Monday, August 15, 2016

Wrath of the Righteous, episode 7: Among the Ruins of Kenabres


August 14, 2016

Character level: 3rd

The following morning after their arrival at Horgus Gwerm’s house, Aegron’s friend Darla decided to stay there for the time being, until Aegron could find out what had become of their friend Abel. Horgus didn’t seem entirely pleased with having another mouth to feed, but Darla didn’t brook any argument from him.

Jiro climbed up to the top of the house to look out over the city, but there was still too much smoky haze to see anything of the district where the group had been when the initial attack occurred.

After saying farewell to Horgus and Darla, the group set out to escort Anevia to her home. Although her wife Irabeth was a respected paladin and they lived in one of the better sections of Kenabres, their home was a modest one. But on the journey to the house the party saw numerous shops offering higher quality and more expensive goods. They paused several times while Jiro made sure the people they saw had food and water and were not ill or injured.

Suddenly they heard cries for help coming from an area ahead. Aegron, Zosta, and Runa ran forward to see what the trouble was. The spotted a stranger being trying to smash the door of a shop. The calls for help came from within the shop. Aegron, who had learned his way around the city quite well, dove into a sewer tunnel. The others ran into a courtyard with a low wall that faced the shop. As they did so the creature turned to face them, revealing that it was oddly hunchbacked, which at first made Zosta think that it was holding its own head in its hands as she mistook its hump for its shoulders. The creature began to chant words in the tongue of demon-kind.

Runa recognized the creature as an abrikandilu, but she could recall little else about such demons. She did recognize that what it was doing was summoning something else and she called out a warning to her comrades. Asami left Jiro to look after Anevia and ran into the little courtyard to join Runa and Zosta. Zosta then leaped over the wall and bounded across the street to kick the demon in an attempt to disrupt its spellcasting, but though her kick connected the creature continued to chant. Then a second abrikandilu appeared next to Runa.

For an instant Zosta felt a wave of fear, similar to what the quasit had subjected her to the previous day, but she overcame the sensation. The second demon attacked Runa but failed to harm her. Jiro appeared just outside the courtyard and used a wand to summon a spiritual weapon to attack the demon that had been trying to break into the shop. Though his previous attempt had created a tetsubo, this time the weapon appeared as a shillelagh.

Asami shot a ray of frost at the demon attacking Runa but it flew past without hitting her target. At the same time Aegron sprang out of the sewer by the demon across the street. The demon facing Runa clawed at Radiance and seemed to be trying to break the sword, simultaneously biting at Runa. The first demon fled from Zosta and Jiro’s spiritual weapon pursued it. It ran toward Jiro, perhaps wanting to get rid of the caster of the spell.

The demon trying to harm Radiance suddenly let out a scream. Runa could tell by its reaction that it had recognized the famed blade. Asami directed another ray of frost at the demon but it appeared to have no effect, though Asami was unable to observe this from her position. The second demon began trying to damage Jiro’s morningstar and bit him. The wounds the demons left on Jiro and Runa were especially gruesome, and left their victims feeling somewhat demoralized.

The demon facing Runa turned its attention to her heavy wooden shield, which it managed to crack. At the same time she heard a voice say in a commanding tone, “Put some effort into it!” and both demons seemed to gain a burst of speed. Jiro was so badly bitten by his foe that he collapsed. Runa used her fervor to heal herself, though that didn’t get rid of her feeling of inadequacy. Zosta had pursued the demon that fled from her, and when she attacked it again it disappeared. Runa then called out for her friends to find out who had been giving the demons orders. Anevia had come to join the fight and hobbled to Jiro’s side, reporting that he was seriously hurt. Runa went to share Iomedae’s healing power with him.

Zosta meanwhile saw two people peeking cautiously out of the shop, a man and a woman, both well dressed. The shopkeepers emerged and introduced themselves as Belthis and Neera Loomis. They expressed profound gratitude to the group for saving them from the abrikandilu, which Asami now recalled were especially fond of destroying things of beauty. As a token of their appreciation the Loomises told the party members to each take an outfit from their clothing shop. Asami was able to find garments in the style of Minkai among their stock, but they had no such apparel for Jiro. The couple also provided information that the city leadership and defenders might be gathered at the stronghold known as Defender’s Heart.

While inside the shop, Asami also remembered that abrikandilu did not like mirrors. She told the shopkeepers this so they could be prepared if more such demons appeared. She also reassured Jiro and Runa that they would recover from the curse the demon-inflicted wounds had caused in a few days.

Since her shield was too damaged to be useful and she had no way to repair it, Runa decided to use one of the light steel shields they had taken from some of the Baphomet cultists they had defeated. She found some material in the Loomis’s shop that she could use to cover the symbol of Baphomet on the shield’s face.

It was early evening by the time the group reached Anevia and Irabeth’s home. The house was quiet and dark. Anevia called out for her wife as soon as she entered. Abruptly a giant fire beetle appeared in front of her. Anevia was so startled by its sudden appearance that when she fired an arrow at it she missed and shot into the floor. Aegron stepped up and slew the beetle with his spear, whereupon its remains vanished. Runa cautiously checked in the bedroom. A moment later a dark shape appeared, threatening, “Your wife will find your corpse!” as it attacked Anevia.

The shadowy figure proved to be a half-orc man wearing an elaborate outfit and wielding a ranseur. The area he had appeared in was occupied by a large table and chairs, making it cramped for combat. Zosta bounded on top of the table. Runa pushed Anevia behind her to protect her, but the woman refused to remain out of the fight and moved forward to face the half-orc man, who she seemed to recognize. Aegron stepped up to attack him, and Asami cast magic missile at him, but the projectile bounced off an invisible shield around his body. The half-orc focused his attacks on Anevia. Anevia demanded to know what he had done with Irabeth, to which he responded, “She’s not dead yet but she soon will be!” He struck Anevia again and she collapsed.

Runa reached out to pull Anevia to safety and the half-orc used his ranseur to jerk Radiance out of her grasp. He sneered insultingly at Runa, assuming that her coincidental resemblance to Irabeth had been meant to trick him. Jiro summoned a spiritual testsubo from his wand, but its blow did no harm to the half-orc. Asami tried attacking him with her Splintered Spear but it flew past him. The half-orc drew a wand and a magic missile issued from it to strike the unconscious Anevia. Runa picked up her sword and slashed at him, while Jiro used a wand to heal Anevia’s injuries. Aegron rolled gracefully across the table to reach the half-orc but landed badly and wasn’t able to strike. Asami’s spear failed to connect a second time. The half-orc then attacked Zosta. She attempted to wrest the ranseur away from him, but somehow he was able to retain his grip on it despite her skillful attack.

Anevia had by this time recovered enough under Jiro’s ministrations to get up and get her bow, although she was still wounded. Jiro then turned his attention to healing Zosta. Anevia fired at the half-orc, while Runa chopped him with her sword and Aegron stabbed with his spear. Their combined attacks left the half-orc lying unconscious on the floor, but Jiro pleaded with them not to kill him as he might know valuable information.

Anevia then explained to her companions that many years ago, when Irabeth was living in the River Kingdoms, a half-orc cult of Xoveron had formed. Irabeth had captured this person and sent him to prison. He had somehow managed to escape and sought revenge. Zosta searched him and found that he had on his person a spell component pouch containing some components for spells that required more expensive materials, the wand that contained magic missile, a potion which Asami identified as invisibility, and his ranseur, which was magically enhanced. Asami was unable to determine its capabilities, but Runa discovered that it was a ranseur of the gargoyles, which was enchanted to be especially difficult for anyone to take away from the bearer in combat, as well as being able to grant the bearer increased armor protection several times a day.

Since it was already evening, the group decided to stay overnight at Anevia’s house before going on to the Defender’s Heart to seek Irabeth. They bound, gagged, and blindfolded the half-orc. Aegron also produced a group of small bells that they tied to the half-orc so any movement by him would alert them. They stood watches during the night, and while Runa and Asami were on watch the half-orc stirred. Runa assumed this to be an escape attempt and hit him in the head with her sword pommel until he passed out again.

The next day Anevia found a note from Irabeth, telling her to go to Defender’s Heart and giving her the password to gain entry: “Silverstrong.” When the party set out, Runa carried their prisoner. It wasn’t long before they came upon a group of armored men surrounding a woman, who was clutching a baby. They were surprised when they heard these men say, “Your sacrifice aids the cause of good.” The woman appeared to be terrified and looked at the new arrivals as though pleading for help.

Aegron approached and pretended to be friendly to the men, though his companions were a little confused by his behavior. He asked the men what was going on, and they revealed that they believed bathing their swords in the blood of a virgin would help them to fight demons. When someone pointed out that the woman had an infant with her, the men proclaimed that she was probably lying and the child wasn’t hers. Aegron then attacked the man nearest him, immediately dropping the fellow to the ground.

Runa had moved forward to position herself between the woman and the men, trying to convince them that the old wives’ tale they had heard was untrue. The area they had chosen for their sacrifice was a shrine to Sarenrae, and Runa told them that blood sacrifice was not the way of Sarenrae but they appeared unwilling to listen. When Aegron attacked, Runa also attacked one of the men near her. Jiro ran forward to stabilize one of the fallen men, not wanting them to die for merely being misguided. Zosta moved up and disarmed a third man. The woman fled and hid behind a hedge. Runa continued trying to persuade the men, but they seemed irrational. Suddenly they all fled.

The woman, who told them her name was Kayla, explained that she had gone out to find food and had been obliged to take her baby because her parents were both injured. The men had found her and dragged her to the shrine. The man Jiro had stabilized was awakened and was gently talked back into a more rational frame of mind. It appeared that the group of men had all been panicked and confused by the demonic attacks, and when one of them suggested bathing their swords in virgin blood to give them an advantage against the demons, the rest went along with the idea.

The party escorted Kayla back to her family home, where Jiro gave them a few goodberries and created some water for them. Runa also used her divine magic to heal their injuries. Kayla told the group that she had heard that there were several groups of defenders at Defender’s Heart, that the wardstone had been destroyed, and that an army from Mendev was on its way to bring aid to the city.

Loot acquired:
Spell component pouch worth 25 gp
wand of magic missile, 3rd level, 10 charges
Ranseur of the gargoyles – obsidian head, hard as steel; +1 ranseur, +4 bonus on disarm checks; 5/day as swift action, wielder can cause skin to harden for 1 round, gaining +2 enhancement bonus to natural armor.


Next session scheduled for August 28.

Next: Episode 8, Defender's Heart

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