Having won the tournament, Araveti the Traitorous departed only hours before we received the news that no less than 4 of his armies assailed our kingdom. Desnaton was under seige, a horde of foot approached from South and Trolls and Wyverns in the North, salting the land.
We gave chase, vowing that Araveti would rue this day in the pits of Hell. Our Noble King returned to lead our people, returning the Sorcerer Orman Ras to us to rain fire upon them. Araveti and his bodyguard of trolls, wardens, and ogre mage were easily tracked, and we overtook them that same day.
Cresting a rise, we led a dreadful charge, but presumably the mage had enchanted himself and king with a Contingency Teleport, and no sooner had we landed blows but they vanished, leaving their minions to face us. In addition to trolls and Wardens, the vary same barbarian who tried to kill me in the tournament joust was their, and his fury was terrible. Even after Orman melted his very armor off he yet stood, his greataxe dropping my faithful steed Ajax with a single blow. He brought Sam and myself near death, and dropped the Sorcerer as well. Even as we tried to kill him we risked being hit by his whirling blade. Even as I healed us enough to revive the sorcerer to let Sam’s arrows finish him, a Warden in a fit of spite tried to finish the dying AJax, but even the most mortal wounds may be undone, and were.
With Araveti and the Mage gone, we elected to continue our pursuit to his capitol, only some miles away. He is not the only one who can teleport. Orman, invisible courtesy of a borrowed ring from Alder, who had recently joined us on our way to the tournament, found an abandoned tower to bring us to from which to plot our next move. Orman once again took the form of an earth elemental, and entered the lower portion of Araveti’s castle, where he found a Naga, or some sort of snake creature. Giving up on charming him as futile, he conversed with it, and it appears it is not altogether averse to the idea of a defeated Araveti. More shocking was that this creature was apparently able to produce our King’s Mother, who tried to kill the sorcerer one site, perhaps still enchanted by the same Faerie Queen who corrupted the King’s Father.
There could be no other choice – we would teleport there and begin our second assault on Araveti by first rescuing our King’s Mother. When the spell was cast however, we appeared somewhere strange indeed. A great chamber, with floating lights at the top like stars, a lake, and some sort of central pool with glowing water. We were greeted by something that appeared to have once been a halfling, but looked frozen and translucent. This ghost seemed mad but not hostile, telling us nothing of great note, only that he was known as the Gardener. When we made to leave though, he attacked with fell magic, aging us unnaturally and sowing fear that in this document I will confess pierced even my resolve. At the same time, the lights proved to be our old friends Will-o-Wisps. The ensuing battle was made much easier by the clever efforts of Alder, who used his whip to steal the staff the Gardener carried, which turned out to Quicken spells. Magic made us immune to the will-wisps, and the ghost fell shortly thereafter. As we healed, we heard a faint plea from a water clock. Inside was a Naiad, an agent of the Faerie Queen, sent to hide a sword from all including the Queen.
The Gardener and Araveti had made a compact to take the sword from her, but Araveti betrayed the Gardener, took the sword from this place, and killed him. We learned that he was also in the process of trying to develop a city devastating poison, but that this was likely a ruse to draw us here and trap us. Alder went scouting up the stairs we saw, but was smelled out by a were-rat. he came running down to warn us, and a wall of force divided their forces. The were-rat made it through though, and shot a volley of devastating arrows, felling Sam yet again for someone so young. I used my most powerful healing to try and revive him, but to my horror and dismay he did not rise! With Sam gone and my companions staggering, I did what I had done once before to fight unconventionally: I asked Desna to free me from my human form to take another shape. As a ferocious tiger, I pinned the rat to the ground, while Alder cut him to pieces faster than his twisted body could regenerate. As he struggled, he spit and clawed at me in a frenzy which still makes me anxious for my health.
Terribly wounded, and with Sam dead, we elected to withdraw and lead our Kingdom rather than press the assault. For as we struggled in dark places, our brave and glorious Soldiers defended their homes with our Lives. The Army garrisoned in Lakefort intercepted one of Aravet’s outside of Tazleford, and for the second time in our short history the charge was sounded and the enemy was overrun, trampled and routed. Meanwhile, in the north, the garrison of Olegton achieved what can only be described as the greatest military achievement I am likely to see in my life, as full of war as it is. When trolls assailed the walls, the did not break, but retaliated viciously and again and again, taking strength from the great walls and thoughts of loved ones. And the trolls died. But those walls could not save them from the Wyvern’s, fleeing our victorious cavalry. Those brave men and women, for a second time, faced horrible monsters and atrocious odds, but did not flee. And now it was their turn to do the dying. But oh, the manner of their deaths! Stories will be told for generations, how even as poison filled their veins they drove forward, their last breaths exacting terrible vengeance from their foes. The Wyvern flight was crippled, and two days later, when our Army arrive, not even hiding behind our own walls could save them from our fury. And so a third time the charge was sounded, and a third time the enemy lay impaled upon our lances. Olegton free again, we turn our eyes to the West. We are coming for you Araveti, oh yes. You will pay for taking our best, our bravest heroes. For Sam, for the farmers, the soldiers and for the Green Marches.We. Are. Coming.