Episode 11: Chaos in Froúrio
Froúrio fallenThe town is fully engulfed in flames. Norjord and Rus raiders swarm from the destroyed buildings carrying whatever bits of loot back towards their ships. It appears you have arrived too late. You can see several groups of prisoners is being led away from the burning city. As they descend down the path, you can see they are shackled together. Mostly women and what appear to be a few hooded men, you can recognize several of the servants you interacted with daily. A group of twelve raiders laugh and poke at several of the women as they are led away. Higher up the hill, two robed figures look down across the battle field, clearly lookouts. Kyros seethes and you can feel rage and heat coming off his body. Hermione also tenses and a murderous expression crosses her face. Kyros turns to Hermione and Vulcan. "Can the two of you deal with those two lookouts and meet us at the ramp to the stronghold?" "They'll never know what hit them." "We'll free with the prisoners," he responds. Turning towards the rest of the group he points towards the stronghold. "If there's anything we can do, it's up there. We'll meet you there if we can." As if on queue, you see a giant shadow moving over the rubble of the city.
Eliminate the lookoutsAfter a moment of planning and preparation, Hermione and Vulcan vanish silently into the darkness. Vulcan approaches behind one of the lookouts and jams a dagger through the mans back into his heart, and with his other hand slices deep into the mans throat. He holds him up for a moment, and after the light has faded from his eyes, drops him silently to the ground. Simultaneously, Hermione looses an arrow that embeds through the soft back of the man's skull and explodes out of the front of the lookouts face, dropping him instantly.
Save the prisonersBack at the main group, Kyros turns to Kallisto without saying anything. She looks at him for a brief moment and then only the briefest of nods. As the rest of you begin to prepare to assault the guards Kyros stops you. "Continue towards the stronghold. Kallisto and I will meet you before the lion gate." Kallisto nods. "You," she says, pointing at the hoplite. "Meet us at the base of that path, and we'll bring the prisoners to you. Lead away into those hills, and keep them safe." She points away from the city into the darkness, smoke and ash from the burning city obscuring the hills. Kyros faces towards the cluster of raiders leading away the prisoners, his head turned towards the lookouts. You feel more than hear him begin his incantation. Kallisto moves and places her back against Kyros, much as two young kids trying to determine who is the taller." Kallisto locks eyes with Magnus. "Ianthe and I have much to discuss with you when we get back to Asteriápolis." Suddenly, as the first watchman falls, she lunges forward grabbing Magnus by both cheeks. She kisses him soundly. As she steps back against Kyros's, both swords materialize in her hands, flames licking up their blades. As if beckoned into existance by the swords, Kyros's bow appears in his hands. "Just in case you can't figure it out," she whispers as her back makes contact with Kyros, and they disappear. Magnus's face shifts from dumbfounded shock, to a stupid grin, and then back to focus on the task at hand. Otlyn raises an eyebrow, and with a quick glance at the badger, smirks slightly. Cille rolls her eyes, "Fight now. Play later." A fraction of a moment later they appear immediately behind the raiders with a thunderous boom. The majority of the raiders fall immediately clutching their ears and blood forming around the nose and mouth. Kallisto steps into one of the two leaders and executes two sharp cuts across where the throat is exposed on the hide armor. His head rolls back, severed and burning. As you begin towards the stronghold, you can see the two immediately begin to move with a fluid grace as if a choreographed dance. This is the first time you've seen the twins fight together. It's hard not to stop and stare in awe. Kyros steps back with improbable speed and launches a shadowy arrow at the second leader. Clutching the arrow in his side, he turns towards Kyros. He reacts as if blinded, flailing his head left and right to find the source of the attack. Before he can recover, Kyros launches a second flaming arrow into his throat and Kallisto takes two slices, slicing clear through the back of the protective leggings, searing skin. He topples backwards as his tendons are severed. With a final pause she plunges both flaming swords into his chest and steps back. Extinguising her sword, Kyros and her quickly begin untying the prisoners and removing the hoods. From afar, you can see Kyros gasp as one of the hoods is removed and he and the young man embrace. After a few brief moments, the twins and Kyros's companion begin guiding them back to the hoplite and freedom.
Approaching the strongholdAs you reach the top of the hill before the ramp to the lion gate, Hermione and Vulcan emerge from the darkness. Kyros and Kallisto are no longer visible through the ash and smoke. Hermione carries a tabard with the holy symbol of the church with her. "They seem to be coordinating the Northmen. Though why the Northman would work with them I have no idea." As the group looks up the ramp, the city is already largely destroyed. The gate is not guarded. The shadow continues to pass over the city. Vulcan launches up into the air on his bat winged cloak, He sees two shadowy pillars form the sides of a large shimmering surface. The rest of the group can hear a ritual chanting eminating from the gate like structure. The group sneaks up the ramp and down towards the moon gates. As they approach both Magnus and Eunice clank along. As they break into a run down the second ramp, they see a tall, thin man in church vestments. The group jumps the final wall and lands with a loud clank on the ground. Vulcan sprints around the gate and engages the warlock, he connects with both daggers. Unfortunately, the warlock completes the incantation. "Come forth servants of the lord! You are called to serve!" As the gate shimmers, two huge shapes duck under the crossbeam and emerge, accompanied by an equally enormous pet. The rest of the group engages the giant figures emerging from the gate. Hermione jumps atop the wall and starts loosing arrows at the Frost Giants. Eunice manifests her spiritual weapon and attacks a frost giant, while she enages it with her glaive. One of the frost giant hurls a rock at the group in the opening to the moonstones. Magnus manages to turn it aside with his shield. The second frost giant swings a greataxe and connects with Eunice. Magnus concludes the church has fallen to evil by summoning these foul beasts. His sword flares, and he charges the frost salamander and a strike of light and lightening collides with the creature. Otlyn sends a fireball towards the salamander as well. The salamander rears back and breathes a blast of cold towards the opening. The group wearing the dragon armor shakes off the breath with minor damage. Unfortunately Patroclus is unable to avoid the breath, killing him instantly. Cille's axe begins to urge her into combat. After recovering from the shock, she shouts and hurls the axe into one of the giants. Exploding in a clap of thunder, the axe embeds in the giant and then snaps back into her hand. Her spiritual weapon materializes next to the salamander. Combat continues, and the group eliminates the salamander and both dragons.
Once is Never EnoughWith a cackle, Cardinal Innocentius slams a staff to the ground, calling to the lord along with the phrase of "Return hecate, and restore your power." As you look around, the dead begin to rise. The giants, the salamander and even poor patroclus. Smaller ghoul like creatures and even the hero Agamemnon. As the dead arise, Kyros and Kallisto along with Ajax burst into the opening. Vulcan, recognizing the threat returns his attention to the cardinal and unleashes another onslaught. The remaining group continues to work through the risen dead. As Vulcan continues to deal out damage, the winged shadow slams into the ground next to the cardinal. The gargantuan ancient white dragon stares down at the humans, wing protectively covering the cardinal. As the group cautiously eyes the newly arrived threat, Vulcan takes the opportunity and snipes the cardinal, killing him. With that the Dragon unleashes his attacks. The dragon knocks Magnus unconscious and deals out severe amounts of damage to Kyros and Eunice. Cille finally manages to defeat the dragon, but Eunice is knocked unconscious near death. Magnus runs over and stabilizes her with his healing arts. The group spends a few moments to recover. Vulcan and Cille begin to strip the dragon of scales and valuable organs. Kyros sends a message outlining their situation back to Asteriápolis and asking for assistance. Magnus inspects the body and recognizes the Cardinal. Kallisto approaches as Magnus comes to terms with his Cardinal having raised the dead. Magnus strips his corpse of all identifying items. Shock, anger and rejection of his past. He sits down, bonelessly. She puts her arm around him and just supports him. As they rise, Magnus shares with group that the caster was a church member. Cille turns to him, "Magnus, your church needs to go. This is a holy war." Kallisto deflects Cille, who sets about sending messages to the elders via her animals. The group comes to terms with the total destruction of the stronghold and the heavy toll on the townspeople. The group spends the hour stripping as much as they could carry, finishing off the remaining healing potions, and burying the dead. The group flees the city avoiding the remaining packs of roving northmen. The group makes their way to the rendezvous point and joins the hoplite and the 55 freed prisoners, and another 20-30 local freemen and slaves from the surrounding farms.
The group will level up after a day of downtime.