Part 27: Rebuilding
After the battle, the city of Nathkarin needed to rebuild. Bruin directly assisted with the rebuilding by lifting and such. Drake kept the citizens well-fed by preparing and cooking the remains of the blattar siegers. Fiona assisted with morale by telling stories and entertaining the populace.
Meanwhile, Rephael already stumbled into the next incident. A servant of Tecciz, going by the name of Hirudinea, approached him trying to gain political asylum. She had apparently been framed for many an incident by rogue members of her sect. Not much later, Itri insisted on meeting with Minh to discuss things related to the geas, but also some information about Grigor’s connection to the Maharaja came to light. What also came to light was that Mathias, the leader of the werewolves that the party had encountered in one of the mines, had lost most of his pack to one of Grigor’s traps, and he sought vengeance.
Rephael attempted to gain more information on Hirudinea and Mathias, to learn from his gods that Hirudinea was innocent. Mathias, however, was the evil one in all of this, and while Shelyn can put up with him working with Rephael, there was a warning that he’d need to have his vendetta reined in somewhat. Given free reign, Mathias’ vengeance would be brutal and limitless. Hirudinea would later give Rephael a feather that served as a good start for Mathias to track.
Part 28: Cowards Die Many Times
Rephael would later meet up with Itri again, near the end of the geas being lifted. Itri was talking to Damian at this time – Damian had just received a package from a man named Gerald, who ran the northwestern province of the Orozhakian kingdom. By all accounts, this delivery was normal and Damian had magically scanned it to determine it actually was from Gerald. However, when he opened it and read the card inside, he realized he’d still been fooled – just as Sergei had taken the stuffed animal that was inside.
One explosion later, Sergei established contact with every communication crystal in the kingdom, begging for someone to come help Damian. As it turns out, Damian had ripped the stuffed animal from Sergei’s grasp just before it exploded. Sergei survived and was barely hurt, but Damian lost the use of his arms until responders could repair the damage. Fiona and Rephael were the first on the scene and questioned both Damian’s staff and the first responders. Mathias also responded – and showed Rephael the card. It read, “Good luck with your investigation! Grigor Sykora”
After establishing that Grigor did indeed write that note, the party collectively decided to head to Warrickdale, the place where Gerald governed. Upon arriving, they met with Jasper, a canid who was filling in for Gerald after the latter’s disappearance. Jasper revealed that Gerald usually had a device he used to put a magic signature on his packages to make sure people knew it was from him, and that not only did it go missing the day before, but he warned Damian of this fact. Mathias focused on finding Gerald’s scent, which the party then followed to an abandoned fortress – more accurately, its basement.
Part 29: Grigor’s End
Grigor had begun work on laying traps in the entire fortress’ basement. This included a spiked pit trap (that was still unfinished when the party went through), werebulls working on a poisonous statue trap (which the party disposed of after killing them), another resurrection crystal like the one in Dark Illusion (that Fiona and Bruin destroyed, putting the victims at peace) and glass golems (that the party shattered with relative ease, although one ripped into Mathias). Amidst all of this, the party encountered a group of Grigor’s mercenaries who immediately surrendered to them, noting that someone they had captured went psychotic and killed one of their friends.
As it turns out, the murderous monster was in fact an accipitus vampire by the name of Okara Slickfeather, who had been working on a countermeasure for the anti-divine amulets that the party had seen when he was kidnapped. His tormentors kept shooting his limbs full of crossbow bolts and were about to stake him when he killed one in a desperate fit. He would get escorted out of the fortress by Hirudinea, whereas the tormentors were forced to leave by Mathias and Leticia.
After the resurrection crystal incident, Mathias dug through the bodies. What he discovered horrified him – the remains of his packmates were all here. Mathias immediately revealed to Rephael that he was in fact the last of his pack. This may have contributed to his decision to recklessly charge Grigor the moment he saw him – which ended up with him severed in half and Grigor fleeing. The party took tremendous effort to revive Mathias and put him back together, at which point he revealed that he had no reason of his own to live – and that there was something in the room nearby. There the party discovered the remains of Gerald.
When the party finally encountered Grigor, he revealed he had trapped the room with energy fields tied to one of the four gems on his blade. The energy fields and his magic were too weak to really stop the party, and Grigor was brought down quickly despite his Sykora clan resistance to holy energy. Grigor revealed some things in the ensuing interrogation: Zheng was holed up in the Ethess Mountains, and Grigor remained ungeased by Zheng as a favor for him saving her life. Given the choice to live or die, Grigor chose death, detonating himself in one final explosion.
Damian has sworn that the battle with Zheng has gone beyond personal, and he will do anything to resolve it. The party notes that the efforts by the rakshasas to resort to base terror are a sign that the kingdom is winning this battle.
The sun is setting on this war with the rakshasas. The final conflict will begin soon.