finished it with a lucky shot from his crossbow. Lawrence blasted the last skeleton guard with a brutal fire bolt.

Vernim retrieved his warhammer, and they left through the barred door with the skulls on the outside.

The night sky was dark and cloudy and the waning moon could hardly be seen. Yanliz carefully led them through the woods and back to the road.

After three or four hours on the dark road, Vernim heard raspy growls coming from the river, similar to what he had heard when he briefly ventured out on his own.

Philip heard it as well, and thought it could be kobolds.

They picked up the pace as much as they could and the sounds subsided.

Eventually they made it back to the keep late in the night.

After confirming who they were, Wort and Joop let them in, and they rushed to the chapel.

The acolytes led them into the chapel and to where they should lay Opal, while they fetched Abercrombie, who soon arrived.

They explained the events and circumstances to the chaplain. "I'm just glad the rest of you made it back with your lives. It was good that you were able to cast gentle repose on her, and you can certainly leave her here to rest for the time being, but unfortunately there is nothing more that I can do for her. I will alert her family first thing in the morning."

Vernim asked Abercrombie to fetch him before informing her family.

They thanked him and left Opal at the temple as they headed back to their rooms at the inn. Once there, they had a quick meal before turning in.

Early in the morning, an acolyte woke them, and Vernim went with him to the lookout tower, where Opal lived with her sister and niece.

Inside the lower level of the forty-five foot tower, it smelled of warm milk, hay, and manure. A tall stone chamber housed Opal and Neanne’s cows. Milking pails hung from pegs on the walls and a bin nearby stored manure.

Neanne and her young daughter, Chandry, were waiting, their expressions already filled with concern. They broke out into tears as Abercrombie broke the news to them.

"It was a noble fight against the most evil of foes," Vernim added. "Against cruel, harmful skeletons. She went down with a passion in her eyes, through everything that was made to be right in the world. We will do everything in our power to make sure that she comes back to us safe and sound. For she has brought so much joy upon our lives, each and every one of ours. We will not rest until she comes back to us."

"Thank you!" Neanne wailed. "She spoke very highly of you."

Chandry lifted her head, "Opal!" she cried.

"We will everything we can," Vernim comforted. "If there's anything we can do to help you in these dark and troubled time, do not hesitate to let me know. We will do everything we can."

"Of course you know we are at your service to help you with your daily chores," Abercrombie added.

They departed, and Vernim returned to the inn and tried to sleep.

In the morning, Vernim told his companions about Neanne and Chandry.

To Aseneth's disappointment, they decided to remain in the keep for the day.

Vernim asked Valeria for her guidance. "I'm currently in the midst of a morality crisis, because I was raised on the premise of fairness and justice, however it has very clearly interceded with the belief that — as Brother Martin and Lawrence agree with me — undead are inherently evil. And as you are the leader, I was wondering if you could help me work through this, because as you know, the responsibility for what happened yesterday falls on my shoulders, and I don't know how I can deal with that idea of fairness in fighting. I don't know if you know what I mean. I was wondering if you have any advice for me."

"I think I have an idea what you mean," Valeria replied. "Definitely I will help. We don't have to have a fair fight when we're fighting evil. Like we don't know to have a fair fight if we surprise people that are trying to ambush the town."

"Sorry. I think I have a sense of this," Philips asked, "but can somebody just tell me just to make sure I have this totally right? What is a fair fight again?"

"That was my question," Aseneth interjected. "Why do we need to have a fair fight at all. We're going to the caves to kill the monsters there."

"For example," Vernim explained, "from reading about war, often it is very clear that the two sides agree that they're going to fight. As someone who is new to adventuring after a very cloistered life, I just seek to understand the difference between war and fighting."

"I've read stories," Dubricus added, "about my ancestors, when their militia was attacked. You could call that a war, but they only agreed to fight because they had no choice. I don't think that every war is mutually agreed upon."

"Yeah, many times," Valeria concurred, "I would say wars are fought over land, where one place attacks another."

"What if," Brother Martin asked, "we're fighting someone, and they surrender."

"Well, that's a different story," Valeria offered, "and it would definitely be a case by case basis, depending on who they are. A lot of people who we are inherently evil would not surrender. I would be extremely surprised if the undead surrendered."

"But if somebody surrendered," Brother Martin inquired, "we wouldn't kill our prisoners?"

"We wouldn't kill our prisoners," Valeria answered.

"Okay, so if somebody surrendered to us," Brother Martin clarified, "we would spare them."

"We would definitely have to think on it," Valeria considered. "It depends. Just because they surrender doesn't mean that they're better people."

"Right, but by surrendering," Brother Martin sought, "aren't they asking for a second chance?

"They are asking for a second chance," Valeria suggested. "And I get that we aren't in charge of who deserves a second chance or not, I'd argue that a lot of those who we're fighting don't. But anyway, it would definitely be something we would have to evaluate based on the situation."

"Okay," Brother Martin consented, "Well, I hope that we would show leniency with anyone who actively requested surrender."

"There was one case where we had to kill all the female hobgoblins who tried to surrender," Prynhawn reflected, "and our decision was — sadly — to kill all of them. Maybe next time we could give them a chance to surrender."

"Yeah," Vernim agreed.

"That's a good point, Prynhawn," Lawrence seconded.

"But in that case," Aseneth challenged, "didn't they try to attack us?"

"They were about to attack us," Valeria added, and everyone agreed. "That is until they saw that we were winning. The thing about surrendering is that anyone can do it to save their life as soon as they see that they are definitely going to lose. It doesn't show that they are better. If anything, it might show that they're worse. Even though, in most cases, it wouldn't show anything at all."

"It sounds like we have the rest of the day to discuss this," Brother Martin said. "Philip and Lawrence, you had expressed some interested in hearing more about The Morninglord."

"Yeah, are you ready now?" Philip asked.

They agreed to move the discussion to Brother Martin's apartment.

Yanliz said he was going to wait in the tavern.

"I'll make sure he doesn't get into any trouble," Aseneth proposed.

The rest headed to Brother Martin's apartment, which was immediately next to the inn. The lower portion was set up as a bakery and workplace. He cleared the table and pulled up some extra chairs.

"As we have discussed, my friends," Brother Martin began, "The Morninglord delights in giving second chances. When Rhyester spoke of The Morninglord he proclaimed, 'The Morninglord, the Morninglord, the compassionate and gracious Lathander, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.'

"The Morninglord is patient in giving us second chances — and not just one, but continual second chances. Rhyester said, 'Who is a Morninglord like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.' Lathander savors opportunities to offer second chances and is eager not to punish us when we truly seek forgiveness for our sins." He paused for questions.

"That's certainly very interesting," Valeria commented, "and mainly I agree with it, especially the last part. But regarding the conversation we were having earlier, those who are surrendering to us aren't asking for forgiveness for their sins. They're asking to be let go, physically."

"But then," Prynhawn asked, "what are their sins? What did they do wrong?"

"That's definitely a good question," Valeria responded.

"Let's hear more," Lawrence suggested.

"Another question," Brother Martin continued, "is, why is it that The Morninglord is so forgiving? Even eager to forgive? For as Rhyester explained in his Sermon of the Eclipse, 'As was revealed in the Vision of the Ten Suns, we must always persevere through times of trouble, seeking the Morninglord's deliverance. …Deliverance comes through times of trouble, and… times of trouble result from new endeavors that change the present into a future that might be.'

For even the Dawn Cataclysm, of which Opal has spoken, serves as an example of how lessons can be learned from failures. Though events did not unfold as intended, should The Morninglord have been punished for the deeds that ultimately resulted in the creation of Tymora? And if we acknowledge that his goals were for the betterment of all, what would the result of such punishment be? What kind of world would this be if all lofty goals were put aside in fear of punishment?

"Just as The Morninglord is in the business of giving second chances, He wants His people to do the same. In fact, Rhyester explains that forgiving others is tied to our own forgiveness: "But if you do not forgive others' their sins, The Morninglord may not forgive your sins. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in The Morninglord forgives you."

"So you're interested," Vernim asked, "in other words, in doing the right thing, no matter the circumstances. And even if things go wrong, it is okay if they're doing the right thing. Is that what you're saying?"

"Yes," Brother Martin answered. "It is important to forgive, because we never know what events have conspired to create somebody's actions, and what bountiful future might result in giving them a second chance. Forgive others as we would want to be forgiven."

"I totally agree with your idea," Prynhawn praised.

"That's most certainly a noble thing," Vernim thanked. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart for forgiving me when I made a horrible mistake. That gives me a lot to think about. It really has. What I can promise you, Brother Martin, is that you have given me a lot to think about. About second chances and the value of everything. It has certainly given me a lot to think about, especially with my recent misinterpreting of Tymora."

"My question is," Valeria asked, "why did you start adventuring?"

"Well," Brother Martin considered, "In the most immediate past, you all seemed to be honorable and in need. But more than that, the monsters from the caves are always infringing on the good people that travel the roads."

"It does seem as though while there hasn't been much direct conflict so far," Valeria questioned, "the belief in always giving a second chance would be a detriment to adventuring."

"I believe the servants of The Morninglord manage quite well," Brother Martin responded, "I have no problem pursuing the destruction of those who would prevent others from earning their second chances."

"Brother Martin is an excellent healer," Lawrence praised, "and his levelheadedness and compassion are not traits we would want to shun from the world of adventuring."

"And I'm definitely appreciative that you are here," Valeria clarified. "And you've definitely helped us out a lot. And I'm not trying to incentivize you to leave at all."

"I did not interpret it that way, friend Valeria." Brother Martin responded.

"It just seems to me like it is very subjective," Valeria inquired. "Do you give the goblins a second chance, or do you prevent them from not letting others have a second chance..."

"Life is subjective," Brother Martin expounded. "I think I understand the area of your concern, and maybe I can put that concern to rest. I think that we were in the right with the goblins. Their appeal for mercy and surrender was not sincere. They did not sincerely, in my eyes — and I could be wrong, because we are all fallible — but, I did not perceive them as sincerely seeking redemption, and I did not have much hope that they could be redeemed. What small hope I had, was not as great as the danger I believe they posed if we let them live."

"Okay," Valeria responded. "That definitely clears things up."

"Good," Brother Martin elucidated. "It's not like I'm suggesting that we should knock on the goblin king's door and demand surrender."

"To add to that," Prynhawn offered, "I also often face that decision as to whether to give a second chance, and as Brother Martin said, our lives are subjective. For example, despite his beliefs, Vernim's interpretation of Tymora's luck is subjective. How he interprets certain events is up to him. And yet, we cannot deny that way of living and making decisions. And I think that applies to Brother Martin as well."

"I can't help but think that when we talk about second chances," Dubricus quipped, "second chances have quite a different meaning for the servants of Lathander as they do for the servants of Tymora."

"While I disagree with you, I understand your view," Vernim replied. "And Dubricus, what inspired you to say that?"

"For you," Dubricus explained, "a second chance could just be a flip of the coin."

"It could be," Vernim admitted.

"I rest my case," Dubricus grinned.

"Although this discussion that Brother Martin has presented to me is a very interesting one," Vernim continued, "my belief that some of it is up to chance cannot be uprooted."

Feeling enlightened, their conversations turned to other topics, and eventually to the items they recovered from the Skeltar.

Dubricus cast detect magic on the items, revealing that the amulet, necklace, and bracelet were all magic.

They made their way to the bank, where they rented a valuable pearl, for the day.

Dubricus cast identify, and determined that the amulet is a scarab of protection and the bracelets were bracers of defense. They agreed Prynhawn should wear the scarab, and Philip should wear the bracers.

They returned the pearl to Mouse, and paid to have the halfling appraise the fifteen gems, six goblets, four candelabra, and six dresses that they found in the Zombire's chamber, and the four wolf skin pelts they found in Harkul's chamber. Mouse told them they had four tiger eyes worth 10 gold coins each, two white chalcedony worth 50 gold coins each, four amethyst worth 100 gold coins each, three black pearls worth 500 gold coins each, a star sapphire worth 1,000 gold coins, and a topaz worth 500 gold coins. Mouse said the six goblets were worth worth 35 gold coins each, the four candelabra were worth worth 20 gold coins each, and the six dresses were worth 50 gold coins each. "For these four wolf skin pelts," Mouse added, "I can give you ten gold coins each, but you might be able to get more from Jocelyn the Tanner, who lives just across the way. Jocelyn might be able to use them to make armor."

They left all their newly appraised treasure in the bank, except the pelts, which they took to Jocelyn. After appraising the pelts, she said, "These are pretty good quality. I can give you twelve gold coins each."

"Mouse offered us thirteen," Vernim countered. "Is there any way you can up the ante, perhaps?"

"No, I think twelve is as high as I can go," Jocelyn replied. "You should definitely sell these to Mouse. They are nice pelts, but I just don't think I can go that high. Let me know if there's anything I can ever do for you. If you need any leather armor, this is the place."


The next morning, they departed for the caves at daybreak.

After walking for over four hours, Dubricus was suddenly shot in the leg with an arrow from the woods, about 120 feet to the right. Then another hit him in the shoulder. Another flew by them. Then two more hit him, one in the leg and the other in neck, and he fell.

Another arrow whizzed by them, and then three arrows hit Aseneth, and she fell.

Two more arrows whizzed by them, and two more hit Valeria.
Bandits emerge from the trees on the way to the Caves of Chaos.
Vernim cast healing word on Aseneth, but she was still down, so he cast spare the dying on her. Yanliz could not spot any targets, but he dropped to his side and shot an arrow into the woods. Another arrow whizzed by Valeria as she cast cure wounds on Dubricus. Prynhawn charged towards the woods. Philip followed, quickly passing the paladin. Lawrence threw a fire bolt blindly into the woods. Prynhawn blocked two arrows with his shield, but was hit with a third. Brother Martin revived Aseneth with cure wounds. As soon as the necromancer rose, she was shot with eight arrows, including two in the chest.
Bandits shoot from the trees on the way to the Caves of Chaos.
Vernim cast spare the dying on Aseneth again. Yanliz continued to shoot blindly. Prynhawn spotted an archer hiding behind a barrier, and blocked an arrow with his shield. Valeria revived Dubricus with cure wounds. Philip also spotted archers in the woods and charged towards them, but before he could reach the woods he was shot in the leg from an arrow coming farther to the right. Lawrence threw another fire bolt blindly into the woods. Brother Martin healed Dubricus further with cure wounds. Two archers dropped their bows and drew a pair of shortswords each, as they charged Philip from their barriers, about thirty feet apart. The halfling weaved around both of their attacks. Prynhawn blocked two more arrows. Valeria was shot with an arrow, and Lawrence was shot with two.

Vernim spotted some movement in the woods and began to charge towards it. As Prynhawn approached the woods, he was shot with an arrow from far to the right. Prynhawn slashed his sword into one of the bandits engaged with Philip, while the halfling hobbled that bandits leg and leaped off it into a kick at the other bandits leg. The other bandit cut into Philip, when a third bandit charged Philip from the woods and slashed both his swords into the halfling. Lawrence was shot with an arrow. Brother Martin shot a guiding bolt blindly into the woods. Vernim was shot with an arrow as he ran. A fourth bandit slashed Prynhawn in the back.

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