Pa'Aerth

Vauclusa or Pandemonium
Which Path to Glory

October 2018 SA

Vauclusa

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Avignon - Orcs at the Gates No More

Sunday, September 7, 1208 SA

Felling the orcs

Inquistor vs orc

Chaos Demon

September 8 – 19, 1208 SA

The Gray Hand explores the heavily damaged city, seeks out old contacts, recovers from the battle and ponders next steps.

Saturday, September 20, 1208 SA

The Gray Hand meets with Brother Marcel, several members of The Church of the Maker and Sister Magnolia to recount the events of the last several days.

Sister Magnolia shares with The Gray Hand the details of the final battle where the horde is broken outside the Cathedrale d’ Avignon.

Sunday, September 21, 1208 SA

The members of the Gray Hand are granted the title of Chevalier for their efforts against the Chaos Cult horde. The Gray Hand is chartered as an official chivalric order and made Liege Lords over the Thorpe of Vauclusa. On the steps of the Cathedrale d’ Avignon the members of the Gray Hand give their Oath of Allegiance as they accept control of Vauclusa. In return the liege lord promised to protect and remain loyal to France. The investiture and oath of fealty are recorded within the deed for Vauculusa.

Highlights of the deed to Vauculusa:

  • Deed valid as long as The Gray Hand exists (or until revoked)
  • Requires 10% of monthly income to be passed to Avignon with a minimum of 4,000 GP.
  • Supply troops when required to protect the realm.
  • Initial charter for a single “hex” acquisition of additional growth requires approval
  • Right to establish edicts within the realm that do not conflict with those of the Greater Realm of France.
  • A High Priest of The Church of the Maker is assigned to Vauclusa as emissary from the greater Realm.

September, 1208 SA

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We arrive at Laurette Theatre - Connor

And so we awaken.

Sunday, September 7, 1208 SA

On the rooftops, once again, we’ve taken shelter – to heal, to rest, to recharge. Few pockets of Allied forces remain.. in this recent slog through the city streets we only chance upon one group of churchmen cowering in the darkness. They will not accept assistance and so through their own inaction will likely lose their lives. I’m weary of the loss of innocents, but angry at those who elevated themselves as better. Church priests, Queen’s guards, Inquisitors, Nobles.. where are they now for the people of Avignon cowering in the wrack and ruin of the City.

Time to move, we still attempt to reach the Cathedral, hoping to find some organized defense and strategic thought there. Presuming that Marcel is within, we plan to head that direction. Down from the rooftop we come.. into the rear of the Bookstore. It is one of four buildings sharing a common courtyard in the rear. Inside, in the storeroom, we decide that it may be advantageous to search for arcane texts and histories.. anything that might be useful to empower us as we make the long march to regaining our once and future powers. We search for a couple of hours, finding a few useful books and scrolls, some on evocation, some on divination, another on the care and feeding of ettins.

Avari and Erik keep lookout as we search the shelves, making certain we’d not be surprised by forces inimical to us. And yet, as I turn with another book in-hand, I see an Orc turn its head towards us. Its face is framed in the shattered front window for but a second, and then it is gone and hollering to its companions excitedly. Combat looms again.

I prepare a quick spell, casting Haste on all of our party excepting Avari, Erik, and Oliver. It has provided an indispensible assistance to our combat effectiveness in past encounters, so now I cast it almost without thought. Having cast the spell, I dash to the front of the bookstore, using the front walls as concealment from which to attack the coming force. And coming they are.. we hear the random jingle of armor and the stomp and slap of hobnailed boots mixed with bare orcish feet.

Avari backs to the opposite corner of the building front, draws his bow, and sights out the window. Erebus makes his way to the main door and turns to the approaching squad of orcs and 2 ogres. He seems to grow in the doorway, filling it completely, then bellows at them to ‘CEASE’ and ‘LEAVE NOW’. The orcs seem stunned by his demeanor and words, drop what they are carrying, and scamper in the opposite direction. The ogres look confusedly at their fellows turning, then continue on as though the cannot detect the threat from Erebus.

As the ogres reach the front door, I cast Warding Weapon on myself and step up behind the first large foe. Fate smiles on me as I unleash Shocking grasp into the creature’s torso, following up with lighting thrusts of my sword for additional damage to the beast. I hear Erebus grunt heavily from a few feet away, then shout “Connor, I could use your assistance.. Now”. As soon as I am able, I step across the windowsill and rush through the front door near him. As I disengage from the ogre, he attempts a following strike which is fortuitously blocked by my warding weapon.

Moving through the doorway, we begin to come under sniper fire from the rooftops as arrows pepper the ground around me. I take a slashing hit to one shoulder, but shrug it off. It stings.. likely diseased or poisoned, but I drive forward regardless. I use Shocking grasp again on my original target, driving additional electrical damage into the ogre. The enemy shakes and quivers with the force, then falls backward as its eyes roll back in its head.. dead. Arrows are hitting all around me and my companions, and the other Ogre is starting to look damaged. I evaluate the situation and make a decision. As I start to move, I hear Erebus mutter to me.. “there goes the dwarf again.” I have no time for his shenanigans in the midst of battle. Why is he not on the frontline battling his self-avowed racial foes?!

I maneuver backwards throught the doorway, concentrate, then unleash my arcane energies as a destructive fireball between the remaining ogre and its single orcish companion. The glowing fire erupts, expanding quickly to a sphere forty feet in diameter. The fire quenches almost as soon as it starts, leaving behind two very crispy enemies. Erebus and I glare at the remaining forces (still hesitating because of his initimidation).. sending them running in the opposite direction up the street. Necahual uses her powers to raise one of the dead ogres, turning it into a zombie. It will walk along with us and bolster both our “chaotic” appearance as well as providing some additional melee force.

As we turn to decide next moves, Erik returns from the courtyard. He mumbles something about covering our rear flank, but I’m too frustrated to care. The rest of us quickly agree on leaving the area, duck out the backdoor into the courtyard, and begin movement towards the cathedral. We wind and twist our way through the back streets, keeping care to avoid central boulevards and streets. After a short time, we come to a halt. There before us we can see the cathedral, enclosed within a dome of glowing light, and we begin to hear the shouts and chanting of an encircling force. It is obvious that the Cathedral de’Avignon is under siege, and it is likely that the central park is being used as a camp for the enemy.

So, time to collect our thoughts and make different plans. We pledged to fight the attacking forces until defense of the town was impossible or ineffective. Our larger goals against the Chaos cults must lead us to survive this battle. We will avoid this siege.. heading towards Pont Edouard Deladier, planning to exfiltrate the city when the Cathedral falls. We will continue to reduce the enemy troops as we make our way through the city, but avoid combat with patrols of superior numbers. It looks like the Laurette Theatre may be a good vantage from which to scout and observe the siege.

Making our way down smaller streets and alleys, Emrys takes point. She will be forward scout with Avari secondary scount betwixt her and the rest of the team.

Emrys raises her fist, signaling that we must halt. She runs back to Avari and speaks, then they both come back to the main group. Emrys tells that there is a force of Maker troops ahead, numbering near 50. After discussing this, we decide to halt progress until a few of us can talk to their commander and evaluate the situation based on any new information provided.

Connor removes and stores chaos costume. Main group will hide in nearby storefront building including zombie ogre. Connor, Erebus, and Emrys will go forward to meet the Queen’s forces.

We round the corner into the open intersection and head toward the priestess. A Queen’s guard approaches us and we indicate our need to ‘check-in’ with the ‘local commander’. He nods approval and leads us to the Sister. The sister queries us, then suggests we must reinforce those at the Cathedral. As we turn to leave, Erebus looks at her and asks if she needs assistance.. the intersection is not a safe or defensible location. She declines, saying “The maker will cover the eyes of our foe and protect us.”

We return, meet with our team, and continue towards the Pont. As we cross the Rue de la Republique, we watch.. wait.. and stealthily move. After only a little longer, we finally reach the Laurette Theatre. It is locked and seemingly unharmed by battle. We infiltrate, and scout, with plans to Secure doors from the outside with the original chain and lock. Our plan is to rest, and observe the Cathedral. If it falls.. we leave Avignon. Connor plans to craft magic wands to consume the wait time.

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Decision within evasions

Lewana
During tonight’s adventure starts at where we left off last week on the roof of an antique shop in the square after defeating a camp that was full of orcs and ogres. We wake up and climb down the hole in the roof, so that we could explore the shops below for anything that will be useful for our group. Connor a book that was in spanish and was intrigued by it. While everyone was scouting the area, Erik and Avary stand at and near the door way of this little plaza to stand guard if something tried sneak up on us. It was a good minute before something had appeared. Erik had spotted 250ft ahead an orc and ogre heading our way. Letting his commorad know of this, he leaned back towards the shops, trying to call out silently that he saw two enemies approaching the shops and that we should be ready for battle.

The battle did not last long, since it was only two enemies impeading our safe haven for the moment. Before leaving this shop, for suspicsion of if theu were follwed and that there would be some back up heading our way to try and kill us, Necahual reanimated the ogre corspe as one of her minions to do her bidding. Even though, during this battle I just observed the whole thing. Heading down the back way of the shops to get a move on, our group made a decision to go back towards the cathedral. Even if the cathedral was not open our plan was to go talk to Marcel to tell them about the endevours that we encounter and ask what they had encounter and if there was anything that our group could help with. While Erebes and Connor talk with Marcel, the rest of the group stood back with ogre, so that we don’t draw any unwated attention ourselves.

After talking with him we started to head west northwest to aid our commorades of the church of the maker. Emrys, as our group leader, for her quick stealthiness to scout out ahead for any dangers, or any other optional paths that we can take. Apparently, Emrys had spotted another camp with ogres with the possibility of other enemies. We contemplating for a moment about how to get around the camp with thw two less stealthiest( sorry guys), and we finally decided to turn Erik invisible to get passed the enemies. We manage to get passed them without setting off any of the alarms, to notify our enemies. Once we got through, we made our way towards the theatre that is also close by our place, the crimson flask, place of residence while we are in Avnyon. We try to enter the theatre, but the door was chained, so we looked to Emrys to pick the lock to the theatre.

She succeed with picking the lock, we asked her if she could scout ahead for us as well. To make sure that there are no dangers ahead of us. She came and notified us that, from what she scouted there was no probable danger ahead of us but there is no light, both natural and man-made light in the theatre.

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Silence for an answer....

Early September, European Calendar; Tobi Waxing, the time of Going Forth, Stygian Civil Calendar

As the days and nights in this prison wear on, I continue to learn. This knowledge is multi-faceted…from the odd rituals and beliefs of The Deceived and Deluded to the slow gathering of the various puzzle pieces that comprise the currently gathered members of the ‘88. From the utter lack of value of what once WAS or MIGHT BE to the absolute truth of what is PRESENT..and from the ancient, roughly hewn tales of Creation’s betraying Aeons to the current, deeper mystery of devotions that frequently seem to fall short of the intended ears.

Is it possible to kill a god? Are they truly eternal principles…that must exist to ensure the balance of creation?

Can they die or are they beings that feed upon the faith, and awe, and fear of their armies and multitudes…like we, of the 88, once were? If  we were stripped of prizes we once earned and powers we once commanded…rendered low and mortal and cast down to this place of struggle and chaos…might such be engineered for the scheming things that now claim the thrones of divinity? Beyond the cold satisfaction of feeling the cooling of a foe’s blood on your face and having made right an ancient wrong…what value is there in the slaying of a god? Would power be exchanged, causing the victor to ascend as the victim falls into obscurity? Is this the reason for The Deceiver’s treachery? Did he rise to power over all other Aeons by harnessing the energy that once was the the essence of the exiled Sutekh Djet?

Upon these things I will continue to muse and study, for when I entreat the divine…I am only gifted with silence as an answer.

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Avignon - Journey to the Cathedrale d' Avignon - Part II
Skulking Through the Streets

Sunday, September 7, 1208 SA

01:30 AM

Rest, Heal and Recover spells. Dawn breaks and turns the darkness to twilight once again.

01:30 PM

Search through the book seller’s store. The store is in a shambles as the party surveys the aftermath of an ork, goblin or orge based storm that ran through the store. Book shelves have been pushed down; books, scrolls and sheets of parchment have been scattered about; and the two large glass windows at the front of the shop have been shattered.

Over the course of an hour the Gray Hand is able to recover several mundane but interesting books, scrolls and documents:

  • The Revised Encyclopedia of Evocation
  • The Expert’s Guide to Zombies
  • Notable Traits of the Goblin
  • Eating Habits of the Half-Elf
  • Tales of the Ettin
  • Treatise on Evocation
  • Catalogue of Divination
  • Manual of Culinary Arts

As the group searches through the shop Avari and Erik take up defensive positions at the front of the shop. Avari hears screams of pain off in the distance. A few moments later this cries of pain are closer.

Mixed within the cries of pain, Avari hears the sounds of orcs coming up the street and notices that the sounds are getting closer, and closer, and closer. Avari whispers to Erik to warn the others. Erik makes his way through the cluttered shop to inform the others of the coming danger. As they discuss their options a few members spot an orc peering through one of the broken windows.

Avari’s shot with his bow strikes true and causes the orc to cry out in pain.

Erebus steps just outside the shop and attempts to cower the rushing orcs and orges. Most of the orcs pause but with a roar the orges continue their charge. Heartened by the bravery of the orges one of the orcs continues forward also. The Gray Hand engages the two orges just outside the shop. Orc fires arrows from the roof top and another from outside the shop. Hidden behind their human captives a pair of goblins unleash some minor arcane magic upon The Gray Hand.

Once the orges are killed the orcs and goblins retreat into the darkness. Laying in the street are the dead bodies of several humans.

Nechaual calls upon Mictecacihuatl to animate the corpse of the dead Orges. She is blessed by Mictecacihuatl and one of the orges rises at her command.

02:30 PM

With Emerys and Avari scouting ahead, the group then travels toward the Cathedrale d’ Avignon and discover an outpost of the Church of Maker. The outpost has about 50 of the Queen’s Guard, and Inquisitor and priestess of the Church. Each of them look haggard and show signs of recent combat (a dented shield, torn clothing, dried blood, bruises, etc). There are a dozen or so injured non-combatants also milling around.

Queens guard under attack

Erebus, Connor and Emrys engage the elderly human woman in conversation. She is dresses in white, with her grey hair pulled into a tight bun, her clothing is darkly stained with blood. The members of the Gray Hand are puzzled by this group here out in the open and Erebus surprisingly seems concerned for their well being and offers advice that would make them safer. The woman responds with, “The Maker befuddles the eyes of our enemies, we are quite safe.”

02:40 PM

Discover an apparently abandoned theater, with the doors chained. Emrys easily defeats the lock and the group slips inside to contemplate their next move.

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Reborn
Avari's Tale

Slipping from the clutches of Death…..I am reborn. Now that I am rid of this poison, I am renewed. Finally I have battle on the horizon, true battle worthy of my song and praise. I will rejoice in the fever of battle once again and bathe in it’s wake.

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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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