Desmond – a cleric – looked out of his carriage window, sighing. He wanted to see something new, something grand. He had been traveling for a few weeks from the Temple of Reh in Gawic and was on his way to Vallerast. The common sight of the tall lush trees of the Elven Lands and the sun glancing off the armor and weapons of the diverse group of mercenaries the church provided to protect the caravan on their way to both find new information about Amidala, the goddess of order and fear, his goddess, or maybe even her temple, as well as moving supplies to Vallerast.
The Elven Lands were very dangerous as they were heavily wooded and the few trade routes were well used as they were by far the quickest form of trade between Vallerast and Gawic and because of this they were a prime target for many bandits trying to make a name for themselves. The bore of the landscape and rhythm of the ride caused the cleric to start drifting off.
He was awoken by the sound of one of the mercenaries, the Lupin, screaming, and “AMBUSH!” followed by the sound of arrows clinking into armor and shields with a few trailing off mark and thumping into the ground and caravan. The cleric stepped outside and began to fight along the Lupin, Hannibal, and some others by volleying fireballs back at the archers in the trees as the Hannibal staves off melee attacks. However, when the cleric realized only himself and Hannibal are told to surrender, Hannibal refuses but the cleric instantly raises his hands and offers to appease Hannibal by saying he will pay him to do so. He agrees, and learn that the tiger-like Rakasta wielding dual rapiers to be Ruja and the leader of the guild who had been shooting from the forest to be a wood-elf named Riew.
Riew was cracking jokes at the cleric and his religious views while Ruja stood by his side with a stoic face taking in the two survivors. However the bandits don’t get a chance to go through their loot as two Meese come out of the forest asking for the bandits help and warning them of the chameleons following them. They tie the cleric up as bait and wait to ambush the chameleons. Only one bandit was injured in the attack, Eseotrot the tortoise-like Tortle, and so they hid him in a tree. The three wood elves—Riew, Leonard, and Igor—take to the trees to snipe, and Frodreck the nymph and Noctac the squirrel-like Kercpa joined Borris the bear-like Bjornin and Ruja on the ground.
The cleric becomes anxious listening to the creaking wheel of the tipped over carriage. He summons his sacred flame when he hears movement in the woods, freeing his hands from the rope. As the first chameleon submerges out of the woods, Riew whistles for his fellow archers to let loose and the three wood elves along with Ruja on the ground let their arrows loose on the closest chameleon who drops immediately. The next one in line spots Ruja and aims an arrow at him but it whistles over his head. As the rest of the chameleons step out of the trees Desmond shoots his sacred fire at one striking him in the abdomen. Riew and Ruja take another down. Igor jumps down from his tree to join Frodreck in taking on two of the chameleons after one knock Frodreck’s two-handed ax out of his grip and knocking him down. Desmond kills the Chameleon who stole it with sacred fire. One chameleon misses Ruja with his sacred fire as he makes his way over to flank the remaining chameleon in the melee battle and runs it through with his rapier killing it leaving five chameleons left alive. As Riew aims for another chameleon the tree he is standing on starts to shake making him miss his target but he is still able to dodge the incoming a sacred flame and a tongue. The tree human who explained as quickly as she could to Riew that she’s a humanoid tree who was raised to be an assassin but would like to help fend off the chameleons. Hannibal shoots the one that tried to grab Riew with its tongue, killing it. Another uses its tongue to take hold of Ruja’s fighting arm and disarms his rapier. Hannibal dodges an incoming sacred fire and releases the remaining bonds on Desmond. Desmond then hits the chameleon fighting Noctac, but doesn’t kill it. Ruja turns around smacking one with his claws, killing it before it even hit the ground. Sprout whips one of the remaining chameleons with her poison vines and Riew finishes it off with an arrow through the throat. Hannibal finishes off the one Noctac is fighting leaving one left. It starts to run away, Ruja nicks it in the shoulder with an arrow, and Riew and Desmond can’t see it so it seems to have escaped, but Hannibal drops his weapons and sprints on all fours tackling the final chameleon while simultaneously ripping its jugular out.
While rifting through the loot Riew picks up a sword with green veins, Hannibal finds an ornate sword, and Ruja gains another rapier. Desmond found ritual components worth fifty gold and two healing potions, the rest added five silver coins to their purses—or man-bags whichever you prefer—, and Sprout picked up twin daggers. The bandits discover the crates of skulka that was in the carriage, and salvage what they can from the burning wreck. Riew begrudgingly allows Sprout and Hannibal, begrudgingly, to join the Razor Winds.
The Meese step out of their hiding spots and ask if the Razor Winds and Desmond would like to spend the night in their village. On the way to the village Desmond inquires the Meese if they know of any temples nearby. They give each other a look of what appears to be fear, and respond saying that there is one in the swamp near where the chameleons live. The rest of the trip is spent with Ruja and Riew poking fun of the cleric and his religion. Once they arrive, at 2 in the morning, in the Meese’s village known as Chissend. Desmond and the Razor Winds, excluding their newest recruits, head straight for the local bar named, “The Bubbly Squeaker.” The bar is closed upon arrival but Riew the bar tender, Harold, well so he lets them in. Riew then orders a drink called “snapdragon” and convinces the cleric do order one as well. Riew is slightly drunk and is definitely a happy drunk going around hugging people but Desmond is a lightweight and the snapdragon does him in in seconds causing him to spew nonsense and his dinner then faint. Ruja and the rest of the present Razor Winds order firecrackers and get buzzed.
A high-elf that Riew knew as Galimond Tarisarn walks in half joking half threatening that he’ll arrest Riew if he doesn’t buy him a drink. Riew smiles and gets him a cheesky. Riew is thrown off when Galimond tells him that his old pal Eiros was in town. Galimond only says a few more words hinting they went to attack something before he passed out. Riew and his second in command, Ruja, proceed to tie Galimond’s wasted self to a tree in the middle of the woods with a note saying, “Now you’re a really HIGH elf,” and the two stumble back cheering, “Huura, huura…” During this time Hannibal hunts down four rabbits and Sprout goes to sleep.
In the morning Desmond wakes up to find himself on a table with burns and bruises and his precious hat missing to which Harold explains were the result of the crackle game Riew and Ruja played on him the previous night. Riew and Ruja wake up to Igor knocking on their door telling them Reginald, the Meese’s leader wishes to speak with them. Harold offers Desmond the knowledge of what crackle is and where his hat is for the right price but Desmond refuses. As Desmond searches in a stupor he finds two Meese children throwing it back and forth like a Frisbee. As Desmond struggles towards them a raven dives down and swipes it out of the air. Desmond then finds Borris and starts asking him where his hat is when he realizes Borris is too hungover to give an answer. Riew spends twenty minutes searching around the room trying to find his pants when Ruja wakes up to discover they were underneath him. A raven with a hat in its beak lands on the windowsill and Riew says, “Good job, Hrafan,” thanking his pet and taking the hat. When Ruja and Riew arrive in front of Reginald looking disheveled inquires if they would be interested in joining them and other adventurers in storming a temple in return for rewards. Reginald is unable to continue as some banging and yelling is heard outside the hall. Riew quickly hands Reginald Desmond’s hat as Desmond himself comes into the room. Desmond begins chewing Reginald out for stealing his hat and can just grab it as the guards take him away. Reginald is curious about what was going on and Riew trades knowledge for knowledge. Reginald tells them that there are more than just chameleons in the temple, families have been taken, and there have been increasing reports of blood magic. Inn return Riew tells the old mouse about crackle and stealing the cleric’s hat. Ruja goes to ask the men if they think attacking is worth it and they are all for it, while Riew pulls Frodreck aside and while talking with him about local blood magic reports Desmond interrupts, apparently having been let go—hopefully—, saying he’s heard about these rituals bringing things from other dimensions. Riew tells Reginald they are in. In return gives Riew a stone that glows when chameleons are near, Ruja received a fire breathing potion, and everyone else gets two healing potions and one poison resistance potion.
The Razor Winds, Desmond, and three Meese sentries then traveled to the swamp where we see a circular temple. Ruja asks Desmond what it is to which Desmond responds by jumping up and down in the mud as best he can barely keeping himself from screaming that this is the place he’s been looking for. Desmond begins spouting off he was always put down by those who thought it was only a legend, but he always believed in Ms. Dalda Stonewall’s research. The Meese, Hannibal, and Sprout go scout ahead and find no guards or traps. Ruja, Desmond, and Riew climb the wall with ease but Hannibal falls when he tries but is caught by Sprout who then attempts to climb with Hanniball but finds she will only be able to climb by herself, and so Hannibal waits with the Meese and the rest of the Razor Winds outside. Those who climbed up continued through an archway into the pitch black castle hallway. Sprout lit up the hallway like it was
4/20 with dim red lights. They go back to the main door to let Hannibal in. Then they continue to a door where Hannibal says he hears loud squishy sounds and senses a horrible smell. The cleric doesn’t sense anything magical on the other side. Sprout smashed through the door and sees three 15 foot leech like animals. She rushes in with her great sword and knife attacking the nearest leech. Hannibal leaps in slashing with his great sword and biting the same leech Sprout attacked killing it but revolting by the taste. Ruja enters the room dodging a lunge from leach #2 and Riew hops on Sprout to get a vantage point. Desmond and Hannibal also attack leech #2, Desmond with a guiding bolt and Hannibal with his sword and jaws, and his hurt in the process by the acid like blood. Sprout attacks leech #3 and narrowly dodges its counter-attack. Ruja pierces leech #2 with his dual rapiers after it attacks and sticks onto Hannibal, while Riew shoots at the other leech. Desmond and Sprout finish off the two remaining leeches with a guided bolt and knife respectively.