Wounds mended and repairs complete, camp is packed up and the caravan heads off to a monastery about one mile from Kelmarane. To make sure the monastery is safe, the heroes are sent in to investigate. It's soon discovered that this building is infested with pugs, baboons, and stirges and a long battle ensues. After a time, traces of any further pug activity, or anything else, seem to stop. The monastery is thoroughly investigated and in the overgrown garden, there appears to be a large nest with an enormous egg. Her cook collects the egg an it is added to the next meal she prepares.
Descending into the lower crypt, another menace is found and eliminated, but one of the heroes has an overwhelming compulsion to return to the overgrown garden. There, this individual digs under the nest until uncovering a Battleaxe. Even the hero is puzzled in knowing where to find this weapon.
With the monastery secure, Almah orders the caravan to break down and the monastery is used as a base of operations. It's soon discovered however that not all the pugs were present when the cleansing took place. Dashki finds and confirms the tracks of one or two pugs that could have been out hunting. The first night is not an easy night as the heroes seem to have taken a room already occupied. A surprise attack by this occupant does not last long though. The second day is witness to a man dragged from the battle market out to the field where his intestines are methodically pulled from his gut. His screams can be heard even from this distance. After that, the day is spent planning for the first attack and with Almah's approval, the expedition to Kelmarane begins, intending on an ambush attack. This expedition turns into two successful ambushes on gnoll patrols and the party returns pleased.
Day 3 returns the group back to Kelmarane for more trouble, and they find it. Their first assault is on a Dire Boar which proves quite tough. While intending on attacking another building, our heroes witness a band of gnolls escorting a man from town to the middle of a cacti field. Following the heroes see the gnolls tying the prisoner to the ground as before. This time though, there might be something to do about it. Intervening, soon reveals the reason the gnolls chose this location as soon two of the gnolls fall into a suddenly collapsing sinkhole. Tentacles lash out and grab the gnolls within reach and pull them under. The battle becomes complicated as now the battle has three opponents and one prisoner and all are fighting each other. The battle falls in favor of our heroes though as the thing in the ground, what's later explained to be a dust digger, retreats back into the ground and the remaining gnolls are dispatched.
When the heroes leave, they soon find the one gnoll was not as dead as was thought as he howls out in anguish as he's dragged under with the other. The dust digger had returned. These screams are noticed and other gnolls come to investigate, but soon leave. Clearly they attributed the absence of the prisoner (Oxvard, Cleric of Abador, member of the Lions of Senara) and disappearance of the other gnolls to this dust digger. Almah seems displeased, but understands, when the heroes bring Oxvard with them.
Opting to make use of the remaining time, and the fact that the gnolls remain ignorant of any attacks there, the heroes head back for a look at the building they planned on hitting before finding Oxvard. Here, a ghastly creature is encountered, what's later explained to be a Peryton. This battle is fierce and takes a good tole on the heroes, but they finish triumphantly and opt to remain for another ambush on any gnolls coming to feed this creature. With a third ambush successful they return to the monastery.
Day 4 puts everyone at the monastery in full alert as a creature arrives at the garden. Clearly the thing that made that massive nest. It's later revealed to be a Geier (giant vulture-like bird) that was nesting here and had laid the egg that was greatly enjoyed by everyone. To protect the monastery and everyone in it, everyone joined in the fight and eventually killed it. Meat for weeks.
On the night of Day 5 the monastery is visited by a band of gnolls (Three Jaw Pack, mortal enemies of the Kulldix Tribe occupying Kelmarane and the battle market) and a pact of truce is made.
On Day 6, retaking Kelmarane begins. The heroes leave the monastery with Dashki and meet with some of the Three Jaw just outside of Kelmarane. A plan is set and the attack begins with a divide and concur strategy. The heroes attack a group guarding one side of Kelmarane only to find them decoys, but when there's no ambush the heroes just head for the battle market. Opening the door the heroes are met by a goblin just beyond, seemingly exhausted beyond possible. He's dressed in a jester's finest with his trusty scepter, short wand topped with a series of tiny bells. It jingles as he greets you. [talk]Welcome, welcome![/talk] the goblin rasps. [talk]You have been expected! The Mouth of the Carrion King seeks an audience with you immediately! This way, this way![/talk] he says, beckoning toward the central chamber and the wooden stage. After a brief conversation, the goblin gives the name of his master, Kardswann, and knocks himself unconscious and you begin climbing steps to the next floor. After a bit of a look around, the heroes opt to try and mingle in to learn what can be learned from the merchants. After a choice meeting with three the heroes know of the harpy employed by Kardswann and the route up.
Eventually all talk comes to an end as everyone shares little bits of information they've received. A rough plan is hatched and soon the assault begins. It's during the battle that the Three Jaw gnolls begin to show, and waist no time entering the fight. A resident, and current champion of the battle stage, and old familiar friend to some of the heroes, Haleen, comes to join the fight too. The battle consists of an ogre, bugbears, and gnolls plus the harpy and in the end it's only the heroes and a few of the Three Jaw remaining. One hero delivers a telling blow to Kardswann and something unexpected happens. Kardswann stumbles a moment before falling to a knee. His expression changes in his last moment, as if something has lifted from him. With the fall of Kardswann, the barbarian suddenly feels an overpowering compulsion and takes a judgmental, ridiculing posture over the fallen man. Kardswann, in his last gasping moment blinks at the half-orc barbarian as he stands there, fists to his hips, shaking his head. The hero bears a look of bitter disappointment as he looks down at Kardswann.
[talk]Kardswan...[/talk] he says in a voice not of his own, [talk]Kardswann, look at what has become of you. This is not the way of the Templar, Kardswan. You have strayed far from the path of the Five Winds.[/talk]
[talk]Who are you?[/talk] Kardswan asks the hero barbarian.
[talk]I'm Vardishal![/talk] Kardswan blinks again, as if hearing something long forgotten.
A strange look of confusion clouds Kardswann’s expression. His entire body begins shaking, as if he were struggling to control his actions. He furrows his brow and speaks through clenched teeth, [talk]You… must… destroy… Xulthos. Below the… below the ruined church. Cannot hold on. Bind me or cut me… within an inch of death… His will is so much stronger than mine… Do it! Do it now![/talk] Kardswann then falls in a heap, bleeding out profusely from gaping wounds. It's clear now that binding him won't be needed, and well... the cutting has already been done.
The barbarian hero staggers a moment as he regains himself, looking at all of those around, looking at him as if he were another. [talk]What... What happened?[/talk]
Perplexed by what just happened, everyone looks upon the barbarian with stunned bewilderment. Kardswann is bound, his severe wounds mended, but not healed, he's kept unconscious and locked away. Word is sent to Almah and the battle market is secured.
With the battle market secure and all the loot assembled, the heroes discuss who takes what. Almah eventually arrives with her bodyguard and others. The two drivers, Hadrod and Hadrah, carry in all of the heroes properties, plus what loot, in found gear, they had stored. There's talk of the demon under the church, but Almah has reservations in having them tackle that right away. Instead she has the heroes investigate a shadowy figure in the cemetery and the horned beast that served the gnolls. The heroes comply and find the horned beast, already wounded, and finish it off. They then seek out the figure in the cemetery and soon find it. It turns out to be a Huecuva. Also wounded, to their better fortune, the heroes manage to make good work of it as well. At this point the only thing really remaining is the demon.
- All heroes are as follows:
- Ox - Half-orc Fighter - Played by Admin
- Sabine - Human alchemist - Played by Rednick90
- Laron - Human Druid - Played by Benji
- Kroft - Human Rogue - Played by Larenee
- Scully - Halfling Sorcerer - Played by Kabkul
- Simi - Human Paladin - Played by Tdsprouce
As of now, you are all back at the battle market and it's a couple days following the cemetery. You stand before Almah. Other people are about the battle market, either to see the ones who set them free, or to see you off for the final battle to truly free Kelmarane.
On the Map of Kelmarane, B11 is the battle market and B12 is the Church.[/ooc][talk]Enough is enough. I'm hearing too much of children and adults waking in the night from nightmares of this unknown filth beneath our feet.[/talk] She hands to Garavel who in turns hands to Kroft, the nearest to his position, a metal plate with a handle on one side and a series of grooves and prongs on the other. [talk]I hand you the interdict key. This will give you passage to meet the source of all the suffering of this town. This key interlocks with the interdict seal on the portal in the church ruins. Our prayers go with you. Gather what items you think you may need, as I fell this will truly be a test of all you have within you.[/talk]