We spent several days at the Defender’s Heart. Mostly at rest, but with a foray or 2 to aid in the efforts to clear the remaining demonic influences from Kenebras. Ember left our company shortly after our return, setting out to search the city for her sister. After a few days relief came. It came in the form of an army of reinforcements led by none other than Queen Galfrey herself! As her troops began the task of re-fortifying the city, she came to see us at the Defender’s Heart! She commended us on our victory and our efforts in defense of the city. But now, she had another task for us.
While the Queen recognized that our destruction of the wardstone and thereby the wardstone network was necessary, it did also deprive Mendev of its greatest defense. In order to take advantage of the disorganized state of the demons and keep them off balance, the Queen felt that it was time to strike directly into the Worldwound itself. The city of Drezen was the first city built by the crusaders, it was also the first city to fall. Drezen had been protected by an artifact, a magical banner known as the Sword of Valor. In 4638, the banner was stolen and the city fell in a single night. The ruler of Drezen, the demon Aponavicius, has recently left Drezen and taken the bulk of her forces to join the sieges to the South. This has left the northern regions largely undefended and re-taking Drezen and securing the Sword of Valor would be a much needed boost to morale.
We of course agreed to undertake this mission. Upon our acceptance, Queen Galfrey named us “Knights of the 5th Crusade.” She then introduced us to Lt. Arthas Lightfoot. A veteran of the 4th Crusade, Arthas had been in Kenebras during the attack. He’d been fighting in the diversionary attacks while we assaulted the Gray Garrison. When we destroyed the wardstone, the pulse of energy had affected him in the same manner as we. This enabled him to bring down several demons single handedly. Thus, the Queen choose to enlist him in our cause. With Lt. Arthas joining our company, Queen Galfrey presented us all with medals for our service and bestowed upon us an enchanted item to aid us in our new quest.
We would be marching to Drezen with a small army of 100 paladins. The Queen had also selected a support team to accompany us. We were to be joined by: Aron Kir; scout and tactician, Sosiel Vaenic; priest of Shelyn, and Nurah Dendiwhar; Halfling bard and expert on the Worldwound. As none of us has had any experience in commanding an army, we decided to ask Irabeth to accompany us as the army CO. She accepted, provided Anevia could also join the expedition, we naturally agreed. We also enlisted the aid of Horgus and Aravashnial, him having been cured of his blindness thanks to a scroll of regeneration courtesy of Queen Galfrey.
The Queen encouraged us to depart as soon as possible, for every day passed was a day that the forces aligned against us could use to regroup. We spent the remainder of the day in preparation and after a night of rest, we set off for Drezen.
Our route was simple. Well, simple in theory anyway. We would march north to Valas’s Gift and on through Vilareth Ford. Continuing north from there we would follow the dry Ahari riverbed straight into Drezen.
Valas’s Gift was a day’s march north of Kenebras. We arrived to find the village deserted. Nothing was found of the populace. Having nothing more that could be done, we moved on.
Our next landmark was Vilareth Ford a day and a half further north. We were about 15 minutes out from the ford when Anevia came racing back. She reported that the ford had fallen. An army of teiflings had over run the garrison and were occupying its former position. This couldn’t be allowed to stand. Having scouted the area, we knew the best means of approach. Our plan was simple. Irabeth would lead the army in an attack while we would use the chaos of the battle to fight our way to the army leaders and destroy them. The loss of its leadership should be sufficient to break their lines and thus allow us to rout their forces. We attack in an hour.
The battle has begun. We fought our way through the enemy ranks to the command tent. There, 3 teiflings emerged and attacked. I began summoning some elementals while the others moved to engage. Once we got them surrounded they all fell quickly. Unfortunately, they were not the commanders of this army. That distinction fell to a brimorak who emerged from the command tent and teleported away before our eyes.
We searched the area and salvaged a good amount of supplies and resources. Some of the paladins grumbled slightly about looting the dead, but a few words stressing the import of such materials to the war effort quickly silenced any dissention. During the search we found the last survivors of the garrison. There were only a dozen remaining. They and their Sgt., Kamilo Dann had nearly lost hope. She’d held her command together though and even had valuable intel for us! It seems that another army awaited us ahead, they lay in ambush as a place called Keeper’s Canyon. We healed them all and sent them back to Kenebras to pass the word of the fall of the ford. The Queen would dispatch a new force to occupy the position.
The paladins had begun to set camp. As everyone was occupied Arthas, Bastion and myself noticed Nurah sneaking off? We thought this odd and Bastion followed while Arthas and I followed at a distance. We observed her begin rummaging through Aron’s pack. Bastion snuck up behind her and challenged here. Nurah tried to play innocent but it was obvious that she was up to something. We instructed her to remain here while Arthas went off to find Aron. We’d have him check his pack and see if anything had been taken or if she’d tampered anything.
Nurah didn’t take that well. Arthas had just left when Nurah suddenly went invisible. I tapped my new powers and cast a charm upon myself that allowed me to see through invisibility. I saw Nurah reading from a scroll. A hold person spell stopped her cold while I attempted to direct Bastion to grab her. He didn’t have much luck though. She broke the hold, but a glitterdust brought her into view and stopped her from reading from her scroll. It’s rather hard to do so when you are blind.
Bastion was then able to get ahold of her. Nurah began screaming bloody murder. I too began calling for help while attempting to assist Bastion in restraining Nurah. Our shouting did attract attention. A group of paladins surrounded us, concerned that we were accosting Nurah. Luckily, Emp and Ram also heard me and came to assist us. I must say that those halflings are certainly spry creatures and with everyone aiding, we were finally able to tie Nurah. Needless to say, everyone was quite curious as to what was occurring.
Someone finally came up with the manacles for which I’d been yelling. About then, Arthas returned with Aron, Sosiel and Irabeth. We explained what had happened regarding us catching Nurah in the act of sabotaging Aron’s gear and subsequently preventing her from escaping via an invisibility spell and scroll of dimension door.
Aron looked through his belongings and could find nothing missing nor amiss. We then searched Nurah’s person and found 4 vials. I was able to identify them as shadowblood, a highly addictive drug. When asked why she would be placing these in his gear, Aron shamefully admitted that he had been a shadowblood addict before kicking his habit. It seems that Nurah had been attempting to tempt Aron back to his old ways. Possibly to undermine his effectiveness and hinder our efforts.
We took Nurah to a tent and began to interrogate her. We were at it for some time but got little information out of her. All she would talk about was about how the demons would triumph. After a while we quit in frustration. We all re-convened outside and had a frank discussion regarding her fate. As the army had no formal interrogation unit, we would be the only ones who would question her. As she was not forthcoming, the opinion of the others was to send her to the headsman.
I prevailed upon them to give me one last chance to speak with Nurah. We went back into the tent and I asked her how she had come to this point. She told us the story of how here patrol had been ambushed years ago, leaving her the sole survivor. I told her about the others having condemned her. I asked her for any reason to keep her alive. I asked her why she would give so much loyalty to the Worldwound. I asked her if she would not rather stand by comrades that would call her a friend, rather than a disposable tool. I asked her if she would not rather follow a better path and serve with us, in honor. When I finished speaking, Nurah actually looked remorseful! I began asking questions, and she began to answer. She didn’t have much to offer information wise, save one tidbit. It seems that Stauton Vhane was now in command of the forces at Drezen. I arranged for Nurah to be placed under guard and left instructions that she was to be well treated. I made a mental note for myself to have a chat with her every day. I believe that Nurah has taken the 1st step on the road to redemption.
The next day we broke camp and began marching on Keeper’s Canyon. We reached it late the following morning. Awaiting us were 2 armies! 1 was composed of teiflings, similar to the 1 we defeated at Vilareth Ford. The other was an army of dretches! Having an army of paladins with the ability to smite evil at our backs meant that we were able to destroy them without too much difficulty. Having the element of surprise also helped too.
We turned west and began marching into the Worldwound itself along the Ahari riverbed. Around 15 miles in we reached the ruins of an old crusader chapel to Iomedea, one of many old chapels built by the crusaders before the fall of Drezen to serve as a waypoint along the way. As these ruins could have been taken over by any sort of foul creatures we needed to ensure that it was clear so as not too leave anything that could threaten our supply line back to Mendev. It was too difficult to bring the entire army to bear so the task fell to us.
Bastion went in to scout the courtyard of the chapel. Stealthy as he might be, he wasn’t stealthy enough to avoid attracting the attention of the 3 gargoyles that perched upon the walls. When they swooped down upon him, he slipped into the shadows and escaped. They then turned their attention to us. Their tough hides made it tough to hurt them at first, but with some persistence, a couple magic weapons looted from the teiflings that we’d killed, and 3 air elementals we were able to wear them down and destroy them. I wonder what else we will find within.
Bring the Jubilee
Campaign Journal of Nik the Crow - Session 5
Adventures in the Worldwound - Session 5