Our righteous avengers…
–Froderik Penderghast – Male Human Wizard. Logical and self important wizard. Accompanied by his hawk familiar, Mordecai. Nursing a grudge against Zenga, Delilah and Briac.
–Raskin Daggermaw – Male Half-Orc Rogue. Huge, muscular braggadocious letch who is especially good at stabbing folks, if not interpersonal skills. Actively despised the people of Zenga’s home village, but still felt that kids should probably have been spared.
–Edella Montfort – Female Human Paladin of Vesper. Somewhat sheltered and naïve but always out to help anyone she comes across and punish evil. The moral center of the group. Determined to bring Zenga’s father to justice for murdering the children of Zenga’s village.
–Shren – Male Ratman Alchemist. Deadpan maker of potions and concoctions always seeking more recipes to master. No fan of the swamp, and he seems less than keen on Zenga’s father after he killed children.
–Zenga – Female Human Witch. With everything she’s ever known proven to be lies, and her long lost father returning just to wipe out the village she grew up in (kids and all), she’s a little broken at the moment. Accompanied by her scorpion familiar (and brother) Janis, who isn’t faring much better.
–Beybulat Tasho aka “Bey” – Male Human Swashbuckler. A barbarian from the Plains of Galmar. Enraged at Zenga’s father and determined to kill him.
–Delilah Farmeski – Female Human Cleric of Farmesk. A battle nun from the Eastern Realms who worships the God of War. Thinks the gynocentric society of Zenga’s village might have been onto something.
–Briac Youngblood – Male Human Ranger. Has a massive crush on the oblivious Beybulat. Currently wants nothing more than to kill Zenga’s father.
21st of Griffon, 1159 M.R., The Brokenback Swamps
Due to the exhaustion of the fighting and all the swamp travel the day before, the group arose later than usual. Briac, Bey and Edella were eager to get moving as quickly as possible so after a quick breakfast of nourishing gruel summoned by Shren they were on their way.
The day passed uneventfully, but the ill-will garnered the day before persisted. Froderick still fumed at Zenga, Delilah and Briac, while Briac was focused only on vengeance and Zenga seemed to be operating on autopilot, engaging with nobody any more than absolutely necessary and speaking with a flat, disconnected affect.
After a full day of slogging through the swamps with no break, they found themselves at Farian’s Grove. He was guarded by a swamp creature and two crocodiles lurked in the water nearby. “Come no closer,” he demanded. “I have heard your discussions and know you plan to murder me.”
Raskin laughed cruelly at this, but Briac angrily accused Farian of breaking the agreement he made to he and Edella and Bey to not slay the children. Farian merely responded that they were already infected by the evil doctrines of the Wives of Death and that he did it for the greater good. “I have removed a major evil from this earth,” he insisted.
“And one has just been created in its place in you,” Edella spat. “I can sense it in your heart.”
“I can now restore this areas to a lush grove instead of this fetid swamp,” Farian said.
“You said you’d give up this power once the witches were dealt with,” Edella pointed out.
“But I can do so much…” Farian started to protest, but he was cut off when Beybulat wordlessly drew his sword and just started marching towards Farian.
“Men fail us,” Delilah spat, casing a protective spell on herself.
“You have been warned,” Farian said and his minions started to advance.
Briac whipped out his bow and shot Farian’s tree-embedded body, but the man was only slightly wounded. Bebulat charged Farian and jammed his short sword into the bark, cutting into Farian’s body beneath, eliciting both a cry of pain and a oozing reddish sap that dribbed from the tree. Delilah cast a spell and advanced upon Farian, while Raskin tried to make his way through the swamp.
Farian then called upon the power of nature to cause all sorts of gross swamp plants grow up and grasp most of the party as they tried to slog through the swamp to his island. Fortunately everyone was able to avoid the grasping plants and were able to move freely. He then was able to cast a spell, and reached out and gently touched Bey’s sword. The blade immediately rusted and crumbled, leaving the Galmarian with nothing but a rusty hilt in his hand.
The crocodiles then rushed. One snapped at Shren who was able to backpedal, but the other took a sizeable bite out of Froderick’s leg. The swamp creature, meanwhile, reached out and smashed a muck like fist into Bey.
Edella called upon the power of Vesper to help her fight Farian, and charged at him, although the swamp monster struck Edella as she ran by, hurting her. Still, Edella powered through and managed to stab Farian through the tree. She too was rewarded with a grunt of pain and some blood like sap oozing from the wounds.
Suddenly a number of swamp animals began converging on the area. A swarm of mosquitoes flew in and swarmed Bey, stinging him mercilessly. From other areas an ooze bubbled up from the swamp water and an enormous leech swam towards the group.
Farian pled to his daughter, “I know you must do this thing with the Gods that you told me about, but after you finish you could return and I’ll turn this place into a paradise for us. We can live together, as father and daughter and make up for lost time.” Zenga just wordlessly put on the circlet that they had taken from the Purvs Māte and cast a hex at him.
“My daughter,” he said sadly, “I see the Wives of Death got to you after all.”
“You abandoned me like everyone else and you are dangerous,” Zenga spat.
Farian flew into a rage, “I’ve spent every moment since you were taken trying to find you and a way to get to you!”
Delilah, the warrior in her clearly too professional to focus on this exchange, called upon Farmesk to summon wood axe made of spiritual energy, which began to strike Farian of its own accord. This caused Farian to slump down in the tree but the party looked on in horror as new roots grew from the tree and into Farian and he seemed to shake off the damage and fatigue he’d suffered to that point. “You don’t understand nature and what it can do!” Farian bellowed.
Bey, meanwhile tried to move away from the swamp creature and pulled out his flail and struck Farian but was suddenly enveloped in the the mosquito swarm. It covered most of Bey’s body and began stinging and biting him.
Edella lashed out again with her ranseur, slashing into Farian, but the tree man cast a spell, causing Edella’s armor to start rapidly heating up while the swamp monster slammed it’s fist into Edella again, injuring the paladin further. At the same time Briac moved away from the grasping plants to shoot at Farian, but broke the string on his bow.
Meanwhile the rest of the party tried to take on Farian’s animal minions. Still in the Swamp muck, Raskin moved to dry land and pulled out his bow and tried to shoot at the crocodile attacking Froderick, but the half-orc’s shot went wide.
Shren joined in and hurled a bomb at the crocodile, injuring it. Unfortunately for the Ratman another portion of the swamp coalesced into another of the swamp creatures and slammed into Shren. Worse, the creatures muck wrapped around Shren holding him in place.
Froderick, displeased with a crocodile trying to eat him, tried to cast a spell defensively at the crocodile, but he was unable to pull off the spell, so he attempted to flee from from it instead. Fortunately for Froderick (and possibly unfortunately for everyone else) he then blinked away, again taken by the force that bound them all together.
Back at the front of the fight, Edella stabbed Farian again, the wound biting deep and causing Farian to slump down and start convulsing and cough up a gout of blood before laying still. The swamp monsters immediately reverted to swamp liquid muck and lost all cohesion, though the other animals continued to attack.
Delilah looked upon Farian and believed she saw more roots growing into the wound that Edella had made. The cleric thought she saw roots growing into his heart and lungs. “I think this thing is trying to heal him again!” she hollored in revulsion.
Meanwhile Bey, still being swarmed by mosquitos, tried frantically to wave his arms around to get rid of them as they furiously stung and bit him. Meeting with no success he tried fleeing the mosquitos, running away from Farian/the tree and past Briac. Unfortunately the mosquitos stayed on the poor Galmarian, stinging him furiously. Briac, striking on an idea, pulled a smokestick from his pack. Lighting it, he flung it at Bey’s feet, blinding the unfortunate barbarian but causing the Mosquitos to disperse.
Meanwhile the crocodiles continued their assault. One bit Raskin’s leg and yanked him to the ground, looking to make a meal out of the half-orc. The other croc, unsure where Froderick went, targeted Briac and advanced. Fortunately the ranger was able to leap out of the way and drive his battle axe into the its skull, slaying it.
Zenga, finally free as the entangling plants ceased when Farian went down, hexed the ooze near her, and then moved away from it. The slow moving creature tried to pursue, but it was so slow as to be laughable.
Delilah struck the downed Farian with her longsword, slashing into the tree and the seemingly unconscious or man within it. She shouted to the others “I don’t know if he’s dead or not. Should I keep hitting him?” Raskin, being thrown around by a crocodile with a grip on his leg, immediately replied “Fuck you, save me!” The war cleric turned and charged the croc, slashing it with her longsword. Zenga followed up with a sleep hex that put the creature to sleep. Raskin, Briac and Delilah rained attacks upon the creature to finish it off.
Shren meanwhile, could not break out of the swamp muck that bound him but managed to drink a potion of True Strike. Thanks to the potion he was able to fling a bomb, even with his limited mobility, straight into the chest of Farian. The resulting explosion seemed to have done the job, with the burst of fire destroying Farian’s heart. He immediately began convulsing and spat up a gout of blood. The tree immediately started crumbling, as if rotting in fast forward. Pieces of the tree quickly start to crack and Farian’s corpse slumped out.
Edella’s armor continued to get hotter, however, slowly turning orange with the heat and burning her severely. Shren, pretty sure he knew the spell Farian had cast upon Edella’s armor, yelled for her to get into water and the paladin leapt into the swamp and frantically began trying to take off her armor. She called for someone to assist her and Raskin eagerly leapt to her aid, charging in and using his dagger to cut the straps of her breastplate. Thanks to the water of the swamp cooling off the heated metal they were able to get it off before it caused too much more damage to Edella, though she was badly burned and forced call upon Vesper to heal herself. The breastplate had partially melted and deformed. It would need repairs before Edella could use it again.
While this was happening Delilah made her way to the remains of her father and the tree he’d been embedded in. Her eyes fell upon a white ash staff. Claiming and examining it magically allowed her to determine that it had the power to heal. Alas, even it’s magic could do nothing for the hole in her heart.
Bey, observing Zenga’s actions, asked if she thought her father used it to become a tree, but Zenga did not answer. Bey asked if she was ok, but Zenga just stared at the staff, not even acknowledging Bey’s presence.
With the danger passed Edella and Delilah doled out the healing and Zenga wordlessly claimed the staff for her herself not telling anyone that it was magical, or anything else for that matter.
With Farian dead and the dead children of Nāves Ciems avenged Shren immediately brought up the issue of trying to make the rendezvous with the Archeron. They had intended to have Mordecai fly to the ship to beg Captain Godwaith to wait a few more days, but when Froderick vanished during the fight, so too did his familiar. This left them without a means to communicate with the captain.
Edella asked Zenga if they wanted to say something or bury Farian, and the witch only replied with a monotone “No. He’s nothing to me.” Heartbroken at her response, and wishing that Vesper’s healing touch allowed her to heal emotional damage, Edealla left Zenga be.
After some discussion the group decided that, even though the sun was setting, they should march through the night. With the light of Zenga’s repeated casting of Dancing Lights, and the ability of Bey and Edella to magically relieve the fatigue of most of the party, they headed out into the night as the adrenaline from the battle faded.
22nd of Griffon, 1159 M.R., The Brokenback Swamps
The group marched cheerlessly through the night. Zenga just stared ahead as she marched, speaking only to recast her Dancing Lights spell. Everyone else, even the normally flippant Raskin, seemed deeply disturbed by the deaths of the children of Nāves Ciems and morale was low as a result.
A couple hours before sunup they ran across four lizardmen. Through gestures the group gathered that monsters did not appear to want a fight. The party, emotionally and physically exhausted, were content to let the creatures continue on their way.
A couple hours later the hot, muggy summer day turned to rain and the travelers spotted storm clouds gathering. As the storm continued the rain turned to hail making the miserable slog through the swamp even more miserable.
The group briefly stopped for an hour to rest and eat, and Delilah and Edella were able to pray during the rest a best they could through the hail. Unfortunately it was not enough time for Zenga or Shren to regain any magical abilities.
As the group continued on thunder and lightning began to strike and the hail slowly turned to snow. As the sun started to set and the weather remained miserable and far out of place for summer, the group blacked out in hip deep swampwater…
They all shared a vision and saw the familiar sight of a dark pillar with blood red runes upon it. They seemed to be on top of a tall building within the center of a city. A figure was chained to the pillar with black manicles with blood red runes etched into them. The figure was a wizened old man with a long white beard dressed in robes and wearing a pair of spectacles.
Unlike past visions, this time they could make out some of the details of the trio of attackers, though not enough to get a clear vision of them yet. The one chanting arcane magic appeared to be a female half elf dressed in dark robes. The one chanting in divine magic seemed to be an orc clad in dark armor. The one up front, wielding the enormous black greatsword with the blood red runes upon the blade was a human male dressed in full plate as black as the night. Although they could not make out details of this trio in the last dreams they somehow know that this was the same three beings.
As before when the chanting of the half elf and the orc reached a magical crescendo, the human stepped up and struck the old man chained to the pillar, followed by a bright flash of light and the sounds of an explosion.
They all saw a brief flash of the following figures:
-A tall female elf with short silvery hair and large amber eyes.
-A human hale with a narrow face, auburn hair and grey eyes dressed in a worn grey robe.
-A female halfling dressed in half plate with blonde hair and brown eyes.
-A female dwarf with curly blonde hair and dark blue eyes dressed in modest garments.
-A female gnome with a narrow face, red hair and grey eyes dressed in leather armor.
-A human female with brown hair and gray eyes dressed in a toga and wearing numerous rings.
-A thin middle aged man of average height dressed in common clothing with greying hair and green eyes.
They awoke on a small island in the swamp, definitely not where they had blacked out, with the sun high on a cloudy day. They had no idea where they were or how much time had passed.
Edella immediately had told them all that the figure being struck down was the god Yotia, also known as the Learned One, just as Edna had been warned about in the afterlife.
Raskin pointed out that the vision was in Emeron, on one of the towers of the Magic University. Since no one else present had been to Emeron they trusted his assessment.
Briac lamented that Yoita must be dead, but Edella told them that she thought the spells being cast weakened him and bound him to the people they saw, just like them and the other vision. Edella further pointed out that she thought the weather was going crazy because the ones tied to Guya, who controlled weather as well as agriculture, had been killed, if Edna’s vision from beyond was to be believed.
Without any idea how long it had been or where they now were, they could only continue on, hoping to catch the Archeron and get to Emeron as quickly as possible…
DM’s Notes: Another great and charged session here. The PC’s, fueled by righteous fury (or emotional induced shock, in Zenga’s case) gave Farian no quarter. Though no slouch and with control over the enviornment and nearby animals, after the Purvs Māte fight Farian was not nearly as dangerous.
A quick note about Zenga’s player Jennie. At first, I thought her willingness to slay Farian was just for the sake of party unity and not to write herself out of the narrative by having her character switch sides. It quickly became apparent, however, that Zenga had just snapped under the weight of all she’d just learned/survived. These psychic wounds would take some time to heal, and Jennie (as with the rest of my group) again impress me with her roleplay skills.
Ideally, I’d have liked to have had a little more time after the battle with Farian and the next ritual that affected the PC’s, but the rituals are done on pre-determined dates in the In Game calander. As a result, the poor PC’s hare having a LOT thrown at them all at once.
And, to my delight, the continue to complain about how much they hate the Brokenback Swamps.