Day 4 of the Occupation:
The city remains in chaos after the surprise demon attack. We have returned Aravashnial to the Librarium, and Horgus Gwerm to his ruined estate, as well as escorted Anevia Tirabade to her home. Anevia’s wife is not present, but has left behind a note indicating that she has gathered with the city’s remaining guardians at Defender’s Heart, a large Inn on the NE side of town.
We also have a letter from a Templar of the Ivory Labyrinth (Baphomet’s followers) to the head Templar indicating that three safe houses exist here in Kenabres for these bastards – The Tower of Estrod, Nyserian Manor, and Topaz Solutions. We could do worse that hit these places hard, and perhaps turn the tables a bit on our invaders. Never do what the enemy expects – words of wisdom that will keep you alive in the thick of battle.
We arrive at the Defender’s Heart, were we are quickly introduced to Irabeth – leader of the Eagle Watch and Anevia’s wife. We discover that the attack on Kenabres was not unique, as Nerosyan and other towns in Mendev were invaded at the same time, although not to the extent we have seen here. She also confirms that the Kite is gone and the Wardstone destroyed. Things seem dire indeed.
Defender’s heart houses around two hundred defenders, the remains of the Eagle Watch. it also appears that Quednis Orlun, the head librarian of Blackwing, also survived and is taking refuge here. He was at the Cathedral when the attack began, and being nearly fatally wounded, he was brought here for healing.
We find out that after the initial onslaught, most of the greater demons abandoned the assault quite early. The Storm King drug the body of our silver dragon protector back into the Worldwound when he left. That cannot be good.
We tell Irabeth of the First Descendants we encountered under the city, and she agrees to send some knights to make further contact. We also hear some more about Irabeth herself. She was the one who discovered the treachery of Staunton Vhane, whom appeared to be a model crusader, but had been working for the demons for decades. He may have been the one who betrayed Drezen from withing 75 years ago, leading to its demon occupation. Irabeth was knighted for her discovery of his treachery. He is still at large – could be be S.V. from the letter?
We next volunteer to investigate the safe houses of the Ivory Labyrinth Templars. We plan to use Defender’s Heart as a staging point, and strike our at each place, seeking both intelligence as well as striking fear in our enemies. We spend a day gathering a few supplies, as well as assessing the defenses, before setting out for the first safe house – The Tower of Estrod.
Estrod has seen better days. It looks like something smashed the top few floors off during the attack, and so only the lower levels remain. Using the password, we are able to gain access to the main floor, where we find three Templars waiting. They inform us that Faxon and two additional Templars wait below, and they join the fray as soon as the battle begins.
Although Faxon is a dark spellcaster, he is unable to stand up to the might of our holy warriors, and Iomedae’s champions win the day again. We then proceed downstairs to investigate the rest of the lair, finding a dark altar to Baphoment, as well as a chest of treasure obviously gathered from fallen Crusaders or looted from homes nearby. There is also a great deal of paperwork, documenting the cultists movements around the city, as well as describing the years of planning that went into the attack on Kenabres. Finally, there is a letter to Faxon from a Minigho, a lilitu demon responsible for the Red Morning Massacre, revealing the fact that the Wardstone may not in fact be destroyed but turned to some foul use by the demons. We need more intel!
Returning to the Defender’s Heart, we take our information to Irabeth straight away. She thanks and rewards us for our efforts, and says she will look into this further. Meanwhile, we head to the next safe house, Topaz Solutions, hoping for additional clues to the future plans of the Storm King and his demon hordes.
The front door of Topaz Solutions is hanging off of its hinges, but we hear noise from inside and attempt to sneak up on the occupants. Unfortunately our armored friend BA is hard to miss, and the men inside notice our approach. They appear to be common looters, and when we ask to examine their ill-begotten gains for clues, they attack us and we are forced to subdue them. We confiscate their goods as punishment, and warn them against their evil ways before leaving them to their fate.
The ground floor of Topaz Solutions is empty of anything interesting, but Anrui is able to locate a hidden door into a cellar area. This basement is obviously a cultist’s den, with dark symbols painted throughout the area. Although the place is empty, a trap has been left for any intruders, including a billowing cloud of poison and a mandragora. A fierce fight follows, but even this clever trap is not enough to stop us, and once the vapors dissipate and the creature is destroyed, we finish searching the room. Another chest greats us, with yet more taunting and a group of poisoned holy symbols. Whomever is in charge here, they are in for a complete and total ass kicking when we find them.
As we pass by the Heart on our way towards the last safe house, we encounter a few of the Eagle Watch who have scouted the area. It turns out that Nyserian Manor was the victim of some friendly fire, and nothing remains of the estate. War can be hell, especially when your allies are demons…
We return to the Heart to find that our allies wish to speak with us. The attack on Kenabres appears to be only the opening gambit in a greater assault. Vorlesh is on the way to Kenabres, and she hopes to take what remains of the Wardstone and use it against us. She will attack the troops guarding the border using Nahyndrian Crystal’s power to turn the Wardstone into a powerful weapon. Fortunately, our agents have discovered that the fractured remains of the Wardstone have been located in the garrison in Old Kenabres. The remaining troops will attack that section of the city, giving us the distraction we need to infiltrate the garrison and destroy the Wardstone’s connection to the defense grid. If the Wardstone can be severed, it will no longer be usable as a weapon and our troops will be safe from Vorlesh’s evil plan.
We must succeed!
Heading into Old Kenabres, we see that the walls are heavily patrolled by tieflings and cultists. The Eagle Watch and our allies, the First Descendants, attack along the walls at various locations to draw off the patrols and support troops, allowing us to sneak into the center of the city. The Gray Garrison, more museum than anything else, appears to be guarded by naked, rotund versions of Kandro Nyserian and Lord Holrun. Vermleck demons using the bodies as poor disguises, the creatures reveal themselves and we are forced to defend ourselves from their grotesque assault.
Once inside, our presence is obvious, and a large group of tiefling fighters, Abrikandilus demons, along with another tiefling alchemist, rush in to defend the building. Once they are all down, we check the bodies for anything useful before searching the rest of the level.