Always mindful of the need to train new recruits, Balasar sent La’Quel out with a handful of raw recruits on an important mission: recover the villagers that had been kidnapped by the Fangjaw gnoll tribe from the hamlet of Applebottom, and find out what the gnolls have been doing with the people they kidnap. During this mission, La’Quel was to observe the party dynamics and take care of any nasty surprises that the gnolls had in store for them. This surprise came in the form of Grakkus, a gnoll high priest of Orcus, whom La’Quel single-handedly dispatched. La’Quel and her wards rescued the villagers, and began the trip back to Applebottom Hamlet, but eventually stopped for the night amidst a rocky outcropping.
Throughout the night, the group took turns on watch. One of them spotted something in the bushes, and told her relief about it. Unfortunately, the net-wizard that took over for her fell asleep while on duty, and the group was ambushed. La’Quel saw them coming, but said nothing, as they should have been able to handle a few thugs themselves. Little did she know how wrong she was.
The battle began with a roar, as nearly two dozen humans and their wolf pets descended upon the camp. This mob was led by a drow whom La’Quel recognized as Aliah Draesn, a minor noble in the house that La’Quel’s family was enslaved to. Aliah, who had trained as an avenger of Lolth since her teen years, rushed into the fray, hurling insults and divine power at La’Quel. She ordered the archers to take out La’Quel, a task which she made impossible by surrounding herself with a cloud of darkness. The thugs and wolves began bludgeoning and biting the rest of the party, but they proved to be no weaklings, and eventually had cut the human brigands down to just a handful of archers. Aliah, too, was weakened, and started to display signs of her injuries.
Just then, a voice from behind La’Quel admonished Aliah for being unable to dispose of a simple runaway slave girl, then gave her a blessing of Lolth, which restored Aliah’s fighting form. Two more members of House Draesn, Jasil and Aelaon, with two phase spiders in tow, showed up. La’Quel demanded to know why they had come after her here, after all this time, to which Aliah viciously replied that they were just here to reclaim their property, and gestured to the villagers. La’Quel’s presence had just been icing on the cake, as now they would get to both recover their new slaves and kill their traitorous old one.
As the rest of the party was not composed of morons and fools, when La’Quel ordered a retreat, they all complied to the best of their abilities, while also attempting to see the villagers to safety. The party’s cleric, who had been camped on top of a 20’ high rock, fell off while attempting to blast one of the wolves, and wrenched his neck. His battlemind ally ran to aid him, and was dropped and torn apart by the wolves, but managed to stay alive thanks to the party’s entertainer, who had words of encouragement for him. The entertainer, along with the net-wizard ushered the villagers away from the battlefield, but the entertainer was quickly run down by a phase spider, who had just webbed his allies. With no more healing magic and no allies nearby, the entertainer succumbed to the spider’s poisonous bite and died.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, the net-wizard managed to teleport himself behind Jasil, after she attempted to blast him with a bolt of unholy fire. Disoriented, he still managed to run off, while avoiding the bite of a wolf that had made its way to Jasil, as well as a crushing blow from her mace. On the southern end of the battlefield, the party’s swordmage, whom Aelaon had saved by stopping the phase spider from biting her, only to kill her himself, managed to get almost out of sight of the combatants, when the same phase spider ran up and chomped on her. She soon fell to the poison, but made a miraculous recovery after the spider had left her for dead.
The party’s battlemind, who had just barely survived the attack by one of the phase spiders, managed to grab the cleric and run off. Unfortunately, he was unable to get to the entertainer in time, and he was devoured by the spider after it failed to find the villagers that had run off.
With all of her wards either safely off of the battlefield or dead, La’Quel threw herself into one final assault on Aliah, which ultimately failed as she was dragged into Jasil’s blade barrier by the other avenger and brutalized by the three drow. Just as she lost consciousness and Aliah was about to deliver the coup de grace, a single moonbeam broke through the clouds and shone brightly on La’Quel, blinding the other drow. When their vision cleared, she was gone, and they were alone on the battlefield.
We will continue this storyline in two weeks.