Society's Demise

Synopsis for Session 7.5

Dec 13th, 2013

(In Game date here)

After rescuing Amiko, we decided to head back to town to prepare ourselves for the fighting ahead and to recoup our energy. We escorted Amiko back to the Rusty Dragon Inn. When we arrived we sent Amiko back to her apartments, and sat down at the bar to discuss our next move. Before we could really start planning our attack however, the barmaid came over and said she had something to tell us. We quickly gave her our full attention when she mentioned the name, Engmar Silvertouch.
“Impossible!” decried Morgrym, “We last saw him in Absalom over six months ago.” They rest of us expressed our incredulity with shakes of our heads and looks of astonishment.
“I dont know about all that sir dwarf, but Engmar he says his name is and he is waiting for you fine sirs in your room.” With that she moved back down the bar to get our orders. After a quick discussion on how to handle the situation, we decided to go meet with Engmar. Filing up the stairs and down the hallway we came to our door. Helmdal knocked.
There was no immediate reply and Helmdal knocked again. Still no response, so with a sigh our impatient dwarf “knocked” the doors open with his shoulder. Stepping into the room we were met with an unusual sight. Sitting bolt upright upon the bed sat an old man, wizened cracks lining his face. He gave no sign that he had sensed our entrance except for a small smile, revealing yellowed and missing teeth.
At first I believed someone was playing a game with us, but Kiko looking closer exclaimed in shock, “Some sort of devilry has aged him, but this do be Engmar. I would recognize his spiritual aura anywhere, but underneath there is something else…” Kiko trailed off and seemed to gain a far off look within his eyes. For a few seconds they remained clouded then, he started to breath quickly as if panicked.
With a show of effort, his pupils refocused and he broke out in a sweat. I stepped forward to support him, but shakily he waved me off and sat down in a chair next to the fire. Startling us all, Engmar began to speak, “Come to warn…Coming. Death on black wings. Shadow…..flame in the darkness.”
We none of us could discern his ravings. Yu began to pray, but almost immediately stopped, opened his eyes and had a puzzled expression on his face. I could smell no evil coming from Engmar, but I could sense something sinister around him, almost like a feeling of foreboding. Engmar began to repeat his nonsensical phrases and started to rock back and forth in a trance. Some of the others leaned in closer to try and discern what he was saying.
“Where have you been my friend?” asked Morgrym.
Seeming to finally register our presence in the room Engmar focused on the dwarf. “With him.” replied Engmar
“Whom?” added Kiko from the chair.
“Can’t say, Can’t say. He won’t let me, will hurt me if I say. Came to warn you…” Engmar seemed to register extreme pain on his face, “Can’t say…against the rules. He says so.” Engmar resumed his rocking and incoherent speech. I glanced around the room and could see that Kiko and Yu were both quite disturbed by this encounter, Morgrym wore an expression of worry for a friend. Solemn and Helmdal were both inscrutable. For my part I was unsettled and concerned about what could have so rapidly aged Engmar. When last we had seen him he was hardly a year into his prime. What sort of power could lay low such a powerful cleric?
Suddenly Engmar arched his back, his knees splayed in the air and head arcing backward to touch the cushion beneath him. “Must warn…rules…cannot…prepare…doom is at HAND!” His words building to a crescendo and on the final note he convulsed briefly, quivering up and down, veins bulging along his forehead, neck and arms. It was so violent, I was later amazed that a frail man such as he didn’t injure himself or rip his parchment skin.Then just as suddenly his fit stopped and he passed out.
“By Gragthar’s hammer,” said Morgrym stroking his beard, “he’s gone barmy! And what in the bellow’s do you think did this to him?”
“I know not what earthly being could do such emaciation.” replied Helmdal. He reached his fingers under Engmar’s nose. “He still be breathing, in what amount of agony I can only speculate. His condition could only have been wrought by some serious fell magics.”
For my part, I poked him with the end of my bow and got back a twitch in response, so I was satisfied Engmar still lived. Taking stock of our motley crew it appeared that Kiko and Yu had recovered from whatever it was that had startled them so, Solemn and Morgrym looked worried, and Helmdal remained somewhat aloof and matter of fact. He seemed to have come to terms with something and recommitted himself.
No one spoke and everyone seemed distant, lost in their own thoughts for a time. Then we all spoke at once.
“There must be something we can do for him.” I said. At that precise moment Yu and Morgrym seemed to speak with the same mind,“The church might be able to help.”
“I doubt the church could do much for him. I sensed no one of significant power within it’s walls and to help him would require more knowledge of the arcane then even my master possessed.” replied Kiko. “I think we should see the village elder again. Perhaps his tomes and relics could provide a clue to what transpires here now. A cure too….maybe” He shrugged.
From the look on his face, you could tell Kiko was dubious about any possible recovery for Engmar. As a nomad of the world, I trusted Kiko as my barometer for things I don’t understand. His reaction left me crestfallen. Solemn stepped forward.
“Well standing around here won’t help him for sure. I say we take him to the church and let them at least make Engmar comfortable. Then we should head for the elder and see what we can dig up.” Seemingly without much of a choice, I helped Morgrym get Engmar over his shoulders and then the dwarf scoffed at the mention of any more assistance.
“He weighs not but a feather lad. I could carry him up a mountain let alone across a village this small.”
Kiko, still looking slightly haggard, excused himself saying he had to take care of something first, and would be following shortly behind us. Solemn followed after him with a purposeful gait. So Helmdal, Morgrym carrying Engmar, Yu, and myself headed down the stairs towards the door. From across the room the same barmaid from earlier shouted, “Is he alright? I thought he did not look right.”
"Kept mumbling about “rules and warnings”. He just appeared in your rooms and would not leave. I told him more than once that he shouldn’t be up there and would he please come to wait for you in the common room, but he would have none of it. Wouldn’t budge. Seemed touched to me. I’ll be glad to see the back of him I will, no two coppers about it."
I nodded our thanks as I ducked out the door behind my companions. Even with the short steps of my dwarfish companions, Morgrym laden as he was, we made quick time to the square in front of the cathedral. The square was sparsely populated this early in the day. There were however, a few people setting our their wares for the day and shopkeepers sweeping out the night’s dust in preparation for the morning traffic. Soon the morning would be full of commerce and foot traffic.
Walking behind Morgrym, we approached the foot of the steps leading up to the cathedral doors. As the dwarf placed his foot on the first step, many things happened at once. A flash like lightning blinded me and a crack as loud as thunder shook my bones to the marrow. I felt the passage of Morgrym through the air, more than saw, as he flew twenty feet from the steps and back into the square.
Shaking my head to get rid of the stars in my vision, I turned around. There on the ground was Morgrym and Engmar. Morgrym did not stir, but I could still see Engmar’s chest moving up and down. I glanced around and found my other companions in varying states. Helmdal, having been at the back of the group, seemed unhurt and wearing a shocked expression. Yu was on his knees, hands covering his face.
I walked over and began to reach down to shake Morgrym
“Stop!” yelled Helmdal. “What happened to him could happen to you as well. He is alive, I can hear him breathing. The explosion didn’t hurt my eardrums. I was too far away. You were closer or you could hear it too.”
Now that he mentioned it, I still did have buzzing in both my ears. Searching around quickly I picked up a stick. Not trusting Helmdal completely, I mean he did act shady most of the time keeping secrets and being all mysterious, I reached out with the stick to certify for myself Morgrym’s condition.
When I pressed the point against Morgrym’s skin I barely had time to register the pain as an arc of electricity flew up the sticks haft and sent me flying end over end backwards. Painful as the shock was, I gathered my wits quickly enough to land on my feet, upright like I meant to do that. Wouldn’t do for a catfolk to land on his tail instead of his feet with this large of an audience.
Yu laughed and walked over to Morgrym. He gave him a quick kick to the chest. The dwarf groaned, but did not awaken. Looking up he smiled, “You have to be a bit rougher than just using a stick. Dwarves are made of tougher stuff than most.” He seemed deeply distraught over something, I can only assume he didn’t mean to kick Morgrym quite that hard.
By this time more people had entered the square, and if the sound of the initial blast hadn’t been enough to attract attention, my acrobatic feats/ failure surely would. Helmdal chuckled at my antics and turned to look at Yu.
“Quickly Yu, see if you can revive Morgrym. Would do it myself, but I’m lousy with the art. Especially when I have to touch a dwarf.”
You looked up at him and met his gaze, “I cannot. He’s gone.”
“What who is gone Yu. I can hear Morgrym breathing and Engmar seems none the worse for wear. Either your mistaken or you mean someone else.”
“Not just someone else my friends. My god is no longer there….” Yu’s face looked frightened, his eyes bloodshot.
“What do you mean your god is gone cleric? Gods don’t leave unless you ignore them. Your one of the most pious priests I know. Just today I’ve seen you pray twice. That is more than enough attention in my book.”
“He has either forsaken my sinful flesh or something stronger is blocking him. I cannot even sense his presence. Without it, I am useless to help our friends.” He stopped short looking thoughtfully. “Perhaps at the forge, his altar, I can cleanse myself enough to make contact with him again. Without his help, I fear we are destined to fail against such unholy strength. Only something old and purely evil could block out Taureg’s blessings. I must go to the Blacksmith’s and perform a ritual. I promise I will return soon, pray Taureg has not forsaken us completely.”
With that the cleric left Helmdal and I to puzzle out what had just happened. Our first order of business would be to get to the priest inside the church to see if he could feel his gods and to seek help with now both Engmar AND Morgrym.
After some discussion, the both of us decided to find another route of entrance into the church, neither one of us wanting to be the first one to test the stairs again.
Going around the left side of the building and into an alleyway, we were able to find a door. Helmdal and I exchanged knowing glances and he moved toward the door already fumbling with his lockpicks. Just then, at the end of the alley a farmer came around the corner. Knowing Helmdal would take only a few seconds, I waved to the farmer as I ran up to him.
“Hail kind sir!” I said. "I’m sure you know us by now, but my comrade and I are some of the adventurers that have been saving the town. The farmer immediately brightened up with a knowing smile.
“Course I know you lot, specially you. Not too many seven foot tall cats round here. Know what I mean?” he said with a laugh.
“Yes, well, we could use your help. A friend of ours has collapsed, and when we were bringing him to the church for treatment, some kind of magical attack befell another of our dwarven comrades. We need the city watch at once! Could you please go inform them and bring them to the square?”
“Leave it to me,” he said. And like a shot was off.
Walking back to where Helmdal was standing indicating an open door, I shook my head. My encounter with some of the local populace had changed my mind about gaining entry and given me the moral courage to try the front door again before resorting to breaking and entering. With a shrug, Helmdal closed the door and followed me back around the front of the church.
As we rounded the corner we noticed two things right off the bat. First, Morgrym was starting to come round judging by the groans and grunts coming from him. Secondly, and more importantly, Engmar was GONE! The crowd around the square had continued to grow in our absence and after a quick survey, none of the crowd had seen Engmar go anywhere.
Our options used up and Engmar gone missing, we looked back at the church stairs. A quick game of odds and evens led to me at the base of stairs completely unafraid. I glanced back at the waving Helmdal. Why did I pick odds, I thought to myself. Bastard must have cheated. Looked too much like a cat that ate the canary if you ask me.
Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, lifted my foot like a marching soldier, and with a huff, I dropped my foot onto the first step. Nothing happened. Opening first one eye and then the other I looked down. I moved my foot from left to right, nothing. I jumped up to the third step and when still nothing happened. I jumped up and down. Convinced the steps were now safe, I turned with a smile to motion over Helmdal. He still stood in front of the crowd, a huge smile on his face, the people of the village pointing and snickering in my direction.
Apparently, I had looked a silly sight, hopping around on the church steps. Helmdal, finally joined me on the steps and behind him came Kiko apparently having finished his business elsewhere. He helped the now conscious and cursing Morgrym to his feet and we all watched him march off saying something about a pint and privacy. Yelling about how his foot hurt and why did he have a bruise on his ribs. Helmdal and I snickered.
Kiko joined us on the steps. With a puzzled look on his face he asked, “Where’s Engmar?”
“We don’t know,” i replied. "He was next to Morgrym. Then when we turned our backs trying to find another way into the church, he up and disappeared. We couldn’t have looked away more than a minute or two. Neither of us have any idea where he could have gone.
"Another way into the church? What, the front door isn’t good enough for the two of you? And what do you mean “Lying next to Morgrym?” What happened to Morgrym? He said he didn’t know, but that his ribs hurt something awful and he needed a pint."
“Long story,” replied Helmdal with a sigh, “but to tell it short, Morgrym was thrown back by powerful magic when he set foot on the steps, Yu checked out his heartbeat with his foot, and then started talking about not being able to sense his god anymore. We are now going inside the church to see if the priest is having the same trouble feeling the presence of his god. Ya know, to see if Yu specifically is being attacked or if it is the surrounding area.”
“Seems like a sensible plan. Carry on, I’m right here with you.” With that we entered the cathedral, weaved our way through the sick and injured from the attack on the town three days before, and came to a stop just short of the dais where, the high priest was conducting morning prayer. We waited from him to finish, which didn’t take very long. He dipped his fingers into a chalice full of consecrated water I assumed, and touched his forehead. With that he stepped back and gave us his full attention.
“How may I help you today champions? Does someone require a poulstice or does our inner spirit require mending today instead of the physical shell?”
Kiko and Helmdal quickly filled him in on the events of this morning, including the difficulty we had entering the church. His face remained amenable throughout the conversation, completely engrossed in what we were telling him. After describing the shock on the steps he did waver a bit. I sensed he had no idea what we were talking about.
"As I was saying, " said Kiko, “Have you cast some sort of protection enchantment or sentry spell on the church lately. I could think of nothing else that could cause such a violent shock as what my friends described to me.”
“Well champion, as much as I would like to do such things, times being what they are with the goblins and what not, but I don’t possess such power as that. I heal through spiritual faith and local herbs that have medicinal properties. Magic is a realm far beyond mine own. If I could have a look at your unconscious friend. Engmar was it? I’m sure I could do something for any wounds or physical ailments he might have, but rapid aging and magically induced coma? I’m sorry that too would be far beyond my meager abilities.”
“The local sage might have such knowledge as could help your friend I think. I would start my further inquiries there. Now if you will excuse me….”
I spoke up, “One last question if I may? Our companion cleric that has been helping recently with the wounded? Well he is saying that he can no longer feel his deity. He is greatly disturbed by this. We think it bodes ill for what may be happening in the surrounding area. So we were wondering if you can still feel the presence of your god?”
Shocked by the nature of the question the high priest reflected thoughtfully on the query then responded, “Why of course I do my sons. I was just praying to him now. His presence is all around us and working through us. I have no magical connection with him, never have, but I can nevertheless feel him all around. Does that help you? I really must be getting back to my parishioners.”
With that he left us to converse with each other. We all decided that going to see the sage would be beneficial, at least more than the high priest’s revelation that he could still “sense” his god. His answers did seem to reveal that Engmar had had a violent reaction to the spiritual aura around the cathedral. We continued our discussion along the way to the sage.
Kiko and myself led the way, with Helmdal not far behind. Upon exiting the church, we could see the crowd around the square had more or less gone back about their business with no further antics to watch. The town militia had had something to do with dispersing the nosy villagers, having assured them that no the champions of our village are not daft or barmy, just reacting to forces that they, as common folk, couldn’t possibly understand. I believe this comment came from the town militia itself not quite understanding our actions and being too afraid to ask us directly.
We headed to the northwest to the sage’s home. We knocked upon his door and after a few moments he let us in. Having been there before Kiko greeted the sage warmly and explained to him our situation.
“My friend, it seems that we once again require your help to solve our current mystery. We need to know of any demonic cults that have a history in the area. Especially in ancient times. The older the better. We also need to know if there are any previous records of the gods influence being cut off from mortal men. Myself, I can remember nothing from my studies that would be strong enough to block out say, a cleric from access to his god. Do you have any tomes that could help us?”
“I think I do,” replied the sage, “Give me a moment. What your looking for is very old and must be kept in controlled temperatures. It will take me a few minutes to retrieve it.”
With that, the sage disappeared into his stacks of books humming softly. Kiko, Helmdal, and myself continued to discuss our current situation. We knew that the former priest’s daughter would be connected to this occurrence and that she wasn’t working alone. She obviously had allied herself with the local goblin tribes to either defeat or distract us from discovering her overall plan. Kiko said that he believed he knew what could possibly be causing such chaos, but did not want to alarm us until receiving confirmation.
The sage had not been kidding when he said it would be awhile before he returned. After half an hour he was still missing. Well not missing, the occasional sound could be heard deep within the stacks and rows.
Kiko and Helmdal continued to talk quietly, while I starting to get anxious, became distracted with the construction of a “tome pyramid” over to the side using various discarded volumes from around the room. Growing concerned about the sage after an hour, I shouted, “Are you well sage? You did say you would be a bit, but never did I suspect you would take this long. These stacks must be much more extensive than I originally suspected.”
“I am well catwarrior,” replied the sage. He appeared as if by magic from between two rows. “I have found what I was looking for. The organization of this place is horrendous, but what can you expect when it is just little ole me here.” He smiled and clearing a place on one of the various desks around the main hub, set down a thick, aged volume down. I could smell the musty pages of the tome from across the room it was so old.
"The only instance I could recall having to do with disconnection from the gods, is written here. Druids once casting a spell to evoke their ancient deity caused others to be cut off from their gods. It seems this can happen when another ancient god comes closer to our world. Their presence causes the fabric of reality to “shift”. Think of it like drinking through a straw. When the straw is clean it flows back and forth exchanging our mortal pleas to the gods and their presence and possibly powers to us. When it is clogged, spiritual energies cannot flow back and forth. I would speculate that an older deity of some kind is being summoned and his presence has clogged the mystic “straw” of the surrounding area.
Opening the book he flipped to the relevant section and withdrew so we could all take a closer look. I could not read the language it was written in, but Kiko assured me that the writing depicted a tale of druids who attempted to summon their god and that during the summoning something went wrong. The druids were transformed into trees right where they stood forming a circle of protectors around their summoning tree.
“I also discovered this. Its a compendium of older demonic cults, some from around this area, others not. It describes ancient summoning rituals of each and common practices. Various older demons are mentioned within it’s pages, but one name seems to be mentioned the most. Lemashtu, an elder demon god, a sire of other demons.”
Kiko turned his attention to the compendium and began to read. A lot of it was written in unintelligible script. What could be made out however, did mention the elder demon Lemashtu. “May we keep this for study?” asked Kiko.
“Of course, but please keep it safe. Such volumes are rare indeed these days and I am sure I don’t need to tell you that if it falls into the wrong hands much chaos could be wrought with such a powerful tome.”
“Rest easy wise sage, we will take good care of it, and I promise it shall never leave our sight.”
With that we bade farewell to the sage and returned to the Rusty Dragon Inn, the day was getting on you see. When we arrived once again a strange sight greeted us. Morgrym and Solemn could be seen at the bar empty pints littering the bar top. Scooping them up, we paid their tab and ascended to our rooms. Going up the stair we began to discuss the days events and asked them if they had seen Engmar since the square that morning. Both shook their head and listened raptly to the information we had uncovered.
We reached the room and entered. Once again upon the bed sat a bolt upright, trembling Engmar staring straight ahead. We collectively gasped.
“Where have you been my friend?” asked Helmdal stepping forward and putting a hand on Engmar’s shoulder. As soon as he made contact there occurred a bright flash, and next thing I knew Helmdal was flying through the air and slamming into the wall on the other side of the room.
Engmar began to convulse again, shaking uncontrollably. He began to scream at the top of his lungs, “I have come…warn you. Prepare yourself for it’s coming. Be ready or perish. Be terrified and survive. You…must…stop..”
Engmar again disappeared. The bed he had been sitting on was scorched through. Burned into the floor underneath the bed, was a sigil. Kiko upon seeing it opened the tome in his hands. I recognized it as the demonic cult compendium. Flipping through the pages, Kiko came to a halt and turned the book where we could all see. There in the pages was the sigil. The same sigil that heralded the coming of an elder demon and not just any elder demon. There on the pages for all to see, was the sigil of Lemashtu.

- End of Session -

From here on out I pretty much need notes to finish this besides the ending. I dont know what happened to Yu at the blacksmith, Kiko and Solemn up until the catch up in the square i know nothing about. I need details and facts please!



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