Chapter Thirteen: Siege of Sanctuary (Part 1)

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trouble_ahead_by_donmalo-d7o7byx (1)

Summary

  • Caerwyn, Capital of Elemey
    • there’s a somber funeral for King Griffith Rhaewyn
    • Princess Siana is crowned Queen Siana Rhaewyn I
      • her first official act as queen is to present medals of heroism to the party for saving the capital
    • there are two letters among Illarion Voronov’s belongings
      • the first letter is signed “S,” who they suspect is Grand Master Seraphina of the Imperial Magi, berating Voronov for breaking their deal
      • another they suspect is from someone in the Knights Torment, signed “A,” wondering what the hell Voronov is doing
    • the party has no time to waste, and takes the Crimson Hawk east to Watcher’s Rest
  • Watcher’s Rest, Sanctuary
    • as their airship approaches Watcher’s Rest, they see huge storm clouds approaching the city
    • the party meets with Zerefin, Hero of the Demon War and Lord Protector of Sanctuary, in his war room where he briefs them on the situation
      • the orc horde of the Bleeding Hand is lead by Gorram Manbreaker, an orc of extreme strength to gather a horde of this size
      • the green dragon Shadowthorn has been spotted throughout the orcs’ ranks
      • storm giants have created huge storms to conceal the horde’s advance on the city’s walls
      • he doesn’t know what the horde wants with the city, but he suspects their after Magus or want to break the Abyssal Seal under the Black Spire
      • Ezekiel suspects they’re after the gems, because everyone is after the gems
    • Zerefin asks the party if they can handle one of the storm giants
    • the party marches to battle with Sanctuary’s troops, fighting their way through through the orcs and the storm
    • they find one of the storm giants on the other side of the river
      • Tarkonus unleashes a storm of fire across the bridge that mows down a squad of orogs, the orc elite
    • after they defeat the storm giant, the storm lets up in their area
    • as the sky clears, they see blue dragons and an Imperial dreadnought in the distance
    • as they turn return to the city, something explodes out of the river behind them, and they hear a booming roar
    • Shadowthorn is upon them
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Chapter Twelve: City of Darkness

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on_his_way_by_donmalo-d7j3mhb

Summary

  • Caerwyn, Capital of Elemey
    • as the Crimson Hawk nears the city of Caerwyn, a globe of darkness sits ominously where the city should be
    • they land the ship outside the globe, leaving Princess Siana with Dash and Edana while they investigate
    • they enter the globe of darkness and find that everyone inside is in a deep slumber
    • the heroes make their way to the palace
    • Royal Palace, Caerwyn
      • the gates are all open, the guards are asleep at their posts, but uninjured
      • they enter the throne room and find King Griffith Rhaewyn laying dead beneath his throne and a man, the Warstranian enchanter Illarion Voronov (the guy who cursed the Princess in the first place), standing above his cold lifeless body
        • before Voronov even speaks, the heroes charge forward
        • it becomes apparent that Voronov is a vampire
        • Tarkonus manages to turn the undead enchanter, and Voronov retreats further into the palace
        • wolves burst through the stained glass windows and vampire spawn rush to meet them
        • they see Voronov flee into the Royal Crypts
    • Royal Crypts, Caerwyn
      • the heroes explore the crypts, finding a few Elemey guards still alive that they send back, and battling some wraiths and banshees
      • in one of the rooms, guarded by some deadly traps, they find a spell book and an exquisite flute
      • in one of the crypts, they find a coven of night hags
        • the hags turn Corbin in a frog
        • they were maintaining the ritual spell that kept the city in perpetual darkness
      • at the other end of the crypt, they find a flooded chamber
        • they find the Cloak of Ascension in a king’s tomb
      • they don’t find any sign of Voronov inside
    • Royal Palace, Caerwyn
      • as they make their way back into the throne room, they see the bodies of the guards that they’d met in the crypts
      • Voronov attacks from the shadows
        • the vampire dominates Ezekiel for a bit, forcing him to turn his radiant blade on Corbin, before Tarkonus dispels the enchantment
        • Voronov moves like the wind, dashing around the room
          • Corbin grabs him to keep him in place, but the vampire turns into mist in his hands
        • Azeem uses the Cube of Force to trap himself, the vampire, Corbin, and Ezekiel in an inescapable arena
        • Ezekiel fills the cube with a wall of fire, but gets charmed by the vampire, and Voronov tricks him into dispelling it
        • Corbin gets cursed repeatedly, preventing him from cutting Voronov to pieces
        • Azeem is laid low by Voronov’s blade and magicks, almost dies twice
        • eventually Corbin cleaves Voronov into mist, and Ezekiel uses the Emerald Sword to obliterate the vampire for good
        • a ring falls from the remains
    • Princess Siana mourns the loss of her father, and frets over the fate of her kingdom
      • allows the heroes to keep anything they’ve found in the Royal Crypts as a reward for saving her and defeating Voronov
    • Elemey scouts report that the orc horde is far larger than they had imagined
      • orcs bearing the banner of the Bleeding Hand have emerged from the forests to the east, but instead of heading here, have turned east towards Sanctuary

Items

The Cloak of Ascension

A snow white cloak with shining gold trim, blessed by Aurasanna. When activated, the cloak transforms into a pair of glowing, angelic wings that shine like beacon of hope.

The Ring of Freedom

There are no strings on me.

Chapter Eleven: Forgotten Temple

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holy_slayer_by_thebastardson-d4ae8um

Summary

  • Reunited with Dash and Eldana, the party takes Princess Siana of Caerwyn east aboard the Crimson Hawk
  • they travel north, around the border of the Elven forest of Ley Serne
  • as they near Grayfell, Tarkonus mentions an abandoned Ethereal Knights temple that’s on their way, which may contain some forgotten treasure
  • Plains of Grayfell, near the ruins of Vanyard
    • Encounter – Orc Raiding Party
      • Azeem saw a group of orcs, ogres, and a hill giant in the distance
      • as they approached, he mowed them down with a rain of arrows
      • they belonged to the Bleeding Hand tribe, as signified by the red hand symbols in their tattoos, markings, and banners
  • Ruins of Vanyard, Grayfell
    • the party enters the ruined city, leveled during the Demon War
    • Encounter – Orcs and Trolls
    • Ethereal Temple
      • the temple is mostly intact
      • Encounter – Orc Elite
        • inside, the party faces a group of orog-hai with a giant, supported by some orc shamans
        • during the battle, an orc chieftan swoops in atop of wyvern
      • after the battle, Ezekiel finds a stairway behind the altar
        • he follows it down into a small chamber with two stone statues flanking an ornate set of doors, with orc corpses strewn before them
        • Ezekiel approaches and the statues come to life and attack him, he turns around and finds that the exit is blocked by a sphere of annihilation, and is beat to near death
      • as Ezekiel falls, the sphere disappears and the party is able to enter the room
        • they heal Ezekiel and defeat the stone guardians
      • past the door, they find a chamber with the same circles of runes that they saw in the previous temple
        • Tarkonus plays his flute, activating the runes, and transporting them into an ethereal vault with a chest full of treasure

Items

The Emerald Sword

Spellguard Shield

Candle of Invocation

Cube of Force

Adamantine Breastplate

Chapter Ten: Imperial Escape Redux

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seraphim__set_the_sky_on_fire__by_thedurrrrian-d7gb1uo

Summary

  • Imperial Palace, Harthanmoor
    • Tell Princess Siana of Elemey they’re here to rescue her
      • Siana tells them the Imperials cured her illness, but are now keeping her hostage as leverage over her father, King Griffith
    • As they open the door of the throne room, the full might of the Imperial forces is arrayed outside
      • Grandmaster Seraphina, four Magi, a company of guardsmen, two blue dragons, and two gunships
      • the party is encased in a wall of force
      • Corbin promptly shuts the door
      • the Magi teleport into the throne room
        • Seraphina tells the group to surrender
        • she recognizes Ezekiel as the Dragonslayer and Nathan’s ward, and says that was strange since Nathan had vowed never to train anyone again
        • she says she’s known Nathan a long time
    • suddenly, the world becomes hazy and all color fades from it, one wall collapses behind them as the arm of a Nightmare reaches in and snatches one of the Magi
      • Seraphina teleports away, and the wall of force drops
    • the party runs outsides as the Magi attack the Nightmare
    • the entire company of guardsmen are standing in a stupor, in the next courtyard a dragon circles a giant Nightmare that towers over the wall
    • an Imperial gunship crashes through a nearby wall, and lands in the courtyard
      • Corbin rips open the door, the entire crew is in the same dazed stupor
      • they through out the crew, tie up the Navigator, and Ezekiel pilots the gunship, flying them north, over the mountains
    • an Imperial gunship gives chase
      • Azeem and Korrac man the two cannons, while Corbin and Tarkonus reload them
      • Azeem fires a shot that nearly tears the Imperial ship in half
      • after slugging it out, the Imperial gunship eventually falls out of the sky and crashes, but their ship isn’t looking much better
  • Mountain Range North of Harthanmoor, the Empire
    • they take a short rest while they come up with a plan
    • they decide to head to Kendreoth to warn them of the Imperial attack, and then bring the Princess home to Elemey
    • they force the Imperial Navigator to fly the ship overnight to save travel time
    • shortly after they take off, while Azeem is watching the Navigator, the Navigator turns invisible
    • Azeem wakes the rest of the party, and they search and find one of the exterior doors is open
    • they park the ship in the forest for the night
  • Overland, The Empire
    • after days of uneventful travel, they hear the roar of a dragon as it lands on their ship
    • they go up top and find a Magus riding a blue dragon
    • Corbin tears into the dragon, and before it flies off Korrac finishes it with a well shot from the cannon, and the Magus detaches herself and falls through the sky
    • Ezekiel does some fancy flying and catches the falling Magus, as she hits the top of the ship, Corbin removes her head, and Azeem puts an arrow through it as it sails through the sky
  • Tortaron, Kendreoth
    • Ezekiel lands the ship outside of the city and they destroy it
    • they arrive in the three-walled city safely

Chapter Nine: Another Castle

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room_sketch_by_donmalo-d7pgy3x

Summary

  • As they approach Harthanmoor, a giant blue, beam of lights shoots into the sky from the city’s direction
  • Harthanmoor, The Empire
    • the city is in high spirits as they prepare for St. Aldren’s Day
    • they hear news of a big annoucement later in Aldren Square
    • Aldren Square
      • the Imperial Magi and Knights are lined up, with Grand Master Seraphina at the head of the assembly
        • she announces that the Empire has an ancient artifact that controls blue dragons, the nation of Elemey has allied with them, and they’re going to war with Kendreoth
        • two dragons land with magi riding them for emphasis
        • Eldaine, an Imperial Magi that Ezekiel had met when he helped Cynder the gnome warlock escape at the start of the campaign, sees Ezekiel and sends him a message telling him to meet her at the Silver Sparrow
    • Silver Sparrow Brothel
      • the party meets Eldaine in a backroom
        • she explains that the Princess has been cured of her illness, but is being held hostage to blackmail Elemey into helping the Empire in the East
        • she also says no one knew that the stones they’ve been looking for could control dragons
        • she notices that Tarkonus is an ethereal knight, and says that they might have had a way to get into the palace, as they were close to oligarchy before the Empire took power
      • Tarkonus remembers the location of an Ethereal Temple in the mountains north of the city
  • Ethereal Knights’ Temple, Mountains North of Harthanmoor
    • after a day of travel, they find a hidden entrance in the mountain range
    • the temple is abandoned, but has demons, traps, and treasure
    • at the end, they find a rune circle, which is actually the notes of a song
      • Tarkonus plays his pan flute and it transports them into the ethereal plane, where a passage leads back towards the city
  • The Imperial Palace, Harthanmoor
    • the ethereal passage leads them into Imperial Palace
    • they sneak through part of the palace, then fight through Imperial Knights and Magi in the courtyards, to the main keep and in the throne room
    • Ezekiel notices that the Imperial Magi have a familiar fighting and casting style
    • find Princess Siana in a lavish bedroom

Items

Bracers of Archery

Wand of Fireballs

The Belt of Crimson Might

 

Chapter Eight: At A Loss

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Summary

  • Kiryat Masana, Auranoch
    • The party regroups at the Aurani stronghold with Lethias and Selendriel
    • Silvaras and Valandriel arrive and break the bad news to Corbin, their father, King Myer of the Desert, is dead, killed by Mawganar
    • rumors have spread about how Ezekiel killed one of the red dragons, earning him the title “the Dragonslayer”
    • Ezekiel finds an ancient fairytale about a boy who finds six stones and summons a powerful spirit, who asks if he wants to save the world, or destroy it
    • the halfling smuggler, Korric, has heard there’s a miracle gemstone keeping the Princess of Caerwyn alive
    • Lethias gives Azeem a Quiver of Souladil and twenty magical arrows
    • the party decides to travel to Watcher’s Rest and speak with Kronus
  • Highpass, Delrune
    • the town seems fearful in the light of the attack on Auranoch
    • short stop for supplies, and the party keeps moving
  • Along the Highroad, Sanctuary
    • to the south, at Vanyard, now a ruin since the Demon War, there was a chapter of Tarkonus’s extinct order, one the six ancient knightly orders
    • Encounter – Elemental Ambush
      • the party is ambushed by air and earth elementals
      • Tarknous exploded an earth elemental for 104 damage with a crit, lvl 5 inflict wounds
    • a mile off the Highroad, they find half the wreckage of a airship, possibly destroyed by a dragon, picked clean by orcs
    • find the remains of a caravan, attacked by orcs
  • Watcher’s Rest, Sanctuary
    • meet with Jacques, the door guard, and Kronus the Black
    • Kronus has had no luck extracting the stones
      • they have homogenized with each other and the host, Magus
      • unable to manipulate them as they are, would probably have more luck with a sample
      • Corbin asks if they could somehow use the demon lord inside him to fight the dragon, which Kronus tells him is pure crazy talk, the demon lord would kill them all
    • the halfling smuggler finds an airship that’ll take the party to Caerwyn
    • hear that orcs and gnolls are warring to the southwest
  • Overland, between Sanctuary and Elemey
    • they pass over the forest where orcs and gnolls are warring
    • Azeem detects a dragon presence in the forest as they fly over
  • Caerwyn, Elemey
    • Azeem detects a dragon presence in or around the city
    • dragons have been sighted around the country
    • the castle guard tells them that the Imperials were here a couple days ago and have taken Princess Siana to Harthanmoor, the Imperial Capital
    • they get an audience with King Griffith of House Rhaewyn, Rightful Ruler of Elemey, and Faithful Servant of Aurasanna
      • he says the Imperial Magi came and said they could cure his daughter if they could bring her to the Imperial Academy
        • desperate to cure her, with no other options at that point, he agreed
      • Princess Siana was cursed by a Stranian sorcerer, Illarion Voronov, the former heir of the now defunct Warstran, a month prior
        • Illarion sought the Princess’s hand in marriage as his first step in restoring Warstran
        • the memories of the King and the guards gets fuzzy after that, they don’t remember what he did exactly or how he left
        • she grew severely ill, and it seemed her death was certain
        • one of her mother’s gemstone necklaces, a blue sapphire, miraculously seemed to stave off the sickness and stabilize her
      • the party decides to travel to Harthanmoor, resecures the services of the same airship, pay him enough to brave the dangerous skies

Interlude: The End in Flames

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His city was burning. Winged dragonmen descended from above. And a crimson shadow dominated the sky, headed this way.

Everyone knew the stories. The legends. The ancient lord of fire made flesh. Death on crimson wings. Mawganar.

As his wife cut down one of the dragonmen, it exploded into a cloud of rust. She coughed, backing towards him until she brushed against him. She looked over her shoulder, and her eyes went wide.

“You need to get out of here,” Myer said.

“So what?” Selendriel said, her face cross. “So you can fight that thing alone?”

“We don’t both need to die here,” Myer said. “Find the kids. Keep them…”

“Safe?” Selendriel said. “I can’t… I can’t just leave y—”

Myer silenced her with a final kiss.

“We always knew you’d outlive me,” Myer said.

Before Selendriel could say another word, he bolted off with a blast of wind.

Leaving her with tears in her eyes.

♦ ♦ ♦

“You are impressive for a man, Desert King,” the ancient wyrm boomed.

Each breath was a struggle. Blood ran over his eye. But he held his ground, Levana and Allefye still in hand.

“The best is yet to come,” Myer said.

Mawganar’s head snaked forward, and Myer slid under the massive jaws. The dragon twisted and its enormous claw dug into the stonework as the King of the Desert hurtled past.

The bladedancer ran up the dragon’s hind leg and became a living storm of blades. His swords flashed, slicing through its weathered scales, carving through its flesh, drawing dragon’s blood, as Myer raced along the serpent’s spine and up its neck.

Before Mawganar could blink, Myer drew his blades across the dragon’s eye, splitting its scales and slashing through the pale, yellow orb and its black slit pupil.

The dragon roared and thrashed about, wracked the palace walls. Dust billowed up in clouds with a shower of clay and glass. Mawganar whipped its head around, breathing arcs of fire.

Myer rolled under the flames, came to his feet. Smirked.

“Father!”

Across the courtyard. Behind the dragon. A sword in each hand. His daughter.

“Lana!” Myer shouted. “Run!”

Mawganar paused and raised its head. Turning towards the new arrival.

♦ ♦ ♦

The dragon towered over her. The palace. Everything. It didn’t seem real.

Mawganar reared its head towards her. One eye a ruined mess, the other fixed firmly on her.

“Lana! Run!”

But she couldn’t leave him to die. Wouldn’t leave him to die. She steadied her sword and her heart.

May Souladil guide my bla—

A rush of wind knocked her off her feet.

A shadow blotted out the sky, fell upon her. A dark maw opened and rushed to meet her.

And she saw a light at the end of it.

She grunted. The world was a spinning blur. She heard something. The snap of jaws. The clink of metal. But she wasn’t dead.

She struggled to her feet. Her father’s blades rested on the stonework before streaks of blood. Behind them, his hands—ending halfway down the forearm.

She looked up as the ancient dragon swallowed something.

Someone.

A chill spread in her, from her gut to her toes, her fingertips. Her face—numb.

“Father?” she whispered.

Blood dripped from the dragon’s jaws. Crimson droplets spattered at her feet.

She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t help but stare at the ancient dragon, its maw gaping wide to devour her.

But something gripped her arm. And the world twisted away.

Interlude: The Ruined Camp

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Everyone is dead?

One knight nodded.

Check them all again. We need to know who did this.

The knight bowed, strode off, and barked orders to the acolytes.

The entire camp. Slaughtered to a man. Brumvir included, laying full of arrows in the entrance of his cave, several deep wounds carved into his leg and torso. The bodies of the hobgoblin legionnaires were strewn all over. Some slashed nearly in half. Others blown to pieces. The kennels empty, the worgs dead as well. Who could have killed the entire legion and the giant?

“All this, done by only five or six,” Avrum said. “Formidable opponents, indeed.”

That’s it?

“A small band snuck in here, I imagine,” Avrum said, surveying the ruined camp. “The gate is unbarred, and unbroken. I imagine it’s the same group that caught Belagor and destroyed the cell outside of Watcher’s Rest.”

The ones with the Ethereal Knight?

“He travels with dangerous company.”

Lusyllec’s tentacles writhed. He arched one smooth brow.

“The Red Reaper for one. They were seen together in Oriac. That would explain why they came for the Princess. I imagine the tracks outside must be the Prince, himself.”

You imagine much. Ask the Shades.

“As you wish,” Avrum said.

The cleric cleared a space around himself. Avrum drew from his pouch a bleached skull, stained red from the eyes, and communed with Tornara’s servants. Beckoned the Shades.

“Did the Red Reaper destroy this camp?” Avrum asked.

And the Shades spoke to him.

“Does he travel with the Ethereal Knight?” Avrum asked. “Have they returned to Oriac?” He turned back to Lusyllec. “It is as I said.”

I heard.

Chapter Seven: Oriac In Flames

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8124d3273eddf055deaeb261d8544d09-d5dg38l

Done with NaNoWriMo. Here’s a long overdue summary.

Summary

  • Hobgoblin Camp
    • they sneak into the tunnel and free Valandriel
    • they alert the entire camp to their presence
      • with thaumaturgy, Tarkonus shouts out a challenge
    • Corbin rushes out to fight the fire giant mano-e-mano
      • does tons of damage before being hammered into the ground
    • Ezekiel blows away groups of hobgoblins with THUNDER
    • Silvaras pretends to get stabbed, no one is amused
  • Oriac Invaded
    • after they return to the capital, an army of draconians descends upon Oriac from the north east
    • Waves of Draconians
      • Corbin jumped up to catch a flying Kobaaz and dragged it to the ground
      • Corbin was thunderwaved off a building by a draconian sorcerer, flung across the alley, smashed into the building on the otherside, and fell through a market stall
    • Karsyan, young red dragon
      • Azeem does tons of damage, as usual
      • Ezekiel chases down the Karsyan and finishes it off with a thunder orb, blowing off its wing and the dragon crashes into some buildings, and tumbles to the ground
  • Mawganar, “Death on Crimson Wings”
    • when they think they’ve won, a legendary dragon appears overheard, flying towards the palace

Items

Ring of Fire Resistance, “Forge-sight”

For the clumsy blacksmith.

I kept burning myself and thought to myself, you know what I need? A magic ring.

+1 Studded Leather Armor

When normal armor just isn’t cutting it.