Nearly a year has passed since the original heroes of the Fifth Crusade stopped the advance of the demon armies into Mendev and crusaders retook the strategic citadel of Drezen. As the war grinds on in a stalemate, our heroes embark on a secret mission that may unlock a means to close the Worldwound forever!
17th day of Sarenith, 4728 AR
A group of soldiers marched past, yet again disturbing my meditation. It would be easier if there was something to concentrate on, like a tree or a lake. But everything was infused with the Abyss. Even the stars seemed to burn with demonic intensity. I had to close my eyes and shut out the tainted world in order to regain calmness. Focus internally. Relax.
I heard the patter of footsteps, but this time they were not from the soldiers. A bug-eyed creature with tiny limbs and pink fur all over its body was walking toward me. Was one of the wizards playing some practical joke? I poked it in the head and confirmed that it was not an illusion. It got all offended and went on about being Sarenrae’s chosen warrior on a divine mission to fight demonkind. It then introduced itself as Jex, a “skittermander” from the future. I eventually decided to trust it, because someone with malicious intent wouldn’t make up a story that outlandish. Besides, it couldn’t exactly stab me in the back with those tiny arms.
Jex explained that Queen Galfrey had summoned me along with several other crusaders on an urgent mission. I was soon to learn that the term “crusader” had been applied very generously. Sitting before a teleportation circle were a strix with brass knuckles, a huge half-orc wielding a bloody axe, a ratfolk with skulls and vials of blood on her tattered robe, and an ordinary human with a bow, who looked extremely out of place next to his companions. These people, along with the “divine” pink furball, looked much better suited to fight alongside the demons, not against them.
The strix introduced himself as Beckles. After escaping from a demon prison, he vowed to break all demon-forged chains and end demonism once and for all. The half-orc called himself Orog the Demon Butcher, and his life goal was to eat every kind of demon. The ratfolk was Sigarda, a witch who was forced into worshipping the demon lord Mazmezz and quickly became heavily involved with demonkind. Mazmezz had a rivalry with Deskari, so she was on our side for now. The human called himseld The Incredible Fella, set out to avenge his villiage, which had been razed by demons. It seemed they had forgotten the ideals of the crusades; doing what is good and just and whatnot, and were motivated solely by their hatred of demons.
When it came time for me to introduced myself, I stated my name, Nunya, and braced myself. Just as I anticipated, several of the others thought of the “nunya business” joke. Come on. It’s just a name. I had fled to the forest to get some respite from over-told jokes like these. I got a few blissful years of peace and quiet before the demons came and infested the place. The thought of going back to the forest after the demons were been dealt with was the only thing that kept me going for all these years.
A teleportation circle flared to life, and the queen entered, accompanied by a succubus in the process of redeeming herself named Arueshalae. She showed us two copper plates with magical runes on them, and explained that these were part of the Lexicon of Paradox, the thing that was used to open the Worldwound. The sages hoped that if one person were on each side of a portal to the Abyss and holding the plates, we could close it. Since I could move between planes, the idea was for us to be on the Abyss side and Galfrey on the Material side. The portal she had in mind was the Midnight Fane, a portal to the Midnight Isles, an abyssal ocean where an elixir made from dead demon lords was being harvested. Nocticula, the first succubus and a powerful demon lord, ruled this realm. We were to try to prevent her from allying with Deskari, which included closing the portal.
Queen Galfrey then took Jex aside to talk in another room. I sent my Leaf, my familiar, in with them to see what was so confidential. Apparently the queen was worried about the more destructive members of our group, and wanted Jex to make sure no one committed any evil acts. I felt highly insulted. After all I had done for the Crusades, she put more trust in this bulbous furby just because he swore an oath. Ridiculous.
Sigarda teleported us near the Fane, and we rode the rest of the way. The terrain was mostly flat and rocky. It was hard to believe this place used to be heavily wooded. As we approached the Fane, the ground got damp and rotten, surrounded by weird trees.
As I had suspected, we were ambushed by demons. Two hezrous charged us, but we were quick to dispatch them. We were also attacked by some shadow demons, similarly eliminated. These sapped some of our strength, which I healed easily.
The door to the Fane was disguised as a cliff wall. We entered, and like all creepy doors, this one opened soundlessly.
This time, the demons appeared to want to solve things without violence for once. Two incubi approached us and said their master wanted to talk. As we passed the room with the obvious portal, we met someone who looked like a Yaniel, the hero from the Crusades. However, she was clearly a fake crusader, as she kept telling us to ally with the demons. I revealed her as an illusion when I dispelled her.
There was a big fight which involved the earth swallowing some demons and Fella shooting down a demon made of tumors. The monsters’ lives were extinguished, and we could start working on the portal. It seemed our mission here had been a success.
Orog the Demon Butcher, half-orc fighter 12 (champion)
Jex, skittermander paladin 5 / whirling-dervish swashbuckler 7 (champion)
Beckles, strix brawler 12 (champion)
The Incredible Fella, human ranger 6 / diviner wizard 1 / arcane archer 5 (champion)
Dar-Ahud the Sandstorm, keleshite human geokineticist 12 (champion)
Nunya, gnome spirit-guide oracle 12 (hierophant)
Sigarda, ratfolk hagbound witch 7 / demoniac 5 (archmage)
5 mythic tiers