Monday, August 8, 2016

Wrath of the Righteous, episode 6: A Reunion Among the Rubble

August 7, 2016

Character level: 3rd

Runa justified her execution of the arsonist ringleader to her companions by the fact that he had been prepared to burn the librarians alive. Afterward, librarian Fenna told the group that the rest of Blackwing Ruin had been destroyed by a tall man-like being who appeared to be composed entirely of maggots. This being had also taken some treasures from the library, though she did not know what specifically had been removed. She also told them that head librarian Quedneys Orlun had been at the cathedral at the time of the attack, and she did not know if he had survived.

In appreciation for the rescue, the librarians gave the group a spellbook that was left among the undamaged tomes. They were also given a password that would allow them admission back into the library in the future. Aravashniel expressed regret that he would not be going along with them when they departed, but he felt it would be best to remain at Blackwing Ruin and do what he could to restore the library’s collection of materials on demonology. He asked the companions to bring him any books they found that had been taken from Blackwing, or anything that would be useful to the collection.

The spellbook was given into Asami’s care. On examination she found that it contained alarm, dismissal, dispel magic, magic circle vs chaos, resist energy, and versatile weapon. She also discovered a scroll containing the spell dimensional lock tucked between the pages.

Before the small company left to escort Horgus Gwerm to his home, they found several dead, desiccated maggots on the floor that proved not to have originated on the Material Plane. Johan decided to hand over to the group a wand of cure light wounds he had been carrying, as well as a pair of bracers of armor. In return, Jiro gave him the heavy mace they had taken from the man Runa killed. Jiro took charge of the wand, while the group members decided that Asami would be the best person to wear the bracers as the rest of the companions all had armor of their own. To the surprise of everyone, Johan snapped the haft off the mace and affixed the head on top of his hammer, which glowed briefly. When the glow faded the mace head had melded with the hammer.

After saying their farewells, the group set off for the Gwerm estate, their number reduced by the absence of Aravashniel and Johan. It wasn’t long before they stumbled upon a group of tieflings engaged in looting. The encounter quickly became a rout as they slew all but one of the looters and the last fled. They took what little gold the looters had carried, labeled their bodies “Looters”, and went on their way.

Not long after they disposed of the looters, some members of the group heard shouting and jeering ahead. They came upon a fountain, and nearby a group of six or seven armored men surrounding a lone woman. Aegron suddenly recognized the woman as his friend Darla. Jiro called out to the men, “Do you need help?” in a friendly tone. But the encounter didn’t remain friendly when he realized all of the men wore symbols of Baphomet.

Aegron shouted furiously, “Leave her alone!” and raced forward. The cultists moved to surround him, all of them striking him and leaving him stunned. Jiro cast a curative spell and passed it to Uncle to deliver it to Aegron. As Uncle moved toward Aegron, he conjured an image of a large ape to divert attention from himself. Runa moved toward the cultists, giving herself a war blessing as she went. One of the men in the group was bigger and more elaborately dressed than the others. He roughly pushed Darla behind him.

Asami sent a magic missile hurtling at the larger man who held Darla. Bohgong delivered the spell to Aegron, while Runa dealt a massive blow to one of the cultists and slew him. Asami directed an acid arrow at the leader, but he deflected it. While Jiro moved in to heal Aegron’s injuries and Runa was struck in the head by one of the cultists, the leader held his sword menacingly to Darla’s throat. Anevia grew concerned when Asami moved closer to the cultists to get better range for her spells, and she wondered why they didn’t concentrate their attacks on the leader, but Asami feared that if their attacks didn’t immediately slay him he would kill Darla. Asami instead sent a ray of frost at one of Runa’s opponents. Zosta tripped one of her foes, but was knocked unconscious by the number of wounds she had suffered.

At that moment, the leader casually sliced his sword blade across Darla’s throat and strolled away. No one was close enough to pursue him, or direct any ranged attacks at him before he disappeared from view among the buildings. Runa rushed to Darla’s side to cast a healing spell on her. Jiro moved to heal Zosta. Asami and Anevia continued to attack the cultists from a distance. Once Zosta had recovered enough to be able to move, she tripped her foe again, knocking him to the ground beside her, and then punched him into oblivion. Aegron ran to Darla’s side. Runa stood up and struck down another cultist, and Anevia and Zosta combined attacks to bring down a third man.

When all of the cultists had fallen except for their leader, the group found themselves in possession of six glaives, six shortswords, four potions of cure light wounds, six masterwork chain shirts, and six silver holy symbols of Baphomet. The cultists had also carried a total of 20 gold pieces.

Once Darla had been healed enough that she could move and talk, she explained to them that this area of the New Kenabres district had many Baphomet cultists, while Old Kenabres contained more cultists of the demon lord Deskari. She also told them that most of the more powerful demons had departed from the city and taken the dragon Terendelev’s body with them to the Worldwound. She had also heard from eavesdropping on the cultists that the witch Areelu Vorlesh planned to come to claim the city; and she had seen huge insects with humanoid faces flying about the city eating people. The cultist leader who had taken her captive was called Garb, but she had never seen his face and felt that his voice sounded otherworldly. Darla offered to guide the group through the city, as she had come to know her way around New Kenabres quite well.

A short time later, they heard shouting and screeching from up ahead, as a high-pitched voice seemed to be ordering someone else to do something. Aegron went forward to see what it was and observed a group of people wearing scraps of armor and carrying broken weapons and sticks, who appeared to be engaged in constructing a performance stage. He also spotted two tiny red creatures with wings that seemed to be commanding the group of townsfolk. Zosta also stepped forward to see better and realized that the tiny winged creatures were quasits. One of the quasits exclaimed, “What’s that?” then commanded the people, “Protect us! Protect us!” The people moved forward to attack as commanded, but they appeared reluctant and fearful.

Aegron rushed up to where one of the quasits perched and it let out a shriek. Runa raised her holy symbol of Iomedae and spoke to the people, telling them that they did not need to comply with the orders of evil creatures. They seemed to be affected by her words and hesitated. Zosta moved beside Aegron and punched one of the quasits with her cold iron knuckles, which caused it to screech and then vanish. Runa moved toward the makeshift stage, and Aegron shifted position so that he could see four corpses lying toward the rear of the platform. Suddenly the second quasit screeched, and Aegron burst into a mad run away from the area, shouting in terror. Zosta also ran, though she remained silent in her headlong flight.

Uncle bounded onto the rooftops and pursued the two fleeing companions. He caught up with Zosta, leaped onto her shoulders, and put his hands over her eyes, forcing her to stop since she couldn’t see where she was going. He turned her around and then took his hands away, causing her to run back toward her friends. Meanwhile, the effect on Aegron faded and he stopped running, then turned and ran back toward the others.

One of the quasits reappeared and attacked Runa. Asami, who had been unable to see the two tiny demons at first, finally caught a glimpse of one and tried to hit it with a ray of frost but missed her target and hit one of the people, who died instantly. The second quasit also appeared and began clawing and biting at Runa. Runa struck it with Radiance and it dropped to the ground. Asami stabbed at the second quasit with her Splintered Spear. Then one of the townsfolk under the demons’ control slashed her arm. The quasit again disappeared from view. Runa called out that it was invisible and began sweeping her blade through the area where it had last been seen, but she swung too hard and Radiance became wedged in the wood of a nearby crate.

Runa had earlier told her companions not to harm the people as they were being compelled by the demons, so Jiro knocked two of them down with his staff. A second man moved up to Asami and stabbed her with his broken sword. Aegron returned just in time to knock the man out. After the fighting stopped, Runa cast stabilize on all of the injured and was able to save everyone but the man who had been hit by Asami’s spell. She realized that the quasits had just been amusing themselves by forcing the people to put on a play for them, and had slain the four people found dead in order to terrify the rest into obeying them.

Most of the people who had been victimized by the quasits lived nearby and returned to their homes, but one accompanied the group as they made their way to Horgus Gwerm’s house. The house turned out to be intact, because his guards and servants had all fled and the attacking demons had been more interested in destroying occupied buildings. To Horgus’ irritation, the guards had also stolen some valuable items, but his vault was still secured. To show his appreciation for the group’s protection, instead of giving them the 1,000 gold pieces they had agreed upon he presented them with 2,000 gold. The local man who had been freed from the quasits agreed to remain as a servant. Garvin, the retired crusader who had been kidnapped by the Baphomet cultists, also decided to stay there as a guard. The rest of the party rested at the house overnight to recuperate from their wounds.

Loot acquired:
Spellbook: alarm, dismissal, dispel magic, magic circle vs chaos, resist energy, versatile weapon
Scroll of dimensional lock
6 glaives
6 shortswords
4 potions: cure light wounds
6 masterwork chain shirts
2,020 gold pieces
Wand, cure light wounds – 38 charges
Bracers of armor +1

Next: Episode 7, Among the Ruins of Kenabres

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