Week Twenty Five
Sir Valin Darian, cousin of the King (and thus descendant of the Victor, and isn't that handy?) has been driven half mad knowing that there is great evil growing at the Horn but being tied to his duty as commander of the Hamarhall fortress. When a group of seven old comrades visit him he can stand it no longer – he leaves his most capable lieutenant in charge, and the knights ride immediately for the Horn intent on trampling whatever foulness lurks there. It may not escape the reader that this is not the most thought through of plans – they don't have much party balance, they don't actually know what lurks there other than “evil”, and the Tiger is an open country tank err I mean if your class is optimised for mounted charging attacks then maybe picking your way through boulders and difficult ground so you can enter the confines of a cave system isn't going to have its own entry in Sun Tzu.
To reach the Spire they have to pass the hangman tree, and unlike the Banner Verdant they don't have a druid with them to prevent it from attacking them. It duly releases a cloud of mind altering spores and prepares to grab a knight or two to snack on.
Combat is joined between the knights and the tree while sir Darian, his head swimming with the spores, looks at them confusedly. The tree strangles a knight a bit, but through bull headed persistence, weight of numbers, and brute force the knights hack the tree down. They've made enough noise doing this that the Frogloks are alerted, and one of them steps on the newly installed alarm stone, starting an earsplitting racket.
The knights and Sir Valin head into the cave and start hitting frogloks, but the knights are strongly affected by their frightening croaks. Two break and run and most of the rest are shaken. The party arrive by teleport, neatly behind the invading armoured do-gooders, but seem more inclined to spectate and offer “helpful” advice as Adelea takes them on and more and more frogloks pile in.
Sir Valin is paralysed by Hold Person; his horse steps away from Adelea but she follows up and strikes.
The following round she brutally cuts Sir Valin's horse from under him, then kills one of his knightly companions
Fitch and Creel join in the fight, with varying degrees of success
With the fight going badly, one of the remaining knights pulls sir Valin's paralysed form from his dead horse onto his own still alive one, intending to save him fron the fight. His comrade interposes himself between them and the killing machine that is Adelea.
Sam casts hold person on the “getaway driver” and Hexor then casts Hold Monster on the horse, leaving “a big pile of paralysed things”.
The battle is effectively over at this point. The knights are all killed, Sir Valin is captured and held in a cell awaiting sacrifice, and one of the two fled knights is anticlimactically killed when he returns. The other flees back to town to warn the abbess how scary the horn is and give her what little information he was able to gather while fleeing in frog-induced terror.
Week Twenty Six
Some wytch lights, will 'o wisps from the depths of the Caer Bryr, are drawn to the horn. Unfortunately for them, they are drawn directly to the specific area of the horn that contains a pack of wraiths, and wraiths could almost have been deliberately designed to be their kryptonite. Invisibility avails them little against creatures who can sense living things as though they have blindsight, wraiths don't feel fear so they cannot draw any energy from them, and their electric attacks don't work. Unable to leave the delicious magical energy and fear aura of the Fane of the Three Eyed Prince, they are made short work of by ex-high priest Ezra and his wraithy minions.
Week Twenty Seven
The magical energies of the horn draw the gorgimera Trithraxus from the deep forests, and he swoops into the third floor, roaring and preparing to go on a rampage. Sadly for him, however, he runs into those pesky wraiths and then Vexor, guided by the magic scrying power of the Eye, precision teleports Grumblejack and Adelea right behind him.
Grumblejack does an excellent Captain Kargeld impression, looking aggrieved as his greatclub flies out of his hands instead of thwacking the weird magical beast, but Adelea encounters no such issues as she finishes off the like-a-chimera-but-weirder creature, already hurt and weakened by being pawed at by wraiths with their freaky deaky wraithy lifey-drainy touches.
The attack does leave behind a couple of new wraith statues, dragged by Adelea to either side of the hallway so they'll look nice.
In the quiet aftermath of the attack Adelea and Sam can be heard discussing what they should do at the climax of the ritual, and who is likely to attack them.
The boggards? Probably – Zikomo wants to dedicate the horn to Dagon. Sam could talk to him and explain the plan? Nah, he's a loon.
Hexor and Vexor? Sam taps her chest, with a clunk as the two control amulets bonk together. Nope, they're definitely onside.
Tregellan? Who knows?
Ezra and his wraiths? Adelea is 100% sure he's going to betray them, and seems to be persuading Sam. He wants to bring back Vetra-Kali and to be high priest, and the Posse's plans are… not quite so straightforward.
Reading up on the ritual they realise they've got one spare request: Giving Vetra Kali the first eye will stop him slaughtering the Posse and their allies, and the second eye will get them the Tears they've been after since the start of this whole arc. The third eye gets another request that Vetra Kali cannot refuse.
True to form, Adelea wants this to be “stand really still so I can hit you with this sword”, but Sam is leaning towards the more traditional “leave this plane and don't come back”. Who knows if a coup de grace would even work on a powerful demon lieutenant of a plague god? Even if he is vulnerable to Adelea's primary spell "hit it really hard with a sword", how long will it take Vetra Kali to reconstitute itself and return for vengeance, and is a powerful plague demon with a grudge something you want on your trail?
Also "Welcome back. Now leave forever" is a very Samra'el kind of dick move, it must be said.
There's only a few weeks left to the very last ritual, but something tells me that they might be quite eventful…