The defenders rushed over to the Parademis residence and found a handful of Bone Guard on the front steps. The leader wore full plate armor and wielded a large, heavy polearm. Elros picked off one of the lesser Guard while the others advanced on the invading soldiers.
The officer spun his weapon around effortlessly in a dazzling display that gave the nearer of the defenders pause, as fear of his evident prowess gripped them. Dorian was the first to engage the Bone Guard in melee, but his first strikes were hesitant, weak efforts. He was injured by a stray sword thrust, and Haggin channeled healing energy to keep the cavalier conscious.
Juke stayed on the fringes of the combat, but Malachi chose a more foolhardy approach, moving in to engage both a soldier and the officer, despite his fear. A bold move, but ill-advised, and he was soon kissing dirt courtesy of the Bone Guard.
In the thick melee, Obaba struggled to get a clear shot on any of the soldiers with her spells. Juke revived Malachi by pouring a healing potion down his throat, and he scrambled away from the soldiers to regain his feat safely. Once the soldiers had fallen, the officer advanced on Dorian. The rogue slipped into a flank, but could not get past the man’s heavy armor.
The conjurer summoned “Doggy”, and the officer found himself flanked by four enemies. Malachi tried an unorthodox attack and knocked the man from his feat. When the officer tried to stand up, the magus drove his longsword deep into his side. He cursed, and dropped Malachi for a second time. It was his last aggressive act; the others made an end of him.
Another potion – courteous of the soldiers to carry such treasures – revived Malachi, if only barely. Fortunately, the fighting in the town seemed to have concluded. They realized the screaming from inside had stopped, and they moved into the house. There stood Solaria with a blooded blade, two leather-clad attackers lay unmoving at her feet.
The women and children that had been sent across the river to hide had come under attack. They’d overwhelmed the Bone Guard attackers, but they needed medical supplies to tend to the wounded and Solaria said she’d come back to the house to get them.
Juke noticed a weird tattoo on the necks of each of the men (image forthcoming), and pointed it out to Obaba. After a few moments consideration, the old woman suggested it was representative of the Void Society, an organization tied to the Shan’ree, that had not been heard of in a thousand years.
The rogue looked to Solaria for explanation, but the woman claimed ignorance. Juke voiced her doubts about the woman’s testimony, and things got tense for a moment. Malachi and Dorian talked the half-elf into relenting for the moment, and when she had left the house to aid in clean-up the cousins apologized to Solaria.
Haggin and Obaba went out to tend to those who could be saved. While he tended to the fallen, the cushani had a vision. Cloaked and indistinct figures, ten in number, circled a tall stone well chanting. Their dark ritual conjured forth a dark beast that climbed from the well and grew to gargantuan stature – in the distinct shape of a dragon made of shadow. He shared this vision with Obaba, but she could tell him no more about the things he had seen.
Redick found Dorian and informed him that his father had been mortally wounded. The boy and his cousin followed the Circle Dancer to where Winston lay in a pool of blood near his slain horse. He told Dorian that he was in charge of the town now, and they said their goodbyes before the old man bled out.
A fog appeared to be rolling in from the hills, reminding everyone of the Breath of Ilius and the threat of the bodies reanimating. The Bone Guard were piled up in a single bonfire, but the fallen of Havenshire were given individual funeral pyres.
* * *
Many discussions about what the people of Havenshire should do next occurred over the next few days. Plans of taking the attack to Malister were pitched and rejected. In the end, it was decided that the people of Havenshire should spread the word of Havenshire’s success against the empire. Those who didn’t venture out would shore up the town’s defenses during the fall and winter, since Redick didn’t believe the empire would mobilize its armies during the cold seasons.
Dorian volunteered to lead an expedition to Gateway, to deliver the letters to Jolial’s friends (and the bard himself, suggested Haggin). They would purchase supplies and try to drum up support for the town, even if it wasn’t official protection from Gateway’s government.
* * *
Juke made it a point to follow Solaria for the next couple of days. She saw the woman remove some hidden treasures from her house and stash them under a rock on the outskirts of town. Once the woman had left, the rogue moved in and retrieved the items. A large tooth, a pendant on a chain, and [I forget if there was a third]. Thinking of the large metallic scale they had found in Jolial’s magic bag, she went to see Obaba.
The old conjurer confirmed Juke’s suspicion that the tooth came from a dragon, but had no inkling what the pendant could be. The rogue touched the gemstone hanging from the chain and her hand immediately began to glow and go a little numb. Naturally, she freaked out a little.
They rushed to find Haggin, and quickly explained the situation to him. He attempted to repair the cursed hand with channeled healing. Though it stopped the spread and the glow, the damage that had already been done was not affected. They started talking about what to do next.