A few leagues further on the trail and the Shadowdale Four are slowly relaxing as there doesnt seem to be anyone or anything following them.
A low roar of water becomes louder as they near a stone bridge. After conferring with each other and their map the four correctly deduce that this is the mighty Ashaba river, churning about 50 feet below the bridge and making its way south.
The rush of water below the bridge is dizzying. A weather-worn sign proclaims this to be Serpentsbridge.
The Shadowdale Four decide that this is as good a place as any and stop for midday meal. Upon finishing they cross the bridge without incident and continue on.
They are making steady progress Northward guided by the mighty Desertmouth Mountains to the West. Later that evening when they are walking through barren plains they confer and decide to stop and camp. A mile or so ahead lies a small stand of trees.
Just as they are setting up camp they notice birds flying above and around the copse of trees ahead. As they watch, a small flock breaks away and soars toward the party. As the distance between them diminishes, they suddenly realize that these are not ordinary birds. Borloff gasps as the other three begin to make out the creatures batlike wings and rusty red colorings. Long beaks and clawed legs jut from their slim bodies. Borloff screams Stirges!
With that the Shadowdale Four draw their weapons and quickly get into their fighting diamond formation.
Eight Stirges in all attack the party with their long beaks and clawed legs. Condar is the first to be bitten and grunts in pain, he thumps the Stirge in the head breaking off the blood drain it was attempting and swings at the another with his mace narrowly missing its wing.
Ultyr has three attacking her as they see a woman as the weakest of the party. Big mistake she thinks, as she immediately takes one out with one swing of her sword.
Borloff goes into a roll just as two dive bomb him, thrusting upward with his dagger and expertly aims the point straight through the eye and up into the brain of one of the foe.
Merthan starts to chant in an arcane language and move his fingers in a well practiced spell. Just as the Stirge is about to swoop down and attack, Merthan unleashes a missile of magical energy which unerringly strikes its target dead centre and blasts him backwards from the force instantly killing it.
The struggle continues for a little while longer but the party eventually come out on top, although not without wounds to show for it. Borloff and Condar both sustained attacks from the Stirges which drained some of their blood and are feeling rather weak.
The party then decide they will head off the trail and pass around the trees before setting up camp.
The rest of the night passes uneventfully and the Shadowdale Four get some much needed rest and recuperation.