War and Subterfuge

Oasis and Pelor's Hand

Lord grant me strength - we're going to need it.

We reached the oasis under cover of darkness, wary of the unfriendly beasts gathered at its banks. There was a winged creature hiding in the trees across the water from us, which we’d spotted from a distance, but it was now lurking out of sight. We made our way to the water’s edge, keeping enough distance between us and the pack of hyenas as to hopefully appear unthreatening. Of course, Lord’s breath, it couldn’t be that easy. The hyenas were too hungry to ignore us. The harpy, too, couldn’t leave us to our business. She let out a screeching, haunting song and Jinan, Raiden and Reed began to walk into the depths of the pool, a distant cast over their eyes. Kieran was occupied staring at something and, well, I had the Lord’s favour on my side. We were unaffected. Perhaps Kieran’s density was a blessing in disguise after all. The Gods work in mysterious ways.

Kieran and I were left to dispatch the approaching hyenas, most of which had been spared the call to drown themselves. He seemed to have a knack for shooting arrows into their eyes. We made fairly short work of them, but they were many and our waterlogged friends weren’t of any help. I suppose clinging to life was helpful, in that we could keep slicing and dicing the hyenas without needing to rush off and babysit them. Honestly, sometimes I get the impression that these people have no training whatsoever. Except Raiden, of course. He’s clearly spent years practicing that scowl.

Soon Jinan broke free and took to the air, attempting to blast the harpy out of the sky. Their aerial acrobatics were impressive, I’m assured, but I was a little busy making mincemeat of my toothy foes at the time. The Lord’s work is never done, especially when the Lord’s servant is being chewed on. Really now, what part of “big shiny armour” could they possibly have found appetizing? They must have been rather hungry, especially to have kept on like that when we’d disemboweled most of their number. Raiden and Reed snapped back to the present in due time, and shortly after, the harpy was burnt to ash and the last of the hyenas hit the ground. We refilled our water supply at long last and moved on through the night, stopping to camp later.

When the heat of day was gone and night was once more upon us, we made for a shadowy form on the horizon. It turned out to be a village, nestled around a great stone formation that looked much like a hand. Pelor’s Hand, it was called. I wasn’t sure what good a rock hand could possibly do, except throw a little shade during the day. Perhaps the hand of Heironeous is simply a more active one. I have, after all, been kept quite busy doing his good work. It is not my place to question the wisdom of the Gods. It is not always easy to serve without question, but I trust that my Lord guides me for the greater good. The other gods lead people astray, including this imposter God and its false prophet that Raiden spoke of after his miraculous resurrection. But my faith is strong and my sword true. I have no doubt that we will continue to follow the path set before us and rid the world of these Rhonian villains. Lord preserve us, I know it will only grow more perilous.

The village was unwilling to supply us, since attacks from the surrounding wildlife had left them under great hardship. Their well had also run dry. I sympathized with their plight, though I didn’t agree with their attitude. I was pleased to hear that my fellows were just as eager as I to help this stricken village. Perhaps their thoughts were more turned to the unlikeliness of finding desert equipment elsewhere. Then there was an eerie scuttling sound and a flurry of movement, and a swarm of man-sized scorpions charged for the village. Villagers grabbed crude farm tools to defend themselves. We drew our weapons and took on the bulk of the horde. While their numbers were daunting at first, and their appearance stomach-turning, I found that a good swing could cleave them in two with relative ease if I softened them up a little. Raiden seemed completely invulnerable to their stingers’ venom.

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