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Journal #4

A Matter of Protection

By Shayalyn





Ralsu and I made our way back to The Leaky Dinghy where we parted
company. Once again I found myself cleaning up and trying to rid myself
of the smell of sewer sludge. When I felt refreshed, I took
a seat at the bar and ordered a tall ale and a warm plate of food. I
hadn't been aware of just how hungry I was until I smelled the aroma of
cooking meat wafting from the kitchen.


“What is it with sewers?” I complained to the man next to me, a
muscular fellow with flame red hair and a full beard to match. “It
seems there are a lot of people in this city intent on having
adventurers wade around in Stormreach's filth.”



He looked up from his mug and nodded grimly. “Aye, it seems that way.”
He extended a hand toward me. “Name's Aloyce McLowen. Have you been
here in Stormreach long?”



“No, she hasn't,” a familiar voice answered. From the opposite side of
Aloyce, Ralsu leaned out over the bar, grinning at me like a fool. “I
see you two are getting acquainted.” The bard nodded toward Aloyce,
then winked at me. Bards!



Aloyce looked from Ralsu, to me, then back again. “You two know each
other?” he asked.



“In a manner of speaking,” I grumbled. “It seems we've somehow become
adventuring partners.”



“Yes,” said Ralsu. “It would seem. Haven't a clue how that happened.”
He took a long pull from his ale and set it down on the bar with a
thud. “At any rate, Aloyce and I were just chatting, and he tells me
he's looking for some work. We heard there's a gentleman here in
the Dinghy looking for help, and for once it doesn't involve the
sewers.”



“Carberent d' Deneith,” Aloyce said. “He's looking to protect a
shipment from bandits; we should seek him out.”



We finished our meals and found d' Deneith nervously wringing his
hands. He told us that he feared his shipment of goods was in danger of
being stolen by bandits. “Go to Kenebrooke's basement in the
Harbormaster's Plaza and defend my shipment!” he said. We promised him
we would guard his crate, and we set off.



“This isn't much of an adventure,” I muttered to Ralsu as we made our
way down the stairs from The Leaky Dinghy. “Guarding a crate--what sort
of challenge is there in that?”



“It's work,” Ralsu answered, “And it garners us favor with House
Deneith. Besides, we could use a bit of a respite.”



As we made our way up the ramps toward the Harbormaster's Plaza, I
watched Ralsu hurry on ahead. “Is he always this eager?” Aloyce asked
me.



shayalyn src="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/files/gallery/albums/Site-Graphics/Shayalyn_closeup.jpg"
style="width: 177px; height: 249px;" align="left" hspace="4" vspace="4">“Sometimes
it's even worse,” I said, and the man and I grinned at each other. “So,
what's your trade, Aloyce? Your heavy armor gives you the look of a
fighter.”



“I'm no mere fighter,” he replied, lifting his chin with pride, “I am a
paladin.”



“Hmm. I see,” I answered. I've never had much use for holy zealots. My
own healing abilities and fighting skills had been passed down to me
through a family legacy--a natural gift bestowed upon us from the gods.
I'd never put much stock in crusades. But something about Aloyce told
me he was a decent sort.



While I was pondering Aloyce, I saw Ralsu suddenly slip and tumble off
the ramp above us. I gasped, hoping that he'd not been injured in the
fall. I hurried down to check on him and found him clutching his ankle,
the same one he'd twisted earlier. I laid my hands on him and healed
the sprain. “You really need to be more careful,” I admonished.



“Careful?” he sputtered, “Shay, I was pushed! I swear that Chelsea
Potter has it in for me. This is the second time she's nudged me off
those ramps.”



I rolled my eyes. “The sooner you make peace with your own clumsiness,
the happier in life you'll be. Accept your fate, Ralsu.”



“Pushed, I tell you!” Ralsu growled.



href="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/files/gallery/albums/Exclusive_Screenshots/Matter_of_Protection_3.sized.jpg"> alt="Brigands attack"
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hspace="4" vspace="4">Finally we reached the door that led to
Kenebrooke's basement, where d' Deneith's precious shipment lay. We found a white
haired man standing outside. He was dressed in the robes of magic man;
a sorcerer, by the looks of it. “I take it you're not a bandit,” I said
to him.



“Indeed not,” he replied. “I am Calten Slyfox. I have been ordered to
protect Carberent d' Deneith's artifact.”



“This must be some artifact,” Ralsu quipped. “We're here for the same
purpose. Join us, and we can all stand around a crate together.”



We made our way into the basement cautiously, but we saw no signs of
treachery. We found the shipment in a back corner inside a crate that
seemed to glow faintly in the dim light. “Strange,” I muttered. Ralsu glanced at me and nodded his agreement. We took our posts around the crate, and I felt an
instant unease--someone or something was watching us.



“Just to be safe...” I said. I raised my hands above my head and
uttered an incantation. Glowing light descended upon me, and then took
the form of a spectral dog, a construct that would fight for me if
necessary. The beast growled into the gloom, and it was then that I
saw the shadowy figure crouched and moving toward me.



“Heads up!” I cried to my party members, who instantly took arms. I
swung my mace at the shadow, and as I connected with it I could
clearly see it for what it was. “Bandits!” I shouted.



There were two of them, and Aloyce and I took to them viciously,
swinging our weapons and thwarting their blows with our shields by
turn. Ralsu kept to their backs, darting at them with his rapier
brandished. It wasn't long before we'd defeated them.



“There will be more,” said Calten. “I know this group; it's Emmerick
Carlsbad's clan. I can tell by their dress, and their stench.”



The sorcerer was right. My spectral companion growled into the gloom
once more and we spotted more brigands making their way toward us,
trying to use stealth to remain undetected. Several of them were upon
us quickly, and I saw both Ralsu and Aloyce take punishing blows from
the thugs. I drew back, chanted an incantation, and healed them each by
turn. Calten hung back in a corner, whispering his own magical words,
and I watched as several bolts of magic tore into the flesh of the bandits,
the manifestation of his spell.



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 The
onslaught of bandit raiders continued, and we soon found ourselves
growing weary from the fight. Just as we'd finish off one wave of
thugs, another would emerge, making their way toward us by cover of
stealth, and then lunging at us with a surprise attack. Had it not been
for Ralsu's mesmerizing magic and my healing abilities, we might not
have survived.



My spectral dog had since dissipated, vanished as quickly as I had
called it, and I was tired from both my magical efforts and hefting my
heavy mace at the would-be thieves. Just then, I heard Calten's
surprised gasp, “It's their leader!” he said, “It's Emmerick Carlsbad!”



The gang leader leaped at us, and it was clear the huge man was no ordinary
brigand but a skilled fighter. Aloyce went after him with eyes blazing
and sword brandished, and Ralsu dove in from behind, driving his rapier
into Carlsbad's broad back. The bandit howled but continued to fight
with nearly inhuman strength. I watched my friends closely from the
corner of my eye as I fought off the other bandit thugs that had
arrived with Carlsbad. Whenever one of them would sneak past me, he
would begin hacking away at d'Deneith's  shipment, and I noticed
that the crate had sustained some damage, but remained unbroken.



A blinding light shot out from behind me and struck the bandit leader
and I saw Emmerick Carlsbad fall to the floor. I turned to see Calten
panting, a faint glow still emanating from one hand. I pushed back the
last brigand with a quick bash from my steel shield, which sent him
flying back into Ralsu's waiting rapier. I saw the light in the
bandit's eyes snuffed out as he fell, defeated.



“And that's that,” said Ralsu, wiping his blade clean and sheathing it.
“I think we've seen the last of Carlsbad's clan.”



“We couldn't have managed this without you,” I said to our new
companions. I took Calten's hand and shook it vigorously, then clapped
Aloyce on the shoulder.



“Turns out this was no routine guard duty,” Ralsu agreed.



We returned to The Leaky Dinghy and reported to Carberent d' Deneith
that his shipment was safe and the bandits destroyed. Then we sat down
for another drink with our friends.



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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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