by Ben "Squire Kyro" Hamilton
The invitation to Ashenmark was like many before. There is awesome food waiting for you, but first there was this petty little magistrate that needed to be dealt with. Apparently the local villagers didn’t like being experimented on and turned into humanoid demons by the magistrate and his allies. These creatures wielded indestructible claws and took more hits than any human. The half-demon hybrids weren't even the scariest things to greet us in Ashenmark. Alongside the demons came hellish imps whose sole desire was to end our lives in a blaze of fire. Thankfully many of the best that the realms has to offer had arrived in Ashenmark and took on this challenge.
Our first challenge for the day began with the combination of Wrath and a demon potion. I’m not sure what possessed him to drink the potion, but losing his mind and turning on us with his newly grown claws probably was not part of his plan. Each time he was dropped, he would regenerate and return to try to kill us. Luckily a few mages managed to trap him in a circle and eventually repaired his mental state.
With our empowered Wrath fighting along with us again, we set our sights on the source of the half-demon hybrids. I believe the name of the man creating these creatures was Demrocran. He informed us that he was being supplied by the magistrate to create the creatures. While we did try to reason with him, we ended our conversation by attempting to kill him. At this point the heroes of the Realms found ourselves trapped by Demrocran. His minions attacked us from all sides while his magical barriers keep us from running away. After some time and many dead demons, we figured out how to break down these barriers by utilizing the guts of our enemies to unlock the barrier.
Having stopped Demrocran, we learned of a few folks that were in need of some aid: a Dryad, a Priest of Garm, and a blacksmith. While traveling to the Dryad we found the path blocked by a giant plant monster. To deal with the monster we split our group. A small group continued on to help the Dryad and cure her diseased tree while the rest of the us took on the plant monster. Its roots reached out and emerged from the earth far from its core. We had to take down each distant set of roots to be able to take out the core of the monster. After the Dryad was helped and the plant monster defeated, we move on to the location of the Priest of Garm. Now I'm not entirely sure why but we killed him immediately. And while he was dead a few brave souls attempted to fix his patients. We managed to not save a single patient, many of us got covered in brimstone, and when the priest was raised he demanded that we leave. It was at this time that Garharz offered up his anti-brimstoning process that involved resist death, a torch, and many exploding adventurers. Having cleansed ourselves of the brimstone, we traveled to our next objective, the blacksmith. Instead of meeting a kindhearted gentleman, we were greeted by a crazed man with an indestructible chestplate. Along with him came more waves of the demons and imps that had attacked us the whole day. We took on their forces and collected keys to unlock the chestplate from the blacksmith, but we did not have the means to save him as he was too far gone. The last we saw of the blacksmith was his scalped remains.
From there we moved on to the stronghold of the Magistrate. He greeted us and demanded that we leave him. We refused and began to clash weapons with his army. Demons, imps, and plant creatures stood in our way. As we cleared out the stronghold we maneuvered through a maze of fire, explosions, and lava pools until we stood at the final chamber of the magistrate. It was here that I found myself killed. When I awoke I was informed that the magistrate had been disposed of and all that remained were the pieces of his wings and armor. While I regret not being around for his demise, I knew that the best part of the day was yet to occur as we made our way back to the feast hall of Ashenmark.
To top off our victory, the best cook in Ashenmark (that being Dame Twenaria) along with her kitchen staff had prepared a grand feast with ninteen tasty dishes. Some of my favorites being: Spicy Lamb Stew, Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, Savory Bread Pudding, and Dessert Wontons. Along with the food came a great atmosphere with music, board games, gambling and stories. Everyone had a grand time on such an enjoyable quest and feast. It’s a shame Ashen Bounty only happens once a year.
On a side note, we all got to congratulate Daekara on joining the Invictus military.