I presumed that we did not have time on our side any longer, and yet we were not in a secure position. Neither did we enjoy a secure line of retreat. I had to address those fault before we went ahead, so I consulted with Gar on the matter over a meal. We concluded that our demonic foe would not only return, but that he would do so driving all of the minions he yet commanded upon us. I made contact with the base camp, and my subordinates there reported pressure coming upon the camp by monsters during the night. It took me no time to see that our strategic situation had changed, and not for the better.
In numbers greater than I’d expected, they came at us shortly after Eloc and his men arrived. The Dawnsman amongst his bodyguard proved his order’s boasts about their experience with all that is unclean immediately, calling down the power of the sun and channeling it through a sun-disc tattooed upon his forehead where one is said to manifest a third eye. While the rest of the men formed up to keep the camp secure from attack, this Dawnsman—Ray—burned them to ash with the power of the sun. After the fight, Ray used that same power to heal the wounded and purge them of infections. I see now why they are so popular.
With equal speed we reorganized our expedition’s numbers. To Gar I charged maintenance of our lines of retreat, and to act as a reserve; Eloc and his men would come forward and join me once more at the van. The men-at-arms I left with would remain with Gar, ensuring that regular patrols—and a forward position—would remain manned. If we needed to retreat quickly, then the forward position would be our fallback point before abandoning the adventure altogether.
I communed with the mountain itself, asking it to aid me in finding what I sought, and I got the answer I needed. With a new map freshly drawn from my visions, Eloc and I set out once more for our objective. His bodyguard was a smaller number than the men-at-arms Gar led, but they were all experts in their professions and veteran adventurers themselves; it reminded me greatly of being amongst the elite group that you, my lords, keep for your purposes.
As we had a definite route to take, we wasted no time worrying about getting lost or any other normal concerns. Only monsters remained.