Rafael gets a talking-to by Matriarch Altriel and her cohorts for having tried to flagrantly seduce the servants of Captain Gery Eanwald. They ultimately believed his protestations of innocence (and virginity, as it happens), and while he couldn’t stay in town, Altriel suggested he should hurry on his quest.
Rafael found passage with a caravan for Grainstown, and en route was inspired to stray off. After an eternal moment of walking.
Meanwhile, in the ruined village, Høwke, Wenna andEyfris were taking turns keeping watch. Poor Ix’i had drunk something unbecoming the previous day and was down with an explosive case of upset tummy. On Wenna’s watch Rafael appeared out of the shadows to pray at the funeral pyre. Challenged by Wenna, Rafael flew off the handle and started yelling at her. The rest of us tackled him and dragged him indoors while he shouted “They made me tell them I’m a virgin!”
He quieted down in the building we’d made camp in and was briefed about the sea journey and the village. Rafael cast a Divine Ward (+1 forward to Defy Danger) on Ix’i. We left Ix’i to recuperate and ventured forth.
We trod forward through the rugged terrain until we came to a wall of fire. Eyfris tried to conjure fiery wings but they were swiftly sucked into the wall. She then drilled a hole through the wall, albeit with great difficulty. Only Rafael got to the other side unscathed, and when he demonstrated his protective aura by toying with the wall. This made Eyfris and Høwke suspicious – perhaps he is not Rafael, but an infiltrator?
We saw the ruins of the White City in the distance. Høwke and Wenna realized there was a network of underground tunnels that The Cult of the Red Grave used for burial purposes. Since these tunnels were known to be well trapped
we decided to proceed overland.
We came to another wall, this one completely transparent. Rafael noted that the area seemed to be warm like the height of summer heat. But that was all when we walked through.
We approached the city walls, around which we found another arcane wall. This one seemed to have strange effects on gravity. We jumped through, but during the leap Eyfris and Høwke flew up so high they saw they’d been noticed.
Chasing after the distant observer, we came to a barracks and training grounds. We climbed on top of one of the barracks buildings and saw a tent. And that the dragon statue wasn’t a statue. It flew up, took a well-armored woman off her observation post and swooped down in front of us. The woman, who bore the heraldry of Wyrmspire on her tabard, told us to get down out of sight. We introduced ourselves, and she introduced themselves as Rashne and her mount Behnam.
We told her we were there to kill some Revelers. They suggested there was something even greater afoot than a Reveler party, and told us the tents probably belonged to Macombe and his compatriots. We decided to attack the campsite, which the dragon and her rider considered suicidal for us. Wenna and Høwke got pissed off at them for not interfering so we made haste.
Wenna snuck up on a guard and grabbed her for questioning and learned that weird stuff had happened, and that Macombe might right now be doing something to cause some more. She spoke of Macombe in terrified tones. Just then Høwke blew her horn to attract the Revelers’ attention. We slew the two guards and their captain, but Rafael got struck on the head and fell.
Rafael came to in an idyllic forest glade next to an elderly elf. He took Rafael for a walk and was just about to offer a deal, when Wenna, dressed in traveling clothes, appeared and exchanged nods with the elf. This convinced the elf to show Rafael and Wenna in another direction as they came to a fork on a path.
Rafael came back to life.
Eyfris blew up the wards surrounding the main tent and we stepped in. Inside we found a lab and a dissected corpse. Eyfris noticed, however, that this was no Reveler lab, but something much more businesslike and unnerving – they had dabbled with pure magic, i.e. the souls of the dead. Rafael discovered a text that revealed these people might be doing the work of The God of the People. We grabbed a map, sanctified the body and Eyfris put the tent to the flame (but something survived…). In Macombe’s personal tent we found some money and a holy book of The Church of the People, but with extra detail.
We left Kelli Dogerrty behind chained.
The map showed that the leylines crossed the great temple of the God of the People. Eyfris and Høwke went to scout out the temple. Høwke got stuck on a magically sticky stone slab, and although Eyfris got in unnoticed, she was lured farther inside by something fascinating to the dragon inside her. She found a sideroom which held a large, upturned glass bowl with a white butterfly trapped inside. On her way back she also saw inside the temple. Macombe and two other wizards were chanting around Macombe’s ailing son, who lay in the very centre of the chamber. On one side of him was a pit, on the other side four captives suspended from the ceiling. She surmised that the captives were there not as a sacrifice, but to maintain a balance of souls. On the floor, around Vihnsent, there was a spiral of a shining liquid.
Eyfris returned to the others. Wenna loaned Rafael an unloaded pistol and we approached the temple. Wenna stayed to help Høwke off from the wall while Rafael went ahead to stealthily free the suspended captives. Eyfris tried unsuccessfully to climb onto the roof, and after a bit of a fall crawled in through a crack in the wall instead.
Wenna and Høwke burst in and the former shot at one of Macombe’s assistants. The two assistants attacked them. Battle was joined, but Macombe continued with the ritual.
When Rafael got up the pillar to the captives, he felt that his presence there upset a precarious balance in life force. Once he cut down a captive Rafael felt a hint of divine satisfaction at the resumption of balance. Eyfris just managed to break the captive’s fall by swooping in on wings of fire that proved more permanent than anticipated.
As the fighting continued, Rafael sensed that Macombe’s ritual shouldn’t be interrupted, and used his power to ward him. Thanks to him, Macombe managed to complete the ritual, and a light started running along the liquid spiral to the centre. However, Høwke tossed a fallen assistant onto the spiral, and as the light touched the body, the air was suddenly full of butterflies, and inside the empty garb of the wizard a small thing crawled.
Eyfris, trying to avoid the terrible butterflies, collided with a wall and was stuck there. She did manage to burn herself loose, but lost her chainmail bikini in the process.
Macombe’s last remaining henchman scooped up the bundle of robes from the floor and handed the squirming package to Macombe. We managed to overcome the henchman but Macombe teleported away at the last moment. However, Wenna had managed to cut him with her sword, and with the blood on the blade Eyfris managed to track Macombe to a marketplace in New Tower.
After releasing all the captives from the ceiling, Rafael tried to liberate the ones in the pit on the other side of the room. This didn’t quite go according to plan, and he plummeted in himself. After managing to aggravate the prisoners in every way a naive boy can, Rafael was finally pulled out of the pit only to be faced by angry companions who suspected him of being a traitor. Eyfris almost burned him alive, but at the last moment she saw the innocence in his eyes. “He’s not an enemy,” she said to the others, “he’s just a fool.”
Although Eyfris stands appeased, tensions remain among the others.
Vihncent + 8 villagers drugged, Ahriman beaten and bound, Macombe and faerie child in New Tower