And so the tale continues. Caz couldn't make this session, so her barbarian took a back seat. However, horror, bloodshed and battle still plagued the party...
06:50 – 07:30 – The sword is a blasphemous tool of utter evil; a bone-bladed hand-and-a-half sword, inscribed with foul prayers to dark powers, and given awareness by the spirit of a powerful daemon.
As the group approach the Kingfisher, they hear horrible, braying laughter echoing from within, followed by Jaden's furious voice. As they move through the taproom, they see several dazed looking locals, streaked with dirt and blood staring vacantly with untouched drinks, though they flinch as more horrific screaming laughter bursts from above.
Outside the suite where the sword is being held, the group find Jaden, pale and wounded, leaning on the balustrade, breathing heavily, his face a mask of mute rage.
Within the room waits Adrielle, Urdoin and Brynn. The group find that Adrielle has scribed a containing circle around the weapon, and used small blessed amulets to seal it – hopefully containing any baneful influence the wicked sword could possible cast forth. As the group enter, the sword begins to insult them in a harsh, braying voice, brimming with contempt and mocking arrogance.
It tells them that they are doomed, and that when the vial is found, that the world will end.
Despite their best efforts, the group are unable to intimidate or communicate in any meaningful way with the weapon. Varracuda suggests bonding with the weapon, to try and force communication with it, but everyone with any kind of understanding reacts with abject horror at this idea, fearing that the swordmage would be immediately devoured by the swords essence. Instead, it is decided that the sword will be taken to Peregrine, to the Ecclesiarchy of Mysteries, where it can be properly bound and interrogated by powerful magi-priests of Merriel'Shaava.
For the first time, the weapon goes quiet – and the group know that this plan is the one that is most likely to succeed.
During this time there are several arguments between Adrielle, her rogue, and the group (Brynn remains silent the whole time, though he flinches whenever the sword speaks or laughs). At one point, it looks like Emmiven and Adrielle may come to blows, though the mage reigns in her obvious fury (it is of interest to note here that Seren and Adrielle have a conversation at this point which involves Adrielle perhaps being Seren's sponsor when she comes to seek the title and rank of Wizard in the Unified Order – as long as she agrees to keep an eye on the swordmage...)
It is also during this time that the group work out – thanks to comments made by the sword – that the vial is one of the five deadly receptacles into which the essence of the dread arch-necromancer Jantherak Shade Binder was bound following his physical destruction a the hands of Ivig and his allies after the ancient Guild Wars (in other words, it is a thing of utter and ineffable evil, who's legends are soaked with tales of apocalyptic horror)
07:30 – 08:00 – The group discuss their next plan, feeling suddenly incredibly weary and lost. It is decided that they shall take up the Dundorin merchant Aramyn up on his offer to accompany him to the city,so they can take the vial to the Ecclesiarchy (though they will not reveal to anyone that they have the vial).
08:05-09:00 – Whilst Jager and Emmiven meet with Aramyn to inform him of their decision (they negotiate a good price; 500 gold, plus two Dundorin Blunderbusses), the rest of the group re-meet with Adrielle to discuss what will happen with the sword.
It is decided that Adrielle and her company shall leave roughly half a day after the party do, with an armoured wagon. Within this wagon, Adrielle will carve another binding circle, and keep the sword in this. The plan means that should there by trouble on the road, the dundorin caravan with its many guards and the group will likely run into it first, and with luck, remove it. This has been done to minimize the risk of the blade falling into “the wrong hands” (though of course, if the Unified order mage knew that the group carried one of the five vials, she might feel this plan pointless).
09:30 – 13:00: The different parties seek some sleep and food before they begin their next journey.
14:30 – The party meet with Aramyn, and are introduced to his employees (five Dundorin, and his second in command, a gruff, monosyllabic female named Selodynn). Then, after a brief discussion on tactics, they leave the town and head northwest; first for the Dundorin stronghold of Karrag'Durzal, some eight days away, and then on to Peregrine.
25/3/1472 – 31/3/1472) – Cold, but increasing day length; bright sunny days and clear, cold nights.
For the past five and a half days, the party have made good progress through the rough terrain of the Southguard Foothills, the Dundorin artifice wagon crawling along on reinforced wheels, a plume of black smoke trailing from its engines.
The thaw has definitely started, and the sound of rushing, icy water echoes through the scrubby forest that lines the foothills of the Southguard Mountains. The group are two days away from Karrag'Durzal and spirits are high.
14:20 – 14:30 However, as the caravan moves into a gentle valley, studded with ancient spruces and larches and large boulders, a terrible roar fills the air, along with heavy, crude arrows. Suddenly, from either side of the valley charge hulking figures, clad in kilts of animal skin and wielding huge, heavy cleavers. Gorgoth!
“Gorga” screams Aramyn as he shakes his battle axe free, as the first sounds of combat ring from the wider circle of patrolling Dundorin (accompanied by the barbarian).
And then there is only battle!
It is a brutal battle, with the greenskins dealing devastating blows with their notched war cleavers, and peppering the group with their heavy headed, flint bladed arrows. Grigori is quickly taken down as he is peppered by arrows, despite Varracuda delaying the inevitable with a reflexively woven arcane aegis. Luckily, the warlord shakes him back to consciousness, and the priest works through his agony to unleash a maelstrom of healing magic, restoring almost everyone nearby to full health.
Aramyn and Gorthias battle with a bunch of hulking Gorgoth Gogs, and their leader; a Gorg of horrible stature wielding a rune carved blade, and wearing a kilt made from flensed skin. Though hard pressed, they stand firm with the help of Jager's shadowy spells and flickering, seeking blade, eventually bringing the monster down.
Varracude finds himself isolated from the main group, but puts up a brave defence as he is swarmed by Gorgoth grunts and gorgs. His blade flashes through the sunlit afternoon, cleaving into green flesh and hacking limbs free. Eventually however, he begins to tire, and more and more blows find their mark.
Luckily, Gorthias, now wearing the form of a ram, charges to his aid, and the beasts are cut down.
Jager teleports around the field of battle, whilst Seren unleashes repeated blasts of radiant energy and elemental fire, incinerating her foes and hedging them in with field of relucent energy that sear those leaving them. She almost shares Grigori's fate at one point, being peppered with crude Gorgoth arrows, but stays conscious throughout...just...
Eventually the Gorgoth are either slain or driven off, and the group can collect their thoughts, catch their breaths, and search their corpses for anything of use (an enchanted belt is found around the Gorg's stinking girth, and a few coins are pulled from filthy purses and sweaty pouches).