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A Needle in a Haystack (Sunrise, Jarek, Glen)

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Glen watches them run into the carriage and sees Sunrise take the arrow. He takes another arrow - a fourth - out of his quiver, yelling to Sunrise as he does. "Sunrise! Who is it? Where is Luther?"

He knocks, draws, and quickly fires, eschewing careful aim for speed to to try and draw the marksman's ire.

12 to hit
8 damage
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"This is his carriage!" she calls back. "Come on!"
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"You said Luther himself was coming! Where is he? We don't know these people! I don't like this, Sunrise!"
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"Well the people we're protecting are already in the carriage, so if you want to stay with them, come on," she shoots back.
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Under other circumstances, Jarek might likewise be suspicious of leaping into a carriage with an unfamiliar person, but his thoughts at this moment are monosyllabic and tinged with red around the edges.  He sprints to their apparent rescuer, slides the sack of cats through the door as gently as he can (some things are written in a person even deeper than bloodfury), then spins in a single violent twist to grab a chunk of brick off the alley floor and launch it up at the archer like a meteor in reverse.
Disadvantage due to long range
Improvised throw: 11 to hit, 6 bludgeoning damage
"GET IN!" Jarek bellows to Glen, his eyes darting between every door and window in sight, convinced that another assault is imminent.
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Sunrise hops inside, scooting to the far wall and the closed windows. "Where is Luther?" she asks, worried.
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The archer on the roof is having a bad day, what with combusting into flames, taking an arrow to the arm, and the brick that sails up and smashes a glancing blow from his shoulder. He yelps and goes down; staying low and probably rolling to douse the flames. Either way, he appears to no longer be a threat, at least for the moment.

The man in the carriage is been bent over in his seat, his hands poised over Quivyll as he frowns in concentration. The drow groans and moves, stirring from unconsciousness; at the sounds of battle, the stump of his wounded arm moves uselessly in search of a sword which isn't there. "Don't move a muscle, Myghym," the man orders in a stern undertone, "or I will personally see that you're excommunicated."

At Sunrise's question, he looks up. "Fighting. I believe he could use help." He gestures at the door on the other side of the carriage, opposite where they came in. "Unwounded fighters can exit through there; non-combatants will be protected by the shield I put up once everyone is inside. Let me see that wound," he orders Sunrise.
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Glen overhears the man's statement and sees him tending to the drow's wounds, and realizes he doesn't have time to argue. He hears that Luther is fighting on the other side of the carriage, so he tears through the carriage, nimbly avoiding the wounded and their caretaker. Once on the other side, he climbs up the stair on the side of the carriage into the driver's seat, trying to get a good vantage point and get some semblance of cover.

He pulls out his fifth arrow, and nocks it. He scans the area carefully, drawing back the arrow, readying to fire at the first enemy he sees that Luther is fighting.

Perception 19
Readying an action to fire the first enemy he sees engaged in battle with Luther
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When Glen flings open the other side of the carriage (and if Sunrise opens the shuttered window), the sounds of pitched battle pour into the carriage. Flames roar, the twang of bows sing, and steel kisses steel. As Glen clambers into the driver's bench area--which is occupied by, fittingly enough, an armored driver who looks askance at him before going back to the tense job of keeping the horses quiet in the midst of this chaos--he sees the streets are now empty of the quiet downtrodden slum residents who were here so thickly before.

Now there are only armored soldiers (Luther's, most likely), a dozen or more enraged orcish fighters (Redfangs? maybe?), and another two dozen tiefling combatants who appear to be fighting both the soldiers and the orcs. There are also three armored carriages, not one, with the other two framing the one Glen sits upon at the front and back. One presumes these are how Luther got his soldiers here in the first place--and one might further presume that this dramatic and unsubtle entrance is the how (if not the why) there is now a pitched battle in the Westside streets.

It takes Glen a moment to spot Luther. He stands alone in the street without a single guard to protect him. This strikes the ranger as odd--he remembers the close formations drilled into him under Dolores' tutelage--until he sees the weapon the man is wielding. It appears to be a short sickle with a weighted chain attached. He swings the chain in a wide arc around him--the weighted ball-end spiky and hard and hungry for flesh to smash into--then snakes the chain out to wrap around the sword of an attacker who stands at the edge of the deadly arc tentatively looking for an opening to rush in. The chain wraps around the sword and Luther pulls the man roughly forward into his reach, slamming the sharp point of his sickle into the attacker's heart before pushing his corpse away. Then the chain resumes whirring.

Luther, it would seem, is not in danger.

However, he is not the only one on the battlefield. A roar to Glen's side and he sees Rik Templeborn fighting a difficult battle against no less than three orc attackers. The man is bleeding profusely from several wounds already, and it almost seems as though several of the combatants have made a special point of targeting him. Luther's soldiers are doing their best to rally around the Yondallan paladin, but they have problems of their own to handle.
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Glen takes aim at the orc closest to Rik, aims, and lets his arrow fly. "RIK!! We're here!!"

10 to hit
11 damage
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At the announcement of further combat on the far side of the carriage, Jarek vaults through immediately after Glen, takes only a second to sweep the battlefield, and enthusiastically sticks to his strategy of hitting the nearest available stranger.  Of course, with the cat sack safely stowed, his hand is now free to claim the nearest proper weapon--a lost mace lying in the street finds new purpose as Jarek introduces it to the knee of Glen's target.
Mace attack: d20 +3str +2prof = 15 to hit
1d6 +3str +2rage = 7 bludgeoning
"You're wanted within, Father," Jarek growls to Rik by way of greeting.
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Sunrise turns obediently to let him see her shoulder. This also lets her face the window, which she opens enough to look out of after drawing the fabric of her dress up and over most of her face. A wordless musical note is sung out over the battle, clear and pure - until it shifts, moving just barely off-pitch to become almost painfully discordant. (Ooc: Dissonant Whispers again, on another of the orcs attacking Rik - Wisdom save, DC 14, if he fails he takes 12 psychic damage and must use his reaction to immediately move as far away from me as possible. If he succeeds he takes 6 and doesn't have to move.)

Then her arm snakes out the window, grabbing the closest tiefling - not to restrain or threaten, but to pull him close. "[You. Who are you working for?]" she asks in a low, urgent voice. "[Because I don't think we're enemies.]" (Ooc: Persuasion 12, which isn't great but it isn't terrible either.)
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Glen's arrow bounces harmlessly off the orc's armor, his aim distracted by his urgency to signal Rik. Jarek's strike hits true, however, dropping the assailant with a howl of pain. Sunrise's target howls, spins on his heel, and flees without a second look back.

Rik looks to Jarek as he parries an incoming blow with the flat of his sword. "Truly? You have my family safe in the carriage? Then we must go; this battle is not ours to win." Bellowing over the street, he calls, "Retreat! Luther! Gather your men!"

The man inside the carriage touches Sunrise's shoulder with a surprisingly gentle touch, then he tears the arrow out with such violence she almost faints. His palm slams against the wound, coating instantly with blood, and powerful healing magic pours into her. Not only is she at full strength, she feels as though she could run a marathon without breaking a sweat.

The tiefling jumps at her touch; she'd been resting against the carriage before readying to jump back into the fray. "[What the hell!? You people got to leave now. Boss doesn't want this shit in his territory.]" Then her blue eyes widen as she glimpses something inside the carriage. "[Blessed eighteen! You have the girl and her babies! Boss wants those.]"

Luther pulls another assailant into his sickle, but hears the call for retreat as he kicks the body away. "Back into the carriages! We're leaving! Orderly now, but move, move, move!"

---

[OOC: Sunrise is allowed one free verbal response.]
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"[Well, the orcs are trying to kill... her,]" she replies."[Dunno who your boss is but if he wants them kept alive, keep those assholes off us!]"
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Glen lifts a sixth arrow. He reaches out to the wilds forces within him and focuses on the orc nearest to Rik, marking it in his mind. He can see the orc even more clearly now, and its weak points. He narrows his eyes and nocks an arrow, loosing it at the orc.

Bonus action: cast Hunter's Mark at the orc nearest to Rik
27 to hit (Nat 20, crit)
19 damage (2d8+5=14, +2d6=5)
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Tieflings.  Jarek's not sure what's up with that.  Redfang orcs, yes.  And Thorn does have tieflingish horns that have yet to be explained.  It was confusing enough yesterday when they were just looking for a kidnapped daughter.  He's so glad that there are brilliant people like his sister on this job.  A man could get dizzy just trying to figure out where the end of the thread was, let alone unravel any of these questions around them.

His job, conversely, is blessedly simple.  Rik needs cover to retreat into the carriage.  It's hard to hide someone behind a mace, but Jarek knows the trick is to get it really close to the other person's face, as fast as possible.

"FLEE WHILE YOU YET HAVE BLOOD AND BREATH IN YOU!" he roars in orcish at the next of the trio.
Mace to the face: 19 + 5 = 24 to hit
2 + 5 = 7 bludgeoning
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The tiefling gives Sunrise a very odd look, but nods. "[I'll pass it along. Bitch, I hope you know what you're doing.]" This last is said with awe, not as an insult, then she moves to disappear into the crowd.

Soldiers move in steady formations back to their carriages, disciplined with every step. Glen and Jarek are a rallying point to the guard, their help exceedingly welcome as they carve up the Redfang adversaries who press closer at the call to retreat. There is an imperceptible ripple in the tiefling ranks and then they seem almost to withdraw--no longer fighting, they don't leave the field but they wait and watch to see who will be the victor.

"Young woman, if you could help with the door," the man in the carriage prompts. "I believe we are leaving." Luther backs up the steps of the carriage, killing one more assailant before ducking inside. Rik is on his heels, pulling young Jarek along with him. They are the last, and Luther slams the door shut and closes the shutters. "And the shields are up," the cleric says, his voice still that calm bored monotone.

A glittering sphere encases the carriage, springing up around the driver and horses as Glen watches in amazement. He can still fire arrows through it and--he realizes as an enemy dagger bounces off the armor plating just above his head--so can the enemy. But the shield pushes away the orcs which crowd the street, clearing a path like a hand shoving them aside. Two more shields appear around the other two carriages and--this being some sort of signal--the three carriages lurch to a start and begin to wind their way back north through the slums.

The tieflings watch, but do not follow. The orcs follow on foot, but not for long.

---

[Continued in Drive to Freedom.]
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