The Wrath of the Righteous

The Beginning of the End



The Beginning of the End

The Worldwound Incursion Session I
12/15/13


Kenabres, First Day of Armasse
A Western Storm Darkens the Sky

The 16th of Arodus, Opening Day of Armasse, A.R. 4713. We have gathered in the Plaza of Saint Clydwel, in the shadow of the Inheritor’s Cathedral, to renew our vows of service to the Lady and the cause.

The city swells with the faithful, as all seek to take part in the festival. An annual “distraction” from the horror that darkens the western sky. For one hundred and seven years the blight upon Golarion we call The Worldwound, has threatened to sweep away the mortal world. Only by the Grace of The Inheritor and the daily sacrifice of war has mankind been saved.

It is not spoken of, but the Fourth Crusade has been a failure. The urgency, the motivation, has been lacking. Many feel that the Demonic Threat has become the status quo. Protected by The Wardstones, and with little threat of invasion, Southern lords have shifted their attention away. These fools do not understand the nature of the enemy.

The crippling shortages, the record low morale, give the enemy purchase. An opening for their foul tendrils to seep into us, to befoul our purity and unity. As a Witch Hunter I know this. The threat of the hidden, the tainted, is real. The Wardstones are only as strong as the purity of purpose of those who guard them. Ever is the enemy, its cults and traitors seeking to infiltrate Kenabres. Just last night Liotr found evidence, damning The Hammers of Heaven. Such an event will harm morale, but we must be clean.

“You are the Only Line of Defense! And Kenabres, this Great Divine City, is the bulwark behind which we throw our weight. As long as Kenabres stands, as long as we stand, we will man that defense. Until the last breath of the last crusader we shall ride forth into that storm and deliver our righteous purity upon their foul existence!”


~Prelate Hulrun

The western storm has lingered far to long. Its shadow cast over the city perpetual dampens our spirit. Perhaps that is why all of Kenabres has been looking forward to this day these last few weeks. As always I hunger for the renewal of our oath, the Crusader’s Oath. Its words strengthen my purpose and refreshes my zeal, if only all could understand and live by them as strongly.

Lord Hulrun takes to the stand to address the crowd. I owe Lord Prelate Shappok Hulrun much, he is, in many ways the reason for my existence. As always, the grim and experienced leader commands our attention.

His words give clarity to our righteous cause and signify the weight of our responsibility. I have heard the same many times before. But some new desperation on this day heightens his passion. He would never admit as such, but I know him well, he fears we are losing. The crowd erupts in cheers, but I know that their devotion will wane, and their passion will be forgotten in time. Many have become to doubt Lord Hulrun’s leadership. They are fools, he is the wisest man I have ever known.

The Crusader’s Oath

“I do so swear under the Light, by the Sword and Scales of Truth and all the fires of heaven, to undertake this holy Crusade.

“I pledge to guard heart, spirit, body, and mind from the corruption of this Wound upon the World.

“I furthermore promise and declare that I shall wage relentless war against the Spawn of the Pit and their manifold legions, as directed by those with charge of this Crusade and whenever opportunity presents, to extirpate and annihilate their execrable race and any who serve them.”

Commander Terendelev leads us in the Crusader’s Oath. As we speak the words, I feel their weight, and a burning tingle reminds me of their physical presence upon my flesh. I repeat the oath every morning and every night, but something about Armasse makes the experience even more significant. Ignorant young crusader’s shout the words with zeal all about me. They are green, and likely will forget their oaths when they come face to face with the enemy. It is my duty to…remind them…when the time comes.

Suddenly an ear shattering tone echos through the plaza, and fire and chaos consume all. The suddenness of the enemies attack caught us off guard, we were not prepared. Great rifts open all along the causeway, and structures…and men fell. But all eyes were up above, were a massive demon, some lord amongst the Enemy, had destroyed the Kite, and with it our purpose and duty.


Commander Terendelev
Makes the Final Sacrifive

But Commander Terendelev, taking his true form, would not let Kenabres go quietly. The ancient dragon took battle to the pit-fiend in the skies above. While below, the Plaza of Saint Clydwel was rent open as if the Abyss itself had come to battle. And we, all present, fell to our doom.

As the heavy blows of tumbling rubble and the bodies of our fallen companions rained down upon me, I saw one last disheartening sight before losing consciousness. Commander Terendelev, our greatest champion, the anchor of Kenabres’s defense…we made eye contact for a brief moment, and I felt the weight of his devotion to the cause. The pit-fiend slew him, and even as he, suffered so, Terendelev used the last of his power to shelter those he could from harm.

I, along with countless others, slammed into the ground at the bottom of our long descent. As my spine, and body crumble under the impact, and final darkness over took me, I felt Terendelev’s spirit, a reflection of the Lady’s divine power mending my wounds.


The Cavern under the Plaza of Saint Clydwel

I awoke to darkness. But due to the misfortune of my heritage, that has never been to much of a hindrance. Struggling to my feet, I took stock of the surroundings. The first thing I noticed was the dead. Not just the dead from the Plaza, no the ground was littered with ancient dead. Thousands of them, decayed to the bone, these were not recent. Looking about, the massive mound of corpses spread as far as I could see in a large underground natural chamber. The multitude of rock formations made it difficult to judge the size, but I could see a few sources of light sprout alight in the distance.

The closest, being of a sickly red hue. Considering the nature of the attack above, I suspected foul play, traitors in our midst. Red has always been the color of the enemy, the light of those who would shun the Lady’s warmth. I approached cautiously, but I have never been the stealthy sort.


Aldrick Aquitainus

I come upon a young man, a Chelaxian Noble and Devil Worshiper, by his garb. Peculiar that after the horrifying betrayal we faced on this day, my first encounter is with a priest of the Father of Lies. I challenge him, but the twisted lad gives his word, and his oath. Altered as his people are prone to doing. His presence twists my already bitter heart, but the Lady, through her vessel Queen Galfrey, has commanded we work with these liars for the greater good. If he is willing to face the Enemy by my side, I will look past his “delusions.” But he seems far to “diplomatic,” he is skilled at saying what I want to hear, and he holds his true heart hidden behind a careful mask. His name is Aldrick Auitanos and he will be watched.


Anevia

As we discuss our surroundings, we hear the noises of others towards the center of the chamber. And then we hear a strangled gasp and the shift of stones close by. We investigate, and discover, a young woman, pretending to be a man, trapped under the weight of a large stone bulwark. She is horrified by our presence, as much my own as Aldrick’s. It is never wise to fear the Inquisition, for only traitors and criminals need fear the truth. Nevertheless, We need the man power if we are to encounter the enemy, so Aldrick and I manage to free her with some heavy lifting.

The women, Anevia, is a rude uncouth irregular who claims to work for the City Watch. I have contacts with the Eagle Watch who could confirm such things, but I suspect this is not the time. Aldrick repairs her wounded leg to the best of his ability. I would not want to be indebted to Asmodeus in such a fashion, but such things do not seem to bother her as I would suspect.

Assisting Anevia between us, we three, begin moving towards the other light sources we saw earlier. On the way, we came across a fallen Witch Hunter. His duty relieved by death, I scavenged what I could, a disservice to the dead perhaps, but against the enemy…I will be prepared. Upon finding the other survivors to our shock we discovered a pint sized knight beheading a fallen Crusader. While other traitors looked on.



Renli Taggletoe

Lathander Dall

Tearekt Clefthorn

Milo Boffin

My initial reaction proved to be…unnecessary. The Halfling Crusader, a pious, strong hearted lad, (if a bit naive) had discovered a profane symbol of the enemy hidden among his effects. The fallen crusader was a member of The Heralds, the order responsible for the overall strategies and logistics of the Crusade. The Enemy could do untold damage to us if they had infiltrated the Heralds. Perhaps this begins to explain the tragedy above in Kenabres. Renli found a sealed message tube, intended for the Hammers of Heaven. The message has been hidden with some blood magic beyond my understanding, but I suspect if I deliver the tube to Liotr, its contents could be laid bare.

The survivors measure few. Besides Renli, Aldrick, and me, only three others have survived the fall in fighting condition. A medic by the name of Lathander, who seems… free willed… and undependable. A massive Sarkosan by the name of Tearekt, there people are strong soldiers and competent scouts and woodsmen, though their culture has long been tainted by demon worship, I must be sure he does not still follow the “old ways.” Lastly another Halfling by the name of Milo, a green newcomer to Kenabres, he is quiet and graceful like many of his folk are, but he does not seem very capable if it comes to blows.



Horgus Gwerm


Aravash Narciso

Two others survived the fall. Horgus Gwerm, a rotund rich merchant. Though he looked unharmed, this is not a man fit to hold a sword in battle, useless. He nags unceasingly about imagined injuries and seems to harvest a deep seated fear of both the Inquisition and Tearekt. He claims to have great wealth and made a deal with Aldrick, offering gifts for his survival and delivery. Any who would rather trust to devil worshipers over the Lady’s own crusaders can rot for all I care. However abandoning someone so early into our plight would unquestionably be bad for morale. I will suffer his presence…for now.

Lastly is an ancient scholar by the name of Aravash. The fall has damaged his eyesight, making his tome of arcane lore and power useless until he is healed. He is knowledgeable about the Enemy, and our surroundings, but he is used to command, something that can not be tolerated considering his condition. He has urgently implored that I lead this men to the remains of his library, to recover or destroy its contents. This I will do if the chance presents itself, but first we must recover the surface and see what is left of our dear Kenabres.

We split up looking for an exit from this chamber, and look for any supplies that may be useful. Renli takes a moment to sanctify the fallen as best he can, I would rather honor them by avenging their deaths. Our end of the chamber holds no exits, but we hear Tearekt’s holler from the opposite direction. Returning as quickly as we can, we find the group engaged in battle with a corpse of a spider.


A Giant Maggot

As the group mercilessly pummel the already dead spider into oblivion, from its corpse arises two giant maggots. Renli and Milo claim one, while Tearekts mighty hammer fells the second.

We exit the chamber, following an ancient dried up underground river bed. Aravash informs us that he suspects the mass grave to be the remains of the Sarkoran exodus 100 or so years ago. When the Worldwound rose up, and the Abyss swallowed Sarkoris, many tried to flee. Those who crossed the river into Mendev here, must have been rounded up and put to death. A heavy handed response, but against the might of the Abyss we must be resolute, we must be certain. If Iomedae had cause to have those poor souls slain, then I will trust in it.

Aroden

The Last Azlanti

Human Culture, Innovation, History

Deceased

We enter a very long chamber filled with statues, broken and piled without care. Twelve statues repeated again and again. The beggar, the thief, the fisherman, the hunter, the shepherd, the farmer, the soldier, the merchant, the tailor, the craftsman, the artist, and the scholar. The twelve faces worn by Aroden when he walked the world as a mortal. Aravash believes that when Aroden died, and Iomedae rose to power, symbols and memorials to the lost God must have been torn out throughout Kenabres and thrown into this chamber.


The Beggar

As we investigate, 8 skeletons emerge, hidden throughout the statues and ambush us. To think that such foulness existed below Kenabres for so long. Lathander quickly finds himself surrounded and cut off from the rest of the group as the undead menace grab hold of the eccentric medic.

At the entrance to the chamber Tearekt and Renli make short work of the skeletons engaging myself, Gwerm, and Aldrick, and we all rush to Lathander’s assistance. The skeletons are unarmed and unarmored, and are little threat, we destroy them all.

Investigating their bodies and garb, we recognize that they bare some resemblance tosome of the statues, in that they seem to depict 8 of the 12 faces of Aroden.

By the back of the chamber, a poorly crafted masonry wall cuts this chamber off from its only exit. We can hear soft chanting from beyond, and smell the decay of the dead. Renli notices a missing brick, and looking beyond tells us of a dark priest holding some sort of profane ritual in a chapel. I recognize the voice as someone speaking in abyssal, calling Iomdae an usurper! With a blessing to Ragathiel to give me the strength to destroy such evil, and reap vengeance for all the harm done today, we prepare to storm the chapel.


The Soldier

Tearekt makes short work of the stone wall. And we rush in. And as we do, we feel the constricting foulness of desecration, and the wretched priest unleashes a spell to dampen our spirits and courage.

Four more skeletons, these, wielding the weapons and armor fitting for the image of Aroden, join the fray. As Taerekt and Renli engage the priest, the skeletons charge Aldrick, Milo, and myself. I destroy them, but Milo suffered a grave wound.

As we finish off the undead, Lathander tends to the fallen, stabilizing the bleeding halfling. The fallen priest lashes out at Renli with a set of vicious claws, but is swiftly flattened by the might of Tearekt’s massive hammer. From his corpse we recover a magical cloak and a phylactery of faithfulness.

The defeated villain is discovered to be a rare form of undead, a huecuva, undead risen from fallen priests. A terribly fate. We right the chapel as best we can, and prepare to make camp. I recall a scroll I found earlier when we searched for supplies. Using the power in the scroll, I remove the taint of evil from this place.

In the chapel we find a curious longsword, with the inscription “She is my light, I am her Radiance.” Aldrick recognizes that the blade is enchanted to light the wielder’s path, but more interestingly it seems to have a hidden power that he can’t understand. For now Renli, takes up the Longsword, awed that it re-sizes to fit his frame.

Looking ahead Renli discovers a source of water, well found, as we were getting low. We stop for the day so that the others can catch their breath and rest for a moment. I take watch, as always, I will not rest, while the Enemy survives.

~Lucius

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The Enemy Within


The Enemy Within
The Worldwound Incursion Session II
12/29/13

Iomedae is my Strength.

As others take their rest, I remain a vigilant servant of the Inheritor. As the hours wary on I continue the humble task of cleansing and resetting this forgotten temple to Your Glory. The inquisitor Lucius was able to draw the power from a scroll blast the vile commitments made by Your fallen priest, returning this place to a normal state. Still, it does not yet radiate your peace and good will. This is something that must be rectified.

Radiate… yes, this blade, Radiance. It can shed light in darkness, yet the light it sheds burns far more brightly in my heart. Having it reshape in my hands, I feel that you have sent it, a gift to guide me in these dark hours. Likewise this cloak worn by the unholy filth, cast black by his evil nature, cleansed to pure white upon my shoulders. His journal tells of a tragic fall, a dark descent into madness, into oblivion. Your guidance is ever appreciated, Inheritor watch over me. Grant me warmth when I rest, allow me to recapture my strength so that I may serve you.

We are not alone, something has tried to control the Asmodean’s mind. I do not trust him, though there seems little reason for him to lie about such things at this moment. Like the rest of us, he seeks to return to the surface, though I doubt for the same reasons. Though our eyes betray us, You guide your ever-obedient servant. With the gift of sight You have granted me I can see the presence of this evil, lurking in the brazier above. I point it out, and several launch attacks into the air, but to no avail. Calling out the foul creature, it flies, still masked from our eyes, to another brazier across the chamber. Seeking a perch where I might reach it, I climb upon the high altar.


Quasit

Realizing Aldrick’s mind is strong, the demon seeks weaker prey to control, and targets the Sarkorian. Though strong of body, his mind is overcome and he tries to crush me with his mighty hammer. Your blessings upon me, I narrowly evade the lethal blow. Lucius throws a rope up around the brazier and tries to bring it down, but to no avail. His eyes no longer clouded, I call on him to launch me up to the brazier. Using the might of his people, he vaults me up into the air, where I bring down my sword mightily upon the now visible demon cackling within. After Radiance’s first blow, the enchanter-demon begs for mercy, claiming that it will now serve me, but I have been warned of these lies from an early age. I will not be deceived or so lead into evil. You guide my hand and it proves no match for Radiance’s judgment, and I cast it down, body broken, upon the floor of the temple.

The strange medic Lathander scurries to the fallen demon. He precariously plays and pokes at the fallen beast. I thought he was ensuring its demise, but am rather surprised when he looks at me angrily, then excitedly exclaims that it still has some life. He works to tend its wounds, to which I protest, but the witch hunter Lucius demands that it be brought back to give forth any knowledge it may have of the attack on Kenabres, willing or unwilling.

The look of shock in Lathander’s eyes is awful. Like the rest of us he knows the tactics the witch hunters employ. He demands that no harm come to the creature, that it sought mercy and redemption, and it deserves the chance for it. Lucius is insulted by these words, demands that Lathander repeat the oath he took and follow his orders, a Witch Hunter and commander of the Crusade. The two descend into a fierce argument, Lucius threatens to execute Lathander on the spot for insubordination, and I can sense the evil descending into the hearts of my companions. Though dead, this demon’s corrupting presence plays on the hearts of my allies.

I have heard of a man, seeking goodness and redemption for evil, being corrupted in such a quest. I have likewise seen men call upon Your will as justification for cruelty against and persecution of innocents. This is a dark moment indeed. Iomedae guide me. Summoning my inner resolve, I step between the arguing company. I ask Lathander to realize that the fiend never sought redemption, nor would it likely, and only offers its services in return for self-preservation. I also point out that it just tried to control and kill us. I also speak to Lucius, asking him to seek his wisdom, and not strike down an ally in haste and anger. We all have different beliefs, those of us seeking a righteous path must work together.

In the end, Lathander agrees to the interrogation, though leaves the room as it occurs. The fiend is a quasit, a minor demon with some magical abilities, who spews threats and insults at Lucius and I. I hold the foul demon on the altar while Lucius goes to work. I have no issue with his tactics against demons, for they are horror reborn, but from his familiarity with the tools I fear he has employed similar tactics on mortals in the past. His skill is elite, and he draws forth the name of the creature’s master – Faxium – with ease. He gives us little else, but empty threats and promises. Lucius ends the creature with his cold iron dagger. The others are ready to be done with the place, so the move quickly to pack and depart. I am saddened to leave this temple to Her Glory, and as a parting act cleanse away the blood and filth left upon the altar by Lucius’s work with the last of my water. Offering a prayer, I plan to return and restore this place to its former glory.


Underground River

The underground waterway I discovered on the previous eve seems to be weakening. We decide upstream is our course, with hopes that it will lead us to the surface. Still, there is the knowledge that something has stopped the water from flowing properly. Could our one path to the surface be blocked? At intervals the ground continues to shake, yet we press on. The river leads to a pool and a large cavern, with a fast rising wall and waterfall. As we seek a means up, foul creatures fall upon us from perches along the chamber’s ceiling. They appeared to be stalactites, but are in fact some beast, afflicted by the curse of the Worldwound. They seek only blood from us, and blood they find, though it is there own.

As the attack ends my kinsman Milo, nimblest among us, ascends the cliff seeking what path may lie above. Returning, he tells us of a large chamber with strange creatures, half-beast, half-man, speaking a strange dialect of Chelish. He warns they may be demons and we quickly move up the wall to confront our possible aggressors. Scouting ahead, I see them, trying to pry stones off of a fallen comrade. Lucius prepares to strike them down, claiming them to be Abyss spawn and agents of evil. I recall seeing evil in my past – I have seen them abandon their comrade in the face of danger. These two, deformed and twisted as they may be, struggle to free their companion, showing compassion. These are not demons.

Trusting in Iomedae’s guidance, I step forward and reveal myself, unarmed, offering my aid. They draw blades and take a defensive stance, it is clear they are as afraid of me as others might be of them. They said I am not welcome in their land and that they want no trouble from an Uplander. I again identify myself as a humble servant of the Inheritor, tell them of the horrors of the past day, and offer my aid. They start to relent when Lucius and Aldrick step forward. The deformed ones immediately return their guard, though I cannot tell if they are more afraid of the Witch Hunter or the Devil worshipper. They quickly reveal the persecution they have suffered at the hands of Witch Hunters, and from Lucius’ bearing, it seems he is ready to confirm their fears. Lucius orders me to stop and suggests again that we deal with the demon-spawn as he sees fit. I argue with Lucius that these are decent people who need our aid, and he relents. Together we lift the boulder from their fallen comrade.

In return for our aid I ask for assistance in seeking the surface. Lan, the leader among them, says he is forbidden to go to the surface by his uncle the chief. I ask Lan to be take us to meet his leader, so that I might ask him for aid. Lucius tries to silence me, again claiming them to be the enemy, that they will surely slaughter us if we go. We argue for a measure, whereupon I counter that I will then go alone, and if I do not return, they can move on without me. I agree to Lan’s terms that we go blindfolded and prepare. After a short pause, the rest of the company agrees to be blindfolded as well.


Neathholm

Hooded, we are lead through strange, winding corridors. At times I believe we have doubled back. It is clear that Lan and his company, the woman Drya and the hulking brute Krel, are trying to ensure that we do not know the way to their home. A wise caution. Eventually we arrive at their home, the town of Neathholm. Lan is initially confronted by guards who question our presence, but he tells of our aid and they escort us en masse to their leader. The structures are made of stone, and are simple if well made. The town stands upon a lake, which I believe may be the source of the river we encountered earlier. The citizens are deformed like the others, though each in their own way. As we approach they hide in their homes, fearful of the stories told of those who live on the surface.

Passing through the town, then into the great hall of their leader, I notice some symbols, marks, and relics of Kenabres and the Crusades, from the distant past. These people are a proud people, and the great hall is adorned with the heraldry of many of those great knights and families that took up arms in the First Crusade. Lan presents us to their leader, Chief Sol. Behind his altar hangs a grand banner of Iomedae, and in that moment I know we have been guided to an ally. Kneeling before the king, I offer respects and blessings, then ask of him aid in seeking the surface. Lucius is disgusted by the respect I give to this man, for all he sees is corruption, whereas I see a noble leader who still has his faith. Sol for his part has a wary eye on all of us, especially Aldrick and the Witch Hunter.

In our dialogue I reveal to Sol the truth of what has befallen Kenabres in its darkest hour. Lucius opposes my honesty with the chief, but in truth, even if I agreed with him, I would see no other course. I press on him to seek the fire in his heart, the strength in his faith, and held us seek the surface so we may confront the evil that their resides. He agrees to lead us to the surface, if first we deal with the evil that has lead astray some of his tribe. A woman had come and seduced many of the young to the worship of the Beastlord Baphomet, the same cult involved in some way in the attack on Kenabres. He warns that among those corrupted is a skilled hunter and tracker, Wendog. In this I see both a way to reach the surface and strike at those vile cultists who have brought ruin to Kenabres.

Our path is clear. We will not loose hope. We will fight this evil, and seek to take back our city. Iomedae’s blessing be upon us all.

~Renli


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Trouble with Demon-Spawn



The Trouble with Demon-Spawn

The Worldwound Incursion Session III
1/5/14



Lann

The demon-spawn are true to their word, for now, and we pass the night unmolested. In the morning Lann returns, and we barter for some much needed supplies. Renli and I question Lann and Aravash on the nature of the enemy we will face on this day. Much is learned. The demon worshiping bitch was quite successful at converting the youth of Neatholme. Not that I’m surprised. The trouble with demon-spawn, is that they always meet my expectations. They can play at honor and goodness down here, but their souls are defiled by the taint of the abyss. Give them one taste of darkness, and they will walk willingly into it.

The bitch we stalk, is some sort of priestess of Baphomet, and her cult has been growing. One of her converts was a man named Wendaug. Lann tells us of his skill as a hunter and trapper, we will be prepared for such things. Lathander, showing some useful initiate for once, declares he has some skill at such things if he had tools, so Renli, Lann and he ransack Wendaug house searching for spares. It is time will spent.

Baphomet

Lord of Minotaurs

Beasts, Labyrinths, Secret Societies

Demon Lord

This Wendaug, supposedly he was a “decent” guy before a Witch-hunter burnt his wife. Maybe she was innocent, maybe not. Many innocent make the final sacrifice every day, and before the end I suspect we all will. Such is the cost of survival. There can be no excuses. This Wendaug makes his home with the enemy. He aids the enemy. I will destroy him…like the enemy.

Lann grows angry over my…callous…remarks. But he wisely holds his tongue. That is good. If he can learn to embrace the truth of his foul heritage, and wield that anger against his race, it can protect him from that which he hates.

We exit Neathholme, and strike out a good pace towards our destination. They do not bother with blindfolds, but the terrain is confusing enough that I am sure we could never make it back without a sufficient guide. Lann is competent in this regard.

After some time, we come to a chamber covered with fungal spores. They are recognized to belong to some deadly plant creature, so we leave with haste before we are delayed. But not before Lathander scrapes as much of the poison as he can into his vials, and we discover two dead pit-born, dead from asphyxiation.


Wendaug

There is a brief bit of trouble crossing a rope bridge, cleverly trapped to drop its first crosser to their death, but Lathander is saved by Taerekt’s great strength. He is swiftly hosted to safety, and the rest of us cross without injury.

Shortly after, Renli, scouting ahead reports back that we have found their hideout, but the entrance is guarded by barricades and crossbows. A brief exchange of “misdirection” gives us the opening to close with the pit-born while they are off guard. I hit the first with my crossbow, as Renli and Milo charge the gate, and Taerekt hops over the barricade. They are swiftly dealt with. I demand the last surrender to me by the grace of Iomedae. He chooses death.


Cave Fisher

Our assault, swift and effective that it was, raised their guard, and they were ready for us. Taerekt smashes open the door and we charge into the larger chamber beyond. The traitor Wendaug and several other Demon-Spawn are waiting, polearms, and bows waiting for us. But my attention is caught by the fiend on their ceiling. A crab like monstrosity, tainted and warped by the presence of the worldwound.

We engage, but Lathander finds himself caught in the beasts sticky web, and is eaten alive. An unfortunate fate. Wendaug retreats deeper into the structure, with Renli on his heels. I distract the fiend long enough for Taerekt to shatter its carapace with that marvelous hammer. Recognizing the significance of the next few moments, I call up the might of Ragathiel, to give me strength to bring this bastards justice. I strap on my shield and pursue Wendaug.


Lt. Hosilla

He notices me this time, stepping into the doorway. “WITCH-HUNTER!” He screams at me, as he unleashes his arrows. But my rage is just as potent, and I swiftly overtake his cry with my own words. “DEMON-SPAWN.” And then he flees….coward. We execute the remaining Pit-born, but Wendaug has taken position at the top of a ladder, a difficult assault. And we trade arrows and javelins for a moment.

Ragathiel

Gen. of Vengeance

Duty, Vengeance, Chivalry, Chastity

Empyreal Lord

And then we hear the female voice of the Bitch, this priestess of Baphomet, who has some responsibility for the events of yesterday. Thousands of lives, if not the entirety of humanity and all the goodness in the world could lie at her feet. Ragathiel demands her death, and my choller rises, and I pursue, headless of the difficulty of the challenge.

Renli, fearless, for one so small, nods, and together we storm the ladder. Wendaug’s shot goes astray, and then suddenly Milo is there, shouting for us to go back down the ladder. The foul scent of sulfur fills the chamber, and we knew some new fiend had joined the battle. As Renli and I gained what purchase we could at the top of the narrow ladder-well, Wendaug and the Bitch retreat beyond yet another door. In their wake, a might Schir Demon, charges forth.


Schir Demon

The spiteful demon misses with his first assault, and Renli lays into the beast with a glorious wound, but balancing precariously at the top of the ladder, I have difficulty bringing my weapons to bear against the demon. Again and again the demon swings with his foul diseased halberd and gores at us with his horns. My prayers, protect me from the worst, but Renli is not so lucky.

The little one is struck unconscious by a vicious blow, and I am barely able to scoop him with my shield arm before he falls to his death. Trusting in my uncommon fortitude, and recognizing the disadvantage of my current location, I drop down the ladder, handing Renli off to be healed.

The fiend follows, but now we can bring our numbers to bare, and together, we cast the bastard back into the abyss.


Message to Hossila
Hosilla,

Circumstances have necessitated that I depart earlier than anticipated. You will remain, for the time being, in Kenabres. But know this, the cities days are numbered. Soon, I shall assume command of Drezen, and you will return to my side. Before you depart, pay a visit to the chemist and “Thank” him for his service. Then stop by the Lodge and insure that the fool has left no evidence behind. Finally, it has come to my attention that the pest Faxium has been assigned the acquisition of a priority target. It would serve us well should we succeed where he fails. If the opportunity arises you may thank him as well. Use your mongrels. They are expendable and not traceable back to the Templars. Fret not over the alliance, as our Lord decrees, Power is neither earned nor given, but must be Taken.

Act with Haste. Once Vorlesh returns and initiates her ritual with the Stone you won’t want to be anywhere near the doomed city.

~Vhane

PS If you haven’t already, best thank the messenger too.

After a short stop to sort out our injuries, we carry forward, intent on bringing our foe to justice. But the door above is locked, and precious time is wasted opening it. The room behind contains some sort of meeting chamber, its large table stained with the blood of old sacrifice. A tapestry of Baphomet covers the opposite wall, my stomach turns. Several doors surround the chamber, but by the time we locate the exit, the bitch is long gone, into the sewers of Kenabres.

We investigate what we have found. First the bitches bed chamber, where we find several bloody bandages. On a hunch i try the blood on the message intended for Hossila, its a match and its contents are laid bare. As we thought Baphomet and Deskari are working together. Vorlash is in or will be in Kenabres to attempt some ritual on the wardstone. The message mentions several cleanup jobs that Hosilla was intended to take care of, hopefully we can intervene and discover that which the enemy desires hidden.

Another chamber reveals some sort of forge. The chamber reeks of old stale blood. They were crafting unholy weapons. We decide to give the chamber to the purity of fire. And that is when we notice two fresh corpses. More demon-spawn from Neatholme, but Lann knows these two, he suspects they were capture by the enemy and executed, I concure, it is likely these two died without giving into temptation.

Back on the lower floor, further discovery reveals some sort of “trophy room” where these demon worshipers could relish in the horrors of their past deeds. Among the heads on the walls are a couple crusaders…and a witch-hunter that I recognize. We do what we can, but only through vengeance will there be satisfaction.

I am not yet satisfied!

~Lucius


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Big Trouble in Little Neathholm



Big Trouble in Little Neathholm

The Worldwound Incursion Session IV
1/26/14



Seer’s Room

I came back to myself within the chambers of the Seer, alone, lying upon his bed. My head was filled with a dream or perhaps it is better to call it a vision. A vision complete in all its detail, but one I found impossible to focus on. Even now if I were to try it would shatter just outside my grip, and I would see only glimpses. Something I attempted for several minutes in either case while laying there regaining my strength. It did not take long for me to mark the effort as pointless and rise from the bed.

The Seer’s room had changed visibly from what I could only assume had been a short time ago. Everything had taken on an old unused quality, which was a staunch contrast from the sparse, but warm chamber of before. Many pieces of the furniture were covered in a layer of dust and webs hung on the walls. In reflection it would have perhaps been wise to search the old man’s chambers thoroughly, but I doubt he would have left much if anything behind. However, perhaps something was urging me to the door. I will admit he made me…uncomfortable and there were many questions he left unanswered, in time perhaps or perhaps he is finally dead and I will never know.

Shedding the useless thoughts I left the building heading back to my quarters. The street itself was quiet, all except for a commotion off in the distance. Ignoring that for the time being I found my path back easily. I am not certain how I knew the way, but the knowledge was there none the less. Approaching the door I could tell something was wrong. Two guards lay dead at the entrance and the sounds of fighting spilled from inside the large room. Casually I made my way towards the door only to find the room mostly empty of my associates. The woman, Anevia, was backed into a corner fighting against a single mongrelman and defending the other two useless fools. Well at least the old man has some knowledge, if you can ever get him to focus. The fat merchant only had a shallow cut and it unfortunately was not across his throat. His death would have made his promise easier to ignore.

I stood in the doorway taking in the scene and weighing my option. After a moment I decided the woman would be slightly more useful alive. She had already killed one of the two attackers after all and that at least counted in her favor. Stepping into the room I dispatched the last attacker with ease and aided the woman with some restorative agents. Our ‘healer’ is a untrustworthy buffoon, but his creations are not all that bad.


Strange Vision

With the woman mended, and not a single word of gratitude from the bitch, I learned the rest had left when they heard fighting from the docks and people screaming in the streets. I commanded the three to pack up their things and be ready to leave in case it became worse. Moving to ready my equipment I noticed someone had rifled through it. A quick inventory of what was missing easily betrayed the most likely culprit, and that is when it hit me. I saw my hands digging through my bag and taking my missing items. For a moment I was confused before I realized those were not my hands and they wore a ring I did not own, but seemed familiar. As quickly as it came the vision vanished and I was left stunned. Again I was left wondering what had happened to me, but again I did not have the time to dwell on it. The sounds of men were growing closer.

Reinforcing my order of making ready to leave, I left the building to see what was coming. Out on the street I encountered Renli rushing toward the center of the town so I followed. After some time it was apparant he was heading toward the main hall of Chief Sull. I would later discover that there had been a battle at the docks which had drawn the Chief’s guards and left him unprotected. However, at the time I followed the halfling into the main hall where we found the Chief sitting in his chair. Of course the man was dead, only fools would have hoped otherwise, with three of Wendaug’s arrows protruding from his chest. Not wanting to be shot Renli and I hugged the walls under the upper catwalks searching for Wendaug himself.


Neathholm Ablaze

After a few seconds the rest of the men entered the building, which was precisely when another arrow struck the Chief and set half the building to flame. Wendaug closed his trap by setting the entrance alight hoping to burn us all to death. Fortunately the man was not as cleaver as he thought for there were too many exits for most of us. Hell take me, Lucius did not even seem to be bothered by the flames and the smaller of the two haflings, Milo, just jumped out of a window. Leaving the task of finding Wendaug to Renli and the big brute, Teer, I went to retrieve my family’s banner. If the building was going down there was no reason my family’s crest should go with it.

Iomedae

The Inheritor

Valor, Rulership, Justice,
Honor

Goddess

Predictable as always Renli and Teer climbed to the catwalks and charged an indistinct smudge they believed to be Wendaug. Teer received a nearly mortal wound for his trouble from the smudge, but he did succeed in revealing Wendaug for the rest of us. I am told then, for I was stowing my family’s banner and did not see it, that Renli charged Wendaug and tumbled off the catwalk with him. I will not deny the halfling has determination even if it is a bit reckless. I am sure it is something that can be pushed in the right direction. Wendaug must have realized his defeat since he attempted to stand his ground. We quickly surrounded and killed the man, Lann delivering the final stroke.

With Wendaug’s death the conflict was finished and we left the burning hall before we were all consumed. As we stood there looking back into the building it was an effort to keep my features smooth, but I was able to manage. Wendaug may have been an Abyss tainted bastard, but he did have a flair for the dramatic. Nothing left to do we returned to our chamber with an invite from Lann to join him at the Chief’s ceremony in the morning. It was then I leaned the events after my departure.



Fog Covered Neathholm

The men were surprised to notice that I was gone and may have been gone for sometime. They believed I perhaps had cast some powerful magic on them to make them forget my departure. This of course was ridiculous as they had all seen me leave. We came to the conclusion it must have been the Seer or perhaps his masked companion as I do not possess such powers. In reflection perhaps I should have let them believe I am capable of such things; however, it is done and may have made things more difficult. It was during this argument, and theft of my possessions, that the screaming started.


Basidirond

The guards at the door did not detain the men when they attempted to leave and ascertain what was happening in town. Apparently they were alive at the time. It did not take the men long to discover the problem, as mongrelfolk were running around clawing at their faces and fighting unseen assailants. Many lay dead on the streets bearing no discernible wounds, but a few scratches. More shouting came from the direction of the docks, which were now completely shrouded in a thick layer of mist, and they charged in believing a Basidirond had decided to attack the town.


Smoke in a Bottle

Within the mist they were met by a group of mongrelfolk soldiers who came to investigate. Fanning out they searched the docks for the creature. Not finding any sign of the Basidirond some moved out to docks. It was there Teer discovered an empty bottle with a few remaining wisps of smoke trailing out from the top. It was painfully obvious to me what was to come next, but unfortunately my voice of reason was not their to aid them, and they fell easily into the enemies trap.

A horn sounded within the mist and most of the mongrelfolk turned to attack the men. Their attacks spared no one not even fellow mongrelfolk as they attempted to kill my allies and loyal guards of Neathholm. The men dispatched the threat and the true nature of the attack finally dawned on them. Renli raced off to check on the safety of Chief Sull, which where I met him.



Asmodean Monograph

Story completed I decided not waste anymore time and demanded the foolish healer return my belongings. As is typical with his inferior nature, he attempted lie, poorly. It was obvious he would be the only one interested in the reagents I collected, ignoring the fact that he wore the very ring I saw in my vision. Still spewing out some nonsense I ignored the man and turned to Lucius and made a formal complaint of theft. Lucius, as expected from a honorable man, ordered the peasant to return my things. I was rather disappointed that the witch hunter gave the scum three chances to return my belongings, which he finally did. I will have to watch the witch hunter closer for he seems to have a bit of a soft streak. I judged the man to be nothing but cold iron and was looking forward to the deserved whipping. However, I was incorrect again as no whipping occurred; either way it is better this way. I can use this softness if needed, but I doubt it will be necessary. Lucius I think is the only one of these fools who truly understands what this war will take to win, and it will be a lot more than just self sacrifice.

Asmodeus

Prince of Hell

Tyranny, Slavery, Pride, Contracts

The First

Lucius at the time had seized my journal and monograph, which he returned once realizing what it was. He kept the journal for further study, but that is of little consequence and I am sure it will be returned in the morning. Laying down for rest I reflect back on the day and the Seer. Both sides lost warriors this day, but perhaps Chaos lost more. I suppose we will only truly know the toll once we reach the surface and Kenabres. Lann says he will have us lead out tomorrow so we shall know soon enough.

As I close my eyes for sleep the image paints itself across my vision in exquisite detail, and I finally release the smile I have been holding since I turned to see His omen. The Seer’s words…that damn old man’s words had shadowed me with doubt; doubt, that was scourged away when I turned to peer into the inferno of the Chief’s hall and witness His omen…“Burn you traitorous bitch! Burn and be cleansed in the fires of Hell! Hail to the One! Hail to the First! Hail to the Prince of Darkness, Asmodeus!”

pentagram.gif Aldrick


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Squawk Squawk Says the Vrock



Squawk Squawk Says the Vrock

The Worldwound Incursion Session V
2/9/14


Strength and honor to you brother. I shall miss you every day until we meet again.

Thank the Earth Mother my bloody fever finally broke. I don’t know what could have caused it but we have fought some wretched creatures these past few days and from the healing abilities of the odd fellow Lathander I seem to have been able to overcome my state. I must make sure he stays alive. He may not be much use in the fight but seems to be able to help those who are. Though he is… odd…

This day will be our last in Neetholm. Our hosts have been gracious considering the amount of harm we seem to have tracked to their door. The recent loss of their lord and large fires that claimed a few of their buildings have left a solemn tone about the day. Today was to be a grand funeral for a few of their fallen. Now there are a few more of the oddly shaped men that were lost in the recent fighting. The one called Wendug was dealt with, fallen by our ally Lan’s mighty blow. He was quite an opponent, nearing felling me in the fight. Thank the Storm Father that the “holy” little one has strength to him more than his luck. Taking the man off the balcony we were on in that manner could not have felt good to one so small. We attend the funeral pyres and say our farewells to Lan. I offer him a token of our clan, my brother’s ring. I know it a kingly gift but I felt he, being a lord now, was worry of such an honor. He refused but I understand. I will not forget my brother as some forget their kin.

To dampen the day further, it seems as if we all suffered from rather poor sleep. Horrible dreams filled my night. Images of being shot by Wendugs bow over and over again filled my mind this past night. Regardless, we travel on desiring to reach the surface as soon as we can in order to find out what has come to pass on the surface. We are guided by another of their tribe, one similar to me in her skill in guiding others. She leads us along a path to our desired exit point but we find our path blocked. It was not blocked by rock but rather the opposite. A bottomless hole around the area we believe to have been where we started our journey. We know not the fate of the ward stone but a hole this large was not formed from any small amount of demon force. Our guide takes us to what the others call the Southgate district instead. I believe me and my kin would have come in from that end of the city. I am unsure, being not overly familiar with the city.

She guides us up to the sewers, showing us a secret way into the city from the underground. It would seem these unusual men were able to enter the city and even live to a degree among the normal people in this city with more ease than the witch hunter would like to believe. Seeing him put out by this does my soul some good. He and his kind have no honor. I hope my mother was able to avoid their alleged campaign for “truth”. It seems that those who would claim to root out the evil of demons become more like them over time. I will have to see if he determines it necessary to earn my trust. He has no shortage of earning my hatred.

Finally, we breach the surface. Thank the earth mother that there are still buildings standing in this forsaken city. It seems we would have been better off to not have been enticed to support this crusade. But no, we carry our honor well and those that returned to the Earth Mother did so battling the evil we have endured for generations.

We have come up into some sort of tavern. There are large kitchens in the lower level and we move through them, seeking the surface. We know we must be quiet now. We know not what will await us on the surface. As we come up into the main level one of others points out we must be in a place called Mama’s Meat Pies. Apparently a well know tavern though some of the bones we found below certainly didn’t look like any meat I would willing partake off. Odd vermin and things seemed to fill out these “meat pies”. It seems clear that we are the only ones around. In fact, we are creating much more noise than we should be. Even talking seems to carry more than normal. The quiet is eerie, near unsettling. It is like the darkest time in the midst of night just before a raid would strike. I am tense, expecting anything.

It seems that the windows are in disrepair, or perhaps gone due to the demon attack. Renli notices some vultures outside. They seem off as many animals in the Wound are. He tries to eliminate one, missing wide with his javelin. It seems his faith in this Iomedae does not guide his hand well this day. They then decide that live food is better than whatever refuse they had been feeding upon. They set upon us. We take them as they come but they multiply as quickly as we remove them. It seems a swarm has been attracted. We know that we cannot hold out forever and as the flock grows, the noise created is not small. Suddenly, we hear their father calling. A Vrock or I’m a bloody witch hunter.

Vrock


I’ll Get You Next Time and Your Little Halfling Too Muwahahahaha!!!

I alert the others and we flee back to the sewers. I am the last to drop down to the lowest level. The Halfling can see in the dark it seems so he elects to stay just below the grate in the sewer to see if the demon scum pursues us. After a long while he goes back up into the restaurant. When he returns, he notes that the demon has gone but it is certainly not safe to go that way. I offer to guide the group though they seem to not understand that I need their absolute trust for this. I am very good at my trade and only better at unmaking men. With help from those that know the city, I get us to our goal. Some famous library that this blind scholar Aravash will not stop whining about. I am not sure what he is about but it seems as good a place as any to start if it is perhaps fortified.

I guide us safely to the hidden back door that led to the city sewers. Apparently there is some sort of alarm on the door so my normal method of opening a door is decided against. It appears Lathander and this other girl we found, Anevia I think, have some skill at breaching locks. Neither succeeds at preventing the alarm from tripping however as Aravash is alerted to the door being open. We make entry to what seems to be a storage room. We tell those injured among us to stay here until we are able to scout the building and return. If we do not return they are to venture on without us. The witch hunter now seems intent on leading us up into the library. I am unsure why but he seems to think he is in charge. Clearly, he has never been in command of men.

As we enter the main level of the library, it becomes quickly clear that the demons have beaten us here as the smell of burnt wood and parchment fill our noses. We immediately notice something else amiss. There are maidens tied to pillars in what was once the grand lobby of the librarium. There is some man who has clearly gone mad who appears to be planning to kill them both. He also has one at knife point. Upon further inspection the maidens are covered in some sort of oil. His intent is clear. Somehow, the devil worshiper manages to talk him away from the one woman he has at knife point. Seeing an opening I attempt to take him down. We need to take him alive and I stumble. He gets the better of me, slashing me across the chest. The small holy one attempts a similar attack and also is unable to connect. We close on him, surrounding him and he surrenders. His name is Chaleb we find out and he starts babbling, quite loudly. The witch hunter clubs him over the head with one his own weapons saving me the opportunity to repay him for the wound. Too bad, perhaps later. We collect the women and move all into the basement. We are worried that the demons may not have departed from the library. I offer to scout the building but it seems wise to first find out what took place here. I decide to join the others in the basement, taking up the rear. We will see what can find out for the destruction here seems total. One might think this was no mere fire started by some crazed zealot.

I carry my honor and my honor is strong.
Praise and thanks to the Earth Mother. Strength and honor to the Storm Father.

~Tearekt

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The Devil You Know... or Don't



The Devil You Know… or Don’t

The Worldwound Incursion Session VI
3/9/14


Sarenrae… give me strength… or something. Demons and devils… they’re all the same. Save for the ones that I am currently with. You know, sometimes I pray for your guidance… GRANTED I don’t think you hear me. Since my days in the deserts and wastes I have seen horrible things… Who am I kidding I’ve done some horrible things but this is ludicrous. It all started as we were practically hugging each other in the basement.


Aravash Narciso

Aravash was again prattling along BLAH BLAH BLAH wizarding nonsense when it struck me – he was making sense. Lucid in his boorish ramblings he started to explain this secret fraternity called The Adepts. I have absolutely no idea what the man was talking about, but I certainly know a thing about a fraternity… let alone a secret one.

Either way, this man… this Xanthir… he was something of a prodigy within the order of The Adepts – apparently. So much so he began becoming power hungry – thus bringing about a new fraternal order encompassing the mastering of power… the secrets of harnessing the power of the Spheres…. THE SPHERES! By the Sphere’s that man IS a genius. Who in their right mind would harness the power of the Spheres unless they had the power to do so? I doubt the one with such a reputation has such bravado – certainly a touch of arrogance – but… but that man is a thorn in the side of the living. Unfortunately his experiments went awry and he became corrupted by the Abyss. And his protégé, this rambling historical magician saw the great evil that lurked within Xanthir’s inane scheme and fled him and his order. Aravash fled to the Witch Hunters – THE WITCH HUNTERS! Those hate mongers and baby killers would slit throats in broad daylight and get away with it under the pretense of an accursed “oath”. Ah well, Aravash came and he sold that rat bastard Xanthir out for money, a library, and something morally greater – besting the taint of the World Wound. We can at least agree on that and I can’t blame him, I’d stop someone from doing great harm against another if I could…

We’ve found out from yet another captor of ours – that Chaleb fellow – that 4 days since the attack of Kenabres lapsed. The city is in smolders. There is debris everywhere. A giant hole as far down as the 12 Hells and the Rough Beast’s prison was created at the bottom of Gate District. The city is overrun with tainted vermin and miscreants of all shapes and sizes. Like what “my companions” describe as a vrock. But, like the gung-ho rage monsters that I am walking around ruined Kenabres with, it maybe that going deeper into the lion’s den may prevent further calamity – so planning our course into the city IS our course. The story of the now deceased Chaleb, whose premature death is part of the reason I am currently praying for, fell across our attentive ears.

By Chaleb’s account, the Kite and Wardstone had “poofed” in a thunderous sound and force and lightning ripped the sky… HA! Wizards… malcontented old bats… divining their way to god-like… oh yes. Chaleb had flown his crest – a red banner with a blue rooster – The Mighty Cocks that he helped command, into battle. The battle, he mentioned and I believe to sugar coated, was most probably more vicious and visceral. The men ripped apart limb by limb in front of kinsmen. Chaos surrounded everyone here to fight the taint as the demons poured in. Surprising the mountains of guards and security that was in place in Kenabres, blood and gore littered the streets with lifeless bodies. Desertion – laughable – a tactical retreat much more feasable. Oh yes, this veiled controlling Witch Hunter and manipulative Asmodean debutante mocks the morale and lives of men. Hold steadfast to the oath? HA! “The LAW~ is the Law~!” I would laugh, but I too am frightened of those around me.


Chaleb

Chaleb died prematurely. For surviving the hell and torment of 4 days in a land that is now screaming to be renamed the Second Abyss, he was unrighteously murdered for the sake of an oath that no longer hold sway in the hearts of those doing unspeakable acts to survive. I hated that man for his actions and the horrors he caused to the librarians, those poor women. His was a penance that I think you’d agree with Dawnflower, swift justice. However, when confronted with his misdeeds, he cried out redemption. In his pleas, I saw truth. I saw a man at his wits end, overcome with fear of his surroundings, about to break and scream insanity – but found guidance in our light. For his struggles, his life was extinguished – 4 days of unyielding torture. I’ve tried to save him – you know I’ve tried. Manacled as he was on the floor, I tried to free him so he may be able to rally a resistance from the south. My words and action fell muted by the unreasonable laws of men and mortals. Even the Renli Halfling had expressed another way than this bloodthirsty Hunter and encouraging Devil-man. I dove to protect him, locked him as the blade would have to pass me to take him down. But the brutish pillar Teer ripped me from him and down came the sword of “justice” – the sword of “law”. More akin to the sword of chaos from my perspective – what man in their sound mind could not see the fallibility within that stroke? Instead my gaze met with the devilish Aldrick with his parading smile, the anhedonistic blackness of the Witch Hunters’ eyes, and the uncaring of the rest of the armed lot.

Aravash couldn’t see what his ears told him. The librarians were happy to see such a macabre happenstance, even in this time of troubles. The rest were mortified, including me. I couldn’t help but see Milo standing unassumingly near Chaleb as he had when struck at me with the dark imp. I see joviality in his eyes, but unfortunately I don’t trust him. He liable to kill someone for any reason… awful they can be, I suppose, those followers of Pharasma.

Milo and Teer crept away looking for a way to continue through the city. Checking the basement door squeaks and scratching filled the tunnel as they estimated a huge swarm of tainted rats tracked the scent of blood to us. Our new course then would be to head above ground. Needing our rest, many of us used the Vivid Hallucinogenic Mushroom Sedatives we had received prior in Neathholm. I was reluctant to induce myself the pleasure of rest because I no longer feel safe around my companions… except again for Renli, since – oddly enough – I feel a little safer with him nearer to me than when not. OH YES! I forgot, prior to that, Aravash went on another lucid tirade blowing out long overdue information on his mix-up with Xanthir.


Sinister Ritual

Xanthir had been a rather naughty man. He experimented his dark ways on pregnant women. Now, I have done so in the past – and you know this – but it was with consent… I don’t think his was consented… or the same dark ways. ANYWAY! This issue with the Wardstone and wards in general has now been tied to Faxium WHICH is now a man-demon hybrid able to walk within the barriers of the Wardstones and bring them to ruin. Peach… this tastes like peach… why does a mushroom taste like peaches and pork fat… Xanthir for all his worth has his hands as a Templar of the Ivy Labyrinth – whatever the Spheres… that… is. … (Snoring)

… Huh? What a reinvigorating feeling! I feel wonderful – was I praying or thinking? Not sure… now that my mind isn’t addled… It seems we awoke to find the swarm of taint dispersed from the basement doors, the dead body of Chaleb removed from the general vicinity of the more “civilized” people here, and the two scouts continue their reconnaissance. It seems our way is by night even though our fearless leaders or convinced heading out during the evening gives us an advantage. YEAH RIGHT. Our overland flight takes us through crumbled buildings and ruined streets. Ruins within depressions tell a story of a colossal demon that enjoyed rampaging in any city allowed. I believe the Asmodean called it an Ulkrath – follower of the demon lord Xerneron. It could have been the Asmodean who said it I wasn’t paying attention.

As we continued onward Horgus – that slippery Gwerm – began losing balance when our group was crossing atop a wall of debris. With speed I grabbed him. Losing my footing, a librarian grabbed me – not so bad to be grabbed by her – and we regained our balance. But of course as it so happens my walls came crumbling down – and I held on to the two.


Ruined Wall

As we recovered, we found ourselves unable to get up. A diabolic web covered us. Slashing free with whatever we could, we brought the attention of a spider… a big spider… that turned bigger, and bigger, and bigger. The massive creature laid into me and a few other companions. It seems to have had a potent toxin with its teeth as, when bit, the poison immediately rendered Teer weak. Sounds like a good backup plan to me. After a long and arduous battle, sloughing off the sticky webs, we all recovered our composure and completed our journey to the little Gwerms mansion gates – with uncertainty of what comes next.

Sarenrae, if you’re out there – and really hear the words of your followers, help me… or send an agent to this broken land. I need to get out of here. The men’s minds I’m with are warped and care little for what lives can be redeemed. The banner of Iomadae ought to fly, but is tarnished with layers of black. I am discouraged from my companions and cannot understand why they care so little – but your teachings are what drive me. You’re the Healing Light right?! And by extension, now, I try to continue to heal those that are in need. I am frightened, yes – GOD yes. Though it does make things more interesting than sitting in a stuffy room with dying people all day… But if these people I am with are to relieve this area of the World Wound’s dark madness, I feel I should be here – with them – at the edge of all things good. I hope I don’t die… I’ll survive… no – I WILL SURVIVE! …have so far… But I think they’re more interested in killing me… I hope I don’t die… BUT THEY’RE CRAZY!… not going to die – not going to die. By your beautifully endowed blessing – I will continue to do something greater than the rat fire of 4709… Just, temperance and patients… patience! Here I go…


The Everlight

~Lathander

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Join Us. Join Us, or Die



Join Us. Join Us, or Die

The Worldwound Incursion Session VII
3/23/14

Iomedae is my strength.

A distant cry pierces the stillness of night, echoing through alleys and off rooftops. There is a haunting emptiness within Kenabres, yet I know not fear, for you are with me. Your virtues and radiance guide me, granting me the faith to face each challenge renewed. We are on the edge of eternity, the mouth of the Abyss, and tis likely that I will never leave this city, but ever you are with me. To that end I will serve you however you see fit.


Gwerm’s Mansion

We arrive at the merchant’s mansion, Lucius and Aldrick seeking the wealth of stores that supposedly lay within. The outer gates are open and unlocked, not a flame can be seen burning within the manor house beyond the gates. Cautiously we follow the pathway toward Gwerm’s home. To the left stands the silhouette of another building – a carriage house, indicated as such by the ruined carriage before it. No weapons harmed the transport, but rather the claws of some fowl beast – a “howler” the Sarkorian says. Some primordial drive takes over him and he sets of with my kinsman to hunt the beast, expressing concern that he would not want it to return and flank us, catching us unaware.

At first glance, Gwerm’s mansion appears to be a small castle, but with just a little inspection it is clear it was built for form rather than function. The ground floor walls are adorned with stained glass – pleasant for entertaining guests, but death to any trying to use it as a fortification. A loss for us.

Like the gates, the front door is ajar. Gwerm has grown even more nervous than he has been throughout our time together. Somehow he thought his wealth would have protected him against the might of the demon horde – a fool. Terendelev struck down and the wardstone destroyed, the mightiest duo laid low, what did he think?

Stepping through the doors, a large mansion stretches before us. We are greeted by a sense of emptiness and loss – this does not bode well. I would rather an enemy waiting, blades raised, then the linger of dread hanging like an unseen enemy. A once-beautiful fountain greets those entering, two statues mounted at the center. The first is a woman holding a merchant’s scale, her face defiled and the desecrated with the remains of the fallen. Before her a smaller armored statue holding a hammer – the pair are both icons of Abadar, Keeper of the Vaults and Judge of the Gods. A business ploy or a personal faith? I think the former, given his willingness to pledge allegiance to the Asmodian for a hefty sum despite my honest pledge to protect him freely. Examining it, the sullied pool casts dark, haunting images into my mind, but You quickly drive them out. Several others start to succumb, but we free them easily.

Moving down the foyer, we enter the first door to our right, and discover a kitchen still largely intact. Yet cast upon the floor is the corpse of a woman, which has been both torn at and feasted upon. Gwerm falls to his knees, succumbing to the pains of the heart. He cries out for his loyal housekeeper and cook, who has been with him for so many years. I reach for some linens and dress her body – no one should be left to be observed, by man or the gods, in such a manner.


Rat Demon (abrikandilu)

As we explore the kitchen further, a strange noise is heard from a dark corner. A stocky demon strikes, with the face of an obese rat and claws like daggers. The lady’s assailant has been found. The name Abrikandilu echoed in the back recesses of my mind. It struck at us cruelly, yet we took it down fast. Helena and the girls set about collecting supplies, including the meat discoverd in the magically cooled pantry, while Anevia took watch.

Exiting the chamber, we entered into the dining hall, were the captain of the guard was found splayed out on the table, the main course at a feast by more demons. To the side lies the body of the stableman, though unlike the others he has been struck down by a blade. Crows and vultures tried to pick at him, reminding me of the Vrock we encountered earlier. Like the cook, I cover both bodies and offer a blessing, I will lay them to rest when I have the next chance. For now best to always be on our guard.


The Abandoned Study

The stablehand fell before the door to Gwerm’s study, as though guarding it. The chamber is adorned with books and maps of shapes and sizes. As we explore the chamber we hear more noises from beyond the desk – at first fearing another demon, we prepare for battle. But then the distinct sound of a child’s whimper echoes forth – it is the stablehand’s daughter. Gwerm is able to coax her from her hiding spot, and indeed, is kind and fatherly with her. Lucius steps forward intent on interrogating her, but several others raise protest while I assist Gwerm in comforting her. She calms and Gwerm takes to her care.

While the others seek Gwerm’s stores, I return to the kitchen to check on the others. Anevia is there to protect them, but there are so precious few of us, it is hard to both push onward while also protecting a stable point.

Returning to the study, they have ascended to the upper level, then descended down into the vault, accessible through a trap door set below the floor, which can only be reached via the magic of a black hole. The vault is sizeable, with books and maps filling on series of shelves, and gold the other. At the far end is Gwerm’s real business desk and he leads us down further into the vault. He begins speaking of the things here, while he handles a small porcelain horse. Suddenly, he and the girl disappear. A magical escape, we surmise that the horse must have been some form of escape key. Though I wish he had taken the others who are not able to defend themselves, I cannot fault him for seeking refuge. It is the normal desire of man to survive, and in his action he took perhaps the youngest child left alive in Kenabres. A grim thought, my mind wanders to the House of the Hallowed Shield and the many wounded and orphaned within.

We start to examine the maps, which include trade routes around the Worldwound, and well as secret routes to strategic points within the Worldwound, including to the lost city of Drezen. These may prove useful should we survive the city.


Canopy

CRASH! As we discussed the maps, the door to the vault slammed shut. Rushing back, it opens at our touch, though there had been immediate concern that we were now locked within. Emerging, we realize the upper study’s door is now open. Something is here with us. Taking to the catwalk cautiously, Lucius and I approach Gwerm’s bedchamber. Opening the doors, the chamber looks as one might expect for a wealth merchant, especially the canopy bed. The curtains on it are drawn, and as I step forth, I use my blade to pull them aside. A woman is cast on the bed, her throat slit. From his earlier description she appears to be the stablehand’s wife. God rest her soul.

Suddenly I am beset by two more Rat Demons, one strikes from beneath the bed then erupts up through, the other bursts forth from the armoire. Battle ensues and the others descend on the room. A third flanks us from behind, trapping us in the room just as the screams of pain and battle are heard below.


Blood Demon (babau)

Iomedae forgive me, I have failed in my duties to protect our companions! The battle’s focus turns toward the beast blocking the door, and as we lay the creatures low we each leap over the railing of the catwalk, dropping to the floor below to rescue our charges. The sounds of battle and the fury of magic can be heard within the now closed doors. Bursting into the room it is near black, yet Your blessing lends me sight. Anevia is done, bleeding out. Helena and Aravash are both severely hurt. A hideously creature, incredibly thin yet equally muscled, its skin the color of blood, stands menacingly within, a large sword in its hands. It cackles as we descend on it, then teleports away, removing the darkness. Aldrick lays an infernal blessing on Anevia and by Your Grace I seem to be able to mend some of Helena’s wounds.

Lathander calls out from the great hall “It is here!” where he tries to confront the beast. A poor choice indeed. Rushing to his side I draw Radiance and a brilliant light bursts forth, casting away the darkness of the demon. Just as I arrive, the demon teleports back. The game continues. Yet his play has allowed some of our allies to regroup.


“Join us, Lucius”

The creature pauses his assault curiously, and turning to Lucius, entices him to go with the demon, as though tempting a drunk back to the bottle. This resonates within me, a fear, not of pain, but of corruption. Lucius has asked me to sense evil with my Angelsight before – was a demon trying to possess him. The blood demon, a Babau I think, states it would be so much easier if he’d only join them. Otherwise, there would be only death.

Death for the demon – we strike at it mightily. Aldrick’s infernal words command the creature to “Sit Puppy” and Asmodeus’ blessing makes a mockery of the Abyss, dropping the Blood Demon to the group. Our fury is unleashed, and with Your blessing guiding me I strike at it with blade and shield. The foul creature is no more.

The grand ballroom offers another macabre artwork – three of Gwerm’s servants adorn the chandelier. As I lower them to offer respects, Taer returns with the broken body of Milo and the head of a demon cat, the aptly named Howler. Lathander’s potions restore life to Milo while we set about taking stock of the day.

What will be our next step, I know not. Yet I know I will always walk in Your Light, and in Your Light I will no neither fear, nor pain, nor defeat.

Iomedae is my Strength.

~Renli


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The Castration of Lathander Dall



The Castration of Lathander Dall

The Worldwound Incursion Session VIII
4/6/14

Vorlash

Demon Loving Bitch
Birthed Worldwound

Status: Alive
Overwhelming Threat
Do Not Engage

In the morning we discuss plans for our further infiltration of this now damned city. Vorlash’s ritual must be stopped, and for that we need information. The pathfinder lodge seems to be the ideal starting point, considering Hostila’s traitorous letter. However, the “” Blacksmith shop is also close by and we do have word from the criminal, Chaleb, that it is fortified and occupied.

Well if my memory serves me right, the proprietor was quite the fierce woman, and an asset to the crusade. She could be a valuable asset against Vorlash. Furthermore, she has survived now for several days, and perhaps she can lend her expertise in this regard, freeing us of these…deadweights.

We have a job to do. We survived the fall for a reason, her Grace saved us from instantaneous death so that we could in turn stop Vorlash’s ritual at the Wardstone. But I have no delusions, we are all dead men, and we must do what we can for the greater good before we are discovered and slain. To that end, these obnoxious civilians we seem to be gathering…serve no purpose but to burden our already diminished chance of success.

As I ponder…solutions…to this crisis, a scream cuts through the morning silence.

We rush to action, searching Gwerm’s mansion and gathering together. Its is quickly realized that the two younger librarian girls are missing. Ironic.


Gwerm’s Ballroom Piano

The first girl is discovered…weeping…under the piano in the ballroom, after being calmed by the others she yields to our questions. The other girl had gone outside, by herself, being unable to shit in our company. Damned Idiots, this is the last thing we need, another distraction and delay, this is now the 5th day since the city fell, we are running out of time!

Nevertheless, if she is still close and can be saved…I wont let any of us be taken alive by the enemy. I order the men to prepare for travel quickly while Taer and I search the ground for tracks, we signs of duress and capture, but we lose the trail on Gwerm’s carriage path. Well…if she can’t be found, she can’t be found. Taer and I head back to the mansion to ready the company for travel.

Helena however is in a crazed frenzy, and is unable to accept the situation. That without a path, we must abandon her charge and return to our quest. I’d just about had it with hysterical female’s for the morning, when she reveals that she can discern the missing woman’s location with magic.

Seriously Woman! We just wasted half the morning outside. I don’t care if your upset, get your fucking act together. The greatest power of the enemy is fear, and our inability to act rationally in face of such fear.

We follow her magical guidance and leave Gwerm’s estate. As we approach a small lake and garden park across the street we discover 8 men praying and prostrating themselves before the rising sun. With them are 3 women, in bondage. One of them, our missing librarian.

Lathander recognizes their speech and garb first and calls out to the strangers in his native tongue. One of the stranger replies with feverish devotion. I do not understand his language, but it is clear he is welcoming Lathander, allies perhaps? But then why are the women in chains.


Southern
Sarenite Paladin

Well, if this man is truly a priest of Sarenrae as he appears…such things can not be hidden from one such as I. I open myself to my Lords gifts with a prayer, and peer into this Southerner’s aura, it is strong for a human, and pure. I was expecting subterfuge considering the situation, but still Sarenrae does not see eye to eye with Iomedae in all things. Slavery is not tolerated in Mendev, and I care not for how these Southern fools treat women in their own lands, but here in Mendev such actions are unacceptable and blasphemous against my Ladies grace. I command them to stop this nonsense and hand over the girls in the name of the Inquisition, Queen Galfrey, and Iomedae herself!

Mendev

In Mendev there is only one sentence for those who break the Crusader’s Oath.
Death!

They refuse, breaking their oaths in the process. They claim these virgins are gifts from Sarenrae, and will be ritually murdered to annoying their weapons with holy power.

At this, Renli, unable to stand such insubordination, runs foreward, jumping into the middle of the crowd to get to the girls, yelling out a warning that he will slay any who continue to defy us by harming these women.

At this, the Southerners attack us. Madness, all of it. The chaos of the Worldwound has truly taken Kenabres. Considering their leaders aura, only madness and the Enemies influence could lead us to this conflict. Still, there is no greater enemy than a tainted and fallen ally, these men must be put down. Better to die by the hands of your friends and allies then be allowed to commit treason of your own soul.

They are well armored and skilled, yet providence is on our side, and they are dispatched. Three flee, as we corner another against the lake. Still we are bloodied, and Lathander only lives by Renli’s fortuitous presence. I execute their defeated commander. A soldier’s death, may his recent sins and failings not outweigh his other deeds in life.


Lathander
Looses his Manhood

Lathander releases the women, but as he does so, he screams out in pain as his crotch erupts in a torrent of blood. One of the women distorts and expands with sadistic laughter as she is revealed as a hideous man eating demon, an Alrune. It takes fight, as we all turn to face the true villain of today’s injustice.

This vile monster…how many innocents, how many allies have perished due to its manipulations. NO MORE!

I take aim with my crossbow and unleash a bolt. The sight of the foul demon seems to return the one sole remaining Saraenite to reason, as he joins us in battle. The demon does not but laugh, and the unleashes a nauseating cone of ejaculate from its fanged phallic appendage.

Most of us are able to find cover.


Alrune

Lathander overcomes his nausea and hits the Alrune with a tanglefoot bag, knocking it out of the air. Now grounded and entangle in the sticky mass, I sate our need of vengeance with my Bastard Sword. I offer the now slain Alrune to Ragathiel, and as I perform the sacred rights the others heal and deal with the Saraenites.

Their leader, Zemiedan, has lived, and is horrified over his actions under sway of the demon. We will gladly take his aid and find a use for him and his men. But any ally with such a weak will must be watched, we will never be able to trust him completely again.

As I consider such things, Lathander, now a eunuch, approaches me. He yells at me in anger, spouting nonsense about how I attempted to slay Zemiedan in battle. Apparently I don’t have the “right” to make such decisions.

Well I put an end to that. I will not stand for such insubordination from a medic. Dealing with the Enemies influence is my job, is the charge given to my order by Queen Galfrey in the Lady’s name. I have the only right. And lacking other means to break the demons hold I would slay anyone, anyone!, than let them commit the enemies work. Better to die in battle than bring forth treason and disaster.

Nocticula


Lady in Shadow

Darkness, Lust, Whores, Assassins

Demon Lord

Lathander, is unable to see reason, he has become completely out of control. Considering his plait this last day, having his balls stolen by Nocticula, I go easy on him. I backhand the bastard, in an attempt to silence him, but the already injured half-elf gets knocked out cold. I manacled him, and with the others drag him back to Gwerm’s mansion so we can try to recover from our injuries.

When Lathander awakes, I instruct him very clearly that he is on his last legs, I am getting sick of his constant mutiny. It is useful having a trained medic as part of the team, but a soldier who hesitates on the battle field is aiding the enemy.


Faxxium

In the morning we set out for the Weaponsmith. Helena uses some magic to mask our presence as we once again venture near the market. With providence, we manage to evade the flock of tainted vultures, but as we approach the blacksmith’s shop, we hear voices.

Peering around the corner of a nearby building, we see a host of Demon-spawn, and two fiendish minotaurs. The leader of the group a red skinned long horned fiend has taken a man hostage. He demands entry and submission from the occupants of the building or he will slay the man.

At this, Lathander, hoping for a better look himself sneaks over to the edge of the building. And by sneak I mean make as much noise as all the Symphonies in Oppra combined. The red demon-spawn orders one of the minotaurs to investigate the noise. We prepare for battle.

~Lucius

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When Fates Offers You an Ambush, Tackle Boxes Instead



When Fate Offer You an Ambush, Tackle Boxes Instead

The Worldwound Incursion Session IX
4/27/14

Iomedae is my Strength.

The boxes tumble to the ground as Lath peers over them. Though he manages to catch one, the noise is enough, prompting one of the demon-spawned minotaurs to look our way. Glancng back to his liege for approval, Faxium tells him to ‘check it out’. Accompanied by a half dozen tieflings, the bull-headed beast heads our way.

Damn, a good opportunity wasted.

For a brief moment we confer and decide we will slip into the arms market through a minor entryway. Aldrick checks the door, but it was locked and so takes a moment to utter some infernal blessing, drawing power into himself. Every time he does that I feel his unholy power scratching at my skin. My kinsman Milo rushs back to offer his talents, though the lock seems to confound him as well.

I call the rest to fall back and protect the innocents while we work on the door. Hearing the minotaur approach, I offer my prayers to You, seeking protection against the worst of the blows that are about to fall upon me. My shield is stout, though against the raging horns and slashing axe of a minotaur I know it can not stop all those blows on its own. Lucius and Lath step back toward the others, while Anevia takes up a firing point atop a cart. The Sarkorian Teer does not heed my words, taking a position beside me, though in truth I am honored to have him by my side. That man is a giant, both in size and in heart. He is a pragmatist at times, though I believe that is the grief coming through – he came to Kenabres with several kin, all of whom were in the Great Courtyard when the tragedy befell. Still, I hope I can inspire more such strength from him.

I see the beast closing through a gap, and ready myself. It rounds the corner, and I can smell its Abyssal breath from my position as it utters two harsh words, “Holy Men”. Milo and Lath still battle with the lock, though fruitlessly. The moment is about to pass.

Suddenly two arrows streak down the street from the forge, striking a duo of the tieflings. The odds are getting better, though still in their favor. Cruelly, Faxium calls out, “I guess I have your answer” as he draws his vicious blade across the neck of the knight. A pain strikes my heart, though not as deeply as the heart of the one inside the forge who cried out in response. Damnit all, I must get to him, there are two few good men left in our city, I must save him. Forward then.

For the Light of Iomedae I charge the servant of Baphomet. The might of Radiance glowing as the morning sun, I raise it high whilest I dive and roll to avoid the beast’s mighty swing. Coming up, I plunge You Glory into the beast’s leg and it howls in pain. True to his nature, Teer charges behind me, swinging his mighty hammer into the minotaur’s shoulder.

The tieflings swarm around us like locusts, though as they move it becomes evident they are no mere militia. Offering prayers to the dark lord Daskari, I see unholy energy dance along their bodies and blades. Damn, a host of demagogues and cultists, this just keeps getting better. They swarm around the cart and minotaur, striking at Teer and I with their cruel blades. Their blades inflict little pain, though perhaps that is because all of my strength is driven to raising my shield ab block the giant axe swinging down at my head. Your Strength bolsters my arm and Your Might strengthens my shield – the Abyss-spawn’s axe is no match for Your Glory. Iomedae protect me.

As the other minotaur begins swinging its axe into the forge’s door, Faxium turns to his priestess and utters the words, “deal with this” before disappearing. Damn, he escaped.

Striking back with a swing of Radiance and a punch of my shield, I wound the demon minotaur more, though it only counters with its own dark prayers, and I am troubled as wounds on its body begin to close. More tieflings have surged past us and I can hear Lucius, Lath and the others battling behind me. Damn, this is taking too long, a good man lays dying.

Several tieflings fall, arrows continue to come from some unknown defender within the forge, and we make a leap forward when Radiance delivers the final blow to the minotaur I battle. I turn to run for my fallen brethren when a demonic laughter erupts from the roof of the arms market. Faxium is playing with us. Damn. He vaults off the roof, landing near Lucius who has just dispatched several of the tiefling cultists. His Abyssal skin glistening with a blood-like sheen, he smiles as Lucius, then speaks to him, calling him by name, “Lucius, we thought you were dead. Most excellent. Let me see what you are made of.”

A challenge? He wants to challenge Lucius? How does he know him? This is the second demon to call to Lucius… perhaps this has to do with why he asked me to seek evil corruption upon him? Still, there is something he is holding from us, something we need to know. It almost seems as though Faxium wants to measure himself against Lucius.

I am torn, do I turn on Faxium, now standing amid my allies, or do I rush to the fallen knight and the defense of those within the forge. Besides Faxium, few are left at this side of the battlefield. Best to take the fight to them and save this man at the same time. I charge down the road, shield raised as I duck and weave through the vile cuts of Daskari’s worshippers. I make it to the knight, a good man named Edorres, and through the blessings You have bestowed upon me his eyes burst open and he gasps for air as I am able to heal his wounds. Thank You, Iomedae, for Your blessing upon me.

I hear a battle cry, a challenge, erupt from the battle behind me. Though the voice is Lucius, it is in a strange tongue, yet one that sounds of honey and trumpets in my ears. He calls on Ragathiel, Your battle general, for guidance in the fight with Faxium. Iomedae grant him strength.

Ever a lion in his heart, Teer calls out to “Stormfather” for strength – I believe he said that is one of his tribe’s deities – and charges with the fury of a ranging thunder, crashing into the crowd of tieflings near me and shattering one’s skull with his hammer. The other minotaur’s axe comes around viciously at my head, though again Your blessing deflects its blade away from my shield. Strangely, I see a man climb out of an upper window of the forge. He is armored lightly and a bow rests across his back. He seems drawn to the she-witch, and as he mindlessly walks toward her, he is cut down by swings from the tieflings and the minotaur. Another noble soul twisted by their foul touch.

The witch tries her Abyssal enchantments on me, hoping to bind me in place so her minions can cut me down. Her magic holds no strength over me, bless You Iomedae. I wade into the mass of demons and deliver two mighty blows to her in response. The tieflings strike at Teer, though for each minor wound they cause he takes another of their lives. A noble exchange.

A cry, a righteous cry, erupts in a street to my side, “With the blessings of Saranrae, charge!” Zamieden and his men have joined in the battle, and rushing forward slam into the demon horde. One’s life is quickly ended by the minotaur, though the others strike fiercely into the weakening cultists. Some turn to flee. Zamieden’s righteous blade takes a chunk from the minotaur, while spears stab out of the building at it as well.

As Radiance cleaves into the Daskari priestess again, ending her life, I hear the voice of Aldrick call out boldly, “Faxium is dead, quickly mop up the rest of these fools!”. A thousand blessings upon You, Iomedae, for granting my allies the might to take down such a mighty foe. The spirits of the demons broken, one calls out “Faxium is dead, Jezna must be informed” as they turn to flee. Having already killed the first minotaur, you would think this one would not be so foolish as to lower its guard before me…. but it did and Radiance dealt with the Abyss-spawn appropriately. Stepping through the crowd, I reach the fallen archer and with Your blessing am able to restore life to his body. I am amazed each time this happens, thank You.

Teer and I offer our hands and arms to the fallen knight, a man known to me as Edorres Kelvarane, a knight of Iomedae, and the archer, named Artemis, a scout and guide that served one of the mercenary company’s that had come from Mendev. I likewise embrace Zamieden and his men, welcoming them likewise as well-timed brothers. Looking up, the rest of our company approaches. But all is not well.

Lucius is unmasked, revealed for the first time. His skin is bloody and scarred. Though the blood is fresh, the scars, burns of some sort, are old. Yet beneath the scars I can see scales, not unlike those that were on the faces and flesh of those in Neathholm. Strange indeed, that one would so hastily judge another by their appearance while knowing that the measure of a man is not his flesh, but his heart. I wonder what pains have befallen him.

I would later learned that Lucius’s battle cry was followed by a mighty blow against Faxium’s red flesh ~ flesh that shimmered and briefly revealed magically-hidden metal armor. The demon quickly countered with a mighty swing of its unholy blade, cutting Lucius’ chest nearly in two. It said simply, “pathetic”. Aldrick drew upon the fires of hell to heal Lucius’ wounds while Lathander pulled back Lucius’ mask to feed him a potion, thereby saving his life. Faxium reached for the mask in Lath’s hand, who countered, “not on your life”. But the will of Faxium could not be stopped, and Lath’s hand slowly stretched out and handed it to him. He looked down at Aldrick, and smiling, spoke, “When you’re ready to join the winning side, you know where to find me”, then disappeared.

Seeing the demon-tainted inquisitor approaching, Edorres goes to draw his blade before realizing he has none. There is a brief confrontation in the street between the men, but I call on Edorres, who knows of me through Brother Audrin of the House of the Hallowed Shield, to trust that I speak for both the quality and nature of Lucius and Aldrick. We move inside quickly, where we are greeted by Kayda Hull, the owner of the forge, and her six “warriors”. Though… to call them warriors might be a stretch. Still, they have held up a noble defense and offer guard over a dozen women and children. Kayda embraces Edorres as only a lover could, and tears form in both their eyes. Love reunited.

In gratitude, Kayda offers us food and drink, though it is clear that we are far better off then those within. We decline, and instead share some of our goods. Lath offers healing to the injured and begins tending to their wounds. After a quick few questions, two things are clear: first, there are no great weapons to use against the Enemy here; and second, this place is no longer defensible. It has been assaulted three times, and with our arrival, Faxium will definitely return. We must move, but to where?

Once again I propose the House of the Hallowed Shield, whereas both Lucius and Aldrick are looking simply for the closest place to “unload the baggage” and feel it is too far. Their frank disregard for life is appalling, and I worry that the Devil worshipper is toying with Lucius’s mind. I press the Witch Hunter for answers, about his origin, his nature, his role as a Witch Hunter, and why these demons know of him. He continues to pull rank, but even his confidence in that is weakening. Eventually, he shares some basic details, of how he was born tainted though does not know why, of his punishment and torture at the hands of the Witch Hunters, and about his eventual indoctrination into the order.

Still, we need someplace safe. Edorres’ men are preparing everyone for travel even though we have no specific direction. The archer Artemis suggests an old dwarven tavern, Hammers and Kegs, that lies north of the grand market. Not far, though we will likely pass close to the gate into New Kenabres. Not great, but for the moment it is our best chance.

The sound of a palm cracking across a cheek echoes through the room, and I see Aldrick standing before Kayda, face red. He apologizes for some slight that I missed, and agrees to heal Edorres, though warns it may “hurt a bit”. That infernal bastard, with his tricks and mechanations. I don’t like him, but he has been true to his word to this point. Kayda offers us any arms we can find, and we each add something to our equipment. I find an archer’s training bow, probably designed for a lad being groomed to be a serious archer, that will serve me well, granting me a further reach than my javelins.

We carefully take to the streets and make our way across to the Hammer and Kegs, sticking close to buildings as we move. Upon arrival, Artemis goes to open the secret door, and we are greeted by a dwarf pointing a musket at us.

Iomedae is my Strength.

~Renli


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Corruption of Lucius: The Beginning



Corruption of Lucius: The Beginning

The Worldwound Incursion Session X
5/4/14


Hammer and Keg Inn

We finally find ourselves at what would seem to be safe place, the Hammer and Keg, where we can drop off some of this dead weight. The Hammer and Keg is a dwarven tavern frequented by Artemis and owned by a dwarf, Phomet, and his lovely half human half ogre wife. Phomet agrees to help us and let everyone in, but once he sees the large number of refugees he begins to argue with Artemis, believing the large number of people will attract too much attention…precisely why I was trying to dump all of them there in the first place.

Overhearing Phomet and Artemis’s conversation Lucius asks Renli to go and convince Phomet to let us stay. As with everything Lucius says, this comes out more as a command and Renli starts to argue with Lucius. Lucius tries, unsuccessfully, to explain reason to Renli, and Renli tries to explain something to Lucius. In truth I stopped paying attention fully, but it was more of the old argument about his duty and why we were foolish not to listen the brash little halfing. All this ignoring the fact that we would be trekking three dozen or more people across a demon infested city. I am sure I will not survive this city, but I do not plan on being slaughtered like the rest of the sheep in here by wandering the city with a large number people. This is precisely why those people should not be given free thought. In either case the argument escalated and continued for a bit, but was quickly brought to a halt by a large explosive noise. After an investigation, which showed I was not dead, the explosive noise appeared to have come from a device in Phomet’s hand. It was a weird looking thing made of wood and a long tube, which he had pointed to the ceiling and smoke was trailing out from the top of the tube. An interesting item that faded from memory when Phomet tells everyone to get out.


Black Powder Pistol

As always it is up to me to clean up as there was no way these people are coming with us. I convinced Phomet that my companions and I will leave him immediately with water and provision provided he lets the useless ones stay. He countered by letting them stay for 3 days. I tell him that seemed reasonable believing we would either find refuge for them or we would be dead and no longer have any worries, but the fires of Hell. I follow Phomet into his back room to fill his kegs with fresh water to honor our deal.

From what I have been told Renli was rather upset about the argument and our decisions. He decided it was time to leave on his own and determine what had happened to his home, The House of the Hollowed Shield. As he prepared to leave Anevia pulled Renli aside and gave him a private message. I know not what was said, but it is rather curious and at this time only known by Renli.


Renli Stuff



Edorres
Knight of Iomedae

After their conversation Edorres was able to convince Renli, with the supposed aid of Lathander, that it would be too dangerous to travel on his own and that his strength was still needed. In truth I do not care what was said as in the end he stopped his trivial complaints.

All of this was happening while I was the only one working to honor our host and provide him with the aid he both needed and deserved. Lucius decides to ruin this by following me back to the store room and accuses Phomet of allying with the enemy. Again I am forced to smooth things over as the man lacks tact. Phomet identifies the smell, that led to Lucius’s premature conclusion, as sulfur, a necessary reagent to the mysterious compound known as black powder. Before I can intervene, or even negotiate, Lucius agrees to pay the ludicrous price Phomet had asked for a single keg of black powder. I know little about the substance, but I know how to make a bargain and you never accept the first offer. In either case it seemed to have made Phomet very happy, which makes sense considering the amount we were taken for, but perhaps he will keep the lumps a bit longer if we do not make it back in 3 days time.


Black Powder Keg

With our part of the deal complete we make preparations to leave. This is followed by a quick rest with the aid of the mongrelshrooms as I have come to call them. Those folk may have been positively grotesque, but they had their uses and perhaps I will have more use of them in the future. Although they would have to agree to keep themselves completely covered at all times and of course live separately, but equal to the rest of men.

Lucius speaks to the blacksmith about his weapon and its chaotic tendencies. She is able to suppress its taint for forty eight hours, a blessing that will become permanent if he can sanctify its blade with the life of a demon. Blessing and preparations done we leave the Hammer and Keg and make our way toward the wall seeking a hole that will grant us access into the inner tunnels. Our final destination, the Eagles Watch headquarters as it seemed likely it was still standing and could possibly provide us hidden access into New Kenabres. When we had left the Hammer and Keg I was disappointed that Lathander decided to join us instead of staying with the rest of the others. I would have much rather Helena followed us in his place. However, I will admit there were many opportunities during our journey to the Eagles Watch headquarters where he proved less than useless despite his disabilities.


New Kenabres Wall

Our journey took much longer than I would have liked and was rather tedious. It did not take us long to find what we sought within the wall as there are cracks and holes all over the city. The walls in between the city districts sit high above on top of massive cliffs. This forced us to climb up before we could reach the inner tunnels. Renli decides to climb first and scout the way, which I had no objections to. Finding everything clear the rest of us soon follow. Once up we could only see part of the city as it was shrouded in night, but we could clearly make out the glow of flames in the direction of the blacksmith shop.

Given his oddly superior site in darkness, Renli again acts as point down the tunnels. It does not take long for us to reach an entrance to one of the many towers that are positioned along the wall. The tower itself is of course empty and appears to have been thoroughly scavenged and given the way it looks it was most likely not from allies or refugees. Lathander takes his time finding the exit back into the other side of the tunnels as the way is of course hidden. This man Lathander has a rather odd set of skills. I expect it from someone like Milo, his kind is full of thieves if they are not tamed properly, but perhaps it is the taint in Lathander’s blood. It is something I will have to take some time to study.

Again we find ourselves travelling through a dark tunnel only this time our walking is cut short by a gate. Renli and Lucius inform us this is quite common within these tunnels so Lathander moves forward to see if he can bypass it. I cannot help, but smile and offer praise to The Prince himself when two spears come flying out of the wall and stab Lathander. Moments before this he proclaimed the gates un-trapped and as unlikely as I believed that to be I let him continue on with administrations and was promptly rewarded. The trap did minor damage to him which he quickly was able to heal by his own concoctions and return his focus on bypassing the troublesome gate.

Lathander I suppose can learn a lesson as we encountered several of these gates after the first and he seemed able to pass them all with ease. We trekked through the dreary tunnel until again were forced to stop, this time due to a bottomless gap in the tunnel floor. No doubt caused by whatever creature had destroyed half of the city so far. Wonders never cease as Lathander surprised me yet again and provides a reliable means across the gap with the anytool, a tanglefoot bag, and some rope. Once we are all safely across find yet another entrance to a watch tower, the last tower before the Eagles Watch headquarters.


Stone Guardian

Once inside the tower it is easy to see that it had not been touched or damaged in any way as the previous tower. Lucius moves forward toward the stairs in search of the entrance to the opposing tunnel and is attacked by one of the two stone guardians of the tower. For some reason they do not attack Renli and Lathander and focus only on Lucius and myself. Renli commands the guardians to stop attacking as they are only supposed to attack the enemy. Interestingly this seems to work on one of the stone guardians. The other is quickly subdued by Lathander, of all people, as he says something to it. We luckily move on to find the entrance to opposite tunnel with me being the only one to suffer injuries and those were quickly healed by my gifts.

Making our way down yet another tunnel we of course come to yet another hole. This one however is not nearly as treacherous and we are able to bypass it by simply climbing down and back up to the other side. The only thing of note about the climb was the screaming. From within the hole the wind brought sounds of those who were in a considerable amount of pain. Worse than this though was that it was coming from the direction we were headed, an ill omen indeed. Suppressing my disgust we move on and come to another gate, surprise surprise.

This time however the gate was not unoccupied. Standing just beyond the other side was what appeared to be a guard who did the only sensible thing and levelled a crossbow at Renli’s head while ordering him to stop. Upon noticing the rest of us he asked us our names and forces us to recite our oaths. Lucius ever eager spits it forward with vigor. This seemed to be good enough for the man as he possesses a candle that would somehow inform him of any deceit on our part. Requirements satisfied the guard, Garwin, welcomes us to the Nest.

Making our way into the Nest Garwin informs us we are to meet with Captain Irabeth Tirabade, head of the Eagles Watch and currently highest, known living, commander of the crusade. It was of course then that the man decided to finally notice Lucius and his certain complexion. What demon had processed Lucius to make him believe he should go unmasked is beyond understanding. Garwin did not hesitate to raise the alarm; however, some quick words from Renli and I, with some help from Lucius himself, were able to convince the man that Lucius was not the enemy. It was most likely Renli’s voice that stayed the execution as these people seem to be very distrustful of the word of an Asmodean. I am sure this is something that can be corrected in time with some work. In either case having said the oath and having several vouch for his character this again seemed to be enough for Garwin although we are forced to give up our weapons. Nevertheless we resumed our journey to see Captain Tirabade.


The Nest

The Nest as it was called turned out to be nothing more than a disgusting congregation of filthy cramped people. I suppose the name is appropriate as the people looked no better than beasts. Despite the lack of the accommodations I will admit it was better than the sewers, but only by a bit. It was fortunate that we did not have to stay there for too long as we continued on and reached our destination. At the Captain’s door we were greeted by a hideous one armed man. What he lacked in appearance he must make up for in other areas as he introduced himself as Norsellen, Adjunct to General Dyre, High Commander of the Crusade. Perhaps it is former High Commander as Norsellen informed us many of the higher echelons of leadership were still missing including General Dyre. It is safe to conclude that death has found them and if not I am positive they are wishing it had.


Adjunct Norsellen

We wait while the Adjunct informs Captain as to our arrival and it does not take long; however, he informs us Lucius must be separated and assures us he will not be harmed. I care little for any harm that may or may not befall him, but it would have been inconvenient to me if they were to kill him. Confident they will do no so such thing and that the Captain only wishes to speak to us alone, we entered her chambers while Lucius is taken away.


Lucius Stuff


The stories of Captain Tirabade’s were not exaggerated so that even in full battle regalia, with exhaustion casing all her features, and covered in sweat and dirt the women was beautiful. Unfortunately, the only thing less under exaggerated than her beauty was her cold hard ice bitch persona. We entered to her looking over several maps in the center of the room. There were several officers or assistants, but the room was eerily quiet for some kind of command meeting. Standing as instructed silently to the side of the room the fool Renli decides to open his mouth. I am not sure what is wrong with those creatures for some reason their mouths always seem to be open. It is either food and drink in or talk out and in most cases they know not when to use that object between their ears. It baffles me how they can be so quiet when they wish and positively frustrating that they only seem to wish when it involves mischief. I suppose they are like children and must be taught by their betters something the Captain quickly proved by ordering Renli to shut his mouth. For a wonder he listened.

Finally the meeting came to an end and her attention focused on me for some reason. I was promptly ordered to identify myself which of course did. One of the men started looking through a small black book and once he found what he was looking for told the Captain I was set to take my oath this past Armasse. Once confirmed the icy bitch ordered me to keep my mouth shut. She appears to be of the similar mind and temperament as Lucius and my presence seems to unnerve her. I will have to tread carefully around her as her age and most likely race makes her cooler headed and not nearly as easy to control as Lucius.

Satisfied and done with me she orders Renli to relay our tale for which he does in rather impressive detail. He may be a fool in many ways, but his mind is sharp in others, it would be wise for me to remember that as well. The tale itself is the first time the women showed any emotion and it was a mix of mild amazement and admiration. I must again stress mild with the Captain. During this full recounting Renli mentioned many of those travelling with us; however, it immediately struck me as odd that he would forget Anevia. The one with us that had the most drive to reach the Nest and whom supposedly had important information for the women who stood before us. Not to mention she was the only one among us actually part of the Eagles Watch. Deciding this required further investigation I requested permission to speak and once granted I mentioned Anevia and her supposed important message to the Captain. The look on Captain Irabeth Tirabade’s face, although extremely quick so that I doubt any other than myself noticed, and the abruptness in which Renli cut me off confirmed my suspicions. This scout was more important than I had originally expected, but how and why still remains a mystery to me. It is very useful that I saved that girls life on several occasions as it is perhaps leverage I can use in the future.

Once done we inform her that we have evidence of the Hammers of Heaven’s betrayal and that the ones among them should not be trusted. She in turn vouches for the loyalty to the cause or at least for the ones within the Nest. The leaders may be the scum of the enemy, but the rest seem to be dedicated. Finally she informs us of the current state of the Nest and the war which is grim. With all that completed and information shared on both sides we are ordered to go rest and eat while she has a private word with Renli. I contemplate convincing the more useful halfling to stick around and see what he can find out, but although he may not act it, I believe he is more cunning than he looks. My machinations and schemes would most likely fail with him, all until I can find the right lever that is. Perhaps if we could find a way to combine our two halflings we will have a complete man, but perhaps not.

As a passing note before we leave the Captain puts our minds at ease that we have been pardoned for the crime of consorting with the enemy. Not because we had no idea that we were travelling with a demon spawn or because Lucius may be a steadfast devotee to the cause, but because the cause could not spare a single able bodied soldier…a cold hard bitch indeed.


Renli Stuff


Lucius Stuff


It apparently had been decreed that Lucius was worthy enough for the cause as he joined us at our table with a brand new metal face, gifted to him by the Captain. As I sat there, ate, and contemplated the last few day’s events I noticed a man get up from his table and make his way determinedly out of the hall. For some reason I had sneaking suspicion that he went off to inform someone of our arrival. Unable to do much about the man at the time I decided to set my mind back to its original task.

Even now I am still undecided as to my path, but I am sure it will come to me. Asmodeus is not like other gods whose followers whine and pray for guidance. The Prince of Darkness does not have the time to listen to such trivial wailing and moaning. He bestows his gifts on those worthy and sufficient enough to do what must be done on their own, and those capable of forging their own path. For now I will see where this road leads. I may not agree with many of my companions, but they are for the most part useful allies and perhaps strong enough to weather what must come to win this war. Renli and Lathander will most likely have to go, but that may prove to be difficult now that Lucius has not been burned. There is still time yet and it is likely I will have to do nothing as Renli seems determined to kill himself and Lathander will decidedly do something stupid and I can petition for his execution. Even if Lucius proves to be too weak for the job I am sure Capatin Tirabade will perform her duty.

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