Mira panicked. She looked down as she first heard the rapid slithering of the vines and then felt them wrap themselves around her ankles. She thought that maybe she had mistakenly cast the entanglement spell and endangered her friends. She had learned just a few weeks ago that her connection to the forest gave her an innate ability to cast minor spells that could manipulate natural objects. Bay-Wynn had been teaching her to focus her mind for her spellcasting, but she had found that in a dangerous situation it was difficult to concentrate on both the spell and keeping herself and her friends safe. Several times while practicing she found that the spell was cast wider than she had intended because she had trouble ignoring the sounds of the forest and focusing on the elements of the spell.
She quickly glanced around to check for everyone and found that Bertha had taken off towards the entrance to the courtyard. In her field of view she also saw three cobolts. She was relieved to discover that she was not the cause of their predicament, but also embittered that cobolts seemed to be constantly lurking around to cause problems. One benefit to their abundance was that she had become exceedingly efficient in dealing with them. She sighed inwardly before taking off after Bertha, feeling fairly confident that they would make quick work of these few adversaries. She came up short, however, when she spied a large black mass. She stalled for a few seconds to figure out what was in front of her when she and Bertha were both suddenly struck by lightning.
Pint, who had become entangled in the rapidly growing mass, had to stash his hammer to hack himself free. He emerged in front of what turned out to be an enormous scorpion. The massive beast dwarfed Mira's height twice over and could block all of the comrades if they stood shoulder to shoulder. As Mira was about to turn to engage the scorpion one of the cobolts lashed out and cut her forearm. It was more of an annoyance than an injury, but it kept her focused on him and away from the scorpion. Bertha had her hammer in one hand and a dagger in the other. She moved quickly and gracefully on her short legs. If the cobolt hadn't been stumbling repeatedly, Mira would have thought that Bertha was dancing with the creature as she circled it. After dealing a death blow to the cobolt's left temple Bertha crept up behind the scorpion. Pint had already crushed the right side of the creature's exoskeleton. He crept deliberately and dangerously close to the beast's left pincer. When it tried to clasp Pint's head, he knelt at the last possible moment to avoid it's grasp. He thrust upward with his ugurosh and stood pushing his full strength up and backwards. As he stepped back, he took the scorpion's left pincer with him.
Bay-Wynn had noticed that the third cobolt was slowly retreating from the battle. She climbed the small tower in the center of the courtyard and notched an arrow. She fired a shot true to her target, but it missed him by a small measure. She notched another arrow and took a steadying breath. This shot was sure to make it's mark, but it landed just in front of him. She watched as the cobolt brought his hands up in front of him and began to utter words that she was too far away to hear. Just as Bay-Wynn noticed a glowing ring on the first finger of his left hand, Pint was struck by another bolt of lightning. She realized then that no arrow would pierce the cobolt as he must be shielded by the ring. Pint staggered backwards a few steps, but otherwise appeared unaffected by the strike. She yelled to him to take out the retreating cobolt. Perhaps he was also controlling the scorpion with his ring.
Unfortunately at the same moment the scorpion jack knifed it's tail forward and struck Pint in the chest. He fell to his knees clutching the wound and Otho started to rush towards him. “NO!” Bay-Wynn shouted at him. She knew that he would only endanger himself by trying to help Pint before they took out the scorpion. She called to Njord a split second before she launched herself into the air. Njord reacted instantly and called forth a gust of wind that he used to place her gently onto the ground. The wizard cobolt sent another strike of lightning towards Pint, but Njord deflected it sending it into the scorpion instead and finally putting the beast down. The cobolt took off at full speed into the woods and Njord ran after him. Bay-Wynn and Mira followed closely behind, narrowly dodging repeated strikes of lightning. In a clearing Mira managed to grapple the cobolt and Bay-Wynn pried the ring off of his finger. Mira tried to question it in Draconic, but it just squirmed in fear. A few minutes later, Berta caught up to the group and took over questioning. Though her stature was much less imposing than Mira's, her words and her tone made up for it. She was able to determine that the cobolts had a camp to the North and East beyond the valley and that they were holding human hostages.
They retreated back to the courtyard to find Otho tending to Pint's wound. “How bad is it?” Bay-Wynn asked. Though they were often at odds, she truly cared for the dwarf and did not wish to see his life end. “It's very bad. The scorpion injected him with some type of poison and I can't heal his wound until we purge the poison from his body.”
“I didn't think scorpions were poisonous” Bertha said. “Only to small insects. And given the size of this one, we are small insects in comparison.” Otho pulled a small pot and a mortar and pestle from his pouch. “Bay-Wynn do you know what baegen root looks like?” When she affirmed, he sent her to gather as much as she could from the forest and continued issuing quick instructions to the group. “Bertha, I need you to fill everyone's skeins with water, Njord make a fire, Mira was there any cotton that you noticed in the woods?”
“Would wool do?” She hadn't noticed any cotton, but she did see several wild sheep in the woods. She could catch one and shear it with Bertha's dagger.
“Yes, that will be fine”.
By the time Mira had returned, Otho had crushed the root and stirred it into the water that he had set boiling. She made quick work of shearing the wool and placed it on the cloth that they used to wrap their eating utensils. She laid it at Otho's feet and noticed Bay-Wynn watching him intently. Bay-Wynn was becoming quite the healer herself and took every opportunity to learn from Otho.
“The baegen root acts as an antidote?” Bay asked. “Yes. Once I pray over it, it will bind to the poison in his system.” Pint was unconscious so Otho had to force the mixture into his mouth by the spoonful. He applied pressure at the back of Pint's jaw to open his throat so that he would drink the liquid. It was probably best that Pint was unable to taste the mixture. Baegen root was unbearably bitter and he was sure that Pint would demand some ale, which they didn't have, to dull the taste of the root.
Bay-Wynn looked at the wool on the ground and opened her mouth to ask what it was for. Otho anticipated her question and answered tersely “The root has to pass through his blood. Then the wool will draw it out from the wound and the poison along with it.” She looked down at Pint's wound and started to ask another question, but he cut her off again. “Healing first. Questions later.” He passed her one of his spare tunics. “Take this and cut it into strips.” She used her knife to do as he ordered, but continued to watch Otho work.
Mira made dinner for them with the sheep whose wool was now saving Pint's life. She thanked the sheep twice over for how it would provide for her and her friends. Supplies for the healer and sustenance for their bellies. These animals were certainly a gift from the forest. It was one of the reasons that she loved being in the forest. The trees never looked at her in fear. The wind was never afraid to touch her skin. And even though the animals did fear her it was only when she gave them reason to. She looked around at the people who had now become her friends and thought back to Falcon's Hallow. The humans of the village had barely tolerated her and only because of Randy. She still missed him sorely. Even though most times he had eaten her food and snored by her fire and talked long past when she would have been asleep, he always saw her as his friend. And as such she returned the sentiment. When he died she had not know the customs of his people and so she had buried him in the woods. She had carved a small wooden goat and placed it over the earth where his body lay. She had not cried because it was not in her nature to do so; she had not toasted him with ale or said beautiful words in his honor. Although no one else would know or understand, she still grieved for her friend.