Shortly after securing our cabin, Du’Kratha and I met up with my sister Rhaiyneihsitao. I had not expected her to come back to the surface anytime soon; it was good to see her again. Baron Travador also managed to find Dancer Nikolai, whose jolly presence, although annoying at times was welcome. Also present for the gather were our usual groups of adventurers, as well as some new faces, and some I had not seen in a while. Already it was looking to be an interesting gather.
Almost immediately after we had all gathered near the tavern, an Evendarrian soldier approached, warning us of two forces coming to attack. In hindsight, it might have been best to dose him with an enslavement antidote...
We divided our forces in half, one group to fight undead and darkness/chaos elementals, and the other to fight enslaved soldiers and the vampires leading them. I was in the second group. We had been counting on maybe seeing 2 vampires, but there were about 4 of them, I think. As we marched out to battle, we realized they definitely held the advantage –greater numbers, more vampires, even the terrain was to their advantage. We were quickly surrounded as our healers and some of our strongest fighters were taken down with alchemy, slays, and death spells. I was taken down, and spent much of the battle unconscious. I awoke surrounded by a large pile of bodies, as Lady Akoya charged in throwing awakens. In the chaos around me, I could not even tell what had happened to her. If we had any forces left to fight, I could not see them. I imprisoned myself to take in the situation before acting. Luckily, none of the soldiers noticed, as they were still distracted by Lady Akoya, who had placed a circle around herself. I had no weapons, and could not see any in the body pile around me. My sister Rhaiyne was unconscious but alive next to me, and Cassanova had just been killed in front of me. Despite the Vampire’s orders to stabilize all of his “food”, the soldiers did not heal Cassanova. As the Vampire came around to check on the status of the body pile, I realized I had to act quickly before my imprison was dispelled. I dropped the imprison, and threw a healing spell at Cassanova as I ran away. I heard a commotion shortly thereafter, and as I ran, my sister Rhaiyne joined me, and we found Du’Kratha soon after. As we rounded a corner, I met up with Kier, who gave me quite a fright because he was dressed up as one of the soldiers we were fighting. As I quickly found out, once our forces were decimated, Rocco had the idea to steal the soldier’s tabards and sneak back in among them, rescuing people. It worked brilliantly until the Vampires noticed, but by then we had gained back our advantage. After we regrouped, we were able to scatter the soldiers and kill the remaining vampires. It was quite a trick to recover all the weapons that were stolen, but eventually we found most of them, mine not among the rest. I don’t know how or where, but Cassanova managed to find my sword and return it to me. Tsukiko resurrected from that fight. If the Vampires had not been so hungry, there would have been far more resurrections, myself included.
Later at night, Bargle came into town, in his living, natural form. He wished us to fulfill our promise, and give him a spirit farewell for his brother. I was not present for this either, but from what I heard, it was a very touching moment. Bargle regrets siding with the enemy, and does not wish to serve them anymore. Unfortunately, the Lich showed up, putting a circle around himself, and started to harass us and Bargle. He activated Bargle’s transform, and we were forced to kill him.
Spiders attacked the town, but I was not present for this. I suspect they were sent or allied with the Attercobs we have encountered before. Lord Breyland also appeared, claiming that a bird had stolen his shiny whistle, and took a small group of adventurers away to recover it. For the most part I avoided the morning, as the Daystar was at it’s brightest, and spent the time catching up with Rhaiyne in our cabin.
Most of the day was uneventful, and I became occupied with the duties of my station and the guild. That afternoon, we prepared to enter the vampire’s cave and exterminate them once and for all. Unfortunately, the cave was not large enough to take everyone with us. The cave posed some challenge – it was perfect for living in, if you could walk on walls or fly. But since we could not, we had to jump from pedestal to pedestal, with a very long drop awaiting the clumsy. As we jumped, bats dove at our faces and attacked us. Luckily, a bind spell made their wings useless, so they were easy to overcome. The bottom of this chasm led out to the entrance, so we had some healers who stayed there to heal those who fell down. This worked rather well until the Vampires misted over to them and attacked. Eventually we all made it across this section in one piece. The next part of the cave was similarly structured, only instead of pedestals to jump to; we had a very thin narrow stone walkway to balance on. This forced us all to walk single-file, and anyone who was dropped by the creatures there would fall to the bottom. I had not brought my sword with me, thinking it would get in the way in such a small space. I was right, but this left me without the ability to block blows aimed towards me. Luckily, Lord Gwalchmai was behind me most of the way. The vampires and bats were killed rather quickly, and we were all able to end our balancing act. In the back of the cavern we found two skulls, but neither of them seem to have any magical abilities or effects. Once again, I know at least one vampire that was staked did not turn to ash, so they are still a threat to us.
After we all returned, everyone went their separate ways to clean up for the Wedding and the feast afterwards. Du’Kratha and I moved closer to the center so that we could hear and see, for neither of us had ever seen a surface wedding. It was much shorter than I expected, and I still cannot tell which of the two has rank, or which House name was taken. They also did not bond with blood, but I think with all that those two have undergone, such is hardly necessary. Thoma looked very nervous, and Marina was radiant. Neither of them had a Kasaeshin-kote, but then I suppose we all would have willingly filled that role, if it had been necessary. The wedding went perfectly and without incident. Prince Bane performed the ceremonies, and enlisted Tsukiko to serve him by carrying water blessed by Tyrra. After the wedding was over, we all sorted ourselves into tables, and some presented gifts to the couple as Feast was being served. Baron Travador gave them a gift of song. I think they appreciated it, despite the rude and noisy table in the back. Du’Kratha, Rhaiyne, and I were asked to join a separate table to eat with a Dark Elf from Dremora. This one arrived with one escort, explaining that Ambassador Ralair was unable to make it here, and he was sent in his place. Earlier in the week I had visited Eladhir’s Haven and requested the Dremoran’s occupying that city to send a missive out to him. I thought it was unusual for Ambassador Ralair to not answer me personally, especially considering the nature of what we were to discuss, and began wondering if I had made a mistake. Hindsight, again... has been kicking me around a lot lately.
The conversation with this Dark Elf was kept to generalities. He was very nervous, and carried aura at all times. His guard said nothing at all. Thinking they were new to the surface, and overwhelmed by the Gypsy presence in the Tavern, I understood their discomfort. As feast ended, he rose to give his gift to Thoma and Marina, and his guard left. When he got close to them, he cast a circle of power and began to speak, calling them his “favorite servants”. His words and the tone of his voice were now completely recognizable to us – this was the Lich! Modrizs, Joho, the Huntsman, Du’Kratha, Kier, and I ran out of the tavern to hunt down the guard who had run off. We quickly found his trail and followed him, straight towards the Keep. As we finally caught up to him, he cast a circle around himself and touched his hand to his chest. This action signaled the green mist, which then transported him away. By the time I returned to the Tavern, the Lich was gone. I am not sure what happened to Ambassador Ralair, but we fear his city may be under attack, perhaps he is already slain.
After this I had a good talk with Prince Bane, whose presence is always enjoyable. Unfortunately I was too distracted by all that I had learned, and could not appreciate his usual stories.
Lord Breyland appeared again, to answer questions about our plan and reassure everyone of his honesty and dedication to our cause. He was accompanied by another one of his Toys, a wooden golem with a guitar. I was pleasantly surprised to see that even Dame Amaris was willing to go with the plan, despite the involvement of the Extra-planar Lord Breyland.
All of us who would be bottled gathered inside the Tavern, in a circle. The chalice that was to hold our spirits was beautiful, a worthy receptacle. Lord Breyland cast a circle of Harmony, and began to sing while the Toy played guitar, and his assistant Rauthan sung soft accompaniment. His song was beautiful, and gently pulled our spirits into the chalice. None of the pain I experienced with Scaramundi was present here. I gladly realized my fears had been unfounded. As Breyland sang, he poured all of his life’s energy into the song, and faded before us. At the song’s end, he collapsed to the floor, dead. Many eyes glittered with tears, and I could not imagine a more Honorable death. His assistant brought his body outside, and once his body was laid out, his spirit began to burn, giving us his last gift – Spirit fire. Thus armed and bottled, we set out to the Keep, to end this undead menace once and for all.
The undead were waiting for the fight, though I doubt they knew of our new strength. Bargle was also present, and forced to obey the orders of his master. Du’Kratha defeated him, but he fell too close to the circle and was brought back up to fight again. There were also some “Lesser Mandrakes”, the Lich and Mandrake himself, of course, and a new Banshee. Our forces worked together well and valiantly, without fear of death to hinder us. Sir Douglas was able to quickly put up an Earth circle on the field, and within no time, Lady Akoya had DFM’d the circle blocking the entrance to the Keep. We fought our way inside, and forced the undead to retreat within, killing many of them in the process.
Once past the drawbridge and inside the Keep, our forces were harder pressed, and we did not have the advantage the layout at the entrance had given us. After the fighting began inside, a green mist settled into the ground, and countless skeletal hands and arms reached up from the ground. They grabbed at our feet, hindered our movement, and held down the fallen until we cut them away. During the fighting, with Titinius, Du’Kratha and Rocco imprisoned to protect her, Jade managed to DFM Dame Miranda’s spirit bottle, and we killed her in her undead state. She resurrected successfully and has been returned to us.
After much fighting, we entered the Keep proper, and the Throne room. Mandrake, the Lich, and Bargle, all of whom had been forced to reform from their bottle at least once, retreated to another circle and transported themselves and their spirit bottles away by using the green mist. We fought well and are victorious, but the enemy still lives.