This one is going to be a long and epic journey for you guys
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This one is going to be a long and epic journey for you guys
Support the show (https://paypal.me/MurtazaBohari)
First... some background.
The group was made up of an Elven Ranger named Kida. A fae kitsune Plague-Doctor named Hira. A human Cleric, named Nim. And finally, a young Vampire named Sage De La Fontain. Only nineteen years old, created through science affixed within the womb; sheltered within a rich home until they had run and escaped. The party also has an NPC, Thruk a Lizard folk Gloom Stalker Ranger.
Throughout their journey they had been to several towns. In each town an apothecary seemed to always be present. Inside would be an old crone by the name of Radeska. The shop would change, customers would change, the building would change, but it always seemed to be the same woman. She claimed she had sisters in almost every city, but she always seemed to know them when they entered. It did not take their Kitsune companion, Hira, long to realise that she was no crone. She was a Hag. A powerful and old being of the fae that was unpredictable, this one more so than other hags might be. You see, Radeska was insane.
The barrier that lined the land of Vaepratia kept the gods from reaching in, and that included the Fae gods. Trapped within this land, unable to break through back into the world of the fae, her personality and mind fragmented through several hundred versions of herself throughout the land, Radeska lived in all moments, at all time. She would shout into an empty corner, talking to customers that were elsewhere. She would feed her regrowing fingers to carnivorous plants, and harvest the blood of the young soon-to-be avatar of the goddess Jaenn, Nim, seeing his divine blood as special as it could connect with the gods in a land that couldn't.
Radeska was a mystery slowly unfurling, and she had proven invaluable for almost anything they could need. Slowly but surely, they warmed to her strange ways, her insane bouts of logic, and always her willingness to help. But something was hidden behind her eyes, always it was a sadness, and a depth of a past that had yet to be understood.
Within the city of Kalo, Sage's parents were addicted to a substance known as Fespain Spices. He had left his home in search of those that would help. He had never ventured from his city of Kalo, but after doing so he had joined this party and they had agreed to help him under contract.
Their journey had allowed them to stand within the city walls of Kalo. They'd made friends with the local thieves, found their drug cartels, helped manufacture a better non-addictive version of the drug, and sought to allow the poor of the city to instead become successful businessmen. But for such a venture to take hold, it required capital the poor did not have.
Sage's family were rich and addicted, it was assumed that if they and others could provide the capital behind the venture and the guards would sign off on this non-addictive safer substance of the drug, then it would be profitable and helpful to steer said parents to a cleaner lifestyle, and save the city from a rising gang war between the dealers of Fespain Spices.
And so, they sought the rich. The mansion stood before them. Their Elven Ranger, Kida, had left to deal with her own business within the town, leaving only Sage, Hira, and Nim to deal with the negotiations with Sage's family.
Kida went somewhere else.
Tenus was the brother of the obstinate aasimar Leth Hestu, but word was that he would be more amenable than his twin to what the group had planned. The issue was, Leth had demanded that they steal a medallion from his brother... that or kill him. These were his qualifications for his backing of the new Fespain Spice trade, or they would continue dealing with Driskin instead of Rawley, which did not serve the group's ends.
They had a lot to do, and Kida, with Olivia by their side (An NPC Bloodhunter of Noble origin) went to deal with Tenus, in the hopes that he could be reasoned with.
"I'm your bodyguard." Kida said as they approached the assimar's mansion.
Olivia eyed her with a raised brow before shrugging. "As you wish."
The guard that met them was a head taller than Kida, and he afforded them barely a look as they approached.
"We wish to speak to the master of the house." Olivia remarked.
The guard grunted, his expression became vacant again and then he nodded. "The master will see you."
While Kida entered the Tenus estate, Hira, Nim, and Sage entered the other. They were met by a butler named Raphile.
"Go to your room, Master Sage. Your mother will be with you shortly." Raphile demanded, and so Sage, head low, went to their room. Immaculate as it was, a show-room more than a private space, for no place was private in the home they had grown up with, confined under watch and guard, never allowed free, never to be allowed normalcy.
Nim and Hira were guided to a drawing room. Books and items from across the lands were laid across the shelves, and as they explored the trinkets, a stern man entered. Sage's father.
Sage's mother entered the young vampire’s room simultaneously, both looking at each other, the mother a worried expression across her gaze.
"Why did you run away? The world is dangerous out there for you."
"My friends understand me." Sage argued.
"They understand coin." His mother replied stiffly. "They are with you because you hired them, nothing more. They are not your friends. Now get ready for dinner. Enough of this foolishness."
Kida and Olivia were both shown into the mansion. It wasn't long before Tenus turned up, dressed in suave colours, his golden skin gleaming and his eyes sparkling flirtatiously as he bound over to them, rapier in hand, slashing and parrying invisible foes as he danced and laughed joyfully, cutting down suits of armour as he went, much to the chagrin of the butler.
"A pleasure, my ladies! Such ravishing visions of loveliness!"
"We're here on business." Olivia cut him short.
"A beauty such as yourself should not mar herself with business..."
Olivia smirked. "Regardless, that is our intention."
Tenus sighed and nodded, encouraging them to follow him.
As this was happening, in the other mansion, Sage's father looked between the two men sitting before him. "I am led to believe you were hired by my son. Is this true?"
"Yes, sir." Hira answered.
"You were hired under false pretences. The money used to hire you was stolen, some one thousand gold. A paltry sum, but the amount is not the point. Though I am glad Sage has returned, outside is not safe for him. I am sure you are aware of his condition?"
"We are. And we value him as a companion."
"He cannot be a companion. He needs to be here at home. Here they may receive blood in safety, they can avoid the sun and not be misunderstood. Out there, without a supply, Sage might frenzy. What if you were attacked, or one of you were too tempting while you slept?"
Nim finally spoke, leaning forward. "I would gladly tear open my own flesh to make sure Sage was safe."
A silence descended as Sage's father and Nim gazes at each other grimly.
At the Tenus estate, a wide grin spread on Tenus' face as he gazed at the lovely women before him. "So, what manner of business might I be of service for?"
"Fespain Spices. We wish for you to change your supplier."
The aasimar groaned in annoyance. "Oh, that is no good. I’m assuming you went to my brother before me?"
"Yes, we did." Olivia confirmed. "My bodyguard here can handle the details." She leaned back and feigned disinterest as Kida leaned forward.
Tenus grinned to Kida. "Ah, such a vision of loveliness-"
"I'm not going to sleep with you." Kida remarked sharply.
"Oh my!" Tenus laughed and looked at Olivia. "She's even more blunt than you. To business then, do tell."
"What relationship do you have with your brother?"
"Genius of a businessman. Capable, intelligent, always on the right side of a deal. If he backs something, one should take notice, and if he drops something, one should not touch it at all. He's also a thorn in my side, why?"
"He gave us qualifications we didn't agree with." Kida answered.
"Ah." Tenus smirked. "Let me guess, Leth Hestu said that he would only do business with you, if he could trade it for my medallion."
"That or kill you." Kida smirked.
Hira leaned forward at the De La Fontain Estate. "We were hired because your son is concerned for you. He worries the Fespain Spices are a danger. If they are not taken constantly, it can degrade the body."
"Then it is good we have plenty of a supply!" He snapped in anger. "We also have an excellent physician. Your duty here is not needed, as your contract was with my son with our stolen money, your contract is in fact with myself and this house. Consider it fulfilled and be on your way." Mr De La Fontain stood, turning his back to them and reaching for the door.
"We have Fespain Spices that come without the negative effects." Hira's words stopped Sage's father mid-motion.
He slowly turned to look at Hira and his smile grew. "Well, why did you not say this was a business transaction?" He turned and sat back down. "Tell me more."
At mention that his brother had hired them to kill him, Tenus broke into a roaring laughter. "He challenged for my death? Oh, that is interesting. Tell you what, I'll give you what you want. I'll convince my brother to back your little enterprise, under one condition. I take you out to dinner."
Kida narrowed her brow. "I pick the place, not some stuck-up fancy place, it'll probably be a dive-bar."
Tenus raised his brow. "An interesting venue... why not. New experiences, tonight, midnight?"
Kida nodded, shook his hand and Olivia and she left the mansion.
"Where next?" Olivia asked the ranger.
Kida thought before answering. "To Rawley’s."
Hira cleared his throat and began to explain to Sage's father, he had met a doctor who had managed to modify the Fespain Spices so it came without the negatives and wasn’t addictive, and they had a large supply and were able to grow said supply themselves rather than importing it, as well as providing a potion that would help cure the current negative effects of addiction.
Sage's father looked thoughtful. "This is an opportunity. I will provide capital for this venture, but I get to set the price, I wish to take charge of the operation."
Hira knew what this was, an obvious ploy by a rich man for even more money. "I do not have the authori-"
"Do not lie to me." Mr De La Fontain snapped. "I am a businessman; I know when one is speaking with authority and when one is but a puppet. You will provide me with a week’s supply, one of these potions, and if I deem it worthy, I will provide the capital. Yes or no." He offered his hand.
Hira, knowing he had little choice, reached out and shook.
"Good, now you are invited to dine with us."
At the De La Fontain Estate, the dining room was opulent, with an oak table decorated with gold inlay, upon which sat succulent meats and fresh vegetables. A veritable feast for them, and a cup of blood for Sage.
Sage's father sat at one end of the table, his mother at the other. Nim and Hira sat at one side and Sage the other. Sage had dressed himself in his dinner wear, over his armoured barding in case he felt he needed it. He had no intention of staying here like a prisoner once more.
Nim looked over at the food before him, remembering how tensions had risen before, he closed his eyes and disguised his words as a long prayer, he blessed the food and drink around them to be purified of any poison that might have entered them, though there didn't seem to be any.
"Are you a man of god?" The father asked.
Nim nodded. "I am a student of a way long lost to this land." He replied vaguely, speaking of his clerical ability, a power lost for the last 50 years as the god's power within the land had been broken.
"Interesting." The father nodded. "I must thank you for returning Sage to me."
"I don't plan on staying." Sage replied. "I want to continue adventuring with them."
The father scoffed. "Out of the question."
"He is safe with us." Hira tried to say, but the father shook his head.
"Absolutely not. Where would you get blood? No, the outside is no place for you!"
Nim stood from his seat, the table going silent as he reached over and snatched the cup of blood from Sage's grasp. He raised his hand and, locking eyes with the father, slit his palm bloodily with a blade, letting his life-force drain into the cup. He then placed it in front of Sage and sat back down.
"How theatrical." The father sighed. "Do you need medical attention?"
"No need." Nim raised his hand, and with a cast of Cure Wounds. The father watched in shock as the wound healed.
Sage's mother stood in shock while the father seemed to muse.
"You could make a profit."
Silence descended. "Pardon?" Nim asked with a low growl.
"Yes, you could make quite the profit. From the injured and sick poor alone, you could charge a pittance and still make a fortune. I could set you up with capital. You could help a lot of people-"
"And line your pockets."
"-That is the way of things."
"To step on those under you?"
"How naive." The father sighed at the cleric. "This is the way things are. There will always be poor. The world cannot function as nice and gentle, because it only works if everyone plays by the same rules. And there will always be those that don't. The only way to protect what’s yours and you care about, is to amount the capital. You must Take, my boy."
Nim's eyes were ablaze with anger. "My power is not to be used for personal profit or gain. It is a gift to help those in need, not to line the pockets of the rich!"
After receiving the good news about Tenus, Rawley smiled to Kida and Olivia kindly. "Your work alone is what's helped us so much, though your friends have of course, pulled their weight." Rawley smiled to Kida.
"Speaking of weight, how quickly can you move your spices should you need to?"
"It would have been easy. We would only have had five crates, remember, but you managed to get us a lot more than five, and that amount of cargo isn't easy or fast to move from any location."
Kida thought about this and pulled out her portable hole. "Use this."
"That was your payment." He furrowed his brow. "It’s yours for the job you did."
"You need it."
"But what do you get out of it?"
"Hey, I put a lot of effort into getting those crates for you," She forced the portable hole into his hands. "I'm not going to have them in danger should Driskin attack."
Rawley smiled warmly. "You are far too good to us." He turned to two men, gave them the portable hole, and told them to start filling it with the crates.
Sage kicked Nim from under the table, to try and get him to calm down, but Nim had grown in anger by this point, at the audacity of his nature being even suggested to be used for capitalistic means.
"It is people like you that destroy this world. That destroys societies and their people!"
The father stood too, both Nim and Mr. De La Fontain on their feet, the tension in the air palpable in each other’s rage. "It is because of people like me that society exists at all!"
"Why was I adopted?"
The question broke the anger and tension. Everything went quiet and slowly sage's father looked to his vampiric son.
Gentle both Nim and Sage's father sat back down. The father and mother shared a look and the mother nervously, and with a sadness in her eyes opened her mouth to speak but the father's raised hand quietened her.
"Your mother succumbed to an illness in her younger years." Sage's father began. "She is infertile. We needed a child for our heir and social stature within the family and the houses. We couldn't go by the usual adoption channels, so we sought out one off-the-books, as they say. He provided a child of similar countenance to ourselves. We did not know your true nature, but he would not trade you for another and we were desperate. So, we took you in, we raised you, we clothed you, fed you, sheltered you. And we would expect some gratitude for this." He glared at Sage, who steadfastly stared into his cup of blood.
By this point the father noticed that the others had finished their food. "You should all leave."
"We would like Sage to come with us." Hira said firmly.
The father shook his head. "Absolutely not, he is a danger to others, himself, and you cannot look after him."
Sage looked to his father and shook his head. "I can look after myself. I could visit, I came back didn't I?"
"No, I need you here."
"Couldn't you get another child?"
"One that does not know the etiquette? How to meet with dignitaries? How to approach the courts? No, you are needed here."
Hira's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Why do you need him?"
"My business is my own. He is my son. Sage, go to your room, the doctor will be here tomorrow to check you over. And you both, leave my house this instant." The father growled. "And I will expect the first shipment of our dealings, tomorrow."
Sage was sent to his room, Nim and Hira left.
When they left, Kida turned to Olivia. "Something feels wrong tonight."
"What do you mean?" The Bloodhunter asked, her brow furrowed.
"I don't know... it just feels like something is about to happen."
Nim was a kind soul, he loved things that grew, things that flowered, and birds and trees. In a grove near the city, he had created a white-tree holy grove to the gods, a place that should the gods return to the land, would instantly become sacred. A spot of the gods in a place that had been touched by darkness.
But there was no spot of the gods where he stood now. In the middle of the street, his fists clenched, anger seething through him.
"Are you alright?" Hira asked, his own temper having flared at dealing with the obstinate rich man.
"No. I have to go. I have something to do." Nim said darkly, and slowly he walked off.
Sage left the dining room and went up to his room. His windows had been sealed magically, the wood now fused together leaving not a crack to be seen, now entirely unopenable. He heard the tell-tale sounds of guards at his door.
Kida and Olivia arrived at Gaturn's workshop, the sound of hammering from inside greeting their ears. She entered with a warm smile, seeing her blacksmith teacher, the large orc, Gaturn, hammering away at a fancy broken breastplate, trying to bevel the edge. Nearby was the orphan young sorcerer, Coda, who quickly went over to hug her.
"Come by to work?" Gaturn asked with a chuckle.
Kida shook her head. "Just to visit."
"Well you can work while you visit, pick up those prongs."
Kida, laughing, did as he asked, and together they worked over the armour.
Hira, in the middle of the street, signed and headed down a different street to go meet the necromantic mortician, Bartma, for his first lesson in a necromantic spell, Speak with the Dead. He made his way down into the bowels of her shop and found her standing over the corpse of a young man between 18-20. His organs on display.
"Are ve ready?" She asked in her strong accent, her dark countenance gazing at the kitsune.
Hira nodded and approached, looking over the corpse. The skin was sallow and pale, but not unhealthy. The organs laid bare and exposed and he noticed both the kidney and liver had been taken.
"What happened to him?"
"Zey happen a few times a year, around ze same age. Young ones. I deal vis ze bodies but zey never have much to say. We vill revive zis one, listen, and likely hear ze same story as before. Zat zey were drugged, zat zey have no knowledge of who did zis to them. But alvays, the organs are harvested."
And together, they began working on the ritual.
In very little time, the edge of the breastplate Gaturn and Kida worked on was bevelled perfectly, and the armour was better than it had been when freshly forged.
"It’s a nice piece." Kida smiled.
"It has some fun properties. It's fire resistant, and-" Gaturn moved over and grabbed some inkwells of different colours. With a single drop on each finger, he'd touch a colour to the armour and watch as it would shift and pulse into those different colours. "Try it on. I fixin' it for a noble, too good for 'em if you ask me. Might put some holes in it, outta spite."
"You could." Kida laughed, trying it on, finding it a perfect fit.
"Kida! Look what I've learned to do!" Coda called, grabbing her hand and pulling her out to the back and under the dusk sky.
Nim arrived at the door of Radeska's shop. He opened it silently to find it empty, its dark vials of eyeballs and leaves from long dead plants, and brains and chemicals lining the room seemed to be gazing down at him as he made his way through the back to the garden.
He found her in a circle of stones, different flowers around each stone, and she seemed to be whispering to them.
A door sounded low in the mansion and Sage glanced to the door as it opened without a knock or respect of privacy. "The doctor is here, I called him early." His father told him. "Come with me."
Sage nodded, intending to be out of here as soon as he could. He would break free like he had last time if he could.
Hira worked over the ritual, trying his best to understand the dark ways that he had to tap into for such a power to work, and slowly he felt it work through him.
"Radeska." Nim began.
"Yes, my dear? The stars are speaking loudly tonight." She answered with a small cackle.
"I need to talk to someone."
"Then I will listen, my dear. The stars will listen. Perhaps others will listen too." She answered cryptically with a grin.
Sage was led down the stairs and to the dining room. The doctor stood there, wild hair, goggles, his countenance strange and a wide grin spread across his face. "We have had to move up the schedule. Do come with." He encouraged them and together they headed through the kitchen, down into the basement.
The magic flowed through Hira and he watched as the corpse took a deep rattling breath, its body arching and coughing lowly. It slowly looked to both Bartma and Hira.
"What happened to you?" Asked Hira.
Nim leaned against a stone, eyeing the old fae crone before him as she whispered sweet nothings to flowers and stone and stars. "What would you do if someone you cared for was taken prisoner? If they were ripped from you?"
"I would do as I did, darling. I would burn it all." Her voice took on a dark tone as she looked over her shoulder at him. "I was mother once. Not true mother, but mother. A mother in the eyes of one and she was taken from me. So, I burned it all down. I cracked the city under fire."
The world seemed to grow a shade darker as the hag spoke.
"So, what should I do?"
"That depends." She answered with a manic grin. "To the one that has been taken. Are you the mother to them?"
Coda pulled out an axe he'd been forging, though it was low quality, Kida told him she was impressed with the work to help boost his confidence in the craft.
Sage descended into the basement, the cold stone beneath their feet. They remembered their journey, meeting their friends, hanging onto the clerics every word. He had held to him and Nim had been kind, and always there for him. He longed to be free and back to the one that had shown him fatherly affection, not the stoic man before him.
A table stood in the middle of the room.
"Lay on it, please." The doctor said, a gleam in their eyes.
The corpse gazed up at Hira and opened its mouth to speak. It was then that Hira noticed something. Vampiric Fangs. "Doctor..." It spoke in a rattled breath.
"Yez." Said Bartma. "One created by science. Zey are good for organ harvesting. Once at ripe age, zere organs are stronger, hardier zan normal humans, good for transplants if one wants a stronger liver or stronger heart. Ve know not who iz doing it-"
Bartma barely had time to finish before Hira was rushing from the room, charging up the stairs and out of the shop. He knew this had been wrong, he suddenly understood. HE UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING!
Radeska looked to the kind cleric, seeing the rage and conflict within him. "Are they safe where they are?"
"No." Nim answered quickly, knowing they weren’t. He imagined the man that called himself Sage's father, the way he hadn't even looked up as Sage would enter a room. How he said he needed Sage for something. How Sage was nothing but property for him, a convenience for him. How he would besmirch the gods, how he would use and devour the poor for profit... and Nim's rage grew.
"Then should you burn it?" Radeska asked, a glint in her eyes.
Nim looked up to her slowly, the rage consuming him. "I should burn it."
The hag cackled and the world grew even darker, she stepped up to him and Nim fell to his knees. Her palms pressed to Nim's forehead, and Nim began to scream in pain.
Coda raised his hands, and striking down hard, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky and struck the axe, burning into its edge and helping straighten its blade... at the point of impact the ground shook and something exploded nearby.
"Was that me?" Cody asked, looking confused.
"I... I don't think so." Kida looked around. Another explosion erupted and suddenly black fire erupted from nearby, engulfing buildings and darkening the sky.
Sage was not stupid; he could tell the doctor meant him harm. Everything felt wrong, everything WAS wrong. His senses were amped up, he could smell the blood and heartbeat of every guard in the house and he knew they were close. He stepped towards the table, feeling the guards near him tense as though ready to force him onto it.
Hira barrelled through the city, down the alleys, into the rich quarter, and towards the mansion as fast as he could.
Nim looked up as Radeska's eyes turned black, the iris ringed with purple, black flame licked through his body and his nerves were on fire. Black flame suddenly erupted around Radeska’s house, red flame caught light and the street around Radeska's shop suddenly exploded in hot black fire and slowly the pain receded.
Nim's eyes turned black, and he stood up, and without bidding he began to walk. He left the shop, and as Nim stepped onto the stone, the power that rushed through him began to burn through each step, the ground below soon wreathed in hot fire.
Sage launched himself at the doctor, his fangs glinting, soon sinking into flesh and with a tear, he ripped the throat from the doctor, blood dripping down his face as he stood over the corpse. Guards drew their blades and ran forwards.
Hira found a storm cellar to the basement, and using acid to melt the lock, burst in behind the guards, casting Blight on the nearest one and watching as the man screamed and shrivelled into a corpse, falling down into a bloody pile of offal.
At the same time, another guard launched at Sage, sword drawn. The blade struck deep, piercing Sage's side and stabbing deep into flesh. But Sage had been strengthened by the clerical blood he had drunk at the table, a blessing from Nim that now allowed the pain of the strike to feel far less than it otherwise would have. A grip on the guard’s arm had the terrified man trying to pull away. Sage pulled back their hand, and with a powerful thrust, their fist burst through the guard’s chest, tearing through armour, flesh and bone before ripping free out the guards back.
He slumped to the floor, a hole through his chest, Sage stood there with fangs bared at his father that would harvest his own sons’ organs, a father that would raise him only to be cattle.
The ground beneath Nim began to become wreathed in black vines that flickered with black fire. And every step the street rotted away, every sure step forward had the ground behind him collapsing into the sewers below, the black flames engulfing the buildings, screams erupting into the night as citizens burned under a good man’s wrath.
Kida, Olivia and the others rushed out of the shop and looked down the street, black fire blazing down the alleyways and tearing through houses, the sound of the flames punctuated by screams.
"Get Coda!" Kida yelled and Gaturn rushed to obey, picking up the small boy and holding him close as they ran down the street to the town center.
There in the distance, a silhouette walked the cobbled stone. An antlered figure, walking with the street crumbling into black vines of fire behind him.
"Is that your friend?" Gaturn asked in a shocked voice.
Kida watched as black vines of fire licked over the cobblestones and rushed towards the nearby tavern the group had been staying at. She ran, rushing to the area, diving over flames and black roots before bursting through the door.
"Everyone out NOW!" She demanded. They rushed to obey and she pulled them out, some thirty people, following her back to the street with the others as the tavern was engulfed in black fire.
"Rawley’s people!" Kida cried out when she'd reached Olivia again. "We have to get them out!"
At the estate, the other guard cried out in shock at the death of his comrade and he fled, running from the basement up and out into the night, only to stare wide eyed as a monster approached. The cleric, eyes black with purple rings, stepped forward, the city behind him wreathed in black fire that engulfed its screaming inhabitants, and the guard fell to his knees in shock and dismay.
The cleric raised his hands, and he summoned the spirit guardian of his goddess, who was immediately wreathed in black fire and vines. Its divine heart soon charred under the black flame and the guardians countenance turned dark to the guard. With a raised hand, vines erupted from the ground and engulfed the guard, snaking into flesh and through orifices, penetrating bone and skin and the man screamed as he was crucified upon the vines.
Kida and the others rushed through the streets, buildings burning, their footsteps a sound to join the cacophonous flames and creaking of vines, and the thousands of innocent men, women, children, and sinners all alike screaming in their homes as they were engulfed.
A street collapsed in front of them, the stone imploding into the sewers below, blocking Kida's path. She looked to the nearby building, raised her hands, and calling upon what power she had to Fabricate, she pouted as much magic as she could, sacrificing more magic than she usually could (DM note: allowed to bypass the 10minute cast time at the cost of multiple spell-slots of level 4 and 3). The power burned through her and with a grunt, the building nearby erupted and blasted over, collapsing into the area before its bricks formed up, and built a bridge out of themselves, a bridge that was rapidly wrapped around in vines.
Before it could be completely taken over, they rushed over, crowding down the alley, to find Rawley gathering his people, evacuating them out of the tunnels. In the small area now stood some hundred and thirty people, cowering at this dark end of the city as everything burned and screamed around them.
Nim headed to the front door, the anti-magic spells immediately crippled under the power bestowed upon them by the empowered cleric. The doors were crumpled into shattered remnants under the constricting grip of black vines as Nim stepped into the house.
The father and mother rushed from the basement back up into the house, they entered the foyer to escape and stopped in their tracks.
There Nim was, silhouetted by the city. The screams had died down, everyone was already dead. The city burned and grumbled behind him, and his silhouette was punctuated by the glowing purple rings of each black pupil of the cleric’s eyes.
"Follow me!" Kida called out, running back down the alley, only to watch her bridge burn away, destroyed under vines and fire. The fire began to rush towards them, licking through the darkness, burning through rock and stone, the cobbles under the vines crumbling and cracking and plunging below into the depths under the city.
"Get behind me!" She called to them all and brought out her spear.
Kida's spear had been forged of a special metal, it could dispel magic at its end up to a certain level, but she was certain this magic was far beyond its capabilities... but she had to try.
The flames rushed closer, she raised it high, spinning it, screaming as she did. "YOU WILL NOT HARM THEM!" She slammed the end down and blue light erupted, the fire reached and parted, blasting around her and burning around the people as she blocked them from the fire.
The heat burned and licked at her fingers, reddening the flesh, welting her palms and the back of her hands, her forearms searing and bubbling as the fire tore at her flesh. Her body and chest might have suffered the same fate were it not for the armour she'd donned at Gaturn's.
"P-please.." Sage's father tried to plead.
Sage and Hira rushed out, for their first time, seeing what Nim had become.
It was Hira that had suddenly realised. He knew what this was. He had felt aspects of Radeska's power whenever she would cast, but it wasn't now that he understood what she was. The Fae were divinely made, and bred with other beings. In the beginning, the gods of the fae gave birth to the first fae, who would then overtime, give birth to more fae and down the line it went. The first fea was the Arch-Fae. Radeska wasn't just old. She was the oldest.
Their power was almost that of the gods, wreathed and born from their divine power directly and wild magic could be called to their will as a toy for a child, remaking things as they saw fit.
And he knew this sense. He knew which god had created Radeska. The mad crone had been created by Mika, the Goddess of Torment and Strife. The fae gods were about survival and fear, their world separated from the others, and Mika was very different from her cousins. The god Nikelor was the god of fear; and fear kept you vigilant and alive. He was a god of survival over vigilance. Nealoc, was the god of darkness and sorrow. He was about the WILL to survive, the need to overcome grief and survive even as others didn't. But Mika... Mika was the goddess of the POWER to survive.
When humans met fey, The fey were slaughtered in the thousands in hatred and misunderstanding. And so, she was born. She was invoked when a sword was drawn. She was invoked when magic is cast upon an enemy. She was invoked when the desire and the fear to survive, must then be followed by action.
This was the goddess that had forged Radeska, an ancient hag that had split her mind and personality down to fragments, a being of immense power, insane by time and isolation. And she had become the patron for a cleric... a good man, turned to madness in his rage.
"My gods... Nim, what have you done?" Hira's gasp and prayer were small, but heard nonetheless.
A single tear slipped down Nim's cheek, before it froze, and then broke into dust upon the wind.
He first looked to the mother, he raised his staff, a piece of the divine tree he had been reborn from, a gift from his god Lanar, a symbol of his devotion to his goddess Jaenn, and raised it high. The stick shattered, splinters burying into wall and stone, the roof of the building exploding above them, the mother gasped as she felt her womb heal and her life restored to her. She knew what this gift was for, and she stood and ran from the house. Leaving the burning city behind.
The fire was raging higher around Kida as she did her best to hold the power at bay, an explosion tore off the roof of a building in the distance, and something more was rushing through the city... it looked like... tree's?
The pain rose, the staff wasn't going to last, she was slipping... they were all going to die.
At the estate, vines began to grow, they began to wrap around the father, gripping him tightly, his head was pulled to the side and he was turned and presented in his agony and fear to Sage. Sage looked upon the man that had tried to harvest his organs. He stepped forward.
"You were supposed to care about me."
"Please, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I'll give it all up, I'll become poor, just please, let me li-GLK!" His words were cut off by the vines clenching around his throat. Sage reached forward and his fingers began to dig into flesh. Sage's fingers ripped free his father’s eyes. He then forced them into his father’s mouth, making him swallow his own flesh before he reached in, bit down deep, and ripped flesh from bone.
"NO!" She screamed, the magic resistant metal of her staff began to glow and suddenly it snaked like veins up the shaft, encompassing her entire spear, the weapon began to shake and pulse, and with a mighty scream... everything stopped. She knelt there, burned... blackened. the blade of her weapon cracked, her handle splintered. A daze overtook her, she looked before her at the black vines that now stood before her where the city of Kalo had once been, and as the fog in her mind drew ever deeper, she looked down at the broken weapon in her hands... before it shattered. The weapon suddenly burst in her grip, the fractures of metal spearing into her, peppering her flesh with its molten spray, the shockwave from its destruction blasting through the area and soon Kida found herself falling.
She was staring up at the sky... it was dusk, the sky had grown darker, and there above, behind the dark clouds... she saw a singular star.
Kida fell unconscious.
Silence descended. Nim felt sanity return and slowly the power calmed. It still throbbed within him, able to be called on, but it was time to leave. Slowly they left, Thruk waited with the carriage, having followed their scent, and the three of them climbed into the carriage, and they began to run.
As they left, the vines began to secrete a healing mucus that began to revive the father, only for him to scream as vines tore into his flesh. He was raised, he was healed and skewered again and again, the vines dragging him from the house, the splinters of the cleric's staff erupting in shoots and roots that grew bark and trunks, and soon, from that house a tidal wave of black trees began to rip through the streets and houses, and the city of Kalo was soon engulfed in a black forest... with a single living soul at its centre, writhing and screaming in agony in a never ending cycle of healing and destruction, for all eternity.
Nim's eyes fell closed, and as the power left him, he felt his soul transported to a different plane. There before the shattered visage of his goddess stood, and Radeska now beside him.
God and Arch-Hag looked at each other, and the mad woman grew a large grin.
"I suppose we should have a chat."
A mini session for the cleric will happen soon to see if the goddess abandons him.
I do not know.
This was a close to home story fueled by true rage and the political argument of the rich vs the poor, that culminated in a way I could never have foreseen. I have had players upset a campaign by killing someone important, I have had them level city blocks, I have had them manipulate crime bosses... but never have I had them render a whole city unto ash. I have never seen them raze a place to the ground.