Previously in “Champions of Erelia,” the party had arrived safely at Redstone Abbey, thus completing their first quest of wine delivery (remember?). Captain Jacobson rode out to greet them and escorted them through the gates of the abbey.
Once inside, our heroes were invited to the initiation ceremony of the new priests, which would take place at noon that day. At this point, the party split up for a few hours – some went to explore the town, while others approached the chapel to meet with Abbess Petra.
Abbess Petra explained about the history of the abbey. After this, Haradriel had time before the ceremony for the now-traditional banter with a shop clerk. This time, however, the shop-clerk was a young woman and priestess; the only thing Haradriel managed to get for free was a Peloran Holy Symbol, which she immediately believed to hold special powers.
After this, everyone joined together to attend the ceremony at noon (with the exception of Flick, who attempted to rob the townsfolk with the aid of a rat – which ultimately proved to be unsuccessful). The ceremony was a beautiful affair, and the party was witness to a young cleric named Rohn getting his priesthood. “Hooray! Well done!” There was much rejoicing and revelry after the event. Haradriel played her lute at the inn well into the evening and earned two gold pieces for doing so. Many members of the party stayed up to celebrate while others turned in for the night. Flaffem became very drunk, and after Haradriel went upstairs to her room, Flaffem made an unsuccessful attempt to woo her again through her door. This resulted in several crushed fingers after Haradriel closed the door on him; to be fair to Flaffem, however, Haradriel was duly impressed that he had not called her “Harry,” as had become his habit.
Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed, a sudden scream carried on the wind roused Kiki from her sleep. She began to shout, and jumped out of the inn window into the street. Her shouts awoke Flaffem and Lindel, who in turn made a commotion as they raced downstairs to see what was happening.
Gradually the rest of the party awoke (though Flick was in a very deep sleep indeed) and stumbled downstairs to discover that the abbey was under attack! Several hovels were on fire, and orcs were plainly in view by the light of the burning village. Screams of peasants pierced the night air.
Kiki had made it up onto the wall of the abbey and began fighting off the orcish attackers with great verve, trying to reclaim the gatehouse. Flaffem, carrying Lindel on his back, quickly joined the fray, battling with the orcs in the streets. The wizard again made Flaffem into a giant, greatly increasing his effectiveness at fighting. Soon Haradriel made it down to the street, having met Rohn on the inn staircase, and the two immediately began doing what they could to help. Rohn cured the wounds that Flaffem had already suffered. Haradriel began singing a rousing song, a song encouraging bravery and teamwork, meant to inspire the abbey-folk to work together to save their homes. Haradriel began gathering water to douse the flames, equipping Beleg with buckets full of water too.
The violent battle continued. Before Kiki could seal the gate, a large cloaked figure rode in on an enormous wolf-beast. This was clearly the Orcish Leader. His black cloak swirled about him menacingly as his wolf, large as a horse, fiercely stampeded through the village towards the chapel.
Meanwhile, Rohn was witness to a tragic scene: as their hovel burned around them, two peasants collapsed into the street, on fire, burning alive, only to be cut down by an attacking orc. A small boy-child fell to his knees beside them, sobbing, “Mother! Father!” Rohn did his best to comfort the lad.
To everyone’s surprise, the boy went into a frenzied rage, grabbed a morning-star off of Flaffem and charged forward towards the rampaging Orc Leader. He was able to land a solid blow but the Orc Leader merely glowered at the boy and continued riding, outpacing him easily. The boy was soon hampered by what was meant to be a helpful “Grease” spell, cast by the wizard.
At the front door of the church, Captain Jacobson was fighting with two of his guards, attempting to repel attackers. Despite their great efforts, the Orc Leader made his way to them, and leaping from his wolf-beast, drove Captain Jacobson to the ground with his axe.
Haradriel, who had been busy trying to extinguish a burning hovel, was immediately alerted to the perilous position of Captain Jacobson. She instructed Beleg to continue doing her best to put out the flames, and then ran to the aid of Captain Jacobson. Beleg tried to follow her instructions by peeing on the fire.
Haradriel reached Captain Jacobson’s side and was able to cut down an orc with a single well-timed stab of her rapier. By now the Captain was barely clinging to life. Haradriel immediately forgot the battle around her and began applying healing herbs to the Captain.
Flaffem continued to bash orcs, but Lindel finally left his back and headed to the stable to save his horse, Sterling. At the same time, Kiki continued to fight with incredible Monkish alacrity. Flick headed into the chapel to stop the Orc Leader, and managed to momentarily stun him by throwing acid onto him, but ultimately, the Orc Leader was able to break away and jump back through the window, landing on his mount, and fleeing the scene.
A chase ensued. With Flaffem’s help, Kiki was finally able to close the front gate of the abbey. However, enough damage had been done to the village and the wall that the orcs were able to escape. They rallied to the now terrifying sound of the Orc Leader’s horn.
The enemies had stolen the holy Relic from its place inside the chapel!
The village around them was burning, but the heroes had defended the majority of the peasants. The heroes set about putting out the fires and healing the wounded. Abbess Petra came out of the chapel and helped with healing and restoring a modicum of order.
Captain Jacobson soon regained consciousness. While he was touched that Haradriel had risked her life for his, he soon despaired at having lost the Relic he had sworn to protect. The Abbess attempted to calm him by assuring him that as he lived, there was hope.
As the flames died away, the heroes heard a familiar voice at the now-closed gates of the Abbey. Haradriel recognized the voice, and rashly threw caution to the wind to open the gate for Sir Moren and his company. Sir Moren, having arrived just exactly too late, was horrified by what he saw. “We were too late!” he cried in agony.
Haradriel eagerly recounted to him the events of the night. Sir Moren met with Abbess Petra and Captain Jacobson to gain further intelligence, and plan for the future.
In the streets, Kiki went up to the boy-child who had fought the Orc Leader so impetuously. Impressed by his hard-coredness, he was invited to join the party. Somberly, he agreed.
As the camera began to pan out on our heroes, the question could be heard, “So, what is your name, boy-child?”
An answer comes: “Ulysses.”
TO BE CONTINUED!