Wrath of the Righteous

Doing what needs to be done
Finally

Now that the US Men’s team is out of the World Cup, I can focus a little bit more on posting for the game.

The three heroes finally made their way back to Drezen in front of refugees who were apart of the winter sun clan. Cries of celebration coming from the walls of the keep when the recognized who was in the lead, and even in the air on back of a large Frost Drake.

There was very little time to waste. The Fallen Fane was still on Jaroos mind. The affliction continued to affect his strength.

They were taken to the main hall to see Irabeth and provide a report.

“Welcome home my friends. What have you to report?” She asked.

“Mistress, we found the raiders hitting our caravans.” Began Atiasi. “It was from a tribe of barbarians called the Winter Sun clan. They were beaten into submission by the clan leader. They’re no longer a threat. In fact, they wish redemption from their ways of the past months following their chieftain.”

“Good. We could use their help keeping this part of the land clear of other … Vermin.” Replied Irabeth.

“Irabeth,” began Jaroo hastily, “we still need to clear the Fane. Our purpose was to reaquire the scrolls from the shipment that was stolen. I will leave when the sun rises.”

“Very well my friend. Who will be joining you?”

Atiasi chimed in, “I will.”

“I’ll have to decline.” Havik said, “I have work to do with the forge of the city. Aravashnel needs my help.”

Jaroo sighed in frustration. "The queen tasked us to gain intelligence of this region. "He thought to himself, “another so called hero is bowing out.”

Irabeth saw his frustration on his face. “Worry not Jaroo. A new face has come to Drezen. Someone to help in the hinterlands.” She gestured to one of the guards. “Fetch Sir Van Zant.”

They continued their conversation for forward progress in the world wound until there was the announcement… “Sir Bram Van Zant per your request my lady.”

Bram entered the chamber with a book tucked under his arm. He was adorned in his priestly robes but ever with his sword belted at his hip. “You sent for me my lady?”

“Yes, you’re needed.” She replied.

Introductions commenced, plans laid out for marching to the Fallen Fane. The three heroes would be the lead element. Shortly followed by a detachment of knights to fill and quarter the retaken Fane along with one of the priests to keep the ground holy, and a mage with stone shape to make adjustments once the Fane was cleansed.

The next morning, the three heroes rode out. Jaroo loped alongside his companion Khan in the guise of a tiger, Bram on horseback, and Atiasi took to the sky on back of his charmed Drake Baeverach.

The path was free of incident. One morning, a sight was had off in the distance. A large Red creature on wing flew. This was seen once before. It seems a dragon stalks these lands.

Two days later they reached the sight of the fallen Fane. The small group decided to venture in through the secret back entrance to hopefully surprise any residence who may have taken back their stop over.
They sent their larger mounts around to the front entrance to wait and stop any from escaping.
Through the tunnel they snuck as best an armored giant of a paladin could.
They entered the secret room which once held the “god caller”’s quarters, who fled when they first came here.
Atiasi held the group back. He cast invisibility from his staff upon himself to move through the secret tunnel to the main complex. There he spied two sets of boots behind curtains on either side of the room. Their plan of stealth failed miserably and the fallen knights who fought for Baphomet were waiting in their own ambush. Jaroo, and Bram held their position behind the secret door until Atiasi unleashed 2sets of magical force (magic missile) to strike each foot to hamper their movements.
The other two rushed into the room.
Jaroo pounced on the other set of templars when Juan burst through the front to help him.
Bram joined Atiasi and chopped into one of the templars felling him.
The fight continued, with another two templars filling in from behind another set of doors on the dias. They all quickly fell to the might of the heroes but one. This one was charmed by Atiasi. He stood with mouth agape for a moment. Bram saw the opening and began a devastating swing. Atiasi yelled, “Stop it!!! He is already Mine!”
The swing glanced off the armor of the Templar, not damaging him, however the might of his blow took out a chuck of stone from the wall beside him.

Both stood down from the fight.

After, they took their prisoner outside while Jaroo began the 24 hour casting of Hallow to finally clean the taint from the fallen Fane.
Once outside, the conversation began of the Templar who followed the Demon Baphomet. His name was Ted.
“The Glory of Baphomet will retake these lands. You should come with me. His glory Zanther Vang will bring you into the fold. His Ivory Labarynth hold your demise. Your small victory means nothing against the grand design. This world is doomed to the hordes of the abyss.”
And on he spewed his fear of the Abyss and his death at their.hands. Better to be on the winning side Ted thought.

A day later when the ritual was completed to remove the unhallowed effect from the Fane, the rocks began to shake almost earthquake quality. Only inside the Fane shook. The evil writings on the wall broke and shattered to dust upon the floor, the images of Baphomet broke apart and from within, an oak tree sprung to life. The darkness from within was cast out. There was no longer a trace this was dedicated to an unholy creature. Instead, the life tree glowed slightly, shedding warmth to those around it.
Jaroo stood stunned. This was the path of his ancestors. Governing nature in all of its divine glory. He realized he as able to follow both paths of enlightenment. Iomedae’s holy vengence, and Natures beloved call. He would honor both equally.

A few days later, the small caravan arrived to man the outpost. A cleric dedicated the Fane to holy justice, and the mage stood agape. He made the trek from the safety of Drezen for nothing.

Immediately, the detachment began sending out patrols. The surrounding area began to take shape. It’s topography, and wildlife. Reports began flowing in that the surrounding countryside was beginning to look… Less… abyssal.

Within those days, the affliction that affected Jaroo disappeared. Like this Fane, he too was cleansed. Energy courses through him, and a smile finally spread across his face.

“We should continue on our way. Many places yet to explore.”

The trio made their way to the great rock jutting up from the planes. This was Eagle Rock. A former outpost which fall during the second crusade. On top of the spire stood 5 watch towers which made the rock seem like a hand.
There were no stairs to climb. Those were scrapped away many years ago by the demons who took over and created a more teleport or flight friendly look out.
The small team used various means to reach to top. Atiasi flew his charmed Frost Drake, Atiasi also cast levitate on Bram, while Jaroo cast levitate from Terendalevs scale for Khan, then assumed the form of an air elemental and took to the sky.
On top of Eagle Rock, the team explored. Sneaking into the courtyard, they were set upon by two derakni demons. The team went to work. Atiasi blasting them with his epic Scorching rays, Jaroo morphing into a ferocious large cat, paired with Khan, Bram calling on his smite to hack them to pieces.
One lanced out a flash of negative energy against Atiasi, draining him of half his life force. The other took to wing which caused a confusing buzz which affected Jaroo.
The melee was fierce but short lived. Using metal, magic, and claw, the demons were dispatched. Their bodies dumped over the side to fall into a heap on the ground below.
They looked through the towers for any further enemies. They only found a fungal patch which Atiasi, in his weakened state, was unable to resist. The others made him rest, hoping the magic would wear off before the spores turned him into another mushroom pile. The goddess looked kindly upon him, when the spores did their final attack to his circulation system, he resisted.
“I’m staying right here until that blast wears off dammit!!!”

The following day, with Atiasis strength returned, they made their way along the flowing lava stream. Rumors from a book found back in Drezen told the group of a burial site nearby. Clues from the desecrated church by the priest said he may be close by.

In one of the many caves, they found what they were looking for. They moved to the mouth of the cave. Once again, Atiasi cast invisibility on himself to spy on its contents. A coffin of sorts made of crystal, and the draped form of Jesker, the priest who was missing from Drezen laying on it. Inside, a stream of lava snaked around the room almost guided away from the couple of pits that spread about the interior.
A plan came to the minds of the team. Capture, not kill the traitorous priest. Let him stand trial for what he had done. Using his mythic powers, Atiasi cast fly, then a short invisibility on Bram.
Bram them floated over to the collapsed form of Jesker, and with a mighty swing with the flat of his Bastard sword, smashed jesker in the back of the head.
Simultaneously, Atiasi used his admonishing ray to blast him with non lethal force. The two blows together crumpled the priest even further as a demonic, and angelic in one, form fled his body. This abomination is what caused Healer to desectate his church, and flee into the world wound.
With understanding, the team braced themselves for the fight that was about to commence.

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The Sea Lost to the Sun
...Gnarl's hunt for the fallen

“It is the Sea Lost to the Sun,” Joran spoke. Gnral stared in silent retrospection. They had been following the trail for some days now. It was evident that the culprit of Vahne’s body acted alone, or so he explained to the men. Joran and himself knew some fell magic rose the fallen paladin from the grave. And now it fled from Drezen. Was there a purpose to this he pondered. “Is there something on your mind sir?” Solsie asked. “No, nothing.” Gnarl muttered. “I only ask because it is evident when a dwarf tugs on his beard, some thing Aron explained to me once.” The cleric responded respectfully. Gnarl had been tugging at his beard, to his surprise. The same astonishment fell on Joran’s face once Gnarl looked his way, and at once, Joran stopped himself from the same breed tendency. Gnarl surmised that Joran was also thinking similar things staring at the large inland sea. Unsure why it did not function as other large bodies of water, they witnessed no lap of the shore, no ripples on the water. It was stilled, likely an influence of the abyssal energies. The same foul magic kept birds away and there was scant life, bug, plant or otherwise touching the shore. The tracks ran right into the sea and disappeared beneath its waters, so it seemed. Gnarl motioned for Solsie, “Send back two men to report back, we are camping here until we are able to detect this creature. Have them share the town we saw on our way so they may investigate… and get me a mage.” he snarled, “I need someway of following this thing.”

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New Faces

The three heroes made their way back to Fort Drezen. It could hardly be called just a Fort any more. With the influx of people, stores opening, shops, and homes, it was slowly becoming a small town.
Jaroo, and Havik rode out front on their war horses, with Jaroo’s big cat lopping in front of them, of the clan Winter Sun. Now that their demonic tainted chieftain was dead, they fled their home in case Jerribeth came looking for them, or find the dead chieftain and want revenge.
Above the refugee train flew Atiasi on back of the new Drake aquisition. He didn’t keep great altitude so as not to be a beacon to the denizens of the world wound, also since he is new at riding a flying mount, he didn’t want to fall if he did a great distance.

Along the trail, they came across a patrol of knights who had readied their weapons for attack. They had seen the flying beast in the distance, which was similar to the other Drake riders in the region.
They recognized Jaroo and Havik riding up on them. Shortly after, Atiasi landed. The team had 2 of their scouts ride ahead to tell the tale of their success, and how they’re coming back, to inform all Atiasi is on Drake Back, and Jaroo, and Havik are leading a trail of refugees.

Days later, the train came within sight of the fort. Irabeth was mounted outside the front gates to welcome the heroes. They spoke of the battle and the fall of the fell chieftain. And how not one innocent life was hurt.
Irabeth agreed to find lodging and activity for the Winter sun clan. They would make a nice edition to the population of the newly forming town.

Days before the Heroes returned, a new pair of faces also arrived in Drezen. His holy magistrate Kelfaren, a priest of Abadar, and The Arm of Holy Might, “Bram Van Zant”.

The pair were escorted to the Hall of Mercy, where Irabeth sat as leader and listened to those in need.

When the Great doors opened, the Herald shouted " His Holy Magistrate Kelfaren, a priest of Abadar of the Ulfen expanse, and The Arm of Holy Might, “Bram Van Zant” from the nation of Ustalav." Striking his staff upon the ground 3 times.

The two armored men strode into the hall with purpose. Both bowed once reaching the small dias in which Irabeth sat, and the sword of Valor drapped on the wall behind her.

“Please rise Gentlemen. There may be formalities, but I do not like to stand upon it. We are all here for the same greater goal.”

The men both rose to their full height. “Lady Irabeth,” began Kalfaren," we have come to lend our assistance to the cause. If we can help in some small way, we shall. I am a well trained magistrate, a judge of the laws of this land. I will meet out justice and help to bring civility to the realm."
Bram stepped forward and bowed once more. "I am Bram Van Zant, my lady. The church of Adabar has seen fit to sendbeen me to aid in the offensive nature of the 5th crusade. I have been a… Trouble shooter… Of sorts. My order is the offensive arm of the church, who battles corruption, and evil. My primary mission is Undead, but Demons are a small step from their filth. I’m told there is a power within me which has yet to be unlocked.
“I’m pleased to hear this, both of you. especially you Bram, we have immediate need of your strength. Many of the Heroes of Kanebres are in dispose. Perhaps your strength can be used to assist them. A game which was rid of its inhabitants still need to be cleansed. You will be going with our Druid Jaroo, and whoever else will be traveling with him.”
“Gladly my lady.” Bram replied.
“Good, they should return within a few days. Until then, I’ll have you quartered with the rest.”

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As the Worldwound Turns
Recap

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Gnarl investigates the empty grave of Staunton Vahne.
The sky above filtered in the morning light, a welcomed site to the surly dwarf. Walking

the outer bulk works of the citadels western side, worn with dereliction from the demon

occupation, Gnarl could see the craftsmanship of his heritage under the grime. Stepping

sullenly toward the mound between the two guards remained a hole of broken earth. It was

clear Staunton’s body was gone, the ceremonial wrappings ripped away. Gnarl knelt and

pressed his hands into the earth. Gripping the cold sod he surveyed the scene quietly.

Joran stood ten paces behind him, anxiously waiting for the hero’s response to his plea.

Gnarl mulled his thoughts, running his eyes back and forth over the scene. The dirt broke

about the grave unusually. Inside he felt something amiss. There was too little effort

for this unearthing from above. He winced at the thought remembering stories of old.

Men would rise from the dead, unquiet spirits fighting the grasp of Pharasma seeking

something wronged, lost, or worst. Even with proper rites, a strong soul could find

itself reanimated into a horror and blasphemy of the living. Gnarl rose slowly to

deliver the grim news to Joran.

“Nobody took your brother, he walked away,” the dwarf said matter of factly. Joran

steeled his gaze, “You mean somebody…” Gnarl interrupted, "I mean what I said. Nobody

took your brother, the bastard cheated his death, gods know what he is now." Motioning

to a nearby guard, Firebelly requested for a cleric and ranger to assist. Joran was in a

wake of disbelief, clenching his fist. Noticing the anger behind the motion, Gnarl

reassured, “We will find him Joran.” The simple words were pragmatic. "I want to be the

one that does it," said Joran. Gnarl silently understood what the distracted dwarf meant.

Soon Sosiel and an army ranger arrived to assist. Sosiel took time to confirm the grave

was desecrated. They followed the trail of a shuffling body towards the outer wall of

the citadel and through a ruined portion. It was lost abruptly but found again, the

gait of the corpse changing from a shamble to a walk. The army ranger sent for by Gnarl

identified the trail falling into the gorge and heading northwest, away from Drezen.

“Well,” lifting his firebelly frame, “how do you feel about a hunt boys!” Joran did not

like the idea of a hunt but even less the fact his brother had turned into something

twisted. He forced a head nod in the leader’s direction. Sosiel shifted his equipment

for the adventure.


The four people stood in the poorly lit room. The atmosphere was filled with arguments.

Aron described again the extent of repair. Utenar was almost to the point of believing

the demon’s planned it this way. The symbol of the north needed more than people and

goods, it needed time to heal. Irabeth governance was lacking in many ways. Where she

could keep the people secure and safe inside the citadel, the outskirts of the land

teemed with reports of plague beasts and grimslakes. Several patrols had also vanished

the further west they went. He noted that for Jaroo and Atiasi to investigate as some

point. As a sidebar, she felt it wrong as a non knight for Anevia to volunteer her

services as a scout. Her concern was clearly visible and masked her judgment with

emotion. Utenar made it clear, everyone lifts where they can and choose. Horgus’s

constant demands for safety and resources also plagued the conversation. The

implementation of the water purification system had several setbacks. Without it, the

steam of goods from Kenabres would continue to be the lifeline. Between the four of them

Drezen’s future rested.


Angry shouts filled the common of Drezen. “Murderers, demons, savages.” Led like cattle,

the refugees from Wintersun stood in the middle suffering from exposure, both the weather

and supernatural. Children clung to family hiding the fear in their eyes. Jestak

guarded the group from the mob as the interim Knight Marshal announced their placement in

the old fort to the populace. Jeers filled every pause of the soldiers speech until

finished. “They killed my son!” yelled one particular individual, stepping up to Jestak,

spitting on the mongrels nearby. “Stand down.” She ordered the merchant. "You whore

are drawn from the same filth as that bitch of a girl. You tell me not what to do." The

belligerent blurted. Urged by the crowd, the man continued. "Why should we spend our

resources on them. They are not hear to help us fight. They are a drain, blight just

like the demons. They know only to murder and destroy the best of us. My son was

one…" He stammered, almost reluctant with his next action. “I will take my revenge!”

Leaping forward, dagger in hand, the merchant pounced on the nearest captives. Without

mercy, thought, or will, Jestak let loose her greatsword and in a fit of rage, sliced the

merchant into two. The crowd stood back in horror at the sight. All voices hushed.

Jestak slowly coming out of her stupor, witnessing the carnage before her. The little

girl crying the target of the merchant. She dropped her blade, “What have I done?”


The wizard sat in quite compilation before the wall. Hidden underneath the citadel and

inside the demon created dungeon laid a large chamber devoted to a marilith, generals of

demonic hoards. The purpose of the room was more than worship. Only the magical shroud

of the banner kept it at bay, the abyssal runes stood suppressed against the aura.

Curious things they were, almost living, Arivashnal thought. "It’s like they are calling

to be touched," Havik chimed, as if reading Arivahsnal’s mind. Startled, the riftwarden

turned to the younger elf. “I did not mean to alarm,” Havik approached, smoking a

thought pipe. "Oh no, it’s just this wall. I cannot help but feeling something is

trying to get in." "You mean tearing a hole in the universe just to bother the two of

us?" Havik mused trying to place things into perspective. "Demons are without cause but

I think we need to do more than taking back a rock for them to spend the energy to open a

door beneath the Sword of Valor." Finished, Havik handed the pipe to Arivashnal. "Yes,

thank you." Taking a small puff and coughing. After a moment of silence the riftwarden

revealed, “It opens from this side.”
-——-

Sturn rolled again, the dream ever constant, ever persistent, in his bedroll. Ever since

his near death at the hands of Jerribeth, the dream remained. Keeping him from sleep,

Sturn’s nerves began to unravel. It was clear that he could not go back to his duties in

the state he was in. The others may not understand, but he needed to do this on his own.

He needed to go to Yathscar and confront this nightmare. Gathering his gear, Radiance

in hand, he needed to reclaim his mind from the woman, Iselda.

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and then there were Three
4 if you count her

The week once the mythic companions returned was a busy one. Sturn threw his weight behind the defence of the city Drezen, Gnarl worked with Aron in the cities rebuilding, Utinar spent his time in contemplation with the lost halfling. This took the majority of their time.
Jaroo was out of sorts given the heros inability to cleans the taint of the hidden fane. He requested of Irabeth a grouping of scrolls to be able to cast Hallow on the grounds the team cleared to bring it back into balance with the world.
Jaroo requested a meeting with Irabeth, the half-orc paladin, who was tasked with the guidance of Drezen by the Queen.
“Mistress, I would ask for a spell with our next shipment from Kanebres. It is currently beyond our capabilities to cast. A Hallow spell which will complete the removal of the taint covering the hidden fane.”
Irabeth replied, “it will be done good druid. Tell me of this fane you and your companions cleared.”
Jaroo told Irabeth of the fane where there was a small chapel dedicated to Baphomet. A spell caster of some kind with a summoned 6 legged draconic familiar which disappeared after its death. There were Baphomet Templars, on a rest from their ranging in the world wound. Also a pair of demons who have yet to be identified. Hidden in a fake treasury of such, another demonic whirlwind. Poor Atiasi was thrashed by the creature before escaping by dimensionally shifting. The strength of the paladin, and the dwarves decimated all the foes, along with the spell casting might of our spell casters.
Irabeth listened intently to the story. When he was finished she said, "once the taint is removed, perhaps we could use the sake fane as a forward base of operation?
“I don’t see why not, Mistress.” He replied. “It needs renovating, as a statue of Baphomet is standing over the chapel. I believe it was originally dedicated to the nature spirits of the land before the demonic host invaded the land.
On another note mistress,” he remembered, “some of the documents recovered point to a location called the Ivory Sanctuary, hidden by a wall of illusion. It is located in what used to be a forest of some type.”
“Interesting”, mused Irabeth. “I’ll have one of my scholars look into it.
Thank you, kind Jaroo. Your report is most insightful.”

With his request presented, and story told, Jaroo retired warily to his room. The taint was still affecting him. The spell, he hoped, would cleanse him too.

A week went by, waiting for the caravan of supplies from Kanebras along with the scroll of Hallow. The team kept busy but apart except for their down time in their communal room. (Meta- communal time is when the players can converse, unless specifically stated in the post.)

Sturn continued working with the defenders. A dedicated task master, but a fair deciplinarian. A good leader of men.
Gnarl continued his work on the Keep itself. Taking what he leaned from the demons. He began making more narrow corridors, and cold iron fixtures.
Utinar, after he sent his personal army to scout the land, stayed mostly in the church to Torag. Those who sought forgiveness in deed and thought, he would hear them. The trecherous halfling was a daily visitor. The Barbarian Jestak too was a regular visitor, amongst other knights, commoners, and priests.
Atiasi as well as Havik spent his time with Arenvashal assisting with corrupted weapons over the purity forge to convert the evil to good. They bickered like women over the potency, and versatility of book learned, vs natural magic infused into mortal shells. Both loved the debate, but neither would admit it.
Atiasi also provided 5 shards of the ward stone which still held power to add to the construction of Atiasi’s Ward. The staff continued to wake. They spoke with aravashal of the history of Kanebras, and the world wound. Various, locations, and persons both current and past.

The end of the week brought the caravan to the Keep. Jaroo as.quickly as his diminished form could take him hurried to the caravan master. There were many missing from the normal retinue of the caravan. The master included.
“What happened?” He asked of one of the drivers.
“Raiders m’lord. They’ve been hitting us for a month. Ever since we began regular supply shipments. We began staggering our times, but they appear from no where. This was harder than before. I’m afraid they took the box for the Heroes. I mean, you… M’lord.”
“Damn”, Jaroo violently exclaimed.
He stormed off.
That night, in the common room, he spoke to the companions.
“The spell we needed to complete our task at the Fane was stolen by raiders.” He began, “the caravan was attacked and most of the drivers and guards were slain.”
“What!!! Who did this! We must up the Action to end their existences! send them back to the abyss from where…”
“They’re human,” Jaroo inturrupted. “Barbarians, from the sound of it, Sturn.”
“Oh!!! Well, non abyssal creatures are too crunchy. Just like this mint. Errr, holy wafer.” Crunch crunch he bit into the mint. “They are beneath me.” He continued as he walked to his room."
“Us”, began Gnarl, “either.” finished Utinar. “We should have been dead from the 2 harlots.” Continued Gnarl, “about as much value as garnets.” Said Utinar.

Havik grimaced at the warriors, “I’m game. These raids can not continue.” He volunteered.
Atiasi chimed in, “We shall join as well. You need your strength returned. And far be it the book learner show us up.” They smiled.

They looked at each other an took stock of what they had in each other.

That night, Havik went in search of Jestak. The mighty barbarian mistress would be a welcome addition to the small group. He found her in the dungeon. She took a cell for herself apart of the path to her own personal redemption.
“Jestak, I would have a word with you if I may.”

She looked up from her book of Golarian Deities. Its pages fell open to teachings of Sarenrae, the Dawnflower. “Yes Havik?”

“We could use your strength and talents on this mission we are about to embark on. A group have been hitting our caravans on their way to us, taking what is easily held and melting back into the wilderness.”

“Why me? I’ve turned from my murderous ways. I will not take another life. What could I offer you?”

Havik answered, “Your skill in the outdoors, your knowledge of the various tribes in the wilderness, Hell… Your company would be most welcome.”

Jestak looked down a moment and lightly blushed. “This one is nice.” She thought to herself. “Very well mage, I’ll accompany you.”

The next morning, the four were mounted, ready for the day and their hunt to begin. The three noticed something odd about the sorcerer. He sat astride his mount, but his staff was not in his hand.
“What?” He asked. “My ward is in good hands. The extra shards I collected from when the Ward Stone detonated are being imbedded by Aravashal. I am fully accomplished, and capable without it. We’re just after a few raiders. It’s not like we’re not going to see Baphomet himself.”
His speech in the singular was not sitting well with the small group, but they had a job to do. Off the 4 rode along the road toward Kanebras.
The road was quiet. Jaroo and Atiasi had not followed this way since they were tasked with the liberation of Drezen. Two days later they reached the outpost of soldiers.
There they spoke with the post captain. Little more details were gained of the raids, aside from they always take all the dead. Both theirs and ours. It was an odd habit.

Back on the road, they mused. Perhaps they eat the dead? I can imagine raising cattle is very fruitful in this festering place." Said one. “Perhaps they bury them all honorably?” Guessed another.
Only time would tell once they found the raiders.

Another day passed when they turned south along the trade rout. They would pass patrols guarding the way, and once a single pilgrim on his way to the liberated temple of Iomedae on the way to Drezen.
In the afternoon of the fourth day, they came across a completely decimated caravan. Wagons overturned, draft horses let loose, some goods still smouldering. No dead, or even wounded. No one was left.
They did a quick search of the wreckage. No one left.
The team reloaded the wagons with what could be salvaged. Jaroo, using his affinity toward animals, directed them to continue to the patrol station to bring the needed supplies, what was left of them.
Jaroo’s large 6 legged feline, with 2 sets of eyes, dug around the scene, picking up a scent. To the west the raiders fled. “This way, talon found them.”

Down the marred path the walked. All but Jaroo, who transformed into an owl and took wing in the evening hours.

They found a small gully where the group could camp for the night. They looked up in the night sky to the rocky crags from which lava spilled like a burning waterfall. Atiasi thought to himself, we are going to have to get on top of that to look at the landscape around us. The tower from which the Lava fall spewed forth was named Eagle Rock.
While resting, and keeping watch, Jaroo in the guise of an owl, spied a huge creature on wing flying amongst the spires of eagle rock.

The following day, they were back on horseback, following Jaroo’s companion along a trail barely recognizable from a mere game trail. There were bits and pieces of discarded armor, ripped clothing, even some drops of blood.
The day wore on.
Later that day, they saw smoke on the horizon. It climbed into the sky about a mile out to mix with the sulphurous clouds. Easily missed if not for the keen eyes of Jaroo, now in the guise of an Eagle.
The group continued on.
About a quarter of a mile from the smoke plume, a small village slowly came into focus. One house, then another. Children played, but there were no physically capable adults to corral them in. The grown ups were all elderly and malnourished. Most seemed to be on the edge of starvation. They quickly gathered the young into their homes. There was the distinct look of fear in their eyes.
They wore the skins of slain animals from years past, and some cloth items as well. Some from earlier crusades, some from recent.
Havik, for his part, put some bits of food down for the children to collect. All stood still, watching. As the group moved on, a small girl crept out from under a house, ran to the stump where the food lay, grabbed it and dashed back inside.
“Something is very wrong here.” Havik stated. “Children should not go hungry.”

The shrubbery began to thin conciderably. The smoke was just over the next rise.

The house built of stone stood in the center of a cleared area. There were slits in the side for ventilation and missiles, as well as a central chimney. Taking a knee to watch the house, the team spied a duo of what can only be described as barbarians walk from the thick wooden door, carrying a pot of refuse, to an open air garbage pile. They walked with determination, and quickness. No dallying around.
Once back in the house, Jaroo flew over to the pile to investigate. There was mostly standard garbage, but also a few bodies, and bones left from what carrion beasts consumed.
Back he flew disgusted.

“So what’s the plan?” asked Havik.

“I don’t think we want to hurt anyone specifically, but whoever is running the joint.” Replied Jaroo.

“Too bad, I could really do some damage to the interior from here.” Frowned Atiasi. “Who are they?”

Jestek chimed in, “They’re the winter sun clan. A cursed tribe. I thought they all died out years ago.”

“Well someone’s home.” Said Havik. “We should knock.”

Atiasi offered, “Allow me.” A wave of his hands and from fifty yards away, a translucent blue hand made of force materialized and knocked on the door.

It swung open by two of the tribe. Jestak yelled across the open space in her native tongue. They replied and slammed the door.
Jaroo asked “I caught some of it, but what did you say?”

She answered, “something about my cowardly mother has more stones than their leader. It sounds better in my tongue. It is supposed to get their leader here, but as you can see, they’re cowed.”

Then we will have to do it the old fashioned way. In person to see the chief.

The 4 of them Wales to the door, with Jaroo’s companion behind. On approach, the doors swung wide again, this time they looked at Havik little closer.
Not only was he elven, but he also began to scratch here and there. Places where he scratched became visibly darker, and steam, or smoke rose from his skin. Something was happening to him but was missed by the others outside the barbarian tribe.

They walked into the entry way. It was flanked by a stuffed bear, and a man sized eagle. Both of which had seen better days of repair. They continued down a corridor to a communal area. Here, more of the clan lay about. These were well fed. These were the raiders. They too had pieces of caravan driver, and guards clothing and armor beneath their animal pelts.

They all raised to their feet, then the procession continued down another hall to a set of double doors. The group were ushered into the main meeting hall of Marhevok Grind Wintersun. The doors were closed behind them with just the chief and his concubine.
To the side of the room was a pool of rime filled water.

“At last! What does the mistress wish of us!!!” He bellowed to the but looking directly at Havik. I see we are One in this land of demon spawn!
Remembering the vile elf which had her way with the group before, Atiasi leaned forward to whisper into Havik’s ear. “I believe he means the elf that kicked our asses.” Then a little louder so the chief could also overhear and think himself clever. “The Mistress demands the scroll case found on the caravan marked for the fools leading the knights.”
Havik stated bluntly. The box of scrolls. It will weaken our enemies if our mistress had them."
BAGH!” He replied. I’ll find these upstarts, and I will SLAY THEM ALL!" The mistress needn’t worry about scraps of paper. COME! Join me my brother. Let us join forces and become one tribe! You can keep your soft… Playthings."
By this time, Jaroo had made his way to the double doors, his cat by his side. Jestak at Haviks side and Atiasi held his ground just behind and to the side as a good major domo would.
The banter continued until a slip of the tongue, and the barbarian chief yelled, “You are IMPOSTERS! SLAY THEM ALL!!!” As he stepped forward, his height visably grew, bone, and shards began poking through his skin, which grew darker, and red. Finally, horns of a minotaur grew from his head as he rushed the party.
His concubine was nowhere to be found.

Marhevok charged the group. Specifically at Havik. “I am your Doom!”

His powerful charge was interrupted by a heavy swing of Jestak’s mighty adamantine great sword. At the same time, Jaroo morphed into a large Cat, who put his weight against the double doors to keep out the rest of the tribe.
As the fight broke out, from within the rime crusted pool, a pale blue Frost Drake burst out and immediately sprayed the heroes with its icy breath. They all took damage, some more than others.
Jaroos cat sprang at the new threat. They tumbled into a halo or fur, and scale.
Atiasi stepped back out of the frost covered area then drew upon the mythic power within him, and his arcane bloodline to enhance his spells, blasting the barbaric chief.
Havik was having none of melee, he called upon his conjuration specialization to dimensionally step across the room.
With his “brother” no longer in front of him, Marhevok took his frustrations out on Jestak. She tried to counter his physical blows with her great sword, blocking one of three mighty blows from the enraged barbarian. Her contientious objection to fighting forces her to fight defensively, and only attack incoming attacks.
Atiasi now, with his footing secure, gazed at the Drake squared off with the mighty cat. A spell flew from his lips, coursing through the air, at once the Drakes pupil slits shrank to the width of paper. It shook its head but the charm spell had already taken effect Jaroo was having a difficult time holding the doors closed. With the weight of 8 of the tribe pushing, they broke through the doors. They poured into the room just has Havik, taking a queue from Atiasi’s spell choice, a pair of scorching rays flew from his outstretched hands, felling the mighty barbarian chief.
The rest of the tribe stood agape as their chief died. Their eyes belied gratitude. No longer were they afraid for their lives, but now they knew they had no home.
So it was offered by the quartet, to come to the fort, bolster the scouting force, and strike back at the demonic plague that is causing the land to festering.
With a quick once over in the barbarian home, a magical bag was found in the quarters of the dead chief. Next to it, the case of scrolls, and dispatch orders for Irabeth. Lastly, perched on a leather shoe horse, a saddle made specifically for the frost Drake, and his new rider. The group went back to the village where the old and young lived. The food stores were open and they were able to eat, and drink their fill. They gathered up what few belongings they had, loaded up on horseback, in wagons, and pulled by bulls. Some wouldn’t make the trek, but most would. That was alright by them. The terror that was Chief Marhevok was no more.

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Loot
and Costs associated

Sorry my system lost everything. I’m going to be working on the adventure post today.

so I figured I’d post the loot we’ve picked up

Bag of Holding Type II 5000gp
Leather Armor +1 1150gp
+1 frost Hand Crossbow 8300gp
Cloak of Resistance +2 2000gp
+1 Shocking Lance 8300gp
Studded Leather +1 1150 gp
2 suits Full Plate +1 2500gp
4 MW Glaives 300gp/
2 MW Short Swords 300gp/
MW Dagger 300gp
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 1000gp
Bracers of Armor (ac 3) 8000gp
Decanter of Endless Water 9000gp
Ring of Protection +2 8000gp

Potions:
12 Cure Moderate 300gp/
4 Cure Serious 750gp/

Scrolls:
2 Planar Binding 1650/
Diamond Dust
300 pp
6 Pearls 100gp/
Silver Holy Symbol
100 gp
8000 gp

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licking wounds
bruised egos

The group made the trek back to Drezen licking their wounds, and massaging their egos. Thankfully no one died in the very hard learned lesson from the demonic elf, and her whore companion.
When the group limped in on horseback, the guards were astonished to see their mythic leaders as badger as they were. “Shall I send a runner for the healers, lords?” A brave knight asked.

To which Gnarl replied “We be fine lad.” a bit over harshly. “Tis only our pride that’s truly hurt.”

The companions let the stable boys take their mounts without a word, and walked directly to their rooms common room.

Once in their private quarters, they collapsed on couches, chairs and jaroo on the floor.

“We were beaten.” Stated Utinar flatly. “What now?”

“What did she mean about our paths crossing?” Chimed in Jaroo. “Is she some sort of creature we are to join?”

Sturn look at each of the crestfallen heroes. “We weren’t ready. Next time we cross paths, that creature will fall! It will not blaspheme Iomedae in that curt way. Damn them all!”

“JeRribeth… I know that name… Jerribeth. Jerribeth…” Jaroo pondered. “The fallen paladin! He spoke of her in his journal!!!” He found the journal on the shell of the common area. Flipping through the pages… "Here!!!

Tricked into starting the Second Crusade, Staunton was convinced by a warrior-princess (and elven beauty) that the Drezen was adequately protected and the Sword of Valor needed tobe carried intobattle once again to push the demon hoardsback. Believing the leadersof Drezen were cowards hiding behind the banner’s protection, Staunton stole the banner and brought it out of the city to deliver it to his warrior-princess who promised to carry it tothe front lines. Jerribeth, had other ideas.

After accepting the gift, Jerribeth made Staunton watch as she presented the banner tothe marilith Aponavicius who ledher army into Drezen in a single ruinousassault. Afterward Staunton wasgiven a choice – death or servitude. He chose the latter.

This is the demon hitch that stole the banner!"

Havok added “She’s been apart of this for some time. Her skin should have been black as the others cursed elves are.”

The group continued their banter while Atiasi watched and listened. This was the first outing since he returned. They cleared Drezen without him. This new spell caster is a good support magician for them. “A far cry from our raw arcane might, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses.” Atiasi thought to himself. "Although he sees himself as superior to us due to his versatility. Let him believe what he wants, we’ll enjoy our debates long after this war is over.
And the brothers. The stinky Gnarl, and the quiet Utinar. They have grown since we first met them on the fair grounds those months ago. Before they finished their sentences in rhyme, now they’re individuals. Poor Gnarl. His is a mighty swing. Mundane creatures fall in droves to his axe, but your shortfall is your reach. You should invest in flying potions, or an item, and Utinar… Where to begin. I see not your faith, although Torag continues to bless you with his gifts. We see good souls, but a bloodlust in one, and zelotry in the other. We don’t know how much of a push it would take to make you fall.
Sturn. Now our mighty paladin. Blind faith and Pure arrogance. We do not see it out of the realm of possibilities that once this crusade is done, another begun to diminish, or completely stamp out all the Gods save his. Doesn’t he know the elf who walks amongst us may be older than she? A mere 800 years old, and the gifts of the Star stone is how she was elevated. Then further when the other mortal God Aroden died, or disappeared. But she is greater than Torag, or our own beloved Sarenrae both of who had a hand in the creation of this world.
But for your strong arm, and faith, you fight on the side of good. We can forgive as our own Sarenrae teaches.

And so the night continued. The companions talked about things they missed, connections which would help them on their path. Who was this escapee who fled Drezen just prior to liberating the keep. How many holy weapons were hidden, and corrupted in the keep.
“Ati… ATI! Atiasi, are we keeping you?” Shouted Sturn, “Where’s your mind man! Do you have anything to add to the discussion?”

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A New Report
...back at the League of Increadibly Evil Dudes

The wormed one stood over his work desk, meticulously discovering the new found powers of the elixir. Slowly letting his energies spin upon the weave, letting the dream take shape of his mind. Then all at once, watch it vanish. Opening what would be eyes, Xanthir Vang addressed the new presence in the room. “Did you find them where I told you they would be?” The guttural voice inquired. Jerribeth paused for her next words, knowing she was to destroy the group but hesitated to do so. Shifting forward, playing off her womanly prowess, “Yes Vang, I found our heroes wandering outside the old Fane. It appears they disposed of our outpost there, your summoner included,” waiting for the wizards reaction to her words. Sensing none, she went on, “I do not understand what makes you so upset about…”

Instantly she was caught mid sentence, a wave of radiation sweeping the chamber. She moved to defend, as the Xanthir planted his grasp against her face. Forced to the floor, Jerribeth struggled under his wormed hand. “Am I to understand they are alive still?” Twisting the elf’s head for response, anger slowing growing under her façade. “Well, mostly…” “Mostly! What is unclear in my instructions.” Throwing the woman to the ground, he rushed back to his desk, fretting over his plans imagined, moving pieces on the game board. Mumbling curses at himself, Jerribeth stood to regain her composure. Insolent mage, she thought for a moment, but just as quickly she removed the thought knowing them to be dangerous. “I care less about being ignored. Why did you let them live my dear?”

Feeling the tension drift away, the elven temptress moved towards the robed wizard and began to caress the back of his wormed flesh. “They are not strong enough to pose a threat, even as a group. You should have seen how fickle they were, amateurish even in their tactics.” She smiled as her leg curled against the wiggling flesh of Xanthir. Whispering into his supposed ear, “Besides, I was able to learn more about who they are. A force of good without moral consciousness of their wake. We could have them find her for us and destroy both at the same time.” Xanthir grabbed the elf’s thigh and firmly through her away. “I would have devoured you should I desire dear but these actions today make you treacherous demon bitch in my sight.” Jerribeth, knowing she was getting no where, slid her arms across the floor and coming to her feet once more, performed a curtsy, smiling as she left the chamber. Xanthir retreated to his plan, moving the pieces once more, knowing he needed more time.

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Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me

Jerribeth stood before the cowering summoner. Cold was the air in the valley, desolate it was. the steep slopes turning into unremarkable cliffs. Kiranda, the succubus, was at her side matching the demon’s thoughts telepathic. We must find out more of these guests. Meanwhile, the disposed hostest of the fallen Fane pleaded, “Mistress, let me return to destroy them, just a few more Templars and I will make them your pets.” What to make of this request. Humans are so tasty and make marvellous pets. But how frustrating it was to lose another post to their recent push of activities. What was causing this new found hope? Jerribeth needed to think, and best not on an empty desires.

“Kiranda, excuse me while I indulge myself alone,” as Jerribeth began to gorge into the summoner, hand over the mouth of the now helpless victim. It was the demon’s pleasure to feel the resistance as each bit of personage was cut chunk by chunk. The warm spray of blood felt between the claws. The persistent cry beneath the palm. A gasping of air that is never satisfied. She was saying to herself, yes, this soul will be added to the damned, but the flesh is mine now. It was exstacy until the heart exploded under the pain. Kiranda looked beyond the carnage enough to warn her sister of some one approaching. Reducing form, Jerribeth acknowledged and refocused her mind on these reported usurpers.


Havik was held helpless. Kiranda leered over him, lifting him slowly in the air. Arms locked in an embrace with simple whispers wrought with madness echoing in his mind. “Kiss me again,” was her suggestion; and although his heritage protected him, it was not enough to stop himself. As lips locked, a foul weakness took further control of his senses, draining his power and self control. Pulled away, he could see but was not aware of the the tragedy that befell his friends.

He watched Sturn stand still as the elf demon took a rod to his body repeatedly, each blow breaking bone, the paladin vomiting in a strange reflex as magical poison coursed through his nerves. With quickness, she left him heaving his own blood in a spiral of unconsciousness. Meanwhile, taunting the oversized dwarf, the succubus flew circles as she slowly dominated the now floating group, each helpless being told to sit or stay. Atiasi tried to dispel the magic but it was too much for the caster. Utenar found ways to cast further magic but could not get past the demon’s resistance. Gnarl kept failing about as he tried casting his weapons towards the flying demons with limited success. Kiranda would laugh at a miss, and mock wildly when struck, “For one so big I would expect more of a spanking,” her tail snapping in the air to her moans.

Lastly, Havik watched in horror as Jaroo’s initial attempt to diplomacy failed. Seeing a last chance to change something, the druid called to the lead demon. “You have proven your point, this is no longer play, what is it you wanted demon bitch.” Maybe the last part was a bit much but it got the elf demon from beating the paladin to death. Flying over to the bearded man with the cat, she grabbed the druid’s vestment. “The simplest of questions was all I wanted. Ending this war is not an answer. As to the here and now, where your senses are racing at every between second. I can feel it in your eyes darting back and forth. Your heart races and only now do your dreams reveal themselves as nearly dreams. My dear druid, you may find your way back home but why does it go through my domain, what are you searching for here?” Jerribeth insisted from the panicked Jaroo. “Oh and remember when I said I would kill you last …”

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You mess with the bull...
so where are these horns?

The encounter at the fallen fane was spontaneous. The two tigers were besieged by Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth and a duo of blood demons. With swift ferocity, Sturn rushed the platform to engage the demons, quickened by a timed haste spell. Not standing idle, the brothers Firebelly made their presence known the only way the know, flex muscle and smashing skulls. The druid however felt a strange sensation within himself that sought to bolster his nerve. Shredding through the anti-paladins, the woodsman stopped as one of the mages called out, leave that one alive. Engulfed in flames, the Templar failed until drenched. Still steaming from the wounds, the sorcerer stooped to the ground to grab the burnt flesh of the arm. The wounded twitched at the pain. “So, tell me now…” Atiasi began.

META

Not much time here gentlemen, what should you ask…

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