Last Stand of the 5th Crusade

Saved by "Stone" the Gargoyle?

Kyrk's Journal 7

We had spent the night resting in an abandoned structure near Riverkeep on the edge of the mostly ruined city of Storasta. My companions were wracked by disease and poison, and their low moans of discomfort and anxiety had threatened to ruin my sleep — luckily I had my earplugs and was able to get the sleep I needed to prepare my spells in the morning. I suppose that seems callous — cutting myself off from the agony of my friends — but if I have learned one thing since leaving Promise (and I have learned MANY things), it’s that empathy and human connection sometimes must take lower priority than the practicality of preparedness. Not being prepared, especially as we approach the Worldwound, could easily result in any of us dying…or worse. If I am to do anything to help this party, and our mission, I will need to take advantage of each and every moment I have of rest or quiet so as to marshal my arcane resources. Storasta is a creepy place, and a rain of fingernails on our second day there, did nothing to improve our mood, but I was able to scribe a scroll.

And hail to Glitterdust — that most wonderful and useful spell! For when two gargoyles poked their stony heads through the window of our hiding place, I was able to cast it quickly and blind both of them! After that, it was just a matter of seconds before our group was able to subdue one into unconsciousness and make the other flee. And I am so glad that I listened to the little voice in my head, if not necessarily of mercy, but of practicality that made me urge my fellow party members to spare the gargoyle’s life and attempt to parley with it. And stupid though he was, the gargoyle who called himself “Stone” proved to be as helpful, if not THE most helpful, creature we have encountered in our travels thus far. Riva did a masterful bit of diplomacy, combined with a taste of one of her trail rations, and soon Stone was giving us valuable information on the treeants and other dangerous denizens of the city. And even more importantly, he gave us 10 masterwork backpacks full of that which we most needed — antitoxins and antiplagues! I tried not to think about the the 10 crusaders who had lost their lives for us to benefit from their possessions, but without those supplies, we would not have been able to heal our diseased and poisoned. And without that healing, at least one or more of us would have died, of that I am sure.

Stone’s information allowed us to skirt the city in the safest way possible, avoiding monsters living and dead, as well as conserving our resources and saving us time getting to our eventual rendezvous point. By casting Levitate on Barca and Fly on myself, we were able to get our entire party safely across the river avoiding any danger. It was most satisfying to use my magic in such a fashion.

We were able to get to a long ridge and traveled for days, hunkering down through ash storms, 70 miles per hour winds, and thick oily fog. Thankfully, Keeya could see through the fog and keep us safe and aware of any threats. We even fought mist drakes on the 8th day of Rova, but performed well as a fighting unit and triumphed over them. By the 12th day, we had reached the edges of Ralinskrad, just across the river from it. It was there that we encountered 2 crusaders (paladins) fleeing from 4 lycanthropic worshippers of Baphomet. We were able to kill or chase off the lycanthropes, and managed to capture one in the process as well as save one of the paladins. Both are unconscious now, and it’s clear that the paladin has been infected with lycanthropy. We don’t know if we will be able to save him, but we hope to do what we can for him and question our prisoner before entering the city where Minagho resides. Perhaps those with whom we are too meet before going into the city, will have resources to help the paladin.

All of us must be strong for the next phase of our mission — however weakened Minagho may be, she is still a mighty demon and a great threat. I hope I and my companions are able to defeat her without casualties on our part.

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