Once rested after their foray through Willy Wonka’s Woeful Woodlands, our intrepid group of busybody misfits set out to castle ward, to meet with the king on the day of their meeting, appointed by Victoria Whitlock, while Arime remained at the Tipsy Pelican to handle Ranger things. Though they were initially rebuffed at the gates, Trask coerced the guards into allowing the party through. He also made them do push-ups. Between pulling rank from his old career as a military legend, and Morrigan whipping out the writ of introduction that Victoria had made for the party, they were allowed inside the castle.
The guards seemed quick to be dismissive of the group’s desire to see the king and led them to a waiting chamber adjacent to the throne room. Over an hour passed in boredom as they waited to be seen, but as time went on, the silence grew oppressive. When it finally broke, something was very wrong. With commotion from the guards outside, rushing off with cries to ‘get to the king’s chamber’, the group decided they had done enough waiting. And they stepped out into an eerily empty castle. Approaching the throne room and finding it unlocked they stepped inside.
Faced with an empty chamber and an empty throne, the mystery deepened as they searched for signs of any commotion or conflict. blood dripping from the ceiling on Morrigan’s face told them enough. The human shaped blood splatter above told even more. But before the team could investigate any further, the doors flew open. Flanked by two guards, a high ranking general strode in. Though he demanded to know why the team had left the waiting room, Aladon convinced him to allow him to see and heal whoever was harmed. It had been the king, and though he was surrounded by many healers of varying faiths, he was on death’s door.
Led to see the king, while the rest of the party was once more sent to the waiting room, Aladon managed to outshine his peers’. As the good Reverend worked his healing magic, he found that not only had the king been smashed into the ceiling, but a supernatural poison coursed through his veins. Aladon cured the king’s broken body but could not purge him of the poisons, though he did stabilize him. Curiously… The door locked. To both the king’s chamber and the waiting room. Something was not right. In fact something was very wrong as both halves of the party worked to find a way out of their rooms. Trask climbed a forty foot height to glance out the window in search of an escape route and found that an eerie fog had rolled over the castle. Even when Thea’s Druidic ability told her it was a sunny and perfect day outside. Something was rotten in the state of Broadsea.
With the help of several other priests, Aladon smashed down the door, while in the waiting room, Morrigan picked the lock with an Eldritch Blast. The castle halls were eerily cold, and the group (sans Aladon) made their way into the throne room. It was not empty. A crossbowman, behind the throne, was laying in wait to ambush them. At the same time, Aladon encountered the general. The attack was sudden and swift, a misfired crossbow bolt alerting the team to threat, and a swing of a pike informed Aladon that the general was not as loyal to the king as he seemed.
Wielding the power of nature itself, Thea took on the form of a great brown bear, and charged the crossbow wielding assailant while Morrigan psychically harassed him. Barreling through the throne room like an unstoppable primal engine of destruction, Bear-Thea smashed aside chairs and bowled over furniture like they weren’t even there and slammed the entirety of her weight into the throne. Trask stepped in next, following hot on her tail; an armored and muscled wall of intensely amazing and badass man of action threw himself upon the throne as well, giving it the last push it needed, with his momentum, to topple it over on the crossbowman. And to top it all off, he surfed the throne on its way down. What an amazing badass. Though the crossbowman managed to escape being flattened, he did not escape the subsequent mauling from an astoundingly angry bear form Druid that followed.
Yet what of Aladon? Struggling against the general, he fought valiantly. Though he was outmatched, he did not leave without making good account of himself against the traitorous sleaze, the good reverend decided that discretion was the better part of valor and slammed through the next door. Morrigan, with her (half)elf ears picked up on the commotion and immediately broke off down the hall to see to his aid. She found him and the general. Though the general called for aid and as more guards came they were forced to retreat back down the hall, only to find Bear-Thea and Trask battling a new guard. The group was pincered on both sides, with the general making dark promises of sacrificing them to something great and terrible.
Dark mists filled the corridors, and one guard was ripped from the floor, slammed into the stone ceiling above, with lethal force, as the other guard fell to claws and blade. Left alone and outnumbered, the general fought tenaciously, outpacing the team on his own, before the mysterious presence lifted him into the air. In spite of the obscuring mists, they took advantage of his situation and killed him while he was defenseless, before rushing back to the king’s chambers.
It was a bloodbath. Every single member of the clergy that had tried to heal the king was dead. Their heads adorned the bedposts, every inch of the floor was slick with blood and gore. This shock was further compounded when a possessing spirit emerged from the king’s mouth. It stated that it had unfinished business with the king, and would not allow him to come to harm until it was complete. This was the best situation anyone could really hope for as the group took the time to catch their breath and recover their wits before planning their next step. Unable to leave the king alone in the castle after discovering notes on each of the guards, signed by E.W. stating that the king had to die.
Thea changed forms once again, becoming a mighty Dire Wolf. The group set the king upon her back and hid him bound in place with bedsheets. Their only options were to take him to the Tipsy Pelican or to. Temple of Aladon’s faith; where he felt the king could be entrusted in safe hands. Well a wolf with bundled sheets on its back looked about as weird as it sounds, but helped greatly when they encountered Everett with a squad of guards. When reasoning with Everett failed, the group took flight. Thea shifted back to her elven true form and with a clever casting of Pass Without a Trace, enabled the group to make it to some stables undetected.
Stealing three malnourished horses, the four and the unconscious king made a wild dash for the city gates, Everett and the guards catching up to make for a high speed chase on horseback. Morrigan flung acid and Trask summoned a fireball using the amulet taken from Jappy’s (second) corpse, causing the guards to retreat, and allowing the party to make it into the woods, where Thea convinced a squirrel to lead the team to Elqen’s safe house in the forest. One of the squirrels also had an opal.
Elqen’s forest hideout was a massive and sprawling tree-fort mansion. As is natural for wood elf batman. And they were met at the gates by none other than Rifael “Riff” Raffen. He asked if they were expected. Morrigan kindly explained that if he did not let them in she would introduce him to god. He let them in, but didn’t follow past the gate. Though Elqen almost kicked them out for bringing the king, possessed by a spirit, the team managed to convince him to watch the king for a time. Morrigan then proceeded to perform a dark ritual, drawing arcane symbols and invoked ancient evil rites to pull the spirit out of the king for a brief seance. The team informed the spirit that king- and it by proxy- would be safe where they have left it, and requested it not go out of its way to kill the rest of the old team at Elqen’s safe house, before breaking up to rest for the night.
Thea: Oh WOW I had no clue she could change into a bear. Or a wolf. That’s actually fairly neat. Oh the look on those guards faces as she mauled them was priceless.
Trask: He’s still not great for a conversation. But all around otherwise, aside from the eating mishap, I think I may be beginning to be impressed
Aladon: I think a few of us would be dead without him by this point. Keeping him alive is in my best interest at the very least. If I ever allow myself to have… Friends… I think he would be one of them.
Everett Whitlock: Attempting to kill the king now are we? That hag is cheeky, but unsurprising. I wonder if eating her will give me a measure of her power. Food for thought.
Elqen Nafir: Really needs to lighten up.
Spirit(?): Not quite sure what to make of this. Friend? Enemy? Frenemy? Will regard it with utmost caution until can be discerned.