(Note: Due to an unexpected development IRL, Nanon was absent for this session)
4, Deus 839
After the Party slayed the wolves, saving Earlsvale, Zanphrax suddenly appeared from literally out of nowhere. With the wolves gone, villagers began to resurface from their homes, thanking the Party. The Party asked a young man, named Franklin, for information on Gerey. Franklin told the party that a half-elf with the description they gave had kidnapped the local cleric, Rasiel, before fleeing east while an accomplice called forth the wolves the Party had just defeated. Franklin mentions that Gerey’s cultists had looked like cultists, and there were rumors of some cultists camping a bit northwest of the village. For their heroic deed, the party was given a free night’s stay at the Lucky Hag Inn, an offer which the Party reluctantly accepted as they were in need of a rest.
5, Deus 839
The party set out from Earlsvale early in the morning, but due to losing their way in the woods, wound up only arriving at the site of the camp after the sun had already set. Guided by Murdoch’s torch, the party advanced, taking down a few patrolling cultists with shortbows. They hid the bodies in nearby huts, which contained nothing except bunk beds and chests containing black robes the cultists wore. Seeing the robes, somebody had the idea to don the robes so they could sneak into the central building undetected, and somebody else agreed. So, Murdoch and Taroz left their chainmails in a chest inside a hut, while Zed left his crossbow and a few other miscellaneous items in another.
Zanphrax led the Party into the building, wearing a robe they had found which appeared different from the others – this one having dark gray trim instead of white, as well as a gold badge with a picture of a nine-stranded whip, which Murdoch identified as the symbol of Loviatar, the goddess of pain. Inside the building, a dozen cultists were gathered around a stone platform, upon which an altar sat in front of Gerey, and tied to the altar was an unconscious cleric. As Zanphrax addressed Gerey, to apologize for being late, he rolled a 1 on Deception but he was wearing Gerey’s robe anyways so that jig wasn’t gonna last that long anyway tbh. As Gerey commanded eight of the cultists who weren’t praying at the altar’s side to stop him, Zanphrax ran outside lickity split. The Party prepared themselves in front of the door, everyone ready to attack whoever came outside first.
After almost half a minute without any cultists leaving the building, Murdoch cautiously poked his sword past the curtain hanging over the door frame, and two arrows flew out the door in response, confirming his suspicion that the cultists had taken up the same strategy. As Gerey continued the ritual behind the cultists, the Party fought to re-enter the building as the cultists fought to keep them out. At one point the heroes considered retreating, but the tortured screams of Rasiel from inside the building convinced them to continue. Eventually, Taroz was able to use his lightning breath to break the cultist’s defense and the party was able to enter.
However, they turned out to be too late, as the last of Rasiel’s screams were sucked from her lungs and she fell back on the altar completely motionless, Gerey opened a back exit and escaped with the remaining cultists. As he left, the torches on the corners of the altar flared up, their flames growing taller and merging over Rasiel’s corpse into a giant fireball. As the party escaped, Zanphrax and Murdoch tried to retrieve her body, but after Murdoch’s Lay on Hands failed to revive her they accepted she was lost and fled the building. With the fireball overhead growing larger by the second, Zed attempted casting Ray of Frost to quell it, but the spell was overcome by the extreme heat and failed to affect it. As the Party fled, the fireball exploded behind them, setting fire to the forest.
The party fled to Earlsvale, abandoning the robes on the way. After arriving, Murdoch told Zanphrax to ring the temple bell, waking up the townsfolk. The party quickly warned the townsfolk, and within half an hour the townsfolk had packed their necessities into six caravans and fled south to Altonshire.