War of the Burning Sky Session 2

The Poison Apple Pub was dark and empty, its many tables and chairs pushed to one wall and covered with sheets. A single table sat in the middle of the room.

A small oil lamp and a keg sat on top of it, along with several mugs. At the back corner of the common room beside the bar, a staircase led upstairs. On the wall behind the bar hung a bronze bust, which Torrent explained was of the former emperor of Ragesia, Drakus Coaltongue, a regal, aged half-orc with a scar cutting diagonally across his face.

Torrent grimaced and straightened in her chair, saying, “Another year gone. I guess it’s time to get down to business. The city’s in trouble. The Ragesian army is marching on us, and will be here by tomorrow. Before then, we have a mission. I used to study at a magic academy to the south, called Lyceum. They’re good people. So when word reached them about Ragesia’s ‘Scourge,’ they sent out messages calling for anyone fleeing Ragesia to come to them. They want to stand against the Ragesians, and the resistance wants their help. We just need to get a message to them. Normally we would have sent something by teleporting courier, but something strange is going on with planar magic. The last courier who teleported into Gate Pass, rumor is that he showed up burnt to a crisp. Not that I have that sort of magic anyway, but if we’re going to talk to Lyceum, we’re going to have to go overland. And that’s a problem, because the city’s walls are sealed. Ever since their emperor died, the Ragesians have been trying to show that they’re not weak, and they’re marching an army in our direction, since the mountain pass we’re in is apparently ‘strategically valuable.’ Either way, a few idiots on the city council want to negotiate with the Ragesians, and rumor is they’re going to invite a group of inquisitors into the city to look for ‘magic-users who are hostile to the empire.’ They’ve sealed the gates of the city so no one can get out, to make sure they look like they’re cooperating, and only military personnel can get in or out. We’re going to have to get out of the city, and I’m open to suggestions as to how. Once we’re out, I can get us safely to Lyceum, but before we get ahead of ourselves, we have a mission tonight. The short version is that we’ve got to meet a contact—a gnome named Rivereye Badgerface—in about an hour at a guarded depository about a half mile from here. He’s carrying a case of vital military intelligence which he stole from the Ragesian palace, and the heads of the resistance think that it needs to reach Lyceum. We’ve got to get that case, get out of the city, and get far away from here before the idiot city council lets the Ragesian inquisitors in. Once that happens, the odds of us escaping are slim. I know I’d love to stay here and fight against the Ragesians, but I’m no soldier, and this mission might be more important. Worst case, you get away from the Ragesians and we can part ways a few days down the road. Best case, you can come with me to Lyceum, and we come back with an army of our own to drive off the Ragesians. But we’ve got to act fast either way. Are you ready for this?"

As we were strategizing, the pub was assaulted by a group of thugs and their mastiff, with reinforcements joining from upstairs. Just then we heard loud explosions from outside, and discovered the city itself was under attack and was being hit with dragonbombs.

We barely managed to defeat thugs and escape the burning pub, though the apparent leader of the thugs escaped on horseback himself. We noticed the thugs wore red armbands with a black horse head and an unfamiliar symbol.

Torrent said we should hurry and get to her meeting with Rivereye, before he flees the burning city.

As we fled the burning building, we saw monsters flying through the skies overhead. Buildings were crumpling and exploding a few streets over. People clogged the streets trying to see what’s happening. We pressed out into the crowds, heading east, where we saw a huge cluster of burning buildings, and as we got close to the gate to the next district, we were swallowed up in a huge throng of panicked townsfolk. We stopped to help a family that had been burned in a fire, healing the mother and father. Soldiers were trying to push through the crowd, while normal people try to flee in the opposite direction. The gates, designed to hold back invaders, were too narrow to let us all through. Then something overhead roared. Overhead we spotted a battle, and heard a thunderous crack as the griffon rider shattered his lance in the throat of a wyvern. He tossed his broken lance down to the crowd with a cheer as the wyvern spiraled out of control and crashed to the roof of a building the next street over. Then moments later a deep, challenging roar filled the air, thumping, pulsing wingbeats fanned the city flames and kicked cinders into the sky, and we witnessed a massive red dragon fly forth from the smoke and crush the stunned griffon and rider in its snapping maw with a sickening, crunching sound. Once again, after too short a reprieve, pandemonium beset the crowd. The streets cleared as people fled desperately, foolishly into the nearest building, and as the dragon swooped away into the night, headed for the colossal statue of Emperor Coaltongue in the central district, we saw that our path to the depository tower was clear.

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