Here is part 1 of the third, awesome in character adventure report from our Dwarf Battlemind.
I stood there on a train car, dead dragon beside me, and stared at the orcs behind us. I was not sure if they were going to ignore us or were just choosing now to focus instead on the cargo car and save us for later. I turned to face my companions, a battered group of adventurers. I watched them as the cleric, Awnya, moved among them and began healing wounds. Francis pulled himself up from where he had apparently grabbed the edge of the train after getting blown off, and took a knee beside Ronan. They began to speak in soft tones.
Cora hurried over to help Odelle stand and began to help patch her wounds. Keras shook himself and padded over to stand beside me. If we were to face the remaining orcs, we should need to present a united front and not split off into groups like this. I lifted my hammer into the air and then let it fall against the roof of the train car. A low knell issued forth from the car and sped across the plain. A few of the orcs stopped their scavenging and looked our direction. It had the desired effect amongst my companions, though. Standing in front of them, Keras at my back, I knew that our lives could well depend on the words that I mustered. I took the time to look each of them in the eye, acknowledging them. Readying myself, I drew a breath to begin.
"It'sh probably besht that we work together a bit better than we have," Francis said. Everyone nodded in agreement. I stood there, still holding my breath, wondering what to say now that Francis had already started the conversation for me. I had been trained from birth to command, and while I did not feel comfortable issuing commands to my new companions, I was willing to attempt to guide them.
"You are right, Francis. Without a unified front, those orcs behind us could pose too great a challenge. Our best bet is to take the fight to them and use what tools we have available to help us. We have an enormous train, an armored car, and enough firepower to demolish a dragon. The first thing we need to do is get the wounded out of the car and get them seen to. Then I think we should throw this train in reverse and head back towards the orcs. If we position our Francis, Awnya, and Ronan on top of the train or inside the armored car, they'll be able to fire upon the orcs from a safe place while the rest of us form up and take the fight to them."
This got nods all around except for Awnya. "While I realize that I would be helpful in the upcoming fight, my true calling is healing. I have a train car full of injured people who might die without my help. I can't leave them to die."
Cora gave a longing look in the direction of the orcs before saying that she would stay with Awnya in case they found themselves in any danger.
Without much more said, we began to carry the wounded from the train car out onto the plain. As we neared the front of the car, a severely wounded elf called out softly for our attention, "I don't have long to live, but I need your help. You have to ... you have to save the cargo. If the orcs get their hands on it, we are all dead." I knelt down beside him and began checking him for wounds. I did not see any that seemed life threatening, but the sight of blood seeping out of his ears made me realize that he had survived several psychic blasts from the the dragon. He was dying from damage to his mind, not from damage to his body. I didn't know if Awnya could heal damage like this, but I hoped she would return soon enough to try.
Ronan leaned over my shoulder and, with an urgency I hadn't expected from him, said, "What does this cargo look like? Is it volatile?"
"The cargo is black crates. They aren't volatile, but the orcs must not ... don't let them orcs get them. Please, retrieve them and take them to Kalm. Please."
Not sure what else to do, I attempted to make the elf comfortable. I realized that something he had said did not quite make sense. I looked up at Keras, who had been listening, and gave him a questioning look. Keras leaned forward and rumbled, "You said the cargo is black crates, not in black crates. We need to retrieve the crates themselves?"
The elf gave a weak nod. I could feel his life force slipping away. "Yes, you must protect the crates. They are the key..." With a soft sigh, he died in my lap. We had been so close to finding out what was happening. Now, however, short of trying to question every injured person we had removed from the train, we had only one option. I stood up and jumped out of the train car. "Awnya, you and Cora take care of these people but don't put yourselves in harm's way. We'll try to finish the orcs off as fast as possible and then bring the train back here to you. The rest of you, up in the train. We have some business to finish."
As we headed towards the train, a low rumble began to grow in the distance. It came from the direction of the bridge. We readied our weapons, Ronan scrambling to the top of the train car and sighting with his rifle. Within seconds, we could see a squat vehicle roaring towards us. They stopped about 50 feet away from us, engine revving. A gnome sat on the motorcycle while a strangely clad female elf sat in the sidecar. Raising one hand in the air, the halfling began to slowly advance his bike towards us.
"Now who," said Francis, "do you shupposhe thish ish?"
Part 2 will be coming when it is done.... sorry.