Pa'Aerth

The defense is broken...

The orcs shouted oaths to whatever dark gods they thought would listen and broke into a full run toward the group.

“Drop my sword,” Erebus yelled to Connor as he readied his shield, “you’ll need my help to get through this.”

In an instant, the orcs were upon them – a raging rush of fetid, green muscle impacted the with the groups disorganized  line. Dark, jagged metal weapons, no less effective for their poor craftsmanship, cut the air and found purchase in flesh. A spray of fresh human blood erupted into the air and added its distinctive iron aroma to the other dismal odors that came trailing in the wake of the orc skirmishers.

Connor didn’t respond.

Erebus, realized the danger of not checking the momentum of the assault and stepped forward to engage. The lead orc roared. Wide-eyed and with an angry froth on his lips, the orc moved to intercept.  

Arrows from somewhere whizzed or impacted harmlessly against Erebus’ polished yellow-gold armor. Erebus looked up to meet the orc’s malevolent stare. For a moment that seemed much longer than it really was, the two warriors maintained eye contact and maneuvered for favorable position – one an invader, riding the fearless high that comes from recent victory and an endless, teeming army of allies… and the other, a fallen demigod, separated from the voice of his god, uncertain of his mortality and barely holding back the utterly ruthless and unforgiving nature that had once brought him untold power.

The orc glanced quickly at Erebus’ empty sword hand and back again as bone and glass crunched under deliberate steps of his iron shod boots.  The creature was heavy and easily outweighed his opponent by half dozen stone, but he was sure of foot and no stranger to mortal contests of combat. Erebus’ deliberately followed the orcs lead and looked down at his gauntlet. He flexed his hand quickly and the metal-clad fingers moved with well oiled precision beneath the sharpened blades that extended from the top plate of the gauntlets. Erebus seemed, briefly, to consider his empty hand the absence of the weapon that should be there.

When Erebus  looked back up the orc, a perverse, satisfied snarl crept across the creatures feral features. A low, gutteral grumble filled his throat and scornful laugh escaped.

 “Stoopid thing came to fight without a cuttah.”

Still laughing at how hapless the human defenders of this town seemed to be, the orc rose to his full height and lunged.

Akiro war cry

Worldeater met the orc edge on. Two swift punches punctured both the armor and heavy hide of the creature and the power of the blows snapped bones in the chest of the orc and sent it reeling backward and off its feet. It spasmed as blood filled its ruptured lungs and died moments later, unnoticed, in the mud beneath the melee.

Connor called out where he had tossed Erebus’ sword. Sighting it, Erebus spun quickly to grab the khopesh and then rose with it to meet the advance of another pair of assaulters. The first took a powerful slam from Worldeater that sent it into the air and against the wall on the other side of the street. The second side stepped Erebus’ follow up with the shield and caught the trailing attack of Erebus’ blade. Disembodied whispers echoed in the air as dark energy pulsed through the sigils along the blade and into the orc. Mad with pain and screaming in agony, it fell to the ground. Mere moments later, it was silent and the still grip of death claimed it.  

 When the melee was over, the orcs, some two dozen or more strong, lay dead or fled into the darkness that shrouded the streets of Avignon. It was clear that the city had fallen. Fires burned away the dark in the distance and the sporadic sounds of fighting signaled that any true defense of the city was already dead…or dying.

What lay ahead was not likely to be a positive outcome for the defenders of Avignon. Erebus knew that when the time came, it would be necessary to press for an outcome that weakened of the Deceiver’s hold on the inhabitants of this world or, failing that, to at least personally send some of the deluded bastards screaming into whatever hell awaited them in the after life.

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Avignon - Journey to the Cathedrale d' Avignon
Orks, Goblins, Sewers and Ogres

September 6, 1208 SA
As dawn comes, the thick cloud cover continues to keep Avignon in a state of near darkness. The smell of smoke is in the air and the sounds of battle continue to be heard throughout the city.

Rest, recover spells and heal

08:30 PM

Encounter Orks stepping out of a building. The Orks rush the Gray Hand and battle ensues. Most of the orks quickly fall and the others flee into the darkness. A quick search of the bodies reveals nothing more than mundane orkish weapons and random looted goods.

Travel through burning buildings instead of encountering the massive swarms of rats escaping the fires. Despite the thick smoke and falling debri the group makes their way through the many burning buildings unscathed.

10:30 PM

Pass a barricaded Church of the Maker

11:00 PM

The Gray Hand goes into the sewers to avoid a hundred strong group of orks. While in the sewers they battle gibbering goblins in the sewers. The goblins toss several exploding vials of chaos at the party and within the tight confines of the sewers most of the Gray Hand takes damage;
Two goblins fire shards of force from their hands that strike with unerring accuracy; and three others fire arrows into the trailing members of the party.

Emerys darts forward, disappears into the shadows and weaves her way to the rear ranks of the pack of goblins. Erebus, Erik and Connor charge forward to engage the front ranks of the goblins. Oliver tosses alchemical fire into the ranks of the Goblins with grim effectiveness. Lewanna steps forward with her spear to attack.

The goblins quickly fall and the remaining three try to escape into the tunnels. Erik’s throw axe and Lewanna’s spear prevents one of them from escaping.

From the fallen goblin wizards the group discovers two magical rings and two magical daggers. After a brief examination Connor determines that the rings are +2 rings of protection and the orkish daggers are +2.

Goblin warlock small

September 7, 1208 SA

01:30 AM

Ogre small

Emerys leads the way to the surface and pushes back a stone slab that should lead to an area of town near the Cathedrale d’ Avignon. To the Gray Hand’s consternation, the courtyard where the sewer exits, there are four resting Ogres.

The orges roar and rush forward. The sound of their metal shod boots clang ominously on the cobble stones. With a thought, Emrys vanishes in plain sight and steps away from the rushing Orge. Oliver pokes his head up and quickly slides back down the ladder to warn the remaining members of the Gray Hand of the pending danger.

Avari, Erik, Erebus, and Connor manage to slip past the orges to the surface and take the attack to the massive foes. Lewanna is smashed by a great lucerne hammer as she tries to slip past the ogres.

Each blow from the orges brings the members of the Gray Hand closer to death. The fetid smell of the orges and their war cries add insult to the massive injuries. Oliver is the first of the party to fall to the crude iron weapons. Only through the wonders of his alchemy is Oliver able to avoid passing into Death’s embrace.

The combined might of Connor, Erebus and Erik slays one of the orges.

Avari, recalls the diagrams from The Book of Faceless Hate, and directs a Vital Strike to an area that shouldn’t be protected by Chaos Alchemy and his sword strikes true nauseating the orge. The ogre staggers back away from further blows. Erebus steps forward with blows from his shield and sword to press the battle.

Erik and Avari fall like dominoes as one of the orges cleaves through their ranks with a series of consecutive blows. Lewana is hit by this sweeping arc as she is saying a healing prayer for Oliver. Despite the pain and damage Lewana’s bond with Amaunet is not broken and the healing magic revives Oliver.

Emerys facinates one of the remaining two ogres while Connor and Erebus trade blows with the other ogre. While the orge is fascinated, Emrys goes through the slow transformation into her scorpion aspect. With a slash of her newly formed tail, Emerys, slays the dumbfounded orgre.

Lewana calls upon Amaunet (Whose name means “She Who is Hidden”, “The Invisible One” or “That Which is Concealed”) to purge Avari of the poison within his body. Erebus lends a prayer to Set to aide Lewana and with this combined effort a dark oily substances oozes from Avari’s pores and evaporates into the warm Summer night.

The orges yeild a bounty of 4 Potions of Bulls Strength and 12 potions of Cure Serious Wounds. These potions were crafted by a spell caster of Tenth level.

Battered and bruised the Gray hand quickly examines the surrounding buildings for more foes. Once the buildings are deemed secure they barricade the four doorways and contemplate what to do next.

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Disguise
Now you see us/ now you don't.

Looking trick the enemy, we don disguises to march through the city to meet with Brother Marcell. I long to slay the Hoard but their poison runs through my veins. I need to be rejuvenated through combat. I fear for these humans as they are cut down like the sacrifices they are. The Hoard is more formidable than I expected…we have to coordinate our actions. The fight continues.

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Erebus' private musings while waiting for the group to set out for the Cathedrale d' Avignon

‘Now I know I am completely bereft of sense,’ Erebus thought to himself as he stepped back into the makeshift ‘escort’ his companions had formed around him and the dwarven fighter, Erik.

The idea was that he and Erik would pose as ‘prisoners’ of his companions in order that the whole group might make its way through town to the Church of the Deceiver where Inquisitor-Brother Marcel was likely to be coordinating plans for a last stand. To be authentic, both he and Erik had offered up sword and axe to appear unarmed. To be sure, neither was truly unarmed – pommels of daggers and other small blades protruded from belt and boot of both warriors…and, of course, Erebus had his shield within easy reach.

Worldeater it was called. Made of heavy, black stained steel and polished to a reflective, liquid luster…one might not immediately realize that it was just as much a part of Erebus’ offensive arsenal as his khopesh. The entire face of the shield depicted, in masterwork relief, the head of a serpent – Naja Khemri Ife, the lethally poisonous Desert Witch Adder – devouring Pa’Earth. The artistry and nature of the relief often concealed the fact that the edges of the shield were fashioned into a bladed ridge. In combat, Erebus would often use the edges of the shield, like a weighted axe – leading attacks with it to catch an opponent offguard or finishing a series of bashes with the edge of the shield to bring down or cripple a wounded foe.

As he waited for the group to begin their trek through Avignon, Erebus watched Erik and wondered if the dwarf really had it in him to regain the greatness that he had once enjoyed prior to arrival in The Prison. Erik demonstrated little discipline and even less control of this mouth. The strangest things slipped from his lips. Phrases like ‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ and ‘I’ll do as I please!’ Erebus’ brow furrowed as he puzzled on why Erik thought such things were worth the effort to speak them when he clearly needed to be reminded what to do and where to be. Further, setting out on his own, heedless of the plans and direction of his remaining companions, had already cost him one life.  

Erebus pulled a focale slowly across his head, wiping away the sweat that beaded along his bald scalp in the humid heat of the evening. He retied the scarf around his neck, and, unknowingly shook his head as he thought of the danger that the dwarf’s lack of control represented for the rest of the group. Erebus couldn’t decide if the root of the dwarf’s fierce stubbornness and decided lack of clear thinking in battle was an inner reflection of the same defect that stunted his stature or if, the randomness of his behavior was some expression of a true loyalty to chaos and disorder. In either case, it wouldn’t be resolved standing here in the street.

If it came down to protecting the others, though, it might not too much trouble to maneuver the misshapen fool into harm’s way. Of late, he had proven more agreeable company as a corpse.

‘We shall see what Night brings,’ Erebus said, mostly to himself, and cleared his mind to focus on what lay ahead.

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Avignon - Orcs in the City

September 4, 1208 SA

04:30 AM

After several moments of attempting to detect the moving shadow to no avail, The Gray Hand recovers after the fight. A search of the bodies of the fallen foes and yields a host of Orkish weapons, armor and trophies of war. Connor identifies the following magical items:

  • (+ 2, Anarchic) Gladius
  • Darkwood Shortbow
  • 2, Arrow Bleeding
  • Chain Shirt
  • Light Steel Shield
  • 2, Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (level 10)
  • Potion of Tongues (level 10)
  • Orkish Battle Standard

The human was wearing a red gem coiled snake pendant.

Necahual‘s magic is unable to heal Erik Vinter and Connor’s use of the healing wand is of no use either. Lewana and Olliver Nar determine that Erik is poisoned with Wouldweal . The Gray Hand ponders the similar poisoning of Daymion.

As the sun rises, the sky is darkened by heavy clouds. The light of day does not reach the roof top.

The Gray Hand takes watch upon the roof of the Sculptor’s shop and spends 16 hours resting to regain their arcane and divine powers.

As the sun sets the group notices sparks of lightening within the clouds. Strangely there is no rumble of thunder to accompany the lightening.

07:30 PM

The Gray Hand debates what they should do next and make their way across the city to The Cathédrale d’Avignon. The Gray Hand expects that the horde would be making it’s way to the primary church.

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More fighting on the Wall - Connor

- War in ensues in Avignon – Part 3

>>Night Watch continues – Early Morning of Sept 5th (3AM)

Waiting on the wall

Necahual comes up the ladder. She appears to be a MesoAmerican (Aztec)
priestess, if I recall she specialized in controlling the undead. She is with 2
older men with grey hair which I don’t recognize. She introduces them to the
group – Colton in plate armor and Hudson in furry leather. Meanwhile, I notice
that a dozen or so priests of the maker are administering aid to the wounded.
I head up the stairs to discuss the dead giant with Valentine, and ask for
leave to examine the bodies for tattoos and piercings. Valentine agrees, I
climb down to investigate. First I cast Detect magic.. priests glow .. censers
of smoke glow .. then I begin to notice more. The giant has abjuration and
transmutation, the characteristics of the living armor. Around his neck is a
large carved gem, shaped like a snake. It has a strong aura, looks like someone
took a shield of faith spell and made it permanent.. It should provide the
equivalent of a deflection spell. His massive Earthbreaker mattock is also
magick. I find the same living armour on the ogre. Upon returning, I tell
Valentine the results and return to my position on the wall.
Not long after, Valentine gets word that Port Tiers has fallen to overwhelming
masses. The next gate North of us.. a major portal and thoroughfare across the
city.

At 4AM, Valentine orders us to go to the fallen port and assist where we are
able. The Queen’s guard fills in on the wall as we leave.
As we march around the wall to the north, we come upon a catapult and plan to
use it in support of the gate/port. Erik indicates he has some skill using it..
As we prep the catapult, we are attacked by orcs, humans, and goblin from
the roof. Emrys runs up to the rooftop first, followed quickly by Erebus,
myself, and Erik. We engage the orcs.. Erebus kills one, then another.. I kill
another. Emrys attacks several orcs on the rooftop, then we all begin to
assault the humans in their hostile team. Magical darkness falls as the fight
begins to wear down. Erik falls to damage, attacked from either darkness or
invisibility, I don’t know which. We must find our invisible attacker or we
will fail….

>>Night Watch Continues – Morning of Sept 5th

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A rooftop skirmish...

September 4, 1208 SA

Erebus Typhon

It was obvious that the orcs were not trained to deal with Stygian Heavy Infantry.

The first, a towering brute with a comical horned helmet and a black iron axe, didn’t have time to register the threat presented by the metal clad form that erupted from the doorway. Crouched low with shield high and sword in his offhand, Erebus engaged with practiced ease that made full use of his strength, agility, and full plate armor.

In a blur, Worldeater, Erebus’ polished metal shield, connected twice with the orc before Erebus – once edge on into the soft tissue beneath the sternum and then again flatly with force that lifted the creature from his feet and sent him backward and nearly off his feet. Erebus continued his attacks into the other orcs surrounding the door. Still crouched, he shifted his weight and although his offhand khopesh sliced the night air without connecting to the enemy on his right, the creature on his left took a full force impact from Worldeater that broke bones and limited further fighting ability.

Erik moved past Erebus and engaged the now wounded and wailing orc. Connor followed and moved to the right and made quick work of the orc there as his slow reasoning sought in vain to understand how death had come upon him and his companions with such swiftness.

Fire bombs erupted along the edge of the building and provided light that allowed for a full assessment of the enemies on the rooftop.  Orcs, a goblin, and finally humans, stood against the cohort members now  assembled.

Erebus, stepped forward to follow the reeling, horn helmeted orc and delivered a shield bash that landed with a punishing crack and brought the creature to its knees and into the path of a downward slash. The weighted end of the khopesh easily dug into the flesh between the orc’s neck and shoulder and sent him off to the afterlife with only a wet rattle and pathetic wheeze to greet his foul gods.  

Lightning erupted on the rooftop and claimed more of the cohort’s enemies. The initial charge onto the rooftop was now a full melee. Connor met and overcome another opponent, Erik was sprawled motionless on the ground, arrows claimed the life of the goblin.

Erebus helped Emrys dispatch an enemy and moved to press the cohort’s advantage against rapidly dwindling opposition.

“Let there be darkness!” a voice called above the clank and clamor of the skirmish. Instantly, inky blackness robbed the cohort of their visual sense.

Erebus pivoted and brought Worldeater up flatly into what was his left flank only moments prior. The cries of pain in the dark confirmed that the orc sought to maneuver and, now that he knew where the creature was, he killed it with a quick thrust of his blade.

“X’lath Nak Athrok. Ubesmet Xehroth,” Erebus spoke the ancient Stygian words of power, and his sight was returned.

He looked around to see many of his companions and no enemies…then Connor’s cries of pain signaled that the battle was not quite won.

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Shots fired
We are entering the fray.

Porte Tiers has fallen!!!!! We have been dispatched to repel the invaders as they flood the city streets. Advancing on the enemy position we are ambushed near a building with a trebuche out front. Fire bombs rain down upon us dispersing our group. Orcs appear on the roof tops, firing arrows. Some of the group rush the building while I take a position to maintain covering fire for the group. My arrows bite deep into the Orcs hide, and yet they still stand. Lightning and fire assault the rooftop and several of the enemy begins to retreat. One of them thinks that he is my equal. Volley after volley our bows fire, neither one of us giving way. He blinks, ducks down and tries to hide but Mithrande finds him. Finds him and almost finishes him off. He cowers down behind the wall. I climb up the building and continue to attack our foes, pressing the attack. Suddenly darkness falls upon us……I take a tactical position off the roof to cover our flank. We are advancing…

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Notes from the burning rooftops - Olliver

After cleaning things up at our end of the wall, Connor received word from Valentine that Port Tiers had fallen. The enemy was within the gates and proceeding down the main thoroughfare. We were to head North along the wall and help deal with this incursion.

Once departed from our post we came across an abandoned trebuchet. Advancing close enough to inspect whether it was functional or not, we were then set upon by satchels falling from a nearby rooftop. They exploded with little force and scarcely enough heat to singe the edges of a cloak. Twas the work of an amateur, but enough to get our attention.

We took cover underneath the trebuchet from the first wave of incoming arrows. Between volleys Emrys led the charge into the building. My guess is that she was going to find a way to attack them inside . I took the direct approach; bombing them from the ground outside.

Amid the explosions, chains of lightning and sounds of battle coming from the far side of the roof I don’t think the opposition lasted very long. There was a peculiar case with a goblin that was up on the roof. He was not quite resilient enough to withstand my explosive onslaught, but up from his ashes rose a peculiar shadow. It dived off the roof at me and disappeared. When I went to drink an extract to mend my wounds I was visited by a vision of darkness. It faded in an instant and left me with an immense pain. Not knowing the attack’s origin I made for the cover inside, underneath the roof that I nearly set ablaze just a moment ago.

Once my wounds were tended to I made my way upstairs to join my comrades. Upon the roof I was greeted with a deeper darkness than I had seen outside seconds ago.

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The Fall
We are entering the fray.

Porte Tiers has fallen!!!!! We have been dispatched to repel the invaders as they flood the city streets. Advancing on the enemy position we are ambushed near a building with a trebuche out front. Fire bombs rain down upon us dispersing our group. Orcs appear on the roof tops, firing arrows. Some of the group rush the building while I take a position to maintain covering fire for the group. My arrows bite deep into the Orcs hide, and yet they still stand. Lightning and fire assault the rooftop and several of the enemy begins to retreat. One of them thinks that he is my equal. Volley after volley our bows fire, neither one of us giving way. He blinks, ducks down and tries to hide but Mithrande finds him. Finds him and almost finishes him off. He cowers down behind the wall. I climb up the building and continue to attack our foes, pressing the attack. Suddenly darkness falls upon us……I take a tactical position off the roof to cover our flank. We are advancing…

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