In the end it was as foretold. Each hero played their part and once again Tar-Baphon and his minions are defeated.
Allies befriended, bargained, or forewarned since the Whispering Way’s plot was uncovered in Ravengro gathered outside of Adorak.
- Crusaders led by Alinza Asseni provided the heroes with a safe place to rest and a chance to restock dwindling supplies
- Tribes of the Shutterwood, now a single strong force, led by Cybrisa Dorzhanev of the Dorzhanev, and Spiritspeaker Amrid of the Vollensag, accompanied by a dear ally, Forthing, lighten hearts and lay uneasy souls to rest, ensuring the mission continues
- Professor Mari Sirinov brings magical aid, repaying her debt at last for trouble caused along the way.
- Count Eben Caromarc, Margrave Cilas Graydon of Sturnidae, and the Markiza, each bring their personal forces to strengthen the army.
After many happy meetings, sharing of news, and giving of gifts, the heroes decide to try and sneak through Adorak and into Gallowspire by pretending to be minions of the Grey Friar delivering the ‘vessel’ Kendra to Adivion Adrissant
Shouta’s skills in disguise and deception, combined with Sirinov’s illusion magic allowed the group to get deep into the city unchallenged. Disaster is averted as Shouta convinces a Ravener to let the group pass, presenting an Erinyes bow as an offering.
The bluff doesn’t convince the door guards however, as the group doesn’t have a quick answer for how to open the door. General Sarlock is similarly unconvinced when his unholy blight spell affects the party. The inhabitants of Gallowspire don’t seem convinced by the ruse either and the battles continue to the top of the spire where Adrissant waits with the Carrion Crown. Ronit’s concoctions and magical affinities allow the heroes to ascend the spire, avoiding the trapped stairs of bone and plunging to their deaths. Shiogi’s acrobatic prowess gets the heroes across the gap to the inner spire.
After destroying the unholy braziers of Tar-Baphon, Pharasma herself sends a vision and a messenger with a gift of power. Our Lady once again provided in our time of need.
At the top of the spire, Adrissant drinks the Carrion Crown, releasing Tar-Baphon’s soul into his own body. Without the proper vessel however, the transformation was only partially successful, and but a sliver of power was released into the magus.
As the heroes prepare for a final assault, Adrissant, Falindras, and an armored Gallowdead were ready. Kelda rushed in, drawing their attention, while Shiogi’s fleet feet moved to flank the enemy. Shouta’s arrows and Ronit’s bombs rain down, but the spirit of Tar-Baphon combined with the magical powers of Adrissant made for a terrible foe. Powerful magics washed over the spire, as the heroes unleashed the last of their might at the villians.
Pinned between Adrissant and the Gallowdead, Kelda was struck down in a flurry of terrible blows, but not before the Raven’s Head could wound Adrissant enough for Ronit to destroy his body, forcing Tar-Baphon’s spirit back into Gallowspire. Shiogi, Ronit, and Shouta continued to battle valiantly, until only the Gallowdead remained. I admit I let the haze of battle overcome me as I took up the Raven’s Head from my friend, and unleashed the fury of the Lady of Graves.
It took several moments for everyone to realize that the battle was over. Shiogi handed over the signalling scroll to Ronit, and she summoned forth a great pillar of holy light, signalling our allies to advance on Gallowspire. After weeks of frantic searching and fighting, the battle was over.
It has been almost 6 months since the battle atop Gallowspire. I must admit that while I am thankful each day that we triumphed, and I know that her death was valiant, I miss my friend.
I have strived these passing months to see her wishes done.
When we returned to the crusader’s camp, dirty and exhausted from the trials, Jouan approached me, a resolute sadness in his eyes. He handed me a small stack of sealed documents, final notes from a dear friend who knew she would not live to see the dawn. Many of these were delivered across Ustalav, a last note of goodwill to friends made along an epic journey. The rest were to us, her friends and followers that had journeyed to Adorak. I know not what was in most of them, only that even Kel and Daa, the silly goblin duo shed tears that night.
To me, a request. That Renchurch be restored beyond it’s previous glory, and that all might be welcomed. These last months have been a flurry of activity to those ends.
A vigil was kept over the body of my friend Kelda, as we were determined that she would be laid to rest in the temple she had helped to reclaim. The main temple was cleansed, consecrated, and Hallowed within a fortnight. Before the month was out, a beautiful sarcophagus was delivered and installed within, though by whom I do not know. Though I sent letters and even Sendings to Caliphas, I have received no word from Kelda’s family.
Many of the same faces from that day in Adorak were at the funeral, friends and those helped in times of need. The ceremony was a strange affair, with so many cultures together, each with their own ways. Goblins, werewolves, mongrelmen… where else in Ustalav can they share a room with nobles like Count Caromarc and Margrave Graydon? I know that this sight would bring her great joy, and so it brings me the same.
As the last hymn came to close, so too we closed the tomb, the body laid to rest on a bed of thornless black roses.
Sanctuary of Harmony
Renchurch has been restored. The grounds have been purified and those within toil not against the foulness of the land, but for themselves. The blades that adorned the walls have been melted down and reforged into tools for honest work. The tortured souls have been released, the dead rest easy.
The main building has been rededicated as a temple of Pharasma. I have begun work on a library, to contain the stories of all the peoples of Ustalav. I hope to convince Ronit to contribute many of her writings to our shelves.
Sister Ophelia has become Priestess Ophelia, and now leads a small but growing congregation. I have finalized an agreement with Count Eben Caromarc that upon his death, to provide his creation, the sentient flesh golem known now as Bob, a home in the main tower and a job as a bell ringer for the temple.
To the south, a series of tents has become a refuge for women and children, formally of the Sunrise Foundation. It did not take much convincing to bring them here. In the spring we break ground on a permanent building- an orphanage and refuge for the women and children who are so often preyed upon here in Ustalav.
To the north, Shiogi has founded the Temple of the Soaring Whippoorwill, a monastery and place of learning for Irori’s followers. I am impressed each day to see the progress the young monks make both in their lessons and in the building of the grounds.
Some of the temporary settlements around the grounds seem to be establishing themselves more permanently as well. I believe in another year Renchurch may be a fully functional community, complete with Ustalav’s first above ground tavern serving mongrelman cuisine with goblin waitstaff.
As life returns to Renchurch, I can only pray that we force back the forces unlife that still emanate from Gallowspire.