We waited a long time. A really long time. Must have been over two hours. The warehouse was musty, smelled like the river, and was ill-equipped for comfort or entertainment. Inside, we stayed quiet and ready. We put out the torches and lit oil lanterns, covering their light to let little escape into the night through the hand-width opening we left with the large sliding door. A hundred times, each of us must have wandered past the doorway and peered out at Will. To his credit he remained alert and awake, bunched up in a cloak and standing casual. I made the previous journal entries to stay occupied.
The only notable events in this period were the minimum of three times when dear Pulp came and interrupted my writings. He did so to suggest, in as friendly and non-confrontational a manner as possible, that I might consider purchasing a weapon such as a simple Sling, for use in combat. I made to trouble myself by explaining (each time) my avowed pacifism and role as strictly a healer. But Pulp had convinced himself that our party’s offensive capability needed boosting, and so each time I started to enlighten him, he repeated his friendly advice and would hear none of it.
Apart from those events, we stayed alert and bored. Eventually, halfway to dawn, some things started to happen.
BOB was at the door and whispered for our attention; Will had indicated that something was afoot. Apparently a barge was coming in to the wharf beside our building and, sure as not by coincidence, there came the sounds of a horse-drawn wagon from the roadway.
BOB and Reece shared the doorway, observing and whispering details to us as we came down off our seats on the crates and stood nervously by, waiting. There was indeed a barge now sliding in against the pier, and across the stockyard we were told was the sight of men dismounting a cart, torches in hand. BOB said that Wilhelm wandered over to the boardwalk, and received mooring-rope from the deckhands of the barge. Apparently Will tied off the line, and said something to the lead men on the scow. Reece heard them say something back, and then both Reece and BOB became quite agitated, anxiously pulling back from their vantage point.
An instant later Wilhelm came crashing through the man-sized door, looking startled and a bit sick. “I think they cast a Zone of Truth spell,” he panted, taking up the great club he’d left inside with us, “Because they saw right through my iron-clad bluff. I think we’re in it now.” Angry shouts followed behind him from outside.
We looked to each other, considered our surroundings, and the fight was on. BOB hauled open the main door wide enough to admit but one man at a time. Spiritz cast Mage Armor; a brief visage of ethereal splint armor glowed green around him, then turned invisible. Xel’Xaran wanted a look for himself. He replaced Reece at the entranceway, took in the sight, reported back. By moon and stars alone, an Elf can see in the dark much better than Humans.
Four men from the cart, ten in total from the barge. Of those ten, six were human and four were lizardfolk. A man each from the barge and the wagon were having a heated discussion between their torches, angrily gesturing in our direction. The humans were hanging back, wary, but the four lizardfolk were advancing on the doorway.
For a brief moment I considered that perhaps this didn’t need to go the predictable route; that I might be able to step outside, effect an apologetic tone and perhaps Bluff our way out of this with comments about good help hard to find, and an obvious misunderstanding. But I wasn’t about to risk my life on it.
The four lizardmen rushed the sliding-door opening, charged in single-file and find us waiting.
Xel’Xaran let fly a wild arrow. Spiritz one-upped him with a dead-accurate Magic Missile, showing the scout what a hit looks like. Reece hid in shadows and let the first three lizardfolk enter unmolested, then hacked the last one in with a cleaving scimitar strike.
The man-sized door burst open again, and a human mercenary stepped in, sizing up our numbers. Pulp ducked to the side, saw the angle was right, and torched three lizardmen with a Burning Hands burst. Sorben had been dozing, it seemed, then came alive with a bright and hurtful Orb of Fire on one of the lizardmen.
Another surprise from our sorcerer; Spiritz nailed a lizardman with the Color Spray spell, blinding and stunning the reptilian for an all-too-brief stretch. Xel’Xaran missed with another shaft, and BOB’s fists were a flurry of motion, pummeling the human merc. Spiritz then fired off another Magic Missile, right before a lizardman in melee with Pulp hit our Cleric with a devastating blow that I think even the enemy forces outside our walls heard loud and clear.
Sorben withdrew from the fight, falling back to the shadows. Xel’Xaran finally found his mark, as BOB dropped the human in the doorway and Reece himself was on the receiving end of some hurt. Pulp took another bad hit and fell unconscious, before I knew it I was moving to him despite the dangerous fight going on right over top of him. Reece and Xel’Xaran combined for two impressive hits, and BOB sent a lizardman to the dirt.
I made it to Pulp, dragged him to his side, administered a decent Cure Light Wounds to wake him up. Wilhelm, whom I’d not noticed before that moment, found an opening and sent his lizardman foe down to Death. Spiritz felled a foe with an Acid Splash. BOB went down; I hustled to him, dispensed what looked and smelled like a sub-standard potion, restoring little health but was at least enough to wake him from his unconscious state.
About then was when an errant club swing from a nearby enemy clipped me. It hurt. It REALLY hurt. I have never been injured before. At St-Jude’s we had been dealt nonlethal subdual damage during combat medical training, which was no pleasant experience, but this is REAL damage ! Radiant PELOR ! Is this what happens to Fighters every day ??? How do they STAND it ?!?!
I think it was Will who dropped that guy, and then Reece who finished the last of the lot. Counting quickly, I found six of their numbers on the warehouse floor, in varying states of dying. No respite for us – there were still more out there, and they were not going to be surprised as their fellows had been.
Journal of Dr. Marcus Grant
Healing Cleric of Pelor, Order of St-Jude Academy (Silabrek)
14th Day, town of Mid-Plain, territory of Ælim.