The morning after the entire city was saved from the ravages of a rock army Hepolita rose early. She cooked the biggest most delicious breakfast that the party had had in a while. The rest of the group were pleasantly surprised as Hepolita was a rough fighter type that didn’t seem like the kind to like cooking. Refreshed and ready to go, the party set out at once to Drakenforge. It was not only the last of the Blessings but also the next location of the ingredients for the panacea to restore everything from the Curse of Ash.
As a thank you for the wonderful meal Aleera asked if Hepolita wanted her to do a reading for her. She agreed and asked what she needed to do to find out more about the strange dreams she had been having. Aleera pulled three cards: the Full Moon, a Scythe or Scimitar, and a tiny White Flower. Aleera had no visions to accompany this reading so they had to interpret the cards. Having no immediate answer they put the issue on the backburner of their minds.
It was getting much easier for the party to get around. Most of them could now fly and although Kaladrax was big, he could use the brooms at a slower pace to also be able to fly. They traveled through the air, following the roads as much as possible. The first night of travel brought them to the ruins of Fort Arlo. There were many dead bodies of soldiers littered around. The party came to the conclusion that the earth elementals had sent a contingent this way and surprised the soldiers. It seemed people had died after all.
The group took the next few hours to give everyone a proper burial. After saying some words of respect and well wishing for the next life they settled down for the night. They had a simple meal of stew and bread they got into their tent or bedroll to rest. Aleera’s sprite and Kariss’s snake, Kess, stood watch through the night.
The next morning they traversed the rest of the road to Drakenforge and came up to the tall walls defending the land. They could see short glinting bodies patrolling the walls and shouted up to ask to come in. They waited a few moments and were greeted by a shinier dwarf than the rest. He introduced himself as Stobal Wallcracker, General of the Wall Defense. The party introduced themselves as traveling merchants, using Kaladrax’s family name as guarantee of their mercantile aspirations.
The General explained that all merchants were welcome within the walls of Drakenforge. The only condition was that they had to wear control collars to ensure compliance with the laws of the land and to ensure that no dangerous magic could be used within the walls. Kariss, Hepolita and Milo were confident about wearing the collars and still being able to act within the walls but Aleera and Kaladrax were not willing to give up control so easily.
The others agreed that it would be best to have a few members of the party free of the control collars in case the rest needed to be freed. They also needed more water from the oasis to begin putting together the panacea once they had all the ingredients. Aleera and Kaladrax agreed to go while the others infiltrated the city and gathered information.
Once the three volunteers had agreed and put on the collars, they entered the city through large iron studded doors and disappeared into the lands of the dwarves. Aleera turned to Kaladrax and asked how they were going to get to the Oasis in the least amount of time. Kaladrax grinned at her and said he had learned a new spell that could Teleport them to any location he chose. Although, he added, it would be easier to get to a place he had already been to and observed.
They moved a little ways down the road into a glade of trees and held hands as Kaladrax chanted and cast Teleport. He was very new to the spell. That much was apparent as it took three attempts to cast properly. Each time he failed, they took damage from the magical recoil. The fourth time was the charm and they faded from the verdant woods and came back into focus surrounded by miles of sand and stone with the blazing sun overhead.
They were standing right outside the Oasis where attendants and visitors were working and moving about. There was a small line waiting to take their turn washing in the healing waters. Aleera and Kaladrax opted to wait until the end to take their turns in the water. Once all the other visitors had had their turn, Aleera and Kaladrax sunk into the warm liquid. After a few minutes they noticed the aches and pains of their magical attempts melt away under the gentle lapping of the water.
When they were done and dried off, they sat at a nearby bench and went over their options. Aleera asked Kaladrax if he had any flasks or barrels on him. He did not. She had nothing to store liquid in either and they sat there in embarrassment and pondered solutions. They asked the attendants still left for the night if they had any empty barrels, flasks, or bottles to store the water and if they did, could they take some for themselves? The attendants told them the waters were for everyone as long as they didn’t take too much too quickly but that they did not have any storage available.
Now that they had permission they kept thinking of how to store the liquid. The bag of holding was out of the question, Aleera did not want to mess up the bag with liquid floating free in there. She then got a sly look on her face and asked in a sweet voice,
“Kaladrax, don’t you have a few bottles of wine that you carry with you?”
He turned a little grey at the mention of his small hoard of fine wine he always carried with him. Aleera kept poking, asking about how many bottles he had and asking him to take them all out. Once he had taken out all the bottles he had, they took count and found 12 bottles. He explained that he had planned to use the bottles to barter in Drakenforge and mumbled under his breath about also using some of the wine to have a nice drink with her.
She said they could have their nice drink now. He agreed but kept the two best bottles to still have bartering tools for Drakenforge. He couldn’t bear to waste a drop having just refilled his stock for the trip so they proceeded to drink all ten bottles and, for the rest of the afternoon and night, got completely smashed. While their partners were sneaking around Drakenforge they were drinking the day away, for the Oasis water of course.