Welcome to the novelization of my current D&D campaign, told through the perspective of the characters. Parts 1-19 charted the first part of the campaign, part 20 began the next phase of the saga: Tempora. For me, it lets me do a little creative writing between more serious projects. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this one. Enjoy!
As Barristen turned into a green gas and slid through a crack in the ceiling, the possessed paladins that had been trying to kill us suddenly stopped, looking around the room dazed and confused. The air stung of our sweat and the same aroma as when lightning strikes. It was easy to understand the confusion of the men we had just saved – I was still in the form of a bear and there was blood everywhere.
“The battle is over,” Althalus managed in amazement. “We won!”
I transformed back into my human form and we began to try and reassure the stunned paladins we had just rescued. “It is okay – we are friends.” It took some convincing since we were covered mostly in their blood. The image of the dead Cyrilla Drex helped more than our mere words. We told them to take the magical collars off that possessed them, which they did.
“Where are we?”
We tried to explain to them in ragged breaths as our tempers eased…they were prisoners of Victor Barristen and Cyrilla Drex, and that we had come to try and rescue them. As I and Arius spoke, Brandon went over to Drex and began to check her body. He produced an amulet from around her withered neck. Her large wormwood staff was there and taken as well as golden ring from her gnarled finger. “I like this staff,” the ranger said.
“I can possibly use its magical capabilities,” I countered. “For you it would be nothing more than a walking stick.” He handed it over as Arius wrestled with the sword. “This weighs far more than it should,” the paladin said with a grunt. “I cannot wield this,” he said. “There is clearly some magic at play here.”
The oldest of the paladins we freed bent his knee and began to pray. The others knelt as well around him, all praying. Althalus backed up at their holy gesture…no doubt it was the devil’s skull in his backpack guiding his actions…that and the warlock did not want to be exposed to holy warriors. The church took a grim, neigh deadly view of those of us that used magic outside of their control.
The elder paladin of the group rose to his feet and stood before us. “Who is in charge here? I am Sir Theris Bentblade of the Order of the Fang. Who are you?”
Arius stepped forward. “I am Sir Arius the Seeker,” he said proudly. “I am from the Priory of St. Julius.”
“You saved our lives,” he said making eye contact with each of us. “Thank you for what you did.”
“It is what we came to do.” our paladin asked.
“The rest of your men are in that sword,” Althalus said, nodding to the massive blade now strapped onto Arius’s back.
The paladins stepped forward and shook our hands. “We were held by them, with magic we cannot comprehend. It is blurry in my mind. She would come for us, and Barristen would drain our life force from my men,” Bentblade said, stroking his long gray beard. “One by one I watched them die, turned into the husks you see there,” he gestured to the pile of shriveled corpses.
Bentblade continued. “We could not resist him. He made us watch them die. Each one made him more corporeal, more real. I do not know how much time as passed. He kept me alive to torment me, to make me watch the men in my command die horribly – one at a time. Where are the others?”
“Trapped in this sword,” Arius replied.
“They are trapped inside the gem of that sword,” Althalus added.
“In the gem?” Bentblade asked.
“It contains a plane of existence,” Althalus responded.
“There is more,” I added. “There is a Priory there – the one from the Sisterhood of the Sword. It is there as well.”
“Do you know how to get them out?” Sir Bentblade asked.
“We’re working on it,” I replied. “We just got the sword from Drex. We don’t want to rush through this and possibly injure or kill those imprisoned there.”
Althalus spoke up. “I regrettably must admit that the church may have more knowledge of this than we do.”
Bentblade shook his head. “I disagree. The church may not know of these events. I led my men to track down the Sisterhood of the Sword and the Priory of the Blade. We killed many of their order that day on orders of the church, but we never found the priory itself. It was gone, vanished. Only they know how their swords work and how to wield them.”
“How does Victor Barristen figure into all of this?” Arius asked.
“Drex summoned him from beyond the grave. She seeks revenge for what the church did to her once-holy order.
“We set their plans back by killing her,” Althalus said.
Bentblade eyed the warlock carefully. “Indeed you have, but Barristen is now on our plane of existence again and walking the lands. That is a grave thing indeed. He has his own designs against the church and will not rest until he has his revenge. The souls of my men gave him power…he will want more.”
“He’s a coward,” Brandon added. “He fled rather than fight us to the end.”
“He is no slacker,” Bentblade countered. “Barristen is cunning and dangerous. He will not rest until he takes the church down, stone-by-stone, soul-by-soul. It would be unwise to underestimate him.”
“We won’t,” I said. “But there is a bit of a challenge. We do not know where we are. We teleported here. I assume we are somewhere in Tempora still, but that may not be the case. Do you know for sure where we are or how to get out?”
Sir Bentblade shook his head. “My mind…the memories are like those of a drunk, confused and blurred. They led us here, I remember that. Details…they elude me.” The other paladins nodded in agreement. “I too believe we are in Tempora.”
“Camp with us,” I offered. “I can produce food for us. Together we can find our way out of this place.”
Althalus gestured to the mound of the dead. “I am not entirely comfortable with us camping near a pile of desecrated husks that could rise up and attack us.”
Bentblade raised his hand. “My men and I will say a prayer over them and bless them. They will not pose a threat to us. Let the dead rest.”
Brandon produced the letter that had Lexa Lyoncroft had written that had brought him to us. “This is from Lexa Lyoncroft. She mentions you in it.”
Bentblade read the page. “Doddering old fool? She calls me that?” He then tossed the letter back to the ranger. “So you are working for Lexa Lyoncroft?”
“I was just paid to deliver a message,” he offered. “I did that job but joined them to try and rescue you.”
Bentblade was clearly shaken by the letter. For a long moment he said nothing. When he did spoke it was not in anger but almost a sadness. “I hate to admit it, but the only person that might be able to tell us about that sword and how to free my men is Lyoncroft.”
“We don’t know where she is?” Brandon said. “Only where I saw her last. She came to my home town and paid me to deliver this message. That was weeks ago.”
“How did you get here?”
“Through the White Vale,” I said.
“We battled the bone dragons there,” Brandon said with a hint of pride. “We crossed the White Vale, found the hidden gate, and journeyed far underground to reach Tempora. We were sent by the men still with the Order of the Fang. They kept watch and asked us to come and find you.”
“And you traveled into the mountains heart and saved us?”
“Of course,” I said.
The older Bentblade waved his hands over us and murmured as he closed his eyes. “I offer you men our blessings then.” When he finished he spied the round shield that Arius had. “That shield, where did you get that?”
“We found it in one of the many rooms of this abandoned city,” our brother-paladin offered.
“That belongs to the same order as Lexa Lyoncroft and Cyrilla Drex – the Sisterhood of the Sword. It is a holy artifact – that much I am sure.”
Arius looked proud that he had it. “I will take care of it then.”
Brandon held out the silvered weapons now in his possession. “What of these?”
Bentblade looked the pair of silvered weapons. “I have seen etchings of these – they were owned by a Dwarven Lord of some merit if I remember. Yes – Shevrus Salamar, that is his name. The sword and flail go together – never to be separated. Bonebreaker! That is it.”
I bent over and pretending the pray, but cast detect magic in the room. The last thing I needed was the paladins recognizing that I was using forbidden magic in their presence. While we had saved them, they were still men of the church, bound by their laws rather than the laws of nature which guided me. What I found was four voids of magic in the room, where the rugs were on the floor. The rugs were magical, but not in the way I expected. They were null magic, voids where arcane powers were nonexistent. If I had run across these in bear form, I would have transformed back to my human shape. Magic weapons would have been impotent when standing on these large rugs. A cleaver ploy, one we had fortunately avoided.
I also sensed an aura of magic on Cyrilla Drex’s armor and the ring and amulet that had been recovered, along with her staff. I whispered it to Brandon so as to not draw attention. He barely concealed his joy and took the time to remove the charred armor from her withered corpse. He wanted to put the ring on but Althalus and I warned him against it. The warlock found a word on it that would trigger the ring, but warned against speaking it. “I have no idea where you will go if you say that word when wearing it.” Dejected, the ranger pocketed the ring making us all fell much safer.
Arius carefully checked the double doors out of the room to make sure there was nothing waiting to pounce on us from the other side. We did not opt to leave, not without resting up. The battle had taken a great deal out of us.
I was concerned. None of us, including our new party members, knew where we were exactly nor how to get out. We presumed we were in Tempora, but there was a chance we were not. Victor Barristen was still out there, somewhere. And those slowly starving paladins that were trapped in the sword we now possessed had no way out.
I knew one thing, we could not remain here to solve any of these problems.
The following are the previous installments. I hope you enjoy the campaign so far. Be sure to follow my blog if you do.