Chapter 16

Before they went marching into Hell however, they had a bit of a reprieve. In recognition of their valorous acts, the King-Regent of Cavalonia gave to them a fiefdom. Roberts was declared Baron, Z was given a fully outfitted mage’s tower, Brom was inducted into the Cavaliers, and Cavalonia began to build them a marvelous new airship.

Oris and Excelsior went north to Eritrea, where Oris lived amongst the common-folk, tilling the land; and Excelsior journeyed forth into the Fang, to hone his skills.

Some moons later they were drawn back together at Roberts’ estate, as they had originally planned. Not much more than a tenday earlier Roberts had been on a hunt with the Duke of Westingshire when the two were attacked by drow assassins. Westingshire was killed, but somehow Roberts, and Roberts alone, had managed to survive.

During the feast the other heroes were finally able to discern that it was not Roberts at all, but in fact a doppleganger by the name of Bartimaeus. They interogated him and learned that Roberts had actually been captured by the drow, and taken off to the Underdark.

The last images Roberts had were of a mindflayer, beginning to works its tentacles into his skull…

He awoke some time later, at the behest of an angry looking drow, then again, all drow look rather upset. Roberts quickly identified this drow to be a blademaster, and then he further identified him to be the very blademaster who had helped him and his friends escape the city on their last jaunt through the deep underground.

The drow, Vantrag by name, helped Roberts to escape once more, this time coming with him. Vantrag even taught Roberts the secrets of two-bladed fighting.

They then travelled through Krios, to a port city, where they booked passage to Cavalonia.

Once again the party was united. Now they were ready for war.

Chapter 15

War was brewing in Cavalonia. Luckily, the heroes, along with the Army of Bahamut, had a plan. They would repulse the invasion of Straad, and then launch an attack at Asmodeus directly, feet first into the nine hells.

Straad attacked from two avenues. The first was a land invasion in the south. Thousands of their troops, ranging from men to orcs to wargs, landed unnopposed on the beaches of south-western Cavalonia.

The Cavalonians planned to hold them at Worchester Pass, the only path out of the great valley they had landed in. The battle would be a desperate one, as the majority of the heroes army was composed of militia, with a complement of some four hundred Andarran rangers, about a hundred Cavaliers, almost a thousand men out of Westingshire, and a couple hundred medium cavalry. Their plan was just to hold the enemy within the valley until the main force of the Cavaliers could mobilize to crush them.

They had to hold, for should the enemy break out of the valley, then they would be free to roam across southern Cavalonia. They would undoubtedly disperse and wreak whatever havoc they could. It might take many years and thousands of innocent lives to finally be rid of them. And if they broke out with enough of their force remaining, the city of Westingshire was only a few miles beyond the pass.

After days of battle, and thousands of casualties on both sides (including the heroes complement of Andarran rangers) they were forced to fall back. But Roberts, who was commanding the battle from afar, had other ideas. Through a brilliant ruse, and with the aid of the full force of Westingshire, Straad’s army was crushed long before the Cavaliers arrived.

Meanwhile Roberts led, in person, one of the greatest naval battles Cavalonia had ever seen. They were outnumbered and outgunned by the forces of Straad, much as they had been in the south, but ultimately they were victorious, though it cost them nearly their entire navy.

In the end, victory was theirs, as was the offensive.

Chapter 14

The party sent Kat, in the Debauchery, to collect Oris. On their way back they stopped at Xanthia and Oris completed his holy task.

The team was finally back together. They then assisted some Lycans in overthrowing their vampire overlords, and Excelsior gave the Lycans the power to decide their own fate. Following that adventure, and Z’s encounter (and joining) with Infinity, they decided to investigate the cause of Roberts’ coma.

Through his dream much of his past came back to him. He saw himself as a young man, stranded on a boat in the middle of a vast ocean, dying of thirst. He saw the woman he had once loved, and his child. He saw himself murder them ruthlessly.

He saw Nagil.

Nagil was a part of him, part of his mind. Nagil had put a piece of his soul within the Dread Pirate. Roberts was a horcrux. But he had defeated Nagil, supressing the fiend as he tried to take full possession. Though while Roberts was no longer bothered by Nagil’s presence in his head, that could not change the fact that he was still there.

The party set out to find some way to rid Roberts of his curse. What they found they had to do would be no easy task.

They had gone to the Army of Bahamut in search of answers, which is how they knew all that they did. There they met back up with Argos, who had gone off with some agents of the Army just after the initial attack on Fieldan. The Army of Bahamut, with Nykyr’s help, had discovered clues leading them to believe that Asmodeus was responsible for the mounting evil throughout Akaron. As such the decision had been made to travel to Cavalonia (birthplace of the Army of Bahamut) and their oppose the Empire of Straad, Asmodues’ earthly kingdom, which was preparing invasion.

The party decided that they would depart for Cavalonia aboard their warship, just after they collected the basilisk’s blood that they would need to destroy the horcrux of Nagil. Argos decided to go with them.

They killed a basilisk, and collected its blood, then sailed to the Wastes of Brimstone where they captured a pheonix. Using the combination of basilisk’s blood and pheonix tears that Z was able to concoct, they destroyed the horcrux within Roberts’ mind, and set off for Cavalonia.

Chapter 13

Shortly after leaving the Avenger Academy the party and their airship came under attacked. They were ambushed by a raiding party of Githyanki air pirates. They won the fight, and pursued the githyanki back to a small base they had established in the mountains. Seeking vengeance they attacked.
…Meanwhile, Roberts had finally emerged from his coma, after reliving some of the worst moments of his life, namely the day that the voice in his mind took control, forcing him to murder his own wife and child. Roberts had won the battle of wills with the mysterious voice, and gained significant powers of mental will. He could project his will onto others, allowing him to be able to convince them of his opinions much more easily, and he had become immune to psionic attacks, such as those of the mindflayers he despised. He had learned, while in his comatose state, that his mind was a horcrux for the evil wizard Nagil. While he had finally silenced the wizard, and Nagil could no longer control or compel him, the foul caster’s soul remained within him.
Roberts and the Cavaliers of the outpost he was staying at had received word of a githyanki pirate base in the Great Rim, so they set out upon their griffin mounts to destroy it.
The two groups, the main party in the airship, and Roberts along with the Cavaliers, arrived at the pirate base at the same time. Their attacks coincided and the githyanki never stood a chance. After the battle they found some loot, and Roberts discovered a wyvern egg, which he kept to himself. The also managed to take one of the githyanki prisoner. The Cavalier captain wanted to execute the pirate, but Roberts turned on him and freed the prisoner. The party then fled on their airship, along with one of the small githyanki airships they had captured.
…Meanwhile…Oris was progressing through his Avenger training, though he was making no friends. Still, the difficulties were nothing if he could only appease his god. The day finally came when Oris graduated, and once again achieved the rank of Avenger of Pelor…

Chapter 12

The party ascended through the Underdark, taking the only passage they could find. Eventually they emerged in a small valley, still far above the Nentir Vale or the Lands of Dawn, right in the middle of the Dawnforge mountains. Roberts mysteriously slipped deeply into a feverish coma as they emerged from the caves. In the valley they found a Cavalier outpost, and strangely enough a wooden sailing ship. The cavaliers said that it had been part of a project to put a cavalonian fleet into the Lake Nen by attaching a balloon filled with hot air to the ship and flying it over. The plan had failed however, and the ship had crash landed in the valley. Cavalonia had abandoned the project, but established a small outpost at the crash site to keep an eye on the mountain range and the Nentir Vale. The cavaliers offered to let the heroes take the airship if they could repair it, and offered to let Roberts (who was in no condition for travel) remain with them. Excelsior used a ritual to repair the airship, and they set off in that, using Z’s magical fire to keep them aloft. By midday the next day they were somewhere in the Great Rim. They were running low on provisions, and so they set down in a valley to hunt and forage for food. While they were at camp in the valley Brom discovered a mysterious path, which he followed to a mysterious shack. As he approached the hut a voice beckoned from within, he entered and found a small old woman inside. Somehow the man knew his name, and he knew of the Sword that Brom carried. He told Brom that he had to seek out Davros the Elder, deep within the Wastes of Brimstone, and train under him before he would be able to wield the true power of the Sword of the Grey and defeat the evil that threatened the world. Brom returned and told his companions of what he had seen and heard. The very next day the party set out south, to the Wastes. They encountered a thunderstorm along the way and nearly crashed, but thankfully they were able to pull up just in time. The flight through the Wastes was harrowing and dangerous, but through their skill and sheer luck they were able to survive. They came to Davros’ hut, and Brom went forth to gain admittance. Davros was a potbellied old drunkard and he rejected Brom at first, until he smelled the borovian whiskey in the flask Oris had given to the young warrior. Davros turned out to be much more than he had at first seemed, and Brom learned much. Above all Brom learned the value of his companions, and Davros taught him that a warrior’s true strength came from his comrades.
The party then left the Wastes and Davros behind, heading north once more for Oris had experienced a vision from Pelor himself. In the vision Oris saw a town that was riddled with strife, evil, and corruption. Pelor told him that to regain his Avenger status he needed cleanse the town of its evil. But before he could do that he had to travel to the Avenger Academy in the mountains of the Great Rim, just south of Nerath, and relearn what it meant to be and Avenger of Pelor. The party set off from the Wastes of Brimstone to aid Oris in his quest. On their way north Kat taught him the art of the assassin, a valuable skill for an avenger. One useful skill she taught him was the ability to cast himself off nearly any height, and land without harm. Kat and Oris grew to be good friends throughout his training. Finally they came to the Avenger Academy. Oris elected to remain there for a time, while the others went off without him, promising to return…

Chapter 11

Nykyr gazed down at the blade protruding from his chest, his stony expression slowly shifting to a skull-like grin. He slashed his scimitar to the inside in a high arc, as he clasped his foe’s weapon arm with his left hand. He blade flashed through the air, severing the deathknight’s arm. He continued his arcing motion, bringing his blade around to sever the thing’s head from it’s shoulders. He yanked the sword from his own bosom, and set off for the gate, just behind Roberts and the rest of his friends…
Together they all escaped Fallcrest, and met up with the Army of Bahamut in Hammerfast. There they learned of a massive invasion being planned by the Empire of Straad against the nation of Cavalonia. Nykyr, as well as the commanders of the Army of Bahamut were convinced that Asmodeus was behind the increasing evil throughout Akaron, so the plan was to go to Cavalonia to aid against Straad, and then on to the Nine Hells to stop Asmodeus once and for all. The party learned a bit more of Brom’s prophecy. They were to climb to the top of Mount Thunderspire and retrieve a mighty sword, the blade that Brom was to wield to defeat a legendary evil.
They all, minus Nykyr, traveled to Thunderspire and ascended the great mountain. At the top they battled a gargantuan spirit dragon, and Brom claimed the fabled Sword of the Grey. They then returned to the Army of Bahamut, and decided that they would take the road through the Underdark, beneath the Dawnforge Mountains, in order to reach Cavalonia as quickly as possible. They were ambushed in the darkness of the caverns, by a party of drow, who imprisoned them within their vile city. The heroes made an escape attempt. They were discovered in the armory however, and hordes of drow came pouring in. The situation seemed dire, when one of the drow blademasters suddenly turned on his own. He helped the party to defeat the other drow and then aided them in escaping the city. Roberts recognized him as the drow whom he had spared during the fight in the bowels of Yeenoghu’s fortress. The drow said that he wished he could accompany them, but he had to return and see that there would be no pursuit…

Chapter 10

They awoke in a small, and deserted, inn in the middle of the city of Fallcrest. Oris immediately set to work healing Kor, while Gelena went about making her famous pancakes. The day was dark and overcast, as it drug on they began to wonder at the absence of the city’s inhabitants. Dusk descended rapidly upon them, and as the sun went down they began to hear strange noises from down the street, accompanied by a horrible stench wafting up from the south. Roberts and Cailen went for a look outside and they found a zombie horde bearing down upon them. They returned to the inn and began constructing fortifications to hold them for the night. The ensuing battle was fierce as wave after wave of undead abominations crashed down upon them. Oris discovered that his crossbows no longer possessed Pelor’s Light, for Pelor had revoked their sanctity for their role in nearly killing Kor. Finally they realized that to remain in the inn would be the death (or undeath) of them. Cailen and Roberts led a daring charge into the open streets. From there they began hacking and hewing their way through the masses of undead, without any real direction. They finally arrived at the Keep to learn that the entire city was under attack by an army of undead, ranging from vampire lords to zombie drudges. At the head of this unholy army was a fearsome deathknight. After speaking with the Mayor, the party decided they would break free of the city, and send help once they reached the Army of Bahamut, which Nykyr had told them was gathering in Hammerfast. The Mayor bid them farewell and Gods’ speed. Roberts decided to forgo the formation of any strategy whatsoever. He and Cailen went charging from the gates of the keep slaughtering any foe who stepped in their way. While Cailen and the others began to make for the city gate, Roberts changed course, taking a beeline for the deathknight general. The General stepped out to fight him in single combat. After several moments of fierce combat, Roberts’ blade finally struck true. He skewered his foe through the heart, ramming his sword through to the hilt. The deathknight never even flinched, from that moment it was apparent Roberts was outmatched. His friends tried to make their way back to aid him, but they were cut off by the teeming hordes of undead. Just as it seemed the end was upon the intrepid Dread Pirate a form emerged from the enemy ranks, hacking, slashing and stabbing with abandon. It was none other than the fearsome Nykyr. He dove at the deathknight, and the two began a deadly dance of steel. “Run!” He shouted to Roberts and the others, who had just broken through. Reluctantly they turned on there heels and began to fight their way out. Once they had reached the relative safety of the gate they turned back to see what had become of their savior. They turned just in time to see the deathknight plunge his blade through their noble friend’s chest…

Chapter 9

Disheartened the adventurers returned to Fallcrest, there they met with Nykyr, who told them of a way to enter the Abyss. He took them to Winterhaven, where an old sorceress used a ritual to temporarily bind their unconscious state with the Abyss. Essentially, the next time they fell unconscious they would be sent to the Abyss, and the time after that they would be sent home. Oris, being a Deva, had to be given a sleeping draught to be able to reach such a state comfortably. The heroes arranged to reawaken in Fallcrest, and went to sleep in the soothsayer’s home. They awoke in the middle of the Salt Flats of Yeenoghu’s realm. After debating where to find his fortress, they set out in the direction of the Sulfur Sea. They encountered his castle on the way there. After Excelsior mounted an initial recon, they stormed the place, freeing Kat and Gelena, they also found Captain Jim, whom they had assumed had been eaten by mindflayers. Jim told them that the mindflayers had sold him to a band of gnollic raiders. He told of how Zaiden had regrouped her forces and mounted an attack on Venetia, he told how he had seen Armweta fall. And that he had made his way back to Lord Kelmin. In the final battle for Belast, Lord Kelmin sacrificed himself in single combat so that his men would not be slaughtered. The gnolls feasted upon his body and his men were sent to the abyss to become Yeenoghu’s slaves, which is how Jim came to be in Yeenoghu’s realm, he was the last of the survivors. The party was pursued by Nezrebe, Yeenoghu’s right hand. They were attacked in the Salt Flats. During the battle Kor was grabbed by several gnoll gorgers, who began attempting to rip him apart and eat him. Oris, in an attempt to save his friend, fired two bolts from his holy hand crossbows, the bolts met and exploded, killing the gnolls and nearly killing Kor who fell into a deep coma and disappeared from the Abyss. His actions however wiped out half the gnolls, and saved Brom from direct blow from Nezrebe. The heroes were able to escape Nezrebe and that night they departed the Abyss, to reawaken in downtown Fallcrest…

Chapter 8

The party finally came to the Hadran Mountains, there they crossed (after an accident with Shadowmere Z saved their lives) and they came to the town of Winterhaven. In Winterhaven they were reunited briefly with Nykyr and learned that Fallcrest was the place to look for anyone who might know about slave shipments in the Nentir Vale, they set out for Fallcrest along with a family of four who needed to get to the city, but couldn’t risk traveling the road alone for fear of bandits. On the way to Fallcrest they were ambushed by a large raiding party of Gnolls, led by a Gnoll demon commander. Kat and Kor, as well as the family’s two children were captured, the father was slain by the Gnollic demon, and Mr. Bigg sacrificed his own life so that the others might escape. They arrived in Fallcrest, the rest of their journey uneventful, the woman they were with left to live with her sister’s family in the countryside surrounding the city proper. The heroes learned that a group of slaves had recently passed into the city, and had been given to a suspicious fellow, who took them off to the southwest, into the ogrefist hills. While in the city they were re-united with Oris, who had been reincarnated there, and had been working for the local Temple of Pelor. They aided Oris in stopping the plots of an evil noble, and then the band set off into the ogrefist hills after their quarry. They attacked at night, as the evil forces gathered their, (including several gnolls, a gnoll demon, a yuan-ti warpriest, several snaketongue cultists, an adult green dragon, and a fearsome drow blademaster) were performing a ritual to send their slaves (including Kat, Kor, the two children, Gelena, and a few others) to Yeenoghu’s realm. Roberts charged the blademaster, and with perfect form drove his lance at the drow’s chest. Without so much as blinking the warrior sidestepped the lance, drew his blades, and dove under Shadowmere, slashing her legs with his swords and bringing her down. Roberts was nearly crushed, but he was able to regain his feet and began a losing battle with the drow. Eventually Oris drew near, the blademaster spun toward him, kicking him in the chest. Oris slashed out with Pelor’s Light, but it looked as if he had clearly come up short. Just as the drow went to laugh in his face they both realized that Oris had been precisely on the mark, blood flowed freely from the surprised drow’s throat as he fell to the ground, gasping for breath. Also during the battle Excelsior vaulted the Gnoll Demon after stabbing it in the back, and Brom slew the Dragon, severing it’s head. Roberts and the others were unable to stop the ritual, and while they did save Kor, the others were sent to Yeenoghu’s realm where an unknown fate, and unimaginable tortures awaited them…

Chapter 7

Outside the city the heroes regrouped. Kat was comatose after her close encounter with the Illithid, unfortunately in their escape Mr. Bigg had undergone a similar experience, and no one had been able to find Captain Jim. They had however gained a new companion, an enigmatic Shadar-Kai by the name of Nykyr. Nykyr stood on watch throughout the next night, during which their fire attracted a good deal of unwanted attention. At dawn they were attacked by slavers, in their weakened state they were unable to fend their assailants off, and were unfortunately captured. When they came to they were trapped within a coliseum. There they were forced to become gladiators. Roberts refused and was imprisoned. Z, Cailen, Oris, and Brom however, embraced their new role, fighting to one day defeat the champion, Cruxis, and gain their freedom. At the start of the Grand-Melee, Z attempted to incite a riot amongst the gladiators, however, due to Cruxis’s intervention, he failed and was imprisoned along with Roberts. Together the two of them were able to fight their way out, even finding Kat and Mr. Bigg in the infirmary. Oris was slain by Cruxis before Brom and Cailen could bring him down. Together the remainder of the party fled the coliseum, hiding in the rocks to the west. There they found a young dragon’s lair. They bargained with the dragon, who offered to heal their friends, Kat and Mr. Bigg, if the party would drive off the gnolls in the area that had been threatening the dragon’s territory. The Dragon healed Kat immediately as proof that he was capable of such magic, but he kept Mr. Bigg as collateral. In the area they found a large gnoll encampment, the makings of an army, with the aid of Kat, Z was able to set fire to the entire encampment, scattering the tribes to the winds, however, Zaiden, the gnoll priestess who had brought them together, summoned an aspect of Yeenoghu to gain retribution. The party was nearly slain, and would have been if not for the timely intervention of Excelsior and Shadowmere, they were able to buy Z enough time to teleport everyone to safety, after that harrowing encounter they returned to the dragon’s lair and recovered Mr. Bigg, they then set out to complete their journey through the desert…


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