Shepherds of Fate

Chapter Twelve: The Godblooded Girl
The party gets back to business. Then finds the godblooded girl they recovered is more than they bargained for.
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Chapter Eleven: Intrigue in Nexus
The party travels to Nexus to investigate the Ambassador from Thorns and then gets sidetracked.
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Chapter Ten: Return to Heaven
The party returns to Yu-Shan to receive their next assignment
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Chapter Nine: Confronting the Bull of the North
The party leads an army against the Solar General bent on conquering the North
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Chapter Eight: Raising an Army
The party gathers men for their upcoming campaign

The party awoke the next morning with a full plate on their hands. They had started a relationship with the Steel Hand’s all female ninja organization but had yet to complete the tasks necessary to earn their trust. Red Fist Hayoo’s gang was getting ready to take their vengence on the people who had defeated them at the teahouse the night before. They still hadn’t even talked to Tepet Ardara to begin mustering an army.

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Chapter Seven: Streetgangs and Assassins
The party finds gang trouble in Cherak
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Chapter Six: Guardians of the Invisible Fortress
The party finds the fortress is not as benign as it appears
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Chapter Five: Expedition to the Invisible Fortress
The party races to find the Invisible fortress before the Icewalker Anathema
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Chapter Four: Jefferson's Airship
The party takes an airship from a pirate

The party posing as the Central Mining Authority was able to secure passage on an airship north, where they would be able to find out more about the unusual icewalker authority. Their journey took them past many of the Hastlanti league’s cities. Every city had the same story, they were working their best to prepare for the long winter but a pirate had stolen one of the league’s airships and had was raiding the farming communities. He was kidnapping most of the townsfolk and stealing all the topsoil he could get his hands on. The cities of the north referred to these fertile regions as Emeralds and their topsoil carried an old enchantment that kept them (relatively) warm and capable of bearing crops.

After a several stops and several days the airship left for its final stop, the remote outpost city of Crystal the last refuge bordering on the great barren expanse that is the northern glacier. This peaceful journey was interrupted as lookout shouted that the pirate had been spotted. The dread ship Sacrifice was speeding in the direction the party had just come from. On a course that was bringing directly towards the Haven, a small farming community. With a bit of bravado from Andolin and pleases for compassion from Ishtar a spark of courage was ignited in the heart of the cowardly captain of their ship. He took them on a course following the pirate and as the pirate ship descended on its prey the captain loaned the party his emergency glider to make their landing.

As this was not the party’s first time in a glider they easily piloted it into a hidden alleyway near the town square. From there they had a perfect view of the pirate crew running into houses to capture the townsfolk. Leaping into battle they easily took out the ruffians. They only noticed that all the pirates carried the mark of demon-taint moments before demon spiders leapt down from the ship to aid their human vassals. While the human combatants went down easily the spiders proved much tricker to pin down. They would strike, poisoning the heroes and knocking them prone, then would leap to the safety of the rooftops. Gilgamesh had no problems chasing them, jumping up on boxes and carts to reach the roofs. Andolin teleported across the entire town square to reach his quarry. Ishtar pinned one against a wall where it couldn’t escape. Esprit, was actually quite happy that they all decided to leave him alone. As soon as the spider demons died the ship began to cast off its ropes and attempted to make its escape. Esprit used his telekinetic powers to lift the party to the ship and they hid in the hold while they gathered their energies to take the deck.

Minutes later they burst through the doors of the deck deck. Taking out swaths of pirates on their way to the command deck. At the wheel of the ship stood Captain Gyrfalcon, a man with a dashing red pirate outfit and a sickly green circle burning on his forehead. This circle resembled that of a Solar but glowed with the green fire of Malfeas. Cackling he engaged the party in combat. He moved like the wind, his pistol shooting gouts of fire, his rapier leaving burning trails. Any time the party thought they had him pinned he would vanish and reappear in several places. The ship soon became a chaotic mess of light and sounds and colors as Animas flared. The captain’s green spider being surrounded by a mountaintop flag, a sea of blue light, a tiger and dragon, and a storm of crystals. The thunderous noise and flashes of light could be seen and heard for miles. Despite his awesome speed and strength the corrupted solar could not withstand the party and was knocked out.

When he awoke he was quite difficult to interrogate. He spoke to himself several times as if seeking council, or arguing with the answers he just gave. All they learned is that he wished their deaths, that he was the greatest captain ever, and that he was working for someone else further north. Giving up on getting any information out of him past that they decided to break his neck. Sadly the bonds restraining him were too loose and he threw himself off the side of the vessel before they could finish him off. It is unknown if he could survive the fall from a mile up into icy cold waters. The party then turned to the crew. The healing knowledge of Ishtar and the arcane training of Espirt was enough to revert some of the crew back into their former selves. These now freed men gladly informed the party of the icewalker barbarian who was gathering the tribes and was organizing the raids the former Captain Gyrfalcon was leading. Indebted to the party they agreed to take them to the far away outpost of Diamond Hearth, a tiny speck hidden in the expanse of the northern glacier.

It took them a week to get there and from the air it was clear that someone had made serious alterations to the city. The city rested in a hollow in the ice and excavation teams were breaking away huge blocks of the glacier in order to expand the fields around the city. Giant mounds of topsoil stolen from Emeralds waited to be spread across the newly cleared ground. Also the center of the city had been razed, the town hall and center square destroyed. In its place was a tent village. This required investigation so they landed the ship and instructed the crew to keep it safe.

Venturing into town they soon got the measure of Diamond Hearth. It was a mining town, most of the people who lived there were bachelor miners, out to make their fortune in the diamond and jewel mines out on the ice. Now there was a new order, the barbarian Icewalkers had come in one day and sacked the town. The civilian populace was left untouched but the leaders were killed and the barbarians took control. Now they demanded that the miners farm food for them with stolen topsoil. Anyone who dissented soon met with the icewalker witch, Samera. After this meeting they were complete subservient to her and the icewalkers and this sudden lack of free will made the rest either fall in line or stay silent. Deciding they needed to meet this Samera for themselves Gilgamesh and Andolin went from tavern to tavern, touting their reluctance to Samera’s control in hopes one of her converts would hear and report them. This plan bore fruit quickly as it took less than 2 hours for Samera to appear and interrogate the PCs. She hit the entire party with a form of Solar social attack, her caste mark appearing on her forehead as she spoke. Only Esprit was hit by the effect but it inflicted him with the desire to perform any task she or the barbarian warlord, Yurgen Kaneko, requested of him. Upon learning that they were with the airship and the previous captain was not there she brought them straight to the camp in the center of town.

In the grand central tent they met the warlord behind it all, the solar Yurgen Kaneko. He asked the party where the captain of the ship was and they claimed he was dead. Struck down by the Hastlanti navy, the ship and crew fled for their lives unable to take any topsoil with them. They were also mysteriously freed from the demon possession by his death somehow. Dissapointed to hear this Yurgen appointed one of his other dragonblooded lieutenant to take command of the ship. He said the party could stay in the tents tonight but in the morning they must take the lieutenant out on a raiding mission to the south. For winter was coming and the grand campaign was about to begin….

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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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