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.