I am stronger now. No, really, I am. Ok, you are right, I can’t lift or carry more stuff… I can’t jump higher. But I can cast more spells, and better ones. I’ve been working on Flaming Sphere and Scorching Ray. There are lots of good spells for me to learn, but those two are part of my circle. I am a Circle of Wildfire Druid. I can feel my connection to nature through life and renewal. … and fire, fire is a part of that renewal.
Here's what’s funny about the Circles. As I just said, I focused on Scorching Ray and Flaming Sphere because they are Circle Spells. I don’t feel like I can ever forget them. They are emblazoned (to use a fire pun) in my mind, and I seem to always have access to them. But I am limited, if I choose to prepare one spell, I lack the capacity to prepare another. Those spells I can prepare are the same spells that druids are known for—Spells such as Moonbeam or Spike Growth. But the good news is, I can now prepare more and better spells, and that makes me more useful to the party!
It is kind of funny though. Some spells take more of my mental focus to cast. Cantrips such as Produce Flame… I can cast those all day until the cows come home, and then I can cast them some more. Most spells, though, are more taxing, such as Goodberry. I am pretty good at being able to prepare and cast Goodberry several times a day. But after four or so castings, I lose my ability to recall that spell and cast it again. My newly learned spells, Flaming Sphere and Scorching Ray, are way more difficult to cast. I’m not sure that I could cast those more than once or twice without a significant rest.
Now, there is a druid circle that is called Circle of the Land. Thornwill told be those Druids can recover some spells throughout the day and cast even more spells before they are exhausted. But, whereas I can summon my wildfire spirit, Circle of the Land Druids cannot do such a thing. Thornwill also taught me of Druids that specialize into turning into animals, and even those who thrive due to their connection to the stars rather than their connection to nature.
I can even cast the spell Darkness. But that one is different. Thornwill told me that I would probably be able to cast Darkness as I became stronger. He said it would be because of my heritage as a Tiefling rather than my connection to nature.
I sneak outside and practice these spells while no one is looking. OK, I do cast Darkness inside my room in the tavern… but Darkness won’t burn the tavern down. I still enjoy looking at the flames. It is as if the flames speak to me (they don’t, but play along). Looking at fire helps me focus and affix my spells into my mind.
We spend the remainder of the day getting ready to head out with the caravan. I finally brush for my hair properly and work out the last several weeks’ worth of tangles. I mend my armor and clean it up nicely. Eowyn was wanting to buy some equipment, so I give her 15 gold pieces. Will is now become something of a local hero. After winning the archery competition, people are constantly talking to him and congratulating him. He can’t even practice his bowmanship in peace. Yelsin & Miller of Yelsin and Miller Haberdashery even ask Will to endorse his stand for the next summer’s festival.
We go speak with Avast, a contact of Eowyn, before heading out. Charlie has agreed to pay each of us 50 gold (wow… that’s a lot!) for guarding the caravan. Avast does ask a favor of me. She asks that I put my courtier skills to use and escort a dignitary while on the caravan. Thoughts start flying through my head: I am an adventurer, not a courtier anymore. It’s probably some pompous asshat who just wants to sleep with me. I start to decline, but then rethink it. I need to do what is best for the party. So I agree to the charge, but only on the conditions that I get to participate in guarding the caravan, and that I do not have to bed the dignitary.
We assemble the caravan, and I find out that my charge is Signal. Remember Signal from Festival? As we get underway, it becomes apparent that Signal will be very low maintenance. I do my best to help her with her gear and her meals. But it is obvious that Signal is embarrassed to accept my courtier services. And she doesn’t hit on me either! In fact, Eowyn is constantly talking with signal throughout most of the journey, which allows me to spend some time helping Will scout and keep track of guarding the caravan. One thing I do know is that Signal wears some glasses that she is constantly fidgeting with.
During some of our downtime, we have conversations around the fire. I am the young one at only 20. Will is close to 30. Vardai is 52. Get this… Eowyn is over 600 winters old. Since we are heading towards Montsilt, we learn from Signal that Montsilt has a new mayor. The old mayor was a halfling from Etonia. Apparently, he sold people to mercenaries as servants; hoarded and embezzled supplies, and tortured the fey whom eventually became the new mayor. Sounds like the old mayor was a corrupt asshat not unlike my father. The new mayor has connections to the Feywild. Signal is going to Montsilt to try to establish ties between the new mayor and Etonia.
As we are about a half day short of Trier, Will receives a warning from a mysterious fox, the same silver fox he has seen a few times before. There is danger on the trail. We discuss with Charlie. Charlie decides he wants to push the caravan hard to make it into Trier tonight rather than spend another night in the forest. We agree… I check the horses and mules to ensure they are ok, and we push the caravan hard to get to Trier not long after sunset.
Once in Trier, we have a few minutes to do business. Will and I go into the Hunter’s Lodge and learn that many of the hunters have travelled to Montsilt. Some caravans have been ambushed and Montsilt has not received necessary supplies in several weeks. I slip over to the tavern and have some moonshine with Fenrick! Fenrick tells me that his son, who is part of the Etonia guard, is currently in Montsilt. After a night in the Hunters Lodge, we prepare to set out.
Before we depart, we grab breakfast at the tavern and Fenrick slips me some additional moonshine… awesome! Will mentions that he had an ominous dream about the forest awakening. The awakening of his dream is somehow related to the new fey mayor in Montsilt. After a few hours a traveling, we pass a farmhouse. The farmer flags down the caravan and tells us to watch out… food has been stolen and the culprits are likely still in the area.
After a bit more traveling, we find a wagon in the road with a broken, missing wheel and no horses… apparently abandoned. Vardai casts Pass Without Trace on herself and Will so that they can stay quiet while they investigate the wagon. I also approach. To me, the wagon looks like it was placed here to restrict the road and set up an ambush. There are some materials still in the wagon. Someone mentions to me that I should cast Detect Magic. I do.
Hmmm. The glasses Signal is wearing emanate Divination magic. Wait… there are magical auras coming from beyond the treeline. This is an ambush! Vardai and I go out to investigate.
Crap! Shadow creatures attack! What do I do, oh wait, I cast Burning Hands to catch three of them in a cone. Hopefully Vardai can help clear the shadow creatures off of me. I recognize the creatures now, they are Darklings. In case you didn’t know, Darklings are fey creatures who have fallen out with the Summer Queen. They can be very vicious and explode damaging energy when they die. This day, they were indeed vicious.
I try to cast Scorching Ray at a tougher looking Darkling. Brand new spell, most damaging spell in my arsenal, and … miss. Drat! Fortunately, Vardai takes his head off with her axe. Unfortunately, he explodes in Vardai’s face and hurts her pretty bad. I summon my wildfire spirit and keep fighting.
Crap, Signal’s hurt and dying! I hear Eowyn call for help and I run back to the caravan to see what I can do. I usually prepare two spells for healing, three if you count Goodberry. Cure Would is my most powerful healing (and also a Circle of Wildfire spell), but I have to touch the injured person. Healing Word is not as potent as Cure Wounds, but I only have to be close to the person, within about a short walk’s distance. I run over and touch Signal. She is not breathing and she is bleeding fast. I cast Cure Wounds on her. She responds. She coughs up blood as she starts breathing again and her bleeding stops. Will in on top of a wagon shooting madly, Vardai is still in the woods, and Eowyn is surrounded on the opposite side fighting for her life. Several of the caravan teamsters are also fighting for their lives.
Eowyn goes down! Just after she defeats a Darkling, the Darkling explodes, searing heat into Eowyn with a blinding energy. As she is surrounded by more Darklings, I can’t get to her. I cast Healing Word from a distance to stop her from dying. I am almost out of spells, and I am not sure I will have anything left to heal if someone else goes down. I think I see an owl fly in and land on the wagon; almost as an inspirational.
About that time, Will one shots a particularly fearsome-looking Darkling. Vardai emerges from the woods and rages into the Darklings surrounding Will and the wagon. Eowyn gets up and helps the caravan teamsters finish off the last remaining Darklings. Several people are dying, but Will has some spells left. He casts Goodberry and uses the berries to save the remaining caravan members who are dying.
I am exhausted. Everyone is going to be ok, even though people are covered in blood with scorch marks and reeking the smell of burnt hair. As we sit leaning against the wagon, I am both elated and scared. Elated because I was useful in the battle, and we defeated a deadly ambush. Scared because that took everything we had. I used every bit of my magic, and we came very close to disaster. Half seriously, and half sarcastically, I say, “That was fun.”
Vardai responds, “No it wasn’t.”