The Price of Peace

Session XXI

Imminent Invasion

6/11/429, Monday

The party celebrates with the Hunter’s Guild after defeating the assassin devil. Willow’s older brother Dmitri spends time with them and beats Willow in an arm-wrestling contest. They walk home together, coming across a man who stumbles in the street, apparently in pain. Dorien, who is above and beyond the threshold for drunk, investigates, nearly getting bitten as the man transforms into a wolf-like form. Zion uses telekinesis to put the werewolf down, and Pythagoras puts him to sleep. They tie him up and find the city watch. As they turn to go home, they realize Dorien has wandered off.

Willow tracks Dorien to the Elven quarter, where he is being a public nuisance. He is stopped by the watch, who intend to arrest him. Willow persuades them to let her take care of him and they find their way home.

6/12/429, Tuesday

They wake up to a wonderful breakfast prepared by their new kitchen staff. They discuss what to do now, so they head to the palace to see Amélie. In the courtyard, they see what appears to be soldiers-in-training, a peculiar sight for a pacifistic nation. In the palace, advisers and Guardians are running to and fro, and Amélie and Weiss are talking over a table with a map of the region laid out. Weiss tells the party that freighters from the colonies have been spotted crossing over the ocean, and would reach Alexia by the end of the week if that were their target. However, their courses suggest different destinations: trading towns each about a week away from Alexia on foot. Weiss mentions that one of these destinations, Timberbrooke to the north, is protected by his brother, the Guardian Dietz. He says that Dietz had recently contacted him to ask for an escort for a caravan headed to Alexia, and said he’d send the best, having the party in mind. They go over plans to deal with the freighters: the flying fortress would head southeast to deal with the one approaching Ashline, a team would take out a bridge to prevent a force from crossing the river from Oaknell, and the party would see what they can do about the freighter headed to Timberbrooke.

Galenka takes the party on his ship toward the town, informing them the trip will take 8 hours, plus a few to intercept the freighter. They land at Timberbrooke to meet Dietz around 10 PM that night. Dietz is entertaining a guest when they arrive: a young, attractive brunette named Camilla. As soon as Willow enters the house, however, her devil-sense warns her that a devil is present, but she can’t positively identify the source. She tells Dorien, and they investigate the two individually while Zion tells Dietz about magic and abjuration. Willow helps Camilla in the kitchen, and she tells her the story of how she met Dietz: a month ago, her family’s barn was attacked and destroyed by goblins, and Dietz saved her. Dietz tells the same story to Dorien, who had cast detect thoughts, though he is unable to glean any additional information. Zion casts detect magic and sees that an enchantment had been cast on Dietz. He studies Camilla and identifies transmutation and abjuration auras. He excuses himself to the bathroom, then attempts to use the Imperial Medallion to dispel her effects. The abjurations were dispelled, but not the transmutation. He uses more charges and the polymorph effect is lost, revealing a slightly different form with black feathered wings: apparently an erinyes [more specifically, a pleasure devil]. She screams and begs Dietz to protect her, who takes up his longsword and shield.

Camilla charms Dorien while Zion polymorphs Pythagoras into a sphinx. Dietz defends Camilla, deflecting attacks with his shield and attacking Pythagoras. Willow hits Camilla, eventually weakening her damage reduction with the Golden Star. Zion casts grease and Dietz falls to the ground. Dorien hits him with the Silver Star and breaks the enchantment Camilla had placed on Dietz.

Sensing the magical power coming from the house as he wanders by, the elf scout Kell from Teth el Lam enters the house sneakily. Pythagoras sees him and telepathically apprises him of the situation. Camilla summons a pair of chain devils, but Willow, Bubbles, and Kell manage to take her down, and the chain devils retreat. Dietz is shaken and confused. They talk about the freighter, and Dietz says that they were expecting a shipment of supplies from Ligot to go on the caravan. Kell agrees to go with them to sneak aboard the ship and identify its nature, taking it down if they must. They return to Galenka.

Galenka takes the ship closer until they see the freighter. They ask him the best way to take down an airship, and he identifies the the engine room, usually on the deck above the cargo hold, where the alchemical drive acts like a furnace, converting platinum to magical energy. If they can somehow destroy the drive or remove the fuel, the ship will fall like a rock.

Zion dimension doors himself, Dorien, Willow, and Kell into the cargo hold, where they see almost 300 men sleeping, each with a sword and shield close at hand. They also see an erinyes patrolling, currently at the opposite end of the hold. Dorien quickly casts invisibility sphere and Zion uses his last dimension door to take them directly to the engine room, which is guarded by a pair of bearded devils and a red-skinned fiend known as a legion devil, the typical foot soldier of the armies of the hells.

Kell and Dorien use their magic of sound to draw the guards out of the room. Zion uses dispel magic to deactivate the drive for a short while. Noticing the ship begin to descend, an erinyes brings the distracted guards back, seeing the invisible party with her true seeing. She uses unholy blight, and the party is forced to engage as Zion shatters a small hole in the bottom of the magical furnace. He begins to shovel chunks of platinum down the hole, and is caught in the furnace momentarily when it reactivates. He quickly dispels it again and resumes his work. More legion devils enter the room as the erinyes continues to use unholy blight. Zion judges that he has done enough and the ship’s descent is unrecoverable, so he shatters a hole in the wall, preparing to use his scroll of mass fly. Kell leaps at the erinyes, skewering her skull with his spear. Zion casts the spell and exits the vessel, urging the others to follow immediately. Dorien and Willow leave, but Kell is surrounded by legion devils, who very nearly kill him. Zion floats Kell out with a telekinesis spell and Dorien hastily stabilizes the elf. They fly to the ground as the large freighter crashes to the ground, causing a magical explosion that couldn’t possibly leave any survivors.

They notice a small group of men teleport to the ground a distance away from them, and Zion shoots a fireball toward them, felling many of them. They scatter, and the party is left to gaze at the brilliant wreckage.

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