2-6 Rova 4713 AR
2 Rova 4713 AR
Kenabres took a devastating blow when the Storm King destroyed the wardstone. The attack that swiftly followed involved the opening of several rifts in the ground that swallowed up entire city blocks even as armies of demons, from relatively minor fiends like dretches and babaus on up to hulking destroyers such as ulkreths, rose up to attack and destroy. Many of Kenabres’s citizens died during the assault, but many more managed to escape the city, fleeing into the surrounding countryside while the demons remained distracted by the presence of buildings and stragglers within the city walls. Even after the demons retreated, leaving Kenabres a smoking ruin, the situation in the city remained grim. It isn’t until the heroic Archangels and the city’s largest surviving group of crusaders, the Eagle Watch, mounted a coordinated attack on the remaining demonic defenders that things start to change for the better.
With the lure of a wardstone fragment ripe for corruption removed and the sudden final death-pulse of the border’s wardstone, the demons have retreated for now. A few stragglers remained in the ruins, but they were soon hunted and exterminated by you and the rest of the Crusaders. After the assault on the Gray Garrison, the Archangels took the next two weeks to conduct any necessary business.
Hakim, always ready for battle, took his two week break to retrain some of the skills he gained back in Absalom to something more practical with his friend Knight-Commander IrabethTirabade. Hardier than ever, Hakim is ready to take on the Worldwound again and fulfill his oath against demonkind.
Praetoril, always the calm and contemplative one, reflected on the events that have unfolded and meditated outside on the outskirts of Kenabres until he was ready to be called upon.
Leon took some time to shake off some bad habits he acquired in his youth with a Cleric of Shelyn named Sosiel Vaenic who taught him how to better focus on his channeling powers. After a week of training, Leon went to visit some of his relatives in Kenabres to make sure they were all right and visited his older brother’s grave to pay his final respects and pray that his brother would guide him with the coming trials ahead.
Fynna, fascinated with her new powers, spent much of her time infusing her mythical energy into her spells. She tried her best to spend more time with her latest muse, the cute Fenna Orlun, much to the dismay of Lord Quednys Orlun.
Adlo is ever worried about the potential threat of more demon attacks, especially with the destruction of the wardstones. He continues to help Anevia with the protection of the city establishing a network of scouts and rangers to watch the outer perimeters of the city in-case more demons come to attack.
On 2 Roba 4713 AR, a new ray of hope shined on the beleaguered city of Kenabres with the arrival of Queen Gallifrey and her armies, fresh from the defense of other cities along the south. News of the queen’s arrival spread quickly through the city as her armies arrived – thousands upon thousands of road-weary and battle-worn crusaders thankful for a place to rest, even if that place has been significantly damaged. Rumors quickly spread to the Mendevian forces about the Archangels and the key role they played in its defense, and in its transformation, however temporarily, of the wardstones into a potent defense that drove the demons back in the Worldwound, if only for a short time. There are also rumors that the Archangels are actually traitors for killing the wardstone fragment. With the last line of defense against the Worldwound gone, what’s left to defend the crusaders?
The Archangels are enjoying breakfast together with a rare treat of hot chocolate when the queen’s messenger arrives. He informs the Archangels that the queen requests their audience and she would like to meet them at whatever location they feel most comfortable. They decide to meet at Defender’s Heart and an hour later there is a big entrance as Queen Gallifrey of Mendev, also known as the Cold Iron Lady, arrives. She is a weary commander who nonetheless maintains a heroic façade of hope and faith despite the current events. She is eager to hear the Archangel’s story about how they arrive to Kenabres and how things developed in the Gray Garrison.
Prior knowledge and rumors about Queen Gallifrey that the Archangels know:
- Queen Gallifrey took the crown in 4601 AR which would make her effectively over a hundred years old! There are rumors that she’s actually immortal.*
- There are rumors that Queen Gallifrey has met Iomedae herself and that she personally receives visions from her goddess that help her guide the Crusade.*
After she heirs their story, she speaks to the Archangels directly about their actions and what she wants from them:
“While there are some narrow-minded souls among the crusadewho blame you for the destruction of the wardstone border, I do not begrudge you for what you did. Far from it. From the sound of it, you saved entire legions of crusaders from a most vile fate by preventing Vorlesh from transforming them, and the blast of energy gave us the time we needed to regroup and prepare for what will certainly come next. But you understand the implications of what you’ve done, I’m sure-the wardstones are gone, but lomedae has seen fit that you will be their replacement. I can think of no other reason that would explain why their power would have settled in your bodies and souls and didn’t merely fade into the ether. In time, the demons will regroup and reorganize-we can trust their inherent chaos to make this period of regrouping longer than it otherwise would take, but we shouldn’t underestimate them. They’ll be back soon enough. Already I’ve had reports from along the front linesthat small groups of demons are attacking fortifications and settlements along the southern border.”
“But what intrigues me most is news from several reliable sources that as our fiendish enemies are starting to mass in the southern reaches along the Riftshadow within the Worldwound, they have left several of their northern lairs relatively unprotected. In particular, the fiend Aponavicius has taken the bulk of her army from Drezen, leaving it only moderately protected as she joins with the Storm King in lz to, no doubt, plot greater attacks on larger targets like Nerosyan, Karcau, and beyond. The time is right to strike into their territory. Drezen was the first of our cities to fall after the First Crusade, and we lost more than our kin and our pride that day. We lost the Sword of Valor, a magical banner carried by the Inheritor herself during the Shining Crusade. If Drezen could be retaken-if the Sword of Valor could once again be held by the crusade … well, I trust I don’t need to explain how well that would affect morale. But with the imminent attacks along the border, I cannot spare many to lead an assault on Drezen. And even if I could, a large army attacking the city would only draw Aponavicius back to defend the place. The obvious tactic is to send in a group of capable heroes with a modest but well-trained army to strike now, while the proverbial iron is hot. And this is why I’ve sought you out. If you can retake Drezen and reclaim the Sword of Valor, not only will you silence the fools who would brand you traitors for destroying the wardstone, but more importantly, you would bolster the entire war effort with your heroism. And I fear we need all the bolstering we can get!”
She would like the Archangels to set off as soon as possible – every day spent waiting is one more day for the demons to catch wind of the plans and to reinforce the city. She certainly has time to answer a few questions which the Archangels take the opportunity to ask.
What can you tell us about Citadel Drezen?
_“It was built during the First Mendevian Crusade as a strategic foothold inside the Worldwound. Dwarves chiseled it from a rocky hill near the source of the Sellen River. It held for well over a decade, withstanding almost constant war before a traitor turned the Sword of Valor to the demons. We never found out who it was, but with the Sword of Valor’s protection gone, the demons overwhelmed Drezen in a night.”_
What’s stopping demons from teleporting in as reinforcements once we attack?
“Their own nature. Those left behind have been charged with protecting Drezen, and if they abandon that post, even to teleport away for help, they’ll likely be killed. No demon wants to be killed. That and their arrogance about their superiority over mortal life should be more than enough to keep them in Drezen until the very end. At that point, when you’ve broken their morale, they’ll teleport away in droves, which should give you several days to complete your mission.”
What can you tell us about the Sword of Valor?
“Despite the name, it’s not a sword. It’s a battle standard – an artifact once used by Iomedae herself during the Shining Crusade. The church loaned the banner to the First Mendevian Crusade and allowed it to hang in Drezen, where it bolstered crusader morale and, perhaps more importantly, warded against demonic attacks, deceptions, and even teleportation.”
Who are you sending with us?
“We’re sending three specialists with you. Sosiel Vaenic was a cleric of Shelyn here in Kenabres before the temple was destroyed – he can help with healing as needed, but he’s also quite knowledgeable about demons and their tactics. Veri Kir is an expert on siege tactics, traps, infiltration, scouting, and the like; she’s where you’ll be getting your map of the Citadel, incidentally. And lastly, there’s Nurah Dendiwhar. She’ll be supporting you with her bardic magic, but she’s also an expert on the region and knows more about Drezen than anyone in Kenabres at this point, I’ll wager. I’m also going to be sending an army of crusaders with you. There are only a hundred of them, but they’re all devout paladins of Iomedae. It’s not a large army, but you’ll be able to move without attracting attention. Trust me; it’s an advantage when it comes to demonic foes. They hit hard, so it’s best not to give them the opportunity.”
After the Archangels are finished with their questions, Queen Gallifrey tells them that their successes and triumphs have not gone unnoticed. She officially dubs them “Knight-Commanders of the Fifth Crusade,” a title that bestows them to lead armies and rule lands with her blessing. This is the fourth highest rank in the Mendevian Army behind the queen, First Crusader, the High Constable, and the Chamberlain. Including this, when a knight accomplishes a significant task, he or she is rewarded with righteous medals. These ornate military medals are awarded to crusaders and adventurers who excel and deserve commendation in the war against the Worldwound. Currently, there are six different medals a knight can earn in the crusades, each of which comes with a small boon of magic imbued by priests of Iomedae, Sarenrae, and Torag. They are each to be awarded every medal that is appropriate for their achievements and glories so far.
After being awarded their shiny new magical righteous medals, Queen Gallifrey escorts the five of them to the camps just outside of Kenabres’ northern wall where her armies wait. She leads them to a group of about 100 crusaders at the northern edge of the camps. There is a mix of varying degrees of knights within their platoon, a number of them wielding mighty bows, others holding intimidating longswords and tower shields. She also introduces them to their three advisors and experts: Sosiel Vaenic, Veri Kir, and Nurah Dendiwhar.
Sosiel Vaenic is a handsome dark-skinned man with a chiseled face and black crew-cut. He stands in front with a smirk on his face, clad in a beautifully crafted piece of breastplate armor with the holy symbol of Shelyn adorned in the middle. He wields on his back both a glaive and a crossbow. His mere presence seems to radiate a sense of calm and joyfulness.
Veri Kir is a relatively tall, beautiful, slender woman wearing tight leather armor, cold-iron high boots, and a blood red hood that hides her piercing cerulean eyes. Attached to her waist are two hand crossbows equipped with what you believe to be a couple of shining cold-iron crossbow bolts. She wears a sheer black cloak that better helps her blend with the shadows.
Nurah Dendiwhar is a small and unassuming female halfling with long, wavy blonde hair. She is dressed modestly in hemp robes covering her mithril chain shirt and is carrying a massive iron-bound tome that reads “The History of the Mendevian Crusades” on the front cover. Attached to her waist seems to be a small warhorn made of ivory on the right and a short sword on the left. She is quite adorable.
After the introductions the Queen gives one final advice to the Archangels.
“The journey will be long. I suggest you travel north directly to Vala’s Gift and then follow the east bank of the Sellen River north until you come to Vilareth Ford, at which you can cross the West Sellen and continue north along tis west bank to the dry Ahari riverbed, since this route will provide something of a natural trail to follow. And with that it’s up to you now. My troops will try to provide some distraction in the south, but be quick in your attack. Time is of the essence. I’ve never been one for ceremony, and you’ve a lot of work ahead of you – I wish you luck in your mission, and hope to hear of your triumph soon!”
As the queen and her armies leave, the Archangels introduce themselves to their advisors and vice versa. Veri is quiet and unassuming, only talking when addressed too. Sosiel is loud, boastful, and inspiring which seems to match well with Leon’s personality (they get along very well). Nurah’s cutesy demeanor is quite adorable which has smitten both Adlo and Fynna. Praetoril doesn’t seem to take any interest of the situation. Hakim, understanding the direness of the situation, quickly forms a war council to decide the best method and approach to lead their new army. After some deliberation, they agree to split the army into two smaller forces to help better manage the troops and broaden their ability to make more coordinated attacks. Praetoril and Leon, with their experience as soldiers and crusaders, are assigned as generals of these two smaller armies. Hakim takes the role of head strategist though he likes to call himself Arch-General to the dismay of a few in the lower ranks. Adlo takes the position of head scout watching the perimeters for enemies for the armies as Fynna is tasked as a counselor to the other four Archangels. With that settled, the Archangels will let their armies rest and relax for one more days in Kenabres before their march.
Fynna suggests holding a party for the Crusaders inside Defender’s Heart and announces it to the Crusader who cheer for the Archangels. They suddenly realize though that they have to pay for the festivities at Defender’s Heart. Not wanting to put out any more cash, Hakim has an idea and drags everyone to Gwerm Manor in order to convince the noble to pay for the festivities and possibly accompany them in their march to Drezen. After a long conversation, Horgus gives in and agrees to help pay for the festivities as an effort to help raise morale and to accompany them on their march as a provisions officer. Overjoyed with Horgus’s kindness, they thank the man and head to Defender’s Heart for fun times. Praetoril and Adlo mingle with the paladins holding events like drunken archery contests and drinking and card games to the enjoyment of many (they are the life of the party and the crusaders form a bond with the two). Fynna, fearing that this might be the last time she’d see Fenna, and convinces her (with a strong Suggestion) to accompany her as they mingle and enjoy the company of the other crusaders (again, much to the disproval of Lord Orlun). Hakim and Leon go together to talk to Anevia and Irabeth who are currently in their room together planning out further defenses for the city. Irabeth has been promoted to Knight-Commander by Queen Gallifrey as well to lead the defense of the city. Hakim asks if Anevia and Irabeth could accompany them on their march to Drezen which they say they can’t. They have been tasked by the queen to defend the city and provide additional distraction support if the queen’s army were to fall and head to Drezen. Leon, enchanted by Karina, asks Irabeth then if Karina could accompany them on their march which Irabeth flatly refuses. Karina has been sentenced and demoted back to squire under her care. Letting her go off with the Archangels in a potentially deadly mission would be irresponsible of her. Dejected, Leon acknowledges Irabeth’s concerns and drops the subject entirely. Hakim gives a hug to his two friends and they give each other their final good byes before they leave off finishing the tasks that are required of them.
3 Rova 4713 AR
The next morning most of the paladins are up and awake as they prepare themselves for the coming march. The party was quite crazy though and Praetoril and five paladins are still passed out and hung over from the shenanigans before. Fully equipped with food supplies, mounts, and many other things, the Archangels and their army head out in the morning to Drezen and into the Worldwound.
They make their way to edges of the Wounded Lands, an immense desolate plateau where an aura of corruption seems to radiate from the ground. The skies to seem to burn an eerie orange-tint, with the ominous rays magnifying the now blood red sun. Though the Archangels and the Knights of Kenabres have not entered the Worldwound yet, its corruption is slowly seeping across into Mendev.
The army is steadfast and hardened as they make their way up north on the edges of the Sarkora River. The ranks are filled with mostly paladins and other crusaders who bravely fought the demons in Kenabres during the assault on the Gray Garrison, buying the Archangels the time needed to destroy the corrupted wardstone fragment. As some of the heroes talk to their troops, they begin to understand that many have joined the ranks to help them finish the job that they started in the Gray Garrison. Many in the ranks believe that the destruction of the wardstones was not a curse, but divine intervention from Iomedae herself in hopes that the Archangels finish the job that the rest of the former heroes of the Crusades couldn’t. They feel a strong feeling of both pride and doubt hearing this. A lot is riding along the line for their continued success as Knight-Commanders of the Fifth Crusade.
Sosiel is a natural motivator among the ranks as he walks back and forth from crusader to crusader quelling their doubts about the coming trials ahead. Even though he is a cleric of Shelyn, his conviction and determination seems to inspire those around him. The dark beauty that is Veri keeps to herself though as she trots along next to Sosiel. They stay close together throughout the journey and they both occasionally throw glances at each other.
The halfling Nurah is quite popular with the crusaders. Her tiny stature, humble personality, and cutesy demeanor seem to attract the crusaders. Many view her to be a little sister or a daughter of some sorts as she rides along with them. You can hear recount stories of legendary tales and legends from the previous crusades enrapturing the people around her.
After many hours of marching, the Archangels finally arrive at the Village of Valas’s Gift to see a sad sight. The village is in smoking ruin. The Archangels task the crusaders to search the village and search for survivors and any potential resources they can use. The day spent searching the ruins uncovers some amount of food, but no evidence of survivors; just the entrails of dead bodies and footprints to nowhere. They decide to make camp at Valas’s Gift for the night and task Veri to organize the evening scouting rotations as they rest.
4 Rova 4713 AR
With nothing of note happening in the evening, the Archangels and their army head out again in the early morning to Vilareth Ford. After another full day of traveling in the desolate plateau they encounter nothing of interest. They again make camp for the night. The Archangels take some time to learn more about their army and advisors, discovering that Nurah is quite the scholar and is working on her own masterpiece about the Shining Crusade and Iomedae’s Herald. They also learn that Sosiel and Veri are actually a couple and have been seeing each other for quite a while now. The two hope that the Crusade ends soon so they may consummate their love in marriage.
5 Rova 4713 AR
They leave in the early morning again. As they ride through the barren lands, Nurah rides alongside the Archangels, informing them about their next destination. Vilareth Ford is the northernmost crossing point on the West Sellen – few settlements and no fords or bridges exist farther north from here on the Mendev side of the river. Vilareth Ford has always been long watched by a small contingent of crusader and hopefully they’ll provide some respite during this long trek.
However, sometime around the early afternoon, Adlo and Veri return back from scouting ahead bearing grim news. Vilareth Ford has been taken by the enemy! The Knights of Kenabres and the Archangels barrel through to attack the enemy head on. The two generals, Praetoril and Leon, form flanking positions in order to surround the tiefling army in a pincer attack. Leon’s small army takes a severe amount of damage as many paladins fall to the enemy’s aggressive tactics. Luckily for Leon, Praetoril’s platoon of fifty emulates their leader’s calm, collective nature and brutually finishes off the tiefling army before they can do any more damage. As the crusaders rout the enemy Veri, Hakim, and Adlo slip with other crusaders into the surrounding regions to scout the place and ensure no other enemies lie in the wait. Adlo and his platoon of crusaders encounter a strange sight though. In front of him, about 100 feet away, he sees a tall, handsome incubus with a scimitar and lance mounted on a muscular dragon-like creature with a beaked head and spikes covering all over the creature’s hide. Even in places on its winged arms. As he saw Adlo and the rest of the crusaders approaching, the drake immediately picked up speed and zoomed away at a breathtaking pace. Adlo had never seen something move so fast before in his life.
Fynna, Nurah, and Praetoril set out separately to seek survivors to heal and rescue them from the aftermath. Sosiel and Leon stay behind to make sure the rest of the injured crusaders are fully healed. Fynna is able to find a handful of wounded survivors imprisoned in a stone building within the ford. The leader of these survivors is led by Sergeant Kamilo Dann and the survivors number a dozen in all. Kamilo puts on a brave face as she tells Fynna about the circumstances that brought them here. The other survivors tell Fynna that Kamilo’s assurance and leadership kept them from falling into despair, even when some of them were taken away every few hours to be sacrificed or worse. Fynna consoles them and assures their safety taking them back to the camp.
Hakim is empty handed as he searches for any hiding enemies. As he walks back to camp though he notices something strange. As the army makes camp for the night at the ford, he passes by Veri’s tent and sees the halfling Nurah leave Veri’s tent, wiping the dirt off her dress. Hakim confronts the halfling, asking her she was doing, and she tells Hakim that she heard something suspicious and was going to make sure their wasn’t a tiefling survivor inside. Hakim doesn’t believe she’s telling the whole truth however, and asks Nurah if he can go inside and check himself. The smiling Nurah nods and Hakim enters to look around inside the tent and finds nothing has been removed. Feigning the lack of suspicion on his last part, Hakim agrees with Nurah that they should keep out for any possible “tiefling intruders” though he still believes something is not right.
As the Archangels gather together and everyone is tending to their wounds and other business, Hakim convenes everyone to a meeting to discuss the day’s events. Adlo informs every one of the incubus that he saw earlier flying away quickly on a mounted dragon and Fynna informs every one of the survivors that she found. After a half an hour of discussion they agree to send the survivors from the ford back down to Kenabres rather than having them join forces with them. Hopefully Irabeth can take care of them when they make the long walk back. The news of the incubus disturbs the party though, particularly Leon, who shakes a bit in fury. After deliberating on these two important issues, Hakim piques in and raises his suspicions about Nurah to the other Archangels. Disturbed by this almost unbelievable news, the heroes decide that they need to investigate the issue as soon as possible. Fynna volunteers to probe and watch Nurah as the boys heads to Veri’s tent and ask her some questions (and search the tent some more).
Fynna approaches Nurah and chit-chats with her, feigning interest in her new written work on the First Mendevian Crusade. Nurah seems quite happy and willing to let Fynna watch her work. In her head, Fynna seems to sense no ill-motive from the adorable halfling bard. Meanwhile on the other side of the camp, the male Archangels move swiftly to Veri’s tent. They pass by many crusaders, including Sosiel who is helping with a prayer, and arrive to Veri’s tent to find her meticulously sharpening her short sword. Her hands are shaking. As the heroes arrive, Hakim asks Veri if anything has gone missing in the tent in which Veri replies there’s nothing gone. They notice that the demon hunter is unusually nervous, different from the cool and calm persona she used to portray earlier, and ask if anything is all right. She insists that she just fears the demons are going to finally win the crusade and that’s why she’s so nervous, but the heroes don’t believe her. Realizing that something is amiss and she might be sick, Praetoril does a quick look to see if she is suffering from any sort of ailment. He realizes that she shows severe signs of ingesting a notoriously powerful drug known as shadowblood. Understanding this possibility, Praetoril tells the other Archangels to get Sosiel quickly and that they need to quickly treat Miss Kir. Leon and Adlo quickly leave to inform Sosiel and Fynna what’s going on.
Adlo heads to Sosiel and informs him that Veri seems to be sick. The priest seems to immediately known what’s going on and curses at himself for not noticing, blaming the distractions of the march. He’s hesitant to reveal what he knows though wanting to see how Veri is, and quickly follows Adlo back to Veri’s tent. At the same time Leon arrives to Nurah’s tent where Fynna is having a pleasant conversation with the halfling. Leon informs Fynna that the rest of the Archangels need her for something, Fynna apologizes to Nurah and excuses herself and follows Leon back to their allies.
Sosiel, Adlo, Fynna, and Leon arrive back to Veri’s tent with Praetoril and Hakim watching over the relapsing demon hunter. She looks up and sees Sosiel and immediately begins to cry, profusely apologizing for what she had done. The priest of Shelyn runs to his lover and comforts her, casting remove disease on her to remove the addiction and consoles her as she weeps in his arms. Though the other Archangels are confused, Praetoril intervenes and tells the group that Miss Kir is suffering from the side effects of the drug shadowblood, a fluid infused with a shadow demon’s essence. The Archangels are surprised about this surprising turn of events. Hakim, putting things together in his head, realizes that there is a definite possibility that Nurah might have planted the shadowblood in Veri’s tent. He immediately tells the other Archangels to immediately apprehend Nurah. They head to Nurah’s tent and find that besides a couple of her books and some of her equipment, the halfling has disappeared. The Archangels fear for the worst and Hakim orders the crusaders to search for Nurah. Adlo and a couple of other crusaders begin to track Nurah’s movements and follow her path a couple of hundred feet north of the camp until the footprints completely disappears. He surmises that the halfling must have teleported and heads back to inform the rest of the heroes. Praetoril requests Leon that he destroy the remaining vials of shadowblood with a consecrate spell. As Leon places the shadowblood in the middle of the consecration, the vial holding the drug breaks evaporating the liquid into the air. Little remnants of a tiny shadow demon forms and screams in pain as it dematerialize by holy power.
Adlo reaches back to camp and informs Hakim that Nurah teleported away. Saddened by the course of the night’s events, he believes there are several possibilities: 1) the halfling was actually a disguised demon and tricked them all, 2) the real Nurah they knew could have been killed and replaced with a demon disguised as the halfling, or 3) Nurah was a traitor all along. With rumors running abound now by the disappearance of the halfling bard Nurah, Hakim decides to address the crusaders about what had happened tonight (leaving out about Veri’s addiction to shadowblood) and the potential nature of Nurah’s disappearance. Though Hakim had hoped his speech would keep everyone’s spirits afloat, their loss and potential betrayal of someone they knew and trusted shakes the army’s morale a bit. Adlo, unwilling to let this disappearance get away from him, sneaks out of the camp to search for her further. After searching straight north after the tracks disappeared, he find the tracks begin again 100 feet from the north but this time with horse foot prints. He starts tracking again and after another hour of searching he loses sight of her movements. Dejected, he heads straight back to the camp with at least more information about how Nurah escaped. Before heading to bed, Hakim decides to check up on Veri and Sosiel and finds a sweating, passed out Veri laying her head on Sosiel’s lap. The priest sees Hakim, gives him a nod, and silently mouths a “thank you” to him. Satisfied that, at the end, they were to prevent a further relapse or even worse from Veri, he heads to bed knowing they were able to swerve away from one possible disaster at least.
6 Rova 4713 AR
Before the march the next morning, Fynna confronts a bed-ridden Veri in the caravan and chastises her for putting the Knights of Kenabres and the whole crusade at jeopardy. The demon hunter is quite angered by the female aasimar’s words, spatting at the Archangel that she has no right to say anything because she doesn’t know who she is and where she comes from. Fynna fires back, saying that it doesn’t matter and she jeopardized the life of their comrades. Veri is enraged now and tells Fynna to never question her loyalty to the Fifth Crusade. The two women bitterly part ways as Veri’s attitude towards Fynna decreases significantly.
During the march Sosiel approaches the Archangels and thanks them for their help with Veri. He explains to them that Veri had led a hard life and her platoon of crusaders famously known as Kenabres Wolves was captured by a shadow demon and his cult of followers during an expedition into the Undying Plateau. During that year long imprisonment the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth tortured her subordinates and forcefully administered the shadowblood drug into her which is the cause of her addiction. After an elite force of crusaders led by Jakkard Ardoda saved them, she and the remaining survivors of her platoon were sent back to Kenabres in order to recuperate from their physical and psychological wounds. Veri felt directly responsible for the fate of her troops and entered a deep depression as she fought through withdrawal. In desperation she sought the aid of the church of Shelyn in which she met Sosiel Vaenic who helped provided her with much needed ballast and support in her life. Though she has relapse a couple of times, she had been clean for almost over a year and seemed to be finally getting better until this unfortunate incident. Sosiel hopes that with his support and the rest of the Archangels, Veri can continue assisting the crusaders in their march to Drezen. Fynna begins to feel guilty about conversation with Veri, not knowing the circumstances of her addiction until now.
The Knights of Kenabres and the Archangels continue along the western banks of the West Sellen River, skirting on the edges of the Worldwound itself. The thinnest of threads anchor the Worldwound to reality as the most strange and alien of things seems to permeate within its borders. Its very sky is altered now, turning into otherworldly shades of leaden gray and an ominous red with void black clouds. Small, frequent earthquakes emit noxious gases and slimy, acidic far deep into the heart of the Worldwound. It is quiet an unsettling sight.
Since Veri is currently not in the right condition to help scout, Adlo takes full responsibility with scouting duties and notices an approaching army of dretches and tieflings heading their way through Keeper’s Canyon. The Archangels decide to take this opportunity to strike back and slow their approach inside the dry Ahari Riverbed and prepare an ambush. Within moments as the dretches and tieflings make their way through the choke point the Knights of Kenabres attack in huge waves of numbers, decimating both armies quickly. They are able to keep one tiefling alive which Hakim takes the opportunity to interrogate. Fynna casts the spell suggestion to get the tiefling to talk (“Why don’t you tell us everything you know? You might actually get out alive if you do.”) which he proceeds to. Hakim asks him about the incubus commander leading the troops here and back in Vilareth Ford and his location. The tiefling tells them the incubus’s name is Exorius and he has been tasked by his master to defeat the heroes before they make their way to Drezen. Hakim asks him about any information regarding a halfling bard that might be in their ranks, but the tiefling has no idea who this person is. Satisfied with this, Hakim promises to let the tiefling go alive if he believes he can possibly change his ways, which the tiefling agrees he can. They let the tiefling go and continue onward north.
After their battle in Keeper’s Canyon, they continue onwards and in the early evening find themselves near a surprisingly decent covered clearing near a long and deep gorge. High atop the cliff near the gorge sits a chapel with a narrow flight of stairs and a deep gorge. High atop the cliff near the gorge sits a chapel with a narrow flight of stairs winding up to the cliff face to the chapel. The Archangels decide to make camp here for the night and Adlo, ever so curious, decides to investigate the chapel further. Hakim is also quite interested at the chapel too realizing that it’s a chapel of Sarenrae.
Adlo is able to sidestep the treacherous stairs and sneak around the chapel taking a closer look within its confines. He notices that there are ghouls lazily walking about inside and quickly heads back down to inform the rest of the Archangels. After being informed of this, Hakim gets excited for battle (and Radiance too as it begins to reverberate with excitement). The heroes make their way up the perfidious stairs (thanks to the help of some rope as well) and make their way up to the top of cliff where the chapel resides. The stone chapel lies smashed and broken with tall grass growing amid the rubble. Two main buildings stand side by side to the east, separated by a single alleyway. The smaller structure appears to be a stable, while the other is much larger with several doors and stained-glass windows, apparently a chapel judging by the pious statures of Sarenrae along its rooftop with the abundance of gargoyle statutes above on the roof and below on the ground.
Praetoril bursts down the wooden door into the chapel into the massive sanctuary alerting the ghouls inside. This awakens the gargoyles above as well who swoop in and also begin to attack the Archangels. The fighting is fierce as the heroes proceed to use their new mythical power to gain the upper hand, disrupting the casting of two ghoul priests hiding in the shadows near the altar. Leon, surrounded by gargoyles on all sides, pumps his fists and frightens the gargoyles as they run away in utter fear of his holy, mythical power.
[ Next session will continue inside the Chapel… ]