The Calm within the Storm

The Cresting Storm

A few days of searching through the markets in Shadom and everyone in the group has spent their writs. They make ready to leave recieving from the Duchess, Two long scrolls with banishment type spells on them. One with arcane spells and one with divine spells on it. Wikket and Bellamin were chosen to carry their magically respective scrolls.

The Group set out west from Shadom along the roads. Passing a few people heading into the city, and surrounded by the huge trees, the land seemed the picture of peace, not one that seemed about to plunge the known world into a mighty war. Several days of travel pass uneventfully as they make their way west. On the morning of the fifth day from Shadom, Tharamil and Sandolin notice someone approaching through the woods north of them. Slowing the cart for a moment, Ryan and the rest of the group look for this mysterious newcomer. Tharamil heads forward a bit and hides, while the rest of the group sees a woman in a flowing dress running through the underbrush of the forest as if persued.

Running onto the road, she suddenly stopped as a Black-clothed person appeared in front of her on the side of the road crouching. Though speaking in a low whisper that most of the group couldn’t hear, Tharamil was close enough to hear him speaking in a strange language he did not understand. The woman spat a reply back to him in the same lanuguage that everyone could hear, and Bellamin, thanks to his helm, could understand. “I will not go with you and your trash, or return to your fool god.” was her response. With that the man in black stepped up and struck her across the face, almost knocking the woman down.

At this point the group could stand by no longer, Tharamil firing an arrow from the shadow of the tree he was hiding by stuck the man in black in the side. As the group moved in to engage the single person, several individuals were shot at by other people in black standing on trees a little ways into the forest. They then seemingly teleported surrounding Tharimil as well as engaging several other party members and surrounding the woman. Regred was able to hold one of the enemies around Tharimil to releave him of some pressure. Ryan noticed while charging the main black-clothed man that they were not attempting to wound the woman, as though they were attempting to capture her. They were able to knock her out just as Ryan charged the main guy preventing him from picking her up. Ogio assisted Tharimil in finishing off the guy on him and then attacked the one picking up the woman. Ryan finished off the main guy very quickly, thanks to several arrows sticking out of him from Sandolin. With the battle turning against them, one of their number threw something at the Held individual only to be shot down by one of Bellamin’s spells. Ogio finished off the last one standing while Wikket tended to the unconscious woman. While preparing to capture the held individual, he suddenly fell over, dead.

Investigating the body, they found a needle like dagger in his neck, some simple tests by the cleric determined the presence of a powerful poison on the knife. The group also found 4 more unused poisoned knives on the assailants. By this time Wikket had awakened the woman, who introduced herself as Patrice Mastriani. The group asked why she was being chased, she explained that she was a member of a Dragon Clan and that was why she was hunted by agents of someone she refused to name. She thanked the group for saving her but declined to join them, she said she was heading east and south, looking for the court of the Lord of the Dragon clan. During the conversation Sandolin noticed ahead of the group, a bobcat had slipped out of the woods on the north side of the road and had sat down in the road, watching the exchange. Patrice addressed the animal bowing slightly and thanking it for it’s presence and the protection of Marvin. Turning back to the group, several members her for information about Marvin and the bobcat. She explained that Marvin was simply himself, a powerful individual and the Lord of the Dragon clan. She did not know exactly what connection the bobcat was, but it was often seen as a messenger and around events that Marvin was interested in. The group mentioned that they had seen a bobcat like that at other times. Considering this, she wished she had someway to thank them properly, but in her present state she had little to offer. She gave a token that would signify the assistance they had given her if they could present it to the Lord of the Clan. Without anyone jumping to take the ring she offered, Wikket stepped forward to accept it. Bidding each other farewell, Patrice headed east along the road that the group had come from.

The group pushed on for another 2 Days before reaching the edge of House Black territory and the location of where the first army they were looking for was to be encamped. Unfortunatly they came upon and empty marshalling field. Signs of war preparations were all aorund the camp, but it looked as though everything had been packed up in a hurry and moved out. From what was left, the group could see that the army had been training in some kind of seige attack; wall scaling, ladders, possible ram usage. The tracks of the army were terribly easy to follow, even though Zubrod was not with them (he’d stayed behind in the city at one of the temples because of something he had ‘caught’). Hopefully he would be able to catch up to them since he was riding considerably lighter than the rest of them.

The group moved on, camping briefly when able but trying to make up ground on the army. On the third night, they finally caught sight of campfires in the distance. Instead of camping for the night, they pushed on closer. They finally determined the fires they were seeing were still moving even in the night and were able to get about 2 miles from them before they began to worry about anykind of rear guard. Tharimil slipped of his horse and headed forward while the rest of the group slowed down to match speed with the main army. After a couple of hours searching, Tharimil found a small rear guard of 3 riders. Rejoining the group, they discussed what to do and decided just to approach the guard, show the sealed document from the Duchess and request to be taken to the commander of the army.

Riding up to them with Regred and Wikket in the lead, the rear guard called to them and lit a pair of lanterns, Regred explained the situation and though two of the guards seemed wary, the sergent of them readily accepted what Regred said and ordered one of the guards to escort them further in, to the General’s platform. As the group followed their guide into the heart of the army, they saw that the army was being hauled along on very large platforms. They passed one that appeared to have a large barracks built on it and was being drawn not by horses but by a pair of humongous spiders. Wikket and Regred engaged the guard in conversation about the army in general. He revealed that the army had done extensive training for sieging walls and close-quarters fighting, most of them were conscripts, originally farmers or crafters pressed into service for the House. He did not have a great deal of information about the General, saying he didn’t usually mix with the men, but the sergents and captains were all promoted from amongst the men, even though the captains had taken to spending less time with the men as well…

By now, They had reached the rolling platform that the guard identified as the General’s platform. He called up to one of the guards on top of it and he used something on a pedestal to lower a ramp that the group rode up onto and then up to the top of the platform as well. On the platform a large cloth tent was there, several cooks tending to pots just outside it. Stepping up to the flap doorways, Regred read aloud the proclimation from Duchess Black, while the rest of the group drew weapons and prepared to assault the tent.

Bursting into the tent, they were greeted with somewhat drowsy half-naked men, and several naked women. Upon seeing the fully armed individuals rushing at them, the half dozen men’s features quickly distorted, growing large claws on thier hands and wicked looking fangs from distended jaws. From a gilted divan, a slow laugh came as a young man languidly waved to the ceiling covered in hanging chains. The fight became horrifically brutal as tainted minions lunged at Ogio, Ryan, and Wikket in the front. Several of the gurads, seeing what the commanders of the army had become, joined the group in fighting them. The Chains along the ceiling began moving of thier own accord, sprouting razored barbs and lashing down at everyone in the tent. Outside, Tharimil and Bellamin snuck around the side of the tent, while Sandolin went around the opposite side. Slicing open the side of the tent, Tharimil and Bellamin entered the tent, Tharimil striking the unprotected backside of the changed men and Bellamin began slinging spells at the General, most of the magic splashing off of him. Wikket attempted to banish the devil general from the scrolls given to them by The Duchess, but the magic was turned aside again. Sandolin cut another opening into the side of the tent and several other guards from the platform entered the fray.

Between the chains above them, and the gaping jaws around them, The group did not seem to be in a good situation. Several of the guards that had come to support them had been merciliessly torn apart. Wikket had been heavily wounded but had managed to pull back before the worst happened. Several of the lesser demons had been felled between the mighty blows of Ogio’s sword and Ryan’s axe. Tharimil’s blade and Regred’s magic had also taken a toll on the devils, but most of them still stood. The general had backed away from his divan while he laughed and commanded the chains above him. Sandolin however, had slipped outside again and cut another opening near the general’s backside. Sliping through unnoticed, He lined up a near-perfect strike, driving his blade through the general’s chest and dropping his body to the ground. While the rush of victory filled them, the general’s body began to laugh and then split open at the back. Climbing it’s way out of the general’s body was a misshapen grey thing. Bleeding openly across it’s entire body, the chain’s from the ceiling began to coil down around it, covering it like cloth. In an unholy voice, it taunted them and promised to give them a slow death. As it begain to focus on Sandolin, Bellamin drank a potion to Strengthen his mind, and then cast a Banishment from his own set of scrolls. The magics began to take hold around the devil as a small rift opened behind it, gusts of magical power that touched nothing but the creature pushed it closer to the rift. A quick glance of his shoulder, and the creature’s confidance turned to terror, screaming and frantically clawing at the ground. Bellamin, with a clear view into the rift, smiled as he recognized it to be the home plane of Edrahil, the Celestial Halls of Peace. With a final gloat from Bellamin, the devil was finally pulled free and thrown into the rift, which sealed quickly after. The remaining minions screamed as in pain, clawing at themselves, then suddenly fell down, limp and lifeless.



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