“When the Dungeon Master says, ‘You take 66 points of damage,’ it is wise to ask if he meant 6D6 points of damage.”
Once more, they ran into the breach. Dear friends? Probably not, but they were, as Areia now called them, “brothers from the Great Mother.”
“Has anyone considered the fact that we may be running right into a trap?” asked Vittorio. Only the slightest trace of Thrak’s lisp was present. The Chiellini brother, who was Thrak in magical disguise of course, ran ahead and rounded a corner. He missed every single member of his team raising their hand and so called back, “I didn’t think so, but at least I’ll be ready!”
Iricah readjusted all the bags onto her petite shoulders and tried to keep up. Frank huffed alongside of her, his shield and weapons clanking against his plated armor. “Iricah,” he exhaled, “You really should consider lightening your load.”
Iricah jumped over an overturned cart. They were moving quickly through the smoky air, and it was hard to see objects left by their owners scattered in the streets until the last minute at times. “Frank, we may need something in one of these bags. Besides, there’s the bottles that Bolvist gave us in Silvershore.”
“Keep them handy then bard,” he answered breathlessly. The power of the flame may need some help tonight.
Zy’an caught up to Thrak, and ran ahead into the empty streets. But when he got to the hero’s plaza, he skidded to a stop. The others came up behind him, slowing down and stopping at his signal. They couldn’t see very well, through the smoke and haze, but there appeared to be quite the gathering of townsfolk, each holding linens to their mouths and face. Meanwhile, a man, whose animatedly angry gestures and face were visible even through the smoke, stood on the steps of the center’s platform, and screamed into their midst.
“There’s no murderer! There’s no murder! It’s all a cover up man! The smoke is making fools of us. The fire in the sky is turning you into pixies man. I am a living, breathing dwarf! I am a red blooded, red bearded Celn man, a servant of the King, and I will not be turned into a pixie man!”
What is this garbage? thought Areia. She crept around an abandoned merchant’s cart to gain a better view. A man and his wife, desperate and covered in soot like all the others was pushing through the crowd to the front of the throng. Before them, on perhaps a box of some kind, or barrel, stood a fat, hairy, yet clean red bearded dwarf. He had gold jewelry which shone even through the smoke all around them. A small boy was held up by the father. Each of them had sores all over their body and especially their faces. The mother’s voice rang out and because the man screaming happened to need a breath right at that moment, the crowd heard her.
“Tuck, Tuck! Please, cure my father! Cure my son!!!”
Tuck’s satisfied look was clear even through the haze. “BRING THE CHILD TO ME!” He roared red faced into the crowd. He turned around for a moment, and next to him, as if by some magic, a small cart appeared. On top of it were various ointments and potion bottles. Tuck looked over them carefully and selected one. His fat fingers uncorked a bottle, and he pulled the child to him. “You poor, poor red-blooded Celn! Surrounded by halves, surrounded by the deceit of this fog! It’s no wonder you are in need child. Just as. JUST AS WE ALL ARE IN NEED OF THE TRUTH!”
The child was blankfaced, but tuck opened his mouth with a single hand. A gold bracelet was stuck there on his wrist, as if it had once fit, but now wouldn’t budge. Tuck then poured a dark black liquid into the child’s throat. The young boy coughed and sputtered and tried to spit out the fluid, but Tuck’s hand was stronger than his jaw. He held it tight and shook until the boy passed out, and fell into his mother’s arms.
“FEAR NOT MA’AM!” shouted the dwarf. “FEAR NOT FATHER! FOR YOUR CHILD IS SAVED!” The crowd was hushed. Tuck’s voice drowned out all other sounds. “WHEN THE BOY AWAKES HE WILL BE AS MIGHTY AS MAGIC! BEHOLD!” While the father and mother took their boy in their arms and carried him back into the crowd, another mother and father came forth, their son stood tall next to them. Like Tuck, they were not covered in soot at all, and were quite clean.
“THIS BOY SAW ME YESTERDAY! HE’S NOW HEALED OF THE FILTH THAT OUR LEADERS, THE CIELLINI’S HAVE SET FORTH UPON US!” His hands swept over the crowd as he continued to curse the haze, the blasted smoke and of course, The Ciellini’s as well. The crowd was awed and they clapped and cheered. Tuck stepped down from his soap box and helped sell his ointments with his lovely young assistant. She too must have taken a potion recently because she looked clean, and healthy.