1) Characters talk about stuff (Time with NPC’s)
a. The evening before going to battle, the Characters have an extended discussion with ISODE, NINEVE, and KERILD about the nature of the ‘Monstrous Army’ that was besieging TOR MARDEN:
DESCRIPTION OF THE MONSTROUS ARMY:
The Darkbrood come in many forms, but there are basically two different kinds that will be encountered:
The “Consumed” are creatures that have been consumed by a magical scalding, foul dark ichor. They are composed of a normal (if not warped) physical shell (little more than a skeleton) on the inside and a heavy coating of the Ichor on the outside. Their limbs are rubbery and they are capable of limited shape-changing, elongating them, reinforcing them, or hardening them to face different enemies. They usually exhibit the behavior of vicious rabid animals, always hungering for more victims to consume. They are believed to have no minds, no souls, no individuality whatsoever, and will pursue victims so long as they still remain within their field of sense (sight, smell, hearing, etc.) They make muffled, gurgling sounds vaguely resembling a liquidy growl, despite having no discernable mouths, at least until they need to grow one. The Ichor burns and scars the flesh of their opponents if subjected to lasting physical contact.
The “Taken” most often appear as short humanoids with bizarre, usually malformed features and Ash-Gray Skin. They have Onyx Black Eyes and angular teeth. They do not possess the shape-changing abilities of the “Consumed”. They can be described as similar in appearance to an Orc/Goblinoid cross-breed, but are most often short and thin. The most bizarre feature of the “Taken” is that they seem to have a glimpse of individuality. They seem as if they are actual, independent functioning humanoids, each able to converse normally, though they rarely seem to. Most take the form of warriors, though some are known to function as sorcerers and clerics.
Some “Taken” are twisted mockeries of immensely powerful beings; their most feared armies are led by what the Torins refer to as “Primarchs” and “Hierarchs” – twisted forms of immensely powerful priests and sorcerers. These deadly beings make use of the corrupt Darkbrood magic, which is drawn from the unknown source of the creatures – and in the vein of Elemental magic regarding the Darkbrood Ichor.
It is almost certain that the “Taken” are the physical remnants of corrupted Torins and other humanoid creatures. While having ashen-gray skin, the blood of the “Taken” is the same vile Darkbrood Ichor that coats the “Consumed”, making a battlefield even more dangerous. This is a power the “Taken” take advantage of commonly in battle in multiple ways.
Severe exposure of Ichor to the skin is devastating. Parts of the body exposed to the Ichor die, and after a time become stained an ashen-gray color. Portions of the skin must literally be re-grown, which means physically removing the skin. This naturally causes extreme scarring, but is only part of the healing process.
For as a portion of the body has been consumed by the Ichor, so has a part of the soul. Victims suffer varying debilitating effects until the soul has been healed. This is actually an easy process, but takes time. The victim must concentrate on what it is to be themselves: Total Isolation in one’s preferred environment, where one feels strong or at home, a place that reminds one of oneself. Not just ANY Place, but the contemplation must make one remember “What it means to be who and what they are.”
Land exposed to the Ichor becomes burnt and barren, as if seared by acid. It can recover if treated, but the process will be a long one.
2) The Characters prepared for battle:
a. FORDREN’S SPEECH
b. Description of Charge:
i. The sounds of arrow fire from behind you sounded out as thousands of archers rained down death to weaken lines of pikemen that had been moving forth to shield the Darkbrood army from the cavalry charge. The horsemen trampling over the dull gray corpses not more than a second later, trampling across hundreds of dark warriors in the process, reaching the walls of TOR MARDEN.
ALTAYIR Vision 1: A massive castle on a hill, bordered by three rivers, surrounded by legions of dark beings…at night, but illuminated by a full moon…
ii. The Cavalry then swings at the wall, to begin a new sweep to destroy the Darkbrood severed by their charge, as your group and the host of Torin infantry line up to hold the line intersecting the castle wall as the Cavalry destroys the creatures behind you.
ALTAYIR Vision 2: A miniscule Cavalry charge pulling back before striking the army of dark beings…and pulling back to a peninsula, suicidally sealing themselves off.
iii. The Darkbrood instantly respond; arrow fire is merciless, raining down upon your lines, but most unable to pierce the wall of Galtshields and scattered magical barriers.
c. First Battle (Darkbrood Minions):
i. With most of their cavalry off to the north to deal with the army of Solathaim to the north, the bulk of their heavy infantry begins coming your way, including many huge, twisted monstrous creatures of war.
ALTAYIR Vision 3: A suicidal “last stand” of a small number of warriors against hordes of dark beings….
ii. Your group stands firm against the Tainted’s infantry, with Brandr, Lyssandra, Isode, and Kerild wading into their lines as Dravis and Altayir, and Nineve devastated their ranks with Spells, Invocations, and arrow fire.
ALTAYIR Vision 4: A series of magical duels, followed by warriors charging in the background of this “last stand”.
iii. After some time, cheers of victory could be heard from behind you as the Cavalry annihilates the remaining resistance to your rear and swings around to help you push forward.
d. Second Battle (Multi-Headed Hydra):
i. The Darkbrood challenging your infantry line then gave way to the oncoming huge beasts of war, twisted into almost unrecognizable forms by a black slimy substance that seemed to coat them. To your left, a group of blue steel-clad warriors braced for the charge of a group of four huge rampaging trolls, while in front of you a massive, hideous creature with five heads trampled over a few surviving infantry in order to feast upon you, after consuming the corpse of one of the larger darkbrood warriors in its way.
ii. You all converged upon it, with Brandr and Lyssandra drawing its attacks while Dravis and Altayir attacked from a distance. It tore through your lines, and badly wounded Kerild in the process. It absorbed any injury it endured from its body, and when one of its heads was attacked, the fluid form grew a series of tendrils which melded together, seemingly attempting to form a new head.
iii. After a hard struggle, you severed each head and burnt it with flame and spell, slaying the creature.
e. Third Battle (Darkbrood Minions):
i. Almost as one, the entirety of the Darkbrood engaging your army withdraws to regroup, pulling back to the south to where their reserves & leadership likely were.
ii. Following the second repulsing of the Darkbrood war beasts, the Solathamic Army to the north led by RHULRIEN was heard battling the Darkbrood on the other side of the castle.
iii. A wave of magical light pulsed over the entire Torin force; replenishing the health and magical energies of everyone within the army; calls cried out praising it as the work of the ARCHDRUIDESS LARRISSAH.
iv. FORDREN ordered the Infantry to take up a defensive position outside the main gate to TOR MARDEN, and is about to lead his Cavalry to aid his old friend and the Solathamic army, in order to trap and destroy the remainder of the Darkbrood not able to withdraw as quickly as possible.
v. For a few moments, there was a calm as both sides regrouped; the Infantry waiting at the gate as FORDREN’S cavalry aided RHULRIEN’S Solathamic Army.
f. Fourth Battle (Darkbrood Reinforcements/Arrival of Tourlack):
To the south, however, the huge host of darkness at the center of the Darkbrood encampment mobilizes; regrouping far more quickly than anyone expected them to.
i. As the Darkbrood advanced, they were set upon by TOR’MARDEN’S siege engines, firing over the Infantry.
ii. It was then that the Characters again fought back the Darkbrood onslaught, with ALTAYIR warping gravity (Spacewarp – P7) to thin out their numbers, etc.
iii. Behind the army, the Characters saw one lone dark figure far in the distance ascending alone above the Darkbrood army, into the clouds…
iv. Soon enough, though, TOURLACK took the field:
DESCRIPTION OF TOURLACK:
You recognized him the second you saw him. Almost seven feet tall, naked, and wielding a huge, monstrous black blade, it didn’t seem as much a man as a force of nature. His skin was coated head to toe a garnet brown from bloodshed upon thousands of his enemies; only his wide eyes, black as night, and his gaping maw, lined with terrifying, elongated, sharp teeth stood out.
Like a whirlwind he approached the forward ranks of the army, swatting away the two spheres of gravity that Altayir had summoned as he moved across the field at an unnaturally rapid pace, followed by legions of twisted followers…
g. Characters’ Flight:
i. DRAVIS realized that now was the ideal time that RUMELL had described as the time to leave. He prepared to cast Shadow Walk, and told everyone to come to him.
ii. LYSSANDRA stood frozen in hatred, glaring at TOURLACK. When spoken to, she said that he could be stopped right here – that thousands if not millions of deaths could be avoided if they could destroy him here and now.
iii. ALTAYIR and BRANDR stood with LYSSANDRA, preparing to pull her with them if need be, when DRAVIS cast Shadow Walk. The only one who’d heeded his instruction was KERILD, so the two vanished into the Shadow Realm.
iv. The need to pull LYSSANDRA from the field was interrupted by the charge of FORDREN’S Cavalry, which had returned from aiding RHULRIEN’S army. The first son of Caelthash obviously was ignoring ARCHDRUIDESS LARRISSAH’S warning…
v. With that, LYSSANDRA relented, getting on the goat ALTAYIR had mounted and stormed off to the north, to the Portal, with BRANDR racing behind them with his Boots of Speed (?).
vi. BRANDR called upon his Figurines of Wondrous power to produce Goats. He told ISODE and NINEVE to get on one; he then produced another for ALTAYIR and LYSSANDRA; they then slowly began making their way through the Infantry (they were at the front) to head north.
vii. The Characters then saw the lone figure that had ascended into the sky above the Darkbrood army outstretch his hands as the clouds churned forth with the black ichor and rained down upon the Infantry. Those without Galtshields quickly swung them into position.
viii. ALTAYIR quickly raised a magical defense to protect as many as he could, and called out to the Torins to seek shelter under it; many did. As the ichor rain began to come down, those who couldn’t drew their weapons and slit their throats en masse left and right to spare themselves from the ichor, which warped their flesh instantly.
ix. Hearing strange things behind them, the characters turned around to look behind them at the battle that was taking place:
1. TOURLACK crashed into FORDREN’s Cavalry, and literally halves of men and horses could be seen hurtling away from the zone of death around him.
2. The Infantry was holding its own, but it was clear that the battle was going to be a bloodbath, with no certain outcome.
x. DRAVIS, approached where he felt the portal had been, but felt a powerful presence upon the area; he dispatched LOIASH into Kyhermainn, who instantly emerged back into the shadow realm in terror at what he saw – a massive two-headed serpent, sitting at the spot where the portal must be. DRAVIS then moved away from the area, trying to head back to find where the other Characters were to warn them – unaware they had left.
xi. ISODE & NINEVE were riding one of the goats, racing to the portal, followed by ALTAYIR & LYSSANDRA, with BRANDR racing behind them. They were struck by a massive beast and knocked off their goat.
xii. The Characters soon saw a massive, two-headed serpent was blocking their path. They fanned out to attack it.
xiii. The battle was pitched and difficult, but soon seemed to turn against the Characters. They had already been fighting all day, and the beast was tremendously powerful. Soon, in a last-ditch effort, ALTAYIR called upon Vertoman for aid, and opened a Gate (P7); aging five years in the process.
xiv. Time all around ALTAYIR seemed to freeze as a tall figure robed in black emerged from the gate. The figure remained silent, as ALTAYIR asked it for aid. The figure then waved its hand as the remaining Characters were pulled out of the timestream along with ALTAYIR.
1. LYSSANDRA recognized the robed figure instantly, referring to it as “MADOR”. She clearly didn’t have fond feelings for MADOR.
2. MADOR made strange sounds that almost sounded like laughter at LYSSANDRA’S dismay.
3. DRAVIS appeared, brought back from the Shadow Realm with KERILD. He explained that he’d seen the two-headed serpent and was trying to find the group.
xv. MADOR then raised his hand and the outline of the portal was moved 20 feet away, and it opened. The Characters said their goodbyes to ISODE, NINEVE, and KERILD.
1. KERILD wished the Characters well, and asked the characters to simply “remember us”.
2. BRANDR asked ISODE to come with them, but she regretfully declined, saying that she could not leave her people – and the Kyhermainn they came from was not meant for her.
3. NINEVE seemed heartbroken to watch ALTAYIR leave, but simply said “Goodbye, Hantryrn…”
xvi. The Characters stepped through the portal and emerged into a dark cavern…..
3) THE RETURN:
a. Upon emerging, DRAVIS, ALTAYIR, and BRANDR felt this horrific sense of pain, loss and emptiness within them as they re-emerged into the modern Realm of Kyhermainn – though this soon faded…
b. They then set out, and emerged from a series of caverns near the PRAYING ROCK where they had started their journey. Some time had passed, but BRANDR’S horse had eaten a great deal of the grass around the tree he’d been tied to. It was emaciated and starving, but alive.