Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #65: The Chaos of Goodness and Light

For a breakdown of what's transpired, check out the Ballad of the Pigeon God Page.  The "Apocalypse" starts with Episode #64.

1st of DecDec 1072 - Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
With tens of thousands in attendance, the Cult of Apotheosis summoned forth the promised "God of Goodness and Light" to unite the peoples of all races under a banner of peace and prosperity, only to have an ageless half-orc fallen paladin to reveal him to be Baraxus the Destroyer, a spider-god bent on, well... probably destroying things.

Count Zabty, the paladin who had back stabbed Baraxus was still dangling from his two-handed sword embedded in the lower carapace of the god.  Baraxus coyly flipped the half-orc off, like swatting an an annoying ant.  Zabty hit his back off against the cliff face, and his limp body splashed into the lake below.  Baraxus pulled his giant sword out like a toothpick and flicked it at the the Cultists of Apotheosis.   With a few sounds and gestures throughout the vast crowd, handfuls of brigands, scallywags, and agents of King Cervinal began actively attacking random pilgrims and onlookers.   This ignited a mob mentality among the crowds some trying to flee, other falling to blows for no other reason than fear.

Then the humanoid tribes keeping a safe distance from the ritual dropped the facade.

The Nightwood goblins Zabty had hacked through to reach Baraxus sprung their plan into action: Dozens of them with shoddy flight riggings dove off the cliff and dove onto the panicked humans, while the others poured over the cliff like lemmings.  Others emerged from tunnels dug under the river.
The Nightwood goblins dive off the cliffs
Orcs were stealthily fording the river during the ritual and lept onto the flanks.    The gnomes in the swamp were beset by the lizardmena and orcs.  The larger monsters, ogres, trolls, and the giants, leisurely moved in, knowing full well that there was plenty of carnage to partake in after their smaller kin "tenderized" the humans.

General Norm Dingleberry hesitated for a moment to call the order for his men to form a Medieval style "Testudo" allowing the first gliders to crash into his army.  They had the numbers to recover, but while innocents were being slaughtered, they wasted precious time in a defensive posture trying to reorganize.

Wyverns that flew above descended into the peasant mobs.  Velandro's holy warriors from Ispatlia charged onto one of the beasts, currently devouring a peasant, but watched their quarry fall to the ground, a trident sticking out of its back.  Baron Echelon moved up towards the beast, pulled Wave out, and spotted Velandro.

"Good to have you back," Echelon declared.   "Get as many of these people as far away from the monsters as you can.  Omsjik, Eding, it doesn't matter what direction you send them in. The rally point for us is the Chateau."

And with that Echelon made a deep audible sigh of desperation before turning towards Baraxus the Destoryer. Kane, Sigard, Thorin, and Beourn (in the form of a bear) followed the pigeon-loving cleric.

It's unsure what stories from this battle are actually true.  For our heroes it would be quite impossible to believe when the bandits, warlords, and clan chiefs gave the order to betray humanity, King Cervinal did not partake in those actions.  He stoically sat there upon his stallion, his heavy elite guard behind him, surveying and the twisted mess that had been full of hope only moments before.

The king's forces were so large and so formidable that no unit, human, or monster, dared venture near it, so they were left alone.

It was well into the battle when Cervinal put his helm on his head, pulled out Sangrogue, the ancestral sword of the Silvershields, from its sheath, and ordered his men to charge into a mass of civilians fleeing to the north.

They spared no one, and took extra glee in riding down those who futilely attempted to run away.

With an evil god standing in the midst of the battle, and the few heroes engaged with him or the legions of monsters, Cervinal slaughtered every person he reached.  But quite soon, the king grew tired of this easy sport.  He dismounted from his steed, chasing down weak and the slow.

He came upon a mother with her two young children who had fallen into the mud.  The woman's legs were flailing madly as she desperately tried to gain some momentum, all the while using her body to shield her mud-caked children.

Cervinal casually walked to the family, and nonchalantly swung Sangrogue across his body, not to slay the woman, but to painfully cripple her and allow him some cleaner blows to run the children through.

But that blow never landed.  With the sound of a large gong or church bell, another sword met it halfway through the swing.  There, straddling over the helpless woman, was William, King of Aragain.  Only two years prior, he was just a Prince that had been appointed by Cervinval's brother to temporarily rule over the environs around Eding, yet he and his adventuring pals seemed to run as crisis after crisis mounted in the tiny dominion.

This time... this time he and his compatriots behind him were a bit more dedicated to the cause.

It might have been his coronation as king of his homeland.
It might have been two years of wisdom.
It might have been a desire to clear the shame on his soul from his cowardly and apathetic rule.

But most attribute it to William now wielding The Blood-Brand, the sword of the ancient emperors and all the powers it contained.

The same sword our heroes failed to retrieve from White Plume Mountain months before.

DM Notes:  Herein we begin the great apocalyptic final battle in all its glory.  At the actual final game, there were a tremendous amount of players rolling to hit and knocking over ten creatures, dodging every single counter-attack, rinse/repeat and so on, before some of these plot elements seemed to randomly pop up.    

Velandro had returned with some of his native Ispatlians to fight off whatever was coming.  They had sailed around the wild lands of Senzar and disembarked along the northern coast of Crosedes.   They hailed an audience with King Cervinal and the Archbishop Adolphus, although Velandro was noticeably absent.  Per his instructions, they pledged their loyalty to the Church and the Crown.   Upon discovering that Cervinal was going to attend the ritual, they alerted Velandro and escaped from Hydincall as fast as they could.

King William has the Blood-Brand, somehow.... perhaps all  will be revealed... later.

Next: #66 - The Fall of the Pious

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