We argue a little more with the gith. He is persuasive. Simply: he has written orders and a death-warrant. We have nothing but verbal orders given in secrecy. Nevertheless: our immediate problem is a superior officer that might very well decide to have us executed on some trumped-up pretext this evening if we fail. I decide to stick with plan A and attack the assassin.
The warlock begins to defend himself, his attacks hitting us indiscriminately. Lolth take himn! After healing him, after giving every sign that we do not side with this assassin, after making clear that our orders are to protect him, he elects to defend himself without regard for our safety. To the abyss with him – at least the gith was reasonable. To the abyss with them both! We will kill them both, if we can. If not, we will kill one of them and parley with the other. I am careful to not hurt my allies from before we came here, but this gith I have no regard for. If they both die: good! The warlock retreats to a raised area, so I move to another platform and change and call the winds to dislodge him – he seems to be performing some sort of ritual involving the diagram on the floor. He seems to weather the buffetting – I fail to dislodge him from his perch. The fighter and the shaman are on the ground and can do nothing, but the gith assassin manages to dislodge him – teleporting up and simply shoving him. Then we all attack again and eventually slay the warlock.
When we are done, the gith more or less leaves. We loot the place. There is orium ore scattered about: very valuable. Even more so to an orium dragon – perhaps a few chunks of this will placate our captain. Our fighter discovers a very, very nice suit of armour laced with orium. Our shaman … finds something of interest. For myself, I simply loot for anything saleable. There is nothing that a warlock has that I want, but many things I do want can be bought with gold.
We take other tokens of battle to show our captain that at least we put in a showing. Our wounds are unmistakable. We head back to camp via the town: the pawnshops for me, the blacksmith for the fighter.
One last thing: there’s a death-shroud that will protect a fallen ally. They leave it in my care as I am fastest on the battlefield. How … strange and remarkable. They took no account of my race, but did what they thought would best ensure the survival of the group. But to think this, they must have simply assumed that I would act to best preserve everyone’s survival.
Foolish! And yet … should the time come that one of our unit does fall, I will most certainly will act to protect him (with this shroud or however else) at reasonable risk to myself. The time will soon come that I myself may need assistance. Probably, these surfacers will betray me – but it is not certain that they will. If I do not help the others at need, then it is certain that they will not help me. It is that possibility – that chance (however small) that I might not be betrayed – together with the certain danger of our circumstances that makes helping another a wiser choice. Perhaps this is the “camaraderie” of which they speak. A fragile sort of thing, for it will break apart when times are safe. But there is little danger of that at present.
I think my form makes the difference. I understand these surfacers because they are more like the swarm than the hunting or weaving spider. I doubt that others of my kind could understand.
And so back to camp, for another dangerous encounter. Our captain will not be pleased. He is a web-weaver, I think.
I elect to remain silent and play the part of “drow who understands that he is not welcome”. The others tell him that we encountered the bull-man but do not mention the gith, saying that the warlock was already dead when we found him. This is … unexpectedly sensible of them. The story, like all good lies, is simple and substantially based on truth. Our captain might curse that he could not find better tools for the job, but there is nothing specific that we should have done about it.
The captain takes the ore, which we “kept safe”, but asks after the “other” orium. No doubt he speaks of the orium worked into that armour that the fighter salvaged. The shaman and fighter claim ignorance. The fighter will need to be most careful about strutting about camp in his new armour! I think he would be wiser to sell it – he will at least have to paint it to cover the metal. But best of all: the fighter now is keeping a secret from his captain which I am privy to. It is well that I kept silent – some lessons from home are worth remembering.
We assure him that no-one knows that we were there – another lie, of course, the assassin knows not only that we were there, but why and who sent us. Actually, come to think of it, we actually assured him that we “were not spotted going in”, which may be true, but probably isn’t, considering that we simply marched up to the front door. Depends on how many spies were watching that warlock’s place. Another lie, then, but the captain deserves no better.
The captain tells us the he may have more work for us in future, revealing just how weak is position is – he has to rely on conscripts that have failed him at least once. It would be best to arrange for the death of this man: I would prefer not to be drawn into his schemes, or to be seen as his ally. Weak and a fool, for all his bluster. Weak to have no better allies, and a fool to think to silence us with nothing more than a mere order. But there’s nothing much for it at present.
Killing him may be difficult and dangerous. I think I should start collecting evidence of his treachery. My intent is simple: I do not want the followers of Tiamat winning this war. When I have sufficient evidence, I think I should simply pass it on to our noble fool paladin. I won’t even need to lie about why – they’ll never accept the word of a drow, and so it needs to be he who presents the case. It might be best not to tip my hand too soon, though. The evidence needs to be completely damning, or we shall be hanged.
But enough grim reflection! I have just pawned off quite a bit of high-end alchemical gear. The gold will be useful. A good result: we are alive, to plot another day. I wonder where the rest of our unit is?