For Love S Sake
Table of Contents

==Act II: For Love's Sake==
==Scene Four: Once Again, Into the Blight==
Oct 16
Sissi, the young goblin lass that Jumpkets had encountered before comes forth with an eye-witness acount of the cultists making off with Jaelae. She tells them that she saw a woman and three men put a bundle on a fifth horse and gallop off, shortly before the body of Sir Boers was found. She says she recognized the woman, she is a local aristocrat who sometimes works at the castle as a lady-in-waiting for the extra money. The family name means nothing to Mordenheim, he cannot remember ever meeting anyone of that family, but he sends guards to the family's estate, as well as sending scouts and Jumpkets to scour the area for the princess and her abductors.

Figuring that Sir Boers wouldn't appreciate being reincarnated by the local druids, he sends a summons to the local bishop. It takes some time for the bishop to arrive from his home outside the city, during which time Mordenheim also sends for the druids. Both his father and he having shunned the Light, he doesn't expect much volunteered help from the church, and he is right. The bishop offers that the dead man can be raised from the dead, but that in return the church should be allowed more lattitude and freedoms in expanding its influence. Mordenheim thinks this over, but realizing that the church expanding its influence must be at the cost of the druid's influence, he declines. The bishop shrugs and says he will see what can be done anyways.

One of Jaelae's knights bursts in, demanding answers and a rescue mission. Mordenheim motions his guards to let him through, then slaps the man as he rages on. In the stunned silence that follows, the knight draws himself to his full height and says, "Sirrah, were it not that my Lady is missing, I would challenge you for you have dishonored me. When this matter is decided, expect my challenge!" Mordenheim hotly replys, his anger and panic at Jaelea's dissappearance getting the better of him. The knight storms off.

The Greatjohn, leader of the local druid circle and his newest druid apprentice, a young girl wrapped in a tunic of ivy, dispense some healing, citing the dangers of too much artifical healing and that "nature must take its course". Roblair is hesitant to accept the healing, fearing the faith of his convictions, but also the illness that took the dwarf out for so long. The druidess is very friendly, and especially forward to Mordenheim. She seems amused by something and seems to hide a secret behind her smirk.

Mordenheim heads to his father's study to see if his father has mentioned any of this in his logs or journals. Finding only reports and recent journals for the most part, Mordenheim does stumble on a passage that reads, "the feast is active. Odd that it would after so much time has passed. It can mean only the thing I have feared since the box was delivered so long ago. I must prepare myself…. for every eventuality." Mordenheim drifts off to sleep, it being sometime close to 3am at this point.

He dreams he is flying over the desert, over the Blight. Canyons and mesas pass beneath him as he flys on through the night. Banking up from the face of a cliff, he sees the clear skies ahead darken with storm clouds from nowhere. Flying into the buffeting winds and stormy darkness he pushes on. Now the ground is flatter, a rocky wasteland. Ahead he makes out a conical peak jutting from the edge of a ridge, he sees a staircase winding its way up the side of the mountain to a doorway set 3/4 of the way up the side. He passess by the door and keeps flying around the mountain, sweeping around it at great speed. On the far back side there is a terrible maw of stone, torn out of the mountainside. Great teeth of stone make it seem like a vast maw has opened in the side of the mountain. Within the maw is a flat almost featureless area but for a conical pillar jutting up a third of the height of the roof. Mordenheim can see that the pillar glows like an ember, and tiny flames seem to flicker along its surface. Suddenly the pillar ignites in a corona of flames. Bright, hot flames.

Mordenheim awakens suddenly, still in the study. There is a knock on the door, Jumpkets has returned with news as have the other guards. Mordenheim learns that the family estates of the Longfellows is abandoned. His scouts were unable to find any trace of the abductors in the night. But Jumpkets tells Mordenheim that from alight his winged cat he was able to make out 5 riders heading into the Blight, trailing many extra horses.

Plans are begun for a rescue party. Mordenheim decides speed is of the essence, so he will take only himself and Tempus. Roblair decides on his three best men, while Durlame rides alone. In addition, Sir Hubert, the insulted knight, insists on going, along with 10 of his men-at-arms. It is late morning, almost noon before the rescue party leaves Wallace. As they leave the cover of the walls and make for the Blight, some 60-80 miles east, a lone figure on a white horse breaks from the trees to their left. The druidess falls in beside Mordenheim, her mountain lion companion loping along beside her. She flashes Mordenheim a quick grin and pats his hand. She rides bareback, save for a blanket, no reins nor bridle either.

It is a tired group that decides to rest for the evening rather then push on. Mordenheim mentions that he feels Jaelae will be safe until he arrives at the Hellmaw. Hubert is doubtful of this and looks at the young Lord askance but says nothing.

Oct 17
The men are breaking camp the next morning when Jumpkets takes Mordenheim aside to show him some tracks. They are lizardman tracks, and fresh from last nite. It would seem a body of lizardmen, perhaps a raiding party, had scouted the party last night. Mordenheim is unsure what to do. He doesn't want to waste time searching for the lizards, nor does he want to let them roam free in his lands. He asks Sir Hubert to send some of his men to warn Wallace. Hubert flatly refuses, not wanting to risk so few of his men in case there is an ambush. Finally, Mordenheim decides Wallace can deal with the matter on its own, as he too is nervous about sending just his cohort to warn the city.

The party rides hard through the day, stopping only once at a small village to water their horses. A few villagers peak out from behind shutters, but no one disturbs the group. Durlame slips off and corners a townsperson from whom he learns that a group of five riders with extra mounts passed through here late last night. The party rides on, Durlame relays his information to Mordenheim who grunts.

It is getting on evening time. The ground has gotten rockier and water is less frequent a sight. They are getting close to the Blight. Ahead is a small farmstead, a good place to stop for the evening. But something is wrong with the place they can see as they ride closer. There is no sign of any livestock, and the place seems deserted. Drawing closer yet, they see the remains of several goats and other livestock, slaughtered and killed, seemingly chewed and feasted on. The bones are cracked for the marrow, and even the fur seems half-eaten. Just the bones, blood and bits of gristle are left. Sir Hubert orders his men to fan out. Mordenheim dismounts, calling orders to search the grounds, and the house, when suddenly the front door bursts open and a blood-covered madman rushes out straight for him!

Before the man can reach him, five quarrels rip through him, sending him sprawling to the ground, dead. Looking at him, Mordenheim can see that he appears half-starved, his ribs poking through his skin like gaunt sticks and his cheeks sunken like a man gone without food for weeks. Sir Hubert's men have gone into the farmhouse and the sounds of nausea and cries of disgust suddenly can be heard. Mordenheim rushes in, seeing the kitchen as he does so. It is a shambles, all the shelves are emptied, more livestock is butchered, and blood is everywhere. Mordenheim steels himself for some grim sight as Sir Hubert's lieutenant is dragged out of the house, he having fainted, but he is not ready for what he sees. The farmer's wife, emaciated to the point of satire, lies in bed, obviously too weak to have gotten up for some time, but strong enough to have eaten her own hand and part of her arm. She is dead.

Reeling from the sight, he hears shouts from outside that there is someone in the barn. Quickly he and Roblair head into the barn, where a small boy, perhaps 12 years of age has locked himself in the shed and barricaded himself in. The party lures him out with food, and he is not alone. His older sister, a beautiful lass of perhaps 16 or 17 comes out with him. The boy holds her hand and leads her about, she seems vacant, yet somehow innocent. The party is concerned that the malady that has afflicted this farm is contagious and that the two survivors might have it. Mordenheim casts spells over them to see if they are under the influence of some kind of magic, and what he sees sends shivers down his spine. It is as if a bottomless maw has anchored itself to the center of their patterns, like a giant tapeworm, but spiritual.

Mordenheim is not sure what the curse is, and is afraid he cannot break the enchantment. The druidess is also unable to break curses, nor dispel magical effects, so she is at a total loss. Meanwhile, one of Sir Hubert's men has been feeding the boy rations, and looks worried as he packs away his fifth man-sized meal in as many minutes and still looks hungry. Mordenheim notices a few of the other men eyeing the pretty farmgirl, and scowls darkly at them.

Mordenheim attempts to dispel the magical effect on the young boy, but is not successful. He fears it is a curse, beyond a simple dispelling. Worriedly a conference is called. The disease or spell seems to work quickly, so it seems unlikely the pair will make it back to Wallace if the party splits up. If the lizardmen are still around that is another obstacle to the pair reaching Wallace. Another factor is the fear that this is a magical disease and may be contagious. Such a horror spreading through a populous area is too much to bear thinking of. Talk turns to mercy killing. The druidess is overwrought at this suggestion but can think of no other alternative. She runs weeping to her horse and rides into the fields.

Durlame leads Roblair off and distracts him, while Mordenheim and Sir Hubert lead the young boy around the side of the house. "Here you go young man, a bit of cheese for you," says Mordenheim, pulling a wedge of cheese from his magical backpack. The boy begins to greedily devour it, never seeing Judgement's Edge flash in the setting sun. It is over quickly, the boys slumps dead. Mordenheim feels sick, but feels there is no other way. He and Sir Hubert share a look, then turn to escort the pretty farmgirl around the other side of the house. Mordenheim drops back while Sir Hubert tries to distract her with inane chatter. As Mordeheim raises his blade and begans his cut, she turns and looks him in the eye. The blade proves apt to its name, and neatly seperates her head from her body in a clean stroke. The head rolls a few feet, coming up with the eyes still looking at Mordenheim, a sad smile still on her lips.

Mordenheim grabs up a shovel and begins digging their graves himself. Sir Hubert lends a hand and in the gathering darkness of dusk, Mordenheim volunteers to say a few words. Looking around the farmstead it seems obvious to him that these people were pagans, like himself. Durlame and Robliar have ridden to be close to the druidess who is still weeping a ways out in the field. Hubert's men wait for the services to end so they can all be away from this dark and terrible place to find a camp many miles away.

Mordenheim begins the chants honoring the dead and blessing their passage to the Otherside. His mind wanders as his mouth continues the rote prayers and blessings. Over and over he sees the girls eyes as she turned to him and he cut off her head. Suddenly, aware that something is wrong, Mordenheim comes back to the present. Sir Hubert and his men look alarmed, Hubert's blade is half drawn and he is backing away from Mordenheim fearfully. The men-at-arms are trying to control their panicing horses. At the tree, Durlame and the others look up as they hear a rolling voice like thunder intoning the finishing phrases of a spell or word of power. It is Mordenheim.

He realizes that while his mind wandered, something began evoking a spell through him. Now the sky begans to darken, with a whirling vortex of blackness hovering above the farmhouse. Fiery red lightings light the sky and black sooty clouds obscure the light. Then from the maw-like vortex come black hailstones. Small at first but growing in size as they aproach the ground, the hailstons roll open on hitting the ground revealing hideous monsters. Donut shaped with a long vertical mouth running over half the lengths of their bodies, and short stubby appendages, the abyssal maws waste no time rolling themselves towards the shaken group.

It is pandemonium as over two dozen of the rolling creatures plow into the disorganized group. Sir Hubert's men take the brunt of the attack, three of them going down almost immediately. And when they fall, the maws continue to gulp them down, leaving nothing but the odd appendage or bit of equipment. Tempus and Sir Hubert are both hit hard, while Mordenheim seems untargeted, the abyssal maws flowing around him like water. Robliar and his men, as well as the rest of Hubert's men charge towards the beleagured men. The Druidess and Durlame follow them.

===Session 28 (09/24/03)===
Oct 18
==Scene Five: The Sand Trap==
Oct 19
==Scene Six: Lizard Attack==
===Session 29 (10/02/03)===
==Scene Seven: The Hell Maw==
Oct 20
Oct 21

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