Once Upon a Time...
Written by: Rune (Tetch)Greetings and Well Met fellow adventurers,
Date: June 18th, 1010 M.R.
Firstly, I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to those who quested and toiled for my salvation from Hell, and those that quested and toiled to restore Tetch’s soul to her body. I am still tired from the ordeal, but I am recovering. I do not know how Tetch fares, but I think she is resting. My thanks and praise also goes to Aurora and Vandor for their part in my recovery.
Next, I have learned that Tetch oft kept journals of her adventures to keep a running history for later generations. As I feel some measure of responsibility to uphold her ideals, I will attempt to do the same.
On June the 18th, in the year of our Lord 1010, heroes gathered to aid a town in trouble. Whilst I did not ever hear the proper name of the town, nor the valley it occupied, we did learn it was the birthplace of the now Arch-Angel Satriel (I hope I have the spelling correct; I only heard it pronounced, and did not see it written). Upon entering the town, we discovered the only three inhabitants left: the town’s Blacksmith, the town’s Archmage and the town’s Alchemist (Dr. West). The three were very wary of us, and concerned that we might be coming to take what little remained. It seems a band of red-robed men came to the town under a flag of truce, and while there, stole the town’s artifacts, including one gifted to the town by Satriel, which kept it free of evil. The artifacts also included the Archmage’s Staff and Blacksmith’s Anvil. The Alchemist was looking for components to make potions.
Shortly after we arrived, the town came under attack by several creatures of malicious intent – undead, daemons and minotaurs. Being one of few casters able to cast healing magic, I set up a circle of healing in a relatively safe location at the back of the town, and used my art to keep the defense as strong as I could. The attacks against the town continued throughout the night.
The Archmage was quite learned in the ways of portal magic, and through use of his art, sent a few adventurers out to where he sensed his staff lay. I believe those that went in this first sortie were members of the Revenants, specifically Hex, a warrior whose name I did not get (perhaps McCarren?) and their leader Rev. I believe they may also have been accompanied by Amergin of Coventry and Faelin of Ivory. I do not know if others accompanied them. From what little I gathered, these few went to a graveyard and battled undead, and somehow recovered the Staff. I do not have any details of the mission, however.
Once the Archmage recovered his staff, he divined the location of the Artifact left by Satriel. Members of Folkestone and a few more went in search of this Artifact. I’m not completely certain, but I believe the next group consisted of Lord Malakai, Sasha, Qualoth and Faelin. I do not know if others accompanied them. The group did return with the artifact, but it has been broken into two pieces. It was theorized that the artifact could be repaired with the combined power of the Staff and Anvil, and perhaps some components from a beast called a “Dire Slug”.
As the fighting continued in earnest at the town, I quite lost track of where the next group went, and who was in it. From extrapolation, I can guess that members of Thomas Althorne’s group, (possibly the Arelites?) were probably among those that quested next. That would have been Thomas Althorne, II, Lily, Maximus and perhaps Lok and Eldack. They must have gone after the Dire Slug. I do not know anything about this encounter, save that it was ‘gross’.
Hex and her warrior companion left the battle, heading for home. We also lost Lily at one point to a terrible attack that my magic could not heal (ooc: asthma attack), several of her countrymen went with her to try and keep her safe and well. We also lost Amergin to a different attack that my magic could not touch (ooc: twisted/strained knee – get better soon, Dave), Faelinn accompanied him away from the field of battle. Our numbers steadily dwindling as attrition took its toll, things looked dark indeed.
The Archmage came to me and explained he had discovered the location of the magical Anvil, but all those that had previously been transported were too saturated with magic for him to send them again, and I was one of the few who could be sent. It was myself and three others. I’m afraid I was fairly tired by that point, and have little recollection of who precisely came with me.. I believe it was Whisperrain of the Barony, and Nigero and Eldwiess Valdara. None of us were fighters, but we agreed to attempt the recovery of the Anvil, in the hopes we could repair the artifact and drive evil away for a time. The teleportation ended abruptly in darkness. We did not see an Anvil of any kind where we were, but felt compelled to look a little further down the path. We found a man with two monstrous stone golems had taken prisoner of a woman and was using the Anvil to siphon the lady’s soul into a sword. The man identified himself as Cage, a member of “The Brotherhood”. He claimed the woman was a demon that had been terrorizing the surrounding area, and he was using its’ soul for a good goal, and killing a vile daemon in addition. He did not care that his method was nothing short of torturous. The woman proclaimed her innocence. I determined through spell that the woman was indeed a succubus, but I also discovered that Cage’s intentions were far from ‘good’ and the daemon was in fact innocent of wrongdoing. Armed with this knowledge, I and my companions attempted to stop Cage and free the woman. We lost. Fortunately, I arose again through power of Regeneration, and used a cry of life to bring back my companions. Again we fought. As the golems bore down upon us, I offered prayer to the spirits of the land. They answered, but not before I was struck down for a second time and regenerated again. In communion with the nature spirits, I was offered a deal – I would be transported back to the village, where I could choose 3 people to send back to the Anvil and my fallen companions, there would be a cost, unspecified at the time. I agreed to the cost.
I was transported to the village, but not through portal magic – the nature spirits dragged me through the earth. It was painful, as the path was not meant for a being of flesh, but I did win my way through. The village was still under siege, and only 3 defenders guarded it. I only had a few seconds to choose the three, explain the situation, and touch them to allow the spirits to take them away. As I was explaining, I saw that daemons broke through the town gate, and were bearing down on the three remaining defenders from behind. Not wanting them to be slain, but knowing their chances against Cage were not good either, I made the decision to send them away, hoping they would fare better against Cage then being back-stabbed by daemons. Exhausted, I sank down, expecting to be struck down by the daemon. Fortunately for me, I suppose, I looked as if I’d been dragged through the hells, and the daemon might have believed me dead already. In addition, the town’s Archmage came to my rescue, and banished the fiend. It took me some time to recover myself.
Folkestone and Rev returned a short time after, bearing more pieces of the Direworm for the Alchemist. I explained the situation at Cage’s camp, and the chances that now six were left dead at his hands. We agreed to gather all that was left of our remaining forces and hope with our combined might we could take down Cage and his constructs, free the woman, and recover the Anvil.
Our teleportation was interrupted abruptly, and we ended up back at the village. It seems Whisperrain managed to free the woman at the same time he was struck down. The teleportation spell activated and transported all six back, but without the Anvil.
The Archmage determined the new location of the Anvil, and as a united force, what was left of us ventured forth to recover the Anvil. Cage had brought the Anvil to a Brotherhood stronghold of some kind. There were many golems and mages there. Our few numbers were slaughtered almost to a man. I do not know why, but for some reason the creatures didn’t kill me, and just tossed me out of the dungeon with everyone else. Thanks to a Power Potion Rev had provided to me, I managed to erect another Circle of Healing and raise our forces. After a brief discussion of what our next strategy would be, we decided to take on the Brotherhood again, in a last attempt to recover the Anvil. This second attempt also failed. The Archmage sent us back to the village, and I raised everyone I could. We determined to wait until morning, when hopefully we would have more numbers, and would definitely have more light.
That night I had a dream about recovering artifacts, five of them, and joining them together. The guardians of the artifacts would set us to tasks to prove our worth before granting them to us.
When we re-gathered at the town, we were met by a priest of Arius. He explained that he was there to help us gather the five artifacts of Satriel that were entrusted to guardians. These artifacts were held by Satriel in life, and could possibly be used to strengthen the dying Angel. He had some general idea where the artifacts were located as well. We headed out, and split into smaller groups, looking for the artifacts. We were set upon my minotaurs and undead. It was rumored they were coming from a pit in the ground. Myself, Sir Aeston, Thomas Althorne and Sir Wil encountered a man carrying a white shield with a symbol upon it. It was explained to us that we would need to prove ourselves before he would grant us the shield – we would have to make sacrifices, as Satriel has made sacrifices, before we could prove our worth. We all agreed to sacrifice, and offered what we could, but the guardian was not moved, and refused to relinquish the shield to us.
Rev discovered another artifact and guardian and determined that those of mage-like ways would be best suited to the task, but it would require at least 5 people. Rev, myself, Thomas Althorne, and two others (I think Nigero and Eldweiss, but I’m not entirely certain) went to take the test. The guardian bore a white staff, roughly 5’ tall, with purple markings, white feathers, and a silver hand grip about a foot from the top. It is topped with purple crystals – Amethyst perhaps. We were asked by the guardian which of us had the most faith. Rev was chosen from that criteria, as he is the high priest of his church, and a self proclaimed fanatic. He was sent to the other side of the field. The guardian then took our names and explained to us that we could leave the test at any time. She then explained that Rev would be asked several questions. Each question he failed to answer correctly would mean one of us would get a tick. The four of us were impressed with the severity of the test, but we resolved we would not leave. The first question was something like: ‘Who is the Arch-Angel that owned the Artifact?” Rev got the answer correct, as he named Satriel. The second question was “What is the most evil act you have performed?” Rev answered truthfully, so was correct. The last question he was asked was “Of the four here, who would you chose to sacrifice?” He answered as I expected “All of them”. Eldweiss (I think) was given a tick. “I asked you to choose one of them.” The guardian said mildly. But to our surprise, she granted Rev the artifact, and healed Eldweiss’s soul of its mar. She was impressed with our faith, apparently. Rev didn’t much care to be the caretaker of a holy artifact such as the staff, so found a way to rebind the staff to me. It granted me some magic power – mostly divinatory in nature.
Whilst we were attempting the trials of the Shield Keeper and Staff Keeper, Sir Callin of Folkestone managed to pass the Mace Keeper’s test. Whisperrain also passed the test of the Spear Keeper. Faelin made a valiant attempt at gaining the Shield, but was ultimately denied. Sir Wil again faced the Shield Keeper, and after making several sacrifices (one of his ability to use long weapons, and one of using head armor, I do not know the others, and he will not speak of them) he was granted the use of the Shield. Only one artifact remained - a chest with a series of locks upon it. The chest was kept within a dungeon. The attacks from the Well were getting onerous, and the adventurers determined that it would be able to be sealed shut, provided we could find the proper boulders to put into it. I used the power of the staff to find the rocks, and with combined effort, we sealed the passage to the underdark. This challenge settled, we focused our energy on getting the chest. Rev and Faelin managed to solve 4 of the 5 locks, but were having difficulty with the last one. I used the power of the staff to discern the last lock’s key, and Faelin was granted the Angel’s Bracers. Whilst we were in the dungeon Sir Wil spied the town’s blacksmith within, chained to the wall. He went in to save her, and was slain. Sir Gideon and Sir Aeston were going to attempt rescue, when the gates to the dungeon suddenly shut, sealing Sir Gideon and Sir Wil within. We regretfully had to regroup and recover our strength before endeavoring to rescue them. (i.e.: dinner break was called) It was determined we desperately needed a refreshment of our magical power. Invoking the power of the Staff again, we were drawn to a great fire, where several undead were milling about. We fought the undead whilst I determined (with still more power from the Staff) that there was an egg within the fire that we needed to refresh our magical power. Rev and Faelinn went to find water, whilst the rest of us fought the undead. Eventually, we quenched the fire, and recovered a large golden egg. The egg was for a Phoenix. We took the egg and gathered our forces and went somewhere safer. I determined how to get power from the egg, but also determined it would kill the Phoenix. While it was true we desperately needed the power none of us (save for Rev) was willing to sacrifice an innocent creature for it. We had gathered throughout the day, manifestations of goodness. We gathered what manifestations we could and pooled them, and using their power in conjunction with the egg re-empowered several of us without harming the Phoenix. Lady Faelinn cast an intervention to her goddess to recover the bodies of Sir Wil and Sir Gideon. The Goddess assured her they would be found safe within the tomb of Satriel. The priest of Arius accompanying us revealed he knew the location of Satriel’s tomb, and was willing to take us there. We went, and found Sir Wil and Sir Gideon lying there. We raised them. The Arch-Angel Satriel lay inert upon a dais of light. I gave Satriel’s inert form the Staff. Lord Malekai, who was entrusted with the Mace by Sir Callin, also gave it up to the dying Angel. At that point, the room was overrun by fiends of every kind, and before they could give them over, Sir Wil was struck down as was Lady Faelinn. Wisperrain gave up the Spear, and I managed to sneak Lady Faelinn out of the grasp of the fiends by crawling under the bier and dragging her under it. Once she was raised, she gave the Bracers over. I do not know who saved Sir Wil, but he too gave over his Artifact. Once he possessed all the Artifacts, Sartriel arose, and the fiends were summarily destroyed by both the power of the awakened Angel and the re-vitalized forces from the Realms. After the battle, Satriel granted the bearers the use of the Artifacts for the battles ahead.
We were quickly informed that the daemons had constructed a gate within the town. We gathered together, and went to the town, intent to destroy the gate. Whilst many attempted to force their way through the daemonic defenses, I used the powers of the Staff to determine where the pieces of the towns’ protection artifact lay. With the company of the priest of Arius, we recovered the pieces, but it was still broken. Satriel believed it could be repaired with the proper application of enough magic. Many of us poured healing magic into the artifact, until it was again made whole. Satriel asked me to bring the now whole artifact to the temple, and restore its light, so I did so. As I put the artifact on its pedestal, and declared its dedication from Satriel, it blazed forth in light, weakening the hordes of daemons within the town. I hurried back to the fight, as I had set up another Circle to aid the fallen. Things had grown terribly silent within the town, and it did not sound as if the heroes of the realms were winning, so I took a step of faith and used a Cry of Life. Again fighting grew fierce within the town, and no more dead were being brought to me, so I made my way into the town.
The Daemonic gate was erected in the middle of town. The Angel was fighting valiantly, but too many heroes had fallen, and he was losing ground. I did what healing I could, but was quickly running out of power. I made my way to the gate, and using the power of the Staff, determined that a being of sufficient goodness, or an Artifact of sufficient goodness, could destroy the gate. There was a monstrous Daemon laying waste to everything and everyone. It battled Satriel, but things looked grim indeed. I would not have much time to act before all was lost. I could have thrown the Staff, but I divined that would injure Satriel. I didn’t want that. So I threw myself in, once I determined through divination that I met the qualifications. I could only pray that my sacrifice was enough.
I will not go into the details of the torments I found in Hell. But at some point, in the haze of pain, I saw a Lady of Light and a Man in Armor (I later learned these were the Goddess Aurora and God Vandor) making their way through Hell, smiting any daemon that dared come against them. They carried me away, and I passed out of consciousness. I came two within the Tavern, surrounded by the defenders of the day. I was terribly tired, and somewhat shaken, but alive, thankfully alive. I was told we won the day.
Malakai took charge of me, in my weakened state, and ensured I would find rest.
So ends my account of “Once Upon a Time… Bad Things and Dark Places.” I would not be adverse to hearing other tales and perspectives of the day, particularly the trials for the Spear and Mace, and how the battle ended once I had been removed from it.
In Truth and Service,
Rune (and Tetch)
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 10-20-10 01:45 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 10-20-10 01:45 PM