Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 60

As night approaches in the cells, Charon attempts to persuade the guards to let him speak to lord Jorian but to no avail. Horacio decides a good nights sleep is the best while Thriatos and Charon works through the night, attempting to conjure up a plan to escape. In the morning an official from the Temple attempts to convince the mages to sign a confession but Horacio refuses out of pride and loyalty towards Acidus who would otherwise be branded as a traitor.

Realizing they do not have much time they hastily make an attempt to escape. Planning to summon demons to take their places and hide behind an illusion they make it out of their cells but gets detected by the guards. A large escort soon being moving the prisoners towards the public execution square outside the prison. While hope seems to be fading the three frantically set their minds to finding new ways to escape but none dare act before they find themselves standing in the bright light of day, before a large crowd gathered to witness the event.

Soldiers form a corridor for the convicts through the crowd to a raised platform where they are likely to be tortured and then burned alive. Refusing to accept such a fate Horacio finally has the will to act and manage to bypass the magical wards set up to unleashes a gust of wind and get free from his guards. Charon reacts fast to the confusion and tries to seek cover in the crowd while Thriatos finds himself lodged under a pile of stunned guards. As on queue a strange portal opens before them and they lunge themselves through, barely escaping a blast of magic and oncoming guards.

The men soon realize they are in the Realm of Unlife with no apparent means of escape. With no immediate danger Charon is thrilled by the opportunity to study the place in person and Thriatos is simply quite happy to be safe. Only Horacio expresses the opinion that he'd prefer to leave this place sooner rather than later. But as that doesn't seem to be a choice they can make they are stuck with exploring the Realm to the best of their abilities. Wandering among the misty shapes of long dead they notice their magical powers are considerably weakened and appart from the dark, polished ground there appears to be no features or objects with which to interact. It is impossible to know how much time has passed since they got here and they feel no hunger nor fatigue. A dim light in the distance eventually catches their attention and it proves to be a portal, placing them somewhere in the jungles of the island. Meeting them is Acidus together with a large gathering of natives who apparently performed some sort of ritual to allow their escape from Usdar. Acidus introduces them to sir Elmer, a seneschal to consul Callissios, who helped save their life by locating them in the Realm of Unlife, and also to the shaman of the local tribe who greets them to the tribe by assigning each a totem. Catching up on past events the mages learned they have been gone for three weeks during which the governor has moved his forces to lay siege to Neddam. Acidus has left the city to attempt to gather the natives into an army to lift the siege.

Given some time to recouperate the mages meet again after they've rested. Discussing how they can best contribute to bring down the governor Acidus believes they would be most suited to defend the walls of Neddam and to provoke the governor into wasting troops against its defenses.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Necromancer's Legacy - part 59

In Sunn a council meeting is held during which the mages and undead get to meet some of the city's most influential characters; there's pasha Karim who officially runs the city, grandmaster Fal-Adar of house Somari, magistratos Nero to represent the goverment in Miramasa and colonel Galeo who leads the pasha's men.

The council first and foremost wants to know who is attacking the city and why. Having agreed to tell as little as possible but still appearing helpful, Zantana explains that a powerful lich is behind the recent attack but that his purpose is unknown. They do add that regardless the people living in the city are not regarded as important and will likely be killed if possible to add to the undead host. Asked about the opposing foe Kael suggests they face an army of perhaps a thousand zombies, though Azela adds that numbers is not necessarily the creature's most dangerous asset. Several greater undead are likely to accompany the army who will influence a battle far more than any human commander would.

Nero attempts to scrutinize the group and their connection but gets overruled as Zantana suggests the matters at hand are most important and must be dealt with immediately. Colonel Galeo have received news that the undead have stopped outside a castle between Lao-Din and Javibara. Fal-Adar mentions that the castle is in the hands of the mages of Lao-Din, so should be safe for the moment. Asked about the best course of action the group suggests to the council that a strike against the leadership might prevent an all out battle if done before the undead army marches north. The council approves of such a plan, but Gamaral adds that no ordinary assassins will stand a chance against the lich. The council concludes that most battle mages are occupied in the war against the Empire and without them a direct assult is not likely to succeed. Gamaral then suggests a bait might be a possible option and when asked what could lure the lich in the Group narrowly escape having to tell the council about the hidden orb. As much time has passed the question as what to do is postponed to the following day.

While Valerian and Sikra are given rooms at the palace the undead head out into the city. As they no longer gain money from duing business with Merga, their true allegiences exposed, they hire some men to go on an expedition west to try to establish some new contacts. Also they receive a note from Rutgar Bloodaxe who wishes to see them as soon as possible. Hurrying to their set meeting spot at the old temple Rutgar appears and happily informs them that two of the city's crime lords have now been pushed out of business with one of them probably dead in the process. This gives him an excellent chance to make a grab for the city's underworld with Scintilla the Red Handed as his only opposition. He asks the undead to back him and after consideration they agree and offer him fifteen hundred gold - a very generous offer which Rutgar promises to repay over time.

Unaware of the struggle in the city's underworld the council meets again on the following day. Having had some time to discuss the matter the undead offers to lay an ambush for the lich - a plan which the council approves as it offers the group a chance to prove their loyalties without risking much for the defenders. A caravan is prepared to accompany them on their journey east.

As the caravan needs some time to assemble the group hurry to finish their current affairs in the city. As they prepare to leave they are contacted by Rutgar who informs them he has won the battle against Scintilla and will await their return to discuss the future.

It takes the companions three days to reach the city of Lao-Din. Greeted by pasha Jaccarin, grandmaster Kanadir and general-shah Malibudur it is a considerably less than hospitable reception. Initially treated more as servants than guests, grandmaster Kanadir eventually takes them aside and puts on a friendlier face. He is informed about their plan and appears quite willing to aid in any way he can if it means the besieged castle currently controlled by his men is not taken by the lich. Collecting as much information as possible, they all plan to leave on the following day. However, the night is also time well spent by the undead as Zantana manage to find/recover/steal an old recipe for holy water at the local temple.