Swords of Valor

Twelfth Game Session

Visions From the Past

Inside the family tomb behind the house near Westernice, the party continued burning the enchanted candle containing memories of Jesse Osteman. The first vision that greeted them was that of Jesse as an older man, shaking hands with Arnac Brewmaster in Falling Water.

At that point, Gromdom Hindalfsen, stationed by the entrance to the crypt noticed that something was amiss outside. Torches were seen to flare inside the castle overlooking the valley and horsemen were heard departing. A troop of four horsemen rode towards the house, accompanied by several large wolves. Upon their approach, the heroes noted them to be dressed in the Parthian style, with sabers and fur hats. Galloping across the darkened terrain, the horsemen approached the house and crypt.

(A fight happened. The horsemen were killed and provided the disguises for Grom and Varanis to use later on. Does anyone recall any details of this encounter?)

After vanquishing the horsemen, the crew returned to the crypt. The candle was relit. More visions from the past greeted the party. The candle would gutter briefly between memories as the scene changed.

They saw an uninjured Jesse Osteman as a young cavalryman. He was galloping through a fogbank with a troop of horsemen. On one side of him was Wolf. On the other was the wizard they had seen in the vision from the silver mine in Crystal Lake. Then fogbank parted in the vision and they saw that the cavalry horses were actually galloping over grey water towards a stony beach. A battle was already in progress on the beach and the newly arriving cavalry troop charged into the fray, catching the defenders in the flank and by surprise.

The next memory was that of Jesse meeting Mama Illardo along a road, somewhere in Hanover. Her wagon was part of an encampment. Jesse spoke to her briefly, and then he tousled the hair of a dark child standing at Mama Illardo’s skirt.

After that, they saw uninjured Jesse sword-fighting Wolf inside a house, perhaps that very house. The fight was vicious, with neither combatant holding back. Wolf landed a cut to Jesse’s right arm, just as Jesse plunged his sword through Wolf’s chest, apparently killing him.

Next was a vision of uninjured Jesse and Wolf approaching a nobleman in a great castle hall and getting orders. Jesse looked very uncomfortable with the orders, glancing sidelong at Wolf. Varanis noticed that the nobleman was the one from the picture in the library, Limoges.

Then they saw a memory of injured Jesse arriving in Falling Water with two small children and establishing a household.

They next witnessed a scene of Jesse speaking to the woman from the portrait, Willith. The conversation took place in her bed chamber. Jesse seemed to have been reassuring her, and it appeared that she had been crying. A baby was in the basinet at the side of the bed. There was no intimacy between Jesse and Willith, however. It seemed clear that this was not his bedroom.

A happy memory followed this one, wherein the crew saw Jesse and the wizard from the silver mine Willith and an unknown woman having a picnic. The two women were both pregnant, about to the same degree. The castle was seen in the distance. The unknown woman bore a familial resemblance to Willith.

Then, as the candle neared its end, the lights dimmed even further. The air was thick with doom and portent. The candle sputtered, then revealed its darkest secret. Jesse and Wolf were seen to leave the castle hall walking briskly. They had swords at their hips. The benighted castle was lit by guttering torches. The pair descended some stairs and mounted their horses in the courtyard. As they passed through the gatehouse, Jesse looked to his right, catching a glimpse of a beast with smoldering red eyes which was kept in a caged enclosure inside the gatehouse. They crossed a drawbridge onto a moonlit mountain road, but the horses seemed to have no difficulty finding their way. They were looking out over the valley. They descended the road to the valley floor, riding past the darkened village of Westernice. The air was cold and brisk. They approached the house, which had lanterns hanging from the lintel posts in front of the double doors. Dismounting a distance from the house, they approached quietly. Wolf bent in front of the double doors and quickly opened the lock. The two men slipped inside. The house was furnished well. In the front room showed a place on the wall where the painting of Willith had gone missing. Moving slowly and menacingly, they worked their way upstairs, Jesse ahead of Wolf. Jesse proceeded towards the main bedroom while Wolf slipped down a side hall. Outside the door, Jesse paused and drew his sword heavily, reluctantly. He slowly opened the door. Light from the window splashed across the sleeping woman and the child in its basinet. Jesse hefted his sword and hesitated. In the vision, time slowed to a standstill.

Jesse then made his decision, stepping forward and murdering the sleeping woman.

Blood from the dying mother splashed upon the shoulder of the sleeping infant, landing in the form of a winged bird. The baby started to cry. Just then, Jesse heard a commotion from down the hall, the death scream of his own wife. He ran out of the room. When he turned the corner to the guest suite, he saw Wolf poised over another basinet. Wolf turned when Jesse threw a blade. The two snarled their hatred and battle seen previously began.

Exhausted by these revealed memories, the party left the crypt with heavy hearts. They returned to the house to rest as best they could and to prepare for the trials to face them that day. Shortly after sunrise, Warrick emerged from the house looking grim and determined. He conjured a Phantom Steed and spoke aloud. The rest of the party bore silent witness to this oath. He declared "Astride my Phantom Steed, I do hereby swear the following oath freely and without reservation. By God the Father, I swear to be loyal to my king, my lord and my followers. By God the Son, I swear to strive always for what is right and true. By God the Holy Spirit, I swear to use my magic only to further the good of the land and the people. I eschew power for power’s sake, I eschew the darkness for the light, I eschew personal gain for the gain of all. As I strive to further the light against the darkness, may I be judged worthy. I do hereby swear.”

Taking the damaged Parthian uniforms from the four horsemen, Varanis and Grom constructed a pair of passable disguises. While they were doing this, the party sketched out hasty plans to disrupt the summoning set for that evening. Grom and Varanis would infiltrate the castle by way of the iron mines disclosed to them by Henry and Henrietta. (This might also have been information from one of the captive Parthians. Not sure which.)

Having made a desperate plan, Grom and Varanis slipped off towards the iron mines. The other three made what preparations they could. Then, as the appointed hour approached, they mounted their trusted steeds and approached the castle in the gathering dark.

(This is the point where the point of view follows Childris, Narthairian and Warrick in their assault on the castle. Anyone with any recollection of details, please feel free to provide them.

Here are Mike’s notes on the matter:

The party faces the riders from the castle. Form a plan to infiltrate the castle and stop the summoning. Grom and Varanis go through the mines, Grom is captured but fakes being under a charm spell. Varanis disguises himself as one of the sentries and goes to the main chamber. Narthairian, Childris, Warrick ride into the main courtyard with a protection from normal arrows spell in effect to protect the riders and their mounts. Also have a resist energy: Fire just in case the dragon breathes on them. The three riders enter the courtyard unopposed and the archers on the walls stand up and begin launching arrows down on the party of 3.

Warrick moves to the nearest stairwell up and launches a fireball up to the top to clear an area to ascend to. Childris and Narthairian follow to support any melee that happens. Once on top, Warrick uses a Lightning Bolt to kill the archers on the wall. Narthairian remains engaged with a lieutenant on the wall while Childris and Warrick move to the other wall. There Warrick unleashes another Lightning Bolt and Childris beats down a lieutenant there, I believe.

Next Warrick enlarges Narthairian, probably bull’s strength on Childris and hastes the three of them. Then Warrick goes up to the top level and enters the main chamber that way. Narthairian and Childris rush the main chamber from the ground floor. Childris slows to fight the men-at-arms along the way. Narthairian just dashes past them to the raised portion at the back of the chamber. Soldiers with crossbows shoot at Narthairian as he goes past. A lieutenant steps in front of Narthairian and struggles against the enlarged paladin. Childris notices the fire sorcerer hurling fire in his direction and rushes toward him to beat him down. I believe, a second lieutenant engages Childris while the Lycanthrope engages Narthairian. Narthairian smites the werewolf rogue and knocks him out of the battle. Somewhere in this timeframe, the other party members engage as well. Warrick showering the enemy below with low level damage spells. Grom moving to a flank position with Childris to help kill mobs there and Varanis launching the all important arrow of slaying at the summoning wizard.

While the Wizard is being absorbed into the arrow, Narthairian rushes past him to the succubus and smites her as well, but not before she summons a frog demon to aid her cause. Childris and Grom deal with the frog demon while Narthairian puts down the succubus. The room is mostly cleared, except for the crossbow bearing men-at-arms who try to run to the exit with one of the injured lieutenants. Warrick and Varanis cast spells to prevent their escape, mostly illusions, and Warrick demands their surrender. The lieutenant refuses and the men begin to turn to fight. Warrick unleashes a damage spell killing the lieutenant and a few men. The remaining 3 men-at-arms surrender at that point.

Not trusting the wolf man to rise again, Narthairian returns to his body and slices off his head with one clean swing. Hoping that ends the threat from him.

Thus ends the battle and the gaming night.)



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