Spirits were high and the festival of Armasse was in full swing; food, games and events of all kinds littered the streets of Old Kenabres! While many people spent their time participating in “sideshows” such as harrow readings and tasting the fine food there was on offer some chose to play a more active role in the festivities. The archery contest was notably won by a most noble son of the Ghalmont family, another accolade to be worn by such an old and esteemed house. Yet while fun was high, the cards would end up telling a much darker tale.
Mid-way through the frivolity the unthinkable happened, and Kenabres would quite literally have the ground fall from beneath it. As the respected Hulrun went to make his speech, a brilliant light cascaded across the city, the source coming from the south west of the district. The Kite, the fortification responsible for holding the Wardstone of Kenabres and the keystone of the entire city had erupted into a plume of supernatural flame and from this unholy pyre rose a dark scourge feared throughout the realm; Khorramzadeh had come.
With its most powerful defence crippled, Kenabres was at the mercy of the abyssal scourge. Rifts opened within the ground and from them countless children of sin spewed forth. In a panic citizens fled in every direction and crusaders attempted to call the military to arms, all the while innocents were torn asunder in what could only be described as an orgy of destruction. But even in this darkest hour, not all hope was lost. From within the crowd the trusted guardian and saviour of Kenabres Terendelev burst forth. The ancient silver dragon had been attending the festival in the guise of a human but now flew fourth to defend her city from the balor lord intent on its destruction.
Even as the epic titans of dark and light clashed within the sky above, the people of Kenabres found themselves having to fight to survive, unless they found someone noble enough to fight in their stead. A woman on the ground, trapped at the mercy of a goat demon was one such poor soul who could not save herself. However thanks to the intervention of a heroic stranger, her hair seemingly ablaze and face likewise alight with righteous fury, the helpless woman would live to see another day. As the beast attempted to bring down its weapon, our fiery saviour leapt to action just in time, parrying the blow and rebuffing the fiend.
Even as one life was being saved another found itself in danger. A soldier found himself dangling, desperate for help at the edge of one of the fissures within the earth. It was only by the efforts of a mysterious dark skinned woman, almost passable for a demon herself, the he managed to survive. Her brutish strength effortlessly dragging him to the safety of solid ground.
The noble son of Ghalmont, already having made good use of his skill with a bow that day was not to be outdone by the heroics of mere commoners. A great flying beast attempted ripped forth a tree from the earth, sweeping through the skies and let it loose upon a soul lost in the panic. Yet the favoured son was always vigilant in serving his great city, tackling the innocent and saving them from what would have otherwise been a grisly and most certain death.
While heroic deeds were performed many times on this desperate day, one of them came from a most unlikely source. Attempting to help the woman who had peered into the depths of his future yet now found herself in a harrowing experience of her own, a dark haired man clad in a sweeping blue cape summoned forth what appeared the filth of the abyss itself. Demons appeared all around the woman, who had fallen beneath the feet of the crowd, and diverted the path of the now even more terrified crowd. With a face of thanks marred with confusion and terror the woman found her feet and fled into the crowd. Leaving the staff wielding “cultist” to his own devices.
In the skies above the draconic paladin found herself in a losing battle, grappling with the balor lord who brought down blow upon blow. Finally the pair began a spiralling descent as the balor took charge of the battle. While eyes gazed above, from the ground below a greater threat entered the picture as the ground below opened into a horrific chasm causing all inside to begin cascading into the fissure. The last sight of the surface any of those who fell would see was the great silver dragon reaching out her claw and casting a final arcane spell upon a few lucky citizens, slowing their rate of falling. After this, the balor lord sliced the ancient dragon’s head from her shoulders and darkness consumed all.
The few survivors found themselves blinking to consciousness deep underground somewhere. Four of them instinctively took charge, slightly after one produced a light source. The quartet introduced themselves as Tannaris the Wizard, Theodore the Inquisitor, Kaeilyn the Bloodrager and Lucina the Paladin; the heroes of this tale. They found themselves with three other companions, the first of which Horgar, was a blubbering mess in spite of being relatively uninjured. It took Theodore’s soothing words to calm the man down. Aravashnial was the next to encounter Theodore’s calming countenance. The elf had been blinded, by what Theodore thought was the tip of a balor’s flaming whip and his eyes had been seared right out of their sockets. A small part of Tannaris’ cloak was used to help cover the empty sockets and Theodore eventually got through to the pushy elf, in spite of his pain and distress. Finally it was Anivia who proved the most stoic, this woman had been sitting silently through all the commotion and it wasn’t until Kaeilyn, Lucina and Theodore all worked together to help fix her injured leg that Anivia finally felt she could trust the party.
With the agreement of the other three survivors obtained the party noticed in the distance a large spiders, while Kaeilyn noted that it was in fact dead, with maggots feasting on the filthy corpse. They attempted to sneak around the feasting vermin, but the CLANG CLANG CLANG of Lucina’s glorious armour made it a difficult prospect. In spite of the noise though, they were able to successfully bypass the hungry maggots.
It was in the next cavern that they discovered a particularly large pile of trash, from which a pair of huge cockroaches emerged. Tannaris was the first to strike, rushing forward to pummel the creepy roach with his quarterstaff, while a deft shot from Theodore sent the roach to its insectoid gods. Lucina was struggling past the sea of survivors attempting to get into melee, scimitar at the ready, but her armour was cumbersome and kept her from the fray. Sadly, the dawn was yet to arrive. Instead it was the night which would fell the other roach, in the form of the dark skinned Kaeilyn who brought her meteor hammer CRASHING down upon the vermin, spraying guts from wall to wall.
Next a serpent confronted them on their trek to safety. Tannaris attempted to summon a sleeping spell with the power of his staff, blue-grey runes slowly burning bright across its length. But alas, the creature’s wounds were great and it refused to sleep. Combat ensued but the party swiftly dispatched the injured beast.
The party continued down a long tunnel, but was waylaid by enemies and forced to defend themselves. This assault came in the form of a bunch of rats, rats the size of cats! Obviously, Tannaris was the first to charge into melee, being the good wizard that he is. He brought down a devastating blow upon a single rat, but only after glancing back to the group with a triumphant smirk did he realise he was now surrounded by six quite annoyed looking vermin! The rats quite literally swarmed the cocky wizard, dropping him to the ground in a flurry of gnashing bites, while little did he know, infecting him with an insidious disease. It was Lucina who would rush INTO THE FRAY! to protect the overzealous arcanist, swiftly cutting down rat after rat. Truly, the dawn had arrived. Anivia and Theodore unleashed a hail of arrows, picking off wounded rats while injuring others. Yet it was Kaeilyn who would prove the most spectacular, crushing an uninjured rat against the wall with a terrifying display of strength. Victorious, Theodore proved succour to Tannaris, raising him from his coma. Little did the group realise, soon all except Theodore would find themselves grappling with their most powerful enemy yet. Filth, fever…
BUT IGNORANCE IS BLISS! And the septet of struggling survivors soldiered on. Conversations often broke out amongst the group, but Tannaris (And myself) could not recall all the specific details upon reflection. Aravashnial certainly did not enjoy being taken out of the spotlight, his wise council often ignored by the obviously far more competent group of rookie adventurers.
A ways down the winding path the group found themselves at a crossroads, but chose to investigate an eerie green glow rather than the significantly less ominous not-green-glowing-path. A sound decision. The path of fear led them to what looked to be some sort of ruined building, which Kaeilyn was quick to point out was what used to be a temple of Torag. The revelation though was accompanied by another though, as a gigantic fly crept over the roof of the temple and swooped down to attack Theodore, but to little effect. Kaeilyn retaliated in kind, serving out massively disproportionate revenge. Her meteor hammer crashed against the completely unwounded fly, causing it to explode mid air and shower the entire group in entrails. Disintegrate, a 6th level spell slot or a level 1 critical from a Bloodrager. Inside the ruined temple holy water was found, Lucina made space by sculling her alcohol, such class. Through another door the party confronted a sinister creature, an undead abomination Lucina/Kaeilyn identified as a Huecuva. While most weapons proved to be ineffective against the monstrosity Lucina was empowered by her faith. Ever vigilant, the chosen of the sun brought down her mighty scimitar in a blur of flaming steel; the huecuva was sundered.
Finally, in spite of Aravashnial’s protestations the group chose to briefly continue onwards, into a large cavern filled with ancient statues. While Tannaris was unable in spite of his breadth of reading to identify the origins of such things, Aravashnial upon being given a description suggested they represented abyssally infected members of the first crusade, forever immortalised by their progeny. Setting foot further into the room, DAAARKNESS!!! overwhelmed the party. The feeble light spells of the young wizard being quenched in supernatural blackness. Only those with blood outside the material plane were able to see as what appeared to be large leather-y tentacle monster creature things flapped down, one of them giving Theodore a particularly loving face hug. The combat was brutal and hard fought, Lucina battered Theodore’s attacker into submission while Kaeilyn attempted the same, in the mean time directing the movements of the predominantly blinded group. It was here Lucina saw the dark side of the moon, Kaeilyn unleashed something truly fiendish from inside of her, and set loose her rage upon the aberrations. They did not survive long, and finally twilight faded.
Battered, bruised and in desperate need of rest the group hurried back to the ruined temple to plan their next steps. Would the beasts from below consume them before they could escape? Would disease cripple them and leave them to rot after an ignoble death? Or would they slip slowly into darkness, dying at the agonising hands of starvation and hunger…? SURELY NOT! We got this!