The Shaking Earth

12 Eleasis 1491 DR

The captain of the militia brings disappointing news, no horses are available to the adventurers as they are not on official militia business. Sherlen mentions two options to travel to Julkoun. By road or by river. She leads the group in a tour across the walls, to show them the surrounding region. At the most northeastern point, the highest point in town the group debates on how to travel. Blaze likes to try to sail upriver by boat until Tilliach reminds him he is afraid of water. After they realise no one has any experience on a boat they decide to travel by road.
As they are making their way back down, suddenly they feel the earth moving under their feet. Sections of the wall buckle with the posts pointing upward at strange angles, but the binding holds and the wall stays together. The catwalk behind the wall breaks off in a couple of places. The shaking is so violent that Daardendrian can’t manage to stay on his feet.
The north wall shakes, with mortar and loose stone flying everywhere. Slowly, inexorably, a part of the north wall collapses as they watch. Its supports give way, and as it falls, workers can be seen caught under the wall. Continuing screams can be heard as the dust settles.

The group rushes down to help the trapped and injured workers. They hear groans and curses in Dwarven. Daardendrian tries to lift one of the stones but fails, only to injure one of the workers even more. He quickly heals his wounds using his divine powers. Archibald gets his crowbar and together with Daardendrian they succeed in lifting the enormous rocks. Tilliach and Gloria drag the wounded from underneath and provide first aid. The part of the wall that had collapsed was being reinforced by Derval Ironeater’s brother, Dervin Stonecarver and his two sons. After their rescue they are  very happy and thank the adventurers for saving them. Dervin also promises them favors from the Ironeater clan, though nothing is immediately forthcoming. After inquiring, the group learns that this was actually the first earthquake to have ever occurred in Daggerford. Although they see it as an ill omen, the group has had enough drama in Daggerford in the day-and-a-half they had been back. With no patience to wait for more information about the earthquake they head out for Julkoun shortly after noon.

Nearing the end of the afternoon, close to the hamlet of Enfield, the ground starts shaking again. Less volatile than before, but still enough to alarm our heroes. Next to the road, the grass breaks open and a huge segmented insect with slender legs, each ending in a sharp claw, emerges from the ground in a burst of rock and dirt. A tough chitinous brown shell covers its entire body, and glistening black eyes stare out from above powerful mandibles. The battle that ensued was over in seconds. Daardendrian charged forward uttering his vow of enmity against the creature. He then called Bahamut to smite the foul beast and struck true. A tremendous blow cracked the armor of the insect and drew blood. The creature reeled when he was hit by Archibald’s thunder cannon, but it didn’t fall. It attacked with its mandibles nearly severing the dragonborn’s limbs. Daardendrian was stuck and with little regard to his safety Blaze aimed one of his chromatic orbs at the beast. A bright flash and the tiny ball of fire struck the monster between the eyes. The insect died and Daardendrian was free again, although quite injured. Combat was over before Tilliach even had a chance to react.

So close to a safe place for the night, they decided to head on to Enfield before resting. Upon arrival, they notice the hamlet is deserted. Doors and windows are nailed down and not a single living soul is to be seen. Blaze tries to open up one of the doors and discussion erupts. Tilliach is uneasy with breaking into people’s homes, even if they left it. Blaze doesn’t want to listen and Tilliach leaves, trying to lure one of the ankheg’s (as the giant insects are called) by ploughing some of the dirt with his dagger. In the meanwhile, Blaze uses Archibald’s crowbar to break open the door of a farmhouse, Although he destroys most of the door post while doing so. Archibald then picks the door’s lock and behind it they find a nearly empty home. Both Blaze and Archibald decide to stay inside during the night. Daardendrian and Tilliach take up residence at the nearby barn, both sleeping in their bedrolls on the floor.

Even though there were enough signs the roads aren’t as safe as they’ve used to be anymore, nobody bothers to stand watch that night. A choice they might regret in hindsight. Just before sunrise, the ground trembles again, waking Tilliach. With just enough time to stand up two more ankhegs rise out of the dirt. Tilliach has no doubts of what to do and casts arms of hadar before running outside. Daardendrian, still in his bedroll gets surprised by one of the creatures and is seriously injured. 
Noise of battle wake up Blaze and Archibald who run outside. Daardendrian retaliates with his breath weapon, setting half of the shed on fire. One of the ankheg’s now targets Blaze, who uses his shield  to prevent being bitten. Tilliach uses one of his voodoo curses and grabs a curious looking sort of doll. Archibald charges in with Dragonthumper, striking the ankheg, before casting sanctuary on himself. Daardendrian casts wrathful smite but misses his subsequent attack. Blaze uses shield once more to save himself. Daardendrian gets grappled by the mandibles, but retains his concentration. Tilliach cheers as he thinks he has blinded one of the ankhegs. Archibald tells him the creatures have tremorsense, so the effect of the curse will be little. Blaze’s burning hands then kills the ankheg. 
As more of the barn is consumed by the now large fire, Archibald drops his mace and shield and tries a shot at the ankheg. He just misses Daardendrian, who is still stuck in the mandibles, but hits the ankheg critically. The monster seems to prepare to depart and tries to crunch the dragonborn paladin. The power of the ankheg’s jaws is to great and Daardendrian loses consciousness. Things turn dangerous when Tilliach and Blaze both miss with their spells. Archibald fears the beast will take Daardendrian with him and grabs his mace and charges again to prevent to creature from leaving. He hits and the ankheg drops Daardendrian in order to spray his assailant with acid. Luck changes when both Tilliach and Blaze now hit with their magical attacks before Archibald lands the killing blow. 
Quickly, Daardendrian and his equipment are dragged out of the burning barn. The fire rages on, uncontrollably, but the Chosen of Bahamut is saved…



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