DM When last we left our heroes, they had obtained the Symbol of Ravenkind, and discovered its true origin as the Holy Symbol of Apollo, god of ancient Azlantis. In addition, their allies, at great personal cost, managed to destroy the Heart of Ashardalon, severing Gulthias Sengir’s defensive wards. Now, they are faced with a choice…who will take up the holy symbol of Apollo, and bring the light to Sengir’s dark heart? Read on to find out!
Kryss “… and that’s why I hereby assign Lord Julian to be the bearer of the symbol,” Kryss proclaims.
Kryss “Let’s get moving.”
DM If only it were so simple, Loyal Readers. For as Julian touches the symbol…
Julian “God willing I shall bear it well.”
DM He releases his hold on the dweomers of his armor, and grasps the icon.
DM He is flushed with power from his god.
Julian Julian closes his eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath.
Julian “At last in this cursed land I feel God’s hand over us.”
DM Alhandra’s eyes are wide when he looks up. “How can this be…? Have you forsaken Tal for this…Apollo?”
Julian When he opens his eyes again the irises are sun-gold.
DM “Why does this Raven God bestow his favor upon you?”
DM The bats have long dispersed their swarms, and her question echoes into the mists.
Julian “Do you know the story of God’s sister, Alhandra?”
DM “I do not.”
Julian “Called Pal or Pala after the fall…” He tells what he learned.
Julian “And do you know the story of Apollo’s sister, the lady of the moon?”
DM She shakes her head.
Julian He tells the so similar story of Apollo’s sister, learned by Shael years ago.
DM “They…they’re the same?”
Julian “I feel it in my heart. Tal was Apollo once, long ago. Before the mages betrayed and wounded him, stripped him of his family, chilled the sun.”
Julian “The two gods of the sun, the Apollo of the ancients and the Tal of our day, are the same god.”
DM “You are a strange knight, Lord Julian. But I feel you are meant for more than knighthood…more than lordship. I will trust in you…and in Tal.”
Shael Shael smiles faintly and observes the wall of force providing them temporary respite from the hordes of bats.
Julian “With God’s aid I shall prove worthy of your trust, Alhandra.” Julian closes his eyes again, and the symbol of Apollo and Seure throb in sympathy as he brightens their light to its peak. “And sooner rather than later. The vampire waits.”
Shael Shael looks back at the others and ask, “Are we ready to move on?”
Julian “Yes.” Alhandra blesses the lords and herself with Tal’s holy power as they examine the two remaining crypts.
DM They head south.
Shael Shael taps the portcullis with his new glaive and it rings; he tilts his head to evaluate the tone.
Kryss Kryss looks over the bars, “I’m sure the fiend would trap the bars to prevent me lifting them.”
Kryss He tilts a draconic ear to Shael’s tone. “Sounds safe,” he confirms with the mage.
Shael With a shrug, Shael taps the base of the staff against the ground and Kryss begins growing in size, “Only one way to be sure.”
Kryss Kryss grabs the bars and flexes.
DM He strains, lifting with all of his might. Slowly the bars rise.
DM Black marble steps descend to a dark tomb that has a vaulted ceiling thirty feet overhead. The essence of evil permeates the very air. The smell of freshly turned earth is here. Settled into the dirt on the floor is a shining black coffin of finely waxed wood. The coffin’s fittings are of brilliant brass, and the lid is closed. South of the coffin are three gloomy alcoves. An iron lever protrudes from the north wall, east of the tomb’s entrance.
Kryss Kryss steadies himself while Shael checks the area.
Julian Julian steps down the stairs softly, one by one, the quiet tap of metal on marble breaking the silence.
Shael Shael moves inside to check the alcoves.
DM His detection spell picks up traces of conjuration magic upon them.
Julian Julian murmurs a prayer of revelation that Shael be shown the truth.
DM Shael determines that the magic holds a teleportation effect, though where its destination is he cannot say.
Kryss Kryss keeps an eye on the coffin, expecting Gulthias to leap out at any moment.
DM The dirt in the crypt stirs. “You keep us from our lord with your foolishness. Give in and walk the night with us.”
DM The voice belongs to a beautiful woman in a soiled white wedding gown, with many bracelets and a tiara.
DM She stands up, dirt falling off of her.
DM “I am Ludmilla Sengir, wife of Gulthias Sengir. Drink from me and live forever.”
Kryss “We will not be diverted,” Huge Kryss lumbers forward. “Bring your master to me that I might throttle him.”
Shael “Oh, hello.” Shael murmurs absently, considering her shape and offer. He points back towards the alcove he was examining, “Where does this go, then?”
DM “Diverted?” A voice comes from the opposite corner. “We offer life eternal, as our master has given to us.” A woman in a red tattered gown can be barely seen in the mist. “Anastrasya Sengir has spoken.”
DM “My sisters speak truly, and I, their leader, Valenta Sengir will see it done.”
DM The woman wears a gold wedding dress.
DM Her face is masked with platinum, and a ring adorns each finger.
Kryss “Whichever of you was recently known as the Lady Dara of Dragonfyre, please make yourself known,” Kryss requests politely.
DM “Dara? Dara is special. What would you have with our master’s true bride?”
Kryss “I have promised myself to her. I mean to deliver this frail body to her as a gift to Gulthias himself.”
DM “Your body will not interest her any longer. She is beyond such things…but we will accept it gladly. Stand away from our lord and master’s coffin, and open your veins.”
Kryss “Which of you will promise to deliver my gift to the True Bride then? Step forward and I will offer it to you.”
DM The vampires bare their fangs.
Kryss Kryss darts forward and crashes into the coffin.
DM Shatterspike, that old axe found in Gulthias’s last place of ‘rest’, explodes the coffin into a hundred pieces. Pages of a manuscript are scattered about the floor, and a black mist swirls about before forming into Gulthias Sengir himself.
Kryss Kryss shifts his hips and gets in two quick strikes at Gulthias’s exposed throat.
DM A flick of his fingers and a shielding spell blocks the blow.
Kryss “You son of a bitch!” Kryss recovers and adjusts his stance.
DM “Even in undeath, she would not become Sengir,” Gulthias muses wistfully. “She is so much more. So much more than you know or deserve.”
Shael Shael is still looking at the alcoves with a pensive frown when Gulthias appears and the battle begins.
Kryss “You think I don’t know that I don’t deserve her? I know better than anyone that I don’t deserve her.”
DM Sengir laughs, and Kryss’s shadow detaches from the ground in the flickering sunlight.
DM The shadow rises up to confront its owner.
DM The vampire brides eyes glow red with menace.
Shael Shael slams the Staff of Kazan against the ground and flame springs up bisecting the room.
DM Ludmilla slices her hand across the air, severing the mystic bonds, the fire gutters.
DM “Are they Tremere agents, my lord?” she asks, concern in her voice.
Julian Alhandra moves forwards and produces the talisman sent by her friend Mialee.
Julian With a prayer to Tal she activates it.
Shael Shael glances aside at Ludmilla and smiles, “Excellently done.” he approves, “Can you keep it up, though?” he wonders.
DM Gulthias moves to her side in an instant.
DM “Well done, my love…and they are of a different order, I fear. One even less tolerant than that of Hermes.”
Shael “Copying me.” he mutters to himself when Gulthias repeats his praise. He glances at the opposite side of the room and the Queen there as if wondering if this sort of thing is common.
DM Alhandra breaks Mialee’s charm and blue lightning leaps out over the room. The mist thins, and Gulthias’ eyes widen. “The Blood Moon…blocked?”
Shael “Those are old names, older than us I’m afraid.” he says out loud, “I don’t know that I’d call us intolerant, though…” he glances at his companions and amends, “…I don’t know that I’d call myself intolerant, though.”
Kryss Kryss growls.
Julian Julian intones a prayer for Tal’s – Apollo’s – blessing and moves into the fray.
DM The shadow of Kryss strikes Alhandra, burning her skin in retaliation for her actions against the Blood Moon.
DM Gulthias blurs, his cape swirling around Julian. His visage appears to fade, even as the sunlight singes his flesh. When Julian spots him again, he seems indistinct. He lashes out with his strange gauntlet, the metal growing to reach Julian from his distant location. As the blade lances out, it grows tinier blades upon it, all seeking his blood.
DM Julian’s eyes, unclouded by Tal’s sight, see to the truth of Sengir’s obfuscation. He obliterates the magic, rendering it null.
DM “Turn back, paladin, lest I drink from your soul tonight.”
Julian “From the beginning, you treated us as amusements, not enemies.”
DM While not perfectly effective, Julian’s sunlight appears to be holding Sengir from healing his wounds, in addition to hurting him a bit.
Julian “Has Redbone changed your mind, Sengir? Has Oggunon?”
DM “You have bested worthier opponents than you have any right to.”
Kryss Kryss steps around the shadow and brings a giant Shatterspike down upon Gulthias’ head. “Better than you.”
Julian “Did you think you could just play with us at will, as if we were nothing? We earned knighthood by slaying opponents we had no right to, Sengir, and by God you will be next!”
DM “Good! I grow weary of this ennui! Your deaths or mine, it makes no difference. I cannot be with the one I love, my god is dead, my land has changed…I welcome death!”
DM “But I will be damned for all eternity if I give it easily unto the worms of this age!”
Kryss “Just be dead!”
DM “You unleash the flames upon a servant of Fallen Ashardalon? I bear the scars of true dragonfire, Descendant!”
Kryss Kryss rips open his shirt, displaying the name seared there. “You know nothing of the pacts I have sworn to see you defeated, worm!”
Kryss “Do you think I’m here for a girl? A human?? I come at the behest of one greater than both of us!”
DM “Do not think to loom so over your better, Autark!”
DM Kryss’s magic begins to fade.
DM The vamps leap upon the lords of Dragonfyre. Anastrasya sinks her fangs into Julian’s neck.
Shael Shael dances around Ludmilla’s strikes until the final one nearly lands – he stops it with a single hand, palm facing towards the woman. “You are quite skilled.” he recognizes, “How exciting.” he beams a bright smile at the consort.
DM “I can show you excitement you’ve never dreamed.”
DM Sengir lashes out at Kryss.
Shael Shael chortles with hearty bemusement, “Oh, you’ve not seen my dreams, love. In the Heart of The Dream, I have danced and played and bathed in the essence of joy.” he tilts his head to the side and murmurs, “If you were not already bound, I would promise you such an experience… but, I will not impugn your loyalty now. Let me defeat your master, first… hmm?”
DM The un-metal gauntlet skitters across Kryss’s bare chest, and the vampire lord’s countenance clouds.
DM Ludmilla shrieks. “I will never let you defeat him!”
Kryss “You’re really no better than a common zombie, Gulthias. Your end is here.”
Kryss “Tell me where my wife is.”
Shael The Staff of Kazan sweeps out to his right and his magic snatches for the scattered pages of Nod. “I said you were skilled, Ludmilla… I did not recognize you as a threat.” he says contritely. “My sincere apologies if I gave the impression you had any chance of stopping me.”
DM “My wife sleeps with my noble mother and father. She is yours…no longer.”
DM The pages of the book swirl about Shael, off the floor.
Kryss “Then the world has no further use for you. My lord’s minions have already destroyed your heart. The Blood Moon is dispelled. And it appears the Archmage has acquired the Book of Nod.”
DM Valenta gestures, and the pages fall to the floor.
Kryss “Well, he’s going to.”
Shael Shael giggles, “See? Your peer is the only one bothering me at all…” he stands back and observes Ludmilla skeptically, “…ah, and yet ‘peer’ again seems too complimentary. You are certainly the least of his women, aren’t you?” he purses his lips thoughtfully.
DM Gulthias shakes his head. “I dare not hope for true challenge from ones such as you. And yet, deep within, I long for it.”
DM Ludmilla scowls. “You are trying to bait me.”
Julian Alhandra raises her own holy symbol and calls on Tal to banish the shadows.
Kryss “I wonder how long your head will continue to pine for death when I’ve detached it from your body.”
Shael “To what end?” he wonders, “There is no way you could hurt me…” he shrugs, “…it is not your fault, I came prepared.”
DM “I think you are Tremere, no matter what Lord Gulthias says,” she whispers. “And I will give you the Final Death.”
Julian Julian beats away Gulthias’s blade and holds the Symbol of Apollo high.
Julian “Get thee back, accursed ones.”
Shael “What is Tremere?” He wonders casually – if she finds an opening in his guard it is certainly his constant curiosity.
DM “Usurpers, diablerizers, blasphemous thaumaturges…”
DM The brides scream and cower as the symbol is presented.
Julian “This is between knights.”
Shael “Nah, doesn’t sound like me.” Shael replies and is about to prod for more information when she runs off screaming. He stands upright, surprised, and smells his armpits – “…maybe a little ripe, but that seems a bit much…” he complains.
DM Gulthias strikes out with his gauntlet, sinking its spines into Alhandra and Kryss.
DM He yanks her off her feet and over to him. Somehow, his fangs miss her throat.
Shael Shael suddenly erupts with blood, he gags and spits red. Looking around he glares at Alhandra and Kryss, “Really?” he emotes. Clearing his throat he wipes the blood from his lips.
Kryss Kryss brings Shatterspike down hard, the beard entering Gulthias’s body between his collarbone and shoulder muscle and driving down into his lung and heart.
DM The vampire’s shield cracks as Shael counters the spell. The axe penetrates.
DM “You are still too weak, my scion.”
Kryss Kryss levers up on the handle and the axe cracks ribs from the inside while scrambling dusty organs. “Don’t talk to me like you know me.” Kryss growls, his face inches from the vampires face.
DM The fangs flash, down towards Alhandra’s neck. Alas, maintaining eye contact with Kryss keeps Sengir off balance, and they strike her gorget instead.
DM “I’ll drain this one just like I did Dara. I was so surprised when she returned. Did you know she is of the White? Is that why you abandoned her to me?”
DM Sengir’s brides flee.
Kryss “I never abandoned her to you.”
Julian “Let them run.”
DM Valenta and Ludmilla rush into the western alcove, and are immediately teleported away. Anastrasya is forced to use more conventional means, but her footsteps carry her into the catacombs.
Kryss “I admit you took her from me.”
DM An explosion of black energy rips through the room from Sengir.
DM “She came to me of her own will.”
DM “But alas, it seems another lifetime separates us.”
Kryss “You lie.”
Shael Once the brides have left, Echo fully enters the room and pulls down the portcullis behind him. Shael once again reaches out with his magic to gather the pages of the Book of Nod.
DM No counterspell blocks him this time.
DM “I need to stitch her tattered soul back together, somehow…killing the two women who hold it is a natural first step.”
Julian Alhandra intones another prayer to Tal, this one imbuing the lords’ weapons with holy might.
Julian Julian moves to flank the vampire with Kryss and finally brings Lightbringer-Seure to bear to cut him off their ally.
DM The blade burns into Sengir, who stumbles back and adjusts his monocle at the blazing fury of Julian’s assault.
Julian The same light that burns Sengir soothes Alhandra’s wounds.
DM He vanishes and reappears across the room.
DM The unmetal blade grows out to punch through Shael’s impressive defenses.
DM It splatters apart against the mage’s shield, turning into five separate lashes.
Shael Shael pours all his power into the shield, extending with the aid of Julian’s inspiration and his heroic competence. Holding the pages of the Book of Nod in the other hand he mentions, “It is not so easy to reach me, I’m afraid.”
Kryss Kryss doesn’t pause for a second after relocating Gulthias in the room. Shatterspike is already on the vampire like a blur.
DM His un-metal gauntlet blocks each strike with ease.
DM His appearance becomes wraithlike. “I was wrong to hope. I will find her sister, and I will drain her as well. If she is of the White…I will find a way to tear her from cursed Thak’s grasp.”
Kryss “You’ve drained your last vampire.”
Shael Shael rolls the book up after glancing at it briefly and shoves it into his beltpouch. Rolling his eyes at the vampire lord he lays his freed hand on the invisible hilt of Eldingar and invokes a barrier. “Do not think to flee me, cur. Your petty tyranny is over, and you will suffer for it.”
DM “Your magic is impressive, though it would have failed you.”
DM Sengir snaps his fingers, and Shael’s spell unravels. “Like that.”
Shael Shael smiles faintly, “Julian?” he calls back over his shoulder smugly.
DM When he looks back at Sengir, the vampire is gone, having vanished entirely.
Shael Shael frowns and grumbles, “Cheater.”
Julian “After him!”
Julian Alhandra and Julian plunge almost at the same instant into the same teleporter.
Shael The others follow only a half step behind.
DM It leads to the crypt, that they discovered previously with the warning not to pass the portals, mortals.
DM Sengir is there, waiting as Alhandra emerges.
Julian The lady knight smites him in Tal’s name.
DM “Tal…almost as tired of life as I am.”
DM Sengir vanishes further away from the paladin.
Julian Julian, next through the portal, careens headlong through the doors and dashes left as Alhandra points out where he’s gone.
DM Sengir snarls as he’s once again caught in the blazing sunlight.
Julian “Run as fast as you want, you cowardly wretch… sooner or later you’ll have to stand your God-damned ground!”
DM “All of Nightfang Spire is my God-damned ground, Lord Julian. All of Gulvania. As you will discover.”
DM The unmetal forms into twin heads, and both snake out to puncture Julian’s vital organs.
Julian Julian didn’t need that spleen anyway. Rage as much as toughness keeps the paladin on his feet.
Julian Kryss is next to barrel through the portal.
Julian The vampire is far away. But Kryss is faster than any mortal man.
DM Sengir gets a shield up, blocking Kryss. Julian prays for it to fall, but the vampire utters dark speech that steals the power from his voice. His tongue is aflame from the burning sun, and he is rent from his battle, once again unable to heal.
DM Kryss’s blows are telling upon him, and he staggers beneath their power.
DM He counter attacks the dragon warrior.
DM “You fools want a fight? You mewling mortals want me to face you without using the ground to my advantage? Then suffer the consequences of your desire, Lords Julian and Kryss!”
DM He draws upon the power of the lair, and begins to shift into a hulking bat like creature.
Shael Echo closes with Shael and lays his stored spell upon the wizard who follows behind the others. As he makes his way through the portal, he stashes his glaive while withdrawing the thigh-bone of Serra and the Book of Nod. Once he gains sight of the battle he considers the new form absently, then looks at the Book of Nod seeming almost tortured. With a wince as if he was piercing his own heart, he stabs the thighbone into the pages.
DM Sengir screams, in his chiropteran form, as the book goes up in holy flames and the thighbone is reduced to ashes.
Shael Shael is more terrified by the destruction of the book than by the monstrous screams, he cradles the last of the ashes (relic and tome) sadly before looking at Sengir angrily.
DM A massive swipe of its wings, and Sengir’s winged arm knocks both Julian and Kryss away from him.
Julian Julian crashes into the wall of a crypt and struggles to rise, but the rod of resurrection does its work, washing away the wound.
Julian The paladin surges to his feet and hurls himself at the giant bat.
DM The blade plunges through the vampire’s heart, and in the bright light of the sun, he cannot turn to mist, he cannot escape. He hurls a curse at Julian, which ages the young lord visibly, his hair now streaked with grey. Then he coughs, once, twice, black blood evaporating as it drips onto Lightbringer. “Damn…you. I’ll be waiting for you in Hell.”
Julian “No, you bastard.”
Julian “You’ll be burning there.”
DM Gulthias Sengir’s eyes close, for the last time.
DM “Well done, Knight of Tal. Sheathe your sword, if you will, that I might approach you openly?” The speaker that belongs to the voice is not visible.
Julian Julian lets out a long breath as Alhandra moves to heal him. "…
Julian “Name yourself. And your purpose. Then I will grant your prayer or deny.”
DM “Alekander Ventrue, Fistantalis Tremere, Escher Toredor and retainers of Assam. We wish to speak with you, not do battle. We need not be enemies, even if we cannot ally.”
Shael Shael nods his head to Julian.
Julian Julian slides Seure-Lightbringer into its sheath, but his hand lingers on the hilt. “Very well. Approach then and speak.”
Julian The party gathers close.
DM Three men approach, all clearly vampires. One, he has seen before, above in Sengir’s tower. Escher. The dark man smiles. The other two are strangers. One is tall and noble looking, and wears the symbol of Tal openly across his breast. The other appears to be a magician of some sort, with a youthful face and almost feminine in both manner and visage.
DM Lurking behind the three are shadowy individuals, who remain in the darkness, watching.
DM “You have slain Gulthias Sengir, of the fourth generation. This is no small thing, but it has brought you into a long standing war that you likely know nothing about.”
Julian “Slain justly, and richly earned.”
Julian “Educate me, then.”
DM “Your foe’s sire lairs in the lands to the south. Should he turn against you, the might you have faced here will seem paltry in comparison. However, the Sengirs are…not the most well loved, even within our ranks.”
Julian “You present yourselves then as enemies of my enemy?”
DM “Indeed. Gulthias unleashed a creature from beyond our world that we seek to recapture, to limit its ability to do harm. If you allow us this, we will part from here with no hostilities between us.”
Julian “Name it. Then, as before, I will grant your prayer or deny.”
DM “The creature has no name. It is sometimes known as a mooncalf.”
Shael Shael pulls a bit of cloud from his pouch and kneads it in his off-hand; he nods to Julian, offering his approval once again.
Julian “For my part I give it no protection. My lords?”
Julian He sees Shael’s nod.
Julian “What about Dara?” This roughly from Kryss.
Julian “He babbled on about her…”
DM The vampires look at each other. “Ah, do you mean Tatyana?” Escher asks, not ungently. “She…when he drained her, he discovered she was of the White Court, and his powers could not turn her in the manner he desired.”
Shael “The White Court? What does that mean… they mentioned something like that while we were fighting them.”
Julian “You’ll have to explain that completely.” Kryss leans on his axe.
DM “The White Vampire Court feeds on emotion rather than blood or death.”
DM “I think…you might consider them closer to succubi?”
Julian "What do you mean, he “discovered” she was “of” the White Court?"
DM “She was drained, she drank his blood, she returned…but she was not as he is, a vampire of the Black Court, of Clan Sengir. She was instead a vampire of the White, who could feed on lust, on excitement, so on and so forth.”
Julian “This comes about for reasons.” This from Julian.
Julian “If I were to guess, Escher, you are of the same, and you can speak of them.”
DM “Well…yes. How did you know?”
Julian “The wisdom of Pala.”
Julian “Do speak of them, then.”
DM “What…what do you wish to know? I do not know which clan she belongs to, or will claim. It…it is strange that one Embraced by one of the Black would become one of the White, to be sure. Of that, I have not heard. But I would set your mind at ease regarding your friend. She…will have a place with our clan, should she choose to. We will teach her how to survive her new existence. We are not cruel by intention.”
Julian Julian pauses to let Kryss ask what he will.
DM The vampires answer the questions as completely and respectfully as they are able. Escher is outright friendly, Fistantalis is reserved, and Alekander carries himself as a king among vassals, though he is neither blunt nor rude to the lords.
Julian “Very well.” Julian resumes once Kryss has finished. “So. The war you say I am now part of. Speak of that as well.”
DM “Sengir is a clan, not a singular vampire. Of the Black Court, and not a minor player by any estimation. You have slain one of their favored sons. The last time that happened, they slew the hunter who accomplished the deed, though it took decades. They slew his family, his friends, his associates.”
Julian “You would counsel me against such a fate?”
DM Alek nods. “We simply mean to caution you. They will likely come against you, moreso the louder your victory cries. If there were another to take credit for these deeds, I would suggest you allow them to do so.”
DM Fistantalis speaks, his voice a hoarse whisper. “Clan Tremere would gladly claim the victory as our own, should that be something you would desire. Long have we been at odds with the Sengir.”
DM Alek shrugs. “It may not be to your liking, however. You carry yourself with a proud mien, and honor does not shy away from that path which may be hard to walk.”
DM “Consider your options, while you have them. God does not favor the coward any more than the foolhardy.” He absently touches the holy symbol around his neck at this.
Julian “My heart wishes to throw the deed in their face and let come what may. But my lords will take counsel on it.”
Julian “You know something of Dara’s fate, do you know also of the others he stole from us?”
DM Alek looks at Escher, who shakes his head. “I fear not. If they were turned by Sengir, then they are as he was now, a creature that feeds from death, unholy and monstrous even by our kind’s standards.”
DM “Perhaps you will find some answers, or comfort, within his trove of lorebooks. Mayhap you will even find your friends, though they may no longer be your friends. My condolences on this.”
Julian “No, likely not. I must harden my heart then.”
Julian “For your part, since you have answered plainly, I grant you leave to pursue and take the beast in these lands, provided you do no harm to their other folk.”
DM Ventrue nods, and three of the shadowy figures creep up holding knives hilt first towards the lords. “These blades may help you should you find yourself embroiled within entanglements involving the Court of the Black.”
Julian The lords accept them.
DM The shadowy figures, no less obscured up close, back away, never taking their eyes from the lords. The vampiric trio nods. “Thank you for your assistance. We will take the mooncalf and leave. It is…unlikely you will see us again.”
DM The lords watch the vampires as they leave, before they head on to rejoin their companions, take stock of their losses, and remove each and every thing Gulthias Sengir had of value within Nightfang Spire. But that is a tale for another time, another night. Join us next week to hear it told!
Kryss Kryss listens to the vampires stoically as they explain Dara’s situation. He has only 1 question. “Is she possessed of her own mind?” He asks.
DM “…yes, in a fashion. I am not a different person than I was before my Embrace, but I am a different creature. We are possessed of a Hunger within, some liken it to a Beast. If she does not feed it, it will break free and take over her.”
DM “Some of us find that the Embrace frees us from mortal bindings…or that they are most unhelpful in the nascent days of adjusting to one’s new existence.”
DM “You may find that your…wife…no longer desires or enjoys your company…or that you no longer can tolerate hers.”
Kryss “So long as she is not under the thrall of another then she is free to seek her destiny. I will not endeavor to force my affections on her. I will return to Dragonfyre and raise our child and wait for her. She will find me one day.”
Julian “So also no, in a fashion.”
DM Escher nods. “The internal battle she fights now is one we have all faced. Not all walk the Via Caeli, nor even the Via Humanitatis. She must choose, and will, or she will be lost unto the Beast.”
Kryss “So long as she bears Eternity, she will remember her life. Excuse me.” Kryss assumes a silent vigil at the portcullis until the party is ready to move on.
Shael ‘You have mentioned the White and the Black – are there others?’
DM “There are, the Red, the Green…Sengir is of the Black however.”
The party, in the grim aftermath of the battle with Gulthias, move through and methodically cleanse the catacombs of all life remaining within. Little stands in their way, only massive spiders or bat swarms too mindless to flee or hide from their wrath. Dara is not found, although her ring is located within the tomb of Gulthias’ mother. It seems she may have been here recently. No sign of Reynard remains. Was he turned, or destroyed?
The brazier room served as an escape for those who were able to get to it safely, and seems likely most fled through these means. Later experimentation will reveal the destination locales, but for now, their precise retreat is unknown.
The looting of the castle takes a week. There is mundane treasure galore, in the form of furniture, silverware, and other materials befitting a grand lord of such an estate. Some of it has long decayed, but much is still possessed of its beauty and value. A collection of various Blinsky toys is found, a secret vault, chests within Rhunad’s study, Gulthias’ library and treasury…all containing objects of interest, lore and power. In one of the towers, a macabre scene is found…a witch’s coven, all of them drained of blood, eyes plucked out and removed, tongues gone.
Kryss Kryss reclaims the wedding ring he had created many years ago and hangs it on a chain around his neck.
DM Once the lords make their way to Sengrad, they receive news that the protector they sent to the town, Tanleth the Fantastic is gone. A powerful mage appeared from the sky and Tanleth was forced to flee. Most in Sengrad paint the picture of Tanleth as a complete coward, though Milivoj scoffs at the accusation. Had he remained, the sullen youth points out, they could have all been destroyed by the other mage. Tanleth likely save all of them in his retreat.
DM In Anakovia, the end of Tanleth is made very clear. The entire village exists in a twisted time loop. Upon entering, the lords watch the last minutes of Tanleth’s existence play out over and over again, each time Andor-Kralik destroys him. The people go about their lives unable to be affected in the slightest by outside forces.
DM Kryss remains behind in Gulvania, but the other two lords do return sooner to Dragonfyre. They are greeted eagerly by their people, who have only recently fought off a brutal raiding party of giants. To hear the tale told, it seems the giants were not uniform in kind…towering giants of frost fought alongside titans of flame and fury. The destruction they wrought was significant, but the highly trained militia did not break as it did in nearby cities. It seems that the entire world of man is under attack by giants of legend. Dragonfyre’s remote location and staunch defenders allowed it to come through better than most. Finally in Ossington, Griswold lies dead, torn apart by what were described as metallic wolves or cougars.
DM Emily and Tom Bing are safe and sound however, neither giant nor metal wolf threatened the daughter of Kryss while in her butler’s charge.
Julian Though he intends to leave sooner than Kryss, still before leaving Julian asks the baroness and Ireena, the only remaining representatives of the former ruling families, to meet with the party and discuss the future government of the valley
Julian He is armed with a proposal for the baroness that involves bringing the area back into the orbit of brindinford under the protection and patronage if dragonfire, including providing men and funds to drive back some of the remaining pockets of gothic horror and begin rebuilding efforts.
Julian He is less certain whether Ireena is interested in taking up what remains of the family’s lordship or even in remaining in the region at all, so he asks her.
Julian Dragonfire support is also available if she is interested in leading an effort to reclaim and resettle the ruins of Gulvania.
Julian Or a place of honor at Dragonfire, or support establishing herself in Brindinford…?
DM It takes some time, due to the nature of the accident, but the lords finally locate Ireena within the Abbey of Anakovia. She walks towards a blessed pool within, her eyes fixed on something within that only she seems to be able to see. She reaches towards it…
…and walks towards a blessed pool within, her eyes fixed on something within that only she seems to be able to see.