Okknos Prime

The End is not the End
In which Dryug finds himself popular for the first time in his existence...

But the end was not the end… It was merely an excuse for an interlude at Uncle Paco’s!

One of the other heroes that had been defending Tir Elende, a gnome going by the name of Belwar, finds himself mesmerized by an eating contest between whom he believed to be a fist-fighting half elf and the renouned Rekas Selchar. As Blade orders three more plates of crepes from Uncle Paco, Rekas Selchar falls from his stool and begins groaning.

Belwar looks to the recently vacated stool and recognizes Miria in the stool next to it. He greets the fellow Hospitaler. “Hello, M’Lady. Can you pick me up and place me on the stool? I can’t reach the bar.”

Miria looks down upon her fellow Hospitaler, obviously uncomfortable. “I could order you something?”

At this point Belwar sees Orryn and a bit of crass small talk insues. Belwar discovers that the group is planning on returning one of the artifacts to the town of Twin Sword Springs. Being on his way back to a Hospitaler stronghold nearby, he requests to travel with the group. They agree to meet on the morrow to allow Rekas Selchar‘s stomach a chance to recover.

Before parting for the night the group had discussed whether to travel by land or sea. They decide to sail despite their last series of encounters at sea. Belwar finds a smith open late and requests his shield be equiped with floaties, just in case he is thrown overboard during an altercation.

During the evening Dryug sneaks into the castle. He can’t help but chuckle to himself, proud of his upcoming prank. A few servants notice him, but his presence at the castle is normal. They ignore him. He enters the throne room and begins to hang artwork of famous wizards around the finger-painted canvas of Wil that was painted by the orphans.

Miria secures passage aboard a boat named, “A New Hope.” Dryug finds himself seasick once again. For a few days, the journey is uneventful.

As dusk approached one evening, an uninvited guest appeared upon the ship. It was the drow priestess from the shadowfell. One eye red, the other burning purple, her visage had changed little since the group had met her last. “Thank you for freeing me from the master. I shall reward you all for you troubles with a quick death,” she declared. Dark mists swirled around the ship and the world turned pitch black.

Only Dryug, the priestess, and the smurf-gnome appreciate the change of lighting. Orryn quickly casts a spell to dissipate the darkness and and battle ensues. The adventures pour every ounce of energy and skill into the battle, but they appear outmatched. More the once, some in the group mourns Ashar having left them. Psychic blasts bombard the party and the priestess seems capable of evading nearly all their attacks.

As they grit their teeth and struggle against an impossible foe, a tear in the fabric of reality appears at the other side of the boat. A floating man comes out of the rift, “Come with me if you want to live.” Before being given an alternative, there is a blinding light and the group finds themselves in an unfamiliar room full of magic paraphernalia.

Dryug, its so good to see you!” says an attractive young girl in her early twenties. They greet each other with a hug. Over her shoulder Dryug mouths to the others “Who is this?”

Catching the hint, Miria declares, “Meldy we’re all very glad to see you. Where are we? What just happened?”

As Meldy begins to explain that the group has been teleported to the future, a familiar figure steps barges into the room. “Hey kid, we’ve got Draconians.” Revy the Hunter pauses, seeing the others, “Oh it worked. Come with me. I need you.”

“If we were needed, why didn’t you get the current us? Why go into the past?”

“You all died on that boat,” Meldy says quietly.

“Draconians! Let’s go!” Revy leads the adventurers through a trap door, passed some hammocks and other clutter. They continue onward to a stable full of hippogriffs.

“Master Dryug?” asks the young stablehand.

Dryug tries to guess who would know him and greet him fondly. “Seth?”

“No, I’m Reese!”

“Wow, you’ve grown,” Dryug says awkwardly.

As Reese begins introducing the hippogriffs by name, Revy the Hunter shouts, “No time. Draconians!” She hops onto a hippogriff pulls a large rope and a hole in the stable wall opens, showing open sky. “This way!” she yells and is gone. The others follow suit. Leaving the stable they discover they had been on a large magical flying ship. There is no time to marvel at their bizarre situation as flying lizards are approaching the ship.

“To battle!” Somehow the group manages to kill the draconians and not to fall to their deaths. Having seen its companions slain, a final draconian flees toward the horizon. Revy the Hunter congratulates everyone on remembering which end of a sword to wield. Back at the stable Reese fusses over the hippogriffs. One of them has a few singed feathers. Miria directs a playful scowl toward Dryug, who shrugs innocently. Revy the Hunter unceremoniously leaves the stables.

“What happened?”

Reese, still in his early teens and more interested in exotic animals than politics, shrugs, “Milithraw or something like that happened. She’s in charge of most things now.”

“Nhilithra?” Dryug stays with Reese to help him with the hippogriffs. The others seek a more knowledgeable source of information. They make their way back the way they had come and are able to find the room full of magical whats-its.

Meldy greets them, “Glad to hear the battle was successful. I suppose you have some questions.” She continues on to tell of how the drow, Nhilithra, somehow absorbed the power of Adriana Prevot and the purple dragon. She became unstoppable. Tir Elende was one of the first to fall. The adventurers were attacked for the fire titan’s heart. She took Rekas Selchar‘s sword as well. “We save who we can. There aren’t many on the Adriana that can fight. There is no one powerful enough to face her directly.”

“Why save us?”

“There were few others we knew we could trust. Okabe and I have a plan to send you back to various times in the past. We need to keep her from ever obtaining those artifacts.”

And so it seemed the end was really a new beginning…

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The End

The wurm races at Ashar. Ashar teleports away as it rushes past and Dryug drops into the hole to make an attack from behind. Rekas Selchar runs, jumps, ?dives? at the beast below, startling it with a mighty blow. Ashar rejoins the battle and is claimed by the monster’s teeth. Miria seeing the others committed to carnage drops down (not gracefully) into the whole to help keep them alive. Kyuzo Takimura can’t see an opening for his blade, so he waits for the others to tire…and waits. Dryug remembers himself and steps back fight at a distance, making room for the warrior. The gnome creates magics and lights, but the blind wurm seems unaffected. He gives up to check the final of the four doors.

Below Ashar and Rekas Selchar take turns in the wurm’s jaws. Miria‘s is discourages the wurm, and Dryug is able to deal a killing blow to the beast. Above, the gnome sets off a trap. A dragon skull launches energy at him. The room is otherwise empty. Below the tunnel is explored, only to determine that it is a circular loop without offshoots.

The group recollects themselves after battle. The rest and continue on down the hallway behind door number three. Onward and down the hallway the group goes, Dryug and Rekas Selchar quietly scouting ahead, followed by a not-so-quiet Oryn, followed by the others. The hallway twists and reality twists with it. The hallway ceases to be a hallway, becoming a living room full of disgusting enemies. Miria’s face twists in disgust. Creatures with something wiggling under their skin attack. Monsters from atop the walls fling poo at those below and as the wiggly men are weakened, they shed their skin to become frog-like atrocities. Worst of all was a very short, strange, ginger man who laughs and attempts to rub his tumor covered arm upon the adventurers whenever he sees an opportunity.

The adventurers are victorious and the room transforms back to a twisted hallway. They continue down the hallway, hopeful to never have an experience like that ever, EVER again.

At the end of the hallway is a room filled with the corpses of about 20 recently slain drow. A door leads to another hallway. A staircase leads up. The group sees footprints in the blood leading up to the next level. At the top of the stairs is another room and a single drow. Dryug recognizes her apparel as that of a high priestess. Standing facing her is a figure the whole group recognizes. Nodding to himself after sizing up the drow, Fernando Lamas states, “My friends, the goal is behind that door. I’ll distract the wench.”

The group nods. Kyuzo Takimura wishes him luck.

Fernando Lamas draws steel and a masterful duel begins. The group carefully circumvented the battle, opened the door, and climbed yet another staircase. These stairs opened to a the roof. Awaiting them of course, was Adriana Prevot, or at least half of her. She hovered above the ground, dangling tentacles in place of legs. Her upper torso remained relatively unchanged from its previous undead manifestation. She called each of the adventurers by odd names. Not really caring the group drew their weapons, excited to kill her a third time.
Behind them, a purple dragon had phased through the floor to sneak attack them from behind. A tremendous blast of psychic energy came at the adventurers from behind. The psychic energy dazes and stuns the adventurers.

As if anticipating it, Dryug‘s mind instantly becomes a fortress and the energy splashes harmlessly against his mind like waves against the thick walls of a castle on the coast. “Hello, Master,” Dryug growls in deep speech.

“Hello, Dryug.”

The dragon tries to own Miria’s mind but she resists. Unbothered, she casually swipes a claw at Dryug. Orryn’s mind does not resist her domination. Although, his mind remains guarded, Dryug‘s attacks are lackluster. His fear and hate for the dragon leave the drow flustered.

Adriana Prevot teleports around the roof of the castle, each time causing confusion to her attackers. Rekas Selchar swings his sword at Miria instead of Adriana Prevot. He misses both. Another giant mind blast emanates from the dragon. Adriana Prevot teleports out of its area of effect.

The dragon flies up and slightly out of reach. Seeing an opportunity to eliminate Adriana Prevot, Dryug attempts to slide a burning dagger through her throat, but her throat is no longer there. Orryn, now alone to face the dragon, prepares to die; however, Ashar from across the roof of the castle, comes to his aid.

Adriana Prevot teleports again and attacks. Rekas Selchar charges and slices her in half…again. Ashar sends the dragon to the void to allow the adventurers a moment to regroup. She reappears and is surrounded. She attempts to fly out of reach, but Rekas Selchar knocks her prone with a dazzling leaping swing of his blade. Kyuzo Takimura slows her with ice.

Another mental blast drops Orryn. Kyuzo Takimura rushes toward him and leans in to perform mouth-to-mouth recitation. Miria teleport-swaps-places with Kyuzo Takimura to prevent that psychologically unfortunate event. She moves her lips away from the gnome and instead administers a magical potion. The dragon blasts Orryn again. Rekas Selchar kills the dragon and the floating island in the distance almost immediately disappears.

Moments later it reappears near the castle. Dryug goes down the stairs to check on Fernando Lamas, secretly wiping away tears of joy and relief as he makes his way down the stairs. She was gone.

At the bottom of the steps, Dryug finds Fernando Lamas resting against a wall. He is wounded but not dying. The drow priestess is nowhere to be seen. Dryug helps Fernando Lamas up the stairs.

Mindartis arrives on the roof with his floating island before Dryug returns with Fernando Lamas. Mindartis asks about Fernando Lamas and is pleased to see him climb up the stairs. He is less pleased to see Dryug still alive and helping him climb.

The group is teleported to the island with the powerful artifacts that Adriana Prevot had once again used for evil. A conversation begins about what to do with the artifacts. Mindartis asks if anyone knows what has become of the descendents of Wimbly.

“The human child that had no place on the battlefield. The incredibly talented one…who was only slightly less distasteful than a drow…she is of his line.”

“Excellent,” says Mindartis. “But who said she was even remotely near as distasteful as you.”

Miria immediately defends Dryug. In her next breath, she questions the wisdom of giving a powerful trident to an emotionally disturbed teenager. Rekas Selchar shrugs and gives Meldy the trident. It becomes pure electricity and disappears.

Mindartis refuses to transport the group to Twin Sword Springs to return the fire giant’s heart. Dryug asks why such a dangerous hill can be allowed to exist. Mindartis says he would destroy it if he could (Dryug does not believe him). The entire group, including Orryn, are returned to Bonifant.

The End

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The Most Exciting Adventure!

Prior to the adventure, Kyuzo Takimura invites everyone to tea. Revy the Hunter and the eladrin leader of the hill are not pleased to see Dryug. Dryug grows board and quietly spikes Orryn’s tea cup. The little gnome gets loud and somewhat demanding, interrupting Kyuzo Takimura sharing his philosophies with the group. “More tea please! Hiccup.”

The group rests and rises early the next morning to embark on their journey. Fernando Lamas leads them expertly through the murky swamplands. The group is making excellent time untile they are accosted by fish people and some giant, nasty, red foulspawn.

Dryug charges off and gets surrounded. He doesn’t seem overly concerned but accepts Kyuzo Takimura‘s offer of assistance. Kyuzo Takimura runs up and hits the large red foulspawn six times in rapid succession, his final blow killing the monstrosity. The others team up on the remaining foulspawn. Rekas Selchar ends up kicking the other red foulspawn to death while howling like a wolf. The fish people die in rapid succession. At one point, Miria blinks and when she opens her eyes, she realizes all of the fish people around her had been slain. Ashar gets his sword stuck on the final fish-mans ucky shield. Soon that fish man is dead as well. As Ashar attempts to pry his sword from the sticky shield, Fernando Lamas exclaims, "My that was interesting, wasn’t it? On we go." Though older than most in the group, he has managed not even to break a sweat.

After several more hours of traveling, the group comes to the edge of the swamp. Across a clearing is the dark castle. The castle exudes a feeling of wrongness, even from that distance.

The castle contorts oddly. At first the group believes it is all an illusion, until it “gives birth” to two gibering monsters, all eyes and mouths. Foulspawn and drow came out of the castle using a more conventional method (a gate). Rekas Selchar and Fernando Lamas charge toward the gibberers, they seem to be slowed as they approach and both end their charges early. The others engage the drow and foulspawn. The enemies do not live long. One of the drow is carrying a curious grappling hook.

Dryug attempts to climb the wall and tentacles come out of it and grab him. He breathes fire at the wall and jumps back. Fernando Lamas suggests usin the grappling hook to enter through an upper window. Rekas Selchar, Ashar, and Fernando Lamas climb the rope. Orryn attempts to walk up, falls and then climbs like a sensible being. Miria looks at the rope, unsure of herself. She asks Dryug for help and he replies that he probably isn’t strong enough to carry her in her armor. Surprisingly, he does not have a lude look on his face when he suggests she could take off her…Miria stops Dryug midsentence, blushing. She manages to climb up the rope on her own. Dryug unattaches the grappling hook from the ground and flies up after everyone.

Fernando Lamas says the group should split up and look for the disturbance. He goes one way and suggests everyone else go the other way. Kyuzo Takimura says that Fernando Lamas shouldn’t go alone.

The most interesting man replies, “I never explore haunted castles with others, but when I do, I do it with ladies.” He turns and walks away from the others.

The group makes their way down the hallway in the opposite direction from Fernando Lamas. At the end of the hallway is a doorway with a carving of a four headed lizard on it.

“It doesn’t look trapped. Should we open it?”

“I don’t think we should go in there. I think there’s a four headed lizard in there,” warns Orryn.

Rekas Selchar just opens the door. Orryns warning proves true. Dryug walks up and closes the door. The door simply bursts open moments later and fire spews into the hallway. The three heads not bursting with fire begin to nibble on Rekas Selchar. Ashar banishes the lizard to the void. The group repositions. Rekas Selchar swoons from the burning and the biting, catches himself, and then is healed by Miria. Dryug flies into the room and tries to unlock a door on the far side fo the room. He’s still onfire and flustered and fails. The lizard rematerializes. Kyuzo Takimura cuts off a head and two more grow from the stump of a neck. Dryug uses his newly acquired magic accorn. A metal construct aids everyone’s attacks. Kyuzo Takimura, Ashar, and Rekas Selchar continue to slash at the beast. Severed heads fly. Meanwhile, the gnome frantically tries to get into any of the locked doors, failing again and again. Miria slays the beast and Rekas Selchar feels cheated. Dryug and Rekas Selchar then move toward the doors, attempting to help the gnome. Dryug uses cunnning, and Rekas Selchar brute strength. The adventure continues in four doors and a hydra.

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Gnomish Quest

Dryug has the kids try to start a game in the castle that consists of throwing buckets of water at torches. He tries to find out details that might help him plan heist on the royal treasury. Unfortunately, the kids don’t know enough and not many other people really like talking to Dryug.

The next morning Revy the Hunter and Kyuzo Takimura meet for their dual. Revy the Hunter has recruited Captain Bohmont to officiate the duel. Without Revy the Hunter‘s permission, Bohmont has also told all of his friends about the dual, and quite a crowd has formed to watch the altercation.

Several of the adventurers are also present to cheer and boo at Kyuzo. Bohmont takes collateral and Meldy gives Revy the Hunter a cold resistance potion. Then the battle begins. Kyuzo Takimura is a whirlwind of blades, but his frost attacks are less effective against the fortified Revy the Hunter. Nevertheless, the battle initially appears to be in Kyuzo Takimura’s favor. Revy the Hunter is able to blind him with a smoke bomb and turn the tide of the battle. From the crowd, someone launches a smoke bomb in Revy the Hunter‘s direction, but it misses its mark. Dryug is decidedly inconspicuous as the crowd looks around for the culprit (it is particularly odd as Dryug seldom looks innocent of doing anything). Unable to determine the interferer, Bohmont has some of his soldiers push back the crowd and form a perimeter. Kyuzo Takimura recovers his sight, but it is not enough to save him from defeat. The crowd shouts at Revy the Hunter to execute him, and Bohmont intercedes, handing Revy the Hunter a large sum of cash. The crowd disperses.

King Wil summons the adventurers to his throne room. When they arrive, Wil is seated on his throne. Behind him are Revy the Hunter, Meldy, Blade, Rima Kohin, Bertrand Turmel, Jean deMetz, Maria Pontmercy, and an unknown gnome that had been in the crowd at the duel earlier that morning.

Wil tells everyone that the gnome is looking for capable warriors and asks if the group would care to hear his “gnomish remarks.”

The gnome begins to speak and is heckled. He continues talking, describing how he had sensed the closing of a nearby portal and assumed strong adventurers must be nearby. He then speaks about a magical teleporting hill called Amon Elende that is capable of shifting between plains. He tells the group that the hill has somehow been rooted in the Shadowfell and is under attack. He turns to Dryug and elaborates that the attackers resemble him, showing the disembodied head of a duegar. Although dead, the eyes show a fading glow of dark purple.

“What would happen if the hill was to fall?” asks Kyuzo Takimura.

Bertrand Turmel talks over the gnome’s response elaborately and incomprehensibly. The only information conveyed is that it would be disastrous and whoever captured the hill would be capable of freely moving between plains.

‘’What say you Master Dryug?"

Dryug cringes at Kyuzo Takimura’s inquiry and then cringes again as Miria sarcastically mimics it. Dryug hardly even has time to be disgusted at being associated with a duegar.
He replies that it would be unwise to let “them” have access to all the realms. He turns to Blade, “Want to fight a purple dragon?”

Blade and Rekas Selchar perk up at the question. “THE purple dragon?” asks Blade. Dryug nods.

Revy the Hunter begins asking about rewards and someone else asks Revy why she has brought Meldy. Revy the Hunter informs the group that they are now partners.

“…But she’s a child!”

Rima Kohin interjects, “Isn’t Mr. Orryn a child as well, though?” The concept of the gnomish race is explained to Rima Kohin. Wil says something about them being a shorter and lesser race. The conversation is refocused on the quest.

Miria asks what will happen if Adriana Prevot returns. Which leads to an equally distracting tangent…Where do vampires come from? When a mommy and a daddy vampire really love each other…well actually someone just gets bitten.

Dryug is committed, which in turn means a servile Kyuzo Takimura and a sarcastic Miria are soon also commited. When did the deva become sassy? Eventually the others also agree to join the quest. Orryn, the newcomer, transports them to a fantastical shimmering hill amidst the gloom of the Shadowfell.

An eladrin greets the adventurers one by one:

To Rekas: “An honor to have a warrior of the Shavron Waste.”
To Miria: “Good fortune to have a Deva with us.”
To Kyuzo: “The swordsmanship of the Yamabushi will be a great boon.”
To Ashar: “We also welcome the elemental might of the genasi.”
To Blade and Rima: “The versatility of the half elves will be of great use.”
To Revi: “Vitalio has produced many great warriors. Glad to have another one on our side.”

The eladrin then turns to Orryn. “You brought a human child and a drow? A human child…I don’t care how powerful…and a DROW! We do not want an enemy within and without.”

While Rima Kohin and Blade contemplate the meaning of their greeting and Dryug contemplates whether to knife the fellow in the throat or heart, Kyuzo Takimura and Miria speak up to defend Dryug.

“Drow are a deceitful race. He’s here to betray us.”

Dryug decides not to dirty a blade with eladrin blood. “I’m here to kill HER.”

The eladrin blinks, not knowing who “her” is. He then excuses himself as the forcefield shatters and enemies swarm the group.

The stench of dark purple eyed troglodytes and blood fills the air. Floating jellyfish monsters, no eyes (purple or otherwise), blind the adventurers. Obviously the jellyfish had inadequacy issues with the seeing. These enemies fall only to replaced by spiders: little spiders, big spiders, and a drow that possibly worshiped the biggest spider of all. Dryug openly breaths fire at them all, his first time while not hiding in a cloud of darkness. The others are too distracted by battle to question it. Rekas Selchar soon has a fresh coat of spider blood covering the coat of jellyfish blood that was covering his tattoos. The others continue to show battle prowess.

Surprisingly the small gnome not only damages enemies AND creates favorable fighting conditions for his allies AND manages not to burn any of his allies with fire or acid. Even more impressive, the mage chooses to use magic to fight rather than charge his enemies and ineffectively thwack them with his stick. He gets more than a few compliments when the fighting ends.

Fifty yards away, Dryug sees Revy the Hunter severing the head from an already dead drow. Dryug does the same (a feat more awkwardly done with daggers than a sword). He throws the head at Revy the Hunter. She side-steps the projectile and glares.

A voice from the hill calls everyone to retreat up the hill so the shield can be reactivated.

Atop the hill, the adventures find many of the warriors of Team Zalthanus, a green dragon crest marking their allegiance. Fernando Lamas is there as well, wearing old, well worn leather and surrounded by several young, well armed ladies.

The eladrin introduces himself again, being naturally quite proud of who he is, and stands up to thank everyone for their aid. Fearing the shield will not hold again, he declares that a sortie will be sent out to the dark castle in the distance. Their goal will be to break whatever magic bonds the hill to the Shadowfell. Fernando Lamas, being the most interesting of the adventurers, is selected by Mindartis to lead the expedition.

Being a gathering of great adventurers, many begin shouting their willingness to go on the dangerous, but certainly interesting quest. Fernando Lamas selects adventurers one by one: Rekas for strength, Dryug for stealth, Ashar for strong defenses, and Miria for healing. Kyuzo, he selects because he appreciates a dualist. Orryn he requests for his familiarity with the hill’s magic.

The group is told to rest and prepare for an early departure in the “morning” or whatever passed for morning in the Shadowfell.

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The Dead vs the Almost-Dead

Alone on the balcony, Dryug takes what he can of value. He throws a marble pedestal to the ground below him. It belonged to the one that took his mind. He was glad Henri Volchaire was dead, but he did Henri Volchaire was not the only threat to him.

A group of humans enter the room below where the others attempt to catch their breath. The humans are dressed like Kyuzo Takimura and he seems to recognize them. They exchange a greeting. The explain that they are the other Ronin and pledge their allegiance to King Wil. After getting details of the calamity below, he promptly tells them they must go to rescue what remains of the army.

Down the spiral staircase they go. Wil leads. Dryug is tired and chooses to follow quietly, not sharing the others enthusiasm. At the foot of the tower, the group fans out to attack a group of lingering undead. Dryug leaves the staircase at the second floor to throw knives from the safety of the balcony. Below, a skeleton attempts to claw Kyuzo Takimura and is stunned by a thwack from the flat of one of his blades. Fire and blades take down the skeletons. A dead zombie rises to fight again. A flaming dagger set him to rest in an unexpected display of pyrotechnics. The arm of a skeleton is separated from its body and a shadowy mist spews outward, darkening the room and injuring those caught inside the darkness. Dryug quietly appreciates the beauty from above as he watches the others swing their weapons blindly in the darkness. One of Miria‘s wild flailings shatters part of a ribcage and the aura of darkness grows. Dryug cheers as the dismembered enemy shoots more darkness into the world. In the darkness, Rekas Selchar swings his giant sword powerfully, but ineffectively. Despite Dryug being able to see (or rather, because of it) spurts of laughter cause his daggers to miss their marks. Wil uses magic to convince the last enemy to attack itself. It is a suicidal blow. The darkness slowly dissipates.

The other Ronin finish their enemies and join the group. Revy the Hunter joins Dryug on the balcony and begins to take artwork off the wall and stash it in a bag of holding. Dryug decides to help her, paying careful attention to where she places the bag when they are finished. Meanwhile, Ashar clambers atop a statue and pries the gemstones eyes from the statue with his sword. His ability to accomplish the feat without stabbing himself spoke volumes for his competency with a sword.

Barely stopping to rest despite near exhaustion, Wil leads the group out of the tower and into the town. They come upon another group of undead who are attempting to smash their way into one of the residences. They turn to fight the group, wielding human spines as weapons. The heavily injured Rekas Selchar prances like a wolf, hurts enemies and then falls unconscious. Dryug, still tired, finds a stone well to hide behind. A ghost lashes out at Kyuzo Takimura, temporarily distorting his visage. Everyone nearby froze in their tracks, afraid. The horror subsided and the battle continued. Having been hiding behind a well, Dryug missed the ghastliness and steps out to distract a pair of ghosts. His actions, seemly courageous are a farce. Nearby, actual courage is displayed as the others knowingly engage their fearsome opponents. Miria is able to bring back Rekas Selchar from the brink of death with a stunning display of divine energy. Miria does her best to keep the living alive and make the dead…more dead. Shrieks from the ghosts magically hamper her movement. Wil expels his stamina casting magic at enemies and falls to their onslaught. Kyuzo Takimura falls as well, bleeding terribly. Ashar and Rekas Selchar strike down the last of the skeletons and move to assist Dryug with the ghosts. Dryug sees his comrades lying on the ground and sees Miria unable to move toward them to help. He disengages and administers a magic potion to Kyuzo Takimura, dodging a ghostly hand to do so. He then moves to Wil to apply first aid. Magically revived, Kyuzo Takimura rejoins the fight. At last, Miria is able to break free of the magic immobilizing her. She moves forward and slays the final ghost. Rekas Selchar appears miffed, as he always is when he sees something die that he didn’t kill.

Dryug goes to the house that had been under attack and begins to ask for admittance. He pauses, remember his poor powers of persuasion, and opts to threaten those inside if they fail to open the door. The group is granted entry and find five Vitalian soldiers and a handful of peasants. Ashar begins looking through a chest for valuables.

“Excuse me um, erm, sir?” a normal sized human (meaning only two thirds the size of a genasi) timidly asks Ashar not to go through his things. Ashar stops. The man places a blanket upon the chest and then sits on top of it, attempting to guard his unmentionables. The Ronin arrive shortly afterward, numbering eleven instead of twelve. The body of their dead friend wrapped in a cloak and carried by three of the less injured warriors.

The group goes to sleep. The five guards standing watch. Dryug completes his meditative trance hours before the others awake. He quietly finds the bag of holding in Revy the Hunter‘s belongings, just where he had seen her stash it. It is quietly moved to his own belongings. He waits for the others to awaken.

King Wil awakens first and begins to discuss the whereabouts of the remainder of his army with the surviving soldiers. The soldiers are clearly uncomfortable talking to a king, clearly uncomfortable about having lost nearly all of their friends and acquaintances to undead horrors the night before. They answer Wil’s questions but the process is clearly painful for them.

When Dryug sees Revy the Hunter wake up and begin storing her bedding in her pack, he begins trying to move away the furniture barricading the door to the house. A pair of soldiers rush to the window to ensure no undead await them outside. After minutes of struggling, Dryug contemplates burning his way out.

“We need to get out there and look for survivors!” Dryug boldly announces. A still-sleepy Miria smiles to see Dryug displaying a desire to help others.

Meanwhile, across the room, Revy the Hunter has discovered more of her belongings have gone missing. She quietly asks about them without hearing a useful response.

The tired peasant who had fallen asleep in an awkward position atop his chest startles. He attempts to diffuse the situation, “Ma’am I ain’t seen it. Sure is likely you dropped it flee’n from them monsters.”

“I did not FLEE. Now Where Is My STUFF!?!”

She goes over to Dryug. “You’re a sneaky one. Wouldn’t happen to have taken something that didn’t belong to you, would you have?”

Dryug replies with an honest half-truth, “I’ve taken many things in my life that hadn’t belonged to me.”

She attempts to demand a more specific answer when she realizes that Rekas Selchar has snuck up behind her. “YOU! You’re sneaky, too! Where is my stuff?”

At this point, Wil attempts to intervene. He assesses the situation and immediately goes to Dryug to ask about Revy the Hunter‘s things. There is a bit of back and forth where Dryug is dodgy and noncommittal. He attempts to get Wil to stop asking him questions but instead triggers the noble side of Wil.

He interrupts Revy the Hunter verbally abusing a mostly oblivious barbarian. " Dryug has your stuff."

Revy the Hunter turns. “Give it back.”

“You know my people. I see your armor; your knife. Seems to me you should watch your things more closely when drow are about.”

Revy the Hunter begins a rant about how she obtained the items from a drow that had attempted to backstab her. She had disposed of him quickly.

Unabashedly, he replies, “Seems to me the fellow should have been smoother.”

“Seems to me, you should have been smoother.”

“I was smooth enough,” Dryug states, readying himself for a fight.

All of a sudden Revy the Hunter’s posture changes. Dryug notices eleven Ronin standing beside their leader, Kyuzo Takimura. Kyuzo Takimura stands behind and slightly to the right of Dryug. His hands rest on his weapons with a glare directed toward Revy the Hunter. Wil demands that the Ronin remain neutral in the exchange, but they do not respond.

Dryug smiled at the unexpected benefit of the healing potion he’d served Kyuzo Takimura the night before. He offers to trade his recent acquisition for the necklace she had taken from the tower. She glares. With ease, she pushes aside the furniture that Dryug had been struggling to move. Taking her belongings she storms out of the house. The others exit the house in short order. Revy the Hunter had not gone far. She stood fuming, back turned from the group.

Turning one last time, she caught Meldy‘s attention. “Care to tag along, kid?” Meldy joins her and together they leave the city.

The others search the city for survivors. No other soldiers survived the night; however, the majority of the townspeople appeared unharmed. The group learned that Henri Volchaire had offered them safety in exchange for imprisonment. When the mayor discovers Henri Volchaire has been killed, he leaves the city to provoke a threatened punishment. None comes.

The mayor begins to poetically thank Wil, calling him a brave savior. Wil interrupts the mayor to suggest they leave the ruined city. The mayor, sullen from being interrupted gathers the townspeople together and they prepare to depart. The adventurers, what remained of King Wil’s army and the mighty Ronin do their best to take up defensive positions around the group. Thankfully they encounters no trouble on their way back to Bonifant.

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Tower of Vampires

After fighting the large diseased creatures at the gate, an eerie quiet pervades. Dryug tests the gate. It swings open, but the adventurers choose not to enter. Wil detects two strong magical presences in the area: one emanating from the former wizard tower, the other coming from somewhere north of the city.

The group approaches the other source of magic. A short time later, they encounter Meldy. Dryug awkwardly strikes up a conversation. It doesn’t go well. She says she’s going into the city after Adriana Prevot. Wil convinces her to heal the group in exchange for assistance finding Adriana Prevot.

“I suppose your maladies are within my ability to heal,” she says and begins to make tea. The tea is potent and nearly kills Miria and Kyuzo Takimura. Ashar and Rekas Selchar fare slightly better. When everyone is done vomiting blood, the group notices a small army on the horizon.

Colonel Phillipe bows to Wil. “I have come to answer your summons.” Wil confirms that the soldiers know the nature of their enemy. He then directs everyone to enter the city.

As the adventurers join the ranks of soldiers, many men at arms feel uncomfortable. Dryug challenges them. Thinking they’re bothered by the presence of Adriana Prevot‘s apprentice he states, “I was never very popular when I was young either.” Meldy seems unphased. To the horror of everyone, Dryug ruffles her hair and she smiles back at him. Meanwhile, Wil has the colonel remind his men that his diverse companions saved Bonifant.

Upon entering the city, an unnatural shriek pierces the silence. The streets are empty. Occasionally someone can be glimpsed hiding in their home. As they approach the mage tower, the heavy door swings open revealing no one. “Wait here a minute,” states Wil. The adventurers enter and are immediately separated by a complex teleportation spell.

Smokn Hot Damsel

Wil and Ashar find themselves transported to an island surrounded by fire. Wil senses the place is an illusion and states his theory. A female voice responds, “I have been trapped in this illusion for one hundred years, waiting for a brave hero to save me.”

Turning, Ashar is struck by the overwhelming beauty of the fire-soul genasi standing before him. She tells them of how she had been imprisoned by an evil sorcerer named Menzo. In order for her to leave the island, someone must stay. She tells Ashar to ditch Wil and then procedes to offer bodily persuasion. After a few minutes of awkwardness for Wil, Ashar steps back and says, "Meh, I’m unconvinced."

“Well if you will not help me, I must help myself,” states the woman with fiery anger.

Ashar attacks the girl he had just been kissing. Wil ineffectually swings his staff. Partway through the battle, her skin melts off her body, leaving a floating head and dangling entrails. The entrails lash out, causing tremendous damage to both Wil and Ashar. Eventually they’re able to kill what was left of the female genasi.

Gladiators

Meanwhile, Revy the Hunter, Rekas Selchar, and Kyuzo Takimura find themselves transported to a small arena. The voice of Herny, Wil‘s vampiric grandfather, booms: “Ladies and gentleman…three powerful warriors enter, but only one may win…” The voice then begins to describe the prowess of each warrior. Around them a crowd cheers. Rekas Selchar attempts to escape the arena and is thrown back by a magical force-field.

Time passes. No one fights. The crowd boos. A vampire appears and attempts to kill the adventurers. The crowd begins to cheer. Even 3:1, the vampire holds his ground. The trio slashes at the monster again and again. His wounds close and he laughs, striking back with razor sharp claws and dominating mind attacks. Eventually the vampires laughter becomes less frequent. His wounds close more slowly, then cease to close. A final slash from Revy the Hunter turns the vampire into dust. The crowds cheers fade away as they are teleported once again.

Brave and Noble Saviors

While these other two battles rage, Dryug and Miria find themselves in a dimly lit cellar room. Behind them is a partially open door, light from the other side provides the only illumination for the room. In front of them stand a pack of undead, slowly moving toward a group of helpless elves that are tied hand and foot, lying on the ground.

Dryug looks at Miria, then at the door, then back at Miria. "I’m helping the elves," Miria declares. Dryug sighs and draws his daggers. Four exploding zombies later, Miria and Dryug find themselves flanking a more formidable undead creature. Unbeknownst, to Dryug and Miria, two of their friends are also being attacked by the intestines of a hideous beast. This last creature falls at last.

Reunited

The adventurers find themselves transported to a room in one of the upper levels of the tower. A pile of treasure sits in the center of the room and the group begins to divvy it out. Out the window, the dark backdrop of night can be seen. Shrieks are heard from below. Soldiers flee from a nightmare of monsters, but the walls of the city trap them, keeping them from escape. Revy the Hunter pockets a necklace without asking.

“What makes you think that necklace was for you?”

“It is part of my payment,” she says with a smile.

When Wil admits to allowing her to take any magical item she finds, the group begins to bicker. Dryug pickpockets the hunter while she gloats.

From a balcony above, laughter pierces the room. It is a laughter more daunting than even the screams from outside. “It seems money can do to you what my other tests could not.” The group turns to see Henry. Henry chastises Wil for sending so many soldiers to their deaths. Adriana Prevot the vampire enters, dragging the mutilated body of the colonel. Wights drop from the ceiling. There is battle. The dead threaten to kill the living. The battle looks unpromising. Dryug and Rekas Selchar are both dominated and immobilized. Dryug‘s ability to throw daggers proves more effective than [[::rekas]]’s sword throwing technique. Eventually both are able to regain control of their minds. The wights suck the very essence of life from the adventurers.

Smashing through a door, Meldy enters. “Give Adriana back!”

Henry laughs and mocks her. Adriana Prevot attempts to send her away. “The Adriana I know wouldn’t say that!” shouts Meldy

“The Adriana you know is a lie.”

The extra assistance young Meldy offers turns the battle in favor of the adventurers. Wights begin to dissipate into nothingness. Adriana Prevot turns to mist and flees. Henry attempts to do the same, but Wil‘s magic prevents him from fleeing. The group surrounds the cloud of mist, their attacks much less effective; yet ultimately, they overpower him. Kyuzo Takimura’s blade slices through the mist. Henry rematerialized for a few moments before turning to dust. Amidst his clothing, Rekas Selchar finds a magical stone.

Outside the shrieks continue, but they have slowed. The adventurers are too weary and wounded to attempt a rescue, unable to help. Will any of the brave soldiers survive until morning? Would the brave adventurers?

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A Truly Rotten Day
An emotionally charged teen and large men full of disease

As the group travels toward Parth, Hope mumbles words to Miria and flies away. The group continues on their journey. Not long after Hope‘s parting, the adventurers encounter a group of unfriendly fellows with rapiers and wands. The enemy horsemen wear Vitalian uniforms. Despite their uniforms, their hostility toward their new king is obvious. Combat ensues.

They approach and begin to surround Dryug. The drow summons darkness and then breathes fire at them. Although no one actually sees the drow breath fire, everyone sees large gouts of flame come from the darkness. A flurry of fist and foot follows. Many horses die, their riders alive badly injured. A strange man comes out of the woods and kills one of the unfriendlies in seconds. Rekas Selchar kills a few more. Only a short time passes before the others also fall.

Wil thanks the newcomer for his assistance and politely begins to interrogate the man. He claims to be a “Ronin,” a special unit assigned to protecting the crown of Vitalio. The man greets Revy the Hunter, and she returns his greeting. Neither is overly warm in the exchange. Kyuzo takes one of the fallen horses and joins the group on the journey without asking a single question. He doesn’t even ask about the party’s destination. A few hours pass and Hope‘s abandoned, undead servant dies again. Despite desiring to honor the dead,Wil is focused on his mission to dispatch Henri, and continues riding toward Parth.

Along the road, the group comes to a ruined village. Ashar tells the group about how the town had been destroyed by a magical experiment. Wil elaborates by sharing how three senior wizards from Parth had fought and died in a battle against Adriana Prevot.

As the group approaches the center of the town they see a young girl standing at the base of a large marble statue. Wil recognizes her as Adriana Prevot’s apprentice and asks, “Why are you here?”

“I’m here to punish all of you for the murder of Adriana Prevot,” says the girl. Earth and fire elementals appear. “Here in my birthplace, I have the strength to defeat you all!” Meldy, the young teen begins to draw magical energy from the statue behind her and throw electricity at everyone.

As the adventurers begin to engage Meldy and her elementals, the girl begins to babble, “William Aldgridge, you are priority six…Rekas Selchar, you are priority two…Dryug you are priority four. Revy…you presence is unexpected…if you even are Revy.” The girl refuses to explain her babbling. Dryug focus his ki on the girl, her magically summoned companions, and her precious statue. She seems particularly rattled by the attacks on the statue. “This statue is the last remenant of my family”

Rovindor Hammersmith mentions that Adriana Prevot might be alive, and conveniently fails to mention that he and the others are on the way to kill her.

“It’s not possible. She would have told me.” She looks at Rovindor Hammersmith and demands he repeat his claim while she looks into the fire of a burning magical candle. The dwarf does and she becomes noticeably flustered. Rovindor Hammersmith and Miria suggest that perhaps Adriana Prevot was unable to contact her; that she was being prevented by someone.

A single tear rolls down her cheek. Dryug uses this moment of weakness to attempt coercion. “Perhaps you could help us kill the vampires that might be controlling her. At the least, could you unsummon the elementals you’ve been using to kill us?”

She begins to cry more vehemently. The elementals disappear, but she does not comment about assisting them. Dryug swindles her magic candle away from her. Miria suggests he pay her for it. Dryug assesses the value of the candle, decides he doesn’t have that kind of money, and instead leaves her with a simple thanks.

Dryug uses the candle to confirm Revy the Hunter is Revy the Hunter and then asks her about the underdark. She has never been there. Dryug quietly ponders this, asking no more questions, but wondering how it is that she wears the equipment of a drow.

As the part, Revy the Hunter leaves the crying teen with food and Rovindor Hammersmith offers to carry a message to her for Adriana Prevot. She asks for Adriana Prevot to come get her.

Kyuzo sets up a magical scarecrow to guard the group during the night; however, he doesn’t tell anyone how to disarm it. Dryug meditates for a few hours and awakens long before the others. The scarecrow starts squawking. Irritated, Dryug punches it and it explodes into a ball of flame. Kyuzo expresses his frustration. Everyone else is awake because of the squawking.

Without a plan (as per usual), the group approaches the city. In the distance, they see that the city of Parth is now surrounded by a spiked earthen wall, meant to keep inhabitants in, not keep intruders out. The only gate to the city has four giant humanoids guarding it. A delegation of people come out to meet the party. Included is the mayor of the town. He tells the group to turn aside and not enter the town.

“Is it a plague?”

“A plague of sorts,” the mayor says. “Please don’t try to help.”

Rovindor Hammersmith looks the fellow in the eye and asks, “Are you sure? We’re VERY good at removing unwanted presences.”

Quietly the mayor tells them of the vampires in the town. More loudly he insists, “We don’t want your help.” They return to the town.

Before the group can decide what to do next, the large guards at the gate engage. As they grow closer, their bandages are less effective at concealing weeping wounds. Battle continues. Enemies fall, but many of our adventurers find themselves infected with a mummy-rot plague before the battle is done.

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Draconic Rivalry & Royal Hypocrisy
Just b/c a plan works, doesn't make it smart

The group is approached by a Peredhil wearing lots of spiked armor and a human female. Most in the group recognize the Peredhil as one of the younger dragons (shapeshifted). He introduces himself as Blade and then introduces his companion as Terratancia. He then proudly states to any that might not already know, “We’re dragons.” The woman then chastises him for his lack of subtlety.

Blade tells the group of his plan to attack the enemy. He wants to fly the adventurers out, one at a time, to assault the catapults that are being brought toward the city walls. Terratancia declares his plan stupid and suggests teleporting the group to a pavillion where the enemy army’s leaders are likely located. Blade mocks her ability to teleport. She replies that what she teleports arrives where its supposed to…eventually. She proves her skill by teleporting a spear.

Dryug flips a coin and tells Blade, “Today is as good a day as any to die.” Blade smiles and shapeshifts into a dragon. Terratancia leaves in a huff, telling Dryug that if he’s going to leave his life to chance, he deserves what he gets. Dryug shrugs, grabs a pair of torches, and mounts Blade.

Blade dodges arrows, racing toward the catapults. The workers pushing them flee. A soldier or two is nearby but hesitant to engage a dragon. Dryug jumps from Blade, landing gracefully like a drow, and begins to burn and smash. Blade claws at a catapult as he flies past and then returns toward the castle. Soldiers begin to move in to protect the catapults, but Blade is back with Asher before they arrive. Asher engages the men. Shortly later Rekas Selchar joins him. Dryug enjoys continues to torch the siege weapons, intentionally leaving one intact. Wil arrives to add his fire to the festivities.

Meanwhile on the wall, Miria chases after Terratancia and manages to convince her to help teleport the group out of harms way, should the plan fail. Terratancia likes the idea of being close to watch Blade fail. Eventually the entire group of adventurers and two shapeshifting dragons are on the ground. Dryug and Blade turn the unbroken catapult to fire upon the enemy. The others fight the slowly growing contingent of soldiers that arrive to stop the sortie. Terratancia remains intentionally unengaged until a soldier is stupid enough to attack her. Even in Peredhil form, she is ferocious.

Fighting becomes more fierce. Only the catapult being operated by Dryug and Blade remain. Blade, having too much fun, refuses to begin flying anyone back to the safety of the walls. Terratancia uses her magic to teleport the group back to the courtyard. Her unrefined talent incidentally teleports half a dozen enemy soldiers into the courtyard as well. Fighting continues until friendly soldiers arrive to defend king Wil. Eventually Blade returns smiling.

Wil thanks Terra. The soldiers report that battle on the walls have slowed since the surprise attack. The group goes to report to Gaul Kahn. Gaul Kahn has mixed reactions about the attack on the catapults, declaring the action as not strategically sound but seemingly effective. When Dryug attempts to argue, he states that just because a plan worked does not make it a smart plan. Gaul Kahn suggests they rest while the enemy regroups.

Wil finds his mom and asks about the wounded. He then asks after Maria Pontmercy and is told she is on the wall. He then goes to chat with his lady before returning to his chambers to rest.

While the others sleep, Hope memorizes a ritual to raise the dead. He then goes to the castle hospital ward to wait for one of the soldiers to die. When one dies, he takes the body. He is stopped by a nurse, but lies spectacularly and is allows him to leave with the corpse.

The next morning, the magically amplified voice of the general speaks to the city. The general declares that new intelligence has informed him that the previous king was evil and William Volchaire should be supported as the true king. He then disbands his army and exiles himself.

The surrounding army begins to disperse and the defenders on the wall cheer and begin to celebrate. Wil gives a speech to the people (written by Miria). The speech is incredibly well written; however the delivery is mediocre. The message bolsters the people. “Today marks a new beginning for Vitalio!”


The city is in full celebration. The Peredhil were not previously acquainted with alcohol and as a result are particularly silly during the festivities. The adventurers are at the Flying Snake Inn celebrating when Telmar arrives.

Dryug playfully picks a fight with Rekas Selchar and Telmar gets the Peredhill to chant, “Fight, fight!” Rekas Selchar charges and gets shown up. Without his steel he is no match for Dryug. Blade challenges the victor. Dryug dodges a punch and sweeps his feet out from under him. Across the bar, Dryug notices Terra smiling. Surprised, the shapeshifted dragon get back on his feet and shakes the drow’s hand. Drinking and revelry continue.

Wil goes off to buy the services of Revy the Hunter. Rekas Selchar goes to the training grounds to smash things. Eventually folks make their way to bed.

The next morning, the group prepares to set out for a battle with vampires at Parth. Wil attempts to scold Hope for defiling one of his men by raising him from the dead. To this Hope retorts, “That’s hypocritical. We raised you from the dead.”

Wil establishes a chain of command for the city while he is gone. The group sets out.

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Mischief
Poor Old Uncle Paco!

Dryug and Hope regroup with the others after some minor mischief. They’re able to convince the rest of the group to head to the breached southern gate. Rekas Selchar is particularly excited about going where the enemies are thickest.

Hope adds his knowledge to Dryug‘s stealth. Miria spots some soldiers and the group is able to avoid the patrol. Hope leads them through a tavern as a “shortcut” and manages to lap up some booze along the way (he’s in dog form again). Everyone makes it to the warehouse district just inside the southern wall without being detected or ambushed.

They climb to a second story roof to survey the scene. Troops are attempting to regroup and establish a temporary base within the wall. They seem to be re-purposing a former open air market for their staging ground for the assault on the inner wall.

Dryug goes to set a fire in a warehouse across the street. The fire starts burning rather quicker than expected and attracts the attention of some soldiers. He is charged and attacked. He casts darkness, hits two fellows, and in the confusion causes one of them to swing his blade at a third. He then runs down an alley and disappears. The fire begins to spread and he is quickly forgotten.

He returns to the group, “Well that didn’t go quite according to plan. What next?”

In the open air market, there is a flurry of voices and activity. Occasionally a distinct sentence can be heard above the cacophony. “It doesn’t matter what your politics are… EVERYONE loves Uncle Paco’s Crepe Shop.” “I’m a fire wizard. I make fire, I don’t put it out.”

Wil makes himself invisible and then throws a giant ball of electricity at the soldiers gathering water from the fountain to put out the fires. More than a dozen soldiers fall immediately, others are thrown backward and slowly get up, dazed. Despite being invisible, he’s not able to hide the direction the attack came from. In characteristic act of brilliance Hope ends up in the alley and shape-shifts to look like Wil. He then shouts to draw everyone’s attention. Soldiers charge toward him while others go up toward the roof where the shock sphere had originated.

While looking like the king, Hope uses his aberrant powers. Rekas Selchar falls down the stairs as he charges to meet enemies. Dryug more gracefully arrives at the bottom of the stairs and uses darkness to protect Rekas Selchar while he finds his footing. He then suggests that the top of the stairs might be a more strategic place to fight enemies. Rekas Selchar then storms up the stairs and jumps off the building. He crash lands on top of one of the soldiers fighting Hope in the alley and kills him without getting up. Inspired, Asher leaps off the building too, no more gracefully than Rekas Selchar. For a few moments, Hope gets to watch as assailants an allies roll around in the alley in front of him.

Dryug defends the top of the staircase, allowing Wil and Miria a chance to escape. Wil jumps to a nearby building. Miria is boring (sane?) and chooses to climb down a nearby ladder.

Battle continues in the alley below and the upon the rooftops above. After everyone is able to flee the original rooftop, Dryug harnesses his ki to fly away. Wil takes one more opportunity to spray fire on the pursing soldiers before jumping off his second rooftop and fleeing the scene.

Rekas Selchar is brought down in the middle of an alley by a volley of arrows in the middle of an alley. Teamwork saves the hapless barbarian: Ashar force-feeds him a potion and Hope‘s drags him out of harm’s way.

Everyone then makes a tactical retreat as they are showered by a rain of daggers from soldiers on the rooftops.

A dramatic scene unfolds as the party returns to the castle. Soldiers cheer the return of Wil and his brave companions. A relieved Pontmercy stands in the middle of the courtyard.

Driven by the fervor of war, realizing that today might be his last, Wil impulsively walks up to Pontmercy and takes her in his arms.

Sensing the mood, Hope strums on his fiddle and sings an old song of lovers parted (The Titanic Theme). Wil’s first attempt at a kiss goes awry, eliciting chuckles from the sea of onlookers. Maria takes the lead, and lips couple in a culmination of pent-up passion.

Most who view the scene howl and whistle in appreciation, but a few of the nobles look on in askance. The few foolish enough to object are quickly silenced by the glares of those around them.

The business of war pulls Wil out of his pleasant encounter with Pontmercy. He learns from Kahn that half the defenders were lost, and pauses a moment to mourn their loss.

At this point, Henri Volchaire shows up and repeats his offer of support. In return, he requests two of Wil’s soldiers for use in his nefarious plans. Wil quickly rejects Volchaire’s offer, and he disappears in a mist.

The Peredhil find themselves in shock after the events of the day. Hope explains to a blood-covered Rima that sometimes it’s OK to kill people.

Rekas, Hope, and Ashar briefly consider another sortie, but think better of it and decide to get a good night’s sleep.

In the morning, Hope delivers a bolstering speech of courage and perseverance. Its like has not been equaled in the land of Haven.

The enemy forces begin their assault by raising ladders against the city walls. Ashar becomes a mighty avatar of the storm, sweeping soldiers from the walls left and right. Hope, Rekas, and Ashar each experience the thrill of kicking down a ladder.

The fight has gone well elsewhere on the walls. The castle holds – for now.

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Under Siege
No sign of Steven Seagal yet...

The group begins to split up after winning the war games. Miria seeks out an apothecary to help Hope control his aberrant problem. Rima Kohin wants Wil to present his case to all of the Peredhil. Telmar approaches Dryug and tells him not to die while he’s gone. Then he pulls out his magic hat and shapeshifts. Dryug catches up to Telmar away from crowds and asks the dragon what he’s planning.

To his suprise, Telmar tells him he’s going to track down the general of the approaching army, kill him, and shapeshift into an imposter general. The dragon-man then stuns the guards at the gate that attempt to stop him and walks toward the direction of the approaching army.Pleased and a bit puzzled by the dragon’s unusual straight-forwardness, Dryug follows. Telmar finds a farm and pretends to be a farmer. Dryug finds a haybale and pretends not to exist. Several hours pass and a scout approaches. Telmar, the farmer, patiently waits for the scout to get closer. He then knocks out the scout, takes his clothes, steals his face (via magic hat), and rides back the way the scout had come. Dryug then knocks out the scout again for good measure and drags his body back to the castle for Gaul Kahn to interrogate.

More than four hours have passed when Dryug arrives back to the castle with his captive. Meanwhile, Rima Kohin finds herself forced to remind Wil that the Peredhil are waiting for him to try to persuade them toward his cause. He apologizes, meets with the Peredhil, and gives a less than stellar speech. He tells them he hopes for a peaceful solution but is worried the army will not listen to them without a strong enough force to deter an outright attack. He explains that the previous king was unkind to his subjects (Wil fails to mention that the previous king was a persecutor of non-humans. He also fails to mention that he had kept foulspawn in his basement and that his most trusted adviser was an aberrant warlock). The Peredhil are unconvinced by Wil‘s unspecific argument about the former king being a bad man. They politely tell Wil they’ll be leaving the city.

Dryug sees them leaving and convinces Rima Kohin to take the orphans with them. Dryug runs off to collect children and Rekas Selchar approaches.

“Leaving, huh? Guess you’re not interested in protecting a city from invaders.”

“We have no interest in killing those that are so like ourselves,” replies Rima Kohin.

“Hmmm…don’t suppose they’d mind killing you much. Not fully human is not worth keeping alive, they’d probably say.”

Rima Kohin asks for clarification and Rekas Selchar casually mentions oppression and genocide and then smiles and says something about being thankful he’s human. In a quite bizarre feat of barbaric diplomacy, Rekas Selchar convinces the Peredhil not to leave.

No long leaving, one of the Peredhil is sent to tell Dryug to stop rounding up children. In another bizarre feat of diplomacy, Dryug convinces some Peredhil to help him set a trap for the approaching army. Most likely, Hope convinced a few of them to eat crapes… Miria probably convinced a few of them that they had more potential than they thought they had… Rovindor Hammersmith might have even convinced a few of them that they were dwarves. Quite impressionable were they to the whims of all but kings.

Wil goes out to the wall to thank Rima Kohin for changing her mind and accidentally insinuates that he didn’t think she would care about genocide. Poor Wil.

The army arrives and spread out to surround the city. A magically amplified voice introduces himself as General de Launey and demands the leaders of the insurrection come out of the city.

Jean deMetz reminds Wil that going out alone might not be a good idea. Wil asks Rekas Selchar and is rebuffed. Then Jean deMetz introduces Wil to the royal body guard. Ultimately, the whole group decides to join him anyway. Wil is hesitant to bring non-humans, but Gaul Kahn points out that the time for subtle politics has passed.

They meet the general and a small entourage outside the city. Rekas Selchar gives a speech about solving the disagreement with champions. The general proves not to be as persuadable as the Peredhil. The general offers Wil safe passage and exile. He refuses. Rekas Selchar is obnoxious albeit impressive with his attempts to display his strength. Rekas Selchar showcasing proves to be distracting to both sides of the parley. Wil says something about having not murdered anyone. Rekas Selchar begins listing the names of those he’s killed (at the top of his list is Chancellor Adriana Prevot and the captain of the guard). Dryug calls out the general on being next in line for the throne after Rekas Selchar tactlessly mentions that the prince has hung himself. Miria attempts to unite him under the common goal of killing foulspawn; however, most people don’t believe foulspawn exist. In short, the parley goes poorly, and both sides return to their armies. Everyone rests in preparation for battle.

Catapults exchange rounds. Arrows fly. The wall holds and battering rams approach. The king himself repels the first round of attack (with help from his adventuring coterie). The battering ram is destroyed and the enemy begins retreating. Wil suggests they let the enemy go, triggering incredulousness from the archers on the wall. A few more soldiers die. Miria, Asher, and Dryug take a prisoner. The adventures retreat behind the wall to rest before the next onslaught.

The next wave at their gate consists of a magically beefy man and some normal sized soldiers. Once again, Wil melees a soldier. The soldier laughs. Rekas Selchar runs up behind him and jams a full-blade between his shoulders. Wil laughs back. The archers on the wall cheer. The Hulk keeps banging the ground, causing sand, soil, and rock to fly everywhere. Someone from the wall shouts that he’s fighting dirty. A chorus of boos ensues. He dies and the group retreats to rest behind the gate again, only to be told that another of the gates has been breached.

Everyone begins to fall back to the inner wall of the keep.

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