Jekkajak – a Qur’draak priest
Fall of a King
21 Fiann, 3032 PA
With a crash of sword on shield, the battle was joined. Dymas called on the power of his artifice to rain demonic arrows down on the bulk of the Qur’Draak warriors, breaking their morale. Boris and Raina rushed through the opening in the enemy lines to contest the bridge, while Damian and Sonia exchanged arrows with the Qur’Draak archers. Kiera swept into the scattered Qur’draak, stopping them from regrouping.
As elf and dwarf fought side by side, quickly cutting down the bridge defenders, Merlokep sent his bodyguards forward to halt their advance. He followed, his form obscured by some sort of protective magic. Kiera found herself surrounded by the Qur’draak on the eastern side of the chamber, suffering a vicious gash to her leg before she could cut their numbers down. Damian proved unfocused, unable to master the energies of his artifice weapon.
Raina and Boris cut down the Bloodscale bodyguards one by one, until they stood before Merlokep himself. Kerrdremak, along with a battered remnant of his retinue, rushed into the chamber at the western end. A tense moment stretched on as the mystic surveyed the battle. Then he and his warriors charged onto the bridge. They were soon followed by another group of Bloodscales – Grugakrug had arrived – who threw themselves into the fray. Kiera finally dispatched the last of her foes and joined the battle on the bridge’s narrow confines.
The heroes fought shoulder to shield and Merlokep’s axe swung in massive arcs. Raina had already taken a heavy blow to the temple, the blood staining one side of her face and running into her eyes, while the dwarven king fought with one of Sonia’s arrows in his side. Kiera saw an opening and thrust her sword through the king’s chest. As she kicked him from her sword, Merlokep’s body began to tumble from the bridge. Kerrdremak, shrieking in despair, lunged forward to snatch the golden crown from Merlokep’s head. Holding aloft for a moment, the deformed mystic triumphantly placed it on his head. The remaining Qur’draak immediately bent a knee. Kerrdremak was now King of the Truescale.
The heroes barely had time to recover from the battle before Mikra haltingly informed them that the tribe’s high priest was going to sacrifice Hollin, the last remaining hostage. Spending only a few minutes to catch their breath while Damian picked through the belongings of the fallen, they moved into the former king’s quarters with Kerrdremak acting as escort.
They passed the Crawling Throne, formed from the carcass of a giant centipede, into the king’s own chamber. His consort, an exceptionally attractive Qur’draak woman, grudgingly bowed to Kerrdremak while casting covetous glances at Boris. They kept moving until they reached the final chamber of the Qur’draak lair. As the heroes entered an unadrorned cavern, they were met with a scene of grisly murder. A withered and naked dwarf, only a long tangled beard preserving his modesty, had just cut the heart from a human man. The altar on which the corpse lay was a simple stone block and Hollin lay at its foot, bound and destined to be the next victim under Jekkajak’s knife.
The priest’s bodyguard blocked the way forward and, as battle was joined, Jekkajak summoned a fire elemental to further confound the enemy. The Qur’draak were battered by a hail of Dymas’ magical bolts, and Raina used the opportunity to vault past the line of Penitent Guard and engage Jekkajak directly. She suffered a blast of fire from the priest for her temerity before finishing him with a quick sword stroke. As the elemental vanished back to its home plane, Dymas cut down the rest of the guards with another flurry of bolts.
In the after math Boris, the Great Liberator, struck a deal with Kerrdremak. The Qur’draak would no longer bother the surface dwellers and, in return, they would be left in peace. Kerrdrmak, as he escorts them to the surface, warns that his people had not always dwelt so close to the surface. Something dark and evil had pushed them out of their ancestral home; something powerful that would soon burst out of the shadows and into the world of Men.
Making camp in the shadow of the Darkwood, the party were reunited with Jeva. Despite the group’s suspicions the girl readily made friends with Kimi Eavewalker and seemed eager to return to the town. The journey back to Falcon’s Hollow was uneventful, the forest seeming content to let the weary heroes pass unmolested.
The town, in the grip of a rainstorm, seemed even more sullen and desperate than normal. The mood picked up as the children were returned to their parents, Jeva opting to stay with Kimi. Soon the party found themselves back at the inn, divesting themselves of wet clothes and catching up on the events of the past week. Of the most note was Engrit’s news.
Something valuable had been found in his wagons, something that might restore his family’s fortunes. A buyer had been found and the caravan would be departing for Ban Olfden the day after the morrow.