The Singing Mercenaries

What He Saw, Part One
Douchebaggio Maximosissimo

17889772The god leaned back and watched the events unfold before him, ambrosia in hand. Five adventurers had just stumbled upon a group of monsters, comprised of a large beholder and several smaller ones that seemed to cluster around like so much spoiled fruit on his temple altars. “Why the cuss would I eat fruit when I can conjure deliciousness? Who in their right mind thinks ‘Mm. Fruit. Surely the god will want fruit instead of an orgy?’ Mortalscuss it! Cuss, even the fruits among them know better! Stupid, celibate mothercussing priests!” the god thought. He put the thought away.

As far as he could make out, the gnome, (“Is there anything more annoying than those high pitched voices asking for mercy?,” he thought “Stupid cusses.”), a warforged (“Steelgod, perhaps? Hard to ascertain without knowing the designation”), a cussing tiefling (“Cuss tieflings in general, bunch of dirty dirty word-mongers spawn. Cuss them right in the cuss”), a goliath (“What an ugly mothercusser. But, mortalcuss, he’s ripped!”), and a knight of some order or another (“Is it me, or do these rude words stand out no matter what company they keep? Cuss, son.”) were an adventuring company. “Why the very warm place would these people be working together, especially that gnome*?” pondered the god, “My mortals, these adventurers never cease to amaze me.”

[Editor’s note:] Winward gets his name from the unfortunate side effect of being at bum level to most beings. Hence, he’s always “Winward” when folks break their wind. The god’s surprise, therefore, is at the notion that a gnome would travel with such a tall group of adventurers since he would always be sucking down fumes.]Excuse me wtf r u doin dinosaur

As the battle began, he realized the company of adventurers had no idea how to tackle the beholder. “Guess that makes sense. Beholders. Who in the very warm place thought ‘Boy, lets take tentacles and put it on a meatball, then give the mortalscussed thing eyeballs? Savior Figure, that’s just ridiculous!” And it was indeed just plain cussing ridiculous. The beholder and its minions descended upon the group with fury, pouring eyebeams out like a steady stream of hot, liquid butter. Although the smaller creatures were easily dispatched (as in, woah. Calm. The. Cuss. Down. They’re just minions)the larger beholder continued to rain destruction upon the adventurers (BEAMS!).

Slowly, the god noticed that they began to act more decisively, trying to shimmy up a column in order to knock the beast down. It didn’t make sense for the barbarian to do it by himself, but someone must have given him the idea. The god pondered on this for a moment, before going back to the action. “They must have some help. Is it possible that someone gives a rat’s cuss about them?”

Fruit face 636“Oh well, the thing hovers. Even when it’s knocked down to the ground. Stupid cusses,” he sighed. Eventually, the goliath, who probably was not known for his intelligence, fell victim to the eyebeams. At the sight, the god called over his companions “Chad! Kyle! Come check this cuss out! This is cussing hilarious, guys! This big, dumb mothercusser got turned into stone!” Chad and Kyle, alas, were engaged in dalliances with mortal women, and so could not be roused to attend. “Well, cuss you guys. I’m going to go cuss your mother, you know how the mortals eat that cuss up, dirty words!” Kyle and Chad continued to ignore him. After all, his priests were pretty boring. Because let’s be honest…what kind of god are you if your worshipers bring you cussing fruit?

The goliath was now a very ripped statue, which meant two things. First, he was going to be really hard to move. Second, he was getting more useless by the minute. A high resistance doesn’t do jack cuss if you aren’t being attacked. The tiefling was pretty crude phrased off. The gnome was stunned. The warforged either didn’t care, or thought it was hilarious. But then again, they don’t really have faces, so it’s hard to tell on a good day, never mind in the heat of battle. “Mortals, that warforged is a real crude word-bag,” said the god. “And I thought the knight was a rude word. That warforged guy must have been in some fraternal order to have learned to be that big of a rude word.”Picture 168

Any who, the excitement was palpable, because when things look bad for the adventurers, the gods really love it. After all, mortals do stupid things like trying to become gods themselves. Which really just crude phrases the divine beings off. But back to the story. “Very warm place yeah, dirty words!” thought the god, “Crude phrase, rude word!” He was really getting into it. However, the adventurers surprised him, particularly as the knight climbed the column to engage the creature in melee combat.

“Wait. First the goliath and now the knight?! The cussing knight figured that cuss out? What the cuss is this cuss?! Those guys are cussing dumb as very warm place! Cuss this cuss!” The knights actions, however irrespective of his character traits and/or actual abilities, caused the beholder to retreat by applying his fair and balanced techniques, and for a time, the adventurers seemed to have the upper hand. They simply could not be put out of commission, and slowly worked in on the beholder. After a few moments of dialogue that should actually have gotten them killed for all the standing around, the tiefling started activating some sort of device on the sides of the pillars “What the very warm place is that stupid dirty word doing?” questioned the god.

He didn’t notice, however, that the warforged was gone until the portals in the room sprung to life. “Oh. Portals. Great. Too bad the cussing thing is cussing 20 feet above the ground. What the cuss do they think? It’s not just going to cussing hop through the portal. I mean, cuss, son. Well, they better figure that cuss out in a cussing hurry, because the beholder looks cussing crude phrased.”

RatkingBut, the god had to laugh at the scene before him, “Savior figure. They cussing need to invent science, because these guys have no idea how portals work. Dumb cusses.” The whole notion of black holes, distortion fields and gravity simply had no place in a world full of magic. “Oh, this should be good though.” The gnome, who had with his companions moved to the other side of a room, gave out several high pitched squeaks, grunts and shouts. “Damn. Every rat dirty word in heat is going to come running to cuss this guy,” thought the god, “He definitely has the rat crude word for it. Gnomes. Nature’s rat cussers.”

As expected, the beholder ignored the gnome, and began making for the door. You know. Since the gnome didn’t speak the beholder language and all, and just ended up sounding like the rat king’s mating call. Squeak, squeak mothercussers.

The god spat out his ambrosia. “Oh, cuss!” he thought, “This is gonna’ be a complete clustercuss. Those dirty words are cussing dead!” He called his companions again, “Chad! Kyle, get the cuss over here, crude words!” And this was only the beginning, as the portals winked out…the god ran off to grab more ambrosia…

A Ballad of Mark 9
Decisionoso Ridiculousissimo

17889772Gather, ye mortals and immortals, too and learn all you now of a tale, of danger and wrath and darkest black dreams beyond all normal-sized scale. The stories we tell do teach us a lesson to help us all live lives of good, though evil and chaos do threaten to sunder if with their rank powers they could. Here then is a tale of Mark 9, a survivor, born into the midst of great grief, of peoples destroyed and races now sundered in times now too shallow, too brief.

The Jinrai his makers made him in their likeness to hold chaos’ fell powers at bay, but even with powers like his as they wielded their lives they would soon lose that day. Their worlds overrun, and madness descending they tore out a soul in disgrace, and into a daughter of metal and magic they etched the black fall of their race. And now wayward son, to his sister united, discovered his parents’ own grave, the last set of portals to lead them to safety which failed them that hour to save.Ghost wizard

With Valmir the Tiefling, Alain Knight of Nerath and Winward gnome bard from the north, and joined with the might of Tatter’ed Onion, the five brave companions set forth. Explored they the halls and chambers so weary, gloom filled and still as a tomb, they studied and searched for all signs of life that told of the Jinrai’s great doom. The stars told a story of plans great and small to prevent loss of life in the end, of Jinrai exploring all options, concluding defenders to three Realms they’d send.

Warforged 02Mark 9 learned of brothers and sisters dispers’ed a shield to keep chaos away, his goal to see them together united and enter at once in that fray. The Singers moved on through the hallways and sensed a power arcane at its source, and there a strange opening concealed, kept a mystery behind a curtain of force. Warforged though he was, he never expected the shock that knocked him aback, and shrieking a warning his sister did panic as monsters emerged from that crack. Slaads of all colors, experiment’s horrors, boiled there out of that gap, retreated the Singers with Winward amurmur “Why put up I with your crap?”

As fortune would have it, to safe rooms escaping, the party with deft skill revived, ancient defenders, sentinels waiting now active, awake and alive. In battle they joined, assaulting the foe, pushing them with back with their might, the slaads falling fast, destroyed in mere moments, no power had they for the fight. So Singers continued, looking for answers, exploring new spaces they sought, more clear then an answer instead of great riddles, but nothing of this for them got.

Beholder 70185But, lo in a chamber, a woman in chains with cries ever more mournful did weep, and Mark 9’s compassion and helpful demeanor his promise to help then did keep. Alas, with a wail did her body explode into four, nay five pieces thus burst, and dread creatures from her dead body did spring, of all moments, for Singers, the worst. And tentacles writhing, above them all now, the beholder’s eystalks now swayed, and never had such a moment them struck, the Singers were deadly afraid.

I leave you dear listener, amidst of our tale, another time for to conclude, but as for our heroes, their party in total, I must to their deaths now allude…

There are THREE switches
Moderato Adventuroso

17889772Wearied by ongoing combat, the Singers were nevertheless more than well equipped to dispatch their remaining foes. While Valmir and Winward proceeded to slowly pick apart the strange, black chitinous form nearest them, the other Singers closed on the few remaining foes.

The Singers assaults were relentless, crushing foes beneath many combined assaults. However, it was clear that the portal in the room was still active. Mark 9 used his powerful eyebeams to ascertain that the portal, while functional, was structurally unstable. All of the runed circles were comprised of a liquid soluble material.

While water was not readily available, the gore from felled enemies was copiously abundant. To that effect, Mark 9 slid his body across the runes, destabilizing one half the summoning area. Not to be outdone, the Tattered Onion copied this technique, erasing the other half. The portal was no more. And with a flick of the wrist, the foes surrounding the Singers were ground down into nothing.

The Singers took a quick breather, but began to search the room for materials of use. They noted that there were a great number of coins and a few gems scattered around the room, along with a bow, which was awarded to Winward. However, two of the chests they thought might open turned out to be mimics, much to the dismay of Mark 9, who investigated them. A few fireballs later, Valmir had destroyed them.Teifling

As the Singers coordinated their next stage, they decided to try the portal in the other room, which would be activated by three switches. Pulling the two levers found in the main room, and having already pulled the lever in the back room, they discovered the portal opened to another area, though its destination remained secret. The Duergar prisoner, who had run into that room earlier, jumped through without hesitation.

After cursory examination, Valmir noted that this portal was much more stable, and had a very different magic flavor to it than the more chaotic one found in the other room. Mark 9 believed that the energy signature was strongly reminiscent of the Jinrai craftsmanship found within him, and decided to walk through.

Magic circle by vylenThe Singers, following that unexpected lead, entered into a round room with a strange symbol on the floor. Ahead of them, they noted the Duergar running, whom Tattered Onion overtook and captured. The Singers then proceeded to explore the room and its carve outs. Most striking were the four machines that seemed at once more complex and far simpler than Mark 9, but clearly Jinrai in origin.

Mark 9 soon discovered a door, and upon opening it, was assaulted by beams fired by a small beholder. Realizing there were two, and clear danger, battle commenced. Fortunately, the beholders were felled quickly, although the Singers may have overpowered them too forcefully. Despite that, the Singers now found themselves in a room full of mechanical parts, pipes, and other strange and wonderful pieces of debris that seemed to invite investigation…

T is for Trebuchet
Tortoisomiento movemento

As the Singing Mercenaries burst into the room, a flash of light revealed Tattered Onion and Hemerias. Speaking quickly, as elves are prone to do in excitement, Hemerias explained that he had re-opened a portal bring the others out to safety, and that all would be explained when they were returned to Fallcrest. However, Tattered, distracted by the sight of his friends, let go of Hemerias. As Hemerias scrambled to gather the group together, another flash of light ferried him and Sasz away, the plan unsuccessful.

However, the Singers were not dismayed, and approach their foes with courage. While the strange creatures unleashed an opening assault, the weakness caused by their attacks did nothing to prevent the fury that boiled over. Alain rushed into the gray, locking down the large, bloated creature that hovered over the battlefield, while Winward, Tattered, Mark 9 and Valmir attempted to control the region near their entry point.

Eventually, Alain conjured enough mental power to warp a large illusory desk into a strong grip around the creature he faced, while Winward and Mark 9 locked down three other opponents between them. The Singers noted with some pleasure that the items upon the desk, notably coin and other loot, scattered around the room, a strange but welcome surprise that would certainly be theirs provided they could stem the enemy assault.

Mark 9 continued to use his powers to considerably aid the Singers, particularly by enhancing Tattered Onion’s weapon with Acidic and Radiant powers. His assistance was also granted to Valmir, who was able to improve his defensive capabilities when the enemy approached to strike him. Winward remained calm and focused throughout, providing assistance, and notably for two strong drives against the enemy, which held them at bay while the Singers rallied to a defensive position.

Although charged with a new and awesome power, Valmir’s opening assault was hindered by weakness, along with the Tattered Onion. At first, Tattered Onion was severely crippled, but as time went on, grew in strength, batting around enemies as they ventured near. Valmir cursed his opponents, but like Tattered, struggled to cause enough harm to his enemies. Perhaps this unsettling experience led him to start firing wildly, as his magics and talents were squandered without causing any grievous injuries to the foe.

Just as things seemed to be sliding in the Mercenaries favor, the portals which had been opened in the room glimmered, and a new foe proceeded through the rings of power. Alain quickly found himself facing three enemies, while his allies attempted to curtail the distanced magics being fired upon them from an ugly creature with a large red eye. Eventually tiring of the irritation, Tattered Onion assaulted the creature with fury, mashing it into a bloody, spasming pulp.

Heartened by this action, the Singers morale grew, and redoubled their efforts into ending the conflict. Alain, with Tattered Onion’s help, was able to lock down and slay the three opponents nearest him, and avoid a death that seemed inevitable until Tattered Onion’s intervention. Conjuring his strength, he recovered his footing, and turned towards the remaining creatures.

Although the shouts and din of battle had settled somewhat, the Singers still found themselves engaged in a battle without clear meaning or resolution…

I Duergar You To Do It
Interrogatione Ridiculoso Allegro

17889772The Singers, now free of danger, proceeded to surround and confront the duergar they had forced into submission during their Welcome to Fauxcrest. Putting Alain on watch, Sasz, Valmir, Winward and Mark 9 pulled away to discuss their strategy. Realizing the duergar was injured, they made a decision to be careful, with Sasz standing by to address any health problems that arose during the enhanced interrogation.

The duergar, a foul mouthed rapscallion, soon earned the ire of Mark 9, whose metal backhand sent the duergar reeling in pain, and opened the line of questions. Through the skillful manipulation of mind and will, the Singers ascertained that Valmir did indeed work for Asmodeus, although they did not dig into the nature of the relationship. However, the duergar confided that Asmodeus was concerned regarding the Prophecy of Galaxis, and the Singers potential role in that conflict.

24462321 duergar rangerQuestions from Valmir and Winward proved the duergar had no idea how to get out of the pocket dimension, as he had been cut off from his allies, and presumably the skills necessary to teleport out of the dimension. But, after coercion, he did explain how he was able to manipulate the illusions, which functioned as an inverse of a normal illusion. The secret was apparently to allow one’s self to believe the illusions were true, therefore granting a connection to them, and forcing the illusion under direct mental control.

The Singers cut their interrogation short to test this, unfortunately leaving many questions unasked. As they attempted to control and manipulate the nearby houses, they all failed in succession, which resulted in the party being teleported to the entrance of Fauxcrest once again. They were yet again greeted by the large hovering illusion of the Gorgori, which was pleased to see they had mastered the situation. It urged them to continue their quest to free themselves, and let them know it looked forward to seeing them in person. Winward tried to manipulate it, but it tossed him back and laughed.

Once started down the same worn paths, they saw recreations of all their earlier events, with the same individuals who had come and asked for their help before, which led into the first trap. Realizing that what they saw was an echoe of what had come before, the Singers made their way up to the beacon which had lit the darkness and gloom of Fauxcrest. Coming to a bridge, Winward manipulated it, which allowed them to cross the river safely, only to realize that they needed to go to the middle of the river. Thus, they transformed the bridge again, and walked onto the island.

Observing a large building, Mark 9 was able to determine that the locus of magical energy was centralized there. Instead of going in the front door, the Singers tore down the tower which hooked around the building, leading them to an empty room, with a door, some illusory furniture, and a switch. Pulling the switch, the mercenaries were granted access to another chamber, this one with a strange teleport device on the floor – the first real object they had encountered in the plane. While Mark 9 was unable to make it function, he recognized there were magical auras or power sources coming from nearby.

Trebuchet1The party ventured into yet another room, and Valmir noticed a strange sigil on the floor, with an inscription in deep speech. None of them were capable of reading it, until Valmir manipulated the illusory sigils to “make sense,” leading to a very plain translation of “To activate the portal, remember to pull all the levers.” The Singer continued on, until they reached an illusory door, which they transformed into one way glass, allowing them to see through…to the back of what was likely a large throne.

Deciding they had had enough, the door was opened, and Mark 9 turned the throne into a trebuchet, with the hope that whatever was seated upon it would be trapped. Unfortunately, no one was seated upon it. In the room, they could see a weird rite being attended, with several strange figures working runed, floating circles. However, the creatures were caught by surprise, allowing the Singers to launch a blob of hellfire and acid into their midst, creating confusion, and killing one of the creatures outright, while visibly harming another.

However, Winward noticed several more creatures lurking in the shadows, and one descended from where it had been flying above. With such an entrance, the Singers had gained a temporary advantage, but the portal was still open and the battle was to begin in earnest…

(Oh, and the duergar? He got roped in along with them…)

Welcome to Fauxcrest
Adventuroso Starto Multo Vivace

17889772The Singing Mercenaries, having recently escaped their trials in Sigil, were teleported back to Rantalia with the barkeep Ostermann’s assistance. Returned to Fallcrest, their happy band thought a period of rest might ensue, before they were called upon to to aid Jett in his quest to recover an artifact of great import to his cause against Mindartis. However, upon their arrival, a series of strange events unfolded that seemed to dash all hopes that this might be the case.

While the party had traveled with Tattered Onion, Thorn, Sasz, Mark 9, Jett, Roiclem a Cleric of Erathis and Hemerias, it seemed that only two of their party made it through the portal, along with the shawl Jett had been carrying for the purpose of enshrouding the artifact he sought. As Mark 9 and Sasz gained their bearings, they noticed a short, but familiar figure cut through the gate – Winward, Gnomic Bard and founding member of the Singing Mercenaries, had returned. Soon after, a portal opened through which Valmir,the other founding member and himself a Tiefling Warlock indentured to the Prince of Frost, was spat out.

TeiflingWinward had been careening through space and time in a dimensional rift, which forced him to survive countless planes and dangers, until a fortuitous accident caused his unstable dimension to collide with the material plane, bringing him back to Rantalia. Valmir, however, seemed to have been thrown out of a portal, which made it difficult to ascertain where he had come from. However, his appearance had changed. Instead of the shadowy, hooded figure, he appeared in crimson, standing arrogantly, and seemingly boasting of some new inner strength…

As the party began exploring the town, they were shocked to notice that the entire location seemed devoid of people, until they came upon their old hideout. From the north of their location, an armor clad figure, Alain, a Knight of The Kingdom of Nerath, approached them to discuss his puzzlement at being in such a location. While they were not certain he could be trusted entirely, his confusion and agreement to their terms provided an outlet for temporary alliance.

Investigating their strong house, the Singers uncovered a chilling fact – the entire town seemed to be a powerful illusion that could not be dispelled. While it was clear that the illusion made things seem as though they were real, the shadowy interior to the buildings and lack of people indicated it was not strong enough to provide a complete masque. The illusion, unfortunately, could not be dispelled by force of will or perception, which was unusual. However, attempting to enter into the building causes a strange reaction – the Singing Mercenaries found themselves at the entrance where they had been reunited.

Black sword by dark x strikeAs they gained their bearings, a huge and terrifying creature floated towards the gate, before resting upon it and speaking to the Singers, taunting them with confounding ideas. A brief moment of insightful history reminded them that one of the objects they had acquired in the past, one of the Gogori, The Blades of Orcus, could be the present projection in front of them. What they might not have realized was that it had the power to corrupt and overcome whatever it came in contact with. Seeing as they had left it in the hands of an Archpriestess of the now defunct Temple of Bahamut, it stood to reason that it had corrupted her, given that the god’s power had waned when he was chained by Orcus.

The Nightfang, as it seemed to refer to itself, was interested in testing the Mercenaries, playing with them as a cat might a mouse. It revealed a great beacon to the northwest, and told them to seek it out when they were ready to leave, provided they passed its tests. Quickly moving away from that location, the party of Mark 9, Valmir, Winward, Sasz and Alain set out to seek this beacon and find a way home.

As they looked to the north, a wall of bodies blocked a path that had been there not moments before – the corpses too thick to travel…or so it seemed. Heading south, the Mercenaries unexpectedly encountered a group of survivors near the cliff face leading down to the lower sections of Fallcrest. Approached by a mourning father, the Singers were asked to help located one of his sons, who had apparently been teleported to this strange location sometime between the Mercenaries first teleportation and the second.

Mephistopheles james j himsworth 3While the Singing Mercenaries agreed, they diplomatically suggested that the group of survivors remain on the high ground until the child was found. Descending yet again into the town, they heard cries for help, which led to an investigation of buildings near the river. As it turns out, the Mercenaries had been lured into a trap – the child itself was in fact an illusion, a fact brought to light when the erstwhile father appeared and revealed himself. The mourning father proved to be a devilish creature, which led to the discovery that Winward and Valmir were in fact imposters, Doppelgangers sent to impersonate them. As Alain, Mark 9 and Sasz began combat, two duergar burst out of two nearby buildings, exploding the illusions. Combat ensued, wherein the real Valmir and Winward were discovered by Alain.

Trapped together and manacled by warded cuffs, they soon joined the combat. While the combined forces of the enemy proved to be no match for the might of the Mercenaries, they did succeed in slowing them down for a time, as the devilish figure used his charming powers to dominate the allies, time and time again, while the Doppelgangers screened attacks for the duergar to launch a sickening and fiery poison at the adventurers. However, as the enemies fell, even the intervention of Devil Legionnaires proved insufficient in stemming the collective determination of the Singing Mercenaries.

As the mourning father was put to earth, he cried out that Valmir would pay for this treachery, and that somehow, the Singing Mercenaries were involved. Although it did not make much sense, it did prompt the Singers to try and take a prisoner. Finally, conjuring every bit of willpower they had, the Singers defeated all but one duergar, whom Valmir intimidated into submission. However, in an almost nonchalant manner, the duergar seemed ready to comply with their requests, as the interrogation began…

The Return

Many of the Singer’s adventures in Sigil have been lost. It is known they battled and defeated Justicar, and were forced to flee the city after a great battle between the city’s various factions broke out shortly after their victory over the dark paladin. They returned to Fallcrest thanks to the help of Osterman, the proprieter of the inn they had been staying at.

Mind Your Manors (Part II)

The Mercenaries were relieved to be out of the line of fire, but faced the prospect of having to fight again in the hallway. Yet, as they took a breath, suddenly, Tattered Onion wandered off, and Mark 9 disappeared in a flash of light; while unsettling, both had been known to do these things before. The remaining Mercenaries, Hemerias, Sasz, and Jett, joined now by the cleric Roiclem, prepared for the worst, but soon heard the footsteps running up to them. Thorn, who had tracked the party from their prior battle on the rooftops, had come rushing to find them, having been filled in by Magdalena.

With the party regrouped they expected the foe to be upon them, but were surprised to have the doors to the main hall slam shut. Stunned by this unexpected turn of events, the Mercenaries pondered what to do. Thorn suggested they burn the doors down, but Jett wanted to try to force his way in first. So, Jett ran back, and charged into the door, aided by Thorn, who pushed him forward as he sped along.

Unfortunately, things seldom go as expected in the heat of battle, and Jett slammed into the door, only to injure himself, and was put into a daze. On the other side of the door, one of the people inside let out a mean spirited laugh. The Mercenaries determined that someone was holding the door shut, making entry much more difficult. It looked like there were few options left, even as Hemerias tried to determine if the hinges of the door could be forced with a crowbar.

Taking Thorn’s suggestion to heart, Hemerias grabbed the nearest torch, and using his wilderness
training, determined which part of the doors would likely burn faster, based on grain density and
construction. With the doors alight, Roiclem added another torch to the blaze, and attempted to punch through, hopefully hitting the enemy holding the door shut.

Eventually, Sasz, recovered enough from his earlier exertions, hit the door with a blast of wind, and burst them asunder, sending flaming chunks of wood and shrapnel into the room, and knocking a knight square on. However, the enemy had been expecting them. Eight mage knights and several knights of the Light’s Dawn were already prepared for battle. Led by a knight’s charge, the force attacked the Mercenaries without warning, and hit their front line with their force spells, causing several party members distress. At this, Sasz flew into battle, and unleashed a devastating spell upon the foe, rendering many of them dazed.

And, in a few moments, they noticed that Tattered Onion had rejoined them, simply distracted by a
butterfly as it flew across the fields. However, as Sasz was at the center of the room, he came under heavy fire. Not wishing to see his ally overcome, Hemerias summoned the grace of Sehanine, and healed Sasz of his afflictions. Following this, Thorn flew in to attack, and came under heavy opposition as he was surrounded by multiple foes. Hemerias pulled back to engage from a distance, while Tattered Onion, Jett, and Roiclem moved in to engage. Thorn continued to dish out punishment, though still surrounded by enemies.

Eventually, they slowly began to kill the knights and mage-knights, although it cost them, as Sasz was completely exhausted. Some of the mage-knights again retreated back up to the balcony, and began raining down blows. As Roiclem began healing his comrades, the attacks still had not stopped…

Mind Your Manors

The next morning, the Singers were met by a cleric, named Roiclem, who said he was sent by Magdalena to lead them to the chapter house of Magdalena’s order. Winding through the streets of Sigil, the Singers were taken back the same direction, past the great square where their earlier troubles had began.

The chapter house was a large, wooden building, tucked behind several older stone buildings. Roiclem lead them into the foyer, which was adorned not only with the cross of the Light’s Dawn, but with the heraldry and honors of the order as well. Magdalena was waiting for them. Having exchanged greetings, they were soon met by Magadelena’s abbess.

The Abbess explained to them that the Light’s Dawn was not as cohesive as it might seem from the outside, and that Justicar was one of many within the Light’s Dawn known as the Templars, who considered it their duty to bring about the cataclysm mentioned in the Prophecy of Galaxis. She continued that Justicar had been collaborating with Chaos-tainted elements within the Kir’Sar, specifically the Kir’Sar’s Jinrai master.

Mark 9 expressed disbelief that Jinrai would be involved with the forces of Chaos, but the Abbess simply stated that if he sought answers, Justicar would be able to find them. Mark 9 further inquired if the entire organization was tainted, and the Abbess explained that, like the Light’s Dawn, the mages were fractured as well, that one of them in particular, Mindartis, was combating the taint within the Kir’Sar.

Confused, the Singers inquired as to what the Abbess wanted them to do. She explained that while Justicar needed to be investigated, the Light’s Dawn could not act overtly, especially not towards its own members, without attracting the attention of the Lady of Pain. They had hoped the Singers, who already were on poor terms with the paladin, would be willing to act on their behalf. Remember their earlier encounters with him, the Singers readily accepted the proposal.

After leaving the Abbess, the Singing Mercenaries were led to Justicar’s manor home by Roiclem. Upon their arrival, they noticed a heavily armed tiefling female, with a symbol of Bahamut who appeared to be guarding the entrance. Not itching for a fight, the Mercenaries tried to convince her that their mission involved resolving Light’s Dawn business – in short, they had to meet with Justicar.

However, the tiefling was not convinced, until Sasz used his status as a Chosen of Bahamut to convince the tiefling that something was afoot. She mentioned that she felt great unease working for Justicar and his knights, to the effect that what they were involved in seemed antithetical to the Light’s Dawn’s professed work. With that, she left, and the Singing Mercenaries entered the building.

In the entrance hall, they noticed a wall with two large doors. Behind the doors, they could hear the sound of individuals. Because of their bad fortune with sneaking in to other locations, they debated if they would attempt to sneak in, but eventually opted for a clear, bold entrance into the room. Upon doing so, they startled a group of knights, and a sword mage.

In that instant, weapons were drawn, and words were discarded as the Mercenaries were attacked. The knights drove the Mercenaries back towards the door, with Tattered Onion and Jett taking the brunt of the assault, and took a mental and spiritual toll on Sasz, who was forced to exert himself. Fortunately,Mark 9 had prepared for these contingencies, and unleashed several useful alchemical items, granting some forms of protection to Tattered Onion.

However,unbeknownst to the Mercenaries, a group of mage-knights had gathered on the balconies
above, and launched heinous spells, which caused a gripping force to be applied, until the sufferer could fight off the effects. This severely limited the party, and required a reassessment of the situation.

In the course of battle, several knights were slain, along with the Sword-Mage, who had been at the front of the fight. But with knights continually charging in on the party, and the mage-knights raining their sorceries upon the Mercenaries, a call to retreat was sounded. But, instead of running, Sasz used his divine favors, and teleported the entirety of the Mercenaries towards the entrance, in the hopes of escaping the assault. As the group pulled back, they began to form lines for the enemy, hoping they would be followed…

Day of the Dead
A Mysterious Assault

Arising from a peaceful slumber at the Oak and Crosier Inn, and blissfully unaware of the strange goblin’s visit, the Singing Mercenaries proceeded to break fast at the bar. On recommendation from Osterman, the barkeep, they decided to make for a local celebration of the Festival of Portals, a tribute to the Lady of Pain. Pushing their way through the thronging crowds, they arrived at a tower that Osterman had suggested they view the proceedings from. Many of the Singers attempted to make conversation with the locals, but their obvious ignorance of Sigil’s customs rendered them outsiders.

Wandering about the balcony, Thorn proceeded to the inside of the towers, only to discover a devil, dressed in fine silks and wearing many precious jewels. The devil introduced himself as merchant, and offered Thorn a drink, but the creature could not entice Thorn, who knew better than to take any proposition from it.

Hemerias, on the other hand, wandered in a few minutes later and accepted the devil’s proposition, reasoning that not many could say they had drank Firewater with a devil. Thanking the creature, Hemerias proceeded to the upper balcony. Looking around he noticed a heavily armed cleric, but his curiosity was cut short as the ceremony began.

The crowd parted as members of the Light’s Dawn and the Kir’Sar proceeded into the great square to make tribute to the Lady of Pain. The Singers could easily pick out Naramus, the one who had accosted them the previous night, among the Kir’Sar, and wondered why the two opposed groups would be making tribute together.

As the procession reached the platform in the middle of the square, shouts suddenly erupted on the balcony. On the lower tier, several ghosts had appeared admidst the crowd, and several skeletons were trudging up the stairs. Ignoring the panicking crowd, the Singers leapt into action. Thorn and Sasz immediately summoned their holy powers to fell the abominations, but Mark 9 quickly realized that Hemerias was alone.

On the upper level, a similar wraith had appeared, immediately cutting down the cleric before she was able to react. Incensed at the presence of the undead, Hemerias made to engage it, but as he drew his bow, he felt his senses overwhelemed: the firewater he had drank was taking its toll, rendering him unconscious.

Knowing Hemerias was alone, Thorn called upon the power of Bahamut. Bathed in light, silvery wings appeared on his back, and he flew up to the balcony to confront the other undead, only to find the wraith standing over the prone forms of the cleric and Hemerias.


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