Ave Maria

After a few days of resting up from their battle in the arena, and basking in their newfound fame and fortune in the city as powerful gladiators, things start to get interesting again.

Dorian is in the common room of their Inn, when a courier arrives with a message in Dwarven. Aurus is the only person in the party who is fluent in Dwarven, and he was out prowling the brothels with Aeyo, and Dorian had no idea when they would return. The courier said it was a message of highest priority, so Dorian paid the Innkeeper to translate the message. It was a summons from their keep, advising they were under attack from the hobgoblins, and the situation was grim. They were full surrounded and had no viable way to escape. They had supplies to last roughly a week.

Dorian summoned the group and advised them of the news. They had to buy the slaves for Lady Winthrop, and supplies for the keep, and they needed to start back immediately. Aeyo and Aurus returned about this time, and they were also apprised of the status of the keep. Because it was now late evening, it was too late to start out (granted it is always dark, in the Underdark, but the party was tired and needed to rest).

The next morning, the Innkeeper comes to Dorian and makes an offer to help expedite transport for the party, by way of some huge giant bats. The party could fly back on those, and have enough weight available to carry basic supplies for the goblins and the keep. The price is agreed, and Aeyo, Aurus, and Brother Johnathan go out to the market and buy the needed supplies. Dorian, Willow, and Paela go to the slave markets and purchase 6 drow slaves (2 rogues, 2 fighters, a wizard, and a cleric).

The group meets back at the Inn, and sets off for home, riding giant bats, laden with supplies, slaves, and the party. The trip is fairly uneventful until the last night before returning to the Keep. Aurus hears something while the others are making camp so he goes to investigate.. He doesn’t see anything, but definitely feels watched, and returns to camp. Dorian overhears the Drow slaves talking, and goes up to them, asking them to repeat what they were saying. They mention that the group has been followed for a few days now, and someone is not far away, watching the party.

Dorian relays this to the party, who then split up to go in search of their ‘guest’. Willow, Sheera, Paela, Aurus, and Brother Johnathan go one way, and Aeyo and Dorian circle around. Willow and company fall into a trapped pit (Aurus avoids it, by turning into mist), and are hurt when they land on sharpened stakes. Aurus is almost immediately attacked by an unseen foe, hurling throwing stars from the shadows that were hurting him, as they were exploding with radiant damage when they hit him! While he tries to locate his foe, Willow and the others are able to get out of the pit. Aeyo and Dorian continue circling around, unaware of what has befallen their friends. They find, and evade a few trip wires, and final circle back around just as the assailant is spotted behind the party, somehow managing to evade detection.

Dorian is able to throw up a wall of light, making the assailant easier to detect, and invokes divine chains to slow down their ninja attacker. Aeyo attacks directly, discovering the attacker is a woman. At the same time, the rest of the party is attacked by a huge skeletal bat (not quite undead, it appears to be a construct). It is a long hard fight, but just as the party is about to take down the skeletal bat and the ninja, the ninja whistles for the bat, which swoops over and grabs the ninja, so they can both escape into the dark.

While the party catches their breath, Dorian inspects the scene from the fight, and notices that all the throwing stars left by their ninja attacker, carry the mark of his church – the Temple of Amaunator. This assassin belongs to a special group called “Ordo Malleus” – the Order of Undead Hunters of Amaunator. Dorian shares with the group that this Order is known for being relentless, and could easily destroy the entire group if the Order thinks they are in service to Aurus. He also shares an unwillingness to personally act against this assassin, as he would be acting against his own church. Dorian shares a desire to try and communicate with this assassin, if and when she resurfaces.

The rest of the evening passes quietly, and the next day the party makes the final leg of their journey back to their keep. Upon landing, Aeyo receives a briefing from the goblin shaman who explains the tactical layout of the invading force.

Aeyo and Dorian take Aurus aside, and explain the situation. Dorian tells Aurus that his vampiric ‘gifts’ could make or break the tide of battle.. if not completely remove the need for battle entirely. Aeyo re-emphasizes all of Dorian’s points and adds that unless the Aurus is able to break this army, hundreds, if not ALL of the goblins, will die. Aurus appears unwilling, but understands that hundreds could die in the coming hours, unless he takes action now. Dorian and Aeyo return to the keep, and leave Aurus to do whatever he will do.

Aurus sneaks up on a small group of Hobgoblins, and as he unleashes his first attack, he is overcome with a blind and all consuming bloodlust. He loses himself in the moment. When he is next aware of himself, he is entering the keep, covered in blood, gore, and filth.. His memory snaps back for a moment, as he comes to realize that he just single-handedly slew roughly ¼ of the attacking hobgoblin force, in a few hours. And for the first time since he was made into a vampire, he has no blood thirst.. he in fact feels.. satiated.

Aeyo and Dorian were in conference with the goblin Shaman when Aurus came in and said it was done. Dorian asked him “Did you do what you were supposed to?”, and Aurus just gave him a cold look, and went off to his room without saying a word.

The next morning the hobgoblin king sent out someone to bring the party to meet with him. The party goes to meet with the king, who brazenly demands a ransom to take his army and leave. Aurus, who is still covered in dried blood and gore from the previous night, leaps on the king, throwing him to the ground, and growls in his ear that if he does not take his army and leave right now, he would slaughter the rest of his army, and his people, and he would start with the king then and there. The king graciously acquiesced.

While our heroes were making their way back to the keep, Brother Johnathan noticed they were being followed. Stepping out of the shadows was the Ninja who had attacked them previously. A brief exchange followed, in which the Ninja, (who’s name is Maria), stated she had started observing the group more closely after seeing an Invoker of her church in the company of the vampire. She came to realize the plight Aurus was in (that was he was not a willing undead), and offered to help the group destroy Lady Winthrop. The group happily and quickly accepted the offer. Maria needed to return to Waterdeep for some supplies, but had a teleportation scroll with her. Dorian, Willow, and Brother Johnathan go with Maria to Waterdeep.



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