The wight moved with the strength and speed of a living warrior, and the tireless, single-minded drive of the dead. He charged headlong at Kyrie with a barbarian war cry. Kyrie braced with her shield only for the wight to crash into her, throwing her off balance.
That wasn’t the worst of it, though. The undead warrior’s sword slammed into her side. While her armour turned aside the blade, the breath suddenly went out of her body. The touch of the blade sent a shock through her body as if a piece of her soul had been torn off and devoured (-8dmg -1lvl Kyrie 26/50*)
(Energy Drain/Negative Level: -1 to basically everything, -5maxhp, -1CL, -1 to other level-variable abilities)
Zeran dashed passed Kyrie into the chamber, clearing out of range of the wight’s sword before he could strike. Once clear, Zeran whipped around and popped a shot off at the wight’s exposed back (-10dmg Warrior).
Giles immediately called upon the power of divine judgement once more, raising his holy symbol to summon the quill-shaped blade of his god. The blade thrust at once at the wight, who parried it off his shield.
Kyrie regained her footing and stood tall, shield raised. The familiar surge from her Bastion rolled over her allies, radiating out from her, while the surface of her shield lit up like a torch.
Miguel leapt past the warrior with a song on rising to his lips, following Zeran’s lead tumbling past without leaving an opening.
Seeing himself caught between the two, the warrior side-stepped and brought his sword crashing down on her shield. This time however, she did not lose footing, holding firm as the power radiating from her blunted the force of the swing.
He bellowed in frustration, the black breath washing over Kyrie with the reek of death. “Your tricks do not impress me!”
How would she come to describe it, later on? Truthfully, she couldn't put words to what she felt when the weight attacked. But it was unpleasant. Very unpleasant.
She knew without a doubt she had to make sure that did not happen to anyone else.
"Stay close to me!" She called out, hefting her shield, already alight with a divine glow, and intensifying in strength as she channelled her will to protect through it, the glow spreading outward to hover around the others as she moved to be in arm's reach as many of them as she could.
Zeran reversed his grip on his pistol, stepping into the undead warrior’s range opposite Kyrie. While the wight’s attention was on Kyrie, he took the opening, clubbing him in the kidney—only to discover that the wight’s body was far tougher than he’d expected. The warrior’s head snapped around, ghostly eyes fixed on him.
Giles stepped up beside Kyrie, holding his sword level before him. He charged the blade with the power of deathbane and thrust just as the Zeran took the wight’s attention. He struck true, sending rusted chain links scattering (-19dmg Wight Barely Injured). The wight roared in anger, a puff of black mist escaping the wound as Giles removed his blade. The blow had been strong, but the wight seemed more annoyed than laid low and his attention was now on Giles.
Kyrie strafed around the wight, taking point between Giles and Miguel. She called on a surge of sacred light, channeling it into her shield. The light radiating from her body coalesced into gleaming transparent disks, protecting Miguel and Giles to either side of her. At the same time, she allowed the light to soothe her aches (+22hp Kyrie 48/50).
Miguel followed suit, shifting over to mirror Giles. Though the wight was heavily armoured, it couldn’t fend off the empowered strikes from both swordsmen at once. Miguel sliced the warrior’s sword arm (-9dmg Wight Injured). On a living warrior that blow ought to have rendered the arm nearly useless, but it barely slowed him down.
As proof, the wight lunged at Giles. The inquisitor blocked with his sword, locking blade with broken blade. Even at this range, Giles felt the pull of the wight’s voracious hunger. It cost him to hold off the attack, but Giles broke the bind, freeing his sword (-6dmg -1lvl Giles 28/37).
The wight, on the other hand, seemed strengthened by the skirmish (+5hp Wight Barely Injured). He turned and stepped back into the corner of his chamber, putting stone between Giles and himself, and keeping Miguel and Zeran in front of him.
Zeran huffed as his attempt to bring the walking corpse down for easier slaying didn't work, maybe if he had aimed the blow to the warrior's neck region he would have had better success. Not wanting to chance it again and seeing his opening gone as The Wight did the smart thing and put his back to he wall Zeran decided to rely on Ol' Faithful as some might call it.
"I'm going to have to request you stop sucking the souls of my friends here." He says as if speaking to an old friend. Bringing his gun to aim he takes just a moment to try and ensure his bullet will strike a vital part of the living dead before him. He fires praying for the best.
In Which Our Villain Discovers a Distressing Lack of Sensible Options
5 Gozran Lonely Barrow; G7 Kamelands
Zeran fell back, reverting to the tried and true tactic of just filling it with holes. He tightened his focus and shot the warrior through the breast, shattering another few rusted chain links (-8dmg Wight Injured).
As Zeran stepped back, Giles stepped in, moving around the cover of the doorway. With the wight backed into the corner, there wasn’t much opening to strike, but Giles’ sword hummed with the bane of undead. He thrust down, running clear through the warrior’s thigh as a consolation prize while he worked his way into a deadlier attack (-13dmg Wight Bloodied). Even still, the monster’s several wounds began to leak wisps of choking black mist.
Kyrie, now behind Giles and Miguel, devoted her attention entirely to her protective auras. Though it wasn’t her usual method, with the power of the sacred light channeling through her, she didn’t need to engage the monster directly to protect her allies. A nimbus of golden light filled the air around her, complementing the glow already cast from her shield.
Miguel willed his sword charged with arcane energy and darted in for a slice against the wight’s unprotected side, cleaving into the tough grey hide with a lucky hit (-11 Wight Badly Wounded).
The warrior of the lonely barrow fought like a cornered wolf. He bashed Giles’ sword aside and thrust with his own into his chest. If the point of the wight’s sword hadn’t have been broken off many hundreds of years prior, this might have been a bad situation for Giles, but the worst he suffered was a rough jab in the ribs through his own chain armour, aside from the sensation of another fragment of his spirit being shorn off (-5dmg -1lvl Giles 18/32) (+5hp Wight Injured).
The wight threw a glance to his right, looking for more room to manoeuvre. He strafed into the space Zeran was retreating from, forcing the gunslinger to fallback further.
(Giles managed to get the dubious honour of rolling all 1’s for his damage this round (+6 from str and power attack, +2 from music, +2 from bane. Also I know it seems like the +5 to AC coming from Kyrie isn’t doing much in this fight, but that’s mostly because the monster rolled high enough almost to hit Kyrie herself this time (almost) so don’t feel bad)
Posted on 2018-04-20 at 22:34:15.
Edited on 2018-05-03 at 23:42:48 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Despite the description, the wight isn't blinded, too.
5 Gozran Lonely Barrow; G7 Kamelands
Zeran retreated back yet again, forced back by the wight’s constant advances. He reloaded and popped another shot off into the unrelenting barbarian warrior. A plume of black mist blossomed where he hit (-11 Wight Badly Wounded).
Rather than retreat to tend to his wounds, Giles pressed forward with single-minded drive. Heedless of his ebbing strength he struck again, only this time he was a hair slow. The wight hammered his blade aside with the rim of his shield. At the same time the floating ink sword thrust around the shield but couldn’t penetrate the supernaturally tough hide.
“Miguel! Make a gap!” Kyrie called from the back.
Miguel darted in to attack, drawing a shallow wound (-6dmg Wight), then hopped to his left, leaving Kyrie to step into the space he just left, between him and Giles. Now all four members of the Greenbelt party stood abreast, facing the wight with his back to the wall.
Kyrie lunged in close, not aiming to strike past the wight’s shield, but catching hold of his long sword with her sickle. The wight tried to push past her sickle to strike her, but she gave him no opening. With her sickle on the cross guard, she brought her shield down on his wrist. If not out of pain, then by pure mechanical force the wight lost grip, sending the broken sword clattering to the stone floor [Wight Disarmed].
The wight snarled, glancing from his empty hand, to the sword at his feet, then to Giles. “No, back! That’s my sword! MINE!” He clenched his hand into a fist and lunged for the swordsman. Instead his fist stopped short with a flash from the gleaming disk formed of Kyrie’s light.
The wight winced and stepped back. He held his shield up against Kyrie's light. “So bright…” he growled. With a snort he knelt down and grabbed his fallen sword in a swift motion without dropping guard. Kyrie and Miguel tried to get a strike in as his attention turned, but couldn't break through.
The wight flinched as a bullet punched through his throat (-5dmg Wight). The black breath streamed steadily from his body, wreathing his entire bod in mist at this point. He stumbled, his footing becoming less steady. “What is this wand that makes so much noise?” (Near Death).
Giles, sensing his foe’s weakness, stepped up. He kicked at the warrior’s leg, driving him to one knee. Two-handed Giles slashed across the wight’s neck, severing its head from its shoulders with a mighty blow (-26dmg *crit* Wight).
A roar of anguish issued from the stump of the wight’s neck with a final gout of black mist. His sword clattered to the stone floor once again. The body slumped to the ground without further ceremony, and the head rolled away behind the stone table (Dead). The stench of decay accompanying the black breath filled the room.
With no other special treasures in sight, Miguel bent to pick up the broken long sword. “I guess this is what we came for?” He opened his sight to magical auras. Despite it’s condition, the weapon indeed radiated a modest magical aura.
Kyrie did her best to leave the scattered bones of the skeletons in their proper resting places, before the adventures continued their trek south. Meanwhile Giles scrounged a potion out of the wagon and downed it, restoring some of his missing vitality.
Over the next few days they traveled through the winding hills, exploring and mapping their way south to the banks of the mighty Gudrin River. Averaging 450’ wide, the Gudrin was the single largest river flowing through the Greenbelt, its clear waters running slow and deep. From there the party followed the river west, mapping the lands on the north shore.
On the third day they saw a green faerie dragon skim over the surface of the water, then dive under to come up moments later with a fish of almost the same size. Unlike the orange-winged azure Perlivash, this one did not stop to talk, merely soaring away with its prize.
Finally, on the 11th day of Gozran the adventurers came upon the ford that the Narthropple expedition had marked on the maps many months ago now. Here Zeran drove their horses into the waters and crossed the river to get a quick survey of the river’s south bank. This took them as far as the edge of the Tuskwater. On this side of the lake, the shoreline rose to a 40’ cliff face over the water, with the cliff tops thick with stinging nettles.
The party camped on the cliffs the night before turning back for the ford. From this height they could just barely see the opposite shore on the horizon, where the witch-hut of Elga Verniex, the Old Beldame, must lie. Despite their vantage point, the north shore of the lake where their home and capital city stood lay out of sight.
After they turned back, forded back to the north side of the Gudrin, and returned home to Viridian.
Event -Troll Sightings (continuous): No sightings this month -Outstanding Success: +3BP +4 Econ next month </blockquote>
At the height of spring, teams of loggers were finally dispatched to begin clearing the area around the Temple of the Elk. Jhod oversaw the project to the best of his ability while yet remaining at his wife’s side for the entire month, despite much expectation on behalf of all parties. General Kesten mused that, “Perhaps the child is shy?” one day, earning him a shoe thrown at his head from Tanya. Despite the wait, the couple’s new midwife—a Pharsmin priestess—assured them that by all the signs the unborn child was still alive and well.
In the meantime, a gnome glassworker from Tatzlford unveiled a beautiful statuette of a female grig made of rainbow glass, sparking a brief economic surge. The artist was praised for his lifelike attention to detail, though the party couldn’t help but find the glass figure strikingly familiar…
Event -Troll Sightings (continuous): Troll Sighted in the south; +2 Unrest -No Other Event
Due to a series of mishandled events, the physical and social stability of Volga faltered for two months running, generating a small, but rising displeasure in the barony, further hampering the functioning of its offices. Zeran spent much of his time in public, putting on a show of stability to combat the rebellious streak.
This, combined with a spectacularly poor tax season and yet another troll sighting served to make for a tempestuous end of spring, reflected in the heavy rains that persisted throughout the month.
Then finally, at long last, Tanya went into labour. In the wee hours of the morning, hours later and after much screaming, the child emerged. Unlike its mother, the baby didn’t scream or cry, hardly even making a sound with its first breath. The midwife bundled the child with a sigh of relief. “That was the most difficult delivery I’ve ever attended,” she confessed.
There was another surprise awaiting the new parents when the baby first opened its eyes. What at first seemed like simply dark eyes proved to be striking, completely black eyes. On seeing this Jhod and Tanya were stunned to silence, then Tanya, exasperated, laughed. “Sure, why not? Good enough for me.”
Both mother and child soon fell asleep while the midwife confirmed that the baby was indeed healthy, despite sleeping open-eyed, staring into space.
On the first day of summer, the Greenbelt Party loaded their wagon with supplies and made ready to set out to hunt down the latest rash of troll sightings. They were ready to set off when a lone rider on horseback came racing up the path to the gates of the Stag Fort.
The rider bore a message from the sheriff who oversaw the villages of the far southwest, the territory between Tiressia’s grove and the Ancient Keep. A child from the southern frontier villages—Tig Tannerson—had gone missing. So close to the edge of the kingdom’s maps, the rider conveyed the fears of the child being swallowed up by the wilderness, the trolls, or the swamp witch herself. Furthermore, news of the missing frontier child has spread rapidly through the people, becoming an icon for the nation’s recent troubles.
Tig had already been missing for three days when the rider was dispatched the previous morning, only raising fears that the boy had not yet been found lost along the riverside where he has been known to sneak off many times to collect wild pets.
At once the party set out to the Ancient Keep, ready to plunge into the south Narlmarches, but for a different reason than they had originally planned.
3 Sarenith Ancient Keep; H1 Volga Frontier - Narlmarches
The barons travelled between the small and isolated forest villages scattered mostly along the banks of the swampy, slow-moving Murque River until they finally reached the Tannersons’ village, almost at the very edge of the barony’s settled territories. The bag-eyed sheriff showed the party where they began their search down by the riverside, extending up and downstream and then into the forests on every side.
Giles swept the riverbank quickly, looking for signs of a small child’s passage. The last several days of searching had obliterated anything that may have remained of a proper spoor in the soft ground around the riverside. He followed the river downstream more than a mile, operating on knowledge of his quarry’s habits. At last he was rewarded, stepping into an isolated section of bank, sheltered by surrounding bushes. He searched for several minutes and finally turned up a small footprint in the marshy ground at the water’s edge. The boy had definitely come this way in the last week.
Giles scanned the surroundings and found what he was looking for. The impression left by the footprint suggested a sudden change in direction, as if the child had bolted. Ahead there was a gap in the bushes, just large enough to permit a child to scramble through. It led deeper into the forest, away from the village and into uncharted territory.
Traveling H2-I3 4-5 Sarenith
The party followed the course of the Murque marked on their map. It wound east and south. The Tannerson boy’s tracks vanished into the undergrowth but, operating on the theory that the boy had become lost after he had run from the bank, they followed his course through the forest. Finally, meeting the river once again Giles found something alarming. Five-toed, bipedal clawed footprints with a scaly pattern that emerged from the water, then vanished back into the water. They were too large to belong to kobolds and did not belong to any creature seen upstream, so they followed the swimming reptiles further south.
It wasn’t long after that they came upon a muddy island protruding from the middle of the widening river, along a stretch of particularly swampy land two miles upriver from the Candlemere. The island was ringed with a palisade of sharpened wooden stakes, with several mud dwellings sending up tendrils of smoke from cookfires.
5 Sarenith Mud Island; I3 Narlmarches
As they approached the island, the party saw several tall humanoid figures with long tails milling about the settlement. The group moved in from behind cover as much as they could, to avoid being spotted before they could assess the inhabitants.
The island stretched across about 150’ of river, rising at its highest point scarcely ten feet above the river surface. A gate stood at one side of the 10’ tall palisade, with two guards watching over the wall. From their vantage point, they could finally identify the creatures of the island—lizardfolk. Proud reptilian peoples who lived in isolated communities in swamps and marshes, not known to be particularly cruel or savage, but known for their pragmatic views toward cannibalism.
Before the group could decide what to do about their neighbours, the plaintive wail of an unhappy child rose from the island. The wail rose over a moment, fell, then repeated as the group listened.
Giles 48/48 – 16 arrows, 20 bolts Kyrie 65/65 – Miguel 41/41 – 18 arrows (oops I forgot to note down Miguel's level-up hit points) Zeran 48/48 – 30 bullets
(Potentially relevant out of character information--the cry is more akin to the 'aeeeaaaAAAAAA' when a miserable baby begins crying rather than a panicked shriek)
Posted on 2018-05-24 at 16:08:23.
Edited on 2018-05-31 at 16:23:41 by Sibelius Eos Owm