A terrible grating noise comes from the dome of darkness where the alter was. Kuni shoots an arrow imbued with daylight, bright as the noonday sun. The darkness disperses revealing a man standing
behind the altar, and a demonic figure at the side. The circle surrounding the altar is ringed with swirling blades, churning in a tornado of sharp steel.
I finish off the one harrying Dom and Cilka, Coy is down, I run to his side.
I stand protectively over Coy’s unconscious body, and smash through the monster that was threatening
him, then I move off toward the big baddies we just uncloaked from the darkness.
Cilka concentrates, throws her hands out toward the swirling blades circling the alter and yells someword in a weird growly language, the circle of swords stutters, flickers and disappears. I feel a surge of wellness sweep through me, easing some of the wounds I have taken. Feeling bolstered, I charge toward the circle, stopping at the edge and thrusting my attack intending to skewer the demon, but the tip of my sword slams into the glowing dome and stops dead, jarring me back on my heels.
Keth moves up to the circle, reaches both hands down, mutters in a deep monotone, braces himself and
heaves upward, tearing the very rock from the floor, shredding the circle. I immediately step through and smash into the demon, landing three cutting blows, that should have laid him low, the demon merely takes a half step back, shakes himself and resets his stance, barely injured.
The priest walks over to Keth, and with a blackly glowing hand, reaches through all his defenses laying its hand on Keth’s chest, Keth shudders, then crumbles to the ground.
The demon suddenly disappears from in front of me.
A thick, cloying feeling steals over my throat, I open my mouth to exclaim, but no sound emerges. Doing my best to ignore the nerve wracking sensation, I move toward the priest and bring my sword down upon him. Coy moves around the priest and shoves him between Dom and I, we take full advantage
of the move and lay into the stumbling priest. The priest takes the hits, regains his balances, closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, as if he is sucking in more than just air. I feel the newly restored wellbeing and energy see away, and weakening, I stagger down to one knee, my vision tunnels as the blackness closes in. My last thoughts are for my friends who I can no longer help protect.
I wake to Alaric’s concerned face hovering over us. The priest is well and done, Coy did not take kindly to the treatment we had received, they have learned better than to anger my close mouthed friend. We take what we can from the priest’s body and set about securing the church enough to get some much needed rest.
Coy lifts the trap door, hides his presence and checks to be sure the under-church is cleared. He
emerges from the under-church gingerly carrying a net wrapped, black stone statue. He tells me it is like the sheaf of wheat, but for the evil one. Alaric says that she is referred to as “The Dark Lady”, her name is unknown. Alaric, Coy and Gertie discuss what should be done with it. Coy does not believe it is our place to seek it’s destruction, unless directed to by Larani. Gertie is concerned it may affect us, just by being in our presence. Coy says with the protection of Larani, he is immune to its affects. He will carry it until we decide what we should do with it.
Just before dawn some townsfolk peer in the door. I nudge Gertie to go speak with them, fearing I
might misspeak and elicit the wrong response. Gertie re-assures them and tells them they are safe, they offer what they can to us for food and drink. Gertie asks them to send for one of the townsfolk leaders to come and speak with her.
With morning fully arrived, we wake, much refreshed. The sick feeling that had been lingering since the fight began has eased, I am feeling much more myself, my wounds still plague me some, but I am greatly improved.
Cilka prepares to dispel the circle cast by the priest. The day long process of re-consecrating the church has begun. Not being of any use inside, I go sit with Coy who being the holder of the unholy statue has taken himself outside the church so it’s malign presence will not disrupt what they do.
The proprietors of the Fox and Glove arrive at the church midmorning with a much more palatable
second breakfast. We exchange happy greetings and partake of their generosity. Throughout the day townsfolk come by to share the news and the joy of their liberation. Gertie is invited to a council meeting being hastily arranged for that evening, as the holder of the crown, they seem to be deferring to her and looking to her for direction as a noble and a savior of Laibach.
We retrieve the horses and continue our work clearing the church. Gertie, Alaric and Coy go to the
council meeting at the Fox and Glove. In their infinite wisdom, they ask me to stay behind and guard the church.
My old comrade and leader, Venko stops by the church and we chat for a bit, he is curious what our
plans are regarding governing the town. I admit to not having much knowledge of any plans, and
suggest he go and partake of the talks that are taking place right now. He says he’ll be back and departs. When Gertie and crew return from the dinner, I tell them of Venko’s visit and suggest they consider involving him in the new government they are creating.
Keth spends considerable time imbedding the altar area of the church in his mind so he may return to
it magically. Keth and Coy travel to Passau to deliver a letter to Gertie’s father asking his advice and possibly his service in ruling Laibach.
Venko returns the next day and speaks with Gertie about his odd, but workable, ideas of government.
Gertie, bless her, is at least open minded though skeptical. The council and Venko both have some
time to think, pray and present their ideas. Gertie seems to favor a blend of council and noble rule, we shall see what her father recommends. Henryk returns with Coy and Keth, appearing suddenly in the lower altar room of the church. Henryk looks a touch unsettled by the magical nature and speed of the journey. Gertie describes the situation in Laibach and the different ideas for how it should be led. Henryk has struggled with his path, and is unsure if rule is the right direction for him. Gertie suggests that she appoint a new council, crown her father as duke, and we staying on for a few days to ensure all is settled, then moving on with our divine quest.
Oddly enough Henryk and Venko hit it off, they have compatible ideas on leadership and have come up
with some workable plans. Venko is appointed the new Captain of the Guard, the irony is not lost on us.
August 15th First Harvest Day
During the festival of First Harvest, Henryk is crowned as Duke and leads a procession to the church
starting a new tradition of worship on this day. Libations flow freely, it is a long awaited and well deserved day of celebration.
We start our journey to Umbria choosing to travel by land using magical means to relieve our fatigue
and improve our speed. We make remarkable time, arriving in Prebold after one long day of travel. Unfortunately our dinner at the tavern is interrupted, we are less than cordially invited by armed guard to be interviewed at the castle by Lord Klement the leader of Prebold. Prebold, the city that bent knee to the Chalcedonian invaders, their leaders feel the need to flex their bruised egos at us. Dom discreetly drops out of sight, aided by a spell cast quietly by Coy. He follows along unobtrusively behind us. The guards pause at one point, counting our number twice. They are puzzled, but move us along. We are thankful for the lack of quick wittedness of our hosts.
We are brought to the main throne room, Lord Klement scolds us for lacking the courtesy of seeking
his permission to pass through his city. Gertie states that we have the writ of the Duke and so do
not require his permission. This statement is met with considerable displeasure. We are summarily
dismissed, but I think it is only because he does not think he could prevail against us. It is too bad, it would have been pleasant to teach him some much needed manners.
We do not get to stay the night at the inn, Gertie does take the time to stock up on her poison of
preference, she is feeling the need to drown away her outrage at our treatment. We stay in Keth’s
magic cottage and wake just as, if not more, refreshed than we might have if we had stayed at the
tavern. We travel along to Tergeste, we decide not to stay the night. Our reception was so welcoming at the last town, we don’t want to risk a repeat. We stay toward the hills, heading toward Batavium.
We travel north of Batavium, and begin searching for a likely place to cross the river.
Traveling along the river we continue to look for a crossing
We were finally able to cross the river today, Keth assisted some of us with transporting magic, and
Alaric helped the rest by enabling the horses to walk on water. The crossing was challenging, but
Passing through the area we see no evidence of settlements, any buildings have long ago been
reclaimed by the earth and scrub.
That night Cilka perks up, she’s heard something. She describes it as shrieks and crashing. I am not sure she is fully awake, I hear nothing.
The going today is rough, we are passing through a rough mountain pass. We come across the remains
of a carcass, just bones left. Cilka thinks this is what she heard last night.
That night as Cilka and I are chatting while on watch, a huge rock whistles past me, crashing into the hut. Cilka is not so lucky, a rock smashes into her sending her forcefully to the ground, there is a lot of blood. I leap to my feet, shocked at the sudden and unexpected violence. I catch my wits and yelling I smash open the door of the hut, “we are attacked!”.
I swing away from the door and move a little way away from the hut, taking up a defensive position.
The thing that threw the rock lumbers up to me, it is huge and misshapen with a third arm. I evade one attack, but that extra arm is sneaky and gets a decent smack in. My companions are rallying, shaking the sleep from their limbs. Alaric is at my side and Dom circles around. I step forward and am able to land two solid blows on the beast.
Gertie joins us harrying the giant, we offer many targets and he takes full advantage. One more giant, again with an extra arm, comes up behind his buddy. Dom is stuck between the two of them. We work on the first furiously, Alaric strikes the telling blow and he goes down.
Coy, in his large form, circles around and grabs the last giant, holding him in place. Gertie and I rush in, this time I get to deal the final blow.
They do us the discourtesy of interrupting our sleep and they don’t even carry any coin, how