Feldard nodded to Nicolai and peered at the map provided for a moment before setting off towards the temple at a brisk pace—well, as brisk as possible given the armor he wore. “Nicolai, think you that the Rahib will have the road watched? I’m thinking that the roadside shrine might be an appropriate place to hold the ambush. The woods are near enough and can hide the rest of us while Saeth plays the part of the devoted Rahasia. That said, it is also an ideal spot for us to be taken by surprise ourselves if the Rahib is a suspicious sort.”
Feldard kept his eyes roving the woods on either side of the trail. When Nicolai suggested moving into the woods he didn’t complain. He made sure he kept his breast plate and helm covered by cloak and hood as they inched their way nearer the edge to view the shrine area and the temple beyond—no need to be raising suspicions by allowing a telltale glint of sunlight to reflect off the metal.
Where the trail reached the clearing, they were approximately 600 feet away from the courtyard. Approximately 100 feet in front of them was a small roadside shrine to Elyas that sat along the path to the mountain.
They moved along the treeline to get a closer look at the temple. The treeline was about 200 feet away from the temple at its closes point. They peaked through the trees into the clearing.
The Temple at Gray Mountain was a beautiful site to behold. The dwarf instantly recognized that dwarven hands had been involved in its construction. It was unlike any other architecture he had ever studied, a hybrid of dwarven engineering and elven artfulness. The gates at the entrance to the courtyard were large silver double doors. They were ornately carved with forest scenes and stood silently shut. There were no guards. The outer walls of the courtyard and the temple itself were vine-covered stone. At the corners of the south wall, delicate domes rose 10 feet above the walls. The courtyard walls were about 20 feet high and blocked viewing of anything within the courtyard itself, save for some stairs that could be seen rising at the northernmost side of the courtyard. The stairs led to the main doors of the temple itself, which was embedded into the side of the mountain.
The dwarf looked for signs of watchmen along the courtyard wall, along the mountainside and within the wood itself. There was no movement to be seen. “What think you, Nicolai?” the dwarf whispered to Nicolai.
The rogue had been quiet on the mission thus far, even for him. He was out of his comfort zone here in the elven wood, a vastly different environment than the dark alleyways and narrow, winding streets of the city. Nicolai looked for anyway he could climb down into the courtyard from up on the mountain, feeling that this might be a backup option to Saeth’s plan. He saw two options. First, to simply pick a spot and climb over the courtyard wall, or to scale the mountain itself and drop down on the other side of the wall.
* * * * *
While Maruc and Miklos did their mystic preparations. Saeth had chatted with Rahasia to get more of a feel for her voice and took her cloak.
Maruc gazed and the westering sun and hefted his armour on. It rubbed in all sorts of places but he didn’t grumble. He slung his shield on his back and joined the others gathering at the pathway. “Thats looks surprisingly convincing, Saeth. I am impressed. It would be common sense for Nicolai to carry your sword, he the best person to get it to you should the need arise.”
Just as they were about to depart, Rahasia approached them with some of the other villagers. “The Elyan owe you many thanks for coming to our aid in our time of need. Please, take these potions. Should you be wounded on your mission, they may bring you back to health,” the elfmaid handed Saeth two vials. “May Ilsundal guide you on your mission.”
* * * * *
The group met up on the outskirts of the clearing, still hidden from view by the thick forest. Nicolai described what they had discovered thus far. They would have to prepare their ambush quickly for dusk was fast approaching.