Corvis Witch Project
Torendra: why does my gun take slugs?
Recovering from our fight killing the Eldrich, we gently make our way (back for some of us) to Corvis, discussing the problems inherent in building catacombs in a swamp. The longest night of the year is approaching, the lead up being "The Haunt" a major festival with real ghosts and everything.
We fall in with Gunne Waddock, a 'merchant' with a wagon. He suggests if we want somewhere to stay (we're short of local cash and Tūd can't put them all up at the Lodge) we should talk to Father Dumbass at the Cathedral of Morons. "What?! Father Pandor Dumas at the Cathedral of Morrow. "Oh".
With Father Dumas (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins) we negotiate healing, board and lodging in exchange for an investigation; someone's been robbing graves. "Most of them are dead". All the exhumed were fairly important a decade ago but have died in ordinary circumstances since. Thranduil asks if we can see the church records. "Records? Do you see any cake?" What? No... "Well then. This isn't the Church of England you know; we don't have that kind of information". Fairly powerful church though, with some crossover with Tūds guild. We decide to read some old newspapers but tomorrow.
That evening Torendra finds a nearby quality gunsmith, Hallen Alkort, as she's short of rounds; at 9gp a round though this could be difficult.
Forgileills not willing to stay at the Cathedral (or indeed enter it) and disappears. (Forgileill's letter)
Thranduil prepares to go searching for her when a runner comes in, asks for someone with pointy ears, and tells Thranduil that his friend Evie is alright and he needn't look for her (is that right?)
In the morning we go to the main market at the Quad. Lots of stalls, including rats on a stick. Tūd buys a round but only Kam seems keen on them. They scoff, drooling grease.
We find a cut-price gun shop, Snoddy's Guns, run by a dodgy geezer called Peter Snoddy. He's scouse with a bit of Australian. Torendra haggles him down to 4gp for a slug with no powder. She sells her make up kit, and buys some rounds from Peter. But after a bit more shopping we find it hard to buy powder on its own; eventually we return to Mr Alkort's Purdy Emporium to try for some. He's reluctant until he sees Forgileill (or possibly Evie) and offers to give us some in exchange for a date with her. He looks besotted. She, in an unusual show of apparent altruism, agrees.
We wind down the spending; time to go look at the graves. Thranduil "OK, let's get tooled up then! We all look at him non-plussed; that's what we've been doing in the market. Bloody elves. We look at the lovely pies being served in the main cafe in the Quad and count our few coins. We have a rat on a stick for lunch. It's not enough; we have to get one each....
At the city graveside we talk to the caretaker. It seems the two bodies had burst out of the grave rather than been dug out. He saw a 'bootiful gurl' that night in a white dress (the girl, not him). The description's not detailed - "Looked jus' like yer gurl there" - Forgileill. Hmmm. Torendra mutters something along the lines of 'should have expected it'. Thranduil thinks out loud "Someone probably came in here, cast Animate dead". The caretaker looks at him wild-eyed - he backs away and leaves, at a run, calling for the watch. Hmmm. Tūd has his eyes closed and his hands are feeling the air and ground around him. "Yes. Animate Dead. A powerful spell, cast twice within a few minutes by the same person. Oops pardon me Torendra". Time to leave; we pass a guard coming in, but he's just here to visit the graves.
We visit the local newspaper offices and meet Hann the Reporter. Kamilata suddenly slumps against the wall, wheezing; cities bring on asthma attacks. Tūd reckons we should go carousing with Hann as the best way to get information. Kamilata gets better. Thranduil and Forgileill discuss elvish things as we head off, Forgileill splitting away for her date. Thranduil trails her out of habit. Hallen Alkort and Forgileill (possibly as Evie) spend a pleasant evening ("This is not the wife you're looking for") and break up amicably after the meal. Thranduil follows her into a dodgy part of town; she passes easily but he's obviously been marked by thugs with "Love" and "Hat" tattooed on the available fingers. Despite being elvish he notices the growing attention, and eventually realises that it may be too much for even him to handle. He passes the "Falling Star" (or "Drunken Hat") and recognises the sound of revelry within; he joins us in there.
We stagger back to the refractory having discovered bits and pieces of Corvis's history a decade ago, but nothing obvious. We need the full names of the unearthed dead for Hann to tell us anything useful.
The next day we visit the poorer graveyard a mile to the north of the city. The graves of Hopless and Burkiff are hard to find in the crowded yard; after a few hours we find the marker stones surrounded by earth that has been churned up for several days. Tūd feels around him again (Torendra takes a step away) and confirms the same thing happened. We find a tramp lurking in the corner and give him a couple of copper pieces. He too dreamed of a girl in a white dress that looked a bit like Forgileill; i.e. dark-haired, small and female. Torendra mutters "I knew it!" but as Thranduil points out it couldn't have been her; he knows Forgileill was in at least two other places at the time.
Thranduil asks, between sky and naval gazing: "So how did these people know the corpses went missing in the first place? Given it took us so long to find the graves of Hopless and Burkiff?". A very good question...
Hager Gerrich's grave is at a house outside the city. His corpse went missing a few days ago; Torendra talks to a lad who says he saw the corpse walking off to the city a week ago.
And home in the evening to the refractory... We ask Thranduil's question of Father Dumas. He doesn't know; the report came from the mayor's office. Someone asks about Kelkess - he's a Blackrobe with a dubious reputation, maybe it's him?
There's some interesting tension between Forgileill, Thranduil and Torendra. Thranduil appears to have been trailing Forgileill for most of the past year, and apparently Forgileill in her enslaved state killed people Torendra was close to. So much for team bonding. Now Forgileill seems to be masquerading as someone else - Evie - which she's also been for the last year. While at the same time being elsewhere under the Eldrich's control and trailed by Thranduil.
At the mayors office we encounter Ulfas Borlock; fat, sweaty, very well dressed and played by John Prescott. He's not interested in parting with any information without some form of consideration, which we don't have. As we leave Thranduil hears him say "Keep an eye on them, Smithy..."
At the Sunbright estate Tūd lurks at the back. It's unlikely Julianne will be here but there might be someone they've met, and he's not sure what the family's reception would be. Kata, the head of the family here, talks to us. He's not keen on letting us see the grave - it was all disturbed but it's been repaired now. Tūd resorts to charming him and we get to see it. There's not much to see, though Tūd confirms again that the same thing happened here. Thranduil, poking absently at some leaves, finds tracks of small, shoed footprints. About the size of Forgileills feet; though Forgileill is barefooted. Tūd finds a small piece of torn white dress cloth. We leave; Torendra disappointed we didn't make more use of Tūds Charm to extract some money from the old man.
As we approach Fullit's family farm we hear pigs and sheep (though not lambs - they're silent). Ma Fullit is very superstitious, lots of symbols and charms about. Ma rambles on about spirits and witches (Tūd lying in agreement enthusiastically) is very hard on witches in particular; it seems Chander had been a juror on a witchcraft trial 'about 10 years ago'. The witches were tried and all beheaded. A clue! And Chander Fullit was 'taken' from his grave a fortnight ago. And the same modus operandi. Tūd lights a pipe. He thinks he needs a hat with earflaps.
We return to town and take Hann the Reporter out for a drink again. Apparently there was a fairly famous witchcraft trial about ten years ago, during the inquisition that was 'popular' at the time of King Vinter. Seven jurors were on the case (dammit, so all seven have gone) Awfull Borlock apparently was the chief witness...
"So", says Tūd, lighting his pipe "What (cough) was (cough cough heerurrgh) the motiva-(cough)-tion? The others ignore him.
Back at the refractory we outline what we know so far to Dumbass, who slumps in his chair and puts his head in his hands. It seems his sister, Lexaria Ciannor, was the leader of the coven. She's buried in the sarcophagus outside the front door of the cathedral. Lord Arthios Folden was the judge - he's now the mayor. The executioner's identity was secret, though it's probably an open secret in the government. The rest of the witches were buried in the woods in an old fort near the execution point. Leksis had a daughter, Alexia, who is a ward of Dumas and staying at the church. So... we have someone who could have a motivation....
The next day we go looking for the witches' tomb. It's an abandoned Orgoth Scout Fort; around it the swamp is overgrown. (Stew's description). The main door is shattered; in front is a circle of broken stones. This is the execution spot.
Into the fort/tomb, over a plaque half buried and scorched by the door. We explore; at the first door Thranduil is thwarted (-85). "It's locked!" Try pushing. "Oh". A pile of leaves and an old blanket makes a nest in the corner that Tūd reckons (-67) is a badger nest. A badger with a white dress. We root through it; under it is a loose flagstone which we pull up. Concealed beneath is an oilcloth package with a single copper coin on top.
We look around it for traps and magical wards; the symbol (says Forgileill) is typical of the Gerten crime family, a rival to Forgileills Griffin. Really we say. Hmmmmm. Everyone is reluctant to disturb it. Eventually Tūd opens it up; inside is a factory-greased pistol with 3 rounds and powder. It's old though; the powder magic may have failed. What's it doing here? While we discuss the possibilities, Forgileill sneaks off to open another door, and finds mostly empty rooms, with on one wall the carved likeness of an Orgoth scout face.
Further down the corridor is a portcullis, ripped apart and buckled. Kamilata the engineer says it's a very late addition; perhaps built at the time of the burial.
In the mess hall there's gobber (pikey goblin) detritus and a cowering single gobber - Bork. The "scary witch girl came yesterday, went to the smelly rooms and left with grey women". What are you doing here? "This is our cave!" Oh. And has been since someone broke down the door we expect... Thranduil and Torendra discuss children and their concept of yesterday. Forgileill and Tūd chase the gobber out. Tūd goes over to the smelly room, the others meeting him as three skeletons emerge from the detritus at the back. Tūd flares his hands and a firebolt shoots out, blowing the top of a skeleton away. Forgileill kicks out at another and knocks it back. Kamilata smacks it round to face the other way. Thranduil tries to throw one down but misses. Torendra cheerleads - bullets aren't much use against these - Tūd makes a mental note to use the grimoire to change that. He draws his sword and strikes one, slicing through bits of bone and dried tendon. Thranduil misses again - not his day. Forgileill smacks it down and Torendra rushes in to stamp up and down on it. Thranduil finally connects with the last standing one, spinning it broken into the wall and landing himself ten feet away. Tūd batters it into matchbones.
In the back of the room are broken caskets, broken chains and broken baskets. Burned plaques lie around. They find needle and thread. Bodies in caskets + heads in baskets + thread => complete reanimated witches.
We return to the cathedral and stake out the sarcophagus. For two days nothing happens; on the third, Alexis is trailed by the Twisters from Forgileills band of not so lovable criminals. Tūd searches her room while she's out - indeed there is a white dress with a bit missing. Dust marks show where several things have recently been taken. A runner from the Twisters visit to tell Forgileill that Alexis disappeared in a dead-end ally. She heads off - to her disgust the others notice and come along. In the alley they search about for an exit but can't find one - until Tūd turns up (194) and asks "Hello guys, Dumas said you were here. What's up? Where does that trap door go that you're all standing on?"
A random thug passes the alley mouth and looks in. And hastens on.
We head into the underworld. We're going to die. Well, some of us could.
We follow a ladder down an access shaft. Underneath a tunnel sets off in one direction and we do so too. The walls are damp, warped over the years, the lights from the few lanterns playing over glistening stonework etc - underground dark atmosphere. A chasm across the tunnel is bridged by a thick plank. Forgileill cartwheels across.
Forgileill in the lead reaches a relatively clean and bright room, patterned floor, to see Alexis entering from the other side. Forgileill ducks and hides, and the rest of us behind her hide our lights (though there are no bushels) and find a convenient lurking point. Alexia stops at a desk and leafs through some papers. Forgileill sneaks up behind but Alexia spins and gestures a Symbol: nothing happens, much to Alexia's surprise. They talk, covering up voices from up the dark corridor "What's going on?" "Dunno, Forg said something about Dumas's niece but she's disappeared" "Oh. Can we go to the pub?" "No Kam". "Well what about the museum? There's some shiny rocks there" "Shut up Tūd". Alexia is explaining that she's trying to restore justice; her mother and her friends, cut down before her eyes, should be restored. We all nod in the dark, until she says "and the city itself is culpable, and it must pay". That sounds a bit more dubious; we wait for the manic laughter. Instead she gestures again and Forgileill freezes in mid response.
Thranduil leaps into the room - accidentally through the spot that Alexia had previously cast at to stop Forgileill - but he resists the Hold and breaks through. He could have walked there more quickly but it's not in his... erm... his, er....
Alexia has dashed off and a portcullis slams shut behind her. Thranduil examines it - easily done as he's right up against it, luckily rather than underneath it. Tūd tries to find out what's wrong with Forgileill. "She's not breathing!" he panics. Er, yes Tūd. She hasn't for some time. "But that means she's dea-". Er yes Tūd. She has been for some time. "Oh yes. That'll be the Eldritch then. So she didn't get better?"
We root around, finding mostly papers and a key. Amongst them are two scrolls: Lightning Bolt and Invisibility. Power Glyphs are drawn on individual scraps: Fortitude, Strength, Mind, The Makers Sigil. Amongst the notes we find "Witchfire...?... Drain...?... Store essence...?..." and the start of a note to her uncle Dumas. It doesn't get far beyond an apology; obviously she couldn't sort out her reasons. Maybe there is some hope for her. They also find a Grimoire, which makes Tūd very, very happy, as it has some very interesting spells related to guns and explosions and things. He mentions a few to Torendra; when they have a moment, he will buff up some of her slugs.
Thranduil, poking at the mortar and wondering what it's made of, mentions absently that he read about a large reptile loose in the sewers (a gutter press report), breeding and infringing people's personal liberties. We close up a little.
We open the portcullis using the key. The route splits and we follow the most travelled. We reach a door - curiously locked on our side. "Break it down!" cries our very own Queen of the Damned. Kamilata opens it; in the room behind rise two undead thralls. He shuts the door and bolts it again. Luckily we didn't break the door down.
We find a different way and come across a mausoleum to some Morrow ascendant. Forgileill gasps on entering and collapses in pain. Tūd drags her out. In the room is a chest with "Blessed Be" carved on it, and inside is a ring. Tūd tries it but fails to attune. As we explore we find some of the mostly dead jurors, locked away in the crypts, many of which are marked 'plague'. Undead thralls too are in some of the cells. We cross a river, rooms full of (inanimate) skeletons, find stairs up and a door into the cathedral... We have to leave Forgileill outside the door; she's still unconscious.
Thranduil takes Forgileill back to an inn near her usual haunts (as it were). He has to rob her to pay for the room but refrains from changing her attire from armour to dress. On the way out he meets 'by coincidence' a sergeant of the watch (played by Russell Crowe), Helstrom, who invites him for a convivial drink. After a bit of casual interrogation (no dropping down stairs involved) he understands roughly what we're up to - or at least most of what we know. He recommends we go to Ryker's Fort, where someone matching Alexia's description and her companions was recently seen. He can't help much himself; he and his watch have their hands full during the festival.
A delivery has arrived for Tūd. Sent by Tūd. Or at least in his handwriting and his... er, his.... erm... It includes pistols, powder, ammunition and slug moulds. Just what they need - how did Tūd know? He doesn't. It's very puzzling. But he doesn't look gift horses in the mouth (at least, not until the gifter has left) so he hands a pistol over to Torendra and they look at preparing some more rounds.
The Longest Night is approaching and the fort is some way away; we head off at first light. It takes most of a day to reach it; we emerge from the forest to the open killing grounds around it (damn these military site pickers). There's plenty of activity; the fields are being worked by skeletons, who it turns out are harvesting bones from previous battles. They ignore us.
But three armoured bony warriors don't. They advance in attack formation - Forgileill steps up to them but they ignore her entirely. Maybe they can't see the dead... Tūd flings out a Firecone - two disintegrate into ashes, the third staggers forward on fire (scorchio!) and he takes a moment to calm his horse (205 ride whew) . Thranduil finishes the last one off. Tūds very pleased with the style and panache of that. Forgileill is annoyed and forges ahead (but it's very lifelike). We reckon she might be reaching the whining stage - er, the "why me?" stage. Grief for a close friend's death is difficult enough; how does one handle ones own death?! The evidence is hard to deny though. That stage seems to be over. We're not sure what we'll see when she gets to the angry stage...
The Fort consists of a keep across a chasm, bridged to a major gatehouse on the other side. No idea why they built it that way, unless it was some compromise of a committee of Fort site pickers.
Forgileill makes her way to the gatehouse ahead of the others. She marches across the bridge and looks into the keep to see Alexia and her grey, stitched up witches assembling animated skeletons out of the collected bones. She has a quick count - and gives up at two hundred. She starts back as the others pause at the gatehouse; Kamilata (00) spots two crossbowmen trying to get an aim on her from a footway over the bridge. He calls out; she ducks, they shoot and mostly miss. In reply Thranduil hits one and Tūd incapacitates the other. Torendra shoots one and he slips off the edge of the bridge, grabbing hold of the rail supports.
All two hundred plus skeletons are now looking at us. We can't figure out how to raise the bridge; the controls are probably at the other end. The undead start towards us... Tūd takes one of his precious powder barrels out onto the bridge; as he comes back Torendra shoots it with one of her enhanced incendiary rounds. It goes bish bash bosh boom in suitable explosiony special effects. We don't think the skeletons were expecting that. "Their jaws dropped." "They look a bit rattled".
Forgileill had passed us and headed up the stairs; she's caught by a guard coming down and takes a rifle butt to the head. She tumbles down the stairs, ouch ow ouch ow. Thranduil sees her arrive at the bottom - the others are staring at bits of flying bridge masonry. Thranduil rushes up the stairs to meet him; a bit of dithering on the way but he draws his taken and mortally wounds the rifleman. Unfortunately he is then caught by the falling body collapsing down the stairs on top of him. At the bottom Forgileill tries to stab him; Kamilata manages to catch her arm. Much to her fury, but he wants to interrogate him. Forgileill has a temper tantrum while Kamilata tries to get through to the dying guard - "Who are you working for?" The true king... aaargh... "What does he mean 'trooking arrrgh'?" No you idiot...
Forgileill tries the stairs again and meets one of the wounded crossbowmen coming down. She beats him up and feels a lot better. He tumbles down the stairs to land at Kamilata's feet; there's a bit of a struggle and he manages to say "You can't touch me, I'm in the inquisition" before he too gasps his last. Both of them wear sigils of lightning and eye.
Up on the footbridge the last wounded crossbowman is fighting off the skeletons. Much to our surprise - we thought they were part of the animating crew. Perhaps "I'm in the inquisition" should have been a hint. Kamilata gets on the bridge to help him back - the skeletons can only get to him one at a time and he can reach around the inquisitor to clobber them. There's a brief exchange of blows and then the lead skeleton throws his sword away. While he reaches behind him and is passed a replacement, Kamilata drags the crossbowman back. He's a bit surprised at a stabbing pain in his side until he realises the idiot he's saving is stabbing him. He grabs the knife in his gauntlet and with "Look, this is how you do it" kills him with it. Oh. Spurt.
Kamilata turns and runs off the bridge - he's now being chased by hundreds of skeletons, one at a time. Tūd takes out the (precious!) Lightning Bolt scroll. As the first skeletons reach the end, Tūd follows its instructions; he's not sure if it's possible but a bolt of white leaps from his extended finger and the light rope footbridge chars and flashes and collapses. More special effects.
We strip the bodies of those we've killed (rifle to Thranduil, crossbows to Tūd, daggers to everyone, etc) and Tūd and Thranduil drag the bodies out to throw them into the chasm. Forgileill follows them out and grabs a quick 'taste' of each body while Tūd and Thranduil deliberately spend a bit of time looking along the edge working out where best to throw them off.
Overnight we pause to rest in the woods. Forgileill remembers the eye and lightning bolt symbols were in Kelkess' house over a year ago (or a week or so for her) when we broke into his house. We swap a few more stories. Apparently the old king Vengis who patroned the inquisition was put away by his brother, and probably escaped with the help of Mallic the Traitor ("that's handy that" says Tūd. What? "Well having a name like that. Fancy being called 'The Traitor' and then being one?") In fact, we think back, arent Mallic and some demon child Kelkess' rival? From the notes in his house?
In the morning the ilin canter back to find the watch and everybody and warn them that a few hundred skeletons are turning up. They start at the pub where Thranduil met the watch sergeant. He's there but Thranduil is immediately distracted by the flame patterns of the fire and Forgileill has to explain. Sgt Helstrom sends a runner to his commander. Kamilata and Torendra, the not so ilin, arrive soon after.
We split up to tell everyone that we think it might be sensible to tell. Forgileill and Kamilata and five watchmen go to tell Awful Bollocks, the others to tell Father Dumas about his niece.
Forgileill and Kamilata have some trouble getting in; the guard are adamant. "We need to see Awful Bo- er, Ulfas Borlock." "You can't come in; he's getting ready for the party." "It's very important, his life and those of all the people in the city are at stake!" "Are you threatening me?"
Eventually the two ask the watchmen what violence they might be allowed to use. The watchmen say they've heard a noise down a nearby alleyway and all look around at it. Kamilata smacks one of the bouncers - to the bouncer's utter surprise - with his big sharpened stick, breaking his legs. Forgileill hits the other and the watchmen immediately pummel him to the ground "We saw him attacking this lady who was just passing by". The two doormen are dragged away to help with inquiries.
Our two go up to the door and knock. The butler (from?) eventually answers the door and lets them in. Ulfas Borlock is coming down the stairs, all dressed up and fineried. He starts to greet his guests then recognises them "You! You odious oiks! What are you doing - " violence ensues. They eventually get some useful information from him (as well as piss, blood and snot) - he's obviously very frightened of the witches. Under prompting he tells them the executioner was a wizard called Von Oberis using his own big black sword; he fell unconscious after the last beheading though, and the sword was buried with Lexaria.
Apparently 'someone' had told Ulfas of the witch coven, who he blackmailed into helping his career. In doing so he corrupted their work, which up to then had been generally beneficial, and of course provided some evidence of evildoing that he could use in the trial. The description of Van Oberis (lots of swept back hair, goatee) sounds like Kelkess...
Cut to the cathedral: Tūd and Thranduil explain as tactfully as they can (which is not very) to Dumas the activities of his niece. Dumas is saddened but not disheartened - "She's just a little girl who wants to spend time with her mother". Torendra manages a dozen or so platitudes "What's done is done." "You've just spotted the sun." What? "No uncooking the cake." etc. Dumas looks up plans of Rykers Fort - there are many more levels which may well contain many more skeletons. We must prepare to save the city; who will guard the orphans? He looks at us. No we tell him, get the flock out of here (ha ha). We have to defend the sarcophagus.
Forgileill is waylaid by her gang who demand to know what she (as Evie) is up to her. She partly bluffs partly truths her way out.
We meet up on the bridge by Lexaria's tomb. And discuss stuff. Torendra asks something we've all been wondering "Is it really that bad if they're resurrected?" If anyone had seen Pet Cemetery that might be easier to answer.
Tūd pops back to his Lodge to ask if anyone knows who Van Oberis is - the one he asks (no name, no pack drill) says it was a pseudonym for Dextor Cyrat - the guy in charge of the inquisition. Who had lots of swept back hair and a goatee.
We meet up at the council offices to look through the archives. They're closed for the festival, so we break in. We find out enough, added to what we've already guessed, to put together the likely plot. Kelsin[Kelkess?]/Dexter/Obiris had planned the capture of the coven and their execution, probably to capture their life force in his special sword - Witchfire - to use later. But something went wrong during the execution and he fainted, and his sword was taken and buried. So now he's working through Alexia to release it.
We need to get back to the tomb, which is rapidly becoming the point of Convergence. The streets outside are packed with the Longest Night festival under way. We struggle through the crowds to the harbour in time to see the first undead rafts arrive, and those that have gone for a walk emerge from the water. Forgileill jumps in and the rest of us sidle away from the incoming undead horde. Thranduil, with years of experience trailing Forgileill, recognises the trail of undead bubbles ahead of a skiff coming in to where they lurk.
Up the harbour the lone royal gunboat fires and a bridge heaving with undead collapses - but we can see some climbing the anchor chain. The only way we can think of attracting their attention is to shoot at them which isn't wise. They might shoot back. It won't make much difference anyway.
Forgileills skiff comes in where four skeletons are inconveniently gathered. We rush in; Torendra kicks one back, Kamilata destroys his in one blow, Tūd slips (02) and falls in the water. Thranduil fails to connect and gets caught by a badly swung old warhammer. Forgileill, climbing out of the water, sees Tūd come flying past. She grabs him and gives him a leg up. He grasps the edge and something bony just as Torendra knocks her opponent back with a bit of femur bone. It falls into the water, nearly taking Tūd with it. Kamilata turns to the one next to him and batters it to bits. Thranduil is bruised again by a warhammer and is knocked back. Torendra and Kamilata attack the wielder and the three finish it off. We get in the boat, Tūd muttering and desultorily picking off leaches. Forgileill doesn't have any.
In the harbour a burning merchant vessel drifts into the docks and the smouldering masts and sails collapse onto the quay. Steamjacks are out in the city, their supporting watchmen controllers rapidly dwindling. There's fighting and looting everywhere. A small party of wizards, pissed up, are having a great time and pass on two fire suppressors to their fellow novice Tūd. Bits of broken bow land in the water near them; a skeleton assassin on the roof has just fumbled. Tūd tries to shoot back but his arrow leaves sideways. Fuckit.
Thranduil, looking up at the stars, looks around in surprise "Why aren't we sinking?" We're in a boat "Oh that's alright then".
At the cathedral precinct we find Dumas is patrolling with his paladin and some of his clerical staff (ha ha). We will look after the bridge near the sarcophagus; they will look after the other.
Kamilata takes his armour off and changes into something more comfortable: a raving wolf the size of a horse. We're all a little surprised. Well, most of us are. He probably isn't.
As the first squad of undead march over the bridge, Forgileill makes her way (unseen) to the back, pushes the commander to the ground and stamps on him. Kamilata rips another apart (00+) and mostly destroys another in one massive swipe. Tūd backs away as he's just remembered they've left the back door open; the door to the catacombs in the cathedral. He reaches the steps at a sprint but misses the first one, flying in a scatter of limbs and coat tails and landing very badly. He rolls to his feet and staggers as a sprained ankle fails to take his weight.
One thrall tries to break through chasing Tūd but Kamilata pounces, smacks it to bits, bites it to half and returns to his place on the bridge in the space of a few seconds, still gnawing a few dry bones.
Torendra has a coping moment. "If it's bipedal it can't really be a wolf" she says, surrounded by undead, some of them on our side.
Thranduil dances some more with his opponents.
Tūd hobbles up to the doors, drags them shut and Holds them.
Thranduil throws his opponent over his shoulder and bits break off. As it recovers, weaving, they circle each other for a moment back to back, each wondering where the other had gone. After a brief moment Thranduil spins round and kicks it into the river.
(Kamilata tries to communicate something and I've forgotten what it was about)
There's a pause in the battle. Kamilata takes one side of the bridge end, Thranduil the other. "We shall have to fight to the death". Excuse me? "Oh yes, and possibly beyond". Dumas and his priests are retreating to our position by the sarcophagus. We are surrounded. Alexia arrives airborne with her supporting witches. To our surprise, Forgileill backs away to the cathedral - she's being Commanded - and we similarly back away, one by reluctant one, to the foot of the steps.
Alexia cracks open the tomb and her mother's corpse struggles out. The sword lands on the ground and Alexia grabs it - and behind her Kelkess appears suddenly and stabs her. The sword flies out of her hand and bounces and slides across the flagstones to Torendra's feet. Kelkess disappears under a mound of furious undead and is dragged away. Torendra picks up the darkly writhing sword and looks up, to see Alexia clutching at her side and Kelkess emerging only slightly scratched.
There's a bit of an argument; we're hopelessly outclassed, so it's probably a Good Thing that the sword didn't land at Tūds feet. He wouldn't have given it up to such as these and they'd all then be dead. Proper dead. But Torendra hands it over to Alexia, as the easily lesser of two evils, while Tūd keeps muttering "Shoot them! Go on, shoot them!"
Kelkess curses us and slams his staff into the ground; a grey wave ripples out and collapses back into a portal that he disappears into. We chase after, all bundled up together, and fall scattered into his basement back in the Perrin Empire. Kamilata returns to naked human form, wearing a couple of bits of jewellery but not much else. Forgileill collapses unconscious.
There's no sign of Kelkess but Cat and Flick are there; Flick leaps over to Forgileill as the others relax their guard. She's not very well, despite the tremendous power being poured in by Flick. "What have you done to her?!" We are in trouble again. They've killed Forgileill. You bastards. But she's not completely dead...
We have a couple of weeks to recover we're told. We have to gather enough evidence about Kelkess to convict him before he does anything really nasty. Keep that sword from him. We nod, exhausted. Tūd is slumped against the wall; the powers he has built with so much hard work over the last year have disappeared. He is left feeling... empty... in places. And his ankle hurts.
But it's not all bad - there's a roomful of shiny coins nearby, and this time they all know they're going to need lots of it, if they're going to eat more than rats on sticks.