Over the Crown of the World

15: New Friends, Old Enemies

Burnt Offerings

Orik returns from locking Lyrie with three (relatively) new faces: Robert (a Shoanti Barbarian with a crush on Ameiko), Rain (a Rogue Shalelu had rescued some years back), and Matthias (a Dhampyr Sorcerer, one of Sandru’s guards & Caroline’s cousin) – all three of whom had come to Thistletop to lend a hand as folks back at Sandpoint had started to worry. After some introductions and bringing people up to speed, the gang heads down the stairs to put an end to Tsuto and his mistress.

Pausing only briefly to examine a badly defaced rune-carved door and pass through a statue-filled hall, Rain manages barely to avoid being trapped by a falling portcullis and the subsequent slashing of statues holding pole-arms. After she, Caroline & Kaitlynn manage to deactivate the dangerous hallway, the company moves forward, turning to the right when a pair of doors present themselves (and the other showed only another hallway dead-ending in another door).

They quickly find Tsuto waiting for them, and he isn’t alone. Nualia, the mysterious Aasimar foster-daughter of the old priest of Sandpoint, one arm transformed to that of a hideous demon’s, armed with a bastard-sword in the other, her belly covered in scars, flanked by the horrible hounds Kaitlynn, Rogar & Shalelu remembered too well from the Temple above are with him. The Hounds howl & fly up to attack, setting half the party to flight. While Orik does his best to blockade the beasts and hold them off, Rain, Caroline, Shalelu, Rogar & Khoren all flee, only to run smack into flames being unleashed by an escaped Lyrie, the obnoxious Quazit Elyrium at her side giggling with glee, who adds a summoned fiendish dog to chaise them back down. Meanwhile Haji summons a celestial dog of his own to help Orik, as Richard muscles through the confusion to help the fight in the doorway, and Kaitlynn and Matthias do what they can to support them with spell and knife. After a brutal exchange of blows they manage to take down the Yeth Hounds and force their way in, but Nualia has spent her time well, using her magics to make herself even more brutal, bringing both Orik and Richard nearly to the brink of death with sword and claw.

Lyrie rushes up to “rescue her love,” only to be taken down by Haji’s blade. Soon the others rally back to the fight, and Shalelu briefly manages to grab the Quazit, giving it enough of a scare to cause it to flee the moment it escapes. It resets the trap, however, before it leaves catching the Elf by surprise when she attempts to join the others in the fight with Nualia (she survives the blades and the fall into the pit, but it isn’t pleasant). Khoren, Caroline, Kaitlynn, Matthias all manage to finish what Richard and Orik started, bringing down the murderous Tsuto and his lover – though the Quazit briefly tries to help her flee by turning her invisible, Nualia refuses to give up the fight, instead attempting (and failing) to take Richard’s last bit of life-force before the heroes catch on and end her villainy for good.

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