Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Session #27b

{Game clock resumes:  aaaand, ACTION!}

The rest of the party spread out in a line with Bob in front, Hearn, Hank w/ Archie riding on his shoulders… clockwork sheep whirring and clicking behind them; and Wysera and Milo for the rear guard as they weave their way instinctively through the seemingly empty expanse of the Battle Wizard’s enclave.  The effect was hampering their pursuit as well.  By the time the majority of the party are about to cross the border between the wizard enclave and the regular troops Thingerlun has been borne aloft by Sythryxis and can see a larger view of things.  Thingerlun manages to scribble a note and tie it to a dagger only because the dragon is carrying him and his arms are free; it reads – I’m flying ahead to start making the teleportation circle that we’ll need to get out of here.  Meet me 10 minutes run due west of the main camp.  –Thing He then tossed it down to a place where he hoped they’d see it.  Fortunately Wysera notices it sticking from a fence post and she reads the note to everyone and pockets the dagger as well.  The last 5minutes of the chase must pass through the normal space of the army camp; but as soon as they cross out of the wizard enclave, the glowing cleric of Ormazdd begins to cast.  Milo begins to pray…

{Player: “I make a divine aide check… I have questions.”

Storyteller: “The DC is 15 because of the stress of the situation and you’re seeking information not miracles.  One check: one question.”

Player rolls and after final calculation = 25+.

Storyteller; “OK. Two questions; but make them brief.”}

Milo feels the presence of Ormazdd, it is strained but still warm and comforting; “Am I a heretic?”

Ormazdd; “No.”

Milo; “Is he one of your clerics that still has his aura of light?”

Ormazdd; No, but he used to be one of your brothers.”

Milo feels the presence of his deity leave.  It isn’t the slow fade he has felt before, but rather the cold shiver of being woken by sudden immersion in the cold water of the real world.  Out of the corner of his eye Milo sees that his mace, having been instinctively brought to the ready, is glowing with a thin but steady golden light.  He remembers that the last time he saw his weapon do this was when they were facing the demon monkeys on their trek from Silverton.  Then the world is rattling violently around him as the power of the pseudo-cleric is channeled into the earth as he strikes the earth with his war hammer.  It is a mighty earthquake that creates a large fissure beneath them.  The bard and Milo are the only ones that manage to dive to safety but only the bard keeps his footing; Milo is hanging from the edge.  {Milo made the DC only by the grace of Hearn’s aura of blessing} The tents and wagons of the military encampment nearest them flail about and collapse, it creates a clear line of sight for dozens of yards in any direction.  Many of the soldiers can be heard crying for help, many others lay still in the mud under heavy debris.

Wysera became keenly aware of two things: 1- that she was hanging in empty space over a rather deep pit that hadn’t been there a moment ago; and 2- that this is not a state she can maintain.  Her fall lands her knee deep in the mud and with a broken tibia in her left leg and she screams in outrage at the pain, the indignity, and the hours she’ll need to clean her boots.  Hank immediately sends some rope creeping out of both arms; one to secure Archie and his sheep, the other secured itself to some heavy debris well away from the pit and pulls both out of the pit.  Lex circles down and tries to lift Wysera out of the mud, but isn’t strong enough and just causes more pain for the warrior.  She circles round and puts herself in position to try and lift Wysera out of the mud.  Hearn heals Wysera sufficiently to heal the broken leg and Milo pulls himself out of the pit and sees that the cleric is much closer, but too far to charge; what’s worse is that the cleric is flanked by a platoon of veteran soldiers that are getting ready to close the gap  Milo moves as close as he can.  Bob decides that in spite of things he is better off hiding down in the pit rather than making himself a target and he waits to see if there is need of action.  Thingerlun casts a spell and creates a powerful wall of force to spring up between the glowing cleric and his well-armed reinforcements.  It is powerful enough to create an invisible 10 foot wall that surrounds the soldiers; several of which knock themselves unconscious after they run into it at full speed.  The others find the wall by touch and start trying to find an edge or opening.

Wysera pulls herself out of the muck and uses one of Hank’s ropes to climb out, then draws her bow and studies the situation to see where all the threats are.  There are troops at the periphery of the wreckage, some are organizing rescue details and the others are readying bows and waiting for the order to fire.  The glowing cleric seems to be concentrating on something so she tries to put an arrow through his head.   Fortunately for anyone still in the pit, Wysera misses her target completely.  Hank pulls Hearn out of the pit while Archie opens the back of the sheep and climbs inside the control center, closing the panel behind him.  The Sheep takes up a guard posture protecting Hank, Wysera, and Hearn… the crossbow in the sheep’s head fires at the attacking cleric but he misses too.  Lex fires an arrow doped with sleeping potion at the glowing cleric, because he was attacking her allies She hits, but the cleric shrugs off the poison.  Milo screams to get the Demon’s attention and then charges; unfortunately he misses.  Hearn starts tending to the wounded soldiers and giving last rights where she must.  Unfortunately for Bob, the distraction causes the demon-cleric to lose concentration and the walls of the pit come crashing down upon him.  Yet his ditch digging prowess allows him to dig his way to safety. {5 points of luck burn at 1d7 each to save his skin…  Have I mentioned recently that I really don’t like the luck burn mechanic?  Especially for Thieves and Halflings since it grows back...}  Thingerlun has Sythryxis descend while he starts to cast a spell; and as they swoop passed Milo, Thingerlun taps him (none too gently) with his foot at the completion of his spell casting.  Milo then enlarges by about 25%.  {a few seconds later… someone plays the sound effect from eating a growth mushroom from the first Mario BrothersTM game… and there is riotous laughter from everyone; ah, the wonders of the internet.}

Wysera sees that there are no immediate threats, so she puts her bow away, limbers her shield and draws steal as she moves out to support her commander in his struggle with the unknown glowing cleric.  She offers a prayer to Gorhan for strength and she trudges off to battle dodging the arrows that have started to rain down upon them.  The Pseudo-cleric fails to hit Milo with his mighty bastard sword and staggers back in the face of Milo’s sudden growth spurt.  Lex regains her invisibility and launches herself into the air and heads out to the growing ring of soldiers, looking for whoever is in charge.  Hank and Archie are keeping watch over Hearn figuring that it’s only a matter of time before the opposing forces charge.  Milo takes an arrow from the sky as he swings his mace again; then trips, falling prone.  Hearn continues to tend to the dead and dying as she slowly makes her way to towards the fighting.  Bob uses all the commotion to hide from everyone and starts to sneak his way to the battle, trying to keep under any cover when possible while sneaking around behind the glowing cleric.  Thingerlun casts and several sparkling comets streak from his hand and strike the glowing cleric, staggering him backwards in surprise.

Wysera is close enough to charge when she sees her commander fall to the ground: she charges hoping to decapitate the enemy cleric, but fails to hit her target.  Lex finds the commander of the camp watch and steps out to talk with him; “Sir, You need to stop firing arrows into the fray!” 

Cleric of Thormyr; “HALT! WHO ARE YOU!” And he raises up his hammer over his head for a powerful strike.

Lex; “HEY! I’m on your side, I think that glowing cleric out there is a demon.  We’re trying to apprehend him for questioning.”

Cleric; “Oh really!  That glowing Cleric out there is Brother Aldwin and he has much standing within the court; He claims Milo is heretic and worse!  Brother Aldwin claims you all to be agents of the Scourge!”

Lex; “I could have killed you and your command staff long before you knew what was happening, yet I stand here in front of you protesting our innocence...  Who are you going to believe.”  {Player wins contested personality check}

Cleric; “CEASE FIRE!!” then he turns to this strange newcomer as the call for a cease fire spreads down the line of soldiers, “I think I’ll let you all kill each other and then I’ll sort it out later… less paper work that way.”

Blood flies from the tip of the sword and the pseudo-cleric laughs insanely as he slashes into Milo.  Hearn is holding action waiting to see where she will be needed most.  Bob is finally making his way around and sneaking up behind the cleric that had tried to bury him alive.  Thingerlun cast a hail of screaming eagle magic missiles at the glowing cleric and after the first three everyone sees the man’s skin blacken and fall away to reveal a tall, lanky humanoid with pale skin and an overlarge, bulbous head.  Then the remaining 3 missiles seem to severely injury the thing.  Hearn screams, frothing at the mouth and charges; “DEMON!!!!!!!”  Her tiny little mace manages to deliver the death blow that sends it spiraling back into its own nether dimension of the abyssal night.

Lex turns to the captain of the watch; “See.  Told you.”  She then disappears and follows the cleric from a distance as he calls for wizardly back-up and makes his way out to get some answers.  Upon arrival at the smoking stain on the ground where the demon used to be the party of adventurers has reassembled and start to interact with the cleric, who is joined by the Cleric of Gorhan who had pledged to help Wysera contact her family, he says; “Why am I not surprised to see all of you here at the center of this tumult?” not waiting for an answer he goes on, “Captain of the Watch!  What are the charges if any levied against these folks! AND SOMEONE LET THOSE FELLOWS OUT OF THE INVISIBLE BOX!”

Captain; “Yes Sir!  Brother Aldwin was to arrest Milo of Grenvec for heresy.  We were to arrest Bob, laborer of Grenvec for conspiracy to aide enemies of the Empire, malicious mayhem leading to the deaths of 9 soldiers of his Imperial Majesty’s armed forces, the further injury of 20 more of same.  These others…” he points in the general direction of the entire party, “are to be retained as they may be material witnesses to said actions and events.  Additionally the Guild wishes to press formal charges against the Bob of Grenvec for the destruction of valuable Guild property.”

Bob shouts indignantly; “Hey!  I paid off those little bastards for the damages already!”

Cleric of Thormyr; “I beg your pardon?! I hope you can prove that? Or I’ll have to add malicious slander against a public official to the list of offenses.”

Bob; “I’ll swear before clerics of Justica if I must!”

Cleric of Thormyr; “Of course you will…”

Milo to the cleric of Thormyr; “But, we just did a great service for your God!  Why are we being arrested!?”

Cleric of Thormyr; “In honor of Ormazdd the Grandfather of Thormyr I’ll overlook that and not report it as an attempt at bribery, everyone is held to the Imperial Legal Codex.  You’ve all been lawfully summoned.  Now.  Are you going to come quietly or is this going to get ugly?”

Hearn; “We’ve done nothing wrong, I say we throw ourselves upon the mercy of the court.”

Wysera; “Hey, I’ve just been following orders.  Fine by me.”

Milo, pointing at the soldiers and the cleric of Thormyr; “I’m fairly certain I’ll be vindicated considering you all saw this brother Alwin person change into a demon.  So yah, we’ll come quietly.”
A few minutes later they are led into the ring of battle/ barracks wagons and swept up the steps into the mobile chapel of Gorhan.  Then they are led to the main audience hall, which has 4 clerics of Justica and their attendant Clerics of Gorhan.  Count Aglinius is seated at the front of the room to the left of the dual statures of Justica and Gorhan on the room’s main altar; he is on an elaborate portable chair covered in dark green velvet and red brocade.  Merchants and representatives of the various Guilds and Temples stationed within the camp are in attendance as well as a number of minor nobility, a few Earls, Counts, and knights of many ranks.  Milo and Bob are moved off to an area separated from the rest by a rectangular, waste high wall; the rest of the party are moved to a similar enclosure that is closer to Count Aglinius.  The nave is fairly large, but the placement of the clerics of Justica ensures that everyone involved in the trial is covered by their Auras of Truthfulness.Count Aglinius opens the proceedings; “By the power vested in me by the Imperial Regent and as the ranking member of the Imperial Court, I hereby invoke the right of Ur’Naal.  I shall administer the questions and the assembled clergy are called only to witness the truth of the situation and it is mine right to pass judgment.”  There is a stunned intake of breath from the audience at this unprecedented use of an ancient tradition.

The Count then receives the testimony of the ‘arresting officer’ and isn’t pleased when he hears of the nature of brother Aldwin and his fate; “Well.  It would seem that the Phoenix lord has illuminated us to the truth and shown us via Ordeal that you, Milo of Grenvec, are not the heretic the demon claimed you to be.  I am therefore forced to concede your innocence and you may step down and rejoin your companions.”  He gives Milo a small limp wave of his hand and a conciliatory smile that doesn’t sit well with his gaunt face; and never touches his eyes.

The Count turns his full attention to Bob; “Bob, laborer, former resident of Grenvec: you stand accused of malicious mischief and mayhem leading to the deaths of 9 soldiers of His Imperial Majesty’s armed forces, ,the maiming of some 20 others, the willful destruction of property.  Furthermore you are accused of conspiring to supply aide and succor to the enemies of the Empire.   

How do you plead?”

Bob; “Not guilty.”  There is a shocked cacophony of whispers from the spectators.

Count; “But we have witnesses and your own words before the ears of Justica where you have admitted regret at causing this catastrophe!”

Bob; “There was nothing malicious about it.  I’m not guilty of maliciously killing and harming those folks; and I regret their deaths and injuries.  But, I saved more lives than were lost or hurt ‘cause that train was headed for an ambush.”

Count; “So you’ve said before, but how can we know this?  Are we to take your word?”

Bob; “We found a letter from the Regent to Tarkan Khurzog!  It outlined all of the Imperial plans and had her seal on it and everything!”

Count; “Hmm, yes.  So it says in this account of your travels and confessions to Justica,” thumbs a sheaf of papers absently, “but this letter was admittedly found in the papers and effects of a known demonologist and may be exquisite forgeries.  I think this is naught but a wild tale and I have a witness who tells a different story.  A story that makes much more sense.  A story about how you and your companions were going to forge the personal token of the Ogre mage known as Tarkan Khurzog and convince us all that it was dead.  All the while you and your companions were going to send your master reports on the army’s movements and strengths!  I call Hegurt Gobbin of Vaquaria, pig farmer by trade, and citizen in good standing.”

The party recognizes the Lex Anne’s connection with the black market as he stands and walks to from the audience to the center of the floor and says; “I, Hegurt Gobbin swares that I saw that one,” points to Bob, “pulling that medallion out of its mold and give it to the wizard.  He then bragged about how he was going to make lot o’money pretending to be the Ogre Mage!  He said he could get paid here then with the wizard’s help,” points to Thingerlun, “he could make another one and wear it to convince others…”

Bob shouts; “THAT’S A LIE!” He turns to the clerics of Justica, “You know he’s lying!  How can he do this?!”

Hegurt; “But you can check his bags, he has the molds in his backpack, they’re wrapped in a towel!”

Bob, to the nearest cleric of Justica; “Show them the letter! Let them see that the seals are genuine, you all checked it yourselves!”

Count; “ORDER!  The Defendant will address me, and not my advisers.” He turns to the assembled clerics of Justica, “I command that you produce this letter of which the Defendant speaks!”  The nobles in the audience are aghast at this treatment of the clergy.

The Grey haired cleric of Justica that the party had spoken with upon arrival yesterday steps forward from her corner of the room and is at the nobleman’s side swift enough to startle him as she says; “JUSICE recognizes the Defendants claims to but true.  I have heard their tale of the death of Tarkan Khurzog and it is true.  This letter,” she nods and her husband steps forward, the sword and scales emblem of Gorhan and Justica on his breast-plate blazing in the torch light as he hands the letter over to the Count.  The cleric of Justica continues to speak as she points to the Pig Farmer, “That man is under a profoundly powerful enchantment and he is lying to us.”

Count; “I thank my advisers for this council and I shall consider your words, but the fact remains that the Defendant was conspiring with a wizard to impersonate Tarkan Khurzog!  A wizard who has studied the documents of a demonologist and Gods know what else.  I say these are persons of ill repute and in need of questioning!”

The blind cleric of Justica (who hasn’t moved an inch from her place at the nobleman’s side); “M’lord will surely see that yesterday’s train is but one of four from this camp alone who’s departure, crew compliment, and arrival time are all carefully laid out.” The Count coughs a bit as he runs a finger slowly down the page, “And surely M’lord; you can see that yesterday’s train was scheduled to be ambushed on its approach to Rockport.  You will further see by the plans laid that the defendant is likely correct in his assertions that many of those now living would’ve likely died in less than three day’s from departure.”

Count, grudgingly; “Yes.  Assuming these documents aren’t concocted by that wizard over there,” points to Thingerlun, “Seals can be stolen. I call Milo back to the stand.”  There is confusion in the audience as Milo walks to the middle of the nave; “Milo of Grenvec, as you have been vindicated by divine ordeal you stand purest of your companions.  Tell us, have you ever known the wizard Thingerlun to violate the arcane laws of the Imperium?  Have you seen or know of him having cavorted with dark powers?  Tell us of his character.”

Milo thinks for a minut or two; “Well there was Grubb… but I really don’t think that counts as ‘cavorting with dark powers’”

Count; “Oh? And who, or what is this ‘Grubb’ you speak of?”

Milo; “Well, he was a were-rat goblin that was helping us find our way through a mine… he died.  Then he came back, and he was just so devoted to Thingerlun.”

 Count; “So, you admit to working freely with monstrous, diseased vermin alive and dead!  This is most distressing, and we are supposed to accept the veracity of the documents presented to us by a wizard who employs the undead and plots to help impersonate a demonologist?  You’re a hunter of the dead and you let this breach of the law go unchallenged”

Milo; “ Grubb was pathetic, but he was OK and we didn’t have the heart to destroy him a second time.  If it was a problem then I think my lord Omazdd would have said something by now.”

Count; “Is there anything else you’ve seen or heard this wizard do or say that could cause us to question his intentions?”

Milo, grudgingly; “Well, he does seem fixated on the idea that there might be a way to bring Grubb back from the dead… He’s mentioned that once that I know of.”

Count; “So he’s admitted a desire to study necromancy and to contravene Imperial Law by seeking to reanimate the dead.  Very well, I call Thingerlun of the Brotherhood of Aristemis.”

Thingerlun walks to the center of the room; “What now?”

Count; “You claim to have found this letter within the spell book of the deceased ogre mage, Tarkan Kurzog?”

Thingerlun; “Yes.”

Count; “Yet nowhere in any of these records does it say that you have surrendered these contraband items for destruction.  What other illegal books and spells have you in your possession?  Why do you seek forbidden knowledge?”

Thingerlun, sighs; “I only have them because I’ve not yet had a chance to copy some of the information from them into my spell book.  Not everything in there is evil and I have no other contraband books in my possession.  Why do I seek the forbidden?  Because maybe if morons like you would let wizards study the problem than maybe we could find out why the dead won’t stay dead!” {Yep, he went there! :D }

Instead of a tumultuous uproar of indignation, the crowd, including the Count, were so shocked by this statement that the chapel was as quiet as a mausoleum.  Into that silence Lex Anne says; “Excuse me M’lord, but as I understand it Imperial law doesn’t allow for a trial to switch the focus of its case.  Thingerlun isn’t standing here as the accused, and Bob and Milo have both been exonerated by the evidence.  I don’t see why we are being held if this is just to be a hunt for a scapegoat.”

Elderly Cleric of Justic, “Quite right!”  And she thumps the butt of her heavy walking stick against the floor boards.  “The Rite and privileges of Ur’Naal are revoked.  The accused stand exonerated and may leave,” she turns to face Thingerlun, “but I would warn thee away from your inquiries for the dark arts will consume you and bring ruin to us all.  Justice is served.”
The Party wastes no time in leaving the camp, but Bob and Lex both spot someone following them as they are nearing the western exit to the camp.  Lex, who was invisible and off like a comet the instant she was outside the temple, drifts down and Bob sees this fellow in the fancy cloths slump over, but unlike last time Lex doesn’t bother to catch him.  She turns invisible as fast as she can and changes position just in time to see a silhouette disappear into the crowds of soldiers that are jeering and cheering the adventurers out of the camp.

{Game Clock suspended @ 8am 04/21/3200… now on to the session 28 write-up}

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