Shepherds of Fate

Chapter Two : Escape from Thorns

Outside the sky darkened and screams filled the streets. The party stood over a slowly recovering noble as they absorbed the news from Nazri. The Jade Prison had been shattered, the Empress is nowhere to be found, and worse the celestial gateway in Thorns had been sealed. They were trapped in the city as undead flooded in. The party pooled their knowledge to determine the best way to escape this newly damned metropolis.

Luckily they were well versed in both the modern day streets and the historical tunnels and were able to determine several key locations and how to get to them. Both above and below ground. They determined that the thing to do was to save as many of the cities nobles as possible while arming themselves with whatever the city had to offer. Thus the plotted an underground shortcut to the city ’s armory across town. They took the wounded noble and his lone surviving son with them as they made their move.

Inside the sewers they were confronted with strange voices. Those they had known in their mortal lives and had died returned as ghosts attempting to lead them astray. The party easily ignored these apparations but the noble and his son did not have the same mental fortitude. Luckily the party easily subdued them before they could wander off into the labyrinthine catacombs. They arrived at their destination with only a small delay.

At the Armory they found the doors smashed off their hinges and ghouls of all kinds inside. Those who wandered near the entrance were weak and easily dispatched. Once they ventured inside though they find a more serious foe. The undead in the warstrider and essence weapons garage where using some form of necrotech to merge with the artifacts inside. The party rushed in and engaged them to stop their appropriation of these powerful weapons. The Andolin quickly reached the twenty foot tall warstrider first and had a scaffolding knocked on top of him for his efforts. Ishtar rushed in to aid him but ventured too close to some explosive barrels which the artillery zombies took quick advantage of blowing them up in her face. In the end it only took them a minute to demolish the warstrider and dismember the artillery zombies. Unfortunately this left them with little to collect in the way of weapons. They did retrieve three essence cannons and crystals for powering each of them. They also found a floating platform and a jade battering ram.

Moving onward they began their task of retrieving nobles. To the parties dismay the nobles were not so easily convinced to come along. One group refused to leave their mansion, insisting that it was their duty to defend it. Another group had suffered the effects of a noxious gas and had to be rescued from the fumes. One mansion had collapsed and the survivors had to be pulled from the wreckage. Shepherding these nobles between each destination was no mean feat either. They were assaulted by zombie hoards, cut off from their intended route by a street fire, and assaulted by a psychic attack which filled them with the desire to give up and die.

Despite the odds they made it to the palace and snuck in through an underground entrance. They unlocked the gates, bypassed the traps, and convinced the guards to take them to the central chamber where the remaining survivors waited forming their next plan. Through a judicious use of diplomacy they convinced everyone to come with them to the main gate where they intended to push through and allow the nobles to escape.

They lead the mass of men, women, and children to the street that lead to the main gate and were preparing to make the final push when a light appeared in the city. Sunlight burst out from the city center and a giant golden falcon rose an a plume of fire. Esprit was instantly able to identify this as a Solar’s anima banner. The team struggled with the decision to investigate this matter but in the end decided that the nobles were more important and insisted on helping them escape.

The main gate was eeriely quiet, shattered skeletons and dead guards lay everywhere but there was no undead to be seen. They found what had killed the guards as soon as they approached the gatehouse. An enormous centipede made of human skeletons crawled over the gate to attack. It battered the party with dozens of attacks and grasped them with its claws. Gilgamesh found quite quickly that shattering the spine did not stop the beast. It only separated it into independent sections who were hardly slowed down by the act of violence. Piece by piece the party broke it apart and round by round the creature tore at the party. Gilgamesh, Ishtar, and Andolin were all knocked out at one point or another by the ferocity of the attacks. Yet the parties endurance proved the victor as the final piece was broken by Ishtar’s blade and Gilgamesh’s whirling fists and legs crushed the remaining segments that crawled about.

Bloodied and exhausted the party saw the Solar’s anima fading and with the witching hour approaching decided that they simply did not have time to rescue him as well as their charges. They released those nobles who survived thus far and went back for one final house. Inside the found a summoned demon doing more to terrorize the family who summoned it than protect them. The party tricked the bone-eater demon with tales of the centipede the just fought enabling the monk to destroy the summoning circle causing it to fade away. With this last group rescued the party left the city behind. They could do no more for now and hoped what they had done was enough.



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