Pa'Aerth

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 Cath├ędrale 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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Avignon - Orcs at the Gates IV
The Enemy Within The City

September 4, 1208 SA

03:05 AM

The Gray Hand regroups upon the wall at Port Limbert and get reacquainted with Necahual. She has two Englishman as companions:

Colton Zamora – This man has hooded gray eyes that are like two pools of mercury. He is balding, and has fine, straight gray hair. He has a plump build. His skin is tanned. He has an elegant nose and prominent ears. His wardrobe is risque, and is completely red and brown around his heavy plate armor. He carries a long sword, cross bow and large shield.

Hudson Bagley – This curious guy has large blue eyes that are like two sapphires. He is balding, withhave thick, curly, gray hair. He’s got stubble. He has an angular build. His skin is china-white. He has a small nose. His wardrobe is rustic with leather armor and furs. He carries a great axe, long bow and a wooden shield.

Connor goes down to examine the fallen invaders. With a mix of magic and perception he…

04:25 AM

PORT TIERS HAS FALLEN!!” Valentine cries out! After some conference with his men he informs the Gray Hand and The Battling Eyes that specialized fighting groups are to go to Port Tiers and repel the invaders. “Speed of the Maker upon you.” Valentine says to the group as they head out.

The group makes its way down the top of the wall, passing members of the Queen’s Guard as they heard toward Port Tiers. Half way to the gate, a tower looms before them and the scale down the wall and up again just beyond the tower.

The sounds of battle ahead can be heard beyond the buildings. The group bypasses another tower and continues their way down the wall. As they grow near the gate, they spot the dead bodies of crewmen about an unmanned trebuche. As they look closer they can see that the bodies are riddled with arrows.

With the intention of commandeering the trebuche to turn upon the orc horde the Gray Hand climbs down from the wall and approaches the trebuche. Just as they reach the war machine, some of the group is surprised as balls of fire explode around the group. Erik is hit by a number of arrows…

Emryss makes her way to the rooftop of the sculptor’s shop and shifts into the form of an Orc to slip within their ranks.

Erebus, Erik and Connor charge into the building to take the fight to the rooftop foes…

Oliver launches fire onto the rooftop to turn some of the ork arches into piles of ash…

Avari trades arrows with an Ork archer…

Lewanna calls upon lightening bolts from the sky to kill some of the orcs..

from the fallen body of the goblin arcanist rises a twisting, dark mass, with multicolored ever shifting eyes.

Shadow demon

One of the humans sreams “Bring the darkness!! and slay our foes!!” moments later the group is engulfed in darness. Those that can enable the ability to see within the darness do so and continue the battle.

The remaining human, tumbles away and leaps from the roof top when he distracts Erik with a knife attack.

Erik falls as he tries to escape from the unseen foe.

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Fools and other unpleasant surprises

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

This note is to capture a few hasty thoughts before the Chaos Hoard approaches with intention of real damage. To date, I am convinced, that all we have seen is effort at probing. The rag tag assembly of skirmishers put forward are likely their infirm, penitent, or what pass for criminal elements among the an army of miscreants. It would be foolish to think anything other than the pitiful creatures that we have encountered to date are but a trivial part of the available resource that the attacking commander has at his disposal.

Why?

They were sure to die and…

…Freeze the Hells! And they are reconnoitering. That is all.

The enemy knows where the paltry might of the skirmishing force is enough to overcome the wall and penetrate. Then…once inside…the creatures serve as eyes and ears until they are brought down. The gating of the Omox demon speaks to similar. Slain demons can be resummoned…and while within the walls, they wreak death and havoc…all the while assessing the fortification and sharing with their master the details of the resistance FROM THE INSIDE OF THE WALL.

It will be necessary to see if there are talismans or fetishes among the dead attackers that might explain the gating of the demon. Such things devices could greatly increase the difficulty of holding secure against the walls.

And…on the walls. Valentine is more the fool than first realized. Continued bombardment of the walls chips away at their integrity. It is a matter of time until they break. Any effort to disrupt the rhythm of the bombardment adds to their duration. Like so many of these painted buffoons, he had every excuse not to act. Before long, I’m certain he’ll have an opportunity to try that game with Death himself. When that happens, we will finally be free to prosecute this war to our advantage.

Finally, Emrys. A passage in one of the Chaos Tomes describes the Bloodied Knife, a cult whose members hide themselves as adherents of other religions. It would completely suit the purpose of Chaos to have infiltrated the ranks of the Deceiver’s churchmen and to, at some point in the future, commit heinous acts that discredit the church or sway the faithful to a doctrinal direction that suits the cause of their masters. That would prove a glorious amusement. However, but no more than a night or so ago, Emrys interrupted my thoughts on the importance of bringing down the Maker…to expound on the idea of leaving the edifice and structure of the church intact while perverting the congregation to other purposes.

It would simply not do to be arm in arm with one of these twisted and honorless minions of Chaos.  I will share this information with Connor that he may leverage his battle-pairing with Emrys as a means keeping an eye open for potential validation of this concern.

 Meanwhile, behind me, the rocks continue to fall. At this rate, the pounding will open the wall within the week and we will find ourselves face to face with one or more of the  Chosen of the Many.

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