Corvus Septum put as much distance as they could between themselves and Commander Vahlen’s troops from Fort Rifugio. Once they felt they were safe, Brodus found a set of ancient ruins for them to hide out for a bit while Morthos communicated with Chancellor Gavin at HQ.
While they were waiting, a group of bandits wandered by. Corvus Septum darted out of the ruins and slew them before they could speak. One of the six managed to get away.
Morthos wraps up communication with HQ, and gives the group the news:
Chancellor Gavin and I agree that we must pull out all the stops on this one. There are others that can greatly swing probabilities into our favor. The Holy Warriors of the Nosiriath Realm. Today, we start a trek to Pella’s Wish to seek the aid of Triton 714.
Commander Vahlen sent out scout teams in all directions hoping to find the group them infiltrated his fort and rescued Morthos. One of those teams found them a planned out an ambush on the bridge, charging in from both sides as the group was in the middle.
The battle was kicked off by an Aqium wizard, shrouded in flames, casting fireball at the heroes.
Poor Evaine got stuck in the rear, thanks to some clever maneuvering from Brenna, and the gnome was quickly overrun by two guards and a charging minotaur, and was dropped. Ethne managed to swings around to administer a healing potion to save her after two death save fails. The Aqium wizard gots dropped but continues to burn well after death, nothing to be recovered off of him.
The following day they ran into the traveling salesman Mort and Sons. Both sides haggle back and forth. Brodus notices a sweet hat one of the scrawny sons was wearing and buys it from him for a single gold piece. Little did he knows that it was a minor magical item. In the end, the group buys some healing potions as well as the Keoghtum Ointment.
In the afternoon of the next day, the crew was heading up a narrow mountain pass when they saw a giant rock take out a goat just up ahead. Brenna sent her raven out for scouting and discovered a Stone Giant about 150-feet up the mountain side, sitting back, drinking mead, and throwing rocks at random targets, and laughing. The group decided to dart or sneak past him.
Rigel made it.
Waverly made it.
Brenna made it.
Ethne made it.
Brodus got hit once, stumbled, but eventually made it.
Evaine….not so much. The gnome mystic was hit dead center with a rock and tumbled down the mountain side, dropping to just 6 HPs. She managed to climb her way back up the mountain and back to the others. The stone giant got a good laugh out of this.
Just a day out of Pella’s Wish the group came to a long oak tree alongside the trail and from here, Brodus investigated a thrashing sound coming from nearby bushes. It was a horse, still hitched to a wagon, tangled up in the bushes. Near this was a campsite. The rest of the group came over to investigate and found two dead bodies and drag marks. The trail led to a hastily assembled altar, and here was a dead boy bleed dry, and a young female holding a serrated dagger. In her pocket was a note:
A day out of Pella’s Wish you will come across an oak tree standing by itself along the road in a forest of pine trees. Convince your family to camp there for the night. Take care of your father and mother, then bring your brother to us. Then and only then will you be welcomed to your new family of the Red Sisters.
The group was able to piece together all the clues. Young Abigail was set to join the Red Sisters and was told to do it here. She poisoned her father (Father Isaac) and stabbed her mother. She knocked her little brother out and together with the Red Sisters, dragged him over to the altar they quickly made. Abigail started to have second thoughts about this and turned on the Red Sisters, who killed her. The Red Sisters continued along with their ritual, bleeding out here little brother.
Sixteen days after Rigel donned the Robes of the Fallen, the group arrived in Pella’s Wish. Triton 714 and the rest of the Holy Warriors were expecting them and Triton came out to greet the group.
While Triton and Morthos went aside to discuss how to proceed, the group had time to see some of the highlights of the mountain town.
Brightblade Barracks – training and housing facility for Paladins stationed here, named after Lord Endrick Brightblade
Shrine of Ao – A three-story high church, very elaborate architecture, large statue of Ao on top. Small statue of Elemiah, First Quill of the Sacred Writings, out front
Shack of the First Quill – the original home that Pella (later Elemiah) grew up in. Ropes in place to prevent anyone from entering.
Triton and Morthos returned with a plan. The group would travel to the northern continent of Ramicus to the dwarven city of Khirn Doral, and here is where they will perform the rituals needed to lift the curse from Rigel.
It was a three-day trek from Pella’s Wish to the coastal fishing town of Varksa. Along the way the group got a little more sense of the lifestyle of the Nosiriath Realm. Thanks to the widespread faith in Ao, it was like everyone was on the same page. There was a great deal of respect for the Holy Warriors from the citizens, and a strong bond of protection from the warriors to its citizens. Religious rituals were observed along the way automatically.
In Varksa, the entourage board The Conviction, and sailed north to Khirn Doral. From the docks of the dwarven kingdom they were whisked into the mountain city and taken directly to a War Council meeting. Presiding over this was dwarven king, Karrig Thror, leader of the Dhirnamor Dwarves, and Justicar Aneasar representing the faith of Ao.
Corvus was able to witness the strong relationship between the dwarves and the humans. The humans are devote followers of Ao and the dwarves intensely revere Law and Order. The two groups are not exactly alike, but it is easy to see the common grounds.
The talk of the war meeting centered around the battle plans that Corvus Septum recently stole from Fort Rifugio, specifically they were planning to retake the city of Arabona from the Legion of Aqium. As the meeting was wrapping up, Triton was allowed to speak about the situation concerning Rigel. Both the dwarven king and the High Priest of Ao were saddened to hear the news but both pressed that the group had bigger matters to attend to and that those plans could not be derailed for one person. Triton pounded the table and gave an impassionate speech about duty and honor in the eyes of Ao and convinced the two leaders to allow him to head up efforts to save Rigel.
Triton and Morthos gathered the group together to explain the plan to save Rigel. Rigel could read from either the Book of Exalted Deeds or the Book of Vile Darkness, in the process the book would vanish from this location only to appear elsewhere in the world. The Exalted Deeds was a difficult read, but carried with it less severe penalties for failure. The Vile Darkness was an easier read, but brought with it harsh penalties for failure.
Rigel 108 thought about this a chose the Book of Exalted Deeds. Morthos and Triton would begin to prepare the chamber where the reading would take place and gave the heroes a list of tasks they could complete in the next few days that could help Rigel in the reading.
First: There is a plant called Artic Briar that can be prepared like tea and when you drink it, it will help stabilize your mental fortitude when you read. It only grows in the mountains.
Second: A local dwarven bard by the name of Thaygrin Aleborn possessed a magical item known as the Lute of Soothing. It is known to calm feelings in those who listen. If it is played in the background during your reading, it will help maintain your emotions. Thaygrin led an expedition of adventurers north of here to the lair of Kathaydus the White, where he believed that he could tame the dragon. That was eight months ago.
Third: There is a warrior spirit that lives north of here called Milja who wears a Headband of Intellect. See if she would be willing to let you borrow it for the reading. Milja is Valkyrie who constantly looks to test her prowess in battle against others.
Corvus Septum set out the following day to recover as much as they could before time ran out. Blizzard conditions rolled into the region, limiting visibility and hindering their search.
At the end of the first day the group found Milja, the Valkyrie. She was badly injured from a recent encounter. Ethne healed her up and the group explained the situation. Milja was in no condition to fight and the group wisely accepted that and instead offered to go after whoever did this to here. Milja says it was the Ice Maiden nearby who nearly defeated her along with her pack of winter wolves.
The group headed to the direction the Valkyrie pointed and before they knew it they were ambushed by the Ice Maiden and her wolves.
The Ice Maiden was fierce opponent, able to turn invisible each round at will. Her flaw was attacking Brodus as an attack of opportunity and making herself visible for an entire round. That was enough for the heroes the slay her on the spot.
The group returned to Milja and showed here evidence of their kill. Milja handed over the Headband and wished they good fortune.
Continuing along their search at the end of the second day the group found the lair of Kathaydus the White. As the entered the snow cave they saw an ice mephit who quickly radioed in to the white dragon that her lair had been breached. The group sensed that she would return soon.
The group split into two to cover more ground. Rigel, Brenna, and Brodus fought and handful of yeti in the next chamber while the gnomes and Waverly stumbled right into one of the five treasure troves in cave complex. Luck was on their side as they immediately found the Lute of Soothing. The signal was given and the group dashed out of the lair well before Kathaydus could return.
Near the end of the third day the group climbed into the mountain and found the Artic Briar plant they sought. But as they pulled it from the snow packed mountains they turned and saw a frost giant flanked by two polar bears. The giant was furious that they trespassed on sacred grounds and raised his battle axe up high, nearly slicing Waverly in two.
Corvus Septum separated their attackers and then focused their efforts on the giant, it wasn’t long before they were victorious.
The group high tailed it back to Khirn Doral and final preparations where made. Triton wished Rigel good luck and the warforged began reading the Book of Exalted Deeds in hopes of ridding the curse from him. The tea was made, the lute was played and the headband was worn.
Success! Rigel made it though the reading the book disappeared, and the robes, one of the Seven Artifacts, wase destroyed. Almost immediately his skin began to look better. Triton asked Rigel how he felt and he replied that he felt great and relieved. Later that night, Rigel asked Triton to tell him more about the Sacred Writings of Ao.
Morthos gathered the arcane remains of the robes and believes that a new artifact could be made from what was left of the robes.
With little time for rest the warship were being loaded for the assault on Arabona. King Thror and Justicar Aneasar were both pleased to see the ritual work and that such a great asset to the cause was back on his feet. They asked if Corvus Septum might be up to the task of assisting in the assault. There was a great deal they could do to turn to tides of the way in their favor.
Of course Corvus Septum agreed and they were quickly thrown on a ship bound for Arabona and a day ahead of the main fleet. They had one day to prepare for the landing of the main forces.