Vrashnik has waited many years to find out more about his history and does his best to hide the excitement from his associates. Happy to have rescued her soul from one of the best Soul Thieves in Egorian, he looked forward his first encounter with whom he presumed was his twin sister. Sadly they will no longer be twins in the physical sense as the destruction of her body has created the need for a new vessel for her soul. After her soul is transferred to this newly created human body, he approaches her.
“Hello?”, asks Esmerelda.
“Hello Sister!”, exclaims Vrashnik.
“I’m sorry, I believe you have the wrong room.”
“No, but uh… Yeah, you’re my twin sister.”
“Why would you believe that? I don’t have a twin. Had a younger brother once.”
“So you were born first, we’re still twins. Still shared a womb.”
“I told you Sir, I have no twin and I’m very unsure why you believe that I am your twin.”
“I have this birthmark, and maybe you know what it means. It’s two serpents intertwined.”
Esmerelda asks to see said birthmark, and Vrashnik complies by raising his sleeve.
With an expression of sudden realization, she invites Vrashnik inside. She explains that she is not Vrashnik’s twin, but his older sister. The fate of the family was much more bleak than Vrashnik wished for. Their father Valeros had gone mad, slain their mother, and took the twins away from her. She recounts her childhood as well as she can remember, stating that she was sold into slavery to a “Netherlord” who lives in the town of Westcrown. Apparently the Netherlords are a secret society that hopes to one day release Aramus, the primal spirit of fire. She was raised as a house servant for this particular Netherlord, never seeing his real face. When she turned 17 she was sold yet again, this time to a member of House Thrune in Egorian. After witnessing a deal between a Soul Thief and her master, she became the next target for the necromancer. Although she didn’t hear the explicit details of the conversation, it was deemed she knew too much.
“So what are your current plans?”
“Well, my associates and I would like to head to Westcrown to help break the siege.”
“I’ll join you if that’s okay. And maybe we can pay back a favor to a certain Netherlord as well….”
After outfitting Esmerelda, they speak to Captain Rokoru, Head Dottari of Westcrown who has been patiently waiting at the Keep of Eternal Light. He suggest they teleport into Westcrown if possible, to avoid the enemy encampments surrounding the city. The party agrees, and is warned they shall arrive in the dungeon upon teleport because of enchantments placed over the city. When arriving in their tight jail cell, they summon the jailor and are released with the Captain being recognized easily.
Captain Rokoru leads them to an audience with the City Council. The Council asks for help in breaking the siege, and is willing to aid the party in whatever fashion they can. They have been granted the temporary rank of Lieutenants in the Dottari while the city is besieged. They agree to help and would like to survey the current defenses. Captain Rokoru orders Sergeant Garsh to provide a tour of their current situation and answer any questions they have.
As they leave Council Hall, a middle aged, greasy man dressed in well worn armors waits impatiently on the steps. He approaches the group.
“OY! Which one of are in charge?” asks the man.
After quick shuffle of finger pointing, they agree on Myn’ther.
“THAT little one?” states the man with half disdain.
Myn’ther breathes a deep breath and composes herself.
“I am Misha, and the noble house Mancini has purchased my services as a gift to you. I will help you in your endeavors here in Westcrown,” says the mercenary.
After a brief moment of stare down between Misha and Vrashnik, they accept Misha’s aid.
Sgt. Garsh leads them away from the Council Hall passing by the row of statues carved into the city wall as praise to Aroden. It depicts the 12 faces or disguises of Aroden, forms he would use to take physical action but not be recognized as a deity. He shows the ramparts and other defenses that have been erected to make any attempt a bloodbath.
As they are walking, Esmerelda begins wandering away from the group. Vrashnik follows as the group stops and watches.
“I believe we’re near the house where I was enslaved. Yeah, it should be just up ahead,” said Esmerelda.
They continue searching and eventually she points to a house, indicating her former house of slavery. Eventually the rest catch up as the two stand staring at the house.
“Do you know who owns that house?” asks Vrashnik of Sgt. Garsh.
“Certainly. That’s Valeros’ house. He’s a rather influential merchant around here.”
“Valeros? The renowned warrior?” Vrashnik asks astonished.
“Yes, he used to be a great fighter in the Arena, but he now owns a good deal of businesses.” replies Sgt. Garsh.
Perplexed, Vrashnik and the group move on to other sights to see. Myn’ther asks Garsh about a vault that is supposed to be in the basement of a church. Rumor has it that it may be related to the Hellstalkers. Garsh obliges and leads them by the church. Myn decides to return later.
On the way back to the castle, they ask Garsh what threatens the city the most.
“The walls are strong and tall, but there is one definite weakness. You see, mysterious beasts roam our streets at night. They avoid the light, but run in packs large enough to be a match for patrols smaller than 6 men. These beasts have plagued the city for decades, and no one has been able to answer any but the most basic question about them. No bodies of the beasts have ever been recovered and it’s not certain if they are intelligent or just ferocious predators. Because of that, we’re unable to patrol the streets as frequently as we would like. Patrols only walk routes between large bonfires, and carry lanterns 12 foot tall. If the enemy could infiltrate the walls and avoid the beasts themselves, they’d have free run of the city during the night.”
The party begins investigating the beasts, asking questions of Garsh, Captain Rokoru, and others that have encountered them. They eventually devise a plan involving a sacrificial goat, a paid wizard to scry one of the goat’s bones and a good deal of luck. They will enact it that night.
Vrashnik attempts to visit his father without great success. At first he tries to shrug off any of Vrashnik’s offer of ale brought from the local tavern. After growing tired of Vrashnik’s idle chatter, he breaks the facade:
“Do you know why I abandoned you? Because I saw inside you and you could not handle the gift I was will to bestow. You are too weak. Don’t come here again.” says Valeros.
Disheartened, Vrashnik leaves and contemplates how to resolve this conundrum.
Myn’ther decides to head to the church to investigate the vault. Approaching the priest standing the sanctuary, Myn asks of the vault. The priest obliges, stating the terms of attempting to open the vault. No destruction, and any contents of the vault must be chronicled by the Pathfinders but will be returned to whoever can open the vault. The priest leads her down to the crypts.
As she stands in front of the vault, Myn’ther deciphers writing and scripture on the entrance, noting its significance as the creedo of the Hellstalkers. As she unlocks the door, a vision of a celestial female spans the entrance of the Crypt, her face profile to Myn’ther. The female begins to talk.
“Hello my daughter. I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I had hoped you would stumble upon one of my old armories. I knew you would grow up interested in your past and eventually try to find me.”
The face turns to face Myn’ther, and revealed is a black horn similar to a Satyr’s coming out the right side temple. The right eye is black as coal as well.
“Now that I’ve found you, I’m coming for you my darling. And then you can join me.”
Myn’ther is confused and quite worried what this would entail as a barbed devil begins running from inside the vault towards Myn’ther, stopping short of the entrance. They begin battling but Myn’ther is outmatched as it begins grappling and impaling her upon his barbs. As it begins to look bleak, Myn’ther opens a dimension door to further inside the vault. As she does so, flash of white light beams from the nearby corner, as a Shield Archon appears and begins battling the barbed devil. Working together, they destroy the barbed devil, sending it back to hell cursing.
“You should be more careful in the future young one. We will not always be here to help.” says the bald celestial.
“Th-thank you.” gasps Myn’ther as the archon disappears.
She begins searching the vault, finding it has 3 rooms. One room contains a shield fragment in a room dedicated to Aroden. She believes it is most likely one fragment of the fabled Shield of Aroden. Another room contains a library, with more books than you could read in a lifetime. She chooses a few books that are pertinent to her interest. The third room contains an armory of many cold iron and good aligned weapons. Myn decides to leave the rest to the Pathfinders for chronicling.
They meet up again later to put their plan into action. The stand by the wizard as he watches the goat using his crystal ball. Although they’re not able to see exactly what the beasts are, they appear cat like and approximately 8 to 9 feet long. The wizard follows the cat back to the northern section of the city that lays in ruin since Westcrown lost it’s seat as capital. The wizard states that they are directly below the old church of Aroden in the northern section.
The party heads out, avoiding any beasts on their way to the decrepit church. As they approach it, they note several sections of the church exterior walls have fallen down. One subgroup approaches the front door as another sneaks around to the side.
As Istvan checks the door, an alarm spell triggers creating a large whining sound. Vrashnik shouts," Quickly through the front door. Don’t let them escape." hoping to trick whomever into not noticing them approach from the side. As they rush inside the front door, they see 2 humanoids in cloaks and robes. They are various shades of blue with cryptic runes adorning the robes.
“You will pay for interfering with the Netherlords!”, says one man as they stumble into the group attempting to flank them.
After the battle, they inspect the corpses. Vrashnik notes the masks they wear to appear beastial, and the fact they intentionally grow their fingernails long. He grabs their clothing for future use.
To be continued.