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Reinforcements 2

The sun has continued going down, and now you find yourselves in deepening shadows. Soon you'll be in utter darkness.

"We should build a camp for the night." says Edo, moving back to the campsite he had already built. "Seeing as this cave has so much activity we should post a guard. Say 3 hour shifts?"

Laban looks around "Yes I agree but let's say 4 hour watches that will give us a slightly better sleep. Do you wish to watch first or second?" He walks slowly back to the campsite beside Edo. It would seem that he has made his first friend on the surface world, I wonder how long we will remain that way and will he like all the attention I will draw to him he thinks to himself.

"I'll take first, you need your sleep." says Edo simply, brooching no arguement.
"I'll wake you in four hours."

Laban nods and finds a comfy spot to lie down. He is soon asleep.

Edo stands a really boring watch, and as you go to awaken Laban and get some much needed sleep, a dog trots towards you from out of nowhere. Wagging his tail, he has a stick in his mouth. He is obviously well fed and cared for with a thick shiny black coat of fur. He sports a new looking collar. He approaches where Edo is standing about to awaken Laban, drops the stick at Edo's feet and barks, awakening Laban.

Laban jumps up startled by the barking noise, "What! Where did he come from?" He asks looking at the dog, "Here boy? You look well fed do you live nearby?"

"Strange... Do you know if there is a settlement near here?" says Edo to Laban as he reaches down slowly to pick up the stick. "Certainly this dog is a pet, but where is it's owner?" As Edo scans the area he tosses the stick to the edge of the firelight.

Laban looks up "So this is a dog!" He smiles and reaches out "I have never seen one of these before, I am not long of this world" He waves his arm up to the sky and the then to the trees. "I know not where I am but will trust and follow your lead in this world"

The dog wags it's tail and immediately retrieves the stick and again drops it at Edo's feet, barking.

Still scanning the area, Edo calls out. "Hello? Does anyone own this dog?" Once again he tosses the stick, this time further out into the darkness.

Once again, the dog immediatly retrieves it, and drops it back at Edo's feet. Nudging the stick with it's nose, the dog whines softly, a very pitiful, lonely sound.

Intrigued, Edo picks up the stick and examines it.....

There appear to be some scratches of some sort on the stick. Probably from the dog's teeth.

Shrugging his shoulders, Edo looks to Laban. "Well, I'm stumped. Should we follow him?"

Laban looks up at Edo, "Perhaps we should, what are those markings?"

"Just look like scratches from his teeth"

The dog affectionatly nuzzles up to Edo, nudging the hand holding the stick, running to the edge of the firelight, and running back nudging the stick again, he whines again.

"Ok, we're coming." says Edo. "Come Laban, I believe he wants us to follow him."

Laban looks up at Edo, "Then lead the way my friend as you know a bit more about this world than I!" He stands up and walks beside Edo. As they leave the camp and enter the darkness he will switch to infra-vision to watch for possible enemies.

The dog leads you to the edge of a deep cliff alongside the small mtn range, before turning, and heading out along the open plain. About 500 yards later, the dog suddenly rushes ahead, and begins licking the face of an old human male, who has fallen and is pinned beneath a boulder. The man pets the dog, as he turns towards you with a smile. His leg is pinned, and he looks really exhausted.

Moving to the old man's side, Edo quickly assesses his condition. "Are you ok? Lie still, we'll get you free." Motioning to Laban, Edo prepares to move the boulder aside.

Laban moves quickly to the side of Edo and leans his body against the boulder "One, Two, Three push!" and he heaves with all his might.

The boulder moves, and the man attempts to stand before speaking.

Pausing, he motions to the dog. "I'm glad turkeyleg found you. Someone set this trap, to catch what I don't know yet. My sincere thanks for rescueing me." Might I offer you some berries or water?"

"Perhaps you should accompany us back to our camp. I can look at that leg and you can get some rest." says Edo.

Laban looks at the man and steps back when he reacts to him, unsure what to expect next. "Thank you I am a little hungry however I do not want to eat what you obviously have spent time to collect. So I will turn your offer down however perhaps you should accompany us back to our camp!"

You help the man up, and offer to bring him to your camp so Edo can take a look at his leg. As you are talking, the man introduces himself as Alexander Locke a druid of Azimuth. Suddenly, Alexanders attention is attracted by something on the horizen. Flames shoot up from what appears to be bushes, and a small grove of trees. "Looks like another brush fire" he explains "but there've been so many lately, I'm beginning to think it's unnatural.

"Hmmm, any thoughts as to why?" asks Edo, scanning the dark horizon. "Perhaps we should check it out come morning?"

Laban looks up "I have no idea what it could be I'll follow your lead here my friend."

"I appreciate the offer" Alexander says "but I really must return home and see to my leg. You're welcome to come along if you wish. It's not far, and I've hot food and a warm fire to repay you your kindness." He prepares to head for home in a northernly direction.

"But what of the fires? Are you not curious?" asks Edo.

"Yes, veru much so, but at this hour I would be unable to accomplish much. I intend to check it out in the morning, sooner if it doesnt burn itself out like the others did. As I said, you're welcome to come along, but I really must be going. My leg is really starting to throb." Alexander heads out, turning towards the direction you came from.

"Yes, I would be glad to join you." says Edo, quickly packing his things and following Alexander.

Laban nods in agreement "Yes perhaps we should go with you"

Edo and Laban gather themselves together, and prepatre to follow Alexander to his home. Along the way, Alexander speaks of being from far away, and only here temporarily while he examines the envirnment in the area. He hints at being a druidical type, who is concerned about the impact on nature and wildlife that the changes in the magical realms might be having. After traveling for about 10 minutes, you stumble upon a lone dwarf's campsite, beneath a natural rock outcropping. As you get closer, you see the dwarf died some time ago. He lies draped over a small chest in front of a cold firepit. Several leather bags hang from a post in front of him. Alexander looks perplexed. "Did we wander of course I wonder?" he says softly almost to himself "but no, this is the right road. " speaking up a bit he says "This wasnt here last week when I first came this way"

Cautiously Edo approaches the campsite, his staff held at the ready. Nearing the body, he bends down to examine it, trying to determine the cause of death. Using his staff, he slowly pushes the body back off the chest and examines it next, turning to the leather bags hanging from the post last.

Laban joins Edo and examines the chest in front of the body looking for traps of any nature. "I wonder what happened here?" He looks at the body of the dwarf to see if there is any indication of whether he was a thief or figher sorts from his clothing.

The three of you move forward to investigate. As you near the pole, a loud crash occurs. Alexander is partially, and Laban is fully trapped underneath a rock outcropping that has collapsed. Edo is able to leap clear of the trap. As Edo moves forward to attempt to rescue the others, you all hear a low growling noise, followed by snarling. The sound is getting louder and louder. Alexanders dog growls in response, and as you look up, you realize you are being circled and surrounded by 4 large hounds with reddish-brown fur and red, glowing eyes. The markings, teeth, and tongues are soot black. They stand three feet high at the shoulder, and have a distinct odor of smoke and sulfur. As you start at how quickly you've become surrounded, the dogs are joined by a vaguely humanoid figure. Large and very muscular, It stands 7' tall. It's hide is light yellow, and it's thick coarse hair is brick red. It's eyes recall to mind some savage bestial animal, being greenish white with red pupils, while it's ears are wedge shaped, rising from the top of it's head. It's currently sneering in your direction, with a mouth is full of long sharp fangs.

In despirate straights Edo begins to summon his magical powers, calling for the earth to reach up and grasp the large humanoid.....

Laban looks around to see if there is any way out from this trap.

A large arm rises from the dirt near the large humanoid. No wait a minute, It's MADE from the dirt. It reaches up and grabs the humanoid, holding it fast. The hounds continue to circle, looking towards the humanoid, but not attacking yet.

The entrapped creature barks out something in it's language, looking sternly at the circling hounds.

Looking a bit baleful, the hounds rest on their back haunches, however they have begun breathing fire out of their snouts. It extends about 5 inches, before being re-inhaled.

The creature's gaze came to rest upon the trapped companions, and incrediably.... winks!

The creature winks at Laban and Alexander, while at the same time, Edo turns towards them and starts shouting. "What manner of sorcery is this?!?" Looking crazed, he starts going through his pockets, pulling out spell components and tossing them tio the ground. Searching for something in particular you gather.

Growling at Edo, the creature barks something to his dogs.

A globe of darkness surrounds the hounds, Edo, Laban, and Alexander. The creature is outside of it, but is starting to wriggle free of the earthen arm grasping him in place. The hounds continue to breathe fire at Edo, but the flames do not penetrate the darkness, known only by the heat felt by all.

The creature grunts a command once again, recalling the hounds from the attack.

Laban pushes against the rock that has him and Alexander trapped and tries to use his inate ability to levitate to help him shift it and get free. "Edo I need your help here!" He speaks softly and calmly knowing that panic will undo them all at a time like this.

Laban and Alexander struggle to free themselves, while the creature sics the firebreathing hounds on Edo. Calling them off, they refuse to stop their attack. Edo gargles out some strange sound before taking off at a dead run towards the creature. The creature on the other hand, is trapped by Edo's earthen arm, but is slowly freeing himself as small chunks rapidly erode away.

Struggling against the earthen arm, the creature once again shouts a command to the hounds. calling them off the attack.

Laban wriggles to try and get free, but makes little progress. "Edo, if you could be so kind, I could do with a hand before I get barbecued over here.!" He manages to smile even in the direst of circumstances.

Struggling with all his might, the creature fights against the confining earthen hand, trying to free himself.

Laban calls for Edo's help again, but is again ignored. The creature shouts again to no avail, the hounds are on the offensive. Finally, the creature breaks free of the arm, and Laban pulls free of the boulder at almost the same time. Edo heads for the creature, and the hounds flame at Laban and Alexander. Alex is still trapped fully beneath the slab of rock. He is looking rather pale now.

Finally, the creature breaks free of the arm, and Laban pulls free of the boulder at almost the same time. Edo heads for the creature

Moving forward, the creature tries to tackle Edo.

Laban leaps forward slicing towards the hounds with his swords. "Back hellspawn, you are not getting a meal here today!"

Edo runs towards the creature, as the creature tackles him, he goes down the creature on top, in some sort of macabre dance of death.

Edo shouts, "I'm back! I'm me again!" Summoning his chi, the mystic focues it into one quick punch... a stunning blow.

Laban presses on quickly his scimitars almost a blur as they slice from one side to another and stab out at the creatures. He fights with a fury in his heart that such as this could attack those who cannot defend themselves he thinks of Alexander and his plight and presses the fight even more.

Laban frees himself finally, and begins trying to attack the hounds. His scimitars disembowel one hound but the others dance out of reach while still breathing life threatening flames towards Laban and the still trapped now unconscious Alexander. Edo glows a bright red color, blindingly so, in his spot trapped beneath the creature which has stopped it's struggling, and is now lying motionless atop the prone form of Edo.

Quickly, Edo searches his satchel for a length of rope, securing the beast with the strong cord. As soon as he finishes, he turns to aid Laban.

Laban continues to try and press the fight even tries to use another innate ability and highlight the hounds with fairie fire, more as a distraction which could allow him an edge.

Edo finishes tying up the Bugbear and turns to aid Laban in his battle as Laban takes out a hound with his whirling scimitars.

With a piercing 'KIAI!", Edo leaps through the air and comes down near one of the hounds, striking with all of his power.


The story continues...
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