Back in Dunhill Pratch lived up to his reputation as a skilled story-teller, painting a vivid picture for the crowded taproom of Dunhill’s only inn. There is a reason the young bard is known throughout the Windward Coast. Not since the old tales had anyone ever heard such an amazing story.
A week later Lord Valon called council about an attack that was planned. It was common knowledge at this point that the giants, now generally referred to as barbarians, were skilled warriors, but poor strategists. Despite their steel weapons and armour the kingdom forces generally fought them off with minimal casualties whenever they attacked due to their almost haphazard and chaotic style of warfare.
The commander said that scouts had found the main encampment of the enemy force. Almost eight hundred men strong, the barbarian army had camped in a poor place. With a strikingly simple plan, Lord Valon would have the infantry and cavalry strike in a pincer to the north while the militia, lead by the Dunhill heroes, would cover the side retreat avenue and ensure all the enemy were either killed or routed away to the north.
The battle progressed as Lord Valon had predicted. The enemy was routed and then began to split up, half fleeing north to be chased down by cavalry and the other half heading straight for the militia. After furious exchanges of bow fire between the groups the remaining forces clashed. In the end all that were standing were 5 militia men and the Dunhill Six. The enemy had been slaughtered to a man.
As a reward for their bravery and ability, Lord Valon then ordered that the Dunhill Six would stand guard duty over a roving camp of woodsmen as they gathered supplies for the upcoming winter months. This would enable the army to build proper defenses and to rearm and replenish their supplies.
The first month of their overwatch was uneventful. The group busied themselves with patrolling the surrounding woods and helping the loggers whenever they could..The second month the group was informed a man went missing. Upon searching, Elwin found himself irresistably drawn toward a dense copse, still green despite the deep fall weather. Only through the intervention of Pratch did Elwin regain his senses enough for them to realize something out of sorts was happening.
After they regrouped they decided to search for Bob again. Arthur confirmed Elwin’s guess that the path he was on had been the one Bob traveled down. Once again the group was nearly overcome with the urge to continue on toward a presence. Elwin once again fell prey to the need to continue, but luckily Magnus’ strong hands held him back.
In the middle of a dense thicket they found a very beautiful woman dressed in simple, but revealing garb. As she smiled at them they were once again drawn headlong to her embrace. Quentin cried out that this was an abomination and they should do all they could to destroy it.
Immediately the friends attacked and it became apparent that the creature was very resistant to normal weapons. Quentin stood back and bowed his head, as if concentrating with all care to shut out the world around him. While he did so Pratch, Arthur and Magnus stabbed, sliced and pierced the creature, but had little effect, until a stray arrow struck the tree at the centre of the clearing. The creature cried out in pain and they knew what they must do.
While Pratch and Arthur did their best to distract the foul being, Magnus began striking the tree like a woodsman; Warbane digging huge chunks out of the trunk. As the creature cried out in pain she focused her attention on Magnus and began to assault him. It was then that the glade became strangely quiet. All eyes turned to Quentin as he looked up in the sky and cried out in a loud voice.
A powerful lightning bolt struck the creature and she howled in pain and was thrown back. Magnus turned again to the tree and hewed it with all his might. Warbane struck deep and the leaves turned white. At that point Arthur and Pratch struck the creature simultaneously, causing gaping wounds to appear. They struck again and the creature fell to the ground, dead.
Quentin would only say the creature was called a dryad and was a foul abomination, a corruption of nature’s spirit and power. With little ceremony they buried Bob and left the copse. Even as they went the copse turned to the normal browns and oranges associated with the normal time of the year.