6-7 Rova 4713 AR
6 Rova 4713 AR
The Archangels quickly dispatch the ghoul clerics and proceed further into the Chapel of Sarenrae to investigate the corruption. Adlo moves further ahead of the groups and enters into the dining hall where three stone tables standing the room and a nearby knotted rope descends through a tiny hole in the ceiling. Letting his curiosity get the best of him, Adlo stealthily jumps and pulls the rope only to ring the deafening chapel bells throughout the area. This awakens the undead who swiftly move to attack the heroes and their intrusion into the desecrated place. Leon, slowed down by his encumbrance, is mauled by ghouls and the gargoyles he frightened earlier while the rest of the Archangels move to the east to get a better choke point. Praetoril quickly moves back to save Leon while Aziz, Fynna, and Adlo continue to bunker up and deal with the ghouls outside. Fynna casts a tactical grease spell to control the movement of the ghouls as Hakim quickly moves in to dispatch the undead with Adlo providing further support.
After swiftly dispatching two ghouls with his scimitar, Hakim sees far up to the north a menacing demon with sharp fangs and great bat-like wings stretched from its scaly hide quickly approaching from the air. Realizing their futility against airborne opponents, Hakim tells everyone to get back inside and block the door in order to lure the bat-like demon inside.
Unfortunately though, this demonic being’s movement is breathtaking and it’s able to fly in through the chapel’s front doors to aid the gargoyles inside. Realizing the immediate danger of the recently unconscious life oracle, Praetoril and Hakim quickly move back into the desecrated chapel to aid their dying ally as Adlo and Fynna protect their right flank. They are able to get Leon back up and he quickly switches places with Adlo as the trickster of Desna assisted the paladin and cursed oracle against the demon and his gargoyle pets.
The bat-like demon, eying the three melee combatants, attempts to hold the three into place only to fail due to their aasimar origins. Confused and infuriated with his inability to affect these intruders, the demon points its finger at Adlo and fires black ray of negative energy suppressing his life force. Severely weakened and near the brink of death, Adlo moves and hides within the dining hall leaving the Praetoril and Hakim to deal with the monstrosity.
As this was going on, from the right of the kitchen the ghouls are able to finally break in to the kitchen to flank the Archangels. Fynna’s readied action goes off and she places another strategic grease spell to slow down the ghouls. One trips and falls prone but the other two are able to balance themselves as they see Leon and charge straight at him. Deeper in the room though, Fynna catches from the corner of her eye a half-demon with large, bat-like wings and glowing red eyes. The fiendish demon wields a bloody battle asp and licks its shaft as it smiles wickedly at Fynna. Fearing the worst, Fynna calls out for help as the half-demon flies in and begins pummeling Leon.
The fighting intensifies as the melee combatants hold their own against the gargoyles using all their defensive maneuvers to become almost untouchable. The bat-like demon summons a couple of babaus to assist him against the Archangels as Leon is able to channel positive energy to burn the ghouls in holy fire as he successfully escapes from the half-demon’s grasps. With only Fynna left in the room, he is able to resist Fynna’s suggestion and uses a spell to command her to follow him (as he remarks about all the horrible things he will do to her body). Unable to resist the allure of his spell, Fynna complies and follows him into his bed chambers as he begins to swipe at her with his asp and teeth. Luckily for Fynna, her images are able to take a brunt of the hits but one bite to the neck from the half-demon almost paralyzes her. Without many more options left, she throws out one more suggestion to the half-demon informing him that the demons in the other room will get in the way of him violently ravaging her, and he should do something about the demons. The spell works and the half-demon is enraged, shouting that he’ll tear everything in his path so that Fynna may be his pet for all eternity. It rushes to the left to deal with the other Archangels and demons.
With the half-demon now in the fray, the Archangels minus Fynna do their best to deal with the summoned babaus, the bat-like demon, and the asp-wielding half-demon. Praetoril quickly steps behind Hakim to provide him more spell support with his buffs as he personally deals with the half-demon. Adlo gathers his courage and enters into the fight to help deal with the demons. The flying demon casts enervation on Leon which also severely weakens him too. The heroes are able to dispatch the babaus leaving just the bat demon and half-demon left. The bat-like demon casts deeper darkness which blinds the whole party, but Hakim is able to close the doors to prevent the darkness from entering the dining hall in which they use the time to quickly down the half-demon. Concerned with their disadvantage against the flying demon, the heroes barricade the dining hall and kitchen fearing the worst. After two minutes of silence, the heroes cautiously check inside the chapel to see what happened with the demon only to find it had disappeared into the night. Hakim rushes to the cliffs to see where the demon might have flown off and finds it flying quickly north to Drezen. The heroes assume it has flown to the Citadel of Drezen to inform the other demons of their incoming arrival. Thankful for their good fortune in surviving the encounter, the heroes investigate the desecrated chapel for any goods or resources of use to them. With a stroke of good fortune, in the stables the Archangels find hundreds of potions of cure light wounds which they provide to their paladin army.
Hakim feels a strong empathic compulsion from Radiance to spend a bit of time to clean and consecrate the chapel which he spends the whole night doing so. Leon and Adlo are moved by the paladin’s devotion to his god and helps him with his work as well. Radiance is pleased with Hakim’s charity and devotion and becomes empowered (its enhancement bonus increases permanently by +1).
As Hakim, Leon, and Adlo consecrate the Chapel of Sarenrae, Fynna and Praetoril head back down to the encampment to rest and watch over their troops. Fynna senses a strong amount of tension and anxiety among the troops and attempts to console them with the coming siege of Drezen so close. Praetoril during his rounds gains a paladin entourage behind him (Atma, Animus, Zenith, and Zodiac) and is approached by Sosiel that one of the men in the army has been talking about the hopelessness of their task, and predicting a grisly death for everyone. Concerned with these developments, he informs Fynna and they agree to address the situation tomorrow morning once the rest of the war council is back together before they continue their march to Drezen.
7 Rova 4713 AR
The next morning the heroes follow Sosiel and approach Arles Jhestander, the paladin Sosiel was talking about last night. They ask the grizzled veteran to come with them to their tent so they can discuss personal matters before their march and the man nods, picks up his equipment, and follows them. Once inside, a long and difficult discussion occurs between the Archangels and Arles Jhestander about their mission. On one hand, the aasimars feel that Arles’ doom and gloom talk is demoralizing and is affecting the other paladins in a bad way and wish for him to stop. On the other hand, Arles feels the Archangels are young and naïve and don’t know the true hardships most crusaders face once they enter the Worldwound. Being a veteran of over two crusades now, Arles says the knight-commanders need to be realistic and not give false hope to their troops. The discussion gets heated and after few terribly inspirational words from Leon and some pragmatism from Hakim, the grizzly war veteran agrees to keep quiet and put his faith more into the Archangels. Satisfied with Arles change of attitude, the heroes and their army continue their trek to Drezen.
As the Archangels and their army draw within miles of Drezen, one final obstacle stands in their way. The Ahari gorge ahead is filled what appears to be a seething, filthy green cloud of pale vapir, but as they approach it becomes immediately obvious that this “cloud” is in fact a mass of dozens and dozens of swarming Abyssal vermin – ravenous creatures known as vescavors. Hakim knows that these creatures are dangerous, more so to an army of paladins with no real way to damage them, for the swarms are immune to weapon damage and aren’t slowed by armor. Marching the army into the swarms is certain death. He realizes though that the swarm is unusually large, which implies the presence of a vescavor queen nearby. If the queen can be found and slain, the swarms would quickly dissipate, allowing their army to move onward toward Drezen.
The heroes spend a few hours observing the swarms and notice that clouds of the ravenous creatures constantly swarm in and out of several large holes spread throughout the riverbed. They wait until the evening when the swarm is the least active before moving into one of the closer holes. Praetoril’s entourage comes in with rope and a metal stake to help quickly lower a rope down the hole as the heroes descend into the depths to search and slay the vescavor queen.
The battle underground in the depth of the vescavor hive is maddening. The vescavors yammer the endless chorus of the abyss causing many of the heroes to fall constantly confused by the sheer sounds of madness. Vescavors embody the meanest depravities of the Outer Rifts, and walking among them is akin to being trapped in the Abyss itself. Regardless, the heroes push through and are able to track down the vescavor queen and quickly slay it before more of the swarm could reach them.
With the vescavor queen dead, the archangels and their army continue their march and, after a couple of hours, reach the ruins of Drezen in the late evening. The riverbed rises at a noticeable slope for the last few miles, rising up out of the Ahari gorge, and a stink of smoke and grime can be detected on the wind – a telltale sign of a city fallen to filth and horror. With the daunting task in front of them, the heroes and their army prepare themselves for the coming battles ahead.