21 Longday 509 (10 pm)
The Crimson Cord and their entourage is encamped in the forests of northern Jossia. Approximately two-and-a-half miles to the north of them is an encampment of Inquisitors of Jörn, led by a man known as “The Darkshadow.” Some two-and-a-half miles north of them is a clearing with what is assumed to be a shrine to the god Isranthr, the Cord’s chosen destination.
The Cord is planning their next move against the Inquisitors. Mõrvar has a plan involving using the crystal ball to pinpoint the location of the Darkshadow, teleporting in, and taking him our, thus demoralizing the Inquisitors. After about two hours of discussion of various options, they decide to try and use their crystal ball to scry the Darkshadow to get a better idea of his current position. Surm performs the hour-long techniques to enact the device—but to no avail; their prey has resisted the effect. They elect to try again.
Meanwhile, Savaric and Rilka work together to get the guards into good positions to avoid an ambush by any incoming Jörnites.
So once again, Surm tries to scry the Darkshadow. After an hour, the murky clouds within the crystal fail to part—the Darkshadow has resisted the effect once again.
It is now approximately 2:30 am. They decide to go to sleep and regroup again in the morning.
22 Longday 509
After getting adequate sleep, the Cord awakes the next morning a bit late. The spend a good part of the morning with another planning session and finally decide to press forward through the forest towards the shrine. They move in 3-person column, leading their horses through the thick foliage with Savaric moving about 100’ ahead and Mõrvar about 50’ behind him, casting detect magic to look for any invisible foes.
About noon, the troupe comes to what appears to be the remains of an encampment. There is an extinguished fire pit and a cleared area. Savaric looks for tracks in the area and determines that a group of about 11 led horses north from here about 4-5 hours ago.
The troupe regroups and follows.
As the party makes it way through the forest, Savaric calls a halt and returns to the rest of the troupe. He tells them that he might be able to use the forest itself to scry upon the Darkshadow. So he casts his forest sense, calling upon the spirits of the trees and mushrooms and other fungal growths of the old forest to give him information on his quarry. But once again, the man seems to shake off the effect.
Savaric returns to the head of the column and they continue through the forest.
As the troupe makes their way, and Savaric is pretty sure he can see the clearing with the shrine emerging through the trees ahead, Mõrvar spots the aura of magic within the radius of his spell.
“Ambush, Savaric!” he cries, giving his companion the second he needs to react as the Darkshadow emerges from behind some nearby cover and attempts to backstab the unsuspecting ranger.
The Darkshadow gets his attack in, but it is not nearly as devastating as it could have been, as Savaric is able to turn the blow away from his vital organs. Mõrvar starts moving forward to help. Alasir gives the order for the guards to attack and they all start moving forward or firing their bows as appropriate. Mahgnus keeps his head down in hopes that it will be over soon.
Mõrvar attacks the Darkshadow, hitting him once with Deathblow, its triumphant cry of blood-lust echoing in his mind. Savaric punches the would-be assassin in the face.
The Darkshadow attempts to perform some sort of spell-like ability, but Mõrvar takes the opportunity to attack him and delivers a pretty solid blow.
Everyone else continues to try to move forward to help, but the difficult terrain of the foliage is impeding any kind of fast movement in the rapidly unfolding battle.
The Darkshadow gets another blow in, but he is finally finished off by a magic missile from Surm. Mõrvar, as per usual, decapitates the body and then strips it down of its belongings. He then places the head in the corpse’s crotch as some sort of sick joke. They catalog and take his magic items and then Savaric takes to a tree to see into the clearing with the shrine.
He sees a rather shallow hill topped with a squat, square building. Surrounding the hill, Savaric sees ten figures trying to hide, though he manages to spot them. He climbs down from the tree and reports back to the others.
The Cord conducts another planning session and decide to have Rilka fly in with her armor and land on the shrine. She will then cast a bane spell to cover all of the Inquisitors. Savaric will fire on them from the trees. The rest of the troupe will surround the area from the trees. As soon as the Inquisitors start to move and reveal themselves, the guards from the trees will fire and/or start moving to attack (as will the members of the Crimson Cord).
Rilka flies out from the trees toward the shrine and Savaric begins shooting the Inquisitors—a bit early, strictly according to the plan. Rilka alights on the roof as three of the Inquisitors at the front grunt and are thrown out of cover from being hit by Savaric’s arrows. Rilka performs her bane prayer and Savaric fires again, as does Leif. Most of the Inquisitors hold their position, except for the now-visible ones who perform a series of spells and litanies, allowing them extra defense and to create magical copycats of themselves to confound their enemies. They also cast hold monster on Leif, paralyzing him in place. They attempt to do the same to Savaric, but he manages to shrug it off.
The rest of the troupe are desperately looking for the hidden Inquisitors, but are having a hard time. They can hear the sounds of battle toward the front of the hill, but nothing toward the sides or the back.
Savaric fires on one of the Inquisitors on the left side of the hill, revealing him to that contingent of the troupe, opening up that theater of the battle.
Rilka joins the fray at the front of the hill.
Leif eventually shakes off his paralysis and rushes forward with the rest of the front contingent, who has, by this time, emerged from the trees.
Two of the Inquisitors at the front have cast a spell that allowed them to place flames on their obsidian daggers.
Surm emerges from the left-side contingent and spots the Inquisitors at the rear of the hill. This allows him to attack them with admonishing rays and reveal two of them to the rear contingent of the troupe.
As the front contingent is being attacked, the right-side Inquisitors reveal themselves as they move to help protect their brethren. The right-side contingent of the troupe emerge from the forest in pursuit.
As the melee is now engaged at all points in earnest, the battle becomes an epic slog. The Inquisitors use their litanies and spells to increase their defenses and to create copycats, making them harder to defeat. Kortash is disemboweled by an Inquisitor—he still lives, but is not doing well. Savaric’s flaming longbow crumbles to ash in his hands, the result of overuse (a fumble). Rilka calls upon her faith in Bruni to summon a guardian dire bear to aid her in the fight. Mõrvar, Garth, Sigrid, and Halvor, all work together to subdue an Inquisitor and get manacles on him. Alfhild is seen has a harbinger of death, as in every combat she joins, an Inquisitor dies.
But, in the end, all the Inquisitors, save the one that is manacled, are dead or dying. The Crimson Cord stands on the now-quiet battlefield, triumphant, if tired from a long, hard-won, battle.