The Siege of Xantharl’s Keep
Not sure of her next path, Luze ponders her situation, and how it reminds her of her past.
It became known as the Siege of Xantharl’s Keep. The story spread quickly across the countryside of the night that the small village was attacked by a red dragon and it’s cult. But there were more stories that sprang out of that fateful night, and this is one of those.
As the town smouldered, and the people within started to take stock of what they had been left with, a single female figure stood on a hill, just outside of town. Her shield hung from her back, battered, beaten, burnt, and even cracked, the shield had once gleamed with the symbol of Lathander. The paladin’s once shining armour was now streaked with a mix of her own blood and that of her friends. Tears stung her eyes and streaked her cheeks as she watched the speck disappearing into the distance, of the silver dragon, bearing her friend to his new life, and hopefully redemption. Luze, however, knew she needed to follow another path… but at the moment she didn’t know what that was.
The airship that has borne her to the town of Xantharl’s Keep was moored near the entrance to the town, as was her horse. She snuck aboard the ship and gathered her possessions along with a couple of bottles of fine Elven wine from the hold. Leaving a note behind for her former travelling companions, she mounted her horse and rode off to find what came next.
Intending to drown her sorrows and try to find some rest following a difficult night of fighting, she sat by the edge of the road, with the bottle of wine open. She looked to the heavens and asked aloud. “Why? Lathander, why do you test me like this? Kriv…” she trailed off.
She looked into the middle distance, pondering silently again. Then look at the ground, and saw tracks leading away for the town that disturbed her… deep tracks that seemed to suggest heavy caravans… or cages. Tracks that reminded her of her past… being moved as a slave. She whistled for her horse.
A man stepped out of the forest and picked up the bottle of wine. “I’m sorry, my child.” He looked up as Luze rode into the distance. “But remember, I care for you. And it is always the darkest before the light, just follow the path I lay out in front of you. You will find your way into the dawn.” He drank deeply from the bottle and disappeared before Luze turned around to see.
Luze found the cultists after riding for about an hour, with large cages carrying the captured villagers. She stuck to the edge of the camp and started tracking the movements of the cultists. The cultists were clearly running a light patrol while the bulk of their forces rested following the attack. Luze snuck into their camp and quietly dispatched those guard unlucky enough to get in her way, clearing a path back out of the camp.
She quietly worked her way around the camp, ensuring that the sleeping cultists wouldn’t be a threat ever again, and then released the kidnapped villagers. She led them safely back to the town, where she was heralded as a hero, by those she rescued that morning, and those who had seen her fight with the red dragon and the ogres the previous night.
Due to her actions, she was offered a place to stay in the town, if she wanted, a small tower on the outskirts of the town whose former occupants had been lost during the attack. Luze still wasn’t sure what she was going to do next… but she had grown sick of travelling all of the time…