Part 1 here.
Part 3 here.
Clerics walked out of the Star Keep to pour oil into the newly created moat, which they then lit. It burns with a bluish flame and smells slightly minty: detect magic reveals a very, very powerful ‘protection from evil’ aura from it. We have helped create an artefact!
Knight Commander Meinhoff welcomed us to the fort and found billets for at least most of the army, allowing us to rest up for a couple of days. The Star Keep only has about 100 remaining inhabitants who have been under siege for significant period of time: they have no food or water and were being sustained simply through the power of the goddess Iomedae. We resupply the fort and ensure the supply lines for our army are coming this way in future to help protect the Star Keep.
Then onwards to Kenabres, a city actually just outside the Worldwound. They are not especially welcoming – Aaron, as a tiefling, is not even allowed into the city and must stay outside. We find their brusqueness (not born of actual rudeness so much as absolute focus on fighting the Worldwound) difficult and use the 2 weeks we were planning to wait here (to allow the other parts of the Crusade that will be meeting us at the destination of Drezen to catch up) to pop home with the help of Mr Tiddles’s teleportation skills – a chance for Alexei to play with his forge, Kieran to oversee his corner of the Dawnlands and arrange for reinforcements, Aaron to do whatever it is he needs to do (assassins!) and I to spend a bit of time with my husband.
Back, and we continue the march onwards, crossing back into the Worldwound. When acting as vanguard for our army, we spot a small village with 6 bearded demons and a large minotaur in steel armour with a bronze mask. We’ve faced similar looking demons before so figure this isn’t anything we can’t handle. Kieran, Aaron and I fire off a few shots at the minotaur and then, with Evander, brace for the inevitable charge.
The bearded demons come at us, but the minotaur steps behind the buildings. Alexei turns into a bird and flies up to find him whilst the rest of us fight the demons – who summon more of themselves and generally cause trouble. Alexei, unable to spot the minotaur, starts burning the buildings down (what the rest of us don’t spot is that he burns people in the process…). Kieran and Evander are handling the demons on them fairly well, but Aaron and I are struggling slightly more. Alexei finally spots the minotaur as it circles back around to us, which means he and he alone is in position to watch as a demon rips me to shreds – his bird form flies over to breathe life back into me and that’s me out of the fight. Kieran is badly hurt by the minotaur but manages to take it down – Aaron is similarly badly hurt but manages to hold on long enough for the others to take out the remaining demons.
Alexei walks over to me – breath of life may have brought me back from dead, but I’m still badly hurt. He heals the rest of my wounds but I remain where I am. Realising something more is wrong, he arranges for the others to build a fire and put on some tea whilst he collects the deceased villagers and gives them a proper funeral pyre and then uses spells to dig a pit and fill it with salt to bury the demon bodies. Finally doing something good and I’m not noticing! (even if he did cause the death of the villagers…)
Mr Tiddles lays in small cat form on my chest and after a while I roll over and curl into a ball with him so the other won’t see I am crying – so far, their attempts to find out what’s up have consisted of various healing and status removal spells, shaking my shoulder and offering tea. The rest of the army arrives and they bundle me into a palanquin, asking clerics to check on me: “it looks like severe trauma” they explain. What to do? They talk about sending me back to my husband* but ultimately decide to leave me to it for now – I’m probably safer at the centre of my army than I would be being transported out of the Worldwound to anywhere where I could be teleported home – and we continue to the outskirts of Drezen.
Yes, I will explain at some point where the trauma has occurred – no spoilers for the other players yet, though. Suffice to say, we were warned from the start that the GM did not want resurrections – even ‘gentle’ resurrections like breath of life – to cheapen death. I, at least, have been dreading a player death for this reason, and this has been the first one!
*Husbit tweeted quote of the evening as “Monks are naturally arseholes” but I was more entertained by “Send us another Queen, this one’s broken”