Awoken early on the 15th day of Édorum (i970), Jurgen received a soaking wet Ruphus. Shaking the sleep from his system he listens intently while the young acolyte urgently requests the group’s presence at the temple of Athena. Jenya has received a message from the head of the Athenian Temple in cauldron and the words seem grim.
After waking everyone, some grumbling more than others and a ‘Go to Hell Dwarf!’ from the corner where Aldonis “the Grey” sleeps, they quickly make their way to the temple. Ruphus meets them at the door and ushers them in straight away. The atmosphere at the temple is tense as Acolytes are seen wringing their hands and talking in quiet whispers.
Jenya emerges from the side vestibule where the party had been quartered only 2 score days ago and bids them enter. Her hair in Disarray as though she had been awoken from sleep and had not had the frame of mind to make herself presentable. Once words of greeting had been exchanged she cut through Jurgen’s pleasantries in an uncharacteristic show of haste.
I’ve just received a terribly disturbing message from Sarcem Delasharn, the high priest of this Athenian temple. He sent the message via a sending spell. I wrote down the message and my reply.
Passing the note to the group it reads: At lucky monkey. Have eight wands. Tavern’s been attacked. Bandits led by barbaric Minotaur. Mortally wounded. Retreated to basement. They know we’re here. Send assistance!
And her reply: Hang on! Preserve your resources, I’ll send aid immediately. Send me another message when you can. Athena Guide your Actions
She continues to the group I cannot go myself, though I wish it otherwise. I cannot leave the church unattended in his absence, if disaster struck while we were both away Sarcem would never forgive me. Will you go in my stead?
Without missing a beat Jurgen Frostbeard volunteered the services of The Iron Ravens.
lucius quickly threw in a question regarding the mentioned wands and Jenya explained as the the others ate warm bread brought by acolytes.
Jenya: Sarcem went to the City of White Sails to purchase wands of Water control. Eight in fact, we’ve had to drain the temple chests to get them commissioned. The wands are used to help control the waters during difficult winters. Though we have not had such in over ten years. Traditionally, since the first major flooding, the clerics of all four faiths in cauldron pitch to create them but one by one they have stopped as the years have been kind. Now please, I have had scrolls of Phantom Steed brought from the libraries, use them to get there as quickly as possible!
The horses that are summoned are quasi-real animals, almost translucent but not quite, each compensates for the rider making for an easy trip despite the rushed pace.
There are no encounters on the way.
Cresting a rise they come to The Lucky Monkey Inn, lights still burn in some of the upper levels and all seems quiet and peaceful.
Leaving Jurgen, Sigfrith and Lucius behind in a stand of trees, Sascha, Eevi and Aldonis quietly and stealthily approach the stables on the eastern, and closest, side. Once they reach the gap between the stables and the Tavern itself Aldonis overhears gruff voices within the stables. Signaling for the others they continue to the tavern and then become slightly split up as Aldonis continues towards the kitchen doors, Sascha looks between him and Eevi and Eevi watches the stables waiting to give the others a hand if need be.
Jurgen, Lucius and Sigfrith approach the stables as though they were regular travelers and are met by a man in leathers who makes small talk. Things quickly go sideways as Jurgen senses their hidden intents and combat ensues. Getting hit a few times Jurgen bottles up the main door while Lucius and the Archer within exchange missiles. One of Force one of Bow. The fight is brief and the bodies are dragged inside. It seems no one from the tavern itself was alerted to the commotion.
Aldonis continues towards the kitchen doors and overhears a deep gruff voice ‘You fetch me things, Wine!’ and then Ha Cleric, not so Strong now before there is a snort, the sound of ringing steel and stillness. Aldonis senses he’s been noticed!
Quickly flanking the other side of the entrance, Aldonis watches as Eevi signals again to the group in the stables and Sascha gets to the doors, when they explode open and a large mass of muscle, fur and horns comes charging aggressively out.
“Banter will Crush you!”
Sascha is the first to be hit and is thrown backwards even as the Bull moves onward swinging his hammer in a furious arc that barely misses.
Aldonis manages to perceive that their enemy is well armoured, wearing a steel breastplate and carries a large shield and a fuck huge War Hammer.
The combat is intense, Sascha rages, Aldonis attracts Banter’s ire when he shoots arrows into his back, Sigfrith blasts the big bull with a Witch’s Bolt which scores critical damage. But it refuses to go down, it is an engine of destruction intent on crushing it’s foes. Scouts appear in the second story window even as thugs and bandits come streaming out of the kitchen. Eevi casts a shatter, killing one outright as another reels from the sonic blast. Lucius blasts Banter with magic missile and fire bolts.
One of the bandits breaks and runs when he sees his bosses eyes go red with rage and as he runs by Aldonis, taking shelter by the kitchen doors again, he takes pity and simply yells at him to ‘RUN!’.
Banter refuses to be tied down to one opponent and rushes back and forth, causing Jurgen great consternation as he can’t keep up to Banter’s superior speed. The Minotaur’s armour deflects many grievous blows even as his hammer lashes out crushing and denting adventurer steel.
Aldonis goes down, though his instincts told him to flee in to the tavern he instead rushes out to provide support and cover for the group (Sascha). Banter’s hammer lays him out cold. Jurgen catches up to him and quickly uses a Lay of Hands to stabilize Aldonis. Witch bolt’s from both Lucius and Sigfrith are arcing through the air. Banter’s armour crackles as steam and smoke rise from his body.
‘Banter is Strongest!’
The Minotaur, no fool he, gets out of range of the Lightning, breaking their concentrations and rushes towards the softer ranks of the adventurers between the stables and the tavern.
Bandits begin to flee, running from death at both ends. Sascha kills the thug that has been trying vainly to keep her attention and prepares herself to engage Banter.
Sigfrith begins to cast his second Witch’s Bolt when the winds of chaos surge within him and suddenly finds a bewildered Unicorn popping into existence beside him.
Banter can see where this is going, smashing a potion of healing into his mouth and shoving Jurgen out of the way he barrels into the stables, punching a horse on his way through and out the other side.
Jurgen pleads with the Unicorn for it to follow the Minotaur Juggernaut but it replies telepathically that it is needed here to heal the wounded.
As it approaches Aldonis to heal him, it notices him tense up and start to lift his bow and thinks that that one needs to be left alone.
A quick search of the tavern reveals loot stacked in the kitchen, the rooms empty and ransacked, much beer and wine savagely killed but no remaining bandits. They do however find Shensen Tesseril in the basement, having managed to trap and wedge the door to prevent her untimely death at the hands of Banter and his thugs. She is healed by Jurgen and escorted back to the main floor.
Details to come.