After fleeing into the dark forest, against all advice, we traveled for a good couple of hours until we came in sight of firelights. Firelight, that seemed to be coming our way at ground level? As it approached we heard the trample of hooves, and we saw more flames, then they were upon our hiding locations as we tried to blend in with the dark forest around us.
Some of us did better at blending then others. The lead nightmare ridden by what looked like a mage of sorts rode right past Aaron and Cole, the other four without riders closed on Hendrik, Nanzad, and Lila. This left Ghostwalker, myself, and Tronar to attack out of the night’s cover. These jet-black horses with flaming hooves left trails of flame were they went, and could be a real pain to hit when they covered themselves in these flames. It seemed like the battle was spread out all over the place as Lila kept fleeing, and in attempting to protect her, I threw himself at any of the teleporting beasties that sprang up in front of her. Ghostwalker finally yelled to a burning Aaron to tackle the fleeing girl (and in doing so put out the flames now engulfing both of them). It was Nanzad that gave us the charge of death so ending the battle of twelve pines.
Ghostwalker continued his feral nature removing the head of the mage to carry as a trophy of sorts, but Hendrik not liking the change to Ghostwalker, ask for him to leave it behind. In the end it was Hendrik who won (he usually does). At this point we all stopped and tried to figure where we were headed (without head…lol), and Lila provided a general direction for us to follow toward the gypsy camp.
We continued on in that direction thinking only of self preservation and the unnatural beasties that probably had their eyes on us thinking of their next meal it the dark forest in the Shadowlands. Within an hour we came upon a group of men that seemed to be on guard duty, and after a little negotiation found them to be the gypsies we seeked. They like the fact that we had taken out the crazy mage and his flaming horses, saying they had been an issue in the woods for some time now. Before long we were on the way to their camp- The Tribe of the Alpha wolf.
As we descended from as small ridge into the valley below, where we could see the gypsy camp sprawled before us, Ghostwalker seemed to suddenly feel terrible and doubled over in pain. I called a halt to the group and asked the gypsies with us what this could be. They immediately got nervous and tightened their grip on their weapons, and said, “You dare to bring a lycanthrope into the village”. Ok, it was time for some quick calming…
Through trembling lips, the moonbane affected Ghostwalker told of his distant heritage to lycanthropes, and I spoke of their nobleness in our lands, and the fact the he was a friend of good, and one of our comrades, and in the end we were successful at being allowed into the camp. We were however asked to meet with “The Great Mother”, as she had foreseen our coming.
The meeting shed a lot of light on what had been going on around there for some time. It seems like I was right, Baron Lucius Catullis was the lycanthrope ravaging the land, and he had come to the Shadowlands from our world (or more specifically Hendrik’s). He was a legion scout who betrayed his countrymen over 400 years ago, and then fled the old kingdoms for the new world where he eventually was overtaken with the darkness and pulled into the Shadowlands. The reason the Great Mother was that she was actually a lycanthrope as well. For she was Pricea Catullis the baron’s sister.
The Great Mother wanted nothing more than to remove her brother from the lands, as she had seen the darkness overtake him, and he was in no way in control of the blight on him. He had ravaged the lands under his control for far too long. She, on the other hand, had taken the precautions to control as best she could the beast that had a hold of her as well.
For years she had looked for just the chance that she now had saw. A hearty group of adventurers to act as a surgical strike team to go in and remove him from the castle that had protected him with over the years (sounds like a job for The Kordson!). She knew of a secret way for us to take into his throne chamber through the catacombs below the castle, and she would lead a distracting attack, that would pull off a majority of his forces. Our other purpose for wanting this assault was the fact that the baron controlled a one way portal that would allow us back into the land of the living, and home again.
While the Great Mother had locked down the stores of alcohol prior to the fight, one of the gypsies, who seem to be inclined, to think of life along the same lines as I did, said that he had our backs. I thought it more than appropriate to raise the moral of all those going into battle the next day with the ballads of the deeds of our great group. Sampson, my gypsy friend introduced me to two young lasses that needed more than their moral raised that night. Who was I to say no?
The next morn our trip through the catacombs seemed easy up until we entered the nesting area of the beast, who had ruled these catacombs for many years. Additionally in this area these jars of brains seemed to hold the power to compel us to things we would normally not do, like attack our friends. I was made to attack Hendrik (not a choice I would ever make on my own). Eventually the large feral ogre –like thing fell to an assault like non I have seen by Hendrik. In a classic move even Ghostwalker got into the deal of drawing a creature into earning an attack by Hendrik, as he, in his feral state, lifted his leg on the beast’s shins. In a more of a spread out affair than Hendrik would have liked, even the brains fell, as Nanzad and Tronar spent their time bringing down these charming beasties when the beast was left to the rest of us.
Once the catacombs were clear, the way to the throne room was left vacant, as we heard the sounds of the diversionary offence beginning upstairs. We rushed the throne room in our standard charge, and once on the other side we in we bolted ourselves in. The entire room filled with lycanthropes, as they changed in unison and attacked, led by the biggest werewolf I had ever imagined. Tronar, being who he was, thought it a good idea to move in behind the baron-wolf, and sit on his throne. This sole move cost him much pain, but I have to hand it to the lizard – he did deal out a bunch pain as well. Between him, Hendrix’s opening move, a majority of the lesser wolves were down.
The rest of the fight saw us slowly moving the baron toward the mirror, where we were told to move him through, so as to stop his regenerative powers and make it possible to kill him. As in many battles, it was the Kordson, who I would sing about heaving the baron-wolf through, then only to follow a split second latter to lead the attack back in our lands.
In the end the Great Mother stayed behind, but many of the Alpha Wolf Tribe followed us through, wanting to be back in the light, and to pledge our cause after we had helped them through theirs.