We returned to the fort. Nix used the magic dust from the mite tree to change his appearance to that of our attackers. I feigned his captive and we approached the main gate. Katara and Wade headed to the south wall to climb in behind the bandits as we drew their attention to the north gate. We held brief conversation with a bandit lieutenant. Our ruse seemed to work and we were allowed in the gate. But the moment we stepped inside, the bandits attacked. We were ready for such. Nix released me and took aim on the big one. I turned my blade against one and fell him in a single blow. The lesser of the men fell quickly and I looked and saw a man lurking in the shadows. This bandit I recognized, the one that raped my sister and murdered my people. He released a great beast. Bear and owl combined into a defiler of nature, the creature tore into one of the bandits. This thing served no master and killed for the blood. I could not take on the tattooed man as I desired, for this fell beast threatened all. I was left little choice but to attack the beast head on. We traded blow after brutal blow when an arrow bore deep into my side. I looked up to see a tall man dressed in leather gloves and his chest left bare. On his head, he wears a helmet fashioned after the skull of a stag. This must be the Stag Lord. I may have been able to take this demon bear in single combat, but not with a pest buzzing around. Arrow, beak, and claw took their toll on my bruised and broken body. Withdraw to live or stay to die, I had no choice. I fled around a wall to drink a healing tonic. As I began to feel strength return to me, I saw the owlbear chase after Nix, tossing bombs over his shoulder as he raced through the fort’s front gate. Then, the Stag Lord stepped into view and an arrow pierced me. My eyes felt… heavy. Once again, I awoke to Katara’s lovely face. I was to protect her, but she has always been there when I have fallen. Battle stirred me to my senses. The Stag Lord is all that is left and Nix, Wade, and the lieutenant were standing against the man in combat. I ran full power at the man and buried my axe deep. Katara conjured another orb of water, but the bandit dodged and it was, much to my dismay, Wade that struck the final blow. I sank to the ground and breathed relief. A search of the fort revealed much: trade goods, jewels, trinkets of war, all shall be put to a good cause, though to what end has yet been revealed to us.
The lieutenant introduced himself as Akiros and he admitted that the life of a bandit was not for him. He wished to leave this life behind him and so we allowed him to journey with us back to Oleg’s.