Monday, January 27, 2014
Heroes of Legend: The Heroes Strike Back
Alexander, Juniper, and Milo sat down to plan the assault on the Trest Temple. They knew that before they could attack they had to know something about the temple. Arwata volunteered to scout the temple. Alexander insisted that another pilgrim go with her to better insure success.
The two scouts decided to enter the temple separately. What they saw was closer to a small fortress than a temple. There was a wall surrounding the temple with six armed people patrolling the compound. The temples head priest had approximately six acolytes working in the temple. Arwata saw only one perform any type of magic. The rest of the acolytes were heavily supervised, as if their skills and knowledge were lacking proficiency.
Milo was pleased that only one of the acolytes performed magic. Alexander on the other hand was skeptical that only one of them would be able to perform magic. He also figured that the armed people patrolling the courtyard might be a fraction the number of people they had. The number could actually be higher if they rotated their people out. Even with the experience the pilgrims have gotten recently they haven’t been taught to fight as a single unit. That would be the next step in their training. For now they needed to focus the mission, raising that temple to the ground.
The insignia the temple guards wore was the local warrior union. They were good for a local militia but not much better than caravan guards. Alexander hoped with the number of pilgrims he had could overcome the lack of proper training for the pilgrims. Alexander greatest fear was the cost of the battle would be to great and thus paint a target on his little group. He just hoped there was a good in the heavens that would hear and listen to his prayers.
Alexander’s plan relied heavily on getting into the courtyard without notice and making it into the temple itself. A female half-elf offered to unlock a gate to grant them access. She was young and didn’t look very experienced so he asked her to prove her abilities. To answer his question she tossed him his sword in answer. The look of embarrassment was short lived as he relieved that she may have been the answer he sought.
The group approached the temple under cover of night. When the half-elf saw the gate they were going to enter she had Alexander hold there so she could open the lock. As she advanced towards the gate she melded into the shadows cast from the building by the few star that appeared through the cloud filled sky. Alexander only saw a blur of movement over the wall then the heavy metal door opened without a noise.
The overcast sky provided little light so the light from the torches created the illusion of islands of light in a sea of darkness that was the courtyard. The group moved along the wall in the shadows staying as quite as possible. Alexander’s raiders were most of the way across the yard when a pair of guards appeared in an island of light. The stealth expert was attempting to subdue the pair when the yard was bathed in light and the gate they came through slammed shut and locked.
After the alarm sounded, all dreams of a quick victory were dashed as guards pooled from temple and acolytes could be seen in the windows. Juniper was casting a spell in in preparation for the coming fight when she stopped speaking. The look on her face was not a good one. I could see her moving her mouth but no sound was emitted. Only half the pilgrims made it into the courtyard before the gates were slammed shut.
As soldiers spilled into the courtyard he could see their numbers were easily twice his. The acolytes were the biggest shock when they appeared to be more trained than it originally appeared. If not for their previous combat experience this would have been a blood bath. In the face of everything Alexander’s pilgrims were holding their own refusing to let an inch by taken without a great cost. It wasn’t until the acolytes started aiding the soldier that his forces were forced to give ground. Without Juniper’s magic there was nothing that could be done to equalize the priest’s magic.
Arrwata’s small stature and training allowed her to swiftly move through the ranks of soldiers. Once the soldiers were behind her she started engaging the Priest in charge of the temple. The priest realized to late that Arrwata was a threat. Even with her small frame her blows hit like hammers knocking him senseless. By the time he was able to get his mind clear, he was impaled by the stealth master’s dagger. The pilgrims were fighting valiantly, but were unable to keep pace with the soldiers.
As hard as they fought the soldier were better trained and equipped. Alexander had underestimated the soldier numbers and his people were paying the price. Even with the loss of the head priest the acolytes were still the tripping point in the power struggle raging in the courtyard. As he was trying to find a way to neutralize the acolytes a third faction joined the fight.
They were four individuals with light armor and heavy crossbows. Alexander started to issue orders to engage the new threat when they raised their crossbows and killed two of the acolytes. The surviving acolytes quickly retreated back into the temple. Without the acolytes to support them the soldier quickly lost their will to fight.
Alexander gathered Juniper, Milo and Arrwata to advance on the temple. The surviving acolytes attempted to flee the temple in the face of Alexander. One was caught leaving the temples main entrance. The other one however still had a trick or two left. He had an invisibility ring and used it to try to leave the temple without being seen. In the commotion he bumped into a pilgrim and while attempting to attack Arrwata. He did manage to kill the pilgrim and stable Arrwata. However his aim was not as good as Arrwata’s and only managed to sink his sword into her arm. Her response to this attack was a dazing flurry of blows to his abdomen forcing the air from his lungs. If not for Alexander stating he wanted one of them alive she would have killed him without a moment’s hesitation.
With the acolytes gone the soldiers surrendered. The acolytes were their employers and they would not fight if there was no longer money in it for them. Their surrender was a welcome relief to Alexander who had seen enough blood shed for one night.
Alexander arranged the surviving pilgrims into groups to search the temple grounds. He wanted answers for the turn in events in the heavens. It wasn’t until the fighting stopped that Alexander learned the name of his stealth master, Maura. It was an easy enough decision to place her in change of one of the search groups. She was to explore the lower levels of the temple. Alexander wanted to know if anyone approached but more importantly he wanted a way out. Keeping the temple was never the goal of this excursive it was good old fashioned revenge. When they left the temple would be purged by fire.
Time moved quickly as dawn neared. The list of things he wanted to accomplish seemed impossible long to get through by dawn. He was distracted from his worries by a runner. The runners requested his immediate presence, something to do with the lower level require his attention. What awaited him was sight from his nightmares. There was a small make shift torture chamber set up there. The smell assaulted him before he saw the horrors he would spend the rest of his life trying to forget.
Two bodies were on a table with chains hanging from it. The bodies appeared to have been tortured as neither body had skin. Maura was giving a potion of healing to the person with most of his left leg missing as in the flesh was removed from it. His knowledge of healing potions told him it would heal the wounds not regrow the missing flesh from his body. The other body was much worse, what they had done to its face was inhumane. The fact that it was alive was both a miracle and a testament to their cruelty.