Bond of Brothers

The Darkness from Above

19th Session

From the Journal of Quinn and Alexi Goldenscale

Alexi:
As Xanos prepares to launch his dragon, the city prepares for battle. From our discussions we expect Xanos to fly over with his dragon to try and use the dragon fear to the army’s advantage. We have one Ballista setup that will be able to launch a cluster of spears and nets, hopefully it hits/impedes the dragon.

Lon is still missing presumably chasing after Caleb. I had gone and see Marcus earlier to see whether he had anything that was effective against a black dragon. While he had nothing that could damage or bring it down he was able to give me two potions of Resist Acid (5 Resist 1hr duration), he did note that they taste particularly disgusting (Fort Save). I gave one to Quinn.

Quinn:
Battle was about to be joined between the city of Hargoth and the Black Dragon Army, with the High Master Xanos and his Black Dragon leading the way. Were the defences we had constructed enough? Was I the one who should have been leading the city’s defence in the first place?!? All these thoughts ran through my mind as I stepped forward and held the Dragonlance high for all to see and prayed loudly to Paladine for his blessing and guidance in the hours to come. I know Alexi cast a spell on me to better give all the defenders a chance to see me for there were cheers from all sides of the wall. Hopefully it would help the cause…

Alexi:
Xanos launches his dragon and he heads for a section of wall just to the left of the fallen east gate. The ballista launches and the gods of light must have been with us because it hits exactly against the dragon managing to capture its left wing against its body. It is unable to maintain its current course and starts to veer to the right (exactly where we’re standing!).

As the dragon approaches its dragon fear spreads over the city defence at the wall. Unfortunately all of the soldiers are affected, Karnak included. I barely manage to maintain control but both Quinn and Nessie seem to be unaffected.

Quinn:
The Dragon fear; it is a fearsome ability, but one that I was not affected by! While all others bowed down in fear (though Nessie was not affected and Alexi only mildly so) I stood tall knowing that if I ran there would be no hope for the city.

Alexi:
Because of the excellent ballista shot (reminder to congratulate the Sgt) the dragon instead of attacking the wall ends up gliding into one of the houses on the inside of the east gate wall. It takes heavy damage. Xanos was barely able to get off the dragon before it hits. He lands where we are.

Quinn:
An amazing shot by the SGT ballista crew! He must have trained there hard since sinking Castor’s ship! This gave us an opportunity for saving the city or at least holding out longer.

Alexi:
Xanos charges me (how rude) and attacks. I manage to dimensional door away and both Nessie and Quinn attack him. Karnak is still feared from the dragon’s presence. The black dragon finally manages to get out of the house wreckage and goes and attacks Quinn. Quinn and Nessie engage the dragon while Xanos and I go head to head. Luckily Xanos and the dragon ended up fighting back-to-back and I was able to use my fire area spells to great effect. When Xanos gets critically low he attempts to flee and tries to hop onto the back of the dragon, instead he fails the jump and ends up crashed on the floor. Quinn (with his Dragonlance {I really need to identify that btw} and Nessie have also managed to do considerable damage to the black dragon. The dragon grabs Xanos and takes off attempting to flee back to the dragon army. At this point Karnak has finally managed to overcome the dragon fear (Quinn’s Paladine battle roars may have helped as well) and he is trying to get the archers on the wall to try and shoot at the dragon. Quinn clearly frustrated that the dragon and Xanos are getting away even attempts to use a longbow to attack them. Luckily the dragon is unable to move fast enough to be out of range from me and I launched my mighty fire spells that do extensive damage to the dragon. Unfortunately it is just not enough {1hp short}, Karnak has managed to get six of the archers on the wall to start attacking the dragon. One of them (We would later learn he is a young recruit named Vincent) managed to fire an arrow {Natural #20 – 4 damage} which caused the dragon to crash onto the battlefield, Xanos presumably squished underneath.

The black Dragon army attempt to reach the corpse of the dragon and Xanos to attempt to save them (The leader seemed to be powerful mage), I launch my fire area spells and although the mage raises a shield the whole area is burned, with many of the army being killed. (Mage was hurt even through his shield {Burn Everything – best feat ever}). The dragon and presumably Xanos were charred.

Quinn:
As the dragon flew pass, Nessie and I were both able to strike the dragon for damage. The Dragonlance bit deep and passed effortlessly through its scales; a majestic weapon. Xanos charged straight at Alexi – it was like Nessie and I did not exist for all Xanos wanted to do was kill Alexi. Foolish really for this gave us a chance to strike Xanos and wound him; the dragon lance again striking hard. Then Alexi teleported and Xanos followed him but Nessie and I could not help for the Dragon was upon us.

It was at this point in the middle of battle I realised my mistake. The potion to help me resist acid was still in my belt pouch! I quickly opened it and drank it down. The taste was bitter by not really all that bad. I am not sure why Alexi was so worried about it. With the potion shallowed the fight continued; Alexi seemed to have bested Xanos for the coward was trying to escape back to the dragon and climb on its back. He failed badly and ended up prone on the ground.

Meanwhile the dragon and I were both bleeding and Nessie was also looking a lot worst as well. The dragon’s tail was wrapped around me, slowly trying to crush me in its grip, but Nessie and I were able to break the hold and cut deep into the dragon’s exposed underbelly. The dragon lance I just kept pushing deeper into the dragon until I was free and then I ripped it free.
At this point the dragon tried to escape and picked up an unconscious Xanos in its claws and started to fly away. I was so angry that I even tried to shot the beast with a longbow – I missed horribly. Luckily Ivan had managed to rally some troops on the back of my commands and some archers managed to fire. One lucky shot hit the dragon and it fell to earth. Xanos and the Dragon were DEAD and the archer once I found him needed a promotion and reward!
{XP Gained – Black dragon, Xanos, army who tried to reach the dragon)

Alexi:
The army falls back. (Mage teleported away rather than face me :D).
As we are surveying the damage from the fight we hear a horn sound from somewhere near the north gate. Quinn heads off with an initial group of 1st Squadron, while Karnak, I and the rest of 1st Squadron are coming up the rear.

Quinn:
With the army outside the gates in disarray, I called the Lieutenant to me and told him to take control of the Wall as one of my lancers had arrived bloodied saying that the enemy was trying to breach the city via another means. Could it be a sewer attack? I gathered 1st squad to me and ordered them to follow as best they could in the direction the lancer had indicated. Alexi and Karnak would follow with 1st Squad.

What I found was not good. Another magical circle was on the ground and hobgoblins and ogres were trying to make a beachhead around the portal. Lon and local troops were holding their ground and we had two archers on nearby rooves providing support. Nessie is with me so we charge in and help hold the line, knocking ogres back on to the circle. I did this hopefully stop others coming through as the portal might have been two-way, but in fact it kills the ogres as the portal is one way only – standing on this side kills the poor unfortunate creature.

At the same time Nessie is attacked by a Kapak and after slaying the creature I eventually work out that the Shaman is around somewhere as well. I tell her to go and warn Alexi and 1st Squad so that they can deal with any other draconians that might have already come through the portal!

Alexi:
As we head towards the north gate I notice that up ahead in the middle of the main gate is a magical circle up ahead and it seems creatures are coming through it from the black dragon army. I am able to get an initial sense of its magic {arcana roll}. It’s a localised circle similar to the shaman’s Minotaur but this is connected to someone here that it is using as a focal point. As we approach Nessie comes charging back and tries to tell me something. {Rolling a #1} I assume that Quinn needs us urgently up at the circle and so we head off. Unfortunately what I find out later is that Nessie had smelled out the Shaman (to the east) and Quinn had sent her back to warn us {Nessie face-palms}, unfortunately not understanding her we walk straight into a trap set-up by the shaman.

He appears behind us and blasts our group (Was Invisible). 1st Squadron are wiped out and Karnak is badly injured. I manage to deflect most of the damage. The shaman laughs and suddenly 3x Sivaks appear. Nessie heads straight for the shaman and claw attacks him. I launch an attack at him as well, but unfortunately there’s a backlash effect psychic damage and he’s mind controlled me (I still can act but he can affect change). Lon has broken away from the fight at the circle and launches at 2 of the Sivaks and engages them in combat. I cast a wall of fire that will impede the Sivaks, unfortunately being mind-controlled by the shaman, I instead drop the wall of fire on top of myself. The shaman being badly injured attempts to flee. Nessie wanting blood charges after him and manages to kill them {Nessie ftw}. Luckily the mind-control is broken and I manage to get out of the wall of fire (taking a little damage). Getting a better chance to examine the circle, with the shaman dead it is unable to keep open. I sense that the presence on the other side (The trio of mages) are attempting to connect to something else to maintain the portal. I sense that their connection is directly to the west. I find out Quinn has already head there and is engaged with a Kapak that is attacking Caleb who has collapsed on the ground gravely wounded. I find out later from Quinn that there was two Aurak type draconians who were clerics of Takhissis, one that exploded in a burst. The other was dead but was still a corpse because Caleb’s kitana was stuck into it (Interesting ability).

Quinn:
With the battle for the portal almost won I turn back to see Alexi, Ivan, Nessie and 1st Squad involved in a fight with the Shaman and Sivaks that he had managed to hide as well. Alexi is even standing in his own fire spell affects. I did not know he could do that! (GM: HAHAHA) Lon says that Caleb came back as well and is on the other side of the two houses we are fighting in front of, so I head in that direction as Lon leaps to the roof tops to fight the Sivaks.

What I find it chilling – Gold scaled draconian clerics of Takhissis and another Kapak battling Caleb! One of the clerics (or Aurak’s I have since been informed) was pinned to the side of a house by the Grandmasters Katana. I charged the second cleric and watched as the Dragonlance pierced the black aura around it. It died quickly to the lance, but as I pulled the weapon free the beast exploded! Caleb took the blast and fell. As I watched the Kapak looked at me and smiled and stabbed its poisoned blade into Caleb’s body.

Screaming my rage I called on Paladine and struck true at the Kapak, slaying it but once more Caleb was hurt from poison as the Kapak exploded. I tried hard to heal Caleb, but if not for Alexi’s timely arrival I believe that Caleb would not have lived. As it is he is still recuperating at the keep.

Alexi:
I manage to reach Caleb and quickly examine that he is very well near death. I manage to remove the poison {Heal Check}, and Caleb somehow manages to stabilize himself {saving throw of 21 DC 20 +2 from Sun Domain so roleplaying as saved by his clericness}.
With the Aurak clerics destroyed there are no other creatures nearby that the trio of mages can use as a focal point and the circle dissipates.
Caleb is taken to a triage centre.
{XP Gained – 3x Hobgoblins, 4x Ogres, 2x Kapaks, 1x Shaman, 3x Sivaks, 2x Gold Draconian Clerics of Takhissis}.
{Items gained – Takhissis Amulet from the Cleric that was held by Caleb’s Kitana, we tied rope around the kitana and pulled it out of the Cleric. The body then exploded, the shaman had no items on him – we find out later he didn’t expect to survive the attack and had left them at the command tent in the black dragon army camp).
Quinn makes his way back to the East wall to get an update on the situation.

Quinn:
With the battle of the portal won, Alexi remains behind to watch the area and help Ivan and the remains for 1st Squad clean up and take down any remaining foes. I returned to the East Gate to see the Black Dragon Army in full retreat! As I watch I order the last of my lancers to saddle up and follow me out. The defenders are cheering for we have won this battle! A dragon and its master are dead and true followers of Takhissis have been slain. As we canter forward I watch in amazement as two White Robe mages appears and start casting spells to help route what is left of the black army. The lancers and I fan out and ride point for the two (one of the mages is Timothy) as the pair move forward. I speak briefly with Timothy and tell him that we can destroy the siege weapons and that the pair can save their magic for later. It is just as well for the pair come under magical attack from hill nearby and all does not appear good until Alexi arrives and uses his own magic to help defend the pair.

Alexi:
While I am checking for any residue remains of the magic circle, I sense a great deal of power emanating from the East. I head to the nearest part of the wall and appear out. I notice two white robe mages. One is Timothy and the other is a female. They are casting many spells at the retreating black dragon army. As I prepare to feather-fall to the ground the guards at the wall question my actions. I inform them that they have done their part, the next part is up to me. I head off to catch-up to Timothy. Both he and the other mage are now on a magic carpet and they are in pursuit of the army. As I am heading towards them there is suddenly an explosion and I see a giant ball of fire come from behind the command tent and it hits Timothy and his mage companion. They attempt to block it but are unsuccessful. They are both thrown from the carpet. Another spell is sent from the behind the command area directly at the female white mage, Timothy scream in despair runs at her and manages to block the attack but he is greatly exhausted from the effort. I race to them and hand Timothy my staff of portals instruction him to use it to teleport to safety. He thanks me and both he and the other white robe teleport back into the safety of the city.

Turning I examine the area where the spells have been coming from. I launch a fire blast at the area. It would seem the trio of mages were using some items to channel their powers together. My fire-blast caused one of the items to explode. The impact of my spell sets off a chain reaction and the explosion is a site to behold. It turns out there was an illusionary terrain where the trio of mages were attacking from. It has disappeared and after looking I notice the three black robed mages (2 are carrying a third) and they are attempting to flee. As I get closer I see that they have been altered. I order them to ‘Stop and face justice for your actions’. One of those carrying the third looks at me and hisses. He attempts to cast a spell but I once again blast the area. They have all fallen. As I move closer I attempt to save them so that they can face the justice of the mages for their renegade status. I notice glowing runes on their robes and I attempt to use mage hand to remove them so I can examine their bodies. When the mage hand touches the robes they instead blow up in a burst of flames. They are charred and beyond death.

Quinn:
Alexi asked me to help with the Black Robe Mages but I told him ‘No’ and that they should die. I am not sure if he understands the reason for it. I am not being vindictive; I just know that we cannot let the enemy have their power at their disposal. It mattered not for the three died as they were linked in some way I do not understand. At the command tent I find items of magic as well as the army’s payroll chest and plans. I order a lancer to return to the city, gather carpenters and smiths and whatever else they need and get out here and destroy the siege weapons while taking the materials we need to reinforce the East Gate. Alexi seemed a bit upset that he could not bring the black robes to justice, but as far as I am concerned they HAVE been brought to justice. I oversee workmen as we pack the items (except the magical ones!) on to a cart to have delivered to my HQ in the city. I want the whole table taken ‘as is’ straight there. The chest will be put in my room for later, LOCKED once more. There is something about the lay out on the table that is familiar but I could not immediately place it, hence why it is all being shipped back to the city.

Alexi:
Upset that I was unable to capture them alive I at least take solace in knowing that the troops at Vinguard Keep, Braun and the troops that died when the East gate was destroyed have been avenged. I make my way over to Quinn who managed to reach the command tent where we find many interesting items.

{XP gained – Trio of mages destroyed)
{Treasure gained – 1x Shaman Staff, 1x Shaman Bag, 1x Shaman Book, 1x Boots (Xanos), Portal room scroll, and lots of information about troop movements. Money & gems from a large chest.}
We get some of the city workers to come out and take all the information from the command tent back to the keep. Also to gather up the timber being used to construct the siege machines. (Excellent quality).

We head back to the keep and on the way we stop at a triage centre where Timothy and his mage companion is. I thank him and her for their timely assistance. He queries the fate of the trio mages and does not seem as upset as I am at their demise. He says that he must speak to us about Castor but first we should go discuss the breaking of the siege with the Lord. I give Timothy the shaman’s items from the command tent and direct him to Quinn’s rooms near the east gate.
We proceed to the keep where the entire court has gathered. The Lord, Edwin & Lazarus are present. The lord congratulates us on the victory, and we commend the archer (whom we find out is Vincent a young recruit of the city defence), and Sgt Tagerrt whose ballista tagged the dragon. The lord was curious about the arrival of the two white robes and I explained that my master (Edwin was shocked when I implied there could be mages with more power than me …. Silly fool) and his companion were here to assist and thanks to them the trio of mages were destroyed. The lord tells Quinn that he wishes him to continue in his role and defender of Hargoth.

Quinn:
The meeting with the Lord goes well – for now the city is safe and the defences are being upgraded encase this Lucien should arrive and try to attack. Covered barricades’ and more ballista will be spaced around the city. The siege weapons are destroyed and the materials of the retreating army will be put to better use in the city. Roaming pickets will be sent out to keep an eye on the enemy and now we can wait and see what happens next. The archer ‘Vincent’ will be rewarded as will the Sgt of the ballista and his team.

Alexi:
As we leave Lazarus walks with us. I ask if anything more has been learned from Castor, Lazarus tells us no. Bringing up that the mages might be of some use Lazarus would be fine with releasing Castor into the mages in exchange for any information. ‘Make sure you do it through proper protocol’. As we are just about to leave we receive an urgent summons from Timothy. We proceed there straight away. When we meet Timothy he introduces us to his companion. Her name is Tallinn and she is an Elf. I get the sense that they are actually involved. He hands me the scroll and I read:

The letter is not signed but takes credit for Vingaard Keep’s destruction and implies that he is higher than Lucien the black dragon army Highlord. I believe it is written by Lord Ariakas (The Leader of the entire Dragon army. The thought about Ariakas leads to something that I had read on scroll at the tower of high sorcery. Ariakas is in fact a mage (A Black robe). It would seem that magic isn’t his true calling and now he leads the whole Dragon army. Information on the scroll includes:
• Koos – the shaman, now dead in the city is to deal with Karnak and Xanos if they fail to take the city.
• Lucian’s loyalties are in doubt {Can we use this somehow?}
• A spy at Vingaard Keep made the attack possible and succeed. He/she is searching for information about a Dragon Orb. {Why would the knights know anything about a Dragon Orb?!?!?}
• Kitiara (a woman) is the leader of the blue dragon army that attacked Vingaard Keep.
• The blue crystal staff has been sighted in the south continent – Abanasinia (Verminaard is after that).
• There is a possible treaty being discussed with the elves {Oh crap}
• There is a group called the blood witches which seem to be disrupting this plan
• Somehow Koos seems to be receptacle for information (Things are sent to him), implied various times about different things to keep the letter’s writer informed. He also has contact with the spy and Ergoptis.
• He is not as concerned about Castor’s capture but is afraid that he may provide information {Still more to learn from Castor}
• Koos was to return to somewhere called ‘The Dark’ and warn someone named Ergoptis that we may find him {Looks like we have to find him :D}
• There is a cache (It’s either dragon eggs or this) of artefacts that are hidden. {Have to find}
• Verminaard is aware of Caleb but is still looking for the blue crystal staff in the south.
• Ariakas has decreed that we are too dangerous and must be eliminated (We’re worth it now!). Koos has been instructed to give the moonstone focus {which I already have lolz} to the triplets (The trio of mages – woops they’re dead) to deal with us once and for all. {Too late}

Quinn:
This hidden cache must be found! The more eggs we stop from being converted to draconians will only aid us in the times ahead. The fact that this ‘Blue Crystal Staff’ is to the south might give us a chance to get some leads on what is actually going on in the lands around us.
A treaty between the Elves and the Dragon Armies! What foolishness is this! Are they cowards that they would turn away from the light. The Gods are back and are waiting for us to embrace them once more!!!!

Blood Witches… hmmm friend or foe? The enemy of my enemy does not sit well with me.
The Dark – what is this group?? It is a mystery to the mages as well – not good at all. I believe that Koos never had a chance to warn this ‘Ergoptis’ and since he is somewhere nearby we will have to consult the Keep’s library for more information. Can ‘The Dark’ mean a disused mining complex?

We will speak with Castor once more and if we can create a crack in his mind that the ‘Mind Mage’ Tallinn can get through so that we can learn of the secret location of the cache then I will help.

Alexi:
After reading the letter it has confirmed several things but made others incredibly more complicated. Unfortunately with the shaman expecting his death during the attack he might have already informed the spy & Ergoptis about us.

Timothy explains to use that he was most upset by the dragon eggs and the corruption we had detailed. He had to get to the ruined temple and remove them at once. He tells us they are now safe. He has examined the staff of the shaman and tells us he believes it is used in the corruption ritual of the dragon eggs {Holy crap, can we learn something to counter it}. When I query about the elves treaty he asks Tallinn but she shrugs. He gives me a glance and I understand that he will discuss with her in private (because she does know something). Timothy is convinced that Castor knows about these dragon eggs and where they came from. He has brought Tallinn because she is a mind mage and might be able to get some information from him. We explain about the training he has undergone but we will organize for them to meet him.

From the Journal of Timothy
It seems I made the right decision with taking Alexi as my apprentice. I know I had my reservations at the time, especially considering his family ties, but I do put a lot of credence in what Whoopus says. Well the old man was right again. The young man is certainly becoming a power. I know that Tal councils caution, but we don’t have much time left. I did remind her that at no small risk to his brother and himself Alexi gave us the means to escape the battle before the outcome was known and to me that counts for much. I think we will have to bring him in sooner than I thought.

From the Journal of Vincent
OMFG!!!!!!! I actually managed to kill a dragon!!!! And both the Lord of the City and Sir Quinn praised me in front of all the men!! I am like walking on air! Big Kev said it was a lucky shot, and maybe it was, but as the sarge said.. I did it where Kev missed!! I was talking to the men last night, and we all agree, if it wasn’t for Sir Quinn the city would have fallen days ago. Always knew the Lord was a smart man, best thing he did was removing Sir Edwin and putting Sir Quinn in command. Sir Quinn is nothing like that other knight… Sir Edwin is a real dick…..

From the Journal of Lon
Bloody Caleb!! He better not die, because I am going to kill him myself… sending me on a chase like that… Bloody clerics… bloody monks…

From the Journal of Nessie
MMMM… Shaman tastes good…..

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