Dustnite's Wrath of the Righteous

Session 19 - The Gray Garrison - We May Be Too Late
Time is running out. Only a miracle can save Kenebres

"Behind enemy lines and surrounded on all sides by demonic filth, our heroes forged a path made of blood and sinew through the treasonous cultists…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The party quickly made their way west to move away from the large creature that approached them in the darkness of the gray stone walls and came upon a familiar face. Wenduag, the captain of the mongrelmen traitors in the tunnels, reappeared with several tieflings in tow shooting arrows deftly into the nearest bystanders. The party proved too much for Wenduag and her followers and they quickly ended her secretly hoping that she had given no information to the demons about their forays in the underground.

The large creature approached from the east while the party was otherwise involved with Wenduag's party and would have likely killed the party if not for Mytho's quick thinking. Mytho conjured an illusion blocking off the corridor as a wall as the party dove in the next room and after several tense minutes the sounds of bones crunching changed to thudding footsteps that grew silent as it moved away.

Happy to still be alive, the party kept exploring the west part of the garrison and came upon another creature cooking something unimaginably awful in a cauldron. Glim and Daven attempted to kill him outright, but their weapons past through air as the illusion fell away and the same creature they saw was now behind him. Fortunately, the creature seemed unable to defend itself against their combined arms and they made short work of him. However, as the creature gave it's dying breath it croaked out,"You're too late….. we've already begun the ritual…"

With renewed urgency, the party quickly took inventory of the room and found two items of interest. One was Irabeth's family sword, which she had lost years ago to Kandro Nyserian, and it was quickly reunited with its original owner. The other item was a note to one Lord Vhane:

"Lord Staunton,

I believe you find the enclosed weapon to be a singular and familiar delight, for it belonged to your old "friend" Irabeth. She sold it to Kandro Nyserian, of all people… I've no idea why. Kandro's been sitting on it for years… Still would be, except his home got smashed by an Ulkreth. Shame. He managed to save the sword and came here, begging for an escort north to Drezen, doubtless so he could give you the sword and weasel some cash to help him set up a new home. I hope you don't begrudge the creativity I took…our friend Nyserian serves now as a warm suit for a vermlek as punishment for only revealing the sword now instead of when he first acquired it. I suspect the blade will take to your brother's touch nicely!

Your Loyal Servant, Othirubo"

The party continued to search the perimeter and came upon Iomedae's sacred altar, now defiled and the dais for offering cracked beyond repair. Bardas and Irabeth both noticed a faint glowing outline somewhere on the wall out of the corner of their vision but could not locate its source, however Glim stumbled upon a small symbol of Iomedae's order, the sword with the sun rising behind it, that was hidden in a visible but subtle way. Bardas touched the symbol and the gray stone wall behind the symbol lurched backwards and revealed a secret room.

Inside this room, which had not been disturbed for centuries judging by the dust and cobwebs, the party found a treasure trove of cold iron weaponry, shields and armor perfect for defeating demons. The party quickly rearmed and made their way east to see if they could find a way to the upper parts of the keep.

They managed to reach the other side of the garrison in due time carefully picking their way through obstacles that had been left behind, however they came across a Schir demon and two cultists picking through the remnants of a damaged library that caused an alarm to ring out.

Afraid that reinforcements would aid the cultist that had rang the alarm, they quickly dispatched the demon and one of the traitors and charged after the runner only to be struck with an incredible pain, "a massive migraine" that occurred and subsided soon after. Shaken but determined they kept moving forward until seconds later a dark, swirling vortex of energy appeared, mauve or purplish in color, and purple fire shot out from the portal in all directions singing the hairs on their arms and deflecting off their armor.

Unsure of this new development, the session ended with the party charging onward with a stairway nearby showing the way up…

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Session 18 - The Fight for Kenabres Begins!
Attack of the grey garrison. A last gamble for the fate of the city

"Our heroes had gathered arms and comrades and through their actions they gathered a force from the ashes of the ruined city. They marched forward to the imposing keep where the future of Kenabres lay…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The party found a group of people arguing heatedly about something as they approached the table. Surrounding this small desk, they were pleased to see Anevia, Aravashnial, Irabeth and Lann of Neathholm as well as an older man leaning over the desk from a chair. Irabeth greeted them warmly and congratulated them on freeing the people from the Purifier's control and introduced them to the old man, whose name was Quednys Orlun.

Quednys Orlun had hawkish features and a scarred face, a grim determination set behind his face and eyes. Quednys and Aravashnial seemed startled by the presence of Mythos but did not say anything to him and Quednys quickly introduced himself as the leader of the Riftwardens in the city. Quednys thanked them for their efforts and invited them to sit down to join their war council and added "You will be vital to our plans in the coming battle…"

Silenced deafened the room as the weight of those words sunk in, which was broken by the clearing of Irabeth's throat. She gazed around the room and started to speak:

"We're grateful for what you did for those people at the amphitheater. We haven't been able to get scouts close enough to the area to even know what was going on and the stories I've heard from the survivors is harrowing…

However, we have bigger problems. I've been going over the materials you recovered earlier and we think we may have some answers. One of the notes you recovered from the Tower of Estrod mentioned the Templars and I suspect this is in reference to the group known as the "Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth". Others thought I was just an alarmist she stares at Quednys for a moment while saying this but I've been gathering evidence about this group for years.

"They have spies everywhere," she says, "and have apparently been among us for decades. Only recently has proof of their presence been manifesting. I personally managed to root out one of their more powerful members the leader of a group called the Hammers of Heaven. We all thought of Staunton Vhane as a model crusader, but as far as I was able to discern, he's been working for the demons for decades. There's even evidence he may have been the one to betray Drezen 75 years ago. They knighted me for that discovery, but I'm still not sure why, since he slipped through my fingers and is out there still, causing who knows how much more damage … "

"I don't think anyone could have expected an attack on this scale, but I know that these Templars must have been involved. Given the amount of cultist activity in the city, I think this is a sure bet."

Quednys broke in with a calm, but strained voice:

"We've also heard of these Nahyndrian crystals mentioned in that same note. We weren't sure what purpose they served but we surmise that these crystals could be used to warp the wardstone's somehow. Unfortunately, our intelligence suggests that the demons are working toward that very goal right here in the city!

Our wardstone was damaged by Khorrazedeh, whom I think you met up close Aravashnial touches the scars where his eyes once were and the party shifts uncomfortably years ago and we thought the wardstone impregnable until this moment. Even now, the shield that protects us from the denizens of the Abyss is still up albeit in a weakened state. The problem we have now is two-fold: we don't know how they plan to use the remnants of our exploded wardstone, and we don't know why it hasn't been removed from the vicinity of the Kite…

Our only option, in my opinion and the others at this table… is to attack and secure whatever fragment is left.

Irabeth continues on after Quednys finishes:

 "As horrific as recent events have been, we've come to realize that they are, in fact, merely a prelude. The razing of the Kite, the destruction of our wardstone, Terendelev's murder, and the assault on the city were nothing more than opening gambits. The Worldwound is on the march in a more concentrated assault than we've seen since the fall of Drezen. It's fair to say the Lord of the Locust Host is finally making his move. The end of this hundred-year-war is upon us, and it falls to us to ensure victory. While the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth were scattered, those who serve the Lord of the Locust Host himself remain concentrated in Old Kenabres. What we've heard from within the barricade they've erected is ominous. The cultists are waiting for something, and based on our own information and what you've managed to recover so far, it sounds like the vile witch Areelu Vorlesh will soon be coming to Kenabres. And it appears that we've determined what she intends to do."

"When the wardstone was destroyed by the Storm King, it exploded and destroyed the Kite. The network along the border failed, but did not fade completely. I believe this is because a significant portion of our wardstone still exists, and that the cultists have taken it to the old garrison in Old Kenabres. From what we've learned, they're hoping to engineer a way to somehow reverse the field generated by the wardstones-essentially, to use our own greatest defense as a devastating weapon."

"The attack on Kenabres had a predictable result: causing the crusade to gather at the border to defend it. Some wonder why the demons haven't attacked in stronger numbers. I believe that Areelu was counting on us massing along the border, and that if she can corrupt the wardstone field, she can strike a devastating blow against us all. In effect, we've lined up for the slaughter."

"Vorlesh is surely seeking some object of great Abyssal power, likely the Nahyndrian crystal mentioned in the missive you recovered, and with it she intends to turn the source of our hope into an unimaginable nightmare. We cannot hope to evacuate everyone from the border-I doubt they would give up the defensive line even if they knew what the enemy planned. But we can still stop this from happening-we just need to have someone infiltrate the Gray Garrison, locate the wardstone fragment, and destroy it."

Quednys looks at the party and nods:

"This is where you come in. points at the rest of the party and removes a rod made of some unknown material capped with a gemstone from the back of his chair This is a rod of cancellation and it's lucky I discovered it in one of the caches the Riftwardens have all over the city. We believe that if the rod were to touch the wardstone fragment, it's power would be drained and the shield that protects our world from the Abyss would remain weakened but intact.

Mythos interrupts at this: "Would it not be better to take back the wardstone fragment and not make the wall any weaker?"

Quednys replies: "We have neither the manpower nor the ability to prevent something like this attack right now. We have no idea when Queen Galfrey can gather her forces to help us. No, we need to destroy the wardstone fragment before the demons use it for something else. It's going to happen and it's going to happen here. The demons could be attacking another border town, but we doubt it. It is something I don't think is possible in the short term, for the Kenabres stone has suffered numerous attacks over the past several years that made this final destruction possible."

A grim smile creeps across Irabeth's face…

"Almost," she adds wryly, "as if the demons have been planning for this day from the start."

Quednys nods at Irabeth and continues:

"So, there it is. Thanks to your efforts our force is large enough to mount an offensive on the garrison where they are storing the wardstone fragment. The plan is to attack the north side of the keep in force to draw the bulk of the force away from the south entrance. Commander Lann will take his soldiers and clear a way from you all to make your way inside with this rod and destroy the last chance the demons will have to affect the border shield. It's likely a death sentence for us all, but I don't see any other way around it."

The party sat in stunned silence as the words drifted in the air. Bardas vowed his support along with Balin and Daven an instant later. Glim glibly supported this plan as well with his typical casual air and Mytho reluctantly agreed to be a part of this attack.  Everyone in the room looked strain but Irabeth and Quednys relaxed visibly with the party agreeing to the plan.

Irabeth spoke again, his fists tightly clenched:

"I can't let you do this alone, I'm going in there with you. Before you object, I have talked with my commanders and we believe that my knowledge of the keep (albeit foggy within the depths of my memory) and my sword arm would be better ensuring the completion of the mission rather than directing our troops. With Anevia remaining behind to rally the Eagle Watch, I feel it is entirely necessary for me to go along.

My commanders told me that they will need three days to complete their preparations and we will need to attack at night to hide our numbers. Use this time wisely, my friends…"

Before the party could object, the matter was settled. The quartermaster brought them back to their rooms and the entire inn erupted in a bustle of activity downstairs. Weary from the past few days, this is the first time that everyone had time to prepare and reflect.

Bardas spent the time working out the dents and scrapes on his armor, shield and helm working at night for reasons only he has shared. Balin spent the time resting and drinking his fill and cheering the lads gearing for war. Glim spent his time resting and baking blueberry muffins for the soliders, cheering them up with nostalgia and home cooking. Daven spent his time creating more bolts for his crossbow and training the Eagle Watch commanders different tactics he has learned in preparation for joining the city guard. Mytho spent the time in his room talking (to whom, the party was unsure) and spent the rest of the three days trying to learn as much from Aravashnial as possible.

Three days passed without incident and the night of the attack came swiftly. Refreshed by aid and succor, the party set off with an army of 5,000 grimly set about the business of saving their city. Before reaching the edges of the ruins that bordered the intact gray keep in front of the destroyed ruins of the Kite, the party passed the area where it had all began. Terendelev's body was gone and curiously the bodies if the fallen were completely removed as well. The party did not dwell on such matters as they continued their march, but they noted it for later.

Night descended upon the city as the armies gathered at the edges of the ruins. To the north, the sound of battle horns and men screaming shattered the silence of the night as the main bulk of the army set about distracting the denizens of the keep. Lann, Irabeth, the party, and a company of a 100 men charged across the field to make their way into the south entrance.

The party and company made their way swiftly across the field, but were suddenly stopped dead in their tracks as a massive creature erupted from the earth and challenged their way forward. Lann's personal guard circled the beast and attacked it's thick hide, but their swords just melted in their hands as metal touched the creature. Irabeth saw this danger and tried to distract the beast long enough for Lann's guard to retreat, but the creature tore down several men before Irabeth got its attention.

Glim, seeing a ballista unintended nearby, ran to try and ready the siege engine for firing but it took a collective effort from the party to aim and load the siege engine. Mytho managed to guess at the trigger mechanism and launched a log at high speed directly into the heart of the beast and it fell over with a massive thud.

Not willing to believe their luck, Irabeth and the party continued their charge across the blasted field to the entranceway. Lann stayed behind to help his men fight, wishing the party luck as they passed him. The party reached the causeway of the south entrance to the keep and were greeted by a familiar face. Lord Hulrun stared at them from dead eyes, the man that had been announcing the start of the Armasse festival and the former leader of the city, while his body rippled and bulged unnaturally and groans emitted from his sloth-like mouth. Irabeth saw a second person with similar features that she immediately recognized as Kandro Nyserian, the owner of the ruined mansion that the party had found earlier.

Irabeth approached Kandro but was taken aback as the man's clothes erupted with flabby flesh and hairy patches and started toward her. The Kandro-thing and Hulrun-thing both fought against the party's swords and eventually their true nature was revealed as both creatures were exploded from within spraying guts and gore across the party's clothing and armor. Worms or worm-like creatures remained and were quickly squished under Glim and Bardas' boot.

Irabeth remarked, "Kandro Nyserian was one of the city's nobles. I wasn't sure if he was involved with this business, but it appears he must have been…and has earned his reward. He had something of mine that I will probably never see again…"

Irabeth did not elaborate and the party broke their way inside. They ventured inside carefully attempting to be as quiet as possible with Mytho and Glim taking point to try to avoid and potential patrols. Mytho donned his coat that bore the Deskari symbol hoping anyone that came along would see him as another cultist. A patrol stumbled upon Mytho as he made his way into one of the keep's hallways and attempted to detain him when he flubbed the statement he had been practicing, but the party was able to intervene as another fight broke out.

The party made quick work of the patrol, but not before one of the guards roared his battle cry which echoed down the halls of the stone keep. Stealth no long being an option, the session ended with the party deciding what to do next as a footsteps sound from the west and large, thudding footsteps followed by grunts echo from the east…

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Session 17 - The Purifier's End
The mad bird's reign was ended by a single bolt

"The air was electric…literally…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The Purifier, filled with rage at losing his playthings, brought its massive body to bear down on our battered and disheveled party. Bardas quietly silenced his nagging thoughts, "This is where I die, I can't let this creature live…" and brought his sword shield against the creature. Daven remained in the stands in order to rain down a hail of bolts into the Purifier's exposed flank while the rest of the party circled the foul demon.

The fight wore on until dusk settled across the sky with the entire party on the verge of death. The purifier began to dance, an unsettling smile creeping into the corners of its malformed beak, and the air began to crackle with power and magic. The party dove for cover as a wave of electricity washed over them nearly killing Bardas and even damaging Daven a hundred feet away!

The Purifier, exhausted, dropped to one knee with disbelief in his eyes that his final attack did not remove these "unbelievers" from the mortal coil as Daven leveled one bolt between its eyes. The Purifier fell and vanished back to the Abyss, leaving an even more battered party cheering and ecstatic to be alive.

The party quickly collected their belongings and made their way back out of the "arena" to find 60-70 commoners wandering around the market confused and established a makeshift parade that marched silently back to the Defender's Heart. Upon arriving at Defender's Heart with no further incidents, cheers rose from the inn and the camps beyond as the party arrived with their fellow citizens in tow. Men, women, and children rushed to their loved ones and more cheers arose as some families were reunited once again as the quartermaster busily tried to inspect the newcomers and go to the needs of the injured and maimed. Garret and the others that had been badly mauled were sent to the chirurgeon's tent along with the child's mother, her child clinging desperately to her body as they were carried away.

The quartermaster brought the party to rooms reserved for them in the inn and let them rest briefly before returning with word that Commander Irabeth wished to speak with them. Leaving their arms and armor in the rooms, they went to one of the back areas of the inn to find a small desk with maps, scrolls, and drawings spread out and several people gathered closely arguing…

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Session 16 - The Purifier's Offer
Daven's finest moment in the most dire of times.

"The gigantic vulture that called himself "The Purifier" had ensorcelled the citizens of Kenabres and forced them to cheer and applaud the slaughtering of their own. If not for our heroes, the Kenabres Amphitheater would have run awash in blood…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The party made their way to the upper level to find the amphitheater converted into some type of gladiatorial arena. Blood stained the dirt and walls and the roar of the crowd at the site of heroes drowned out even their most deepest thoughts. Suddenly, a large shadow appeared on the ground followed by the scream of a fiendish looking creature; a large gangly creature with wings, his body appearing humanoid with the head of a vulture.

The creature turned toward them at exclaimed, "I expected an army from the last remnants of this ruined city, but I see that my trust in these, human filth was misplaced. No matter, you are just in time for the main event!

The crowd roared at his gloating, seemingly onboard with this display of violence and horror. Daven noticed several figures in the crowd, but not clearly. They looked like imps.

"Look at this crowd! So easily turned from the path of cowards and now they lust for blood in my new arena… Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself… You may call me the Purifier.. As you can see, the sheep of this doomed city sit all around you and they are waiting with bated breath for the next battle. Since you've been so kind to offer yourselves up as the next combatants I'll make you a deal…"

The party held tightly to their weapons and prepared for an attack.

"Defeat my champions one on one, battle them to the death, and I will let you leave with your lives and the lives of these meat sacks for at least another day. Refuse….and my friends will have their fun…"

The party looked about and saw where he was pointing; several imp-like creatures grasping something tightly in their claws were dispersed through the crowd. Fearing retaliation from the imps and suspecting some type of spell at play, the party agreed to take on their champions…

Daven chose to fight first and from the other side of the "arena" came an elven archer with glowing red eyes. Daven was taken by surprise as an arrow flew past his head, realizing that the battle had commenced. However, Daven made short work of the archer with his new found confidence in his crossbow and quickly dispatched his foe and rejoined his compatriots.

The party noticed during the fight that the Purifier's eyes were glazing over and drool dripped from his monstrous beak, reveling in the slaughter. Daven noted this particularly…

Bardas chose to fight next and from the other side of the arena came a monstrous creature with blade like claws. Recognizing it as a Babau demon. The Purifier resumed his gazing at the battle as the two locked sword and claw, which Daven took as an opportunity to sneak up into the stands with the crowds and possibly remove the threat of the imps. A quick shot into the nearest imp led him to discover that the creature's focus was so intent on controlling the crowd, it did not notice anything externally happening with its body. Making short work of one of the imps, Daven noticed a small bull's head fall to the ground and it's red eyes dim to black and made the connection that these idols were causing the crowd to become docile and controlled. A section of the crowd began to get up and start to panic, but Daven was able to quickly calm them down and sit still. Sensing the danger they were in, the crowd began to sit back down and watch on nervously awaiting their chance for escape.

Bardas struggled against the demon, still hurt from the last battle, but Glim was able to distract the demon long enough for Bardas to land a killing blow. Exhausted, he stepped back near his compatriots while being disgusted with the Purifier's hungry gaze.

Balin went next and fought an Incubus demon, but made short work of the creature with his mighty glaive Shelyn's Chosen. Daven continued to work his way around the arena killing the imps and releasing the crowd from the magic's control.

Mytho took the next fight, not certain he could make it out of there alive, and fought a small imp-like creature that smelled of disease and rot. Before the final blow could be struck on the creature, Daven killed the last imp in the crowd from across the arena (nearly being discovered in the process by the Purifier) and was unable to calm the crowd down from so far away. The crowd rose and panicked causing the rest of the audience to scatter to nearest exit.

The Purifier, finally realizing what had happened, roared and turned to face our adventurers…

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Session 15 - We Found Garrett…
They got a 'beast'. We got a mother fucking bardas.

"Our heroes never faltered as the cultists called out for reinforcements, "BRING THE BEAST!" Tired and low on supplies, the last hope for Kenabres made their stand…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The cultists fought hard to bring down the party and at least deflect their assault, but the might of party could not be diminished. In desperation, the cultist's released the "Beast" which subsequently slaughtered most of the remaining cultists (and damaging the party) with a fireball spell. Recognizing the beast as a Brimorak demon, the party fought on for several minutes before finally felling the beast in its tracks.

Tired and hurt, the party debated whether to continue but the need the prisoners from the Tower of Estrod was too great and the party ventured into the underbelly of the amphitheater proper. Finding little resistance in their path, the party soon came upon several makeshift jail cells with damaged forms contained within. One of these cells contained Garrett, Balin's friend, and his tongue had been removed and his body had been beaten to a pulp. Balin quickly treated his wounds and found similar injuries on the rest of the prisoners in the cells, even finding a woman that seemed to match the young girl's description of her mommy.

While discussing their next move, the sounds of swords clashing and people cheering raged above their heads and they feared what they might find when they reached the top level of the structure…

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Session 13/14 - The numbers be damned...we're going in!
Why do we even bother making plans?

"The sounds of battle echoed through the cavernous emptiness of the city's buildings as our heroes approached the Kenabres Amphitheater. A service entrance emblazoned with standards of the Order of the Flaming Lance was opened wide like a giant maw devouring greedily devoured any soul it could find. Cultist guards were busy delivering prisoners for some unknown purpose and did not notice the brave few that had just entered the area…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The party made their way to Topaz Solutions to follow up on the last of their leads on possible cultist safehouses coming up to a short, stock warehouse unassuming in appearance compared to the rest of the business quarter. Glim knocked on the door and gave the password they had learned from Hosilla's note. After waiting an indeterminate time with no response, the party broke in to find several looters preparing to attack them!

The looters tried to force the party out with their superior numbers, but the fight was quickly beat out of them with Balin's decisive strike on one of the ruffians. The party questioned them on their purpose and their destination, but learned nothing more than they already knew.

Discovering a secret entrance in the cultist hideout, the party made their way to a basement and discovered tables and desks in total disarray. A chest proved a tempting target for Glim and as he approached it a voice spoke that seemed to come from everywhere all at once, "Ahh … I hope you are among Iomedae's slaves … I would hate to think of mere peasants wasting such a personal greeting from Lord Baphomet!" Released from their magical prison, several fungus-like creatures appeared and attacked the party on the spot. The plant creatures, seemingly without purpose, lead the party underneath a statue with it's arm raised above a glass bottle on the floor and soon after the fight began a mechanism within the statue clicked and the arm smashed the bottle open wide.

The gas' effect proved to be positive and granted Glim and Bardas darkvision temporarily while Balin's vision merely blurred for a second and refocused. Dispatching the plants with ease, the party found nothing in the chest and no clues toward the cultist activity in the city; another dead end…

Deciding to push on to the Amphitheater, the party picked their way through the city streets and suddenly stopped dead in the their tracks as a blood curdling scream rang through the city proper followed by a low growl. Fearing the worst for one of Kenabres' survivors, the party searched every building they could and could not find the source of the scream. Glim quickly acted by causing as much noise as possible in a attempt to draw the creature that made the growl and succeeded at drawing the attention of a goat-headed demon. Glim and Mytho held the creature at bay as the rest of the party made their way to join their comrades and quickly dispatched the foul beast.

A little girl exited the house she was hiding in sobbing uncontrollably asking for her mother. She latched onto Mytho's tunic and tried to describe who her "mommy" was but the description was vague at best. Fearing that the mother might be taken to where the rest of the prisoners might be, they continued on to the Amphitheater.

The sounds of crowds roaring and swords clashing filled their ears as the party approached the eastern side of the Amphitheater large façade. Standards hung from the walls displaying the symbol of the Order of the Flaming Lance, black field with red symbol. Several cultist stood guard around the city square they had entered and a couple demons were patrolling nearby driving the party to hide themselves and their charge as quickly as possible.

Seeing the overwhelming numbers, Glim thought he could subdue one of the patrols and work their way inside but his attack glanced off the creatures hide and the roar it released brought the entire defense on their heads. This was going to be a long day….

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Session 12: How many cultists are we allowing in this party?
Meet Mytho Sullivan, ex-cultist of Deskeri. Please don't kill him

"Our heroes, rested from their travails, carried on with the mission handed down from the commander of the remaining crusaders. Balin, atop a fine warhorse, rode the streets with no fear in his breast as he sought out his missing friend…"

  • Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

The party met with Irabeth after she had conversed in great detail with Anevia about how the adventurers kept her safe and urged Bardas to follow his oath and help her discover the source of the cultist activity in the city and discover their plans (or a weakness) so that they might strike back at the enemy. Bardas agreed, albeit sullenly, to follow up on the note from S.V. and search the other cultist safehouses. Balin and Daven both agreed in short order, while Glim made it clear that he was not under anyone's command and his time was his own to give and would give for the time being.

Upon agreeing to help Irabeth, Balin was able to negotiate the use of a mule and cart to take with them to carry anymore prisoners they might acquire on their quest. Balin decided that the mule would make a fine steed, and proceeded to ride the mule down the city's causeways toward their next destination. The party followed up on the information they gathered from the woman they saved from the fallen crusaders and made their way toward the Tower of Estrod. The tower, which once towered far above the skyline of Kenabres, was now reduced to a few stories amid the rubble of its upper echelons.

Balin, having dismounted from the obviously flagged mule still dragging it's cart, strode up to two guards standing in the entranceway to the tower and was immediately confronted. Balin stammered for a response, but it was Glim who remembered the password from Hosilla's note and they were quickly inside without incident. Bardas and Daven tried to keep to the back not drawing attention to themselves, while Balin and Glim took the lead working their way up the levels of the tower.

On the second floor, the party made their way to a small office but were suddenly distracted by a gust of wind and the door slamming behind them and being locked. A tall but slight elf, possibly young by elf standards and wearing cultist robes of Deskari, appeared suddenly and started questioning the party. Seething with rage at the loss of his beloved, Bardas tried to strangle the young elf wearing the same garb that her murderers were wearing but the elf managed to move quickly out of the way. Balin and Glim managed to defuse the situation and the elf introduced himself as Mytho, a former cultist looking to escape the city while his superiors were distracted.

Opting to keep Mytho "on a short leash", the party continued up the ruined tower's stairs to confront the supposed leader of the cultist activity in the city and came face to face with an imposing tiefling. The tiefling, Faxon, demanded they report on the latest activity in the city to which Glim responded with graceful diplomacy and Balin responded with stuttering utterances. Sensing something wrong with the way Faxon was focusing on Balin, Mytho cast a ghost sound behind Faxon to simulate a battle which brought the whole tower complement down upon the party.

The party had no trouble defeating the denizens of the tower and discovered a note about potential plans for the wardstone in Kenabres and something about "Nahyndrian crystals". Perhaps with dire portent brewing in their minds, the party quickly made their way back to the Defender's Heart to share their findings with Irabeth and the Eagle Watch.

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Session 11: We Need a Cart…
We got a heavy load for those bodies

"Anevia clutched the note her wife had left her and with renewed hope she continued with our intrepid heroes, their potential not yet realized, toward Defender's Heart. Filled with questions about the attack on the city and hearts weighing heavily on recent personal losses, the heroes sojourned further into the madness that had become Kenabres…"
                                                                                                                                                        - Memoirs of the Great Sage and Eminent Alchemist Willie Nelson

Determined to reach Defender's Heart by any means necessary, the party left the Tirabade residence with swiftness carrying all the prisoners they had retained since the start of the attack on Kenabres. Travelling through the ruined citysscape, the party carefully picked their way through debris and cramped alleyways and came upon a group of crusaders bearing the symbol of the Order of the Flaming Lance. Between the group of three crusaders, knelt a crying woman begging for her life while the crusaders raised their swords above their heads. Reacting quickly to this situation, the party dispatched the crusaders before they could finish murdering the innocent woman in cold blood and were left with more questions than answers at some of the city's crusaders falling victim to the madness of the demon attack.

The rescued woman immediately recognized Balin from a description she was told recently, giving him a message that implied Garrett, Balin's friend and mentor, was being held prisoner at the Tower of Estrod. Now that the unconscious body count had grown past the limits of being able to just  "trudge on", Balin was able to find and repair a broken down wood cart to carry the ever growing pile of prisoners along for the ride.

With a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of muscle, the party began pushing their cart of prisoners northward toward the last safe haven in the city and came upon another unusual scene. In the middle of the city square, a pile of crates, boxes, and wood resembled an improvised stage and several townsfolk stood upon that stage with odd positions that look unnatural for human movement. Bardas sensed evil from the townsfolk and passed this along to the party uncertain if what he sensed was true. Not giving him a chance to decide, the townsfolk turned like puppets being held from a string and tried to attack Glim. Glim reacted by killing the nearest man who instantly cried in terror as Glim's sickle sliced open a wound down the length of his body.

Gleeful, evil laughter emanated from small imp like creatures surrounding the improvised stage and the party was forced to knock out the "performers" before quickly subduing the imps. Once free of the demon's control, one of the woman performers quickly ran to the fallen man and shouted at Glim calling him, "MURDERER, MURDERER"  as Glim shrank back from her sobbing countenance. The party with sullen hearts offered to take the freed townsfolk to Defender's Heart which they reluctantly accepted. The woman told Glim, "My name is Myrtle Smith, remember that name," and stared him down with a fiery glance. The party continued north and without delay they arrived at their destination.

The party came upon the Defender's Heart, a large inn that looked to be relatively still intact, fronted by guards on all sides with crossbows held at the ready from various windows of the two story structure. The grass and road outside the inn still showed signs of life and sounds of bustling activity inside the inn was a relief from the constant screams and battle the party had left behind them. Giving the password "SilverStrong", a master-at-arms allowed them through the defensive barricade and led them toward his commander who turned out to be Anevia's wife, Irabeth.

 

Irabeth, a gruff looking half-orc paladin dressed in armor and garb of a paladin of Iomedae, greeted Anevia with wild exuberance and her hard face suddenly looked soft and beautiful. The master-at-arms wisely asked the party to make their arrangements at the crusader encampment and sell their equipment if they needed so the Commander could have time with her wife.

Many ales were downed as the party sat in silence waiting for a chance to talk to Irabeth to get more information on the city and managed to relieve themselves of all the prisoners they had collected since the attack started and armed themselves with as many weapons as armor as they could afford from the few merchants left. The session ended with Balin waxing poetic about a great sage he had heard of over the years….

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Session 10: "We're swimming in pole-arms... - Glim"
Polearms for days

Leading the party through the scarred and battered streets of Kenabres, Glim nearly bumped into another cultist as the party was making their way to the Temple of Sheyln at Balin's request. Taking cover in a narrow alleyway, Glim peeked around the corner and discovered a line of men, women and children being marched down the street toward the center of Kenabres. Glim, with supreme confidence, slipped in behind the cultist and attempted a sneak attack and knocked the cultist out shouting out a challenge to the other cultist at the head of the line. While trying to subdue the other cultist, the party heard a loud growl come from another backalley and it put the party on high alert as a human shaped creature with hooves and a goat-like head stepped out into view. Pieces of a human were dragged behind it and blood dribbled it's chin as it roared it's disapproval causing the line of people being led down the street to scatter in all directions.
 

Daven was able to direct most of the townfolk to the alley they exited out of but a man and woman disappeared down another alley leaving the party to deal with the new threat. The goat-like creature proved a tough opponent as Glim took several hits to his body (and pride) while Bardas with his cold iron weapon was able to finally destroy the demonic creature. The party assessed everyone's condition and went looking for the runners, but the man and woman that ran into the other alley were discovered in a thick cloud of smoke and had suffocated to death in their panic. Armed with information of a nearby weapon shop to replace Daven's severely depleted bolt supply, the party carried their battered bodies to a ransacked shop and found a meager amount of ammunition for Anevia and Anevia and Daven and decided to rest there until dusk before continuing onward. Darkness fell across the city as the party awoke and without incident they carried onward toward the Temple of Shelyn.
 

Approaching the temple, they were greeted by rubble strewned landscape with smoke and fire across the entire horizon as far as they could see. The temple itself was guarded by a heavily wounded Balban demon, riddled with spears and bolts bleeding heavily from it's various wounds, which the party attempted to destroy before entering the temple. Bardas managed to slaughter the demon with his magical sword, but not before being picked up and thrown into the nearest building like a ragdoll. Balin, eager to see what had been done to his deity's temple, raced inside the find the temple mostly intact but covered in blood and rubble. At the head of the temple, Shelyn's statue was covered in dried blood and filth and Balin knelt before his deity's likeness to say a short prayer that he would correct this evil deed. As if hearing his plea a glowing inscription above the statue's head that read, "Find beauty in all things…", causing the altar in front of the statue to slide open and reveal a pristine glaive that had the same inscription on the haft of the pole-arm:
 

Shelyn's Promise

Balin thanked Shelyn for this gift and the party continued on to their next destination: Anevia's house. Anevia, brimming with anticipation at finding her wife, ran into the open door of her house and quickly scanned through the rooms of the small house. Discourage by the thought that something had happened to Irabeth, Anevia glanced at Irabeth's desk and found a note with her name on it which read "Anevia; If you find this I am gathering the remaining Eagle Watch at Defender's Heart. Meet us there if you can, the password to approach unharmed is "SilverStrong". Tears flowing down her cheeks, Anevia breathed heavily and sobbed silently in her relief that Irabeth was still alive. However, the moment was short lived as something heavy (but invisible) pushed past everyone in the room and started to head toward the exit. Balin was able to recognize that an invisible person was in the room and heading toward the exit and he managed to grab wildly for the fleeing purpose and knock him to the ground. His spell revealed, a half-orc named Vagorg (named by Anevia) attacked the party and was quickly subdued.

Searching the half-orc, now unconscious but alive, the party found a magical halbred that granted special abilities to the wielder much to Glim's chagrin. The session ended with this mysterious stranger passed out and Anevia seemingly knowing who the creature was…

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Session Log 9: Binding Ritual interrupted
We need to stop being murder hobos

Bardas looked down at the lifeless body of his beloved and had to look away while Balin was able to stabilize the man that Bardas almost killed. Balin was able to find some tarpaulin among the debris in the alley and carefully rolled Amelia's lifeless body and stood before the scene dumbfounded as much as Bardas. Without a word, Bardas decided to build a funeral pyre then and there so they could continue on (as she would have wanted.) With a prayer to Iomedae and several minutes of silence, they left the pyre to burn to send Amelia on her way to the afterlife to join her goddess.

The party continued next to the closet location they knew of, The
Librarium of the Black Wing, where hopefully they could obtain more answers about the demon attack and seek allies among Aravashnial's colleagues. As they approached, they were instead devastated to find that the Librarium had been almost completely destroyed and a solitary building still stood amongst the rubble fairly intact in comparison to the rest of the damage the facility received. Finding the door to the building slightly ajar, the party carefully made their way inside and were greeted to a loud voice shouting, "Pile the books higher, I want to see this place go down in a blaze of glory!" The party inched forward and found two tieflings and a crusader about to light a group of innocents on fire with their own books and scrolls piling toward the ceiling. Glim decided to interject on this note with a quick slice to the nearest tiefling's back, knocking him out, followed by Balin making quick work of the crusader's other accomplish. Bardas was able to scare the crusader into submission who introduced himself as Chaleb, a cavalier devoted to the Order of the Flaming Lance.

Chaleb told the party, after some "encouragement", that the librarians had been attacked by a hooded man named Xanthir Vang and told them to search in one of the hidden rooms in this building. After searching for this hidden room, the party ventured into a small basement that had been stripped bare of anything valuable and a dead half-elf woman lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the floor. The party recognized her as Miammir, one of the lieutenants of the Order of the Flaming Lance, as well as several dead worm-like creatures next to her body. If something had killed her, it was gone now.

Returning to the upper floor, Aravashnial decided that to let the party know that he was a Riftwarden (possibly the last as far as he knew) and that room was one of their secret caches that housed weapons of terrible power. Decidedly worried, Aravashnial elected to stay with the librarians to try and recover what they could from the surrounding area and look for survivors and that they would wait for word from the party if they could meet them at a safer location. The party reluctantly agreed and began to push on to where the Crusaders may be camped and attempting to retake the city.

While walking through the alleyways of the city, the party came upon a swathe of dead men and women littered about a city square. In the center of the square stood a very beautiful woman with red skin and leathery bat wings, which Glim recognized as a Succubus Demon. She seemed to be trapped within a binding circle that was being cast by a nearby mage, who was deep in concentration on casting whatever magic he was trying to concoct. The party reacted to the situation by slaughtering the wizard down, thinking he may be trying to aid the demon somehow, but only managed to release the succubus from the binding spell. 

Despite the odds, the party was able to send her back to the Abyss with little trouble and the party was left with a mystery they probably wouldn't solve…

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