19 Arodus 4719 AR
The heroes awaken early in the morning to find a stunning sight. Hundreds of crusaders, adventurers, and mercenaries are running around Defender’s Heart preparing themselves for the coming battle ahead. Shouts from throughout the makeshift stone citadel can be heard as officers command their platoons to ready into formation, women, children, and elderly are being escorted to the basement of the building for their own protection, and the able bodied are helping fortify the garrison for the demon attacks that are sure to come. Everyone seems to be aware of the approaching storm but are helpless to avoid it.
The redeemed knight Karina Pentaghast approaches the heroes and tells them that Knight-Commander Irabeth Tirabade is ready to go over the final plans. Once they have eaten and made their final preparations, they are to meet in Lord Orlun’s quarters.
As the heroes eat make final preparations they hear whispers and gossip bounce back and forth around them. Some of the other adventurers are pointing at them and murmuring to each other. They are able to catch some of the things they are saying:
“Are those the aasimars the others were talking about?” one asks.
“Wait… they’re the Archangels?” another bluntly points out.
“Heh, they don’t look so stuff…” says a tall, burly man.
It seems like the news of their deeds has spread throughout the resistance like wildfire. Signs of awe, jealousy, respect, hope, and other emotions seem to emanate from the others as they busy themselves. The Day of the Archangels has come.
FLASHBACK – Final Preparations
You enter Lord Orlun’s quarters and find a crowded room full of crusaders, knights, and other members of the resistance force. You see Lord Quednys Orlun and his granddaughter Fenna in the corner as they look through their spellbooks preparing spells ahead of time. Fenna sees you Fynna and gives you a quick wave and smile. […] Off to the side are a platoon of mongrelmen rangers from Neathholm, their hideous appearance causing a small gap between them and the rest of the crusaders inside. In the middle of the room is a large round table with some familiar faces either standing or sitting around it. You guys can see Horgus sitting at one end of the table writing down things in what seems to be a ledger of sorts marking the available quantity of equipment left within Defender’s Heart. At the other end you see standing next to each Anevia, Irabeth, and Karina. Lady Karina sees the five of you approach and nudges Irabeth to notify of your presence. Irabeth lifts her head and nods her head approvingly, “Ah you’re here now. Good, let’s begin.” She speaks loudly, “Everyone quiet yourselves! We must make our last preparations!” You hear everyone quickly stop talking, either looking at you or Irabeth. Lord Quednys approaches the table now holding with him a stack of papers.
“Good… we’ll have Lord Quednys begin the meeting.”
Lord Quednys looks around for a second and clear his throat before beginning. “The Gray Garrison, as you already know by now, is the location in which the Storm King slew Kenabres’ greatest defender, the Silver Dragon Terendelev. Before the fall, the Gray Garrison served as a museum for the Church of St. Clydwell holding precious artifact and history from the Crusades. Reports indicate that much of the garrison is destroyed, but the remaining front facade remains where the wardstone fragment lies.” He pulls out a blueprint of the map. “The Gray Garrison has two full floors and a partial standing third floor. It might be mostly damaged but that small section still remaining is the most fortified part of the leftover garrison. It is easily defended and a perfect base of operations for the cultists still here in the city.”
Anevia enters into the conversation. “My scouting report suggests that the rooms within are lit via continual flames placed inside lanterns, as the lack of windows make the accumulation of smoke a discomfort. There are only two points of entry that I could find. One is the locked front door which are heavily guarded by an assortment of demons. The other being a small shutter on the wall about 15 feet above and just to the left of the front doors. The climb looks pretty difficult though so unless you have an easy way to get everyone up to that window stealthily without provoking the cultists and demons inside, a pinpoint strike from the front might be your best option.”
Anevia pauses for a bit and collects her thoughts for a second before proceeding. “I have reliable information that the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth have a Glabrezu defending the wardstone fragment.”
Many of the people inside the room gasp. A few start crying as the murmuring begins to get louder. “What are we to do then? Not even the Archangels stand a chance against a Glabrezu!”
The wily rogue cracks a grin though. “Fortunately for you I have a plan to lure out the Glabrezu. We will be able to buy you guys some time before the Glabrezu figures out what’s happening. With Lord Gwerm’s generous donation of equipment and the extra forces provided to us from Neathholm, that will buy you about two hours give or take… Hopefully that will be enough time for you all to see the mission through.”
Irabeth turns towards the lot of you. “That’s it. The preparations are set. Do you have any final words for the troops before we head off to battle?”
Before the assault of the Grey Garrison begins, a few of the Archangels stand up to the address the crowd to say some final words. Leon and Fynna in particular give rousing and inspiring speeches that effectively raises the morale of the crusaders, adventurers, militia, and mongrelmen. With the spirited words dished out, the Archangels wait until the rest of the forces head out before their platoon stealthily heads towards the Gray Garrison.
Thanks to the Crusaders, the Archangels and company are able to stealthily head over to the Gray Garrison without provoking any unnecessary random encounters. The scene is terrible though as they move through the ruined city. Terrible demons and their respective cultists move about and attack the crusaders, mercenaries, and other adventurers mauling and shredding them into pieces. Innocent folks hide in fear inside their homes praying for safety. The situation is dire and the Archangels understand more so about the seriousness of the situation. They move quicker.
After an hour of carefully plodding through Kenabres, they finally arrive at the destroyed cathedral where there journey first began. Across the ravine in which Khorramzadeh tore the land into two the heroes see in front of them the Gray Garrison. With Irabeth, Karina, the five mongrelmen rangers, and the Archangels in two, the group raids the garrison in hopes of destroying the wardstone fragment before all is too late.
With the world on the line and only an hour before the Glabrezu’s return, the Archangels and company hurry to destroy the wardstone fragment. The fighting is intense…
Highlights of the Assault on the Gray Garrison
- An intense and annoying fight with two hideously obese, naked men armed with scythes outside the garrison. Hakim realizes that the rotund men are Kandro Nyserian and Lord Hulrun, leader of Kenabres! Vermleks, hideous wormlike demons who can wear dead humanoid bodies almost as if they were armor, have turned these once noble men into bastardizations of their former selves. The Archangels and their comrades are able to kill one vermlek but the other escapes into the desolate ground and disappears.
- Searching for a way in, the Archangels decide to push in front the front door and encounter Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth and Cultists of Deskari ready for a fight. The fighting is fierce as the crazed cultists and Templars fight tooth and nail to stop the Archangels.
- The Archangels found a hidden armory within the desecrated Temple of Iomedae which has a number of powerful and magical weapons and armor. The heroes use these new goods to help them in their fight against the demons within.
- In the midst of battle many dretches and cultists start returning back to the garrison due to the vermlek they were unable to finish off. Caught in a bind, the heroes try to block the entrance to the staircase only to have a crazed tiefling alchemist start throwing bombs at them. Hakim and Praetoril try to bring down the mad bomber, but the tiefling flees before they can stop him.
- In the mad bomber’s room they find the magical rapier of Irabeth’s father kept inside a plain looking sword case. Irabeth identifies it and says that she sold it to a nobleman to pay for Anevia’s gender transmogrification potion as a wedding gift. She is surprised to find it here in the Gray Garrison however. In her honor, she gives the rapier to Praetoril who she believes can get more use out of it than she can.
- The Archangels have the mongrelman barricade the staircase room and delay the cultists and dretches while they, with Irabeth and Karina, head to the second floor.
- More demons and cultists are afoot in the second floor. They encounter strange demonic beings like demonic giant flies with human faces, a stag-like demon called the peryton that feasts on fresh humanoid flesh, and the man-sized fiend with a goat-like head and hoofed feat known as the schir. The Archangels take considerable damage, but are able to take the demons out (including the mad bomber alchemist) until they hear rumbling from the floor below. The demons and cultists have been able to break through the barricade and all the mongrelmen except Jericho (Fynna’s buddy) fell to the demon horde. With the situation getting more die, they proceed into the scrying chamber.
- Praetoril is the first one to proceed upstairs into the final room where the wardstone chamber resides. As he proceeds up however, he encounters the Minotaur mentioned in Anevia’s report. He has been waiting for the Archangels to make their final move. With one brutal swing the beast crits Praetoril slicing him into half. Praetoril falls.
- The rest of the Archangels, after barricading the entrance to the scrying chamber, move up to the second floor to see Praetoril’s body cut into two. Distraught and angered, they release a series of quick and deadly blows against the beast. Adlo gets the finishing blow off the Minotaur as Leon drops to his knees and weep for the death of his comrade.
- With the wardstone chamber, the heroes burst into the room to find a low stone pedestal sitting on the floor in the middle of chamber under a domed ceiling. Atop the pedestal is an iron, barbed cage – and within the cage sits a chunk of softly glowing white stone (the wardstone fragment). In front of it though is a half elf twisted by various abyssal energies. Her limbs are twisted and she is afflicted with a wasting curse, manifesting as a twisted foot and deformed, bug-like arm. Battle begins and she attempts to delay the Archangels by summoning empowered, fiery skeletons to assist in battle. Unfortunately for her, the heroes are able to dispatch the demons quickly and distract her enough before Adlo is able to sneak in and use the rod of cancellation on the wardstone fragment.
FLASHABCK – Mythic Ascension
When the wardstone fragment is destroyed, it explodes in a blast of golden light and the sound of an angelic being emerges. Hundreds of razor-sharp shards of stone spray outward, destroying the cage where the wardstone fragment was inside of and impales the cursed oracle and her allies in the room. For some reason though, time seems to slow down and you and your allies are somehow able to miraculously avoids the explosion.
Round 1: An unexpected side effect of the fragment’s destruction occurs. Rather than simply diffusing the wardstone’s border as Lord Quednys theorized, all of the energies of the wardstones along the Mendevian border rush out and begin flowing rapidly through the darkened sky all the way to the Gray Garrison. The light energy pierces and breaks the rooftop of the tower where the wardstone fragment was housed and starts pushing and infusing inside the five of you. You feel an incredible power surge, causing you to glow with golden, ethereal light.
All debilitating conditions and wounds are immediately healed as you all are restored in an instant to full health. All expended spells are instantly restored, and all limited use abilities per day recharge. Any dead heroes are restored to life as if by true resurrection, but are automatically stunned for a bit as the power surging through their bodies overwhelms every sense. [PRAETORIL LIVES AGAIN!!!]
Round 2: Still stunned, you start to receive visions from the past. You have a vision of the first wardstone being erected in the Kite in a ritual involving the aid of the Hand of the Inheritor – the herald of Iomedae: a golden winged angel with a half of small swords around his head. Great divine power is bestowed onto the wardstone in hopes of protecting the Material Plane from the demonic horde.
Round 3: The vision continues. You see a 20-year-old Hulrun, future Lord Mayor of Kenabres, leading the burning of dozens of supposed “witches” in the courtyard of the Kite before the wardstone.
Round 4: The vision progresses further. You see Khorramzadeh the Storm King leading a brazen attack on Kenabres. The Storm King manages to strike a resounding blow with his sword against the wardstone, which suffers only the tiniest of cracks as the balor’s sword shatters. Khorramzadeh is then attacked and forced to flee when the silver dragon Terendelev nearly kills him.
Round 5: The vision gets more personal. You see Irabeth chasing a burly dwarven man into the courtyard containing the wardstone. Both paladins are heavily wounded, and as the dwarf backs up against the wardstone, smoke rises and he screams in pain. He ducks to avoid one of Irabeth’s blows, and then manages to smash her knee with his hammer, dropping her to the ground. The dwarf is ready to deliver a death blow, but the sound of approaching soldiers force him instead to back away and summon a fiendish giant wasp that he mounts and then flies away to the north, abandoning Kenabres.
Round 6: The vision gets closer to the present. You see a beautiful demonic woman with a long thin tail, clawed hands, and curling horns protruding from where her eyes should be, placing the wardstone fragment in this room and the bone oracle using a wish granted by this beautiful but vile demonic creature to create a cage around it. She teleports away and disappears.
Round 7: The vision gets darker now. You see a vision of an event that you know will never happen now. You see a half-succubus witch of terrible beauty using a deep purple crystal the size of a human’s head to corrupt the wardstone fragment, causing the entire border between Mendev and the Worldwound to flash with nauseating and destructive fire that devastates the border cities and transforms thousands and thousands of crusaders into half-fiend slaves.
Round 8: Still stunned, the visions subside and you find yourselves back in the destroyed room where the wardstone fragment once resided. The fragment is gone and the powers of the wardstones are now coalesced inside your inner being. All of a sudden an image of a somewhat transparent beautiful demonic woman with bat-like wings, a horned brow, and glowing red eyes appears in front of you. She regards the five of you with a smoldering, furious expression, and says, “This only delays your kind’s extinction. But at least I can take steps to hasten your own.”
All of a sudden you hear screams of rage behind you. “You die today Areelu Vorlesh!” yells Irabeth as she bravely attempts to charge the image of the powerful witch. “You will pay for your crimes succubus!” shouts Karina who also bravely charges in. Areelu waves her hand though and Irabeth and Karina stops dead in their tracks, grasping at their throats as she suddenly seems to be suffocating. The witch looks at you five though and seems frustrated. “The death throes of your wardstone seem to be protecting you from my magic. No matter. They cannot protect you from my slaves!”
Areelu spreads wide her arms and rift tears open in reality. Two vrocks tumble through into the room, and beyond them you catch glimpses of even greater demons preparing to enter, babaus, glabrezus, even a marilith – when suddenly the energy infusing you pulses back outward. You’re no longer stunned! In the same moment, the spell affecting Irabeth and Karina are dispelled and they drop to the ground unconscious. As this happens, the powerful energy hits the Abyssal rift and slams it shut – Areelu screams in pain as the magical feedback tears into her body, breaking bones and shredding her wings. An instant later, her projected image vanishes. The two vrocks roar in a terrible fury.
The final battle is fierce, but with the wardstone’s power resonating inside them the Archangels are able to save their two female comrades (Irabeth and Karina) and destroy the two remaining vrocks with just a sliver of health left before they can cause any more damage. With that, they managed to gain an incredible victory for the side of good. This event does not go unnoticed. All along the border, the other wardstones flash with golden light as well momentarily supercharging their effects. Thousands of demons are destroyed by the flash of light, and many more are wounded. The attacks along the borders suddenly cease, and the surviving demons flee back into the depths of the Worldwound. Although the defenders rejoice at the unexpected pulse of energy, the fact that their greatest defense has apparently burned itself out is cause for concern. Nonetheless, they all have managed to prevent Areelu’s plans from taking place. They return back to Defender’s Heart and there is much great jubilation and revelry with the success of their mission.
That same night as they take their well-deserved rest, they all share a singular, shared dream in which a scarred but beautiful woman dressed in plate armor visits them and thanks them for their kindness and service before apologizing for the fact that she cannot help them anymore in the future. Yet she can grant them a token of her gratitude, and kisses each dreaming Archangel on the brow making them even stronger than before.
The heroes finally have a chance to rest and recover. With the pulse of sacred energy along the border having slain so many demons and driven off the others, the incursion of Kenabres ends. You can explore and investigate your new powers, or spend a few well-deserved days to relax with friends. As days wear on, the crusaders grow nervous in anticipation of the next of the demonic attacks, as the wardstones are no more.