The Calm within the Storm

The Crashing Storm

Having defeated the Devil General, the group assumed command and ordered the army stopped, and the highest ranking lieutenants or sergents meet with them on the platform holding the planning and tactical tent.

Vefore the meeting the group guickly searched through the information in the tactical tent. They found numerous lists, cataloging the armies provisions, personnel, command structure, and unit purpose, but found little about the plans for what the army was to do. Sandolin discovered a hidden switch at the edge of the fire pit in the center of the tent. After checking it, he oused the switch, revealing a hidden pillar that rose up out of the floor of the platform. Opening it up, they found a series of documents written in Infernal and an demon imp with a heavily gemmed collar. putting the imp back to deal with later, Bellamin was able to decipher the documents to be a series of communications that described a running bet between what seemed to be several devils. They appeared to be betting on who would arrive and conqure their destination first. They had little more time to discuss this as the officers for the remainder of the army began to arrive.

At the midnight meeting, Regred and Wikket explained what had happened and who was now in control of the army. This was supported by the eyewitness accounts of several of the guards that survived the fight with the former general. From the officers, they learned that the army was never told a destination, just heavily drilled on close quarters fighting and seige equipment. Several days ago the General returned and ordered an extremely hasty march to the west. The officers said they were never told where they were heading, and that many of them had no knowledge of the world outside the lands of House Black. Most of the army was conscripted with in the past year, officers were promoted from men who had preformed the best.

Quickly deciding what needed to be done, the officers were ordered to return to their men and prepare them for an inspection in the morning only a few hours off. At that time, Wikket and Regred would address the men and explain what was happening. During the meeting, 2 of the officers were noticed to be unhappy with this seeming change of command. Tharimil and Sandolin followed the 2 men back to their barracks to over hear what, if anything they had planned. After stealthily climbing up the sides of the one of the barracks, they listened in, one of the officers grumpily began the process of getting his men ready, the other discusses with a couple of his men about deserting the army in the morning after the inspection. Sandolin and Tharimil both returned to the group with this information.

Deciding neither was a lingering devilish presence, the group returns to the imp. Upon closer examination, it reacts badly to light, and doesn’t seem to respond to anything a demon normally does. Bellamin also comments on the oddity of a demon being held captive in an army run by a devil. Normally, the two evil creatures detest each other so much, they will attack each the other kind even if there is a better target for both of them around. They also determined the collar was magical, but would have to wait until tomorrow for Bellamin to have the spell memorized to identify it.

At the inspection in the morning, Regred and Wikket outline the changes to the massed troops. They also explain what they believe the army was intended to do, Seige and Sack House Green’s city of Keadle. From the Communications they found in the tents, they believe there is a sister army, racing to the same objective. They offer to allow any that do not wish to fight to leave, but those that wish to be true heroes, and defend innocent people against this evil should stay. After the rousing speeches given, over 90% of the army chooses to stay and fight the good fight with them. New commands are given, and a new course for the army is laid out. The decision is made for the main army to make straight for the City, while our heroes travel ahead and attempt to intercept the second army in much the same way they had this one.

The group leaves, hoping the men they put in charge will lead the army well. Bellamin takes the collared imp along with them in order to determine what it is. After identifiying the collar, they determine that it records sound around the imp for a short time, then forces the imp to hop between planes to go to a specific individual. Once there the collar plays the recorded message back, and then the imp returns. Each of the 10 gems seems to go to someone different, but the collar doesn’t show Bellamin which individuals there are. It also appears that because the collar is forcing the imp to use powers inate to itself, either the collar has driven the imp completely insane or perhaps just feral. Because all of the messages found with the imp seem to have been trascribed by hand, Bellamin thinks the imp may have been used as a sort of messenger between the armies.

The group devises a fictitous message and with Tharimil coaching Bellamin to mimic the voice of the Devil they had just killed, they send several messages to the each of the different gems. They hope this might sew a little confusion into the leadership of the army, and at best, if those leaders send their imps away, might disrupt the communications of the armies as a whole. After traveling several days, the group finally comes across the tracks of the second army, which are already several days old. Knowing they have little time, the group pushes their horses on through the nights to try and catch up to the army before it reaches Keadle.

After pushing their horses and themselves for 3 days, they finally arrive at Keadle and the second army. They come in sight of the city and see similar platforms that supported the barracks and tents of the army they had taken over, but were now transformed, from 2 of them, several catapults and ballista launched flaming bolts and wall shattering rocks in a heavy rain. On another platform, the telltale bursts of power indicated numerous sorcerers and wizards plying their craft. Beyond these platforms, a sea of men pressed forward toward a crack in the wall.

Moving fast, the group dismounted, armored up, and began sneaking through the high grass that surrounds all of Keadle. Approaching the rear most platform, several keen eyes spotted a guard patrolling the backside of the platform. Tharimil and Sandolin moved forward and got under the platform, listening for other guards on the platform. hearing a few more near the front, they decide to climb up and take the first guard out. Unfortunatly for Sandolin, the guard notices him climbing up and quickly shouts that they are under attack. Tharamil and Sandolin quickly silence him but have to take his body back to the ground and pull it under the platform while more guards rush to the commotion.

During the confusion, much of the group begins to creep forward in the grass. As several of the guards return to their posts, 2 remain behind to look for their missing comrade as well as guard the area. With the rest of the group joining them, Tharmil and Sandolin carefully sneak up and strike the 2 guards and with Zubrod, Regred and Bellamin providing assistance, eliminate them without a fuss. Bringing everyone up onto the platform, they sneak around the corner and approach the entrance to the tent that is on the platform. Peeking inside, they rcognize the layout as similar to the Tactician’s Platform they found most of the plans for in the previous army. They see spotters at one edge facing the battle, writing things down and handing them to pages. These pages run to nearby scribes who recopy the small scraps of paper onto parchment, the pages then run and throw the parchment into a 10 foot around flaming brazier set in the center of the platform’s floor. Just as the fire touches them, the parchments disappear in a puff of smoke, much faster than it could be burnt.

Trusting on the orders from the Duchess to sway the loyalty of the troops, the group boldy enters the tent, reading the proclimation and to stop doing everything. All of the pages and scribes in the tent turn and look at them dumbfounded, but one of the spotters near the front continues to scribble something down, trying badly to hide the fact that he is doing it as well. When commanded a second time to stop, he turns and snarls at the group, throwing the piece of paper towards the fire but misses. Ryan charges him drawing her axe, as well as Ogio, several others move around the tables to get the piece of paper he threw and any others from being sent into the fire. While Ryan charged the spotter, his jaw extended and claws grew from his fingers to swipe at her. Ryan charged full into him and pushed the creature straight off the edge of the platform landing on him with her full weight.

Others of the group rushed to the edge as Ryan and the tainted man fought below them, Fireing arrows or what ever they could at him. with Ryan’s blows in addition to this ranged assult, he was quickly cut down. After talking with the pages and scribes, they find out the man they killed as the one in charge of the attack. he was a liutenant of the armies’ general. It was some kind of punishment, as the general and the remainder of the liutenants cut their way into the breech in the wall some 30 or 45 mins prior, soon after the crack had been knocked open. Regred decided to remain behind and command the army while stopping the assault.

Everyone else plunged into the battle ahead to catch up to the General and put a stop to him. As the moved into the battlefield they dodged falling chunks of masonary as well as exploding spells, slowing picking their way across the dead. Bellamin whispered a few words to his raven and set him aloft, and when the group got within sight of the walls a great cheet went up from the assembled warriors. Several shouts of a prophetic bird announcing the Heroe’s of House Green were arriving were heard amongst the crowd. After getting through the breeched wall, the group headed quickly through the streets, towards the keep. They were only sidetracked a few times to deal with some other lieutenants still on the streets, killing and spreading fear.

Finally arriving at the keep in the center of the city, they found the gates unguarded and smashed open. Mangled bodies lay against walls still slick with blood, the heroes tread carfully into the keep and followed the trail of carnage to one of the staircases that lead downwards and was normally locked shut with a gate. here more bodies of guards were piled, appearing that this was another bottleneck they had been able to hold for a short time. Continuing down the stairs, the group reached the strange shrine with 4 doorways, and again a roomful of bodies. Just as they were about to begin climbing the blood soaked stairs towards the Hall the duke took them to last time, one of the soldiers on the ground wheezed. Wikket rushed to him and found that he was still alive, thought gravely wounded. Binding his wounds and moving him carefully to a comfortable position, the soldier said the attackers had just broken through the defenses perhaps 10 mins ago. They had taken the duke up with them, he asked them to go quickly and try to save the duke.

The heroes ran up the flights of stairs that took them to another place, higher than the actual keep, upon making the last few turns, they began hearing the sounds of fighting and roaring as well. They finally made it to the hall only to find the body of the duke thrown against the wall, his chest bloody with the medallion he had used jammed half-way into it. Further in, appeared to be a discarded human skin laying shreded on the ground, on the floor, they saw the statues that before had moved, lying shattered in large chunks across the floor. And dominating the room lay a huge Blue Dragon, gashing covering most of it’s body, with it’s head being held down on the ground by several of the devil’s lieutenants while the general itself hacked away at the dragon’s neck.

With a few shouts, the group rushed into the fight, several of the lieutenants breaking away from the dragon to fight and protect their master. The devil, itself ignored the group, intent on cutting the dragon’s neck. The fight is quickly brought to him, with Ogio and Ryan surrounding him and inflicting heavy blows on him. Bellamin fires a spell from his scrolls, and the devil screams in rage and frustration, it appears as if it’s chest is push into itself and then begins to fade away until all of it’s body follows suit.

The remaining lieutenants scream in pain and begin to claw at themselves mindlessly falling over dead soon after. Wikket runs to the aid of the blue dragon, but she lifts her head and thanks the group, not for saving her, but for being in time to save the city. She knew her time was ending soon and she has no regrets, as Wikket tries to think of a way to save the dragon, he notices the numerous wounds on her body still churning with the fragments of the devil’s blade. He turns his attention to Ogio that had been hit with it, and digs out the fragments before binding his wound to heal. At peace with the knowledge that the City will live on, the dragon, whom the Duke of Green had called Mother, passed away.

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Daemonis

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