Session XII - Demonic Alayn (2001-08-21)

After Eomric left - via a teleportation spell - the party made quick plans.

Radagast suggested that since the chest was probably the homing device, the party should dump only the chest and keep the stones - after all, they were quite valuable. Everyone agreed. It was decided that Wiglaf would leave through the window, and hide the chest in a sewer. The rest left through the normal entrance. Going out, Drik bought some foul smelling liquor from the bar (he especially wanted the strongest, smelliest stuff they had).

Out in the alley, Drik sprinkled some of the liquor on the still unconscious pickpocket to make it appear as he had merely passed out from drinking. The smell was quite bad!

The party decided to go to Gustav's bar, the Sword and Cloak, and they made their trip through the city without an incident. Drik bought them a good room, drinks and dinner. He turned out to be quite a haggler.

During the night, some commotion could be heard from the streets: men in armor, going to the old city. Drik went to investigate. Bjorn, the captain of the guard, and Eomric's bodyguard where there with some two dozen guards. They had a man in chains, held by four guards. The man was pretty badly beaten. There were also two large and one weedy looking commoner. Drik found out that the prisoner was a priest of Vecna. The guards had received a tip and had cought him in a bar. There would be a trial the following day.

When Drik was coming back to the Sword and Cloak, he felt someone pulling from his backpack. When he turned, he saw a street urchin with a knife in his hand. The urchin had cut the material of Drik's backpack, and some contents, including a few onyx gems, had already spilled out. Drik drew his battleaxe, and the boy disappeared quickly. Drik gathered his belongings and made it back to the inn without further incident.

Later in the night the party awoke into more noise. Some building was on fire! Drik, Gabriel and Wiglaf went to help, while Radagast stayed guard. The burning building was the Body Widow. After the flames were down, the party went to investigate the ruins. They found three bodies nailed to the floor; the barkeep and his two orc bouncers. They were quite obviously dead. Gabriel noticed that the barkeep had a symbol of Vecna on his neck. The guards cursed when they recognized the victims. The barkeep was the one who had reported the priest of Vecna, and his testimony would have been needed in the trial. Drik also found some material components for a fireball spell. He spoke with the commander of the night watch, and said Eomric would be very interested in the fire. The commander of the night watch turned out the be a good chap. He even warned Drik, after Drik had revealed his identity, to be more careful in the future, since not everyone could be trusted and friends of Alayn might face the wrath of Alayn's enemies. He then mentioned some people who most likely could be trusted, like the new scouts.

After there was nothing else to do, Drik, Wiglaf and Gabriel returned to Sword and Cloak and the rest of the night passed peacefully. In the morning, after some quiet meditation and studies, Gabriel fixed Drik's backpack.

Trumpets could be heard, signaling the beginning of the trial. Drik healed the pickpocket, and Gabriel cast a Charm Person on him. Drik and Radagast, after grabbing some breakfast from the bar, headed for the trial while Gabriel stayed, fishing some information from Edmund, the pickpocket, first. Edmund was surpised to find he was still alive, and was thankful to Gabriel for saving his life. Gabriel, and Wiglaf who had remained behind, tried to convince Edmund to give up his illegal activities and do something good with his life. They suggested he should enlist for Alayn's scouts, where his skills could be put to better use. He remained doubtful, but did not outright resist the idea. They also learned that he had seen the wounded man come from the cellar of Body Widow and said he would be able to describe and identify him. After that, Gabriel and Wiglaf took him to the trial.

The trial was proceeding fast. Alayn, Eomric, the city bishop and others were the jurors, Alayn acting as the head of the tribunal. Charges were read aloud. Gabriel and the others arrived just in time to see how the man on trial pleaded quilty to the charges. Gabriel could sense that something or someone was manipulating him, and he was not willingly admitting his quilt. Edmund said the accused was the man he saw. Alayn passed the sentence, which was death by hanging. The executioner pulled the switch, and the priest of Vecna went to meet his god.

After the hanging people quikcly dispersed, and the party went to have some lunch and kill some time. Again their peaceful time was disrupted by unexpected events. Apparently some guards had went to the temple of Vecna in order to completely destroy it, and were beaten back by no-one else but Alayn and a bunch of undeads! Alayn had even casted spells! The messenger also said that Garwolf, the captain of Cordwellyn's mercenary army, was badly wounded and unlikely to live. The party, finding all this hard to believe, proceeded towards the remains of the Body Widow.

They saw guards with chinched armor, wounded, some without weapons, and some desperately trying to hold back a horde of skeletons trying to break out from the cellar. The bishop was there as well, but he had already used almost all his strength trying to hold back the undead. Garwolf was laying on his back, close to the death's door.

After a brief discussion if it was ok to help a minion of Cordwellyn, Drik healed Garwolf. Radagast cast Bull's Strength on himself and Wiglaf, in addition to casting the customary Mage Armor on himself. Wiglaf, Radagast and Gabriel went to help the guards beat up the skeletons while Drik talked with the bishop, Garwolf and Bjorn. All of them said they had seen Alayn and Eomric in the temple. Drik tried to convince them that it could not be true, but the others did not believe. They were going to take care of Alayn and the rest at the temple, if Drik and his companions would take care of the business in the temple of Vecna.

Soon there were no more skeletons spilling out, and the party made their way into the underground temple. There were skeletons and bodies lying around, but otherwise the place looked like they remembered it. The bishop and others had described the temple had not been damaged at all.

Fourteen of the skeletons stood up as the party started moving forward. Gabriel casted as spell which projected a half circle of flame in front of him. The spell caught five skeletons, but they were not destroyed. One skeleton managed to hit Radagast. At the end of the temple there was a large humanoid-looking demon holding a huge greatsword. It telepathically spoke in the minds of the party, letting them know that their time had come.

Drik did not care of the demon's threats, but raised his holy symbol and called for the holy power of El Elyon. All the skeletons were smashed as if hit by an invisible force, and they all fell to the floor. Radagast cast a magical, shimmering shield in front of him, and Gabriel charged the demon. He hit, but the wound healed immediately and there was no blood. The demon seemed to go berserk, and hit Wiglaf with the demonic fullblade. Radagast also charged the demon with the flaming sword. He hit, and his cut spilled black demon-blood. The flame did not seem to affect the demon, though.

Drik blessed the companions to fight better. Wiglaf had changed weapons to a magical sword, and this time his cut left a bloody wound in the hide of the demon. Gabriel fetched a silver dagger from a hidden sheath at his ankle, sinking the dagger deap but again the wound healed itself. Next Drik had to taste the mighty fullblade. He quickly healed himself.

While Wiglaf and Radagast were steadily circling the demon, cutting it here and there, Gabriel was also desperately trying to attack it with his rapier. Unfortunately the demon was better at the game than Gabriel, and the demon-blade sent Gabriel flying into the land of dreams. The cuts from the demon-blade were also bleading heavily. Drik had to step into the demon's reach, but luckily he ducked the deadly swing and was able to heal Gabriel.

Suddenly there was a puf of sulphurous smoke, and the demon disappeared! Radagast tried listening, if that was just some kind of a trick. Wiglaf tried to hit the space where the demon had been. Neither Radagast nor Wiglaf could detect anything. A few moments of uneasiness passed, until Wiglaf noticed the demon reappear in a puff of smoke at the other end of the temple. He charged, but his swing missed. The demon did not miss, and Wiglaf got a profusely bleeding cut. Radagast charged to rescue, and his aim was better. The demon was not finished with Wiglaf, though, and its next hit literally cut Wiglaf in half! As soon as Wiglaf fell, the demon spun around and continued with the swing, just barely missing Radagast.

Drik was just standing there surpised; he had been prepared to heal anyone who fell unconscious but had not counted on anyone been cut to pieces. Radagast yelled to Gabriel to grab Wiglaf's magical sword and fight with that, since it was obvious only magic could harm the creature. Gabriel nervously grabbed Wiglaf's sword, but doing so presented a great opportunity for the demon. It used it ruthlessly and Gabriel fell, still holding the magical weapon. This time Drik was ready, and he quickly brought Gabriel back to the land of the living. No sooner had he done that when Radagast fell, having tasted the demon-blade. Drik was starting to run out of healing spells as he saved Radagast from the death's door. Gabriel finally had his change with the magical sword, and this time he was rewarded with splatters of black blood. Radagast also joined in, carving a chunk from the demon's hide. Drik cast Searing Light at the demon, but the light that started as brilliantly bright beam shattered into harmless smaller beams that faded to nothing before hitting the foul creature. Drik's display of light might have confused the demon a little, since Radagast was able to land a solid blow on the demon, killing it.

The companions were silent for a moment. Wiglaf was dead. No magic that Drik possessed could bring him back.

As they watched, the demon's body begun to dissolve. Time became of essence; they needed something to prove there really had been a demon and that Alayn was not behind all of this. Radagast cast Detect Magic and saw that the body of the demon, as well as Wiglaf's short sword and sheath where magical. Gabriel took these magical items. There were also two potions on Wiglaf that seemed to radiate magic. Gabriel filled in a vial with the goo from the demon. He also found a small two by two feet compartment in the temple, from behind the statue.

Drik grabbed Wiglaf's legs, and Radagast carried his torso while they hurried back to the surface. There they explained what they had seen and done to guards posted there. Some guards went back and testified it was so. Gabriel then went back to the temple with some guards to try and preserve the remainders of the corpse long enough so that the bishop and others could see there really was a demon. Drik and Radagast hurried after the bishop who had gone to arrest Alayn, dropping the body of Wiglaf at the temple on the way, leaving instructions to put him in a coffin to wait for proper burial.

Drik and Radagast found Alayn and the others in the hall of justice. Things were not going well. Everyone had a weapon out, there were five paralyzed guards next to Garwolf although he still had plenty of men left. On Alayn's side there was Eomric and Bjorn, although it seemed the latter had been forced against his will. The messenger who had seen the demon, as well as Drik and Radagast finally managed to end the situation. The fact that Drik was dragging the demon's sword along might have helped, because the bishop recognized immediately it was a weapon for a demon. The bishop was not too happy to hear about Drik's plan to sell the infamous fullblade, and convinced Drik it would be better to destroy it.

Eomric released Bjorn from the Dominate spell. Bjorn cast a murderous glance at Eomric and marched out. Eomric felt bad that he could no longer trust the man. Everyone then went to take a look at the demon. Drik even promised to Garwolf that if there was no demon he would help Garwolf capture Alayn. Drik also asked if Alayn could provide a proper burial for Wiglaf, which he promised and said he would declare a day to remember him as well.

Luckily there was still something remaining of the demon, and Garwolf and the bishop saw a completely different temple from what they had seen. Garwolf turned out to be a better man than Drik and Radagast had thought possible, Drik had even told him about the problems they had had with dealing with Cordwllyn, and warned Garwolf to keep his eyes open and consider twice what he was doing.

On the way back to the surface the bishop suggested seeing what was behind the double iron doors. There were no visible opening mechanisms, but there were ancient scriptures on the door, using a writing style over 2000 years old the bishop recognized. Drik was still able to read some meaning in them, something about a gateway, and some protection against evil.

Drik channeled some of the energy from his deity, and the doors started to glow white, transparent light. They could dimly see a room behind. Gabriel boldly stepped through. Radagast got some feelings of deja vu as he followed him. Others came after him.

The room was a small shrine. There were statues of the angels Tyrael and Lemuel standing guard over a small altar. On the altar there was a battle axe, with symbols of El Elyon and St. Cuthbert on it. Drik mentioned that the weapon must have been there for him, and the bishop said indeed that might be true. Radagast eagerly examined the scroll, but to his disappointment the first scroll was just some junk spell he could not understand. The next scroll was not even magical, but was written in Hanseatic so old even Radagast could not read it.

Drik investigated the divine scroll, and learned it held a Resurrection spell. He ordered the body of Wiglaf to be fetched from the temple and brought into the shrine. He wanted Wiglaf have the best changes of brought back to life; reading a spell of such high level was going to be dangerous.

While waiting for the body to arrive, Gabriel cast Comprehend Languages and investigated both his notes he had copied while first entering the catacombs, and the old scroll. His notes read: "Enter wielders of the holy power, servants of the holy power". The old scroll read:

Servants of the most High.

If you are reading this, then my prayers have been answered. I have forseen that the evil contained by the XXV Legion will be released. I have fulfilled my part in preparing to destroy it once more. As the Guardian directed, I have crafted this axe and though the meaning of the wolf symbol has not been made clear to me, I know that I have been succesfull. Wield it well and remain true to the light of Heaven and it's blade will cleave the evil you oppose assunder.

The mantle has passed to you; May the Lord of Heaven guide you to victory.

Haggorath Carolus VI

Radagast and Gabriel also went to investigate the final stretch of corridor they had not seen. It climbed upwards, and finally emerged outside the city walls. At the entrance there were two chains, as if to hold some beats who could guard the entrance. The chains were empty, though.

Finally poor Wiglaf's parts were brough into the holy place, and Drik read the scroll of Resurrection. Radagast forgot to take cover, but it turned out it was not needed. The scroll worked! The pieces of Wiglaf merged again, the color of life returned to his cheeks. He finally took a breath, and opened his eyes.

Wiglaf was humbled by his experience. He said he had changed his views of the world, and that he must leave. He would finally go and study. He had thought that he would be the only thing standing in the way of evil, and as such could not take time to seek the proper spiritual guidance. He explained that he had met someone beyond, and he had seen the error of his ways. He also invited Gabriel to join him. Gabriel agreed, but said he would spend a couple of weeks in the city first. Drik was sad to hear of Wiglaf's decision, and tried to convince him not to go. But Wiglaf kept his head.

Continue...

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