The night proceeds without any major disruptions, despite the undead army looming just over the hill
The next morning,
Newton prays for spells as usual, but realizes he’s lost his divine connection, and he knows that he is being punished for accepting the astral bodak’s power
Jenny asks Newton if he’s ready to cure her of her undead affliction, and he admits he cannot without Pelor’s assistance She is distraught, but does not blame him
Thomas gets news from Commander Yelonder’s scouts that the undead are still blocking their way West Thomas asks
Prince Wayal where Imperious and Cyrus are, and he “guesses” in the Gold Duchies at his sister’s request With
Fierna gone, Imperious and Cyrus missing, and Newton unable to cast spells or turn undead (not to mention still missing a leg), combat with the undead appears suicidal Thomas discusses ways to engage in diplomacy with the undead.
As arguments rage about
how such diplomacy can occur, Chimmetz surmounts the Western hill with a few servitors They set up a small table, indicating a diplomatic conversation.
Thomas asks Newton and Jenny to remain behind, as they are likely targets if Chimmetz makes a move
Father Tranaleigh offers to join Thomas, knowing he may be able to assist in diplomacy and/or fending off undead The two set out to meet with Chimmetz
JouJou to use her divinations to listen in, and Wayal allows it, though he deliberately keeps her distracted with his own requests for the duration just to be spiteful Chimmetz claims to be awaiting orders from
Craddock to kill the refugees Thomas asks what they can do to persuade the undead to leave
Chimmetz claims that Craddock is negotiating with the
Great Leader, and their fate will be decided by those negotiations Thomas queries further
Chimmetz claims that if Thomas would kill Newton himself, she would call the army away.
Chimmetz asks about Jenny and tells Thomas to relay a message to her: She will be home soon and she will be getting a gift for her birthday.
Thomas, seeing there’s nothing left he can hope to accomplish, asks that she at least inform him if the decision is made to leave the refugees alone
Chimmetz agrees, then suddenly attacks Tranaleigh
The cleric keeps Chimmetz and her ghoul companions busy, allowing Thomas to flee
Before their allies can come to the rescue Tranaleigh is killed and turned into a wight, and Chimmetz escapes
Thomas tells the others of the ongoing negotiations with the Great Leader, and that in the next few hours they will either be fighting for their lives, or free of the undead.
He also relays Chimmetz’s message to Jenny. She and Newton fear that it is a warning that she will be fully undead by her 20th birthday (2 months)
Time passes, and the scouts eventually report that the undead are moving away.
Despite this good sign, the decision is made to remain in a defensible position for the night.
Newton heads to bed early, but Thomas and Jenny have a question for him.
Upon entering his tent, they find JouJou kneeling beside his sleeping body. She vanishes as soon as they enter.
They tell Newton, but are unable to determine the reason for her vigil.
The next day, the scouts once again report that the undead have fallen back.
The refugees head out West. As it stands, they have tentative peace with both the Great Leader and the Corpsecrafter, but they are still on edge.
Prince Wayal takes this opportunity to flirt with Jenny for some time, sending JouJou away so she doesn’t cramp his style
Newton takes this opportunity with her alone to speak with her.
He asks her a number of questions, but she only answers a few.
She was born in
Carma, and trained from an early age to be Prince Wayal’s protector Prince Wayal gave her the name JouJou
She is wholly devoted to protecting the Prince
She may be given orders from his older sister, the
Princess Carolina, but will otherwise only take orders from the Prince. She never reveals who or what she really is, or why she is bound to the Prince
Newton never asks her why she was watching him the night before.
During the day’s travels, the refugees are greeted by one of their friendly caravans, the Preston Family, including
Brian, Patricia, and Mama P. Thomas is happy to be reunited with his friends.
As night falls, the refugees make camp a few miles East of the first major
Warband encampment they will need to pass in order to enter elven lands Newton lays down to sleep, but is awakened by JouJou entering his tent.
It quickly becomes apparent she intends to get intimate, though her motivations are unclear.
Despite this, Newton give in to her charms
The fight continues!
Ursum and Thomas continue their ranged attacks against the newly visible half-fiends The bralani joins in with her composite holy longbow (though she takes penalties due to her strength damage)
The construct charges
Imperious, striking him surprisingly hard with its two-bladed sword One of the half-fiends launches a fireball at Imperious,
Newton, and the bralani. The other half-fiend charges Ursum with his greataxe.
Newton casts offensively at the construct, but fails to overcome its spell resistance.
Imperious summons a dire wolf to distract the construct, but it remains focused on him
Ursum tries to utilize her woodland stride to outmanouver the half-fiend fighter, but he matches her thanks to his continued flight
She, Thomas, and the bralani finish off the flying warmage before she can attack again
The construct, though, knocks Imperious unconscious with a powerful full-attack, and nearly drops the bralani with follow-up attacks
Newton rushes to assist Ursum while the bralani flees to safer position and Thomas tries to move close enough to make use of his thrown blade
The half-fiend fighter turns and attacks Newton, and the construct flanks him, knocking him unconscious
Ursum manages to strike the killing blow against the half-fiend fighter, but the construct turns its attention to her next
Thomas and the bralani are unable to even hit the construct, as its armor is shockingly high
It easily dispatches Imperious’ summoned dire wolf, which had done little to harry the construct
Thomas moves to Imperious and pours a cure potion down his throat just as the construct drops Ursum
invisibility on himself and tries to determine how to engage the construct The construct looks in his direction and speaks:
It points to Newton and says “Newton”
It points to Ursum and says “Jenny”
It points in Imperious’ general direction and says “Imperious”
“Where are Thomas and
Bee?” Meanwhile, it displays further magical proclivity by casting a
repair spell on itself Thinking quick and realizing Thomas was still well-hidden, Imperious half-lies, claiming they were both captured and killed by the
Crimson Fist. The Construct demands he show himself, surrender and call off his bralani
Imperious tell the bralani to stop attacking and tries to begin negotiations. He remains invisible, though, knowing it’s his only defense
The construct shows it’s serious by killing the unconscious Ursum at its feet
It begins moving towards Newton, so Imperious dispels the invisibility and surrenders
The construct charges him and knocks him unconscious again with a single strike
It continues to watch the bralani suspiciously as it gathers the unconscious bodies of Newton and Imparious
The bralani and Thomas realize they’re little match against the construct at the moment, and decide to see what it does
As some hippogriff riders appear coming from the East, the construct flies away with the two prisoners
The bralani returns to the hill and asks if Thomas is still there and he steps out for her to see
The two try to formulate a plan, but they have no idea how to defeat the construct
The decision, then, is to follow it until they get the opportunity to free their companions
Thomas takes this time to actually meet the bralani for the first time. She introduces herself as
Delaria. She and Thomas take a quick liking to one another, and she vows to help save Newton
Meanwhile, Newton awakens bound with the construct dominating his vision. His gear has been removed
The construct begins interrogating him.
It asks who leads the refugees. When Newton refuses to answer, it breaks his right leg above the knee.
Newton then lies by claiming
Prince Wayal is the leader. The construct sees through the lie and rips his leg off. When Newton regains consciousness, it asks once more, and Newton half-lies by claiming there are competing factions.
This seems to satisfy the construct, so it asks if Imperious indeed speaks for the refugees.
Newton confirms this, and the construct knocks him unconscious again.
After some hiking, Thomas and Delaria reach a wooded area, finding shelter just as some hippogriff-riders fly by, scanning the area
They continue into the forest, and find a dire bear feasting on a human leg. Thomas fears the worst, but they sneak past it and follow the sound of voices
Thomas sneaks further ahead to find a terrible scene: Newton hangs upsidedown by one leg, with the other severed
The construct holds its terrible two-bladed sword to his neck, and Imperious is tied to a tree nearby.
The construct seems to be in the end of some interrogation:
Construct: “Which of the two would you say is the leader, if forced to choose?”
Aulara.” Construct: “Then here is my commander’s proposal: you will surrender the one
Fierna, and the rest will be given safe passage to elven lands.” Imperious: “I will need to be freed in order to give this message.”
Construct: “And so you shall. Newton will be freed when the Fire Maiden is surrendered.”
The construct cuts Imperious free, and he teleports away.
The construct takes Newton and continues West. Thomas watches a bit longer, and spots a half-fiend shadowing the behemoth.
He returns to Delaria and reports the occurance.
She thinks about what this means for her agreement with Imperious, and decides that saving Newton will make negotiations easier, and agrees to continue to help Thomas.
Thomas despairs that there seems to be no way to defeat the construct when
JouJou appears unexpectedly. She motions for Thomas to follow her, which he does.
He and Delaria come upon Prince Wayal, standing amongst the slain bodies of two hobgoblins and a hippogriff
Prince Wayal boasts in his usual fashion and claims to have come to their rescue, as JouJou and Cyrus determined they were botching the operation
When Thomas explains the situation, the four set off after the construct, though with less subtlety now with Prince Wayal invovled
They come to a clearing with a very small encampement by the river.
They spot the construct and half-fiend making their way to the tents with Newton
The tents themselves are home to yet more hippogriff riders and some hobgoblins
Before any plan can be made, Prince Wayal catches the attention of the combatants below, prompting the flying cavalry to set out after him.
He and JouJou take to the air and begin battle.
Delaria focuses on striking the half-fiend, and Thomas does his best to sneak down the river-side toward the encampment
One mistake, though, causes him to reveal himself to the construct and the archers in the camp
They begin attacking, but Thomas manages to hide with the aid of a smoke stick
He shrouds the small camp in yet more smoke and tries to sneak in
One of the hobgoblins holds a knife to Newton’s throat, preparing to cou de grace him if there’s too much trouble
Meanwhile, the construct begins to close in on Thomas, and the half-fiend directly engages Delaria
Thomas manages to feed a cure potion to Newton, but with him still tied up, the hobgoblin manages to successfully coup de grace him.
DID IT?? Newton feels a horrible strength within him, promising him life if he kills for it
Despite knowing this is the astral bodak, he chooses life
Newton breaks free of his bonds as Thomas begins cutting down as many hobgoblins as he can
Newton hits several with a flame strike, killing them and damaging the construct
By this time, Prince Wayal and JouJou had finished killing off the mounted combatants and were moving in to attack the ground archers
The two had only taken minor scratches up to this point, but one of the archers lands a solid hit on the Prince, and he begins to act irregularly
At first, he attacks as would be expected, but then he begins babbling incoherently
JouJou, seeing only the construct seems to remain, attacks it head on.
Newton, still under this compulsion to end life, and fearing hurting Thomas, strikes the construct and JouJou with a shower of ice spikes
The construct lands yet another solid blow on the prone cleric, knocking him unconscious yet again
JouJou lands the final blow on the construct, destroying it once and for all
Thomas rushes to feed Newton his last cure potion. As he does so, he notices the half-fiend fleeing from the combat
Fearing the worst for Delaria, he runs back to the treeline
Meanwhile, Prince Wayal begins attacking JouJou in his strange bout of insanity
She grapples him, and the two tussle for a short time before he finally calms down
Thomas reaches Delaria to find that the half-fiend managed to overcome her, and her body fades into the ground
What remains of the party regroups and prepares to head back to the refugees, shortly after collecting what they can (including Newton’s gear)
Thomas straps Newton to one of the comandeered hippogriffs, and the four companions fly North to meet with the others.
As they arrive, they learn that the column has once again been halted in their absence, this time due to a large group of undead
Newton immediately blames the
Corpsecrafter They learn that Imperious has passed the construct’s offer on to Aulara and Fierna, and that Fierna has already set out to surrender herself
Thomas insists that it’s foolish and the half-fiend commander will go back on her word, but Aulara believes it may be the only way to avoid further bloodshed
The refugees encamp for the night, but Thomas is called over by one of the guards
He watches as a mounted figure makes its way towards the encampment from the direction of the threatening undead creatures
He has Newton awakened along with the few clerics in amongst the group while he sneaks out to get a better look at this visitor
As it draws close, he recognizes the rider as
Jenny, though clearly quite the worse for the wear. She rides atop a hideous undead mount, though it seems to be under her control
He calls out to her as she passes, and she falls from the saddle
He and Newton (once again strapped to his own mount) rush to her side
She is alive, but clearly badly wounded.
Newton does what he can with his few remaining spells to cure her wounds and ability damage, though she remains terribly exhausted
Horresbin is leading this contingent of undead, though she believes it’s under Craddock’s orders. Newton destroys the undead steed, despite Jenny’s effort to simply send it away
The session ends as Jenny is sent off to sleep, leaving the fate of the refugees still unknown…
The party learns that the
refugees were attacked while they were gone Flying cavalry appeared and disappeared in a cloud of smoke, killing the elven rangers with surprise attacks
Thomas asks Fierna for details, Prince Wayal and JouJou fly in from the North bearing the unconscous body of one of the cavalrymen Thomas suggests torturing him for information, but
Newton insists on less violent means
Imperious offers magical divination, but remains quiet about his means Thomas and Newton argue with him further about his secrets and the nature of his contract, but in the end, nothing is resolved
Imperious takes the prisoner away from the camp and gives Prince Wayal some querstions to ask while Imperious uses
detect thoughts Much to Imperious’ surprise, Wayal immediately begins torturing the prisoner as an aid to the interrogation
Some of the questions about the cavalry and their tactics are answered before Newton arrives and stops the torture
Imperious proposes diplomacy with the leader of the batallion, believing they can come to some arrangement
sending to contact the commander, Schrivendil Redfang, and demands a parlay, threatening to kill the remaining batallion if she refuses The commander responds angrily, seemingly in defiance of the request
Imperious assures the others she’ll show, though
As night falls, the encampment prepares for yet another assault
As expected, they are attacked. Thomas recognizes the cloud of smoke as a nightmare, transporting the attackers through the ethereal plane
Ursum rush to assist, but the attackers vanish before being fully defeated Thomas rushes to another large concentration of refugees, guessing they’ll be attacked next
He’s correct, and the party (sans Imperious) manages to engage the attackers.
Aulara manages to capture the half-fiend leader before she can escape Newton hurries to help some of the injured refugees, but stops himself when he realizes his astral bodak may kill more than he can save.
He watches sadly as the few healers among the refugees do what they can to stabalize the dying.
All told, over 50 of the innocent refugees die in the onslaught, infuriating Thomas.
The next day, Imperious attempts to call four ghaele, knowing they will be a formidable fighting force in the event of combat
With help from
Cyrus, he prepares four magic circles, dimensional anchors, and other wards to keep the eldarin captive He also surrounds his work area with a large stone wall to prevent potentially disasterous disruption
Each casting of
planar binding fails to call the ghaele, though, as each one resists the initial call. Frustrated, Imperious falls back on his single available casting of
lesser planar binding to call upon a bralani eldarin. Finally, this lesser outsider answers his call and accepts his proposal: assist and protect him during negotiations to save the refugees
Cyrus casts another
sending at Imperious’s request, moving the agreed upon meeting location, in order to avoid any ambush Commander Schrivendil may have prepared. He also mentions her captured half-fiend sister and uses her has furhter leverage
Once again, Schrivendil responds defiantly
Nonetheless, Impeious, Thomas, Newton, Urusm , and the bralani teleport to the new meeting location
Ursum and Thomas find hiding places, while the others remain visible
After about half an hour, two constructs and three half-fiends suddenly appear via teleport
They do not speak, so Imperious steps forward and introduces himself
As he does so, though, everyone present realizes these beings are actually illusions.
Ursum notices the distinct visible distortion caused by invisibility far above them.
Before Imperious can respond, a bone devil emerges flying above them and casts
dimensional anchor on him. Ursum and Thomas respond with attacks, but do little to harm the creature. The bralani sets up a wind wall, hoping to stop any ranged attacks
A flying construct also emerges and attacks the bralani with
ray of enfeeblement Newton
banishes the bone devil expertly, and Imperious casts glitterdust, revealing the two invisible creatures near the construct. The fight is on!
The Crimson Gloaming Much to
Newton’s surprise, Jenny has arrived in the Corpsecrafter’s lair. She offers him a magic item which she claims can transport him to her old home in
Peloria He asks what she’ll do to get out, and she assures him she’ll sneak out and meet up with
Thomas and Bee later Newton, too weak to believe he can help her in any way, bids Jenny farewell and uses the item to teleport to
Roche Before passing out, he finds his way to the clerical district and gets help
Imperious, Ursum, Prince Wayal, Finn Cyrus, and JouJou teleport to the refugees. Thomas introduces his new companions to
Aulara and the others Aulara tells him that they have sent out scouts to try to find the batallion Thomas warned them about
Prince Wayal commands JouJou to search for them as well, and after a few hours of divination, she identifies a group that may be the aggressors
Imperious claims he will slow them down tomorrow, leaving the refugees sufficient time to slip by to safe lands
The next morning, Newton awakens in a familiar temple, his injuries and ability damage resolved
He is met by the leader of the
Calvinguard Knights, and he tells him that Craddock has the disk The Knights ask him to focus his efforts on returning the artifact, but Newton insists on helping Thomas and the refugees first
Reluctantly, the Peloran command allows him to travel with one of the allied
Arcane Empire wizards back to the Freelands to meet up with the party The wizard immediately teleports away on her way to other matters
Thomas gives Newton the bad news about Bee’s death at the hands of
Salvation and the Crimson Fist Newton informs him of Jenn’y plan to escape the Corpsecrafter on her own and meet up with them
Newton meets Imperious and the others, and learn of the contract in which he is expected to serve Imperious for one month in exchange for the assistance in slowing the
Warband batallion Newton signs the contract, but treats Imperious and his companions with distrust
Imperious, Thomas, Newton, and Ursum teleport ahead of the enemy batallion and immediately engage some of their scouts
The scouts fight stealthily, but the party manages to kill all but one, which they keep for questioning
They question the goblinoid, but quickly discover it’s too stupid to give them useful information
Ursum and Thomas watch as Ursum’s dire weasel, Bragg, drains the scout of blood, while Imperious keeps Newton distracted to avoid his complaints
The party travels West in order to intercept the batallion
Ursum manages to find a gnoll gathering fire wood and transfers
chain of eyes to it (cast by Imperious earlier) Imperious watches the surroundings for some time as they march and determines this company consists primarily of gnolls, with a small number of hobgoblins and ogres
When the company stops for food, the party attacks.
Ursum and Thomas sneak up close, Newton stays back in the woods, and Imperious mounts a phantom steed
He rides the steed directly into a large group of gnolls and casts
summon monster, releasing two achaierai amongst the ranks. Before the gnolls can react, he leaps away and repeats the act to another group of gnolls
Each achaierai shrouds the nearby gnolls in a cloud of insanity-inducing gas.
In the confusion, hobgoblin officers try to rally the sane members, but many begin to slaughter one another.
Thomas and Ursum identify what appears to be a high-value officer and attack him
The mounted officer spots them and charges in response, with several ogres in tow
The fight is tough, nearly killing Ursum, but the two prevail and flee as Imperious arrives to distract the ogres.
During all this, the second company following this vanguard spots the commotion and prepares to mount an offensive
The party quickly regroups around Newton, who casts
earth reaver on the confused gnoll company, killing quite a few of them As the party regroups, half a dozen constructs bear down on them
Newton strikes them with a
flame strike and Ursum finishes two of them off with well-placed arrows. Imperious teleports them all to the expected regroup point with the refugees
When they arrive, they find the refugees have not yet arrived.
They backtrack some to find the vanguard scouts collecting themselves after an attack…
Thomas follows the disembodied hand, trying to remain hidden He notices the sound of wolves closing in behind him, so he moves quickly
The hand stops, and he hears a voice belonging to
Finn Cyrus, claiming to be a friend. Cyrus leads Thomas further away, where he meets the cleric’s companions:
Thomas asks their help in rescuing
Bee from the Crimson Fist Imperious reveals that JouJou has been watching Bee via divinations, and informs him that Bee is already dead.
Salvation had completed his wicked prayer, and Bee died only minutes ago. Thomas rages at the strangers, claiming they stopped him from saving his friend
Imperious insists that it had been he and his companions that had held the Crimson Fist at bay for so long, and it was inevitable
Before they can argue any further, the Wolf Squad emerges from the brush a few dozen feet away
web, capturing most of the cavalry, but allowing the wolves themselves to charge forward Ursum, Cyrus, and Thomas attack from range, while Prince Wayal instructs JouJou to not get involved.
The wolves die easily, and the cavalrymen eventually get free and charge in
Wayal eventually wades into melee, skillfully dodging blows as if dancing around
Once Wayal is struck by one of the warriors, JouJou springs into action and killes the attacker in a single blow with her fist.
Meanwhile, one of the cavalrymen threatens Cyrus, causing him to fall back
Thomas accidentally strikes him with a fully charged mind blade, badly injuring him
Thomas slinks away, not willing to admit his mistake
The remaining cavalry are defeated, and Cyrus and Imperious search for the hidden attacker
Thomas admits to his mistake, but Imperious wonders if it was in fact an accident or an attempted assassination
Imperious asks Thomas where he can find
Newton, and Thomas tells him about leaving him with the Corpsecrafter Imperious asks him to remain with them so he can perform experiments related to his exraplanar travel
Thomas treats this request with suspicion and demands to see Bee’s body to prove he’s been killed, and maybe collect his belongings
Imperious insists it’s too dangerous, but Cyrus convinces him to allow Thomas to check
The group returns to the scene of the capture and execution and find some of the Crimson Fist guarding the spot.
The guards are easily dispatched, but the only items Thomas finds are the small wooden house Bee found and an opal.
It seems the other Crimson Fist warriors have moved on.
Imperious once again insists upon finding a safe location before discussing any more, and Thomas finally agrees to join him
He teleports the group to an old dilapidated mansion somewhere to the North.
Imperious explains that he will need Thomas and Newton to submit to harmless experimentation.
Thomas insists upon protecting the refugees before anything else.
After some discussion, Imperious agrees to provide his services in exchange for Thomas’ (and Newton’s) assistance in future endevors
Thomas reluctantly signs the contract Imperious provides.
Dinner with a Lich for activities before this session. See
The Crimson Gloaming for select details from this session.
Newton notices the corpse of an illithid in the corpse vault through which Chimmetz is guiding him. He asks about it, and Chimmetz mentions that it “approached”
Father Craddock, but does not seem to reveal anything more. When Newton asks more, she takes him to speak to Craddock.
Craddock says the illithid wanted something, and his creations were blocking it.
He offers to show Newton what it wanted, but they must
teleport to their destination. Reluctantly, Newton joins him and
Horresbin, while Chimmetz remains behind with Craddock’s cryptic instructions “You know what to do.” They appear on a small balcony within a large, unlit cavern.
Below the balcony, hundreds of myriad undead shamble around a hole of utter blackness.
Newton guesses this is a portal to the negative energy plane, and Craddock confirms it.
Craddock asks Newton some questions about the illithid, indicating he doesn’t seem to know what they are or what they want.
He then locks Newton in a bedroom with some
Phantom Thief books. Meanwhile,
Bee and Thomas continue their journey South toward the Hevenites. They pass through sprawling farmland separated by thick hedgerows. The territory is tended by agrarian plains elves.
One farmer warns them of human freeman bandits in the area, but can’t seem to give them any details about how to recognize the bandits, as he only heard rumors.
They continue their journey, and come upon an open field with a barn nearby.
Bee detects humans had passed through recently, but is unable to determine when
As they approach another line of hedgerows, horsemen appear from behind the barn and ride toward them with short bows, seemingly trying to drive them forward.
Thomas lays down some smoke as cover, and tells Bee not to run for the hedgerows, as they have obviously set up a trap there.
The two prepare to face the horsemen, Bee drawing his bow, and Thomas drawing his crossbow
They exit the smoke, and the two sides exchange some arrow fire.
One of the horsemen, though, doesn’t fire, but casts a spell, dealing considerable strength damage to Bee.
Thomas and Bee begin to suspect these are not normal highway bandits.
Thomas set up another smoke screen as the horsemen approach, and prepares to use his soul blade.
Bee accidentally drops his bow, but decides the horsemen have gotten close enough for melee combat.
He rages into bear form, and charges to gore one of the nearest horsemen.
To Bee’s surprise, the horsemen seem unfazed by the transformation, and the cleric shouts “Begin phase two!”
All four horsemen turn their horses around, which promptly begin to run up into the air at a 45 degree angle.
Bee attempts to strike them, but they quickly rise beyond his range.
Thomas throws dagger after dagger, but they maintain sufficient range to make the attack difficult.
The archers focus on Bee at first, but switch to Thomas after he kills one of them.
The cleric tries to use
hold person and calm emotions on Bee, but his will is too strong. He does manage to affect Thomas with doom and a searing light attack, though. Bee, unwilling to give up the AC of his bear form, but also unable to attack his flying opponents, opts to act as a living shield for Thomas.
Despite his efforts, though, Thomas is persistently taking damage from the largely unopposed horsemen.
The two companions decide to take their chances in the trees, and Thomas bursts his way there well ahead of Bee and the horsemen.
Once there, he activates a
symbol of pain, and dives into the brush, hoping to hide from the inevitable reinforcements for the horsemen. He drinks a potion of
cure serious wounds and hides as best he can Bee arrives shortly thereafter with the flying archers harrying him the entire way, but only spots the horses of the reinforcements.
He dives into the brush, but fails to hide from his pursuers. His rage ends, leaving him fatigued.
A man rushes out of the brush and thrusts a metallic ball at him, which expands to ensnare him in metal bonds.
Bee recognizes the man as
Salvation, the leader of the Crimson Fist (see The Fate of Doug Palmer). The remaining warriors arrive or emerge from hiding and surround Bee.
Salvation’s second in command asks what to do about “the other one” (Thomas), and Salvation instructs him to “Send out the Wolf Squad”
Thomas prepares to strike Salvation from hiding, hoping he can at least kill the leader before the others find and kill him.
Before he attacks, though, a disembodied hand emerges near him, beckoning him away from the scene and Bee.
Meanwhile, Newton keeps himself busy by reading the
Phantom Thief books in his accommodations Father Craddock returns and invites him to dinner.
Newton, though hungry, refuses to eat any of his food, but follows him to the dining room anyway.
Newton meets yet more hideous creations of Craddock’s, but the real reason for his presence is soon revealed
Horresbin enters bearing
Calvin’s Sundisk. Craddock claims it was in the possession of the illithid he killed, and offers a deal with Newton:
Newton may take the artifact back to
Roche, redeeming him as a hero In exchange, he will act as a diplomat for Craddock, by which he will make his presence and intentions known to the world.
In order to ensure Newton’s cooperation, Craddock plans to put him through a “ritual”
Newton disagrees, citing the fact that anything he says will be discredited by the presence of Craddock’s control.
Craddock agrees and offers a different trade: Newton’s first-born son (only to be taken if Newton breaks the agreement)
Though Newton knows of no son currently, he cannot be sure, and he is not willing to take the risk, even with a non-existent person, so he refuses again.
Newton begins to counter with another proposal, but realizes he’s negotiating his own service to a Lich, and decides not to agree to anything.
When they are unable to come to an agreement, Craddock returns Newton to the small bedroom, where the following exchange takes place before Craddock locks him in again:
Craddock: What is your intention with Young Jennifer?
Newton: Intention? We’re friends, and I intend to keep her safe.
Craddock: I’m referring to my gifts to her.
Newton: Oh. Well, I was planning to remove them and restore her to her full natural body.
Craddock: Then we are in agreement. It will no longer happen.
Newton (as Craddock closes and locks the door): What?? Hey!
Knowing they are too weak to challenge the
Corpsecrafter, Newton, Thomas, and Bee choose to remain at camp for the rest of the night and approach in the morning. As the sun rises, Newton prepares his spells and the party sets out to see if they can rescue
Jenny from her own mistakes. As they approach the walls of the town, they spot the bug-like thri-kreen looking down at them.
The thri-kreen are reluctant to allow them to enter, but Thomas convinces them they have something to trade.
When the gates open, the party notices that zombified thri-kreen are opening them.
Other zombies emerge into view, along with living members. They are surprisingly docile, suggesting they are being controlled somehow.
The party climbs some steps to the town center, where they meet the thri-kreen cleric of Wee-Jas.
It tries to get them to go away, but Newton insists upon viewing their temple.
The party enters and notices several crucified thri-kreen inside.
During their stay near the crucified members, Newton notices the deadly aura surrounding him and Thomas kills the weakened creatures.
They are followed by powerful looking thri-kreen as they enter.
The cleric enters, followed by a troll skeleton. It continues to try to get them to leave.
Bee catches Jenny’s scent, and the cleric accidentally indicates thet she might be in a nearby hut.
The party demands entry, but the cleric set the surrounding thri-kreen to attacking them.
Several of their assailants are undead called necropolitans, many of which Newton destroys in a single greater turning.
The thri-kreen are formidable, but Newton and Thomas dispatch them fairly quickly. Bee opts not to fight during the engagement.
Nonetheless, the cleric manages to summon a pair of wraiths that nearly kill Newton.
He is saved, surprisingly, by one of the living thri-kreen, which dies shortly thereafter to the troll skeleton after the cleric falls.
The party moves quickly to the nearby hut and Thomas peeks inside.
He sees a strange creature that seems to be the head of a hairless woman connected to the torso of a thri-kreen and the tail of a giant snake where legs would be.
Newton identifies this as a wight named
Chimmetz, a creature Jenny knew during her stay with Father Craddock. Along with Chimmetz is Jenny in hybrid form, staring blankly.
The party enters, and Chimmetz begins to sing a haunting tune.
They quickly realize it is trying to sap their strength, so they attack.
Bee is badly drained of energy by the wight’s draining strikes, but he manages to deal enough damage to cause it to flee.
Thomas tries to shake some sense into Jenny, but quickly realizes she was an illusion.
Newton heals Bee of his strength damage and energy drain.
The party returns to the temple and enter the catacombs below, where Bee claims to be following her scent.
Once there, Newton falls into a deep pit trap.
Before the party can figure out how to get him out, he’s accosted by
Sliven. He does his best to attack and defend in turn, but Sliven once again bests him, draining him of almost all his strength.
Thomas and Bee do what they can from above, but Sliven seems perched to finish Newton off for good.
Just then, though, Father Craddock emerges from a nearby door and orders Sliven to cease.
After the sinister shadow flees, Thomas climbs into the pit, helps Newton remove his heavy armor, and the two climb out.
Craddock invites them into his workshop where he’s stitching together a two-headed ghoul.
The demand to see Jenny, but Craddock insists on discussing the merits of undeath and the
Naras-Timal first. Thomas asks if the Havenite refugees are in any danger from him or his minions.
Craddock reveals that he knows of a force from the
Warband setting out to destroy the refugees, bu insists that his own “people” are of no danger. He also reveals that in the intervening 5 years since Jenny left him, he has become a lich, and spent a time-dilated stay in the negative energy plane of 30 years.
Craddock convinces Thomas to hold still for a spell, which was a mistake, as he implants a dangerous necrotic cyst in him
When Thomas demands an explanation, he treats it as “insurance”
Finally, the fully-armored
Horresbin enters and takes the party to see Jenny, who is this time fully human, alongside Chimmetz. She’s terrified to see the party, insisting she was fine and they were only endangering themselves by coming after her.
Newton and Thomas scold her for running off without speaking to them first.
Craddock presents the party with an offer: leave Newton behind for one evening so they may catch up, and he will destroy the hobgoblins threatening the refugees.
Newton agrees, but Jenny believes Craddock will try to turn Newton into one of his undead.
Craddock assures her of Newton’s safety by stating “I assure you, Jennifer, our friend Newton shall leave this place come tomorrow morning in one piece and with all of his bodily functions as they are now. Only he may choose otherwise.”
This seems to satisfy the party enough that they leave without him.
Dinner with a Lich for the continued story between sessions.