Blindly Forward, into Lavanda

We cleaned up the fire, explained things to the town guard, and recruited our new intern after a quick interview process. There wasn’t time to waste - after a quick stop at D’arcy O’gumble’s abode, and an all-you-can-eat buffet, we headed back to Leafwood’s ship, and took off. It had been a long day - we all hit the sack.
When I awoke, I was served tea by an invisible butler that Tibles had conjured up, and I got geared up to help on the ship. The next couple days were spent navigating a nasty patch of storm, but the skies cleared as we reached Lavanda. D’arcy took to our company well enough, though he was a touch too Pious for some of Peregrine’s antics.
We touched down in the sea, and then sailed close enough to be deposited on the southernmost beach. Leafwood anchored offshore to consult his maps, and we started doing the same. Our planning was short-lived.
Moira spotted a group in the treeline, they had rifles aimed at us, and were wearing Lavandan uniforms. Before we knew it, Leafwood’s ship was surrounded, and they were dragging him ashore, under arrest. He was, after all, a retired smuggler.
We reasoned with the man, told him that Leafwood had a chance to clear his name if all went well. Thanks to the bard’s silver tongue, I think we won him over.
We were informed of the situation - apparently it was Bishk that had invaded again. The man hadn’t heard of any sort of supernatural cataclysm with black smoke, and he had heard nothing about a plague. Apparently the Bishkan army had developed artillery that belched black smoke, and blotted all lines of sight.
We travelled to <CITY NAME HERE>. There, the Lavandan army was making their stand against Bishk. Both sides were dug in deep, and the city had turned into an absolute hell hole. But it wasn’t
We reported to the man’s commanding officer in a nearby camp, who just so happened to be General Coraline Airalin. I was relieved to see her - at least one of the Airalins survived. We swapped greetings and stories, and she told us that we were to march on the city in an hour’s time. We didn’t waste a moment of it.
I think our arrival bolstered the troops some. After all, The Tiki Company’s name is known far and wide, and I did my fair share of hero work while I served in their army. We traversed the Lavandan section of the city, taking care to move between artillery barrages. We met the commanding officer for the district in a sheltered tent, a shaken man who seemed to have abandoned all hope. Moira calmed him down as best she could, and he gave us the skinny of the situation.
We needed to recapture the palace if our movement was to go anywhere, but the route was cut off by sharpshooters and the Bishkan artillery. Not to mention a magma dragon that was being ridden by one of Bishk’s higher-ups. Our best bet, it seemed, was to strike right at the heart of their war machine.
The tent was struck by a lucky barrage moments after we left, but there wasn’t time to check for survivors. We sent Volkin, Doug, Emryss, and Hogan to create a diversion, and moved out to flank the barricade.
Through bombed out buildings and side roads we moved, until we were certain we found our target. Tibles cloaked us all to move in for the sabotage, but it turns out the cannons were decoys. Thankfully, we didn’t trigger their trap. We managed to get back on track and pinpoint the location of the real cannons.
As we were getting our bearings, I heard a knock below my own feet. I was standing on a trap door. We opened it up to find Jenkins, a man who used to run a frozen yogurt shop in this part of town. Ahh, memories.
Anyhow, Jenkins was running an infirmary of sorts in his basement. Lavandan troops that had the will to fight, but certainly not the physical capacity. We told them we’d secure their exit, and kept right on going.
Part of the way to the artillery, I was struck with a splitting headache, and I heard a voice, no doubt transmitting psionically, inside my own head. We heard the beating of dragon wings outside, and I knew I was speaking to the dragon rider. The voice was familiar. It was a scumbag who went by the name of “The Redeemer” during the Bishkan war two years back. I collapsed a building on him back then, but apparently his evil survived. He taunted us a spell, and then I managed to force him out of my head. We had a job to do.
We came upon our target, and found a vantage point in a nearby building. Peregrine got on the roof with a green smoke arrow to signal our success, while Tibles organized his plan of attack. It wouldn’t take much - the artillery was piled high with kegs of black powder. All it’d take is one spell, and the entire unit would be blown sky high.
And we had a more than capable wizard to take care of that. An arc of lightning split the earth in two, and caused the whole landscape to rattle. Peregrine shot op his smoke round, and we opened fire on the survivors, aiming to clean up our mess and retreat before they were any the wiser.
We weren’t that naive of course - the dragon found us before we could make short of ourselves. Peregrine’s firepower, Moira’s performance, Tibles’ magic, and my swordplay were all out in full force, but it was D’arcy that caught us by surprise - the man was a born dragonslayer, I’d have to stay on his good side.
We felled the beast, and stood in the open to catch our breath and clean up before moving back. The operation was a success, their dragon was dead, and this city would soon be ours again. Feels good to be back in the saddle.

—Richard J. Buckles

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