Flamerule the 10th – Flamerule the 29th
(We interrupt our regularly scheduled adventure log with an important announcement. Our out of game issues were resolved, and the original party members have rejoined forces. As such, the characters were retconned yet again back to their original, non-gestalt forms. We apologize for the long hiatus, if anyone actually reads these adventure logs, but we will hopefully be back on track. We are sorry for the interruption, and now back to the regularly scheduled adventure).
After defeating the Berseker Prelate, the party decided to search the rest of the ruined temple. Appearing mostly deserted, the party found what appeared to be a chamber for the preparation of sacrifices. Old dried blood caked the floors and walls, leading to a rusted drain in the center. The sights were too much for Ember, causing flashes of memories, long since buried. After the memories faded, leaving Ember with questions, but no answers, the party continued to search around, finding what appeared to be the belongings of some of the unfortunate townsfolk. Among these effects, they found a blank black scroll, with an identical seal as the one they found in Garreth’s possession. Taking it, they were eager to leave the accursed temple for the last time.
Arriving back in Fallcrest the following day, the party was in for a pleasant surprise. Alecar had returned. Alecar explained that the reason for his absence was his father. While they were in Sumberton, a messenger sent by his family had tracked him down and informed him that his father was dying. He dropped everything and made haste for his hometown of Fox Hills. He arrived just in time to comfort his father in his last hours. His dying words were his pride in his children, and the hope that Alecar would look after Jethro. Unfortunately, the messenger sent to find Jethro was unsuccessful, a fact that worried Alecar greatly, as Jethro would not have abandoned his family lightly.
In addition to the sad news about his father, Alecar also shared with Ember and Solaren a dream that he had on the night of his father’s death. A dream that inspired him to rejoin his companions:
It was an ominous dream to be sure, but one with a glimmer of hope. Bahamut offered them hope in the face of darkness if they but stick together. Unsure of what the visions in the dream portend, the party agreed that it was best to work together as they had been. Their next plan was to continue the search for Solaren’s father, a task that had too long been put off.
Having searched in Highmoor several months previous, they decided to try their luck in Wellspring. Arriving in the city, their reputation preceded them. When the town received word of an advancing army from Cumberland, they were invited to sit in on the council, in the hopes that they would help defend the town. The council consisted of Lady Kaal, Captain Lars Ulverth, and Speaker Norro Winston, accompanied by Jorr Natherson, the tracker that informed the council of the army in the first place.
After the introductions were made on both sides, Jorr was invited to share his news with the party. It was not good. A large Cumberlandian force was en route to Wellspring, and Garreth was spotted with them. Seems he wanted revenge, and he didn’t care how he got it. Jorr also mentioned a pass that they could use as an ambush spot against the army, that would delay them a couple days, but there would likely be no escape for the volunteers that staged the ambush.
The council was torn; Wellspring had long defended the mountain pass leading out of Luness and had never fallen. The Lady wanted to wait in her city and crush them when they dared to attack. The Captain however, wished to take a force to the Archway, a fortress straddling the pass, to stop, or at least slow the enemy, where they would have a bottleneck to reduce their numbers. Unable to decide, they asked the party for their thoughts, respecting their experience and prowess. The party deferred to Alecar, and he suggested that they should both ambush them at the pass and take arms at the Archway, making the Cumberlandians fight for every inch of ground.
With their plans set, Alecar was asked to round up volunteers for the ambush. Giving a VERY rousing speech about defending their homeland, and glory and honor, they got more volunteers than they could use. Choosing those with no families or children first, the ambush team was assembled. At the same time, the Captain assembled a small force of his best men to man the Archway, some 300 strong. Not many, compared to the forces rallied against them, but there was no room for more to be effective.
With their battle plans set, the forces headed off to battle. Each of the party members was asked to help lead the defense of the Archway. Solaren was asked to lead the troops at the gate. The front line. Ember was positioned on the wall with the archers and ballista, while Alecar and the Captain were on the wall above the gate, issuing orders, and bolstering morale.
The ambush in the hills was successful, Jorr, and one or two others were the only survivors, and the news they brought back with them wasn’t good. An army of goblins had poured out of the mountains and joined with the Cumberlandians. Their force was nearly doubled. Not one to balk at the odds, Alecar rallied the men, and set about preparing the battlefield. With Bahamut’s aid, and the three days that were afforded him buy the successful ambush, Alecar turned the battlefield into a miasma of spikes and mud, with powerful magic symbols scattered about that would put any creatures near them to sleep.
Finally, the enemy arrived. It was dusk, and with the sun shining toward them, they almost didn’t see the manticores swooping in to attack the walls. Luckily, Ember caught the glint of sun off of their riders’ armor, and the battle began. The battle raged for several hours, Ember slinging spells into the sky, felling the beasts and their riders, Solaren defended the gate, killing hundreds of soldiers. It seemed that for every one he killed though, two more took their place. If it hadn’t been for the leadership of Alecar, and his preparations they would have been lost that first night. Twice when the enemy had broken through the gate, he called upon Bahamut to make it whole. And his shaping of the battlefield took its toll on the enemy as well. Using Stone Shape, Alecar had created channels the enemy had to follow to reach the Archway, and they led into symbols or spikes, or other glyphs of warding, wreaking havoc among the first wave.
When it seemed that they could hold no longer, the Darklord of the Goblins, Glonin Krak, the Goblin King himself advanced on the gate. The events of the battle which are captured in Solaren’s Journal, but suffice to say, the wall did not fall, and the enemy retreated for the night. Scouts brought in word that another force of Cumberlandians had caught up with the main army. Hearing this news, the Captain decided it best that they retreat while they could, to join the main army in the defense of the city. They had done all they could and had struck a mighty blow against the enemy. In the morning however, the army would overrun them. They retreated that night.
Another power had awakened within Ember that night; she had harnessed the ability to teleport. Using this newfound power, she travelled to Fallcrest to see Byron and seek his council. Never before had she seen so much death (she had seen much worse, but could not yet remember it). Comforted in his presence, she stayed the night in Fallcrest before returning to Wellspring the following morning. While waiting for the troops to arrive back in the city (it was a two-day forced march) she decided to make herself familiar with various parts of the city.