4 Kabenla of the year 72 – 4 Aslala of the year 73
Continuing on after their encounter with the raiders, the party reached the small village of Joulu late in the afternoon. Emmerick adopted a stray cat that crossed his path and named it Biggles. The party visited the only tavern in town, the Groin & Spoon, and rented rooms for the night. Emmerick and Akora struck up a conversation with the local blacksmith, who said he’d be able to make proper repairs to their armor the next day, although it would be late in the day.
The next day was uneventful, and while Akora traded a couple broadswords to the blacksmith for the armor repairs the rest of the party took it easy. That evening they heard screaming from outside the tavern; upon exiting they saw about a half dozen furry, horned creatures grabbing children from their parents. Emmerick rushed in to attack and was about to cut one down when Akora grabbed his sword hand and stopped him; the screams were for show and the creatures were people in costume. After a few minutes they returned inside, where the night was mostly quiet; the highlight was Bieito saying that nothing would get him off his favorite drink, and Calissa replying “Jizz?” Several hours later retired to their rooms for the night.
Akora was paying for his own room and intended to sleep alone; with Benjamin’s assistance Bieito was able to unlock his door and creep inside, planning to sleep inside in an instance of tomfoolery. However, Akora awoke, and Bieito gave up; when he exited the room he sensed a large presence behind him and found himself confronted with a creature nearly seven feet tall.
Krampus filled much of the hallway, and Bieito’s scream woke the others. Akora hid next to the door out of direct line of sight, while Emmerick leapt into the hallway to confront Krampus. All three were able to see it clearly; Benjamin was able to make out the form of Krampus, but it was indistinct, while Calissa was unable to see it. Thinking it was someone in a costume, Akora grabbed it by its horns to pull off the mask. He immediately regretted the decision as Krampus’ tongue lashed out, wrapping around his neck and searing his flesh. Once Krampus struck Akora Calissa was able to see it, and the party attacked.
Akora slashed Krampus with his dagger and stumbled back, while Emmerick’s sword cut deep. Both wounds quickly began healing, however. Calissa attempted to cast a divine light spell, but it misfired and failed. Benjamin fired into melee, with his shot going wide and lodging in the ceiling, while Bieito also loosed arrows at Krampus. Turning to Emmerick, the demon cast a spell, forcing him to confuse his allies and enemies; he attacked Calissa, wounding her deeply. She was able to staunch the bleeding, and wielding her silver dagger she stabbed Krampus, which had been ignoring her. Krampus roared in pain, the wound smoking, hissing, and boiling. Benjamin bolted from the fight, jumping out the window, and sought out the only guard on duty.
Well toasted, the guard was of little assistance and doubted Benjamin’s story of Krampus being real and attacking people. Switching tactics, Benjamin told him there was a robbery happening in the tavern; he narrowly avoided getting his boots pissed on by the guard when the guard stopped to take a leak. Getting the guard back on track, he ran to the village temple, ringing the bell to wake the village.
Krampus turned on Akora, casting a fear spell on him and causing him to tremble in fear; Emmerick turned on Akora and swung at him, but the strike went wide and hit Krampus, which enabled Emmerick to break through the confusion clouding his mind. As the party began to focus fire on Krampus he cast another spell; when the drunk guard wandered in a minute later, his dick still hanging out of his pants, the party members were staring at each other in confusion, having lost all memory of the last ten minutes. Emmerick knocked out the guard and dragged him into one of the rooms shortly before Benjamin returned; having been out of range of the memory wiping spell Krampus cast, he was able to fill them in on what had transpired. Emmerick got in an argument with the gathering crowd of villagers who doubted the story about Krampus being real before they dispersed; he and the others then set out for the village temple to consult with the local priest. Along the way Bieito attempted to draw necromantic energy from the local cemetery, but experienced nerectile dysfunction and was unable to replenish his will.
The priest, although skeptical of their account about encountering Krampus, filled them in on the local lore. Krampus would appear once a year on the winter solstice to kidnap and punish the wicked; he would show himself to varying degrees to those on his list, which helped explain why Calissa was unable to see him. The priest was able to partially heal both Calissa and Akora, and they thanked him for his assistance before returning to the tavern for the rest of the night.
They set out in the morning, the first day of the new year, and next few days were uneventful before they reached Skara late in the afternoon of the fourth day. The party visited the Spectrum Creature Inn, run by Temba Open-Arms, who was able to tell them a little about Jarl Orrin; he was in his early 40s and a dark horse candidate to replace King Gudrik, who was in failing health. She was able to direct them to Orrin’s tower and informed them that Osvif, Orrin’s steward, would be who they would most likely encounter when trying to meet Orrin; they thanked her and set out to seek audience with the jarl.
However, upon arriving at the jarl’s tower they encountered problems with gaining entrance. The guards were under strict orders not to admit any Kandari, ruling out Akora, and after much negotiation the others were allowed in to meet Osvif on the condition that their weapons had to be left outside. Bieito, Emmerick, and Calissa entered, while Benjamin and Cane waited outside with Akora. Osvif confirmed that he had purchased the ring for Jarl Orrin, who had gifted it to the head of the Cult of Ugris, Arnvid. Arnvid was considered a prophet and the vessel of Ugris, the Goddess of Wind, and to the best of Osvif’s knowledge still possessed the ring. The party thanked him for his assistance and left, but not before Bieito picked up on the presence of necromantic energy.
It was early evening by the time they reached the Temple of Ugris; the priest who answered the door told them that Arnvid was not to be disturbed after sundown, and that only Hoscans were permitted entry to the temple. Drawing on the Hoscan tongue he had grown up with in Arvim, Bieito persuaded the priest that he wished to view the temple’s architecture and tapestries. He discussed one in particular with the priest that depicted the defeat and imprisonment of Kurat and relayed the party’s experiences with fighting the Cult of Kurat. They also discussed the ring, which the priest told Bieito focused and amplified magic, and was itself not inherently evil or associated with necromancy. Bieito thanked him for his time and rejoined the party, which decided to stake out the temple from a nearby alleyway.
Several guard patrols took note of them until one finally stopped to question their lingering. The captain was particularly rude to Akora, who attempted to provoke a fight; he insulted the Hoscan religion several times, telling them to stop worshipping dogs and convert to the Silver God, and that they could worship Cane if they refused to convert. While the captain and his patrol were all about to fight Akora for his blasphemy, he backed down after realizing none of his compatriots were willing to join him in the fight. He and everyone except Benjamin moved on, heading back towards the Spectrum Creature, while Benjamin followed from the shadows to watch for anyone attempting to ambush the party.
He observed the guards talking with a figure in a dark cloak and motioning towards the party; the figure began following the party, and after a couple blocks Benjamin called out to them to warn them of their tail. The figure disappeared, and they made it back to the Spectrum Creature without further incident. They obtained food and drink from Temba before retiring to their room, where they set watches.
During the first watch Bieito observed shambling figures moving into view on the street below; he at first saw about a half dozen, but Benjamin’s better eyes picked out at least twice as many figures. They began pounding on doors of the buildings on the intersection and the party could hear their groaning and snarling as they began breaking into the buildings. The party quickly exited the inn, finding themselves confronted with a large horde of zombies.
Several of the undead had already broken down the door to the brothel across the street, while others were making progress on breaking into the two other buildings on the intersection. Calissa cast a holy light spell, which began burning the undead, until a darkness spell fell upon the area and negated its effect. Emmerick rushed the undead that had gotten into the brothel; two had taken down one of the customers, while several others were making their way inside. Bieito made his way to the roof and Calissa rushed to help Emmerick, while Akora and Benjamin, having spotted a lich holding an arcane skull at the other end of the horde, split off to sneak through alleyways to attack it. Benjamin ordered Cane to assist Emmerick and Calissa, and he ran off to attack zombies.
As they drew closer Akora and Benjamin were able to hear the skull blasting an incantation; Akora engaged with several ghouls that were guarding the lich and dispatched them, while Benjamin screamed at the lich that he was “a dozen shit demons combined to make one giant shit demon.” Meanwhile, Emmerick was able to dispatch several of the zombies, but was wounded by a ghoul; both he and Calissa were swarmed by the undead, although Calissa was able to break free and retreat towards the inn. Bieito took a clout shot at one of the zombies pursuing Calissa, with his arrow coming down through its temple and driving it into the ground. Emmerick was wounded again by the undead but also managed to make it back to the inn. He took up position with his back to the wall, while Calissa positioned herself in the doorway and cast a spell on herself that repelled the undead. Unable to hit her, they snarled and clawed at her, before attacking Emmerick.
City guard patrols arrived, slaying a number of the zombies, helping turn the tide of the fight for the party. Akora managed to engage the lich before being swarmed by several other ghouls; Benjamin loosed arrows at the lich, but it was unaffected by his attacks, with the arrows bouncing off its armor. Cane, having ripped a leg off a zombie, proudly brought it to Benjamin and dropped it at his feet and sitting for praise; Benjamin thanked him and told him to go get more, and Cane ran off to comply. Back at the inn, Bieito cast a frost spell, partially freezing several of the zombies that were attacking Emmerick and Calissa, before he struck the lich with an extremely well-placed shot. Akora and Benjamin dispatched the ghouls attacking Akora, and while Emmerick muscled his way through the remnants of the horde to rush the lich Akora knocked the skull from the lich’s hands, cracking it in the process; once the skull was no longer in the lich’s control the remaining undead fell.
The skull tumbled through the air straight towards Emmerick, but before he could catch it the skull froze in the air and began moving towards the top of a nearby building, cackling as it flew. With a perfect shot Bieito hit the skull in the occipital bone, shattering it and the skull exploded, with bone shards raining down on the area.
Body Count: 1 lich, 5 ghouls, 17 zombies
Baller Moment of the Week: Benjamin screaming obscenities at the lich, and Cane bringing him a zombie leg. (Honorable mention to Calissa for her takedown of Bieito about jizz)
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito’s nerectile dysfunction.
Running Body Count: 112 humans, 50 creatures, 72 undead