For our previous novelized gaming sessions, please go to the bottom of this post.
We stood atop the largest of the Bailey Hills as Lexa Lyoncroft departed with the demon’s skull that Althalus had been so obsessed with.
“There’s something you should all know,” Bor Boskin said when she was out of earshot. “Lexa…she’s one of the Sisterhood of the Sword.
“That purged priory?” Arius said. “They betrayed the church, that much I know. Their members were excommunicated and their leaders executed.”
That may have carried weight with our paladin, Arius had a blind eye when it came to the dealings of the church. I was not so misguided as a druid. The church had been attempting to do the same thing with us, erase us from history. So far, they had had failed. I wondered though – what had happened with the Sisterhood of the Sword to lead to such a violent reaction from the church? Was it something they were guilty of – or had they been played as guilty of some crime they had never committed? In many respects, she may be facing the same wrath of the church my own people had been dealing with. “At least that explains that curved sword she had.”
Althalus nodded. “Nothing good ever comes with people carrying big curved swords,” he said, as if his words carried the weight of law. I would have argued with him, but the memory of her with that sword in her hands was enough to hold my tongue. This time the warlock was right.
“So where do we go from here?” Bor asked. “We have the message now.”
Our course was clear to me. “We were sent to complete the ride of the Gray Rider. We take the message to Lord Sklaver at Karn. We give him the message and we are done.”
“Karn eh?” Arius said, turning around and looking back down the road through the Gellesian Fields from which we had traveled already, twice. “I have to admit, I’ll be happy to put this place behind us. And to get there, we have to go back home. I will be good to return for a day or so, resupply, rest up. This place wears you out, from those trying to kill us to these strange hell-spawned creatures we have seen.”
It was hard to argue with a longing for home – even for a day or two. I had seen much since leaving our village and had much to share with my fellow brothers. I looked at my bonded brothers and they all nodded. “So we go home – then onto Karn.”
We set out that day, making good progress. The Gellesian Fields was wearing on our nerves though. Our sleep was always restless in this place, no doubt because of the tormented spirits that lurked there. The second night as we headed south, we came across a reminder of the horrors of where we were. We heard a shuffling near our camp, from a small copse of trees.
We had learned that such sounds rarely were friendly and we were up and armed quickly. As we moved in, a horrible abomination emerged. Pale grayish blue skin, a sickening tongue – it had to be a ghast, from what little I knew of such thing.
The creature sprang on Galinndan, biting him on the same spot that the zombie had torn into his shoulder. He reeled back in agony. I struck it with my staff, which seemed to be lighter and stronger than ever before – no doubt the result of that water I had dipped it in several days earlier. The wood ripped a nasty gash on the beast’s flesh, but it was seemingly unphased. Althalus unleashed his eldritch blasts, but they only leave a shouldering hole in its upper left body – and an angrier look filled its eyes. As it turned to go after Althalus, Bor sprung at it with his warhammer Skull Ringer. His swing was so swift and true that it cut into the body of the creature, shattering its spine as his swing exited. The ghast stared at us with confusion as its body folded in half at the furrow that Skull Ringer had cut. It dropped. I would say that it was dead but with such creatures, it had to be more than dead. What is it when the undead die? Good…yes. But are they really dead?
The next day we came across a small carved stone pillar along the road. Somehow we had missed it on our journey north. There was a clay urn on top, sealed with wax. We checked it and found no markings. My thought was that it was some sort of offering, no doubt to some dead warrior or people that had fought in the Fields. Galinndan pried it open and we found very old coins, platinum, gold, and silver. We dumped those in a backpack. I was wary of taking them but it seemed foolish to leave such treasure along the road. At the same time I wondered if disturbing such an offering was to have consequences. As it turned out my concerns were well founded.
On the fourth day since leaving Lexa Lyoncroft we left behind the Gellesian Fields. As we glanced back we noticed an ominous darkness that seemed to hover beyond the stone arch. It was as if thunderclouds were obscuring the sun over those troubled lands. I pointed it out to the others. “Did you notice that before?”
“Nay,” Arius said, leaning on one of the halberds we had captured from the orc patrol. “It does not surprise me. That place was an open wound on the land – a place where evil festered. That Lexa, she was one of the nicest beings we saw there – and she tried to kill us.”
He was wrong of course. I am a druid, the land, the creatures, and growth of the world are part of my fiber. The land was not the problem with the Gellesian Fields, I was sure of that. It was the heinous war that had been fought there, the corruption of magic and death that had been perpetrated there that had made the lands seem so dangerous. The races of the world, not the land, had made those fields so hazardous. I didn’t correct Arius though. The last thing I needed was the perspective of the church and another one of our endless debates. The problem with paladins, their lives are centered on the fact that they are always right.
Lexa…she had a story that we simply did not know. I also felt that we would be seeing here again too. Bor thought that same, so he confided to me. Next time, I swore, the odds would be more even.
It took us three more days to reach Whiterock and home. We returned to home and the people that we had left looked at us at first as if we were strangers, then they recognized us and greeted us warmly. Even the portly burgomaster rushed to us to ask us if we had been successful.
“Yes,” I said. “We recovered the content of the message that the Gray Rider had been robbed of.”
“What was it?” he asked excitedly.
“A message for Lord Sklaver’s eyes alone,” Arius said.
“Then you will be leaving for Karn?”
I nodded. “Yes. We need to rest up from the creatures we have fought in battle.”
“Then rest you shall get!” the burgomaster said as if he could will such a thing. “We are all happy that you have all returned home. We look forward to your stories.”
“Not tonight,” I said. My private solace in my forest was all I wanted. Once there, I knew I could gather the strength for the next leg of our journey – the Road to Karn.
Thus ends the latest segment of our campaign. I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am writing them up. Below are previous episodes: