2152 – Dark Season - Illusion Week - Wildday
The Fourth Honor Company headed north to Quivera to work on fulfilling several sets of Quests. First, they wanted to gather information and material to defeat OB with the aid of the Grand Inquisitor of Kemer-Lexi. Second, Glog has a meeting planned with Mango the Mad and his circus at the remnants of the Spike during Godstime, and that is a journey across a portion of the Great Waste (using the Dragon-newt teleportation pylons will help considerably by reducing the time from a season's worth of travel to a few days). Third, Count Quival has asked the Party to clear out the Ebon Empire ruins that remain in County Quivera.
While in Quivera, the Party had the chance to interview several people about OB's origins, for one of the things the Party most desperately needs is OB's True Name, including the Chamberlain to Count Quival. The Party was able to uncover the presence of a demon summoner disguising herself as a common merchant in a back alley of Quivera. The Party was also able to find out that OB was a member of the Quiverian militia for several years before being discharged. Although he went under the name OB already at this point, the party discovered that his origins were somewhere in the foothills near the town of Twin Bridge Manor.
As the Party headed north out of Quivera, they were alerted to a proclamation from the Count asking all available nobles to aid in an incursion by the Minotaurs into the farmlands and roads north of Knight's Crossing. The Party made all haste to meet with Baron Donn of Forest's Edge, the commander of troops for the operation.
The Party arrived in Fertility Week of Dark Season to find a well ordered camp. Baron Donn, a former member of Team Glarg, greeted the Party warmly. When the Party asked what it could do, Baron Donn informed them that the most important thing was to scout out the enemy's disposition and try to determine the enemy's intentions. The Baron was clear that the most important thing was to defend the area's food-stocks that were recently harvested and needed for the population of Forests Edge to survive the winter.
The food-stocks were held in graineries and larders at the farms of: Ron, Ginger, Maggie, and Fred. The Party's first goal was to head out to Ron's, Ginger's, and Maggie's farms. substantial numbers of troops were quartered at the two nearest farms, Ron's and Ginger's. So, the Party made its way to Maggie's. A small detachment was at Maggie's that had a headquarters that included healers, a seer, and a telepath to communicate with the Baron at Knight's Crossing.
The Party had an area of approximately 270 square miles to cover, much of it overgrown hills and dales. While a daunting task, the Party reckoned that it could cover approximately nine square miles per day using their highly refined skills and using a little magic to aid them. After spending a restful night at Maggie's, who insisted on serving them a warm dinner, the Party headed out to explore what was designated as area "0301." The Party found a set of ruins, Harma, and discovered a cottage occupied by Zeke the Trapper. After a very awkward introduction, Zeke took the Party in and told them a bit about the area. The next day the Party was able to disrupt a major troop concentration to the west in sector "0202." Additionally, the Party discovered a group of young boys who were out to prove their mettle by killing minotaurs! Yikes! The Party was able to eventually scare the kids away before they were killed by the dread beastmen!
The Party scouted out the "0401" the next day and discovered an elven woman being held hostage by several goblins. The Party made quick work of the goblins and discovered that the lady, Celebnara, and her husband had been searching the elvish ruins of Tinor for magical artifacts left over from the war over two thousand years ago between the Ebon Empire and the Elvish nations. It turns out that the clues led the couple to the ruins of Issalin in sector "0400." Unfortunately, the orcs, goblins, and minotaurs had extracted the same information from Celebnara and were using her husband as the sacrifice in a dark ceremony at the same set of ruins. The Party set out immediately.
Upon arriving at Issalin, the Party noted that the goblins and orcs had already done some excavation, and several magical items (tapestries) were hanging around the site. The Party engaged in a tough fight including a summoned Death Drake! In the end, the Party claimed victory and was able to find out from the prisoners that a powerful, half-demon called "the Master" was behind the sudden unrest coming from the Minotaur Woods. The Party hurried back to Zeke's and made it just after nightfall.
Being in hostile territory, the Party set up watches. The first noticed that something was muttering outside Zeke's shack. The Party emerged to find Willie the Diabolist putting a magical circle of protection around Zeke's hut! The Party enlisted the aid of both Zeke and Willie and were able to use the Seer at Maggie's to gain a significant amount of information about the disposition of the enemy forces.
The next day the Party was able to intercept a squad of orcs leading a recon effort towards the farmlands to the east. Using Sterling's nascent psionic powers, the Party was able to determine the attack plans for a raid in three days! The Master planned on taking out the farms and the Baron's forces. The Baron and the Party determined a plan to spoil and defeat the Master's plan in detail.
On Wildday of Stasis Week, the orcs, goblins, and minotaurs came rolling in force, several hundred strong at the farms and Baron's forces. Due to the quick thinking of the Party and the resolve of the Baron's forces, the evil forces were essentially annihilated. The Party followed up and took the fight to the Army commander's base camp. While the Party fought hard, it was eventually able to overcome the significant force at the Army headquarters.
Best of all, the Party found out that the Master's base was a fortress at Melkor, near the ancient Ebon Empire ruins of the same name. The Party prepared a great assault at the bastion of evil. Nearly the entire Party was down to its final reserve of strength. The Party expended all of its healing potions and several of its magic items, including the Sunstone. Glarg charged forward as Sterling went into an arrow trance. Glarg took three grievous swings from the Master, but as the Avatar of Evil prepared a mighty downswing to decapitate Glarg, Sterling shot the Party's final Arrow of Slaying into the Master.
For a moment, it appeared that nothing was going to happen, but, then the Master pawed at the arrow, fell to his knees, and bellowed something unintelligible (and unwelcomed) in Black Speech. Just then, a crack appeared in mid-air above the body of the Master. A dark horse with fire on its hooves and bearing a rider with a dark cowled robe flew out of the crack, swooped down, and rode back through the crack as the Master cried out in the terror that only a damned soul can know, ready to spend an eternity of torment for its foul deeds in life.
The remaining few minions either fled or surrendered.
The Party rested that night in Melkor, licking its wounds and recovering. The next morning the Party headed back to Knight's Crossing.
Baron Kevin declared Sterling to be the hero of Knights Crossing. Count Quival offers a land-grant to Sterling that includes Knights Crossing and the Minotaur Woods with the hereditary rank of baronette.
The Elvish queen swooned for Sterling. She offers to marry Sterling and reign as co-equals for the residents of the Minotaur Woods – the first such arrangement in millennia.
Mortanius appointed Sola to the position of Humakti Bishop of Knights Crossing. Several of the Party's henchmen elected to stay with Sterling and Sola as members of the court of Knights Crossing.
Glarg elected to pass his position as the Captain of the Fourth Honor Company to Glog, and Glarg headed out to the Great Waste to find his father in the Eastern realms.
The wedding of Sterling and the Queen is set for Godsday of Illusion Week of Dark Season, Year of the Overlord 2152.