5 Aslala – 8 Aslala of the year 73
As the party waited for Jalad Far-Travel to gather her things for the journey, Emmerick observed a boy about 10 years old stealing a gold coin from Akora‘s coin purse; he grabbed the boy’s wrist, forcing him to drop the coin into Emmerick’s open palm. Akora, surprised by what was transpiring, nonetheless gave the boy a silver for his audacity. Emmerick openly pocketed the Akora’s gold, though he returned it later. Akora also spoke with Kolskegg; he was able to provide two men in decent shape, who Akora equipped with full chain armor and broadswords taken from fallen foes.
On the way out of Skara the party stopped at the Frozen Dryad alchemy shop. Bieito purchased 25 bodkin arrows that had been infused with properties that improved Bieito’s ability to target them, as well as doing partial fire damage. The runes were scribed into the bodkin points, so in the event the shafts broke the points could be reused. Emmerick and Calissa both inquired about materials, but declined to make any major purchases, to the irritation of the owner. Emmerick did, however, buy an alchemy kit, catalysts, acids, and alkalines for alchemal reactions, as well as a large moonstone and leather cord, which he fashioned into a crude necklace; the raw moonstone would provide a small boost to his ability to recover, a bonus that would be greater once it was refined and focused with alchemy. They then left Skara, making it about three hours before stopping for the night. With a large party of 8, they doubled up on watches for the night. The comet loomed over, its green tail combining with the red and blue of auroras for a spectacular night view.
They continued on the next day; a snowstorm hit midday, and Bieito got a chance to try out his new arrows when they encountered a herd of bison crossing through ruins early in the afternoon. He fired at the closest member of the herd, and the arrow found its mark, boring a hole through the bison’s body, cauterizing the wound as it went, and killing the bison instantly. The party skinned the bison, cutting off much of the meat and taking the hooves, before continuing on. Emmerick reset his internal counter of ‘days without Kandari propaganda’ after Akora questioned why anyone would want to live in such weather conditions.
Late in the afternoon Benjamin and Emmerick located a small cave to shelter in; the only sign of activity was old, crusty bear scat that Emmerick found. They built a large fire near the entrance, smoking the bison meat. Akora had not been feeling well since leaving Skara, trying to shake it off, but he was gradually going downhill; by that night his veins were burning slightly.
A little while after setting out in the morning Akora asked Calissa if she had ever seen anything like what was on his neck. He craned his neck and pulled away his cloak to reveal a thick, black vein. Horrified, she pulled away, and the rest of the party quickly gathered to see what was happening. She was able to tell it was some form of necromancy curse causing him to waste away, and Bieito had a fleeting flashback to part of his memory gap, revealing to the others that he had seen something similar before. Calissa felt it was most likely immune to thaumaturgy magic, so curing him was out of the question, and killing the caster who placed the curse was possibly the only way to save Akora. Bieito believed the curse had been placed on Akora by Morden, most likely when they had first met with Jarl Orrin in Skara. Benjamin was able to help Akora feel slightly better, but not significantly so, and it only staved off him sensing the depth of his continuing degradation.
That evening they found the village of Horga, home to around 100 people, and the only tavern was called the Don’t Go Inn, a name that made Emmerick recall the tavern in Sibero months earlier. By the time they arrived the black veins had worked their way up to Akora’s head and were spreading to his face. They heard rumors of a man having come through the area a day and a half earlier with several creatures following him; they assumed this was Morden. Emmerick also heard of a wizard named Sileth in the village and the party decided to seek him out in the morning.
By morning Akora was in extremely dire straits. The wasting curse had drained him of most of his health and the visible symptoms had completely covered his skin to the point that he looked like reheated living dead. Akora stayed at the inn while the others sought out Sileth. While they were away a disembodied voice came to him: “You Kandari will pay, and you will fail. You will not survive this.” Before passing out for a while he responded with “Raaa…..ciiiiiiiiiiiiist.”
On the way to find Sileth the party stopped by the village’s cemetery, where Bieito didn’t experience nerectile dysfunction and replenished his will. They were able to find Sileth prety easily, where they explained the situation. He came to visit Akora at the tavern; as a Derosi, he was less than pleased to see a Kandari, something his direct and tactless demeanor clearly conveyed. He explained that the best way to break the curse would be to kill Morden; performing a counterspell to break it was beyond his abilities, but he would be able to place Akora in a time stop bubble to prevent the curse from klling him. Even after it was broken, however, it would take Akora several weeks to fully recover. Due to the difficulty of the spell it would take quite some time to prepare and cast, and he would charge a gold for the service. He told them they would need to find a location where Akora would be undisturbed, and gave them directions to a couple local tombs.
They located the closer one easily, but while searching it found a note inside an open chest. Emmerick, unable to read it, handed it to Bieito, who read it for him:
“You’re late, Akora.” – Residents of the Dark
The note appeared to be several weeks old, so was likely not left by Morden on his way through the area. However, they each heard the same disembodied voice Akora had heard, speaking to them individually.
“So are you going to miss Akora?” it said to Emmerick, who went outside to check the area, and the voice laughed. “I’m not that close.” It then taunted him that Akora was going to die.
To Calissa it said “So they recruited another thaumaturgist, I see. Their last was an abject failure at life.” She relayed it to the others, and Emmerick agreed that Deuspugno had been a bit of a fuckup.
Bieito, however, turned out to be incredibly susceptible to the taunting. “You owe them nothing. Leave these fools and join us against the Kandari.” And then “You have much power and potential. Turn on them.” Then “They’re using you.” And “How many did you kill in your war? A dozen? Two? A hundred? You loved it.” And finally “How many since? Even trying to do good you kill so many.” Bieito’s reaction was extreme, and he began screaming in anguish, denying he’d enjoyed using necromancy, desperately trying to make the voice stop, which made it start laughing. Bieito proclaimed he would stand by the others, and the voice responded that he had made his choice before leaving him by stating “You will turn, though. If not now, in time.”
They returned to Sileth and informed him that they believed the tomb wouldn’t be safe, between the voice and the tomb having been previously visited, but Sileth told them that the time stop would completely immobilize Akora and make it impossible for anyone to move or disturb him. The party agreed to use the tomb they had visited and carried Akora to it; once he was in position Bieito took the opportunity to draw a dick on Akora’s face using ash from a discarded torch he had found.
Sileth positioned four lit candles and four apples around Akora, with the candles inside the time stop field and apples situated on the edge so half was inside and half was out. After the spell was completed the candles stopped flickering, with two of the flames off-center. The party decided to continue on without Akora when Sileth volunteered to join them; he felt they could use someone with his very particular set of skills in their coming battle with Morden. They welcomed the new addition, although he and Bieito had some disagreements over the nature of utilizing necromancy for good.
They reunited with Jalad and the two Grim Sea men, setting out after Morden again. In the late afternoon they were crossing a frozen lake; the ice was more than thick enough to support the weight of them and their horses, so they began across. When they got close to the other end of the lake, however, they spotted a large creature watching them from the shore.
It was a huge troll. Well out of range of Bieito’s bow, the party dismounted, with Emmerick stowing Biggles in a saddlebag before driving a dagger into the ice and tying the horses to it. He then began moving in the direction of the troll, banging his sword on his shield to draw its attention. It worked, with the troll throwing a large boulder at Emmerick; it landed well short, but cracked the ice where it landed and skipped across the frozen surface towards him, which he easily avoided. Emmerick kept taunting it, and it finally charged the party.
As the troll charged them Sileth released a spell turning himself invisible, surprising Calissa, Benjamin, and his dogs. Meanwhile, Bieito and Jalad prepared their shots, and Emmerick ordered the two Grim Sea men to advance with him. The troll, carrying another boulder and a club, pounded across the ice, with the sound of it cracking under the stress, and when it was in range Bieito and Jalad loosed their shots. Both found their mark, with Bieito firing one of his rune scribed arrows. It passed through the body, burning a hole as it went, and the troll roared as it flung the boulder at the party. While it missed everyone, it crashed through the ice and dangerous cracks began to form.
Sileth flanked the troll as it moved within range of Emmerick; Bieito and Jalad fired again, with Bieito’s arrow deflecting off the side of the troll’s knee, while Jalad’s hit the troll in the shoulder. Emmerick drew the troll’s attention as the Grim Sea men attacked as well, and all their hits landed, while Sileth snuck in behind and hit it with his mace, stunning it. The troll lashed out with its claws, hitting both Emmerick and one of the Grim Sea men, injuring both. Calissa and Benjamin moved the horses away from the hole and growing cracks, heading towards shore, while the others continued the fight. All of them hit again, with Bieito’s arrow burning through the troll’s knee and Sileth stunning it again, and when the troll swung at Sileth and Emmerick it missed both.
The ice underneath the fight was groaning and cracking loudly, so all of the combatants retreated away, with Emmerick drawing the troll’s attention again. Sileth, still invisible, teleported away from the fight to near Calissa and Benjamin, startling them when he greeted them. Back at the fight, the wound to the knee weakened it enough for it to fall on Emmerick, sinking its teeth into his shoulder. Emmerick was able to pull free, and with the continued assault by the party they were able to bring it down. Emmerick dealt the killing blow, his greatsword bifurcating it from shoulder to groin. Exhausted, they dragged half the troll to shore where Benjamin, Calissa, and Sileth were waiting. Remarkably only Emmerick and one of the Grim Sea men had sustained injuries, and Calissa was able to partially heal Emmerick, while Benjamin and Bieito set about recovering troll fat from the corpse for use in alchemy.
Body Count: 1 bison, 1 troll
Baller Moment of the Week: Sileth’s teleporting close to Calissa, while invisible, surprising her and Benjamin.
Fuckup of the Week: Bieito’s descent into madness. (points for the roleplaying, however)
Running Body Count: 112 humans, 52 creatures, 72 undead