Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide.
The rebels were again camped out in the wilds waiting to return to the search for the Blood Banner. They had acquired another ship, albeit a decrepit one much in need of a lick of paint, but, to all appearances, things were going well. Appearances, however, have a nasty habit of being deceptive.
That morning over breakfast, each Drow had reported a dream in which they had been visited by Vhaeraun and instructed to make a magic item. They agreed a time to meet and carry out the enchantment. The only one who kept silent was General Gul. "What was your dream, General?” asked Brun. Gul kept his head down and pretended not to hear. "Gul?!” Brun called him again.
"The Masked Lord did not see fit to come to me” he mumbled. "I will not be coming to your enchantment this time.”
The others eyed him with suspicion, especially Gorlab who was looking for any excuse to challenge for the leadership. Perhaps this could be turned to his advantage? He smiled to himself. At last, rid of the posturing fool of a noble. An uneasy calm settled over the company and each went their separate ways.
Later Gul and his followers were in his cabin on The Retribution.
"Arla, if you would go on deck and keep an eye out, please, thank you.”
"Things are coming to a head my friends. There is something I have kept from you and now is the time to tell you. I only hope you are as loyal as I think you are.” They listened expectantly to their leader.
"On the day after the Beastman celebrations I was visited by their War God, Rahj, and invited to join his worshippers. I believe several others were visited too but I was the only one to accept. I ask you now to join me.”
Koda leapt to his feet and roared triumphantly. The others agreed, as well, but more quietly.
"I know this is only a ploy to get the Beastmen on our side” whispered Tsab, "but I’ll go along with it.” He winked knowingly, skilfully avoiding an embarrassing misprint.
Dur asked, "Why did you send Arla on deck, brother?”
"She is a thief, and The Masked Lord is the god of thieves. She will take some convincing.”
Gul continued, "I also tried to get Goll to join us, but I’m not sure what he will do.”
Below decks on the Wolfsbane, Goll was telling Gorlab and Brun Casta exactly the same thing, except he knew what he would do. They discussed their response to this disturbing news, agreed a plan of action and went to confront Gul.
"Something’s happening” it was Arla calling from the deck. Gul and the others raced up the stairs. They looked across the camp and saw Brun, Goll and Gorlab along with Yaarg and Wendi clambering down the hull of The Wolfsbane.
"That’s it, they’re on to us! Dur put that crown on and let’s put some space between us and them.”
"Don’t worry, General,” said Arla, smiling and holding up the crown which controlled The Wolfsbane.
"Maybe they want to talk,” said Tsab.
Suddenly, Sue appeared beside Dur and attacked him, but failed to hit him.
"Brun might, but I don’t think negotiation is Goll or Gorlab’s way of doing things.” With that he loosed a fireball, setting The Wolfsbane ablaze and wounding Goll, Brun and Gorlab. Wendi and Yaarg were both killed.
Tsab, Koda and Arla retaliated against Sue, but with no effect.
Goll and Gorlab sent two balls of fiery death hurtling towards The Retribution and it became a flying pyre. All went down save Gul who managed to find the crown and take control. He tried to fly away but another fireball killed him and sent The Retribution spiralling to the ground.
The rebel party was decimated, losing more than half its number and one of its most powerful magic users.
The Gods looked down and laughed.
Some days you’re the Giant Forest Flying Beetle and some days you’re the Giant Spider’s Web.