The Veiled Blade

Part Nine

Where's the suit?


After spending a couple of hours meditating in the Temple of Shallya Carla manages to regenerate he magical powers and returns to the Markt Platz and The Emporium. Grundolf is inside as arranged and over the next three hours teaches her the spell “Fire Ball”, which she perfects. The Dwarf mage finishes by telling Carla that an experienced wizard often buys and utilizes an artefact such as a crystal ball, a wand or a staff to magnify and focus their magical powers – such things are readily obtainable in the store but cost a good amount of coin. Carla thanks her tutor and promises to return once she has gold to pay the fees; she then leaves. It’s growing late and she has absolutely no money left with which to buy food and lodgings so she opts to return to the Temple of Verena. Once inside the white-marbled sanctum she approaches a cleric and she is once more taken into a rear room to continue copying texts for the church; after a couple of hours she is fed and given a room free of charge within the complex. The next morning the young Tilean mage breakfasts and opts to spend the morning continuing with her transcription tasks during which she is visited by the high-priestess, Sister Charlotte, who is intrigued to know more of Carla’s background, especially her knowledge of magic. After mulling over what she has heard Sister Charlotte tells Carla that she has a simple job to accompany an initiate to a village to the south to deal with a land dispute. The priestess offers to pay a fee of 24gp for the overnight task and Carla agrees. A short time later the initiate, a young man called Dolph, pulls outside the temple in a coach and Carla jumps in.

Across the river in Reikers Ferry group desperately battle on, trying to defend themselves against the horde of savage baying attackers; as the frontline of militia begins to crumble Ulric, whose reloading his crossbow, notices that there amongst the beastmen are a number of armoured humans fighting alongside them. Matthias quickly finds himself being attacked by three assailants and falls under a flurry of blades – his life’s blood flowing freely on the field of battle. Durgar is almost surrounded by attackers and receives a powerful blow to the hand that makes him drop his sword – undeterred and fuelled by fury he continues to lash out with his one good hand and dodge the slashing blades of the beastmen. The Dwarf ex-pitfighter’s struggle is valiant and epic, but despite managing to avoid many a blow it ultimately proves futile as an attacker’s blade finally finds its mark and bites into Durgar’s flesh, bringing him down.

The second line of militia arrives and manages to retard the chaotic advance but the force and fury of the beastmen and marauders is relentless and the frantic fighting continues unabated. The members of the group using ranged weapons find themselves now drawn into hand to hand combat; Fickenja, having hit a couple of beastmen with her arrows, drops her bow and draws her sword and attempts to defend herself from two assailants but quickly falls under their powerful blows. Ulric, screaming in fury as he witnesses his sister being struck down, turns and fires his crossbow at a charging beastman and manages to strike it in the leg, but before it goes down it manages to strike him hard with its axe and he two is brought down.

As militiamen and the odd beastman fall under the flurry of steel only Heinrich is left standing, but he too is now in deadly combat with his sword. Father Lucius and the armoured knight, having slowly walked towards the melee, uttering their litanies, prayers and spells, finally arrive. The priest of Taal’s spell completes and the dark broiling clouds emit a spiralling twist of air that descends to the ground and forms into a 10ft tall Air Elemental that spins across the front line of the battle and begins to smash down on the beastmen and marauders with its powerful fists; this spectacular magical attack halts the Chaos advance in its tracks as the deformed beasts bray in terror as they witness their brethren being pulverised and sent flying by the translucent being.

Heinrich the herdsman manages to avoid several blows and delivers some powerful strikes onto his attackers but he too is critically wounded by a beastman’s blade. As he collapses to the ground and his vision begins to darken as death comes to claim him, the last thing he sees is the armoured knight charge into the middle of the Chaotic fighters with his double handed sword ablaze with magical flames; the blade swings left and right in extreme arcs and cleaves a number of beastmen into two.

There is only darkness; all members of the group have fallen in combat. Then, slowly, they all awaken to soft candlelight and the sound of a woman’s voice muttering a prayer. The members of the group possessing good night vision observe the low stone roof adorned with circles of thorn branches, the walls with strands of creeping ivy and nooks holding bird nests – they quickly realise they are inside the Temple of Taal.

.With her healing prayer complete, the druid priestess, Galina, withdraws and the group sit up from their stone plinth to find Father Lucius and the armoured knight, sans helmet, gazing upon them. The priest of Taal thanks them for their valiant defence of the village, which bought him the time necessary to cast the powerful Elemental spell. Ulric, something of a ungracious snotnose and perhaps traumatised at seeing his sister being struck down by beastmen, responds to the priest with some insulting words, which in turn results in the stern knight pointing out the beggar’s cowardly flight during the battle. There is a harsh exchange of words between Ulric and the knight, who identifies himself as Sir Gregor, the group’s target for assassination. Father Lucius steps in and calms both parties down. Cadrigar and Ulric ask a series of questions about the nature of the Chaotic attacks and their cause – Lucius tells them that the trouble started a month ago when a village simpleton, Martin Wulfman, who often went wandering out into the neighbouring woods, discovered a book out amongst the trees and made the acquaintance of a mysterious man called Grimalpappa, whom Lucius suspects is a Chaos sorcerer. After spreading the news of his new sinister acquaintance and his outlandish teachings amongst the village Martin was driven out; since then a steady stream of beastmen and other unholy creatures have poured out of the forest and attacked the fortifications.

The group thank him for healing them and ask what else they can do to help the village and he tells them once more that the best assistance then can provide is to return to Reiksdorf and acquire the help of the Temple of Ulric. Sir Gregor counters the priest’s words by saying that they should strike the beastmen’s camp during the day before they muster for the next night attack; Lucius shows consternation and weariness at this suggestion, reiterating his previous misgivings that all manpower is needed to defend the village against the rising tide of Chaos and that these forces are too powerful to be defeated by a handful of men – he also states that it would be a suicide mission, something that does little to deter Sir Gregor who seems to desire a death fighting in the name of his god. Durgar is also very keen to take up Sir Gregor’s plan, telling Lucius that a small force will be able to sneak in and out of the enemy camp and assassinate the Chaos commander – half of the group agrees with his plan. Fickenja and the other half of the group think the proposition is too risky and opt instead to build a raft and return to Reiksdorf and carry out Lucius’ plan to secure the help of the Temple of Ulric.

Fickenja, Jeffric and Matthias leave the temple and meet up with the artisan detailed by Lucius. They quickly set about creating a vessel capable of transporting the three of them across the Reik. After a couple of hours an unpleasant looking man wanders over and begins to watch them; when Jeffric approaches him and engages him in conversation the man asks a series of questions concerning who the group is, where they have come from and what they are up to. Jeffric answers the questions by saying that they are representatives of Sister Anneta and the Temple of Shallya; he then asks the man’s name and the man abruptly turns and walks away from them without comment. Fickenja, suspecting that the man intends to steal their boat, decides to follow him, and observes him entering a nearby cottage. She peaks through a window and sees that the man is talking to another dodgy looking man sat at a table – the other man spots Fickenja at the window and moments later she is confronted by the first man who threatens her with violence if she doesn’t leave – which she does, very quickly. The female beggar reports back to the others and they decide that she should go and find some additional help in the village to ensure their raft isn’t stolen. She ends up at the jetty and stumbles into the village elder, Oberon, who has put his previous misgivings about the group aside having witnessed them heroically fighting the beastmen. Fickenja tells the old man her fears and he immediately obtains the assistance of two strapping and trust-worthy local men to go with the beggar and help transport the raft out along the outside of the fortifications so that the more desperate villagers don’t accost them as they set sail.

After re-arming themselves with the weapons and armour of the fallen, Durgar, Cadrigar, Ulric and Heinrich join Sir Gregor and walk out from the village plunge into the forest. The forest ground has been churned up into a messy bog from more than a hundred beastmen passing through and the group pick their way through the tangle of broken branches and trampled trails to determine the general direction from which the attacking force has originated from. While they progress steadily through the dark forest, Sir Gregor refusing to slacken his pace or lose time by being cautious, Cadrigar decides to use the opportunity to ask the zealous knight some questions about his background. Sir Gregor tells the Elf pedlar that he lives to fight the forces of evil and corruption and will not rest until he has destroyed the taint from the world. When asked about his fearsome weapon, the flaming sword, was a gift from his patron, the Lawful god, Solkan. Both Cadrigar and Ulric have heard the rumours concerning this elusive and extreme god, and know that it is worshipped primarily by Witch-hunters, who themselves are often associated with extreme acts of religious fervour and persecution. After the small band have walked several miles into the forest Ulric spots a flash of bright colour somewhere up ahead and calls them all to a halt; as they all peer into the distance they spot a small encampment of beastmen and they wonder if they have found the enemy camp but the more experience Champion of Law, Sir Gregor, recognises that it is merely an outpost. They quickly formulate a plan to stealthily attack the small camp.




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