Shadowy figures crept toward the camp, taking cover behind the rocks and low, dry vegetation. The moon was full, yet the sentry did not raise an alarm. As the dark figures approached the camp, their movements could easily be heard over the stillness of the desert night. Yet the sentry did not raise an alarm. The sentry, Teltag, was asleep, his chin resting on his chest.
Alyef came awake to the sound of canvas ripping. A man stepped through the hole in the tent, knife at the ready. Only Alyef's quick reflexes saved him from instant death as the knife came down toward his heart. Alyef screamed as the knife plunged into his arm. Crupog and Pa'av awoke to more men entering the tent. Always ready for a fight, Crupog grabbed his waiting mace and brought it up into the face of the man with the knife in Alyef. An intruder thrust a knife toward Pa'av, but it was deflected by an unseen force. Pa'av's staff glowed red in his hands as he chanted in an arcane tongue. His attacker screamed, dropped to the ground, and continued screaming. Crupog rolled over quickly, using his momentum to drive his mace into the knee of an attacker at the entrance of the tent. The force was enough to knock the man over. Teltag fell over as well. He had dispatched the fourth attacker outside and was on his way to the tent. Teltag silenced the fallen man with a knife across the throat. The man attacked by Pa'av's magic stopped screaming, blood oozing from his nose and ears.
All was quiet again. Very weakly, Alyef said, "Help me."
"Crupog is going to check on Alyef," said Andrew.
"I'm going to pull the knife out of my arm," said Justin.
"Sorry, Justin," said Linda. "You're too weak to do that. Okay, with the moonlight coming in through a hole in the tent, Crupog sees that there is a bit of green discoloration around Alyef's knife wound. Make a roll on your poison knowledge to see if you can identify it."
Andrew picked up his dice, gave them a good shake, and tossed them on the table. "46?" Andrew said hopefully.
"Well, you know that it is in the paralysis class of poisions, but you haven't seen this particular kind before. You don't know if you can completely treat it, but you think that you can probably hold off death . . . for a while."
"Well, shit, do something," said Justin.
"Justin," warned Linda, "you're pretty much paralyzed. Alyef isn't able to talk, at this point."
Justin nodded a bit stiffly. He looked pleadingly at Andrew.
Andrew said, "Okay, Crupog will pull out a healing leaf, mash it up, and stick it in Alyef's mouth. Then he'll pull out his fetish stick and quietly start chanting a prayer of healing."
"Okay," said Linda. "Make a healing roll."
Andrew rolled his dice again. "67," he announced.
"Thank you," siad Linda, as she made a note on a piece of paper.
"Oh man, I'm toast," moaned Justin.
Tossing a glare at Justin, Linda said, "Okay, Mark, what is Pa'av doing now?"
"Pa'av is going to take some time to repair his shield."
Linda looked pointedly at Mark. "He finds it a little hard to conecntrate with all the corpses in the tent, especially the one that is still oozing blood from the mind shriek."
"Hmm, okay. Teltag, help me drag these bodies out of the tent."
Craig looked up from his character sheet. "Sure. But let's make sure that we pick the bodies clean before we burn them."
Mark turned on his Pa'av voice. "I will leave that to your capable hands, I'm sure," he said disdainfully. "But make sure you pay special attention to anything that might identify our assailants."
"Yeah, yeah," said Teltag.
Teltag and Pa'av dragged the bodies out of the tent, careful not to disturb Crupog and Alyef. They knew from experience that Crupog required complete concentration for the healing ritual.
When the bodies were all laid out, Pa'av got the fire going while Teltag expertly began searching pouches and pockets, finding hidden pockets and even a false bottom of a boot. There were some coins, some personal effects. Two things stood out, however: a mostly-empty vial of greenish liquid and a note.
A quick sniff of the liquid convinced Teltag that this was the poison used on the blades. He carefully stoppered the vial and set it aside.
The note was neatly penned on fine paper, although it had been carelessly folded and crumpled. Teltag did not know too many words, but one of the words he did know was on the note: "poison".
"Pa'av," said Teltag. He sat down next to the wizard and handed him the note. "What's this say?"