Session 28:
Rebirth

 

 

[JadedDM]: Amethyte 7th, Seaday; 666.  It is 13 bells.  After a long and tiring night, everything is prepared.  The traps are set, the camouflage is on, and the tension is thick in the air.  Jerros has called everyone together to go over the plan once more before everyone moves into position.

[Psyche]: Psyche finds herself shifting from foot to foot while she waits for everyone to gather near Jerros.

[Christophe]: Christophe joins the group, quarterstaff clenched tightly in his gloved hands. His face is almost unrecognizable with the muddy face paint covering most of his features.

[Lon]: Lon shivers as he walks to the rest of the group, grasping the insides of his cloak tightly.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "All right, let's go over this once more.  We don't have any room for error.  Psyche, Kestrel, and Lon will be stationed up there," he indicates the rock in the center of the field that splits down the middle.  “When the troops are in position, Psyche will blast the towering rock so it falls on them.  Kestrel will then create a barrier where the rock falls, separating the army.  That's when the rest of us fire at them from our position.  Any questions so far?"

[Psyche]: Psyche shakes her head in answer to Jerros. She knows her part in all of this.

[JadedDM]: Jerros continues then:  "Whatever our arrows and traps don't kill, we'll swoop in to finish off the rest.  Psyche will distract or disable their archers, and Kestrel will drop the barrier.  Then we rush what's left of them, with the casters acting as support."

[Psyche]: "Just to make sure I have this clear, I need to distract the archers before the barrier is down, correct?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros nods.  "That's very important.  Otherwise, they'll shoot us full of arrows before we even reach them."

[Psyche]: "Okay then." She takes a deep breath, crossing her arms.

[Lon]: Lon gulps audibly. "How... how long do we wait?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Until we've mopped up the first half of the troops.  Then the barrier comes down.  Kestrel, try and hold it up until then."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods.  "Azedeth is with us."

[Psyche]: "What of the two mages and the...crates that I assume are carrying the Overlord's new weapons?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Do what you can to keep them busy.  "Draven....Ama....you two stay behind the rocks when we charge--to cover our escape if we are overwhelmed."

[JadedDM]: Neither woman looks particularly pleased.

[Christophe]: Christophe eyes Draven, but doesn't say anything.

[Psyche]: "The woman with the Overlord, it could quite possibly be Lu, who is a werewolf, so I would suggest all of you be careful if you come in contact with her."

[JadedDM]: Amakororo says something to Jerros in Gontorian.  He responds, but she turns away from him to move to her position.  Jerros sighs and scratches the back of his head.  He then turns back to the others.  "Any questions?"

[Lon]: Lon is silent and shakes his head.

[Psyche]: "No."

[Christophe]: Christophe sullenly begins loading his crossbow and checking the sight.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "All right.  Everyone move into position then.  The Overlord and his men will be upon us very soon."

[Lon]: Lon takes out his darts and puts them in position where he can easily reach them.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Psyche, I'll need to borrow a gem for my prayer."

[Christophe]: "Be safe, everyone..." Christophe watches the others turn away to their positions.

[JadedDM]: Nari gives everyone a 'thumbs up' gesture.  "Good luck!"  She then turns to follow the elf.

[Psyche]: "Oh...." She looks to Kestrel for a moment before she conjures what she needs. "Right. I still have some pearls left." She then digs in her pack to hand Kestrel one of her pearls.  "To fight the solders who will soon mass, allow me to conjure a piece of glass," she says after giving the pearl to Kestrel.

[Psyche]: [1d20] -> [11] = (11)

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "We're all in this for different reasons, but we're united by a single enemy.  My grandfather used to say before battle, 'May the Light shine upon us and within us.'  Everyone, whatever happens here today, I just want to say, I'm honored to have met and fought alongside of you all."  With that, he turns to follow Nari and Amakororo.

[Christophe]: Christophe approaches Draven and whispers something in her ear. He removes a glove and touches the side of her face for a lingering moment before quelling the nerves within him, turning away and getting into his set position.

[Psyche]: Psyche seems to pull a glass rod out of thin air just as Jerros says his little speech. She holds the rod in her hand as she watches him go. "Oh, I hope this turns out okay," she says to herself as she moves to her own position.

[Lon]: Lon moves into position beside Psyche and Kestrel.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel walks with Psyche.  "You know...in about a week, it will be my birthday.  I hope I make it until then."

[JadedDM]: Draven, the last one there, watches Christophe leave for a few moments before heading off herself.

[Psyche]: "We will both make it, Kestrel."

[Lon]: Lon starts to absentmindedly drum his fingers against his quarterstaff.

[JadedDM]: Psyche, Kestrel, and Lon move into their position, while everyone else heads to the second spot.  There, they wait.  From their vantage points on the rocks, they can see on the horizon a cloud of dust, a sign of the oncoming soldiers marching forward.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks up to the sky. "Azedeth, please be with us."

[Christophe]: Christophe lays there scanning the horizon, his bow extended in front of him. "Come on you suckers…"

[Lon]: Lon starts muttering in a low voice in a strange language, his teeth chattering. He dons his mask, and his cloak seems to ruffle, like an angry cat.

[JadedDM]: After a little while, the marching troops are close enough to make out now.  There are around 40 soldiers or so leading the way, marching in perfect formation, armed with scale mail and carrying glaives--signature equipment of the Bloodguard.  Behind them are about ten archers in leather armor, and behind them are ten of the Bloodguard Elite, wearing plate and carrying spears.  The Elite surround a hobgoblin in spiked, black plate mail with a massive, two-handed red axe at his side.  To his side is the strange bird-like creature, Krkrakka.  Finally, behind him, are the two wagons and their crates.  A man in black robes drives each one.

[Psyche]: Psyche tries to control herself as she waits for the time for her to cast her spell, keeping a close eye on the marching solders.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I don't...," she says quietly as she looks around.  "I don't see any woman with them."

[Lon]: "Shh...!" Lon whispers as quietly, but as urgently, as he can.

[Psyche]: Psyche says softly as she keeps her eyes on the marching troops. "She'll show herself, when the time comes. I just...hope it isn't my sister."

[JadedDM]: The troops march forward, the thunderous sound of boots hitting the earth drowning out the whispers of the party.  They continue forward, seemingly unaware they are walking into an ambush.  It isn't long until the army begins to pass by the towering rock.

[Psyche]: Psyche gets herself ready, pulling out the fur that she needs and places it upon the glass rod. Once about half of the troops are where they are suppose to be, she begins chanting.

[JadedDM]: The sound of the marching, along with the distance between Psyche and the army, prevents her from being heard as the magical energy begins to form at her fingertips.

[Christophe]: Christophe's eyes widen at the sight of it all, grinning like a Cheshire cat the entire time despite himself.

[Psyche]: Psyche holds her fingertips out towards the rock she is suppose to blast; blue and violet energy cracks around her hands before a bolt of lighting shoots from her fingertips towards the rock at incredible speed.

[JadedDM]: The blast of lightning streaks across the silent sky, over the heads of the troops.  Before its presence can even register in their minds, it slams into the towering rock with a mighty clap of thunder and explodes, shattering the base.  Small particles of stone fly outward, and the troops being shouting and looking around, trying to pinpoint the direction of the attack.  Before they can figure it out, the towering rock creaks and tilts, before falling over completely, crushing several soldiers.  This kicks up a large cloud of dust, from which much shouting in both Renosian and Hobgoblin can be heard.

[JadedDM]: Draven and Amakororo draw their bows, ready to fire.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel holds aloft the pearl Psyche gave her and prays.  Small motes of light surround the gem, and then the gem itself vanishes.  A large wall of pure, bright light springs up in the middle of the field, cutting the surviving soldiers into two groups.  On the front half (the half the party is facing), there are only about 20 confused, disorganized men.

[Christophe]: Christophe prepares to fire into the crowd of confused soldiers.

[JadedDM]: (I should point out that from Psyche/Lon/Kestrel's vantage point, they can see both sides of the armies, as they are off to the side.  Everyone else cannot see anything behind the wall of light.)

[JadedDM]: Jerros stands and points forward.  "FIRE!" he cries.

[Psyche]: Psyche watches as the others start to move in on the front half of the solders for a moment before she turns her attention to the back half to see what those solders are doing.

[Christophe]: Christophe picks out the fourteenth soldier from the left and fires at him.

[JadedDM]: (Surprise round, so only the party acts.  Christophe can go first.)

[Christophe]: [1d20+2] -> [4,2] = (6)

[Christophe]: Christophe shoots into the crowd, not noticing if he actually hit anyone or not. Amid the confusion, a solitary bolt flying past the soldiers might have gone amiss.

[JadedDM]: Draven takes aim and fires.  Her arrow flies across the field and finds a home in the neck of a hobgoblin soldier.  She pulls out another arrow and fires again; this one gets a human soldier in the gut.  Whether it killed him or not is unclear.

[JadedDM]: Amakororo also fires her bow.  The arrow catches another hobgoblin in the face.  Without even blinking, she draws another arrow and rupture's a hobgoblin's throat.

[JadedDM]: Meanwhile, the others can see Quar'toth organizing his troops on his side of the wall, shouting out orders to them in Hobgoblin.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 2?)

[Christophe]: Reload and fire again.

[Lon]: Lon stands.

[Psyche]: Psyche takes a deep breath, not knowing how long Kestrel will be able to hold on to the wall of light, she begins chanting her spell.

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [5] = (5)

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [7] = (7)

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [3] = (3)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: [1d100] -> [30] = (30)

[Psyche]: Psyche pulls out a red cloth that she managed to cut out of Nari's cloak and claps her hands together with the red cloth between her two hands. Suddenly, despite the fact it probably cannot be heard, squeaking from a horde of rats comes from out of no where, running towards the archers on the back side of the wall of light.

[JadedDM]: About half of the archers are suddenly swarmed with rats that they try to shoo away or stomp on.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Christophe]: [1d20+2] -> [4,2] = (6)

[Christophe]: Christophe shoots into the crowd again, and again his shot is aimless. Hands quivering with anger and nervousness, he tries to hastily regain his composure as he reaches for another bolt.

[JadedDM]: Draven and Amakororo both fire again, twice, into the fray.  There are about 12 soldiers left on that side.  Once they realize where they are being attacked from, they begin to charge in that direction.  However, Lon's traps catch at least half of them.

[Lon]: Lon breathes a sigh of relief. "Well, that worked."

[JadedDM]: Meanwhile, Kestrel conjures a beam of pure sunlight to focus on one of the archers that aren't caught in the swarm.  He catches aflame and runs around in panic and pain.

[JadedDM]: Psyche, Kestrel, and Lon see Quar'toth yelling at the wizards.  The two men in black hop off their wagons and run to the crates and begin chanting.

[JadedDM]: Jerros readies his maul.  "Let's finish them off!  Before the wall falls!"  He charges the six remaining soldiers on the front half, and Nari follows after him, pulling out her bastard sword.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 3?)

[Psyche]: Psyche keeps her concentration on rats at the moment.

[Lon]: Lon, despite his anxiety, remembers his orders to stay with Kestrel and Psyche.

[Christophe]: Christophe holsters the crossbow and draws the quarterstaff, moving into the fray.

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [8] = (8)

[JadedDM]: Kestrel conjures another sunscorch beam, frying another archer.  With the five distracted by the swarm, there are now only three left.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Christophe]: [1d20] -> [7] = (7)

[Christophe]: Christophe charges at one of the three remaining soldiers, but the younger, more athletic man easily evades his probing quarterstaff swing.

[JadedDM]: Draven watches the fight, lowering her bow in hesitation.

[JadedDM]: Amakororo fires another two arrows, both dropping their targets.

[JadedDM]: Nari engages with an older, female hobgoblin.  They exchange blows, but she can't find a window of opportunity to strike.

[JadedDM]: Jerros runs forward, striking a human as he passes and knocking him to the ground.  Not missing a beat, he continues forward and swings the maul into the head of an unfortunate hobgoblin.

[JadedDM]: Meanwhile, the two men in black have finished their chanting and the crates magically unlock and swing open.  Two large, ape-like creatures emerge, similar to what they saw in that ruined village.  One approaches the wall of light and begins to beat on it.  The other heads toward the rocks to the side, where Psyche, Kestrel, and Lon are.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 4?)

[Lon]: Lon darts an ape, if within range.

[Christophe]: Christophe takes a swing at the closest target.

[Psyche]: Psyche continues with her concentration.

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [3] = (3)

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [7] = (7)

[JadedDM]: Lon's turn.

[Lon]: Lon lets out a warning to the people on the other side of the wall of light, before throwing a dart at the ape-beast.

[Lon]: [1d20] -> [9] = (9)

[Lon]: The missile hits the rock behind it.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel steps up to Lon.  "Here, this will help you."  She touches his shoulder and prays, and Lon is amazed to watch his skin transform and harden into tree bark.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Lon]: Lon looks in awe at this enchantment.

[Christophe]: [1d20] -> [4] = (4)

[Christophe]: Christophe loses his balance on the rocky terrain, but manages to get off a meek one handed swing despite that. The soldier side-steps the attempted blow to the ribcage. "Gettin' too old for this cruk..," he curses.

[JadedDM]: Nari downs her opponent, then rushes to help Christophe with his.  Striking him from behind, the hobgoblin staggers forward, never knowing what hit it.

[Christophe]: Christophe exhales a sharp puff of air... "Thanks..."

[JadedDM]: At this point, the Wall of Light goes down.  On the other side, the party finds themselves face to face with one of those ape creatures and about ten soldiers.  Of the archers, only three can move and they prepare their bows.  The rest continue to guard the Overlord.

[JadedDM]: Amakororo fires two more arrows, striking the ape-thing, but neither arrow seems to slow it down.

[JadedDM]: Draven fires two arrows, as well.  One hits the ground, and the other strikes one of the free archers.

[JadedDM]: Jerros engages the ape creature.  He strikes it once in the leg, then across the face when it falters.  This only seems to make it angrier.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 5?)

[Christophe]: Christophe sheathes the staff and draws the crossbow once more, taking aim at one of the remaining archers.

[Psyche]: Psyche continues to concentrate for the time being.

[Lon]: Lon maneuvers himself between Psyche and Kestrel and the ape-beast, gripping his staff and waiting to attack when it reaches near.

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [5] = (5)

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [1] = (1)

[JadedDM]: Lon's turn.

[Lon]: Lon moves in front of the two women, gesturing them to stay back. "Here it comes!" he shouts with just a bit of a quaver in his voice.

[Lon]: [1d20] -> [12] = (12)

[Lon]: [1d6] -> [2] = (2)

[Lon]: Lon swing his staff as the beast comes near and manages to hit it, but does not seem to stop it or affect it in any way.

[JadedDM]: Amakororo fires twice more, taking out two of the soldiers in the process.  Draven also fires at the same time, but only manages to take down one soldier.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Christophe]: [1d20+2] -> [2,2] = (4)

[Christophe]: Christophe sheathes his quarterstaff and draws his crossbow once again, a bolt already loaded into the weapon. He performs an overly athletic barrel roll to the left, lands perfectly on one knee, takes aim at an enemy archer and pulls the trigger in one fluid motion, macabre smirk on his face....  *click*... *click*.... "NO!" Christophe bellows out at his jammed crossbow, smacking it with the palm of his hand feverishly. Finally, after several smacks, the bolt fires, but it has a pathetic range and zero accuracy. Christophe momentarily hangs his head.

[JadedDM]: The first ape raises its primate hand and smacks Jerros hard.  The warrior flies back but manages to catch his footing and fall to one knee.  "Ow," he grunts in pain as he gets back up to face the beast.  The other ape strikes at Lon, but his wooden skin seems to absorb most of the blow.

[Lon]: Lon flinches from the fist and looks up when, miraculously, he is not flung away from the blow.

[JadedDM]: Nari takes out another soldier.  Three engage her, trying to overwhelm her.  Another three attack Christophe.  One catches him in the shoulder, but he is able to block the second with his buckler and avoid the third one outright.

[JadedDM]: The free archers hold back, as they cannot fire without risking hitting their own people.

[Christophe]: Christophe winces as he takes a blow to the left shoulder, blade shredding through his leather armour in that spot.

[JadedDM]: The two men in black seem busy directing the apes.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Hold him off, Lon!" she cries and begins praying fervently as loudly as she can.

[Lon]: "I'm trying my best!" Lon shouts back.

[JadedDM]: Jerros, his armor shining in the sunlight, evades another strike then smashes his maul into the creature's kneecap.  When it topples, he rolls out of the way.  As the creature recovers, Jerros comes back in with another strike to the head, disorienting the beast.

[JadedDM]: Quar'toth, well protected by his Elite, says something to Krkrakka.  The creature takes to the sky, and then vanishes into thin air.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 6?)

[Lon]: Same as before.

[Christophe]: Christophe flings his crossbow at one of his attackers in pure frustration and unsheathes his staff, ready for another attack.

[Psyche]: Psyche finally loses hold of her concentration, especially when there is a big ape thing in front of her. "Damn," she mutters, wiping a bit of sweat from her forehead before she begins chanting again.

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [4] = (4)

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [3] = (3)

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [1] = (1)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: Psyche pulls a bit of gravel from one of her many pouches as she chants and tosses it into the fray towards the archers that are still preoccupied by the rats. The gravel soon turns to a glittering dust as it falls upon them.

[JadedDM]: All of the archers seem to go blind at this point, even the ones not engaged in the swarm.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Christophe]: [1d20] -> [17] = (17)

[Christophe]: [1d6] -> [4] = (4)

[Christophe]: Christophe's act of frustration actually pays off, as the enemy soldier, surprised by having a crossbow suddenly flung at him, attempts to catch the weapon, bobbling it in front of him in the process. Christophe uses this opening to bring his quarterstaff down upon the unfortunate sod's head, cracking his skull in the process. Both the soldier and the crossbow hit the ground at exactly the same time.

[JadedDM]: Christophe, however, still has two more soldiers to worry about.  However, one drops from an arrow, then the second.  Looking back, he sees Draven, her quiver empty.  She puts her bow away and pulls out Soul Biter, looking like she's torn between two choices.

[Christophe]: Christophe eyes her again, seems to shake his head 'no'... then stops. He gives Draven a lingering look that cannot be discerned.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Azedeth, Giver of Life, Crafter of Light, Lord of the Heavens...I beseech you...grant us the power to banish evil!"  As she finishes, strange runes begin to form on Lon's staff.  The staff itself begins to glow softly, as if imbued with some kind of holy power.

[JadedDM]: Lon's turn.

[Lon]: [1d20] -> [10] = (10)

[Lon]: [1d6] -> [3] = (3)

[Lon]: Lon almost drops the staff when it starts glowing, but manages to keep a tight grip on it as he smacks the ape hard. The ape reels from the force of a blow that seems greater than the youth's lanky arms can give. The glowing runes vanish immediately upon contact.

[JadedDM]: The archers are unable to act, as they are blind.

[Lon]: "Hey, give me a warning when you do that!" he shouts behind him.

[JadedDM]: Nari takes out the two remaining soldiers fighting her.  She is bleeding from several minor wounds, but looks like she's enjoying herself.

[JadedDM]: The first ape swings again at Jerros, but the warrior's plate mail absorbs the blow.  The second ape, infuriated at the pain Lon has caused it, strikes him in the chest.

[Lon]: Barely as he lets out the words, Lon reels from a blow from the ape's fist. He coughs and spits out blood. "Oof!"

[JadedDM]: Jerros strikes the ape creature again, this time swinging high and catching it in the arm.  As it grabs its arm to cradle it, he again goes for the head.  This time, there's a loud, resounding 'crack' sound and the creature staggers back, then falls over.

[JadedDM]: Suddenly, Amakororo screams.  Krkrakka, invisible, has swooped down and grabbed her.  He is now carrying her in the air, toward the Overlord.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 7?)

[Lon]: Same as before.

[Christophe]: Christophe scoops up his crossbow, and then charges in at the hapless archers, trying to take them out permanently.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks at the big ape in front of her, despite hearing Amakororo scream, she holds her fingers out and begins chanting quickly.

[Christophe]: [1d10] -> [10] = (10)

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [6] = (6)

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [8] = (8)

[JadedDM]: Kestrel unsheathes her glowing short sword and engages with the ape creature.  She manages to score a slash across its arm.

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: Psyche pulls a white gem with a blue hue to it as she chants, the gem starts to glow with energy as she holds it in her hand and soon she throws the now glowing orb towards the ape creature.

[Psyche]: [1d20] -> [6] = (6)

[Psyche]: Psyche, as she isn't one for throwing, misses the creature despite the fact it is right there.

[JadedDM]: Lon's turn.

[Lon]: [1d20] -> [2] = (2)

[Lon]: The pain from the previous blow causes Lon's vision to blur. As he swings his staff, it goes wide, missing completely.

[JadedDM]: Christophe's turn.

[Christophe]: [1d20] -> [19] = (19)

[Psyche]: Psyche groans a bit, sighing. "Hold it off a bit longer if you can!"

[Christophe]: [1d6] -> [1] = (1)

[Christophe]: Christophe, apparently realising that blinded targets are the best option for him, swings at one of the archers. His swing is rather tired however, and barely bruises the archer's midsection.

[JadedDM]: Krkrakka lands near Quar'toth and restrains the elf.  Quar'toth then shouts out.  "Enough!  All units, cease fighting!"  Without any hesitation, the warriors and even the apes suddenly stop, although maintain their guard.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks towards Quar'toth, her eyes narrowing upon the hobgoblin.

[JadedDM]: Jerros steps forward.  "You coward!  Are you going to hide behind a prisoner or fight me like a man!  Let her go!"

[Christophe]: Christophe stops, holding his staff in his left hand and apparently clutching at his shoulder wound with his right.

[Lon]: Lon, confused and out of breath, looks to Jerros, then to Kestrel and Psyche, waiting to follow their lead.

[JadedDM]: Quar'toth:  "I consider myself an honorable man, but not a stupid one.  To think, I had this elf in my possession, and I never realized how valuable she was.  But when you went through so much trouble to recover her, I began to become suspicious.  Then I remember I had encountered her before...you were hoping I would not figure it out, didn't you?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Fight me, Quar'toth...we'll settle this now, like men!"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel looks to Psyche for a moment, not wanting to take her eyes off the towering ape for too long.  "What are they talking about?

[Psyche]: "I.....I don't know."

[JadedDM]: Quar'toth:  "The truth is, you and your Rebel friends are no more my concern.  I have more important issues to deal with.  So I will walk away now...with your elf.  If you value her life at all, you will not follow.  Ah, but as I said--I am an honorable man.  I would not take something without giving you something in return."  He tosses the Lava Axe forward and it clatters near Jerros' feet.  "This is what you truly seek, correct?  I have no use for it anymore!"

[JadedDM]: Jerros seems stunned by this.

[Psyche]: "What in the Abyss is going on!?"

[JadedDM]: Quar'toth issues some orders in Hobgoblin, and the remaining troops begin to pull back, even the ape creature.  "Do not follow, Son of Ravenweld...or her life is forfeit."

[JadedDM]: Jerros seems torn.  He looks down at the weapon at his feet, then back to Amakororo.

[Psyche]: Psyche moves to take a step forward, yet she stops herself, keeping her eyes on Jerros.

[JadedDM]: The army, or what's left of it, begins heading back west, in the direction it came.  Jerros stands there, helpless.  The other Rebel combatants stand about, mostly confused as to how to act or what to do.

[Lon]: Lon looks at everyone, waiting for a response, a word, anything. "What are you waiting for..? Is that it?"

[Psyche]: Psyche looks to Kestrel before she goes running to Jerros' side. "What is going on? You are just going to let them walk away? If she is so important, then why would he actually kill her?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros bends down and picks up the axe, then slowly stands back up.  "I can't take that risk."

[Christophe]: Christophe stands there, stunned. His hands appear to tremble slightly.

[JadedDM]: Draven rushes forward, catching up with the others.  Kestrel follows Psyche down, off of the rocks.

[Psyche]: "But...." Psyche stares at Jerros, as this is what all of them have dreamed about for the longest time. "Would Amakororo want you to just hang back so that she could be captured again, Jerros?"

[Lon]: Lon jumps down as well, grabbing Kestrel's shoulder. "That's it? We risked our lives for an axe? Not for freedom?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "There's nothing I can do.  I know he won't kill her...not right away.  I....I'll have to return for her."  He shakes his head.  "Ama...forgive me."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks beyond confused at the moment and perhaps a bit disappointed as well, yet she doesn't say anything.

[JadedDM]: Nari scratches at her chin.  "Not...quite the ending I had in mind."

[Lon]: "I mean, I guess we're still alive. That's something."

[JadedDM]: Jerros turns to the others.  "I'm sorry...I...," he shakes his head again.  "Let's return to the base."

[Psyche]: Psyche crosses her arms, looking towards the others before she starts her walk back towards the base.

[Christophe]: Christophe wordlessly shambles along with the others, not quite certain where he's at right now.

[JadedDM]: Confused, awkward, and uncertain the party begins the trek back to the base.  That night, they make camp in the Roughlands.  Jerros is strangely quiet, at times examining the axe as if wondering whether it was a fair trade-off or not.

[Christophe]: Christophe leans up against a large rock, his left arm currently in a sling and heavily wrapped at the shoulder. He also, is morose and quiet.

[JadedDM]: Draven approaches Christophe, but says nothing.

[Lon]: Lon is tending the fire, trying to stay warm.

[Psyche]: Psyche sits down near the fire, absently twisting the golden ring around her finger as she stares into the flames, thinking back on all that has happened.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel sits near Lon and Psyche and frowns.  "I have a bad feeling about all of this."

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "You all right?" she asks in an almost casual matter.

[Psyche]: "We were so close...and he got something he apparently wanted." She shakes her head sadly, tossing a twig into the fire. "Yet I don't know what makes her so important...and it just seems like all we did was for nothing. We are at the beginning again."

[Lon]: Lon looks at Psyche and Kestrel, shrugging. "We should count our blessings. We might have died, right?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "It feels like...we've been swept up into something bigger than we thought.  Something we don't understand."

[Christophe]: Christophe looks up at her, his face still partially dirtied from the makeshift face paint he utilised earlier. "Still breathing..," he mutters.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Yeah...same here."  She seems ready to say something more, but then hesitates.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks towards Lon. "If it meant this country's freedom, I would have gladly died for it." she then turns her attention to Kestrel. "I'm not sure I will ever understand." she then shifts her gaze over to the quiet Jerros.

[Christophe]: Christophe stares at Draven expectantly.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel shudders.  "I don't know...but I have...a bad feeling.  I think...how does Draven describe it?  Oh, yes.  The 'eeries.'  I feel like I got into a small pond, but then realized it was actually the ocean."

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "About the...you know...the...," she puts a hand on her stomach.

[Christophe]: Christophe's expression warms ever so slightly. "Yeah?"

[Lon]: "Well, it didn't, right? I don't think it ever meant freedom. I mean, that Overlord, or whoever, didn't even want you or the rest dead. It's like he didn't care."

[JadedDM]: Draven sighs, as this is clearly difficult for her.  "Well...I don't know if it's Shaka’s and Jo'kar's memories or...or....that big fight or what, but...I've been kind of entertaining the notion that...I might keep it.  I'm just not sure...I'd be any good with it."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods to Lon.  "That did strike me as very...odd.  Which is why I feel worried."

[Christophe]: Christophe looks up at the sky. "You'd be surprised how 'good' you'd be with a child of your own."

[Psyche]: Psyche pushes herself up, looking down upon Kestrel and Lon. "I did feel like we were brought into something much bigger than we first believed." she sighs. "Excuse me. " She turns from the two and walks over to Jerros. "Now that you have your axe, what now?"

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Well...maybe.  My mom had me, and she was still able to stay a mercenary.  I guess...I could pass on the tradition."

[JadedDM]: Several moments pass before Jerros answers, or even acknowledges Psyche.  He looks down at the axe, which seems to shimmer in the campfire's light.  "I...I have to rescue my brother."

[Lon]: Lon shrugs and continues tending the fire.

[Christophe]: Christophe nods. "That's one possibility.... but you never know. Your child may turn out to be an intellectual instead."

[Psyche]: "....You're leaving us," she says simply, sitting down next to him.

[JadedDM]: Draven smirks.  "What, between you and me?  Then it really is a miracle child."

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "For a little while.  I have to.  I owe him a lot, and even if I didn't...he's family."

[Christophe]: Christophe seems humourless at the moment. "Just make sure he or she doesn't fight like me. I think I did more damage to the land than the enemy today."

[Psyche]: "Why get caught up in our problems in the first place, Jerros?" she sighs. "You have had your family to worry about all of this time."

[JadedDM]: Draven puts a hand on his good shoulder.  "Just a bout of bad luck.  It happens to the best of us."

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "My sisters always said I was too easily distracted.  Guess that's why I never was any good at schooling, like they were."  He tries to force a chuckle at his joke, but it comes out more like a sigh.

[Christophe]: Christophe shakes his head. "Somehow I doubt that.... I used to be able to fight, you know. It's... I'm ... well... I don't think I can do it anymore."

[Lon]: Lon looks over to Nari'Najya. "So, um.. Nari, right? Where'd you learn to fight?"

[Psyche]: "I get the feeling you are leaving us in the middle of something..." She pauses for a moment. "...Well, I'm not sure what that something is, but I fear it is something important."

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Know what I think?  You're just out of practice.  You did pretty well when you were teaching Psyche how to fight."

[JadedDM]: Nari grins.  "My grandfather taught me, actually."

[Lon]: Lon nods. "Sounds nice. Was he a great warrior?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Psyche...I hate to leave you guys at all, but I have to.  It's only for a little while.  And when I get back...we'll shut down the Overlord for good.  I promise."

[JadedDM]: Nari nods and plays with her hair absently.  "He once was a Red Ram Knight, before he retired.  So he was pretty good at fighting."

[Psyche]: "I get the feeling that is going to be a long time from now, no matter how hopeful you make it sound."

[Christophe]: Christophe nods. "...And that's probably what I should be restrained to from now on. Practice. Teaching others in non-combat situations." He gives off a half smirk, but it looks more sad or rueful more than anything. "I don't know...I've got these platinum pieces...I could always start that farm I wanted to. Saw a great patch of fertile land in Daemon before I traveled back to Bloodtooth some months ago…" He suddenly realises he's lost in his own little reverie, and snaps back to reality.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Don't worry...you guys will do well without me.  You all have grown in power so much since we first met."

[Lon]: "That sounds impressive," Lon says. "Was that his sword?" He nods towards Nari's sword.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Settle down, huh?  I don't know...I could see you fighting rebellions even when you're decrepit and feeble."

[Psyche]: "We wouldn't have done that without you though."

[JadedDM]: Nari:  "Oh, this?"  She draws the blade and holds it out to the firelight.  "Yeah, it was his.  Kind of a memento."

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Have faith, Psyche.  I can't take credit for everything we've done.  I helped where I could, but now...I have to move on."

[Psyche]: "I'm...trying." She runs her fingers through her hair absently. "When do you plan on leaving?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Probably...the day after we get back.  I shouldn't put it off anymore than I have to.  There's no telling what that witch is doing to him."

[Lon]: Lon looks admiringly at how the firelight hits the blade. "That's a good sword." He pats his own staff as if it were a treasure, though one side has been broken off and dulled over with age. "This was my father's, actually."

[Christophe]: "Rebellions.... revolution…" He sighs. "I'm losing my taste for all this bloodshed. I know the land is in a crukking state right now... but people are dying senselessly because of our actions too, you know? In the end, every revolution has the same result. Even if you do take power, what then? You'll displease some other group of people, and another coup begins anew..."  Again, Christophe seems to embarrass himself and immediately puts an end to his politicking before it begins.

[JadedDM]: Nari looks at the weathered staff.  "Oh, well...it certainly has character," she comments.

[Psyche]: "I guess...really the only thing I can say is...good luck then."

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Yeah...that's a good point.  Maybe...when this is done, we can look for work elsewhere, you know?  Just the two of us, mercenaries for hire."

[Lon]: Lon takes Nari's comment as a compliment, and looks back to tending the fire.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Thanks.  I only hope my sisters were able to find the other weapons we need."

[Psyche]: "I'm sure they probably have."

[Christophe]: Christophe laughs and looks up at her. "Sounds good to me, sweetheart."

[JadedDM]: Jerros pats her shoulder, then walks up to the camp.  "All right, everyone...I'll take first watch.  The rest of you should try and get some rest."

[Psyche]: Psyche stays where she is as she curls up to get some rest for the night.

[JadedDM]: The party travels the rest of the way mostly in sullen silence.  It takes four days to reach the base, so by the time they arrive it is Amethyte 11th, Darkday—that night.  (Everyone regains 4 hp.)  Jerros leads the party up a mountain path to a waterfall.  Behind this fall is a cave that leads to the Rebel Base.

[JadedDM]: Once inside, Wedge is started to see them.  "You...you're back!"

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around quietly as the walk into the cave before turning her attention to Wedge.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Wedge, round everyone up.  We're having a meeting."

[Christophe]: Christophe regards his new surroundings with partial interest, although he still seems more concerned with the nagging shoulder wound that is severely itching him now.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Yes, sir!"  He salutes, a completely unnecessary gesture, but one he always uses.  He then rushes down the corridors to find the others.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "We'll have a quick meeting here...it's bigger than the conference room, and I want everyone to attend."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks to Jerros quietly, pretty much knowing that is coming, so she moves to lean against one of the cave walls, almost looking like she is sulking.

[Christophe]: Christophe slouches down against the wall, waiting on the others.

[JadedDM]: Wedge returns to the main chamber with Biggs, Ilo, Luke, Kabibe, Silka, Nyack, Edara and Kilona.  Everyone is there except for Vanessa.

[Psyche]: Psyche sighs, smiling faintly upon seeing Edara.

[Lon]: Lon crouches down, resting after a hard day's ride and looks up at the new faces as they walk in.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Everyone...listen up.  First...I want to induct two new lieutenants into our group.  The first one is Christophe here.  I'm sure his experience and wisdom will be very useful in the Rebels' missions."  He gestures to the older warrior.

[Christophe]: Christophe makes a vague nod towards the strangers and Jerros, but doesn't actually say anything.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "The other is Lon.  He proved himself a brave warrior in our battle, and I'm sure he can provide a unique perspective into things."

[Lon]: Lon blushes at the mention of his name and he fails to meet the gaze of any of the other Rebels.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "You might have noticed Amakororo is not with us...she was captured."  It seems to almost hurt him to utter these words.  "I wish I could organize a rescue attempt, but...I have to leave you all.  I have to go rescue my brother, and I now have the means to do so.  But...I promise to you all I will return."

[JadedDM]: This invokes a series of quiet whisperings and mutterings from the group.

[Psyche]: Psyche closes her eyes for a moment before turning her attention back to Jerros.

[Lon]: Lon looks shocked. "Leaving?"

[JadedDM]: Biggs:  "But...but Jerros...we need you.  You're the one that got us this far."

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "And you can finish without me.  You're all giving me too much credit.  I'm not a god...I'm not perfect.  And besides, like I said...I'll be back when I can."

[Psyche]: "He has to do what he has to do," she says, looking to everyone. "While he did help get us this far, we can do the rest on our own."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "But, sir...who will be our leader?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "That has been weighing on my mind the entire trip back.  But I think I have made my choice on who is to lead you in my absence."

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "The person I choose, I feel will lead you well.  Someone who has the courage and the ethics to guide you in the right direction.  That person is..."

[JadedDM]: Jerros is interrupted suddenly, by a strange 'twang' sound that echoes about the room.  It kind of sounds like metal vibrating.

[JadedDM]: Jerros blinks and looks around.  He opens his mouth to finish speaking, but the sound comes again.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around the room for the source of the sound.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "What...it's the axe..," he says in confusion.  He takes it in his hands and examines it.  Sure enough, every five seconds or so, it 'rings' so to speak.

[Christophe]: Christophe shakes his head, baffled expression on his face.

[Psyche]: "Hmm..." She looks to the axe for a moment.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "What...what is it, Jerros?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros' face scrunches up into puzzlement.  "It's....reacting."

[Psyche]: "Reacting to what?"

[JadedDM]: The sound begins to slowly increase in volume and speed.  Jerros blinks.  "It's reacting to...another Chosen Spirit?  But how is that possible?"

[Psyche]: "Another?"

[Lon]: "A what?"

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "It's getting closer...but...I don't understand."  He looks to Lon.  "Its...sister weapon, in a sense."  Suddenly, the realization hits him.  "Oh, gods...what have I done?"

[Christophe]: Christophe unconsciously backs into the wall even further, waiting for some sort of impending doom to unleash from the weapon.

[Psyche]: Psyche suddenly starts to looked a bit panicked so she moves to the waterfall to see if something is actually coming towards them.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "The weapons react to each other...she knew this...she...it was all a set-up!  'Son of Ravenweld'....how did he know my father's name?  She told him...they were in it together from the beginning," he rambles.  "He gave it to me...because he knew she could use it to track me...right back here!"  The axe's song intensifies.  It even begins to start glowing with each 'ring.'

[Christophe]: Christophe stands now, dusting himself off and backing away further into the cave.

[Psyche]: "Oh no..." She looks over her shoulder to Jerros.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "The gods damn me, I never even considered..."  He rushes outside of the cave.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Wha-what?  What the Nine Hells is he babbling about?"

[Christophe]: Christophe looks at Draven, equally confused. He remains in place for the time being.

[Lon]: "U-uh... Should we follow him?"

[Psyche]: "The Mistress of Shadows, the one that has his brother, was working with the Overlord. Meaning that she has tracked him here!" She cries out before running out after Jerros.

[JadedDM]: Psyche runs outside, with Kestrel behind her.  They see Jerros not far from the entrance, his axe now glowing and ringing in almost rapid succession.  He scans the horizon in the darkness, as if trying to find something.

[Christophe]: "So.... what does this mean?" He hesitates to step forward through the waterfall, instead just peaking his head outside.

[Lon]: "Uh, uhm.. Uh, you guys all stay here..?" He tells the other Rebels before running out to the rest.

[JadedDM]: The other Rebels just stand around in confusion.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks all around, as if just waiting for that woman to pop up out of no where.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Something bad, I'm guessing."  She grabs Soul Biter.

[JadedDM]: Jerros continues looking out at the horizon.  "She's...close.  But I don't see her.  No army approaching...nothing."

[JadedDM]: Lon joins the others in the starlight and sees them scanning the horizon.

[Psyche]: Psyche continues to look, keeping quiet, as she feels that she needs to be to see and hear, yet she doubts she would hear the woman coming.

[Lon]: Lon points upwards, warning the rest of the party, "The sky, the sky!"

[Psyche]: Psyche looks up quickly.

[JadedDM]: Looking up, you can't really see anything.  But watching closely, you notice that some of the stars seem to 'wink out' and then reappear a few moments later.  You realize this is caused by something massive flying through the sky--something as dark as the night itself--blocking the starlight as it passes.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "No..."

[Psyche]: "This can't be good."

[Christophe]: Christophe's stomach drops, his skin grows pale, and a bead of sweat forms on his brow. "What the...?"

[JadedDM]: Some clouds that were hiding Ruse partially move aside, and in the red moonlight you can see better.  The flying creature is a massive, black lizard with demonic wings and razor sharp claws.  It is a creature of legend and myth--but clearly it is quite real.  A dragon of pure darkness, forged from the shadows itself.  And upon its back sits a lone figure in black robes carrying a strange staff that is glowing and singing in sync with Jerros' Lava Axe.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "By Azedeth..."

[Psyche]: Psyche nearly stumbles backwards upon seeing the creature. "D-Dragon!" she cries out in pure horror.

[Lon]: Lon's knees nearly give out from under him. "Wha... What is that!" he cries.

[JadedDM]: A dark, sick fear seems to slither into each of your hearts and eat away at your courage as the dragon approaches.

[Christophe]: Christophe is completely paralyzed, gazing with repulsed awe at this creature. "I didn't believe it was true... they're real."

[JadedDM]: Jerros steps forward, Lava Axe in hand.  "Everyone, get back!  Evacuate the base!"

[Lon]: Lon's legs move by themselves as they comply to Jerros' order.

[Christophe]: Christophe ushers Draven along. He doesn't hesitate to say. "Let's go!"

[Psyche]: Psyche stands there in fear, looking up at the dragon. "I'm....I'm not leaving you here!" she finally cries out.

[JadedDM]: Draven seems rooted to the ground, her knuckles bare white as she clutches Soul Biter as if it were her very life.

[Lon]: "Go, go, go!" he shouts at the other Rebels when he comes to them inside.

[JadedDM]: Mistress of Shadows:  "Powers of Darkness, obey me!  Bring forth my servants!"  On the ground below, several shadowy man-like creatures emerge from the darkness and begin to swarm toward the base.

[JadedDM]: Panic strikes the base, and order is lost in favor of anarchy.

[Christophe]: "Sweetheart..." he says bitterly through gritted teeth. "Remember you're not the only one now..." His hand brushes against her stomach.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Protect the women and children!   Get to Jerros' room!"  He shouts, although his voice breaks up in fear as he speaks.

[Lon]: "Uh…" Lon looks around, suddenly not sure where to go. He begins to follow whoever looks like they know where they're going.

[JadedDM]: Draven finally manages to move her legs, but her eyes remain locked on the dragon.

[JadedDM]: Jerros:  "Psyche, I mean it!  Protect the others!  Leave this to me!"  He runs forward, weapon at the ready.

[Christophe]: Christophe continues to usher her along, backing away from the mythical beast and the servants of darkness.

[Psyche]: Psyche tears her gaze from the dragon to Jerros, and then remembers Edara. "Azedeth protect him," she mutters before she turns and starts running back for the base. "Everyone!" she screams out. "We need to get out of the base! The fighters in front to protect those that cannot defend themselves! Now!"

[JadedDM]: As the small army of shadowmen reaches the base's entrance, they suddenly sink into the ground.

[Christophe]: Christophe has already taken off down the hall, following the others.

[JadedDM]: The dragon unleashes a mighty roar that seems to cause the earth itself to rumble.  It spins around then unleashes its breath at Jerros, a strange black mist.  He grunts and drops to one knee as the strength is sapped from his body.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel, who had drawn her glowing sword, nearly stumbles.  "Where....where did they go?!"

[JadedDM]: Meanwhile, Lon, Christophe, and the others are rushing through the corridors of the cave, heading toward Jerros' room.  However, up ahead you hear a scream, followed by Nari swearing and saying, "They're coming out of the damn walls!"

[Christophe]: "Damn it..." Christophe curses as he pulls his staff out for protection, attempting to continue on through the base.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over her shoulder to Jerros then back to Kestrel. "They have to be inside. We have to hurry." She says as she dashes forward, half expecting a giant shadow thing to pop up in front of her.

[JadedDM]: Jerros' axe begins to glow red, and he stands and swings it.  A burst of flame leaps from the blade and flies at the dragon, causing a minor explosion when it hits the beast's neck.  The dragon roars in annoyance.  "How...did I do that?" he asks in near panic, unable to operate the axe properly.

[JadedDM]: The others reach a large room with a long table and several overturn chairs.  You see Nari fighting off several of the shadow creatures with her sword.  Edara and Wedge are with her, the latter trying to protect the former.

[Lon]: Lon hurriedly pulls on his mask and pulls out his dagger, joining to help the others against the shadow creatures.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Watch out!  They got Luke!" he says in anguish, trying to scare one of the shadows off by swinging his sword.

[Christophe]: Christophe pushes himself forcibly in front of Wedge and the child, holding his staff in front of his chest with both hands. "Get! Go! GET!" he bellows out at Wedge.

[JadedDM]: Nari strikes at one shadow and it dissipates, but the other two overwhelm her.  They seem to grab at her with strange, sticky tentacles and pull her into them, like a frog's tongue.  Nari cries out as she's drawn into the darkness and then vanishes.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Nari!  No!"

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around for Luke, yet stops in her steps as Nari just vanishes. "No!" she cries out along with Wedge.

[JadedDM]: Lon approaches one of the shadows, but it slips by him, as if interested in another target.

[Christophe]: "Keep moving, damn it!" His voice is hoarse and broken as he shuffles along.

[JadedDM]: Outside, you hear another roar and Jerros yell out in pain.  The ground rumbles and some small pieces of debris fall from the ceiling.

[Lon]: Lon slashes at the shadow that tried to get past him.

[JadedDM]: Draven and Christophe rush by, managing to evade the shadows and reach the other end of the room.  Wedge, however, is not so lucky as the shadow that slipped by Lon engulfs him without hesitation.

[Psyche]: Psyche frowns, taking her own quarterstaff in her hands, then begins chanting quickly as she takes out some of that glowing moss and nearly slaps it upon the weapon and soon the staff is glowing brightly with light.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Wedge!"  She rushes in and slashes at the shadow that 'ate' him and it quickly dissipates.  Edara cries out in fear.

[Christophe]: Christophe gnashes his teeth upon seeing the fate of Wedge. "Damn..." Just then a falling rock nicks him on his bad shoulder... "Argh... ow!" He scowls and attempts to press on.

[Psyche]: Psyche runs forward upon hearing Edara cry out. "I'm coming, Edara," she says, swinging the glowing staff as she runs to keep the shadows at bay.

[JadedDM]: Psyche strikes one shadow, and it vanishes.  She reaches Edara.  Kestrel manages to finish off the remaining ones.  "Go, get out of here!  I'll try and hold them back."  Her eyes are full of tears.  "Everyone else is gone; it's just you guys left."

[JadedDM]: Christophe and Draven push forward, Draven looking rather pale as Nari was her best friend.  The pair reaches a large, square room with a single bed and a few comforts in it.  You realize this must be Jerros' room.  To the south is a corridor.

[Psyche]: "Kestrel!" She looks to her, her eyes filling with tears as she grabs hold of her niece, finally she sighs. "You better come out of here, you understand me!" With that she moves forward to Jerros' room with her niece in tow.

[Christophe]: "That way, I assume?" he yells, pressing on towards the corridor.

[JadedDM]: Just as Psyche turns to leave, ten more shadows pop up around Kestrel.  She readies her sword.  "I'll take as many of you bastards with me as I can," she says through clenched teeth.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Uh...uh....," she says, clearly a bit muddled.  "Y-yeah, this way."  Psyche and Edara catch up with them.

[Lon]: "Hey, no, come on, let's all leave, right now!" Lon tries to grab Kestrel's arm. "No more heroics."

[Psyche]: Psyche points with her glowing staff to the corridor. "That way, go! Now!" she cries out, tears blurring her sight, yet she continues to push forward.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Go, Lon...or they'll get you, too."  One rushes her, but she manages to strike it down.  The others hover nearby, waiting to pounce.

[JadedDM]: Draven, Christophe, Psyche and Edara head down the corridor.  However, on the way, another shadow slips out of the wall in front of them and tries to block their path.

[Psyche]: Psyche swings her staff at the shadow trying to block her way out. "You are not stopping me from saving my niece!"

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Watch out!"  She rushes ahead and strikes the shadow, obliterating it.  However, three more appear in its place and leap at her.  "Get off of me you gorrum freaks!" she cries out in half-panic and half-anger.

[Christophe]: "NO!" Christophe frantically tries to wrestle Draven away from the evil specters.

[JadedDM]: All at once, the shadows in the other room attack Kestrel.  She fights off four of them, but they're too much for her.  Forming together into one big shadow, they suck her into darkness.  They then separate and turn to face Lon.

[JadedDM]: Christophe manages to pry the shadow off of her, and the other two wiggle about, as if amused.  The one he pries off of Draven slips under his feet and heads toward Psyche.

[Psyche]: Psyche's eyes widen in fear upon seeing the shadows on Draven, then she sees a shadow coming towards her and Edara, she swings her glowing staff at the shadow to keep it hopefully at bay as she tries to make her way out.

[JadedDM]: As the shadow hovers toward Psyche, it suddenly drops into the ground, swerves around her, and grabs at Edara's ankles.  She screams loudly as it begins to pull her in.

[Lon]: Lon, having no time to grieve for a fallen ally, turns tail and runs from the shadows.

[Christophe]: Christophe attempts to drag Draven along with him. "Edara!"

[Psyche]: "No!" she cries out as she drops the staff to grab both of Edara's arms and tries to drag her back from the shadows. "You can't have her!"

[JadedDM]: The ground rumbles slightly, then again even harsher.  Larger pieces of debris begin falling from the ceiling as the place starts to break apart.

[JadedDM]: The shadow pulls with all of its might, until Edara is completely sunk except her hands, which Psyche is grasping.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "This place is collapsing...the damn dragon must be...."

[Psyche]: Psyche pulls with all her might. "Let her go!" she cries out, ignoring the fact that the base is getting ready to fall on top of her.

[JadedDM]: Lon rushes in at that moment, as Edara is pulled in and so are Psyche's hands and most of her arms.

[Christophe]: Christophe attempts to evade as many falling rocks as he can, making sure Draven is ahead of him.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Christophe!" she says, pointing behind him to Psyche, as if unsure of what to do.

[Lon]: Lon rushes to the prone form of Psyche and tries to pull her up.

[Christophe]: Christophe turns around with a start, noticing Psyche's predicament. "Lon has her! Keep going, Draven! Go!"

[JadedDM]: The shadow sucks in Psyche more, pulling her in along with Edara.  Lon grasps hold of the hem of her robes, but the creature's strength seems unmatched.

[JadedDM]: Draven hesitates for a moment, but then runs down the corridor, leaving the others to their fate.

[Lon]: "Psyche, unless you want to die, you have to help me here! I'm not strong enough!" Lon pants.

[Psyche]: "But...Edara!" She closes her eyes tightly as she pulls with all of her might again.

[Christophe]: "She’s gone, Psyche! Let go! You have to live!" A rock smacks him on the side of the head, and he flinches, before carrying on down the hall.

[Lon]: Lon seems distracted as he turns his head behind him, while still grasping Psyche's robes.

[JadedDM]: Behind Lon, a large shadow has formed.  It leaps at him, its sticky tentacles constricting around his limbs.

[Lon]: "Aaah! Help!" Lon struggles against the shadow.

[JadedDM]: Christophe and Draven continue down the corridor.  "I think the exit is just ahead," she says, panting heavily.

[Psyche]: "Forgive me..," she mutters as she lets go, pulling her arms out of the shadows with all of her might.

[JadedDM]: Unfortunately, the shadows aren't letting go.  Psyche feels herself stuck, and it pulls her in completely now that Lon has let her go.

[Christophe]: Christophe can barely mutter "Okay" as he attempts to keep up.

[JadedDM]: As the pair reach the end, one more shadow forms before them.  Draven swears and quickly swings her axe at it.  The axe-head, however, gets stuck.  "Frell!"  She begins tugging at it.

[Psyche]: Psyche continues to struggle with the shadow that just took Edara.

[JadedDM]: The shadow tangling with Lon also swallows him into darkness, as he seems helpless against it.

[Christophe]: "LET GO OF THE AXE!" He bellows. "Just let it go!"

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "I...I almost got it!" she cries in denial as the weapon sinks deeper into the shadow.

[Lon]: Lon gives one last burst of energy, a last effort, to struggle against this impending doom.

[Christophe]: Christophe clamps her shoulder with a vise-like grip. "It's the fire in the house, remember?! You can take me... or the damn axe! Choose wisely..." His words come out as sobs as a few tears begin streaming down his cheek.

[JadedDM]: Draven:  "Christophe...I....," but she does not finish, as the shadows that swallowed Lon and Psyche come up behind them, and they are trapped.  "I'm sorry," she whispers, as both are pulled in.

[Christophe]: Christophe hangs his head in defeat and lets the darkness consume him.

[JadedDM]: After that, all they can remember is darkness.  The cold, unforgiving darkness.  They seem to drift through it, afloat like in a river, being pulled along by some hidden current, and yet at the same time, not moving at all.  The darkness is cold, but...it's numbing.  You all look around, but you see nothing.  Hear nothing.  Sense nothing.  You cannot even see yourself.

[Lon]: Lon drifts.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around despite the fact that she can't see or hear anything. "Hello?" She whispers, or so she thinks she whispers while tears flow down her cheeks, at least that quiver in her voice says that she is crying in fear.

[JadedDM]: Although a soft whisper, the word crashes through the darkness like a massive echo in an empty cave.  Like shattering an infinite plane of glass with a single strike, the sound moves throughout the darkness as a shockwave.  Lon and Christophe both hear it, but they are unsure if it's very close by or very far away.

[Christophe]: "I'm here..." his voice is sickly hoarse.

[Lon]: "Where are you?" he says, wondering if the words are his or someone else's.

[Psyche]: "...Where? Edara? Kestrel?" She closes her eyes, not that it is going to make much difference in this situation.

[Christophe]: "....Draven." He sounds like a broken man.

[JadedDM]: Their words echo about them, but nobody else answers.

[Christophe]: Christophe's head spins as he continually attempts to open his eyes.

[Psyche]: "Where are we?" She calls out as she seems to take a step forward, or so she thinks.

[JadedDM]: There seems to be no solid ground, and Psyche simply hovers there, as if in water...although she is not wet.  She cannot step forward, but even if she could, she would have no idea if she was actually moving or not.

[Christophe]: "This is death..." Christophe muses out loud as he gravitates in one spot.

[Psyche]: "It can't be death, for I doubt we would all be talking to each other."

[Lon]: Lon shrugs...or does he? "Have you ever died before?"

[Christophe]: "Am I really talking to anyone? Or is this my own purgatory?"

[Psyche]: "Well, no, but it can't be like this! Azedeth promises...promises light, hope, rest after years of struggling. This is....nothing, pure nothingness."

[JadedDM]: In the background, a soft sound slowly arises.  Whispers.  You aren't even sure if you are imagining them or not at first, but they slowly build into a cacophony.  Despite this, you can make out a few words.  "Loser" and "Failure" and "Empty" and "Hopeless."  They surround you, accusing you, pointing out everything you ever did wrong, every mistake, every regret.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks all around her, despite the fact she can see nothing. "No..," she whispers, a small quiver in her voice. "It...it isn't hopeless."

[JadedDM]: The voices stop, and now you can hear individual voices speaking to you, but you cannot discern where they are coming from.

[Lon]: Lon shudders, trying to bring his knees to eyes, as he weeps.

[JadedDM]: Quar'toth:  "The Rebels are dead.  Like their predecessors, they have fallen.  I will personally see to it they are erased from history."

[JadedDM]: Lu:  "What fools you all are...darkness is all consuming.  It even consumes light.  Why did you even bother?"

[Christophe]: Christophe smiles ruefully, even though it cannot be seen. "I don't believe it..."

[JadedDM]: Ceara:  "Give in to the darkness.  Let it seep into your broken hearts and battered souls.  It will heal you, refresh you, and make you whole."

[JadedDM]: Shaka:  "You never stood a chance.  It was a valiant effort, but ultimately futile.  You changed nothing."

[Psyche]: "No!" she cries out upon hearing Ceara's voice. "I will never give in!"

[JadedDM]: Edgar:  "So much for your 'vengeance.'  In the end, I won again.  You should have stayed on that pit of an island."

[JadedDM]: Armored Man:  "Your father fell...and now so have you.  If he could not defeat me, what made you think a child like you could?"

[Christophe]: "A...hahaha...haha...." His laughter borders on maddening. "No, no, no, no...."

[Psyche]: "Light will overcome darkness in the end," she mutters, trying to remain hopeful in her words.

[Lon]: Lon sobs. "I know, I know, I'm sorry, father, please forgive me!" He can't seem to stop.

[JadedDM]: Mistress of Shadows:  "Give in to the darkness.  I promise, the hurting will stop."

[Christophe]: "Ahahaha....." He holds his head in his hands. "Hurt is what keeps me going. I WON'T GIVE IN! HEAR ME?!!"

[Lon]: Lon falls silent.

[Psyche]: Psyche's eyes narrow upon hearing that voice. "No. I will not give in to the darkness. I have....have so much more to live for! Jerros taught me that, gave me hope, and you aren't taking that away from me!"

[JadedDM]: Mistress of Shadows:  "Why do you fight it?  You have lost everything:  Your base, your leader...your precious rebellion.  You have nothing left.  What is left to hold on to?"

[Psyche]: "To fight....fight for those who have lost their lives to the likes of you!"

[JadedDM]: Mistress of Shadows:  "What fuels your pathetic hope?"

[Christophe]: "Love."

[Psyche]: "My faith."

[Christophe]: "Love! You know what that is?!"

[JadedDM]: At this point, Christophe and Psyche both begin to glow and shimmer with light.  They become beacons in the darkness, and can now see each other in the distance.  The Mistress of Shadows screeches.  "What is this?  The light of Hope?  Forget it!  It is not enough to free you!"

[Lon]: "My... my family! That's all I have left!"

[Christophe]: Christophe gnashes his teeth together, nearly breaking them in the process. He reaches his hand out towards Psyche, fighting off impending dementia... "Psyche!"

[Psyche]: "My faith in myself, in those around me and the love I have for them all is what keeps me going! I might have lost…" She chokes a bit on her words. “…Lost all of those that I cared for, but damn it, I am not giving up!" she reaches out her hand to Christophe.

[JadedDM]: Although weak at first, Lon begins to emit his own illumination that soon grows to be as strong as Psyche's and Christophe's.  This reveals his own position, and the three can now see each other.

[JadedDM]: Whether by force of will or something else, Psyche and Christophe begin to drift toward each other.

[Psyche]: Psyche, upon noticing Lon, holds her other hand out for him. "Lon! Take my hand!"

[Christophe]: "Lon!" he bellows, extending his other hand out and beckoning the youngster towards them.

[Lon]: "Maybe I haven't known these people for very long... but I've risked my life for them, and they've done the same for me." He tries to drift towards them. "They're my new family...!"

[JadedDM]: The three drift together, their lights merging into one.  Soon, they are all hand-in-hand.  Their light intensifies, and you hear the Mistress of Shadows cry out in pain and frustration.

[Psyche]: "And one more thing...we have each other!"

[JadedDM]: The darkness is driven back, and the three of you find yourselves now in a realm of beautiful radiance.  Your lights merge and form one orb that floats above you.  To your surprise, the orb speaks.  Its voice is soothing and gentle, and as it talks, you feel your wounds and bruises heal.

[JadedDM]: Voice:  "You have made a choice:  The choice of hope over despair.  This is the greatest power a mortal can possess--to choose light or darkness, good or evil, law or chaos."

[Psyche]: Psyche has decided she is not going to let go of Lon or Christophe at this point as she listens to the voice.

[Christophe]: Christophe gazes up towards the heavens in a daze.

[Lon]: Lon looks in wonder at the orb.

[JadedDM]: Voice:  "However, there are those in Renosia that have lost that choice.  They are corrupted by outside forces.  We urge you to continue your work--the work of Azedeth--and bring hope to others.  Seek out the Halo and make the right choices.  Rebuild what was lost, and start anew.  The fate of the rebellion, the Halo, and Renosia itself now rests in your hands."

[Psyche]: "The Halo?"

[Christophe]: Christophe simply nods, actually feeling his heart beat once again.

[JadedDM]: The light intensifies, until everything around you is pure white.  You cannot even see yourselves, but you feel the warmth of each other's hands.  When the light clears, you find yourself on solid ground again.  The three of you side by side, your hands still entwined.  The sun looks down at you from above and a soft breeze blows across your faces.

[Psyche]: Psyche gasps out upon feeling the breeze upon her face and she opens her eyes to look around.

[Lon]: Lon can only shudder and sob on the ground, at experiencing both dark and light, grasping Christophe and Psyche's hands tightly.

[Christophe]: Christophe looks at the others, a glow in his eyes. He looks around at the solid earth and falls to his knees, laughing and crying at the same time.

[JadedDM]: They realize they are lying on the ground outside of the base.  The area is littered with rocks and debris and there is no sign of anyone else.  The waterfall has been destroyed (or really, re-routed) due to the cave's complete collapse.

[Lon]: Lon looks up and says softly, "Did anyone else make it, you wonder?"

[Christophe]: Christophe looks mournful. "Draven... if she went through the same thing we did...." he shakes his head back and forth.

[Psyche]: Psyche lets go of Christophe's and Lon's hands finally, giving herself a small pat to make sure she is really there before she moves forward to the spot where she last saw Jerros. "Jerros....Edara.....Kestrel..." She closes her eyes, hugging herself.

[Christophe]: "Kestrel.... she had to make it... surely..."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks down to the ground, tilting her head slightly upon seeing something twinkle, so she kneels down to pick up the twinkling thing.  “Jerros' ring..." She picks it up and stands. "They are alive...somewhere, they have to be," she says, turning to the others.

[JadedDM]:  Looking around, Lon spots a little green face peeking at him from behind a rock.  This face quickly hides itself when it notices Lon looking at it.

[Lon]: Lon stand and peers at something that caught his eye. He moves closer to it, cautiously. "Hello? Is someone there?"

[Christophe]: "What if they couldn't withstand the darkness? They would... fall..." He sits, cradling his arms in front of him.

[JadedDM]: Suddenly, a goblin hops out from behind the rock Lon was looking at.  She drops to her knees and pleads.  "Please don't kill me!"

[Psyche]: Psyche places the ring on her finger, about ready to say something to Christophe before she jumps, looking over to the goblin. "We....we aren't going to kill you."

[JadedDM]: Goblin:  "I was just passing by...ever since the monster attacked, sometimes I find food around here...and I saw this flash of light, so I came closer...."

[Christophe]: "Where you from?"

[Psyche]: "Ever since the monster attacked?"

[JadedDM]: Goblin:  "Oh, yes.  It was a week ago today, in fact.  I was living up in these mountains, and I saw a great massive black creature attack that waterfall.  I was so scared, I hid.  After it left, I came by to explore.  I found these horses and some food."

[Christophe]: "We've been gone for a bloody week..." He looks baffled.

[Lon]: "What's your name?"

[Psyche]: "A....a week?" She blinks, looking all around her. "You didn't by any chance find anything else besides food and horses did you?"

[JadedDM]: The goblin lass looks to Lon.  You reckon she's young for her kind, perhaps an adolescent.  "My name is Tugh.  I'm a professional horse groomer.  Or...I was, until my boss died."  She looks to Psyche.  "No...just the horses and some food.  I brought the horses to my cave to look after them.  I really like horses."

[Christophe]: "Those... were our horses, I believe. How many did you find?"

[JadedDM]: Tugh:  "Five.  They're really nice, too.  I enjoyed caring for them.  If they're yours, I guess you'll be wanting them back..."

[Christophe]: "Well... we only need three at the moment..." he pauses and adds. "...it would seem." He studies the little goblin for a moment. "But we will compensate you for looking after them while we were gone."

[JadedDM]: Tugh:  "Where are you going?"

[Lon]: "Where are we going?"

[Christophe]: Christophe sighs, tapping a finger to his chin. "I have a couple suggestions to start with..."

[JadedDM]: Tugh:  "Well, if you don't mind me making suggestions, but Lumbertown is about three days away, and Janus about four days away.  They're the closest places to this spot."

[Psyche]: "Janus is probably our best bet."

[Christophe]: "What's there?"

[Psyche]: "Southwest of here. Lumbertown is northwest."

[Christophe]: "Well...." he rubs his hands together. "I hate to suggest splitting up for a time... but... I feel as if I should travel to Daemon for a spell."

[Psyche]: "Daemon?" She blinks. "...But why?"

[Christophe]: "There are Rebels there... good men, too. I just remembered the voice telling us to rebuild and start anew. Perhaps I could bring a few volunteers back with me. Men who already have some experience with this sort of thing. It's entirely possible the Daemon Rebels have had much success in my absence..." He pauses to gauge Psyche and Lon's reactions. "Regardless of that...I feel it is my duty as one of the last ranking officers of this group now to report our status to the only loose allies we have..."

[Lon]: Lon looks to Psyche for her response.

[Psyche]: "While it is a good idea, I think we should stick around here until we have more...money and more allies first before I have you run off to Daemon. I don't think we should split up just yet."

[Christophe]: "I have plenty of platinum to spare... enough to donate to you to start rebuilding...and enough to smuggle my way across the border if need be."

[Psyche]: "We are stronger together though, Christophe. Without you, Lon and I would be...crippled."

[Lon]: "Besides," Lon speaks up. "We should stick together. We, all three of us, saw that... vision."

[Christophe]: "Pfft!" he sneers at that one. "I'm a useless aging has-been. I can barely shoot straight anymore... you're no better or worse without me."

[Psyche]: "Please, Christophe. For right now at least?"

[Christophe]: "Forty nights... I'll meet up with you again wherever you choose.... and I'll bring some help back." He suddenly looks determined. "I've made up my mind. It's important that Grek knows of Jerros' apparent fate."

[Psyche]: "If you really want to go, Christophe, I can't stop you, but I am still against it. In this time, we all need to stick together."

[Christophe]: "You and Lon are together.... who knows, maybe our new friend here can stick with you for a time..." he nods his head at Tugh. "I have to do this... I need to be alone to find some new focus anyway..." He looks at the ground, thinking about something painful obviously.

[Psyche]: Psyche crosses her arms, looking to the ground before speaking to Tugh. "Would you mind showing us to your cave?"

[JadedDM]: Tugh blinks.  "Uh, sure.  You know, you guys remind me of someone.  But you're different.  Say, you think you could use a professional horse groomer?  I'm not really cut out for the hermit life..."

[Psyche]: "We do have two horses that will need taken care of." She smiles faintly. "So, you can have the job, but we don't have much to pay at the moment, or really a place to stay either."

[JadedDM]: Tugh:  "That's okay.  I just like being around horses."

[JadedDM]: (We'll end there....I guess.)

 

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