Worldwound

Kenabres celebrates Arnasse

The city of Kenabres is teeming with activity. Its normally 12,000 souls has swelled to nearly 15,000 as people from outlying communities like Valas’s Gift to the north and Truestone to the east gather within Kenabres’s walls for the annual celebration. The holiday officially begins at noon on the 16th of Arodus, today, and culminates at sundown on the 25th. Originally dedicated to reverence for Aroden, the God of Man, the celebration has changed in the century since His death.

Armasse now stands as testament to the strength of the Mendevian people and the crusaders who hold fast against the demonic horde in the Worldwound on the other side of the West Sellen River. New priests will be ordained, new squires chosen for the many knights of the crusade, and the ranks of the city’s militias will swell with new recruits being offered arms, armor, and training. Jousting competitions, mock duels and battle reenactments all will have center stage in Clydwell Plaza, but the markets and parks throughout the city will have their share of festivities, as well.

All this, of course, is an eagerly anticipated distraction from the horrors of being on the front lines of the war. Smiles on faces normally marred by downcast eyes and furrowed brows do wonders for morale, and Prelate Hulrun and his advisors do not skimp on the trappings of festival for Kenebres. Even now, Clydwell Plaza and the Cathedral of Saint Clydwell shine with magically augmented lights. Roving bands of musicians provide entertainment as the people gather in the Plaza, awaiting Hulrun himself to appear on stage. After he is done with his annual address to Kenabres’s citizens, jousts will begin in earnest, and finding the best view is foremost on your mind as you jockey for position. Sweet pies and wine cup in hand, you’ve finally found yourself a good spot, and you smile at the person next to you as a hush falls over the crowd.

Hulrun’s silver armor and red tabard are as impressive as always, marking him easily as a figure of distinction as he strides out onto the stage set up in front of Saint Clydwell’s. The bright gold symbol to Iomadae that marks his tabard blazes with authority as he doffs his helm and holds aloft his longsword for all to see. A cheer swells from the crowd as he flourishes the weapon, holy light shining off it visible even on this sunny day. When he sheaths the weapon, the crowd goes silent.

“People of Kenabres!” he calls out with a smile, “it is good to see you all, again.” You once again cheer with the crowd as he hands his helmet to his lead Inquisitor, Liotr Hawkblade, then turns back toward all of you. “This year has seen me age another year, good people, and the white in my beard can no longer be denied its place, even as my hair seems intent on retreating from my scalp.” A wave of laughter rolls through the crowd as Hulrun strokes his fully whitened beard and mustache. “But this year I have also seen you people of Kenabres stand fast, once again, against the horrors of the Worldwound. You have stood tall against the demons as they beat upon this city’s gates. You have manned your places, be they posts upon the wall overlooking the river, the pumps that bring the Sellen’s waters up our bluffs, or the taps behind the barback of Defender’s Heart.” Again you smile and laugh, as that post is one to relish, for Kimroth keeps the best inn within the city walls.

“People of Kenabres,” Hulrun continues, “today we mark the 95th year since the First Crusade was declared by the Church of Iomadae. For 95 years we have fought against the demons in Her name, She who inherited the mantle of Aroden, She who protects Mendev against the predations of The Abyss. Kenabres has grown in that time to become the beacon of good that we are. We stand on this bluff and look east at things we often cannot even comprehend. We stand on this bluff and hold fast against the tides of demon armies. We stand on this bluff and throw back the cultists that sneak into our walls and seek to sow discord. We fought for this ground 21 years ago when the Storm King assaulted The Kite and sought to destroy the Wardstone within. And it is here on this bluff we of Kenabres will stand when Deskari’s hordes are finally thrown back into the rifts and the Worldwound closed for good!”

The cheer the crowd raises this time is almost deafening, and Hulrun whips it into a frenzy by drawing his sword again and letting its light shine out over the square. When his sword suddenly falls from his grasp, you glance at the man beside you and share a nervous smile. When Hulrun drops to his knees, his hands around his throat, you know something is definitely wrong. When a voice that comprises the fury of a thousand storms invades your thoughts, you know with certainty that the balor Khorramzadeh is bringing his might to bear.

“Well now, mortals. This seems like as good a time as any for me to make my appearance!”

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Invasion of the Tower of Estrad

We find a pack of dire rats on the way to the Tower, dispatch them and move on.

In the Tower, we bluff our way to the lower level to talk to Faxon, but the conversation devolves to combat. He goes down and the three cultists upstairs also lick it.

Alby gets stung by Faxon’s scorpion, gah.

Papers on Faxon’s desk is just inventory of the Tower. A list of names, most of which are crossed-off.

Brazen minotaur’s head, with star shaped symbols decorating the walls. The room is under an Unhallow and Zone of Truth, perhaps to assist in torturing people. Zita hallows the place successfully.

In the chest in the back room, we find a sheaf of papers documenting the safe houses signed by Kendro Nyserum. They document movement of cells throughout the city, and how deep they were in the Crusaders’ ranks. Whatever went on was several years in the planning, there are large numbers of Ivory Labyrinth groups.

Names in the sheaf match the names on Faxon’s desk.

Letter to Faxon

You did well to report Nyserian’s embezzlement when you found it. I trust that you will continue to serve loyally in the weeks to come in your new position as the Foundation of Kenabres. Fear not that you do not know the codes for our communications; they can be taught to you in the future. For now, know that Kenabres’s time is short, and communication beyond the letter will be unnecessary. Trust me — you will be aware of what I speak, and I know you will act accordingly.

Once it has begin, look to find Nyserian’s corpse, as he will have been properly scarified to our lord for his indiscretion. You may take his Keystone and wear it as your badge of office; in the interim, use the seal on this letter. Afterward, simply wait; the agents of the Locust Host may need you as reinforcements. Respond to them if you get word of this. Otherwise, enjoy the destruction, loot what you can, and collect what you will in preparation to move to our next target.

You will be given instructions once Vorlesh has completed her task. She has already left to meet with our Lord’s daughter in Colyphyr to secure the Nahyndrian crystal she needs, and will finish the job that Khorramzadeh began as a signal for the assault. With the Wardstones re-attuned to Deskari’s influence, communication with you will require but a thought.

Await it and praise Lord Baphomet!

Minagho

Neitholme and Recovering the Books

List of names of active cultists. The cross-off probably means they accomplished their job, which means the rest of the names are outstanding moles.

There are still pieces of the Wardstone left. Khorramzadeh did something to the Wardstone before he left, maybe something to do with the Nahyndrian crystal.

Colyphyr is the name of a demon lord known to have been killed in a battle with Nocticula, a demon lord of assassins — the first succubus, known to be quite capable yet subtle. In fact, she’s probably the most powerful demon lord in existence outside of Lamashtu.

Re-attuning the Wardstones is a particularly dangerous prospect. If Areelu Vorlesh is able to reappear and do whatever it is she needs to do with the Wardstone, that would be bad.

First Descendants have not been heard of since their first contact. So we’re headed to recover books from the library and check on the Neitholmians.

The First Crusaders got stymied by the giant centipede, but found another way out to the southeast. It’s guarded by someone with horns and a tail, not crusaders.

We clear the way and collect the cart with books for the return trip. And we encounter several demons! They try to burn the books in the cart, but finally fail.

Back at the Inn, Irabeth gets a big idea thanks to the Neitholme news of having another exit. She can now sneak an army out of the city.

Colyphyr was indeed a demon, killed by Nocticula. When she kills someone, she takes over the victim’s domain. They are using Colyphyr’s isle to mine for Nahyndrian crystal, which turns out to be the crystalized essence of demons. They are using the essence to corrupt the Wardstones.

Gray Garrison figures prominently into the notes they found in the Tower of Estrad. Quednys Orlun thinks they have a piece of the Wardstone there, but we must recover a weapon from Truestone Quarry in order to destroy the Wardstone — a rod of cancellation.

Our job is to remove the guards on the other side of Nietholme so the army can attack the Quarry and distract them long enough for us to slip inside and steal the rod and cold iron weapons.

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Gray Garrison

After a massive battle with the tieflings guarding the Garrison’s top floor, we find many maps showing Crusader movements from the Eagle Watch, who uses the Garrison as an office. Found several history texts, tactical manuals and other war stuff. And a Manual of War.

Letter attached to Irabeth’s sword:

Lord Staunton, I believe you will find the enclosed weapon to be of particular delight to you, for it belonged to Irabeth. She sold it to Nysserian, except that he embezzled and we stole all his stuff. I suspect that this blade will take to take to your brother’s touch particularly well.

Signed, Othirubo

Let us inherit thine arms, Iomedae

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Wardstone Destruction

The fragment we destroyed released a massive dam from all of the Wardstones, killing demons throughout the Worldwound’s surroundings.

We have a series of visions detailing the beginnings of each of the Crusades. We also have a vision of Irabeth fighting Satunton Vane. He is burned against the Wardstone and manages to escape on a giant wasp.

A final vision of a beautiful demonic woman, Minagho, with horns protruding from her eyes traps the fragment of the Wardstone we just destroyed. She created the cage for the fragment and set up the oracle in this room. In a future that will never happen now, Areelu Vorlesh finishes a ritual corrupting the fragment.

Through a suddenly-appearing burning arch, Vorlesh herself steps through. She puts Irabeth Tirabade down, then wonders if the Wardstone hasn’t infused us, making us the key to her ritual. She brings two more demons in and we see a slew of demons behind her in the portal, at which point our infusion explodes outward, prompting her to disappear in pain and close the portal.

The effects of the Wardstone have imbued us with mythic power!

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Queen Galfrey and the Sword of Valor

Returning to Kenebres, we find lots of prejudice against anyone who looks different. We safely transport the prisoners to Irabeth’s care and start some rumors about the Children of the First Crusade as a force for good.

Queen Galfrey arrives with 10,000 troops, but must head back to the south to defend larger demon incursions. She makes us Knights of Mendev, bestows a couple of Medals of Commendation on us, and offers us a mission.

The Sword of Valor now resides in Drezen, and we think Khorramzadeh is residing in Iz with Aponivicious (maralith ruler of Drezen) planning a new attack. Drezen is consequently relatively undefended. We should retake Drezen, reactivate the banner, and hold Drezen against the demon onslaught as its new rulers.

She will be sending three NPCs with us, including Nurah Dendiwhar, Aron Kir, Sosiel Vaenic and a host of knights. Knights are expert flankers, include some paladins, and have good knowledge of fighting demons. Masterwork cold iron, all mounted and all with ranged weapons. Auras of Courage and limited spellcasting with healing abilities.

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On the Road to Drezen

Three days north of Kenebres, a day south of the canyon we’ll be taking to Drezen. We recovered a dozen prisoners who were holding the Vilareth Ford before the tieflings attacked. Ranking member of the prisoners is Sgt. Camilo, who explains that her army was surprised and decimated weeks ago. We incorporate them into our own army and they share what they learned from their captors.

There is a demon army of about 50 in Keeper’s Canyon, and a tiefling army of about 100. Lead by a demon named Xorius with large wings.

We plan to scout ahead with Aron Kir, Nurah Dendiwhar and Laurik, then move the army north to the Canyon. In the morning, Sosiel Vaenic informs us that one of the newcomers, Arls, is fomenting dissension in the ranks. We talk to him, warn him, and dismiss him.

We destroy both armies, but the commander teleports away before we can capture him.

Laurik spots a vial of Shadowblood on Aron, and it’s not clear where he’s found it. Turns out something is secretly providing him with the drug on a regular basis. We intervene and attempt to discover the culprit.

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Storming the Temple

Chapels devoted to different deities were built up along the route to Dresen as hospitals and waystations. We go to clean up the temple of Sarenrae, while Arls stakes out Aron Kir‘s tent. Nurah Dendiwhar is going to accompany us, which may serve to exonerate her in case Arl spots some action while we’re away.

We encounter three gargoyles at the entrance to the temple, and then a ghoulish infestation in the temple proper. Name of the god was ‘Kabreri’, but we consecrate the area in Sarenrae’s name.

In the next rooms we find the eviscerated bodies of five missing guards. And then a big deal demon. We destroy the demon and restore the temple, with Sarenrae granting our army a massive cache of healing potions.

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The Road to Drezen

As we wind through the canyon with Laurik scouting, we encounter an extraplanar undead called a Borak with a level-sucking gaze attack. Then, later, a massive swarm of Vescibores — abyssal locusts — moving in and out of some caves that used to be for storage. Aron seems to think they are mating, swarming around a single queen inside the caves who, if killed, could disperse the swarm.

Unfortunately we discover an open rift to the abyss in the back of the cave and are unable to close it in time to prevent two vrocs from passing through. We engage them and call a vulpinal outsider to assist us. Eep!

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