W is for War
On the gathering of 22 Mareshyir, 1120, at the Dead Walk Inn and Tavern in the town of Knoch'Len, adventurers came together to receive information that would help them in recovering the remaining elemental nodes. The bugbear tribe known as the Bone Biters disseminated information that could lead to the recovery of the remaining Elemental Nodes needed for a ritual to reprogram the Ritual Hounds and destroy their means of control.
While those native to Barran and those who had been pulled through the mists to defend Knoch'Len and Barony Mercer gathered their strength and readied to go on their night mission, mistwalkers from the Cairn and land known colloquially as Ascension battled their own threat. They were found by a member of the town guard and escorted to the Dead Walk Inn in time for the mission. Along the way, all who had gathered found three tarot cards bearing symbolism of corvids, and a strange silver coin that only said "LUCKY" in their possession.
The Bugbear known as Not-Dat took adventurers to a cache of undead and explained to them that one side had fewer but were a much more deadly group. The other entrance to the cavern was more populous but had less powerful undead, and the group of heroes split themselves approrpriately to clear the way. They were able to clear the cavern without major incident, dealing a blow to the undead forces and recovering the fungus, mosses, slimes, and lichens that the Bone Biters thrive on.
During the time of Deadwalk, Legion themself came into town to show face as well as some less powerful undead that harassed the people in and around the heart of town. With him, a greater undead able to cast powerful celestial magic stood as something of a lieutenant and assistant. When they pointed out that a serpentine wylderkin seemed interested in attacking the dracoliche, Legion took the man with him for a time, causing a bit of a stir when he was returned.
The raven fae came into the tavern, assisting adventurers to check the serpent wylderkin for signs of Legion's influence. Branwen performed readings of the cards of travelers and Rook offered tests of skill and chance with those present in exchange for boons or minor drawbacks.
An elementalist came to the tavern, having lost some of their elemental strands, as well as a well-to-do lady who claimed to have lost some of her family jewelry. Her caravan had to be abandoned when it was caught in the crossfire of undead and Kingdom forces, and she escaped with her life. Refugees from neighboring baronies came to find sanctuary in Knoch'Len, bringing further word that the capital of the Kingdom of Islan Tel Nava had been besieged by thousands of undead after a ritual gone awry. One of the Bone Biters, Am-Dat, exchanged elemental nodes his tribe had recovered with adventurers for the vegetation that had fallen from the mouldering bones of undead.
On the morning of 24 Mareshyir, a garrison of defecting soldiers from the Kingdom, lead by their captain, came to surrender to the adventurers. They offered their skills in attempting to strike back at the undead that had besieged the capital city, Nava. A well-dressed lady and her guard also came to the town, rumored to be from Barony Valgard. The region is said to now be in open rebellion, following the example of Barony Mercer.
In the mid-morning, necrotic dryads as well as large rats were seen to be in town, but they were cleared out before a majority of the townsfolk went about their own business. A dire wolf was seen walking through town with a note around its neck, and Rook came to the tavern to bestow a sword upon a male elf from the Cairn, rifting away the man and a group of his compatriots to put it to use.
When they returned to the tavern, the elf and his hobling companion noticed a shaking through various containers in the tavern. When they were opened, onlookers witnessed undead, severed hands coming from the containers to assault the heroes, which were then destroyed. The slitted eye that had been spotted in the Dead Walk Inn was also dispatched.
Spiders, a man trying to escape the spiders, and a fae claiming to be the new Baron of the town and surrounding environs came into town. They were dealt with summarily by those patiently awaiting dinner. A few goblins of the Azureneck Goblin Tribe sought out their "boss", and were noted to have been speaking of learning Earth magic from their benefactor. One in particular offered rather minor healing to adventurers, claiming to be a powerful "wizzer."
After dinner, Elder Sonya Albright gathered all who were available, gathering elemental nodes and preparing to infiltrate the heart of the Kingdom of Islan Tel Nava to reach the contraption that controlled the Hounds. There, our heroes defended those within the circle as they made the decision to reprogram the constructed hounds to seek and destroy undead. When the ritual completed and the decision was set, hounds poured in from portals, at attention and awaiting instructions. They then departed, shunning all who are not undead from their presence. Those within the circle of power found that now only those who were undead could possibly reprogram the contraption, and wisely decided to complete the destroy artifact ritual to prevent the settings of the hounds from being changed again.
With this, the suppression of ritual casting through the lands of Islan Tel Nava and Barran has ended.
After the ritual was complete and the contraption crubmled, the circle was collapsed and the group left in haste before more guards could come from within the capital. Unfortunately, one of their number, the serpent wylderkin known as Zyrim, was left behind. Upon returning to the tavern, the magic item that had enabled Elder Sonya to rift the group into the Kingdom crumbled in their hands. With the quick thinking of those present, Sonya took one of the coins to allow passage through to Port Morgan and sought out Rook.
Returning with the news that he could make no promises but would do what he could, Sonya waited with the adventurers for word on their missing companion. Rook returned with him in tow, having run off the forces that seemingly had Zyrim pinned down. Not long after, Elder Sonya was called upon by Rook to pay the price for their calling upon him - in the tavern, they were marked by Rook, a black feather on their right cheek. As they called on Rook, so may he call on the Elder at his discretion.
There was little time to breathe and celebrate for having come back in one piece. A celestialist who had been present when the man had been caught out in the chamber with the destroyed artifact set down a circle of power in the heart of town and summoned a Pantherghast for Zyrim. With persistence and assistance from the adventurers as well as Sonya and then Rook, the Pantherghast was defeated. After the battle was complete, Rook took Zyrim and the town guard, Lucian, to speak with them privately through a rift. They returned shortly thereafter.
Deadwalk was relatively quiet, with the hounds now hunting and killing undead. The stragglers were dispatched by those remaining around the tavern. Late in the night, Rook returned after an attempted assassination by the Kingdom. After he tried to leave through the portal he'd set in the tavern, it failed, and he was escorted to the one remaining portal, one that was later used for the evacuation.
The next day, heroes and adventurers from beyond the mists and those native to Barran escorted the last of the civilians who wished to depart for Port Morgan, battling past forces of undead that were able to walk in the light. With the help of the forward team as well as others who brought up the flanks and rear guard, the last wave was able to depart for Port Morgan, as well as any adventurers who wished to go forward before the portal was closed.