Bear Claws

36. Mawiage

That bwessed awangement...

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton, Xaladin
Level: 10/11
Location: Overlook
NPCs: Brak, Kalad, Emil, Pattie, Mary, Jalissa, Washburn Windleaf, Althaea Windleaf, Bain, Nathyra, Ruth and Rory Teng, All the Halflings

The Bear Claws face off against Bain. Mary tries to calm the village citizens while the Bear Claws and Emil do their best to stop Bain’s advance. Jak tackles the crazed dwarf and Xaladin pins him down with a fallen tree. He struggles to free himself but as they close on him Nathyra charges in and cuts the hand from his arm.

His blood sprays across the snow and Mary kneels at his side, tears in her eyes as she reaches out to heal him.

Washburn watches the hand of Vecna fade into the Astral Plane and gathers his soldiers about him to return to the feywild. Nathyra approaches him and asks him to take her egg with him, to keep it safe and return in a few months when the village is safe and there are buildings where the egg can be kept warm.

Washburn wordlessly takes the egg and disappears into the feywild. James warns Nathyra that Washburn will never return with her egg. She seems distraught but can’t do anything about it any more.

Mary asks the people to take care of Bain until he heals. They look willing to not kill him, at least. The Bear Claws suddenly find themselves being sucked back the inn in Overlook where they find Althaea swearing and complaining that the field collapsed too soon, they should have been gone longer. Jalissa seems non-plussed by it all.

Mary grabs Washburn and holds him against the wall. She snarls at him to never show his face near her again. He has manipulated all of them including telling Mary that she was an orphan when her mother was clearly alive.

He leaves them calmly, with a look of satisfaction at getting what he wanted.

Emil’s wedding is about to begin.

Ruth asks Alton if he is nervous.

The Bear Claws sit down for the wedding and Kalad begins the officiating with many metaphors about the unity of marriage and forge work.

Malthazard speaks to Alton in his mind. “Kill them. Kill the halflings. This is your task. This is how you complete our pact.”

Alton starts to summon his powers. James sees his distress and reaches for him. Mary puts her hand on his shoulder and asks if he is alright. She tells Alton that Avandra will be with him.

He releases all his energy into the ceiling and Roland absorbs it, making his body glow with stored potential. Alton cries out to Avandra and collapses, seemingly dead.

Ruth shouts for Malthazard to come and draws a summoning circle on the floor of the inn. Rory opens up the trap door behind the bar and two minotaurs and six tieflings poor out as the demon forms at the end of the bar.

Althaea sees Malthazard and shouts, “It’s not a full summons. The aspect can be sent back. I need thirty seconds and a piece of him.”

The minotaurs focus on Jak. The tieflings die before they can even get around the bar. Malthazard lashes out with his lightning sword and flame whip striking at those who are nearest him.

Jak cuts off a piece of Malthazard’s earlobe and tosses it to Xaladin who changes to a wolf and catches it in the air. He delivers it to Althaea, Emil, Kalad and Jalissa who are working on the ritual to banish Malthazard.

Malthazard notices Thornside’s armor and speaks to it, “Rauthoros? Where have you been?”

The armor responds, “Trapped, brother.”

At that moment Roland hits Malthazard with an acid orb and the ritual completes. Malthazard fades into nothing.

Ruth is crying, “My Lord Asmodeus will not be happy.”

Meanwhile Alton wakes up on the side of a grassy path, with forest all around him. Avandra, a pretty young halfling with red curls, greets him and offers to take up his pact in place of Malthazard. He will have access to her power.

Alton agrees and she puts her hand on his chest and sends him back.

He wakes in the inn and his hair has gone completely white.

Rory is pale and shaking as Kalad ties him up along with Ruth and the one living Minotaur, Krombastrafina. Thornside approaches them and borrows James’ hammer. He smashes Rory’s pelvis. Kalad shoves him back as Rory screams.

James heals Rory and Kalad takes the prisoners away. James officiates over the wedding, marrying Emil and Pattie. Emil’s father sings them a song then the party begins. Dancing, food, drinking and lots of songs.

Jacob, Emil’s father, offers to settle down and run the inn instead of being a Tinker. He’s ready to retire.

The inn is still being held by the Teng’s until their trial at which point the ownership can be negotiated.

The next couple of days are quiet while the Bear Claws go about their business.

Alton checks on his sculptor and gives him a sketch of Avandra to work from. He also checks on the temple. One of the times he goes there he finds Mary there. He thanks her for helping him make the right decision and she tells him that she sought the truth thinking it would set her free but now she wishes she had not found it.

While they talk they find they are no long in the temple but are on the grassy roadside where Alton met Avandra before. Avandra approaches them and tells Mary her road will be harder still, and with much pain. She touches Mary’s forehead and tells her that she will the Hammer of Avandra to strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of freedom.

She tells Alton that is broken by Malthazard’s control but is on the way to being healed. She has need of him. She wants him to be her Hellbringer to those who bring captivity.

Jak goes to help train the troops of Overlook to point out ways to use weapons and how to fight so that their forces can be ready for any future engagements.

On his way home one evening a minotaur named Kruk steps from an alley, several others come from the alley and surround Jak. “Minotaur does not kill minotaur. You are not Jak Gorebeast. You are Jak Clankiller.”

The minotaurs attack and Jak whirls into combat and cuts them all down in a matter of seconds, his urgrosh whirling and dancing among his enemies. When the last one falls he looks up and sees Amyria who is amazed at his prowess. “Never in a dozen life times of memories have I seen someone with such grace and strength in battle. You are a true Kensei warrior.”

James goes to the temple of Moradin where Brak anoints him as a cleric. Later while they are working at the forge and studying the making of armor James remembers the runes that Amyria showed him for fire, earth, air and water and sees the symbol of Moradin, representing the forge. He suddenly sees how all four of those elements are present in the forge and he draws the rune on his chest, combining the elements and the forge of Moradin.

Brak watches him in astonishment and tells him he has discovered the forge rune. He tells James that he is now Moradin’s Master of the Forge.

Thornside has a conversation with Emil. Emil needs to go on a journeyman adventure or three. He wants to be Thornside’s minion. They spend the next two days playing as many pranks on Kalad as they can. Pattie and Emil argue about Thornside’s archery prowess.

As a test, to prove his ability Emil climbs a tree and drops three apples. Thornside shoots an arrow that bounces off a rock and impales all three apples. Pattie sees it and tells him that he needs a real test. She turns and fires two crossbows at him.

Thornside fires an arrows that splits in two and intercepts the crossbow bolts before they get to him. Emil is jumping up and down laughing and Pattie does a quiet golf clap. Congratulating Thornside on his sharpshooting.

Roland talks to Alton about how his magic has changed. Then he searches through the libraries looking for information about chaos power. While there Althaea sees him and asks him questions about how he controls his power. She asks him if he would like to visit the Elemental Chaos. It’s basically a revers summons. He agrees and finds himself in the Chaos where elements war with each other. Malthazard speaks to him and offers more power. Roland doesn’t even hesitate to turn him down.

When he returns Roland is a Wild Mage.

Xaladin spends time in the forest watching the animals and practicing his primal magics. He sees a lone wolf and remembers his experience under the blood moon. As he thinks about that experience his senses expand and he summons the power that he felt during that red moon.

He becomes a Blood Moon Stalker.

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