Return of Hadrach

Blasphemy from the Mouths of the Righteous

20-Novui; "I am Griangi, and I speak for the Gods!" - Griangi

A month goes by, during which Griangi and his intrepid companions train an army. Shakaari forges magic items for the troops while Marigold and Elvira work tirelessly to brew potions for use in the coming insurrection. Jinora and Akiara give crash courses on swordsmanship and melee combat to the inexperienced, newly-minted revolutionaries.

Griangi, Juniper, and Rothgar’s efforts to relieve the Cult of a number of its minor leaders and functionaries meets with some success; this, however, results in an increase in security on the part of the Cult, with a curfew established, random searches, and violent reprisals.

During this time, Shakaari receives word from her grandfather that a civil war has broken out in the city of Draima, and that no military assistance can be expected. Having previously expected their efforts to be bolstered by a fleet of Draiman ships loaded down with seasoned marines, the group scrambles to adjust their strategy; their time, however, simply runs out.

On (this day, in this month), the party gathers on the top floor of a building in a public square where the Cult of Hadrach has built a massive set of gallows. A Cleric of Vurda announces that, if the rebellion continues, they will begin severely punishing the populace, and that as an example, they would hang twenty people right then and there.

Shakaari, having a difficult time balancing the immediate deaths of the people before her with the thousands of deaths which might result should they rush in to stop the execution, begins preparing summoning spells in hopes someone will stop her. No one seems interested in doing so. Griangi is convinced that they will easily triumph over the cleric, his elite troops, a cadre of trolls, and a huge crowd of frightened onlookers; the rest of the party, not so much.

In a flash of inspiration, Marigold suggests they impersonate a deity. In an uncharacteristic burst of cooperative ferver, the party agrees, and they quickly come up with a plan. Just as the Cleric of Vurda is loudly pronouncing judgement upon the prisoners, the druidess, Elvira, calls lightning down from the sky, while Griangi’s herald uses his bardic magic to create a booming voice which loudly declares that the Laifa, the Pumpkin Queen, is not amused. The crowd runs in fear. The soldiers stare in horror. The trolls pick their noses in astonishment.

Shakaari summons lightning elementals and directs them to free the hostages, which they do easily. The square becomes a literal shooting gallery for Elvira’s divine lightning. The wizardess summons an earth elemental next, ordering it to destroy the gallows, just as the cleric finally regains his composure, and loudly declares that this not the work of the Pumpkin Queen to anyone who’s still there to hear him. The wizardess answers him with a lightning bolt of her own, severely injuring the cleric while at the same time giving away the party’s position. Akiara and Jinora make a run for it in order to evacuate the safehouses. The trolls and soldiers rush the building, giving the group less than a minute to plot their escape.

The Cleric of Vurda calls to his god for an obscuring mist to provide himself and his minions cover, just as a crossbowman fires a mystic bolt at the building the party is hiding in, cloaking them all in darkness. Trolls rush the building, unhindered by the darkness, destroying everything in their path.

Elvira takes the form of a bird, moving to the east side of the square while Marigold’s inherent flight abilities, a gift from her elemental patron, soars over to a rooftop on the west. With a few arcane syllables, the witch conjures great black tentacles within the mist to restrain the cleric and his lackeys. Griangi, Jarbold, Keets, Rothgar, and Shakaari scramble to move themselves outside the unnatural darkness before the monsters make a meal of them. Shakaari grabs the others and teleports them all to the rooftop next door. The trolls, unable to find their chosen victims, turn upon their human allies in rage.

Sighting the heroes as they arrive on the rooftop, the Cleric of Vurda calls down a column of unholy flame, burning them all and nearly killing Keets. Elvira hurls an exploding bead into the mist that protects the Cleric from attack, dispersing it.

Two other trolls spot the party and begin scaling the second building. Griangi drops alchemist fire on the creatures, setting them ablaze while Rothgar fills them with arrows. One manages to make it to the top, only to come face to face with axe of Griangi. Shakaari fires off another lightning bolt, managing to kill one of the cleric’s attendants and severely wound the other.

At the safehouse, Akiara starts the evacuation, and covers the revolutionaries’ escape, fighting off a pack of Hadrach’s soldiers all on her own. Jinora rallies a squad of rebel soldiers and lead them back to the square, aiding in the escape of the hostages.

Despite a dose of healing magic from his subordinate, the Cleric of Vurda finally falls to Rothgar’s arrows. Between Griangi’s axe and Keets’ fiery wand, the trolls are put down long enough for party to plot its escape. Elvira, still in bird form, swoops down and heals Keets, who, assuming she’s there to rescue the brownie, scrambles onto her back for a ride. Shakaari, realizing that she can only take two additional people with her via her last teleportation spell, calls out to Marigold to take Rothgar with her just as the witch swoops down to collect the cleric’s body, ensuring that Hadrach will not retain the dark priest’s services as an undead monstrosity. The wizardess, the gnome and his herald disappear in a flash of light, followed quickly by the witch and the bowman as Keets rides Elvira to safely, blasting enemies below with her wand.

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