Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What You Missed - Void Where Prohibited by Ryan "Orion" Welch


After Action Report
Events of 27 February 1016
Skirmish on the Iron Road

The morning was clear and crisp, and perhaps on the warmer side of weather for this time of year. A group of heroes and adventurers met at the request of Lord Goldmist with the intention of entering the Faerie Wildes and attacking the Risen Kingdom and their iron road. After a quick briefing, we were led by Goldmist’s servant Featherless into the woods; there we constructed a small bridge between the mortal Realms and the plane of Faerie so that those of our number who were not able to sidestep between the two planes at will could cross.

Upon crossing into Faerie, we were immediately directed by Featherless to meet a group of treeants and attempt to gather from them seeds which we could empower with an artifact possessed by Sir Tara.  We initially tried communicating with them in a peaceful manner but they seemed unwilling to talk back. After a period of time, fighting broke out between our party and the treeants, at which point we were forced to resort to taking the seeds by force. At some point we determined that we needed to “cross-pollinate” the treeants to make stronger seeds… this involved killing a treeant, taking its seed, and putting it in the corpse of another treeant. As we continued the process, the treeants became more powerful and harder to kill. Eventually the seeds became sufficiently powerful so we left the grove with a handful.

Featherless guided us to Sir Tao’s Lucky Noodle Emporium (a small encampment that served noodles, questing snacks, and hot drinks). There we met with Agent 37 and a contingent of adventurers from the north lead by Sir Sean O’Quinnlin. It was here that Sir Tara led the ritual to empower the treeant seeds. Those who held the empowered seeds while participating in the ritual became infused with the power of the treeants (more on this later). We continued to idle in the camp, unsure of our next moves. Finally, Featherless addressed us and offered to lead us in the direction of the iron road. We gathered our gear and moved out.

This is when things started to fall apart.

As we left the Lucky Noodle Emporium, I spied a group of void creatures on the other side of a hill. I assumed that they were traveling on the iron road and I called out to the party to share this information. Featherless seemed to be leading us on a path that ran parallel to the iron road, but we had a perfect opportunity to make a charge through the woods and ambush the enemy from their flank. Unfortunately, most of the party insisted on following Featherless, so as a result, the strategic opportunity was lost, and worse yet… the enemy was alerted to our presence.

I was not equipped to engage a dozen enemies on my own and I could not rally enough of my companions to the charge, so I followed along behind Featherless. He took us to the head of the iron road and effectively left us there because he could not get much closer. We were again out of sight of the enemy, so I tried to salvage the deteriorating strategic situation by directing a few fighters to double back and attack the flank while the main party advanced up the road. Once again, disorder prevailed and we meandered headlong into the enemy.

For the next few hours, we attempted to skirmish with the enemy on their road. We lacked both the cohesion and magical support to mount a proper fight. The opposite was true for the Risen Kingdom. Lead by Emissary Starblade, their soldiers were quick, coordinated, and deadly. And while they were restricted to the iron road, our party seemed content to fight on the terms of the enemy despite the fact that there were several of our number who were repulsed by the cold iron. Some of our number were also unfamiliar with the intentions of the Risen Kingdoms and tried to negotiate with Emissary Starblade. He, of course, was happy to meet with these people and feed them lies about “cultural exchanges” and “profitable trade goods.” The only “cultural exchange” they wish to perform is the intrusion of their culture on ours and the only trade goods they have to offer are their swords into our chests. They have declared war on Faerie and intend to declare war on the Realms. The time for negotiation has come and gone.

We were eventually pushed back down the iron road, only to find that the enemy had continued to construct it behind our back while we were distracted. At the head of the road, the way forked. One branch lead up a hill to a portal to Hell which the enemy had opened by sacrificing the souls of Faeries (including Lord Goldmist and Sir Tara). Around this time I tried--and failed--to infiltrate the ranks of the enemy by imitating one of the void monsters. I quickly blew my cover because I forgot that void monsters are incapable of common speech. I narrowly escaped capture and returned to the Hell portal, which was now under our control. Those who had been scalped by the enemy were restored. Then we received word (I am unsure of the source) that the other branch of the road lead to a portal to the mortal Realms and that a large enemy host was on its way down the road, making its way to the portal. After some coordination, we too set out.

On the way to the second portal, Sir Tara fell back and conducted the second half of the empowerment ritual. Everyone who had taken in the power of the treeant seeds vanished and reappeared throughout the surrounding woodland as powerful tree-like beings. This did not help us very much, however, because the party had become strung out on the road. Those in the front who first engaged the enemy were overwhelmed and as the rest of the group caught up, they too met the same fate. Fearing total annihilation, I set down a circle of protection and beseeched my goddess Vesta for guidance. When I emerged from the circle, I was mentally refreshed and prepared to face the dire situation. Most of the party was dead, some were scalped (Sir Tara...again). A few had survived the fighting. The enemy had cleared out and passed through the portal, their work here now complete. A minor rear guard remained, and they were kept at bay while the scattered corpses were collected into a group healing circle. The enemy eventually scattered, for once choosing to not engage us.

As we regrouped, I was contacted by a ranger from the Chimeron Militia; he told me that he and a few other rangers had figured out the approximate location of the mortal side of the new portal. With this information, I sent him to Chimeron City with orders for a contingent of the first corps to march on the location and lay siege to the portal. On the Fae side, Magus Tam Lin and others cast magic on the road that would hopefully serve to impede the advance of the enemy army. After that, seeing that there were no other actions that we could take against the Risen Kingdom at the time, we made our way back to the gate through which we entered and returned to the mortal Realms. While the day did not go well, it was not a total loss. I am told that some of the people empowered by the seed ritual were able to tear up a significant portion of the iron road between the fork and a portal to the void plane.

Conclusions:

The Risen Kingdom is a far more organized and clever enemy than any other threat faced by the Realms in my memory. I believe that we have been severely underestimating them and I fear that they might even be overestimating us. This cannot stand. While they only appear to be an immediate threat to the plane of Faerie, we have extensive, reliable information that says they are planning to invade the Realms. They are a threat, and they are very, very dangerous. We must make ready for a war, and we must do so now.

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Captain Orion Mars, Chimeron Militia
Squire to the Knight Protectors of Faerie
Sworn Member of the Azure Guard
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Additional notes:

Squire Phee is a thing to behold when she is angry. Never piss her off.


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