Day 6 on the March to Drezen – Marching in the Ahari Gorge
Nurah says: “More than demons and monsters, the very environs of the World wound are dangerous. Infections, parasites, and diseases infest the water and game alike, making the idea of living off the land dangerous . The weather can vary wildly-calm one day and blasted by hurricane-force winds the next.”
Aron says: “Navigation in the Worldwound is difficult, but we can follow the Ahari gorge all the way to the ruins of Drezen, so navigation isn’t an issue as long as we stick to the path. However the terrain of the riverbed rout to Drezen is difficult for horses and men alike, and the army can only cover 18 miles a day here rather than 36”
Sosiel says: “It is time to praise Shylin!”
After a night spent at Keeper’s Canyon, the route finally takes you westward into the Worldwound itself. It doesn’t take long for the army to notice the difference even a few hundred yards into enemy territory makes, for the Worldwound is the very definition of “hostile territory”. Zeldir and Aron take the scouting lead about half a mile ahead of the army, climbing on foot up the cliffs where possible. As the day passes Zeldir notices a change in Aron’s behavior – he seems to be more reckless than usuall on the one hand, but on the other he sometimes looks tired. The sky are overcast by black and red clouds, but the air is hot and humid, and even when the clouds part for a little while, the heavens look dull and gray. At midday a shower of rain starts rolling across the hills around you, and occasionally the drops of rain change into bleeding eyeballs that fall on the ground and then melt away.
By the afternoon you reach an area suitable to make camp. On a cliff 90ft above your heads sits a ruined large building. A treacherous narrow flight of stairs winds up the cliff face to the ruins. When you ask Nurah, Sosiel and Aron about it this is what they explain:
After Drezen was founded several crusading paladins and priests built a number of chapels in the lands surrounding their new fortress city. Each of these chapels was devoted to a different deity of the crusade, and each was intended to serve as a hospital for injured soldiers and a waystation for weary travelers. Since Drezen’s loss , these chapels have fallen into ruin. The ruins perched atop the cliff above and overlooking the river below are probably one such chapel.
Aaron adds that historically, these chapels often had well-hidden caches of healing magic and supplies. There’s a possibility, however small, that these supplies are still hidden there. At the very least, Sosiel adds, it would be a nice gesture to climb up there and clean up the chapel a bit and run off any monsters that might be befouling it with their presence.
Nurah points out that there likely are monsters dwelling in the ruins, and that the chapel is a distraction from our true cause and will only waste time and resources.
The party decides to explore the ruins after the evening staff meeting.
As night falls and the commanders gather in Brant’s tent for planning the next day Sosiel brings to your attention that one of the men in the army has been talking about the hopelessness of their task, and predicting a grisly death for everyone involved.
Arles Jhestander is a veteran of several conflicts with demons, each of which ended poorly. His faith has been shaken and his fear about the mission continues to grow as the army progresses into the Wourldwound. Brant takes him for a pep-talk to bring the man’s spirit up before his despair creeps and takes hold of more men. It seemed to have done the job for now.
The Lost Chapel
With the help of a fly spell and after a long climb up the slippery stairs carved into the cliffs of the Ahari river the party finally reached the top where a pack of gargoyles attacked. The gargoyles were defeated quickly and you approached the enclosure wall of the old abandoned chapel.
D1: Temple Courtyard
The gates to the small courtyard lie smashed and broken with tall brown grass growing amid the rubble. Two main buildings stand side by side to the east, separated by a single alleyway. The smaller structure appears to be a stable while the other is much larger with several doors and stained glass windows, apparently a chapel judging by the pious statues along its rooftop.
In the rubble you also noted some old bones, some of them looked humanoid, gnawed and chewed.
D2: Ruined Stable
The sharp tang of musty, decaying straw fills this large stable. Its eastern most wall has collapsed into a steep pile of broken beams and rocks that blocks the way to the other side. A large mound of discarded weaponry lies amid the rubble.
In the pile of discarded weapons you found a +1 longsword, a masterwork battle axe, a +1 cold iron long spear, and a cold iron dagger.
D3: Desecrated Sanctuary
The vaulted ceiling of this massive sanctuary reaches nearly thirty feet overhead. Smashed stained-glass windows stretch in narrow bands above the doors. F our angelic statues occupy each corner of the room, though their faces and wings are cracked and broken almost beyond recognition . The walls are covered with disturbing shapes and runes that have been scratched into the stone. An altar, befouled with grime and filth, sits against the southern wall.
The sanctuary inhabited a group of 8 ghouls, two of them seemed to have a consciousness unlike other undead you met before as they were able to cast spells and carried religious regalia which they were actually using for their benefit. While you were fighting the Ghouls, bells started ringing in the chapel.
After the combat ends, Orion interprets the defaced statues and stainedglass windows as related to the myth of Iomadae. The ghouls were carrying holy symbols of Kabriri, the carrion demon lord, patron of ghouls. The fiendish scribbling and markings on the wall are prayers sacred to him.
One of the ghouls was wearing a +1 studded leather armor.
D4: The Dining Hall
Three stone tables stand in this room, and their wooden benches lie broken and half- rotten around them. Leather straps with restraints stretch across their surface, buckled tightly in place. Nearby, a knotted rope descends through a tiny hole in the ceiling.
Pulling the rope rings a bell.
The ripe stench of decay chokes the air of this room, emanating from the bodies of two deceased soldiers hanging from the rafters. Various cabinets and tables stand around a fireplace in the south wall, and doors lead east, west, and north.
Checking the bodies revealed that they died of slashing weapons, quite a few days or even some weeks ago. The uniforms are of Mendev.
D6: Nulkineth Chambers
The broken frames of several beds lie scattered about this large room . Two of them are serviceable ones have been pushed together to make a larger sleeping pallet. A table and several chairs also occupy the center of the room.
The room was the chamber of a half-demon creature named Nulkineth. You fought him and four ghouls that stayed here with him. After killing him you found on his body a wand of hold person, a +1 breastplate, his +1 battle aspergilum, a pouch with none-magical silver powder and two flasks of unholy water. In a strongbox under the table you found copper, silver and gold pieces, a beryl stone, a few opal stones, a gold holy symbol of Desna, a magical red Knight’s Pennon, a +1 chain shirt and a +1 returning dagger.
D7: The Silent Room
The stained-glass windows lining the ceiling of this quiet chamber have all been shattered, leaving colorful broken glass scattered across the stone floor.
The silence in the room was found to be magical. You could not hear each other or anything else in the room.
D8: The Safe Room
This mostly barren room has two sets of shackles anchored within a nook along the eastern wall.
The doors to this room were heavier and more secured than the doors in other rooms of the chapel, but the room itself was empty. From the outside you can hear footsteps or movement on the roof of the building.
D9: The Inner Courtyard
Stunted trees and tangled rass choke this open – air courtyard . A half- broken statue looks to the sky with what once would have been outstretched arms.
Perched on the ruined wall of the old stables across the courtyard sits a Nabasu demon. He immediately catches all of you in a mass hold person spell, and for a few minutes all seems to be lost. But you can always count on a demon to sin in hubris. Instead of killing you all on the spot, the Nabasu wanted to toy around with you for a while, which gave Orion a chance to release himself from the spell and then release the others one by one. The battle with the Nabasu was long and hard but you emerged victorious.
Reclaiming The Chapel
After riding the old chapel from the monsters within it, Orion insisted on staying for the rest of the night and reclaim it by consecrating the sanctuary, cleaning the rubble and burring the dead. While cleaning the sanctuary Zeldir located a secret cell under the altar that contained many healing potions (3 uses for the army). When the sun rises, you head down the cliff to join with the Hammers of Kenabres.