We enjoyed a day or 2 of rest at the Defender’s Heart as we waited for Ram and Bastion to be cured of their afflictions. Once we were rested and healed, Irabeth invited us to a meeting with her and Quednys Orlun. I off handedly mentioned to him that Aravashnial and a handful of librarians had survived and were holed up in the Blackwing ruins. He was shocked at this and immediately hurried off to see about having them brought in. He returned sometime later after having dispatched a squad to collect them. We then got down to business.
Irabeth and Quednys had come across some additional intelligence. This, combined with the information that we’d retrieved, had given them some insight into the nature of the enemy’s plans. Their information revealed that the attack on Kenabras was merely the opening salvo. The witch Areelu Vorlesh was planning on coming here. She planned to use a Nayhadrian Crystal to somehow corrupt the wardstones. She would do this by using the last fragment of the Kenabras wardstone! It seems that a large piece of the wardstone yet remained. It had been taken by the cultists and was being held in the Grey Garrison, an old garrison that had been turned into museum after the Kite had been built. Irabeth asked us to assault the garrison and destroy the wardstone! When we suggested possibly just recovering it and keeping it safe, she rejected that plan. It was only a liability at this point and would have to be destroyed.
She’d come up with a plan. The place was too heavily guarded for a straight out assault. So, Irabeth had planned for her crusaders to launch simultaneous attacks on cultist held positions. The manpower that the cultists would need to deploy in order to defend would draw their forces away from the garrison. This would give a small strike team (us) the opening necessary to raid the garrison and destroy the wardstone fragment. To do this, we were given a Rod of Cancellation.
Luckily, we would be getting some support in this mission. Irabeth herself would be joining us on the raid. In addition, Chief Sull had provided the promised reinforcements. We would be getting a squad of mongrelman rangers. They would accompany us and provide backup. Irabeth had another surprise for us too. It seems that the crusaders that she’d sent to Horgus’s manor had returned. He’d declined to come with them to the Defender’s Heart, but he had sent some supplies in gratitude. His donation of food, water and supplies proved to be just the thing to keep the crusaders at their peak. Furthermore, Aravashnial and the Blackwing librarians had been successfully relocated to the inn. Aravashnial pointed out to us a cache of Riftwarden gear. The potions and weapons contained within would be of help.
We spent some time preparing, then when the crusaders were in position, we attacked! In response to the assaults, the Gray Garrison emptied. We used the carnage as cover and snuck through the warren of burned buildings. When we arrived at the garrison, we found the main gate guarded by 2 grossly overweight men. To our amazement, we saw that one of them was Lord Hulrun! The other was Kandro
Nyserian, a local nobleman. We thought at first that they might have been possessed. Bastion approached with the intention of trying to impersonate a cultist. They didn’t go for it and attacked. We quickly realized that Kandro and Lord Hulrun were in fact, dead. Their forms had been infested by vermleks. We defeated the monsters and removed the bodies from the area, hiding them in a place where we could later recover them for a proper burial.
The garrison doors proved problematic, but Bastion was eventually managed to bypass the lock and open the doors. He slipped inside to scout around. In the room to the left, a group of 6 tieflings seemed to be engaged in a game of cards in which severed body parts were the chips. Upon noticing Bastion enter, they rose to attack. We all began moving into the room to engage. One of them tried to darken the room. A stone with a touch of Daylight served to nullify that plan. We were able to bottle them up in their room and whittle them down. We left 1 alive to interrogate, but he only rambled on with a stream of non-sensical mutterings. He was useless. We gathered the “poker chips” for proper burial and then left the room to allow Ram the opportunity to attend to this scum in a manner prescribed by the law of Kenabras.
Emp and I moved on into the next room on the right. Within was a defiled altar to Iomedae. Tradition called for paladins moving into the garrison to kneel and pray. I cast a cantrip to begin cleaning the filth from the altar, then I took a knee and uttered a short prayer. Though I’m not a follower, nor have I ever been much of a religious person, but as we are engaged in a battle to reclaim a holy site of hers, I figure that asking the lady of the house for a little help couldn’t hurt. I did come away with something. From a kneeling position, the runes on the wall took a different shape and spelled out a message in Celestial; “Let us inherit thine arms Iomedae.” I wonder what is the significance of those words?
As we pressed deeper into the garrison, Bastion heard some high pitched voices coming from the room ahead. We burst in and found 2 abrikandilu’s using the heads of 2 crusaders as puppets! We dispatched the beasts and removed the remains of the paladins for proper burial.
Moving onward, we pass through a short hallway into a desecrated chapel. The altar had been overturned and smeared with blood and filth. Atop it, a collection of limbs had been stitched together into a spiderlike jumble. 3 cultists also lurked within. They were defeated without much difficulty. Once done, Irabeth chopped up the limbed monstrosity. It was then that we noticed the glowing outline of a door near the altar. It wouldn’t open by any conventional means. When I uttered the phrase, “Let us inherit thine arms Iomedae” it swung open. Inside was an armory filled with cold iron weapons and some magical arms and armor. Nice. Emp and I went in and began looking around. He found an enchanted breastplate and began to strap it on.
Meanwhile, out in the chapel. The others decided to investigate the room at the foot of the chapel. When Bastion opened the door, the tiefling inside tossed a bomb out into the chapel! I left Emp in the armory and ran to help. Everyone else began swarming into the room and we were able to overwhelm him. Irabeth then saw something upon his workbench that drew her ire. She went and decapitated the wretch. The item that she saw was a swordcase. Within lay her father’s sword! All she would say was that she’d sold it to a noble some time ago. We were perplexed as to how it had come to be here? A note found soon thereafter explained some of it. It was addressed to Stauton Vhane in Drezen! Within, Othirubo explained that Kandro had given over the blade in hope of securing shelter. He ended up a Vermlek host for his troubles.
We looted the armory and Othirubo’s quarters. I got his very nice alchemy lab. We also got many cold iron and magical weapons. Before leaving, we took the time to right the altar and clean it up some. We also collected the remains into one of the cultist’s bedrolls and secured it to be taken back to Defender’s Heart for burial.
The last door on this floor was locked. Bastion picked the lock and within was a tiefling and 3 dretches. They at once dropped a cloud of stench. Bastion closed the door to keep the cloud from spilling forth. Emp stepped up and opened the door. The cloud spilled forth and Irabeth and Ram were both affected by the stench. I summoned an air elemental and had it disperse the cloud. Emp was able to destroy the dretches. We then swarmed in and killed the tiefling. Once he was dead, we looked around and discovered the stairs leading to the 2nd floor.
Bastion had an idea. He ran upstairs and shouted that they were needed to help downstairs. All but 1 fell for it. Everyone else formed up and met them on the stairs. I began to fire at them while my elemental went upstairs to support Bastion. It took us a few moments to fight our way up the stairs. When we got up there, we found Bastion lying unconscious on the floor. Ram ran up and healed him.
Bastion had just regained his feet when 4 cultists rushed out of the next room. We were able to take them down without too much trouble. Once the fighting was finished, we searched the bodies and the room. The room itself held a map of old Sarkoris with features of the Worldwound painted upon it. The table was full of reams of paperwork. These papers were documents detailing Mendevian troop movements and deployments. We made sure to gather all of this up as this information could have been very dangerous had it gotten into the hands of the cultists.
The next room we explored was a bunkroom. We found several ratty bedrolls and some provisions. Moving along we checked the next room. Within was a scrying pool. Around it stood 6 zombies, former paladins. Their bellies had been opened, spilling their entrails into the pool. They moved to attack, but Irabeth took care of most of them with a channel pulse, we took out the others fairly easily. After attending to the bodies, we cleaned and re-filled the scrying pool. As we were trying to determine how to use it, it activated! We were shown a scene of a deformed half-elf, guarding a glowing stone fragment. The wardstone! The scene changed and we saw the outside of the room. It was guarded by a ferocious looking minotaur. The view then proceeded down some stairs and emerged into the room in which we stood. We saw an image of ourselves, starring into the pool. So now we know how to reach our objective.
We formed into position and charged up the stairs, Emp and Irabeth in the lead. Emp smote the beast while Irabeth struck from the other side. Ram charged up and attacked, those strikes were enough for a set of Bastion’s force bolts to drop the abomination. We searched the room and found some items on the minotaur. In the room we also found 2 crushed helms. They were memorials of the crusades. The helms from the 1st 2 crusaders to have died in battle. We took them so as to return them to the crusaders, and possibly repair them. Only 1 room lay before us. Bastion was able to pick the lock and we made ready.
We had Ember remain in the outer room to guard our flank, then we stormed the last room. Within was the deformed half elf and behind her, a cage that held the wardstone fragment. Ram, Emp, Bastion and Irabeth all rushed her and beneath their blows, she finally fell. Once she was down, I moved up and used the rod upon the stone. Nothing happened! What in the hells? I tried again. Still nothing! Damn! This is not good, what in the hells are we going to do now? I decided to give it one more try. This time, when I touched the rod to the stone, it exploded with an incredible burst of energy!
I wasn’t dead! None of us were. I have a vague recollection of being in a trance or something? I had a sense of Irabeth trying to rouse us but I was transfixed by the visions pouring through my mind. I saw the first wardstone being erected in the Kite here in Kenabres in 4639. It was then 4665, I saw a vision of a young Hulrun leading the burning of dozens of witches in the courtyard of the Kite. Next, it was the year 4692. I saw a vision of Khorramzadeh the Storm King leading an attack on Kenabres. We then saw a vision of Irabeth In the year 4712 chasing Staunton Vhane into the courtyard containing the wardstone. They were both wounded. Staunton backed against the wardstone, smoke rises and he screams in pain. He managed to smash her knee with his hammer, dropping her to the ground. Staunton seems ready to deliver a death blow, but the sound of approaching soldiers forces him instead to back away and summon a fiendish giant wasp that he swiftly mounts and then flies away to the north. Our next vision is of Minagho, placing the wardstone fragment in this room. The last vision is of an event that we know will now never happen. It was of Areelu Vorlesh using a purple Nahydrian crystal the size of a human’s head to corrupt the fragment. The entire border flashed with nauseating mauve fire that devastated the border cities and transformed countless crusaders into half-fiend slaves of the Worldwound.
As our heads cleared, we beheld a vison of a fiendish woman before us, Areelu. She cursed us for our interference. She then cast a spell causing our allies to gasp for air! At the same time, an Abyssal rift opened before us and 6 babaus spilled into the room. Then, the raw power that had infused us, released. The pulse tore into Areelu, sealed the rift and broke the spell afflicting Irabeth and the others. It also rendered the unconscious. A shame, they could have been helpful, there were still the 6 babaus with which to attend.
Yet, all did not seem lost. As the initial burst faded, we all felt a remnant of that power remain within us. Power that lent us strength and shielded us from their demonic claws. With this newfound power coursing through us, we were able to defeat the demons, although the fight balanced on the blade of a dagger on several occasions. Eventually, we were able to win a battle of attrition. We were simply able to damage them more than they could damage us, what with our healing ability.
Once the fight had ended, we roused our allies. All seemed fine save Rangar, my armsman. Regrettably he did not survive the burst of energy from the wardstone. After we looted everything of value from the room, including 6 shards of the wardstone that we pried from the walls, we took our leave. On the way out, we checked the remaining rooms that we’d bypassed. The wardstone explosion had destroyed the remaining demons within the garrison and we met no resistance.
We made our way outside and linked up with Irabeth’s forces. With the energy burst, most of the demons in the city had been destroyed. Of those that remained, most fled back into the Worldwound. Without their demonic masters supporting them, the cultists challenging the crusaders were swiftly defeated. After enlisting their aid, we gathered up the bodies that we’d placed with the purpose of properly interring and returned to the Defender’s Heart.
After returning, a small ceremony was held in which Lord Hulrun and the fallen crusaders were laid to rest. We also gave over the helms to one of the crusader smiths who set to work restoring them. The crusaders were grateful to receive the documents that we’d retrieved from the garrison as well. Our treasure was divided up amongst us and anything not claimed was sold. It had been a long day and weary from our endeavors, we fell to sleep soon after taking our beds.
As we slept, we dreamed. We saw a beautiful, scarred woman approach. It was the Inheritor herself! She thanked us for our efforts and apologized for not being able to do more to help us. She bestowed upon us a mark of her favor and kissed us upon the brow! When we awoke, we all felt invigorated! We were haler, stronger, and a newfound energy flowed within us. Whatever had happened, we were now more than we were before. That is good, for I have a feeling that we will need this new power in the days/weeks/months to come.
Bring the Jubilee
Campaign Journal of Nik the Crow - Session 4
Adventures in the Worldwound - Session 4