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Crusade
How To Destroy an Army with Five People


With Dolartu now gone from our ranks in search of his sire under the control of Rezariel and of Tendaris, we are only five, and of those five, one seems not entirely trustworthy. With such have we decided that we must put an end to the demon army forming in the abandoned city of the Orishadi. After finding the ranger William nearly dead from the exertions of holding back demons scouts for several days on his own, we decided that we needed to see exactly what was going on.

Thus, we sent various scouts through the area, including the now-healed William, to bring back what information they could on the demon's activities. Some of them were not very adept at staying unseen, as they brought back unwanted guests when they returned from their scouting.

What we learned was most disconcerting. It appears that there was a battle here, long ago, between the Orishadi and this self-same demon army. The Orishadi defeated them, but it was a Pyrrhic victory, as they themselves were decimated in the effort. Only a few survived, and most abandoned their city, and scattered to the four winds. Interestingly, this demon army was summoned to our world by one of the Orishadi, a traitorous renegade named Kerrigan. We also discovered that the demons have been killing large numbers of forest animals, at one particular temple, and using their blood, presumably in sort of ritual, also presumably to bring back some powerful demon, likely Kerrigan herself.

Obviously we could not let this happen. After much discussion, and more bickering, we decided that our new student of the arcane arts, Nyran, would provide a distraction to lure away as many of the lesser demons as he could, in the process hopefully destroying or damaging the altar they were using for their rituals. In the meanwhile, I'd use my magics to keep us unobtrusive until Nyran had done his part.

Just as obviously, nothing worked as we expected. Nyran fired what appeared to be some huge sonic blast straight down at the temple. He didn't seem to have been satisfied with the result, as he tried again, from a different angle. This was, perhaps, not the most intelligent thing he could have done, as the four vroc that had been pursuing got the better of him; after their first pass, he was already a flying bloody mess. Off he flew, leading the vroc away from the temple.

We approached the temple as quickly as we could, under the protections of invisibility and silence to mask our presence. It was not enough of a mask, though, as some great, huge boar/ape demon saw straight through the spell and started yelling commands to two ape-demons at the foot of the temple. Realizing our path no longer lay in concealment, I dropped the silence and used the wand to send a fireball into the subordinate demons. This did not faze them, and I knew that we'd be in for a tough fight, having to take on the huge tainted thing at the same time as his cronies.

Luckily enough for us, his lackeys were easily dispatched; they parted like butter before the holy might of Lightbringer. Even in the midst of deadly combat, I was forced to consider the ironies of this blade in my hand. Had it gone to its original owner, it would likely have been used to slay elves, while in the possession of an elf, it was being used for its true purpose: killing evil. And I must admit, it felt quite good to send those demons back to the hell that spawned them.

The boar/ape demon was not so easy, however. He was able to fly, which he did, rendering us all save Anware practically useless against it. Curse me for a fool for burning Fly out of my spellbook! That will be the very next thing I inscribe on its pages, I swear it! Once it landed, Arilyn and I laid to, and proceeded to do what we both do very well: carve it into miniscule pieces. That is, until it released some awful wave of dark energy. It must have been some strange sort of fear magics, because I saw before me Aram, holding both my crystal shard, and the one taken from Arilyn, and in that moment I knew that I had lost, that he had beaten me.

Fortunately, the effects were very temprorary, and thanks to Anwar, the demon was dead. We mounted the stairs to the temple, to find that indeed, the ritual had been halted, and we had succeeded, yet again. We were only too happy to be gone from the place, and decided that we'd accompany William to this city of "Sellador". If the priests there are of any similarity to those in the true Sellador, one mention of the word "demons" and they'll come down on this place as a plague of locusts. Let them finish the dregs of what's left here. Our work in this place is done.

From the journal of Islan Diemyn

Contributor: Chris Schuettpelz