Gathering of An Army

Down Below
Session 13

With the group recouped, in body though not entirely in mind, they appear to be heading down into the caverns beneath the Temple – They tread on sacred ground now. They show severe caution as they make their way through the water-slicked pathways and observe each nook and cranny of the rock. Rusk appears to be taking the forefront of the discovery process, as he investigates each coffined alcove as they edge deeper in. Meanwhile, Harman shows forethought as he sends a goblin in either direction every time they come across an intersection or divide – Very wise choice. One space is dedicated to the ancient god once associated with this temple for the last couple centuries; until the men came in and asserted their position.

Curious indeed. Apparently the ancient monks built passageways leading in and out of the temple all those years go. Or the serpentfolk. The female warrior leads the way through the first, which apparently connects these burial grounds with the Abbott’s meeting area. A ways down, Rusk also discovered another staircase which allowed the monks to traverse between the underground and the guest housing. This one was perhaps the serpents doing.

The underground spring peaks through the rock around the corner, making the limestone nice and slick. Apparently a surprise awaits within the bubbling soil, as a large black slug reaches out to the warrior as she lay upon the ground. And our evening grows even more curious, as apparently there is some arcane energies left within this world, after all. Harman’s bow lets fly a bolt charged with lightning and thunder, nearly destroying the slug. The warrior and Kal manage to finish off the creature with a combined blow.

Slowly spiraling down into the rock, the come across another offshoot path. Making their way up, a very intriguing room, very well crafted with an innumerable amount of ancient symbols and What is this?! This room. So many ancient texts, languages, phrases. Door? Gate? Life? Eternity? This cannot be. Who? What? THE GATEWAY GATE gateway gate way

… They have made their way out of the tunnels, apparently. In the valley. Too much to do. Walking Dark Prince. THE PASS.

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Hidden Temple
Session 12

Locked within the study, the party finds themselves in a fair predicament – Themselves on the inside, with the rest of the rectory outside. At first, Kal and Harman attempt to reconcile with the monks and come to parting terms, however it appears that the members of this temple are not willing to settle the dispute so easily. After some words, the party retreats back into the room to discuss further options amongst themselves. Though the peace is broken by loud noises outside of the door, as apparently the discussions had gathered the attention of their minions.

Flinging the door open (not without the warrior also dispatching of the monk attempting to bar them in) they find the monks, warchief Ripnugget and the rest of his soldiers at odds with each other. Joining the fight, the overnumbering group quickly slays the monks – That is, all but one. Kal manages to keep one alive to interrogate, though his brash tactics of gathering information end in blood. With Rusk wanting to further inspect the library, and Shai not safe in the open, the two leaders and the warrior head off in search of other hidden treasures within the temple.

The end up finding another rather large library, with the bodies of several lizard men ( as apparently “dispatch of the bodies” means something completely different to other people ) stacked in the far corner. Their inspection of the adjacent rooms has Harman discovering that this temple does in fact have its secrets – doors, to be exact. A hidden doorway that leads out to the terrace, which overlooks the valley which the temple is perched atop. Circling around, the warrior finds another monk hiding within an altar room, however this one does not take any chances. The others soon find out that she has been taken over by a symbiont as they then struggle to get the situation under hand. Harman attempts to remove the creature from his compatriot, though not before Kal begins cutting away at both the creature and the woman. Finally, the creature is removed as she is brought to unconsciousness.

Their exploration then took them into the main altar room, where two more monks were easily dispatched of. The next room found them a barred door, which the warrior easily brought down. However, on the other side was an axe-wielding monk ( Whose weapon does look fairly familiar. Is it possible that he had survived the ordeal, after all?). A fervent fight insued, finding both Kal and Harman being brought down at alternating points. At one point, the identity of the monk was revealed as not much of a man of the cloth ( Yes, indeed he did), as he apparently recognizing our dark friend. Erastus manages to escape his situation, running through the main altar room and into the surrounding corridor. However, he is still pursued by the group and ends up turning the corner to face the Oracle. This gives him pause, and gives his pursuers enough time to catch up with him. A final quick battle ends with the warrior pressing Erastus up against the bell, violently with her hammer.

Inspecting the final altar room of the Abbot, Harman comes across something interesting – Unlocked by a switch on the side of a large shrine of a demon, a hidden area underneath the floor opens up. A long and spiraling staircase leads him into the rock, finally ending at a corridor carved within the mountain. Feeling that this would be better explored when they are in a better physical and mental situation, the group regroups and attempts to recoup themselves.

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Into the Mountains
Session 11

In pursuit of their “friend”, the group has had their goblin slaves lead them into the mountainside of the Breaching cliffs. Unfortunately, there is nothing from the dark one to tell what their progress is. However, it does appear that the soldier’s travel up the mountain has finally gained them ground, as they have soon enough caught up to their target – A noise ahead spooks one of the goblins. Harman chooses that they should investigate in a small group, taking a couple of his slaves with him. As they approach the kidnappers, they see two of the wolf mounts playing with their food before they devour it. Getting a bit closer, Harman realizes that their soon-to-be meal is actually their acquaintance. Going back to regroup, he gathers the slaves and the two soldiers as he forms a (somewhat impressive) strategy on how to destroy the wolves.

Their plan successful without a single casualty, Kal’s bodied is recovered. Unfortunately, his soul is still attached to his body as the Oracle is able to bring him back to consciousness. After a restful night, they continue on their journey deeper into the mountains. With the weather becoming increasingly complex, possibly they are hoping for protection and cover in these supposed caves Kal was being taken to. Finally, they arrive at a strange sight at the end of the road through the mountains.

A large temple built into the side of the cliffs. A large staircase leads to the doorway. Two hooded figures sweep away snow at the base. They welcome our visitors and take them into the comfort and safety of the temple. Escorted to the guest chambers, they are shown where they will be staying for the night, and asked politely to stay within the chambers during nightfall due to the fragile nature of most of their ceremonies. However, Harman and Kal do not heed these warnings and choose to wander off through the temple without supervision.

After adventuring into a few of the chambers (including the monk’s and abbot’s personal dwellings), they arrive in the meeting chamber. Harman ventures through the scrying chamber and the armory, while also rummaging through the storeroom. Eventually, he comes across the guard of the chamber and chooses that this place is not for him to casually explore.

As he meets back up with the dark one, they both decide that this is not a place for them to rest (At least not for the night. Possibly a longer rest would be more adequate for him though). As he sends Kal to retrieve the rest of the group, he decides to place himself where he does not belong just one last time. His trespasses lead him to the training chambers, where a few of the monks are located. A scuffle ensues as they attempt to remove Harman from the area, however things quickly become violent as something from underneath the hood of the monk displays it’s power. Their actions and response had been odd, this giving full explanation for the events. One of the monks escaped the fray as Harman gathered the rest of his companions. Attempting to explain the situation, he takes them into the room where the altercation occurred and showed them the creature that had been sitting atop the monk’s head. However, at that moment, several of the monks approached the group and began to explain that their situation was not optimal to their expectations of how people should act within their sacred grounds.

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Through the Enemy
Session 10

They wait in their hideaway, hoping for a plan to come to them. Finally, they decide on ambush. A plan is formed for the three sneaky critters to attack on all sides, with the massive one and Oracle to follow behind. Their plan begins flawlessly (almost impressive).

The team prepares for an attack in hopes of capturing at least one of them. They have their goal, and they know that their lives and their family’s lives certainly depend on it.

The one in black disappears, though seemingly teleporting to the back of a soldier (perhaps he may prove useful, as well). Battle insues, as the trap is sprung. Smoke is stirred by the Oracle finally displaying some of her power, though I certainly would not call it impressive or all-mighty by any stretch.

During the confusion, one manages to make it off with the dark one (They will be taught a lesson for this mistake), though not alone as they are followed by Rusk. Grolluck and his pet make headway towards the camp to safety with their capture in tow, however they have been unable to lose the attention of the other one. He gives chase.

After some time, once the situation has been realized between all of them, Harman manages to convince their captor that he is a messenger for the Dark Army, and is taken to the camp. His silver tongue gets him access to a slew of minions and rations to rebuild their supplies. Just hours after, they begin tracking their lost companion towards the west.

Days go by, until they finally make their way out of the desert and into the mountains. Another day and they find themselves at the abode of the old friend Liam. He holds them off for a time with his clever tricks, though their combined wits apparently outmatch his as they soon discover his illusion. Their travels past the guardians lead them high into the mountains, and on the red road.

Their orders have kept them on track at a steady pace, and they find themselves swiftly on their way to the Caves.

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The Horizons
Session 9

As they sit down for watch, another watches them. A creature flies above acknowledging their presence, before taking leave. In the morning, they continue their journey towards the horizon, which begins to grow ever darker. The skies flood with black as the lands soon follow suit. The ashed sand becomes drenched, though their relief only lasts but moments. The ground becomes soaked with the rains, which quickly fade away.

The softened ground allows the creature to feel his prey approach sooner still, though waits for the foolish one breaking from the group to trample overhead. It attacks, though barely missing its attack. Not out of discomfort yet for the creature, 5 heads of serpent red streaked with black and gold, tunnels from below to strike once again. Few blows are struck by the hydras fang, as the group is able to avoid its flashes. The soldier in black spends his time at the belly of the beast, striking away though in vain. Meanwhile, the Oracle is sent away to her safety yet again, as the barbarous girl jumps into the fray. The silver-tongued devil and the mage stand aside a safe distance while their companions throw themselves into danger.

Soon enough they are able to disable the creature, though too benighted to understand their enemy. Soon enough again it attacks, and again they strike with greater fervor. This attempt brings the same result, though with their quick retreat followed.

Their travels bring them west towards the horizon once again, and just again the horizon darkens. Though this account is brought upon by a cloud of dust risen by the army traveling once more across the desert. They take up refuge in a crevasse, underneath a camouflaged awning. It is here that they bide their time once more on the foot of a great power.

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Friends in Hot Places
Session 8

What is left of our friends finds themselves within the confines of a city. That is, if you can call a bunching of tents a city. However, they have posed quite a bit of a problem in recent ventures. Escorted into the tents, they are separated into not dead, dead, and almost dead. The almost dead (that being the so-called leader) is brought back to the conscious and delivered to his friends. They seem to be treated well enough, though who knows what the circumstances outside of their tent may be.

It appears that they’re situation is favorable, as they are treated to a feast in honor of their fallen ally. A contest of strength and will is had between the soldiers and one of their warriors. She easily defeats the two wiry ones, however the talkative one appears to have something up his sleeve, as he finds a way to at least tie the beast of a woman.

Several days pass in eagerness until the chief comes back with words of wisdom from his spirit guides (foolishness). They heed his words and travel off, lead by the warrior woman.

Unfortunately, not a step is stuttered as even the risen brother’s of the sand warriors cannot keep them from their journey onward. They continue towards our goal.

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Trouble in the Sands
Session 7

The morning wakes them with the sound of fighting. Not an external enemy though, but an internal one. The magic one appears to have come to a mental break as he fights for the survival of the lizard head. Him and the female argue, as the dark one attempts to break the tension. In the end, it is the Oracle who brings him to reality and causes him to break through, crashing back to the real world. After some further arguing between the oracle and the female, they continue on.

Coming across a bandit camp, the dark one decides to make friends. Approaching them, arrows are fired in their direction as they make their escape. Another attempt to approach with the cover of darkness again proves unfortunate, as the magic one and the talker make their escape with the dark one trapped within the camp. Eventually he is able to return to the group, though apparently injured in his escape.

Another days travel brings them to the graveyards. The event is set as the gholdaku charges towards their location. Guardians of the graves interrupt the effort as the two join forces to take down the giant. Their attempt is successful, though at a couple of sacrifices – The dark one finds himself on the edge of the vale, while the female has begun her journey across the River Stix.

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Rock to Sand
Session 6

They sleep for far too long. Dormancy is setting in. They finally begin to move, travelling north further into the mountains. He watches them from a distance. Biding time. A cliff poses a problem for them to move forward at a steady pace. They begin to climb, as he sees his opening to draw them out. They spot him in time to gather as the magic one closes in. He attacks, stirring the rest of them and pulling them over in the excitement of battle. Dust churns and traps are sprung, with the woman soldier is embraced by metal. He leads them away, though the masked one and another are the ones to follow. He leads them through the maze until they evade his traps. They cease pursuit and rejoined the rest of them. He will be letting them travel further. There are other ways. They travel for days back down the mountain and towards the desert. Finally reaching near their destination, they begin to walk the flatlands. They deal with the heat easily enough. The local fauna does not seem to be a risk to them, either. At least not at the moment, as they gather hide and meat from a basilisk. A few days of travel in the sands have started to take their toll though.

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Away from Everything
Session 5

Wake. Eat nothing. Drink barely anything. Look. Follow. Hears him in the woods. Follow the sounds. Softer and louder and softer and louder and louder and louder until he is in front. On a tree. Sitting perfectly still. Pounces. Everyone runs through the woods and towards the lake. Everything safe. They walk back to the camp meeting the others with fruit and water. Cross the river to the path. Clear and safe. Travel takes long. Day. Another day. Another day. Tired. Hungry. Thirsty. Sick. Tired. No more grass. No more cover. Everything is getting warmer and clearer and hungry tired sick. They study the maps until travel north. Find water. Sleep. Follow water north. Sleep. Tired. Hungry. Scouting and hunting. Trouble. LION. They fight and scare off the big cat. Opportunity for food. Track down the cat and find where it’s tending to its wounds as they ambush and kill. Bring back the body and eat. They rest. They keep traveling north with renewed spirit. Food and water in their bodies as they travel north still until reaching the mountains and continue to travel more. They come across a large man with a tree for a club as a boulder flies towards them. They scatter and maneuver. For the first time, almost a team. They take down the ogre with ease and raid his layer. They rest.

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Into the Swamps
Session 4

The sneaky one survived they rest until the others wake finally come back to the world of the living until the dark-skinned one begins to cry and shout and withdraw as the three begin to argue and complain while the small one and other sit uncomfortably watching and waiting noise in grasses enemy run chase run hide wait. We hide in trees and grasses for hours until we know the chase is over. We begin to make our way into the woods. Dirt becomes soft and trees become heavy. Everything is wet. Little one can’t walk. Girls get higher to see and buzzing sound from above. Big bugs. Following map to camps. One to another. To another. Finally a raft. Follow map to the river. Finally sun and fresh water. And a path. Silent one says it is safe. Camp. Rest.

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