Chapter 13: Breaking the Siege

Rives spurs Strider on into the woods in the direction that Alelip indicated, not entirely sure exactly where he was leading the group, other than away from the gnolls who were in pursuit.

Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 12 (Total = 13)

Rives leads the group into the woods, hoping to make for a generally northerly course but mostly allowing the big horse to do the steering through the trees and around the thickets. After about an hour of riding, Strider brings the group to a halt at the banks of a broad river that flows from left to right as observed by the approaching riders. The river bank is muddy and choked with reeds, and the water flows rather ponderously all across the hundred-foot span. Somewhere in the distance, either to the left or behind the party, the hooting sounds of hyenas can be heard.

Rives looks at the river, a little perplexed, but largely unfazed. Towns are often located near rivers, he thought. He looks back over his shoulder at the rest of the group, uncertainty plainly evident on his face.

About halfway through the ride from the road, Alelip felt a pain in his leg. While focused on survival, he ignored it, but now that the group had come to a stop, he looked down at it to discover the arrowhead still lodged in there from the siege at the tower. He looks at it curiously for a second, then
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 17 (Total = 21)
scans the nearby area for presence of the town and a possible place to ford the river, if need be.

Alelip turns to Cademon and asks, "Is the town on this side of the river? And how close are we to the waterfall?"

As he waits for a reply, Alelip puts his hand on his leg, as best he can in the saddle, and begins quietly
cure light wounds:
Dice Roll:
d8 Results: 2 (Total = 3)
chanting some unknown words.

Caedmon glances down at the map, then up to the river. "Looks like we may have veered a bit to the west, sir, but if we follow the river we should make it to the town in a few more miles. Maybe not before nightfall, though. The waterfall is well to the south." The ranger glances up at the partly cloudy sky to gauge the position of the sun. "We'll probably need to make camp before we get to town. If we push the horses, we could probably make it to the lakeshore before we had to stop--Rives, what do you think?"

The horses probably have another hour in them at the speed we've been going. But as it grows darker, well need to slow our pace to make sure the horses don't misstep. So it's a race between the sun, the horses.... and the gnolls, the stable hand assesses.

Alelip listens to Cademon's description of their location and Rives's assessment of the horses. After thinking about it for a moment, he turns to the group and asks, "We have a decision to make. Do we press on towards the town and continue on through the dark, try to reach the lakeshore and stop tonight, or do we want to find a defensible position here or nearby and keep watch for the night?"

He looks up at the group, waiting for each to speak.

"I donīt like the idea of running blind, sir. And we can't lead the gnolls to the town, they're vulnerable" said Marin frowning. True, it was not the ideal scenario to camp and wait for the battle, but they couldn't lead the enemy to innocent lives. The townspeople were counting on them to defend them

Caedmon nods. "I say we find some sort of defensible position here, then, preferably one that stays somewhat out of sight. No sense saving the horses from gnoll firepits just to kill them from exhaustion."

Alelip listens to the group offer their suggestions, thinks on it for a moment, and then reaches a decision.

"OK, I agree, I think we should find someplace that we can easily defend and set up camp, of sorts, there. I don't want to push on in the dark if we can avoid it, since if we lose our horses to injury or gnolls, it will be very difficult to make it back to the main camp where the army is. Tomorrow morning we'll go to the town, re-equip, and then head south to meet up with the rest of our company."

As he finishes, his voice drops slightly, as if offering some glimpse as to the likelihood that they will find the rest of the company.

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