The Veiled Blade

Session Thirty

Exiles

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The frantic battle in the crypt continues and three skeleton warriors step through the wall of flames and advance towards Carla, Heinrich, Jeffric and a dwarf mercenary as they crowd around the front entrance. A moment later the undead creatures thankfully succumb to the intensity of the flames and fall to the ground; behind the wall of flames a small crowd of undead warriors is seemingly now held at bay. Equally cut off from the remainder of their group and unable to help them, Jeffric and the others quickly slip out of the crypt and race up the steps, and wait with weapons drawn to see if their comrades can battle their way through to them.

Ulric, being closely pursued by a group of ferocious ghouls races across the main room and into the chamber to the right where he finds it is a dead end. The large room, from which the undead horde emerged contains even more skeleton warriors, although these ones are lying motionless on the floor; presumably waiting to be awoken by the powerful resident necromancer. Before he barely has time to think of anything and with no visible means of escape, Ulric is quickly swamped by the eight ghouls who tear into him, ripping him apart and eating him as he kicks and screams in horror.

At the far end of the main chamber, Durgar is still engaged in frantic hand to hand battle with a group of six skeleton warriors. He has fought courageously and has brought down a number of his foes but they are relentless in their attack and the blows eventually keep finding their mark. As he sinks to one knee, almost at the point of death, a sudden spiritual wind of unknown power boons him and he feels himself revitalised; standing up he continues to trade blows as he slowly backs away, moving ever further from the entrance.
Fickenja, taking stock of the dramatic vision and mysterious presence of the being called “Lex”, gathers herself and determines to enter back into the main chamber and “trust in the blade” as she has been instructed to do. She exits the burial chamber of St Ignacious and sees Durgar at the far end of the corridor under assault from the skeletons. She races over to her comrade in arms and strikes one of the foes down with a swift stroke of the sword. In the following few minutes the pair battle heroically against their more numerous enemy, both of them taking blows in turn. Fickenja herself feels a sudden and mysterious powerful force revitalize her at the point of death and she is able to continue the fight anew. The female beggar’s magical sword causes terrible wounds to the undead creatures and leaches their magical powers, transferring them to her; she continues to swipe and stab at them with a sudden and ever increasing ability that surpasses even the prodigious skills of the veteran pitfighter next to her.

Moments later they have destroyed all of the original skeleton horde and the flames at the other end of the chamber are ebbing away. The four remaining skeletons who were being held at bay by the flames now resume their march forward and walk out through the entrance. Seeing the way clear Fickenja and Durgar race across the room only to see to their horror four skeletons with even more ornate armour and weapons emerge from the left hand chamber, and engage them in battle. As the tired pair wage a desperate fighting retreat they quickly determine that their new foes are undead champions who are for skilled then the previous enemy. A moment later a figure creeps out from the left hand chamber – it is the Lich, a powerful undead necromancer, who is responsible for enchanting and raising all the undead creatures in Grenz. The adventurer’s have strayed into the Lich’s abode and he now directly controls the actions of the four undead champions with the aid of his scrying orb. At catching sight of the master of the undead and his glowing red eyes, Durgar is rooted to the spot in terror and takes a couple of sword blows as a result.

Outside of the crypt the others are shocked to see four skeleton warriors emerge and advance upt he stairs towards them. The dwarf mercenary lashes out with his hammer and sends one of the skeletons tumbling down; Heinrich then rushes in and the pair manage to hold the three remaining foes at bay as swords flash out from both directions. Carla, meanwhile, sits meditating, attempting to regenerate some of her powers, having almost exhausted them earlier.

Back in the crypt, Fickenja and Durgar manage to back their way out through the door and find themselves in the unenviable position of having enemies to the front and to the rear. The group are now almost re-united and can see each other. The frantic fighting continues and through a series of parries they all manage to avoid serious injury and slowly but surely, one by one, the skeleton warriors succumb to the now more numerous adventurers. With all visible foes now dispatched the group quickly decide to get the of the cathedral and Grenz as quickly as possible; there is no question of battling the Lich and Lex, having seen how many injuries Fickenja has taken, also instructs her to leave the place immediately.
The remaining group head out of the cathedral the last of their number sees the door to the crypt fly open as the eight ghouls, who have finished feasting on Ulric’s carcass, stream out with fangs and claws dripping with gore. The group race towards the treeline, hotly pursued by the Lich’s minions; moments later a terrifying roar fills the air – it is the wyvern in the cathedral tower; the fearsome creature has been disturbed from its feasting on Cadrigar’s body by the movement and noise below. Eager not to miss the opportunity of more prey the mighty winged creature takes to the air once more and quickly circles around the ruins and dives down on the extended line of figures racing across the open ground – any of the group or ghouls could fall victim to the wyvern’s deadly claws; only fate will determine who is unlucky. A moment later and the dwarf mercenary is snatched into the air above; the beast’s talons rip through the veteran fighter’s armour and a mere seconds later he is torn to pieces by the creature’s powerful jaws.

The rest of the group reach the treeline and much to their surprise they see Brent and the other two Palace contingent ahead of them with swords drawn; Sebastian, the hired battlemage is also there too. Brent gives a command to Loretti, the assassin, to deal with the fast approaching ghouls and the expert bladesman leaps forward in a lithe motion and dispatches two of the foul creatures with swift strokes of his sword – the remaining creatures quickly turn and flee back to their master, who now remains alone in the crypt, the majority of his carefully assembled army decimated by the group’s unexpected intrusion.

Sgt-at-Arms Brent quickly turns to the group, who are all bent over breathing hard from their exertions, and spots what is clearly a relic around Fickenja’s neck. He demands that they quickly hand over all the relics; Durgar and Carla both attempt to stall the demand by arguing that they all need to get back to the boat as quickly as possible and that they can’t sort things out once they are there. Fickenja makes no bones that she does not want to hand the items over. Brent will not hear of any other option and simply restates his demand for the retrieved relics and tells the group that if they do not hand them over in the next moment there will be deadly consequences. Fickenja backs away. Clearly indicating her refusal to comply with the demand. Brent turns to Loretti and tells him to take the relics before he turns to Carla, who is nearest to him, a viciously strikes her with his sword, wounding her. Loretti’s blade strikes out at Fickenja but she is too fast and she manages to parry the lethal blow. Jeffric jumps to the Tilean mage’s aid but his sword misses Brent, who strikes out at the woodsman in turn, only to find his blow is parried too. Regaining her composure, Carla mutters a spell and touches Brent with her hand, instantly sending him crashing to the floor with her Sleep spell. Having quickly dispatched the other Palace guard with a deadly sword strike, Durgar rushes over to Fickenja’s side and swings at Loretti but misses; while the Tilean assassin is distracted by the dwarven pitfighter the beggar manages to strike him down with the Veiled Blade. The vicious final battle is over in a matter of seconds and all the Palace guard contingent lay vanquished on the ground. Heinrich, who had vainly attempted to urge Sebastian to assist the group, walks over to Brent’s unconscious body and brutally murders him, showing his true cowardly and evil character.

The group take stock of themselves and most of them imbibe healing potion to recover from the multitude of wounds they are suffering – unbeknownst to them Jeffric has now taken the concoction too frequently and will shortly suffer the same hideous withdrawal that Cadrigar recently experienced. Once the potion starts having effect they race back through the Orc haunted woods, tracing their original route, managing to avoid the traps and any further encounters with greenskins. After an hour, with darkness fallen, they finally reach the boat and Mathias. Sebastian casts an Invisible bridge spell, and after Durgar says a quick silent prayer for Cadrigar over the elf’s abandoned cart, the group file onto the ship. They debate where they should go next – Sebastian is furious with them as they have crossed the Palace in the gravest of ways and he knows that he and they will not be safe if they return to Reiksdorf. Suddenly Lex’s voice speaks once more in Fickenja’s head – the angel of Illuminades instructs her to set sail North, up the Reik. The beggar-come-Lawful Champion relays the message to the rest of the group and they give a shrug of their shoulders – there really is nowhere else for them to go now and so they all relent and agree to embark on this new mysterious quest for the unknown supernatural agent. The boat slips away onto the river and plies the waters in darkness. A couple of hours later the vessel silently sails past the bright lights of Reiksdorf as Fickenja, Durgar, Carla, Jeffric, Heinrich and Sebastian watch with tired and glazed eyes. They sail into the night unaware of the future trials and tests that the Veiled Blade will put each of them under as it drives them onwards to its master’s goal far past the World’s End Mountains, across the blighted Wastelands where a towering infernal citadel awaits.

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